Saturday, March 28, 2009

The DJ Useo Music For Maniacs Podcast Tribute

Here's a fantastic 90+ minutes of novelty and oddball recordings inspired by this here blog. Some we posted here originally, most we didn't. Includes: '50 kiddie records, Space Age/electro, New Wave weirdness, crazy covers, comedy/satire, private press eccentrics and mashups/sound collage.

I'm flattered! Thanks muchly to DJ Useo for such a wildly entertaining tribute.

The DJ Useo Music For Maniacs Podcast Tribute

01-I Wanna Be Your Dog- The 7 Stooges

02-Rat Fink- Allan Sherman

03-More Than A Feeling - Dondero High School

04-I Hate Banks - Mojo Nixon
05-Be Nice - Fry & Laurie
06-Embetterment Ingrinable - The George Bush Singers

07-Polly Wolly Doodle - Burl Ives
08-Dr. Seuss - Fox in Socks - Walt Kelly
09-Jazz Deliciously Sampled (The Bonzos vs Norman Cook) - DJ Useo
10-Crescent Fresh - The Sifl & Olly Show
11-Antidance (Vocal) - Mr.Mee
12-Batman and His Grandmother - Dickie Goodman
13-I Wan'na Be Sedated - Two Tons Of Steel
14-Are You Middle Class Enough? - The Dog Police
15-No Feelings - Bananarama
16-Living In The 50's (Once More) - The Android Sisters

17-The Sickly Sweet Odour Of Old Rotting Teeth - Jonathan King

18-Voodoo Banter Rap - M.C. Python (aka The Geez)

19-Hey Rocky - Boris Badenough
20-Polka Power ('99) - Weird Al Yankovic
21-Badinerie (from the Suite in B minor) - Swingle Singers
22-Keep Your Knees Together Daughter - Madame Mame
23-Plexiglass Toilet - Styx

24-I Walk The Line - Rick Powell
25-We're Off To Go A'Whippeting - National Whippeter
26-Musical Evolution - Josie & The Pussycats

27-Wonderbread - Jobs For America
28-The Man With The Golden Winkie - Grumpy & Lumpy
29-Guess I'm Falling Into Bubbles - RIAA

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

BOOKS FOR MANIACS: Thousand Mile Song

This might be the strangest music I've ever heard. It might not even be music.

David Rothenberg plays music with whales. Actual, living-in-the-sea whales. No, this isn't one of those corny '70s New Age albums with whale song sound effects dropped in. He actually traveled around the world, went out on boats, dropped a speaker and a mic into the ocean so he could hear the whales and the whales could hear him, and played clarinet along with their songs.

He may be crazy. He's the first to admit that. Since no-one knows what whale songs are for, he could be interfering with some important function they may have, like navigation. Plus, it's illegal. This possibly irresponsible activity led to the occasional confrontation, even shouting matches, with whale lovers he encountered on this scientific/artistic voyage.

His fascinating book/CD from last year,
Thousand Mile Song, recounts his travels from the Pacific Northwest, to the Caribbean, to sub-Arctic northern Russia, listening to whale songs, playing along with them, and seeing what happened. Along the way we learn many fun-to-know facts about whales and their songs, e.g.: they have structure. They are not random noises. And these songs change - a whale will "write" a new tune, which will sometimes catch on with other whales, and they ditch the old songs. And different kinds of whales have different styles. Killer whale and beluga songs are as different as, say, punk and r'n'b.

So there's a scientific component to all this as well - to see what happens when an interloper drops in with his music. Occasionally, as in the case with today's mp3, it seems like the whales might be responding. This track, named after the boat
Rothenberg was riding on when he made this recording, could be abstract electronica, or maybe a free jazz improvisation by someone like Sun Ra or Albert Ayler. But it really doesn't sound like anything you've heard before.

David Rothenberg + whales: "Never Satisfied"

I read this book last summer whilst listening to the cd on a hotel balcony overlooking the ocean, as seals were barking on the beach. You should try it!

Monday, March 23, 2009

Electric Junkyard Gamelan

Electric Junkyard Gamelan are a veteran quartet that build their own fanciful instruments and play fun, accessible original compositions on them. It's largely the project of New York madwoman Terry Dame who was initially inspired by Indonesian gamelan music. While some of their songs do indeed resemble the hypnotic percussive melodies of a Balinese/Javanese gamelan orchestra:
Electric Junkyard Gamelan: The Nutbutter Challenge

...other tunes definitely strike out into new, distinctly urban American directions, like this funky jazzy groover:
Electric Junkyard Gamelan: Ode to Fred Beans (excerpt)

Instruments are "fashioned from coat hangers and rubber bands, bed frames, old farm equipment, turntable platters, clay pots, saw blades and truck springs." The "Big Barp" rubber-band harp makes a particularly unusual sound:

Electric Junkyard Gamelan: The Big Barp
They have some mp3s and videos on their site, as well as
two albums for sale.Too bad they don't seem to get out to the West Coast. You Easterners are lucky - they play a lot. But don't cry for me Argentina, there's plenty to do here in Los Angeles, including the return of the annual Microfest, a series of concerts featuring microtonal music. Can't tell if Electric Junkyard Gamelan uses microtones - that realm of infinite possibilities in between the standard Western do-re-mi 7-tone scale - but the "American Gamelan" concert coming up this May 11 does. (The May 29/30 show dedicated to Harry Partch is highly recommended, and I'll most def. be talking about that later.)

Wednesday, March 18, 2009


While visiting the exhibit of weird religious album covers I wrote about last week (highly-recommended, btw), I ran into Howie Pyro, of superstar mashup crew The Illuminoids (and that most Maniacal of podcasts Intoxica Radio) who informed me that, contrary to what I had written, he had contributed at least as many records to the show as Don Bolles. My apologies, Howie, I was just going by what the LA Times had suggested. Mislead by the mass media! Another first.

The exhibit reminded me of how many odd religious items I have. I was surprised - thrifting for tunes means coming across countless zillions of religious records, most of which get passed over. But I guess
they can add up, even if you get just one in a hundred. So I thought I'd post some more from my archives. Yes, there's no shortage of scary Christian ventriloquist/ horrific child singers/ ranting preachers, etc. But here's a record I recognized from my collection (albeit with a different cover then the one shown) that's actually some nice listening.
"In the Land Beyond My Dreams: Organ renditions of Paramahansa Yogananda's Cosmic Chants, arranged and played by a Self-Realization Fellowship monk" is nothing but mystical organ instros a la '50s exotica star Korla Pandit, but this is from 1970. Ripped from a sealed vinyl copy I scored recently in Las Vegas on safari with my brother (thanks, dude!)
"In the Land Beyond My Dreams"

01 - In The Land Beyond My Dreams
02 - Blue Lotus Feet
03 - From This Sleep Lord/Do Not Dry The Ocean of My Love
04 - Light The Lamp of Thy Love
05 - In The Valley of Sorrow
06 - Recieve Me On Thy Lap
07 - Deliver Us From Delusion
08 - They Have Heard Thy Name
09 - When Thy Song Flows Thru Me
10 - When My Dream's Dream Is Done

Or dig this sample mp3:
Paramahansa Yogananda "Blue Lotus Feet"

There are verses printed on the album cover to accompany each song. Most of them aren't too interesting, but I like this surreal poem for "Blue Lotus Feet":

"Engrossed is the bee of my mind on the blue lotus feet of my Divine Mother."

Sing along!

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Straight Outta Ireland!!

Crazy leprechaun named Mr. Fab, from the gang called Paddies with Attitude. I'm of Irish descent, so I'm allowed to say that. Wasn't crazy about all the Catholic school, but I love corned beef & cabbage. Green beer is silly, but Irish-American comedians like Carlin and Denis Leary kick butt (especially when they make fun of Catholicism.) Irish folk music rocks, and I like hearing it mixed with bizarre, funny, illogical other musics. Henceforth I present an album's worth of Celtic mashups I've collected over the past 4 or 5 years, recorded by an international line-up. No U2! Or Riverdance!

Straight Outta Ireland

1. dj BC "Da Sound Of Da Irish Police Band"
2. RIAA "London Derriere"
3. N.W.Kilts "100 Miles N Jiggin"
4. Overdub "Give it to Ireland"
5. RIAA "It's Whiskey"
6. DJ Prince "Pick Up the Harmonium"
7. dj BC "The Reel Hip-Hop"
8. The Who Boys "Devil Is Dead Metal"
9. RIAA "Compton's In The Dingle"
10. JADMIX "Rising Shadow of the Moon"
11. DJ Topcat "Boondock Pain"
12. Dj erb "I'm Sprung (dj erb's St. Patty's Remix)"
13. Cheekyboy "Qtip vs Leprechaun"
14. DJ Shyboy "Shaved Head"
15. DJ Topcat "More Than On Point"
16. JADMIX "James Street"
17. RIAA "Bagpipes 'n' Breakdancing"

The rich history of Irish America is something most Americans know nothing about. Hell, Ireland is something most Americans know nothing about. (Lesson one: we're not British. Not even from the same island. Completely different history and language.) African Americans get "Black History Month." What do we get? Shamrock Shakes. Hence, St. Patrick's Day doesn't mean much. But it could, if done right. Can't the Kennedys do something about this?!

Thursday, March 12, 2009


"Within Heaven's Earshot" is an exhibit of weird, kitschy, funny religious album covers opening tomorrow at Synchronicity Space gallery in Los Angeles. Most of the records are from the collection of Don Bolles.

You probably think of Bolles as the drummer for bands like The Germs and 45 Grave. But Bolles was probably the first (after Dr. Demento) to expose me to the kind of non-mainstream, abnormal sounds that we celebrate here at M4M, through his long-standing (though off-and-on) L.A. radio presence. Checking out the album covers is more then enough reason to get me in the door, but hearing that Bolles will be co-DJing with his partner in sound collage Professor Canteloupe is the icing on the cake. And there will be "a filmed greeting by ventriloquist Gail Wenos"!

Speaking of Christian
ventriloquists - From my own vinyl collection of thrift-store religious oddities, here's Little Marcy. She's mentioned in the LA Times story I linked to above.

Little Marcy: from The Jesus Story

Nothing like children singing about torture and pain, eh?

Tuesday, March 10, 2009


After posting Mistabishi's sampled computer printer tune last week, some kind Maniacs pointed me towards other musical uses of this noisy/tuneful obsolete office technology:

[The User] is a Canadian duo who created a half-hour long piece in 1999 using a dozen or so printers that was performed live. Judging by the pictures I've seen of it (such as the one to the left) it must have been quite a sight. It certainly sounds good. An album was released in 2002.

[The User] "Symphony For Dot Matrix Computers (excerpt)"

Japanese electro-pop producer Cornelius' 2006 album "Sensuous" also makes good use of a printer in this brief jazzy electric piano ditty:

Cornelius: "Toner"

Thanks to Anonymous & Eddie!

Wednesday, March 04, 2009


A sampled old office printer (remember how noisy those things were?) makes for an awesome tune. Love this kinda creative recycling.

Mistabishi: "Printer Jam" (mp3)

Mistabishi: "Printer Jam" (video)

I know nothing about Mistabishi except that this is from his new (UK only, for now) debut album.

Tuesday, March 03, 2009


Yesterday's post about the Post-Punk Junk film festival starting this week served as a bit of a kick in the pants for me to finally organize some of my own mp3s I've made off of my collection of '70s/'80s underground vinyl. Here's a CDs worth of mutated funk for New Wave dance floors:

Get The Funk Out, Punk (WeirdFunk USA)

Didn't have room for the Euro stuff; maybe a vol. 2 if anyone's interested?

Black Randy & The Metrosquad - Barefootin' On The Wicket Picket
2. Funktionairies - Kiss My Funky pt 1
3. The Wa
itresses - Wait Here, I'll Be Right Back (Son of Comb)
4. Lotus Lame and the Lame Flames - Bad Sex
5. Animal Things - Wanna Buy Some
6. Carmaig DeForest - Crack's No Worse Then The Fascist Threat
7. Baby Buddha - Then I Sleep
8. Funkapolitan - As The Time Goes By
9. The Soul Dads - Youre Fat (And I Like It)
10. Fela Johnson - They Call Me Fela
11. The Offs - Everyone's a Bigot
12. Cambridge Apostles - Cant Fight The Feeling
13. No Y Z - X Machine
14. Black Randy & The Metrosquad - Say It Loud -- I'm Black And I'm Proud
15. Rand Kennedy - Enorma Jones
16. John Sex - Bump And Grind It (Extended Mix)
17. Funktionairies - Kiss My Funky pt 2

Apart from legends like Black Randy and the commercially successful Waitresses, I don't know much about some of these obscurities - click on the artist name for whatever link I could find. But it's all rude, raucous funky fun, uninhibited, full of life...

Monday, March 02, 2009


Bret from over at Egg City Radio (formerly Post-Punk Junk) is curating an awesome-looking film festival dedicated to the original late '70s/early '80s punk scene. They're mostly on-the-spot documentaries that haven't been seen in ages. Some, like the legendary concert film "Urgh! A Music War," can't be released on DVD due to licensing hassles.

Every Thursday for
the next couple of months! If you're in Los Angeles, or are planning on visiting, mark you calendars, kids.

Post-Punk Junk: Punk and Post-Punk On Film

Thursday, March 5th - "The Punk Rock Movie" [future Big Audio Dynamite member Don Letts made this Super 8mm document of the London scene] + "The Blank Generation" [about the New York/CBGBs scene; I never even heard of this one]
Thursday, March 12th - Two Films about The Fall ("The Wonderful World of Mark E. Smith" + "Hail The New Puritan")
Thursday, March 19th - "Made In Sheffield" [industrial] + "Shadowplayers" [Factory Records/Joy Division, etc.]
Thursday, March 26th- "Urgh! A Music War" [Hell, yeah! Haven't seen this one since I was a kid] + "Debt Begins At Twenty"
Thursday, April 2nd - Post-Punk Junk mix night [various shorts]
Thursday, April 9th - European Punk night ("La Brune Et Moi" + 2nd film TBA)
Thursday, April 16th - "Breaking Glass" + "Crash 'N' Burn"
Thursday April 30th - Target Video tribute night [Lots of great Cali stuff here...ah, nostalgia...]

Every Thursday night at 8PM, @ The Cinefamily
611 N. Fairfax Avenue, LA, CA, 90036