Saturday, November 28, 2009

MINNIE'S YOO-HOO


Here's something quite wonderful that I found on the CartoonBrew blog: a song that is not only one of the first Disney-related records (from 1930), but also perhaps cartoon music god Carl Stalling's first record. It's not the manic Looney Tune type of thing he's famous for, but it's still a fun bit of 78 rpm wonderfulness that Bonzo Dog Band fans should eat up: the second verse is sung in a particularly strange voice, accompanied by appropriately cartoonish sound effects. And dig that jammin' xylophone solo!

Leo Zollo & His Orchestra "Minnie's Yoo-Hoo"

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Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Jazz Mash Swing Bash

- What-ho, Maniacs! The tuxedoes and evening gowns are back from the cleaners, the martinis are mixed, and our soirée is ready to begin. Why simply everyone will be here. I'm sure it will be the gayest event of the year!

- Excuse me, sir...

- What is it, Jeeves?

- I'm afraid the orchestra won't be able to make it. Their motor-car ran into a tree.

- Dash it all! Whatever will we do without music?!

- If I may suggest, sir...this Fairtilizer playlist of 17 vintage swing/jazz mashups of a most diverting nature:


- What the devil are 'mashups'?

- They are combinations of old classics from the likes of Peggy Lee, Duke Ellington, Louis Armstrong and Marlene Deitrich mixed with more modern sounds of Bob Marley, Beyonce, Muse, and various musics of an electronic nature. Many were produced in just these most recent months by a newcomer from the Netherlands named Okiokinl. Most ingenious, if I may say so, sir.

- And who is this 'Fairtilizer' fellow you speak of?

- Simply click on the link, click the 'Play' button in the box to the left (it should be "up in the cotton club") and all the songs will stream auto-matically. You can download them as well.

- By jove, you've done it again, Jeeves!

- Always happy to serve, sir...

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

MUTANT INSTRUMENTS DAY

Today on YouTube they're featuring:

Mutant Instruments


"This collection of mutant instruments turns conventions upside down. Hear unique melodies from the eigenharp (woodwind + drum + piano), the matryomin (theremin + Russian doll), a multi-stringed Experibass, and electronic monome. Huh? Just watch."

We actually covered the matryomin before, and the new vid makes a further case for it's loveliness, tho that John Tesh-ish song is pretty corny. The quadruple-necked Experibass is struck with sticks, and "prepared" a la Cage with spoons stuck between it's strings, producing a fearsome industrial drone. Nice. Not sure about that eigenharp tho - it'll be cool if you can bring in your own sounds and not get stuck with their pre-sets. And the monome has a non-keyboard interface that kinda reminds me of the old kid's game Simon.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

THE MOOG COOKBOOK

These guys caused quite a stir back when their debut dropped in 1996 - covers of contemporary rock hits, most of the "alt" variety, performed on vintage electronics in a '60s Space Age style, with large dollops of humor. It could have just been a gimmick that might have been funny to listen to once or twice, but the tunes were expertly played, with quite the attention to period detail. Mucho clever touches abounded, as well.

By the mid'90s, vintage Moog records had been rediscovered by the masses. (Lucky for me - I was able to re-sell records I'd bought for 50s cents for 50 dollars. Thank you, record collectors!) In fact, I saw The Moog Cookbook live at an event to honor Robert Moog himself, same show I saw Pamelia Kurstin. And yes, they wore spacesuits.

The Moog Cookbook
  1. "Black Hole Sun" (Cornell) - 4:22 (original by Soundgarden)
  2. "Buddy Holly" (Cuomo) - 4:13 (original by Weezer)
  3. "Basket Case" (Armstrong/Green Day) - 4:04 (original by Green Day)
  4. "Come Out and Play" (Holland) - 5:00 (original by The Offspring)
  5. "Free Fallin'" (Lynne/Petty) - 4:15 (original by Tom Petty)
  6. "Are You Gonna Go My Way?" (Kravitz/Ross) - 3:35 (original by Lenny Kravitz)
  7. "Smells Like Teen Spirit" (Cobain/Grohl/Novoselic) - 5:29 (original by Nirvana)
  8. "Even Flow" (Gossard/Vedder) - 4:28 (original by Pearl Jam)
  9. "The One I Love" (Berry/Buck/Mills/Stipe) - 4:31 (original by R.E.M.)
  10. "Rockin' in the Free World" (Young) - 5:03 (original by Neil Young)
This album's out of print now, but you can still buy their genius second one, which covers "classic rock" hits. They released a third album (that you can buy here) independently a couple of years ago that gathers up all their previously unreleased stuff and remixes they did for other artists.

Friday, November 20, 2009

RIAA: Reality Is An Accident


RIAA's new album of mashups and cut-ups is some of the weirdest, wackiest stuff that they've recorded in the last year or two. Spike Jones, Roger Roger, old kiddie records, and rude sound effects mix with Neutral Milk Hotel, James Blunt and the soundtracks to "Psycho" and “Eraserhead”; '60s garage rock and Latin boogaloo collide with modern funky electro beatz.

Whimsical animal themes abound:
San Cooke dances with a chicken, Dean Martin & Nancy Sinatra harmonize with dogs, Fleetwood Mac jams with Babar the Elephant. And you'll never believe what the Jonas Brothers do...

People Like Us and dj BC collaborated. And you can grab the whole thing here:
Reality Is An Accident (zip file)

Or listen to it streaming/download individual tracks here:

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Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Confessions from the Blogosphere

"C4, the world's first Choral Composer/Conductor Collective, is a unique vocal ensemble in New York City dedicated to performing music composed in the last twenty-five years." A big vocal choir that doesn't do Handel's "Messiah"? Yep, they do nutty stuff like Karen Siegel's "Obsessions from the Twittersphere" and "Confessions from the Blogosphere," both of which collect actual internet blather, to both humorous and musical effect:

Karen Siegel "Confessions from the Blogosphere"

They
also "sing an ode to a paper-training pet tortoise," as well as proper serious stuff. In the past, they've performed a piece based on dialogues from David Lynch's movie Mulholland Drive. Cool, hope they record those.

Hey New Yorkers! They'll be performing this Thursday, November 19 at Holy Trinity Lutheran Church, and Saturday the 21st at Church of Saint Luke in the Fields (more info on their site).

Saturday, November 14, 2009

HORRIBLE SINGING CHILDREN

A few thrift-store finds:

Janie White & The Sonlights, w/4 year old Rejana: Something Happened To Daddy

Phyllis & Art, The Hollywood Sweethearts (featuring their uncredited Horrible Singing Child): I Love Daddy

The Folmer Family w/6 year old Wendy: Wendy Sings With Mommy & Daddy - For you masochists, an entire album, featuring another version of "Something Happened To Daddy," and you must hear the ghastly, LOL-out loud "How Far Is Heaven," about Daddy dying!

The Horrible Singing Child genre primarily affected country
and Christian family groups of the '60s and '70s, but here's a country family act from the '30s:

"Little Cowboy" Charlie Haden with the Haden Family Show

Yep, you read that right, that's the Charlie Haden, the legendary jazz bassist. The man who helped music explode with Ornette Coleman sang the above song at age two in 1939. Not as painful as the other tracks - it's short, and his attempts to yodel are pretty funny. This is taken from his latest album "Rambling Boy," featuring his own family e.g.: famous daughter Petra.

Thanks (or blame!) to li'l bro Paul Fab for the "Wendy" album.

Friday, November 13, 2009

DON'T MAKE THE CYBRAPHON SAD

Behold! The above contraption is The Cybraphon, a marvel of mechanical music. Edinburg, Scotland's FOUND group have built a self-playing musical robot housed in a cabinet, but unlike other robo-musicians that we've featured here who play rock, jazz, or electronica, The Cybraphon takes an antique-garde approach in terms of both look and sound: "Inspired by early 19th century mechanical bands such as the nickelodeon ['player piano']...Cybraphon consists of a number of instruments, antique machinery, and found objects from junk shops operated by over 60 robotic components..."

Instruments include a Farfisa organ, chimes, an Indian classical instrument, percussion, and "...a purpose made vinyl record...cued robotically to play through antique brass gramophone horns." Cool, eh? But how does it sound? Great, actually. Listening to their two EPs (available on their site) is a kind of musical Turing Test - I sometimes forgot that I was listening to a robot and just enjoyed the music. Accordions aren't listed but something sure sounds like them in these tunes. Perhaps it's that "Indian classical instrument."

The Cybraphon: The Balkan Bazaar

The Cybraphon: A March For The Sea

"Image conscious and emotional, the band’s performance is affected by online community opinion as it searches the web for reviews and comments about itself 24 hours a day." So don't make The Cybraphon sad. Cybraphon cry.

Thanks to J-Unit 1!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

DARWIN Part Deux

Point/counterpoint:

The New Creation: Dig! The Origin of Man


Baba Brinkman:
Creationist Cousins

Last week when I was visiting Chicago I made a point to visit Intuit, the outsider-art museum. It's a fairly small spot, but it has a performance stage (Jan Terri played there years ago!) and an amazing store that has, among it's many wonders, some outsider music CDs. That's where I picked up the New Creation album "Troubled," a reissue of a phenomenal 1970 private-press (only 100 copies) "Jesus-freak" record from Canada.

A mother & son combo (can't think of too many of those) + friends with only the most basic of technical skills but plenty of song-writing smarts, The New Creation's sole album is a charming chunk of garage-psych. It kicks off with a really weird 4 minute sound collage before launching into a song called "Countdown To Revolution!," reminds the squares that Jesus was a rebel ("The Status Quo Song"), and sing some folk-rock gems like "Yet Still Time" that may or may not have anything to do to with Christianity. Their stance on evolution in the posted song "Dig!" seems more bemused then anything else. It's a catchy tune indeed, probably because it borrows quite a bit of it's melody from the '50s hit "Red River Valley."

Baba Brinkman (also Canadian, eh!) first appeared in these pages with his rap version of The Canterbury Tales. His new album "The Rap Guide To Evolution," (available from his site) is, well, just that. It's scientifically accurate, musically solid, even funny sometimes. But dealing with biologic
al complexities can make the songs amazingly wordy, e.g.: the finely funky song posted, set at a dinner table as our hero tries to reason with a stubbornly unscientific family. I'm certainly aware of the large number of religious creationists out there, but the feminist who says gender has no basis in science threw me for a loop. Are there still people who think like that? I thought that was a relic of '70s hippie-dom.

Me? I wouldn't bother arguing or debating. Darwin's discovery of Natural Selection is just part of a long chain of biological advances, from Gregor Mendel's genetics experiments, to Watson & Crick's discovery of the structure of DNA, right up to the recent Human Genome Project. Whether someone likes it or not is irrelevant. There's no getting rid of it, and believe me, the Communists tried. Ah, evolution - can't live with it, can't live without it.
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Thanks to Pete!.

Sunday, November 08, 2009

DARWIN: THE MUSICAL

This year is Charles Darwin's 200th birthday, and the 150th Anniversary of the publication of the Origin of Species. So, to celebrate, he's on a world tour, singing all of his greatest hits.

Actually, 'tis anthropologist Richard Milner channeling the great naturalist thu witty, upbeat original songs with rapid-fire rhymes that would give eminem a run for his money.
I hear the likes of Noel Coward, Cole Porter and his admitted heroes GIlbert & Sullivan in such songs as "I'm The Guy (Who Found Natural Selection)."

Corny? Nerdy? Well, of course. As it should be! In fact, I'm looking forward to seeing him on his tour when he hits California later this month after playing
London on the 10th (check his site for details, as well as to order his album Charles Darwin: Live & In Concert). He'll be at Caltech opening for best-selling writer Barbara Ehrenreich. Some folks go to dark, sweaty late night clubs. I go to Sunday afternoon shows at science university auditoriums. Oh yeah, that's how we roll 'round here at M4M. Don't mess with us!

Richard Milner "
Darwin's Nightmare" - gets rather surreal
Richard Milner "
Why Didn't I think of That" - "this one is sung by Darwin's friend Thomas Henry Huxley, kind of a Rex Harrison-like character. When he first read the Origin of Species, he said, "How stupid not to have thought of that myself."

As he describes in this video, he started off as a typical academic, writing songs about science on the side. Now he performs an hour-long show outside of the classroom, all over the world. No, this will NOT be on the test - it's all in fun, tho a certain amount of learning might slip thru, and is there anything wrong with that? Anyone...anyone? Can I see some new hands?

Friday, November 06, 2009

JAN TERRI "Baby Blues"


Score!

Visiting Chicago recently I snagged an exceedingly rare copy of a CD by outsider legend Jan Terri. This Windy City native was quite the sensation a decade or so ago, as I'm sure some of you may recall: after her jaw-dropping videos started making the rounds, she released two private-press CDs, started doing shows around Chicago, opened for Marilyn Manson, and appeared on Jon Stewart's Daily Show. After setting up a website in 2001, she announced that she was working on a third album, disappeared, and hasn't been in the public eye since.

On this 1993 album, there's quite the contrast between her thin, off-key voice and the professional studio cats backing her with slick country pop and Van Halen "Jump"-esque rockers. She double-tracks her voice most of the time, but since she can't really hold a melody, there's a vaguely unsettling dissonance that runs throughout the whole album.

Still, there's some lovely stuff here - "If You Want a Divorce" has a sweetness that suggests The Shaggs growing up and facing adult issues. "Losing You," one of her video "hits," is a catchy sing-along. "Keep on Knocking" is an uncredited Little Richard rip. Other songs are downright puzzling, with the absurd "Fax My Love" (check that title!) reaching such a level of dementia that it'll either convince you of Terri's genius, or have you running screaming out of the room, hands over your ears. Or maybe both.

[UPDATE 2/24/10: Link removed by request of artist. Sorry, but just heard from a friend of Jan's that she's alive, well, and ready to launch a comeback]

1 Leanne
2 Keep on Knocking
3 Missing You (More & More)
4 I'd Like to Make It With You Babe
5 Time
6 Being Back With You
7 Fax My Love
8 Never Get You off My Mind
9 If You Want a Divorce
10 Baby Blues
11 Losing You
12 Friends

This page has both a more in-depth biography of Terri, as well as a video documentary.

We were in Chicago for a friend's wedding. Only reception I've been to where the bride herself dj-ed from her iPod. So no "We've Only Just Begun" or Kool and the Gang's "Celebrate." Instead: James Brown deep cuts, The Trogg's "I Can't Control Myself," some salsa. When my wife told dj/bride that the Cuff-Links (their early '70s bubblegum hit "Traci" was playing) and the Archies had the same lead singer, and bride replied "I know, Ron Dante!" I could only beam with pride.

Thursday, November 05, 2009

THE KING OF SPACE-AGE POP A-GO-GO...


...is how Los Angeles' The SG Sound bills himself, and the proof of such a bold claim is in the (digital) grooves of his fab-gear new album "Escapade Velocity" (also available on iTunes).

The '90s lounge revival often meant ex-punk rockers donning tuxes and faking their way thru pseudo- swing, but Mr SG (aka Steve Greaves) has genuine professional soundtrack skillz to match his Mancini-esque ambitions, even doing tv spots for "Mad Men," appropriately enough. And he tells me that he was "heading to Vegas to hang out with Vic Flick (guitarist from the John Barry 7 who played the original Bond lick AND "Beat Girl!)"
But he has the cheeky humor and sense of fun often missing from technically skilled but too-serious jazz cats.

The album kicks off with the title track, reminiscent of Lalo Schifrin's (another of Greave's heroes) "Mission Impossible" theme. "Banditos De Las Estrellos" could be a heavy metal spaghetti western theme. Carole King's '70s soft-pop hit "I Feel The Earth Move" gets an unexpectedly groovy reworking. He's added a hi-fi sci-fi twist to his surf guitar-brass-percussion lineup since we last checked in with him, to whit, this LOL-out loud twistin' version of some familiar "Star Wars" sounds:

The SG Sound: Cantina Band

As he mentions in this interview, Greaves doesn't like the term "lounge." Can't blame him, but I hope he doesn't mind me lumping him in with that genre with my clumsy labeling method.
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