Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Choice Cuts Vol.2

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.

Today's edition of Choice Cuts features a track each from the latest releases on Tompkins Square: This May Be My Last Time Singing- Raw African American Gospel on 45 RPM 1957-1982 and To What Strange Place- The Music of the Ottoman -American Diaspora. 

R. Jenkins and the Dayton Harmonaires: Put Your Hand in the Hand
From: This May Be My Last Time Singing- Raw African American Gospel on 45 RPM 1957-1982

Master curator and music lover Mike McGonigal painstakingly combed the archives of rare gospel music, and compiled this arresting collection of gritty gospel tunes that will have you singing from the top of your lungs and tapping your feet to the grooves. Before I laid ears on this collection,  I was wriggling with anticipation as to what I was about to experience. Nothing could quite prepare me for the tenth track on the first disc of this set. 

From the opening heavily-phased surf guitar on R. Jenkins and the Dayton Harmonaires' "Put Your Hand in the Hand", I knew that I was in for an aural delight. If I was to put a tag on the style, I would call it Psychedelic Gospel-Surf, as it conjures up images of a congregation belting it out on a sunny beach while surfers elegantly ride massive waves to the sound of the music.  I'm guessing that this is a whacked-out interpretation of a gospel standard, but I can't for the life of me remember who composed the original song. One thing that I know for sure is that most of you will be hard-pressed to think of another example of music that melds these particular styles so perfectly. Off kilter basslines, psychedelicized surf guitar and throat-shredding vocals are all distinct elements of this track that will leave you scratching your head and grinning in unison.

Unknown Performers: Pehlivan Havasi
From: To What Strange Place- The Music of the Ottoman -American Diaspora
Ian Nagoski curated this mind-blowing collection by musical masters from Anatolia, The Eastern Mediterranean and the Levant who recorded most of this collection of 78's in New York City between WWI and the Depression, with the remainder of the records being imported from other countries in the Middle East.

The track that I am featuring here is one that struck a chord with me as soon as I heard it. Since I became familiar with the snake-charming pungi flute music several years back, I have been obsessed with finding any records that represent this style. This is why I was happily surprised to hear the trance-inducing snake-charming sound present on "Pehlivan Havasi".  While this is not the pungi flute that is being played, the sound of the double reed zurna on this track could definitely be used to raise the spirits of a slithery snake. It is truly the kind of music that can keep you under it's spell long after the last notes fade.
I would love to hear what you think of this edition of Choice Cuts, so please drop me a line in the comments.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Redistribution of Links

With the recent news of Megaupload going down, I have been reminded to check my own links. Unfortunately, I hadn't been paying close enough attention to this and have found that many of my links are no longer active. My plan is to start from the oldest posts and work my way up to check that each link has been re-upped, so it will take some time to complete this task.

I don't know how many of you actually check the archives of the blog, but I would imagine that there are a fair amount of people who do. If you notice something that is no longer active, please let me know so I can re-up that link for you. There are some links that were taken down because it was requested that they be taken down by the label or artist. I will not be re-upping these under any condition, in respect to them.

Over the past two days, I have re-upped all links from October- November of 2006.

Please click on the links below for easy access to these posts.

October 2006

Los Comadrejas
Free Jazz Fire- Sam Rivers- The Tuba Trio
Random Curiosities- Aesop Rock, Bardo Pond and Radian
All Hallows Eve- Lenny Bruce, Dean Gitter, Jandek and Quixotic

November 2006

It's Been a Long Time- Oblivians
It Came From Memphis Part 1- Tav Falco and the Panther Burns
It Came From Mephis Part 2- The Insect Trust
It Came From Memphis Part 3-Moloch
It Came from Memphis Part 4-Box Tops, Rock City, Big Star, Alex Chilton
Junkies on the Run- Songs about heroin

I promise that there will be some more new music posted on here soon, so keep checking back.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Megaupload, SOPA and PIPA Picking up the Pieces

The recent news of file-sharing site Megaupload being forced to shut down its operations is stirring up quite a frenzy in the music blogging arena. Many blogs have closed down due to the fact that their entire music collection has been uploaded on Megaupload, and it would be an incredible undertaking to re-upload these files onto a different file-sharing site. Thankfully, most of my files were uploaded onto Mediafire, so I won't have nearly as much work to do in getting my blog back up to speed. With that being said, if any of you find any links that are no longer working, please let me know as soon as possible so I can get them uploaded to a new file-sharing site.

On the brighter side of things, thanks to the countless blogs and websites who went dark the other day in protest to the PIPA and SOPA laws, Congress has decided that they are not going to pass either of these laws based on their blatant censorship and attack on our basic human rights. This is a considerable victory for the internet and it couldn't have been possible without the support of artists, musicians, blog administrators, politicians and the like who rallied together to make a difference.

This post is dedicated to some of my fellow blogger friends who are still out there fighting the good fight against all odds while taking stock of the situation and reassessing the direction of their blogs. Today, I am here to give a brief overview of several blogs that feature a wide variety of interesting, new, rare and out of print music that runs the gamut from free jazz to psychedelic folk and from afro-beat to hip-hop.

Holy Warbles

Holy Warbles is one of the many blogs that was hit hard by the Megaupload shakedown, but this fantastic site features a plethora of music including psychedelic, free jazz, folk, rock and international. With a focus on newer compilations from Finders Keepers, Analog Africa, Sublime Frequencies and Now Again Records, this is one of the spots on the internet that I regularly check out!

Know Your Conjurer

This site is a regular stop for me when I am looking for the best in experimental, drone, psychedelic and rare classics from the archives. He also has an amazing radio show with music from all genres that is available for download or for live streaming. This is an excellent place to check out if you are looking for music that colors outside the lines.

Digging for Diamonds in Mountains of Mediocrity

This site mainly features a diverse assortment of rare and out of print records and tapes featuring everything from Christian rock to electro-funk; punk to modal jazz. I found an album on here that is easily the holy grail of psychedelic afro-beat-  Mystère-Jazz-de-Tombouctou. While I don't like everything that he posts on the blog,  there is plenty of music for the adventurous listener to sink their ears into here.


For those of you who have been collecting the latest releases from the amazing Analog Africa label, you will have plenty to tickle your eardrum when you visit this incredibly prolific site featuring artists like El Rego et Ses Commandoes, Orchestre Poly Rythmo and Los Volcans. One of those places that just keeps getting better as the days go by!

With that, I am going to sign out for now.

As time permits, I will be replacing old Megaupload links with Mediafire links over the next couple days.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

SOPA and PIPA censor the internet

I was going to make my site go dark today due to the protest of new bills in Congress called SOPA and PIPA, but I decided to raise awareness about this in a different way.

For those of you who don't know what these bills are all about, please visit this site for an in-depth overview of what the passing of these bills could potentially do to our freedom of speech on the internet. Most websites would be affected by this, so each and every one of you who doesn't want their freedoms taken away should contact their congressman to protest the passing of this bill.

In a nutshell, they want to stop piracy and copyright infringement from foreign sites, but they haven't clearly defined what constitutes a criminal act or what defines a foreign site. This will severely impact social networking sites, blogs, music sharing services, etc. The bottom line is that the government doesn't have any business censoring the internet and we need to all take a stand to fight this bill to the end.

Please contact your local congressman and let them know that you are against both the PIPA and SOPA bill.

Sunday, January 08, 2012

I Hear a New World- Paving the Road to Acceptance and Resolution

As I sit here all warm and cozy inside my four-walled world, heat cranked up to the max on this blustery night, I feel like giving thanks for some fundamental things in my life. I am thankful that I don't have to sleep on a downtown street corner in the bitter cold , that I have the love of a beautiful woman, clothes to wear, medicine to keep me healthy and especially that I have amazing friends and family who are there to help me through the challenges that life poses for me each and every day. Most importantly, I am thankful that I am living and breathing today, because not everyone is so fortunate.

In the past month, the music world has lost three stellar musicians: Hubert Sumlin, Howard Tate and Sam Rivers.

Hubert Sumlin, the masterful guitar player for Howlin' Wolf's band, died of heart failure in a hospital in New Jersey at the age of 80 on December 4th. He left behind a musical legacy that will never be surpassed, and his signature playing style has influenced mutliple generations of blues guitarists. 

Howard Tate was one of the most underrated soul singers from the 60's who never gained the popularity that he rightfully deserved. Recently, on December 2nd, Howard Tate died from complications of multiple myeloma and leukemia at the age of 72. His powerful singing voice combined soulfulness with a piercing falsetto that could bring tears to the listener's eyes, and his music will resonate with us for quite some time.

Last, multi-instrumentalist jazz musician Sam Rivers passed away at the age of 88 on Dec 26th due to complications with pneumonia. Those of you who are not familiar with Sam Rivers seriously need to check out his early straight ahead Blue Note recordings as well as his free jazz explorations on the four Impulse albums from the mid 70's. All three of these artists contributed to the music industry in myriad ways and they will all be sorely missed.

Along with the passing of these three consummate musical artists comes the end of the life for Timbuktunes, Portland's premier record store dedicated primarily to international music. I would like to extend my deepest thanks to the proprietor Andy for fighting the good fight as long as he could muster it.  Since the store could no longer afford to keep operations going, Andy decided to make it's final day of business on New Year's Eve. During it's last week of operation, I paid a visit to Timbuktunes and purchased a stack of CD's ranging from afrobeat and Angola prison worksongs to global psychedelic funk and Bollywood pop.

The latest edition of I Hear a New World is available to listen to here, and to listen\download at

This podcast is dedicated to Timbuktunes and it's proprietor Andy, and it features a mix of songs from the CD's I purchased during that store's last week of business. I wish the best for Andy and I hope that he is able to pursue some other musical venture that warms his spirit in the future.

I would love to hear what you think of this week's podcast, so please give me a shout in the comments.

Paving the Road to Acceptance and Resolution

1) Henry Flynt- The Snake- 3:40
2) Owanda Wa Agola- Ahenda- 3:22
3) Kamal Ahmed feat Noor Jehan- Yeh Raat Jane Keya Keya- 3:05
4) Ayalew Mesfin-Menew Begerebegn- 3:49
5) Group Doueh- Zayna Jumma- 4:30
6) Rob- Funky Rob Way- 6:15
7) Plearn Promdan- Kosok Tee Det- 3:42
8) Getatchew Mekuria & The Ex- Che Belew Shellela- 4:50
9) Petalouda- What You Can Do In Your Life- 3:57
10) Roosevelt Charles- Let My People Go- 3:48

Hope you are all starting the year on the right foot!