The Anubian Lights are an LA band composed of Len del Rio and Tommy Grenas. They sound very similar to another LA band, Seksu Roba. These 2 guys have apparently played in some top notch bands including Hawkwind, Nik Turner's Space Ritual, the Brain, Chrome, Pressurehed, Farflung, Zero Gravity and DJ Me and DJ You. Even though their name is new to me, in 1995 they released 'The Eternal Sky' on Cleopatra, followed in 1996 by the EP 'The Jackal and Nine' and in 1998 by the full-length 'Let Not the Flame Die Out'. Out of the 14 tracks there are 4 songs I really like, and one I really don't like. I don't like 'In Flight' (#4) which has a cliche-ridden story narrated over the music by a mock captain and stewardess preparing passengers for a final flight on a doomed plane. Comparing this to a song like the 1977 Eno/Snatch collaboration 'R.A.F.' makes this lame attempt worse than a joke, and in bad taste as well. A song I do like is Smoke and Mirrors' (#3). It has Indian Bollywood styled male vocals in a Seksu Roba styled structure. 'Starvox' (#10) reminds me a bit of the Arling and Cameron song 'Weekend'. It's 'it's a groovy day' vocals and accompanying music would be quite in place on an Arling & Cameron disc. 'Lazytown' (#11) has a brief vocal that reminds me of the character 'Trashcan' from Stephen King's 'The Stand'. I kind of like it! The crown of the crop is 'Smoothing Out Of The Curve' (#13) which uses the Feminine complex song 'Hide & Seek' as it's basis. 'Hide & Seek' was a great track on it's own, and Anubian Lights use of it is pretty swell too. Faves: 3,10,11,13
July 3, 2001
All the master strokes of Australia's largest mod/beat band from the 60's gathered together, and bought at an incredible price from the used rack at Newbury Comics. The Easybeats song 'Friday On My Mind' (#4) left such an impression of David Bowie that he recorded a cover of it on his 'Pinups' LP. It is an incredible song to be sure. Out of the 22 songs, my favorites are 'Saturday Night' (#7) - a song as good as the night it honors, with a Seeds-like 'na nan na na' vocal part, 'We All Live Happily Together' (#16) - a more psychedelic song than most Easybeats tracks. Oddly, the vocal in parts of this track reminds me of Ian Hunter in Mott The Hoople. Other parts of the song are comedic, reminding me of the cartoon jug band character who talks during the break in the middle of the Mary Poppins song 'Supercalifragilisticexpialidotious'. 'Good Times' (#17) reminds me of Steve Marriot in The Small Faces. The track sounds a bit cliche by today's standards though. 'Can't Find Love' (#20) has great guitar/bass interplay. It is a rocker roller for sure. If you've been curious about what The Easybeats sounded like, they were not earth shatteringly original even in their time, but they carried a hell of a tune. Faves: 4,7,16,17,20
As typical of RPM releases, this is a classy compilation with a great insert and a good selection of well mastered songs. The theme is UK Mod R&B/Beat bands from 1964 - 1967. The title of the compilation is taken from the band of the same name, which have 4 songs spread throughout the disc. The In Crowd are the band that eventually led to the group Tomorrow. They were fronted by Keith West, and featured Steve Howe (guitarist of Yes) on guitar. The Yardbirds song 'Stroll' (#2) used the riff from 'Train Kept A'Rollin', the song Aerosmith turned massive decades later. The Spencer David Group's 'Keep On Running' (#6) has the music that the 1970 UK Mod revival band The Times used to make the classic song 'I Helped Patrick McGoohan Escape'. The Rocking Vicars recorded an early version of the Pete Townsend song 'The Kids Are Alright' called (at the time) 'It's Alright' (#15). The Rocking Vicars are also notorious for being the band that introduced Lemmy to the world of music. He played guitar in the band before going on to join Sam Gopal, Hawkwind, and ultimately Motorhead. None of those tracks are my faves on this comp though. These are: Manish Boys 'Take My Tip' (#13) in an ultra Mod early David Bowie. The Eyes 'I'm Rowed Out' (#16) has always been a fave since I first heard it, as has Fleur Des Lys 'Mud In Your Eye' (#17). Steampacket's 'Can I Get a Witness' (#20) is a Motown vocal joy with Rod Stewart singing against the gravelly Long John Baldy and the Brian Auger discovery Julie Driscoll. 'It's For You' (#22) by Rupert & The Devils is a bluebeat styled song by this Jamaican band that have the 'square' type of vocal harmonies that Tony Rivers and The Castaways excelled at. Brian Auger & The Trinity play 'Tiger' (#23) for the first time - you have heard the track many times since as a sample staple, particularly in the Blow Up world of go-go music. Many other cool songs on this comp as well. Faves: 13,16,17,20,22,23
My favorite add this week. Le Tone are a band from Paris who use Jean-Jacques Perry styled synths, the cut n' paste construction of The Avalanches and DJ Me, DJ You, and (never overbearing) turntable scratching like Kid Koala. This is their first CD. It follows up the single 'Joli Dragon', which is included on the disc. 'Intro' (#1) uses the sound a horse makes, exactly one of the sounds Australian band The Avalanches use in their song 'Frontier Psychiatrist'. 'Intro' mixes the horse into a collage with cars beeping, phones ringing, & roosters crowing, which leads right into 'Joli Dragon' (#2), the first proper song. A guest vocalist named Judith calls 'Joli Dragon' in French, sounding like she is calling a pet to come to her. The song sounds very much like something DJ Me, DJ You might do. 'Expression du Domaine de la Lutte' (#4) really throws together odd combinations that work. A sample from an easy record is scratched over, and 2 monster sounds (classic Frankenstein and Werewolf, I believe) answer a screaming girl. It is a fun song, easy to play along with when you hear it! 'Is It Love' (#9) blends an old time crooner saying 'Is it love you're missing' with a traditional Japanese melody slightly sped up to sound like something the miniature fairy twins from Godzilla films might sing. The big hitters are saved till the end though. 'Bitter Crop' (#13) uses Billie Holiday singing 'God Bless The Child' and 'Lessive' (#14) uses the song 'Bali Hai' from South Pacific. I like this whole disc - these were just details of my favorite tracks. Faves: 2,4,9,13,14
From the early '80s on into the '90s, Chicago's Naked Raygun were a punk rock force to be reckoned with. Or so I've been told. Some of their songs I've heard and dug, other songs I've simply heard. But when my Naked Raygun-fanatical friend Dan played me this new CD, I knew we HAD to have it for the station. Recorded at their two final shows, November 29 & 30, 1997, it captures an incredibly tight band running through a career-spanning set of catchy songs, with a couple of covers (Buzzcocks and T.Rex) thrown in for good measure. Not only that, but it's a really really good recording too -- not that thin, poorly mixed sound one expects from a live album. Some of my personal faves: ''Treason,' 'Wonder Beer,' 'Rat Patrol,' and the Buzzcocks' 'I Don't Mind.' This CD has definitely inspired me to make a point to re-visit Naked Raygun's back catalog and give a more careful listen.
I can't believe how cheap this was. I mean, it *was* used, but still --- it works out to less than 15 cents a song! The Splash Four (formed in 1994) are a French punk rock 4-piece and although this record dates back to 1999, it's still their most recent release. Recorded by Liam Watson, engineer of the famed Toe Rag Studios (see Thee Headcoats, et al.), it's not as lo-fi as one might expect; just the right amount of grit. Four originals and three obscure covers (by Big Balls & the Great White Idiot, The Bugs, and Kaka De Luxe). Guitarist (and main songwriter) Lili Zeller also plays guitar in The No Talents, a band featuring Cecelia (you know her from 'Cecilila et Ses Ennuis'). Pretty much any track on this CD would go great with any track from the Thee Michelle Gun Elephant CD added last week but my favorite tracks are 'We Don't' and 'Shame.'
A big disappointment to my ears. I really loved Girlfrendo's singles and their 'Surprise, Surprise' LP. The disc starts off with 'Vivid Confusion', which also came out as a somewhat unremarkable CD single on Bambini. That single was the first time they sounded like the 70's band 10cc, which is the land they inhabit throughout this disc. 'Smoke Ring Cool' (#2) is one of the only songs I think is OK on this disc, and even that song will not cause me to seek out this disc after I add it to the racks of WZBCs playlist. It has female vocals, and uses a vocal effect to make her voice sound ruff and dirty in one part of the song, like Girlfrendo doing Babes In Toyland. Most of the CD is very quiet and laid back with sparse instrumentation. It is sleepy music that makes me tired, and I'm not talking about a spacy sound which would seek to have that effect. This is pop music, usually a bubbly affair. Maybe they are going for a Gorkys effect, but Gorkys Zygotic Mynci do the quiet thing a thousandfold better. 'A Young Man Ate My Wife' (#6) is probably my favorite song on the disc. It has the piano that 10cc or Supertramp (another great reference point for Girlfrendo's new sound) used. 'A Young Man Ate My Wife' has zip to it. Much of the strings, acoustic guitar, whispered vocals and rhodes organ just are unbearable to me. I know that I could not listen to this CD all the way through on a bet. I hope this is just a sidestep for a band I used to love, but I fear it is not, as one of the songs I don't like '10 000 km' (#3) was their most recent single for Kakafoni Records, and one of the two girls in the band is no longer a member. On the plus side, I did enjoy one of the B-sides of that recent single, the song 'Ten Wishes'. That song rocks more than any song on this CD. Faves: 2,6
Groenland Orchester are a collective from Hamburg Germany. Members of Klangkrieg, Jyrgen Hall, and Reznicek are part of the band. They seem like a more organic version of the French band DAT Politics to me. I really enjoyed their 'Trigger Happiness' disc, and am glad to report that this new CD is very good as well. There is no major change in sound or vision between the 2 records. In fact, if I had to find any fault it would be that the palette of sounds on the two records are the same. Any track on either of the records could just as easily be on the other. The positive part is that all the tracks sound pretty good. Groenland Orchester's music is closer to circus music than electronica. Der Plan have to come up when you try to pin down the sound. Electronic sounds made to sound like robotic gadgets marching through a dissonant preset path come to me from 'Riso Up' (#2), one of my favorite tracks. 'Meterpolka Remix' (#5) has the same kind of sound structure to it, but with a more linear, less mechanized flow. The final song 'Tonika Oase' (#8) honors Neu as much as Der Plan. It has a real 'highway' feel to it. In fact it is the only song on the CD that has a straight beat throughout. As I listened to the song I thought of Boston artist Cathode Ray Tube, the way the synth sweeps over the beat holding it together in what I called a 'cement synth' in the Cathode Ray Tube review. Faves: 2,5,8
Brought to my attention by WZBC's guru of funk Brian Coleman, this disc collects stuff that came out 1972 - 1975 by this Los Angeles band constructed totally by design by Michael Viner, an executive at MGM Records. Michael Viner and his friend Perry Botkin conceived The Incredible Bongo Band to make music for the b-film 'The Thing With Two Heads'. The project, originally put together as 'a lark' took on a life of it's own and went on to record two records, 'Bongo Rock' and 'The Return of...'. Although almost anyone listening to this disc will recognize the song 'Apache' (#4), my favorite tracks are the covers of Iron Butterfly's 'In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida' (#7), 'Pipeline' (#13), and 'I Can't Get no Satisfaction' (#15). Though each of these songs are very familiar and would seem to be cliché ridden targets to cover, the treatment is ultra fresh on each. Listening to the percussion driven genius of songs like 'Let There Be Drums' (#1) and 'Bongolia' (#2) I can understand where the popular early 90's Boston band Concussion Ensemble received their inspiration. For down right funk, a track like 'Kiburi' (#3) or 'Okey Dokey' (#12) outshine tracks on the coolest of the many recent 70's funk reissue compilations. In fact, just about any song taken alone can evoke awe. A pretty neat disc! Faves: 1,2,3,7,12,13,15
The first release on NYC based Transparent Records, the new label formed by I-Sound, who also formed the 7" only label Full Watts. There are 2 tracks by Thunder & Lightning (DJ Scud & I-Sound), and a track each by Disco Consultant (I-Sound & Errorsmith), DJ Scud, and I-Sound. Oddly enough the CD version of this has one less track. It excludes the second Thunder & Lightning cut, which is a version of the first song. Both I-Sound and DJ Scud are well known for their love of both reggae and broken beat noise, but the songs on Roots, Rock, Ravers (named in tribute to the Bob Marley song 'Roots, Rock, Reggae') holds the noise at bay for the most part. I like this EP a lot. The 2 singles released on Full Watts so far (by Bloodclaat Gangsta Youth and Jah Vengeance) were enjoyably crazy, but I'm not sure I could take a 5 song EP of tracks like them. Every song on this EP has a unique charm. DJ Scud's 'No Love' has the disturbing crying of a woman on it. The way he puts the track together seems to sympathize with the sound, not exploit it. Both versions of 'Deliver Me' by Thunder & Lightning have space to breathe in them, though I prefer the second version myself (buy the vinyl to get this one!). On the B-side, Disco Consultant's 'Sleep Dept' ups the ante a bit with staccato sounds, leading to the I-Sound piece 'Oz', which delivers broken beats and a high pitched sound in a jarring way (undoubtedly as was intended!). Faves: A1, A3, B1
The debut CD from Jacques LuCont's new band, a side diversion from Les Rythmes Digitales. Jacques is bassist of the moment, as he is experiencing super-stardom as part of Madonna's touring band in her current 'Drowned' tour. Zoot Woman go where Benjamin diamond has gone before - straight into the heart of the 80's. Both artists bring the amazing technology of today into their service to repair the sins of 80's mainstream AOR in their own ways. Sometimes it is annoying (when Hall & Oates or Steve Miller are recalled too closely), but sometimes it is superb, as on the song 'Living In A Magazine' (#2). Sure 'Living In A Magazine' is clean and white, but is also has that cool noise below the surface, and a melody that is better than anything The Fixx ever dreamed up in their 'Red Skies' peak. You will know what I mean if you listened to the 'You and I' single, which is included here. There is the cool choice of a cover in their interpretation of Kraftwerk's 'The Model' (#7). Zoot Woman bend the song to their style instead of changing their style to suit the material. The result is the oddest interpretation this side of Senor Coconut. I also like 'Chicago, Detroit, L.A.' (#9), a different version of which appeared on the compilation 'We Love You, so Love Us Too'. Zoot Woman do not take their tongue in cheek exploration of the 80's quite as far as Benjamin Diamond did, except maybe on 'Jesse'(#8), maybe the most picture perfect aping of classic Hall & Oates I have ever heard and liked. Faves: 2,7,9