Tuesday, November 30, 2004


Since 1983, Wendy Chambers has been performing on the car-horn organ (which is exactly what you'd think it is, complete with one of those "aw-ooo-gah" horns) such standards as "New York, New York." But with the holiday shopping season in full swing, you might want to consider picking up her Christmas CD - 9 seasonal swingers performed entirely on recycled automotive parts. Truly the gift for the man who has everything.


Monday, November 29, 2004


"Whistler's Delight": This is either a delight indeed, or torture - depending on how you feel about close to 7 minutes of whistling. But if you read something called "Music For Maniacs," a medley of 20+ famous whistling records seemlessly mixed by Ohio's DJ Riko is probably just what you've been waiting for. It's oodles o' fun AND if you can guess the name of all the records used you'll win a rare CD or vinyl goodie. Send your guesses here.

Contestants might find The Online Guide to Whistling Records helpful.

Saturday, November 27, 2004


The Beastie Boys say, "I got the s--- that's beyond bizarre," but even they coudn't have concieved of the utterly uncomprehensible weirdness of this:
"Music From The Torah."
Some wackos think that the Bible has hidden clues encoded in it that predict things like Sept. 11, the JFK assasination, blah, blah, blah. This is a musical variation: "By feeding the Hebrew text of the Bible through a user configurable music sequencer some very interesting and melodic results can be obtained." The funniest thing? Where it says that this is an offshoot from "mainstream Bible Code Research."

Hey, at least the musical samples on the site sound very nice.

Monday, November 22, 2004


The Conet Project is something that's been around for a while, but I'll suspend my new-music rule in case y'all missed it:

For decades now, secret organizations have been broadcasting over short-wave radio what are apparently coded messages in the form of repeating numbers, letters, Morse code, music and/or sound effects. These "numbers stations" are assumed to be the work of spy agencies of many nationalities, judging by the variety of languages that are heard. The bizarre, mysterious nature of these messages, combined with the natural hissing and interference of a short-wave broadcast, create a kind of accidental electronic, ambient music. The Conet Project has been collecting recordings of number stations for years, and have 4-CD set that has been sampled a few times. One well-known band, Wilco, was actually sued for sampling a numbers station broadcast from the Conet album - Irdial Records who released the set own the copyrights to the recording, even though they didn't "write" the material. Did I mention copyright law is way out of control? Consider it mentioned.

Listen to this, but not alone in a dark room:

The Backwards Music Station
5 Dashes
Figure Counting 10 Rough Tones
Gong Station Chimes

Friday, November 19, 2004


...is the name of a "best of" cd released by Moscow, Russia's finest - Messer Chups, a buncha kooks who've apparently been rockin' them Ruskies since the mid '90s. Surf guitars and theremins coexist with modern technology, tho it's used for things like sampling Ed Wood movie dialogue. Many of these toe-tappers are new'n'improved remixes/remakes from their swelling (and swell) catalogue. "Tchaikovsky Beat" turns classical music into '60s-style go-go beat, "Hey" is one of the best tracks on the Tipsy remix album, "Miss Surf" mashes-up The Beach Boys, Dick Dale and surf obscurity "Church Key" by the Revels, "Trashman Upgrade" takes "Surfin Bird" for another spin, "Snake Eyes" is analog-synth garage-rock, "Sentimental Double-Bass" sounds like The Ventures scoring a film-noir episode of "The Jetsons" (trust me, it really does), "Import-Export" is a robot mambo with a "Moon River"-ish theremin melody, "Verkalak Acid" mixes Perrey & Kingley electronics with monkey/exotic bird sounds, and in "Super Megera" Criswell sez "It will please me very much to see the slave girl with her tortures. It pleasures me, it pleasures me!" Me too.

Dig: "Orgia of Dead"

Thursday, November 18, 2004


Robert Froehner is a Texan master of both the saw and the equally-eerie sounding theremin, as detailed on his site theremin-saw.com. Yep, a saw, like you buy at the hardware store, but played with a violin bow (the smooth side, not the side you cut down trees with obviously). The theremin was invented by a Russian who's name happened to Theremin - boy, what are the odds? (*tap tap* Hello, is this thing on?) It's considered to be the first electronic instrument, and the only instrument of any kind that is played without being touched. One waves one's hands over antennas to play it, doesn't one? And one should listen to this beautiful (well, until the cheesy drum machine intrudes) sound sample as Mr. Froehner plays both instruments, first saw, then theremin, on this tune called "Going Home."

Wednesday, November 17, 2004

Tuesday, November 16, 2004

Monday, November 15, 2004


My fave online label Comfort Stand is celebrating their one-year birthday this month, and to celebrate they've posted "Comfort Cake," 28 tracks of assorted musical flavors, many of them tasty indeed. Dig the space/surf guitar ruckus of Full Load of King's "Ride A Wave To Uranus." Cowa-bong-ga! Martinibomb's mash-up "Dizzy ke Peeche" drops Bollywood vocals over '60s bubble-gum grooves, and Inzah's "Very Happy Encounters" is an example of some of the nice electro to be found here. But nothing's as perverse as Lee Rosevere's song, an attempt at a cheezy boy-band ballad, that I'm not posting a link to because I'm not sure we should be encouraging that kind of thing.

Friday, November 12, 2004


Imagine Dubya singing John Lennon's "Imagine." It's easy if you click.

This comes to us courtesy of waxaudio, whose website features his exotic photography: www.waxvisual.com.

Thursday, November 11, 2004


No, I'm not making this up. A guy in New York started a website called www.polka-rap.com which, unfortunately, doesn't have any music on it. I asked why and he said he's too busy and apparantly doesn't have much of a musical background. But if anyone out there wants to make some rap/polka tunes and send 'em his way, his name is Robert Pierce
(hawkeye10729@yahoo.com). They can be originals, or mash-ups, where you take other artists acapellas and put 'em over polka recordings. He'll host them on his site.

Tuesday, November 09, 2004


After rap star Jay-Z released a seperate album of acapella versions of songs from his latest release "The Black Album," a flurry of remix/mash-ups projects ensued, setting Z's vocals to a variety of musics. But none was more unlikely then the Baker Bros' free online release "The Classical Album." Yup, Jay-Z rhymin' over mostly 20th century classical...er...classics - from Ravel, Mahler, and Stravinsky, to more avant-garde cats like Conlon Nancarrow and Steve Reich. Although sometimes it's a train-wreck of hopelessly incompatible styles, New York's Baker Bros do pull it off on tracks like "Glass Off Your Shoulders," in which a Phillip Glass string quartet chugs along nicely under Mr. Z.

Monday, November 08, 2004


Why are punk and polka considered to be at opposite ends of the cool spectrum? They're both bursting with energy, and often barrel along on a furious 2/4 beat. Jimmy Sturr, the King of Polka, with a hundred albums and a dozen Grammys under his lederhosen belt, has a new album, "Rock 'N' Polka." The concept? Classic rock performed polka style. Truly an idea who's time has come. It's available from iTunes, among other sources. I plunked down my 99 cents for an amazing version of "Rebel Rouser" - the menacing surf guitar tones of guest Duane Eddy are an amusing contrast to the chirpy accordian. I also went with The Beach Boys "Fun Fun Fun," another unlikely translation. Willie Nelson, no less, sings "Bye Bye Love." As wholesome as a church picnic, yet as exciting as a mosh pit. Don't believe me? Check out the audio samples from Amazon.

Wednesday, November 03, 2004


No, not the cartoon character. I have no idea why this album is called "Porky Pig," but I can tell ya this: it's on Standard Oil Records, apparently only 500 were pressed, it's got 4 artists, a comic-book AND a packet of "found photos."

Gelbart is the real find here. He makes wonderfully rinky-dink electro instrumentals like "Tokomon Rip-Off x3" that need only an Engilsh singer with a ludicrous hair-do to become New Wave classics. Lotsa fine free listening at gelbartmusic.com.

Dan Deacon contributes oddball instrumentals with annoying free-jazz parts, a good pop tune ("Hey Let's Go For A Ride"), and a vocoder-ized cut up of Jean Knight's old soul classic "Mr Big Stuff" that is funky-fresh fantastic. The Bran Flakes serve leftovers - you'd be better off by checking out one of their long-players, but these veteran sound-collage prankstas still thro in some great stuff, like this bit of advice from a cut-up bowling instructional record: "To get the most possible enjoyment out of your bowling, by all means, lose your temper. See the deskman for information about this." The Big City Orchestra are not the swingin' big band you'd expect, but makers of weird short ambient-ish instrumentals, best listened to on headphones whilst chillin'.

The "found photos" (culled from dumpsters, the sidewalk, etc) are pretty amusing: a fat couple, bald trendies at an art gallery, drunk-looking dinner party guests, and a pretty cool red-tinged shot of a row of mail boxes.

Monday, November 01, 2004


Vitamin Records. The new 101 Strings. At last count they've released over 100 (!) string-quartet "tribute" albums dedicated to every band/singer you've ever heard of, and plenty that you haven't. Maybe the weirdest: covering the entirety of the "Velvet Underground & Nico" album. Interesting choice, considering that some songs on that album are pure noise.

But Vitamin doesn't just release, say, string quartet remakes of Black Sabbath songs. They also have apparently tongue-in-cheek cocktail lounge "tributes" to the likes of eminem and Outkast. The audio sample of the eminem album on Vitamin's website was terribly obnoxious, but the bossa-nova take on "Hey Ya" was quite nice. The also have electronic, straight rock and acoustic tributes. U2 is the subject of a bluegrass (!) and New Age (!!) collections, the latter boasting Enya-like singing over "ethereal" backing.

I'm the proud owner of one of their best releases: "Swingin' To Michael Jackson," a bona-fide big-band blast. The arrangements (by one Jim McMillen) would be the envy of Count Basie, the solos are jazz-legit, it's loud, brassy, and original, even throwing in some reggae during "Beat It."

Check out their catalog, and ask yourself, "Self, who is buying all this stuff?"