Tall Dwarfs "Crush" (live on WFMU 1992) (MP3)
One of the more exciting bits of live music news in New York for the summer is the return of the mighty Tall Dwarfs from New Zealand, slated to open for Olivia Tremor Control at the Bowery Ballroom August 2nd and 3rd. Chris Knox and Alec Bathgate helped herald in their country's punk scene in groups like Toy Love and the Enemy, but with the 80's advent of the Flying Nun label and it's near-flawless roster (which informed a large chunk of the American and international underground; your Pavements, GBV's Yo La Tengos and Sonic Youths have bowed quite dramatically towards the Southern Hemisphere) the duo coalesced an amazing vision into a simple TEAC 4-track recorder and created a musical output unlike any other. Somewhere between T Rex, Pierre Schaeffer, Brian Wilson, Beefheart, and the kitchen sink came inventive, experimental pop with often dark undercurrents; they made their own videos, sleeves and commanded a musical universe unlike anyone else. Live, they remained a duo, utilizing live tape loops, drum machines, omnichord and guitar, buoyed by Knox's often-hilarious stage presence (his solo shows through the years have caused many an audience member to hide in the back for fear of molestation, though he kept his hands off everyone performing at a 1997 WFMU benefit). In honor of their return to New York (for the first time together since 1992), the above MP3 is "Crush" performed in the WFMU studios on David Newgarden's show, and found on the station's They Came, They Played, They Blocked the Driveway compilation from 1993. As a bonus, Here's a little taste of the studio wizardry of the Dwarfs in its lo-fi glory, "Dare To Tread" (Real Audio) from their 1992 Fork Songs LP.
Los Shains' "El Monstruo" (MP3)
If, for some reason that certainly may be too personal to discuss, you've longed for a Spanish take on the ultra-primitive Nova's hit "The Crusher", well here's it's your lucky day. If you've never heard "The Crusher", it's simply one of the greatest songs ever featured in the whole Back From The Grave series of ultra-obscuro garage trash from the 60's, and also covered by the Cramps quite faithfully. I am not sure how faithful this version is, or if it even replicates the same lyrics; what's Spanish for "do the crusher you turkeynecks" anyway?
Christ Child "Star Whores" (MP3)
My friend Mark brought a bunch of records over recently and I wound up taping a bunch of stuff, but I screwed up the pause button on the deck so right on the middle of Arthur Brown, this mysterious, unknown-to-me-as-I-didn't-write-it-down heavy jam pops up in the middle of nowhere. Anyway, I wound up playing Arthur Brown on the air recently off said cassette, and when unexpectedly dropped in, listener Sue P. emailed me flipping out because I was playing her latest obsession, Christ Child. Who the hell are they? Neither of us didn't really knew, except this was a major label release on Arista in 1977, they were from Malibu (!), and may have been that label's hope to follow, I dunno, Patti Smith who was then being marketed as both "punk" and "new wave" (in 1977 USA, it was kind of a blur as to what was what). I dunno, though, this thing kills as it whoodles in with weirdass minimal synth that goes into a total thuggy bug-out riff that burrows itself right into your head.
Elton and Betty White (assorted MP3's)
Don't really know the story behind "Elton and Betty White" (an unmarked CDR came from a listener), and whether or not these are actually recordings of the famous Betty White. It sure sounds like her, and knowing the potty-mouthed possibilities she demonstrated in Lake Placid, who the heck knows. Here's a smattering of MP3s alternating between her vocals and Elton's: "Climaxation", "God's Basketballs", "I'm In Love With Your Behind", "Menopause", "Woman Your Smell, It Makes Me Well", and "Bitch".
The Long Blondes "Autonomy Boy" (MP3)
With all the 80's throwback going on in the world of indie pop/rock, here's a refreshing nod-of-sorts to the great Dolly Mixture and Kleenex/Lilliput from a current UK band called the Long Blondes who could teach a thing-or-two to the fashion circle popsters dipping into their own 80s well no deeper than say, Frankie Goes To Hollywood. This is out on the excellent up-and-coming NYC label What's Your Rupture, which has been batting a solid 1000 with recent singles by Love Is All and the Cause Co-Motion, whom you will surely hear more about in the future. For now, here's "Autonomy Boy" (MP3), a great song from a new 12" EP that hits the spot just right. Thanks to What'sYour Rupture for letting us post this.
Kelly Harrell's "I Wish I Was a Single Girl Again" (MP3)
One of the lovelier residents of WFMU's Cassette Library (we still keep 'em and play 'em from time to time) are tape collections called Victrola Favorites, put out by Seattle experimentalists and sometime WFMU guests the Climax Golden Twins. This amazing series of tapes floated around like a midway point between Yazoo's Secret Museum series and the Sun City Girls' recent Sublime Frequencies series; wedding old time jazz, pop, novelty tunes from the early 20th century with super 78s from exotic locales around the world (some of my favorite moments are taken from various comedy/theater 78s from the Far East). The Twins have posted a few MP3 here, one of my favorite being Kelly Harrell's "I Wish I Was a Single Girl Again" (MP3), a hillbilly gem from 1928. Kelly being a he is probably the key point in question here, and hence possibly also explains the 1927 song "My Wife Done and Left Me Again"?
Gurdjieff "No. 1, Mesoteric Series, July 22, 1949" (MP3)
Boy, there sure have been some real completist-friendly box sets over the last few years: Merzbow's 50CD's, Albert Ayler's 10CD's on unreleased material, giant Yahowa and Tomokawa boxes, etc. Basta's newly issued collection of Russian mystic G.I. Gurdjieff's complete improvisations is definitely catered to the enthusaist of long, extended drone pieces, and is beautifully packaged with 2CDs and a huge, intricately laid-out book with a disk of home movies. Add the MP3 disc that's also included, and you have nineteen, yes nineteen solid hours of material herein. It's all home-taped recordings of harmonium, a haunting instrument somewhat akin to a portable pump-organ, capable of creating long, sustained drones, and this featured outtake from 1949 (all the tracks here are recorded between 1948 and 1949) is just a sample of what one can become fully immersed in with this set.
Spaz "Spaz" (MP3)
Donna Summer/Jason Forrest solicited unsigned breakcore freaks to send him stuff for his last WFMU Marathom premium, and one MP3 from someone merely named "Spaz" made jaws drop. No info whatsoever, this is possibly the most retarded thing ever conceived by a laptop musician. We want more.
Lust Control "The Big M" (MP3)
Christian punks definitely one-upping the str8-edge band Crucial Youth's album (where they are depicted on the cover running over Gene Simmons and kids with beer with a streamroller). I don't think I need to see the cover of this record, based on the subject matter.
Juri Camisasca "Un Galantuomo" (MP3)
Creepy, eccentric folk track from an amazing 1974 Italian LP sent to me by listener Jamie in the UK. Supposedly not a big seller, but nonetheless one of the more out-there singer-songwriter efforts from Italy in any decade; reminiscent of the dark folk of Comus or even some early Tyrannosaurus Rex, with the voice definitely used in an avant-garde sense as an instrument within itself. Famed experimentalist Franco Battiato also appears on here, adding some fractured electronics over the stoned vibe.
Below is a digest of MP3s featured in Beware of the Blog over the past month (reposted here by Liz Berg):
- Try running this post through babelfish. When you realize that translating Small Changese to English is not an option on the drop down menu, come back to grab the MP3 of Val Bennet’s “Blow Mr. Hornsman.”
- Download a massive (and massively fantastic) video of Iggy & the Stooges tearing it up in 1970 and forever changing the accepted function of peanut butter in this post. Courtesy of Station Manager Ken.
- Make the Minutemen's fabled 30 minute acoustic set a Windows Media Reality, by downloading the video in this post, courtesy of fellow corndog Doron.
- DJ Monica pays tribute to the late, great Frankie Crocker, the "tall, tan, young, and fly" lord of the NYC airwaves in this post, in which you can also download one of Crocker's all time finest on-air raps.
- Listener Fatty Jubbo waxes nostalgic on the rotting and abandoned amusement parks of the world, with complimentary MP3s and movie files to boot! Introduce yourself to the ghosts of good times past in this post.