Wednesday, November 30, 2005


Boston, MA's Twink (no relation to the British psychedelic rocker) have released two wonderful albums of toy piano-based bubblegum instrumentals like:

"Hoppity Jones" - Toy pianos play along with a sampled scratchy antique record, paving the way for the new Twink release, "The Broken Record," which dispenses with toy instruments in favor of mashing up allegedly hundreds of old children's records.

"Pussycat" - "I love little pussy!"

Monday, November 28, 2005


I planned on posting this song back when the Pope died, but couldn't find it in my collection. By the time I did find it, the moment had passed, but since I got a request for it over the weekend, here is David Peel and the Lower East Side's 1972 hippie novelty classic, the title song from an album that was reissued on CD briefly but has apparently fallen out of print again:

David Peel and the Lower East Side: "The Pope Smokes Dope" - featuring backing and production from John Lennon, released on Apple records, following an Elektra Records release, "Have A Marijuana" that was supposedly recorded live on a New York City street corner.

After this brush with major labels, Peel put out his own albums. According to his un-updated website, he planned on releasing a 16-cd box set (!) in 2003. Did this actually come out?

UPDATE: Not only did it come out, he recently released a new 15-CD set!
Thanks to Adam J. and Scott S.

Thursday, November 24, 2005


...on this Thanksgiving Day (an American holiday that involves eating and watching football) for singing athlete records like "NFL Country," an album of country-music stars/football players duets. Just what the world needs!

Waylon Jennings (did he need the money that bad?) croons with Troy Aikman, Bill Bates, Dale Hellestrae and coach Joe Avezzano: "The Good Old Dallas Cowboys"

"NFL Country," which also features Glen Campbell with Terry Bradshaw, and songs with titles like "Four Scores and Seven Beers Ago," can be had used for ONE CENT on Amazon. Again, something we should be thankful for.

I'm off for the holiday, see y'all next week.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005


Charlie Tweddle's 1971 self-released home recording, "Fantastic Greatest Hits", could be the work of Hasil Adkin's hippie nephew: avant-hillbilly-psychedelia is one possible description of it's contents. According to Companion Records, who have reissued this rare-as-hens'-teeth album on CD, "Charlie's pharmaceutical wanderings led him to believe he was a real life prophet and that his brand of Appalachian Psychedelia would change the world. Instead, the LP was almost universally panned and he spun off into a deep depression from which he wouldn't emerge for several years."

Several years after recording these odes to nature (and flying saucers), he meticulously created artwork and packaging, pressed up 500 copies and released it (under the name "Eilrahc Elddewt") to a puzzled, scornful world: "The LP was hand-distributed and received only minimal positive feedback; sales were poor.Why? Well for one, side two of the album is 25 minutes of chirping crickets and sound fragments. The abrupt patches of dead air on side one probably didn't help much either. More than a few of these albums were returned as "defective". Of course, all of these production moves were intentional."

Scroll to the bottom of this page for mp3 excerpts.Track #8 sounds like three recordings playing simultaneously - spoken word, country music, and a sci-fi soundtrack.

Monday, November 21, 2005


I saw Link Wray perform this past July at Glendale's (CA) annual Cruise Night. He hobbled on stage like an old man but, clad in black jeans, leather jacket and shades, pounded out timeless primal rock'n'roll with youthful abandon. Little did I know it would be his last appearance in America. He died recently at age 76. His brutal instrumentals paved the way for garage rock, metal and punk. I remember coming across a Link Wray album with liner notes from Pete Townsend crediting Wray with inspiring his pin-wheeling power chords. But Wray had a weirdness, an atmosphere to his music that defied pigeon-holing.

My first exposure to Wray was, believe it or not, through Adam and the Ants! I had their "Kings of the Wild Frontier" album as a wee lad, and one of my faves off it, "Killer In The Home," featured Wray's classic riff from his late '50s hit "Rumble." I later discovered that some of my fave Cramps tunes, like "Sunglasses After Dark," were Wray instros + Cramps lyrics.

LINK WRAY: "Rumble" - Hey tough guy, have you had any of your songs banned? Oh yeah? How about an instrumental getting banned? Now THAT'S hardcore. In spite, or perhaps because it was banned from various stations this one rode high on the charts, providing the soundtrack to countless juvenile-delinquent switchblade fights.

LINK WRAY: "Batman" - The TV theme adorned with absurd sound-effects, dialogue, and grown men saying, "Zap! Pow!"

Big thanks to and Record Brother - check 'em out for more Link Wray info and mp3s.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005


It's been said that American girls can't wait to appear grown-up, but Asian women spend their adult life acting like little girls - dressing in school-girl uniforms, giggling as they obsess over "cute" things. Gabby La La, who sings in an Asian-accented Betty Boop voice about a girl fighting "The Boogie-Woogie Man" hiding in her bedroom or admonishing "Too many sweets - brush your teeth!" would certainly seem to fit that characterization. But what's ultimately most impressive about the CalArts-trained Ms. La La is her command of a variety of unusual instruments, and her apparent inability to make "normal" music. Imagine, if you can, Tom Wait's band backing Shonen Knife.

Her charming album "Be Careful What You Wish For," the only non-Primus-related album on Cali indie-rockers Primus' Prawn label, fits no known musical genre - the sitar-driven "Golden Flea" feels like a raga, but I doubt Ravi Shankar would sing about a "flea who can be the life of the party"; Frank Booth would no doubt have a big question mark over his head upon hearing Roy Orbison's "In Dreams" scored cheerfully for accordion, hand-drums and finger-snaps; elsewhere, she plinks away on a toy piano, sings about eggs, elves, and pirates, throws in some theremin-squelches on one tune, and supposedly tap-dances during her shows (unlike Singing Sadie, however, she didn't record her dancing). Except for Primus' Les Claypool playing bass on a few songs, it's mostly Gabby's show.

"Backpack" - Ukulele-funk (when was the last time you read that phrase) about leprechauns and mermaids. Actually uses the word "scrumdiliumptious."
"Twins" - The finest duet for toy piano and sitar you'll hear this year.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005


To celebrate the recent 15th birthday of the internet, howzabout some music that owes it's existence to the internet: mash-ups, swimmingly safely (relatively speaking) in the depths of cyber-space, away from predatory music-biz copyright lawyers:

The Geez: "Whole Lotta Coconut" - Ohio's master mixer has a pitched-up Harry Nilsson singing, with (almost) Chipmunks-like effect, that "Lime and de Coconut" song over Zep. Utterly absurd.
Pilchard: "Laurel vs Hardy" - Stan and Ollie get funky, courtesy of Reading UK's master mix-monkeys.
Totom: "Blowing My Mind" - The Pixies back up Bob Dylan; Totom from France has made a true mind-blower with this one.
DJBC: "Challahback Girl" - Boston's BC makes Gwen Stefani sing over "Hava Nagilah."
"Hava" swig of Manischewitz and laff yerself silly over this one.
RIAA: "Beastie Butt" - Beasties, Butthole Surfers, a children's record, and Lee Scratch Perry. Now it gets silly.
RIAA: "Itsy Bitsy Short Dick Man" - Now it gets really silly.

Monday, November 14, 2005


Steve Wallis wants to lead a worldwide socialist revolution. Although apparently he has no musical background, he decided he would start a band "because it is possible to influence people greatly through music." How did he decide he would be the singer in his band? He tried karaoke, and was pleased with the results. Dubbing his group Galaxia, he announced a time and place in his native Manchester, UK, for audtions.

No-one showed up.

Undeterred, Wallis recorded his response to the G-8 summit, "Do They Know It's G-8 Time?," accompanied by a studio guitarist. He still hopes to get a group together, make albums, and sell them (donating proceeds to the Galaxia Foundation for the World Socialist Revolution) as soon as he can find record-stores that will carry them - "HMV is a particularly right-wing chain, but it may be possible to get our CDs stocked in Virgin Megastores and WHSmiths."

His website has pages for "Band Members" (actually, since he's the only member, he writes about people he would like to be in Galaxia, such as a popular BBC actress, and members of the group Katrina and The Waves) and "Pictures" (of Steve Wallis, including a picture of his passport!)

Galaxia - "Do They Know It's G-8 Time?" Sing along with lines like "Proportional representation by single transferable vote"!

Friday, November 11, 2005


Something fun for the weekend: a kouple of kooky kountry kovers of yer favorite punk-rock classics:

Two Tons of Steel: "I Wanna Be Sedated" The Ramones go to a hoedown
Asylum Street Spankers: "TV Party" These wacky Austinians update the Black Flag standard

Square-dance in the mosh pit!

Wednesday, November 09, 2005


Monday's post about Mingering Mike reminded me of Bob Vido: they were both musical visionaries who only made private recordings complemented by an enormous amount of visual art (fake album covers, etc), both were discovered when their life's work was put out for sale at a flea-market, and both discoverers established web-sites dedicated to their discovery. But unlike the recently uncovered Mingering Mike (both the alive-and-well man and his work), Vido and his wild music and paintings came to light only after his death.

Many of you may already know about Vido thanks to a mention in Irwin Chusid's book and companion CDs "Songs In The Key of Z," (essential reading and listening, by the way, if you're new to all this), and a song ("Boo-Bah-Bah") posted on Otis Fodder's "365 Project." But you may not know that Vido's discoverer, Los Angeles' Jonathan Ward, has added more songs to the website.

Unlike the down-to-earth Mingering Mike, Vido fancied himself a mystic/scientist/philosopher, penning a bewildering book detailing his invented field of "Rhizology." And say what you will about his music, but the Bulgarian-born Angeleno, who worked as a commercial draftsman for most of his life, was an excellent, if eccentric, visual artist by anyone's standards. I especially like his space/ufo paintings.

Vido called himself a one-man-band who could play live on a variety of instruments over backing tapes, but it's yet to be determined if Vido ever did perform in public. His songs are divided into jaunty accordian ruminations on bizarre subjects like "Fridgenometry," or horn-driven flights of fancy that have been compared to Space-Age free-jazz madman Sun Ra. These are just excerpts, unfortunately, but Ward is hoping for a CD release someday:

"The Fridgenometer"
"Total Creative Music"
"Piano Concerto"

Monday, November 07, 2005


While poking through a Washington D.C. flea-market, Dori Hadar and Frank Beylotte made an amazing discovery: an entire collection of handmade album covers that containing cardboard "records" from the late 1960s and early 1970s, created by a would-be funky soulman named "Mingering Mike". From a New York Times article:

"The front covers were intricately painted to look like classic funk albums; on the spines were titles and fake catalog numbers; the backs had everything from liner notes to copyright information to original logos...A few albums had even been covered in shrink-wrap and bore price stickers and labels with apocryphal promotional quotes.

What Mr. Hadar found was a cache of seemingly nonexistent music: soundtracks to imaginary films, instrumental albums, a benefit album for sickle cell anemia, a tribute to Bruce Lee, a triple-record work titled "Life in Paris," songs protesting the Vietnam War and promoting racial unity, and records of Christmas, Easter and American bicentennial music. He had discovered, perhaps, an outsider artist.

After some detective work, the pair have actually tracked down Mingering Mike, and it turns out that the music to these fantasy records really did exist. Mike still possesses scores of old reel and cassette tapes of his homemade music, often made under the most primitive of conditions: some feature people mouthing bass parts and even entire string sections. Some feature people beating on a bed with a comb or thumping telephone books for percussion. Some feature someone playing a kazoo-like trumpet made out of crumpled paper. Mike claims to have written over 4,000 songs."

Kids often fantasize about a music career - doodling possible band names on their notebooks, jamming with friends, making grandiose plans. Eventually they either get some instruments, start playing, and try to work towards their dreams, or give it up as they grow up. Mike (and his anonymous associates) grew up, but never left the fantasy stage - he never learned traditional instruments, sought out live gigs, etc. Why should he? Reality would have been disappointing. It was all perfect in his mind.

Does Mingering Mike know that "minge" is an extremely rude British slang word? Regardless, Hadar and Beylotte recently set up a website featuring scads of beautiful scans of his album covers and artwork. However, only a few sound files are up - transferring Mike's crumbling reel-to-reel and cassette archives is a mammoth task, as a friend of theirs writes here. I transferred two of the songs to mp3s:

Mingering Mike: "Hey You" - a fine bit of acapella funk
Mingering Mike: "Tribute to Bruce" - Bruce Lee, that is. Hi-ya!

Friday, November 04, 2005


After writing this about middle-aged insurance-salesman rapper MC Potbelly, Da Man himself sent me his home-recorded CD, chock full of brief-but-to-the-point songs boasting charmingly amateurish production, a rhyme flow like no-one else (except maybe The Shagg's drummer), and hysterical lyrics often detailing pimp life as he imagines it. Sometimes his lyrical concerns move beyond typical hip-hop subject matter and into metaphysical realms I don't quite grasp (genetic afterlife?)

MC Potbelly: "Sisters" - another of his pimpin' fantasies; so far beyond outrageous it's practically surreal.

He mails out free CDs to anyone who writes him, a move I highly recommend.

Thursday, November 03, 2005


Where can I see these?

From the program for soundunseen, a 2003 film festival in Minneapolis:

SONGS IN THE KEY OF Z: OUTSIDER MUSIC VIDEOS: Special guest Irwin Chusid returns to Sound Unseen for an evening celebrating those unclassifiable and often unbelievable artists that embody true independence- the "outsiders." Chusid is a radio personality, record producer, and music historian who is dedicated to unearthing the most unusual artists on the planet. Tonight, he'll present a brand new selection of outrageous outsider music videos as well as the first US showing of the new documentary, 'This Is Outsider Music' by Spectre Productions. The program illuminates the singular visions of Shooby Taylor the Human Horn, Bingo Gazingo, BJ Snowden, Peter Grudzien, Alvin Dahn, Damien Storm, Klaus Beyer, Gary Mullis, and many others. These shockingly original independent artists must be seen and heard to be believed!

SHOOBY - Director: Doug Stone2003, 10 minutes
Shooby gives us a brief introduction to the remarkable William "Shooby" Taylor, "The Human Horn". His music began gaining a cult following in the 90s, but no one knew much about him until fan Rick Goetz tracked him down last year. Director Doug Stone documents his resurfacing and appearance on WFMU Radio.

Hey, I forgot about this one from last year:
"Off The Charts," an American public-television documentary about the song-poem phenomenon now out on DVD.

And check out the "comments" under pt 1 for Alexis' and Jima's tips for more viewing. And, oh hell, just look at all these. We really could have an Ousider Music Film Festival.


For some reason (increasing public interest? coincidence? conspiracy?) several documentary films have been produced in the past year or so about some of the major figures in outside music, with more on the way.

"dErailRoaDed: Inside The Mind of Larry "Wild Man" Fischer" - Now on the film festival/art-house circuit. Watch the trailer featuring Frank Zappa and Mark Mothersbaugh.

"The Devil and Daniel Johnston" - Also currrently on the festival circuit. There are clips from the film on the site but I couldn't get them to work.

"Bruce Haack: The King of Techno" - Out now on DVD. Watch the trailer (he appeared on "Mr Rogers"?!)

"You're Gonna Miss Me" - about Roky Erickson. Can't find a site for the fim, but here's a review.

Although there was a stage musical about The Shaggs, the film, a fictionalized "bio-pic," as they say in Hollywood, has been delayed (in "turn-around," as they also say.) Tom Cruise (?!?) was once interested in making a film about The Shaggs.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005


Halloween may be over, but is there anything scarier then...Scientology? Aaaaaah! Since that particular sci-fi-based cult has the most rabid legal team on the planet I'll probably get sued for this, so enjoy these while you can:

L. Ron Hubbard: "Terl, The Security Director"
"The Drone"

Scientology founder Hubbard recorded these in 1980 using the then-state-of-the-art (now hopelessly dated-sounding) Fairlight synthesizer, one of the first samplers. The album was a "soundtrack" to his novel "Battlefield: Earth." Over 20 years later, of course, Scientologist John Travolta brought the book to the big screen and was roundly ridiculed. Never saw the film, but it can't be more amusing then this music: slickly produced electro (mostly) instrumentals, laden with campy robot/alien voices and sound effects: "Ah, his woman friend! Bwa-ha-ha-haaa!"

Almost as funny:

"Enturbulator 009 is the outlandish comedy band that dares mock $cientology. Banned from, Banned from" claims their Soundclick site. Their music page has some good tunes: "Entheta" and "OT3" are rap songs that expose the cult's secrets with insanely profane humor, "One of Us" is a brilliant cut-up/remix of what sounds like an official Scientology recording, and the self-explanatory "$cientology Sucks!" is sho' nuff fonky. Listening to all their songs reveals a group as obsessed as, well, a cult-follower - they even know the names of various church leaders, and personally taunt them.