Thursday, December 08, 2016

ROCKING STOCKING STUFFERS

To make up for my absence from blog-land*, here's about five bajillion hours of weird Christmas music. There's even a new blog called WeirdChristmas.com that has two swell podcasts so far, featuring the likes of Hasil Adkins, Tiny Tim, song-poems, and the truly horrifying Danger Woman. Hoo-yah! Pour the spiked eggnog, we got ourselves a party.


Our Central California agent-in-the-field Don-O has whipped up this HI-larious collection of Christmas Chomedy. Only 11 tracks, but classics from Albert Brooks, and the Portsmouth Sinfonia ("The World's Worst Orchestra" - featuring Brian Eno on clarinet!) sit alongside more recent gems from Stephen Colbert (one of the first things I ever downloaded from iTunes), and rad rarities that are new to me, like the one from ye olden Los Angeles radio personality "Sweet" Dick Whittington, and the gnarly surf rocker from the Go-Nuts. Oh, and speaking of L.A. radio, The Credibility Gap was a great '70s comedy show that featured Harry Shearer and Michael McKean.

"Santa Shtick"



Despite the back cover artwork listings, there are actually 11 tracks; not listed is a message for KMart employees, and Jon Stewart's "Message From A Jew."

Don-O has also hepped us to the fact that the glory and wonder of Shittyflute now features Christmas songs. Yes! Inept flute/recorder solos (even the occasional violin) played over classic songs is a deceptively simple strategy that still makes me laff every time. Irri-tainment at it's finest. Much thanks to Don-O, whose "Hour of Crap" is happily now being archived.



It's Christmas-time, in the Shitty...

And if all that wasn't enough, prepare thyself for albums and albums of kooky kids and their DIY smart-ass home-brew christmas chrap, accurately described by our new Maniac pal Quentin as The Motherlode of F'ed up Xmas music: "people at the Something Awful forums have been doing an annual Christmas album since 2009. The complete archive is on Bandcamp at  

http://saxmas.bandcamp.com/
- some highlights are:


http://saxmas.bandcamp.com/track/ho-ho-ho-its-christmas-time (possibly
the greatest Christmas song of all time)

http://saxmas.bandcamp.com/track/we-wish-you-an-adequate-festive-period

http://saxmas.bandcamp.com/track/good-king-wenceleslas

http://saxmas.bandcamp.com/track/das-sexy-reindeer-danz (this one's also
really good)

http://saxmas.bandcamp.com/track/alcoholic-christmas

http://saxmas.bandcamp.com/track/hell-bring-you-coal (parody of the
great "Hand of the Almighty" by John Butler)

http://saxmas.bandcamp.com/track/christmas-cucumber-in-da-butt

http://saxmas.bandcamp.com/track/hey-everybody-its-christmas-time


There's also supposed to be a torrent of the whole collection at magnet:?xt=urn:btih:4DBFD6935BEB93965A4601A8B42CBE72B50947E7&dn=Goon%20Christmas%202009-2015&tr=udp%3a%2f%2ftracker.openbittorrent.com%3a80%2fannounce&tr=udp%3a%2f%2ftracker.opentrackr.org%3a1337%2fannounce - but I haven't tried the link, as my connection has a data cap. [UPDATE: Quentin tried it, and it works.]

I actually submitted one to this year's collection, which will probably be released shortly before Christmas - I sampled my cockatoo doing his normal spaz when I leave the room, turned it into an SFZ instrument, used a MIDI of "Carol of the Bells", and added some samples of my macaw talking. The result was described as "Christmas in bird hell" in the thread."


Eagerly awaiting that - Sampled animals are always welcome 'round my pink aluminum xmas tree. Thank you, Quentin.
 
*A nice Maniac even wrote asking if I was ok. I'm fine, just very busy.



Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Lloyd Marcus - American Tea Paaaaaar-TAY!

My fellow Americans! Not too crazy about any presidential candidate this year? Here's someone more entertaining then all of them put together: an ultra-conservative black man!  Who can sing like a Motown star! We truly live in an age of wonders.

Lloyd starts off this 2009 release dealing, like any good politician, in generalities - stuff that anyone can get behind. He even takes a swing at Louis Armstrong's chestnut "Wonderful World."  But then you get two back-to-back bits of hilarity, the somewhat baffling (and thoroughly dated) "Twenty Ten," and his "My Girl" parody, where Marcus sings the praises of the likes of Sarah Palin and the already-forgotten Michelle Bachman. Classic. Just the thing to 'take back America' to the good ol' days of slavery, segregation, lynchings... "What a wonderful country this is!"

But hey, if nothing else, he is a pretty decent singer. A patriotic round of applause for our representative from the great state of Utah, Windbag, for sending us this one.






Lloyd Marcus - "American Tea Party"


1
American Tea Party Anthem



2
We the People



3
Feet to the Fire



4
Wonderful Country



5
Twenty Ten



6
Our Girls



7
Hello Mom, It's Me



8
Let the River Flow



9
United We Stand




10

Can't Afford the Sunshine



11
Dance with the Devil



12
It's About Love

Sunday, October 09, 2016

I'm Still Bringing Weirdness Back...

Last year, I reported on the latest sightings of sicko songsters in our society. Not only are they still at it, but some serious competition has joined them. Maniacs rejoice!


Bretts Milk "Daddy's Breath" (release date: Oct. 15) is creepy electronic "pop", like '80s New Wave gone evil. At its most subtly atmospheric, it suggests the darker side of Barnes and Barnes. Upbeat tracks resemble dance music that no-one in their right mind would ever actually dance to. Vocals, sometimes distorted, sound like the Singing Resident in need of a psychiatrist. Or an exorcist. Great fun!

That Ostrich Von Nipple album was probably my fave new release of last year, so am thrilled  to hear him guesting on this equally brilliant album. Occasional guitarist for The Residents, Nolan Cook, who also appeared on Von Nipple's LP, applies his twisted 6-string shenanigans here as well.

Bretts Milk "Milky Nipps"

Perhaps an even stronger contender for album-of-the-year (so far) is Macula Dog's self-titled release. Someone on their Bandcamp page says "
It's like the Residents performing covers of Oh, No!-era Devo inside the universe of Pee Wee's Playhouse," thus saving me the trouble of writing a review - I was going to compare this great band to those very same folks, including Pee Wee!

Macula Dog [listen for free, Name-Your-Price download]

If your head isnt caving in yet from all this elegant eccentricity, it very well may after witnessing this stupendous 9 minute video from another avant-tarde veteran, Petunia-Liebling MacPumpkin and her Electric Phantom posse. So impressed was I by the surreal hallucinations and audio manifestations of the vid that I just had to subject Ms. MacPumpkin to a brief interrogation.

Petunia-Liebling MacPumpkin - "Veggie Medley": the vegetables will get you if you don't watch out!


- Do you do all the visual effects/photography yourself? If not, would you like to give a shout-out to your collaborators?
Melody McGinn the caretaker at Electric Phantom does the majority of the visual effects/photography/editing. In this particular story however, Jimmy L. Wright made all of the veggies, Alien and Halbert (the dog). Jodie Lowther created the "set" for part 4, and Frederick Barr the "set" for part 2. 

- Where do you shoot your videos? Do you have a studio?
We shoot the videos on greenscreen at Electric Phantom.
- You are in Florida, correct? Is there any strange/experimental art/music scene near you?
Yes! From Orlando originally and now in Gibsonton. hahha I believe there is a noise scene around here, but I don't go out much.

- Do you plan on releasing this music, or is it only the soundtrack to the video?
Oh it's already been released..One more video to go and the album has been completely visualized.  http://www.electric-phantom.com/merch.html

- Do you (like me) not really like vegetables, and this vid expresses your fear/guilt having been raised by your mother always trying to get you to EAT YOUR VEGETABLES?! 
Actually Im a vegetarian but I had the same exact experience with meat. Maybe this is revenge. 

- Do you perform live?
No. I'm sorry. :(

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