Monday, April 26, 2010

War Cry - Trilogy of Terror Demo (1983)

Metal celebrity Paul Speckmann's (of Master & Death Strike duh) early work. While his later bands recorded some of the best primitive riffing of all time, this is Sabbath worship at its finest. Chicago metal, represent represent.

Later doom bands can plod, but they are not this heavy because their songs are boring. Later stoner bands know the pentatonic scale, but that riff factory is about worn out. This demo deserves to be mentioned in the same breath as Saint Vitus & Trouble.

Also, I'm a connoisseur of "ooh"s, and the one at the beginning of "Wicked Warlock" is fucking phenomenal. Nice and drawn out. It's also cool because it sounds like dude is pushing down on his floating bridge while chugging, so the pitch keeps wavering. Happy accident or genius subtle touch? Either way: WICKED WARLOCK! OOH!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Duke Ellington, Charles Mingus & Max Roach - Money Jungle (1962)

Recently, I've been making an effort to control the magnitude of the media consumption in my life by tying up loose ends. This means I've been finishing books, finishing series, and plowing through archives of unlistened-to music. I finished Twin Peaks & Ken Burns' Jazz in the last week. While that Ken Burns film is pretty annoying in a lot of ways, there is some excellent material in there, like this little gem which you may have seen if you are my friend on social networking behemoths Twitter & Facebook: When presented with the Medal of Freedom by President Richard Nixon, Ellington kissed Nixon four times. When the president asked why, Duke replied "one for each cheek."

Anyway, Money Jungle is an old favorite of mine. This recording is weird in a way that almost seems aggressive, but actually quickly settles into a feeling of "oh actually these guys are just way the fuck smarter than me." Listening to this thing is throwing off my internal equilibrium and I'm reeling around in my chair. Or maybe it's just weird allergy-related sinus pressure.

On the title track, Duke's piano trills and Mingus's bizarre bass slides and Roach's surprisingly hard-hitting drumming are legitimately unlike anything that I've ever heard. This is kind of like a Sun Ra record in that it exists entirely in its own musical paradigm. The theme to Wig Wise actually reminds me a lot of Thelonious Monk, with it's slightly off-kilter pacing and almost dissonant melody, with a playful-sounding resolution to the phrase.

I've been meaning to really dig into Duke's discography for awhile, and I'm gonna do that as soon as I've caught up on my "to listen to" folder. Life goals, man. Life goals.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Guest Mix Vol 11 - Lauren Lorendewski

Hey look here, my friend Nora Liebenbowski is a genius geologist, and is really into death metal and Klaus Nomi. The above picture is of her living the dream at the Tibetan Plateau this last summer, which is probably cooler than anything that you and I will ever do. Read Ms. Lunarovski's paper here in several months when it is published. And hey, I recently got into The Lemonheads because people said my band sounds like them. Anyway, this mix is awesome. DEAD! YOUR GOD IS DEAD! FOOLS! YOUR GOD IS DEAD!.

I spend about nine months of the year sitting at a desk in Michigan nerding about things like plateaus and mountains. The other three months I attempt to fulfill the destiny of a girl raised in the suburbs by traveling, hiking, etc. As fucking brutal as modeling plate tectonics is, I sometimes have trouble working in front of a computer when there are so so so many cool rocks for me play with outdoors.

My mix is composed of the songs that help me get through my infinite work days-the ones that after a 12 hour date with my computer I realize I have listened to on repeat 3045834503485 times, mostly because they remind me of gratifying experiences anywhere but my office in Michigan. Actually, every day I just listen to the entire Bat Out of Hell album on repeat, but I thought people who didn’t get it might become bored with a pure Meatloaf mix:


1. Talking Heads - This Must be the Place
2. Alkaline Trio - Nose Over Tail
3. Nick Drake - Place to Be
4. Screeching Weasel - I Wanna be a Homosexual
5. Descendents - Pervert
6. R Kelly - I'm a Flirt
7. The Smiths - Miserable Lie
8. The Temptations - Isn't She Pretty
9. Yo La Tengo - Center of Gravity
10. Billy Bragg - California Stars
11. Archers of Loaf - Fat
12. Lemonheads - Rockin Stroll
13. Morbid Angel - Chapel of Ghouls
14. New Order - The Village
15. The Wedding Present - All This and More
16. Bob Marley - Don't Ever Leave Me
17. Woob - Creek
18. The Misfits - Skulls
19. Gorguts - Obscura
20. Klaus Nomi - Cold Song


Tuesday, April 13, 2010

The Zombies - The Lost Album (1969)

"I'll Call You Mine" is my favorite Zombies song. "Walking in the Sun" is also up there. It sounds like some bossa nova ass shit with the mournful brass playing somber melodies. So beautiful. "I Could Spend the Day" is quite a bit bluesier & heavier than standard Zombies fare, which actually works out really well in this case. And a bit more grit in Colin Blunstone's breathy voice is a welcome addition, if only to hear what it sounds like.

There is also a cool hokey "live" track with weird applause after each vocal part. Reminds me of Type O Negative's Origin of the Feces.

Fuck, I think "I'll Call You Mine" might actually be my favorite song. So what you should do is listen to these songs and feel extreme envy for The Zombies' song-writing brilliance and also the tone of Colin Blunstone's voice. Then, you can feel a bit better about yourself because some of these tracks are really weak.

Note: It is my duty to recommend these videos on insulin resistance and metabolism. As someone who thinks about nutrition a lot, these have been impossibly valuable to me. So far I've watched twice to try to absorb everything, and I'll probably give another go 'round soon.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Moondog - Moondog (1956)

As seems to happen, I don't know, just about four times a year, a new issue of Jettison Quarterly is freely available for your internet reading enjoyment. Once again, my opinions on music are featured, as are conversations with Cutis Mann, Cody Hudson and Carrie Schneider, director Ky Dickens, author Joe Meno, Andy Butler of Hercules and Love Affair, designer Ra’mon Lawrence, and Ron Banks of The Dramatics. In celebration of this historic release, here are my thoughts on a Moondog record that appeared in a Jettison Quarterly of yore.

This record is well known for its idiosyncratic use of found-sound animal noises and baby cries, and its almost haphazard blending of genres and styles. These elements are, of course, essential to the feel of these recordings, as well as an important chapter in the inimitable legend of Moondog (a blind street musician clad in self-made, Thor-inspired garb). However, framing a discussion of this album in terms of its quirks fails to properly explain that the actual songs and melodies here are completely spell-binding. These microsongs state an idea and fill it out with bizarre percussion and found sounds. There is no room here for narrative and structuring ideas; these pieces exist as only as melody, texture, and slithering percussion. Moondog isolates melancholy through stark piano and violin melodies, and adds bubbling primal instincts through rolling, syncopated percussive arrangements. Sounds of frogs and passing cars whisper deep, important secrets of the nature of men trapped in modern society, but looking for more than civilization can offer.