Tuesday, January 29, 2013

ZOOGZ TOOZDAY: Early Rarities

Zoogz Toozday is back, for one post - a large collection of early recordings from the late Zappa/Beefheart-inspired-bandleader-gone-punk/ comedian/ crank/ mad genius Zoogz Rift. We featured an album of Zoogz with his band The Amazing Shitheads every Tuesday for a while there, then super-awesome generous reader myxsoma laid some more on us, and, once again, he has gifted us with 3 bootlegs taken from cassettes of Zoogz and various enthusiastic cohorts chronicling his earliest recordings, some going all the way back to 1973: "The first two are apparently from his band "Zobus" which was his earlier band before the Shitheads." All 3 volumes contain text files with useful notes. Longtime sidemen Richie Hass (vibes) and Scott Colby (slide guitar) are featured. Sound quality varies, but is generally pretty good, considering.

The first folder "Zobus - the first demo - 1973" is the early stuff. In 1973 Zoogz would have been a mere 20 years old, and still in New Jersey, before he made his name in Los Angeles. If you're used to the thorny complexities of Rift's music, this stuff may surprise you - it's as much garage-rock as anything else. His style may not have gelled yet, but his attitude certainly had: the punk-before-punk "Rock 'n' Roll" has him and his bandmates howling: "I'm sick and tired of rock 'n' roll, so fuck you!" Elsewhere, there's "Jugular Vein," a Sun Ra-like freeform freakout; a latin music/Santana parody; an almost respectable bit of fusion with the not-so-respectable title "Not Drenched In Farts;" tape tomfoolery; Moog mania; and an acapella shouter, with the band exclaiming: "We've run out of ideas!" Fun, funny, and certainly unpredictable. The man was well on his way.

"Zobus 1975-1977 - Lovely Girl demo and rehearsals" is the next folder, and it's sounding better, more professionally recorded. "Would You F-I-B to the FBI" is a brilliant oddity, a Chipmunk-style novelty that turns into a circus waltz. "Tits and Ass" is cool, if a bit too obviously derivative of its inspirations: Zappa-esque lyrical crudity + Beefheartian growly vox and bluesy rock. Some of the soloing on the 6+ minute instro "Can't You See That B Can Be C Flat ?" is questionable, but is more than made up for with "Inside My Head There's A Vacuum," a live (but well-recorded) 17-minute groover from their last Jersey show before heading west. It's a downright sample-able funk-fest, with some real tasty Haas marimba solos, and spoken word nuttiness: "What do you think it's gonna be like when we finally get to California and show them our avant-garde weird music to the record companies?" "It's not gonna be any different."

"1978-1979 - Outtakes and alternates" features versions of a number of songs that did get released on a proper Zoogz album, "Idiots on the Miniature Golf Course", as well as songs that didn't make the album, inc. another version of "Would You F-I-B to the FBI", and the cowboy piss-take "The Man Who Slugged Your Mother" (did county bands ever actually use vibraphones?) No longer known as Zobus, they're Zoogz Rift's Micro Mastodons, and their playing is as tight as a drum. Loony guitarist John Trubee is now on board. Next stop: SST Records, and '80s college-rock notoriety.

Zoogz Rift - rarities

Funny (or not) - just as I was listening to this stuff today, I checked my email, and learned that Mediafire had taken down two albums from this blog. Two of those Zoogz Rift albums that I posted couple years ago.  What timing.  I'll try to get 'em back up soon.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Another Repost

By request: the absolute wimpiest versions possible of classic rock hits, "Soft, Safe & Sanitized," is back on-line.


Lamanites? Is that what your kitchen counter is made of?  No, silly, Lamanites are the original inhabitants of North America, according to the Book of Mormon, and since Mexicans and Polynesians are brown people like the Indians, they must all be related!  Let's thrown them into the same category, make 'em wear Indian costumes, and sing cheery, cheezy, '70s variety show-type music! So someone thought at Utah's Brigham Young University, from whence this group comes.

Lots of fun stuff on this album that Our Man in Salt Lake City, windy, sent our way.  Just don't expect much in the way of ethnic authenticity. The low-budget lounge combo's instrumental backing and the singer's enthusiastic performances can get absurdly entertaining. I mean, check out the cat in the headdress to the left. That's gotta be the crooner swingin' his way thru "Navajo Baby." "The Mountains Cry Out," believe it or not, is practically surf music. And a song with a title like "The Big Mouth Frog" has got to be good, right? Right. Oddly, there's almost no overt religious content. Maybe they were hoping for a mainstream crossover a la The Osmonds.

 The Lamanite Generation

(Bless you, windy!)

Wednesday, January 23, 2013


The Toilet Bowl Cleaners is a guy from Massachusetts. As I wrote last month when I posted "... 2 tracks off their album "Songs About Poop, Puke & Pee." The fact that such an album even exists is amazing; the fact that the Toilet Bowl Cleaners have many albums, all focused on the subject of human waste, and that some of the songs are actually good, is nothing short of mind-boggling. The main toilet-bowl cleaner sez that he's released 8000 songs in the last 4 years. That's kinda prolific." 

As funny and/or gross as you'd expect, but these simple, catchy Billy Joel-ish piano-driven songs are so obsessively single-minded in their examination of the more taboo aspects of human corporeality that it's kind of impressive. I almost feel like congratulations are in order. He seems to be a sane man, a regular guy, not someone you'd think were you to meet him on the street "Hey, now that's the kind of guy who would record 7 whole albums about bodily functions!"


01 Gotta Poop, Puke and Pee (Simultaneously) [Songs About Poop, Puke & Pee]
02 Happy Mother's Day (Thanks For Wiping My Bum, Mum) [Holiday Poop Puke & Pee Songs]
03 The Diarrhea Bounce Back [Still Farting, Pooping, Puking, and Peeing]
04 Scarlet Johansson Farts [Celebrities Fart and Poop (Just Like You & Me)]
05 I Pooped On Santa's Lap [Holiday Poop Puke & Pee Songs]
06 The Defecation Song [Still Farting, Pooping, Puking, and Peeing]
07 Swine Flu [I Love Poop!]
08 Peeing In The Shower [Songs About Poop, Puke & Pee]
09 Girls Don't Poop [I Love Poop!]
10 Picking My Nose [Let's Not Forget Snot, Boogers & Ear Wax!]
11 Taylor Lautner Poops [Famous People Fart & Poop]
12 Wiping My Bum With My Hand [I Love Poop!]
13 Bed Bugs [Let's Not Forget Snot, Boogers & Ear Wax!]
14 Rudolph The Red-Nosed Hemorrhoid [Holiday Poop Puke & Pee Songs]
15 Barack Obama Farts [Celebrities Fart and Poop (Just Like You & Me)]
16 Everybody Farts

Albums also available thru CDBaby.

Thursday, January 17, 2013


How's THAT for an album cover? 

I think you can see why I picked up this private-press piece of vintage vinyl recently - it truly is a slice of authentic Americana, a peek into un-hip rural backroads (in this case, Pennsylvania Dutch country) where Ma & Pa go out on a Saturday night to the local tavern and dance to the kind of music left out of the history books, played by the sort of performer usually considered to be not worthy of critical consideration.

Recorded live, Mr. Dutchman is  clearly having a good ol' time, chatting with the crowd,  letting loose with whoops and yee-haws! on occasion. Everything that doesn't sound like a polka (even the Elvis cover) is delivered in a wave-your-mug drinking song waltz-time. And might I direct your attention to the song that features our man playing the accordion and tap-dancing (!) at the same time. They don't make 'em like this any more.  (Or do they?  I suspect that this fellow might be the same guy.)


Monday, January 14, 2013

More Experimental Music From A 3-Year-Old Girl...

...tho I think she's at least 4 years old by now. Anyway, Stinky Picnic's long-awaited (by me, at least) follow-up to last years' swell "Cockles" has dropped, and it's even more swell. So swell, it is practically swollen, with more of dad's psychedelic minimalistic grooves and his girl's lyrics about monsters, birds, lizards (and the smelliness thereof), and, er, "bear mummies." And she can count up to 22. "...nearly 100% improvised live using loop pedals and piles of instruments." "Cat Collar" has such an ill groove that even those poor souls allergic to the charms of cute li'l girls will be nodding their heads to the shoegaze-y beat.

Stinky Picnic "Peaceful and Quiet"

Pops sez: "Indigo said we should call it "Peaceful and Quiet" so that when people hear a track like 'Brains' they'll "totally freak out"! Man, I love that girl o'mine..."  I feel ya, dad: yesterday, my daughter was singing "Old MacDonald" over an instrumental version of "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star." Baby's First Mashup! And she was making up lyrics about critters I don't recall being on Ol Mac's farm, like butterflies (..."with a flap flap here, a flap flap there..."). Already showing a healthy disregard for musical traditions.

Friday, January 11, 2013

A STONER'S TRIBUTE TO CARL SAGAN (Milvia Son Records Sampler)

I've passed the 1000 posts mark. And boy are my fingers tired.

On to 1001! Milvia Son Records from up in the Bay Area sent me a batch of their vinyl-only goodies, and the first thing you should know about 'em is that they've released an album by Can's first singer Malcolm Mooney. If that doesn't automatically score cool points, what will? They didn't send me that one (it sells itself, presumably), but there's other fun to be had in their catalogue of "head music" that bears little resemblance to most psychedelia or stoner rock currently being made.

Milvia Son sampler

1. Bad Drumlin Grass "All Night Long" - Bad grass? Actually, this New Wave-y tune from a 7" is made from good stuff, like synth farts and nonsense vocals. And nekkid ladies on the cover!
2. Bad Drumlin Grass  "Can Do" (excerpt) - Speaking of Mooney-era Can, I was digging this lengthy jam, the opening track to their album "The Invigorating Scent of …" and it reminded me of Can's "Yoo Doo Right." Then I checked the song title. So probably no coincidence. The song "Out on the Tracks" is an ill synth jam; the album gets increasingly jazzy/trippy, less groove-y as it goes on and the chemicals kick in.
3. Bob Frankford "O Carl" - Totally ridiculous ode to Carl Sagan sung (?) over a mangled recording of the theme to Sagan's tv show "Cosmos." I shouldn't love this, but I really do.  From the four-track 7" sampler "Just a Little Bit of Milvia Sun," which includes a pic of Dr. Carl, and a lengthy quote allegedly from the famous astronomer himself describing how great smoking pot is, e.g.: "Experiencing orgasms while high and listening to music, particulary electronic or 'psychedelic' music, is one of the greatest pleasures of my life.'  Wow, did he really say that?
4. Jaki Jakizawa " Period Fart" - All of side one of Jaki's album is super cool disco electro improv - like Giorgio Moroder goes free jazz.  I spent part of the '90s looking for anyone who was doing to synths what Coltrane did for the sax, what Jimi did for the guitar, and not coming up with much besides Sun Ra. A much-welcome approach to the synth. The flip is drum-less cosmic electronica recommended to Tangerine Dream fans. And there might still be a few of them left.
5. Old Yeller & The Pigbites - "The Wreck of the Jerome Garcia"/"Handsome Stranger" - This no-fi mess of acoustic guitars and vocals piled on top of each other makes Daniel Johnston sound as polished as Celine Dion, but some gems do rise thru the muck. ("Handsome Stranger" = Not Safe For Work.)

By the way: If you are a Can fan, the new "Lost Tapes" box set really is a treasure-trove, not just a hodge-podge of leftovers, crappy-sounding live tracks, demos, etc, as these types of collections usually are.

Tuesday, January 08, 2013

The Conceptual Crank-Call of "Conversations (Revisited)"

As I wrote last year: "Brandon Locher's "Conversations 2012" is a near-20 minute tour de force that does for prank phone calls what "The Velvet Underground & Nico" did for rock 'n' roll, uncovering unexpected depth and scope in what had been dismissed as childish nonsense.

What he basically did was call a store in a Johnstown, PA shopping mall and then did not speak. The "Hello? Hello" etc. response was recorded and then played to another shopkeeper in the same mall. Then their bewildered response was recorded and played for whoever answered the phone at yet another store in the same mall, and so on, until this game of tag went throughout the mall.
It does what a crank call is supposed to do - makes ya laff! - but there's much more going on here. It's ingeniously constructed, a well-edited piece of sound-collage, if nothing else."

Locher's back with another epic of prog-prank, 15 minutes longer then the last "conversations," and we're not in a shopping mall anymore. Just random folks are the unwitting stars rockin' the mic here. The first couple minutes are just people saying "Hello?," but the random collisions eventually become fascinating, thought-provoking, hilarious, and, when the really ancient-sounding old ladies are talking, kinda poignant.
I could listen to this all day - but bursting into laughter doesn't look so cool at the office.

Brandon Locher "Conversations (Revisited)"