Monday, May 30, 2011

"A Love Supreme"

Revolution on Ice
(Sony Records [Japan], 1994)

"A Love Supreme" is one of those jazz covers that's been done enough that it's pretty much a cliché. Well, too bad! Today's piece is a cover of it, featuring some lovely, screaming psychedelic guitar skree from ax-meister Don Fleming. As you may know, these days many CDs come out in Japan with extra songs for the Japanese market; that was the case with this one. I already had the album in question, Revolution on Ice, when I stumbled across a Japanese pressing in a bargain bin. Hooray!

Gumball arose from the demise of the somewhat similarly named B.A.L.L., who had also featured Fleming on guitar and Jay Spiegel on drums. On their 1989 European tour, however, bassist Kramer just up and quit. They soldiered on for a bit longer, I guess, as I saw them with bassist Guy Pinhas at the Circus in Gammelsforf, near Munich, West Germany. It was an insane show. I'm not sure if Guy knew the songs or not, but he played like a madman. Don shredded away on the guit, and Jay held down the rhythm. The highlight of the show was the encore; roadie Joey Pea came out in a green lamé dress and feather boa, and they did a slammin' cover of The Stooges' "Funhouse."

Sunday, May 29, 2011

"Take on Me"

(Home Tapes, 2008)

To quote The Damned, I'm "Sick of Being Sick." I've had the flu, or something similar, for the last week, hence the lack of posts. I'm still sick, but feeling up to posting at the moment, so you get one! No kisses, though. I'm not sharing my germs; they're MINE MINE MINE!!!

One of the things I love about covers, is a cover can take a song one absolutely loathes and make it listenable, nay, even enjoyable! Today's example comes courtesy of Denmark's Slaraffenland, from their fourth release, the Sunshine EP. Now, I'm not gonna say who did the original, but I'll link the video after the jump. I just searched it out on YouTube, and, yep, I still hate it. Were it not for the innovative video techniques, including ripping off Altered States, I doubt it would've been the massive hit it was.

I discovered Slaraffenland, btw, via the bargain bin at my favorite local record store. Their second album (and third release, overall), Private Cinema, was in the bin of oddly shapped stuff and it really grabbed my eye and pulled. Hard. See, it was packaged in a little hardback book, rather than a jewelcase or digipak. On top of that, the band name was interesting, the artwork was neat, and IT WAS PINK! Sold!

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Job's Daughters
"The Prophecy of Daniel and John the Divine (Six-Six-Six)"

Job's Daughters
The Prophecy of Daniel and John the Divine/Sinner Man
7" single
(Nuf Sed Southwestern Radio Church, 1991)

And so we begin covers week! Now, as I was driving around town on Saturday (i.e., yesterday), I was writing down ideas in my cute lil' notepad app in my HTC Tilt 2 smartass phone. I did this, of course, only at stop lights and when waiting at the drive-through window at my dealer. Ninth on my list of idears was this little platter, which I first heard on a mix tape my buddy James made for me eons ago (like, probably twenty years ago, seeing as this record is almost old enough to drink in the USA). When I pulled it out of one of my many crates of little records, the cover made it disturbingly obvious that it had to be today's song.

Anyhow, I fell in love with the song, and the first copy I saw for sale, I snapped up. As you can tell by the price sticker, it was in a bargain bin; yes, it took me well over a decade to stumble across one. So, anyhow, I looked at the credits, and it's a COVER! And it was originally recorded by The Partridge Family The Cowsills, at that! How crazy is that? I've still never heard the original, so my apologies if this adds nothing new to it. Six more goodies in store in the next few days! And next month will be an entire theme month! Unless I change my mind, of course.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Sorry . . . No Post Today

I've been sitting here all damn day waiting to get Raptured. It's nearly 5 p.m. (EDT), and I'm still here. I guess I better go ahead and pay some bills, then.


Tomorrow starts another theme week, btw. Not tellin' what it is, though. Of course, if I do get Raptured before I write tomorrow's post, well, I guess you'll never know what my theme was gonna be.



Monday, May 16, 2011

"James Brown Is Burst"

Sim House
2001 Daisy Groove

compilation CD
(SSE Communications, 1992)

OK, so it's been a while since I featured any techno. Oh, wait . . . I've never featured techno on this blog. Time for that to change, then! So, "James Brown is Burst" is one of the greatest titles ever. I'm not sure if they meant it literally, as in his stomach exploded, or if they're referring to him getting out of prison. Personally, I prefer the former scenario; well, visually at least. Then again, I was certainly guilty of referring to Mr. Brown as "Cell Brother #1" during his incarceration in the late 80s.

Nazoo are a bit of an enigma. I've got tracks on three different compilations (this one, Galax3 and D.A.N.C.E.2.N.O.I.S.E.0.0.3), and they're all pretty great. Naturally, because of this I decided to buy their lone album, Dear Heavens, Children In His Twilight. Who knows why, but they dropped the hard techno from their sound almost entirely and the damn thing is borderline new age at points. Oh, well. Regardless, today's track rocks, imo.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Gold Sparkle Band

Gold Sparkle Band
Can't U C ↓ The Sea?
(Old Gold, 1994)

When these cats first started playing around town, all the local critics could muster to write about was their choice of attire, and that the Gold Sparkle in their name was a reference to drummer Andrew Barker's kit. I guess the concept of jazz being played by . . . gasp! . . . dudes who'd been in rock bands was too much for their little minds to grasp. You see, Barker had pounded the skins with Melts, featured here last August, and bassist Andrew Burnes had bassed with Barrel, whom I mentioned in my post for San Agustin, since they were his next destination after leaving the GSB. The other three guys in this lineup of the band had formerly been members of Menudo*.

This nifty little cassette was their debut release. Three of the five songs were re-recorded for their first CD, Earthmover. Today's piece, however, is not one of them.

*this is a lie

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

The Spectre's Revenge
"No Moon at Midnight"

The Spectre's Revenge
No Moon at Midnight
7" single
(Au-go-go Records, 1985)

Back in the 1980's, when the Internet was still operated by hand-crank, and no one could really afford it, mailorder was done via printed-and-mailed catalogues and phone calls. I know; weird, right? A group of friends and myself used to place huge orders with Au-go-go Records on the other side of the planet, in Australia. I'd make the call, when the rates went down at two a.m., and around two months later, our order would show up at my PO box (airmail was prohibitively expensive, at the time). Whenever I'd call in our order, I'd ask if there was anything they recommended. One of those times, I ended up with this snazzy lil' single by The Spectre's Revenge. I wish I knew more about them, but I do not; other than they also released a (live?) cassette which Au-go-go Records never seemed to get back in stock, much to my chagrin.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

The Velvet Underground
"I Heard Her Call My Name"

The Velvet Underground
White Light/White Heat
(Verve Records, 1968)

And then my mind split open . . .

Favorite Guitar Solos Week draws to a close with the greatest guitar solo ever in the history of recorded music, from the second album by The Velvet Underground, 1968's White Light/White Heat. Now, there's crazy soloing all over the place here, so, to be more specific, I mean the solo starting at roughly the -2:20 mark, right after Lou "Walk on the Wild Side" Reed says the above line.

Friday, May 6, 2011

"Reasons Love"

No Heavy Petting
(Chrysalis Records, 1976)

So, yeah, I'm a metalhead. Deal with it.

It was 8th grade when Jeff B______ asked me one day in Spanish class, snidely, Baltimore, do you like anything besides heavy metal? He was a dick, and not the good kind. The following year, I rationalized to myself that I couldn't possibly be gay, 'cause I liked such tough music. Amongst bands making said tough music, UFO was already one of my favorites. I even managed to see them that school year, with godlike guitarist Michael Schenker still in the band. It wasn't 'til 11th or 12th grade that I got this album, however. His soloing on this song floored me. I couldn't believe how fast he was playing! Sadly, he only lasted two more studio albums and left after the recording of their second live album, the classic Strangers in the Night.

NOTE: The intro to this song is my primary ringtone. Yeah, I make my own ringtones, bitch.

NOTE2: Schenker was the replacement for guitarist Bernie Marsden, who replaced Larry Wallis, who replaced Mick Bolton, who played on the previous UFO song I posted, Timothy.

NOTE3: Larry Wallis was the original guitarist for Motörhead, featured here just two days ago. Yes, the world of rock'n'roll is rampant with the sin of incest.

NOTE4: Schenker may be godlike, but his work outside UFO ranges from OK to awful. Be forewarned.

NOTE5: Astute listeners may realize that, if you take the main riff here and slow it down . . . Voilà! You get Jane's Addiction's Mountain Song. Bitches. I've never liked them; I'm not even gonna hyperlink to 'em. HA!

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Black Flag
"Damaged II"

Black Flag
(Unicorn/SST Records, 1981)

Black Flag's Greg Ginn . . .

Whereas Snakefinger played the wrong notes in the right places and Ollie Halsall was unhinged, Ginn was just . . . alien. On the one hand, his solos sound almost like completely random collections of notes. On the other, they work! I watched him closely a few times at shows; it may have seemed like chaos, but I think he knew exactly what he was doing. I also observed him practicing scales before soundcheck when a friend of mine promoted a Black Flag show.

Picking a single song wasn't easy, so I went with this one as it's one of my favorites and he solos just about non-stop for the entire thing.

I cheated on the pic again. I own the original pressing of this album, with the tiny Unicorn logo in the lower right as in the photo, but it's the middle of the night. I get my best results photographing album covers (since they are too big for my scanner) on bright, sunny days, when I can use natural light. I'd not had a chance in the last few days to go take pictures, so I was naughty. Please, forgive me. Or don't. Whatever.


Wednesday, May 4, 2011

"(We Are) The Road Crew"

Ace of Spades
(Bronze Records, 1980)

Why do I love this solo? Well, for starters, it's nice and noisy. I love a good wha-wha workout, and guitarist Fast Eddie Clarke can't keep his foot off the darn thing on this song. What sends it over the top for me, though, is what happens at roughly the -0:45 mark. Eddie stops playing, but his guitar is still on and emitting howls of feedback for 15 or so seconds before he starts playing again. I can't help but picture him jamming away then momentarily passing out, mid-solo, when the speed in his bloodstream wears off.

This album was one of my Christmas presents from my dad when I was 17. I knew it was due to be released sometime not too long beforehand, so I begged him for it, and he came through. A few months later, they came to America for the first time, touring with Ozzy Osbourne's Blizzard of Ozz. They were the openers, of course, but they blew Ozzy off the stage.

This is tagged magazine discovery because I first heard of Motörhead when I was 16 and their second album, Overkill, was reviewed alongside the lone Hawklords album, in issue 39 of Trouser Press. The reviewer savaged them, so when I found one of their records not long after, of course, I had to buy it. 'Twas a wise decision, though I had to check the speed on my first listen, 'cause there was just no way humans could play that fast!

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Kevin Ayers
"Didn't Feel Lonely Till I Thought of You"

Kevin Ayers
First Show in the Appearance Business
The BBC Sessions 1973-76

(Band of Joy, 1997)


I really can't think of a better word to describe the playing of guitarist Ollie Halsall with Kevin Ayers. I've featured Kev before, and Ollie was most likely the soloist on that song, in addition to this one, but there are no musician credits on the wee 7" record or sleeve.

Ollie's soloing on the original studio version of this song on Kevin's fifth album, The Confessions of Dr Dream and other stories, was certainly out there, but this version, recorded for BBC1's John Peel Show on July 9, 1974, makes it almost sound tame, in comparison. The studio recording, btw, was his first work with Kev. The two ended up working together until Ollie's untimely death in 1992.

I'd actually known Ollie's name since 1978, thanks to his being a studio Rutle, but never heard him really let loose 'til I started listening to Kev in the early '90's, thanks to my friend Audrey. He was also in other bands, like Tempest and Patto, but I must confess I have not yet checked them out. I only have so many ears, you know.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Kitchens of Distinction
"Prince of Mars"

So, this one's a bit more conventional than yesterday's, I suppose. Hey, man, I have feelings, you know? Guitarist Julian Swales' solo on this song may be simple, but it's emotionally devastating. It makes me want to grit my teeth, close my eyes, rock back-and-forth, cry, etc.

Sadly, Prince of Mars proved to the the final song on Kitchens of Distinction's final album. They did release a final single, but it was under the name Kitchen O.D. (no, I don't know why). Leader Patrick Fitzgerald went on to record a few singles and an album under the name Fruit. He followed those with a couple of EPs and an album under the name Stephen Hero, then developed a fear of spaces (or the malevolent spirit of James Joyce) and released two albums under the name stephenhero.

No matter the name, everything he's done is genius, imo.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

The Residents

Uh, oh! You either don't have the Flash plug-in installed, or you have it disabled.
Otherwise, there'd be a cute lil' streaming audio player on the left, rather than this message.

So, I'm back!

I've decided to start doing the occasional (or maybe frequent) (it's my blog–you can't stop me) theme week, starting today.

So . . .

This week's theme is Lightning's (that's me) favorite guitar solos. 'Cause, like, I'm a guitarist. Of sorts. Well, I own several guitars. Sometimes I even touch them.

First out of the box has one of my favorite solos and also happens to be my favorite cover song of all time. I bought this as I was easing into punk rock in my 17th year, and it was an ear opener, all right. Up until then, I'm not sure I'd ever heard anything so gloriously ugly. The guitarist on this charming piece is Phil Lithman, better known as Snakefinger. I can't remember where I read this, or who wrote it, but it's a perfect description: Snakefinger plays all the wrong notes in all the right places.

I've flagged this as both USA/Louisiana and England for a good reason. Firstly, The Residents are originally from Shreveport, LA, as am I. Secondly, Snakefinger is a Brit, and he's the soloist. So there. He was formerly a pub rocker in the UK, btw. His playing and singing with Chilli Willi and the Red Hot Peppers is not the sort of thing that would lead one to expect . . . this.

I cheated on the cover for this one. The pictured cover is the original 1976 issue, which was something like 200 copies. I ripped this from my 1978 repress, which was 30,000 units, allegedly.