Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Broadcast Origins

Thanks to Luke Meat over at CiTR, who DJs the always amazing and mega-informative ANoiZE radio show (he's also the Music Director up there), for hepping me to some youtube videos that line-up snippets of Broadcast tracks next to the songs that "inspired" them. Three parts in all. They can't be embedded, so you'll have to follow these links...

Broadcast Origins

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Apparently this is an ongoing series, so stay tuned for future additions.

Broadcast are one of my favorite groups going right now and have been since I first heard "Work and Non Work", so hearing some direct influences from a few artists I've never even heard of was a real ear opener. Much exploring to do now thanks to witnessing these clips.

Along with showing me the youtube videos, Luke also compiled a CD of all the full tracks from both Broadcast and the originators that appear in those youtube videos. Hopefully Luke doesn't mind me uploading the mix to the rest of the world. 100% credit goes straight out to Luke for compiling this amazing mix.

Now, to my ears at least, some of these are a bit of a stretch, but quite a few are shockingly similar. In particular is the influence of the short-lived psych-pop group The United States Of America, which I had never noticed in Broadcast's music despite knowing The United States lone album quite well. Also bang on is the small opening section of 'Old Man Willow' by Elephant's Memory, which was nabbed for Broadcast's sublime 'World Backwards' (check the clips below...you only need to hear the beginning bit of both). But perhaps the most overt "sampling" is that of Al Stewart's version of 'Turn Into Earth', which should probably raise the eyebrows of a few copyright lawyers (also featured below). Oddly enough, despite the many Stereolab comparisons Broadcast has endured over the years, there aren't yet any direct connections to the groop.

While on the subject of Stereolab, there is also a Stereolab Origins that was compiled by the same user (The Archives Listening Project). Unlike Broadcast's meager 3 part series, Stereolab get a staggering 13 parts! Any Stereolab fans out there should do themselves a favor and spend some serious time with these videos.

Check out Stereolab Origins here.

'World Backwards' by Broadcast

'Old Man Willow' by Elephant's Memory

'Message From Home' by Broadcast

'Turn Into Earth' by Al Stewart (Yardbirds cover)

Download Broadcast Origins Part 1 here.

Download Broadcast Origins Part 2 here.

Again, I cannot thank Luke and The Archives Listening Project enough for prying these ears open a little further.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Hip-Hop Friday: Diamond Shell-The Grand Imperial Diamond Shell (1991)

Sorry kiddies, not a lot of time for any serious dissection this week (got some other deadlines that actually help pay the bills), but I figured a quicky upload is better than none at all. The album in question this week is Diamond Shell's "Grand Imperial Diamond Shell" issued by Cold Chillin' in 1991. The album was entirely produced by Biz Markie, which was actually a bit of a rarity for the label as Marly Marl was the main man behind the boards for the label. But it makes sense when you learn that Diamond Shell is actually Biz's cousin. And much like the Biz, Diamond Shell comes off as kinda goofy but, ultimately, is a lovable character with a lot of heart and some pretty funny lines. The beats here are pretty light and suit Diamond's fun-loving flow quite well. Not exactly the best from Cold Chillin' or the Biz, but definitely worth a peep.

'Oh What A Night' video featuring Biz Markie

Download "Grand Imperial Diamond Shell" here.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Monthly Cassette Reviews-March Edition

Another edition of my adjective abusing, rambling, inane reviews on the cassette underground. Sweet batch of punk, bedroom-pop, space-drone, and sonic blech this month...

Teepee “Voodoo” (Jerkwave)
Starting off this month's edition are two great art-punk recordings from the burgeoning Jerkwaves Tape label. So far, recent releases on the label have included Pink Noise's "Dream Code" album (re-released on vinyl by Sacred Bones), awesome bedroom-punk from Nice Face (who also had a vinyl release on SB), and, of course, a Dead Luke cassette. For those not in the know, Jerkwave is run by the man behind Dead Luke, which, apparently, has been retired so he can work on other projects (more on the below). Anyways, Jerkwave's description of this Florida band as being drone punk is pretty darn accurate. Intense and phased-out guitar rays ride underneath lo-fi punk anthems. Kinda of like if Spacemen 3 started up now and listened to the Intelligence rather than the Velvets. The listen here is pretty intense, however, there are a few moments of respite, particularly in 'Glad I Never', a gloomy lo-fi little number that shows these cats can turn down the drone every once in a while to let their pop muscles shine.

Rodent Plague “Evacutations” (Jerkwave)
Next up in the Jerkwave army is another blackened comet in the A-Frames/Intelligence/AFCGT sphere, Rodent Plague is the main vehicle of Erin Sullivan, who has spent some time with the above mentioned circle of bands, but has also played with the Dipers and Climax Golden Twins. So, when the man goes solo, it is definitely time to pay attention. The tracks here range from A-Frames-style clunker-punk to industrial bliss waves and even veering into loose ragas-- with about a half dozen overdubbed guitars. Quite the juxtaposition, but, it all works quite well together.

Absinthe Minds “The Song Of Returning Night” (Not Not Fun)
So this is what the "retired" Dead Luke has been up to since abandoning his own moniker to work with others. His other here being the incredibly talented Zola Jesus, who dropped one of last years best 7"s on Sacred Bones. The combo of these two was not quite what I expected (uhhh, bedroom weirdo's making strange love to their four tracks and birthing some sort of goth-pop baby...maybe), instead we get to hear the actual recording of the birthing process of said goth-pop baby. Low moans and high wails emanate from these two, while heavily reverbed keyboards, cryptic guitar lines, and outta control echoed FX puddle together to make for one intense cavernous romp through the backwater lanes of these two youngin's maze-like minds. Phew!

Antique Brothers “Season’s Feast” (NNF)
This next jam from the newest batch of Not Not Fun cassettes comes from the Connecticut-bred brothers Cy and Ged Gengras, who have been, apparently, playing together as the Antique Bros for four years, but you coulda' fooled me cuz this is my first encounter with them. Actually, I guess I have heard Ged play before-- the man has, on occasion, drummed in Pocahaunted, Robedoor, and Vibes. So he's pretty much the official drummer of the Not Not Fun stable. And, much like his work with the above mentioned, Antique Bros are mining the same slow-building psych/drone terrain. These fellers, however, seem to have a deep appreciation of eastern-styled drone (think Taj Mahal Travellers, people), which is usually accompanied with hard-plucked acoustic guitar. These moments of somewhat calmer reflection tend not too last long before they break into Sun Ra-esque freakouts and mountainous psych runs. There are also a few moments here that remind me of the heyday of the heavier end of post-rock, kinda like the more crushing moments on those early Mogwai singles. Even though I've missed the boat on these guys before, I will hereby be paying closer attention and passing off the details. Here's to pressing something to wax! Oh yeah, great packaging on this one from those kids over at Not Not Fun. Brilliant psych-o-delic cover by Amanda of NNF/Pocahaunted infamy.

N. 213 "Vexation" (Digitalis Limited)
Now on to some local action..."Vexation" is another great distorted and demented take on pop. N. 213 (lead singer and axe slasher in Shearing Pinx) has been steadily pumping out solo releases on his Isolated Now Waves label for years now, but this time around Digitalis gets a chance to release a cassette, which apparently sold out so fast it was never even listed on the Digitalis site. The first side showcases Nic's penchant for cheaply recorded but incredibly infectious weirdo-pop, and, admittedly, this has been some of my favorite material of his to listen to. Up at the front of the mix is his signature cheap warbled keyboards, drum machines, and a myriad of found sounds that find their way into each track. Some of the tracks here flit between bouncy, sing-a-long anthems to garbled fits of noise. N. 213, in many of his previous releases, and shown to extremes here, has been battling his inner demon to make either some frightful noise or seriously giddy thrash-pop. This cassette is a shining example of both. The flip is a little darker than the previous set of tracks and features long multi-layered blasts of echoed trumpet, creating an eerie vacuum of lost-in-space atmospheres. Sadly, OOP, though I have posted a track below. Try hitting up Nic at a Shearing Pinx show, as he just may have a copy left...

'Hair Respect'

WWHITE CLOUDSS "Before and After Everything" (Smoke Filled Casket)
This just may be the best damn thing I've heard from the Smoke Filled Casket label. I'm pretty sure this is another moniker of SFC's head honcho Michael Piercey (who also damages ears under Seagull and Crotch), if it is, this is a major leap from the white-out blasts under his other pseudonyms. Indeed this is just as heavy and sonically assaultive, but rather than just a relentless blast we have hypnotic head-nodding waves that teeter between sheer terror and aural delight. Reminiscent of those salad days of Burning Star Core.

gr8-2000/Stamina Mantis split (Thankless)
Fans of Suicide, Black Moth Super Rainbow, and sugar rushs will definitely be all over this gr8-2000 flip. Tom, the man behind gr8-2000, is probably the most infectious guy in Vancouver making music right now, on and off the stage. This release relies a little less on the 8-bit beats that can dominate his live show, which, I have to admit, is a bit of a relief, as it’s just being done to death right now. I spent so many of my formative years of my life in front of video games that I can't help but think of all those wasted hours whenever I hear those blips and bleeps. My nostalgia for those sounds have run their course. Moving on, Tom has implemented boom-clap drum machines, candy-eyed keys, and swaying synths, all of which roll together perfectly in this tooth-decaying mix of dance-floor ready beats. Anyone remotely young at heart when it comes to electronic music will be sure to love this. Jaded assholes oughta just steer clear. Only thing missing here is Tom’s Alan Vega-esque yelps, which only make one appearance here. The Stamina Mantis side showcases the band's punk tendencies, and has one ripping thrasher after another. Seems as if these guys were as bummed on the Dark Knight as I was, they just took it one step further by writing 'Fuck You, Batman'. Much love goes out to Bill at Thankless, who dropped a giant pile of Thankless recordings into my lap recently, most of which I'm still combing through. The cassette in question is the newest release on the label and definitely worth picking up.

Blake “Mother” Strukof (Halved)
Debut release on local label Halved, started up by the man behind local drone outfit Empress, and he also runs this fantastic blog over here. Anyone who heard either of the Empress CDRs, which now have proper distribution here and here, should expect the same tidal drone cycles. Blake "Mother" Strukof, the newly adopted pseudonym of Empress, takes the slow encroaching drone rumbles of his previous project and litters the mix with a tide of scrap yard debris. The velocity is eventually increased, creating a menacing feel that I've never really heard in his music before. Perhaps that is what prompted the new recording name for this project, a way to distance Empress from this harsher end of his musical landscapes. Apparently this was entirely sourced from a thrift-store Christmas album, not sure I hear a lick of snow of merriment in there. Fine by me. Looks like Halved has a few upcoming releases by local space-drone-psych monsters solars and the mysterious Roger Mexico. Halved is a most welcome addition to Vancouver's already healthy cassette underground. Keep it coming...

Naked On The Vague “The Mickey Mouse Headache Tapes” (Near Tapes)
A collage of shows recorded during their 2008 North American takeover, "The Mickey Mouse Headache Tapes" showcases the Australian duo in a rawer form. Though this cassette is similar to their hypnotic Siltbreeze LP, the vibe is a bit more chaotic and a lot less refined. Droning organ, drum machines, real drums, rolling guitar lines, those signature disaffected vocals, and warped keyboards cycle towards a hypnotic nightmare/dream sequence that'll have you either clamoring for the stop button or keeping it on repeat. Their debut LP still stands as their best document, but anyone who caught their set at Pub 340 last year should be sure to try and cop this cassette from the fresh-on-the-scene Australian cassette label, Near Tapes. The memories will come flooding back. Try contacting them through their myspace or give fusetron a shot.

Sloow Road “s/t” (Sloow)
Sloow Road is a duo comprised of Sloow Tapes head Bart De Paepe and Matt Valentine, who has spent time in MV & EE and Tower Recordings, not to mention dozens of solo efforts. Anyone who has found themselves loving the fucked folk of Valentine and the "earth-psych" efforts of Sloow Tapes will definitely need to search out a copy of this sucker. The cassette starts off in a hypnotic raga, complete with buzzing strings, gently strummed guitar and hand percussion, which eventually melds into the next track. Now they enter the heavy end of psych; buzzed-out guitar stalks loudly behind cyclic crystalline guitar. Oscillating synths and panning electronics take the Sloow Tapes earth psych into a dream-like orbit.

Tyvek “Blunt Instrumental EP” (self released)
Thee mighty Tyvek kicked the shit out of the Peanut Gallery last month (was actually the second to last show ever at the PG), and, luckily for those with cash in hand, they had a few merch items up for grabs. I only had enough to snatch up this cassette and their last two OOP 7"s, and I had to pass on a handmade live cassette. "The Blunt Instrumental EP", which is not entirely instrumental, is a collection of demos of tracks that'll probably end up on a release or two somewhere down the line. The tracks here flip between demented surf and sketches of tracks with all the mistakes left in. Not for everybody, but definitely an interesting glimpse into the writing process of the band.

Sky Limousine “Telepresence” (Digitalis Limited)
Sky Limousine is the one man synth wizard known as Josh Burke, who also runs the Avocado Jungle cassette label. Most of the Sky Limo albums were released on his own label, but this one comes courtesy of the ever amazing Digitalis label. Burke weaves a dizzying mix of arpeggeated rainbow synths that bubble and swirl around the ears. The pieces here are fairly short, which suits these synthesizer work-outs quite well. Beautiful packaging from the ever consistent Digitalis Limited series.

Thurston Moore “Blindfold” (Destructive Industries)
This cassette oughta tide over any SY hardcores until the June 9th release of "The Eternal" (check out a pastiche of songs from "The Eternal" here), not that this anything like what their new album will sound like. Nope, this is an assaultive guitar crusher that intertwines 3 or 4 layers of shrill guitar drones and feedback to concoct a 30 minute tonal headache, and that's just the first side. The Richard Kern photograph on the front encapsulates the dread found here quite well. The flip is made up of 3 harsh blasts of white static and guitar squeals, not quite as forgiving as the other side. This may be one of the harshest piece of noise I've heard come from Moore, proving the man can still write amazing pop and bring the noise when the times call for it.

Prehistoric Blackout “Wake Up Dead” (Arbor)
Not as menacing as the title would suggest, "Wake Up Dead" appears to be the debut of Prehistoric Blackout, the moniker of one Taylor Richardson, who also makes up one half of the NYC synth-drone outfit Infinity Window. In the past he's also worked with Marcia Bassett in Purple Haze and even participated in The Boredoms' 88 Boadrums. Much like his work in Infinity Window (who just released an amazing LP on Arbor) Richardson piles up the synths until they create a criss-crossing tapestry of drone. Every once in a while he employs dreamy washes of warped fuzz guitar, creating dark soundscapes similar to the work of Fennesz circa "Live In Japan"-era. Not near as dark and concentrated as his work in Infinity Window, but wholly satisfying nonetheless.

Blank Realm “Street Bananas” (Digitalis Ltd. )
Australia's Blank Realm have about a dozen releases starting from 2005. Most have been impossible to track down due to them practically living on another planet. Luckily for us Western-living folk, labels like Digitalis and Not Not Fun have put out some cassettes so's the rest of us can hear the basement burbles of that strange continent. The three releases I have been able to warp my ears around have all been rather hard to pin down (read my inane scribblings on their first NNF cassette here), and their newest cassette on the ever wonderful Digitalis Ltd. series is just as confounding. The idea seems to be the same, just with entirely different demolished soundplanes being explored here. This one starts off with some overdriven slit-speaker bass squirts, bookended by dying keyboards and field recordings of, well, “street bananas”. The following track sounds as if it's to roll right off the tape, warbled, distant vocals, shaky keys, and a hiccuping, plodding guitar line. This cassette also slides into demented folk territory, just in case you don't find their sound varying enough. An amazing full length is coming from these cats, I can feel it...

Ducktails "Dreams In Mirror Field" (Future Sound Recordings)
This is actually new pressing of a Ducktails cassette released back in 2007 and appears to be his second release. Anyone after those pleasant summer vibes that Ducktails has been rocking lately will be sorely disappointed here. It seems that Matt Mondanile (who also plays in the superb Predator Vision and Real Estate) was still finding his footing at this point and the meandering found here is proof of that. This C30 veers between harsh vacuum drone, blasts of bubbling bass, and hoovered electronics. Underneath this heaviness the listener occasionally gets glimpses of his future in warbled pop when he employs warm Eno/Cluster synths, which are usually consumed by his noisier tendencies. You may still be able to get a copy of this from DNT.

Ducktails “Acres Of Shade” (Arbor)
Finally managed to track one of these down after they quickly vanished from the Arbor site. This isn't quite as pleasant as his 7" on Breaking World Records, but still features his trademark watery wah and crystallized synth. Matt utilizes some aspects of dub here by physically slowing down the track and speeding it up as it suits his mood. Plenty of echo-y drum drops and drips of wah to keep the tropical vibe going, it's just not as beach-ready as this track here.

That's it for this month. Please drop a comment if you need help finding any of these titles. I tried to keep this month's batch as new as possible so that curious readers could try and cop these.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Hip-Hop Fridays: House Of Pain "Same As It Ever Was" (1994)

After dropping their frat house anthem, 'Jump Around', House Of Pain had been pretty much relegated to one-hit wonder status, where they still remain. As an 11 year-old kid 'Jump Around' was one of the first hip-hop tracks that was popular enough on the radio for me to finally notice the burgeoning genre. Not exactly the best way to be introduced to hip-hop, but, hey, I was living in the suburbs and my only inlet was commercial radio (Rap City, which aired on Much Music, was still a few years away). The song quickly lost it's flavor and I was well on my to discovering acts like Cypress Hill and Ice Cube, both of whom had a lot more respect and, well, better records. A friend of mine eventually picked up a copy of House of Pain's second album, "Same As It Ever Was", and, minutes into hearing the opening track, 'Back From The Dead' (posted below), I clearly had to change my mind about these guys.

First off, Everlast, who pretty much does all the rhyming here (Danny Boy only makes three appearances), altered his voice into a tougher, coarser version, coming off sounding a lot hungrier than on their debut. His new style perfectly matched the bass-heavy and darker production that dominates the album. It appeared as if HoP were looking to shed their cheesy past and they did so exceedingly well on this follow-up.

Admittedly, Everlast can come still come off a little cliche (see his chorus in the otherwise awesome 'On Point'), and he spends most of his time gloating about his superior mic skills, which can get old after a 15 straight tracks. But it's mostly forgivable due to the top notch production, courtesy of DJ Muggs of Cypress Hill, who was unbeatable at this point (Muggs was in between producing Cypress Hill's two phenomenal albums, "Black Sunday" and "Temples Of Boom"). His style is pretty unmistakable here; high-pitch horn squeals and his trademark ultra-low bass are especially impacting alongside Everlast's delivery. However, the best track goes out to 'Word Is Bond', which features production by the almighty Diamond D of the Diggin' In The Crates Crew. Though I missed most of the DITC action when it first dropped, thanks to House Of Pain, these young ears had their first taste of one of rap's all-time greatest crews. Diamond D even takes the time out to drop a verse on the track.

"Same As It Ever Was" managed to go gold in the US, most likely due to the prior success of 'Jump Around', but the album received little airplay and didn't yield any hits, though it did receive high marks from the Village Voice's head critic Robert Christgau. Also, I can't even seem to find any videos on youtube, and, thinking about it now, don't really remember seeing any videos from this album at all (enlightened readers should let me know if this is the case or not). Needless to say, "Same As It Ever Was" has dropped into obscurity and the group still remain a bit of a joke.

'Word Is Bond' produced by and featuring Diamond D

'Back From The Dead'

'Where I'm From'

"On Point" live on Top of the Pops

Download "Same As It Ever Was" here.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Karp-Complete Discography

Hailing from the one-time independent music capital of North America, Olympia, Washington, Karp (which was an acronym for Kill All Redneck Pricks) were seemingly an anomaly in a city that was known for birthing the riot grrl movement, briefly housing pre-fame Nirvana (most of Nevermind was written there), and the birth of independent powerhouse, K Records. Not that the trio didn't have their following, it's just that the muscular and macho attitude in the music didn't really fit neatly alongside the above mentioned attributes of this seemingly sensitive indie rock capital.

The trio concocted a raucous blend of fiery punk and muscular metal, with later Black Sabbath being a particularly strong influence. The Melvins, who also stomped around Washington state before heading to California, are another very obvious touchstone for the band. Though the Melvins comparison is rampant and inevitable, it's hardly the whole story. Melvins always found the time for sludge meditations on most of their albums, whereas Karp were much more relentless. All of their albums grab hold right from the get-go and simply refuse to stop pounding away. Apmed up and buzzy riffs steamed steadily along with dual barking vocals and relentless octopus-armed drumming. The trio could have fit in quite well with many of the math rock bands of the era. The would've stood tall playing alongside a group like Don Caballero.

Needless to say, these albums have been out of print for years now, with no signs of coming back into print. It's a shame because, with the current success of Torche and Big Business (Jared Warren from Karp started this band after Tight Bros From Way Back When disintegrated...more on the Tight Bros here), now would seem like the time when fans of that brand of amped up sludge rock should be hearing Karp. I actually happened across this band through the dollar bin at Zulu, which is where I found three of their albums.

"Mustaches Wild" K Records (1994)
Download "Mustaches Wild" here.

"Suplex" K Records (1995)

Download "Suplex" here.

"Self Titled LP" K Records (1997)
Download "Self Titled LP here.

"Karp/Rye Coalition Split" Troubleman Unlimited (1997)

Download "Karp/Rye Coalition" split here.

"Action Chemistry" Punk In My Vitamins (2001)
Download "Action Chemistry" here.

Download Live Set here. (via Lucid Media) *show is at Maxwell's in Hoboken, New Jersey, recorded November 11, 1994.

Download Karp demo from 1994 here. (via Mindgrinder)

While there doesn't seem to be any reissues in the works, it appears as if there will be a Karp documentary released in the near future. It was supposed to be out in the fall of 2008 but there are no signs of having actually been released. Below is a trailer I managed to find on youtube, which doesn't really supply much info...

Karp 'Bacon Industry'

Karp in Alabama 1996

Friday, March 13, 2009

Hip-Hop Fridays: Lords of the Underground "Here Come The Lords" (1993)

Lords of the Underground dropped this classic LP in the dead center of the second golden age of hip-hop. Unlike many of the great albums that came out in that vibrant period, Lords of the Underground were able to capitalize on the rising popularity and growing interest in hip-hop. One of the factors that helped the Lords' success (their debut went platinum!) was having living legend Marley Marl helm the production. Marley had started the legendary Cold Chillin' label in the mid-80s and was the man responsible for many classics of the genre (MC Shan "Down By Law", Big Daddy Kane "Long Live The Kane", and Kool G Rap and DJ Polo's "Road To The Riches", to name but just a few). By the mid-90s he was producing and remixing tracks by TLC and En Vogue, which didn't exactly help his street cred any. But by 1994 he discovered the Lords, helped pave them a path to hip-hop platinum, and .

The Lords themselves were voracious MCs who could spit so fast on the mic that it was hard to hear the lines the first few times around. Marley helped back these talented MCs with some of his best production since his Cold Chillin' days. There were so many great tracks on this debut that the Lords released 6 singles, all of which charted on Billboard.

The trio would go on to make another album, 1994's "Keepers of the Funk", which wouuld go gold. The groups disbanded a few years later only to reunite in 1999 with the dismal "Resurrection."

Fun fact: DoltAll appeared in the final scene of the final episode of the Sopranos. He was one of the many figures that entered the diner, looming as a potential threat to Tony Soprano.

Bonus: Here's a great compilation of the sample sources from "Here Come The Lords"

"Here Comes the Lords"

"Chief Rocka"

"Funky Child"


Download "Here Come The Lords" here.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Silver Pines "Forces"

On Aquarius Records' always trusty advice, I snatched up a a copy of the 2nd release by Austin's Silver Pines. The group (appears to be four members, see pic below) have concocted a gauzy blend of country, shoegaze, and, well, a tinge of pop. Most of the 7 tracks here start off with a slow country gallop and eventually build into an aching roar of bliss-fuzz guitars, yawning saws, multi-tracked and sorrow-filled female vocals, and, of course, mounds of breathtaking slide guitar. The result is an atmospheric slow ride down a canopy covered backwoods river. Simply gorgeous.

I believe that this EP is still available. Please contact the band or Aquarius records to obtain a hard copy of this. Note that this is just a CDR, but it is wrapped in a beautiful silkscreened sleeve. Let's hope that someone out there is willing to get these guys on to wax, where they truly belong.


**photo stolen from the Austin Chronicle.

Apologies for the lack of posts this week. I've been working on a few larger posts. Stay tuned for Hip-Hop Friday and March's Cassette Reviews...

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Biltmore Swap Meet, Sunday, March 8th. 1-5PM

Looks like Quinn over at local blog From Blown Speakers is hosting another swap meet at the Biltmore this Sunday, and yours truly will be hosting a table. Anyone who came by the Emergency Room swap meet last summer will have a decent idea at the kind of wares I'll be hawking. Plenty of new underground cassettes, LPs and 7"s that are not stocked anywhere else in town. Should have some Pocahaunted material, copies of The Hospitals' "Hairdryer Peace" (one of my faves from last year and unavailable anywhere else in Van City), the Wavves LP on Woodsist, and tons of other out of print releases that range from gnarly garage rock to psychedelic drone. Quantities are very limited. Come down between 1 and 5pm. A single dollar will get you in the front door. Brews, bands, and plenty o' swag. What the hell else are you doing on a Sunday afternoon?

Friday, March 6, 2009

Hip Hop Fridays: Rumpletilskinz "What Is A Rumpletilskin?" (1993)

After last week's post on Raw Breed I pulled out my copy of Rumpletilskinz, "What Is A Rumpletilskin?" The two groups share the same style of group-shouted choruses and intense, spitting lyrical flows. Anyone who was into the Raw Breed album from last week will be sure to love this.

Rumpletilskinz hailed from Uniondale, Long Island and were childhood friends with Bustah Rhymes. It seems as if Bustah's hoarse and excitable vocal delivery rubbed off on these 4 cats (or vice versa), as they ooze the same vibe. They first appeared on the Leaders of the New School posse cut 'Sound of the Zeekers @#^**?!', which dropped in 1991 on LONS' debut. The group cut a few 12"s and finally released their debut in 1993 on RCA. Rumpletilskinz didn't make it much farther than cult status, and the group disbanded soon after. I think one of the members had a solo record a few years later, though I can't seem to find any info on that.

Anyways, unlike Raw Breed, who relied heavily on hard/dark funk samples to back up their rough sound, Rumpletilskins tend to use lighter jazz samples, which makes for an interesting juxtaposition. Sorry kiddies, it's getting late and I don't have many more words for this. It's great. Download it. Drop some comments.


Leaders of the New School "Sound of the Zeekers @#^**?!"

Download What Is Rumpletilskin here.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Robe & Allied w/ Womankind@Honey Lounge, Thursday, March 5th. 10PM

It's been awhile since I've posted some local live action, but this upcoming show needs some love and attention. Debuting this Thursday is Womankind, a bit of a Vancouver all-star band featuring the talents of Brady Cranfield, Chris Harris, Christa Min, and a few others. Their sound has been described as being "very Jesus Lizard." Yes! This is also a great opportunity to check out Vancouver's new "deconstructionist rock band", Robe and Allied. Elements of Slint, June Of '44, and US Maple are evident in their refreshing sound (at least to my ears), but these three guys distill it down to an even more intense and simplistic form, forging a powerful new entity. Seriously one of my favorite bands in this city right now. They should also have a release of some form another out sometime this year.

Details: Honey Lounge, Thursday, March 5th. 10 PM. 5 bucks.

7 New Captured Tracks Releases!

It appears as if Mike Sniper's prodigious output as Blank Dogs has rubbed off on his Captured Tracks label. After releasing his first two 12"s by The Dum Dum Girls and Blank Dogs, natch, just a few weeks backs, it appears as if the next 7 (!) releases are available to order. Right now you can order all 7 new releases for $78.00 in Canada and $65.00 in the US, both totals include shipping. Multi-pack orders will cut off at 200, so get in there while you still can. I don't normally go out of my way to announce every release from tiny labels, but Captured Tracks is coming on strong and there is not yet a whole lot of press on the label. Sign up at the Terminal Boredom forum for instant updates from Sniper himself. Email capturedtracksorders@gmail.com to get a hold of the action. Also check out his blogspot, where, in the coming days, he'll have installed some paypal buttons for ordering.

Don't have time to get into every release here, but these are the ones I'm juiced up on...

The Mayfair Set 7"

This group is actually a collaborative effort between the Dum Dum Girls and Blank Dogs. Check their myspace for some infectious gloomy jangle jams. This sounds as good as you think it would.

Gary War "Opens" cassette
Live cassette of this warbled-pop group should prove that last years "New Raytheonport" 12" was no fluke.

PS. Download his new Sacred Bones 7"for free from his site, listed above.

The Bitters "Wooden Glove" 12"
Very new group out of Toronto (first live show with Wavves at the end of March) who seem to be full of promise. I highly recommend peeping their track 'Warrior' on their myspace. Here's hoping they've included that track on this 12". They also have an upcoming release with another up-and-coming group outta' Toronto, Little Girls. That split cassette will be released by Drone Errant in the coming weeks...hopefully.

Also in this new batch is a 12" by Blessure Grave, a cassette by Repairs, a 7" by Woods, and another 7" by Brilliant Colors.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

The Go-"Free Electricity" (2001) unreleased

As regular readers must have now guessed, Thee Expressway is a huge fan of all things related to Detroit's underrated The Go. A close friend introduced me to them a few years back and I've been a huge fan ever since. This close friend also managed to scoop up a copy of their unreleased gem, "Free Electricity," which was supposed to be the Sub Pop follow-up to their garage stomper of a debut, "Watcha' Doin.'" Needless to say, the album has still never received a proper release, a crime if there ever was one, as this is an amazing garage-psych record that deserved the royal treatment. The full story has never been told, but, basically, Sub Pop rejected The Go's second album because it was a little too "different" than their debut, which probably means that the debut had piss-poor sales and the label didn't hear any singles. The band decided to move on and focus on recording their next record, leaving "Free Electricity" a mere myth. Well, luckily, someone close enough to the band (maybe the band themselves?) saw it fit enough to post on the internet.

The album is actually a great intro to the band because it features everything The Go are capable of, from amped up garage anthems to exploratory psych rippers. The opening title track kicks things off proper with one of those above-mentioned anthems, which is very reminiscent of "Machine Head" era Deep Purple. 'Secular Century Man' and 'Peacock Angel' are laid back garage-psych cruisers that'll have you reclined on the couch with a warm wind in yr ears. 'Pharaoh's Tomb,' 'Turnin' On,' and ''All Dimensions Are Loose' will take you back to the first album when Jack White was still blazing away with the band. 'Into Outer Space' see's the band veering into the ethereal space that fit them so well on their last record, "Howl On The Haunted Beat You Ride." Perhaps my favorite track, and possibly the one that saw them dropped from Sub Pop, is 'Blood Red Sun,' an 11 minute psych-jam that relies heavily on a hall-of-mirrors saxophone that recalls "Fun House" era Stooges.

It's really too bad that Sub Pop passed on this, but I suppose the label was leaning towards commercial sales rather than indie cred, which, admittedly, the label already had heaps of. Safe-enough-for-the-mall bands like The Shins, Band Of Horses, Fleet Foxes, and Iron and Wine have been the primary focus of the label for the last few years, so it's really no wonder they passed on this "difficult" second record by The Go. It can now be yours...

Download "Free Electricity" here.

'Secular Century Man'

'Mothers of the Earth'

Live video of 'Free Electricity' and 'Watcha' Doin'

Very rare interview with band leader Bobby Harlow.