Sunday, October 31, 2010

Pssst! Hey, kid! Wanna hear some live Stooges from '70?

Iggy Pop and James Williamson's "Kill City"

Most reviews of this remastered reissue have focused on the differences 'tween it and the 'riginal, but  I'm slow on the pickup and I'll even admit it: I've never owned Kill City before. By the time it was originally released on Bomp in '77, I'd turned my back on the rawk for a few seasons to become a jazz snob and Monday night wrestling fan.

As life-changing as Funhouse (and seeing the '70 Stooges' epochal Cincinnati Pop Festival performance on TV) was for me, I was ambivalent about Raw Power (which I bought on the same day as I got Johnny Winter's Still Alive and Well and Beck, Bogert and Appice and liked more than the latter but not as much as the former) and totally lost the thread with Iggy's Bowie-produced RCA albums. Much, much later, I heard the demo version of "Consolation Prizes" on Total Energy's Motor City's Burnin' Vol. 2 comp, and learned "Johanna" for Stoogeaphilia via the saxless version on Bomp's Year of the Iguana. Even when I heard and liked Ig's Williamson-produced New Values in '79, I never got motivated to go back and check this one out. My loss.

Surprise, surprise, as Gomer Pyle would say: This is a great album. The lyrics are probably Iggy's smartest, from a time when he was still living the role, rather than just inhabiting a persona. (To get a sense of what I'm talking about, spin Kill City in between Funhouse and New Values.) While his Stooge lyrics tapped into the Zeitgeist in the simplest and most elemental way, songs like "Beyond the Law," "No Sense of Crime," and the title track ride the out-of-control locomotive to its inevitable conclusion -- self-abnegation and madness -- and describe the journey in devastating detail.

Musically, it's a step further in the professional, Stones-like direction that we heard Williamson leading the Stooges in on all of those rehearsal tapes and audience recordings. While the primal fury of the earlier, RON-centric Stooges is muted here, the more evolved songwriting lends the music a higher level of sophistication that's appropriate to the more complex emotional content. "I Got Nothin'" and "Johanna" realize the promise of the post-Raw Power Stooges; one hopes that the planned reunion recordings with Williamson will do the same for the rest of that lineup's canon. (I've heard live versions of "Open Up and Bleed" from their recent tours that sound definitive.)

The band, built around Williamson and ex-Stooge/future Tom Petty-and-Jackson Browne sideman Scott Thurston, sounds aggressive but also slick and pro in the same Roxy Music/Mott the Hoople manner as the current touring outfit, which might be what caused my sweetie to characterize this as "a glam album" on first listen. John Harden's sax is a lot closer to David Sanborn's astringent light jazz than Steve Mackay's Coltrane-via-JB's wildman honk, and the instrumentals sound like throwaways. Overall, though, this reinforces Williamson's stature as a songwriter, rather than just an axe-slinging madman, and confirms that James and Iggy had things to say worth hearing even after the world at large had stopped listening -- a situation which has now been rectified. Living well is always the best revenge.

10.29.2010, FTW

Nowadays, we almost never go out. I go out when I'm playing a show or having HIO drinkie-talkie; my sweetie goes out about half the time when I'm playing, or when she's going to Jubilee Theater with her work peeps. But Friday night, we wanted to celebrate her giving her presentation from this year's Texas Speech and Hearing Association to her colleagues up in Birdville ISD, and the Grotto had a perfect storm of a bill: the mighty Me-Thinks, with the Dangits and Pinkish Black in support. The Dangits had to back out at the last minute due to Mike's being under the weather (although Branden told me that they were still gonna play at Caves last night), but the addition of E.T.A. (said it before, meant it: most exciting band in DFW) in the middle slot made it a must-see for us.

Pinkish Black really is my favorite band now. Nobody else is more creative; these guys are writing new material all the time and like the Stooges in their heyday, they don't play "old stuff." Ever. Their set is in its second or third incarnation since Tommy Atkins' death led to the name change from The Great Tyrant. Jon Teague said they wrote their first half hour of music in a week immediately following Tommy's passing; nothing slows these guys down. (They still have two albums of material recorded as the Tyrant in the can; one hopes they'll find an outlet to release 'em soon.)

While their sound is still dark, heavy, and gothic, with Jon playing some synth (as well as drumming with precisely controlled violence), as he did in the post-Doug Ferguson days of Yeti and still does in his solo project Zeitmorder (German for "time killer," heh heh), there are some faster tempos in their repertoire now, along with touches of pop, punk, and even prog. Daron Beck is deftly adept at playing the basslines with his right hand while laying all manner of keyb/synth damage atop them with his right, and is singing more in his natural voice (rather than "trying to sound like a monster") -- a good thing, I think, as he has a killer set of pipes sans F/X.

The soundguy said that PB were too loud, which caused Daron to remark on mic at the end of their set that "This is probably the last time you'll be seeing us here." Pinkish Black will, however, be at the Chat Room tonight for their annual Halloween extravaganza with Transistor Tramps and Vaults of Zin, a young band Teague has compared to Yeti.

One wonders what the soundguy thought when E.T.A. (short for Elvis Took Acid) took the stage, since the volume knob on Johnny Trashpockets' Marshall is broken and it's stuck in the "loud" position, and when Johnny essayed the theme from King of the Hill for their soundcheck, you could feel it in your solar plexus. The dreadlocked, pierced guitarist cuts a menacing figure onstage, offset by his self-deprecating wiseass interjections in between songs.

The contrast between him and frontman Brooks Holliday is quite striking. As my sweetie points out, Brooks is such a resolutely normal looking guy, towering at center stage in his Air Force shirt, that once the music starts and he transforms into a banshee-howling, bugeyed lunatic, the effect is quite...impactful. Behind him, Philly the Kid pounds the shit out of his tiny kit with more flash 'n' panache than your average tub-thumper, while stage left, bassist Viktor Bruschkopf (who was under the weather his own self this particular night) is the detail guy, filling every hole in the sound with thunderous rapidfire lines. Great songs, great presence, and great attitudes. See these guys you must.

Hadn't seen the mighty Me-Thinks in a coon's age, but they made the trip worthwhile with special onstage accoutrements (capes! which Sir Marlin Von Bungy sez he wants them to wear all the time, and Ray's Hank von Helvete-like makeup; there's something about the mask that makes it easier to be theatrical). Besides spending the last half year dealing with some health issues that thankfully appear resolved now, Ray's been a busy fella, sangin' with the li'l Stoogeband, drumming with "wizard metalers" Vorvon, playing "everything else" in The Pungent Sound, singing a song on Epic Ruins' stoner rock opus, painting a mural for Lola's and doing graphics for lotsa folks under the Pussyhouse Propaganda umbrella. Whew!

Aurally, the Me-Thinks were unusually on-point, with the guitar interplay between Marlin and Mike Bandy particularly noteworthy. A big plus: they only turned on the goddamn smoke machine for a minute. And it was a typically brotherly gesture for Marlin to let Johnny from E.T.A. use his SG Custom when he busted a string midway through their set.

The Grotto has some of the clubhouse vibe of the late lamented Wreck Room. It ain't my clubhouse -- I've become too much of an old homebody for that -- but I'm happy that it exists.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

OFF! on Last Call

Hear ex-Black Flag/Circle Jerks frontguy Keith Morris' new band OFF! play their entahr EP on Carson Daly's show. Thanks 'n' a tip of the hat to Sir Marlin Von Bungy for the link.

Me-Thinks/E.T.A./Pinkish Black pics @

My sweetie posted some of her pics of the mighty Me-Thinks (note the capes and Ray's visual similarity to his idol Hank von Helvete), Elvis Took Acid (most exciting band in the Metromess for my money, bar none), and Pinkish Black (my favorite band, full stop) at the Grotto last night on her photo blog. Check 'em out, click on 'em to make 'em big, and leave her a comment, why doncha?

JATSDFM's "Instant Curry Cakes"

Blink and you'll miss it.

The Godz in 1966

Was St. Lester full of shit? YOU decide! (Read his piece "Do the Godz Speak Esperanto?" in Psychotic Reactions and Carburetor Dung. Don't own a copy? Well, why not?!?!?)

Friday, October 29, 2010

Another damn Gestapo Khazi vid

Now I have something to look for if Sir Marlin Von Bungy and I ever make it to Good Records. Hooray!

Keef on "Fresh Air" with Terry Gross

While I wouldn't exactly call myself a Rolling Stones fan, the '69 Stones were one of the models everyone tried to emulate when I was learning to play, I think Keith Richards is now one of _The Guys_ in the same way as his mentors Chuck Berry and Muddy Waters were, and The Rolling Stones, Now!, Aftermath (UK version), Beggar's Banquet, and Exile On Main St. are important touchstones. At some point (prolly when it hits HPB), I'm gonna have to read his memoir Life. In the meantime, I'm listening to this interview from NPR.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Kreamy 'Lectric Santa MP3s

From their website.

Banner Pilot's "Collapser"

Whoa! Another smokin' hot punk band from MPLS. Their second alb, first on Fat Wreck Chords, is streamable via Bandcamp, downloadable via iTunes and Amazon. Also available on CD and sweet, sweet vinyl.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Interesting bands I learned about by reading RAZORCAKE

Behold the magnificent splendor of Banner Pilot...

...and Kreamy 'Lectric Santa...

...and Gestapo Khazi. Must investigate further.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Zakary Thaks

Killer '60s Texas band. Somehow they got someone to film a whole set's worth of garage snot wonderment. Watch, listen, and be amazed.

To the reader who wanted to know about the Peter Laughner box set

From Smog Veil's June 2010 newsletter:

Lastly, we've been working tirelessly for 3 years on our Peter Laughner archives and retrospective. The work will finally see the light of day in 2011 as the Peter Laughner LP series debuts in April on Record Store Day. Each LP in the series will feature the best possible audio quality and extensively researched liner notes including never before published photos and amazing interviews. We've tracked down plenty of never before heard recordings, including master reels of secret studio sessions, pristine band rehearsal recordings, and great live recordings. For example, remember that Fins 7-inch that SOL Records released a few years back? We found the master reel for the entire live gig that lent the recording for the 7-inch. It's a barnburner for sure! The series will start, as I said in April, with the release of "The Ann Arbor Tapes", which features Peter as well as Don Harvey, and includes some of the most poignant recordings of Peter's best known material. More news to follow.

Rhino Handmade releases The Stooges' "Live At Ungano's"

Damn. They got me...again. I'd just finished ordering the remastered Kill City when Phil Overeem posted this on Facebook. Out on 11.16. Cha-ching!

Rodrigo Amado's "Searching for Adam"

Before he passed, the late saxophonist Dewey Redman told me that it was getting harder for American musicians to get booked to play lucrative European jazz festivals since "they have their own set of musicians over there now." Not that anyone's competing, but these days, European improvisers take a back seat to no one.

While there may never be another jazz figure of the stature of Armstrong, Ellington, or Parker -- one who changes the way everyone plays -- the syntax and grammar of jazz in all its forms, from traditional to free, have spread to every continent, and it's now possible to take a handful of conversant musos from anywhere and put together a cohesive performing unit on very short notice. The Portuguese Clean Feed label has built a significant and sizable catalog by doing so, and Lisbon-based saxophonist Rodrigo Amado, who's released recordings as a leader for Clean Feed and his own European Echoes label, does the same thing for Polish label NotTwo Records on his latest, Searching for Adam.

The date teams Amado's soulful, earthy tenor and baritone saxes with Taylor Ho Bynum's impressionistic trumpet and the rhythm section of bassist John Hebert and Gerald Cleaver. The leader's dark, rich, vibrato-laden tone evokes the spirits of Coleman Hawkins, Ben Webster, and the mature Archie Shepp, with totally modern ideas, while Bynum alternates anxious flurries of notes in the manner of the young Don Cherry with European-inspired extended techniques. Hebert's an agile and inventive bassist, while Cleaver is an Elvin Jones- or Ed Blackwell-like force of nature. Together, they make music that can be either energetic or elegiac, sometimes both within a single piece (as in the 21-minute extemporization "Waiting for Andy").

These Euros make the most beautiful CD packaging, too. A pity, now that Apple's gone and made them all obsolete. The Romance of the Artifact lives, alongside the spirit of inspired and inspiring exploratory music.

10.23.2010, FTW

The last HIO show for the foreseeable future (we've got nothing else booked, but we're open to invitations) was, to my mind, an unqualified success. While we only performed to about three people (and I, at least, am tired of playing shows to no audience; at Landers Machine Shop, at least there's the possibility of people incidentally hearing us), we played for an hour, our longest live performance yet, and we were able to sustain our musical dialogue without my resorting to feedback meltdown mode, which is typically a sign that I've run out of ideas. Although the gig was advertised a "pre-Halloween" party, our original idea of performing in squirrel costumes proved cost-prohibitive, so we performed in our usual attire.

Terry left the CBGs at home and brought an array of percussion instruments: the snare drum, the PVC rack of pot lids, and a box of xylophones he got from Lori Thompson in addition to the usual array of beaters and toys. He was already set up by the time Hickey and I arrived, fresh from gorging ourselves on homemade pizza and Time Bandits, so we set up and I started out on snare, trying to emulate Ennio Morricone's music from The Untouchables. We played for fifteen minutes before Terry thought to turn on his video camera, so the recording misses me playing the snare, the rack of pot lids, and the plastic recorder and wooden flute (except for one note on the latter).

We'd agreed that I'd set up in the middle, since not being able to hear Terry has been an onstage irritant to me, and hearing him made it easier to intentionally (rather than subliminally) respond to what he was doing. There was more space and dynamic variation than usual in our performance, with only slight, controlled feedback and no use of the handheld massager and fan. Terry's getting into using the ukeleles more (he now has two), and even played a couple of notes on his five-string bass. Sometimes the echolalic rhythmic sequences we get into when we're hearing each other remind me of Orff's Gassenhauer and Partch's Daphne of the Dunes.

We stuck around to hear a couple of the other bands. New Science Projects sounded kinda like '60s garage rock (there was even a discernable Chuck Berry influence audible in one tune) with '90s screamo vocals. Their drummer played a snare and tom kinda like Mo Tucker. Talked to Michael and Sarah from Vexed UK before they hit. They've replaced the light boxes Terry built for them with some different lights, and had their usual array of vocal effects. We walked into the DJ room and listened to the techno music for awhile. It sounded good, but they had even fewer people than the bands did. I saw from the pictures posted on Facebook that it got busier after we left. Thanks to Austin Craver for booking us.

Terry wants to get a better recording of us with the percussion array. We also want to record with his friend Giri on hand drums, and maybe do the collaboration with Cottonmouth, Texas that we'd planned for the 10.10.2010 Doc's show. And finish the Exile on Montgomery St. movie. All in good time.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

HIO @ Landers Machine Shop, 10.23.2010

Here's about 3/4 of our hour-long set. Lotsa percussive noises going on.

Landers Machine Shop; 10.23.2010 from HIO on Vimeo.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Antony & the Johnsons' "Swanlights"

Antony Hegarty is, of course, the expat Englishman with the freakishly beautiful voice who first entered my consciousness touring with Lou Reed in 2003, in which capacity he occupied the role previously fulfilled by Doug Yule in the Velvet Underground, e.g., singing all the songs where it was important to hit the right notes. By that time, he already had a couple of albums out under the Antony & the Johnsons rubric, but the first one I heard was 2008's The Crying Light, which featured his unique vocalismo -- both powerful and fragile -- in relatively conventional pop song settings.

Swanlights, however, is Something Entahrly Other. It washes over you in waves of multi-layered beauty like a healing bath of melody, the accompaniment both simple and elegant, even when it employs orchestras. With the exception of "Thank You For Your Love," which hits like an old Al Green side, down to the backing horns, the musical settings are like tone poems, with Antony's voice as the central instrument.

This reminds me of nothing more than my sweetie's Jussi Bjoerling opera records, and she points out that when Antony and Bjork harmonize on "Fletta" (Icelandice sure is one harsh sounding language, methinks), they sound the way sisters do when they sing together -- there's something similar in their vocal qualities. She also noted that his multitracked vocal on "Swanlights" sounds like a secular Gregorian chant, while "Christina's Farm" sounds like a hymn. To these feedback-scorched ears, Swanlights sounds more like an adult version of Brian Wilson's "teenage symphonies to God" -- one grounded in experience, not innocence.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Mark Growden's "Settle In A Little While"

Another one from his forthcoming album. Can't wait.

Mark Growden's "Killing Time"

An early candidate for my favorite song from Mark Growden's new album Lose Me In the Sand, due next February on Porto Franco Records. It was a gas hearing Mark play it on our patio last night. Happy birthday to the magical Ash Adams.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

10.21.2010, ftw

when my oldest daughter used to work for an isp out on highway 80
she used to rescue mice from the glue traps her boss set and set them loose.
she wrote a letter to her boss to convince him to use have-a-heart traps
so she could catch them and release them.

now the house she lives in has a rat infestation problem,
so she put out some traps.
one evening she found a baby rat dead in one of the traps she'd set
and an adult rat lying with its head on the floor nearby.

she said, "it looked so said it made me cry.
i could tell that it was grieving."
the next morning she found the adult rat with its head in a trap
and was convinced that it had committed suicide via mousetrap.

what this tells me is that animals are as predisposed to love
as they are to kill, and that we're no different than they are.
and the only difference
is that we have a choice.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Tahiti's "Money On My Mansion"

(Remember to vote, y'all.)

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Gorillaz' "Plastic Beach"

Because I'm not Matt Hickey, I don't know much about Damon Albarn -- he was in that '90s Britpop band with the "Woo, hoo" song, wasn't he? (Albarn, not Hickey) -- but this album has been near the top of my playlist for months and months as a download (it's HIO's album of the year, doncha know), and now that I have it on loverly 180-gram double vinyl (the Flaming Lips' packaging was better but the rekkids themselves were only 140-gram; c'mon, Wayne) I've been playing it as part of a nonstop every-waking-hour mix that also includes the aforementioned Lips' Embryonic, Antony & the Johnsons' Thank You For Your Love EP, and William DeVaughn's Be Thankful For What You Got.

At mi casa, we love vinyl for sonics and The Romance of the Artifact, digital for convenience. (My sweetie is prolly afraid I'll go all Shreevie on her if she scratches one of my precious platters -- without reason, I might add; I dig her more 'n all my rekkids put together.)

Methinks that double vinyl is the perfect format. It gives you enough to listen to (curiously, I was never that stoked on 80-minute CDs, probably because of all the high-frequency noise that's so fatiguing in every digital format, but a 40-minute LP often leaves you wanting more). Four 15-minute sides are just about enough. And it compartmentalizes the listening experience into more easily manageable chunks. (I'll admit that I've listened to sides three and four of the Gorillaz album, and side two of the Flaming Lips, more 'n the others.)

Side one of the Gorillaz juxtaposes orchestral pseudo-classicism with Snoop Doggy Dogg. Remember when he seemed like such a Menace 2 Society, back before he turned himself into an MTV cartoon character the way the Gorillaz always have been (although I'm willfully ign'ant of their origin story; I just like this rekkid a whole bunch)?

Side two was originally my favorite (when I was listening digitally), "Stylo" being the nominal "hit," featuring Bobby Womack -- who was a Valentino alongside Sam Cooke when they waxed the 'riginal "It's All Over Now," as well as making bank for Tommy LiPuma by penning "Breezin'" for a Gabor Szabo album a few years before George Benson essayed the toon -- alongside Mos Def. "Superfast Jellyfish," featuring my fellow Lawn Guylanders De La Soul, was my original fave track from this alb. Lotsa superstar cameos on this rec, my least fave being the one by ex-Clash musos Jones and Simonon on the title track, for my dollar the least interesting side on the album (if Joe Strummer was here, he'd be turning in his grave). But I'm getting ahead of myself.

Side three opens with "Some Kind of Nature" featuring Lou Reed, which T. Horn avows is the worst track on the alb, but unlike your humble chronicler o' events, he's not an old Velvets fan and aficionado of Uncle Lou, who these days does exactly what he wants, whether it's resurrecting his underrated '73 masterwork Berlin in a Julian Schnabel-directed DVD that includes the services of every worthwhile collaborator he's ever had save Robert Quine (RIP) and John Cale, or making horrible goddamn noises with John Zorn and his squeeze Laurie Anderson. As it happens, my two fave tracks on this here alb involve no star turns whatsoever: "On Melancholy Hill" and especially "Broken" are just Albarn his own self, and resonate they sure do. Followed closely by "Cloud of Unknowing," which employs Womack as he was meant to be heard.

These guys are playing in Grand Priairie tomorrow night. The cheap seats are a bill and a half. Lotsa luck with that, fellas.

Monday, October 18, 2010

This Saturday, 10.23, at Landers Machine Shop

It's a "pre-Halloween" party. Admission is $5 in costume, $10 not. Ages 18 and up admitted; BYOB for 21 and up. Kicks off at 7:30p and runs until 2a. HIO, New Science Projects, and Vexed UK are playing; maybe some others, too. DJs Anion, R-Type vs. Nerio, and The Emissary will be spinning in a separate room. Terry Horn, Hugo Garcia, and Jeremy Joel will be doing live paintings. Y'all come.

Random observations

1) The li'l Stoogeband played at Lola's Thursday night for Jamie and Linda's birthday. Opening band In Bad Taste were three nice cats from HEB with an original take on thrashy punk. Alex the guitar player kind of looks like Richard Hurley and uses some interesting chord voicings -- not completely odd like Daniel Gomez, but he plays a lot of 3rds on low strings, etc. -- and a lot of fast arpeggiated runs. He said they used to play metal before they wised up. Mikey the bassplayer/singer looks a little bit like Travis from Harry Has A Head Like A Ping Pong Ball and sings up in that reedy Blink 182 range, not that there's anything wrong with that. In fact, they all sing, even the drummer. There was a little bit of drama when they thought they lost one of their guitars from the staging area outside the stage door, but luckily it turned up. They were all up front going apeshit while we played, and knew the words to all the songs. Band to watch.

2) STEW! from Dallas played the direct support slot, and were very slick and pro. They play color-coordinated miniature instruments, but they're not a schtick band like Honchie -- cats can rawk hard while playing their asses off, had good songs, etc. On their last song, the guitarist and bassplayer switched instruments and the bassplayer (who was wearing dogface makeup -- ???) even ate it jes' lahk Jimi. Exciting and fun.

3) We were apparently loud as fuck but still sounded nice and clear up front (Andre Edmonson is god). I changed strings on the Epi a couple of days before and had lotsa tuning probs, plus I broke the D string near the end of the set (planned for 20 songs, judiciously edited on the fly by "Mr. Right-of-Refusal" Teague), necessitating a change to the Tele, which shrieked feedback relentlessly, causing me to beat the living shit out of it. (Luckily I've learned since those halcyon daze of '08 not to attack Mr. Amp; the Tele, of course, takes a licking and keeps on ticking.) Richard was on fire, holding up his guitar like he was back in Blood of the Sun or something. I was so preoccupied (focused or inebriated? YOU decide!!!) that I failed to notice a stage invasion by a guy (Pete Rearden) in a Chewbacca costume who was taking photos earlier, evidently was humping Raymond's leg, and wants us to play the Mambo's podcast thingy, for which he's the production manager. Silly me. Hurt my back loading out. Duh.

4) On Saturday night, my sweetie (who's on fall break next week) 'n' I went to Clay Stinnett and Lanette Massey's wedding reception (held a few months post their wedding) at Pearl's Dancehall in the Stockyards, stomping ground for the Rueffer brothers in their country incarnation. Clay -- who is as saturated with Texana as any UNT art school grad that used to play in Ghostcar and History At Our Disposal -- and his bride were costumed in appropriate Wild West garb, and Hank Hankshaw, who's played with James Hinkle and Robert Ealey and with whom Clay used to drum, provided the evening's entertainment in the grand old style, accompanied by his full band.

5) After that, it was on to the Grotto for the Madame Fiery Couture Launch Party, an event with which Austin Craver, who's booked HIO at Landers Machine Shop, was somehow involved. I don't understand the infatuation some of De Yoof have developed with burlesque, but Pinkish Black was playing, and they're my favorite band that I can go see in the 817. As I go out so infrequently, every time I see Jon Teague and Daron Beck, they're playing an entahrly new set of material -- as Daron sez, "We like to challenge ourselves" -- and their dark, gothic thang is evolving from the sheer unadulterated heaviness of The Great Tyrant into a form that allows some pop influences to manifest themselves. Endlessly creative, intense, and dramatic, their Sturm und Drang always signifies. Bonus: Dave Coates, who plays with Daron in his "D. Wayne Grubb and Cutthroat Thompson" side project, was hanging out and said he was at Landers when HIO played a few weeks ago. DJ Natty Patty was spinning the tunes, too; always good to hear Pat.

6) We cut out before Holy Moly played (although it was nice to see Mr. Jeremy Hull) and finished out the night having a couple of drinks and nice convo with a couple of off duty Fort Worth police officers at the Bull & Bush. An eclectic evening, you might say.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

My scrawl on the I-94 Bar

My review of Radio Birdman's Live In Texas is online now.

Walter Lure

The sole survivor of the post-Richard Hell Heartbreakers, currently tearing it up in the UK.

Antony & the Johnsons

New album Swanlights, including a duet with Bjork, dropped on 10.12. Just ordered the 180-gram-vinyl-with-download option (in your choice of FLAC, Apple Lossless, or 320 kbps MP3 formats) and got an instant download of the Thank You For Your Love EP. Nice.

Fort Worth Opera

To promote their 2011 festival and maybe pull in a new demographic, the Fort Worth Opera had the unique idea of sending out a DIY-ish looking "zine." Dragged that Aimee and James will probably be out of town by then, but think my sweetie 'n' I are gonna check out Il Trovatore and The Mikado. Can't eat the same food every day, after all.

10.15.2010, FTW

Omakase at Tokyo Cafe: Red miso soup with shrimp and mussels, duck hushpuppies with a seasonal salad, four small rolls that were delicate and all very different from each other, roasted shiseido peppers with smoked and regular sea salt, citrus crusted snapper with wasabi mashed potatoes, blackened ribeye with asparagus, and for dessert, lemon mochi, a pocky stick, and chocolate ganache with cherries. Their new chef Kevin (who's trained in a variety of cuisines and paid dues in an impressive array of area country clubs and hotels) is doing some next-level stuff in that kitchen. A perfect way to celebrate seven years of knowing my sweetie, after hurting my back humping gear and opening on two hours of sleep.

Friday, October 15, 2010

HIO's "Not Live At Leeds"

Matt Hickey's official mix is online here.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Jimmy Recca story

An interview I did with Jimmy Recca, who played bass with the Stooges in 1971, is available now via Easy Action Records, who released the Stooges You Want My Action box set a year ago. If you ordered the box set, they'll be sending you a copy for free, because that's the kind of folks they are. If you didn't buy the box but want to read the int, it's yours for the price of postage only. And that's the story.

Radio Birdman's "Live in Texas"

Just reviewed this for the I-94 Bar (link to follow). It's on the Aussie label Shock, which also announced the following:

Fans can also look forward to next year's ultimate reissues of the band's 70's albums. Included in these reissues will be recent mixes from original master tapes of 20 plus studio out-takes as well as a superlative 70 minutes of their historic December 1977 Paddington Town Hall concert. All tracks are previously unreleased. It is expected the music will be accompanied by a DVD of vintage footage and initially come packaged as a limited edition box set. 

Gotta start saving my milk money. 

New HIO flyer and a remix

Terry Horn's remix of the "Three Dimes" show at Doc's Records is online now here. Matt Hickey's "official" mix to follow. Our next live action will be at Landers Machine Shop at 7:30p on Saturday, 10.23.2010.

Monday, October 11, 2010

10.10.2010-10.11.2010, FTW

Jeff Liles wasn't able to make it over from Oak Cliff for the "Three Dimes" show. He woke up with a killer migraine and wasn't able to drive. We'll try hooking up with him again in late December. The musical high point of my weekend was accompanying Matt Hickey on plastic ukelele while he sang Hawkwind's "Silver Machine" at the Bull & Bush.

Tonight, after eating dinner and taking out the trash, my sweetie 'n' I chilled out on the couch to listen to the Flaming Lips' Embryonic on sweet, sweet double vinyl -- a ritual (ceremonially listening to a new album, even though this one's a year old) that takes me back to my misspent yoof even more than maintaining my guitars does. I've had a download of the thing since before it came out last year, but we've been listening to it a lot lately and I asked Jenkins from Doc's to order me one before this past weekend's show.

While it's definitely a return to the crazy psych of their Priest Driven Ambulance daze, it's also clearly the work of the same band that made The Soft Bulletin and Yoshimi -- has the same sweet, gentle humanity as those later, more mersh records underneath all the crazy Can/'70s Miles-ismo. The secret ingredient, methinks, is Steven Drozd, who didn't join the band until they were signed to Warners and heading towards MTV-land. The American Pink Floyd? I would say yes. And the vinyl lets you hear so much more of what's in those tracks that it ain't even funny. Someday, my sweetie vows, we'll own a tube amplifier.

garage sale house

puking detritus
like some graceland nightmare
this place attracts passersby
like a picnic attracts ants

Sunday, October 10, 2010

HIO and Breaking Light pics on

My sweetie posted some of her pics of HIO and Breaking Light performing at Doc's Records earlier tonight on her photo blog. (Cottonmouth, Texas, had to cancel due to unavoidable circumstances. Another time.) Click on 'em to make 'em big and leave her a comment, why doncha?

10.9.2010, ftw

last night my sweetie 'n' i
took a walk to flying fish for din-din.
there were khaki uniformed and jackbooted
young men there whom i took for aggies
until later when a fella told me
that tcu played wyoming last night.
i told her, "if one of them starts
singing 'tomorrow belongs to me,'
we're leaving."

on the way home, we stopped at the bull & bush
for a pint and a wine and some quiet talk.
a crew of cyclists rolled up
whom i took for critical mass
but turned out to be a wedding party
which was traversing ftw
via the ginger man, the bull & bush,
and the chat room.
their conversation was pretty interesting.

i belong to two drinking clubs
that are also bands,
and these days i seldom go out --
mainly when i'm playing,
so i try to book shows
with bands i want to hear.
i'm realizing that i don't miss
hanging out in places where lotsa folks
younger than me like to congregate.

Jimi Hendrix's "Drivin' South"

Thanks to Matt Hickey, I'm now in possession of another one of my holy grails of record collecting: JH's Drivin' South, originally released on the Brit cheapie label MFP back in the '70s, reished on Jungle (with liner notes by ex-Only Ones guitarist and worthy scribe John Perry) in Y2K. As previously recounted, I heard this album once in 1974, while playing chess in some guy's college dorm room, and remembered it for 35 years after that. Hickey found one for cheap (he says) on eBay. I hope he's not kidding, as I've seen it listed on Amazon for a bill and a half, which is more than I'd pay for any rekkid.

Drivin' South was recorded by Ed Chalpin, the shady producer who'd signed Hendrix for a dollar back when the guitarist would sign any piece of paper that was put before him. It documents Jimi a year before his debut single "Hey Joe" was released, playing blues on a Fender Duo Sonic straight through a Twin with Curtis Knight's fairly pedestrian R&B band at some dive in New Jersey -- maybe the one where Les Paul saw him play -- on the day after Christmas 1965. The Hendrix estate succeeded in having the Jungle release withdrawn, to deny Chalpin his pound of flesh, but it remains a fascinating artifact of what Hendrix sounded like after three years, post-military service, as an R&B sideman, chomping at the bit for someone to give him the chance to show what he could do. (It's certainly not like Experience Hendrix is trying to cover his pre-discovery tracks; in fact, they're about to release a pricey box set that includes a full CD's worth of early session work with Don Covay, Little Richard, the Isley Brothers, and like that.)

To these feedback-scorched ears, this set hits the same way as the oft-reished recordings of Charlie Christian playing at Minton's Playhouse in Harlem in 1941, or more to the point, Fort Worthian Jim Yanaway's '70s recordings of Stevie Ray Vaughan at the New Bluebird Nite Club and U.P. Wilson at Tack's Fun House, which somebody oughtta release, dammit, especially the latter. Comparisons being odious, it cuts to ribbons the early live recordings of the Yardbirds with Eric Clapton, which were more valuable for their energy, vibe, and group dynamic than for their nascent guitar god's prowess at that point in his career. (The one with Sonny Boy Williamson makes it seem more 'n likely that the story about SBW going back to Helena, Arkansas, and telling the future Hawks/Band that "Those guys in England want to play the blues so bad, and they play them so bad" was authentic.)

The second side of Drivin' South's not outstanding. "Killing Floor" lacks the pedal-to-metal drive Jimi brought to it with the Experience, and his vocal and guitar are obscured on the recording by Curtis Knight's less-than-stellar rhythm guitar. The version of "Bleeding Heart" (the first JH blues I ever heard, in the '69 Royal Albert Hall version on the cheapie import More Experience album) with Jimi singing is truncated. The two Jimmy Reed songs, sung by Knight, are, well, Jimmy Reed songs, although the second one boasts a pretty hot solo. "Get Out of My Life, Woman" just lacks energy. Only on "Last Night" does Hendrix manage to light a few fireworks. And "What'd I Say" reminds us that the Spanish Castle referred to in "Spanish Castle Magic" was the same one where the Wailers of "Tall Cool One" fame used to play.

First side, however, is the business, opening with the title track which featured prominently in the JHE's BBC sessions when Ryko and later MCA finally got around to releasing 'em. The Albert Collins influence is strong here. Evidently Jimi was doing the playing-with-his-teeth routine by this time, as evidenced by Curtis Knight's commentary: "He's playing it with his teeth, y'all. Eat that guitar. EAT IT!" On "Traveling to California" and "Sweet Little Angel," Jimi covers Albert and B.B. King in the hyperactive, almost-out-of-control manner of the early, great Buddy Guy, all wild bends and staccato sprays of notes, and almost manages to extend a couple of sustained notes into feedback. (The vid below is an outtake.) You can also really hear Jimi as the bridge between Buddy and Wayne Kramer's wild-ass, lysergically-enhanced rides on the MC5's Kick Out the Jams. And Jimi takes the piss out of "I'm A Man" the same way he did when he covered "Hoochie Coochie Man" with the Band of Gypsys.

JH had a lot more tricks up his sleeve than are on display here: Curtis Mayfield-style arpeggiated balladry, electronic experimentalismo, and orchestrated arrangements almost symphonic in scope. But here, you get to hear what it was that got him recognized in the first place. It's stunning to realize how far beyond this he progressed in just five years. Thanks, Hickey!

Saturday, October 09, 2010

for j.l.

you shoulda been 70 today
happy berfday, you old beatle

i remember when you were on sullivan
i thought you were silly
'cos all the people i knew who liked you
were seven year old girls
(of course, i was a seven year old boy)

the day you checked out i woke myself up
with a spilled glass of water
just in time to hear the story of your death on npr

last night i dreamed i was there
when that nameless piece of shit laid you low
i cradled your body
but i couldn't save you
any more than i could stop him
from doing what he did

you made the template for a dream
for me and three or four
generations of snotnoses
singing "rock island line" at the church hall
and screaming yourself raw for the drunk sailors
in the reeperbahn toilets or that liverpool cellar

i think you were learning how to live
in the wake of all that bullshit celebrity
when that nameless piece of shit laid you low
which makes your death more tragic, to me
than all those others that contributed
intentionally or otherwise
to their own demise

and for what it's worth, john
i think you owed all of us
not one damn thing

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

Breaking Light's "Proto-Sapien"

Hear or download the latest internet-only album here. Hear Breaking Light live at Doc's Records at 5pm on Sunday, 10.10.2010.

Dub Echoes

T. Horn pulled my coat to this doco about dub (out on DVD, too). Looks worthwhile.

Dub Echoes (2009) - trailer from Bruno Natal on Vimeo.

Tony Sims' "Down Tiempo"

Slow is the new fast. Listen here.

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

10.5.2010, FTW

Reading Bass Culture today, I learned that once U.S. dollars were no longer allowed as currency in Jamaica, exports of ganja to the U.S. were paid for in guns. So, if you were a simple doper who bought Jamaican pot here in the States, you were contributing to the politically-sponsored gang violence in Jamaica. A down thought.

Monday, October 04, 2010

This Sunday at Doc's Records: The "Three Dimes" Show

"Three Dimes" is the name of a song from Cottonmouth, Texas' 1997 album Anti-Social Butterfly. It also denotes the date of this show: 10.10.10.

Cottonmouth, Texas is the spoken word project of writer, talent buyer, and DJ Jeff Liles. Since the mid-'80s, Liles has been making good things happen in Deep Ellum, L.A., and now Oak Cliff. Under the rubric Decadent Dub Team, he had a song remixed by Dr. Dre for the Colors movie soundtrack in '88. His "Echoes and Reverberations" columns were the most interesting thing on the Dallas Observer blog.

Back in February, he heard HIO play the Tommy Atkins benefit at the Kessler Theater and invited us to come and be documented as part of the ongoing "Resurrecting the Kessler" video series he was shooting. For the shoot, he suggested that Hickey, Terry, and I all play cigarbox guitars. It was a turning point for us. Then he invited us to play the little room at the Kessler during the "Raided X+" art event. That show really solidified what HIO was becoming.

It took a few months after he had the idea of doing a Cottonmouth, Texas performance backed by HIO for him to have a date when he wasn't occupied with Kessler business. We asked him to write a piece called "Exile On Montgomery Street" for the event. We're looking forward to seeing what he came up with.

Kavin Allenson's solo ambient guitar-with-loops project Breaking Light opens. He gots a new album Proto-Sapien you can stream or download for free.

Bassist Eddie Gomez @ Scat Jazz Lounge Tuesday night

Bassist extraordinaire Eddie Gomez will be at the Scat Jazz Lounge (111 W. 4th St.) downtown from 8-11:30pm Tuesday night, 10.5.2010. Best known as a member of pianist Bill Evans' '70s trio, Gomez brings a trio including pianist Stefan Karlsson and drummer Ed Soph to the Scat. Word is that the Scat's management is looking to see what kind of crowd a national jazz artist like Gomez can pull, and if response is favorable enough, the door will be open for marquee acts like Wallace Roney, Chris Potter, Fred Hersch, Bill Frisell, and Don Byron to grace its stage. Maybe a tall order for a Tuesday night, but its an opportunity for jazz lovers in the Fort to put their money where their collective mouth is. Tickets are $15. Buy 'em here.

The New WAX POETICS Is Here! The New WAX POETICS Is Here! And Augustus Pablo Is In It!

This Sunday at Doc's Records

Sunday, October 03, 2010

HIO @ Landers Machine Shop, 10.2.2010

Blixaboy's "Kliks and Politiks"

I was reading Lloyd Bradley's Bass Culture and listening to lots of dub (as previously noted), the Flaming Lips' Embryonic, and Gorillaz' Plastic Beach (out now on vinyl; are you listening, Doc's?), when Mwanza Dover of The Black Dotz (ex-Mazinga Phaser/Falcon Project) sent me a link to Kliks and Politiks, the latest release under his Blixaboy nom de disque.

Discussing dub, Bradley notes that the popularity of "versions" or remixes came about in part as a result of the Jamaican Minister of Trade and Industry enacting a law that put a ceiling on the price producers could charge stores for pre-release records -- which were highly desirable in a market that valued novelty and exclusivity -- around the same time musicians' session fees increased. Bradley quotes producer Rupie Edwards' observation that "reggae is two or three, occasionally four chords, so it don't leave you a lot of choice -- some of the nicest sounds from that era was two-chord songs. So it's the drum pattern that decides it..."

This reminded me of classical-jazz-experimental bassist extraordinaire Paul Unger's recent drinkie-talkie observation that all Western music basically works off a drone (the tonic), with other chords only added to create tension. In fact, most of the music we listen to (with the exception of classical and Tin Pan Alley pop) lacks harmonic movement. So, absent that, how do you create tension or interest in your jams?

Nowadays, of course, technology has made every home a potential recording studio and every muso a potential producer/auteur. Few have realized this ideal to a greater degree than Dr. Dover's son, who has an omniverous ear for left-of-center sounds from punk to Krautrock to dub to minimalist techno, and is conversant in all of these musical languages as well. Mwanza calls his current musical direction "futro" (opposite of "retro"). On Kliks and Politiks, he uses a varied array of rhythmic patterns and instrumental textures, including silence and space, to create tension and engage the listener's attention. You can hear the influence of Jamaica via the Bronx (Wanz might say Detroit) in these grooves, as well as echoes of Fela's riotous tribal funk, but these sounds are all made by one man, not an orchestra.

The tracks flow seamlessly, like a good DJ mix should, whether you're moving your body or only dancing in your mind. Minimalist this ain't; rather, these tracks feature ever-shifting soundscapes over the basic riddimic racket. Midway through "Ruby," he overlays lush, languid chords to provide contrast with a taut, tense rhythm bed, and he makes good use of negative space on "Kliks," which follows. The vocal by The Angelus' Emil Rapstine lends "Lion Eyes" an Indian vibe, while on "Icey Hot," the percussion groove builds from simple to complex beneath swirling chords.

Blixaboy saves the best for last. Mwanza wrote "I Will End You" after someone commented "Wanz Dover I Will End You" in a thread on (RIP). He calls it "my personal tribute to Bernard Hermann and the soundtrack to my own murder" -- a disturbing concept. Imagine a Hitchcock soundtrack from the techno era. You can almost see the maestro's cameo in your mind's eye.

Friday, October 01, 2010

Pssst! Hey, kid! Wanna hear a Stooges podcast?

Go here. To download, go here and click "Feast." Menu below.

FCC Free Radio 9/27/10 STOOGES Part 2

The Stooges-I'm Sick Of You

Iggy Pop 1970 interview by Richard Robinson

The Stooges-1969 (alternate vocal)

Frank Sinatra-The Shadow Of Your Smile

The Iguanas-Louie Louie

The Iguanas-Again & Again

The Stooges-Asthma Attack

The Rationals-Feelin' Lost

Don & The Goodtimes-Little Sally Tease

Them-Mystic Eyes

The Stooges-"1969" (live Union Ballroom Ann Arbor Sept. 68*)

The Stooges-Loose (outtake from Fun House sessions)

The Stooges-Down On The Street (live, Chicago 7/18/70)

The Stooges-Big Time Bum (live, Electric Circus, NYC 5/15/71)

Matt Gimmick-Rag ("Fresh Rag")

The New Order-Rock'n'Roll Soldiers

Destroy All Monsters-You're Gonna Die

Iggy Pop & James Williamson-Beyond The Law

The Stooges-You Better Run Version #2

Lotte Lenya-Surabaya Johnny

Ron Asheton/Dark Carnival-Stinger, Up Yours (from "Mosquito")

Neil Young - "Le Noise" - The Movie

Music produced by Daniel Lanois. Movie directed by Adam Volick.