Sorry for the absence, I really have no excuse other than the usual job/school bullshit. Hopefully we will be posting more in the new year but in the meantime all those in the Los Angeles area should check out the show above. The recent Nomos 12" on deranged was one of my favorite records of the year and the Men have an lp on the horizon with Sacred Bones. Vinyl Rites just printed up some more Nomos/Men split cassettes and I believe the Men will have a new 7" with them. Either way its 4$ donation and put on by good folks so you really have no reason not to. The address is 5917 Miramonte Blvd. Los Angeles Ca 90001 and doors open at 8, see you there.
After a long delay in posts (school and work are taking their toll), I figured I'd post a real (and mostly unheard of) treat. Everyone has a Dischord record they love. It is one of those labels that has released an unbelievable amount of brilliant records. One record that most people wouldn't say is their favorite Dischord record is La Vache Qui Rit. Released during one of my favorite eras of music, the Revolution Summer era in DC, La Vache Qui Rit is one of my personal favorites of the Dischord catalog. With Bert Queiroz (Untouchables, Youth Brigade, Double-O) on bass, and Scott McCloud (Lunchmeat, Soulside) adding some guitar, this band was destined to be of the highest quality. But, sadly, after only a year or two together, a handful of shows, and a couple of recording sessions, Rain disbanded. "Worlds At War" would be featured on Dischord's "State of the Union" compilation and La Vache Qui Rit would be released posthumously as a 12" on Peterbilt. While listening to this record, I can really hear how much bands in the 90's (Cap'n'Jazz, Jawbreaker, etc.) would be influenced by these Revolution Summer bands. Enjoy this gem.
The Wendy's were a post-punk band from Scotland in the late 80's and early 90's. After opening a show for Happy Mondays, Shaun Ryder's dad told them to send a demo tape to Factory Records. Factory loved the demo tape and decided to sign The Wendy's releasing this record in 1991. It's unfortunate that this band signed to Factory when they did (the label was nearing its demise), but it doesn't take anything away from how genius of a record it is. Every song is catchy with post-punk guitar riffs and great lyrics. Any fan of Factory Records and post-punk bands will love this record. Hopefully someday this band will catch on with people. But for now, they remain in the shadow of their far more well known label mates.
I have been listening to The Meters' first record a lot lately. What strikes me the most is their ability to weave in elements of jazz, blues, and funk perfectly. They are also remarkable in that this is primarily a funk/blues record with no lyrics that still has some of the catchiest songs I've heard of those genre's. Their story goes like this: Art Neville performed as a solo artist as early as his high school years around New Orleans. He met up with George Porter, Jr., Zigaboo Modeliste, and Leo Nocentelli and they became The Meters. They were the house band for the famous producer and musician Allen Toussaint and played as the back-up band for Dr. John along with recording their own records. Their self-titled debut came out in 1969. It was and is one of the premier funk records ever released. Those that have never heard them have probably heard the song "Cissy Strut" from movies or commercials. The rest of the record matches that song in greatness minute after minute. This funky record will be enjoyed for years to come.
When I started writing about music my intention was to turn people onto records and bands that I thought deserved more attention than they initially received. Every time I listen to "Eccsame the Photon Band" I think of how many records since it have sounded similar and gotten way more attention. For whatever reason it seems like band leader and only constant member Kurt Heaseley will keep his unbelievably good songs in obscurity forever. Like I said the music on Eccsame sounds vaguely familiar but still unlike anything up to the time. It was released in 1994 and I think it is a perfect milestone from the nineties showing what had happened up until then and what was about to come. You can hear traces of the shoegaze style band they were on their debut album "In the Presence of Nothing" but everything feels much more crisp and realized this time around. The guitar is especially spaced out on this album but in a way resembling Spacemen 3 more than My Bloody Valentine. You can even hear traces of sixties california pop like the Byrds on a few songs. I know this doesn't sound groundbreaking considering whats going on these days but I don't know of any other record that put all these elements together so flawlessly and ends with such an amazing outcome. Hopefully sometime soon I will post the Lily's first record which is pretty drastically different but still super good.
In the late 80's and early 90's, the best bands playing the type of music Fuel played came out of Washington D.C. Revolution Summer bands like Embrace, Rites of Spring, Ignition, Fugazi, etc. were playing great post-hardcore that usually consisted of two guitars, more melodic jams, and catchy songs. Surely Fuel heard these bands and decided to play the type of music that makes this record so awesome. Coming out of the Bay Area, Fuel first released the EP Take Effect on Lookout Records. Then later that year they released "Monuments to Excess", which made the Revolution Summer sound popular on the West Coast. Songs like the Fugazi sounding "Disengaged" to the emo-instrumental "2:52" show that sound more than ever. Then songs like "Remains To Be Seen" and "Incomplete" have a more west coast punk sound. This record is definitely a classic.
In terms of Roots Reggae, especially in the 80's, there was nothing better than The Itals' "Rasta Philosophy". In 1976, Alvin "Keith" Porter, Ronnie Davis, and Lloyd Ricketts formed The Itals. They were all successful prior to the band (Davis and Ricketts were in The Tennors and the three worked together in The Westmorelites). In an era when most Reggae was focused on Dancehall, The Itals kept Roots Reggae alive in a huge way. Prior to this release, The Itals had written songs focused on social issues. With this release, they just focused on great, mellow, Roots that makes its listener want to sit on a Jamaican beach and let loose of all of life's problems. The title track is awesome and there isn't a bad track. Not long after this record was released, Ricketts would go to prison and therefore wasn't allowed to travel to the U.S. The Itals had David Isaacs join, who's awesome in his own right, and they still tour. This album also won a Grammy for Best Reggae Album in 1987.
Since I promised I would periodically post Dead shows, I figured today is as good a day as any to do just that. For this post, I'm picking another one of my favorite Dead shows for a few reasons. First, this show has Pigpen on keyboards. There was a long line of Dead keyboardists, but Pigpen was the original and definitely one of my favorites. He could jam on the keys, had an awesome bluesy voice and could tear up the harmonica as well. He was a heavy alcoholic (Southern Comfort his choice drink) and he would end up drinking himself to death just 3 years after this show at the age of 27. I also love Pigpen because of this story: The Dead were playing a string of shows with The Doors. Pigpen and The Doors' Ray Manzarek happened to use the same keyboard at the time. Manzarek noticed this and asked Pigpen if he could use his keyboard so they wouldn't have to move too much equipment around. Pigpen told Manzarek that no one but him touches his keyboard and a fight nearly broke out. Pigpen was an intimidating dude. Manzarek ended up using his own keyboard. My second reason for picking this show is the fact that Duane Allman (who would end up dying only a year after this at the age of 24 from a motorcycle accident), one of my all time favorite guitarists from The Allman Brothers, plays guitar for the whole second set. Because of that, this is one of the best concerts I've ever heard period. Two of the best guitarists of all time playing spacey jams for 2 hours? Yes. Dark Star>Spanish Jam>Turn On Your Lovelight is one of the best Dead jams I've ever heard and Allman plays a huge part in that. Enjoy.
Magic Sam was born Sam Gene Maghett in Mississippi. He learned how to play guitar and sing from listening to Muddy Waters records. When he was 19, he moved to Chicago and signed with Cobra Records (the label that launched Buddy Guy's career). He recorded the remarkable "Black Magic" and released it in 1968 on Delmark. He had a phenomenal performance at the Ann Arbor Blues Festival in 1969 that got him bookings all around the U.S. and Europe. He ended up dying of a heart attack at 32 before he left for the tour. With his death, blues and music in general lost an influential and perhaps soon to be star blues guitarist and songwriter. This record is one of my favorites, from the swinging "I Just Want A Little Bit" to the straight up blues tune "I Have The Same Old Blues", this record is awesome from start to finish.
I've been wanting to do an SS Decontrol post for a while. I've been on a early 80's punk tear recently and this record is without a doubt at the top of my list. There were a lot of good bands around in the early 80's but none of them were playing the type of hardcore SS Decontrol was playing. They definitely resemble a lot of the DC bands at the time (they were from Boston), but they are even harder with Springa's scratchy, almost indecipherable, voice and their extra sped up songs. This record was a split release between Dischord and X-Claim records in 1982 and still isn't available on CD. The only version of these songs I can find are rips of the LP.
When this record was released, they only pressed 1,000. Therefore it's insanely sought after. I saw a copy at Amoeba Records in Hollywood up on the wall for $150 without the insert.
I was in San Diego a while back and I went to the Taang! Records store with some friends. All I wanted was this record on CD because I had been listening to a poor ripped version of the LP for a while. When I went to the SSD section all they had was a note that said "SS Decontrol records out of print until we find Springa". I guess he's lost and they need to find him before they can legally release their recordings on CD. So, if anyone knows where Springa is, let us know. Then we can hear a better quality version of this record! For now, here's a rip of the LP. I'll also post the awesome follow-up to "The Kids Will Have Their Say", "Get It Away". Gotta stick together like glue.
There is nothing better than harDCore. Starting with Teen Idles then continuing with Minor Threat, SOA, Government Issue, etc., the harDCore scene began in Washington, D.C. with a bang. While bands like Black Flag were writing songs about drinking and being wasted (awesome in their own right) on the West Coast, bands in D.C. were writing about Straight Edge and being pissed off about the state of things in general. After bands like Minor Threat and SOA broke up, the Revolution Summer era began in D.C. and brought bands like Embrace, Rites of Spring, and Ignition. Somewhere in the middle came Double-O. This band was unique in terms of their composition, like the synthesizers in the beginning of "Death of a Friend". They had awesome guitar jams with great lyrics and an even greater logo. I'm not sure if this record is even available on CD. This copy is a rip of the 7". It was a split release between R&B and Dischord in '83. Have you ever heard anything bad from this era that was released on Dischord? Me neither.
Like a lot of my favorite albums "A Catholic Education" by Teenage Fanclub doesn't really fit neatly into any category. This is probably the reason that they gained popularity so quickly and why so many consider this record a classic. In my opinion this record is a perfect marriage of the better aspects of britpop in combination with a big star influence which would play a bigger role in later albums. One thing I enjoy about this album is that throughout the album the songs are actually pretty varied but the songwriting and musicianship stay consistent. For some reason the term "solid" always comes to mind when I think of this album because it really seems like everything came together perfectly. Even if you have heard "Bandwagonesque" or "Thirteen" and felt like Teenage Fanclub weren't your thing I would recommend giving "A Catholic Education" a try.
It's pretty much impossible to write something that will do Jay Reatard justice. So instead of writing much of anything, I'll let his music do the talking. I'll post a few of his records that I enjoy. Luckily, he released a lot before his passing. 22 full length records for a 29 year old is insane. I'll post his first record on Matador and as a solo artist "Blood Visions", Lost Sounds' "Black-Wave", and Nervous Patterns' "Nervous Patterns". Everything he released is worth checking out but these records are a little sampler of his talent. He went far too soon.
Happy New Year everyone. For our first post of the new year I'll give everyone something to seriously jam to. This record was originally recorded in 1974. After being out of print for far too long it was finally released in 2009 by Drag City. Comprised of three brothers from Detroit, they changed their sound from an R&B group to a punk sound after hearing fellow Detroit acts MC5 and The Stooges. After releasing this record, Death got an offer from Columbia Records. After refusing a name change, they decided to change their style once again and disappeared until now. In my opinion, "...For the Whole World to See" could have ranked up there with MC5's "Back in the USA" and The Stooges "Fun House". Since this record came out, I've been listening to it and thinking that it is already climbing the record ranks in my mind and may soon reach the greatness of the best material MC5 and The Stooges released. These Detroit bands were ahead of their time considering a lot of bands today are copying their sound. The song "Freakin Out" is a great punk jam that reminds me a lot of early 80's punk bands and of what bands today are trying to sound like. "Politicians In My Eyes" is a great tune that could have been a hit had this band had the recognition they should have had when this record was released almost 40 years ago. Enjoy.
Portraits of Past was a band from San Francisco in the mid-nineties. Their genre was "screamo" before the genre existed. Talk about ahead of their time. They remind me a lot of City of Caterpillar in terms of their song order (some singing, some screaming followed by a few minutes or more of mellow jamming followed by more singing, etc.) I have always loved bands like this but it's always hard to find a band that plays the style just right. Portraits of Past is one of those bands. When this record was released (on Ebullition in '95), since this band was so ahead of its time musically, it didn't sell well. Ebullition decided to recycle all the leftover covers and inserts they had of the LP, which turned out to be a huge mistake. A few years after, interest in the band started to escalate drastically to the point that Ebullition had to re-press the LP. Since they had recycled any trace of the original LP cover and insert they had to create a new hand screened version of the cover. I'll post the original cover at the top of this post and the re-pressed cover at the bottom. This record isn't available on its own anymore but I heard that Ebullition just released a Portraits of Past discography with these songs, the songs from their split with Bleed, and some live songs. I definitely suggest picking it up. I also heard that Portraits of Past is reuniting for some shows and releasing a new record.
I uploaded this to mediafire the other day for Kevin so I figured I might as well post it here too. Strictly Ballroom were a band from Los Angeles around the mid nineties with members that were all mutually connected through KXLU. For those of you who have never spent some time in Los Angeles KXLU is by far one of the best radio stations I have ever encountered in California let alone the world. I will leave a link for their website at the bottom of this post which I would highly recommend checking out, especially Bomb Shelter with Uncle Tim Friday nights from 8 to 9. At the time when Strictly Ballroom were beginning Jimmy Tamborello, who is now known as Dntel and one half of the Postal Service, was the music director at KXLU where he met the rest of the band including Chris Gunst of Beachwood Sparks/Mystic Chords of Memory and sometime member Jimi Hey of All Night Radio and a number of other good bands. On their first self titled 7" Strictly Ballroom played pretty basic mid nineties post hardcore that reminds me of early Unwound and maybe even a little Native Nod. On their second 7" they started to adopt a slower pace with a more atmospheric sound which people thought sounded like a combination of Brian Eno with the energy of a hardcore band. If you look up Strictly Ballroom you will see the ridiculous term that was probably invented by critics at the time to describe their music but I think its better to let words like that stay in the past. Their last record "Hide Here Forever" was their first full length and most memorable release. It is by far my favorite record of theirs and I think for the genre its probably one of the best releases period. If you are a fan of any of the people involved in Strictly Ballroom than I think it would be worth checking this out just to see what they were doing early on. The picture above is Henry Miller playing ping pong with a naked woman, it has nothing to do with Strictly Ballroom.
Tear It Up was (I'm assuming they're broken up because I haven't heard anything about them in a couple years) a little known punk band from New Jersey that should have been more known. They play punk the way it should be played. They idolized bands like Jerry's Kids, VOID, Black Flag, etc. but played shows with Hardcore bands and therefore gained a little influence from that scene as well. I saw them a few times in the early 2000's and this record was always my favorite. I think I related to them more than any other band because they played the type of punk I grew up listening to in the South Bay of California (Descendents, Black Flag, Circle Jerks, Bad Brains, Minor Threat, etc.) They were definitely one of my favorite bands at the time and I still listen to this record often. Listening to this record makes me want to skate and wear torn up pants. They were somewhat out of place in the Hardcore scene and maybe that's why they never got the recognition they should have had. Anyone that's a fan of punk or hardcore in general will dig this band. Plus it's out of print, so check it out. Tear it up, tear it down.
After Born In The USA, the Boss was on a high musically and critically. He had released one of the best records of all time and felt that he had to live up to those expectations somehow. His answer was to make a record that people would not only enjoy musically but that they would also feel in their heart. So he started recording Tunnel of Love, some songs with members of the E Street Band and some without. Much of the time he was in the studio alone, using a drum machine or a synthesizer to back up his voice and guitar. What he wanted out of it in the end was a record that people would enjoy not just for its catchiness but its lyrical content. He wanted to make a record people could relate to. For an artist like Springsteen, that was a tough step to take considering that he'd been so secretive with his lyrics pryer to this record. Songs like "Brilliant Disguise" (one of my favorite songs of his), "Two Faces", "Tunnel of Love", "One Step Up" and "Walk Like A Man", all seem to be about his failing marriage with his now ex-Wife (except for "Walk Like A Man" which is about his relationship with his Father). In my opinion, he met the expectations people had after the success of Born In The USA. But, he met those expectations in a way people didn't expect and that's what makes the Boss such a fantastic and endearing musician.
Today is my brother Kody's birthday. I couldn't think of a better gift to him than a bunch of good tunes. Some of these songs he's probably heard before and others are songs that I've always thought he should hear and never got around to showing him. From birthday related tunes like The Smiths "Unhappy Birthday", Fugazi's "Birthday Pony" and The Clean's "Getting Older" to some old favorites of mine like At the Drive-In's "Heliotrope" and The Replacements "Bastards of Young", this is a mix Kody and other fans of these bands will definitely enjoy. So Happy Birthday Kody. Enjoy this mix!
Track list (in alphabetical order):
American Football - Never Meant Animal Collective - What Would I Want? Sky At the Drive-In - Heliotrope Big Star - September Gurls Built To Spill - Randy Described Eternity Cap'n Jazz - Oh Messy Life The Clash - Somebody Got Murdered The Clean - Getting Older David Gray - Babylon Drive Like Jehu - Golden Brown Fugazi - Birthday Pony The Jam - That's Entertainment Jeff Buckley - Morning Theft Leondard Cohen - Avalanche Neutral Milk Hotel - Holland, 1945 Primal Scream - Movin' On Up Radiohead - Polyethylene (Parts 1 & 2) The Replacements - Bastards of Young Rival Schools - Good Things The Smiths - Unhappy Birthday Sunny Day Real Estate - 9 Tony Joe White - Polk Salad Annie Weather Report - Birdland The Zombies - The Way I Feel Inside
Aesop Rock is probably the best MC/DJ in underground hip-hop today. His last record "None Shall Pass" was an awesome mix of mind-blowing flow and brilliant production. Aesop's style is like no one else's and his lyrics toe the line between brilliant and incomprehensible. I'm stoked for his new single "Ghosts of The Barbary Coast" which clocks in at 6+ minutes. I just downloaded it and I've listened to it 5 times in a row...so I figured I'd share it. Thank you Aesop for constantly releasing awesome jams.