Detsorgsekalf - "The Embers of Your Church Burn So Bright" (MP3) / "Keyboard Solo" (MP3) Grimness from the frostbitten land of...Canada. There was some spirited debate on a recent show of mine with Andee Connors and Allan Horrocks (both who work at Aquarius Records, the former here is putting out an album by this band on his tUMULt label) over whether this band should be considered "Joke Black Metal." While the in-your-face growling and subject matter going on here is ridiculous without doubt, there is still some real vision and an amazing, crusty lo-fi sound of guitar gristle and drum blast beats that could rank this band up with the likes of Striborg, Bathory, and Darkthrone at times. Then again, their EP is solely conceptualized about being a Black Metal band hated and threatened by other Black Metal bands. Wasn't the spirit of the genre to be truly outsiders living by their own musical blueprint in the first place? Is it not within reason for this step to be taken? Who can say for sure, I surely ain't the keeper of the Rule Book. But I can easily remain in awe of Detsorgsekalf. and you will too. See their brutal video here.
Pyha "A Tale From the Haunted House" (MP3) Andee also kindly gives us this, an MP3 of a seventh grader living in South Korea, making the most tortured music I've heard in ages. It's certainly playing by the same game plan of such soul destroyers as Abruptum and Burzum (the latter especially in the complete blanket of home-made buzz that envelops this music), but whereas those artists drag you down into a dark place and infiltrate your very being, this kid is not content to just do that. He takes you there then smashes you to pieces by maximizing every single recording channel used to utterly destroy everything in sight. The idea of a mild-mannered person sitting in his bedroom on the computer (which is the likely scenario) to make music that sounds like it is a total upheavel in Hell itself is really an odd juxtaposition of images. I mean, at that age, I was upset if cartoons weren't on as scheduled. There is something far more nefarious than that at play. Or maybe not. Apparently this kid sent a demo to bible-of-metal mag Terrorizer in the UK and got a 10 out of 10.
Charles Bernstein "1 to 100" (MP3) A longtime staple on Kenny G's show, here's the infamous Charles Bernstein taking you to the top as only he can. Recorded in 1969.
Ween "Rejected Pizza Hut Jingle" (MP3) I've never been a big Ween fan, but I have to say that Pizza Hut would have gotten my respect if they had accepted this, the band's proposal to promote the company's then-recent "cheese hidden inside the crust" pizza.
The Stiffs "Work Work Work" (MP3) Later called the Stiffs Incorporated, here was a NYC band of true originals that split up long before (I think anyway) the world at large got a proper whiff. Boldly attired in post-Victorian garb (of which members may still be spotted tramping around the East Village in), singer Whitey Sterling leered at audiences through his antique wireframes on stage while the band clearly meant business with a savage guitar/bass/drum punk attack. Early singles (especially the 7" version of "Chelsea") pinned level meters with grotty and raw recording technique, though after they signed to Rick Rubin's American imprint label Onion a decidely cabaret and slightly electronic element surfaced tying in several different decades pre-and-post war influences in a fascinating way (adding a live keyboardist as well). Despite big-label pressures and demands with their 1995 album Nix Nought Nothing, the band stayed true to their musical (and cosmetic) visions, releasing a second album, Electric Chair Theatre Presents on their own Gladglum label in 1997 that continued their penchant for punk sophistication and a liberal dose of humor (Philly suburbanites take note that one member's name was Bryn Mars) and of course, respect for a finer age in society. "Richard" pretty much laid a blueprint in some ways for the well-dressed 80's revivalists to follow (who clearly owe some serious debt to the Stiffs, though the Stiffs are clearly higher subtsance to match the style). After their final show in 1998 guitarist Paul Boering began work in the duo Coke (who allegedly then changed their name to "White Powder (Of Which We Do Not Partake) Which Brings To Mind the Cold Beauty of the Snow As Well As the Glamour and Sophistication of the 1920's, But Also Happens To Be the Name of a Brown Sugary Beverage") and now are Beaut , while Whitey Sterling recently expanded his goth/electronic/industrial interests with the Umbrella Brigade. Boering also just put up a healthy chunk of Stiffs/Stiffs Inc. rarities, demos, early tracks, and unreleased music on this site. They are well worth checking out, especially if you dig the raw, early singles like I do.
Zalatnay Sarolta "Egyszer" (MP3)
1973 funky breaks from a Hungarian singer (who apparently did a spread for Playboy later on), a much-sought after record for modern day crate-diggers, and on the Pepito record label LP Hadd Mondjam El. This track is great, and actually brings to mind the vibe of some of the scratchier/funkier 80's Yoko material (Sarolta's voice is a bit similar as well, without going into the trademark Ono freakouts as well.)
Doug Kahn "Reagan Speaks" (MP3)
Perhaps the first president to get the cut-up treatment showered so much upon Dubya these days (not that most of what he says needs to be cut up to reflect his ignorance.) Thanks to Kenny G for this one.
Jeffrey Lee Pierce "Love and Desperation" (MP3)
Thanks to Sympathy For the Record Industry for putting the magnifying class over the illustrious career of the Gun Club, yet another criminally underheralded band that has had to find its initial fans in Europe (who celebrated Sonic Youth, Giant Sand, the Feelies, Lorette Velvette etc. with more vigour at first than much of the American underground). Late frontman Jeffrey Lee Pierce peeled off his solo Wildweed record for a French only release in 1985, and despite his rifle-toting pioneer-on-the-prairie cover shot and graphics, reflected an urban, gritty sound (he was especially enamoured of the Velvets at the time) with Pierce playing much more guitar than usual, and also being backed by members of Clock DVA and the Cure. If that all sounds like a very unlikely combination of influences, well, it shows on this odd and unique rock album, with its killer kickoff track here. There's also a cover of Flipper's "Get Away" tacked on as bonus, though I seem to recall Hendrix's "Fire" on the original LP which is missing on this reissue.
Swell Maps "Read About Seymour (live)" (MP3)
A rare glance at the chaotic live show of one of England's greatest art-punk exports. Recorded in Italy in 1980, here the band is found in a somewhat similar boat as their contemporaries like Wire and the Homosexuals: diving headfirst into a balls-out live assault as opposed to the subtle studio tricks and weirdness that went into their assorted recorded efforts. For what seems to be the fourth or fifth time, the Swell Maps' albums has seen yet another full reissue job, this time from the Secretly Canadian label, doing up A Trip To Marineville and Jane From Occupied Europe.
Enablers "For Jack: A Philippic (live on WFMU)" (MP3)
Back in September, this amazing San Francisco combo made a swing through WFMU's halls to record a live session for Mike Lupica's show. This track is definitely telling of the band's best moments; when they halt you dead in your tracks and command you to sober up and listen. Pete Simonelli's spoken soliloquies take on a stark realism and paint an unusually noir-like image of the left coast that nobody knows, especially when backed by the incredibly textured music of his bandmates, who've got connections to notable heavies like Nice Strong Arm, Tarnation, Swans, and more. "For Jack: A Philippic" will stand the hair on the back of your neck at attention, and whet your appetite for the rest of the archive, which can be heard in Real Audio by going here. Check out the Enablers home at Neurot Records here, and watch for their next album soon, tentatively titled "Output Negative Space". (Enablers photo by Alison Schnackenberg)
Below is a digest of MP3s featured in Beware of the Blog over the past month (hunted and gathered by Liz Berg):
- William Berger presents another chunky helping of MP3s from the Nurse With Wound list, available for download on this post, including chart-toppers from Horrific Child, David Cunningham, Companyia Eléctrica Dharma, and others.
- Behold the true guiding force behind the Beach Boys: their alcoholic father. Bear witness to Murray Wilson's drunken ramblings during the Help Me Rhonda sessions by grabbing the MP3 on this post, and be sure to thank WFMU's own stage father, Ken, for his sacrifice.
- Even more goodies from Ken: a large collection of carnival sideshow barker MP3s available here.
- Halloween might be over, but scary songs never go out of season in this neck of the woods. Debbie resurrects some spooky singles to boil in your cauldron.