Thursday, April 29, 2010

X Offender

Played me some Blondie the other day, and was pleased to find that their first 2 albums still sound as perfectly pop as when I first heard them way back when. That Debby Harry poster above my bed sure has yellowed though. As a bonus, there´s a charming tribute to our Debs by Family Fodder, a British postpunk collective with a female French singer annex sex offender named Dominique Levillain. "Deborah Harry, I´m having your baby..." Huh?

Blondie - X Offender MP3
Blondie - Bermuda Triangle Blues (Flight 45) MP3
Family Fodder - Debbie Harry MP3

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

How To Spend The End Times

Another Bonnie Prince Billy album, another keeper. I wasn´t too fond of his last studio outing Beware to be honest, but the live Funtown Comedown was big fun once again. For that one Will Oldham teamed up with a band called The Picket Line, which the prolific bard already ditched just a few months later. Now it´s time for The Cairo Gang, which is basically old Bonnie sidekick Emmett Kelly on guitar. And with his stark, clear tone, Kelly definitely leaves his mark on the resulting Wonder Show Of The World, which is decidedly less dark and ramshackle as your average Bonnie Billy/Palace product.

As there´s a review I can totally live with over at the esteemed Aquarium Drunkard blog, I´ll limit myself to singling out my absolute highlight of the album. And that´s the long, lyrical centerpiece That´s What Our Love Is, beautifully sung by the Louisville Lion. Rather remarkable lyrics too: "I believe these are end times... wouldn´t it be best to be together then? The smell of your box on my moustache, or a crossword on our mind..."

Bonnie Prince Billy & The Cairo Gang - That´s What Our Love Is MP3

Monday, April 26, 2010

Don´t It Make Ya Wanna

"Tell me lies, and put your loving arms around me..." As reader Holly pointed out in a recent comment, These Immortal Souls once did a fine cover version of the James Osterberg obscurity Open Up & Bleed, as featured below in Wild Weekend Vol. 16. The Souls were the late great Rowland S. Howard´s band of course, of Birthday Party fame. Released as the b-side to their first single back in ´87, it´s full of menacing, bitter junkie vocals and remarkably airy guitar strumming. That viola, played by Harriet Freeman, should have been just a bit more prominent in the mix.

These Immortal Souls - Open Up & Bleed MP3

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Wild Weekend Vol. 16

I´m reading Juliet, Naked at the moment, which is quite hard to put down. Really should get busy to bring you edition 16 of Wild Weekend now... Ok, ok, here goes. The iPod´s on shuffle once again, and a surprise six pack in the works. No songs from Nick Hornby´s rockstar hero Tucker Crowe alas, but a whole lot of other goodies nonetheless.

Such as Fallin´ In Love by American Spring, a Brian Wilson produced pop gem from ´73. Penned by Beach Boys brother and drummer Dennis, you can find it on a heartily recommended compilation called Pet Projects. Want some heavier stuff from the same year? Featuring Iggy doing his trademark caged animal impersonation perhaps? Then try on this terrific live version of Open Up & Bleed, recorded live at Richards in Atlanta, Georgia.

American Spring - Fallin´ In Love MP3
Iggy & The Stooges - Open Up & Bleed (live ´73) MP3

Time for some Ethiopean soul now. I´m a huge fan of the Éthiopiques series, and can listen to a singer like Alèmayèhu Eshèté all day and all of the night. My Amharic is kinda rusty, but I´d wager that Addis Abèba Bété translates as ´I love Addis Abeba´. Before Built To Spill, Doug Martsch played in a grungy Seattle band called Treepeople. Nirvana they were not, but a song like Liquid Boy sure hinted at things to come.

Alèmayèhu Eshèté - Addis Abèba Bété MP3
Treepeople - Liquid Boy MP3

Moving to New Orleans now, where we´ll look up Roy Byrd aka Professor Longhair and his pumping piano. "Tell me pretty baby, is everything alright?" You bet. Worth it for that honking sax alone. And we´ll call it a day so I can finally go back to mr. Hornby with a beautiful song by Copey´s Teardrop Explodes about... books. "I´ve seen it in your eyes and I´ve read it in books, who wants love without the looks?" Not me, Julian, not me.

Professor Longhair - Who´s Been Fooling You MP3
The Teardrop Explodes - Books MP3

Thursday, April 22, 2010


Bringing you a steaming jazz six pack today, if only because spring has finally sprung. Saxes on the backburner for now, let´s blow them trumpets. Here´s hoping for a long hot summer, spent in your own sweet way.

Lee Morgan - These Are Soulful Days MP3
The Art Farmer Quartet - I Waited For You MP3
Miles Davis - Springsville MP3
Freddie Hubbard - Cry Me Not MP3
Kenny Dorham - Blue Spring Shuffle MP3
Chet Baker - Summer Sketch MP3

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Gift Unlimited Rhymes Universal

Just received the sad news that the Guru has died. Keith Elam, master rapper and lyricist for Gang Starr, was a true original and an outspoken, intelligent guy. Everyone even remotely interested in quality HipHop should at least own Gang Starr´s Step In The Arena, Daily Operation and Hard To Earn, and the first volume of Guru´s Jazzmatazz series. Here´s a track from each.

Gang Starr - Who´s Gonna Take The Weight? MP3
Gang Starr - No Shame In My Game MP3
Gang Star - Code Of The Streets MP3
Guru - Take A Look (At Yourself) MP3

Monday, April 19, 2010


Got this one by email this morning. Why, I don´t know, as it appears to be a couple of years old already. But the blurb said Glaswegian guitarist Gareth Dickson played with Vashti Bunyan and Isobel Campbell & Mark Lanegan, which managed to spark my interest. And I´m glad I took the time to listen, as Noon is a classy, dreamy acoustic song in the honoured British tradition of Nick Drake and Bert Jansch.

Gareth Dickson - Noon MP3

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Wild Weekend Vol. 15

Edition 15 of Wild Weekend is upon us, and once more the For The Sake Of The Song iPod is set to shuffle to take you on a diverse musical trip. Dynamite and outta sight... you better believe it, bay-bee.

"If you ever loved me with all of your heart, you'd never take a million dollars to part..." That´s Marvin Gaye singing of course, from his post-divorce masterpiece Here, My Dear. Very smooth, and very, very bitter. A bad marriage is a soul singer´s goldmine? San Diego´s Rocket From The Crypt was one of the rockinest live bands I ever saw. No matter if they wore matching bowling shirts or gold lamé, there was always sweat and noise and total dedication and more sweat. Yet another band that could have been huge... but wasn´t.

Marvin Gaye - When Did You Stop Loving Me, When Did I Stop Loving You MP3
Rocket From The Crypt - Ditch Digger MP3

Paco De Lucia is simply one of the greatest flamenco guitar players that ever walked the earth. The virtuoso Llanto A Cádiz comes from his first and aptly named album La Fabulosa Guitarra De Paco de Lucía (´67). The Monkeywrench was an early nineties side project of Mudhoney frontman Mark Arm and former Big Boy Tim Kerr. They did a nice and sleazy take on Buffy Sainte-Marie´s immortal ode-of-sorts to ye olde psychedelic cough syrup. "Stay away from the cities, stay away from the towns, stay away from the men pushin' codine around..." You´ve been warned, pop kids.

Paco De Lucía - Llanto A Cádiz MP3
The Monkeywrench - Codine MP3

Ready for some pop with a capital P? I finally bought The Emitt Rhodes Recordings (1969-1973) at a good price last week and it´s a two disc powerpop monster, lovingly compiled from the four albums he made before quitting the music biz all desillusioned at the ripe age of 24. Another example of someone who could/should have been a Big Star... And last but certainly not least, here come the collie men. That´s British roots reggae band Steel Pulse for you, with a smoking live rendition of their Makka Splaff. "Who likes collie, who likes herb, who likes a good smoke?"

Emitt Rhodes - Let´s All Sing MP3
Steel Pulse - Makka Splaff MP3

Thursday, April 15, 2010


Now here´s a fine example of someone transforming a trashy punk ditty into a pure pop song. Although it´s not just someone we´re talking about here of course: it´s Evan Dando. With his umpteenth incarnation of the Lemonheads, he takes on the late wild man G.G. Allin´s psycho ballad Layin´ Up With Linda and gloriously comes out on top.

Obviously, the secret lies in the musical accompaniment, as Dando manages to sound nearly as morose as the totally wasted Allin. And given the lyrics of the song, that actually makes a lot of sense. "Living with Linda wasn't always easy to do, so one day I killed her, now I'm on the run..." With special thanks to Butthole Surfer Gibby Haynes, who planted this seed in Dando´s head through one of the mixtapes he regularly provides the Lemonhead with.

G.G. Allin & The Carolina Shitlickers - Layin´ Up With Linda MP3
Lemonheads - Layin´ Up With Linda MP3

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Beautiful And Angry

Neil Young recently announced a solo tour in the States, and has personally picked none other than Bert Jansch to be his support act. Consider yourselves lucky, American fans of the old Dinosaur, as Jansch is the real deal. If you´ve never heard of this Scottish folkie before, you just might be amazed. A founding member of the band Pentangle, and an extraordinary guitarist and songwriter, Jansch is a typical musician´s musician. Not a big star in the public eye, but much admired by such diverse players as Nick Drake, Jimmy Page (who nicked one of his songs once), Johnny Marr and Thurston Moore.

Neil Young has been a longtime fan, too. As he told Rolling Stone back in ´92: "Bert Jansch is on the same level as Jimi Hendrix. That first record of his is epic. It came from England, and I was especially taken by Needle Of Death, such a beautiful and angry song. That guy was so good… And years later, on On The Beach, I wrote the melody of Ambulance Blues by styling the guitar part completely on Needle Of Death. I wasn’t even aware of it, and someone else drew my attention to it." Check.

Bert Jansch - Needle Of Death MP3
Neil Young - Ambulance Blues MP3

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Wild Weekend Vol. 14

High time for Wild Weekend #14. A special number that, as it´s the dorsal Johan Cruijff got famous with. Pele, Best, Beckenbauer, Maradona, Van Basten, Romario, Zidane and Maldini, to name but a few, were all downright amazing players and young Messi is currently in mouthwatering form, but Johan still gets my vote as the best footy player ever. Wasn´t too bad as a coach either. No wonder he just got appointed as honorary president of FC Barcelona. Anyway, on to the music now. Curious to hear what the iPod´s shuffle thingy has lined up for you this week? Then lace up your boots and read on.

"You might miss me when I´m gone..." I´ve said it before here and I´ll say it again: if you haven´t got Terry Callier´s funky ´73 masterpiece What Color Is Love, you´re really missing out on something special. Listen to the exemplary You Goin´ To Miss Your Candyman, then go buy this album asap. Thirty five years after her death, Umm Kulthum - or Oum Khalsoum, the spelling of her name always is a bit of a gamble in the west - is still revered in her native Egypt and all over the Arab world. No wonder, as her vocal abilities were nothing short of amazing. Here she is at the height of her powers, with slashing strings galore.

Terry Callier - You Goin´ To Miss Your Candyman MP3
Umm Kulthum - Qadet Hayati Hayra Alek MP3

"There's a girl living in this town, she's a fox and she knows it well..." One day when his ship comes in, Dave Edmunds is gonna make Deborah wonder where he´s been, and rightly so. From what I consider the pubrocker´s finest hour: Trax On Wax 4 (´78). Cleveland´s adventurous early punk scene has always been dear to my heart. Pere Ubu is best known of course, but let´s not forget the Electric Eels, Styrenes or Mirrors. She Smiled Wild (from a ´75 single on Ubu´s Hearthan label) is a perfect example of the latter´s Velvets-inspired sound.

Dave Edmunds - Deborah MP3
Mirrors - She Smiled Wild MP3

Os Mutantes hail Satan on this weird piece of Brazilian pychedelica, and why not? I´ve got their Everything Is Possible compilation on David Byrne´s Luaka Bop label, which is excellent musically, but for some reason doesn´t present the songs in chronological order. And that´s a bummer. And we´ve already come to the end of another Wild Weekend with a song from the one and only Crazy Horse. Featuring Danny Whitten, Jack Nitzsche and Nils Lofgren, Gone Dead Train comes from their eponymous ´71 debut. A solid album, but somehow I keep missing the presence of a certain Canadian loner every time I play it...

Os Mutantes - Ave, Lúcifer MP3
Crazy Horse - Gone Dead Train MP3

Friday, April 9, 2010

Las Golondrinas

"And will the breezes blow the petals from your hand,
and will some loving ease your pain...
And will the silence strike confusion from your soul,
and will the swallows come again?"

The answer is yes. Last evening around eight I was enjoying a quiet smoke in the garden when I looked up at the slowly darkening sky to find that las golondrinas had returned from Africa. Made my day.

Mimi & Richard Farina - A Swallow Song MP3

Thursday, April 8, 2010

It Feels So Goood

Legend has it that when rockabilly wild man Hasil Adkins (1937-2005) was young and listened to Hank Williams on the radio, he thought that Hank was playing all the instruments - guitar, bass and drums - by himself, and all at the same time at that. In his isolated neck of the woods, Hasil never had any idea one could have a band, with different guys playing different instruments.

So what did Hasil do? He simply learned to play the way he thought Hank did it, all by himself. And he´s been a one-man band ever since. The manic She Said from ´64 was made popular by The Cramps, but I tell you there´s nothing like the original. "She jumped up outta the car, pulled her hair down her eye... Do you know what she tried to tell me?"

Hasil Adkins - She Said MP3
The Cramps - She Said MP3

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Cat Power

Our dear cat has had a rough time of it lately. Ole fatso always was the undisputed king of the neighbourhood, but recently he lost a fight and had deep wounds to show for it. Thanks to the vet, who shot him up with multivitamins and even antibiotics, all is well again however.

In tribute, here´s a phenomenal feline six pack. Featuring the Kinks at their typically British best, and a swampy contribution from good old Little Feat. "Livin' in strange dreams, taking prescribed medication..." There´s some sharp jazz by the tenor tandem of John Coltrane and Paul Quinichette, while New York noisemakers the Godz are clearly in heat. Meow! And last but not least, we´ve got a nursery tale of sorts by his Bobness, plus some gorgeous New Zealand pop by Look Blue Go Purple. "And our love will never end..."

The Kinks - Phenomenal Cat MP3
Little Feat - Cat Fever MP3
John Coltrane & Paul Quinichette - Cattin´ MP3
The Godz - White Cat Heat MP3
Bob Dylan - Cat´s In The Well MP3
Look Blue Go Purple - Cactus Cat MP3

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Wild Weekend Vol. 13

Welcome to Wild Weekend, edition thirteen. Just happens to be my lucky number, amigos. Haven´t got it tattoed on my back yet though. Let´s see what the magic shuffle function of the iPod has in store for us this time.

We´ll begin with a very recent song. Sweet Apple is a new side project of J. ´Dinosaur Jr´ Mascis, helped by some guys from Cobra Verde. And as I´ve Got A Feeling (That Won´t Change) clearly shows, these guys just plain rock. Ever seen the sleazy album cover of Roxy Music´s Country Life? If so, the sleeve of Sweet Apple´s Love & Desperation might just ring a bell... Johnny Daye, a white protege of the great Otis Redding, was one of the relatively unknowns in the Stax stable, but his gritty brand of soul still goes down a treat. That trademark guitar comes courtesy of the one and only Steve Cropper, who also co-wrote the song.

Sweet Apple - I´ve Got A Feeling (That Won´t Change) MP3
Johnny Daye - What´ll I Do For Satisfaction MP3

When it comes to the Replacements, everybody always names Let It Be as their fave album. I can see their point, but I personally rate successor Tim (´85) at least just as high. Maybe a lot more people would, if only the sleeve it came in wasn´t so pig ugly. Can anyone name a truly great record with artwork that´s even more horrible? While you´re racking your brains, we´ll be visiting Portugal, for a beautiful fado track about a foundling that one Maria Teresa De Noronha recorded in 1961. What a voice. I can listen to this Portuguese brand of blues for hours, getting sadder by the minute.

The Replacements - Little Mascara MP3
Maria Teresa De Noronha - Rosa Enjeitada MP3

It´s been a little quiet on the Kramer front lately, and that´s a shame. Mark Kramer played in such interesting bands as B.A.L.L., Bongwater and Shockabilly in the eighties, produced tons of bands including the complete Galaxie 500 oeuvre, and ran the influential Shimmy Disc label. The Lennonesque Nine Minus Seven Is Two shows the man is skilled in math, too. And we´ll call it quits with some fine outlaw country by way of ole Waylon, from Honky Tonk Heroes. Cool lyrics by the great Billy Joe Shaver, who penned nearly all the songs on this legendary ´73 album. "If I'd never felt the sunshine, hell I wouldn´t curse the rain, if I hadn't been railroaded, well I guess I'd been a train..."

Kramer - Nine Minus Seven Is Two MP3
Waylon Jennings - Ain´t No God In Mexico MP3