The Come Ons seem to carry on what The Detroit Cobras started a few years ago. The Come Ons are from Detroit, like The Detroit Cobras and The White Stripes. They play a go go motown styled sound that is very soulful and stylish. There are female vocals, male and female background vocals, harmonica, Hammond or Rhodes organ, tambourine, and the requisite guitar, bass, and drums. Their sound is not as raw and gutsy as The Detroit Cobras, but the flavour is exactly the same. At times the vocals sound like Holly Golightly. There are 3 covers: "I Get So Excited" (Gordon/Grant), "I Feel Good All Over" (Blackwell/Scott), & "I Wanna Be Loved" (Thomas). Five of the seventeen songs are instrumentals. Jeff Meier (the bassist of The Detroit Cobras) is thanked in the liner notes. As much as I like this disc, I wish I had a new Detroit Cobras CD to listen to, and I urge you to locate and buy the awesome 'Mink, Rat, or Rabbit' LP by the Detroit Cobras on Sympathy For The Record Industry while it can still be found.
August 29, 2000
2 Peel Sessions recorded 10 months apart in 1979 make up the 10 songs on this just released disc, which also includes a short interview Ian Curtis and Stephen Morris did with Richard Skinner after one of those sessions. There are 2 previously unreleased recordings on this set. The others appeared on 2 out of print Peel Session EPs which came out at the time. Songs 1-4 are from the first session, songs 5-10 the second. Only a few of these versions made it onto the Joy Division box set. For me the highlights are "Exercise One", "Insight", Colony", "Sound Of Music", and the 2 versions of "She's Lost Control". In addition to these are "Love will Tear Us Apart" and the 2 versions of "Transmission". On both sessions the guitar overpowers the bass, which should have been mixed louder. That aside, the recordings are crystal clear, tight as a drum, and filled with awesome Ian Curtis performances.
San Diego's Kid 606 is quite a happening guy these days, whether it's from his many many compilation appearances and singles or from his great label Tigerbeat 6 Records . Kid 606 has recorded output that spans many styles, from the mild electronica of the Socceergirl EP on Carpark records to all out V/VM styled noise, to Lolita Storm-ish electronic frisson. This is his first full length, not counting the 'Kid 606 and Friends' compilation of his collaborations he put out on his label. The one thing that remains consistent with him is that he gets good press. It seems that everyone who writes about him likes him. I've yet to find a bad review of one of his releases. It's true that his sound is a one stop shopping source for the latest in laptop manic musications, but does that mean he should get more coverage than the hundreds of equally deserving folk, like Boston's own Hrvatski? I think it does. Artists like Kid 606 and England's Volume Versus Masses (V/VM) are like the older brothers who pave the way for an easier path for their younger siblings by desensitizing the parents to the trauma that the truly intense can serve to an unsuspecting parent. Some of his pieces here are very hyperactive. My faves of those would be #2 "Luke Vibert can kiss my indie-punk whiteboy ass" with it's 'Do you feel pretty?' voice sample manipulations and #4 '"Kidrush" which sounds like Lolita Storm, even having similar female vocals. My real faves would probably be three of the less kinetic songs: #7 "Secrets 4 Sale", #17 "Catstep/my kitten/catnap vatstep remix by Hrvatski", & #5 "CQ on the EQ". Kid 606 is not following the pack, and listening to what he's doing is fun.
Knowing that the Boston band The Lothars named themselves after Sixties band Lothar and the Hand People, a band formed around their theremin (named 'Lothar'), I thought that Lothar and the Hand People would be a completely theremin centered band in the same way the Lord Sitar used the sitar in their treatment on standards. Lothar and the Hand People are actually a psychedelic band with only the scantest use of theremin that I can hear. They remind me of the band Tomorrow, playing early Syd-era Floyd-like psyche sing song tales. There are 19 songs on this CD. 4 of those are my faves. #16, "L-O-V-E (Ask For It By Name)" is my fave, a very pop song with strange sounds running in and out of it and a hipster sensibility. #1, "Machines" has Devo "Working In A Coalmine" styled percussion beloxw the vocal song. #6, "Ha (Ho)" reminds me the most of Tomorrow, in this case crossed with The Beatles "I Am The Walrus". #18 "Every Single Word" has sweet harmony vocals (again like The Beatles) and an ultra-pop tune with Herp Alpert styled trumpet on the breaks. This band is not at all what I expected, but is better than I thought it would be. Where I thought that this would be an arty historical testament to early theremin use I hear a second string psychedelic band I had never listened to before.
The Phenomonological Boys is Angela Sawyer (of Wierdo Records in Central Square) and her experiments in taping sounds and bringing those sounds together, kind of like Crawling With Tarts do. I'd wager she chose the name in tribute to the 70's NYC Glenn Branca no-wave band The Theoretical Girls. You can email her at firstname.lastname@example.org . There are 10 songs here. My favorites are the 2 least experimental songs "The River Of Jordan" and "What Makes A White Man White". The second of those reminds me of Japan's Pop Off Tuesday a bit. On the experimental songs you have improv sound experiements that combine the thrill of catching the moment that all Lucky Kitchen releases have, the joy of coaxing sounds that Matmos have (though there are no beats anywhere on this disc), and the destroyed sounds that V/VM wield like Thor's hammer. The only piece I really don't care for is "Rock Is Dead", which doesn't really go anywhere in it's 12:39 span, though considering the title maybe that is the point. Presented as a CDR with no plans for a formal release, this disc is better than you've any right to expect. I hope someone recognizes this and get's it out to some stores to find it's audience. Meanwhile email her and work out a trade!
In 1982 I bought the 23 Skidoo mini LP "Seven Songs" on Fetish Records. For years the song 'Porno Base' from it was my freakout song on par with the best of Pink Floyd's Umagumma. It had this bassline that hit in a spooky way, and a sampled vocal of a fanatic giving a speech about how pop music was harmful and damaging. the song was completely creepy and threatening, and unlike anything I was listening to at the time. 23 Skidoo eventually became known as one of the "punk-funk" bands like Section 25, A Certain Ratio, Pigbag, APB, and others. I didn't keep track of them, thought they put out lots of stuff and gained many fans. Now in the year 2000 23 Skidoo have put out a new record and entered with a contemporary sound that has comparisons with The Theivery Corporation. One of the idenfifying parts of 23 Skidoo was the percussion, which has hand beat drums and lots of suppplemental percussion sounds, like the Brazilian Batucada sound. The new record has lots of that cool percussive drumming on it. My favorite songs are the opening song "Freeze Frame", the third song "Interzonal", the tenth song "Meltdown", and the eighth song "Atmosfear", all of them instrumentals. I'm not crazy for the vocal songs on this record. There are 10 instrumentals and 2 vocal songs. One is sung by Major (sounding very much like a Thievery Corporation reggae/dub vocal) and one soulfully by Roots Manurva and Carl, August 29, 2000 McIntosh, sounding a bit like the Grand Central artist Only Child. Pharoah Sanders plays sax on 2 of the songs, which have too much saxophone for my taste (I never did like that instrument except for the X Ray Spex, the Psychedelic Furs, or Richie Parson's brother Moose in Unnatural Axe, The Gremies, or Future Dads). There is other brass on some of the songs. Deckwrecka provides cuts on my favorote song ("Interzonal") and the last song "Ayu" which is a bit fusion for my taste. I had read such conflicting things about this record that I'm glad to finally make up my own mind on it. My verdict? This record's not as sterling as Other Music felt it to be, but something that anyone who loved them in the past HAS to hear, and something that the jazzier among us may really really love without needing any historical reference on them at all.