Tuesday, December 23, 2008


There's been a remarkable batch of mashup/sound collage albums hitting the web recently, going way beyond the usual Top 40 acapella vs rock instrumental. These (mostly) free download albums sometimes feature live vocals, and original lyrics & music mixed with found-sound elements, and richly textured collage soundscapes. Was 2008 the best year yet for illegal music?

The Who Boys: "Now That's What I Call The Who Boys!" These British nutters claim that this is their last album; if so, then they're going ou
t on top with a superior mixture of spoken-word absurdism, '60s kitsch, brutal electro beats, lovely harmony singing, and all the while sampling everything from country auctioneers & scratchy old 78s to headbangin' rock.

The Who
Boys: Gotta Hava

Santastic Four: Boston's dj BC has been compiling various-artist Christmas comps for a few years now, and t
his is the best one yet (and I'm not just sayin' that cuz I'm on it!). New York's ATOM has created a tune so abstract it's almost unrecognizable as holiday music.

ATOM: You Should Be A Freaky Christmas, Baby

Mashed In Plastic: A David Lynch tribute, featuring music, dialogue & sound effects fr
om his films; available as separate tracks or as two seamless, dreamy, disturbing mixes. The website is a feast for the eyes and ears. Best mashup comp ever?

Colatron: "I'll Be There In Twin Peaks"

People Like Us & Ergo Phizmiz: "Rhapsody In Glue" This one, the second collaboration between two primo British eccentrics, does require a small donation, but it's well worth it for another delightful mix of Alice in Wonderland-esque songs and lyrics, cartoonish sound effects, and sampled coolness, like this version of the EZ '60s classic "Theme From A Summer Place":

People Like Us & Ergo Phizmiz: "Carmic Waltz"

RickRawked: Doesn't get more mental then this - a various-artists collection that's basically just old-fashioned acapella + instro mashups...but they're all using Rick Astley's '80s cheeze-fest "Never Gonna Give You Up." Rick slowed down, Rick pitched-up, Rick swings, Rick rocks. Incredibly, it doesn't get dull, and most of it works.

Phil RetroSpector "Ricky" (Rick vs the "Rocky" theme)

This should keep y'all busy for a while - I'll be back in the new year. Thanks to the M4M crew for all your contributions: Chris Weirdo, solcofn, J-Unit 1, and all you lovely Maniacs out there for another year (our fourth!) of sonic sweetness. Keep them cards and letters coming - I may not have the time to post everything you write to me about, but I really appreciate it. As the Cramps advised, stay sick!

Friday, December 19, 2008


It isn't often that the world of political talk radio ventures into Music For Maniacs territory, but recently Alan Colmes featured a record from his collection on his show that he described as the "worst Christmas song ever." He may be right. I certainly haven't laughed this much at a Christmas recording since the Richard Cheese album came out, but that was intentional humor.

It's a Mercury Records single from 1975, produced and co-written by Paul Vance, who had an extremely successful string of hits in the '50s-thru-'70s, such as Brian Hyland's
"Itsy Bitsy Teenie Weenie Yellow Polka Dot Bikini" and Perry Como's "Catch A Falling Star." Singer Linda Bennett was another pro, with an RCA album and several tv and movie credits under her belt by the time they made this. And, of course, Mercury was a major label. So there was no excuse for this.

It's starts off as a typically bland bit of mid-70s pop, then slowly moves into the twilight zone before arriving at a simply ludicrous, laugh-til-you-cry ending. SPOLER ALERT: Don't read the comments to this post until you've heard the song!

Linda Bennett "An Old Fashioned Christmas"

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Bah! Humbug: The Alternative Christmas Album

"Bah! Humbug" is a now-deleted collection of acoustic satirical songs by a bunch of British folkies, with a couple classic American ringers from Tom Lehrer and Loudon Wainwright III. The low-key folk setting is an amusing contrast to such potentially dark material such as "The Man That Slits The Turkey's Throats At Christmas," a lovely acapella vocal number.

Funny stuff, and maybe just the thing if you're starting to get sick of Christmas music. Grab the whole thing here:

Bah! Humbug: An Alternative Christmas Album

Thanks to Santa Chris!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Krimus Karuls

Krimus Karuls is a free Christmas-themed download album featuring 7 short tracks by 12-year old Nichole, who seems to be making up the songs as she goes along. Despite the usual juvenile predilections for atonal singing and utterly uninhibited performances, Nichole still seems to posses a strong, confident voice - she might become an excellent "real" singer one day. I think my fave of hers might be "What a Day for a Dog of Gold", but it's only 23 seconds. Heck, this bit unhinged zaniness is the longest and it's only 1:50.

Nichole & The Dreamcatchers:
"It's Time To Rejoice"

A couple of '70s-era home-recordings of kids singing Christmas songs are also included. The remainder of the tracks on the album are low-fi rockers by grown-ups in the Beat Happening/Guided By Voices vein. Some of it's pretty good, e.g. the Chrome-esque "Ode to Gandolf and Ye Ole Christmas Spirit," and the peppy organ grinder "It's Jesus' Birthday So He Should Get the Toys." The closer "Red & Green" brings kids back for a lovely lullaby.

Thursday, December 11, 2008


"The Jingle Bellies Christmas Album" just might be the weirdest holiday CD in my collection. This out-of-print 1994 release by Louisiana-born session cat Bobby Breaux is certainly one of my favorites. The almost flatulent sounds of sampled pig snorts and grunts is often, er, "acapella," though the album opener "Deck The Halls" has a groovy Latin rhythm. Grab the whole thing in all it's 22-minute glory here:

The Jingle Bellies Christmas Album

1. Deck The Halls
2. Joy To The World
3. Medley: God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen; Hava "Nasqueala"
4. Amazing "Grease"
5. Jingle Bells
6. O Come All Ye Faithful
7. Greensleeves
8. Medley: Noel; O Christmas Tree; We Wish You A Merry Christmas

Sunday, December 07, 2008


Radio Use Only is a fascinating site devoted to those releases record hounds often come across in thrift stores and used-record shops' bargain bins - albums released by radio stations.

The practice "...started out as promotional items to spotlight a certain disc jockey or a particular show on the station. Other early-known radio compilations would feature various popular songs, of the time, in a pre-packaged set. Some of these would also include audio samples of station disc jockeys introducing songs...Starting in the early 1970’s, radio stations began sponsoring albums featuring local, unsigned performers."

The blog has audio samples. I particularly like this "groovy" and "happening" Dallas-area radio station jingle:

KXXK jingle (circa 1968-1971)

Which reminds me of this contemporaneous (and seasonal) jingle from the Free Design:

The Now Sounds of Christmas

Sunday, November 30, 2008


Chris Weirdo is back, this time with 2 disks worth of Yuletide oddities that certainly got me into the holiday spirit this weekend. If you've been diggin' his previous comps like Music For Weirdos then you know what to expect.

It kicks off with a delightfully cynical number from 1962 called "Merry Christmas You Suckers" that certainly gives Tom Lerher or Stan Freberg a run for his money (Mr. Freberg, is in fact, represented as well). Never heard of Paddy Roberts before, but I'm a fan now. This is followed by a wealth of Christmas cartoon music, EZ-lounge instros, The Sonic's rip-roaring mid-'60s garage rock, a track from the infamous "Star Wars" Christmas album (hey, I got that one on vinyl), Moogs, banjos, '70s disco and RIAA's self-explanatory mashup " The Six Million Dollar Man & Santa Claus Fight Global Warming." One of the real finds for me was the square-dance version of "Jingle Bells." And who knew Eartha Kitt recorded a sequel to "Santa Baby"?

The second disk features a wealth of swing/jazz novelties from the 78 rpm era.
I imagine "Santa Clause Hides in the Phonograph" is from the very early Edison era of recording. Some real stompin r'n'b oldies too: "Mambo Santa Mambo," "Boogie Woogie Santa Claus" - yep, Kris Kringle's down with all the latest dance moves. Then it's laffs galore from the likes of the Three Stooges, cartoon voice legends Jim "Thurston Howell III" Backus & Daws Butler (hipster/beatnik comedy is always welcome), and ventriloquist Shari Lewis. Really glad to have a copy of the Dr Who-inspired "I'm Gonna Spend My Christmas With A Dalek" by The Go Go's - from '60s Great Britain, not the '80s Valley girls. There's the Christmas Beatles novelty record, "Ringo-Deer" by one Gary Ferrier. But my jaw dropped at the, er, "rap" song "A Knightrider Christmas" - oh my, Hoff for the holidays. Christmas Is For Weirdos1
Christmas Is For Weirdos2

So let's all give Chris another hearty "huzzah." As the Teenage Reindeer says, "Like, merry."


Tuesday, November 25, 2008


This Thursday is Thanksgiving Day, one of the bigger holidays here in the USA. So let's celebrate with an example of that most democratic of art forms, the song poem.

Norm Burns: "Our Thanksgiving Blessings Are Great"

Didn't we just do Halloween?

Happy Thanksgivoween!

Monday, November 24, 2008

PALAOA - Live from the Antarctic Ocean

UPDATE 12/8/11: Audio now back up

PALAOA is a German scientific research project whose website features a continuous audio stream transmitting live from the ocean below the Antarctic ice. It's the best ambient music I've heard lately, and it's not even music.

Sometimes it sounds like an abundance of sea life singing, howling and braying, mixed with creaking glaciers, and "...Additional broad band noise caused by wind, waves and currents adds to it on occasion. There are three sources of click-like interference: switching relays, electrostatic discharges caused by snow drift, and...thunderstorms ten thousands of kilometers away."

Here's a random recording I made off the stream recently. I really had to crank up the volume using my music software, but when I did I was startled to hear so much sonic activity and variety. It's 19 minutes long, but I could listen to it all day.


Friday, November 21, 2008


Duuuude! Have you heard Eluveitie's latest album "Spirit"?

Whoooah! Those Swiss metal monsters have a new album of Celtic thrash? Awesome! I'm majorly into bagpipes, accordians and fiddles - they rock!

Totally. The whole album's solid - when the rock crunch gets a bit too heavy, they folk things up a bit.

It's like The Pogues meet Sabbath!

Yeah! Those death-metal vocals are still hella funny, though. Sorry, but it's true, especially when he's, er, "duetting" with a folkie chick. She's like "Tweedle deedle dee!" and he's all "Rowr rowr rowwrrrr." Weird. And lyrics are in Gaelic sometimes.

Huh huh, you said "Gay lick!"

No, "Gaelic," dumbass, like the ancient Celtic culture and whatnot. You know, like Druids 'n' shit.

So crank some, dude!

For sure man. Check out this tune. Starts out all scary and ambient, then gets down to business. All over in two and a half minutes.


Eluveitie: Spirit

All jocularity aside, these guys (pronounced el-VEY-ti) have turned in one of my fave albums of the year. Who'd have thought that Celtic-folk-metal would ever be a viable genre?

Wednesday, November 19, 2008


Did you know that today is World Toilet Day? I read that in the newspaper this morning. Guess where I was reading it.

The history of toilets is a surprisingly interesting one. As this article points out, modern indoor plumbing can be traced back to London's Big Stink of 1858, which was so bad, Parliament was disrupted and "everyone who could leave town did."

It's a serious issue, but nothing serious about today's song. Styx, yes THAT Styx, recorded this faux-calypso in their early years. It's a hidden track on the cd reissue of their 1974 album "The Serpent Is Rising," which suggest they're embarrassed (em-BARE-ASSED?!) by it and are trying to hide it. It's a dumb song all right, but catchy, funny, and certainly preferable to their later dreck.

Styx "Plexiglass Toilet"

(I used to call 'em "Stynx." How appropriate that was.)


Thursday, November 13, 2008

YMA SUMAC: The Queen of Exotica 1922-2008

Yma Sumac, the Diva Exotica, the Celine of strange, the Barbra of the bizarre, passed away recently, thus ending the original exotica era - she was the last surviving member of the Mount Rushmore of exotic music after Les Baxter, Martin Denny and Arthur Lyman had all moved on to that big tiki bar in the sky.

Sumac was one of my favorite singers. I don't mean favorite exotic or ethnic or '50s singers, I mean favorite singers, period. She possessed an otherworldly, technically astounding multi-octave instrument that moved from death-metal growl to operatic ecstasy - sometimes within one song. She often didn't even seem to sing lyrics, but created animal sounds and other indescribable special effects with her voice.

Hailing from Peru, South America, she lived here in Los Angeles and was a fixture in LA's jazz/cabaret clubs throughout the '80s and early '90s, though her reputation rested almost solely on a handful of '50s releases, beginning with the Les Baxter produced classic "The Voice of the Xtabay" (pronounced "SHTA-bay") in 1950 for Capital Records. The mixture of lush orchestrations, energetic Latin/ethnic percussion, weird atmosphere, and Yma's whooping, swirling, alien voice produced some of the most remarkable albums of the '50s.

Yma Sumac "Kuyaway (Inca Love Song)"
from "Legend of the Sun Virgin"

Yma Sumac "Five Bottles Mambo" (yes, actual bottles are used as percussion)
from "Mambo!"

Yma Sumac "Dale Que Dale! (The Workers Song)" (almost a surf/twist-rock beat to this one)
from "Fuego del Ande"

Yma Sumac "Jivaro"
from "Legend of the Jivaro"

And that was about it. She toured throughout the '60s, from whence comes an obscure live album released in the early '90s of a performance in the Soviet Union (how she pulled that off during the Cold War I do not know.) On this song, twice as long as the original version on "The Voice of the Xtabay," she really dumps everything out of her bag of sonic tricks, vocally imitating the wildlife of the Amazon.

Yma Sumac "Chuncho"
from "Live in Concert 1961"

She returned for one last album, "Miracles," in 1971, reuniting with Baxter for...wait for it...a psychedelic rock album. She still sang the way she always did, only this time over heavy guitars. Take that, hippies!

Yma Sumac "Medicine Man"

She made one last recording in 1988, a surprisingly normal version of a Disney song for a various artists comp.

Yma Sumac "I Wonder" (from "Sleeping Beauty")
from "Stay Awake"

The '90s lounge revival produced this excellent remix. I'm not usually too crazy about marketing-driven remixes of old classics, but I did really like this one:

Yma Sumac "Gopher (Mambo) [Qburns' Abstract Message remix]"
from "Electro Lounge"

From Poland of all places came this mashup from a few years ago:

El Barto & Liam B "Planet Mambo" (Yma vs Afrika Bambatta)

See Yma in action! From the 1954 Charleton Heston film "Secret of the Incas."

THIS JUST IN! Just got a note from Nick Limansky, author of the new book Yma Sumac: The Art Behind the Legend . He's a classically trained singer, and, incredibly, has been working on this project since 1980. It looks to be an essential part of any Maniac's library.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

RIAA: Madnight

The inspirations for this one: Dreams, nightmares, Los Angeles noir film and literature, "lowbrow" and Surreal art, carnivals and sideshows, 78 rpm records, weird old black and white movies, autumn...

It's not all mere found-sound editing, e.g. "A Frottage Co-Sale" - the vocals are lyrics to the old tune "A Cottage For Sale" fed into a text-to-speech program, then
almost every syllable was pitch-shifted to get it in tune with the melody. And the title song features live multi-overdubbed theremin.

RIAA: "Madnight"

1. The Dead Stay Awake
2. Wild California Love
3. Murderer's Polka
4. Hip in a Box
5. How Fucking Nocturnal
6. Madnight
7. I Don't Want To Set the Slogun On Fire
8. Dead Man's AYDS
9. Running With The Devil Bunnies
10. In A Masochistic Mood
11. Always Another Sucker On The Vine
12. Crows Over Martha
13. Lauratrocity
14. Scatter-Brain Freaks
15. I Wish You Bullets
16. Macabre Bowel Movements.
17. Carnival Jesus Tongue
18. Well, Bust A Move
19. A Frottage Co-Sale
20. Who's Afraid In Dark Trees?
21. Got To Be In My Dreams
SOURCES:1. Criswell, from the Ed Wood film "Orgy Of The Dead," Susanne Vega " Stay Awake," Amy Winehouse "Back To Black," text-to-speech audio, Kate Bush "Waking
The Witch"
2. Alan Ladd from old-time radio version of Raymond Chandler's "Red Wind," Dr Dre "California Love," The Doors "My Wild Love"
3. Charles Bukowski "I Live In A Neighborhood of Murderers," artist unknown "Holly Wood Polka"
4. Portishead "Glory Box," Ursula 1000 "Hip Length"
5. Magnetic Fields "How Fucking Romantic," Harry James & His Orchestra "Harlem Nocturne"
6. amusement park audio, karaoke version of Cole Porter's "Night and Day" vs Mr Fab on the theremin
7. Ink Spots "I Don't Want To Set The World On Fire," SPK "Slogun," World Famous Audio Hacker "Bonus Beats"
8. 2 takes of Jelly Roll Morton "Dead Man Blues,"
radio ad
9. Van Halen "Running With The Devil," Twink "Hoppity Jones," Al Trace "I Love A Rabbit"
10. Glenn Miller "In The Mood," "Glen or Glenda" soundtrack, Florence and the Machine "Kiss With A Fist"
11. Tom Waits "Just Another Sucker On The Vine," Crispin Glover "Never Say Never to Always" (a Charles Manson song)
12. Tom Waits "Martha," If-Then-Else (aka The Weirdos) "Crows Over A Parking Lot," drums: John Bonham ("In Through The Out Door" outtakes)
13. Julie London "Laura," Joy Division "Atrocity Exhibition"
14. a Wurlitzer fairground organ "Scatter-Brain," Britney Spears "Freakshow,"
"Freaks" soundtrack, Son House "Death Letter," beat: Michael Jackson "Billie Jean"
15. Charles Trenet "Que Reste-t-il de Nos Amours?" (aka "I Wish You Love"), U2 "Bullet The Blue Sky," M. Foon "Octaaves"
16. Brenda Watson "Constipation: The 30 Day Advanced Cleansing System," Harry Breuer "Samba Macabre," Lisa Lisa & Cult Jam "I Wonder If I Take You Home"
Jimi Hendrix "ESP"
17. audio from Children's Fairyland amusement park; Mormon kids "Jesus Wants Me For A Sunbeam," Combustible Edison "Carnival of Souls"
18. Captain Beefheart "Well," Young MC "Bust A Move" (original version and remix)
19. Guy Lombardo "A Cottage For Sale" with text-to-speech vocals, Kate Bush "The Dreaming"
20. Brian Eno "In Dark Trees," school filmstrip audio: "Who's Afriad?"
21. Les Paul & Mary Ford "I'll See You In My Dreams," Michael Jackson "Got To Be There," Sal Mineo "Love Affair," Lawrence Harvey "This Is My Beloved"

Miscellaneous bits 'n' beats by RIAA

THANKS! to: Solcofn, Otis Fodder & the 365 Day contributers, World Famous Audio Hacker, the guy from Tortoise who did a drum breaks album, whoever the nice GYBO person was who made the "Glory Box" 'pella available, CORPORATION.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008


My Dick are a song parody group who state their mission thusly: we take famous songs and change the lyrics so we're singing about my dick.

If you're male you're probably laughing. You may hate yourself for doing so, but you're laughing. Stupid, stupid, immature! But funny. Admit it. And all the ladies in the house are rolling their eyes.

The reality isn't quite as funny as the concept, but it's still pretty good. They play and sing really well, quite pro, actually. And I like how they slaughter sacred cows of music by seemingly taking the most offensive choices of songs to use, e.g. John Lennon ("Imagine Dick") and Eric Clapton ("Dick In Heaven.")

Some songs available on their MySpazz page.

At a recent performance in Boston they unveiled such new treasures as the Mexican standard "La Dicka," and the Hall & Oates classic, "My Dick Is On My Dick."

Stop smirking. I see you!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008


Fun-da-Mental are a veteran rap group based in England whose 2006 song "Cookbook D.I.Y." was banned there because it gave explicit instructions on how to make a bomb. Bandleader Propa-Ghandi is a Pakistan-born Muslim. Though the song is open to interpretation as it is narrated from a number of points of view, Mr. 'Ghandi didn't come off too well when he was interviewed in the new Bill Maher film "Religulous." When Maher asked him about the fatwa against writer Salmon Rushdie, the rapper (aka Aki Nawaz) appeared to condone it. Is he a fun-da-mentalist?

So far as I know, this song is still banned in the UK, and has never been released in the US.

I always liked Fun-da-Mental's music. They were a kind of Indo-British Public Enemy, decrying social injustice and racism over Bollywood-sampled beats. And I dig the music of this tune. But, as I said to my wife, I don't know if the real Ghandi would appreciate having his name appropriated by a group who named their album (from whence comes this song) "All Is War (The Benefits Of G-Had)." She replied, "Yeah, but you liked "Cop Killer"!

Fun-Da-Mental: "Cookbook D.I.Y." (mp3)
Fun-Da-Mental: "Cookbook D.I.Y." (video) - As if the point could be missed, the lyrics/instructions are spelled out on the bottom of the screen.

Weird trivia:
Aki Nawaz played drums in Southern Death Cult, who became one of my favorite guilty-pleasure bands, The Cult. I'll leave any "death cult" jokes up to you, dear readers...

Sunday, October 19, 2008


One day in the early '90s, I was looking through one-dollar records in a thrift store when I came across one called "Gay Name Game." With a song entitled "Lesbian Seagull" listed among it's contents, how could I resist? The album is a typical sensitive singer-songwriter acoustic relic of the '70s, though the out-and-proud lyrics certainly set it apart from, say, James Taylor.

So imagine my surprise when in 1997, in the middle of a mainstream Hollywood film ("Beavis and Butthead Do America"), one of the characters starts singing "Lesbian Seagull." And legendary crooner Engelbert Humperdinck sings it over the closing credits! Eh, what?! I guess Beavis and Butthead creator Mike Judge must have stumbled across this record, too.

Thus, a strange curio from the original gay-rights movement enters the mainstream. It is an amazing tune. And it's original performer, Tom Wilson, is alive, well, and still selling vinyl copies of "Gay Name Game" on his website.

Tom Wilson: "Lesbian Seagull"

Caw, caw, caw!

Friday, October 17, 2008


If you're like me, you want it a little spooky all year long, so why wait 'til the 31st? Get creepy NOW! with this collection, the fifth annual international mashup/sound-collage various artists fest compiled by England's DJ Cheekyboy. .

Night of the Living Monster Mash-Up official page


Disclosure: I'm one of the mix-ologist involved in this big ol' heap of '60s garage rock, horror film dialogue & soundtracks, candy, lesbianism, satanism, hissy old 78s, mambos, boomin' beats, kiddie records, spooky sound bites and fx. And, of course, Bobby 'Boris' Pickett.


Sunday, October 12, 2008

David Liebe Hart: Artist & Creator

David Liebe Hart believes he was abducted by aliens, hosts a public-access TV program called "The Junior Christian Bible Story Puppet Show," draws pictures and performs music for tips on the streets of Los Angeles, and is looking for a woman.

He has recorded 2 albums: the first (Christian Hymns and Songs of Praise) featured his religious songs from his tv show and was recorded on a tape recorder at a friend's apartment. Taken in small doses, I find the
hypnotic droning songs strangely compelling. And this, like many Angeleno's, was my first exposure to Hart's weird world - flipping thru the tv wasteland, I chanced upon the incredible sight of a ventriloquist's dummy named Chip The Black Boy in an already-dated Jeri-curl wig apparently lip-synching to an odd religious song, but not coming close - the dummy's lips rarely synched up with the song being performed, as this video demonstrates.

"Public Access" is his fine follow-up, recorded with a sympathetic soul named Adam Papagan, who had added more sonic color to Hart's previously no-fi production. The song's lyrics, however, are entirely by Hart, and they deal with such subjects as his lack of success with women, people who won't let him play his music, space aliens, his nice apartment, his church, racism, the importance of public-access television, show-biz folks he has worked with (Gary Marshall "used" him, and Robin Williams won't return his calls) and, in the 13-minute "Story of David Liebe Hart," his entire life's journey. He remains upbeat and optimistic and looks forward to a long life and future songs.
From his web site: "He is also looking to meet young, attractive, single women. If interested and you meet these qualifications, please call him at 213 3810791. If he is not there, leave a brief message and what you'd like to say with your return phone number and the best time he can call you. Say it slowly and clearly and repeat it twice, and he will return your phone call as soon as he comes in. (serious calls only)."

The album's opener is a dandy minute-long statement of purpose; "Korendian Honk" is a disturbingly sincere ode to aliens, complete with an actual phone message intro announcing his plans to visit the "Korendians."

David Liebe Hart: Artist and Creator
David Liebe Hart: Korendian Honk

Saturday, October 04, 2008


Today's mp3 is the most spectacularly awful music I've heard in a while, a kitsch epic. But there's more to it then just that.

That's because today's music is by the infamous Tony Alamo, in the news yet again, this time for kiddie porn. The FBI raided his Arkansas compound. Sure, he's in the South now, but I remember when we had him here in Los Angeles. I discovered one of his tracts on a school bulletin board over 20 years ago and have been following the man's exploits ever since.

The tract was a conspiracy theorist's wet dream, claiming that the Catholic Church controlled all the major media outlets, and told every big business and politician what to do. As someone raised as a Catholic, I was outraged! What! I exclaimed, Where's my major tv network or magazine that I can control?!? All the years we spent on parochial school, going to church every Sunday, giving who knows how much money to the collection basket - why weren't we in on the conspiracy? Not fair!

Alamo used child labor to make ugly jackets for rich idiots, was wanted on tax charges, and fled town, leading the FBI on a cross-country chase that, at one point included stealing his dead wife's body from a tomb and carrying it with him while still on the lamb!

Like so many religious/cult leaders, he makes music, much of it country, with gospel-style vocals, all dominated by Alamo's warbly baritone. Doesn't get much better then this tune, which might be a more recent recording, judging by his aging voice. He bellows out the lyrics like a drunk hollering "Wind Beneath My Wings" at a karaoke bar, while the increasingly bombastic music overwhelms the listener, like a Phil Spector production for the deranged.

Tony Alamo: My Tribute - To God Be The Glory

His website is a monument to paranoid madness. A supposed Jesuit oath claims that, in their war against non-Catholics, Jesuit priests are sworn to '...hang, burn, waste, boil, flay, strangle, and bury alive these infamous heretics; rip up the stomachs and wombs of their women, and crush their infants' heads against the walls," and an interview with a mafioso claims that "Bush, the Pope and other top Vatican and U.S. government leaders had prior knowledge and help organize 9/11...to get their hands on all the gold that was hidden below in the Twin Towers." Golly! No wonder the powers that be are always persecuting Pastor Alamo.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

King Of The Road - A Bastard Pop Tribute To Dean Martin

Compiled by DJ Clivester, "King Of The Road" is a brand new variety show mixing Dino with rock, electro, reggae/ska/dub, kooky samples, excerpts from Rat Pack shows, even some swing. My favorite might be this gem from Austria's DJ Schmolli, giving Mr. Martin a '60s soul groove:

DJ Schmolli:
My Girl Is King Of The Road

And then there's this mutation, featuring a barnyard's worth of Beatle-besotted animals backing Nancy Sinatra, Dean, and a spot of the Beach Boys.

RIAA: "I Saw Her Things (Pet Sounds mix)"

The whole woozy cocktail party, inc. 14 tracks and artwork is here:

King Of The Road - A Bastard Pop Tribute To Dean Martin

Wednesday, September 24, 2008


The Honda car company cut grooves into a California highway so that it produces the "William Tell" overture (aka the "Lone Ranger" theme) as you drive over it. Saw this video on the news last night and found it on Advertising Age's website:

Japan already did this last year, as this article reveals. There's something rather flatulant sounding about the music in the video. A similar concept, an "asphaltophone," was created in Denmark in 1995, and Korea has a road that plays "Mary had A Little Lamb."
The California road was supposed to be paved over yesterday so I guess I missed it. Cool idea, hope more music like this gets created. How about a big area out in the desert somewhere with lots of these grooved song-roads, all in tune with each other, where anyone can go and drive around on 'em all day?

Tuesday, September 23, 2008


Regardless of what you think about Barack Obama's politics, you must admit that the man is a pop-cultural phenomenon. Has there ever been an American politician who has had so many tribute songs written for him? I've been collecting as many of them as I can find, figuring they're going to be a weird piece of history. And, believe me, it doesn't get much weirder then this one.

Don't know who Buddy Lewis is, but this tune is the funniest, retarded-est bit of Barack 'n' roll I've heard thus far. Because Obama is of mixed race, he did a parody of Cher's '70s hit "Half Breed." Tasteful, eh? Wait, it gets even better:
he sounds like a middle-to-old aged Texas trucker, his karaoke backing track is pure cheese, and the video is ridiculous (I recorded the audio from the video). His lyrics are funny, and he sounds like he's having a good ol' time.

Bucky Lewis "Half Breed" mp3
Bucky Lewis "Half Breed" video

I won't describe this one - you just gotta hear it. Not as "outsider" as "Half Breed," but still very odd and funny:

Clare and the Reasons "Obama Over The Rainbow"

"Half Breed" got me thinking - if Obama is only half black, why is he called "black"? If you're half-white, couldn't we just as easily call him "white"? Let's try it! We'll get everyone asking:

Is America ready for a white president?

Won't he just be pushing the "white agenda"?

Wednesday, September 17, 2008


He promised, he delivered. Last June, a Maniac of the highest order named Chris made available a treasure-trove of musical sickness for all of you good people, and said there might be more on the horizon. Sho' 'nuff, he's compiled another CD's worth of novelty, outsider, groovy oldies, celebrities, New Wave oddities, mashups, and unclassifiable audio oddities.

Music For Weirdos Volume 5

Thanks again, Chris!

Sunday, September 14, 2008

A Kaleidoscope of Meaningless Ectoplasms pt.2

We first wrote about filmmaker Ed Wood here, but let's get into his 1953 feature debut, "Glen or Glenda." "Plan Nine From Outer Space" is the film Wood is most famous for, but "Glen or Glenda" might be my favorite. It's not genre sci-fi/nudie/exploitation like Wood's other stuff. Actually, I don't know what the hell it is. It's usually described as a ground-breaking look at cross-dressing. Well...sort of. Documentary realism is mixed with pure surrealism that doesn't really have anything to do with the subject, such as the weird devil guy (pictured), a taunting little girl, and Bela Lugosi in a mad scientists' lab. These characters don't seem to be real figures in Glen's world, or even figments of his dreams, but rather are symbols of...something.

Wood isn't ranked with the film world's prime surrealists, but these scenes are pure David Lynch, complete with ambient drone soundscapes. Divorced from the visuals, they make for fascinating listening.

"Bevare!" (Bela Lugosi)
"Pull The String" (Bela Lugosi)
Little Girl

Contrast the above clips with this amusingly straight-faced narration describing Glen's dilemma:

Glen or Glenda narration

Wednesday, September 10, 2008


Thanks to this page, we now have a good quality mp3 of the particle physics rap song we wrote about here, as well as the lyrics, and the vocal track (!) for you remixers/mashupers. I took down the crappy quality mp3 and uploaded the good quality mp3.

Monday, September 08, 2008


Playing now in Los Angeles until Sept. 27. David Cronenberg (!) directs; conducted by Placido Domingo(!!); music by Howard Shore, who did the score to "Ed Wood", among others. Not a musical, not a joke, but an actual fat-ladies-in-Viking-hats opera. About a dude who turns into a fly. Could I make this stuff up?

Cronenberg, of course, directed the '80s film remake, but the opera's set in the '50s, a la the original Vincent Price film.

The Fly: The Opera

No word yet about a soundtrack album, and there's no music on the website (except heard in the background of some documentary clips) so here's a classic piece of early '60s rock'n'roll sickness inspired by the film:

The Monocles: "The Spider And The Fly"

French lounge combo's weirdly sultry femme fatale Cramps remake:

Nouvelle Vague: "Human Fly"

There's even a song saluting the sequel to the original '50s film, by '80s horror rock legends:

The Misfits: "Return of the Fly"

Finally, a killer spooky surf instro from one of Northern California's premier '60s garage revivalists:

The Mummies: "The Fly"

Wednesday, September 03, 2008


The '90s cartoon "Ren and Stimpy" was great for many reasons, and one is the music. So I was delighted to read that some industrious fans have compiled two volumes worth of music used in the show for your free downloading pleasure - an absolutely ridiculous seven (7) hours worth! It's mostly '50s library scores of every possible genre, from noir to ethnic to sci-fi to (of course) cartoonish silliness. Haven't heard all of it (will I ever?) but a lot of it seems to be cheerful suburban background music, full of post-war Space Age optimism, perfect for school documentaries.

I couldn't find any mention of him on the show's imdb page, but I think I read somewhere that WFMU's Irwin Chusid was the music consultant. Can anyone confirm this?

Ren & Stimpy Production Music Part 1
Ren & Stimpy Production Music Part 2

This treasure trove comes to us courtesy to two pretty rad looking blog
s: DigitalMeltd0wn and Secret Fun Blog. While listening to the music, you might want to peruse the incredible archives of '50s ad art at Plan59.com. I recently blew at least a half hour of work time checking out pics like this one:

Yet another big thanks to solcofn!

Tuesday, September 02, 2008


"All-acoustic hybrid of evangelical Christianity and the Ramones." Can this possibly be for real?

The Christian Ramones

"Gabba-gabba pray."

Tuesday, August 26, 2008


Very nice documentary video up for only one week about the chiptune scene, those brave souls who make music out of the lowest of low-tech electronics, e.g. Gameboys.

Blip Festival: Reformat The Planet

Man, I loves them bloopy bleepy sounds.

Thanks to J-Unit 1!

Saturday, August 23, 2008


Britney live in Vegas. Her vocal mic. Only her vocal mic.

If you watch the video, there's enough dancing, costumes etc. to (partially) take your mind off the vocals. But listening to just the audio is reminiscent of that infamous Linda McCartney tape.

Britney live (vocal mic only mix) - video
Britney live (vocal mic only mix) - mp3

By way of historical comparison, here is Linda singing with her hubby's band Wings:

Linda McCartney (vocal mic only mix) - Hey Jude

Sunday, August 17, 2008


Just came back from Las Vegas, and it's changed quite a bit since the last time I was there a few years ago. Almost all traces of Rat Pack-era Sin City are gone from "the Strip," from what I could tell. Fine dining used to consist of crappy $3.99 buffets, and shopping used to be for souvenir clocks using dice for numbers. Now star chefs and their expensive restaurants and Rodeo Drive-level shopping malls bring in more money then gambling. Speaking of gambling, you don't even use coins for the slot machines any more! I brought a roll of quarters that I never used - the one-armed bandits now take paper money and credit slips, which means no more chingchingching sounds ever time somebody hits the jackpot. In it's place, music is piped in everywhere. Sinatra? Elvis? Forget it - modern rock rules, from hair metal to such unexpected tunes as the Velvet Underground's "Who Loves The Sun" and The Strangler's (!?) "Golden Brown."

Free lounge performances are apparently a thing of the past, too. Lounges that used to feature dudes in tuxedos belting out the standards now sport djs playing modern dance music.

A few classic performers are still making the scene: Tony Bennett, Steve Lawrence, Wayne Newton, and Tom Jones, who we caught at the MGM Grand. Sir Tom was great. His voice is as good, if not better then ever. He rocks, funks, swings, and fills his show with flirtatious comments and gestures that make the ladies sque
al every time. Not bad for a dude in his late sixties.

But what's up with his new look? Fake tan, beard. I was expecting: but got something closer to this:

Here's a repost of a lounge singer's original ode to Vegas:

Mike Hudson - I'll Take Las Vegas

and a slew of brilliant and/or hilarious lounge versions of rock hits performed by totally unknown (well, except for Louis Prima, of course) performers' private press releases that were probably only available at their shows (often autographed), which I have lovingly ripped from vinyl. I've been collecting these for years, searching used record store bargain bins, garage sales, and thrift shops.

Chet DeMilo - Sunshine Superman
Louis Prima - Mrs Robinson
Carmen D'Oro - Something
Vic Caesar - Norwegian Wood
The Jose Maria Band - Light My Fire
Dick Burns - Bad Bad Leroy Brown/All Of Me
Candi - Philadelphia Freedom
Deb Hyer - Proud Mary
Wayne & Marin Foster - (Can't Get No) Satisfaction

There are a lot of place-themed hotels in Vegas: Paris, New York, Egypt, etc. How about a Las Vegas-themed hotel?

Sunday, August 10, 2008


Today features the most offensive recording I've ever posted! Why? Well...

With the eyes of the world fixed on China right now because of the Olympics, I thought I'd post some early recordings, from the first half of the 20th century, that reveal various Western attitudes towards the Chinese.

The earliest recording I know of regarding China or Chinese people (I'm no expert) is a comedy routine circa 1900-1 that is one of the most awful, mean-spirited examples of ethnic humor you're likely to hear. And it was one of the big hit records of the day! But it does provide insight into
the place of the Chinese immigrant in century-old America - as lower class servants of mainstream society, toiling away in laundrys. Taken from the crucial collection The 1890s, Volume 1: Wipe Him Off the Land.

Cal Stewart "Uncle Josh in a Chinese Laundry"

The Chinese may have been initially treated as an exploited working class, but, man, those "Chinatowns" they were establishing in major cities like New York and San Francisco were pretty cool - a heady dose of "mysterious" Eastern culture rarely experienced on American soil. The song "Chinatown My Chinatown," written in 1910, was recorded about a bazillion times in the first half of the 20th century, from the days of vaudeville right up through the '50s exotica era. Al Jolson, one of the biggest stars of the day, was famous for his blackface routine, but here he plays it straight, swinging hard with groovy backup singer gals.

Al Jolson "Chinatown, My Chinatown"

Another popular feature of Chinese communities? Opium dens, where
the jazz hepcats would hang out passing around an opium pipe - "kicking the gong around" - for days on end. Cab Calloway used that phrase in "Minnie The Moocher" with most people having no idea what he was singing about.

Louis Armstrong
"Kicking the Gong Around"

If a cowboy came a-ridin' up to Chinatown on his horse, he might have been heard playing this version of "Chinatown, My Chinatown" on his gee-tar, from the collection Western Swing: Hot Hillbilly Jazz and Blues (1935 - 1947).

Milton Brown & his Brownies - Chinatown, My Chinatown

And then there's this song, from the album "Novelty songs (1914 - 1946) Crazy & Obscure," about, er, a yodeling Chinaman. I don't know why.

George van Dusen "The Y
odeling Chinaman"

Sunday, August 03, 2008


From Scientific American's website: "You know a science experiment has arrived when a rap song extolling its virtues just hit YouTube. After 14 years, CERN, the European particle physics lab near Geneva, is getting ready to switch on the Large Hadron Collider (LHC), designed to seek out new particles including the long-awaited Higgs boson and the possible source of dark matter as well as study the differences between matter and antimatter. The lab says it plans to send the first particles through the LHC's 17-mile- (27-kilometer-) diameter ring in early September and gradually bring it up to full speed over two months.

In honor of the impending start-up, Alpinekat, aka Kate McAlpine, a science writer for CERN, has produced a five-minute rap video starring herself and friends dancing in the bowels of the machine. McAlpine's rap, written during her 40-minute bus commute from Geneva to CERN, gives a rhythmic tour of the mysteries of modern physics and the workings of the LHC, noting that "the things that it discovers will rock you in the head."

Large Hadron Rap (mp3)
Alpinekat: Large Hadron Rap (video)

Quite a funky tune, actually. This page also features the lyrics, and an acapella version for you remixers/masher-uppers.

This is actually not the first time CERN's musical side has been featured here. Two years ago, we wrote about Les Horribles Cernettes, "The First Band on the Web."

Saturday, July 26, 2008


...ah, but her music will live on.

Jo Stafford, one of the great Big Band/pop/jazz singers of the '40s and '50s, recently passed away at age 90. Though she recorded some classic sultry torch ballads with a honey-hued voice that made servicemen ache for home, she had another, slightly anarchic side to her that you won't find in the recordings of, say, Billie Holiday or Peggy Lee - a twisted side project she did with her husband, bandleader Paul Weston.
As "Jonathan and Darlene Edwards," she was the nasally, slightly off-key vocal half of the world's most inept lounge duo, while her hubbie was the accompanist, always attempting lush, beautiful piano stylings, and never quite getting there, like what Liberace would sound like after being pushed down a flight of stairs.

One of the motivations for the act was that they were secretly taking the piss out of their boss at Columbia Records, the
notorious schlock-meister Mitch Miller. If he ever caught on, he never admitted it.

At first, Stafford and Weston wouldn't own up to the fact that they were Jonathan and Darlene. Their first album had liner notes claiming that they merely discovered the Edwards working a lounge in New Jersey. But the truth quickly came out and they became a novelty music sensation, even winning a comedy Grammy in 1963.

The humor was subtle - smart-alecks would put on their records at parties, and if you weren't paying attention, they sounded almost competent. But after a few too many flubbed notes, party-goers would choke on their martinis and ask, "Uh, who is this...?"

Historians take note! They were probably the first lounge parodists, preceding Richard Cheese, Bill Murray's "Nick" character on "Saturday Night Live," and, believe it or not, The Beatles - "You Know My Name (Look Up The Number)" was one of the first lounge parodies recorded. But Jonathan and Darlene started in the late '50s, after Stafford's mainstream singing career was winding down.

Most lounge satires emphasize the smarmy nature of the performers, but there was a naive sweetness to Jonathan and Darlene. You felt sorry for them. They were really trying to put on a great show, but everything was going wrong.

The Edwards made one last record, a single in 1977. It's one of the best song parodies ever. The Helen Reddy cover is funny, but The Bee Gees demolition just absolutely kills me.

Jonathan and Darlene Edwards "Stayin' Alive"
Jonathan and Darlene Edwards "I Am Woman"

Lots more of the Edwards' output can be found here, courtesy of the Cheese Factory.

Sunday, July 20, 2008


Twink The Toy Piano Band creates a pastel pink audio candyland that, as demonstrated on his latest album, the aptly-named "A Very Fine Adventure," serves the odd task of creating children's music for adults. That is, music with all the cuteness and innocence (and toy instruments) of children's music without the annoying repetition and simplicity that real children demand (or have forced upon them) in their Barney singalong CDs.

I've written about Twink a few times here, so regulars will know what to expect with his latest: as usual, it's all instrumental (another trait you won't find too often in actual children's music). And, as usual, you get excellent album packaging/graphics, and well-crafted songs that are amusing without being overly jokey, and a surprising variety of musical moods and textures, from the soundtrack drama of "Lost in the Mysterious Mist" to the raucous distorted (!) toy piano rock of "Flytrap," to any number of songs of lite techno and groovy funk. The album's opener is appropriately dreamy and toe-tappin.

Twink - Three Bunnies In A Balloon

When I posted the article "Play An On-Line Toy Piano!" earlier this year, I asked for anyone who uses it in a recording to let us know. And we have one: a very silly British bunch called REET! feature a bit in their version of the "Chip 'n' Dale" theme.

REET! - Chip n Dale

Their entertaining MySpazz page has other goodies, like a video-game sounding 8-bit instrumental, a hard rock version of the "Cheers" theme, a very good bit of brooding atmospherics, and original comics. Make an album, guys!