Thirteen Ugly Children Roll Gutterballs

Klaus Nomi (illistration)
Klaus Nomi (illistration) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This is a hypothetical mix CD of songs that were posted by me to the website phancy.com a long time ago, back in 2005 — the songs are no longer available for download, but perhaps the notes will still be enjoyable!  That and pretty much all of them are available to purchase if you are so inclined.  Due to the nature of my posting, there’re sometimes be chunks of one artist in a row, as some weeks are artist-spotlights of sorts — if you were to actually track down all these songs and burn them as CDs, you might wanna shuffle the order.  I’ve broken this set up into two CDs if you wish to burn your own copies of them, and the notes here are the notes I originally wrote when they ran in the first place; they’re just all in one place — most of the references were true then — they may be less true now.  If anything it’s a cool list of songs and artists you might wanna check out if you’re looking for new music!

 

 

DISC 1:

  1. The Paw-Paw Negro Blowtorch – Brian Eno(This one didn’t come posted with any notes; it’s also in the iTunes AAC format — all the others are in Mp3. Anyway, it’s from Here Come The Warm Jets, which is my favorite Brian Eno album, and is probably my favorite song from that record. When this posted, I also included a link to download “Chicago” by Sufjan Stevens, which is just a gorgeous song and my favorite cut from Illinois; so you should probably go download that, too. It won’t fit on these discs, though, so, hey. But it’s still awesome, and you should hear it if you haven’t.)
  2. Rotation – The Young Fresh FellowsThis one’s from the album This One’s For The Ladies, their first with Kurt Bloch from the Fastbacks on lead guitar. A while ago, a tribute album to theYoung Fresh Fellows came out, and there was a line in the press release that stuck with me: “You’re forced to revisit the originals and forced to damn yourself for not including “Rotation” on your “Best of ’89” mix tape. You can’t go back. Sorry again.” And damned if it wasn’t true. This is one of the harder rockin’ things the Fellows recorded — they were usually a little bit poppier. I typically describe them to folks who haven’t heard them as “TheyMight Be Giants, if instead of being weaned on The Residents and Frank Zappa, if they’d grown up with Sonics records“. This One’s For The Ladies is probably my favorite Fellows record, though they’re all pretty good.
  3. The Nomi Song – Klaus NomiThis is from the self-titled album. I figured this might be a cool one, what with the Nomi reference in the Army Of Me post. Klaus Nomi was trained as an opera singer, but found himself as a New Wave icon. He had an amazing falsetto voice — yes, that’s him singing all the lead parts. His albums are primarily pop music, but each features a little bit of opera — the first album has him singing an aria from “Samson and Delilah”, and the second album has a couple from “Dido & Aenaes”. Unfortunately, many people know Nomi only as one of the first famous casualties of the then-new AIDS virus. A strange bit of trivia: Klaus Nomi is one of Rush Limbaugh‘s favorite musicians — not something terribly expected for a hard-core neoconservative commentator to be so into such a strange icon of the gay subculture, and yet Limbaugh probably gives the most radio airplay to Nomi out of anyone.
  4. Butt Fuck Your Own Face – SockeyeA little while, this came up on shuffle while I was talking to one of my friends, Mia Descandion — I knew it’d be right up her proverbial alley, but maybe other people would dig it as well. It’s not the best song in the world — in fact, I think the best phrase I could use to describe it is “gloriously retarded”. It’s got lyrics like “Butt fuck your own face/butt fuck your own face/your face has a really nice ass/your face has really big titties”, and it’s basically generally retarded but gloriously so. I don’t know anything about the band (This was, like “Leper In A Tumbledryer“, one of the random songs from the Chris Morris audiogalaxy group; they were really good for random, awesome things, actually. I wish Audiogalaxy still existed. I loved the group concept, where you could send things to other users and what not. That was so very awesome.); I did a search, and apparently the only Sockeye is a local (Seattle) band as it turns out — though their site doesn’t look like that of a band that’d record a song called “Butt Fuck Your Own Face”. On the other hand, this Sockeye looks like they might have recorded a song called that, but it looks like they only have the one album, which doesn’t have it on there. And this is the only Google result for a title-search. So, yeah, not sure. (Regardless, I’m not sure if I’d necessarily want moreSockeye; I think “Butt Fuck Your Own Face” might just do me — but it’d be nice to know a bit more about who did it, y’know? Because it’s pretty awesome in its own way.) Needless to say, though, this song isn’t terribly work-safe, though I’m not sure if many places would want you downloading mp3s at work anyway!Additional Information: In the comments, I posted this: Hm — I’ve found out that I think it’s on the “Barf On The Globe” album (which is kind of amusing, because that title sounds like one of those made up ones in a bad sitcom where they want to be all “Oh, those kids, and their rock and roll music!”), and the only thing I can find is that you can apparently email the guy who founded their label (Wheelchair Full Of Old Men) and the band. They don’t seem to have any other web prescence other than folks talking about how cool they are. And, apparently, they actually have a tribute record.Man, maybe someone should let the Seattle Sockeye know their band name’s taken by the founders of Ohio Tardcore.
  5. Computer Age – Neil YoungThis week, it’s all thematic! This is a cut from Neil Young’s album TransTrans is quite possibly his strangest album, and one of the hardest to find; it’s one of the few Neil Young albums that’s out of print in the US. With Trans, Neil Young explored synthesizers and vocoders, rather than his standard style of folkish rock. To placate his record company, though, the first and last songs (“Little Thing Called Love” and “Like an Inca”) are in the standard Neil Young style — the rest of the album, not so much. One of the tracks (“Mr. Soul”) was an old Buffalo Springfield song drastically re-arranged. This should have given people a hint for the tour promoting the album — when angry fans would shout out for his old songs, he’d play them… in the Transstyle. (I’d love to hear some of this stuff, actually!) Some cuts from Trans can be found in Neil Young’s second feature motion picture, Human Highway (notable for starring DEVO, but not much else. The scene in which Dean Stockwell declares that he hates music, though, does color his scene in Blue Velvet somewhat… though I’m not exactly sure how.) — one or two of the songs can be heard coming out of car stereos.The album did very, very poorly commercially (and not-so-hot critically); it was his first for Geffen records, and the combination of this record and his next caused Geffen to sue him for making non-representative albums — they argued that they’d signed him with the intent that he’d deliver Neil Young albums, since he’d been very successful during the 1970s, and as such, they wanted records that sounded like Neil Young records. (They, of course, lost — after all, any record Neil Young puts out is, by definition, a Neil Young record; anything he does must sound like Neil Young.) Even though it didn’t do very well in the commercial sphere, Trans has turned out to be somewhat influential on electronic pop musicians working today — it IS a good album and it’s an example of an artist expanding creatively and making a strong pop album using instruments he typically wasn’t known for.This song I’ve chosen, however, tends to show off more of his influenced side — it’s very clearly influenced by Kraftwerk. The Computer World album had come out a bit earlier, and it sounds like it was one of the biggest influences on this record — understandable, since Kraftwerk had probably the most success with vocoders and synthesizers being used in pop music the way Neil Young was using them. (Another track, “We R In Control” echoes “Computer World” lyrically and in sound; the Kraftwerk song has lyrics like “Interpol and Deutsche Bank, FBI and Scotland Yard/Business, numbers, money, people/…/ Time, travel, communication, entertainment”, while Neil’s has “We’re controlling traffic lights/We control computer flights/We control the chief of staff./We control the TV sky/We control the FBI/We control the flow of heat.”)There’s actually a sad story behind Trans. Neil Young’s sons were born with a very strong cerebral palsy and couldn’t speak or communicate; he found that his son Ben would react when he’d speak through a vocoder, and so he recorded Trans as an attempt to communicate with him. (It’s also possible to read Trans as a bit of a commentary on his sons’ condition — many of the distorted, processed vocals are very hard to discern as well — Neil Young’s also having trouble communicating on this album.) In interviews, Neil Young has said that Trans is his favorite of his own albums. It’s my favorite of his records, too.
  6. Rockin’ In The Free World – The Moog CookbookI suppose I’d have to pair a song from the Moog Cookbook with a cut from Trans — the liner notes to the first album mention Trans, and in interviews, they’d sing its praises, making me realize I had to track down a copy and listen to it. So, if anything, they get thanks for that! But, also, the Moog Cookbook are really, really good. They’re Uli Nomi and Meco Eco — or, actually, Roger Manning, Jr. and Brian Kehew. Manning’s a pretty famous keyboardist — he’s toured and performed on a bunch of Beck’s albums, and was a member of Jellyfish (with Andy Sturmer, who now is the Genius Producer Extraordinaire behind Puffy AmiYumi‘s US success — as an aside, Puffy’s Nice. album is one of the best of 2003!) and Imperial Drag, andKehew‘s done a lot of work in his own right as a producer and member of the touring bands for acts like Air.They got their name from an actual cookbook — during the early synthesizer boom, Bob Moog‘s wife actually had a small-press cookbook Moog’s Musical Eatery. (Shirleigh Moog is, by all accounts, an accomplished cook, and her cookbook is supposed to be very good — not just a novelty!) Their two albums, though, are callbacks to the 1960s, when there was a boom of Moog records featuring Moog version of older songs — the most famous being Wendy Carlos‘ excellent Switched-On Bach series, though there were many, many more — mostly not very good, actually; pop-music versions quickly churned out without much care to the quality of the arrangements, though there are definitely some good gems in there (For a selection of vintage Moog album tracks, Disinformation put out Best Of Moog, a great overview of the best, both of originals and covers — check out “Foggy Mountain Breakdown”!) One thing to remember when listening to these albums — the original Moogs were all monophonic, meaning they could only play one note at a time — meaning that in order to do chords, the musician would have to multi-track each note of the chord… when you add multiple voices, that leads to a lot of overdubbing and editing!This song is one of the few on either Moog Cookbook record to use a real guitar and drum kit; almost all of the other tracks only used synthesizers (despite the name, not exclusively Moogs — they’ve also got some ARPs and other makes) and drum machines. I think the first album (which this comes from) is the better of the two — the covers on it are all modern-day songs, while the second album, Ye Olde Space Bande is all classic rock songs — typically songs that came out too late to have appeared on original Moog records (the fad wasn’t especially long lived, though the instruments themselves remain to be very popular to this day — Moog himself is now selling a reissue of the original MiniMoog!), but it still didn’t seem quite as fun and surprising as the first record — though both are still excellent and worth picking up. (Especially their version of “Ziggy Stardust”!) Their records, though, aren’t straight covers — they have great fun in playing with their songs; “Come Out And Play” has a space laser battle in the middle; “Buddy Holly” has a doorbell, “25 or 6 to 4” has a bit of “While My Guitar Gently Weeps” in it and “Hotel California” goes through a ton of different styles in its six minutes — including carousel! They’re really fun albums, but the incredible musicianship of the band members makes the albums really interesting and not just something you listen to once and forget about. I love these records and listen to them all the time — they really do work as albums and not just novelties.Also, “Moog” is pronounced to rhyme with “vogue”, not the way you’d expect it to be pronounced. (Unless you’re Dutch, in which case, it’s pronounced exactly like you’d expect it to be pronounced.)

    Additional Info: Sadly, a couple months after this was posted, Bob Moog passed away.

  7. Drunk By Noon – The Handsome FamilyIf You’re In A Country Mood:
    The Handsome Family are Brett and Rennie Sparks, and write highly literate and darkly hilarious alt.country music. This song is from the albumOdessa, although this version was taken from a live performance on Radio K, compiled on the Stuck On AM 3 CD. This one is a little looser and funnier. Check their website — they’ve got a great sense of humor, though their music is definitely not what you’d call comedy or novelty (not that there’s anything wrong with novelty records; I collect and adore those). Musically, this is about as surface-funny as they get, although a lot of their stuff is squarely in the “laughing at the horror of it all” dynamic. You get this much more clearly if you hear them live — sometimes on the record you’re not sure if you’re supposed to laugh grimly or softly cry to yourself, but live it’s clear that it’s grim laughter all the way.If you are still in a country mood after listening to this, I also recommend Laura Cantrell (yes, the lady who did the vocals on “The Guitar” by They Might Be Giants) — her work is much less darkly funny, but just as good. She’s got a bunch of rarities and album tracks for download — I especially recommend “Not the Tremblin’ Kind”, “All The Same To You”, “Churches off the Interstate” and “Conqueror’s Song”. (And keep an eye on this page, she tends to cycle songs — other things that have appeared: covers of “Roll Truck Roll” and “Break My Mind”, and I think she even put up her cover of “Lee Harvey Was A Friend Of Mine” from the Hello CD Of The Month Club EP.
  8. I Have The Password To Your Shell Account – BarcelonaIf You’re In A More Electronic Mood:
    Barcelona is a sadly defunct band that put out a few records of indie electro-pop. This is from their last album Zero-One-Infinity. From what I understand, the band members were all programmers and engineers with a love of synth-pop, which lead to geeky songs like this one or “Paging System Operator” — they weren’t a one-trick pony, though, and had lots of songs about other topics as well. Still, though, they were a bit tongue-in-cheek. Since 2002, the members seem to have been pretty quiet, and I’m not sure if any of them are still making music. There’s a reference to The Positions featuring Ivan, and it looks like they’re playing a show pretty soon — I haven’t heard any of their stuff yet, though, so I can’t say if it’s anything like Barcelona.If you’re still in an electronic mood after listening to this and downloading the other mp3s at the Barcelona site, you might check out Kanda, a really awesome band out of Portland, who are in a similar vein. Their site has an mp3 or two to download as well. (Full disclosure: The guy who runs theirrecord label is a friend of mine, HOWEVER I am actually a big, big fan of Kanda as well and no one asked me to mention them (or even knows I am!).) Or, you might check out IQU, who are also really awesome — they’re one of the few bands with a thereminist who really knows how to play it! It’s really awesome to watch him get these great melodies out of the instrument; so much control on an instrument known for its uncontrollability! Cool dance pop — check them out!
  9. Underneath a Jersey Sky – Too Much JoyThe bonus track from their last studio album (to date, anyway — Too Much Joy haven’t ever broken up, but they’ve gone into other bands, likeWonderlick), …finally. One of my all-time favorite TMJ songs, actually — it really does capture a sense of loss in the lyrics. It’s one of the saddest songs I know about having sex. (Well, it’s about more than that, too, but… you have to admit “And you sounded like you gave up/when you let out that sigh” isn’t the cheeriest way of putting things.) Too Much Joy is one of those bands that’s a footnote of a bunch of interesting stories; they weresued by Bozo the Clown, they went to jail for performing 2 Live Crew songs in Florida, and they were the providers of an internal Republican Party Theme Song with “Theme Song” from Cereal Killers, despite that 3/4 of the band were pretty solidly not-Republican. (They’d get into fights with Tommy, the drummer, who was both NYPD and Republican, over politics.) Actually, the cover art for …finally turned the Republican Party against them a bit, since it featured a teenaged couple in bed, after sex, with a fold-down panel depicting their nude bodies.
  10. The Passenger – Wall of VoodooThis is one of the early Wall of Voodoo songs, from their very first 12″ EP. It’s a song people probably won’t be hearing too much, as it’s about terrorism from the terrorist’s point of view. It’s one of Stan Ridgway‘s many story songs — it doesn’t take a position either way; it merely reports on the events. Lately, I’ve been on a Stan Ridgway kick it seems, and this is a neat little song, so I figured I’d share it. It’s kinda-available on the Index Masters CD, but that’s out of print and kind of hard to come by sometimes. It’s really good, though, so if you see it, I recommend picking it up. (This is also the source — both the 12″ and this CD — for their cover of “Ring Of Fire”, which is another song I like sharing a lot.)
  11. Sixteen Tons – EelsLast weekend was the Weekend Of Rock, and here are the spoils! The first show of the Weekend Of Rock was eels with Strings! It was a really cool show; an actual sit-down concert where they played the slower eels songs, primarily from the new record (though with some older stuff re-arranged, though oddly, very little from Electroshock Blues — perhaps E thought string arrangements of those songs would have been too obvious, given thesubject matter of the record). This song comes from a CD that they’re only selling on the tour (although they may, at some point make it available online like they did with the other two show-only CDs, Oh! What A Beautiful Morning and Electroshock Blues Show, and it’s currently available on iTunes). The CD is a radio session from the Shootenanny! era, and this is a cover of the old Tennessee Ernie Ford song, and also very, very rockin’.
  12. Dilaudid – The Mountain Goats
  13. Dance Music – The Mountain GoatsThe last show of the Weekend Of Rock was a concert with the Mountain Goats headlining. (For the record, the openers were Sarah Dougher — whom I thought was awful, and The Double — whom I thought were reasonably cool.) This show was just John Darnielle and Peter Hughes, although the drummer for The Double joined them on a couple songs. (Last time, most of the show was just John and Peter, but then the last few songs were a full band featuring John Vanderslice who produced the last few Mountain Goats records. “Dance Music” and “Dilaudid” both come from the new record, The Sunset Tree (which I didn’t actually get at the show, but that was the only CD they were selling there, as it’s, well, the one they were touring in support of). There’s two, because they’re both pretty short. “Dance Music” is probably my favorite from the record and seems to be the crowd favorite, and “Dilaudid” is a pretty awesome one with a string section (I suppose to make up for talking about eels with Strings, but not actually providing any mp3s of the stuff with the String Arrangements). Anyway, the album is about John’s abusive, alcoholic step-father (which was kind of ironic, seeing as the show was on Father’s Day). I’m a pretty big Mountain Goats fan. And, the seemingly-sorta-quasi-official-site-at-least-until-John-got-his-own-site has a bunch more (legit) mp3s to download if you’re so inclined. And if you’re bored enough and want more, the 4ad site has a couple for download — last I checked they had the exquisite “No Children” and “Palmcorder Yajna”. So you might dig those, too.
  14. Sugar-Coated Iceberg – The Lightning SeedsThis is just one of those utterly perfect pop songs, along the lines of “I Wonder What She’s Doing Tonight” by Tommy Boyce and Bobby Hart. In fact, when I played this song for my mother, she mentioned Boyce & Hart immediately. The Lightning Seeds is Ian Broudie, a producer known for his work with Echo & The Bunnymen, Wall of Voodoo, the Fall and his frequent writing partner Terry Hall (of the Specials, Fun Boy Three and Colourfield). For the first couple records, The Lightning Seeds were just him, though he’d put together a touring band, and Dizzy Heights was recorded with this band. This is my favorite Lightning Seeds song, but they’ve got some other really great ones, too, like “The Life of Riley” or their cover of the Turtles’ “You Showed Me”. This song is co-written by Stephen Jones from Babybird.
  15. Wake Up – The Ditty BopsThis is from The Ditty Bops’ self-titled record, which was one of the best records to come out last year, if not the best. I adore this record and tell everyone to pick it up; they usually hold off, but last weekend, I made a couple of friends of mine see them, and they bought the record as soon as the show was over. The record is a little different than the live show — different backing band, and the album is a little more on the country side, where the live show is much more cabaret, but it’s an exquisite record. I do prefer the live show, though — they really get into it, with props and costumes. They’re apparently working on a new record, to come out next spring, and I guarantee I’ll buy it the day it comes out. In the meantime, though, the Ditty Bops are a taper-friendly band, and they’ve got a bunch of shows on Archive.org; I’ve only downloaded the six available in MP3 (there are more in FLAC for those who can handle those) — I really recommend the Cafe Du Nord show (great sound quality, AND it has “Angel With An Attitude” which is just a magnificent song), The Music Mill show, and The Independent show. (The others, the sound quality isn’t so hot on.) Also, to loop back to last week, they’ve got some Mountain Goats shows, too!
  16. Ooh La La – The Ditty Bops(This was posted later by request; no notes were included, but pretty much the same notes for the previous track work for this. In the comments, someone mentioned that this song had been getting a lot of radio airplay, and I mentioned that I was very close to choosing this song instead. So it got posted anyway. So there you go.)
  17. Move On Up – Curtis Mayfield
  18. Move On Up – The Flying LizardsTwo different versions of the same song this week! The first is the original, of course, by Curtis Mayfield from his first album Curtis!, and the second is the Flying Lizards‘ version from Fourth Wall, sung by Patti Palladin (of Snatch), David Cunningham‘s collaborator for that album. Both versions have much shorter single versions (the Mayfield one takes out a lot of the cool instrumental work; the Flying Lizards one mainly strips out the static at the beginning, and a few other tweaks to the mix). Both versions are pretty cool; this is one of the few cases where I actually prefer the original to the Flying Lizards’ version of a song, though theirs is good — it’s just that the original is awesome. It’s fun to compare the two, though, and I really like Patti Palladin’s vocals on the Flying Lizards one, but there’s so much… awesome packed into the original. It’s just shy of 9 minutes of pure cool. I don’t know if Curtis Mayfield ever heard the Flying Lizards’ version, or what he thought of it. I’d be interested to find out, though! I know that for some artists the more re-arranged a cover is, the more satisfying it is for them — apparently Mick Jagger said DEVO‘s cover of “Satisfaction” was the best version he’d ever heard. And the Army of Me Björk compilation is made up pretty much solely of quite different arrangements, some of which are pretty drastic.
  19. Too Much Adrenaline – Half Japanese
  20. Too Bad About Elizabeth – Half Japanese
  21. Acupuncture – Half Japanese
  22. 1,000,000 Kisses – Half JapaneseThis week, by request, a few Half Japanese tracks (they’re all pretty short). “1,000,000 Kisses” is from Charmed Life, one of the most popular albums (and one of the hardest to find, being put out on Penn Jillette’s now-defunct label, 50 Skidillion Watts (Or, as it’s listed on the sleeves: 50,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,00X WATTS, taking up pretty much the whole spine of the CDs, with the X being the catalog number of the disc), named after a Half Japanese song. This version of the song is sung by David Fair, who left the band after this record, although a version sung by Jad appears in the excellent documentary film Half Japanese: The Band That Would Be King by Jeff Feuerzeig. Many people find David’s voice the more palatable of the two, but I like both Fair brothers’ voices equally.”Too Much Adrenaline”, from Our Solar System is also sung and written by David (while “1,000,000 Kisses” was sung by David, Jad wrote it). Where “1,000,000 Kisses” is one of the poppier Half Japanese songs, “Too Much Adrenaline” is closer in style to their earlier records. It’s very fast and noisy.The next two songs come from the album that came out immediately after Our Solar SystemSing No Evil, which is by far my favorite Half Japanese record. Both of these cuts are sung by Jad. “Acupuncture” is written by David and is much poppier than “Too Bad About Elizabeth”, also written by David.Half Japanese got their name from literally drawing words from a hat — those were the first two words they got, so that’s what they named the band. Detractors said that Half Japanese didn’t know how to play their instruments, but David Fair’s well-written essay on How To Play Guitar explains that they knew all they needed to know. While much of the musicianship is rudimentary, the Fair brothers have an innate musicality — there have been times when I’ve listened to a Half Japanese record and assumed that they got a guest to play a guitar part because it’s so good, and I go back and find out Jad played everything on the track. They’re still putting out albums today (the last few have been on Jello Biafra’s Alternative Tentacles), although I haven’t been able to get into the later albums, and stopped picking them up after Hello — however Bone HeadHot and Heaven Sent are all very good (Especially “C’mon Baby” and “Movin’ On Up” from Bone Head — the latter track has no relation to Last Week’s Posts, BTW). I typically don’t like them as much because the later ones seem to mix Jad’s guitar and vocals farther and farther down, and adding more and more distortion on his vocals, so everything just sounds like a low-fi soup of distortion (not that these tracks aren’t low-fi — they SO are low-fi, but there’s a separation to the instruments). There’s the occasional stand out track, but the albums aren’t classic anymore. The Jad Fair solo albums are often the same as Half Japanese, just with a different name stuck on — Monarchs and I Like It When You Smile are very good, and the collaborations with Yo La Tengo and Phonocomb are pretty good, too (I like the Phonocomb album better, although they’re the jackasses who unplugged Jad’s guitar when they’d perform live without telling him, so…), but I don’t like the ones with Jason Willett very much, since they seem to suffer from the same Low-Fi Soup problem as the later Half Japanese ones. Not every record is a keeper, but there’s enough good stuff to make checking them out worth your while.

DISC 2

  1. Monique the Freak – WeenThis song originally appeared on the self-released internet album Craters of the Sac (Even though TMBG typically get the credit for first Internet MP3 Album with Long Tall WeekendWeen had them beat by a little bit, and Craters was available for free. However — this is not the Craters version — this is from the new self-released (possibly limited edition?) CD Shinola Vol. 1. It’s just released, and I listened to it the first time and while the entire thing is excellent (especially for a demos and rarities album), this is by far the best track. The original version was one of my favorite Ween songs anyway, but this version is JUST SO MUCH MORE AWESOME. My GOD. I am completely floored by this. I might just have a new Favorite Ween Song Ever. This version is just so awesome, funky, groovin’ and above all else BROWN. Holy crap. It basically is so awesome it reduces me to just jabbering about how cool this song is. Oh man. Jaaayzus. You need this album.
  2. Nothing To Do With Me – StereolabAny other week, this’d probably be the better song, the A-side as it were. But those weeks didn’t have “Monique the Freak”, so there you go. Anyway, this is from the Stereolab album Sound-Dust; it’s my favorite track from that one, mainly because all the lyrics come from Chris Morris‘ TV seriesJam, which I’ve written about loads of times. (Speaking of Chris Morris, over at WFMU, they’ve got his dead-on Pixies parody “Motherbanger” for
  3. mp3 file
  4. “>download– go check that out (as well as all the other awesome mp3s they’ve got)!) Anyway, though — this track is really awesome too… but it’s not “Monique the Freak”, unfortunately. But very few things are, and, you know, it does a danged fine job of being “Nothing To Do With Me”, so what more can you ask?
  5. Tonight You Belong To Me – Patience and PrudencePatience & Prudence were two sisters who had a few hits in the late 1950s; their father was Mark McIntyre, a record producer and songwriter, who wrote for, among others, Nat King Cole, and was working at Liberty records at the time. Hearing his daughters Patience and Prudence (then 13 and 10, respectively) sing this song at camp, he was impressed, and when he was in the studio later, cutting a demo for someone else, he had them sing this song as a gift for their grandparents. Two copies of the tape was made, one for the gift, and the other was given to their father’s work partner Ross Bagdasarian (perhaps known better as David Seville) — his wife liked it, and suggested they play it for Si Waronker, the head of Liberty — he liked it, so they cut the songs for the single, which was a smash hit — it saved Liberty from bankruptcy and was the label’s first top 10. Their follow-up singles didn’t do as well, though, and there was never an LP recorded (though they recorded about 11 singles, a-and-b-sides). In 1964, they re-recorded this song in a different arrangement, but it didn’t chart — however, later, The Honeys had a cut on this song, produced by Brian Wilson, which used a very similar arrangement to the original.Most people nowadays though, know Patience and Prudence from the flipside to this single, “A Smile and a Ribbon”, which appeared (in highly edited form) in the film (and comic, though you couldn’t hear it in there…) Ghost World, as the nostalgic children’s record Enid listens to (though, as far as I know, the real single didn’t have a picture sleeve, and certainly not like it’s depicted in the comic book, where the design has the title of the song in large letters — it was the B-side to the single, after all). II’ve always liked this song, but it’s got a much different connotation when they sing it; the song on its face is about a relationship falling apart, but the singer still loves her man, and is saying that even though he’s left her for someone new, this is their last night together, and she wants to make the most of it — however, because of the sisters’ youth when they sang this song, it sounds more like they’re singing to their divorced father (which makes it even sadder since that was a much rarer and looked-down-upon occurrence in the 1950s — sort of a “I don’t care what people say, I need and love you” sentiment) who never gets to see them and they miss and love their father who isn’t there for them anymore. It adds a whole different, sadder depth to the song, especially the way they sing it — nervously and shy. I love this one.
  6. Margaret’s Eyes – King Missile (Dog Fly Religion)King Missile was most known as a spoken-word type band although they did quite a few songs — especially earlier in their career. This is from Theywhen they were still officially King Missile (Dog Fly Religion) — when Dogbowl was still in the band — and it’s actually a cool, straight-forward pop song. A little darker subject than you typically get from pop songs, but still pretty much John S. Hall. Speaking of which — if you were wondering, even though King Missile is still going off-and-on (on their third incarnation now), John S. Hall is now an entertainment lawyer and agent.
  7. Last To Know – Visqueen”Last to Know” is pretty much my favorite Visqueen song (with the possible exception of their cover of the Young Fresh Fellows’ “Still There’s Hope”); I caught them live for the first time about a month or so ago, and it was this song that made me go “I need to buy all their albums.” And they’re all good, so, hey. This is from the first, King Me (their new one, Sunset on Dateland is really good, too). The band used to be Rachel Flotard, Ben Hooker and Kim Warnick (from the Fastbacks) although, earlier this year, Kim retired from music, so their new bassist is Ronnie Barnett from the Muffs. Kim’s on both albums, though (although they’re working on a new one with Ronnie), but she didn’t write any of the songs; they’re all written by Rachel, if I recall. Still, though, really pretty awesome. If you like this, you should really check out the Fastbacks, because they are awesome. Also, Kurt Bloch (songwriter/producer/ninja-guitarist-extraordinaire for the Fastbacks) has a new band which I actually like even more than the Fastbacks,Sgt. Major. Check them SO out. Even if you hate this. They are awesome.
  8. Walk or Ride – The Ditty BopsBy request, one more Ditty Bops song. Since I’ve rambled about them before, a few times, I’m just going to mention a couple things: First off, you MUST see the “Wishful Thinking” video (the Short Stacks one is pretty good, too; and the Jazzercize one is from, as Amanda mentioned at the last show, a new Jazzercise program which uses their song “Sister Kate”. So that’s pretty awesome. And that’s Amanda at the end of the Jazzercize video.) Also, as mentioned last time, the Ditty Bops have a bunch of concerts at archvie.org, and since I last mentioned it, there’s four more shows in mp3 format. So totally check that out. Anyway, this’ll be the last Ditty Bops mp3 — at least, until their new record comes out — but I cannot recommend this album enough; as I always say, it was the best record to come out last year. If you’re out of the country, I don’t know if it’s been released overseas, but I’d be totally willing to pull out the catalog/label info (it is on one of the Warner labels, so it shouldn’t be too hard to import) if you don’t want to go through, say, Amazon or something. This really is an excellent, excellent record. Buy it! Now!
  9. Booze Me Up And Get Me High – Ween(This is another one that was done by request, and has no notes that go along with it. It was originally a Mollusk outtake, and Ween put out a bootleg-quality MP3 on their website; it’s a great song, but unfortunately, that mp3 was a few generations down and sounded kind of lousy; this is a much clearer live version, taken from a downloadable concert from Glide Magazine.)
  10. Suit’s Crybaby Blues – R. Crumb & The Cheap Suit Serenaders
  11. St. James Infirmary – The Crumb FamilyI’m probably the only person on earth who’s relatively indifferent towards R. Crumb‘s comix, but loves his music. Both of these selections come from the recently-released R. Crumb Handbook bonus CD (which, well, I actually got BECAUSE of the CD; I did read the book, and it’s OK — it’s got quite a bit of essay-writing by Crumb going over his life and philosophies and suchlike, as well as some of his classic comic work, including some that appeared in Terry Zwigoff’s brilliant documentary Crumb and Ron Mann’s Comic Book Confidential).The first track was originally from the album Number 3 (a/k/a Singing In The Bathtub) and is an original composition. The second is a traditional song, and I believe this recording appears on the sampler CD for the first time, and were taken from a live performance in Hamburg in 2003. (Unfortunately, it doesn’t list the instruments; it only says that the players were R. Crumb, his wife Aline Kominsky-Crumb and his daughter Sophie.)This is the only review I could find of the CD, and it’s a relatively positive one, but says that it pales in comparison to the comic work, which basically seems to support my first sentence…
  12. Suburban Obscurity – Barnes & BarnesBarnes & Barnes are one of my all-time favorite groups. They’re most known for “Fish Heads”, but they did a lot more than that, and many in a non-novelty vein. This is one of those songs. It’s from the album “Kodovoner”, which was recorded in 1983… and just released a month ago. After recording two reasonably popular albums for Rhino records, Voobaha and Spazchow, Barnes and Barnes (a/k/a Bill Mumy and Robert Haimer) saw an ad in a music trade magazine for an upcoming imprint on CBS, “Boulevard Records” which said that if they liked your demo tape, they’d give you a record. They thought it sounded promising, so they gave it a shot — and Boulevard liked the tape, and so preparations were made for an album. An EP was released (Soak It Up), although it didn’t sell very well. Part of the problem was that Barnes and Barnes were moving in a less comedy direction and more to a normal New Wave band, which people weren’t expecting. (The EP, however, was excellent!) Due to the poor sales, though, the intended full-length follow-up had been locked in the vaults, never to come out. Barnes and Barnes went back to Rhino, and put out the (superb) Amazing Adult Fantasy, an album that was much more of a mix between straight New Wave songs (“Don’t You Wanna Go To The Moon” by all rights should have been a hit single and featured a whole host of famous singers singing harmonies, including Steve Perry from Journey and Dewey Bunnell from America) and comedy numbers (“ZZ Top Beard” and “The Little Man” were both favorites on KROQ and the Dr. Demento show). (The next album,Sicks, however, was a Rhino-Mandated move back to the sound of Voobaha and Spazchow — though there’s definitely a sense of evolution on those songs as well.)Anyway, though, Kodovoner had a difficult birthing — even after being locked away, for a while it was thought that CBS had lost the master tapes! After several years, however, they were found, and Robert Haimer cleaned them up for a release last year. (Then it was thought that the masters toSoak It Up were lost in the vaults and they thought they’d have to master those tracks from a pristine vinyl copy of the EP — on the 1989 best-ofZabagabee, a different version without the live drums of the title track had to be included; I think the Soak It Up masters were also found for the new release; either way, though, they sound superb; Robert Haimer is a magician. (On the reissue of Voobaha, one of the bonus tracks came from a tape that was completely stuck together — he had to bake the tape (this isn’t a special code for anything — he actually had to put the tape in an oven for 3 minutes at 300 degrees!) to get it to play.. and yet, on the CD, it sounds perfect — you wouldn’t even know!)As for this song, well, as I wrote in a review of the new reissue of Kodovoner, “Suburban Obscurity” is basically the track I would point to as the reason why the record executives at Boulevard were wrong — even if the rest of the album sucked (which it doesn’t!), this song is the reason why it should have been released. But, hey, the rest of the album is outstanding too!The almost-complete [Loozanteen hasn’t been re-issued yet, and the earlier Greatest Hits compilation Zabagabee isn’t going to be reissued, however all of the tracks on that are available on all of these CDs, and the Zabagabee-exclusive songs have been included as bonus tracks on the album reissues — so there’s no NEED for Zabagabee to be re-released!] Barnes and Barnes discography is available at CoolCDs.com. You can find copies ofVoobahaSpazchow and Yeah.: The Essential Barnes & Barnes available in record stores, although you can only get Amazing Adult FantasyKodovoner(which includes the Soak It Up EP, and like all of the CDs, loads of bonus tracks, rare photos and excellent liner notes by Art Barnes (Bill Mumy)) and Sicks through the website (along with the other three!). These are all EXCELLENT records and are must-buys.
  13. Apartment #5 – The Billy Nayer ShowThis is another band that I love, and another band with connections to the world of film! The band was named after leader Cory McAbee’s first film “Billy Nayer”, and he’s gone on to make a couple other short films and the feature The American Astronaut, a black-and-white, surreal space-western comedy-musical. (Believe me, it works! I’ve seen it a bunch of times…. even before it was released on DVD!) This is from the album Return to Brigadoon, and is a re-recording of a song they put on their first self-titled full-length. It’s probably my favorite BNS song, it’s naive and sweet and actually pretty rockin’ as well. Definitely something to check out. (Also, a while ago, Andrew posted “Must Be Santa” from a 7″ (and also the short filmThe Man on the Moon), so you might remember them from that! But this isn’t from a film.) Cory McAbee is also an amazing visual artist, who’s completely self-taught. The records are kind of hard to find in stores (though I’ve found them from time to time!), so you can pick them up from the band for a really good price. I especially recommend Return to BrigadoonThe Villain That Love Built and The American Astronaut soundtrack.
  14. My Girl’s Pussy – R. Crumb & The Cheap Suit Serenaders
  15. I Dream Of Heaven – R. Crumb & The Cheap Suit SerenadersIn honor of R. Crumb’s (an’ mine!) birthday on Tuesday (August 30th), a couple more tracks from the Cheap Suit Serenaders. Because nothing says “Happy Birthday” like Copyright Infringement! Oddly enough, these come from the same two sources — the CD that comes with the Handbook andSingin’ In The Bathtub, in that order. Not much else to add, really, that I didn’t say last week. But still, these are awesome. I dig this stuff.
  16. On Your Hands – The Young Fresh Fellows
  17. Strychnine – The Sonics
  18. Boss Hoss – The SonicsFor the past couple weeks, I’ve kind of gone away from ROCK, and I thought I’d remedy that with some samples of the Fabulous Sounds of the Pacific Northwest. I’ve mentioned the Young Fresh Fellows here before — so, if you want a rundown on the band, check that out. This cut comes from the very rare CD Gleich Jetzt, which according to Babelfish means “Equivalent Now”. This song is really rocking, but I mainly chose it because I figure more folks might know this one as a Fastbacks song, rather than a Fellows song (Fellows-related crossover has happened before; Scott McCaughey’s other band, The Minus 5, has also performed “I’m Not Bitter” on the Down With Wilco album, which originally appeared on a Fellows 7″, and I believe the Fellows have also performed the Minus 5’s “Find a Finger” as well; however, I can’t think of another Kurt song that both the Fellows and the Fastbacks have done) — the Fastbacks’ version was on Answer the Phone, Dummy. Still, though, if this album weren’t so rare and hard to find (it’s an out-of-print-by-like-over-a-decade Japanese-only release), I’d recommend it for any Fastbacks fans who were wondering where to start with the Fellows; it’s the most Fastbacks-y of all the Fellows’ stuff. And it works great.As for the Sonics, they were a huge influence on the Fellows and, well, rock music in general. They were a combo from the mid 1960s from Tacoma, WA — these cuts both come from Here Are The Sonics!!!!, the 1965 LP debut. Gerry Roslie is often credited as being the first white rock’n’roller to scream on the records, and the Sonics are often called the first punk band. The albums are very, very rough sounding, but therein lies the energy and greatness of them. The songs are simple and incredibly catchy. These two songs pretty much find themselves constantly lodged in my head. “Strychnine” is one of my favorite songs of the moment, in fact, and “Boss Hoss” is a close contender. A lot of folks have covered “Strychnine”, actually — the Cramps, the Fall, and the Minus 5. In fact, the Sonics were so influential to Scott McCaughey and the Young Fresh Fellows (who themselves have covered in the neighborhood of 3 or 4 different Sonics songs), that Scott recorded an album with some other local musicians (produced by Kurt Bloch) as “The New Strychnines”. Even though they did have quite a following — especially in the Pacific Northwest, but also outside (for example, both They Might Be Giants and Belle & Sebastian (!) have covered “Santa Claus”) the area — they’re not a particularly known band outside of music geeks. Which is too bad, as they were really something special.
  19. Kite Song – Yoko Ono
  20. Death of Samantha – Yoko Ono
  21. Kiss, Kiss, Kiss – Yoko Ono
  22. Even When You’re Far Away – Yoko OnoI’ve often said that Yoko Ono is often slagged by people who haven’t actually listened to the records. (Hell, even when Ryko put out the Onobox — something I’ve been trying to find for a while now, actually — the slogan was “Not as bad as you might think!” which is true… but neglects to mention that it’s actually good.) There’s a quote from John Lennon that seems to sum it up: “Yoko is the most famous unknown artist in the world. Everyone knows who she is, but nobody knows what she does.” And this is only a small slab of what she’s done (art installations; films; etc.) — some of her pop music work.The first Yoko Ono song I actually sat down to listen to was “O’Oh” (from the Onobox), and I was blown away by how… beautiful it was, honestly. I put it on the first Mix CD I compiled, just so people could hear it — hopefully without preconceived notions. I’ve played it for people since and the reaction when I tell them who it is is “THAT’S Yoko Ono?!” Mainly because people tend to think of Yoko’s singing as the “EEEEAAAHGGGGHAHAHAHAHAH” type stuff (exemplified by the Barenaked Ladies’ “Be My Yoko Ono”), but, well — she didn’t do that very much. There’s a little bit of that in her oeuvre, but not even remotely as much as people seem to think. And, you know what? When she DOES do that sorta thing — it actually WORKS in the recording.Anyway, though, since “O’Oh” was on the mix CD, I chose not to post that one again, and wanted to share some new tracks. All four of these can be found on the Onobox-distillate-of-sorts, Walking On Thin Ice. “Even When You’re Far Away” was on Season of Glass originally, “Kiss Kiss Kiss” was onDouble Fantasy (recorded with her husband), and both “Death of Samantha” and “Kite Song” were on Approximately Infinite Universe. I know you might be skeptical, but download and listen before making a judgment call; I’m pretty sure these won’t be quite what you’re expecting — they really are quite ahead of their time. (When I played “O’Oh” for my friend Ben the other day, he mentioned that it didn’t sound at all like it had been recorded in 1973, instead sounding like it had been recorded by a group like Pizzicato 5 with their retrofuturistic bent. )So, check them out. And, hey, on the off chance you still feel compelled to slag Yoko, at least you’ll be doing so from a vantage point of someone who’s actually listened to her stuff, right?
  23. Center of the Universe – Mankind Liberation Front
  24. Modern Messiah – Mankind Liberation FrontThis week, a couple of tracks from a CD I’d been looking for for some time but finally found — and I found it for a dollar! I’d first heard it at my college radio station; we had a copy, and I loved the single (“Center of the Universe”) and I borrowed the full-length, and really dug that as well. I think I borrowed it a handful of times through my career there, but I never found a copy to own. And, hey, “Found” is the right word — one of the things you find out from working in radio is that there’s a lot of complete albums (artwork and EVERYTHING) that never get released, and this is one of them. (There were a few others I recall; we had a copy of Nada Surf’s The Proximity Effect — the one on Elektra, not the one that came out a few years later on an indie — I thought it was OK, but not great; “Stockholm Love” the teaser single for the much-delayed Volumizer by 2 Skinee J’s — excellent song that inexplicably ended up not being on there when Volumizer finally came out on a different label; and Freelance Bubblehead by 1000 Clowns — which I also came across the same day, but declined to get; I liked “Kitty Kat Max”, but the entire thing seemed a little… eh. Also, the copy I found didn’t have any artwork, so…).Anyway, though The Mankind Liberation Front was two people on this album (they added a third later), Ran Pink and Herwig Maurer. The album is sort of dance-pop with a lot of influences in hip-hop, dub and rock (and would sound something like Soul Coughing at times). Oddly enough, from what I’d seen, it was pretty well reviewed upon the release of the promo copies, but for some reason it never came out, aside from a couple of singles (which I think were actually released outside of promo copies; I’ve got a promo CD of the “Center of the Universe” EP) and the track “Dopedreams”, which appeared on the soundtrack to Grass. Apparently, they released another album (Automind), now credited as their Debut, although that also seems to be out of print, and was released on an indie (instead of this one, which was on BMG). No idea why this album ended up being shelved, other than for the standard inexplicable reasons. As I said, plenty of albums get shelved like this — it’s the rare ones that actually have much of a story behind it, other than record company people being jerks. It’s always baffling though, considering that it seems the discs were already pressed in this case (there’s no difference that I can tell between the promo editions and what I would assume would be the release edition aside from a small “not for sale” sticker).Despite the first album coming out, it doesn’t look like the new one, Automind, actually has any duplicated tracks, although one is subtitled “Isolated Part II”. I haven’t heard any of the new album, though, so I don’t know if anything may have been retooled for it, but it doesn’t look like it.

Finally, I’ve actually done fuller pieces on some of these songs or artists — so if you’re curious, here’s where you can see more on Kittysneezes:

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