2005/03/30

1926

From 1900, we jump ahead to 1926. These four tracks come from a record collector friend of mine in Holland, who for the past forty years has been collecting any old time recordings he could get a hold of (78s, 33s, tape, mp3, etc); and for about the past thirty years he has been in the painstaking process of restoring these recordings through a mix of digital and analog means (with some homemade equipment). The results are just incredible. Here is a sample of four of remarkably awesome tracks from artists who unlike Louis Armstrong, Ma Rainey, or King Oliver never managed to make their way into many (if any) of these big 1920s revival box sets you find in your local Virgin mega store.


Billy Murray & Aileen Stanley

Collected Recordings (1926)
Any Ice Today Lady?
"Billy Murray (25 May, 1877 - 17 August, 1954) was one of the most popular singers in the United States in the early decades of the 20th century. While he received star billings on Vaudeville, he was best known for his prolific work in the recording studio, making records for almost every record label of the era. He was probably the best selling recording artist of the first quarter of the 20th century."
"Aileen Stanley (died 1982, age 89) projected a blues-influenced sensuality that was rare in white female vocalists of that era. She was one of Billy Murray's regular singing partners in the 1920's. Aileen also recorded many hits with other collaborators and as a solo artist, most notably "Sweet Indiana Home" (Victor 18992 in 1922) and "When My Sugar Walks Down the Street' (with Gene Austin on Victor 19585 in 1925)."


Dixieland Jug Blowers

Collected Recordings (1926)
Banjoreno
"Combining the sophistication of 1920s jazz bands with the raw energy of country string bands, the Dixieland Jug Blowers were in the vanguard of the early Louisville music scene. Their repertoire covered the spectrum of turn of the century American music - blues, rags, ballads, stomps, fiddle tunes and much more - in such performances as Barefoot Stomp, Blue Guitar stomp, Everybody Wants My Tootelum, National Blues and others."

California Ramblers

Collected Recordings (1926)
She Knows Her Onions
"The Ramblers adopted a slightly different playing style for the various labels they recorded for, thus enabling the record companies to have their own "sound". It wasn't until the development of electrical recording in 1925 that the true depth of the Rambler music became apparent and especially the Columbia company with its superb recording technique and smooth-surfaced records managed to capture the band in full glory. Although only one microphone was used and long before the days of dubbing, artificial reverb and stereo, the recorded sound has a tremendous perspective that even today baffles the listener. Also, these Columbia recordings were rather jazz-orientated, allowing for plenty of improvised solos and for what may already be described as "swing"."

Annette Hanshaw

Collected Recordings (1926)
Six Feet of Papa
"Annette Hanshaw was a popular singer and radio star of the 1920s and early Thirties who had many Jazz overtones in her singing style. She stepped out of her role of a torch singer and improvised and had a great deal of swing that harkened to the Big Band singers of the 1930s. She was viewed by the public as the epitome of a flapper."


For more information the reader is strongly urged to go check out: The Red Hot Jazz Archive they have more information than most people probably need, and tons of tracks in streamable Real Audio format.

2005/03/25

Martin Denny

This might be old news to some of you, but Martin Denny died early this month. Even though Les Baxter is considered the originator of that kind of exotica style by most people, Martin Denny was the guy who added all the kitschy sound effects and jazzed it up. This isn't exactly depressing news - he went at the ripe old age of 93. Anyway, these are my two favorite tracks from the Exotic Moog album, which is definitely one of his best. Lots of fun & not as grating as some moog.

Martin Denny

Exotic Moog (1969)
Delilah
I Talk To The Trees

2005/03/24

1900

Oh, oh, oh, I can barely type I'm so excited. I just got this collection of recordings from 1900, really 1900, not the 1900s but 1900! I am tingly. Enough typing, here are the songs.

Columbia Quartet
Camp Meeting Jubilee
"The name Columbia Quartet was not used for early Columbia discs known as Climax discs. Instead, the Climax Quartet sang on early discs. After the record company switched from its early Climax disc label to the Columbia label, the name Columbia Quartet was cited in spoken announcements. As late as 1908 or so Columbia used the generic "vocal quartette" on labels for performances that had been cut years earlier and remained in the catalog, but by 1906 for new performances the company sometimes put Columbia Quartette on discs."

Edna May
Purity Brigade
"Few people today have heard of Edna May but 100 years ago she was the toast of London and New York. Millionaires sought her hand in marriage, train loads of admirers would follow her where ever she went, she commanded some of the highest fees of her day, and her exploits were reported on both sides of the Atlantic....Edna May first took to the stage at the age of 5, when she played Little Willie Allen in a production of "Dora". By the age of 7 she had joined a children's opera company and performed Gilbert & Sullivan productions in Syracuse." This is so much what I imagine when I think of what music was like in 1900.

Dan W. Quinn
Vaudeville Specialty
"The singer was born in San Francisco, perhaps in 1859 since Jim Walsh reports in the December 1961 issue of Hobbies that Quinn was 79 years old when he died. Posing with other Edison artists of 1900, Quinn appears to be around 40 years old in a photograph that is reprinted in the January 1971 issue of Hobbies. He was occasionally identified as a baritone but most often as a tenor. Quinn was a boy soprano in an Episcopal choir and was evidently a vaudeville performer when he was a young man. His photograph is on the cover of sheet music of the 1890s."

Elizabeth Cotten

Can't really say much about this one. It's pulled from Elizabeth Cotten's 1958 lp Negro Folk Songs and Tunes later retitled as Freight Train and Other North Carolina Folk Songs and Tunes on Folkways, and it's one of the most beautiful songs I've ever heard. It's been especially good to me today & I've been whistling it all over the place for a while, so I thought I'd share it here.

Elizabeth Cotten

Negro Folk Songs and Tunes (1958)
Oh Babe It Ain't No Lie


Also, for posters: if a song file is larger than 5 MB then please consider converting it to a lower bit rate but not lower than 128kbps. Nothing here should be higher than 192kbps. If you break this rule, no big deal; I'll fix it up for you.

2005/03/23

Tin Huey

hey, I'm Sophia, recent Vslam recruit. Though my main blog's The Soundkeeper, you'll likely be catching occasional updates from me here as well. Anyway, on to ze music...


Tin Huey formed in the early '70s in Akron, Ohio -- a scene that also birthed bands like Devo and the Rubber City Rebels. They're really cute -- geekish lyrics, huge melodies, gleefully messy, and obviously enjoying themselves a lot when they play. The enthusiasm of Robert Chistgau and a locally-popular cover of "I'm a Believer" got the band signed to Warner Brothers, where they released Contents Dislodged During Shipment in 1979. Despite being a pretty fun slab of offbeat new-wave pop, the record sold disappointingly and the band was dropped from Warner Brothers, leading to its subsequent break-up. (Reunited in 1999, though, to record Disinformation.)

Since I revel in all of those interesting band-connections... Chris Butler went on to form the Waitresses, record a handful of solo albums, and write "The Devil's Glitch," which, according to the Guinness Book of Records, is the longest recorded pop song (and was nominated for a Grammy in 1997). Stuart Austin worked on-and-off with Todd Rundgren. Ralph Carney played with the B-52s, Oranj Symphonette, Big Noise, and the Swollen Monkeys, as well as recording several solo albums.


Tin Huey

Contents Dislodged During Shipment (1979)
The Revelations of Dr. Modesto
Hump Day

Centro-matic, Will Johnson, South San Gabriel, Varnaline, Slobberbone, Okkervil River, Peter Schmidt

will is the brains (& brawn) behind the legendary Centro-matic, the slightly less legendary (but no less great) South San Gabriel; an open band usually consisting of at least will & scott danbom (the heavenly fiddle/cello/keyboard player) with notables like anders parker (Varnaline), brent best (Slobberbone), howard draper (Okkervil River), and so forth sitting in, and a few solo albums. oh and he was the drummer for the pretty well unknown funland band, prior to all this, with local good guy peter schmidt (genius behind the Legendary Crystal Chandelier) and clark something or other from the Toadies.
following in a long tradition of super-prolific texas songwriters, will has released 15 albums since 1997's release of redo the stacks, plus half a dozen 7 inches and tapes and a few singles turning up here and there on compilations. even more amazing than his seemingly non stop songwriting is the fact that every song is great. some are so great that you swear you've heard it before. it was maybe the most difficult thing i did all day to narrow it down to these three tracks. (guess i wasn't really in a rock out sort of mood, these are all pretty down-tempo.)

Centro-matic

The Static vs. The Strings Vol. 1 (1999)
Say Something / 95 Frowns
one of my favorites from an album i always forget about (its actually a collection of home recordings and leftover songs, not an album)


Will Johnson

Murder of Tides (2002)
Re-Run Pills
listen closely and you can hear the cicadas in the background (god i love that)


South San Gabriel

The Carlton Chronicles: Not Until the Operation's Through (2005)
I Feel Too Young to Die
i just got this album, and this song struck me from the first listen


other tracks from:

Varnaline

Songs in a Nothern Key (2001)
Still Dream


Slobberbone

Everything You Thought Was Right Was Wrong Today (2000)
Trust Jesus


Okkervil River

Black Sheep Boy (2005)
Black Sheep Boy


Various Artists
[sorry no artwork available]
Observer: Scene, Heard Volume 3
Peter Schmidt - All The Umbrellas In London

2005/03/20

*

Hi! I'm back, and I've decided to invest in some hosting.

We now have 120GB bandwidth, which I assume is monthly. This means that I'll probably take songs down after 2 weeks and that unless we have a ridiculous surge in popularity, this should be sufficient.

We'll stick with Blogspot and I'll use domain forwarding unless someone's got a better idea. What would be nice, though, is if someone (maybe you, homosaur; I've heard good things) would be willing to help with a unique layout; this look is really getting to me.

Changes:
- new address will be: www.vslam.org
- to contact any of the members, try: administration@vslam.org
- hosting will be: in mp3 form, meaning none of this YSI bullshit
- posting format wil be: more strictly regulated; we (all the posters) should decide on the best method

I'm pretty happy about this; once we've got a more "professional" look and feel, things should get better around here in a multitude of ways. If you've got any suggestions at all, please comment now before everything's solidified.

2005/03/19

Bobby Bare

Ain't been a song up in a while. Zach's been gone, & we've been slacking. For shame.

Artist: Bobby Bare
Song: "The Son of Hickory Holler's Tramp"
Writer: Dallas Frazier

If Willie Nelson & Tom T. Hall wrote every country song ever, Bobby Bare sang them all.

Bare had a rough go of it as a kid. When his ma died, he ended up having to fend for himself a lot, & by the time he was fifteen, he was out on his own. Shortly thereafter, he had built his first guitar & began playing music. After a stint in the army, he ended up roommates with Willie Nelson & tried his hand at singing professionally. He became a hit in the country world, mixing in a bit of pop & folk into his act (in some ways like the Statler Brothers did, but without all the pretty harmonies).

This particular song is off his 1969 album Lincoln Park Inn, a fine piece of work of country music, to be sure. It was written by Dallas Frazier, another one of those country singers who wrote a mountain of amazing country songs that other people had hits with. However, Frazier eventually left the song-writing & country-singing business for to be a minister.

This particular song is one of those country songs about a hooker with a golden heart, one of my particular favorite themes. Always a little bit sappy right along side being a little bit biting--a dash of heartwarmin' along with their controversy. It's right up my alley. Hope ya like it!

Download it!

2005/03/13

Autechre

From the upcoming album, Untilted, this is the first great Autechre song in quite a while. I haven't listened to the new album extensively enough to state my opinion of it, nor would I judge an album that no one knows for certain is the final mix or not, but I can assure you it's already better than the busy yet dull Draft 7.30.

Autechre seems to have new gear and heading back into more of a minimal techno territory than their recent glitchy works. "LCC" is the first track off the record and a pretty good indicator of what the rest of it sounds like.

Autechre - "LCC"

Tom T. Hall

Artist: Tom T. Hall
Song: "I Hope It Rains at My Funeral"
Writer: Tom T. Hall

The daunting Mr. Charlie & I agree that this is damned fine song. Tom T. Hall has that sing/speak thing going for him, which he does oh so well, & he's a cynical old man, deep down. This song & "Ballad of Forty Dollars" are two of the finest works of country cynicism ever written.

I think Charlie wants this played at his funeral. I can't say as I blame him. Personally, I don't intend to die, but I can see how if I did, I'd want this played.

Fact of the day: Tom T. Hall & Willie Nelson wrote every country song ever written.

Yeah, so I've got nothing else to add.

Download it!

Boys, Paris, Polyphonic Size, Saicos, Plagal Grind, Alastair Galbraith, Candy

SONG 1
I don't think my Japanese roommate notices the blatantly racist undertones of this song, and that's probably a good thing, because I play this shit all the time. The Boys rock, hard; I'd count them among my favorite punk bands. They were essentially England's answer to the Undertones, who I like but who don't really have the same energy. This particular track's from the Punk Rock Rarities compilation of their unreleased / deleted songs. I'm not exactly sure when "Jap Junk" was recorded, but probably somewhere between '77 and '82.


Boys - Jap Junk


SONG 2
The next one: early 90's hiphop from the SF bay area, idiosyncratic and well produced. Dj Mad and Paris both have a thing for a steadily building, hectic rhythm and complement each other very well. The lyrics aren't really afrocentric as much as black panther-ish. Comparisons to Ice Cube, etc. I was originally going to post something from his 1992 The Devil Made Me Do It, but I got sidetracked. The liner notes for that album include short biographies of Huey Newton, Robert Seal, Malcolm X, Marcus Garvey, among others. Instead, here's the track that introduced me to Paris, the title track from 1994's Sleeping With The Enemy.


Paris - Sleeping With The Enemy


SONG 3
I really love the Polyphonic Size, the Belgian synthpop band. Their 1982 debut Live For Each Moment is wonderful but I'm not a huge fan of some of their subsequent releases, although they all have a few good tracks. This is from their 1988 The Overnight Day but I culled it from a decent best of collection called The Prime Story.


Polyphonic Size - Tell Me


SONG 4
This is one of the sweeter tracks by the punky garage band Los Saicos, taken from Wild Teen-Punk From Peru 1965, which I think is a collection of their 5 singles & 5 b tracks. I don't know much about these guys other than some Swell Maps / possible Los Shains connections, but this sure is a fun album.


Los Saicos - (Track 4)


SONGS 5 & 6
Alastair Galbraith is a prominent New Zealand experimental rock dude, coming around in the mid-80's to play with Plagal Grind and The Rip, the former being essentially a vehicle for his songwriting. The first track is from Plagal Grind's only release, a brilliant, grungey, dirty (but still oddly catchy) EP on Xpressway in 1989. The second's from one Alastair's solo efforts, the 1993 Morse LP on Siltbreeze.

Plagal Grind - Receivership

Alastair Galbraith - RDS


SONG 7
Finishing up with Candy's fucking excellent song Electric Nights that I was reminded of recently. Know next to nothing about these guys, either, except that they were from LA, played awesome power pop, and Gilby Clarke was in the band. Their Whatever Happened To Fun 1985 album is intensely great; I think there's a compilation out now, too.


Candy - Electric Nights


BYE
I'm heading out of town tomorrow until the next Friday so there probably won't be as many updates, but I'm sure these guys will satiate you. I'll be back then, & get excited cause I'll be posting from Laquan's Notes Of A Native Son.

And: Momus just wrote an interesting and creepily prophetic Livejournal entry about Michael Jackson; read it if you love the man half as much as I do.

Spacemen 3

It's a rocked up re-recording of "Walking with Jesus" from Perfect Prescription. It's on Taking Drugs to Make Music to Take Drugs To. I took too many drugs to say much else.

This is a good song.

Spacemen 3 - "Sound of Confusion"

2005/03/12

Terminals, Kak

SONG 1
If you've been following along and know a lot of the records I've been posting from, you've probably noticed that I've got a tendency to post the most radio-friendly track I can find on the album. And I'm okay with that. Well, this time I didn't, although I came close. The Terminals were a great late-80's early-90's "punk" band hailing from New Zealand - punk being in quotes because, as you'll be able to tell from the mp3, they were more of a dark rock band than anything. Supposedly their live shows were intense, although the live album I have of theirs doesn't really reflect that. The guitarist used to be in The Clean, and several other members came from Scorched Earth Policy and Victor Dimisich Band. Don't mind the melodrama; they definitely have fun-capacity and know how to rock out, but not like The Enemy or Snapper or anything. Plenty of tracks full of great guitar hooks and a solid beat, that sort of thing. Anyway, this is the title track from their 1990 LP Uncoffined. If you'd like to hear more, there's an excellent compilation called Cul-De-Sacthat I'd recommend but it definitely focuses on their lighter side. I couldn't find album art so pretend this is it.


Terminals - Uncoffined


SONG 2
I made a reference to Kak in the Pax entry below. They're one of my favorite psych bands ever, all for their one and only 1968 LP. Eventually Kak-Ola was released, a reissue with several bonus tracks. The song I'm posting isn't wonderfully representative as most of the album is harder - and proggier at times - without ever going overboard, even with names like "Trieulogy: Golgotha, Mirage, Rain." This one's relaxed, smoothed out and pretty, but still tight. It's also the longest thing I've ever posted here and probably ever will post here at 5:55.


Kak - Lemonaide Kid


NOT A SONG

Also: my girlfriend just told me about this, which is nuts but believably so.

Artimus Pyle

I'm suddenly in a mood to hear ugly things.

Artist: Artimus Pyle

Song: "Rape the Beast"

I know nothing about this band except that they're awesome live. Saw them last year sometime with the inestimable Scott at the Dixie. I don't even know who wrote the song, nor the names of the band members. They are, however, named after the wild man of Lynyrd Skynyrd, but I'll forgive them. They certainly looked like wild Southerners, with their big ass beards & long hair.

It's nice, ugly thrash metal. Something to complement all the sweet stuff I will likely be putting up.

Download it!

2005/03/10

Pax, Pierre Bensusan

SONG 1
ALBUM COVER

Oh, holy shit. This is my dream record, kind of. As good at what they do as Kak, without the bonus pretentiousness & a little more Sabbath/Dust-y. There's even fucking cowbell, and you have to admit you love cowbell.
Purportedly one of Peru's first hard rock bands, May God And Your Will Land Your Love Miles Away From Evil was recorded in 1970 by the same guy who brought us Los Shains. The last track is totally bizarre but doesn't come off as Lothar-y. I am not posting that track. Precise, stoned and solid guitar psych. ENJOY IT.


Pax - Pig Pen Boogie


SONG 2
This Pierre Bensusan, although wanky (but not as wanky as most virtuoso types) is a totally ridiculous Algerian guitarist. This is from his 2000 album Intuite, and it is very very pretty.


Pierre Bensusan - So Long Michael

The Statler Brothers

Just a heads up: I'm probably gonna end up putting up a lot of country on this thing.

Artist: The Statler Brothers
Song: "Do You Know You Are My Sunshine?"
Writer: Don & Harold Reid

This might well be my favorite song. It's sweet, pretty, & energetic. The only part I think is kinda off is the end, when they drag out "sunshine," but I can get past that. Also, the intro makes my ears tingle.

The song title/chorus is a pun, sorta. The original "You Are My Sunshine" was written by Louisiana governor Jimmie Davis, who also sang his resignation speech. If I should ever find a copy of that speech, I promise, I will post it here. Also, I wish I had "You Are My Sunshine" to offer you, but I can't seem to find a copy of that, either. Oh well, perhaps later.

The Statler Brothers, incidentally, are a recently retired group of country boys who won more awards for their music than just about any other in country music (that might be dated information, though). They've got that whole harmony thing going for them, & Harold Reid's deep, deep voice is one of the finest things known to man.

Anyway, Download it!

PS Let me know if that link fails. I think I might have messed up copying it.

Jacobites, Roosevelt Graves, MSHB, Washington Phillips

SONG 1
You probably know / know of the Swell Maps, 70's English "post-punk" experimental rockout stuff. I'm pretty indifferent toward them, but so many good things came out of the band that they're hard to ignore. The bassist, Jowe Head, put out some (dud) solo stuff and played with the Television Personalities, Epic Soundtracks (yes, that's a person) joined Crime & The City Solution, and Nikki Sudden - the lead vocalist and guitarist - went on to form the Jacobites & play with people like Rowland S Howard. The Jacobites made (give or take) ten albums between '84 and '98 and with the exception of the last one, the ones I've heard have been real good. This track comes from their sophomore release Robbespierre's Velvet Basement; if you're discouraged by the feeling of affectation in this track, I'd recommend their Ragged School album instead.


Jacobites - Son Of A French Nobleman


SONG 2
The Goodbye, Babylon box set is the most lovingly constructed, glorious collections I've seen, including Alan Lomax's and Harry Smith's compilations. Six discs of amazing Lord-related material from the early-mid 20th century. One of the few people I knew before getting the set was (Blind) Roosevelt Graves, so I was pretty pleased to find one of his best recordings on the first disc. Buy this box set; you won't regret it.


Roosevelt Graves & Brother - Woke Up This Morning (With My Mind On Jesus)


SONGS 3 & 4 & 5
"In order to clearly discern good intentions, there is a necessity to transmit an accurate knowledge."
Maher Shalal Hash Baz are one of my favorite bands. Their releases aren't at all consistent but they've covered enough wonder-ground for me to embrace them as a favorite; I've listened to their records more than anything else in the last year and they instill a feeling of peace, beauty and complacency that no other non-classical music gives me. MSHB is led by Tori Kudo, with a backing band including his wife Reiko. Reiko's had some fairly nice solo albums but I'm not sure about her presence in other bands. Tori Kudo, on the other hand, has been all over the fucking place since the late 70's. Examples: Guys 'n' Dolls, Sweet Inspirations, Taco, A-Musik, Che-Shizu, Noise, Cock C'Nell, and some appearances on Nagisa Ni Te albums. For more on Tori, read this interview, by far the most informative, detailed and interesting thing I've read about him. The first and second MSHB tracks are two of the most-accessible songs from their most-accessible release, Blues Du Jour, which is no exception to the scattered, short-songed setup of the rest of their albums. The third comes from the intensely long Return Visit To Rock Mass.


Maher Shalal Hash Baz - Good Morning & Peter Says


Maher Shalal Hash Baz - Please Mr. Glory


SONG 6
Relistening to the first couple discs of Goodbye, Babylon today reminded me of my favorite Washington Phillips track. He's definitely got a feeling about him that nobody else has; I'll let you decide for yourself. I pulled this from Preachin' The Gospel: Holy Blues, a collection of songs from 1927-53. I love this song.


Washington Phillips - Denomination Blues, Part I

2005/03/08

Danny Boy & The Serious Party Gods

This early 80's gem is both a slam and a homage to the San Francisco gay scene. Definitely a play on Frank and Moon Unit Zappa's "Valley Girl," which was very popular at the time. It's amazing how many of the bars given props in this song still exist. It's also amazing how many of the drugs mentioned in this song go by different names now-a-days.

This copy seems to cut off at the end, but originals of this single are almost impossible to find. I saw one on Ebay recently, but it sold for over $150!!! Enjoy it, because it is indeed: FABULOUS!!!

Danny Boy & The Serious Party Gods - Castro Boy

The Klezmer Conservatory Band

First, I would like to reiterate Zach's sentiment that if you're interested in anything I post that's gone by the wayside because of YouSendIt's policies, comment or email me & I'll see what I can do.

Artist: The Klezmer Conservatory Band
Song: "Rumania, Rumania"/"Remenye, Remenye"
Writer: Aaron Lebedoff/Lebedeff

As far as I can tell, Lebedoff (also found as "Lebedeff") wrote or performed a musical called "If I Only Could" way back in the day, which had one hit song, all in Yiddish, called "Bei Mir Bist Du Schoen," which Lebedoff didn't himself write. He's a Jewish composer & his stage antics influenced Danny Kaye, amongst others.

Klezmer, by the way, is Jewish folk music, basically. Most modern klezmer bands throw in a lot of other influences, fo course, especially jazz & pop & whatnot. Most of the songs are sung in Yiddish, if they have singing at all. It's very much dance music.

The Klezmer Conservatory Band is a group of musicians of various backgrounds who come together to make the klezmer that they love so much. Pretty standard stuff, for a band, yeah? It was started by Hankus Netsky, whose family had a long history of klezmer musicians. Most of the band's work seems to be old klezmer tunes (as opposed to new compositions), though I am not familiar with everything they've done.

This song was the first tune I ever heard by them, & thus, the first klezmer tune I ever fell in love with. It is an appropriate coincidence that I always used to think of that scene in The Inspector General where Danny Kaye is dancing around to some "Romanian folk song" when I heard this (that is, I wished I could dance like that to this song).

The song itself is very snappy, catchy, & kinda cheesy in some ways, but that's what I love about it.

Anyway, without further ado:

Download it!

Marie Queenie Lyons, Margie Alexander, Kevin Coyne, Slapp Happy, Trinity

SONGS 1 & 2
I recently got a compilation of 70's funked-out soul called I'm A Good Woman Vol 3. Problem is, it's so great that it was hard to narrow it down to two songs to share here; when you've got Betty Davis, Anna King, Marva Whitney and the Pips to compete with, you have to be especially awesome. But after careful deliberation I think my two favorites are Marie Queenie Lyons' "Your Key Don't Fit It Anymore" and Margie Alexander's "It Can't Last Forever. So uh, here they are, two funky-soul gems circa 1970. If you like the Marie Queenie Lyons track, she put out a wonderful album called Soul Fever you should look into.


Marie Queenie Lyons - Your Key Don't Fit It Anymore & Margie Alexander - It Can't Last Forever


SONG 3
Kevin Coyne is one of those rare people for me where, during my first time hearing them, I admit defeat and realize they're going to be dominating my ears for a while. Since then, I've bought more albums of his & regretted fewer of them than any other band. Kevin Coyne died in early December of '04, leaving behind more than thirty solo albums and several books and paintings, along with his work with the Dandelion band Siren, countless musicians in Germany (ex: Dagmar Krause) and later, sometimes more unlikely collaborations (ex: Jeffrey Lewis). He and his music both mean a lot to me. This track is hardly his best but it's one of my favorites from the last five years; Sugar Candy Taxi was released in 1999 and Coyne referred to it as his "most honest record in years." You'll notice that this track is totally acoustic so if it feels bare to you, don't lose hope. Even if you don't like it, I'd recommend buying his amazing '73 release, Marjory Razorblade or his Peel Sessions.


Kevin Coyne - I'm Into Your Game


SONG 4
Speaking of Dagmar Krause, this next track comes from her early 70's German band Slapp Happy. They were unique in their expertise of blending psychedelic and "avant-garde" leanings with melodic pop and offering a lot of variety on their albums. This song comes from their album Acnalbasac Noom (not Casablanca Moon), originally recorded in '73, which might as well be thought of as a collection thanks to all of the extra tracks. It was also backed by Faust again and produced by Uwe Nettlebeck. It's definitely heavily influenced by their poppier side, which probably had to do with Polydor telling them to sell better - but they wouldn't even release this album until 7 years later. They really are fantastic and I'd recommend any of their albums, including more collaborations with Faust and Henry Cow.


Slapp Happy - Charlie N Charlie


UPDATE: here's another Slapp Happy song from the same album that deserves just as much to be here: Slapp Happy - The Drum

SONG 5
One more: I got this one off of a compilation called, plainly, Joe Gibbs Productions. Joe Gibbs is a prolific reggae producer, churning out hit after hit from early rocksteady to later dancehall. He worked with countless people and bands, for example The Heptones, Nicky Thomas, Dennis Brown, Culture, and his own band The Professionals. He's often credited with the production of the "first" rocksteady song, "Hold Them" by Roy Shirley. Anyway, this track's from '77, Trinity's biggest hit with him dj-ing over a dub copped from Dennis Brown's "Money In My Pocket."


Trinity - Three Piece Suit


- - - - -


The version of "Outside My Door" by Can I had planned on sharing will have to wait, I guess.
You might notice I stopped bolding artist names because it's decidedly lame. I'm still doing that "SONG 1" thing, though - what's the deal with that?
That's all for today; hope you like it all.

Rodan, Upsilon Acrux, Hella

Song #1

Rodan isn't so much obscure as ignored. It's easy to namecheck general favorites Slint on your top 50 list, but Rodan was simply a better band. There's no doubt that you'll find similarities between the fellow Kentuckians' projects, but it would be hard not to be influenced by Slint to some degree in 1991 if you live in the same town. "Gauge" is probably my favorite track on their only proper release, Rusty, with much more interplay between the band's vocalists than all of the other tracks. It's too bad Rodan didn't hang together long enough to make more records, but Rusty is alright on it's own.

Please tell me if you ever see a proper copy of this around, because I sure couldn't find it the last time I was in Louisville.

Rodan - "Gauge"

Song #2

Upsilon Acrux's heavily video game influenced 2004 album Volucris Avis Dirae-Arum was one of my favorite releases last year. Without falling into nostaligia, Upsilon Acrux genuinely do sound like early 90's era video game music and not by electronic bleeping and blooping or retro sound chips. Their songs actually hearken back to that sort of Japanese composition technique of repeated and similar melodies that was popular due to the limitations of NES sound. It's no coincidence that the themes from Rygar and Castlevania stick in your head after all these years, because they are obviously very catchy and unique. Just listen to this and you'll understand what I'm talking about.

Upsilon Acrux - "Night of the Goblin"

Song #3
Hella are similar in some ways to Upsilon Acrux, but instead of playing tight and melodic, Hella play fast and loose, in sometimes a such a haphazard way that it keeps them from being pegged as gimmicky math-rock. Hella are actually more like a version of Lighning Bolt for dorks. It's not as noisy but probably twice as strange. Their 2004 effort The Devil Isn't Red is just a damn fun record to take a walk to.

Hella - "Top Twenty Notes"

2005/03/07

Awesome Animal Ambulance

I've had Awesome Animal Ambulance's mini-album for a while now and I still know next to nothing about it except that it's on Aurora Seven records. The whole thing's pretty fun & allitera-tastic but this track is just about the cutest thing I've ever heard.

Awesome Animal Ambulance - Count On Us

Stew, Paper Garden, Naked Raygun, Laxmikant Pyarelal

SONG 1:
Terribly rude to waiters,
Overtips like Sinatra,
Quite fond of Stiv Bators,
She drops acid and goes to the opera,
Her cat has a personal chef
Her dog wears a dead mink sweater
Her rabbit won't pose for Hef
She wears leather, whatever, the weather


Stew - Giselle

A few weeks ago I caught wind of the Negro Problem and bought their Welcome Black album from the local wimped-out record store / head shop combination. It's totally amazing, and I needed more, so I got Post-Minstrel Syndrome and Stew's The Naked Dutch Painter. Stew is the mastermind behind everything the Negro Problem does, give or take; he's one of those idiosyncratic West Coasters who flex their creative opinions lucidly in interviews and who think of music as a collaborative snapshot of all its elements: songwriting, instrumentals, lyrics, production. His ameliorative synthesist style works really well on all of the albums he made and there's certainly no shortage of his loving pop craftmanship.

Let me get something straight: I grew up listening to They Might Be Giants, from age 5 to 13. My only real musical exposure until I was 13 was them, extreme classical obviouses (Mozart, Beethoven, Wagner), and Smashmouth. Oh shit, right? Well, it was a perfect soundtrack to early childhood, and although I see TMBG as a contrived, whiney ironic joke now, I can still respect their songwriting ability. That's to say, if you look past the godawful vocals and Whoa Silly! sound effects, they could really write a good song. Stew's music does the same for me, but without all of the terrible aspects, and without coming across as maladroit or pretentious.

Anyway, try the track, it's great.

SONG 2
The Paper Garden - traces of the Small Faces, obviously big chunks of the Beatles, and something playful and different. The whole album has an odd feeling of detached dissonance which feels out of place in a such a warm, energetic psychedelic pop band, but works extremely well. It could also just be that my speakers suck. I'd recommend buying the album as most of it's great, but here's the first track from Paper Garden's 1969 self-titled album.

Paper Garden - Gypsy Wine

SONG 3
Naked Raygun are one of my favorite bands, & I haven't heard an album or bootleg of theirs that I haven't loved, which is pretty unusual for a band's live recordings. Anyway, this version of "Coldbringer" is a little more energetic and faster than the version on Jettison, and the crowd gives it even more life (especially toward the end). I'm not sure if the album I got this from (Free Shit) is a collection of earlier live material or if it was recorded and released in 2001. It's a total adrenaline rush and if it really is from '01, they've lost nothing since they quit in '92.

Naked Raygun - Coldbringer

SONG 4
This one comes from Laxmikant Pyarelal's 1966 bollywood album Pyar Kiye Ja. Can't give much of an introduction for this one since I'd have absolutely no idea what I'm talking about, but suffice it to say that it's a shitload of fun. If you'd like more information on Laxmikant, read this.

Laxmikant Pyarelal - Dil Hamne De Diya

Professor Longhair

Hi, I'm Billy. Zach has been kind enough to let me get in on this thing. Hope you like what I put up here.

Artist: Professor Longhair
Song: "Mardi Gras in New Orleans"/"Go to the Mardi Gras"
Writer: Roy Byrd (aka Professor Longhair)

There are quite a few versions of this song out there, for starters. The earliest recording of it was in 1949. Generally, I have no idea which version of the song I am listening to, beyond what the mp3 says (in other words, I can't tell which album the song is off of, or if it is from some rare 45 from the '40s, or if it was spun wholecloth from the Internet & has nothing to do with Fess at all), because all of my Professor Longhair is downloaded. Local record shops should keep better stock of Fess CDs, but alackaday, I have as yet not lucked into one.

That said, I think my favorite version of this song that I have heard is the one I have that is labelled "Mardi Gras in New Orleans (Looser Version)." It is about 3 minutes long, starts with that piano intro that made me love Fess in the first place, & then rolls into the whole whistling thing that makes my spine tingle. When Fess gets around to singin', well, it's the icing on the cake. His voice is that low moan of a voice that I only wish I could imitate properly, when I sing this as it pops into my head (usually at random points, or any time Mardi Gras or Zulu is brought up).

This song is sometimes hailed as Professor Longhair's signature song, though a few of his other tunes might well vie for that same position, & according to Wikipedia, it is still the theme for Mardi Gras in New Orleans today. It certainly gets played down here during Carnival a few times. However, I don't think it is possible I could get tired of this song.

This song is a fuckin' celebration. It's the sorta thing that makes ya wanna dance in the streets (say, during Mardi Gras). It makes you wanna shake & jump & tap & step & sing. It makes ya feel good, like the way ya do when you're out on the streets during the Gras, lemme tell ya (assuming you aren't a useless curmudgeon, that is).

Basically, any version you come across should inspire your ear drums. The delicious piano, the jumpin' whistling, the crazy moan of Fess's voice, the rhythm that is simply to die for. It's damned near the best thing since sliced pickles, make no mistake.

Download it!

2005/03/06

Homosexuals, X-Clan

INTRODUCTION & SONG 1:
So, to start things out on a relatively known & solid note, here's the "title track" of this thing, if you will, or just an amazing song, if you won't.

Homosexuals - Vociferous Slam

HELP ME:
If anybody knows a better storage method, paid or unpaid, please let me know at the absurdly-long justwhatdoyoumeanbyantichrist@yahoo.com. Yousendit.com has unlimited storage but automatically deletes files after 7 days, so I apologize if you ever miss the boat - always feel free to comment or email me if you're interested in a specific song.

INTRODUCTION #2:
Sorry in advance for any clumsy inelegance in here, and doubly sorry for the apologetic tone that comes with it. Bear in mind that my seventeen-year-old speculation is hardly the most informed around, so if there are any factual problems then please comment. In any case, this is about the music, right? Right!, right!

SONG 2

By the way: vaaaainglorious! This is protected, by the red, the black, and the green, at the crossroads, with the key, siss-yyy!

X-Clan - A.D.A.M.

X-Clan are the messengers of a black underclass organization called Blackwatch. Apparently their materialization was a result of the Yusef Hawkins murder in 1989. This track's from their 1992 sophomore album Xodus. There were slight lineup changes for this album & their sound is a little more evolved and the samples work much better (no flagrant Paid In Full copping in this one). It's also just as intensely afrocentric without seeming like a caricature. The backing comes from Grover Washington Jr's "Mister Magic," and although it clashes sometimes with Brother J's lyrical style, the end result is still fucking great. Don't believe me, wait until the last verse. If it seems a little excessive, well, that's because it is, but it's still good old honest, talented Brother J and Professor X going at it over well-produced beats.