Friday, August 31, 2012

Classic Schlock: a Kitsch-Ass Rock'n'Roll mix

Musical artists are still trying to mix rock'n'roll with theater, classical and easy-listening musics - why?

Look at this playlist - no, your eyes are not deceiving you.  Dee Snider of metal legends Twisted Sister really does have a new album out of showtunes, Lemmy from Motorheard really is crooning with an orchestra, and, yes Virginia, there really are entire albums out there with names like "The Cocktail Tribute To Nirvana" and "Swingin' To Michael Jackson."

Some of this is done with humorous intent, e.g. Max Raabe's tongue-in-cheek Berlin cabaret remakes, and Timur and the Dime Museum's and The Scarring Party's opera/cabaret covers of Nine Inch Nails and Echo & The Bunnymen are actually pretty cool (that Timur dude sounds nuts.) But otherwise, ya gotta wonder: who (besides me and windy) are buying these albums?  Like all those string quartet albums - there's millions of 'em...

Classic Schlock: a Kitsch-Ass Rock'n'Roll mix

1 Cabaret - Dee Snider ["Dee Does Broadway"]
2 We Will Rock You - Max Raabe & Das Palast Orchestra
3 Rape Me - The String Quartet Tribute To Nirvana
4 Blowing In The Wind - Robin Morris ["Orchestral Rock"]
5 Pretty Vacant - London Punkharmonic Orchestra ["Symphony Of Destruction: Punk Goes Classical"]
6 Eve Of Destruction - Mike Batt & The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra feat. Lemmy Kilmister ["Philharmania - All Time Great Rock Hits Vol. 1"]
7 Come As You Are - Gringo Floyd ["The Cocktail Tribute To Nirvana"]
8 Closer - Timur and the Dime Museum ["Songs from the Operatic Underground"]
9 White Riot - London Punkharmonic Orchestra ["Symphony Of Destruction: Punk Goes Classical"]
10 I Get A Kick Out Of You - Dee Snider
11 Billie Jean - Vitamin Swing ["Swingin' To Michael Jackson: A Tribute"]
12 Killing Moon - The Scarring Party ["Woke Up With Fangs"]
13 Debaser - The String Quartet Tribute To Pixies
14 In My Life - Ozzy Osbourne ["Under Cover"]
15 Jealous Guy - Robin Morris ["Orchestral Rock"]

(Thanks to windy for the Robin Morris, and the Dee Snider tip.)

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

The "fucking intense evil violent scary witch music" of Phantascist

The Butthole Surfers, early PiL, The Birthday Party, Pere Ubu, Flipper - heck yeah, I used to love those loonies puking up free-form psychedelic chaos. Some of the best '80s college rock, tho doomed to commercial oblivion, and unlikely to be inducted into any Rock 'n Roll Halls of Fame. A style revived, and expanded upon, by North Carolina's late Phantascist, described by former member Boogie Reverie thusly: "...we terrorized the white-bread squeeky-clean 'indie rock' scene in Chapel Hill for a good couple of years, all the while taking loads of acid, setting stuff on fire, throwing raw meat, performing nude and getting kicked out of clubs. Miss those days! ... Our albums are a bit more on the arty/exploratory side, while our live recordings are fucking intense evil violent scary witch music (no joke, we actually scared people; it became an issue)."

Lucky you, he gave us all their recordings to post. The Diamanda Galas influence listed below is for real - the female vocalist really does sing opera style!  There've been no shortage of noisy guitar and free jazz bands over the years, but throwing opera vox into the mix has got to be a first (and if there are more, I'd love to hear 'em). Anyway, Boogie Reverie lists the contents as follows:

"Phantascist was -
Sara Bloo - vocals, alto sax, percussion
Julion S. - bass, cello, percussion
Boogie Reverie - guitar/drums [at the same time!], keyboards


'Wouldn't You Like To Know' - Our first record. It's kinda rough, playful, ugly, noisy. We were obsessed with Sun Ra, Diamanda Galas, Throbbing Gristle, Sun City Girls, The Birthday Party, and The Cows. Tracks 3 and 8 are accompanied by our friend Tom on keyboards. ["Great Freight" is my pick hit off this album - great bass line grooves along, as an opera singer loses her marbles.]
'Phantascist Live 2-19-2010' - This is a twisted raw performance we did at a house show in Chapel Hill when we started to break into the local noise/industrial scene. It was right after we recorded Wouldn't You Like To Know. The sound quality is poor, but it's a fairly accurate representation of what we were like live. [It does indeed get a bit spooky.]

'Gratitude' was our second record and really is just one 45 minute live jam divided up into three epic tracks  with freaky sound-collages weaving in and out of the music. It's meandering and noodly; not everyone's cup of tea, but it's my favorite of our two albums. It just gets weirder and weirder as it goes. At this point we were moving away from the noise-rock/punk influences and were going for a more epic post industrial jazz sound." [Fave part is 2: starts off groovy with bass melody + jazz sax skronk til the 7 minute mark when it goes into overdrive; love the bass that comes in around 10 minutes]


To both files I've added a song from Boogie Reverie's new solo album, "Hip New Wavicle of The Unscene Star." It's "pop," not improv/noise, with song styles ranging from wonderfully retarded spazz rock to almost Beach Boys-ish vocal harmonies.

Phantascist1 - "Wouldn't You Like To Know," + 1 Boogie Reverie song

Phantascist2 - "Gratitude" "Live 2-19-10" + 1 Boogie Reverie song

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

REPOST-APALOOZA Pt2: Music For Weirdos

Had another re-post request, this one for the awesome 4 disk collection "Music For Weirdos", compiled by reader Chris Swank (hey Chris, haven't heard from you in a while, where ya at?)  Have at it, kids:

Monday, August 27, 2012

Tribute To Neil Armstrong

The greatest song ever about the recently departed Neil Armstrong was this '80s college rock hit by Angst, which you can listen to/download


Unless y'all know of any others? I just re-upped my collection of fantastic, irresistibly groovin'  '60s/'70s ska/rocksteady/reggae/calypso space songs that I compiled in '09 to commemorate the 40th anniversary of man 'pon moon:

Life on Reggae Planet

Wish I had known about this one at the time, I would have included it:

(I used to be able to embed divshare, but no more.  We can put a man on the moon but we can't...)

Thursday, August 23, 2012


He was a goofy-looking bucktoothed little guy who sang funny songs with titles like "Swimmin' With The Wimmin" in a high, thin voice, while playing something called a 'banjolele' (a cross between a banjo and a ukulele.) He was also Britain's single most popular entertainer in the late '30s.

Many dozens of George Formby Jr's cheerful, clever, sometimes naughty double-entendre (i.e.: "With My Little Ukulele in My Hand") songs have been put up for free download to by some kind soul, and apart from being essential listening to fans of vintage novelty music, it's also a peek into the style of music hall entertainment that the typical Brit enjoyed back in the day. Whether performing live, acting in films, or recording, Formby was massively successful and influential to generations of British funnymen, from Benny Hill right up to Mr B The Gentleman Rhymer, even if the suggestive nature of his songs led him to sometimes be banned by the BBC.

George Formby Jr on

One of his most famous tunes, "When I'm Cleaning Windows":

Funny, just as I was thinking about writing about Formby a few days ago, I came across this:

Monday, August 20, 2012


I've had a number of requests to re-up oldies, but with mediafire deleting my stuff, and Massmirror annoying some of you, I've decided to go back to Rapidshare, knowing full well that some of you haven't liked it much in the past. Maybe they're better now? Options are dwindling, so hope this will do.

So sorry for that wait, but - at last! - here are your requests:

"Strange Interludes" (creepy old EZ vinyl)

"Get The Funk Out, Punk" (post-punk funky weirdness)

"Moog Breakbeats" ('60s/'70s Moog synth funk)

"Straight Outta Ireland" (Irish mashup collection)

"Disco Suicide" ('70s disco atrocities)

UPDATE 9/6: RMI Harmonic Synthesizer And Keyboard Computer (obscure '70s electronica)

UPDATE 8/21: Rosengarden and Kraus "Percussion: Playful And Pretty" ('60s Space Age bachelor pad music)

Friday, August 17, 2012

Farwell to GYBO, The CBGBs Of The Internet...

Was quite surprised to read the announcement earlier this week that GYBO is going off-line, after 10-and-a-half years of being the internet home of the mashup.  When I joined GetYourBootlegOn in '03, I was just happy to have someplace to put my sound-collagey things that I'd been making for years to a tiny cassette audience - indeed, the first tune I posted was recorded back in 1992. The public awareness of "illegal music" was minimal, at least here in America.  Negativland was well-known to the college-radio world, The Tape-Beatles and John Oswald had made some waves in avant circles, and hip-hop mix tapes were  being sold under finer urban music counters. There were a few other, more obscure things, but that was about it.  In the early days of GYBO, everyone was at least slightly familiar with everyone else. It was a small world.

I never expected much to come of this, but our small crew of 'net buddies soon found ourselves under the pop culture microscope, getting radio airplay, setting up club nights, being interviewed, getting pro deals.  GoHomeProductions even quit his day job and went on to remix the likes of David Bowie and got his Blondie/Doors mashup on an actual Blondie hits album; Phil'n'Dog's "Doctor Pressure" boot (short for "bootleg" in mashup talk) also got an official release and went all the way to #3 on the UK charts; movie producers came a-callin' (I did stuff for an Antonio Banderos film called "Take The Lead" that, alas, went unused); Video game makers came for their "DJ Hero" game; San Fran's Bootie club opened "franchises" all over the world; hell, DJ Earworm even did mixes for the opening ceremonies for the recent London Olympics, even tho he's American.  Yet GYBO never lost it's warm, clubhouse feel, and always welcomed newbies.

So why quit now, now that the word "mashup" is being entered into the dictionary (used in fiction and computers, as well as music), now that mashups have spread far beyond GYBO, to YouTube, to Bandcamp, to tv commercials, etc? Scottish producer/dj McSleazy, GYBO's founder/director, fears new UK laws that have thrown suckers in jail for illegally disseminating copywritten material. Granted, this was over copies of "Star Wars," for sale, which is not like freely distributing goofy little songs, but still, he doesn't want to take the chance. Like CBGBs, however, GYBO may be gone, but there are now zillions of cats 'n chicks out there doing what it's original denizens pioneered.

Here's a mix of some of the classics from the early years, roughly 2002-2005, massively popular tunes that most GYBO regulars would recognize - among other delights, you will hear Queen going ska, eminem go ragtime, Dubya rockin' the mic, Madonna vs Sex Pistols, Dolly Parton sing Led Zep, and every song in the world that features whistling. Almost every artist represented here was one of the "big names" of the scene.  Most of these tracks still sound great, with all of the humor and inventiveness of avant-'tarde music at it's finest. I'll probably do 1 or 2 more volumes - it was way too difficult to narrow down the must-haves to just one disk's worth, and a lot of this stuff is no longer on-line - I had to pull out the old shoeboxes of CDs to rip these babies.

GYBO's Greatest Vol 1
(After clicking the above link, scroll down for a choice of downloading options. You may have to wait a few secs.)

01 Gay Muppet Bar - Phil'n'Dog
02 Billie's Spirit - McSleazy
03 We Will Ska You - Bitter Sound Foundation
04 Dance To The Velvet Underground - Dunproofin'
05 Smokey and the Yeah - Pheugoo
06 Stripper Jackson - DJ NoNo
07 Socialist Catholic Mutilation - poj masta
08 Blowin' in my Mind - totom
09 Safari Love - Loo & Placido
10 "Music Mash-ups Make the Mainstream" - CBS news
11 Ray Of Gob - Go Home Productions
12 Whistler's Delight - DJ Riko
13 50 Bluebells - Faither of E-Jitz
14 Imagine a Walk on the Wild Side - rx
15 Dr. Who on Holiday - Dean Gray [aka Party Ben and Team 9]
16 Marshall's Been Snookered - Freelance Hairdresser [aka Soundhog]
17 Love will Freak Us - Dsico
18 A Hidden Forest - Gordyboy
19 Stairway to Bootleg Heaven  - DJ Earworm
20 My People Feel That Way In The Morning - The Kleptones

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

SAVAGE Exotica!!

This collection of '50s-'70s sultry, steamy, jungle moods taken from 45s or otherwise-non-exotic albums is all I feel like listening to lately - day after day of triple-digit heat (with a dash of humidity thrown into the cocktail) has us all wilting here in L.A.  Sitting by the ocean, Mai-Tai in hand, listening to this lovely music sounds really good right now.

You'll notice some big stars not known for exotica here, like Bo Diddley, The Ventures and Link Wray, all famed for their pre-surf guitar rockers; crooners Nat 'King' Cole, Sammy Davis Jr, and Frank Sinatra; and jazz divas Anita O'Day and Pearl Bailey. There's also plenty of hopelessly obscure regional acts who never made it past their local tiki bar. This isn't all Martin Denny-type cocktail lounge stuff, either - zippy ukulele instros ("Lover"), Jamaican rocksteady ("Angie La La"), goofy novelties ("Watusi Wedding," Tobi Rix) and at least three Hammond/pipe organ tracks are included here as well.  The common denominator is that it's all music designed to suggest, to quote from Sammy's percussion-charged version of Cole Porter's "Begin the Beguine," "...a night of tropical splendor...".

Most of this is recorded off my thrift-store vinyl, but thanks are in order to the late, great site Bellybongo for "Quiet Village '67" and the amusingly x-rated version of "Jungle Drums" and to for the radio ad.  "Tiki Hut" is an excerpt I made off of the "Teenage Diary" album posted by Otis Fodder's (who has a new blog) 365 Project, hosted by WFMU's "Beware of The Blog," from whence also comes the excerpt from "Seduction." And, of course, thanks to Bettie Page.

SAVAGE Exotica!! A MusicForManiacs Collection
(After clicking the above, scroll down for downloading options. You may have to wait a few secs.)

Alternate (zippyshare) link

1 Tiki Hut - "Teenage Diary"
2 Quiet Village '67 - Theophile & Bernard
3 Poinciana - Ethel Smith
4 An Occasional Man - Anita O'Day & Cal Tjader
5 Kiki -  Link Wray & The Wray Men
6 Caravan - The Nat King Cole Trio
7 Call Of The Jungle - Carl Stevens
8 Sassa Boumbit - Uele Kalabubu
9 Moon Over Manakoora - The Ventures
10 Seduction! (Act Two - Scene One) - Gregg Oliver and Lois Cooper
11 Jungle Drums - Sound Of X
12 My Shawl - Xavier Cugat-FrankSinatra
13 Brazil - George Wright
14 Haiti - Pearl Bailey
15 Wow - Russ Garcia
16 Islander - Kampus Kinsmen
17 Island of Lost Girls/Nice Girl radio ad
18 The Japanese Temple - Bobby Christian
19 Jungle Fever - Creed Taylor Orchestra
20 Accessory demo-Surfer Control - Concert Organ Co.
21 Lover - Perry Botkin
22 Angie La La - Nora Dean
24 Siboney - Desi Arnaz
25 Watusi Wedding - Hugo And Luigi
26 Bali Hai - Jesse Crawford
27 Uska dara  - Tobi Rix
28 Begin the Beguine - Sammy Davis, Jr.

Thursday, August 09, 2012


Hellsongs are a Swedish band who have gotten amazing mileage out of the strategy of covering classic heavy metal songs in an EZ style reminiscent of late '60s/early '70s sunshine pop bands like The Mamas and The Papas, or baroque poppers like the Left Banke. They're up to five releases and counting of arranging the works of the likes of Black Sabbath, Iron Maiden, Guns 'n' Roses, and Van Halen for horns, strings, piano, acoustic guitar, and low-key Claudine Longet-like female vox. Alice Cooper's "School's Out" gets downright bubblegum, and Twisted Sister's "We're Not Gonna Take It" drifts along nicely as a stately waltz. This could be played as a quick joke, but it's so artfully rendered that the unexpected results are often quite lovely. I came for the novelty, and stayed for the music. (But then again, I love all that Free Design kinda stuff.)

Listen to the Hellsongs soundcloud page.

Thanks to B'O'K!

Monday, August 06, 2012

Def Emcees Rhyming About the Civil War 'n' The Panama Canal 'n' Shit

Na Style Jaa are a hip-hop crew out of Lansing, Michigan who claim to be fed up with the usual cliched subject matter of most rappers, so they started writing songs that "focused on a point in history, although it is usually done in a fun and interesting way." Okay, I'm with you.  "For example our song 'Party at the Panama Canal' has a central idea that, since the panama canal took 10 years to build, there must have been a huge party to celebrate, so get the whiskey and the beer." Say what?

They don't claim that this is educational "Schoolhouse Rocks" kiddie stuff, tho I suppose that it could be used for that purpose.  And it's not usually explicitly comedic, tho it can be kinda funny hearing sincere, factually accurate songs about Fort Knox, lumberjacks, earthquakes, Woodstock, The American Civil War, and, yes, The Panama Canal, while still trying to keep it gangsta (in a white-bread kinda way). Beats range from really good to okay. "Call Me Maybe" doesn't seem to have anything to do with their concept - it's just tasty pop music.

I doubt that Na Style Jaa (pronounced "nostalgia") are going to hit Kanye-like levels of superstardom with this approach (and dressing up as Abe Lincoln won't help either), but I certainly wish 'em the best of luck. 

Not crazy about all their stuff, but ya gotta love a song called "Electric Toothbrushes" that actually is about exactly that.  Did you know that electric toothbrushes have been around since 1956? You are now that much smarter.
Listen/download here:

Na Style Jaa Soundcloud page

Friday, August 03, 2012

"Stairway To Heaven" Stretched To 77 Minutes

Buttress O'Kneel is the Australian madwomen who won our "M4M Idol" contest last year, and "Avant Retro: Post​-​Tardcore," her latest mashup/sound collage on-line album, continues her winning streak. She rarely just drops an acapella from one song over someone else's instrumental, and when she does, as in the 48 second Guns 'n' Roses vs Jane's Addiction "Been Caught", it's all-too-short.  Many tracks seems to have at least 4 sources fighting to be heard. Other strategies include: creating amusing dialogues between the songs (dig Grandmaster Flash's back-and-forth with the B52s on "Jungle Rat"), pounding the likes of The Buggles and Rick James into breakcore submission, and glitching up a song into abstraction a la John Oswald's Plunderphonics ("Mother Nature's Mulch"). And what's not to love about a song with a title like "She Blinded Me With Shatner"? Pick hit: "Running For Party Leader." (And bonus points for elsewhere sampling nutty Rhino Records parodists Big Daddy.)

Buttress O'Kneel "Avant Retro: Post​-​Tardcore"

All of which makes her other new recordings so surprising: they are as chilled and meditative ("spiritualy-themed," she sez) as her usual stuff is violent and confrontational.  She has recently uploaded a series of extremely-slowed down remixes (for lack of a better word) to Stevie Wonder's "Superstition," the theme song to 'The Neverending Story' (at a never-ending 102 minutes long), and Queen's 'Bohemian Rhapsody', among others, have been streeeeeeetched to great lengths. The results are not the monotonous drone-fests you'd expect, but beatiful ambient music. My fave of the bunch is "Heaven," which elongates Zep's "Stairway To Heaven" to 77 minutes and 7 seconds.  When Robert Plant's vocals show up at around the 9 minute mark, they are surprisingly legible - you can make out some of the lyrics. This track was even apparently actually played at a church service, but the sometimes spooky results are as ghostly as they are Gregorian. Free listen/download here:

Buttress O'Kneel "Heaven"