Thursday, January 26, 2012

The Naked Stash

Abyssal Gigantism I & II
I went back out to see the Linus Pauling Quartet (#13, Live 2011) again. While hanging around, I met an associate of one of 3 Linus guitarist/vocalists Charlie Naked and former member of jazz-freaks The Defenestration Unit. Both Charlie and his buddy...

The Defenestration Unit, live at the Art Car Museum

Awhile ago, I had found a Live at Super Happy Fun Land recording by Defenestration (05/27/2005). They play out-there free-jazz improv, which you can stream or download from that link. But what this guy told me was that he'd also played with Charlie in another group: Bartiromo.

Bartiromo, Is This Seat Taken? (1998)

And I discovered all four of their albums also on!! Like the Defenestration Unit (but maybe more like a well-'luded Hawkwind spacing out), Bartiromo plays apparently improvised jams and also included guitarist/trombonist Mike Switzer - made famous by the LP4 song and recent soundcheck "Bongfire," but not the dude I met. I'd never heard any of these, nor even heard about it... Four albums for ya here: Is This Seat Taken? (1998), Six Months of Silence (1998), Shitwah (1999), and Human Rinds (2000).

Fist of Kong
A little more digging unearthed Fist of Kong does stuff (2006), yet another psych-jazz-improv release by yet another combo by Naked. I haven't listened to this yet, but seems like it's gonna be kinda jazzy and occasionally noisy, and probably pretty cool. But maybe you see where this is going...

Even more digging recovered a major stash of Charlie Naked solo works, available on the Archive. Charlie Naked. Solo. According to his age-old website, this barely scratches the surface of solo releases.

Charlie Naked, Divine Homework (1995)

The homepage breaks down three phases of Charlie Naked... First phase: "the first nine cassettes... different from later efforts by its emphasis on the influences of Free Jazz and drone music." Looks like the only one from that belongs here would be Divine Homework (1995), "a soundtrack to a movie never made, nor even conceived of..."

The Magnificent Octopus, Naked
Second phase: "moved away from jazz and drone influences and began exploring more electronic experiments, including the use of radio static, television audio samples, and electric guitars more than saxophones or acoustic piano." Don't think this is represented in the Archive. You can sample and download selected tracks and excepts from the earlier days from the Albums page.

Charlie Naked, Expansion and Collapse (2010)

Third (and current) phase: "involved the processing, editing, and construction of sound pieces on the computer, rather than on the 4-track cassette recorder... sparser, more ambient soundscapes, with much less distinct instrumentation, and considerably longer running times." From what I've gotten to, this stuff is fantastic. Starting most recently and moving backwards, Expansion and Collapse (2010) - two-thousand and TEN!! Then Anthracite (2007), "the first of three all-guitar albums" - so there's one missing release already. Factory Drones (2006), which is "Minimalist minimalism." Back to Crinoline (2005), "a rare unreleased ambient album" (highly recommended)! And finally, The Countess (2004), "a collaboration between experimental music creator Charlie Naked and viola player Jo Bird, of Houston's Two Star Symphony." How did I miss that 1/5 of my favorite local Quartet had such an extensive catalogue?

And of course, while searching for images, I literally found a month-old Charlie Naked split-release with Trills, əˈnɛmənii (2011), over at Bandcamp:

Charlie Naked tracks are the two-parter "Abyssal Gigantism" at the very end. Two-thousand-ELEVEN!! A bit more info here. Enjoy the explore.

Oh, and brand news! Linus Pauling Quartet rocking out again on Sunday, Feb. 19th, with Jucifer and Omotai! Linus sure are playing with a lot of metal acts recently...

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

mr. Gnome

Something I stumbled upon. Caught them live after the Scratch Acid show (I think)... pretty cool.

mr. Gnome
I think they acknowledge, but kinda deny, the Donnie Darko influence in the artwork. Saw their flyer after the Linus Pauling show (I think) and thought exactly that.

"Spain" (live) by mr. Gnome, from Heave Yer Skeleton (2009)

And here's a weird concept video. This guy said they'd just seen them recently, so I thought they were local. But no, it's Cleveland. Band ist website. They sounded good & full between the two of them, lots of effects & mood. Most recent release from Bandcamp:

Anyway, I probably would've bought something from their plentiful merch table, but no-one was ever there (travelling light probably). So I went home.

There's also...

... the dreaded album teaser video! (2011)

"Sounds like ethereal icelandic fairies being pummeled by concrete guitars in a dirty Cleveland parking lot. AKA: awesome."

Monday, January 23, 2012

Weirdos Economique

This past weekend, I told a couple of people that it's rare to find music that's too weird for me to like.

Land Lines
As if to prove a point, I'm kinda liking this new Starving Weirdos stuff.

"In Our Way" by Starving Weirdos, from Land Lines (2012)

Well at least that one video. I haven't delved into the many S.W. live vids, but might pick up the new record.

"Real Things" by Ensemble Economique, from Psychical (2010)

Starving Weirdos are at least a couple of guys, one of whom is the dude who is Ensemble Economique - who I've always kind of placed with the Pocahaunted/Sun Araw new-dub noise gang.

"Forever Eyes" by Ensemble Economique, from Psychical (2010)

Check out various newer stuff on the E.E. SoundCloud!

That is all. End transmission//

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Honorable Mention 2011: Not so bad...

This post ended up much, much more massive than I'd originally intended. Essentially it's all about the 2011 music that was not in the Top 20, but that I still wanted to talk about before I moved on.

21. Diotima - Krallice
Orphan of Sickness EP - Krallice

"The Clearing" from Diotima (2011)
"Litany of Regrets" from Diotima (2011)

Genre - Lovecraftian Urban-Decay Black Metal
Official/Myspace -
Location - Brooklyn, NYC, NY

Review - NPR
Download - Bandcamp (both), Amazon, iTunes
Purchase - Profound Lore

Several of these competed valiantly for the 20th slot, and then again for the honorary 21st. But Krallice was the hardest one to drop in the first cut, so here we are. Diotima might well be Krallice's best album, and the previous one was #13 Metal division 2009. But for some reason, I just haven't (yet) gotten drawn into it like the other two. I'm sure I'll give it another try, and the error of my ranking ways will probably dawn on me eventually. But here we are. A raging beast that pummels and lacerates, at great length, it will wear you down unless you train as if for a marathon.

The Orphan of Sickness free-download EP consists of Orphan covers. Krallice played covers at a tribute show for the Brooklyn band's late bassist, then released the recorded versions online. It's available at Bandcamp or from this Brooklyn Vegan article, which explains further. Pretty damn rad for your 0¢!

And here's a nice Krallice overview from ((unartig)), whom I covered here.

The Whole Love had a good year.

It feels weird to follow up Krallice with the dad-rock scene, but 2011 provided some high-grade maturity for your listening pleasure, and to ignore it would be just plain dishonest.

"The Art of Almost" by Wilco, from The Whole Love (2011)

As happens occasionally, Wilco injects their mid-tempo tunecraft with some weirdness - most recently with the out-there guitar spazz of Nels Cline. This year, there's the electro-shuffle beatz of the opener (above). The Attractions pump-it-ups with "I Might." And if you got the expanded limited 2-disc set, the Krauty exploration of "Speak into the Rose." And y'know, various other quality tunes in the Wilco mode.

"Monkeys Uptown" by Iron & Wine, from Kiss Each Other Clean

I've listened to most of Iron & Wine's records, and they're good indie folk songs. Sounds like he's moving more into band-mode, which makes this probably my favorite of his so far. More funky with the likes of "Big Burned Hand" or the monkeys song up there. But watch the language, Sam! There's also an official video for "Godless Brother in Love," but that's more typical of the old style...

"Circuital" by My Morning Jacket, from Circuital (2011)

MMJ have gone seriously into the maturation process, which I somewhat fault them with - but not too much. It's more about missed opportunities. They still know how to rock, and to have fun. Like with "Holdin Onto Black Metal" (not a Black Metal song).

"Coffee and Friends" by The Literary Greats, from Black Blizzard

This Houston band, which had been getting some national attention for awhile now, makes some pretty good albums - and still might make it to the big leagues.

And finally, The Decemberists put out The King is Dead, which was supposedly great. I'm actually just including for the "Row Jimmy" b-side to "January Hymn." That's all.

Demolished Thoughts
Learning to sing!!

Here are two releases that I liked overall, but were mainly notable for their not-really-singing vocalists trying to actually sing for real... with variable success.

"Benediction" by Thurston Moore, from Demolished Thoughts (2011)

Not a great year for Thurston, but he did release a nice album done with an acoustic & cello-based combo. Get a taste, with like "Mina Loy" or "In Silver Rain with a Paper Key." Oddly, I'm not entirely sure about my advice on the giving up of day-jobs.

"All the Heavy Lifting" by Mastodon, from The Hunter (2011)

Mastodon still bellows, but it has been increasingly tuneful over the last couple of albums. The full-on singing on The Hunter has caused some outrage amongst dedicated fans, but I've only kinda liked them for not that long. Plus I try never to fault bands for progressing, and Mastodon clearly wants to be progressive. Or as I've posed before, they "are currently going for the post-stoner-psych-metal Allman Bros." It's no Leviathan (2004) but seriously, come on. For examples, the singles "Black Tongue" and "Curl of the Burl"... plus "Stargasm" (just because of the 2001 video).

Tago Mago
Recollections, reissues, regardless...

Extra-superb year for what this section covers! Especially the #1 of the reissue subset of honorable mentions!!

"Mushroom" by Can, from Tago Mago (1971, 40th anniversary)

Oh yeah. Can was #1 in 1973 and #4 in 1972, and will most likely prosper in a few more '70s Top 10 lists. I mean, from opener "Paperhouse" through closer "Bring Me Coffee or Tea." Absolutely especially "Halleluhwah," also "Peking O" and oh yeah, "Oh Yeah." Holy Krautrock, Batman!! (And this isn't nearly my favorite CAN...)

Also, there's a bonus disc with 3 jams from a 1972 concert, which I haven't yet given my undivided.

"Past is Past" by Demdike Stare, from Tryptych (2011)

Demdike Stare's 3xCD set Tryptych is mostly made up of their recent vinyl trilogy (a big chunk of #8, 2010), but included several all-new CD-only tunes. Among the new tracks are 2 parts of "Library of Solomon" ("Book 2") and the continuing saga of "Nothing but the Night." Here's an interesting YouTube mash-up with new track "Filtered through Predudice."

I've already done a series of FB posts on Demdike's mix-CD Make Do & Mend/02. Go there first, but I've also found some Fusioon, Philippe D'Aram's "Des ecuries," and Acanthus' "Violent Library."

"Ronettes" by The Black Angels, from Phosgene Nightmare EP (2011)

This Black Angels 10" bonus tracks compilation was released for Record Store Day 2011, and contains such elusive treasures as "Melanie's Melody," the "Entrance Song (Rain Dance version)," and the Rokyesque "Choose to Choose."

Honky - Just A Man (Live in Austin TX) by therockgarage

The Rock Garage: Texas Live Concert Series, Volume 1 - V/A

Pretty decent collection of good versions of several excellent songs. Label is supposed to release a Pong live album sometime, hopefully! (Maybe.) In order of appearance, live versions of:
Honky - see above...
Nashville Pussy "Good Night for a Heart Attack"
Pure Luck "Your Face or Mine"
The Hickoids "Stop It, You're Killing Me"
Texas Sapphires, with Rebecca from Sincola
Pong "Click OK" (from #1, 2005)
Ugly Beats "I'll Make You Happy"
Brutal Juice "Waxing Gibbous"
Churchwood "Vendide Fumar"
Hi-Watt Crucifixers "Concubine"
Lions "Screaming Out"
Pocket FishRmen "We Kill Evil"
Amplified Heat "Strong Arm"

Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim (OST)
Videogame soundtracks of the year?

Well, it's gotta be my autographed 4xCD with everything from the GOTY (including 42 minutes of "Skyrim Atmospherics"). Right?

"Dragonborn" by Jeremy Soule, from Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim OST

I've been getting these soundtracks since Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind (2002). But not so fast! Check this out...

"The Cloud" by Jim Guthrie, from Sword & Sworcery LP: The Ballad of the Space Babies (2011)

The musical component was completely intergral to this awesome game, which was also one of my faves this year. Physical/vinyl edition is sold out, but you can still buy digital from Guthrie's Bandcamp.

"The Glasshouse with Butterfly" by Tomáš Dvořák, from Machinarium OST (2009, iOS release 2011)

Okay, maybe this doesn't totally exactly count, but I played this a lot on the iPad. Great game, great soundtrack! Physical/vinyl re-issue is still available, plus digital at Floex Bandcamp.

Exotic Pylon Records
Online Mixes and releases:

Not always free, but definitely sometimes - these are things I got from the interwebs over the last year or so...

"From Now On Let's" by White Rainbow, from From Now On Let's: The Mixtape (2011)

I'm not entirely sure about White Rainbow's new direction, but I will admit that I have funked out to this release more than a couple of times. Check out what he's doing these days over at Bandcamp. Mostly at Name-Your-Price, which is not identical to Free (but can be).

Maximum Brain (Maximum Cherry + Brainworlds) >> October 8, 2011 by MAXIMUM CHERRY

Maximum Brain is Maximum Cherry (Matt Cherry from Maserati) and Brainworlds (Mason Brown, touring member of Maserati) together, free-download opening set for Hans-Joachim Roedelius (of Cluster/Harmonia) at The Earl (Atlanta, GA). Also check out various live and other Name-Your-Price stuff over at Brainworlds' Bandcamp.

"How New Jam from '73" by Fresh Millions (2011)

Download as FREE the single/EP (??) from their Bandcamp site. Not quite as good as the #38 Record of 2010, nor the live show we caught after Ween @ Stubb's - but still...

Asuuna - Adderall Canyonly (2011)
Moving along! Some free drones from the awesomely-named Adderall Canyonly - from Field Hymns' Bandcamp, via the band website.

XLR8R Podcast #196 - Demdike Stare
It's a tough call, but I'm pretty sure Demdike's MIXwork usually exceeds their own album releases. Get it here! Also, very late in the year: "Irrational Advice" mix via Modern Love Records. Can't go wrong, trust me.

BBC6 Mix - Forest Swords
Still waiting for info on new Forest Swords, but you can download this mix via Altered Zones. Includes Demdike Stare, Oneohtrix Point Never, oOoOO, Julian Lynch (above), King Tubby, and... Lil' Kim?

The Gateway of the Montster (Weird Tales for Winter) - The Advisory Circle w/ Moon Wiring Club
An audio-interpretation of the 1910 book by William Hope Hodgson. Download the whole thing in two parts: here. Then explore both the Weird Tales site and the related Exotic Pylon site. You can thank me later!

The return of Zeuhl!

Almost there...

"I of Infinite Forms, Part I" (Part II) by Ga'an, from Ga'an (2011)

More purely Zeuhl than the following.

"RW" by The Psychic Paramount, from II (2011)

Less purely Zeuhl than the preceding.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Austin Psych Fest 5

The majority of the Austin Psych Fest 2012 line-up has been announced. Last year's fest was my #4 Live Show of 2011, and this one has the potential to be even better. Although we did get two all-new Top 20 artists from the experience: Woodsman (#2) and The Cult of Dom Keller (#15).

There's even an OFFICIAL mixtape for download on BandCamp!

austinPSYCH mixTAPE
A little more elaborate line-up run-down that the link-list I did for last year's, but still "in order of my psychedness or interest in exploring."

Brian Jonestown Massacre: "Vacuum Boots" (1996, live)

Woods: "Blood Dries Darker" (2010, live)

Wooden Shjips: "Black Smoke Rise" (2011, live)

Quest for Fire: "Set Out Alone" (2010, live)

Pink Mountaintops: "I (Fuck) Mountains" (2004, live)

Dissapears: "Superstition" (2011, live)

Peaking Lights: "Tiger Eyes (Laid Back)" (2011, live)

Moon Duo: "Mazes" (2011, live)

The Black Angels: "Science Killer" (2008, live)

The Black Lips: "New Direction" (2011, live)

Amen Dunes: "Christopher" (2011, live)

Sun Araw: "Deep Cover" (2010, live)

Bombino: "Adounia (Life)" from Agadez (2011)

High Wolf: "Free Your Energy Field" (2011, live with GNOD)

Night Beats: "Puppet on a String" (2011, live APF4)

Dead Meadow: "That Old Temple" (2010, live)

Indian Jewelry: "Temporary Famine Ship" from Free Gold (2008)

Cosmonauts: "Flower Bomb" (2011)
Sleep ∞ Over: "Casual Diamond" (2011)
Pure X: "Easy" (2011)
Spindrift: "Red Reflection" (2011)
The Telescopes: "The Perfect Needle" (1989)
Prince Rama: "Om Namo Shivaya" (2010)
Psychic Ills: "Mantis" (2009)
Federale: "The Hanging" (2009)
Olivia Tremor Control: BBC sessions from 1997

MMOSS: "Woolgathering" (2010)
Quilt: "Penobska Oakwalk" (2011)
Lotus Plaza: "These Years" (2009)
The Intelligence: "Males" (2010)
Headdress: "The Lost White Brother" (2009)
Allah Las: "Catamaran" (2011)
Christian Bland and The Revelators: "I See You" (2010)

Smoke and Feathers: "Blue Skies" (2010)
The Orange Revival: "Tomorrow" (2010)
Acid Baby Jesus: "Fingerpainting" (2011)
The UFO Club: "Wolfman" (2011)
A Band In Heaven: "Sleazy Dreams" (2011)
The Cush: "Vigilant Ones" (2009)
Ringo Deathstarr: "So High" (2011)

Tickets go on sale this Saturday at Noon CST. Go get 'em!!

Monday, January 16, 2012

European '72

So here I am, on vacation - doing what I always do: reading people's Top 10 lists. And I notice on Demdike Miles' list at Boomkat that he's included Conrad Schnitzler Live '72 in there. I remember getting a free .mp from this (Vol. 8 comp coming soon!) and was interested, but it might have been while my computer/internet was down last year. So I never did order it...

Schnitzler was undeniably a living legend, until he died recently in August 2011.

from Live '72 by Conrad Schnitzler (2011)

Boomkat's sold out of the 2xLP, no digital-dowload version there, and not among Con's records at Forced Exposure (but that Trigger Trilogy 3xCD does looks intriguing). Although the Boomkat product description sounds impressive, they pretty much always do. So I thought, just live to order another record.

Live '72
But then I noticed: the record label. I've never heard of Further Records, but I figured an internet search couldn't hurt. Not only are they on the WWW, but they run it run it as Bandcamp, and you can stream Live '72 from there...

And they still have "61 remaining" copies to sell as of this posting - for $20! (That's after I ordered my copy.)

Here's that glowing Boomkat entry:
**Edition of 500, housed in hand screen printed DIY black french paper jacket** Conrad Schnitzler is without a doubt one of the most important figures in 20th century electronic music. His CV includes a prominent role initiating the seminal Zodiak Free Arts Lab in Berlin circa 1967, essentially creating the nucleus of what would become known as the Kosmische movement. From this he became a founder member of Kluster and collaborated with the likes of Klaus Schulze and Tangerine Dream, laying the foundations for future generations of Techno and Ambient electronic musicians. It's not often that unreleased material of his comes to the surface, but Further Records have somehow gained access to this 1972 live session, salvaged from cheap old tapes. Considering the time frame, this stuff is just incredible, spanning twelve tracks of signature metallic pulses and starry synth plumes framing his beautifully restrained melodic arrangements. What separates Con from the rest of the crowd, and makes him so important to the development of electronic music and Techno in particular, is that intuitive and engrossing element of restraint and repetition, especially when coupled with his knack for darker, moodier melodies and that brooding sense of space. No hyperbole intended, this is a genuinely exceptional piece of work, easily one of the very best reissues we've encountered in the recent deluge. Mastered by CGB at D&M, Berlin

And the direct label link again: to stream or order.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Gongs to the Tempel -
Astral Headspace, Vol. 7

Current, updated download links have been moved to a central Comp Index post, as well as the COMPS section over on the right side of the blog.

All the way to #7! If you've missed any, all our promotional .mp3 compilations can be found on the menu at right, under "Astral Headspace Comps." Maybe worth a look?

I tried to build this one mainly around the 2011 Year End lists (albums + live), with some other notables that may or may not fit it. You make the call!

Gongs to the Tempel
A few quick notes, then we'll get into it real basic. You can hear the music by downloading...

Looking at the sources for various tunes, I think it's clear that Altered Zones will be missed. The site was truly a standby for this blog for AZ's entire, brief existence. They still have .mp3's available for now...

I was totally happy to find the Self-Titled Mag SoundCloud archives - whatta bonanza!

And finally, major thanks this time to NYC Taper for filling in the promo .mp3 gaps - and really for everything. Extra-great website for legit live recordings! You should be visiting there religiously.

So, here it is:

Gongs to the Tempel - Astral Headspace, Vol. 7

I might fill in some more info after this weekend, but I wanted to rush this out while it's still hot!

1. "Pushing Onlys" (live) - Woods (#7 Album, 2011 & #4 Live, 2009)
from NYC Taper's 6/17/11 recording

2. "Lazy Bones" - Wooden Shjips
from Self-Titled Mag SoundCloud collection

3. "Baby Missiles" - The War on Drugs (potential misses 2011)
from the Pitchfork review

4. "Insects" - Woodsman (#2, 2011 & live at APF4: #4 Live)
from Altered Zones (w/ live version!)

5. "I Led Three Lives" - Grails (#1 Album, 2011)
from Temporary Residence Ltd label of quality

6. "Instant Light" (edit) - The Alps (#16 album, 2011)
from Root Strata records

7. "Acetone" - ST 37 (played at Austin Psych Fest: #4 Live)
from Emperor Jones records

8. "Black Grease" (live) - The Black Angels (Honorable Mention 2011, curated APF4, plus co-#4 Live)
another NYC Taper gig

9. "If Only" (live) - Queens of the Stone Age (co-#6, Live 2011)
more from NYC Taper

10. "Benediction" - Thurston Moore (2011 Honorable Mention)
from the Pitchfork review

11. "Abrus precatorius" - Botanist
Discovered via weird notables on Pitchfork 2011 Metal list, .mp3 off of the artist's website!

12. "Dream Tassels" (edit) - Æthenor (all En Form for Blå snippets here on #13 album, 2011)
always from VHF Records

13. "We Have Visitors" - Pye Corner Audio (co-#19, 2011 Albums)
again with the Altered Zones?

14. "World 13" - Jonas Reinhardt (something other than #9 of 2011)
Check it out at the artist's SoundCloud!

15. "Sunstar" - Miracle (co-#5, 2011)
on the Forkcast at Pitchfork

16. "Song for Reinier Lucassen's Sphinx" - Trouble Books & Mark McGuire (the latter made #18, 2011)
yes, it's Altered Zones.

17. "Goddess Eyes" - Julia Holter
in the Self-Titled Mag SoundCloud archives (Boomkat's #1 album of the year!)

18. "Almost Grew My Hair" (live) - Grails (reigning #1 Album)
You really should already have this NYC Taper show!

19. "We Got the System to Fight the System" (live) - Maserati (#3 Live, 2011 & #1 records, 2010)
This one too! (NYC Taper, I mean...)

20. "In Circles" - Woodsman (still #2, 2011 & co-#4, Live 2011)
a good place to look: was Altered Zones

21. "Turiya" - Barn Owl (#8 album, 2011)
Cool video here at Altered Zones

22. "Laudanum Tusk" (edit) - Æthenor
another snippet from VHF Records

23. "I Might" (live) - Wilco (#7, Live 2011 & Honorable Mention)
lotsa the Wilco at NYC Taper

24. "Chinatown" - Destroyer
all yer Lite Rock faves are at Pitchfork

25. "Last Night at the Jetty" - Panda Bear (#10, 2007)
Pitchfork covers Panda?!

26. "Tiny gradations of loss" - The Caretaker (#10 albums, 2011)
good coverage from Altered Zones (with bonus vid!)

27. "Remember Us" - Leyland Kirby (#10 albums, 2011)
back to Self-Titled Mag's SoundCloud with you!

28. "Night Gallery III" - Sun Araw and Eternal Tapestry
from Altered Zones

29. "Mind Fry" - Edibles (who are all these peoples?!)
from Altered Zones II

30. "Get Lost" - Mark McGuire (#18 album, 2011)
from Altered Zones o' course!

31. "Batteries May Drain" - Steve Hauschildt (probable oversights 2011)
one of many on Altered Zones

32. "Slow Oscillations" - Zombi (core-#5, 2011 album)
free remix EP at Amazon

33. "Neukoln" - Jonas Reinhardt (from #9 album, 2011)
another gem outta Self-Titled Mag's SoundCloud (Bowie cover!)

34. "Vivarium" (edit) - Æthenor
last one from VHF Records...

35. "Dust" - Evan Caminiti (part of #8 albums, 2011)
from Altered Zones article

36. "Before You Go" - Charalambides (leftover for next year)
last one from the Self-Titled Mag SoundCloud revue

37. "Solid State" (live) - Robedoor (#11 album, 2011)
this one's on the WFMU blog

38. "Where's Jasper?" & "Visions of Load" - Gnod (#3 of 2011)
unearthed from the artist's SoundCloud!

Let me know if you run into any issues or errors. Like that typo I made in the blog name in a previous comp title... heh heh heh.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Aanval van het kosmische Belgen

Sure, there's plenty of bands from Belgium. Sylvester Anfang II (#22, 2010), Creature with the Atom Brain, Univers Zero (Zeuhl!), uhhh... Front 242. No longer playing Houston?!

Paranoid Plant
So, anyway, check out some sweet Belgian pysch jams I found...

"Paranoid Plant" by To Lost Sheep (2011)

I really like the spare, trebly guitar tone, as well as the laconic pace - even when things get hairy.

Available for free download at their Bandcamp page, plus a couple more - like this one:

Tasty, right? A bit more shuffle-y and schizoid around the fringes... or maybe Jazz Odyssey. In addition to Bandcamp, they've got Facebook and MySpace (with 2 earlier-sounding tunes). So you can keep up with news, and music coming out, and language practice.

There's also live video of some cover tunes...

"Make It Wit' Chu" [QOTSA cover], live Sint-Lodewijkscollege Lokeren 2010

I think it's a different band altogether, definitely a different/earlier line-up... but related. Can't pass up a Queens cover!

Monday, January 9, 2012

My Favorite T-Shirt In College

A recent Flaming Lips pic tweet reminded me of My Favorite T-Shirt In College, and I was able to find a really nice image from here... I still have the shirt, completely riddled with holes, thinner than Kleenex.

Flaming Jimi Eye
[click for full-size]

As I recall, the orange sections were really more pink... and all of the colors were more flourescent, rather than just bright (although not glow-in-the-dark).

"One Million Billionth of a Millisecond on a Sunday Morning" by The Flaming Lips (live 1988)

So, yeah. I bought the shirt at the 4/28/1988 Austin show (at The Ritz), opening for Butthole Surfers. Second time I ever saw them, and second night in a row - after the 4/27 Houston show (at Numbers). They were so ridiculously loud back then!

Octopus blotter
Another one I wore a bunch was my Butthole Surfers shirt, based around the 1st image in this collection of LSD sheet art. Definitely got that one at a later show - possibly The Ensemble on 12/9? The octopus was screened in thick black ink over an orange field, with BUTTHOLE above and SURFERS below.

"Jimi" by Butthole Surfers (live 1988, London)

I liked to wear it to Grateful Dead shows in the late-'80s/early-'90s. It was a big hit!

And just in case you doubted nary a word of what I've told, I now produce evidence!

Flaming Lips
There it is!! Funny, I don't remember ever noticing the right edge being so distorted. My perception during this era might not have been entirely reliable...

As advertised??

Grateful Dead
Bonus pix: This was my usual go-to Dead shirt around the same time period - fairly generic, but it got the job done.

Star Laser Force
One day I will tell the stories of Star Laser Force.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

The Upcoming of Thunderbeam

At the end of the year, supporters got a surprise from Team Thunderbeam: the soundtrack! And it's making its way out on the internet.

Thunderbeam widescreen
I'd written a little about this situation about a month ago. Then a few weeks ago, The Octopus Project put a couple of songs up on their SoundCloud page, both free for download (currently). Go there, or go to the bottom of this post.

In the meantime, someone's started putting certain songs up on YouTube - so let's check 'em out!

"Diamond Disc" from Thunderbeam! OST (2012)

I dig... a lot!

"The Unknown Worlds" from Thunderbeam! OST (2012)

Not that's some good videogame soundtrack material. I'd listen to that even outside of a video-blasty.

"Orgone Accumulator" from Thunderbeam! OST (2012)

I don't perceive any relation to the Hawkwind classic [mild toplessness]. Obviously, Hawkwind didn't invent the Orgone concept, but they may have perfected it. Also, literally just yesterday, I pulled up the video for "Cloudbusting," and I had never known what that song/vid were all about. Wild!

And here are the downloadable SoundCloud tunes...

C.L.O.V.I.S by The Octopus Project

Short & sweet, kinda mellow. But in a good, Tangerine Dream-transition style. (Download is the arrow-pointing-down button, center/far-right.)

The Enlightened Masters by The Octopus Project

Full title is apparently "The Enlightened Masters (Thunderbeam Finale)," if the YouTube version can be trusted. Now I want to finish the game, once it comes out, and also go see The Octopus Project live. Come back to Houston!

old Logo
O yeah, in case you didn't go back, here's the "Theme Song" that I'd previously posted:

Thunderbeam Theme Song by The Octopus Project

I know, right?! As far as I can tell, the whole album is yet unavailable generally - but I'll provide updates as available.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Everything's Coming Up Lilacs

Check it. per Stereogum...

Lilacs & Champagne - Everywhere, Everyone from stereogum on Vimeo.

Nice video, nice tune - VERY niceness.

It's like ½ Grails (literally), raised to the power of Demdike Stare, divided by Belbury Poly!

Along with a series of relevatory videos (beginning with Jandek 1987?!)... on their Facebook:
the LP package is gonna be delux-ed up with Gold Foil and 2 layers of UV gloss to make it bling off the store shelves,,
the LP version of our record is gong to feature a bonus track,, know this!,,

Pre-order now from Mexican Summer, son!

Lilacs & Champagne
That CAN live at The Old Grey Whistle Stop 1975 video on FB is wicked cool too.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Best Live Music of 2011 (Top 10-ish)

Damn. I saw some pretty sweet shows this year! Every time I thought I had my list down, another one would occur to me - then I'd have to review & reshuffle the whole list. Finally, I went ahead and expanded the official list to 15... was the best I could do. And even then, I was cutting off my own hand to keep it real!

1. Immortal / Absu
Feb. 26, Backstage Live - San Antonio, TX

"Solarfall" by Immortal, Backstage Live, 2/26/2011

There might have been some close calls on this or that ranking, but not so much with the #1 slot. I was already super-pumped by the time of my preliminary incantatory post. Awesome band, excellent sound (plus LOUD!!), terrific crowd, my first True Norwegian Black Metal show... We ended up with an Immortal setlist something exactly like this one. It was an outrageously fun and frostbitten time. C'mon, this entrance? "Sons of Northern Darkness?" "Blashyrkh (Mighty Ravendark)?!" Horgh was impressive, Apollyon was thundering, Abbath was hilarious!

"Night Fire Canonization" by Absu, Backstage Live, 2/26/2011

Seeing Absu (#6, 2011) for the first time as the opener was an amazing bonus. Proscriptor is the complete avatar of Animal, flailing wildly behind the drumset, and the two dudes upfront were thrashing it for all it's worth.

Absu's opening sets did vary quite a bit, but according to this series of videos, it went something like: Swords and Leather/Night Fire Canonization/Four Crossed Wands (Spell 181)/Never Blow Out The Eastern Candle. This set alone would be a contender on this list for any year - the whole thing just kicked ass.

2. Scratch Acid
Dec. 9, Fitzgerald's - Houston, TX

"Cannibal" by Scratch Acid, Fitzgerald's, 12/9/2011

It had been 5 years since I caught Scratch Acid at the Touch & Go Anniversary party in Chicago. They were impressive then, and that was more of a 1-off than a reunion tour deal. The band, most especially David Yow, gave their all for the whole performance here. Yow was regularly jumping out onto the audience, like a kid again. They sounded good and aggressive, slamming into most of their material with abandon. And I've long been a big fan of all that! We got to see "Albino Slug" (the memories!), "Mess", even Yow explaining the effects of aging, etc...

3. Maserati / My Education / Co-Pilot
Apr. 9, The Mink on Main - Houston, TX

"Pyramid of the Sun" by Maserati, The Mink on Main, 4/9/2011

Maserati (#2 Live Show of 2009, #1 Record of 2010) returned to Houston, having lost their drummer since the last show. A.E. Paterra of Zombi filled in for this tour. Very different kind of drummer, but he played the Maserati style extremely well - resulting in some high-octane propulsive disco-Kraut post-rock.

With the synth sequencing, Maserati played a pretty consistent set on this tour. Here's the closest (date-wise) version of the encore "Run Like Hell" I could find (Chicago on 4/25). Here's the opening segment of that show (7 vids in all). Bask in the performance, then grab some bootlegs!

Austin Psych Fest 4
4. Austin Psych Fest 4
Apr. 29-May 1, Seaholm Power Plant - Austin, TX
White Hills / The Diamond Center - Mar. 15, Continental Club - Houston, TX
Black Angels / Dead Meadow - Oct. 13, Fitzgerald's - Houston, TX

Austin Psych Fest 2011 Super-8 Reel

These are somewhat unrelated shows, although everyone did come together for APF4. The first two were previewed in this old post. The Psych Fest was a sprawling event, like a never-ending river of groove and noise. I unexpectedly ran into Stephen McBean of Black Mountain, and was totally star-struck! He'd apparently played with The Shine Brothers, who I'd just watched (but I didn't recognize him onstage).

"Sound Mass" by My Education & Theta Naught, Seaholm Power Plant (Austin Psych Fest 4), 5/1/2011

It was just that kinda time... Got to meet & see The Cult of Dom Keller (#15, 2011), Woodsman was on the main stage, White Hills blew out the joint! The only disappointment was probably Cloudland Canyon. Half the time was patching the main synths, then it didn't really move too much. O well.

White Hills went to Holland between the 2 times we saw them in Texas (first in Houston): "Ocean of Sound" and "Three Quarters". Before they played at the Continental, we hung out with openers The Diamond Center, who also played APF4. Really great people (and band) from Richmond, VA.

"Telephone" by The Black Angels, Fitzgerald's, 10/13/2011

Here's the FB-collection post about the 3 bands for the Fitz show. The Black Angels were the best I've ever heard them - performance and clarity of sound. (Sometimes they can get a bit murky with so many players.) One especially jammy song really knocked me out. I think it was "Science Killer"... Maybe I need to finally get Directions to See A Ghost (2008). I always forget to mention this, but the Austin Psych Fest is entirely the invention and project of The Black Angels people, which might not be common knowledge.

5. Free Press Summer Fest
June 4-June 5, Eleanor Tinsley Park - Houston, TX

"Buckingham Green" by Ween, Eleanor Tinsley Park (Free Press Summer Fest 3), 6/4/2011

Once again (#8 Live Show, 2010), I didn't see nearly as many shows as I'd liked to, at the Free Press Summer Fest this year. But I did see WEEN (#2 Live Show, 2010)! The greatest part was that Dean's guitar was really cranked up in the mix - like the most I'd ever heard. Another great part was the pretty sweet Ween setlist... "Birthday Boy" then "Awesome Sound?" That's an old-school 1-2 punch! O, and "Ice Castles > Final Alarm" too? Thanks, Claude! They also covered "Let's Dance" here, which is still fun.

One more thing! While searching for suitable FPSF Ween clips, I stumbled across two vids for (much) older Houston shows that I was there for: Emo's 11/29/1992 and Urban Art Bar 11/20/1994... wow.

"Night by Night" by Chromeo, Eleanor Tinsley Park (Free Press Summer Fest 3), 6/4/2011

Chromeo really got the crowd goin', probably the most of any group we saw. I'd only ever heard "Hot Mess," which was enough to check 'em out - for kicks! But it was the quality party jams... Dudes got charisma, and beats. Like "Fancy Footwork" or "Tenderoni." Good times.

6. Kyuss Lives! - Sep. 29, Warehouse Live - Houston, TX
QOTSA - Mar. 18, One-Eyed Jack's - New Orleans, LA

"Thumb" by Kyuss Lives!, Warehouse Live, 9/29/2011

I'm gonna have to start burning through these or I'll never get back to posting again. For some reason, I thought it'd be posse-in-effect for the Kyuss reunion tour, but I ended up solo for most of this one. Until later when I got deep into the front-stage mob and found the 1 person I expected there. Here's a pretty typical setlist. Sounded really good to me, although I've only ever owned Blues for the Red Sun (1992), so a bit of a disadvantage. They did played "Allen's Wrench" and this "Whitewater" jam. Missed both openers, which was actually okay...

"Regular John" and "Avon" by Queens of the Stone Age, One-Eyed Jack's, 3/18/2011

Not too surprising on the setlist front, given that the whole point was to play the debut album in full. Soon thereafter, I reported on the show in this round-up post. As this "Sick, Sick, Sick" video-poster accurately says, "Tiny club, fun show". Real tiny! I dig the self-titled debut, so I concur heartily. Also, "(I Wanna) Make It wit Chu." Plus, like, New Orleans?

7. Wilco
May 6, Verizon Wireless Theater - Houston, TX

"Impossible Germany" by Wilco, Verizon Wireless, 5/6/2011

We had awesome front-row corner balcony seats for this one. Couldn't get much better! And although Verizon is soulless and corporate, I am regularly impressed with the quality of sound - which is relatively important for live music. You can find all their show's setlists at WilcoBase along with other stats, which is real handy. Most of the other clips from this show are marred by crowd noise-talk-singin' along. O well - here's a live "Handshake Drugs," which they played - same song, same band, same venue, just 3 years earlier. (I was there too.)

8. Roky Erickson III
Oct. 1, Continental Club - Houston, TX

"Roller Coaster" by Roky Erickson, Continental Club-Houston, 10/1/2011

Another good show by Roky! This is becoming a very happy annual tradition (#5, 2010 and #1, 2009). It's a positive, life-affirming, rockin'-good time to see him up there playing those songs I've loved for so long. Especially this time - Roky was the loosest and happiest-looking of the 3 times he's played in town. Plus he added a third 13th Floor Elevators tune this time! (see above.)

Arcade Fire at The Woodlands 2011
9. Arcade Fire / Explosions in the Sky
May 4, Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavillion - The Woodlands, TX

"Month of May" by Arcade Fire, Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion, 5/4/2011

Who'da thunk it? Well, me actually. I first saw Arcade Fire live before I'd ever heard their music, at Vegoose 2005 (kind of like Wilco at ACL 2002). And I was really impressed - still never listened to any of their records really, but terrific live band. As they were again in The Woodlands, which just happens to be "The Suburbs" the singer grew up in. Apparently, he used to also work at the venue as a kid (The Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion), so he had some ex-employee stories. It was a nice homecoming kinda thing. Plus indie-rocking it up. Also: the actual full setlist.

Explosions in the Sky jammin' it up, Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion, 5/4/2011

EITS opened, and were good too. I dig the post-rock, but have never really clicked on this band - despite the Texas connection. A big suburban outdoor amphitheatre might not have been the right introduction...

10. Joe Boyd & Robyn Hitchcock
Oct. 8, McGonigel's Mucky Duck - Houston, TX

"River Man" (Nick Drake cover) by Robyn Hitchcock, San Francisco, 9/22/2011

Real interesting show. Joe Boyd ended up a better storyteller than I really expected. Hitchcock brought his eccentricities to bear, while maintaining some respect for the source. Ended up going alone, to a club that I don't frequent, got sat right up front, in some ways it was very quaint and British. Setlist pretty close to what's shown here.

10(a)? Speaking of British music from a bygone era... I forgot yet another notable show: The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway, by "The Musical Box" at House of Blues, 10/24/2011 - Houston, TX

11. Butthole Surfers
Sep. 11, Emo's East opening - Austin, TX

"Pittsburgh to Lebanon" by Butthole Surfers, Emo's East, 9/11/2011

Gonna start blazing throught the rest. This was the grand opening party for Emo's East (east of I-35 in Austin, on Riverside). Here's the very retro-BHS setlist, who have swung focus back to their early catalogue for quite awhile (#3 last year). I was truly shocked by the awesome "Lady Sniff > Pepper" medley. With 400 Blows and Bodytronix opening... ha ha, ha?

12. Project Grimm / Dead Mineral
Dec. 29, Rudyard's - Houston, TX

"Melville" by Project Grimm, Rudyard's, 12/29/2011

Previous reunion show (#4 last year) was a one-off. This time it's for real. Grimm is back together again, writing new tunes, and apparently playing regularly (for oldsters)!

Setlist acquired: seven long years/deliveryman's threat/E pluribus merman/through the day/living without it/melville/clean/fish king/window ledge/lifetime of goodness/you bend, I'll slide. E: durian (plus, "missing" - not played?)

13. Linus Pauling Quartet / Dead Mineral / Defending the Kingdom
Dec. 3, Rudyard's - Houston, TX

"Waiting for the Axe to Fall" by LP4, from All Things Are Light (2007)

Looks like Bag of Hammers is expected around May... 2012, I believe. Awesome "Luis Black is California," without lead-in "ROTB" (Roll Out The Bong). "Waiting for the Axe" was majestic, o' course. The new songs sound like they're gonna rip it up and rain hell down on it. "La Tapatia" was performance art in extremis, invoking dark spirits and handing out McRibs. It was nuts!

Setlist acquired (covered in McRib blood): Crom / She Did Not Know / Luis Black / Saving Throw / Waiting for the Axe (to Fall) / Victory Gin / Star Chimp / La Tapatia

Ranking level reduced for being a self-imposed non-headlining, shorter set.

14. My Morning Jacket
Dec. 8, Verizon Wireless Theater - Houston, TX

"It Beats 4 U" by My Morning Jacket, Verizon Wireless Theater, 12/8/2011

Unlike LP4, MMJ have gone 'mature.' Still a good band, still good tunes, still good performers - could use a little more rock. Which they realized just in time for the encore finale of "One Big Holiday." Looks like someone wrote down the setlist.

15. Mastodon / Black Tusk
Oct. 27, Fitzgerald's - Houston, TX

"Dry Bone Valley," "Black Tongue" and "Crystal Skull" by Mastodon, Fitzgerald's, 10/27/2011

I never figured out my actual feelings about The Hunter (2011), Mastodon's significant change of pace. But they are a good live band, that plays metal like a non-metal (jam?) band. Definitely liked the show better than the album. Check out the actual physical setlist...

Black Tusk opening, Fitzgerald's, 10/27/2011

Caught about half of Black Tusk's set, and they were merciless. In a good way!