Wednesday, 30 December 2009
Tuesday, 29 December 2009
Tinyfolk is a lo-fi pop band from Illinois that I discovered through a friend. They make simple, generally bare songs that are pleasing to listen to and fun to sing along with. My friend said she can play them for her niece while she is falling asleep, although they surely don’t act as background music to me.
While they have released five ‘official’ records, they have a slew of EPs to enjoy as well. Best of all, Tinyfolk have all of these records available on their Last.fm page for free, so you can stream/download them to your ipod and see for yourself.
(“Antelopes” from Jack’s Broth)
(“If I was a Person” from Sic Semper Equis)
Monday, 28 December 2009
The New Centrist has been covering the metal and hardcore side of the music spectrum around these parts lately, so I thought it was high time I posted some hardcore from a band that made a profound impact on me and the punk scene in the greater Bay Area in the late 90s/early 2000s. Sleepytime Trio came to fruition in the Virginian DC suburbs, and as far as I know, never toured the West Coast. While they weren’t the first band to play the variety of hardcore they would gain notoriety for, their records made an indispensable impact on a slew of bands on the West Coast. The Substandard Records label, which played a pretty influential role in the Bay Area during this time, released a number of great records that would borrow significantly from Sleepytime Trio’s sound.
The Trio reunited in 2007 for a short tour, and Lovitt Records continues to sell a compilation CD of their entire early catalog. You can also download some of the tracks off the record here.
("Jesus Extract" from Memory-Minus)
("Rock Candy" from Memory-Minus)
Sunday, 27 December 2009
Ai Aso is a singer and musician from Japan, who has released a half dozen records on the excellent Pedal Records label, and is best known stateside for appearing on Michio Kurihara's solo CD's. A good number of her songs feature effortless guitar lines mixed with her airy and emotive vocals. She gets a hand form members of The Stars and Boris, creating acid tinged folk with a pinch of psychedelic thrown in for good measure.
As far as I can tell all of her records have only been released in Japan, and since she has played a limited number of shows in the U.S., may be a bit hard to find in American record shops. Bibabidi has some of her mp3s to download.
(“ランド” from あいだ)
Thursday, 24 December 2009
Beyond Possession hailed from the Great White North (Calgary) and are one of the best hardcore thrash bands of all time. Punks seem to like their EP "Skater's Life" and metalheads prefer this LP. Whatever. They are both awesome. I have never seen a band play this fast and this good in my life. Not DRI, not the Accused, no one. They truly took that thrash shit to the next level.
The line-up on this album was Ron Hadley on vocals, Ken Wall on guitar, Jaime Kenney on bass and Phil Pobran on drums. There was a CD reissue of the album and some earlier material called "Repossessed, 1985-1989". It is out of print and incredibly difficult to find but you can read the liner notes here.
|1.||Never Nothing New||00:42|
|4.||Living to Tell You About It||02:08|
|5.||Last Will and Testament||01:37|
|6.||You're So Important||02:02|
|8.||Why? It's Youth||01:24|
|15.||I'll Never Rest in Peace||03:19|
Thursday, 17 December 2009
Cirith Ungol. For true nerds, the name conjures up images of elves and dwarves and all the mythical creatures of Middle Earth. But this is a metal band whose roots are in Ventura, CA. Some disliked the singers voice (too screechy) or the content of the lyrics (too corny) but for all true metalheads who lived in Ventura County and the central coast back in the early 1980s, they were mandatory listening.
I liked that Cirith was not similar to other Southern California rock bands like Van Halen or hairmetal groups like Ratt and Motley Crue. Instead, they had a distinct dark and gloomy sound, influenced more by NWOBHM and Black Sabbath than the local scene.
In addition to their music, another reason I was attracted to their albums was the artwork by fantasy artist Michael Whelan who designed the paperback covers for Michael Moorcock’s Elric of Melnibone series (DAW paperbacks). What can I say? I was into that sort of crap back then…
Their first album, “Frost and Fire,” is good, especially considering it was pressed in 1981 (!) I was listening to a lot more punk than metal by the time this one was released in 1984 but I think it is even better. Great music to listen to on a gray, rainy, winter day. So what if they sing about swords and sorcery, atom smashers, and black machines? You know you like it.
The lineup on this album is Jerry Fogle on guitar, Tim Baker on vocals, Michael "Flint" Vujea on bass, and Robert Garven on drums. Fire up a bowl and rock out.
- Atom Smasher
- Black Machine
- Master of the Pit
- King of the Dead
- Death of the Sun
- Finger of Scorn
- Toccata in D Minor
- Cirith Ungol
Hako Yamasaki didn’t have a lasting commercial career in Japan, but she did leave behind some of the best forlorn and depressing pop songs from the Japan’s 1970s music scene. Hako had one of those haunting, lingering voices that works its way into the musical arrangements of her songs.
I am a little surprised that the New-Weird America crowd has not picked up on her psychedelic tinged tunes the way they have other artists from the same period. I have no doubt that she had an influence on the Japanese scene that would develop decades later (I first learned of her existence from a record store clerk in Tokyo, who was kind enough to show me some unsung Japanese artists), and hopefully a rediscovering of her music will take place.
You can download her entire record from The Flying Teapot, a very nice music blog that generally covers Japan. Thankfully, the record was re-released on CD but like most imports, it fetches a rather high price. Good luck finding the original vinyl.
Shiroi Hana (from "Tsunawatari")
Himawari (from "Tsunawatari")
Wednesday, 16 December 2009
1. An ode to Jack Rose.
2. Another Rose piece, focusing on Six Organs of Admittance.
3. Alt-Country from Heather Waters.
4. Post-Rock from San Diego's Dreaming of Tanks.
5. Electronic jams from Down Review.
6. Sparklehorse and Fennesz do the "In the Fishtank" series.
7. Awesome metal from Tank.
8. Minimal music from Steve Reich.
9. Hanukkah tunes from the Sounds of Raj, Yehuda Ovadya Ftyad & the Ha'Yonah Ensemble, and John Zorn's Masada project.
Monday, 14 December 2009
Friday, 11 December 2009
In honor of the start Hanukkah, I am posting some tunes recorded by Yehuda Ovadya Ftyad & the Ha'Yonah Ensemble known as the “Jewish Sacred Songs from Iraq.” I posted a song to my political blog sometime last year, but the entire record is worth a extended listens, even outside of the holiday season. You can buy the disc from the Olam Qatan bookstore in Jerusalem. The first track I have posted down bellow is a killer jam, and requires your immediate attention. Here is the CD’s notes:
“A concert album recorded in January 2004 at Bar-Ilan University, Yonat Rehokim (literally "The Dove of Distances") is a high-concept composition that explores longing in the hearts of Iraqi Jewish poets through chanting and slow, ethnic groove-based jamming.
The rhythmic drone of 11 men slowly playing old-time Middle Eastern instruments provides structure to the skilled Mizrahi hazanut of Yehuda Ovadya Ftaya.
Especially noteworthy are the wind sounds of David Menahem, the low-end plucking of Naor Karmi, the hand percussion of Yair Harel and Assaf Zamir, and the overall hum of the string section.
Ben-Gurion University's Prof. Haviva Pedaya is credited with having overseen the "concept, research, and musical arrangements," but Pedaya is also the spiritual center and frontwoman for the ensemble. Her compilation of rabbinical poetry written in Muslim lands throughout the centuries is painstakingly sensitive to the original beauty of the language, to an extent that in concert, all lyrics are projected on a screen above the ensemble.
The authenticity and breathtaking beauty of this recording are undeniable, and the mesmerizing atmospheric soundscapes of The Ha'yonah Ensemble have tremendous power to transport the listener.”
The cover says:
“Sounds of Raj”
“Joy of Life”
“Classical authentic ethnic tunes”
Special thanks to the Contentious Centrist for translating the Hebrew on the cover. I had no idea what the name of this band was.
Sounds of Raj are Indian Jews in Israel who play some serious Judaic music with classical Indian vocalization and instruments like the tabla and harmonium. I had the chance to listen these guys jam at the Indian synagogue in Yeroham with about twenty friends and colleagues.
Yeroham is a “development town” in the Negev desert which is not nearly as sexy as Tel Aviv or devout as Jerusalem. It’s basically a place in the middle of nowhere in the minds of many Israelis. I really like the people I met there. Good folks.
Thursday, 10 December 2009
Tank are one of those New Wave of British Heavy Metal (NWOBHM) bands that did not receive as much attention in the U.S. as groups like Iron Maiden or Judas Priest. I'm not sure if that's because their albums were imports and cost a good deal more than domestic imprints or what.
I remember going to Rockpile Records in Goleta with my brother every few weeks to dig through their bins of imports to see what rarities we could find. We would also hit up the long haired dude who worked there (I think he was the owner) for his suggestions. I can't recall his name after all these years.
After discovering Tank, I played the shit out of this album pretty much every day when I was in seventh and eighth grade and it still rocks just as hard all these years later. Motorhead's guitarist, Fast Eddie Clark, produced the LP. So if you like Motorhead, you will like this.
The lineup on this album is Algy Ward on bass and vocals, Peter James Brabbs on guitar, and Mark Arthur Brabbs on drums. Ward also played bass on the Damned's "Machine Gun Etiquette" (1979). This is the classic configuration and the only one that matters to me. The 12" single with "Don't Walk Away" and "Hammer On" released in 1981 is excellent. Anything released after this album (1982) is not nearly as interesting or as good.
- "Shellshock" – 3:10
- "Struck by Lightning" – 3:10
- "Run Like Hell" – 3:40
- "Blood, Guts, and Beer" – 3:42
- "That What Dreams Are Made Of" – 5:32
- "Turn Your Head Around" – 3:25
- "Heavy Artillery" – 3:28
- "Who Needs Love Songs" – 3:06
- "Filth Hounds of Hades" – 3:56
- "(He Fell in Love with a) Stormtrooper" – 5:17
Tank: Run Like Hell
Tank: Turn Your Head Around
BONUS: Tank: Don't Walk Away (from 12" EP)
Wednesday, 9 December 2009
Tuesday, 8 December 2009
Here is one of many alt-country singer/songwriter types that doesn’t get the attention deserved. You know Country radio is in a bad state when a singer like Heather Waters is too “out there” to get any significant rotation.
Waters tried to make it in Nashville for a few years before coming out to Los Angeles to record her “Shadow of You” record in 2004, which picked her up some decent press in the independent music world. She released “Propeller” in 2008, and continues to hit the road, playing accessible country music even scensters can enjoy.
Turn (from “Shadow of You”)
Monday, 7 December 2009
Avant Ghetto has brought to my attention that Jack Rose has died of a heart attack. Jack started out in a drone band called Pelt back in the 90s, but had developed a sizable reputation for his ragtime-meets-psychedelic solo records. Three Lobed Recordings released a bulk of his recordings, like Rose’s excellent Black Dirt Sessions. Arthur magazine has some good videos of Rose live.
Here are two great tracks from Jack. The first is from the Black Dirt Sessions, the second from his Red Horse, White Mule record.
Dark was the night, Cold was the ground
If you have released some music, or know of some tunes that you think should get some more attention, feel free to email us a link to their location or post it in the comments section bellow a post.
Here is what we covered this week.
1. The new EP from the Sad Bastard Book Club.
2. The good 'Let it Be' by the Replacements.
3. Touch and Go's All the Saints.
4. Pop music from His and Her Vanities.
5. New Wave from Glasgow's The Blue Nile.
6. Classic splatter-rock from the Accused.
7. Dance-punk from the New Young Pony Club.
8. Skate-punk from Arizona's JFA.
Sunday, 6 December 2009
JFA (Jody Foster’s Army) are classic skate punk from Arizona, land of mammoth full pipes and endless ditches. This LP was mandatory listening for skate punks back in the day and still takes me back to 10th grade when the ramp scene was really happening in S.B.“The Day Walt Disney Died” is one of my favorite punk tunes. So grab your board and drop in, dude.
Download the album here.
Brian Brannon, vocals
Don Redondo, guitar
Michael Cornelius, bass
Mike "Bam Bam" Sversvold, drums
4. It's Not Right
5. The Day Walt Disney Died
6. Standin' On The Verge
7. I Love Broads
8. Ramp Song
[This pic was taken some time after the "Untitled" LP was released]
JFA: The Day Walt Disney Died
JFA: Ramp Song
Friday, 4 December 2009
[Front cover by S. Clay Wilson]
The Accüsed--Blaine Cook on vocals, Tommy Niemeyer on guitar, Alex "Maggot Brain" Sibbald on bass and Dana Collins on drums-- are seriously out there on some other shit. Described as thrash, crossover, slasher-punk, horror-core, and a variety of other terms by the uninitiated, they call their music "splatter-rock". Screeching vocals, chugging guitar, rumbling bass and pounding drums, what else do you want?. Don't fight it. Just sit back, listen and enjoy.
Better known for their mascot, Martha Splatterhead (think of a more brutal and female version of Iron Maiden's Eddie), the artwork on this album is by S. Clay Wilson who did the illustrations for the "Checkered Demon" comics (seen in lower-right corner of the front cover).
I had the opportunity to see these guys in 1989 (1990?) at the Hollywood Palladium with headliners Excel (from Venice, CA) and a local Santa Barbara speed-metal band called Kronix who opened up. It was an awesome show. I'm still searching for live footage. If you have any, please make a comment.
Download the whole album here.
|1.||Halo of Flies (The Deadly Blessing)||03:11|
|2.||W.C.A.L.T. (We Can All Live Together)||01:47|
|3.||Rape (Not a Love Song)||04:03|
|7.||Bethany Home (A Place to Die)||03:18|
|8.||Mechanized Death (I Love to Drive)||01:21|
|11.||Take No Prisoners (No One Left Alive)||03:11|
|14.||I'll Be Glad When You're Dead||01:49|
!!!TURN IT UP!!!
Accüsed: Halo of Flies (The Deadly Blessing)
Accüsed: W.C.A.L.T. (We Can All Live Together)
Accüsed: Bethany Home (A Place to Die)
Thursday, 3 December 2009
Initially recorded to demonstrate the capabilities of Linn Electronics high end equipment, Glasgow’s The Blue Nile’s “A Walk Across the Rooftops” become a bit of a critic's hit back in 1984, and showcases some of the best 80s New Wave. Unfortunately, the record didn't sell as well as many of its contemporaries. The band would go on to record a few more records, but nothing topped the quality and ingenuity of this piece. It would be copied over and over again throughout the decade by less capable bands, but it continues to stand out as one of the better New Wave recordings released.
Tinseltown in the Rain