Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Portraits of Past - 01010101

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.

Portraits of Past - 01010101

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Strictly Ballroom - Hide Here Forever + First two 7"s

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.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Tear It Up - Nothing to Nothing

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.

Tear It Up - Nothing to Nothing

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Happy Birthday Kody

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

Happy Birthday Kody mix

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Aesop Rock - Ghosts of The Barbary Coast

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 I figured I'd share it. Thank you Aesop for constantly releasing awesome jams.

Download his new single for free from Def Jux:
Aesop Rock - Ghosts of the Barbary Coast

Saturday, November 21, 2009

V/A - Back From the Grave Vol. 1

In my opinion the "Back From the Grave" compilations are the gold standard of late sixties proto-punk garage compilations. When my favorite local record store of my youth closed it's doors years ago the owner put together a huge stack of discounted records that I think he intended for me to discover over time, as I would have if the store would have remained open. Amongst other classics in this stack was "Back From the Grave Vol. 3" which I didn't get to until about a year and a half after the store closed. At this point I had already grown to love the Nuggets compilations and a lot of the groups on them but "Back From the Grave" seemed a little less polished and maybe even more amateur at times which only made it appeal even more. Aside from the great songs, the first three records have really cool pictures of campy horror characters doing all types of rebellious rock and roll activities such as burying disco records and torturing squares. If you like your psychedelic rock and roll a little dirty and by bands that probably never played farther than a few hours driving distance from their garages than the first three "Back From the Grave" compilations would find a welcome home on your stereo.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

The Marked Men - Fix My Brain

I don't know too much about this band so I'm doing my first really short post. They're from Texas and released this record on Swami Records in 2006. I'm surprised this band hasn't gotten more attention. They play catchy rock that's impossible to dislike. They sound a lot like the other great bands on Swami. A fan of any of those bands (Hot Snakes, Rocket From The Crypt, etc.) will love this band. Enjoy.

The Marked Men - Fix My Brain

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Steely Dan

Steely Dan is one of my favorite bands. They had a perfect way of blending rock and jazz that makes you want to jump out of your chair and dance. Donald Fagen's voice was the perfect level of strange and unique. Walter Becker (guitar) and self-proclaimed nerd Fagen (piano, vocals) teamed up perfectly in every record they made from Can't Buy A Thrill to Gaucho. They met in the late '60's and played in various groups (one of which had Chevy Chase on drums, no joke). They immersed themselves in a beatnik lifestyle and Fagen said it was "probably the only time in my life that I actually had friends." They named themselves Steely Dan, after a strap-on dildo in William S. Burroughs' "Naked Lunch". They signed to ABC records and were told that Fagen's voice was not "commercial" enough. They were reluctant to play shows because Fagen had serious stage fright. But, they released Can't Buy A Thrill in '72 and not long after they released Countdown to Ecstasy. Perhaps because of Fagen's stage fright and/or because Becker and Fagen wanted to focus strictly on studio recording, they only toured from '72-'74. They released Pretzel Logic in '74 and had a huge hit with "Rikki Don't Lose That Number". They stole the piano riff in the beginning of "Rikki..." from a Horace Silver song called "Song For My Father" and considered themselves jazz musicians as opposed to rock musicians and it shows it the cleanliness and difficulty of their songs. After Pretzel Logic they released four more great records in Katy Lied, The Royal Scam, Aja, and Gaucho. The fact that they could blend rock and jazz so nicely and Fagen's unique voice is why this band still resonates with people today.

They started touring again in 1993. I saw them a few years ago at Verizon Wireless in Irvine, CA and they were awesome. They sound just like they did on their studio recordings with some fun lines and riffs thrown in. They played the show with Michael McDonald as the opener. Many people don't know that McDonald was a back-up singer for Steely Dan for most of their records. When they played "Do It Again" they brought McDonald out with them to play piano and sing back-ups and Fagen said something like "Here's Michael McDonald. We used him as a back-up singer for years and got more than we bargained for. Here's what 'Do It Again' would have sounded like in 1974." Amazing.


Do It Again (from Can't Buy A Thrill)
Only A Fool Would Say That (from Can't Buy A Thrill)
Reelin' In The Years (from Can't Buy A Thrill)
Bodhisattva (from Countdown to Ecstasy)
My Old School (from Countdown to Ecstasy)
Show Biz Kids (from Countdown to Ecstasy)
Rikki Don't Lose That Number (from Pretzel Logic)
Any Major Dude Will Tell You (from Pretzel Logic)
Black Friday (from Katy Lied)
Rose Darling (from Katy Lied)
Your Gold Teeth II (from Katy Lied)
Any World (That I'm Welcome To) (from Katy Lied)
Kid Charlemagne (from The Royal Scam)
Sign In Stranger (from The Royal Scam)
The Royal Scam (from The Royal Scam)
Aja (from Aja)
Deacon Blues (from Aja)
Peg (from Aja)
Hey Nineteen (from Gaucho)
Time Out of Mind (from Gaucho)

Steely Dan Mix

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Super Spooky Halloween Mix

I love making kitschy mixes and what better an opportunity than Halloween. It was unsurprisingly easy and fun to make so hopefully you have as good a time listening to it as I did making it. Enjoy!

Christian Death - Desperate Hell
Black Sabbath - Electric Funeral
25 Cents - The Witch
Pierced Arrows - Frankenstein
Scientist - Cry of the Werewolf
The Cramps - Human Fly
Ink & Dagger - Bloodlust
Buddy Knox - I Think I'm Gonna Kill Myself
King Diamond - A Mansion In The Darkness
Beat Happening - Black Candy
Dr. Octagon - halfsharkalligatorhalfman
Venom - Raise the Dead
Chrome - Jonestown
The Wipers - Alien Boy
The Gories - Ghostrider
Roky Erickson - I Walked With A Zombie
Samhain - Unholy Passion
Heinz & The Wild Boys - Big Fat Spider
Motorhead - I'm Your Witchdoctor
Public Image Ltd. - Graveyard
The Dream Syndicate - Halloween

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Saccharine Trust - Paganicons

I've always wondered why this band never got more recognition. Coming out of the South Bay in the same era as Black Flag, Descendents, Minutemen, etc., this band had a style a little different than what those other bands were doing but in a good way. They blended slower melodic guitar parts with straight punk and made it sound great. "We Don't Need Freedom" is probably their most well known song and the lyrics play on the idea that freedom in this country only causes more problems. I saw an interview with Henry Rollins where he says that this is one of his favorite songs and that Saccharine Trust was one of his favorite bands. Also, to make this record even more rad, Mike Watt produced it.

My girlfriend's dad ("Earl Liberty" while he was in the band) played bass on this record and actually does the "Monday Night Football" part in the Black Flag song TV Party. He left Saccharine Trust after this record to join Circle Jerks. He has some crazy stories to say the least. He has the bands logo tattooed on his arm (the cross making a T and a snake wrapped around it making an S). He was telling me that he got it with Henry Rollins. They were sitting at some house and they decided to get their bands logo's tattooed on their arms. So, Henry got the Black Flag bars and "Earl" got the cross and the snake. He was telling me about one night when he was at a Black Flag show at a house party and ended up in the hospital. I'll post what he said in an interview in 1982 after it happened: "This party with Black Flag in Carson. Cops came and broke it up. One of the cops asked me if I knew the girls whose house it was, went out front, tried to look for her. Cops out front told me to go home. My ride was in the backyard. One cop put a stick in my stomach. The two other cops came up and started pulling out their night sticks, so I ran for it. It was a dead end street. I jumped a brick wall and hit a fence behind that, and fell 20 feet. Broke my leg. Knocked my teeth out. Opened up a hole in my jaw." He told me he saw Descendents, Bad Brains, Dead Kennedys, Minor Threat, and just about every other great punk band of that era. He also played shows with Minutemen and Black Flag. Awesome.

Along with the record I'm posting a video of "Earl Liberty" playing bass on "Live Fast Die Young" with Circle Jerks in 1984. I'll also post the TV Party video.

Saccharine Trust - Paganicons

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Groundation - Here I Am

The new record by Groundation "Here I Am" has some differences from its predecessors but is still a phenomenal record. The all white reggae band from Northern California is hands down one of the best reggae bands right now. This record, unlike past Groundation records, has longer songs that go from Dub to Jazz to Reggae. With members that are top of the line musicians (Saxophone player Jason Robinson heads the Jazz program at UC San Diego) and knowledgeable in the history of the genre (Singer Harrison Stafford taught Reggae History at Sonoma State), you know you're getting great music everytime these guys release a record. This record also features members of The Congos and Pablo Moses. I got a chance to see them the other night and it was a seriously genius performance. If you get a chance you should check out a show as well. These guys are not only great musicans but great song writers and great performers. What more could you ask for? Also check out their other records, especially Hebron Gate.

Groundation - Here I Am

Groundation website

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Boyracer - More Songs About Frusturation and Self Hate

For whatever reason Boyracer kind of reminds me of a british equivalent to Jawbreaker on this record.  Even the cover art kind of reminds me of the bay area aesthetic that punk bands like Jawbreaker, Crimpshrine and Green Day were using back in the early nineties.  As you probably know by now, around these parts we love Jawbreaker so these are all good things in my world.  Although its not out of the question that Boyracer did get some influences from Jawbreaker and their peers I think they are actually a great representation of the quality things about lo-fi independent music at that time.  I think a good measuring mark in the history of the band is that "More Songs About Frustration and Self Hate" was released first on Sarah records and then later on Slumberland.  I know that both of these labels have a lot in common but the reason I pointed it out is because I always interpreted them as being interested in the same types of music but with a different set of artists.  I think the fact that Boyracer are one of the few groups to release records on both labels kind of just illustrates what I was talking about when I said they seem like they really understood what was going on in America at the time from the sound to the aesthetic.  There is nothing groundbreaking on "More Songs.." but I think it is one of the better artifacts from the awkward early nineties.  Personally, its one of my favorites from the Sarah records catalogue and I think it stands up today just as well as it ever did maybe even better.  

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Public Image Ltd. - First Issue

 I have always preferred the first record from John Lydon's Public Image Ltd. much more than anything that the Sex Pistols ever recorded.  Its not so much that I have something against the Sex Pistols, I own Nevermind the Bollocks.. but I think its just that I really like Public Image Ltd.'s early records.  The Sex Pistols were one of the first punk bands I had ever heard of when I was a kid and in the nineties John Lydon was completely irrelevant in terms of music so I didn't have that high of expectations for whatever he did in between.  I guess as a kid I also felt that when "punk" musicians tried to experiment too far, in the case of Public Image Ltd. including reggae and kraut rock influences, they sometimes loose what made them great in the first place.  Obviously I was wrong, at least in this case because First Issue is probably one of the best "punk" albums ever recorded and still stands the test of time like a lot of their contemporaries didn't.  Although the music on First Issue probably sounds less like the cliche that "punk" has come to represent at this point in time it really is a much better representation of what it should mean.  First Issue was never originally released in 1979 due to Warner Brothers feelings that it wouldn't move enough units because it sounded weird.  It is still not available for purchase in the United States which is a shame.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

forgetters/Thorns of Life

So ex-Jawbreaker and Jets To Brazil frontman Blake Schwarzenbach announced recently that he had a new band called Thorns of Life with Aaron Cometbus on drums. I was as stoked as any sane person would be. But, today I heard some good news and some bad news. Bad news first: Thorns of Life already broke up. Good news: Schwarzenbach already started a new band called "forgetters" with ex-Against Me! drummer Kevin Mahon and Caroline Paquita on bass. Here's what Schwarzenbach posted on his facebook: “the name of this band is forgetters. (no “the,” no capital “f.”) we played our first show on August 22nd in Crown Heights. members are: blake (guitar/vocal); caroline (bass/seaweed); kevin (drums)." I'm excited to hear it. They're playing some shows on the east coast starting this weekend. With that said, I'm going to post a bootleg I found of Thorns of Life playing in Berkeley on January 31, 2009. More good news: Thorns of Life sounds a lot like Jawbreaker. Let's hope forgetters sounds like Jawbreaker too. If you've read this far, and on a completely different note, you'll be happy to hear that Pavement is reuniting. No joke.

forgetters blog

Thorns of Life - Berkeley, CA 1/31/09

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Grateful Dead - Boston Garden, Boston, MA 5/7/77

When approached about the growing trend of Grateful Dead soundboard tape trading Jerry Garcia said something to the tune of: "After we play a show, it doesn't belong to us anymore, it belongs to the fans." After this, the band decided to give away soundboard recordings of all of their concerts for free (before the internet of course). When Grateful Dead guitarist Bob Weir decided to take soundboard recordings of Dead shows off the internet in 2005 (his excuse being: "I have to put my kids through college", this coming from a man who was in a band that pulled in $50 million in concert ticket sales alone IN THE LATE 80'S), he did Dead fans across the world a great disservice. Phil Lesh, the Dead bassist and advocate of keeping the shows online, was angry at Weir for a good year or two. When I started getting into the Dead 7 or 8 years ago I realized that there was a never-ending world of Dead music and shows waiting to be discovered. Within a year or so I had hundreds of CD's worth of soundboard Dead shows. (As a sidenote: soundboard versions of Dead shows were recorded directly from the amps and microphones through a "soundboard". As a result, these shows are of the greatest quality possible at the time these shows were recorded and were far superior to the other source of recorded shows which were through audience tapings.) Now that the soundboard recorded shows have been taken off the internet, Deadheads have had to either go underground or start paying for officially released concert recordings.

With that said, in defiance of Bob Weir, I have decided to start posting full soundboard Dead shows every now and then. Because, like Lesh and Garcia, I feel that fans should have the right to own these concerts and acquire them freely. Because these concerts really do "belong to the fans".

The first concert I'm posting is one of my favorite Dead recordings: May 7, 1977 at the Boston Garden. 1977 was an awesome year from the Dead and May of '77 was arguably the best month the Dead ever had. I have a recording of every show the Dead played in May '77 and they are all amazing. They are on target every night and it is the best era song wise as well. This concert has my favorite version of Cassidy, an awesome Terrapin Station that segues (which I'll indicate with ">") into Samson and Delilah, and an unreal jam to close out the concert: Eyes of the World > Drumz > The Wheel > Wharf Rat > Around and Around with U.S. Blues as the encore. If this is your first Dead show, you're in for a real treat. Put on your headphones, lay back, and enjoy this amazing experience. If this isn't your first Dead show, you'll see why I chose this show as my first Dead post.

Jack Straw
New Minglewood Blues
Mississippi Half Step >
Big River
Tennessee Jed
The Music Never Stopped

Terrapin Station >
Samson and Delilah
Friend of the Devil
Estimated Prophet
Eyes of the World >
Drumz >
The Wheel >
Wharf Rat >
Around and Around
E: U.S. Blues

Note: the picture of the band above is not from the Boston Garden show but from 5/28/77 in Hartford, CT

Grateful Dead - Boston, MA 5/7/77 Disc 1
Grateful Dead - Boston, MA 5/7/77 Disc 2
Grateful Dead - Boston, MA 5/7/77 Disc 3

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Keith Jarrett Trio - My Foolish Heart: Live at Montreux

Anyone who has had the pleasure of hearing Keith Jarrett's solo concerts knows that he is an amazing performer and perhaps the greatest pianist of all time. His remarkable ability to perform solo for over an hour and have the listener completely in awe cannot be matched by anyone else, living or dead. Jarrett's performances with his trio; consisting of Jarrett on Piano, Gary Peacock on bass, and Jack DeJohnette on drums; are a delight as well. You know that Peacock and DeJohnette are great musicians to have the ability to keep up with a pianist as unbelievable as Jarrett.

Keith Jarrett gained popularity playing with Art Blakey and Miles Davis. After playing with them and with a group of his own, Jarrett played his first solo concert in 1973. In 1975 he released "The Köln Concert" which was extremely popular at the time and is considered his most popular work. "The Köln Concert" became popular not only with jazz fans but also with stoners in the 70's which helped the record gain popularity. Jarrett still plays solo concerts every now and then (he's 64) but has been focusing more on the Keith Jarrett Trio who play mostly standards. In the 90's, Jarrett battled chronic fatigue syndrome and had difficulty performing but has since reinvented himself and works around it.

I had the chance to see the Trio play at UCLA's Royce Hall and I can honestly say that it was the best concert I have ever seen, period. When Jarrett plays, as you'll notice in this recording, he tends to mouth the notes he's hitting on the piano. At first, it is kind of annoying but the more you listen to it, the more you realize that it adds to the improv. Most of the time, he'll mouth the notes as he plays them, which is insane when you realize the speed he often plays at. I went with a friend and we were laughing every now and then because his playing and pure talent was so ridiculous. They played an awesome version of Thelonious Monk's "Straight, No Chaser". Jarrett is also known for his temper. Before the concert, Jarrett told the audience that he did not want flash photography at any time during the concert. Right before the Trio went offstage for intermisison, someone in the crowd took a picture and Jarrett went off on the person, telling them that they "had no respect for the musicians" and that they should "think twice before coming to see them again". I thought it was pretty hilarious but Jarrett was dead serious and pretty damn pissed.

I've been wanting to post a Keith Jarrett record for a while. I'll post one of his solo concerts soon. This concert was recorded live at the Montreux Jazz Festival in 2001 and features some great covers such as Miles Davis' "Four" and Monk's "Straight, No Chaser". The Trio is in top form. Enjoy.

My Foolish Heart: Live at Montreux (Disc 1)
My Foolish Heart: Live at Montreux (Disc 2)

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Victor Jara - En Vivo en el Aula Magna de la Universidad de Valparaiso (May 29, 1970)

In 1973, after the U.S. backed coup of the Marxist socialist President Salvador Allende in Chile (who was replaced by dictator Augusto Pinochet), Victor Jara was rounded up along with thousands of others who supported the socialist government. They were taken to Estadio Chile (Chile Stadium) where most of them were tortured and/or killed. Jara first had his hands and ribs broken. He was then shot in the head and several times in his body and died. His body was dumped in the road near Santiago, he was 40 years old. The guard responsible for his death was found guilty earlier this year for Jara's murder. Jara was an extremely popular musician in Chile and throughout the world. His songs, which were mostly protest songs supporting rights for the poor, became anthems for supporters of Marxism in Chile during the reign of Pinochet's abusive regime. He has been a influence for folk singers throughout the world and is without question one of the greatest folk singers the world has seen. It is extremely unfortunate that the world lost such a remarkable musician and thousands of others because of the United States' fear of the spread of Communism. Pinochet attempted to burn any trace of Jara's music, but with the help of his fans and socialist defectors of Pinochet's Chile, the majority of his music was smuggled out of Chile and lives on, and we are blessed to have the chance to hear it. In 2003 Estadio Chile, the site of Jara's torture and death, was renamed Estadio Victor Jara in honor of Jara and the other socialist supporters who were killed there.

All of Jara's studio records are phenomenal, but this concert in Valparaiso, Chile is an amazing representation of Jara's spirit and energy. I'll also post a poem written by Jara during his imprisonment. I'll post some of his studio records in the future. Enjoy this concert, which we may have never had the chance to hear if Pinochet would have been successful in erasing Jara's music from history.

"Estadio Chile"

En Vivo en al Aula Magna de la Universidad de Valparaiso

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Les Rallizes Denudes- '77 Live

I have been totally obsessed with this record the past few days.  To be honest I have never heard any of Les Rallizes Denudes studio work but apparently they were a band since the late sixties up into the mid nineties in their home of Japan.  I have to admit I didn't really know what to expect from this record but I was definitely pleasantly surprised to discover a quality live recording of timeless feedback drenched psych-pop.  Apparently in Japan these guys had a pretty nice cult following and from the sound of this record its no shock why.  Les Rallizes Denudes play pretty straight up psychedelic rock and roll and from the sound of it they do a good amount of improvisation live.  You could draw an easy comparison to the Velvet Underground.  On this record there is only one song that hits below the ten minute mark but don't be afraid, there is plenty of structure to every song which is actually the best part.  Unlike a lot of other groups who play this type of improvised rock and roll, you never feel lost and the song never seems to take the backseat for experimentation.  It is always humbling to find a gem like this  to remind you that there is still tons of amazing records out there that will slowly reveal themselves as time goes on.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Tonstartssbandht- An When

When I first saw the name Tonstartssbandht I thought without a doubt that it was some obscure german kraut rock from the seventies.  Can you blame me?  Especially since I read about it on the Zamboni Soundtrack blog which actually covers a lot of records from that genre.  Much to my surprise Tonstartssbandht do not play kraut rock but instead play rad Big Country rip offs, Spacemen 3 covers from another dimension and sludged out noise anthems amongst other things.  Apparently Tonstartssbandht are two brothers from New York and from the sound of this record I would expect them to fit in nicely with the scene going on there right now (Captured Tracks, Underwater Peoples, Sacred Bones,Woodsist).  Although a lot of what is on "An When" sounds familiar, I think there is enough different to keep it interesting the whole way through.  It sounds like whoever made this record was having a lot of fun and I think that translates well through the songs.  You can order a copy of the CDR directly from the label that released it off their myspace which I will link below.   

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

The Parasails-Skylife

I got this tape in the mail the other day.  I am actually a little surprised that I haven't already seen this tape plastered all over the internet.  "Skylife" by The Parasails is another beachy, Jersey Shore influenced alias taken by Matt Mondanile of Ducktails and Real Estate.  If you are a fan of either of those two bands than "Skylife" should pretty much be a no brainer.  I like the fact that Mondanile and a majority of the Underwater Peoples seem to remain true to their overall aesthetic regardless of whatever alias is being used at the time.  When buying records I have always appreciated this approach because it shows that more thought is being put into their releases farther than their sound.  We are all familiar with groups who become dependent on this idea, using it as a gimmick but I think they set a good model by keeping it fairly vague and focusing mostly on the music over anything else.  

With all that said, this tape fits nicely into the rest of what he has done but still differentiates enough to take another title.  Throughout "Skylife" there seems to be about nine different tracks which change and progress at about the same pace as his earlier tape "Ducktails II".  Even though this is a limited run tape it has a lot of variety, there seems to be a good balance between the different styles we have heard from him in the past.  Although it might not seem like it but this would probably work as a pretty good introduction to all of the bands he has been involved in.  If you listen closely you will even recognize what might have been a demo for the Real Estate's "Atlantic City".

This tape was released on a label called El Tule Tapes which I wasn't familiar with before.  The tape looks and sounds great and the shipping was super quick so I will definitely be ordering form them again.  If you do decide to order this tape, which you should, I would also recommend checking out their tape from Women In Tragedy.  It was recently posted along with a few other releases on the No Not Fun Not No blog that can be found in our blogroll.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

The Band

It's hard to explain how much The Band was an influence on my taste in music. When I first heard Music From Big Pink (named after the house The Band lived and recorded the record in Woodstock, NY), I was completely blown away. It was like nothing I had ever heard before. When the record first came out, people like Clapton and George Harrison thought it was unbelievable, and All Things Must Pass showed Big Pink's influence. I remember reading somewhere that people at the time were blown away with The Band opening the record with a slow song (Tears of Rage). At the time, it was considered a risk. What bands wanted to do was to hook people in with powerful, fast songs. The Band, who's direction was mostly led by musical guru Garth Hudson, thought it better to focus on the quality of their songs rather than trying to hook people in with quick, powerful songs. I heard a story that when Hudson joined The Band, fearing that his parents would be furious that he was throwing away his musical knowledge in a rock and roll band, charged each member $10 a week for "music lessons". He was so knowledgeable musically that if any member had a question regarding music theory, Hudson was the first person they'd turn to, and he always had the right answer. Also remarkable is that every member of the band could play at least 2 instruments except Robbie Robertson (guitar). After the release of their second album "The Band", it was evident that The Band had created a new style of music, based off of country and toeing the rock and roll line. They had even been dubbed "Country Rock", a new genre named for their style that they were hesitant to accept. They didn't want to be stuck in any single genre at all. They had some success with "Stage Fright", "Cahoots", and "Northern Lights - Southern Cross", but The Band was beginning to fall apart. Robbie Robertson was becoming overly authoritarian and Levon Helm took offense. Robertson was putting only his own name on the writing credits of songs that had been written by others in the band, or the band as a whole, and the rest of the members weren't happy. With touring taking its tole on all of the members, and their health beginning to decline, they decided to have a last concert which they called The Last Waltz. They invited friends from throughout their career. Fan favorite Richard Manuel (who song on the beautiful Whispering Pines and In A Station) ended up hanging himself in 1986, ending any hopes of a reunion with all of the original members. Rick Danko would die in 1999. Hudson, Robertson, and Helm still perform.

I saw Garth Hudson 6 or 7 years ago and although he is noticeably aging, he can still rip the piano and saxophone like you wouldn't believe and you could see the emotion in his face when he performed The Weight and I Shall Be Released.


1. Tears of Rage (from "Music From Big Pink")
2. The Weight (from "Music From Big Pink")
3. This Wheel's On Fire (from "Music From Big Pink")
4. Chest Fever (from "Music From Big Pink")
5. In A Station (from "Music From Big Pink")
6. Across The Great Divide (from "The Band")
7. Up On Cripple Creek (from "The Band")
8. Whispering Pines (from "The Band")
9. King Harvest (Has Surely Come) (from "The Band")
10. The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down (from "The Last Waltz")
11. Don't Do It (from "The Last Waltz")
12. Such A Night (with Dr. John) (from "The Last Waltz")
13. Helpless (with Neil Young) (from "The Last Waltz")
14. 4% Pantomime (with Van Morrison) (from "Cahoots")
15. Life is a Carnival (from "Cahoots")
16. Acadian Driftwood (from "Northern Lights - Southern Cross")
17. Ophelia (from "Northern Lights - Southern Cross")
18. The Shape I'm In (from "Stage Fright")
19. I Shall Be Released (from "Music From Big Pink")


Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Cold Cave-Love Comes Close

Fortunately for us Heartworm decided to make the LP of "Love Comes Close" one of the pre-order options on the Insound site.  If you haven't taken advantage of Insound's pre-order deals before I would highly recommend keeping an eye out for them in the future.  I like the deals mostly because you are guaranteed a record that would probably sell out in stores super quickly and they send you the album you pre-ordered in mp3 format on the release date.  If you are obsessive about release dates like me than you can probably relate to the agony of knowing that a record you have been waiting for is sitting pretty in the new arrivals section of your favorite record store while your copy is in the mail somewhere.  Getting the album you pre-ordered in mp3 format on release day will at least make the wait for it to arrive in the mail feel a little shorter. 
 Sweet deals aside,  I have looked forward to all of Cold Cave's records so far which have been mostly 12 inch singles and I was excited to see what they would do with room to stretch on an LP.  A handful of the tracks might look familiar from the most recent "Edsel and Ruby" EP and one more from "The Trees Grew Emotions and Died" EP but they all sound as if they belong together on the record, by no means is this a compilation record.  My favorite track so far is "Youth and Lust" which reminds me of one of the more synth heavy tracks from New Order's "Power, Corruption and Lies".  Another track I especially like is "Heaven Was Full" which kind of sounds like Gary Numan & the Tubeway Army in the best way possible.  The addition of Caralee McElroy of Xiu-Xiu, who plays synths and sings, rounds out their sound making them sound much more like a fleshed out band. On their past records I always thought it sounded like writing traditional songs was backseat to experimentation and creating an atmosphere kind of like Blues Control does.  I am not saying these bands sound anything alike, I just think that Cold Cave's early recordings have that in common with them.  I am going to hold off on posting anything from this for now because you should all buy a copy from Heartworm.  You can find a link to their site in our links section and you would be a fool for not checking them out.  Aside from awesome records by Cold Cave, Prurient and Nisennenmondai they also release a ton of awesome printed material.  I really enjoyed the recently released book "23" which is a collection of short pieces and art by a number of interesting and familiar voices such as Wes Eisold, Kid Kongo Powers and Mark McCoy.  The book was compiled by Max G. Morton of Cold Cave who also includes ten new pieces of writing.  Everything Heartworm has released so far has appeared to be painstakingly thought out and I think out of the multitude of things they are involved in there is at least something of interest for anyone.   

Thursday, June 25, 2009


I wanted to let everyone know that I am going to start writing for the ZZYRUS blog occasionally.  By no means does that mean that Pacific Radio Fire is shutting down or that things will slow down here.  If anything things should be speeding up little by little.  If you have been enjoying what we have been providing here than I would suggest you add ZZYRUS to your favorites.  From now on it will be in our blog list as well.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Cult Ritual-LP

I highly recommend everyone to visit the Youth Attack site in our link section to get your self a copy of the new Cult Ritual LP.  This is the debut album from one of the most quality bands around right now period.  On previous releases Cult Ritual have altered their sound rather drastically from record to record and this one again follows a different direction.  If you have never heard of Cult Ritual I would recommend picking up their earlier 3 EPs first but this record would not be a bad place to start either.  I would imagine that the dudes in this band have nice record collections.    

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Mahavishnu Orchestra - Inner Mounting Flame

The jazz-rock fusion age of the 70's got pretty weird at times. But Inner Mounting Flame is a great record by Mahavishnu Orchestra, led by John McLaughlin. He was most famous for playing with Miles Davis on his "In a Silent Way" and "Bitches Brew" records. The name Mahavishnu Orchestra came from Sri Chimnoy (nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize) who was a spiritual guide to McLaughlin and others like Santana. This record starts out pretty intense with "Meeting of the Spirits" then calms down with songs like "Dawn" and "Lotus on Irish Streams". All the musicians on this record were top tier musicians of the 70's and McLaughlin's guitar playing and composing border on insanity. Bands trying to copy McLaughlin's style these days, like Mars Volta, don't come anywhere close. They just end up sounding like untalented 15 year olds making a bunch of noise. Then 30 year olds with tight pants, a lot of hair, and no knowledge of music don't know any better and think it's talented jamming. Listen to this record, compare the two, then you'll notice the difference. "You Know You Know" is sampled in Mos Def's song "Kalifornia". Enjoy.

Mahavishnu Orchestra - Inner Mounting Flame

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Happy Birthday Andrew

Here are some fun tunes I put together for my brother on his birthday tomorrow.  Although we both have very different tastes in music we did grow up in the same house so I think we can't help but see eye to eye on a bunch of stuff.  It's been a while since we had a chance to talk about music but I know you like some of the more classic tracks on here and I think you will dig the rest as well.  Happy Birthday Brozef.

I know everyone else that reads this blog might not be interested in this but this playlist is full of awesome songs that you should enjoy either way.

1.Funkadelic-Good Old Music
2.The Beach Boys-Til I Die
3.Black Merda-Reality
4.The Brian Jonestown Massacre-Cabin Fever
5.Can-Tango Whiskeyman
6.Elijah & The Ebonies-Hot Grits!!!
7.Eek A Mouse-Slowly But Surely
8.Herbie Hancock-Watermelon Man
9.Index-Shock Wave
10.The Flying Burrito Brothers-Cody, Cody
11.Jackie Mitto-Good Feeling
12.Jacob Miller-Forward Ever
13.Les Fleur De Lys-Moondreams
14.Mission of Burma-Academy Fight Song
15.The Music Machine-Hey Joe
16.People Under the Stairs-Pulp Fiction Featuring Murs
17.Red Cross-Annette's Got the Hits
18.Otis Gayle-I'll Be Around
19.The Velvet Underground-Sweet Jane (Live @ Max Kansas City)
20.Syd Barrett-Octopus

The Garbage and the Flowers-Eyes Rind as if Beggars

This band reminds me of a kiwi sonic youth with touches of the Microphones at times.  The Garbage and the Flowers are another Flying Nun group from the eighties that played music that is still completely relevant today.  I was actually pretty surprised the first time I heard this record because it seems so close to a lot of the semi-structured experimental garage stuff going on these days.  Another reason I especially like "Eyes Rind as if Beggars" is it seems to be a little bit more folk influenced than a lot of the other mid to late eighties flying nun groups.  Also on a few tracks they take a slightly more straightforward rock and roll approach that would have fit in with nicely with the paisley underground in Los Angeles.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Jerry Garcia & David Grisman - The Warfield, San Francisco, CA 12/8/91

Jerry Garcia and David Grisman had been performing together since the early 70's (Old and In The Way) but they played their first show as a duet in 1990. They would play 19 shows together and this may be the best show I've heard. They played three shows at the Warfield in San Francisco in 1991 (12/7-12/9). Because Jerry's health was on a steady decline throughout the late 80's and early 90's (he had gone into a diabetic coma in 1986 for 5 days. He produced one of my favorite quotes when he woke up: "Well, I had some very weird experiences. My main experience was one of furious activity and tremendous struggle in a sort of futuristic, space-ship vehicle with insectoid presences. After I came out of my coma, I had this image of myself as these little hunks of protoplasm that were stuck together kind of like stamps with perforations between them that you could snap off") and because of his death in 1995, you could consider these shows with Grisman to be his last great shows outside of the Dead. Even though Jerry was in a rough patch in his life, when you see videos and hear shows of him with Grisman, you can see that he is extremely happy and it definitely shows in this recording. Their cover of Miles Davis' "So What" is brilliant. Enjoy.

Jerry Garcia & David Grisman - The Warfield, San Francisco, CA 12/8/91 (Disc 1)
Jerry Garcia & David Grisman - The Warfield, San Francisco, CA 12/8/91 (Disc 2)

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Culture - Two Sevens Clash

Culture released their debut album in 1977 when "the two sevens clashed". Marcus Garvey, the leader of the "back to Africa" movement had predicted that there would be chaos on July 7, 1977 when the "sevens" met. When the title track was released, people in Jamaica were so convinced of its message that on 7/7/77 businesses and schools closed, people shuttered themselves in, and the military was on edge. This should give you all a little lesson on how important this record was and is to the island of Jamaica. The singer and brains behind Culture, Joseph Hill, was looking to write a record that would be a testament to his devout Rastafarian beliefs. Many reggae bands get the short end of the stick because people tend to have a hard time looking beyond Bob Marley. Although Marley and the Wailers are great, people will be smart to look beyond; Culture is a great place to start. The 30th Anniversary Edition was just released in 2007. I'll post the entire original record. If you want some bonus tracks, you'll have to buy the Anniversary Edition. Here's a quote from the liner notes:
"One day Joseph Hill had a vision, while riding a bus, of 1977 as a year of judgment -- when two sevens clash -- when past injustices would be avenged. Lyrics and melodies came into his head as he rode and thus was born the song "Two Sevens Clash" which became a massive hit in reggae circles both in Jamaica and abroad. The prophecies noted by the lyrics so profoundly captured the imagination of the people that on July 7, 1977 - the day when sevens fully clashed (seventh day, seventh month, seventy-seventh year) a hush descended on Kingston; many people did not go outdoors, shops closed, an air of foreboding and expectation filled the city."

Culture - Two Sevens Clash

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Knight School-The Poor and Needy Need To Party

Sorry for the lack of action over here at Pacific Radio Fire,  we were bumming out pretty hard about swine flu and sealed ourselves in my grandparents fallout shelter for the past week.  Although we were deprived of sunshine in the shelter thank god my Grandparents were wise enough back in the sixties to think about entertainment down there and installed a turntable and stereo.  So you can imagine how much it sucked being down there for a week but we totally got to listen to a ton of records!  One of my favorite records during the week was  "The Poor and Needy Need To Party" by Knight School.  Out of all the bands doing the lo-fi jingle jangle sound this is probably my favorite.  Although there are a bunch of bands with this sound right now I have noticed that this genre lacks good full lengths.  Even though "The Poor and Needy Need To Party" is only twenty-four minutes long it sounds and feels like a proper full length record.  I doubt it is in Knight School's plan at this point but if they needed them the record would be chock full of singles.  They also have pretty amazing song titles such as "Gardeninginging" and "Pregnant Again".  If you like short, super catchy songs that don't take themselves too seriously and stay stuck in your head for weeks than I would recommend ordering a copy from this website "Lost Music".  If this is Knight School's debut I am excited to see where they go from here.  On a side note I just realized this band reminds me of Beat Happening for three reasons: Sloppily drawn kitties on the front of the record, two dudes and one girl and sometimes the drums sound like childrens blocks being smacked together.  I am going to post the record because in all honesty I love the whole thing.  If anyone want's me to get rid of the link ask.  JK on the swine flu. 

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Nerve City-Catholic School

As far as I know Nerve City is the alias of one dude named Jason Boyer from Richmond Virgina.  Nerve City plays lo-fi garage rock with a definite influence from blues and sixties surf music.  I know this probably sounds like fifty other records you have read about this week but I think Nerve City brings enough to this genre to stand out.  One thing I specifically dig about "Catholic School" is although it is only one guy there seems to be a lot of different instruments being played in a lot of different ways.  It seems like a lot of bands misuse the title "lo-fi" or "garage" as an excuse to sound shitty or boring.  The use of less polished recording equipment and technique should be to communicate some of the urgency that the band has live not as a crutch to hide badly written songs.  With that said, Nerve City has plenty of well written songs and no matter what type of recording they are using at the moment they shine through.  On "Catholic School" Boyer fills each song with organ, slide guitar, handclaps and just enough reverb to tie it all together.  Another reason Nerve City stands out is that they haven't released any type of long playing record yet their songs are varied from jangly folk(Dogs) to creepy garage rock(Junkyard).  I will post the now out of print "Catholic School Demo" in its entirety because it is out of print and its the record that got me into them.  Nerve City has plans to release a bunch of stuff in 09 like an LP on Sweet Rot and a few EPs on different labels so keep your eyes open.  

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Jarvis Cocker-Further Complications

I am not going to post anything from this record because its not out and obviously someone is not happy about it being leaked.  Its awesome though.  I really liked the first one but this sounds much better.  Everyone should grab a copy of this when it hits stores on May 19th on Rough Trade.  Thanks again Steve Albini!

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

The Middle Class-Out of Vogue

"Out of Vogue" by the Middle Class is titled by some as one of the first hardcore punk records ever released.  I feel that "first ever" debates when concerning music are usually completely pointless.  From what I have observed in my lifetime terms like "hardcore", "lo-fi" and "post-punk" are usually made by people who don't really get it in the first place, such as journalists and record executives.  People are usually more comfortable with things if they can place them into a definite category, especially when those people are trying to turn a profit.  Okay, so whatever, this might be the first "hardcore" record ever, this fact has nothing to do with why its good to listen to.  The music on "Out of Vogue" is definitely fast for the time, considering it was released in January 1979 (the same month as Black Flag's "Nervous Breakdown" EP).  Comparisons to early hardcore bands like Minor Threat and Bad Brains are inevitable but I think that the Middle Class were actually doing something a little different.  Most hardcore bands at this time came from big cities like Los Angeles, New York and Washington DC but the Middle Class were from a small suburban town called Santa Ana in Orange County.  A few years later this area exploded with punk bands like the Adolescents, TSOL and Agent Orange.  Obviously the Middle Class' influence was felt by somebody because all of those bands share more than just geography.  When listening to the Adolescents, Agent Orange or the Middle Class I have always noticed the slight influence of sixties and seventies surf and pop groups.  Obviously Agent Orange covered the Dick Dale song Miserlou and in the liner notes of the Adolescent demos Tony Cadena talks about how he has always loved Cheap Trick.  Growing up in a place that is pretty similar to Santa Ana, I can say that its hard to escape certain musical trends and often times there is just not much else to be into due to location.  If this sounds good Frontier just released a CD with all of their early material including their first two singles and some demos.  I will post the whole "Out of Vogue" 7".  

Monday, April 27, 2009

The Wild Poppies-Heroine

I really don't know much about this band so I guess I will start off with what I do know. The Wild Poppies were from New Zealand and released music sometime in the eighties. Although they were not on Flying Nun you can definitely hear that they shared a lot of influences with their artists. Other than that pretty much nothing is known about this band which is kind of cool in a mysterious way. Judging from the cover artwork and album title I wouldn't be surprised if substance abuse had something to do with them disappearing off the face of the earth. There has to be some reason they are completely unheard of because this record is solid front to back. Most of the songs on "Heroine" have that signature New Zealand jangle on them and really strong pop song writing. For me its one of those records where every time you listen to it you walk away with a new favorite song. As far as I know none of the Wild Poppies catalogue ever made it to CD format and I think you would probably have a hard time finding a physical copy of any of their records on vinyl so I am going to post all of "Heroine". Be warned, can cause physical dependence.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Tones on Tail-Everything!

I just recently moved a good portion of my record collection from Los Angeles to San Francisco.  Anyone who has ever had to move their collection or even part of it knows what a herculean task it can appear to be.  The good part is that forgotten favorites will resurfaces due to the fact that you literally haven't seen them in years.  Unfortunately my copy of Tones on Tail's aptly titled career retrospective "Everything!" fell victim to a few year long disappearance when I moved out of Los Angeles.  Luckily while I was home visiting my parents I helped them do some spring cleaning and this psychedelic goth gem was returned once again to my ears.  Tones on Tail initially started as the side project of Bauhaus towards the tail end of their first run that included Daniel Ash, Kevin Haskins and their roadie/friend Glenn Campling.  Although Tones on Tail only lasted about two years I always perceived it as an opportunity for Daniel Ash and Kevin Haskins to experiment and do things they felt restricted to in Bauhaus, as well as lay the foundation for Love and Rockets.  Tones on Tail never released a proper studio album but I think that their utilization of the single format actually helped them reach farther in a different direction.  It is apparent from listening to Bauhaus and Love and Rockets in that order that Ash and Haskins were aiming for something very different with the latter.  I think having the anonymity of a side project group who released only singles let them have the freedom to sculpt their desired sound without having the pressure to deliver cohesive albums.  Since the career of Tones On Tail was so short lived but prolific I can't help but get the feeling that they had specific goals, did what they wanted, achieved their goals and moved on.  The music on "Everything!" leans more on the experimental side in comparison to most of Bauhaus or Love and Rockets but if you like either of them you will undoubtedly like this too.  I am going to post a few songs for this one.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Jerry Garcia & John Kahn - Oregon State Penitentiary, Salem, Oregon - May 5, 1982

It's hard to find a place to start with Jerry Garcia's music. You could spend a lifetime listening to Dead shows, analyzing jams and recordings and still not tap the surface. Personally, I find that Jerry seems to shine the most in his solo shows. He began playing with John Kahn in May of 1970 with the Jerry Garcia & Howard Wales project. After that, John Kahn was in every side project Jerry did without the Dead (Jerry Garcia Band, Legion of Mary, Old and In The Way, etc.) These collaborations eventually led to Jerry and John Kahn playing as an acoustic duet in the early 80's. This show at the Oregon State Penitentiary is without question one of my favorite of Jerry's side project shows. It is by far the best recording I've heard of a Jerry Garcia & John Kahn show and Ken Kesey was supposedly in attendance. They play a few Dead songs (Friend of the Devil, Ripple, Dire Wolf), songs the Dead played all the time (Deep Elem Blues, Jack A Roe) and a few of Jerry's own songs and favorites (Oh Babe It Ain't No Lie, Bob Dylan's It Takes A Lot to Laugh, Run For The Roses, Rubin and Cherise). I get the chills everytime I listen to this version of Run For The Roses and I find myself coming back to this show again and again. Supposedly, the Dead crew disliked John Kahn for his encouragement of Jerry's drug habit, especially in the 90's. John Kahn would die of heart failure (May, 1996) a little over a year after Jerry died of a heart attack (August 1995), both deaths most likely due to drugs. I couldn't find a picture from the show so I posted the best one I could find of the two together. Enjoy the show!

Here's a note from a guy who was there: "One thing I remember was a deranged guy hopped onstage during the Reverend Chumliegh's (sp?) act and kind of made for a slightly tense atmosphere. And I think Jerry was without John Kahn for the first two songs and pretty nervous. Kesey had us all hyperventilating, bless him."- Paul

Jerry Garcia & John Kahn - Oregon State Penitentiary, Salem, Oregon - May 5, 1982

Friday, April 24, 2009

Pacific Radio Fire by Richard Brautigan

This is the short story by Richard Brautigan that I borrowed the name for this blog from.  You can find it in his collection of stories called "Revenge of the Lawn".  I doubt I will ever post anything like this ever again but it seemed relevant enough to share. 

Pacific Radio Fire by Richard Brautigan

The largest ocean in the world starts or ends at Monterey, California. It depends on what language you are speaking. My friend’s wife had just left him. She walked right out the door and didn’t even say good-bye. We went and got two fifths of port and headed for the Pacific.

It’s an old song that’s been played on all the jukeboxes in America. The song has been around so long that it’s been recorded on the very dust of America and it has settled on everything and changed chairs and cars and toys and lamps and windows into billions of phonographs to play that song back into the ear of our broken heart.

We sat down on a small corner-like beach surrounded by big granite rocks and the hugeness of the Pacific Ocean with all its vocabularies.

We were listening to rock and roll on his transistor radio and somberly drinking port. We were both in despair. I didn’t know what he was going to do with the rest of his life either.

I took another sip of port. The Beach Boys were singing a song about California girls on the radio. They liked them.

His eyes were wet wounded rugs.

Like some kind of strange vacuum cleaner I tried to console him. I recited the same old litanies that you say to people when you try to help their broken hearts, but words can’t help at all.

It’s just the sound of another human voice that makes the only difference. There’s nothing you’re ever going to say that’s going to make anybody happy when they’re feeling shitty about losing somebody that they love.

Finally he set fire to the radio. He piled some paper around it. He struck a match to the paper. We sat there watching it.

I had never seen anybody set fire to a radio before.

As the radio gently burned away, the flames began to affect the songs that we were listening to. A record that was #1 on the Top-40 suddenly dropped to #13 inside of itself. A song that was #9 became #27 in the middle of a chorus about loving somebody. They tumbled in popularity like broken birds. Then it was too late for all of them.

The Honeycombs-Here are the Honeycombs

I've been pretty obsessed with this record lately. At first look this appears to be your standard British invasion sixties pop but if you take the time to listen it becomes obvious it has a lot more to offer.  A cool fact about The Honeycombs is they were one of the first groups of the time to have a female drummer, who's name was Honey Lantree(pictued above in the center). Also, their first single and ultimately most popular song "Have I the Right?" was produced by legendary English record producer Joe Meek. I have got to admit up until pretty recently I had no clue who Joe Meek was. With a little bit of researching I found out that Meek had a really interesting story that unfortunately ended with tragedy.  Here is a condensed version:  Meek produced a string of successful singles on the British charts, when his commercial success ended he sank into depression and ended up murdering his landlady before committing suicide(Eight years to the day after his hero Buddy Holly died).  The main thing that Meek is remembered for is his imaginative and innovative production style. When listening to the Honeycombs its hard not to notice how different it sounds from other recordings of the time. Meek was a pioneer in the field of production and developed many studio techniques such as direct input of bass, echo, reverb, sampling and over-dubbing that are now standard practice. Even though the Honeycombs have a pretty standard pop sound the way they are recorded makes their songs sound full and lush. I think another reason I liked the story of Meek was his commitment to finding the perfect sound rather than what was marketable at the moment. Unfortunately he was working in the field of recording at a time when unprofitable music was seen as not having much value which probably had something to do with his feelings of isolation and severe depression. I am going to post "Have I the Right?" not only because its well known but also because it is a good example of the sound that Meek produced when he was at his best recording bands. The second track I am going to post is called "It Ain't Necessarily So" because its a really cool song, boo ya.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Chain and the Gang-Down with Liberty...Up With Chains

Does anyone else remember when Ian Svenonius was interviewing Henry Rollins on his show Soft Focus?  At one point they brought up the idea of freedom actually being a constraining concept by referencing the awesome Saccharine Trust song "We Don't Need Freedom".  Anyone who has followed Svenonius in any of his musical projects is probably familiar with his satirical wit that he seems to incorporate in to everything he touches at least in some part.  Keeping that in mind I think his new project "Chain and the Gang" is a good extension of him and some other interesting musicians taking that idea and running with it.
People seem to either really dig Svenonius and his multiple artistic endeavors since the Nation of Ulysses or they don't seem to have the patience for them.  Not to say that listening to the Make Up is some type of transcendental experience that only a fortunate minority can enjoy but more that he is interpreted by some as being redundant.  I guess I feel like in this situation there is no reason to fix it if its not broken,  I haven't reached that point in my listening to his records where I feel like they are monotonous.  With that said, I have been playing the shit out of "Down with Liberty, Up with Chains" by Svenonius and his new group of familiar faces.  I read that he originally intended to record a spoken word record with Calvin Johnson in his famous basement and this is what resulted.  I can definitely say that I am glad it did, maybe that spoken word album would have been the thing to make me loose patience.
A look at the cover of this record is a great explanation of the ideas and overall aesthetic that you will get with Chain and the Gang.  I think the actual music on the album has more of a blues influence than most of his more recent releases but there is still plenty of catchy garage rock as well.  It seems like on this record he really perfected the call and response rhythm with his vocals which he is already kind of known for.  Bottom line is if you like what Ian Svenonius has been doing for the last two decades than this will probably be a welcome addition to your collection, if not you probably gave up a long time ago.