Tuesday, January 31, 2006


...Or is Devo doing Disney? Devo, one of the greatest, most influential bands of the original punk era, made a career out of weirdness, but this is pretty insane, even for them: producing a group called Devo2.0 for Disney who are children, ages 10-13, performing old Devo classics. The five-piece co-ed combo, hand-picked by the Spuds themselves, clad in Devo's trademark energy domes (do NOT call them "flowerpot hats" thankyouverymuch) received instrumental assistance from Devo on the album, but will be playing their own instruments when they hit a shopping mall near you. This is either the most brilliantly subversive or depressingly corporate thing Devo has ever done.

Disney has plans for kiddie versions of other classic band line-ups - coming soon, The Go-Gos.

Release date: March 14, 2006. Sound clips on the Disney website. So if you've ever wanted to hear a 12-year-old girl sing about her "uncontrollable urge," now's your big chance.

Thursday, January 26, 2006


Pamelia Kurstin plays the theremin. But she doesn't just flail around and make wacky noises. Armed with delay foot pedals, she performs stunning solo theremin improvisations similiar to what Robert Fripp did on guitar-and-tape-effects "Frippertronics" recordings like "Let the Power Fall." She used to perform with her then-husband as The Kurstins, a Moog-theremin-drums trio, who I saw perform in 1998 at a tribute to the man who built her "ax" - Bob Moog himself, who gave a nice talk. I shook his hand that night. Anyway.
In case you didn't catch her in-studio performance yesterday on Irwin's WFMU show, check out this nine-plus minute:


Irwin played records as well, such as Led Zep's "Immigrant Song," and two Beach Boys tunes while Pamelia improvised over them, displaying a keen sense of pitch on her notoriously difficult instrument:

God Only Knows

I don't know what that bird-punching business means, though. That's just what her website says.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006


What's the fastest, most energetic music you've ever heard? Ivo Papasov's Bulgarian wedding music? Napalm Death's speed-metal? Yeah, well then you've never heard that pride of American folklore, the auctioneer. Technically, he's not a musician or singer - he has a job to do, and that's sell things at an auction. A real auction, not this eBay jazz. And we're not talking snooty silent city auctions either. Country auctioneers that sell produce, farm equipment, family estates, or, in today's case, livestock. I attended one auction in rural Colorado that sold anything that wasn't bolted down. The guy I saw there was good, but today we're celebrating the champs - the winners of the Livestock Marketing Association's annual World Livestock Auctioneer Championship. You can buy CDs and DVDs of entire shows, or just listen to mp3s of champs like 1964's

Cecil Ward - If you think this guy's insane, brace yourself for 2000's

Max Olvera - All acapella performances. Who's up for doing a remix?

Sunday, January 22, 2006


Don't be alarmed: Shrimp Attack is simply the name of a Stuart Hyatt's music and visual art project in collaboration with developmentally disabled youngsters from Florida's Eckerd College Ransom Arts Center. As many as fifty people are part of this collective - artists and musicians as well as the students, who write and sing their own lyrics, which range from the positive ("I'm Okay") to the Halloween-worthy "House of Dead Bodies." Unlike other similar projects like The Kids of Widney High or the How's Your News gang, the "special music" from these "special kids" is, well, more musical, with the vox/lyrics almost taking a backseat to the tunes. Which, as in the case of today's mp3, are very tuneful indeed:

Shrimp Attack: "Good"

Thursday, January 19, 2006


From Venezuela comes "Cachicamo con Caspa y Leiko el perro de la IIIII dimension", which I believe translates to "Cachicamo with Caspa and Leiko the dog of the fifth dimension." The Fifth Dimension? The '60s group that did "Up Up and Away?" Nope, these nuts do off-kilter piano merengue versions of well known Latin-American tunes, and a few internationaly known ones like John Lennon's


You can download the entire album here. Limp Bizkit and Sublime also get the treatment. Ay yi yi!

Wednesday, January 18, 2006


Although Rev. Howard Finster, a preacher from rural Georgia with little formal education whose paintings went so far as to become REM and Talking Heads album covers, may be America's best known folk artist, he also had a little-discussed musical side. The album "The Night Howard Finster Got Saved" is largely dedicated to spoken-word tracks, but there's some ace tunes on it as well. Singing in a high'n' lonesome twang, playing guitar, harmonica, and, in this case, piano, Finster's music should sound familiar to anyone who's heard the "O Brother Where Art Thou" soundtrack. Or perhaps, considering the berserk piano stylings of today's mp3, Bob Vido.

Howard Finster, Man of Visions, Now On This Earth - "Some of These Days"

Makes me wish I'd bought that Finster painting I used to see for sale at La Luz de Jesus Gallery in Hollywood. I wasn't in the position to spend hundreds on art but it was great - a portait of a young Elvis with the painted caption "Elvis At Three Is A Angel To Me." The fact that it's "A Angel" and not "An Angel" is the clincher.

Saturday, January 14, 2006

RIAA: "Recording Industries Are Archaic"

An album's worth of wacky mashups by RIAA.

"Recording Industries Are Archaic"

1. Intro: Bessie Smith "Me and My Gin," media clips
Obligatory Rap-Metal Mashup: Lyrics Born "Calling Out" vs Black Sabbath "Paranoid"
Here Comes The HotButter: Hot Butter "Popcorn" vs Ini Kamoze "Here Comes The Hot Stepper"
Itsy Bitsy Short Dick Man: 20 Fingers "Short Dick Man" vs Elektro-Sonic Orchestra "Itsy Bitsy Teeny Weeny Yellow Polka Dot Bikini"
Gold and Iron Mambo: Kanye West "Golddigger" vs The Lounge Brigade "Ironman," with Cypress Hill, Black Sabbath
Beastie Butt: Beastie Boys "Root Down" vs The Butthole Surfers "Sweat Loaf" with kiddie record, Lee Scratch Perry
Chris Rock's In The Place: Chris Rock "Defending Rap" vs Prodigy "Everybody's In The Place"
Setting Sail: Enya "Orinoco Flow" vs Chemical Brothers "Setting Sun"
It's Whiskey: Run DMC "It's Tricky" vs The Dubliners & The Pogues "Whiskey In The Jar"
Kraftplay: Kraftwerk "Computer Love" vs Coldplay "Talk"
The Shah Turns In His Grave: The Byrds "Turn Turn Turn" vs The Butthole Surfers "The Shah Sleeps In Lee Harvey's Grave"
Forty Days And Forty Nights: The Doors "Riders On The Storm" vs Michael Jackson "Billie Jean"
I Love Disco and I Hear It's Making A Comeback: Herbie Hancock "Bring Down The Birds," Petra Hayden "I Can See For Miles," Dee-Lite" Groove Is In The Heart,"
Vijay Benedict "I Am A Disco Dancer," media clips
We Want Your Ska: The Specials "A Message To You Rudy" vs Freeland "We Want Your Soul," Khia "My Neck My Back," Annette Funicello & Fishbone saying "Ska!"
There Is Not An Unusual Light That Never Goes Out:
Mr Fab sings! The Smith's "There Is A Light That Never Goes Out" over Tom Jones' "It's Unusual"
Mad Confusion Time: The Temptations "Ball of Confusion," Beastie Boys "In A World Gone Mad" vs Andrew Loog Oldham Orchestra "The Last Time"
Rise Above Circumstances: Black Flag "Rise Above" vs Elgar "Pomp and Circumstances"
Have You Seen Forever: Chi-Lites "Have You Seen Her," Beach Boys "Forever," Public Image Ltd. "Radio 4," MC Hammer
"Have You Seen Her," media clips
The Joy of Noise: Apollo 100 "Joy" vs Public Enemy "Bring The Noise"
Recorded on AcidPro mixing software 2004 - 2005.
Additional production (beats, sound effects, etc) by RIAA

Thursday, January 12, 2006


If you liked yesterday's post (or even if you didn't), here's more Bay Area zanies playing punk classics, classical style this time: The Punk Rock Orchestra. Their album isn't out yet, but tantalizing mp3 snippets are good for a few sniggers:

"Pretty Vacant" - The symphonic grandeur of the Sex Pistols
"I Hear The Rain" - The Violent Femmes for flutes
Schwartzenegger Über Alles - Like yesterday, The Dead Kennedys updated

Wednesday, January 11, 2006


Oakland, CA's Aaron Seeman plays accordian, for your weddings, parties, bar mitvahs, etc. He's in a Romanian folk music group, can play waltzes and polkas. Oh, and as Duckmandu he's recorded a note-for-note remake of the entire first Dead Kennedy's album, the punk rock milestone "Fresh Fruit for Rotting Vegetables." Completely solo. Yep, just squeeze-box, and singing that's a darn good impression of DK's vocalist Jello Biafra.

Form the album "Fresh Duck For Rotten Accordionists":

Duckmandu: "When You Get Drafted" - Note the updated-for-Iraq lyrics

Friday, January 06, 2006


There are millions of great guitar and piano players in the world, but, quick, name a great jew's harp player. The jew's harp? That thing you stick in your mouth, pluck, and go boing boing boing? With the vaguely anti-Semetic name? The same! Meet Tran Quang Hai (also spelled Tran Hai Quang), Vietnamese-born music professor, folklorist, and jew's harp hero. (Hey, if there can be guitar heroes...)

His album
"Jew's Harps of the World" does indeed survey various international jew's harp styles, though it mainly features those of Vietnam. Perhaps not melodic in the traditional sense, jew's harps are nonetheless capable of producing surprisingly diverse sounds and rhythms, sometimes suggesting electronic effects like distortion, wah-wah, and phase-shifting, though, of course, it's all acoustic.

Tran Quang Hai -
"Souvenir A Alexeiev Et Chichiguine"

Wednesday, January 04, 2006


Apparently the mother of one of the members of "indie-rockers" (whatever that means anymore) The Kaiser Chiefs is in a vocal choir, and they recorded this acapella version of one of their recent hits:

"I Predict A Riot"

A hoot if you're familiar with the original, just a really really strange church-type choir recording if you're not.

UPDATE: Thanks to
Dave "Inhibitor" Hughes for sending us his "semi-mashup" of the original and choir versions of:

"I Predict A Riot"

which he recorded for a gamer's station WoR Radio. Apparently, they've been diggin' the sounds we lay down around here.