Sunday, May 29, 2011

Talking Heads -- True Stories

...and here's the full True Stories record. This is the soundtrack to Byrne's "completely cool multi-purpose movie" of the same name starring a young John Goodman, Spalding Gray, Pops Staples, and Byrne himself. It's based on "true" stories he read in tabloid papers like The National Enquirer and so are all the songs on this "soundtrack". I put soundtrack in quotes because these aren't the same recordings that are in the movie. Where we see Goodman, Staples, and choirs of small children singing these songs in the movie, this record is all(thankfully) David Byrne and the Talking Heads. Not that the versions of the songs in the movie aren't any good, quite the contrary, but it's just really amazing to hear these songs performed by the Talking Heads too. This is also the record the band Radiohead owes their name to. Stand outs include "Dream Operator," "Radio Head," "Love for Sale," "Puzzlin' Evidence," "People Like Us," and, of course, "Wild, Wild Life."

Elvis Perkins in Dearland -- Doomsday EP

Looks like Mr. Camping was wrong and we're all still here (save for one Mr. Randy "Macho Man" Savage), safe from earthquakes. That's no reason you shouldn't enjoy more doomsday music though. As promised, here is more Elvis Perkins. If you didn't already know, Elvis is the son of Anthony Perkins of Psycho fame. Mr. Perkins the senior died of AIDS and his mother was killed during the 9/11 attacks the day before the ninth anniversary of his father's death. Elvis Perkins music is understandably bleak, but always contains a hint of hope and optimism. This EP features some alternate versions oftracks off Perkins's eponymous second album, Elvis Perkins in Dearland as well as a few unreleased tracks. There's a slowed down version of Doomsday that is great, but by no means superior to the uplifting, New Orleans, funeral march of the album version. You'll also find a rocking version of "Stay, Zombie, Stay" that I prefer to the album version as well a nice cover of folk standard "Gypsy Davy," and "Weeping Mary," an original spiritual that could easily pass as a cover considering it was written and performed by a bunch of thirty year old white guys. Truly a great complement to Elvis Perkins in Dearland.

Friday, May 20, 2011


"...of course nowadays not everyone's having kids, what with the end of the world coming and all. would you?"

I'll post each of these albums if I don't accidentally get raptured tomorrow.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Josh T. Pearson -- Daytrotter Session

Loyal followers of this blog (haha. thanks dr. nick, I think it might be just you and me here...) May have noticed there was no Mediafire link in my post about his sublime Last of the Country Gentlemen. Well, check below. It's here as a bonus to this post on his Daytrotter session. I still recommend you buy it though as it is worth every penny. Anyway, Daytrotter posted a session he recorded during SXSW yesterday that serves as a nice introduction to what we should expect from the live performances from Pearson that are likely to hit the US this summer. He's in NYC in June and I wouldn't miss this show for anything. I have to say this session lacks the haunting elegance of the studio recordings what with the absence of Warren Ellis and the pitch perfect production. The passion from the album persists though and the sped up "Sorry with a Song" seems even more arresting and tragic than the studio track. All in all, a pretty great session though. The "Rivers of Babylon" cover is a welcome addition to the LotCG tracks and actually sounds more like that album then a lot of the other tracks that actually were on the record. I can't wait to see the whole set in June.

Try LotCG

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Captain Beefheart and the Magic Band -- Clear Spot

It took me a long time to "get" Beefheart. I've persisted for years. I knew there was something about this music and I just couldn't get into it. I kept hearing this guy who I could tell was the link between Howlin' Wolf and Tom Waits, but Trout Mask Replica just kept coming up on my iPod and I'd find myself skipping it every time. Then I came across this record about two years ago. It's considered by most people to be Beefheart's most accessible album and, as such, is often frowned upon by hardcore fans. I love it though. And it's opened my eyes and ears to the genius that is Beefheart. All of his records just blow my mind now. Finally. After over 30 years of trying to get into this music...I can't believe what I've been missing. But it's awesome to be able to find a "new" artist with such an enormous back catalog at this point in my life. It would wrong of me not to post this and deprive another soul of some of the best music ever recorded. If you're one of those people who doesn't get Captain Beefheart, take a listen to this album (it wouldn't hurt to play it very loud) and a guarantee you you'll be blasting the experimental stuff like "Tropical Hot Dog Night" through your headphones in weeks wondering why you've waited so long to let yourself love this...Stand outs are "Nowadays a Woman's Got to Hit a Man," "Bottle Neck Blues," "Circumstances," and "My Head is My Only House Unless it Rains."

Try. (w/ The Spotlight Kid!)

Thursday, May 12, 2011

David Bowie on the Dinah Shore Show

A couple of amazing videos of the Thin White Duke. A super funky version of "Stay" complete with some pretty impressive disco dancing and Bowie's first Karate lesson!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

David Bowie -- Heroes

Listening to Casiotone for thePainfully Alone's "Killers" while writing the last post naturally got me in the mood for this record, so I figured I'd post it too in case my legions of followers (all 6 of you!) felt the same way.

Casiotone for the Painfully Alone -- Daytrotter Sessions

Here's some keyboard heavy music of a much different nature than the last two posts. Owen Ashworth may be my favorite songwriter of all time. Equal parts Raymond Carver, Willy Vlautin, Denis Johnson, Tom Waits, William Eggleston, William Carlos Williams, Jim Jarmush, Todd Hido, Charles Bukowski...notice only one of these people is another lyricist. Ashworth is a literary lyricist whose songs are these minimal modernist short stories about various characters who are generally down are the luck set to music composed mainly by Ashworth alone with preprogrammed beats and cheap electronic keyboards. The best thing about these songs is that you could see yourself or someone you know as the protagonist to all of them. They range in subject from everything such as robbing banks, getting abortions, dropping out of school, various old toyotas and volkswagens, and enjoying a little bit of Creedence Clearwater Revival to losing a grandmother's necklace, going to a party full of "friends you lost in [a] break-up," sleeping on couches, and getting killed by jelly fish. So, needless to say, I was devastated when I heard he was hanging up the CFTPA moniker and, I thought, quitting music entirely. While dreams of a novel kept me checking his website, I was delighted a few minutes ago when I went by the old CFTPA page and there was a post two days ago informing us loyal followers that his new project Advance Base is underway and they already have a few tracks up on myspace. Check them out here. CFTPA may hold the record for the most Daytrotter sessions recorded. He has 5 of them, each one better than the last. Links are below. If you don't already have an account with Daytrotter you should get one. It's free and you get a lot of free music with it. Just sign up and you can download these 5 sessions and more (they also have a sweet iPhone app). These 5 sessions alone are more than worth the time it takes you to sign up. Stand out tracks from the below sessions include "Blue Corolla," "Bobby Malone Moves Home," "Jeanne, if You're Ever in Portland," "Killers," "Tom Justice...," "Traveling Salesman...," "White Corolla," "Optimist vs. The Silent Alarm," and "Tonight was a Disaster."

Also, if you like what you hear, please go to the CFTPA website and support Owen. He's still got a lot of great shirts and records for sale. Or buy his most recent record vs. Children here. It's amazing.

2011 Session (Last CFTPA Daytrotter Session ever)

The Screamers -- Complete Works

I couldn't post that Units album without also posting this. If the video below doesn't convince you you need this record, then nothing I can say here will.

Buy...I can't find this for sale anywhere, but you might like this.

Monday, May 9, 2011

The Units -- History of the Units (The Early Years 1977-1983)

"Obviously people with as little taste as yourself would become ecstatic over such average talent." That's how this record starts and I must have no taste at all because I love this record. Who says you need guitars to punch people in the face with hard charging punk rock music? Synth punk at its greatest. Or maybe this is New Wave? Aside from maybe The Screamers, there's really nothing else like this. I know you might be thinking, have you forgotten about Devo? No. There's really nothing else like this. Except, maybe The Screamers. All I can say is after a week without music studying for exams, this is the record I was missing the most. Of course I did just discover it right before I took a hiatus from anything with words. This stuff is beyond belief. Stand outs include "Cannibals," "Bug Boy," "Contemporary Emotions," "Warm Moving Bodies," and "Run."

The Builders and The Butchers--The Builders and The Butchers

This is the first (and my favorite) from the dark folk group from Portland, The Builders and The Butchers. There's a lot of really catchy stuff on here that's been running through my head while studying all week and it was the first record I put on after I finished taking my last exam today. The sound they get from what they call "deconstructed drumming" in which they split one drum kit between two drummers (one on snare the other on bass drum) makes their first name The Funeral Band seem especially appropriate. This record sounds like a parade band just kicked in your door and started wailing. There's only 5 guys in this band, but the sound is really big with lots of big choral numbers with the whole group responding to the singer, Ryan Solle's calls. All the guys are originally from Alaska and you can smell the camp smoke in their songs. I used to live up there myself and this is exactly the kind of music I used to hear up there drinking around bonfires under the northern lights and that I haven't heard much of since. There's definitely a certain sound that hasn't been tapped in to too much down here in the lower 48. One day some record producer's gonna go up there and sign a whole of bonfire tribes and start some whole new grunge scene. You can tell they're living in Portland now and can hear a bit of the Decembrists in the instrumentation and their penchant for narrative songs about murder and betrayal. But The Builders and The Butchers seem much more authentic to me than that band and a lot more ballsy. Stand outs include "Spanish Death Song," "Black Dresses," "The Gallows," "Slowed Down Trip to Hell," and "Find Me in the Air."

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Santo & Johnny-- The Best of Santo & Johnny

...and one more pedal steel record before I get back to my books. This fits in more with my Timber Timbre post than the Lanois posts. Eerie, '50s rock for driving off a cliff to. I'll be back with some records that have words after all my tests are taken...

John Fahey -- God, Time and Causality

There's really no better soundtrack to studying the deepest recesses of the human brain than a record that contemplates god, time, and causality. If you happen to be studying for a neuroscience final, this record is for you! A later album from American Primitivist, John Fahey.

Daniel Lanois -- Belladonna

Been pretty busy studying for finals. Listening only to instrumental records since I can't concentrate when people are singing. Here's more stuff along the lines of the Apollo post. Lanois's pedal steel. It sounds like you're drifting through some outer space desert. Maybe on a trip to Mercury. Enjoy.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Brian Eno -- Apollo

I've had a ton of homework to do so I've been listening to a lot of Eno's more ambient stuff. This is by far my favorite of those records. It's essentially a soundtrack to Apollo/For All Mankind, a documentary mainly just featuring footage from the Apollo moon landings. Daniel Lanois brings an unexpected countrified feeling to the record with the pedal steel parts in "Silver Morning," "Weightless," and "Deep Blue Day." The latter may get you thinking about the worst toilet in Scotland. I guess country music and outer space do kind of go together, what with it being the final frontier and all. Chill out tracks include "Deep Blue Day," "Under Stars," "Silver Morning," and "Drift." Ladies and gentlemen, we are floating in space.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Ghost World Soundtrack

Here's one last transmission from the unlikely crossroads of old-time music and comic books.

R.Crumb and his Cheap Suit Serenaders -- R. Crumb and his Cheap Suit Serenaders

And here's R. Crumb trying his hand a making his own old-time music. He does a pretty good job too. The lyrics are distinctly Crumb. Standouts include "Willie the Chimney Sweeper," "Get a Load of This," and "I'll See You in My Dreams"(complete with singing saw!).

R. Crumb's Heroes of Blues, Jazz, and Country

This is the CD compilation of old-time music R. Crumb put together to go with his book R. Crumb's Heroes of Blues, Jazz, and Country. It's split up into three parts each devoted to one of the genres celebrated by the book. I'm kind of partial to the middle third which focuses on country music pioneers like Dock Boggs, Burnett & Rutherford, and Crockett's Kentucky Mountaineers. The choices for the Blues portion that starts the record aren't too unexpected (Skip James, Charley Patton, Memphis Jug Band), but perfect music for a sunny Sunday afternoon nonetheless. The last third, devoted to early Jazz, makes me want to throw on a one piece bathing suit and take the train over Coney Island. Stand outs from this portion of the record include "Sobbin' Blues," "Mojo Strut," and "King Joe."

Have a nice Sunday.