Live at the Feast of the Flowering Moon

Adventures down Highway 23. I decided this would be the summer of the festival (usually free and rich in people watching), so my wife, her friend Carol, and I, headed to Chillicothe to attend our first of the season, the Feast of the Flowering Moon, which is basically a small town co-opting it's native beginnings to have a rinky-dink street fair. There was nothing to see here (once you've seen one Cheese on a Stick cart, you've seen them all) except for the Midwest's Finest Dance Troupe. By the time we made it to our destination the rotting retired war hero at the info booth told us "If yooorr here for da injuns, they just done their last dancing." (He really said "injuns.") I trusted my instincts and guided our trio down by a small pond where I spotted tee-pees set-up. Luckily we arrived right as they were starting their last show of the weekend. This was some amazing shit to behold (witness my first uploaded youtube clip above). My lovey quipped that the music was much better than that Animal band I've been going on about, and she was right. Right enough to get me digging into the archives of Navajo songs recorded in the 1930s and 40s (all available at most public libraries). After that it was time to wrap up the whole shebang with Ross County Idol. We were tempted to watch sub-civilization humiliate themselves with another rendition of "Jesus Take the Wheel" or "Achy Breaky Heart," but they'd already done that by relegating the Native Americans who'd traveled for hours to second billing at the bottom of the hill. Mutants.


Whiskey Tango Foxtrot - The Black Swan Brakhage

It came while watching the flawless season 3 finale of Lost, where Jack rocks a freak-folk beard, an oxycodin addiction, and In Utero, before opting for suicide via bridge jump (and it's all in the future, mind you, after leaving the island). Within the episode, there was another glimpse of the Dharma Initiative's logo for the Swan Station, which is eerily close to the one used by Olivia Tremor Control offshoot, the Black Swan Network. Coincidence? Or does an art designer on set, have a hankering for Cubist Castles? It made me joyful that I never sold my vinyl copy of Dream Tapes, the group's two-track ambient noise opus, for I always knew it would come in handy one day. Age has not left this album obsolete, in fact it's starting to make me a bit angry that more modern psych-folk types aren't admitting their debt to Olivia Tremor Control. Tribal edits and extensions, tape-loop fuckkery, smoke and mirrored guitar sketches, horns attached to oscillators; light years ahead of their time if you ask me.

Forget about Pink Floyd with the Wizard of OZ, or Grizzly Bear with City of Lost Children. Try Black Swan Network's Dream Tapes with By Brakhage: An Anthology, skip forward to his more brief, color-encrusted, 80's films, play loud (with bong and buddha box, if available), and you've achieved dorm-room transcendence.


Beach Talk - The Evil Queens

I'll lay the cards out on the table, I have never been a huge fan of the Evil Queens (but I've never made a conscious attempt to be into them). I was always turned off by what I thought was a derivative aesthetic; the "heavy" lineage of Columbus grit-rock (Monster Truck 005, Bob City, the Means, Grafton) whittled into radio chunklets and suitable sonics. While there appears to be a enclave of groups in this town (who shall remain nameless), in the last couple of years, who have exploited that legacy to create artistically challenged, not challenging,(and downright awful) results, Lonesome Werewolves, separates the Evil Queens far from their contemporaries. Obvious chooglings, power chords, brutal swells and depressions, are in their proper places, but guitarist/vocalist Jacob Sundemeyer (the architect of this classy bunch) is a master of subtlety, a dynamic character within his songs, and capable of realizing "pop" is needed even in the most ham-fisted of metal moments. To the high-tide Mudhoney informed crunch and maudlin Nirvana-esque hook of "America, America," to visceral booze stomp of "Year of the Cretin," there's little here to mentally edit.

Coincidentally, Queens of the Stone Age's Era Vulgaris leaked the day I got Lonesome Werewolves into my grubby little paws, and since then I've given the local boys more time. Homme is busy inviting in new best buddies and making a veiled attempt at textured groove (you'll never write a Groundhogs album Josh, though this isn't half-bad) instead of becoming fully unleashed. The Evil Queen's are content making that music for him. Here it's not desert and horse, it's cramped dive bars and hard liquor.

The Evil Queens will be celebrating the release of Lonesome Werewolves on Saturday, the 27th. Cafe Bourbon St. Bring a flask.


Diggin' in the (???) - Mutant Sounds

Being addicted to downloading ain't easy. Everyday there are new sites/blogs popping up, linking the voracious collector to endless libraries of new music. It's literally at my fingertips, it's overwhelming. But where does one go when the latest Chemical Brother's leak just won't do? Lately Mutant Sounds has curbed my eventual slide into a crystal meth binge (joking, mom). My brother (or was it Dusty) clued me into this guy who has much more time than the average human to digitize his entire collection. I have yet to see an album on here that I recognize (even the references are out of my range). The only problem being, there are not enough hours in the day to experience it all. Mutant Sounds needs a separate blog to filter through it's endless listening pile (If you're reading this, I'll help); a greatest hits if you will (cause be warned, much of this is lost for a reason). Here are a few gems found in the past week:

Daminhao - (pictured above) Dig deep with this one, many links to learn more. There are some that suspect this to be an elaborate ploy, but Brazil's answer to Jim Shepard may have just saved my life. Exotic psych insanity.

Ballistic Kisses - Devo (the dog and the band) had great impact on our Earth. Hopeless/Ambitious broke, musicians, from NYC, trying to emulate a sound birthed in Akron,Oh, is both hilarious and stunning.

Freshly Wrapped Candies - One of the most highly recommended albums on the site, and as fractured and "pop" as the description claims.


Video Ventures - Real Life

Yes. The VV section is always a lazy excuse just to post something. It's not particularly pressing or vital information (but what is on this site). I've recently been caught up in the new Chromeo disc, lamenting the street-funk of the 80's, so it's been a strange coincidence that I keep hearing Real Life's "Send Me an Angel" in various locations (my work, a local high school, the quickie mart). Not that it's street-funk, it's one-hit (knife-hit), new-romantic, post-pop. By an Australian band no less. The sick thing, is every time I hear it, I'm reminded of the Lori Laughlin (you may remember her as Jon Stamos' wife on Full House) driven vehicle, Rad. So I found it fitting to track down the pre-coital BMX make-out scene (try to spot the evil twins from COBRA) in which this song is featured (three years after the single was released).

I was 10. Rad was...well...rad. And it has yet to have a proper DVD release. Criterion? Hal Needham did also direct Cannonball Run and Stroker Ace.


Of This Moment - The Wombats

I have to go with my instincts on this one. Yes, I'm sick and tired of Brit band after Brit band, with horrible names, and even more horrible songs titles, making their way to the States to conquer, if only for a hot minute. Honestly, the Kooks? I thought they'd finally crash halfway over the Atlantic, but I was wrong, so wrong. Every time I happen to skip through the "alternative" radio here, they're playing that song. The Kooks? They sold out a show here last week?

While I'll be forthright in proclaiming my love for the Arctic Monkeys second attempt, Favourite Worst Nightmare, that album has given way to the debut from Liverpool's Wombats. I know, tell me about it, another achingly cheeky moniker. As far as I can tell, the album, Boys, Girls, and Marsupials, has yet to see a U.S. release (if you're sneaky you can find it though). Surely when they land here, all hell (might) break loose. There's just something about them that's ultra-catchy, ultra-endearing, and has me up at night biting my fingers as punishment for liking another band of blokes. You'll swear it's painfully average upon first listen.

As proof I've uploaded "Moving to New York" for a brief time, or you could go here and get a taste of their new single.


Bo Jackson's Shoe Box - James Brown Complex

WANTED: The evolution of hip-hop in cassette and cassingle format, accompanying Bo Jackson Cross-Trainer shoe box the housed them, and the cigarette carton proportioned mini-boombox Lamar sold me for a dollar. Will pay $1,000 US dollars, OBO.

Son of Bazerk - Bazerk Bazerk Bazerk
1991 (Soul/MCA)

Besides the beat, the DJ, the MC, the graffiti, and the breakdancing, can you think of another element as important to the identification of hip-hop than the James Brown sample?

The Godfather of Soul had such an impact on the genre's "golden age" that it was inevitable that a group would morph his presence/power/poise into a full-fledged, all-encompassing, vehicle from which to create and broadcast. Enter Son of Bazerk featuring No Self Control and the Band. Their debut, Bazerk Bazerk Bazerk, was not a classic by any means, but was worth the adventurous and cartoonish trip it provided; the manic energy and variety alone maintains the album as one of the 90's true anomalies.

The album's recipe is the most puzzling piece, as it was produced by the Bomb Squad (who seem to throw everything into the pot here) and helmed by Terminator X. Son of Bazerk was, at least for one record, hip-hop's living, breathing, James Brown-aping, Godzilla; crossing Tim Dogg with an undefeated middle-weight boxer. There's a fine-line between his idiosyncratic rhyme-style and his constant spitting of misogynistic (but alway amusing) come-ons or gruff, street-wise "superbadisms."

The LP is best known for "Change the Style," a single that single-handedly tackles dub, doo-wop, thrash punk, and of course JB soul modes (a theme that remains on each subsequent track). Keeping him grounded is his crew, highlighted by MC Halfpint, who hasn't been heard of since, but here injects plenty of innovative and light-hearted verses to balance the "Funky Drummer" complex that defines Bazerk Bazerk Bazerk. Really, this is just strange, lost, and intriguing stuff, deserving my praise and someone's re-issue dollars, even if it is one giant James Brown sample magnified to infinity.


Gimme' Swag - Skidmore Fountain

Being a diligent blogger and trying to keep up with the trend-a-minute shifts in modern music, I have recently found, pays off (sort of). Brooklyn's Skidmore Fountain has the distinction of being the first band to send anything to the World of Wumme headquarters specifically. Congratulations. As much as I'd like to write a glowing review simply for the gesture of clogging my mailbox, I'm just not down with payola.

The sticker affixed claims Break is "post-post punk rock with wildly avant pieces." How can you be more post than post? I'll give em' the avant, as this is extremely in line with mid-90's maze-makers like Shudder to Think and the Dambuilders (thanks to a trigger-happy cello player), but I'm tempted to call this Orchestrated Incubus. The problem lies in singer Randy Bergida, who flogs any of his band's redeeming qualities with lyrics and vocal scree that suggest he got his training from Linkin Park or a host of half-life emo frontmen. Harsh, sure, but there are some awfully talented musicians in this bunch, and I'm inclined to give them the green light to reassess just what it is they are trying to accomplish in Skidmore Fountain. Being from Brooklyn does not afford you a free pass. There are bands like this everywhere, in every city. It's "frock" (friend rock), a genre that keeps thriving because all of this band's acquaintances don't have the heart to tell them the truth.

Still, keep sending me stuff, even hate mail.


Live - Spoon at Skully's 4.29.07

Fuck yeah, I went to this show simply to see the kids, who were held to six or so songs, three of which I missed. Jack Daniels is an evil man, sponsoring bohemia then cutting it short. I've seen Spoon multiple times, therefore smoking and drinking in the back of the club was necessary to avoid the throng of salivating middle-ager's looking to grasp onto something remotely hip. I swear I saw a toothless hick lip-syncing "I Turn My Camera On," (see car commercials do get you chicks). Not to fault Spoon, but it's beginning to feel like Brit Daniel's approach is purely antiseptic. Someone even asked (jokingly of course) from outside if Spoon were playing, or if it was a cd of Spoon. He's certainly amassed at least a greatest hits disc worth of skeletal indie-rock and tricky soft-punk, lately though the auto-pilot has switched to full-on bore. Could he really have peaked with Girls Can Tell? He does write music for soundtracks now.

I poked in for a few of my favorites and could see that at least Mr. Daniel was against the war; writhing on the floor, scraping the edges of his guitar for any grisly atonal scrawl he could muster out of songs now quite benign. I love the guy, broke bread with him, babysat his children, and once even compared him to Prince (can I take that back?) His band however, is for the war, for standing still. They kinda smiled, complacent and happy to be making their nightly stipend for playing along with such easy swill. Perhaps I'm just a bit cynical towards show with seemingly no purpose. Spoon come off as a band that's making music that's as safe as their name; nothing sharp or harmful in any move they make. The newer tracks blended into the background, the old favorites were fawned over, and everyone went home happy and drunk for free. But did you remember it the next day?