“You Want a Big Box of Records?”

Was the question a friend asked as he was delivering several cases of toilet paper to my garage — don’t ask, because I won’t tell you.

My answer was obviously “uh, always. Yes.”

In that box was a ton of records that I’ve always wanted to own, or own on vinyl, including a bunch of 70’s Herbie Hancock.  The other day while working from home, I was spinning Headhunters, being reminded just how awesome this album is.

I originally bought this on cassette along with several other jazz cassettes from the long defunct Record Surplus out in Niles Il. (I really should do a post on Record Surplus sometime, because that place was magical.)

Also in this box were two Miles Davis albums I didn’t own as well as Marvin Gay, Aretha Franklin, the entire Jimi Hendrix discography (unplayed), the Cream discography (unplayed) and Revolver and Abbey Road by the Beatles, also unplayed.  Whomever originally owned this box of records was a hero for having the restraint to not play these albums, but a idiot for not selling them.  Either way, they’re in the hands of a person who is going to play the shit out of them.

There were also a lot of other albums in there, including NM+ versions of several Grateful Dead albums, which I’m in the market to sell and some smooth jazz stuff I’m not interested in.

Anyway, Herbie Hancock is a damn talented person — who’d of thought that one of the people who signed the Constitution would also be a jazz-funk pioneer. 😉 😉

So Lets Talk About Kit Records

Through a series of clicks on Bandcamp, I stumbled upon Kit Records out of London, UK.  They deliver a variety of experimental electronic releases, but the one that initially grabbed me was Object Agency, who deliver slightly more accessibly glitchy  experimental drum n bass ala Aphex Twin, Authechre and Squarepusher.  Maybe a less accessible Mouse on Mars?  Who cares.  This shit rules and you can either chill out to it, or toss it on at a party and you’re gonna have a good time.

I ordered this record and while I was bummed that it was coming from the UK, which meant a bit of transit time, the wait was worth it, because along with this album, Kit included a free Dromloch LP.

Dromloch is a collaboration between producer Antidröm and pianist Devon Loch.  The A Side is basically a collection of live improvisations on a Hohner church organ breathing its last dying breaths.  The B Side is a collection of contact mic field recordings.

I was listening to this the other morning while making breakfast.  The A Side got my kid super stoked and the B Side made a great Saturday morning breakfast soundtrack.  Drop this into a playlist at your local hipster brunch dive to watch a bunch of assholes trip over themselves to claim to know who it is or to clear out the after church crowd from the neighborhood diner.  While this sounds like an insult, it isn’t meant to be.  I’m a firm believer in weaponizing music and this stuff is begging to nuke someone’s consciousness.  Five stars, multiple A+’s.

I’m looking forward to checking out rest of Kit Records discography, because any label that has a fuckin’ church organ in their headquarters is a label I want to give my money to.

Buy this stuff on Bandcamp.  Follow the links in the text ya jerks.

Ibibio Sound Machine

Hey ya’ll.  It warms the cockles that even at my age there are still records that make me say “holy shit.”  Ibibio Sound Machine is one of those bands.  There’s a lot going on here and there’s elements of Afrobeat, 80’s electro-pop, West African folk music and some other elements I can’t quite put my finger on.  This some beautiful, powerful music that makes you want to dance.  Get into it! Send them all your money!

The GTO’s

A friend of mine shared this article on Facebook and it reminded me about the Big Red Ball compilation, which inspired me to do a bunch of posts about the Zappa protege’s.  My previous post was on Wild Man Fischer and this one’s on the GTO’s.  Read the article and then go listen to the music.

The first time I heard them was on the previously mentioned Warner “Loss Leaders” compilation, which were only available through mail order.  My best friend’s dad had all of those compilations and I would search those out specifically for the GTO’s and Ed Sanders/Fugs tracks.  Super solid, weird as shit art rock.  Spin it loud, freak out your neighbors.

Wild Man Fischer

Wild Man Fischer – An Evening With Wild Man Fischer – 

Equal parts Dr Demento regular and one of Zappa’s many protege’s, Wild Man Fischer speaks to a very specific weirdo bone and I love ’em for it.  I plan on playing this for my daughter when she’s a little older — probably when she’s four.  I feel like this can speak equally to children, drug users and multi-purpose weirdos.  Enjoy!

GFG Book Post: Kaleidoscope Eyes / Turn on Your Mind – Jim Derogatis

This was a book that I read originally in the mid/late 90’s, around the time it came out.  Overall it’s a really great read and anyone familiar with Derogatis’ column in Sun-Times or his time at Rolling Stone magazine, you know what to expect.  There are a lot of facts and that makes it a great text book on psychedelic music, but it also contains a lot of opinions which makes it an interesting read.  While he treads on some personal sacred cows (Sonic Youth, The Who), it’s hard to argue with the artists he praises.  While I don’t necessarily agree with him on his position on some bands, I respect that opinion as he does a great job backing it up.

The book was originally called Kaleidoscope Eyes: Psychedelic Rock From the 60’s to the 90’s, but in true Dero fashion, he changed the title at some point to Turn on Your Mind: Four Decades of Great Psychedelic Rock, because it references a better Beatles song.  I can’t argue with that.

I re-read my copy of the book a year or so ago and it inspired me to write up something about it, because honestly, it was the inspiration for this blog*!

Other stuff worth checking out by Jim Derogatis is his absolutely excellent and essential book on Lester Bangs, Let It Blurt: The Life and Times of Lester Bangs, America’s Greatest Rock Critic and his series on the 50 Chicago Artists Who Changed Popular Music, as well as tons of other great content to be found on his WBEZ page.

You can pick up Kaleidoscope Eyes or Turn on Your Mind at Indie Bound, Powell’s or The Strand (my favorite bookstore in the world). Don’t give your money to Amazon.  Support independent book sellers and record stores.

 

*I mean, actually it was my wife who was like “why don’t you just write a blog on the weird music you like, but really it was the depth and passion in this book that inspired how I curate this web site.

GFG Featured Album: Can – Tago Mago

Can – Tago Mago

I’ll always have a special place in my heart for this album.  The morning of my wedding, my soon-to-be wife and I were eating breakfast with her family in their hotel suite as her dad played this album on his computer speakers.  I married into the right family!

GFG Featured Track: Alterations – Two Purple Lights

From 1983 to 1992, there was a night club in Chicago called Medusa’s.  It was three floors — a main room with a second floor Mezzanine and third floor with a “rock room” and a “video room.”  There was also a small lounge that was curated by a local drag queen.

They had no liquor license and only sold mixers, so it was essentially a BYOB kind of situation.  Because of the lack of a liquor license, they weren’t tied to the 2a.m. or 4a.m. last call laws in Chicago.  As a kid, I would hear stories about people partying until eight or nine a.m., only to come back that night to do it all over again.

They also had an all-ages component to their programming too — every Saturday until the early 90’s they would host an under 17 night where DJs would spin goth, new wave, post punk, industrial, house, hip hop — anything you could dance to until curfew, at which point the kids would have to leave and head over to the Dunkin’ Donuts parking lot at Clark and Belmont (affectionately referred to as Punkin’ Donuts).

Aside from just being a dance club, they also had a “rock room” where bands would commonly play.  The first time I went Medusa’s was in 1990 for the now infamous Fugazi show, where they packed what seemed like a thousand kids into the room — many of which were skinheads (at one point, Ian engaged some of the teenage skinheads and let them have the mic to “share their message,” which was essentially yelling “skinhead!” [dude, you have a mic, we can hear you].  Fugazi left the stage to let the dipshits take over and they banged on the bass guitar a little while yelling “skinheads” some more).

By the early 90’s Dave Medusa, the manager/owner of the business was getting a lot of heat from the new Young Urban Professionals moving into the area as well as the Alderman who was trying to shut the club down.  As a bit of a “fuck you,” he started hosting more all ages nights and more bands.  Eventually, due to some zoning/licensing b.s., the club was shut down and was converted into condos (you can rent one for about $1200.00 a month and it might be the rock room where GG Allin once performed. [no stage shits were taken as he apparently had to sign an agreement not to shit on stage if he wanted to play])

Flash forward to 1996.  I just met my friend New Wave Mike.  He gave me a tape of his old band, Alterations and I was blown away.  It was SO GOOD.  It was lo-fi synth pop that sounded like where the Magnetic Fields, The Cure and OMD might intersect, if they were produced by Bill Callaghan of Smog.  After hearing the song Two Purple Lights, I asked Mike “this is about Medusa’s, right?”  I was right.  On either side of the entrance were two black lights (which obviously look purple) , thus the title of the song.

If you dig this song, jump over to the Bandcamp page and drop them a couple two/tree bucks and download it. Meanwhile, since we’re on this nostalgia trip, here’s some videos related to Medusa’s worth watching (with original Medusa’s DJ mixes as the soundtrack!) —

 

 

GFG Featured Album: Low – Double Negative

Low – Double Negative

This album is absolutely gorgeous and weird.  It feels more experimental or out their than past albums by the slowcore legends, but is definitely a Low album.  It’s very haunting and dark, but subtle.  It’s been fitting my mood lately.

 

GFG Featured Artist: Moondog

Moondog – The German Years 1977 – 1999

Moondog was a strange dude.  One part outsider artist, one part brilliant composer and one part instrument maker.  He spent a chunk of his life living on the streets in NYC and would commonly be seen dressed as a Viking.  His compositions were beautiful and strange, but above all they were brilliant.  He worked with a lot of great composers and conductors right up until his death in 1999.