What's More Unbelievable?

Sunday, September 28, 2008

A Trip to the Free Clinic

More Vinylll.

The Carpernters - Offering
Sonic Youth - Radical Adults Lick Godhead Style

Show Theme

Tocotronic - Vier Geschichten Von Dir
Pavement - And Then
Lou Reed - Wagon Wheel
Talking Heads - Puzzlin' Evidence

Jerry Lee Lewis - End of the Road
Cat Stevens - Tea For the Tillerman
The Byrds - Have You Seen Her Face
Utopia - Where Does the World Go To Hide
The Cichlids - With My Girl

Tom Petty - Yer So Bad
The Kinks - Everybody's Gonna Be Happy
The Who - Happy Jack
The Rolling Stones - She Said Yeah

Leo Kottke - Vaseline Machine Gun
Pink Floyd - Wots...Uh the Deal
Leonard Cohen - Winter Lady
King Crimson - Moonchild

Neil Young - After the Goldrush
Will Oldham - I am Still What I Meant To Be
Bob Dylan and The Band - This Wheel's On Fire

Bee Gees - Spicks and Specks
Yume Bistu - Y Part 1
George Harrison - Greasy Legs/Ski-Ing
Bruce Springsteen - The Promised Land
Alice Cooper - Sun Arise

Dire Straits - Espresso Love
Led Zeppelin - Ten Years Gone

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Who Greenlighted This?

For the past few years, Pitchfork has listed their choices for Worst Album Covers of the Year and it is always full of horrifying examples of art direction and misguided creativity. In my world, cover art has never been a factor in whether or not I buy an album. I typically am already interested in a cd when I go to purchase it and if the album cover is particularly ugly, it doesn't affect the outcome of the transaction. I also never, ever have bought a record just because of the cover although I did once know a boy who purchased an Alice Cooper cassette simply to get the picture of the snake on the front. Thankfully, in the age of Google Images, he can now save his $5.98 (plus tax) and download all the snake photos he wants.

This Wolf Parade album cover is so horrendous, so utterly devoid of beauty, so far removed from a quality control specialist that even though I wanted to hear it, and possibly buy it, I refused to even go near it. Certain to win top honors in the ugly album cover contest of 2008, you have to wonder who was minding the store when this was sent to Graphics for final processing. The album title At Mount Zoomer is bad enough (lazy too since Mount Zoomer is the name of one of the facilities used on the recording of the album) but this cover makes me question the band's sanity and the music within. And here it is:

All Music Guide has a fascinating blog entry about LP covers designed Christopher Whorf who I had never heard about. Obviously given free reign, he made some perplexing and striking album covers for classical records in the 70s that have very little to do with the music. And if you like a little doobie in your funk, make sure you check out post number two on this bizarre and possibly quite mad album cover artist. The examples they write about are absolutely amazing.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Concert Review - Built to Spill 9/18/08

After the amazing Zappa Plays Zappa and Wilco concerts in August, I was ready for more guitar pyrotechnics and luckily had two chances to have my mind blown this evening since the Meat Puppets were also on the bill. Those boys are looking rough these days. Curt now has the "Dad paunch" as Mothra put it and his guitar, which he still plays incredibly well whether it's a punk raveup or textural noise, gently rests atop his stomach. Plus, he was wearing sweat pants. He looked as if he had just gotten off the couch in his den to play the show. Cris was the closest thing to Dee Dee Ramone I've seen in a long time. Grizzled and gray, he wears the story of his life and hard times on his face. He bounced around, shouted maniacally whenever the mood struck him and twice approached the microphone as if to address the crowd only to pause and then slam his forehead into it. They played a smattering of Meat Puppets II favorites along with country songs, Beatles tunes, old standards and speed metal workouts and although I recognized very little in the show they won me over by the end of their set.

Built to Spill were there to perform Perfect From Now On in its entirety. I'd never seen one of these full album concerts before and was intrigued. Missing from the show was the usual, "What will they play next?" anticipation which was odd at first but really didn't matter once they got under way. It was quickly replaced by "I can't wait to hear ____ next!" and "I wonder what they'll play for an encore? Keep It Like a Secret, perhaps?"

For some reason, both Mothra and I were expecting a 3 piece but they took the stage as a 6 piece - drums, bass, 3 guitars and a cello. It was an incredible show. The songs, which are already magnificent, were elevated by the energy and volume and ecstatic reactions from the packed crowd. I wonder what the impetus for the tour was. Why tour playing the same 11 year old album night after night? Is it a victory lap after years of hard work? Trying to recapture the creative spark that led to this masterpiece? I'm not sure but they didn't seem bored by performing it which was a fear I had.

The show was cacophonous and stunning, each song building to the next until everything culminated in the grand finale of "Untrustable." But instead of ending there, they instantly segued into "Goin' Against Your Mind" to finish the set, which sounded like the long lost ending to an already flawless piece of art. It made the rabid crowd completely frenzied and the stomping and shouting and clapping as the band exited the stage were as loud as I've ever heard. Mothra and I had picked one song each that we hoped they would play for an encore and they played them both and then split. It was a full on sing along as they knocked us out with the 1-2 punch of "Big Dipper" followed by a stunning rendition of "Car" which featured a 10 minute noise/drone outro that ended the night perfectly.

Here's the setlist:

Randy Described Eternity
I Would Hurt a Fly
Stop the Show
Made-Up Dreams
Velvet Waltz
Out of Site
Kicked It In the Sun
Goin' Against Your Mind
Big Dipper

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Cracklin' Static

Nothing but 45s tonite. Mothra has the space flu so Gamera takes it up to warp speed.

Old Favorites:
Don Howard - Oh Happy Day
The Tornadoes - Love and Fury
Francoise Hardy - Oh Oh Cheri
Les Paul & Mary Ford - I'm Confessin'
Les Baxter - Tango of the Drums
Patti Page - I Went to Your Wedding

Newer Gems:
Leka - Poppy Seed
Of Montreal - Everything About Her is Wrong
Sebadoh - Gimme Indie Rock
Crooked Fingers - Red Devil Dawn

Songs With Great Titles:
The Serendipity Singers - Beans in My Ears
Somethin' Smith and the Redheads - Coal Dust on the Fiddle
Gene Vincent and His Blue Caps - Who Slapped John
Joe Therrien Jr. and His Rockets - Hey Babe! Let's Go Downtown
The Turbans - Let Me Show You (Around My Heart)

B Sides to Famous Singles:
The Rolling Stones - The Under Assistant West Coast Promotion Man (B-side to Satisfaction)
Chuck Berry - Wee Wee Hours (B-side to Maybellene)
The Kinks - I Gotta Move (B-side to All Day and All of the Night)
The Beach Boys - Dance, Dance, Dance (B-side to The Warmth of the Sun)

The Crazy World of Arthur Brown - Fire
Wet Willie - Soul Jones
The Supremes - Nathan Jones
Shirley & Lee - Do You Mean to Hurt Me So

Duane Eddy - Bonnie Came Back
The Teen Queen - Just Goofed
The Olympics - Western Movies
The Hombres - Go Girl Go

Billy J Kramer with the Dakotas - Bad to Me
The Sensations - Let Me In
Johnny Tillotson - Send Me the Pillow You Dream On
The Toys - This Night

Rocketship - Get On the Floor (and Move It)
Yves Montand - Planter Cafe
Tuscadero - Poster Boy
Charles Aznavour - Le Palais de nos Chimeres
Rocketship - All the Pleasures...
Don Howard - You Went Away

Crooked Fingers - Broken Man

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

I Shred Hot Fire

Hats off to Mothra for telling me about this amazingness. Jjosh recently posted the Shreds video of the perennially overrated Eric Clapton showing off his chops and since I was watching at work at not closely enough, I thought it was actual footage of the man losing his mind on stage. I now see the error of my ways. That's what I get for not clicking on the links. Anyhow, there's an entire series of these monsters out there where absolutely ridiculous noodling is overdubbed over footage of guitar masters rocking out. Jjosh says that Clapton is the hands down winner but I'm not so sure. There's so many brilliant moments here from Santana's starting declaration of "You're dead meat" to the keyboardist's solo take on Europe's classic "The Final Countdown" to the percussion madness courtesy of the drummer's furious snare rolls. It's 4 minutes of pure joy but I think my favorite section is from 3:20-3:35. Better than Clapton? Please discuss.

And just for kicks, here's another video that always satisfies.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Yeah Whatever

Ratatat - Mi Viejo
Girl Talk - Set It Off
Passion Pit - Sleepyhead
Animal Collective - Water Curses

Thurston Moore - Silver>Blue
Akron / Family - I'll Be On The Water
Les Savy Fav - Brace Yourself
The Wipers - Alien Boy

Mates of State - Now
Stars - Elevator Love Letter
Wolf Parade - California Dreamer

Yo La Teng0 - Sometimes I Don't Get You
Marijuana Wolf - Hell Yeah
Papa M - Sorrow Reigns
Townes Van Zandt - Dead Flowers

Jay Reatard - Don't Let Him Come Back
The Cribs - My Life Flashed Before My Eyes
Shugo Tokumaru - Parachute
Vampire Weekend - Boston

Yeasayer - 2080
Radiohead - Reckoner
Built To Spill - Made-Up Dreams

Girls - Lust for Life
Lemonheads - Baby's Home
The Darkness - Dinner Lady Arms

Black Kids - I'm Not Gonna Teach Your Boyfriend How To Dance With You
Pixies - UMass
Nirvana - Very Ape
Stephen Malkmus - I've Hardly Been

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Concert Review - Wilco @ Tanglewood 8/12/08

A month later and I'm still thinking about this show. I hadn't seen Wilco since the Summerteeth era and my first encounter with the current formation was worth the 2 hour plus drive each way to the show. Nestled deep in the Berkshires, Tanglewood is in a beautiful location that is well out of the way from the typical touring routes. I rode in with a woman I had never met before but who works at my former place of employment so we had plenty to gossip about during the long drive. She has a phone with GPS which we let direct eh way. I was fascinated by this little gadget and the way it told us to take a slight turn either right or left every .3 miles or so. It was the most hypervigilant GPS I've ever seen yet when we passed our turn in North Adams, MA it was more than happy to go off for a smoke brake and not let us know we had veered off course until several minutes had passed. It also gave us two possible choices for a Tanglewood location so I randomly chose one which brought us to a residential neighborhood and construction zone 2 miles from the actual concert venue. The thing was a laugh riot. For those keeping score it was GPS - 2, Humans - 0.

After a short, and sparsely attended warm up set by Andrew Bird which featured a jaw droppingly beautiful new song, Wilco took the stage in their new glitzy Nashville style Lite Brite Suitz. Right away people were cheering and shouting and frothing at the mouth. Why do I only seem to attend shows with crazy fans lately?

The show started quietly but soon enough it turned into an insanely raucous affair. The crowd was ramped up and humongous, stretching out from us in every direction and far back into the night. Jimbama scored 6th row center seats under the canopy so we were surrounded by rabid fans whose excitement was contagious. I typically hate crowd participation but there I was clapping and singing along with songs like a fool and loving every minute of it. And I must say, Wilco fans have a good sense of rhythm. There were some at the Zappa Plays Zappa show who had obviously never heard of the concept of steady beat.

Due to their casual but precise interplay and road tested chemistry, Wilco reminded me at times of The Band in The Last Waltz minus all the special guests and bland songs. I know a lot of people drool over Robbie Robertson but Nels Cline could take him in a cage match any day of the week. I focused most of my attention on him and his furious soloing for the first half of the show since the man absolutely eviscerates his guitars but after the halfway mark, Pat Sansone started coming on strong and ended up being the center of attention with his Pete Townshend windmills and Mick Jagger strutting. He looked like a peacock with a Partridge Family hairdo and that was alright by me.

The highlights of the show for me were Impossible Germany's 3 guitar attack, A Shot in the Arm, which hit me like a steamroller and Poor Places into Kidsmoke. Best live rock band currently touring? Possibly. Here's the set list.

Either Way
Remember the Mountain Bed
Muzzle of Bees
You Are My Face
Impossible Germany
I Am Trying To Break Your Heart
A Shot in the Arm
What Light (w/Total Pros horns)
California Stars (w/TPs)
Pieholden Suite (w/TPs)
Handshake Drugs
Pot Kettle Black
Summer Teeth
Jesus, etc.
Poor Places>Spiders (Kidsmoke)
Can't Stand It (w/TPs)
Hate It Here (w/TPs)
Walken (w/TPs)
I'm The Man Who Loves You (w/TPs)
The Late Greats (w/TPs)
Heavy Metal Drummer
Monday (w/TPs)>Outtasite (Outta Mind) (w/TPs)
I'm A Wheel

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

A User's Guide To Devo Costumes

The Energy Dome - Synonymous with Devo. It's purpose is to capture energy escaping from the head and recirculating it. Reminiscent of Aztec temples. Dynamic, efficient and certainly not a flower pot.

The New Traditionalist Pomp - A lovely and dashing plastic hairdo based on JFK's manly and testosterone laden hairline. A brilliant idea for future worlds. You'll never need a comb or a shower again.

Booji Boy Mask - The spirit of infantile de-evolution. A mascot of sorts for Devo. His home is a crib and he typically sings the last song of the evening. Creeps me out something fierce.

Yellow Chemical-Protection Suits - The ideal body wear for performing herky-jerky, robotic dance steps. Cools you in the summer, warms you in the winter. Lovely for a walk through autumn woods, not terribly useful in spring.

Monday, September 8, 2008

The Delicious Taste of Bitter Bile

More work time revelations courtesy of the communal radio. The first is that I hate the harmonica, or at least I hate the way John Popper plays it. From my chair, which isn't terribly close to the radio, I can only hear the high end of songs which means that during "Runaround" by Blues Traveler, the harmonica solo appears unaccompanied, allowing me to focus on the sheer ridiculousness of it all. Now granted, it might make more sense in context with a backbeat and a harmonic foundation but from where I'm sitting, it's more grating than any blast of white noise I've ever been subjected to. It's all aimless fluttering and tweeting and a ghastly succession of runs up and down the harmonica making me wonder if Mr. Popper has somehow learned to be a human bagpipe, never needing to take a breath, always full of more air to push out assuring that his tuneless bleating will never have to pause.

The second revelation is that I was wrong, so wrong, when I thought that "Kokomo" was one of the worst songs ever written. Lazy, sure but worst ever? Not by a long shot. Hott Mama chided me on this a while back and it made me see the light. I can't say I like the song because the lyrics are insipid, the video is terrible, the damage it does to the Beach Boys legacy in inexcusable and the way it drills itself into your head is maddening, but it is not utterly horrendous. "What's Up!" by 4 Non Blondes however is a crime against music listeners everywhere, everyone hates it.

With "Kokomo," I was often met with mixed reactions when I professed my hatred for it because some people simply like to be whisked away to the sunny climes of Key Largo, Montego, etc. But nobody, literally nobody, has expressed anything but complete disdain for Linda Perry and her atrocious singing whenever I go on at length about this song, which is disturbingly often recently. This song puts me in a bad place and the worst part about it is it's tapeworm-like ability to implant itself and refuse to leave. Just hearing the title immediately gets the hellacious melody stuck in my head where nothing short of an icepick will remove it from my tortured brain. I try singing other, more pleasing songs to myself only to have it reappear again and again, refusing to die. A coworker sent me a link to this song today and ruined my morning. So if this is universally hated who are these people posting comments on YouTube? Here's a sampling:

whatisgoingoingon (19 hours ago)
I just love this song!thanks for this!Lulu

thenewgirlawakens (1 day ago)
Superb!! A song that has helped me alot in my life....Gave me hope...and strenght to not give up...
shoosh21 (5 days ago)
i LOVED and still LOVE this song. gees she was my idle when i was young!

KatheyAA (1 week ago)
OMG,I remember when this song first came out!!! I used to love the song!

kravmagiczka (1 week ago) the best 90's

surver2007 (2 weeks ago)
I love this song<3

These people can't be serious, can they? Isn't there any objectivity in music? Can't we all agree as a people that this is the worst musical atrocity ever committed on the public? If you can think of a worse song, please post it in the comments because I cannot think of anything that comes close.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

What Stacks

Summer vacation is over. Back to work everybody. Mothra was hard at work starring in his own feature film this weekend so he took the night off. Gamera is left to wander the stacks playing whatever sparks his interest. Let's spin some records!

The Who - Love Reign O'er Me
The Young Rascals - Lonely Too Long
Roy Orbison - Leah
Lionel Richie - The Only One

Human League - The Lebanon
Blondie - Die Young Stay Pretty
Men at Work - Underground
The Police - Rehumanize Yourself

Tom Petty - Century City
The Kinks - Scrapheap City
Bruce Springsteen - New York City Serenade

Think Thank Thunk
The Persuasions - Don't Look Back
The Dixie Cups - People Say
The Fun and Care of a Gerbil
Ladysmith Black Mambazo - Watatazela
The Carpenters - Goodbye to Love
Bee Gees - Lemons Never Forget

R.E.M. - Maps and Legends
Devo - Love Without Anger
Squeeze - Misadventure

Loudon Wainwright III - New Paint
Grateful Dead - Let Me Sing Your Blues Away
Eno - On Some Faraway Beach
Robert Fripp - North Star
King Crimson - The Letters
Pink Floyd - One of These Days

Yes - Siberian Khatru