Friday, March 30, 2012


Polish outsider music? Heck, yeah, bring it on!

Piotrek, a fine musican himself, sent us some incredible artifacts from the land of sausage and Solidarity. Today it's The Syntetic: a delightful nut who takes exisiting songs, like "Axel F," and sings his own lyrics over them: " Człowiek Widmo aka The Syntetic (in english - "Hollow Man"). This is the guy from Śląsk, who some years ago recorded funny tapes on his tape recorder for fun and for friends, and this tapes someone put into internet. And Człowiek Widmo one day become very popular. This guy was really startled but later he even had a few concerts :) I don't know if he is freak or no, but this what he's doing we can called incorrect music for sure."

The Syntetic.

"There is his opus magnum (from 2:05 he started to sing:)
He has great lyrics. I translated you fragment on this song: "Hollow Man"
He swimm on albatross
by the Egyptian sea
and he eat a sharks
and he burns like old pig
and he is invisible
Hollow Man, This is Hollow Man, this is Hollow Man, This is.
This is ungrateful man, and very bad
he is from the abyss of the darkness, of the hell
he evaporates like a water
he is invisible like a big stone
he is from the abyss of the light
Hollow Man, this is Hollow Man, this is Hollow man, this is(...)"

Someone has thoughtfully illustrated the Syntetic song "Hollywood" so us non-Polish speakers can get an idea what of he's on about:

Thanks, Piotrek!

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Big Eyed Beans From Venus

Yes, Virginia, there really is a Captain Beefheart tribute band. Even more improbably, they're really good. And you thought tribute acts were all cheeseball 'classic rock' bar bands.

As the Southern Shelter guy says: "
Big Eyed Beans From Venus have obviously put in tons of work (there’s really no way to half-ass Beefheart’s music)."

This Athens, GA crew even got actual Magic Band members to sit in, like Rockette Morton, who played on early classics like "Trout Mask Replica." Dig this 20 song show, recorded live, with excellent sound quality:

Big Eyed Beans From Venus 11/16/06 @ Five Spot

Friday, March 16, 2012


Clarinetist/bandleader Wilbur Sweatman helped invent jazz, but before you start falling asleep, let me assure you that this 1918 recording of "Oh! You La! La!" is as nutty as it's title. Many many decades before hardcore punk, thrash metal, etc., this song is played like everyone's on speed, and everyones' speed is on speed. It's so crazed as to verge on incompetent, like it's all gonna fly apart at any second, but it doesn't, retaining a core musicality throughout. What else would you expect from a guy who could play 3 clarinets at the same time? Jazz music certainly used to be a far stranger, more entertaining beast then it is today. I'm including two versions, primitive early recordings being what they are. The second version, tho plenty hissy, is actually a clearer recording.

Wilbur Sweatman: "Oh! You La! La!":

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Jaymz Bee & The Deep Lounge Coalition - "Sub Urban"

Following the "Shaken and Stirred" post, here's more from Canadian lounge parodist Jaymz Bee, whose 2002 album "Sub-Urban" features unlikely jazz/Broadway/bossa nova/disco covers of rap/r'n'b hits. I like this album a bit more than "Shaken" - it gets more mileage out of the concept. Like it's predecessor, it's lushly orchestrated with a gang of talented guest singers. Hearing cheezy white guys singing with a straight face about bling and bitches, and sophisticated adults singing juvenilia, will make you laff! Or at least smirk a bit. Not as jokey (or funny) as Richard Cheese, but more musical. Pick hit: the surf-a-go-go version of "Get Ur Freak On" with its interjections from some Jerry Lewis-type character, but also dig that surreal "Gin & Juice," and the campy Tony Randall-esque "Nuthin' But A "G" Thang."

Jaymz Bee & The Deep Lounge Coalition - "Sub Urban"
  • It Wasn’t Me (Originally by Shaggy)
  • Ride Wit Me (Originally by Nelly)
  • Who Let The Dogs Out (Originally by Baha Men)
  • Love Don’t Cost A Thing (Originally by Jennifer Lopez)
  • Independent Women (Originally by Destiny’s Child)
  • Gravel Pit (Originally by Wu Tang Clan)
  • Thong Song (Originally by Sisqo)
  • Get Ur Freak On (Originally by Missy Elliott)
  • Southern Hospitality (Originally by Ludacris)
  • Gin And Juice (Originally by Snoop Dogg)
  • I Just Wanna Love U (Originally by Jay-Z)
  • Nuthin’ But A G Thang (Originally by Dr. Dre
  • Turn Off The Light (Originally by Nelly Furtado)
  • Ms Jackson (Originally by Outkast)

Monday, March 12, 2012

Jaymz Bee and the Royal Jelly Orchestra - Shakin' and Stirred

Dig this nutty Canadian lounge parodist and his plethora of guest singers and different styles. This kinda thing was popular back when this album came out (in 1996) - is it time for the lounge revival revival?

All the songs are hits by Canadian artists except for whoever originally did "The Safety Dance," but I ain't complaining - the groovy sitars-a-go-go arrangement makes it the album's highlight. Up next: Jaymz' follow-up album covering rap/r'n'b hits.

Jaymz Bee and the Royal Jelly Orchestra - "Shakin' and Stirred"

1. The Safety Dance
2. Turn Me Loose
3. American Woman
4. You Oughta Know
5. Run to You
6. Closer to the Heart
7. Takin' Care of Business
8. Superman's Song
9. Spaceship Superstar
10. Born to Be Wild
11. Sunglasses at Night

Thursday, March 08, 2012

The Most Expensive Album in History! Dan Bull's "Face"

UK's Dan Bull released a compelling rap album in 2009 called "Safe" that dealt with the excruciating life of suffering from the autism spectrum condition of Asperger's Syndrome. At the time I said "Can someone in England please put a suicide watch on this guy?"

On March 19th,
his excellent follow-up album "Face" will be released, it's sole copy for sale for a mere £1,000,000. A bargain! But even if you don't want a hard copy, you can download it here for free, or pay what you want:

Dan Bull "Face"

Fortunately, he sounds in much better shape, bustin' rhymes on subjects that wouldn't occur to most MCs, like America's health care crises, for example. Life is still difficult, but as he says in the song "Medicine Ball": "What doesn't kill will not make you stronger/but at least you're going to live a little longer." The wittily-named "Portrait of the Autist" is an inspiring anthem, admitting that Aspergers' is still a bitch ("can't talk to anyone...My mind's wired a different way"), but he exhorts his fellows to "Be autistic and proud."

The music is as solid as the lyrics, with one exception: the corny "John Lennon," whose lyrics are simply strung-together song titles. Otherwise, Bull's flow is as sharp as ever, and the thing rocks from start to finish. For someone who's "
mind's wired a different way," Bull makes a helluva lot more sense then most.

Wednesday, March 07, 2012

Scott Johnson - Rock Paper Scissors

There's a lot of sampling music out there, but very few composers work it like Scott Johnson - he takes snippets of human speech, and, as I wrote when reviewing the re-issue of his classic "John Somebody," writes original music based the rhythms and cadences of conversation, and makes those voices sing.

This album from 1996 uses digital sampling (not the tape-lops of yore) of original conversations of Johnston's friends asking others for a favor
. Johnson choose that device because of the quality of anxiety and pleading that creeps into one's voice when asking to, say, borrow something. He then wrote music around these voices for violin, cello, electric guitar, and synthesizer. "Air Compressor" is my fave track off the album...but why would someone need to borrow an air compressor?

The second half of the album is comprised of instrumentals that, frankly, don't do much for me. I like his sampling stuff. But it's still highly original, challenging work.

Scott Johnson - Rock Paper Scissors

Friday, March 02, 2012


As I wrote last year: "I propose that we officially make March 4th 'Alternative Marching Band Day.' March 4th = March Forth. Geddit?" And, thanks in part to comments left by some of you good Maniacs, I've got another batch of alt-brass band goodness for ya this year. So put on your mismatched band uniforms and go marching around the house whilst listening to more spazz-jazz/non-guitar rock/Sousa-free tubas than you can shake a baton at:

March Fourth 2012

- Boba Fett and the Americans, a Denver-based band that doesn't appear to have any albums out, but I did find a few stray things on the web: covers of the Beatles "Birthday," Hugh Masakela "Grazing in the Grass," a 'Star Wars'-themed parody of Gwen Stefani's "Hollaback Girl" called "Bootie Hunter," and Run-DMC's "It's Tricky" (tho the vox are too low - you'll have to rap your own version.)
- Hungry March Band - these alt-march pioneers started in 1997, have 4 a
lbums out, and I've got one of 'em, "Critical Brass," from 2005. It features plenty of jazzy funky originals, and kooky kovers of tunes like Black Sabbath's "Paranoid," as well as solid originals like the one featured here, "Jupanese Ju Ju." Bonus points for covering Pigbag's classic early '80s instro "Papa's Got A Brand New Pigbag."
- The itchy-O Marching Band (pictured above) are also from Denver, but could not be more different from the comedic Boba Fett gang. The 32-person strong multi-media group somehow march with hand-held electronic instruments like synths and theremins, and have a powerfully compelling dark sound. Their debut 6 track ep features tracks like "Inferno No Corridor," a song that blew me away with its gargantuan sound, like if Glen Branca wrote for dozens of percussionists instead of guitars. Bravo!
- MarchFourth Marching Band were the Portlanders that were featured in last year's collection and gave this March 4th concept it's name. Their new album "Magnificent Beast" features no kooky kovers, tho still has a sense of humor as evidenced by the 'SNL'-skit inspired "Cowbell." Elsewhere, the album ranges from James Brown rhythms to Caribbean/Latin influences ("Sin Camiseta") to New Orleans jazz. Unlike most, they sometimes feature vocals, often of the simple, chanted variety.
- Raya Brass Band: These Balkan/Eastern European-inspired New Yorkers have produced an album of absolutely crazed, twisted melodies over rhythms as difficult as the the pronunciation of the song titles. "Dancing On Roses, Dancing On Cinders" starts off pleasantly enough with the toe-tapper "DJevadov Čoček" (that's easy for you to say) before piling on song after song of head-spinning complexity leavened with irresistible buoyancy. Your head may be ringing after listening to this, but you can't possibly be in a bad mood.
- Seed & Feed Marching Abominable: this Atlanta combo have
been around since 1974, which def. pushes the timeline back, but they apparently don't have any recordings. All I could find was an interview that features some generous chunks of their music.
- The Residents never used marching bands (that I'm aware), but, as a bonus track, I've included a song ("Washington Post March") from their "Stars & Hank Forever" album that remade the marches of John Philip Sousa inna electronic stylee, complete with parade sound effects. Sorta the inverse of the rest of this collection of trad bands playing non-trad music.