Monday, 17 April 2017

Where's My Towel/Industry Standard - Big Boys

UNDERRATED GEMS


I cannot believe this record's status isn't 'post-punk classic'. Minutemen, James Chance, Mission Of Burma and even Wipers get all the kudos for this kind of thing. Is it not the best American punky post-punk LP though? Big Boys were Texans who made ye olde angular punk that got pretty fuckin' fonkay at times. It was possibly a big influence on third albums by Meat Puppets and REM. This 1981 album didn't get a mention in Rip It Up & Start Again or its pdf appendix Discography Part Two: Post-punk Esoterica. Where's My Towel... is pretty hard to categorise which might be a reason it remains on the outside of subterranean rock historyAll Music Guide once again prove their irrelevance by giving it only three stars. Just because Where's My Towel... doesn't rate in the rock-crit consensus doesn't mean it's not magnificent though.

MCR, a Light In The Attic subsidiary, thankfully rescued this recording from languishing in obscurity in 2013. There was a comp, The Skinny Elvis on Touch & Go in the early 90s, which contained this LP in its entirety along with the Frat Cars EP and their side of Live At Raul's. The Skinny Elvis was endorsed by Rollins, Coley, Moore & Mackaye in its sleeve-notes (How 1993). However I don't need those dudes to tell me what a fabulous record this is. Maybe the cult of Big Boys is still building and one day they'll be more than just a footnote to Scratch Acid, Rapeman et al.


Saturday, 15 April 2017

Sweet Sixteen - Diga Ryhtm Band

SPACE DEBRIS GOES TO THE LOFT


Bloody amazing mental exotica from 1976. Kinda like Martin Denny after a few lines of speed and a tab of acid. This was big at NYC's The Loft apparently. Produced by Mickey Hart who was the drummer in The Grateful Dead but don't let that put you off.

Monday, 10 April 2017

Nude For Satan



Wow...only discovered this recently but haven't been able to track down a soundtrack. I can't find any evidence of it ever being made available to the public actually. The film is on youtube but I'm yet to watch it. I have been led to believe the best thing about this movie is its soundtrack though. It's a little surprising that one of the record companies that specialise in horror soundtracks haven't reissued this yet. Alberto Beldon Bembo was apparently a very famous singer in Europe in the 70s.

Monday, 3 April 2017

On The Hi-Fi In Brief - Autumn 2017


SONGS OF THE HUMPBACKED WHALE - Roger Payne (1970)
Been meaning to listen to this LP for like 20 years. I'm sure this was the first ever album released that contained whale songs. It apparently became a massive hit. This is pure whale song with no crashing waves, pan pipes or gimmicky new age keys. Aquatic animal dub jazz masterpiece.


READY FOR THE HOUSE - Jandek (1978)
I've never actually taken the time to sit down and given Jandek a proper close listen until now. Most outsider musicians I can take or leave but Jandek feels more essential than that. He really came up with something unique. This is a man alone with his voice and a strangely tuned guitar. The way Jandek plays and sings is incomparable to anyone else before him. I've tried to come up with a description of what he does but his music is beyond words. Is this spooky rudimentary acoustic blues played randomly? I tried.......but that does not do Jandek justice.


THE GHOST OF HOPE - The Residents (2017)
I did not think I would be listening to a current LP from the legendary Residents this year but hey I am. The residents are in the midst of an absurdly productive phase. They've issued over 15 recordings since the beginning of the 2010s. The couple I've heard are terrific, better than their 80s and 90s output, almost up there with their 70s golden period. The Ghost Of Hope is a concept record about train disasters in the olden days. These tales are compelling, grim and quite touching.


PAWN HEARTS - Van der Graaf Generator (1971)
Van Der Graaf Generator released a bunch of ridiculous prog albums in the 70s that are cherished to this day and not just by prog fans. Their influence was broader than that, glam and punk people also appreciated this singular and very British vision. If only the rest of prog was this good. VDGG's 4th record is colossal in its chaos. Epic.

Tuesday, 28 March 2017

Texas Rock Bottom - Rangers



What the hell is going on here?

Only just realised Texas Rock Bottom was out yesterday and have listened to it non stop for 36 hours. The album was originally released in August last year but has recently been reissued with a couple of bonus tracks. A vague familiarity makes this is an instantly appealing album. There's always been something a bit deja vu about their sound. We've got singing on most of these tunes(!) and what sound like tributes to The Meat Puppets and Sonic Youth(!?). Funnily enough two hours previous to discovering this at bandcamp I was thinking 'Why hasn't anyone used those acid fried demos of Up On The Sun as a blueprint for starting something new?' This album is not quite that but...actually come to think of it Zombies (Night) from Rangers 2011 LP Pan Am Stories had that sort of vibe as do several of the songs here.

Even though the production is more stripped back than usual, Texas Rock Bottom is still trippy and wonderfully evocative. These recordings evoke relentless sunshine, daydreaming on smoggy freeways, misty suburban landscapes, vapour trail skies and bucolic snapshots. However it's the exploration of internal terrain that seems to be the (un)focus here. Joe Knight has hit a purple patch writing some insidiously stellar songs that capture a state of malaise. The catchy The Dreams I've Had This Week is the best pop song in several years. I haven't said the words lost, melancholy or hazy yet, surely that's mandatory for any sort of discussion about Rangers. On Max Heart Rate it's hard not to think he's being sarcastic when he sings he's 'feeling overjoyed' over a blissful yet dejected backing track. Rangers have never been so world weary or regretful but they're revelling in it with insouciance. Un-named ambiguous and conflicting emotions are all over this album. This is Mr Knight's best work since 2010's Suburban Tours and might possibly be even better!


Monday, 27 March 2017

Sun Sun Sun - Jakki

SPACE DEBRIS GOES TO THE DISCO - PART 7



Walter Gibbons does an insane uncredited mix here. This is gloriously strange, weirder than anything I've heard from the outsider music cannon!

Sunday, 26 March 2017

Only You - Steve Monite

SPACE DEBRIS GOES TO THE DISCO IN LAGOS



Thanks to the great Soundway Records compilation Doin It In Lagos I got to hear this afro disco boogie gem last year and was totally floored. This needs to be pumped loud through your sound system. That bass is wicked and that melody....sweet. Who is Steve Monite? As someone says in the comments 'You can't put out the boogie!'

Wednesday, 22 March 2017

Sunday, 19 March 2017

Track In A (Nebraska Nights) - Cat Mother & The All Night News Boys

SPACE DEBRIS GOES TO THE PROTO-DISCO


I have no idea what genre this Hendrix produced track is. Here's some funky tribal organ-led prog fusion proto disco or something like that. The break at the 6.50 mark is well worth the wait.

Saturday, 18 March 2017

It Should Have Been You - Gwen Guthrie

SPACE DEBRIS GOES TO THE DISCO - PART 3


This fabulous track turns into a fucking killer 4.05 in.