Back in February, the wife and I caught Coraline in theaters. This amazing film (shown in 3D) easily jumped to my top ten list of best theater experiences (coming soon). Upon leaving the theater in an electrified state, the one thing I said I going to do was buy the soundtrack which I did. I picked up this little number composed by Bruno Coulais a few weeks ago and have found it to be just as absorbing as the film itself. This is straight up magical music and is anxious in the best way with some seriously scary passages in the mix.
Archive for the ‘Music Music’ Category
They said it couldn’t be done. Actually, no one said anything. I return to the world of the giallo (psst, I never actually left it) with Giallo Meltdown 2. While it is a smaller scale than the first, I was able to endure 13 more titles this time around. I have also created another giallo music mix for your downloading pleasure. Grab it and dig on the music.
Get a load of Caesura’s kindly sonic wrath. A 99 cent bin find turned into a fantastic discovery. I picked up this San Fran trio’s More Specific Less Pacific on a whim and was richly rewarded. The first track, “For Staged Encore”, let me know immediately that these duders were not fucking around. The album has its low points but I highly recommend it to anyone who enjoys having their asses handed to them (musically). Later on the same album is “Gesture”, an insistent song with an achingly gorgeous chorus and finale.
Eager for more, I stalked the band’s (now defunct) website for word of their next release. Once Wallpaper The Witness came out, I snatched it up and got pummeled once again. An even more intense record with staccato drumbeats, precise basslines, and a wall of guitar. Vocally and lyrically, the band keeps things very minimal but always well-placed. This is especially true on “Sluts”:
“Shout outs for sluts
Shout out shout out
My final offering of Caesura to you, good people, is “Into Camoflage”. Now I know it’s not the best track on the album but be sure to hang on for the last minute and a half of this track. Holy shit, this makes me feel like someone just smeared sunset under my eyelids.
Dear Caesura boys,
Please record more albums.
Brad Purvis - Bass
Evan Rehill - Guitar, voice
Mike Shoun - Drums
From More Specific Less Pacific
For Staged Encore
From Wallpaper The Witness
Get Caesura albums here:
I tracked down some hard-to-find Edsel tracks for my own enjoyment and I figured I would share them with y’all. First up is “Feeder”, a song from Simple Machines, circa 1990. This comp was very easy to track down from Amazon. The song is probably one of Edsel’s first and isn’t too bad (though it hasn’t aged all that well). Next we have “Flywheel” from the WGNS Gots No Station Compilation Volume Two from the summer of 1993. This is a pretty decent track and could easily fit in on the Everlasting Belt Co. album of the same year. The WGNS comp is another cheap and easy Amazon find.
Now the hard stuff. David over at Hornbuckle.org hooked me up with the most difficult track to locate. “Plastic Passion” is the only cover song Edsel recorded that I know of. It’s from Give Me The Cure: A Tribute To The Cure and is a pretty amazing take on a very old Cure song. Compare Edsel’s to the original. Finally, I grabbed the Indie-Rock Flea Market 7″ from eBay for a very late Edsel track: “Under A Hard Ride”. Oh man, I’m so glad I got this one. This is definitely my favorite of the rarities and it makes an excellent companion to their “Plastic Passion” cover.
Well, folks, I’m outta here. If anyone out there has any Edsel (the band, not the dang car!) photos, rare songs, live recordings, or trivia, please hook me up. I’m thinking of doing a fan page and could use all the help I can get. Anyway, here are the fruits of my labor (and $14)…
Bonus (at Jade Tree Records):
I’m back to champion Edsel some more. I seem to spend a great deal of time trying to get people to listen to these guys. Now is your chance. And yes, their albums are all out of print but are easily available used through Amazon or eBay. The only album of theirs that I DON’T recommend is their first: Strange Loop. If you find yourself digging on them and you absolutely must get their entire catalog, save that one for last. It’s still pretty good but is the hardest for me to get into. My favorite track from it, “My Manacles”, is featured below.
So yeah, these songs are the “Essential Edsel, Abbreviated”. I hope you like them.
Margo is the solo project of Edsel singer/guitarist, Sohrab Habibion. The double disc, Songs From The Woods/Songs From Before And After The Leisure Class, is pretty difficult to find these days but is an interesting peek into the world of a very talented and strange musician. Aside from the good songwriting, Margo is also very experimental with focus on minimal song structure and bizarre sampling. Here is my favorite song taken from the 43 track CDs.
Steven Albert - Drums
John Dugan - Drums
Sohrab Habibion - Vocals, Guitar, Farfisa
Eli Janney - Sampler
Nick Pelliciotto - Drums
Steve Raskin - Guitar, Backing Vocals
Geoff Sanoff - Bass
Steve Ward - Bass
Edsel Albums And EPs:
Strange Loop - CD (Merkin) 1992
The Everlasting Belt Company - CD (Grass) 1993
Detroit Folly - CD (Dutch East India Trading) 1994
Techniques Of Speed Hypnosis - CD (Relativity) 1995
Extended Play - CD (Dischord) 1997
Edsel Comps And 7 Inches:
My Manacles / Wooden Floors 7″ (De Soto) 1989
Wedge - Comp. 7″(Simple Machines) 1990
Coil-Re-Coil / Cats Paw 7″(Merkin) 1992
Simple Machines - 1990-1993 - CD (Simple Machines) 1993
Split w/ Jawbox 7″ (De Soto) 1993
WGNS - Gots No Station Compilation Volume 2 - CD (WGNS) 1994
You Got Lucky : A Tribute To Tom Petty - CD (Scotti Bros.) 1994
Give Me The Cure - CD (Radiopaque/Corduroy) 1995
Vehicle - Comp. 7″ (Shute) 1995
No.5 Recitative / Laugh Him To Scorn 7″ (Jade Tree) 1995
Indie-Rock Flea Market Part 2 - 7″ (Teen Beat) 1997
Perched - 7″ Picture Disc (Thick) 1997 ?
Edsel Cover Art:
Top ten lists are a necessary evil when it comes to communicating with other human beings about your favorite crap. Hopefully, people are genuinely interested but I’ll settle for being tolerated. So for my first “Music Music” post, I will lay down my top ten favorite albums for your pleasure (or snickering amusement). Jazz, rap, IDM, and progressive rock are not represented on this list since they are genres that I have to be in the mood for. No, these records are the kind that I can listen to at any time and be completely content with. I’ve included some minor details concerning their historical significance in relation to my musical education because I’m a self-obsessed freak. Here we go…
Braid – Frankie Welfare Boy Age Five (released: June 1995)
I picked up this CD at a J Church show in
I had never heard anything like Braid before. Poetic and odd lyrics spoken, shouted, and screamed with an anthemic chorus around every corner. Two vocalists/guitarists competing for your attention or joining in perfect unison with a bass player madly tying everything together. And then there’s the drummer easily keeping the pace no matter where it goes while often displaying a stunning knack for bizarre tempos. 26 songs, each title starting with a different letter of the alphabet.
One of the interesting eccentricities of this album is that between every song is a handheld recording of a different band that (I’m assuming) Braid played shows with. These little snippets of music fade in and fade out as though they were lost radio transmissions. Talk about supporting your scene.
I used to be very picky about which songs I liked on Frankie Welfare Boy Age Five but not anymore. Since it’s had over ten years to grow on me, I can now listen to this record from start to finish and get completely lost in it. There’s absolutely no way to capture in words how good this record makes me feel. This is one of the few albums on this list I would be proud to peddle as a door to door salesman. “Dream don’t die on me please”.
The Breeders – Last Splash (released August 31st, 1993)
In the first weeks of my junior year in high school, I was sitting on my couch after school watching MTV when they played the video for “Cannonball”. This band of gorgeous (yet seemingly attainable) chicks (and a dude on drums) instantly drew me in. And thus, my crushes on Kim and Kelley Deal were born. I made a mental note to get that album ASAP.
The next time I went to Music-X-Change, Jupiter
This album would attach itself in my memory to every girlfriend because it’s so absurdly sad. And sexy! Dang, this is the only sexy record on this list! “New Year” and “Invisible Man” are highpoints for me as these songs just remind me of those bygone days of standing in the rain and thinking about chicks. Honestly though, what 16 year old is prepared for getting sonically peppered by the shrapnel of the instrumental “Le Roi”.
One of my finest concert accomplishments was seeing The Breeders on Lollapalooza ’94. They came out with their amps and most of the stage covered in gold. The perfect end to my high school experience. Close your eyes and get destroyed, kids.
Edsel – Techniques Of Speed Hypnosis (released October 10th, 1995)
I first heard Edsel in my friend Kevin’s mom’s Jeep Cherokee sometime in 1996. Driving around with no other destination in mind, we mostly just wanted to get away from our parents for long stretches of time. He puts the CD in and starts skipping past all these amazing tracks to play a particular one for me. Finally, he gets to track 11: “Laugh Him To Scorn”. It’s one of the few songs I’ve heard with a legitimately hair-raising surprise in the song. After lulling you into a mellow (though depressing) stupor, the chorus kicks in full blast out of nowhere. It was just grand. I immediately borrowed the CD and made a tape of it.
I’ve gone through many phases of love for Techniques. It took me a long time before I could listen to it all the way through. There are still a couple of duds: “Skin Of The Bear” and “Number 5 Recitative” but overall this band continually amazes me lyrically and musically. The short incidental tracks between many of the songs maintain the downbeat mood of the album perfectly.
My favorite song on the record and my favorite Edsel track is “
Don Caballero – American Don (released October 3rd, 2000)
On the day it came out, I hit up Vinyl Fever (ugh) to pick up the new Don Caballero album which I’d been waiting for rather impatiently to come out. Kim, my girlfriend at the time, my friend Scott, and I were trying to get my new (Compaq (ugh)) computer set up in my room when I put the CD on. I instantly sat down on in a chair and forgot where I was. While the two of them battled on the phone with tech support, I nearly broke into happy tears once “The Peter Criss Jazz” came on.
Don Caballero is the only band to fight itself for a place on my list. For many years, I referred to their album What Burns Never Returns as the “soundtrack to my life”. However, American Don manages to steal the spot. How many poor souls had to put up with my forcing this album down their throats? Hundreds? I simply couldn’t be talked down. If someone said Don Cab were “repetitive”, I’d correct them by saying they were “dynamic”. This album is easily the most listenable of all their material and only has a few lulls in an otherwise perfect release.
One of the most frustrating things about American Don is track 6: “I Never Liked You”. If ever there was an unfinished track on an album, this is it. The first listen of this song made me wish it had a more impressive finale. And yet I’ve found several bootlegs of this song, before and after this album’s release where the band really juices up the ending.
My favorite song on the album is “Let’s Face It Pal, You Don’t Need That Eye Surgery”. I first downloaded it while I was waiting for the CD to come out and it completely caught me off guard. From it’s opening jackhammer beginning to its oversaturated conclusion, the song blew me away. When I saw them on their final tour, they closed with this song and I cried. What else do you do when you’re favorite band is playing your favorite song and you’re immersed in their pure, floor-shaking sound? Nothing.
Kerosene 454 – Came By To Kill Me (released December 9th, 1997)
Well, this is easily the heaviest album on this list. My friend Kevin and my (now ex-) girlfriend, Kim, went to see Kerosene 454 and Bluetip at the Olde School House in Stuart, Florida. Their reports were quite different as Kevin was gaga over Bluetip and said Kerosene 454 sucked while Kim said the exact opposite. When Kevin leant me both Came By To Kill Me and Bluetip’s Dischord No. 101, there was no denying who had won the debate.
Pretty incidental tracks aside, Came By To Kill Me is still one of the most intense records I’ve ever heard. This group effortlessly steamrolls over me taking time to lay concrete over the flattened earth with “Injection”, a song so friggin’ loud and abrasive it made my parents stick their heads in my bedroom and ask me to turn the “noise” down. I really can’t blame them. It is nearly 7 minutes of destructive insanity.
Just listen as the rest of the group struggles to keep up with drummer Darren Zentek. This duder lays it DOWN and easily throttles many indie rock drummers. The violence of this record is as groovy as it is sexy and lays me to waste every time I throw it on. The lyrics are challenging, beautiful, and often totally incomprehensible. Their final album, At Zero, nearly beat Came By To Kill Me but this record just can’t be stopped.
Gauge – Fire Tongue Burning Stomach (released Summer(?) 1994)
“Do you like what I’m doing?” Not at first. I picked this CD up at an amazing record store in
The years went by and my cassette disappeared in an apartment move. I quickly discovered that finding another copy of this OOP CD would be pretty much impossible. Just as I was about to give up, this year a friend on the internet emailed me the songs and I was able to revisit Gauge. My time away from this album made me appreciate it even more.
Armed with a bizarre pair of gravelly vocalists, gorgeous guitar playing, and a tight rhythm section, Gauge lays down some pretty dang intricate songs that are both impossibly heavy and daringly pretty. One of many highlights on the CD comes in the form of “Dead Beat Strategy”, a song that saves the chorus for the last 30 seconds and has several complex changes in it. Radio friendly it is not. The guitar work is absolutely stunning here as it is on the entire record. Gauge was a dynamic and intelligent band and Fire Tongue Burning Stomach needs to be re-released immediately.
Q And Not U – Different Damage (released October 29th, 2002)
Different Damage is the hardest album for me to write about and it is also one of only three 2nd millennial releases on this list. Is someone getting old? Maybe. I enjoyed Q And Not U’s No Kill No Beep Beep (and their live show) and was quite psyched about this one. I was not disappointed in the least. This album is quite an intricate little number with the band’s unusual take on song structure and bizarre lyricism.
Every song has its surprising twists and turns. “Meet Me In The Pocket” is a favorite of mine as it commands me to “Dance or hang it up”. I can’t help but wonder how this band wrote this stuff. It just sounds like an album that was created entirely within the walls of Inner Ear Studios. Now don’t get me wrong, that’s a compliment. For them to come out with an album that is this weird and still dancy is quite incredible.
The surreal quality of the record peaks on “O’No”. The track has some seriously derailed drums and with a line like “Tattoo the sound in my lungs”, it just seems like the whole album has become diseased and is eroding quickly. I wish this brief song went on for ten minutes. Finally, the guitar tone on the final track, “Recreation Myth”, is mouth-watering. This album even leaves me on a haunting and mumbled note: “When I was born, No one counted my fingers and toes, No nothing”.
Vitreous Humor – The Vitreous Humor EP (released September 1995)
I bought this for Kim because it was cheap and I didn’t want to return to
This EP (yeah, I know, it’s not technically an album) rolls right in with “She Eats Her Esses” with some supreme Emo hooks and jangly distorted guitar attack. This is only the beginning as the band next struggles to deliver the awkward “Invention Is A National Treasure”. The distortion on this song is menacing and it is a crunchy, bristling struggle to keep things pretty.
I seem to remember this tipsy drive to the porno store with Scott and Rocky. I was the least inebriated so I got to drive. My mission in life was to hijack Rocky’s CD player, so I popped in the Vitreous Humor. The boys were not impressed with Scott saying: “So this is Emo. Boy, there sure is a lot of screaming.” The unrelenting rocking on “Applaud Water” was totally unappreciated. Oh well, you lose some, you lose some.
On “Looper”, the lyrics casually state: “Psycho surgery, It’s a brain, A piece of meat, Torn up, Tore out, It’s a shame, So what”. The handclaps turn everything soft while the guitars and bass chug along. For the longest time, “Squares Of Squares” was the last track on the CD but recently, I’ve learned to appreciate every song this band has ever recorded. I cheat a little by supplementing this CD with tracks off the band’s Posthumous CD.
Radio Flyer – In Their Strange White Armor (July 29th, 1997)
In the summer of 1997, I visited my friends in
The members of this very short lived project put out these 7 songs and then went their separate ways. This CD (less than a half an hour long) has been one of my favorites for the last decade and I never get sick of it. The catchiest track is “(312)”, something that seems almost threateningly romantic but I might just be imagining things.
I seldom find feedback so perfectly placed in a song that it brings me to tears. Dang, I sure do cry a lot in this list. Anyway, “R Is For Rocket” is the kind of dreamy yet perfectly tangible kind of track that absolutely distracts me from whatever I’m doing and forces me to stare off into space.
This CD is extremely important and I highly and heartily recommend it to everyone I know. The few times I’ve seen this turn up in the $0.99 bin, I’ve snatched it up and given it to someone. If nothing else, people, at least get lost in the “Six Year Ballet”.
The Joggers – With A Cape And A Cane (released September 27th, 2005)
With A Cape And A Cane is the most recent of my top 10 of all time and if I had to pick a number one, this would be it. In late 2005, my interest in music was waning and I couldn’t find anything to get excited about. But then their first LP, Solid Guild, landed in my hands and I had hope. I was super-psyched to pick this one up and I’ve been awestruck ever since it arrived in the mail.
The also superb Solid Guild focused more on vocal melodies with a fantastic drummer sneaking in some incredible moments. On With A Cape And A Cane, the focus is definitely on guitar interaction and these boys have got their act nailed. Oh, don’t worry the drumming is still ridiculously complicated, filling the songs with perfectly timed multi-tasking to accentuate the breathtaking changes.
Every track feels tightly wound yet with a laidback approach that is hardly convincing. Some bands make it sound easy, The Joggers make it sound impossible. The anthemic chorus of “Since You’re Already Up” is the only chance for us air-guitarists to catch our breath. Oh, are they lovers? “Night Of The Horsepills” shows the band’s soft side and it couldn’t be a more blushingly sweet moment for everyone involved. “You might even want me still, you just don’t know”. My goodness!
“Horny Ghost” acts like it is going to fade away but instead stomps right on out to say: “Of all the ways to skin a cat, There’s none I’ve found to take it back”. The finest song on the CD comes in the form of the album’s opener, “Ziggurat Traffic”. The sound of crickets gives way to an urgent plea for attention as the band easily freezes me in place before forcing my legs and arms to do something. This song is so god-damned jaw-clenchingly pretty that it is almost too much to bear. Go out and buy this album.
Here is a list of some runner-ups that almost made the Top Ten:
The Apparitions – Oxygen Think Tank
Durian – Sometimes You Scare Me
Caesura – Wallpaper The Witness
Boys Life – Departures And Landfalls
The Amps – Pacer
Traluma – Seven Days Awake
Storm & Stress – s/t
June Of 44 – Tropics And Meridians