Friday, April 20, 2007

Snake Apartment

This splattered green vinyl platter opens with a track "Paint the Walls" that sounds like later era Black Flag jamming with Jesus Lizard-and it sounds good on 33 or the 45RPMs it is supposed to spin on. Snake Apartment hail from Providence RI and Parts Unknown Records is the label bringing this to your attention. 6 songs
A sick guitar sound will go a long way in my book and these guys got it. Ginn like solos, but a much heavier guitar sound. A throw back to the glory days when armies of drugged up scum bags were dropping endless hours of slugdey punk and dirgey noise. Remember back when it seemed like AM REP could do no wrong and you were psyched to grab records on Sub-Pop and Touch and Go?
Cover is some Bad Trip Savage Pencil looking thing and the insert is more trad hardcore look. The Endless Bummer cartoon is a nice twisted piece.
Before you take a handful of pills and half a bottle of vodka and try and jam on Funhouse or Big Jesus Trashcan, save your self the time. Put this on the turntable and chill.

Jiva S/T LP Krsna Rock V#13

Jiva were a band signed to George Harrison's Darkhorse label. The featured Gary Wright (yes Dreamweaver Gary Wright) on keyboards and dropped a 10 song lp back in 1976.
This alone would not land them in the WWIS Krsna Rock series, it is their connection to Indian Guru Maharaji that lands them here. I previously reviewed a record by the band Blue Aquarius-also followers of Guru Maharaji. Even though they are not followers of Prabupadha, I feel they've earned a spot in the KR series.
Now for the music "soulful,white funk rock" is a likely description if you ever see it for sale. To me I was hearing pretty typical 70s California colonic-rock. Slight Framptony feel to the vocals. Side one went by with very little catching my ear. Side 2 opens up with "World of Love" which was much more memorable. They keep a funky disco rock groove going on the next track. They kind of dabble in the Steely Dan type of rock. "Don't be Sad" has the bass player stepping up on a catchy tune -something familiar about it, but I can't place it. Sounds like it could have used some steel drums or something. "All is Well" seems to bear the George Harrison influence the heaviest-sounds like something Paul McCartney might have sung all right. Another way to say that could be, "the last song on the record sounded like a cut rate ham handed stab at 'let it be'". If this band could have come up with some compelling hooks or chorus, they might not have been lost to the cutout bins.
I couldn't end this review without commenting on the cover. I think the pudgy dude on the right is a little uncomfortable next to his hunky waif bandmates. I cannot stand musicians who appear shoeless on their record covers. Millions of people could potentially buy your record and you can't even fucking put shoes on? What is wrong with you? I guess these guys should get a pass since they look like they are in some Utah salt flat or something.

Week in Cycling

Week long stage races are usually decided by seconds not minutes or quarter of hours. So the tactical wisdom of letting a break in the TOG get a 30 minute lead may be in doubt. Unless the tactics of the teams not represented in the break was to haul out the white flag and shoot for stage wins. Yesterday's time trial was won easily by Levi Leiphemer who might just end up the sole Discovery leader at the Tour if the Basso/Puerto/DNA thing keeps going. Today on the Brasstown Bald should finalize the GC. Brajkovic might be in a position to snag the overall win which would be a great victory for him. Leiphemer makes it 2 stages in a row with a decisive ride on the Brasstown Bald. The GC battle between Brajkovic and Vandevelde continues with Brajkovic still holding the overall. With a race this close some Vino like tactics and aggression will be necessary to upset the GC.
Amstel Gold is Sunday Rabobank and the back on track Oscar Freire have to be favorites. CSC have a strong team ready including the currently racing in Georgia Christin Vandevelde.... straight from the airport to the race? Seeing that he is in 2nd place in Georgia and the race ends Sunday his presence seems unlikely. Valverde will be here prepping for the Ardennes races the following weeeks.

Clarene Reid Allston 45

Clarence Reid drops 2 shots of Southern Soul on Allston. Still hard to believe that this is Blowfly. "Good Old Days" is the Plugside from 1971. Pretty forgetable feel good track about doing it better the second time around. Although I guess it was one of his billboard charting hits. Back up vocalists kind of overpower him on the track. "10 Tons of Dynamite" is how hard her sweet love hit him. Nice mid tempo track that is better than the A-side. I can only imagine the lyrics his alter ego Blowfly would have given to a track called "10 Tens of..." anything.
I have yet to grab a 45 on Allston that was killer. They have the right artists, but I have yet to been floored by one of their records.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

A bike for every purpose

It is pretty amazing when you look at all the under $1000 bikes that cater to small sections of the cycling community -cross, single speed cross, commuter, fixed gear galores etc. Seems like you used to have to build all this up on a frame or mutate and existing bike to get what you want. Now almost any configuration is waiting to ride out of the shop. It wasn't too many years ago that a single speed mountain bike or cross frame would have been custom only.
You want a single speed commuter with mustache bars stock? Redline is waiting.
Generators, fenders, and internally geared hubs? Bianchi's got you. Bianchi aslo has your single speed cross bike (with or without disc brakes even) and pee wee commuter ready as well. Bianchi just keeps pumping them out.
29" rigid single speed mtb? You can try SE Racing or Raleigh and not break a grand. Bianchi also an offering-of course.
You want something that looks like an old beach cruiser but might ride better? Van Dessels waiting with the Counry Road Bob.
I have not mentioned Surly but they have nine highly flexible frames you can build up (8 really since one is a unicycle)
Soft goods kings, Swobo, even have three bike choices for all your urban transport needs.
Nothing will ever match getting a custom bike built just for you or stumbling across a cool old frame and building it up exactly as you envision it, but it is amazing what you can grab off the rack that is so specialized.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Freeze Live on Cape Cod LP

I was surprised by the cover art and graphics of this release, it looked more like OBEY! style graphic art than a land of the lost collage. But for a live Freeze set from my hometown from when I was 11, I'm not going to worry too much about cover art.
That said even the color scheme was something new for a Freeze record. Not to worry about the music this is classic Freeze live at the Mill Hill Club a dive bar for college kids in the summer. The combination of the new wavey back up vocals and the bass driven poppy hooks brings to mine the Jabbers more than the Pistols. They definitely had an LA influence on some of these tracks-Dangerhouse. 19 songs with 9 unreleased or at least unknown to me. Sound Quality is patchy but we are talking about something that probably should not have been recorded let alone survive. If you care enough to buy a live Freeze LP from 1980, you are probably ready to accept some issues with sound quality.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Watain Sworn to the Dark

Ajna Offensive unleash this record (double lp limited to 500 and CD) on the world. Brutal and unrelenting black metal. Production is super powerful and all the riffs are incredibly catchy. This builds on their first to records but pushes well beyond what they were doing. Graphics are awesome dark,satanic, and cryptic. Touring the US with AngelCorpse and Nachmystium in May!

Yeti Cross Bike

Cyclingnews had pictures of a sweet Yeti Cross Bike. Crazy shaped top tube for the shoulder carry. Looptail at the back the looks like some old SE Racing BMX shit. Check it. Excellent attention to detail and a serious cross ready machine. That is a nice bike even with that color scheme.
Pez dropped the first Roubaix bike tech article. Nothing to crazy except for Ballan's bike 2/3rds of the way down the page. Check out the flipped over seat stays. Nice. Looking forward to seeing more.. more.... more...

Massive respect to these sites for being expert bike dectectives

Crash of Thunder -Vampisoul comp of the King labels

A King records comp with no James Brown tracks? 20 tracks of some of the more obscure tracks from King,Federal, and Deluxe labels. Mickey Murray was only name that rang a bell. Peggy and Artie's "How do you Feel" is a classic lost gem that fades out too fast. Jeb Stuart tells you how to "Soul Jerk It, Baby" which has a couple nice breakdowns to hand claps and drums. Mary Queenie Lyons drops an excellent version of "Fever"-with a killer drum break. There's 2 things you don't mess with if you don't want to upset Charles Spurling-"his money and his honey". So take his advice and stay out of his "Dangerzone" or he will take your life. He sounds so happy for a guy threatening to kill you so watch out-he actually sounds a little like Jackie Wilson. Charles comes back a few tracks later with "Let me be(a steppin soul)" An urgent up temp rocker. IF you ever wondered if Mickey Murray's siblings were funky, Clarence answers with a hell yeah on his track, "The Book of Love". The Presidents drop some serious rock tinged funk.
Very brief liner notes, but Matt "Mr Fine Wine" Weingarden packs in the info. Vampisoul once again manage to put together a killer soul comp that should keep you dancing.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Tour of Georgia Kicks off

Tour of Georgia starts today with a stage for the sprinters 153K. 7 stages in all. Discovery have brought out the heavy hitters and arguably have the strongest team in the race with Danielson,Leiphemer,Hincapie supported by Brajkovic,Vandborg, and Padrnos. CSC have the on form JJ Haedo who should clean up the sprints as well as Dave Zabriskie. Saunier Duval bring in some big names with Simoni and Millar. Quickstep and Lotto both are in the race but with the Classics just ending it isn't with the A-Team.
Domestic Squads are fully represented and HealthNet, Navigators, and Toyota United all look strong. Tinkoff have Pavel Brutt and of course the returning Tyler Hamilton. I still remain conflicted on Tyler's return and am expecting to revel in his lack of form. Maybe David Millar can talk some sense into him. I wouldn't be surprised if Hamilton pulled a teary eyed rerun of the Richard Virenque story.
Stages 4 and 5 should be decisive-an ITT followed by Brasstown Bald.
I will predict a podium consisting of Danielson,Leiphemer. and Zabriskie. I would love to see a couple domestic teams work together to bring the Pro-Tour giants to their knees but I doubt it will happen. Domestic teams will probably have to be content to lose time and gun for stage wins.
Hopefully a serious duel between domestic and international climbers with Simoni vs Grajales on Brasstown. Without a doubt Saunier Duval have the best named rider in the racw with Dutchman Remmert Cornelis Wielinga!
Can George Hincapie escape his bad luck and get some results in Georgia? With Discovery's team sponsorship unclear for next year, George needs some results if he is to remain a leader for the classics. Otherwise he better be prepared to make like Van Petegam or Horner and work for a new leader.

Pais Vasco wrapped up with Sammy Sanchez winning a time trial and Juan Cobo from Saunier Duval getting the overall. Contador continues to stay strong
Ardennes classics are lurking only about a week away for Leige and 2 weeks for Fleche Wallone and of course Amstel Gold. Nice.

MuthaFunkinSonofaBitch comp CD

16 tracks of instrumental funk on Funkadelphia Records Same label that did the killer Philly Soul Girls comp. Check the site, they have tons of reissues 45 and CD.
MFSB might have supposed to mean "Mother,Father,Sister, Brother" but "MuthafunkinSonofaBitch" is just as believable to me.
The members of these bands all went on to work with Philly International and build the more lush Gamble-Huff sound as MFSB backing groups like the Delfonics,OJays, and Spinners but don't expect that level of polish here-this is gut bucket funk. Best band name? Race Street Chinatown Band of course! Supposedly these got released as 45s. Good luck finding them. Lots of organ,wah-wah, horns. Best song title? "Egg Foo Wa Wa". The interpretations "Jason Pew Mosso" has some nice psuedo sitar action. All killer.

Possibly worth it just for this quote from Sun Ra, "To save the planet I had to go to the worst spot on Earth, and that was Philadelphia which was death's headquarters".
Damn. I would have guessed Trenton or Cleveland.

Amnesty Free Your Mind reissue CD

A Now Again/Stones Throw/700 West Reissue of some killer funk.
This record did not grab me on first listen and I must have had a serious stick up my ass that day. It took a rainy ride to Lawrence to bring the brilliance of this record into focus. Awesome cosmic crying afro-woman cover art. 10 tracks from 1973 "Prog Funk" was the description given by a fellow traveller that day. Bass driven with tons of tempo changes. Excellent group vocals. This is funk in the vein of Funkadelic, but the grooves are wicked and stay focused. They had a track on the massive Cold Heat comp. They must have ruled Indianapolis back in the late 60s through the early 70s. "Can I Help You" opens things up with the bass player leading the way. "Love Fades" has a wicked groove, driving horns, and a Hendrixy feel. "Free your mind" has a massive groove and was on the Cold Heat comp. Huge! "Lord Help Me" has some Temptations worthy vocal work.
There are a couple reissue 45s you can snatch up to if interested.
You cannot go wrong grabbing this CD.

Sunday, April 15, 2007


O'Grady wins Paris Roubaix!. I have been banking on him all season and the one time I leave him off my podium list, I get burned. He went with a large breakaway and road it to victory, not unlike something Jens Voigt might do. I was 0 for 3 on my podium predictions and 4/10 for my top 10 predictions. Massive dust caused trouble and there were plenty of crashes without any rain or mud.
O'Grady certainly saved his victory for a true classic. CSC snares 2 Robaix wins in 2 years. Impressive. Wesseman also rode to podium spot with no team support. Flecha confirms he is no fluke with 2nd place.

Soul Children Hold On I'm Coming CD

Mid 90s Stax reissue of 14 Soul Children tracks. 8 from 70-73, 4 from the disco days, and 2 live from WattStax. The Soul Children were 4 singers 2 men/2 ladies. Formed around John "Blackfoot" Colbert. Classic Stax sound of the 1st 8 tracks. "Hold On I'm Coming" is a rework of the Sam and Dave classic. "riding on love's merry-go-round" has a totally hectic arrangement. They do a major overhaul of Lou Rawl's "Love is Hurtin Thing". Buried on the B-Side of on of the disco tracks is a killer Stevie Wonder cover of "signe,sealed,delivered, I'm yours". Closing it out with 2 live from the WattStax fest is a no lose proposition. Gospel rarity, "I Don't Know What this World is Coming To" is a knock out punch and the he vs she slugfest of "hearsay" brings the battle of the sexes to a boiling point.
I have mixed feelings about the rebirth of the Stax label. Comebacks are never easy, especially when you are competing against classics. Ask Jordan or Jay-Z. But regardless of what the put out for new music, they can mine a ton of gold out of their back catalog.

The Freeze 7"s reissues

Schizophrenic records has reissued a couple Freeze classics as well as unearthing a live LP worth of music from 1980!(to be reviewed later) Each record comes with all the original inserts and bonus interviews and/or artwork. Props to Schizophrenic.
Guilty Face 4 original tracks plus 2 unreleased songs from the Boston Not LA sessions!!
"Violent Arrest" is a classic and my favorite song from this record. Especially if you've ever seen the Mill Hill Club. I remember buying this in the Cape Cod Mall when I was a young one (Record Town?) $2.49 and the price tag is still on there.
"We're not the Abnormal Ones" has kind of an Avengers sound and a classic punk lyric "were not the abnormal ones.... you are!". "I'm too Good for you" is a earlier version of "Princess Die" that is a bass driven killer and a cool glimpse into the origins of that song.
Snatching the unreleased tracks vaults this reissue ahead of the Ac/tion recods white vinyl 10" reissue from a few years ago.(OK when I say a few years, it is probably a decade or more, but is seems like yesterday)
"I Hate Tourists" is a KBD classic and an anthem for any real Cape Codder who has spent time gridlocked in traffic. The flipside is weak (terrible actually) and overall I have always thought this single to be overrated compared to their other releases. The reissue comes with a faux construction paper cover and an Winston Smith inspired alternate cover that is in keeping with the Freeze's LP artwork. I found a copy of this 45 (no cover) in the Salvation Army in Hyannis. 25 cents. Classic score.
Someone needs to trackdown the 16mm video epic "Pyro" and get cracking on a DVD single of that!
The Freeze can of course be found on myspace.