I just got this sublime junkshop glam jam on 45 last week! The top side, "Rocco (Don't Go)," is okay, but the godamn 'B' side, "(Like A) Locomotion" KILLS!!!
Y'all, I'm deep into them "aahh"-ing back up singers draping their business over the boogie and the wha-wah. The bestest sides are almost always on the flip!! I reckon you kids might know Bonnie St. Claire from her Euro hit "Clap Your Hands And Stamp Your Feet," or perhaps via her other enduring '60s club hits sides: "I Surrender" and "Tame Me, Tiger?" Well, if NOT you do NOW! Oh, this was the last single for St. Claire with the band, Unit Gloria, backing her up.
St. Claire was discovered in 1967 by Peter Koelewijn, of the band Peter and the Rockets. Her (Dutch) hits stretched into the '80s, but hasn't had much pop success since; she still can be seen acting on Dutch TV.
If you’ve frequented a Rudy’s Barbershop or just walked by one in Capitol Hill or Bellevue lately, you may have noticed a rack of records from the Seattle-based Hardly Art label in there. This isn’t your typical strategy for the music industry or the haircutting business, but tough times for the former has led to some interesting new partnerships. How did this arrangement come about? “Hardly Art's partnership with Rudy's sprang out of our collaboration on Tacocat's just-wrapped West Coast ‘Cut and Ride’ tour, wherein Rudy's stylists followed the band along their tour in an airstream trailer, offering free haircuts to concertgoers,” Hardly Art publicist and former Stranger freelancer Jason Baxter says. “We sensed an overlap between the typical fan of Hardly Art or our bands and Rudy's staff and patrons, so it seemed like a no-brainer to start stocking our LPs there.”
A week ago, I saw the Tacocat (who include Stranger music editor Emily Nokes) and La Luz LPs on the shelf. Today they're gone, replaced by albums from La Sera, S, Shannon & the Clams, Fergus & Geronimo, and Colleen Green. “The selections are being rotated on a monthly basis,” Baxter explains. “I select five titles that I think would be a good fit and write a little summary on each (which can be read on a clipboard next to the LPs on the retail display). Additionally, we're making sure all of the records on sale are also being added to rotation on the Rudy's in-house playlists, so if you go in for a cut, there's a chance you'll hear some of our artists coming through the speakers.”
Vy Le, Rudy's president and chief brand officer says she's always been a big Hardly Art fan. "I threw out the idea that we’ve done in the past with Easy Street Records—which was to have them provide us with a curated playlist of artists they wanted to feature. Rudy’s has always been an amazing place to hang out and listen to music. We are constantly looking for ways to support artists. Plus Jason [Baxter] has been an amazing partner…it’s been great to work with a label that has such amazing credibility with musicians and artists."
This is the first time Rudy's has worked with a record label directly during Le's time with the company, although it supported Pearl Jam and other bands when they boycotted Ticketmaster. Le says this arrangement with Hardly Art has benefited Rudy's in that "Our customers and shops get to listen to amazing music and be associated with an amazing partner. For me it always comes down to the relationship… we don’t work with assholes (I’m allowed to say that). I liked more than anything the people behind [Hardly Art]. They're passionate about what they do and are eager to share it with an audience that gets it—so, it's a huge benefit for us in terms of working with like-minded individuals."
Le didn't reveal sales figures, but notes that Rudy's carries only a small number of records. "Again, we’re not looking to be a record store or make money off this collaboration. It’s truly for us a great way to showcase musicians to the 40,000+ people walking through our doors every month, across Seattle, Portland, LA and NYC."
From the beginning, Prince has been a master of concept. Arriving on the Minneapolis music scene in the late 1970s, the teenage singer/songwriter/multi-instrumentalist was regarded as an R&B whiz kid in the vein of Stevie Wonder, and celebrated for creating full-blooded recordings by himself in the studio, layering instrumental tracks—bass, drums, piano, guitars, vocals, everything—all played by himself. Questing to stand out in the long shadow of Stevie, Prince got conceptual. As Touré explains in 2013's I Would Die 4 U: Why Prince Became an Icon, the almost eerily self-possessed young artist applied himself wholly to two new ideals. First, to represent, as Prince said verbatim to a friend at the time, "pure sex"—at all times, in all ways, to all people. Second, crafting his every move to create maximum controversy.
His achievement of this second goal was particularly dazzling. After placing himself naked on the back cover of his self-titled second album (sitting astride a winged white horse, no less) failed to achieve the desired shock...
Empathy for the Evil
It's been a while since we've seen a new full-length from Mecca Normal! This long-running Vancouver, BC, group has always been about less is more—they're a two-piece, guitar and vocals. However, no matter their bare-bones lineup, their songwriting has always trumped sparseness; they make little BIG! And with Empathy for the Evil, they've done it again.
The strength of Empathy for the Evil is strident. The guitar riffs and melody lines are strung in tandem with narratives taken from vocalist Jean Smith's two novels, but she doesn't exactly sing to tell a story. Well, maybe she does, but her voice is incorporated as an instrument rather than propelling linear narratives. That, along with a bit of extra instrumentation (famed producer Kramer plays on a handful of tracks), gives the album a distinct moody creep that binds the songs together. That said, the one standout track, for me, was the slightly-delic "Between Livermore & Tracy." It's tense and full of atmosphere...
Local musician Mindie Lind was buying tickets for Lena Dunham's reading at University Temple United Methodist Church when she saw a button on University Book Store's site announcing that Dunham was looking for local talent to open for her at each stop on her book tour. Lind didn't think twice about entering. Signup "was extremely easy," Lind says—just a spot for your name and a link to a video displaying your talent. Lind even had the perfect recent example of her work: her band Inly had just completed a music video for their song "Mississippi Misfit" with director Ryan Jorgensen:
Unfortunately, two days after Lind sent the submission, she realized that Dunham was looking for solo acts, not bands, so, she says, "I called my video friends" and then made a video for her song "Lowlands," which she re-submitted.
Then there was a lot of waiting.
This film, Northern Soul, is a music nerd's film. It's about a very specific time period, early '70s England, and a scene—Northern Soul—which is held sacred by many who were there then, as well as all of those who came after. Honestly, I haven't seen the film, just the trailer, but the trailer looks like the research was spot-on, and the execution seems solid. I'm expecting plenty of backdrops, spins, high kicks, talcum, wide-legged trousers, amphetamines, and, of course, music.
My only concern, for those folks not in the know, is that the narrative appears to be a bit cliché—the story follows "two Northern boys whose worlds are changed forever when they discover black American soul music." Like EVERY "coming-of-age" movie, right?! (Sigh) Whatever, I'm excited about this thing! And it's gonna be WAY better than Quadrophenia!!!
Along with the film, there's an ace-lookin' companion book called Northern Soul: An Illustrated History, and TWO soundtrack sets, a double CD (plus DVD), and a 14x45s box set. FUCK YEAH! The film opens on 125 screens in the UK TODAY (Friday, October 17). I checked, but I turned up ZERO domestic screenings; however, the DVD/Blu-Ray will be released Monday, October 20.
Now, regarding the music: If you ever hear the term "Northern" or "Northern Soul," it is NOT a geographical reference to the location where music was recorded. Northern Soul is the name of a regional dance scene that began, exclusively, in the NORTH OF ENGLAND in the early '70s after a handful of selectors began playing mostly unheard, in the UK, and forgotten, in the US, American soul records. The records tagged as "Northern Soul," specifically, are the tracks those English selectors were playing in those clubs. The records weren't exclusively soul either—like, even crooner Paul Anka made the Northern Soul grade. Today the scene generally refers to what gets played as Rare Soul and those that were played back in the '70s as oldies.
As you may know, speed rap kingpin Twista will be dropping his mind-bogglingy fast flow at the Croc in a few short hours. You may also recall (if you're a level three hiphop nerd or higher) that in the mid-90's Twista briefly rolled with a crew called Do or Die, fellow Chicagoans with a similar penchant for triple-time rhymes. Though their breakout hit was "Po Pimp" off of 1996's Picture This, the finest Do or Die cut remains "Playa Like Me and You," from the same album.
The dusky, gorgeous production provides the perfect backdrop for some mellow, low-stakes tales of weed and expensive clothes, with the bed of chiming keys, subtle guitar licks and finger snaps swelling up all misty-eyed at the end, as guest vocalist Johnny P soulfully pleads to "smoke and ride" with him, baby. And who can say no, with a beat like this?
P.S. The sound quality on this clip's sort of garbage, but it's worth it for that sweet, sweet old-school rap video lovin'.
PROFLIGATE'S SUBTLE INDUSTRIAL-TECHNO ANTHEMS
Debacle Records' MOTOR night of unconventional club music continues to be unmissable with the booking of North Carolina producer Profligate (aka Noah Anthony). He possesses the rare skill to make industrial techno a somewhat accessible listening experience without succumbing to cheesiness. His Red Rope EP pushes subtly sooty, regimented industrial techno for people who think Wax Trax!'s aesthetic was too garish. "Can't Stop Shaking" is a whip-cracking, aerodynamic romp that would segue well after one of Chris & Cosey's harder numbers. "Laughing Song" and "Girl Full of Joy," from Profligate's forthcoming LP, Finding the Floor, increase the tempo while maintaining the understated, chilling vocals that have marked his work. Expect some hardware-generated hardness tonight. With Raica, Encapsulate, Knifecream, and Dr. Troy. Kremwerk, 9 pm, $5, 21+...
Following up on yesterday’s post about Glitterbeat Records’ reissue of Jon Hassell and Brian Eno’s unique, influential 1980 album Fourth World Vol. 1: Possible Musics, here’s an interview with former Seattle musician/author/A&R rep Pat Thomas. He wrote the liner notes for this opus, at the request of Glitterbeat owner and former Seattleite Chris Eckman. Besides working freelance projects for Light in the Attic (including releases by Michael Chapman and Bobby Whitlock, and the I’m Just Like You: Sly’s Stone Flower 1969-1970 comp), Thomas is the author of Listen, Whitey!: The Sounds of Black Power 1965-1975. He is currently working on a book about political activist Jerry Rubin, in addition to his music-business activities.
The Stranger: When did you first hear Fourth World Vol. 1 and what were your initial impressions? Have your views about it changed at all since then?
Thomas: I first heard this album sometime in the early ’80s, when I fascinated with all things related to Eno. I didn’t know Jon Hassell from the man on the moon, I bought it for the Eno name—and quickly realized what Hassell was bringing something very special to the table. Over time, I not only checked out more Hassell albums (both with and without Eno), I realized that this particular album was very special; I’ve never really stopped listening to it. What makes it special is that it’s both meditative and engaging, it straddles this unique line between ambient and tribal, engaging both the head and heart, if not quite “the ass.”
What have you learned about the album since you started writing the liner notes for the Glitterbeat reissue?
In conversation with Hassell, I realized that this album was not the only the blueprint for Eno’s “world music” with the Talking Heads, it was also the blueprint for Peter Gabriel’s sonic “world” adventures, as well.
Did you interview both Hassell and Eno?
Eno wasn’t up for an interview, but Hassell was very generous with his time and as he pointed out—Eno and Byrne squeezed him out of the My Life In the Bush of Ghosts album, which followed this one. However, Hassell also agreed without Eno’s name on the front cover, Fourth World may have sunk without a trace.
Do you think the world will be more receptive to Fourth World now than when it was originally released?
Sadly and surprisingly, journalists at places like the New York Times and NPR, who I thought would jump on the fact that this groundbreaking masterwork is back in the print for the first time in over 20 years, totally ignored me. Also, freelancers, who pitched this album to similar institutions of higher learning, have gone ignored. Currently, The Stranger is the only American outlet to recognize what’s happened or happening here.
To me this album possesses a timeless sound, fluid and elusive with regard to its origin, and more than ever it seems to resonate with our increasingly global society.
This album was ahead of its time; this music was thinking globally when the rest of us couldn’t even imagine what was happening in the next state.
This is the first time in 20 years that the CD has been available, and probably close to 30 years for the vinyl [the last vinyl reissue was in 1987, according to Discogs. —DS]. I'm particularly proud of my interview with Hassell (which runs pretty much unedited inside the CD and LP booklets) because he speaks candidly about his feelings about this work—detailing the good, the bad, and the ugly side of it all.
Two months and 10 miles from the murder of Mike Brown by Officer Darren Wilson, an off-duty St. Louis cop working for a private security firm shot 18-year-old Vonderrit Myers 17 times (during a "pedestrian stop"), including the head-shot double-tap that's becoming the signature black-boy finisher of the Missouri pig brigade. Like in the cases of a million other black lives they've ended, the police have gone on to change their story a million times. He started running. He jumped out of the bushes. He had a gun. No—he had a goddamn sandwich. The protests, like the bullshit, have yet to let up—and no, Billy Joel, we ain't start that fire. But it will do a lot more than burn some goddamn flags. Are you listening?
Burn, baby, burn like disco inferno, sayeth Biggie Smalls. Peep Redskin's homage to the late, great veteran, the Big Red mixtape—the Cabin Games general gives it with gusto over 14 beats that B.I.G. made his. Does Skizzle make them his in turn, you ask? Certainly nowhere near the authority with which Mr. Francis M.H. White did...
On Nov. 21, Glitterbeat Records will reissue American trumpeter Jon Hassell and Brian Eno’s 1980 classic LP Fourth World Vol. 1: Possible Musics. Former Seattleite Chris Eckman, guitarist for veteran folk-rock mavericks the Walkabouts, now runs the Glitterbeat label from his homes in Slovenia and Germany, where his band’s much more appreciated than it is in America. Glitterbeat has become a haven for adventurous sounds from around the world, but Fourth World represents its highest-profile release. As I wrote about Hassell in The Stranger back in a 2009 review of Last Night the Moon Came Dropping Its Clothes..., “the most distinctive facet of Hassell's music is his horn, which variously emulates exotic birdsong and the cries of rare species of primates in the throes of woe, ecstasy, and Zen calm. Hassell has carved out a unique tonal palette with an instrument that speaks sotto voce in alien tongues.”
Fourth World Vol. 1 is among the peaks in Hassell’s dazzling canon. 34 years after its release, it still sounds timeless and placeless, a strange hybrid of cool jazz, gamelan, and otherworldly ambient music. Oneiric and psychedelic, Fourth World Vol. 1 is a bizarre outlier in 20th-century music.
When asked what the impetus was for him to get this important work back in circulation, Eckman said, “Glitterbeat is mostly releasing artists from Africa, but my personal journey into music outside of standard Western motifs began with Possible Musics. I listened to that album non-stop my senior year at Whitman College way back in the early ’80s. From there I discovered artists like Fela Kuti and King Sunny Adé and so on. So releasing this album was really a personal thing for me. This album was the flash point that led me towards much of the music I am working with today.”
What qualities of Fourth World are particularly inspirational to Eckman? “Well, for one thing, it still sounds so singular and out-of-time. I couldn't fully place it when I first heard and I still can't. It straddles genres and cultures. It incorporates handmade music and electronics. It sounds like the future and some sort of iconic, ghosted past.”
Sadly, due to what Eckman calls a “terrible music-biz contract,” Hassell and Eno do not hold the rights to Fourth World, so Eckman had to deal with the massive major label Universal to get licensing permission. “But Jon has been very helpful and did a wonderful interview with Pat Thomas*, the reissue's co-producer, for the liner notes. We tried to get a hold of Brian, but failed.”
Was Hassell surprised that Glitterbeat wanted to reissue Fourth World? “I wouldn't say that Jon was surprised by the re-release. I think he has a very strong sense of the importance of his work. I get the impression he felt it was just a matter of time until someone got around to reissuing this album and some of his others. Jon is a genius, and happily he is aware of that."
*Tomorrow on Slog I’ll post the interview I conducted with Pat Thomas about Hassell and Fourth World.
Yesterday when I was visiting with my Stranger colleague Dave Segal, he happened to ask if I had "doubles of any early Fairport Convention" on LP. (Sigh) I don't, unfortunately. In fact, it was only a year ago I FINALLY found the first Fairport Convention on LP. I'm sorry, fellow record nerds, I don't have a proper UK issue; my copy is but a serviceable American issue, on Cotillion. Anyway, as we chatted about the Fairports, I remembered a few years ago I addressed the frustrating lack of Fairport awareness AND how they were initially heavily influenced by American West Coast sike groups. My next immediate thought was, of course, recalling the greatness of their performance on the French TV show Bouton Rouge Sessions, so I figured I should post the clip again, as it's MANDATORY viewing. This session was broadcast April 27, 1968, when most of the band members were still teenagers.
Also, YEAH, I am aware this is the THIRD time I've posted Fairport's Bouton Rouge Sessions; the second time was summer of 2012, but this is the first time for "Slog Out."
You like R&B? You like electro, soul, and/or funk? Then you'll find Jungle's amalgam rousing. What began in 2013 as the London-based duo of Josh Lloyd-Watson and Tom McFarland has sprouted to a seven-piece band that lays down well-trimmed mid-tempo grooves. Much dance and sweat begets the bodies of a room when they play. It's Marvin Gaye spliced into the Toro y Moi/tropicality sector, then routed with horns through an oxygen-rich Leslie cabinet and a wah-wah pedal. Their electronic beats and acoustic drums are a well-mixed, well-meshed technoid blend. "Platoon" rides anesthetized on tamped 16th-note beams. In the video, a 6-year-old b-girl named Terra absolutely feels it in a lilac sweatsuit. (Note her head spins; she's boss.) Jungle's self-titled 12-song debut came out this past July on XL Recordings and was shortlisted for the 2014 Mercury Prize. Tom McFarland spoke from New Orleans. I imagined him in a lilac sweatsuit.
What's happening in New Orleans for Jungle? Quality time is happening. We're trying to have a Louisiana experience. I had shrimp and grits for breakfast.
Do they have grits in London? Give me the Jungle review of grits. No. Grits are a rare thing. Grits are strange, but worth it [laughs]. I like grits. I can see why there's a love/hate thing about them. Gems in life are often love/hate items...
Jungle play the Showbox Wednesday, October 15. Click here for more information.
Bell was best known as half of the UK electronic group LFO and as a producer on Björk's Homogenic and Volta and Depeche Mode's Exciter. My introduction to Bell's work was LFO's 1991 album Frequencies, which is a classic of acid techno and house, strong from front to back like few electronic full-lengths were in that era. I wore out the cassette to this album and it powered many a drive around the Detroit area, where its futuristic textures, Kraftwerkian melodies, and post-Cybotron rhythms really resonated. When Gez Varley left LFO in 1996, Bell kept the act going and released the solid albums Advance in 1996 and Sheath in 2003, the latter of which spawned the insanely great electro single "Freak." RIP, Mark Bell.
I hate to be a complainer, but as much as I love Motörhead, I think they turned in one of the WORST stock versions of the garage-rock standard "Louie Louie."
Look, y'all, I wish the Motörheads had goosed the song up a bit, not that there is much to work with, but maybe they could'a tried a riff rearrangin' like what the Sonics did? Really, ANYTHING?! And for some reason "Louie Louie" was specifically recorded as the fucking A side for their first single on Bronze. The flip, "Tear Ya Down," was way more Motörheady and, obviously, seems like a better choice as an A side; I can only imagine "Tear Ya Down" was why the kids bought the record. Still, the 45 is said to have sold enough copies it earned 'em the above BBC spot. Also, if not for the good sales of "Louie Louie," the band might not have gotten around to this AND then this: Live Fast, Die Old.
San Francisco quartet Musk have a new self-titled album on Holy Mountain Records that’s jam-packed with the sort of outrageously vicious, filthy rock and roll that’s as exhilarating as a knife fight while on meth (I can dream, can’t I?). This kind of reprobate, combative rock has a long lineage (Stooges, Birthday Party, Scientists, Moodists, Laughing Hyenas, Scratch Acid, etc.) that’s tapered off to a hungry handful of outfits who are carrying the legacy into our toxified future.
Over its 11 tracks, Musk doesn’t really let up with the vein-bulging vocal desperation, the savagely sculpted clangor, the churning and careening rhythms. At the end of it, you’ll feel like you need a tetanus shot. (Hey, old-school Seattle noise rockers: Musk include former local musicians Rob Fletcher [vocals, ex-Video Vertigo, ex-Tractor Sex Fatality] and John Laux [bass, ex- Tractor Sex Fatality, ex-Egyptian Theatre].)
The Growlers' noirish and articulate guitar explorations have been slinking their way onto stereos with a quickness of late. The band's surfers-on-mushrooms reputation belies their industriousness, which includes at least seven records in the last five years, and also the Beach Goth Party, which invites all manner of like-minded acts to converge in Orange County for a celebration of what might be called the musical antithesis of Orange County. The following is a transcript of a telephone conversation with Growlers vocalist/songwriter/founding member Brooks Nielsen.
What are you doing right now?* Layin' on my couch. Just got in at like three in the morning.
Where did you get in from? San Antonio, Texas. We drove straight here.
What did you have for breakfast this morning? Uh, I haven't eaten yet...
The Growlers play Chop Suey Wednesday, October 15. Click here for more information.
HUH!? I had NO IDEA "Northwest Rock Trading Cards" existed! Why y'all wanna keep such a sweet secret from me, Northwest Rock?!
It appears these were used as promo adverts for the shops where you could pick 'em up. Um, I know it's been over two decades, but does anyone remember if this was via the Rocket or Hype, perhaps? Does anyone have these? Anyone with a complete run?! I'm impressed both Accused AND Gruntruck got a card!
• Late Friday night, in the window of a new Capitol Hill condo that rents 358-square-foot studio apartments for $1,380-$1,575, a large mysterious, penis appeared right at crotch level on one of the very stylish, expensive-champagne-swilling cardboard cutouts.
Seattle producer Jon McMillion is best known for his distinctive, soulful experimental-house releases on labels like Ostgut Ton, Orac, Nuearth Kitchen, and Zoombézoom. But besides reigning as one of this city’s foremost electronic musicians the last eight years, McMillion maintains an obsession for rare European disco records—an extremely esoteric stratum of the vinyl-collecting world.
Under the handle Crybaby’s Room, McMillion’s created a heady mix of these super-obscure platters called Disco Harmonics. Trust me when I say you’ve likely not heard any of these tracks before. To procure these records, McMillion spent a lot of “late nights digging on eBay, Discogs, and [engaging in] early-morning Skype calls with international sellers.”
McMillion spent three months working on what he dubs his “love letter to disco and the ’70s. This new mix represents all that I love about underground ’70s dance music, library jams, and moody ballads. I love the personality of the tunes, the originality, and most of all how they ooze freedom and creativity. Those who know me know that disco is my favorite genre, but with this mix I begin my path into even deeper territory.”
How does an American music fan find out about this secret network of European music that is zealously guarded from mainstream society? How did McMillion gain entry into this netherworld?
“It's a very secretive world," he said. "Collectors hustle and spend months, years on forums and what not to establish relationships with other collectors. There are several low-key websites that occasionally provide detailed info (IDs) on new digs and older mysteries. Early on, I occasionally encountered disinformation on some forums regarding some IDs. But to be honest, there's no specific way one gets deep into this world. A person has to be willing to do tons of research, and make many mistakes in the process (i.e., buying duds). I was lucky to befriend a few of the genre’s best collectors. I'm constantly doing research, exploring labels on Discogs. It’s a lot of detective work.”
I would love to provide a tracklist for Disco Harmonics, but if I did, McMillion would be excommunicated from the underground-disco cabal and probably have his PayPal account hacked. So just listen and enjoy these idiosyncratically hedonistic and beautiful Shazam-stumping cuts.
I picked this song for today's "Song of the Day" because TODAY is the 60th fucking birthday of former Van Halen high kickin' front man, David Lee Roth!
Prior to his "hosting" the Stranger's Bumbershoot Guide 2001, I had the great fortune of speaking with the mighty Diamond Dave. Godamn, he was every bit the DAVID LEE ROTH on the phone as I'd hoped for! Dave, HAPPY BIRFDAY!!!
On November 25, Seattle-based label Light in the Attic will release a collection of ultra-rare songs by Native American musicians, Native North America (Vol. 1): Aboriginal Folk, Rock, and Country 1966-1985. LITA is calling this 34-track compilation “our most ambitious and historically significant project in our label's 12-year journey.” The release comes in double-CD and triple-LP formats; the former includes a hard-cover 120-page book featuring exhaustive liner notes by Kevin "Sipreano” Howes, artist interviews, archival photos, and lyrics (with translations) while the latter has 60-page booklet with all the same features as the CD. Those who pre-order now can score the limited-edition tan wax, tote bag, and sticker.
Vancouver-based record collector and curator Howes spent 15 years traveling great distances to locate these records and dig for their creators’ back stories while piecing together their historical context. I asked Howes to explain what made this music stand out from other output of its time and if he encountered any surprises while working on the project.
“The music featured on Native North America (Vol. 1) showcases a key selection of trailblazing Aboriginal musicians, poets, and artists who were inspired, like other musicians from around the world, by the global developments in folk, rock, and country during the 1950-60s. These artists combined a passionate love of music with their distinct Indigenous cultures to create something truly unique. In the pre-internet days, both radio and travel brought music through the airwaves and onto the turntables of these players, many of whom lived in remote communities across Canada and the northern United States.
“It blew me away thinking that members of Salluit, Quebec-based Sugluk, were grooving to Creedence Clearwater Revival on their stereos in the Canadian Arctic or that Cree singer-songwriter Lloyd Cheechoo was rocking out to Black Sabbath in the James Bay region of northern Ontario. Did you know that the Chieftones (Canada's All Indian Band) shared a stage with the Beach Boys the week that the latter's seminal Pet Sounds was released? It not only demonstrates the power of music, but how it can influence and inform new styles and feelings.
“When I first heard the original recordings featured on NNA V1, I had to learn more about these records, how they were made and by who. A songwriter like the legendary Willie Dunn was easier to find information about than others (Dunn made the landmark Ballad of Crowfoot film for the National Film Board of Canada in 1968), but in all cases I had to go straight to the source to find out more. Unfortunately, Inuk troubadour Willie Thrasher was not in The Encyclopedia of Canadian Music. Hopefully, that will change. These artists should take their righteous place in our collective cultural history.”
Captured! By Robots is what happens when you take a misanthropic musician and throw him in a room with a bunch of tools and scrap metal—he builds his own emotionally abusive robotic band. (You have to see it to understand, which you can do tonight at the Highline.) The first time I saw Captured! By Robots play, I thought it was the most brilliant, hilarious thing ever. But since forming in San Francisco in 1997, C!BR has attracted company: There are now at least three other robotic bands around the world—most recently, an impressive trio from Germany called Compressorhead, whose video of them playing Motörhead’s “Ace of Spades” has racked up more than six million views on YouTube.
Anna Minard, our city hall reporter, claims to "know nothing about music." For this column, we're forcing her to listen to all the records that music nerds consider important.
Um, I was not aware that music boss nerds were allowed to like just some nice guy playing acoustic guitar and quietly singing dad songs about rivers. What? I have to completely recalibrate what the world means now.
That's not to say I don't like Oar, because I really do. But I like it the way I like simple, nostalgic music that reminds me of my childhood...
Why? Because they're traveling all the way from Berlin, Germany, to play for us this Saturday at the Crocodile! And because, well, Arish Khan is a superhero! And Mark BBQ has the voice of an angel! And because girls AREN'T invisible! And because, um, in this video... uh, WHO LIKES BIRD POOP? Nobody, that's who!
Damn, it's nice to see a local act with some ambition. Prom Queen's Leeni Ramadan and her band have "pulled a Beyoncé" (when's that going into the OED?) and made videos accompanying each of the 12 songs on their delightfully Technicolor-hued new album Midnight Veil. This is actually one of the lower-key songs on the record, which comes off like a long-lost collaboration between a femme fatale Nancy Sinatra and an LSD-fried Martin Denny. Music to soundtrack whichever young auteur wants to claim Tarantino's postmodernist pulp dreams, basically. And a helluva lot of fun at that, which is in desperately short supply around these parts sometimes.
Prom Queen premiere Midnight Veil and its accompanying videos on Saturday, October 11, at FRED Wildlife Refuge.
A CORUNUCOPIA OF CHAOTIC COMPUTER AND SYNTH MUSIC AT HOLLOW EARTH RADIO
Tonight, Hollow Earth Radio—who are currently contenders for the Stranger Genius Award in music—host some highfalutin computer and synthesizer music from a bunch of smart West Coast people. San Francisco–based Collin McKelvey makes his Seattle debut tonight, and his disorienting, beatless music can pulse, ripple, and drift with the unpredictability of weird-looking sea life or splutter, whir, and spew sparks like machinery gone awry. Either way, it's immersive, elemental stuff that reminds us that sanity is always a precarious proposition. RM Francis has scant music to hear online, but the two live sets I've caught by him have thoroughly discombobulated my senses. He offers a banquet of extreme frequencies that spasm and splinter with the mathematical rigor of Iannis Xenakis's work—on very strong stimulants. Kaori Suzuki builds her own synthesizers for the Magic Echo Music company, and her ear is highly attuned to the strange, rich tonalities that this gear can generate. She takes you on a circuitous circuitry adventure. Her partner on modular synths is Jonathan Carr, known for his storming techno as Patternmaster...
It should be no surprise, as gospel gave birth to the profane, the blues, a few decades later, that gospel could be heard appropriating the sounds of the blues evolved: disco. Church players may have been the BEST Christians AND been singing praise-filled songs about Jesus, but they were also musicians interested in keeping up with pop trends, and there are tons of gospel groups/singers that crossed over into modern soul and funk. That said, the idea of pounding coked-up contemporary club/dance music in church on a Sunday morning seems ridiculous, but disco gospel IS OUT THERE! Sadly, my research didn't turn up any REAL killer jams, the tracks I found were stock, third-rate, period "disco" jams, so I had to ask a seasoned gospel collector for help! The track he gave me, Joubert Singers' "Stand on the Word," a Larry Levan remix from 1985, is, he said, considered one of the best gospel disco tracks. It's subtle, and a bit late to be "classic disco," but it's still relevant AND reverent.
This track was first found on an LP by the Celestial Choir of New York City, under the direction of Phyliss Joubert. Levan's mix "added the kick," crossing it over as a "Paradise Garage classic disco, proto house tune."
"Me and Jonny [are] just picking away until something happens, and then we're able to—with modern technology—just do a thousand takes until it sounds right, or perfectly wrong or whatever."
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