By: Tom Schulte
===NEWS AND VIEWS===
WE WANT THE AIRWAVES
June 24th the Third Circuit Court of Appeals released its decision on the case filed in August 2003 by Prometheus Radio Project (http://prometheusradio.org) relating to the FCC's June 2 rulemaking on media ownership from taking effect. The court determined that the FCC employed "irrational assumptions and inconsistencies" when drafting the looser cross-ownership rules, and ordered the FCC to craft new regulations that reflect the Commission's stated goals of promoting localism, competition and diversity. You can call on the FCC to hear you out locally at: http://freepress.net/rules/.
Prometheus Radio Project through http://www.lpfm-idol.com is making it possible for you to expand community radio and win a free trip to Washington, DC. Prometheus offers two free tickets to the nation's capital to the group that gets the most calls into its Senators asking them to expand Low Power FM Radio service. Visit http://www.lpfm-idol.com or http://www.prometheusradio.org/freeairwaves.shtml.
In related news, Eric Idle from Monty Python releases new anti-FCC song: http://www.pythonline.com/plugs/idle/FCCSong.mp3.
PEW FINDINGS ON MUSICIANS' SURVEY
From March 15 to April 15, 2004, Future of Music Coalition (http://www.futureofmusic.org) and the Pew Internet & American Life Project hosted a comprehensive online survey to gauge musicians' opinions about the Internet and how it affects their art through technology, copyright, peer-to-peer file sharing, and more. Over 2,700 musicians participated. On April 30, Pew Internet released some of the preliminary findings from the survey in a data memo. The survey shows that musicians are divided in their opinions. There is no clear consensus regarding the effects of online file sharing. About a third of artists say that file sharing is simultaneously good for promotional purposes but also bad because file sharing circumvents payments to artists. The data memo is available on Pew Internet's website here: http://www.pewinternet.org/PPF/r/125/report_display.asp. Future of Music Coalition has also posted the key findings included in the data memo here: http://www.futureofmusic.org/research/datamemo.cfm.
SENATORS INTRODUCE BILL TO EXPAND LOW-POWER FM
In early June, Senators McCain and Leahy introduced S 2025. This legislation would allow for expansion of the FCC's popular LPFM service to urban markets. Over the past five years, the FCC has overseen the implementation of hundreds of new LPFM stations in rural parts of the country. Without this legislation, however, commercial broadcasters will succeed in their attempts to keep these tiny stations off the air. I have written my Senators to show my support for the bill, and I encourage you to do the same.
GARAGEBAND.COM LEAVES DOOR OPEN
Musicians who post their music on GarageBand.com can now opt to license their songs using Creative Commons. Music fans can trade and share songs as much as they like without fearing the RIAA's wrath. See Wired, June 8, 2004: http://go.hotwired.com/news/digiwood/0,1412,63720,00.html/wn_ascii.
All the above stories culled with appreciation from Future of Music Coalition (http://www.futureofmusic.org).
NATIONAL CHAINS REJECT NEW LEFTOVER CRACK ALBUM
Before Fuck World Trade, the latest Leftover Crack album slated for release on August 31st, was even out chain music stores including Musicland, Best Buy and Circuit City refused it on the basis of its title and cover art. Some chains such as Virgin Megastore will carry the records, but will not display them on endcaps. The album cover is a photo collage depicting the World Trade Center as the second plane was about to hit the South Tower, with President George W. Bush, Vice President Dick Cheney and former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani in various positions implying a cavalier attitude towards the tragedy. Lead singer Stza Crack explains, "[W]e are enabling the world trade machine, effectively fattening the pockets of the world bank and IMF sponsors by turning a blind eye and a vacant mind to the exploitation of third world slave labor..." Alternative Tentacles is putting out the album (http://www.alternativetentacles.com).
MULTI-MEDIA SUBMISSIONS WANTED
Media Factory Show, a western New England public-access TV show, wants "artists, actors, writers, musicians, craftsmen or anyone positive" to submit video, film, music or art for CD and DVD multi-media publication and television program that can be previewed at: http://www.netshows.us. Media Factory Records is also looking for bands, musicians and poets to fill out the Unique Compilation Program CD.
The Self-Destruction Handbook: 8 Simple Steps to an Unhealthier You by Adam Wasson and Jessica Stamen (Three Rivers Press Originals) is a book for those who enjoy their vices and want no part of the self-improvement fad. This is the book for those brave enough and truthful enough to say, "Yes, I smoke and drink and use diet pills and don't know who this woman next to me in bed is, but I'm okay with that even if my wife isn't!" Self-Destruction experts Wasson and Stamen prove that extreme behavior should be celebrated as a way of living life to its fullest - and funniest.
Among the things you'll learn from The Self Destruction Handbook are:
12 Steps To A Drinking "Problem"
Easy-to-follow steps include "Renouncing God," "Drinking Alone," and "Engaging in an Inappropriate and Degrading Alcohol-Related Sexual Encounter".
Your Brain On Drugs
Includes vocabulary builders, marijuana etiquette, and advice on picking the "gateway" drug that's right for you.
The Man And Mistress Guide To Infidelity
Includes sections on "Relationship Troubleshooting" and "Revenge Affairs".
Condoms Are For Suckers
Advice on a wide variety of unsafe sex acts, from the "Donkey Punch" to the "Belgian Spritzer".
At long last, an advice book for the amoral minority. From morning smokers to midnight tokers, from rock star wannabes to unemployed English majors, The Self-Destruction Handbook may be the perfect book for imperfect people.
As for the authors, Adam Wasson is a scotch-swilling, Marlboro-smoking, relationship-sabotaging MWM. He enjoys walks on the beach, "sodomitical" literature, and good food. He is looking for: a small but vehement cult following. Jessica Stamen is a SWF with a kind heart, questionable morals, and a history of Oprah-esque weight fluctuation. She is looking for: a man. For more information see http://www.selfdestructionhandbook.com.
Kiss my Grits #12
c/o Old Gold Records, POB 8776, Atlanta, GA 31106
This is the annual issue of a fun little photocopied and stapled digest. Chuckle-inducing content includes Shakespeare in the style of gangsta rap. A major piece is an article examining the work of artist David Levinthal (http://www.davidlevinthal.com/), subtitled "Dirty Old Man or Undercover Feminist?" The issue also has P.O.V. #3, an action comic by Matt Jenkins and recipes. One recipe is from Martha Stewart (an unwitting contributor) for grilled cheese and then there are cake recipes so that you can celebrate the zine's birthday. (3.5)
Farming Uncle International Journal Summer 2004
Toro, Box 427, Bronx, NY 10458
Serious holistic living - like raising white homing pigeons and eating simple food like salted potatoes - can be enabled through this land-minded photocopies digest serial. Connect with the Native American community through such classifieds as those posted by Wolf Lodge and the Native America Church. This zine is mostly classifieds, but refreshing for its difference from most underground zines. (3)
Glitz, Blitz & Hitz
Creem Magazine/Music Video Distributors
This celebration of the music and career of the legendary glam band includes vintage videos and footage interspersed with enlightening and entertaining interviews with Andy Scott (synthesizer/guitar/vocals), Nicky Chinn (writer/manager) and Phil Wainman (producer/manager). Their telling of the highs and lows makes for a fascinating video documentary of the band's success and the music of an era. Songs include "Co-Co", "Wig Wam Bam", "Hell Raiser", and, of course, "Ballroom Blitz" as well as much more. (4)
Iggy & The Stooges
Live in Detroit
Creem Magazine/Music Video Distributors
This 2003 concert footage represents what many thought would never happen, a Stooges reunion in Detroit. Mike Watt is filling in on bass, but with the lineup 75% complete, it's a reunion. The concert features all the great songs off the first couple albums: "Loose", "1969", "No Fun", "I Wanna be your Dog" and more. The concert is high-energy, but all that energy is really coming from Iggy, the human dynamo. It is great to see Steve Mackay step into the group with the saxophone he used on the Fun House sessions and see Ron Asheton play those well-known riffs, but the fact remains the concert is so great because it is an Iggy Pop concert and everyone else hangs back out of the arc of his explosive energy. Having claimed that space, Iggy fills it with a tumultuous mob taken from the audience which takes the even to the edge of anarchy. Among the bonus features is a Mike Watt audio journal about being awed and alive on that staged and a great collection of Creem Magazine art and photos related to The Stooges. Another excellent bonus is a NYC in-store (without Watt) where a very congenial Iggy deconstructs many of the classic songs and how they were inspired and made. (4)
The Punk Singles Collection
The 17 tracks here represent all the singles A-sides released by the legendary Angelic Upstarts, including seven UK Top 75 hits. A full-color booklet offers pictures of each release and detailed notes. Beginning in 1977, the group always offered politically motivated lyrics more aware than radical, though. That is the group provoked as much thought as it did anger. The group even criticized the skinhead community from which it arose for racism and fascism as much as it looked outward to attack police brutality as on the debut 1979 single "Murder of Liddle Towers", included here. The 1980 follow-up "We Gotta Get Outta This Place" from this working class band is an excellent version of the ultimate protest rock song made famous by The Animals. The collection concludes with perhaps the most controversial song from the group, "Brighton Bomb" celebrating of the IRA's attempt to assassinate the Conservative cabinet as well as the unabashed and pure patriotism of the 1980 release "England". Tracks that mark the band's move to include reggae and dub sounds include "I Understand" and "Different Strokes". This compendium is a testament to a talented band that used great underground rock songs to put its spin on complex issues in front of many through the charts as well as commercial and underground releases. (4)
Greatest Hits Vol.1
This is a re-issue of the Cockney Rejects debut LP. That is right, the ambitious Sham 69-inspired oi band, started off with its own greatest hits. It new itself well, as the album reached number 22 in the UK National Charts in 1980. Eight bonus tracks include the band's first ever session for Radio 1's John Peel show. Also here are the hit singles "Bad Man" and "I'm Not A Fool" with a booklet that has lyrics to all the songs and brand new liner notes. (3.5)
Greatest Hits Vol.2
Like the Ahoy reissue of the band's debut CD, this sophomore release includes bonus tracks. The quartet of previously unreleased studio cuts were recorded for Radio 1's John Peel show. Beside the UK hit singles "We Can Do Anything", "Greatest Cockney Rip Off", "I'm Forever Blowing Bubbles", and "We Are The Firm", this is the album that gave us the well-known oi anthem, "Oi Oi Oi". The CD booklet has complete with lyrics to every song and detailed liner notes. (3.5)
Discipline / Argy Bargy
100% Thug Rock
Boot-thrash oi-inspired street punk marks this split CD with six tracks each from Discipline and Argy Bargy. Each band offers a cover or two, too. Argy Bargy does Agnostic Front's "It's My Life" and Discipline does The Stranglers' "No More Heroes" and, for more football action, the Cockney Rejects' "War On The Terraces". All tracks are new and exclusive to this release. Discipline has a standout track in the rousing, football anthem "Red & White Army". In the best cut from Argy Bargy, the acoustic pub ballad "One More Drink", we hear a narrative ode to a Jack-the-lad. This quick-witted rogue in looking out for himself, ended up taking the rap for others, though. (3)
Smash the Disco's!
This is the debut CD issue for one of the earliest and most rare of oi albums. It has a real punk feel, more like something from The Exploited than the sound oi later developed into, which has more to do with football thugs and rowdy pubs than punk. Still, the simple, chugging music and anthemic shouts are present. This album includes chart hit title track and controversial "Drinking N Driving" with an in-depth booklet containing lyrics and notes. Bonus tracks include "Disco Girls", "Dayo", "Real Enemy" and "Loud Proud And Punk". (3.5)
Sounding A Mosaic
Daryl Jennifer (Bad Brains) stepped in to produce this exquisitely recorded album of bright-sounding, blue-eyed reggae. Presented in two versions, this peppy, sun-drenched album includes a remake of "Money Worries" with Vernon Buckley of the Maytones. The album has an easy, laid-back, soulful delivery. (3.5)
Formed in 1976, this is one Boston's earliest punk bands. This CD release is from the only surviving tapes, professionally restored, from the group's three-year career. This bridge-period band looks forward to punk ("I've had my Fill") and, at the same time, back to garage rock ("Braincase"). (3)
Shielded By Death Vol. 3 - Exit Stage West
Bacchus Archives continues a great tradition with the third installment of the Killed By Death series. We have here 19 more rare punk and new wave tracks from the birth of American punk concentrating on Connecticut and Massachusetts bands from New Haven, Hartford, Boston, and the area. The source material is rare singles and unreleased tapes for a collection even no serious collector could match. However, maybe only hardcore collectors or people from this area will be truly interested. Some of the music is cool and catchy, like "Record Burning Party Tonight" by 8th Route Army, but much seems to be only of historical interest, witness the lifeless and muddy "Pain is Pain is Pain" by Seizure. (Note Seizure's name is spelled three different ways here.) Another standout track is "Hey (Not Another Face in the Crowd)" by The Thrills. The group is the subject of its own retrospective CD, N.A.F.I.T.C. (Bacchus Archives). The CD includes liner notes, photos, and even contacts for former members of the groups. (3)
Forged from the same sonic style crucible that gave us Blue Cheer and The Seeds, psychedelic rock from The Cuts comes at us in a heady pre-Mudhoney way. Fans of 13th Floor Elevators that wish that that music was a little better recorded and a bit tighter will dig this, too. This is fuzzy but lightshow-bright garage rock that could be a great, unearthed album from the '60s. (4.5)
Moon Ska Europe
Solabeat Alliance, formerly Spankboy, offer a refreshing debut album. Whereas much of modern ska moves to fuse with rock, punk and hardcore ("skacore"), Solabeat Alliance look back to the source to mix in reggae, calypso and rocksteady. They can still offer some skacore though, as on "Set if Off". (3.5)
Raising the Fawn
The North Sea
As I sit here in humid Michigan weather in excess of 80 degrees Fahrenheit, I could really relish a zephyr of that cold and dry arctic wind suggested by the title and floating, nearly space rock music that drifts easily off this CD. Of course, no such meteorological manifestation takes place, but such is the magic of this opus that it created its own cool atmosphere to take my mind away from local conditions. There is an open space, range to this music that suggests the mythic and boundless American west in style and delivery. Fans of Giant Sand and Calexico will appreciate this vibe from the Canadian act. (4)
The Clinton Administration
Take You Higher
The name of The Clinton Administration comes from the first assembly to investigate the music of George Clinton on One Nation Under a Re-Groove. Considering from the dozen people that make up producer on down to the soloists the only keyboardist/organist Robert Walter (Greyboy Allstars, Fred Wesley, Melvin Sparks) is the common thread, it seems only a marketing move to keep the name for this funky jam band treatment of the songs of Sly and the Family Stone. Be that as it may, the interpretations by the band made up of Charlie Hithcock (Particle), Stanton Moore (drums, Galactic), guys from Robert Walter's 20th Congress, half of Garaj Mahal and more makes up a loose and improvisation body to "Take You Higher" with the vehicle of song great funk jams. (4)
30 Years Of Maria Muldaur: I'm A Woman
This compilation celebrates the funk and jazzy blues spin Maria Muldaur gave to folk-pop as a premier song stylist. A human jukebox of peerless skill, Muldaur takes songs of Lieber/Stoller ("I'm a Woman"), Dolly Parton ("My Tennessee Mountain Home"), John Hiatt ("It Feels Like Rain") and more and makes them her own on this exquisite collection of songs. Some recordings features guests. This includes a song with Roy Rogers ("Me & My Chauffeur Blues"), Charles Brown ("Gee Baby, Ain't I Good to You?"), Taj Mahal ("Soul of a Man") and one with Bonnie Raitt ("It's a Blessing"). This documents attests to Muldaur being a premier interpreter of all forms of American vocal songs styles. (4.5)
The Knight Brothers
The title, of course, refers to the potent soul single "Temptation 'Bout to Get Me" from the Washington D.C. duo of Richard Dunbar and James Leon Diggs. That powerful song alone would have kept the group renowned for time immemorial. But this collection of all singles from the group's Checker years gives the pleasure of a lifetime of collecting without the expense and hassle! This album also includes eight tracks from The Carltons, which included Diggs. Two of those selections feature Andy Mack. This is a smart collection of ballad soul with hip, upbeat brass arrangements. (4.5)
The Marlboro Chorus
Future Appletree Records
This is extra-good, giddy-up indie pop with a bright, infectious beat. The group fine tunes the Mod dial with a nod to such Britpop as The Kinks in the way it delivers one of the standout tracks, "The Moondial". In an era when the indie in-thing is wringing out high-volume sonic assaults from an emotional angst, this is cheery and refreshing like that first spring day when it is better to be outside the house then in. (3.5)
In the Leap Year
Grey Day Productions
LKN is Lauren K. Newman (Stellamarie). Lauren is the mistress of noisy indie rock on this collection of songs. The tracks here, ranging from indie rock ("Will Meets Strength on Courage") to noise experiments ("Varientnoiz"), are culled from two years of recording. Multi-instrumentalist Lauren plays drums, guitar, keys, bass, percussion and more on the four-track creations. Not much of a singer (rather like a young girl trying to imitate classic Chrissie Hynde), LKN rocks out on these hard-hitting songs, and that is all that matters. (3)
Soul of the City
Jump Up Records
This sextet, which shares members with Pressure Point and Dynamos, is nominally a ska band. However, more specifically, the group delivers original music in a rocksteady and early reggae, Jamaican ska way. The roots ska band thus has more in common with Desmond Dekker & the Aces, Israelites and Skatalites then contemporary groups like Mighty Mighty Bosstones, Rancid or Operation Ivy. They also set themselves apart by featuring male vocalist Ken Beasley on some tracks and Shannan Robertson on others. This adds variety and texture to the album. (4)
Pattern Is Movement
The (im)possibility of Longing
Pattern Is Movement
Intricate, but not inaccessible, rhythms underlie the complex indie pop of Philadelphia's Pattern Is Movement. In the crowded stadium arena of sweet-sounding indie pop bands; this is the seat with a view to a more intriguing game of sophisticated songwriting. It is not all that post-modern, either; parts of "Gunsmith" could be from the equally forward-looking band, The Fall. It is just that Pattern Is Movement tries harder. (3.5)
We Did Not Know the Forest Spirit Made the Flowers Grow
Black Lips! offers a wild, garage rock sounds that is inspired by Arthur Lee & Love. It is also equally informed by the wild abandon of Roky Erickson and 13th Floor Elevators. That is, the islands of melody are psychedelic time capsules in a maelstrom of frantic garage punk energy on this sophomore releases from the aggro-psych rebels out of Atlanta. The album, at times uneven, includes a QuickTime video of "Fad". (3)
Generations in Song
This new album from the legendary country tenor leads off with Hank and Dolly Parton in a duet on Hank's huge hit "Send me the Pillow you Dream On". Other featured guests on this album include Jett Williams (Hank Williams, daughter of Hank Williams Sr.), Vince Gill, Jeanne Pruett ("Satin Sheets"), Hank Williams Sr.'s grandchildren and more. Lockin felt no need to update his classic sound for his golden throat and the tasteful arrangements of strings, singer and guitars is a winning combination. With folks like Hank Locklin, quality never goes out of style. His musicians for this recording include legendary session guitarist Jimmy Capps ("The Gambler"), drummer Buddy Harmon (J.J. Cale, Jerry Lee Lewis), pianist Hargus "Pig" Robbins (Patsy Cline, David Allen Coe) and Charlie McCoy on harmonica and vibes along with several others. (5)
We Are Waiting all for Hope
Fish the Cat Productions
Steve Albini excellently recorded this elegant and majestic fourth album from the Seattle trio. While the album is often drawn to more melancholy emotions ("You Fade", "Can You Forgive"), the dramatic and triumphant sweeps of the piano- and cello-held pop balance the content exquisitely. The deliciously refreshing arrangements possible from the group's instrumentation combine with sometimes male, sometime female vocalist for an album rich in texture. Saeta trades in the tired rock combo for chamber pop that reaches, and achieves, greater heights. Moving and memorable, We Are Waiting all for Hope is intelligent and passionate, sophisticated and accessible; a work of art. (4.5)
This 3-CD set is from the band that Sam Prekop and Eric Claridge were in prior to forming The Sea and Cake. Some of it moves forward in fits and starts like an unheard early Velvet Underground demo ("Can You Spare Some Change"). One long, indie art-rock odyssey features a cornered Lt. Col. Oliver North testifying at the Senate hearings on the Iran/Contra scandal. "Ollie's Song" is as historically informative as it is entertaining! Able-bodied Shrimp Boat sailor Brad Wood went on to produce Liz Phair's Exile in Guyville as well as working with Tortoise, The Sea and Cake, Red Red Meat and more to further define the now well-known sound of '90s Chicago indie rock. This Shrimp Boat collection, however, shows a more free and humorous, jazzy and mathy approach to largely instrumental music. Very rich for the collector, this box set takes as its source over 400 hours of unreleased tapes instead of the group's four albums. This is a grand exploration of the foundations of what came to be known as post-rock. (4)
Home is Where You Find It
This is a reissue of the debut album from the former Spencer Davis Group member. (Hardin, talented vocalist and pianist succeeded as Stevie Winwood's replacement in Spencer Davis Group.) This edition includes extensive liner notes and bonus material: The JAKE single "And in the Morning" b/w "You & Me" as well as a previously unreleased recording of "Home is Where You Find It" with Hardin performing with Ray Fenwick. This 1971 album is soulful ballad rock helping set the stage for the soft rock of the '70s. (4)
8-bit Porno is a noise band, not a noise rock like Boredoms or a noise-pop band like Sonic Youth. 8-bit Porno is pure, unadulterated noise. What does lend some stylistic structure to the sounds on this six-piece EP is the use of distorted voices one slogs through the opening sonic assault of "Bronchial". Packaged with a fetish-like interest in personal computer technology (BASIC, 8-bit graphics), this disc is right up there (down there?) with the sounds of bones breaking and babies crying. I find the aural emanations particularly useful to motive recalcitrant guests toward the door. When it is too late and they are too comfortable, I do not protest overtly, I just spin this aluminum disc and nod appreciatively with a Zen look on my face and then turn to explain in a quiet tone, "8-Bit Porno, man." But, by then, I am speaking to an empty room. (2)
Death By Salt: A Slug Magazine Compilation
This 3-CD set has a thick, full-color booklet with a page for each Salt Lake City-area independent artist and group featured. Like any grab bag of talent, this collection has its highs and lows. Especially good is the harder bands from the area, like the Jon Spencer-inspired Red Bennies and the old school New York punk sound of Chinese Stars. This is all on Disc 1 and on Disc 1 attention must be drawn to quirky songwriter Bob Moss. His song "Movie Man" is about B-movie Al Adamson (Girls for Rent, Satan's Sadists). Disc 2 opens with more in the tradition of NYC punk 'n' roll from JW Blackout and Books About UFO's and the Monster Magnet-like "The Monster That Remained in the Mind of the Orphaned Boy" from Erosion. But, it is not all hard and heavy. Hello Amsterdam offers a moody and atmospheric "Cold to Come" with a little nod to Bauhaus at the end. Another standout track is "I Love Personality" from the post-electro rockers Rope or Bullets. If each disc has its entertaining musical weirdo, this disc must fill its quota with the multi-instrumentalist Dan Morley and his bass clarinet-led "Stealing Claire's Prescription". Disc 3 seems the most varied and includes such interesting tracks as the ebb and flow of an easybeat instrumental "Tekla" from Gerald Music. There is even some good ensemble jazz on this disc from SLAJO (Salt Lake Area Jazz Orchestra). This disc also contains the most indescribable but yet interesting music from Parker Sisters and Buddha Brothers. (3.5)
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