Listening to this classic is like finding a passage to a magical woodland in your closet, where you are greeted by a married couple of benevolent forest mages named Brendan and Lisa who make you a strong hallucinogenic tea concoction and show you the wonders of their arcane realm. The whole journey takes but an hour or so, but in that scant time you encounter a bounty of mystical creatures and supernatural wonders. At the end, Brendan and Lisa lead you back to the portal to your own mundane world, impart upon you some glittery wisdom, and then disappear into the shimmering folds of memory and dreams. You miss them.
Tuesday, August 30, 2011
Drummer, Pete LaRoca's one and only session as a leader for Blue Note resulted in one of the label's finest and most consistent releases. Basra is aural pleasure from start to finish with evocative rhythms, beautiful textures, and stunning performances by Joe Henderson, Steve Swallow, and Steve Kuhn. The album starts off with the latin flavor of "Malaguena." The piece is exotic, yet grave, and Henderson's moan and bark lead the band into a sort of controlled chaos. "Candu" is an upbeat funky number. "Tears from Heaven" melds modal Jazz with the stranger post-bopisms that were coming into fashion at the time. The title track is an absolutely gorgeous landscape of sound, sultry, sexy, and altogether mysterious. The aptly titled "Lazy Afternoon" is a perfect companion to just that, a relaxing, somewhat pensive day. The album closes with the swing of "Elderdown," reminding us that for all it's wonderful twists and moods, Basra is a Jazz record after all. If you aren't a huge fan of Jazz, and only really want one or two solid albums in your collection, then I recommend one of them be this gem.
Monday, August 29, 2011
Justin Broadrick, bored and frustrated with the bands he'd been doing, called his friend GC Green in an attempt to get Green to include him in a reformed version of Green's band Fall of Because. There were some problems keeping a steady line up and soon Green and Broadrick found that the two of them worked well as a duo with a drum machine, Godflesh was born. This debut only hints at the monstrous machine the band would later become.
Sunday, August 28, 2011
No one in their right mind would dare dispute RUN DMC's roles as pioneers, and as awesome as their first album is, it was the sophomore release, King of Rock, that I believe was their pinnacle. Listening to this now the rhymes seem naive and a bit pedestrian, but when it released in 1985 it was the shit. The video for the title track was the first Hip Hop video to get play on lily white MTV, and RUN DMC were the only rap act invited to "step on stage at Live Aid," if I am to understand correctly, all the people gave and the poor got paid. The follow up to King of Rock, titled Raising Hell, was a commercial success that produced their biggest hit with the collaboration with Aerosmith, but in my opinion, it is a spotty album that doesn't hold a candle to King of Rock. Today would be a fine day to revisit this classic, you might be surprised at just how many of the lyrics you remember. R.I.P. Jam Master Jay.
Saturday, August 27, 2011
Here's a post that I have been really excited about. As much asI am a huge fan of these obscure regional Heavy Metal comps from the '80s, usually they yield one or two discoveries, a few passable bands, and then one or two laughable abominations. Heavy Metal Eruption is a welcome exception, a privately-pressed Italian grab bag of awesome. Every track here is decent. Halloween kick it off with an obviously NWOBHM inspired gem "Vikings" Crying Steel keep it steely with "Thundergods," a peppy cut of real Heavy Metal. I have heard the bulk of Crying Steel's catalog and these Bolognese bangers had it right. Death SS is one of Italy's best known metal bands. Their contribution, "Black and Violet" is pure occult doom bliss. Elektra Drive serve up a great song called "The Lord of the Ring" that sounds like Slough Feg meets Pagan Altar with spacey keyboards. Ransackers keep it metal with "Deathline." some odd acoustic guitars, squirly solos, and strange vocals make this track another charmer. Revenge slunk along with sleazy number "Angels In Leather." Revenge comes off kind of like Judas Priest circa Defenders of the Faith but with the addition of quaaludes. Hearse favorites, Rollerball are the greatest Italian Heavy Metal band of all time and their track "Wild Town" just cements that notion. Shining Blade bring the lamp down with a ballad called "Freakish Footsteps" maybe not the best choice to represent their band. Still not a bad track, give them a break. Steel Crown bring us back with the way over the top "Prisoners In The Box." Jesus, listen to the drummer and bass player, Steel Crown kept busy. Strana Officina, ,these unhinged uomini are the only band here that sings in Italian. The music is dirty rocking Heavy Metal with the confident vocals of an absolute character named Bud. Heavy Metal Eruption is a veritable Vesuvius of molten metal, enjoyable from front to back.
Friday, August 26, 2011
Thursday, August 25, 2011
Erkin Koray is perhaps the most respected musician to come out of the whole Anatolian psych scene of the '60s and '70s, and his best known album Elektronik Türküler is a masterpiece that should not be missed simply because you are young and unturkish. With it's contagious grooves, and one billion gorgeous flourishes and hooks, I wonder why this album hasn't been sampled to death by every upstart DJ and hip hop producer on earth. Swirling druggy sitars and other exotic instuments intermesh with Korays plucky guitaring and mournful voice. I reach for this one often and it always reveals new mysteries. Absolutely essential.
Wednesday, August 24, 2011
This whole resurgence of retro Death Metal is more than okay by me, and Amputory are definitely a band that deserves your ears. These feral Finns recall the bludgeon of bands like Dismember and Entombed but also incorporate some Carcass like surgery and vocalizing in the three songs on this demo. Great riffs and tones, I think this is another young band to watch for.
Tuesday, August 23, 2011
In 1997 Junior Kimbrough busts out with the best title for a blues record ever, just a year before his death, and goddamn what a record it is. Kimbrough's unfuckwithable tone, and the repetition of the songs kind of reminds me of these last few EARTH albums in spirit and atmosphere. The recording is so warm and genuine, you can hear the room, the walls sweat, and the band cooks and stomps while Junior sounds as vital as ever. There is a magic in recordings like these, the sort where a few mics are set up somewhere and whatever happens happens. Maybe at the end of his life Junior Kimbrough looked back and decided that most things hadn't worked out, but this record definitely is the exception. It works, and it works hard. Deep shit from one of the blues' unsung masters.
Monday, August 22, 2011
Releases like this, with their blurry photos of corpse painted youth, illegible logos in red, and what I presumed was a typo ("right" instead of "rite" but as Dan Fried pointed out, is actually "night") hold so much promise and so often fail to deliver. Well, while Azazel weren't the greatest Black Metal band in '96, The Night of Satanachia isn't terrible, even if it is terribly generic. This most Satanic night would be the band's only full length release, although the members of Azazel remained active in the scene.
Sunday, August 21, 2011
I picked this up on vinyl for $3 in Toronto while on tour in 1996. The cover, the band's name, and the album's title was just too "rapey" to resist. I didn't have much hope for the actual music inside, so this epic monument to mediocrity didn't disappoint. Some speed metalisms creep in but the fare here is wholly fluff. So is their anything redeeming about Easy Prey? Well, these dudes weren't bad players, and the lyrics of Jeff Prentice are a study in adolescent rape fantasy and pedestrian misogyny, but only when they aren't ruminating on typical '80s metal stuff like hell and Russia. On the back cover, the Predator has the prey over his shoulder and the mask is off revealing the fetal alcohol feaures of presumably one of Predator's helpful bros. I revisit this work every few years just to see if I can find any good in it. With every listen I drift off into thought, wondering if the members of Predator are somewhere toiling away at some day job and not telling their coworkers about this unfortunate chapter in their lives. I just can't imagine anyone standing around the water cooler saying "I used to play in a band back in the eighties called Predator, we released an album and everything, it was about rape and shit."
Saturday, August 20, 2011
My friend Bruno Bersani has the distinction of being one of the funniest people I know, and also bears a rich history of being in some really great bands, but Moose Lodge somehow escaped me...until now. The year is 1984 and the place, Eugene Oregon. Bruno is a man in his early twenties with a cheap synth perched atop and ironing board, a notebook full of bizarre lyrics and a desire to make DEVO-esque robot punk. Legend has it that many copies of this tape were destroyed by Bruno himself, but fortunately at least one was spared and made its way on to the brilliant Eugene-o-centric blog Panic on 13th. Ironically I have been urging Bruno for the last few years to start a new wave band, little did I know that he already had, 28 years ago. That is just how cool Bruno is. You will love this tape.
Friday, August 19, 2011
It was a perfect plan, prop two tarts with minimal talent in front of a fairly tepid bar rock band and watch Cheetah take the world by storm. So what happened? Why aren't Cheetah a household name like Tampax or Rid-X? Well perhaps it was because they were Australian, maybe because this isn't very good. So why is it here? Well, it had occurred to me that someone out there may have been searching for this. Perhaps it is that elusive grail in someone's nerdy record collecting quest. Or maybe some of you were directing, and producing a really hackneyed '80s teen sex comedy and needed some trite and dated rock music to fill out the awesome soundtrack. Whatever your reasoning, I won't judge.
Thursday, August 18, 2011
Japanese Oi from one of the cutest bands ever, the Discocks. Long Live Oi was the bands debut full length after a long run of self releasing great 7" EPs. Soon after the release of this rollicking party album, The original Discocks split up and some members turned up in The Avoided, who if I remember correctly weren't all that interesting. A few years later a new Discocks line up appeared and started releasing albums, but I am not sure if any original members participated in this new incarnation. It gets a bit confusing, but Long Live Oi is really all you need to know. As promised by the cover, you get "10 OI! OI! Anthems" and three proud punker buddies to drink and sing along with. Long Live The Discocks!!!
Wednesday, August 17, 2011
Tuesday, August 16, 2011
Some right trippy Kraut Rock instrumenace from Golem. Hammond organs throb, guitars swirl, drums shuffle and pulsate. At times the album is funky and at others it is ominous. The whole affair is swathed in a witchy murk. Open your skull to some Teutonic tabs of pure uncut sonic acid. A veritable lysergermanic feast of psilocybin mind fuck. HIGHly recommended.
Monday, August 15, 2011
Dizzy Reece may not be the biggest name in the Blue Note pantheon, perhaps because he only cut four sessions for the label between 1958 and 1960, but the work he did speaks for itself. Of those four records Comin' On! stands out as the pinnacle. Stellar performances by such greats as Art Blakey, Al Harewood, Stanley Turrentine, and Duke Jordan help elevate the record beyond standard hard bop. Reece's playing is sharp and spot on but at times a bit generic. Nevertheless, Comin' On! is an underrated slab of quality jazz.
Sunday, August 14, 2011
Negazione were a fantastic hardcore band from Torino. Like fellow countrymen Raw Power, Negazione were pretty adept musicians who pushed beyond the usual fast loud rules mentality of the time. Lo Spirito Continua was the bands first full length album and it is a furious lasagna of aggressive riffs, crisp drumming, and throat shred vocalizing. Recently Negazione's drummer Fabrizio Feigl passed away and I was reminded of this album. Twenty-five years later it still works, perhaps that is the continuous spirit of which they spoke.
Saturday, August 13, 2011
Disma's debut album Towards the Megalith is definitely the stuff of my top albums of 2011 list, and if you fancy the arcane Death Metal of old then it will probably make your list as well. In honor of this towering monument to precambrian pummel, I present their demo The Vault of Membros.
Friday, August 12, 2011
Here's a little scorcher of a Heavy Metal record from Sweden and a band called Onyx. These youngsters hailed from the blustery streets of Stockholm. They managed to crank out a demo and this brilliant EP before deciding that playing catchy melodic Heavy Metal was not where it's at. Onyx had chops and hooks for days and a couple of gems in guitarists Bjorn and Chris, but alas, this was not enough to rocket Onyx to any kind of real renown.
Thursday, August 11, 2011
Wednesday, August 10, 2011
Esoteric's lumbering death dooooom starts here with their first full length from 1993 called Epistemological Despondency. And while most of the music lurches and pummels with a low end trudge, Esoteric saw fit to add a bit of strange effects and the occasional shift in tempo to keep this massive release from growing stale or repetitive. Such an odd introduction and mission statement, but thoroughly effective. Should be hailed as monument of avant dark, but will probably remain an obscure relic to be treasured by an elite few.
Tuesday, August 9, 2011
Monday, August 8, 2011
This classic has been a minor obsession lately. Sisters of Mercy's debut full length First and Last and Always never fails to take me back to the late '80s when I first arrived in San Francisco, a fresh-faced rube from Chump Junction, Florida. This record is me with a fake I.D. haunting many a dark, methy, goth club on the hunt for strange poon. I used to detest this band, but a few years ago I gave this record an objective listen, and fuck is it ever great. It bumped loud on a house sound system while I awkwardly chatted up raven haired tweak dilemmas in corsets. I would sip on G&T's and occasionally break to the toilet to scoop more bath tub crank into my softened skull. Every so often I would meet a girl but usually blew it in the cab on the way to her shitty flat that she shared with a nazi skinhead and an art student. Jesus, I just bummed myself out.
Saturday, August 6, 2011
Friday, August 5, 2011
Axegrinder's influence on the crust scene is probably second only to the mighty Amebix, this is evidenced by their logo's presence on butt-flaps and backpatches on pokey leathers the world over. Axegrinder sounded like Amebix. Maybe a bit more metallic, but still...like Amebix. Seeing how Amebix ruled and really only made three albums then you might want some Axegrinder in your life.
Wednesday, August 3, 2011
When I moved to San Francisco twenty-three years ago Tragic Mulatto were one of the most interesting and challenging bands on the scene. They had the mongolid tribal backbeat of the Butthole Surfers but everything else was purely their own Mission District drug fuck bad acid sweaty thigh gut punch. Rolling and thunderous and sometimes peppered with tuba, Tragic Mulatto's songs were chaotic leviathans lumbering through the city streets like a procession of absurd death. Their lyrics were the bleak autobiographical tales of ribald lust, desperation, addiction, poverty, and bike messengering belted forth by a mighty woman named Flatula Lee Roth. They speak as much of her own psyche as they do of the city she loves and hates (much like BOMB.) Tragic Mulatto could have only come from San Francisco in the late '80s, no other place at no other time. I think Chartreuse Toulouse was the band's finest (and final) release.
Tuesday, August 2, 2011
Have you peeped this new trend the hip kids are calling "Witch House?" I don't know, sounds like Cold Wave or a more evil version of that Retro-Electro muck that all the most attention-seeking Williamsburgers were ear-snorting a few years back. Well, passing trend or not, I have heard a few interesting releases from these types, mainly the work of SALEM, Mater Suspiria Vison, White Ring, and oOoOO, so I figured a great means to get you in the door would be to share this mesmerizing split that pits White Ring against oOoOO.
Monday, August 1, 2011
Yes it is one of the greatest and purest Metal albums of all time, but lyrically it is often dismissed as the ESL ramblings of bored Swissy teenagers looking to shock. However, if you were to think of Tom (working as Satanic Slaughter) as a poet meditating on ancient culture's perceptions of their own thanatopic obsessions, armageddon, and the futility of faith, then Apocalyptic Raids takes on a whole new depth and beauty, and reveals much more than just hellish crossfire, axe assault, and deadly bassdosing. I must thank Malcom Tent of Broken Talent for making me a cassette copy of this life-changer some 26 years ago.