Alternative archives November 2007

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Group Ongaku - 1996 - Music of Group Ongaku

Group Ongaku - 1996 - Music of Group Ongaku 1960-1961

Tracks :
1 Automatism (26:20)
Performer - Chieko Shiomi , Mikio Tojima , Shukou Mizuno , Takehisa Kosugi , Yasunao Tone , Yumiko Tanno
2 Object (7:34)
Performer - Chieko Shiomi , Mikio Tojima , Shukou Mizuno , Takehisa Kosugi , Yasunao Tone , Yumiko Tanno
Metaplasm 9-15
3a Part 1 (14:16)
Cello - Mikio Tojima
Cello, Drums, Tape - Shukou Mizuno
Guitar - Genichi Tsuge
Piano - Chieko Shiomi
Saxophone, Tape - Yasunao Tone
Violin, Saxophone, Tape - Takehisa Kosugi
3b Part 2 (11:26)
Cello - Mikio Tojima
Cello, Drums, Tape - Shukou Mizuno
Guitar - Genichi Tsuge
Piano - Chieko Shiomi
Saxophone, Tape - Yasunao Tone
Violin, Saxophone, Tape - Takehisa Kosugi


Takehisa Kosugi – violin, sax, tapes
Shukou Mizuno – cello, drums, tapes
Chieko ‘Mieko’ Shiomi - piano
Yasunao Tone – sax, tapes
Mikio Tojima - cello
Yumiko Tanno – FX, tapes
Genichi Tsuge - guitar

The story of Group Ongaku (and its founder members Takehisa Kosugi and Yasunao Tone) is essential to the fabric of the post-war Japanese music scene. Their history is carefully mapped out throughout Book 1, Chapter 2 of Japrocksampler.
~Julian Cope

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Sunday, November 25, 2007

Mass - Labour of Love [1981]

After the breakup of Rema Rema, Gary Asquith, Mick Allen, and Mark Cox formed the art-damaged discordance of Mass with Danny Briottet. One of the earliest 4AD bands, they debuted with the You and I single in 1980, following it up a year later with the full-length Labour of Love. Asquith and Briottet went on as Renegade Soundwave, while Allen and Cox went into the Wolfgang Press. []

Track list;
01. Mass
02. Why
03. Ill
04. Why isn't life nice
05. Elephant talk
06. Cross purposes
07. F. A. H. T. C. F.
08. Innocence



Saturday, November 24, 2007

Korgis - The Korgis [1979]

The Korgis released their first single "Young 'n' Russian" in early March 1979 on the label Rialto Records, owned by their managers Nick and Tim Heath. Their next single "If I Had You," was released soon after, and moved up Number 13 on the UK Singles Chart, prompting the release of an eponymous debut album, The Korgis, in July 1979.

Their next single, "Everybody's Got to Learn Sometime" (1980), from their second album Dumb Waiters, was a hit on both sides of the Atlantic, hitting Number 5 in the UK, and #18 in the U.S. The Dumb Waiters album reached Number 40 in the UK in 1980 and was followed by singles "If It's Alright With You Baby" and "Rovers Return". The band was alternately marketed as a duo, a trio and a quartet around this time. The commercial breakthrough was however not enough to keep them together, and after a third album, Sticky George - and with lead single "That Was My Big Mistake" being released as 'James Warren & The Korgis' marking the fact that the group had now more or less evolved into a one man band, Davis and Warren went their separate ways. The single "Don't Look Back", originally a demo from the Sticky George sessions, was however remixed by Trevor Horn (at the time best known for his work with The Buggles, Dollar and Yes) and issued by London Records in the summer of 1982. A follow-up single with Horn, "Endangered Species", was planned but never materialised.

Warren would go on to issue a solo LP entitled Burning Questions in 1986, while some of the singles during this era were still released as 'The Korgis' and co-produced by Andy Davis.

The band got back together in 1990 to re-record "Everybody's Got to Learn Sometime". The re-formed group consisting of James Warren, Andy Davis and new member John Baker released the album This World's For Everyone in 1992, having some success in Continental Europe and Japan, before breaking up again. [Wikipedia]

The album Sticky George [1981] can be found here

Track list;
01 - Young N' Russian
02 - I Just Can't Help It
03 - Chinese Girl
04 - Art School Annexe
05 - Boots And Shoes
06 - Dirty Postcards
07 - O Maxine
08 - Mt Everest Sings The Blues
09 - Cold Tea
10 - If I Had You


New Wave, Pop-Rock

Loop - 1987 - Heaven's End

Loop - 1987 - Heaven's End


1. Sound Head
2. Straight to Your Heart
3. Forever
4. Heaven's End
5. Too Real to Feel
6. Fix to Fall
7. Head On
8. Carry Me



Discordant, elusive and utterly hypnotic, Loop conjured a dark, trance-like spell that contrasted sharply with the prevailing British pop music trends of their time. Equal parts the Stooges, Can and Hawkwind, in tandem with fellow travellers Spacemen 3 they resurrected the concept of space-rock for a new era, creating droning soundscapes of bleak beauty and harsh dissonance. Loop was formed in London in 1986 by vocalist/guitarist Robert Hampson, who at the time of the group's inception claimed to know only four chords; with wife Bex on drums and Glen Ray on bass, they debuted with the single "16 Dreams," its raw, feedback-powered sound offering clear evidence of a serious garage fixation. New drummer John Wills and bassist Neil MacKay were signed on a short time later, with their arrival heralding a more primal rhythmic foundation; the reconfigured Loop then issued its 1987 full-length debut Heavens End, winning acclaim for its densely distorted sound.

The World in Your Eyes, a collection of singles and B-sides, appeared in 1987; after signing to the Chapter 22 label, Loop resurfaced in 1988 with the 12" Collision. In November of that same year the group also released their second full-length, the excellent Fade Out. Over a year passed before Loop returned to action with the "Arc-Lite" single, now sporting not only another new label, Situation Two, but also a second guitarist, Scott Dowson. After issuing their third and finest studio LP, 1990's A Gilded Eternity, Loop disbanded; a series of posthumous releases, among them the live Dual and the BBC sessions collection Wolf Flow, soon followed. In the wake of the band's demise, its four members split into two camps — while MacKay and Wills reunited in the Hair and Skin Trading Company, Hampson and Dowson went on to form the highly experimental Main.



Had Loop been present at Woodstock, they probably would have hatched a plan to obtain all the brown acid that Wavy Gravy warned spectators not to take. After hearing his declaration that "The brown acid's a bummer, man!," Robert Hampson and his droogs would have likely gone incognito as security staff, offering to rid the concert goers of the bad trips waiting to be had. They would have preceded to ingest what they could and record something like Heaven's End, a filler-free release of warped senses and personal demons, self-contained blues, and psychotic dementia. It sounds like a vast toxic wasteland where all negativity is dumped by the soul. Simple, tense riffs repeat until a state of hypnosis and emotional emptiness remain. "Heaven's End" itself sounds like the soundtrack to a missing hallucination scene from Easy Rider; shifting and shuffling percussion and twisted vapor trails of guitar mutate into utter mush. Samples from 2001 pop up throughout the record, if the music itself wasn't enough to carry a prevailing sense of paranoia and claustrophobia. But all the late-'60s references become stifling in conveying what Loop did. Along the way, Loop gutted all the spiritual mysticism from Can, taking their repetition. They also borrow Suicide's minimal charge and early PiL's wretched anguish, making something rather unique from their influences. Though Heaven's End demonstrates a crystal clear indebtedness to Detroit's high-energy mayhem of the late ‘60s, it's actually the gunmetal gray sound of the Stooges and MC5 filtered through decades of urban decay.
[info: allmusic guide]

discography here

Friday, November 23, 2007

Everything But the Girl - 1984 - Eden (Bianco Negro Rec. UK)

The debut effort by multi-instrumentalist Ben Watt and vocalist and songwriter Tracey Thorn took the alterna-pop world by surprise in 1985. And rightfully so. Watt's lush chamber orchestra jazzscapes, full of Brazilian bossa nova structures and airy horn charts, combined with Thorn's throaty alto singing her generation's version of the torch song, was a sure attraction for fans of sophisticated pop and vocal jazz. Featuring 12 tracks, the album has deeply influenced popular song structures since that time; this is evidenced in the work of more R&B-oriented acts such as Swing Out Sister and Tuck and Patti.

Tracey Thorn
Guitar (Acoustic), Guitar, Vocals
Ben Watt
Guitar, Piano, Organ (Hammond), Vocals, Horn Arrangements

Simon Booth Guitar
Bosco DeOliveira Percussion
Charles Hayward Drums
Peter King Saxophone, Sax (Alto)
Chucke Meichan Bass
Chucho Merchán Double Bass
Robin Millar Saxophone, Sax (Tenor)
Dick Pearce Trumpet, Flugelhorn, Horn

Mike Pela Engineer - Producer Nigel Nash

needs to sink deep into her protagonist's brokenness. Guitars chime and stagger one another, slipping and sliding just above the bassline, and vanish into thin air. On "I Must Confess," a riff similar to "The Girl From Ipanema" locates The set opens with "Each and Everyone," a slow samba-flavored pop song. The song comes from the broken side of love, with Thorn entreating from the heart: "You try to show me heaven but then close the door...Being kind is just a way to keep me under your thumb/And I can cry because that's something we've always done." A trumpet fills her lines and makes them glide above Watt's Latin mix. Elsewhere, the folk bossa of "Fascination" is all the architecture ThornThorn next to a deep ringing upright bass and Watt's glissando guitar, played Charlie Byrd-style, before Nigel Nash punctures Thorn's vocal with a velvety tenor solo. Once again, the notion of loss, memory, and the resolve of the left half of a relationship to go on, carrying regret but not remorse, is absolutely breathtaking. Thorn continually meditated on broken relationships here, and that extended tome, which echoes through every song on the record, seems to have resonated with everyone who heard it.

The set closes with Watt's vocal on "Soft Touch," a folksy pop song, illustrated with guitars, a fretless bass, and piano, that sounds like something from Supertramp in their better moments — and no, that's not a bad thing. His voice — while not nearly as dramatic as Thorn's — is wonderfully expressive, and his lyrics extend the feeling of Eden to its final whisper. This set proved itself to be an auspicious debut that testified to the beginning of a long and creatively rewarding partnership that has endured.
~by Thom Jurek

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Thin White Rope - 1987 - Moonhead

Thin White Rope's second album, Moonhead, is the edge-of-chaos masterpiece of the paisley underground, an album that sounds like Neil Young & Crazy Horse tackling Joy Division's Unknown Pleasures. All of the 14 songs, even a pounding cover of Jimmy Reed's blues classic "Ain't That Lovin' You Baby," are so wound up and tense that they sound like they could explode at any point; the fact that they don't, not even on extended guitar workouts like "Crawl Piss Freeze" and the epic closer "Take It Home," gives the album an at times almost unbearable tension. The songs all start from basically the same point -- dual-guitar leads over Jozef Becker's almost Krautrock-like steady pulses and Stephen Tesluk's throbbing, minimal basslines -- but Guy Kyser's lyrics and vocals range from tortured wails to mordant, deadpan humor, providing the album with just enough variation that it doesn't become deadening. An intense, satisfying album, Moonhead is Thin White Rope's most substantial and powerful effort. ~Stewart Mason, All Music Guide

get more T.W.R albums here

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Sunday, November 18, 2007

Brigitte Bardot - 1996 - Best Of BB

01. L'Appareil à Sous
02. La Madrague
03. Je Me Donne à Qui Me Plaît
04. Moi Je Joue
05. Histoire de Plage
06. Ça Pourrait Changer (Don't You Ever Change Your Mind)
07. Ne Me Laisse Pas l'Aimer
08. Maria Ninguen (Maria l'Amour)
09. Je Danse Donc Je Suis
10. Ciel de Lit
11. Bonnie and Clyde (Avec S.Gainsbourg)
12. Bubble Gum
13. Le Soleil
14. Harley Davidson
15. Contact
16. Je T'Aime...Moi Non Plus (1967 Original Version avec S.Gainsbourg)
17. Oh! Qu'il Est Vilain
18. Nue au Soleil
19. Te Veux Ou Tu Veux Pas (Nem Vem Que Nas Tem)
20. Soleil de Ma Vie (You Are the Sunshine of My Life avec S.Distel)

After scaling the heights of international fame as a '50s movie pinup, Brigitte Bardot marked the shifting terrain of the '60s with a plunge into the music world. Like many French singers of the time, she updated the jazz-inspired chanson tradition of Trenet and Piaf with a healthy dose of pop and rock & roll. This 20-track sampler covers the period from her eponymous 1962 debut to the early '70s and such last hurrahs as her cover of Stevie Wonder's "You Are the Sunshine of My Life." A superbly selected mix, Best of BB hits all the heights, including early beat-style numbers like "L'Appareil a Sous" and "Je Danse Donc Je Suis" and several Serge Gainsbourg collaborations (their infamous duet, "Je T'Aime...Moi Non Plus," being one of them). Other Bardot-Gainsbourg highlights include such pop-culture landmarks as "Bonnie and Clyde," "Harley Davidson," and "Contact." A fabulous place to start your Bardot collection.

~ Stephen Cook, All Music Guide

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Saturday, November 17, 2007

Suburban Lawns - 1981 - Suburban Lawns

Suburban Lawns - 1981 - Suburban Lawns
IRS SP70024

Tracks :
1 Flying Saucer Safari (Ennui/Billingsgate/McBurney) 2:12
2 Pioneers (Ennui/Tissue/McBurney) 2:05
3 Not Allowed (Tissue/Billingsgate) 2:16
4 Gossip (Tissue) 2:29
5 Intellectual Rock (McBurney) 2:05
6 Protection (Billingsgate) 1:54
7 Anything (Tissue) 1:38
8 Janitor (Ennui/Tissue/Billingsgate/McBurney) 2:30
9 Computer Date (Ennui/Billingsgate) 1:06
10 Mom And Dad And God (Ennui/Roast) 1:56
11 Unable (Tissue/Billingsgate) 1:31
12 When In The World (Billingsgate) 2:48
13 Green Eyes (Tissue) 2:53
14 Jam The Controls (Ennui) 1:06

Musicians :
Su Tissue vocals & keyboards
John McBurney lead guitars & vocals
Frankie Ennui guitars & vocals
Vex Billingsgate bass & vocals
Chuck Roast drums
Additional Musician:
EJ Emmons percussion, synthesizer & string arrangements

Suburban Lawns formed in Long Beach, California in 1978, though several members had know each other longer and played together previously under various names such as The Fabulons or Art Attack (two were students at the famous Disney-backed California Institute of the Arts or "CalArts"). They found their stride with a quirky tune called "Gidget Goes To Hell" released in 1979 on their own indpendent Suburban Industrial Records and got a boost when a music video (purportedly produced and directed by Academy-Award winning director Jonathan Demme) for the tune ran on Saturday Night Live.

Thanks to continued airplay (thanks to Rodney Bingenheimer & KROQ), the band was able to license thier self- produced debut LP to I.R.S. Records for a whopping $25,000 -- more than it cost to produce -- and get picked up by Ian Copeland's Frontier Booking International. The arrangement gave them terrific opportunities to open for and tour with dozens of great UK and US bands.

Suburban Lawns on stage in the San Francisco Bay area, circa 1981.
(L to R: Vex Billingsgate, Su Tissue and John McBurney)

The five members of Suburban Lawns took on stage names that would put smiles on the faces of anyone culturally literate: Su Tissue (Sue McLane), Vex Billingsgate (William Ranson), John Gleur (John McBurney), Frankie Ennui (Richard Whitney) and Chuck Roast (Charles Rodriguez). Su was the usual "front-person" though lead vocal duties switched from song to song with everyone except Chuck Roast singing at least one song.

Despite the regional success of the debut LP, a follow-up was a long time coming. And a long time in the pop-world often leads to turmoil brewing within bands. Shortly after Richard Mazda took on production of the their follow up, Baby (which ended up as an EP), John McBurney departed the fold. Other issues took their toll and Baby was released with little fanfare and less promotion. Soon after it hit the street the band folded. Despite a "fan club" address on the sleeve the Lawns were done.

The various members have continued to work since then. Frankie and Vex even briefly formed a new band called simply The Lawns. Su went on to the Berklee College of Music to study classic piano. She later recorded a solo album of piano and voice called Salon de Musique and played the small but memorable part of Peggy Dillman in Jonathan Demme's Something Wild. Producer EJ Emmons is still active behind the Los Angeles music scene...

Get It Here @ 320

Friday, November 16, 2007

Billy Childish & Holly Golightly - 1999 - In Blood

Billy Childish & Holly Golightly - 1999 - In Blood


1. Step Out
2. In Blood
3. Let Me Know You
4. You Got That Thing
5. Demolition Girl
6. Upside Mine
7. You Move Me
8. I Believe
9. It's A Natural Fact
10. I'm The Robber
11. Move On Up
11. Move On Up


William Charlie Hamper – aka Billy Childish – is reputed to have recorded 100 LP’s during his 24-year career. As if that’s not enough to be getting on with, he’s also painted 2,000 odd paintings, written 2 novels & penned 30 plus volumes of poetry.
Born in 1959 in Chatham, Kent, Childish left secondary education aged 16, an undiagnosed dyslexic. After being denied entry to his local art-school, Childish began work as an apprentice stonemason at Chatham Naval Dockyard. During his 6 months on the job (the only conventional employment he has experienced in his 42 years) he produced 600 drawings in the "tea huts of hell". This portfolio eventually earned him a place at St Martin’s School of Art studying painting. Unfortunately, due to his outspoken views & rude writing, he was expelled & signed on shortly afterwards. Childish has continued to paint, write and make music independently ever since.

Billy Childish Bands:

- The Pop Rivets
- Thee Milkshakes
- Thee Mighty Caesars
- Thee Headcoats
- The Buff Medways
- Del Monas

Various bands Billy is or has been involved in:

Wild Billy Childish & The Chatham Singers | Billy & The Blackhands | Billy & Big Russ Wilkins | Billy & Sexton Ming | The Stuckists | Natural Born Lovers | Jack Ketch & The Crowmen | Singing Loins | Thee Stash | New Bomb Turks | Armitage Shanks | Billy & The Deltamen | Billy & Kyra | Billy & Holly | H2F | Mudhoney | Doctor Explosion | Golden Lemons |


Holly Golightly (real name) started her musical career as a founder member of all girl garage band Thee Headcoatees in 1991.
She spent four years with Thee Headcoatees before releasing her debut record, 'The Good Things', in 1995. Where the Headcoatees sound was a blend of girl group sounds and three-chord garage-rock with all the original songs coming from the pen of Billy Childish, Holly's solo sound is more a blend of pre-rock electric blues, folk rock, and less frantic rock & roll. Apart from the wide range of covers of such artists as Willie Dixon, Ike Turner, LeeHazelwood, Wreckless Eric, and Bill Withers, Golightly also writes all her own material.
Holly Golightly is definitely the most interesting and diverse artist to come out of the Billy Childish school and is certainly one of the better singer/songwriters of the post-grunge era.

Holly has collaborated with:
- Dan Melchior [in "Desperate Little Town", 2001]
- The White Stripes [in "Elephant"]
- The Greenhornes
- Mudhoney
- Rocket From The Crypt
- Flaming Stars

While Billy & Holly have co-contributed to garage faves The Headcoats/Headcoatees for many years, this is their first outing as a couple. One chord (with many notes) blues songs with vocal trading, clanging guitars and backed by the Medway Delta Review, which features Bruce & johnny of Thee Headcoats and Johnny Gibb from The Wildebeests.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

The Mistaken - 1994 - Santa Fe

Pale White Surfer

Medication (The Aktifed Song)

Santa Fe


My Black Dog

The Kingdom Of My Mind
Another Lost Heartache

This House Is Not My Home

Black Sheep

Nowhere Around
Sure It's Good

Venus In Furs


If all you know about this record is that leader Gregg Turner was in the Angry Samoans, you are probably going to be shocked when you hear it. Turner and the band created a marvelous meld of retro garage-psych and art pop, with oddly naïve lyrics set to occasionally sloppy but often endearing music. Songs like "Medication" and "Kingdom of My Mind" have an enjoyable '60s vibe and boast some pretty tight guitar work, while the title cut shows that Turner can craft a fine piece of melancholy pop. The relaxed atmosphere is all the stranger for the company Turner was keeping -- Polly Klemmer of Pompeii 99 and the original Christian Death plays keyboards and sings an ethereal lead vocal on "Lost." There are some interesting cameo experiences, such as a vocal intro from rock critic Natalie Nichols on the intro to the cover of the Velvet Underground's "Venus in Furs."

source : All Music Guide

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Friday, November 9, 2007

Partly Cloudy - 1987 - Excess Verbiage

I suppose I'm an artist or at least I'll get you to think so
Simple and minimal songs, played mainly with synthesizers and sequencers, but also with real guitars, bass and drums. It's definately a curiosity in the post/dark scene of Los Angeles in the late 80s: a trio, Aliz, Gigi and Robert, possibly art students, created this record of tribal/vocal drone, if such a thing could be said (or writen). Tribal refers to the drums (a key feature of almost every group in this scene), though a great part of them are digital. Yet they add a sense of motion in the otherwise more or less static synth lines. As for the vocal part, we are listening a voice without emotion talking rather than singing, semi-nightmare stories, or to be more precise stories from someone's dream world. A world where there's no heaven or hell, a city with buildings without windows, where sterilized and silent people are living. A flight under an artificial sunlight, just high enough to watch the buildings, the cars and the people. Persons talking about themselves and the others without love or hate, using very common phrases. A neutral voice, showing only a certain irony, just to prevent us from taking the stories very seriously, yet succeeding to make us more curius.

Rooms of joy in a room of sadness
For someone with enough listenings of american underground of the 80s, Partly Cloudy's music would certainly not fit out of place in some more "industrial" city scene, like Chicago or Detroit. There are some very obvius simularities with Chicago's Algebra Suicide, especially in the vocal/synth part, or XeX from New Jersey. But Partly Cloudy are far richer musicaly -due to the use of physical instruments- yet remaing in the minimal/synth genre. Drums make the music more human, while guitars remain a bit in the shade.

I've got to get out of this room
There's a poster on my wall
Talking Heads and David are telling me to leave
A teenager takes a bus ride, after the poster on her room wall tells her to leave. 'Bus Ride' is not a song about a flipped girl, it's a series of thoughts of a girl in her bus ride: common, strange, funny, thoughts without any depth, without strong emotions. This is how the lyrics go in the most part of this record (there are a few songs with more abstract stories, but I wouldn't go so far - anyone who read thus far will try this album), common references, just the surface of things. 

I left some details for the end: the (deserted?) industrial cloudy environment on the front cover and the violent tornado on the back. The grey-blue tones on both sides. The label's name: Forecast Records. The minimal information and the absense (to my knowledge) of any connection with other bands of the time/place -no familiar names in the credits, except Ethan James and Radio Tokyo studio, where this album was edited.

Partly Cloudy intended to release a second album 1990, which never came out - as far as I know (I would love to proved wrong). 'Jihad' from these recordings appeared in "Viva Los Angeles II".

Right Hemisphere
Bus Ride/Sunlight/Violated by Pretension
City/Postcard/You Blew It!

Left Hemisphere
Big Trouble/Revelation/Relic Revival
Melodrama/Unhallowed Ground
Lizards/Nice Time
Here it is on massmirror and on mediafire

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Gary Wilson - You Think You Really Know Me (1977)

BY REQUEST. I'm a sucker for one-man play-it-all-yourself bands (Todd Rundgren, Emmit Rhodes, the god himself R. Stevie Moore (here also), Roy Wood, Bobb Trimble, Orange Alabaster Mushroom, Bevis Frond, Ariel Pink, early Cleaners From Venus stuff, etc. etc.) and this is one of the weirdest one-man-band albums out there. Crazy proto-new wave keyboard funk-pop weirdness, with a very horny and lonely fellow ranting and panting about... something. Ripped at extreme VBR for your precious ears.

The All Music Guide says:
Wilson recorded You Think You Really Know Me in his parents' basement, and it certainly has an intimate feel. On "6.4 = Make Out," Wilson sounds like he's whispering in your ear. With a voice reminiscent of Lou Reed's, Wilson aches like a sexually frustrated Barry White. Porno-movie synthesizers create a sleazy atmosphere as Wilson reaches new heights of emotional intensity when he bellows, "She's real/She's so real," at the track's end. A person is left wondering if the girl actually exists or if he's just trying to convince himself that she does. Even more unsettling is "Loneliness," wherein Wilson confesses in a distorted, psychotic voice, "Sometimes I wish I were dead," followed by samples of running water and a telephone operator. But this isn't a gloomy LP. "You Keep on Looking" and "And Then I Kissed Your Lips" utilize chirpy new wave keyboards years before they became fashionable. Wilson is having fun on You Think You Really Know Me, and his enjoyment is infectious, especially when his lunatic personality hogs the spotlight.


Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Spahn Ranch - 1987 - Thickly Settled

This is one of the lost diamonds of the 80s. If you run through my posts, you'll see that I avoid to use this term, but this time I have to. In a future 80s re-issue wave (like the 60s reissue storm we have a few years back), this album will be regarded as one of the most underrated of the era.

Released in 1987 by the very cult Insight Records of San Francisco (label of Eric Cope, founder of Glorious Din - see the posts in Fritz Die Spine and Phoenix Hairpins for their two LPs), Thickly Settled was the sole album of a Detroit, MI band (not to be confused with an industrial-electronic L.A. band of the 90s with the same name - a common misunderstanding - with which they had nothing to do).

About Spahn Ranch from their myspace site

Spahn Ranch was formed in August of 1986 in Detroit, MI. Although the name would suggest a connection with the Manson Murders, the band had no affiliation. In it's infancy, the band played in many local venues on the bill with various local bands. Quickly a strong following developed, which immediately precipitated a self titled cassette release of six tracks on the Ikthus Network label. After having missed their own billing at a show, the band was introduced to Eric Cope of Insight Records from San Francisco, CA. He offered them a contract with Insight after reviewing their cassette and video work. The band accepted and began recording their first LP, 'Thickly Settled' in California where they were welcomed by receptive audiences. 'Thickly Settled' was hailed as one of the best albums of the year by England's Underground Magazine, and also met favorable reception in the U.S. of A. None of the members of Spahn Ranch had any formal music training and had not played an instrument prior to forming the group. "The sound they create is tense and raw, not polished to distract from the music itself. Drummer Odell Nails lays down a thick, almost tribal drum beat, accompanied by Hobey Echlin's bass foundation for the music. Guitarist Brad Horowitz adds the energetic, consuming guitar melodies, changing the tunings for each song in order to make no two sets alike. Bob Sterner's vocals with a touch of folk influence, mesh with the instrumental sounds that give the finished product, intense music which envelopes and audience."

'Thickly Settled' is build on slow, steady rhythms, climbing step by step to high tension. Don't expect frantic playing or crazed solos or anything like that (except maybe "Each Time Centered", which reminds me of 'Man From Missouri'). On the contrary, listening to Spahn Ranch's music is like a dreamy flight straight in the eye of the storm: calm while there's doom all around. The songs have an uneasy feeling, the drums of Odell Nails and the layered guitars creates a tension, an uncertain threat that surrounds the clear vocals of Bob Sterner and the ringing lead guitar of Brad Horowitz. You'll hear the tribal rhythms mentioned above (particularly in 'Trial', 'Countdown', 'Thickly Settled' (a true masterpiece - it deserves a two-page review alone) and 'Lo & Behold'), but you'll find that there's a lot more than the usual 4AD/british influences: there are the vast distances of the american inland, the highways and the factories, in a time when Godspeed You Black Emperor were babies in their mothers arms. They don't have much in common with GYBE though: Spahn Ranch did it 20 years ago, not in 15-minutes-long-tracks with guitars and chamber orchestra, but in perfect 3-minute rock songs with verses and choruses, with guitar, drums and vocals. Yet they managed to create a film-like image, although a cloudy and in cases stormy one. The more I'm listening to "Thickly Settled" the more I think that it has the best things of the Independed Project -and related- groups (Fourwaycross, Drowning Pool, Shiva Bourlesque) along with a strong sense of melody and an amazingly self-confident playing.


Bob Sterner - Vocals

Brad Horowitz - Guitar

Odell Nails - Drums and Percussion

after the recording of the album Hobey Echlin joined on bass and Rob Rude also played bass at various sessions, shows and recordings.

(Odell Nails and Hobey Echlin played with Majesty Crush in the 90s, a much more british-pop oriented band, Odell still plays, most recently with Robin Guthrie of the Cocteau Twins, while Rob Rude is in HeavenHavnot. Brad Horowitz seems not very active musicaly, although he refers to Spahn Ranch in his page. Bob Sterner had a project with Hobey called Florida Room).

Among their influences -as they list them in myspace- Spahn Ranch include Savage Republic, Virgin Prunes, Southern Death Cult, Sonic Youth, Throbbing Gristle/Psychic TV, Test Dept., Coil, Section 25, Dead Can Dance, Echo & The Bunnymen, Simon & Garfunkel, The Doors, Hardcore Jane, The Halfass, the 60's peace & love myth, and I think they're very accurate.

Many thanks to Robert, who ripped (at 320) and send me this long lost album complete with covers. I hope it will find the wider audience it deserves and its place in the rock mythology, even today, 20 years after its release.

Here it is on rapidshare and mediafire

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Comsat Angels - Waiting For A Miracle [1980]

Waiting for a Miracle is a sorcerous first album, at least once it sinks in, after short-to-long phases of puzzlement, bemusement, and fascination. Its songs of romantic ruin, paranoia, and doubt are spare, inelastic, and ceaselessly on edge. Even when the songs are at their bounciest and most alluring, they have an insular and alien quality. The instruments are played with intrepid simplicity, but when they're heard as one, they sound peculiar and complex — the results aren't unlike slow, stern spins on Pere Ubu's "The Modern Dance" and "Street Waves" — albeit with insidious lyrical hooks that are innocuous to the eye and startling to the ear, like "This is total war, girl," "Sometimes I feel out of control," and "I can't relax 'cause I haven't done a thing and I can't do a thing 'cause I can't relax." Acting as something like a minimalist garage band with one foot in the past and the other in the future, with Andy Peake's memory-triggering organ bleats offset by structural abnormalities and twists, the band does come across as a little timid from time to time, unsure of how far to take its uniqueness, but it's only another factor that fosters the album's insistent nerviness. "Total War," a razor-sharp examination of a relationship snapping under the pressure of buried mutual contempt, threatens to stop as often as it appears to be on the verge of taking off, carries a circular arrangement, and provides no release. It was the album's "other" single, nearly as conventions-stripped as PiL's more venomous "Flowers of Romance" (released the following year). "Independence Day," on the other hand, gave the band its greatest commercial success, wrapping all the band's strengths in one concise package, from the brilliantly paced shifts between the sparse and the dense to the balance between the direct and the indirect. Apart from the barren, ominous kiss-off that is "Postcard," each of the remaining songs sound like singles, even if they never had a chance at putting the band on Top of the Pops. (This is a band that called itself "doomsteady" with a hint of seriousness, after all.) While there are crucial differences that reveal themselves after deep listening, this album can be appreciated by anyone touched by other maverick post-punk albums released the same year, such as Joy Division's Closer, Associates' The Affectionate Punch, Magazine's The Correct Use of Soap, the Sound's Jeopardy, and Simple Minds' Empires and Dance. []

Track list;
01 - Missing In Action
02 - Baby
03 - Independence Day
04 - Waiting For A Miracle
05 - Total War
06 - On The Beach
07 - Monkey Pilot
08 - Real Story
09 - Map Of The World
10 – Postcard


Style; Post Punk, New Wave

Saturday, November 3, 2007

LAFMS (Los Angeles Free Music Society)

LAFMS: The Lowest Form of Music
"The unearthing of the LAFMS recordings is experimental rock history at it's most historical and hysterical - a completely bizarro and further-out counterpart to the L.A. punk scene."
~ Thurston Moore


The LAFMS was a lightning rod for pre-punk & non-punk musical whatsis from all over the globe. This compilation deals primarily with the associations core members and their good works, but one of the LAFMS' prime functions was to transform itself (via "mere" extended activity) into a kind of magneto-art-sump for universal noise oddballs. Its name became a kind of secret handshake that allowed culturally disenfranchised puds & pudettes to identify each other.

In a way, the LAFMS bridged the years between the appearance of Meet the Residents in '74 and 1/2 Japanese's first EP in '77; linking the Euro-rooted sophistication of early '70s American experimentation to the insanely intuitive noise gushing that came about after punk unlocked the undergrounds id. The sound of Smegma was the exact kind of thing that every isolated suburban Beefheart fan imagined himself or herself producing in the company of true peers. The same could be said of Le Forte Four, the Doo-Dooettes, Airway, and most of the other units that the LAFMS extruded.

Improvisation, concrete assemblage, kraut-moosh, tinkling, noise, and weirdness for the sake of weirdness were all perceived as hallmarks of the LAFMS ethos. In a year as dull as 1975, the wee-est taste of meat that strong could be enough to separate your head from your body. Forever. Again. For those who were brave enough to send away for LAFMS records or tapes, its name will gawp forever as a wide portal to a parallel cosmos that could only be suspected in the years before the "cassette revolution" (so called). And since almost no one has ever heard all the material that makes up this voluminous compendium, it is guaranteed to be its own set of trap doors to a very special void.
~Byron Coley, Northampton, MA. 1994


Disc One:
Chip Chapman, Le Forte Four
^(Click on title for more Info)^

Disc Two:
Le Forte Four, Airway
^(Click on title for more Info)^

Disc Three:
Le Forte Four Live at the Brand, Live at Century City
^(Click on title for more Info)^

Disc Four:
Doo-Dooettes Live at the Brand, Live Outside, Live Close Radio
^(Click on title for more Info)^

Disc Five:
Blorpe Esette, Smegma, Airway, C.V. Massage
^(Click on title for more Info)^

Disc Six:
Doo-Dooettes Look to this
^(Click on title for more Info)^

Disc Seven:
Joe Potts, Doo-Dooettes, Solid Eye, Monitor, Dennis Duck, and others
^(Click on title for more Info)^

Disc Eight:
Rick Potts Solo
^(Click on title for more Info)^

Disc Nine:
Tom Recchion Solo
^(Click on title for more Info)^

Disc Ten:
Gerold Bole, Doo-Dooettes, Monique et Aviv, Dinosaurs with Horns
^(Click on title for more Info)^


Lowest Form of Music review by Edwin Pouncey, The Wire


Get LAFMS Here :
(12 Direct Download Links)

Thanks farner for this !!!