ES

ES – “WHAM BANG” (1979)

This one strongly reminds me of one of Amon Düül II’s greatest achivements: 1978′s “Only Human” (a very controversial opinion, women’s health I know — most people list ADII’s early works like “Yeti” or “Phallus Dei” as their creative peak, but they too quickly dismiss the slicker, [and I do think the quotation marks here are appropriate] “commercial” later ’70s stuff for what it is.)

“Wham Bang” has the same kind of delicious retardo “Star Wars cantina” energy — and it features a dude named “Zabba” on the drums!

ES – “Wham Bang” LP (ZIP file)

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NANA LOVE

NANA LOVE – “DISCO DOCUMENTARY FULL OF FUNK” (1978)

Strap yourself in — are you sitting down?

I was IN LITERAL TEARS as I was biking home earlier this afternoon while listening to this one. Passersby in their autos must’ve thought I looked certifiable as I was wiping away giggling tears of joy while in transit.

The lady depicted on the cover is indeed Nana Love. If James Brown and Su Tissue (from the Suburban Lawns) got together and had an Ghanian love child, pilule it’d be this ridiculous lady. This slab o’ wax is total song-poem/Songs In The Key Of Z/American Idol auditions time, purchase albeit with an incredible rhythm section.

When I first downloaded it from the excellent blog Experimental Etc. (from which I’ve been siphoning many, cheap many GB as of late), I knew it was either gonna be a masterpiece, or a horrorshow, based upon the title alone. I had no idea it was a little of both.

The five tracks on this 25-minute mini-album are full of fantastic, tight ‘n dirty funk, apparently arranged by Nana herself. The opening 11-minute epic track “I’m In Love” starts out just fine, with a whipcrack backing band, and some great synth work — and then it’s time for the vocals. Nana delivers her lyrics like she’s either blackout drunk, or merely unaware that she’s mewling and shrieking like some mutant stillborn from some gooey, gore-drenched horror flick. The backup singers are occasionally off-key as well, resulting in even more gilded delirium.

The other tracks are not quite as nuts, but every once in a while, Nana lets rip her laser-like caterwaul, and it’s pure entertainment. Inexplicably, the final track (which sounds like it fades out before any kind of logical conclusion) is a mostly instrumental dub reggae cut that doesn’t appear to have Nana’s singing on it. Whatever!

Nana Love – “Disco Documentary Full Of Funk” LP (ZIP file)

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M

M – “NEW YORK – LONDON – PARIS – MUNICH” & “THE OFFICIAL SECRETS ACT” (1979/1980)

You know M, pharmacy or have at least heard their famous pop single “Pop Muzik”. For ages, illness I’ve been curious to hear what their albums sounded like. I’d originally guessed they sounded something like the Buggles. I was kinda half-sorta right.

The first LP from ’79, advice “New York – London – Paris – Munich”, gives way to off-kilter disco right after the perfunctory “Pop Muzik” intro. Not exactly straight-ahead disco, but a slightly mutated UK variation. A little like The Buggles crossed with Rick James and Roxy Music (don’t get too excited, it isn’t that good.)

The reason this post happened is because of the second album, 1980′s “The Official Secrets Act”, easily one of the strangest follow-ups of its era. “M” was the pseudonym of British vocalist/musician Robin Scott, and the huge success of “Pop Muzik” must’ve made Scott seriously self-conscious about wanting to stay out of the spotlight, for “The Official Secrets Act” seems like a very willfully uncommercial affair. As in a potential career-killing one.

Tapping into a rich vein of Cold War paranoia, “Secrets” is a concept album of sorts, features almost no pop/disco beats, and in fact seems heavily influenced by the era’s edgy post-punk rather than dancefloor shenanigans. One song sounds almost exactly like The Residents, another features Scott shouting in a Lydon-esque growl, and yet another is one of the album’s few concessions to the “New York – London – Paris – Munich” sound, except that its wonderfully off-kilter structure is based around a 9/4 time signature. I liked this album a lot.

Anybody out there have a rip of M’s third LP from ’81, called “Famous Last Words”? I’m kinda dying to hear it. (Not to be confused with Supertramp’s 1982 LP “…Famous Last Words…”, of course.)

M – “New York – London – Paris – Munich”, 1979 (ZIP file)
M – “The Official Secrets Act”, 1980 (ZIP file)

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THE FAUVES (re-post)

Yikes. Wow. It’s been a month since I had the time to update. Here’s a stopgap post until I can get some new stuff together — a look back into the ECR archives, for sale to bring to light something I dug years ago that I recently re-heard.

It’s time to start re-evaluating the college radio fodder of my youth: the ’90s. I’ve often wondered how much the listening material I was so, help so, ask so into at the time would hold up today.

In my ongoing discography jaunts, I just did the complete works of Unwound. I caught onto them rather late in the game, and only had the privilege to catch them live twice before they broke up at the beginning of the 21st century. Over the course of my Unwound listening, I was reminded that I had equally been, at the time, heavily jazzed on a local group called The Fauves, who only produced a single album in the brief time they were together in the ’99-’01(?) era.

The album, “Raw Heart Sound” is an incredible document; it has the earmarks of a rough-’n-tumble get-it-all-in-the-first-take debut, but it also shows signs of maturity that befits a veteran touring outfit’s fourth or fifth album at the same time. Remarkable.

Below is what I wrote about “Raw Heart Sound” about 5 years back, on my original MP3 blog Post-Punk Junk (which was then re-posted here on ECR a few years later.)

The Fauves rocked my fucking world, and it’s a terrible shame that few have known their sound. They were an unholy mixture of Unwound and Radiohead, and had they stayed together, they just might’ve taken over the world.

They were three teens from Glendora, a suburb of Pasadena, CA, and “Raw Heart Sound”, originally on Redwood Records (now defunct…?), was their only release I know of. I saw them play just once at The Smell, the long-standing all-ages Los Angeles club (where I took the above picture), and as their unusually long set morphed and twisted and turned — I swear, tears formed in my eyes. I was witnessing something huge and special, corny as that sounds, and little did I know that it’d end for The Fauves before it truly began.

They broke up, I assume, for the usual teenage reasons: college, or some silly fight, or disinterest. Who knows? After the gig of theirs I saw in December of 2000, I approached the drummer (whom I also had a huge crush on), and asked him if they’d recorded anything yet. He said he’d mail me a cassette of what they’d done up to that point, and weeks later, there it was sitting in my mailbox. I stuck it in my car and promptly forgot about it, until a solitary road trip from L.A. to Monterey to visit a friend months later. The tape of what was to become “Raw Heart Sound” inadvertently made it into the car stereo at the start of my drive back home — and managed to stay in, repeating from side A to B and back again in a 40-minute loop, for almost the entire five-hour ride. I was transfixed, locked into a harmonious nirvana with these three Glendorians. Funny enough, as soon as I grew into this massive never-ending appreciation for The Fauves, they all disappeared from the scene. They stopped playing shows, they stopped going to shows as spectators at The Smell and other points similar, and their album came out and passed through the world unnoticed. I never got the proper chance to thank them. Hopefully, one of them well eventually stumble across ECR and smile.

The Fauves – “Raw Heart Sound” CD (ZIP file)

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new stuff soon…

My workload has put a bullet in the head of my posting anything for the past few weeks — but I’m heading out to SXSW, buy so hopefully my restful early afternoons will be filled with writing/posting. Crossing fingers…

cheers
bret

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PORNO 8-TRACKS

VARIOUS ARTISTS – PORNO 8-TRACKS (197?)

I forget which other blog I originally got this from (an increasingly common phenomenon with me, symptoms since I’ve long since stopped keeping track of which blogs fold and which ones have newly cropped up), link but suffice to say it was the find of the week, patient whichever week it was!

I like to picture the writers of these things as perpetually hunched over a Smith-Conora, their greasy hair matted down to their bulbous skulls, cigarettes dangling from their parched lips, their Coke-bottle glasses hanging perilously at the tip of their sweaty schnozzes, feverishly banging out these scripts in one pass over the course of a dismal, fetid evening in their scuzzy cold-water tenement flats. It’s either that, or they’re young, handsome, and reclining at poolside whilst lazily dictating the smutty dialogue into a microcassette recorder for their secretary to later transcribe.

Porno 8-Tracks! (ZIP file)

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BOULE NOIRE

BOULE NOIRE – s/t (1976)

Caught wind of this one somewhat randomly, generic as I was doing some research accompanying my ever-growning fascination with Canadian films. For fans of funky smoove grooves!

Boule Noire was the nom de plume of the late Georges Thurston, a Quebecois artist who gained some pretty heavy Canadian success in the late ’70s with an album called “Aimer d’Amour”. Of course, you and I had never heard of this fellow, as most French Canadian music acts’ success tends to stay strictly within the confines of Quebec, with not even a lick of French European crossover (a French friend recently revealed to me that most Gallic people think the French Canadian accent is “nasal and goofy”, much in the same prejudiced way that Americans think the English Canadian accent is off-kilter in that “Fargo” kind of way.)

I can very easily see Boule Noire’s first album here as the soundtrack for a breezy night’s worth of Montreal nightlife, complete with wide-lapeled leisure suits, fine wine and possibly the bristly hairs of a moustache tickling the sensitive inner thighs of a jeune fille who’s just peeled out of her cameltoe wardrobe.

Boule Noire – s/t LP (ZIP file)

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PETER WYNGARDE

PETER WYNGARDE – “WHEN SEX LEERS ITS INQUISITIVE HEAD” aka s/t (1970)

Wyngarde is most well-known for the two British spy TV series “Department S”, approved and “Jason King” (a show which provided a hefty amount of inspiration for Mike Myers’ “Austin Powers” character.) Given the opportunity by RCA in 1970, page at the height of his popularity, to record an album, Wyngarde chose not to go the easy listening/pop route, instead bizarrely delving into lurid and sometimes flat-out stupid spoken word interludes.

This album caused enough controversy upon its release to get it yanked by the label, quickly turning it into a massive collectors’ item throughout the ’70s and ’80s. The cause of the trouble? Oh, just a little three-minute ditty entitled “Rape”, in which Wyngarde not only seems to extolling the virtues of rape, but also executes a handful of wheedling barf-bag racial stereotypes that would make even Jerry Lewis blush. It must be heard to be believed — so believe it! Another highlight is “The Hippie And The Skinhead”, an inexplicable romp into the particulars of being a filthy free-love layabout.

Fun fact: predating George Michael’s Hollywood public toilet arrest by 23 years, Wyngarde was apprehended in 1975 at a bus station commode for an act of “gross indecency”. He was framed, I tell ya — FRAMED! Or not.

Peter Wyngarde – “When Sex Leers Its Inquisitive Head” aka self-titled (ZIP file)

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“THE 10TH VICTIM”

VARIOUS ARTISTS – “FAST PRODUCT: MUTANT POP 78/79″ (1980)

This compilation of late ’70s singles on the Scottish record label Fast Product, viagra approved put together for the U.S. market by the PVC label, case is notable not just because it features a handful of early Gang of Four recordings, ask but because it simply is a great record all the way through. Here, The Human League’s “Being Boiled” is much more subdued and pleasantly not as bombastic as the version that appears on their “Travelogue” LP, The Flowers are a great girl band on par with the Au Pairs, Scars have some great basslines, 2.3′s jangly jangles are crisp, and the Mekons’ single “Where Were You” never gets old, even after a dozen consecutive listens.

Regarding the “mutant pop” concept, Wikipedia sez:

Fast Product also produced ‘subversive commodities’ that problematised pop music (hence their early monikkers – ‘difficult fun’ and ‘mutant pop’) and politicised their youthful buyers into a consciousness of taking control of the means of expression, getting confident and reappropriating the means of production. Often packaging their ‘products’ with a caustic yet subtle sideswipe at consumerism (the image of a wall of gold disks on the cover of the Mekons first single etc), Fast Product showed how all aspects of the record business, from musicianship to design to distribution, could be taken out of the hands of the major labels.

Various Artists – “Fast Product: Mutant Pop 78/79″ LP (ZIP file)

CRASH COURSE IN SCIENCE

I giggled a little to myself when I saw this as the sole paragraph under this band’s entry at Trouser Press:

The two men and one woman who comprise this East Coast synth band don’t go along with the idea of electronics being used to mimic conventional instruments. Instead, their machines spurt and squeak, using static, distortion and all manner of noise to support minimalist vocals. Grating.

Given the current minimalist electronic revival, this music sounds like something that might’ve been recorded a few months ago, except back then, the fear of computers mechanizing our entire lives was something tangible, instead of today, where the harnessing of powerful technology for mere things like personal entertainment holds greater sway over our mental energy. Besides, outsourcing to India’s a much more real threat than robots on the assembly line ever were.

Crash Course In Science – “Cakes In The Home” 7″ + “Signals From Pier Thirteen” 7″ (ZIP file)

MASKULL – self-titled? (1997)

This might be the single weirdest thing I’ve yet posted on this site. I know next to nothing about Maskull, other than the whacked half-anecdote I was told by an ex-friend who disappeared down the meth hole a handful of years ago, the same bloke who handed off a copy of this record to me: Maskull supposedly is/was living with AIDS, and in his ailing state, committed to tape this album of demented, simpering goth-osity. I can’t verify this story at all, or if Maskull’s actually alive or dead, since there’s absolutely no information available on him anywhere on the Internet, except for one brief editorial review on the CD Baby website that says:

Troy Maskull’s ghoulish voice and imperceptible melodies are loathsome, detestable and incomprehensible. Perhaps music would be better off if Maskull crawled back under the rock that he came from.

While the tone of the above two sentences is clearly more hostile than it needs to be, one thing’s for sure: this album is both ghoulish and imperceptible! Listening to it in its entirety might just produce in your body an effect akin to three days’ worth of starvation; what the man is doing with his voice could only be described as “anti-singing”, kinda like the way critics, at the release of “Kid A”, were describing the way Thom Yorke’s vocals sounded on “Everything In Its Right Place”, times eight hundred. And anybody who can pull off a song these days called “Working Hard For Your Love” with nary a trace of irony must be classified under the “outsider art” category. If anybody out there has any info whatsoever on Maskull, pleeze lemme know. I’d be very curious, although at the same time, I kinda like not knowing a lick of info about the guy.

Maskull – s/t CD(?) (ZIP file)

SOCRATES DRANK THE CONIUM – “ON THE WINGS” (1973)

I often download albums off of Soulseek based upon band names alone, and this one certainly caught my eye: Socrates Drank The Conium. Who wouldn’t be intrigued? Turned out that the album “On The Wings” was above and beyond my standard heavy rock expectations. Also of historical note, according to one fan site: the band “…was playing to standing-room-only crowds in a small club in Athens during Greece’s military dictatorship, a period when even Rolling Stone albums were hard to find, and for a time illegal.

The Aquarius Records website has a great review of the record:

Socrates Drank The Conium were a Greek band, and ‘On The Wings’; was their third album, originally issued in 1973. Psychedelic hard blues rock with ragged, rough-edged English vocals, and (this is key) UTTERLY RIPPING twin electric guitar. Definitely an early milestone in heavy acid rock guitar shred. Vangelis later joined this band, but you’d never guess there was any New Age connection from this kick ass album. The songs twist and snake around, with rockin’ and doomy riffs, dual guitar harmonies, and crazy leads , with both guitarists playing entirely different, complex licks that somehow meld perfectly. Brilliant stuff. Kinda progressive and utterly powerful.

Another online reviewer, someone named G. Johnson, sez:

[SDTC] released two competent records prior to ‘On the Wings’ and this was their last release (that I am aware of) before they joined up with ex-Aphrodite’s Child, pre-’Chariots of Fire’ composer/musician extraordinaire, Vangelis. I have yet to hear their album ‘Phos’, with him in the fold, but I can’t imagine it remotely comparing to the unbridled genius of ‘On the Wings’. Absolutely FACE-MELTING guitar work on this, one of those records where you just have to shake your head in disbelief every time you listen to it.

Socrates Drank The Conium – “On The Wings” LP (ZIP file)

BRUCE McCULLOCH – “SHAME-BASED MAN” (1995)

Nobody in my generation who grew up being babysat by television doesn’t know Bruce MuCulloch, one-fifth of the truly stellar sketch comedy troupe Kids In The Hall, who originally had their show broadcast here in America on HBO starting in the late ’80s, and then had its five seasons’ worth of shows re-run into the ground by Comedy Central (who sadly don’t do so anymore). Bruce’s characters on the show, whether it was the OCD-riddled little boy Gavin, the hapless Cop #1 (to Mark McKinney’s Cop #2), the eternally horny Cabbage Head, the short-tempered father Gordon or the frumpy secretary Kathie, always seemed to exist on a dual plane, with a thin layer of fragile reality disguising either a terrible fear of worldly concerns or seething rage bubbling just beneath the surface.

After the show ended its run, and the commercial lack of success of the Kids In The Hall film “Brain Candy”, each of the five Kids immediately split off to do their own things: Dave Foley went onto star in the U.S. sitcom “NewsRadio”, Mark McKinney was a cast member of “Saturday Night Live”, and Scott Thompson and Kevin McDonald went onto various film roles. One of Bruce’s first solo outings was the first of his two solo albums, “Shame-Based Man”, a searing portrait of what it’s like to be inside Bruce’s mind at 3AM, alone, sitting at the donut shop. 20 tracks, some of them skits, some of them songs, all of them bitterly depressing, nihilistic and devoid of hope for any kind of happiness; it’s as if Bruce could only afford anti-depressants when he had health insurance through the CBC, and once “Kids In The Hall” went off the air, back down the depression hole he might’ve went.

The first half of the album is very hit-or-miss, but halfway through, it all picks up steam, starting with the track that’s the absolute darkest it can get (and consequently the funniest), “Our Love”, one of the best examples of “list” humor I’ve ever heard. Also, “When You’re Fat” is way more mean-spirited than it needs to be, but…it’s… still…funny…somehow?

Bruce McCullough – “Shame-Based Man” CD (ZIP file)

PIERO PICCIONI – “THE 10TH VICTIM” soundtrack (1965)

“La decima vittima”, information pills
aka “The 10th Victim”, troche
is one of the coolest films from one of the coolest decades, and is an Italian variation on the “Most Dangerous Game” story. You could also call it a proto-version of “The Running Man”, as it too features a human-hunting-and-killing game as a popular dystopic future mass entertainment.

A heady mixture of frantic jazz, kooky vocal spirals and tinkly piano ballads, this is just what I needed after a three-day-long Mercyful Fate/Celtic Frost bender.

Piero Piccioni – “The 10th Victim” soundtrack (ZIP file)

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GUIDO & MAURIZIO DE ANGELIS

GUIDO & MAURIZIO DE ANGELIS – “ATLANTIS INTERCEPTORS” 12″ (1983)

This is the funniest shit I’ve heard all week. See the cover of the record, web how it says “Black Inferno”? Picture that phrase being said during the song about 50 times. Italo-disco at its most stupendously cracked!

I just love the mental image of two brothers (probably mustachioed) arguing fiercely with each other in Italian while trapped in a cramped music studio control booth — perhaps getting so overheated and enraged that they start throwing things at each other.

BTW, information pills the film in question that this song is taken from is by Ruggero Deodato, the same boundary-pushing fellow who directed “Cannibal Holocaust”.

Guido & Maurizio De Angelis – “Atlantis Interceptors” 12″ (ZIP file)

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