(photo from Oscar Garcia's Flickr) Live on the ATP stage at Primavera Sound, Barcelona, Spain May 29th, 2009, 10:30-11:15PM, during WFMU's three day broadcast of performances. Recorded by Brian Turner on Sony D-50 PCM wav recorder; Sunn o))) that night was the duo of Greg Anderson and Stephen O'Malley, performing their Grimmrobe Demos (originally from 1999) in entirety. 21 sets from WFMU's stand at the fest are archived for streaming here (including Wooden Shjips, Vivian Girls, th' Faith Healers, Spectrum, St. Etienne and more), while some of those have been approved for MP3 download here (including the Vaselines, Bats, Dan Deacon and more).
I have to admit to a certain weakness for circus music and musicians performing in costumes, like good old Mr. Bungle or Les Georges Leningrad. Now the Brits have their contenders, too, here is Chrome Hoof performing Circus 9000.
I was adamant from the outset that Sam on the balcony, and later Dave up at The Green Centre, had to include artwork and specifically artwork made from urban junk.
The shape wasn’t immediately apparent. I just knew that it needed to be like that.
I already use found objects in my mixed media collages and include rusted and flattened bottle tops, ring pulls and assorted ephemera. Now it was time to make the art bigger, rustier and a heck of a lot more found.
No, no, no...I love you, "stranger". Please accept this pittance of my openness of heart and extension of friendship. I already have this feeling that I know you. Really know you. Whoever the hell you are.
Talking 'bout Girls, Girls, Girls We got 'em. Detroit, Michigan Talking 'bout Fine, Fine Girls We got 'em. Detroit, Michigan Wearing tight skirts above their knees The kind of girls that know how to please The kind of girls that look so good The kind that ought to be in Hollywood Talking bout Soul, Soul, Soul We got it. Detroit, Michigan Talking about a Soul, Soul groove We got it. Detroit, Michigan When you hear our smash hit song The music starts you dancing and you can't sit down We got a kind of bluesy groove The kind that makes you want to move
You've heard about Marvin Gay We got him. Detroit, Michigan You've heard about Hitsville USA We got it. Detroit, Michigan We got those Fine, Fine, Super Supremes The kind of girls you see in your dreams When you hear our thunderous sound You know it came from Detroit town Talking 'bout Mary Wells, we sent her. Detroit, Michigan Talking 'bout Henry Ford, the inventor. Detroit, Michigan Talking 'bout Soupy Sales, the joker. Detroit, Michigan Talking 'bout Miracles--With Smokey!
Christchurch, New Zealand's Bats were a perfect hour's accompaniment to a sunny afternoon Primavera Sound fest in Barcelona (where WFMU broadcast for three days from May 28-30). Since 1983, the steady lineup of Kaye Woodward, Paul Kean, Malcolm Grant and Robert Scott (who was also a founding member of the Clean) have specialized in a distinct brand of delicate and surging electric folk-pop which sometimes got them tagged as the Kiwi answer to early 80's R.E.M. However, the Bats drew from a much more varied well (influenced by everything from the Troggs to Stereolab and onward), and kept their recording and touring lives relatively simple yet steady (with breaks for having kids, solo projects, and the occassional Clean reunion). They've been long regarded a seminal core band of the Flying Nun label universe, with critics and fans alike continually heralding them throughout their long history. We've been longtime fans and friends here at the station, the band even put out a Live at WFMU 7" single on Merge back in 1994. Their latest, the Guilty Ones, is out now on Hidden Agenda, and we're happy they've agreed to let us archive their great Primavera set for download. 20 of the Primavera sets WFMU carried are archived for streaming here, by the way, and a few of those bands have OK'd downloads, which you can check out on the Free Music Archive site.
The Bats - live on WFMU at Primavera Sound, Barcelona, May 28, 2009
We hope that your summer is full of margaritas, BBQs, flip-flops, tube tops, sand in unlikely places, and of course, freeform radio! WFMU's Summer 2009 Program Schedule takes effect Monday morning, June 22nd at 6am, and will be in effect until October 12th. You can see the Summer 2009 schedule in handy-dandy table format here, or as an unwieldy big-ass list right here.
If your favorite show is not on the schedule, don't fret: DJs and shows
often rotate in and out in order to keep things fresh and give new people a chance.
If you're anything like me -- and, dear God, you'd better be -- your work schedule is far from the Monday-through-Friday nine-to-five norm we've mocked and derided since...well, forever. My "work week" goes from Friday until Tuesday, and my hours vary from day-to-day. This leaves me with a "weekend" in the middle of the week. It sucks in that all my friends have conventional jobs and I can't get drunk at sporting events or barbecue on the weekends. This schedule does have its benefits. I can do weekend things in the middle of the week, and be virtually undisturbed by crowds and/or traffic. Yup, it's usually just me and the old, retired folks when I gain the courage and energy to leave the comfort of my non-air-conditioned apartment during these hot summer months.
I want to share with you some cool places and ideas for how to spend a day off in Southern California. I'm sorry if this alienates a whole lot of you, but maybe those of you who do not live in the area can use this as a mini travel guide the next time you visit this lovely state. Whether your destination is San Diego, Los Angeles, or anywhere south of the Tehachapi Mountains...here's a handy top ten list -- with pictures, even! -- to help you fill your free time.
In keeping with the widely agreed upon "list" format, this one is ranked from least interesting option to most interesting option. I choose to work in the "list" format because in November of 2007 an author for the Sacramento Bee called lists one of the worst journalistic achievements of all time. And since I'm an arbiter of bad taste and lazy journalism, I figure it is my duty to be as lazy and unlike The New Yorker as possible.
A few years ago WFMU's Sinners Crossroads host Kevin Nutt sent me the gift of a DVD with footage shot by Steve Grauberger of late electric gospel guitar great Bishop Perry Tillis, performing live in 1995 at the Savior Lord Jesus Pentacostal Lord Jesus Church down in Samson, Alabama. Assuming Kevin sent it knowing my penchant for raucous noise, I found it safe to say viewing this thing possibly holds its own up against your basic Throbbing Gristle/Whitehouse/SPK clips out there in terms of documenting some heavy and somewhat disorienting electric testifying. Where to even begin: the distortion, the broken snare, Tillis' steadfast choogle blending in to the vocal sheets of noise. Maybe it's just a case of the audio gain being high on the camera itself, but I'd like to think that in the room itself, this was one hell of a holy racket. See for yourself below as I've edited together and uploaded a few chunks to share. Supposedly a Tillis documentary by Tyler Bell is in the works, and we should also mention that Mississippi Records has recently put out an LP collection called In Times Like These culled from 72 hours of very raw cassette tapes, which also, as they say, is not for the faint of heart.
About a year ago, when I started in earnest to feature live improvisational music on The Long Rally, I had a grandiose vision of how it might ultimately go down. I imagined a weekly rotating door with musicians of all genres and personalities coming by to improvise live at 11pm in casual self-appointed groups: locals with out-of-towners passing through, adventurous rockers and noize dudes with straight up jazz musicians, the drone with the lyrical, the acoustic with the electric and electronic, the classically-trained with the self-taught. Sometimes a gumbo's just a gumbo, and sometimes it's the best fucking food you've ever tasted in your life.
Last night is the closest I've gotten to my fanciful and somewhat naive dream when a cast of NYC's best and brightest made the trip out to our humble Jersey City home. Jeremiah Cymerman, who played a solo clarinet/electronics set on the show last year, assembled the group of musicians, and together we came up with a loose concept of configuring them in little ensembles for short improvisational pieces. Neither the musicians nor I knew what the formations would be or what would be played until a few minutes before kickoff. Between pieces whoever wasn't setting up would join me in the studio for some chat, and we'd end with the full group going at it.
The result was a relaxed and convivial atmosphere, some unexpectedly wacked out high points, and ultimately a wonderful set of live and spontaneous music! Catch all of these folks at the Telluric Currents Series at Ibeam in Brooklyn this weekend. I'm off the schedule for the summer, but who knows, maybe my live improv dreams will come true in the fall, after all. Thanks to Sean Austin for engineering.
I. (Matt Bauder, electronics; Alex Chechile, modular synth; Aaron Siegel, percussion) II. (Katherine Young, bassoon; Matt Bauder, sax; Jeremiah Cymerman, clarinet) III. (Woody Sullender, banjo; Jeremiah Cymerman, clarinet; Alex Chechile, modular synth) IV. (Aaron Siegel, percussion, Matt Bauder, baritone sax; Katherine
Young, bassoon; Alex Chechile, electronics; Woody Sullender, banjo;
Jeremiah Cymerman, clarinet.)
Some more fruits of our late May visit to Barcelona's Primavera Sound fest, where WFMU set up camp (like, in a tent and all) for three sunkissed days and breezy Mediterranean nights. We've got archives of 20 of the sets we recorded and aired, and some of the artists were even generous enough to allow downloads via WFMU and the Free Music Archive sites. One of these groups, Scotland's legendary Vaselines, put in one of the most fun sets of the entire weekend, definitely with some of the best stage banter to boot. For the uninitiated, the group existed from 1986-1990 fronted by Francis McKee and Eugene Kelly (the latter going on to form Eugenius and Captain America) and had a big booster via the Northwestern USA underground axis of K/Sub Pop records (Sub Pop put out an anthology of the Vaselines on the tail of some major Kurt Cobain fandom, in fact Nirvana covered three Vaselines tunes). They reunited in 2006, toured the USA in 2009 and finished their recent tour at this Barcelona show. We unfortunately didn't get the first tune of the set, but dig in to the MP3's below, and if you like, check out some pics of the Fest from WFMU's Flickr group. (Photo left: BT)
The Vaselines - Live on WFMU at Primavera, 5/28/09
True, I usually write about the more progressive or esoteric corners of musical obscuria, but don't pigeonhole me! I do love me a good and simple three chord anthem. I've just finished reading Peter Blecha's new bookSonic Boom, The History of Northwest Rock, from "Louie Louie" to "Smells Like Teen Spirit" and I'm jonesing to dig through my attic to find all my old "Garage Punk Unknowns", "Back From The Grave", "Teenage Shutdowns" and other similar comps. The book, which focuses almost entirely on the inception of rock through the mid 60s, does a great job of making sense of the complicated scene that brought about greats like The Sonics (whose incredible second record, Boom, is the source of the book title), The Wailers, The Ventures, Paul Revere and the Raiders and, most famously, the Kingsmen. And, perfect for FMU fans, all of the obscure, short lived bands and the hits that never were are documented in passionate detail.
Peter Blecha attacks history from numerous angles. He covers the racial impact of rock and roll. He's got insider information on the publicists and marketers who made the deals that made the hits. He's got behind the scene anecdotes from the bands. For instance, in one of many sections on the Kingsmen's famous recording of "Louie, Louie", Blecha reveals that during the first take, the band's manager physically forced the recording engineer out of the studio. During the second (and final) take, The Kingsmen did not even know that they were recording a final take. They just thought they were running through the song for practice! After hearing the playback, which The Kingsmen thought was absolute crap, the manager demanded that the band pay studio fees - when the band couldn't pay, one of their moms fronted the fifty bucks! A good investment on her part, I must say...
The book doesn't have much coverage even of the late 60s - the way Blecha treats the subject, the late 60s were a time of decline rather than explosive growth. As easy as it is to see where Blecha's allegiances lie, there's not much reason to discount his taste. Sonic Boom is a par none document of the murky, little known events that bred one of rock and roll's strongest regional sounds.
Give the Drummer Some's 10 Favorite Downloads from the MP3 Blogosphere (see Comments, below, for helpful info about downloading)
Fame Studios piano hero Barry Beckett died last week at the age of 66. Lucky for us, Beckett found himself smack dab in the middle of countless critical sessions over the course of his five-decade career in music. Beckett's contributions to recordings by Aretha, Dylan, Percy Sledge and many others are legendary, but the Miner will forever appreciate him for producing Eddie Hinton's Swamp Soul classic "Very Extremely Dangerous," which Capricorn released in 1978—and then promptly went out of business.
Capricorn's demise was just one of a long string of hard-luck happenings that doomed Hinton, himself a vital Muscle Shoals sideman, who toiled on the back line for years before finally stepping out with his Beckett-produced debut. (It was Hinton who had convinced Beckett to come to Muscle Shoals in the first place, despite his friend's hankering to head to Nashville.) Though he had no chance in hell to live as long, Hinton would've turned 65 two days ago.
I've been obsessively hoarding "country go go" records for several years now.
Of course, given the fact that there were very few such records ever made, the hoarding opportunities are really pretty limited to begin with. Still, there's something inherently fascinating about the absurdly improbable collision of two worlds which could scarcely be more different.
You may have seen the news story a few weeks ago about Chen Fuchao and Lai Jiansheng. It happened in Guangdong Province, on a bridge that's become fairly well known as a place to jump from if you'd like to commit suicide, which Chen Fuchao did because he was really in debt. So Chen climbs way up on the bridge, but he can't bring himself to jump and he can't go back, either, because he owes everybody money and his life totally sucks. Pretty soon he's holding up traffic, sitting up there, and everything's backed up for 5 hours before the emergency service guys finally show up and start inflating the big air cushion for Chen to land on when he jumps.
Meanwhile, here comes retired soldier Lai Jiansheng, who's 66 years old and not putting up with any of this crap. He climbs up the scaffolding of the bridge—pretty spry, for an old guy—and leans over and says something to Chen, and Chen says something back, and Lai puts his hand out and he and Chen shake hands, and Lai claps Chen on the shoulder—and then he pushes him off. Chen falls, and lands on the partially inflated emergency air cushion, and injures his spine and his elbow but doesn't die. So now he's in the hospital, and he's charged with "disturbing public order," and he still owes everybody money.
Lai claims he was just fed up with Chen's "selfish activity," not to mention all those other stupid jerks who've been climbing up on the bridge and backing up traffic. "They do not really dare to kill themselves," Lai says. "Instead, they just want to raise the relevant government authorities' attention to their appeals." So he's charged with "causing intentional injury," but I doubt he really cares.
When I used to do a show on WFMU, I had a semi-regular feature called "Douche of the Week," and that's why I keep thinking about this story: Which one was the bigger douche? Chen, for being a whiny little attention-seeking fuck-up, or Lai for being a crabby old asshole? And that is my question for you, oh happy Listener.
Thanks for reading my blogpost this time, and may God bless.
Of the films I saw in the San Francisco Roxie Cinema's 6th annual Another Hole in the Head festival, two features stood out high above the lot: the Brazilian horror/comedy Morgue Story (Sangue, Baiacu e Quadrinhos), and the almost static, post-plague survival drama from Scotland, The Dead Outside (trailers viewable at those links.) These are two very different films, to be sure, but they share two significant common ingredients: an empowered, gutsy heroine, hell bent on survival (these chicks are neither skinny, nor do they shriek and fall down when running); and a visual and color palette that distinguishes the story immediately as its own universe. (Sadly, I left town the night the tantalizingly Mother's Day-esque Run! Bitch Run! premiered; anyone who's seen it should feel free to chime in with their thoughts.)
Morgue Story is a taut, clever and grisly horror comedy with an Evil Dead II-like dual sense of calamity and humor that leaves nothing off the, uh, slab. When Ana, a successful graphic novelist (who has nonetheless lost at love, and whose most famous character is a "living dead") ends up not-quite-dead in the morgue, she runs afoul of a sleazily efficient, God-fearing necrophiliac coroner. Also in the mix is a self-effacing cataleptic, who looks like Lux Interior's younger, paler brother and may just be an (albeit weak-willed) ally for our heroine. The three spar off verbally and physically as the English subs fly by, unpredictable shifts of power occur, and you find yourself reacting with equal measures of laughter and revulsion to the fairly graphic scenes of necrophilia. Everything is shot in grey, green and sepia tones, the washed-out institutional colors perfectly underscoring the essences of death, depravity and sickness. This is the only film I saw in the whole festival where the crowd immediately erupted in enthusiastic and unanimous applause at the conclusion. That tells me the world needs more necrophiliac comedies—or at least this one.
Come see The Dead Outside expecting buckets of blood and non-stop zombie action, and you will be disappointed. The Dead Outside is more the zombie-film equivalent of listening to your favorite Oval LP, which turns out to be not at all a bad thing. Moody and hovering, with an excellent soundtrack that veers from drony buzz into gentle piano melodies, The Dead Outside reads like a side tale to 28 Days Later if directed by Atom Egoyan. As with Morgue Story, the action here centers on an unconventionally attractive heroine, a hard-boiled, chip-toothed goth girl who's slaughtered her own family in order to survive, and is played with resonance by Sandra Louise Douglas (who seems destined to flash her violently blue eyes on bigger screens.) The danger in The Dead Outside is less in the infected that keep getting stuck in the barbed wire outside, than it is in the minds of the survivors who must live out the daily drudgery that is post-zombie-plague existence. Again, the expectations of horror purists may be let down here, and the film also loses minor points for dropping critical exposition to the lack of subtitles (it's been a long time since I saw Teenage Fanclub, and my Scots is rusty.) Though The Dead Outside does have a few scenes of seat-jumping zombie action, that won't be why you remember it. Its muted blues and greens, and matter-of-fact realism, tell a very atypical and understated horror tale.
P.S. - I'll be returning to weekly broadcasting on WFMU this summer, after a ten-year hiatus. Tune in for the premiere of My Castle of Quiet, Wednesday, June 24, at 8 p.m. ET.
The Minneapolis surf kings, The Trashmen will be playing NY for the first time ever on October 23ed at Southpaw in Brooklyn. And at Maxwell's in Hoboken, NJ on October 24th. Get your tickets now!!! This is the same weekend as the WFMU Record Fair.
In the meantime, enjoy this 1964 performance from Bandstand.