Friday, October 31, 2008

I Hear a New World- Podcast #6

The special Halloween episode of the I Hear a New World podcast is available to download at

This episode is dedicated completely to Halloween. I have been pouring through an endless amount of classic Halloween songs, movie themes, scary sound effects and music that doesn't have a Halloween theme but still manages to scare the bejesus out of me. I hope you enjoy this special episode of I Hear A New World.

Your comments are encouraged and appreciated!

For those of you who are interested in a tracklist, please let me know

Happy Halloween!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Last Batch of Halloween Goodies

Today, I am posting a few more Halloween treats to tantalize your earbuds while you wait in anticipation for my Halloween podcast. I am working on it right now, so I hope to get the podcast up by the end of the day. Please remember to recommend my podcast to your friends by clicking on the "Send to Friends" link that can be found on the podcast homepage. I would like to make the podcasts more of an interactive thing where listeners can send me requests and suggestions through my podmail address at I will try to incorporate these suggestions within the show and give a shout out to the requesters and contributors.

Here is the last installment of the Halloween posts. I hope you enjoy them!
[D Records, 196?]

[Caedmon, 1973]

[Scar Stuff, 2001]

This compilation was handcrafted by the amazing Blogger Scar Stuff who operates one of the best Halloween blogs out there, but unfortunately most of the links aren't active. Here is an excerpt from his blog talking about the process behind compiling this Halloween mix.
the main difference here is that in addition to programming a bunch of, you know, bitchin' Halloween tunes, I was also trying to create a spooky "seamless whole". What this means is that in addition to the music (for better or worse), I also stitched together a non-stop stream of effects, sound bites and audio samples that run over/ under/ alongside the songs, to kinda create my twisted ideal of an evocative "Halloween vibe" (vinyl pops & crackles included). Whether or not I succeeded is debatable, but I certainly did throw a lot of crap into the blender (and since sometimes there are at least 8 audio tracks playing at once it's probably safe to say that my audio sensibilities are as cluttered as my visual ones). Prior to this post it had actually been a while since I'd last listened to these, but in checking them out again I think that despite the occasional clunker, I managed a few really cool segues here and there. There's also some, *koff koff*, truly horrible audio quality on a few of the samples (plenty of this was sourced from crummy old VHS tapes & worse), but that just contributes to the intended low-budget feel, right? Oh and there's a LOT of wind & rain. A LOT.

Be on the lookout for the Halloween podcast later today or tomorrow.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Smashing Pumpkins Is Trendy

I bet some of you were misled to think that this post was going to be about the early 90's grunge band "Smashing Pumpkins" based on the title. Sorry for leading you astray, but the act of smashing pumpkins on Halloween has been around much longer than the band. I plan on just posting the records today without any further critique, since the titles mostly speak for themselves.

Today, I have a grab bag of tasty goodies for your listening pleasure, so without further ado.

Major/Random Records, 1962

Major/Random Records, 1962

Kid Stuff Repertory, 1980

Cereal Flexi, 1979

Sounds EP, 1962

Hope these Halloween treats are getting you geared up for the season!

Monday, October 27, 2008

Nightmare and Horror

I don't have much time to write about these records, so the reviews won't be as in-depth as you are used to finding on Eclectic Grooves. However, I wanted to share these rarities of horror with you at least a couple days before Halloween.

Richard Taylor- Nightmare
From: Major/Random Records, 1962

This is a sinister recording of Edgar Allen Poe's creepy tales "The Tell Tale Heart" and "The Pit and the Pendulum" narrated by Richard Taylor. Behind Taylor's breathless narration lies a stunning backdrop of guitar that comes into the forefront at crucial moments within the tales. Be prepared to be scared out of your wits!

Richard Taylor- Horror
From: Major/Random Records, 1962

The musical backdrop on "The Black Cat Part 1 and 2" consists of eerie, funereal organs. With a slightly more restrained delivery than he employs on the Nightmare album, Taylor weaves a haunting tale about a mysterious black cat that will make the hair on your neck stand up.

These are the first two volumes of four where Taylor narrates classic Edgar Allen Poe stories. As you listen to these spooky sounds this Halloween, make sure that you have the lights off with only the glow of a jack-o-lantern to lead your way. You will thank me for this later! I plan on posting more Halloweeen goodies, so keep your eyes peeled for more ghoulish gems.

Your comments are always appreciated!

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Halloween Goodies Are Coming Soon

Thanks to those of you who left comments on the Eclectic Grooves 2nd year anniversary! Most of you have probably noticed that I have been a lot more active on here lately. I realize that I have been neglecting the blog, but I am back in full force again with a lot of great ideas for future posts. Recently, I have noticed a spike in the popularity of the Chubby Checker- New Revelation/Chequered post from Jan 2008. So, I made sure that the link is still active for this post, and the last two year's Halloween posts. I have a Halloween podcast coming up next week sometime, and a couple Halloween rarities that will hopefully add something to your ghoulish gatherings this year.

In other news, Capillary Action are playing tonight at the Someday Lounge in Portland, OR at 9:00 PM. I believe that the cover is only $5, so there aren't many excuses not to go. For those of you who say, "Who the hell is Capillary Action, Kev" I say to you, "Please check this link for a review of their latest album, and to listen to a couple tracks". My clift-notes review for the readers with short attention spans is just below:

Capillary Action take the listener on a wildly imaginative ride through the depths of the human psyche by fusing elements of tropicalia, thrash, fusion, free-jazz, and math-rock into a cohesive listening experience.

I hope at least one person comes to the show because they heard it here on Eclectic Grooves. Oh, and if you like what I do here, please add me to your links or tell your friends about the blog, as well as the I Hear a New World podcast. I am happy to take requests on things that you would like to see played on the podcast. Please send your comments, requests and mp3's to I look forward to hearing from more of you on this, as I am trying to make this more of an interactive experience. Until next time...

Friday, October 24, 2008

I Hear a New World- Podcast #5

The fifth episode of I Hear a New World is available to be downloaded at:

Due to the space limitations on Podomatic, I will have no other choice but to delete the oldest podcast each week to make room for the new episodes. Today I removed the Sonic Youth episode, but it will be available to download from Eclectic Grooves in the near future.

This week's episode showcases the psychedelic soul sound of the 70's that was heavily influenced by Sly and the Family Stone and Jimi Hendrix. Aside from Parliament and James Brown, the artists featured on this episode are veritable unknowns in the music world. Some of the tracks were taken from albums that are no longer in print, and the rest are only available at an expensive import price. It took me most of the week to compile the songs and do further research on the artists for this week's episode. I hope you enjoy the show!

I Hear a New World-Podcast #5- Psychedelic Soul Nuggets

Skit- :46 (Taken from the Chains and Black Exhaust compilation)
Black Rock- Yeah Yeah- 2:55 ( Taken from the Chains and Black Exhaust compilation)
Grodeck Whipperjenny- Sitting Here On a Tongue- 2:53
James Brown- Just Enough Room For Storage- 5:56
Parliament-Funky Woman- 2:59
Freddie Terrell and the Soul Expedition- Soul Know How to Make Music- 2:53
Leon's Creation- Back Roads
Black Merda- Foxy Lady (instrumental)
Purple Image- Living In the Ghetto- 6:37
Gran Am- Get High- 4:48 (Taken from Chains and Black Exhaust compilation)
Harlem Underground- Smokin' Cheeba Cheeba- 7:37
Jr. and the Soulettes- Sweet Little One- 2:17
Curly Davis and the Uniques- Black Cobra Part 2- 3:41 (Taken from Chains and Black Exhaust compilation)
Del Jones- Afro Funkisms- 3:17
JD & the Evil's Dynamite Band- Heavy, Heavy, Heavy- 4:19

Your comments are encouraged and appreciated!

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Eclectic Grooves 2nd Anniversary

Yes, it's really hard for me to believe, but today marks the second anniversary of the beginning of Eclectic Grooves. As I turn the page, I start reflecting on the past year and what it meant to me. I feel that this was a tough year in many respects, but it was also a time where I learned to grow spiritually and emotionally. While I haven't posted as often as I would have liked, I hope that some of you have heard some music on here that resonates with you. My sole purpose here is to write reviews about the music and artists that I am passionate about, and post rare music that accompanies these reviews.

At this time, I would like to thank the various folks that make this a worthwhile venture for me. First, to all of those people who have stopped by Eclectic Grooves since its inception, I sincerely thank you for your continued support. Secondly, I sincerely thank all of the bloggers who have posted a link to Eclectic Grooves on their blog. You make it easier for everyone to find my blog and hopefully discover some new music. Third, to all of the people who have subscribed to the blog's feed and podcast, I really appreciate your dedication and willingness to keep coming back despite sporadic posting. Without you guys, I would be less motivated to keep doing this. So give yourselves a hand for being a part of the Eclectic Grooves community. This is almost starting to sound like a Lifetime Achievement award speech on the Academy Awards, so I'll stop here before it gets too monotonous. Today's post goes out to all of you, so I hope you enjoy it!

Charles Gayle- Ancient of Days

After seriously scouring the net, I haven't been able to find much from Charles Gayle's discography. In fact, the majority of his releases are only available as expensive imports, or they are out of print. Gayle was known to be a homeless street busker for over 20 years, sometimes going by the persona of "Shakes the Clown". His primary instrument is tenor saxophone, but he has proven to be just as adept at playing the piano and bass clarinet. Around 1988, he recorded his first album entitled Always Born on the Swedish label, Silkheart Records. In addition to Silkheart Records, Gayle has recorded for other experimental jazz labels like Knitting Factory Records, FMP, and Clean Feed. As a leader, he has released a mind-boggling twenty-three records and he has also played and recorded with The Blue Humans, Sunny Murray Duo, Sirone Bang Ensemble and Cecil Taylor.

Ancient of Days is essentially a free jazz album with more of a calm, restrained sound. With that being said, there are definitely spots that are anything but soothing. Since the record clocks in at over 70 minutes, it is probably better suited for breaking up into multiple listening sessions. Gayle is supported on this record by a stellar band including Juini Booth on bass, Michael Wimberly on drums and Hank Johnson on Piano. I was fortunate enough to catch Gayle's last performance in Portland when he played the Disjecta, and the spiritual, transcendent vibe of that performance is encapsulated within the grooves of this record.

"Betrayal" starts the album off with a standard 12-bar blues rhythm that compliments Gayle's slightly unhinged tenor saxophone playing. After Gayle masterfully solos for close to seven minutes, Hank Johnson chimes in with a colorful piano solo that briefly alters the mood of the piece. At about the nine-minute mark, Booth's rubbery bass solo temporarily slows down the tempo until Wimberly jumpstarts it within the last minute of the song. On "Risen Eternal," the tone of Gayle's sax is more reminiscent of Albert Ayler, with sharp bursts of shrieking and skronking sax setting the tone for the rest of the track. Other highlights include Booth's dynamic bass solo in the middle of "New Earth" that leads into an explosive drum solo recalling Elvin Jones at the height of Coltrane's experimental period and Gayle's highly inventive, incendiary saxophone soloing on the closer, "Glorified Love".

I hope you guys enjoy listening to this record. Your comments are always encouraged and appreciated!

Monday, October 20, 2008

Neutral Milk Hotel- Engine- Pittsburgh-10-18-08

I was just surfing the web when I came across this amazing video of Jeff Mangum from Neutral Milk Hotel performing "Engine," the B-side to "Holland 1945". I got the video and photo from the Pitchfork site just to give credit where credit is due. "Engine" is not only one of my all-time favorite songs by Neutral Milk Hotel, but I believe it is one of the best songs I've ever heard. Neutral Milk Hotel released two albums and an ep before they moved on and left a legion of fans breathlessly awaiting a new album or reunion tour. Legend has it that Mangum decided to run off with the circus to live out his reclusive existence, but there have been several sightings throughout the past decade of him making cameo appearances at Elephant Six Collective reunion shows, as well as a short stint as a radio DJ. Their music is something special that can only be described as magical and otherworldly. This band and especially this song never fails to bring tears to my eyes and make me believe in the beauty of music.

Magum's minimal acoustic plucking is only accompanied by Julian Koster's haunting singing saw. One of the most amazing things about the video is that it appears to be filmed completely in darkness, only showing quick glimpses of Mangum as the flash bulbs light up the auditorium floor where Jeff is playing. He is performing right in the middle of the audience for what looks to be his most intimate performance in years. For those of you who are just learning of NMH, please go visit the links below for further info. As for the rest of you, smile, take a breath and be grateful for the slight hope of a Neutral Milk Hotel reunion.

Neutral Milk Hotel - Engine - 10/18/2008 Brillobox, Pittsburgh PA from Engine on Vimeo.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Things On the Horizon

Since I started doing this blog, I have been searching for a way to host mp3's on my site as well as a way to allow users to to stream the music directly from my site. This functionality is now available by using the Yahoo Media Player along with a file hosting service called Boxstr. Most of the recent posts with individual mp3's can now be streamed right here on the blog and they can be downloaded by right-clicking on the track and selecting "save as". I hope that you guys enjoy this new feature.

Three things that are on the horizon are the second anniversary of Eclectic Grooves on October 23rd, a new Rediscoveries of Lost Gems post and a new post featuring Halloween music. At this point, I don't know exactly what I want to do for my Second Anniversary Post, but it will definitely be something special. The next entry under the Rediscoveries of Lost Gems series will undoubtedly be exciting for free jazz aficionados. I have noticed a spike in the popularity of my Halloween posts, so I have checked the previous year's Halloween posts and the links are still active. So make sure to check the archives for those Halloween treats. I will probably post a couple new Halloween-themed posts this year, so be on the lookout for those too.

Also, there will be a new podcast surfacing sometime in the next couple days.

In the meantime, here are some tunes that have been slaying me lately:

Max Roach- Another Valley- Spiritual jazz that features Roach firing on all cylinders behind a stunning orchestral choir. It is very similar in scope to Andrew Hill's Lift Every Voice.

Deerhoof- Numina O- I can't get the spiraling, intertwining guitars from "Numina O" out of my head and the schizophrenic song structure of "Eaguru Guru" provides a mind-bending backdrop for Satomi's sugar-laced-with-arsenic melodies I dare you to sit still while listening to this record!

Juana Molina- Un Dia- Juana's hypnotic, repetitive phrasing on the title track combines with undulating rhythms that build into an absolutely mesmerizing wall of sound that is reminscent of Laurie Anderson's "O Superman".

Debris- Witness- This album is a furious mixture of punk, jazz, experimental and classic rock that is beyond classification. "Witness" reminds me of the unbridled enthusiasm of The Stooges mixed with the off-kilter song structures of the Swell Maps.

Extra Golden- Ok-Oyot System- I have been hearing about these guys for a long time, so I finally had to see what all the hype was about. It is similar to a lot of other African high-life music, but with more attention given to the complex guitar sound. The title track features an infectious groove and melody that hold your attention until the intense climax of fuzz-guitars send you on your way to a blissful state of mind.

What do you think of this eclectic batch of tunes? I'm interested in what you guys think , so please sound off in the comments.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

I Hear a New World- Podcast #4

I just wanted to let you all know that the fourth episode of I Hear a New World is available for download at:

This episode focuses on bands from the Portland area who didn't play Musicfest this year and who didn't work at Music Millennium. It features a wide variety of styles including klezmer, free jazz, noise, psychedelic rock, folk and electronic. I am interested to hear what you guys think of the podcasts so far. Do you like the format of the shows? Do you think they are eclectic enough? Are there any bands that you would like to see featured on the podcasts? Please don't be afraid to comment. All comments and suggestions are welcome as long as they aren't malicious.

Here is the tracklist for this week's podcast:

Podcast #4-I Hear a New World- Movers and Shakers

Talkdemonic- Indian Angel- 2:52
Au- rr vs. d- 3:48
March Fourth Marching Band- Space Hole- 5:34
Adrian Orange & Her Band- Then We Play- 6:17
Hammer of Hathor- For a Cat Who Ran Away- 5:45
Evolutionary Jass Band- Philly's Frindge- 5:19
Reeks and the Wrecks- Blue Ballroom- 3:08
3 Leg Torso- Moroccan Jig- 6:15
Shicky Gnarowitz- Lebedik un Freylekh- 4:16
Ilyas Ahmed- Under the Singing Sea- 3:08
Tu Fawning- Diamond in the Forest- 4:57
Valet- Kehaar- 5:51
Grouper- Fishing Bird- 3:52
Laura Gibson- Nightwatch- 4:39

Friday, October 10, 2008

Capillary Action- So Embarrassing

Capillary Action- So Embarrassing

A couple months ago, I received an e-mail from the lead singer of Seattle's Capillary Action requesting that I post a review of his band's latest record So Embarrassing. Since my inbox was already flooded with requests from various musicians and marketing interns urging me to plug the next best thing, my intial reaction was to decline. But I had a strong feeling that this was something special that I couldn't dismiss without at least giving it a listen. I replied to Jonathan's e-mail by requesting a CD of the band's music along with a lyric sheet for further examination. A few weeks had passed before the package arrived in my mailbox, but the music that was concealed in this package was well worth the wait. Good things come to those who wait, and I hope that Jonathan feels the same about this review.

As I listened to So Embarrassing, I couldn't help feeling that I was on a rapidly descending elevator ride through hell, stopping on every musical floor on the way down. Jonathan Pfeffer's emotive vocals quickly change to discontented screams, often sounding like a schizophrenic child with attention deficit disorder who was fed a steady diet of thrash metal and easy listening. I could literally get carpal tunnel from writing out all the superlatives that come to mind while listening to this mind-bender of an album, so I'll save that for another scribe.

I have always admired music that pushes the envelope creatively and stylistically such as Captain Beefheart's masterpiece of abstract blues, Trout Mask Replica, and Mr. Bungle's captivating exercise in genre-defying experimental rock, Disco Volante. Capillary Action have captured the creative energy of those records and condensed them into a thirty-minute thrill-ride through the darkest recesses of the human psyche. So Embarrassing is similar to these records in that it continues to confound the listener's expectations after repeated listens. Throughout most of the record, there are more twists and turns than a high-speed car chase in an action movie. At times I felt an urgency to jump around like a monkey on crack as the off-kilter start-stop rhythms propelled my body forward. Other writers have compared them to Dirty Projectors and the Battles, but this comparison only scratches the surface of their sonic complexity. For my money, I would bet that the band was listening to the complete Mike Patton and Mr Bungle discography for creative inspiration while recording the album.

From the opening bars of the first track "Gambit," I could tell that I was in for a musical feast for the ears. Complex, ping-ponging guitars generate start-stop rhythms as the track unfolds into a myriad of musical mood-swings. As the vocals alternate from a melodic croon to intense barking, you realize that the singer is expressing his disdain for an ex-girlfriend. With vocals like "I give and I give and I get nothing back," and "I won't ever let you back in, but you'll always bring me back to start," he is clearly dealing with a broken heart. Towards the end, a sweeping string section brings the song to a close.

Before you can catch your breath, the opening notes of "Pocket Protection is Essential" are assaulting your eardrums with a fervency normally reserved for death metal bands like Slayer or Pantera. At approximately the minute-and-a-half mark, a jazzy bassline and organ riff ushers the track into the realm of fusion. The next track, "Elevator Fuck," comes storming out of the speakers with a bouncy guitar riff juxtaposed with orchestral strings. Lyrics such as "Sometimes I think I put too much thought into something so short-lived" help illustrate the protagonist's precarious situation on the elevator. Other highlights on the record include the slow, simmering intensity of "Badlands," the cinematic south-of-the-border flamenco guitar on "Paperweights," the jazz meets math rock intro on the brief "Sexy Koala," and the falling-to-pieces, chameleonic song structure of "Self Released" that ends with the most dynamic rush of strings that I have heard in recent times.

I recommend that you don't operate heavy machinery or drive a car while under the influence of this record, as it's intoxicating sounds might distract you from reality. After listening to the album in it's entirety, you will find yourself reaching for the repeat button on your cd player to experience it all over again.

I almost forgot to mention that Capillary Action will be playing a show in Portland at the Someday Lounge on October 26th. If you don't live near Portland, make sure to check them out when they come to a town near you.

Also, don't forget to check out their myspace page to purchase their records.

Capillary Action: Gambit and Pocket Protection is Essential
From: So Embarrassing [Pangaea Recordings, 2008]