Cuban Boys are a London band who have been putting out stuff for some time now, though I have never heard them until now except for a remix 12" they released where they mixed Helen Love songs. They also appeared on a Helen Love 7". The A-side of this single is a cover of the Sex Pistols song 'EMI'. The pistols wrote that song after they were dropped by EMI records, who released the single 'Anarchy In the UK' which was recalled, with returned copies being destroyed. Cuban Boys do the song well and add quite a new sound to it. After all, Cuban Boys are more a camp electronic pop band than punk rock revivalists. Damaged Goods even got into the spirit and created label art for the single that simulates the art on the original Pistols 7". The B-side is a song called 'Willfully Obscure' that repeats 'money isn't everything' over an electropop background. It has neat parts to the music, but as a whole is much less effective than the cover of 'EMI' Fave: A
July 24, 2001
I've been looking for a CD history of synth-pop, not unlike this compilation put out by Uncut magazine. The omission of such synth groups as OMD or The Human League must be attributed to licensing issues, and for the most part this is a well chosen collection. We start off with a classic Giorgio Moroder production 'From Here To Eternity' and things keep going from there offering up a variety of synth styles: Moroder (disco), Tubeway Army (dub), Japan (Roxy Music-ish), and rare tracks by B-Movie (guitar-driven) and the Associates (synth). My fave selection is the Fad Gadget song Ricky's Hand - this really shows they dug deep for this hidden classic. Also included are the bigger known names who went onto bigger known things such as Depeche Mode and Flock of Seagulls, all in all this compilation is a great taster into this era of synth-pop. Faves: 01, 05, 07, 12, 15
Two fine CDs from the past, finally added to the Z's library. And at ridiculously little cost! From the used clearance bin at Newbury's come these two gems. Albuquerque, NM trio The Drags play trashy garage punk with elements of the blues and rockabilly. You might remember them from a CD we have that compiles early singles tracks like Pip's fave 'I Like to Die.' Dragsploitation... Now! is an EP that was released in 1995. Only two of the eight songs weigh in at more than two minutes, with the longest track an epic 2:14. Two tracks are instros, the rest have great shouty lead vocals and there's a cover of The Rumblers' 'Don't Need You Anymore.' My favorite cuts are 'Teenage Invasion,' 'Allergic Reaction,' and '10th Man Theme.' Stop Rock and Roll, released in 1997, is the band's first proper full-length album. Again, all the songs are short, with the sole track over two minutes in length a mere 2:18. Brevity is next to godliness, I always say. Well, I don't actually say it, but I mean it. One song, 'Anti-Satisfaction' steals the verses from the Stones' 'Satisfaction' and uses that ingrained-in-the-collective-unconscious riff at the end. My favorite tracks are 'Explosives,' 'Tastes Like Poison' (and sounds like The Cramps), 'Private Eye' (a Nips cover), 'Leopard Skin' (an instro with occasional shouted bits) and 'Conspiracy' (which sounds like an amped-up version of Muddy Waters). Their newest album, Set Right Fit to Blow Up Clean, came out last year, though apparently their line-up and sound has changed a bit. Maybe in another year or two we can score a copy of that release, too.
Remember The Starlite Desperation? Despite being overlooked initially, their last album, Go Kill Mice, ended up being one of the top records of the year. When the band broke up, vocalist Dante White (when he wasn't playing with the Detroit Cobras) got together with guitarist Jennifer Pearl and recorded (last summer) these four songs with a pick-up band that included members of The Go (no, not Jack White), Dirtbombs and the Jack Oblivion Band. The band's line-up has since solidified, with Yasmine (Starlite's bassist) and Jason (Vue's drummer) joining the fold. Oh, and at some point they moved back out west from Detroit. Musically, not too far removed from Starlite's sound, however, all the tracks on this EP stick around the 3-4 minute neighborhood (as opposed to the eight minute title track from Go Kill Mice). My favorite tracks are 'Explode' and 'Alive in the Snow' (which was remixed by Go Kill Mice's producer, former glam metaller Davy Vain) but the whole thing is friggin' great. Their summer tour, which unfortunately passes by Boston, includes shows with such great bands as the Gore Gore Girls, the Fatal Flyin' Guilloteens, the Flying Luttenbachers, and their label mates The Rapture and The Locust.
In 1999 Rex Records, a subsidiary of XL Records, released a 10' called '4 Fish Out Of Water'. It had Op:l Bastards, The Avalanches vs. Andy Votel (a collaboration), DJ Downfall (drummer for Sportique and Marine Research), and Jean-Michel. Hoping to duplicate the track record of that first 10' (all but one of the artists on the first 10' are somewhat well known today) Rex Records have just released 'More Fish Out Of Water'. This EP introduces four artists I have never heard of. Bronze Age Fox plays 'Farriss' It is a Morr Music styled electronica cut that will appeal to any fans of that label. It has piano and electronic keys tinkling over the soft beats and fleeting flourishes. Cut Copy's 'Hunder Twasser' lays down a firmer presence right off with the shuffling beat, 'Riders on the Storm' ambiance, and the audible crackling of vinyl. 'Hunder Twasser' has a warm feel that makes it my choice for side A of the EP. On the flip, Mongrels 'Dry Lips' is a downbeat rap song with scratching that does not appeal to me. Topo Gigio's 'Porcelain Resin' is my favorite song on the EP. It reminds me a bit of Andy Votel, Bent, or Lemon Jelly. It has an exotica feel to it and an air of mystery that make it pleasant. My prediction is that these artists will not rise to any notoriety, but possible the offerings here will bear more developed fruit later. Meanwhile, check out Topo Gigio's 'Porcelain Resin'. Faves: B2
Finally! Something new from these WZBC faves. It's only three songs and one re-mix, but it should be enough to hold us over until their full-length comes out in late fall. You know what to expect: Joe Jackson fronting Gang of Four. All tracks are good, but the remix version of 'Dance to the Underground' didn't knock my socks off. As a special bonus for DJs, the track listing on the CD is correct this time!
'Listening to Phoning It In now gives me hope that there is still a chance to save what is dead.' So quothe one 'Steven S' on the back cover of Rizzo's new record, and I couldn't be happier for him. By 'what is dead' he refers to the cute harmony power chord pop that was all over the place in the mid-90's. Is it time for nostalgia over that already? I guess time flies. Rizzo consists of two girls from LA who apparently once opened for Superdrag, and don't hesitate to make note of it on one track, 'Peter's Sick'. Their music ranges from paired down punk jams with sassy lyrics about boys and cars, to paired down punk ballads with sappy lyrics about boys and food. They pull off a few fetching melodies along the way- 'Baby You F*cked Up' comes to mind. This band is hardly trying to be original- they're like those mod kids that watch TRL and call up requesting Weezer. They just want to dance and have fun. The world outside of LA may be too far gone for those types of antics nowadays, but if you are less cynical than I (you probably are), the ladies of Rizzo just might win you over.
My favorite record in this week's gullbuy. Subtitled 'Silvercity-Bob Meets Acapulco 11', this half hour long 7 song EP has songs that Seelenluft recorded in Zurich for the women's synchronized swimming team Acapulco 11. On most tracks the sound is very Martin Denny / Les Baxter. It brings a classic exotica sound right up to date. Tipsy is credited for a background sample on 'Wasser-Kur 2'. I had thought 'Tipsy' in relational to this CD before I found that credit, but Seelenluft's take on exotica is less dayglo than Tipsy. Though I enjoy the whole disc, my favorite cuts are 'Land-Kur 2' (#4) and 'The Weeping Bikini' (#5). My least favorite cut is 'Music for the stars mix Wasser-Kur 1' (#7). It takes the first song on the disc and adds vocals. At first I liked this track, but as I listened to the disc many more times I came to really dislike this song. The vocal is very repetitive (says the same phrase over and over) without being particularly appealing. The Seelenluft CD I reviewed in the January 23 gullbuy hinted at his lounge appreciation, but concentrated on a much more contemporary electronic / downbeat sound than he explores (with flying colors) on this release. Faves: 4,5
Cathode are a duo based in Newcastle-upon-Tyne and Glasgow, UK. One of the member (Steve Jefferis) also plays in Cody, who have multiple releases on Shinkansen (the label that used to be Sarah Records). Cathode are a delightfully fresh sounding electronica band. They specialize in pieces that use the sound between sounds to great effect. I really like both sides of this single, and want to hear the remix they did of Gamers In Exile 'Electromayhem', on the Unbearable Records compilation 'Unbearable Candies'.
The Last Poets were the forerunners of today's Afrocentric rappers, who combined a jazz/rap fusion with thought-provoking racial 'spiels' (an early form of rap) in an attempt to raise black consciousness. Gylan Kain, David Nelson and Felipe Luciano are known as the 'Original Last Poets' and 'are self proclaimed guerilla poets who recount 400 years of prejudice, slavery and physical and emotional imprisonment' (taken from the video box cover). They cut this soundtrack for the film Right On! in 1971, soon after the first 'Last Poets' Douglas 3 LP was released and recorded by a completely different group of poets including Omar Ben Hassan, Abiodun Oyewole, Jalal Nurridin and Suliman El-Hadi. In fact this LP was pulled quickly after its original release by court order after Omar, Abiodun and Jalal (who at that time were performing together) successfully argued that the original members had abandoned the name. Right On! was finally given a proper release in 1990 by Collectibles as the second part of the Black History 'Great Last Poets' Series. Choose your tracks carefully when playing these on air - listen to it on cue first! There is a lot of profanity here, but also a lot of fascinating stuff. And although this recording is rough around the edges as a live recording, it still is scathing and crucial, and a marked difference between today's materialistic gangtsa rap. Make some waves on the Z by playing a track off of this cd. Faves: 03, 04, 08, 11, 15
A 28 song collection of 70's Library music put together by prominent DJ Luke Vibert. Library music is music that was used in movies, recorded as generic tracks that a moviemaker could commission to include in their production. Many musicians earned spare cash by working this genre. Much of the work uncovered of late proves that they were taking chances and recording pretty cool stuff for their cash. The two CDs Strut released as 'Music For Dancefloors' were perhaps the highest profile Library music compilations yet. This 'Nuggets' disc can sit comfortably with Strut's comps now. The only name I recognized out of the artists is Nino Nardini. His track 'Bumbling Along' is great, but it is only 28 seconds long! There is a second Nardini cut which ends off the disc. 'Tropical' (#28) is a laid back exotica track with nice use of handheld percussive devices and a triangle. All but three tracks are under three minutes long. The longest track is Johanna Group's 'Strange Love Action' (#20) at 7:18. Luckily, this track is very good throughout it's length! The song that initially made me love this comp was the opening cut, Richard Demaria's 'Next Episode'. I was listening to it while driving, late to an appointment. As I rounded the rotary at the BU bridge there was a 70's Cadillac ahead of me, driven by a guy with a big 70's pimp style hat. As I raced around the rotary behind him (both of us going too fast, 'Next Episode' blaring out of my speakers) I felt like I was in a cop movie involved in a chase scene. A memorable moment, and a great track. Not many of the songs have that funkified urban chase theme feel. Many are electronic and somewhat experimental, such as A.King/J. Mathew's 'Pots and Pans' (#24), which has a fuzzed out bass noodling below a percolating collection of sounds like a tin pan Jean-Jacques Perry. Luckily, it is one of the songs longer than 3 minutes (3:23). This is a fun compilation to listen to. The tracks are not background music. Each demands attention and presents a quirk or two of it's own. The Epstein / Kramer track 'Turkish Delight' (#2) has a sped up vocal scatting an accompaniment to the track. The track I would probably play to someone first would be Roger Roger's 'Frantique' (#5). As I started trying to classify tracks into different categories (funkified, jazzy, electronic, strange), 'Frantique' crossed every category into it's own - 'just plain cool'. Faves: 1,5,10,12,16,20,27,28
4 song 12inch of remixes from the 'Input 64' comp of video game music. The standout cut is Plundersonics 'Mutants Here I Am', which features the vocals of Chicks On Speed's Melissa Logan. The song is a remix of Rob Hubbard's 'Mega Apocalypse - Crazy Comets 2'. Thies Mynther remixed it in Hamburg with vocals Melissa and he wrote. Essentially the track sounds like a Chicks On Speed song. If you like that band you really need to get this 12inch! The second cut (a remix of the same song) sound completely different in the hands of Frenchman Chazam. He mixed it in Paris and sings vocals he wrote. Additionally he uses an ondioline track played by Jean-Jacques Perry and congas by Chino Arrebatado. Both songs on this side sound like regular songs created from scratch, not remixes of an existing track. On the flip, Andi and Hannes Teichman provide the final mix of that same song. Their mix is an instrumental that has a cool sound like brief static or ripping a paper. The final cut is a remix of Ron Hubard's 'BMX Kids' by Alexander Doebereiner. The track uses computer generated voices to create a conversation between three computers, who play a game of BMX Kid. Alexander Doebereiner creates an effect like vinyl scratching on the cut, making a couple of computers into artificial B-boys. Faves: A1
Roberto Mendoza is a Mexican electronica artist who has appeared on the Nortec compilation 'Tijuana Sessions Vol.1'. This CD is on the label which puts out records by Pilote. Certificate 18 put out four 10' singles leading up to this CD, just as Berlin band Mina did last year. Many but not all of the tracks from the 10's are here. If you've never heard 'Nortec' music, it is a current Mexican phenomena that has received much attention. It's idea is very good - combine the traditional Mexican sounds of Norteno music with the electronics of techno. My favorite of the Nortec bands so far is Titan. On the 'Tijuana Sessions Vol.1' and on this record, I cannot really hear much that reminds me of norteno music. It sounds pretty regular to me. That said, this disc has 3 songs (out of 8) that I like alot. 'El Chivero De Tepatoche' (#1) has a very clean sound which reminds me a bit of the Russian band Fizzarum. Soon after it's start is a vocal/effect part that reminds me of the Kraftwerk song 'The Robots'. The song stays interesting for all of it's seven minute length. 'El Chivero De Tepatoche' (#2) has some interesting sounds (samples of norteno drums) but does not rank as a favorite because of the rhodes keys, jazzy bass, and drum 'n bass style electronic percussion which dominate over the interesting samples below. 'Esquirla' (#3) is my favorite song on the CD. It uses a sound like water dripping, and embellishes the sound with a couple of interesting percussive sounds. The sound is completely electronic, with a 4/4 kick beat pulling along below. 'Variaciones a Tuxedomoon' (#4) may or may not use a sample from the band Tuxedomoon (as it's title implies), but the track does not engage me. The 4/4 techstep beat seems to be the purpose of the track, not any outside ideas worked in and hidden below. 'Tecnica Manana' (#5) is a song I like alot. It is the most mixed up sounding of the tracks and really takes advantage of the ultra-clean production sound. Below an offbeat kick beat all sorts of sounds are launched and tooled. The 3:20 length is almost too short. 'Pluma' (#6) has very drum 'n bass styled percussion. There are a few standout sounds that completely contrast the cut - they sound like something falling or being loaded onto a track, but other than that it is very straightforward. The 2 short instances of the standout sounds don't make me want to hear the 7 other minutes of straight drum workout. The last 2 tracks are straight 4/4 techno beat pieces that do not really hold my attention. Faves: 1,3,5
I liked Italian band Tutto Matto's disco-fied 'Funkalo' CD on Tummy Touch, but nothing prepared me for how much I would enjoy the B-side of this excellently packaged 12". In a beautiful sleeve drawn by Vince Ray that brings tiki-dom to new heights, Tutto Matto deliver two new songs that are each almost ten minutes long. 'Alan's Lounge Theme' is an instrumental that has brazilian percussion in front of a killer beat. There is nothing 'lounge' about it in the musical sense of the word. It is an energetic dance workout. The real gem is the B-side, 'One Judu Dub Cut'. Likewise, there is nothing 'dub' about this cut. It starts with a beat that reminds me of the Bay City Rollers song 'Don't Stop The Music'. Then a vocal starts that sounds like an ultra fast rap bubbling up from underwater. When the vocal stops and the beat picks up, it is infectious. All of a sudden the song completely shifts gears into a female vocal repeating 'I'm your freak don't be mean to me 'cos I like it a lot, like it a lot, like it'. From here the song goes stellar as the pace gets quicker. I'd love to see dancers caught in this song's spell! It soon slows down to regular booty-shaking pace, and retains full cool till it sadly ends.
Ugly Things is a magazine that puts out new issues infrequently and sells out fast. It is an essential read for anyone interested in 60's and 70's rock: garage, psyche, pop, punk - practically anything can end up in the well written articles here. The mag's slogan is 'wild sounds from past dimensions'. In this particular issue there is a big write up on Gandalf, the NY band added in the gullbuy last Spring. There is an article about The Boys, the 77 UK punkpop band that had the great song 'Brickfield Nights'. There is part 1 of an article on the top 100 DIY records ever (1 - 50 are here) which lists Desperate Bicycles 1977 single 'The Medium Was Tedium' as #1. The cover article is on Kim Fowley - about 20 pages are devoted to him. There are also many reviews. The reviews are extensive and quite detailed. Many records added through the gullbuy are reviewed, and many records I'd love to find are here too. Ugly Things has the same sort of appeal to me as the Japanese magazine Beikoku Ongaku. I use both as textbooks to learn from, and as wish lists to find things to search for. Along with Sleazenation, Jockey Slut, The Wire and NME, these are the mags that grab my eyes and mind.