Electric Bunnies - Fantastic Metal Eye 7"

Who knows if the three songs that Miami’s Electric Bunnies submitted to Columbus Discount are months old toss-offs or signifiers of where the trio are headed, either way it’s puzzling, as the low-key Fantastic Metal Eye 7” keeps the ball rolling for one of the underground’s most puzzling little bands that could. They rarely tour, so I’ve yet to recognize faces, only rudimentary, almost precious animations of, you guessed it, bunnies, and on this slab, cutesy androids. The title track here is vocoded monotony/propaganda about imagined “sweet robots” or “loose robots", though they relapse into momentary Trans Am love, the throb underneath grows and grows with each measure, then at the last minute a release is found and the Oneida-esque build bursts the transistors wide open and wires start flailing about. I’d like to think the Bunnies never even heard of TA and instead worshipped the gutting electronics of Tim Taylor.

Fantastic Metal Eye is off-putting fer sure and compiling a singles comp. of everything we’ve heard thus far would be disorienting (a comp. of ten different bands?), at any turn you’re not sure where they stand. “Bubble Bath” in particular should be, so far, the band’s calling card, as it rides a one-legged psych groove that drills down like a teen-aged Wooden Shjips spiralin’ minimal disco-funk, wrapped precociously in two sheets of haze and feedback squealing. The distance between this and the hummable confections of “Chewing Gum” and “Eskimo” throws me way off course. Maybe they’re the crunk TV Ghost. Only time will tell.

That leaves me with “Beautiful Pants,” the last thing we’re given till a full-length (supposedly), and what we’re left with is an angry atonal outburst that owes a fuckton to Wire. Quick and to the pointless, still rooted in their own putrid innocence, and by god I’d much rather have a band owe the fuckton to Wire than most other bands in the post-punk cannon.


Stylus Summer Jamz '08

One of my favorite things that my former employer, Stylus Magazine, used to do, was compile some of the best Summer mixes known to man. Seriously, go back through the archives and check them out. The detailed prose that comes attached is always a perfect match for the overall mood of the jamz. Some guys got deep, some guys got celebratory 'bout the season, but the songs were always sewn exquisitely (not in Girl "Talk" but like those mix-tapes made with love and glue).

I never got to put one together. But I recently proposed this to be a good idea for us to do (and a good way to alleviate the boredom found in our day jobs) again this year. This week and next, each day will reveal a new collaborative mix between a random duo of former Stylus writers.

You can find them (completely downloadable) on Screw Rock n' Roll and (my new favorite blog) The Passion of the Weiss.

Jeff Seigel and I will be posting ours this coming Monday. Stay Tuned.


Random Friday Thoughts

I will soon be packing it up for a kamikaze trip to Louisville for Terrastock Seven. At first I wasn't expecting much -- add a two day record show and the anticipation of finally seeing Oneida and Simply Saucer -- you can now color me excited.

But first -- I was completely floored by the Unholy 2's Wednesday night show. You can now officially put them in the ranks of indespensible. Can I request Comfest Apocalypse? Just make sure they're hearing every word you speak Mr. L.

For lack of suitable clips, here's something unwatchalbe but, for the sake of history, critical/vital.

And the only thing I could think of after the set was this movie for some reason....

And finally I was searching for more info on the vintage Saucer (as the in-the-know Canucks refer to them) and the only old footage I could find was this recent video of a classic song --- "Bullet Proof Nothing" --- still a nostalgic trip.....


Songs to Forget Now on Vinyl

Leo Maymind is a kind soul, a recent NYC urban pioneer, and tireless self-promoter. In the wilds of Manhattan it's sure to be daunting to get people to listen. Now he's got an extra hand in his arsenal -- Cleveland's Exit Stencil just re-released his Spanish Prisoner's excellent debut Songs to Forget expanded on vinyl. Not sure if there's much more I can say about this record that I didn't say last August when this album first took hold during the sultry late-summer heatwave. Click here to read. Buy a copy for the inevitable drought of 2008.


!!! Mistaken for Hot Hot Heat

Combine free show, with slick marketing by Toyota, a worthy cause (Free Yr Radio for OHIO.FM), an Urban Outfitters and !!! (prefer pow pow pow or ech ech ech) -- and there was sure to be chaos, right? No, in fact while waiting in line I was beginning to be suspect that this awfully tight group from SF have fallen out of grace with hipsters worldwide. Why I'm not sure. Their albums get increasingly better even as interest wanes. The latest, Myth Takes, being a career pinnacle by approximating just the right ingredients of funk, disco, kraut mysterions and tropicalian flare. And live, they kind of spill it all over the place with two hype-men conducting the boogie -- and drum circles of all sort surrounding this esoteric punk message. They've never really rallied behind a message other than "shake it," lyrics have never been their strongest point. I'd much rather imagine them as a 12-piece 70's funk extravaganza, blazing down mountains of cocaine and jamming in rubber rooms.

Here, with Target-centric home furnishings and last year's Nike models vying for space among a small crowd who I think confused them for Hot Hot Heat. Only the fringes started dancing, as this just wasn't the place or the mood or the moment. I simply closed my eyes and had to make due. As a live band they're downright incredible in any environs. Highly reccommended when you get the chance, even if their neo-hippie love-fest is becoming passe.


Music Go Music Go Music

Much like Frida was to ABBA, Gala Bell is to Music Go Music, and both are their respective bands’ muse, guiding the universal strength of an elegant and extravagant pop song to dizzying heights into a combusting cosmos. Bell though is driving an organic, sugar-cane fueled grass blimp to planet Xanadu. Wave over to Jeff Lynne in that steely, neon, megalith. He’s totally hogging the sun. Music Go Music knows this, and decides to take a sideway, roller skates still intact, feeding off the beat of the glowing planet ahead. ABBA may have been from space, but it’s unsure if they ever found their destination without giggling. ELO took that mission, but it’s unsure if they ever escaped orbit. Any Orchestra head who has stayed up till dawn with Out of the Blue is aware of the party that perpetually exists on that craft. They just never put down the Revolver. Discrediting two of the 70’s greatest luxuries does nothing to accent Music Go Music’s first of three 12”s, Light of Love, this band adores both dinosaurs with equal aplomb. They’ve just decided to strip it all of novelty, well at least the music does. Mother Earth type launching that reminds you of the day you were born. “Light of Love” is the latest entry for the inspirational national anthem of a distant peace-n-orgy orb. It’s Intricate/Delicate pop made with bare hands instead of studio scalpels. “Explorers of the Heart” delves even deeper and darker, the first expedition on the barren terrain of a sedate floating rock. Am I expecting too much from the next two vinyl? Even if you can’t find that forbidden zone Music Go Music seem to find, there’s hope you’ll end up in a familiar place of comfort.


Reece Steele = Miss Rap Supreme

I’m fairly sure I tried my damndest to hip you all to VH1’s Ego Trip’s Best White Rapper reality show sometime last year when I was knee-deep in the final few episodes. Subsequently I have failed to remember the name of the Bubba Sparks wannabe, grill-wearing, acne-infested winner, prolly cause I wanted John Brown to win, even if his flow was stifled by pot smoke and mild retardation. Of course those qualities do make for the most intriguing hip-hop. Fact is neither finalist was truly up to the challenge (where exactly are they now?). While the show was inventive, comedic, lathered in old-school nostalgia and Ego Trip’s know-it-all wit, the competition was weak. Perhaps white people really can’t rap.

Instead of punishing the public with a Best White Rapper II – the pool would’ve been quite shallow at that point – they decided to get serious. Not that Ego Trip’s Miss Rap Supreme (an all-girl rap off) was sucked of the spoof -- actually there was plenty of everything that made White Rapper an obsession -- it just focused more on the talents of the females rather than the personas, the stereotypes. Plus in addition to MC Search, this season had Yo-Yo (coming to a future Bo Jackson soon) who complemented Search with her feminine perspective on the business of hip-hop.

From the begin I was pulling for Ms. Cherry – I was smitten by everything about her – the hardcore lisp, the perfect teeth, the red streak in her hair, her bonkers fashion, her hand movements (I could pinpoint key moments that made me fall for her). It was her style on the mic that completed the package. I’m usually not for def poetry slam, and much of her cadence lent to that spoken word Southern boasting (especially without a beat), but when she was faced with a challenge that included backing track, her flow was infectious, curled up in delta slang and euphemisms that might be lost on most English speakers, but in the lexicon of syllabic attractors she spoke a language all her own. Pehaps I’m romanticizing a bit too much, but she was definitely the most original.

She came in third (certainly there will be a marathon for y’all to catch up), leaving Byata (the obligatory white mainstream-appeal rapper) and the mighty Reece Steele (the old-school hard-knock lifer, whose mother previously had a failed rap career). By the time the two had spit their sixteen bars freestyle, it was obvious who the champion was, and by the second round, the original composition competition, I became hooked on Reece. She capitalized on her Bronx crust, and impenetrable rhyme scheme that evoked Biggie at his most aware. The girl may not have the veneer of a successful pop artist, but her skills as an emcee will assure her some writing cred once she enters the business. And there exists the problem with these reality shows. Does the business take these winners seriously once they jump up from pit of reality television? Let’s hope for Reece’s sake they do, and for my sake, that they like what they hear from number three as well.


I'm an Agit-Reader, You Should Be Too

Today is the start of a new era. The Agit-Reader has been launched, official. Stephen Slaybaugh, my bro Doug, and I will be providing agit-readers with daily content from around the world of musiques. Here on this here blog, I will start to focus locally. Your favorite columns will remain, Bo Jackson, This Week in TNV, Beach Talk, Pop Park -- but WOW will now be more of a journal of sorts, an outpost from the AR you can refer to for details, minutia, and anecdotes. I do intend to beef up the traveling this summer, as there are plenty of festivals and oddball eateries to report on, so look for that. Still, I'd like to put forth as much effort as possible into getting the kids on Agit-Reader kick. Think of it as your new Book It. And keep this site dialed up as supplementary reading.


Today is CRASS DAY

Not sure if Crass Day is something concoted by the boys and girls at Columbus Discount Recordings or a legitimate holiday the world round. All I know is Crass is an important band to study, to remember, and these days a good band to latch on to. Go be anarchy for a day, steal/destroy something of value, read a zine, tattoo yourself in peace signs. Guess this is what they mean by romantic nihilism.


Stranded in Spain

Well at least the hairy huffy peanut in the middle of this pic was the only one who got "stuck inside 'Celona with the Kinski blues again." Beach was there, as was a glass of roja or three -- so is life on the road k'g. Take a mental snapshot of all the memories (no camera?) or at least a flask and gameboy.

Here's the skinny. Kids just landed back in North America and 24 hours later are back on the pavement, starting tonight in Bloomington, IN, home to Hoosiers and two incredible record labels (por que?). Then it's off to a month of the unknown couch.

You may have missed their Daytrotter session, where Jared made Malian rainbows pour from his eyes. They's tend to do well in the "real" heartland. Omaha, Billings, actual viking country -- on radio shows, trapped in a tiny studio.

And during their whirlwind tour of the kingdom, the kids at Drowned in Sound seemed to be nipping at their heels on every corner.Broken windows, lost luggage, backwards roads, frreeedruqs, lost passports, and Spain, couldn't keep the Anglos from going apeshit over volume. Even giving Matt Horseshit some well-deserved spotlight. Can't wait to get a hold of the UK "New Wave Hippies" 7".

Anyways, here's probably the most entertaining interview I've read by the band

I'm in a sea of work myself, subject to reviewing Uncle Bobby's Gone to Town, parched lips and research papers. Not to fret, though things might get a little bare around here, there's something huge on the horizon. Watch this space, this is merely a stopgap. A stopgap.


Da Lenchmob Need Ressurection

It’s hard to imagine that Da Lenchmob’s Guerillas in tha Mist would get a tolerant response in a post-9/11 universe. It called for an unforgiving black revolution, a para-military approach to getting what their community deserves from unjust white America, it was hard on the ears for a lil’ Caucasian in the burbs who was becoming indoctrinated with Spike Lee movies and the autobiography of Malcolm X. Post-L.A. riots, this type of fiery rhetoric was completely justified though, their songs took Ice Cube’s Amerikkka’s Most Wanted a step further, saying things the Cube might have thought was crossing the line (even back then).

Shorty, T-Bone, Maulkie, and Jay-Dee were led into the jungle by Cube himself, who was credited as executive producer and makes a handful of cameos re-iterating a handful of his famous one-liners (“Went to the house and dusted off the A-K” or “I went home sawed the barrel off my shotgun”). Wonder if these guys were ever card-carrying NRA members? Or if they still have an arsenal at will, just in case the revolution starts back up again. If you’re a fan of the Cube solo stuff, the Bomb Squad’s dissonant sample attacks, or the proto-g-funk slither, then you’re in for a treat with this dark, cathartic, mix of noise and West Coast socio-politicking. While it’s not equipped with the seamless flow or storytelling concepts that made Amerikka’s Most Wanted and Death Certificate instant classics in the hip-hop genre (there are a number of duds within), the title track, “Buck tha Devil,” and “Freedom Got an A-K” all are worthy of mix-tape inclusions. Just be prepared to open the discussion on whether their points were valid then and valid now. Yes and Yes (though most won’t admit to the latter answer).

Much like the effect Paris’ Sleeping with the Enemy, which featured a fictional assassination of Bush Sr., would have in today’s world, Da Lenchmob’s thoroughly engaging and edgy narratives would probably raise a few more eyebrows now than it did back then.