Thursday, September 29, 2011

STAR TREK FAN BANDS: NOT NEARLY AS BAD AS ONE WOULD THINK

(Vote for "M4M Idol"! You've got 'til Oct. 6.)

A Klingon death-metal band. Just think about the sheer awesomeness of that concept.

"Trekkies 2" is a 2004 documentary about the most extreme 'Star Trek' fans, produced and hosted by, of all people, Bing's granddaughter Denise Crosby. The soundtrack album features some funny bits of dialogue from the film, a few soundtrack cues, and lots of entertaining fan songs. Somehow Fred Schneider of the B52s ended up on here as well. Maybe he's a Trekkie? Wouldn't be too surprising.

As for the musical acts, who pretty much only perform at 'Trek'/sci-fi conventions, Warp 11 are quite good in that Descendants/Bad Religion/Green Day-
style of melodic punk. "Everything I Do, I Do With William Shatner" really is as good as it's title. No Kill I: The Next Generation (yep, that's the band's name) make a great Devo-ish New Wave ruckus. Ash Productions are two charming teenage girls. Reminding us of Trek fan history, Leslie Fish does it old school: a solo acoustic "filk" (sci-fi folk) tune. And then there's death-metalers Stovokor, who not only dress up as Klingons, but they sing in the Klingon language.And if you ain't down with that, well, pally, you have landed on the wrong blog.

I don't know much about 'Trek" beyond watching the original series ("TOS" in Trek talk) as a kid, but it's inside nature is what I like about this stuff. Fan music, like song-poems, make me realize how generic most music is. Frank Sinatra couldn't have sang about "Star Trek" (or what his favorite color is, or who he supported for President) because he had a general audience, so we just got lots of love songs since, presumably, that's a human universal. So it's fascinating to me to hear people singing passionately about something very specific. They can only exist in the rarefied world of fellow fans, or, in the case of song-poems, they just put out tiny pressings of private recordings. They don't have to worry about what the music biz (even the "indie" end of it) thinks.

Trekkies 2 The Official Soundtrack

1. Since I Was Zero - Denise Crosby 2. Beam Me Up - Fred Schneider 3. The Worst Time To Call - Gabriel Koener 4. Italy Theme - Billy Sullivan 5. Channeling Roddenberry - Karl Miller 6. Red Alert - Warp 11 7. A Girl Came - Brian Dellis 8. Everything I Do, I Do With William Shatner - Warp 11 9. We're Niners - Michael Leon 10. Boldly Going - No Kill I: Deep Space Nine 11. Extremities - Gabriel Koemer 12. Vulcan Mind-Meld - No Kill I: Deep Space Nine 13. Low Frequencies - Jason Lewis 14. For The Glory Of Qo'nos - Stovokor 15. Klingon Santa Claus - Denise Crosby 16. Life In Exile - Stovokor 17. My Rank Is Commander - Renee Morrison 18. Arkansas Theme - J.J. Holiday 19. Ever Hear Of Filking? - Denise Crosby 20. The Expendable Guy (Live) - Ash Productions 21. A Typo - Kathleen Sloan 22. Banned From Argo (Live) - Leslie Fish And Friends 23. What's Normal - Dave Smith 24. No Kill I Theme Song (Live) - No Kill I 25. Auk - Jean Whitehead 26. Tranya (Live) - No Kill I 27. Remain Calm - Allen Maxwell 28. Data And The Beta (Live) - No Kill I: The Next Generation 29. Starbase Dentist - Denise Crosby 30. We Are The Borg (Live) - No Kill I: The Next Generation 31. It's Just Good - Jon Garrison 32. Germany Theme - Billy Sullivan 33. Ethan's Aliens - Ethan Philips 34. Beam Me Up (Instrumental Reprise) - Fred Schneider 35. Lame Reality - Ward Young


Monday, September 26, 2011

"Get some haircuts on your kids! Teach 'em some decent music!"


(Vote for "M4M Idol"! You've got 'til Oct. 6.)

This nearly hour-long sermon starts off nicely enough, before we get to juicy quotes concerning: dirty stinkin' hippie beatniks! The Communist conspiracy! 15 minutes in we get to hatin' on The Beatles and rock music. "DIRTY FILTHY VILE ROCK FESTIVALS...are bent on destroying America." Hey, botanists! We learn about how rock music kills plants - it's been scientifically proven! He recites almost all the lyrics to "Back in the USSR" and "White Rabbit" ("Feed your head! Feed your head!"). He pronounces Bob Dylan's name "Bobby DIE-lin" and Phil Ochs "Phil Oh-cha," and screams about LSD. First time I've heard a preacher quoting Frank Zappa.

Communism did fall - clearly it was no match for Pastor Jack's awesomeness. Sound collagists/mashup producers...start your samplers!

sermon by Pastor Jack Hyles

His "Satan's music" page has lotsa good readin': "The Jonas Brothers—Satanic to the Core!!!," "Country Music Television (CMT) is of the Devil," and "Miley Cyrus' Supports Immoral Rights, Corrupts the Bible, and Works to Destroy America!"

(Long hair and sandals are evil? Isn't that how Jesus dressed? Damn hippie liberal...)


God bless windy for the tip.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Mexican Water Jug/Soda Bottle Folk Instruments

(Vote for "M4M Idol"! You've got 'til Oct. 6.)

A welcome recent trend in Mexican and Mexican/American music is playing instruments made out of recycled garbage. Apart from looking real cool and producing new sounds, it's another example of the resourcefulness of low income people (see also The Congo's Konono No.1, and Staff Benda Bilili.) So far as I know, there haven't been any recordings of this stuff yet, but there are a few YouTube vids featuring the Sparkletts bottle/garden hose (or PVC pipe) "tuba" and plastic 2 liter soda bottle "trumpets." I say "so far as I know" because the comments are all in Spanish and I'm just not bilingual enough to understand it all, e.g.: are there any recordings featuring these instruments? And the last video demonstrates how to make a water jug tuba - can anyone out there translate it for me? I want! Muchas grassy-ass.

First up, the border style known as norteña music. The flatulent sound of this tuba makes me laff!:



Slightly better sound quality on this
tune; note the European polka beat, the mark of the norteña (Northern) style, aka Tex-Mex:



South of the border for some Coke bottle mariachi:



Judging by other videos, it seems pretty basic: garden hose or pipe, connects to bottle (e.g.: 12 oz soda bottle), connects to big jug. But - que? - this vid makes it seem more complicated:


Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Pierre Bastien's Musiques Machinales

(Vote for "M4M Idol"! You've got 'til Oct. 6.)

It's a "Two-For-Tuesday"! On Wednesday! Here are two absolutely spellbinding albums by French composer Pierre Bastien, who, since childhood, has been fascinated with the idea of incorporating machines into music. His first experiment was with a spoon attached to a metronome striking a pan. Since then he has come far indeed,
constructing Erector Set-like rockin' robots, and on his "Mecanoid" album, brilliantly incorporating (non-hip hop) turntablism. Over the repetitious rhythms of his machines he often blows cool Miles-like jazz horn. The results, on his "Musiques Machinales" album, range from the Steve Reich-like minimalism of "Chez Les Crânes" to "Marchin' Band," reminiscent of "Rain Dogs"-era Tom Waits. Scratchy fiddle and, on at least one song, what sounds like a musical saw also feature in his cabinet of curiosities. Like Frank Pahl and his Scavenger Quartet (whose "We Who Live On Land" album I recently posted in it's entirety) gorgeous melodies such as the one on "Vipers" from "Musiques Machinales" sell these obtuse ideas. Magical.

PIERRE BASTIEN "Musiques Machinales"

PIERRE BASTIEN "
Mecanoid"



Friday, September 16, 2011

Camp Records Was Totally Gay


(Don't forget to vote in the M4M Idol contest!)

The Queer Music Heritage site sez: "Almost nothing is known about the mysterious 60's record label Camp Records. They released an album and ten 45 rpm records of gay parody songs, most done with effeminate voices. I believe they were issued in the early 60's, as they all appeared in an ad in the gay magazine Vagabond, dated 1965... The artists singing most of the songs were uncredited, or with names obviously made up, like Byrd E. Bath and B. Bubba, but one name stands out, Rodney Dangerfield...This would have been very early in Dangerfield's career, as his website bio says he decided to devote his career to comedy at age 40, which would have been in 1961. But I don't think it was the comedian we know..."

This is not only funny stuff, a must for novelty music fans, but a peek into an underground world all but unknown to mainstream society at the time. Hard to believe now in this age of RuPaul, but this type of music was extremely rare - it was practically illegal.
"The Queen is in the Closet" album often takes familiar public-domain melodies and sets new lyrics to them, e.g. "A Naughty-cal Tale" is based on the old sea chanty "What Do You Do With A Drunken Soldier." The 45s sometimes get into rock 'n 'roll territory. "Homer The Happy Little Homo"? "Stanley the Manly Transvestite"? What are you waiting for, you silly savages? They're all free for your downloading pleasure at this fabulous site here:

Camp Records

Don't forget to scroll to the very bottom of the page for a more recent (1980) single. I've known about this site for a while (thanks to Spacebrother Greg) but was reminded about it after recently reading John Rechy's classic autobiographical novel "City Of Night," which deals with the same underworld of hustlers and drag queens. It was a surprise best seller in the early '60s, pulling the lid off the scene, and tho some of it hardly seems shocking to modern sensibilities, it's still pretty fascinating. Rechy's genuine experiences invest the book with an authenticity that will make reader feel thoroughly familiar with this world by the end of the book. The next step in your low-life lit journey, after you've absorbed Chandler, Bukowski, et. al.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

PRANKSTA PRANKSTA

(Don't forget to vote in the M4M Idol contest!)

It's not about the salary, it's all about hilarity. First up, a video sent to us from reader Pseudonym Smith: "It's economics as rapped by Keynes and Hayek, and I now know everything I ever will about their ideas." Ha, yeah, me too. Listening to debating economists is like an atheist listening to a debate between a Christian and a Muslim. I'll admit that these guys do have mad flow. But are they as good as Red Shadow, The Economics Rock 'n 'Roll Band?



I was surprised to learn that there are two "chap-hop" rappers coming str8 outta England, takin' ya back to the '80s - the 1880s, that is. Last year we covered Mr. B The Gentleman Rhymer, now dig Professor Elemental. His album "The Indifference Engine" features the dis rap "Fighting Trousers," but gentlemen, please, there's no need to fight - tho they have different styles (Elemental is more of a Jules Verne adventurer-type than Mr. B's Bertie Wooster sort) they both share a love of manly mustaches, drinking tea, and sampling old 78 rpm records. Anyone who can bust rhymes over Slim Gaillard's "Flat Foot Floogie (With a Floy Floy)" (on the excellent "A Fete Worse Than Death") is a right def emcee, eh, what? I would start with the song "Penny Dreadful," as it serves as a jolly good introduction to our man.

Professor Elemental "The Indifference Engine" - listen to it streaming for free, or buy.

The Rappers Delight Club are, indeed, a delight - from their MySpazz page: "This is a musical side project for a rotating group of [Baltimore] elementary school children that I work with. This is probably the best thing you'll ever hear [True dat]...This project comes out of a "typical" daycare program. Every month we do different clubs, and the Rapper's Delight Club is just one club that I do every year...We've just finished a new track, "I Don't Wanna Grow Up...Yet", that uses Tom Waits' "I Don't Wanna Grow Up." He also thanks bands like No Age and Yo La Tengo for providing music. The kids are most definitely all right.

I have come to really hate the painful ordeal of flying, but this dope rapping flight attendant would make it easier. It's an acapella - any mashup producers want to use it? Maybe with "Leaving on A Jet Plane"?

Friday, September 09, 2011

"NOTHING QUITE PREPARED ME FOR GROUND ZERO"

(Don't forget to do your patriotic duty and Vote for M4M Idol!)

You maybe getting 9/11 fatigue right around now, and those bad tribute songs I wrote about last year won't help, but this rousing musical theater-style song should pick you right up - after all, it's by a singing telegram guy. As his website says, it's his job to make people happy ("Ask about our special Neil Diamond tribute.")

The song starts playing automatically once you click on this page (AND you can read/sing along with the printed lyrics):

Kerry Prep - "Ground Zero"

And how 'bout that Burger King ad, eh? Even more tasteless than their fries. Thanks to IVOR for the tip.

Tuesday, September 06, 2011

Vote For M4M Idol!!

Don't you wish all of those "[name of country] Idol"/"X Factor"-type shows had good music? Well, now here's your chance to be Simon Bowel (pictured left, on toast) - vote for any of the artists featured on this sampler of home-brew recordings. Most of these acts wrote to me asking for a review of their work, but, goshdurn it, I just don't have the time. Forgive me, bedroom maestros of the world.
But these are all FREE releases, so if you like the sampler tunes, there's often whole albums for you to download. It's really good stuff. I wouldn't subject you-all to anything I didn't genuinely enjoy, so it's gonna be a tough call. A real horse race.

How do you vote? Simply listen to the "M4M Idol" collection i posted below and then leave a comment stating who's your favorite artist of the bunch. The winning artist will get a full-length review (woo-hoo!) in a future M4M post. Yeah, I know...sorry I don't have any valuable cash prizes/record deals to offer the winners, but hey, I get hundreds (sometimes thousands) of eyeballs on this blog each day, so they are getting some exposure.

Musically, it's quite a variety show: lo-fi outsiderness, postpunk prog, campy surf, subversive sound collage, Afro grooviness, ambient/noise soundscapes, twisted electronica, some strange things resembling catchy pop songs. And then there's Jinnwoo's "Sorry Song" which "...was written as an apology from myself to the world for being such a bad and horrible creature...I recorded the piece naked, and in the rain." What would Paula Abdul think?

M4M Idol

1. Bloody Death Skull - I Miss My Homeland
2. Future's Lament 3. Holding Hands
4. Buttress O'Kneel - Exhibit W
5. Buttress O'Kneel - Darkness
6. Cutthroat convention - Warui Neko
7. Cutthroat convention - Parasite's Paradise
8. Death to the Brutes - Death Set
9. Death to the Brutes - No Love, No Ecstasy
10. Docteur Legume et Les Surfwerks - Phibes and Vulnavia, Just Married!
11. Die 1000 Wellen Das Dr Mabuse
12. Jinnwoo - Sorry Song

13. Marc Broude - For the Flies

14. Mike Colin - Fish Bulb
15. Mike Colin - The Future is Not Written
16. Moebius II - Innerstate '94
17. Moebius II - Magic Mirror
18. oreaganomics - Fallin Out Of Buildings Fallin In Love
19. Create Something to Love
20. Pompey - Bivouac Sack
21. Pompey - Candle
22. Sam Simmons - Midge
23. Skinjobs - Money in the Bank Vs. Money in the Pocket 24. Skinjobs - Sunshine

Remember, you can't complain about who won if you didn't vote!

Friday, September 02, 2011

K9 FUSION

A few years ago, I was picking up one of our dogs from the groomers, and spied a display of CDs credited to K9 Fusion. The back cover said, "10 1/2 year old mixbreed, Sven the Love Dog, plays each and every instrument on his debut album. The only exception is the drums, which are played by Sven's owner Steve Brooks. Every intense vocalization is produced by Sven, or one of his canine friends...face it, this Dog's the SHIH TZU! Enhanced CD contains a video of the making of K9 Fusion. See for yourself as Sven pounds the piano, claw-picks his guitar, and gnashes his teeth on bass strings with the ferocity of Hendrix himself." Of COURSE I bought one.

The "album" is actually only 13 minutes. The drums basically hold it down, with random plunking, plucking, and growling on top, giving it a canine free-jazz feel. Some sounds have obviously been sampled and looped to make it more "musical." My fave track "Dirty Dog Love" sports a sweet funky bass groove. Obviously it's been looped, but I find it hard to believe that a dog could come up with something like this even once. Hmmm...

Song titles include: "Sing Along With Bitch," "Snot: An Interlude," and "Star Spaniel Banner." I don't think the track "Pants" has anything to do with trousers - it's 7 seconds of a dog panting.

K9 Fusion - "Who Really Loves You"