Plz use safety goggles

When I first came across the Laser Cowboys' Ultrawarp 12" I didn't know what to make of it. I fact, I was probably disappointed that it wasn't some mega-bpm acid techno or forgotten hip-house oddity. Then I discovered Italo disco and realized the Thick Records logo was a lil' Italian strongman .... now it's one of my favorite slabs of vinyl. (In fact, I used the other side, the "Chase Mix," on one of the first mixes I put up on the site.) The "Death Mix" is something like spaghetti western disco: Italo meets Morricone.

Laser Cowboys - "Ultrawarp (Death Mix)"

Fans of this stuff would probably dig on this new audioblog by Midnight Mike. Crazy obscure records in a digital stylee. Thanks to 20 Jazz Funk Greats for the tip.


Dark gift

I was wary about Alexander "Skip" Spence's Oar, wary of the gawking that attends doomed or different outsiders -- Syd Barrett, Daniel Johnston, Nick Drake, Jandek ... the list goes on, with varying levels of deserved and undeserved notoriety for the objects of attention, and difficulty in separating the songs from the backstories. With its sparse instrumentation drenched in reverb and echo, Oar does sound claustrophobic and haunted, nothing like Spence's contributions to Moby Grape's first album -- songs that rock hard and pull five ways at once. (Unfortunately I have the airbrushed version of the cover's infamous one-finger salute, classic rock's own Billy Ripken "fuck face" card.)

Moby Grape - "Omaha"

Moby Grape - "Indifference"

But despite / because of the sonic limitations of Oar, Spence's solo document after being released from New York's Bellevue hospital, these songs go deep. "War in Peace" seems to take lurching steps, but every one of them falls where it needs to go, and Spence's falsetto kills. "Grey / Afro" is a prayer chant backed by a sporadically plucked bass line, phased-out drums and little else -- and that's just enough.

Alexander Spence - "War in Peace"

Alexander Spence - "Grey / Afro"

Mellow gold

Every now and then I notice how much of my current listening I would have not so long ago dismissed as ridiculous hippie disco bullshit (if I could even fathom an idea like hippie disco). But all of a sudden, it clicks with me -- from Quiet Village to Bumrocks to the noodly side of Lindstrom, as heard on this 11-minute-plus track from his Plague the Kid II EP on Bear Entertainment.

Lindstrom - "Paaskelyd"


Pink is the new black (sabbath)

Found this track months ago over at Everything Is Fire, an excellent outpost for the heavy, warped and weird (head over there and trawl the archives, they have lots of good stuff, including a bunch more Boris). Within the first 10 seconds -- as soon as that sucked-backwards-through-a-black-hole vocal comes on, to be exact -- I was thinking about plunking down $$ for the import of Pink, the Japanese metal band's latest album, but never got around to it. Now I see (in the New York Times no less) that it's getting a U.S. release on Southern Lord in March. Yay for domestic pricing! Yay for my indecision!

Boris - "Track 8"

Errata: The track name is in Japanese. The Times story disappeared into the archives. Sorry.


From the stacks #3 - Strapping Fieldhands

Shoving pegs into overused holes, if Guided by Voices were the Beatles and the Grifters were the Stones then Strapping Fieldhands were, I dunno, early Floyd or the Holy Modal Rounders or something. Listening to Discus (Omphalos 1994) in the mid-'90s I felt (and still feel) like I was in over my head during some of the more crackpot moments ... but certain things like the demented viking chant "Red Dog the Deconstructor" (and its off-key guitar solo) hooked me enough to keep listening.

Strapping Fieldhands - "Red Dog the Deconstructor"

In the Pineys (Siltbreeze 1994) was recorded even more roughly but was strangely more "pop-friendly" in the Fieldhands' typically fucked-up way, including a raucous cover of Melanie's "Lay Down (Candles in the Rain)."

Strapping Fieldhands - "Lay Down"

Wattle & Daub (Shangri-La 1996) was put out on Memphis' Shangri-La Records -- throwers of the Shindig seen on the poster above, where the Fieldhands played on a riverboat cruising the Mississippi. The album was something of a breakthrough (at least to my ears), with big, booming production, more advanced songwriting and just generally sounding like it has its shit together (so of course the hardcore weirdos hated it).

Strapping Fieldhands - "The Author In Her Ear"


Five reasons I love reggae

1. In other genres, burying master tapes in back yard a sorely underused recording technique

The Mellotones - "Uncle Desmond"

2. Great cover versions

Al Brown - "Here I Am Baby"

3. Great songs that inspire great cover versions

Willie Williams - "Armagideon Time"

4. Novelty songs about goth soap operas

Lone Ranger - "Barnabas Collins"

5. Album covers begging to be made into t-shirts

Dillinger - "C B 200"


Electro-shock for president

Don't have much time to post but I wanted to leave you with something to propel your weekend. First off, I just noticed that DFA has posted these James Murphy and Juan Maclean BBC radio mixes for free download -- if you haven't heard these, go grab 'em. They were released as a super-limited three-disc set in December. Everything from the Bee Gees to ... well, to this.

Six Finger Satellite - "Rabies (Baby's Got The)"

Six Finger has been getting nuff props lately because of their Murphy/Maclean associations, but who will step up to spark the Brainiac revival?!? These guys were way ahead of their time on the distorto-electro-spazzy-dance shit .... they had me drunk and dancing back when I was a non-dancing college-radio dork .... if they were around today, they would destroy. Tim Taylor, R.I.P.

Brainiac - "Vincent Come On Down"

Edit: Yes, as opposed to today, when I am an ex-college-radio dork who occasionally dances.


Detective work

So I'm listening to The Best of Spirit and "Fresh Garbage" comes on and uhhh, am I trippin or is that the melody from Christopher Just's "Popper"? Well so it is. Am I the first person to figure this out? Nope! But I will share my eureka moment with you anyway.

Spirit - "Fresh Garbage"

Christopher Just - "Popper"

Dance music seems open to anything right now, it's great. After reading this thread on cosmic disco, I hear a song like Black Mountain's "No Hits" and think, "hey with a little bit of editing you could almost play this out" ....

Black Mountain - "No Hits"


Classic material

Baby Huey, The Baby Huey Story: The Living Legend (Curtom 1970)
This is the last of my holiday loot to get posted up .... my man Bob ran across this reissue and thought, "Hey, I bet Dave would be into that." Ding ding! You are correct sir. Huey was a Curtis Mayfield protege who died of a heart attack at age 26, just when he was getting started -- kind of the Big Pun of his day. His album was released posthumously on Mayfield's Curtom label and became a classic in soul, funk and hip-hop circles. "Hard Times" would have fit great on my Streets mix (still up, by the way). Happy MLK Day, one day late.

Baby Huey - "Hard Times"


Forest folk and fusion funk

Folk Is Not a Four Letter Word (Delay 68 2005)
Andy Votel has been working overtime to resurrect music that fell through the cracks between genres, whether it's prog, funky psych rock, or this collection of "acid folk music" from the late '60s and '70s. Take the golden apples of the sun and pair them with funky free spirits like Jeremy Steig and Jan Hammer -- both of whom play on Kathy Smith's "It's Taking So Long" -- and you've got an album full of beautiful musical freaks, never sure of where they should fit in.

Kathy Smith - "It's Taking So Long"

Breakout - "Warm Up My Lips"

Jeremy Steig, Energy (Capitol 1969)
With Steig on flute, Hammer on Rhodes and the awesome rhythm section of Gene Perla and Don Alias, there's no way this LP could fail to be funky. Steig even does some wild vocalizing as he overblows his instrument, Rahsaan Roland Kirk-style.

Jeremy Steig - "Swamp Carol"

Jeremy Steig - "Dance of the Mind"

Jan Hammer Group, Oh, Yeah? (Nemperor 1976)
As the '70s roll on, Hammer's sound creeps closer to the slickness of his Miami Vice days to come, but I think Oh, Yeah? still has its moments. If you can't handle the fusion, skip to the end of the track -- after a few seconds of silence, a nasty bonus breakbeat ushers out side 1 of the LP.

Jan Hammer Group - "Oh, Yeah?"


Lost in the groove

This is sick . . .

Concluding my little dance-music extravaganza, here are two of my favorite tunes from earlier in 2005 before I was doing the site. First up, Solid Groove's "This Is Sick" -- like Soho's "Hot Music," it's one of those uncategorizable tracks that appeals to everyone, whether you're on the hip-hop / global pop side of things like Ayres and Diplo, or coming from the house end like Ewan Pearson. Backward vocals, loungey swirls and yes, SICK pulsing bass: It seems like producer Dave Taylor just threw everything at the wall, but it comes together perfectly.

Solid Groove - "This Is Sick"

Don't know much about Poni Hoax and "Budapest" except that it's on Tigersushi and, pardon my french, it sounds like fucking. I mean we're talking Budapest as in sex capital of Europe, lost weekend with Rocco Siffredi's camera crew Budapest. (Nah, I ain't linking Rocco, you can find out yerself.)

Poni Hoax - "Budapest"

p.s. Obviously this post has nothing to do with Lost. I'm just glad it's back. Have a great weekend.


Neumu archive

Links to my writing for the music web site Neumu.net, 2004-05


Record reviews


Bouncing off the walls

Padded Cell, Signal Failure 12" (DC Recordings 2005)
After that last Emperor Machine single I was pretty much prepared to grab any DC record on sight, especially with a cover like the above. Luckily the music is great too -- more of that dark dubby disco analog excursion adventure excitement that I can't get enough of.

Padded Cell - "Unknown Zone"

At the risk of treading on the hallowed territory of xxjfg: If that Padded Cell artwork was a band, it would be Goblin.

Goblin - "Profondo Rosso"

Night Time is the right time

This looks dangerously rad. I will be there.

If the type is too small for yall, that's Vitalic playing live this Friday at Don Hill's in NYC.

Next month: Optimo!!?

(From the not-easily-linked Optimo calendar:
Friday February 17th - New York Nighttime @ Don Hills
Saturday February 18th - Philadelphia Making Time
Sunday February 19th - New York Motherfucker)

I guess it's dance-music week at 33/45 -- I'll do a couple more posts in this vein before I turn to such pressing matters as, When was the last time I listened to the Strapping Fieldhands?


Dead eyes opened

I think the Chromatics are gonna have a big 2006, they've got new music all over the interweb and barely any of it has been released officially yet (except for last year's great "Healer" / "Witness" 12" on Troubleman). Once an art-damaged four- or five-piece, Chromatics are down to just Adam Miller and Lena Okazaki, and the newfound minimalism suits them fine, just like how Broadcast made maybe their best album after they shed half their members. Produced by Johnny Jewel from Glass Candy, Chromatics tap into that same late-nite disco vibe, only with less disco and more blank stares. "Jade, Diamonds, Rubies" is from a Chromatics tour CD-R, Unreleased TMU Sessions; I just found "The Guest" this morning on their MySpace page, where you can also download "Healer" and "Nite" (slated for a forthcoming 12").

Chromatics - "Jade, Diamonds, Rubies"

Chromatics - "The Guest"



Ricardo Villalobos, Achso (Cadenza 2005)
Some of the most innovative tracks of the past couple years have come from the Chilean producer Ricardo Villalobos, who first hit my radar screen when "Easy Lee" and "Dexter" began appearing on mix after mix in 2003 and 2004. Those two songs appeared on Villalobos' landmark album Alcachofa; since then, his releases have become more and more skeletal, and barely any song lasts less than an album side. They just run and run, with the four-four kicks creating almost a trance state in the listener so that Villalobos can paint on the blank canvas with strings, acoustic guitar, and hundreds of tiny shifts in phase and panning. His new four-song EP, Achso, is out on Cadenza.

Ricardo Villalobos - "Duso"


Everything is permitted

Kontrast, Stammtisch Der Verzweiflung 12" (Kompakt 2005)
I know it's bad form to try to slot music away into little boxes -- especially electronic music, where next-to-useless new genre names and divisions spring up weekly. But at first I didn't know what to make of this new 12" on Kompakt, a collaboration between label stars Justus Kohncke and Dirk Leyers (former partner of Matias Aguayo in Closer Musik). Kohncke has jumped around stylistically, from the laser disco of "Timecode" and "2 After 909" to the ambient moodiness of "Albatross" (supposedly a Fleetwood Mac cover?) to his own German pop excursions, but "Stammtisch Der Verzweiflung" was something else altogether. The beats seemed too slow for dancing, but there were a lot of great sounds bouncing around in there, especially at the 3:45 mark when the brooding beat makes way for awesomely jumpy, cut-up keyboard funk.

Kontrast - "Stammtisch Der Verzweiflung"

Serie Noire: Dark Pop and New Beat (Eskimo 2002)
Then I landed on a precedent for the Kontrast sound -- the "dark pop and new beat" of early 1980's Belgium and Holland, as cataloged on this comp from a couple years back on Eskimo, the label that released Optimo's Psyche Out last year. (Speaking of which, go grab Twitch's no wave mix, the third in a series of genre primers.) These tracks by artists like Grauzone, Section 25 and Carlos Peron (formerly of Yello) are the dark side of '80s synth music, a futuristic party soundtrack for a questionable future.

Carlos Peron - "Nothing Is True, Everything Is Permitted"


Fuzz and static for winter daze

Started reading Jim Greer's Guided by Voices: A Brief History. The introductory list by Steven Soderbergh is funny ("27. 'Chicken Blows'? Holy shit."). I also got the Electrifying Conclusion four-hour DVD, which will be fun some night when I'm drunk. But today it's January and rainy, so instead of the high-kicking Who-fan GBV I want the basement four-track GBV.

Guided by Voices - "Indian Was an Angel"

Guided by Voices - "Liar's Tale"

Peter Laughner, Take the Guitar Player For a Ride (Tim/Kerr 1993)
Early Pere Ubu member, Cleveland legend, guitar god, Dylan and Lou Reed fanatic ...

Peter Laughner - "Baudelaire"

Friendsound, Joyride (RCA 1969)
Weirdo syke rock reportedly perpetrated by members of Paul Revere and the Raiders in their off hours. Actually it's hard to tell whether the band is called "Friendsound" or "Joyride" but googly evidence points to the former. Saw this album on one of the Friday artists' lists on Dusted and ran into the reissue of it the same afternoon. It's fate, I tell ya.

Friendsound - "Joyride"

Friendsound - "Childhood's End"


Mix of the month - Distant Universe

I was planning on finishing a disco mix for January but the editing turned out to be more painstaking than I expected .... so instead here's an older mix, one that I made around 2003. The mixing ain't too good (there's even some ill-advised scratching) but as a whole I think it hits the lo-fi electronic, slightly psychedelic, off-center mood I was going for.

Distant Universe


1. Dick Hyman - "Minotaur"
2. Bo Hansson - "Leaving Shire"
3. Papa Michigan and General Smiley - "One Love Jamdown"
4. Can - "Mother Sky"
5. Req - "Worthing Line"
6. Latyrx - "Say That"
7. Jean-Michel Jarre - "Blah Blah Cafe"
8. Cinderella - "Ikaw Ang Idol Ko"
9. Silver Apples - "Oscillations"
10. Tortoise - "Eros"
11. Sunburned Hand of the Man - "Unless You Confess"
12. Van Halen - "Sunday Afternoon in the Park"
13. Tom Tom Club - "Spooks"
14. Kraftwerk - "The Robots"
15. Cymande - "Them and Us"
16. El-P - "Tuned Mass Damper"
17. Herbie Hancock - "Rain Dance"
18. Jessamine - "Schizandra"
19. Karlheinz Stockhausen - "Kontakte (excerpt)"


From the stacks #2 - Eazy duz it

In 2006, don't forget to keep it mellow. Here's some easy-listening funk and Moog madness from the 33/45 vaults. Happy new year, everybody.

Mystic Moods, Awakening (Soundbird 1973)

Mystic Moods - "Cosmic Sea"

Ferrante & Teicher, In a Soulful Mood (United Artists 1974)

Ferrante & Teicher - "Christo Redentor"

Ferrante & Teicher - "Hong Kong Soul Brother"

Gershon Kingsley, Gershwin: Alive & Well & Underground (Avco Embassy 1970)

Gershon Kingsley - "Summertime"

Gershon Kingsley - "It Ain't Necessarily So"

Esquivel, Latin-Esque (RCA Victor 1962)

"Stereo Action: The Sound Your Eyes Can Follow!"

Esquivel - "Latin-Esque"

Esquivel - "Mucha Muchacha"

The Free Design, Kites Are Fun (Project 3 1967)

The Free Design - "Kites Are Fun"

The Free Design - "Umbrellas"