Tuesday, April 28, 2009


Hey my Los Angeles peeps! This Thursday is your last chance to check out the PostPunk Junk film fest. Looks like it's gonna be a doozy:

"The first half is a Los Angeles and California-centric program featuring classic footage of local heroes (The Screamers, Black Flag, TSOL) alongside lesser-known-but-equally awesome acts (Nervous Gender, BPeople, The Plugz). The second half mines the Target library for its rarest nuggets, and features footage of bands that will make music nerds squeal with glee."

And the Silent Movie Theater, where the shows take place, has free beer. (There, that'll get y'all coming.) Despite the name of the venue, it won't be silent. You will be able to hear the music, honest. (Caveat: have no idea if they'll be showing anything from the Cramps concert pictured.)

to get you in the mood, how's about another batch of rare, out-of-print '70s/'80s California coolness that I've ripped from my vinyl archives? So far as I know, most of this stuff, originating from The Bay Area to LA and all points in between, hasn't been shared on-line before.

This isn't just nostalgia, these are great tunes. There's no typical hardcore. It's all across the map: you'll hear electro-pop, goth post-punk, woodwinds, femme vox + acoustic bass, devolved covers, power-pop, a proto-mashup, and whatever the hell The Fibonaccis were. "Punk" was a big umbrella term in those days.

Weirdpunk Cali

Track Listing below: Click on artist's name for links to info (if any)

The Humans - I Live In The City

Fibonaccis - Second Coming
Baby Buddha - Robot Police
Wild Kingdom - Roma-Destiny
Los Microwaves - Radio Heart
ki-di-me - Mother Is
Jed Gould (aka Jed the Fish) - LACA Perv
Hesitations - Window Love
The Units - The Right Man
The Ophelias - Palindrome
The Bakersfield Boogie Boys - Get Off of My Cloud
Zasu Pitts Memorial Orchestra - Summertime/Peter Gunn
The Humans - Don't Be Afraid Of The Dark
Fibonaccis - Sergio Leone
Alex Gibson - Grey Turns to Black
Strong Silent Types - Fred Cadaver's Accident
The Ophelias - Mr. Rabbit

Tuesday, April 21, 2009


Today's song has a lot going for it:
  1. It's a "Creepy Circus Song"
  2. The melody is played on Tesla coils*
  3. Robot drums
  4. Robot organ made of PVC pipes
Strangely enough, this is the second Austin, Texas-based Tesla coil music group we've featured here. The Geek Group was covered awhile back. Same group with a name change? Or does Austin have some kind of crazy Tesla-core scene going on that I don't know about?

ArcAttack: "Creepy Circus Song" (mp3)
ArcAttack: "Creepy Circus Song" (video)

These high tech machines produce an electrical arc similar to a continuous lightning bolt which put out a crisply distorted square wave sound reminiscent of the early days of synthesizers."

Saturday, April 18, 2009


What, you want more music? Haven't I done enough for you people?! I give and give and give. And what do I get?

Well, actually, I get great music back from you folks. Like our old pal Chris Swank, back with another CD's worth of mostly '50s & '60s oddities that he likes to call:

Music For Weirdos #6 (alternate link)

Like the previous volumes, he'd rather not get into details about it's contents but would rather you just kick back and let it hit you, like a radio show where you don't know what's next and have no expectations. But I will say that there's a couple of familiar classics, some hilarious novelties, audio cut-ups of more recent vintage, and much rockin' and rollin' wild weirdness.

Thanks again, Chris!

Monday, April 13, 2009


The greatest album I've found in a thrift store recently:

- features not one, but two singers: an unintentionally funny operatic Mrs. Miller sort, and her husband, an astonishingly talentless songwriter with a nerdy nasally voice reminiscent of Eilert Pilarm, 'The Swedish Elvis."
- claims to be a tribute to the great Italian-American pop/opera singer Mario Lanza, though nothing on the album is anything like what Lanza sang.
- has amateurish, vanity-release artwork.
- was released in 1984, but has all the attributes of a '50/'60s easy-pop album
- features remakes of standards like "Sway," "Granada," and the worst versions of the oft-covered calypsos
"Yellow Bird" and "Jamaica Farwell" you'll ever hope to hear.
- was recorded at Macola Records, famed for it's L.A. hip-hop, e.g.: pre-NWA Dr. Dre.
- sports lyrics like, "I have been thinking of you, and thinking of you."
- is entitled
"Sir Anthony Lanza Cocozza and Contessa Elaine Lanza Cocozza Present This Album As A Tribute In Memory To The Great Mario Lanza" on the front cover and "A Tribute To My Brother 'Mario Lanza'" on the record label
- claims on the back cover that the missus was "Born in Oklahoma City, OK of German and English royalty on her father's side, she was given the title of "Countessa."

"A Tribute To My Brother 'Mario Lanza'"

1. Lolita
2. Sway
3. I Love You I Love You
4. Green Eyes
5. Granada
6. Jamaica Farewell (spelled "Jamaica Far Away" on the cover)
7. If You Really Love Me
8. How Could I Forget You
9. I Want To Love You My Love
10. Yellow Bird

You want this. You do.

Friday, April 10, 2009


Speaking of Otis Fodder, his wacky electro sound collage/mashup crew The Bran Flakes have a new album, their first in 6 years. It may be their best one yet. As usual, they've raided the thrift shops of ancient unwanted records - children's music, religious, easy-listening, even Dolly Parton - and made brief, up-beat tunes out of 'em.

This one might be the best tune on the album, sampling the kiddie classic "Free To Be You And Me" (and it's a happy sequel to one of their older tunes "I Don't Have A Friend"):

The Bran Flakes : "
I Have A Friend"

but for some silly reason I really love this less-then-30-second long tune:

The Bran Flakes: "Don Knotts"

maybe because, like the young artist in the film "Ghost World" who tried to explain to her baffled instructor why she painted a portrait of Don Knotts, I like Don Knotts.

The new album, "I Have Hands," is available as a CD, or download from illegal-art. Name your price!

Monday, April 06, 2009


Otis Fodder's web-show "Friendly Persuasion" was my first experience with the wild frontier of internet music way back when (roughly a decade ago?!?), and a big hunk of that glorious smorgasbord of lounge/outsider/strange thrift-store recordings is now available.

Otis sez: "30+ hours (so far) of old radio shows I put together...All MP3s encoded at 320k with full ID3 tags. All radio shows and mixes are without voice/talkover (except for the occasional robot)... so you just have the music and mix. I'll be uploading more in the future."


30 hours? Should keep me busy for a bit...

Saturday, April 04, 2009


Hurray, hurray! Step right up, folks, and witness the most annoying musical instrument ever invented!

The fairground organ is actually a wonderous, though now rarely-used
machine that automatically played back music. It was used primarily for traveling carnivals, circuses, parades, etc. and has that fun/scary vibe that suggests wistful cotton-candy childhood while also being a bit creepy.

After putting in a punched piece of paper for a particular
song (like a player-piano) or a rotating wheel (like a music-box) an organ would play, robotic arms holding drumsticks would bang drums, air forced through tubes would blow horns and toot whistles. It was quite a racket. After all, it was designed to cut through the crowd noises, so it wasn't too subtle.

It's a wonder of 1800s technology, and, though organ
rolls seem to have ceased production by the 1960s, enthusiasts still collect and restore these often beautiful, highly decorated machines.There's a great wealth of mp3s of the Wurlitzer style 165 band organ rolls courtesy of the hard-working folks at the Wurlitzer-rolls.com site. Fascinating listening, though you'll probably start to go mental after 3 or 4 songs. For some absolutely inexplicable reason, I'm hooked on this version of Sandie Shaw's '60s hit "Puppet On A String," even though I don't remember being a big fan of the song in the first place. Maybe some tunes just sound better played on a fairground organ.

Hammond Fairground Organ Roll: "
Puppet On A String"