Friday, July 29, 2005


Always good to revisit the standards every now and then - after all, there could be youngsters out there new to the world of strange recordings, and veterans should stay in touch with their roots, no?

"Wild thing, you make my heart sing," sang The Troggs on their big '60s hit, but nothing was as wild as a bootleg recording of them swearing at each other during their attempt to record another hit. Rudderless without a producer, they bicker endlessly, as anxiety and frustration mount to the point where one can't believe they ever managed to record anything, much less a hit. Unfortunately for the British combo, this has become one of their best known recordings. It's even featured on their box-set collection "Archeology."

Apart from inspiring a scene in the film "Spinal Tap," it also became the basis for a sketch on the famous American comedy show, "Saturday Night Live." Set during medieval times, the sketch was based on an almost word-for-word transcription of the Troggs tapes, with "flogging" substituted for the Trogg's favorite swear word. Paul Schaffer (now David Letterman's bandleader) accidentally said "fucking" once instead of "flogging", and, as "SNL" is taped live, it went out uncensored to America's living rooms. As Schaffer later said, "It was sort of historic."

"The Troggs Tapes"

Thursday, July 28, 2005


Hey, DJ Artem calls himself the crazy Russian - I'm not being judgemental. But it is a little kooky to custom-rig a dj setup using, not turntables and records, but cassette tapes, as can be seen here on his website Which, technically, makes him a CJ ("Cassette Jockey") and not a dj. Because dj stands for "disk jockey." And he doesn't jockey disks. So he should, er, you know. Anyway...He also features a mix made on these decks called "Love, Sex, Music," which is quite funky although, as he says, "I apologize for curvature in the first mix - it because Donna Summer strongly groaned."

If that site's too slow, try HERE.

Wednesday, July 27, 2005


They're growing like weeds, everywhere you go. Soon, they'll be on every corner. Records shops will divided into "Rock," "Jazz," "Classical," "Hip-Hop," and "German Country Bands Doing Rock Covers." Yep, just like Boss Hoss, here's another one: The Twang. They do a durned fine imitation of authentic hillbilly yodelin', guitar-pickin' country music as they remake songs originally done by fellers like The Ramones, Radiohead, Motorhead, (what, no Murray Head?), Brittany Spears, The Gorillaz ("Clint Eastwood," natch) and, just to really confuse you, the half-forgotten disco hit "Born To Be Alive," originally done by the almost-entirely forgotten Patrick Hernandez. Like Boss Hoss, their albums are not available on American, dag-nabbit, so until them city-slicker record-company types here in Amurrica sign 'em we'll have to make do with lengthy excerpts of tunes like

"Blitzkreig Bop"

Like they say in Texas: "
Jetzt reiten Sie wieder: The Twang, die Country-Desperados des besseren Geschmacks!"

Monday, July 25, 2005


Strange: Since 2001, Razor and Tie Records have been releasing a series of albums called "Kidz Bop," featuring children singing contemporary pop hits. The "adult" lyrical content of some of the rap and rock tunes they sing has generated plenty of one-star reviews on Amazon from upset parents, but the fact that they're up to Volume 8 means that someone's buying these enjoyable slices of pop perversions.

Stranger: They cover indie-rockers Franz Ferdinand's "Take Me Out."

Strangest: An adult male is singing along with the kids. Kinda creepy, like a grown-up playing with children in a sandbox.

Kidz Bop "Take Me Out"

(Thanks to Madena, and Stereogum.)

Friday, July 22, 2005


...but I can't help myself. A twisted Floridian named Cy gh (that's how he spells it) has taken two of today's greatest musical atrocities, David Hasselhoff (the new William Shatner) and rapper 50 Cent (who, let's face it, will never be confused with Chuck D), and created a fun, funny bit of phony Caribbean nonsense. Perfect for your next pool party, barbecue, or drive-by.

David Hasselhoff "Do the Limbo Dance" + 50 Cent "Candy Shop " = "Do the Candy"
Left-click here, if you dare...

[UPDATE] He's added a b-side,
"Pingu's In Da Club." Some of you may recall that I posted a rap song by the Hoff concerning, er, penguins, and it's now been mashed with Fiddy. I'm scared.

Thursday, July 21, 2005


"Formed in 1995 Sydney band Toydeath use children’s electronic toys to create music you have never heard before! That’s right we only use toys! We have collected an arsenal of toys to make any kindergarten green with envy. You will hear talking Barbie Dolls, Speak and Spells, Rock Guitars, Sax-a-booms, Toy Telephones and lots of other fantastic Toys! Toydeath have also collected toys from their international tours and use Chinese, Dutch, German and Japanese language toys in our set. Each toy has been “Circuit Bent” so it can be amplified and many of the toys have electronic additions to turn them into wild and unique instruments. We also assume toy-like characters with colourful costumes as part of our stage show. On stage you will see GiJoe, L’Booby, Nursey and Trailer Trash Barbie!"

This album's not available in the US, so until I figure out how to get a copy, here's some creepy/funny/clever excerpts from their website:

"The Girl From Ipanema" - Jobim's classic bossa nova gets the rinky-dinky Casio treatment; guest vocals from a talking doll

"Froggy" - an electro-noise original. Ribbit.

Wednesday, July 20, 2005


I can see using some instrumental music from contemporary composer Philip Glass in one or two mash-ups with some rap vocals, but a whole album? Leave it to Boston's mighty mighty DJBC, whose full-length collection of various rappers rhyming over Phil's tunes, "Glassbreaks," debuts online today for your downloading pleasure.

The Beastie Boys, Q-Tip, The Fugees, and Dizzee Rascal are among the MCs who might be shocked to hear themselves accompanied by dignified modern classical music from albums like "Glassworks" and the monumental opera "Einstein On The Beach." But Glass's chugging rhythms are a snug fit with the head-bobbing hip-hop beatz so expertly crafted here, and, after all, Glass has delved into the profane world of pop himself - the debut album by Polyrock, an early-80s band he was involved with, is one of my fave new-wave obscurities.

UPDATE 11/08: Now available here.

Tuesday, July 19, 2005


Hey! Are you an employee of IBM, making or selling computers and other business machines, in the 1950s? Well, then, straighten your tie, adjust your horn-rimmed glasses, and sing along:

"Ever Onward"

Here's the lyrics, to this, and many other fine IBM anthems, like this one, to the tune of "Jingle Bells":

"IBM, Happy men, smiling all the way/Oh what fun it is to sell our products night and day.
IBM, Watson men, partners of T. J./In his service to mankind-that's why we are so gay"

Not that there's anything wrong with it!

Monday, July 18, 2005


MC Potbelly is, in his words, "...a 42-year-old, white, male insurance agent from Marin County, California," an upper-middle to upper-class enclave about as far from "the 'hood" as you can get. His main influences? "The Sugar Hill Gang, Merle Haggard, and Bob Seger." His music production is as crude as his pimped-out lyrics, which he delivers in a thin, nasal, utterly-white sing-song, following no rhyme scheme known to man. Evidently, there was a full-length (well, 27 minutes) album released, but all that's available now are the two short songs on his Soundclick site:

"Potbelly's Rap"

I would kill to hear the whole album. Yo, 'belly! Hit us wit all yr jointz, g!

(thanks to Premium Blend)

Friday, July 15, 2005


Music Video For Maniacs: one guy plays guitar/sings Bonnie Tyler's '80s shlock-rock hit "Total Eclipse Of The Heart" while two other people jump around like mental patients, percussively pounding on things like washing machines, for some good, noisy fun. Could be a whole new genre of music: Industrial MOR? EZ-Noise?

Kind reader DDay tells us that they're a Norwegian band called Hurra Torpedo:
"Total Eclipse Of The Heart"

Reminds me of a classic Brian Eno quote: when he was visiting here in Los Angeles, he noticed ads for a local radio station promising "Continous Soft Hits." Quothe Eno, "Sounds like some obscure form of Chinese torture."

Wednesday, July 13, 2005


The most brutally raw music I've heard in ages is exploding from the ghettos of Rio De Janiero. Unlike most cities, where the rich are up in the hills, Rio's well-off are down on Ipanema and Copacabana Beaches, and the slum-dwellers have the great ocean views, and dance to a style so new, it doesn't have a definite name yet. Call it "baile funk," "funk do morro" ("of the hill,") or "carioca funk," it's all Miami-bass style hip-hop, hoarsley shouted (not really rapped) Portuguese, odd samples, and startlingly primitive production - this stuff isn't low-fi as an indie-rock pose, it really is garage-produced, sounding like vintage '80s floppy-disk samplers and eight (four?)-track recorders finally made it down to the favelas (slums). A lot of it sounds hissy, some tunes are over in less then a minute-and-a-half, songs abruptly cut off, and no-one sounds like they have any music training. Doesn't get any more punk then that, does it? Probably best enjoyed late at night, loud, while drunk.

Two collections were recently released in the States, "Rio Baile Funk: Favela Booty Beats," and "Slum Dunk Presents: Funk Carioca," but mostly this stuff is so far below the radar it's not even underground yet. The crucial Funky Do Morro website has been collecting recordings with names like "Funk Cruel" and "Funk Neurotica" by many often-anonymous baile funk artists:

"Sao Carlos" 1:27 of fun, from the collection "As Melhores do La"
"Funk Neurotica - track 10" throws in a bit of the Italian standard, the Tarantela. I don't know why.
"Rua Lucia Tabajara" This could make those "world-music" types who think all Brasilian music is 40-year-old Jobim-a-nova run screaming out of their Starbucks.

Tantan from Brasil provides us this link:
"Here's a video footage from a "baile funk" party in Rio de Janeiro. There's even a competition of the best bootie dancer of the night. And the prize is... yup, a book. hehehe"

Monday, July 11, 2005


To describe veteran street-performer Arthur Nakane simply as a one-man-band hardly does him justice. But it will have to do, until someone can a come up with a better name for a performer who sits behind a wagon constructed of PVC pipes holding keyboards, percussion, amplifier, foot-operated drum machine and bass pedals (also made of PVC pipes), while wearing a harmonica holder around his neck and playing a guitar with sticks bolted and clamped to the guitar's neck. While playing guitar in the conventional style, he jabs at the keyboard with these sticks, playing simple keyboard melodies, and hits cymbals. With his right hand, he'll grab, say, a tambourine and shake it as he strums the guitar. All while singing in a thick Japanese accent. Using electronics skills I can't begin to comprehend (he teaches electronics by day), Nakane records his own voice while singing and, again using foot controls, plays it back, harmonizing with himself - a live overdubbing method.

I first discovered Nakane years ago in Santa Monica's outdoor mall, the Third Street Promenade, and, quite unexpectedly, I ran into him last week performing on the Santa Monica Pier, still playing for tips. A hand-made cardboard sign announced he had performed on Jimmie Kimmels's NBC-TV show in February. He's also opened for punk bands, appeared on radio and TV, and was the subject of a short documentary that played the Sundance Film Festival called "Secret Asian Man."

That film got it's name from Nakane's remake of the oldie "Secret Agent Man." When he sings it, not only does he change it to "Secret Asian Man," complete with verses sung in Japanese, but he pulls back his eyes, like when kids make those slanty-eyed Asian stereotype faces!

"Secret Agent Man" - from his CD, featuring treatments of "Band On The Run," "La Bamba" (in severely shaky Spanish), and the definitive "Achy Breaky Heart" - a feast of grungy guitar and English/Japanese lyrics (Hmm, I don't remember Billy Ray Mullett rhyming "sake" with "Nagasaki"...) Order it from, the most minimalistic website ever. Or, as I did, buy a copy from the man himself, should you run into him on Santa Monica Beach. Recorded live, no overdubs, no edits. As Arthur told me, pointing to his equipment, "I am master of this..."

Friday, July 08, 2005


Yesterday's "Defenders of Marriage" tune reminded me of comedian Eugene Mirman's reverse-prank calls - instead of calling his victims, they call him:

"Starting in late December I began to get phone calls from what I thought was a phone company (United American Technologies) trying to get me to switch from my phone company to a Christian one that didn¹t support gay marriage and pornography...It turns out that they are from a non-profit that works with United American Technologies and calls people on their behalf. UAT then donates money to them...You can also read this article from the New York Sun for more information."

Mirman's reactions are priceless when he is told such mind-boggling lunacy as which phone companies support child pornography. The hillbillies he's dealing with have no idea they're being goofed on, of course. Classic.
"Anti-Gay Phone Company I"
"Anti-Gay Phone Company II"

While we're at it, check out Mirman's "Marvelous Crooning Child." Almost as simultaneously funny and scary as the phone calls. "White Rabbit" is particuarly sick.

Thursday, July 07, 2005


Desperate times call for desperate satire.

Today's events in London are further proof that the monsters might be winning. But the good guys won't go down without a fight, and singer/songwriters like Roy Zimmerman (not to be confused with that other folk-singing Zimmerman) skewers man's evils with a wit not seen since the heyday of Tom Lehrer. Armed with a guitar, a bag of catchy tunes, and lyrics that are, to quote one of his songs titles, "Pumping Irony," Zimmerman hilariously pledges to defend America from all enemies, both foreign and domestic. Usually domestic.

Dr Demento fans may recall his old group, The Foremen, whose satirical folk songs like "Firing The Surgeon General" preceded "A Mighty Wind" by years.

His website updated the sounds page recently. Just in time:
"Chicken Hawk" lampoons, and lambasts, the prominent Americans who demand war, but, of course, dodged the Vietnam draft. The same types who will now be using London as an excuse for more fighting. And he names names.

"Defenders of Marriage" "Defending the institution against people who want to get married..."

"America" As good (and as funny) a definition of this country as any I've ever heard. It's even patriotic, in an honest, non-nationalistic way - a great song.

Wednesday, July 06, 2005


The name The Nutley Brass conjures up images of a traditional British brass band, uniformed members trotting out all the old songs for the old folks at the park. But in fact, this "band" is the project of busy New York guitarist/soundtrack composer Sam Elwitt. He certainly does capture a '50s/'60s sound, though, even as he remakes decidedly non-old-fashioned punk favorites. "The Ramones Songbook As Played By Nutley Brass" was a brilliant update of the kinds of E-Z-cover albums so popular in days gone by, like "The Liverpool Strings Play Songs Made Popular By Herman's Hermits" or "The New Christie Minstrels Sing Motown." But real Muzak rarely had so much style - note the "Chopsticks" interlude in:

"I Wanna Be Sedated"

The Nutley Brass have a brand new one out, "Fiend Club Lounge," dedicated to the music of pioneer shock-rockers The Misfits. Although it's only just been released, it's already offending the dopey goth kids reviewing it on Amazon who don't get the joke and think that it's an actual release by The Misfits. "What happened to them?! This sounds like elevator music!" Ha!

Click on this to listen to a snippet of The Nutley Brass performing "Die Die My Darling," a The Misfits classic from the days when Glen Danzig was lead howler:

"Die Die My Darling"

The alteration of RCA/Victor's "Living Stereo" logo is a nice touch, no?

Sunday, July 03, 2005


It's cowboy actor/super-patriot John Wayne, here speaking to a stunned crowd of Jay-Cees (Junior Chamber of Commerce) kids during the Vietnam War, completely drunk off his ass. God Bless America!

John Wayne drunk.

As "The Duke" himself would say, it's re-goddam-diculous.