Monday, September 27, 2010

ZOOGZ TOOZDAY 5: Water

Start HERE! (If you haven't already).

As Los Angeles has just experienced the hottest day in our recorded history, an album called "Water" sounds mighty soothing, doesn't it? Aaaaah, water... And this one kicks off with a song called "I'll Rip Your Brains Out." Hi, Zoogz!

The afore-mentioned song is another example of Rift's trademark outrageous surrealism, in this case sending the TV show "The Beverly Hillbillies" into a Caligula-like orgy. The music ends up as a kind of punk version of the old American folk song "Shortin' Bread."

Much of this swell, well-produced 1987 release is instrumental, which is great as it gives his prog/punk/jazz/weirdness musicians a chance to shine (Richie Haas' marimbas always make me happy), tho I would love to hear lyrics for songs with titles like "World of Depravity." One instro segment, based on the "Oh Pretty Woman" riff, is named "Roy Orbit's Son" (get it?). But the few songs with lyrics are good ones, e.g.: the vituperative "Burn in Hell," and "Mongoloid Middle America," which posits a theme park ride far more terrifying then the Haunted Mansion.

Two excellent instros are only a minute long: "Diver Dan vs. the Worm Gobblers" has a funky poppin' bass trying to keep up with a drum machine that keeps playing faster and faster, and the
all-electronic title tune sounds like easy-listening music for robots. A spoken word track featuring a woman recounting a (hopefully fictitious) encounter with a pedophile isn't anything you'll want to hear much, but it does break up the instrumentals.

Dive in! (sorry)

Zoogz Rift: Water

Sunday, September 26, 2010

WE WANT BIG DICK NIXXXON

'Twas exactly 50 years ago that Richard Nixon debated John F. Kennedy. He lost the debate and the election, but an unknown citizen who sent his home-scribbled lyrics and a check to a song-poem company was not discouraged:

Gene Marshall: "We
Want Dick, We Want Dick, We Want Dick"

Gene Marshall: "We Want Dick and Spiro,
We Want Dick and Spiro,We Want Dick and Spiro"

This fascinating article describes how Nixon recovered from his loss by recruiting help from the TV comedy show "Laugh-In," thus ushering in the era of image over substance.

Would Nixon have been a fan of this blog? After all, he hated all that "decadent" modern art (as did so many others before him.) But we've posted so many songs about him! And they're usually sung by this groovy cat, Gene Marshall:

Thanks to Chris G.!


Thursday, September 23, 2010

ELVIS VS THE TERRORISTS

The facts:

- E-Cousins are two Philippino Elvis impersonators who sing duets.

- They don't cover Elvis songs, they write original songs about Elvis.

- Some of their lyrics are simply strung-together Elvis song or movie titles.

- Their lyrics usually don't rhyme, or have much of a musical flow.

- The music is very low budget, sounding like it's played on Casios

Is a review even necessary?

E-Cousins: "Elvis Movies"
E-Cousins: "Elvis On Terrorism"

And as long as we're in the Philippines, here's your WTF?! video of the day:

Monday, September 20, 2010

ZOOGZ TOOZDAY 4: The Island of Living Puke

Start HERE! (if you haven't already)

Hoo boy, we've got a live one here - this 1986 release is one of Zoogz Rift's most confrontational releases, and not necessarily one I'd recommend to those of you new to Rift's weird world. It features more non-musical tracks (almost like skits) then usual, and some of Rift's most pained, ranting vocals.

The opening track sports The Amazing Shithead's new toy - a sampler. But rather then looping James Brown break-beats, we've got various voices screaming obscenities, in particular, a woman shouting out: "It's the island of living puke, you ASSHOLE!," over noise/ free music. It's almost as if Rift is daring the audience to continue listening. But don't wuss out!

The title track follows, and it's a swell bit of haunted-house keyboard-driven punkishness. "A Very Pretty Song For A Very Special Young Lady" almost lives up to it's title until the douche-bag from the "Ipecac" song "Sit Down and Shut Up" returns...and returns again on "Nightclub Sequence," where this time band member John Trubee gets a rare vocal - not singing, but acting in a skit (and, yes, he did include prank phone calls on his solo releases). "The Mo-Fo's Are After Me" would almost be laid-back jazz-rock were it not for the anguished
paranoid vocals.

"Torture Sequence" is simply a litany of voices complaining about Rift, and it's followed by "You're Killing Me," a great bit of New Wave From Hell, featuring some zany synths and drums machines (another new toy). "The Secret Marines" is dada spoken word + Zappa-esque horn rock.

In "Shiver Me Timbers," an album highlight, and "Escape From The Island Of Living Puke," the band gets down to utterly wacked-out (
mostly) instrumental business - spazz-rock at it's finest.

"The Breather" is - hey, whatdoyaknow! - a downright catchy hummable melody, with philosophical lyrics, and a synth solo that sounds like doorbells ringing. And who's "I'm Happy" came first, Zoogz' or Ivor Cutler's?

It can all be a bit startling at first, but repeat listens reveal the humor and musical brilliance.

Zoog Rift - The Island of Living Puke
.

Friday, September 17, 2010

WRAP YOUR DREAM IN WALTZ

Originalljudet are indeed original. From Sweden, the land that gave us Tor Johnson, comes this five-piece who make dreamy/nightmarish modern antiquities out of sad accordians, spooky musical saws, acoustic bass, and horns that whisper rather then honk. Tispy violins and pianos occasionally show up to crash on the couch. One song starts off just like Screaming Jay Hawkin's "I Put A Spell On You" before it goes off and joins a broken-down traveling carnival.

A reader named Antov (thanks, dude!) who tipped me to their new debut album described it as "weird but beautiful." Yup. My favorite new late night/early morning cool-out record.

Originaljudet: Wrap Your Dream In Waltz

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

ZOOGZ TOOZDAY 3: Ipecac

Start HERE! (If you haven't already)

This is the 1984 album (named after a medicine used to induce vomiting) that got me into Zoogz, so it's a sentimental favorite. And I owe it all to the track "Sit Down And Shut Up," which was a bit of a hit on L.A. radio at the time, and a good place for neophytes to start.

We begin with the title track instrumental: a synth & vibes duet followed by some free-jazz guitar skronk that, amazingly, was sampled by rapper The Game. The
synth & vibes dueting continues on "Sunday Brunch With Fuad Ramses," a song named for a character in the exploitation film classic "Blood Feast."
"Sit Down And Shut Up" is 8 minutes of syn-drums, catchy tunes, some of Zoogz' finest singing, and a devastating parody of a frat-boy knucklehead encountering Zoogz & co. It's also a bit of an '80s time-capsule, with references to KROQ, the Club Lingerie, Pac-Man and numerous trendy bands of the time.

Followed by: dada spoken-word; a relaxing instro that becomes increasingly psychedelic; and then another fave, the 11-minute "I Was The Only Boy At The Teen Girls' Slumber Party." It's as juvenile as it's title, but the music, based on Eric Burdon & War's "Spill The Wine," is a stone-cold groove. Slide guitarist Scott Colby's dobro, and Indian tabla percussion add
some unexpected colors to the mix.

Then: "No Use," an almost straight-ahead rocker, with typically pained whining vox; a Christmas carol that Johnny Mathis will not be recording; and finally a vein-popping Rift screaming
"you fucked up!" over furious punk-jazz. Phew!

Zoogz Rift "Ipecac"

Friday, September 10, 2010

BAD 9/11 TRIBUTE SONGS vs. BAD 9/11 CONSPIRACY SONGS

There are LOTS and LOTS of sincere, well-meaning, awful songs by amateur tunesmiths commemorating the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. They're usually sappy, melodramatic ballads. Sometimes, as in songs that feature child narrators pining for their dead parents, they're almost downright tasteless, reducing an epic disaster to the level of a tv movie tearjerker. These kinds of songs often invoke patriotic or religious themes. Hey Christians! Did you know that Islam is based on the Judeo/Christian tradition? Yep, they believe (and the Koran reiterates) Bible stories. Therefore, Christianity is not the opposite of Islam, atheism is. No-one sings about that, tho. Anyway. Some of these songs are so inept that they're quite entertaining:

Jay2d "Freedom Fell" - Just when you think it can't get any worse, a guitar solo wanders in, seemingly from another song.

Kevin Fortin "I Still See" [UPDATE 9/11/10 9:00am-dude asked me to remove his song; damn, how'd he find out about it so fast? But it's available elsewhere on the web] - Unintentionally funny song-poem-esque lyrics on this one.

At perhaps the other end of the political spectrum, there's the more recent phenomenon of songs by 9/11 conspiracy kooks claiming...oh, who the hell knows? Their grasp of engineering is about as flabby as Creationists' understanding of biology and they're just as illogical. Actually, I would think that only a Republican would buy these ideas - who else would think that the thoroughly inept Bush administration could pull off such a massive conspiracy? They could barely tie their own shoes.
At least this guy's funny:

The Free Bees "9/11's A Lie" - To the tune of "Stayin' Alive." He's the Weird Al of kooks!

Zan Overall "I Want To Believe You Mr President" - This guys was 83 years old when he recorded this Sinatra-ish finger-snapper. And he doesn't believe Jews died in the Holocaust either. I admit, I'd love it if he did a whole album.

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

ZOOGZ TOOZDAY 2: Amputees In Limbo

Read THIS first! (If you haven't already.)

Proceeding chronologically, here's a collection from 1982 that kicks off with Zoogz screaming "I'm having a heart attack!" over a '60s Vox organ rocker that sounds like a psychotic version of ? & The Mysterions' "96 Tears." Then: an atonal dismantling of Iron Butterfly's "Inna Gadda Davida;" a sax-led instro in 5/4 time featuring some truly warped guitar mayhem; "
Evil Eye" is reggae (!) w/frightened lyrics; "Buffy & Jody" obscenely defiles sitcom characters; "My Daddy Works For The Secret Marines" is one of my faves, due to it's distorted funk groove. "Searchin' For Clams Under The Glass Bottom Boat" is an instro duet for vibes and sax. He loses me with some free-improv/noise messes towards the end, but brings it all back home with an attack on an "Art Band"...but isn't Zoogz an art-rocker? If not, then what is an 'art band?'

Another of the more accessible (tho still with grotesque moments), and successful, outings from Mr Rift And His Amazing Shitheads.

Amputees In Limbo

Saturday, September 04, 2010

HEAVY METAL + MARIACHI =

Metalachi.

Yep, metal classics (Ozzy, Iron Maiden, etc) played in a Mexican folk style, from this L.A. combo who not only came up with this ridiculous concept, but followed thru with songs, costumes, websites, videos, live gigs around town. Got to give 'em credit, especially since Judas Priest actually sounds pretty damn good like this:

Metalachi - Breakin' The Law

The loco kids these days - what'll they come up with next?