Wednesday, November 21, 2012

The Burning Louisiana Sun

The story goes like this: Mama Rosin and HipboneSlim and the Kneetremblers met in France while performing at a blues festival’s Voodoo Rhythm jam stage.  You can’t really say the rest is history because there was no history until this release, Louisiana Sun, came out.  Mama Rosin together with Hipbone Slim and the Kneetremblers.  If you are familiar with the two bands, your reaction was probably a lot like mine.  “What?”

Mama Rosin is Cajun from Switzerland.  Hipbone is rockabilly from London.  Both bands are terrific in their own right, but when you first think of their sound combined … well, it’s not exactly peanut butter and chocolate.  Then you hear “Voodoo Walking” and think, “Okay, this is going to work.”
The two bands complement each other so well that it sounds like a brand new musical entity, though you can hear elements of the bands in each song.  If you are familiar with the bands, you can’t help but be a little mystified by it all.  If you never heard either band before, you’d be hard-pressed to figure out where one band begins and the other ends.  It sounds like one cohesive unit of musicians who have been playing together for years. 

There are a dozen songs to choose from here.  Not a single one is over three-and-a-half minutes long.  Not a single one is a disappointment, unless you don’t like this type of music.  I’m a fan of Cajun and rockabilly done Voodoo-style, however.  Foreigners once again prove they can do our music better than ourselves.  They still believe there’s magic in it, something that was beat out of our musicians in the ‘80s.  And for you surf fanatics, the title track is a take on “California Sun.”  You know the song.  It’s been in about 800 commercials.  It sounds better here.

Another brilliant release from Voodoo Rhythm.  

Mandatory FTC Disclaimer:  I DID receive this CD to review, and clicking on a link=commission.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Lick It

If you are a fan of the Dwarves, Lick It is a bit of an oddity.  If you look at the rest of the band's rather large idiscography, this one stands out as being different.

The band, which has put out releases like Blood Guts & Pussy, and once offered George W. Bush the rights to use its song "River City Rapist" for his presidential campaign, put out this two album (different colored vinyl to boot) release on Recess Records.  For people used to the sounds of Thank Heaven For Little Girls and Free Cocaine, this is a bit of a shock.  It is the band's ... psychedelic years.  Sorta.

This is some psychedelic stuff from the band's early days.  Songs like "Eat My Dinner," "Love Gestapo" and "I'm a Living Sickness" all have moments where you can hear the Dwarves that made such classics as "Demented" and "We Must Have Blood."  The difference is so glaring, however, that when I first bought this set I had a hard time enjoying it.  I'm not into psychedelic music all that much, and the Dwarves I like is the one that sings about Satan and tooling for warm teabags.  "Chocolate River"?  Really?

Now, as I write this, I sit on my couch.  The only light is the computer and a candle.  My fan is going, and Lick It is playing on my crappy turntable, which fits the sound just right.  Since purchasing this around 2000, it has grown on me.  In this atmosphere, after a stressful day of work, another phone call to a lawyer, putting in for writing jobs -- it all comes across as something kind of beautiful in its own weird way.

I don't think many people would find the Dwarves to be stress relief, but this double album works.  Maybe that says all the wrong things about me.  Then again, maybe it says everything that is right.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Burn Burn Satellite: The Sperm Festival Fascination

The early '80s.  I was exposed to Sigue Sigue Sputnik by People of all things.  The look of the band is what caught my eye.  The description of its music let me know I was on the right track.

The band's name was supposedly taken from a Russian youth gang and was said to translate to "Burn Burn Satellite."  This has been disputed.  Other names the band had toyed with were Sperm Festival and, one I really like for reasons clear to anyone who knows me well, Nazi Occult Bureau.  The band was described by founding member Tony James as "hi-tech sex and designer violence."  The music was rock with a liberal dose of sampling and electronic mayhem.  Commercial space was sold on the albums, and the look always mattered more than the sounds the band produced.  It was the 2000s before we knew what was possible.  All style.  All sex.  All violence.  Girls.  Rockets.  Voodoo.

In a word: cool.

I've always been interested in bands that have an interesting look.  (Hence part of my obsession with Death in June.)  Marilyn Manson and company are not eye catching enough for me.  In fact, the lads seem to fit a stereotype more than anything else.  Sputnik, however, was all high hair in an explosion of color, torn fishnets, and cod pieces.  Sperm festival, indeed.

When I eventually found the first album, Flaunt It, on cassette in a music store located in the Leigh Valley Mall, I raced home and played it as soon as I could.  It was ... amazing.  Crazy.  Frantic.  Chaotic.  Ripsaw guitars.  It conjured up images of neon-lit human sacrifices in Times Square on New Year's Eve.  If drug-fueled group sex had a sound, this was it, and I was hooked.

The band eventually split and reunited several times.  (Interestingly, the original vocalist, Martin Degville is reported to have made "specialist porn films" after the first break up.  I can see that, and it isn't pretty.)  That seems to be the way for many bands.  Sputnik, however, never seemed to click like that first round. The world it had helped usher in, was beyond them now.  As a culture, we left irony behind because we thought were above it.  We were, however, knee deep in it, but we became so distracted with technology and consumerism that we missed the signposts.  2008 gave fans a compilation and nothing more since.  The satellite burned.  The designer violence wasn't as cool in a world where school shootings and 9/11 were fresh in people's short-lived memories.  Hi-tech sex had been replaced by Internet masturbation to videos of two girls sharing a cup.  Sputnik, once cutting-edge, seemed quaint and, yes, ridiculous.

I still listen to the band.  I still crave those strange Japanese influences and fascination with A Clockwork Orange.  The world may have changed.  Bands that were influenced by Sputnik have gone on to have some great careers.  I still have the memories, though.

And it would have been so much cooler if the boys had stuck to Nazi Occult Bureau.

Mandatory FTC Disclaimer: Clicking on a link may get me some cash.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Wendy Carlos and Clockwork Magic

Sublime.  Originally released as Walter Carlos' Clockwork Orange in 1972, it was later titled Wendy Carlos's [sic] Clockwork Orange upon rerelease as an "enchanced CD" in 1998.  Being a huge fan of A Clockwork Orange, I had to have it.  It is pure magic.

The electronic music was made by Wendy (at that time still Walter) after she released Switched-On Bach.  She and producer Rachel Elkind had started messing with a spectrum follower, an electronic device that converts sound into electronic signals that mimic the rhythms and overtones of the original sampling.  They wanted to make the first electronic "vocal" work and had picked the Choral Movement from the Ninth Symphony (Beethoven, of course) for this.  In the midst of doing this, Carlos was introduced Anthony Burgess' novel.  It inspired Carlos to create a musical "poem" of the book.  At this point, Carlos learned that Stanley Kubrick had finished a film version of the historical novel, and a meeting occured.  Some of the music Carlos had created was used in the film.  This release is not the film soundtrack, but the book soundtrack, if you will.

If you enjoy electronic music and classical music, this is a must have.  If you are a fan of A Clockwork Orange, this is also mandatory.  Unfortunately, fans of all these things are mostly unaware of the existence of this release.  I have included a link to the release on Amazon, but be warned, it is going for over $50, and I am not selling mine. 

Mandatory FTC Disclaimer: I did not receive this to review.  If you click on the link I may earn a commission.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

More Death in June

Douglas Pearce, Death In June's main man, has, according to some accounts, straddled the line on what his music meant in order to "win mainstream acceptance."

I could see nothing further from the truth.

In every interview I've read with Pearce, in every bit of music I've listened to, I see nothing that says Death In June or Pearce was ever trying to gain mainstream acceptance.  Pearce is far too smart to want that, and Death In June's music is far too smart to ever obtain that.  In order to gain mainstream acceptance, one must create music that is easily digested and thought about as little as possible.  Anyone familiar with Death In June or Pearce knows this is not something the man or the band is capable of doing in any way, shape or form.

Death in June is thinking man's music.  It is not the radio friendly slop that is spoon-fed and has as little staying power as it has depth.  Pearce has never come across (at least in what I've read) as a man who seeks mainstream acceptance in the way most people come to define it.  Would he be satisified if the world embraced his music and understood it?  I can't think of an artist who wouldn't be.  The fact is, though, most of the music culture is not ready to do so and never will be.  You won't hear "All Pigs Must Die," on the radio, though it is a haunting beautiful song.  (In fact, if you've never heard it, I imagine you already formed an opinion on what this song sounds like.  You'd be wrong.  I once told the title to someone, and when I played it for her, she said, "That can't be the song you are naming.  This is incredible.")

Mainstream acceptance is best left to American Idol winners and almost-was types.  It's best left to the bubble gum smears and the party anthems that encapsulate mindless summer fun.  Death in June, even at its most mainstream (as if there were such a thing), can't compete with that kind of sugar.  It is, despite some people's beliefs, music meant to weed out the unthinking masses.  It says "stay away" in no uncertain terms.  To believe otherwise is not only an insult, but a total misunderstanding of the music.  Listen to this and tell me different.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Forgotten Million Sellers

There is something disturbing about Roy & The Devil's Motorcyle Forgotten Million Sellers.  Originally released back in the days of despair that was 1997, this oft-described "psychedelic blues punk" was either ahead of its time or a troublesome disc of problems that included fucked-up sounds and listener confusion.  When Voodoo Rhythm released it back in the day, copies were sent back to the label with complains that the sound quality was off.  Today it is a collector's item.

Again, disturbing.

Voodoo recently re-released it along with the new CD. What can you really say?  You either get it or you don't.  It is far more experimental than the latest release.  It's fourteen songs often sound like one large composition.  It seems designed to alienate listeners rather than draw them in.  It was then, as it is now, ahead of its time ... only today's audiences may be more forgiving of this sort of thing.  Even the cover art harkens back to the Eerie Materials days, and this would kind of fit right in with the stuff that label was doing.  Though, if you want to think of something really scary, the Eerie Materials releases were far more coherent.

By now you have a good idea of whether or not you want this CD that defies description.  If you manage to find it, the intro will give you a good idea of what you are in for.  If you can make it past that and through the other 13 tracks you can consider yourself one of the few, the proud, the initiated.  This is not everyone's bag, and it is rare when you will come across something that does its best to eliminate all listeners.  For that along it deserves respect.

Mandatory FTC Disclaimer: I received this to review, and clicking on a link may earn me cash.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Roy and the Devil's Motorcycle -- Psychedelic Drunkeness

Tell It To The People is bound to become another cult classic, much like Roy and the Devil's Motorcycle's first release.  There is something about this bluesy, garage, psychedelic and demented band from the Swiss Alps that appeals to people.  It doesn't embrace too much of any one genre, but takes the best bits from all to create a sound all its own.

There are nine songs on this release, and each one sounds like it could be from a different band.  If all you heard was "Piggy Bank" you'd get one impression of the band, but if you listened to "Six Pink Cadillac" you would have another.  "Casey Jones?"  Yep, another impression.  Schizophrenic or brilliant?  That's purely up to the listener.  Some people can't handle things like that, others point to that as a sign of musical genius.

Tomorrow, 4/17/12, the band plays Nambucca in London.  They have four more dates set after that (not in the US).  If it's like earlier shows, the band will do the unexpected.  It will defy expectations.  The music it makes may leave you scratching your head, especially if you go into it expecting not to be challenged.  Voodoo Rhythm doesn't put out records like that, though.  Voodoo treats its bands with the respect they deserve.  Things like demographics and target markets mean nothing to the company.  I've called it music for musicians in the past.  This release is music for all artists.  Catch these misfits if you can.  If not, good luck hunting it down.  I don't think it will be easy.

Mandatory FTC Disclaimer: I received this to review, and clicking on a link may earn me some cash.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Rock the Tabla

Rock the Tabla features Egyptian mainstay Hossam Ramzy and a gaggle of "special guests" on a mission to ... rock something or other.

Aside from the song "Six Teens," this is almost instantly forgettable as it lacks soul.  What is supposed to be a release full of "electrifying rhythmic collaborations" is nothing more than an extended jam session with artists who are better off as background musicians.

Harsh words?  Yes.  But true.  Ramzy can sometimes create some magic.  I've heard it on other releases.  Here, however, his music is background material, as is that of the music of his special guests.  This is surprising when you realize the idea behind this release was floating around for a decade before it ever got made.  Perhaps ten years ago it seemed like a good idea.  Now, however, it falls far short of anything that could even be considered interesting.

Mandatory FTC Disclaimer: I received this to review.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Psychedelic Pirates

I am not a fan of psychedelic music, but I like this.  First there's the band's name: Pirate Love.  Than there's the album title: Black Vodoun Space Blues.  Birthed from Oslo.  Inspired by the Seeds.  A previous release called Death Surf Negro Instrumentals.  I didn't have to hear it to know it would be good.  What I didn't expect, however, was how much bite it would possess.

When I think of psychedelic music (space blues or not), the word that usually comes to mind is swirly.  It just reminds of kaleidoscope visions and lollipops.  This is more like an acid trip and switchblade knives (blades out, motherfuckers).  Lots of effects.  Lots of guitar.  Lots of wailing.

Voodoo Rhythm, of course, has released this 12 song monster to some great press.  "In A Dirty Cellar," "Sick of You," "Death Trip," "Laughing Gas," "Broken Soul #2" -- these are songs designed to not only set a mood but to teleport you to another time.  A place where werewolves smoke hash and don't care who they sodomize.  Yeah, it's a little eerie and not at all the kind of happy thing you'd expect to hear in an elevator, but it does one thing a lot of music fails to do: it works.

Don't expect to find this release too easily in your local record shoppe.  I'm pretty sure that if you ask for it you are going to get some of those infamous blank stares meant to convey a level of cool you can never hope to obtain.  Don't let that high school grad (barely) bring you down.  Go to Voodoo.  Go to Amazon.  Whatever.  Obtain it.  And stay the hell out of that record store.  That was yesterday's news.

Mandatory FTC Disclaimer:  I received this to review.  I may earn a commission from any of your clicks.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Hot Sauce From Haiti and Indian Ragas

Sunday found me cooking up a batch of Haitian hot sauce (Sauce Diabolique) for yet another office potluck. As I prepped the habaneros, I had Baluji Shrivastav's Classical Indian Ragas -- Shadow of the Lotus playing on the stereo.  I know, I know.  It's that Baluji Shrivastav.

As I've noted on many occasions, my taste in music is pretty varied.  I either really like world music or dislike it.  I don't have many in-between spots.  This release fell into the "don't like" category, but not because the sitar-fueled, overly long songs (the shortest is eight-and-a-half minutes long, while the longest is pushing a half hour) didn't deliver the level of classic that was promised.  No.  It was because I didn't even know it was on.  The music here is more subtle than what you would find playing in some New Age book/crystal cleansing store -- as if such a thing were even possible.  Background music has a place, but music you can't even perceive on the most minute of levels?  That's not good.  In the beginning I even had to check to make sure the CD was working properly.

I know there will be someone out there who likes the five songs here.  Perhaps they can go into great detail as to why this release is one of the most underrated of all time.  I'd love to hear that argument.  I'd love to be swayed by it.  I don't think it will happen, though.  Anyone attracted to this is bound to have a personality as nearly as non-existent as the music, and that doesn't bode well for the swaying.

Mandatory FTC Disclaimer: I received this to review and clicking on a link could earn me a commission.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

The Shocker -- Up Your ... Ass Tray?

I'm not sure what an Ass Tray is.  The Shocker (you know what it's named after) seem to know, however.  That's why the band, featuring L7's Jennifer Finch, named its album Up Your Ass Tray -- The Full Length.  It doesn't matter either way, really.  The Shocker (again, you know what it is named after) has made a fairly rocking release that has some decent songs and even some staying power.

Of the 11 songs on here, most have something to warrant repeated listens.  Even the cover of "Body Count," as strange an idea as it may be, has "show ender before the encore" written all over it.  I'm sure the crowd goes nuts for it.  By the CD's end, however, something comes to mind that makes this release a little less enticing.

Yes, the songs are well-played and seem destined to get you flailing around in a pit in some dive bar somewhere.  In that they succeed quite well.  They don't do any more than that, though.  They go as quickly as they came, making this a CD that is played only when you come across it in the collection ... after you've forgot about it for a few months.  I like it, but not that much. 

I also don't know why every song seems to come across as kind of a joke (see the band's name even), but that doesn't help matters any.

The Shocker is a band I find far more enjoyable than L7, but that isn't saying much.  Keep in mind that if you seek this out, you may find yourself listening only once in a blue moon.  It will please you for that listen ... at least until you turn it off.

Mandatory FTC Disclaimer: I did receive this for review.  If you click on a link, I may earn a commission

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Graves Brothers Deluxe

In 2005 the Graves Brothers Deluxe released Light.

That's a rather simple sentence that doesn't tell you much, yet at the same time tells you all you need to know. The release is nowhere near as simple.

I'm a fan of music that mixes styles naturally and with grace.  That's what you have here.  Rock, country, voodoo ... all of it comes together in way that flows.  "The White Devil's Death Song," "Nerves," "Legs Rub Together" and seven other songs fill this disc with stuff that is bound to bring a smile to your face once or twice.  And there's the rub.  Once or twice.

Even though this release is good in its weird, eclectic way, one can't help but feel that this has been done better by others.  You wouldn't be wrong there, but if you listen closely you'll realize there is more going on here than meets the ears.  There is a skill level that says this should somehow be just a tad bit more memorable.  Why is it that the songs leave your head almost as soon as you hear them?  Why aren't you singing them the next day?  Energy.

These songs only expend as much energy needed to carry them on to the next number.  Nothing more.  While that is fine for the duration of the song, it makes them less than memorable on many different levels.  That's quite a shame, as this is obviously the product of some talented musicians (and quite a few of them).  If they showed more spirit and paid less attention to technical chops, which really impresses nobody but music students, they would have had a release worthy of multiple listens for years down the line.  Instead, Light is something to be dusted off and listened to once every few years.  A reminder, perhaps, of what could have been.

Mandatory FTC Disclaimer: I received this to review and if you click on the ad, I may earn a commission.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

A Little Stress Relief

Needing a break from editing an interview for the upcoming Film Threat magazine relaunch, I decided to put on some music I needed to review. Stress is killing me, so I picked something I thought would be a bit festive: Orchestra Makassy. It was festive, all right, but did little in the way of relieving my stress or the intense pain in my back. Arc Music, under the guise of "Legends of East Africa," put this CD out. It's apparently a re-release of Agwaya with two never before released tracks. If that got you excited, then by all means rush out and purchase this. If you gave an indifferent shrug, well, you aren't alone. I had much the same reaction. I don't know what the fuss is about and why this needed a re-release. Wasn't once good enough? It was for me. One listen. That's it. That's all that was warranted. Amazon listeners, however, think differently. If you read the reviews on Amazon, they are all positive, with some calling this the best CD they own. (His or her collection must be questionable at best.) It is almost as if this CD has become some kind of second coming. Maybe it is if you are a fan of African music (I like some of it). If not, though, reading these reviews makes you wonder if you listened to the same thing. I know I questioned it. By this point, you know whether or not you want this. You don't need me to point you in the right direction. Nope, you have odd Amazon patrons for that. Mandatory FTC Disclaimer: I received this CD to review. If you buy it and join the ranks of the brainwashed, I may earn a commission, so click away.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Desert Music With the Bedouins

From 1955-1960 Deben Bhattacharya took to Bedouin tents between Jordan and Iraq and recorded the music of these people. The end result is a 14 song CD with songs like "Bedouin Love Song (1)," "Dabkeh Dance," "Coffee Grinding Rhythm," "King Hussain" and more. If the Bedouins fascinate you, this is the release to get. Traditional instruments like the buzuk and tambourine are heard on every track. Atmosphere is so embedded in this release that you can almost smell the camels and the baking sand. Unfortunately, if you have no interest in Middle Eastern music or the Bedouins there is zero reason to listen to this, as the music just isn't very exciting. I do like world music, but I'm fairly picky when it comes to what I enjoy. This does not meet my criteria for something that is worthy of repeated plays. One listen was enough for me. I heard it. I determined it sounded authentic enough, and then I went about my day. Bedouin fans, take note, however, this is your Grail. Mandatory FTC Disclaimer: I received this to review and clicking on a link may earn me a commission.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Masters of Indian Classical Music to Bore Listeners

Arc Music's Masters of Indian Classical Music Vol. 2 is a competent release with many different musicians doing their best to bring listeners a healthy dose of classical music Indian-style.  These are long compositions that, if one is of the right mindset, can soothe the savage breast.  Unfortunately, I am not of the right mindset.  I embrace the savage breast.

My first indication that this would go wrong was to see that this was only six tracks ... over two full-length CDs.  Now, I enjoy instrumentals, but they have to create a mood or atmosphere for me to actually care about them.  These six tracks don't do that, and when you couple them with their length it starts to become an exercise in self-restraint not to pull them out of the CD player.

It has been said that classical music is dead.  Listeners are few and far between, and musicians no longer want to create anything in similar to the music of days long past, so the future looks grim.  This CD is part of the problem.  Purists will enjoy it, but I doubt it will move them.  Casual listeners, such as myself, will find themselves annoyed.  It's a no-win situation all the way around.
Mandatory FTC Disclaimer: I received this to review and may earn a commission if you click on a link.

Saturday, March 3, 2012


It is well-documented that I thrive on anything on the Voodoo Rhythm label.  Hipbone Slim and the Knee Tremblers is no exception.  The Kneeanderthal Sounds of ... is the band's fourth release.  Billing itself as "primitive rock," I can safely say that is an apt title if there ever was one.

Bare bones.  Basic.  The kind of stuff you find playing in a bar from 7 p.m. to 2:30 as the last of the drunks shuffle out.  To call this a one-note release, however, is to make a grave mistake.  Witness the transition from rocker "No Great Shakes" to the surf "Camel Neck."  This could be two different bands.  It's not, of course, but that's what versatility does for you.  It wrecks expectations.

Hipbone Slim's other releases have had moments of sheer greatness.  Much of it sounds like a soundtrack to the kind of movie I want to see.  This release may top all the others.  There is stuff here you can visualize scenes too.  (Most of it break-up scenes that movies rely too much on, but you get the picture.)

Picking a favorite tune on here would be damn near impossible.  It would be totally dependent upon my mood.  That said, my mood right now dictates that I listen to "No End In Sight" and think about things for quite some time.  "Just to have you by my side/Once more to see your face/I'd crawl on glass/I'd run through fire/Through ice and burnin' heat/Just to find my one desire."  Reprinting the lyrics does not do the song justice.  There's no way it could.  Listen for yourself and see if I'm wrong.

Mandatory FTC Disclaimer: I received this to review.  Clickin' on a link may earn me green.

Self Decapitation With Delaney Davidson

If you have to wonder why Delaney Davidson named his album Self Decapitation, then you obviously haven't listened to its 11 songs.  He has cut his head off and let everything out.

He is a wandering minstrel of the global blues.  A homeless rambler rambling on by with a guitar in hand.  A folk musician with a sense of humor and a talent for twisting the easily observed.  In these 11 songs, starting with "Around the World" and ending with "Magpie Song," he takes you on a trip that is part mountain magic, part soulful reprise. 

Voodoo Rhythm has put this out.  It fits right in with its stable of musicians for musicians.  Davidson may not be what you hear every day on the radio, and I can only say, "Thank God."  If you did, there would be imitations popping up everywhere, all inferior to the real thing, diluting all that is pure and good in this music. 

Currently, on Davidson's website, if you go to the tab for upcoming gigs it says that there are none.  "A man needs his rest," it reads.  It is true.  But in the meantime there is this release to hold you over.  I'll leave you with this video for "I Slept Late."  Incredible.  Magical.

Mandatory FTC Disclaimer: I received this to review. Click on a link and I mean earn some cash. 

Thursday, March 1, 2012


Baluji Shrivastav's Goddess is supposed to be a celebration of female deities from various cultures. It is, as if the name were any indication, Indian music, so if that sort of thing bugs you, you'll want to stay away.  That's not the problem with Shrivastav's release, however.  It has something far worse going against it.

The music itself will please most people it is pleasant.  So pleasant, in fact, that I often found these songs drifting into the background.  It is seven songs that seem to go on forever.  Some people like that sort of thing -- soothing sounds that do little to "anger the blood."  But ...

As I write this CNN is covering a tornado that killed six in Harrisburg, Illinois.  That is the power of a goddess.  Any music that claims to be a celebration of goddesses needs to also recognize the sheer beauty and terror of the power they (culturally) possess.  Hell hath no fury, right?  To make something so peaceful and calm is fine for a few songs, but to make an entire CD "celebration" that way is to pay disrespect to the image of the goddess in whatever form it may take.  It may please the standard run-of-the-mill audience, but if run-of-the-mill is what an artist is shooting for than that isn't any sort of artist at all.

Owners of New Age bookstores and herbal shops will go absolutely nuts over this release.  They will tell their equally insane friends about the CD's power.  The sad truth is that they would never recognize true power until it was pounding them in the face ... much like Shrivastav himself.

Mandatory FTC Disclaimer: I received this CD to review.  Clicking on a link could earn me money.

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

The Pulse of Persia

Ramin Rahimi (and "friends) created The Pulse of Persia: Iranian Rhythms -- Global Influences, and it is, quite simply, incredible.  This is the stuff people should be popping pills to and dancing away in some sweaty warehouse while waving glowsticks over their heads.

"Tornado" starts this 11 song set. It is only one minute long, but if I ever make a movie, this may be the song that plays over the opening credits. It is fast, filled with breakneck beats, and gives listeners the impression something is happening.  The rest of the CD has a hard time living up to it, with almost every other song going back to being more and more traditional, but don't let that dissuade you from checking this out.  While the songs may start to sound traditional, they are far from stale, and that is noticeable if only from the song titles.

While many world music releases have songs with vague or pleasant sounding titles, this release lets you know what is in store. "Technical Friendly Conversation," "D&T," "Heart Attack," "Passion," "This is the Daf," and others make you think you are in for some techno show ... and you are in a way.  This is world beat techno, using international beats and instruments to make something Daft Punk fans will love.  I imagine this means that world music purists will run from this in droves, but it is really their loss.  The world is a violent, chaotic mass of activity.  This music is its soundtrack.  There is nothing more worldly than that.

Mandatory FTC Disclaimer: I received this to review.  If you click on a link, I may earn a commission.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Hot Shit From Switzerland

Urban Junior's Two Headed Demon is much like you'd expect from a one-man band.  Experimental.  Rockin'.  Uncompromising.  Now think about this: The CD was recorded in one take.

Suck on that, Soundgarden.

Released on Voodoo Rhythm, the only label that consistently takes chances on acts such as this, the album is 13 songs of pure joy.  No.  It's not deep in the way whatever the navel gazers are into this week.  It's not meant to be.  It's just there to be experienced.    That's why you get songs like "Heidi's Head," "Das Leben," and "Man on the Run" (the CD's single).  Nothing quite sounds the same, yet it's all coherent.

"'I wanna stick my tongue in the mouth of a girl/A girl like you."  That's the lyric that sticks in your mind from the appropriately titled "A Girl Like You."  My guess is that after seeing Urban Junior perform, more than one female wanted to be that girl (and perhaps a guy or two, too).  The music, while not sexy, has sex written all over.  It's practically dripping down its thighs.  Carnival sex in the bed of a pick-up truck while your friend is driving you on some back country road.  It's the kind of music that makes you glad you don't know what your local radio station is playing, and even happier that you can't identify a single tune by Bruno Mars.

Thank you, Mr. Urban Junior for proving that one-man bands aren't the domain of street people whose motivational speaking is directed at a brick facade that reeks of piss and old punk fliers.  You have given faith to the faithless and hope to the hopeless.  Keep up the good work.

Mandatory FTC Disclaimer: Yep, I received this with the hopes I'd review it. Clicking on a link could earn me some cold, hard cash.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Too Drunk to Truck

Trying to do an image search for the band Sixtyniners leads to some pretty interesting pictures.  Some people will put anything in their mouths.  After spending far too much time investigating these still images to find one that was appropriate, I came across the one on the left and knew I hit paydirt.

The Sixtyniners is a duo.  Claudia Hek and Michiel Hoving, both of the Netherlands.  The music they play, however, is not what you'd expect from the first nation to legalize same-sex marriage, and nor is what you'd picture when you spend time in the shower fantasizing about its name.

These two fine folks play country blues like it oozed forth from the humid Southeast of North America.  You know, the stuff you'd hear on the way from New Jersey to New Orleans. 

Though it is a duo, they do get lots of help on these 13 songs.  People from the likes of Mama Rosin, and Urban Dance Squad can be heard assisting with the mandolin, violin, banjo, harmonica and more.  It becomes less dirty truck stop and more full-blown country celebration.  Too Drunk to Truck, an obvious play on the Dead Kennedys' "Too Drunk to Fuck" (a shirt for which didn't go over too well with my father or my high school"), is another Voodoo Rhythm masterpiece.  Normally I find most country music to be something lacking not only in spirit but sincerity.  The stuff you hear on the radio and celebrated on NBC is not something I'd describe as anything other than mainstream-friendly poison.  No thinking required.  No way to find offense.  Voodoo, which has put out some country I like, has found a way to only release bands that seem to have a real understanding of what country music should sound like.  This is the antidote to Brooks & Dunn.  You won't hear that act singing "Hell" with the lyrics, "Not all God's roads are paved/With gold/Through rotten pines they/Do unfold/The devil's shortcuts in/your mind/Won't leave that rotten smell behind."  It just won't happen. 

Enjoy the country jamboree.  It may be foreign to us Americans, but it's better than almost anything coming out of Nashville these days.

Mandatory FTC Disclaimer:  Yep, I received this to review.  Yep, I loved it.  Clicking on a link can earn me a commission.  What of it?

Friday, February 17, 2012

Little Blue Butterfly

Some things are just purely pefect.  Some are borderline perfect.  Some are sublime.  Death in June's "Little Blue Butterfly" is sublime.  I hear the collective gasps now.  "Death in June!  No!"

Relax.  Douglas Pearce may be the scariest homosexual you know, and his band may inspire protests and terror worldwide, but "Little Blue Butterfly" is beautiful. 

Death in June, as many of probably know, is the neofolk band.  This song is what will win over those who don't let themselves be held back by some controversy. 

Earlier this week I posted the song on my Facebook page.  As to be expected, it warranted little comment except from the person I knew would get it.  I'm not even sure anyone else listened to it, either because they have grown scared of the music I put up (Whitehouse bothered a lot of people), or they just couldn't be bothered.  I doubt too many of them know about the band, either.  If you can let go of the preconceived notions, put aside the fears and just listen you will be treated to something haunting and moving. 

A friend of mine once described Death in June as the "most evil music" he had ever heard.  It "scared" him.  I think that is understandable, actually.  It is powerful music.  It strikes to the core.  It makes you uncomfortable.  Sometimes art isn't safe.  Sometimes it shouldn't be.  There's plenty of entertainment to serve that purpose.  Plenty of lifeless music.  Plenty of music you can bob your head to and not think.  And there is really nothing wrong with that, really.  Nor is there anything wrong with music that moves you.  Love it.  Loathe it.  At least it has pulled forth a reaction other than, "That was nice." 

Is this impure?  No.  Far from it.  So very far from it.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Bad Cop No Donut

Everyone has one of those bands where the instant they hear it they know they need to hear more.  It becomes their next big thing.  This is not one of those bands.  In fact, this is one of those releases that becomes instantly forgettable.

Bad Cop's Harvest the Beast is not really bad in any definable way.  It just isn't anything special.  The press release uses words that sound like I should like it.  Southern fried garage.  Blues.  Post punk.  "For fans of the White Stripes."


I mean, it has hints of all these things, and I could see some college radio stations going nuts for this, but I imagine it would be forgotten by the time the next band like this puts a CD out. 

ROIR is often hit or miss with me, but I have never doubted the label's sincerity when it came to its music.  This is no exception.  Unfortunately, a belief in the music doesn't always translate into something worth multiple listenings. 

Mandatory FTC Disclaimer: I received this to review.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Impetigo's Faceless -- Naked and Sweating and Ready to Be Beat

Monday morning.  Facing another week of mind-numbing work, I needed something to get me up and running.  Cocaine was out of the question, so I put on the 1991 Impetigo release, Faceless, on Wild Rags Records.

Grindcore from Illinois seems as unlikely as political hip hop from Cheyenne, but here it is.  Four listed songs plus one "hidden" track, Impetigo delves up some serious horror on this slab grey vinyl.  "Mortado," "Dis-Organ-Ized," "Bloody Pit of Horror," "Sinister Urge" and "Faceless" are all good songs.  They aren't pleasant, but when you find yourself dreading the upcoming day it is sure a lot healthier than, say, any number of things.

"Naked and sweating/Let the beatings begin."  That's a line from "Bloody Pit of Horror."  It sums up the e.p. quite well.  The audience that is looking forward with masturbatory glee to Smash is the same audience that would be appalled by "Mortado crucified/Skewered to a tree" in "Mortado."  That suits me just fine.  This release isn't for them.  It's for the people who understand why someone would go "hunt humans."

In the end, Impetigo's Faceless is less a blueprint for murder and more an adaptation of an EC comic book.  Its over-the-top violence is cathartic in a purely anti-social way.  It never got play on mainstream radio stations, and it was never "acceptable."  The world needs things like that, a lawn mower to the flowers, a piece of glass to lobotomized eyes.  It makes Mondays safe for everyone.

What did you listen to?

Mandatory FTC Disclaimer: I bought this, bitches.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Legalize Murder

After a hard day at the office, there's nothing I like more than a little GG Allin and Bulge.  It's not everyone's favorite backing band for Allin, but the Legalize Murder 7" is something I can get behind.

Released on Fudgeworthy Records, this delightful bit of blue vinyl is probably fairly sought after today.  I will not be parting with my copy, however.  I like it way too much.  And while only two of the three tracks are all that good, it is the title one that brings a smile to my face.  You see, when Allin sings, "So many people I want to kill," you can kind of feel where he's coming from.  One of the angriest most unstable musicians of all time singing about how he'll stick a knife in your chest or put a gun to your head may make the more cynical among you give a wink and a nod, and if any other singer would sing that, I'd be right there with you.  Remember, though, Allin did time for cutting a woman, drinking her blood and setting her on fire.  He was as out of control on the stage, too.  In other words, he sang what he believed.  It wasn't politically correct or even pleasant, but he did harbor a lot of anger, and it often came out in his songs.

Yes, I used to be right there with Allin, thinking people should be able to tag one a year like a deer, but the times have mellowed me.  What started as rage transformed into pity, and now it is indifference.  In other words, I wouldn't waste my time with people.  Instead, I'll just let fate have its way with them and do little to intervene.

As I was doing some work around the house this song was flitting through the air, materialized through the needle's connection with the wax grooves.  And as I was singing along, I pictured people glued to their sets waiting for that Doritos commercial they had heard so much about on the news.  I couldn't help but wonder what they would make of this song if popped up selling the new Prius or asking you to visit a site that would help the unemployed find work.  Would they be terrified?  Offended?  Numb?  Numb is probably right.  Sometimes, even calling for one's murder fails to elicit a reaction from well-controlled subjects.  The single is 21 years old, but it could've been made yesterday...

Mandatory FTC Disclaimer: I bought this.  Do the same.

Monday, January 16, 2012

I've Got the Devil Inside

Don't let the devil's suave looks, polite words and slick special effects fool you.  He created rock 'n' roll to turn all of you into incessant fornicators who would like nothing more to be humping away all day in a cloud of smoke and a puddle of booze.  God's fighting back, though, and Reverend Beat-Man's Surreal Folk Blues Gospel Trash Vol. 2 is the Lord's answer to the devil's dirty tricks.  

The good reverend's Voodoo Rhythm label put this out (of course).  It's twelve songs (narrowly avoiding that wicked number) of truth in advertising.  It starts with "Letter To Myself" and ends with "The Swiss Army Knife."  Nothing is filler.  All of it is holy.  The devil can have Mayhem and Jay Z., this is for the folks who understand that God likes humpers, too.

As I've said on countless occasions to anyone who stands still long enough to listen, Voodoo is a label for musicians by musicians and could be the most important label out there right now.  Beat-Man's release proves it.  It is a celebration of a distinctly American sound filtered through the lens of a foreigner.  You hear it and you can't help but think, "He does our music better than we do."  Example?  "Blue Moon Of Kentucky."

I love this song.  My daughter loves this song, and will inevitably turn up the stereo whenever it comes on.  What starts as a traditional country crooner quickly evolves into thunder cracks, gun shots, sirens, the fiddle and banjo.  It is unlike anything you've heard in the past decade.  If I was lucky enough to race in NASCAR, this is the song I'd used to get pumped before tackling Bristol.  

The video above is for "Don't Stop to Dance."  Featured is a woman with some nice ink.  Any woman with tattoos and a love of Voodoo is someone you will want to know.  Not because of the overt sexual nature of her being (though that will be stronger than most women you meet), but because of her intelligence and ability to carry a conversation on an amazing number of topics.  I have witnessed this firsthand.  I am still waiting for one of them to disprove my theory.  It won't happen.  

This release came out four years ago.  It sounded dated and timeless upon its release.  Nothing has changed.  It is beyond what is being done now musically, but its roots are firmly stuck in America's swampy past.  It is the man of God at his finest. 

Mandatory FTC Disclaimer: I received this to review.  If you click on a link I may earn a commission.  If you don't buy this release you are an idiot.