Thursday, May 31, 2007
This is a sampler that was put out by Trustkill Records and was passed out for free at many gigs that bands on the label played at. Although the label sounds primarily like a metal record label, the project began as a hardcore fanzine that eventually turned into a record label which now has releases distributed through Universal. Here are some of the better tracks from the sampler that was released a few years back.
The opening bit to the track by Poison The Well (or PT-Dub, as they like to be called) sounds really promising and then the melodic bits that occur right before the chorus let you know that this is actually a metal song. It's weird to think that Guitar Magazine actually declared the album relased by these guys in 1999 as "one of the greatest hardcore albums of all time." Interesting definitiion of hardcore...
Throwdown: These guys are really fucking intense to see live, even if it was an accident to go to their gig during SXSW. Apparently, their forebears are bands like Pantera, Machine Head, Sepultura and early Metallica. They're from Texas so they can't be all that bad.
Nora: There are probably a whole lot of hoarse voices amongst the band members after they play a gig. Their latest album Save Yourself is being touted as along the ranks of Master Of Puppets, Reign In Blood, and London Calling. Make up your own mind on this claim.
Eighteen Visions (or 18V): Awesome drumming on this and then the vocals kick in, which make me think of Axl Rose a little but not near as snarly in a rock star kind of way, then the whole vocal style changes to screamo type shouting at points. Is it the same singer? Or someone else entirely? Did the audio engineer sneak a drunk Axl Rose into the studio as a prank? Well, these guys had a song called Victim, which became the official soundtrack for WWE Vengeance. Maybe that explains something. NIce shoes, though.
Most Precious Blood: Nice guitar sound on this one. The vocalist's style is slightly reminiscent of old Sodom. If you haven't heard their variety of metal from the '80s, give it a listen. These guys claim a hardcore DIY lifestyle and they have some interesting things to say: “We’ve got World War 3 going on; we have no time for poetry and guitar solos. It’s back to the old school of hardcore, get in, say what you want to say and get out. More than ever, hardcore should write that the end of the world can come tomorrow, instead most bands are writing like we have our whole life ahead of us. We wanted to write an album that isn’t dumbed down but has short songs with lyrics you can relate to immediately... We want hardcore to be something different again, like you feel you’ve discovered some secret society not a homogenized rebellion.” Unfortunately, these guys found their distributor threatening to shelve their upcoming album from 2005 as a result of this attitude and shift in their musical style.
Walls Of Jericho: Great fucking drum tuning for this recording! The screaming by the vocalist is astounding as well; probably because it's a woman- Candace Kucsulain! Walls Of Jericho hails from Detroit; this is probably what makes their front woman so tough. She's sustained head wounds and broken noses while on stage and still kept singing, covered in her own blood, until the gig was over. THEN she went to the hospital for treatment. She's even been known to hop on stage to sing while sporting two black eyes! Check out their video There Is No I In Fuck You!
Here are the tracks from this sampler!
Wednesday, May 30, 2007
Tuesday, May 29, 2007
Segun Adewale was raised listening to his father's guitar-playing and this nurtured a desire within him to become a musician. However, Segun was a member of a royal family in Nigeria and when he expressed this desire to his parents, his father objected to the notion of his son becoming a professional musician.
Segun left his home town and made his way to Lagos; he ended up working with Chief S.L. Atolagbe and his Holy Rainbow and, later, became an apprentice to IK Dairo. Dairo was considered by many to be the father of juju music and he taught Segun about composition and arranging music.
This album was released in 1984 and it was at this time that the term "yo-pop" was being used to describe Segun's mixture of funk, jazz, juju, reggae, and Afro-beat.
Saturday, May 26, 2007
Released in 1982 by Island Pictures, Countryman is an interesting look into the lifestyle, culture, and music of Rastafarianism. This film is difficult to find and rarely appears on television due to the thick Jamaican dialect that is used throughout its entirety. Being that this is a movie and not an actual documentary, the plot is kind of cheesy but the scenes that depict rural life in Jamaica are indispendible to those who find themselves fascinated by this music and way of life. Most of the actors in the film weren't actors at all but were used because they were native to the environment in which the film was made.
Reggae fans will recognize all the bands that adorn the musical soundtrack. Although, Bob Marley and the Wailers are pretty worn out as a musical reference to reggae, the songs that form a part of this soundtrack aren't the tired, played out crap that are heard on albums such as Legend. This album is a must for anyone who purports to be a reggae listener! If you love reggae, yet the only reggae music you've ever heard is Bob Marley, get a fucking life and start doing some deeper digging into the musical world. This double LP is a good place to start!
The Original Soundtrack From The Film Countryman
Wednesday, May 23, 2007
Influenced by minimalist composer Terry Riley's aleatoric work In C, which focused on musical patterns and offsets in time, Steve Reich started experimenting in the same way with tape recordings of the spoken word. His earlier works focused on the twelve-tone system but the emphasis of the studies revolved around the rhythmic aspects of the composition rather than that of the melodic. He became interested in taking segments of speeches, repeating them in similar fashion to a canon, playing them in and out of phase, then cutting segments of the speech out and rearranging them in a different order.
The piece Violin Phase is a musical study of this nature but rather than just going in and out of phase, the performer is pre-recorded and then plays along with himself in the studio, altering the musical phrase after a certain number of bars until near the end of the composition when the violinist finds himself playing back in unison with himself again.
In the early '70s, Steve Reich became fascinated with the study of drumming styles of the Ewe people in Ghana and shortly thereafter, the Balinese Gamelan Semar Pegulingan and Gamelan Gambang. You can hear the Indonesian percussion influences in his work Music For A Large Ensemble very clearly and in a more subtle way in Octet.
Steve Reich is considered to be America's greatest composer whose work has altered the direction of musical history.
Octet/Music For A Large Ensemble/Violin Phase
Most people are familiar with Al Jourgensen and Ministry as an industrial/metal fusion band. Fewer people are familiar with their output prior to the famed Halloween single, which made them celebrities in the music industry.
In 1983, Arista released the album With Sympathy, which is the official debut album by the band. According to the cassette liner notes, Ministry was touted as a duo, rather than a band. One pop critic described the recording as "Human League's surly little brother." Jourgensen, however, remembers it with less fondness, referring to it as an "abortion of an album."
At the time of signing contracts with Arista, Jourgensen found himself without any creative control whatsoever. Everything was handed over to other writers and producers, leaving Jourgensen in the uncomfortable position of doing their musical bidding. It wasn't long before he parted ways with Arista after the filming of a music video for Revenge and releasing a single titled Work For Love, which at last sight was being sold in record stores for $80.
Reading online about the band and fans' interactions with them, a story unfurled about how someone attempted to get Jourgensen to autograph a copy of the With Sympathy CD, which Jourgensen instantly smashed to pieces and then promptly paid the fan $15 to pay him back for his loss.
Listen to the LP here.
Tuesday, May 22, 2007
Anne Clark, along with cohort David Harrow, were among those pioneers who were actively sculpting new sounds in electronic music in the 1980s. Anne's poetry alongside the electronic musings of David helped provide a musical foundation that would be even further soldified by bands like Depeche Mode.
Anne Clark, a Londoner, left school at the age of sixteen and involved herself in various jobs in independent record stores in the year 1976. Punk was just beginning to splatter itself across all of England and the noise it created spoke to the inner angst she was experiencing.
She began to feel her need for communication to extend itself into the realm of art, music, and theatre. This led her to approach the Warehouse Theatre, next door to Bonaparte Records, and begin working as the unpaid adminstrator for the locale setting up performances of various kinds. Live performances by The Damned, Siouxsie and The Banshees and Generation X, Linton Kwesi-Johnson, and the Durutti Column would become a staple. Anne's own debut was the performance at Richard Strange's Cabaret Futura in London along with Depeche Mode.
When she began composing lyrics, poetry, and music with David Harrow, her fascination with samplers, keyboard, and synthesizers resulted in releases such as this one.
She still performs often enough. Check out her website to learn more.
Monday, May 21, 2007
Attrition are considered pioneers in the musical realm that some have come to know as Goth or Industrial music. Starting up in 1980, the band still tours and has sold over 50,000 albums to date. Influenced by the Do It Yourself attitude of the punk movement and the experimental in the arts- visual as well as musical- Martin Bowes and Julia Waller found themselves eventually touring and recording alongside bands who were the burgeoning core of the industrial sound. Test Department, Coil, Legendary Pink dots, In The Nursery, Portion Control were only a few of the bands who they would induct as comrades in a new musical age.
After a drummer didn't show up to a gig, the band had decided to replace him with an electronic one instead. Thus, was born a new sound, and a penchant for exploring the differences in the sonic possibilities that a new technology had afforded them. This resulted in the cassette home recordings Fear/Devoid and then later the ambient recording This Death House. Their very first live gig was with Coil in 1983.
In 1985, the song Shrinkwrap made the cover cassette that accompanied the magazine Electronics & Music Maker. This resulted in the 12-inch single that you can now listen to. The record is rarely mentioned in discographies and it's safe to say is out of print. It wasn't much later that Attrition joined hands with the Legendary Pink Dots to start their distribution company Terminal Kaleidoscope. You can find live recordings of both bands on the split-CD of the same name.
It was strange that with the underground goth scene that still seems to persist in Austin, Attrition had never performed in that town until less than a year ago. It was unfortunate that the gig took place the weekend of Thanksgiving when most people were gone for the holiday. Most likely they will never play Austin again. There were only about 20 people in attendance.
The band is really great to see live and the first sensation you have when they don the stage is not that of the aural but rather the olfactory, as Martin likes to light incense when starting their set. It sets a really interesting mood to the venue. The change in the atmosphere is felt almost instantly. Martin was a great guy but there's only so much one can talk about to a band member whose music one hasn't listened to in 15 years. And Attrition has quite an expansive discography since this one record was released!
These days, Martin Bowes teaches music in England. Attrition is currently on tour in Europe and is preparing for round two of their tour of the States. Learn more about the gigs, the latest album (Dante's Kitchen), and the re-issues of previous albums to CD on their website!
Side project started by Alexander Von Borsig of Einsturzende Neubauten, as his current project was constricting the kind of musical work he was wanting to create and perform. Fans of Neubauten may think this sounds strange but when you actually hear MDK, it will make more sense taken in stride with the time period this EP was actually recorded (1982). He eventually went back to the band to handle their audio engineering and live sound of their performances but up to that point, he had done work under various projects with P1 E, Blasse, Sentimentale Jugend, Mekanik Destruktiw Komandoh and Sprung Aus Den Wolken. Listen to the record!
D & V (Drums & Vocals) were simply that. However, under the audio engineering tutelage of Penny RImbaud and backed by the vocals of Eve Libertine and Joy DeVivre, they were a little bit more than what they boasted. Dance drum beats and heady lyrics flowed through the entirety of the LP.
This record was released right around the time of Crass' demise and the record label was moving into a direction where the statements it was making went beyond the normal criticisms of the society that most of us felt boxed in by. They were beginning to offer visions that alluded to a life outside of the perceived box that enclosed the multitudes. D & V's record was a small part of that vision.
Note the Malcolm McClaren sample from Madame Butterfly on the track The Present Situation.
Click here for the liner notes.
Sunday, May 20, 2007
Nig-Heist were a bunch of weirdoes who were either Black Flag roadies or producers of punk albums or maybe even anonymous people from other punk bands. The concept began with Mugger, Black Flag roadie and patron of the Church practice space. When the hardcore scene began to exhibit signs of being cliched and narrow-minded in its approach to music, Nig-Heist was there to show it for the stupid farce that it was beginning to become. Adorned with wigs and not much else, Mugger and Co. would appear on stage and create pandemonium and banter with the audience.
Although the band was created as a joke, it resulted in the release of an LP and a couple of 7-inches on the Drag City record label. In the early to late '90s, the album was re-issued on CD with a bonus disc of live recordings of the band as compiled by Henry Rollins. To capture the essence of where Nig-Heist was coming from, it's imperative to hear that disc.
The show that Nig-Heist played in Austin with the Meat Puppets, the Offenders, and Black Flag was probably one of the more annoying gigs they put on. But, that was the whole point of the act- to be a nuisance to those who weren't in on the joke.
Here's the out of print CD.
Thanks to Geoff Cordner's website for the awesome photo!
Saturday, May 19, 2007
When Madonna's book Sex was announced, you had the option to pre-order it from the local bookstore three months in advance. It had a heavy metallic book cover and was wrapped in a shiny silver wrapper with her face adorning the front. Inside was a complimentary CD of her tune Erotic and a small comic of photos with her and Rosie O'Donnell and Naomi Campbell inside. Quite a package! The HMV music store in New York had a release party of the book where you could go into the store and view the book for $1/minute. When the public libraries starting stocking the book, you were only allowed to check it out for an hour at a time. It couldn't leave the library premises. The book is currently out of print.
The book is narrated by Dita, named after the silent film actress, Dita Parlo. Some of the imagery inside is absolutely beautiful; some of it completely disturbing. Warner Bros. was completely opposed to the idea of the production of the book and had her sign a legal agreement, stating that she was not to include religious ornamentation or acts of bestiality in the book. Madonna actually broke these rules by including a nude photo of herself with a dog and an image with a crucifix in the background.
Madonna said that she was completely nervous about the project beforehand and she went through months of working out in order to prepare for the nude photographs that were taken of her.
Of course, when a book of this nature comes out, there is always the predictable "shock and horror" by those who are more conventional in their approach to living that feel threatened by it. This all played out as knee-jerk responses normally do, with media outlets feeling the need to get everyone to comment on it. The book sold 150,000 copies the day it was released.
It seems that most straight men dislike Madonna. Perhaps it's because of her inability to compromise her business, her music or her art in order to accomodate another person's whim or idea of who she is or how she should "market herself." Most likely, this is the reason she was so adamant in making sure that everything went as SHE wanted it to when producing this book. Sex is the one arena where women feel the least power and so for Madonna to assert herself in this realm was of utmost importance.
You can view the entire book online.
Here's the CD that accompanied the book.
Friday, May 18, 2007
Keeping in pace with the South By Southwest theme that has been set, even though the event itself is worth much revulsion, here is a sampler that was released by The Enclave record label in 1997. Looking at the credits, one can see that there are quite a few bands on this label (some recognizable, others more obscure) but only two of these bands actually performed during SXSW the week of the famed event- Fluffy and Sloan. The record label had one more showcase in 1998 and then went belly up, leaving many of the bands on their label to fend for themselves.
A little about the bands:
World Party: This was the first release that Karl Wallinger had released in the previous five years. A solo project that consisted of Wallinger's talented performance of every instrument on the album, resulted in the release of the Private Revolution album. The song Ship Of Fools became a big hit for Wallinger with its musical hearkening back to a Beatlesque era.
Fluffy: An all-girl outfit, Fluffy played the very first Sex Pistols reunion gig in Finsbury Park. Their first single release "Hypersonic" was celebrated in the form of a record release put together by Dave Stewart of the Eurythmics. Their first album Black Eye was produced by Bill Price, who recorded the Sex Pistols' Never Mind The Bollocks. Their sound is rough enough but they draw a lot of criticism for writing lyrics for simpletons. Still, they seemed like nice enough gals and didn't take banter with the audience they attracted too seriously, so they seemed on-the-level and not big-headed by any means.
Sloan: This Canadian band is still together and plays regular gigs in the great white north. Some of their tracks will remind you of pop hits from the '70s. They will grow on you the more you listen to them. They describe themselves as "Money-city maniacs who have a soft spot for sweet sugar tunes."
September 67: This duet also played in Lillith Fair the same year this sampler came out. Their album Lucky Shoe was backed by all kinds of musicians such as Bryan Harvey, Bob Rupe, David Lowery and David Immergluck. They also recorded a track with Dave Matthews backing them. If you give a fuck about crap like that, then you'll llke these tracks.
Drain S.T.H.: S.T.H. stands for Stockholm and this band is from Sweden. You can hear the obvious Alice In Chains influence in their music. Whatever. The coolest thing about these gals is that they wrote a song with Tony Iommi called Black. Although, after listening to Seventh Star a time or two, maybe that's nothing to brag about.
Belle & Sebastian: Hipsters should appreciate the inclusion of Belle & Sebastian on this compilation. Formed in Glasgow, Scotland just a year before this collection was put together, their Tigermilk album was so successful that they were signed by Jeepster Records and the album If You're Feeling Sinister was recorded just three months later. These two tracks were written for the upcoming album.
Scratching Post: Apparently, Virgin signed this Canadian group after The Enclave went bankrupt and re-produced the album. Without having heard it, it's difficult to do a comparison contrast. These two tunes are catchy enough; if you're into female vocalists with sultry voices and buzz guitars backing them, Scratching Post is for you.
Fleshpaint: Another Canadian band hailing from Ottawa. They describe themselves as "industrial pop." It's kind of dumb; kind of like what would happen if Britney Spears decided she wanted to write the lyrics and music to a Trent Reznor album and he actually recorded it. If this amuses you, then download the album just so you can hear what this vain attempt to describe their sound is trying to convey. The best thing about the band is their name. They apparently did a video called Cigarette Religion. If only their music was as cool as their titles...
Fluid Ounces: These guys seem to be good musicians but they suffer from what most musicians have when they want to make it big by getting involved with shitty events such as SXSW. However, they're from Tennessee so maybe that explains a little bit of something. Give them a listen and make up your own mind. If you're into piano rock, then have at it!
And, without further ado, here's the album!