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BTurner on 09/29/2009 at 07:45AM

ATP-NY 2009: The Melvins (2 mp3's)

L_aeda5b4d9c134995958c975a95dddc1aMore sonic souvenirs from the Sept 11-13 All Tomorrows Parties from Kutshers resort in the Catskills, broadcast over WFMU. The Melvins. A lone blog post can't sum up all there is to say about these guys, except theirs is a world so universal that only these musicians could be the common thread between Lustmord and Gene Simmons (both of whom have made music with them). Simply calling the Melvins the godfathers of Northwest grunge shorts them on many accounts; their beauty, brutality, and enormous palette for experimentation and forward-thinking has never stalled out. It's no wonder they were a handful for Atlantic Records in the mid 90's, but thankfully their post-majors career sees the Melvins invigorated and making some of their awesomest sounds on stage and in studio. Their latest release "Chicken Switch" (Ipecac) finds them remixed by the likes of Merzbow, Eye, Sunroof, Christoph Heeman, Matmos and more.

Their Saturday, September 12th set at stage 2 of ATP was the first chance I've had to check out the post-2006 lineup of the band, with 80's mainstays King Buzzo (guitar/vox) and Dale Crover (drums) actually merging their band with Big Business (Coady Willis on second drums, Jared Willis on bass). To say they slayed would be an understatement, and in all truth this is the only band that could have one of its members perform in a Snuggy and not lose one fraction of heaviness. We've got two approved MP3s from the set: "Zodiac" and "Kicking Machine" (after the jump) engineered during WFMU broadcast by Scott Konzelmann.

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Nat_Roe on 09/28/2009 at 08:00AM

New Additions: Classic Volcano The Bear Albums!


Service sans shirt and shoes.

I ran into this guy today who named his dog Adolphus, which is pretty weird and slightly offensive.  But Volcano The Bear's Aaron Moore is definitely weirder since the bear is a bizarre pet and Volcano is no kind of name for any animal.

I first heard about Volcano The Bear through an old issue of Bananafish, which already billed Volcano The Bear as a prolific, well established band.  At this point, Volcano the Bear is downright legendary, having collaborated and intermixed with dozens of other prominent avant gardists.  Their eclectic, bizarre soundscapes blended experimental with pop long before Animal Collective brought freaky ass folk music to the general public.

Often loosely tied in with the Weird New America movement (despite being from England...), Volcano The Bear exercizes musical sophistication and a vocabulary of extended techniques on par with much more pretentious avant gardists.  Their surreal, Jodorowskian moods made them prime candidates for collaborations with Nurse With Wound's Stephen Stapleton.  After VTB ringleader Aaron Moore came to WFMU for a live broadcast on Daniel Blumin's show last August, the FMA was able to fanagle a whole mess of mp3s from Volcano The Bear and its many sideprojects.  Click here to download a handful of classic Volcano The Bear albums and read below in this post for more information on each of the side projects featured on the FMA.

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jason on 09/28/2009 at 06:59AM

ATP-NY 2009: Caribou Vibration Ensemble w/ Marshall Allen

Caribou Vibration Ensemble w/ Fourtet, Marshall Allen +many more special guests, live at ATP-NY 2009. Photo Creative Commons by-nc-sa Michaelz1 (via flickr)

Earlier this month, WFMU brought an all-star crew up to Kutsher's Country Club for the second annual NY installment of the All Tomorrow's Parties festival. For everyone who missed the live broadcast, we'll be archiving many of them for on-demand listening on WFMU's blog and Free Music Archive, starting this week. We've lined up a post a day from the likes of Deerhoof, Deerhunter, Atlas Sound, The Melvins, Grouper, Akron/Family, Black Dice, the Dirty Three (w/ Nick Cave!), and more surprises await. You can follow us on Twitter, or subscribe to RSS feeds for Recent Adds and Features to keep up!

Let's start things off with the 16-person Caribou Vibration Ensemble, which featured Marshall Allen of the Sun Ra Arkestra for this special festival performance. The heart of Caribou is Dan Snaith, a Canadian mathematician, who started his musical project back in 2000 under the name Manitoba. Following the success of the 2003 album Up In Flames, "Handsome Dick" Manitoba of the Dictators claimed ownership over the name Manitoba and threatened legal action. Snaith decided to change his name to Caribou "while on an LSD trip with friends in the Canadian wilderness" (source). Caribou sounds a lot like an LSD trip in the Canadian wilderness, led by a mathematician with a PhD and a penchant for laptop IDM. Snaith has taken an increasingly organic approach to live performance leading up to the formation of the Vibration Ensemble.

Taking the stage at the Stardust Ballroom on Sunday September 13th, the Vibration Ensemble included every musician who has ever been a part of a Caribou live performance -- from frequent collaborators like John Schmersal (Enon, Brainiac) and Kieren Hebden (Four Tet), to the one-off special appearance of the legendary Marshall Allen (current leader of the Sun Ra Arkestra). All-in-all, the ensemble includes four drummers, a 5-piece horn section, and a choir to bring every thunder and peak of Carbou's music to vibrant life. Engineer Rob Christiansen did a fantastic job mixing this set, we hope you'll enjoy these four selections (after the jump):

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wmmberger on 09/27/2009 at 05:05PM

Grasshopper, Snatch the Pebble from My Soul


The duo of Josh and Jesse have real, university-type musical educations, met while playing brass in ska bands, and yet somehow arrived at playing this music, that which would peel the paint off Lucifer's '71 glossy-black Dodge Charger. Though the on-air session happened in late August, and the archive of the full show has been up since that time, I held back posting these cleanly cut mp3s in the hopes of making an impression, one separate from the band's on-air appearance—that this blissed-out, Krautrock-flavored, spine-shuddering set amounts to no less than the Irrlicht of contemporary noise/electronics. A horrid dungeon, no question, but also one where hope has not quite died, and pretty things occasionally flutter by the window bars.

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mpvernon on 09/26/2009 at 04:00PM

Fosforo - Macondo

ie1n3q.jpgBy their own description, Fosforo plays "punky reggae jungle music". Bits of reggae, dub, Latin, punk and electronica all blend together in their free online album titled Macondo. What is impressive is that all these elements sound unforced and authentic when you hear the final result. Even more amazing for me is the fact that the group members went to Van Nuys High School, a school  that is more known for having alumni like Marilyn Monroe, Robert Redford and Paula Abdul rather than guys who play multi-cultural socio-political music. Time have changed since I used to cruise Van Nuys Boulevard on a Wednesday night.  But I digress...

Macondo is six tracks and over 30 minutes of addictive foot-moving music. Fosforo has a great range of moods. They can play reggae that sounds right off the streets of Kingston or deliver an sweet Afro-pop influenced "Desconocido"  that would make King Sunny Ade smile or just celebrate and party on with "Cumbia de Obama". This is a fine band that should do well as long as they keep to their global vision.

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macedonia on 09/26/2009 at 07:17AM

looking for the perfect beat...

The Custodian of Records a.k.a. Grizzly Adams...

Seems like there was an explosion of energy amongst beat makers this year.  It was as if the spirit of James "J Dilla" Yancey descended like a dove upon the head-nodding multitude and said, "I left this for you; now go do what it do."  From Flying Lotus to Hudson Mohawke to Gaslamp Killer to Samiyam to Ras G to countless others, there's a feeling of community and competition: everybody trying to outdo each other in the race towards that seductive slump or oft-kilter cadence in rhythm while cheering their comrades on at the same time.

But even amongst this post-Dilla generation of beat makers, the ever-ending barrage of clicks, cuts, bleeps, bloops, and static squelches that push things forward sound like boom bap derivatives, mainly because everyone's building off each other's work.  There's certainly nothing wrong with that, but it does explain why a collection of instrumentals from The Custodian of Records sounds so different.  Perhaps he's paying less attention to the new school beat generation and far more to that which came before it. 

Hailing from New Jersey, TCOR's production is a cross between DJ Premier and Prince Paul, combining the gritty kicks and percussive punches of the former with the humor and creative personality of the latter.  Whether it's his Lo Bit Beat Tape or the instrumental album She Hate Me, there's an element of grit to his sonic science, one that hints at dusty fingers from many years of diggin' in the crates.  (Come to think of it, that's who else TCOR is reminiscent of:  Diamond D or Lord Finesse from the Diggin' In The Crates crew.)

To say that She Hate Me has been in constant rotation since I downloaded it would be an understatement:  it's damn near a part of my DNA at this point.  There's the instant bounce factor of "The La La joint," the comforting sway of "Lucky Stars" or "Emo Step Show", not to mention the laid-back haze of "Hey."  However, the attached track for today will be "Thunderstorm," for the simple fact that my three year-old daughter heard it and immediately started dancing wildly to it.  She made it play it several times and raised quite a ruckus when I told her that it was time to go to bed.  If you have a young child, you know how honest their reactions to things can be, and therefore there's no better seal of approval than that...

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BTurner on 09/25/2009 at 04:27PM

The Great Lost Special Moments Album

Img_1961_1 Years ago during one of the many waves of Britpop Mania, I got this promotional book from some major label that was touting their hopeful Oasis Jr., "These Animal Men". The whole full-color, oversized deluxe booklet revolved around documenting what must have been a $100,000 press trip to New York to hype the band, who were dutifully trotted around town in their moptops and Adidas wear to pose Christlike on rooftops, pout at tourist traps, sneer at the baggage carousel at JFK Airport, reflect on their place in Rock & Roll via giant quotes, and of course do the prerequisite photo op brunch with Quentin Crisp who probably had no idea who they were (and likewise). If you are for some reason wistful for that era and that kind of behavior and Oasis' Wibbling Rivalry is your favorite CD in their catalog I invite you to enter the world of Baz and Reg Lumley, the brothers known to the world at large as the Special Moments.

I first saw these scrappy lads at the Cooler circa 1997, playing to screaming Suede fans with their masterful ditties that fell somewhere between Lonnie Donegan and Ned's Atomic Dustbin. Their debut vinyl EP in fact documented them live filling in for "Ned's" at a Glastonbury Festival to a less-than-adoring mob (Reg yelling "Ned's sucks a hairy c**k" to the crowd probably didn't help); they seemed poised to ascend to stardom in America though, but then they'd disappear as quickly as they took this town. No one knew anything about them. Some spiteful, jealous people insinuated that the band was a hoax, made up of Brooklyn rock guys that looked, okay, somewhat like two of the dudes in the Satin-Jacket-Hooters-circuit rock act the Low Down Dirty D.A.W.G.S., but there's no way that could have been, especially because their manager, Mick Keith, told me so. Thanks to him, I was able to lure the brothers to perform on WFMU's Stork Club, where they regaled all with their songs of whimsy, a somewhat racist play, and assurance that they were here to stay (in fact check out "the Brothers Is Back" (mp3 below) from a WFMU live compilation CD, where several DJs get name-checked, perhaps, uh, not so flatteringly to them).

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pushbinlou on 09/25/2009 at 11:00AM

Live Music Lookout: Crystal Antlers

Crystal Antlers - picture by Mic to Mic

Although I don't go to as many live shows as I used to (I have a toddler who likes to get up at 5:00 AM) I do try to get out there every once and awhile.  Unfortunately I'm really jaded and I'm never as excited by seeing a live act as I used to back in the day.  So it was a pleasant surprise to be completely blown away by a band that I was only somewhat familar with at the time. 

Crystal Antlers played here in Cleveland a few moths back on the tail end of a really long bill of bands that I was only half interested to see.  I was just about to bail and go get my three hours of sleep before I had to watch a 5:30 AM viewing of Lazy Town when the band started up and just put that charge in my body that you get when you see a band fire on all cylinders.  Needless to say I was a very happy but tired boy the next day and I have been singing the praises of this band since.

Here is a taste of what they sound like from a live set on KEXP.  If that interests you maybe you should check out their homepage here on the FMA site and see if they are coming to your town.

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thekman on 09/25/2009 at 08:00AM

The Taxpayers

Probably the best aspect of The Taxpayers is that's it's damn near impossible to tell what they're going to do next.  Where as most bands see the words Folk Punk as a genre, this band from Portland, Oregon, seems to take them as an open-ended, Beck-like license to strip two vast histories of sound down to their barest essentials, and mix them back together into super-catchy, genre-bending anthems about failed revolutions, and lives well wasted, that demand to be shouted out at a drunken live show in your neighbor’s basement.

Also: they have a song called Zombie Lesbian Stripper Cops.

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JoeMc on 09/24/2009 at 03:00PM

Kickin' the Bucket (Collins-Style)

Photo courtesy the Library of Congress and National Emergency Medical Services Museum Foundation (source)

I don't know about you, but I've often thought about what might happen if I went to the doctor one day and found out that I only had a short time left to live. The question is always the same: Would I do anything different? Would I just do what I usually do, or would I try to do all of the things I never did that I always wanted to do? Maybe I would try to do one good thing for the world, like the fellow in the wonderful Japanese film Ikiru; or, maybe I would just indulge myself in hedonistic pleasure, like some refugee from a Ken Russell film, until I went belly-up out of sheer exhaustion. 

I guess the answer to this question would be different for everybody, and I hope I never find out what my answer would be. I hope I'd have at least some of the lust for life that the character in this great song by Arthur Collins does when he finds out the news. Have a listen, and I'll tell you some stuff about Arthur Collins after the jump.

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