My Uncle Wayne - Beat Hits

Thanks to the conspirators of the Autistic Theater the public is now well equipped with a treasure trove of booty from “the slump” that occurred in Columbus. While it’s nice to hear the evolution of AS/US, it’s even better to hear that group’s primordial roots. I’m speaking of MY UNCLE WAYNE. In my experience as a “slump” explorer, these three men could usually do no wrong -- through they’d sit on stage constantly wronging the world around them. Anyone who had the pleasure/brain damage getting close and intimate at those turn-of-the-century Bernie’s soirees might know what I’m talking about – rarely in tune, forcibly out of tune, in continual catch-up with their own rhythms, missing strings, rambling fuck-outs, rolling eyelids, quarter-consciousness, beer and whisky rivers, drug swamps. Were they the Butthole Surfers as prodigious math-rockers, or, Polvo as wasted cretins? Each set lasted just long enough to get irritated, but eagerly awaiting what would happen the next time they stumbled onto that dank basement stage.

And back to the Autistic Theater, where currently you can procure a copy of the group’s shining moment (previously released anyways, excited to finally hear the other stuff), the Beat Hits 7” on Seldom Scene (Bim Thomas’ short-lived label, and here the Bassholes/This Moment skinsman plays drums). After listening to this you may want to ignore my descriptors, then again you’d need to see them live to get that particular not-so-fresh feeling, on Beat Hits though they’re firing on all cylinders like a resurrected war machine from the Soviet era. Serious blasted – almost disintegrating all the pigfuck and trash-punk pioneers that lay track before them (see Monster Truck 5) in the fleeting first minutes of the “Vulture of Yr Culture” and “Pilgrum Soul” one-two swing. Giving those songs an angular snarl without too much angle, a metal edge without jaking-on like Karp, and the Sonic Youth seal of distortion with nary an ounce of pretension and pose. “All I See is Chrome” fits that model again, with much more muscle and instrumental possibilities. A solid winner from front to back. I’m sure you can find some “real” copies if you look hard enough.

Those looking for the twisted Truman’s Water-esque version of the band, urge them to upload the impossible-to-find Delusions of Grandure 7” – proving they have heart. Then again I want to hear the work they did with Rep and Jim Shepard right towards the end. And why was there an end? The world shall never know.


Who is Ean Eraser?

While a novel idea, there's something quite charming about a band purporting themselves as an anonymous power-pop band from (of all places) the Ukraine, especially in an age of label affiliations, blog celebrity, hype machines and pre-orders. Everyone wants you to see, to buy, to tongue their wares, their brand, their shtick. So, Ean Eraser might be throwing up their own shtick by giving the listening public the least possible amount of detail in regards to their debut 7". It could be just as well that these guys are simply an unknown '70s group, trying round two with a limited release of something that was never released in the first place? I'll take either.

Ean Eraser's "Illegitimate Love" b/w "It Does Not Matter to Me" comes as bare as a record can be -- housed in a white paper sleeve with only the band name and the title of the a-side stamped upon it. The inner-circle concludes the band to be label-less (not even their own imaginary label) and composed of a guy (M. Ford) and a guy (M. Griffin) who share songwriting duties. "Illegitimate Love" is nothing revolutionary, tied faithfully to the power-pop bloodline (mostly a turn-off if tuneless), but manages to be an infectious one-hit-wonder-styled nugget. Unfettered riffs chopping out garage-toned similarities to the Wipers (sans extremity) and the earliest of Prisonshake (sans Cleveland), sung modestly, somewhat prep (?), in dumb-lung until the chorus rings an anthem. The b-side is not entirely forgettable, but not worth mentioning in the same breath as "Illegitimate Love." It's hard to explain why it's becoming a trend for bands to express in nearly-muted, underwhelming, undercooked, phrasing and still sound great (Nodzzz, Traditional Fools, the Beets, Gun Outfit), but it's becoming enjoyable. Chalk Ean Eraser up with the underdog, barely trying, party-rock circuit.

I'm not really in wide-eyed anticipation for a Ean Eraser full-length -- they're just not that type of band -- though I wouldn't balk at them trying. Stick with singles. You can find it exclusively at Florida's Dying. Maybe that's the connection? Is there a Urkraine, FL in Broward County?


The Wrestler was Snubbed...

Apparently there’s already a grass roots movement to give Mickey Rourke his rightful Oscar trophy back. I suppose that makes me late to the game with this post. Oscar party after Oscar party I’ll never realize that the Oscars are a junk-joke year after year. In 2008 it was There Will Be Blood that got snubbed and now it’s The Wrestler. I haven’t seen the Slumdog Millionaire yet, and I’m sure I’ll enjoy it (though I can bet it doesn’t hold a lustre to the “poverty porn” in City of God – talk about robbed), but the Wrestler was deserved of a Best Picture nom. and Darren Aronofsky a Best Director nom. Correct? This was hands-down the year’s most stunning film inside and out. Let’s not even get into the Wall-E/Dark Knight discussion. Milk was certainly well-crafted, but ultimately calculated biopic fodder. And it was also Gus Van Sant’s second-best to Paranoid Park. Maybe we should all just agree that it wasn’t the year for movies….though in reflection I did come up with a pretty varied Top Ten. (disclosure, in addition to Slumdog, I also did not see Synecdoche, NYC, or Witless Protection)…..the following are in hierarchal order…:

1. The Wrestler
1. Silent Light (yes, this is a tie)
3. Wall-E
4. Paranoid Park (don't be fooled by the Elephant-esque aesthetics)
5. The Dark Knight
6. 4 Months, 3 Weeks, 2 Days (2007, but released here in 2008)
7. Vicky Christina Barcelona
8. Role Models (Paul Rudd can do no wrong)
9. Milk
10. Snow Angels (David Gordon Green’s other movie)

(Honorable Mentions – Tropic Thunder, Pineapple Express, Funny Games, Mister Lonely, City of Men, and Rambo – yes, Rambo, so bad it literally hurts your soul)


Nite Jewel's Barbituate Dance Party

Please make sure to visit the AGIT-READER for today's interview with Ramona of Nite Jewel. Then make sure to go here and buy her record (of course it's on vinyl). Then watch below for the overly hypnotique video for "Artificial Intelligence"

Are you lost yet? It took some nightswimming to dig into this, but once you learn about Ms. Gonzalez's influence, her hopes for the future, and the notion that your children will be tripping the light fantastic in some ultra-modern dance club to her music someday -- it will all make sense. She'll be all over SXSW, please don't sleep.

Bonus video by Sensations Fix (Italian Prog-Synth Implosion, hipped to me by Nite Jewel -- many thanks for the tip).



For Pens it was love at first listen. I’m not sure on which whiskey-fueled night Jared made the random myspace search for a band with such an anonymous name, but the moment I heard “Networking” (for some reason no longer on the site) I knew this trio would be fixtures in the W.O.W. Now sure, there are only three songs here to choose from, so consider this an appetizer. Something tells me by the time they cross the pond they’ll have some sort of LP (Woodsist) that’s been sold out for weeks. Currently there’s no plan to make the trek, but they’re currently touring Europe with the equally buzzed Wavves. Pens play cuddly lo-fi racket, as if we took the way-back machine to 5 years ago and replaced Times New Viking with adorable nymphs from the U.K. Mixed pleasantly with all of the post-punk Kleenex/Liliput/Nixe comparisons you can muster. Purely Prattsian luxury of being rookies, it just doesn’t seem to matter any more if it’s the first time they pick up the instrument or not – what they do here is magnetic and infectious. Go to the link for personal favorite "High in the Cinema"


Poolside with the Jets

Though I was, poolside, a closeted fan of the Tongan family synth-pop of the Jets, it was taboo for a fifth-grade male to enjoy the same group kids still watching the Disney Channel dug. A vivid memory from that year, besides Ms. Orange, was the x-tian girl whose parents would only allow her to listen to the Jets and Billy Joel. (?) She was a crazed Jets fan, knew all their names, joined the fan club, constantly wore the official neon-green Jets fan club sweatshirt. It was like brother DUG obsessed with only Huey Lewis and the News for a good 12 months.

She’d line-up her tapes on the desk every morning before class – who could forget Magic with the hits “Cross My Broken Heart,” “Rock It to You,” and “Make it Real,” or The Jets S/T LP featuring my poolside selection of the week, “Crush on You” ?? Those would be sandwiched by her holy grail bookends, The Stranger and An Innocent Man. Escaping renditions of “Uptown Girl” were futile. But the Jets – full of hits. And now I find they came from Minnesota – which may explain the sugary Jam and Lewis-esque funk of these tracks. There were eight of them, so this dance-pop had to be dense. It’s only a matter of time before the blog-housers start to pilfer everything teen-pop from Mandy Moore’s “Candy” on back.

This edition was meant for Starpoint, and their curiously wonderful Object of My Desire, if just for the roller-skate lcd popcorn synth that kicks it off. Strangely, the only version I could find is their one and only appearance on Soul Train – unable to embed. FAIL.


TNV Play the Velvets (with Friends)

There's to be a complete report about this show tomorrow on AGIT-READER by our man on the scene. Incredible night, that exceeded expectations. Sadly, this is the only thing I caught on tape -- as I wanted to see it with my eyes and not my camera. But, there were plenty of peeps with video cameras and tape machines swarming the stage, so hopefully they all get together one night and splice up a full-set for view. I would start a record label tomorrow if I was told I could bootleg this on vinyl.

Oh yeah. And Beth played guitar. It's a brand new era.


Live with Los Campesinos

Over the last twelve months I’ve professed my love for Los Campesinos again and again through reviews and hyperbole befitting their prowess over…ahem…"twee-punk." After an extensive interview with Gareth, that will appear shortly on the AGIT-READER, I’ve come to learn there’s even more to this band than what’s found in their lyrics – this is a punk band, fuck the twee element (this is something we discuss in detail, stay tuned). Who cares if they’ve got glockenspiel and violins and lyrics about “puking chips near the football pitch”? They are excruciatingly British, so much I think it turns most Yankees off, but they’re pulling it off converting the youth through tour after tour, album after album. And live, almost a full year since I saw them in the modest digs of Emo’s Jr, flubbing lines and looking overly nervous, they amassed a synergy I’d challenge any band of seven to match. We are Beautiful, We are Doomed is a mantra, even if they don’t believe in slogans. That album translated perfectly live, big and bursting, a grand statement for such a group of “kids” – TNV is teaching them to drink I think. There’s a fine line between prolific and spouting too much bullshit, they fall on a far side of the former (I the later) and to add to the adage, they’re recording the next one next week. Keep it up. There’s not a nicer group in this hemisphere. Thanks for making me feel fifteen again.


Fly Girls -- Thanks for Including Sweet Tee

One reason I wish I still had that Bo Jackson Cross-Trainer shoe-box is strictly for the cred I suppose. The physical evidence that I was old-school for as long as I can remember back. Can someone direct me towards the metaphysical landfill so I can dig up the RAP TRIVIA board-game I constructed in third grade? That would be somewhere in 1984 to be exact. Though I haven’t had enough time with Fly Girls! – B-Boys Beware: Revenge of the Super Female Rappers (but the time I have spent with it has been both historical lesson and nostalgia trip), I could tell just by looking over the track-list that this was essential listening.

Contrary to the popular belief that rap, even in it’s primitive old-school stage, was a male dominated domain, there was a time (pre-gangster) when the females were regarded with the same fervor as a Doug E. Fresh or a Kurtis Blow. Before guns and sexism, drugs and hustling, it was just about your flow and your block, and many of the women here (hell, this is almost perfect from top to bottom) could hold their own with their male counterparts. There was a time when I had just as many MC Lyte tapes as Big Daddy Kane – listening to both with equal enthusiasm. There was a time when Queen Latifah was a fierce guerilla-feminist. And yes there was a time when JJ Fad had skills despite a novelty hit in “Supersonic” – play it today and you’ll see the root of your Missies and Mayas. Though novel as it is, it has actually aged quite well.

Still as much as I claim to know about the era, Soul Jazz unearths some unknowns here that are quite enjoyable, if not superior to the queens on this survey – the Cookie Crew, She-Rockers, Sparky D and personal favorite Sweet Tee. It seems like at one point I gave up searching for a 12” version of Sweet Tee’s “On the Smooth Tip” (not included on this comp, but the clip is below) and sufficed to just imagining how killer the track was “way back when.”

Then, I'm going to say post-Salt N' Pepa, there was the drought. Of course now were in the midst of a renaissance of sorts, but M.I.A. just doesn't flow like Lyte now does she? Sidenote -- there should be some kind of comp chronicling the gangster female contingent that tried, somewhat unsucessfully to milk that sub-genre in the '90s, though I can't think of too many that fit that mold. Anyone for Boss?


Paul Zaza/Don Herbert - Canadian Infiltration

It took a lazy Saturday morning, and a 2 hour block of Mr. Wizard's World to realize that I forgot to R.I.P. Don Herbert when 2008 gave him the short end, I also realized I had never researched the genius of the MWW theme song. Well, Herbert never really gained the respect here that he did in his native Canada. At age 8 I never did comprehend that the entire Nickelodeon operation was a covert way to educate America's Youth, expose it to that kooky Canuck comedy (Dave Coullier, Alastair) and the first glimpse at Britain's unexplainable (for an 8 year old) Bananaman. If someone can tell me the name of the Pinwheel cartoon with the old gnome in the hot air balloon -- WOW prize. Looking back at MWW, it was fairly "off-sides" itself. Always intrigued by the intricacies that separates Canada from us -- Mr. Wizard's students were likely clad in bulky sweaters, no ethnicity was underrepresented, and each had their own distinct (northern) dialect on the Queen's English ("wouter" = "water" -- the top word twisted here). The analog of the cinematography, the wood-paneled lab, and that theme song???

Finally decided to check the credits -- Paul Zaza. Could never find an MP3 of this, contacted Mr. Zaza for one, but no response yet. I'm curious if Zaza treats his work with Herbert as minor compared to his work for A Christmas Story, the entire Prom Night series, and Baby Geniuses? This theme song, and all of the various cuts between segments, is the essence of early '80s geek-out proggish synth-pop. The square root of what Rush, Triumph, and Saga, wanted to be, only built on Jolt cola and a children's science program. I bet Zombi loves this shit.


Here Come the Twelves

Again. The anomaly of Brazilian MTV. Actual play videos (seems not even VH1 Classics is doing that anymore, seems like the metal block has been left in the VHS for months, haven't seen "Run to the Hills" in a while). What intrigued me most though, were the in-lay commercials, at least three per break. Here it was like a local (the alt-Brazilian contingent) happy hour for all the up-n-comers and those that supported them (the Tom Ze spots were obviously the best). But second best were the short clips by the Twelves. For simple minds, they are currently the Daft Punk (or at least Justice) of Rio, stripped of glowing pyramids and chrome costumes, but ultra-catchy disco-funk-rock all the same. You might not know them, but that's quite understood, unless you are hip to the Valerie crew from France they might not have made it to N. America. They've started with remixes of the ultra-hipster playlist, and moved into roller-skate glides, fitting their own synth-sketches into seamless mix work-outs. But here on MTV (no Brasil) they're seen working 8-bit terrain (placed incognito) in barber shops, beach walks, and the pandaria (bread stores) armed with Casio T-80s and sweat-suits. Charming little wonders, each of them, though I never got to see a Twelves video (did see the Mallu). N. American distribution? Vinyl LP?

Here's the latest mix I could find. Like Steely Dan doing Diplo.


Gambling Without Guilt

Yup. You can blame my lack of actual music reviews to the fact that I haven't had much time to actually bake-out in the basement with all the new records I now own from Brazil. So I promise to devote the second half of this month (post-love-day) to that batch. I also promised I wouldn't get into sports on here, it's been years since the first "box seats" post. Now however, I'm a bit addicted to watching college basketball on my unecessarily large flat-screen. I can flip through games for hours catching up. Then there are the Cavs games. Totally dashing my prejudice towards that city. Wow, never thought that would happen, the ban has been lifted. Fuck (the) Magic, right? Is that the only thing in their way.

I've never been much of a gambler, but this new site CentSports has come up with a pretty novel idea, and now I'm hooked. Hence all the NCAA action. They give you money (ok, a dime) to gamble with -- I suppose it's the gateway into ruining your life financially, but I'm never going to take that next step. I don't even gamble a few bucks for a Vikings game. So I encourage you to try this out, insulate yourselves for the remainder of the winter with CBC IPA and the semi-exciting Buckeyes. Buford and Mullens are studs, but I doubt they'll make it too far in the tourney, if they even make it there. Do I sound like a commercial yet? Expect a Casual Reds Blog here in about a month....srsly.