sit back. relax, watch and listen. there's music everywhere. can you hear it?
Tuesday, July 03, 2007
Gal Costa - Baby
Of course, most of you will probably be more familiar with the Os Mutantes version of this song, but Gal Costa's rendition is quite beautiful and here's the video for it. It's weird, but I hadn't ever looked this up on youtube before, or even had any idea it existed, but when I typed in "Gal Costa" into the youtube search field the text "Gal Costa baby" popped up. So, I'm left wondering what genius was looking this up on my computer and how I should thank them. So, if it was you, step up. I'll make you a mix cd or something.
Unfortunately, the clip cuts off before the song is over and done with.
And tomorrow, JRP (that's this blog, silly face), should have some more Philly related videos to share with you, so keep a look out for that!
Oh, and if for some reason we are delayed in our posting, please check out my friend's blog KRAKEN RADIO. So far, he's made two amazing podcasts for the general public to download and enjoy and they come highly recommended by people in the know (er, me....but that's good enough.)
The 80's Through A Series of Tubes (redux for the summer): Dolly Mixture
Just in time for summer, I've found a clip of one of my favorite obscure girl bands from the 1980's. I know I've been promising to keep posting about krautrock, but the warmer weather (amongst other things) has made me desire more pop-oriented music and Dolly Mixture certainly delivers when it comes to pop, but don't be turned away by that label. They're certainly not "mindless pop!"
I actually came across a track ("Everything and More" which you can listen to on this myspace page) from this band on a random blog almost two years ago and put it on a few random mix cd's I made at the time and sort of forgot about them until I lucked into (again, randomly) stumbling upon a download of their 1984 release The Demonstration Tapes - A Double Album. There's a lot of information about the band on this site (http://punkmodpop.free.fr) but I am going to summarize some of it here for my readers that just come for the youtube clips (not that there are a lot of you actually reading this thing, anyway!)
Supposedly, the girls were girlfriends of members of The Damned, but obviously that noteriety did them little good, because most people at least know of The Damned and little have heard of Dolly Mixture. When I've tried describing their sound to people, I like to say they're kind of like Liliput meets The Go-Gos. As far as releases go, the band put out four singles prior to The Demonstration Tapes on a few scattered labels (this included the single "Everything and More" and the song "Been Teen" which is what they're performing in the above youtube clip) and then after the double album, they put out a few singles on their own label and a final EP (called The Fireside EP) but I've yet to be able to track down the later stuff, unfortunately.
Anyway, I don't have a lot of love for most 80's girl-pop bands, or girl-pop bands in general (unless they're Swedish in origin. That's quite another story!) but I find Dolly Mixture to be endearingly competant with their songwriting. With songs like "Shonay, Shonay" ("Do you remember that time on vacation when I left you crying at the station?/I was excited by the hurrying crowd/By all that was busy and bright and loud." and later in the song "And you ought to know that I really did care/I try to think of things that I should be doing/But all that comes is that I've been losing you") the band finds themselves a lot more self-reflective than their sugar-pop counterparts. But they're also not afraid to have fun and this is also evident with songs like "How Come Your Such A Hit With The Boys, Jane" and "He's So Frisky."
So try to track down their album and give the youtube clip a watch and the myspace songs a listen. I promise you'll enjoy it and if you don't....well, I don't know what's wrong with you!
Alright, so I'm a little late to jump on the Beach House bandwagon. Pitchfork gave them a nice little write-up when they released their album in October of 2006 and from then on, they've kind of exploded and as usual with these things, I waited it out before giving them a proper listen. I try not to trust the hype, but you can (maybe) trust me when I say the hype is pretty much worth it. The band's self titled release on Carpark has been on a constant rotation in my house (if you go to my last.fm page, you can see this for yourself...) and I seriously can not get enough of their airy, breezy Mazzy Star meets Nico meets every awesome shoegaze band you could possibly think of-sound.
Anyway, I'm a little brain-dead from my last week of school, so instead of writing a lengthy analyzation of their sound (I'm not very good at that kind of thing, anyway), I'm just going to post a video from youtube of my favorite song off their album called "Master Of None." Enjoy.
This entry isn't so much to delve into a specific group as to just talk about a specific group's album. Also, there's no youtube clip for this post, so if you only really come here for the clips I guess you should just move along and wait a few days cause there will be plenty of those coming.
Ahh, but to the point or the subject...or....the topic of this humble little entry. I didn't know anything about Holderlin when I decided to pick up their first album Holderlin's Traum. A quick google search yielded very little information and what information I could find was in Japanese or some other language I couldn't even pretend to understand. The information I could gather was the following;
Holderlin started out primarily playing cover tunes of German folk songs during much of the 1960's. Hailing from Germany, the band was founded by two brothers, Christian and Joachim Grumbkow. In the early 1970's they received a record contract and the album, Holderlin's Traum was their first release. They went on to continue releasing music well into the 1980's, but I've not had a chance to hear anything but Holderlin's Traum and frankly, I'm afraid that if I did pick up any of their later efforts, I'd probably be disappointed.
This album is great stuff. Most songs are peppered with strong, ethereal female vocals, but the third song "Strohhalm" is pulled along by some great male vocals. The stand out tracks are their shorter songs, like the second track "Peter", which showcases some beautiful acoustic guitar work at the beginning right before jumping into a jaunty folk groove. This song consistently gets stuck in my head. I wish I knew German so I wouldn't have to just go "na na na na" to the parts I don't understand!
The album shifts effortlessly between folk and krautrock stylings. The song "Requiem Fur Einen Wicht" is the most indicative of this fusion of techniques. Actually, there's a wide melding of styles; eastern influences, jazz, prog, folk, kraut. Each song handles the union of these musical approaches creatively and beautifully.
In short, I'm pretty bummed that I can't supply you people with some media of the band. But I highly suggest you try tracking it down, or if you know me, eventually I'll probably play it for you....because that's just what I do, isn't it?
I figured with the passing of Uwe Nettelbeck on Jan. 17th, it was only appropriate to begin my series of krautrock-based entries with the band he created; Faust.
The first song I ever heard from the band was the absurdly jaunty "Picnic on a Frozen River" from Faust So Far and I will readily admit to heavily using the song on many mixtapes. Another one of my favorites, from their self-titled album, was "I've Got My Car and My TV." which I was able to find a live performance clip of from 2005.
Faust formed in 1971. According to what I could dig up on wikipedia, they were also one of the first bands to sign to Richard Branson's Virgin Records (for those of you unfamiliar with Richard Branson, maybe you will remember his reality show called The Rebel Billionaire?). Although they are often noted as being one of the preeminent influences in the genre known as krautrock, they weren't commercial successes like Can or Kraftwerk. The band broke up after Virgin refused to release their fifth album and for some time after that, no one knew where the band was, or what they were doing. There are some documented instances of members performing together in the 80's, but it wasn't until 1990 that some of the members began touring and performing together recurrently. As you can see from the above clip, the band is still performing at various festivals in Europe.
I would kill to get my hands on some of Faust's original releases. Yes, having the music on pure, pressed vinyl, even with it's hissing and popping from age, would be amazing, but mostly, I would love to see the artwork in it's original state. The first album (Faust) was pressed on clear vinyl, inserted in a clear sleeve that had a silk-screened x-ray of a human fist. The second album (Faust So Far) had illustrations for each song included within the sleeve (I think Pearl Jam did something like this for one of their albums. Ha.)
Obviously, I don't know as much about Faust as I would like to know. Thank god, for wikipedia helping me fill in the gaps where my knowledge failed. Still, over the years, I have had more and more time to fall in love with their music and in time I'll learn more.
Here's one last clip of the band in concert during the 70's. Unfortunately, it's in German and I am not fluent in the language, but you take what you can get on youtube, sometimes;
Well, I didn't really die, obviously. I was more or less sucked into the black hole known as college, but for the moment, I seem to have fought my way back to the realms of the living. My social life still sucks, but I am chalking that up to the frigid weather.
So, this is just a short update to give those of you that still read this blog some news as to what's to come. I've been listening to a lot of kraut/folk/prog-rock as of late, so expect to be seeing more updates dedicated to bands belonging to that genre. I've also been doing my homework on more modern releases, so for those of you that find anything released before 1995 as boring, there should be a few things here in the future to cater to your interests.
And as always, I welcome your suggestions and insight, so please, do not be afraid to comment!
The 80's Through A Series of Tubes; Part 4 w/The Butthole Surfers
Although the Butthole Surfers didn't find commercial success until the 90's (with the song "Pepper"), I felt it was appropriate to include them in this week of 80's nostalgia because the band's most memorable and challenging work came out of the decade that we all fondly remember for ..... swatch watches? Hmmm.
But how do I even start when trying to write about the Butthole Surfers? The band is an evasive creature stylistically and very hard to catagorize, but I suppose if we're going to use labels, we could say they were one of the forerunners of indie rock as we know it, but even that seems horribly simplistic, because indie rock as we know it today barely touches some of what this band created in their hey-day. So, let me try again; The Butthole Surfers are "masters of calculated outrage, the group fused the sicko antics of shock rock with a distinct and chaotic mishmash of avant-garde, hardcore, and Texas psychedelia; sleazy, confrontational, and spiteful, songs like "The Revenge of Anus Presley," "Bar-B-Q Pope," and "The Shah Sleeps in Lee Harvey Oswald's Grave" seemed destined to guarantee the Buttholes little more than a lifetime of cultdom." (from allmusic.com).
Alright, so I cheated. But sometimes it's better to quote a source when it obviously gets the point across a helluva lot better than I ever could hope to under the circumstances. And what are those circumstances, you wonder.....? I'm lazy. Pure and simple. And I have a cold. And I'm on dayquil! So there.
I could probably type away pages of this blog, just talking about the band and how great and original they were (are? I haven't listened to anything since Electriclarryland (uggh!), so I have no idea what 2001's release Weird Revolution sounded like), but as I've already said, I have a cold and I don't feel particularly well. Still, I feel slightly guilty about giving the Buttholes the shaft, so to speak....so I'll leave you with two youtube clips, rather than one and a short list of Butthole Surfer albums you should add to your collection if you don't already have them.
First, the list; 1. Psychic...Powerless...Another Man's Sac (1985) - This was the bands first release with Touch and Go. It includes the songs "Concubine", "Mexican Caravan", "Lady Sniff" and "Butthole Surfer" (which was actually where the band got their name from, since a radio DJ mistook the song title as the band's moniker.) 2. Rembrandt Pussyhorse (1986) - This album is my favorite by the band. It's a bit more subdued in comparison to P...P...AMS (see above) but it always leaves me with this uneasy feeling, like it's gotten under my skin and I won't ever be able to scrub it away. Sometimes, that's just what an album should do. Also, the cover of "American Woman" totally puts the Kravitz crap version to shame. 3. Locust Abortion Technician (1987) - Ahh, the debut of the Gibbytronix vocal effects thingamabob, this album is a glorious mess. Critically, it's usually listed as the band's best album. You probably just need to listen to it for yourself. Do that, and then let me know what you think, ok? 4. Hairway to Steven (1988) - I like this album a lot, but not nearly as much as P...P...AMS and Rembrandt Pussyhorse. Still, it's worth listing for the songs "Jimi", "I Saw An X-Ray Of a Girl Passing Gas" (best song title ever?), "John E. Smokes" and "Backass", alone.
And now to the youtube videos;
The band at home and live performing "Jimi" in 198? on SnubTV;