Tuesday, September 20, 2016

BETTY BOOP "Boop-Boop-Be-Doop!"

Yes, I'm alive and well! This blog ain't dead yet. I've just been spending my free time on other pursuits.

You don't need me to tell you who Betty Boop is. But there's more to this perennially popular cartoon character than her famous flapper look and squeaky voice exclaiming her "boop boop be doop" catchphrase. Women in the Victorian era had to endure not just social/political restrictions (no swimming allowed!), but physical ones as well. I recently saw a museum exhibit of the almost bondage-like garb of the day: tight corsets, thick layers of clothes and padding, long skirts that killed thousands of women by getting caught in machinery, wheels, etc. By the 1920s, the fun-loving young women known as "flappers" threw all that mess out the window and started jitterbugging to the new sounds of hot jazz, smoking and drinking and engaging in other such un-lady-like activities, all while wearing little more than short dresses. They had one of the first extensively chronicled slang-uages, even preceding the jazz hep-cat culture. I would wager to say that the flapper was the first hipster.

The Fleischer Brothers studio wouldn't introduce Betty Boop to the silver screen until the 1930s, when the Great Depression was throwing a wet blanket over the flapper culture of the Roaring 20s. But Miss Boop kept the indomitable flapper spirit going, providing a link, via appearances by novelty jazz legend Cab Calloway, to the emerging Harlem hipster era that would come to define mid-century cool culture. In the pre-Code era, this risque, adult cartoon was often built around musical sequences, and this wonderful collection presents not just songs and musical segments from the cartoons, but even a couple of songs from Helen Kane, the original squeaky-voiced singer with the New Yawk accent that inspired the Boop character. Totally essential.

A helpful Amazon reviewer notes "not all tracks are Betty herself (voiced by Mae Questel). But, many of the non-Betty tracks are from Fleischer Studios cartoons. Her “hot” theme song, sung by male vocals, began several Betty Boop cartoons... Fanny Brice singing, “I’m An Indian,” plus Maurice Chevalier’s “Hello Beautiful”  from the cartoon “Betty Boop’s Rise to Fame” (1934) wherein Betty imitates those stars on those songs. That soundtrack is also included...there are two Helen Kane songs (“That’s My Weakness Now”, “Do Something”)...Cab Calloway’s two songs from “The Old Man of the Mountain” (1933) that finish this CD... I find the Fleischer versions better than Calloway’s official studio recordings for 78 rpm. The other Calloway recordings on this CD are also from Betty Boop cartoons..."

Plus, you get Louis Armstrong, and Calloway's signature hit "Minnie The Moocher," a version of which was just featured in the "Forbidden Zone" soundtrack we posted recently. In the song, Calloway references "kicking the gong around," meaning smoking opium. Did I mention that "Betty Boop" was originally an adult's cartoon?

And I'm still waiting for Cyndi Lauper to fulfill her destiny by making a Betty Boop-type record...

 BETTY BOOP "Boop-Boop-Be-Doop!"

Tracklist 

1Betty Boop Theme0:35
2Sweet Betty/Don't Take My Boop-Boop-A-Doop Away/The Girl In The Little Green Hat6:15
3Highlight From 'Betty Boop's Little Pal'1:28
4Helen Kane: That's My Weakness Now3:35
5Fanny Brice: I'm An Indian2:52
6Maurice Chevalier: Hello Beautiful2:19
7Stopping The Show3:15
8Arthur Jarrett: Sweet Betty Theme0:36
9Cab Calloway: Minnie The Moocher3:28
10Betty Boop's Trial5:44
11Arthur Jarrett: Sweet Betty Theme0:35
12I'll be Glad When You're Dead, You Rascal You (with Louis Armstrong)2:27
13Music Goes "Round And Around2:38
14St. James Infirmary Blues1:42
15Helen Kane: Do Something2:37
16Chant Of The Weed (instrumental)1:23
17Highlights From 'I Heard'4:18
18Betty Boop Theme0:47
19The Broken Record2:36
20Hell's Bells (instrumental)2:29
21Cab Calloway: The Old Man Of The Mountain3:00
22Cab Calloway: You Gotta Hi-De-Ho2:40
23
Betty Boop
2:31
















Friday, July 29, 2016

BEHOLD! THE ANARCHESTRA


Alex Ferris is quite obviously a genius, a 62-year-old inventor/composer who lives in the desert with his large array of giant, weird, hand-built musical instruments tuned to microtonal scales. It all sounds so impossibly obscure, esoteric, and outsider-y, but the music is beautiful. Even with it's lack of conventional instruments and standard Western "do-re-mi" scales, it's compulsively listenable. It helps that The Anarchestra (which could mean anything from Ferris solo to a large group) has a very tight rhythmic sense. His earlier pieces, performed in 4/4 time, have almost an Afro-Cuban level of funkiness. Not the sort of thing that gets play in discos, but it should.

Tho these are all instrumentals, with no noisy guitars or shouted vocals, the punk influence is clear, not just in the band name, but in the economy of the compositions. There's no long intros, drawn-out endings, or endless noodling. A piece begins with most of the instruments playing at once, all locked in, then a few minutes later, it stops. All that's missing is Dee Dee Ramone shouting "1, 2, 3, 4" between each track. There's a lot of albums, but it doesn't take hours of wading thu it all to find something good. You'll know right away. And what could be more DIY than building your own instruments?

Ferris' instruments don't create too many harsh noises. Percussion, strings, winds...it's all  so musical - the heir to the Harry Partch/Moondog legacy of eccentric visionaries. More recent albums have an almost meditative calm to them, but it's more "In A Silent Way"-era Miles Davis than New Age. Too much banging-and-clanging for the yoga set.

I actively seek out both invented instrument and microtonal music, so I'm amazed that I haven't heard of this guy before, but he seems to have made little effort to connect to the music world, even the avant-garde scene. He has been coming aboveground lately, releasing an enormous amount of music on his

Bandcamp page.

It's all very consistent. From what I've heard, I'd say that you could jump in anywhere, the water's fine. I happen to be listening to the "KLEKT" album as I write this, and it's probably as good a place to start as any. Highlights include the wonderfully spooky "klekt 12," and the all-too-brief 1 minute long "klekt 7." Some tracks could be "Rain Dogs"-era Tom Waits instrumentals.

Dig this 67-minute documentary:


Speaking of Harry Partch, I was amazed to read that Paul Simon is using some of Partch's instruments on his latest album. Oh great. He'll probably ruin microtonal music the way "Graceland" drove people away from the glory and wonder of African music, which sadly, to this day, still has yet to shake the hippie/urban trendy/"World Music" tag. Still, I am a little curious. Not curious to have actually listened to it yet, tho. Have any of you? Is outsider music made on homemade instruments the new NPR fad?

Here's something you most certainly will like listening to: that wonder from Down Under, Buttress O'Kneel, who's the one who hepped us to the Anarchestra in the first place. Thanks, BOK! And dig the latest release from the mistress of mad mashup madness and berserk break-core:

"Lemons": made entirely from 2 recent Beyoncé songs, chopped and sliced like, well, lemons.




Saturday, July 16, 2016

The Dissection And Reconstruction Of Music From The Past As Performed By The Inmates Of Lalo Schifrin's Demented Ensemble As A Tribute To The Memory Of The Marquis De Sade

Why, lookee here, it's our super-swell pals from the Growing Bored For A Living Blog. You know, the ones who slipped us those nutty "Sesame Street Disco" albums. Let's find out what those crazy kids up to now:

Hello, all. Been 6 months since I've had something cool to drop in the M4M cauldron. Found this in a cobwebbed corner of the Internet long ago. Needless to say, the title jumped out at me. Quite a handle, huh?

So, what is it? Well, with a title like that, you'd expect it to  be someone screaming into a piano soundboard while some other Mad Hatter banged a pan and recited snippets from "Philosophy In the Bedroom" or "The 120 Days"? Something like the audio equivalent of watching El Topo, maybe?

No, it's actually just a jazz album, and I admit one that's not near scary enough for a title like that! Mr. Schifrin  was known at the time for his jazzy film scores like The Cincinnati Kid or the Mission: Impossible theme. He doesn't stray too far from those roots. What he does do though is take aspects of 18th century music and apply them to a swinging, mid-60's jazz context.

You hear the gentle opening guitar notes of "Renaissance" and you can imagine them being played on a harpsichord. When an actual harpsichord shows up on "Beneath The Weeping Willow Shade", it seems appropriate under those period-style vocals. And then when that track kicks into gear, it still works. And man, on "Versailles Promenade", the guy is working that harpsichord like Bud Powell!

It's brave that the title track, "Marquis De Sade", has the most pop melody of the whole set. Imagine seeing that song on a hit parade! "Blues For Johann Sebastian Bach" is a great piano-led swinger. "Bossa Antique" is a dark little number, reminding me more than a little of Angelo Badalamenti's work for David Lynch.

Putting this in a kind of historical context - this album came out in 1966. Ten or fifteen years before, De Sade had gotten his first major reprinting and critical reassessment in his native France. The play Marat/Sade had opened in Germany in 1963. In fact, this album's long title is a homage to the full title of that play -


So, in a way De Sade was kind of an icon of the underground/avant-garde back then. How he inspired this well-played but still mainstream jazz album is beyond me. The Sixties were a strange time all over, I guess.

But this is a swinging little oddity! Put out by Verve Records, produced by Creed Taylor, recorded by the great Rudy Van Gelder. Was put out as one of those Limited Edition CDs, now runs for $100 or more. Files sound great @320 Kbps, and also includes full art.

Thanks for checking this out, and as always feel free to poke around Growing Bored For A Living. We try to keep it eclectic, something I learned from our esteemed Mr. Fab here at Music For Maniacs. Stay crazy, everybody. The Marquis did....

The Dissection And Reconstruction Of Music From The Past As Performed By The Inmates Of Lalo Schifrin's Demented Ensemble As A Tribute To The Memory Of The Marquis De Sade


Sunday, July 03, 2016

The GTO's "Permanent Damage"

I (and my family) now own the Frank Zappa family cat. Said cat was given to us by the queen of the groupies, Pamela Des Barres. No, I'm not making this up.

Frank Zappa died over 20 years ago, his wife Gail just died last year, and as you may have heard, there has been a much-publicized and unpleasant squabble amongst the four Zappa children. But one thing Ahmet, Moon Unit, Dweezil, and Diva can agree on is: no-one wants Gail's cat.

Enter Miss Pamela. The best-selling author of "I'm With The Band" has known the Zappa  family since Frank's old band the Mothers of Invention ruled the Sunset Strip in the late '60s.  Ms. Des Barres used to babysit the Zappa kids, and Frank produced and played on the one and only album by des Barres' groupie-group, the GTOs, aka Girls Together Outrageously. 

But Pamela couldn't keep the kitty. He did not get along with one of Des Barres' other cats so she put the word out that the Zappa-cat was free to a good home. Instead, he ended up in mine. Kidding! But yeah, my wife learned of this thru the social-media grapevine, and now we own Bongo. Who I hope is not named after the Zappa/Captain Beefheart album "Bongo Fury," because a furious cat who has not been de-clawed suggests another Zappa album title: "Weasels Ripped My Flesh."

But he seems fine, so let's celebrate the arrival of the newest member of the family with this true cult classic of an album. Des Barres and her fellow scenesters were most certainly not trained singers, but I wouldn't have it any other way - their daffy enthusiasm is a beautiful thing to behold. And in any case, they receive sympathetic assistance from not only The Mothers, but Davy Jones of the Monkees, Jeff Beck, and an out-of-place Rod Stewart. Tho just about anyone normal and mainstream would sound out-of-place on this unselfconsciously kooky mixture of gossipy, sometimes lurid spoken word (subjects include: Beefheart's choice of foot-wear, and foxy 11-year-old boys who resemble Brian Jones), guest appearances (a kinda creepy Rodney Bingeheimer), and surprisingly catchy eccentric pop songs. Day-glo earworms!

The GTO's "Permanent Damage" (1969; liner notes from the album:)
1.

"The Eureka Springs Garbage Lady" (lead vocal: Miss Christine) 3:47
2. "Miss Pamela and Miss Sparky discuss STUFFED BRAS and some of their early gym class experiences"   2:10
3. "Who's Jim Sox?" (Spoken: A B.T.O. is the opposite of a G.T.O. only they get in there more - sexually, than we do. It means, Boys Together Often, Only, Occasionally, Organically, Outrageously. All those O’s.) 0:18
4. "Kansas and the BTO's"   1:12
5. "The Captain's Fat Theresa Shoes" (This is a song about a pair of crazed shoes CAPTAIN BEEFHEART wears.) 1:56
6. "Wouldn't it be Sad if There Were No Cones?" (Miss Pamela & Sparky discuss the manner in which local Hollywood soul brothers make sexual advances in front of the Whisky a Go Go.) 1:11
7. "Do Me in Once and I'll Be Sad, Do Me in Twice and I'll Know Better (Circular Circulation)" (This is a reasonably abstruse love song with a gentle bum in it.) 2:19
8. "The Moche Monster Review" (Miss Pamela gives us an insight into the behavior of “the other breed” who drive “soft cars”… the sexual advances they make toward girls while they’re hitchhiking.) 1:46
9. "TV Lives" (A brief word about television. This song is nearly as absurd as the medium it describes.) 1:03
10. "Rodney" (Rodney Bingenheimer is one of the more unique figures of contemporary social history. The G.T.O.s have put together an unusual piece which includes the voice of Mr. Bingenheimer as he comments on the lyrics which have been written about his peculiar exploits. This “song” might give you a broad view of the scene in Hollywood as it relates to the Sunset Strip’s foremost male groupie.) 3:42
11. "I Have a Paintbrush in My Hand to Color a Triangle (Mercy’s Tune)" (This is a song about a lovers’ triangle which involves Brian Jones, Bernardo B.T.O. and Mercy.) 2:11
12. "Miss Christine's First Conversation With the Plaster Casters of Chicago" (In this episode we find our exotic Yugoslavian maiden explaining her moral viewpoint after reading a short segment of Cynthia Plaster Caster’s diary.) 0:57
13. "The Original GTO's" (Miss Lucy and Miss Johna were the originators of G.T.O.ism two years ago. In this sequence we find them inside a piano kissing each other & having a cosmic-level discussion.) 1:05
14. "The Ghost Chained to the Past, Present, and Future (Shock Treatment)" (Miss Mercy explains her personal philosophy. Lead vocals: Mercy and R.S. (Rod Stewart).) 1:45
15. "Love on an Eleven Year Old Level" (For some reason, the G.T.O.’s are preoccupied by the memory of Brian Jones. In this song they discuss their mutual admiration for an 11 year old boy who happens to look like Brian… and also has a couple of other things going for him.) 1:18
16. "Miss Pamela's First Conversation With the Plaster Casters of Chicago" (Cynthia and Miss Pamela find that they have a “fave rave” in common, and proceed to compare notes on their relationship with him. Some semantic difficulties toward the end of the conversation provide a convenient transition to the next piece of material.) 1:31
17. "I'm in Love with the Ooo-Ooo Man" (In real life, the OOO OOO Man is Nick St. Nicholas from Steppenwolf. Miss Pamela sings the lead vocal on this very special song of love. I have no idea what the rubber chicken suit with the beak is.) 3:27

Notes

The G.T.O.’s write all their own lyrics & no subject matter covered by these lyrics was suggested by any outside source. The choice of subjects is a reflection of the girls’ own attitudes toward their environment. The G.T.O.’s hope you like their album. — Frank Zappa

Friday, June 24, 2016

The Mystic Knights Of The Oingo Boingo: "Forbidden Zone"


Back in the days of Los Angeles' wild-n-whooly pre-punk "Freak Scene", The Mystic Knights of the Oingo Boingo were filling large theaters with their outrageous performances. And if you think that name sounds familiar, yes indeed, Danny Elfman would eventually inherit the group from brother Richard and pare it down to the hugely successful band Oingo Boingo, who would then in turn serve as the springboard for Elfman's even huge-er career as a soundtrack composer. Somewhere in the world right now, the theme to "The Simpsons" is playing.

But this was Elfman's first score, and possible his best, an utterly weird, wacked-out, and wonderful assortment of short instrumentals ("Factory" wouldn't sound out of place on The Resident's "Commercial Album"), and theatrical vocal numbers from Elfman (as the Devil); star Susan Tyrrell, an actual Oscar nominee who made the admirable decision to toss away movie-star life to make films with the likes of Andy Warhol and John Waters; and - yes! - Herve Villachaize, the little fella with the thick accent who played Tattoo on Fantasy Island, who can be heard in the "Finale."

Also featured: "Yiddishe Charleston", which sounds just like its title: a Jewish boogie-woogie; the Dr. Demento swing-era standard "Pico and Sepulveda," and the amusingly flatulent nonsense vocals of performance artists The Kipper Kids (one of whom is married to Bette Midler?!) sung over some vintage jazz novelties. All of which perfectly complements big brudder Rick Elfman's hysterically surreal, non-PC classic midnight movie. The year was 1977: Richard was retiring from the group to pursue a video career, and Danny was ready to steer it from its glam-era theatrical origins into New Wave rock band territory. Nothing here really sounds like Oingo Boingo, tho. Much to this album's credit, it doesn't really sound like anything you've heard before. 

Various versions of this soundtrack have been released over the years. This is the most complete.

The Mystic Knights Of The Oingo Boingo: "Forbidden Zone" soundtrack


Friday, June 17, 2016

I CUT PEOPLE: "I Quit"

27 tracks of lightning-fast audio edits whizzing by in 24 minutes? It can only mean another release from I Cut People and their ever-improving m.o. of wicked social satire thru a dense collage of countless samples. The album is called "I Quit" but let's hope he isn't. With Negativland members dropping dead left and right, and The Tape Beatles seemingly out of action, ICP would appear to be our best chance for reversing the usual one-way stream of corporate/religious info-tainment, creatively recycling this waste, and spitting it back. The inanity of the mass media, politics and consumerism, and the anxiety it produces in the brainwashed populace has never been more funny! And entertaining! NOW how much would you pay?! 

I Cut People "I Quit"

Picks to click: "Try It," "All You Need Is More Things," and "All About Crap." And if Beavis and Butthead were sound collagists, they would have proudly produced "Dick Bible."

Friday, June 10, 2016

HIPPIE NOISE IN A LAUNDROMAT

The self-titled 1971 album "The Roots Of Madness" is a truly historic avant/outsider artifact. Incredibly, the recordings of this, well, madness date back as far as 1969. That beats The Residents, and the LA Free Music Society were a couple years away from forming. And needless to say, The Great Punk DIY Explosion was far off on the horizon when this bag of nutters from the wholly unremarkable Northern California town of San Jose made this home-brew concoction. 

Ingredients: tinkly music boxes, short wave radios, free-jazz, blues guitar, beat poetry, smutty poetry, a Dada sensibility, a smart-ass sense of humor, sound effects, even an actual song or two. All common strategies now, but must have been fairly incomprehensible at the time. And yes, they did do gigs in laundromats. It's not like there were too many actual music venues in town to play.

Free listen/download:

"The Roots Of Madness"

One of the members, Don Campau, went on to a still-extant experimental music and public radio career.




Wednesday, June 08, 2016

The MUSIC FOR MANIACS Amazon Store

I've set up an Amazon store for all the stuff I do NOT post here, because it's in print. The favorites, the standards, the must-haves. Not just random stuff, but carefully curated for YOU, the discerning Maniac. If you buy something from our "aStore" (as they call them), you can rest assured that it is by one of the greats in our field, or at least this particular album has passed the test. Theoretically, you should be able to buy blindly, and know you're getting some good weirdness. The obvious stuff is largely covered: Beefheart, The Residents, The Shaggs...Bonzos, Spike Jones, Dr Demento...Sun Ra, Ornette, Cage, Negativland, People Like Us...Cab Calloway, Screamin' Jay Hawkins...Devo, Wall of Voodoo, Butthole Surfers...Carl Stalling, Raymond Scott, Mel Blanc...theremins, circus music, yodeling...George Formby, Ivor Cutler, music performed by children, and even by elephants: something to annoy everyone! New to strange music, and need to get caught up? Have holes in your collection that you've been meaning to fix? Now's never been a better time to buy! Now with 2 categories: one for CDs and DVDs, and one for mp3 downloads.
 
--------------------
Now back up by request: "New Wave Covers For Oldies Lovers vol.3",  the crazy xylophone of Michael Eingorn, "The Wisdom of Solomon."
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Dig this new outsider music show: "Derailroaded." The first episode features children musicians. (Which reminds me: Stinky Picnic have some new releases.)

Monday, June 06, 2016

CASSIUS CLAY: "I Am The Greatest"

When great men die, of course, we should remember them by their weird novelty records.

To note the passing of the former Cassius Clay, Muhammad Ali, let's listen to The Lip From Louisville's early '60s album of his clever, funny poems, delivered with gusto. Damn near proto-rapping, I'd say. Some lame comedy sketches that he most certainly did not (entirely) write are in there too, but look on the bright side: bonus tracks that set his poems to groovy music. And then there's his singing... a karaoke-esque cover of "Stand By Me," and a ridiculous sing-along called "The Gang's All Here."

CASSIUS CLAY: "I Am The Greatest"

And don't forget his all-star kids albums:
  
"Ali and His Gang Vs. Mr. Tooth Decay" - From 1976, with Frank Sinatra! And Howard Cosell.

"The Dope King's Last Stand" - From 1977, with an even more all-starry cast. How's this for a line-up: President Jimmy Carter, Lily Tomlin, Pat Boone, Senator Hubert Humphrey, Billie Jean King, and Sinatra again.

As a Los Angeles native, I'm used to seeing celebrities here, as well as in Las Vegas, and New York. If you've spent much time in those cities you know that it's not a big deal, maybe someone will recognize a celeb, chat briefly, then leave them alone. But when I saw Ali strolling thru Caesar's Palace in Vegas, there was a veritable mob surrounding him. A peaceful, respectful mob, but still, I have never seen one individual create such a commotion. I think I saw the Pope, the President, and the cast of "Friends" waving and saying, "Hey, over here! What about us?!"


Wednesday, June 01, 2016

COVER THE EARTH Vol. 6

I had not planned on compiling another selection of odd ethnic covers of Western hits, thinking that I had exhausted that particular well, but our pals over at the Growing Bored For A Living blog hit us with a treasure trove of exotic, unlikely reworkings of famous songs that you thought you were sick of, and it just demanded another volume. Which reminded me of some comments left in previous "Cover The Earth" posts offering suggestions, which I then tracked down. And I did have a few new discoveries me own self (I take full blame for the bagpipes). As with the previous volumes, some extreme liberties have been taken with the material, sometimes rendering them almost unrecognizable. Just the way we like it.

So thanks to Growing Bored (check the mammoth Bob Dylan cover project), and the nice Maniacs who suggested some suggestions. 

 "Cover The Earth Vol 6"

01 2Cellos - Welcome to the Jungle (Croatia/classical)
02 Red Hot Chili Pipers [that's PIPERS! Not "Peppers"] - We Will Rock You/Eye Of The Tiger/The Clumsy Lover (Scottish bagpipes)
03 Pastel Vespa - L'Anarchie dans l'U.K. (The Sex Pistols go French yeh-yeh, tho Ms. Vespa is Brazilian)
04 20th Century Steel Band - Loves Theme (Barry White goes Carib steel drum)
05 Don Sornrabeab - Mao (Drunk) (Play That Funky Music, Thai boy)
06 Alyssa ZezZA - Purple Rain (Italian singer, but a Brazilian bossa style here)
07 Ray Barretto - James Bond Theme (Latin jazz)
08 Red Hot Chili Pipers - Smoke on the Water/Thunderstruck/Upside down at Eden's Court
09 The Maytals - Give Peace A Chance (John goes Jamaican)
10 Finger 5 - I Want You Back (Jacksons go J-pop)
11 Isaya Mwinamo & His Merry Men - Bamba Ya Afrika ("La Bamba" in Kenya)
12 Joya Landis - Kansas City ('50s rock-n-roll inna ska stylee)
13 20th Century Steel Band - Theme From Shaft
14 Pastel Vespa - Blue Monday (a bit of Joy Division also cleverly cuts into this Brazilian bossa nova cover)
15 Los Tropicanos - Light My Fire (think these guys are also Brazilian, but I wouldn't call this bossa nova; 'Latin psych,' maybe?)
16 Ukulele Clan Band - Money for Nothing (Spanish folkies getting kinda bluegrass-y; hey, they kept the original un-PC lyrics)
17 Faye Wong - Dream Person (Chinese Canto-pop cover of The Cranberries' "Dreams")
18 Red Hot Chili Pipers - Hey Jude/The Mason's Apron


Wednesday, May 25, 2016

THE WORLD'S TALLEST MUSIC: Joseph Bertolozzi's "Tower Music"

An entire album made solely from the sounds of someone banging on the Eiffel Tower?! Now that is the kind of thing to warm the cockles of a Maniac's heart, and to thoroughly confuse, if not annoy, mainstream music consumers: "Wha..? Why doesn't he use real musical instruments?" Because, my poor, brainwashed Normals, there is a universe of unused sounds out there that cannot be conjured up with pianos, guitars, even synthesizers. Music is all around us, as John Cage would say, and sampling those sounds and using them as the raw stuff of compositions is an excellent way to make us aware of that. 

The album actually sounds like you think it would, dominated by metallic plinky pongy tones. But even tho these songs are indeed produced only by Bertolozzi's molesting of a great Parisian structure, they are not just random banging. They are structured, highly rhythmic, even weirdly melodic, with each track having it's own peculiar flavor. In other words: musical. Here's one particularly toe-tappin' sample:

Joseph Bertolozzi "Continuum" from "Tower Music"




Tuesday, May 24, 2016

BINGO GAZINGO

Whilst perusing the roughly 5,372 albums R. Stevie Moore has put up on his Bandcamp page, I was delighted to see that the Bingo Gazingo album is now available for your free listening/low-cost purchasing pleasure. Mr. Gazingo was a real character, a senior citizen who started appearing at poetry readings in the 1990s, hilariously declaiming in a New Yawk voice his short, rhymed phrases, often only vaguely related to what his poems where supposed to be about. This, his one and only album, features a back-up band featuring Moore, Chris Butler (of The Waitresses, and Tin Huey), and various djs from WFMU, the station that would release this album. The music is a real variety show, from punk, to soulful r'n'b, to abstract improvs. But of course the late Bingo is the star of the show, proclaiming such profound utterances as:

They're playing classic rock/in Jurassic Park

- I want to make my home in/your ovum

- Rick the wanker/from Casablanca/I sing like Paul Anka

- My projectile/is erectile

- I cannot accept/your indecent proposal/maybe a horse'll

I'm glad no-one told him that Tupac's last name isn't pronounced "shaker" - it would have messed up his rhymes.

BINGO GAZINGO

Speaking of R. Stevie Moore, out of his near-infinite discography, I've heard maybe...3 albums? I def. like "Phonography," esp. the wonderful "Goodbye Piano," where he bumps his head into the mic, and keeps on singing. And I have a couple greatest "hits" collections. But NOW where do I go?

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

MADRIGALS FOR MANIACS

We've been following Frenchman Cartone Sonore's curious career for some time now, most of it concerned with obscure and toy instruments. But his new album is created solely with his voice. Yep, no other sound sources used other than his own singing, clicking, droning, and any other sounds he can coax out of his larynx. It's one of those projects that could just be a gimmick, or art-fart self-indulgence, but the results are quite fresh and original. The on-line album's 11 tracks vaguely resemble everything from Gregorian chants to beatboxing to The Beach Boys (sometimes simultaneously), but really, it feels like a whole new musical vocabulary opening up. The wonders of multi-tracking!

Listen and/or buy via Bandcamp:

Carton Sonore: "Animago"

One of the catchiest tunes on the album, "Dans La Foret" is available for free. My fave track might be the haunting "Un Gout Familier," which sounds like an instant standard. (I don't even know how to label this post. Guess I'll have to make a new label for "Vocal/Acapella.")


Saturday, May 14, 2016

Lowbrow Vol.7: Devil Dance

Reposts! By request: Pierre Bastien's marvelous mechanical musics and Snoopy's Beatles Classics on Toys. I won't be re-upping any Twink The Toy Piano Band, as he has put all of his stuff on Bandcamp, so go there.

Due to a crashed hard drive, this volume was delayed and Vol. 8 was posted first, but now our series exploring mid-20th-century kool kulture is sequentially correct. In this volume, former nightclub accordionist-turned-killjoy preacher Jack van Impe warns us of the dangers of that devils' music, thusly illustrated by riotous, ridiculous, rhythm-and-blues, rock'n'roll rekkids (ever notice that Satan is often depicted as smiling and laughing? He's apparently having much more fun than The Other Guy). Lots of ludicrous novelties this time out, by artists gleefully unconcerned with making Profound Artistic Statements. You'll have fun fun fun even after - and I want to make this perfectly clear - even after Daddy takes the T-bird away. 


But this time, let's add "style" to our usual mix of "sin," "sex" and "sleaze". Publisher V. Vale of the legendary RE/Search books has been bemoaning the state of his home city lately, e.g: "We think it’s necessary to read as much humor as possible these days to keep our morale up, as San Francisco daily becomes more inundated with a tsunami of “techies” proud of their acultural normcore barbarism (trendy new martinis, trendy new restaurants—is that all there is?!) 


 I wasn't familiar with the term "normcore," but it's apparently a fashion statement popular among urban youth that attempts to create as bland and inconspicuous a look as possible (while still prominently wearing designer labels, of course). Baseball caps, pullovers, etc. Artist-types shunning original style to look like their dad. My God-zilla! and you thought modern culture couldn't get any more boring? Perhaps that's why in recent months I've been hittin' the thrift stores looking for real flash suits and bright-colored Hawaiian-style shirts, creating outfits like the one Don Draper is sporting here. (Shirt collars OVER the jacket, doncha know.) And paisley shirts! They might go well with my Peter Fonda "Easy Rider" sunglasses. Gotta buy a new pair of Beatle boots tho, as the ones I had when I was 20 are sadly long gone. And where can I get a medallion to adorn my chest as I wear my v-neck, wide-collar David Cassidy-type paisley shirt? It's kinda like this one, only blue. There must be someplace where one can get those loud shirts Nelson Mandela used to wear. If any shirts are worth $95, these may be them. Fashion tips in comments, please. And photo links, esp. from ladies sporting leopard skin prints.

Loud clothes - clothes that go up to 11 - need loud music. So once again, we're pouring in your earholes lots of stuff taken from my mostly 45 rpm vinyl discoveries that have not only not appeared on other like-minded compilations (so far as I know), but have never been digitally available...until now! Can find no info on some of these mysterious sides. 


Dig the AbnormCore sounds here:

Lowbrow Vol.7: Devil Dance - almost 69 minutes; (69: the dirtiest number in the world!)


1 Jack van Impe - rock music is more dangerous ("From Night Clubs to Christ") 

2 Mad Man Taylor - Rumble Tumble
 3 Bruce Johnston - Soupy Shuffle Stomp [future "replacement" for Brian Wilson with a 
retarded tribute to TV funnyman Soupy Sales]
4 Bobby Peterson Quintet - Mama Get Your Hammer [sick humor + screamin' r'n'b = what all

 music should be like]
5 Jack van Impe - rock and roll music
6 Thee Midnighters - Everybody Needs Somebody To Love
7 Spike Jones - Pimples And Braces [yes, The Master novelty bandleader did live long 

enough to parody teenagers and rock'n'roll]
8 Grace Chang - I Want You To Be My Baby [famous singing actress of Chinese cinema 

swings bilingual]
9 Jack van Impe - commie plans
10 The Lancasters - Satan's Holiday
11 Georgia Gibbs - Kiss of Fire (rock version) [this was originally an early '50s tango-type

 hit for Gibbs, but this 45 is apparently a '60s remake, judging by the swiping of Roy Orbison's
"Oh Pretty Woman" riff]
12 Jack van Impe - commie rock beat
13 Morty Jay and the Coney Island Brass - Beef-Eater [one of my absolute fave (fairly) recent instro 45 rpm discoveries]
14 Vince Edwards - Squealin Parrot (Twist) [was very surprised to come across a 45 with such a 

wacky title by teen dream actor Edwards, as most of his records are mushy ballads; was even 
more surprised to find how wacked-out hilarious it was]
15 ''Handsome'' Jim Balcom - Corrido Rock (Part 1)
16 Jack van Impe - vile filthy dirty
17 Mike Minor - Satan's Waiting [from an alternate universe where Satanists favor 

finger-snappin' lounge over heavy metal]
18 Scott Engel - Devil Surfer [future avant-crooner Scott Walker once recorded a satanic 

surf instro, under his original name?!]
19 Jack van Impe - gogo pogo
20 The Allisons - Ling Ting Tong [black girl group singing Asian stereotypes, and a way-out (slide?) guitar solo]
21 Bill Lewis - Swim Beat
22 Jack van Impe - naked!
23 The Motions - Long-Hair
24 Rod McKuen - I Dig Her Wig [one would never guess that the man behind this kooky

 rocker would go on to become a hugely successful author of sappy poetry]
25 Bobby Gregg And His Friends - The Jam Part 1
26 Jack van Impe - 4 letter word
27 Lou Monte - Elvis Presley For President [Monte was the court jester of the Rat Pack

 /Italian-Amercan scene]
28 The Sparkletones - I Dig You,Baby [I'd rather not describe here what makes the 

end part of this song, and the entirety of the next song, so, er, 'unique'; you'll hear]
29 Gene Dozier & The Brotherhood - Mustang Sally
30 Bill Haley & His Comets - Straight Jacket (Live)
31 Jack van Impe - baser animal emotions

32 David Houston - One And Only [from the film 'Carnival Rock' (thanks Youtube!);
 featuring blistering guitar work by Elvis' string-slinger James Burton]
33 Steve Allen - Memphis [tv comic plays a straight-ahead ahead Chuck Berry

 instro...but I thought he hated rock n roll?]
34 Steven Garrick and his Party Twisters - Sister's a Twister 
35 The Applejacks - Rocka-Conga
36 Jack van Impe - twisted vile perverted
37 Royaltones - Wail
38 Jack Gale & The Medicine Men - The Sloppy Madison [radio dj's parody of  

incomprehensible dance instruction records]
39 Milt Rogers & His Orchestra - Lonely Road To Damascus

Album title and artwork courtesy of burlesque queen Gene Gemay