Thursday, January 14, 2016


"American Folk Music" is the most boring possible name for an album, but fear not! The latest release from veteran North Carolina wackos the Moolah Temple $tringband is anything but dull. They take songs from Harry Smith's venerable "Anthology of American Folk Music" and radically warp them by introducing such elements as exotic Middle Eastern-isms, clanging and banging percussion, incongruous '80s hip-hop style drum machine beatz, even a bit of rapping on one song, and mix them with the trad sounds of guitars, banjos, and a skillful fiddle that suggests that someone has been taking music lessons. The hideously/hilariously inappropriate combination of traditional folk music and Autotune (!) on "Farmland Blues" had me laffin' out loud. Also dig: the fuzz guitar crunch of "Little Moses" (even tho it goes on too long), and a version of "John Hardy" that might even be better than the Gun Club's? Scuzzy vocals are often distorted beyond recognition. "The Titanic," however, actually approaches mainstream respectability, complete with perfectly competent backing vox.

Moolah Temple $tringband: "American Folk Music"

More Bandcamp weirdness ahoy! L.A. nutters Freshly Wrapped Candies have unwrapped an old album of theirs from 1989 chock full of hermetic, inscrutable DIY obsessions that, perhaps inevitably, are sometimes reminiscent of The Residents, esp. on songs like "Grandfathers' Rug". Other standout songs like the downright catchy "Think" and the Beavis and Butthead-ish "Pitter Pat" don't immediately suggest any particular influences. Organically strange, but not off-puttingly so. It emerges from the haze with its' humanity intact.

Freshly Wrapped Candies: "I Like You" 


Paul Trantow said...

Hey! You're absolutely right. Those two bands are nutty. The Bandcamp links are nice for casual sampling : )

Konrad Useo said...

Thanks for the links. Your blog remains a fascinating, & essential experience.