Friday, February 28, 2014

Fat Head's Conspiracy-Theory Rap

One of the latest amusing bat-shit crazy conspiracy theories is that the contrails exhaust coming out of airplanes are really "chem-trails" that drift on down to populated areas and supposedly do all kinds of terrible things to us. It must be true, it's on the internet! So I was delighted to hear this rap song on the radio that deals with this topic, a much more interesting subject than hip-hop's usual cliches, I'm sure you'll agree. Over a nice head-nodding beat, the rapper spits out a paranoid fever-dream of "weather warfare," demons, black ops, mind control, population control, martial law, etc. Who knows wtf he's talking about? Funny, but pretty freakin' psycho. Makes me wonder how seriously Fat Hed takes all this. You can listen to it here:
Fat Hed "Clouds"

or download it as part of the FREE! album "The Jump Room"

Of course only a really stupid super-villain would attempt a 'chemtrail' conspiracy, as any chemicals dropped at that great altitude would soon disperse into the atmosphere, leaving only harmless trace amounts by the time they reach our level. Or so "They" WANT you to think!  You're so naaiiiiive!!

I was raised during the heyday of the L.A. aerospace industry, and many friends and family members were/are engineers and pilots. (I actually get kinda nostalgic when I see contrails...) But to a segment of the population, science and technology is still as mysterious and scary as it was in the day when the first cinema-goers dove under their seats when a film showed a train approaching. Or the "cargo cults" of the South Pacific who built wooden airplanes in an attempt to lure back the great white gods who landed on their islands during WWII in their magic flying machines, bearing miracles like aspirin and chocolate. Surely, no mortal could create such wonders!

Monday, February 24, 2014

Better Than The Beatles! 26 Tunes That Failed to Oust the Fab-Four From the Charts

Four things learned from this album of recordings released  1963-1965 as a reaction to the Beatles U.S. invasion:

1. The "greatest band of all time" was widely resented/disliked.
2. Some thought they were from London, or apparently didn't know there was a difference between Liverpool and London.
3. Ringo was the most popular Beatle.

Obviously, history has altered our view of the Fabs (no relation) a bit since then. And although the Rolling Stone magazine/rock critic mafia would disagree, I also learned that:

4. The American rock'n'roll scene did not need "saving": there's plenty of great surf, garage, hillbilly, r'n'b, novelty, and girl-group sounds here that sadly would be kicked to the curb until its punk revival more than a decade later.

Better Than The Beatles!

Friday, February 21, 2014

Peter Sellers & Spike Milligan: Strangest Comedy LP Ever?

The Goon Show was hugely influential to Monty Python, British comedy in general, and even The Beatles (George Martin had worked with the Goons before his stint with the mop-tops). Count Otto Black has kindly sent our way this utterly bonkers album from two Goons, writing: "In 1974, Spike Milligan and Peter Sellers thought it might be fun to make a record called He's Innocent Of Watergate, Or, Dick's Last Stand. The result, a gleeful and genuinely deranged mélange of vicious satire, relentless political incorrectness (in every possible sense of the word - you have been warned!), and sheer Dadaism pleased almost nobody and offended quite a few. The title song is actually quite catchy..."

The Count ain't kidding: volume and tape speed fluctuations, obviously fake audience  sounds, and a variety of voices (impressive American accents!) all add up to a head-scratching/head-spinning experience. Especially remarkable considering how Sellers was at the height of his post-Pink Panther fame at the time of this album's release.

Peter Sellers & Spike Milligan - He's Innocent Of Watergate, Or Dick's Last Stand

Plus!  Added to the file, two short tracks from Derek and Clive aka Peter Cook and Dudley Moore, another legendary British comedy duo. If your only knowledge of Moore is his "Cuddly Dudley" rom-com persona, take heed!  With both the pre-Python 'Beyond The Fringe' quartet, and subsequent partnership with Cook, Moore was actually party to some of the greatest British cutting-edge comedy ever. The tracks included here, "Kirk Douglas" and "Sex Crime," are genuinely hilarious, not just the bizarre artifact the Sellers/Spike album is.

Thanks, Count Otto!

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

JOSIE COTTON "Invasion Of The B-Girls"

Yes, that "Johnny Are You Queer?" gal is still around and still recording. Witness this 2007 release that came and went with scarcely a trace, tho it should be of interest to fans of strange music and psychotronic cinema. "Invasion Of The B-Girls" is a covers album of songs that originally appeared in films from the Golden Age of Exploitation, the 1960s/'70s. It lacks a bit of the raunch necessary for the more rock 'n' rollin' songs, tho - "Get Off The Road" (from "She Devils On Wheels"), and the theme to "Faster Pussycat Kill Kill" inevitably suffer in comparison to the Cramps' versions. And of course when the Cramps put their stank on a tune, it stays stunk. But Cottons' voice sounds as good as ever, and the pop-sheen production perfectly suits material like the absurdly melodramatic "Black Klansman," and the "Beyond The Valley Of The Dolls" theme.  And kudos to Cotton for singing a song from one of the Mothra films in Japanese!

JOSIE COTTON "Invasion Of The B-Girls"

1. Maneaters (Get Off The Road)
2. Green Slime
3. Beyond The Valley Of The Dolls
4. Girl In Gold Boots
5. Run Pussy Cat
6. Who Killed Teddy Bear?
7. Shiawaseo Yobou (Let's Try To Be Happy)
8. Black Klansman
9. Goodbye Godzilla (Vocal Version)
10. Maneaters (Ursula 1000 Remix Edit)

Friday, February 14, 2014

The Acapella Death-Metal of EyeSea

What's more ridiculous than death metal? Howzabout acapella death-metal? EyeSea's "blue ten" is an entire album of Cookie Monster vocals going 'rowr rowr rowr', screams, and silences. And they don't cheat by sneaking in other sounds - there really are no other instruments.  Are they even "singing" in English, or is this a guy clearing his throat for 22 minutes?  Whatever it is, I was laffin'!  

To the remixers and sound-collagists of the world: you're welcome.

 EyeSea "Stück 6"

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

TWINK The Toy Piano Band: "Happy Houses"

Confounding the naysayers who don't consider the toy piano a "real" instrument, Boston's master of toy-tronica Twink, has just released yet another album, his eighth one I believe. It is appropriately entitled "Happy Houses," as you just can't make sad music on toy pianos. (Although I'd love to see some mopey goths try, wouldn't that would be interesting?)

At first glance this appears to be a somewhat modest effort: it's short (8 songs in a half-hour), doesn't have any gimmicks like sampled kiddie records or guest remixers that are found on prior releases, or the kind of elaborate artwork Twink is known for. Just a man and his toys (and electronics) simply backed by a few other cats on guitar, banjo, horn, flute, bass, and a mystery instrument called a 'playett.' But have no fear: this is some of Mr. Twink's best songwriting yet. The first two songs, "Close To Home" and "Ostrich Hop" (with an most un-childlike free-jazz sax solo) are instant Twink faves. "Gumdrop Glitter" has a '70s Moog disco feel. As the album progresses, things get more odd and experimental. Couldn't find any info on the  instrument called the playett featured on  the exotic waltz "Turtle Trap," but something on that song sounds like an mbira, the African thumb-piano, and something else sounds like a horn man playing a garden hose. "Interloodle" has an unidentified cartoonish flatulent sound that I really like - too bad the song's barely a minute-and-a-half long. The wacky electronics on "Crocodilly" move things into Perrey/Kingsley territory, and despite the ravey trappings of the epic "Frankentoy," I can't imagine any DJ having the nerve to play a song so festooned with clinking, clanking sound effects. Their loss, as it's one of the most ambitious things Twink has ever tried. Toy-prog?

Git tha album off of Twink's happy web-house. Click tha song title to be whisked off to DivShare land:

Twink - "Close To Home"

The FREE! web-release "Miniatures" is also pretty recent, and pretty wonderful.

Sunday, February 09, 2014

4 Albums from Pat Smear: The Lost Years

I had a dream the other night that Elvis Presley was fronting a young, collegiate alt-rock trio called The Masters Of Logic. Elvis, in a white jumpsuit, appeared to be in his '70s Vegas era, and despite the lack of the expected brassy big band, he appeared to be acquitting himself quite nicely with this aggressive guitar/bass/drums lineup. Unfortunately, I can't recall exactly what the music was like.

Even more surreal: the fact that a Grammy was recently awarded to a man formerly of a punk group originally called Sophistifuck and the Revlon Spam Queens, who had food regularly thrown at them by audience members, and would throw up on stage.

Good gawd awmighty, PAT SMEAR won a Grammy.

Smear was in The Germs, perhaps the first true hardcore punk band and certainly one of the most notorious, and I guarantee that no one in the late ‘70s thought that this guy was headed for anything other than jail or a mental hospital. Allow me to cut-and-paste:

The band started when Jan Paul Beahm and Georg Ruthenberg decided they should start a band after being kicked out of University High for antisocial behaviour, allegedly for using ‘mind control’ on fellow students. They named themselves “Sophistifuck & The Revlon Spam Queens,” with Beahm (then ‘Bobby Pyn,’ and later Darby Crash) on vocals, Ruthenberg (then and later called Pat Smear) on guitar… the Germs began as an objectively pathetic musical outfit. The first single…arrived back from the pressing plant with the note, “Warning: This record causes ear cancer” printed on the sleeve by the plant staff, much to the band’s displeasure. They were supposed to appear in the Cheech And Chong movie, Up In Smoke but were not invited back mostly due to the fact that The Germs’ anarchic performance included a full-on food fight.... Singer Darby Crash often arrived onstage nearly incoherent from drugs, singing everywhere but into the microphone and taunting the audience between songs. The other band members had similar problems, with many contemporary reviews citing collapses, incoherency, and drunken vomiting onstage."

Darby did in fact O.D.  Smear spent the next decade/plus hanging around the L.A. scene until fate came a-calling, and he joined another band with a lead singer who killed himself, Nirvana. (If I was singing in a band with Pat Smear, I would be very, very nervous.) Nirvana led to the Foo Fighters, who somehow ended up recording with Sir Paul McCartney last year, who all won a Grammy. Forget the Grateful Dead, this was a long, strange trip.
Smear's a great guitarist, and his contributions to the Germs, and punk legend, are inestimable, but as I recall, after the disintegration of the Germs and his subsequent sometimes-excellent band Twisted Roots (whose stuff is in print) in the early '80s, and before his early-'90s Nirvana/MTV stardom, Smear was considered kind of a has-been, wandering thru the L.A. club scene a decidedly minor player. Even recording for the "It" label of college radio, SST Records, didn't help. I rarely recall his albums getting reviewed, airplay, or any kind of buzz.  I knew a grand total of one (1) person who bought one of his albums, and that was just because, y'know, he was the guy from the Germs.  I don't remember actually hearing the album.
And now Pat's playing with, of all people, a Beatle.  And not Ringo!  A knighted Beatle. And he's winning Grammys. Does the Academy know that they just gave a trophy to a key figure in a scene that was (allegedly) opposed to everything the music industry stood for?  Oops, heads will role!  Or not - if a Beatle says it's okay, then it must be okay. I wonder how many music biz weasels will now claim that they loved punk all along. "Marvelous stuff the young people were doing." 

And so Mr. Smear, we salute you, and your half-assed albums. Albums that, to their credit, often fit no known genre, and are almost punk-free. Albums that have never seen digital release (tho maybe they will now). 
At least he doesn't sound like he's taking himself too seriously on these four obscurities.

Pat Ruthensmear "Ruthensmear" (1988) - Amateur glam w/synths, drum machines, Smear's guitar (work that wah-wah!) and strangled vox; an odd, almost random eclecticism. "Golden Boys" is the completion of an unfinished Germs song.

The Death Folk "Deathfolk" (1990) - Acoustic duo with Gary Jacoby from the band Celebrity Skin, but hardly "folk" music; covers Queens' "'39."

Pat Smear "So You Fell In Love With A Musician..." (1992) Sounds properly grunge - his audition for Nirvana? - but hints of glam still pop thru. As usual, he sounds like he's having fun, uttering lyrics like "Wicked witch, your titties drip red lava 3-D fantasies." 

The Death Folk "Deathfolk II" (1992) - No longer acoustic, but grungy glammy pop-rock. This former punk minimalist is not afraid to guitar-wank as much as any arena-rocker. "Medely" honestly isn't that far removed from Styx' "Come Sail Away." Covers The Go-Gos' "Automatic."