Congratulations on purchasing The Field Guide to Staying Inside, a vast compendium of cultural counter-currents, an audio apothecary of sorts designed to assist and amuse the enlightened agoraphobic. In the following weeks and decades, we will provide entries of fine-art frivolity tailored to make it seem exactly as if you know what's going on in the entire world.
To start things off, those much maligned bastard siblings, the banjo and the accordion. After the jump, Julz A, Eugene Chadbourne, Angle Corpus Christi, Satoko Fujii, Paul Metzger, Andrea Parkins and the definition of perfect pitch.
Eugene Chadbourne is to the
banjo what Rufus Harley was to the bagpipes (we'll get to him in a
future post). After bringing country music into Downtown NYC improv, he
learned himself up some banjo (he's even recorded Albert Ayler songs on
it!). Here's his version of the bluegrass standard "Flint Hill
Special" with Thomas Lehn on analog synthesizer, taken from the record Della 5-Banger on his CDR label House of Chadula.
Eugene Chadbourne - Flint Hill Special (MP3)
Accordioinist Andrea Parkins recorded two of Chadbourne's Insect & Western pieces as a part of Ellery Eskelin's excellent trio (you can watch them playing them here. She seems to like the trio. She also plays in a group with Nels Cline and Tom Rainey, and back in the glory days of the Knitting Factory led a band with Briggan Krauss and Tom Rainey. Here's "Schist" from their 1996 record Cast Iron Fact.
Andrea Parkins - Schist (MP3)
St. Paul, MN, resident Paul Metzger's banjo is outfitted with 21 strings and a sitar. He played in Brooklyn recently on a bill with WFMU's resident banjo whiz Uncle Woody Sullender. Here he is back in 2005, playing on Bethany's show.
Paul Metzger on The Stochastic Hit Parade (realaudio stream)
Satoko Fujii is best known as a jazz pianist and arranger extraordinaire, but when she's playing in her husband Natsuki Tamura's bands, she gets put on accordion and synthesizer, instruments she owns up to not knowing how to play, but knowledge is just one way of playing an instrument.
Tamura's group Gato Libre put out their second record (Nomad, No Man's Land) a few months ago. They're a sorta flamenco-tinged acoustic quartet who are just lovely to listen to.
Gato Libre - In December, In Gent (MP3)
Fujii also put out a great record this year (Fujin Raijin, on Les Disques Victo) with Tamura, Curtis Hasselbring and ... Andrea Parkins. Small Akkordeon-Welt.
Brandon Seabrook is one of my favorite musicians to see around town lately. I like the way he holds his arm. I saw him a few weeks ago in a great, noisy trio with Wayne Horvitz and Briggan Krauss (kleine Saxofon-Welt). He's also playing tonight (Nov. 20) at a place called "Banjo Jim's" in the East Village (kleine Banjo-Welt) (OK, I'll stop) in the East Village. Sort of a prog metal hoedown.
Penultimately, two classic cover versions on the vertical ivories. Angel Corpus Christi did a great record of Lou Reed covers called Louie, Louie last year. And Julz A squeezes out some Led Zep for you, man.
Angel Corpus Christi - Caroline Says II (MP3)
Julz A - Out on the Tiles (MP3)
And lastly, Billy Jam and Scott Williams hate the police.
Billy Jam and Scott - Hate the Police (MP3)
Oh, and, the definition of perfect pitch? Throwing an accordion in the dumpster and hitting a banjo. The old ones are the good ones.