Tuesday, April 30, 2013

SIX ACCORDIONISTS GO RIDING ON A CAROUSEL...

...No, that's not a joke set-up. It really happened on the Santa Monica Pier in 2010. Daniel Corral and his group the Free Reed Conspiracy actually sat on carousel horses that went up 'n' down, up 'n' down, playing a near-30 minute powerful drone piece - like Glenn Branca for squeezeboxes. "...the audience listened as the music spun past them." Watch it here (can't see the musicians much, unfortunately):

NEOTROPE

or download the mp3 from Corral's website if you scroll down a bit

HERE

tho it's not as densely loud. The acoustics of the 80-year-old carousel building no doubt caused much reverberation, which I prefer to the pristine studio version.

There was apparently an entire evening of music and performance on the carousel and, as I live in Los Angeles, am bummed that I wasn't there. Encore, encore!


Saturday, April 27, 2013

Taking Your Re-Post Requests on the Request Line...

UPDATE (4/29/13): Borrah Minovitch & his harmonica Rascals 

UPDATE: the Russian Horny Choir is back. Much thanks and praise to hybridelephant for sending it our way! Which reminds me: he sent me a link to his own band And More, I was listenin' and diggin' it...and never got around to writing about.  So everyone should go check 'em out.

Esso Trinidad Steelband: "Calypso Christmas"
"Flowmotion"

I can't repost the Filipino Village People album as it is now available on Amazon and iTunes. But I was able to re-up:

Alen Robin "Naked, Really Naked"
RIAA "Wonderful World Of Sound"
RIAA "Risque, Illicit And Adult"

Friday, April 26, 2013

Sisqo's "Thong Song" for Music Box And Theremin

I'm sure we all have our own favorites, but my pick for best cover of Sisqo's ubiquitous 1999 hip-hop hit "The Thong Song" for antique-sounding music box and theremin would have to be the one by British duo Eccentronic. It's short, maybe too short (not to be confused with the rapper Too Short, har har), funny, and really quite nice. One of those audio anomalies that shouldn't exist in our universe, much less work as well as it does. It's a free download:

Eccentronic  "Thong Song"

Speaking of audio anomalies, can someone explain why I was driving down the freeway yesterday evening listening to the radio when a robo-voice came thru my speakers telling me that the Vermont off-ramp was in two miles...and I don't have GPS?!

Never heard from the phantom voice again. Freaky.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

SUPERSHRINK!

Alen Robin, a comic with a droll, very nasal voice, took the Buchanan & Goodman "Flying Saucer" concept - intercutting found recordings with original comedy - and applied it to political speeches. His "Welcome To The LBJ Ranch" hit the top of the pops in the mid '60s, and can be found in approximately 84% of American thrift-stores.

This album continues the concept, with American politicos Humphrey, Thurmond, Rockefeller, Lindsay, Nixon, LBJ, Agnew, Buckley, Reagan, and Daley finding their voices ripped out of their original context, now making various bizarre and neurotic statements to Robin, playing their psychiatrist. It's still quite funny and clever, even if you don't know much about the speakers. Even more impressive: it's recorded live. Not sure how he did it in the days before laptop samplers. Maybe he had all the voices, and pauses allowing for him to speak, pre-recorded on a long tape. If so, his timing's amazing.

The above review was taken from my review of another Alen Robin album I posted few years back, with the names of of the sampled parties changed.  There is one difference with this album, tho - the groovy psych rock of Billy Mure that abruptly cuts in and out of the funny faux-interviews.

Both sides of this album are pretty short (side two's only ten minutes long) so you just get two tracks here, one for each side:


 Alen Robin: "SUPERSHRINK!"

Friday, April 19, 2013

More From The Boston Typewriter Orchestra

We've written about The Boston Typewriter Orchestra a couple of times before, but it's been a few years since we last checked in with them, and, as there is some crazy shit going down in Boss-Town right now, it seemed like a good time to think good things about that city and dig the BTO's latest free download single...which is already two years old (sorry, I'm not always right on the beam.) Again, this quartet amazes me with their propulsive percussion performed entirely on obsolete office equipment. Get it here:

The Boston Typewriter Orchestra: "Entropy Begins At The Office"

Thursday, April 18, 2013

The OTHER Singing Ricin Terrorist

The recent news about the wack-job Elvis (and others) impersonator sending politicians envelopes laced with deadly ricin reminded me of the pioneer of this genre, Robert Alberg.  When we wrote about him some years ago, he was being sentenced to five years' probation, mental-health treatment and placement in a group home, and his album was no longer available, so I posted it.  Incredibly, he's back, selling both his original collection, and a new one.  And he sounds even worse than he did on his miserable first album (as you can see, he isn't looking too hot either). Still, let's hope he sticks to singing/song-writing, and doesn't go back to ricin-cooking.

"Purple Amethyst," available thru Amazon and iTunes, is ten "songs" of lethargic, monotone vocals; obsessive/compulsive lyrics (about sand, beaches, rocks); and atonal guitar "playing" that makes Jandek's sound like Eric Clapton.  Need I tell you that this is outsider-music gold?

Robert Alberg: "Quartz Creek"

As he is back to selling copies of his first album, I'll just post of couple of tracks from it:

Robert Alberg: "I Want To Fly"
Robert Alberg: "Walking Alone On The Sand"

The videos of Alberg's young protege, Kevin Curtis, are striking in their banality - he's just some guy singing over karaoke tapes, occasionally adopting ludicrous fake mustaches. He gets paid to do this stuff?  Jeez, I could do that. Curtis needs to get together with Alberg, so he can learn a thing or two about originality.  They could cover "House of the Ricin Sun."  Or Johnny Cash's "Five Feet High and Ricin." I got a million of 'em , folks!




Monday, April 15, 2013

APRIL IS BAD MUSIC MONTH

Back in the Jurassic era of the internet, the year 2000, L.A. radio personality April Winchell started putting up mp3s of bad/strange/funny music and audio - an early music-blog, if you will. Readers and listeners started sending in more and more tracks, resulting in a remarkably large library of unprecedented awesomeness.  Easy to take for granted now, but at the time, it was a truly mind-boggling resource for us weird-music freaks. It's been a few years, but it's all back up now:

http://www.aprilwinchell.com/audio/

Don't think she's added much since, but if you weren't there back in the day, you've got a lot of catching up to do. Much thanks to Ms. Winchell for re-opening the archives. And if any of you-all have a diaper/baby fetish, and would like a hypnosis tape to help you wet your bed, you now know where to go.

(Speaking of re-ups, RIAA's "Risque, Illicit, and Adult" album is now back up, by request.)

Friday, April 12, 2013

WHY YOU SHOULD CARE ABOUT ANNETTE FUNICELLO

You may have heard that The Queen of the Beach, Annette Funicello, recently died at age 70. And, yes, she was a Mouseketeer on "the Mickey Mouse Club" tv series, and starred in the 'beach party' films of the Sixties. But what you gremmies and hodads must dig is that she ticks off a lot of strange-music boxes: exotica; Space Age; novelty music; funny/dumb/clever lyrics; bizarre musical hybrids (e.g.the Cuban/Hawaiian "Surfers' Luau," "Rock-a-Polka,") wild, highly energetic surf/early rock; lounge cheese; explorations of sleazy/kitschy Americana; collaborations with hipster faves like Dick Dale, Fishbone, and the Beach Boys; and songs about circus freaks and mad scientists. And, tho she was most certainly a Big Show-Biz insider, she did everything with the guileless innocence of an outsider - since Annette never intended to be a singer (Walt Disney just pushed her in that direction) she had no agenda, no aspirations, no bitterness about the roles she was offered, and so sang everything with an equal amount of sincerity, whether it was a forlorn love song, or a ridiculous tale about a freak named Jo-Jo The Dog-Faced Boy.

Why haven't punk bands been covering these songs?! She seems to have been overlooked among Crampsian devotees of early mondo-rock collections like "Las Vegas Grind" and  "Wavy Gravy." Maybe because the rap on Annette was that she was another not-too-talented 'teen idol' making bland commercial pap, like Connie Francis, Fabian, and her co-star Frankie Avalon. But even a cursory listen to these songs shoots down that characterization. The berserk energy level and general weirdness of these songs clearly distinguishes her from the likes of, say, Shelly Fabares.

All these songs are from her late '50s-to-mid '60s heyday, except for the last two tracks: her 1985 appearance with Fishbone from the film "Back To The Beach" (I saw it when it came out!) and an early '80s tribute to Annette from LA pop-punk stalwarts Redd Kross. And it was indeed my LA punk youth that first got me into Annette, where she was a kind of den mother figure - never a part of, but beloved by the local surf punks. I still listen to these crazily entertaining songs after all these decades, and I certainly can't say that about everything from my youth. 

A Net Full Of Jello [Thanks to an old Mad Magazine bit for the title]

01 swingin' and surfin'
02 surfin' luau
03 the maid and the martian
04 secret surfin' spot
05 Jo-Jo the Dog-Faced Boy
06 monkey's uncle (with The Beach Boys)
07 California sun
08 draggin' u.s.a.
09 beach party
10 That Crazy Place In Outer Space
11 Merlin Jones
12 Don't Stop Now
13 Rock-a-Polka
14 The Rock-a-Cha
15 Lonely Guitar
16 Tall Paul
17 Pineapple Princess
18 Jamaica Ska (with Fishbone)
BONUS:
Redd Kross - Annette's Got The Hits






Tuesday, April 09, 2013

Reup: The Devil's Music

Back up, by request:

Satanic Panic

PLEASE ACCEPT THIS FREE GIFT

Aren't ALL gifts 'free'? Isn't that what makes it a gift? Hey, if the advertisers and marketers of the world say it, then it must be true. So here's a goodie-bag of free inter-webular downloads that have grabbed my ears lately:

- A C Slate no r makes interesting sound collages by looping instrumental tracks as beds for spoken-word samples that are strung together in ways to suggest a kind of narrative.  My faves are the apocalyptic "Angels Watching Over Me," and "$ money piano $," an examination of materialism. Check the tracks called 'tape stories.' Negativland fans will want to peep this.
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- Buttress K. O'Kneel has a new release that layers multiple versions of that most ultimate of classical music cliches, Vivaldi's "The Four Seasons." Any new music from this Australian outlaw is worth a notice, but this one represents a completely new direction, forgoing the usual breakcore mashup madness for a dizzying mix of wedding music, Steve Reich-like phase-shifting, and mind-fucking psychedelia:

B'O'K  "The Four Four Seasons"

Which reminds me of this similar mix:

Beethoven Dada - unfortunately only a minute-long clip.  We want the whole thing!

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- mw ensemble, a New York-based avant-classical crew, have a 40-second track for piano and vacuum cleaner that is, in fact, called "I, for piano and vacuum cleaner ~A." It is really quite cool.  Available on this collection:

mw ensemble "6 Green Songs"
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- Music For The Muted is a German ambient/noise/drone combo with a new EP whose tracks all have numbers for names.  I particularly like "7," seven minutes of slowly-growing dark clouds of electronic sound dramatically rolling across the sky; somewhat reminiscent of the "Forbidden Planet" soundtrack.

Soundcloud
Mediafire
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OH/EX/OH are seriously bringing the ambient/noise/drone thang. Str8 outta Manchester, this prolific artist traffics in some pretty dark 'n' spooky stuff at times. This name-your-price EP is suitably atmospheric: 

OH/EX/OH "Entropic"

Some really nice stuff - I love the slowly-shifting chords of "The Holy Fallout." But this collection of audio vérité, however, isn't that scary at all:

OH/EX/OH "Tokyo Field Recordings"

I was alerted to this artist when they sent me an actual postcard in the mail.  Which I promptly lost for a few months. Glad I found it again.






Friday, April 05, 2013

I'm Pretty Sure This Blog Posts More Zither Music Than Most...

Gene M., one of our super-swell readers who contributed the lost files of Ruth Welcome's "Zither Magic" album recently, has gifted us with another album called "Zither Magic" that couldn't be more different. In contrast to Welcome's minimal one-(wo)man-band arrangements, old-world folkiness and classy '50s cocktail lounge feel, Karl Swoboda's "Zither Magic" is a big, brassy, fully orchestrated, swingin' Sixties album that reduces the role of the zither to a kind of almost surf-y lead guitar over twist/swim/frug-able versions of hit pop songs.


Don't dread yet another version of "Yesterday" - this one swings like a rusty gate, dad, played at a breakneck tempo that Mr. McCartney probably never envisioned. "Theme From A Summer Place" could be a Dean Martin backing track. A beautifully dreamy "Ebb Tide" takes a break from the craziness to take us on a stroll down a lonely beach. "The In-Crowd" is wild enough to get Twiggy workin' that mini-skirt. Outta sight!

Karl Swoboda - "Zither Magic"

Thanks Gene!

Thursday, April 04, 2013

"Lullabies From Outer​-​Space": The Casiotone Orchestra of Carton Sonore

An entire 20-track album performed on nothing but the much-maligned keyboards made by Casio (a company that previously had been more famous for manufacturing things like watches) might not sound too promising, but in the hands of France's master of toy- and naive-pop, Carton Sonore, the Casio is not used as a joke, or for '80s nostalgia, but is overdubbed into an orchestra of widely varying moods and textures. The Casio, of course, has a "little" sound, so Carton Sonore wisely works within its parameters to create lovely instrumental miniatures that do indeed suggest the album's name. Listen/purchase:

Carton Sonore: "Lullabies From Outer​-​Space"

This gorgeous tune, filled with all kinds of Space-Age magic, is a free download:

Carton Sonore: "Berceuse 07"

The beautiful "Berceuse 13" is another fave, as is the round-like "Berceuse 6." None of which are funny or gimmicky (not that there's anything wrong with that!) See, Cage was right - anything can be music. Nighty-night...

Wednesday, April 03, 2013

Reposts...

By request, the Caribbean awesomess of Raw Spouge.

The New Wave Covers For Oldies Lovers collections are back up now too, thanks to a wonderful maniac.

RETARDED UMPIRE

Baseball season has officially begun, so let's pay tribute to America's Pastime the MusicForManiacs way:

Deranged Umpire - "Umpire's Call"

Deranged is right: a free download of some guy in a Cookie Monster growl exclaiming nonsensically about how happy he is to be at a baseball game, even enthusing about the food ("Clap for the food court /clap, clap...The foods and the beverages/clap, clap") over a low-rent synth that does sounds like a ballpark organ, if the organist was all goofed up on cough syrup.  It just goes on and on for 7 minutes, with no rhyme or reason. Will profoundly annoy most people.  Made me laff!

Tuesday, April 02, 2013

Lynn Rockwell - One Man Band

Over the cheapest possible drum machine, Mr. Lynn Rockwell, from parts unknown, plays and sings everything on this private press wonder from 1970.  An instro version of the James Brown classic "Night Train" kicks things off with plenty of swingin' horns, followed by the sweet clarinet blowing of "Blue Prelude," which also introduces Lynn's somewhat homely but lovable vocals. Wilbert Harrison's proto-rocker "Kansas City" is remade as a finger-snappin' jazzy lounge tune. Roller-rink organ joins the fun on such songs as "String of Pearls," originally by Glen Miller's big band, now rendered here by a very, very little band. And dig that hipster jive on "Satin Doll"!

Side two's first four songs are originals by Rockwell, highlighted by the bizarre "Spiders": "I got spiders in my bathrobe, baby/there's no escape for you." Suddenly we're in a dark, remote cocktail lounge somewhere in David Lynch territory. I'm really liking the moody clarinet work on this album. Closing out the album are remakes of the country standard "Oh Lonesome Me" and Engelbert Humperdinck's "Release Me," tho I don't recall Engelbert's version having horns that wander from channel to channel for no apparent reason.

This album comes to us courtesy of Jaouad, our only known Moroccan reader.  Where my North African peeps at?!

Lynn Rockwell - One Man Band


Much thanks to Jaouad.
 

Monday, April 01, 2013

StSanders Shreds All Fool's Day

You probably know StSanders' 'Shred' videos - they received millions of views before YouTube yanked most of 'em off.  Well, they're all in one place now on the mad Norseman's (or is he Finnish?) own site, and I can't think of a better way to do April Fools' Day then to spend the afternoon watching "classic" rock acts videos get re-dubbed. As Buttress O'Kneel (whose own shenanigans we'll be covering soon here) said to me:

the band ones are so so so good. not only is it GENIUS to compose music and lyrics BASED ON THE ACTIONS AND MOUTH-SHAPES OF OTHER MUSICIANS (like, this is something even john cage never imagined!), but then to layer the pieces in heaps of cultural references as well (notice the 'simpsons' section in the eagles one, and the 'luke's theme' in the springsteen one - there are SO MANY!)... good golly, this is high fucking art. and all that stuff comes AFTER the fact that i'm sitting here with tears in my eyes, unable to breathe with laughter.

st sanders may actually be making the highest - and most powerful (and most original) - art of the 21st century. i bow down to his greatness.

StSanders Videos

Yes, a genius of the avant-'tard. He has his imitators now of course (someone even did a Captain Beefheart one), but it doesn't get any better then this Eagles one.  The music's so good I'm gonna buy the mp3 (you can do that now, too.)