Tuesday, May 30, 2006


For you Pixies fans who want some spit-Pepsi-on-computer-screen laffs, check out Matthew's Celebrity Pixies Tribute page, which features the tunes of Mr. Black & Co. as performed by the likes of

Prince "Hey" Hey, I like this as much as most of Prince's own recordings

Jimi Hendrix "Vamos"

The Beach Boys "Levitate Me" - a "Pet Sounds" outtake?

As with Gabba, the group we covered last week, the humor lies somewhat on your familiarty with the group being satirized, in this case, The Pixies (dig Jimi's intro to "Vamos"), but the impressions and performances are good enough to tickle even non-Pixieheads. The Sinatra-ized version of "Monkey Gone To Heaven," however, is partly amusing because he doesn't sound anything like Frank, and the synthesized horn section makes it all sound like a really bad lounge act. Even when it's bad it's good.

Friday, May 26, 2006


If British quintet Gabba simply played Abba songs in the style of the Ramones, that would be amusing enough. And sometimes they do do that, but other songs are more like pastiches of both groups' styles merged into an inexplicable whole, with references to numerous songs combining to form what I guess one could call original compositions. Such as "Hej Ho Disco", available from their MySpace space.

British dj Bud The Weiser has put together a swell 20 minute mix of Gabba tunes here (second one down). Listen sharp - there's numerous quotes that only a real Ramones fan will pick up on, but even if you just arrived on planet Earth recently and know nothing of Da Bruddahs, or those Swedes, the hi-NRG rock'n'disco should have you slammin' around the house anyway.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006


Bellybongo, as some of you may know, is a rare-album mp3 site run by a Scandanavian guy, and is highly recommended to fans of '60s/'70s audio oddities. But Mr Bongo really outdid himself with this album by The Note-Ables, a '70s quartet from parts unknown, USA, who are indeed noteable for their almost complete lack of skill in any area of singing or instrumental performance. Neil Sedaka, Glen Campbell and The Beatles all get steamrollered by an out-of-tune guitar/accordian attack that resembles The Shaggs on speed. Old swing tunes merge into what is allegedly the surf classic "Pipeline," but sounds more like a very wrong version of "Wipeout." The band sounds like their having a great time, however, and their energy level and enthusiasm is infectious.

The Note-Ables "Roll Over Beethoven" - The opening moments contain some of the most inspiring guitar work heard in years.

But who is "Shikowski"?

Friday, May 19, 2006


Ian Sherwin of Birmingham, UK seems like a decent chap: according to his website, "He has worked with a wide variety of schools and groups, and has a lot of experience working with young people with learning difficulties and behaviour problems. Ian mainly works with young people introducing them to using computers and software to record and produce original music." So why does he do such terrible things to toys?

By taking exisiting electronic musical and sound toys like Speak and Spells and rewiring them ("circuit-bending") Sherwin takes wholesome artifacts of childhood and warps them into noisy unpredictable electronic musical strangeness that might frighten your kids. Or enthrall them. I wouldn't mind having a "glitch-switch" or a random-sound button on my synths.

"Speak and Math"
"Talk n Learn Animals" - "This is the lion: SKRREEEEEECH!!!"
"My Little Keyboard"

Like what you hear? "Please get in touch if you would like to pre-order any of the units featured on this page" and he'll make one for you.

Now when's he gonna jam with Toydeath?

Tuesday, May 16, 2006


One of the most unexpectedly wonderful albums I've bought recently is "More Kid's Pow-Wow Songs" by a Native American group, The Black Lodge Singers. I say unexpectedly because I don't know much about American Indian music and had never really listened to it too carefully, but how can you not like hearing songs about Scooby-Doo or Spongebob Square Pants sung in traditional drum-and-chant style? Apart from the novelty value, the performances - really soulful singing and compelling rhythms - are terrific.

Not surprisingly, the group, led by
Kenny Scabby Robe (Scabby?) of the Blackfeet people, is one of the most popular trad groups on the pow-wow (intertribal gathering) circuit. The fact that he recruits band members from among the ranks of his 12 (!) sons certainly means he's aware of what the kids are into - this is volume 2, with hopefully more on the way. Can I request the "Speed Racer" theme?

Black Lodge Singers: "Kid's Pow-Wow Songs Medley"

Saturday, May 13, 2006


The guy I wrote about recently who sings "Stairway To Heaven" backwards asked that it be removed from the inter-webs. Yeah, well, who needs him? Thanks to Maniac mwmiller, we've got something you might like even better, so go to this-here site:

Bill Lamphier's Mystery Tune

Thursday, May 11, 2006


It's Mother's Day soon here in the US of A, and I can't think of a better salute to our mommies then a tune by Madison, Wisconsin's most famous outsider, Art Paul Schlosser, who we first met here. I don't if Mama Fab would really appreciate it, though - she never seemed too amused when I would play my 12" of Mr. T's rap song "Treat Your Mother Right." But it's the thought that counts!


Art Paul Schlosser - "I Like My Mother"

UPDATE: Big thanks to that legend "anonymous" for this swell video of Art Paul performing "I Like My Mother" live on the street.

Monday, May 08, 2006


A Dutchman who obviously has a lot of free time on his hands named Jeroen Offerman learned how to sing Led Zep's "Stairway To Heaven"... backwords. It took him three months. Then he videotaped himself singing it and played that backwords. Just the kind of utterly pointless behaviour that makes life worth living!

"Neveah Ot Yawriats"

Friday, May 05, 2006


...perform for free - free! You can't beat that! - at Amoeba Hollywood. And it was, quite simple, utterly wonderful. If you've been put off by the possibility it will be just a freak show, forget it. It was 35 minutes of top-notch tunesmithery performed albeit a bit clumsily at times, but I couldn't imagine it any other way. He doesn't play that way to be indie-cool or low-fi or whatever. He's playing the best he can, and he even apologized a couple of times for his nervousness and "amateurness." A large supportive crowd would have nothing of it, however.

Before the show, the store actioned off an original Johnston artwork to benefit Hurricane Katrina victims. It depicted many brightly-colored skulls and captions proclaiming that the Devil is "a drag." It went for $550.

Having just seen the documentary film, "The Devil and Daniel Johnston," I was prepared for the worst - it depicts his mental condition as deteriorating. But the Daniel I saw last night looked fairly healthy, hair neatly trimmed, sporting an oh-so-hip goatee, and a "Hi, How Are You" tee-shirt. He was in good spirits as he performed solo guitar and piano renditions of songs that, in other hands, probably would have been done in a jangly-guitar '60s pop style. The ghost of his beloved Beatles and three-chord classics like "Needles and Pins" seemed to haunt the compositions played last night, even as he dropped in lines like "I'm just a psycho trying to write a song." He good-naturedly put in time at the autograph table later.

Some may have been disappointed that he didn't have a nervous breakdown on stage. Ah well, they just had to make do with one fine tune after another, like:

"Frustrated Artist"

Wednesday, May 03, 2006


I certainly was surprised to see the news that Mexico is planning on legalizing drugs for personal use. Any drug: heroin, pot, LSD...hell, snorting elephant tranquilizer, for all I know. It should be an interesting experiment: will they now have to worry about illegal Americans crossing the border?

Which reminded me of this page that features some great vintage jazz recordings. Some of the greatest legends in jazz, like Louis Armstrong, Benny Goodman, and Ella Fitzgerald, sang weed's praises. Now, I don't indulge in anything heavier then a martini, so I'm not endorsing anything here. I just love the spooky feel of jazz recordings of the '30s and '40s - the far-away sound of low-fi 78s, and hipster slang like "viper" (pothead), "blowing gage," and "smoking tea."

The Barney Bigard Sextet: Sweet Marijuana Brown
Bea Foote: Weed

UPDATE: Or not. As Scott pointed out in his comment, now Prez Fox is reconsidering.