Halloween Mix, Part 1

I just now tried my hand at making a Halloween mix on the 8Tracks website. Not as many straight-up garage/novelty songs as I would have liked (a shocking paucity of songs about teenaged Draculas/Frankensteins/Wolfmen and definitely nowhere near enough odes to monster beach parties and/or sock hops), but it was still fun.

Visit here if the image is futzed/possessed.

Tracks:

Halloween Theme – John Carpenter
She’s Fallen In Love With A Monster Man – Screaming Lord Sutch
Halloween – The Misfits
The Witch – The Sonics
Rockin’ Bones – The Cramps
Monster Mash – Bobby “Boris” Pickett
Jack The Ripper – The Horrors
Zombie Jamboree – Harry Belafonte
Night Of The Vampire – Roky Erickson
I Put A Spell On You – Screamin’ Jay Hawkins
Psycho Theme – Bernard Herriman

Leave The House!: George Jones

Download/Listen to: Bartender’s Blues

George Jones
Florida Theatre, Jacksonville, FL
October 17, 2010

“Y’all going to George Jones?” the dude in the bizarrely striped shirt whooped at us. Well, yeah, why else would we be here on a Sunday? As he disappeared from view, he said, “I heard the Possum done got tore up last night and might not be here!”

Now that’s the power of myth! Poor George Jones is 81 years old and people still breathlessly wonder whether he’s going to live up to his hellraiser image, now several decades distant. So not only is George Jones one of the most soulful singers in country music, he’s also Nashville’s very own Sid Vicious… who made it to old age. Heh.

Given the sight of a white-haired Jones gingerly touching his throat throughout the night, it’s clear that drinking marathons aren’t in the cards tonight, even though he playfully promises that he “might just play till 2 or 3 tonight!” Sadly it’s not the case, but Jones still puts on a hell of a show, even at the age where most of us would just be glad to stay up until “Matlock” comes on at 7:00. A George Jones show circa 2010 is a curious mix of Nashville professionalism– female co-vocalist serving as an MC, dutifully reminding us to buy some damn merchandise, band of slick pros who could probably play this stuff in their sleep– with interjections of chaos gladly provided by the man who used to be called “No Show Jones.”

He whoops it up a little too much, he gets in his digs at lily-white modern country radio (decrying the absence of drinking songs and cheating songs), ribs his backing band, and tells a few stories that maybe weren’t agreed upon when making the setlist. The set itself is what you’d expect: an obligatory gospel number, a couple from “the new album,” and giganto hits like “He Stopped Loving Her Today,” “A Picture of Me Without You,” and “Bartender’s Blues.” It’s all good fun, and even though the show is over before 9pm (!!) with no encore, no one feels gypped.

Bye Bye Ari

Download/Listen To The Slits So Tough

You know how the first time you heard the Sex Pistols how you were expecting to hear something just totally wild and spazzy and dangerous and vomity and maybe after you heard it you were like, “Okay, it’s awesome, but  I can handle this?” Well, the Slits WERE the personification of the alien sound that punk advertised itself as. They took the Year Zero/freedom premise and ran with it. And kept running. The Cut album is a near perfect mix of brittle punk strumming, nursery rhyme harmonies, dub rhythms, the clatter of silverware, and radical agendas. Even after the original Slits fragmented, vocalist/provocateur Ari Up kept pushing radical music and art forward, with one foot in punk and the other in roots reggae. A reconfigured Slits were recording and touring as recently as last year. Her restless creativity will be missed.

Gong: “Glad To Sad To Say”

Download/Listen: Glad To Sad To Say

I woulda bought the damn thing just for the cover. Those showroom-sleek BYG graphics and minimalist design, framing a dreamy, ethereal portrait of Daevid Allen (or was that Gili Smyth even, they had that androgynous Keith Richards/Anita Pallenberg thing going) staring off into the distance, guitar neck pointed straight at the camera. Released in France on a Jazz label, the members of Gong were living on a commune, eagerly embracing musical freedom in all its forms (Hell, Allen though SOFT MACHINE was too much of a straitjacket for him). Within, the music of Magick Brother, Mystic Sister was a revelation. Far removed from the psychedelic flair of later albums, this was a rougher, woodsier ramble full of wonderfully naive, primitive soundz that patented countless sub-sub-subgenres. “Glad To Sad To Say,” is Gong at their most hushed and devotional, stripped down to Allen’s voice, gentle, airy guitar and synth noises that sound like whale songs. I kept thinking of bands like Dead Can Dance and Spectrum. After this, they took off into the stratosphere…

You Can Buy This On Amazon?

Cambodian Grrrl

Cambodian Grrrl: Self-Publishing in Phnom Penh
Anne Elizabeth Moore

When Punk Planet, the zine that longtime zinester and activist Anne Elizabeth Moore had co-edited and published for three years, closed its doors in 2007, one could be forgiven for thinking that maybe she entered into at least a short period of mourning or depression. Not so. Moore decamped to Cambodia, starting a program where she mentored young women students in areas of creative expression and self-publishing. In a country like Cambodia, where the media is an arm of the government, this work is potentially revolutionary. In this dispatch from Cambodia, Moore delivers six brief vignettes of her experiences instructing these women. You get the sense that Moore feels slightly in awe of these women, most taking classes seven days a week (sometimes multiple degrees from multiple universities), and living in the first all-girls dorm in the country, and yet still they have seemingly boundless reserves of energy in learning about self-publishing and making zines. Zines! For tangible evidence of the work Moore is doing in Cambodia, check out the website camblogdia.blogspot.com or the book New Girl Law, overseen by her, written by her students.

As a final, perfect valediction, Moore includes an excerpt of the original, incendiary Riot Grrrl manifesto, as if to show that, yeah, what can be used to destroy can be used to create as well. 1000000000000000% punk rock.

Originally posted to JPL’s Zine Collection blog.

Leave the House!: Cocorosie

Cocorosie
The Social, Orlando, FL
September 25, 2010

I mean, these days as a paying customer you expect a show, but you don’t really expect A SHOW. You don’t expect a beatboxer, a funky soulful keyboard player, a miniature harp, a harmonium, costume changes, booty dancing, hip hop beats clashing with eternail appalachia, glitter thrown into the crowd, rose petals thrown from the crowd, videoprojections where a woman had bleeding bangs (wha???) and a devil’s eye, mysterious balladry, dayglo Siouxsie-isms, ambient fugues, avant garde grooves, and a rapturous audience rejoicing in every single note. High art, high drama, high life, hifh wire.

Leave The House!: Bob Dylan

Bob Dylan and His Band.
Leon County Civic Center, Tallahassee.
October 10, 2010.

If a performer past “a certain age” is touring, usually the first lamentation you hear from the critics is that his “voice is shot.” Neil Young? His voice is shot. Willie Nelson? Man, his voice is shot. Rob Halford? He can’t hit those high notes on “Painkiller” anymore, his voice is shot. After tonight, I realize all of those complaints are child’s play. Bob Dylan? NOW THAT VOICE IS SHOT.

Neither the breathless wheeze lampooned by many a standup comedian in the Eighties (“What if Bob Dylan sang a Coke commercial? Ithinkitwouldgosomethinglikethis!”), or the nerdly croon captured on Nashville Skyline,  Dylan’s voice is now something a death metal band would kill for. I’m serious! Dylan’s voice is somewhere between Attila Csihar from Mayhem and Seth from Anal C*nt trying their hand at jazz scatting. Goddamn, he turned the normally wordy “Like A Rolling Stone” into a fucking haiku!

Maybe that’s why the tattooed metal dude two rows in front of me roared before the encore, “Bob Dylan, I will suck your dick if you get back on that stage! I fucking love you!”

The music itself is a serviceable if overly muscular ramble through rockabilly and country tropes with plenty of jamming thrown in. Interesting and somewhat enjoyable, but hardly life-changing.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s cool as hell that Dylan thumbs his nose at nostalgia and plays his rinky-dink organ with his back to the audience most of the show…. But damn, it’s almost disconcerting to watch a man throw up wall after wall between himself and his audience for two hours. This is not a personal concert, there is no attempt at connection. This ain’t Leonard Cohen on bended knee, singing his life. Maybe it never was.

“Well, I’ve never heard it played THAT way before,” the eternal optimist behind me gamely said after EVERY song. Yer so right.

Morrissey – “Speedway”

So, Happy Birthday to me. There are a lot of things that people do in the midst of a mid-life crisis. Maybe they pose dramatically in a graveyard with a statue of
their childhood idol, maybe they’ll force their band to naked be photographed naked with strategically
placed 7″ records, hell they might just sit around with a cat on their head.
And that’s just fucking fine. What else are you supposed to do? Buy a
big dumb car? Hit the gym? Try new things? What Morrissey did during
his first mid-life crisis (circa 1994) was threefold: Get into boxing
(lame), obsess about Kurt Cobain’s suicide (a lot of people talk about it–Morrissey included–Cobain did it), and record the best record of his career, the so-called
retirement album, Vauxhall and I. God, if he would have gone out on
this note…

Vauxhall and I was just this album-length letting go of all of his
obsessions and preoccupations, set to some of the most fragile and
beautiful musical accompaniment ever on his albums. It wasn’t all grandly waving
goodbye, however. The album ended with a valedictory war whoop in the
form of Speedway. Listen, man, the song begins with a chainsaw and
ends with a fucking drum solo. “Little Man, What Now”" this
ain’t. Over surging instruments that are somehow tough and shimmering simultaneously, Morrissey sounds like a man at peace, ready to cast away his own doubts: “All of the rumors/Keeping me grounde/I never said/I never said/That they were completely unfounded.”  As the song builds to a crescendo, Morrissey turns to a hidden ally and entreats, “I could have mentioned your name/Could have dragged you in/Guilt by implication/By Association.”  And as the drums finally spazz out at the end in some bizarro-world evocation of John Bonham, the last words of the song are uttered, almost joyously, “In my own strange way/I’ve always stayed true to you.” The crack of a snare. Silence.

He hasn’t played it any of the times I’ve seen him live. Bastard!

Listen to/Download Speedway

Bambara – “Repeat After Me”

Athens drone fiends Bambara, though clearly owing a debt to Spacemen
3/Spiritualized, are less Ladies and Gentlemen, We Are Floating In Space and more “Oh my god, that Sputnik Satellite just crash landed to Earth and hit a bus full of senior citizens!” Shoegazing bliss is run through with a healthy dose of primitive industrial clang and clatter. Just listen to the drums! They attack their instruments with a visceral glee. Think about A Place To Bury Strangers and Ulterior and ringing eardrums.

Listen to /Download Repeat After Me.

Electric Sunset – “Electric Sunset”

Recorded with a variety of synthesizers, samplers, guitars and distaff tech, and of course Zwart’s own breathy, androgynous, choirboy lilt. It’s a rush of experience, impression, and memory, with clouds of shoegaze guitar boundaried by a much more certain Krautrockian groove. Electric Sunset is bereft of both the flirtations with dance culture so favored by psychiksoulbrothers Neon Indian or Toro Y Moi, and the sense of hazy indecision engendered/encoded in their every glo-fi note. Herein is a sound that is more ragged and direct in execution, the obsolete tick-tock of the drum machine, the whoosh of the synths, the guitar shimmers, yeah, but it also chimes with choppy, Mary Chain/Postcard-esque strums and crystal lead guitar lines.

Read the full review at Ink 19.