Friday, April 30, 2010

Christian Prommer's master class

For the follow-up to the Christian Prommer's surprisingly great Drumlesson Vol.1 (Sonar Kollektiv) on which electronic dancefloor classics like Derrick May's Strings Of Life and Kraftwerk's Trans Europa Express were cleverly re-imagined as acoustic jazz joints, the rhythm obsessed member of Fauna Flash and the Trüby Trio wasn't interested in merely repeating the single take live recording concept with a different track selection. The solution: go more German!
Preposterous you say? Well, however unlikely that may seem, Prommer has managed to significantly Kraut things up for Drumlesson Zwei (!K7 Records) by employing some 70s vintage keyboard gear of the sort favoured by such influential artists of the period as Can, Faust, Neu! and Cluster.
He's still using an improvisational live band approach to revising electronic classics and club killers – everything from Jean Michel Jarre's Oxygene and Laurent Garnier's Acid Eiffel to Carl Craig's Sandstorms and DJ Rolando's Underground Resistance anthem Knights of the Jaguar – only there's the added enhancement of mini-moog and old-school analog synth tweakery. 
Once again it works beautifully, thanks in no small part to Prommer's stellar cast of creative musicians Robert Di Gioia, Ernst Ströer, Christian Diner and Matteo Scrimali along with longtime pal Peter Kruder who co-produced the recording.  

Christian Prommer discusses Drumlesson Vol. 1

Christian Prommer previews Drumlesson Zwei

Trans Europa Express

Strings Of Life


Thursday, April 29, 2010

Gaslamp Killer vs. Mary Anne Hobbs

The seventh installment of the Low End Theory podcast series brings together the notoriously psychedelicized beathead William "Gaslamp Killer" Bensussen with uber-popular host of BBC Radio1's Experimental Show Mary Anne Hobbs for two mini-sets of delightfully distorted head-nodders and head-scratchers. While it's only just a partial preview of what the globally-minded dubstep diva Hobbs will be putting down with XI and mymanhenri at The Social (1100 Queen West) on Thursday, May 6 and the subsequent damage GLK will do to the sound system at Wrongbar (1279 Queen West) on May 14, it's a magnificently mind-altering 45 minute trip nonetheless. Check it out here.

GLK at The Crosby

GLK in Barcelona


Friday, April 23, 2010

Saluting the late great Tilahun Gessesse

When the legendary Tilahun Gessesse died from heart failure in Addis Ababa last year at the age of 68, Ethiopia lost more than a popular "golden age" singer. For many, Gessesse was and remains the de facto father of modern Ethiopian music.
Although he first rose to prominence in the late 50s as a member of the Imperial Bodyguard Band, it was during the 60s peak of the Swinging Addis scene that Gessesse really found his voice. Using elements of Western rock and R&B, he helped create a soulful new Ethiopian pop sound to convey his message of peace, harmony and social justice against a backdrop of environmental disaster, political turmoil and social upheaval. Those looking for an introduction to his powerful recordings will find that the thoughtfully compiled Ethiopiques Volume 17 (Buda Musique) is an excellent entry point.
Gessesse has been called "The Pavarotti of Ethiopia" but he's more like Ethiopia's Marvin Gaye and Bob Dylan rolled into one. The big difference being Gessesse's popularity never waned for the five decades he was on top and he never allowed a financial institution to use one of his tunes to spruce up a television advertising campaign.
To mark the first anniversary of Gessesse's passing, Batuki Music Society in association with Afrosonic Entertainment are putting on a Tilahun Gessesse Tribute Concert tonight (Friday April 23) at the Evangadi Restaurant and Lounge (1220 Danforth) which will feature Gessesse's songs performed by a stellar cast of Toronto-based Ethiopian musicians including singer Ermias Assebework, saxophonist Girma Woldemichael, keyboardist Gezahegn Mamo, drummer Daniel Barnes and bassist Waleed Abdulhamid. Between sets DJ AfroSonic will be spinning a sweet selection of memorable Ethiopian classics. Doors open at 8 pm. Tickets are $20 with net proceeds donated to the People to People Canada organization. P2P Canada is a non-profit charitable organization that assists orphans in Ethiopia and also helps raise awareness for HIV/AIDS.



Heavy Trash meets Coffin Joe

On their most recent trip to São Paulo, Heavy Trash had the good fortune to share the stage with Brazilian horror filmmaker extraordinaire José Mojica Marins aka Coffin Joe for a demon summoning howl through You Can't Win. Unfortunately, the astonishingly well-preserved Zé do Caixão won't be joining Jon Spencer and his Heavy Trash crew when rip through tunes from their Midnight Soul Serenade (Fat Possum) disc at the Horseshoe (370 Queen West) tonight (Friday, April 23) but local blues blasters catl and those party-startin' Weirdies should make for a fang-freakin'-tastic triple bill nevertheless. 

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Circle Research on the Gardiner

The hotshot T.O. production/remix team of Nik Timar and Gil Masuda, better known as Circle Research, celebrate their favourite ashphalt eyesore with their dazzling new studio creation Gardiner Express (Urbnet) which boosts production values while remaining true to the CR sound: "electro-soul meets boom-bap with a smoked-out analog/digital vibe." Yeah, what Nik says.
Join the dynamic Circle Research duo who'll be getting busy live for their Gardiner Express Release Party tonight (Thursday, April 22) at the Rivoli (332 Queen West) at 9 pm. It's just $7 at the door and the first 100 people get a free copy of the Gardiner Express CD. That awesome sleeve image somehow makes the Gardiner look kinda cool.

Nik & Gil discuss Gardiner Express


Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Don't call SHAD a Canadian rap sensation

The new album TSOL from SHAD, the guitar-playing Canuck MC formerly known as Shad K and Shadrach Kabango, will be released by Black Box Music on May 25. Here's the gritty black & white video clip for the first single, Yaa I Get It directed by the HotDogGarbage team of Ryerson New Media grad Justin Broadbent and sidekick Michael Leach who did Metric's Sick Muse video as well as SHAD's clever Fresh Prince of Belair homage, The Old Prince Still Lives At Home.

Yaa I Get It by SHAD


Monday, April 19, 2010

Clutchy Hopkins' creepy Christian connection

Faced with the challenge of creating an appropriate video clip for the spooky Clutchy Hopkins joint Verbal Headlock from the great new album The Story Teller (Ubiquity), Dutch designer Christian Borstlap came up with some sweetly surreal animation that fits the nightmarish vibe of the track to perfection. Simple yes, but very effective. You can find out more about Borstlap here.

Verbal Headlock by Clutchy Hopkins

Christian Borstlap
Clutchy Hopkins

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Courtney vs. Roky: Crazy comeback challenge

For an artist dealing with such deep mental torment, battling demons both real and imagined, the suggestion that a comeback was a remote possibility seems like a huge understatement. At this point, just the simple act of strapping on a guitar and strumming a couple of chords would be an impressive achievement, let alone writing and recording songs for a new album. But enough about Courtney Love for now, Roky Erickson's return from the abyss is no less astonishing.
It really wasn't that long ago that a "performance" by the former 13th Floor Elevators' frontman typically entailed having someone lead him onstage to a microphone where Roky would stand frozen in place with arms tightly folded and bark out the lyrics to You're Gonna Miss Me. I still vividly recall the time when Roky held up a long line of fans at book signing for Openers II while he argued vociferously with his publisher Henry Rollins that the fully-functional ballpoint provided for the event wasn't "a real pen." So to get from such a unravelled state to leading a band on a cross-continent tour singing his post-Elevators classics while deftly accompanying himself on guitar is a genuinely miraculous turnaround.

Erickson's just released True Love Cast Out All Evil (Anti) – his first album of new material in 15 years – won't have anyone trashing their cherished copies of Psychedelic Sounds or Easter Everywhere but it's a much more substantial piece of work than expected and surpasses his patchy 80s releases in content and execution. Pairing him in the studio with Okkervil River proves to be a wise decision as his fellow Austinites do an exemplary job of treading the fine line between providing support and shaping the spooky sound while sticking to the prime directive of allowing Roky to be Roky. Those hoping for a return to his past dalliances with scorching psychedelia or B-movie monster metal may be disappointed with the album's rootsy orientation. However, true to Erickson's typically twisted lyrical turns (even when dealing with the subjects of love or heavenly devotion), the tone remains dark and the Okkervil boys ensure Roky's soulful crooning and haunted howling comes with potent guitar punch. As eccentric as Erickson can still be, there's a unusually spiritual component to Erickson's new songs that appears to arise from a place of inner calm rather than paralyzing fear. The elegiac closer Be And Bring Me Home hits like a gospel hymn, albeit, more like the sort Nick Cave might be inclined to join in rather than say, Yolanda Adams.
Roky's unlikely recovery is clearly tough to top but you can't discount Courtney Love's ability to rebound from horrendous personal trauma against all odds. For someone as ruthlessly driven as Courtney, just knowing that most people are convinced there's no way she can regain her queen of rock stature is fuel enough for her to claw her way back to the throne. Her new Hole album Nobody's Daughter (Mercury/Universal) set for release April 27, is a scary good start.
Initially slated for release on January 1, 2009, the album never officially materialized but a number of songs from the Nobody's Daughter sessions soon began circulating online in what now appears to be varying states of completion. The upfront use of acoustic guitar and a bluesy approach to largely introspective material seemed to confirm early reports that Love was drawing on the inspiration of Bob Dylan's Blood On The Tracks to make a solo album for celebrated song-doctor Linda Perry's Custard Records label that would fit comfortably next to James Blunt's soft rock gag-inducers Back To Bedlam and All The Lost Souls. However, that's not the way it turned out. Somewhere between the initial album demo sessions with Linda Perry and ex-boyfriend Billy Corgan finishing up with Celebrity Skin producer Michael Beinhorn (Marilyn Manson, Cave Dogs, Soundgarden), electric guitars were brought in, amps were turned up past 11 and everything got a lot heavier and angrier. So instead of a potentially disastrous singer/songwriter set of gently strummed sad-sack ballads, Courtney has gone bigger and badder with a boisterous Hole relaunch packing a nasty wallop of fuck-you attitude clearly designed to rock stadiums. The fact that the riff heavy Skinny Little Bitch sounds like it was ripped directly from the Nirvana songbook is no concern for Courtney, in fact, she made it the album's lead single as if to say, "suck on this!" If radio decides to pass, no problem, there's lyrical depth and musical variety enough on Nobody's Daughter to go around. Advantage Love.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Joe Boyd remembers Kate McGarrigle

Kate McGarrigle grew up in the Laurentians outside Montreal. She and her two sisters joined their father and mother around a piano in the evenings and sang. Parental praise was earned by finding a good harmony part. There was no tv. Their father was born in the 19th century.

In their teens, she and Anna joined various folk groups and Kate travelled a small circuit of coffee houses before returning to Montreal to complete a chemical engineering degree at McGill University. She went back on the road after graduation, met Loudon Wainwright III, started writing songs, married him, gave birth to Rufus and settled in New York City.

I met her in the mid-Seventies because Maria Muldaur, whose first album I was producing, wanted to sing Kate’s “Work Song”. The album included “Midnight At the Oasis” so Kate earned something from the song-writing royalties. When Maria was ready to make her next album, Kate sent her a demo of songs. We picked one called “Cool River”, with delicious, earthy-but-ethereal harmonies I assumed were Kate double-tracked. We invited her out to Los Angeles to add them to Maria’s version and she asked if she could bring Anna. I approved the extra ticket thinking she needed help with the baby. But that unforgettable day in the studio they all turned up, Kate and Anna stood around the piano with Maria and sang while Rufus kept quiet in a basket in the corner.

The sound of those voices together was one of the most astounding things I had heard in my musical life to that date. I persuaded Warner Brothers give us studio time to make a demo. Kate & Anna signed a contract and with engineer John Wood and co-producer Greg Prestopino we embarked on one of the richest – and proudest – recording experiences of my life. I have always loved recording and mixing harmonies; memories of blending those voices into the stereo master of the first McGarrigle album still give me a thrill. We mixed “Heart Like A Wheel” in short snippets cut together; in those pre-automation days the balances were so tricky we could never get more than a few lines right at a time.

Between demo and recording Kate split up with Loudon, but they got back together before the album was released so Kate was too pregnant with Martha to go on tour promoting it. I thought the Warner Brothers art department let us down with the cover. The album didn’t sell – one of the great disappointments of my life. A second album didn’t do any better.

Over the years, Kate & Anna began touring and slowly built an audience. Eventually, everyone realized how much they loved the first album. The British embraced them, so they came to London every few years. Kate and I argued about the touring band – they wanted a Hammond B3 player and a drummer, the cost of which meant tours were rarely profitable. They hated being pigeon-holed as folkies.

Linda Ronstadt and Emmy Lou Harris recorded their songs, their children began to grow and to sing, I licensed their records for my Hannibal label and they had a reunion with me and John Wood for The McGarrigle Hour. Rufus and Martha recorded two of their earliest compositions for it. Loudon came up for a couple of days and sang “What’ll I Do?” with Kate and their two kids. Not a dry eye in the studio.

I visited Montreal and St Sauveur from time to time. Kate turned me on to her favourite historian, Francis Parkman, and I turned her onto mine, Lesley Blanch. She and Anna and Rufus and Martha sang at my 60th Birthday party (cleverly located next door to their concert at the Newport Folk Festival). I shared her pride in her two remarkable kids and their growing success – which brought her through London more and more often. She was the proudest of mothers at the premiere of Rufus’ opera Prima Donna last summer at the Manchester International Festival.

By then she had been diagnosed with cancer and had had multiple operations; I rang her about a week after the last one and she was out of breath. I asked her if she felt OK, she said she felt great, having just walked in the door from a 3-hour cross-country skiing trek.

The family asked me to produce the annual Christmas concert, in London last year at the Royal Albert Hall instead of the usual Carnegie Hall in New York; there was an unspoken understanding that this might be her last. When Martha came to town for her Piaf shows in November, seven months pregnant, she went into pre-mature labour and a tiny son, Arcangelo, was born (now doing fine). Kate flew over, brought food and grandmotherly affection to the hospital and in her spare time worked with us preparing the concert. She wrote a new song, “Proserpina”, about the goddess the Greeks called Persephone and how she created winter because her daughter was far away and not coming home.

The week before the concert, Kate flew to Montreal for a scan and discovered things had gotten worse. She underwent exhausting treatment and travelled back to London in time to rehearse. She was at her shining best that night; everyone I spoke to said it was one of the most remarkable evenings of music they had experienced. (YouTube has some clips from the show filed under “Not So Silent Night”.)

Back in Montreal, Kate held court on the sofa, then in her bedroom. I visited her in early January; she was as witty and sardonic as ever. She died on January 18, surrounded by her family, everyone singing. There was a cathedral funeral in Old Montreal with lots more singing; she was buried behind the church in St Sauveur-des-Monts, near the start of her favourite cross-country skiing trail.

Kate occupied a central place in my personal Pantheon of the greatest musicians I have known. Her songs are smart, romantic, cynical, tuneful and deeply rooted in the traditions she loved. She was demanding, determined, fierce, gentle, loving and never, ever dull. We could start a conversation about a recording or a concert and end up talking for an hour about the Ottoman Empire. I miss her terribly.

* * *

On June 12, I am organizing a tribute concert to Kate as part of Richard Thompson’s Meltdown at London’s Royal Festival Hall. Her family and other well-known guests will sing her songs. I know, it’s the day England plays the USA in the World Cup, so we’ll start it at 4:30 so someone’s iPhone doesn’t reveal an England (or American! – it’s possible) goal while Emmy Lou Harris is singing “Mendocino”, Linda Thompson performs “Go Leave” or Martha does “First Born Son”.

This link will take you straight to the South Bank ticket site – seats go on sale today (Thursday, April 15). I gather tickets are expected to go fast, so if you want to go, I advise buying immediately!

Joe Boyd 

To Have & To Hold: A Film About Vinyl Records

Filmmaker Jony Lyle behind the intriguing Firecracker Records short about the process of screen-printing limited edition record pressings has a promising new feature-length "musicmentary" currently in production called To Have & To Hold: A Film About Vinyl Records.
Slated for release later this year, Lyle's 90-minute Goosepimple Productions project is meant to be a celebration of the whole vinyl subculture using archival footage, pressing plant clips and talking head style interviews with lifelong record lovers like Blue Note's Bruce Lundvall, Chuck D, DJ Bobbito Garcia, Christian Marclay, Danny Krivit, Amir "Questlove" Thompson of The Roots, and others. Hopefully some sharp programmer selecting films for a Toronto music or documentary festival will pick it up for a local screening. Here's a preview...

To Have & To Hold: A Film About Vinyl Records

To Have & To Hold: Single Sleeve Gallery
To Have & To Hold - 7inch record sleeve inspiration gallery from Goosepimple on Vimeo.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

The Stooges: Raw Power take three

How do you improve on a classic album? Judging by the re-release of The Stooges' Raw Power out this week, Bruce Dickinson of Sony Legacy now seems to think that it's best to leave things the way they were as much as possible. And maybe adding a couple session outtakes and an unreleased live recording from the period as added purchase incentive for the people who already bought Sony's two previous issues might not be such a bad idea.
Although David Bowie's initial slap-dash mix of Raw Power has been a constant sore spot amongst Stooges fans over the years, Iggy Pop's crack at remixing the album in 1997 – which was meant to be the last word on the subject – only led to more debate. While some people liked Iggy's redlining approach to his warts 'n' all revision, many others, including the Stooges late co-founder Ron Asheton, weren't impressed.
"Basically, all that Iggy did was take all the smoothness and all the effects off James [Williamson]'s guitar," Asheton noted, "so his leads sound really abrupt and stilty and almost clumsy, and he just put back every single grunt, groan, and word he ever said on the whole fuckin' soundtrack. He just totally restored everything that was cut out of him in the first mix, and I thought, Damn, I really did like the old mix better."
So the new two CD Legacy Edition of Raw Power restores the original Bowie mix to the 8-song 34-minute punk rock blueprint but thanks in part to engineer Mark Wilder, the newly remastered version sounds significantly cleaner and brighter than the much maligned 1989 model.

Raw Power promotional EPK

The big selling point here is really the second disc entitled Georgia Peaches which along with two throwaway studio jams includes an interesting hour-long soundboard recording of a never-officially-released-but-widely-bootlegged Atlanta show at Richards from October 1973. Since a year had passed since the Raw Power recording sessions, Stooges piano-player Bob Sheff had been replaced by Scott Thurston and the set list now included newer songs Head On, Heavy Liquid, Cock In My Pocket and Open Up And Bleed in addition to Raw Power, Search And Destroy, Gimme Danger and I Need Somebody from the album. If you can get your head around the recording's weird balance which for some reason has Thurston way up in the mix (as if Joe Neil set up to tape a jazz piano quintet by mistake), it's an intriguing document of valiant effort in the face of a less than welcoming crowd.
As a performer, Iggy thrives on confrontation. The challenge of winning over a hostile audience is what brings out the best/worst in him. That's precisely what makes the chaotic Michigan Palace show, released as the Metallic KO album, such a compelling listen. It's also part of the reason why Iggy has lost his edge. For the last three decades, the vast majority of people going to see Iggy perform, like the hired musicians joining him in the studio, have been lining up to kiss his ass rather than kick it. The threat of danger is gone and sadly, the excitement went with it. Consequently, he's been relegated to recreating set routines for adoring audiences and he appears quite content to continue with the Stooges repertory charade which comes to Yonge-Dundas Square on June 19.  
Along with the Legacy Edition, Sony is also rolling out a Deluxe Edition on April 27. The extra-special seven-inch square slipcase set will append the two discs in the Legacy Edition with an extra CD of Rarities, Outtakes and Alternates as well as The Making of Raw Power 30-minute documentary DVD, a 48-page softcover book with an essay by Henry Rollins and some Mick Rock photographs, five 5"x7" prints and a reproduction of the Japanese picture sleeve vinyl single of Raw Power b/w Search and Destroy. You can order it in advance of the street date here. Here's a sneak peak at what you get...

Disc One: RAW POWER (recorded September-October 1972, originally issued February 1973) 1. Search And Destroy
2. Gimme Danger
3. Your Pretty Face Is Going To Hell
4. Penetration
5. Raw Power
6. I Need Somebody
7. Shake Appeal
8. Death Trip.
Disc Two: "Georgia Peaches" (Live At Richards, Atlanta, Georgia, October 1973, all tracks previously unreleased)
1. Introduction
2. Raw Power
3. Head On
4. Gimme Danger
5. Search And Destroy
6. I Need Somebody
7. Heavy Liquid
8. Cock In My Pocket
9. Open Up And Bleed
Bonus tracks:
10. Doojiman (previously unreleased outtake from Raw Power sessions, 1972)
11. Head On (previously unreleased CBS Studio rehearsal performance, New York City, 1973).

Disc Two: "Georgia Peaches" (Live At Richards, Atlanta, Georgia, October 1973)
Disc Three: Rarities, Outtakes, & Alternates from the Raw Power Era Selections:
1. I'm Hungry (outtake from Raw Power sessions)
2. I Got A Right (outtake from an early aborted Raw Power session)
3. I'm Sick Of You (outtake from an early aborted Raw Power session)
4. Hey, Peter (outtake from Raw Power sessions)
5. Shake Appeal (alternate mix version from recently discovered alternate mix reels, "The Embassy Reels")
6. Death Trip (alternate mix version from recently discovered alternate mix reels, "The Embassy Reels")
7. Gimme Danger (alternate mix from the 1996 Iggy "violent" remixes)
8. Your Pretty Face Is Going To Hell (alternate mix from the 1996 Iggy "violent" remixes).
All tracks previously unreleased except tracks 3, 7, and 8.
Disc Four: DVD - The Making Of Raw Power, produced and directed by Morgan Neville (featuring interviews with Iggy Pop, James Williamson, Scott Asheton, Mike Watt, Johnny Marr, and Henry Rollins; plus performance footage from James Williamson's first reunion concert with Iggy and the Stooges, at Festival Planeta Terra, São Paulo, Brazil, November 2009).
Bonus reproduction Japanese 7-inch 45 rpm single: Raw Power b/w Search And Destroy.


Sunday, April 11, 2010

Radio Birdman tapes discovered!

Radio Birdman fans will be thrilled with the news that numerous lost reels of the legendary Australian rockers' peak-period studio recordings have just been found. According to founding guitarist Deniz Tek, who recently revealed the fantastic find on his blog site (see below), the tapes are in excellent shape and there's enough solid material for a box set. Can I get a Yeah, Hup! somebody?

"Radio Birdman management has located dozens of boxes of 24 track tape recorded by the band in the mid 70's. These tapes had long been thought to have been destroyed. The tapes were found at AC/DC's famed Albert's Studios in North Sydney. They had been kept in a climate controlled archive, and are in pristine condition.
The band will be sorting through all of the many hours of this material in the next month, to prioritise material for a box set that will include outtakes, unreleased songs, and alternate versions. In addition to studio material, there is a complete multitrack recording of a concert at Paddington Town Hall, from 12/12/77. With a production session scheduled for April, fans can expect a release by years end.
In other Radio Birdman news, production and artwork is completed on a live album recorded in Texas during the North American leg of the bands 2007 world tour. Notable for the absence of Pip Hoyle the keyboard player, this album features a stripped back but furious sonic attack."

In the meantime, check out these awesome Radio Birdman performance/interview clips taken from a TV appearance on Rockturnal originally broadcast in 1978:

What Gives and Descent Into The Maelstrom

Burn My Eye and Search & Destroy 

Deniz Tek
Radio Birdman

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Simply Saucer gets Segall-ized

Whether it was part of a clever marketing plan or mere cosmic coincidence, Ty Segall's decision to record and release a cover of Simply Saucer's Bullet Proof Nothing from which Liz Worth swiped the song's memorable refrain for the title for her recently published oral history of Toronto punk Treat Me Like Dirt (Bongo Beat) seems remarkably fortuitous for everyone involved.

Segall's appropriately raunchy rendition of Edgar Breau's Kenilworth Klassic appears on his fab new Caesar seven-inch single just issued by the Memphis-based Goner Records on limited-run clear and black vinyl which you can order directly from Goner right here. If you'd rather have the MP3s, they're available here. I was about to throw in a comment about how such seemingly coincidental occurrences rarely happen entirely by chance in the record business until I realized that I was wearing a Goner Records t-shirt as I was writing this post. Oh well.    
Although I still prefer the Saucer's original version of Bullet Proof Nothing off their astounding Cyborgs Revisited album, Segall's Dolled-up homage to the hard-luck Hamiltonian heavyweights is a heartwarming gesture nonetheless.

Bullet Proof Nothing by Simply Saucer

Ty Segall
Simply Saucer
Edgar Breau
Bongo Beat
Liz Worth

Friday, April 9, 2010

The Pack wreck a German disco in 1977

Here's a fuzzy video clip taken from a 1977 German made-for-TV movie with an enjoyably chaotic performance by those brutal Bavarian bashers the Pack featuring Amon Düül II's Jörg Evers (left, now president of German Composers Association DKV) hard-pummeling drummer Daniel "Dynamite" Alluno and singer Gerard Carbonel
The songs Com' On and Nobody Can Tell Us are from their first single (said to be recorded in a former German WWII bunker) which has been reissued in a limited edition of 500 signed copies by Munich's Aggressive Noise label.
Check out the Pack's myspace page to hear more superbly snotty tunes from their classic self-titled debut which stands as one of the greatest punk albums ever made. An unofficial vinyl re-release of the LP has recently appeared in the US using the original artwork from the Vinyl label issue.

Nobody Can Tell Us and Com' On by the Pack

Thursday, April 8, 2010

The Morning Pages go country-disco

Once hipster thift shops shops in Brooklyn started selling dead-stock western shirts, it wasn't long before local kiddos were picking acoustic guitars and dobros in country bands. And eventually, some clever combo was bound to hit on the profile-boosting concept of twangin' up a Lady Gaga tune for the dancefloor. I must admit, the Morning Pages version of Telephone is a much more enjoyable than anything Lady Antebellum has had played on the radio although I don't expect the BK beardos will be much competition at the ACMAs on April 18 – even with Russell Simins getting the production credit on the Morning Pages swank Rising Rain (Zealous) debut. Russell may be the shit in Billyburg but the Jon Spencer Blues Explosion never did carry much weight with the creased denim Music City crowd and trust me, they don't even want to know about Men Without Pants.

Telephone by The Morning Pages


Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Truckers' triumph

The Drive-By Truckers have been on cruise control for the last couple of releases and with most of their guitar-weilding competition going twee or hiding behind heavy reverb they could afford to ease up on the pedal. But now that those reckless Dexateens dudes have suddenly appeared in their rearview mirror with a cloud of Alabama dust behind them, the Truckers have wisely decided to gear up and put the hammer down for the righteously rockin' The Big To-Do, their debut recording for Dave Matthews' ATO label.
Although there were some understandable concerns that the solo side project of principle songwriter Patterson Hood might siphon off his choice material, that doesn't appear to have been the case. While there's no question that some of the stuff that wound up on the Murdering Oscar album could've worked for DBT, his lyrical contributions to The Big To-Do are consistently top-notch without the slightest scent of leftovers. In fact, I'd argue that Daddy Learned To Fly, The Fourth Night Of My Drinking, Drag The Lake Charlie and This Fucking Job are among his finest-ever compositions and destined to be loudly requested at shows for years to come. Just the threat of not having Hood's best for the latest album seems to have pushed sidekick guitarist Mike Cooley to new heights of inspiration. If he's written anything near as great as Birthday Boy or Eyes Like Glue before, he must be keeping it under his pillow because I certainly haven't heard it. Even DBT artist-of-choice Wes Freed outdid himself with the kooky-spooky circus-themed paintings for the sleeve and accompanying booklet. An admirable piece of work anyway you look at it.
If the Drive-By Truckers' recent April Fools Day wing-ding at Webster Hall in New York City is any indication of what's in-store at Lee's Palace, you just may need tickets for both shows of their two-night stand with Langhorne Slim tonight and tomorrow (April 6 and 7).
Evidently, the Truckers came up with more worthwhile tunes than they could squeeze onto The Big To-Do so they decided to issue two of them as a limited-edition single with a fetching sleeve for Record Store Day on April 17. Patterson Hood recently made the announcement with a press release you can read below.
DRIVE-BY TRUCKERS are Proud to Announce
the release of our Exclusive Record Store Day Limited Edition Single Release of
Available at a fine independent record store near you on April 17.

DRIVE-BY TRUCKERS are proud to be a part of this year's Record Store Day.
Like the Bald Eagle and Healthcare Reform we almost let it get away before pulling out the stops and saving them in the nick of time.
The Bald Eagle has returned in fine form, but independent record stores are STILL an endangered species.
Every year more and more of these precious national resources are shuttered and closed.
Just last month I heard that one of my favorites is in dire straits.

This year we will be releasing a very special single for Record Store Day, but first let me take you back in time to January of 2009.
Bush was still in the White House and Sully was an anonymous pilot working his job.
Drive-By Truckers were toiling away in the studio beginning what would become their 10th album.
One night a strange alignment of stars interacted with the perfect chemical component setting off a chain reaction of events, fitfully captured on 2" magnetic tape stock as the wily Producer
handed over a vintage handheld microphone to a celebratory Mike Cooley during the playback of a new instrumental Shonna Tucker composition which said band had just duly nailed in a fit of R&B perfection never beheld before and WHALAH!!!

Almost everyone in that room knew that magic had just occurred.
A stream of conscious wallop of redneck beat poetry,
A channeling of the early morning rant of a Georgia taxi driver concerning the closing of another local industry into a form both compelling and idyllic in its inspiration, articulation and execution.
YOUR WOMAN IS A LIVIN' THING became nearly everyone in the band's favorite song of the 30+ songs we recorded last year.
Would it go on The Big To-Do or perhaps be the fitting end to Go-Go Boots?
"Neither" said, Mike Cooley.
"No one will ever hear it but us. It's for us and us only".
But Goddamn, Cooley!
Months of negotiation (much like healthcare) but the stubborn NO held until...

An eleventh hour compromise:

See, Cooley loves Record Stores too.
He deemed that YOUR WOMAN IS A LIVIN' THING be released on vinyl and vinyl only
to independent record stores to celebrate that most special of nationally recognized days.
He was so excited, he even went home and wrote and recorded a B-Side (JUST MAYBE) just for the occasion.

Patterson Hood
Drive-By Truckers


Monday, April 5, 2010

The benefits of Sharon

A terrifically twangy Horseshoe Tavern performance by the banjo-powered Megafaun would be special enough on it's own – those hairy hombres don't travel this far from Durham, North Carolina every day – but the added bonus of an opening set by Brooklyn's Sharon Van Etten promises to turn tonight's show into an immense event however intimate. Van Etten's beautifully bittersweet Because I Was In Love (Language Of Stone) album, magnificently recorded by the Espers' Greg Weeks, announced the arrival of a hugely gifted songsmith with a knack for wedding memorable melodies to entrancing narratives with conversational ease.
Needless to say, Because I Was In Love made my Top 50 of 2009 list and I can't wait to hear what Van Etten has planned for the follow-up. Hopefully we'll get a glimpse at Horseshoe this evening at 9:15 pm.   

For You by Sharon Van Etten

Live at Bowery Ballroom Dec.15, 2009

Taking back the tap

Friday, April 2, 2010

Dam-Funk keeps it fantasy

 As part of Dr. Martens' 50th Anniversary celebrations, 10 contemporary artists/producers were each asked to update a cult classic in their own style and a promo video was shot to go with it.  So Noisettes had a go at the Buzzcocks' Ever Fallen In Love?, The Duke Spirit took a crack at Sham 69's If The Kids Are United and naturally, Dam-Funk went for Things That Dreams Are Made Of by Sheffield electro-pop dazzlers Human League.
Like the others in the series released thus far, Dam-Funk doesn't go for a radical rethink of the synth-happy original but the accompanying video directed by Ace Norton takes the cake. Check the clip and the making-of video below...

Things That Dreams Are Made Of

Making of Things That Dreams Are Made Of


Thursday, April 1, 2010

Them Budos bashers are back

The Budos Band's as-yet-untitled new album was recorded in January at Daptone's House of Soul with the official release tentatively set for early July but you'll get an in-person preview tonight (Thursday, April 1) when Staten Island's finest 11-piece instrumental Afro-soul crew hit the Horseshoe with horns blasting. It may be April Fools Day but as you can see from the clips below shot a Brooklyn gig during a break in the "Budos III" sessions, these badass Budos boys are no joke.
Hamiltonians should note that the Budos Band will be heating up Hess Village tomorrow (Friday, April 2) with a party at The Pearl Company Arts Centre (16 Steven Street at King William). Doors open at 9 pm and tickets are $25.    

The Budos Band Live @ Southpaw January 16, 2010

Super Derge

Spectral Serpent