Friday, June 8, 2007

Daniel AIU Higgs Atomic Yggdrasil Tarot CD

Arcus: A dense, horizontal, roll-shaped cloud sometimes occurring at the lower front portion of a cumulonimbus.
Incus: An anvil-shaped bone between the malleus and the stapes in the mammalian middle ear. Also called anvil. or a Thunderhead Cloud
Ululat: Possibly Latin for howl, wail, screech, or cry out.
Well that really clears that up.....

An ambitious release from Daniel Arcus Incus Ululat Higgs, the interdimensional song seamstress and corpse dancer of the crags. A 6 song CD with accompanying hardcover book of paintings and poems.
The art much like his music and lyrics seem to be variations on a theme
calling attention to different attributes of the same thing. Creation,
Biology, Religion,etc all combined. The anagram based poems seem to cover the same intersection of biology and religion. The intention is for the art to be viewed with the music as a Tarot like experience.
Recorded live to cassette gives it a real "hot" sound as Aquarius likes to
say, I would settle for distorted and/or overdriven. Guitar,Piano,Banjo,
Jew's Harp, and random noises.
Starts off with a noisey blast full of random sounds. Much less focused at first listen than the 10" or his last record, Higgs continues to push into the Appalachian Ragga style he has been working with. At 11 minutes 41
seconds, Cocoon on the Cross gives him plenty of time to stretch out. I
feel some what cheated without lyrics because with a title like that I can
only imagine what the words could have been. "Creation Moon" brings some more feedback into the mix-some serious heavy metal parking lot fret work. "Hems and Seams" brings this to a close which is the most manipulated track on here. Jew's Harp in full effect. If you a are a longtime Higgs disciple, you will love it. Any fan of outsider art or oddities should enjoy as well. On his last 10" there was one side of spoken word and one side of music. On this release, words are reserved for the book and the music is strictly instrumental. With a man of Higg's caliber, I can't help but wonder if there is an unspoken reason for this dichotomy?
Thrill Jockey is the label for this transmission.

Daniel Higgs plays Southpaw 2

As a warm up to the review of his new record coming tonight.

Shellac Excellent Italian Greyhound CD

As I get older, I find more and more pleasure in fucking with people and conversely have less and less patience for being fucked with. With that in mind this record is a mixed blessing. Albini and company aren't out to make anyone happy except themselves. Outside of the Melvins, I can't think of a band who likes to torment its audience as much, and after 20+ years of doing it you have to go pretty far to find the new joke. I like dogs more than most people so the art is cool with me, it's a couple of the tunes I could live without.
Albini is blessed with a wicked guitar sound and the ability to fuse anglo post punk with classic rock boogie,and at it's best that is on display on this record-"Steady as She Goes" and "Be Prepared". He and Bob Weston also can capture every sound with scientific precision so regardless of the riffs or hooks, it sounds good. Todd Trainer is a a ridiculous rock solid drummer so the they have the total package. Outside of Brendan Canty I don't think there is much competition for him(that said I will leave the Fugazi comparisons to Pitchfrok who probably think all old people sound the same...)
"Be Prepared" is the kind of song a hairy old grump can appreciate. "I was born standing up"-yes I was and I have forgotten more than you will know. Wire meets ZZ Top never sounded so good. "elephant" brings some more obvious political commentary to the forefront and after what feels like a lifetime of neo-con idiots, who can blame them? "End of Radio" manages to transcend it's length and novelty factor to be OK, but "Genuine Lullabelle" edges my finger towards the skip button -despite the dirty talk and use of the word "lullabelle". Would D.Boon fuck around like this if he was still alive making records? Hard to say.
Finishes off strong with "Spoke" which hearkens back to the simpler glory days of Am Rep and Touch and Go.
Seven years since the last record and honestly I wasn't waiting. I think they lost me after "At action park" which is not surprise because the combined beating of that and the first two singles is hard to top, but this is a great record and a nice surprise. Like a few other records I've talked about lately, I feel that talking about them is kind of redundant. You see them and you are either going to grab them or be repelled based on their track records. Bottom line is shit like this makes you realize you don't have to get lame when you get old.

Thursday, June 7, 2007

Eccentric Soul Prix Label

This collection of Columbus's Prix label starts off strong with Eddie Ray's "Wait a Minute" -which has a very familiar intro and bridge-think Sam and Dave who he was an early associate of. 19 tracks from 70-73 make up the 15th Eccentric Soul comp from the Numero Group. As usual liner notes and photos are top notch. They scored a treasure trove of unreleased tracks for this one. Definitely a harder 70s funk edge in evidence on many tracks-mainly in a heavier guitar at times. OSF Unlimited are up next and drop an afro influenced funkstremental with a big conga breakdown. Joe King is on here twice, but it isn't the one from NH that wrote "kicked out of the webelos". This King drops some Southern Soul sounds. The Royal Esquires are no joke and "Ain't gonna Run" is a mega upbeat track. Tempation-esqe? Mitch Mitchell drops a funky organ driven jam called, "Can't get a Nuff" Tight. A lot of these songs have a subtle catchiness-they don't bash you over the head with a huge hook, but they are the kind of tracks you could play forever and not get burned out on. This is evidenced by the Soul Ensemble's "Melon Jelly". Marion Black drops an epic track "Listen Black Brother" a wandering flute and sax driven urban lament. OSF Unlimited come back with the funky masterpiece "Mr.Kidney" God Damn! Top track of the comp for sure! Marion Black comes a lot more focused on funy on "Come on and Gettit" Yes Gettit is one word. He does some serious James Brown grunting on this one.
The story of this label and it's relation to a small recording studio is pretty cool.
This is another banger from the Numero Group and may be the best one yet.

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

Bike Tech and Seat Masts

The week after a Grand Tour is a depressing time if you are a bike news junkie. Where is the constant stream of info, results, rumors, and tech reports??? Hats off to Trek who used this lull to launch their new Madone design. Velo News has the story. A lot of new innovations packed into one frame, but some of the new tech they are dropping has me thinking....
Are integrated seat masts/post the new integrated headset or the new
biopace? A few years back when integrated headsets came out, doubters
claimed that any improvements would be offest by the chance of the head
tube ovalizing. A few years have past and the integrated headset seems
to be on its way to becoming an industry standard rather than failure. Even the evolution from 1" to 1.125" seems to be continuing with the emergence of 1.5" headtubes that taper to 1.125" for increased rigidity.
This year has had the emergence of the integrated seat mast replacing the
seat post on the highest end bikes. Giant,Scott, Ridley and Look are ahead of the curve on this and it looks like Trek is now jumping in the mix. Benefits are alleged to be a weight reduction and increased stiffness. Disadvantage is cost, difficulty of set up, and inability to make big changes post set up. (You
can avoid cutting down a fork crown if you want to sell the bike later,
this doesn't appear to be an option a seat post.**Trek's design may avoid this flaw)
Will this become the new standard? It seems to add around $500 bucks to the cost of the frame. So assume you don't have to buy a Record seatpost which saves you $140 bucks you are still out at $360 bucks over the cost of a standard frame. A 500 dollar seat post is a tough sell to me. Is it worth the weight savings and headaches? Does it improve power transfer, handling, or stiffness that much? Hard to say, but it is scary how quickly cycling tech is advancing with cost seemingly not an issue. Good news is the good innovations seem to trickle down pretty fast to lower end models.
Another bet the farm innovation is the new oversized bottom bracket with integrated crankset that both Cannondale and Specialized are rocking. In the last few years we have seen the 1.5 head tube, integrated seat mast, oversize bottom bracket, outboard BB bearings, compact cranks, the carbon fibre crank and component in general explosion, the list goes on. How many parts on a bike are left to improve? How long til electric shifting is rolled out? The divide between frame builder and component builder is becoming less clear, and the emergence of other component manufacturers has got to ratchet up the pressure on Campagnolo and Shimano to innovate.
The two biggest criteria I always hear people lusting after are light weight and stiffness. If you have the cash either(and maybe both) can be delivered beyond you expectation and even on a budget you can get them up to or beyond your needs.

Cannonball Adderly Mercy Mercy Mercy b/w Games 45

This was 45 was taken from the "mercy,mercy,mercy live at the club.." LP. Turns out it was recorded in the studio and the shouting are some drunken guests told to liven things up.
Joe Zawinul's "mercy,mercy,mercy" is some soulful late night groove a la Mingus at his prayer meeting best. Nice building chorus with the swelling volume making up for the steady tempo. The "audience noise" is a nice touch.
"Games" is a more upbeat rollicking Nat composition that is equally as good.

Own the LP, and would highly recommend grabbing it if you don't, but this 45 does hold 2 of its best tracks. Capitol Records #5798. If you ever need to know anything about Cannonball Adderly records check here That is an extnsive and extremely complete collection there!
And yes this another one from the Brighton Yard Sale Score (BYSS)

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Messthetics #101 DIY 77-81 London CD

22 tracks of DIY tunes from Messthetics. I am aware of DIY thanks to Ugly Things and a few reviews of this series. I was hesitant to even check it out. The last thing I need is to expand my wantlist into another entire genre(using this same reasoning I avoided a lot of the late 90 New Zealand indie scene-knox,gailbraith, etc). But I was curious and how much trouble can one cd comp be? I figured it would be art school rambling on some Beefheart or post punk level. I figured it would all sound like the Swell Maps or Soft Boys or something. Well it is all "English,English" but it runs the gamut form catchy proto pop to arty damage to stuttering punk. Generally more reverb than distortion and more keyboards. Not unlike some stuff you would hear later on K Records or other anglo-influenced indies here in the States.
These were some of the tracks that stood out to me. Rich and Famous's "Machine Gun" sounds like the Buzzcocks with synths replacing the guitars. Super catchy. Acid Drops have a classic catchy anglo tune with "Distance"-the kind of song you swear you've heard before. Existence follow a few tracks later with the laid back and catchy "I'm Glad". For the truly dedicated beat digger, you could try and grab The Door and the Window's "part time punks" single which has a nice break that is unlikely to have been sampled. A hit or miss collection. Interesting, but not mind blowing-there were definitely a chunk of tracks I skipped through, but most are painless at less than 3 minutes a pop.
This is really like kicking over a rock and finding a giant hole in the ground. Check the Hyped to Death website and you will discover a whole world of comps of super rare records. And don't worry once you get through all 8 of the Messthetics series you have 7 volumes of Homework-the US DIY comp series. Jump in if you have the time. Good news is Hyped2Death keep it affordable with a CDR series. Nice.
Soul Jazz is releasing a comp covering the DIY scene. In general I am a supporter of theirs, but the take the loss trying to launch a one disc comp against this mountain of material from Hyped to Death. Especially when SJ have more mainstream bands like the Buzzcocks and Red Lorry, Yellow Lorry taking up space on their comp.

fixed gear horror shows

Boston is a town full of people on bikes which should be a good thing, but some of the things you see people riding make me cringe. I am not talking about dept store bikes or budget bikes, but idiots who think just becuase it's a "fixed gear" all other rules of bike fit and gearing go out the window. This is a short list of some of my favorite malfunctions.
1. Bike fit. Small person giant bike is always a good one (just like Chris Farley in the tiny jacket-it is funny but doesn't look right or work well), but the too tall seat post is another classic. Are you trying to look like Pettachi? If you look like a hunchback bending down trying to grab you bars, there is a thing called an allen wrench that can help. Couple the huge drop and reach with a giant messenger bag and an average speed of 10MPH and you have something that looks like a grazing camel not a bike rider.
2.Gearing. Are you trying to win the kilo? What is up with the giant gearing? Do you want knees when you are 30?. Too hard to spin and too hard to stop. Why is there a 50+ tooth ring on your bike? Why is their an 11 or 12 tooth cog? 60-70RPM worked for Ullrich but one of his thighs was the size of your waist. Learn to spin. Ask someone about gearing. Riding a bike can be fun and fast.
3. Helmets. I hate to be the scold on this one and I am a hypocrite because I used to never wear helmets, but if you are going to play in traffic all day and do it half in the bag at night a helmet isn't a bad idea. A side note, kids rocking Cinelli caps when they are running no Cinelli parts (or Campy, etc) always annoy me, but to reiterate I am a hairy old grump so deal.

Monday, June 4, 2007

Paris Brest Paris, 80s Highlights

Some classic footage from Brevet afficianado fixedgearhead.
Soundtrack is classic.

Boston Chinks

The band name alone is reason enough to pick up the single to see what is going on. Add to that the label, Goner, and the song title Coltrane and you have an intriguing mix. What is the Memphis super label up to? Are these guys from Boston? If not what is a boston chink? and how will this entangle John Coltrane in the blown out punk web of Memphis/Goner scene?
The tunes are not quite what you would expect. 4 songs Simple catchy punk tunes. To me it's got a real English vibe. The riffs hearken back to classic late 70s Brit punk/oi/power pop. Production is standard blown out Goner style. Nice curveball as I was expecting some blues-punk stomp. Also reminiscent of Ohio band Gaunt. These guys have got the hooks, the riffs, the whatever. Classic 45 even if I still don't know what a Boston Chink is.

Sunday, June 3, 2007

Giro Finale

I was away for the final weekend of the Giro and was dissapointed to see Simoni knocked off the podium on the second to last day. Ouch. But that is what happens when you end 2+ minutes down from your biggest rival.
DiLuca and Liquigas rode a fantastic and aggressive Giro. DiLuca shut up his critics and kicked ass. Best Giro in a few years for sure. Andy Schleck is the revelation amongst a bunch of older dudes. Cunego and Ricco and 5th and 6th are the other young guns.
1 Danilo Di Luca (Ita) Liquigas 92.59.39
2 Andy Schleck (Lux) Team CSC 1.55
3 Eddy Mazzoleni (Ita) Astana 2.25
4 Gilberto Simoni (Ita) Saunier Duval - Prodir 3.15
5 Damiano Cunego (Ita) Lampre - Fondital 3.49
6 Riccardo Ricco (Ita) Saunier Duval - Prodir 7.00
7 Evgeni Petrov (Rus) Tinkoff Credit System 8.34
8 Marzio Bruseghin (Ita) Lampre - Fondital 10.14
9 Franco Pellizotti (Ita) Liquigas 10.44
10 David Arroyo Duran (Spa) Caisse d'Epargne 11.58
I hope this is an indication of how open and aggressive this years TDF will be.