Thursday, March 28, 2013

SUNDAY MORNING SOUND COLLAGE

For a maniac's Easter morning...

The history of sampling the sounds of preachers is pretty much the history of sampling in general, as many of the most prominent names in sound collage, from the avant/electronic world to mashup/dance djs, have used 'em.  And considering the classic status of so many of these tunes, how can you blame them?  Passionate, loony, exciting, hilarious religious orators make for great (inadvertent) guest vocalists. The '80s industrial crowd seemed particularly fond of this strategy. I remember reading (the L.A. Weekly, probably) around '87 or '88 that the sampling of preachers had officially become a cliche.  No way - we weren't even half-way there yet! Part 2 takes us up thru the Internet/mashup era. [Preacher's name, if known, included in brackets.]

SUNDAY MORNING SOUND COLLAGE 1

1 Steve Reich [Brother Walter] - It's Gonna Rain (Part II) [1965]
2 John Oswald [unknown preacher - R.W. Schambach maybe?] - Power [1975]
3 Brian Eno and David Byrne [Kathryn Kuhlman] - Into The Spirit Womb [1979]
4 Chris & Cosey [Dr Gene Scott] - Put Yourself In Los Angeles [1981]
5 Cabaret Voltaire [Dr Gene Scott] - Sluggin Fer Jesus (Part One) [1981]
6 Zoviet France [R.W. Schambach] - Ram [1984]
7 Adam Cornford and Daniel Crafts - Fundamentals [1985]
8 Tackhead - Mind At The End Of The Tether [1985]
9 Front 242 [R.W. Schambach] - Angst [1987]
10 Negativland [Rev. Estus Pirkle] - Christianity Is Stupid [1987]
11 John Adams/Edo De Waart: San Francisco Symphony Orchestra - Christian Zeal & Activity [composed in 1973/recorded 1987]

SUNDAY MORNING SOUND COLLAGE 2

1 Praga Khan [R.W. Schambach] - Injected with a Poison [1991]
2 KMFDM - We Must Awaken [1992]
3 The Tape-Beatles - Home Problems [1993]
4 Lecture on Nothing - Truckload Of Bibles [1997]
5 Reality Engine - Blame The Kingdom Of God [1999]
6 Escape Mechanism - Worship [c. 1999-2001]
7 Fatboy Slim [Reverend W. Leo Daniels] - Drop The Hate [2000]
8 The Evolution Control Committee [Elder Marshall Taylor] - Don't Miss the Great Snatch [2003]
9 Celebrity Murder Party [12 year old preacher Rev William Hudson, III] - God vs the Gays [2007]
10 dj lobsterdust [Pastor Gary Greenwald] - It's Fun To Smoke Dust (Queen vs. Satan)  [2009]
11 CutUpSound - God In a Linoleum Roll [recorded ?; released 2013]

I was amused to find out that two British acts, Chris & Cosey, and Cabaret Voltaire, both sampled L.A.'s infamous, frizzy-haired, cigar-chomping, foul-mouthed televangelist Dr Gene Scott. I wondered: how in the heck did they know about him?  Turns out that Werner Herzog, no less, made a documentary about Scott called "God's Angry Man" in 1981 that provided much yucks (and sample fodder) for those wacky industrialists:


Monday, March 25, 2013

HI-FI ZITHER!

"Zombie Jamboree" has been re-upped, by request. And speaking of requests: I hate to keep asking, but does anyone have the Ruth Welcome "Zither Magic" album I posted here a few years ago? Frequent contributor windy sent me another of her albums, and my review for "Zither Magic" can pretty much be repeated here: 

"Did you know that it was once possible to be a pop star without having to play the guitar? Or with electronic production? You could get a major label deal by playing, say, a zither. Exhibit A: Ruth Welcome, whose 1950s zither albums for Capital Records display remarkable virtuosity...there are no other instruments. She's a one-(wo)man band.

On this album, the bended notes suggest Hawaiian guitars or exotica without actually being exotica or Hawaii
an music. But there is a foreign, if not other-worldly feel to these instros."

This was her first album, and it reflects her then-current status as a hotel lounge performer, essentially making background music.  Not as dynamic as "Zither Magic," but it's still quite lovely, boasting some ace tunes (always liked "Moulin Rouge"), and, in any case, it's an entire album of zither music. A hi-fi zither album, at that. And when was the last time you listened to one of those, eh, eh?! 

Ruth Welcome "HI-FI ZITHER!"


(Thanks to the zither-iffic windy!)

Thursday, March 21, 2013

The Everyday Film: "New Skin Wine"

I believe it was Winston Churchill who once described The Everyday Film as "a riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma." After taking last year off (incarcerated? institutionalized?) he/they/it have released a new album and an ep, both available thru iTunes and Amazon. There's a whole lot of music out there in this great, big universe, but there is still nothing like The Everyday Film.

"New Skin Wine" is 11 tracks in a mere 22 minutes, but those are some pretty dramatically charged 22 minutes. The wide dynamic range of the album ranges from subliminal ambient drones and whispered vocals, to nightmare-ish noise that will have you jumping out of your skin if you're not riding the volume levels (look out, headphone wearers!) The album ends with over 2 minutes of static drone that might have you checking your stereo to see if it's grounded. 

After receiving the new album, I was wondering if TEF had anything new to say after all their releases, or if they still had the power to shock. Hoo boy. The track "Want Cycles" features electronics so terrifying that they make Throbbing Gristle sound like Air Supply.  Bravo!

TEF's trademark demonically harmonized vocals are not as present here, in favor of dark electronic soundscapes. But when they do appear, the old body-horror themes are still present in dimly-heard surreal snippets like "My cancer's gone, but you can't seem to put me back together," or "It should be enough to be my own dessert."

"Goool" is a three-track EP that features a nearly 13 minute long track.  Pretty amazing, considering most TEF tracks last less then one minute. TEF has given us the short version of "Goool" that's found on "New Skin Wine" to post here:

The Everyday Film: "Goool"






Wednesday, March 20, 2013

ABE VIGODA'S UNDEAD

Even tho Peter Murphy is apparently a hit-and-run driving meth-head, a kind judge has allowed his "35 Years of Bauhaus" tour to proceed as planned. But will any version of "Bela Lugosi's Dead" be any better then the free download parody found on the site dedicated to monitoring the mortality of eternally-elderly actor Abe Vigoda?

"Abe Vigoda's Dead (Premortem Mix)" can be downloaded from abevigoda.com.

If Murphy needs an opening act, I recommend the death-country band Caühaüs. The lead signer's name?  Goth Brooks. I can only find one song of theirs, but it's a free download:

Caühaüs: "Rednecks With White Faces"

New Wave Covers For Oldies Lovers? Anyone? Anyone?

Had a request to re-up the 3 volume "New Wave Covers For Oldies Lovers" series but, alas, not only has Mediafire dumped 'em, but so has one of the hard drives I kept some of this blog's stuff on.  If anyone has 'em, I'd be much obliged.

I was able to repost the "Flowmotion" album by request.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Hail, Vic Caesar!

I posted this Friday, it got 22 views...and disappeared.  I hope to hell it was just some technical glitch...

Now I have to remember what I wrote a few days ago. Umm...I can't.  (Start over.)

Basically, this is one of the best lounge albums I've ever heard, and I've heard plenty. The man sings songs you thought you never liked (e.g.: "Born Free") with over-the-top gusto and finger-poppin' cool, he tackles both the usual suspects and such utterly unlikely choices as "Lucy in The Sky With Diamonds" (?!) and, as this interview proves, is as larger-than-life as his music.  The voice!  The enthusiasm!  The swingin' big band! Everything you want in a lounge record. And Dick Van Dyke wrote the liner notes.

"Vic Caesar Sings"




Monday, March 11, 2013

CURL ACTIVATE 2: More '80s Hip-Hop Novelties

This sequel to my first batch of novelty rap 12" singles can be enjoyed and/or appreciated on a number of levels, depending on how funny/funky/cheesy/awful you find them. And they certainly are an '80s time capsule. But they're also a bit of a corrective to the standard rock-crit history of hip-hop, which goes something like this: "Rappers Delight" kicks it all off, Grandmaster Flash's "The Message" brings in social commentary, Run-DMC make it a legit musical form, Public Enemy and BDP bring more social commentary and, along with N.W.A., express the seething rage of young black ghetto-dwellers. 

Riiiight. 



So what is the real story of hip-hop?  Certainly, the above Rolling Stone-approved history was part of it, but, like early rock, it was a genre for kids, and largely a singles medium (full-length albums were reserved for true 'artists.') Plenty of dance crazes, answer records, and comedy tunes. And I should know, I was one of those kids, listening to Compton's KDAY ("Cold rockin' the radio!"), yucking it up to the likes of The Fat Boys, Bobby Jimmy & The Critters, and The Fresh Prince before he adopted the bizarre stage name of 'Will Smith.' I thought it was plenty avant-garde, actually, what with the lack of singing, the human-beatboxing, electronics, turntables, sampling.  Seems totally obvious now, but at the time it was quite fresh and radical.  There had never been anything like it. 

This collection is indeed what much of the first decade of hip-hop consisted of: goofy novelty records, some by celebrities jumping on a trend, some by comedians, some by one-off opportunists, even some by actual rappers. No-one cared about "keepin' it real." It was, like garage-rock in the '60s, just a goof, a bit of fun not to be taken too seriously. After all, it's not like hip-hop was ever going to actually achieve mainstream popularity, right?

CURL ACTIVATE 2

1. The Qwarymen - Beatle Rap
2. Greg Poltrock / Rick Rumble - Mayberry Rap
3. Joe Piscopo/Eddie Murphy [& DJ D.S.T.] - Honeymooners Rap
4. Rodney Dangerfield - Rappin' Rodney
5. Shawn Brown - Rappin Duke (now you know what Biggie was referring to when he said "Remember 'Rappin Duke'/daw-ha daw-ha")
6. Elvira - Monsta Rap (technically, I think this came out in the early '90s, but boy, it sounds Eighties)
7. Hurt 'Em Bad - NBA Rap
8. Ron & DC Crew - Ronnie's Rap
9. Doonsbury Break Crew - Rap Master Ronnie
10. Bobby Jimmy & The Critters- Roaches (parody of the Timex Social Club hit "Rumors")
11. Dan Aykroyd & Tom Hanks - City of Crime (from the "Dragnet " soundtrack)
12. Eddie Murphy - Boogie in Your Butt
13. Hurt 'Em Bad - Boxing Game
14. Mel Brooks - Hitler Rap
15. Chicago Bears - Super Bowl Shuffle


Thanks to reader chuck for the suggestions - wish I could have found a copy of 'Contra Rap'! (And I'd kill for a copy of the Lakers rap record.)

Thursday, March 07, 2013

Music of Mind Control

"Music of Mind Control is a podcast highlighting the wonderful world of organizations and religious cults that practice mind control techniques and the weird, awful music they produce. Hosted by Amy and The Commander."

Well, halleluyah!  Weird, awful music is right, as well as commentary by the hosts telling us just who these characters are, the significance of the particular track they're playing, and what they're in jail for. The three shows they've done so far feature many familiar kooks 'n' cult leaders that have been featured in these virtual pages over the years, but there's apparently plenty more out there that I did not know about. Got a particular kick out of Jan Crouch in episode three - she's an enormous-haired televangelist much smirked at by me and my friends when we were growing up. Was wondering what happened to her after hearing her hysterical track.  Internet sez: she's still alive, her and her husband have 13 mansions, a $100 million jet, a $100,000 house just for her dogs, and there have been the usual child sex abuse and marital scandals.  I am shocked - shocked I say!

Tuesday, March 05, 2013

Llyn Foulkes, King of The One-Man-Bands

I went to see a free performance by Llyn Foulkes last week (a day after I saw The Residents - can this year get any weirder?) and even tho I was a half-hour early, there was a shockingly long line around the UCLA Hammer Museum courtyard, and I couldn't get in to the show - I had to watch it on video in another room. Gol darn it!  I'd seen him twice before and there was a crowd of maybe...30? What are all these people doing here at a show by a 78-year-old eccentric singing about old L.A. whilst performing on a crazy one-man-band contraption of honk horns and tuned cowbells?  That's my department! 

Hey, I get to be an old punk-rocker now: (snearing) "I was into Llyn Foulkes before anyone.  All his fans now are poseurs."

I guess the fact that the prestigious Hammer Museum is in the midst of a career retrospective of Foulkes' paintings had something to do with it.  Or the awesome tremendous influence of this blog, as I've written about him before.  Yeah, that's probably it. So while much verbiage is being spilled about his visual art, his music only gets mentioned in passing.  Okay, this is my department: he's crazy brilliant, starting with his instrument building - his 'Machine' is huge and heavy, not the usual guitar w/harmonica holder/cymbals on the legs kinda one-man-band. He's a tremendous performer, skillfully honking out the 'horn charts,' grabbing drumsticks and playing melodies on cowbells and a xylophone, blowing free-jazz on a hose, rubbing his foot along a bass guitar on the floor as his other foot hits various drums and cymbals.

And he's a good songwriter.  Original tunes are a rarity in this gimmicky field, and Foulkes' memories and observations of Los Angeles (and his own foibles) are a perfect match for his swingin' tunes, inspired by the big-band and Spike Jones records of his youth. The Jones influence is prevalent not just in the tuned cowbells, but in the funny sound effects that punctuate the songs, lightening up the sometimes morose nature of the lyrics. His singing's okay, but has a rough charm.

It looks like his sole release from 2004 has vanished, so I'm giving you-all not only its original contents, but 5 more recent performances, audio recorded off various videos. All origs, except for a cover of Hank William's "Your Cheating Heart."

Llyn Foulkes and his Machine - Live!





Friday, March 01, 2013

HER TEENAGE DREAM ENDED, YOUR NIGHTMARE HAS BEGUN


At first listen, "reality" show star Farrah Abraham's album "My Teenage Dream Ended" is striking in it's ineptitude: lyrics possessing neither rhythm nor rhymes, one-guy-on-GarageBand music, and hideous abuse of Autotune on tune-less "melodies."  It's really quite awful!

But this is no talentless bimbo's attempt to be a "diva" - it's a soul-searching autobiographical concept album.  Like any genuine outsider artist, Abraham seems to be incapable of putting on the masks and personas of show-biz pros, and uses the album like any other angst-ridden teen would use their diary.  And as the star of a show about being a single teen mom, I would guess she has even more angst then most teens. For one thing, there's that name: Farrah Abraham.  Yeesh, what kind of name is that, a cross between a '70s sex symbol and an Old Testament prophet? She had one strike against her from birth.

Yes, at times it is jaw-droppingly horrific, in a "how-the HELL-did-this-get-released?" kind of way, but it's also sad, hilarious, utterly sincere, and in it's own musical universe. An album that all (and probably only) outsider-music fans would appreciate.  Clicky, if you dare:

"Caught In The Act"
"On My Own"