Wednesday, February 29, 2012

MIX - Songs From a Dresser Drawer

Adventure music. For adventures only.

01) Intro - Anyone Who Gives You a Belief System is Your Enemy
02) Laszlo Benko - Pieta
03) Jean-Michel Raschle - The Magic Trip
04) Gershon Kingsley - Hey Hey
05) Ramases and Selket - Mind's Eye
06) Brian Wilson - Sweet Mountain American Spring
07) Daevid Allen - Pretty Miss Titty
08) Claude Vasori - Splash
09) Damon - Song of a Gypsy
10) Top Drawer - Song of a Sinner
11) Geoff Bastow - Tomorrow's World
12) Max Mann - Bloody and Blue (instrumental)
13) Андрей Родионов & Борис Тихомиров — Игральный автомат
14) Zigmars Liepins - Dance 85
15) New Musik - While you Wait (33 rpm)
16) Software - Percussion Island
17) イノヤマランド - Wasser


Green - Elaine Mackenzie (1987)

Equal parts power pop, garage-stoner-rock-revival and proto-90s-indie-radio-rock with some slight punk tendencies. So Rock n Roll, pretty much. From a retrospective point of view, this isn't anything particularly new or special, mainly because the 90s birthed a million records like this (Pavement, Yo La Tengo, etc), but still a pretty solid collection of tracks with a good range of styles to keep things fresh and flowing nicely. Considering this was made in '87, on the cusp of this sound, kind of ahead of it's time.....for a 'throwback' band, of course.

Rating: 8.5/10


Copping on The Misfits:

Mark Van Hoen

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Cleaners From Venus - Midnight Cleaners (1982)

I've been sitting on this album for a while, but it was amongst a big pile of other CFV stuff and it wasn't until my buddy came over a few weeks back and coerced me to listen to it, that I actually did. You hear a lot of people talking about how early Martin Newell sounds a lot like Ariel Pink (or vice versa, rather), and in a way they're right. "Corridor of Dreams," with it's delightfully kitschy saxophones and masterly momentum sounds like it could've been on Ariel's latest, Before Today. But besides both being perhaps the best underground pop musicians of their respective times, and the lengthy list of comparisons that could be drawn, the two are very different song-writers. The most vital similarities between them lie in their style of recording, or rather the philosophy of such a style and how they incorporate it to fit and enhance the feeling of their work - not just for novelty or out of necessity, like many 'lo-fi'/bedroom/cassette artists. Anyways, this is a fantastic album, a lost album, an anti-pop pop album, from a band which has only recently being rediscovered. Give it your attention and then make your way through the rest of Newell's work, because there are plenty more lustrous bullion where this came from.

Rating: 9/10


Sunday, February 26, 2012

Talking Heads - This Must be the Place

David J - Urban Urbane (1992)

Shadowy and seductive release from David J of Bauhaus and Love and Rockets fame. His solo output can be hit or miss, but this is really, really stellar stuff - definitively his richest, most realized and sundry release and a lovely soundtrack for desecration. Think a smart, soulful, gothic take on adult contemporary with the occasional ode to disillusionment and country pastiche tune thrown in to keep things fresh....really easy listening, but with some dim undertones chronicling fame, drug addiction, sex, violence, and all that fun jazz. Rockin' good stuff, and growing on me more and more with each listen.

Rating: 9/10


Saint Etienne - Tonight


Saturday, February 25, 2012

Tao Lin - Richard Yates

I am not typically in the business of 'slamming' things, because frankly there are too many things out there worth slamming, and besides, that goes against the basis of what I'm trying to do here. However, there are exceptions. Occasionally, I'll come across something that irks me to the point where I feel the need to voice my negative opinion of said thing, and Tao Lin's Richard Yates is one such exception. It's not that Tao Lin is a bad writer, or that Richard Yates is a particularly bad book, but that he is so overpraised as a contemporary genius that offends me, as a writer myself, who aspires to one day deservingly hold such titles. First, I want to examine a quote on the back of Richard Yates which I find to be exceptionally nauseating. It reads:

"Richard Yates is hilarious, menacing, and hugely intelligent. Tao Lin is a Kafka for the iPhone generation."
-Clancy Martin

This is the sort of quote that brings to mind sexual favors or blackmail, because it's so hyperbolic, even for literary ass-kissing, because to call Richard Yates 'hilarious' is like calling Inception 'depressing.' It is mildly comical at best, and even then only before the cheap schtick wears off. I have read several different definitions of the word 'menacing' and I cannot possibly fathom what dictionary Clancy Martin is in possession of. Richard Yates is many things("unique"), but to say it is 'hugely intelligent' is just absolutely ridiculous. Lin is a decent writer, and has a subtle sense of humor, but let's be honest here; the book is essentially a live-journal entry converted into dry, self-aware, humorous prose by some guy who went to NYU and happens to be familiar with youth culture. Me, you, - anyone - could have written this book, and to say it is 'hugely intelligent' does nothing more than make David Foster Wallace's bloated corpse roll around in his grave a bit. Last, but not least, this person goes on to say Tao Lin is a 'Kafka for the iPhone generation.' Now, I was going offer some witty rebuttal to this, to expand on how absurd such a statement is, how much nerve this person has to say such an idiotic thing, but you know what? No. It doesn't deserve such tact or clemency. It deserves the anger in which it evoked in me: So fuck you, Clancy Martin. I don't know who you are, but I fucking hate you and I hope you lose all your fingers in a bowling accident. No exaggeration intended.

Richard Yates is supposed to be ironic, maybe even entirely tongue in cheek - a mockery of relationships in the digital age – but also show how, despite the format of communication, it’s really not that much different from prior generations. And despite the juvenile (pathetic?) nature of the characters and culture within – is meant to expose profound truths about human nature. The problem is that these ‘profound truths’ are anything but profound. Yes, technology makes us lonely and separates us as much as it connects us. Yes, love is complicated. Yes, youth is complicated. Yes, life is complicated. These are not only things which have been written about by thousands of writers before him (and far more poetically, I might add), but are also obvious to anyone with half an analytical brain. Then there are his blatant pretensions he takes part in, ie. the index at the end of the book (why?), the Vice-vomit cover design, and that self-written magazine article he did, which I have yet to read, which might make the whole affair that much sillier depending on the route Lin took. Then of course there are the names of the characters and the book itself. Seeing the names Haley Joel Osment and Dakota Fanning printed was mildly amusing for a few pages. With brevity in mind, Richard Yates would have worked really well as a (short) short story, however as a full length novel its humorous effect is lost well early in the book.

Tangential anecdote: when I was 16, I dated a 12 year old. She was my first girlfriend and I was under the impression that she was 14 for the first 3 months of our relationship, because that is how old she told me she was. 90% of our interaction consisted of chatting over aol instant messenger, 8% took place over the phone, and occasionally, we would see each other secretly in person, roughly 2% of the time. I’d sneak out of my house and drive an hour to see her, sneak into her window, and we’d have to be quiet because her parents were in the room next door. She took my virginity, and I took hers. Her sense of humor was cute and a little on the morbid side. I tried my best to be all the things I thought I was supposed to be – to play my role, while still being true to my emotions, which was often being discontent. I occasionally patronized her. We were both confused. It was uncannily similar to what I’ve been reading in Richard Yates, only I would never dream, not in a lifetime, that it would be worth writing about and sharing with others outside of my livejournal at the time.

Part of me is convinced that Tao Lin is playing a big joke - an elaborate trolling for his own amusement, and his supporters are all playing a part in it, and I am the gullible one falling for it. That’s what I want to believe. That would make me feel better about the world and the current state of literature. But, somehow this is doubtful. Somehow, all these heartless monkeys with English degrees who suck so badly at writing anything other than lab-language that they end up doing journalism, really do find Richard Yates to be funny, and to be some practical genius. But the question still remains, with Haley Joel Osment and Dakota Fanning fresh in my mind: how is this book funny? Maybe it’s funny because it’s so fucking dull and boring, and it uses the same jokes and the same scenarios over and over and over for 200 pages – and that’s the big fat farcical joke. Ha ha. Funny like the comedic version of a 20 hour Tarkovsky film (but that would be giving Lin too much credit). Funny like a kidney stone that takes two weeks to come out, and you have to laugh at it to keep from blowing your brains out or stabbing yourself in the throat with a kitchen knife. Is this what humor has come to? Is unfunny the new funny and I just did not get the memo? Has humor expended itself and is desperately flailing around on the ground in a puddle of its own coagulated blood, trying to figure out a way to resuscitate itself?

Again, Tao Lin is a decent writer and obviously a pretty smart guy, if for no other reason than for his talent for marketing his unremarkable writing. But his name should never be uttered or written in the same sentence as an immortal such as Kafka and [insert Tao Lin book here] is certainly not the [insert lit-crit glowing superlative here] novel of the last however-many years. Richard Yates is solid and easy to read, 'cute' even, but painfully uninteresting and to regard it or its ideas as special in any way, is a far bigger inside joke on modern culture than the book itself ever hopes to be.

Ironic irony?

Bitter Springs - Best Bakers on the Island (2000)

I have fallen utterly in love with this album. After a certain point, when you've been digging for years, and you start to think you've excavated every last gem in the proverbial quarry, and you're tired of getting crap on your hands, something like this comes along and really surprises you. Brilliant lyrics, sheen-polished, abounding compositions in a jamboree of styles ranging from Captain Sensible-like toe-tappers to classy pub-pop to dreary brit-folk in the vein of Robyn Hitchcock, Best Bakers a joy to behold from start to finish. This record flows like a dream, and captures the romance and sadness and overall essence of Great Britain like only a distinguished, middle-aged English-born gentleman with a penchant for hooks could. Thanks again to Mike for this one. Fabulous work - don't miss!

Rating: 9/10


Single from a 7" release by pre-Bitter Springs Simon Rivers and co:

Adam & The Ants - Kings of the Wild Frontier

Espresso for your ears

Friday, February 24, 2012

The Band of Holy Joy selected discography

Such an epic, under-appreciated band, so I'll just dive in....

It's hard to get used to a new tempo. Tempo is probably the biggest commonality tying together any style of music, and when a band maintains all other stylings of their contemporaries but plays to a different speed, it can be a little hard to adjust to. So don't be turned off if these guys don't click on the first listen. They will.

They have changed their tune over the years, and have the capacity to be dark and experimental as well as make hits-that-never-were-but-should-have-been. Most of the time they like a more upbeat Stockholm Monsters/Martyn Bates fused with The Pogues' Irish-y organs and instrumentation fused with Horses-era Patti-Smith's organic vocal meandering* but with exquisite - truly exquisite - pop layering and rich orchestration, whose lyricism and song-writing are both so fantastically good, it will shock you that these guys are so unknown.

*Note: Kind of. This is a stretch, but really couldn't think of a better way to describe this. Hear for yourself and let me know if you think this is a poor/accurate description.

Collection includes:

More Favourite Fairy Tales (1984) 8/10
The Big Ship Sails (1986) 7.5/10
Manic, Magic, Majestic (1989) 9.5/10
Positively Spooked (1990) 9/10

I recommend starting with Manic, Magic, and Majestic, and then Positively Spooked, and then their earlier releases, which can be more chaotic, lo-fi, and experimental (The Big Ship Sails sounds like what taking acid at a circus must feel like). When I get paid I'm going to try and download the rest of their stuff, but in the meantime there is a lot of quality to be found in this collection.


Saturday, February 18, 2012

Cleaners From Venus - Corridor of Dreams

Really, really, really one of the best songs I've heard in some time. FEEL IT.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

General words of wisdom

"When we dead awaken, we see that we have never lived."

"Grace to be born and live as variously as possible”
― Frank O'Hara

Black Bananas - Radtimes

New stuff from Jennifer Herrema of Royal Trux. Makes me miss putting things in my nose.....a little

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

MIX - Speed Run

Petition and Repetition sat on a log; Repetition listened to minimal, progressive electronic music.

Wait, what?

For absorbing, creating, running, passing time.

01) Markus Guetner - Jellyfish
02) Broadway Project - Blood in the Temple
03) Underworld - Dark & Long
04) Four Tet - This Unfolds
05) Gui Boratto - Colors
06) SCSI-9 - Mini
07) Ulrich Schnauss - On My Own
08) The Field - A Paw in My Face
09) Laurent Garnier - The Man With the Red Face
10) Daft Punk - Too Long
11) Aphex Twin - Ptolemy
12) House of House - The Rough Half (Don't Stop)


Tuesday, February 14, 2012

MIX - Night Terrorists

The theme of this mix is music for sleep paralysis. I'm sure you're wondering - sleep paralysis is fucking scary....why would anyone want to willingly induce such a state? Well, the reason is that when you mentally prepare yourself for something, and face it willingly, you are much better equipped with dealing with it and also because many amazing things can arise from the half-conscious state you find yourself in during sleep-paralysis, such as OoBEs, lucid dreaming, and other neat stuff.

Relaxation/sedation ---> trance -----> subconscious programming

For best results, this mix should ideally be played during a nap, in a place you do not usually sleep, while lying in the supine position. If you have any questions, let me know!

01) Peter Davison - Glide II
02) Emeralds - Up in the Air
03) Gang Gang Dance - Egowar
04) Seefeel - Climactic Phase 3
05) Oneohtrix Point Never - Betrayed in the Octagon
06) Cluster - Sowiesoso
07) David Shea - Elegy
08) Yasunori Mitsuda - The One Who is Torn Apart
09) DJ Signify - Costume Kids
10) Liars - It Fit When I Was a Kid
11) Coil - Triple Sun
12) cLOUDDEAD - I Promise Never to Get Paint on my Glasses 2
13) Rachel's - The Mysterious Disappearance of Louis LePrince
14) Akira Yamaoka - Innocent Moon
15) Hymie's Basement - Moonhead
16) Gastr Del Sol - Mouth Canyon
17) Software - Island Sunrise


This Mortal Coil - Kangaroo

Monday, February 13, 2012

MIX - Music for Coming Over

Modern, poppy, accessible, lovey-dovey shit, because you can only make jaded, roman-cynical Valentine's mixes with titles like "Fuck Your Stupid Day" and "I Hope You Choke and Die and Cry" and "No One Will Ever Love you Ever Ever Ever" for so many decades before you gotta switch it up a bit. Be forewarned - if you aren't cuddling by a fireplace or driving around aimlessly with your significant other after a day of exchanging oral sex and sensual rub downs, this will probably be too sappy for you.

01) Jeff Eliassen - Valentine
02) Smog - Dress Sexy At My Funeral
03) Atlas Sound - Walkabout
04) The Embassy - Information
05) Hot Chip - One Life Stand
06) The Pains of Being Pure at Heart - Young Adult Friction
07) Stars - The First Five Times
08) Jens Lekman - ??? (live)
09) Super Furry Animals - Juxtaposed With U
10) Luna - Lovedust
11) Math & Physics Club - Darling Won't You Please Come Home
12) Broken Social Scene - Lover's Spit
13) Blur - Sweet Song
14) Yo La Tengo - Black Flowers
15) The Magnetic Fields - Asleep and Dreaming
16) Liars - The Other Side of Mt. Heart Attack
17) Black Box Recorder - Goodnight Kiss
18) Beach House - Take Care


Wednesday, February 1, 2012

MIX - West is Wondrous, part three

Leaving San Fransisco and heading home.

01) Sufjan Stevens - The Black Hawk War
02) Smog - Hit the Ground Running
03) John Vanderslice - White Plains
04) Lou Reed - Doin' the Things That We Want To
05) Mercury Rev - Goddess on a Hiway
06) Red House Painters - Shock Me
07) Mark Kozelek - River (KCRW version, 1996)
08) Bill Callahan - Riding for the Feeling
09) Hymie's Basement - American Too
10) Cass McCombs - County Line
11) Wilco - Via Chicago
12) Califone - The Orchids
13) Bonnie 'Prince' Billy - Easy Down the Road
14) Mojave 3 - Bringin' Me Home
15) Al Stewart - Long Way Home
16) Vietnam Veterans - 500 Miles
17) Judee Sill - There's a Rugged Road
18) Tom Waits - Downtown Train


MIX - West is Wondrous, part two

Los Angeles up highway one and on into the Bay.

01) The Clientele - From Brighton Beach to Santa Monica
02) Shuggie Otis - Strawberry Letter 23
03) Warren Zevon - Excitable Boy
04) Saint Etienne - Shower Scene
05) The Raveonettes - Ode to L.A.
06) Puro Instinct - Lost at Sea
07) The Orchids - Peaches
08) The Tyde - All My Bastard Children
09) Luna - Malibu Love Nest
10) Comet Gain - You Can Hide Your Love Forever
11) Girls - Darling
12) Magik Markers - Taste
13) Massive Attack - Sly
14) Pulp - My Lighthouse
15) Van Morrison - Astral Weeks
16) Simon and Garfunkel - The 59th Street Bridge Song (Feelin' Groovy)
17) Akron/Family - Island