Monday, April 30, 2007


A Maniac known as Dj Stairmaster E knows how we loves them animal musics, so he passed along his contribution to a tribute-song website for perennial cult faves NRBQ using - yes! - sampled animal sounds. Now I like NRBQ well enough, even owned one of their albums once, but if you're like me, you probably won't recognize the NRBQ melodies used in this medley. But so what? It's animals!

Dj Stairmaster E: NRBQ Pet Project - "
It was inspired by the animal-voiced medley "Sunbaked Savanna" on the Katamari Damashii (Japanese video game) soundtrack."

Reminds me of
Gorillas in the Mix, a classic novelty album from 1989 by electronic music pioneer Bernie Krause - original songs played only with animal sound effects samples. Every sound you heard, even the drum beats, were sampled animals. On this tune, the bass drum is a ruffled grouse thumping it's wings, walruses on bass and steel drums, snapping shrimp on percussion, crickets and katydids on ride cymbals, dolphins on piano, along with owls, elephants, horses, etc...

Bernie Krause "Trout From Ipanema" - Good tune, too.

Friday, April 27, 2007


It's Friday, or as I call it, "Fride-YAY!." Two upbeat LOL-out loud bits of silliness to kick off your weekend and make you feel ridiculously cheerful:

Bingo Starr: "Freakin' In St Tropez "- Brigitte Bardot's "St. Tropez" gives Missy Elliott's "Get Ur Freak On" a groovy '60s discotheque feel; added beatz help.

JonasMedz: "Herb Albert Made You Look" - It's been over a decade since the Evolution Control Committee's legendary "Whipped Cream Mixes" first hooked up Herb Albert with hip-hop, but this Swedish dude may have topped it - Nas is in perfect synch with Herb's tune "Peanuts," with milk-out-your-nose laffs results.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

No, Not THAT Slick Rick

YouTube time: an absolutely horrific slice of '80s fake-rap performed by two hosts of the San Francisco teen show "Home Turf." It's got it all: Slick Rick's (don't worry, not Doug E. Fresh's partner) "Miami Vice" sportjacket-over-t-shirt look, public access-worthy special effects, arrhythmic rapping, corny lyrics. Fresh!

Lady Dominique and Slick Rick (1985)

Thanks again to Karl.

Monday, April 23, 2007

The Rap Canterbury Tales

Saturday's post about the giant squirrel rapping classic poetry reminded my friend Karl about seeing a live performance of a rap version of Chaucer's medieval masterpiece "Canterbury Tales." A quick inter-webular search revealed Baba Brinkman's site, a chap from Vancouver who has an M.A. in Medieval and Renaissance English Literature, and whose thesis "drew parallels between the worlds of rap music and literary poetry."

His album "The Rap Canterbury Tales" puts a modern hip-hop spin on the tales - if eminem had a graduate degree in classical literature it might sound a little something like this:

Baba Brinkman: The Miller's Tale - about a dirty Medieval gurrrl.
Baba Brinkman: The Pardoner's Tale - some drunks in a bar want to beat up Death; kinda reminds me of "Billy & Ted's Bogus Journey" (now there's a high-brow reference for ya).
Baba Brinkman: The Wife of Bath's Tale - another pretty interesting story about a knight who has to have sex with a scary old lady.

You must admit: not many hard-core MCs can claim to have a "Teaching Resources" page on their website.

Saturday, April 21, 2007


News item:

"A giant red squirrel named M.C. Nuts belts out a Hip Hop version of the Wordsworth poem, "Daffodils" in honour of its 200th anniversary.

The music video was created on behalf of the Cumbria Tourism board in Northern England and it was designed to appeal to the next generation of Lake District visitors.

William Wordsworth is considered by academics and writers alike as one of the greatest poets of all time; M.C. Nuts is hoping to ensure that the youth of today show their respect for the English poem in the future."

M.C. Nuts: "Daffodils"

But you have got to see the video to truly appreciate this - nothing says hip-hop like a guy in a giant squirrel costume, eh?

Tuesday, April 17, 2007


I was sad to hear of the passing of Hawaiian music legend Don Ho, and not just because we've lost another swingin' crooner from the Rat Pack era. He actually played a small but memorable part in my honeymoon (get your minds out of the gutter!) Like so many newlyweds in Honolulu we caught his show, and he asked if there were any honeymooners in the audience. His man with a mic came up to me and Don asked when we were married. I said a month-and-a-half ago (we didn't even plan our honeymoon til after the wedding). Of course Ho's from the era where couples were virgins 'til their wedding day then immediately proceed to do it like crazed monkeys on their honeymoon, so he said, "Wow, a month and a half later and still on the honeymoon - this guy's Superman!" And when we met him after the show to get our picture taken with him, he recognized me and signed it "To Superman."

On the flight home, an older Hawaiian man couldn't get his bag into the overhead compartment. I helped him and he said, "Wow, how'd you do that? You're Superman!" So there ya go - old Hawaiian guys think I'm Superman. Apparently they worship me - must be some kinda cargo cult.

I was given a cassette version of his 1990 album "All My Love" for participating in the show, and amidst the love ballads was this novelty about Hawaii's biggest cash crop:

Don Ho: "Who Was That Lolo Who Stole My Pacalolo?" - Consider this an early 4/20 post.

His out-of-print album "Live At The Polynesian Palace" featured a version of his hit "Pearly Shells" that featured him chatting with children in the audience. When he asks one girl about her father, she tells Don that her dad is dead! I can't believe they left it on the album:

Don Ho: "Pearly Shells (excerpt)"

Don Ho: "Hawaii 5-0/Quiet VIllage" - These songs had lyrics?

Don Ho: "Shock The Monkey" (video) - Yep, the Peter Gabriel song, from the kooky "When Pigs Fly" comp; he just can't quite hit those high notes, can he?

RIAA's latest mashup actually features a military marching cadence version of Ho's tiki lounge classic "Tiny Bubbles" + The Velvet Underground's "Guess I'm Falling in Love" -
"Guess I'm Falling Into Bubbles"

Aloha, Don...

Sunday, April 15, 2007


Happy Tax Day, America! To celebrate, here's an obscure self-released 45 from 1982 commemorating...something. Apparently there was some sort of tax revolt in the state of Montana that inspired one Ah - Ah Allen to record these two songs. Couldn't find much on the web re: Ah - Ah except that he recorded at least one other single that someone's selling on eBay, and his music was used in a documentary film about hobos. Maybe he was a hobo - he sings with the kind of folksy twang I like to imagine hobos sound like.

Ah - Ah Allen: Kick The IRS
Ah - Ah Allen: Montana I'm So Proud of You

Anyone know what the heck he's singing about? (Someone from Montana perhaps?)

Thursday, April 12, 2007


By now I'm sure you've heard the sad news of the death of Kurt Vonnegut, Jr. If he wrote it I read it, with "Cat's Cradle" being the fave book of my teen years. I devoured it several times, but I never heard The Man himself reading from it until today's post on CrudCrud:

Kurt Connegut, Jr: reads from "Cat's Cradle" , or sings calypso, in the case of the first track; for a very different reading of those same lyrics, see the Ambrosia post below.

Classic quotes:

"History - read it and weep!"

One of the holy calypsos of the Caribbean religous leader Bokonon in "Cat's Cradle":
"Fish got to swim, bird got to fly
Man got to sit and wonder why why why"

"If flying-saucer creatures or angels or whatever were to come here in a hundred years, say, and find us gone like the dinosaurs, what might be a good message for humanity to leave for them, maybe carved in big letters on a Grand Canyon wall? We probably could have saved ourselves, but were too damn lazy to try very hard... and too damn cheap."

"I've had a hell of a good time. I tell you, we are here on Earth to fart around, and don't let anybody tell you any different."

Vonnegut subscribed to the athiest/skeptic philosophy of Humanism. When addressing a Humanists convention he said about deceased science-fiction writer Isaac Asimov, "Isaac's in Heaven now." It got a big laugh.

From WFMU's blog:

Two songs from Dave Soldier's Ice-9 Ballads (another "Cat's Cradle" reference, doncha know) album, with voiceover by Mr. Vonnegut:

"Duo For Clarinet And Meade Lux"
"Annihilation Life"

And big thanks to Idolator for posting a couple of Vonnegut-related tunes,including one from Ambrosia. Yup, the schlock-meisters famed for such '70s atrocities as "How Much I Feel" actually started off as a kind of laid-back L.A. prog band (soft-prog?) - their 1975 self-titled debut features a song with lyrics taken from another one of Bokonon's calypsos, complete with goofy fake Caribbean accent, though the music owes more to Gabriel-era Genesis then, say, Mighty Sparrow.

Ambrosia: "Nice, Nice, Very Nice"

It ain't gonna happen of course, but it sure would be great if Vonnegut is buried, like Bokonon at the end of "Cat's Cradle," frozen on his back, eternally "...thumbing his nose at You Know Who."

Tuesday, April 10, 2007


Interwebular happenings you should be aware of:

Egg City Radio: Rising from the ashes of the late great Post-Punk Junk site, Brett's new 'net-home will be focusing on podcasts and he's already posted a few, including one featuring only 30-second-long songs. Not so many album/mp3 sharities this time, but he has posted one album (a truly sick, strange disco relic), so hopefully there will be more to come.

Flying Saucer Music: Greg from Radio Mysterioso is putting up an mp3 a week of vintage space/UFO novelty and outsider records (folk songs by an alien "contactee"?!).

Western Electric is a groovy new eclectic music podcast that plays occasional Music For Maniacs stuff.

Counterstream Radio: Continuous streaming radio of contemporary and experimental composers e.g., Cage, Glass, Laurie Anderson, as well as the likes of Kid606. Hey, they just played Glen Branca - I saw him in concert last year with his symphony for 100 electric guitars. Mike Watt was one of the 15 bassists. It was kinda loud.

Been spending an awful lot of time at Mutant Sounds and Loronix, two ridiculously prolific album-share blogs, the former featuring lots of prog/psych/avant weirdness, the latter Brazilian music. Seriously, there's years worth of music on both sites, so I'm using "search" to focus on the minimal synth New Wave/punk early '80s and Los Angeles Free Music Society '70s/'80s oddities (like this gem) from Mutant Sounds, and Tropicalia records from Loronix.

I'm very familiar with bossa nova, but the late' 60s/early '70s psych-funk of the Tropicalia scene is much more obscure to us Yanks, though it has grown in reputation in recent years. I can only imagine how startling this Gal Costa album must have sounded in the '60s - it's mix of acid-rock guitars, occasional Yoko-like shrieks, and tape/loop/delay experimentation would have blown that girl from Ipanema all the way to Jupiter.

So! That oughta keep you busy for a few lifetimes...

Saturday, April 07, 2007


It's the merriest time of year - that annual celebration of rebirth, renewal, resurrection. Some call it Easter, but we call it...Zombie Day! Jesus might be the most famous fellow to rise from the grave and walk amongst the living, but he certainly wasn't the last. 'Tis the season for getting together with family & friends, gathering around the tv and watching "Night of the Living Dead" again. Or maybe "Dead Alive" or "Shaun of the Dead" for a more "modern" non-traditional celebration. I'm hoping for Zombie Day greeting cards, parties, TV specials, etc. There are plenty of Zombie Day Carols to sing as you stroll (or lurch) from door to door, bringing holiday cheer to your neighbors:

Noel Anthony: "Zombie Jamboree" - One of the great '50s calypsos recorded by everyone from Belafonte on down. From a groovy collection of music by Caribs living in England called "Kings of Calypso."

Roky Erickson & The Aliens "I Walked With A Zombie" - I can't believe I'm an outsider-music blogger who has never posted any Roky Erickson, the one guy who probably really believes in zombies and has the mental-ward history to prove it. This tune is taken from his 1981 album "The Evil One" that was produced by Creedence Clearwater's Stu Cook (what's he doing here?). Next time you're at a karaoke event, ask for Ben E. King's "Stand By Me" and sing these lyrics over it.

Mr Fab & His Bag O' Heads: "Cannibal Zombie Mom" - Original lyrics over
'60s trash-rock riffs from The Standells and the Ventures. Plus! boomin' beats; from last year's various artists on-line comp "Bride of Monster Mashup."

Here's wishing a very merry Zombie Day to you and yours on this most joyous holiday season.

Friday, April 06, 2007


Continuing the exploration we started in February of Soundclick's amateur musician mp3 treasure-trove:

You gotta love Wushuman's "It's Time To Party," available here - it's utterly inept on all levels. The singer croaks "ecstasy!" but the music is hobbling around pathetically like it's got testicular cancer. Very entertaining.

Sheep Daggy-Dags is a hip-hop spoof from New Zealand with Chipmunk vocals. Hilarious and utterly absurd. Only one song? I think we need more.

Thursday, April 05, 2007


Ah damn. Donald Rumsfeld isn't Secretary of Defense anymore. I say this not because I'm a big fan of his Iraq strategy (is anyone?) but because this first mp3 of one of his press conference statements set to music is already a little out-of-date now that he's no longer in office. But I just got this CD! It's still really good honest!

Phil Kline is a New York based composer mostly known for his "Unsilent Night" events every Christmas were anyone can show up to a pre-determined public place and play a tape or CD of his music - a kind of concerto for boomboxes. His 2004 album Zippo Songs (lyrics must fit on the side of a lighter) features operatic vocals straight-facedly intoning lyrics based on Rumsfeld's speeches, including his infamous "known knowns and known unknowns" comment.

Phil Kline: "As We Know"

Fortunately, Orange County's VoiceDude is a little quicker on the draw then I am - he released a remix today of that jaw-dropping car-wreck of a rap song featuring Bush string-puller Karl Rove that's so damn funky it actually makes this cringe-worthy attempt at Republican humor very entertaining, especially when Three Dog Night drop in. And I never thought I'd say that about Three Dog Night.

"The Roving Liar" is available here.