Trickle-down theory

When I first stumbled on Sunburned Hand of the Man I thought I had found the ultimate motherlode of skull-busting improv motorik hippie space noise, with an almost limitless catalog of LPs and CD-R's to dig into. They shifted direction somewhat right when I was getting into them (Rare Wood and No Magic Man are more amplified, more chaotic), but the records that initially hooked me -- Headdress and especially Jaybird -- never fail to lay it on thick. Sunburned's records are often limited editions, but can be found at places like Eclipse, Father Yod, and Fusetron.

Jaybird (Manhand CD-R 2001, Qbico LP 2002)

Sunburned Hand of the Man - "The Jaybird"

Headdress (Records LP 2002)

Sunburned Hand of the Man - "Headdress"

Sunburned Hand of the Man - "Yes, Your Highness"


Cosmic cowboy

Doug Sahm is one of the all-time country-rock songwriters, almost up there with Gram Parsons in my book. He started out as a musical prodigy, performing as "Little Doug Sahm," then went on to lead an unlikely Tex-Mex wing of the British Invasion as head of the Sir Douglas Quintet. On the cover of their 1966 debut album -- misleadingly billed as a "best of" compilation -- they were shot in the shadows to disguise the fact that they didn't really have mop-tops.

"She's About a Mover" was their biggest early hit. It's also on the Nuggets box.

Sir Douglas Quintet - "She's About a Mover"

By the time of 1 + 1 + 1 = 4, they had dropped the Brit facade and were bringing country, rock, Tejano, soul, psych and everything else to the party.

Sir Douglas Quintet - "Catch a Man on the Rise"

The cast of collaborators on 1973's Doug Sahm and Band included Bob Dylan, Dr. John and David "Fathead" Newman, in addition to regulars like Augie Meyer and Flaco Jimenez. Although it wasn't written by Sahm, the great imagery of "(Is Anybody Going To) San Antone" suits him perfectly. "Sleeping under a table in a roadside park / a man could wake up dead / but it sure seemed warmer than it did / sleepin' in my king-size bed."

Doug Sahm and Band - "(Is Anybody Going To) San Antone"

Doug Sahm and Band - "It's Gonna Be Easy"


I highly recommend heading over to Soul Sides to check out his retrospective of the late Ray Barretto. One of the greats.


Yes, let's!!

Extended remix of this massive disco groover from Bohannon, complete with proto-house-diva vocals by Caroline Crawford. Get on up!

Hamilton Bohannon - "Let's Start the Dance"


Rock in the pocket

Black Oak Arkansas, Black Oak Arkansas (Atco 1971)
Probably my favorite rock breakbeat of all time, plus the dueling guitars at the end are hot shit.

Black Oak Arkansas - "Hot and Nasty"

Power of Zeus, The Gospel According to Zeus (Rare Earth 1970)

Power of Zeus - "It Couldn't Be Me"

Power of Zeus - "The Sorcerer of Isis (The Ritual of the Mole)"

Atomic Rooster, Made in England (Elektra 1972)

Atomic Rooster - "Little Bit of Inner Air"


You came to me like a ghost

The whole rock / dance / remix thing is generating such an enormous junkpile of disposable music right now .... it takes a track as great as this one to remind me why the ball got rolling in that direction in the first place. Multi-layered synths, stabbing guitars, less-than-human vocals. Fresh. Out on Versatile, with a full-length to come (called Monsters and Silly Songs if the blobby fellow on the back cover of the 12-inch is to be believed). Eagerly awaited in these parts along with the new one from Zongamin ("Third Uncle"!!).

Joakim - "I Wish You Were Gone"


Pop goes my dub #3

This one's the namesake of my little series -- a scratch version of Freeez's 1984 freestyle track "Pop Goes My Love," produced by Arthur Baker with cuts by Whiz Kid (of G.L.O.B.E. & Whiz Kid / "Play That Beat Mr. DJ" fame). Yeah, I know this goes on way too long ... but the second half is the best part ....

Freeez - "Scratch Goes My Dub"


Pop goes my dub #2

This version of Babe Ruth's "The Mexican," released in 1984 on a 12-inch by John "Jellybean" Benitez, barely has any of "The Mexican" in it until after the six-minute mark! But whatever, "The Mexican" was never one of my favorite breakbeat tracks anyway .... I'm just zoning out on all the micro-tweaking that Jellybean put on his super-fake synth claves.

Jellybean - "The Mexican (Funhouse Mix)"


Pop goes my dub

For the next few days I'm going to post up some instrumentals, dub versions and bonus beats that I've been enjoying lately. This track (two tracks, actually) is from the Human League's instrumental album from 1983, Love and Dancing, credited to the League Unlimited Orchestra in a nod to Barry White. Producer Martin Rushent mixed it in a continuous disco format, putting Dare!'s overdriven synths in the foreground and leaving in scattered bits of the vocals. Great album.

The League Unlimited Orchestra - "Do or Die / Seconds"

Edit: Kenneth points out in the comments that this is from '82, not '83 ....


He'll show you games to play

Well, NYC is under two feet of snow ... but being cooped up in the apt. ain't so bad, gives me plenty of time to zone out and listen to tunes while I watch some Olympic cross-country skiing and luge finals ...

For some reason the Pretty Things are never mentioned in the same breath as the Kinks, Who, Beatles, Stones, etc., but their British invasion-era rock n roll sounds just as great. They not only had swagger, but also a big experimental streak, inventing the concept album on S.F. Sorrow and toying with dissonance and weird song structures.

The Pretty Things - "Baron Saturday"

I have an almost limitless appetite for V.U. worship of the hammer-one-chord-into-oblivion variety. Currently filling that bill is Dins, the full-length debut by New York's Psychic Ills (out on The Social Registry -- home of Blood on the Wall, Electroputas and other awesomeness). The album is populated by Eastern-influenced drones, white noise soundscapes, and overdriven MBV / krautrock jams cutting through what seems like intentionally hazy and humid production. Listen close during "Another Day, Another Night" and the bells play you a melody.

Psychic Ills - "Another Day, Another Night"

It's alive .... Sunbomber throbs and pulses with more of Excepter's organic electronic improv shaman rituals. On a few of this EP's tracks, the aimless vocals are too loud in the mix for my taste; I prefer the ones like "Bridge Traffic" where it's more of a subliminal undercurrent to the echoes and beats. Out on 5RC.

Excepter - "Bridge Traffic"


More machines

I tried my best to fit this on the Dead Machines mix but it wasn't working, so here it is a la carte. Gothic Dutch alt-rock on 4AD circa 1985.

Xymox - "7th Time"

Love the back cover of this Ryuichi Sakamoto album from 1978 -- it lists every synthesizer in exacting detail, then breaks down his outfit. "R.S. wears: Jacket by Giorgio Armani; Shirt, Tie and Belt by Bricks; Levis 501 Jeans. Shoes - 'Zapata' by Manolo Blahnik." The designer '80s came a couple years early for him I guess. Ahead of his time on all fronts.

Ryuichi Sakamoto - "Plastic Bamboo"

Edit: I guess the center labels of my LP are on the wrong sides, I originally listed this song as "Island of Woods" (track 2 on side A), but someone in the comments pointed out that it is "Plastic Bamboo" (track 2 on side B). Whoops.


Epic soundtracks

The images from La Planete Sauvage ("Fantastic Planet") would be heady enough on their own, but Alain Goraguer's score blankets the movie with freaky alien funk and strange moods.

Alain Goraguer - "Deshominisation"

Alain Goraguer - "Ten et Minor"

Giorgio Moroder's soundtrack to the Nastassja Kinski vehicle Cat People is some of his darkest work. I'm used to hearing "Leopard Tree Dream" at the "Iron Galaxy" tempo, so at the normal 33 this stuff almost sounds chopped & screwed to me. Which is cool.

Giorgio Moroder - "Bring the Prod"

Giorgio Moroder - "Leopard Tree Dream"


Mix of the month - Dead Machines

Dead Machines

43 mins., 49.7 MB


Lenny Bruce - The Flag
Byrne / Eno - Regiment
Agentss - Agentes (Glimmers Slowdance Remix)
Liars - They Don't Want Your Corn, They Want Your Kids
Quintron - Swamp Buggy Badass
A Frames - Galena
Flipper - Sex Bomb
We Acediasts - Hitori Heiwa Na Nyapo
Cabaret Voltaire - Eastern Mantra
Francisco - Esplanade 97
Jonathan Vance - Sylvia the Eagle (JD Twitch Optimo Mix)
Out Hud - The Song So Good They Named It Thrice
Grauzone - Film 2
Morton Subotnick - Silver Apples of the Moon (Part II)

play loud


Second helping

For the Italo connoisseurs, move on along, you've probably already got these. N00bs like me, enjoy!

Charlie - "Spacer Woman"

My Mine - "Hypnotic Tango"


Happy February

New mix coming soon ....

In the meantime check out my man the Bookworm and his Podcast of Love (or the lack thereof) ....