Clockwise, from top left:
1. Die Kreuzen performs the song "Stomp" from their 1988 album "Century Days". As a high school kid of the same era, I was definitely drawn to this band for their complex sound and their cool sounding name (not pronounced, as I quickly learned, "Die Cruisin'", but "Dee Kroytzin" which I believe means "The Cross", or "The Crossing", or something like that). Along with bands like Husker Du and Articles of Faith, Die Kreuzen played a big hand in kickstarting the early 80s midwest hardcore explosion. Their first album, still available on CD from the great Touch n' Go label, is definitely one of the most psychotic period pieces for fans of the fast n' loud theory. Subsequent releases flirted with slower and more metallic styles, but this track still blows minds even with the curious inclusion of a horn section. I only ever got to see them live sometime in '92, but ask Pseu Braun or Diane Kamikaze to dish on earlier eras, and I can promise you they'll have hair-shaking stories of only the highest order. Die Kreuzen singer Dan Kubinski now fronts the wholly menacing Decapitado, who make no less of a statement.
2. The Flirtations' "Nothing but a Heartache" is a Northern Soul staple that a lot of DJs at WFMU have a not-so-secret obsession with, as you can see here. I first tripped over it years ago on the great Rhino Records' "Soul Shots" compilation series, and even though I've never once heard any of their other songs, it could only be some kind of a joker or serious lightweight who'd argue the greatness of "Nothing but a Heartache". In recent years, I've heard at least two modern garage bands cover this song and completely suck the life out it to the point of non-recognition... Which says far more about the Esteban Pequeño followers than anything else. (Cough). Anyway, the (rather strange) video for the Flirtations original just crossed my desk recently, and that seemed like a good cue to share it with y'all.
3. Dälek is nothing less than the sound and sensation of where
forward-thinking hip-hop ought to be heading, rather than tragically
(more like "comically") mimicking the mainstream. I've stated many
times over the last ten years that few other modern artists
summate everything I love about music more than these guys do. (The Ex are up there, too.) As such,
they've played on my show three different times, and have never ceased to
blow me away with each and every visit. Caught here by YouTube user SkilU, they perform "Subversive Script", the best song off their
most recent album ("Abandoned Language") on Ipecac Records. Sadly, American audiences don't go off the way these (European) kids do... If Dalek shows in NYC turned 'em out like this, maybe I'd go out more. Ptthhh.
4. Steven Jesse Bernstein was an American poet and artist who buddied
around with William S. Burroughs and released an incredible album of poetry on Sub Pop Records in 1992 with an assist from scenester/recording guru
Steve Fisk. Bernstein spent much of his life living in Seattle (perhaps
where he developed his iconic drawl), became a
cultural fixture within the area's underground music scene, and then
tragically took his own life shortly before his 41st birthday. I happen
to regard the track "More Noise Please" (from the Sub Pop album,
"Prison") as one of the most beautiful and moving pieces of audio art ever made,
and I've played it on the radio often. [Stream Real Audio]. This video
is a montage of stills set to the song "No No Man II", which is slightly more in your face.