Recently WZBC enjoyed a jag of airplay for the 1967 record by The United States Of America, with their then unparalleled sound now brought into reference by the Birmingham UK band Broadcast. After that one record came out in 1967 The United States Of America broke up and Joe Byrd went on to form this band, Joe Byrd And The Field Hippies. He used images and various subtitles for the record to make it look like some kind of strange curio, not a way out happening like it was. He had 4 alternate titles to 'The American Metaphysical Circus': "The Sub-Sylvian Litanies", American Bedmusic I", The Southwestern Geriatrics Arts and Crafts Festival", and "Gospel Music for A.R. Byrd III". Joe Byrd broadened his use of keyboards from the early synthesizer sound that wowed people about The United States Of America so much to include organ, electric harpsichord, and occasionally calliope. Joe Byrd And The Field Hippies had a more organic sound, and used guitars too. He had a new female vocalist on the songs he didn't sing. This record hstarts off with 2 songs that can be played together for maximum effect, "Kalyani" and "You Can't Ever Come Down". The first song lulls you, then ends with a repeated phrase (Waiting to die) that starts off the second song, which is just plain incredible, like a Jefferson Airplane version of Nancy Sinatra's "These Boots Are Made For Walking" from a way out world.
July 4, 2000
David Carretta is a French electronic artist living in Dusseldorf. This record really jumped out at me. I initially bought it because Chicks On Speed sing one song (the excellent 'Le Cauchemar') but the ultimate appeal struck me as soon as I put the disc on. The disc is mastered by Stefan Betke, so you know it has a killer sound. David Carretta has been putting stuff out for a few years now. This CD can appeal to just about anybody, especially those with a weakness for Giorgio Moroder or DMX Krew. It has a very clean and crisp electronic sound but also has song structure in just about every song. There are lots of spoken samples and he has vocals on songs too. He even does a cover of Plastic Bertrand's "Ca Plane Pour Moi", though that is not even a highlight of this disc to me personally. For me personally the highlight is the Chicks On Speed collaboration. They are such an in-your-face act that his somewhat undermixed use of them sounds quite fresh. Chicks On Speed still remind me of Patti Palladin and Judy Nylon (Snatch) particularly as they sounded on the Eno/Snatch collaboration "R.A.F.", the B-side of Eno's 1977 single "King's Lead Hat". The show is by no means stolen by his guests. The synth sounds he gets out of his gear sound a bit different than anyone else I can think of, and I really like it. I would recommend the instrumental "Flesh" if you want to hear what I mean. My second favorite song is his treatment of the Serge Gainsbourg song "Contact", which always sounded far out to begin with awash in sitar. It maybe evens sounds 'grounded' embedded in his steady synth and bass beat, sampled intact, though never saying the song's signature "Contact" at any point.
5 new songs by the band I once described as "the spanish Roxy Music". I still hear that in their songs, though the musical palette is a bit different than Roxy Music. I guess the main comparison point would be the total 'cool' of La Buena Vida's female vocalist, and the thick lilt of the music. La Buena Vida have out lots of stuff. At WZBC we have their last CD "Panorama" and an earlier CDEP. The bands sound has changed a lot from their early Heavenly-ish indy rock beginnings. The main thing about this band (again evoking Brian Ferry) is the confidence you can feel in their music. They kind of have their own thing going and are not easily placed into any current scenes that I know of, though they do have the latin/bossa thing going in their own fashion. I'll bet seeing them live would be an awe inspiring show.
I had been very curious about Moloko as I liked the name (thinking in my mind of the Korova Milk Bar in Clockwork Orange, which served Moloko Plus) and I liked the way they looked in photos, with the vocalist Roisin in her Mod getups, accompanied by her instrumentalist/foil Mark. Then the fear they wouldn't relate to my world came through reading about the mega-Ibiza hit they had last summer with "Sing It Back" (a mix of which appears on this disc). The first time I actually heard them was with this CD, which I really enjoy. The closest comparison off-the-cuff would be the 80's artist Yaz, with a healthy dose of Sly and the Family Stone thrown in.. Roisin's vocals sound like the vocals in Yaz and the basis of their sound is electronic too. Moloko are very modern though, not retroists. One of my faves "Pure Pleasure Seeker" has the same kind of appeal Donna Summer's "Bad Girls" did long ago. "Dumb Inc." has a synth riff that sounds like the intro of Gary Numan's "Me I Disconnect From You" as the lyrics go "Dumb dumb we're dumbing it down". "Mother" has music that to me recalls the (amazing) Steve Harley and Cockney Rebel song "Mr. Soft". About the Ibiza reference, I've come to be fascinated with that Island anbd dance music no longer scares me away, but their are no "Ibiza" bands that would do a piece like "It's Nothing", which is more Satisfact or Mocket than Ibiza. Moloko are a frightening band, as they seem to work on several different levels, not all of them as lovey dovey as the initial image would suggest. I like lots of the songs here. In fact, this disc is my favorite of this weeks adds.
A (or The) Sunshine Fix is an Olivia Tremor Control side project, and this is a single which was only sold at their tour (though obviously a few copies got in the hands of distributors). Both songs have a golden country-ish feel, with a sound not far removed from classic OTC. Nice harmony vocals and production make this an artefact that any fan of Olivia Tremor Control would do well to search out and find. The B-side is more updeat than the A, with the kind of bouncing country-ish bass line that always reminded me of an Ompah bands tuba line, and a cookin fiddle to boot.
In 1980 the 4 song Glenn Branca produced 7" debut of Y Pants came out on 99 Records, the label run by the couple that ran the store "99", named after their address at 99 McDougal St in NYC. Ed Bahlman and his wife (I think her name is Kate) ran a great store - they sold Mod zoot suits cheaply and were the first to import Doc Martens - as well as bringing in great 7"s from the UK and ultimately, bringing in great local music from the street to our record players, as they put out singles by Bush Tetras, ESG, Liquid Liquid, and Y Pants. They used to live in Jersey City. They were previous tenants in a building my friend Frank used to own on 8th St. in Jersey City (in the late 80's). They also used to have a 99X store in Hoboken. Y Pants were part of a scene with bands like the Model Citizens and Gruppo Sportivo. This CD compiles the 4 tracks from the 99 Records 7", a song from Tellus #21 called "Magnetic Attraction", and all 11 songs of their 1982 LP "Beat It Down", which came out in 1982 and was produced by Wharton Tiers. Artist/photographer Barbara Ess was in Y Pants. She makes cool pinhole photos. Y Pants were an all girl trio. Their sound is playful and arty, though very different from similiar seeming bands like the UK's The Slits or the Raincoats. Y Pants did not use reggae and dub like The slits diod, and were not near as 'rock' as The Raincoats. they used ukelele, thumb drum, and toylike keyboards in their sound that brought them closer to the No Wave bands NYC was sporting at the time, many of which shared stages with Y Pants.