BILLY BAO - Rock'N' Roll Granulator (Mattin)
An appropriate name I suppose for a guy who resides in Bilbao, Spain, and between this new EP and the "Bilbo's Incinerator" 7" two years back I am certain to gobble up any crust this Stooges-worshipping Nigerian ex-pat throws down. Mattin offers up an Mp3 of the 7" on their home page , and as a connoisseur of damaged, destructo-garbage psychedelic punk this slab ranks up there with any hate-fueled insanity committed to wax by the Brainbombs, Sightings, Liquorball, or Jim Steinman. You get piles and piles of brutal, mindless guitar ripping layer after layer into the proceedings, just getting worse as it goes along, but on the new EP, the heavy-handedness instead gets replaced with total confusion and deliberate mind-fuckery with your brain and speakers (note "Evaporogoration", (real audio) which caused several listeners and the Station Manager to call the studio when I played it, asking what was going on with the air signal). As punk rock as it all sounds, the modus operandi of Mattin seems very much to be computer music, and to some extent (my pal T. Hunger has accurately called it "rock concrete") Billy Bao falls under that category. I dunno, then you get "El Grado Zero del Pulso" which is a drum equivalent to Chinese Water Torture, you never know when the minimalism and silent passages are going to erupt into a pure shitstorm, and sometimes it does, sometimes it does not.
JAY DILLA (JAY DEE) - Donuts (Stones Throw)
It's extremely sad to note that this record has appeared the same week as its creator's demise; Jay Dilla AKA Jay Dee passed away February 10th at the age of 32, suffering from a blood disase for several years recently compounded by lupus. The mastermind behind Detroit's Slum Village and tons of much-respected production work for the likes of Busta Rhymes, Madlib, MF Doom, Ghostface Killah and many more, Jay Dee had a real gift of aligning freeform schizophrenic sounds, expanding the parameters of what went into hip-hop production outside the lines most worked within, while still including his deep love for classic soul, techno, disco, and beats. Amazing beats. Donuts was therapy for Jay Dee during his illness; with total disregard for copyright he's scattered 31 amazing sketches of both rhythmic and arhythmic loops, bursts of turntable scribble amidst melodies that disappear as quick as they arrive. It's messy, twisted, and ultimately weird, and it's a total labor of love of someone pouring everything they know into a cement mixer for the sake of experimentation. Three snippets here (real audio).
VARIOUS - Eccentric Soul: The Deep City Label (Numero Group)
We're all huge fans of what Numero has been doing for the last couple years: so many private, independent soul labels scattered throughout US locales in the 1950's-1980's have amazing stories to tell, and Numero tells them extensively and succinctly with deluxe-packaged compilations. So far the Eccentric Soul series has covered Chicago's Bandit and Columbus, Ohio's Capsoul label, and this latest retrospective of Miami's Deep City imprint is my favorite yet. Founded by moonlighting teachers Willie Clarke and Johnny Pearsall (and implementing the "Incomparable Marching 100" band as regular session musicians), Deep City served as a launching pad for many notable sessions musicians and some well-respected songwriters Clarence Reid (who later went on to Miami's TK label as a soul/disc staple and eventually became the mighty Blowfly!) Through the 1960's the label skirted success with the likes of Paul Kelly and Helene Smith (who wound up marrying Pearsall and later causing friction when Betty Wright entered the picture as the label's leading soul queen); the sound was driving, Southern-soul inspired, and at times allowed early funk and even some Caribbean influences infiltrate. The hair stands on end though on the tracks from the Moovers (who were primarily backing singers for the most part), "Darling I'll Go" (real audio) is one of the most charged, powerful soul songs I've ever heard, and the Pearsall-penned "Someone to Fulfill My Needs" is in my top ten as well. I would love to see Numero put out a separate disc of their material alone.