Thursday, March 31, 2011

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

PEOPLE LIKE US: "Welcome Abroad"

We've been singing the praises of UK's master sound collagist People Like Us for ages, but she just might have released her best work yet. Well, actually the album "Welcome Abroad" won't be released for a month (thru illegal-art), but you can listen to it streaming

The 17-song collection sustains a marvelously trippy feel throughout, with hallucinogenic fragments of old easy-listening records melting and morphing into each other, even as kitsch-fests like "Happy Lost Songs" had me laffin'. At the other end of the emotional spectrum, songs like "Lost In The Dark" are genuinely moving. And "The Sound Of The End Of Music" proves just what I've always suspected: that The Doors weren't doing much more than playing corny showtunes.

The following artists are listed, but there's plenty more: The Beatles, Ennio Morricone, Danny Kaye, Bob Dylan, Rod McKuen, Elton John, Gene Pitney, Elvis Presley, Dionne Warwick, John Denver, Julie London, and Queen. And the use of hissy old '78s is duly noted and appreciated.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Dr. Sarcofiguy

Dr. Sarcofiguy says he is "...part of a group of wonderfully bizarre people who perform as horror hosts. I have a show in Northern Virginia called Spooky Movie Television. I’ve been performing as the character Dr. Sarcofiguy (The first and only African-American Horror Host!) since 1995."

It's good to know that the regional tv horror host is one American institution that has not died out. Make that the singing
regional tv horror host: like his predecessors John Zacherly, Tarantula Girl (aka Tarantula Ghoul) and Elvira, Dr. Sarcofiguy has a musical side. Check his debut album Demo(ns) The Many Moods of Dr. Sarcofiguy. It's pretty groovy r'n'b, recalling the likes of Stevie Wonder or Barry White. If Barry White sang about vampires, that is. Sarcofiguy isn't the unhinged singer that Screamin' Jay Hawkins was (he croons in a smooth baritone) but he's the closest thing to it today. The absolutely brilliant song "My Girlfriend is On Fire" is even in that lurching waltz tempo Hawkins favored for such songs as "I Put A Spell On You."

I'm in the process of switching over to a new computer, so I don't have a way to host mp3s right now (tho I should be able to resume putting albums up on Mediafire shortly). I wanted to post the song "My Girlfriend is On Fire," but since that ain't happenin', Dr. Sarcofiguy has personally posted - just for us! - a streaming version of it


along with another bizarre beauty, "Nosferatu." Oh, and Elvira's back! After 19 years. Don't know if "Movie Macabre" is available anywhere outside of Los Angeles right now, but it's worth a trip here to check it out - it's been spook-tacular so far.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011


Planet Earth just got a little more boring. Zoogz is dead at age 57 after a long illness. We posted 10 big albums by the man last year.


UPDATE 4/4/11: Ah, poop, the excellent performance from the 'Uncle Floyd' show was taken down. So here's another Zoogz vid, a great devolved cover of Olivia Newton-John's 'Physical':

Thursday, March 17, 2011


My home computer has died, hence, I'm writing this from work (looks nervously around). So, for the time being, I can't post any mp3s you nice folks have been sending me, or record any vinyl. That ever-growing pile of thrift-store records will have to wait. That's okay, there's plenty of stuff a-happenin' in the vast inter-webular 'net-lands out there that I can finally get around to reviewing, e.g.:

Full-Life is a Portland, OR-based center that provides "fulfillment for people with disabilities," and one of their activities is music. Thanks to the good folks at CLLCT, they have two internet releases, the electric guitars/drums raucous rave-up "
Tennessee Madonna & the Full Life All Stars," and a kind of solo album by female singer Polka Dotty, accompanied by acoustic guitar. What Dot's singing lacks in pitch is more than made up for in heartfelt lyrics and emotional performances. And I think the "oh yeah" guy's best song is the third one, with it's cool tribal drumming and powerful chord changes. Sonic Youth, step off.

After listening to stuff this pure and beautiful, I don't want to listen to "normal" music (it seems so artificial) or angry music - these are the kind of people we look upon with discomfort and pity, but the sunny outlook here makes the rest of us all seem like a buncha goddamn whiners.

The Full Life All-Stars

01 Portland is the Sweetest Things
02 I wish I was in Tennessee
03 California Girls
04 Mexico Radio
05 Grunge Rock Out
06 Start Singin'
07 Just Singing a Song
08 Workin Blues
09 Oh Yeah
10 Oh Yeah O Yeah
11 Oh Yeah Oh Yeah Oh Yeah
12 Oh Yeah Oh Yeah Oh Yeah Oh Yeah
13 Holiday Song

Monday, March 14, 2011


Hyperpiano vs HyperBass Flute: It's a steel-cage death-match between two traditional instruments that have been modified to create very strange new sounds, recorded in improvised duets. Not for the faint of heart! In this corner,

Denman Maroney and his Hyperpiano; taking Cage's prepared piano to undreamed-of extremes, Maroney assaults his instrument " stopping, sliding, bowing, plucking, strumming and striking the strings directly with a variety of tools including bars, bowls, knives, bells and mashers of metal, boxes and bottles of plastic, mallets of various kinds, and blocks of rubber." Needless to say, the resulting buzzing and clanging sounds almost nothing like any piano music you've heard before.

The prolif
ic Maroney is part of the New York oddball experimental scene that includes cats like the Gamelan Son of Lion big band, but his Duologues album with bassist Mark Dresser really gives his Hyperpiano a chance to grab the spotlight.

Maroney & Dresser: Bali Nigh
Maroney & Dresser: Bendango

And in
the other corner...

Roberto Fab
briciani on his gigantic HyperBass Flute, an instrument you don't hear so much as feel - it's burbles and rumbles beneath Esther Lamneck's flights of fancy on her clarinet-like Hungarian tarogato. The title of their Innova Records release "Winds of The Heart" may sound like the name of a soap opera, but there's nothing corny about these untitled improvised duets. Lamneck's Eastern European influences give the music a bit of an exotic feel.

Fabbriciani& Lamneck: track 9
Fabbriciani& Lamneck: track 12

Thursday, March 10, 2011


I can find no info on Philip Stranger, but I can tell you that he is a veritable one-man weird-music cottage industry, if so much music in so many styles can be made by just one man. He covers all the bases: Residents-like quirky pop, Phillip Glass-y piano minimalism, found objects percussion, sampling/concrete musics, exotica, noise, electronics ranging from Space Age to punk intensity, and unclassifiable oddities.

He has a tremendous amo
unt of free music up, but here's some highlights I've discovered (recommended tracks in parentheses):

Lettuce: the psych side of 60s/70s Moog intros ("A Meal To Induce Sleep")

Trilogies of the Toilet: "...recorded in a movie theater restroom (great acoustics), utilizing the musicians bodies and voices as well as things found only within the building (bottles of water, film reels, Co2 canisters, toilets, etc.) . No "traditional" instruments were used." ("Africans Can Bang A Can Or Two")

Music 4 Sleeping Babies: aggressive electronics (the Suicide-al techno punk of "Brain March")

Mount Analogue: Electronic instros with Minimalism influences (a nutty cover of Mungo Jerry's "in The Summertime")

proj. #1, 1999: I have no idea what to make of this assortment of cartoonish sounds and vocals ("Pan Toodie Hed Thrice," "Simbionic")

Plays Piano: does what it says on the tin ("Ode To Satie")

Abstract Habitat: Quirky semi-noisy electro-pop; almost danceable ("Anything You Want to I'll Let Ya", "Himane Waltz" - not a waltz, but rather Afro/exotic)

Eyeball Music: A tribute to the Residents ("Tribal Teddy," an original, and a cover of "Constantinople")

Hypnagogia: ("Frenzied Joy Erupted & Ruptured From Within" - tinkly xylophone melodies + flatulent synths)

Zanhour: (the self-explanatory "Midimalism,"
the twisted robot voices of "Pepe Pull-o" sounds like HAL-9000 after someone dumped a bucket of water over him)

UPDATE 3/30/11: Got a note from the man hisself, who tells us that he's from California, hasn't played live much; is planning new projects thanks to the attention this post has given his music (yay for me!), and sent along a suitably strange list of Fun-to-Know Facts:

> I have a set of Egyptian mummy teeth in a jar.
> Elton John, Paul McCartney and I have all played music on the same Harpsichord.
> I cry every time I listen to Beethoven's 9th Symphony.
> My fingers are all slightly crooked.
> I love The Three Stooges as well as the Fleischer's Popeye cartoons.
> Tribal Teddy is not an original composition, but a cover of The Residents Teddy from Prelude to the Teds.
> I have an accidental collection of clown paintings.
> Harlan Ellison once accused me of stealing books from a library (a false accusation I might add).
> I have performed exactly one stage-magic show in my life.
> I was asked to and did briefly perform on the legendary upright piano on Main Street U.S.A. at Disneyland.

So there ya go.  (I also had an interesting run-in with Harlan Ellison, by the way; but that's another story.)

Monday, March 07, 2011


You've heard music on the radio? How 'bout music from radio? Cage did it back in the '50s, and more recently, Chicago's Jeff Kolar has released a free on-line EP of music made from radio broadcasts. Kolar is an accomplished artist and conceptualist - I especially like the music for his Mahomet Aquifer Project - but for this project, he tells me: "...all material was generated and composed by/through the use of homemade radio receivers and transmitters. Within the pdf booklet there is a circuit diagram of the low-powered transmitter I designed. All analog material - no digital."

The first track is ambient static, eventually developing into more 'musical' tracks, including some amusingly kitschy old ads.

Other Voices

Coincidentally, I've been diggin' an album called "Radio" by Exile (no, not the guys who did that horrible '70s "Kiss You All Over" song) that is made entirely from Los Angeles radio. Excellent head-nodding avant-hip-hop that DJ Shadow wishes he made.

Exile "Frequency Modulation"

Exile "Love Line"

Thursday, March 03, 2011


I propose that we officially make March 4th 'Alternative Marching Band Day.' March 4th = March Forth. Geddit? And if any traditional American musical style needed alternative-ising, it's the marching band. Long relegated to playing century-old standards at political events and school football games, the genre started to loosen up a bit in the '70s when university bands played the occasional irreverent pop/rock covers amidst the usual Sousa stuff.
In the '80's, a bunch of downtown New York arty-smarties called the Les Miserable Brass Band made a definitive break from both the mainstream and the far more fun (but still traditional) New Orleans styles, interjecting international, modern jazz and experimental influences, and songs like Jimi Hendrix' "Manic Depression." Meanwhile, on the opposite coast, and with the opposite intentions, a gang of drunken Northern Californians called the Ophir Prison Marching Kazoo Band and Temperance Society, LMTD came on like Spike Jones saying "fuck art, let's (polka) dance" with their colorful costumes, stage names, and
between-song comedy routines.

In recent years a veritable alt-march explosion has taken place, with numerous bands popping up across the country comprised of former school "band geeks" who still wish to perform, rock and rollers,
jazz musicians, non-musicians, and sometimes street performers dancing, walking on stilts, breathing fire, etc, accompanying the blaring brass and thundering drums. No longer relegated to marching across a field at sporting events half-time, they roam city streets, making unscheduled guerilla performances in parks or on subways. They play rock clubs, and show up at political rallies. Some wear a kind of uniform, e.g. red pants & white shirts of any style, and some wear traditional band uniforms, but mis-matched, of any color. Non-traditional instruments (accordions, anyone?) are sometimes thrown into the mix.

I first wrote about this phenomenon after encountering L.A.'s awsome Killsonic crew, and got a number of comments from you fine folks heppin' me to other amazingly talented bands out there (thanks, gang!). Here's a sampling of recent albums now for sale (so go buy 'em) by the new march underground displaying a wide range of styles and sounds.
Avant-March - A Music For Maniacs Compilation

01 Ophir Prison Marching Kazoo Band and Temperance Society, LMTD (Folsom, CA) - Neutron Dance [great cover of a Pointer Sisters song that I'd never really given much thought to before]
02 What Cheer? Brigade (Providence, RI) - Malaguena
[Cuban song, with a surf beat - GNARLY]
03 Revolutionary Snake Ensemble (Boston) - Soul Power [hmm, how do they march with that funky poppin' electric bass? Led by a member of Birdsongs of the Mesozoic]

04 Rude Mechanical Orchestra (New York City) - Push It [Salt 'n Peppa never sounded betta]
05 MarchFourth Marching Band (Portland, OR) - Ah Ya Bibit [incredibly powerful ethnic-influenced track - but which country? - from the band that gave this post it's name/concept]
06 Killsonic (Los Angeles) - El Cu Cui [female vox en espanol]
07 Extra Action Marching Band (San Francisco) - Back That Ass Up
08 Infernal Noise Brigade (Seattle) - Gas-No Gas [we posted an entire album by this now defunct but influential outfit HERE]
09 Mucca Pazza (Chicago) - Romanian Dance No1 [Balkan influences are not uncommon with many of these bands]
10 David Byrne - In The Future [the former Talking Head made his 1985 album "The Knee Plays" with
the Les Miserable Brass Band]
11 Asphalt Orchestra (New York City) - Zomby Woof [a Zappa cover, courtesy of a Bang On A Can spinoff group]