Monday, February 26, 2007


The new Stooges album, that is. It's a cross between Raw Power and one of the harder/noisier Iggy solo albums (Instinct or Beat 'Em Up). Lyrically, it's pure solo Ig, and musically, they seem so desperate to prove themselves still relevant/badass that they've dumped one of their greatest strengths: their ability to lay down a mechanistic pile-driver of a riff until your skull imploded. Everything here is hard 'n' fast, and shorter than it needs to be - the Stooges were never about two-minute songs. And Albini's usual drum sound just doesn't work for Scott Asheton, sorry. Chalk this one up as a disappointment (somewhat inevitable - they're just not the guys they were, period) and hope they don't pad the set too strongly with new ones when they tour this year. Glad I saw 'em in '05, back before they even started writing this material. Even then, the two songs they did from Iggy's Skull Ring CD (the title track and "Little Electric Chair," IIRC) were total momentum-killers.

Friday, February 23, 2007


From the "Seismic Live Performances" article:

Carnegie Hall
New York, USA 2003
I worked alone in a big, echoey warehouse back in the early 1990s, when Beauty Is A Rare Thing, the six CD box of Ornette Coleman's Atlantic recordings, was released. I used to play all the discs that didn't contain the two versions of "Free Jazz" constantly, bopping around to the convulsively swinging rhythms of bassist Charlie Haden and drummers Ed Blackwell and Billy Higgins and marvelling at the way Ornette and Don Cherry seemed to anticipate what each other would draw out of a given tune, even as I had absolutely no idea what they'd play next. But it wasn't until the 2003 JVC Jazz Festival a decade later when I finally got to check him out in person.
My seats were in the first balcony, looking down on stage and audience from a dizzying angle; I could see just how much hair Ornette had lost off the top over the years. Fortunately, I could also hear that he hadn't lost a step since 1959, and was in fact blowing at full strength. My first impression was that he was playing music very similar to John Zorn's manic, double rhythm section tribute to him, Spy Vs. Spy. Each piece was in the inimitable Ornette style, with a singsongy, blues based melody that almost immediately served as the launching pad for a solo of illusory wildness, while the group (dual bassists Greg Cohen and Tony Falanga plucking and bowing respectively, and drummer son Denardo hammering away) kept the whole thing churning at top speed and with unflagging intensity. None of the pieces seemed to reach the five minute mark; each one felt like a starter's pistol had been fired to initiate it, and each stopped on a dime, leaving the audience breathless but Ornette as calm and genial as ever. They were hitting like an arty hardcore group; I was reminded more of Wire or Bad Brains than any jazz group. There were no encores, just an hour of melodic improvisation, airtight and polished to diamond hardness. It was one of the greatest things I've ever seen or heard.

And from the record reviews section:

Leave Me In The Black No-Thing
Chants From Isolated Ghosts
Oh, the perils of choosing the wrong name for your act. The Opalio brothers, Maurizio and Roberto, have been pumping out product at a dysentery-like pace for years, but the sheer silliness of their moniker has just gotta be keeping virtual seas of potential admirers at bay. This latest effort, featuring two tracks in just under an hour, is one of the finest spacerock (though it never exactly "rocks") discs I've heard for a long time. The first half of this album-length piece begins with delicately dissonant guitar skinng that promises heaviness in exactly the way Thurston Moore (a previous MCIAA collaborator) and Caspar Brötzmann have done many times in the past, electronic crunches and something that sounds like a clown moaning through a slide whistle soon enter the mix. It all seems to be getting spacey and Ambient, until the drums come in. They're tribal - not hippy tribal, but like some free jazz drummer attempting to imply tribalism by hitting one tom over and over while going crazy on the cymbals. This continues for a long time. When it stops, more guitar comes in, this time a cross between Keiji Haino's mellower work (think Affection) and Jandek. The second half of the piece is more of the same, only less wacky - the slide whistle is absent, and the electronics hiss like solar winds trying to enter cracks in your shuttle. It's a little less human than before, as though the machines have taken over and are running on autopilot as the brothers head to the fridge for snacks.
Roberto's solo EP, Chants From Isolated Ghosts, begins with five minutes of slowly rising and then descending hiss 'n' hum, accompanied by finger cymbals or some similar small bell-like object. The other three tracks range from seven to 14 minutes long, the whole thing running just over half the length of the MCIAA disc, and it manages to carry just about the same psychic weight, which is to say not much at all. Like most spacerock, this music wafts your brain along with it on its journey, but when you're deposited back in your skull afterward, memories of what transpired are few indeed. It's fun while it lasts, but that's about all.


"My Best Friend Is A Dancer"
from Losing Tones, Collecting Bones (Rune Grammofon)

There’s not much that can be done with the piano trio format anymore—excuse me while I yawn in the general direction of the Bad Plus and Brad Mehldau. So Norwegian jazz three-piece In The Country stretches as much as possible, leader Morten Qvenild switching from grand piano to celesta, harmonium and Hammond organ throughout their CD; while Pål Husken plays vibraphone and glockenspiel in addition to his drum kit. [Read the rest here.]

Friday, February 16, 2007


Friday morning 25 (it was a long train ride):

Ghostface Killah, "Shakey Dog"
Ghostface Killah, "The Grain"
Ghostface Killah, "Buck 50"
Ghostface Killah, "Grew Up Hard (Feat. Trife Da God & Solomon Childs)"
Ghostface Killah, "Tooken Back (Feat. Jackie-O)"
Ghostface Killah, "Late Night Arrival (Feat. Trife & Wigs)"
Ghostface Killah, "Marvel"
Ghostface Killah, "Box In Hand"
Ghostface Killah, "Stroke Of Death"
Ghostface Killah, "Run (Feat. Jadakiss)"
Ghostface Killah, "Kilo (Feat. Raekwon)"
Ghostface Killah, "Out The Way (Feat. Wigs)"
Ghostface Killah, "After The Smoke Is Clear"
Ghostface Killah, "Ghost Is Back"
Ghostface Killah, "Outta Town Shit"
Ghostface Killah, "Dogs Of War (Feat. Raekwon & Theodore Unit"
Ghostface Killah, "Jellyfish (Feat. Theodore Unit)"
Ghostface Killah, "Daytona 500"
Ghostface Killah, "Nutmeg"
Ghostface Killah, "Back Like That Remix (Feat. Kanye West & Ne-Yo)"
Ghostface Killah, "Pokerface (Feat. Shawn Wigs)"
Ghostface Killah, "Kunta Fly Shit"
Ghostface Killah, "Camay"
Ghostface Killah, "Greedy Bitches (Feat. Redman & Shawn Wigs)"
Ghostface Killah, "Underwater"

Tuesday, February 13, 2007


"Never Bet The Devil Your Head"
from Dead Child (Cold Sweat)

Who wasn't suspicious of Early Man? They couldn’t possibly be any damn good: they were on Matador, after all, and Matador hadn’t put out a listenable record since Unsane’s debut in 1989. But Closing In turned out to be one of the year’s better metal releases. So, no wonder David Pajo of Slint and some other indie-rock bands I’ve never wasted my time listening to decided to shamelessly ape their sound with his own metal project, Dead Child. [Read the rest here.]

15 FOR 2/13

Pre-Valentine's Day Morning 15:

Pat Benatar, "Promises In The Dark"
Charles Mingus, "The Clown"
Napalm Death, "Shattered Existence"
Judas Priest, "Dissident Aggressor"
Judas Priest, "Delivering The Goods"
Clifford Thornton, "Kevin (The Theme)"
Photek, "Halogen"
Alice In Chains, "Got Me Wrong"
Carlos Santana/Wayne Shorter, "Blues For Salvador"
Godflesh, "Like Rats"
Jeff Beck, "Rice Pudding"
Bobby Hutcherson, "Dialogue"
Eyehategod, "Masters Of Legalized Confusion"
Steely Dan, "Midnite Cruiser"
The Pogues, "Turkish Song Of The Damned"

Monday, February 12, 2007


"It was such a crazy thing, to go out of the basement and play Carnegie Hall," recalls Sir Lord Baltimore drummer-vocalist John Garner. "Where does that happen? We were in the fast lane all the way down. . . . I believe that had the element of drugs not been in the picture, we'd be a household name today."

In some households (especially those where drugs are still in the picture), they still are. The Brooklyn band put a uniquely East Coast spin on the late-'60s/early-'70s power-trio sound, combining Cream's instrumental overdrive with Grand Funk Railroad's raw power. It all started when Garner invited his high school acquaintances Louis Dambra (guitar) and Gary Justin (bass) to jam. After about a week, Garner recalls, "I saw an ad in the Voice that said, 'Heavy band needed to record album.' That was it. We put about 10 riffs together, some crazy avant-garde singing and a few beats here and there, and we went down to audition." [Read the rest here.]

Thursday, February 08, 2007


I have a bunch of CDs for sale. They all come from my personal collection. Some are out of print, many are moderately rare and/or obscure. All are in excellent to mint condition; I take care of my stuff.

To see the list, click here, a page you're welcome to bookmark and revisit. Who knows? I might add more stuff later.


The iPod was feeling proggy this morning:

Hawkwind, "The Psychedelic Warlords (Disappear In Smoke)"
Les Rallizes Denudes, "夜の収穫者たち"
Brutal Truth, "Soft Mind"
Last Exit, "Iron Path"
Yes, "The Remembering - High The Memory"
Shiny Toy Guns, "We Are Pilots"
James Brown, "Get Up, Get Into It, Get Involved (Finale)"
Yes, "We Have Heaven"
Napalm Death, "Right You Are"
Miles Davis, "Country Son"
Fushitsusha, "Untitled"
Robert Plant, "Skip's Song"
Steely Dan, "My Rival"

Wednesday, February 07, 2007


Audionom are a currently defunct band from Stockholm who projected films while performing, which probably added a great deal to their generally pummeling, Kraut-trance-like songs. The CD from which “Kein Bock” is culled is a compilation of cuts from 1999 to 2002, and thus runs something of a stylistic gamut, though a few elements are constant: repetition, volume, drone and repetition. [Read the rest here.]


As every good music nerd already knows, the '06 Voice critics' poll is out. Even more exciting (if you're me, not so much if you're anybody but me), I am namechecked in Simon Reynolds' essay. Hah! Fame and glory are surely mine own!

My ballot is here. And the post where I called out Simon and Matos for being too lazy/shut-in to recognize the musical awesomeness all around them (mostly in metal, though I mention Calle 13 and Pitbull, too) in '06 is here.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007


If you were as brain-raped by his Super Bowl performance as I was, you need to do what I did and get someone more obsessed with the little guy than you are to send you a copy of The Undertaker. It's a bootleg, half studio and half live. The live stuff is hot, including a great version of Stevie Wonder's "Maybe Your Baby," but it's kinda poorly recorded. The studio half of the disc, which comes up first, is the revelation. See, what was so great about the Super Bowl show was that all you could hear was the guitar and the drums, and The Undertaker is Prince in power trio mode - guitar, bass, drums, end of story. And he's tearing it up. The first song, "The Ride," is 11 minutes long, and the title cut is nearly 10. There's a cover of "Honky Tonk Women" on here that, in terms of joyful demolition of the original, is somewhere between Eddie Hazel's take on "California Dreamin'" and Neil Young's version of "On Broadway" from Eldorado. "The Ride" is like the Band of Gypsys rhythm section playing for narcoleptic strippers while Prince feeds his guitar into a wood chipper on top. If this and the Black Album are any indication, Prince hasn't been right about what to release vs. what to shelve since Sign 'O' The Times. He should have forced the label to release this as a full-on album, if as the story linked above asserts they wouldn't let him give it away to Guitar Player. Critics would have shit gold Twinkies.


The Strokes, "What Ever Happened" (1)
Isis, "Gentle Time"
Roky Erickson, "White Faces"
Sly & The Family Stone, "You Can Make It If You Try"
The Stooges, "T.V. Eye" (2)
Little Richard, "Miss Ann"
Alarm Will Sound, "Prep Gwarlek 3B"
Larry Young, "Evening"
ZZ Top, "Dust My Broom" (3)
The Mars Volta, "Haruspex" (4)
Chief Commander Ebenezer Obey And His Inter-Reformers Band, "Eyi Yato/Elere Ni Wa" (5)
Grateful Dead, "The Eleven" (6)

1. This is the only Strokes song on my iPod; it's from the Marie Antoinette soundtrack.
2. This is the version where Iggy pretends to be a Detroit wrestling announcer before the song starts, and even if you cut that part off it's just an unbelievably over-amped version; it's hard for me to believe it wasn't the one chosen for the album, given the sheer ferocity of the guitar soloing. An utterly breathtaking piece of music.
3. It continues to horrify me that Degüello is out of print in the U.S. What the fuck is up with that?
4. I bought ScabDates the week it was released, because I'd seen the Mars Volta deliver a totally mind-roasting set at the Roseland in May '05; they were like a combination of Miles Davis's Agharta band, Afrika 70, and the Santana band from Lotus. But something went horribly, horribly wrong between the actual live performances the band is more than capable of delivering and the compiling of ScabDates, because it's a terrible album. They really should release the Roseland show as a 2CD set (as I recall, it was slightly under three hours of music). I wonder if there's a bootleg...
5. This is a ridiculously addictive 11-minute slab of Afro-funk, that starts off with a sort of droning noise I can't exactly identify, but it reminds me a whole lot of Aretha Franklin's equally addictive "Rock Steady." It's the first track on Lagos All Routes, one of a pair of killer compilations put out not long ago by Honest Jons/Astralwerks. The other one's called Lagos Chop Up. Go get 'em both.
6. The version from Live/Dead.

Saturday, February 03, 2007


"Between The Smoke And Mirrors"
from A Burning Light (Deep Send)

What to say about one more post-metal album with a late 2006 release date? Especially when one has only pitched the review with the self-imposed restriction that the big names of indie post-metal must at all costs not be called out by name or cited as referents? Well, here goes: the Autumn Project’s "A Burning Light" is pleasingly sugary, with loads of flow but not much ebb—once it gets going, it only builds, never receding until the very end and that’s more like a waterfall than a draining away. [Read the rest here.]

Thursday, February 01, 2007


Dir En Grey filled the token “foreign-language weirdos” slot — former home of Rammstein — on last year’s Family Values Tour. A Japanese band affiliated with the glam-like “visual-kei” movement in their homeland, they started out dressing like something out of a William Gibson novel, with anti-gravity hair, make-up reminiscent of the late-’80s act E-Z-O, and androgynous, mostly black clothes. [Read the rest here.]