Monday, December 20, 2010


Ah, durn, Christmas really got away from me this year. For one thing, Captain Beefheart's death threw me for a loop. I could spend a LOT of time talking about his genius, I could break his albums down one by one, etc., but I don't have to, do I? His legacy has been pretty well examined. Because, believe me, I could yammer on like an Asperger's kid talking about "Star Wars." It would have to wait until the new year, in any case.

And so I have lots of sick, outsider, novelty and whatnot Christmas records sitting by my turntable unrecorded. Wait 'til next year. At least Our Man In Salt Lake, windbag, came thru with:

Esso Trinidad Steelband "Calypso Christmas"

It ranges from mellow tracks for an irie Christmas, to absolutely pulverizing, loud, clangorous rockers. All instrumental, all percussion played on re-purposed oil drums (now this is real metal music, har har!) And with that, I'll see y'all next year after the holiday. The dust blows forward and the dust blows back...



5. GLORIA IN EXCELSIS (Angels We Have Heard On High)



Thanks again, windy!

Friday, December 17, 2010


Our busy elf helper windbag sent a us batch of singles, including a Christmas disco one, which inspired me to root thru my own disco/old school archives to pull out my fave 12" and vinyl yuletide artifacts. Totally kitschy, funky and, tho sometimes awful, always awfully fun.

01 Wayne Newton - Jingle Bell Hustle

02 Santa's Disco Band - Xmas Medley Disco
03 Charo - Mamacita (Donde Esta Santa Claus)
04 Walter Murphy Orch - Disco Bells
05 Irwin The Disco Duck - Disco Duck II
06 The Sisterhood - The Rocking Disco Santa Claus [the one track I did get off a cd, the crucial Song-Poem Christmas album
07 Walter Murphy Orch - Deck The Halls

08 Kurtis Blow - Christmas Rappin' [from 1979! pre-"Rapper's Delight"?]
09 Santa's Disco Band - Santa Claus is Coming To Town Disco
10 The Treacherous Three - Xmas Rap (Un-Censored)


Thursday, December 16, 2010


I'll be posting Christmas music for the next week or so, and it doesn't get much better than this 11 minute, 7 song 7" recorded by the participants in the arts program of the San Francisco Recreation Center for the Handicapped. The musical backing seems pretty professionally played, in contrast to the vocals of the handicapped folks.
It kicks off with a version of "Rudolph The
Red Nose Reindeer" scored for xylophone and
sad horn - very evocative combination. Much
of the remaining tracks feature only piano 
 accompaniment, which gives it a kind of
church pageant feel; there's a real sweetness
to "O Christmas Tree,"  like if 'A Charlie
Brown Christmas' was now starring old people.
"I Want A Hippopotamus For Christmas" (hey, a Spike Jones cover!)
features a full band, with the unusual lineup of
xylophone, percussion, and...organ? guitar?  I'm not sure.


Tuesday, December 14, 2010


Yes, this recent video of Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin plunking out the piano line and singing "Blueberry Hill" at a star-studded charity dinner has been getting mainstream press coverage, but if you all ignore as much of the mainstream media as I do, you might not have caught it. It would have gone great on my "Politics of Dancing" collection of politicians' atrocious musical moments.

I was amazed to see that James Brown's main man Maceo Parker was leading the band. Did they do any JB remakes? "Living in America" could have been "Living in St. Petersburg;" "Please, Please, Please" could be "Borscht,
Borscht, Borscht." "I Got Vodka (I Feel Good)." "Papa's Got A Brand New Invasion of Chechnya." Oh yeah. I got a million of 'em, folks.

Another weird thing about this: backup singers I understand, but during the spoken-word part, he has backup talkers.

Sunday, December 12, 2010


I have zero info on the demon(s) responsible for this free download release, but I can tell you that this album (or side one, at least) is a highly entertaining witch's brew of sleazy rock in the Cramps/Roky Erickson/Velvets (jugular) vein and lyrics that are, well, just look at those song titles. Tho they're sung in an unlikely high, nerdy voice, I still wouldn't mess with this dude. When he starts screeching about "rats with wings," it sounds like he means it.

Side two reverts to a more normal rock and acoustic approach, but bits of psychedelia and even violin keep things interesting. And don't miss the title song - it's the albums catchiest tune, and sounds like it's sung by children, which makes it all the more wrong. Just how we like it.

Swilson "Demonology"

1. Polyester Shirt Polyester Pants
2. Stealing Chickens
3. Electric Aborigonie
4. Planet Of Sex
5. White Witch Black Witch Which Is Which
6. Rats With Wings
7. La Diosa Verde
8. Dealing In Death
9. Demonology
10. When It's Dark
11. Plastic Flower Melting Sun
12. Swilson's 666th Nightmare

Thursday, December 09, 2010


Alexandra Pajak is a medical student with classical music training from Athens, GA who has recently released an album entitled "Sounds of HIV: Music Transcribed From DNA." It is, needless to say, one of the most unusual albums I've received lately.

"Sounds of HIV" is a musical translation of the genetic code of the Human Immunodeficiency Virus. Every segment of the virus is assigned musical pitches, thus taking the listener on an aural tour of the entire HIV genome...A portion of proceeds from the sale of this CD will be donated to the Emory Vaccine Center, which conducts HIV research." The booklet that comes with the cd breaks it all down into more detail, for you rock 'n' roll geneticists out there.

It makes for an interesting companion piece to the "Speak!" album I reviewed the other day - experimental musical takes on the gay experience. (Yes, I know anyone can catch AIDS, but there's no denying the impact that the disease has had on the gay world.) So what does this journey thru the e
ntire HIV genome sound like? Rather pleasant, actually. It's scored for a 6-person chamber ensemble (flute, cello, winds), but these tracks feature just piano:

Alexandra Pajak & The Sequence Ensemble: Protein 2
Alexandra Pajak & The Sequence Ensemble: Proteins 5 & 6

"Protein 2" is busy, hop-scotching around the keyboard, while "5 & 6" has a gently hypnotizing Minimalist feel to it.

I really don't know
how to feel about this album. Should it be "enjoyed" like any other piece of music, or should it be approached scientifically, the audio equivalent of a textbook illustration? I guess I felt that something that has caused so much death and misery should sound heavy, goth, atonal, and noisy, and not this nice (if a bit somber). But, on the other hand, a disease is simply the work of nature, and nature isn't evil. It's just going about it's business. Pretty thought-provoking stuff for such innocuous music...

Monday, December 06, 2010

The Speaking/Singing Pianist

Anthony De Mare's background in musicals and dance almost sent him down the typical New York theater route, until he detoured into experimental music. Now, while there have been no shortage of gay men in the avant scene (Partch, Cage, etc.) they usually leave all lifestyle references aside when they compose. De Mare's new Innova release "Speak!," however, fuses the two worlds of cabaret and alt-classical. It's as successful as it is unlikely.

One could make the case that gay composers couldn't talk about their lives even if they wanted to due to societal inhibitions, tho the "fine art" world has usually been more open-minded than the mainstream. Or maybe they simply didn't want to get labeled as a "gay act." De Mare seems to have no such qualms -
we get 21 minutes of Allen Ginsberg (punctuated with all manner of wacky vocal sounds), lesbian composer Meredith Monk (an excellent moody short piece), and Rodney Sharman's "The Garden," celebrating the excitement of visiting a gay bar for the first time. The one non-gay composer De Mare covers here, Laurie Anderson, also turns in the albums' least interesting track (and I usually like Anderson quite a bit.)

His solo piano, chatty "speak/sing" method has roots in cabaret, but the complex compositions go way beyond the usual Noel Coward revivals. And that's most evident on the album's centerpiece: "De Profundis," based on letters Oscar Wilde sent from prison. De Mare is completely spellbinding as he whispers, howls, sings, and dishes out more weird vocal noises this side of Yma Sumac, his piano following him every step of the way along Wilde's profoundly moving odyssey. Even at 30 minutes it's not too long.

Anthony De Mare "De Profundis" (excerpt)

De Mare has an open, friendly musical manner (
look at that smile on his face!) all too often missing from the "serious" music world. Cheerful, humorous music usually isn't considered as legit, for some arbitrary, illogical reason, but I don't think De Mare cares. Heck, this album even has a song about his dog.

Thursday, December 02, 2010


Like the "obsolete" instruments I've written about, yodeling is another "uncool" old folk style that, nonetheless, requires a fair amount of technical skill, has a long, rich history, and can be quite ridiculously entertaining. So, once again, let's get uncool.

Arthur Brogli was (is?) a Californian of Alpine origin whose '70s D.I.Y. release "Happy Yodeling" (
sorry Goths, no gloomy yodeling here) features, apart from vocals, pretty much only accordion. Which, strangely enough, makes it resemble the "Philip Glass For Accordion" album we recently featured here. A playlist that goes back and forth between these two albums might make for an interesting experience.
Arthur doesn't shoot his wad all at once - you have to wait 3 minutes into the album before you get any yodeling. But that's okay, "Happy Wanderer" is one of my favorite polkas. Then he plays an instrumental. But after that he does get down to some serious yodel action, including a swell version of that much-hated Disney tune, "It's A Small World," thus proving that yodeling makes everything fun.

Arthur Brogli - Happy Yodeling

This has been another fine windbag contribution.

Monday, November 29, 2010


"Flowmotion: an album of contemporary and electronic music," a various-artists comp released by a British 'zine of the same name in 1982, was one of my favorite boyhood albums. It certainly was the most obscure - I was quite proud of the fact that the booklet that came with the album stated that I had copy #137 of 500. Oh yeah, chicks dug me!

I don't have anything to post by the recently deceased
Peter Christopherson, whose Gristle Throbs no longer, but this album does kick off with a selection by two of his band mates, Chris & Cosey - a song that, according to the booklet, was meant to conjure up a primitive voodoo session, perhaps a reflection of their interest in exotica music. Kinda silly song, really - I preferred the next tune, by Those Little Aliens, who were, in fact, the album's compilers. Their song is in the "Another Green World" vein of ambient pop, with evocative backwards wind-chimes adding to the gentle celeste melody.

It's hard for me to now objectively evaluate an artifact of my youth, but I can tell you that I used to be endlessly fascinated by songs like the mutant disco of
David Jackman's orgy of overdubbed Casios, and the one vocal number on the album, The Legendary Pink Dots' "The Hanging Gardens," which was seemingly the greatest tune that Syd Barret never recorded. Colin Potter's "Rooftops" was sheer Moogy bliss.

Much of "Flowmotion" is cosmic electronics in the Tangerine Dream/early Vangelis mold, but a
punk influence was felt in the D.I.Y. production and the general air of no-holds-barred experimentation. Eno, again, seems to have been a big influence. Plenty of ambient stuff here, from moody to wistful.

When the Mutant Sounds blog originally posted this, I downloaded it and sold my album, only to later realize that the download was encoded at only 128 kbs. Oops, that'll learn me. It's fine tho, really - this stuff was recorded under fairly lo-fi conditions to begin with, and in any case, it still sounds better then when I used to play it on my crappy old record player. Since the Mutant Sounds copy is now off-line, and commenters have been requesting it, here's 'tis:


A1 Chris & Cosey - Devil God

A2 Those Little Aliens - Ismalia

A3 Eyeless In Gaza - Dusky Ruth

A4 Eyeless In Gaza - Through Eastfields

A5 David Jackman - Do The Dog

A6 Ian Boddy - Follow
A7 Legendary Pink Dots- The Hanging Gardens

B1 Ian Boddy - Skylights

B2 Paul Nagle - A Journey In The Dark

B3 Carl Matthews - As Above, So Below
B4 Colin Potter - Rooftops

Thanks to the original poster.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010


Those of you jonesing for more Zoogz Rift might want to check out the numerous free album downloads of Big Poo Generator (and the various other names they record under) for a similar low-brow-humor-vs-high-brow-music approach. There's none of Zoogz' anger or paranoia here, tho - this is pure silliness. The music is complex, almost slick, but vocals are usually sped-up Chipmunk style. Most of the lyrics concern "poo" and/or "retards."

These guys were a big deal on the original a decade ago, topping their popularity charts with songs like "I Be An Retarded." I was pretty obsessed with that tune - so dumb (the lyrics are nothing more then the phrase "I am retarded" repeated over and over), but so musically solid, boasting a great melody and chord structure. Turns out the group had its roots in a Chicago-based Led Zep tribute band, which explained their
impressive chops.

Big Poo Generator "Please
Kill Us" - Synths, guitars, and Chipmunks are joined by occasional bagpipes (!) and, on "Foodballs," an opera singer. Equal parts self-indulgence and brilliance (it's a fine line, isn't it?), tho the latter can be found in: "Mr. Poo" ("you are eating poo, my friends..."), "Rear Entry Pants," "Toilet 4 2," the epics "Gorgon 5" and "Mr. Hamburger"...the (s)hits just keep coming.

The Wacky Ball Kickers - Theatrical songs almost as musically rich as, say, Queen's "Bohemian Rhapsody," but I doubt even the most outrageous '70s glamsters would touch classics like "Sing It, Mrs Ass" or "I'm Gonna Kick Myself In The Balls".

Hemorrhoy Rogers "Cream of What
" - This 100-song, 2 hour mind-melter features their "hit," here named "I'm Retarded (Remix)." Mostly stripped down to just guitars and vox, this might seem like an endurance test at first, but keep listening - plenty of yummy nuggets like "I Can't Go To The Bathroom (Fart Contradictionary)" pop up, like corn in poop.

In an age of novelty music made family-friendly by folks like Weird Al and They Might Be Giants (both of whom I like, by the way), this relentlessly tasteless crew are a welcome breath of foul air.

Monday, November 22, 2010


Here's my latest guest dj appearance on Radio Misterioso. Listen to music by Bigfoot researchers! Chortle to me & Greg's witty repartee! Thrill to my lack of radio professionalism! This is a big 2 hour file.


intro: "Plan 9 From Outer Space"
talk break

Bruce Haack "Rita"
Richard Marino "Full Moon & Empty Arms"
Big Maybelle "The Eggplant That Ate Chicago"
Symphony of Science "Our Place In The Cosmos"
Wah Kazoo "Doctor Wah"
Captain Beefheart "Big Eyed Beans From Venus"

talk break

Tom Yamarone "Bigfoot - The Living Legend"
Jim Kocher "Living In A Bigfoot World"
Jack's Smirking Revenge "Rocks"
Derek Young "Cryptid Love"
Danny Freyer "I Still Believe In Bigfoot"

talk break

Marlin Wallace "Abominable Snowcreature"
Philip Stranger "African Can Bang On A Can"
Luchese Leibhaber "Gesundheit"
RIAA "Stand Up & Feel" (excerpt from 'USA')
Duo Immortales "My First Nazi Girl"
Charles "Chick" Gaminian & His Orientals "Daddy Lolo"
Jimmy McMillan "The Rent Is Too Damn High"
Dick Kent "Peanut Farmer - Smiling President"
David Liebe Hart & Adam Papagan "The Omegans"
David Liebe Hart & Adam Papagan "All My Friends Like Asian Girls"
Flaming Dragons of Middle Earth "I Am The Creator Sun Ra"
Flaming Dragons of Middle Earth "No Bush On CNN"
Jean-Jacques Perrey & Dana Countryman "Kittens On The Moon"

talk break

Jandek "You Painted Your Teeth"
Ranking Joe "Tribute To John Lennon"
Satanic Puppeteer Orchestra "Watching The Wheels"
Satanic Puppeteer Orchestra "Lydia The Tattooed Lady"
Jerry Gray "Ooh and Ah Mambo"
Jimmy "We're Desperate"

talk break

Jean-Jacques Perrey & Dana Countryman

Friday, November 19, 2010


"Based in Turners Falls, MA, Flaming Dragons Of Middle Earth are the brainchild of visionary wheelchair-bound ‘band shaman’ Danny Cruz, who leads an ensemble of rotating non-musicians, artists, oddballs, kids with Down Syndrome etc in weekly jams at a community resource centre..."

The vinyl-only release "Seed of Contempt," another one from Feeding Tube Records, is a true outsider-music artifact, an astonishing blizzard of unrestrained audio mayhem played by kids who aren't trying in the slightest to be cool, professional, or show-biz. 'Twas all mastered off of live cassettes. I'll let Danny himself explain:

Flaming Dragons of Middle Earth "Not Really Causing A Fire"

Like a lot of teenage boys, Danny loves heavy metal, and indeed, there is a Sabbath riff somewhere in this minute-long shard of broken sound:

Flaming Dragons of Middle Earth "Speed Kills"

but apart from all the metal references in both the music and the album's artwork, Cruz' mentions of avant-jazz legend Sun Ra implies that not all of the free-form lunacy in these grooves is simply the result of jam-session sloppiness. And certainly Cruz'
description of his "apocalyptic improvisational lyrics" could apply to the music too.

This almost-lovely piano tune makes Daniel Johnston sound Top-40 normal:

Flaming Dragons of Middle Earth "Anarchists of Punk Rock"

Monday, November 15, 2010


Coincidentally, two albums popped up in my PO box recently, both late '70s/early '80s UK oddities. And, right on time, Bret from Egg City Radio has got another incredible punk film festival lined up at the (increasingly inaccurately named) Silent Movie Theater in Hollywood here in L.A. I'm always happy to help promote such spectaculars - I mean, come on, who wouldn't want to see this:The 2 day Destroy All Movies! fest will be happening this weekend Nov. 20-21 (dig the trailer), featuring films like the legendary concert epic "Urgh! A Musical War" (a boyhood favorite) and "D.O.A.," starring the real Sid and Nancy. But I'm most looking forward to the "Punks on the Small Screen" line-up of hilariously clueless TV reactions to punk.

Both the albums I received are products of the DIY spirit sweeping the land at the time, sound nothing like the Sex Pistols, favor electronics, and are full of cheeky humor and utterly original imagination. How
punk is that?

The Loved One were criminally overlooked proto-industrial arty-smarties who shared albums and stages with the likes of Depeche Mode, Soft Cell, The The, and B Movie. So why aren't they more well known? After listening to the reissue of the "......Further Observations" collection of '79-'82 tracks it's obvious that they were moving into far stranger and more experimental realms then their increasingly commercial colleagues. No two songs sound much alike: some tracks verge on ambient, some almost pop, some instro, some with hysterical vocals. "The Depressionists" (listen to it here) is a very funny stab at the doom-and-gloom attitude then prevalent in post-punk England. The title song reminds me of what I loved so much about the original industrial style (think: Suicide, The Normal, etc).

The Loved One ".....
.Further Observations"

Check this hauntingly strange video, featuring some sort of odd inven
ted instruments. Another of their reissues is music based on shortwave radio recordings. The Loved One are in the process of not only reissuing their old albums, but writing new ones, which will hopefully bring a higher profile to this surprisingly underrated combo.

"PIMANIA: The Music of Mel Croucher and Automata U.K. Ltd," an utterly amazing vinyl-only release, is quite accurately described as "The crown jewel in the Feeding Tube catalog. The music on this record was recorded from 1981-1985 as the conceptual soundtrack for computer games released on cassette by the British software house Automata U.K. Ltd. Combining primitive synthesizer tones and meandering psychedelic blues guitar with cryptic, off-color lyrics about the multi-colored Piman and his pals, this is unlike any other "computer music" you know or have imagined. Ultra thick gatefold, comes with cut-out mask, extensive liner notes and poster."

It's quite a peek into the early-'80s computer world, a relatively tiny enterprise compared to today's corporate gaming behemoths. The comics that come with the album seem descended from underground '60s "comix," and the whole thing has a kind of leftover hippie idealism (no violent games) mixed with a punk approach, e.g. the music is often synths, drum machines, and garage guitars recorded at home. This parody of the Shangri-Las's '60s classic "Leader of the Pack" brutally (but amusingly) attacks Piman's perceived rival Pacman!

Mel Croucher: "Leader of the Pac"

Funny how 30 years ago, punk in movies or tv was a punchline, or a threat. Now (call it the "Juno" syndrome) it's what the "cool" kids reference. So, what, am I finally cool? Are the jocks who hassled me all listening to Joy Division now instead of Journey? Because their kids probably are. What must they make of that..?

Thursday, November 11, 2010


Not really. But an East Coast accordionist has released a collection of Philip Glass covers. Some solo, some of it sounds overdubbed, no other instruments. This shouldn't work in a million years, yet it does, and quite brilliantly at that. It's no gimmick - the guy's got some serious squeezebox skillz, and the surrealism of making 20th classical music sound like a Balkan village dance is an unexpected bonus.

What Capitalism Was - Plays Philip Glass on Accordion
1. Japura River
2. Facades
3. Cloudscape
4. Aria from Act III of Satyagraha
5. Floe
6. Etoile Polaire
7. Subterraneans
8. Resource
9. Knee 1

And you thought that the Dead Kennedys were a strange choice for an accordion tribute...

Tuesday, November 09, 2010


UPDATE 11-13-10: My email IS now working.

My email ( isn't working. If you've written to me in, I dunno, the past week or so, I probably didn't get it.

Nice not to get all that spam, tho...

Monday, November 08, 2010


Skrewdriver are one of those bands more heard of than heard. As members of the Class of '77 British punk scene, one of the most celebrated movements in rock history, you'd think they'd be in the history books (they even did a Peel session), but a hard-right turn into Nazi/KKK territory had them written out as if they never existed. Their status as the premier neo-Nazi skinhead band has gained them a certain amount of notoriety, but I don't know of any record guides or rock history books that mention them, nor did I ever hear them on alt/college radio.

Sure, they're not that great, but plenty of other lesser UK punkers got ink. Hmm. Since when has rock 'n' roll been about upstanding citizenship? I wanted to know what they actually sound like. (Disclaimer: Nazis are bad.)

Their debut "All Skrewed Up" is decent raw, basic punk with a few unexpected, unpleasant forays into mainstream rock. There's not a hint of racism in this original line-up, tho their propensity for dumb lyrics was already coming to the fore on songs like "Gotta Be Young." As if an
yone has a choice about their age? Duh. But it is a catchy tune:

Skrewdriver "Gotta Be Young"

Bandleader Ian Stuart Donaldson dissolved this lineup, and re-emerged a few years later with a new-and-unimproved Skrewdriver that now openly embraced Nazi, anti-semitic, racist ideologies, with lyrics as un-poetic as slogans shouted out at a political rally. The irony of declaring themselves strongly patriotic Brits while supporting that which tried to destroy Britain in WWII is, of course, lost on them. And then there's the puzzling hatred of Communism. Why support one bloodthirsty dictatorship while condemning another - professional jealousy? (Har har!) The music didn't advance, even if the punk scene had. Still, they could come up with the occasional memorable melody:

Skrewdriver "White Power"

After this period, there wasn't much gas left in their musical tank. 1984's "Hail The New Dawn" album starts off with some exciting rockers:

Skrewdriver "Before The Night Falls"

before tedium sets in: dull production, plodding tempos, and weak songwriting won't whip up a race war any more then the tiresome repetition of lyrical themes that blunt the shock value after a while. Meanwhile, the oi! scene in British punk was moving in the opposite direction - faster, louder, and more engaged with the public, as Skrewdriver retreated into the neo-Nazi subculture.

I can see how a group like this might have caused some alarm in the '80s, but it all seems fairly toothless, even a bit pathetic now. Donaldson's death by car crash in 1993 ended the band, and the Nazi skinhead scene, tiny to begin with, became increasingly marginalized to the point that it's now practically invisible to the general public. Good night, Adolph...

Friday, November 05, 2010


I return to Radio Misterioso for 2 solid hours of wild 'n' wacky musics this Sunday, 8pm, Pacific Standard Time.

I'll be joining host Greg "Spacebrother" Bishop playing lots of goodies I haven't had the time to feature yet here on M4M. So even for regular readers of this here web-log it'll be mostly unheard stuff.

Spinning all the platters that matter (or should that be "madder"?)


It's been far too long since I've posted any '50-'60s surf/garage/tiki trash 'round these parts, so dig this thirty-three -count 'em- THRTY-THREE track comp of sleazy-listening gems. You've got Latin spitfire La Lupe utterly demolishing "Fever," a theremin-driven rocker called "Shock Treatment," that ultimate bachelor's anthem "The Devil's Pad," and "The Devil's Blues," in which we learn that "Satan's not square." And lots of songs with "voodoo," "bongo," and/or "rock" in the title. Makes me glad to be alive.

I actually own a couple of these records, such as the afore-mentioned "Fever" and Ralph Marterie's pseudo-Arabic "Shish Kabob," but for the most part these are mighty rare, otherwise un-comped (so far as I know) oddities by no-one you've heard of.

The Lavender Jungle

Wednesday, November 03, 2010


So, a topical 30-year-old punk rock song is relevant again. Who'd have thunk it? Of course, Jerry Brown isn't quite the same hippie-fied "Gov. Moonbeam" that he was in the '70s. For one thing, he has a lot less hair now, and he isn't dating Linda Rondstadt (so far as I know). And yes, this portrait of Brown is the official one that hangs in the California state capital. I've seen it! Quite a contrast to the formal, staid governor's portraits that come before and after it.

As we wrote back in '06
: "Oakland, CA's Aaron Seeman plays accordian, for your weddings, parties, bar mitvahs, etc. He's in a Romanian folk music group, can play waltzes and polkas. And as Duckmandu he's recorded a note-for-note remake of the entire first Dead Kennedy's album, the punk rock milestone "Fresh Fruit for Rotting Vegetables." Completely solo. Yep, just squeeze-box, and singing that's a darn good impression of DK's vocalist Jello Biafra. From the album "Fresh Duck For Rotting Accordionists":

Duckmandu: "California Über Alles"

or, for you classical music buffs:

Duckmandu: "California Über Alles" (string quartet version)

(What the heck does "Fresh Fruit for Rotting Vegetables" mean, anyway?)

Tuesday, November 02, 2010


New to Zoogz? Start HERE.

We've come to end of our brief survey of the wildly prolific and imaginative Zoogz Rift. Remember, you can now send away for an inexpensive set of his (almost) entire output if this has whet your appetite. I certainly would be interested to hear what albums like "

This 1990 collection starts with "Kasaba Kabeza," a groovy funk instrumental that gets increasingly twisted. The sax/trombone interplay towards the end of this song suggests a particularly woozy brand of Minimalism. Even at 19 minutes this track isn't too long. One of Zoogz' best.

"Bowl of Gregmar" could be white-boy bar-band blues, were it not for the misanthropic lyrics and industrial-grade guitar solos. "You Can Count On Us" is a
savage, funny Traveling Wilburys parody, tho I doubt that today's kids know who they are/were. No matter, proceed to the boss title track, a pogo-riffic instrumental that could almost be early Devo with a jazzy horn section. Top stuff.

This album is subtitled: "Music For Obnoxious Yuppie Scum." Does that mean that he thinks that obnoxious yuppie scum would actually like this music? Give this album to your BMW-driving Wall Street friends today!

Zoogz Rift: War Zone

Friday, October 29, 2010


Windbag, a frequent contributor to this here web-log, hails from Salt Lake City in Utah, the seat of the Mormons aka The Church of Later-Day Saints (The LDS). Thanks to him, we have a plethora of Mormon-culture artifacts, such as:

"Sons of Provo," a hilarious mock-umentry film about Everclean, a Mormon boy band. The soundtrack is not only a spot-on parody of those psuedo-r'n'b teeny-bopper groups, but a gentle tweaking of the impossibly wholesome squeaky-clean image of the LDS. Jokes from the film like the band recruiting a new member from his job in the scrapbooking department of a crafts store might not seem too crazy, but this is a religion that traditionally has not allowed even a hint of rebellion or free expression. Anyone who leaves the church is sometimes shunned by family and friends, so any satire is a bit radical.

Everclean "Everclean" - " Listerine"
Everclean "Dang, Fetch, Oh My Heck" - How to swear in Mormon; quite a lot of musical diversity in this track

The Saliva Sisters, a female song-parody trio, would seem to have slightly more pointed spoofs of Mormonism, and the state of Utah in general, on their album "Delusions of Granger." But their "Spit Happens" album doesn't get specific - songs like this Led Zep parody could apply to department store-obsessed housewives anywhere:

The Saliva Sisters "Stairway To Nordstroms"

This brilliant acappella rendering of the theme to "Alfred Hitchcock Presents" has nothing to do with Mormon life (near as I can tell), but it is Halloween-appropriate:

The Saliva Sisters "Hitchcock" - These gals can sing, no?

So what is it that they're all satirizing? Brace yourself for a full album of...(dramatic sting) singing children!!

Songs For A Mormon Child
- Delightful moppets shriek out hits like "I'm A Mormon," "I Want To Be A
Mother" in which a little girl claims to want "...4, 5, 6 babies", and (gotta love this title) "Hey Everybody! It's Family Night!" You've been warned...

Thanks windy!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010


No, not Bela Lugosi. But how great would that have been? "Bela Does Broadway"..."Doin' The Twist With Bela Lugosi"...Alas! It never happened. But Christopher Lee has a new-ish album out, and at 87 years of age, he's practically as old as Dracula himself.

Charlemagne: By the Sword & The Cross
is billed as a heavy metal/symphonic album but, really, it sounds more Broadway than anything else. And, as if you couldn't tell by the album/song titles, it's a concept album, set it medieval times. Christopher Lee goes campy epic metal? Totally rad, of course. How could it not be? A monumental kitsch epic.

No, he doesn't wail like Ozzy, but he really does sing. Well, sorta. He tries.

Christopher Lee: Act IV - The Age of Oneness Out Of Diversity

Tuesday, October 26, 2010


New to Zoogz? start HERE. We're in the home stretch - I only have one more album of his after this.

Torment is right. This 1989 release kicks off with a track by a clearly frustrated Rift bemoaning his increasingly diminished place in the music industry, and other songs boast primo pissed-off rants. "Dead Planet Earth" features a plethora of ethnic percussion and even a rain stick - Zoogz goes "world-beat"!
"The Secret Marines Sex Kitten Beach Party," one of the most uproariously surreal spoken-word + music tracks Rift has ever done, recounts a boy's hilariously gruesome trip to the doctor.

The Tom Waits-ish "Meet Me at Stinky's" is a new direction for Rift, as is
"Low Life," for overdubbed pianos (and no other instruments). "Let A Man Come In And Eat The Popcorn, Pt. 47 & 93" is a James Brown parody/tribute. And "Defecation Rainbow" is a helluva title, isn't it?

Apart from the usual furious punk/jazz instros with their blistering guitar work and
Jonathan "Mako" Sharkey's synth mayhem, there are some songs that could almost be normal rock ballads. The instro "Candy Girl" is as happy and catchy as it's title would suggest - bubblegum fusion?

Zoogz Rift & his Amazing Shitheads - "Torment"

Monday, October 25, 2010


Jimmy McMillan, representative (and possibly only member) of The Rent Is Too Damn High Party, is running for governor of New York. He'd get my vote. He's got a lot going for him:

- his super-fly facial hair.
- the fact that he once walked all the way from Brooklyn to Buffalo.
- his prodigious use of clip art.
- his funky synth-and-drum-machine tunes. Every song is about how the rent is too damn high. ("You Never Cared" has a particularly illin' groove.)

Jimmy McMillan -
The Rent Is Too Damn High (10 songs)

The election is this Nov. 2. Don't let me down, New Yorkers!

Thursday, October 21, 2010


Who's that? The voice seems to be coming, it can't be...the piano is talking!

Peter Ablinger: Deus Cantando (God Singing)

Fortunately, this
is a nice possessed piano: it's reading from the "Declaration of the International Environmental Criminal Court," not telling you to "Get out!"

Thanks to
computer trickery by Berlin-based composer Peter Ablinger and technical assistance from Winfried Ritsch, the piano only appears to be talking. If you can't quite make out what it's saying, check this page with a video where you can read the text along with the music. Ablinger used to write original music for sampled recordings of speech (fascinating audio tracks on the bottom of this page) until he hit upon the idea of piano and speech intermingled. Just in time for Halloween.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

ZOOGZ TOOZDAY 8: "Murdering Hell's Happy Cretins"

(New to Zoogz? Start HERE) If you thought Zoogz was getting soft with last week's offering, this 1988 release should reassure you that Mr. Rift has not mellowed. The first half of this smokin' album is live in Europe, reprising favorites like "Heart Attack," "Mongoloid Middle America," and "When My Ship Rolls In."

Then the studio half: the lovely instro "Puke Island Paradise;" then the title track, one of Rift's trademark rants, this time directed at the likes of pretty-but-empty-headed bimbos; "Tender Romance Sequence," more of a skit than a song, is nutty x-rated surrealism; the film "Freaks" gets sampled; "A = a" is one of Rift's most furious rockers; trombones, vibes, and shrieking guitars prance merrily about and a good time is had by all. Zoogz himself has said that it's "containing some of my best studio work." It
certainly makes this cretin happy.
Zoogz Rift "Murdering Hell's Happy Cretins"

Sunday, October 17, 2010


While it's still October (or, as I like to call it, 'ROCKtober'), here's a whole beer garden's worth of
German "schlager" music for a maniac's Oktoberfest. Most of these songs are remakes of Anglo-America hits. They're sometimes sung in German (or inaccurate English), and performed in a gleefully tasteless, absurdly upbeat party-ready delirium. The closest analogy in American music would be Vegas-type lounge music, but even the cheesiest of those swingin' cats had a bit of jazz in them. This stuff is more like oom-pah tarted up for the '60s and '70s, trading in lederhosen for eye-poppingly colorful wide collar shirts and bell-bottom flared pants. It's quite ridiculously entertaining, and it all comes from my collection of used vinyl. Vee hef ways of making you LAFF! [original artist's name in brackets]

1. Bernd Spier (not to be confused with reggae band Burning Spear!) "Memphis" [Chuck Berry]
2. Chris Roberts "Rock and Roll Music"
[Chuck Berry]
3. Rolf Kühn "Paranoid" [Black Sabbath] - clarinet instrumental!
4. Rex Gildo "Speedy Gonzales" [Pat Boone]
Chris Robert "La Bamba" [Richie Valens] - absolutely absurd English lyrics
Rolf Kühn "I Hear you Knockin" [Dave Edmunds]
7. Ruth Brandin "Warum (nennt man dich Sunnyboy)"
Rex Gildo "You Call Everybody Darling"
Bernd Spier "Danke Shoen" [Wayne Newton...or was this a German original?]
10. Tanzorch
ester Schwarz-Weib "Kleines Haus am Wald"
11. Jo Ment "
Get It On-Sweet Hitchhiker" [T.Rex/Creedance Clearwater Revival]
12. Rolf Kühn "Apeman" [The Kinks]
13. Pumuckl's Kinder-Party "Pumuckl Rock n Roll"
Chris Roberts "Blowin In The Wind" [Bob Dylan] - play this for any Dylan fan, and watch smoke come out of their ears
15. Lolita "El Paso" [Marty Robbins]
16. James Last "HeyTonight-She's A Lady-What Is Life" -
[Creedance Clearwater Revival/Tom Jones/George Harrison]
17. Gunter Hapke "Fur Gaby tu ich alles" - from 1963; early electronic keyboard?
Rolf Kühn "Black Magic Woman" [Santana]
19. Ruth Brandin "Papagei-Twist"
James Last "Be My Baby-Immigrant Song-Have You Seen The Rain-My Sweet Lord" [Ronnettes/Led Zeppelin/Creedance Clearwater Revival/George Harrison]
21. Lolita "Wenn der Sommer Kommt (Theme From A Summer Place)" [Percy Faith]
Rex Gildo "Will You Love Me Tomorrow" [Shirelles]

Thursday, October 14, 2010


If 15 hours of Ergo Phizmiz's "Faust Cycle" still wasn't enough, and you've been seeking out even more eccentric British humor and surreal storytelling mixed with sample-based experimental music, look no further! Series One of

the Frunt Room

show is now up in it's 6-episode (roughly 2 hours) entirety. Members of long-time M4M faves Pilchard and The Who Boys are the humans behind these ongoing madcap misadventures of a robot-like couple. Episodes 3 & 4 are particularly hilarious.

Musically, expect an entertaining mix of '60s e-z kitsch, modern beatz, and oddballs of the Zappa/Residents variety.

Brent Wilcox w
as an early radio hero of mine. His KCRW show "F.R.G.K." ("Funny Rock God Knows") was as fearlessly weird as any I've heard. And he's finally put his own music on-line. The standout stuff for me is the two-part (roughly 38 minutes) "Pops Science Story," which was originally released on cassette in 1987.

It tells a mind-meltingly strange and funny story that could make for an especially freaky episode of "Fringe." Wilcox's musical backing is a low-techno stew of tape-loops and Casios and drum machines pushed to their limits. Brian Eno, no less, praised it.

The "Pops" Science Story - Part One (1987) by Brent Wilcox
The "Pops" Science Story - Part Two (1987) by Brent Wilcox

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

ZOOGZ TOOZDAY 7: (Nonentity) Water III

Don't know Zoogz? Start HERE! But even if you do think you know him, you'll be surprised by this 1988 album - there's no spoken word surrealism, no screaming fits, no rude language. There is alot of nice singing, some Tim Buckley covers (!?), and plenty of instrumental action that is no longer zigging and zagging at break-neck tempos. No, The Amazing Shitheads come off almost like a loose jam band here.

The eminently hummable "When My Ship Sails In," written by band member John Trubee, is as gorgeous a melody as Zoogz ever recorded. The closeset thing here to the old surrealism is the title of the 20+ minute jam "The Enigmatic Embrocation Of Mrs. Compost Heap," and the fact that accordionist Rocky Howard keeps derailing the proceedings to quote from songs like "The Godfather Theme" and "Beer Barrel Polka." Accordion polka on a Zoogz Rift album? That might be the most shocking thing he's ever done. But I guess even misanthropic paranoid cynics have their good days.

Zoogz Rift: (Nonentity) Water III

Saturday, October 09, 2010


Don't know who this Radio Crack fella is, but he's got lots of media cut-ups/sound collages. And they don't get much funnier then this one, featuring the world's most powerful person. And Barack Obama.

Radio Crack: Obamarah

Thursday, October 07, 2010

A 26-Second Long CD

The Everyday Film is the Jandek of electronica: secretive, musically unique and disturbing, and completely in his own universe. I don't even know where he (they?) are from anymore - every package I get from 'em seems to have a different return-address. And the most recent CD is 26 second long. Yep, he went to the bother of making a cd, packaging it, mailing it...all that work for 26 seconds. Top that, Jandek!

The track makes up for it's short length in sheer shock value. As usual, vocals are so distorted it's hard to tell what's happening, but apparently he's in surgery: "That's me on the table."

The Everyday Film: "Multiple Women" -
It's a sneak-preview of a forthcoming album.

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

ZOOGZ TOOZDAY 6: Water II (At A Safe Distance)

Don't know Zoogz? Start HERE! Otherwise, let's dive into a 1987 release that, although it's pretty quirky by the usual standards, is as close to a straight-ahead punk/rock album as anything Zoogz & His Amazing Shitheads ever did.

A few songs are pretty out there, however. And the nearly-7 minute epic "Ah Peek In Duh Devil's Secret Hell Files" is waaaay out there, one of the nuttiest things I've ever heard from Zoogz. At one point, he even parodies Beefheart and Zappa's style to most amusing effect. And the impressive title song, for (at least) three electric guitars and no other instruments is some kind of demented
string quartet/chamber music.

Zoogz Rift: Water II (At A Safe Distance)

We're only skimming the surface with all these Zoogz posts - he released far more music then I have in my collection. Although this stuff is out of print, Rift himself, thru his son Aaron, is selling
for ridiculously low prices a data cd and dvds containing most everything he ever recorded. Faithful reader Steve took the plunge (all right, no more water puns) and sent away for them: "I've received everything from Aaron as advertised! ...I've found that the dynamic range is a bit better than the generally available album rips." He also reports that there are numerous bonus tracks for each album, although, strangely, one track that was originally on an album might be missing (or was it's title changed?). It's bare-bones (no art work), but considering how much you get for so little money, I'd still say it's a great deal. And since Zoogz has so many health issues, I'm sure he could use the money.

(Thanks, Steve!)

Friday, October 01, 2010


How do you follow a debut 4-disk (plus bonus disk) boxed-set album? By not even putting out an album, but an on-line musical game.

The Satanic Puppeteer Orchestra first graced our pages years ago when I wrote: "
I don't detect anything particularly satanic about this good-natured band, nor are there any puppets in evidence. For that matter, it's not much of an orchestra - one man largely handles the music, a "mad scientist" whose robot creation sings lead. Therefore, it's the perfect name for this bizarre, funny bit of musical dada."

Their latest project is a multiple choice Name That Tune game, featuring hilariously devolved covers of pop hits, performed as only a mad scientist and his random-sense-of-pitch singing robot can perform them. Thanks to the SPO themselves, we offer here EXCLUSIVE!!! mp3s of some of the songs featured in the game. Otherwise, there are no downloads (yet).

Who did the originals of...

Blaze of Glory - with toy piano!
Werewolves of London (It is getting to be Hollow-Weenie time)
I Can't Go For That
Where Is my Mind

Are there prizes if you guess correctly? Why, of course - you win the greatest gift of all. No, not love: free mp3s of weird music! What more could you want?!

There's plenty more good listening on the three (soon to be four games) that are up now. Thanx to Professor J. and SPO-20!

Monday, September 27, 2010


Start HERE! (If you haven't already).

As Los Angeles has just experienced the hottest day in our recorded history, an album called "Water" sounds mighty soothing, doesn't it? Aaaaah, water... And this one kicks off with a song called "I'll Rip Your Brains Out." Hi, Zoogz!

The afore-mentioned song is another example of Rift's trademark outrageous surrealism, in this case sending the TV show "The Beverly Hillbillies" into a Caligula-like orgy. The music ends up as a kind of punk version of the old American folk song "Shortin' Bread."

Much of this swell, well-produced 1987 release is instrumental, which is great as it gives his prog/punk/jazz/weirdness musicians a chance to shine (Richie Haas' marimbas always make me happy), tho I would love to hear lyrics for songs with titles like "World of Depravity." One instro segment, based on the "Oh Pretty Woman" riff, is named "Roy Orbit's Son" (get it?). But the few songs with lyrics are good ones, e.g.: the vituperative "Burn in Hell," and "Mongoloid Middle America," which posits a theme park ride far more terrifying then the Haunted Mansion.

Two excellent instros are only a minute long: "Diver Dan vs. the Worm Gobblers" has a funky poppin' bass trying to keep up with a drum machine that keeps playing faster and faster, and the
all-electronic title tune sounds like easy-listening music for robots. A spoken word track featuring a woman recounting a (hopefully fictitious) encounter with a pedophile isn't anything you'll want to hear much, but it does break up the instrumentals.

Dive in! (sorry)

Zoogz Rift: Water