22 December 2009

Disco Revenge

I'm not original so I want to copy Nafa and post my favorite disco songs.

The only KISS song I like:

18 December 2009

'To My Surprise (LISTEN!) One Hundred Stories High...'

A short list of my top songs of the Disco era. Put on yer boogie shoes, duders.

If I Can't Have You - Yvonne Elliman

'To dreams that never will come true...' One of those rare pop songs with insightful lyrics and a driving beat. Penned by the Bee Gees but made amazing by Yvonne 'Mary Magdalene' Elliman, this was featured in the monster film Saturday Night Fever, which we will hear from again shortly.


Boogie Shoes - KC & The Sunshine Band

A sing along from the hitmakers KC & The Sunshine Band. Definitely not as annoying as That's The Way I Like It and featuring a horn section that you should kill for. Best song about shoes since Carl Perkins.


How Deep Is Your Love? - The Bee Gees

The Aussie brothers were kings of the era, just about every song they did could make this list, but this ballad just rises high above the rest of their great songs. It was a slow, meaningful tune but still had that swing to it. Gorgeous stuff and another from the SNF soundtrack.


If It Wasn't For The Nights - ABBA

Greatest band ever and another of their absolutely underrated classics. Pure Disco from the North. They even got that bouncy bassline worked into it--not bad for land overrun with reindeer.


Disco Inferno - The Trammps

Hands down the best song of the SNF soundtrack, of The Trammps, and of the era. Everything is in this--the faux classical rises, the driving beat, the dirty bass, the IN-YOUR-FACE horns, the desperation/flirtation vocals, and a hook that will lodge itself in your brain like one of those little skewer things that the ancient Egyptians used to pull out a pharaoh's brain before mummification. Just turn it on, turn it up, and burn this mutha down.

16 December 2009

Health - 'Die Slow'

This video freaks me out in the best way.

09 December 2009


I don't know about you but I think Planets are a great, great band. Usually they are covered head to toe in skin tight white outfits with a projector playing over their bodies. But this spastic duo has also been seen in their human skins as well. Their music is bass, drums, half-whispered vocals and God knows what else. All in all, this is good stuff.

Planets Myspace

Planets blog

07 December 2009

Town Without Pity

LeEtta and I are still enjoying our free 6 months of satellite radio and we've been hitting the 50s and 60s stations like red headed stepchild biznitches. One song that came on this morning was 'Town Without Pity' by Gene Pitney. Holy shit, this is one fantastic song. It makes me want to start another blog called The Songs That Should Not Be. This is just a miserable song (in a good way) tied to what sounds like a miserable movie. This is a great track to wallow in. How about that? Songs To Wallow In. Hmm, no. I'll just stop now.

When you're young and so in love as we
And bewildered by the world we see
Why do people hurt us so
Only those in love would know
What a town without pity can do

If we stop to gaze upon a star
People talk about how bad we are
Ours is not an easy age
We're like tigers in a cage
What a town without pity can do

The young have problems, many problems
We need an understanding heart
Why don't they help us, try and help us
Before this clay and granite planet falls apart

Take these eager lips and hold me fast
I'm afraid this kind of joy can't last
How can we keep love alive
How can anything survive
When these little minds tear you in two
What a town without pity can do

How can we keep love alive
How can anything survive
When these little minds tear you in two
What a town without pity can do

No, it isn't very pretty what a town without pity


04 December 2009

Shiina Ringo - "Ringo No Uta"

Well, since we've got this face-lift and Shiina Ringo's lovely mug is up there, I might as well get off my butt and introduce you. The first introduction I'd ever had to her was with her song "Ringo No Uta." My chest feels like it's all stuffed with cotton when ever I listen to this song, her voice and the composition are so ridiculously beautiful.

"Ringo No Uta" has a new promotional video on YouTube:

but the first video of this I'd ever seen is:

She's had a prolific solo career (discography) and recently formed a band: Tokyo Jihen. The music is all still prime, this song is "Osca:"

Now if you go about looking for just the song, "Ringo No Uta," you are going to run into another, older song by the same name that has been done and redone by a variety of performers. It's cute, and I love old music, but Shiina Ringo's is a much better composition in my opinion.


Looking Back At The Apocalypse.

The end of the world isn't what it used to be. It isn't even what it is. Even after the great apocalypse there at least was plenty of hair mousse, pleather, and headbands. Life after World War III was a big subject for '80s music videos and most artists were looking towards the future (the one '80s exception is Adam Ant who always seem to be taking inspiration from museums). Here are a few classic visions of the future.

Sigue Sigue Sputnik - 21st Century Boy
All hype and some delivery (and a personal favourite). They touted themselves as the 'Fifth Generation Of Rock And Roll', ordered us to 'Fleece The World', put advertisements between every song on their debut album, and envisioned a shiny-plastic-ambiguously-sexual-guns-and-rockets-exploding-helicopters 'Blade Runner'-esque vision of the future. Some places they were right on the mark. They were the logical grandparents of 21st century artists like Lady Gaga, the Spice Girls, and even Kanye West.


Blondie - Atomic
Blondie can do no wrong (nope, I won't even bad mouth The Hunter). The video for Atomic shows that even after the bombs fall, if you can find a garbage bag to wear you can still party like it's just prior to 1999.


Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers - You Got Lucky
What says end-of-the-world-1980s better than sepia sky washes, faux cowboy swagger, video games, pod cars, and dust? Absolutely nothing. Still among one of the best videos of the area and a surprise from the usually straight-rocking Heartbreakers. Sometimes it does pay to experiment.


Rick Springfield - Human Touch
Pop idol and daytime television heartthrob, Dr. Noah Drake had a vision of the future that landed him only about 6 years from the time I'm writing this post. If it plays out like he predicts in this video, then something went very wrong in the 2012 elections. At least spandex will stand the test of time.


Duran Duran - Wild Boys
YES! This is what the future was going to be like! Flying things, mild torture, spectacular escapes, things burning, easily defeated foes, victorious posing. This was 'Mad Max' played by the best band in the world. Telecasters kill, Andy, so use your powers for good!


Billy Idol - Dancing With Myself
Arguably in the top 10 of the all time best songs of the 1980's (even if it is a remake of his ex-band's song--Generation X, which also featured Tony James, the duder with the pink hair in Sigue Sigue Sputnik). Proto-Soviet stylings and dancing zombies. I can think of no more appropriate way to close out this post.

03 December 2009

They're Coming To Take Me Away & More

I'll never forget riding in the car one night in the late 80s with my parents as we were returning home from a party. It was very dark outside and much to my father's amusement, the oldies station played "They're Coming To Take Me Away" (the radio edit without the reverse part like on the Youtube clip above). I was scared and happy while my dad kept turning this song up louder and louder in the car. It felt like I was going mad! I guess that's an appropriate reaction.

The first time I found that you could love something terrible because of its terribleness happened when my dad would laugh until the tears came over the beautifully cheesy "Leader of the Pack". The whole song struck him as funny but the "LOOK OUT! LOOK OUT! LOOK OUT!" part really set him off. I'm surprised we didn't wreck every time this song came on the radio.

And a couple more that amused me and dad to no end:


3 old songs


03 November 2009

Marnie Stern

Here is the Marnie Stern:


Kill Rock Stars

Here's the fan letter I wrote:

"Miss Stern

Hello there. I'm not prone to writing fan mail but I've been picking through your albums and just couldn't go another minute without saying thanks. I was in a bit of a musical funk and needed something new without even knowing it. I have this habit of listening to the same 4 or 5 bands for years at a time and things get a bit stale upstairs.

And then I saw the video for Transformer and I was like "Okay, this woman knows how to make some seriously steamrolling and epiphanic pop. Plus, she has Lita Ford's videographer. I can dig this." I actually have thoughts like that so you can pity me if you must. Newness is goodness and you have proved that to my habitual brain.

Well, aside from Transformer and a whole mess of other great songs, I want to mention two in particular that wreck me in the best way possible. First up is Roads? Where We're Going We Don't Need Roads. There is this vibe this song gives off. I don't know, it's like a neon apocalypse but a really, really happy one. The denouement "I had a dream I crawled all around on the high road" is phenomenal! Do you get this a lot? People quoting your lyrics back at you?

Next is Absorb Those Numbers. If you were trying to make people dance while they would normally be skulking around doing laundry, then you have succeeded immensely. While I have seen worse, the laundry room in my apartment complex is still really depressing. With this song, I need not worry about that fabric softener syndrome (which has been so prevalent in the news lately) with this track playing at a moderately loud volume.

So yeah, time to wrap this up. Thanks! Thank you for kicking my ears' asses. I look forward to more music from you in the near future and wish you all the best.

-Richard Glenn Schmidt"

22 October 2009

FAUXRROR 2: LASERDEAD (cross-postin')

Two years ago, my friends and I started FAUXRROR (pronounced like Horror but with an F), a "band" that creates music for horror films that never existed. We even went so far as to give each track its own poster and plot synopsis. For FAUXRROR 2: LASERDEAD, we have created the music for just one made up film. In an alternate reality much like our own, director Ron L. Esteban set out to make his horror masterpiece but things got out of hand. This tale is told in more detail in the brief history of Laserdead included with the download.

Grab FAUXRROR 2 here.

And get the first FAUXRROR here.


15 September 2009

The Cliks - "Dirty King"

So, lately I've been finding a butt load of new music and thoroughly enjoying it on my own without telling anyone about it. Haven't felt like I've had the time, but anyway, it's time to fix that now. In an effort to break up my morning music-video channel viewing I started DVRing New Now Next Music on the Logo Channel so I would have something to run to when VHI and MTV got too repetative. And there I saw The Cliks' "Dirty King." And I loved The Cliks' "Dirty King"--it's like cool bastard rock--something I've been collecting lately.

So I went to find more on their YouTube Channel and Myspace Page. But first "Dirty King:"

"Oh Yeah"--

cheers. -- LeE

03 September 2009

The Joggers

I've been pretty gay about The Joggers for a while now and now I can get even gayer. The boys have put up all their songs for sale on bandcamp. Check it out! I first heard these dudes while working at a record store. The assistant manager had a bunch of promo stuff from Startime International Records which he was about to toss out. Not being able to resist free stuff, I grabbed The Joggers' first album Solid Guild. It took a couple of listens but then I realized I had a fucking stellar record from an amazing band.

That started the obsession and I've been stalking these dudes ever since. Their follow up album With a Cape and a Cane is even more amazing. That was years ago! Like the rest of the Jogg-Hedz (I don't think there is a fan club but if there was one, that is what we would call ourselves), I am impatiently waiting for a new record. So you good people need to go and buy all of their songs immediately. This will force them to record their new album.

I guess the best way to describe them is jangly sweet guitars, boisterous bass lines, a constantly twirling and sensitive drummer, and lots and lots of vocals. Wow I made them sound terrible. How about a kindly steamroller that crushes you with kindness? Eh, don't listen to me (like you ever would), just check out their songs, yo.

Here is an interview with them over at Funeral Pudding.

13 August 2009

Pointer Sisters - "Automatic"

When I was a kid (around 8 years old), I borrowed my mom's tape of Break Out by the Pointer Sisters and never gave it back. This tape and the soundtrack to Beverly Hills Cop were vastly important to me and were always thundering from my stereo. For me, the Pointer Sisters were this amazing "new" group that had songs that made me want to dance until I collapsed.

However, one song in particular was immeasurably important: "Automatic". Aside from making the condition of being in love sound really creepy (though only if you're a computer), "Automatic" was my jam! One evening while my parents were out at a party or something, I cranked up the volume and danced to this song for what seemed like hours. Every time it would end, I would rewind the tape and start over. What was I doing? Well, I was working on a dance routine with mechanical motions like the ones I saw breakdancers* doing. This went on until I could dance no more (or my parents came home).

*Someday I'll tell you about the breakdancing classes I took at the local rec center.

10 August 2009

Some Zach Hilliness

I have been on a Zach Hill kick lately. I've been looking into some of his projects other than Hella and liking what I'm hearing and seeing and liking what I'm liking.

22 July 2009


the cast of Mamma Mia: The Movie reunites ABBA

So...Mamma Mia: The Movie.

One of the best times I've ever had in a theater (that I'll confess to). Or actually, over eight of the best times I've ever had in a theater. And I'm saying that with a completely straight face.

I get a lot of flack for loving this film and for being an ABBA fan. I know of Richard's great revulsion that verges on riotous, violent hatred for this film and, and he's a fan too, it's buggerying of ABBA's music (actually, this may be rooted in a fear of Greeks). And it would take too long to enumerate all of it's downfalls (Aphrodite's fountain, vast age difference in the cast), shortcomings (Remington Bond singing, use of slow motion during key scenes to supplement the lack of dance acumen), and cringe-inducing moments (the dream sequence during 'Money, Money, Money', the old woman throwing off the bundle of sticks during Dancing Queen'). It is difficult to watch your favorite band get butchered by non-singers, like a church fund-raiser karaoke night. But take another look.

There's magic lying just beneath the flawed veneer.

One of the big criticisms is that the cast consisted of actors rather than singers, or even actors who can sing. In fact, to the best of my knowledge there was only one musical stage actor in the cast, and I totally believe that she was upstaged by the non-singers. Meryl Streep is able and even portrays a lovely voice towards the end of the film. The young leads have excellent and strong voices. Even Pierce Brosnan's attempt at singing grows more and more endearing with each listen. It's your like that song that the person you love half-whispers, half-sings to you in those quiet moments. It's the drunk family members having fun at a family Christmas sing-a-long. It's a late night with your mates and all of your are being silly singing at the top of your voices to the radio. It's that kind of singing, not proper singing, and sometimes that's more perfect, more emotional than a sterile recording.

An unrivaled aspect of this film is the scenery. The Greek setting was nearly perfect. The backdrop was the one unfailing and beautiful constant throughout the film, from the opening to the boat picnic scene of 'Our Last Summer' to the breathtaking camera-work during 'The Winner Takes It All'. In fact, that last song has two of the most amazing moments in the entire film, the colours (starting at :49 in the video below) and the church on the hill (Agios Ioannis Chapel, around 3:56). (Another is Streep climbing the ladder during the first chorus of the song 'Mamma Mia'.) I even got a bit choked up and teary-eyed during the culmination of 'Dancing Queen'--the first time and every time since.

Then there are the amazing ABBA-related moments. Like dressing Streep up in blue feathers and a Napoleon hat right before 'Dancing Queen' (which harkens back to their Eurovision appearance for 'Waterloo'). At the end of 'Super Trouper' where the girls end with pointing at the sky, just like Agnetha during the 1980 video for the song. And of course the cameos by Benny (at 2:53 during 'Dancing Queen') and Bjorn (at 1:50 during 'Waterloo'). Plus, during the Stockholm premiere of the film, the original ABBA was reunited (with the help of Meryl Streep) for the first time in public since the late 1980s, which was something that they thought would ever be seen.

And you know what? The film is fun. It never takes itself seriously. And the actors seemed to have a great time making the film. It's just fun--silly, dramatic, corny, familiar fun. Sometimes the grandest purpose of a creation is just to bring a smile, a stupid, goofy, giant, insipid smile. And that's what this film does for me and, from the success of it, what it does for many, many others.

I'm a huge ABBA fan. I'm a straight male. I love Mamma Mia: The Movie. It makes me happy. Fuck you.

30 June 2009

Where Did It All Go Wrong?

I'm just going to post this as it was in the conversation Richard and I had:

From: Richard
Sent: Tuesday, June 30, 2009 9:49 AM
To: Nafa
Subject: more about MJ

Is it just me or did MTV ruin Michael?

The music on everything up to and including Thriller is stellar.

Once the video revolution took hold, it was all over.

What do you say?


From: Nafa
Sent: Tuesday, June 30, 2009 10:42 AM
To: Richard
Subject: RE: more about MJ

Interesting thought. Part of the problem is that there was a 5 year gap between ‘Thriller’ and the follow up, ‘Bad’, and in that 5 years the popular bands went from being The Police, John Cougar, and the singer/songwriter to post-‘Boy Toy’ Madonna, Guns N Roses, and synth-pop. In that 5 years, Wham and The Police had broken up, Duran Duran splintered, Prince stopped talking to the press and started becoming an alien, Van Halen became Van Hagar, Big Country started to ‘rock’, and the world was on the verge of the pop-metal and suburban rap revolutions.

Music, as a whole, changed from 1982 to 1987, and it was a big drop in both quality and consumer defenses. In 1983 no one would have ever bought the faux funk, over produced ‘Notorious’ record with only 3 Durans on it, but in 1987 it was golden (like a shower). And yes, we knew it was an awful (w)rec(k)ord.

MTV’s part in the whole thing was that now kids didn’t have to use their brains (or mind expanding drugs) to visualize the music, the almighty television did that for them. With one less creativity outlet to tap into, there no longer was that filter to say this song is great and this song sucks that you got by listening to the radio. In 1982, you would turn on MTV and see REO Speedwagon, 70s Bob Dylan footage, Iron Maiden, and some really ugly mofos in videos; by 1987 that had been weeded out and all that was left were the pretty ones, Kylie Minogue, Rick Astley, Ready For The World. That beautification process sacrificed talent in lieu of poster sales and the music became a bland pabulum of formulaic putty.

And all us kids bought into it.

As for MJ, he was the unfortunate vanguard for the whole thing, and while he was shaping the sounds and images that we would follow, he was also crucified when ‘Bad’ wasn’t ‘Thriller II’. He’d been through a lot by that point—42 minutes of his music had sold over 100,000,000 units, he’d gone from star without a normal childhood into the biggest star since Elvis, exhausting tour and promotional schedules, video shoots, injuries, relationships, yes-men, plus the everyday things of being just a ‘person’, and everything all under the mega-scrutiny of not only the media but those who worshiped him. He would scratch his ass at lunch and it would be on a t-shirt by 3:00p. It’s incomprehensible this constant roar from people that accompanied him everywhere—like a mosquito in your ear, times millions. I would imagine that would be a huge distraction and would make his product suffer, especially compared to the relative silence and peace he had while making ‘Thriller’.

In the end, we all ruined Michael Jackson. Any of us who waited for his video premieres, bought the glove, tried to Moonwalk, etc. It makes me wonder if his life would have been different if he’d never done the solo set on the Motown 25 show. I’ve always remembered that show, not only for his unveiling the Moonwalk (which was the moment where EVERYTHING that followed was launched), but that Adam Ant sang ‘Where Did Our Love Go’ and then got totally forgotten after MJ. Just think, it all could have been Adam’s world.

Yeah, I guess I did have something to say about this.


The moment we should have been talking about the next day at school...

...and the one we ended up talking about.

Rest in peace, Michael.

23 June 2009

The Last Time I Post About Don Henley

Okay, so I was watching too much VH1 Classic the other day and I was violated by two Don Henley videos. The first was "Boys of Summer" and the second was "The Heart of the Matter". So I'm thinking to myself, holy shit, they better fucking play "All She Wants to do is Dance" and they didn't! Luckily that bad ass clip is on Youtube (below) but for some reason the other two are not.

The thing about "The Boys of Summer" is that the video for that shit used to depress me when I was a kid. The black and white video was in heavy rotation when I was 8 years old and there is something about the melancholy lyrics and that inescapable morose bullshit video that still haunts me. And fuck "The Heart of the Matter"! The video which I can't find online is so awful. The Dust Bowl imagery is totally incongruous with what the lyrics are about. And I hate Don Henley's hair in that one; it makes me want to punch babies.

Oddly enough, "All She Wants to do is Dance" has a legitimately grim tone yet my young brain didn't absorb that part. All I wanted to do was dance too so whenever this video aired, I would get up and do it. I love the post apocalyptic imagery of "All She Wants" where Don Henley and his band are performing in some destroyed nightclub in El Salvador or something. This may be the reason why post apocalyptic imagery still makes me uncomfortable to this day. I'm scare of what Don Henley is trying to tell me.

Ha ha! Look at this one. Holy crap!

05 June 2009

I Need Sleep & Midori

Two videos I watch constantly...

Here is I Need Sleep - "Super Strong"

Here is Midori - "Doping Noise Kiss

13 May 2009


Apologies to LeEtta and Richard for temporarily abandoning my duties here, but I am back and 'tis time for a little shameless self promotion for Richard and myself (and Fluno) via a small history of LoDRSC in (mostly) chronological order.



2001: 'Not Infrequent Concordence'

2001: 'Frankly, I Love Japan'


2004: 'Run! Jump! Change The Future.'
(from the first live show)

2004: 'Eric Clapton Covers ("Layla"/"Cocaine")'

2007: 'Insomnia'


2005: 'Let's Return On The Mono Level'

2005: 'Rap Song (Lina Would Call This "Yo Momma")'

2007: 'Swing Free My Pet Lynx'


2008: 'Moi Non Plus'

2009: 'Honeymoon'

12 May 2009

30 April 2009

A Tribe Called Quest

Ever since I first heard I Left My Wallet in El Segundo, I have been a huge fan of A Tribe Called Quest. I think it is time for you to witness their superness for the first time or just take some time to reminisce over one of the best hip hop acts of all time.

29 April 2009


In my user news-e-letter from Japan Files was the news that LM.C(band website) had just recently made a deal to sell their entire discography digitally on the site. Japan Files is a pretty awesome DRM free mp3 store--which is why I'm already a customer. When I read this most recent bit of news, I had no idea who the band was, but had some free moments and headphones so I went to listen. While I can't say yet that I love all their stuff, I found some amazingness! "Bell the Cat" and "Sentimental Piggy Romance" have the kind of low frequency undulation and sound effect layering that just tickles the hell out of me. I couldn't have been more pleased to see the shadowy circus video for "Bell the Cat:"

And animated videos win my, almost, instant affection--this is so adorable! "Sentimental Piggy Romance:"

Cheers! --LeE.

27 March 2009


Hey, I like Toe from Japan.

17 February 2009

Ludo - "Lake Pontchartrain"

'Round Halloween I went to Busch Garden's Howl-O-Scream and caught the musical show at the Desert Inn (what used to be the FestHaus--where is the German love gone anymore?) and, oddly enough, was impressed enough by one of the songs (all covers) that I sought it out the next day. The song was Ludo's "Love me Dead," and its great, but after finding it and finding Ludo, I found "Lake Pontchartrain."

A couple things I like about Ludo in general: interesting and horror movie material subject matter, and an amazingly strong and striking lead voice. Stuff I love about "Lake Pontchartrain:" its a story, it has crayfish, it has epic sounding multivoiced chorus sequences, its a story, and I swear its an unreliable narrator (one of my favorite literary devices). I'm an almost total sucker for story songs, and since I've said that I cannot currently think of a single other example. It will probably come to me somewhere around midnight or when I am otherwise far from the computer or a piece of paper. Here is Ludo live:

Cheers. --LeE

13 February 2009

Ed Matus' Stuggle: Retiring a T-Shirt

Over a decade ago, I bought a t-shirt from Juan Montoya, guitarist of Ft. Lauderdale's Ed Matus' Struggle at a show (can't remember the venue) and I was taken aback by how grateful and friendly Mr. Montoya was for my contribution to the band's gas money for a tour they were planning. So yeah, I wore the shirt with pride for over ten friggin' years! I would sometimes wash it and wear other band's shirts but this was a staple of my wardrobe for a long ass time. I just recently retired the now paper thin and hole-ridden thing but not without a twinge of nostalgia.

In 1997, Ed Matus' Struggle were playing music I had never heard before. I was coming off of a 4 year ska bender and I needed something different. Their fabulous sonic immersion knocked my dang socks off and it was a joy to have seen them live on 4 or 5 different occasions. They were a mountain of sound but were always breathtakingly beautiful to me and my friends.

The band has 2 myspace pages so you can hear some tracks:

Ed Matus' Struggle 1

Ed Matus' Struggle 2

Give 'em the fist, give 'em the wrist, give 'em the finger

In 9th grade English class they taught me never to assume your readers know what you take for granted in any paper. I'm going to throw all that out the window and assume you already know about Danny Kaye's awesomeness. I have many movies, and as I was watching one the other night and thoroughly enjoying a musical number that always gets stuck in my head, it dawned on me that I could share it with you beautiful people.

I didn't have any luck finding the number by itself on YouTube, but I did find that the entire movie is up there and the song is contained in parts 7 and 8. Here's the first bit--the song itself starts around 2:40 but it gets to the meat of it at 4:45. What is the meat of it, you ask? This number seemed specifically designed to allow Danny Kaye to showcase his accents, personas, and funny faces. He sings with three alternate personalities.

The second part winds up his arguing with himself. It's really sweet how he comforts the other him.

In case you didn't catch them, or didn't realize how shiny the pearls of wisdom really are, this song has two lines which I find applicable to many situations, especially at work: "talk and you show your ignorance, laugh and you show your teeth," and "if you casually cover up your mouth with your hand, you will never put your foot in it." It is the best kind of self help song.

I've also assumed here that you know about my affair with musicals. If you don't, you can check me out talking them up on the Bean:

12 February 2009

Tera Melos

My friend Richie introduced me to Tera Melos, a marvelous band from California that completely wrecks me. I'd call them "hard chargers" if I knew what that meant. On the band's blog there are live sets you can download.

11 February 2009

Nels Cline

Today, I am all about guitarist of the century: Nels Cline. This prolific and super-talented player is currently part of Wilco. He provides the mountain of sound, wicked riffing, and sonic tomfoolery that makes my blood evaporate. The video below with Nels and his brother Alex Cline on drums is fucking excellent! And I just noticed that Mr. Cline has been kind enough to provide lots of free music downloads on his site so you should go and check them out.

More videos

Interstellar Space Revisited

10 February 2009

just thinkin' about Battles

Here's the full song:

I just wanted to post this video of Battles.

13 January 2009

Victor Borge

I'm totally cheating and reposting this from the Bean, but I realized that it probably should have been here in the first place. Victor Borge was first a pianist after all.

There's something about the holidays that brings out the wonderful non-holiday programming channels like PBS keep in their vaults all year round in order to show stuff less attuned to my needs. No offense to PBS, but I have some serious issues with the Saturday night programming they show opposed to what they have (or did have). I was very happy to run into a special on Victor Borge right before Christmas, and it reminded me why I must have more recordings of this amazing man.

Victor Borge was a phenomenal pianist, and comedian with a long career that spanned stage, radio, and television of all color capabilities. I first knew about him through my mother. We would snuggle in and watch her VHS of a Victor Borge show and laugh insanely when I was young. In my most recent viewing of Victor Borge's comedy, I noticed something I hadn't ever before. His is nerd humor, and sadly may not be widely understood anymore--just look at some of the comments on the YouTube videos and you'll see. Granted humor changes with the time, but his was a time when jokes about the Mozart/Salieri relationship and the history of musical instruments could be understood by a wide audience.

Ah well, if you like getting your nerd on, and yet have never heard of Victor Borge, I suggest you follow the video below to pretty good collection of videos on YouTube. Hooray for PBS!


Victor Borge

06 January 2009

I am writing about Mike Watt (part 1).

Hopefully, everyone has met Mike Watt. The guy, aside from being the greatest punk rock bass player of all time, is also a champ and will talk yer dang ear off if the subject is right. I’ll give you a starting point, just say “John Coltrane” and things should take off from there. Several of my friends have some kind of Mike Watt encounter. He is easily the most approachable duders in the punk rock world. I was lucky enough to not only meet him but interview the guy as well.

Being the backwards kind of a guy I am, my first exposure to Mike Watt was not Minutemen, the band he’s most famous for. Instead I started with the less popular, though equally awesome, fIREHOSE. Sometime in the 90s, at Jupiter, Florida’s Music-X-Change (R.I.P.), I noticed an odd looking tape for sale. It was fIREHOSE’s Totem Pole live EP. I forget how much it was, the used price couldn’t have been more than $3. The 7 tracks were equal parts confusing and incredible to me. I had never heard anything quite like them before.

fIREHOSE is an adrenaline rush that hits me unlike almost any other band. And, I’m sure many folks will disagree with me, but for my money, it is Mike Watt’s finest work in a trio. The Minutemen get all the lip service and are indeed a must-listen for anyone into punk rock. But what I keep returning to (especially on road trips) is fIREHOSE. What drew me to them was Mike Watt’s phenomenal bass playing and gruff voice. Much to my dismay, there was this other guy who did most of the singing on their albums. It took me a while to warm to singer/guitarist Ed Crawford’s voice but once I did, I felt like a jackass for not getting it right off the bat.

When I next caught up with Watt’s music, he had gone solo (sort of). I'd heard of Ball-Hog or Tugboat?, his all-star jam album featuring everybody from Thurston Moore to Flea to Frank Black. While telling my friend about this album and how I had to find it, this smug little frown-queen was telling me that she had the album and would happily sell it to me. She had bought it because Henry Rollins had contributed but was disappointed that his involvement was only on a track or two. For $7 the CD was mine (which I would later get autographed by Watt at a gig) and overall, it is a fine piece of male rockness.

I bought Mike Watt’s next album, Contemplating The Engine Room, the day it came out in 1997 and I was totally unprepared. To the confusion of my Jawbreaker-oriented friend, Rocky (whose CD player was the closest at hand that day), I nearly burst into tears of joy as this punk rock opera unfolded track by track. This really is a vastly important record. Get it and love it and thank me later. I’d heard of guitarist Nels Cline before but he tears shit up on this record as does Stephen Hodges’ wicked drumming.

With a couple of friends, we drove off to Gainesville, Florida to see Mike Watt with opening band Atlanta’s own Five Eight on November 6th, 1997. It was a fantastic show as the Watt trio (with Joe Baiza on guitars and Stephen Hodges on drums) played Contemplating The Engine Room in its entirety and then came back for an encore. Just before the doors opened, we were walking to a convenience store that we had spotted down the street when we saw Watt coming towards us. We introduced ourselves and he was just really nice. Like a moron, I asked him if he was going to play “Max and Wells” (my favorite song on Ball-Hog Or Tugboat). Requesting a song, what a lame-o! Trust me, I have never ever done that again.

The following year, my friend Kevin and I had a zine called Volunteer Library League and thanks to his shaky connections to the music world, we were able to get Watt’s publicist’s phone number. I called up greatly exaggerating our “subscription” which amounted to some shady photocopying totaling around 250 issues and next thing you know, I’m interviewing Mike Watt over the phone. It was great but I was so nervous, I must sounded like a friggin’ teeny bopper on helium. We talked about John Coltrane, our evil government, the Engine Room record, and a bunch of other stuff. I’ll be posting the PDF of the interview up here sometime soon.

A month after the interview, Watt was playing the opera one last time with Nels Cline on guitar and Bob Lee on drums in West Palm Beach (about 20 minutes from my parents’ house). So me and my girlfriend at the time stood right up front on October 4th, 1998 to catch Watt in this little blues club. Nels Cline really stole the show doing wonderful things with his guitar that totally wrecked my world. We talked with Watt after the gig about John Coltrane and took some pictures with him.

End of part 1.

Some Videos…

fIREHOSE - “Down With The Bass”

fIREHOSE - “Witness”