Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Negativland - Dead Dog Records

One of their best -- hunt this down. It's available in the book "FAIR USE" and is 45 minutes of awe-inspiring, laughter-inducing, ear-cringing sample-happy splatchmalarkey relating to the U.S. Copyright Act in regard to music. Only a couple of points get tiresome. Most of it is ear candy for the mind. Mmmm. I could go for some ear candy right now.

Two other things I'd like to say about why I like this so much: (A) The unbelievably hilarious way that they keep mixing in nanoseconds of well known popular songs like "Stairway to Heaven" -- so that your mind knows that it's heard something familiar, but it just can't quite place it! And (B) the way that they present BOTH sides of the issue. Of course it's obvious which side of the fence they're on, but it's really cool of them to present the other side's arguments too. GREAT!!!!

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Monday, May 4, 2009

Pissed Jeans - Shallow

For better or worse I think did it backwards with Pissed Jeans. When "Hope for Men" was released almost two years ago I picked it up based on a review I read that said they sounded "My War" era Black Flag and the Jesus Lizard. When I see music journalists using either of these bands for reference points I am almost always skeptical and rarely interested. Keeping all this in mind I would have to say Pissed Jeans are the real deal. Even though it took me forever to get Pissed Jeans debut "Shallow" I think it is my favorite of their two full length records. Although its a short record it really delivers a lot of quality tunes in about the same time period it would take for you to watch an episode of the Fresh Prince. This is the type of record where one song gets stuck in your head and when you listen to it you decide to start it from the beginning and let it play to the end.

Seaweed - Four

The most under rated band of the 90's in my opinion. "Four" is old school hardcore refined and polished to a gleaming, pop shine. This album got Seaweed a major label contract. Kid Candy made it to MTV. Seaweed was emblematic of the bright moment for American alternative music between '89 and '94. Stephanie OD'd, Mia was murdered, Kurt killed himself, and people decided that the Northwest musical aesthetic wasn't happy enough, I guess. Bring on Weezer!

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Soundgarden - Louder Than Love

This has always been my favorite Soundgarden record. I am a fan of their later work (especially Superunknown and Badmotorfinger), but this record contains a rawness and vitality that their more polished later stuff lacks. Louder Than Love straddles the two major periods in Soundgarden's career: their earlier, less-metal sounding work (e.g. Ultramega OK and Screaming Life/Fop) and their later more-metal sounding work, epitomized by the aforementioned Superunknown and Badmotorfinger. Louder Than Love contains the elements of both of these periods.

it's the band's most unapologetically heavy disc, with Badmotorfinger a close second (I think that the production on Badmotorfinger helps it sound as heavy as it does). The production on this album is a bit murky, but it completely adds to it's charm as far as I'm concerned. When you hear the double guitars come crashing in at the beginning of "Ugly Truth" you know the 80's are pretty much over forever.

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Oxbow - Narcotic story

Oxbow is one of the rare bands that exhibits such a glacial lack of compromise, from the start settling into a style that's harsh at best, and using music outside of their bubble as base componentry rather than outright influence. Never "metal" but nearly always "heavy,” Oxbow knows its history, having used blues conventions as crude scaffolds for cerebral noise rock of the most disturbing order. But if it's at all a hidden agenda of Oxbow's to destroy, or at least disfigure, "the blues" in order to save it, The Narcotic Story brings them one step closer to fruition. A vestige of the blues – of the sort evocative of some stinking deep-south abattoir – remains. But the record's eight songs are imbued with a desperate, film-noir quality, emphasizing orchestration beyond guitar, bass and drums. The band flirted with similar textures on 2002's An Evil Heat, but here there's less reliance on the typically "heavy.” The occasionally mathy Zeppelin riffs that stumble and slide, and stop-and-start rhythms are in shorter supply overall; the metal has largely been smelted out in favor of tension. Toggling between dissimilar themes over the course of the longer pieces continues to be an Oxbow hallmark, perhaps in more of a traditional fashion than a sudden edit-like jump. The transitions between the delicate and the bludgeoning are allowed to develop less jarringly in dynamic-laden numbers like "Time Gentlemen Time" and "A Winner Every Time.”

Butthole Surfers - Locust Abortion Technician

Easily one of the most bizarre, nightmarish, acid-drenched albums ever to bubble up from the gutter, Locust Abortion Technician will make you redefine the meaning of "wierd." This is the Butthole Surfer's best and most avant-garde album, filled with tapeloops, slowed/sped-up/reversed vocals and sfx, sludgey distortion and chaotic song structure. It is a crazy, schizophrenic mess that will get inside your head. I love it. The Butthole Surfers prove to be masters of the studio, as they create "music" that you would think spilled out of an insane asylum from a freaky netherworld.