Monday, August 1, 2011

(Re-up) Haberdasher - Songs on Love Nos. 48602-48608

1997. Slint is gone and they are never (uh, well, probably) coming back. Indie rock musicians, human like any other artist, cannot help but to be influenced by their own contemporaries and idols. Plenty of bands borrowed the syncopated rhythms, tension-release dynamics, and minimal vocal signatures of Spiderland for their own creations. Some became arguably better known in their own time, e.g. Engine Kid, June of 44, A Minor Forest. Others rarely made a splash beyond their own three-day weekend tour radius. (See also: Shale).

I never even heard of Haberdasher until a friend gave me this LP as a gift, i.e. he didn't like it and the used record store around the corner wouldn't take it. His loss was my gain - I got more than my money's worth, anyway.

If you recognize the other bands already namedropped here, you can probably hum a few bars and come pretty close to the sound of this record. Nowadays, Haberdasher are probably best known as the previous band for one of the dudes in Oxes.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Old Men on the Radio - WRCT Pittsburgh July 3, 2011

Time to revive this zombie with a five-hour mega-post.

Sometime in October 1990, at 3 AM on a Wednesday (if I remember correctly), as a sophomore civil engineering student at Carnegie Mellon, I turned on the radio transmitter for WRCT 88.3 FM in Pittsburgh, PA, and began my 17-year love affair with college radio. To put things in perspective, some of the hot new singles at the station were Nirvana's "Sliver/Dive" and Beat Happening's "Red Head Walking/Secret Picnic Spot" on Sub Pop, Superchunk's "Slack Motherfucker/Night Creatures" on Merge, and Jesus Lizard's "Mouthbreather/Sunday You Need Love" on Touch n Go. It was a magical time...

My last regular radio gig was a summertime shift in 2006. My last radio show was sometime in January 2007 over winter break, during what WRCT calls "random schedule." After that I started spending more of my free time on babies, home improvements, and all the other "adult" responsibilities I managed to put off until my mid-30s.

I turned 40 earlier this year. My wife asked me what I wanted to do. I'm not the "guest of honor" type so I refused any ideas for a party - surprise or otherwise. After a few weeks contemplation it struck me - Radio. I wanted to go back on the air with a couple close friends from back in the day. So we did.
This is the bumbling result. Five hours of college radio by three guys with musical tastes obviously rooted in the late-80s/early-90s punk and indie scenes.

Thanks to modern technology you can download a zip file containing five 128 bitrate mp3 files covering the whole nerdly affair. WRCT records mp3 archives of every minute of broadcast in 1:10 blocks. The last 10 minutes of each file roughly overlaps the first ten minutes of the following file. To compensate for this in iTunes I set start/end times for each file to approximate continuity from one file to the next. It's not perfect but for me its close enough... and a hell of a lot easier than recording my shows on c90 cassettes back in the old days. Anyway, I don't know if my start/end times are embedded in the mp3 files here, so I noted them in the Comments field of each files' ID3 metadata just in case.

I hope you enjoy listening to this because I sure as hell enjoyed doing it.

Metalhead phone tree

Playlist: Chavez - top pocket man
Minutemen - shit from an old notebook
Come - car

Bailter Space - splat

The Speaking Canaries - life like homes
The Dead C. - This scary nest
Evergreen - petting the beast

Shorty - Hot for Teacher

Big Star - september girls

My Dad Is Dead - cool rain

The Vaselines - son of a gun

The Celibate Rifles - pretty colours

Implodes - song for fucking damon ii (trap
Battles - Dominican Fade

salt chunk mary - You Can't Hang
Zombi - Digitalis
Sludgehammer - Dynamite Lady

Devo - Uncontrollable Urge

thomas jefferson slave appartments - cheater's heaven

Gaunt - bored girls

Death of Samantha - geisha girl

Rocket From the Tombs - ain't it fun

Hot Snakes - hatchet job

The Ex - Burnsome

The Wave Pictures - canary wharf

Deerhunter - basement scene
Pavement - Box Elder
the dynamic truths - you take it all
the Warmers - snake charmer

Silkworm - Wet Firecracker

The Hold Steady - Banging Camp

Prisonshake - Crush Me
The Walkmen - The Rat
Joe Strummer and the Mescaleros - Johnny Appleseed
The Librarians - peace & quiet

Registrators - i call your name

The Jam - in the city

The Mono Men - took that thing

Prisonshake - almost always there
Chavez - nailed to the blank spot
Guided By Voices - jar of cardinals
The Testors - time is mine
Kurt Vile - Peeping Tomboy

Subvert Blaze - Fool

Polvo - bombsthatfallfromyoureyes
The Fall - Hip Priest
John Spencer Blues Explosion - Train #1

Beat Happening / Screaming Trees - Polly Pereguinn

Kustomized - the day i had some fun

The Effigies - body bag

Mclusky - to hell with good intentions

Volcano Suns - jak

Claw Hammer - succotash

The Embarrassment - (i'm a) don juan

Pitchblende - A Penny for the Guy

The Gordons - Sometimes

Dead Moon - Johnny's Got a Gun

Dustdevils - Throw the Bottle Full

Tom Waits - Way Down in the Hole
the 1985 - Deepest Blue
Great Plains - Letter to a Fanzine
LCD Soundsystem - Home
Nirvana - On a Plain

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Timber - Parts and Labor (re-up)

This one is for Michael dustdevil who requested the re-up about a hundred years ago...

Original post here

computer games play themselves (again)

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Best of 2009

Although you would never know it from my sparse posting over the last twelve months, I have been listening to an awful lot of music this year. Reading a few of the year-end lists this month, I realized that today's tastemaking hipsters have very little to offer me. I listen to NPR for the information, not the bumper music, ya know? Case in point - if I see Merriweather Post Pavillion top one more list I am going to poke my ears out with some sung tongs. (Full disclosure - I do think "My Girls" is a really great song).

For me, the golden age of new music was approximately 1988-1998. And I'm talking multiple genres here - metal, hip hop, and of course the various shades of indie that I favor nowadays. Maybe that is my problem. Maybe it happens to every obsessive music fan. At some point, I started longing for The Way It Used To Be. I became that boorish asshole who insists that most seemingly new ideas in rock music were being done better while you [20-something hipsters] were still listening to Raffi.

And so, in some respects, 2009 was a great year for me. It was satisfying to see long-overdue redemption come for The Jesus Lizard and Merge Records. But this wasn't just the year of the aging hipster. There are a lot of kids out there making music The Way It Used To Be. Bob Pollard's myriad 2009 projects sound like Steely Dan compared to the droves of overmodulated, 4-track low-fi RAWK that came out this year.

I won't even try ranking. Grouping is difficult enough. Links for official, free downloads might come later as time permits. (Did I mention I have a job which requires lots of travel, plus two preschool daughters - one of them an 8-week old baby?)

The Bakers' Dozen, in alphabetical order:

Dinosaur Jr. - Farm
It would figure that my top list would start with one of the reborn maestros from my Golden Age. This is a great rock record in any year as far as I am concerned.

Floating Action - Floating Action / Floating Version EP
I found this one thanks to the awesomely reliable Ongabuka blog. There has been a lot of awesomely shitty "beach rock" the last few years. (e.g. Vampire Weekend has nothing to do with either vampires or weekends). Floating Action changes the game. Rough around the edges, and very likely stoned. I make a lot of long distance drives for my job. This was a favorite pick for summertime highway driving after dark. Bonus - dub/remix EP came out in July.

Japandroids - Post Nothing
Lo-fi, yet heavy. Noisy, but melodic. Sloppy, yet perfectly executed.

Knot Feeder - Light Flares
Don Caballero rolls on - in name only perhaps, but still rolling. Ian Williams has become a minor sensation with Battles. Even original bassist Pat Morris found a new home with The Poison Arrows. But for many years it felt like Mike Banfield (the only founding Don Cab guitarist, for what its worth) disappeared completely. Or if you live in Pittsburgh like me, and bump into Mike every once in a blue moon, if seemed like he became content in his life without performing music. Thank goodness then that his new project Knot Feeder, with some equally talented guys ten or fifteen years younger than him, is out now. Instrumental rock with emotion, The Way It Used To Be.

Mos Def - The Ecstatic
A forty-five minute head nod, rooted in 1993 yet affected by modern touches... minus the crunk and Louis Vuitton of course.

Oneida - Rated O
I saw Oneida play one time in 2003, and like a junkie I've been chasing that dragon ever since. They finally came through this year. Hard rock, groove, and drone, just like I've always hoped they would do on record.

Patton Oswalt - My Weakness is Strong
OK, this is not music. So what. If you don't get it then you don't deserve the gift of laughter.

Ourself Beside Me - Ourself Beside Me
Three ladies sounding like a cross between Velvet Underground and either Shop Assistants or Close Lobsters. This would make complete sense if they were from Brooklyn. They actually live in Beijing, which is astounding. I mean, how did they even hear the records that surely must have inspired their music? Trust me though, I would still rank this in the top 13 even if they really were from Brooklyn.

Polvo - In Prism
In their original 90s incarnation this North Carolina band pulled off an exceptional melding of Sonic Youth dissonance, Beefheart herky jerk, Chicago-tight production and asian scales. Ten years after, add to that mix a top shelf RAWK drummer and a willingness to jam. This is their best album. I hope they keep going a la Mission of Burma.

Sonic Youth - The Eternal
Is it just me, are did Thurston and Kim sing together a lot more on this record than ever before? It works.

Tanya Morgan - Brooklynati
Native Tongues-style hip hop for the 21st century. From Cincinnati. Who knew?

Them Crooked Vultures - Them Crooked Vultures
Most people I know will only pay attention to this because Dave Grohl is on drums and John Paul Jones is on bass. Little do they know that Josh Homme has been on a roll the last few years. Queens of the Stone Age's Era Vulgaris is one of my favorite rock records ever, and the last couple Desert Sessions records pressed a lot of the right buttons for me, too. To my biased ears this may be a supergroup rhythm section, but Homme makes it a worthwhile listen.

Kurt Vile - Childish Prodigy
I accept the fact that lo-fi has become a stylistic choice rather than a fiscal necessity. I acknowledge that 2009 overflowed with high quality digital releases (allegedly) created with four track tape recorders. Neverthess, this record stands out.

Runners Up
Amen Dunes - Dia
Cave - Psychic Psummer
The Curious Mystery - Rotting Slowly
DOOM - Born Like This
Double Dagger - More
Eat Skull - Wild and Inside
Flaming Lips - Embryonic
The Fresh and Onlys - The Fresh and Onlys
Future of the Left - Travels With Myself and Another
Hole Class - Hole Class
The Mint Chicks -Screens
Motorpsycho - Child of the Future
Nisennenmondai - Destination Tokyo
NOMO - Invisible Cities
Obits - I Blame You
Pterodactyl - Worldwild
Ty Segal - Lemons
Sholi - Sholi
Superchunk - Leaves in the Gutter EP/Crossed Wires 7"
The Thermals - Now We Can See
Wale & 9th Wonder - Back to the Feature mixtape

Akron/Family - Set 'em Wild, Set 'em Free
Bibio - Ambivalence Avenue
Black Crowes - Before The Frost / Until the Freeze
Blank Dogs - Under and Under
Cheater Slicks - Bats in the Dead Trees
The Clean - Mr. Pop
dälek - Gutter Tactics
Deleted Scenes - Birdseed Shirt
Deerhunter - Rainwater Cassette Exchange EP
The G - Hold My Gold 12"
Gangligans - Monster Head Room
Intelligence - Fake Surfers / Crepuscule with Pacman
Jay Reatard - Watch Me Fall
LSD March - Under Milk Wood
Odd Nosdam - T.I.M.E. Soundtrack
Selfish Cunt - English Chamber Music
That Fucking Tank - Tankology

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Death of Samantha - Where the Women Wear the Glory and the Men Wear the Pants

This is a quick one since the Feelin' Kinda Froggy blog is MIA.

Almost an entire year ago I posted Death of Samantha's Come All Ye Faithless LP and Laughing in the Face of a Dead Man EP. User "robgronotte" requested Where the Women Wear the Glory and the Men Wear the Pants. Here it is.
My previous descriptions still apply - RAWK.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Zoom - (zoom)

This was requested several months ago. Sorry I'm just getting to it now.
If you look up "mid-90s midwestern indie rock" in the dictionary, you may well find this album's cover in the accompanying illustration. It doesn't get more midwestern than Lawrence, Kansas, home of the flash-in-the-pan powerhouse Lotuspool label. For about 29 months, Lotuspool completely owned it with releases from local darlings like Panel Donor, Bully Pulipit, and Zoom.
Then Lotuspool disappeared.
I can relate.
If you liked the tight arrangements and quiet-loud dynamics that ruled CMJ "Core" radio playlists in 1991, check this out.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009