Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Guest Mix Vol. 3 - Bo Lueders

Bo Lueders, purveyor of internet wisdom at and highly active stage presence in Harms Way and Convicted (RIP), has been kind enough to do a guest mix for your mind. Harm's Way, who kind of sound like Bolt Thrower (this is cool), are currently out for a few days with Rise & Fall (also cool). Their LP "Reality Approaches" is one of the better things to be released in 2009, regardless of whether I know them as people or not. Anyway, Bo has provided us with some quintessential late October jams, so load it down.

I am a huge fan of shuffle when it comes to listening to music. The only problem is I end up shuffling between maybe 10-15 bands and have a hard time getting new music into my library. Add the fact that it's October to that mix, and I end up with a pretty limited play list. October for me has always been Misfits month, I listen to the entire collection on shuffle pretty exclusively; so when Todd asked me to do a mix-up I was actually a little troubled to put some diversity into my list. So I decided to with a “semi-obvious” mix-up, meaning not “Halloween” but another creepy Misfits song instead.

I ended up finishing it with only 2 Misfits songs and 1 Danzig song, out of 13, so for me that's an accomplishment. (Now that I think about it though “Thirteen” is a Danzig song that Cash covered… dam it) It was also an eye opener reading both Andy and Steve's mix-ups, especially Steve's, because I can honestly say I have never heard a single band on his list (yet). That, of course, is the beauty of these mix-ups and music in general.
So here you go, enjoy my take on the fall mix-up:

1. Theme For a Jackal (Static Age version) - The Misfits
2. Still Ill (1984 s/t version) - The Smiths
3. Two Minutes to Midnight - Iron Maiden
4. Walking On the Moon - The Police
5. For Whom the Bell Tolls - Metallica
6. It's Not Up To You - Björk
7. Montana - Rocky Votolato
8. Am I Demon? - Danzig
9. Cough/Cool - The Misfits
10. Dechristianize - Vital Remains
11. Bark at the Moon - Ozzy Osborn
12. Behind the Crooked Cross - Slayer
13. Thirteen - Johnny Cash


Monday, October 26, 2009

Asphyx - The Rack (1991)

This record fills me with nostalgia. As a teenager, I was an angsty idiot mired in spazzy post-hardcore and metalcore. However, as I searched out bands with crazier riffs, I ended up digging into the death metal underground of the late 80s and early 90s. Initially, the poor production and lack of stupid guy heaviness confused me. However, as I read more and listened more, it became clear to me that my worldview was sorely, severely lacking. The upside to this disillusionment was a sense of wonder and excitement as a whole new existence came out of the fog of teen depression.

I can remember the confusion I felt at these raw, sloppy European sounds that were recorded in an era that I thought was entirely dominated by grunge Q101 radio rock. The title of the intro track, "The Quest of Absurdity," immediately spoke to my existential pinings. Still, my initial reaction was "these guys are just playing power chords and they're not even that good at their instruments." I kept checking in, though, and, probably around the time that I "got" Darkthrone, I "got" Asphyx, and the towering monolithic structures created by guys sloppily playing power chords permanently cast a shadow over my consciousness. Listen to the outro riff on "The Rack" until this makes sense to you, too.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Stevie Wonder - Hotter Than July (1980)

If you're anything like me, you regularly worship at the genius altar of Stevie Wonder's early 70s output. And if you're not doing that, you need to leave because I don't even like you. Walk away from the computer and stab your eardrums with a pencil because you fucked up. Since everyone still reading already has all of those records, I'm posting up Hotter Than July which falls outside of the Wonder canon, but is still obviously the work of a complete godhead genius.

Definitely fewer ii-V-I's than in the past, as the feel of this record is a bit less jazzy and a bit more all over the place. Stevie's forays into Reggae and disco-tinged sounds aren't gimmicky or po-mo or anything annoying like that. This shouldn't be surprising, given the plethora of hits Stevie wrote for other artists of varying styles.

You know if I were a normal person, I would say something like "the vocal performances on this record make me want to drink acid and never sing again!" Instead, they make me get really competitive with Stevie Wonder and say to myself "if Stevie Wonder can do this, why can't I?" This is an insane pipe dream, but I am just trying to be honest.

Also, notice the nod to "Rocket Love" in GZA's "Cold World." Wu-Tang Clan: men of impeccable taste.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Exuma - I (1970)

My friends have been making some pretty great mixes about the changing of the seasons. But you know what? Fuck that romanticized bullshit I'm fucking cold. As soon as the temperature drops below seventy degrees, my hands fucking hurt all of the time because I have skinny-ass ET fingers. As such, here's some of that Bahamas doo-wah-nanny rainy summertime voodoo music.

The Exuma mystique is certainly interesting, but an over-reliance on narrative in music reviews is annoying to me so internet search that shit if you're curious. Let's talk about songs:

What we have here are a collection of blues/folk songs based around Exuma's throat-shredding vocals and consistently strumming acoustic guitar. Layers of percussion and sound effects and back-up choirs keep this far from a minimalist affair, despite the stripped-down nature of the song-writing. I just posted a record with bird sounds that was "quirky," but this record with bird sounds is "otherworldly." Choruses take on a hypnotic, chanting feel as layers converge onto a theme and Exuma's raving ad-libs soar over the din. Percussive layering, as on the beginning of "Junkanoo," as well as a healthy voodoo presence identifies this music as hailing from the Caribbean rhythmic melting pot. But really, no matter how much I soak in the humidity of "The Obeah Man" I'm still freezing.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Guest Mix Vol. 2: Stephen C. Kane

Steve Kane is one of the funniest people that I know, and also the biggest Cold Cave fan I know. I'm pretty excited to be posting his mix here, as Steve has a lot of specialized musical knowledge that is very different than mine, and I enjoy new things. Steve has cornered the market on internet endeavors with the name Harsh Distractions, with his internet radio show on Tuesdays from 7-9pm CST at and his music blog Harsh Distractions. Did you click all of those links? Let's go, Steve:

Somewhere between the brutally humid summers and the arctic winters is a brief flirtation with a temperate climate where, for about two weeks of the entire year, the weather in Chicago is absolutely perfect. Without reiterating too much of what Andy said, autumn is my favorite time of year. It's easy to get nostalgic about fall because I associate so many things I love with this time of year. Namely, the music that reminds me of cooler evenings, new semesters, drinking hot coffee on rainy afternoons, sweaters, and pumpkin flavored everything. This isn't a mix of my favorite fall weather songs of all time, but rather a mix of old favorites and new songs that fit into the mood of the season. Hopefully you agree.


1. Cold Cave - Love Comes Close
2. Seam - Get Higher
3. Desolation Wilderness - Boardwalk Theme
4. King Khan & The Shrines - Welfare Bread
5. Calypso - Casually Sad Mercedes
6. Wild Nothing - Summer Holiday
7. The Chamber Strings - Everyday Is Christmas
8. Hum - Why I Like The Robins
9. Grouper - Heavy Water/I'd Rather Be Sleeping
10. Black Tambourine - Black Car
11. The Love Language - Sparxxx
12. Gliss - Morning Light
13. Alcian Blue - See You Shine
14. The Clientele - (I Want You) More Than Eve
15. The House Of Love - Sulphur
16. (Smog) - I Was a Stranger
17. Vampire Weekend - Campus
18. The Radio Dept. - Always A Relief


Monday, October 5, 2009

Brigitte Fontaine - Brigitte Fontaine Est... (1970)

My posts have been testosterone heavy recently, which makes sense as I am a guy who loves working out. However, in the interest of fulfilling quotas, here is a Brigitte Fontaine record.

Many of the other internet reviews that I've found of this album focus on the "quirkiness" of the sounds texturing these songs (Bird calls! Glockenspiels!). And hey, in a way opposite of dumb Pitchfork bands, these extra things are actually pretty cool. However, the actually interesting part is, no surprise, the songs themselves. . Le Beau Cancer is a wonderful pop song, with an instrumental hook that my subconscious is almost always humming. The way that the phrases of Une Fois Mais Pas Deux leave tension in the vocal line then resolve with a rest and a chord change is a blessing to my earthly existence. And hey, it's got something in common with one of my favorite France Gall songs, too!

There are certainly parallels to be drawn between Tropicalia and this brand of French pop. Something about expertly crafted pop songs with plenty of space behind the vocal melody for an abundance of idiosyncrasies, that, while prevalent, are not distracting from the elegance of the song. You know, all of these flavors and hooks and implied key modulations actually create some sort of world for me. Maybe it makes me feel like I am into steampunk and goggles on my head and full-length jackets and shit like that? Maybe. Come fly away with me and Brigitte F, and Brigitte B in our airship. Brigitte Bardot: the original Steam Punk.