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.