This song, released just yesterday, by composer and trumpeter Ahamefule J. Oluo (of Seattle quartet Industrial Revelation, winners of the 2014 Genius Award for Music), and lyricist/singer okanomode. The album, NOW I'M FINE, out December 9th, features music from the experimental pop-opera of the same name and will be released in conjunction with the show's upcoming run at Seattle's On the Boards. Check it out! SUCH SWEET, SWEET MUSIC...
BOB MOSES'S EROTIC-CITY HOUSE TUNES
At first I thought, why is a 66-year-old jazz drummer playing a show at Barboza? But it turns out that Bob Moses is not the guy who kept time with luminaries like Larry Coryell, Gary Burton, Jack DeJohnette's Compost, and Tisziji Muñoz, but rather a young Canadian electronic duo. You'd think these cats would be SEO-savvy enough not to nick the name of a respected musical figure. Anyway, maple-leaf Bob Moses create "Music that will make you want to build a highway through a low-income neighborhood," according to their SoundCloud bio. Funny, but it's more accurate to say that Bob Moses won't wreck your 'hood's integrity as much as they'll set a sultry, smooth mood for you and your significant other to create erotic friction. Tom Howie and Jimmy Vallance's understated croons glide over slow- and mid-tempo house rhythms in a manner that should please fans of Matthew Dear and Junior Boys. With Jus Moni and Luxe Canyon. Barboza, 8 pm, $12 adv, 21+...
Seattle quartet Newaxeyes are one of the city’s most interesting and exciting bands, as I outline in this week’s paper. In that feature, Newaxeyes praise Will Smith, who handles their live sound and produces their recordings. (He worked the boards for Newaxeyes’ debut single, “Assange” / “Church,” which you can hear below.) Beyond these duties, Smith also runs 4th Street Records and Hatchback Recording, the latter a mobile audio company that did sound for the recent Black Constellation event at the Frye Museum featuring Erik Blood, Shabazz Palaces, and OCnotes. Smith also cut a grindcore Christmas album with Newaxeyes guitarist Will Hayes last year. The band members made Smith sound so fascinating, I decided to interview him, too.
Newaxeyes consider you something of a fifth member. Please describe what you do for the band and what you perceive as your role with them, both live and in the studio.
My role is the same live as it is in the studio. I'm there to make sure their equipment behaves and that everything sonically fits together. I don't have any input on the music itself, other than dynamic and spatial balance. I ensure that they are able to play the way they want to play, and that the sounds fit together the way they intend.
Will Hayes says that you and he studied at Cornish under Wayne Horvitz. What did you learn there that you apply to your musical activities now?
I'm actually still studying there until the spring. My time at Cornish has taught me to listen to what a piece of music is asking for, and to try not to project what I think it needs. Wayne taught me a lot of practical arranging and notational skills, and also to be more critical when revising my own work. Lately I've been studying with Eyvind Kang, who has been helping me refine my compositional style as well as my improvisational skills. I'd say the best thing Cornish has given me is a leg up into Seattle's music community.
Do you have an overarching philosophy with regard to audio work, something that guides you through every job or circumstance?
Not in any technical sense, no, but I like to think that my job as an engineer is to express the music as clearly as possible, so that the technology involved achieves transparency.
The music I’ve heard on your Soundcloud is excellent. Do you ever play out?
I perform on occasion, but most of the music on my Soundcloud is stuff I've never played live. Most of the live shows I play are one-off gigs as a cellist.
Can you discuss what the concept is behind Hatchback and what other events besides Black Constellation you’ve recorded? Will there be a physical or digital release of that Frye performance?
Hatchback is a professional location recording service formed by Ben Marx, another Cornish alum, and myself. We provide a studio-quality tracking service in any location. The idea was that we could capture site-specific or one-night-only performances in venues that were not equipped with recording systems, and do it with the same gear and at the same quality as any pro studio. The Black Constellation event was a great test for our new rig, and the results were even better than we we expected. We recently recorded Will Hayes' performance with Ariana Bird, members of the Pendleton House, and Portland/Oakland noise group Cvbe Ov Falsehood at the Chapel Performance Space. I can't comment on the future of the Frye recording until the artists have discussed what they want to do with it.
Newaxeyes say you have a “relationship with Avast [Recording Co.].” Can you elaborate?
My relationship with Avast is that I love mixing in Studio B and try to take every project there if I can. I went there with Eyvind Kang once and was hooked. They have a world-class collection of microphones, great outboard, and great staff.
The combined age of Seattle foursome Newaxeyes is 100. Yes, they're Millennials—but the good kind, the kind that form an innovative band, perhaps this city's soon-to-be best, if things continue as they have in the 16 months they've been together.
"What you might call a 'Millennial perspective' deeply informs the conceptual aspect of our work, in that we interact heavily with information as a concept," says synthesist/bassist/sample-wrangler Jordan Rundle, at 23 the youngest member of the band. "We like to interact with the idea that all information is fundamentally the same. You derive your own significance to it. That comes out of the fact that we're heavily sample based; we appropriate wildly different sources from all over the musical spectrum and the conceptual spectrum."
Along with guitarists Will Hayes and Tyler Coray and synthesist/beatmaker/floppy-disk manipulator Bret Gardin, Newaxeyes purvey an omnidirectional approach...
This dubstep mix of Nirvana's Top 40 hit, "Smells Like Teen Spirit," was made by RIOT 87; the pair are self described as "Serbia's top duo experts of explosive EDM!" I thought dubstep was only a thing for like a minute, or maybe like a WEEK and everyone hated it. Has dubstep turned into some kinda bro/fist-pump thing in Europe now? [It's been that kind of thing in America for three or four years now. —ed.] When it comes to Europe's dodgy taste, I'm often confounded.
Also, this WTF "party" mix of "Smells Like Teen Spirit" (slightly NSFW pic).
In general, the moment of personal annihilation, which is always the end of the universe, is imagined in two ways: one, as the beginning of the afterlife; two, as the beginning of nothingness. But the former is not really the beginning of anything. If death is nothingness, then a life that has expired never was. Only the living know what death is. Those who are buried or cremated do not not only know they are dead, but also don’t know they were ever alive. When one dies, the nothingness before birth fuses with the nothingness after passing to form one complete and permanent nothingness. ("The cradle rocks above an abyss, and common sense tells us that our existence is but a brief crack of light between two eternities of darkness.")
But what if, for a moment after death, we float about the air like a shimmering bubble of consciousness. We do not doubt the nonexistence of an eternal afterlife, but what if there’s a brief afterlife? Imagine that the biological and energy-intensive processes (the movement of the blood, the burning of food, the breathing of air, the building and breaking of ATP) that generate the states of mind suddenly stops — but, for reasons that are not supernatural but chemical or bioenergetic, the mind doesn’t go down with the body but instead slips out of the bones and flesh and now finds itself being blown this way and that by whatever breezes happen to be around. Imagine this is what happens between life and death, a bubble of fading consciousness.
But imagine this shimmering breeze-blown bubble of consciousness not only has an afterimage of memories once contained in the soft and fatty circuits of the brain (which has, by the way, the consistency of butter at room temperature) but also the state of the senses (olfactory, visual, cutaneous, auditory) near to or exactly at the moment of detachment. Now further imagine that a piece of music you were listening to at the moment of your body’s destruction doesn’t stop but reverberates through the fading flickers and flashes of this floating consciousness. If we can imagine this happening in the twilight zone between life and death, then we can recognize the importance of spending the last moments of life listening to a beloved tune.
For me, such a tune would be Grace Jones’ "Slave to the Rhythm." As my consciousness rises on a sudden swell of sun-heated air (I imagine the world, my world, ending on a sunny day), as my body begins its long journey back to rock, as I remember the life that I’m leaving once and for all, I would want to hear this tune not only for the formidable go-go beat, the bold French horns (like bright and towering clouds on the horizon), the big sound of Trevor Horn’s masterful production, the eternally catchy riffs of J.J. Belle’s rhythm guitar, and Jones’s commanding voice (we must, she commands, accept the basic fact of life, accept that it has no direction, no meaning—it is only about the rhythms of work, of biology, the emotions, the solar system), but to hear these words echoed over and over as my mind and memories fade in the brightening air: "Don’t cry, it’s only the rhythm.”
I knew of the Bee Gees' 1968 Idea TV special from having seen a few of the clips on the internet and dodgy VHS, but I'd always thought it was a BBC production so, mostly likely, it'd been wiped and lost forever. Well, turns out, it wasn't a BBC show, but rather a TV special produced for German television! All nods to Mr. Richard Metzger, as he sussed out the entire show!
The German Idea TV special coincided with the release of the Bee Gees’ fifth album, Idea, in 1968, but was actually shot in Belgium. At the time, they were a five-piece band, the brothers Gibb along with Vince Melouney on guitar and vocals and Colin Petersen on drums. Their special guests are Brian Auger and The Trinity with Julie Driscoll (who are incredible) and Lil Lindfors, a Swedish singer who performs “Words” in Swedish. It was directed by Jean-Christophe Averty... The art direction, which owes much to the Beatles’ then-new Yellow Submarine, was done by the grand Guy Peellaert, the Belgian artist best-known for his cover for David Bowie’s Diamond Dogs and the Rock Dreams book.
Now, dig it: the complete 1968 Idea special!! Also, (ahem) I never realized how bad I needed a pair of swank, high-waisted, testicle-huggin' pink trousers till now!
I'm prolly reaching here, but y'all know the Bee Gees didn't begin as disco prats, right? They had a career's worth of being a band before they transitioned into gold lamé and stack boots. I'd reckon their '60s albums, 1st, Horizontal, and Idea, are all must-own albums and are rated as English/Aussie psychedelic canon.
How were the sharks?
They were graceful, beautiful, and emanated a serene power that was palpable. I love them even more than I did before. The experts say we were visited by about a dozen different sharks during the trip, ranging from about twelve feet up to a huge sixteen-foot female.
How scared were you? Did the sharks eat you at any point?
I honestly wasn’t scared at any point. Not because I’m brave, far from it, but the organization we traveled with was highly professional, and we could see how carefully things were done. Also, the other customers on the trip were all experienced divers and helped my wife, Gemma, and I a lot as we struggled with the gear. It was just a fantastic, major thing to do in my life, and I can’t wait to do it again.
* Gary Numan plays tonight at Neptune Theater.
As noted everywhere on the internet and in Mike Nipper’s Slog post, Jack Bruce died from liver disease on Saturday, October 25, at age 71. He was a brilliantly emotive vocalist, an imaginative composer of catchy rock songs, and a soulful, dexterous bassist who thrived in several different bands and as a solo artist over 50-plus years. Bruce is best known for his stint in Cream and wrote several classics that several millions know by heart. But some of his most interesting and exciting work was done with Tony Williams Lifetime, a powerful jazz-fusion group led by Miles Davis's former drummer that featured explosive talents like keyboardist Larry Young and guitarist John McLaughlin. Check out (Turn It Over) for proof.
For today’s Song of the Day, though, focus your ears on this extended workout of “N.S.U.,” the lead-off track from Cream’s 1966 debut LP, Fresh Cream. This version appears on the 1970 album Live Cream and was recorded in San Francisco in ’68. The Fresh Cream take is full of thrilling build-ups and pedal-to-the-metal rave-ups, but it clocks in at a meager 2:43. This live rendition goes for over 10 minutes and allows Bruce, Ginger Baker, and Eric Clapton to flamboyantly wield their world-class psych-blues chops. Zero in on Bruce’s supple, funky runs amid the tumult. It’s a bravura calm-in-the-storm performance—one of thousands in a diverse and rewarding career.
RIP, Jack Bruce.
As y'all have prolly heard, this past Saturday,
bassist multi-instrumetalist Jack Bruce passed away; he was 71. Without question, Mr. Bruce will forever be best remembered as the bassist and songwriter for English '60s psychedelic heavies Cream. However, looking back at the man's life, it's hard to conceive his reach, as he wasn't just "the bass player for Cream"; his was a thread not just woven into rock history, but music history.
Bruce's teenaged musical talent earned him a scholarship to the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama—as a cellist. However, the school didn't like him playing jazz, so he left to play music in Italy. After some time playing there, he landed in London and joined Blues Incorporated. Blues Incorporated was a band of rotating R&B/jazz players led by Alexis Korner, and it was THE proving ground for many of the '60s English R&B players. It was in BI that Bruce met drummer Ginger Baker. In 1963, after BI had split, Bruce teamed with Baker, guitarist John McLaughlin, and organist Graham Bond to form jazz/blues/R&B group the Graham Bond Organization. After the GBO imploded, Bruce stayed busy playing with John Mayall's Bluebreakers and Manfred Mann (long enough for them to hit with "Pretty Flamingo"), and even attempted, with Clapton and Steve Winwood, to form a now forgotten super group called Powerhouse. Then, in July of 1966, Bruce, Baker, and Clapton formed Cream. Cream has always been DEEPLY important to any head who has ever heard the band. They were, as legend has it, the first rock supergroup! Tho' they kinda lost their drive in the end, the band did change the game as they re-envisioned the blues in a then contemporary context; they expanded the 12-bar blues form till it radiated DayGlo. And it was Bruce, along with poet Pete Brown, who wrote most of the songs.
During the summer of 1968, before Cream split, Bruce recorded his first solo album. It was an acoustic jazz album with John McLaughlin, Dick Heckstall-Smith, and Jon Hiseman titled Things We Like. The album was eventually issued in 1970, and I think for all the ROCK which Bruce begat, this album was his soul, a culmination, an arrival of where he'd hoped to land.
After Cream split he released his first solo LP, Songs for a Tailor, toured to support the LP, and then joined drummer Tony Williams's short-lived fusion group, Lifetime. After Lifetime split, Bruce recorded another solo LP, Harmony Row, and then formed the very Cream-like and VERY sweaty, West, Bruce and Laing; "West," of course, was Vagrants/Mountain guitarist Leslie West. Also during the early '70s, Bruce played on Lou Reed's Berlin and Frank Zappa's Apostrophe! He rounded out the '70s with a few more solo ventures. Throughout the '80s, '90s, and '00s he soldiered on with a solo career and also teamed up with guitarist Robin Trower for a couple albums, BLT and Truce, producing/arranging movie scores, recording some piano works, and touring with Ringo Starr's All Star Band.
Bruce's solo output was fucking massive; in all he had 14 solo albums, and only God KNOWS how many other projects he played on. His final album, Silver Rails, was just issued this past March. I think the only time he slowed down was in 2003 after his first liver gave out, but he was back in 2005 playing with the reformed Cream. He was back up to full speed by '08 till the run up to his death Saturday.
During the formation of Gary Numan's 20th album, Splinter (Songs From a Broken Mind), he went through phases of writer's block, depression, and lack of "self-confidence." (See title.) But Gary Numan can't be depressed. I mean, he helped impregnate new-wave music. He's a pioneer. Hundreds of thousands of people around the world have been roller-skating to his hits since 1978, specifically to "Cars." I guess Numan is human after all—the discovery of his mild Asperger's syndrome, and trouble interacting with people, make more sense in that context. According to Prince, "There are still people trying to work out what a genius Gary Numan is." One of those people is Trent Reznor. Wait, you want to say something, too, Trent? Okay. What impresses you about Gary Numan? "I've always been impressed by the way Gary Numan found his own voice," says Reznor. "It was unusual, but it was unmistakably him and boldly him. I see myself doing what I learned from him." If Trent Reznor is doing some Gary Numan, we should all probably be doing it. Numan spoke from his home in Los Angeles. He and his wife moved there from London two years ago.
Mr. Numan, when I was growing up, I roller-skated to your music for eight years without stopping. What's new?
I'm glad I could provide your ears and your skates with some fuel then. What's new is I'm about to go cage diving with great white sharks for a week. I've always wanted to do it. After that, it's a rehearsal period, then I'm heading back out on the road for a tour...
Gary Numan plays the Neptune Theatre tonight. Click here for more info!
• The PJ Harvey Tribute Night at Chop Suey on Friday was a packed house. "I forgot that I even liked PJ anymore," I overheard someone say...
Kate Moore (pictured) belted out Harvey's heartbreak anthem "Rid Of Me" with so much precision that at least two people in the audience started crying.
• Speaking of cover bands, upcoming this week: A brand new Cramps cover band called the Human Flys (which features Stranger managing editor Kathleen Richards) are playing a Halloween event called Night of the Living Tributes, on Thursday at the Sunset Tavern with the Dee Dees (a Ramones cover) and Underworld Scum (a Misfits cover band) and then Saturday at Slim’s Last Chance, there's also an all-Cramps tribute night.
• Says Emily Nokes: This happened on Tuesday, but I'm counting it anyway—the bi-monthly Bad Rap night at Speckled and Drake (hosted by DJs Larry Mizell Jr. and Andrew Matson) is so fun! And made me wonder the following things: What happened to Eve? What happened to Missy Elliot? Why doesn't anyone use dog barks as censor tools anymore? Semi-related to the last question: do you remember when DMX sang "Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer" a cappella?
Yes, this is it; I've been told this is the end of the line for local group NighTraiN (or at least they're taking "an indefinite hiatus"). If this truly is THE END, I expect these women, tonight, are gonna cut their shit loose on YOUR caboose!! Lordy, I don't think nobody should miss any loose-caboose business. Chances are in their seven-year run y'all have probably seen and/or heard 'em, but if y'all ain't heard NighTraiN, they're a super fun rock band, kinda punk, a little bit dirty, uh, like they can get RAW, and sometimes they even border on heavy. All together them bits equals BADASS. They can also be sweet AND creepy too; dig their track "Huntress." Scurry. I hope that's beet juice they're drinking.
Right, so tonight they're teaming up with three other local groups: Branden Daniel and The Chics, an '80s paisley group who's filtered their groovy through contemporary ears, the catchy Tacoma dance group Mirrorgloss, and Lazer Kitty, a trio who pull off decent '80s sounding shoegazer-ish instrumental jams. Oh, and to round out the night, a DJ General Meow! Now THAT is a solid, and well mixed, line-up for a what promises to be a "leather and lace" filled goodbye.
EIGHT bones // Lo-fi Performance Gallery
The group, Blue Cheer, were a long-haired biker band from San Francisco active in the late '60s/early '70s. Y'all Slog Outers not in the know—these guys are mostly remembered for their Top-20 version of Eddie Cochran's "Summertime Blues." Also, they were named after a favorite a brand of LSD!!
"Come And Get It" was off their second LP, Outsideinside, an LP which, for me, rates slightly more than their first LP, Vincebus Eruptum. And, YES, I know my preferring Outsideinside over their unfuckwithable first LP is a slightly sacrilegious record nerd statement if there ever was one.
Before he became co-owner of Sub Pop Records with Jonathan Poneman in 1986 (and a bit after), Bruce Pavitt was a prolific music critic/essayist, with a special focus on the Northwest. During the ’80s, he published nine issues of the Subterranean Pop zine and for six years wrote a monthly column for Seattle’s Rocket newspaper, displaying an impressive diversity of coverage. Pavitt’s writing from this time is being collected in a book titled Sub Pop USA: The Subterranean Pop Music Anthology 1980-1988 (out Nov. 15 via Bazillion Points Press). Fantagraphics Bookstore will host a release party Sat. Nov. 29 with music by K Records’ Calvin Johnson and Larry Reid, both of whom wrote essays for Pavitt’s book.
Below, Pavitt answers a few questions about that era and his critical role in the music scene.
Were there any things you wrote in Sub Pop USA that you think made you feel like a seer?
Pavitt: May I humbly suggest that the book is the broadest and deepest index of '80s indie music available, with over 1000 artists of all genres referenced. Perhaps because I was so focused on digging up the latest US regional recordings, I was able to call it on a number of artists before they established their iconic status in the indie community (Sonic Youth, Black Flag, Run DMC, Beat Happening, Hüsker Dü, Replacements, Beastie Boys, Dinosaur Jr, Minor Threat, Pussy Galore, Butthole Surfers, etc.)… Could I accurately be referred to as a prophet? Only false humility would claim otherwise.
Did you publish anything in Sub Pop USA that you really regret now? Like a farcically wrong prediction or a rave review of a record or band you hate now?
Is there anything that wrote in Sub Pop USA that I regret? Yes. Although I thought Darby Crash of the Germs was a brilliant writer and gave the Germs' album a rave review, I colorfully referred to him as a “homo.” That was a gratuitous provocation and an example of immature punk-rock sensationalism. Other than that, the book is a visionary masterpiece without any embarrassing miscalls.
Do you think ’80s indie music is inherently more interesting and exciting than today’s indie music?
Some of the '80s indie music holds up, some of it doesn’t. I do feel that the DIY culture of the '80s helped nurture some very pioneering and heroic personalities, who were drawn to the flea-ravaged punk-rock house circuit because they craved art and adventure over security. The new DIY artist of this generation has many more financial opportunities than the '80s artist, especially when it comes to licensing.
By the same token, how do you view Sub Pop Records' '80s roster compared to this decade's?
As for Sub Pop, the '80s artists were all part of a local, tribal Seattle community that liked to rock (on their own terms). Strong beer, crowd surfing, and a sense of humor was what kept the scene together. Obviously, the current Sub Pop roster is less focused and much more diverse (which is actually more of a reflection of the early zines and tapes).
Tonight, PBS continues its Great Performances series with Tony Bennett & Lady Gaga: Cheek to Cheek Live!, in which the smooth old singer and the flamboyant young singer team up to tackle selections from the great American songbook. ("Anything Goes," "Lush Life," etc.) Bonus for burlesque fans: Dancing onstage during one of Bennett and Gaga's numbers will be Seattle's much-loved burlesque duo of Lou Henry Hoover and Kitten LaRue. Check out the Seattle broadcast tonight at 10:30 pm on KCTS 9, and check out a teaser clip below, in which Lady Gaga does something her self-appointed rival Madonna hasn't done in 30 years of trying: sing live, impressively.
(Also, I don't care if, in Gaga's case, it involves a ridicu-wig—there are few things more striking than a known-as-a-blonde Italian-American woman going back to brunette.)
Another huge theft of a Northwest musician's gear took place this week. The Port Angeles storage unit of Mike Kunka (former bassist in the great and super-heavy Kill Rock Stars/Sub Pop band godheadSilo, as well as Enemymine, Dead Low Tide, and Smoke and Smoke) was ransacked and he lost a reported $20,000 of equipment and master tapes (see Kunka's list below). In addition, thieves stole his and his wife's record collection and a Christmas tree.
Slog tipper Kerri said, "Thieves broke into a vacant unit next door to [Kunka's], ripped out a section of the wall, jammed the door shut, and loaded everything out through the vacant unit. There was no indication from the exterior that they had been robbed. So, you can imagine his shock when he opened the storage unit." According to Kerri, the storage unit, on Tumwater Truck Route, has no security camera system, but the suspect(s) left a time-stamped Safeway receipt that included a Club Card number, and police are viewing Safeway's video for clues.
Slog readers: If you have any further tips, please let us know.
Here is a partial list of the missing gear. Still trying to wrap my head around this.
Black fender jazz bass made in japan
White fender mustang bass beat to shit (godheadSilo)
White fender mustang bass with bass synth insides and extra guitar strings (smoke and smoke)
Black fender mustang/bronco bass with tremolo (godheadSilo)
Natural 8-string Kramer bass with aluminum neck (enemymine, dead low tide)
Acoustic/electric tenor guitar gold neck and body
2 silver Roland bass synth floor modules
1 brown Roland bass synth floor module
Garnet pa mixer
Garnet bto head (godheadSilo)
Garnet pro head
Garnet pro 200 head
Garnet stinger head and cabinet with horn
Sunn concert lead that Buzz used on the first 2 Melvins records (broken mid range knob)
2 custom white and tweed soldano cabinets (enemymine and later)
Peda-band one man band machine floor control and synth brain (possibly the only one in existence) home built in the 1970’s
Master tapes of pretty much every record from 1990-2000
Plus countless personal items including our record collection, our daughter’s toys, and most of my clothes.
I have no photos of anything. Any photos of me playing these instruments were also stolen. If you have photos please attach to your re-post. I don’t want to see them, it’s still too much. Thanks everybody.
Electronic music heads are kicking up a lot of internet dust and digital froth over the release of Berlin producer Objekt's just-released debut album Flatland. With good reason: it's a sleek, laser-guided torpedo of a thing, with sonic design that borrows ideas from a host of major names through electronic music history, while maintaining a distinctively original, forward-thinking thrust throughout.
The hi-resolution, almost clinical futurism animating Objekt's sound reminds one of this underheard banger from 2011 by the UK's Tom Rockwell. "Aria"'s central rhythm track sounds as if it's been surgically reconstructed from about four different breakbeats, jittering along like a bullet train on bad tracks, snare rolls akimbo, stuttering every four bars as if it's struggling for breath. Cocteau Twins' Elizabeth Fraser, dance music's ethereal siren du jour, contributes eerily disembodied coos (via sample, natch), adding an unexpected but welcome touch of dawn-break solemnity and grace to this frenetic neo-drum 'n' bass workout. Who says club music can't have a brain?
I wrote about a short Line Out entry regarding matrix messages last year called The Message of the Matrix. It was a fun bit nodding to the silly messages some groups scratched into the dead wax of their records, but today's post has to do with what the official matrix numbers mean, so IF YOU DARE, dig this (kinda dense) page dedicated to how one should decode major-label matrix numbers. [Editor's note: "Dense" is an understatement.]
Most likely if you passively buy records, these numbers don't mean shit to you—however, to heavy collectors the numbers can mean a lot (of money). Deep collectors and audiophiles pay close attention to the matrix numbers as they're often the key to knowing which plate or stamper any given LP was cast from. Like, if you want a guaranteed FIRST PRESS of, say, Pink Floyd's Piper at the Gates of Dawn, the matrix will tell you whether your copy was pulled from the first, fifth, or ninth stamper plate. Also, it's hoped the closer you get to the first stamper, the better the album will sound, or at least how the band/engineer/whoever wanted it to sound. Too, knowing how to read the numbers can help uncover bootleg/pirate copies and suss out the occasional different/withdrawn mix.
There are also the handful of collectors/historians who use these numbers as a way to track down locations of pressing plants or sort out the dates when certain records were pressed. Those matrix numbers help flesh out the story of unknown garage and soul/funk groups from the '60s and '70s as many of those groups, if they pressed their singles privately, didn't leave any other trail. SHEESH! Had enough, non-nerds? OKAY, I'll stop there, BUT those are some of the big reasons matrix numbers are important to some folks, like me.
On any given day, plowing through my inbox(es) feels sort of like being Michael Douglas in Romancing the Stone—looking for jewels, ducking Danny DeVitos, machete-hacking through the underbrush (not the same underbrush, mind you, that Michael Douglas says gave him mouth cancer). Uh, that is to say, it can be overwhelming. Luckily, technology helps manage it, though. (I probably forgot to mention this, but earlier this year, when I got my flu shot, I somehow agreed to an experimental Google Glass ocular/cochlear implant package—I wouldn't recommend it.) Still, there's the publicists calling me Sam, "circling back" about artists I haven't expressed any interest in whatsoever. There's the increasingly shrill, panicked e-mails from the Democrats—though I haven't gotten one from Big Joe Biden about his rail-tootin' ex-navy son. (He's probably just proud that his boy has a chance at being president now.) And the increasingly panicked e-mails from my editors. Just kidding. (Sorry, y'all.)
Likewise, it seems like everything in my feed—my overwhelming, trifling-ass social-media feed—all has an equal measure of importance and urgency. There's the extravagant Ebola angle that the WCW, WWF, CDC, or whoever is pushing at me, perhaps stretching credulity a bit far. (Maybe I'm too old to be watching this shit.) There's our first lady chair-dancing with a turnip for Vine—mortifying her kids, I'm sure. (Probably a few kids out there who wish those drones were just dropping turnips, too.) There's the so-called beef (now "squashed") between Snoop Dogg and Iggy Azalea...
Because, hey, it's a very Northwest-y day and people are still pretty excited about the fact that the band announced a reunion—a new album and tour—this past Monday. I've always loved their late 90's stuff. What's your favorite SK song?
I discussed this full-length in an earlier Slog post and will be reviewing it properly in a future issue of The Stranger. DJAO is a beautiful, chill electronic work, both ethereal and earthy, informed by ambient, bass music, R&B, jazz, and footwork, and inflated with Cascadia soulfulness.
SETH TROXLER'S HEADY AND SEXY TECHNO
London-via-Detroit-via-Kalamazoo producer/DJ Seth Troxler has developed into one of techno's great eccentrics. Take his press bio, for instance, which is a crazy assemblage of outlandish statements like "Seth draws the majority of his inspiration from Robert Downey Jr., and the idea of releasing the shackles that bind Downey so he can finally do heroin in peace." Aha. But Troxler's proclivity for wacky self-mythologizing don't hinder his ability to create late-night techno cuts of cerebral and sensual exquisiteness. His releases for esteemed labels like Circus Company, Wagon Repair, and Spectral Sound reveal the twisted quirkiness of Troxler's personality while maintaining dance-floor functionality—no mean feat. Not that long ago, those scientific arbiters of electronic music at Resident Advisor rated Seth the world's third-best DJ after Ricardo Villalobos and Richie Hawtin, so Mr. Troxler is a serious double threat in the club. (He also runs the Visionquest and Soft Touch labels, so triple threat, actually.) With Nordic Soul, Kyle Winters, and Xan Lucero. Q Nightclub, 9 pm, $12 adv, 21+...
…because I woke up singing the chorus in my head. So simple! So catchy! Turns out drums are overrated!
Girlpool are an LA duo who have been growing on me for a while now—I recently saw them live in California and it was killer; standing side by side and owning the stage, as loud and riveting as the average three- or four-person band, minus the percussion.
They have an album coming out next month via Witchita Recordings and will be touring a lot this month and the next, even doing a few dates with Jenny Lewis.
Following up yesterday’s Song of the Day post on 6ix’s “I’m Just Like You,” today we have an interview with Alec Palao, the man who wrote liner notes for Light in the Attic’s compilation I’m Just Like You: Sly’s Stone Flower 1969-1970 (available now on CD and MP3; out Nov. 4 on 2XLP), which includes that cut and 17 others from the short-lived imprint. Palao serves as the West Coast music consultant for the British label Ace and is also a journalist and musician who’s played for the Sneetches, the Magic Christian, and many other bands.
For Ace Records, Palao compiled and wrote liner notes for 2009's Listen to the Voices: Sly Stone in the Studio 1965-1970. The LITA comp differs from the previous one with 10 previously unreleased archival tracks by Sly Stone during that fertile period between 1969’s Stand! and 1971’s There’s a Riot Goin’ On. Sly wrote, produced, and arranged everything on Stone Flower, and it proved to be a pivotal phase where he scaled back the orchestral turbulence of previous Family Stone records and crafted more interior but just as intense and even more funky and seductive songs, with help from the Maestro Rhythm King drum machine. Below is a Q&A conducted with Palao via email.
You scored a rare interview with Sly Stone for I’m Just Like You. Did you have any revelations or hear any unusual/fascinating anecdotes when speaking to Sly? How is he doing these days? Does his mind seem sharp?
Actually the interview done for this current project is my second time talking on record with Sly. In 2009 I spent several days with him, and got a lot of information, specifically for [Listen to the Voices]. For I’m Just Like You, we conducted an additional interview early this year where I asked him more specifics on the Stone Flower era. But in both cases my focus was, unlike 90 percent of the prurient articles about him of recent times, squarely upon his music and its inspiration and creation.
Despite having lived in a kind of alternate universe since the late 1970s, Sly Stone is as funny, personable and sharp as he always has been. He could easily host his own talk show and is always quick with an aphorism or a studied observation. Despite being a recluse, he is still very aware of what is going on in the world (and doesn’t seem to be too impressed with the current state of black music). He also remains very active making music and continually creative. In 2009, in-between our chats, I ran some errands for him, which included buying him a tracksuit—yes, I styled Sly Stone—and this year I took a ride with him to the pawn shop to get his computer out of hock, and that was an eye-opener. Sly, whose love of motor vehicles is well-known, is somewhat of a leadfoot!
Would it be accurate to say Sly was using these Stone Flower sides to transition into a new phase for the Family Stone?
Absolutely. I feel while Sly had not exhausted any of his musical or creative ideas, he was moving away from big arrangements and more complicated productions. It might have had something to do with the fact his “simpler” music—i.e., the big hits like "Everyday People"—were those that made their mark. Also, he was becoming more insular and that was reflected in the reputation for no-shows or tardiness at gigs. He preferred—and he still prefers—to be left alone to make his music. Moving to LA, where he could truly sequester in the studio, and the discovery of the Rhythm King drum machine, were major factors. The gritty sound of the Stone Flower sides and subsequently Riot were almost an inverse reaction to the well-produced Family Stone recordings.
What’s the story with the previously unreleased Sly tracks?
They are amongst a cache of Stone Flower recordings that have long been discussed amongst fans, as the titles were first mentioned in Michel Ruppli’s famous Atlantic Records discographies. The tracks were delivered to Atlantic, who were distributing Stone Flower at the time, possibly as a contractual necessity, but in many cases they are just experimental recordings, or demos; not releasable at that time, but of course in hindsight useful to help join the dots in Sly’s musical metamorphosis. What I included in the CD are those I felt the most illuminating, particularly the demo of "Just Like A Baby" with Freddie Stone singing. Most of what remains in the vault are simply drum machine tracks with an occasional bass or keyboard lick.
The quality of Stone Flower’s releases is unbelievably high. Why do you think the singles have remained so obscure over the years, except to obsessive collectors? I don’t recall ever hearing these songs on the radio while growing up in the Detroit area (I was 8 in 1970 and listening to a lot of radio then), not even Little Sister’s “You’re the One.” Were they mainly popular in the California/Bay Area?
The Bay Area was always a stronghold for Sly & The Family Stone, that is true. But the singles got airplay around the country, mostly pop, because R&B radio was still pretty resistant to change—and the drum machine would have definitely been an oddity at the time. Don’t forget that after "You’re The One" was successful, there was a lengthy gap of almost a year before the other three Stone Flower label singles were released. Sly’s musical shift occurred mainly during that time and I think the fact that he owed a new album to Epic meant that he had to sideline any further production work.
Why did Stone Flower end after only four releases?
Stone Flower the label ended for various reasons—the aforementioned delay of what would become Riot, the fragmentation of the original Family Stone band, and perhaps most importantly, the disengagement of Sly’s partner in the label and production company, David Kapralik, who resigned as the Family Stone’s manager in 1971.
This short documentary, Nobody Loves Joel Romeo, tells the story of Mr. Joel Romeo, or at least what the locals have learned of Joel Romeo. If you've ever been to Ballard and walked down Market Street you've most likely seen him—he's a little feller who wears safety frame specs and sometimes hollers.
When I lived in Ballard I would always find him digging through the records and CDs at Sonic Boom. I never had time to hang out with him, so it's nice to see what he does otherwise and that he is very well loved. Joel has a Facebook page, Joel-Romeo and His Posse, AND his art has a Tumblr!
Sounds on the album are shepherded along by Moore’s experimental wisdom. Crystalline noise and alternate tunings run with deviant, fulsome 12-string compositions. The title track pivots out with stabbing guitar over an inverted blues riff. Moore’s vocals have a casual ardor, then he lights into a not-so-casual guitar solo. Mr. Moore spoke Sunday from New York. We also spoke before his Seattle show at Neumos on October 4. He was quite at ease.
The seven parts of this interview are as follows:
I. John the Baptist, No Jesus?
II. Brian Eno, the Book on Lyric Writing, Reality of Death
III. Thurston’s Mother, Preternatural Core of Happiness
IV. Mimeogasm, Exploding a Mime, Anarchists
V. The Whole Thing About Being Experimental
VI. Quadruple Album, Not Such a Hot Idea
VII. I Know This Bass Player, She’s in a Band Called My Bloody Valentine
In the song “The Best Day” you sing, “John the Baptist in his view/He’s gonna wanna know the dirty truth.” What’s happening there? We’re not going to talk about Jesus are we?
Thurston Moore: That kind of lyric is directly associated with my interest in religious iconography—what it references and what that represents historically. And our relationship to the physical world, and the metaphysical world. I like playing with those things. That line just happened. When I write lyrics I have this process where it’s all about wanting to use language the same way I use music. You just gotta put pen to paper and start writing without having to have a definite idea of what you’re going to write about. Sometimes a title can exist first and it can inspire you into some kind of subject or idea. Generally, I just trust the act of writing when words start moving.
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