Monday, March 31, 2014

Random Jam-doms...

Any info I can share on this record is pretty much contained on the label. The band is called Off Whidte Larey, the record was pressed at Archer Record Pressing in Detroit in 1988. Beyond that, I can tell you that the song "Extended Brain Vacation" is compelling for some reason that cannot be contained in words. So just listen.

Friday, February 28, 2014

When You Least Expect It...

Life-changing records show up when you least expect it, from unlikely sources. That's a theme that only partially threads this story. In addition…headphones are necessary.

The Dirtbombs were on tour in May of 2002 and it was trying. The van was too small, the advance promotion was nonexistent and our lone excitement (a day off scheduled in Groningen) instead turned into a day in Slagelse, Denmark with a broken down van where one band member literally shit his pants.

In the middle of all of this, we played a show at the Loppen club in Christiania. I was surprised by the fact that Christiania claimed itself independent from the rest of Denmark, that drugs were openly sold on Pusher Street, and that I'd never heard the word "pastoralism" until Mick Collins and I took a vaguely romantic walk around the nearby lake.

Before the show, the Dirtbombs found ourselves in conversation with a bunch of kids. They were clearly excited by the fact that we were from Detroit. "Have you ever been to Fred Smith's grave?" they asked. None of us had. "If we lived in Detroit, we would go there every day."

I forget any further conversation, but at the end of it they gave me a copy of a self-released single of their band, Dollhouse, called "Shangri-La Tiger." The cover was a confusing collage, it was on red vinyl and hand-numbered. (#51 of 500)

I was intrigued and mentally noted that I needed to give this record due attention upon arriving home.

As we emptied out the van to check in to our flights at Heathrow a few weeks later I mistakenly left my LP case…where the single was living snugly. It would be another two months before a lazy tour manager finally shipped it back to me. I'd almost forgotten about it.

Embarassingly, I'd never really listened to music on headphones before. No one really told me I should until Malissa and even after she did, it took awhile before I found a suitably cool pair from the 70s that made me look like I should be directing airplane traffic.

It was late at night when I put the record on. No one else was home. The opening groove is hypnotic, a drumbeat that envelops on top of itself. As the rest of the instrumentation kicks in the MC5 influence is clear, but avoids becoming a pastiche. It motors, it motors, it motors. Good little number. Enjoyable. As one of the first things I'd listened to on headphones, this beast definitely lent itself to that form of delivery.

Towards the end there's a little breakdown, things get quiet, chill and then without warning, the record FUCKING EXPLODES! A bomb detonates in the distance, space junk crashes in my front yard, glass windows liquify, my blood begins to run backwards screaming and my teeth grow baby teeth of their own.

It is, nearly twelve years later, still one of my most favorite moments I've lived while listening to a record. Later consultation with the band revealed they literally "turned on every pedal in the studio at the same time" to accomplish that affect. Bravo.

The best part about all of this is simple…records given to bands while on tour are 99.999% of the time absolute garbage. Not only did Dollhouse manage to transcend this fact of life, they managed to absolutely obliterate 99% of the records I've ever explicitly bought on my own.

#51 lived a long time on my jukebox. It currently has a little bit of heat warp from the great house fire of '08, but as I've just listened to it five straight times (each with increasing volume) it has lost none of the sheer bombast that made me first fall in love with it so long ago.

Friday, January 31, 2014

The World's Most Important Swimmers

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Nine Albums My Infant Daughter Enjoyed This Year and One She Hated

Fatherhood has provided me with the greatest excuse to share the things I love. Below is a list, roughly in popular/frequency order, of the albums my daughter Violet has enjoyed most in her first eight months. I don't know what exactly they signify (if anything) but listening to music with her is second only to "making her laugh" for favorite activity that was new to me in 2013.

1. Nick Drake Pink Moon (both the first full song and album she ever heard)

2. Medico Doktor Vibes Liter Thru Dorker Vibes

3. Total Control Henge Beat

4. Led Zeppelin Houses of the Holy

5. Bob Dylan Bringing it all Back Home

6. Duane Pitre Bridges

7. The Dirtbombs Party Store (pitched down minus six so it's nice and chilled out)

8. Peter Walker Has Anybody Seen Our Freedoms?

9. Ella Jenkins Jambo

And one she hated:

Sun Ra The Heliocentric Worlds of Sun Ra (Can't say I really disagree with her on this one)

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Things You Should Be Listening To...

First off, the eagerly-anticipated (by me at least) debut LP from Detroit's Growwing Pains. For some reason deep in my ever-expanding gut, I feel this thing getting huge. The jams are solid with guest spots by folks like Chris Campbell (Terrible Twos), Hunter Muldoon (the Muldoons) and Nathan Jerde (The Ponys). I don't think I've liked a band from Detroit this much since Tyvek first popped its nerdy head.

Also in the Urinal Cake stable (a label so able it's got legs like Betty Grabel) is Feelings. This seems to be the first legit band by dear friend (and the unofficial mayor of Woodbridge) Dave Buick since the Go. That's saying something. The tunes amply display the holy reverence applied to all things Nirvana by the brothers Mueller, with significant bits and beats of Clean-liness. This may or may not have been recorded using my drums, some of which used to be Ben Swank's drums.

"Missing Time" starts off like I'd think the song would be annoying, but ends up earworming itself into my consciousness. A good sign.

Other things floating around you should check out...

The Pampers s/t (In the Red Records) - I thought this was a bunch of kids in their early twenties. The pic on the insert seems to display otherwise. I'm not sure if that's a compliment or a sleight. Regardless, this is a solid aggressive rock band like a cross between the more-accessible parts of the Oh Sees and the less-forgettable stuff of A-Frames.
Below is a stream of a song off one of their out-of-print singles. If you're into vinyl speculation, I'd track down BOTH of their Jackshack singles and wait about six months to rake in the cash on eBay.

I guess this came out almost a year ago, but with rumors of an impending live LP, there's no better time to remind all about the absolute perfection achieved by the Victims from Australia. The Sleeping Dogs Lie LP (or CD if you're my grandpa) is worth whatever you have to pay for it on Discogs. I promise.

The Medico Doktor Vibes LP Liter Thru Dorker Vibes has been an absolute head-crusher and has been bought by no less than three employees at Third Man. I can't think of a release other than anything by Ty Segall that gets that much love around these parts. 100 copies of this were pressed in 1979 in South Central Los Angeles. Think of it as DIY Guyanese electro psych. A one-of-a-kind vision if there ever was one. First 500 copies of the repress are gone, more expected in December. Mark your calendar if you're not already on-board.

I'm a little behind-the-curve on this one, but "Carpet Rash" by Total Control has been in my head once a week for the past ten months. Sometimes it feels like this song will never end and a lot of times I wish it didn't

And even further behind on jams are the wonderfully rich outtakes and alternate mixes of Spiritualized's Ladies and Gentlemen We Are Floating in Space. There aren't too many other records I'd declare perfect, but usually anniversary reissues of these titles leave much to be desired. Not so with Ladies. My recent listenings have been nigh-religious experiences. Everything on the two discs of bonus material is earth-shatteringly eye-opening. Here's the one track that almost made me cry.

The upcoming live album by the Gories ain't no slouch either. But you already knew that. Required listening for gourmands the world over.

Monday, September 30, 2013

My Fat Face Talking About Records...

Why didn't these guys warn me that my double-chin would take up the entire screen?

My goal here was to try and not talk about records that I talked about in my Dust & Grooves profile. I didn't manage that, but I still think this came out interestingly. They noticeably cut the part where I talk about the hypothetical possibility of whether or not I, as a record collector, would perform homosexual acts for rare records. I guess the answer to that question will be saved for braver souls. Enjoy.

Saturday, August 31, 2013

Words of Wisdom

"Ninety-five percent of Detroit is starving and the other five percent are patting themselves on the back"

                  - Patrick Pantano (after a recent visit to Detroit)