Saturday, March 10, 2007

Dark Planet: Visions of America DVD

This documentary "explores" 4 youth cultures and the "dark future" they hold for America. The scenes are skinhead, straightedge, black metal, and christian zealot. If you know anything about one of these genres, this is a pretty amusing documentary. Imperial from Krieg and Azentrius from Nachmystium represent US Black Metal. Ouch. Imperial's highlight is stumbling around the definition of "white light" religions. Did the filmaker leave this in to make him look bad or was this one of his least stupid statements? Hearing these two makes me glad Wrest doesn't do interviews.
The backbone of the straightedge section is the singer of Strife, but the highlight is the interview with Boston Beatdown/Righteous Jam's Elgin James. Lots of death to drug dealer talk from a variety of today's xedge youth from the NC area. (which I didn't realize was a Xedge hotbed, but I guess when Rob R Rock puts you on the map, you stay true) The skinhead section is more of the same redundant facts about skinheads that you have probably heard a hundred times. Jimmy Gestapo gets some screen time.
The Christian "zealot" section bounces between pointless and hilarious. The overriding theme being "look I am punk/weird/metal/cool but still xian". Most of the people interviewed could have done more to promote their "extreme" subculture by keeping their mouths shut than spewing their inane bullshit, but if they did that you wouldn't be able to chuckle your way through this documentary. If you put this up against something like the Minutemen documentary or American Hardcore or even the Supertouch documentary on YouTube you can see how weak it is.
The "6 degrees of separation" section is completely stupid.
Not a bad way to spend an afternoon, netflix of course

Friday, March 9, 2007

Paris Nice Predicitions

This is an interesting one week stage race. Often used as a crystal ball for the TDF, but I think the past winners tell the tale better. Since the race is only a week, a more aggressive style tends to bring success. As evidenced bywinners like Vinokorouv, Jalabert, and Sean Kelly. There are some unexpected winners like VDB in 98, Boogerd in 99, and Kloden in 2000. These are examples of riders whose success at Paris Nice probably shined too bright a light on them for the Grand Tours.
This race has also been a subject of 2 CSC victories for Julich and Jaksche. Julich's victory was a tactical masterpiece. A one week stage race can be won with one decisive move and then strong defensive riding and they are far more open than a grand tour.
Can Leiphemer follow in Floyd's footsteps and take this race after the TOC (excellent alliteration!)? Maybe this could be a race for Tommy D? T-Mobile fields an interesting team, but it looks like guys building for the Classics. T-Mobile looks like it's sending its GT guys to Milano-Torino. Hard to imagine Boonen not getting a stage or two and can Bennati keep it rolling as Milan San Remo approaches? Stage 5 looks like the king of day where a breakaway could be be dangerous and everyone who ever is in the lead will have to be attentive. The race stays tough til the end with the last stage containing 3 Cat1 climbs.
Either way these are my predictions for the final podium Schleck,Mayo, and Leiphemer.

Rare Earth and the danger of being a one hit wonder

Stretching out a classic Temptation's song to 23 minutes is a pretty questionable move especially when you tell the audience up front that you are going to play it for "20-30 minutes", but on their double live LP, Rare Earth give you an entire album side of their big hit.
The Kinks gave "lola" an extended treatment on "one from the road" but since they had a bag full of other hits they didn't go too crazy. Rare Earth did not have that bag of hits to pull from.
I guess in the grand tradition of 70s live LPs, they manage to fit all their individual solos into this one track, but still, Damn. Apparently this was their trademark closing song.

At least it wasn't a live DVD, cause I don't know about 23 minutes of looking at these dudes.

Linda Lewis

I have mentioned before that my record buying habits seem to fall into odd trends and patterns and as I have been trying to move out of the Krsna rock thing, I seem to be moving into a black ladies with afros phase. Saw this Linda Lewis Heartsrtrings LP in a Goodwill. Reprise 1974. Looked a little cheesey, but it also looked like one of those records you see later in a speciality shop for $20. So I rolled the dice.
Her voice is pretty high and almost Mike Jacksony at times. Maybe even a little like Macy Gray or India.Aria or something. Songs all had good grooves, not discoy, but not straight ahead funk either. She mixes up some genres and delivers a unique experience -a little Stevie Wonder influence. "i'm in love again" is the stand out track on side one. "Reach for the Truth" comes in second and has a nice double time section at the end that is worth the wait. "Rock a Doodle Do" opens up side 2 with a great groove and Linda singing the verse in a low voice and then coming in high on the chorus. Great song. "On the Stage" has a nice flute groove and a very 70s sound. "Safe and Sound" is a soul power ballad that should be on those "babies making babies" mixtapes or on your personal booty jams tape. Something about this song makes me thinks of Oasis "live forever", Don't know what it is, but it is good. She finishes it off with "I dunno" which has a kind of steel drum/"lowrider" groove. The opening bars are ready to get plucked and sampled. This record seems to be a comp of songs from 2 earlier records. Check her out she has her own website and is on myspace. Still going strong
This was a dollar well spent and I will be tracking down her other records.

Rabrinda "all I see is you" lp Krsna Rock Part 7

Rabrindra is the name and "all i see is you" is the LP on Takoma/Devi(D-1036. 1973. 11 tracks "respectfully placed at the lotus feet of my beloved Guru, Swami Praphavananda". Special thanks to "all of my devotee friends for rocking out on "all i see is you". Based on the label(Takoma was John Fahey's label and he is the executive producer) and the instrumentation which includes guitar/bass/drums plus moog and "buchla" synthesizer, I was excited to throw this on. The back cover "mother protects" artwork is amazing and I will post photos once my camera comes back from vacation with my wife.
A mix of Christian and Krsna lyrics seem to help get this describe as "acid-folk" but that doesn't seem to fit a record that is clearly orchestrated and recorded such as this. "The Only One" is not a Cro-Mags cover, but an ode to God just the same, but with a countryish groove. First 2 tracks bring to mind John Denver more than LSD. Creeps into Grateful Dead territory on the next track and he starts to sound like Gram Parsons on "Lord how I love you" until the female backing vocals come in and it starts to sound like a Coke commercial. Although they wrap it up with a nice guitar and drum break. "lord,lord,lord" has a nice haunting vibe mainly strings and female vocals and then a synthesizer busts in making it even creepier and weirder, I could imagine some drugs being involved in the writing and recording of this one. Most tracks are short under 4 minutes and only 2 go over 5 minutes which doesn't give much room to stretch out, but prevents mistakes from droning on. "Tippy Taping" sounds like Ringo Starr trying to write and ode to Krsna. Very odd horn driven track. "Suddenly I am feeling so eternal" is the opening lyric on side 2's "Davids Dream" and who hasn't felt like that? Country Rock shuffle. "Jesus Saves" is up next and no it's not a Slayer cover. "Krishna Boy(for Lili) is the second nod to the Krishnas and his blue skinned incarnation as Govinda. "Lord's Sweet Name" is up next with the synth bubbling away right from the beginning. As the records longest track you know you are in for a trip. Once the percussion and backing vocals kick in it has kind of a Traffic vibe to it as it breaks into a raga influenced section with some good guitar work. Rabindra's devotee friends add some choral more than kirtany back up vocals to "all i see is you" which starts out slow but picks up and has some hoots and hollers in the end (kind of like McCartney in "get back")
On the whole, this record is a pretty catchy country rock record with some interesting lyrical material. This record falls into the Golden Avatar style of Krsna record, influenced by the Krsna's but not directly recorded or made for Krsna's.
A google search on Rabindra Danks is pretty interesting. Check this website. But not as interesting as a check on Indira Danks who had the honor of being on Sanford and Son !

Handmade Bike Show

I wasn't there but thanks to, I feel I have seen all the highlights. From American Chopper worthy creations to 7 pound bikes they had it all.
It wasn't all ultra modern carbon fibre, pop this on your 3 speed or low-rider and you will be looking good. Brooks was also ready to give you leather fender flaps and wood bar end plugs. Nice.
Paul Components are offering a nice crank set which looks like something ANT has out.
Attention to detail and ridiculous specialization are the hallmarks of these shows. Like intricately lugged single speed 29" mountain bikes or Retro Style. So nice. Who wouldn't want to fishtail this thing down a nice downhill curve?
There is a giant gallery of steel work featuring Peter Mooney, Richard Sachs, Vanilla ,etc. Lug work was intricate to say the least!
And if you still can take it, check the track bike and fixed gear gallery. Indy Fab holding it down! This bike displays a nice brake lever from paul's components

These are just a small sampling of what you can see over at So go check it out. Check the NAHMBS site for an 06 Gallery as well.
And if handmade in America is too steep. Check out Swobo's new bikes. Looks like they are fixing to jump into Surly's target audience. Or how about trading in you PK Ripper for a new SE Racing Fixie?????

Roberta Flack Again

So I have a day off and decide to drive the back way to the Cape and look for junk stores. Within minutes I hit a Salvation Army, has a few bins of records including the largest collection of Herb Alpert I have seen in one place in a long time. Digging away and I find Roberta Flack's Quiet Fire . 1971. Killer cover. Flip it and damn Bernard Purdie on drums plus Grady Tate on percussion. And she covers "to love somebody" a Bee-Gee's tune from their first album (recently rereleased) that Mule covered back in the day.
And of course backing vocals from Les McCann and Eugene McDaniels to keep the whole "compared to what" thing going. The best part besides the music was taking it up to the counter and counting out the 53 cents it cost. Nice.
Opens up with a slow burning "go up moses". Nice power to the people type track. "Bridge over troubled waters" is up next -a very choral version. Definitely a Sunday morning chill out track. "Sunday and Sister Jones" is credited to Eugene McDaniels and again drops a slow groove with plenty of horns and a harmonica setting the tone. Hugh McCracken steps up on guitar (wasn't that the name of one of the enforcers in Slapshot?)
Side 2 continues the chill vibe with a Roberta on piano and Ron Carter on bass song with some strings. She drags a lot of heavy hitters onto this record. "To love somebody" keeps it moving with that understated groove. Nice organ work from Richard Tee.
I usually like the groove to bash me over the head and the tempo fast and furious, but there is something really compelling and beautiful in her understated slow simmer. This record is now my Sunday morning go to record.
Roberta was untouchable in the early 70s.

Thursday, March 8, 2007

Rare Roubaix raced Caloi on Ebay

Check the auction for details, but more importantly check out the rock shox! Damn. With the Spring Classics rapidly approaching, this could be a nice way to celebrate!

Valentines Breakaway 45

I first heard this song on a northern soul comp cd and it grabbed me right away. Kinda motowny ode to escaping the city. "you gotta improvise/I can sympathize/You know I've been there too" was the lyric that drove it home for me. Started looking for it. Mainly online. It seemed to pop up on ebay frequently, but I would always get outbid. At least ten times. One day I see it pop back up and throw in my max bid 15 bucks knowing I will be outbid. With a day or two left, I got out bid and the frustration was too much. I up'd my bid to $25. Still pretty sure I would get outbid since the single usually goes for $40-50, but at least I'll try. I am not in the same league as some Northern Soul maniacs who will drop hundreds or thousands on a record, but I really wanted this one.
I take a closer look at the seller. He is in England. Not a big deal, just more in shipping. Until I realize I bid in POUNDS not dollars. Shit, that is about twice what I wanted to pay and of course I won for around 40-50 dollars. I can't complain. I was too cheap to bid big and get it and I wasn't finding it in local record stores so fucking up was the only way I got it. A good mistake in the end.
This highlights the danger and absurdity of buying things on ebay. There is no shame, no snotty record store geek laughing at you for spending so much, no cold hard cash coming out of your pocket. A couple clicks and it's done. You don't even have to get dressed, just zone out in front of the computer in your boxers. No wonder records go for such ridiculous money.

decline of the cd

When CDs first started to appear, they were treated and handled with serious respect(kind of how audiophiles handle lps now) but over time the respect for the format has been in serious decline. I think the first thing that started the trend was CD "wallets". Stripping off the case and storing just the disc and artwork. You used to have a nice rack or wall of alphabetized CDs now it's a wallet thrown in the back of your car. It didn't take long for the artwork to disappear or the disc to end up on the floor. Even if it got trashed, you could probably pick it up again used for a couple bucks. Selling your CDs used was another experience that makes you value them less. You bought it for $12 and sold it for a $1 and there are 10 of them in a bin for $3.99. A waffle maker holds its value better.
The rise of CD Burners was another nail. Suddenly you could buy a 100 disc spindle of blank CDs to record on for short money. They cost pennies each. How many of these have you seen getting scratched and crushed on the floor? Lose it, Scratch it, Burn another who cares. All this coupled with the rise of the MP3 served to undercut the real and perceived value of a CD. Unfortunately as the perceived value of the CD fell, manufacturer's and distributor's kept trying to sell them at the price that they held in the past. This gap in perception between consumer and label, is primarily responsible for driving people out of record stores and into downloading, burning.

It also demonstrates how product life cycles are becoming much shorter. Look at movies. The VHS tape had a long reign and with it came the video store. DVDs appeared but stores were able to survive (It's still a video store even when it's full of DVDs. Just like it is still a Record Store even though it is full of CDs) The new technology might have even bought them a couple more years. Then there was Netflix and suddenly video stores seem kind of lame. Now Netflix has been around for a few years and it is trying to shift away from mail delivery to something that would mimic "on demand". Netflix makes Video Rental look like a dinosaur but is undercut in a tenth of the time by "on demand". DVDs need to react faster than CDs and close the perception gap on value with the consumer. A DVD is headed towards life as a one use disposable item and needs to be priced accordingly. People will go the movies for 5-10 bucks and be happy. If DVDs dropped in price, you could still have people feeling good about getting them-but convenience and price are key. No one is going to be going to a video store. They need to be somewhere else. Because convenience and immediacy are perhaps even more important than price in driving new trends and sales.
Immediate access wherever you are is as important as the content. You may have the best movie,song, video, whatever, but if you lack the delivery system to send it to someones phone, laptop, next fashionable mobile device you are out of luck. And even if you have the best new idea

Wednesday, March 7, 2007


It seems like Ghost has got this break up song on every album and they are always good
Part 2. Stay warm

Ghostface Killah Run

Don Status. Nothing will heat up a cold Wed like a double shot of Ghost. Here is part one.

Tuesday, March 6, 2007

Soul Seven "everything is everything"

Now Again/Soultex/fatbeats give you Soul Seven "everything is everything" LP 3 tracks studio and one side live. A lot of unheard funk gives you rarity without hooks or sacrices sound quality. This is top grade funk, well recorded and catchy as hell.
The 3 studio tracks are all solid songs from 1969. 2 should sound familar as they are reworkings of the Meters and the Markeys. The other track turned up on the Funky 16 Corners comp which is highly recommended as is the unrelated website with the same name. The band were all students at Bishop College in Dalls Tx.
2nd track on the live side is an organ heavy insturmental that is killer almost proggy. They keep it uptempo and burn threw a full album side of live funk. Band is extremely tight as a former marching band should be.

God Squad Jesus Christ Greatest Hits LP

The Goad Squad featuring Leonard Caston. Rare Earth Records 1972. Basically a compilation of covers of songs related to Jesus. An organ driven "my sweet lord" sounds like roller rink material until the vocals kick in and the organ player cuts loose a little. Spirit in the Sky is worse than the original. The choral vocals are horrific. Once again the organ leads the charge on an orchestral "bridge over troubled waters" at least they keep it instrumental. I would say it is a little too animated to be muzak, and gets a lift near the end when the strings and organ work together, but even still why bother? A cover of "let it be" is pointless and this version is on par with the rest of the record. The roller rink organ rears it's head and makes me wonder why I am not throwing this lp across the room. They start side 2 on think ice, covering the Ramsey Lewis classic "wade in the water". Added vocals and piano instead of an organ keep it interesting. The get funky on "put your hand in the hand" but the bass and guitar get off set by the organ and JC superstar female backing chorus. "Heaven Help us All" is an instrumental track that has a couple moments, but finish listening to it and "Amazing Grace" is up next so watch out. Now if covering "Let it Be" is pointless, covering "Amazing Grace" is just stupid. But the God Squad have some tricks ups their sleeve, if you can make it past the first verse of overblown vocals, you get a double time workout for the rest of the tune(thankfully short)- a nice surprise. They close with their best groove on "oh happy day"
This record seems to shoot itself in the foot every time it hints at doing something worthwhile. I don't know why I had high hopes for this, but they were not met. 2 tracks you might throw on mixtapes just to be that guy, but otherwise forget able. I guess it is that Rare Earth record label that keeps me thinking the records will be good. It is a super hippy design, but it never pans out. Maybe that Toe Fat LP will be the one.............

Amanda Ambrose Lauging LP

Saw this in a Salvation Army with some other 70s soul and discoy records. Water damage cover, but she covers "gimme shelter". I am a sucker for Rolling Stones and Led Zep covers so this gets bought regardless of the condition. 1973. Bee Gee records?? 6 backing vocalists including Ms Snoox Hamilton -now where is her album?
Her take on Gimme Shelter was not what I expected and although not bad, it didn't have any of the menace of the original. Track 3 on side 2 "That Ain't Where It's At" has a nice G rated jazzy groove. Kinda like what you might hear playing in the background on Good Times. Have seen her records described as "soul jazz" on ebay and that seems accurate -maybe in a Roberta Flack/Stevie Wonder vein, but not at that level. "Power" the last track on side one is an upbeat mover with a groove similar to "cool jerk" with some nice horn stabs. Record has it's moments but at only 3/9 hot tracks it is not essential. She has a self titled LP on Dunwich with a couple Beatle's cover that looks good. She looks a little like Lauryn Hill on the cover of that one.
What is amazing is the lack of info online about her. Although she did have a track on the "zealous records presents Soul Sides" comp lp "sad songs" which is on this LP.

Monday, March 5, 2007

Code of Honor 7"

I used to look at this 7" in the Toxic Shock catalog and in various zines and always meant to mailorder it, but for some reason I never did. Now am forced to see it priced for way too much money all the time. ARGHGHGGHHHHHH

Skating and hardcore why did I pass this up when I was 16?It even had the cryptic and vaguely ominous title "What are we gonna do?" As if this 7" wasn't good enough, check the cover to their split LP with Sick Pleasure(also the cover of their complete CD collection) for total B&W Skate Rock Brilliance. It is amazing to think about how few records were coming out back then and most of them were amazing. Compare that with the glut of shit that drops weekly that you will never remember if you even hear it. Good old nostalgia, guess I could buy the CD and get over it.... nope