Thursday, December 31, 2009

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

2009 ::: END IT ALL ~~~!

Probably my most listened to albums of the past year....
in no particular order.

KOPERNIK ~ s/t
FUNERAL MIST ~ Maranatha
M. WARD ~ POST-WAR
CARETAKER ~ Persistent Repetition of Phrases
TRUE WIDOW ~ s/t
GLORIOR BELII ~ Meet Us At The Southern Sign
TROUM ~ Sigqan
AHAB ~ Call of the Wretched Sea
HARVEY MILK ~ Life...the Best Game In Town
JOHN COLTRANE ~ Crescent
JUN TOGAWA ~ Self Select Best and Rare 1979-2008


What about you?

Personal Problems:



A friend of mine wrote to me with a request (that I'll post soon), but his e-mail mentioned this great band called the Dazzling Killmen; who I had been wanting to post here for a long time. If "math rock" was ever considered geeky and frail, then these guys brought the muscle to the game! Manic power on display here from the chunky, taunt rhythms to the mangled overbearing guitar chords...it also healps that the whole band plays tighter than a mosquito's asshole. The singer sounds like he's about to lose his mind every time he opens his mouth. You can feel the tension gripping his jaws as he spits forth his venom. Quite possibly one of the most domestically violent musical experiences to ever creep out of the 90's underground noise-rock scene...yea, i hate that term also, but too plastered right now to care much about it.

Take a listen, a personal favorite and just the thing to turn onto in these times of turbulent trouble.

FACE OF COLLAPSE

Re-post: Damn Fine Coffee


Hail...I'm not out of commision yet...posting has been sporadic this year...
i know, i know. Will have some more time in the upcoming months so expect a possible barrage!

Re-up by request!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Re-post ~ Trippin' Out:


Good old Anonymous wrote:

Please re-post Are You Shakesperienced, or i'll go crazy and drive to the crack in the earth!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Through The Red Frame:


Every once in a while a record comes along that exists in it's own space of time. It cares not for genre pigeonholes or attention seeking status; it just pops up, does what it does, and slowly creeps into your corner and life and stays.

I've been living with this KOPERNIK album for years and it still has a powerful affect on me. It's a perfectly realized, concise vision of what benefits the careful listener can gain by exposure to true meaningful sound.

There are elements of electronic, chamber music, post rock, ambient, but those elements are more like tiny fragments. It's almost as if the Kopernik duo took some records back to their laboratory and dissected each one into tiny molecular pieces and chose not the pieces themselves, but the DNA from those pieces to structure one hell of a beautiful album. There is a very minimal approach to each number here; simple and subtle. Yet, this stuff is quite complex in how it is harmonically composed. Themes are quietly and purposefully stated, they are never overblown, yet those themes are lush in texture, space, and colour. Sometimes, I imagine these pieces more as work on a frame, rather than the picture itself. A work around the details of the outer edge; an open sided boundary to put the art in context rather than category. One may be able to discover cinematic themes here as well...and here is where the observant listener can pinpoint a big difference between ideas of "soundtrack" and "cinema."

Kopernik is an underrated album full of a slow blooming wonder; and one whose beauty is revealed through multiple listens.

Dark Force:



For people who have a spark of curiosity about the legendary music of Miles Davis, knowing where to begin the search can be a frustrating issue. With a back catalogue as vast as a small continent, figuring out where to start and where to go can be tricky; especially considering the many phases of Miles' long and adventurous career. He spawned many followers and imitators and made many enemies along the way. a larger than life figure who would dominate the jazz scene for decades and whose music still holds power and brilliance even to this day.

AGHARTA is a savage snarling primal beast of an album who has dipped his entire body in some kind of hallucinogenic potion and is dealing out tarot cards while ringing up the devil on a direct line. Seriously, some of this music on AGHARTA is so intense that it is frightening. It's beyond the ideas played out in BITCHES BREW and it's certainly nowhere near the funk of James Brown or Funkadelic. It's like the party in funk music has been overshadowed by a dark strange force that has got your ears in a stranglehold. The music on these nights has ripped open a little hole in the fabric of the serenity and little pockets of hell are seeping out.

The direction in music on this night in Osaka, Japan on February 1st, 1975 is dirty and hungry and just doesn't give a damn what you think! The drums flow like a river of blood and only stop to let the organ make a few stabs into the air, the it's back to the onslaught. When it's time for their solo the guitars creep up like distant radio waves transmitted from an outer space swamp. The bass slides around and stalks you like a panther, and the trumpet seems to scream and pitch out a fierce cry that rallies the troops to continue. When you've finally gotten to the last 20 minutes of Agharta, you find yourself floating restlessly in that undersea world pictured on the back cover. You've somehow survived the night, but you'll never be the same again.


*This is a classic EPIC album! One of my all time favorites! HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!*

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

A Strange Perversion:



I've been home sick the past few days with a cold and the SLAVES brand of feverish, swooning, dark DOORS worship has been fitting along nicely with my under-the-weatherness. Spiraling guitar lines, tense minimal compositions, and a semi-creepy, semi-sensual feeling.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Job For A Cowboy:

When is the last time you could consider a goth band to be truly "baddass?" Well, if you ran into any of the members of Fields Of The Nephilim you might know what I'm talking about. Taking the melancholy, somber tone of early British gothic rock and merging it with a low-slung Ennio Morricone kind of vibe, Nephilim (as they were later known as) were masters of fusing two perfect worlds together to create their own mysterious landscape. It didn't hurt that they had a killer dusty cowboy image that turned more than a few heads. Let's face it, while most bands of this ilk were more interested in hiding in the shadows, these guys stood in the light and just oozed cool.

DAWNRAZOR (great title!) was their first proper full-length album and it's a scorcher from start to finish. The majority of it is quite upbeat and full of a bristling crackling energy. The guitars chime with a melodic clean tone and show a lot of subtlety in the attack. The bass rumbles along and anchors the songs with cold finesse as the drums (which, at times sound somewhat hampered by an 80's production) build up tasteful tension and release. The vocals are truly great; a rugged, coarse and throaty concoction that fits the direction and sound of this band so well.

***In fact, as I'm listening to this again right now, parallels between Joy Division are almost impossible to disregard. Certainly, both bands were totally different entities, but I can't help but to notice how their visions seem to converge in on each other's shade.

Creaky soundscapes that evoke images of wild western towns in the grip of outlaw vigilantes, forgotten men telling spectre tales under a bone white moon with nothing but a bottle of whiskey and all the time in the world, cow skulls on the road and footprints in the dust.
...DAWNRAZOR.


Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Telepathic With The Diseased:

A crushing cornerstone of Finnish doom, Unholy's THE SECOND RING OF POWER album showcases a band working on an almost telepathic level to bring out a murky mystical musical vision that is both crushing and haunting. The sound is dark, ominous, and quite versatile for this particular style. The key elements are all in place...plodding rythyms, heavy guitars, and (for the most part) slooooow tempos. But Unholy's knack for creative songwriting prevails and they continually pop in little touches that keep the album in a consistent flow of (downward?) motion. Monotone, droning female vocals, wispy keyboard accents, mid-paced sections, a violin here and there, and even moments that border on psyche freak out(!) all add up to not just a great set of songs, but a thoroughly enjoyable listen.

Atmosphere seems to be a key element in setting apart a good doom record from a great one; and Unholy have captured an obscure, cultic feel that serves the purpose well. There is a beauty amongst the desolation set by the pounding pace and one could even imagine nightblossiming flowers blooming amidst the sonic carnage on display here.

A perfect album for the upcoming autumn chill.

Monday, September 7, 2009

LOVER SOULS UNITE:

The hyper kinetic atomic pop punk rock of Judy And Mary has been long heralded on this site. Their songs swing into life fusing all the best elements of bubblegum pop, twisted heavy punked-out guitars, and plenty of off-kilter melody. Their beginnings were rather humble, but as they hit their stride they ushered in a new era of Japanese pop music from the late 80's on into the 90's. Although now broken up, they left behind a legacy of influential albums and some amazingly catchy music that didn't just cross boundaries, it fused them seamlessly into a patchwork audio net of bright colourful musical expression.

As testament to the band's power, there is a newly released JUDY AND MARY 15TH ANNIVERSARY TRIBUTE ALBUM in which fifteen Japanese artists and bands pay their respect to the gods (and goddess) of JAM! Truthfully, I was not familiar with most of the artists on this compilation but have been pleasantly surprised to get this and enjoy the interpretations of these great songs. Some stick closer to the original, others add their own unique elements...including a rather noisy, disjointed version of "ミュージック ファイター" (Music Fighter) by an artist known simply as Midori; whose cut comes across like a polite version of early Boredoms. Mihimaru GT throw in a trip hop rendition of "Over Drive" that includes this super goofy hip hop breakdown complete with horrible scratching and Auto-tune...in other words...awesome! Puffy is no doubt the biggest name on here and they turn in a surprisingly grungy and loose version of "Motto."

Did you read that? Yes, Puffy covering Judy And Mary!
Somewhere...a J-Pop fan just wet themselves.



Come Back Jacko, All Is Forgiven:

There have been plenty of WTF moments for the loyal WFY followers of this site; and here's another one of those rare items to grace the pile. There's plenty to get excited about from the cover image alone...the goofy name (E-COUSINS?), the bling-bling style of lettering, and, oh yea, two Filipino Elvis impersonators! If that doesn' t excite you enough already, then I only need to point you to the track listing and let you know that there is a song on here called......

(wait for it)

...ELVIS ON TERRORISM!
Which contains a soul-stirring response as to what the Pelvis himself would do if he were here to combat liberty-scoffing terrorists! Well, I hate to give it away, but both Renelvis and Buddy Castillo seem to think that he would..."sing forever to win the war on terrorism!" Brilliant E-COUSINS, aren't they? Not only that, but they also decided to incorporate a rapping intro on the second track "Elvis Still Number One" which segways (incredibly) into a jumble of hit songs dropped into the lyrics. "Elvis Is Alive" is another great slow jam in which someone forgot to turn down the attempted Beatle-esque backup singers in the mix. it doesn't seem to help much as someone whispers mysteriously "Elvissss.....isss...aliiiiivvve...!"

Well, if you haven't already hit the download link by now, then I question why you would even lurk on this site.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Sympathy For The Big Legends:



Japan's kings of boozy biker blues sludge rock GEDO are presented here on a double live volume set from 1974 called KYONETSU NO MACHIDA POLICE. GEDO was well known as being a strong band that played the hell out of festivals all over Japan back in the 60's and 70's. While most bands of this era were concerned about enlightening the soul amidst growing political and social change, this particular group seemed more interested in the non-stop party. This is a gang who seemed to disregard most of the typical 60's hippy-drippy mystical stuff for a more meat & potatoes (or should I say "fish and rice") approach to rock and roll. It's all about losing your mind and having a good time with these guys.

The first disc starts off rather inexplicably with a spoken intro that lasts for over 8 minutes. Within this opening monologue there are jokes, band introductions, and a few bits that have been censored. Once the music finally begins, it's with a melancholy folky tune. The balladry continues for 5 songs. Then after a short interlude (which one assumes the band are plugging in and turning up) they launch into a primitive groove that features all the good elements of Grand Funk Railroad, Sabbath, and The Rolling Stones. Although there are some tendencies to lay on the jams here, GEDO rarely crosses the line into psychedelic material (although some cuts on disc two see the band flying their freak flag a little bit); choosing rather to stick close to the basic rock and roll template...keeping it loud, proud. Good times all around, then!

BYE BYE BRAIN CELLS!

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Artsy Astronauts:

Trip Shakespeare, a long defunct Minneapolis-based American rock band was granted a permanent place in the early bunkers of my musical memory due to hearing their strange "Tool Master of Brainard" song repeatedly on the college radio station that I tuned into late at night. What a great song, full of glammed up guitars, a pounding rhythm section, and that unique Trip Shakespeare vocal approach that fused baroque harmonies with a decidedly goofy slant. I already posted that album back over here (oops-link is dead now. I'll repost if there is a request), so now it's time to get into their 1990 platter Across The Universe. This album carries the same trademark sounds that I have loved from this group, but this time the song craft has been sharpened a bit; revealing a bit more layered approach both in production and composition. The jangly songs are played harder, the sweet songs are sweeter, and the goofy element certainly comes into play on tracks like "The Nail" and "The Slacks" (whose lyric concept is so ridiculous that it boggles my mind that it was even recorded in a semi-serious manner). Personally, I find the more tuneful songs here to be most potent. Both "Gone, Gone, Gone" and "Late" are pristine examples of T.S.'s literary take on lyric writing and compelling and somewhat mysterious storytelling that grab the imagination while the sheer hook of the tune just drives the song deeper into the brain.

As I wrote in the previous post of this Trip Shakespeare, their music seemed to have it's own singular vision which I have never heard duplicated. Sure, the basic template is a big pop sound... T- Rex, XTC, Big Star, Posies are names that may come to mind; maybe even a little bit of Cheap trick in there. But in place of cool rockers playing this stuff, imagine the local college Poetry Club or Paisley Appreciation Society jamming it out. Yeah...corny, for sure; but a lot of fun.

Manic Spanic:

With a barrage of fast picking razor sharp melodic guitar lines, the father and son team of the Spanic Boys (Tom and Ian, respectively) seemed to have made a dent in some alternative music circles in the late 80's. I recall reading glowing reviews as a youngster in various magazines. Listening to these 12 tracks, the boy's reverential mastery of old Rockabilly is evident; as is their talent for double-lead vocal harmonies, and a clear concise approach to writing hook-laden songs!
I listened to this quite a bit this Summer and tracks like the rollicking "Too Bad, So Sad" and the minimal gallop of "Lonely Man" just seemed to make my drives pleasant as hell.

Great Scots!


To announce my return from holiday in a rather festive style, here comes APB! Those of you who may have been alive and kicking in the mid 80's music scene in upstate New York may have been keen on this Scottish trio who seemed to have developed a good following in that particular region due to some key DJ's granting praise and support. And support and praise where due; because this forgotten album rules with it's sparse, skeletal funk arrangement, jagged guitar lines, and a healthy dose of New Wave danceability, APB simply seemed to push all the right buttons in this game. Shame that they were never really the big deal in global popularity seeing as just about every one of these numbers on this re-released 20th anniversary edition of their Something To Believe In record absolutely kills. Think the musical muscle of Boys Don't Cry era The Cure, Franz Ferdinand, or a less political Gang Of Four; mix in the discriminating songwriting power of early U2 or Talk Talk and you've got yourself a great record brimming with an urgent manic energy yet classy enough to hold it together with style.

YOU WILL BELIEVE!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Where's Jay?

Hey, WTF-ites...Jay's been on holidaze and will be b a c k soon!
Don't cry.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

International Man Of Amoré:

This one will hopefully appeal to anybody who dug the Exquisite Dogshit compilation I posted awhile back. It was originally posted back in July 19, 2007. Check HERE (the megaupload link still seems to be functional). For those of you who have already downloaded that set and have lived and laughed with it for awhile; the name of Tony Fabbris should be nothing new to you. His rousing politically-charged anthems signal a new, brave tomorrow; where freedom fighters charge ahead in the name of democracy as his tracks "God Bless New York" blaze out of the red white and blue stereo speakers on the battlefield.

Well, here is the entire Tony Fabbris recording entitled LOVE AND INSPIRATIONAL SONGS INTERNATIONAL. It's a rousing set of tunes among them are the already mentioned future anthem "God Bless New York" as well as "The Berlin Wall" (also featured on the E.D. comp.).........BUT WAIT--THERE'S MORE!!!!! Tony is not just a man with social justice and anti-terrorist tunes in his repertoire; he's also got love on the mind. Special lady...special lady...all the good stuff gets juiced up and stuck in the head.

Hell, there is even a FUCKING KARAOKE TRACK on here; just i case you want to bust out your own hot rendition of "The Berlin Wall" at your next fret party. Can't go wrong with this.

Not only that, but the man has moves. Do you know word went through my mind the second I discovered his videos on youtube? SCORE!
video

Somebody Slipped Me A Mickey:

Quick question:
Where do Tom Waits, The Replacements, James Taylor, Yma Sumac, Los Lobos, Bonnie Raitt, Syd Straw, Natalie Merchant, Michael Stipe, Sinead O'Conner, Buster Poindexter and Sun Ra all get together to express their love for vintage songs made popular by Walt Disney films?

Well, the answer is the STAY AWAKE compilation (originally released in 1988).
Thanks to visionary Hal Willner for giving us such a strange, delightful, and disturbing record.
Mind-boggling, on a few levels...even tho' it has it's pitfalls.


And...


a few re-posting requests:


and

***If you have not seen the MAN-Z videos yet, I suggest you travel to the original post and take a good long look.

Up There, Out There:

The wonderful sounds of Earth's own magnetosphere, captured here by American radio hobbyist Stephen P. McGreevy, are blissful tones of shimmering harmonic radiance and weird nocturnal whistles. Stephen is a bonafide VLF expert/nerd and likes to share his recording experiences with those interested (just check his website for more geek-out info). These field recordings contain lots of crackle and hiss and are most certainly an amateur affair, but it all adds to the sheer charm and pleasure of the experience.

Allow yourself to get lost within these blissful late-night waves.

Cabaret Slot:

The year is 1967 and you don't have much else to do, really. So you enter a recording booth with a handful of semi-sweet songs and lay them down to tape and walk away, visit a cat, sample some coq au vin, and then casually go back to the lounge set. You're name is Sandie Shaw.

Monday, May 18, 2009

I Love My Face:

   Another monstrous slab of jerky paranoid punk. Like a geek with muscles, NOMEANSNO burst through your mind with raging fast paced bass lines that pound into your cranium, guitar that guts your soul, and insane drumming that gouges eyeballs left and right. Black Flag meets Minutemen? Lots of classick cuts on this one..."It's Catching Up", "Two LIps, Two Lungs And One Tongue", "All Lies", and the weird "Rags And Bones" which seems to incorporate some sort of pseudo-hillbilly rap. You think Lil Wayne was checking out WRONG back in '89?

XBY REQUESTX:



re-up of NOMEANSNO's essential THE DAY EVERYTHING BECAME NOTHING alburm is HERE
and a smattering of chocolat ~ HENRY and her mini A LA MODE cd can be found bundled together in THIS spot.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Low Times:

   Life Without Buildings were a short-lived, post New Wave-esque band who managed to  document their great sound with this sole studio album. The musical output rendered here is quite good; with a decidedly underhanded bass-led sound, the band whip through their tunes with style and confidence. Each line seems well thought out and is a good example of a band working within the "sum equals it's parts" practice. The vocals on this one will probably be a make-it-or- break-it factor for some. Sue Tomkins waifishly belts  out her words as if she was reading from her journal. Most of her lyrics are spoken in soft Scottish tones and she is fond of repetition within the music's seductive rhythms. Taken with the group's sparse "skeletal Smiths" sound, the vocals add a unique, quivering, frail touch.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Everything You Wanted To Know About Jun Togawa (But Were Afraid To Ask):








   Like falling comets or aligned planetary bodies, once in a sacred while, a singer comes along who not only displays an amazing, life-changing voice--one that stops you dead in your tracks and takes hold of your soul for life; but also possesses a complex personality which is ripe with mystery, expression, and such a strong and pure natural beauty that a cosmic balance takes place where the artist's musical output becomes simultaneously intertwined with her life and the two run into one long blood flow. Please meet Jun Togawa.

   Her musical career has been long and fruitful, but has mostly stayed within the context of her native home country of Japan. Even here, she is something of a cult hero. One quick browse through Youtube and one can get a glimpse of her artistic contributions to Japan's fledgling 80's music scene. Her songs musical content stayed pretty close to the norm of the times: keyboards, synthetic drum sounds here and there, bubbly bass lines, etc. Above all of this, Jun's voice rages and pushes forth with an intent that is both sweet, naive, and utterly sinister. One cannot avoid a feeling of strange currents in the air when her piercing cries set forth or her whispers, which have the power to poke tiny holes in the senses, invade the atmosphere. It would be enough to hear her angelic devils exorcising themselves through song to make me satisfied for life; but the extra golden points come from the fact that not only is she an amazing singer, but her personality is so free and riveting that I feel she deserves to be recognized as a national, NAY, universal treasure!

   This is the SELF SELECT BEST & RARE 1979-2008 album and it's a a huge collection of music; three separate cd's with stuff ranging from her solo works, some jaw-droppingly intense live songs, as well as music recorded with a few of her other bands (Yapoos, Guernica, etc) and Jun's vocal range is so varied on some of these tracks. When I say "vocal range" what I feel I should be saying is "personality range" for it seems as if she takes the music, turns it into an outfit, slips it on, then oozes her own demons and vice and sweat and tears through it all to merge into one beautiful beast. Some cuts here float along with a distinctly festival-like feeling...one can picture swinging paper lanterns swaying in the breeze on a summer's night drinking party, other songs are far darker...slightly camouflaged by a subtle pop audio canvas and then to suddenly have Miss Togawa's dramatic words slash through the party with venom and bite. Still other songs presented here on this stellar collection reflect to the listener like a woman lying on a bed, surrounded by blurred photos of the same man, sticking bananas in her eyes...God I love that photo. Hell, if you haven't already started downloading at least one of these discs by now after reading this and seeing these amazing photographs I've posted...then there is no hope here for you, friend. Hell, I forgot to mention that there is a rare cover song here of Jun Togawa working through The Velvet Underground's "Femme Fatale"!

   She has stood on her own for many years, gone through lots of personal hell (too much to really post here) and collaborated with and impressive group of colleagues (Haruomi Hosono and Otomo Yoshihide to name a few), and she has been a beacon of inspiration to a large group of artists. I'm proud to present this here and I hope you will enjoy this powerful body of work.
VIVA JUN TOGAWA!

Friday, April 10, 2009

Sweet Times:


   Two quick single from very popular j-pop singer Chara who possesses one of the most unique voices...simple and childlike yet very sultry and somewhat bluesy. The music on these two singles are heavy on the light pop. LEMON CANDY is a certified pop classic that will get stuck in your head no matter how much Japanese you understand. The CHARA + YUKI single was a one off released back in 1999 which paired Chara with Judy And Mary's lead singer, Yuki. This song is really hard to take with a really funny/bad rapping part and overall a weird song that doesn't suit either singer and they both sound strangely out of tune and straining their voices. BUT...the song has steel pan drums in it. Weird.


More Chara and JAM coming soon...well...if you want.

JAWS:

   The Japanese dub group DRY & HEAVY get the remix treatment from dub master KING JAMMY and the results are a satisfying swirling journey into some deep dark summertime dub. Perfect soundtrack to the upcoming April days.

Hanoi Rocketh Me Tonyte:

    There's so much I could write about Hanoi Rocks... what a great band! Full of sleaze and dripping with that trash/glamour image that they seem to sport so well in their heyday. I also loved the fact that this band retained a sense of mystery and myth. Their songs are kick-up anthems of wasted days, girls, booze, yet written with incredible style. They were never afraid to incorporate elements like reggae, surf, rockabilly, yet gel them together into one highly impressive body of work. They always seemed to unfortunately get lumped in together with bands like Poison (whom they obviously influenced) but Hanoi Rocks were so much more than a goofy hair metal band.
    I was unsure of which album to post here first, but we'll start with this masterpiece BACK TO MYSTERY CITY to get the ball rolling. Tons of great songs on here, some classics, and a few really weird ones. For fans of New York Dolls, the first Motley Crue album (TOO FAST FOR LOVE, i.e. the good one) and I even hear a little bit of The Clash in here as well.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

MESSAGE FROM YOUR ASS~MASTAH:


Guess what, people:
I found another 60 copies of "THE A CAPELLA CANTATA" cd in my barn in death valley. These are the last remaining copies of the original (and only) pressing of 500 copies of this album.
Contact me nondor@gmail.com
to buy one. They're 20$ each.


JEEZUS==stop looking at this and just GET GET GET you consumer mole!
http://www.myspace.com/n0nd0rn3va1
HAIL<<<<<

Friday, March 27, 2009

Blurt up:

Go ahead, let it all out--it's fucking Friday night. Scream, skewer your guts, pick a flower, exterminate the neighbors, empty out your gullet, relieve thyself, spew chunks, get crunk, evolve, worship your god, devise a plan, lose control, scratch and sniff, play dead, eat shit and live, draw blood, eat the crayons, walk the line, gleam the cube,  shave, slave, save...do it all and do it now...it's BORBETOMAGUS time.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Repost~Tribulations:

Had a request for a repost for this one, so I hope you enjoy.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Die Trying:



   Might as well begin by dropping a truckload of names: KISS, Devo...shall I just stop there at that perplexing crossroad? For it is there that you will find Jesters Of Destiny and their 1986 album FUN AT THE FUNERAL. Chocked with insanely good hooks, pop rock and roll over the rainbow...plus some tasteful keyboard flourishes. This would all be hoo-dee-hoo if it were not for this groups knack for penning some ultra-catchy melodies and superb pop hooks. The hard rock riffs are present too; always sticking out with a slightly jokey appeal...and therein lies the rub: it's no joke. This is masterfully crafted new wave hard rock (notice that there was no slash in between those two genres...simply because the Jesters Of Destiny wiped out that conundrum when they produced this excellent set of songs). Just listen to the opening track, one of my favorite songs of all time, "Digging That Grave", a monsterous slab of simple rocking guitar, swanky keyboard lines, and clever lyrics that rip through your soul! Or how about "Happy Times"...one of the most perfect 80's songs that sums it all up in a classic style...I could see this being featured on any John Hughes movies in my head. In short, Jester Of Destiny should have been huge...but they were criminally overlooked and underheard, (and maybe misunderstood) forever.

Alternative metal, hard rock, new wave, say hello to the new best unheard album that will serve it's residence in the clogged space between your ears...you know...where all that grey matter has been seeping out lately.

PLEASE AND THANK YOU

Tracks 1-11 are the original album.
Tracks 12-18 are bonus cuts.
The Jesters Of Destiny cover of Sabbath's "Electric Funeral" was posted here.

By the way, if you like this album (and how could ANY fan of new wave and/or hard rock not?) then I'd like to point you to an interesting write up from one of the band members on this site, which is run by the label that reissued this stellar collection a few years ago (which it seems, at this point in time, has gone out of print).


Saturday, March 7, 2009

The Main Course:


   EDITIONS is a collection of After Dinner's first album and a handful of live tracks. Essential listening for those interested in Japan's early 80's blend of baroque pop, prog, traditional Japanese music, and some electronic improv. This is highly regarded as being one of Japan's landmark new wave/experimental groups. The lead singer HACO, has lead a promising solo career since After Dinner's disbanding. I posted one of her solo records over yonder and the other After Dinner record was posted long time ago right here.

   However, EDITIONS remains my favorite After Dinner release. The charming beauty of Haco's voice holds a special allure to me, and I am constantly amazed how they amassed an array of different styles and sounds and managed to gel them into one coherent piece of stunning art. The live material here (tracks 10-18 are especially impressive)!

Pure Alchemy! (Link Updated)
   When my old band toured Japan back in 2002, we were told that one of the bands opening up for us was this really great group called 54-71 (in Japanese, Goju Yon Nanaju Ichi) and that we should be very happy with their live performance. Well, the singer came out with old school  boxing headgear on and their drummer had a 3 piece drum set and was sporting a nice Hawaiian shirt so already they were great. Their sound is all rhythm; everything is wound tight. The bass and drums are fine-tuned in their precision and the guitar lines are skeletal...clean and clear. Now here comes their singer...what is this? He is rapping...I think he's rapping. He's kind of wheezing...is he okay? This is great, this is sad, this is even greater. A head-scratchingly excellent group that has apparently garnered some stateside recognition due to their opening slot for a Deerhoof tour (among others). This is a really interesting album (entitled UNTITLED) and showcases 54-71 as the minimalist adventurers that they are.

   By the way, anyone who knows me knows that I am completely inept when it comes to video games (my old roomates laughed in delight as I could not jump over some kind of magic mushroom things in a Mario Brothers game years ago), but at the time of hearing this record, I was introduced to Parapa The Rapper and I could not help but draw some kind of comparison between 54-71 and that animated hip-hop dog. Of course, you'd have to add in a little bit of Chicago post rock circa 1997 to seal the deal. Think June Of 44 or Slint....now consider both Parapa and those bands intertwined. Perplexed?

This should be heard and discussed. Don't leave the comments box all dusty on this one.

One Wong Move:

   UNMEI NO TSUBASA, the 2001 album by Hong Kong mega-starlet remains as one of the standout sue in no small part to the first track "光之翼" which starts of with a simple, dreamy little riff and then explodes into a prickly, distorted, and ultra-catchy pop chorus. So good that you will be singing along in Cantonese in no time. The remainder of the album holds more sway in the typical Faye Wong sound, combing together strands of Chinese folk, French pop, and even a little bit of four-on-the-floor techno into one long musical braid.

   By the way, some small confusion on my part, I also have this cd title listed as Faye Wong - SUPER BEST. But I am not sure if this was one specifically renamed for the Japanese market or some other clever marketing scheme/derivative manipulation.