Sunday, December 30, 2012

Favorite Reissues, Compilations and Ep's of 2012

I had planned on getting this one up earlier in the week, but time has not permitted this until today.  After putting so much time into my "Favorite Albums of 2012" list with barely any comments or feedback, I have decided to scale back this post to feature a numbered list of my favorite compilations, reissues, box sets and ep's from 2012 without descriptions. Most of these records will speak for themselves, but if you want to know anything further about them, drop me a line in the comments.

Favorite Compilations of 2012

1) Country Funk- 1969-1975 ( Light in the Attic)
2) Firehose-lowFLOWs: The Columbia Anthology (91-93) (Columbia)
3) Lee Hazlewood - The LHI Years- Singles, Nudes & Backsides 1968-71 (Light in the Attic)
4) The Funkees - Dancing Time The Best of Eastern Nigeria’s Afro Rock Exponents 1973-77 (Soundway)
5) Time to Go- The Southern Psychedelic Moment:1981-1986 ( Flying Nun Records)
6) Put No Blame on the Master, Jamaican Gospel Vol.2 (Social Music Records)
7) Le Super Borgou De Parakou - The Bariba Sound (Analog Africa)
8) Bed of Pain (Mississippi Records)
9) Roy Porter Sound Machine - The Story of Roy Porter Sound Machine 1971-1975 ( Tramp Records)
10) Castleface Plays the Velvet Underground and Nico (Castleface Records)

Favorite Reissues of 2012

1) Michael Hurley- Back Home with Drifting Woods (Mississippi Records)
2) Donnie and Joe Emerson- Dreamin' Wild ( Light in the Attic)
3) Pazy And The Black Hippies-Wa Ho Ha ( Secret Stash Records)
4) Roxy Music- The Complete Studio Recordings ( Virgin Records)
5) Frank Zappa- Over-Nite Sensation ( Zappa Records)

Favorite Box Sets of 2012

1) Witch- We Intend to Cause Havoc (Now Again Records)
2) Kluster- Kluster - Klusterstrasse 69-72 ( Vinyl-on-demand)
3) African Guitar Box (Mississippi Records)
4) Can- The Lost Tapes ( Spoon Records)
5) Eccentric Soul- Omnibus Vol.1 (Numero)

Favorite Singles and EP's of 2012

1) Moon Duo- High Over Blue
2) Unknown Mortal Orchestra- Swim and Sleep (Like a Shark) 7 "(Jagjaguwar)
3) Trans Upper Egypt- North African Berzerk (Monofonus Press)
4) Dan Melchoir- Yachts 7"
5) Sebadoh- Secret EP
6) Useless Eaters- Black Night Ultraviolet
7) Sauna Youth- Dreamlands
8) Heroin in Tahiti- Death Surf
9) Each Other- Heavily Spaced
10) Orca Team- Restraint

I hope that you find something on this list that interests you.

Have a Happy New Year!

Monday, December 24, 2012

Favorite Albums of 2012

Once again, it's that time of year where I set my stacks of  wax aside to make way for albums released throughout the current year.  As usual, my perfectionistic tendencies have prevented me from completing this list earlier in December, but I think the regular readers of Eclectic Grooves will find plenty on this list to satisfy their daily musical cravings.

Thanks to a couple blog resources (who shall remain nameless to protect their identity from the RIAA) I have been exposed to more new music in 2012 than in any previous year. While I didn't have to scramble at the last minute to discover the music released throughout the year, I still found myself rifling through the never-ending "Best of 2012 " lists for music that I may have missed through my virtual digging expeditions. For the most part, I found these lists to cater towards a mainstream listening demographic, but there were a few exceptions to the rule. Ty Segall, Flying Lotus, The Swans and Tame Impala were featured on nearly every list I came across, and while Swans The Seer didn't make my list, it is still an adventurous, complex record that definitely deserves the accolades it has received.

Overall, 2012 was an incredible year for discovering albums from both new and established artists, many of which released some of their most accomplished material to date.   Prominent musicians from the San Francisco garage rock scene including Thee Oh Sees, The Fresh and Onlys and Sic Alps explored a more accessible sound while still retaining enough of the gritty garage sound that got them where they are today. This was also the year where psychedelic rock was introduced to the mainstream with the runaway success of Tame Impala's sophomore effort Lonerism setting the bar high for the the new school of psychedelic head- trippers.   Dream-pop/shoegaze also seemed to have a resurgence this year with a plethora of artists who were channeling their inner My Bloody Valentine or Slowdive respectively like DIIV, Tamryn, Echo Lake and Vestals.  With Kevin Shields of My Bloody Valentine finally announcing that the follow-up to Loveless has neared completion, we may finally see the fruits of his labor in 2013.

On the other end of the musical spectrum, hip-hop artists like El-P, Killer Mike and Kendrick Lamar enjoyed a new found popularity as they reinvented themselves, thus drawing the attention of a new community of listeners who missed out on the first wave of  gangsta rap, electro-rap and dirty south hip-hop. While I preferred EL-P's material for Def Jux, I admire his ingenuity to wipe the slate clean and produce something fresh and exciting.  For my money, the best album by a hip-hop artist this year was by EL-P's former partner-in-rhyme Aesop Rock with his self-produced lyrical masterpiece Skelethon.

Even though I haven't been as intrigued with electronic music lately, acts like Actress, Flying Lotus, The Gaslamp Killer and Andy Stott discovered a way to be experimental and accessible at the same time., enabling their sound to cross over into uncharted territories. Another genre that isn't exactly my favorite, but  is perfect for listening to when you are feeling contemplative and relaxed is drone music. In fact, this could be considered the year that drone music took over the world as there was almost an endless supply of  records to sink your ears into from artists such as Evan Caminiti, Fennesz, Tim Hecker and Daniel Lopatin and Painted Caves. Last, I felt that most of  the jazz music released this year was either too experimental or too smooth. While I found it difficult to find jazz releases from this year that resonated with me, I was impressed by Neneh Cherry and the Thing, Han Bennink and Spectrum Road.

In summary, gone are the days where fans have to wait patiently for an artist to release one album every three years. In 2012, there were several artists who released 2-3 albums of quality material such as Ty Segall, Neil Young, Eternal Tapestry, Guided By Voices and White Fence. Maybe technology has made it easier to record at a faster pace, or maybe it's the fact that musicians generally have more control over their recorded output, but 2012 was undoubtedly the year of the prolific artist.

Overall, it is an exciting time to be a music fan as the methods for discovering music through Spotify, Soundcloud and Bandcamp make it easier to sample a record before you download/buy it, and great reissue labels like Light in the Attic, Analog Africa, Numero Group and Finders Keepers keep cranking out fantastic pressings of long-forgotten treasures.

Because so much fantastic music was released this year, I really labored over which records would make the final cut, but I have narrowed it down to twenty-five favorites and twenty-five honorable mentions in the interest of time. This list is not ranked in order of popularity so number 1 is no more deserving of making the list as number 25.

Without further ado, I bring you my Favorite Albums of 2012.


1) Sic Alps- S/T













On Sic Alps' last long player Napa Asylum, there were subtle hints indicating the direction they would be taking on their next record. For the first time in the band's career, they opted to record in a professional studio, giving them the opportunity to stretch their sound in ways they may have never thought possible. There are the usual psych-garage nuggets here, but now there is more of a focus on songwriting chops and the spaces in between the lines. While the band could have stayed with the tried and true, they opted instead to release their most ambitious, and dare I say "pretty" record yet.

God Bless Her, I Miss Her and Thylacine Man


2) Thee Oh Sees- Putrifiers II  
                         













It is probably not a surprise that this album figured into my favorites of 2012, but that doesn't make it any less deserving of this honor. I have been following these guys since the melodies from Help have been imprinted on my subconscious, and I can honestly say that they have released a record that perfectly captures the essence of their entire discography in one sitting. This time they cleaned up the production a notch, adding strings and brass to their infectious, fuzz-soaked psychedelia.

Wax Face and Will We Be Scared


3) Ty Segall and White Fence- Hair    

                           













Ty Segall is currently in the running for releasing as many records as Robert Pollard and GBV in one year. This year alone Segall  has released three full-length records, and a couple singles. With this kind of output, you would think that the quality would suffer, but these records were all great additions to an ever expanding discography. While I enjoyed Slaughterhouse and Twins, this was the record that stuck with me the longest due to its masterful blend of classic rock, kraut-rock, rockabilly and psychedelia. Firing on all cylinders is an understatement!  

The Black Glove-Rag and Tongues

4)  Jon Spencer Blues Explosion- Meat and Bone


















After producing a few lackluster albums earlier in the decade, Jon Spencer and company are in rare form once again, releasing what I think is the comeback record of the year. This is bluesy garage rock that pushes the needle into the red while still laying down a funky back beat for Spencer to howl over like a demented mental patient who forgot to take their meds.

Strange Baby and Black Thoughts

5) Aesop Rock- Skelethon














Considering that during the last 5 years since Aesop released None Shall Pass, he has gone through a divorce, lost a best friend to cancer and had his label (Definitive Jux) dissolve right in front of his eyes, it's no wonder that it took so long for him to complete the recording of Skelethon. It's even more incredible that he managed to accomplish this task with one guest star, and he produced the entire record himself with virtually no samples. In a day and age where "bling and bitches" is the accepted norm, Aesop continues to push the envelope by bringing an astonishing amount of lyrical depth and top-notch production to the whole of Skelethon.

Tetra and Gopher Guts

6) Tame Impala- Lonerism













When Tame Impala's first record Innerspeaker was released last year to critical acclaim, I was in the minority of people who just didn't understand what all the fuss was about. I reluctantly decided to give the new record a listen, and was completely blown away from the start. The lazy journalist's review of the record might go something like this: "Tame Impala sound like (insert band) if that band did more ( insert name of drug)", but this description does the band no justice. On Lonerism, they have created the perfect headphone record, with a seamless song sequence designed to slowly take the listener on a trip. The vocals and lyrics are often obscured beneath a blanket of synthesizers, trippy guitars and crashing drums, but the message comes across anyway to let the music take you wherever you want to go.

Mind Mischief and Keep on Lying

7) Alabama Shakes- Boys and Girls













Alabama Shakes story goes like this: hard working rock-n-roll band who hones their chops by tirelessly practicing and playing local gigs decide to leak a couple tracks on the internet and the rest is history. In the following year, the band received an well-deserved instantaneous acclaim for their debut record Boys & Girls.  The album features an intoxicating blend of soul, gospel and southern rock with lead singer Brittany Howard's vocals at times channeling the sound of an amphetamine-fueled Janis Joplin, and at others resembling a 70's era Tina Turner at the height of her glory. The rest of the band is no slouch either, as their skilled accompaniment perfectly complements Brittany's gritty vocals, creating a classic contemporary soul album with a rock-n-roll spirit.

Goin' to the Party and Be Mine

8) Lotus Plaza- Spooky Action at a Distance














Lockett Pundt's sophomore release didn't grab me on the first couple listens, but over time this has become my most frequently played record of the summer. Lyrics and melodies that embed themselves into your mind and shape the trajectory of your dreams.

Out of Touch and Monoliths

9) Allah Lahs- S/T-




                 








This is the debut album from this foursome from California who have crafted a jangly, surf-influenced record chock full of breezy garage-rock classics in the making.  While the analog production from Nick Waterhouse reveres the reverb-heavy style of the 60's, the band's fresh perspective on songwriting keeps one foot firmly planted in the present.  

Busman's Holiday and Ela Navega    

10) Menahan Street Band- The Crossing
  
                     











When the Menahan Street Band wasn't busy touring and recording with Charles Bradley in the past year, they managed to find the time to record this amazing instrumental homage to classic soul and funk.  It is truly a fantastic hodgepodge of sweet soul, heavy funk and jazz that will hold your attention from the moment you press play.  

Keep Coming Back and Three Faces    

11) Getatchew Mekuria & The Ex & Friends- Y'Anbessaw Tezeta
    
                     











Ever since I heard the transcendental sounds of Ethiopian saxophonist Getatchew Mekuria's music on the Ethiopiques compilation series, I have been thoroughly obsessed with the rest of his output. With the aid of experimental rock enthusiasts The Ex, he has released a couple albums in the past several years, and even toured the world.  Those of you who are only familiar with the live recording that Getatchew released a few years ago with the Ex can expect a much more relaxed affair with flashes of experimentation.  

Ambassel and Zerafewa/Eregedawo    

12) Mission of Burma- Unsound  
                     











With so many well-established post-punk bands attempting to revitalize their career after years of little to no output, it would be really easy for this record to fall under the public's radar. This is the fourth Mission of Burma record since reforming in 2002, and while there were moments of brilliance on each of the previous records,  Unsound is a masterful post-punk record from beginning to end. It is one of the best surprises of the year, and it comes highly recommended to people who like energetic post-punk with experimental touches.    

Semi Pseudo Sort of Plan and Second Television

13) Spectrum Road- S-T-    
                     











With a super group of sorts (Jack Bruce on Vocals/Bass, Cindy Blackmon-Santana on drums, Vernon Reid on Guitar and John Medeski on keyboards), this record is a jazz-fusion juggernaut from beginning to end, with blistering guitar solos and thunderous drumming that never lets up.    

Vuelte Abajo and Vashkar

14) Kid Koala- 12 Bit Blues  


                   










From the title of Kid Koala's latest record, you might be misled to think that this will be an electronic record. Instead, what were are presented with here are twelve "bits" of blues samples tweaked beyond comprehension by the turntable wizardry of Kid Koala.  With multiple samples being juxtaposed at the same time, this can often be a jarring, but no less rewarding listening experience.

1 Bit Blues and 3 Bit Blues    

15) Elephant 9 with Reine Fiske

     











Back in 2010,  I featured Elephant 9's absolutely zonked-out progressive jazz-fusion album Walk the Nile on my end-of-year list. Flash forward two years, and Elephant 9 is back with a vengeance, this time featuring the Swedish prog guitarist Reine Fiske for an added sonic punch.  This is mostly intense, cerebral jazz fusion of the highest order, with a couple mellow tracks to even out the mix. 

Black Hole and Freedom's Children

16) Cate Le Bon- CYRK













This record came out pretty early in the year, and I knew it would be on my list from the moment I heard it. Le Bon's second record is more diverse, featuring a wide array of sounds and styles such as jazz, psychedelic, folk, and electronic. Undoubtedly one of the best records of the year!

Cyrk and Fold the Cloth

17) Mmoss- Only Children













This was a late addition to the list as I only became aware of it in the past few weeks, but it definitely deserves to be featured here With a heady concoction of woozy psychedelia, classic rock, epic kraut rock and instrumental drone, Mmoss have established themselves as a force to be reckoned with in the new school of psychedelia.

War Sux and Hands

18) Cheap Time- Wallpaper Music













This is obviously a tongue in cheek album title as this record couldn't be further from wallpaper music. With Stooges style rave-ups, the amps steadily cranked to eleven and inventive guitar solos scattered throughout the album, Cheap Time have created a garage rock record that avoids the regular trappings of the genre.

Another Time and  Witches in Stock

19) Tamryn- Tender New Signs















Tamryn didn't immediately grab my attention with their last album The Waves, but this record features a hypnotizing mix of ethereal vocals with a sonic tapestry of layered guitars. Each time I listen to this record, I hear new melodies and guitar lines that I hadn't noticed before. This record rewards repeat listens, and is a must for fans of My Bloody Valentine and Slowdive.

Heavenly Bodies and Prizma

20) Spider Bags-Shake My Head













This is the first record that I've heard from these guys, but I am definitely eager to seek out other records from their catalog after hearing Shake My Head. I suppose this would be considered garage rock, however this record is all over the musical map. Some songs seem straightforward, and then they veer off into an unexpected bridge or psychedelic guitar solo that takes the songs into another dimension. Others have a strong pop sensibility that have the potential to stick in the listener's head for a long time. Overall, this is a fantastic record to sink your ears into.

Standing in a Curb and The Moon is a Schoolgirl

21)  Blank Realm- Go Easy













With its hot pink and blue neon-infused cover, you would think that this is going to be another 80's throwback record, but instead you get this infectious blast of electro-pyschedelic jams sent from the year 2020.  It works as a complete record, but each song is like its own adventure into alternative sonic realms.

Cleaning Up My Mess and Go Easy

22) Dignan Porch- Nothing Bad Will Ever Happen













This is a catchy slice of jangle-pop with the guitars cranked up high while still leaving plenty of room for the songwriting to shine through on the mellower tracks. This harks back to the classic indie rock sound championed by bands like Yo La Tengo and Versus.

Sad Shape and Never

23) Han Bennink Trio- Bennink and Co













At 70 years of age, you would think that Bennink's music would start approaching the smooth cocktail jazz end of the spectrum, but this is bold, confident improvisational jazz from a seasoned professional.  With accompaniment from Joachim Badenhorst on saxophones and clarinet and Simon Toldam on piano,  Bennink has created a record that flirts with experimental sound structures for a bit, only to return to straight-ahead jazz styles in the end. Remember this is the same musician who played a set of cheese blocks, and managed to keep the crowd captivated.

Klein Gebrek Geen Bezwaar and Dog

24) trioVD- Maze













This is definitely the most experimental record on the list with screeching horn segments juxtaposed with an electro-punk backdrop. I suppose it is reminiscent of visceral free jazz groups like The Thing, but thrown into a blender filled with electronic beats, metal guitars, complex time signatures and clipped horn fragments that sound like they are sampled, but apparently this is not the case.This is feverishly manic experimental jazz that rewards the adventurous listener.

Brick and Morse

25) Guided By Voices- The Bears For Lunch













Considering that Robert Pollard practically writes a song every time he wakes up in the morning, it is not exactly surprising that the original members of Guided By Voices have reformed and released three albums in 2012. What is surprising is the fact that they were able to capture the same magic found on earlier recordings like Bee Thousand and Alien Lanes. Let's hope that Guided By Voices continue to crank out quality records in 2013, but if not, we will always have this record to remind us of their majesty.

The Corners are Glowing and Finger Gang

Now, on to the honorable mentions (in no particular order)

1) Fontanelle- Vitamin F
2) Oddisee- People Hear What They See
3) Shanir Ezra Blumenkranz- Abraxas:The Book of Angels Vol.19
4) Vestals- Forever Falling Towards the Sky
5) Beak- S/T
6)Pheromoans- Does This Guy Stack Up?
7)Jessica Pratt- S/T
8)Parquet Courts- Light Up Gold'
9)Evening Meetings- S/T
10) Rangda- Fomerly Extinct
11)Eternal Tapestry- A World Out of Time
12)Prince Rupert's Drops- Run Slow
13)Catherine Irwin- Little Heater
14)Staff Benda Bilili- Bouger le Monde!
15)Neil Young and Crazy Horse- Psychedelic Pill
16) Flying Lotus- Until the Quiet Comes
17)Ringo Deathstarr- Mauve
18) Micachu and the Shapes- Never
19) Melody's Echo Chamber- S/T
20)Lower Dens- Nootropics
21) Thee Satisfaction- awE naturalE
22) Neneh Cherry and the Thing- The Cherry Thing
23) Jeans Wilder- Totally
24) Moon Duo- Circles
25) Roy and the Devil's Motorcycle- Tell it to the People

Well, I know this is a lot to digest, but I sincerely hope that you find some new music on this list that interests you. I would really love to hear what music you guys were digging in 2012.  Feel free to post your lists in my comments, as well as anything else that you would like to share.

Have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year! Here's to a new prosperous year in 2013 filled with happiness, new possibilities and plenty of musical adventures.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Creeptacular Spookfest 2012
















The Halloween edition of the I Hear a New World Podcast is available for download here, and at http://ihearanewworld.podomatic.com/.

Previous Halloween podcasts can be downloaded at the following locations:

House of Horros 2008

Halloween Hodgepodge 2009

Halloween Hodgepodge 2010

Every year towards the end of October, I start getting that itch to dig into my haunted vault of spook-tacular tracks to compile a new Halloween podcast. This year, I managed to get the podcast completed ahead of time so that you can all enjoy it during the week before Halloween. As usual, this mix is definitely not for the faint-hearted, so I strongly suggest that you don't listen to this in the dark on a stormy evening. I can't be held responsible for what might happen to you while listening to this mix, so please proceed with caution, and do remember to close all the windows and lock the doors.

Oh, and for those of you who would like a tracklist for this mix, if you ask nicely in the comments I might just grant your request.

If there is a next time, I will see you on the other side...

Tuesday, October 02, 2012

I Hear a New World Vol.17


The latest edition of I Hear a New World is available to listen to here, and to listen\download at http://ihearanewworld.podomatic.com/.

Back when I used to have more time on my hands, I listened to music for hours in a row, and in turn created eclectic mixes on the fly by manically scouring through the plethora of files residing on my two external hard drives. For the most part, it was delayed so long because I neglected to store the songs in its own folder, which meant that I had to search my two external hard drives for the files. At some point, I just decided to download a few of them from Soulseek, as I was unable to recall where I had moved them.  Even though this mix has been shelved since sometime in 2007, I feel that it deserves to be heard in all its glory. I have several eclectic mixes that were created in this same fashion that will eventually make their way onto future podcasts.

This one features a heavy dose of blues and soul, along with a smattering of garage, funk, psychedelic and folk.

I hope you enjoy this podcast, and your thoughts and comments are greatly appreciated!

Eclectic Mix #1

1) Larry Williams and Johnny Watson- Nobody
2) Junior Parker- Tomorrow Never Knows
3) Junior Kimbell- Tram
4) Ken Nordine- Crimson and Olive
5)The Things- Jazz Rock With Soul
6) Jimmie Willis- soul Power Pt 1
7) Bernard Purdie- Cold Sweat
8) Black Lips- Boomerang
9) Graham Bond Organization- Harmonica
10) Sixto Rodriguez- Sugar Man
11) Bokaj- Retsiem Pills
12) Link Wray- El Toro

Monday, September 24, 2012

Feedburner subscribers and stats problem

To those of you who are currently subscribed to my RSS feed, Feedburner has been experiencing problems with the subscriber counts and stats. I have checked the Feedburner forum, and many others have been experiencing this problem since Sep 17th. There has been no workaround or fix at the moment, but as far as I can tell this doesn't affect the feed. It simply shows 0 subscribers, and isn't providing any new statistics.

I am posting this to alert you of the problem, and to let you know that my actual total number of subscribers should actually be 753 not 0.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

I Hear a New World- Stacks of Wax Vol.16
























The latest edition of I Hear a New World is available to listen to here, and to listen\download at http://ihearanewworld.podomatic.com/.

This edition of I Hear a New World starts off slow with the rumbling sounds of a train seguing into a road-worn-instrumental, but it gradually builds up to a boil by the middle of the set with a mix of garage, R&B and noise, only to close with a stellar jazz tune. Artists featured on this edition of the show are Long John Hunter, Billy Mure, Ngozi Family, Mahavishnu Orchestra and The Hospitals.

I Hear a New World- Stacks of Wax Vol.16  

1) Ustad Abdul Karim Khan- Malkavns Piran Jani Dekki
2) Ralroad Sounds- The Sounds of a Vanishing Era
3) Calexico- Humano
4) Long John Hunter- El Paso Rock
5) Ty Segall- The Drag
6) Billy Mure- Firecrackers
7) The Hospitals- Rules for Being Alive
8) Mahavishnu Orchestra- Birds of Fire
9) Ngozi Family- Nizaka Panga Ngozi
10) Ripple- I Don't Know What It Is
11) John Coltrane- Village Blues  

I would love to hear what you think of this edition of I Hear a New World, so please don't hesitate to drop me a line in the comments.  

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Choice Cuts Vol.4
















It is once again time for me to reach back in the refrigerator for some "choice cuts". Each time, I will be featuring sizzling and succulent morsels that are grabbing my ear right now that range from funk to country, from afro-beat to garage rock, etc. Sometimes there will be a theme to these songs that ties them all together in a nice bow, but other times the songs featured will just be a musical hodgepodge of eclectic delights. Without further ado, lets see what "choice cuts" the vinyl butcher has prepared for us today.





                             












May Blitz- Squeet
From: S/T- [ Vertigo, 1970]  

The old adage "You can't judge a book by it's cover" holds true in many cases, none more so than for this British classic rock band's cover artwork for their debut album. I remember working at Music Millenium, upstocking my section of rock cd's one day and coming across this peculiar looking record with an ape sporting long matted hair and a bikini. I thought to myself, this looks like a cheesy record that isn't worth my time. I couldn't have been more mistaken, as this a classic rock record with drum breaks to keep the hip-hop heads bopping and muscular musical chops for the prog and classic rock fans to salivate over.   

"Squeet" would seem to be an ideal opening song for the record, but for some reason they opted to place it smack dab in the middle of the record where it would likely be overlooked amongst the strength of the rest of the record. Wickedly, it starts out swinging for the fences with the intro chicken scratch guitar paving the way for a rubbery bassline, and then the drums come in and it's all over. Shortly after the drums accompany the fat bassline, you are greeted with the strong and melodious opening verse of the song. Then, there is a slow-building instrumental bridge that erupts into a blazing guitar solo for the entire middle section of the song, and then they masterfully bring the opening bassline and drums combo back for another spin. Finally the song closes out with another blistering, fuzzed-out solo laid out over a bed of scattershot drums and sizzling bass.  Even at 6:52 seconds, this track leaves you begging for more.    

                                   















Bayete- Don't Need Nobody
From: Seeking Other Beauty [Prestige, 1972]  

I found this album on a blog named Never Enough Rhodes back when I first got started in this blogging game, and when I first laid ears on this track my head practically exploded from the sheer intensity of it. Those of you who are familiar with the Miles Davis electric fusion period in the 70's will find plenty to love about this track.

It starts out with a bang as cymbal splashes and fuzzy guitar introduce you to a zonked- out rhodes organ played through so many effects pedals that it's practically impossible to differentiate from a guitar sound. About a minute into the track there is a short vocal mantra stating" I Don't Need Nobody" that is repeated multiple times until an explosive organ solo takes you on an otherworldly psychedelic trip through the next three minutes of the track. At approximately the five minute point of the track, there is a trumpet and drums breakdown that leads back into the mantra of "I Don't Need Nobody". Then, the saxophone is run through the same effects pedals as the rhodes organ in the middle of the track, and the band proceeds to hit you over the head with an eclectic musical stew of saxophones, guitar, drums, rhodes organ and trumpets. The track finally closes at the 10 minute mark with a mesmerizing African chant.  This is truly one of the most psychedelic jazz songs I have heard, and for that matter one of the most psychedelic songs from any genre.   I hope you have enjoyed this edition of Choice Cuts.  

Links in comments. While you are there, why don't you drop me a line?

Wednesday, August 08, 2012

I Hear a New World- Stacks of Wax Vol.15



                                           



















The latest edition of I Hear a New World is available to listen to here, and to listen\download at http://ihearanewworld.podomatic.com/.

This episode features more stacks of wax from my ever expanding collection of gems. Artists that were featured on this edition include Ali Farka Toure, Unknown Mortal Orchestra, Electric Flag and Miles Davis. I feel that this mix expertly juxtaposes light and dark elements, giving you upbeat tunes to hum along with as well as more moody detours into psychedelia and fusion.

I Hear a New World- Stacks of Wax Vol.15

1) Manitas De Plata- Fandango-
2) Glen Francis- Hold My Hand
3) Lucille Span- Women's Lib
4) Miles Davis- John McLaughlin
5) Electric Flag- Flash, Bam, Pow
6) Eternal Tapestry- Bread and Dreams
7) Ali Farka Toure- Farri
8) Blood Beach- Ghost Pusher
9) Aesop Rock- Gopher Guts
10) Unknown Mortal Orchestra- Thought Ballune

I would love to hear what you think of this edition of I Hear a New World, so please don't hesitate to drop me a line in the comments.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Favorite Albums of 2012 (so far)

This post has been in the forefront of my mind, but somehow didn't get posted before July 1st. As I have been mining through my seemingly endless archive of new music, it is evident that 2012 has already been a fantastic year for music.  I have narrowed it down to fifteen records that made the cut so far, and I have only represented albums that were released from January through June. Unfortunately, this meant that certain albums like Aesop Rock Skelethon, Beak-S-T and Mission of Burma Unsound didn't make the cut, but they will more than likely have a spot on the year-end list. This list is also not comprehensive, as it does not feature singles, compilations or reissues that were released this year.  What I am featuring here is a distillation of the year's full-length records according to my taste, so this will not necessarily appeal to everyone, though it does feature a diverse assortment of hip-hop, garage rock, shoegazer rock, psych-folk, jazz and African-folk.


Favorite Albums of 2012 (so far)

1) Lotus Plaza- Spooky Action at a Distance- Lockett Pundt's sophmore release didn't grab me on the first couple listens, but over time this has become my most frequently played record of the summer. Lyrics and melodies that embed themselves into your mind and shape the trajectory of your dreams.

Strangers and White Galactic One

2) Spectrum Road- S-T- With a super group of sorts (Jack Bruce on Vocals/Bass, Cindy Blackmon-Santana on drums, Vernon Reid on Guitar and John Medeski on keyboards), this record is a jazz-fusion juggernaut from beginning to end, with blistering guitar solos and thunderous drumming that never lets up. 

Vuelto Abajo and Where

3) Sir Richard Bishop- The Unrock Tapes- Sir Richard Bishop is back with more scintillating 12 string bravado that ranges from contemplative folk to rapid-fire flamenco. Bishop remains one of the most consistently great musicians out there who continues to crank out stellar records year after year.

Boxcar Serenade and Empty Quarter

4) Rayon Beach- This Looks Serious-  Catchy, raw unadulterated garage rock that is seriously in the mood for a good time! 

Some Fun Before We Die and Jacuzzi Limo Explosion

5) Ty Segall and White Fence- Hair- Tim Presley from White Fence and Ty Segall teamed up for the first time on this year's Hair, and let's hope that this is the first of many collaborations between these two garage rock heroes. This one is cleaner than most of the White Fence records, and represents a good mix of the raw sound of Ty's earlier albums with the more mellow stylings on Goodbye Bread.

Time and Scissor People

6) Neneh Cherry and the Thing- The Cherry Thing- I'm a sucker for anything that The Thing does, so I was willing to give this a chance even though it features Neneh Cherry who had a popular hit back in the 80's called "Buffalo Stance". Most songs on this album features a mind-bending mixture of melodic jazz vocals that build into a swirling, discordant mess of horns and clattering percussion.

Dream Baby Dream and Too Tough To Die

7) Eternal Tapestry- Dawn in 2 Dimensions- This is much more of an epic stoner-rock record than last year's Beyond the 4th Door, and it more accurately reflects the sound of an Eternal Tapestry live experience.

Wholeodome and Marrow of the Wand

8) Sidi Toure'- Koi'ma- Hypnotic African folk tunes that sound like an unplugged version of Group Doueh.

Ni See Ay Ga Done and Ishi Tanmaha

9) Crash Normal- Your Body Got a Land- Distorted, reverb-drenched tunes that straddle the fine line between crunchy noise and melodic garage rock.

Kinder Country and Moon Food

10) Young Mother- Future Classics-Fascinating juxtaposition between free jazz and moody art-rock with vocals often buried beneath the mix. 

The Well Tempered Male and No Straight Lines

11) THEESatisfaction- awE naturalE- This is the debut full-length from the female protege's of Ishmael from Shabazz Palaces. It features a neo-soul sound with vocals that often trade off between singing and rapping, and a heady mixture of esoteric samples and electronic drum patterns.

God and naturalE

12) Lower Dens- Nootropics-  On the 2nd record, Jana Hunter and company have opted for more of an electronic sound with much less focus on the guitar. At first, I wasn't into this new direction in sound, but over time I have grown to love this record almost as much as the first one.  Deep, introspective tunes with a powerful vocal presence.

Alphabet Song and Propagation

13) Kelan Philip Cohran and Hypnotic Brass Ensemble- S/T- With a band comprised of eight of Philip's sons along with the master trumpeter himself, you can't go wrong here. This album has a mix of upbeat, horn-heavy tracks and mellower, trance-inducing songs.

Cuernavaca and Spin

14) Cate LeBon- CYRK-This record came out pretty early in the year, and I knew it would be on my list from the moment I heard it. LeBon's second record is more diverse, featuring a wide array of sounds and styles such as jazz, psychedelic, folk, and electronic. Undoubtedly one of the best records of the year!

Falcon Eyed and Greta

15) Hush Arbors-Aboretum- Aureola- This is a split LP between Hush Arbors and Arboretum which features five tracks from Hush Arbors and three from Arboretum.  On the Hush Arbors tracks, the band pick up where Yankee Reality left off and take their psychedelic folk sound in a slightly darker direction. Arboretum's sound is more heavy and psychedelic, with all three songs clocking in at over five minutes and featuring extensive guitar solos.

Prayers of Forgetfulness and People and Places

This concludes my Favorite Albums of 2012 (so far). I hope you enjoy the music on this list, and I encourage you to drop a line in the comments with your favorite albums of 2012.


Saturday, July 14, 2012

Concerts from the Vault: Rashaan Roland Kirk

Summer has been in full bloom in Portland since the first week of July, so my time on the computer has been sporadic at best. Recently, I caught Bettye Lavette at the Riverfront Blues Festival, and witnessing this soul diva groove to the music and belt out old and new tunes with such enthusiasm was an awe-inspiring experience. I left feeling that there are artists out there who really feel each and every note that they are singing, who live and breathe each chord progression as it unfolds in front of the audience. They aren't in it for the money, fame or adulation, though I'm sure they aren't going to turn it down.  This is simply a passion that runs deep in their blood and surges through them, never letting up until they have created music that resonates in their soul.

This is why I am so passionate about live music. There is something about the sound, the vibrations, the groove, the beats, the melodies and the chord progressions that keep me coming back for more. I firmly believe that the best avenue for experiencing the full breadth of what music has to offer is in the live context. When a band is firing on all cylinders right before your eyes, there is no other feeling like it in the world. All of your senses are stimulated at the same time, releasing more serotonin in your brain, and in turn, bringing your body and mind to a state of euphoria.

You may ask yourself, what am I leading up to here? Over the past few months, I have been promising you a new series that showcases live shows that I have collected, downloaded and recorded over the years, and today it is finally coming to fruition with the debut of Concerts from the Vault

For the first installment of Concerts from the Vault, I am featuring one of my favorite jazz musicians Rashaan Roland Kirk and the Vibration Society with a show from the Village Vanguard in 1973. Rashaan's playing is unparalleled in the world of jazz, especially considering that he managed to play multiple, specially modified saxophones simultaneously while being completely blind. Most musicians would be thankful if they could play one saxophone as well as Rashaan juggles three without missing a beat, but Rashaan has also mastered the flute, clarinet, harmonica and trumpet.

The tunes from this concert include the raucous 'Bright Moments', the playfully peppy 'Three for the Festival Pts 1 and 2' with a phenomenal flute solo, the old-timey, Dixieland styled 'Dem Red Beans and Rice' and a blistering rendition of Thelonius Monk's classic 'Epistophy'. All in all, this is one worth listening to again and again.




Rahsaan Roland Kirk and the Vibration Society

Village Vanguard
NYC
12/31/73

MP3 (320K)

Rahsaan Roland Kirk, reeds
Hilton Ruiz, pno
Henry "Pete" Pearson, ds
John Goldsmith dr
Kenny Rogers, bari sax
01. Fine and Dandy> (1:24)
02. Wow, Look at those Beautiful Black Indians (Cherokee changes) (23:39)
03. Blues in C (Frankie and Johnny?) (8:20)
04. Bright Moments (11:28)
05. Three for the Festival Pts. 1> Pts. 2 (5:46)
06. Dem Red Beans and Rice (5:11)
07. Epistrophy (14:19)
08. UNK (9:26)

79:37

I hope you have enjoyed the first installment of Concerts from the Vault.  Expect more episodes of this series in the near future. Please drop me a line in the comments to let me know what you think of this show.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

I Hear a New World- Stacks of Wax Vol.14






















I am thrilled to announce that I have received my first Paypal donation from a friend and regular visitor of the blog who goes by the moniker "No head". Since I hadn't been regularly checking my PayPal balance, I only recently discovered that he had made this donation. Thanks to this donation, I am well on my way to reaching my goal of being able to provide a better quality podcast to the listeners. Many thanks to No Head for his generous donation, and I hope that more listeners will follow suit and contribute so that I can purchase equipment that will improve the sound quality of the podcasts.

If you would like to contribute, click here and then click on the PayPal donate button on the right side of the page. After doing so, a new page pops up that asks you to enter an amount, and to login to your PayPal account. If you don't have a PayPal account, you can also make a donation as a guest with your debit or credit card. Please understand that you are not obligated or expected to make a donation, but it would be greatly appreciated.

The latest edition of I Hear a New World is available to listen to here, and to listen\download at http://ihearanewworld.podomatic.com/.

This Stacks of Wax podcast has been in the can for a couple weeks, but I have just found the time to post it today. It features a tasty blend of funk, gospel, prog rock, peruvian psych, garage rock and jazz. This one is best listened to when you are getting ready for a night on the town as the tracks are mostly upbeat. Artists appearing on this edition include Black Heat, Carlos Montoya, Witch, Yes and Eddy Current Suppression Ring.

As I stated in the last post, I have been working on a list of the best albums of 2012 so far, and I plan on posting this in the next couple weeks.

I would love to hear what you think of this edition of I Hear a New World, so please drop me a line in the comments.

I Hear a New World- Stacks of Wax Vol.14

1. Carlos Montoya- Cante Jundo- 2:43
2. Reverend Louis Overstreet- Get Ready, I'm Gonna Move- 3:25
3. Black Heat- Chicken Heads- 4:14
4. Witch- Livin' In the Past- 5:43
5. Eddie Jefferson- Freedom Jazz Dance- 3:19
6. Yes- Then- 5:41
7. Los Orientales De Paramenga-Captura de Lobos- 2:43
8. Amen Dunes- Ethio Song- 4:53
9. Ty Segall- Children of Paul- 4:03
10. Sic Alps- Cement Surfboard- 2:45
11. Eddy Current Suppression Ring- Wet Cement- 3:52

Saturday, June 09, 2012

Summer Mix 2012

To those of you who had given up hope that I would ever show up around here again, you can rest assured that I am back in time to infuse you with an infectious mix of summery songs. Things around here have been busy to say the least, but I have been spending a lot of time listening to all kinds of music, selecting and sequencing tracks for the summer mix and catching the occasional live show. I hope that there are at least a few of you who still check in every now and then to see what's going on here. On the horizon is a new series focusing on live shows,  themed-mixes that have been placed on the backburner for awhile, a new I Hear a New World podcast and a round-up of my favorite records of 2012 so far.

Most of the songs from this year's summer mix were comprised of tracks that didn't make the cut from previous years, though this doesn't mean they were any less deserving of inclusion.  This is an eclectic mix to stay true to the nature of this blog, but it features a seamless mix of upbeat songs that make you feel like taking an afternoon drive with the windows down, hair blowin' in the breeze with nothing but sunshine and blue sky in your view. After working on this mix for over a month and pouring over so many summery songs, I realized that the mix had almost no female artists on it. Over the last week I worked on remedying this situation, but even with this minor speed-bump I am still ahead of schedule in comparison to last year.

Below you will find a track list for the songs featured on this year's mix which includes an eclectic mix of surf, soul, high-life, hip-hop, reggae, funk, garage rock, folk and classic rock. I would love to hear what you think of this mix so please drop me a line in the comments.

Summer Mix 2012 track list

1) Gkfoes Vjgoaf- Samatha (edit)
2) Panda Bear- Comfy in Nautica (edit)
3) The Beach Boys- Good Vibrations
4) The Creation- Making Time
5) The Panthers- Malkaus
6) Link Wray and the Wray Men- Slinky
7) Dum Dum Girls- Jail La La
8) Luck- One & Dekk- The Coolax
9) Roy Porter- Funky Twitch
10) The Chambers Brothers- Uptown
11) Albert Collins- Sno-Cone Part 2
12) Fabio- Lindo Sonho Delirante
13) The Harbours Band- Koma Mosi ( Yoruba)
14) Bow Wow Wow- I Want Candy
15) The Trashmen- Stick Shift
16) The Fresh and Onlys- When Are You Gonna Grow Up
17) Jacuzzi Boys- Cool Vapors
18) The Cars- Just What I Needed
19) Steppenwolf- Magic Carpet Ride
20) Firehose- In My Mind
21) Miriam Makeba- Pata Pata
22) Desmond Dekker- Intensified
23) Sir Victor Uwaifo- Kirikisi (Ekassa 24)
24) Blu and Exile- More Out of Life
25) Akron Family- River
26) Mountain Man- Honeybee
27) Gkfoes Vjgoaf- Water Voices (edit)

Link in comments

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

The Living Enigma














I was hoping to post a rare Neutral Milk Hotel or Jeff Mangum live show with this post, but due to time constraints this will be forthcoming. Tonight marks the first time that Jeff Mangum, the reclusive songwriter and front-man for Neutral Milk Hotel, has graced Portland with his presence in over a decade. According to the Crystal Ballroom website, both shows have finally sold out. Don't count on there being any scalpers hanging out in front of the venue either as Jeff Mangum requested a stringent ticket policy where tickets are only being issued to showgoers on the evening of the show, and no advance tickets are available for those who have tickets to attend both nights. I plan on getting there a little bit before the doors open to secure a choice spot by the far left side of the floor by the windows.

Well, not much can prepare you for a show like this. Technically, I guess you could say that I have been preparing for this ever since I first heard In the Aeroplane Over the Sea, and played it repeatedly until every lyric, riff, vocal hook and musical nuance was firmly embedded on my cerebral cortex. I feel so excited that I can barely sit still, and have been listening to the NMH catalog in this past week, reminding myself why this music means so much to me.

The story goes back to 2001 when my nephew burned In the Aeroplane Over the Sea for me, but for some reason I didn't actually listen to it for another year. It truly goes without saying that this album is a grower, but once you are hooked there is no turning back. When I finally heard the record, I was transported to a very special place filled with two-headed-boys and psychedelic marching bands.  I was absolutely intoxicated by the yearning in Mangum's voice mixed with the ramshackle instrumentation of the rest of the band. Of course, by the time I was finally aware of Neutral Milk Hotel's music, I had already missed the boat. They had disbanded due to Jeff's reluctance to be popular along with his alleged fear of following up In the Aeroplane Over the Sea.

Since I had no way to experience Neutral Milk Hotel live, I decided to search for anything I could find related to the band.  What I came across was nothing short of amazing: an official Elephant 6 messageboard containing practically every live show that is in existence as well as out-of print cassettes that barely surfaced outside of the towns in which they were recorded such as Hype City Soundtrack, Accordion Peas and Invent Yourself a Shortcake.

It was on Accordion Peas where I first witnessed the amazing track called "Engine" that never appeared on any album by NMH.  In the song, a gently strummed guitar and singing saw provide a haunting backdrop to Mangum's emotive vocals and imaginative lyrics. Every time I listen to this song, I am practically reduced to tears as the vocals bend the heart strings one by one. After many years passed by with practically no word on what Mangum was doing, or even if he was still living, I had given up hope.

And then, out of nowhere I heard that he was playing a few select shows around the US in 2010. It wasn't until January of 2012 that the message came into my inbox that Mangum was playing not one, but two shows at the Crystal Ballroom in Portland. I could barely contain my excitement as I had been waiting for this day for a really long time. For those of you in Portland who were lucky enough to get tickets ahead of time, I will see you there. As for the rest of you, I'm sure that you will be there in spirit and will have In the Aeroplane Over the Sea blasting on your computer, hi-fi stereo, I-Pod, etc.
I will be posting a rare live performance by NMH soon.

Saturday, March 31, 2012

Don't Call It a Comeback...

I apologize for the station identification, but I needed to get some things sorted over the past few weeks. After reading through the thoughtful comments on my last post, I have decided to make a few changes around here that will hopefully encourage more readers to actively participate on the blog. For the time being, I have decided that I will not be going private with the blog. Second, there will be a couple new features premiering shortly; one that focuses on live concerts and another that is a continuation of a series I used to do on Ear Fuzz called Anatomy of a Sample. Third, I have decided to stick with Mediafire, but will no longer list the artist or album in the file name. Next, I will start password-protecting the links and the links will be placed in the comments instead of at the end of the post. Last, since the majority of commenters suggested that I focus on new posts first and upload old files upon request,  I have decided that this is the course of action which is best for me at this time.

Ever since an anonymous person left a comment about my podcasts being unlistenable, I have been searching for alternative ways to record my vinyl podcasts so there is less noise and better sound quality. Unfortunately, since my Olympus digital recorder doesn't have a line-in jack, the recordings I made so far have been  incredibly distorted and practically unlistenable. With this being said, I will go back to recording the podcasts the way I had been doing them as I don't currently have the funds to purchase a USB turntable, audio CD burner or a Pro package with Podomatic that enables me to have more space available to record podcasts at a higher bitrate. If anyone would like to help me purchase some new equipment or a Pro package with Podomatic to improve the sound of these podcasts, it would be greatly appreciated.  You can do this by visiting my podcast page at http://ihearanewworld.podomatic.com/, and clicking on the Paypal donate button to help my cause.

Since I had already recorded a full podcast last Friday that wasn't worth uploading,  I have decided to re-record the same songs for tonight's podcast with new commentary in-between tracks. This episode of I Hear a New World is available to listen to here, and to listen\download here. I would like to dedicate this podcast to the listeners and readers out there who continue to support me through the good times and bad times.

I Hear a New World- Stacks of Wax Vol.13

1) Sandy Bull- Triple Ballades
2) Neutral Milk Hotel- Engine
3) Pink Floyd- Astronomy Domine
4) Firehose- Brave Captain
5) Psychedelic Aliens- Blofonyobi Wo Atale
6) Bill Withers- Who Is He and What Is He to You
7) Ornete Coleman- Friends and Neighbors
8) Pan Ron- Today My Friends
9) Eternal Tapestry and Sun Araw- Night Gallery Part III
10) Cate Le Bon- Fold the Cloth
11) Real Estate- Green Aisles


Total Running time: 55:22

Addendum: I have decided to use an alternate file-sharing service as Mediafire has been cracking down on many other bloggers recently. I will let you know what I decide on when I get to this point.

Wednesday, March 07, 2012

Reassessment of Priorities

For those of you who didn't realize it, I received an e-mail from Mediafire yesterday letting me know that they have suspended the use of a Caetano Veloso track that I just posted a couple days ago as they received complaints about me making this track available to download.  These guys are really not playing around if a single track from a 60's Brazilian psych record on a small label is targeted as copyright infringement. I really am at a loss now since I don't know what I am able to share without having the RIAA, Mediafire and Blogger on my case 24-7. It would be great if everyone would just take a moment to realize that all bloggers are not evil criminals who prey on musicians' lifeblood for our own benefit. There are certainly some blogs out there that only post the album artwork and a link with nothing to say about the artist, but there are still many who have the best interests of the artist in mind. This is certainly not a money-making venture for me, and the primary reason that I am doing it is to share music and promote artists that I believe in. 

I haven't done this in awhile, but I really need my readers to step up and help me assess what is really important here as I need to figure out a new way to do things around here. Recently, I realized that a majority of my files which were uploaded on defunct file-sharing services like Sharebee, Mass Mirror, Quicksharing and Boxstr have all been deleted for quite some time, in addition to the ones uploaded with Megaupload. There are some files that I won't be reuploading since they were taken down multiple times by various file- sharing services, but some of them were links for live concerts and out-of-print records that probably just expired after a certain amount of time elapsed. What I need to know from my regular visitors is whether there is a file-sharing service out there that you recommend as I doubt that posting files to Mediafire is a viable option right now. I really don't know if there are any services available that haven't been targeted by the RIAA, but I would like to hear from some of you if you have any ideas?

Would posting new links for old posts be more important to you, or would you like to see me focus on new posts?  Since reposting these expired links will definitely take some time, I need to prioritize these tasks accordingly. I am also looking for your input on an idea that I have been mulling over regarding offering the download links through e-mail. The way this would work is if you want to download the album, mp3 or mix, you would need to send me an e-mail and I will reply to your e-mail with the link to download the files. This wouldn't necessarily prevent Mediafire from taking down files, but at least the files wouldn't be posted on my blog anymore for Blogger to administer. Another option is to make the blog private until the dust settles, and everyone who wants to be invited to the blog can post a comment letting me know this so I can add you to the list. Everyone who has been added to the list before I make the blog private will be able to access it without any problem.

One thing that I want to make clear is that I keep doing this because I want to, but I really need to know that continuing to administer this blog is valuable to my readers. I have barely received any comments on the last 10 posts, and I know that there were almost 3000 visitors during the last month. It would just be helpful to me if I knew that I was taking risks to keep this thing going because people value what I do here. Please let me know if you have any helpful ideas, thoughts or positive vibrations to send my way, because I really need them right now.