After the break: Reptilian Shape Shifters at Death By Audio and Akitsa at Saint Vitus.
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After the break: Reptilian Shape Shifters at Death By Audio and Akitsa at Saint Vitus.
As I said to the members of Bludded Head, for a good, long while, I'd been subsisting on the two, outstanding tracks from their debut 12"—and with great enthusiasm, am now proud to bring you live versions of these four, new compositions from this unique Texan doom outfit. Studio versions of the songs are also available from the band on limited CDr.
With two new members added to the lineup (and the original, intact core of Nevada Hill and Darcy Neal), these songs find BH in the realm of even greater dynamics and subtlety when compared to the tracks on their debut; the addition of double bass and an accomplished new drummer having opened up the compositional palate of the band considerably. None of the crunch has been sacrificed though, and Nevada's outrageous screams still ride atop the steamrolling melee of Bludded Head's mighty downbeats.
Doom bands come and go, many sounding similar to one another, with the greatest emphasis being placed on how far apart those gut-punch downbeats can be spaced; not so for Bludded Head, who seem in it to write, arrange and execute great songs, several worlds apart from the sameyness that characterizes many of their peers in the genre. My Castle of Quiet and WFMU caught up with the band mid-tour, and it shows, such that the freshness and intensity of these selections are at a dazzling peak.
Huge thanks are due to engineer Juan Aboites, for capturing the acoustic and electric powers of Bludded Head in equal measure, and creating a terrific, rich mix for broadcast. Thanks again to Tracy Widdess of Brutal Knitting, for the Alchemical process she always applies to my pixel-challenged captures of the band, weaving mediocre photo-snapping into art.
Last month's 1950's ads and jingles were well received, so for this month's reel, I got out a non-descript five inch reel - one that came to me with no writing, and no box - which contains nearly 20 nice radio ads and music beds.
I assume that the tape originated with whatever advertising agency produced all of these commercials, perhaps as a demo reel. The ads flow one after the other, with no leader between them, and sometimes virtually no tape space between them.
They range from barely 15 seconds to a few which go well over a minute (those that do almost fade out at the one minute point then come right back for another 10-15 seconds, perhaps for use by announcers who have more to say over the music.
The commercials are for both extremely well known brands, such as Green Giant, Chevy and Keebler, to companies I've never heard of, including Nekoosa Paper and Bernie Brothers (and I can't tell what the name of gas company is, in track two).
There are four tracks which are simply music beds (presumably for whatever use the station had in mind) and a fifth which only mentions the product at the end. There are even two ads which seem to be advertising the general use of an item, rather than a specific products - specifically, use of electric products (track 9) and use of sugar (track 16).
Today's Comic Supplement brings you jitterbugging animals - lots of them. If you are halfway hep to the jive, slip a nickle into the nearest jukebox and grab a partner to swing along to these two jumping stories from Hi-Jinx magazine, as published by B&I Publishing and edited by Richard E. Hughes.
The Dan Gordon-esque art runs throughout the book, as well as the wiggly-line, brush-drawn panel borders, making for a consistently attractive product. This is the only issue of the magazine available to me right now, and the art is unsigned, but is certainly by the very prolific artist and animator Jack Bradbury, who has a site all his own here.
Join us for two funny-animal adventures from just after the war: the first involving a jukebox rental, and in the second, we learn the 'hep' vocabulary for various instruments in a music store (with guest star 'Tommy Horsey'), right after the jump!
After the break: MV Carbon at Public Assembly.
This year, I saw two Independence Day-themed exhibits, of which it would be easy to categorize one as real and one as not, except that, technically, both are “real.” Or maybe one is just as much a figment of meaning-projection as the other. I can’t decide.
The first display was at the New York Public Library, which was showing an original draft of the Declaration of Independence, as written by Thomas Jefferson, along with one of the original 14 copies of the proposed Bill of Rights. Both these documents are extremely rare, and the Library has never exhibited them together before. Because they're so fragile, they were on display for only three days, July 1–3.
I went to see them after work on Tuesday, when the library was open late, and stood in line for 45 minutes, which was totally worth it. It’s hard to write about the experience without sounding like a Frank Capra film. The crowd was large and diverse, and noticeably respectful. Even standing in line, everybody was polite and patient, which is something I don’t recall ever experiencing in an NYC queue before. The crowd fanned out once we were admitted to the room where the documents were in three displays: Jefferson's two-sheet (front and back) Declaration, sandwiched in glass inside two separate vitrines, so you could read all four pages; and the large, printed Bill of Rights (one of only 14 original copies known to exist) laid on a slanted backing inside another, much larger display case. Even though people were allowed to crowd around the displays at will, there was no bad behavior that I saw: Everyone waited patiently for their turn and looked as long as they liked.
As the last hours of the festive Independence Day long weekend pass us by, here's an appropriate record for the holiday. It's a piece of patriotic drivel written by someone named Michael Quirk, and titled "Have You Thought About Freedom Lately?". Quirk himself recorded the piece at some point, and his version can be found a few places on the internet. But for this release (which the record label oddly shows to have a running time which is over a minute more than its true length), the artist is Eddie Paul:
(Whether or not this is the same Eddie Paul who is well known for customizing cars... I have no idea.)
For the flip side, Michael Quirk performed another one of his compositions himself, titled "Lonely Men in Blue":
Today we'll have a light and fun post for the WFMU Comic Supplement: a very cute little five-pager illustrated by Jim Tyer, as published in Giggle Comics volume one, number 10, from July 1944.
Tyer's exuberant and frantic drawings in this story give a good idea of how his work would appear in full motion; sight gags abound and there is heavy character distortion and rubberiness, which I always enjoy. His wild and stylish work in animation is well known and spoken about here and here.
So let's join our pals from Giggle Comics at the premiere of The Great Symphony - right after the jump!
After the break: Pact at Martyrdoom Fest at The Acheron.
by Kollin Holtz
The 1960’s Brazilian art movement, Tropicália, began as a youthful challenge to convention, and fell into being a youthful rebellion against an unjust and militaristic government. Like many musicians around the world at the time (Bob Dylan, The Beatles), these ones found themselves thrust into the center of the 60’s political activism movement, whether they were willing or not.
Tropicália began as an art movement by young Brazilians of the 1960’s to bring the musical and cultural offerings of their nation to the world. As a result of this desire, musicians incorporated non-traditional instruments into their native music, primarily guitars. The common rock ‘n roll instrument was regarded by artists of the Bossa Nova movement, and other traditional artists, as a cheapening of Brazilian music. It showed a disregard for heritage, and the ‘true’ sounds of Brazil. It was this music that had to come up
Speaking very generally, black metal can be divided into two, distinct subgroups; the raw and the dirty, with its roots in punk, and the more "musicianly," with expert playing, and grander, more-"orchestrated" concepts. Either way, to pass my filter, the songwriting is key, and has to be there to bring the sound across.
Naturally, there's been significant cross-pollination of these two basic styles over the years, and One Master are perhaps the finest example of a band that has chops to spare, with longer, epic songs, but with not an ounce of grit sacrificed—in fact, the sheer gut-punch of this session, as well as One Master's two full-lengths and split cassette with Glass Coffin, will simply bowl you over like a life-affirming ass-kicking. Even as I listen now, after many a deep sit-down with the material, the ferocity of One Master's Castle session is staggering and the first thing your ears will notice—melodic riffs, deftly arranged and well-written songs, delivered with mighty, mighty force.
These guys were also great to hang with, and we had lots to jaw about off-air, with our shared obsessions for classic horror / exploitation film and the like. These are men you can have a beer with, and talk about Cannibal Ferox on into the night. I recall saying, "Is there any scene in Requiem for a Vampire other than the basement-torture scene? 'Cause if there is, I don't remember it...." hehe....
Thanks a fuck-ton to the band for bringing their exquisite black-metal art to WFMU, and to engineer Juan Aboites for creating a clean, solid and forceful mix for the broadcast. Thanks also to Tracy Widdess of Brutal Knitting for re-crafting my shitty iPhone band captures.
Give the Drummer Some's
Favorite Downloads from the MP3 Blogosphere
On July 1, Google will finally kill off its popular RSS feed aggregator Reader. Claiming that short-form-news delivery platforms like Twitter are more in tune with how people consume information, Google is abandoning Reader eight years after it was introduced.
For the purposes of producing Mining the Audio Motherlode, this has been, if not a disaster, a huge pain in the arse. I have relied heavily on Reader to help me keep tabs on more than 500 music-sharing blogs, reading, saving and managing many hundreds of posts on a daily basis. Almost as soon as Google announced Reader's demise, a surfeit of products hoping to replace it flooded the market. I migrated to the best of them, Feedly, in March, but still find it a considerably greater challenge to use. Feedly promises upgrades, including the essential ability to search among previously saved items, but until it does, the time and effort it takes to pump out the Motherlode will probably keep publishing it on a roughly bi-weekly schedule.
But enough about the sausage-making, how about some sausage!
The Manipoto Voices ~ Songs of the Maori
(Blog: Kadao Ton Kao)
"We have here a collection of Maori songs by several Maori composers. Three of these are by Kingsi Tahiwi of the Ngati Raukawa tribe. The four Hikuroa sisters had a duty to their parents and, in particular, to their father who took a deep interest in Maori music and the training of his daughters' voices. This is what motivated these essentially individualistic soloists into collaborating their vocal efforts in the belief that they had something worthwhile to offer Maori music. KAY who sings lead in all the songs has a particularly outstanding voice and is a versatile singer. Her rendering of 'Now Is the Hour' with her sisters, touches one to the very soul. KELLY, the soloist in most of the songs, as well as her artistic technique, has a deep vibrant quality which brings colour to the different presentations. LAURA, the youngest of the group, has a soft deep voice so necessary to this type of harmony. HINERANGI, the eldest of the sisters, composes many of the songs used by the Quartet, with the idea of encouraging the Maori people to use their natural talents in this field." (Description from the liner notes)
Since I gave up buying books, it seems like I have more books than ever. For years, my little hoarding problem expressed itself as a compulsion to collect all kinds of paper: books, magazines (remember those?), clippings from newspapers (ditto), random health pamphlets from the dermatologist’s office, Jack Chick comics, 10-year-old bank statements… . And by “collect,” I mean stuff into boxes and bags and make a big pile in every room in the house. But when I saw a documentary about the people who are paid to go in and clean out hoarders’ homes, I got scared straight and I have been slowly dealing with the mess.
Although I’ve stopped buying books (sort of), I haven’t stopped reading. I do go to the library, which not only is free but they make me give the books back after a few weeks, so I figure it doesn’t do any harm. A senior boss at my dayjob gave me her old Kindle, which had about a hundred books on it (many of which I deleted because I really do not need to read dozens of novels about the modern-day grandchildren of World War II survivors); I really like the Kindle, because it takes up a lot less space than seven boxes of books in the middle of the dining room. But there are still a lot of actual, physical books coming into the house, because my good friend A. sends me boxes of discarded review copies from her job.
Friend A. has a good idea of my taste in reading material, so she sends me lots of nonfiction science-y books, and books about food and cooking, and photo and art books. It’s fun to open the packages from her, because I never know what’s going to be inside and sometimes there’s something pretty amazing. The last box was the most amazing of all, because it contained both Talking Heads: The Vent Haven Portraits, by Matthew Rolston, and Dulce Pinzon’s The Real Story of The Superheroes.
Here's a wonderfully interesting little four inch reel of tape that arrived with a lot of other media tapes that I bought somewhere, a few years ago. This seems to have been the property of a jingle company, rather than a radio station, because there are jingles and ads for four stations and eight products (well, not all of them are products - one ad is simply a jingle encouraging folks to cook their food using electricity instead of gas). More than one customer seems to be represented here, perhaps (based on the radio stations involved) all in the Northwest US.
These jingles - which range from a few seconds to a minute (the sixteen of them total about seven minutes) - may or may not have ever seen the light of day on any radio stations. The box makes it clear that these are demos, labeling them as "audition only" in two places. It looks like a company called SRP was responsible for them.
As for the stations involved, only one has an identified location within its jingles: KRLC, in Lewiston-Clarkston, Washington. This station still exists, still at 1350 AM. As for the other stations, KYTE was in Pocatello, ID, KIMA was at 980 in Yakima, WA (where the call letters still exist as a TV station), and I KZUN was at 630 on the dial in Spokane, WA.
My guess is that this is from about 1957-58 - the style of the ads, and in particular the one which uses a calypso setting ("Bogie Brothers Bread") would seem to put them in that range.
I love everything about these ads and jingles - the musical styles, the peppy vocals, the thick echoes - actually, I wish radio still sounded like this.
As a bonus track, here are the complete contents of another tape from this batch of tapes, in this case, a group of sound effects people spend about ten minutes gathering sounds for a TV or radio show (probably TV, judging from the other tapes of this sort that I've found in this haul). They start with breaking glass, then go on with some atmospheric recordings (this section is quite soft - they seem to be trying to get a realistic ambient sound of the background noise heard while in an apartment building - then we get into some slamming doors and other sounds.
Jimmy's little sister had it right when she exclaimed as they listened to an elaborate radio dramatization, "It must take an awful lot of work and -- and people to put on a show like that!". Jimmy himself remained unimpressed until he was reduced drastically in size by a manic and frightening anthropomorphous microphone and shown just how complicated and expensive the whole process really was.
Although this 16-page giveaway comic book put out by the National Broadcasting Company in 1947 is mainly a puff piece hyping all of the amazing material that one could dial up for free at home on their radios, it also stands as a fairly accurate guide to NBC procedures at that time. Still, that evil little microphone character is just scary; no way around that. We even get a glimpse of the early television broadcasting setup from New York.
So let's go on a guided tour of the most sophisticated radio organization at that time, with loads of thrills, chills, adventures, and you might even learn something along the way! All as illustrated handsomely by Sam Glankoff, right after the jump!
After the break: Sannhet at The Acheron.
You know how whenever anyone brings up the topic of US sonic weapons and music torture, someone always says, “What do they do, just turn on WFMU? Hahahahaha.” No? Maybe you hang out with smarter people than I do. On the other hand, WFMU has always been a leader in the irritainment industry; some of my favorite DJs, people I’ve been listening to for decades, do shows I’ve never been able to listen to all the way through. So I got to wondering—what is on the playlist when our government wants to break the will of its enemies? (“Enemies” being defined in the broadest sense, of course, in that the term has included US citizens minding their own business in their own homes.)
Manuel Noriega vs. Van Halen: Noriega was Military Governor of Panama from 1984-89, when elections were held with results he didn’t like. Also, he refused to help Oliver North with the whole Nicaraguan Contra thing. (Noriega had been working with the CIA since the 1950s.) Meanwhile, US troops stationed around the Panama Canal were conducting a series of ludicrously named “operations,” and then a Marine Lieutenant got killed, and then the US invaded, which was condemned as a flagrant violation of international law by the UN. Noriega fled to the Vatican embassy in Panama City, where US troops laid siege in Operation Nifty Package. (I am not kidding about that name.) They stood around outside playing high-volume rock music, specifically the Van Halen song “Panama.” A week later, Noriega surrendered.
Last night I saw Pussy Riot: A Punk Prayer, and now I’m convinced that Pussy Riot should be in jail, which I think was not the filmmakers’ intent.
The video shows three strong feminist women and their history of activism, culminating in their action in Moscow’s Cathedral of Christ the Savior. The three who were arrested—Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, Maria Alyokhina, and Yekaterina Samutsevich— are not the only members of their political collective, although you wouldn’t know that from the film. They also are not “girls,” they are young women in their mid-20s and early 30s, they are wives and mothers, they are educated and intelligent enough to have devised an ideological basis for their political protest. Yet since their arrests, they’ve been portrayed as “girls” who “didn’t realize” that defiling a revered place of worship would offend anyone, which is complete bullshit: The whole point of the action was to offend as many people as possible. If people weren’t offended, they wouldn’t pay attention. Well, they’re paying attention now; they’re paying attention all over the world.
The women of Pussy Riot must have realized there were likely consequences for their actions. Just as Edward Snowden was prepared to accept the loss of his well-paid job, the end of his comfy life, and his possible extradition to the US to face treason charges, so Pussy Riot should have been prepared for arrest, trial, and conviction. They say they are feminists: Let them act like feminists. Their prison sentences are the proof of everything they’ve said about Russian repression. Let them take the consequence of their actions like strong feminist women, not disingenuous, apologetic little girls. In the words of Sammy Davis Jr. “Don’t do the crime if you can’t do the time.”
Be punk, Pussy Riot: Be strong.
UPDATE 6/18: So what I was trying to say was unclear, and that is the fault of my writing. Mostly I was objecting to the documentary's portrayal of "girls," but also there's the rather alarming footage of the three prisoners apologizing and saying they "didn't mean to offend anyone." This is contrary to their otherwise strong statements--contrary, in fact, to their actions. The obvious injustice of two years in prison for their protest is what has called international attention to the very repression they were protesting. I have friends who participated in ACT UP's protest inside St. Patrick's Cathedral in 1989; no one went to prison, but it brought international attention to the AIDS crisis and forced the government to begin dealing with it. I hope Pussy Riot's Punk Prayer will turn out to be as influential. Also, one week on, Edward Snowden looks less like a hero. -B.
Someone said that cat videos are the new internet porn, and it's not a far fetched concept for anyone on social networks. Those with pet owners on their friend list often find themselves with pictures of pets (and breakfast) in their feed, along with the corresponding complaints from the more curmudgeonly among us.
Somehow, over time, I've gradually become privy to perhaps the less pleasant (but no less cute) side effect of this phenomenon; odd taxidermy. It was probably when I went to the Buckhorn Exchange in Denver, where the walls are filled with taxidermy; one or two of the animals mounted on the wall had anamolies, like three eyes for instance, and everything on the wall had once been on the menu (I only drank there). I've got a collection of photographs of dead birds. I was concerned that I'd offend people here if I posted about this, but there is a precedent here on WFMU's Beware of The Blog, so I decided to add to its legacy. The foregoing is a veritable coluratura of creepitude.
I knew that people made alligator handbags, but I admit, I had no idea that there were people making a deer's rump into a bottle opener, or packaging ale into the corpse of a squirrel. I'd say with no shame that I'm not terribly surprised. I am surprised, however, that a man took the corpse of his beloved cat, Orville, and made it into an "Orville-copter". All that aside, I'm more interested in the botched taxidermy, the critters who are forever immortalized with crooked, constipated facial expressions, or the guy who may have gone to jail for fusing the parts of different endangered animals together (all of this is undeniably striking by the way) to make two headed geese, or a squirrel crab, etc. Whether they are intended as memento mori or fashion statements or surrealistic heirlooms, is for the viewer to decide. I am not sure if I'd do these things to my cat Chollie (he'd make a good bear skin rug), nor am I sure if I'd consent to be some kind of human paraglider corpse, but I do find it fascinating. The range varies from profoundly artistic to childish and mean spirited. A whole slew of selected odd taxidermy below.
Related: Human Doll Clones in Japan (you can't "unsee" this), and Robotic Beastiality Sculpture decomissioned after 20 years due to broken goat motor.
Here's a genuinely peculiar and interesting little EP-length 45 from my collection. The title of this post captures the difficulty I encounter in trying to nail down exactly how to label this 1984 release.
It's a religious record, released by the distinctly un-catchy named Farinella-Siena-Fretto, and housed in a sleeve that shows not only the four members whose names appear above the title, but also the other three members, as well as a drawing of the "Pig In Mud" who is featured in one of the songs.
The lead track, carrying the very direct title and message "Don't Be Left Behind", fills the entire first side, all 6 1/2 minutes of it. The mixture of new wave sounds and Born-Again Christian theology is quite the experience, but then, just over halfway through the track, it segues into a completely different sound, more of a boogie arrangement, where it stays for the rest of the song.
"Pig in Mud" starts the second side, and is subtitled (II Peter 2:22). This one reminds me of nothing so much of Captain Beefheart's spoken-word-over-avant-jazz-rock performances - certainly not on the same level, but that's style I'm reminded of here. Then it's back to the New Wave setting for the final piece, "Look At the Mess".
The back of the sleeve is quite the production, too, with more pictures, a list of credits that mentions that the drummer was named "A. Drummer", links to biblical verses which inspired two of the three songs, and a statement that the record was "Composed, Arranged and Produced by GOD, through Jesus Christ and through Gerald M. Fretto",
Oh, and on another note, All Hail The King, Rafa Nadal!!!