Monthly Archives: August 2008

Freaky-deaky

Demon Fuzz – “Past, Present and Future” from Afreaka! (1970)

I finally have a damned moment to myself and time enough to post.

This track is a real prize; a buried ember of the funk-rock era.  And it’s disturbingly good despite its anonymity.

Not without its debts to Fela Kuti, Sly Stone and James Brown, it still sounds as if Demon Fuzz knew what would be considered freaky-groovy for the next three decades and incorporated those elements into this album.  What prescience!  And what freakiness! (that cover is especially frightening)

The album is nigh impossible to find but was recently repressed on vinyl.

Posted by Jordy

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Filed under 1970s, Funk, Instrumental, Rock

2 great songs, 1 great riff

Television – “Marquee Moon” from Marquee Moon (1977)
Interpol – “Obstacle 1” from Turn On The Bright Lights (2002)

Never underestimate the power of skinny white guys playing dee-dee, dee-dee, dee-dee, dee-dee. We offer two nervous New York rockers, masterpieces of the slow burn.

Damn that Television
If the rat from Ninja Turtles joined the band, they’d have to call themselves Splinterpol

Posted by Glenn

3 Comments

Filed under 1970s, 2000s, Punk, Rock

“I’d be a mineral deposit”

Mission of Burma – “(That’s When I Reach For My) Revolver” from Signals, Calls, & Marches (1981)
Mission of Burma – “Mica” from Vs. (1982)

Of a piece with Joy Division and the Constantines (our previous two posts), Boston’s recently reunited Mission of Burma played (and play) a stoic, no-nonsense, anthemic version of punk rock anthems. This is the type of thing I can’t listen to over and over, but it sounds lifesaving every once in a while.

You mean Mynamar?

Posted by Glenn

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Filed under 1980s, Punk, Rock

“From the reservoirs/of our idiot tempers”

The Constantines – “Soon Enough” from Tournament of Hearts (2005)

Dang, I just remembered that these guys put out a new record a while back, and I’ve yet to pick it up. Their ’03 and ’05 releases, Shine A Light and Tournament of Hearts, were somewhat neglected by the critical establishment and by most of the people I know, and it seems that the new one, Kensington Heights, may suffer the same unfortunate fate. Too bad; the Constantines are a great Fugazi-esque rock band, albeit a Fugazi that sometimes write pop melodies. Speaking of: is it just me, or is this one of the most moving songs ever written by anybody?

Here’s a few live Cons videos. They’re damn good live.

Buy it here

Posted by Glenn

2 Comments

Filed under 2000s, Punk, Rock

“I tried to get to you/you treat me like this”

Joy Division – “Candidate” from Unknown Pleasures (1979)

I recently visited Manchester, England, and my thoughts the entire time I was in the city were consumed by Joy Division. The Manchester-based band released two albums in its lifetime before the suicide in 1980 of singer Ian Curtis. After Curtis’ death, the remaining members of the band found much success as New Order.

Manchester is a very interesting city of great historical import. It was the birthplace of the Industrial Revolution as well as the home of bands like Joy Division and The Smiths. Also, the city served as home base for Moors Murderers Ian Brady and Myra Hindley. The city was also the site of the largest bomb ever to be detonated in Britain. In June 1996, the IRA detonated a truck bomb in the city centre. No deaths were reported, but the bomb caused over £400 million in property damage.

This song from Joy Division’s debut LP is showcases characteristic dark, haunting vocals from Curtis over a dark, haunting instrumental track. Curtis had a unique performance style and can be seen in action here. Curtis also suffered from epilepsy, and would sometimes have seizures onstage.

Finally, the band got the name “Joy Division” from the name used by Nazis for a group of Jewish women who were kept as sex slaves during World War II.

Buy Joy Division

Posted by Adam

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Filed under 1970s, Rock

“They dug for their coal ’til the land was forsaken/then they wrote it all down as the progress of man”

John Prine – “Paradise” from John Prine (1971)

I’ve had the great fortune to spend a lot of time this summer with my brothers, both of whom live states away. When we get together, we start playing guitars; when we play guitars, we eventually get to this song. “Paradise” packs in a lovely evocation of childhood idylls and uses that as a basis for a stirring indictment of environmental destruction.

Prine’s debut is a masterpiece, by the way. A few of the protest songs sound quaint, but others could have been written in our own day of ill-advised war and jingoism-for-show; cf. “Your Flag Decal Won’t Get You Into Heaven Anymore.”

Get halfway to heaven, with Paradise waiting

Posted by Glenn

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Filed under 1970s, Acoustic, Country, Folk, Singer-Songwriter

Night of the Living Dead

Grateful Dead – “The Eleven” from Live/Dead (1969)

Y’all may well disown me for this….

My apologies to SWR-heads, but I’ve been away for a bit, listening to the world’s most overreacted-against psychedelic jammers. Live/Dead is the only Grateful Dead record I own, but man is it a doozy. This track and the epic “Dark Star” are right up there with the best of Can and Miles’s Bitches Brew era. As far as songs go, the Dead left a hell of a lot to be desired…”Truckin'”? “Casey Jones”? Some of the shittiest attempts at folk songwriting ever. But their instrumental interplay, evidenced on this jam, was formidable. Garcia’s soloing is all major scale noodle, but against all odds, it works, not least because of the rubbery bass and in-the-pocket drumming of Bill Kreutzmann and Mickey Hart. The Dead may flub a few more notes than Can or Miles, but the effect they achieve is similar: a hypnotic groove that you can drop into at any time and be amazed by. Just because every single asshole at your high school raved about “The Dead, maaaaan” doesn’t mean you should tune them out.

Try and count along

Posted by Glenn

3 Comments

Filed under 1960s, Instrumental, Live, Psychedelic, Rock, Space rock