October 2007

October mix
Let me start by saying that 5 of these tracks (*) are from oddiooverplay.com’s 2007 Halloween album (FREE for download), this year’s called “Ghouls With Attitude”. I’m such a fan of theirs and their creeptastic vintage records (mp3s of which they give away for the love of music sharing) that they get a special promotional shout-out.

1. *
MOVIE TRAILER — Vampire Playgirls
1971’s La plus longue nuit du diable (or, in the U.S., 1974’s The Devil’s Longest Night, and also Vampire Playgirls) is about as B horror movie as you can get. Hellooooo, Euro-sleaze! Rated “R for adult content”, this is just a trailer/commercial for a film that has imbd.com plot keywords like: “lesbian sex”, “filicide”, “infanticide”, “impalement”, “succubus”, “quicksand”, “nudity” and “erotica”. Tell me you don’t want to know more after reading that, haha.

Coming at you from Bushwick (a neighborhood of Brooklyn, New York City), this is a seriously rad sextet of dudes. This track, #2 on this year’s debut indie album “Fort Nightly”, provides wailing harmonies and a kick-ass beat that captures and keeps your attention (a rarity in this day and age’s “ADD generation”). The band is remarkably tight for being so new…their explosive Lollapalooza and Siren sets (the ones I saw, unsure of others) combined with amazing reviews from Spin, Rolling Stone and Pitchfork have solidified their place in today’s rock. Check their MySpace for show dates, as I believe they are still on tour for a few more weeks — they just might be coming soon to someplace near you. Also look for them on a week-long January with my beloved Walkmen (not surprising, since their sounds are comparable). I’ve been fortunate enough to meet this band, and they are as relaxed and cool as they are multi-talented (each member can play multiple instruments). If they end up nominated for a “Best New Artist” award somewhere, again — not surprising.

“What’s at the end / what’s at the end of Satan’s rainbow”? Probably Regurgitator. An Australian indie-electronic band, they are probably best known for their 3-D music videos (the one for this song features the band as cartoon animals) and heavy 1980s referencing (even in this track they’re talking about being killed by black bugs in a video game…Atari’s “Black Widow”, perhaps?). This track appears on the double-platinum album “Unit”, but this version is from the limited-release import “Unit Re-Booted” — a lot of fans that prefer their less-commercial sound might not think that this is “the Gurge”‘s finest work, but it did get the most acclaim.

4. *
“Yes. YES. The Bugs – the brainiacs behind “Strangler In The Night” – were Boston’s novelty response to the British Invasion, and it was their fractured imaginations which dropped the first person testimonial (or “thoughts, feelings and emotions,” according [to] its sleeve) of putative Boston Strangler Albert DeSalvo into an otherwise unassuming ‘50s-style ballad.” “I don’t know a woman / And yet I crave on. / My mind tells my body, / ‘Don’t just stand there – GET ONE!'”
So creepy. So fucking marvelous. As a true crime buff who’s read much on the subject of serial killers (and notably the Boston Strangler, as I spent the last 5+ years in Boston — visited all the sites and such), this is perfect — in general and in time for Halloween.

You might recognize this Scottish band for having written the original “Jesus Wants Me For A Sunbeam”. Nirvana covered it, calling it “Jesus Doesn’t Want Me For A Sunbeam” on the Unplugged album, and Kurt Cobain apparently called this his “fourth favorite album ever” and ended up covering another of the songs from this 4-song EP (“Molly’s Lips”). The Vaselines were a mid-80s band that were not well-known during their short career, but Nirvana certainly helped them become better-known. They are one of those influential rock bands that weren’t even supposed to be. Eugene Kelly and Frances McKee created the band because they had nothing better to do, after a friend of theirs (Stephan from “The Pastels”), who had started the 53rd & 3rd label, offered to set them up to record 2 singles. They recruited a brother and a friend to play drums and bass, got drunk and crazy, and went to work on it. They considered the whole project a joke, and after releasing a few EPs and only one full-length album, they got bored and realized they had no money and the band, well, disbanded. Still, they live on as U.K. rock legends. Isn’t it funny how that works sometimes?

SO, you can thank me later, but I got my hands on this track that’s currently only available on the band’s MySpace! Can’t reveal how, but it is what it is, and I will say that I was not the one to procure it. The Liverpudlian 5-piece, vintage-sounding but only in existence since 1999, perform their “horror-punk” act covered in blood and bandages, and are fiercely independent. I read that they’ve been offered a number of record deals but have refused each one, though they have toured and supported bands like The Misfits and The Horrors. True punky DIY spirit, YEAH! That all said, the garage vampires are more tongue-in-cheek than anything; their live performances are fun and enthusiastic. The music itself isn’t anything new, but damn, is it catchy.

SCREAMING LORD SUTCH & THE SAVAGES — She’s Fallen In Love With A Monster Man
Prior to committing suicide in 1999 at the age of 58, the musician-genius David “Screaming Lord” Sutch produced a litany of albums during his career (highlights in the 60s) that are widely regarded at both ends of the spectrum: either the best albums or the worst. He was also the founder of the registered U.K. political party “Official Monster Raving Loony Party”, a zany (yet yes, official) party formed after Sutch returned to the U.K. disillusioned with the U.S. (following being shot during a mugging). Campy and over-the-top, this track is a 1964 single and is just one example of Screaming Lord Sutch’s silliness and vision for a world that doesn’t take itself too seriously. It’s said that this project (The Savages), which featured
horror themes and a constantly changing line-up, was an early inspiration for both Monty Python and the Sex Pistols.

LOS SAICOS — El Entierro de Los Gatos
Los Saicos originally wanted to be “Los Sadicos” — The Sadists — but were censored, so they comically changed one letter, making them the English translation of “The Psychos” instead. That alone ought to say something about them. This Peruvian group, active between 1964-1966, are considered the first Latin American punk band. They unleashed on their country a phenomena only described in reports as “Saicomania”; complete and total takeover of the music market in Peru at the time; even having their own TV show in 1965. “They combined anger, arrogance, anarchy, and direct and explicit lyrics with a primitive musical talent… and the West South American coast clearest punk attitude.” Wild and forgivingly unforgiving, their style is unabashed and grizzled, and in this track especially (translated to mean “Cat’s Funeral”, the last track on their self-titled album) their originality in Spanish-language writing shines through. Up until recently, when the band revealed to the public that nothing major had occurred and that they just broke up one day to lead normal lives, their short existence and sudden, mysterious disappearance had fueled all kinds of rumors and some even wondered if the band had even existed. Video footage of this amazing, raw band (performing their biggest hit, international punk anthem “Demolicion”) proves that they did indeed exist…and that they were indeed amazing and raw.

Signed to the Netherlands record label Roadrunner, the band’s following is mostly relegated to the U.K. and Japan. Their painted faces are pretty terrifying and their stage presence ominous — you get the feeling that something wicked is coming. This band, called “Misfits-meets-Motley Crue” by reviewers, delivers both live and on recordings a fucking destructive, excellent soundbomb. Another example of a band that sounds so classic but in truth was formed rather recently (2002, yet already on hiatus). Some (including band members) might consider it a side project for the majority
of the band, since some members were already heavily involved with other bands and their focuses elsewhere. Most notable are guitarist Joey Jordison drumming for Slipknot and bassist Eric Griffin touring as guitarist for Faster Pussycat — the most likely explanation for the band’s drop-off. All that said, I chose this song because it’s just so deliciously evil for drunken, performance-style sing-alongs and thrash-abouts. You can find this song on their one n’ only full-length album, “Beyond The Valley of the Murderdolls”.

LENLOW — Peter Panic and the Wolf (Profokiev, Blur, Bob James)
There’s so much to say about this mash-up artist, my friend from Boston, Luke Enlow (a.k.a. Lenlow). I’ll start by saying how unfortunate it is that he’s unable to professionally release his absolutely mindblowing creations due to copyright infringements. BUT — luckily for us — on his website one can download much of his work as a mash-up production artist. He’s at this point internationally known for his work — I’d say he could be the nextGirl Talk — artists, give your permission! Whether it be Peter Bjorn & John vs. Underworld or Britney vs. Beyonce vs. Fergie, he’s on it, and kicks its ass. I’ve known him for a few years now, when I attended a bunch of his Mash Ave. nights (a night of mash-up music co-hosted with the also-wonderful DJ BC, a night that is now non-existent) in Somerville and got to be friendly that way. Drop him a line on MySpace, no doubt he’ll personally get back to you. He’s just that cool and personable a guy. Luke, I hope this plug is a pleasant surprise <3
Also, regarding the aforementioned DJ BC — look for an album coming soon that features him vs. other Bostonians, ska band Big D & the Kids’ Table.* Update 11/20: I received in the mail yesterday a mix from Columbus, OH that has Lenlow’s “To The Taxmobile” on it! Yeah, David! Way to spread the word!

11. *
THE MODERNAIRES — The Rockin’ Ghost
Originating in Buffalo, NY in 1935, “the four man, one woman swing/jazz group… who rode their distinctive bright, jazzy vocal style from the big band era of the 40s, up into the vocal jazz nightclub sound of the 60s, are” best known for their work with Glenn Miller, who made them an integral part of his Orchestra in 1939. After Miller had gone off to WWII, and was reported as missing in action in 1942, the group went on without him, moving to Columbia Records and recording more music with such famous voices of the time as Frank Sinatra. Fast-forward to this point: the band has been active
for over 70 years, with the daughters and granddaughter of originals Hal Dickinson and Paula Dickinson (nee Kelly) having continued the Modernaires tradition. As far as this particular track goes, while it does seem to be a popular choice for many a Halloween mix, so much time and generational hits have passed that it’s not talked about as a single or really, anything too noteworthy. Consider it a fun little ditty reminiscent of an era gone by. Unfortunately that’s the most info I have.
The Modernaires
During the late 70s and early 80s, an interesting subculture surfaced in New York City: “no wave”. Considered art music and satiric wordplay, one of the chief acts of this time was the vanguard composer James Chance and his Contortions. The punk-jazz leaders were known for their experimentation with atonal sounds and musical texture over melody. Chance’s techniques with his saxophone and abrasive singing style, and The Contortions’ funky-ass rhythms carved out their personal niche that made them unforgettable contributors to New York’s signature short-lived no wave scene, which definitely influenced later noise and industrial music. This track, found on the 1979 essential “Buy” (he was as clever as he was outspoken), was a no-brainer for this mix: the blocky sax solo; the obvious free jazz background shaking hands with the music for the next generation. White noise funk overload topped with a big blond pompadour. Dig?

MELT-BANANA — Crow’s Paintbrush (Color Repair)
Art snobs, metalheads and punks alike, look here! Turn it up to 11! It’s Melt Banana, a Tokyo-based four-piece noise rock project. Since 1992, they’ve been squeaking out their form of sweaty, busy little rock masterpieces. Off of this year’s “Bambi’s Dilemma” (the band’s 6th album), the screechy, cheerleader, Go! Team-esque vocals on this song make it irresistible, and when the drums come in at 0:13 you’ll already feel as if your head is spinning and that you need to find the nearest speaker to jump off of. The self-proclaimed “children of no wave” might just be tough bastards and you can definitely tell on this track with their insane energy, loopy synth noises and emphatic declarations.

14. *
HAP PALMER — Haunted House
During the 60’s, Palmer started singing folk songs and leading sing-alongs as part of his job with the Hollywood YMCA. From there, he became a pioneer in children’s music education, using the natural energy that children have to create pieces of dance-able, kid-friendly music to teach rhythm and encourage imagination. This instrumental seems almost out-of-character given the above information, but lo and behold, it can be found on his album “Movin'”. It came out in 1973, and features “instrumental music in a variety of musical styles, symphony to rock, classical to pop which allow students to explore, create, and interpret…”

THE JACKSON 5 — Boogie Man
“Skywriter” (the album that contains this track) came out in 1973. During this era, the Jackson 5 — who had at this point been in the spotlight for a decade — were experiencing a bit of a decline. Having signed with Motown in 1969, and perfected their signature “bubblegum soul” sound for a few years in a frenzy of “Lil Boymania” (try not to laugh) — merchandise, Right On! magazine, The Jackson 5ive cartoon, and solo careers for three of the brothers, including the Ben title track for Michael — the band was a bit played-out. Motown refused to update their image, and this album was the one that serves as a turning point for the band. The cover features a gritty scene of the brothers all poker-faced and standing around an airplane, essentially publicly showing their frustration with the direction in which they were headed. It was the least successful album, and after its release, the band left Motown and pursued a more disco style of writing. It is for this reason, though, since it represents an important time for them and for music in general, that I include a song from this album on this mix.

The only track on this year’s “Grand Animals” that is written by all three band members, it shows depth and imagination; slow, deliberate and picking up speed. The band, officially formed in New York in 2002 (though their roots together go back to their pre-teen years), was proclaimed an indie sensation when they first started gaining notoriety a few years ago, and have been quiet for the past few years while working on this album. Listening to this album, I hear their collaboration with Italian film composer Daniele Luppi, who is known for his string and orchestra work. It seems to have given them the edge they needed in order to perhaps break free of the stereotypical indie reputation. On this track, I hear 1960s U.K.
radio with a modern beat…do you? When this was first released, on the 2006 EP by the same name, they also cover Paul (and Linda) McCartney’s “Monkberry Moon Delight”!

FAITH NO MORE — Zombie Eaters
1989 and 1990 were interesting (to say the least) years for Faith No More — as they had just released the Grammy-nominated “The Real Thing” (this track is not an obscure one and can be found as #5) — and the former band friction seemed to have halted with the firing of Mike Mosely and the subsequent replacement with Mike Patton. While this track was not a hit or a single, it’s still to me one of the standouts on this album, that was met with rave reviews, confirming that the band’s choices in direction were the right ones. Certainly varied in its composition (from eerily soft to
hard-hitting metal on a dime), it’s a rollercoaster ride, much like the careers and emotions of the band members at that point! “Zombie Eaters” is an awesomely-weird 6-minute triumph of the band’s musical fusion techniques, that result in a diverse and exciting pseudo-ballad.

* DON HINSON & THE RIGAMORTICIANS — Riboflavin-Flavored, Non-Carbonated, Polyunsaturated Blood

Don Hinson, a Las Vegas radio DJ, released in 1964 an album called “Monster Dance Party”. Produced by Gary Paxton (the same guy behind Bobby Pickett’s “Monster Mash”), the album was a traditional Halloweeny dance party with a touch of signature Don Hinson comedy. Not too much of a departure from other like “novelty session” albums, but nonetheless “Riboflavin-Flavored, Non-Carbonated, Polyunsaturated Blood” was the obvious standout. It was even covered in the 80s by punkers 45 Grave.

THE INDEPENDENTS — Vampires From Outer Space
Hooray for horror ska! The “putting the fun in funeral” Independents call this 2004 5-song EP their “demon child”, and it’s no wonder — the thing’s a creative mess of frenetic evilicious energy! The South Carolina band formed in the early 90s, with Willy B and Mr. Presly collaborating together to try and one-up the “stereotypical sasquatchshit” that they were hearing in their local scene. Using horror movies as a basis for a theme, and their many varied influences (Etta James, The Ramones, Conway Twitty, The Specials and Iron Maiden, to name a few) as a backdrop for their efforts, they set to work combining everything they knew into one big fucked up, steaming stew. The end result was their career as we know it, and they seem to be doing okay in their place a little bit to the right of the spotlight.

This pays tribute to the years when I was a bit of a goth, the frantic writing of poetry, the wearing of dark lipstick and fishnets, the crying into the rain. I was thisclose to being one of those “only this razor can feel my gothic pain” goths, but instead was moreso the “unlimited coffee refills at Denny’s” goth. Ha, ha. I’ve been waiting a good amount of time to put a Type O Negative song on a mix, and I finally got the chance, yesssss! I’ve seen the hulk of a man named Peter Steele walking the streets of Brooklyn, cynical “fuck off” attitude in place, and it’s been thrilling every time. The 1993 “Bloody Kisses” is a master work from the band and gave them instant, unexpected success and notoriety in the circles of goth/doom metal. Since they used to be a speed metal/punk band, they’ve come a long way!

The first thing one hears on this short psychotic track is the voice of lead singer Joe DeBoer — he sounds like someone ripped him from early 60s radio and gave him some creepy lyrics to read in an almost-singsong pattern. Like a mental patient, truly. This is one of these songs where, if you picture the performance, you can’t even imagine him blinking…standing very still until finally losing it right around 0:29. These relevant Midwesterners pull off the old-timey, scratchy, on-the-edge sound better than most U.K. bands with a similar vibe.

Okay, okay, I got some flack for this one. Yes, it’s country music, to the point where you can hear the twang thang loud and clear, and it’s aggravatingly repetitive. But did you even bother to listen to the lyrics? Loosely based on serial killer Ed Gein and sniper-murderer Charles Joseph Whitman, the words chronicle deadpan confessions of murder and hallucinations to the speaker’s “Mama”…and then at the end, “Mama” doesn’t respond or get off the floor. The song, a 1968 K-ARK recording, is pretty terrifying in a very simple way…especially if you consider that its writer, Leon Payne, dropped dead of a heart attack a little under 3 years after writing the song, and its singer Eddie Noack succumbed to alcoholism less then a decade after recording it! *gasp* Is the song cursed?! ;)

THE GOLDEN DOGS — Saints At The Gates
Toronto, Ontario, the summer of 1998: a few connections were made and a relationship began, and this would be the very beginning of indie band The Golden Dogs. Off of this year’s “Big Eye Little Eye”, the jazzy horns in the background of this song layer perfectly with the screamy lyrics and traditional backbone of the old standard, “The Saints Go Marching In”. It’s a sweet schizophrenic mix of radio pop and self-rationalization, led chiefly by husband and wife singer/songwriters Dave Azzolini (guitar) and Jessica Grassia (keys). You can tell when you listen that these folks have a deep appreciation and respect for music, embracing a variety of styles that’s even apparent in the average-length song. Watch out, world, the Golden Dogs are out and they’re hungry.

I first (and last, ha) saw these guys in November 2006 at Boston’s Axis. I was a fan before, but I was mesmerized by their energy — and by their electric stage performance, complete with cowboy outfits and backdrop. The crowd was drunk and singing along, punching the air with their fists as if it was a “real” punk show…was a total rock-out extravaganza. This song’s off of the “Love Your Country” record, a cover of the Johnny Cash/Gene Autry classic (as all their songs are covers, what a schtick), and though their delivery is fast-paced and dynamic — I still think of that scene in Blues Brothers 2000 when the Brothers are playing the bluegrass version in the driving rain to a crowd of rootin’ tootin’ Texans…hehe. That
all said, Me First and The Gimme Gimmes are a ton of fun. They cover artists from John Denver to REO Speedwagon to Vanessa L. Williams — each album is thematic and true. Get into them, you’ll have a blast.

FOCUS — Hocus Pocus
So, it took me awhile to figure this out, but this is a song by Focus and not the band that my music collection reported, “Apples & Oranges”. WTF? Hmm, will fix that on the display liner notes eventually…luckily, it seems as though the liner notes that you folks got in the mail are accurate. Ooooookaaaay then? Had enough whiskey, Mixtress? All that silliness aside, these Dutch prog-rockers were one of the tightest bands around in their era. This was the song they were best-known for, was released in 1971 on the “Moving Waves” record. It’s technically an instrumental: “There are no actual lyrics to the song. It consists of alternation between a powerful rock chord riff and varied solo “verses” (in the original all performed by Thijs van Leer) which include yodeling, organ playing, gibberish lyrics, flute riffs and whistling”. During live shows, the band would play the song faster, and it’s rumored that they would good-naturedly challenge eachother to see how fast they could play it while still keeping in control and professional. Definitely a new sound for the “me generation”; a certain hit that has been covered since by several bands, most notably Iron Maiden.

ARTIE SHAW — Nightmare
Nobody plays the clarinet quite like Artie Shaw. An old radio hero, Shaw and his Orchestra used to transfix listeners when they would open with this tune — it’s diabolical and rich and gives an air of old-world gloom and despair. I think of plodding footsteps and tear-stained, sweat-stained Depression-era people when I hear this instrumental. I found this on the “Self Portrait” box set, one that Artie Shaw himself compiled for the public at 91 years old. Yeah, this song gives me the down-tempo blues and it feels so good.
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