Sorry for the lack of blogging. I took a huge and tragic spill on a hill I had no business skateboarding down back when I was in college and, as a result, I occasionally throw my back out, so I’ve been laid out flat for the past two days. Here’s a quickee post for you to enjoy and then I’m going to crawl back on the couch.
Guitarist extraordinaire Gary Lucas hosted a “Beefheart Night” back on April 9th at the Knitting Factory here in NYC. Gary played with his fantastic all-instrumental Captain Beefheart cover band Fast ‘N’ Bulbous (their CD Pork Chop Blue Around the Rind is highly recommended) and several fans and friends of Don Van Vliet spoke in between the band’s two sets. David Lynch sent in a cool little video of himself reading “Pena,” too. The highlight was a surprise appearance by the legendary Robyn Hitchcock at the tail end of the evening, who performed three songs with Lucas accompanying him on the steel guitar. A few weeks ago I uploaded my video of them doing “Sure ‘Nuff ‘N’ Yes I Do” to YouTube and yesterday Lucas contacted me to let me know that both he and Hitchock really enjoyed seeing it, so I uploaded their version of “China Pig” today (unfortunately, I didn’t record their last song “Click Clack”). Enjoy.
“Faith Healer” from Big Dipper’s Boo-Boo, quite possibly the best EP ever released
Thank god I thumbed through the latest Time Out New York this morning or I wouldn’t have known that two of my favorite indie pop bands of the 80’s, Big Dipper & Great Plains, are playing tonight at Southpaw in Park Slope. Boston’s Big Dipper released their first three exceptionally solid pop masterpieces in the late 80’s on the legendary (and long-gone) Homestead Records label and Merge Records was recently kind enough to re-release all of that out-of-print material and a slew of great bonus material on an insanely cheap 3-disc box set called Supercluster: The Big Dipper Anthology. Columbus, OH’s Great Plains were under-appreciated fractured pop masters, churning out smart n’ snarky clingers like “Letter to a Fanzine” (chorus: “Why do punk rock guys go out with new wave girls?”), “Dick Clark” and “Martin Luther King/Martin Luther Drinking”. Old 3C’s wonderful 2-CD retrospective Length of Growth 1981-89 is unfortunately out-of-print and fetches $99 or more online, but you can obtain a CD-R version of it from the label and apparently MP3 downloads are still available via eMusic and iTunes.
Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds—“Dig, Lazarus, Dig!!!” (hi-res version here)
Nigerian Gangster—Matsuli Music brings you Chicago DJ Mike Love mix-mashing Fela Kuti and Jay Z. If you haven’t already started clicking on the link, you’re dead to me.
A Significant Part Of Obama’s Message—Kyle E. Moore of PA’s Comments from Left Field spells out what should be the obvious. (John Cole from Balloon Juice has been quite literally on fire on this subject, too. Just scroll down to “Hillary Clinton, disgrace” and read up from there.)
Vote for our super swell buddy George Hakkila (aka Ham Steak) in the MySpace Band Friends contest at WFMU (aka the coolest radio station in New Jersey). He’s currently in a tight race for first place with a band from Krakow, Poland (that’s right, fucking Poland) and as a blue collar, lunch-bucket gal who loves America as much as Taylor Marsh loves make-believe radio careers, I will not stand for this outrage. Vote now (5th song down).
Blitzen Trapper live at Mercury Lounge, July, 2007 (full concert here)
Blitzen Trapper, whose album Wild Mountain Nation was picked as our best of 2007, will be playing at Bowery Ballroom at the end of this month (the 29th, to be precise). My wife Chris and I caught their live show unexpectedly in Seattle on a layover and they were wonderful. The performance was reminiscent of the high-energy and adorably scattered mid-years Pavement shows. Highly recommended. As an added bonus, they’re sharing the bill with their label mates Fleet Foxes, who our pals at FREEwilly dig (us, too) and their new EP “Sun Giant” is sure to litter best-of lists near and far at the tail end of ‘08. That’s what we call a win-win. Cash in on it if you’re a big applette.
Mick Jagger—“Memo from Turner” (from the film Performance)
BOBBY CHARLES: I got turned on to Bobby Charles while listening to Devendra Banhart guest DJing on WNYC’s “Spinning on Air.” It was a warm spring night, I had the radio on out in the garden, and Charles’ song “I Must Be in a Good Place Now” wrapped snuggly around my head like the most comforting cloth ever created. An absolutely gorgeous moment. Charles’ phenomenal debut album, recorded with most of the members of The Band and Dr. John, inexplicably swings in and out of print and The Heat Warps was kind enough to upload it recently for your listening pleasure. Believe me, you need this.
BOOT CAMP—THE END OF THE LINE: Robin completed her initial six-weeks of hell in boot camp and the whole series has been an entertaining, ahem, “reed.” Click and scroll around her blog (pretty much the closest thing I get to exercise these days) to see what she went through.
If you’ve ever enjoyed the DIY sounds of early Beck, Sebadoh, the Microphones or pretty much anything on the K records label, you really need to hear the Departmentstore Santas’ first and only record At the Medieval Castle Nineteen 100-year Lifetimes Since. Only 500 vinyl copies were pressed in 1984 and the leader of the group, Joseph D’angelo has steadfastly refused to allow anyone to rerelease it as a CD, causing it to fetch ridiculous prices on eBay and through dealers. I was first introduced to the record when the music director at our college station—I was assistant music director at the time—scored it in an impulse buy at Cutler’s Records in New Haven, CT. It quickly became a station favorite. Unfortunately, by the time I made it down to Cutler’s it was long gone and so for many, many years all I had in my possession was a badly worn cassette of the record, which inexplicably (and cruelly) excluded a few of the tracks. A few years ago my pal Tom from the Major Stars, who’s as obsessed with this record as I am, hooked me up with a vinyl rip CD of Medieval and I listened to it repeatedly for weeks on end, falling in love with it all over again. It’s moody, charming, eerie, sloppy, joyous, haunting, funny and everything in between. There are certain albums like Exile on Main St. and The Basement Tapes that exude an overall aural aura that elevates them well past the strength of their individual songs and Medieval Castle is one of those albums. You can sample one of the tracks (“Photo Album of Baby”) here and read about how Camper Van Beethoven loved the Santas, but I highly encourage you to download the whole album (an excellent rip in MP3 format) courtesy of the fine folks at Mutant Sounds before the RapidShare download expires. It’s the last of the four download options that work now, so I’d run if I were you.
DON’T MAKE ME KILL THIS KITTEN: TS from Instaputz, who has been a good friend of Rumproast, is entering sponsoring a team entered in a local Scrabble tournament to benefit Dave Eggers’ wonderful 826NYC nonprofit org. I donated some scratch to the organization last year and now I’m doing it again to back up my pal TS. It’s a great cause, so if you have enjoyed Rumproast (and/or Instaputz), why don’t you do me a favor and throw some cash 826NYC’s way via TS.
JAMES BROWN—LIVE IN ZAIRE: I break out in a hot sweat just thinking about this boot. Recorded in ‘74 prior to the Ali vs. Foreman “Rumble in the Jungle,” Live in Zaire sounds amazing and captures the spirit of the moment like few other live recordings do. If you’ve got an ass, you need this.
THINGS DO LOOK AWFUL COLD: Digby takes a quick gander at the political leanings of the 18-25 year-old group in a resent Pew study and it’s good news for the Democrats.
FLY OCEANIC AIR: ABC’s new online viral campaign to promote the 4th season of Lost is, well, pretty damn impressive. If you’re a fan of the show (I’m a late-bloomer) and haven’t booked your flight yet, get on board.
Jeffrey Lewis—“Anxiety Attack” (unauthorized fan video)
The Hyena and Other Men: If you’re a New Yorker you’ve only got a few days left to immerse yourself in Pieter Hugo’s stunning exhibit at the Yossi Milo Gallery. It’s comprised of large-scale photographs of a band of Nigerian men who roam the country with a menagerie of animals and a six-year-old girl named Mummy. You can view most of the photos at the gallery (and many, many more) here (hint: view images separately—right-click), but the small JPGs are nowhere near as impactful as witnessing them blown up and surrounding you.
Butter 08: Egg City Radio is giving away Butter 08’s way-fun and punk-funky (and out-of-print) selt-titled ‘96 release featuring Miho from Cibo Matto and Russell from the Blues Explosion. From Miho saying, “Thank you, daddy” to the last throbbing yelps of “Butterfucker,” this delivers great gifts to your needy assbone.
Why I Believe Bush Must Go: George McGovern writes an editorial in The Washington Post calling for the impeachment of Bush and Cheney. Yes, that sound you hear off in the distance is the howler monkeys of the right going batshit.
I stumbled upon a live music (*cough* bootlegs *cough*) MP3 blog called Nargothebort’s Deviant Culture that has some great stuff on it. TonyTiger, the host, only posts soundboard or FM recordings (for the most part), so you don’t have to suffer through abysmal audience recordings that are plagued by inferior sound quality or the endless yammering of some drunken fuck-knuckle positioned near the tape dweeb. The downside is that all files are hosted on RapidShare, so you have to be inordinately patient waiting for downloads, especially if a show requires two or more link clicks (hint: bookmark the posts and return at your leisure). Also, all files are compressed using the RAR format, so you have to be able to work through that (hint: WinRAR is a breeze).
I’m particularly enjoying a Who show from December ‘73 that occured just a little over a month before my favorite Who album Quadrophenia was released and it features several great (and lengthy) versions of songs from that album. There’s a lot more to be found there, so scroll down the right sidebar to see what floats your boat, but, be warned, if you download the Bob Seger live show I’m never speaking to you again.
I want to get out and enjoy what remains of this crisp fall day, so I’m going to keep this Selector short n’ (except for the FReeper link) sweet…
THE LOST SOWETO COMP: The always terrific Matsuli Music is featuring a wonderful out-of-print find of South African music released in ‘83 called Soweto. It’s a stellar comp, lovingly converted to MP3 from vinyl, and the instrumental “Here We Come” that they spotlight in their post is one of the best (and most original) African instrumentals I’ve ever heard. Highly recommended!
ELISA FLYNN’S TWO-MAN BAND: My talented pal Elisa Flynn is unveiling her new live set-up with an accompanying drummer this Tuesday at Union Hall in Park Slope. Lurid Culture recently gave her a great endorsement (scroll down) in a blurb about this show. As they say, “Catch her on the way up.” [UPDATE: Sadly, Elisa’s performance has been cancelled due to illness.]
AND SPEAKING OF WINGNUTS: Someone at Free Republic posts a story about celebrities in California having to flee their homes due to wildfires, a few FReepers launch into predictable thick-headed rants about Hollyweirdos and environuts (“I say let the whole state burn! Get rid of the nut jobs, I do not even like to admit California is one of the states.”), and all hell breaks loose (“I am beginning to wonder if ‘conservative’ is such a good thing if it means heartless.”). Hilarious. But remember, liberals are the crazy and angry ones…
Crud Crud, run by Scott Soriano of S-S Records, is one of my favorite MP3 blogs by far. Every now and again he blows the dust off of a rare used record store find and unleashes its contents onto the world in digital format. You’ll get a dud every now and then, but for the most part he only adds treasure to your trove. I’ve found some amazing music there. A recent 45 rpm upload, produced by R&B legend and “The Father of Rap” Andre Williams, features the track “Stuff” sung by a woman named Jeanette Williams, who there is absolutely no information on the innertubes about (unless she’s morphed into a tepid bluegrass singer). The song, recorded in ‘69, is a first-rate chugging soul sweep, electrified by Jeanette’s deep and powerful pipes. It’s a wonderful find and, as near as I can tell, has never made it onto even the most obscure comp, so go grab it before Crud Crud expires the link. And, of course, grab the sleek n’ bluesy b-side “You Gotta Come Through” while you’re there, too.