Friday, November 28, 2008

Introducing Hip Hop Fridays YALL SO STUPID "Van Full Of Pakistans"

In an effort to blog more about hip hop, I'm introducing Hip Hop Fridays. I'll be posting one out of print hip hop album every Friday (hopefully), with each coming with a brief write up and maybe a youtube post or two. Hopefully this will enlighten a few readers who may not have heard of some of the upcoming unsung albums, or maybe just drop a hard to find nugget for all the heads.

One year before Outkast made Atlanta a hip hop hot spot, Yall So Stupid dropped their underground classic, "Van Full Of Pakistans". "Pakistans" dropped in 1993 and features a lot of the playfulness and naivety of the late 80s/early 90s hip hop scene, which would soon be replaced by rampant gangsterism. Though there is a heavy lean towards humor, the foursome still manage to touch up on issues plaguing Atlanta and hip hop in general.

Most of the samples are taken from lesser known soul tracks, but there is a healthy dash of jazz, natch. The drums in the title track are taken from the Honeydrippers' classic, "Impeach The President", while James Brown's "The Grunt" rounds out the rest of the track.

Overall, "Van Full Of Pakistans" is a fun listen and a great reminder that there are tons of gems that still need to be unearthed. There will be plenty more to come via the Expressway. The next few posts should have more information and longer write ups, too. Stay tuned


Personal favorite track

Thursday, November 27, 2008

A.H. Kraken w/ Love Tan, Sex Negatives & Sex Church @ The Sweatshop Friday, Nov 28 2008

Killer show at The Sweatshop Friday night! A.H. Kraken, who I've mentioned here before, are coming in all the way from France for a North American tour and a quick stop in Vancouver. Check out their new 7 inch on local label Sweet Rot (pictured above), which should for sale at the show. In tote are Love Tan from Seattle, who also have a 7 inch out on Sweet Rot, and they've also just unleashed their first full length via Kill Shaman. Hopefully they'll have some copies with them, as Kill Shaman doesn't have any Canadian distribution this could make it hard to get in Vancouver. Two of Vancouver's sexiest (in name only) bands round out the bill: Sex Negatives and Sex Church. Bound to be an awesome night of deranged garage hysteria. Don't miss it...

Download the A.H. Kraken LP here

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Acre "Painless" (2008) Students of Decay

Coupla' great Acre reviews over at Church of Drone had me dustin' off his recent CDR on Students Of Decay. I've been able to cop most of those Acre releases mentioned on his blog posting, but this is the only one I can rip for your listening pleasure

is a 70 minute long drone overload, much more straightforward than the releases I've come across. That, however, doesn't make it any less interesting. Painless is heavy on the layering of his droning synths, well, at least what I make out to be synths, most of which are likely to be of the vintage variety. Most of these untitled tracks begin with a simple cyclical drone which slowly pans back and forth between the speakers. Many more layers are slowly added over the course of twenty minutes (3 of the tracks on Painless are around 20 minutes), the panning picks up in pace until the speakers and your brain are rattling with ecstasy...or terror, depending on your threshold for such music. Painless is a great entry into the ever-widening world of Acre.


Check his Myspace here

One other piece of interesting drone news...

Via the newly launched Aquarius Records blog, I've come across this incredible drone piece: an audio stream of Beethoven's 9th Symphony stretched out over 24 hours. It's been broadcasting for over 3 years! Tune in...

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Making New WAVVES

The next shit is here, folks, and it's name is Wavves. After releasing an instantly sold out 7 Inch on Tic Tac Totally and an instantly sold out cassette on Fuck It Tapes , Wavves has crashed upon the shore. For the uninitiated, Wavves is one Californian (San Diego to be exact) dude who makes warbled and lo-fi, surfy garage tunage. Incredibly catchy stuff here, kiddies. This is album of the year material. Apparently, according to a source that knows the man, Wavves signed to several labels in the UK, reneged on all of them and thus created a bidding war for his next release. For those who need a hard copy of his works, worry not, Woodsist/Fuck It Tapes will be issuing the above mention full length tape on CD and LP and should be out in the coming months. The 7 inch is no more, but you can cop it free below. Wavves also runs a pretty sweet blog where he digs up some obscure-o hip hop tracks (he's currently on a midwest hip hop kick) and some other classic joints of the golden eras. The man loves his garage and his 90s hip hop. A man after my own heart, I says.


Wavves Last.FM page here

Listen to "BEACH DEMON" track NOW. Contender for song of the year!

Listen to "No Hope Kids" HERE

Listen to "So Bored" HERE

While we are the topic of the next shits, I have recently come across the best thing since the release of Thee Oh Sees The Master's Bedroom Is Worth Spending The Night In, which is Ty Segall's debut release on Castle Face Records. I came across his MySpace a few months back and was blown away by the catchy, blown-out, one-man garage rocker and his handful of tracks. Aquarius listed the CD this week, and let me tell you: it rips. There is no wonder that this guy is best bros with John Dwyer, as both of their hearts lie in that grimy, unshakable oil spot that lay in every garage from here to the tip of California. The LP version is also available. Ty is currently on an American tour with Sic Alps and Thee Oh Sees.

Through some internet investigation, I also found that Ty is part of another band called The Traditional Fools, who also do the surf garage/pop thing extremely well. Since there is zero distro for the Traditional Fools LP here in Canada, I've contacted the label for wholesale prices and should have some hooked up in the next few weeks. Gimme a shout if yr in need. Also got some Ty Segall tapes comin' thru the mail from Wizard Mountain.

Check 'em out HERE

Sunday, November 16, 2008

It Was Fun While It Lasted

The local media finally noticed that A&B Sound has gone completely under. Here is the brief article from the Vancouver Sun yesterday. Also, here is a real cute timeline of the chain. They somehow missed the date I was hired.

**the photo above is of the Seymour location. I worked the same day of that Falun Dafa protest. Good times...

Friday, November 14, 2008

Greatest Song Evar! 4

Figured I would weigh in on the current Pink Floyd fixation of my fellow bloggers. Admittedly, Dark Side of the Moon was the first Pink Floyd record I got into with Piper At the Gates of Dawn following closely behind. Since then I have snagged copies of every album from Piper all the way up the Wall. Favorite Pink Floyd record? A Saucerful of Secrets. Favorite Pink Floyd track? See below:

Jugband Blues was a peek in the direction that Pink Floyd was headed after releasing the quirky psych masterwork that is Piper. I love the three distinct sections, which according to this Wikipedia entry is believed to be culled from several different demos. Seems plausible but I also believe that Barrett's continuously experimental mindset was conducive to creating music outside of the boundaries of your typical rock band, which Pink Floyd would go on to do with most of their catalogue.

Apologies to my regular readers for the lack of posts this week. I've been working on my first full length feature for Discorder (an article on local faves Nu Sensae) and have been strictly focusing on that for the last week. Peep it in the next issue.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

More Cassette Madness!

Stumbled across this fairly new website that consists of tape reviews and downloads of the author's tape-only radio show on Austin's KVRX 91.7 FM. Brad Barry, the site's lone contributor, seems to have a similar taste/thirst as yours truly and has even reviewed or broadcasted some of the same tapes that I have mentioned here at Expressway. Reviews and broadcasts from groups like Robedoor, Magic Lantern, Steven Hauschildt, NASA, Wet Hair, and labels such as Night People, Hanson, DNT and Arbor are just a few examples of our intertwining tastes. Check it, peoples!

Say, Brad, need a co-host?


Kicking That Already Empty Bucket...RIP A&B Sound

As if it wasn't obvious enough when A&B Sound decided to close their last two remaining Vancouver stores (Marine Drive and their "flagship" location on Seymour street) that the company was falling to shit. It is now official-- A&B Sound is totally bankrupt. I ran into the infamous Bob Bell today, who worked at the Seymour location off and on for over twenty years, and who had been recently shipped off to the North Vancouver location when Seymour closed, and he confirmed that last Friday was his final day and he would not be paid out the thousands of dollars that would have been owed to him in severance. The company was going bankrupt and no one would get a dime owed to them, which, outside of severance, also includes holiday pay. Big time bummer for any long time employees.

Though this predicament has long been forecasted, there has been little to no news of the ultimate demise of A&B in the media. I suppose that it only really has an effect on North Vancouver and Edmonton, where the final two locations were, but it seems odd the media hasn't jumped on this one. I suppose they are tired of reporting the obvious and inevitable demise of the long-crumbling company. Hopefully this trend of record store closures has reached it's end. The fate of Vancouver's record stores lies, ultimately, in the hands of the consumer. So you know what that means...get to thy local independent record shop immediately! Not a fan of your local grocer? Think they could be doing something better? Tell them! Don't let another record store slip through our collective hands.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Monthly Cassette Reviews (October Edition...Belated)

Dozal bros "UFO22" (Self Released)
I caught the Dozal Brothers a few months back when they came all the way from El Paso, Texas to play the Emergency Room and Pats Pub (not sure on that last venue, they did play two shows that night. Can't remember where the other one was supposed to have been). Anyways, the duo brought their lo-fi version of Crystal Castles to Vancouver and had most of the crowd pogoing away that night. I scooped up this self released tape from their merch table, which came with 3D glasses to view the cover. Again, like I said above, these guys are a primitive, lo-fi version of Crystal Castles; garbled vocals, broken keyboard melodies and dance floor-ready beats. I suppose if you are sick of Crystal Castles by now (who the fuck isn't?) then these guys are for you.

Blank Realm “The Returner” (Not Not Fun)
Blank Realm are an awesome, damaged-improv group from Brisbane, Australia who have been quietly pumpin' out releases on under the radar labels like MYMWLY and Barnacle Rodeo, not to mention Not Not Fun, who, by the way, just released a brand new Blank Realm tape. The beginning of this tape starts with a cracked lock groove of warm and fuzzy vinyl crackle but soon shares the space with super-submerged guitar squiggles and piano tinkling. Fans of Blues Control oughtta take note here. The volume needs to be jacked up on this one for it to wash over the room. Later, a hypno-bassline breaks through and rides along with some monolithic drums and cough syrup-ed feedback wrangling. Pretty subdued but stunning stuff from these Aussies. Here's a great interview with the group, their page, and some uploads found via WEHAVENOZEN.

Pink Luminous Invocation “Sings The Blues” (Not Not Fun)
Another amazing looking/sounding release from the kids over at Not Not Fun. This time around we have Danish quartet Pink Luminous Invocation, who have released a small handful of tapes and CDRs over the last two years, including a CDR on NNF. Each successive release tends to be quite different from the last. This time around the group goes for a moody Evol/Bad Moon Rising-esque soundtrack, in fact, their singer comes off a bit like Kim Gordon, which, surprisingly, is an influence you tend not to hear too often in contemporary female singers. Anyways, most of the tracks have a repeating vocal line backed up by eerie, high pitched guitar squeals, seesawing and fluttery viola and cello drones and many other creepy FX. This is definitely a group yr gonna wanna hear more of if you spent as many late nights with those early SY records as I did. Again, stunning package on this one; thick, brown wraparound card sleeves with multi-colored spray painted stencils on the front, and a "prayer" bell attached to the bottom. Those small batches of tapes that NNF consistently put out are usually scooped up within the first week. Time to start paying attention.

Eternal Tapestry “Seas Of Silk” (Digitalis Limited)
Various members of Jackie-O Motherfucker, Heavy Winged, Plankton Wat and many others have combined for this super psych group. The tape in question--released by Digitalis Limited--is an epic kraut jam, leaning more on the dark side of the kraut ala Guru Guru. Features some seriously crushing guitar riffage that battles it out with cyclical guitar wah-age. Overwhelming, says I. This is the first part of a planned triptych of tapes with the next one out now on Night People and the third due out any minute on Sloow tapes. Time to catch up. Bonus: Live on KDVS download.

Meth Teeth “Indian Sprits Demo” (self-released)
One of the best out-of-town bands that I was lucky enough to see twice last year, and was also so kind as to be selling a brief but amazing tape of demos. First and best track, Failures Selected By God, feature some rabbit thumping drum rolls, neck snapping riffs, twangy geetar and those now trademarked jubilant Mark E. Smith-styled vocals, but everything here is covered in a blanket of over thee top distortion. Similar in vibe to those other sonic-minded bands over at In The Red. These guys, however, have a bit more of that pop sheen shining through. Full length LP due out relatively soon on local label Sweet Rot. Check out some tunage on their page, which also includes the above mentioned track. Listen to it NOW.

Good Old Fashioned Sinners "Digitalis Man" (self released)
Picked this one up at Permanent Records in Chicago on the recommendation of the woman behind the counter. GOFS come off as a midwest version of Godspeed You Black Emperor, complete with trumpet and twangy-ridden guitars, crescendos and ominous snippets from the news. Most tracks start off as a kind of country/psych hybrid and end up in full gallop mode after several minutes of build up. Vocals pop in every once on awhile but I found the group is a little better off without them. Overall, not bad.

Culver and Karst “Bass Volcano” (Turgid Animal)
The title really says it all on this one; a slow and low bass rumble with a few explosive spurts of static and doomy grinding. Each side of the tape is a continuous rumble that gets shakier and more violent over time. Long tape with a decent payoff, if you choose to stay with it. Released on the forward thinking Turgid Animal label, who have just released an amazing looking 3CD set of Skullflower material. Drone on!

ASWARA "s/t" (Fuck It Tapes)
Sweet side project from Rafi of Phili-based cosmic folk group Death Chants. Most of the tape strays pretty far away from his current group's leanings and instead favors multi-layered John Cale-esque (Dream Syndicate era, natch) drone outs coupled with some bongo build ups with the occasional synth blurp. Again, this ought to appeal to any Blues Control nut who just can't wait for their next release. Another fine release by the prescient Jeremy Earl of Woodsist/Fuck It Tapes labels. Special bonus: 5 Death Chants uploads from WEHAVENOZEN. Thanks again, fellers!

Jerusalem and Thee Star baskets “The Howling” (Self Released)
Another tape picked up on the recommendation of the lady behind the desk at Permanent Records. The sticker on it said "Shoegaze Twang" and I just couldn't help myself. The Howling is a lower than lo-fi album that uses several layers of distortion heavy guitars, adds some of that twangy shoegaze and, overall, has a very warbled Elephant 6 quality to it. Incidentally, Unforced Peace is covered on the tape, which was also covered by Elephant 6 mainstays Elf Power.

Changeling “Into Great Peace” (Not Not Fun),

Beyond The Edge of Dreams (Night People) and

Absolutely Free (Abandon Ship)
A trio of Changeling tapes have landed in the mailbox in the last few months and they are all quite stunning. The group consists of Roy Tatum, who's better known in groups like Deep Jew, Black Monk and Quintana Roo and he also runs Buried Valley tapes. However, instead of continuing his noise mongering endeavours, Tatum has been focusing on ambient music, each release building on the last. Most of the tracks feature very restrained guitar work, loaded with heaps of reverb, echo and delay, and some of it being very similar to Daniel Lanois' playing on Eno's ambient records. The vibe here is also similar to Stars Of The Lid, but, unlike SOTL, there is rarely a spine tingling crescendo at the end of the tracks/sides. Instead, these tapes drift aimlessly on a sea of pure content. These tapes float along so lightly that the listener can tend to forget it's even playing, which, to some, is the definition of ambient music. Very good stuff here. I foresee an amazing full length in the near future. Time to press some wax...

Emeralds and Dilloway "Under Pressure" (Hanson)
Odd team-up for this one; Ohio synth trio Emeralds and infamous noise monger Aaron Dilloway combine their powers for this release. The Emeralds brand of watery kraut synth work is the main feature here but end up floating above Dilloway's sinister electronics. The band plays on while Dilloway adds his loops of garbled noise, giving the normally blissful Emeralds a serious edge. Kiddies, this one is still available!

STARVING WEIRDOS “Spirit Activity” (Root Strata)
Phew, this was one chaotic listen and not at all what I was expecting from these weirdos. Instead of their "normal" brand of shamanic folk fuckery, Starving Weirdos sound like a 70s Sun Ra improv squeal fest, complete with crashing drums and wailing brass. The flip side is a little different, however, and is a clank 'n' drone-athon soundtracking your worst nightmares. Howling and whistling stand side by side with rusty chains being dragged across a wet cement floor. Do not play after midnight. Do not get water on this tape.

Apologies for the delay on this one. Next month (errr, later this month) will be an all local edition. Stay tuned...

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Greatest Song Evar! 3

I have been binging on Sun Ra as of late, and I keep coming across different versions of Satellites Are Spinning, which was somewhat of a staple in Sun Ra live sets. Sometimes they only worked the chorus into the end or beginning of an improv jam and other times they would perform the usually three and half minute song on it's own. Below are several different versions that I've upped to the blog for your listening pleasure. Enjoy!

Sun Ra "We Sing This Song" (Taken From Spaceways)

Sun Ra "Satellites Are Spinning" (Taken From Space is the Place Soundtrack)

Sun Ra "Calling Planet Earth" (Taken From Calling Planet Earth)

Sun Ra "Satellites Are Spinning" (Taken From The Solar Myth Approach Vol. 1)