Sunday, July 05, 2015


Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass sold more albums than almost anyone else in the '60s, so it's no surprise that any goofball with a trumpet would try to cash in on their effortlessly enjoyable, upbeat, instrumental style. And, indeed, there were plenty of those.  Making a vocal album, however, is another story. Who in their right mind would attempt an entire album of singing new words to famous instrumentals?

But that is what Big Band veterans the Modernaires did, setting lyrics to Alpert & Co.'s numerous hit tunes (apart from songs like "All My Loving" that, of course, already had lyrics). The tight-harmony vocal quintet used to sing with the likes of Glen Miller back in the '40s, so presumably this was their attempt to get, er, "mod." Of course, it's utterly ridiculous, even more removed from anything resembling actual Mexican music than even Alpert was. But like the TJ Brass itself, it's so gosh-darn HAPPY! that it's hard to resist. No slow songs here. But no parka-clad British youth riding scooters either.

the Modernaires - The "Mods" Salute Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass

1. Tijuana Taxi
2. Spanish Flea
3. What Now My Love
4. My Buddy
5. A Walk In the Black Forest
6. All My Loving
7. A Taste of Honey
8. Alley Cat
9. Mexican Shuffle
10. I'm Getting Sentimental Over You
11. And The Angels Sing

Member of the Hollywood session all-stars The Wrecking Crew perform on this, inc. Tommy Tedesco, possibly the most recorded guitarist ever. 

I was reminded of this album, and Alpert in general, whilst recently visiting Herb's spectacular restaurant, Vibrato. From the minute we walked in, an instro combo was serving up cool jazz and Latin lovelies like "The Girl from Ipanema," "Besame Mucho", "The Peanut Vendor," and a famous '60s groover I could not place (Horace Silver? Oscar Peterson?) From the drink menu, I passed on the 'Tijuana Taxi' and ordered 'The Spanish Flea.' Muy bueno, as were the lamb chops. And actor Jon Voight called our daughter "beautiful." So happy Fathers' Day to me, eh?

Wednesday, July 01, 2015

I'm Bringing Weirdness Back...

If you feel like genuine musical weirdness died with Sun Ra and Captain Beefheart, take heed!  We have some 
stone-cold freakazoids in our midst even today. To whit:
- The Everyday Film is raising funds for his next album. Judging by the excerpts of works in progress in the video 
below, it's the veteran outsider's most ambitious project yet, as it moves beyond his usual industrial nightmares 
into some realms of sound that actually resemble, well, music. Y'know, that some people will like to listen
 to? So give, brothers and sister, give 'til it hurts:

The Everyday Film - "Bleed Over" (GoFundMe site)
- Ostrich Von Nipple is such a great name that I thought there was no way that their music could measure up to it, 
but their latest album is an absolutely awesome acid-bathed assemblage of spazz-jazz-tronica, weirded-out lyrics, 
and a guest guitarist who has played with the Residents, no less. Songs like "Mad Martian Beach Party" actually
sound like their titles. One 10-minute track suggests prog, but prog is rarely this humorous and surreal.  Originally
released last year in hard copy formats thru Psychofon Records, including a very limited vinyl run, it's now available
digitally thru outlets like Amazon and iTunes. In Maniac-universe, this album would sweep the Grammys.

"Ostrich von Nipple Quantifies Absurdity" album Amazon page 
Ostrich Von Nipple "Upright Jerker" (mp3)
- Petunia-Liebling MacPumpkin, the gal who's so cray-cray she makes Kate Bush look like Barbra Streisand, is the
 one who hipped us to the Nipple. Her own latest video "Picked Fences" (see below) is another outlandish mixture of 
live action, animation, puppets, toys, video effects, and art-song.   
- Womb Pals' brief (13 minutes) name-your-price download EP "Baby Spinach" is mostly pleasantly low-key
piano ambience, but is notable for the track "perfection," which ingeniously samples the sounds of coughing and 
throat-clearing. No other instruments. Exactly the kind of thing that Maniacs might find clever and funny, and 
Normals might respond to by running away, hands over ears. That's irri-tainment! 
- The Chewers are the twisted Southerners whose two previous albums got rave reviews from Yours Truly on these 
here virtual pages. They're still spewing out their inbred hell-billy guitar rock primitivism, but with seemingly
a bigger budget. More instrumental sounds, cleaner production, guests vocalists - they sound better
than ever, tho the songs are not sticking with me the way their earlier work did. One track, however, the utterly
over-the-top "Misanthropic Bones," just might be the greatest thing they've ever done. It's a kind of rap song, 
with a clenched-teeth Chewer sptting out rhymes like "I don't get enough sun or sleep/I'm a hollow, distorted 
Well, aren't we all?

The Chewers "Dead Dads" album Bandcamp page
The Chewers  "Misanthropic Bones" (mp3)


Wednesday, June 24, 2015


Donald Featherstone, the appropriately-named creator of those plastic reproductions of our pink feathered friends, has just passed away at the age of 79. As if being the father of the world's most notorious lawn ornament wasn't eccentric enough, Featherstone and his wife were also known for always wearing matching outfits! Now that is just the sort of weird, goofy, good ol' American trash culture that John Waters immortalized in his 1972 film. 

If you haven't seen "Pink Flamings," perhaps the ultimate cult movie, I sure as hell ain't gonna tell you about it. Let's just say that even tho I only saw it once - and this was back in the '80s, when the earths' crust was still cooling and dinosaurs walked the earth - a mere glance at the song titles of the soundtrack recall images that are permanently seared into my brain. So let's pay tribute to Mr. Featherstone with the suitably trashy soundtrack of '50s/60s rock, r'n'b, and easy-listening oldies that Waters used to underscore his characters foul (not to mention fowl) behavior. Some of these songs are as insane as any crazed early rock (e.g.: "Chicken Grabber," "Surfin Bird") while others, like the perfectly presentable "Happy Happy Birthday Baby," are used as ironically innocent counterpoints to the on-screen depravity.

Plus! At no extra cost to you! Other "Pink Flamingos"-related audio oddities thrown into the file:

- Edith Massesy's single, which featured her "singing" a cover of the Four Seasons' "Big Girls Don't Cry," and a lovely original, "Punks (Get Off The Grass)." Massey had moved to the Venice Beach neighborhood of Los Angeles, and her thrift store was a popular hangout for local punks and weirdos, who recorded this with her in 1982.

- Divine "You Think You're A Man" (7'' version); S/He recorded a surprising amount but I just have this one catchy bit of '80s disco.

- The Illuminoids "Satan Said Walrus Eggs," a mashup from 2007 that mixes Massey's "Pink Flamingo" dialogue with the Beatles, over a stomping beat from Clap Your Hands Say Yeah. The Egg Lady meets the Egg Man, with special guest: Satan. One of the members of the Illuminoids was Howie Pyro, who took the name for his super-swell internet show "Intoxica" from one of the songs on this here soundtrack:

"Pink Flamingos" + Bonus Filth

1. The Swag - Link Wray & His Ray Men
2. Intoxica - The Centurions
3. Jim Dandy - LaVern Baker
4. I'm Not A Juvenile Delinquent - Frankie Lymon And The Teenagers
5. The Girl Can't Help It - Little Richard
6. Ooh! Look-A There, Ain't She Pretty - Bill Haley & His Comets
7. Chicken Grabber - Nite Hawks
8. Happy, Happy Birthday Baby - The Tune Weavers
9. Pink Champagne - The Tyrones
10. Surfin' Bird - The Trashmen
11. Riot In Cell Block #9 - The Robins
12. (How Much Is) That Doggie In The Window - Patti Page 

Tuesday, June 16, 2015


By request, "America's Most Nonsensical Band," The Korn Kobblers", are back on-line. This time using Google Drive, the latest candidate in my search for a good file-sharing platform. For those of you keeping score at home: Rapidshare and Div-Share are no more, Mediafire removed all of my files, Zippyshare suddenly decided to stop being cooperative, and when I tried The Box, it got mixed reviews from you-all. So the most recent posts have been using Google Drive. Yay or nay?

The Grim Reaper has been a busy mutha lately, hasn't he? Ornette Coleman, Christopher Lee, and now apparently we've seen the last of James Last. The German E-Z maestro has been a familiar face in the bargain bins for years, but one of his albums is actually quite sought-after by record collectors, and no wonder - it's the weirdest thing he did, and the most out-there album by a supposedly easy-listening artist since the 101 Strings infamous "Astro-Sounds From Beyond The Year 2000" space-age extravaganza. 

"Voodoo Party" is a strange beast of no known musical genre, which is quite an admirable feat in itself. Covers of such non-EZ artists as Sly & The Family Stone and Marvin Gaye are mixed with originals, almost all smothered in tons of manic percussion. And then amidst all the bongo fury, there's "Mr. Giant Man," which has to be the greatest children's '70s glam rock stomper ever. It all leads up to "Voodoo Ladys Love," a kitch-adelic spectacular that has to be heard to be believed. 

Far too upbeat and loud to be exotica, too brass-band/schalger to be rock-n-roll, "Voodoo Party" may not have much to do with any African-derived Haitian religions, but it certainly is a party. Funky funk! Moogy Moogs! Santana covers! EZ vocal choirs! And a version of "Babalu" that Ricky Ricardo would not recognize. R.I.P. Herr Last.


Thursday, June 11, 2015


By request, the Guatemalan garage psych album "Electronicos La Fuente" is back.
There's talented, there's influential, there's great...and then there are those at the top of Mt. Olympus whose cultural thunderbolts sent down from on high just change everything. And so it was with Ornette Coleman, who just died at age 85.

His 1960 album "Free Jazz" gave an entire genre of music it's name - how many other people can claim that? And that album (I'm listening to it now) is still thrilling, all these decades later.

Lou Reed said it was artists like Ornette that inspired "Sister Ray," which led to Sonic Youth and noise rock in general. Much of the '80s SST Records catalog - mainstays of college radio - owed a debt to Ornette.

Free jazz, especially in the hands of masters like Ornette, is not random noise. There is a method to the madness, as should be readily apparent here:

Orenette, et al. "Endangered Species" (Google Drive)
Ornette, et al. "Endangered Species" (The Box)


13 minutes from the "Song X" album that I first heard on the radio as an impressionable youth upon its release in 1986. It completely rewired my brain. And I thought I didn't like jazz. But I thought, "Well, this is kinda interesting," so I didn't turn it off. Then I turned the volume up a bit...and then some more. By the end of the track I was sitting up, blasting it, jaw dropped. 

Coleman recorded it with Pat Methany, then mainly known for his "smooth jazz." A friend of mine who worked at Tower Records says confused Methany fans would return the album back to the store, expressing their disgruntlement. Ha! Methany did amazing things on that album, making his guitar sound like an exploding synthesizer. 

The great bassist Charlie Haden, Ornette's right hand man for decades, died last year. I have plenty of his albums, too. Really dig his L.A. noir stuff with Quartet West.

Saturday, June 06, 2015

RAW MEAT! Vol. 2

UPDATE: Despite repeated tries, I could not get the Zippyshare file to work, so I've moved the file to Box. Let me know if you-all still have any problems, prefer Box to Zippyshare (or other free sharing methods?)
Continuing our survey of songs from the hippie era that are similar to the surreal, psychedelic humor of the Bonzo Dog Band (git yer Vol. 1 here)...

 Count Otto Black made many contributions to this batch of dog meat, so continued woofs of thanks to him. Vol. 1 was more from me, the more obvious stuff - albums that I'd had for ages (Cream, Pink Floyd,  etc.), but the Count really dug deep for things like the irrational international obscurities that perhaps never washed up on our shores during their initial release.

RAW MEAT! Vol.2 (Google Drive)

RAW MEAT! Vol. 2 (The Box)

01 Duke Ellington - C Jam Blues [the otherwise thorough "Songs The Bonzos Taught Us" compilation did not include this 1942 basis for the Bonzos' "The Intro and The Outro"]
02 Dudley Moore - Psychedelic Baby
03 Stackridge - Do the Stanley [a non-LP single, this one from 1973 - my fave tune from these eclectic Brits]
04 Erkey Grant & The Eerwigs - I Can't Get Enough Of You [wish I could find some info on the loonies who released this 45, their one and only record]
05 The Purple Gang - The Sheik [this band's singer wore a mask, and claimed to be an actual wizard]
06 Liverpool Scene - Bat Poem [poets poet-isizing over rock; this bunch somewhat transmogrified into the Scaffold:]
07 Scaffold - Lily the Pink [this big UK hit featured Paul McCartney's brother Mike McGear; was a cleaned-up version of a filthy old drinking song]
08 Les Sauterelles - Where Have All The Flowers Gone [a Swiss piss-take on Pete Seeger's folk hit]
09 Os Mutantes - Chao de Estrelas [yes, the Brazilian 'Tropicalia' legends]
10 The Deviants - Garbage [a college radio show I'd listen to in the '80s would play this; was mighty surprised to learn how old it was: from these British anarchists' 1967 debut]
11 Tritons - Rock Around The Clock [continuing our world tour with some Italians...]
12 Grobschnitt - Sahara [...and Germans...]
13 Giles,Giles & Fripp - The Saga Of Rodney Toady - Part 1 [precursor to King Crimson...hold up, Robert Fripp had a sense of humor?!]
14 Giles,Giles & Fripp - She Is Loaded
15 Brian Eno - Dead Finks Don't Talk [this one often gets tagged a Bryan Ferry satire, but I dunno, sounds a bit Viv Stanshell-ish to me]
16 Roxy Music - Hula Kula [this loopy mock-Hawaiian instro was a non-LP 1973 b-side written by Phil Manzanera]
17 Alberto Y Lost Trios Paranoias - Follow the Guru [the hippie's often-shallow infatuation with/appropriation of Indian culture was just begging to be satirized]
18 Doggerel Bank - Finale [more poetry rock, from '73]
19 Quicksilver Messenger Service - Happy Trails [another antique cover: 'singing cowboy' Roy Rogers' theme, recorded by these San Franciscans in '68]

"Dada for now..."

Tuesday, June 02, 2015

RAW MEAT: Other Mutts From The Bonzo Dog Band's Kennel

The Bonzo Dog Band were like Beatles for Maniacs - the great, wildly-innovative British band of the '60s. But the kind of surreal humor that the Bonzos trafficked in was actually fairly common in the hippie era. Many otherwise serious artists threw in a Bonzo-esque track on their albums - amidst the folk ballads and psych freak-outs, it was not uncommon to also slip in a whimsical novelty, a neo-vaudeville romp, a campy oldies cover,  rude/irreverent/satirical humor, old-timey jazz, and/or pop cultural references. Only the gang of Viv Stanshall, Neil Innes, Roger Ruskin Spear, Rodney Slater, Legs Larry Smith, et al, made such nonsense their full-time gig.

This side of the psych-to-prog era, of course, is scarcely mentioned in the usual rock history mythologies that emphasize Woodstock, increasing musical "sophistication," social consciousness, political/poetic lyrics, blah blah blah. Yes, that was part of it, but remember: the hippies were, after all, young people trying to have a good time. Y'know, rock 'n' roll? This ridiculousness is often far more entertaining and creative than many (most?) of the usual critical suspects from this era. Once again, I am...The Anti-Critic!

As the first 7 tracks demonstrate, bugs and animals were a popular theme (the Bonzos were named after a cartoon dog, after all.) The acts are mostly British, displaying the type of humor often described as "Python-esque," tho much of this predated Monty Python. It's just that good ol' Brit wit. The title of these collections is "Raw Meat" - any hardcore Bonzo fans catch the reference?

RAW MEAT! Vol. 1

01 Zal Yanovsky - Hip Toad [1968, from co-founder of The Lovin Spoonful]
02 Peter Cook and Dudley Moore - The LS Bumble Bee [1967 single allegedly was the first record released explicitly referencing LSD]
03 The Peanut Butter Conspiracy - Flight Of The Psychedelic Bumble Bee
04 Can - Turtles Have Short Legs [non LP single from 1971 in which Damo Suzuki informs us that turtles have short legs, but not for the walking.]
05 Nitty Gritty Dirt Band - The Teddy Bear's Picnic [covering a century-old children's song]
06 White Noise - Here Comes The Fleas [this 1969 release by BBC Radiophonic Workshoppe refugees features Miss 'Dr Who' Theme Herself, Delia Derbyshire]
07 Cream - Pressed Rat and Warthog [don't worry, this isn't an Eric Clapton song]
08 Portsmouth Sinfonia - From the Nutcracker Suite Op. 71a - March (at the Royal Albert Hall) [Brian Eno once played clarinet in this, the "World's Worst Orchestra"]
09 Donovan - The Intergalactic Laxative [keep in mind whilst listening to this profanity that the singer was voted into the Rock n Roll Hall of Fame] 
10 Lewis & Clarke Expedition - Everybody Loves a Fire
11 Private Eye - Take Off Your Clothes! [a John and Yoko parody; from a flexi that came with an issue of British humor magazine Private Eye]
12 Peter Sarstedt - Take Off Your Clothes [when I used to hear Dr Demento play this years ago, I didn't release how skeevy it really is]
13 The Pipkins - Gimme Dat Ding [a 1970 Top 10 hit on the UK/US charts from the bubblegum pop factory, not from a psych/prog band, so perhaps shouldn't be here cuz that's a whole other topic...but I inexplicably love this drivel]
14 The Monkees - Zilch
15 Fleetwood Mac - Somebody's Gonna Get Their Head Kicked In Tonight [this 1969 non LP b-side from an obviously pre-Buckingham/Nicks lineup of the Mac would become an early punk standard]
16 Pink Floyd - Corporal Clegg [The Floyd, years away from their 'Dark Side' breakthrough, once used kazoos. Kazoos and lasers. Something to think about.]
17 Small Faces - Lazy Sunday
18 Kevin Ayers & The Whole World - Hat [Well, the Bonzo's had a song called  "Shirt"...]
19 Pussy - Comets [Spacey theremin instrumental by, it should be noted, an all-male band; released in '69, of course]
20 you know their name - You Know My Name (Look Up the Number) [unreleased 6 minute version]


Thanks to Count Otto Black!

Friday, May 15, 2015

Swim With The Go-Go's (The Guy-Guy Go-Go's, Not The Girl-Girl Go-Go's)


Was quite happy to hear from Roger Yorke of the '60s vocal trio The Go-Go's who sang on the delightful oddity "The Munsters" we posted last year. After pestering the poor guy for information, he most graciously filled us in on the story behind the album. 

The Go-Go's consisted of Yorke, Bill Wild, and Jim Infield, backed by the legendary Hollywood session cats, The Wrecking Crew (currently the subject of an excellent documentary film, by the way.) Mr. Yorke says: 

It was the three of us on vocals along with most of the best studio musicians of the time, including Leon Russell, Glen Campbell, etc.. All the songs including instruments & sound affects were recorded at the session at RCA Hollywood. We did do some travel & TV appearances as the group with special full head form fitted masks from Universal Pictures. We even got to spend time on the original TV Show set.
[Any surviving videos of their tv appearances?!]
Both the Munsters and The Go-Go’s was quite a musical transition for us with Joe & Hal [producers Joe Hooven & Hal Winn] being in their forties & fifties, I re-wrote & re-arranged the songs as much as I was allowed. Bill Wild and I had played around town very successfully in groups and progressed well in our careers. Jim Infield lived in Germany at last contact I had a few years ago. I now produce and manage singing artists after being executive A&R for the Majors.

I wondered if any legal action was ever considered against those New Wave Valley girls who would use the name in the '80s. Not only did that not happen, Yorke tells us that 

RCA owned the name Go-Go’s and I worked with and promoted the girl’s group.

Ha, that's great. The Go-Go's also released an album under their own name of Beach Boys/Jan and Dean-type vocal surf rock. The opener "(They Call Him) Chicken Of The Sea" boasts not only cool chicken-scratch guitar, but tells the nutty story of the title character who's afraid of water: anti-surf music? Also most dig-able: the 3-chord garage rocker "At The Beach," the Phil Spector-ish "Do The Malibu," the cover of Eddie Cochran's "Summertime Blues." I'm glad scuba divers and snorkelers finally get a boss tune of their own in "Underwater." And what's not to love about a song called "Peek-A-Boo Swimsuit"?

I would be flattered if you posted Swim With The Go-Go’s. I was the only one who surfed and we all lived in California.

There are many stories to tell

THE GO-GO'S - Swim With The Go-Go's [1964]

A1 (They Call Him) Chicken Of The Sea
A2 Lonely Girl
A3 Summertime Express
A4 Goodbye Winter
A5 Kingfish
A6 Summertime Blues
B1 Underwater
B2 On The Beach
B3 Do The Malibu
B4 Peek - A - Boo Swimsuit
B5 Sand Swimmer
B6 Swim Time U.S.A.

Much thanks to Roger Yorke!! 

Wednesday, May 06, 2015

T.V.O.D.: 2015

I have obviously fallen off my new-post-every-few-days schedule, but yes, I'm still alive (and well), and have been receiving your always-appreciated emails, musics, DVDs, etc. There's no shortage of material for this here web-log. Guess I've been too busy watching TV...

How did I not see this before?! A recent live version of the greatest song ever about animal homosexuality is up on Vimeo: 

You know that Mr. Will Grove-White is the right kind of people since he's a member of the mighty Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain. But brilliantly performing the Beach Boys on nose flutes, and no other instruments?! One can only bow down: "We're not worthy!"

And here's your WTF? of the day: a nine-minute long concert, also on Vimeo, by an 
Odd-stralian named, er, Dumbshit: 

DUMBSHIT live 4/24/15

Our source for all good things Down Under, Buttress O'Kneel, has played with Mr. Dumbshit a few times, and even after having been an acquaintance of him for a good decade or so, is still a bit perplexed by his, shall we say, lack of regard for traditional musical standards. How self-aware is he? One wonders "...if he is and just doesn't care, or if he's kidding, or if he's doing some kinda meta-kidding-outsider combo...  he normally plays some weird indian stringed instrument, this is the first time i've seen him play a casio - adds a whole other element.  with classic songs like "my housemate's a fuckwit" and "exposing myself to the moon", he's always fun to watch."

This guy's gotta make some recordings.

Sunday, April 19, 2015

The NOW SOUNDS Of Outsider Music

Had a request to re-up Tony "The Cool Casanova" Fabbri. Sometime after I wrote that post in 2013 I acquired a full-length CD by the man, which I just posted in its' entirety. HIGHLY recommended for outsider music enthusiasts.

France's super-swell toy-pop maestro Carton Sonore remixed acapella tracks from one of outsider music's founding texts, Daniel Johnson's "Hi, How Are You?" album, adding his trademark ukulele/musical saw/ocarina sound. Only complaint: too short! More, s'il vous plait.

Carton Sonore - Mini Orchestre Pour Daniel Johnston

(By the way, the latest Cartone Sonore release is 4 bits of spacey loveliness, like Joe Meek on Casios.) And in other outsider music news:

Ms Marilyn Miles sez: "I am a 64 year old grandmother with no music background that likes to write anointed poems."  She's put up a short album entitled "Welcome Marilyn To Area 19" on every conceivable platform, and you can listen to most of it HERE. It's a kind of concept album about the UFO/Marilyn Monroe connection, or something like that. She doesn't sing, but recites clunky verse over r'n'b loops that are only a small step above Wesley Willis' pre-set beats. A couple songs about her encounters with space aliens are certainly interesting, but the real gem here is "Nice Man," a tale of an encounter with a different kind: a weirdo pervert. Gets me laffin' out loud every time. Her prim, schoolteacher-esque vocal delivery is the icing on the cake.  And remember: "My spoken words are from a real experience direct and indirect."

For individual songs, I used to use DivShare, but as it is now apparently kaput, I'll try using You can listen, or download by clicking on the downward-pointing arrow in the upper right. Let me know if it works or not, gang!

MsMarilyn Miles "Nice Man"

And who doesn't like experimental electronic psychedelia by 7 year old girls? Stinky Picnic, an old favorite of ours, returns with another name-your-price download album, and once again li'l Ponky Pie Pea (as she is now known) is joined by dad to discuss such crucial matters as hamsters, doggies, rainbows and "A Fungus And A Mungus And A Wungus."

"Hamster World"

PIck Hit: the doo-woppin' "No, It's A Smiley Love Heart." The family that plays together, stays together.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Happy Tax Day, America!

Was just gonna re-up both sides of the outsider oddity that is Ah-Ah Allen's "Kick The IRS" single, but why stop there? Behold!

A wee Taxday Mix

Ah-Ah Allen - Kick The IRS
Ah-Ah Allen -Montana I'm So Proud of You
F.U.2 - Tax Exile (late '70s fake-punk)
Lenlow - To the Taxmobile! (classic mashup from 2004: Beatles vs Surfaris vs "Batman" theme)
rx - Taxman Obama (The Prez "sings" the Beatles)

My fellow Americans! Remember, April 15 is the day to show Uncle Sam your love.

Wednesday, April 01, 2015

HUBBA HUBBA!: The Big Band Beat of Bad Girls and Burlesque

Back up by request: Roky Erickson's kids party, and "Carnival in Paradise."

Seeing as how our previous collection of mid-century sleazy-listening music is, by a wide margin, the most popular post of the year so far, I guess I'd better keep feeding you cool cats and crazy kitties more rarities and vinyl obscurities from the Golden Age of Bad Taste:

In the heydey of burlesque, dancin' goils twirled their tassels and bumped their rumps to live bands, not to a dj playing Salt n Pepa or Motley Crue. MCs, specialty acts, and comedy teams were also on the bill if for no other reason than to keep up the pretense that these were "variety shows" - something for everyone! - and not just lewd displays of wanton flesh. Tho the burlesque show format may have been created to skirt (so to speak) the censors, it ended up working quite well as an all-around entertainment package, surviving to this day. There's probably a 'burly-q' revival show near you now.

But this stuff is from the original era, the 1940s - 1960s (I'm aware that burlesque preceeds the '40s, I just don't know of any earlier music). The first track is  apparently   recorded live "in the field" from an album called "Burlesque Uncensored." I was gonna post the whole album, but it's actually in print thru Smithsonian Folkways (your tax dollars at work?)

Apart from the expected bump-and-grind jazz, there's also some wild early rock n roll, exploitation movie radio ads and dialogue, low-budget lounge combos, and show-tunes (e.g. Natalie Wood in "Gypsy," the Gyspy Rose Lee biopic, and another version of the "Take it off the E-string" song that was featured on vol 1)And then there's the one musical moment from the infamous '60s S&M sound-effects album, "Tortura!"

also recorded some burlesque film soundtrack music off videos, performed by anonymous sleaze-meisters. This was some years ago when I recorded these, and I can't find most of those films on the YouTubes now.  Too bad, the "Snakes" one in particular was great: a campy guy shouting "Snakes!" and running off camera, followed by a girl dancing with an actual, live enormous boa constrictor-type beastie. Towards the end, she even starts to put the snakes' head unto her mouth. A search for "snakes + burlesque" didn't come up with anything, but if any of you-all know this one, send us the links, pleeze!

And for some great reading whilst listening to this music, check out our pals at  
Decadent History for a plethora of fascinating articles. Learn your history, kids! 

Lowbrow Vol.3 Hubba Hubba! - A MusicForManiacs Collection

01 "Burlesque Uncensored" - lobby talker-chorus line-strip tease
02 Natalie Wood-Let Me Entertain You [from "Gypsy," 1962]
03 "Angels Wild Women"
04 Perez Prado - Exotic Suite of the Americans (excerpt)
05 Kay Kyser His Orchestra - Strip Polka [The Andrews Sisters also recorded this popular '40s Big Band number]
06 Dick Dale & His Del-Tones - Take It Off
07 "Varietease" - Betty Page, Bobby Shields [video soundtrack]
08 "The Naughty Stewardesses"
09 Dick Contino & Eddie Layton - Blues in the Night [accordionist Contino isn't just a James Ellroy character; in fact, he's real, alive, and still performs
10 Barbara Stanwyck - The G-String Song [from the 1943 film "Lady of Burlesque", recorded off video]
11 Big Jay McNeely - Striptease Swing [sax wildman, veteran of LA's legendary Central Ave scene, is also still alive and blowin']
12 Eddie Wayne [actually surf/session guitarist Jerry Cole] - Dig Ye Deep
13 Jayne Mansfield - Suey [the great blond bombshell is backed here by a pre-fame Jimi Hendrix!]
14 Ricky Vale & The Surfers - Ghost Surfin'
15 "Nurses for Sale"
16 John Barry - The Stripper [nope, not the David Rose hit (see below); yep, the James Bond soundtrack guy]
17 Ernie Freeman - The Stripper [Freeman's the man who brought Sinatra into the r'n'b scene with "That's Life"]
18 "Porno Photos"
19 "Tortura" - untitled (Track 21)
20 "Snakes"
21 Snakes! [burlesque film soundtrack]
22 The Knight Beats - Going To Town
23 Hal Blaine & The Young Cougars - Gear Stripper [Blaine is possibly the most recorded drummer in history; he's certainly one of the few to record a drag-race/burlesque fusion song]
24 The Bangers - Baby Let Me Bang Your Box, Part 1 [this r'n'b shouter is, of course, referring to the lady's piano]
25 John Buzon Trio - Ill Wind
26 Voodoo Virgin - [burlesque film soundtrack]
27 Stan Kenton - Blues In Burlesque [No, that's not Tom Waits singing, it's drummer Shelly Mann, with Maynard Ferguson blowin', from 1951]

All tracks safe for work! We like wholesome sleaze around here.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

We'll Be Right Back After These Brief Messages...

Let's get commercial...

Back in 2008 we posted a hilarious radio spot from the conservative religious group Focus on the Family responding to a law passed in Colorado that allowed trans-gendered people to use public bathrooms. Recently we received this fairly genius bit of animation that illustrates the ad, making it even funnier. It comes to us courtesy of Mutant Lab, who are clearly doing the Lord's work. Work it, girl!

A clever, amusing new music video by Los Angeles rocker Taylor Locke finds the artist tooling around town in a motorized easy chair, the comfy kind one might find in a living room. The video makes it look like a cheesy tv commercial for what I thought couldn't possibly be a real product, but upon further investigation, the website appears to be real. Ok...What could one possible do with one of these things? I doubt that they're street-legal. It certainly does make music videos more interesting (along with the nekkid lady!) The catchy power-pop music is quite good, too.

Sound collagist I Cut People have a mordantly funny new on-line album that slices and dices innumerable American media sound bites, revealing the existential angst, neuroses, and anxieties contained in bland public service announcements, cheerful commercials for medications, news broadcasts, and chat shows. The tracks are brief and the whole thing flies by fairly quickly, but it's not background music. Attention must be paid to catch the rapid-fire edits in such wickedly surreal cut-ups as "Ebola Vacation" and the lewd, rude "Watch Me, Innocence." Listen for free, buy for cheap:

I Cut People: "Miserable Day"
Bandcamp page

We now return you to our usual programming...

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Music For People Who Really, Really Really Like to Limbo Dance

Does anybody still dance the limbo? You know, you bend over backwards to shimmy under an ever-lowering pole, to the catchy strains of calypso music.  Don't know if any actual Caribbean peoples did the limbo, but plenty of post-war suburbanites who'd sipped a bit too much rum sure did. And this has to be one of the strangest artifacts of the limbo craze - a instrumental version of the hit Chubby Checker song "Limbo Rock" stretched out for the length of an entire album. Hollywood session vet Billy Strange (that's his guitar on Nancy Sinatra's "Bang Bang," among a million other credits) and his crew keep things interesting throughout, with funky percussion breaks, and exotica-like atmospheric interludes featuring grown men a-whoopin' and a-hollerin'. There's plenty of soloing, ranging from cool jazzy to almost rock 'n' roll. 

Exotica music is fine and dandy for polite cocktail sipping, but when the drinks kick in, what are you gonna dance to, eh, eh?  I'll tell you what: "Limbo Rock pt 1" and "Limbo Rock, pt 2".  For those moments when you want to, quite literally, drink someone under the table.

Billy Strange and Telstars - Limbo Rock

Now if only a band called Billy Strange and the Limbo Rock did an album-length version of "Telstar"...

Sunday, March 08, 2015

The Psample-delic Psounds of Carl Stone's "Four Pieces"

If you think sampling in music means MC Hammer looping "Super Freak," you gotta another think coming: Los Angeles legend Carl Stone has been using custom software to spin complex, beautiful webs out of found sounds since before most people even owned a computer. The closest comparison to another composer one might make would be to John Oswald and his Plunderphonics, but Oswald often hits with an ADD-addled aggressiveness. Stone takes a more trance-inducing path that sometimes approaches Minimalism, but the results are still too thorny to ever function as yoga music.

Track #1 "Wall Me Do" is not, as the title suggests, a Pink Floyd/Beatles mash-up. The title, like most of Stones' titles, comes from an LA area Asian restaurant. It's glitchy electronica, not unlike Aphex Twin, but years before the fact. #2 is pretty funny, slicing and dicing that classical classic "Pictures at an Exhibition" into an increasingly unrecognizable delirium.  #3 ("Shing Kee") from 1986 hypnotically loops unidentified sounds (inc female vocals) into dreamy gorgeousness; tho reminiscent of Frippertronics and Steve Reich's early tape-loop works, the gradually unfolding patterns bear the stamp of Stone's original style. Play this with the lights out, glass of red wine in hand. Aaahhh... And #4 is Stone sampling himself, in this case remixing #1. I actually prefer it to #1 - it's all Minimalistic grooviness, but with no predictable looping and phasing.

Carl Stone - Four Pieces (1986-1989)

I was happy to see that Stone is performing live this March 22 with LA Free Music Society vets Tom Recchion and Joseph Hammer. Those two have been using extreme turntablism and tape-loop tomfoolery to great effect for as long as Stones' been tweaking his Macs. Don't think Stone was ever actually a member of the LAFMS, but note that Recchion designed the insert to this album.  And the two used to rule the KPFK airwaves in the 1980s with back-to-back (Tuesday night?) shows, Stone with "Imaginary Landscapes" and Recchion's "Soundings II, aka the Tom and Tony Show." Between Stone's alt classical-to-Yma Sumac approach and Tom 'n' Tony's avant-tarde mix of free noise, kitschy thrift-store records, and live antics (e.g. playing the entirety of "Sgt Pepper" on fast-forward when the CD was first released), Young Master Fab's mind was suitably re-aligned. Tom Waits said he wept when he first heard Gavin Bryars' "Jesus Blood Never Failed Me Yet" (which Waits would later sing) on LA radio in the '80s. 'Twas on "Imaginary Landscapes" - I was listening that night, too.

Wednesday, March 04, 2015

March Forth, 2015

By request, Phantascist is back on-line.

As today is March 4th, let's march forth once again with the Now Sounds of alternative marching/brass bands with a sampler of releases from recent years from bands that you won't see parading onto a sporting events field, or serenading politicians. A sterling example of 'antique-garde' music - new, experimental sounds using pre-rock, antique instruments and methods.

I don't know how mobile they all are. I did see Mucca Pazza live a year or two ago, so I can vouch for them- they went marching all over the place before they finally hit the stage.

March Forth 2015

1. 9th Ward Marching Band - Halloween Beat [covering John Carpenter, and a bit of Mike Oldfield]

2. 9th Ward Marching Band - Slowride [a couple of classic rock covers, from this krewe that features the king and queen of New Orleans high weirdness, Quintron and Miss Pussycat]
3. 9th Ward Marching Band - The Letter
4. Duk - Bilbo [from the excellent Bandcamp release "Early Worm Gets The Bird"]
5. Hypnotic Brass Ensemble - Moments [cover of Art of Noise's "Moments in Love"]
6. Hypnotic Brass Ensemble & Tony Allen - Marcus Garvey [w/Fela Kuti's master drummer Allen]
7. Mucca Pazza - Chick Habit [two songs from their super album "A Little Marching Band"; this wild take on the France Gall/April March classic features a rarity in this field: vocals]
8. Mucca Pazza - Dirge [doesn't get any less traditional than this: a creepy circus waltz for accordion and musical saw]
9. No BS! Brass Band - Take on Me [A Ha cover; always amazing to hear a great take on a song I'd never given the slightest thought to before]
10. Youngblood Brass Band - Human Nature, Pt. 2 [quite an improvement on Michael Jackson's original]
11. Youngblood Brass Band - Nate Mccarish Handbills For No Man [can't quite determine what strange sounds are featured here]