Wednesday, February 27, 2013


New releases currently sending me off to dream-land:

Ambient-Hypno-Drone mix, containing bits of:

Nac/Hut Report's new album "Angel​-​like Contraction Reverse" is a swell follow-up to their debut we reviewed here a few years ago, and these Europeans continue to do the impossible: make noise sexy.  Brigitte Roussel's husky vocals add both melody and sensuality to the drum-less industrial sound-layering (and I use the phrase "industrial music" in it's original sense, not meaning funkless-disco-for-goths). Pick hit: "Greetings Blue, Summer 98," a fantastic mélange of electronic pulsing percussion noises, sharp shards of guitar, and languid vocals. They've made available two free songs, one off the album, and a b-side: 

Nac/Hut Report  “Junkstarrr/Bright Future” (streaming)
Nac/Hut Report “Junkstarrr/Bright Future” (download)

Avant composer Michael Gordon of New York's popular Bang On A Can ensemble has a spectacular album that consists of nothing but drumming on wooden planks. Yep, no other instruments, just the six-man Dutch percussion group SlagwerK Den Haag going to town on 2x4s cut to different lengths. Minimalism so spellbinding that nothing else is needed. AND the CD comes in a snazzy wooden box. Buy/listen: "Timber" 

Andrew McPherson's new album "Secrets of Antikythera" is a (mostly) solo piano album for people who don't like solo piano - the piano is "prepared," not in the Cage sense, but by using magnets.  "Sound is produced without loudspeakers using electromagnetic actuators to directly manipulate the piano strings". I don't know exactly what that means, but damn it Jim, I'm a doctor, not an experimental instrument technology explainer guy! (Check the video below for all that.) I can tell you that, following a couple violin pieces that didn't do much for me, it is some blissed-out  instrumental loveliness, commencing with the ghostly drone tones of "Prologue: Mystery", giving way to tracks like "Creation3" that sound increasingly piano-y.

Hanetration, a London artist I've written about before (I really liked his previous EP 'Tenth Oar') has a free 22 minute slice of sublime ambient drone now available. "Nae Troth" consists of nothing but looong sounds that start off chilled, but gradually intertwine, growing more complex and ominous. Electronic sounds build until, finally, they start to relax and drift off into the mist. I can imagine Brian Eno listening to this, nodding his head, saying: "Niiiice..." 

Hanetration "Nae Troth"

Gel Nails is an intriguing Canadian project whose Bandcamp tags pretty much tell the story: "experimental ambient electronic noise weird Edmonton." Yes, but subtle vocals also enter the picture at times. Their tumblr page has a number of free download releases that I quite liked once I asked how to download them: "if you put your cursor on the image, say the h.n.w. album cover, you will see 4 little icons appear in the top right corner. Click on the icon that looks like 2 links of a chain. Scroll to the bottom of the new page and there you will see a mediafire link." (But you knew that.) Or dig this name-your-price EP:

Gel Nails "H.N.W."

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Anyone Have The "Tiki Gardens" Album..?

...that I posted last year? This one. Had a request for it but it seems to have gone missing.  Mahalo!

UPDATE: It's back up, thanks to a super-wonderful anonymous Maniac out there. Someone buy him a Mai-Tai.

Friday, February 22, 2013


Following on the heels of our last post, which featured The Mighty Accordion Band...

Well, why not avant-polka?  Who says classical, jazz, and rock should have all the fun? Guy Klucevsek's "Polka From The Fringe" is just that, a newly released 2-disk set of originals and commisioned songs written for accordionist Klucevsek, an '80s downtown New York arty-smarty who grew up playing polkas in Pennsylvania coal-mining country. He originally released this album over twenty years ago, and the label promptly went out of business. This new version is greatly expanded, boasting a whopping 29 tracks, many written by prominent avant-garde composers like Tom Cora, Carl Stone, Fred Frith, and Elliot Sharp, whose "Happy Chappie Polka" is downright punk. Despite the heavy art credentials of all involved, it's still alot of fun.  You just can't play a pretentious polka. (Tho it is a lot to absorb - took me a few listens before I finally realized how good this album is.)

Another awesome avant-accordion album comes to us from, of all places, Belarus.  Pictured left, Port Mone's album "DiP" is an excellent collection of moody instrumentals sporting unusual ethnic percussion and some surprisingly funky poppin' bass. I can now say that I have listened to an entire album from Belarus (and so should you.)

Petrojvic Blasting Company (pic below) are a crazy-fun L.A. band featuring a big brass section that suits both European Balkan and New Orleans styles.  Tho probably best experienced live and drunk, their debut album (also available on vinyl) shows off their ace songwriting and muso skillz. They recently toured the old country - Poland, Latvia, Lithuania - but, like the above artists, don't expect anything too authentic.

Norteño literally means "northern", as in the US/Mexican border areas where Mexican musicians mixed their Spanish melodies with Dutch and Geman settlers' polka. A muy bueno norteño album I discovered on the jukebox whilst waiting for my order at a local taquería is Los Dareyes De La Sierra's "Corridazos Con Tuba Y Acordeon." Yep, pretty much the whole album is nothing but accordion and tuba duets.  And the tuba player is loco. Ever bought an album for the tuba?  Now's your chance. Tho I have my reservations about recommending it - I suspect that some of the songs are "narco-corridos," songs about, or even in praise of drug cartel thugs.

Tijuana's Nortec Collective offers a more self-consciously experimental approach to norteño. Like Wu Tang, the Collective quickly split off into solo projects, some leaning more towards techno dance territory, and others, like Bostich and Fussible's 2008 release "Tijuana Sound Machine" still keeping that border-polka beat in there amidst all the space-age sounds.

We then head even furthur down south to Columbia, where the accordion rules the cumbia scene...even as they cover Queen. That's what happens when a British producer (Quantic, in this case) moves to Sud America. From the self-titled album "Los Miticos Del Ritmo."

Ah, what the heck - the link to Duckmandu's accordion cover of the Dead Kennedy's "California Uber Alles" is dead, so I'll throw it in here.


1. Duckmandu: California Uber Alles
2. Port Mone: River
3. Petrojvic Blasting Company: Princess Andy
4. Port Mone: Youth
5. Guy Klucevsek, Ain't Nothin' But A Polka Band: The VCR Polka (by David Garland)
6. Guy Klucevsek, Ain't Nothin' But A Polka Band: Happy Chappie Polka
7. Guy Klucevsek, Ain't Nothin' But A Polka Band: The Disinformation Polka (Fred Frith)
8. Los Dareyes De La Sierra: La Tragedia Del Compa Man
9. Bostich and Fussible: The Clap
10. Los Miticos Del Ritmo (Feat. Quantic): Otro Muerde El Polvo (Another One Bites The Dust)

Resuming Re-Up Requests

More mopping up the mediafire mess. Per your requests:

- a big ol' batch of Zoogz Rift
- Tiny Tim Plays in Your Living Room

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

The Mighty Accordion Band - They Said It Couldnt Be Done!

Apart from having one of the all-time great album covers (pretty obvious why I snatched this one up for a mere 99 cents at my local charity thrifty emporium), The Mighty Accordion Band 's "They Said It Couldn't Be Done!" is an excellent listen. 20 - count 'em - TWENTY squeeze-boxes playing together creates a unique symphonic sound that ranges from exotica (the Les Baxter soundalike "Jungle Fever") to finger-snappin' jazz, dreamy ballads (great version of "tenderly") and swingin' big band. Pretty much everything but polka. I especially like the bizarre cha-cha version of "Swanee River." Perhaps their taking a corny old tune that no-one was playing anymore and giving it a hip new Latin spin was equivalent to all those New Wave covers of classic rock songs I posted a while back, e.g.: Devo's dismantling of the Stones' "Satisfaction."  Did The Mighty Accordion Band record the first ironic cover?!

Dominic Frontiere is credited as the mad genius behind this project. Hey, I know him! He became a top film soundtrack composer, his "Hang 'Em High" theme being one of the best Spaghetti Western themes.  

The Mighty Accordion Band - They Said It Couldnt Be Done!

Friday, February 15, 2013

Re-Post: Authentic Music from Another Planet

With over a thousand posts, I can't go back and re-up everything that those Mediafire dill-weeds have taken down, but, as ever, I endeavor to satisfy your requests, to whit:

A Simple Sample-Music Sampler

Making music out of music is common currency now (not so much back when this blog was founded and mashups were regularly featured), so sound-collage music has to really blow my mind to get me to pay attention to it nowadays. 

Chief mind-blower of late is "Border Towns," an album by one Nick Brooke, a young avant-composer whose new album on Innova mixes a vocal choir with a mad brew of samples ranging from field recordings, to music, to radio dj chatter.  It's all meant to drop the listener into the US/Mexico border realms. The m.o. of this album actually reminds me of the KLF's classic "Chill Out," which mixed numerous samples with electronic music to create a theoretical late-night cross-country drive across the southern U.S. Good luck trying to chill out to this album, tho - it's varied, dynamic, exciting, and a lot of fun. The idea of a choir is an odd choice, but works a treat.  Sometimes they don't even sing, but do things like recite radio I.D.s with a straight-face ("more music...mas musica!")

Ergo Phizmiz and People Like Us are old pros, the deans of the collage college, but for a recent project, the music is all played and sung live. "The Keystone Cut Ups" is a multi-media show featuring all found video footage from black-and-white silent movies, mashing the more self-consciously anarchic works of the Surrealists with early Hollywood comedies. Numerous antique songs are suggested, and blended with others, and with original songs. New lyrics are sometimes sung over old tunes. Ergo told me "The only sampled bits are the bits from the films that pop over. Vicki [aka People Like Us] also did quite a lot of sound-effects on it." Live mashups, beautifully played and crooned on banjos, accordions, etc. Magical. There is a DVD of the show out that's on the top of my wish-list. The album can be downloaded thru illegal-art.

CutUp Sound is satirical sound-collage project only now coming to light, thanks to Rich at KillUglyRadio in Portland. He finally got his old pal Mr. CutupSound to go thru his tapes (some going perhaps as far back as the '80s) and put a career-spanning collection together. Lots of funny mass media/political/religious cut-ups in the Cassette Boy/Wayne Butane school of audio pranksterism, as well as some really impressive more musical tracks.

And finally, a completely ridiculous good old-fashioned A+B mashup by newcomer The Don Music Show, from Wisconsin. There's probably no artistic justification for this nonsense - I just wanna hear it loud when it's late and I'm drunk.

Sample-Music Sampler

1. Ergo Phizmiz and People Like Us - Orchestra
2. CutupSound - It Is Called Radio
3. CutupSound - Breakfast
4. Nick Brooke - Del Rio
5. Nick Brooke - Columbus
6. The Don Music Sound - One Trek Beyond...

P.S.: Tim from Radio Clash (aka Instamatic, DJ NoNo, etc) has been putting up his '90s works from the days before he became a founding father of the British mashup scene.  His Reality Engine release has a strange, creepy, and sometimes funny late-night atmosphere to it, accurately described as "ambient tracks, noise, electronic toys, feedback, hum, cut-ups, found sound, radio scans and noises, interruptions, drones, test tones and squeaks..."  A journey thru England's dark underworld, e.g.: this snatch of intercepted conversation: 'I have not slept with anybody else, apart from you, and obviously, my wife.'

Thursday, February 14, 2013

A Miserable, Depressing Album About Divorce - Happy Valentine's Day!

Bashful Hips is a solo electro band from Colorado whose free download album "Divorce" consists of song after sound-alike song of mid-tempo slightly-distorted synth tunes, all sung in a woeful one-note drone. Tho there's some nice musical touches here and there, e.g. the popping percussion on "Color Me Blue," I can't really say it's a genuinely good album - the songwriting seems more like diary entries than lyrics, with scant attention paid to things like rhythm or rhymes. But it certainly seems heartfelt, packed as it is with excruciating details like "mornings are now so confusing/now that I don't get to awake to the sound of your hair dryer." Over the course of a whole album, tho, it almost becomes comical.  The one-note singing makes the album seem like one long song. Strangely compelling.

Bashful Hips "Divorce"

Monday, February 11, 2013


Everything's always "Hitler this, Hitler that." What about Mussolini, huh? He was a bloodthirsty dictator, too! And he was Hitler's bud, eventually overthrown and killed by his own Italian countrymen, they hated him so. Well, not all of them. Like whoever started the site (sign their guestbook!). Quite a generous assortment of pro-Fascism/Il Duce mp3s are found on the site - mostly music, but some speeches ("discorsi") as well. The music seems to consist of upbeat marches and rousing sing-alongs, e.g. "Allarmi siam Fascisti," which translates to "At arms, Fascists!" It's the kind of pre-caffeine anthem you need on a Monday morning.
This article details Il Duce's love of music.  He even played the fiddle.
CANZONI MP3 DELL' EPOCA FASCISTA - click on 'Canzoni MP3' in the left-hand column

There are also some Irish rebel songs on the bottom of the page. I don't know why.
(I tried to add info to the mp3 tags of the songs I downloaded, like 'Mussolini songs' or whatever, but it wouldn't let me. It's locked, I guess.  Buncha fascists...)

Friday, February 08, 2013


- You got robots in my gamelan!

- You got gamelan in my robots!

Two great tastes that go great together: Gamelan Galak Tika (pronounced 'Galactica'?) & Ensemble Robot, from Boston's MIT and UMass, respectively, combine forces for 19 minutes of free awesomeness that you can download here:

Gamelan Galak Tika & Ensemble Robot: Heavy Metal

A few other instruments like violin and electric guitars join the machines and the Indonesian bells 'n' gongs for a thoroughly mysterious and wonderful sandwich spread of rock 'n' roll, island exotica, and avant-garde. Now, with added chunks of sci-fi futurism! A combo this bizarre shouldn't exist. And yet it does:

And speaking of robots playing heavy metal...

are a metal band - literally - whose videos show them jammin' on Motorhead, The Ramones, and AC/DC. They do live shows, and apparently an album is in the works.

Tuesday, February 05, 2013

One Of The Most Famous Songs in History is Marxist Propaganda That Involves Raping A Minor: The Story of "Mack The Knife"

"Oh, the shark bites
With his teeth, dear
And he shows them
pearly white..."

Yeah, you know it, "Mack The Knife", #3 on Billboard's Top 100 Songs ever. You've heard it a million times, from Bobby Darin's #1 hit version in 1959, to countless crooners ever since. But who first recorded it?

Feel free to smack the next smug twerp who tells you "Google is your friend." No, it's not, not always, and I couldn't find the answer to that question. I knew it was written by the great German composer/playwright/anti-capitalist team of Kurt Weill and Bertolt Brecht back in 1927 for the musical "Threepenny Opera," but that's well known. Heck, that Weimer-era Berlin cabaret style is probably more popular now then it was in the 1920s.  Tom Waits, Amanda Palmer, The Tiger Lillies, and numerous other alt/dark-cabaret performers owe much of their careers to it, and countless jazz, pop, and theater singers have been performing these songs for decades. (That's an original German 1929 poster to the right.)

So you'd think the question of who made the first recording of "Mack The Knife" would be a pretty basic one. But it gets confusing early on.  For one thing, the song wasn't even originally entitled "Mack The Knife." Nope, it was called "Moritat," a term from German folklore meaning a bad-man ballad, similar to Old Western songs about bandits and outlaws. It then became popularly known as "Die Moritat von Mackie Messer (The Ballad of Mack the Knife)." In the Fifties, it finally became known as "Mack The Knife" when it was discovered by the American jazz and theater world.

So who did it first? I went to the source, and asked the Kurt Weill Foundation, but even spokesperson Dave Stein isn't certain. He wrote me:

"I'm not absolutely sure, but it seems pretty clear that the first recording of the "Moritat" was made in December 1928 by Harald Paulsen, who played Macheath in the original production of the Threepenny Opera. Brecht himself also recorded the song early on, but my sources say that was made a few months later, in May 1929. It's odd that the standard Brecht biographies and chronologies we have here seem to make no mention of this recording, which you would expect to be a little more noteworthy. Paulsen's recording is available on a recently reissued Capriccio 2-CD set

"Die Dreigroschenoper: Historische Originalaufnahmen" (C 5061, reissued 2011, originally released on CD in 1990).

I should point out that the "Moritat" was not the biggest hit from the show in Weimar Germany; it did not become the hit song from Threepenny until much later, when Louis Armstrong's 1955 recording paved the way for so many successors."

Needless to say, Paulsen's and Brecht's versions sound little like the ones you know. With their German lyrics, oom-pah sound, and different vocal phrasing, they almost sound like different songs altogether from the later finger-snappin' remakes. They do sound great, tho - I'd take Brechts' version over many of the later, more famous recordings.

And then there's the matter of the lyrics. The famous versions from the '50s and afterwords usually use Marc Blitzstein's somewhat sanitized translation. The eye-opening original lyrics feature such lines as "And the minor-aged widow/ Whose name everyone knows/ Woke up and was violated/ Mack, what was your price?" Yikes, that's getting a bit rape-y, isn't it? Macheath wasn't just some loveable Rat-Pack type rogue, but a genuinely Bad Dude. In the eyes of Brecht and Weill, Mack was a symbol of unrestrained capitalism. This context disappeared, of course, after the off-Broadway 1954 revival of "Threepenny" became such a huge success using Blitzstein's translation. My mom even attended a performance! And I have a copy of the hit cast album, featuring a young pre-sitcom star Bea Aurthur, then still known as "Beatrice." (Hey trivia fans! A pre-Law and Order Jerry Orbach would eventually play Mack in the same production.) Darin did his version based on the Blitzstein revival, and here we are.

All of which got me thinking...I bet many of you remember the 1985 album "Lost In The Stars - the Music of Kurt Weill."  With it's fresh re-workings of numerous Weill classics and it's all-star cast, it was pretty popular in the college/public radio scene of the '80s. I liked Slapp Happy/Henry Cow singer Dagmar Krause's track so much, I then bought her "Supply & Demand" German cabaret covers record. Producer Hal Wilner, on this and other albums he organized, actually made the dreaded 'tribute album' seem like a great idea.

"Lost In The Stars - the Music of Kurt Weill" 

I added the two previously-described earliest known versions of "Moritat" to the file.

Get the artwork/liner notes to "Lost in The Stars" HERE.

1. Mahagonny Songspiel (Intro) - Steve Weisberg
2. 'The Ballad Of Mac The Knife' - Sting/Dominc Muldowney
3. 'The Cannon Song' - Stan Ridgway, The Fowler Brothers [Bruce Fowler of Captain Beefheart's late-period Magic Band?]
4. 'Ballad Of The Soldier's Wife' - Marianne Faithfull
5. Johnny Johnson Medley - Van Dyke Parks
6. The Great Hall - Henry Threadgill
7. 'Alabama Song' - Ralph Schuckett, Richard Butler (of the Psychedelic Furs)
8. 'Youkali Tango' - The Armadillo String Quartet
9. 'The Little Lieutenant Of The Loving God' - John Zorn
10. Johnny's Speech - Van Dyke Parks
11. 'September Song' - Lou Reed
12. 'Lost In The Stars' - Carla Bley
13. 'What Keeps Mankind Alive?' - Tom Waits
14. Klops Lied (Meatball Song) - Elliot Sharp
15. 'Surabaya Johnny' - Dagmar Krause
16. Oh Heavenly Salvation': Hurriccane Introduction - Mark Bingham & Aaron Neville
17. Oh Heavenly Salvation: Oh Heavenly Salvation - Mark Bingham & Aaron Neville
18. 'Call From The Grave/Ballad In Which Macheath Begs All Men For Forgiveness - Todd Rundgren
19. 'Speak Low' - Charlie Haden
20. 'In No Man's Land' - Van Dyke Parks

Oh, so how's Sting's version of "Moritat"? It's really good, except for the Sting part.

And if you like Tom Waits' take on "What Keeps Mankind Alive?," dig William Burroughs' version:

Friday, February 01, 2013

 Back up, by request:



 Zoogz Rift, "Torment," and "Idiots on the Miniature Golf Course."