Welcome to my blog!
UPDATE: Mediafire have suspended my account and locked my downloads. Having endured the tedium of re-uploading everything I had previously hosted on Mega Upload onto Mediafire earlier this year, I can't be arsed re-uploading everything again.
So please don't ask for things to be reuploaded!
I undertake this venture knowing that I don't have the spare time to do it, but feel that these artists NEED TO BE HEARD (please excuse my shouting!). Or is that I think I need to be heard? Or that there are (or have been) some great music blogs that have inspired me to wanna jump on the bandwagon? Probably all of the above??I hope you enjoy the blog. If I turn one person onto these bands that turned me on then it will all have been worth it!
Saturday, December 24, 2011
Until then, hope all you readers have a great Christmas and new year. And I'll leave you with some Roy - make that ROY!!!
Sunday, December 18, 2011
Jeff Tweedy is a genius!
I mention that upfront so it's obvious this post will not be unbiased and objective!
This post features the second album from Tweedy's Wilco side project, Loose Fur, featuring Tweedy, Wilco drummer Glenn Kotche, and Wilco producer/collaborator and former Sonic Youth bassist Jim O'Rourke.
Loose Fur were formed when Tweedy was invited to perform with a collaborator of his choice for the Noise Pop Festival in 2000. Tweedy chose to collaborate with O'Rourke, who then brought in Kotche. The band recorded their self titled debut album soon after the Noise Pop Festival, although the album was not released until 2003.
Wilco then convened to record their fourth album, the colossal Yankee Hotel Foxtrot. The sessions proved frustrating (as captured on the documentary I Am Trying to Break Your Heart: A Film About Wilco), and left Tweedy yearning for the improvisational experience he had become accustomed to with Loose Fur. Kotche was subsequently brought into Wilco (and remains with the band to this day), while O'Rourke was brought into salvage the recording.
Although sonically distinct from the Loose Fur album, the completed Yankee Hotel Foxtrot definitely has Loose Fur footprints all over it. As did it's follow-up, the equally excellent O'Rourke collaboration A Ghost Is Born.
Born Again in the USA was conceived an recorded a few years after A Ghost Is Born. It is arguably closer to Wilco than their debut album, although the tracks where O'Rourke handles vocals, such as Answers to Your Questions and the awesomely titled Stupid as the Sun provide some diversity. But when you start to think it sounds a bit too close to Wilco, something happens to shake things up - take my personal fave Wreckroom - pleasant Wilco-esque country-pop until the halfway point, where a maelstrom of noise emerges to shake off your security blanket. Great stuff!
Loose Fur - 2006 - Born Again in the USA
FLAC Pt1, Pt2, Pt3
Friday, November 25, 2011
As Shoulda Been Huge stumbles towards the end of it's first (and possibly last) orbit around the sun, it's time to play an ace that I've kept up my sleeve - an album featuring probably my favorite Australian song ever....
So you'd think this would be an easy post for me to write - and you'd be wrong. I've written this post three times - and each version sucked! I'd call it writers block if I actually had any talent for writing....maybe I should just let the music do the talking? Or in the words of the prophet Jam Bun Hovis (err, I mean Jon Bon Jovi), don't bore us, get to the chorus!
Born Sandy Devotional was the album where it all came together for The Triffids. Vocalist/guitarist David McComb was at his songwriting peak. The playing and production is superb.
Wide Open Road is god-like. It somehow manages to be simultaneously sombre and infectious, introspective and expansive, evocative and funky. The moment where guitarist Robert McComb repeats his brothers guitar motif (at around 3:35 in the above video) is one of my five favorite moments in music. Spine tingling!
And the rest of the album is no less effective. The Seabirds and Estuary Bed have an almost calypso feel. Lonely Stretch features intense goth like vocals and lyrics rich in biblical imagery. Stolen Property is slow and evocative. Chicken Killer is infectious and child like. And the two tracks sung by Jill Birt deserve special mention. Tarrilup Bridge is almost nursery rhyme-like, while Tender Is the Night is evocative and beautiful, with Birt's quaint and cute vocals bringing Mo Tucker to mind.
The 2006 re-release also features bonus tracks, featuring a number of tracks as good as those featured on the album LP. In fact, Convent Walls and Wish to See No More were listed on the original album but were bumped due to the time limitations inherent with poly-vinyl chloride (aka records - remember those, kids?).
The Triffids - 1986 Born Sandy Devotional
1. The Seabirds
3. Chicken Killer
5. Lonely Stretch
7. Life of Crime
8. Personal Things
9. Stolen Property
10. Tender Is the Night (The Long Fidelity)
FLAC Pt1, FLAC Pt2, FLAC Pt3
1. The 107
2. When A Man Turns Bad
3. Of the Plaza
4. White Shawl
5. Convent Walls
6. Time of Weakness
7. Born Sandy Devotional
8. Wish to See No More
9. Tender Is the Night (The Long Fidelity) Alt. version
Saturday, November 19, 2011
From the ridiculous of my previous post to the sublime......
I'm not sure how many Bowie biographies have been written, but I've made it a goal to read as many of them as possible. I've also recently read Tony Visconti's excellent autobiography, which provides a fascinating insight into the recording of Young Americans, the "Berlin trilogy", and some of Bowie's more recent albums.
I'm currently reading the most recent Bowie biography, Starman, by Paul Trynka. While this book provides insights that had previously alluded me (e.g. the similarity between "Life on Mars" and "My Way", and "Starman" and "Somewhere over the rainbow"), it sometimes barely acknowledges some of the key events in Bowie's life and career (e.g. the exorcism!). Having written a book myself*, I understand the complexities in deciding what material to use. Having said that, I love the everything and the kitchen sink approach used by Jimmy McDonough in his Neil Young opus, Shakey. But in Starman, it feels like the author has sacrificed some commonly known material that may have provided a more fully rounded discussion for the sake of including new and revelatory material that is interesting but sometimes not entirely relevant. In summary, a good book for the Bowie completist, but arguably not as good for the casual reader.
But the author makes one excellent proposition of which I am in full agreement - the lack of acclaim given to Bowie's contribution to Iggy Pop's The Idiot when assessing Bowie's songwriting accomplishments.
Iggy accompanied Bowie throughout the latters European Station to Station tour, and afterwards the two decamped to Château d'Hérouville in France to record Iggy's first solo album. The album was made with the understanding that Bowie would have the first right to use any material developed for his own purposes. Perhaps unexpectedly, Bowie claimed ownership of the more avant garde material, leaving Iggy with the more "commercial" material - although the album could hardly be considered commercial! Bowie was emerging from the cocaine induced psychosis of his Los Angeles years, while Iggy was at a low ebb following a debilitating heroin addiction that ultimately led to the demise of The Stooges. This scenario manifested itself into twisted, gnarly off the wall music, desperate lyrics, and vocals reflective of someone at the end of their tether. Is it any wonder that The Idiot was a major influence on Joy Division, and was reputedly the last album played by Ian Curtis before he left us all for a better place?
The best known song on The Idiot is China Girl, a monster hit for Bowie some six years later when re-recorded for his Let's Dance album. I know it is de rigueur among music snobs to heap praise on the original version and diss Bowie's version, but in my book they are both superb. Iggy's version is more musically expansive, but Bowie's version is as close to pop perfection as it is possible to get.
Opening track Sister Midnight was also re-recorded by Bowie as Red Money, the final track from the final album of the Berlin trilogy, Lodger. But in this instance I have to give the gong to Iggy's version for having better lyrics, and for being spookier and more atmospheric. In contrast, Nightclubbing is almost jaunty, but no less excellent.
Funtime is probably best known for being recorded by R.E.M. as the b-side for Get Up in 1989. But the R.E.M. is extremely lame in comparison to the malevolent, prowling electronic beast featured here.
But my favourite tracks are the slow and snarling Dum Dum Boys and Mass Production. Superb.
As superb as Raw Power and Funhouse are, this is Iggy's finest hour in my book - and one of Bowie's as well.
Iggy Pop - 1977 - The Idiot
1. Sister Midnight
5. China Girl
6. Dum Dum Boys
7. Tiny Girls
8. Mass Production
FLAC Pt1, FLAC Pt2, FLAC Pt3
* actually, I wrote a scientific thesis, which had a massive print run of.....TEN! But let's not let accuracy get in the way of a good story!
Friday, November 18, 2011
I didn't know whether to laugh or cry when I read this - but I chose to laugh - to help alleviate the stresses of the last few weeks. And I thought I'd take the laugher a step further by taking the piss out of the moron who wrote it.
BOYCOTT AMERICAN WOMEN
Why American men should boycott American women
Boycott American Women
I am an American man, and I have decided to boycott American women. In a nutshell, American women are the most likely to cheat on you, to divorce you, to get fat, to steal half of your money in the divorce courts, don't know how to cook or clean, don't want to have children, etc. Therefore, what intelligent man would want to get involved with American women?
American women are generally immature, selfish, extremely arrogant and self-centered, mentally unstable, irresponsible, and highly unchaste. The behavior of most American women is utterly disgusting, to say the least.
This blog is my attempt to explain why I feel American women are inferior to foreign women (non-American women), and why American men should boycott American women, and date/marry only foreign (non-American) women.
Tens of millions of American men have had their lives completely destroyed by American women through the following crimes:
1. False rape accusations (it has been proven that up to 80 percent of rape accusations are FALSE)
2. False DV charges (same as above)
3. Financial RAPE of men in divorce courts
4. Emotional destruction of men by ex-wives who have stolen their children from them and forbidden contact
5. Divorced dads who commit suicide as a result
Not one single American woman has EVER condemned their fellow American women for committing these crimes against men. Silence means consent. Therefore, American women support and enjoy destroying men's lives and causing men to commit suicide. Therefore, is it any surprise that a huge percent of American men no longer want anything to do with American women, other than using them for easy sex and then throwing them away?
Over 50 percent of American women are single, without a boyfriend or husband; so the fact is most American men no longer want to marry American women. Let these worthless American women grow old living alone with their 10 cats.
BOYCOTT AMERICAN WOMEN!
BRAND NEW: Buy the Boycott American Women book. After reading this book, I promise you that you will never even think about dating an American woman ever again, or else I will give you your money back. That’s right, if you are not convinced by my book, I will give you a full refund!
Buy the Boycott American Women eBook now for just $4.99:
Boycott American Women eBook
November 17, 2011 7:58 PM
- American women are the most likely to cheat on you..... by having affairs with American men! But only the women are at fault, apparently.
- .....to get fat......apparently there are no fat American men!
- ......to steal half of your money in the divorce courts.....because every American woman yearns to be a divorcee - after all, that's why they marry morons like you in the first place.
- ......don't know how to cook or clean.....Oh please, if you wanted a maid why didn't you stay home with mommy?
- ......don't want to have children.....thus improving the gene pool by preventing morons like you from procreating!
- .... American women are inferior to foreign women....because they are not doormats? Or is that you can keep foreign women in line by threatening to have them deported if they don't obey you?
- False rape accusations....because the few women who actually press rape charges do it just to have their characters assassinated and lives ruined by the US "justice" system.
Ah stuff it, I could go on, but it feels like shooting fish in a barrel. And surely there's more important things to do? But hell, what's the point of having a blog if you can't blow of steam occasionally.....and if the guy wants to use my blog to sell his dodgy political ideology he has it coming, hey?
As an aside, is there some irony in the fact that the Google blog editor doesn't recognise the word "blog"?
Sunday, November 6, 2011
Sorry readers, been a bit busy lately. As John Lennon once said, life is what happens to you when you're busy making other plans!
So a quick post featuring some recent radio sessions from the criminally under-rated Stephen Malkmus and The Jicks! The BBC session is a solo acoustic session and interview - it's interesting to hear tracks from the excellent new Mirror Traffic album played in this manner - although the file format is a bit weird! The KCRW and KEXP sessions are full band sessions with interviews.
This also gives me the opportunity to rave about the fantastic music resources that are the KCRW Morning Becomes Eclectic and KEXP web sites. The former also provide footage of most bands in-studio performances, as featured in this post.
If you haven't been to either site, follow the links above and correct this oversight. Mind you, you may spend the next 24 hours perusing their charms. Don't say I didn't warn you!
Stephen Malkmus (solo) - 2011-07-14 - BBC 6 Music session, UK
1. Long Hard Book 10:41
2. No One Is (As I Are Be)
Stephen Malkmus and the Jicks - 2011-08-24 - Live On MBE, KCRW, Santa Monica, CA, USA
1. Asking Price
2. Stick Figures
3. Share The Red
7. Brain Gallop
FLAC Pt1, FLAC Pt2, FLAC Pt3
Stephen Malkmus and The Jicks - 2011-10-11 - Live In-Studio On KEXP - Seattle, WA, USA
1. No One Is (As I Are Be)
2. Fall Away
3. Independence Street
4. Long Hard Book
Tuesday, October 25, 2011
I love this band!
Why, you ask? Where do I start?
I'll try to answer that question by asking another question....
Name a band/artist that has been around as long as Sparks that has not sold their soul, stopped evolving, gone through the motions, repeated a winning formula, taken themselves far too seriously, or released at least one crap album?
Neil Young? I love the guy, but there's a few turkeys in his arsenal - Everybody's rocking, Old ways, Fork in the road to name but a few.
David Bowie? You obviously missed the eighties?
Nick Cave? Yeah, I can accept that. But Sparks have been doin' it a decade longer!
Sparks have successfully steered clear any of the aforementioned heinous pop crimes.....errr, so maybe they repeated themselves on Plagiarism, by covering their own songs, but hey, they managed to bring something new to those songs, and gave the album an ironic title!
While I can't say I like all musical genres the band has explored, they have pulled it off well without coming across as opportunistic, phony, or insincere.
So what genre do we have on this here opus, Hello Young Lovers?
Everyone's favorite (NOT!) - chamber pop! But it's fantabby-hooby-tastic!
Opener Dick Around metamorphoses from chamber pop into a galloping heavy rock tune with crunchy guitars - although that's about the extent of the divergence from the chamber pop theme. That bastion of good taste, the BBC, found it necessary to protect the great unwashed masses by banning the Dick Around single. Imagine the carnage that may have occurred if the song was broadcast during peak hour traffic!
As usual, there are some great song titles and lyrics! The Very Next Fight is about a dude who can't stand other men looking at his woman! Metaphor features the chorus "Chicks dig dig D-I-G dig dig" metaphors. Why couldn't they have told me that 20 years ago - I could have been a contender!
And I hope someone sent Neil Young a copy of (Baby, Baby) Can I Invade Your Country. It succeeds much better at addressing the ridiculousness of George Dubya and his invasion of Iraq than Neil's turgid and earnest lyrics on Living with War.
And what's this - There's No Such Thing As Aliens? Surely the existence of Sparks is proof against that theory?
Sparks - 2006 - Hello Young Lovers
Friday, October 21, 2011
Sticking to the Australian culture theme, I should mention I've been flat out like a lizard drinking lately, so I haven't had time to produce a decent (or even indecent) post. But I'm hoping to post some new material in the next few days.
Until then, here's another gem from Letterman......
And no - there's no truth in the rumor that I'm going to rebadge this blog Shoulda Been Letterman, or even Wannabe Letterman!
Monday, October 10, 2011
I've featured some of these performances previously on this blog.
Here is another one....had heard the name and seen the face before, but can't remember hearing his music. But this tune is pretty damn fab!
Sunday, October 9, 2011
Following up on my Hater post, here is another Seattle "supergroup".
Pearl Jam guitarist Mike McCready met bassist John Baker Saunders while in rehab, and the two formed a long-term friendship. They put together a side project with Screaming Trees drummer Barrett Martin. McCready later brought in Alice In Chains vocalist Layne Staley, in the hope that being around clean musicians may inspire Staley to clean himself up. The band played a handful of shows in Seattle before entering the studio for two weeks to record their debut (and only) LP, Above.
Above is a surprisingly mellow album given the musical pedigree of the participants. While the band forge their own identity, Staley's vocals inextricably link the album to Alice In Chains. However, with the absence of the gargantuan riffs and unique vocal melodies employed by Alice In Chains, the album is arguably closer to Alice In Chains' acoustic Sap and Jar of Flies EPs.
Opener Wake Up is mellow, psychedelic, and almost jazzy for the first four minutes, before heating up for the guitar solo and winding back down for the last two or so minutes. X-Ray Mind lifts the tempo, momentarily, before their best known song, the mellow and country-ish River of Deceit, subdues the mood.
Artificial Red is a slow blues tune, written on-stage during the bands first performance. Lifeless Dead and I Don't Know Anything are heavier rock numbers, the latter arguably closest stylistically to Alice In Chains.
The folky Long Gone Day is based around upright bass, and features the vocals of Screaming Trees frontman Mark Lanegan. The instrumental November Hotel is the most up-tempo track, giving the band their first real opportunity to flex their musical muscles. All Alone is another atmospheric and mellow piece, featuring Staley's vocals atop a organ drone.
The band played live after recording the album, but commitments to their main bands limited further opportunities to perform and record. The band later reformed with Mark Lanegan handling vocals, metamorphosing into the band Disinformation. However, this band suffered the same commitment problems as Mad Season, and slowly drifted apart.
Saunders and Staley later died from heroin overdoses, in 1999 and 2002, respectively.
Mad Season - 1995 - Above
1. Wake Up
2. X-Ray Mind
3. River of Deceit
4. I'm Above
5. Artificial Red
6. Lifeless Dead
7. I Don't Know Anything
8. Long Gone Day
9. November Hotel
10. All Alone
FLAC Pt1, FLAC Pt2, FLAC Pt3, FLAC Pt4
Wednesday, October 5, 2011
My dad was very anti-drugs. I remember when I want a new drug by Huey Lewis and The News came out - my dad was apoplectic! The fact that the "new drug" was love was lost on him - and I didn't bother to point this out so I could take the piss out on him later!
So you can probably imagine what happened when Broken English came out. Marianne Faithfull was held up as an example of the evil of drugs. "Look what drugs did to her looks and her voice!" As a pre-teen I tended to take my parents words as verbatim, so I duly nodded and noted: drugs = bad! But there was something about this woman I couldn't put my finger on. She wasn't like anyone else in my musical sphere at that time.
Fast forward five years to my metal phase, when a hand made sign of Manowar's slogan "DEATH TO FALSE METAL" adorned my wall, and anything that wasn't metal was crap. I'm watching a music show on TV when this short haired woman (uh, a fucking feminist, or worse, a lesbian) with a craggy voice is singing "at the age of thirty seven". I didn't know who in the hell this bolshy woman was, but there was something about her and that song stuck in my mind for many years.
Fast forward fifteen years later. I have been buying at least one LP/CD per week for the last twenty or so years. But on this particular day I've come up empty. I've almost complete my latest round of Adelaide's music stores, and I can't find one motherfucking CD I want to buy. So this is the end? I've run out of music!! And then I find myself in a second hand store that I rarely frequent out of complete and utter desperation, and there it is - Broken English for $5! Should I buy it? I've wasted plenty of money on crap CDs over the years, so why bother debating the decision. Just buy it!
So I buy it, and it promptly sits in my alphabetically/chronologically ordered CD collection for several months before I pluck up the courage to play it.....and am blown away. Not quite a life changing experience, but a very pleasant surprise.
Broken English (the song) was eerily similar to how I remember it twenty years earlier: craggy voice singing over a swamp of synth pop. But I like it a hell of a lot more now, I'm thinking. In fact, it's fantastic.
Witches song comes on next. This reminds me of something else I like...eventually I realize it sounds like Second Nature by Rush, which was released years afterwards (on 1987's Hold Your Fire). Funnily enough, I had the same feeling a few years earlier when first hearing Future Generation by The Auteurs - the bastard's ripped off Rush! But that's another story I might get to in another post......
Then it's Brain Drain - smoldering blues! Gotta love it - 3 out of 3. This album's going well! Guilt is cod-funk - it's just OK. So we're not talking perfect album here, but try think of a perfect album? There ain't one.
And then The Ballad Of Lucy Jordan comes on. Great synth sounds. And there's something familiar about this, but I can't put my finger on it until....."at the age of thirty seven". OMFG, it's this song! And it's spine tinglingly good. Man, I love this album! So it was destiny for me to buy this CD - that's why I found myself in that urine-stenched decrepit second hand store!! Fast forward another ten years, it still sends shivers down my spine.
Two songs later is Working Class Hero. Sounds great. Sparse, atmospheric, moving. And great lyrics! I later realize it's a John Lennon song. I am not, have never, and will never be a Beatles fan, and firmly believe that nearly every Beatles cover is better than the original - and this song just confirms that feeling! In spades. I feel the same way about Prince. But whenever anyone says the same about Dylan I castigate them - sacrilegious bastards!
The album concludes with Why'd Ya Do It? Did she just sing what I thought she sung? A great punk influenced bile spew to a great reggae soundtrack, with Bowie influenced lead guitar. Fantastic!!
A great album. And even better when you become aware of her history, of which I was only vaguely aware at the time I first heard the album. And my estimation of her was only when she later recorded with probably my two favorite artists, Nick Cave and PJ Harvey!
Marianne Faithfull - 1979 - Broken English
1. Broken English
2. Witches' Song
3. Brain Drain
5. The Ballad Of Lucy Jordan
6. What's The Hurry
7. Working Class Hero
8. Why'd Ya Do It?
FLAC Pt1, FLAC Pt2, FLAC Pt3
Monday, October 3, 2011
Regular readers here will know that I just diiiiiiiiiiig grunge.
And no one did it better than arguably the original grunge band, Green River.
Here we have the earliest demo recordings from Green River, which represent the earliest grunge recordings available to us mere mortals.
These demos are pretty raw and formative, but show obvious signs of the greatness that was to emerge later.
There are a number of versions of these demos available on bootlegs and the interweb. As far as I can tell, all versions are incomplete and have incorrect track listings. And while I think I've determined the most accurate track listing to date, I make no claims to have it completely correct (see below).
I've collected the tracks from two sources: CD 2 of the Pearl Jam Hallucinogenic Recipes bootleg, and from Bootlegs from Bucklberry. However, the most useful source of correct track information is the fantastic Lamestain site, which I strongly recommend to fellow grunge tragics. The Lamestain post features (defunct) links to the demo tracks, comments from readers clarifying the track names, and some further comments from Green River drummer Alex Vincent in response to a tape of the demos provided to him by Lamestain. Most of the information below is borrowed (stolen?) from this site, so head over there if you want to hear more.
The first eight tracks of these demos appear to have been recorded in the summer of 1984, when the band was a four piece (Mark Arm, Steve Turner, Jeff Ament and Alex Vincent) prior to the arrival of Stone Gossard. The tracks 33 RPM and Leech were released as a single on translucent green vinyl . The latter was later covered by The Melvins. Or, as Mark Arm humorously described from the stage at the 2008 Green River reformation "We wrote this song in 1984, it was just a demo tape we passed along. The Melvins later, in Led Zeppelin-like fashion, recorded the song and credited it to themselves -- making us the Willie Dixon of grunge."
New God and Tunnel of Love later appeared on the debut LP Come On Down.
Baby Help Me Forget later appeared in a very similar form on the B-side of Mudhoney's 1999 single This Gift.
A significantly revamped version of 10,000 Things later appeared on the 1986 compilation Deep Six, as previously posted on this blog.
Against the Grain is a mid-tempo track similar in feel to most of the tracks on the Come On Down LP. It is also the track whose title I am least sure of, owing to the fact that is listed as Take Me on Youtube! However, I'm sticking to the title provided on Lamestain given that Alex Vincent commented that an additional track that was not on the tape provided to him by Lamestain, Take Me, was recorded for the 1984 demo. And since Against the Grain is on Lamestain, I assume it was on this tape.
The remaining 1984 track, Personality Meltdown, featuring Steve Turner on vocals, is unfortunately incomplete. It is a punk rocker that may date back to the one of the bands predecessors. Interesting, but non-essential!
Bazaar apparently dates from 1985. Note this is not the version that appeared on the 1999 compilation Another Pyrrhic Victory. This track again is again similar in feel to most of the tracks on the Come On Down LP.
Together We'll Never apparently dates from 1986, and is most likely a high generation copy of the 1986 single (again on translucent green vinyl!) released on the Tasque Force label, rather than a demo. This version is not quite as good as the version that appeared on the final (posthumous) Green River album Rehab Doll, but it's still pretty damn good!
Green River - Demos
01 - 33 RPM
02 - New God
03 - Tunnel of Love
04 - Leech
05 - Against the Grain (possibly Take Me?)
06 - Baby Help Me Forget
07 - 10,000 Things
08 - Personality Meltdown
09 - Bazaar
10 - Together We'll Never
Friday, September 30, 2011
An album that starts with the lyrics "Your love is like greasy fried noodles, instantly gratifying, makes me want to come back for more" has gotta be good, right!?
TPOH are best known for their late eighties hit I'm an adult now, which I hated with a passion at the time - I was going through my "everything in the charts is crap" phase! I got my comeuppance a few years later - what I was listening to at the time (grunge) became mainstream (sigh)! Also, I felt I'm an adult now was championed by people who wouldn't know a good tune if it bit them on the arse!
Despite my holier than thou attitude, I later heard (and fell in love with) the Love Junk album, and duly bought the follow up One Sided Story, which I felt was a huge step forward for the band: better songwriting, more diverse.
Yet the album was slagged by many critics! Labels such as confused, flawed, awkward, dated, and misogynistic abounded - and those were the good reviews! I always found that last criticism a bit, odd given there were two girls in the band. Whatever! But then the same criticism gets leveled at The White Stripes.
In short, the album wasn't Love Junk volume 2. It was better, but it is not what most people expected/wanted. Ain't that the same with many bands?
Anyhow, enough waffling......
What to we have here? Essentially pop-rock. If you like Cheap Trick or Red Kross, you may well dig this!
The Pursuit of Happiness - 1990 - One Sided Story
- Two Girls in One
- New Language
- Something Physical
- One Thing
- No Safe Place
- Shave Your Legs
- Runs in the Family
- All I Want
- Forbidden Fruit
- Little Platoons (My Neighbourhood)
Saturday, September 24, 2011
By now you've probably all heard that REM are going to split?
If you're expecting a eulogy, or a heartfelt tribute about how influential the band has been for me, you've come to the wrong place. Rushbo has done a better job of that than I'd be able to manage!
Instead, my reaction to this news is to post an album by American Music Club!
Why, I hear you ask? Because I believe there is a parallel universe somewhere where REM are an obscure alternative band, while AMC are HUGE!
Inside Chateau de Dodger, REM and AMC are on an equal footing - untouchables!
And if you need any justification or support for this notion, I again refer you to Rushbo.
This post presents the Mercury LP. This contains arguably their most well known (and my favorite) AMC track, Johnny Mathis’ Feet. For sure, the orchestration is cheesy and schmaltzy, and your grandma would probably dig it, but it's a songwriting tour de force, both musically and lyrically. In particular, the lyrics
Johnny looked at my old collection of punk rock posters
Anonymous scenes of disaffection choas and torture
And he said, "You were on the right track
But you're a lamb jumping for the knife."
kill me every time. While they are too close to home, the thought that Johnny Mathis could utter such lines is almost the coolest thing imaginable!
The remainder of the album is a superb collection of ballads (Gratitude Walks, I’ve Been a Mess, The Hopes and Dreams), pop (If I Had a Hammer, Over and Done), and heavier songs (Challenger, Keep Me Around ), which give the band a chance to flex their muscles. And all tracks are lyrically superb. Hell, there is even an ambient track (More Hopes and Dreams) - what more can you ask for?
American Music Club - 1993 - Mercury
01. Gratitude Walks
02. If I Had a Hammer
04. I’ve Been a Mess
05. Hollywood 4-5-92
06. What Godzilla Said to God When His Name Wasn’t Found in the Book of Life
07. Keep Me Around
08. Dallas, Airports, Bodybags
09. Apology for an Accident
10. Over and Done
11. Johnny Mathis’ Feet
12. The Hopes and Dreams of Heaven’s 10,000 Whores
13. More Hopes and Dreams
14. Will You Find Me?
FLAC Pt1, FLAC Pt2, FLAC Pt3, FLAC Pt4
Friday, September 23, 2011
Monday, September 19, 2011
This is a great album for so many different reasons.
I can listen to in any mood - from punk and belligerent to introspective - and dig it!
It has pop-tastic tunes that are as infectious as <insert your favorite venereal disease here>: the superb Die Laughing, and the singles Nowhere and Screamager.
It has songs that rock your socks off: Stop It Your Killing Me, Femtex and Trigger Inside.
It has psychosis: Knives, Trigger Inside and Unrequited.
It has malevolence: Turn, Unbeliever and Hellbelly.
It also features the feral vocals of the fantastic Lesley (Fat Axl) Rankine on Lunacy Booth.
It also features my favorite Joy Division cover - Isolation. It satisfies the major Dodger criteria for the perfect cover - i.e. it adds to the original without losing anything.
And it ends with (an uncredited) You are My Sunshine - what more can you ask for?
The lyrics focus on the trials and tribulations of being an outcast, but maintain a sense of humor that engenders sympathy and avoids melodrama (e.g. "Here comes a girl with perfect teeth, I know she won't be smiling at me, I know how Jeffrey Dahmer feels."). And some of the lyrics make killer soundbites: "masturbation saved my life", "reveal yourself to me, like cheap pornography".
Troublegum is a rarity - an album by a band simultaneously at their commercial and creative peak.
Therapy? - 1994 - Troublegum
4. Stop It You're Killing Me
6. Die Laughing
8. Trigger Inside
9. Lunacy Booth
FLAC Pt2, FLAC Pt2, FLAC Pt3, FLAC Pt4
Monday, September 12, 2011
On the subject of bonus CD's accompanying Australian releases, here's the Rotten World Blues EP, which accompanied the Australian version of the Souljacker LP.
It's a nice mixture of oddball songs that didn't fit in with the rest of Souljacker.
The title track is a killer, which eventually made it's way onto the excellent odds and sods release Useless Trinkets. In some ways it summarises the whole Eels ethos: accept life's a bitch, and get on with it!
I Write The B-Sides is a whimsical look at being the being the poster boy of the depressive set: "I write the b-sides, that make a small portion of the world cry. I like the seaside, and singing songs that make you not wanna die!"
Eels - 1992 - Rotten World Blues
01 - I Write The B-Sides
02 - Hidden track
03 - Jehovah's Witness
04 - Rotten World Blues
Thursday, September 1, 2011
In response to a request on my other blog The Lucid Ocean diaries, here is the debut release from Adelaide early nineties indie pop darlings The Mandelbrot Set.
And it's pretty damn good too! Not as good as my personal faves The Happy Patches two releases, but the Mandelbrots were the band who secured the much sought after record deal - with Aussie Independent RooArt, then riding on the crest of the enormous success of Ratcat.
These guys were all pretty young, in their late teens/early twenties - or at least they looked like it!
A place called Kansas is an amalgam of the shoegazer pop of the era and classic indie-pop fair such as The Smiths and REM. The instrumental title track, Massive and Lush fall into the former category, while the remaining tracks fall into the latter. Although I'm a shoegazer tragic, I prefer their indie-pop songs - in particular Landslide and I Swan. But I thought Lush was such a great track that I rewrote it for my own band Lucid Ocean!
The Mandelbrot Set recorded a second EP for RooArt, an New Order like electropop/dance record which contained little of the charm (or tunes) of their debut, before promptly disappearing off the face of terra firma!
Check the bands myspace page for more tracks/photos.
The Mandelbrot Set - 1992 - A place called Kansas
01 - A place called Kansas
02 - Landslide
03 - More than happy
04 - Massive
05 - Julia
06 - I Swan
07 - Lush
UPDATE: 17/03/2012 - track 2 of the FLAC is apparently unreadable. An updated version of this track is available here.
Tuesday, August 30, 2011
Hater was a side-project formed by Soundgarden's Ben Shepherd and Matt Cameron, with former Monster Magnet guitarist John McBain. The band's self titled debut album also featured Devilhead bassist John Waterman and vocalist Brian Wood, brother of the late (and sadly missed) Mother Love Bone/Malfunkshun vocalist Andrew Wood.
Despite featuring Soundgarden personnel, the Hater sound bore little resemblance to Soundgarden, being based around Nuggets approved psychedelic garage rock sound with a liberal dose of humor (shock horror! Seattle band in humor shock!). However, elements of the Hater sound later emerged in Soundgarden's sound.
Opener Mona Bone Jakon is a relaxed mid-tempo romp through the Cat Stevens track, featuring Shepherd's deadpan but alluring vocals. Who Do I Kill? follows a similar vein. Lion and Lamb is a psychedelic instrumental featuring atmospheric mellotron.
Tot Finder, Roadside and Putrid feature Brian Wood on vocals, and perhaps unsurprisingly sound like Malfunkshun outtakes.
Down Undershoe and Blistered are the most Soundgarden-like tracks on the album - Soundgarden of the Down On the Upside future that is, with the former resembling Dusty, and the latter featuring eat-shit bass reminiscent of Ty Cobb.
Circles is a rapid-fire garage punk. Closer Sad McBain, arguably the standout track, is a mid-tempo cruncher featuring psychedelic freakout guitar, with Cameron's lyrics humorously poking fun at McBain ("Sad McBain, sad refrain, sounds the same, should be ashamed!").
Hater - 1993 - Self titled
1. Mona Bone Jakon
2. Who Do I Kill?
3. Tot Finder
4. Lion And Lamb
6. Down Undershoe
10. Sad McBain
FLAC Pt1, Pt2, Pt3
Sunday, August 21, 2011
Sunday, August 14, 2011
Saturday, August 6, 2011
Saturday, July 23, 2011
One of those songs that worms it way into your subconcious.
I never gave this band a listen before as I, umm, hated their name! Still do.
On the strength of this track I sought out the Invented album, but I think this is the standout track.
Wednesday, July 20, 2011
Just had to return to point you towards stilllisteningonyourbehalf's excellent blog Ears To The Ground, and in particular his excellent post on 2 Cellos. You won't believe their version of G'n'R's Welcome to the Jungle.
Tuesday, July 19, 2011
I'm going to have a break from this blogging caper to allow me to ruminate about a few things:
- whether this blog has served it's purpose?
- whether to continue this blog or devise a new concept?
- whether to kill off Ralphee D and create a new internet alias?
- whether I have enough enthusiasm for any of the above?!
Thank you to all my regular readers, especially those who have taken the time to comment. Feel free to contact me if any of my links expire and I will reupload.
Special thanks go out to Rushbo, Adelle and Oxy, who I feel I've developed a special bond with. I hope to keep in touch with you via your own blogs!
And yes, Oxy, I'll keep the Lucid Ocean diaries going, although it's getting close to the end....
Sunday, July 17, 2011
There's three bands/artists I feel that I've pushed harder than most on this blog (i.e. multiple posts) but which have elicited no comments: Arbouretum, Straitjacket Fits and James Hall.
Fear not, dear reader. The last thing I intend (or want) to do is lecture you on blog etiquette!
The reason for bringing this to your attention is simply that.....I'm puzzled! Is it that:
a) everyone already knows about these artists? i.e. don't bore us, Ralph, get to the chorus!
b) my musical radar is out of whack? Or to get technical, the Ralphee Dee musical radar has high sidelobe levels?!
But your penance is part three of the James Hall series! Or to be more precise, the debut Pleasure Club LP Here comes the trick. This album was actually intended to be the third Hall solo album. However, since Hall felt the album was more of a "band" effort he elected to release it under a band moniker rather than a solo project.
Here comes the trick follows the template set by Hall's second solo LP, Pleasure Club - a melting pot of Stones influenced rock, punk, funk and soul. Opener Permanent Solution starts (and ends) with eastern wailing, percussion and sitar, before breaking into a driving punky rocker, with a subdued midsection providing a brief respite. High Stepping alternates between white-boy funk in the verses and driving rock in the chorus, and featuring a brief but great noisescape guitar "solo". Next is the Stonesy title track, which starts with acoustic guitar and vocals, developing into a swaggering rocker. One Hand Washes the Other starts with clean guitar and vocals, developing into Hendrix influenced heavy blues rock.
Roll Around is a slow tempo blues based around a sliding bass riff. Starting sparse and atmospheric, the song eventually evolves into a snarling beast with a huge guitar riff and unhinged vocals. Terrific stuff.
Shout! You're Automatic starts with vocals over a funky drumbeat. The bass and guitar eventually appear, and the song evolves into a white-boy funk rocker complete with wailing vocals and saxophone. Daze in Daze Out is a new wave/disco hybrid. Good Time Girl is late 70's Stones influenced, laid back, subtle funky in verses, driving rock in chorus, and featuring another great soundscape guitar solo.
Street Car is a Beatle-esque slow tempo bluesy ballad. Marble Coast is an excellent low-key, subdued rocker, with world wearied vocals. A supreme illustration of the concept of saying more with less. Holding Hands and Singing is a short lullaby, featuring just clean strummed guitar and vocals.
Another great album. Trust me, you need this album in your collection - hit that download link NOW!
Pleasure Club - 2001 - Here comes the trick
1. Permanent Solution
2. High Stepping
3. Here Comes the Trick
4. One Hand Washes the Other
5. Roll Around
6. Shout! You're Automatic
7. Daze in Daze Out
8. Good Time Girl
9. Street Car
10. Marble Coast
11. Holding Hands and Singing
FLAC Pt1, Pt2, Pt3
Friday, July 8, 2011
As I've mentioned previously, I don't consider myself an old fuddy duddy who subscribes to the view that things were better in the past. As a music obsessive/snob (choose your own label) there's never been a better time to be alive. The interweb provides an almost instantaneous opportunity to listen to arists you may have read or heard about. There are also some great blogs such as 365 bands in 365 days that present artists that have managed to avoid detection on the Dodger radar. Ever heard of The North Mississippi all-stars? Neither had I until recently, but now their sounds resonate regularly around the halls of Chateaus de Dodger!
The fact that most of the relics posted here date back to last century is more indicative of my unwillingness to provide downloads of recent material for legal reasons, rather than being stuck in the past. So I'm going to start posting some newer artists and providing YouTube links for you to see/hear those artists. If you consider this to be moving in to Adelle's territory, then I plead guilty, officer. But the main points of difference are that this will not be my modus operandi (i.e. I will still post relics), and I'm definitely not going to post a band a day! And hey, as I see it, Adelle has had 188 chances to post some of these bands, but instead elected to post the Spin Doctors! Ha!
So today we have the mighty Voice of the Seven Thunders, whose self titled album is probably my favourite album of the decade. Their sound is a unique psychedelic/folk/blues hybrid. The songs are mainly instrumental, and varies between psychedelic rock freakouts with copious guitar soloing, and more introverted folky playing. The key to their sound is the use of an acoustic guitar played through a distortion pedal. This is a ploy used by other Shoulda been huge faves Grant Lee Buffalo, but VotST take it to a new level. The result is the meanest, fattest guitar sound ever heard this side of the cosmos. Neil Young, eat your heart out! In terms of musical reference points, the VotST sound sits somewhere between Led Zeppelin's "When the Levee Breaks" (a song I demand be played at my own funeral!) and a folkier, more instrumental, less epic Black Mountain.
Opener Open Lighted Doorway is a short introduction featuring distorted vocals over a subtle soundscape. Kommune starts with folky guitar picking over a distorted guitar chords, before a guitar solo emerges to dominate processings for the next few minutes. The song drops back into a folky guitar and subdued vocals, before evolving into the next track, Out of the Smoke, which follows a similar path to it's predecessor, starting with a classic rock riff played on acoustic guitar.
The following five tracks are all instrumental. The Burning Mountain is a psychedelic guitar freakout packed with wild-assed guitar solos. Dry Leaves is based around Led Zeppelin III approved folky guitar picking. Dalalven is a slowly evolving mid-tempo rock instrumental based around a triplet rhythm.
Cylinders is a seven minute epic, starting with synthesiser over ambient guitar noise, before folky acoustic guitar strumming and eastern sounding drumming emerge. Set Fire to the Forest is an 8 minute long up tempo track featuring incessant guitar soloing played against a musical background which eventually evolves into a wall of My Bloody Valentine approved ambient guitar feedback. The song drops back to folky guitar strumming around the 6-min mark, before tempo slowly picks up again as song rushes headlong to it's conclusion.
Closer Disappearances is a simple, vocal dominated pastoral folk. The vocals provide an almost rude awakening after preceding straight five instrumentals!
Voice of the Seven Thunders - 2010 - Self titled
1. Open Lighted Doorway
3. Out of the Smoke
4. The Burning Mountain
5. Dry Leaves
8. Set Fire to the Forest
Sunday, July 3, 2011
One of the advantages of living in Australia in the 1990s was that we were often privy to material that remained unreleased elsewhere. This material was released in a number of forms:
- Bonus tracks included to encouraged people to buy exorbitantly priced local CDs rather than cheaper imports.
- Tour EPs, such as the Nirvana's legendary "Hormoaning" - not to be confused with Sonic Youth's "Whores moaning" , which came out a few years later! As far as I know, "Hormoaning" was only released in Australia and Japan, and although all the tracks later came out on "Incesticide", I felt like I had something special in my hot little hands for 18 months or so!
- Bonus EP versions of previously released CDs that had taken a while to take off, or that were having a second life. This was of course a thinly veiled attempt to fleece more money from suckers (like me) who had already bought the original CD when it came out!
- Tour bonus EP versions of previously released CDs, with a similar motivation as described above.
One of my favourites of the latter, for both the content and the name, was Soundgarden's 1996 Australian tour version of Down on the Upside, retitled Down Under on the Upside (ho ho ho!). This featured a collection of b-sides that at least served to save some of us musical obsessives from having to track down the individual singles, and also compiled the songs onto a single source.
Opening track Jerry Garcia's Finger (b-side of Pretty Noose) is an interesting instrumental soundscape. Karaoke (b-side of Burden in My Hand) starts with a maelstrom of sound, before easing into a laid back slow tempo tune, before the maelstrom returns for the ending. Classic Soundgarden, and IMO better than at least half the tracks on Down on the Upside. Bleed Together (b-side of Burden in My Hand in some countries, later released on A-Sides, and as a single in it's own right) is an up-tempo rocker.
Next comes the demo version of one of my fave Soundgarden songs, Birth Ritual (b-side of My Wave), the song the band contributed to the Singles soundtrack. I am a complete sucker for songs that diverge from the standard rock 4/4 timing (of which Soundgarden had a few of these - Room a thousand years wide, Spoonman), so this 7/4 gem is right up my alley! And the riff - dum da-da-da-da-dum da-da-da-da-dum DA DA! I always wondered why the band didn't put this on an album, but I suspect they felt it was a bit too similar to Jesus Christ Pose.
Next up is the video version of Fell On Black Days (b-side of Fell On Black Days), arguably better than the album version. The last track is the Moby remix of Dusty (b-side of Blow Up the Outside World).
Soundgarden - 1996 - Down Under On The Upside (Australia & New Zealand Tour Edition)
1. Jerry Garcia's Finger
3. Bleed Together
4. Birth Ritual (original demo)
5. Fell On Black Days
6. Dusty (Moby remix)
Tuesday, June 28, 2011
Slint were another band that were largely unappreciated during their existence. They formed in Kentucky in 1986, and split in 1991. In the ensuing twenty years they have slowly garnered a modicum of the respect they deserved in their prime
The Slint sound is sparse, tense, hypnotic and slow tempo. The songs evolve slowly and non-linearly, and often feature breathtaking shifts in dynamics, changing from subdued and atmospheric to ugly and dissonant in the blink of an eyelid. It is music without any obvious antecedents, but with many descendent's - the slowcore and math-rock movements definitely owe a debt gratitude to Slint.
This post focuses on Slint's superb second album, Spiderland. Opener Breadcrumb Trail commences with guitar arpeggios/harmonics, and drifts dreamily with spoken word lyrics for the first minute, before a tempo change heralds the arrival of a dissonant distorted guitar and tormented vocals. The song then enters an extended instrumental break, before returning to the guitar arpeggios/harmonics of the songs introuduction. A. Classic. Nosferatu Man is a mid-tempo and dissonant, with disembodied vocals - the closest the band came to the prevailing grunge trend of the time.
The following three songs are each mesmeric, sparse and subdued. Don, Aman features only clean guitar, bass and whispered vocals for it's entirety, except for a few short unexpected bursts of distorted guitar. Washer and For Dinner...are in a similar vein, with the former picking up in pace and intensity towards the song's conclusion.
Good Morning, Captain is a mid-tempo track based around a snaking, almost funky bassline, with the guitars and spoken word vocals drifting in an out of the mix and occasional short distorted guitar bursts. The intensity lifts towards the song's conclusion with dissonant distorted guitar and tortured vocals.
Slint - 1991 - Spiderland
1. Breadcrumb Trail
2. Nosferatu Man
3. Don, Aman
5. For Dinner...
6. Good Morning, Captain
FLAC Pt1, Pt2
Sunday, June 26, 2011
This may get me excommunicated from a certain torrent site, but WTF - it's worth it!
In response to Adelle's recent post on The Move, here is something special for Roy Wood devotees. The following is quoted directly from the torrent info file.... Enjoy!
Artist: Roy Wood's Wizzard
Lineage: Pre-FM Promo Reel (WRNO-FM)>cassette (freezer)>JVC XL-R5010 stand alone cd burner>1cdr(0)>1cdr(1)>eac>wav>flac
Transferred By: Mister Freezer
tracking and volume corrections applied to recording
01. Ball Park Incident
03. Salt Peanuts
04. This Is The Story Of My Love (Baby)
05. California Man
06. Eddy's Rock
Transfer of freezer's prefm cassette copy of this limited promo live recording done in advance of Roy Wood's Wizzard album Introducing Eddy And The Falcons. The album was tribute to 50's and early 60's rock and roll. This particular promo reel was sent out by United Artists to WRNO-FM in New Orleans. It is a fake live recording(studio but made to sound live). This recording has never been officially released. The only copy we know of as of this writing (june 2011) is an old bootleg pressing of a crappy over the air fm recording of this promo.
Tuesday, June 21, 2011
A bit short of time at present, so a quick post for now....
This post features Throwing Muses' limited edition live album The Curse, recorded at the Grand Theater in Clapham, London, in October 1992 with the Red Heaven "power trio" incarnation of the band, featuring Kristin Hersh, David Narcizo and Bernard Georges.
While I love the Tanya Donelly incarnation of the band, I prefer this incarnation - the sound is stripped down to the bare essentials, and more powerful - this band rocks!
This album is worth downloading just for the version of Manic Depresssion.
Throwing Muses - 1992 - The Curse
1. Manic Depression
2. Counting Backwards
4. Hate My Way
5. Furious Hersh
6. Devil's Roof
7. Snail Head
11. Say Goodbye
13. Two Step
14. Delicate Cutters
FLAC Pt1, Pt2, Pt3, Pt4, Pt5
Saturday, June 18, 2011
The God Machine formed in San Diego at the end of the eighties. Like Sparks many years earlier, they moved to the UK in order to increase their chances of success, shedding a guitarist in the process. They recorded and released the three track Purity EP, which was well received by the UK music press. They then signed to Fiction records, releasing two excellent albums. Bassist Jimmy Fernandez died from a brain tumor during the recording of their second album, One Last Laugh in a Place of Dying, leading the two remaining members to call it quits. Vocalist/guitarist Robin Proper-Sheppard later went on to form the vastly underrated Sophia.
The God Machine's debut album Scenes from the second storey is a alternative/gothic/atmospheric rock masterpiece. It is unashamedly epic in vision, scope and length (78 minutes). The sound ranges from sparse and restrained to mesmerising and skull-crushingly heavy. Drummer Ronald Austin played using mallets rather than conventional drumsticks, giving the drums an almost orchestral intensity. Proper-Sheppards vocals are piercing, malevolent, yet melodic. The album features re-recordings of all tracks from the Purity EP.
Opener Dream Machine starts funeral paced, with backwards masking and spooky sound effects, before launching into a mid-paced heavy track full of grand gestures. She Said is the closet the band come to the musical fashions of the time, starting of fast-paced with a Smashing Pumpkins type riff, before changing to a slower tempo midtrack.
The Blind Man commences with acoustic guitar picking and world weary vocals, evolving into an malevolent, funeral paced track, before changing pace for a long instrumental coda. I've seen the man is a shorter, heavy mid-tempo track. The Desert Song starts with a sound collage featuring eastern vocals and ambient atmospheric noise, leading into a circular, descending guitar riff, a rolling tom based beat, and underlying eastern wailing and sampled voices.
Home starts with more eastern wailing, evolving into a slow tempo, grinding track propelled along by a subterranean, epic bass riff. It's all over is driven by a slow tempo bass riff, with the guitar providing ambient noodling. Temptation is an instrumental, based around a single heavy guitar riff, with a second guitar alternating between ambient noise, shoegazer-like noise and feedback.
Out starts with clean guitar, before evolving into a mid tempo, heavy track. Ego starts with a bass riff and ambient guitar noise, before the drums crash in, leading into a slow tempo track with an epic guitar riff and piercing vocals.
Seven is the albums epic. It slowly builds up to the eight minute mark, before dropping back down to bass, drums, ambient guitar and slowly building again over the next 8 minutes. Purity is another slow builder, starting with acoustic guitar and cello. Closer The Piano Song features piano and bass with background noises.
The God Machine - 1993 - Scenes from the second storey
1. Dream Machine
2. She Said
3. The Blind Man
4. I've seen the man
5. The Desert Song
7. It's all over
13. The Piano Song
FLAC Pt1, Pt2, Pt3, Pt4, Pt5
Thursday, June 16, 2011
Mystic Chords Of Memory has a great collection of webcast and soundboard recordings. Some of my recent faves include:
Wilco - Orpheum Theatre; Boston, MA [4.6.10]
Fleet Foxes - BBC Radio Theatre; London, England [6.3.11]
My Morning Jacket - Mountain Jam, East Stage, Hunter Mountain; Hunter, NY [6.5.11]
Tuesday, June 14, 2011
Taking your name from the title of a Franz Kafka novel is either a foolhardy or brave move.
Fortunately, German Indie-pop band Blumfeld were able to deliver the goods, producing six high quality albums between their inception in 1990 and split in 2007.
As with previous bands featured on this blog, I found it difficult to select a single album to include in this post. I've elected to post their second album L'état et moi, mainly because I love the way they hijacked the cover from the 50,000,000 Elvis Fans Can't Be Wrong LP (checkout the first YouTube clip)!
Blumfeld played guitar-driven indie-pop, existing somewhere in the realm between grunge and slacker pop. They have previously been described as a more subdued and tuneful Sonic Youth. And while musically they occasionally sound like Sonic Youth, there are other influences, such as The Fall and Pavement. As with Super Furry Animals' Welsh language album Mwng, a least part of their appeal for me is the mystery associated with not being able to understand the lyrics.
Album opener Draußen Auf Kaution commences with the sound of helicopters, evolving into a slow tempo-ed, dreamy atmospheric track reminiscent of Sonic Youth's Shadow of a Doubt, before upping the tempo towards the songs conclusion. Jet Set and 2 Oder 3 Dinge, Die Ich Von Dir Weiß are faster tracks, the former frantic, the latter again featuring Sonic Youth-like guitar.
Walkie, Talkie and Ich-Wie Es Wirklich War are both mutant rockabilly/reggae hybrids, similar in feel to The Clash's London Calling. Eine Eigene Geschichte, Sing Sing, and L' Etat et Moi all feature spoken word vocals, the latter sans music. Evergreen is jazzy, while You Make Me features acoustic guitar and vocals.
Blumfeld - 1994 - L'état et moi
1. Draußen Auf Kaution
2. Jet Set
3. 2 Oder 3 Dinge, Die Ich Von Dir Weiß
4. Walkie, Talkie
5. Eine Eigene Geschichte
7. Ich-Wie Es Wirklich War
8. L' Etat et Moi (Mien Vorgehen in 4, 5 Sätzen)
9. Sing Sing
12. You Make Me
FLAC Pt1, Pt2, Pt3, Pt4
Thursday, June 9, 2011
Since I have so little time available to work on this blog, I regret to inform you all that........I have started yet another blog!
This blog will present my diaries and reminiscences from my time in a local indie band, Lucid Ocean.
So if you need to remind yourself there is always someone less unfortunate than yourself,head over to http://the-lucid-ocean-diaries.blogspot.com, where you can laugh at my misfortune, insecurities, and various psychological complexes!
I've started the new blog on a bad note - by plagiarizing last weeks post from this blog on our demo! And it probably won't get any better!!
Wednesday, June 8, 2011
Dirty Three are a three piece instrumental band from Melbourne, Australia. They are perhaps best known as the band from which Bad Seed/Grinderman violinist/guitarist Warren Ellis came to prominence, and to a lesser extent for their collaborations with Low.
I was fortunate enough to see the band in their early days at the Tivoli Hotel in Adelaide. The Tivoli was a 200 person capacity dive where I saw many great artists, such as G. W. McLennan, Kristin Hersh and Pavement with Gary Young - though Gary didn't stand out the front of the venue handing out spaghetti like he reputedly did at other gigs! My old band Lucid Ocean also played the Tivoli, and were shafted by the venue management - further confirming my prejudices that the music industry is run by scum-sucking parasitic leaches! But I digress.....Dirty Three's gig was as memorable for the music as it was for Warren's stream of consciousness and meandering stage banter. In fact, being an instrumental band, Warren's microphone was only there for the purposes of between song banter.
Dirty Three's debut album Sad and dangerous was apparently given away as a free cassette at their gigs. It was recorded over the course of two years. The album is not for impatient listeners - the songs evolve sloooooooooowly, sometimes over the course of 10 minutes, but there are rewards for those prepared to put in the effort.
Dirty Three - 1995 - Sad and Dangerous
1. Kim's Dirt
2. Killy Kundane
4. Devil In The Hole
5. Jim's Dog
6. Short Break
7. Turk Reprise
8. You Were A Bum Dream
9. Warren's Waltz
FLAC Pt1, FLAC Pt2
Tuesday, June 7, 2011
Yeah, we all know the influence the New York Dolls had on the nascent English punk scene. But I'm tired of them only being referenced as footnote in the annals (or a hemorrhoid on the anus) of rock history.
Their self titled debut is one of the best rock records every released......oh stuff it, it's THE BEST GODDAMN ROCK RECORD!
The Guns 'n' Roses it's OK to like, dare I say it.
I won't do this album justice by writing about it. You have to hear and feel it. Trust me, you won't regret it.....
New York Dolls - 1973 - Self titled
1. Personality Crisis
2. Looking for a Kiss
3. Vietnamese Baby
4. Lonely Planet Boy
7. Bad Girl
8. Subway Train
10. Private World
11. Jet Boy
FLAC: Pt1, Pt2, Pt3
Sunday, June 5, 2011
Some more Australasiana - if such a word exists...
I posted the Straitjacket Fits Blow back in February. It didn't receive the traction I felt it deserved, in terms of both downloads and comments. So here, dear reader, is your chance to make amends.
A quick recap....."The Fits" emerged from Dunedin, New Zealand. They released three great albums before disbanding in the mid 90s. Their debut album Hail was released in 1988. The album posted here is the 1990 re-release, comprising of the Life In One Chord EP and original debut album. Although they fit (groan) within the broad sphere of indie/alternative, The Fits had their own unique and diverse sound resulting from the differing contributions of their two songwriters: Shayne Carter contributed the snap and crackle, while Andrew Brough provided the pop (groan). This is acknowledged in the sleeve notes of Hail, which almost apologetically refer to the "different flavours" of the music on offer - like that's a bad thing?
Opener Dialing a Prayer sets the scene well, alternating between pop, subdued and spooky, and psychedelic, and features some great guitar noise. Telling Tales and Dead Heat are more straightforward indie pop, while Hail is more raucous and discordant.
She Speeds is the standout track. The subdued verses build suspense until the song bursts to life in the choruses, eventually leading into a joyous bridge. Sparkle That Shines and Take From The Years are again more straightforward indie pop. So Long Marianne sounds like mid-sixties Stones.
Grate is a mid-tempo atmospheric track built on great (oh puhlease!) discordant distorted guitar riffing. Fabulous Things is a slow-tempo atmospheric pop reminiscent of their best known song, Down In Splendour. Life In One Chord is a great three minute blast of pure punk, featuring some great guitar noise.
Straitjacket Fits - 1990 - Hail
1. Dialling A Prayer
2. Telling Tales
3. Dead Heat
5. Only You Knew
6. She Speeds
7. Sparkle That Shines
8. Take From The Years
9. So Long Marianne
11. Fabulous Things
12. All That That Brings
13. Life In One Chord
14. This Taste Delight
Saturday, June 4, 2011
Inspired by Rushbo's guide, and snippets from his band Little Red Schoolhouse's LP, I present a demo recorded by my old band Lucid Ocean for your entertainment/laughter (select as appropriate).
Being a music obsessive, I kept a (virtual) diary throughout my time in the band. And again, inspired by Rushbo, I'm thinking of unleashing this on the public. Whether there is any interest in the shenanigans of four misfits and their trials and tribulations on the path to early-nineties-indie-pop-nowheresville is another question?! The diaries have everything - sex, drugs, rock 'n' roll, bad hair, jealousy, hatred, borderline psychosis, unscrupulous music biz operators, local music rags questioning our moral fortitude....did I mention bad hair?
So onto the demo. It was recorded and mixed over a weekend at Tony Nesci's home studio, and sounds fantastic for a cheaply recorded demo. However, the sound clarity makes the limitations in Andrew's vocals all too obvious - we probably should have put him lower in the mix or drowned him out with reverb! IMHO our drummer Mark was the best indie drummer in Adelaide, and the drum sound showcases his abilities well. I was the sole guitarist in the band, and given that every other indie band had around two guitarists, I tended to overplay to compensate. I was also in the midst of my Ride-influenced guitar effects obsession, and this reduces the clarity of some of my playing.
The demo featured three of our best half dozen tracks. Our best track, Haunt, was recorded for an earlier demo, but all I have is the version I taped when it was first played on local radio station MMM (now 3D). I may make this available if there is any interest.
Flood is a six minute brooding atmospheric indie pop track. Mark's drums sound awesome. My guitar in the verses is far to busy - let's blame Johnny Marr! The spooky guitar effects in the middle worked well live but didn't cut it in the studio - no lights and dry ice there. As for the guitar solo, it was influenced by a certain heavy metal band from Birmingham, and IMHO works well in this context.
Autumn Color Haze is another atmospheric indie pop track, but this time at a faster clip. I think the guitar effects work well in this song, and Andrew's vocals work well.
This Peaceful Place is pure indie pop. It was one of our earliest songs, written on an acoustic guitar before my guitar effects obsession. And try as I may, I couldn't work my guitar effects or a guitar solo into the song without detracting from it! So it stayed pretty much the same as it was when written.
Circle She Is was my least favourite song. But everyone else liked it so I just had to accept it. The worst aspect about the song is that it often got us compared with Ned's Atomic Dustbin, who in my opinion were the most turgid piece-of-crap band in the entire fucking universe. I took the attitude that even if I disliked the song, I might as well enjoy what I played in it. I also use to play it with a guitar sound on the verge of feedback, and got some great sounds live. That aspect isn't really captured in this version, unfortunately.
The demo never had an official title. I always liked that idea of having a song with the pretentious title Anthem for the Estranged, and since there's noone here to argue with me I'm gonna adapt that for use as the demo title!
Lucid Ocean - 1992 - Anthems for the Estranged (demo)
02. Autumn Color Haze
03. This Peaceful Place
04. Circle She Is