SATO CDR (LAST VISIBLE DOG)
getting this disc I was aware of Ms. Sato as a musician/visual
artist, through her Public Eyesore/Bryan Day connections.
Her visual art is nice (a lot it visible on the
Public Eyesore website) but the only musical experience
I've had is a track she had on the Analogous Indirect
compilation LP (Public Eyesore again). I think I liked it,
but I don't remember what it sounded like, except I'm positive
it wasn't solo piano, which this entire disc is. It's pretty
nice solo piano, mostly soft and unhurried, while still
being very strange -- unsettling, even -- about its note
choice. The tracks are short, as well, which helps the music
breathe. Ms. Sato lets tones just sit there. As usual, I
think its too long at 60 minutes -- but any 20-30 minutes
of it makes a nice thing to revisit, a palate cleanser,
a drink of water, a nice nap. She does sing wordless vocals
on one track somewhere in the second half -- that one's
SATO: Searching For My Recording Engineer CDR (PUBLIC EYESORE)
sure ain't solo piano. This is solo electric guitar. Sometimes
people play guitar like it was a piano, but no piano can
make these sounds. Indeed QUITE a different side of the
coin than the LVD release, this features four tracks, "guitar
improvisation one," "guitar improvisation two,"
"guitar and voice improvisation," and "guitar
improvisation three." They are very loud and scary
and even a bit hellish. Sort of like a rougher Keiji Haino,
almost like the Hair Police in the sense that in both cases
someone is pounding the hell out of a guitar -- and when
she sings she sounds like Adris Hoyos. Pretty deep.
D: Say It Loud, I Love Rap And I'm Proud CD (VINYL RESURRECTION)
Check this time-line: 1983: Run D.M.C. puts out the single
"It's Like That." The B side, "Sucker MCs,"
sweeps the underground with the sparsest hardcore hip-hop
beat ever. In 1985, LL Cool J put out his debut LP Radio,
filled with beats in the same vein, as noted by the telling
producer credit, "Reduced by Rick Rubin." In 1986,
a rapper from Philadelphia named Schooly D emerges taking
the "Sucker MCs"/Radio reduction and
running with it, but in a much cruder fashion, both sonically
and lyrically. In "Sucker MCs," Darryl McDaniels
rapped "I go to St. John's University," but according
to Schooly it was "all about makin' that cash money,"
which was an early rap code line that meant, basically,
I ain't never goin' to college.
"P.S.K. What Does It Mean?," in fact, is about
an infamous Philly gang called the Park Side Killers (although
in the lyrics Schooly tells you P.S.K. means "people,"
"scream and shout," and "kuttin," which
is what the DJ is doing). As far as I know, Schooly D's
debut records were the first raps to be explicitly from
the point of view of the gangsta himself. This certainly
opened the door for N.W.A., who emerged just one year after
Schooly's debut LP with the most explicit gangsta raps yet.
Perhaps just a case of parallel development....except that
N.W.A. didn't just use the same subject matter, they actually
used a lot of the same riffs. In other words....they were
bitin'. (I know I don't sound very convincing when I say
it, but it's true.)
Schooly D has a particular favorite cadence he likes to
use when he raps, so much that he uses it on several different
tracks, such as "P.S.K.," "Saturday Night,"
and "Gucci Time." For an example, just think of
the line, "Lookin' at my Gucci/It's about that time,"
which the Beastie Boys sampled for "Hold It Now, Hit
It," and that's it, the cadence. Or, if you've heard
the songs, just think of "P.S.K., we're making that
green/People always ask 'What the hell does that mean?'"
For another example, think of Eazy-E going "Cuz the
boyz in tha hood are always hard" or Ice Cube going
"It was once said by a man who couldn't quit..."
and that's it, too, the exact same cadence. Even then I
might say it could possibly be parallel development, except
that another NWA song "8 Ball" has a chorus that
goes "I WAS" just like Schooly D went "I
DON'T" on "I Don't Like Rock 'n' Roll" from
a year earlier. Has anyone else ever pointed out N.W.A.'s
plagiarism? A decade later "P.S.K." was still
in the air; Prince Paul did a cover version called "J.O.B."
on his 1996 Psychoanalysis (What Is It?) album,
and even Kim Gordon used the cadence for her Free Kitten
parody/jam "Scratch tha DJ." (Move over, Debbie
this is some sort of compilation of old Schooly D. "THIS
IS THE FIRST TIME THESE CUTS HAVE BEEN ON CD!" booms
hot type on the back cover, and it should boom, because
this disc will make all hip-hoppers say "holy s**t."
This is raw. No, dude, what, Company Flow? Naw, THIS is
raw. Schooly D, 1986 & 1987. It sounds like it was recorded
not in a studio but on a deep underground subway platform
at 3AM. DJ Code Money must not be underestimated for his
scratching and those BEATS, reducing "Sucker MCs"
even further, possibly the most minimal hip-hop ever, but
then with this constant other layer that is, yes, almost
as musique concrete as the scratching, whether from synth
bleeps or bass, a second vocal, or live instruments like
congas & electric guitar. A lot of people are copping
aspects of Schooly D's sound right now. Most of 'em probably
have no idea they're doing it, but it's because they saw
some of King of New York once on cable.
DJ's CHECK OUT THIS SCHOOLY D LINK
THE SCIENTIFIC METHOD: This Is What You Get – Noise
Single Series #4 (MEKANECK)
Nebraska represents. This is a Wasteoid side project, and
those guys are all-crushing all-the-time, so it’s
kind of weird to hear, in the first song, somebody playing
actual major-seventh chords on a keyboard. He might not
know that he's playing major-seventh chords on a keyboard,
but he probably does know that the chords are kinda pretty,
and “pretty” doesn’t enter into the usual
Wasteoid style. Even better, rising out of the mix is a
fucked-up drum machine loop that actually makes the major-seventh
chords sound even more jazzy and trances the song out for
a good 5 minutes or more. Also, much louder noise effects
fleet by every 20 or 30 seconds or so. That's just the first
track on here, there's lots of free-form noise and experimentation
on here and it all sounds pretty good. The last track is
a 20-minute live piece, and it runs a pretty nice gamut
of loud spaced-out sounds. This is just as overlong as the
last 15 noise albums I've listened to, but it's also just
as good. Anyway, I hear they've got one of those whole booklet-style-CD-holder-for-your-car
things full of these things.
SEGER: Greatest Hits CD (CAPITOL)
know what song I really, really like by a rock artist that
I really, really don't like? Eric Clapton's "Bell Bottom
Blues," as recorded by Derek and the Dominoes for the
Layla album. It was a shocking thing for me to
hear this on the radio one day and be inexpressibly moved
by it. How could I not be, with Clapton practically screaming:
"Do you wanna see me crawl across the floor?/Do you
wanna see me beg you to take me back?/I'd gladly do it/'cause
I DON'T WANNA FADE AWAY.....," as the band builds a
cathedral out of descending soul ballad chords, one of the
more intense admissions of loneliness and romantic longing
that millionaire rock ever produced. The other day music
lover Ben Armstrong was over, and I spun "Bell Bottom
Blues," introducing it with something to the effect
of "Here's one that separates the men from the hipsters."
Ben knew exactly what I meant. "You can't like it ironically,"
he insightfully conjoined.
I would put Bob Seger
in the same category. Guys wearing those new foam &
mesh hipster baseball caps can yell "SEEGGERRRRR!"
at parties all they want, but would they actually take a
Seger CD with them on the train? Or put it on at home alone
after dinner? I didn't think I would either, and I still
haven't, but I was at mom & dad's house for Christmas
a couple weeks ago and there it was: Bob Seger's Greatest
Hits, sitting by the boom box my parents keep in the
Now, I know that early
Bob Seger has been rediscovered by some among the beneath-style
anti/un-hip hipster underground. Back when his band was
called The Lost Heard, and he was doing songs like "Heavy
Music," "Persecution Smith," and of course
"Ramblin' Gamblin' Man." This is good 60s soul-rock
to be sure, but it's also not a whole lot different than
Mitch Ryder & the Detroit Wheels. No, it's when Seger's
subsequent 1970s solo career started to find success and
he brought out some of his folk tendencies without completely
shedding his roadhouse roots....THAT'S when only the dedicated
Even I didn't
realize I was part of this elite group until that day a
couple weeks ago at mom & dad's. I had only brought
a couple CDs home with me, and I'd already listened to those.
I had been reading the liner notes to the Seger disc --
Bob wrote a few anecdotal lines about each song -- and I
couldn't help it . . . I wanted to listen!
Only seconds into the first
song, "Roll Me Away," it finally hit me, without
prejudice, for the first time since I was a kid: Bob Seger
music is some deep and soulful shit. "Took a look down
a westbound road, right away I made my choice. Headed out
to my big two-wheeler, I was tired of my own voice. Took
a bead on the northern plains and just rolled that power
hours out of Mackinaw City, stopped in a bar to have a brew.
Met a girl, and we had a few drinks, and I told her what
I'd decided to do. She looked out the window a long, long
moment, then she looked into my eyes. She didn't have to
say a thing, I knew what she was thinkin'...."
Now keep in mind, the
way he sings that last phrase, building into that Seger
near-scream...oh yeah, when I was a kid, that moved me,
and it moves me now. And the lyrics are good. He talks about
Mackinaw City and it doesn't sound condescending or like
an easy blue-collar reference at all. He's just talking
about driving a truck through rural Michigan. I also like
the piano on the song, providing calm, melancholy embellishment
throughout, like the very representation of being older
and wiser but still needing love.
Maybe I only tell
this story to try and explain to people why I just don't
get into Wilco: it's because we've already had Seger, and
how can you put those two bands -- both playing a kind of
rootsy folk-rock -- side by side and tell me that Wilco
stands up? I know which one has the songs that go through
my head the most.
is next; certainly a well-heard radio staple by this point,
but still pretty damn beautiful. I personally think it's
the lady background singers that make it, as they so often
did in Seger's productions. All Music Guide calls his music
"heartland rock," and it's true, but "heartland
rock" is usually terrible. With those background vocals,
Seger brought in a healthy dose of gospel and soul, and
they showed up on almost all of his 70s hits.
"Turn the Page," which I frankly can't even listen
to anymore. Classic rock radio and Metallica have killed
that one, so I skip to the next track, "You'll Accompany
Me," and once again I'm a sucker for a good Bob Seger
midtempo ballad. And after that, "Hollywood Nights,"
with an honest-to-goodness motorik beat -- which
shouldn't be too surprising, because he is from the Motor
City. The liner notes reveal that the drummer on this track
overdubbed two full drum-kit parts to make it even more
driving. "Still the Same" is another great example
of piano and gospel vocals making a normal-enough folk ballad
something transcendent. "Old Time Rock 'n' Roll"
is another one in the same category as "Turn the Page":
as soon as it comes on, I have to skip it immediately. But
after that, "We've Got Tonight"....holy shit.
You might think of this song as schmaltz because Kenny Rogers
did it, but his version his great and Seger's is absolutely
glorious. Now THAT is a ballad. "Against the Wind"
is a nice enough ballad too, but it's not quite up to the
Seger standard -- maybe because he had Glenn Frey sing the
backups instead of the ladies.
One more must-have
on this collection: "Main Street." Another beautiful
song. The little guitar lead that plays at the beginning
of each verse reminds me of snow falling in a city, and
the liner notes reveal that the street Seger was singing
about was actually Ann Street in Ann Arbor, Michigan, a
town that I'm sure does get pretty snowy in the wintertime.
the newest song on here I'm really into is "Roll Me
Away," from 1982. In the 80s, his career inevitably
lost that early magic as he more or less retired on all
that platinum. He only put out a couple albums the entire
decade, and the only other song I recognize on Greatest
Hits is "Like A Rock," and I don't think
I'd be too into that one right now, especially after the
Chevy commercials. At least he had the good sense to leave
"Shakedown" from Beverly Hills Cop off
of this package, even though it was his only number one
single, and it is proto neo no wave.
Michigan Haters CD (PSYCHO-PATH)
The one-sheet pissed me off with its oh-so de rigueur opening
line, “Rock is about danger, people.” Fuck that.
I rock for a million reasons, and only about 400,000 of
them involve danger. Ah, whatever, I'm just bummed to realize
that there are rule-makers everywhere. Now any new music
has to be as extreme as possible for fear of not getting
deemed 'dangerous' enough by the club. Um, I can't hang.
But I can surely
hang for Michigan Haters. This is my kind of danger.
It is definitively the best Sightings release yet. The images
on the front and back cover form a wraparound band photo,
and their stares are the only thing you get besides the
songs and titles. This art sets the no bullshit tone for
the music. No bullshit and better than ever...even as I
revise, the second track, “I Feel Like A Porsche,”
is playing and ... holy shit! It was also on the s/t Load
Records release, but in a three-minute version. This version
stretches out for 8 rolling and tumbling and absolutely
BLARING minutes until it becomes the new “Sister Ray,”
seriously. The distortion of the instruments impacts the
tape and creates more distortion, a buzz like I haven't
quite heard before, a new style of harmolodics, tape distortion
playing a counter-melody throughout the song, throughout
They still do
a few of their shorter raveups, but let's face it, no band
can just destroy for three minutes and repeat for an entire
career. Sightings know this, and along with "I Feel
Like A Porsche" they take another perfect step towards
The Big Stretch with track four, “Chili Dog"
(eight minutes long), which I've been playing a LOT. It's
the glorious dubbed-out storm cloud with which they opened
their Chicago show on July 4th. It's so scary that I opened
my Halloween radio show with it. I mean, that's scary, right?
Michigan Haters is on my 2002 ten best.
SIGHTINGS: Free103Point9 Audio Dispatch 06 (FREE103POINT9)
My favorite pirate radio station that I’ve never actually
listened to keeps their hi-qual. Audio Dispatch series going,
this time with the first Dispatch that isn’t an in-house
various-artists mega-mix kinda thing. It’s a single
live set by the Unsane of the double-oughts, NYC’s
Sightings. Starts out with like 10 minutes of eerie, well-controlled
axe/amp noise, which may be because their drummer was in
the bathroom the whole time, as crowd banter suggests. (If
he was in the bathroom, it sure was for a long time. The
guy should start eating less cheeseburgers and more bananas!)
After the intro, they pummel out a set, and the audience
approves. (This is from January 2002 -- its interesting
to compare this to the Chicago show I saw in July 2002 and
of course Michigan Haters -- even in that short
time they've honed the blast further, and gotten more articulate
FISH: Zabaranda CDR (PUBLIC EYESORE)
The highly prolific Public Eyesore label usually deals in
some variety of cracked international improv, but CEO Bryan
Day does throw curveballs. Silt Fish qualifies, being a
weird British art-folk duo. If that description brings to
mind some kind of Betley-style bedroom thing, well no, this
is like more produced and art-rockish, while still being
pretty lo-fi....like it aspires to some sort of Henry Cow
realm but has a setup almost like Suicide's: two guys, one
playing an organ and one a guitar, and one of the two singing.
I must say that
I was immediately a bit taken aback by the twee-ness of
Silt Fish. I finally realized what Byron Coley
meant when he said of Red Krayola's Black Snakes
album that "listening to the whole thing in one sitting
makes my asshole clench." However, Silt Fish really
hit their stride on track four, the title track, which is
a long artsy spooky dirge. Think Roxy's "In Every Dream
Home" only with a more wandering melody and crazier
Carnival of Souls organ. And, now that I'm used
to the Silt Fish sound, I kind of dig all the other songs
too. Once again the question must be asked: where does Bryan
Day get these people?
YOUTH: Murray Street CD (DGC)
the last few years its been convenient to declare that Sonic
Youth have lost it and are now content to play MOR 'noise
rock' for the most adventurous 20% of the Utne Reader's
subscription base. I'd like to declare it myself, but I've
liked every album they've put out. Oh, they've definitely
mellowed, and some of the new records aren't as good as
some of the others, but I'm not gonna lie and say I don't
like 'em anymore just so I can seem more tough.
I have this hunch
that most of the people who are down on Sonic Youth are
either, one, too young to have been 17 or whatever when
anything from Bad Moon Rising through Goo
came out, or two, single. Sonic Youth really is romantic
music, and over the years, with Moore and Gordon having
a daughter and all, it has turned into honest-to-goodness
family values music. If you're single and sowing your wild
oats, it might not make the best soundtrack right now. I
actually first started eyeing my future wife at a party
while Daydream Nation was on the stereo and she
was talking about some wild road trip she had taken to see
Sonic Youth and Mudhoney play at Red Rocks in Colorado.
As we dated and then moved in together and then eventually
got married and now are starting to have kids, every new
Sonic Youth album has been a soundtrack to our lives. Of
course the lyrics resonate because it's always this 'art-rockers
having visions in the city' type stuff. Songs about life,
y'know: the great natural beauty seen on travels, songs
about the same riot girls that were hanging around in my
town, Thurston singing about his daughter and what it's
like to be a father.
And of course the music
has always resonated; dreamy odes to love and vice versa,
played on loud guitars. I'm interested, y'know? Washing
Machine and A Thousand Leaves have hot shit
all over them. But yes, they have mellowed; on Dirty,
the album which was dismissed for being some sort of failed
attempt to rush the MTV grunge crown, the guitar playing
is absolutely hellzapoppin compared to that of Murray
Street. Both axes constantly judder and whelp the songs
into all kinds of crazy breaks and morphing arrangements.
On Dirty they made two guitars sound like three,
but on Murray they make three sound like two. I
thought O’Rourke was going to make it blow up a little
more – apparently he was good live on their recent
tour – but listening to this, I'm not feelin' him
(or even really finding him, for that matter).
So yeah, it's
not a mind-blower or anything. But still, even as it's playing
right now, it's growing on me, becoming yet another installment
in the soundtrack of my life. I'm still not feelin' track
one, which I kind of forget as its playing, but on track
two ("Disconnection Notice") there's a raw soulful
verse hook sung by Thurston that gets to me. His singing
continues in the same downbeat soul tenor for the next track,
the more triumphant "Rain on Tin," as the guitar
orchestration starts to blossom a bit during some extended
rundowns, and then track four is “Karen Revisited,”
a fairly epic centerpiece that starts as a wistful Lee Ranaldo
number but ends as a long harsh moonscape instrumental that
sets a really nice mid-album tone. The next song, "Radical
Adults Lick Godhead Style," rides the tone out, the
song itself not memorable except for a novel break by the
sax players from Borbetomagus. ("On their new album,
Sonic Youth turn Borbetomagus into an effect," someone
wrote somewhere.) Then Kim Gordon takes the album home with
two keepers, "Plastic Sun," one of her bouncy
rants with good sci-fi lyrics, and the nine-minute album
closer "Sympathy For The Strawberry," one of her
best songs period, a long slow epic ballad that somehow
stays sassy, moody, and happy throughout. I still think
Experimental, Jet Set, Trash & No Star is their
most unreasonably overlooked post-Daydream Nation
album, and I've already had it and Dirty out more
than Murray Street, but I'll keep M.S. around.
I can't help it, they're the band I've grown up with.
CITY GIRLS: Flute And Mask CD (ABDUCTION)
have to say, I really thought this album would be slightly
weak. Or, shall we say, expendable. Especially after like
10 Carnival Folklore Resurrection albums. I mean, come on,
you know this whole album is just gonna be them plunking
along on a gamelan, right, as if some guys from Arizona
know how to play a Balinese gamelan. I may have paid $12.50
for this at the show, but I knew that the second I heard
gamelan I was just gonna take it off the stereo, boom, like
Well shit, I never
did take it off, because this is a damn good album! First
track is an epic 18-minute number with NO gamelan but instead
a tightly coiled and very long snake charmer incantation
a la "The Venerable Song." Some of their very
best vocal summonizing yet. I never thought I'd say this
about the Bishops' duelling babylon babble style, but they
are actually finding new things to talk about. I wish I
could hear a recording of the duo rant they ripped out at
their 2002 Chicago show (their previous Chicago show was
in 1990, you can hear it on side two of Kaliflower).
They were speaking a lot more English at that one, Alan
for example talking about some obscure pro baseball players,
mentioning that "The Cubs got Dusty Baker, I can't
believe it," which had been announced on the evening
news that night. It made sense because he was wearing a
baseball cap (sideways) and a baseball jersey (that said
"Psychopath"). Other rants from Alan included
something about a website called "1-800-dot-fuck you-dot-fuck",
a brief call for "PUERTO RICAN POWER!!!", and
a long general apotheotic rant that went something like
"Fuckin' blow 'em all up! Destroy 'em all! Fuckin'
take it all down you fuckin'.... Blow 'em all fuckin' down
you motherfuckin' cocksuck! [etc.] There's no happiness
in surfin' the fuckin' internet! There's no happiness in
a thirty year mortgage!" Brother Rick's ranting was
pretty outrageous too, but it tended to be a little quieter
and less linguistically specific. Which is what the ranting
on this song is like.
Alright, track two,
"I saw a cigarette breathing so I smoked it,"
has gamelan, but they earned the right with that first track.
And, it is well played, and only five or six minutes. Still
not really my thing, I've heard enough SCG gamelan. I wanna
hear them play guitars, basically. Track three is like a
new and ACTUALLY VERY IMPROVED version of "Burial In
The Sky," now called "Lord Brown of Due South."
More gamelan on track four, "Balcony Sampoerna."
Next track, "Lord White of the North," is titled
like a companion piece/sequel to "Lord Brown of Due
South," and it does continue skyward. (There's violin
on both these cuts but no Eyvind Kang credit....) Finally,
we close with "Dukun Olympic Theater," another
long 'un, and a continuation of the first track, with lots
of improv scatter and esperantish chatter. More violin too.
I'll admit, by the time this track finishes it's starting
to sound a little inessential in light of all the CFR stuff
and whatnot. Still, another good album. If you're like me,
you want 'em all.
AS FUCK: UVA/UVB double 3" CDR (VANISHING RECORDS)
clear double-CD jewel case package on this one! Their other
CD had an awesome cover too (pictured below), but when I
heard it, it felt a little tossed-off, like just another
jammy psych-noise trio or whatever "improvising"
another 48 to 64 minute record. I love these guys but that's
what it sounded like. This release sounds much more focused.
Here, they're definitely onto something somewhere beyond
mere improvisation. TAF is from Nashville, and made up of
2/3 of the New Faggot Cunts. UVA was described,
by TAF's only non-NFC member Josh, as scary, and I can see
what he means. Scary in that deep psychedelic Charalambides
way. UVB is 14-odd minutes of complete and utter silence,
which means it's either an art concept or broken. Either
way, according to the credits it was at least "recorded,"
by Spencer Yeh, no less. THIS JUST IN: "Don't know
if this is going to Dolman, but the reason that Disc 2 of
Tan as Fuck CD "UVB" is "14 minutes of silence"
is that it's a DVD. Maybe they didn't make that explicit
in the packaging. Spencer Yeh did record it, on a
digital video camera. It's got a pretty cool video. No arty
conceit, just no labeling to tell you that's what it was.
Hope that helps." WOOPS!
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