Archive for December, 2007

Black MirrorPlaylist for
The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly
December 27, 2007

Hosted by Greg Lyon on Thursdays at 2-4 pm
on WPVM Asheville (103.5 FM and www.wpvm.org)

This show is available for listening as an archive for one week after its airing at WPVM’s Archive Page (click on the STREAM button for this show–under the letter ‘G’)

Notes:

– A lot of Best of 2007 lists have begun to appear, and I’ve been trying to track down a bunch of interesting-looking stuff and see if I too dig it. I hadn’t picked up the Tinariwen CD before this week, but Other Music had it as their top pick for the year, so I figured it was worth a listen. Plus, it’s from Mali, and I dig music from Mali. It’s really really good, but I’m not sure it’s in my top 10 for the year. I’m still ruminating on that list, so tune in next week.

– Holy Fuck’s LP (that’s the title) may very well make the list for next week. I really dig instrumental records when they’re hot, and this one is. Some classify it as electronic music, but they use two actual drummers, so it sounds more like an instrumental rock record to me than "electronic". It stands up well next to my all-time favorite instrumental rock record, Pell Mell’s The Bumper Crop, which I just discovered is criminally out of print. Yikes! That must be corrected. I wonder if SST still has the rights?

– The Dust-to-Digital collection Black Mirror: Reflections in Global Musics (1918-1955) is very tasty. The Japanese kabuki song from the 1930s I played was way weird, and it sounded really good. I’m not sure what holds all the songs together–concept or musical flow–but the stuff on there is choice grade A select.

– The Cluster Zuckerzeit reissue on Lilith is the best-sounding vinyl I’ve heard in a good while. A friend told me that they use the Czech record pressing plant, GZ Records (Gramofonove Zavody), and that this was also the plant that Matador Records has started using. Most reissue vinyl, I’ve found, sounds like crap, whether it’s on 180g virgin vinyl or whatever marketing gimmick they’ve construed to make audiophiles salivate. I played original pressings of the Blondie and Vibrators records today, and they were on typical major-label thin vinyl from the mid-70s, and they sounded GREAT. So wake up, people! Demand better mastering and pressings and stop being wowed by the weight of the vinyl!

Background Music: Herbie Mann – Stone Flute (Embryo 1970)

Artist Song Album Label Comments New
Holy Fuck Milkshake LP XL instrumental goodness from Toronto *
Pell Mell Estacada The Bumper Crop SST my all-time favorite instrumental rock record  
Tinariwen Toumast Aman Iman: Water Is Life World Village / harmonia mundi Mali  
Ozan Firat Traditional Kurdish Song Turkey: Music of the Poet-Musicians Auvidis fantastic Turkish record  
Sir Richard Bishop Free Masonic Guitar Polytheistic Fragments Drag City *
Sinkou Son & Kouran Kin Songs in Grief Black Mirror: Reflections in Global Musics (1918-1955) Dust-to-Digital Japanese Kabuki from the 1930s *
a Black Hmong woman Chungja Ethnic Minority Music of North Vietnam Sublime Frequencies jew’s harp *
Tangerine Dream Genesis Electronic Meditation Relativity 1970  
Om Unitive Knowledge of the Godhead Pilgrimage Southern Lord engineered by Steve Albini *
Wire Desert Driving Read & Burn 03 Pink Flag *
Cluster Caramel Zuckerzeit Brain / Lilith wonderful vinyl pressing  
Sonic Chicken 4 Margharita Sonic Chicken 4 In the Red French band  
Velvet Underground Temptation Inside Your Heart VU Verve  
Robert Wyatt Out of the Blue Comicopera Domino this record is growing on me, as all his records do *
Orlando Julius Psychedelic Afro Shop Super Afro Soul Vampi Soul Nigerian *
The Abyssinians I and I Satta Massagana Heartbeat reissued 1976 classic  
The Slits Or What It Is? Return of the Giant Slits Blast First Pettite reissued 1981 album *
Moby Grape Indifference Moby Grape CBS 1967  
Communicators & Black Experience Band The Road Carolina Funk Jazzman Durham, NC band *
The Meters People Say Rejuvenation Rhino 1974  
Blondie Look Good in Blue Blondie Chrysalis 1976 debut  
The Vibrators Sweet Sweet Heart Pure Mania Columbia 1977  
Gorilla Angreb Mit Lille Sorte Aeg Discography Feral Ward Danish band that sounds like X (from L.A., not Australia)  
Big Balls & The Great White Idiot Submission to Violence Foolish Guys Teldec 1978 German punk  
Linda Sharrock / Eric Watson My One and Only Love Listen to the Night Sunnyside 1994 reissued 2007 *

VondurPlaylist for
The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly
December 20, 2007

Hosted by Greg Lyon on Thursdays at 2-4 pm
on WPVM Asheville (103.5 FM and www.wpvm.org)

This show is available for listening as an archive for one week after its airing at WPVM’s Archive Page (click on the STREAM button for this show–under the letter ‘G’)

Notes:

– My co-host for this program was freelance music writer Justin Farrar. He brought in a pile of incredible music, most of which had come his way sometime this year, and we mixed it up with some ditties I brought in and new stuff at the station. My favorite moment of the show was the mash-up of the Swedish black metal band, Vondur, with the sultry tones (and overtones, and undertones) of a Tuvan throat singer. Vondur didn’t stand a chance, really, despite the starpower of It, a man so evil he cannot have a name, and his then-bandmate, All, from Abruptum (a band which, according to It’s myspace page, is "the audial essence of pure black Evil"). This 1995 Abruptum side-project record, with its über-menacing Darth Vader album cover, is one of my favorite Swedish black metal records.

– Justin piled on the Scandinavian and other foreign stuff here, with the Finnish noise-rock of The Silver from 1980 (which is the B-side to a generic new wave song), fellow Finns Kemialliset Ystävät (from their latest self-titled record on Fonal), the Swedish late-60s heavy psych of Baby Grandmothers (which we decided was a bridge between Cream and Black Sabbath), the Canadian folk-rock tandem of Fraser & Debolt, the mid-70s Gipsy Rock of Spanish female duo Las Grecas, and the early-70s Turkish rock of Bunalim. He’s also responsible for the new Sightings, which is superb, and the sounds of Big Blood and Jimmy Cousins from the American underground. We had a blast, and I predict you will hear more from Justin on WPVM in the near future.

– Our background music of Beefheart (the instrumental bed for Trout Mask Replica) and later the dragonflies of southeast Asia (from the Sublime Frequencies CD) almost drove us both insane–in a good way, I think.

Background Music: Captain Beefheart & His Magic Band – Grow Fins (Rarities 1965-1982) (Revenant Records) Disc 3: Trout Mask House Sessions (1969)

 

Artist Song Album Label Comments New
Sightings The Electrician Through the Panama Load produced by Andrew W. K. *
Black Dice Kokomo Load Blown Paw Tracks compilation of EP Material *
Cough Suppressant Alcoholics The Tab at the Liquor Store Is Evergrowing Metal Is Not Dead 7" Arson 1996 Pennsylvania  
The Silver Popper Do You Wanna Dance? Pop Con 1980 Finnish  
Smiley Lewis Bee’s Boogie I Hear You Knocking Collectables New Orleans c. 1950  
Fraser & Debolt The Waltze of the Tennis Players With Ian Guenther Fallout 1971 Canadian folk rock reissued *
Sister Fleeta Mitchell and Rev. Willie Mae Eberhart Satan, Your Kingdom Must Come Down Art of Field Recording Volume 1 Dust-to-Digital Art Rosenbaum recordings *
Big Blood A Friendly Noose Strange Maine s/r ex-Cerberus Shoal, now Fire on Fire  
Ed Askew The Accordian Man Little Eyes De Stijl 1970 folk *
Jimmy Cousins Easter Sunday Jazz June (10") s/r 2007  
Grinderman No P*sy Blues Grinderman Anti Nick Cave  
These Are Powers You Come with Nothing Terrific Seasons Hoss Brooklyn, ex-Liars *
Baby Grandmothers Somebody Keeps Calling My Name s/t Subliminal Sounds Swedish psych c. 1969  
Vondur I Eldur og Drumur Stridsyfirlysing Necropolis 1995 Swedish black metal  
Oorjak Hunashtaar-ool Reka Alash (Alash River) Melodii Tuvi: Throat Songs and Folk Tunes from Tuva Dust-to-Digital 1969 recordings originally issued in the USSR *
Culture Brothers Celebrate Learn How to Respect s/r Tibetan and Inuit lads *
Omar Souleyman Jani Highway to Hassake Sublime Frequencies Syrian pop  
Las Grecas Bella Kali Gipsy Rock Underground Masters 1974 Spanish  
Bunalim Tas var köpek yok s/t Normal Turkish 1970-72  
Kemialliset Ystävät Lentävät Sudet s/t Fonal 2007 Finnish  
Dragonflies Morning Fanfare Broken Hearted Dragonflies Sublime Frequencies Insect Electronica from Southeast Asia  

Gainer on PragueHey, go read my friend Jonathan Gainer’s article on the MOFFOM (Music on Film, Film on Music) festival in Prague. It’s at PopMatters.com, and it will make you want to go to the festival next year, or at least see some music documentaries. No, screw it, it makes you want to go to Prague.

Also, while you’re surfing and reading, you should check out the music writing of freelance music writer and new Asheville resident Justin Farrar, at justinfarrar.com and also at his new blog, Strawberry Flats.

Group DouehPlaylist for
The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly
December 13, 2007

Hosted by Greg Lyon on Thursdays at 2-4 pm
on WPVM Asheville (103.5 FM and www.wpvm.org)

This show is available for listening as an archive for one week after its airing at WPVM’s Archive Page (click on the STREAM button for this show–under the letter ‘G’)

Notes:

– This was a heavy world and jazz show, prompted by my viewing of two films by Hisham Mayet of Sublime Frequencies at Bobo Gallery last Thursday night. Holy cow, those films are some African DOPE!!!! The first was dedicated to the music of Western Sahara and particularly the guitarist and group (his family) leader, Doueh. It’s called Palace of the Winds, and is visually as well as musically stunning. I played the Group Doueh record during this show, but I eagerly await the DVD, which may be available sometime next year. This is truly one of the best musical documentaries I’ve ever seen, up there with Stations of the Elevated (1979 film about grafitti on the NYC subway, set to the music of Charles Mingus, so not strictly a music documentary). There’s no narration or dialogue; Hisham Mayet ’s camera is a more than ample poetic substitute. The second film, also by Mayet, is entitled Musical Brotherhoods from the Trans-Saharan Highway and is more about the music than the visuals. That’s fine, since the music–filmed mostly during the nightly multi-group jams in the Djemaa el Fna square of Marrakesh, Morocco–is so diverse and ecstatic that it borders on sensory overload by itself. The DVD will be out in just a few months, according to Hisham, who was there to answer questions and chow down at Rosetta’s Kitchen down the street afterwards. A wonderful evening. You can read Justin Farrar’s preview of the event from the Moutain Xpress website.

– The Wooden Shjips album really is addictive. Low-key psychedelic distorted groove rock, somewhat like Spacemen 3 but more subtle.

– Toni Iordache played the ţambal, the Romanian version of the cimbalom, or hammered dulcimer, often featured in Romanian gypsy music (Taraf de Haïdouks features the instrument prominently). And he could play it fast. Really fast–up to 25 beats per second!!! And really well. The compilation on Asphalt Tango Records out of Berlin shows off his jaw-dropping technique but also manages not to be fatiguing, due to the excellent track sequencing that throws in lots of styles and side musicians. Those Germans really know how to do world reissues; Trikont Records is one of the best labels in the world, and of course there’s also Bear Family, who focus on Americana, which is world music to the Germans.

– Speaking of compilations, a beautiful boxset appeared in the studio this week from the Georgia-based Dust-to-Digital label: Art of Field Recording Volume I: 50 Years of Traditional American Music Documented by Art Rosenbaum. Really huge book with detailed liner notes about each song and four CDs, each thematically distinct (Survey, Religious, Blues, Instrumental and Dance). Sound familiar? The Harry Smith Anthology and the Sounds of the South box by Alan Lomax come to mind.

– Related, the mysterious Mississippi Records puts out limited-run vinyl, much of it compilations, and if they all sound as good as the one I got (as a present–thank you Nick!), Last Kind Words (1926-1953), then you should simply buy all of them. Mostly blues and backwoods country, this one is miraculously warm and vibrant, considering the sources. It even made the Terminal Boredom Best Vinyl Reissues of 2006 list, and it’s not garage punk. Good luck finding a copy.

– Last but not least, Toumani Diabate is coming to Asheville on February 5, playing in the Diana Wortham Theater, brought to you by the folks at Harvest Records and One World Entertainment. You can pick up tickets in person at Harvest or from the DWT website (both linked above). So do it now. Diabate (from Mali) is probably the world’s greatest kora player, although his nephew and student Djibril (in a group called Lanaya) also rocks my boat.

Background Music: Bobby Hutcherson – Oblique (Blue Note, 1967)

Artist Song Album Label Comments New
John Coltrane India Complete 1961 Village Vanguard Recordings Impulse Eric Dolphy on bass clarinet (disc 2 version)  
Cline / Parkins/ Rainey Moss, Bed Downpour Victo Recorded 2006 Victoriaville festival *
Pan Sonic Current 2. Katodivaihe / Cathodephase Blast First Petite 2007  
Malcolm Middleton We’re All Going to Die A Brighter Beat Full Time Hobby Arab Strap guy *
The Resonars Nonetheless Blue Nonetheless Blue Get Hip sunny California dream-pop *
Doi Intanon and Group Suthep Song Pee Nong Longkrong (Two Brothers Leave Town for Bangkok) Molam: Thai Country Groove Groove from Isan Vol. 2 Sublime Frequencies one of the best Sublime Frequencies CDs I’ve heard *
[track 3 artist] Khen Ethnic Minority Music of Southern Laos Sublime Frequencies solo mouth organ piece *
Joe Meek The Bulblight I Hear a New World Triumph 1960!!! Performed by the mysteriously named Blue Men  
Uz Jsme Doma Weight Cod-Liver Oil Skoda more from the frenetic Czechs *
Group Doueh Sabah Lala Guitar Music from the Western Sahara Sublime Frequencies see the movie when it comes out!  
Wooden Shjips We Ask You to Ride Wooden Shjips Holy Mountain in heavy rotation at home *
Six Organs of Admittance Goddess Atonement Shelter from the Ash Drag City has vibes! *
Nico Nibelungen The Frozen Borderline 1968-1970 Rhino Marble Index outtake  
Einstürzende Neubauten Ich hatte ein Wort Alles Wieder Offen Potomak / Ryko "I had a word."  
Toumani Diabate Bafoulabe New Ancient Strings Hannibal coming to Asheville Feb. 5  
Toni Iordache Intr-o joi de dimineata Sounds from a Bygone Age Vol. 4 Asphalt-Tango vocals by Romica Puceanu *
Taraf de Haïdouks Asturias Maskarada Crammed Discs their best in ages, I believe *
Ben Entrekin, Uncle John Patterson, and James Patterson Flat Foot Charlie Art of Field Recording Volume 1 Dust-to-Digital beautifully-packaged set of recordings by Art Rosenbaum  
Philip Cohran and the Artistic Heritage Ensemble Malcolm Little The Malcolm X Memorial Zulu / Katalyst Afro-Arts Theater, Chicago, September 1970  
Blind Willie & Kate McTell Don’t Let Nobody Turn You ‘Round Last Kind Words (1926-1953) Mississippi wonderful-sounding LP by the folks at Mississippi records  

Kirsten KetsjerPlaylist for
The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly
December 6, 2007

Hosted by Greg Lyon on Thursdays at 2-4 pm
on WPVM Asheville (103.5 FM and www.wpvm.org)

This show is available for listening as an archive for one week after its airing at WPVM’s Archive Page (click on the STREAM button for this show–under the letter ‘G’)

Notes:

– Went to see Dinosaur Jr. this week (don’t worry, I didn’t pay) and the opening acts stole the show, if you ask me. Local post-punkers the Labiators did their Gun Club meets the Jesus Lizard thing, and I dug it. But then the Detroit-via-Brooklyn band Awesome Color came out and utterly flipped my wig with their Stooges stuff. But what really got me was the drummer’s (that would be Awesome Allison) relentless chug, which reminded me of all the great Krautrock drummers. Thus the Faust lead-in to Awesome Color this week. The beat is pretty damned close. I met Awesome Color after the show. Great folk! The album doesn’t quite capture the live energy, so go see them.

– I keep playing U.S. Maple on my show because I’ve yet to meet anybody in Asheville who has ever listened to them. Of course I haven’t asked everybody I know, so perhaps there’s a Maple underground lurking here just beneath the surface.

– Finally picked up that Kirsten Ketsjer the rock band (yep, that’s their name) album up in New York a couple of weeks ago. It’s really good in an arty, poppy European Velvet Underground way. Reminds me of the Furtips. Remember them? Kirsten Ketsjer are from Denmark. Furtips were from the Netherlands. That flytrap illustration above is the cover to their unpronouncable record ffffoo k tsscch. That’s two flytrap images in two weeks!

– I played a lot of new music today that I really really dug, including the new Wire EP, Read & Burn 03, which comes out of nowhere, four years after their previous offering. The Blast First Petite reissue of Return of the Giant Slits sounds frakkin’ fantastic, and it’s a 2CD deluxe job. And then big surprise of the day, a duo called the Culture Brothers, featuring Karma (from Tibet) and Carl (a Yup’iaq Inuit Alaskan) doing their trans-Bering-Strait version of reggae and other world mutations. Sounds dubious, I know, but you just have to hear it. Several people asked me about that Ed Askew cut (the album has sound-quality issues, but the songs are great). Brooklyn’s noisy post-punk outfit These Are Powers have a full record out, and it caught my attention much like their Silver Lung 7" from earlier this year. And I even liked the Robert Plant & Alison Krauss album.

– Move over Lee Hazlewood and Phil Spector–Jack Nitzsche is my new producer/arranger obsession. You will be hearing much more of him on this radio program over the coming weeks. That’s a promise. Meanwhile, you can check out this great website dedicated to the man.

– Played a Michael Hurley cut in anticipation of his solo gig at Harvest Records later in the evening. That was one of the best shows I’ve seen in a while! It started off kinda rambling but got weirder and more focused at the same time. I left with an emblazoned memory of Hurley doing his best crow imitation. Marvelously creepy!

Background Music: Art Ensemble of Chicago – With Fontella Bass (Prestige, 1972)

Artist Song Album Label Comments New
Faust J’ai mal aux dents 71 Minutes ReR I have a toothache. 1971-1973  
Awesome Color Hat Energy Awesome Color Ecstatic Peace! Go Awesome Allison!  
Wire Our Time Read & Burn 03 Pink Flag new one from them *
Magik Markers Pat Garrett Boss Ecstatic Peace! instrumental goodness *
U.S. Maple Open a Rose Acre Thrills Thrill Jockey ahh, the sweet spot  
Kirsten Ketsjer the rock band How Is Your Sleep ffffoo k tsscch yoyooyoy Danish indie pop  
Young Marble Giants Cakewalking Final Day 7" Rough Trade from the Domino reissue  
The Slits Earthbeat Return of the Giant Slits Blast First Petite very welcome reissue *
Culture Brothers Alaska Reggae Learn How to Respect Culture Brothers Alaska and Tibet, together at last *
Francis Bebey Cousin Assini Je vous aime Zaime Zaime Ozileka my favorite Cameroon dude  
Jack Nitzsche Hard Workin’ Man Hard Workin’ Man: The Jack Nitzsche Story Vol. 2 Ace Captain Beefheart vocals  
Blind Shake Jolly Joe’s Carmel Learning Curve good record, although they could use a new sound engineer *
The BunnyBrains Meal Ticket CD*1993 Narnack from the Box the Bunny box  
LEK Grandma’s Chickens Giant World Knowledge Bliss Control Lek Music Meg Baird on this record *
Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy Danzig/Erickson Ask Forgiveness Drag City Meg Baird on this record too. This was a Danzig cover *
Porter Wagoner Lonely Comin’ Down The Rubber Room Omni RIP Porter Wagoner. This comp is great if you want to start somewhere.  
Ed Askew My Love Is a Red, Red Rose Little Eyes De Stijl from radio broadcast 1970/1 *
Robert Plant & Alison Krauss Gone Gone Gone (Done Moved On) Raising Sand Rounder go figure *
The Cynics The Warning Here We Are Get Hip nice record by them *
Alex Chilton Bangkok Bach’s Bottom Razor & Tie bonus cut from 1975 album (recorded earlier, I believe?)  
Sir Richard Bishop Canned Goods & Firearms Polytheistic Fragments Drag City the Chet Atkins cut *
Michael Hurley The Girl I Love Hi Fi Snock Uptown Warner Bros. 1972  
Pack Remote Controlled Pack Incognito Munich punk rock 1978  
PRE Dude F*k Epic Fits Skin Graft London noise punkers *
Hawkwind Death Trap PXR 5 Charisma huh? Hawkwind as a post-punk band?  
These Are Powers You Come with Nothing Terrific Seasons Hoss full album by Brooklyn noisemakers *
Death of Samantha Coca-Cola & Licorice Strungout on Jargon Homestead 1985 Cleveland