Saturday, February 10, 2007

Ol' Virginia Soul V2.

Ol'Virginia Soul Encore 1965-75 on Arcania International. Looks can be decieving between the dates and the cover( the color scheme looks like some Lester Young reissue or something) of the disc, I though it was going to be some straight up southern soul, but this is leaning heavily in the direction of some straight up funk and kicking R&B. The first 7 tracks are untouchable and it picks back up fast. Raw Soul stand out and get a couple tracks, The lead off track "Baco Walk PT 2" is a killer.
A baby Micheal Jackson rears his head on Reginald Millers "soul clap is back" Could that be Reggie Miller? He is old as shit.
"Born to be a drummer" by the 35th St Gang has a cool Dirtbombs garage feel to it.
All Virginia, All rare. 25 tracks all worth repeated listens. Excellent liner notes.
Good luck finding these 45s

bettini's mind????

Paolo Bettini is a great cyclist. His palmares speaks for itself, but his behavior recently is beginnig to make me think he is losing his mind.

1.Check out this Specialized/Quickstep film.
Bettini is shirtless twice inside the first few minutes of a trailer length promo video. Great cyclist? Of Course. Sex Symbol a la Super Mario? Not even close.

2.Tour of Flanders. His winter campaign talking about winning Flanders and being a "co-captain" with Boonen, really has me scratching my head. It's like he is trying to reenanct his power struggle with Bartoli again? If he wants Flanders, it will have to be on a different team. Boonen always seems happy to have teammates win (Pozzato and Nuyens come to mind from last season), but I don't think he will be too cool with this.

3. Tour of California comments. This quote "Tuesday I go from La California to California," joked Bettini to La Gazzetta dello Sport. "The wines they have copied are good. We will see about the riders." What are you talking about? It is a UCI race with a ton of euros and you race against americans all the time.

Depsite all this, he is keeping so many Italian cycling traditions alive that you can't not love him. Bettini is the man, but he needs to relax.

Friday, February 9, 2007

Barnyard Soul

barn yard soul
"greasy, gritty, groovy, southern-fried soul" is the tag line on the front of this 27 track collection from Deep Groove records. A lot of soul and funk shouters that all thought James Brown was a little too intellectual with the lyrics. Why use words if a good old grunt or holler will do?Rising above the monster mash novelty record level, is "Frankenstein Stomp" by Geene Bowlegs Miller. Good year round, not just on Oct 31st.Otis Clay and Lowell Fulsom (doing a cover of "why don't we do it in the road") are the best known names on here. But with song titles like "do the dog-funk", "hot butter n all PT1", "party time" and "astrological soul train" you should have an idea what you are getting in for. House party classic, if you don't mind the spilled beer. I have had more time to listen to this and want to reiterate the lyrical brilliance of Lou Courtney "I put the popcorn on her/hot butter and all" as well asPiney Brown "I got it/you want it/let's do the dog funk" , By the time the Rhythm Kings are dropping "party time", they have been reduced to "come on you can do it" Do you think you can figure out the lyrical focus of "astrological soul train"? A G-rated run through the signs, calling everyone to the dance floor to breakdown. UGGHHH!The intentions "I don't get down like that" intro is begging to get sampled. Raekwon anyone?

Wheedle's Groove Seattle Funk 65-75

Wheedle's Groove "Seattle's finest in funk and soul 65-75". Light in the Attic records. Gotta respect this label and their reissues. This is by no means a timely review as this came out 2 years ago, but none the less a banger. Good Liner notes, tons of photos, and a boat load of killer music. 21 tracks on this comp. The hard charging Black on White Affair open this comp up. 2 stand outs for me are the Overton Berry Trio cover of "hey jude"-if only all lps recorded in hotel lounges where this good and the Topics cover of NW classic "Louie, Louie" -with a nice spaced out breakdown. 3 contempary artists contribute that don't suck or fuck up the flow of the record-one with a "lost track found in a thrift store" hoax. Trivia tidbit Quincy Jones orginated in Seattle. Also nice to see that bands shared members-not unlike they are doing now. The liner notes give you a feel for the era and the region and drop just enough hints to make you think you could track down some of these on a visit(keep dreaming). Sometimes comps tend to blur together with no dynamics or trade of catchy tunes for rarity. This comp suffers from neither of those problems. Put it on and get it popping. You will be humming "wheedle's groove" and "deep soul part one".

compared to what

About a year ago I heard the song "compared to what" on a 2CD Black Power CD comp. Les McCann. Cool flute and vocals. Political in that kinda indirect 70s way. The "I'm as mad as hell..." kind of school of political thought. Played it endlessly. Learned it was written by Eugene McDaniels -track down a couple of his records (Outlaw and Headless Heros...) neither one is quite as rad as "compared to what". Find the Les McCann "Swiss Movement" lp that the track is credited to from the cd. And so it ends or so I think. Last month, I am waiting to pick up my step sons and have some time to shop at Dynomite in Northampton. I see a Les McCann "Live at Montreaux" 2LP that has "compared to what" on it, so I grab it. Then I see a Roberta Flack LP with this rad cover. "First Take" I love all the shit she did with Donny Hathaway so I flip it over. 1st track "compared to what". ????? Then I realize the liner notes are by .... Les McCann. Small world. Grab that as well. What I loved about this is it reminded me of life as a teenage skatepunk in the pre Internet 80s. You would by a record and scan the thanks list to look for other bands to track down. You would look at any flyer in the background, stickers on guitars, shirts the band was wearing -all looking for clues. If you were lucky enough to track down a MRR or another zine, you would write to every label for a catalog which was usually a one page photocopy of the one or two records they had put out. It was like foraging for food and when you found something great, you were so stoked and when you met somebody else who was into it too, it was the best. With the advent of the internet and such, the thrill seems gone most of the time. Between Google and Ebay you can track down almost anything, but some days like today you get surprised and that is a nice treat when you are an aging grumpy record collector.
The easy availabilty of so much information makes it kind of cheap and uninspiring. You can download an MP3 of a 20 year old record in a minute. I had to wait 3 weeks after I mailed off a money-order for that 7" to arrive in the mail and the day it did was a special one. I remember very clearly the 1st 7" I mail orderded-gang green skate to hell and the 1st one I bought in a store, Freeze Guilty Face. I can't remember the last thing I downloaded or streamed. I can remember reading and rereading every page and ad in Thrasher and MRR back in the 80s, I can't believe anyone reads or remembers what was in the last AP or Decibel or whatever kids are reading. It is probably a true indicator that I am an old grump, when I harken for a day when things were harder(we walked up hill both ways to the record store)
It makes me wish for "what we do is secret" mentality. I wish I could stumble upon some rad music or scene that wasn't hell bent on being the next big thing on myspace , youtube, or MTV2.
I have found about 6 versions of "ode to billie joe"(don't ask me why this song) and I would love to track down every version because I am a nerd. 10 minutes on google could probably net me a list and a google-earth map to the record stores they are in. But I won't do that. "compared to what" and "ode to billie joe" are tracks I hope to always stumble upon when I am out looking at and for records. Reminders to keep looking and having fun, cause for a minute you are not that cynical old grump.


Outside of being fat, slow, and unable to emulate Paolo Bettini in any other category but hair loss, the most frustrating aspect of cycling is doping. It is not so much that people cheat and it is unfair and sucks. The most frustrating aspect of doping, is my inconsistent reaction to it. Musseew has been under suspicion for years and it doesn't phase me, but Gaummont and VDB get no slack. Hamilton seems like a rerun of Virenque and I can't generate any sympathy, but some how for Landis I hold out hope?? Why? How? Landis was on Phonak-how many dope scandals can one team have? How much house cleaning to only have it resurface? It might be easier to maintain a consistent line on dopers if the governing agencies gave any sign of consistency or even having their shit together. And don't even get me started on Armstrong-he should be a success story beyond reproach, but because he is and because so many corporations depended on his results, it's hard not to be cynical. If trek and oakley can work together on the "project one" stuff, why can't a bunch of chemists and pharmacists do the same thing on the drug side?

The real kick in the nuts, is that doping casts a shadow on ALL performance. If a guy rides well who has previously been mediocre -he must be doping. If a guy rides poorly after a good season-he must be doping. If a guy excels in any unusual way a question hangs in the air.
And for that sense of doubt and failure to revel in achievement, I can fall fully into the dopers suck camp. Because they do suck.

Thursday, February 8, 2007

sample identification

I am not claiming to be a samples and breaks expert, but there is a certain joy in hearing a song that you have only heard sampled. My jaw hit the floor the 1st time I heard Joe Cocker's "woman to woman" and realized how much Doc Dre jacked for California Love.
Same thing with Willie Hutch and "stay fly" by triple 6. But the most recent and best was hearing "are you my woman" by the Chi-Lites and realizng where "crazy in love" came from. Songs like these are great because the sample is such a major part to the song. A lot of times the sample comes out of a tune you wouldn't ever want to listen to- for me that is a lot of the proggy/fusion/sdtrk stuff that makes great hip hop, but puts me to sleep. For the sneakier samples

cycling season 2007

Even in a winter of despair and cynicism,hope springs eternal. I am starting to anticipate and look forward to the 2007 cycling season. Hours on the trainer staring at 06 races help questions pop up.....
1. Will Ballan have a podium finish in a spring classic? Will Flecha?
2. Will Discovery turn into the new Telekom with too many chiefs and not enough indians? On paper the team does not look like 7 super domestques and a leader. It looks like they could have a telekom worthy nightmare of a season. Are Lepheimer, Popovych, and Danielson be the motors that Beltran and Azevado where? Never mind Barry or Eki?
3. Can Hincapie ever win Flanders or Roubaix? Are Gusev and Devolder enough to keep him up front? Will he catch a break some year?
4. Will there be a Bettini vs Boonen soap opera with Bettin acting like Bartoli in a rerun of the Bartoli/Bettini feud? Will the Belgian vs Italian divide resurface for lefevere?
5. Will VDB ride any races for Aqua Sapone?
6. What country will have the next drug scandal -I mean coordinated police raid situation (france, belgium, italy, and spain have been hit) who is left germany? usa? holland?
7. The curse of the giro climber. There is always a young climber in the Giro who jumps up the GC and has all sorts of hope pinned on him. He usually jumps to a bigger team as a GC guy and cracks under the pressure. who will it be this year?
8. Can Valverde finish a tour? Can Mayo?
9 Can DeLuca come back as the "killer" after squandering a year chasing the GC?
10. How does one guy seem to dominate the ardennes classics? (rebellin, deluca, valverde) and can someone do it again?
11. Can Pettachi's reinforced 2.5k lead out train get him to the top step of the podium this year? What will he punch?

dj shadow starter kit

DJ Shadow starter kit gone wrong
I always found the guys wandering around record conventions with portable and kiddie turntables to be a little disturbing, but I figured since they might be dropping big bucks on records they deserve a little quality control.That said things have gone too far. Yesterday, I headed out to do a little record shopping. Right off the bat I am annoyed because 2 douche bags are in the soul section. You've got DJ Shadow JR and Baby DJ Spooky. I am sure they had the illest record collections in their respective high schools, but why do idiots like this always end up in my way? Then I get more annoyed as they are talking-seriously shut the fuck up and look at the records. I do not want to hear you regurgitate whatever you just read in Wax Poetics last issue. Then the last straw, DJ shadow Jr has portable record player. And he and DJ Spooky starter kit aren't even looking at the soul section they are digging through the cheap hip hop 12"s on the floor. DJ Shadow JR is taking $1 12"s and spinning them. Maybe he doesn't know what a RZA track sounds like or Premier or whatever. How hard is it to look at the artist and producer and know what it sounds like?It's a dollar shithead, buy it and get out of my way. So maybe if you are under 30 and don't collect records, you can't feel my pain. But rest assured, some day you will be a hairy old grump too.... if you are lucky.

weird beards, ents, and lungfish

Beards are pervasive in all music genres post 90s hardcore, emo(the DC kind), indie rock, metal-all subgenres, etc. Metal has the market cornered on the weird beards -filthy forked goatees and braided beaded zztops , etc. One of the funnier stories related to me about the last SUNN show was the high % of bearded men in the predominantly male audience. A "weird beard convention". This reminded me of a similar phenomana I've witnessed at Lungfish shows. Certain bands seem to have the ability to summon the weird beards. As if the very appearance of their name in the concert report sends out a signal calling all beardos to respond. And they do respond, marching with Ent like determination towards their goal.
Ents are of course the druid like tree creatures from Lord of the Rings, so bearded men who rarely touch soap or women should be comfortable with that comparison.
Especially at lungfish shows were everyone is swaying trying to mind meld with the triumphant lord of the weird beards Dan Higgs.
Lungfish rule and not even a traveling circus of poorly socialized weird beards as a fanbase can detract from this. 10 albums and 17 years they have been perfecting the perfect song.
Check this link to the Dischord site for an awesome 20 minute audio "documentary"/interview about Lungfish. Higgs drops quotable jewels at a rate that even the most rain man-ish Ent fan would be challenged to keep up with.

rolling suitcases

rolling suitcases
Airports, Train Stations, Subways, Bus Stations. I hate rolling luggage. Those stupid fucking suitcases with wheels and extended handles that turn anyone walking with one into a giant fucking obstacle. They seem to be lowest common denominator in idiot identification, Pick the fucking thing up and move. They seem to have the effect of making their pilot slower, dumber, and more likely to try and execute some demented three point turn without warning. If you are in one of those locations, you are traveling -trying to get somewhere-so fucking move, hustle, get the fuck out of the way. I do not want to spend anytime behind you as you stare in slack jawed confusion at whatever sign happens before you.
Another tip, as you approach the beginning or end of an escalator, pick the fucking thing up, instead of feebly trying to drag it over whatever little obstacle holds it up. Finally there is the wheeled suitcase superstar, who tries to use their suitcase as a rolling cart, balancing their lunch,newspaper, etc on it as they stagger around in front of you. Right as you need to get past them, their carefully packed load falls all over the ground and they turn into a spastic flapping bird trying to recover. Newsflash, you are not fucking sherpa or a UPS driver. You cannot handle it, don't do it.
If you want to take 500 pound of shit with you somewhere, be able to carry it or be ready to pay a pro to do it for you.

Honor Role

When I was in high school there were punk and hardcore bands(anything you could skate to) and then what I called "art room" rock. I managed to classify and ignore bands like Big Black and Sonic Youth thanks to this. Typical for a teenage idiot who thought Aggression and Suicidal Tendencies were the top tier of musical evolution.
But after a few years of watching amazing hardcore bands put out bad crossover albums(OU812 for instance), I was starting to want to hear different shit. There was also a wave of kids bored by NYHC and generic hardcore that were starting bands and doing zines. Reading Forced Exposure also kind of opened my eyes to how much other shit there was. Then I figured out that the art-room shit wasn't all bad, The problem was that some people's idea of cool weird shit was just band english post punk. Look at SST, Saccharine Trust and St. Vitus were cool for non-mosh music, but Tom T's Dog and Painted Wilie just sucked. Luckily lots of the late 80s early 90s records seemed to be in all the used record stores for cheap. So even if you got burned it wasn't for much money. Honor Role where one of these not quite hardcore, kind of cryptic bands that people would refer to as "weird" or "fucked but cool". A band you heard about but never heard. Maybe one or two of the members had been in an old core band. They were on Homestead which meant their records seemed to be everywhere (until I started wanting to buy them). There was a whole wave of bands like Squirrel Bait, Bastro, Bitch Magnet and Slint. Once I realized how good they were, it was like a treasure hunt to find the records. That were intense but not hardcore. I guess early indie rock before that meant twee wanna be beach boy shit. And weirder than Husker Du or Dinosaur JR..
Someone made me a tape with "listening to sally" on it and I was really into it but also kind of creeped out.(this is where the Honor Role tribute starts) I never got a chance to see them. They were an 80s NC band. There were amazing hardcore bands(COC, No Labels, etc) from NC and there would be a bunch of good "indie rock" bands -Superchunk/Small/etc/etc, but these guys seemed out of place. If St.Vitus was born to late, these guys were born too early. The music was off kilter. Totally driven but not straight forward. And the singer was like some nerd savant. Kinda DC, but weirder. They had a couple of singles and an LP. All available on a merge reissue cd. There even been a 82 recording put on on 7". Crucial. They split up and there seemed to be 2 factions of bands . The singer went on to a band called Coral. I was going to see them on night at the Middle East opening for Drive Like Jehu, but I went to eat dinner and missed them (smooth move). Coral had 2 good singles. They are reminiscent of Honor Role because of the vocals and angular rock shit. Their first lp was not so hot(nice creepy cover though), but the second atlamont in dub was amazing and like so many records I seem to love it just feel through the cracks. Overshadowed by the second wave of bands like Rodan or Don Caballero or whatever. The singer had another band after this they did at least a single on merge, but I can't remember if it was any good- that is probably an indication it wasn't. Pen Rolllings the guitarist seemed to decide to no longer have vocalistsafter honor role. Breadwinner was a sick insturmental band that put out some amazing singles. Then there was ButterGlove-he had a real way with names. He is still kicking it in LoinCloth a band beloved by both Swami and Southernlord records. Which is indicative of the sort of math-metal arena in which they operated.

Loose use of vocabulary

I spend too much time on ebay buying and selling records........The mis-use of the "KBD" acronym has to stop. I realize how hard it is to get your auctions seen by the most people, but calling a new black flag shirt or a mid 90s straightedge comp "killed by death" is not going to help. Do you think anyone that searches using "KBD" will look at that or just get annoyed? Maybe I wouldn't get so agitated if I wasn't up ha fl the night looking for gizmos 45s, but either way cut the shit. If it is after84 don't call it KBD-and that is generous. Most record nerds would draw the line around 81-82. Snotty punk bands from So-Cal are not KBD. They can try all they want, but it can't happen unless they have time machine. Doesn't matter if it is "limited to 100". Get over it.It is bad enough that you can't type in "emo" without getting 20 pages of my chemical romance wristbands. This is another bonus annoyance, when did "emo" become pop-punk with make up? Dischord makes it tough, since the original home of emo has gone heavy on the art and indy rock. Emo as in "emotional hardcore". As in bands that didn't turn metal. Bands that broke up after one lp,demo, or show. Emo used to mean DC bands from 86(embrace, rites of spring, revolution summer etc) and bands influenced by them. Bands that wanted to play powerful music, but avoid the generic hardcore goon and cross-over scene that was developing back then, How hard is that to keep straight? Some shithead in a band that sounds like NOFX moaning about not getting laid is pop punk, Some dingbat in a marching band uniform and make up is ,,,,,,,, you got me, but it is not emo. If you aren't dressed like a gas station attendant, wearing a wool cap in the summer, digging threw record bins looking for that Ignition 7" on Orange wax you are not emo. These things make me mental. It's like seeing a Harry Connick reviewed as free jazz. It makes no fucking sense.

Standing Hard..... Hard Stance

There was a time when hardcore singles blew through pressings fastand a pressing of a 1000 could be gone in a week or two. Hardstance'sclassic "face reality" 7" had 5 different pressings of a 1000 on 5 colorsof vinyl. In order from 1st press to last it went blue,red, green, black,and clear. (it was reissued again on conversion records but that don'tcount). I think the 1st copy I got was on red and that was that. Had tohave been mail ordered direct from the label. Demo was good, single was good. There were tons of singles coming out and I was getting tons of records in the mail and at shows. Inside Out were one of myfavorite bands at the time and I remember talking to their bass player andasking him about hardstance and cali posi core and him joking about whohad what color of the HS single. At this point is was pretty easy to get all the records I wanted 1st press. colored vinyl, alternate cover. Maybe I was jaded and thought everything was too easy. Sometime around then, I decided to get all five colors. Seems easy enough on paper. All quests start with a goal or aspiration. Some are noble and some are to collect records. Black and Clear were no problem. Green took a while but I tracked one down. This is pre ebay, pre internet(for me anyway I think it had been invented by then....), so "trackone down" doesn't mean sit their in you PJs on the computer, it means bugyour friends and travel out of town. Luckily, this was also the era whenthere were record stores around that catered mainly to punk andhardcore.(epicenter, fast forward, vinyl ink, trash american style, etc). Record stores that were worth a 2,3, or 5 hour drive. There were also tons of kids doing mailorder and distro, so records would pop up in unexpected places. I can't remember when I got the blue pressing, but it took a long time. Ihad even gotten multiple copies of black, green, and clear.(A lot of kids were "growing up and getting rid of "youth crew" other records they found emabarassing so scooping up extracopies cheap wasn't tough) I wasn't even that focused on the quest anymore, but I saw the single, checked thecolor....BLUE, and had a total burst of pointless euphoria. Quest completed!By the time the thing got repressed on cd and 7", it had beena while since I had pulled it out to listen to, but I still bought them andwas sure to grab promo posters for it as well. Then after a few spins,back into the vaults it went. Good memories, but there is just too muchother music to listen to and try and buy. In the last couple years, I have been selling a lot of records onebay, and that creates a lot of mixed feelings. I sell stuff and buyother stuff and always seem to end up with more in the end. Record geeksare always lusting after one record or another. This was one of my firstoddball obsessions and compared with some of the later ones, not a badone( valentines breakaway 45 and the multi year search for the Smashchordsstand out as 2 recent long-term torments). As I have been selling thedifferent colors of the HS 7"online, I have experienced the full range ofhuman emotion. It's like seeing the 1st girl you kissed, but now you'remarried and things have changed. Why am I selling these? Why didn't I tryand get a test press? Why wasn't I true til death? So now I guess I have a reverse quest. To sell all the pressings of the HS single and settle for the cheap thrills of how much will they go for and where will there new home be? Surprisingly, no one person has tried to get multiple pressings.... what is wrong with the kids today? I guess they are spending their college money on Lockin Out test pressingsOnce the last copy is sold, I wonder how long will it take before the desire toget them all again and get a test pressing will set it??????? Could you do it faster than last time? Jousting at the same stupid windmill that no one cares about all so that one day, when you are probably in St. Louis or Albany or Richmond, you dig out the last version you need from the back of a dusty bin and feel that demented sense of euphoria. The torment starts again.