Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Mi Ami
"African Rhythms" 

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I found Mi Ami's first album, Watersports, in a bargain bin. The cover photo of what looked like a gay Mummers' parade caught my eye, so I bought it. I loved it! It became one of my favorite albums of 2009, in fact. They strike me as a cross between the avant garde punk funk of The Pop Group and ___________________.

I did some research and found that, at that point in time, there were five 12" singles and EPs, in addition to the killer full-length. I found the two more recent than the album (Techno 1.1 and Cut Men) at a local record store, the third (Echononecho) at Amazon for a super cheap price, and the second 12" (Ark of the Covenant) at Goner Records' on-line shop, of all places. Their debut, however, eluded me. The fact tht it was a limited pressing of 400 copies didn't help, either!

I happened to mention on a message board that I was looking for it. A friend involved in independent music distribution read my post, and stuck a copy in a box he was putting together to ship to my favorite local record store that very day! So, here's the title track, in all its glory. Enjoy!

Monday, August 30, 2010

GoodThunder
 "Barking at the Ants" 

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GoodThunder
GoodThunder
LP
(Elektra Records, 1972)

I found this in the stacks at my college radio station ages ago; the rather colorful cover lept right out at me and clawed out my eyes. I know I played something from it at least once or twice on the air, and I never forgot the title of this little ditty. The fact that someone wrote on the cover that it was getting played too much probably helped.

^_^

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Thule
 "Springtime (Etched in Ice)" 

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Thule
La jamais contente
12" EP
(Wiiija Records, 1989)

One of the advantages of dating a concert promoter is getting free stuff. In the year we were together, I discovered several cool things just by looking through piles of records from bands that wanted to tour. Groups like Caspar Brötzmann Massaker (Petey's kid), Toby Dammit (a Dutch band, not the current one), Death by Milkfloat, etc. and Thule. I never heard anything else by them, but I love this 12" EP. They did get the album that followed at my local record store, but it was super expensive, so I never bought it.

v_v

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Bill Nelson's
 Red Noise 
"Stay Young"

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Bill Nelson's
Red Noise

Revolt into Style
12" single
(Harvest, 1979)

This one's for Влад. Happy birthday!

^_^

Friday, August 27, 2010

Shatter
 "Each Moment" 

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Shatter
Each Moment
7" single
(Fuck-Far-Out-Political-Records, 1989)

I was given a copy of this by the band when I was in Der Schweiz back in 1989. The only time I ever got a death threat during my college radio show was one of the times I spun this lil' slab o' wax. I didn't even get a death threat when I played all four sides of Lou Reed's Metal Machine Music.

They followed this with an LP but I'm not sure if there was anything further. This, simply by itself, is a venerable legacy.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

West Coast Pop Art Experimental Band
 "Give Me Your Lovething" 

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West Coast Pop Art Experimental Band
Where's My Daddy?
LP
(Amos Records, 1969)

Write-up forthcoming . . .

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

The Spinto Band
"Atlantic" 

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I was introduced to the music of The Spinto Band by Joel Alter, leader of the most excellent ensemble The Martha Dumptruck Massacre. I was the only person who showed up at their second Atlanta-area appearance (not their fault, it was a disreputable club that did no promotion whatsoever for touring bands), so he gave me this little record as a thanks. It was on the same label as MDM, Sleepglue, which I think was Joel's label.

Of the four songs present, Misogyny Is Cool was later re-released as a b-side on the CD single for Direct to Helmet, and Small Burg appeared on a Japanese compilation CD. The other two are, to the best of my knowledge, completely exclusive to this record. Both are good, but I prefer Atlantic to Leave This Town, so here it is.

^_^

Yes, MDM will be featured here sometime soon, too.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Dampading
"LDBM"

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Dampading
Dampading
7" EP
(Drazzig Records, 1995)

My favorite Atlanta band is Brass Castle, the incomparable duo of Christian Gordy and Chris Strawn. Chris(tian) started out in bands in Jacksonville, FL before moving here; Gordy was in Dampading and Strawn in Gizzard.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Yo La Tengo
"Private Doberman"

Yo La Tengo
Luxury Condos Coming to Your Neighborhood Soon
compilation LP
(Coyote Records, 1985)

Yo La Tengo's first vinyl appearance (or was The River of Water 45 first?) finds them sounding more like The Feelies than the Yo La Tengo of today. No matter, it's still pretty sweet, and hasn't appeared elsewhere (I don't think).

Sunday, August 22, 2010

The Scientists
 "Melodramatic Touch" 

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Scientists
Rubber Never Sleeps
cassette
(Au-go-go, 1985)

Perth, Australia's The Scientists started out in 1978 as a punkish power pop group. They went through four line-ups, released a few records (a 7" single, a 7" EP, and an LP), did some touring, and split up.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Sluggo
 "Of It" 

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Sluggo
Contradiction
7" EP
(Shag Dog Records, 1983)

Cincinatti, Ohio's Sluggo's claim to fame was their ages. Singer Julian was the baby of the group, at 14, and drummer Andrew was the geriatric, still pounding the skins at the advanced age of 17. The lyrics to this little gem were written by 16-year-old bassist Karl, who penned the words to 75% of the tunes on this platter. Julian and Chris [see below] each wrote one, and Andrew let his sticks do the talking. The aforementioned Chris rounded out the ensemble on the electric, six-stringed twanger, and fit between Julian and Karl (i.e., he was 15). The majority of this lil' EP is pretty good, early/mid-80's hardcore, but this song stands out, and I've always dug it.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Gods Gift
"925"

Gods Gift
Gods Gift
7" EP
(Newmarket Records, 1979)

We got Gods Gift's single Discipline at my college radio station back in the early 1980s. It was a big, thick slice of post punk, with chanted vocals and ugly fuzz guitar built on a bed of repetitious, throbbing groove, and I loved it. On the back, there was a note that it was their third record, but no info on the first two.

Fast forward to the days of the internet and search engines, and, after considerable effort and time, I finally managed to track down the second record, a four song 12" EP, and their debut, a self-released three song 7" EP. Today's song is the b-side of that first 7".

Last year, Messthetics released a cool compilation of stuff by Gods Gift called Pathology. Material from all three records, plus stuff from two cassettes I didn't even know about, is included. Today's song, however, is one of the ones left off. So, here you go!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Man Ray
"September's Chance"

Man Ray
Demo – 1983
cassette
(self-released, 1983)

The summer of 1983 was an eye-opener for me, musically. I was living in the Washington, D.C. area, and had been going to see locals like Minor Threat and Government Issue for a couple of years. In 1983, though, a new club named Oscar's Eye opened in D.C. It was a tiny room a couple of floors up from a gay bar. There was a stage at one end where, allegedly, they sometimes had drag shows. Hardcore bands played there, but also bands on the musical fringes played there. Touring bands like Your Food and oddball, abrasive locals like No Trend and Nuclear Crayons.

And Man Ray

I thought they were amazing. They were hypnotic, dark, and the soloing from the guitarist, Neil, and multi-instrumentalist, Eley, was anarchic and free. I mean, what they played sounded random but also perfect. I'd already been enjoying playing of that nature on a couple of songs by Bill Nelson's Red Noise and New Zealand's Split Enz, so it's not too surprising that I loved it. I was also heavily into Flipper at the time, and still am to this day.

I mentioned the guitarist was named Neil, yes? His last name was Hagerty. After Man Ray split, I saw him play with his new band Jet Boys of the N.W., opening for the always amazing Half Japanese. Not too long after, there was this new local band in town called Pussy Galore. I can't say I was a fan, but then, all of a sudden, there was Neil playing with them . . . and they rocked!

After PG split, Neil went on to co-lead Royal Trux with Jennifer Herrema. After they split, he went the solo route for a few records, then started a new combo, The Howling Hex. It's all good.

Jennifer's new band, btw, is RTX, and I may feature them here, too, as I was lucky enough to snag one of the 200 copies of the 7" single with their cover of Pentagram's Vampyre Love.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Débile Menthol
 "Bou de Mou" 

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Débile Menthol
Live en Europe 1982-84
cassette
(Edition Unbeirrt, 1984)

Débile Menthol were a group of Swiss nutters in the early 1980s. While they were too late to actually be a part of Rock in Opposition, which included folks like Henry Cow, Univers Zero, and Etron fou Leloublan, it makes sense to me to think of them as related. Pedants may now bite off my head, if they so desire.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Angel
"Better Days"

Angel
Winter Song
7" single
(Casablanca Record and Filmworks [Canada], 1977)

Angel's logo was the same right side up and upside down! How badass is that??? Especially to a budding teen with a thing for badass band logos!

They were my favorite band when I was 13/14 years old, after deciding Kiss sucked and before discovering Nektar. Of course, I decided at some point that Angel sucked, too, and sold all my records (I'd already given my Kiss records to my baby sister). As I got into my mid-30s or so, I started pining a bit for some of the music of my youth. I rebought all the Angel albums on CD, even Sinful, which I'd hated before.

I also repurchased stuff by AC/DC (Bon-era only), Iron Maiden (1st two albums), Jade Warrior, Judas Priest, Kiss, and Scorpions (up through Blackout), among others. But that's not important right now. Please, forget I said anything about it.

One Angel thing I'd not had before was this single, which I'd never heard about, not being a Canadian citizen in 1977, or any point before or after. Now, the A-side is just a song from their penultimate studio album, White Hot, but the b-side, presented here, has never been released anywhere other than Canada, to the best of my knowledge. The b-side on the US version of the single was just another track from the album.

Yes, I know a lot, if not most, of y'all will hate this song. Hopefully, though, at least one person won't, 'cause I don't.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Einstürzende Neubauten
 "Kollaps" 

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Einstürzende Neubauten
Das Abendprogramm
compilation LP
(Riskant, 1982)

OK, not so obscure this time 'round. On the other hand, this exclusive compilation track has never been reissued anywhere else, and this live version of "Kollaps" is rather different from the studio version on their debut LP, also called Kollaps. Enjoy!

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Melts
 "Prinsen" 

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Melts
Extinct-O-Matic Compilation #1
7" compilation EP
(Extinctomatic Records, 199?)

Melts were a local band I heard about but never saw in the early/mid '90s in Atlanta. The bass player in the band I was in in '93/'94 tried to get us shows with them, but they always fell through. I didn't even know they'd ever released anyting 'til I came across their lone CD, Salicoutinäw, in a bargain bin years later. I've not seen another copy since, actually.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Chienne 50¢
 "Kipiki" 

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Chienne 50¢
Blender Mix
compilation LP
(No Pigs Records, 1983)

Here's another record I picked up on my angry, post-teenage trip to Canada. It's an interesting mixture (ha!) of punk and weirdness, and Chienne 50¢ (50¢ Bitch) are my fave band contained therein. They have three songs, and it was a tough pick between "Men Is Dog" and "Kipiki," 'cause I love both; "Sex in Clarinette" is good, just not as.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Air
"Suisse Air"

Air
Montreux Suisse Air
LP
(Arista/Novus, 1978)

As you may have guessed, this is not the French electronic duo Air, but, rather, an American free jazz trio from the 70's & 80's:

  • Henry Threadgill (alto, tenor and baritone saxophones, hubkaphone)
  • Fred Hopkins (bass)
  • Steve McCall (drums, percussion)

I started listening to Air when I found out Henry Threadgill was a member. The first jazz artist that resonated with me was Threadgill. My college radio show used to follow the last jazz programming of the day (I was a rock DJ). Almost invariably, if I liked something and asked Steve (the DJ) what it was, his answer was Henry Threadgill.

The first Threadgill stuff I got was the albums he did with his combo The Henry Threadgill Sextett, and they were mighty fine. I think Montreux Suisse Air was the first Air album I bought, around twenty years ago. Or possibly not. It was recorded at the Montreux Jazz Festival on July 22, 1978. I like it.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Maynards
"Suckerfish" 

Maynards
The Sound of No Hands Clapping
b-side of a mix tape
(not really released, 1990)

I've known Maynard for close to thirty years; he does not play on this song. His name, however, was the source of the band's.

See, Maynard played drums in the band, but James was the primary songwriter; Eric played the bass. This ferocious little ditty, however, James recorded at home with his ferocious little four track. Not long after, he left our ferocious little town and joined the ferocious little band Christmas. Together, they recorded the ferocious little album Vortex, which wasn't released until after they'd split up, if my ferocious little memory serves me correctly.

After that, he ended up joining Yo La Tengo on bass for a European tour or something. That was nearly twenty years ago, and he's still with them. That is one long tour, huh?

He gave me a tape of a live set by the Maynards and a few home recordings long ago; I've always especially loved Suckerfish. So, I asked his permission to post it, and he said it would be OK. Enjoy!

In addition to playing with Yo La Tengo, he has a solo project called Dump. He's done scads of singles, EPs, full-length releases, splits with other artists, and compilation tracks. It's all good. I'm not just saying that because he's my friend; I'm saying that because he could probably snap me in two, like a twig.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

The Graverobbers
"Scratch My Youth Off"

The Graverobbers
Justine
7" single
(Ask U Tone, 1990)

The Graverobbers hailed from the Washington, D.C. area in the '80s and '90s, but they had a low rather profile. My first even hearing of them was when they played a party at ΣΝ, a former fraternity (the DEA shut it down) at the university from which I was, and continue to be, an alumnus. My friend Bob was a long-time fan of theirs, and he had good taste in music, and we were in a band together at the time, so I joined him.

I thought they were pretty great. Wreckless Eric sounded like a likely influence, and, what'd'ya know, not long after I'd arrived at that conclusion, they did a lovely rendition his 3rd single Take the Cash (K.A.S.H.).

The a-side of this little slab o' wax is good, but the b-side is killer, hence it being today's jukebox selection. The Graverobbers released two more singles and three excellent, full-length CDs:

I highly recommend all three.

Leader Karl Straub is still playing music, but I'm not sure if he's released anything since the demise of The Gravediggers.

NOTE: The covers for these were die-cut, with, I think, a handful of different women portraying Justine. I'm not 100% positive, but I'm pretty sure that's notorious sereal killer Beverly R. Sutphin on my copy.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

RF7
"No One to Trust"

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RF7
Futurerock
compilation LP
(La Habra Music, 1981)

RF7 are a kickass, long-running, but not as well known SoCal hardcore band. Their first release on their own was a 7" EP called Acts of Defiance; I have been looking for a copy for around 25 years now, with no luck (it's been reissued recently, but I want the real deal). When their discography comes up, however, this release is conspicuously absent.

For one thing, that cover! OMG, the worst aspects of early 80s graphic design all rolled into one, deliciously horrific piece of "art." The other, and more likely main, reason is this song is not hardcore. Not even close. I don't know if they started as a new wave band and changed, or if this song is an anomoly. I used to think it was awful, but now I kinda like it. So sue me.

Their latest album, last year's Hatred on the Rise, is pretty raging, btw.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Phonogenix
 "Hymns for Savannah" 

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Phonogenix
Hymns for Savannah
12" EP
(Eastern Works, 1984)

I picked this up because I'm a big fan of Masashi Kitamura, best known for leading the prog/post-punk band YBO². I'll likely be posting stuff by them at some point, in addition to his other groups Canis Lupus, Differance and The Spectremen.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Evan Johns and the H-Bombs
 "Mind of My Own" 

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Evan Johns and the H-Bombs
Giddy Up Girl
10" EP
(DECO Records, 1980)

I used to see this record at my local store when I was in high school, but knew nothing about the guy. In college, I went to see him play live with a friend of mine and was blown away. I remember remarking that his guitar sounded like barbed-wire being ripped through broken glass.

It made sense to me, darn it!

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Albert Marcœur
 «Deux lions au soleil» 
Extraits de la musique du film de Claude Faraldo
enregistrée à Hérouville (novembre et décembre 1979) par Laurent Thibault

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Albert Marcœur
This Heat/Marcœur
split cassette release with This Heat
(Tago Mago, 1982)

I bought this tape because I had This Heat's album Deceit and thought it was really great.

After a number of listens, I decided I liked Marcœur's side of the tape more, but had no idea where to get anything else by him. Eventually, in the mid-90s, I found a dbl-CD, Albert Marcœur présente, that compiled his first four albums:

  • Albert Marcœur
  • Album à colorier
  • Armes & Cycles
  • Celui où y'a Joseph
I've been a big fan ever since.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Siekiera
"Misiowie puszyści"

Siekiera
Jest bezpiecznie
7" single
(Tonpress, 1985)

Kids in Poland used to send me copies of local punk records in exchange for copies of my band's album; this was one of those singles. It's the b-side of the pictured single, actually. When I went to see if there was any info on them on the web, I discovered they have a MySpace (linked via the band name above). There's a cool b&w video for this spiffy lil' number, even.

After this, Siekiera released one album, Nowa Aleksandria, which has been reissued on CD at least three times now. The tracks from the single are included as bonus tracks, but I don't know if there are any other extras as all I have is the OG vinyl of the single and album.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Hi·Sheriffs of Blue
"Cold Chills"
(parts 1 & 2)

Hi·Sheriffs of Blue
Cold Chills
7" single
(Tweet Records, 1981)

Vocalist (and tambourinist) Mark Dagley was a member of Boston art-punkers the Girls in the late '70s; their 7" single The Elephant Man/Jeffrey I Hear You is essential listening. I guess he moved to NYC after that, as the Hi·Sheriffs of Blue were a New York band. Cold Chills was their second single, and was actually spread across two sides. When it was reissued by Jimboco Records, along with their Ain't but Sweet 16 debut single, as a 12" EP, the song was presented as a single piece. So . . . I cheated. I own both the original single and the 12", so the cover here is the 7" but the song was ripped from the 12". I'm so evil!

After this single, they released a 12" EP that featured Elliott Sharp on guitar. They also appeared on some compilations and a split single, but I don't recall who was on the other side of it, and don't have time to go digging through my record collection.

The Abaton Book Company has been promising a Hi·Sheriffs of Blue CD for several years, but it has yet to see the light of the day. Feel free to contact them and complain.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Dynamite Master's Blues Quartet
 "21" 

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Dynamite Master's Blues Quartet was the original name of hard rockin' Japanese psychedelic bluesters DMBQ.

DMBQ's website is quite spartan at the moment, with just two listings for solo shows by leader Shinji Masuko, so I'm not sure if they're currently active or not. Regardless, their old site had a discography that left off what are generally thought to be their first three albums:

  • Dynamite Master's Blues Quartet (Less Than TV, 1994?)
  • EXP (Less Than TV, 1995?)
  • COG (¡Por Supuesto! Records, 1996)

I've seen interviews where they've referred to the eponymous CD on Less Than TV as their debut, but Sonic Distortion predates it by at least a few years; I'm not sure why all the secrecy, though. Then again, their later material is rather more psychedelic and out there, compared to this album. I like all their stuff, though, a good deal of which is, I believe, still in print.

There is no info in the booklet or tray card for Sonic Distortion, other than song titles, but the band members are easily recognizable from the photos. Unfortunately, this means I don't know if this is an original or a cover of a song I don't know. At least one song is definitely a cover, though;「いい娘だね」was a b-side by Japanese 60's psychedelic rockers the Jacks.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Cold War Kids
 "Don't Let Your Love Grow Away (from Me)" 

I was hipped to Cold War Kids by my Russian friend Влад, who resides in the Czech Republic and goes to an English school, despite CWK being an American band. Apparently, they came into his town and helped him party down, as I have seen multiple photos of him in his CWK t-shirt.

Before they released their excellent debut album, Robbers & Cowards, they released three limited-edition CD EPs. Most of the songs on them were either later re-used or completely re-recorded, but three from the first, Mulberry Street, have not appeared anywhere else, to the best of my knowledge. Today's song is my favorite of those three.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Quartz
"Quartz"

Quartz
Quartz
LP
(Marlin, 1978)

I found this one in the "New Arrivals" bin at my fave local record shop two or three years ago. I knew it couldn't possibly be the NWoBHM* band Quartz, despite never having heard either; it just didn't look like a metal record (it was also from 1978, just a bit too early to be NWoBHM).

It looked worth the risk, so I snatched it.

YES, I PAID FOR IT!

I slapped it on the victola when I arrived home and discovered it was a disco record; the first disco record I'd bought in my life, in fact. Except it sounds like a disco version of Magma. Unfortunately, side two is rather pedestrian disco.

They released a second album, Camel in the City, and it, too, was half really cool and half strictly dullsville.

Yes, this means I now own two disco records; oh, the shame!


*New Wave of British Heavy Metal

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Kevin Ayers
"Animals"

Kevin Ayers
Animals
7" single
(Columbia [Spain], 1982)

Around twenty years ago, my friend Audrey made a compilation tape of Kevin Ayers stuff for me, thinking I would like it.

I did. A lot. I knew the name, but had no idea who he was or what his music was like.

I started getting what I could find and eventually, several years later, found a website with a fairly extensive discography. This might be the rarest of the lot, though I don't know for certain. I do know, however, that it was released only in Spain, where Ayers was living at the time, in Deià. I also know that the first time I saw a copy come up on eBay, the winning bid was around $200! I just checked Quicken, and I paid $13.19 for my copy, shipping from Spain included.

HA!

There are no musician credits, but if that's not Kev's usual cohort, the amazing Ollie Halsall, on guitar, I'll eat my hat. I get to choose which hat, though.