23 January, 2012

January 2012

Welcome back! Sorry for the lack of updates, but things like buying a house and starting a record label have consumed most of my free time for the past few months. Such is life. I figured the beginning of a new year would be a great time to start up again, and what better chance to start with a list of my 25 favorite records (and 10 favorite EPs) from 2011. This was a great year for music; I probably could have done a top 50 without even batting an eye. As it was, narrowing down my favorites to 25 was not an easy task. Full disclosure: had I not release the Psychic Teens LP myself it would have made the top 10, but that just felt weird. That being said, here is what I came up with:

Top 25 of 2011:
1) Royal Headache - Royal Headache
2) Fucked Up - David Comes to Life
3) Iceage - New Brigade
4) The UV Race - Homo
5) Times New Viking - Dancer Equired
6) Comet Gain - Howl of the Lonely Crowd
7) Total Control - Henge Beat
8) P.G. Six - Starry Mind
9) Puerto Rico Flowers - 7
10) Master Musicians of Bukkake - Totem Three
11) Bobb Trimble - Crippled Dog Band
12) EMA - Past Life Martyred Saints
13) The Bats - Free All the Monsters
14) Yuck - Yuck
15) Balaclavas - Snake People
16) Wild Flag - Wild Flag
17) Psychic Paramount - II
18) White Hills - H-P1
19) Grouper - A I A (Alien Observer/Dream Loss)
20) Water Borders - Harbored Mantras
21) Marissa Nadler - Marissa Nadler
22) True Widow - As High as the Highest Heavens and from the Center to the Circumference of the Earth
23) Skull Defekts/Dan Higgs - Peer Amid
24) Charalambides - Exile
25) Glands of External Secretion - Reverse Atheism

Top 10 EPs of 2011:
1) Andy Stott - Passed Me By
2) Andy Stott - We Stay Together
3) Leather - Wretch
4) //Tense// - Escape
5) James Blackshaw - Holly
6) Factory Floor - Two Different Ways
7) Lower Dens - Batman/Dear Betty Baby
8) Circle Pit - Slave/Honey
9) Population - Population
10) Esben and the Witch - Hexagons

There you have it! But really, what you’re here for is the associated “selection of great songs from 2011” mix, right? So without further ado:

January 2012 Mix

  1. Bobb Trimble – Live Wire (The Crippled Dog Band, 2011)
    Prior to this record, Bobb had released two fantastic solo records, to little notice. Then in 1983 he invited a group of teenage boys to tour with him (The Crippled Dog Band), and they ended up making this record together. The story goes that the band split abruptly and a discouraged Trimble threw out all 500 of the original LPs in an office park dumpster. Generally I don’t include reissues on my lists, however given the story behind this one, and the lack of actual proof that this record was ever previously pressed, this one gets a pass.

  2. P.G. Six – Talk Me Down (Starry Mind, 2011)
    You know your one uncle who really likes scotch, hasn’t bought a record since the last CCR LP, and loves his historic car that never leaves the garage? Buy him a copy of this record. When he buys you a bottle of scotch as a thank you, give it to me.

  3. Circle Pit – Honey (Slave/Honey 7”, 2011)
    Remember this band from last year? I loved last year’s LP, however this 7” sounds nothing that. There seemed to be a bit of backlash against this record, but I can’t help loving these songs. “Honey” doesn’t even have a guitar track, but if it doesn’t get caught in your head for at least a week then there’s something wrong with you.

  4. Comet Gain – The Weekend Dreams (The Howl of the Lonely Crowd, 2011)
    Comet Gain has put out some good records in the past, but this puts them all to shame. Hell this might be the best indie pop/twee record since the second Wedding Present LP. I tried to go see this band a while back, but the jerk in front of me bought the last ticket. Maybe I’m the jerk for not picking up a ticket in advance? Here’s to my weekend dreams of the Comet Gain 2012 world tour.

  5. The Bats – Free All the Monsters (Free All the Monsters, 2011)
    The Bats are in my top 5 favorite New Zealand acts of all time. This year marks their 20th anniversary as a band (c’mon anniversary tour), which makes it even more incredible that Free All the Monsters is such a solid effort. Go get this record, and then their first LP, Daddy’s Highway, which has also just been reissued.

  6. Royal Headache – Honey Joy (Royal Headache, 2011)
    This was far and away my favorite record of 2011. This album is so full of hits it was damn near impossible to narrow down. After repeated listens (many, many repeated listens), it seems that “Honey Joy” remains my favorite, although “Psychotic Episode” or “Really in Love” could easily have made the cut. They should be touring the US in late spring/early summer, and from what I’ve heard that’s not to be missed.

  7. Times New Viking – Ways to Go (Dancer Equired, 2011)
    Yeah I know, I put a track from this record back on May’s mix. But you know what, I think I put the wrong track on May’s mix, so I am making up for my mistake. I will see this band every time they come to town with zero regrets.

  8. Total Control – One More Tonight (Henge Beat, 2011)
    If you’ve been keeping track, this is our third track from Australia (after Royal Headache and Circle Pit). Total Control features member of other Australian bands, but that’s barely worth mentioning as Henge Beat stands on it’s own artistic merit. The LP alternates between their earlier electronic-tinged experiments and their live rock show; this track showcases the later.

  9. True Widow – Skull Eyes (As High as the Highest Heavens and from the Center to the Circumference of the Earth, 2011)
    True Widow takes the cake for longest album title of 2011, to the point where it’s almost comical. Imagine a heavier, more effect laden Codeine, with female vox, and you’re pretty much there. Great record for the winter months.

  10. Fucked Up – Truth I Know (David Comes to Life, 2011)
    I was so sure that this was going to be my favorite record of 2011, that had you asked me in June I would have told you nothing would beat it. That was before Royal Headache. Sorry F’ed Up, you’ll have to settle for second place, which is still admirable.

  11. Leather – Idolator (Wretch, 2011)
    Favorite current hardcore band from Philadelphia. They’ve released 3 7”s to date, and they are all winners. The LP that could have been made by all of those tracks would have been unstoppable. I already can’t wait for their next release.

  12. Balaclavas – Down and Loose (Snake People, 2011)
    I ranted about this band in 2010’s best of mix. Then they release an LP that was even better than last year - Snake People. What I said last year about the earlier EPs is also not true, re-listens to them have been extremely rewarding. Playing Philadelphia in March somewhere, possibly with a new 12”.

  13. Puerto Rico Flowers – Keep Me Around (7, 2011)
    Sharkey’s definitely honed his art of writing moody goth songs with this LP. I can’t get enough of it. I wish there were at least 3 more PRF LPs in the can, but sadly I think the most we can hope for is a final 12”. I guess it is better to burn out than fade away.

  14. //Tense// – Disconnect Myself (Escape, 2011)
    I never thought that in 2011 I’d fall in love with a band from Houston that should have been out on Wax Trax in the early 80’s. This whole EP just makes me want to stomp someone in the face, but in time with the music. And while wearing some black eyeliner. They have another LP coming out in 2012, and if it’s anything like this you’ll see it on next year’s list.

  15. Grouper – Alien Observer (A I A : Alien Observer, 2011)
    There was really no good place to put a Grouper track on this mix, so I figured I’d just give you some breathing room after that last ripper. She pulled the old “release two LPs at the same time that are really one work” move on us, so I grouped them together for list purposes above. In my opinion, Alien Observer is a head above Dream Loss, but they are both worthy works from an artist who hasn’t let down yet.

  16. Water Borders – Even in the Dark (Harbored Mantras, 2011)
    This is one of the first records to come out of the “witch house” scene that I’ve really fallen in love with. A good part of it is that they went out on a slightly different musical branch, and ended up sounding more like Coil than anything else. I love Coil, so no complaints here.

  17. Andy Stott – Submission (We Stay Together EP, 2011)
    Andy Stott’s another one with two releases on my year end list, in fact taking #1 and #2 on the EP list. Both of these works are pretty similar aesthetically, but at the same time totally unique. I included the opener to the We Stay Together EP, and I think if you can find something to like in this track it should provide a gateway to the rest of these releases. It’s also worth noting that he’s label mates with Demdike Stare – which if you dig Stott, you need to check out as well.

I will continue to post mixes, but don’t expect them monthly. If you’re lucky, there’ll be about a month and a half between them, but don’t hold me to that!

02 August, 2011

August 2011

Here we go again, and this time just by the skin of my teeth. I think I made up for the lack of new music last month – even a lot of the older stuff I’ve included here has been reissue recently. In other news: I don’t know if I’ll be able to make a mix next month. You’ll get another one, in due time, but time is short and I’d rather put out a quality mix than scramble to throw something together just because I fell obligated too. We’ll see how everything works out, but consider this a fair warning for when the update doesn’t come on 9/2/2011.

August 2011 Mix

  1. Starfuckers – Shake Off (Metallic Diseases, 1990)
    Not to be confused with some new band named Starfucker, Starfuckers themselves were an Italian group who put out too few records. They leaned towards a more avant/prog sound as the years progress, but their first LP Metallic Disease has more in common with Sonic Youth than anything else.

  2. White Russia – Well Do You (German Punk and Wave 78-84, Volume 1, 2011)
    The German Punk and Wave boxset is a 5-LP set released on the Vinyl-on-Demand label out of Germany, who primarily releases box sets of rare tape recordings. The whole box comprises 11 bands, but by far I think White Russia is my favorite. More punk than wave, they remind me of a slightly more garage-based early wire. Their records that I’ve managed to track down are all pretty great as well, so check ‘em out.

  3. Dead Moon – It’s O.K. (Alive in the Unknown, 2002)
    It’s hard to pick a favorite Dead Moon track. My favorite track has definitely changed throughout the years, encompassing tracks like Dead Moon Night, Fire in the Western World, 54/40 or Fight, etc. Right now this one takes the cake – this version is from a live record in 2002, it was first released on the Crack in the System record from ’94. Their first three LPs just got repressed in July, so go pick them up before they’re out of print (again)!

  4. Milk Music – I’ve Got a Wild Feeling (Live on WFMU, 2011)
    Milk Music takes the honor of being the first band to warrant a second inclusion on a mix. I saw them two months ago, and hearing this (new) song floored me. I couldn’t wait to hear it again, and thankfully they recorded it during a live session for WFMU a few days later. It’s an instant classic, and the whole session rips.

  5. Sebadoh – Magnet’s Coil (Bakesale, 1994)
    For a long time I was kind of anti-Sebadoh. I always looked down my sleeve at Lou’s Dino Jr. tracks, and thought Bakesale was OK at best and the rest of the records shouldn’t exist. It’s a slow climb, but I’m finally coming around. Bakesale is truly a great record from start to finish, even if everything else is sub-par. At this rate, Sebadoh might be my favorite band when I’m 50.

  6. Liliput – Die Matrosen (Die Matrosen, 1980)
    Liliput started out as a band called Kleenex, and it took them less than a year and maybe two singles and an EP to get that cease and desist letter. They changed their name to Liliput and managed to get out two full lengths before disbanding in ‘83. This song makes me really wish I knew how to whistle.

  7. Brilliant Colors – Cult Face (Again and Again, 2011)
    I got a lot of mileage out of Brilliant Colors first LP, Introducing. After the first couple of listens through Again and Again, I think it’s a stronger record as a whole. They’ve definitely grown since 2009, and added a little more pop to this release, but it’s great just the same.

  8. Go Sailor – Fine Day for Sailing (Fine Day for Sailing, 1995)
    Go Sailor is fronted by Rose Melberg, of Tiger Trap and the Softies, plus the bassist from Crimpshine and the drummer from Henry’s Dress. They only released a few singles in the mid-90’s, which have thankfully been collected on a compilation you can get through Slumberland. As they never released a proper LP there was no room for error, so the singles all sound really focused and well written.

  9. Scrawl – Charles (Smallmouth, 1990)
    Our Ohio band of the month comes from Columbus. Scrawl was a band that was always in the background, doing their own thing, but still managed in their own way to help shape indie rock in the early 90’s. They toured with all the big names, but aren’t remembered quite as fondly. Such is life I suppose.

  10. The Pin Group – Ambivalence (Go to Town, 1982)
    This track was originally on a 7” that had the honor of being Flying Nun release #1. This is the re-recorded version from their 12” that came out a year later. The band was fronted by Roy Montgomery, whose solo discography holds its own merits.

  11. Pure X – Easy (Pleasure, 2011)
    I really like this song, but I also have some reservations. The first like 2.5 minutes are great, another lo-fi pop jam that has a bit of a spacemen 3 feel (just a bit). After that, the song changes pace for the remainder, they slow it down a little but still keep the same feeling. It’s interesting, but at the same time I feel like the second half could have been developed into another song, instead it just sounds like an afterthought tacked on the end.

  12. Brian Eno – St. Elmo’s Fire (Another Green World, 1975)
    This would probably be one of my desert island discs if I was forced to choose. By far it’s the Eno release I listen to the most, and I’ve made it through most of his catalogue (yes seriously) and own the ten-LP box set that collects his first 10 records. Yet still, I continually pull this record out of the box, while the rest remain. Go buy this record right now if you don’t have it already.

  13. John Maus – Cop Killer (We Must Become the Pitiless Censors of Ourselves, 2011)
    This is a likely contender for the mellowest song about killing cops. It’s also by far the stand-out track off this record, and not only for the lyrics. If you listen to the record front to back, I feel like this is where he hits his stride, and then tapers off from there. I would stay away from the earlier recordings though, unless you really want to hear some embarrassingly cheesy tracks.

  14. Suede – Heroine (Dog Man Star, 1994)
    For years I never went past the first Suede record. The day I finally put on Dog Man Star, I was bummed I hadn’t done it sooner. It’s much darker and more emotional than the self-titled, and nowhere near as wannabe-commercial as the later records. In a way, it’s like their Pinkerton – a fully realized, emotional, rollercoaster ride through Brett Anderson’s psyche, but one that failed commercially, causing the band to attempt to increase their commercial appeal. It really is their record, and it’s a shame that wasn’t realized at the time.

  15. Eleanor Friedberger – Owl’s Head Park (Last Summer, 2011)
    I am not a huge fiery furnaces fan. I’ve tried, and I feel like I should really like them. I really liked Blueberry Boat, and then they went and put out a record that was like half spoken word and totally lost me. Eleanor’s solo record removes every reservation I’ve had regarding her band. It’s a blissful pop record, matched with a certain amount of minimalism that manages to steer it clear of some of her band’s follies.

  16. Marissa Nadler – In a Magazine (Marissa Nadler, 2011)
    I’ve spent a lot of time with Marissa Nadler’s records. This is her fifth, and her best, which is a bit surprising because her last record was a bit of dud. I think that she felt the same way, because shortly after it’s release she gave up dealing with record labels, so this is a self-titled, self-released record. And it more than makes up for the last one, so hopefully she can keep it up!

  17. EMA – Redstar (Past Life Martyred Saints, 2011)
    EMA stands for Erika M Anderson, formerly of the band Gowns and a sometimes-member of Amps for Christ. Her first solo LP is, in one word, stunning. Her voice is fantastic and carries you through the record, which ranges from Patti Smith-esque ragers to the quite, introspective numbers – both of which she can manage skillfully. I can’t say enough good things about it, and have to give a shout out to my friend Scott for giving me the heads up on this one.

  18. Noveller – Kites Calm Desert Fires (Desert Fires, 2010)
    I saw Noveller open for the Jesus Lizard, of all bands, and I paid no attention to her that night. Frankly it was definitely the wrong venue/show for her to play, but I’m kind of sad I didn’t pay more attention. I’ve listened to her records a few times, and they are great nighttime records, but they require a certain amount of attention that just can’t be given when you’re waiting for the Lizard to take the stage.

  19. Natural Snow Buildings – Black Holes (The Centauri Agent, 2010)
    A fitting closer is what Natural Snow Buildings do best. This French duo has released a plethora of tapes over the past few years, but this release was mp3-only and put up for free. This is one of their shorter tracks, at four and a half minutes and it can’t keep up with their side-long (remember you can get 45 minutes on one side of same tapes!) experiments.

02 July, 2011

July 2011

This month is a bit slight on the new music front, so if that’s what you are more interested in go check out last month’s mix (or just put David Comes to Life on repeat). In lieu of a helping of new songs, I managed to pull together a bunch of really classic tracks. There are some timeless numbers here, the kind of tracks I’ll play for my grandkids and they’ll think I’m crazy or deaf. I still have most of my hearing, but the sanity issue is always up for debate. Enjoy!

July 2011 Mix

  1. The Mekons – Hello Cruel World (The Edge of the World, 1986)
    What an opener; to clarify, I mean opener to this record more so than this mix. I think this record is a good place to start in the vast Mekons catalogue because it includes a large variety of styles they dabble in throughout their career. Even this track tackles a lot: you can hear the post punk leanings in that plodding drum beat, but then the accordion comes in overpowers everything. I will take this opportunity to say it: there are no bad Mekons records.

  2. The Bilders – Baby Cum Bak (Split Seconds, 1984)
    Yet another New Zeland band, this one led by Bill Direen. The Bilders are one of the classic NZ bands that I feel never seem to get appreciated. In fact, their first LP was one of the first full lengths released on Flying Nun; however, Flying Nun passed on this record (their second) because of a lack in improved recording quality.

  3. Come – Yr Reign (Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, 1994)
    Initially, I wasn’t a huge Come fan. Something about them had me coming back and before long I was totally hooked. Thalia Zedek’s vocals do take a little getting used to, but they are so perfectly suited to the music that it will eventually get you. Their career owes a huge debt to the Birthday Party, and hopefully Nick Cave doesn’t ever come knocking.

  4. Big Dipper – She’s Fetching (Heavens, 1987)
    Guys from Volcano Suns and The Embarrassment get together to form a band that sounds like college radio from the late 80s. See also: power pop, jangle pop, The Feelies, Big Star. I wish I could stop singing this song to myself.

  5. Woods – Blood Dries Darker (At Echo Lake, 2010)
    Woods just released a new record last month, but this song is better than all the tracks on it. I have a real soft spot for this band, and I totally blame it on the vocals. Lots of reverb, yes, but he can actually sing as well!

  6. The Pastels – Yoga (Mobile Safari, 1994)
    Early Pastels records = meh. Then they had a resurgence in the mid-90’s, centering around this record, and really managed to pull it together. This is probably their best song, but you wouldn’t do bad to listen to all of Mobile Safari; beyond that, Illuminati is worth a listen. Then stop.

  7. Dolly Mixture – Dream Come True (Demonstration Tapes, 1984)
    I saw the Dolly Mixture documentary a little while back, all I remember from it was that Captain Sensible married one of them and that brought about the end of the band. If those early Damned records weren’t so awesome, I don’t know if I would be able to forgive the man.

  8. Ego Summit – Illogical (The Room Isn’t Big Enough, 1997)
    Ego Summit was an Ohio-based “supergroup” which featured Jim Shepard, Tommy Jay, Ron House, Don Howland and Mike Rep. These five dudes are responsible for probably about 60% of the greatest music from that state (the other 40 belongs to Pollard/Sprout camp), and this record is no exception.

  9. The Saints – (I’m) Stranded ((I’m) Stranded, 1977)
    Everything about this song is perfect – and I think the real kicker is they probably wrote it in like 5 minutes. There’s an energy present here that faded from their later records, but this remains a stone classic, almost a desert island disc.

  10. The Men – Lotus (Leave Home, 2011)
    Finally we get to a brand new song! The Men are from Brooklyn, and recently played at a local record store and got me hooked. This track is instrumental but I still think it’s the catchiest song on the record, which is tough to swallow.

  11. Swell Maps – Spitfire Parade (A Trip to Marineville, 1979)
    This song is such a freaking beautiful mess. The guitars rip at one another’s throat for the length of the track, while the rhythm section plods along in the background, almost to the beat of a different track. Had a worse band tried to write this song, it would have failed miserably, but these Birmingham chaps make it a classic.

  12. X-Ray Spex – Warrior in Woolworths (Germfree Adolescents, 1978)
    Every time I hear this song, it brings back fond memories of going to Woolworths as a child with my grandmother, and buying them out of comic books and X-Men figures. I can’t help but think that the 8-year old in me would have been totally cool with strutting around the dingy clothes racks to this track. RIP Poly Styrene, and thanks for this record.

  13. Hüsker Dü – Diane (Metal Circus, 1983)
    ‘How do we write a song guys? Well first thing we’ll need a topic. Let’s see, how about that we write a song about that horrible murder that happened in our town two years ago. Ok sure, BUT let’s write it from the point of view of the sociopathic murderer.’ I can’t even imagine how this conversation actually went, but I think I’m at least halfway there?

  14. Coïtus Int. – Dry Up Soon (Dead Excitement, 1980)
    Coïtus Int. were a bunch of Dutchmen who really liked joy division, that much is obvious. However, this EP has a little edge to it that separates it from the hundreds of wannabes and definitely kept my attention. This EP was recently reissued by a friend to you and me, good ole TS’s (see March 2011) new label bunkerpop.

  15. Psychic Teens – Red (Unreleased, 2011)
    So far, I’ve avoided including my friends’ bands from these mixes. It was an unconscious decision, and definitely not meant to slight anyone. In fact, I kind of feel bad for not doing it sooner, so I will try to make up for it in the future. The point of this babbling is this: you need to hear this band. You need to see this band. You need to love this band. I don’t say that often, especially when the personal connections are so close, but it’s the truth and you will be thanking me shortly.

  16. Psychic TV – Godstar (Allegory and Self, 1988)
    Alternate title: Genesis Breyer P-Orridge writes a pop song. To connect the dots here, I purchased this record off a member of Psychic Teens! This record is kind of a transition between their early, more avant garde styled releases into acid house (I am not making this up), and it’s mostly really weird. This song was initially intended to be the theme to a move about Brian Jones, which was obviously never made (go figure).

  17. Master Musicians of Bukkake – Failed Future (Totem Three, 2011)
    The old curve ball at the end. This is one of my favorite records to come out this year, but it’s just so out there that I had to close with it so you can hit the stop button if you want. If not, the I’ll let you know that MMoB are a collective of musicians from the pacific northwest, who maybe feature members of Earth and definitely feature members of Sun City Girls. Their recordings are a hodgepodge of musical styles, and this is their Goblin worship track. Beyond that, it’s more or less a mystery.

02 June, 2011

June 2011

There’s a part of each month that I really look forward to. It’s not trying to piece together completely unrelated tracks that span the history of rock n’ roll, because that gets can get frustrating from time to time. It’s definitely not sitting in front of a computer muttering curse words for a few hours straight while I try to line up the segues just right, or smooth out the volume levels track by agonizing track. No, really the best part of my month is the time when I sit down, listen to the final product, and finish up the background research to write this blog post (even though most I’m sure just click the link and move onto the thing). There’s something about unearthing that unknown connection between bands, learning a new fact about an old favorite, or even stumbling across a related act (that will inevitably make it on to next month’s mix). Basically, I like nerdy things, and hopefully you do too! Otherwise, I’m sorry for making you read this crap, and here’s your stupid download link:

June 2011 Mix

  1. Wet Hair – The Garden Room (In Vogue Spirit, 2011)
    Wet Hair has released a few records to date, but in my opinion you haven’t missed much if you join us at this point. The split from late last year with Naked on the Vague was the first release that piqued my interest, and this LP is leaps and bounds above their prior work. I had trouble choosing between this song and the first track as well, but this one works a little better to ease you in for this month’s journey.

  2. City Center – Modern Love (Redeemer, 2011)
    With City Center we continue the theme of bands that are aging well. The first I heard about this act was from a split with Grouper, and further research showed that their earlier work was mostly forgettable electronic tinged lo-fi. So when I saw this record was out on K Records I was a little surprised, until I gave it a spin and found that they learned to embrace their pop leanings.

  3. Eat Skull – Stick to the Formula (Wild and Inside, 2009)
    I absolutely love this song. Granted this band definitely has a decent amount of filler in their catalogue, but there are moments of pure pop brilliance straining to cut through the 4-track they most likely used to record. I am still waiting for the follow up LP, or has the moment passed?

  4. Crystal Stilts – Through the Floor (In Love with Oblivion, 2011)
    I find this band totally satisfying, mostly because (like myself) they can’t seem to figure out what they want to be from one minute to the next. Starting out as just another lo-fi jangle pop band (can’t complain), their second full-length seems to go back even further than the 90’s, perhaps even all the way back to the 50’s? It’s there in the kick drum and the monotonous keyboards that drive this track, and especially in the vocals, which have exactly the right amount of reverb.

  5. Pisces – Motley Mary Ann (A Lovely Sight, 1969)
    This record contains a pile of recordings from ’69, many of which never saw the light of day until 2009 thanks to the Numero Group label. They’re mostly just another band that was lost to the sands of time, another group of people who must have listened to Sgt. Pepper and it just sent shockwaves through their collective brain. Still there are some great tracks on this release, and I have definitely found myself singing this song (with slightly altered lyrics) to my cats, for what that’s worth.

  6. The Jimi Hendrix Experience – All Along the Watchtower (Electric Ladyland, 1968)
    I spent a lot of time listening to a live cover of this song by Trad, Gras och Stenar, the hard rockin’ follow up band to Sweden’s Parson Sound. Turns out that at the end of the day, it just couldn’t hold a candle to Hendrix’s version, so that’s how this ended up here.

  7. Love – Between Clark and Hilldale (Forever Changes, 1967)
    I’m pretty sure I once got hit on hard by choosing to spin this record on at a public event, by a woman who was almost old enough to be my mother. Needless to say it was one of those situations where you realize what was up long after the moment has passed. In this case that was a good thing, but remember this one for future opportunities all you bachelors out there.

  8. Bill Fox – Let in the Sun (Shelter from the Smoke, 1996)
    I warned you this was coming a few months ago when I put a track by the Mice on April’s mix. Bill Fox was the vocalist/guitarist for the Mice, a band who died too soon. Luckily Fox resurfaced almost a decade later to grace the world with two solo LPs, before once again quitting music “for good.” In 2009, he agreed to let Scat repress both of his solo records on vinyl, and decided to start playing live music again. If there is any good in this world, this return to the stage will also bear recorded fruits as well.

  9. The Go-Betweens – Bye Bye Pride (Tallulah, 1987)
    Everyone has a different opinion of this band. Many prefer the earlier records, where the recordings are rougher and the sound a little rawer. I can’t agree, and so my favorite records are Tallulah and it’s follow-up, 16 Lovers Lane. I actually prefer 16 Lovers Lane, but this track was what made me fall for them, and as such it will always remain my favorite.

  10. Silkworm – Never Met a Man I Didn’t Like (Developer, 1997)
    Sometimes, you really can’t beat having Steve Albini as your recording engineer. I think one of the things I like best about Silkworm is the production, mainly the clarity of the different parts working together, or trying to tear one another apart. Pay attention to the emphasis on the cuss word in this one, I had to stop playing this song over the airwaves because I always manage to miss it.

  11. The Frogs – Lord Grunge (Starjob, 1997)
    This remains my favorite recording by The Frogs, because it shows exactly what they are capable of due to the clarity of the production. It’s also the least strange of their records, a mini-rock opera about the rise and fall of a rock star (see if you can guess which one). Delving further into their catalogue is a sometimes rewarding albeit often painful excursion, so don’t say I didn’t warn you.

  12. Butthole Surfers – Human Cannonball (Locust Abortion Technician, 1987)
    From one pack of weirdoes and onto the next, am I right? I think this is probably one of the Surfers’ most accessible tracks, and that ain’t saying much. While so many bands employ a dual guitar attack to subdue their audiences, the approach here is a dual drum kit attack, which allows the singularity of the remaining instruments room to breathe and ultimately worm their way into your brain. Which is exactly the way Gibby wants it.

  13. The Red Krayola with Art and Language – Portrait of V.I. Lenin in the Style of Jackson Pollock, Part 1 (Kangaroo, 1981)
    And we’re back with another familiar face, this time all the way from mix #1 – Mayo Thompson, the only permanent member of The Red Krayola. His ensemble teamed up with Art and Language for a couple LPs, of which this is by far the strongest. The earlier works are a little rough, while the later stuff gets a little too funky for my tastes. This one balances those both sides out.

  14. Gun Club – She’s Like Heroin to Me (Fire of Love, 1981)
    I don’t think there’s much left to write about this band. Their style was impossible to pin down at the time, an amalgam of rockabilly, punk, garage, and whatever else they could fit into 3 minutes. The original formation of the band included Kid Congo Powers on lead guitar, but he left the band prior to recording to join that other band he was in. He returned for ‘84’s The Las Vegas Story, but I really feel by that time the magic was gone.

  15. Broken Water – Heart Strings (Peripheral Star, 2011)
    Broken Water spawned from the death of a band called Sisters (from Portland), who put out a decent LP on Parts Unknown in 2007. Their career has been a linear shift from being influenced by Sonic Youth, to being influenced by the Swirlies. Insert comment here regarding either a) never having too much of a good thing or b) wearing your influences on your sleeve.

  16. Iceage – Remember (New Brigade, 2011)
    Remember when punk was awesome? It was right around that time in your life where you simultaneously discovered girls and started to repulse them. When you hated your parents, your teachers, and the man all at the same time. Iceage is your former self, but in current times, a bunch of teenage Danes struggling to make sense of this world. That’s what this record is, and that’s why you absolutely need to hear it.

  17. Fucked Up – One More Night (David Comes to Life, 2011)
    Now we arrive to the penultimate track, both to this mix and Fucked Up’s new rock opera, David Comes to Life. This record is everything you hoped it could be, and nothing you feared. It is the #1 record of 2011 and I really don’t understand quite how they pulled it off. The record is a metanarrative set in Thatcherite England, which touches on themes of love, working class struggle, and questioning god. On top of that, the production is slick, and they make ample use of all three guitarists almost to a fault. The record is worth multiple listens each week, even with it’s 78 minute run time.

  18. Porcelain on Porcelain – Byrdesdale Spa FC (David’s Town, 2011)
    Porcelain on Porcelain is a band from Byrdesdale Spa, UK that was active in the 70’s. If you feel like you just read something regarding that time period but can’t place it, then look above dummy. That’s right, this is actually Fucked Up, who in addition to writing a 78 minute rock opera this year, have released a compilation of fake bands that the characters in David Comes to Life would have listened to. Again, somehow they took this crazy idea and made it work very well, employing a variety of guest vocalist (Danko Jones here) to help with the charade. Someone give this band a fucking award or something already.

Next month: I’ll probably just end up posting David Comes to Life, with all the tracks mixed together. I’m almost serious.

02 May, 2011

May 2011

This month’s mix is almost exclusively music I’ve been jamming over the past month or so. One-third of this stuff is hot off the presses even! Even for digging into a lot of recent acquisitions, I feel this mix is a totally classic collection; I will even personally guarantee you will fall in love with at least five of these songs, no matter who you are. Yes, that is a challenge, and if you want to respond the only submissions I will accept is in mix form.

May 2011 Mix

  1. The Deep Freeze Mice – Minstrel Radio Yoghurt (Teenage Head in My Refrigerator, 1981)
    These guys are my new favorite band. This track opened up their debut LP, however this version (of increased quality) is actually found on a reissue of their second LP. I don’t know why there were armadillos in Radio 1 to begin with, but I bet John Peel was pissed.

  2. The Monks – Shut Up (Black Monk Time, 1966)
    The Monks were a group of anti-war American GIs stationed in Germany in the 1960’s. After being discharged from the military, they stuck around Germany for a while and recorded Black Monk Time there, which is probably the first punk rock record. Also, some say it’s probably the first Krautrock record, go figure.

  3. The UV Race – Burn That Cat (Homo, 2011)
    The liner notes to this record state that this track is about a dream where a cop stops the singer and tries to plant cocaine on him. Somehow, the cop turns into a cat, and the singer takes him home and throws him in the fire. Musically, this whole record has everything I love: unforeseen sax solos, male/female split vocals, absurdist lyrics, and that wonderful Australian accent. I would let them stay on my couch.

  4. Magazine – I Love You, You Big Dummy (Give Me Everything 7”, 1978)
    Magazine has always been another one of those bands that I know I’m supposed to like, but I can’t manage to make them click. I mean, Real Life is a cool record and all, but I never really get the urge to listen to it. During one attempt I tried listening to some early 7”s and that’s where I stumbled onto this song, the b-side on the Give Me Everything 7” from ’78. If every Magazine track was this good, I’d be their biggest fan. Don’t listen to this one at full volume in the office.

  5. Los Dug Dug’s – Lost in My World (Dug Dug’s, 1971)
    Los Dug Dug’s were apparently one of the first Mexican bands ever to sing in English. It was a real game changer at the time for a lot of bands, and they ended up living in Mexico City where they were widely popular. The first two records were recently reissued and are both well worth your time.

  6. Hairy Chapter – You’ve Got to Follow This Masquerade (Can’t Get Through, 1971)
    I cut the opening 40 seconds of this track; it was a bass only intro that went on for way too long and contained too few notes. Plus, you need to get to the meat of Hairy Chapter as soon as possible. Since they are from Germany in 1971 they get classified as a Krautrock band, but this is really some of the finest proto-metal in my collection, right up there with Flower Traveling Band. Yeah, I went there.

  7. Mars Classroom – New Theory (New Theory of Everything, 2011)
    Mars Classroom is Robert Pollard and Gary Waleik (formerly of Volcano Suns and Big Dipper). Every once in a while I get real tired of trying to keep with the amount of mediocre material Pollard shits out in the course of a year, but this is the kind of track that inspires me to keep wading through it. A modern classic, if you will.

  8. Times New Viking – No Room to Live (Dancer Equired, 2011)
    After releasing two records on Matador with decreasing production value (but increased pop sensibilities), Times New Viking waited to finally enter a real studio until their Merge debut. Don’t misunderstand that tidbit, it’s not like they went into Abbey Road, but anything is a stretch for a band that sent Matador the masters of their last LP on a VHS tape. Thankfully, the production value is increased only enough to let the hooks shine through.

  9. Bombino – Tenere (Agadez, 2011)
    So we’ve covered three continents worth of music so far, now we’re on to number four: Africa! You might be familiar with Bombino already, as he is the leader of Group Bombino, who put out a killer LP a few years back. This is his latest solo affair, and it stands as another shining document of the Agadez music scene. I believe he is touring the world this summer as well, so keep a look out.

  10. Ooga Boogas – Sentimental Stranger (Sentimental Stranger 7”, 2010)
    The second Australian band this month, Ooga Boogas share the same guitarist as Eddy Current Suppression Ring. You won’t find ECSR’s witty lyrics and catchy post punk riffs, no - this track is the yin to ECSR’s yang. This would probably be a great song to listen to on a beach during a sunset, possibly while driving off into said sunset, or something.

  11. Tobin Sprout – Toaster (Popstram 7”, 1996)
    This has become one of my favorite songs ever in the last month. I apologize in advance for getting it stuck in your head for the next 2-3 weeks.

  12. The Halo Benders – Will Work for Food (God Don’t Make No Junk, 1994)
    The Halo Benders are Doug Martsch and Calvin Johnson. I have never liked any of Calvin’s work, not even a little bit, but even I have to admit that God Don’t Make No Junk is a pretty flawless album. Maybe next month I’ll be talking about my new found love for beat happening and sending out invites for sleepovers.

  13. The Twilight Singers – Gunshots (Dynamite Steps, 2011)
    Ballads. You either can hang or you can’t. If you can’t, you might as well fast forward a little bit. If you stick around, then I should mention that I can’t hide my love for Mr. Dulli, despite our tumultuous relationship. This track should win an award for best build-up of 2011, as pretty much the whole song is one long progression to the final chorus, well before the closing remarks.

  14. Esben and the Witch – Marching Song (Violet Cries, 2011)
    Man, some days I really wish that instead of listening to a bunch of crappy punk bands when I was a teenage, that I donned an all black outfit and went goth instead. Not that it would have helped by social standing in suburbia at all, but at least I’d feel like less of a poseur when I am falling in love with every new remotely goth-sounding band in 2011.

  15. This Kind of Punishment – Don’t Go (In the Same Room, 1987)
    Peter Jefferies is one of my top five favorite Kiwis, so it’s no surprise to say I listen to This Kind of Punishment a lot. This record is surprisingly relentless for a Flying Nun release, even in the labels early incarnation. Peter’s solo work is highly recommended, and his brother (the other half of the band) went on to play in an act called The Cakekitchen, who are worth a couple of tracks.

  16. Vex – World in Action (Sanctuary, 1984)
    This is one of those songs that the first time I heard it I swore it was a cover. It’s not, at least as far as I can tell. Vex had the weird place in history of recording one 12”, playing a bunch of shows with anarcho-punk bands, and somehow sounding like Killing Joke.

  17. Rema-Rema – Rema Rema (Wheel in the Roses, 1980)
    I have a Big Black live set where they cover this track, and Albini intros it by offering a cookie to anyone who can name the cover. He goes as far as to mockingly joke to the crowd, “I bet only four people in this whole room have ever heard this song.” A slightly interesting challenge, as Rema-Rema only released one EP, but on 4AD, so it had to have decent distribution, right? Anyway, the other point to note is that the guitarist went on to join Adam and the Ants. Good move? Your call.

Next month: more of the same!

02 April, 2011

April 2011

We’ve reached the six month mark! Things were getting down to the wire this month, I was fairly unprepared, and starting to think about throwing in the towel. The original track listing for this was disjointed and made no linear sense. A couple of last minute strokes of genius (pats self on back) and the whole thing came together just in time. After all the frustration I went through, I am actually pretty please with the way this one turned out. Just remember, I do it all for you, you bunch of weirdos.

April 2011 Mix

  1. Pointed Sticks – What Do You Want Me to Do? (What Do You Want Me to Do?/Somebody's Mom 7”, 1978)
    Originally released on a 7” in ’78, this track has since appeared on numerous compilations. Its most recent appearance is on a collection from 2006 titled Waiting for the Real Thing. They reformed the same year, and have been playing intermittent shows since, but I have heard no reports so who knows how it’ll be. That accent you hear is Canadian.

  2. The Mice - Bye Bye Kitty Cat (Scooter, 1986)
    This is one of those bands where it’s just a damn crime that they only had one LP and an EP under their belt. I guess the good side is that there was zero room for error, so if you can get the comp on Scat records (the same label which took a chance putting out a record called Propeller in ‘92) every single track is fantastic. You’ll probably hear a Bill Fox (singer) solo track at some point in the future, as both of his solo outings are totally satisfying. Also note: from Cleveland.

  3. Yuck – The Wall (Yuck, 2011)
    I didn’t think I’d like this band going in, but I gave them a chance (as I try to do with most everything). I’m glad I did, they manage to hit almost every sweet spot for throughout the course of their debut LP, and without even being able to legally drink! Reminds me of the 90’s and I’m glad kids still like this stuff. Touring with Tame Impala (who you’ll get to in like 15 minutes) this month.

  4. Treepeople – Web in Front (Treepeople/Archers of Loaf Split 7”, 1994)
    You’re probably wondering why the hell I put a cover of this song on a mix. Yes the original version (Archers of Loaf) is one of the greatest songs of the 90’s, but this version holds equal footing as a) it is a pretty spot on cover and 2) it sounds like they are having a blast in the recording studio. It’s rare you hear a track and wish you were in the studio during recording but here it is.

  5. King Tuff - Lady (Was Dead, 2008)
    I found this band around the time this LP came out, I was real into Kyle’s other bands (Witch and Feathers) at the time, and this was NOT what I was expecting. This quickly became one of my favorite tracks of the last decade, and I hope he can produce another LP of this caliber (I didn’t care so much for the Happy Birthday self titled LP, his newest act).

  6. The Mantles – Don’t Lie (The Mantles, 2009)
    The Mantles are from San Francisco, which makes total sense after listening to this LP. I can hear the vibe of early CA psychedelia that blends in seamlessly with their other power pop and New Zealand-based influences. I’ll have to remember to pack this one next time I’m out west; it must be a perfect soundtrack for a drive along the pacific coast highway.

  7. Swirlies – Pancake Cleaner (Brokedick Car, 1994)
    I played this on my radio show one week, and a few days later found reference to the fact that I played it on the radio in a random blog. Turned out to be the blog of a friend, so the mystery (and my hopes for international stardom) quickly evaporated. All of the Swirlies records seem to still be in print, which is a crime and you should go purchase them right now.

  8. Major Stars – Outdone (Rock Sounds of People, 1997)
    I just picked up Majors Stars’ first record about two weeks ago and immediately knew I had to share this track with you. Their first couple LPs make me immensely sad that Wayne give up vocal duties in the band, but what can you do?

  9. Tame Impala – Why Won’t You Make Up Your Mind? (Innerspeaker, 2010)
    I hear some really heavy Dungen vibes from this band, and those vibes are especially prominent on this track. Dungen is a band that I always seem to like whatever they put out, so the similarities are welcome. As this is their first LP, we’ll have to wait and see if Tame Impala can follow the same path.

  10. Glass Eye – Lake of the Moon (Huge, 1986)
    This was actually found via a request from a regular listener to my radio show. I had never heard of them up until that point (which was maybe a month ago now?), but luckily we had a couple of LPs in the library, and I zoned right in on this track. The vocals really sell this band for me, but this track has some interesting synth parts that tie it all together.

  11. Yellow Fever – If I Never Find My Way (Bermuda, 2010)
    Saw this band open for Wild Flag (up next!) and really dug them. I think I like them better recorded, as you get a better sense of the sparseness of their sound and the vocals seem a little stronger. They have an LP out as well, and if you like this track you’ll probably like it all.

  12. Wild Flag – Future Crimes (Future Crimes/Glass Tambourine 7”, 2011)
    I went to their show expecting to like Wild Flag, who are 2/3 of Sleater Kinney + Mary Timony, but I had no idea just how good they would be. Probably one of the best shows I’ll see all year. Cannot wait for the LP, which is supposed to be out in the next few months. And supposedly these tracks are demo versions (who records demos that sound this good??) that will be rerecorded (not sure why) for the LP.

  13. Beaches – Ramblin’ (Beaches, 2008)
    Saw these Aussie ladies play a while back and have been a fan ever since. I picked an instrumental track from their debut LP here, mostly because it works well transitionally. It helps that it’s also catchy as heck. They share at least one member with Love of Diagrams, who are also worthy of your time.

  14. The Dictators – Science Gone too Far! (Manifest Destiny)
    I don’t feel the need to talk about The Dictators too much – you either like them (I do) or you don’t. Of interesting note: the bands sometimes singer/sometimes mascot Handsome Dick Manitoba is actually the reason that the band Manitoba was forced to change their name to Caribou. That’s not very punk rock, Dick. Although maybe he makes up a little for it by playing recent shows as the singer for MC5, which leads us into…

  15. MC5 – Rocket Reducer No. 62 (Rama Lama Fa Fa Fa) (Kick Out the Jams, 1969)
    Space intentionally left blank.

  16. Arthur Brown – Fire (The Crazy World of Arthur Brown, 1968)
    Boy I can’t believe it took me 6 months to share this track. I love this record to death, but have of course ventured no further into Mr. Brown’s crazy world (is it worthwile? One of my favorite memories is watching the video for this song, which was played by a VJ at a bar during a friend’s birthday hang.

  17. Strawberry Path – Woman Called Yellow Z (When the Raven Has Come to Earth, 1971)
    Having read and listened through most of the bands referenced in Julian Cope’s Japrocksampler, I found the exclusion of the band Flied Egg a little weird, because I though they were a good band and many of their associated acts are referenced. Even stranger to be is the almost total (minus two small references) exclusion of Strawberry Path, a pre-Flied Egg act. I think this record is great; turns out the exclusions are because Cope thinks both Flied Egg and Strawberry Path are trash. I guess even the best rock critics make poor decisions sometimes.

  18. The Psychic Paramount – N5 (II, 2011)
    The grand finale. I couldn’t place this track anywhere but at the end. I had been getting annoyed by the delays associated with this record, but it turns out the six years since their debut were well spent. This was probably recorded with every input way in the red. Great band, and for further listening check their prior act, Laddio Bolocko.

Until next time, keep your feet on the ground and keep reaching for the stars.

02 March, 2011

March 2011

I mentioned last time that I’d have a surprise in store this month, and it’s now time to let the cat out of the bag: this month I present to you the first in (potentially) a series of guest/collaborative mixes! I won’t do this every month, and you won’t know when they’re coming, but you’ll damn well like it! Alright, enough with the exclamation points, this month’s mix is brought to you by myself (of course) and a former Philadelphian whom we will refer to as TS. Due to the internet being weird and creepy, I’ll sign my contributions as FiS. Next month it’ll be another solo outing from moi, but for now, here’s Collaborative Mix Volume 1!

March 2011 Mix

  1. The Moles – Bury Me Happy (Untune the Sky, 1991)
    The Kill Shaman label referred to their recent 2xLP "Untune The Sky" reissue as "18 tracks of pure pop genius". I checked it out - it's all true, and it's all Australian. I considered including "Europe By Car" instead, but FiS suggested "Bury Me Happy" would make a better intro track. So this is the opener, I guess. I promise my commentary will improve as we move forward. -TS

  2. The Velvet Underground and Nico – I’ll be Your Mirror (The Velvet Underground and Nico, 1967)
    I recently helped (really mostly gave moral support) my significant other edit her sister’s wedding video. Their wedding song was I’ll be Your Mirror. Two months later and this song still gets stuck in my head in the morning shower. –FiS

  3. Alastair Galbraith – As in a Blender (Little Boat, 2008)
    A live version of Galbraith's "As In A Blender" recorded at a party in Duniden in 2003 from a very limited self-released CD-R. Luckily, someone put the mp3s on the internet somewhere some time ago, especially since the hand-made/hand-painted gatefold sleeves that held the discs supposedly reeked of patchouli. This song makes me want to hug you. Don't think I'm just saying that. -TS

  4. Lower Dens – Blue and Silver (Twin-Hand Movement, 2010)
    I slept on this record last year way hard. I also missed seeing them play about four times to date, including a show last week. I am really bummed out about both of these things, so please accept my apologies Ms. Hunter. -FiS

  5. Robert Pollard with Doug Gillard – Pop Zeus (Speak Kindly of Your Volunteer Fire Department, 1999)
    THE BEST. There are no words – I’ve said too much already. -TS

  6. The Chocolate Watchband – I’m Not Like Everybody Else (The Inner Mystique, 1968)
    Sound familiar? This one’s a cover of a Kinks track. They also cover Dylan’s “It’s All Over, Baby Blue” on the same LP. The worst part? They’re the two best songs on the record. -FiS

  7. Traffic Sound – Virgin (Virgin, 1969)
    I don't know much about this band but - goddamn - this song! They're Peruvian blah blah blah. Thanks to WFMU-er/Lame Driver/Free Music Archivist Jason for playing this for me in his living room the other week. I'm downloading their "Lux" record now and I suggest you do the same (this song is not on it). –TS

  8. Vivian Girls – Can’t Get Over You (Everything Goes Wrong, 2009)
    There’s something about this band, and I can’t quite place it, but I was in love from day one. I listen to this record so much it’s borderline embarrassing. They really managed to perfect their sound here, and I can’t even imagine where they’ll go next. Thankfully, I only have to wait a little bit longer, as they have a new record coming out in April. -FiS

  9. Unit 4 – Hidden Faces (VA: FM-BX Society Tape 001, 1981)
    If you've made it to the :20 mark, you've already decided this is a great song. For me, the reversed drum pattern adds a lot. More than I realized after the first few listens. I'll never fully get used to it and that will make this track last forever. Thanks to S-S Records for recently re-releasing the cassette comp that this originally appeared on. - TS

  10. The Lines – Don’t Need Surgery (Cool Snap!, 1980)
    Two compilations of material by The Lines were released in 2008. At the time, I listened to Flood Bank, which compiles their two LPs. I didn’t make much of an impression on me, and I pretty much forgot about the band. While working on this mix, good ole TS suggests I check out the other collection (Memory Span), which contained singles and comp tracks. Memory Span is much better in my opinion, so start there first. -FiS

  11. Zach Swagger, Data Panic, and William Murray – Try To (TV True Tonight/Try To 7”, 1981)
    Zach played drums and sang, Data Panic played guitar, both Data Panic and Bill Murray played synth, and a woman named Margaret wrote the lyrics. I don't know anything else about these people, except that Zach has another 7" titled "Empty Highways", which I first heard on Brian Turner's 2010 Tom Lax Take-Over show last summer and which led me to the track I'm sharing with you now. This song starts off great and each direction it takes is better than the last. Actually, ha, after all this close analysis I've realized that the last full minute is not so hot. I still love it though! -TS

  12. Population – Waltzing a War (Demo, 2010)
    Population is from Chicago, and played a show with Circle Pit a few months back. The show was great; I picked up their demo and have listened to it pretty regularly since then. Think Joy Division meets that first Killing Joke LP. Great stuff, and hopefully we’ll hear more from them soon. -FiS

  13. Tripod Jimmie – Nu Spartans (Long Walk Off a Short Pier, 1982)
    Tripod Jimmie's "Long Walk Off A Short Pier" is an essential record. Don't go much further without making this one a part of your life, I can't stress this enough. Sure, it's got some duds but somehow they WORK. A member of this band was also in a more famous band but who fucking cares. I chose an instrumental track for this mix. It closes SIDE A and does so perfectly. A perfect SIDE A closer. Sure, it could have closed SIDE B and it would have been good, but trust me - SIDE B's got it covered. -TS

  14. Der Moderne Man – Telefonlied (80 Tage Auf See, 1980)
    I’ll be honest, I don’t know much about this band, and only checked out this LP a mere two weeks ago. However, it instantly clicked, and not only that but I knew good ole TS would love it (and he did). -FiS

  15. The Sods – Pathetic (Minutes to Go, 1979)
    For quite a while I thought The Sods from Denmark and The Sods from the UK were the same band. They existed at the same time and they were both good! I eventually decided that The Sods from Denmark were a lot more interesting, and became completely enamored with their song "Tin Can People" from the Paere Punk Compilation after first hearing it on Music For Your Methlab some years back. I knew they had a full-length LP also, and fuck me for not checking it out until now. The whole record, "Minutes To Go", is great, and I felt the same way listening to it for the first time as I did to The Gun Club's "Fire Of Love" and X's "Aspirations." They cover a Suicide song on here, which hints at their more experimental endeavors shortly afterward under the name Sort Sol and some collaborations with Lydia Lunch that are worth hearing. -TS

  16. Naked on the Vague – All Aboard (Blood Pressure Sessions, 2008)
    I’ve been trying to put this track on a mix since the first one, and I finally found the perfect spot for it! The second LP is a completely different animal, and while still good, not quite as interesting. -FiS

  17. Kitchen’s Floor – Orbit (Live, 2010)
    Was not super into this band the first time I heard 2009's "Loneliness Is A Dirty Mattress" LP, but after revisiting it, yes, they totally won me over and are now one of my favorite new bands. This track is from a shitty youtube live recording, but it's the one recording that kept me coming back to this band, plus I prefer it to the 7" version. Now does anyone know where I can get that live tape? -TS

  18. The Skull Defekts with Daniel Higgs – Gospel of the Skull (Peer Amid, 2011)
    Boy when I first heard about this record it immediately went to the top of my “must hear now” list (not a real list). I thought most of the earlier Skull Defekts LPs were alright, but I love Lungfish to death, so the prospect of hearing Higgs sing in a rock band again made me super-excited. Anything’s better than listening to the hoofprints on the ceiling of my mind. Turns out, they’re a match made in heaven. Go see them on tour together in April. -FiS

  19. Cynamid – This is Hell (Stop the World 7”, 1984)
    They're from New Jersey and were apparently some very friendly dudes. Great lyrics. Great Attitude. "This Is Hell" is better than most songs Flipper ever recorded, I say while sitting here typing in a Flipper t-shirt. -TS

  20. Pissed Jeans – Sam Kinison Woman (Sam Kinison Woman 7”, 2010)
    The first time I heard this song it was live. I thought it was a cover, but I couldn’t place of what. Turns out I was wrong. Listening to the recorded version, it really doesn’t sound like anything else, so who the hell knows what I was on that night. The B-side to this 7” is an instant classic as well. -FiS

  21. The Jesus Lizard – Gladiator (Liar, 1992)
    My favorite band. Also the only band that makes me want to hurl myself in front of a train or steer into oncoming traffic1 (I mean in a good way). I'm talking about "Monkey Trick" at 1:06. I'm talking about "Killer McHann" at 1:29. But most of all I'm talking about the last 30 seconds of "Gladiator". How are you going to follow this??2 For the sake of this mix, I think this track needs to come last. -TS
    1There are actually probably other bands that do this too but you get the point.
    2With anything besides "The Art Of Self Defense."

See you in April.

02 February, 2011

February 2011

This month’s mix probably should be shelved for the summer months – lots of tracks that would be great for driving with the windows down. I think this is my attempt to will spring to arrive just a little sooner. Even that damned groundhog agrees with me this morning, although NOAA claims there is “no predictive skill for the groundhog during the most recent years." I guess old age claims us all at some point. Oh well, at least now you got some new tunes to keep you warm.

February 2011 Mix

  1. Home Blitz – Murder in My Heart (Perpetual Night, 2010)
    This track is the b-side to the Perpetual Night single, the first of a couple of covers that will show up this month, and was originally penned by The Searchers. I still haven’t been able to find the original version anywhere, but I am positive it pales in comparison to this one.

  2. Dow Jones and the Industrials – Can’t Stand the Midwest (Let’s Go Steady, 1980)
    Crimes against music: Dow Jones and the Industrials released one 7” and one split LP (with the Gizmos), and then dissolved. Further proof there is no god.

  3. Milk Music – Beyond Living (Beyond Living, 2010)
    This should have been on my top list of 2010. Heck, it should have been number one! Everything about this record is a winner – the speed, the vocals, the riffs, the drums. Self-released by the band, so go order yerself a copy now, jerks!

  4. Cyclops – Don’t You be a Stranger (Goat Volume, 1994)
    Cyclops was a short lived venture which features Peter Jefferies, a New Zealand native worth the time to research. I almost put another one of his bands on this mix (This Kind of Punishment), but decided to tuck that one away for a rainy day.

  5. Mike Rep and the Quotas – Mamma Was a Schitzo, Daddy Was a Vegetable Man (Stupor Hiatus, 2010)
    Up next, we come to the monthly inclusion from the great state of Ohio. This track was recorded in 1975, released on a 7”, and finally collected on a compilation of Rep’s work last year. He also produced the Mount Carmel LP that was featured in last month’s mix. Finally, note that this track also features Tommy Jay on the drums!

  6. The Feelies – Original Love (Crazy Rhythms, 1980)
    After a slew of reunion shows (including one at Johnny Brenda’s – and yes, they totally still have it!) The Feelies are going to release a new record this year. I don’t think it will quite match this debut record, but we can always hope!

  7. Flamin’ Groovies – Shake Some Action (Shake Some Action, 1976)
    The Groovies started off with a much rougher, garage-ier sound, disbanded for 6 years, then cleaned up and reformed (minus a few players). This is the end result of that timeline – and I gotta say I find myself listening to this record the most out of their catalog.

  8. The Bevis Frond – Lights are Changing (Triptych, 1988)
    These guys are one of my top favorite bands; their first five records are in constant rotation here in the record room. Sometime after New River Head output begins to go downhill, but the early stuff has a formula that sets my little heart ablaze. If this song sounds familiar, it was made minorly famous when covered by Mary Lou Lord.

  9. Magic Hour – Always Leaving Never (No Excess is Absurd, 1994)
    After Galaxie 500 broke up, Damon and Naomi ended up forming a band with a guitarist named Wayne Rogers, and hence Magic Hour was born. They exist in a space somewhere between post-rock and psychedelia. Wayne is now the principle songwriter for Major Stars, and Damon keeps the cats a-howling by attempting to sing (thankfully he sticks to the drums in MH).

  10. Brief Candles – Space Age Love Song (They Live We Sleep, 2006)
    This record was a favorite of mine for a long time, even though its strongest cut is a cover. Apparently they’ve been working on their follow up to this record for the past two years. Perfection be damned, just put the thing out already!

  11. Anika – I Go to Sleep (Anika, 2010)
    Back to back covers?! Did I just break some kind of rule? This one was originally a Kinks song, covered by a new project featuring Geoff Barrow (Portishead, Beak>) and a German political journalist (Anika). Imagine Nico singing punk-y dub covers of awesome 60’s songs and you get the picture.

  12. Pylon – Feast on My Heart (Gyrate, 1980)
    Pylon were a highly underrated band from Athens in the 80’s. Even being loved by R.E.M. couldn’t help them, which is a total shame. They reunited in 2004 and played a few shows to critical acclaim; this reunion was brought to an unfortunate halt by the passing of their guitarist, Randall. Just ride that bass line all the way home and life will be OK.

  13. The Embarrassment – Drive Me to the Park (Death Travels West, 1983)
    This track is off of their first LP, but it’s probably easier to find the Heyday 1979-83 release, which includes most of their early material up to the reunion LP from 1990 (which is even still a good record). Did you know that their hometown of Witchita, KS is nicknamed the “air capitol of the world?” Consider that your useless fact for the month and try to impress your friends.

  14. Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti – Bright Lit Blue Skies (Before Today, 2010)
    Ariel Pink is a weird fucking dude. I really liked some of his earlier work, but quite frankly the good was sandwiched between a pile of nearly unlistenable material. Somehow he managed to get a decent band together (it only took 10+ years) to record Before Today. Apparently they can pull it off live too – anything has to be better than watching him sing and dance around to a boombox at the Khyber.

  15. Richard Youngs – Collapsing Stars (Valley of the Ultrahits, 2009)
    After almost 20 years of making experimental/avant garde music, a long-time collaborator (Andrew Paine) dared Youngs to write a “pop” record. Valley of the Ultrahits was borne from that dare, and I think we all owe a collective thank you to Paine.

  16. Broadcast – Echo’s Answer (The Black Session, 2000)
    RIP Trish Keenan. Thank you for all the great memories, and for all of the great tunes. You will rest in our collective hearts and minds for eternity, if there is any justice in this world. This track was recorded live for French radio in 2000, and I love this session because of how powerful her voice comes through without seemingly little effects.

  17. Chumbawamba – In Texas (Be Happy! Despite It All…, 1983)
    I recently found these early Chumbawamba demos on the web. This is from a split cassette release with a band called the Passion Killers, who shared a bassist with Chumbawamba at the time. The Chumbawamba tracks are an excellent snapshot of a band that has managed to re-invent themselves continually over the decades, the whole while with their middle finger raised to the “man” (or something like that). It comes with inserts like this one:

  18. Kurt Vile – In My Time (In My Time, 2010)
    Up next - a new Kurt Vile track, put out on a 7” at the tail end of 2010. I wasn’t sold on the Square Shells EP, but this song alone has restored my faith in the man and I am excited to here what is coming next.

  19. Marble Sheep – Perfect Island (For Demolition of a Spiritual Framework, 2003)
    I have always been a sucker for the epic conclusion, so when I heard this song I knew instantly where it would fit in. I tried to delve into the Marble Sheep catalog a few years back, but started with (what I have now realized is) my least favorite record (too much Dead influence - blech). Word to the wise: always attempt to listen to at least two records before you completely write something off.

Next month I’ve got a special surprise in store, so be sure to check back!

02 January, 2011

January 2011

Happy new year! As promised, this month we’ll start with a list of my 25 favorite records from 2010. Not necessarily the best, most creative, or most inspiring, but rather a collection of the records I’ve listened to a lot this year and will likely bear much future listening. Followed by that list I have also included my top 10 EPs of 2010, some great tracks in that pile that just wouldn’t fit into a top records list.

Top 25 of 2010:
1) Endless Boogie – Full Head House
2) Deerhunter – Hacylon Digest
3) Mount Carmel – Mount Carmel
4) Joanna Newsom – Have One on Me
5) Swans – My Father Will Guide Me on a Rope up to the Sky
6) Christian Mistress – Agony and Opium
7) Bardo Pond – Bardo Pond
8) Emeralds – Does It Look Like I'm Here
9) Super Wild Horses – Fifteen
10) Purling Hiss – Hissteria
11) Mi Ami – Steal Your Face
12) White Hills – ST
13) The Alps – Le Voyage
14) Tamaryn – The Waves
15) Balacalvas – Roman Holiday
16) The Young – Voyagers of Legend
17) Caribou – Swim
18) Allo Darlin’ – Allo Darlin’
19) Reading Rainbow – Prism Eyes
20) Eddy Current Suppression Ring – Rush to Relax
21) Circle Pit – Bruise Constellation
22) Sun City Girls – Funeral Mariachi
23) U.S. Girls – Go Grey
24) Oneohtrix Point Never – Returnal
25) Stereolab – Not Music

Top 10 EPs fo 2010:
1) Zola Jesus – Stridulum/Valusia 12”s
2) Home Blitz – Perpetual Night 7”
3) Native Cats – Cats Paw 7”
4) Puerto Rico Flowers – 4 12"
5) Clockcleaner - Auf Wiedersehen 12”
6) Pissed Jeans – Sam Kinison Woman 7"
7) Kurt Vile – In My Time 7”
8) Leather – Anchorite 7”
9) Population – Demo CS
10) Potential Johns – Can I Really Not Go with You 7"

This month’s mix is culled specifically from these lists. Not every record in this list is represented, some have made it onto the past two mixes and others are being saved for future ideas.

January 2011 Mix

  1. White Hills – Dead (White Hills, 2010)
    I listen to a lot of Hawkwind. I listen to a lot of bands that sound like Hawkwind. To me, White Hills are the 2010 version of Hawkwind, hitting all of the right spots where so many other imitators fail. They also put out a collaboration LP this year with a band called Gnod, which is definitely worth your time as well.

  2. Bardo Pond – Don’t Know About You (Bardo Pond, 2010)
    Bardo Pond managed to slip a new record in about three weeks prior to the end of the year. Which didn’t give me a lot of time to listen to it, but in the few listens I snuck in I think I can safely say this is their best record in about 10 years. Likely to be my favorite band from Philadelphia, I’m glad to see they can still churn out interesting music after almost 20 years.

  3. Mount Carmel – Livin’ Like I Wanna (Mount Carmel, 2010)
    Lard has a song called 70’s Rock Must Die. I assume that when they penned that track that they were referring to bands like the Bee Gees as opposed to the faction of 70’s rock that Mount Carmel draws inspiration from. Note: from Ohio, produced by the (somewhat) legendary Mike Rep. I’m ready for a follow-up LP already!

  4. Purling Hiss – Space Roots/Limerence (Hissteria, 2010)
    Purling Hiss is Mike from Birds of Maya. He put out two records this year alone, however Hissteria is a much more blown-out, fuzzed-out affair as opposed to the quieter Public Service Announcement. I’ll take this side of Purling Hiss any day of the week, while PSA is a more of a special occasion, snow day when you don’t want to get out of bed LP.

  5. Swans – Eden Prison (My Father Will Guide Me Up Rope to the Sky, 2010)
    Like everyone else, I too was skeptical of this Swans reunion. Would M. Gira fall right on his face on stage? Would I listen to this record and just wish it were an Angels of Light record instead? Well, neither of those happened. This record is actually pretty good and seems almost like a linear follow-up from the end of Swans recording career. The live show was not too bad either, although seeing them on the first night of the tour meant we got to watch them work out some kinks (and watch M. Gira scream at the drummer at least twice). Nobody screams at Thor though.

  6. Balaclavas – Roman Holiday (Roman Holiday, 2010)
    On initial listen, I wasn’t really into Balaclavas earlier EPs. As soon as I put Roman Holiday on and heard this, the title and opening track, I was hooked. Pay close attention to the bassline in this track, it sinks into me in a way that makes me think of the first Killing Joke LP. Balaclavas are just as dark and brooding as Killing Joke, attributes that make me like want to listen to this track over and over.

  7. Mi Ami – Secrets (Steal Your Face, 2010)
    I felt really bad for Mi Ami when Touch and Go closed their doors. Mi Ami had just released their first LP, Watersports, on TnG’s Quarterstick imprint, and the closure meant that Watersports would not get the press or promotion it deserved. Thankfully that didn’t stop Mi Ami from releasing three singles and this full length in the next year, a continual barrage that meant they would not be quickly forgotten. I think this record sounds like absolutely nothing else out there, and it’s worth nothing that Daniel’s solo project, Sex Worker, just put out an LP called Waving Goodbye within the last few weeks, and that is a whole different kind of trip.

  8. Emeralds – Now You See Me (Does It Look Like I'm Here, 2010)
    The label Mego from Austria had a run of interesting electronic and noise records from about 1995-2005. In 2006, Peter Rehberg restarted the label himself under the Editions Mego moniker, and by 2010 he cannot stop releasing fantastic records. This Emeralds LP is the best of the lot, however also noteworthy are records released by Mark McGuire, Oneohtrix Point Never, and Fenn O’berg, along with a slew of great reissues to boot. This record has pushed Emeralds to the top of the recent synth/kosmiche revival, and this track is a good indication of why.

  9. The Alps – St. Laurent (Le Voyage, 2010)
    When I put on this, The Alps fourth LP, I really just want to find a meadow and take a nap. This record is the 2010 definition of pastoral. It’s also worth noting that member Jefre Cantu-Ledesma released a solo record this year (Love is a Stream on Type Records) which is highly recommend, as is most of the output on his label, Root Strata.

  10. U.S. Girls – Red Ford Radio (Go Grey, 2010)
    U.S. Girls really earned the Lo-Fi genre tag. Using ideas developed on tapes in her bedroom, Meg Remy has created a murky world where melody is buried so deep that it might never see the light of day, but on top of it she’s there to guide you through and tell you it’s ok. Or something.

  11. The Young – Sunburst (Voyagers of Legend, 2010)
    I’ve been trying to write something about The Young’s debut LP all day, but the words are just not coming. I don’t want to say that it’s an indescribable LP, because it’s not, it’s just that the descriptions, well they don’t really seem to fit. Maybe there are too many tempo changes, or too many mood changes, or maybe it’s the kind of record that totally avoids being pigeonholed. I think that’s a good thing, and you’ll have to come to your own conclusion (I highly recommend you do!).

  12. Eddy Current Suppression Ring – I Can be a Jerk (Rush to Relax, 2010)
    I think both of ECSR’s former LPs made my top lists for those respective years. I then couldn’t keep Rush to Relax off of this year’s list. It was a tough choice deciding whether to include this track or a track called Gentleman. This problem best sums up the band: at times, they can be a jerk, but they will always be friendly to your bird and your cat.

  13. Circle Pit – Another Trick (Bruise Constellation, 2010)
    A back to back Aussie lineup here, with ECSR leading into the debut record from Circle Pit. A very Royal Trux-ish vibe haunts me throughout this LP. A very endearing live band as well, the kind that always seems on the verge of falling apart, managing to pull the song together at the last possible minute and sneak the hook right under your nose.

  14. Deerhunter – Memory Boy (Halcyon Digest, 2010)
    I know this record shows up on just about every publication’s top records list, but this is one of the few that has really earned its position. The progression of this band over the last few years from a bunch of weirdos playing bars to 50 people, to darlings of the blogosphere has been interesting to watch, and while this record is filled with hooks and pop-leanings, there’s still enough of that weirdness present to keep my attention.

  15. Reading Rainbow – I See Light (Prism Eyes, 2010)
    The first time I saw Reading Rainbow, they were opening for Woven Bones. I immediately bought their first LP after that set, and have anxiously awaited the follow up. I was not let down as this shows a more fully realized representation of the sound that was hinted at on Mystical Participation.

  16. Stereolab – Two Finger Symphony (Not Music, 2010)
    Stereolab went on an indefinite hiatus in 2009. That didn’t stop them from releasing a brand new album in 2010. These tracks were all recorded during their sessions for Chemical Chords, and somehow they managed to put a bunch of leftover tracks and two remixes together to form a cohesive album. Supposedly there is still a good amount of tracks from those sessions in hiding somewhere, which are destined to make it onto my top list of 2012.

  17. Caribou – Jamelia (Swim, 2010)
    This record was definitely a grower throughout the year for me. I was first put off, I think, because I was really hoping for Andorra 2, which this is definitely not. Instead, Swim ends up sounding like a collaboration record between Caribou and the late, great Arthur Russell (RIP). Once that connection sunk in, I finally began to appreciate this record on its own terms.

  18. Zola Jesus - Lightstick (Valusia, 2010)
    I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: I cannot listen to enough Zola Jesus. A fitting end track from her second EP from 2010, look for a new full length in 2011 that is already a contender for next years top 25!

As always, hope you enjoy the mix and I’ll see you next month!

02 December, 2010

December 2010

Welcome! Another month another mix, right? I am pretty pleased with the way this one turned out. I took a few suggestions and spit out something that is a little more cohesive than last month. Anyway, here is the link followed by more of my patented rambling.

December 2010 Mix

  1. Shadowy Men on a Shadowy Planet – Dim the Lights, Chill the Ham (Dim the Lights, Chill the Ham, 1991)
    At the recent Man or Astro-Man? show, they cited a reviewer who described them as a second rate Shadowy Men on a Shadowy Planet, and took that as a compliment. I suppose that says enough right there.

  2. The Soft Boys – I Wanna Destroy You (Underwater Moonlight, 1980)
    The Soft Boys are one of those bands that I want to really love, to take into my soul and create a little shelf for them to live on, at least in theory. The truth is that I find myself just listening to this song on repeat more often than not.

  3. J.T. IV – Waiting for the CTA (Cosmic Lightning, 2008)
    I once got so excited when someone played this at a bar, I proceeded to hi-fi the DJ over the turntable the record was probably playing on. This song was actually recorded in 1987, but Drag City released a comp LP in 2008 complete with a DVD. The DVD is one of the greatest/weirdest things I’ve ever seen and it made me extremely uncomfortable, which means you absolutely need to watch it.

  4. Rob Jo Star Band – Story Dangerous (Rob Jo Star Band, 1975)
    Starry banjos? I think that’s what they are singing about. A recent reissue has unearthed this band from France, who put out one really unique and fantastic LP. Beware of the abnormally high-mixed synthesizer parts, but other than that it’s a total winner front to back.

  5. Reigning Sound – Bad Man (Live at Goner Records, 2009)
    This was an old Oblivians song, which Greg Cartwright (one of the singers from the Oblivians and the main man behind Reigning Sound) plays in every live album I have of his. This is by far my favorite version; I even prefer it to the original. Don’t let the fact that this is a cover deter you from listening further though, I can’t get enough Reigning Sound and you won’t be able to either.

  6. Jim Shepard – Untitled (V-3 Next Album, 2010)
    Jim was the genius behind V-3, Vertical Slit, and a load of solo material. He hung himself in his Ohio home in 1998. He left some recordings behind that were supposed to become the next V-3 LP, which have finally seen the light of day this year. “40 hours a week’s way too much.” RIP Jim.

  7. Guided by Voices – Motor Away (Jellyfish Reflector, 1996)
    Another track that I have countless versions of. After seeing them blow most rock musicians off the stage in early November, I knew a track had to make the month’s mix. Rather than post the studio version, I posted my favorite live version.

  8. The Wedding Present – Rocket (The Hit Parade, 1992)
    This song was originally penned by a glam rock band named Mud from the 70’s. I tried to listen to them after digging this cover, got two songs in and totally gave up. The original version sounds nothing like the Wedding Present version, so I just try to pretend it’s an original now that I know the truth.

  9. The Verlaines – Slow Sad Love Song (Bird Dog, 1987)
    No relation to Tom Verlaine. I will pay good money for a copy of this record at some point in the future (aka if you have it, sell it to me). Definitely one of the top 5 NZ bands for me, even if some of the later records have weak moments.

  10. Game Theory – Penny, Things Won’t (Pointed Accounts of People You Know, 1983)
    This band really wanted to be Big Star, there’s almost no doubt about that. As such, they have a lot of moments where it sounds like they are falling over themselves while playing their instruments, and then they pull it all together for moments of shear brilliance.

  11. Comet Gain – Love Vigilantes (I Never Happened, 2010)
    This track is everything a well done cover should be, and a b-side to a recent single. Their original material is well worth sifting through as well, of course.

  12. Allo Darlin’ – Dreaming (Allo Darlin’, 2010)
    This record hooked me in from the beginning of this, the opening track. I am very upset that I did not go to see them a few weeks back, and after a listen or to I think you might be too.

  13. Tamaryn – Dawning (The Waves, 2010)
    Where the hell did this record come from? I remember Tamaryn’s EP last year that I listened to once and forgot about. I figured I’d give this a shot, and found a record that could have easily been released on 4AD in 1985, yet somehow still stays fresh and current.

  14. My Bloody Valentine – When You Sleep (Loveless, 1991)
    I really don’t need to describe this, do I? Even seeing them live almost 20 years after the fact, it was still one of the best performances I’ve witnessed.

  15. Puerto Rico Flowers – Voice of Love (2, 2010)
    John Sharkey has a child and stops berating people at shows, and this is what you get. Thumbs way up dude, keep up the good work.

  16. The Boo Radleys – The White Noise Revisited (Giant Steps, 1993)
    You will have the words “Do You Remember” stuck in your head for days, and for that I apologize.

  17. Mayo Thompson – Dear Betty Baby (Corky’s Debt to His Father, 1970)
    Mayo Thompson is a Texan best known as the leader of the Red Krayola. Knowing that, I expected his first solo record to be delivered from another solar system. Instead what I found was an impressive outsider folk LP complete with horn sections and hooks!

  18. Sun City Girls – Vine Street Piano (Orchestral) (Funeral Mariachi, 2010)
    The final Sun City Girls record, who disbanded in 2007 after the passing of Charles Gocher. For being released 3 years after the death of a main contributing member, this is actually one of their most accessible and cohesive records to date, and a great starting point for new fans and a satisfying end point for old.

See you in January! Next month, I’ll have a best of 2010 mix, while trying to avoid all of my favorite tracks that have ended up on these last two mixes. I’ll even provide a personal top records list, which I would say something about it being great ideas for belated x-mas gifts, but you and I know I already probably bought them all myself.