Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Album Review: Billy Bragg, "Mr. Love And Justice"

First new album from British indie-folk rock balladeer (and noted commie) Billy Bragg. Not the most striking album maybe, but the instrumentation is nice, the songs are driving, wry and witty and Bragg's smart, rich brogue is reminiscent of Morrissey here. Billy Bragg is barely to the right of Lenin, and his lyrics often reflect that, which can be annoying, but mostly it's ok.

Play: 1, 2+ (Harmonica! Clapping!), 3 (nice lyrics), 4++ (Socialism, yay), 8++(gentlest socialist song ever, 10++(protest song)

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Album Review: Man Man, "Rabbit Habits"

If you heard Man Man at KWUR week last year, you know what to expect: an energetic blend of R and B, vaudevillian shout blues and tribal indie madness that sounds like the musical equivalent of anarcho-syndicalism. Additionally, many of these tracks have been in their live repertoire for a while now. This album is somewhat less bombastic and more contemplative than "Six Demon Bag", but that's a good thing. The longer production time (and better production overall) has allowed Man Man to create a delirious, virtuosic phantasmagoria tempered with a deeply moving, tragic romanticism. In short, nothing less than a modern opus.

Seriously, play all.

1+++(da bomb), 2+++(kazoo!), 3+++(marimba!), 4+++(my jazz funeral), 6++(R+B piano, ballad), 7+++(great vocal breakdown), 8+++(percussion! chanting!), 9++, 10++, 11++, 12+++ and 13+++ (slow, beautiful)

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Another Reason To Hate The Rolling Stones

An Estonian commercial from the soviet period. This looks like a Flying Lizards video from Berlin. But it isn't.:

Rock and roll America sexy alright!

And for those who prefer a more folky, traditional approach to their soviet commercials, another gem from Estonia:

And here's another one, guaranteed to give you nightmares:

Enjoy the rest of your break, guys, I'll see you soon...as meat...

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Rock and Roll Hall of Fame: The Ventures

KWUR congratulates the Ventures (a surf rock favorite) as 2008 inductees to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

The Ventures in Japan in 1966


Monday, March 10, 2008

Subversive Cinema: Tadanori Yokoo's Animations

Tadanori Yokoo is an internationally known graphic designer and poster artist. His work heavily draws upon pop-culture and he is sometimes unjustly labeled the "Japanese Andy Warhol."

In the 1960's he became interested in mysticism and psychedelia, deepened by travels in India. His work shows it.

Below is his 1965 animated film, Kachi Kachi Yama. It makes use of may pop icons of the 1960s from Bridget Bardot to the Beatles.

For those interested, all 3 Yokoo animated films available (the above film and KISS KISS KISS (1964) & Tokuten Eizou Anthology NO. 1 (1964)) can be viewed/downloaded in one package at Ubuweb.

Besides that, I can't offer much more information. Very little background in English is available on Yokoo's films. Either way, enjoy the films - they are completely visually stimulating.

[Note: Experimental composer (and Yoko Ono's first husband) Toshi Ichiyanagi's work, "Opera from the Works of Tadanori Yokoo" was directly inspired by Yokoo's artwork, who in a sense "Turned On" the composer. This multimedia box, a blend of musique concrete and psychedelic rock, is also definitely worth checking out]



Thursday, March 06, 2008

Jeff Tweedy On Migraines

The New York Times just posted a fascinating blog entry from Wilco frontman Jeff Tweedy on how migraines effected have effected his music. It's really illuminating, and really helps to validate his latest album Sky Blue Sky as a product of his recovery from both depression and addiction through its juxtaposition with his tumultuous pre-treatment album, A Ghost is Born.

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Fecal Matter's "Illiteracy Will Prevail"

Fecal Matter was Kurt Cobain's first band dating back to 1985. It featured Kurt Cobain on guitar and vocals and Dale Crover (of the Melvins) on drums. Cobain recorded several songs on his Aunt's recording equipment and handed out cassettes (titled "Illiteracy Will Prevail") to people he knew. Eventually, after the band broke up, Krist Novoselic finally listened to his copy and Nirvana was formed.

The cassette was first rumored to exist in Michael Azerrad's 1993 Come As You Are: The Story of Nirvana. Azerrad's book is still the definitive volume on the band. He conducted more interviews with Kurt Cobain than anyone else. [Note: the recently released film, "Kurt Cobain: About a Son", was entirely culled from these extensive interviews. In my view, this also makes it the definitive film about Kurt Cobain.]

Since only several copies were believed to still exist, this cassette became the "Holy Grail" of Nirvana bootlegs since it's first mention. Everyone wanted it, but no one had it. It was so desired that a faked copy turned up in 1997.

A copy was proven to exist when "Spank Thru" was included on the completely unnecessary 2005 money-making release "Silver: Best of the Box". Based on that track, this ultra-rare cassette seemed to be nothing more than low-fi Bleach-era Nirvana material.

Surprisingly, most of the cassette was finally leaked in November. I guess this wasn't big news--I hadn't even heard of the leak until a couple days ago.

10 tracks of the rumored 16 are now available on the internets (I'll let you find them on your own).

Tracklist (currently available):
01. Sound Of Dentage
02. Commercials
03. Bambi Slaughter
04. Made Not Born
05. Unknown #1 (cut)

06. Spank Thru
07. Unknown #6
08. Buffy's Pregnant
09. Unknown #7
10. Downer

When I first heard these I was not only surprised with their quality (it doesn't sound like shit) but also how great the songs were. Only "Spank Thru" and "Downer" (in a much different form) were on any Nirvana releases.

This is NOT Bleach-era Nirvana. In my view, the songs are much more towards the experimental/noisy side--an area I always wish Nirvana had headed. Not surprisingly, Cobain claimed this was intentional. He claimed he was a big fan of the Butthole Surfers and Scratch Acid at the time. For Nirvana's debut, Bleach, he claimed Sub-Pop told the band to tone down this aspect of thier music.

This is as noisy as you will ever hear Kurt Cobain. Hopefully the other 6 tracks will surface soon. Enjoy.



I Don't Know What to Say

Shoutout to Ow! My Sweet Eyes! for finding this

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Arcade Fire, "A Change is Gonna Come"

This is pretty cool.

Album Review: The Dirtbombs, "We Have You Surrounded"

It occurs to me that I like the band The Dirtbombs could be more than I've ever liked the actual band. When The Dirtbombs are at their best, they are a sublime combination of dirty, downright sordid Detroit garage rock grit and a wonderfully grotesque parody of R and B conventions. But that's only on a few tracks here; the rest is that bland, vapid shit you forgot about in '03. DB, you might like this more than me, the rest of you, stick to recommended tracks.

Play: 2+++ (oh yeah), 3++, 4(slow)

Sunday, March 02, 2008

STeeL DJ's Vol. 1 - Pilot Episode - Live DJ BATTLEZ!!!!1111oneoneone!

Four Words: KWUR rhymes with PLUR*!

sorry, linky no work. go here:


*Peace, Love, Unity, Respect.