Sunday, 30 August 2009

David Byrne 'Rei Momo' (1989)

This is sort of connected to the last post, because Ruichi Sakamoto and David Byrne not only collaborated on 1987's beautiful 'the Last Emperor' soundtrack, but both have well-earned reputations as purveyors of worldbeat. Worldbeat hit it's fashionable peak in the late 80's onwards, and a number of great albums came out of it. It's music aiming to be made from a truly multi-cultural perspective, fusing ethnic styles left, right and centre and pushing post-modern Western styles into the background. As such the challenge calls for a cosmopolitan (typically Manhattan-dwelling?), multi-instrumentalist type with international connections. Both Sakamoto and Byrne's (no doubt picking up where he left off with the African stylings of late Talking Heads) eclectic solo careers emphasise a collaborative creative process above all else - rarely will you find a song where they are not backed or assisted by other musicians, often outside their usual comfort zone. That's the ethos of 'worldbeat', and with this album Byrne set his sights on Latin America.

Long influenced by and a champion of Afro-Latin styles (Byrne's Luaka Bop label is responsible for turning English-speaking music fans on to Os Mutantes and Tom Zé, among others), on 'Rei Momo' Byrne seeks to (un)cover seemingly every Latin folk-fusion rhythm, backed by the real musicians of course, combining it with his own herky-jerky style and deceptively workaday voice. Surprisingly, neither suffers as a result and you end up with an inspired, celebratory and enriching pseudo-folk album, peppered with Byrne's amusingly observational and optimistic lyrics.
The carnaval vibe is by no means exclusive to Brazil but is disseminated through many interconnected Afro-Cuban/Afro-Hispanic dance rhythms, lovingly documented on 'Rei Momo' (Portugese for King Momo, the king of carnivals).
Again this is a 320 job, artwork on request. On the back cover of the CD each track is listed along with the regional rhythm represented, I'll replicate that here along with the country of origin!

Uno Dos
Many of these are prevalent across Latin America:

1. Independence Day (Cumbia - Colombia)
2. Make Believe Mambo (Orisa - presumably a reference to the Yoruba religion, the song is in mambo which is of course Cuban)
3. The Call of the Wild (Merengue - Dominican Republic, named derived from meringue!)
4. Dirty Old Town (Mapeyé - Puerto Rico)
5. The Rose Tatoo (Bomba/Mozambique - presumably a reference to this Puerto Rican dance music being an African import)
6. Loco De Amor (Salsa/Reggae - Cuban, Caribbean)
7. The Dream Police (Cha-cha-chá - Cuba)
8. Don't Want To Be A Part of Your World (Samba - Brazil, African roots)
9. Marching Through the Wilderness (Charanga - Cuba, fusion of European classical music and African rhythms)
10. Good and Evil (Rumba - slower Cuban percussive rhythms of African origin)
11. Lie to Me (Merengue - see above!)
12. Office Cowboy (Pagode - Brazilian samba derivative, it's complicated)
13. Women Vs. Men (Bolero - slower tempo Cuban version in 2/4, not the Spanish 3/4 form)
14. Carnival Eyes (Mapeyé - see above!)
15. I Know Sometimes A Man Is Wrong (nothing here, just a short outro with a harmonium and some samples of jungle noises)

Saturday, 29 August 2009

Radio: the Chill Room Does R. Stevie Moore

This Chill Room fella is really rather good, with a mic manner very becoming of the material here and a real ear for highlights of the repertoire, good news for us Moore children. This is a cracking podcast episode from a couplamonths back interspersed with what sounds like excloosivs.

Podcast summary from the page:
The Chill Room has been part of the L.A. underground radio scene for over ten years, beginning on the infamous KBLT-FM pirate station in 1997. The Chill Room is live collage, with your mind in mind.

Yellow Magic Orchestra - Technodelic (1981)

With noted electronic composer Ryuichi Sakamoto's first band, Yellow Magic Orchestra, you could always be sure that each album would bring something new and thought-provoking. From 1978-1983 YMO consistently broke new ground, beginning as the Eastern-mode equivalent of Kraftwerk (but more inspired by 8-bit videogame music and the classical training of their respective members), going on to pioneer electropop and finishing on a high note with 'Naughty Boys' - probably the only J-Pop album that is essential listening - which made them huge stars in China of all place (having already become more of a 'Japanese Beatles' than even the Spiders ever were).

Sakamoto (keyboards) went on to collaborate with just about
everybody and win Oscars, Haruomi Hosono (bass) and Yukihiro Takahashi (drums) maintained electro-god status in the Far East; in a way they were a pre-emptive super group. On top of that YMO were the first Japanese band to aspire to, and attain, worldwide acclaim and influence; the shared vocal duties were multi-lingual (Korean, Chinese, French, and English lyrics written in collaboration with Chris Mosdell) displaying a desire to break down perfunctory international barriers that have no place in music. They even got on Soul Train with their hit cover version of the anything-but-tight 'Tighten Up'! You'll find it's actually nigh-on impossible to listen to classic hip-hop or the various nascent dance musics of the 80's without hearing YMO samples...

This album, 'Technodelic', is their fourth, which as well as being a marked development from their first two bonafide classics (I don't have the third) is probably my personal favourite.
It's well known amongst DJs and dance pioneers as being one of the first albums to make extensive use of samplers, and I don't mean just a drum break or the odd bit of speech. On 'Technodelic' you can hear the beginnings of the ethno-funk, anything-from-anywhere-goes style that Sakamoto is famed for, but it's not the whole story. This one is darker in places, with a wider palette than anything YMO had previously attempted, but it retains that sense of playfulness that makes them SO much fun to listen to; and the whole thing's propped up on the prodigious playing skills of the trio.
I first encountered Yellow Magic Orchestra (a name one assumes is tongue-in-cheek) upon reading a magazine review of all the newly-remastered albums back in 2004. It timed in perfectly with a borderline-Japanophile phase and my discovery of the African polyrhythms of Talking Heads, and I ended up getting four Why 'Em Ohs on CD. This is ripped at 320kbps but I couldn't be bothered to scan the artwork, sorry. If anybody demands it I'd happily oblige however!

Thursday, 27 August 2009

Marilyn Roxie & Friends - Collaborative EP 02 'Water'

I think I already mentioned that this second instalment trumps the first free-P 'Earth' in several ways that are entirely accountable to my personal taste. Each track still reverberates with creative energy, and with the smorgasboard of sound flavours on offer (everything from classic synth sci-fi zaps to feedback and ethereal drone loops) you really wish it had some kind of visual accompaniment. Actually, I recommend switching on your media player visualizations while listening if you really want to be absorbed in the experience.
Now for my customary game of spot-the-genre. On this release the brief is much longer. The Nick Silva collaboration '00000003' in particular is a fluid Dalek-like synthesis of hip-hop and MBV noise drones, the 'Ice Water Girl' remix is a totally unexpected funky d'n'b track and 'Sleep Wheels' is almost a return to Roxie's videogame soundtracks of old but doused with Sonic Boom's influence on her music since, with haunted castle apeggios. An awful lot to get your teeth into for a 15, maybe 20 minute-long download.

Without traipsing over all the benefits of the medium again, and how tantalizing five tracks of highly-focused artistic collisions can be, I will say that the elements theme continues to be integral to the feel of these projects. Whereas tracks like 'Aum' from the previous offering recall ancient stone monoliths roused from a thousand-year slumber, 'Water EP' retains the timeless feeling but debunks to Atlantis. In fact it brings to mind that HP Lovecraft story (remember the title? Fat chance) about a lost and damaged German U-Boat in it's death throes, the last surviving crew member stumbles upon an ancient city in the forgotten recesses of the deep, with the battery that powers the submarine's torches running out... and some crazy shit goes down. At least I think it was a U-boat. Any takers on this?


Credits n' deets
Marilyn's m'espace

Sunday, 23 August 2009

Nicky Wire - I Killed the Zeitgeist (2006) + Bonus/Demos

Nicky Wire's solo album I Killed the Zeitgeist isn't an easy one to get into, whether you're a Manic Street Preachers fan or not. It's been variously described as "rough and unfinished, but... utterly alive", "a delicate mix of ragged art punk and romantic poetry", having a "certain eerie charm", and "bloody annoying". Adding to the befuddlement is his list of musical inspirations for the release, which includes Neu, Lou Reed's Metal Machine Music, and Einsturzende Neubauten (which you'd be hard-pressed to detect anywhere in the tracks), though the mentioned influences of John Cale, Modern Lovers, and Adam Green make more sense, given the spirited, ramshackle vibe throughout.

The haphazard flow of the album and the general consensus that the man's singing voice is "a characterless drone" seem to have caused many to leave this one in the dust, though I think they might be missing the point. It's no surprise that most of the positive sentiments I've heard about this one come from people who are interested in Nicky Wire as a personality and think that he's gorgeous or at least get the decidedly poetic angle of the material here. I Killed the Zeitgeist is a very much celebration of the music that he loves, as nearly all of the track descriptions reference one or more bands, which is occasionally over-the-top ("So Much For the Future = "Tom Waits singing with the Jesus and Mary Chain along to Beethoven's Piano Sonata number 23 in F minor", apparently) and other times weirdly fitting ("Kimono Rock" = "Bay City Rollers meets Libertines"), presented with an almost non-stop wryness of tone and themes. The most heartfelt tracks, "Goodbye Suicide", "You Will Always Be My Home", and definite highlight "Everything Fades" provide a nice contrast with the rest of the album, and are, strangely, where he excels in getting his message across vocally. You'd think that his continued status as a boisterous antagonist ("It's not that I'm trying too 'ard, it's just I'm naturally ****ing intelligent!") would lend itself better to half-ironic vocal stylings! And, well, maybe it his cute way. Ahem...

Overall, it's a strange album, though certainly with more enjoyable, fun moments, and unexpected sentimentality than most listeners have given it credit for.

I Killed the Zeitgeist+ Non-Album Bonus/Demos

Now for a peculiar live rendition of "Sehnsucht":

And a brief plug of my own Manicsy endeavors:
VISIONBLURRED: Manic Street Preachers + The Horrors Link Directory
AFIN Tear-Worthy Tribute Video to Richey / Nicky, the product of marathon-listening to all the band's albums in a weekend

Saturday, 22 August 2009

Wesley Willis Sampler

Daniel Crapston

To mark the sixth anniversary of this one-of-a-kind performer's death by heart failure (it was yesterday actually), I've uploaded not an album or one of Jello Biafra's excellent 'Greatest Hits' compilations but all of the free tracks from the Alternative Tentacles website. That's 24 tracks in total, a pretty good deal I think. Note that this comprises Wesley's extremely prolific solo output (he once recorded 4 albums in 36 days) and only one track by Wesley Willis Fiasco, the punk band he fronted.

Wesley Willis was a cult legend in the 90's, a hit in the early days of P2P filesharing, and certainly not your run-of-the-mill Chicago street musician. He was a clinically obese, diagnosed chronic schizophrenic and talented felt-tip landscape artist who liked to greet new friends with a headbutt (thus the ever-present third eye bruise on his forehead) and relay his totally unique, blunt and childlike worldview via simplistic three chord songs - each one as bewildering and hilarious as the last. The songs will crack even the iciest veneer, and as well as making you laugh give you plenty of food for thought when you look at his life - it was traumatic by all accounts as he suffered child abuse and abject poverty, only to later have to (literally) battle his inner demons. This was not a well man. But far from his music being some sort of exploitative arena for the Wesley Willis Freak Show (it sure as hell woulda been if he'd been picked up by a major), it seems like 'rock-a-roll' was Wesley's catharsis and therapy, his means of suppressing the voices in his head. He actually named these demons, and the accompanying psychotic episodes they induced he referred to as 'warhellrides'; apparently he normally experienced these riding on the Chicago bus lines - one of his favourite hobbies. Wesley mainly sung about things he enjoyed, and having opened for many bands in his time was particularly fond of writing songs about them: 'Foo Fighters', 'Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers', 'Swervedriver' being just a few.

'Rock over London, rock on Chicago'

Check out the Alt. Tentacles tribute page and enjoy the music. It will bring a smile to your face at the very least. Whilst Willis is obviously the star of the show with his out-of-tune voice and unique wisdom, his band/producer clearly knew how to tap in to the weirdness of the uncategorizable songs and the sprightly backing is prone to long instrumental passages and weird, Ween-esque pitch-adjusted harmonies.
Rock 'n' Roll McDonalds
Northwest Airlines

If you are taken with this stuff, the AT prices seem more than reasonable and the CDs come with an obscene amount of extras. One of the best parts of ordering from an indie or direct from the artist is the personal messages ('Keep on rockin' Jinsie!' etc) and the occasional freebie thrown in the parcel you didn't ask for. Then there's the fact that you're helping to stem the tide of mainstream cattle music; and who knows maybe less great bands would split prematurely and fewer promising labels would go under if people actually did things the old-fashioned way and bought stuff they liked. Mindless acquisition will only take you so far if you have half a brain. I personally can't wait to start buying up my most cherished digital music hoardings on CD.

Perhaps that's why most major labels have been turning a blind eye to mp3 blogs, it's free advertising... fortunately however there are still people who are opposed to lining the pockets of corporations who, for many decades, have overpriced awful, awful music and gone out of their way to screw the artists. But, hey, as long as fashion fascism exists and the apathetic populace continues to buy what they are told to, it'll go on. I'd sooner pay 9 quid for a Wesley Willis record than a single penny for a fucking chainstore Calvin Harris album on Sony BMG or Polydor or whatever... Especially as that penny would not be going to Harris.

Nomeansno - Wrong (1989)

Jazz-inspired, post-hardcore group (sometimes given a little subgenre of it's own called jazzcore) from that finest of musical cities Vancouver, with arguably their finest LP. Very much like a heavier Minutemen. Hell, Rob Wright is a dead ringer for Ed Boon at times.
For those who's lives aren't bogged down in musical genre designations, by post-hardcore I mean groups that came in the wake of the early 80's American hardcore (see: faster/louder) punk movement. These were typically alumni of the hardcore scene who took what they learned and diversified their music - fusing with other genres they admired or just broadening the remit of punk with unusual tempos, more chords and an indefinable maturation that necessitates the use of portentous phrases like 'post-whatever'. 'Post-hardcore' often overlaps with the old 'post-punk' category, but is more true to it's noisy punk roots, often with a heavy metal edge.

So what could anybody have possibly learned from hardcore punk? Plenty: how to set up independent labels and become your own media machine, how an increasingly homogenous scene dominated by narrow-minded wannabe radicals is as good as a bullet in the head for music and progress, how to make a purposeful racket, and even some musical chops.

Nomeansno might share something in common with the free jazz-like meanderings of Minutemen but at this point I think we could safely agree with wikipedia that 'Wrong' falls into the category of so-called math rock, that calculated chaos. It's music rooted in the geometric discipline of Wire and Devo and the like. Musical intricacy, polyrhythms and time changes galore - all delivered with the fire of punk and lacking the plodding track-lengths of progressive rock. The lyrics are always interesting too, not being preoccupied with the abstractions of many a contemporary experimental band.

If you have the money and this becomes a fixture, buy it! This is NOT a major label group; greed is killing thousands and holding back the psychic evolution of the human race, don't add to it

Thursday, 20 August 2009

The Saints - (I'm) Stranded (1977)

The album cover you viddy to the right belongs to arguably the greatest Australian record of all time - certainly the most influential on the Antipodean music scene, and definitely one of the finest first wave punk albums. Now, check out the unlikely purveyors of the scuzziest kinda garage punk photographed on the sleeve. You'll notice that not one of them is dolled up in leather or safety pins - that Richard Hell-inspired scene uniform of the time, popularized by the CBGB's bunch and the London movement...
This is because in 1975, when the Saints formed and started pressing their own singles, there was no D.I.Y./punk scene in Australia to speak of, and indeed when '(I'm) Stranded' was released in February 1977 the band were still on the very cusp of an international punk explosion. The song of the same name was the first Aussie punk single and would more readily be considered one of the progenitors of the genre, had it come out of either the US or UK.
The band (and most of the songs on this debut) not only predate more well-known seminal releases like 'Damned Damned Damned', 'The Clash' and 'Never Mind the Bollocks', they really give those records a run for their money, whilst recalling the best proto-punk stylings of the Stooges and MC5. It's proper, back-to-the-wall garage rock in the 'Raw Power' sense, not only in terms of the fuzzed-out, ear-splitting production but also the 50's rock'n'roll influence - they do lean, mean covers of 'Kissin' Cousins' and 'Lipstick On Your Collar' (I suspect they covered the Platters' version actually but there's no video for it anywhere).
So that's all very nice, but the cover versions (the other being 'River Deep Mountain High') are by no means the highlights of the album. In true early punk style the songs mainly deal with teenage travails related at a reckless and parent-bothering velocity, with a welcome sentimental streak occasionally rearing it's head. The Saints (for this album at least) were every bit the louder Oz contemporary of the Ramones, one of the only other bands on the planet in 1975 to be delivering fun songs with such no-bullshit, solvent-pumped gusto. A large part of the album's appeal is also that the Saints were well outside the punk zeitgeist that was developing, none of them were photogenic... it's almost like they happened by accident - proving the theory that had London been nuked in 1976 (we can only dream!), some other gaggles of bored kids somewhere would have put their Stooges records to good use and made a beautiful, inept noise.

^Great band, rubbish crowd ('twas ever thus)

The album did get some minor attention in Orstralia and the UK (oddly enough they were the first punk band to be signed to EMI's prog imprint Harvest), but it seems like one of those records where over the years word of it's influence and following has snowballed - you are now liable to see 'Stranded' mentioned in any mainstream punk 'all-time' list - but I still feel it is ludicrously underrated in our oh-so-jolly Northern hemisphere. This is a 320 rip of the CD remaster, and comes highly recommended (what doesn't?) - treasure it as if you were 16 and discovering punk for the first time.
After this the Saints did two good-to-average albums: the second was tinted with more of an R&B influence but still packed a punch and had a more political edge, the third was a full-blown hornfest called 'Prehistoric Sounds'. Of course the vitality of the first album was totally lost by this point and the Saints spent the 80's carving out a name for themselves as one of Australia's foremost soft rock outfits (joy).

Afterthought: doesn't the drummer (second from the right) look exactly like Brian Eno circa 1978-ish? With a teeny bit more hair? Answers on a postcard!

Tuesday, 18 August 2009

BBC Radiophonic Workshop - Music From the BBC Radiophonic Workshop (2003)

Having compared the subject of my previous post to electronic composer Delia Derbyshire on more than one occasion, I thought it would be good to follow through and let people know just who the hell I was talking about.

The late Ms. Derbyshire was first attached to the BBC's 'Radiophonic Workshop' in the early 60's, along with other drug-free young talent like Brian Hodgson and John Baker. The Workshop was a venture that, over four decades, became the BBC's very own in-house music and sound effects unit; producting for an extensive range of radio and television programming, as well as acting as an alternative to the expensive practive of music licensing.

From it's early days the Workshop was a hotbed for 'budget experimentation' that sought to make soundtracks and create a library of BBC sound effects, without having to hire orchestras and freelance composers. It was a coming together of maths/physics PhDs, BBC jobsworths and hundreds of miles of magnetic tape; the results were some of the most otherwordly and prescient electronic music of the twentieth century.

46 years on, the Workshop's biggest achievement in the public eye still remains the supremely weird proto-techno of the Doctor Who theme, and with good reason. It's hard to believe when you hear it, but this was made before the rise of polyphonic synthesizers (although oscillators are put to good use here); with Derbyshire actually taking Ron Grainer's original composition and realizing it in the manner that would become a signature of the Workshop - manipulating and splicing pieces of analogue tape by hand. The recordings being (literally) cutted & pasted were typically single tones made by instruments or, most commonly, 'found sounds' (bottles, bicycle wheels, anything goes). This approach must have been spurred on by the musique concrete avant-garde of the time... In the 60's at least, the Workshop very much reflects a playful spirit of the age, one that permeated everything from pop music to sound engineering.

The real genius of it though was in the twisted imagination of the music, and the skill these people must have had to build, layer upon layer, highly complex tracks: pulsating bass rhythms overlayed with effects, glitches and washes of sound rendered under such unique conditions as to actually seem extraterrestrial in origin... all with a mathematical precision necessitated by the clumsy, pre-sequencer technology. However the warmth of the analogue sound is more organic and personable; despite the arduous labour that went into making these tracks, generations of British electronica producers will testify that the Workshop was decades ahead of it's time, pre-dating the boom of cerebral, intricate electronica in the 1990's. Just listen to this unprecedented music and imagine - it was all handbuilt from scratch, not cobbled together through some unfathomably complicated monitor interface. At it's best, BBC Radiophonic Workshop was producing the most 'soulful' music you could derive from non-acoustic instruments (without the aid of samplers, which were a long way off).

This limited edition 10'' vinyl box set (compiled, appropriately enough, by Richard D. James' Rephlex label) covers the halcyon days of 1958-75; and by the 70's you can detect the advent of the Moog, also known as Delia's Bane. Not to fear though, because the bar is still set ridiculously high, and the likes of Paddy Kingsland would go on to do amazing work with the Hitchiker's Guide to the Galaxy (listenlistenlisten). Delia and John Baker both get their own discs, and the material runs from inspired bastardizations of radio (apparently a pig-headed British public drew the line at the Radio Sheffield theme); to forerunners for the soundtracks to hellish 80's science videos that some of you might remember from school (parodied perfectly here); to little TV-theme vignettes and beautiful, extended compositions not unlike Derbyshire/Hodgson's seminal electronic-psych masterpiece 'An Electric Storm'.
Mesmerizing, haunting and bloody weird... and it's all thanks to the British taxpayer!

Blue Veils + Golden Sands
Full track details
Comprehesive Delia-worship site

Monday, 17 August 2009

Marilyn Roxie '& Friends' - Collaborative EP 01 'Earth' (2009)

So as not to be accused of contributor bias (you'd have to comment to do that anyway, ha!), I'll do the preamble. I wouldn't have taken the trouble to become acquainted with the Roxbot if it wasn't for coming across her Uematsu-like synth compositions, quirky BBC Radiophonic Workshop mini-suites and sometimes ambient, sometimes jarring dronescapes plucked straight out of REM sleep... in that order. Actually I think it started after finding some rare Cornershop albums posted on her blog... but I digress. Aside from the instrumental music I've got a great deal of respect for anyone who exploits the potential of the internet as a free artistic platform, and I don't just mean self-promotion. Rather than reading me list Marilyn's myriad gifts to an ungrateful web-o-sphere, just follow the links below and see for yourself. It's just nice to know that floating on a sea of opportunists and disposable dross (a bit like this overdressed mp3 blog) there are actually some innovators.

The latest Marilyn Roxie project is a planned series of freely downloadable, themed EPs, each release being produced in collaboration with a different cross-section of bedroom musicians over the internet. The remit is as broad as the international palette, although 'Earth' remains vaguely rooted in Roxie's current ambient/shoegaze-inspired style. There's nothing negative (--=+?) I am dying to impart about it either, except that maybe I'm perched uncomfortably on the fence about the track 'Plain Little Game'...
But even had the EP's title been 'Beach Party Campfire Ballads in E Minor To Matt Your Dreads To', I'd still be overwhelmed by the ambition behind this project and would still put it to the reader: 'what have you got to lose?'. This is the genius of the (sadly dwindling) EP format - it's not disposable, but neither will it take a chunk out of your afternoon.

Some tracks are more idiosyncratic, exhibiting Roxie's characteristic semi-improvisation, others feel like they have been daubed, mangled or blended by a stranger. It's impossible to guess who is responsible for what most of the time, but that's part of the fun; and the making of this collaborative experiment will no doubt have inspired all the participants and opened up their creative process in some way or other. So everyone's a winner, and nobody had to die.
I've heard the follow-up instalment already, due next week, and I'll be posting a link to that because it's actually even better.

Full details
Meine Raum

Dead Kennedys - In God We Trust, Inc./Plastic Surgery Disasters (1981/82)

You lucky people!
We're on a mini-tangent of conscious punk rock here, and what history of sober reality-music would be complete without a look-in from San Fran peeploids the Dead Kennedys? (Explanation of the name: Biafra's idea was that the Kennedy assassinations marked 'the end of the American Dream' and a point where the mainstream populace tuned in and turned off, so to speak).
If you've never heard 'Fresh Fruit For Rotting Vegetables', the hallmark West Coast punk album, you had better be ready for fast, loud music that is a total subversion of the meatheaded, cultish nihilism that had come to characterize the stale punk scene of the early 80's. If it weren't for these guys and a few select believers really pushing the limits, slapping the kids out of an insular scene mentality, then punk would not have been the all-important social movement it was and the 80's underground wouldn't have happened. Period.

The band, fronted and personified by the brilliantly-named vibrato/activist Jello Biafra, also manage to introduce no small degree of musicality into the mix . The other Dead Kennedys were seasoned guitarists (both in their early 30's by 1980) with a fetish for surf music, rockabilly and Ennio Morricone; these influences do plenty to illuminate just what made the band's take on hardcore punk so unique and apealing. But they didn't stop them diving in head-first and play everything at 1000 miles an hour, of course.
Over the four LPs they banged out no social hypocrisy was safe from Jello's fearsome pen, no politician or evil-doer let off the hook. The result being that by album number three the music was starting to take a backseat to Biafra's soapboxing. They never made a truly poor album by anyone's standards though, always challenging what was then-acceptable in Reagan's America of suppression and under-the-counter dealings. It's the job of art and succeeding generations to challenge, in case you forgot. And for several years after that debut landed, it must've seemed like the Dead Kennedys would keep accelerating and mouthing off until they dashed themselves to pieces (or at least until the CIA did some tour van brake-tampering).

'In God We Trust, Inc.' is the mini-album breaker between 'Vegetables' and 'Plastic Surgery'. It's their most conventionally 'hardcore' album musically, and I included it because it's better than everything you cherish and includes some of their catchiest ditties.
The production on the sophomore album presented here, 'Plastic Surgery Disasters', is even louder than on the previous records, amped up right across the board, frequently fuzzing out and coming off like 'Raw Power' as written by Noam Chomsky. It's as good as, if not better than 'Vegetables'. The lyrics are razor sharp, often hilarious and encouraging, and much of the album resonates even more in today's society; although there are a couple of topical references that might warrant a wiki ('Kepone Factory'). Biafra's sense of humour as usual keeps things ticking and there's no air of preachiness about songs like 'Forest Fire' or the classic extended metaphor of 'Halloween' - he's just pointing out the bloody obvious, and it's both funny and infuriating. They call it satire, I believe?
Jello is still going strong as an activist and musician with the inspirational label he founded in 1979, Alternative Tentacles (love the 'batcasts' and free mp3s on that site); he briefly ran for leadership of the Green Party in 2000 and I intend to post at least one of his better spoken word-tour albums on SS at some point. Some of his collaborations down the years are surprisingly good, too, he's done an album and tour with Melvins and a handful of albums with Ministry as Lard.

If you're one of the uninitiated and are by some freak chance still reading, you'll doubtless be sucking your thumb and wondering why all the 'Plastic Surgery' songs sound the same, with indecipherable but articulate-sounding lyrics garbled over the top. To this I would counter: a) yer wrong; b) remember what it was like to listen to music? Didn't think so; c) if you are still having trouble go here & here and see if you can't clear some cobwebs. If you require incentive, just imagine you're being told to do this by the Wire/Pitchfork/NME/Guardian supp./Daily Mail (delete as applicable).

Ripped @ 320 avec R't.
1 2

Jello Biafra meets the mighty Nardwuar

Sunday, 16 August 2009

What do you MEAN you've never heard...

Rage Against the Machine??

Their 1992 self-titled debut is surely a musical rites of passage for teenagers everywhere - I've met surprisingly few people who didn't grow up with this album. Tom Morello and the band's relentless alt.metal riffage assault must work in tandem with the most explicitly anti-authority lyrics any 14-year-old was/is likely to come across. So RATM was the perfect hormonal release, and at that age not much thought went in to the Zack De La Rocha's words beyond 'shit, he's got some problems too...'. It's funny, because in school this was the only music anybody could universally agree on, it spoke to that barely-suppressed torrent of teenage angst. Kids had problems with bullies, parents, puberty, and this album always did the trick - people went mental when RATM came on.
So what can I say about this album in the 'sober light' of adulthood? Hmm. It's been a good few years. It gives me kicks of a different sort now, which manifest themselves in much the same way - hyperactivity and indignation. I've come full circle in terms of my worldview and, this being something of a manifesto of left-wing sloganeering clearly written to be screamed on the street, RATM ticks all the right boxes. One can't escape the knowledge that this debut album (at the very least) should have been de-licensed for free distribution amongst the populace once the group broke up, but it hasn't been. Hopefully this full-quality download (with artwork scans) will make a notch in some blowhard bank accounts... yeah, right!

So you've got the rage there, clearly. Rage against capitalism, exploitation, suppression, greed, religion, inequality and the general population's booze 'n' lard-fed apathy in the face of it all. It's a direct challenge to mainstream beliefs of the time (and now); very much a product of the disillusioned underground swell that bubbled under the surface of Reaganite Bullshit America. Bill Hicks spoke to that youth with comedy and reason, Rage with music and reason.
And musically? Sure, RATM almost single-handedly kicked off the vogue for rap-metal as a means of delivery, and this might understandably send retrospective shudders at that culmination of hip-hop's influence on metal: 'nu-metal'. But nu-metal this ain't. This is the best underground hardcore punk and metal of the 80's, condensed, fed through a Jimmy Page cookie cutter for catchy-ass riffs, and infused with the political activism of Public Enemy. Morello's guitar is more 'metal' on this, but shows early signs of the hip-hop/electronic sound it would later assume, and the occasional flourishes of slap bass are rather anachronous... but all is forgiven as it's heavy as fuck and never misses a step. RATM doesn't pretend to be the answer all wrapped up in a neat little package, but it's such a forceful and compelling wake-up call you'd need to be completely beyond the McPale to not sit up and listen.

If you missed out on jumping around a room and throwing chairs to 'Killing In the Name's final refrain (you'll see what I mean), then you should jump on board right now and see what you done missed. And don't pretend you're too highbrow for it, because we both see through that smokescreen. Testosterone booster strictly optional.

Origins of the artwork
Bonus wisdom

Saturday, 15 August 2009

the Dukes of Statosphear - Chips From the Chocolate Fireball Anthology (1985-87)

A snappy little two-album anthology of the ultimate psychedelic nostalgia here, as performed by Sir John Johns and his merry band of toytown travellers - better known as New Wave songwriting geniuses XTC.

The neo-psychedelia tag is a misnomer really, seeing as the Dukes of Stratosphear's output was that of a loving tribute to the anni mirabiles of 1967 and 1968; no doubt the fruits of swollen record collections and weed-fuelled in-joking. Partridge & co's moment of indulgence is in fact so complete that were it not for the slight giveaway of John Leckie at the boards, one could be fooled in to believing the Dukes were a great obscure band of the psychedelic era, and no doubt this was their intention.
Fans of that fertile period of ambitious songwriters will absolutely lap up this little experiment; it comes out as a seamless amalgam of all your favourite 60's drug music, at times sounding exactly like a lost Beatles album from between 'Sgt. Pepper's' and 'Magical Mystery Tour', at

others recalling the frenetic paranoia of the Pretty Things, or staples like Tomorrow and Art. The 1985 mini-album '25 O'Clock' is perfection and the '87 full-length 'Psonic Sunspot' literally has nothing wrong with it either - the only downside I can see is if you aren't all that fond of 60's psych, but then why the hell are you even breathing?
Andy Partridge demonstrates a great ability throughout to mimic the clichéd effects and studio trickery of the era, whilst utilising his characteristic songwriting ability to keep things awesome. He has plenty of fun with the lyrics of course, the late 60's being one of the most ripe-for-parody in the history of pop. Special mention must go to 'Bike Ride to the Moon', which is like a tongue-in-cheek version of 'My White Bicycle':
Why not bring a pot of tea / On a bike ride to the moon? /
Angel cake for you and me / On a bike ride to the moon
What's not to like?

Within this multi-coloured tea chest lie nestled some of the best songs XTC recorded in the studio-only part of their career, in my redundant opinion. In short, I be your witch doctor and 'Chips From the Chocolate Fireball' is what I prescribes.

Friday, 14 August 2009

John Coltrane - A Love Supreme (1965)

Whilst it's immensely difficult not to regurgitate a puddle of wiki accolades about 'A Love Soup-Ream' being 'generally regarded' as this and that; it's NOT immensely difficult to tell you that this is the best (well, one of the top three interchangeable) jazz, if-not-just-album albums of all time. This is what ALL jazz should have sounded like by 1965. Coltrane by this point had dropped hard-bop like a bad smell, a regime where the improvisation was restricted to the chord changes within a tune.
ALS is, according to a certain source, modal jazz. I am a layman but even I can tell this is so, with my lugholes. Modal jazz was like the next step to the misleadingly-named free jazz (aka musical masturbation) that Coltrane would spend the last few years of his life exploring. Since this form is often not completely 'free', let's just call it avant-garde jazz. Anyway, ALS only skirts this territory, and is a culmination of the new freedom that improvising within modes allowed. This requires great skill on the part of the soloists, since you have to know your scales and be really quite ingenious to come up with something as timeless as the Coltrane Quartet did here. Coltrane had been testing this methodology since at least 'Giant Steps' (a fringes be-bop classic that I'll upload), but on here you will notice a marked difference to those oldies. Recording this album, one of the greatest saxophonists of all time still had his audience foremost in mind, and that's why Coltrane spares us an outdated form of improvisation without disappearing completely up his own arse.

John is the bandleader of course, and in case you hadn't worked it out, plays tenor saxophone. The rest of the quartet for this beast of a session runs as follows:
Jimmy Garrison - double bass
Evlin Jones - drums
McCoy Tyner - piano

This is a no-frills 320kbps upload, remastered but minus the tiresome five discs of 'bonus' material ('ooh an alternate take! WOW').
If I can practically hum the entire four-part suite of this album from memory, then it's well within the realms of possiblity that other people will enjoy it.

Only known performance of 'A Love Supreme'. Hardly any footage survived, and it was apparently more dissonant that the LP rendition.

Thursday, 13 August 2009

Lives of Angels - Elevator to Eden (1986)

Though Lives of Angels are were associated more with minimal synth/coldwave (I did discover them when I was on my coldwave quest, after all), there are readily apparent psychedelic elements as well, which makes for an unusual, unique sound. Their only LP was 1986 release Elevator to Eden, which appears to be hopelessly out-of-print, and all current linkage is corrupt or dead...until now! (recommended if you like Joy Division / New Order, Siglo XX, the So Young But So Cold compilation, Blank Dogs, and so forth):

Elevator to Eden (obscurity level: super-high - just around 200 listeners on!)

They also appeared on 1988 compilation Colour Supplement (which you can grab at MUTANT SOUNDS) with three tracks that are absent from their one album, along with songs from Modern Art, Mystery Plane, and WeR7, and their MySpace Music page contains some more recent recordings.

Tuesday, 11 August 2009

Danielle Dax - Comatose Non-Reaction (1990) + "Tomorrow Never Knows" Single (1990)

When I was around 14, I started going through all my parents' albums I hadn't heard before, and Danielle Dax's Dark Adapted Eye (1988 compilation; it finally went back in print in late 2008!) was one that grabbed my attention most. Up to that point, I'd never heard anything quite like that album, with its strange mix of ethnic, often tribal, sounds, the spooky and vaguely psychedelic, and even country-western motifs, showcasing Dax's diverse and impressive vocal and instrumental abilities. Upon investigating whether there was more material, I found that not only was almost everything of hers out of print, but that she's remained incredibly obscure overall (currently with just around 5,000 listeners and, sadly, nothing streamable at, which is quite inexplicable, since she has at least the chops of Siouxsie Sioux, more than enough of Kate Bush's quirky madness, and a strong injection of mysticism. I managed to also track down a copy of Blast the Human Flower (1990) a few years ago at Amoeba Records in San Francisco, and scrounged around for her myriad of other releases on the interwebs Apart from the two out-of-print items I'm offering below, her other releases are available via this post at j's heaven [for Jesus Egg That Wept (1984), Blast the Human Flower, and Inky Bloaters (1987)], *here* for Dark Adapted Eye (particularly recommended!) *here* for the Timber Tongue EP (1995; the title track includes a sample from Faust's "Just a Second (Starts Like That)"!) and *here* for Pop-Eyes (1983; this was her first release, entirely self-made and produced).

Prior to her solo endeavors, she was half of the bizarre experimental group Lemon Kittens (see also 1980 EP Cake Beast, also two additional EPs are at mysteryposter), with other half Karl Blake going on to form the Shock Headed Peters and later returning to collaborate with Dax again. Her last solo output was the aforementioned Timber Tongue EP all the way back in 1995, though she collaborated with the equally odd Andrew Liles on his 2008 album Ouarda (The Subtle Art of Phyllorhodomancy) on a few tracks. Apart from being featured on several of Sire's Just Say Yes compilations and apparently permanent cult status, Dax has gotten far less respect than what she deserves for her innovative, and incredibly still-unique works of musical artistry- now's your chance to get in on the secret!

The appropriately-titled Comatose Non-Reaction: The Thwarted Pop Career of Danielle Dax collects some of her singles and notable songs, as well as some tracks unavailable on any other collection, and serves as a good introduction:
Comatose Non-Reaction - Disc 1
- Disc 2
Her cover of The Beatles' "Tomorrow Never Knows" is featured on her '90 album Blast the Human Flower, and the single includes both the single and album mixes, "King Crack", and two otherwise unavailable remixes:
Tomorrow Never Knows (Single)

The music video for the track is below:

Monday, 10 August 2009

the Move - Very Best of the Move (1967-72)

The Move. The Move, the Move, the Move. They were chart staples at one time, NME Poll Winners, and are clearly some sort of perfect cross-pollination of the Beatles, the Kinks and the Stones, yet how often do you hear them name-dropped these days? Not often. For shame, for shame, for shame. Not only do they contain elements of all those bands, throughout their existence moving from epic psychedelic pop to garage rock, but they were mixed better, with a more dyamic range than the tinniness/saturated warmth of the Four-Headed Monster. It certainly helps that this relatively recent and near-flawless compilation is all remastered.

60's eccentric auteur Roy Wood heads up proceedings. His former band the Idle Race (which also featured Jeff Lynne, who would join the Move in 1970 and with Wood later formed Electric Light Orchestra) are one of my faves, but like this band they start to lose my attention towards the end of their existence. This could be one of several things, it could be the move (HAHA) into mediocre hard rock territory, but it's more likely the departure of their first singer Carl Wayne, for whom I have a soft spot. And also the ouevre of Jeff Lynne irritates me slightly. Whatever.
This compilation, however, is basically wall-to-wall greatness, and the music doesn't have the 'slighty dated symphonic-poodle disco nightmare' factor of ELO, which for me is a distinct boon. Let's just say the Move were cooler. I mean just WATCH.

^Ever felt socially alienated by your acid vizhunz? The Move have.
And Carl thinks he's Elvis.

That is certainly their most covered song, but why aren't they more universally adored? Is it because they're from Birmingham? Huh?

Brummies do it better (ripped@AMAZING)

Art: Treat Yourself to the Best
Very special blog that covers all artistic aspects of life, with lots of amazing high-res images, films and tidbits, a great deal of which I imagine they upload themselves. Subscribe to it. Recently a big post on the art-as-science of Czech genius Nikola Tesla, my FAVORITT. Well, well, well worth your time.

Sunday, 9 August 2009

Mr. Bungle - s/t (1991)

This is the last of the impromptu Tomahawk background posts, although Señor Patton will be making more appearances in the future. The order I've done this in might seem to imply that Tomahawk are the culmination of all these lesser career highlights, but this is not the case... Consider the albums from this and the previous three posts equatable to four ancient historic landmarks, demolished for their composite materials. These are used to build a towering modern facility for the common good, one that affords views of the land around. However the ancient foundations remain the same, a testament to it's workmanship...
And somewhere in that garbled metaphor is Mike Patton's quite unfathomable debut record with his first band, Mr. Bungle!

However this wasn't the first major label album he'd appeared on. Having done several cassette-only releases with Bungle in the mid 80's, 1989 saw a 21-year-old Patton assume vocal duties on 'the Real Thing', alternative metal group Faith No More's eclectic third album and the one that launched them on the global circuit. Over this album Patton had no control in the production aside from lyrics, as he was brought on board after the songs were already written, dropping out of college to join.
While 'the Real Thing' was far from a conventional album, it was an MTV hit, and responsible for starting an unfair comparison between Patton and Red Hot Chili Peppers singer/frat-goon Anthony Kiedis with their then-similar vocal styles. A bitter rivalry ensued that eventually resulted in axed Mr.Bungle festival gigs (at the behest of the headliners), many a jibe and vindictive 'tribute gigs'.

'The Real Thing' was a hugely successful debut, but Patton merely used it as a springboard to get his first band a deal and to cut an album that fulfilled the previous decade's most bizarre and twisted, avant-garde metal ambitions... complete with horn section!

The objective for Mr. Bungle was and is (three albums in a decade and they've not announced a break-up) an ALL-in-one philosophy. Every style of music that any member of the band can play (i.e. everything) is given space in any one song; consequently I could spend the next twenty minutes reviewing a song, which simply won't do. Oh... maybe just one then =P

^Oh an egg comes out of a chicken
Oh a chicken comes out of an egg

Here's a good archetype for the album (see above), 'Egg' is the Bungle-ites anthem and it gives you an inkling of how volatile and unpredictable their songs are. It's like a contemporary progressive rock, except instead of boarding school boys droning on about classical/jazz influences, you just have punk rockers on drugs doing everything else!
On 'Egg' you have, in order: funk, polka, ska, space rock, some bad-acid doom metal, a quick freakout combining funk and death metal, then back to the ska figure, after that it kind of goes into meltdown. And that's just under three minutes in to what, on record, is a 10-minute song (my description makes more sense with the album version too =P).

By now you may be getting an idea of the sheer scope a reviewer of this album has to deal with, and at this point I strongly suggest you stop reading and just clarify the situation for yourself. Go on, the words will still be hear when you get back:
256kbps (comprend des oeuvres d'art) Ein, Zwei

I could go on playing 'spot the genre' here, which is tedious for you but good fun for me: free jazz, rapping, carnival music (giving the album it's sinister edge), Middle-Eastern modes, even an elegant strings-and-ballroom waltz to see us off when we finally claw our way out of the rabbit hole... You get the picture. And needless to say it's an awe-inspiring set of musicians indeed that could play all of this and make it look easy to boot.

So while at it's core the album is rooted in funk metal, perhaps evoking traumatic images of a certain rival band's early incarnation; 'Mr. Bungle' is still a groundbreaking concept and essentially the ultimate fusion album... Unless you count the follow-up 'Disco Volante', but we won't go there just yet.
Far from being 'a bit like RHCP', Mr. Bungle are quite possibly the little demonseed offspring of that expert manipulator of rock forms, Frank Zappa. And unlike RHCP, you get the feeling Bungle is a tongue-in-cheek project, they're prodding to see just how much they can get away with.

The record presented here is also the easiest entry point for newbies and the epicentre of Patton's two decades of experimentalism, a manifesto on magnetic tape.

Amendment: Bungle did in fact officially split, inamicably, in 2004; and their debut was produced by avant-jazz giant John Zorn.

Saturday, 8 August 2009

Cows - Cunning Stunts (1991)

For Tomahawk bassist Kevin Rutmanis' post I could throw up any number of latter-day Melvins albums but his first band are a far more interesting proposition, especially since most of their albums are out of print.

As one might conclude from the band name, Blue Note-parody record sleeve and spoonerism title, Cows were an offbeat and manically unhinged take on the innovations of the hardcore punk fallout and, like the last couple of posts, a somewhat legendary band of the American underground... Except you would be afraid to make eye contact if you met them.
Taking their cues more from Captain Beefheart and his demented avant-blues than heavy metal, you sort of know something abnormal is about to go down when 'Heave Ho' opens the album with sound of a baby being smacked, blurred guitars and infamously-erratic singer Shannon Selberg's bugle. The album continues in this vein and never lets up, one moment recalling cowpunk and early Meat Puppets, the next Thor Eisentrager is doing a great impression of Melt Banana's ingenious noise riffage well before they made a name for themselves.

The overall result is more melodic perhaps than the pure atonal punk of their earlier records, but this is an unmissable gem of noise rock made by men who almost certainly sprinkled skag on their cereals. If you like early Sub Pop and even early Nirvana, but with an eclectic twist, thou shalt dig.


Also known as the Jeebus Wizard - 'Cryer'.
The title is in fact a not-so-cunning attempt to throw off search engines, as this tremendous album is being kept off blogs quite effectively. I presume it has something to do with the fact that the Jesus Lizard have recently reformed for touring, and September will see the remasters of these albums released. Make no mistake, the reissues of 'Liar' and 'Goat' will be worth copping, but that shouldn't stop people from judging it for themselves.

'Liar' is essentially a refinement of the preceding album which is often cited as their magnum opus 'Goat', and to my ears it's actually a vast improvement. I was listening to a Flipper-infuenced post-hardcore band of recent times called Pissed Jeans, who have flashes of greatness but are missing something, and thought 'who are these guys stealing their ideas from?'. Flipper were around at a time during the inception of hardcore American punk in the early 80's when it was fashionable to play as fast as possible, garble lyrics about the LAPD and speed. Flipper played extremely slow and sung about isolation and downers. So that's the tempo covered, but as it turns out Pissed Jeans were ripping off a band of great infamy I had shamefully never investigated, called the Jesus Lizard.

JL were one of the many bands that Kurt Cobain launched by wearing their t-shirt and talking about them in interviews, and you can see why he admired them so: nothing is straightforward, the rhythms are all syncopated and the time signatures skewiff, songs are liable to flip on you at any moment, the guitar playing is the most awe-inspiringly abstract display you will hear from the post-hardcore school, and the furious rhythm section props the whole thing up on shaky stilts. People talk about Jones and Bonham of Led Zeppelin being the definitive bass/drums pairing, but they wouldn't be caught dead playing anything this angry and penetrating, which only serves to increase JL's appeals for me. That's not to say that the band isn't capable of reigning it in and delivering the goods without attacking their instruments, as on 'Zachariah' and the trudging 'Slave Ship' that puts you right in the hull of a galleon... for a few albums they were basically like the grunge archetype, free of arena-rock anthemic pretensions.

David Yow: a cross between latter-day Mark. E Smith and Iggy Pop?

Nobody really sounded like this before, and everyone's favourite noisenik producer of raw aggression Steve Albini is, predictably, pulling the strings. In lesser hands, soft-around-the-edges production could have ruined a Jesus Lizard record, but instead Albini is probably responsible for cementing their reputation as a lean sonic-sledgehammer assault. The guitar pierces space and vocalist Yow sounds like he's being buried alive in the mix. 'Liar' is more accessible than a pure noise-rock record, but more searing than straight middle-of-the-road grunge...

Despite this being an old CD issue, it's in 320kbps and is the best quality you'll find online.
And that covers Duane Denison's part of the Tomahawk posts!

Friday, 7 August 2009

Tomahawk - s/t (2001)

As I have been stuck on taut, hot n' heavy post-hardcore and so-called 'alternative' metal of the experimental variety, I intend to celebrate this in the next few posts. The supergroup Tomahawk starts this little thread with their self-titled debut album. The following posts will be the defining albums of the various members' careers, something like a jigsaw puzzle of excellence, but first you're getting a bird's eye view of the overall picture.

This 'supergroup' of mavericks who originally came to fame in the late 80's is:
Mike Patton on vox, synths and devices: ex-Faith No More/Mr. Bungle and one-man sonic army in his own right, this is his baby and was released on his Ipecac Recordings label;
Duane Denison, groundbreaking guitarist from the Jesus Lizard, creates a musical backing of tension/release, weird spaces and time signatures that I've never heard matched;
John Stanier: ex-Helmet, unorthodox and jaw-dropping drummer for one of the most influential bands of the 90's;
and finally bassist Kevin Rutmanis of devastating sludge metal pioneers the Melvins. Sludge metal is the down-tuned dirge of doom metal combined with hardcore punk, incidentally. =)

Combined, it's quite a tour-de-force. Like all of the members' former projects, this music is not just about simply making a racket, but breaking new ground in an area of music that has a history of pushing the boundaries - this is something that perhaps needs to be explained to those uninducted into the wonderful world of metal.

Mike Patton is widely respected and renowned for a prolific output and his seemingly endless stream of collaborations, but what will really astound the first-time listener is his vocal diversity. 'The man of a thousand voices', he utilises a good few hundred of them on this album, from guttural death metal grunts and eerie falsetto to inhaled shrieks and banshee howls... And that's just the parts he sings. There's also the numerous overdubbed noises, treated vocal nuances and chants that are so standard for a Patton record you forget just how unusual they actually are... In short Patton sets the standard for Tomahawk, their sound is incredibly eclectic and unique, displaying many a non-metal influence, and showing a disregard for conformity that is all part 'n' parcel of the true experimental/'alternative metal' tag.
Just compare it to the popular Billboard 100 'nu-metal' of the time, which was essentially a castrated and codified regime of hip-hop-over-metal... How did those guys look at themselves in the mirror every morning knowing there were albums like this out there?

^ Auteur in the theatre of noise

The 'metal' tag is perhaps misleading, as Tomahawk really straddles the divide between metal subgenres and alternative rock. There are no quiet/loud dynamic clichés but it's certainly all over the place, and is definitely the most well-rounded and memorable of the three excellent Tomahawk albums to date. While the album is more focused that the progressive genreric fruit-machine of Patton's first band Mr. Bungle, it's still impossible to pigeonhole from song to song, and that's one of it's great pleasures. For me, as a big fan of Denison's style of guitar playing, this album is a wet dream, coming off sounding a bit like one of the classic Jesus Lizard albums being properly duffed-over by one of my fave vocalists and given 'the Patton treatment'.

There is a common thread, apart from the reliable ability of the band members to confound and surprise, in that Tomahawk is a loose concept album about a serial killer. The only songs that explicitly state this though are the first two tracks: 'Flashback' concerns the protagonist undergoing memory retrieval and '101 North' is about a highway abduction. The other tracks seem to be mostly related to traumatic, regressed memories of the killer's past and his acts of murder. I'll leave it up to you to work out!

It's at variable bitrate and sounds just hunky-dory:
They made you wear a dress did they?

Radio: the Cellar Tapes

Ladies and gentlemen, here is the ultimate radio bonanaza for the discerning 60's connoisseur; no matter how much you think you know you will learn something here.
Psychedelia, garage bands, girl groups, beat, mod R&B, folk and blues - the whole bit.

The show is broadcast from Stockport, Cheshire (that's north west UK) and presented by the Mancunian Candidate aka Ben, in a highly endearing Mancunian brogue. He calls his listeners cellar dwellers and it's presented in a great no-frills, old skool British radio stylee. Just passion for music and light-hearted musical entertainment... I suspect Ben is spiritually not of this decade.

I was tuned out for a while but I returned to the show to discover Ben's aptitude for securing the most amazing and unlikely interviewees, including Gary Burger of the Monks.
I'm posting this here because tomorrow he is interviewing Peter Daltrey from one of my favourite 60's groups - KALEIDOSCOPE. Need I say more?

The Cellar Tapes

1pm - Los Angeles
4pm - New York
9pm - UK
10pm - Berlin

TUESDAYS (repeat)

12pm - Los Angeles
3pm - New York
8pm - UK
9pm - Berlin

Live Stream here:

Reception's a bit dodgy but, hey, live with it!