Saturday, July 26, 2014

TIN HUEY "Contents Dislodged During Shipment"

 I shall be returning to Radio Misterioso tomorrow (Sunday) night for two hours of maniacal music that hasn't been featured here (at least not yet). "In-depth conversations on the paranormal alternating with weird music. Live on Sundays 8-10 PM PST @ killradio.org" Have I mentioned here before that your host Spacebrother Greg is one of the authors of "Weird California"? That should tell you something.




This Ohio sextet's 1978 debut album was such a commercial disaster that their befuddled label Warner Bothers payed them to not record a follow-up. Which probably explains why I found my copy as a cut-out in the 48 cent bin sometime in the '90s.  I think every copy I've seen has been a bargain-bin cut-out. Behold! A singular, highly entertaining mix of Bonzo Dog Band dada and Zappa/ Beefheart-style prog, but shot thru with punkish energy and a good-natured anything-goes spirit, leaving no doubt that these guys were from the same fertile fields that produced the likes of Devo and Pere Ubu. Ralph Carney's horns help make it a bit Oingo Boingo-esque.

And what did they do with their bribe to go away? Some of the members, inc. Chris Butler and Carney (both of whose wonderful solo work has been covered here) moved to New York, and with the crucial addition of vocalist Patty Donahue, transmogrified into the far more successful New Wave stars, The Waitresses. Who I liked just fine, but for my money, the one-two punch of "Chinese Circus" into "Puppet Wipes" (featuring the memorable chant: "My car is filled with puppet heads!") is as good as it gets. It would be nice to hear that over the shopping mall sound system every year instead of "Merry Christmas, merry Christmas, couldn't miss just one this year" every now and then, wouldn't it?
(new link:)  
TIN HUEY "Contents Dislodged During Shipment"

Monday, July 21, 2014

Bandcamp Is The New Cassette Culture pt.3

More indie album wonderfulness courtesy of sites like Bandcamp (and remember, you can always listen for free) from geniuses that would otherwise go unheard because no label in their right mind would ever give 'em a record deal. This time we're spotlighting colorful cartoonish craziness - after all, "novelty music" is not a bad word 'round these parts. To quote one of the album titles featured here, let's have fun:


Twink the Toy Piano Band "Miniatures Vol. 2": I can unhesitatingly recommend this brief, kooky album, performed on toy piano and other whimsical sound-making thingies. I actually think this is one of Twink's finest efforts of toy-tronic pop instrumentals. Price: FREE

1000 Needles: "Osiris": More toy tunes, this time from a band using modified Nintendo and Gameboys playing 8-bit melodies while guitars and drums rock along. Some great songs in this 7-track set that, as on the stand out tracks "Error 537" and "Monument 101," skillfully mix rinky-dink electronics with rawk power. Price: $4

The Invertebrates "Let's Have Fun": Not a new release this time, but a re-issue of some classic New Wave post-punk weirdness from a criminally underrated San Fran combo who we first featured here a few years back when we posted a vinyl rip of their "Eat 'Em While They're Young" EP. That one's long gone off-line, but maybe it will get the re-issue treatment like this gem, which sports concrète and backwards tape effects, dada lyrics that sometimes sound like they're being sung verbatim from magazine articles, B52s-ish femme vox and electric organ, and on one of the album's catchiest songs "Atilla The Hun," Jews harp, and a crazed percussion break. Price: $7

The Kominas "Wild Nights in Guantanamo Bay": I guarantee you've never heard any punk rock like this before: a Muslim American band hitting us with stuff like the Sex Pistols-quoting 'Sharia Law in the U.S.A,'  campy sound bites, a great surf-punk song ('Ayesha') that ends with a Muslim chant sound-collage, and a catchy funky rap song called (heh heh) 'Suicide Bomb the Gap.'  Apart from courting controversy (and they did indeed get media coverage that scarcely described their music), there's actual good sounds here that break out of the punk mold, e.g.: the unique, rhythmically complex, kinda Caribbean-sounding 'Layla' (no, not that one). Price: FREE, but you'll probably end up on all kinds of watch lists for downloading it.  

Carton Sonore "Modarn": And now for something completely different - a collection of musical fragments only seconds long that are meant to played on shuffle play, effectively creating a new song every time. Like Eno's "generative" works, it's never the same twice. Price: 1

Thiaz Itch "Frivolurium": Like Carton Sonore, another funny Frenchman. The description tags tell the story: "carnivale, circus, comedy, electro, space-age-pop." Utterly delightful modern vaudeville cut from the same zany cloth as Twink...not to mention Perrey and Kingsley, Spike Jones, and Monty Python, who's "Bright Side of Life" gets brilliantly covered here. But this album is no child's play - it gets almost proggy in it's experimentation: the almost-polka "Splooshy il Chiocciolo" features everything from Chipmunk vocals to heavy rock guitar to fruity horns. My current Favorite-ist Album In The Whole Wide World. And remember, "don't step on my foreskin!" Price: 5



Thursday, July 17, 2014

The Psychedelic Exotica of The Orient Express

Namaste! I was interviewed recently by the very nice DJ Jess at BreakThruRadio. And our pal Count Otto is back: "The Orient Express took the hippy trope of bunging sitars on your albums willy-nilly because George Harrison thought it was a good idea to its perfectly logical extreme and recruited actual Indians, amongst other nationalities, as fully integrated members of the group. Ironically this made their music too exotic for the US market, and they ended up as an obscure footnote to the psychedelic scene. But did any other sixties band sound quite like this? I think you'll agree that more of them should have."

I certainly agree. This oddity is a fascinating bit of rock-xotica. Were there any bona-fide Indians in the band? Discogs sez: "Guy Duris was actually born on the Left Bank and later met Farshid Golesorkhi, who had been decorated by the Shah of Iran for his drumming and was interested in applying Eastern rhythms to Western music, in Iran. They met Bruno Giet, a Belgian pilot and guitarist, in Paris while traveling around Europe. Soon the three members headed for America and settled in New York's East Village initially but ended up in California where their album was recorded."  So it appears that they were European and Iranian, but jumped on the raga-rock bandwagon. Audiences weren't so hung up on 'authenticity' back then. They probably thought: hey, they're still "foreigners," so what dif does it make? 

It really doesn't make any difference. Good music is good music, and this is some good stuff, as traditional hand percussion meets drum kits, and stringed things (lutes? mandolins?) rock like guitars. Remarkably free of kitsch, it's an organic mixture of all original songs, unlike those goofy (if amusing) sitar-sploitation albums. I esp. dig the proto-kraut drone of "Layla" (not the Derek and the Dominoes one) and the furious funkiness of "Azar" and "Train To Bombay." And "A Little Star" is solid bubblegum. Surely The Monkees could have used this, perhaps in an episode of their TV show where they meet with a guru or sumthin?

The Orient Express (1969)

Continued thanks to Count Otto Black for his unearthing of '60s garage/psych rarities.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Negativland Live - "Helter Stupid Tour" 1989




At the time this excellent board tape was made, multi-media collage/ performance art/ prankster legends Negativland had been around since the early '80s, releasing several albums that served as warm-ups for their glory years of the late '80s/early '90s, when they ruled college radio, signed to the indie label everyone wanted to be on (SST Records), and generally moved from being mere (if brilliant) performers/recording artists to becoming a genuine cultural force, merry pranksters manipulating the gullible mass media, and daring to pull down the pants (so to speak) of some of the biggest figures in the music industry.  They paid for their hijinks big-time, but ultimately came out the other end bloodied but unbowed. Lo these many years later, as seen
in today's post-internet media-overload environment of mashups, youtube, etc., they seem positively visionary. And this performance finds them at the top of their game. Even if you're very familiar with Negativland's "Escape From Noise"/"Helter Stupid"/"U2" era (as I would imagine many, if not most, Maniacs are) this is still a fresh experience, as they take elements from their album tracks and rework them into lovely new mutations.

Negativland Live - Hampshire College 1989

Side 1:

1 - Christianity Is Stupid
2 - Helter Stupid
3 - Escape From Noise
4 - Time
5 - Another Perfect Cut
6 - Free TV Or Pay TV
7 - The Playboy Channel

Side 2:

1 - Playboy Channel 2
2 - Why Don't They Blow Us Up?
3 - I'd Like A Piece Of Meat / Michael Jackson
4 - U2
5 - Car Bomb


This comes to us from maniac Bob Berger. Can't thank him enough. He writes: "Recorded off the sound board onto Maxell XLIIS cassette with whatever tape deck was present, this tape has been legendary among all of my friends for many years. The sound quality is amazing... I've never heard Negativland recorded quite so well... Given our state(s) of mind at that show, I have no idea how we managed to capture this as well as we did... but here it is. At home, I've chopped these bits up into each track as best I could, but I figured that it would be best to preserve the whole show's continuity as two sides of the, now infamous, cassette.

Enjoy.

colunco23"



And - hey! - let's not forget to salute "guest vocalists" like the recently departed  Casey Kasem, and  L.A newscaster Hal Eisner. When on those rare occasions I stumble across Eisner's TV appearances, I chuckle, almost expecting him to say, "This is Hal Eisner. This is stupid."

RIP Snuggles.







Wednesday, July 09, 2014

The Note-Ables: Worst Lounge Band Ever?

Back up by request: "Halloween Stomp."

The recent post re: Banda Plástica De Tepetlixpa Mex. reminded me of another wonderful exercise in musical incompetence, the most hapless lounge band I've ever heard..ladies and gentlemen, please welcome...The Note-Ables!

Maybe they should have been called the Note-Unables: sporting off-beat (in the original sense) drumming, mangled lyrics, goofy vocals, the occasional sick trumpet, and guitars so out-of-tune they're practically "No Wave," one has to wonder if these guys were deaf. I originally featured one song, their remarkable demolition of Chuck Berry's "Roll Over Beethoven" on my collection of private-press lounge wonders "I'll Take Las Vegas," and tho it's still the, uh, "highlight" of this album, there's plenty more goodies here: Elton John's "Bad Blood," Glen Campbell's "Rhinestone Cowboy," and lots of Beatles. They have no feel for rock'n'roll, so naturally, there's plenty of it. Only the last couple songs, standards where horn and accordion take over, do they sound like they're in comfortable (tho no less incompetent) territory.

But you gotta love these guys - they sound like they're having a great time. Everyone's drunk and having a party, and the accordion is the coolest, most rock 'n' roll instrument in their world. Out-of-control naive exuberant joy is infinitely superior to such dull standards as technical skill and recording quality, right?

The Note-Ables: "Flipside" [USA, 1974]


1. Bad Blood
2. I Saw Her Standing There
3. She Loves You
4. Loves Not Always Kind
5. Sun Flower
6. Rhinestone Cowboy
7. Roll Over Beethoven
8. Way Down
9. Lost And Found
10. Can't Buy Me Love
11. So What's New
12. Bye Bye Blues - Baby Face

Tracks 4, 9, and 11 are originals.
Sadly, no biographical info out there. Have no idea where they're from.
Don't remember where I got this, but this isn't my copy - I believe the late, great Bellybongo site first posted it. So thanks to whoever!

Thursday, July 03, 2014

ADIOS A LOS BEATLES

There is no more glorious sound for jaded ears than this rural Mexican brass band blowing berserk, off-key, highly enthusiastic instrumental versions of Beatles songs. Even the dreaded "Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da" sounds great as a crazy carnival theme. Sadly, nothing is known about the band responsible for this genuine piece of folk-art madness other than that they were from, as their name would indicate, Tepetlixpa.  

The lack of info almost makes me wonder if this isn't a hoax. Consider the name Banda Plástica De Tepetlixpa Mex.: a reference to Plastic Ono Band? And the back cover tells a preposterous story of Lennon and McCartney visiting Tepetlixpa. But there is still plenty of information that has not been captured in the internet's nets, and these guys could very well have simply never been documented in their time. Tepetlixpa, after all, is a pretty obscure little village, warranting only a few sentences on their skimpy wiki page...if they really were from Tepetlixpa. I've heard no indications that this is a hoax, but even if it is, it's still as enjoyable as The Portsmouth Sinfonia, or Fritz Guckenheimer and his Sour Kraut Band.

We're Banda Plástica De Tepetlixpa Mex.
We hope you will enjoy the show:  

"ADIOS A LOS BEATLES"

01 Ob-La-Di, Ob La Da
02 I Want To Hold Your Hand
03 Carry That Weight
04 Yesterday 
05 Eleanor Rigby
06 Yellow Submarine
07 Hey Jude
08 Girl
09 I Should Have Known Better
10 A Hard Days Night