Friday, May 27, 2011

Zakary Thaks-Form the Habit

Ugh...more Texas music. I hate the state but I love their bands. What a conflict. Well, these garage goons are probably most known for their nuggets cut "Bad Girl." What a romper that one is. Some real punk music about 11 years before people were bandying about that term. Really, give it a spin and tell me otherwise. It makes me bounce off the walls like my insane cat (double jumps and all). I think if I was living in Texas and had a bowl cut, I'd probably use this as the soundtrack to beat up hicks with big belt buckles. Oh, wait those people drive around with gun racks in their cars, right? Maybe I'd just scowl at them and mutter something under my breathe instead. They shoot humans, don't they? Texas, Texas, Texas I will never understand you.


The Plastic Crimewave Sound-Flashing Open

Since I'm back home for a bit, there's an obligation to post at least a few things from Chicago. Therefore, it seems logical, with all the reader interest in psychedelic rock, to post something by the dude who probably knows more than anyone I've met about that genre. When not penning the remarkable Galactic Zoo Dossier, Steve Krakow (aka Plastic Crimewave) documents the forgotten giants of Chicago music, organizes music festivals, and plays some mind bending rock and roll music. Taking elements of the more recent legends (Sonic Youth, Spacemen 3, etc.) and dosing it with the true classics (Edgar Broughton Band, the Deviants, etc.) this band is my favorite thing going on around town. But to confess, the first time I saw them live I was not impressed. The sound levels sucked and it seemed like they were more worried about their clothes than rocking. But the more I heard the more of a fan I became. This is the place to start, then track down their double LP No Wonderland, which may even top this one.


El Jesus de Mágico-Funeral Home Sessions 7"

One time my buddies got a couple of those Columbus bands to haul their shit down to Morgantown. They got caught in a blizzard and no one showed up to see them. So instead of playing we went down to my friends' warehouse, shot hoops, skated, drank too much, and ended the night covering the Misfits, Black Flag, the Germs and a bunch of other old shit. Fun night. Nice kids. I can see why they'll probably never want to play Morgantown again. They were good then, but they seem to keep getting better. Their pals in Times New Viking and Psychedelic Horseshit seemed to get a bit of hype (new haircuts & clean clothes too) but I put my money on these dudes for kings of the Columbus throne. And live, their singer reminds everyone of a young Mark E. Smith. Yes, this really was recorded in a funeral home.


Steve Treatment-25 'A' Sides + Your Friends Are in the News

I'm pretty sure my friends and I predicted a weird cultural phenomenon that we later collectively willed into existence. To explain, one of my friends is a pretty rugged outdoorsman. He's even published stories about clubbing animals to death so that's how committed he is. One time he wanted to show off his new boots and my friends and I started to crack up since they had, what appeared to be, almost platform heels. This led us to come up with the idea of the "Glam-Jack" genre. Basically, it's glammed up lumberjacks. Imagine ball hugging cut off denim shorts, platform boots, skin tight flannel, and an Aladdin Sane thunderbolt. Not some big bear type of thing but far more glammy. Well, quite a spell after we laughed about this monstrosity I actually began to see people wearing outfits like that. You could imagine how ridiculous I found the whole thing. These hipsters (why is it always these dingbats?) could barely break a pencil, let alone cut down a tree. So what the hell does this diatribe have to do with Steve Treatment you're probably wondering. Well, this guy was responsible for another permutation of the glam genre. I don't know if this is an accepted term but his work seems to dwell in what should probably be called the bedroom glam subgenre (that is, if we wanted to create some sort of taxonomy). This is like Marc Bolan with a pocket full of lint rather than a mountain of coke. 25 'A' Sides is right, since they're all hits. Now kiddies, it's really about time to stop ripping of the 80s synth sound. And knock it off with the shoegaze plagiarism. That's stale too. If you're going to have at a classic sound why not try your hand at glam? Oh, that's right, then you couldn't bury your lack of skills under sheets of reverb & echo and everyone will become full aware of your suckitude.



The weather's been up and down here. The upper 80s gave way to thunderstorms and freezing rain. Today it's back to sunny and breezy so I think I'll give this a spin, sit out on the patio, sip some iced tea, and watch the golden finches flit about. And that's what this album seems made for. I'm not much of a connoisseur of Danish psych so I can't speak to the significance of this album. In many ways it seems to parallel what was going on in Sweden at the time. So if you were into any of those albums I posted than this is one more album for those searching for that acid/folk/strum/exotica essence. I think most people into that whole collective improv sound that cropped up in the 90s and most likely reached its apex in the early 2000s will find much to coddle up to with this one.

Here (Re-upped 4/13/12)

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Ravi Harris & the Prophets-Funky Sitar Man

I always wanted to play the sitar, but they're really expensive and I also kinda think I'd look like a dick sitting around strumming on one. Kinda like those people who walk around with exotic animals on a leash or bring those stupid fucking twirly hippie lights (haven't the faintest clue what that shit is called) to a rock show. That might make me a bit bias as I'm typically up for some funky sitar. Normally, you'd have to look to the East to find those funky breaks matched with the sitar (see ten million Bollywood soundtracks), however here's a homegrown delight. I'm also a sucker for covers too. When those covers happen to be of the Meters, James Brown, and the JB's, then you're definitely hitting the mark. Who would have thought that Cissy Strutt on a sitar would sound so good? I am sure this has already been sampled to death, back when people actually sampled music. Now we have computers so there's really no need for that anymore. There's no need to even listen to music either.


Vulcan-Meet Your Ghost

What the fuck is there to do in Spencer, Iowa? Where the fuck is Spencer, Iowa is probably a more appropriate question however. Well, if you happened to be dwelling in some basement in the late 70s and want to make your parent's poodle go deaf you could have recorded one of the all time heavy, heavy fuzz symphonies. That's what this guy did. My, My...there's almost too many reasons to like this one. It's got the whole loner appeal. There's a girl making out with a fucking mummy or something on the cover. Fuzz that will cave in the soft spot on a baby's skull. Plenty of ineptitude which always equals awesomeness. And so much more. No joke, there was a long period where I didn't know of this album's existence and upon first hearing I had an instant connection with this album. No great Joycean epiphany or anything, just one of those moments where the sound you've been dreaming about for years is finally heard. So thank you Mr. Lyle Steece.


Nobuko Hori-xtoyourmilkyhair

Readers know I'm a lazy man. The only things I put much time into is teaching and cooking. But the spirit and passion for both of those has been on the decline in recent months. That being said I can just do the whole lazy man music descriptors I've been reading about this album and just say it's a Japanese Bjork. But that just sounds really shitty and will most likely discourage downloads. So let's dig a little deeper with this one. Yes, there are some pretty idiosyncratic girly vocals. There's some electronic fuckery to boot. Maybe it's just me and my dislike of Bjork (okay, that weird folk album she made when she was like 7 was pretty cool) but I just don't want to make that analogy. Maybe your ears bend a bit differently than mine however. Negative point to Hori however for those gross pregnancy photos I discovered when trying to find some info on her. Keep that shit covered up.


DG 307-(1973-5)

When it comes to underground Czech rock (and it was way underground) Plastic People of the Universe get all the credit (see old post). People seem to forget that, although the scene was criminally small (because it was actually illegal to participate in these shows see, so that's a pun for you), there was more than just that one band. I love them too, but I probably play this a little more. Lots of this foreshadows soundways that would later be explored by Throbbing Gristle and the like. It's not industrial music, but there's a gloomy creepiness to it if that makes sense. In a weird way this sounds like the bizzaro world soundtrack to Makavejev's most absurd films. Why this isn't on the NWW list, I can only guess, is that it was probably impossible to come by when Stapleton and cohorts were compiling the bands. Careful, this album's got teeth.



As black and as deep as space itself, this album is in many ways the synthesis of all the fantastic achievements of French prog/psych. If you're familiar with the releases on the legendary Pôle label then you can imagine a group who took from all of those bands (Besombes, Pôle, Mahogany Brain, etc.), stirred in some Magma & Gong, then threw it in a tar pit, you might be approaching these sounds. It's not that these guys were plagiarist or anything, so don't think that's what I'm saying. But they just seemed to absorb so much of the goodness that was going around and still produce something utterly unique. So, if you're like me and are obsessed with all things Francophone (especially the proggy things) then this is essential listening. However, if you are not like me then you may keep your comments to yourself.


Sunday, May 22, 2011

Television Personalities-Mummy You're Not Watching

Not dead yet folks. Well, at least not physically. I know it’s been some time since my last post and for that I’ll post double my typical amount so make sure you scroll down and visit the next page lest you miss some of the goodies. And thanks to those you e-mailed me with concerns. It’s strange to think that people I never have met are interested in my goings on. But I’m in a lengthy process of moving around the country. So I just got back to Chicago last night after a bullshit trip where my coolant valve broke and I had to shack up in some shithole near Cleveland. From there it’s to Kansas City for a week, then L.A. for a month, the back to Chicago for a few days, then back to K.C. for who knows how long. And I fucking hate moving. Records and books are space consuming and heavy. I also didn’t have an internet connection for about a month. But enough about my super fascinating life. Record time. There really is no better way for me to signal my grand return than by posting something by a band who I love dearly. And since this is fairly popular it also saves my fingers some strength since there’s no need to be verbose with this classic. You probably know this one already. Good for you. If not, then here it is.


Parameter-Galactic Ramble

Stoned out limeys (that’s a nautical term, right?) dwelling in a cave with only a description of how V.U. sounds, a mountain of pot, and some instruments? That’s the only way I can think of how this classic album was created. I actually know nothing about these guys (I’m pretty sure they’re guys) aside from the fact that this is definitely on my all time classic psych albums list. I’ve talked to a few people about this album and they seem as clueless as me. I’m sure I can turn up some info on line about them, but I don’t have a smart phone and I like the mystery. What happened to mystery anyways? God, now I’m sounding Catholic. Anyways, I’ll let all the hipsters say Forever Changes is the best psych album of all time (I actually love Love too) but really, when was the last time you talked to a hipster who actually knew what the fuck he was talking about?


Colin Blunstone-One Year

I know you love Odessey & Oracle. How could you not? It is an utter classic. It’s a real shame that the Zombies couldn’t get it together to make a follow up. Maybe it’s best that they didn’t. Just don’t try to tell me that those Argent albums inspire the same sense of longing and wistfulness as that disc. Good news for those who already didn’t know (coming at you 40 years after the fact), Blunstone gave us this. Of course, it would be near impossible to live up to the glories of his former band, but he doesn’t seem to concern himself with simple duplication (or is replication the proper word?). You can’t fault a man for not wanting to stick in a rut, no matter who glorious that rut may be.


Lily & Maria

This album cover kinda reminds me of these two attractive lesbians that liked to hit on me. We both knew it wasn’t going any where but it still made me feel better. That was until one of them started to get jealous at the amount of attention her partner was showing me. I’m not saying that these girls are lesbians or anything, just that they remind me of those other girls. I guess many of you will look at the image and think of a million other faceless girly folk albums that seem so ubiquitous in the dollar bins. Big mistake pal. It’s nothing like that. Sure, it is folk but there is some high grade strangeness too. Now that I’m finally out of fucking West Virginia I feel it’s time for something pretty.


Joni Mitchell-The Hissing of Summer Lawns

I’m pretty sure I’ve read somewhere that this is Prince’s favorite album of all time. And who the hell are you to say otherwise? You definitely aren’t as cool as he is. And I know you can’t pull off those cheekless trousers that he sports (please don’t try). I’m sure everybody’s parents have some Joni in their record collections and that there’s a whole generation who missed out on this Canuck siren. But just because the elder folk might enjoy this should never mean that it’s out of place in these times. Why is it that kids always think they’re so smart anyways?