Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Best Albums Of 2009

20. The UV Race - S/T Lp (Aarght)
(Aarght record label on Myspace)

19. The Dutchess & The Duke - Sunset/Sunrise Lp (Hardly Art)
(The Dutchess & The Duke on Myspace)

18. Tortoise - Beacons Of Ancestorship Lp (Thrill Jockey)
(Tortoise website)

17. Girls - Album Lp (Fantasy Trashcan)
(Matador Records website)

16. Mayer Hawthorne - A Strange Arrangement 2xLp+4" (Stones Throw)
(Mayer Hawthorne on Myspace)

15. Little Girls - Thrills Lp (Mexican Summer)
(Little Girls on Myspace)

14. Zombi - Spirit Animal 2xLp (Relapse)
(Zombi on Myspace)

13. Explorers - Bermuda Telepaths Lp (Not Not Fun)
(Not Not Fun record label website)

12. Balaclavas - Inferno Lp (Phonographic Arts)
(Balaclavas on Myspace)

11. Moritz Von Oswald Trio - Vertical Ascent 2xLp (Honest Jons)
(Honest Jons record label website)

10. Hypnotic Brass Ensemble - S/T Lp (Honest Jons)
(Hypnotic Brass Ensemble on Myspace)

9. Ducktails - Backyard Lp (Not Not Fun)
(Ducktails on Myspace)

8. Andres - II Lp (Mahogani)
(Andres on Myspace)

7. Madeline - White Flag Lp (Orange Twin)
(Madeline website)

6. Mi Ami - Watersports Lp (Quarterstick)
(Mi Ami on Myspace)

5. Moodymann - Anotha Black Sunday Lp (Mahogani)
(Moodymann on Myspace)

4. Pterodactyl - Worldwild Lp (Brah)
(Pterodactyl on Myspace)

3. Carlos Nino - High With A Little Help Lp (Kindred Spirits)
(Carlos Nino website)

2. 9DW - S/T Lp (Wax Poetics)
(9DW on Myspace)

1. Build An Ark - Love Part 1 (Kindred Spirits)
(Build An Ark on Myspace)

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Record Scores - Last Minute Shopping Edition

The Herbie Mann Afro-Jazz Sextet - The Common Ground Lp (Atlantic)
Barry Miles - S/T Lp (Poppy)
Rene McLean Sextet - Watch Out Lp (Inner City)
Joe Pass & Paulinho DaCosta - Tudo Bem Lp (Pablo)
The Chico Hamilton Quintet - A Different Journey Lp (Reprise)
Paul Desmond - Skylark Lp (CTI)
Larry Coryell - Spaces Lp (Vanguard)

Monday, December 21, 2009

Ocular Optometrical - Moviemadnomonium

I've been surprisingly slow on movie viewing this year. It means that i've missed a lot of stuff in theaters, but does have that consolation prize of offering lots of fresh stuff to watch on DVD soon.

Here it is, the good, bad and ugly of the past 3 or 4 months:
A Perfect Getaway (2009)
Italian Job (1969)
Dr. Strange (1978)
Revenge Of The Living Dead Girls
Sleep Dealer
The King Of Marvin Gardens
The Changeling (1980)
Grace (2009)
36 Hours
Life On Mars (UK) Series 1 & 2
Zombieland (2009)
Devil's Rain
Moon (2009)
Saw VI (2009)
Paranormal Activity (2009)
Orphan (2009)
Murder Party
Thirst (2009)
Nosferatu The Vampyr
The Beast In Space
The Wild Blue Yonder
Straight Time
Away We Go (2009)
Paper Heart (2009)
The Limits Of Control (2009)
World's Best Dad (2009)
A Christmas Tale
Hump Day (2009)

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Record Scores - Let's Close This Shit Out Edition

Cannonball Adderley Quintet - Country Preacher Lp (Capitol)
James Moody - Comin' On Strong Lp (Argo)
Aardvark - Pigstyle 12" (Kindred Spirits)
De Javaanse Jongens - P.S. 12" (Kindred Spirits)
Georgia Anne Muldrow - Roses 12" (Epistrophik Peach Sound)
Mike Watt - Detective Instinct 7" (Sick Room)
Vibracathedral Orchestra - The Momentary Aviary Lp (Manhand)
The Pyramids - Birth Speed Merging 1976 Lp (Ikef)
UV Race - S/T Lp (Aarght)
Richard "Groove" Holmes - Somethin' Special Lp (Pacific Jazz)
Gene Ludwig - This Is Gene Ludwig Lp (GeLu)
Gene Ludwig - The Educated Sounds Of Gene Ludwig Lp (Travis)

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Record Scores - Winter Light Edition

Reuben Wilson - Set Us Free Lp (Blue Note)
Styrofoam - The Point Misser Lp (Morr Music)
Inquisition - Revolution, I Think It's Called Inspiration Lp (Seven Lucky)
Joe Mensah - Tribute To The Roots Lp (Mezumbah International)
Four Hundred Years / Seein' Red - Split 7" (Smith & Nephew Company)
Les Thugs - Radical Hystery Lp (Closer)
John Patton - Got a Good Thing Goin' Lp (Blue Note)
Jan Hammer Group - Melodies Lp (Nemperor)
Arnett Cobb - Movin' Right Along Lp (Prestige)
Thee Dead Clodettes - S/T 7" (Lipstick Pickup)
Useless Eaters - Sucked In 7" (Goner)
Crocodiles / Grafitti Island / Dum Dum Girls / PENS - Split 7" (Art Fag)
Whatever Brains - Mt. Whatever 7" (Bullcity)
Keith Jarrett & Jack DeJohnette - Ruta And Daitya Lp (ECM)
Chris Capizzi - A New Day Lp (Returnity Productions Limited)
Stereolab - Miss Modular 7" (Duophonic)

I will probably end up with one more Record Scores thread before the end of the year. I'm waiting on yet another record that i ordered directly from a label off of their Myspace page. I understand that this shit isn't your day job & that it could take you a while to get to the post office, but between these dudes flaking out completely & Paypal turning into the shittiest credit card company on earth (& completely betraying the escrow service it was started as), i'm getting pretty soured on the whole thing. That isn't to say that there aren't labels & bands doing this thing right. Not Not Fun & Fastcrowd have had some great records over the last couple of years & been a dream to order from.

I've already sifted through the ton of records that i picked up this year (maybe the most ever) and i've compiled a rough ranking of my top 20 albums of 2009. I'll probably get the final thing out in January, just in case someone drops something amazing in December.
I think best of the decade lists usually end up being pretty bad, usually too heavily weighted towards the latter half & leaning towards albums that have big reputations but aren't really that enjoyable in an attempt to somehow epitomize the 'sound' of the era. So i won't be doing one of those.

My top films of the year may take longer because i'm pretty far behind on new movies, and the list of stuff i need to catch up on is only going to get longer as studios dump all of their Oscar contenders into limited release. Also, unlike previous years, i don't really have too many standout favorites yet.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Record Scores - Don't Sleep Edition

Sex Worker - The Labor Of Love Lp (Not Not Fun)
Dolphins Into The future - ...On Sea-Faring Isolation Lp (Not Not Fun)
Jose James - Blackmagic 12" (Brownswood)
V/A - Music Track From The Picture "Black Dynamite" Lp (Wax Poetics)
Lonnie Smith - Keep On Lovin' Lp (Groove Merchant)
Eddie Harris - Free Speech Lp (Atlantic)
Joe Alexander - Blue Jubilee Lp (Jazzland)
Joanne Brackeen - Prism Lp (Choice)
Real Estate - S/T Lp (Woodsist)
Leroy Frank Starbird Band - Star Bird 7" (Heavy Light)
V/A - Myestrogeneration Lp (Not Not Fun)
Sun Araw - Heavy Deeds Lp (Not Not Fun)
Inca Ore - Silver Sea Surfer School Lp (Not Not Fun)
Secret Abuse - Violent Narcissus Lp (Not Not Fun)
Moonstarr - Farfisa 45 7" (PTR Music)

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Record Scores - Mackin' Cheese Edition

Vibes - Psychic 7" (Not Not Fun)
Wet Hair - Dream Lp (Not Not Fun)
Wet Hair - Glass Fountain Lp (Not Not Fun)
Codona - 3 Lp (ECM)
Eric Kloss - Bodies Warmth Lp (Muse)
The New Heritage Keyboard Quartet - S/T Lp (Blue Note)
V/A - In The Loop 3 12" (Dublab)
Aly-Us/Hard Drive/Raze - Follow Me/Deep Inside/Break 4 Love 12" (FDB)
Kai Alce - Emerging From Under 12" (Late Night Essentials)
Laurent Garnier - The Man With The Red Face 12" (F Communications)
Spectrals - Leave Me Be 7" (Captured Tracks)
Christmas Island - Nineteen 7" (Captured Tracks)
Horace Silver - Silver 'N Brass Lp (Blue Note)
Pete Yellin - Dance Of Allegra Lp (Mainstream)
Build An Ark - Love Part 1 2xLp (Kindred Spirits)
John Coltrane - Infinity Lp (Impulse!)
Les McCann - Layers Lp (Atlantic)
Dorothy Ashby - Soft Winds Lp (Jazzland)
Gil Scott-Heron - Free Will Lp (Flying Dutchman)

Friday, November 6, 2009

Record Scores - iLL fLAVORS Edition

V/A - Echo Expansion Lp (Dublab)
V/A - Sun Ra Dedication: The Myth Lives On 2xLp (Kindred Spirits)
The Jeff Lorber Fusion - Wizard Island Lp (Arista)
Silver Daggers/Death Sentence: Panda - Split 7" (Not Not Fun)
No Escape / Turning Point - Split 7" (Temperance)
Natural Resource - I Love This World 12" (Makin')
Ghost Cauldron - Invent Modest Fires 2xLp (K7)
Breakestra - Stand Up E.P. 12" (Ubiquity)
Lullabye Arkestra - Threats / Worship Lp (Vice)
Mi Ami - Cut Men 12" (Thrill Jockey)
Javelin - S/T 12" (Thrill Jockey)
Vibracathedral Orchestra - Infinite Light 7" (Krayon)
Oscar Brown Jr. - Movin' On Lp (Atlantic)
Charlie Earland - Mama Roots Lp (Muse)
Betty Davis - They Say I'm Different Lp (Just Sunshine)
Larry Coryell - Coryell Lp (Vanguard)

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Records Scores - Gold Rush Edition

V/A - Secret Hang Out 12" (Money Studies)
Yam Who? - Summertime 12" (papa)
JayAre - The 1960's Jazz Revolution Again 2xLp (polar)
Anthony Joseph & The Spasm Band - Spirit Lash 12" (Heavenly Sweetness)
The Micronauts - The Jag 12" (Science)
Ron Trent - The Master Plan Obama Tribute 12" (Future Vision)
Polar & John Tejada - Something Nothing 12" (Metaformal)
V/A - Acknowledgement For JC 10" (Kindred Spirits)
Build An Ark - This Prayer: For The Whole World 12" (Kindred Spirits)
Moritz Von Oswald Trio - Vertical Ascent 2xLp (Honest Jons)

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Record Scores - Samhain / Gone Fission Edition

Pontiak - Sea Voids Lp (Thrill Jockey)
White Hills - Dead 12" (Thrill Jockey)
Thank You - Pathetic Magic 12" (Thrill Jockey)
Rainbow Bridge - Big Wave Rider 7" (True Panther Sounds)
Frankie Rose - Thee Only One 7" (Slumberland)
Do Make Say Think - Other Truths Lp (Constellation)
Bobby Timmons - Sweet And Soulful Sounds Lp (Riverside)
Designer Music - Problemz 12" (Planet E)
Jean-Luc Ponty - Aurora Lp (Atlantic)
Kenny Burrell & Jimmy Smith - Blue Bash! Lp (Verve)
Sesame Street - The Count Counts Lp (CTW)
9DW/Boris - Golden Dance Classics Split 12" (Catune)
Wedding Present - Brassneck 12" (RCA)

also, R.I.P. Chuck Biscuits, legendary drummer for a lot of legendary punk bands.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Record Scores - Brains For Dinner, Brains For Lunch... Edition

Jackie McLean - One Step Beyond Lp (Blue Note)
Herbie Hancock - My Point Of View Lp (Blue Note)
Herbie Hancock - Empyrean Isles Lp (Blue Note)
Health - Get Color Lp (Lovepump United)
Carpenter Ant - I Still Have The Drive Lp (Doppelganger)
Mi Ami - Towers Fall 12" (Hoss)
Crime Novels - No Fences 12" (Discos Huelga)
The Mall - Emergency at the Everyday LP (Discos Huelga)

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Record Scores - Spongetaneous Edition

Girls - Album Lp (Fantasy Trashcan)
Whatever Brains - Saddle Up 7" (Bull City)
Moon Duo - Killing Time 12" (Sacred Bones)
The Dutchess & The Duke - Sunset/Sunrise Lp (Hardly Art)
Jimmy McGriff - Groove Grease Lp (Groove Merchant)
James Pants - Thin Moon 7" (Stones Throw)
9DW - S/T 2xLp (Wax Poetics)
Billy Cobham - Total Eclipse Lp (Atlantic)
Rodan / This Bike Is a Pipe Bomb / VaginaSore Jr. / King Friday - 4-Way Split 7" (Fast Crowd)
Factums - Flowers Lp (Sacred Bones)
Walter Bishop Jr. - Valley Land Lp (Muse)

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Record Scores - The Day (Mr.) Magic Died Edition

Wounded Lion - Creatures In the Cave 7" (Down In The Ground)
Moodymann - Dem Young Sconies 12" (Planet E)
Lou Reed - Metal Machine Music 2xLp (RCA)
Barry Miles - White Heat Lp (Mainstream)
The Jeff Lorber Fusion - Fusion Lp (Inner City)
Eddie Harris - Instant Death Lp (Atlantic)
Bei Bei & Shawn Lee - Beauty & The Beats EP (Ubiquity)
V/A - Detroit Beatdown Vol. 2 12" (Third Ear)
Hypnotic Brass Ensemble - S/T 2xLp (Honest Jons)

Friday, September 18, 2009

Record Scores - G-20 Long Range Acoustic Device Edition

One Last Wish - 1986 Lp (Dischord)
The UV Race - Malaria 7" (SS)
Sunny Day Real Estate - Diary 2xLp (Sub-Pop)
Magic Kids - Hey Boy 7" (Goner)
Hugh Masekela - Reconstruction Lp (Chisa)
Hadley Caliman - S/T Lp (Mainstream)
Jack DeJohnette - Sorcery Lp (Prestige)
Gary Burton Quartet - Country Roads & Other Places Lp (RCA)
Johnny Griffin - A Blowing Session Vol. 2 Lp (Blue Note)
Houston Person - Truth Lp (Prestige)

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Record Scores - So, You've Ruined Your Life Edition

Rick Mals, Josh Wulff & David Throckmorton - Smash Your Wagon CD (Self-Released)
Beam - Chemistry CD (Self-Released)
The Ponys - Celebration Castle Lp (In The Red)
Factums - A Primitive Future Lp (Assophon)
Chill Rob G - Let Me Show You 12" (Wild Pitch)
Public Enemy - Shut Em Down 12" (Def Jam)
Billy Harper - Capra Black Lp (Strata-East)
Curtis Amy - Mustange Lp (Verve)
Carlos Garnett - Black Love Lp (Muse)
Booker Ervin - The In Between Lp (Blue Note)
Alice Coltrane - Universal Consciousness Lp (Impulse!)
Yusef Lateef - Psychicemotus Lp (Impulse!)
Les McCann - Invitation To Openness Lp (Atlantic)
Mike Nock, Bennie Maupin, Cecil McBee & Eddie Marshall - Almanac Lp (Improvising Artists Inc.)
Miroslav Vitous - Mountain In The Clouds Lp (Atlantic)

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Record Score - Stillers Kick-Off Edition

Pete Rock & CL Smooth - Shine On Me! 12" (St. Nick)
Miriam Makeba - The Magnificent Miriam Makeba Lp (Mercury)
Digable Planets - Where I'm From 12" (Elektra)
Victor Feldman - Your Smile Lp (Choice)
Pink Noise - Graffiti Youth Lp (Kill Shaman)
Mayer Hawthorne - A Strange Arrangement 2xLp + 4" (Stones Throw)
MC Lyte - Eyes On This Lp (First Priority)
Red - I Should Tell Ya Momma On You 7" (Stones Throw)
Chick Corea - Now He Sings, Now He Sobs Lp (Solid State)
The Roger Kellaway Cello Quartet - Come To The Meadow Lp (A&M)
The Fiery Furnaces - The End Is Near 12" (Thrill Jockey)
Jerry Butler & Exuma - Joe OST Lp (Mercury)
de Cylinders - We Must Pay 7" (Sing Sing)
Wounded Lion - Friendly? 7" (In The Red)

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Ocular Optometrical - Hey Movies, Be Better!

The Straight Story
District 9 (2009)
Being Human series 1
The Broken
The Class
Pop Skull
Brothers Bloom (2009)
Inglourious Basterds (2009)
Sunshine Cleaning
Antichrist (2009)
End of the Line
Nights And Weekends

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Record Scores - Can't Afford Sleep Edition

Jack DeJohnette's Directions - Untitled Lp (ECM)
Dave Liebman - Lookout Farm Lp (ECM)
El Michels Affair - Ultimate Breaks & Beats Instrumentals 2xLp (Traffic)
Woods - To Clean 7" (Half Machine)
The Oh Sees / Ty Segall - Split 7" (Castle Face)
Tortoise - High Class Slim Came Floatin' In 12" (Thrill Jockey)
D'Angelo - Lady 12" (EMI)
Eddie Henderson - Realization Lp (Capricorn)
John Klemmer - Brazilia Lp (ABC)
Beastie Boys - Love American Style EP (Capitol)
Bobby Timmons Trio - In Person Lp (Riverside)
University Of Texas at El Paso Stage Band - The Varsitonians Lp (Century)
Lou Donaldson - Signifyin' Lp (Argo)

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Record Scores - Sleepy and Kinda Mean Edition

A mixed batch this time, with some serious disappointments and a few pleasant surprises:
- David Daniell & Douglas McCombs - Sycamore Lp (Thrill Jockey) - Douglas McCombs is a favorite musician of mine and I was really underwhelmed by these aimless guitar drones that couldn't even stake out a consistent mood.
- Chick Corea - Return To Forever Lp (ECM) - I know Return To Forever was also his group, but I swear I have 5 different solo albums titled Return To Forever too. This is the good stuff though.
- George Gruntz - Percussion Profiles Lp (ECM) - Featuring Jack DeJohnette, Dom Um Romao, David Friedman, Pierre Favre, Fredy Studer and George Gruntz, this 6 man percussion jam on ECM flits between pounding, alien and new age. It has some fantastic moments.
- Dog Day - Night Group Lp (Tomlab) - A pleasant surprise of rockin' indie pop from Canada. Peppy and hook-fueld with the right sprinkle of discordance to repel any visions of gum commercials.
- Zola Jesus - The Spoils Lp (Sacred Bones) - Too much of a good thing. After an excellent 7" earlier this year (or late last year (recent is what i mean to say!)) the Zola Jesus full length just moves from one track to the next with the odd, mopey, new wave sound and the whole thing just bleeds into itself. A little variety would have helped tremendously.
- The Monkeywrench - That Trip You're On 7" (In The Red) - I've been missing my copy of the "Clean As a Broke Dick Dog" album for a while, and so while I'm working on getting a replacement, I figured I'd check out what the acidic blues punk band has been up to in the meantime. The group featuring Mark Arm (Mudhoney), Tim Kerr (Poison 13), Time Price (Gas Huffer)and a couple of others, has found a more polished sound that at first frightened me with images of waitresses carrying wings and bluetooth cowboys, but, even though I missed the start/stop hurk of the earlier records, on repeated listens the 2 songs on this 7" did have an appealing edge of danger to them.
- Kenny Burrell - Up The Street, 'Round The Corner, Down The Block Lp (Fantasy) - beautiful, poppy, soulful jazz session from the mid-70s.
- Little Girls - Youth Tunes 7" (Captured Tracks) - I already had this. I thought it was a new record from them. I knew as soon as i put it on the turntable but I guess I need to spend more time with some of the music I have. It's very good though.
- Teenage Panzerkorps - Arc De Triumphe 7" (Captured Tracks) - competent music in the style of most stuff on Woodsist, Captured Tracks or Sacred Bones but the distinguishing feature is also its worst. I didn't like deep voiced goth vocals in the 80s and I don't want to listen to the awkward, sad-sack shit now.
- Tyvek - Mary Ellen Claims 7" (X!) - After much hype from sources I trust, I decided to give this Tyvek thing a go with the repress of their first single. The immature rock fumblings were not what I expected nor what i'd ever want to hear again.
- Illa J - Sounds Like Love 12" (Delicious Vinyl) - Illa J isn't a terrible rapper, or a good one, and my patience for any emcees is pretty much zero right now any way. Illa J is young and has plenty of time to prove himself but right now his career is unfairly cruising along on top of the unreleased beats of his brother, J Dilla (R.I.P.). The beat for this cut is solid and funky, and on top of that Carlos Nino & Miguel Atwood-Fergusson treat the cut to a remix in a similar vein to the 'Suite For Ma Dukes'
- Explorers - Bermuda Telepaths Lp (Not Not Fun) - good drone cuts with a cool underwater vibe, like whale songs emanating from your tight jeans but beautiful and delicately layered.
- Odd Clouds - Deceiving Illusion Lp (Not Not Fun) - dark, punky noise with a seamy, violent undertone. I played it in the store and it scared away a lot of customers, so it works.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Ocular Optometrical - Summer = High Brown Entertainment

The Hurt Locker (2009)
Very Young Girls
Harry Potter & The Half Blood Prince (2009)
The Lookout
I Love You, Man (2009)
Hot Rod
The Yes Men Fix The World
Margaret Cho: Beautiful
Don't Mess With The Zohan
Venture Bros - Season 3 w/ commentaries
Twin Peaks - Season 1
GI Joe: The Rise Of Cobra (2009)
Funny People (2009)

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Record Scores - Wedding Party Edition

V/A - Meet The Philly Elite 7" (Kraak)
Cannonball Adderley - A Child's Introduction To Jazz Lp (Wonderland/Riverside)
Monochrome - Vara.45 7" (Dim Mak)
The Jeff Lorber Fusion - Water Sign Lp (Arista)
David 'Fathead' Newman - Concrete Jungle Lp (Prestige)
Terje Rypdal - What Comes After Lp (ECM)
Terry Gibbs - Bopstacle Cource Lp (Xanadu)
My Mind - Path Masher 7" (Suicide Tax / Badmaster)
Lucky Thompson - I Offer You Lp (Groove Merchant)
Stanley Clarke - S/T Lp (Nemperor)

Monday, July 27, 2009

Nihilistic Discotastical!

A lot of people end up on this blog because they google search things like "recently released record by indie band, blog" hoping to download some of their favorite music at a competitive price. I know, i check my analytics. Hey, it's cool. The MP3 djinn is out of the bottle. But, just know that there are some cantankerous, stubborn, old bastards out there trying to rain all over your mobile phone dance parties.

One of those bastards is my good friend Thomas Cox, owner of the newly christened vinyl-only label, Love What You Feel. Tom has been DJing techno, house, disco, and soul around Pittsburgh since the days of warehouse raves and Drum & Bass, and he's been doing it with original pressings of vinyl records from the start. Not content to keep biding his time, waiting for people to produce the music he wants to spin, Tom started his record label and went about making that music happen.

The first release on the label is the 12inch, 4-song debut EP by Disco Nihilist, a producer from Austin, Texas, quickly making a name for himself crafting a unique blend of acid and deep house using analog equipment. I'm still new to this corner of music, and i'm certainly biased enough, but I really do love this record. The subtle changes to the hypnotic patterns remind me a lot of the Basic Channel / Rhythm & Sound stuff, even though i guess more trained ears hear a blend of Chicago & New York house.

So my little contribution to the project was the design for the record labels, and the logo design for Love What You Feel. Tom gave me carte blanche on the whole thing, which honestly was a little daunting, especially since I know that I favor a tiny detail-heavy style and Tom likes things to feel spontaneous and slightly haphazard. We both agreed that the name of the label and medium of the vinyl record suggested something tactile, with evidence of being hand-made. In the end, I hit on the cursive L and the hand-written logo quickly and pretty much simultaneously. So while Tom was happy with the loose approach, I made myself happy by rewriting and tweeking both designs literally 1,000 times until he took it away from me. The script for the Love What You Feel logo was actually done in ink wash, but because the labels were printed with an offset press, it was decided that the subtle greyscaling would be difficult to reproduce, so we went with a solid version. The final labels are silver ink on black, and the press did a beautiful job.

The Disco Nihilist record is available worldwide at many of the best stores. Of course, you can also pick it up at 720Records.com

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Record Scores - Let The Hearing Begin

BusCrates 16-Bit Ensemble - S/T 7" (The Harmony Society)
Ralph Towner with Glen Moore - Trios/Solos Lp (ECM)
Madeline - White Flag Lp (Orange Twin)
Herbie Hancock & Willie Bobo - Succotash Lp (Blue Note)
Joe Mensah - The Afrikan Hustle Lp (Mezumbah)
David Friedman - Of The Wind's Eye Lp (Enja)
Ron Carter & Jim Hall - Live At Village West Lp (Concord)
The Cave Weddings - Bring Your Love 7" (Hozac)
No Comply - It's Getting Hot 7" (Goner)
The Soul Children - Genesis Lp (Stax)
John Coltrane - Om Lp (Impulse!)
Lucky Thompson - Goodbye Yesterday! Lp (Groove Merchant)

Monday, July 20, 2009

Record Scores - A Stegosaurus Walks Into A Tar Pit...

Seriously, who's the crackpot that floated the theory that most animal species on the planet went extinct because they kept falling into tar pits?

Archie Shepp - Attica Blues Lp (Impulse!)
Johnny Lytle - The Village Caller! Lp (Riverside)
Pharoah Sanders - Journey To The One 2xLp (Theresa)
Tete Montoliu Trio - Tete a Tete Lp (SteepleChase)
Lou Donaldson - Say It Loud! Lp (Blue Note)
Mr. President - Meet Again (Feat. Mr. Day) 7" (Favorite)

Friday, July 17, 2009

Ocular Optometrical - Movies Dunn Seen Lately

Powow Highway
- a good little indie film from 1989 starring Gary Farmer, about a couple of Cheyennes from a Montana reservation who go on a roadtrip to Santa Fe to bail out family. Farmer, who made notable performances in Smoke Signals and Dead Man, is always great and can be counted on to give a funny performance with an edge of pathos.

Tyson (2009)
- Director James Toback did an excellent job of setting up the camera and getting out of the way of his subject. Centered around an extended interview with Mike Tyson, edited together with footage from fights and the news, the film succeeds in illustrating the complexity of a human being. Over the course of his long monologue, Tyson paints himself as both a monster and a victim. He embraces his violent nature one minute, makes excuses for his behavior the next and then makes remorseful apologies to those he may have wronged. In Tyson, the subject manages to constantly defy being simply summed up, and the viewer is rewarded with glimpses at a life full of victories and defeats, a product of a commanding personality and the insatiable gears of the entertainment machine. Tyson is hypnotic and contradictory.

The Taking Of Pelham 1 2 3 (2009)
- I love the original. I recommend the original. Nothing about this remake is superior to the original and plenty is worse.

Crips And Bloods
- an unsatisfying documentary that, on one hand, illustrates what little sense of place and self gang members often have, and, on the other, makes several attempts to tie gang culture's origins back to some sort of political reaction to slavery and racism.

Falling Down
- I'd always meant to see this movie, but at the time it came out I had a distinct aversion to Michael Douglas, as he seemed to be the embodiment of smarmy, mainstream Hollywood. He always had a good presence and believable performances, but he was over-exposed in awful, bloated, trite, preachy, junk blockbusters. In Falling Down, Douglas is excellent as the anti-hero, fed up with the small indignities of the quiet life. His actions aren't always believable or earned, but Douglas delivers with a palpable exasperation. Robert Duvall is a welcome foil as the detective on the brink of retirement, unable to give up the pursuit. Although Joel Schumacher's film sometimes feels like the B-roll from Terminator 2 because of its extreme Hollywod vision of a crime-ridden LA, the storytelling is straightforward.

Transformers 2: Revenge Of The Fallen (2009)
- Surprisingly better than Transformers 1, because, even though the plot makes no sense, it's brazenly linear, with no sub-plots derailing the momentum and giving you time to realize just how dumb it all is. Sadly, Michael Bay didn't learn from his mistakes though, and the robots are still indistinguishable from each other, so robot on robot violence continues to be both boring and incomprehensible. Although his line delivery is starting to show wear from all of the big-budget junk he's been in, LeBouf is still charismatic and game enough to be a good lead. Megan Fox is beautiful, and much has already been made of the way the camera seems to leer at her body, but what i found truly gross and misogynistic was the way her character's driving motivation for the entire film, enough to constantly put herself in harm's way, was to get LeBouf's Sam to say "I love you." I said this movie was better than Transformers 1; it's still a terrible, terrible movie.

Year One (2009)
- I'm afraid that Harold Ramis and whoever edited this picture may have brain damage. Otherwise I can't understand why they would have finished this movie and launched that promotional frenzy, instead of being overcome with shame enough to slink away into hiding. Year One could have been a dumb vehicle for Jack Black and Michael Cera to deliver rudimentary jokes about being cavemen or Roman soldiers out of their element. It could have been unremarkable but forgivable. Instead, this movie is one of the worst messes i've ever seen. Throughout the film, Black & Cera spend painful minutes setting up terrible, corny jokes, only to fuck up the punchline or have it cut completely from the scene. The plot is little more than a convoluted excuse for these cheeseball jokes, and still it is incomprehensible with the characters inexplicably walking from one place to another and somehow spanning a 1,000 year gap in history. Even though his annoyed mumbling is the best part of the movie, this hot mess has cooled much of my enthusiasm of Michael Cera.

Dead Snow (2009)
- A contemporary Russian horror movie. I had been anticipating something a little bit more culturally idiosyncratic, especially since the movie centers around Nazi zombies, but i was surprised by a relatively orthodox teens-in-a-cabin plot. It's shot nicely though, and delivers some handsome gore, so it's better than a lot of the PG-13 dreck coming from the states these days.

The Devil's Tomb (2009)
- When friends and I saw the trailer for this, featuring Cuba Gooding Jr. in the lead roll of a b-movie zombie flick, there was something so incongruous about that casting that we were compelled to see it. This movie is bad, in the same ways that most direct-to-video horror films are bad. The staging is often clunky. The lighting makes everything look like a high school play. The acting is inconsistent, and it's compounded by many long expositional monologues. However, I enjoyed the strange mash-up of Lovecraftian creatures and ridiculous biblical explanation. It was fun seeing the odd cast with Gooding, Ron Pearlman, Jason London, Stephanie Jacobsen (the beautiful Aussie from Battlestar Galactica:Razor and Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles), Henry Rollins... I was entertained enough that i forgive its many trespasses.

The Room
- this is a film that has become a cult classic precisely because it is a godawful movie. Tommy Wiseau wrote, directed and starred in The Room. He is not a good writer, director or actor. I think that if I had stumbled on this movie while flipping the channels at 3am, i might stop on it and revel in the trainwreck (like i did with "The Butterfly Effect"), but there isn't a lot of joy in watching something just because it's terrible. I think you need that sense of satisfaction and superiority from discovering for yourself how bad something is (like that movie "Next"). If you find awkward, skeevy love scenes, European "cool" guys in ironed blue jeans, and an interminable story about something or another, hilariously funny, then this is the ironic movie experience for you. I think i'm finally too old, too appreciative of the minutes in my life, to purposely subject myself to a so-bad-its-good movie again.

Unscripted (Series)
- George Clooney was obviously paying close attention when he worked with Steven Soderbergh. Unscripted, produced by Clooney, is an aesthetic match for Soderbergh's fly-on-the-wall style, and the way the show blurs the line between scripted and documentary storytelling by having actors and celebrities playing themselves in loosely improvised scenes. Insider stories about Hollywood are frustrating because they are terribly self-important, but the truth is that they're often interesting. Perhaps it's the fact that we're forcefed that culture so much that we have a fairly strong context for the drama, even as it treats us, the audience, as outsiders. This story about a group of actors, struggling to break into stardom, is funny, moving, and entertaining, despite how familiar it feels at times. The "actors" play a funny sort of heightened verisimilitude that works, and Frank Langella is mesmerizing as the group's acting coach.

Real Life
- This 1979 film is a prescient spoof of the brand of sociological documentary filmmaking of the era like the An American Family, the Up series (7-Up, 14-Up, 21-Up...) that ends up being a pitch-perfect spoof on "reality television" today. Albert Brooks, playing himself, sets out to make a movie about "typical" life, by filming a scientifically selected family, representative of the American mean, 24 hours a day. Of course, everything goes wrong, building to a darkly satiric ending that could only exist in a 70's film. Charles Grodin, an actor i hated when i was a youngin because of his smarmy role in The Great Muppet Caper, is great as the patriarch.

The Mysteries Of Pittsburgh
- Sienna Miller, infamous locally for disdainfully calling the town "Shitsburgh" when asked about her experiences filming the movie, is a terrible actress. This isn't just hometown pride talking, it's an empirical fact, and it's relevant because nobody would fall in love with her character enough to do such obviously stupid, self-destructive things. Blaaaaaaaah.

Night At The Museum
- A surprisingly entertaining kids movie. It's a nice bit of fantasy with a decent conflict, and having those at the foundation give it full permission to indulge in episodic comedy. One criticism, the child actor is horrendous.

Night At The Museum 2 (2009)
- louder, less funny. I'm sure everyone had a great time. Amy Adams does her best with a really dumb character.

Public Enemies (2009)
- Not bad. Mann makes a movie that is both a tribute to old Hollywood gangster films and a comment on

Adventureland (2009)
- As a big fan of Superbad and Pittsburgh, i was really disappointed in this. If your coming of age story is mundane and cliche, that's cool, just don't make an autobiographical movie out of it.

- This was okay. On the one hand, the dreamy, abstract approach takes some of the awkwardness out of the beastiality subject matter and gives the film a lot of atmosphere. On the other hand, by constantly talking around the specifics, it's impossible to walk away from the film with anything other than the preconceptions you started with.

Baby Mama
- crappppppy. Everyone played it middle of the road. This movie probably made within $15 of its projected gross.

1st 3 minutes of Alien Vs Predator 2
- There were some middle-management Predators walking around a red LED-lit room, making copies and checking the thermostat. I couldn't do it.

Bruno (2009)
- I respect Sacha Baron Cohen. He really has an uncanny ability to transform himself and stay in character, and when his satire is really firing, it is a thing of beauty. That said, Bruno, for the most part, doesn't work. Because of Cohen's exposure, there is understandably more artifice than in Borat, but the real problem is that the film's missions, a near split between exposing entrenched homophobia and the vacuousness of celebrity worship, fall flat. Most of the examples of homophobia are actually ambushed people reacting to being sexually harassed. Most of the actual celebrities mocked in the movie are in on the joke and willingly playing along, so it all seems to further perpetuate the acquiescence to fame.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Record Scores - An Entire Blog Post Title Dedicated To Michael Jackson

John Surman - The Amazing Adventures Of Simon Simon Lp (ECM)
Eddie Davis Trio Featuring Shirley Scott - S/T Lp (Roulette)
Ty Segall - Cents 7" (Goner)
Earth - Radio Live 2007-2008 Lp (Southern Lord)
Bobby Hutcherson - Linger Lane Lp (Blue Note)
John Surman - Such Winters Of Memory Lp (ECM)
Archie Shepp - The Magic Of Ju-Ju Lp (Impulse!)
Disco Nihilist - S/T 12" (Official Pressing) (Love What You Feel)

PS. expecting Madeline - White Flag Lp (Orange Twin) in the mail. I bought the CD for this when it came out in March because I love Madeline and wanted to support her monetarily even though I hate buying CDs at this point. I'm pretty annoyed that there was no indication that there was going to be a vinyl release for this record. I even wrote Orange Twin a note back in march saying that I wished there was vinyl for the album.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Record Scores - Your Soaking In It

Lee Konitz - Motion Lp (Verve)
- 1981 Japanese remaster of a 1961 session with Sonny Dallas & Elvin Jones. Good clean trio work on 5 standards, a good breezy summer album. Elvin Jones is serious.

John Coltrane - Kulu Se Mama Lp (Impulse!)
- The astonishing John Coltrane Quartet plus Pharoah Sanders!

John Coltrane - Africa/Brass Lp (Impulse!)
- The Africa/Brass sessions are some of my favorite. The experimentation is fluid, natural, effortless...

BusCrates 16-Bit Ensemble - Test Press 7" (The Harmony Society)
- It's so awesome holding this in my hands. i will probably write a little something up here once everything is finished, but you can also check out www.TheHarmonySociety.com for more announcements.

Cannonball Adderley Quintet - Hummin' 7" (Capitol)
- After finding the 12inch with the Large Professor remix of "Hummin" last week, I was flipping through the 45s at the digging spot, mostly looking for some cool labels i could use for a poster design i was working on, and came across a copy of this gem in good condition. The flipside is "Country Preacher," famously sampled by Pete Rock, but I love the original with the dubbed in applause from a church congregation giving the track its very stirring quality.

Brother Jack McDuff - Oblighetto 7" (Blue Note)
- another great jazz 45. I have somewhere around 15 Jack McDuff albums, but i have yet to stumble across the album "Moon Rappin" that features "Oblighetto". Hard hammond soul jazz.

The Works - Yokahama 12" (Rust)
- a nice 4 cut EP from friend of 720 Records, Thomas AKA Terry Tester with production partner Twelve Beats. This EP includes one cut with an MC and 3 downtempo instrumentals. Lots of thickly layered, dusty samples. good stuff.

Vincent Van Go Go - Do U Know? 7" (Murena)
- a poppy, soul group from Denmark who croon to the out-for-a-drink-crowd. not normally my thing, but they do their act over snappy, live-sounding production from The Works, the production duo of Terry Tester & Twelve Beats.

Quincy Jones - Gula Matari Lp (A&M)
- Keeping that 'Hummin' theme going, this album not only features an extended jam session in the title track from great musicians like Ron Carter, Eric Gale, Herbie Hancock, Toots Thielemans, Bob James, Hubert Laws... but also includes a strong, slinky cover of "Hummin"

DJ Cam - Success 12" (Inflamable)
- this 12inch was a big hit at the radio station where i worked, and i've just never run across it before. France's answer to DJ Krush has a pretty standard hiphop beat reworked by Kenny Dope, Attica Blues, and Thievery Corporation. Attica Blues won this contest, really making the track their own with added vocals from Roba, and that crunchy sampling style.

Chris Bowden - Beautiful Nasty 12" (Ninja Tune)
- i passed on Chris Bowden's somewhat tame jazz/downtempo hiphop fusion stuff because it just didn't really push any boundaries, but i found this single at the digging spot for cheap and the mix of live instruments and programmed composition is well achieved if a little forgettable.

Brenda Russell - S/T Lp (Horizon)
- Went to catch Thomas Cox, Jwan Allen, and friends spin some house and disco, and when Tom dropped "Way Back When," a slow, but aggressive disco stomper, i had to make a note to score this. I still couldn't tell you what 10 good off-chart disco cuts are, but i'm definitely more open to the genre.

Dudley Perkins - Fonky Soul 12" (Epistrophik Peach Sound)
- Dudley Perkins aka Declaime is a great emcee because he brings a very unique perspective, and a loose, freestyle approach to his rhymes, but that also has a way of making a lot of his work sound half-assed and silly some of the time. Luckily, any shortcomings in the craft of Dudley's rhymes is more than made up for by the thick, syrupy, cosmic space boogie layed down by Georgia Anne Muldrow. Ms. Muldrow is currently one of the only active artists currently on my shortlist, and people are seriously sleeping.

Build An Ark - Dawn Remixes 12" (Kindred Spirits)
- Like any Kindred Spirits release, when you see it available, snap it up, especially if it's from this juggernaut spiritual soul jazz collective. Much like the Remix EP for "Peace With Every Step," Carlos Nino & Friends farm out cuts from their 2nd album to get reworked by some of the best underground beat scientists doin' thangs for the love of the music. Like that first EP, these remixes are going to take some time getting used to, because most of the time, I'm just straining to hear the beautiful originals buried under the new quantized drums. Daedelus returns for another go around, and his is once again the best. His style really emphasizes the peaceful nature of Build An Ark's sound, and i really prefer that to Ras G's attempt to bring the banging snares. The Long Lost's remix is the same as the one from the 7", which is frustrating since it made that record redundant, but they're a great group and a good match. Basically this 12" has just made me more impatient for the delayed 3rd album from Build An Ark, which was supposed to be out last month. If Carlos Nino puts out much more music this year, he's going to monopolize my top 10 list.

Baron Zen - Strange Woman's Room 12" (Stones Throw)
- one of Stones Throw's electro artists, Baron Zen was active from 1988-1992, making music at home like a pop-locking Emily Dickinson. The nutty cratedigging squad behind Stones Throw and Now Again records unearthed his stuff and brought him out of retirement to make new electro-rap oddness. Most of the material I have from Baron Zen in the past has been reworked by James Pants, so i'm not entirely sure how much i like Baron's stuff on its own. This single, which has 2 tracks, plus remixes by James Pants and Peanut Butter Wolf, isn't really doing it for me.

The Boogoos - Theme De Yoyo / The Journey 12" (Perfect Toy)
- A modern Bulgarian afrobeat ensemble? yeah, i'm all kinds of skeptical about this one. Even the best afrobeat groups today sound like Fela cover bands, often much more compelling live than on record. But this group hooked me by covering "Theme de Yoyo," one of my favorite oddball soul-jazz tracks from The Art Ensemble Of Chicago and they do it justice. The flip is one of their originals and it stacks up fine against the likes of Antibalas, Akoya Afrobeat, Nomo... so good on 'em.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Record Scores - Bill Murray Marathon

Anthony Braxton - New York, Fall 1974 Lp (Arista)
Yusef Lateef - The Gentle Giant Lp (Atlantic)
Cannonball Adderley / Ronnie Foster - Hummin (Large Professor Remix) / Summer Song (Diamond D Remix) 12" (Blue Note)
Dom Um Romao - Spirit Of The Times Lp (Muse)
Skull Snaps - Skull Snaps Lp (GSF)
Boss - Progress Of Elimination 12" (Def Jam)
Marion Brown - Vista Lp (Impulse!)
Phenomenal Hand Clap Band - Baby 7" (Truth & Soul)
Little Girls - Thrills Lp (Mexican Summer)
Tortoise - Beacons Of Ancestorship Lp (Thrill Jockey)
Ty Segall - Universal Momma 7" (True Panther Sound)
Loren Connors - The Curse Of Midnight Mary Lp (Family Vineyard)

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Record Scores - The Sweet Stack Of Music And The Depressing Rant That It Inspired.

Flotsam & Jetsam - No Place For Disgrace Lp (Elektra)
Skinny Boys - Skinny (They Can't Get Enough) Lp (Jive)
Title Tracks - Every Little Bit Hurts 7" (Dischord)
Hypnotic Brass Ensemble - Alyo 10" (Honest Jons)
Ghost - The Payoff 12" (Breakin Bread)
Eric Kloss - Sky Shadows Lp (Prestige)
Carpenter Ant - Never Stop Skating 7" (Union City/Double Decker)
Shirley Scott - Mucho, Mucho Lp (Prestige)
Hawkwind - Hall Of The Mountain Grill Lp (United Artists)
Mood - Secrets Of The Sand 12" (Blunt)
A Tribe Called Quest - Beats, Rhymes & Life 2xLp (Jive)
Alice Coltrane - Radha-Krsna Nama Sankirtana Lp (Warner Bros.)
Alice Coltrane - Transcendence Lp (Warner Bros.)
Doug Carn - Spirits Of The New Land Lp (Black Jazz)
El Chicano - Viva Tirado Lp (Kapp)
Jack McDuff - The Reentry Lp (Muse)
Kenny Drew Trio - If You Could See Me Now Lp (Inner City)
Chico Freeman - Spirit Sensitive Lp (India Navigation)
Don Cherry, Dewey Redman, Charlie Haden & Ed Blackwell - Old And New Dreams Lp (ECM)

The last 10 titles came from a record show just up the street from my house. It was different from the usual depressing record fairs that you find at Holiday Inns across the country because it was at a bar, pretty informally organized, and the people selling stuff were just thinning out their collections. It was not the weird dudes who thought that their Elvis, Beatles and Rolling Stones records were a ticket to easy street. It was also not the dudes that treat records like a bulk business, tractor-trailering hundreds of boxes around of never-hit 12"s by artists like Da Brat. Still, as i type up this list of goodies, hoping to make some other record nerd out in the ethernet just a little bit jealous, I'm feeling a twinge of melancholy. These are records that have been collected, dug out of the crates, kissed with that sense of victory, that consumer high, and now that luster has left. Sure, that's how this digging game works. I get that Chico Freeman record because your tastes have evolved to apalachian folk music, or you desperately want a flatscreen television, or you can't make rent, or you're accumulating medical bills, or your husband just died... As I celebrate fishing my wish, and adding that Hawkwind record to my collection, it's a little bit like digging a soccer trophy out of a Goodwill bin.
sheeeeit. as soon as i drop that needle into the deep, black ocean of ripples, squeeze a little taste of victory out of that raw human creativity, I'll forget all about that melancholy. Never come down.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Ocular Optometrical - Halfway To The Year We Make Contact

Some films i've watched in the past few months.
As always, when writing about any of these, I will try to avoid any big plot points, to avoid ruining them.

The Hangover (2009) - Opened with a Glenn Danzig song, which was a damned good start, but then got a little dicey with a bunch of homophobic frat humor. Even though most of the best gags are in the trailer, it was an entertaining enough comedy. Zach Galifianakis, whose stand-up material i find way too self-indulgent, is actually really good and subdued.

Good Humor Man - a little indie drama, most noteworthy for featuring Jorge Garcia (Hurley of LOST) playing against type as an antisocial menace. A good, slow & meandering plot, sprinkled with honest observations, and a bit of the 'Rivers Edge'. Some of the script is a bit too precious, but there is no lack of earnestness.

Land Of The Lost (2009) - way better than you'd expect. Galaxy Quest meets that Will Ferrell character with a little bit of that Danny McBride character sprinkled on top. Thankfully they left out the two kid characters too! The only Will Ferrell movie i've been able to stomach since Elf.

Science Is Fiction

Living Dead Girl - A decent French zombie film from the early 80's, which basically mimics the Italian zombie movies of the 70s. Why futz with a good formula? Slow walking euro-babes, gorey eye & throat stabbing, people standing around talking about the threat of zombie babes... A good film to organize your records too.

Coraline - Dark, creative, and beautiful. This will terrify most children, and open a deep vein of gallows humor in the right ones.

The Package - Caught up in a huge conspiracy, Gene Hackman devolves from a cracker-jack sargeant in the Army into a guy that knows how to look people up in the phonebook. A weird thriller from the 1989 that somehow looks like its already aged 40 years. Shakespearean thespian, Tommy Lee Jones co-stars in one of the 30 sub-plots.

The Man From Earth - avoid this shit. Take a single, largely uninteresting hypothesis of pseudo-science and hand it to a group of scene-chomping, community players to run it into the ground over and over again.

Champion - A documentary about the interesting character-actor with an off-hollywood past, Danny Trejo, featuring a bunch of talking heads waxing non-commitally about him for an hour. Edited like they were expecting to sell it to the E! Network, with redundant place holders already in place for the 3,000 commercial breaks.

Party Down - Season 1

Up (2009) - This movie made me sob uncontrollably... twice. During the 2nd half, the film tries to shoehorn a more traditional kids story in, and i got a little bit bored, but, over all, this is a great movie. The dog animation is stunning.

Drag Me To Hell (2009) - A fun piece of schlocky horror like only Raimi could deliver.

Candyman - I had never seen this and felt like it was regarded well enough by enough people that, as a horror fan, I should know what it was. It isn't bad. I appreciate that it has a new, original mythology and that the exposition unfolds pretty naturalistically. Even small touches like the pompous professor having already written a paper on the Candyman myth and dismissing it as passe material give the movie a lived-in quality. Candyman himself is an interesting villain but not quite as menacing as you'd want. There is a stiffness to the 90's ideal of cool, a stayed, detached, quip-dispensing standard, that informs Candyman even though he is written to be more passionate and violent. Virginia Madsen is a good hero, capable and adventurous, but the film does tread in some uncomfortable scenes of angry black people accepting a white savior because she's hip and not like those other racists; basically the liberal fantasy.

Terminator: Salvation (2009) - Loud and boring.

Con Air - I caught this on TNT, and it was the perfect TNT movie.

Mission Impossible 3 - Another TNT movie, and the only Mission Impossible film that i've managed to see all of the way through.

Mask Of the Ninja - Casper Van Dien fights ninjas in this classic 2nd-Unit film (a film where the crew that usually shoots all of the stunt scenes decides that they are tired of playing second fiddle and try to make their own film only to end up with a movie crammed full of flashpots, flame bars and air cannons). This movie features, not one but, two scenes at an asian massage parlor, both with dialogue about 'happy endings.'

Doubt - Meryl Streep gives an acting seminar. The rest of the cast and the film's plot struggle to make it mean something profound, but largely come up short.

They Came Back - An interesting French movie that takes the zombie premise of your loved ones coming back from the dead but excizes the notion that they just want to kill you. It asks some fun questions about the psychological impact of returning from the dead or accepting a loved one back after having already dealt with the loss, the burden on governments & communities of supporting them, and the underlying question of what their purpose is. The movie seems to be at a loss when it comes to moving beyond those questions though, and slowly fizzles out as it tries to inject a conventional plot.

Observe And Report (2009) - i liked this okay. i have very low expectations when it comes to comedies these days. i think the cast did pretty well, and, at any given time, 1/2 of the humor lands while the rest leaves you shaking your head. A lot of the film relies on that sense of disbelief when jokes are taken well beyond the limit of good taste, and while that is sometimes cheap and immature, it is more interesting than your usual bout of well worn homophobic frat jokes.

Andromeda Strain

Troll / Troll 2 - Troll 2 is celebrated as one of the worst films ever made, and it's bad, but bad in the sense that a bunch of non-filmmakers got together and tried their hand at it. It's badly acted, scripted and shot, but its honest and fun. Honestly, that doesn't mean it doesn't drag or get willfully stupid at times, but i can roll with 'shot in the park' over soulless, Hollywood dreck any day of the week.

Next Day Air (2009) - This was awful and NOT the loveable stoner comedy that the commercials advertised. All of Mos Def's scenes are in the commercial. Everyone plays this as a broad comedy but at the same time want to be "real" so they shoot and beat people, a lot. It reminded me of the weird disconnect in tone of 'Smoking Aces.'

The Girlfriend Experience (2009) - Soderbergh's movie that pretty effectively blurs the line between drama and documentary by casting porn star Sasha Grey as an escort and interviewing her character with questions you could easily have for a porn star. It's not bad, but it could have explored a few more ideas to prevent it from feeling slightly inconsequential

Star Trek (2009) - This was the sort of film that Star Trek producers have been trying to make since Star Wars came out, a film that is action packed, funny and full of wonder about space travel. I'm not really a Star Trek fan, but i've been around the geek block long enough that i've absorbed most of the show's mythology, so i got all of the references in the movie. The movie has some nagging plot problems and plays the humor too broad in some scenes (anything involving Simon Pegg for example) but it's all easily overlooked in deference to the sharp pacing and clever service to both fanboy and normal audiences. Critics who insist that this film somehow betrays Roddenberry's original vision of a stark humanist celebration of hard science can come down out of the clouds, take an honest look at the television and film history of Star Trek and acknowledge that just because space ship battles and bare-chested fist fights are done poorly doesn't mean that they're not the main focus, or that most of the movies involve fuzzy, feel-good, Christian fantasy.

GI Joe - Resolute (2009) - If you played with the 3 3/4" GI Joe figures. watched the cartoon or read the Marvel comics as a kid, then you owe it to yourself to see this. This is essentially an anime adaptation that manages to distill most of propety's mythology into a satisfying movie with the added notion that bullets and explosions can harm the human body.

Crank: High Voltage (2009) - Good schlocky fun. It gets a little Manswers/Maxim at times in the way that it celebrates misogyny or racism and then lets itself off of the hook by winking but I don't think you could take such an anarchistic approach to storytelling and remain politically correct.

Wolverine (2009) - Committee filmmaking of the worst kind. Hugh Jackman does a very admirable job of throwing himself into the role and really trying to carry this piece of shit by himself, but was doomed from the start by an awful script.

The Loved One

Caprica (2009) - I wish that Ron Moore had started this series at the same time that he was doing Battlestar Galactica so that he would have had a dumping ground for all of his terrible ideas and BSG could remain pure and kick ass. This is poorly made hokum deserving of the Sci-Fi channel.

Geisha Assassin
Fanboys (2009)
Watchmen (2009)
Knowing (2009)

Monsters Vs Aliens (2009) - This just gave me a headache after a while. Lots of shouting and disorienting 'camera' moves. It reminds me of the first time I saw people playing Street Fighter Vs Capcom 2 at an arcade and it made me feel too old to ever grasp the hyperactiving on display.

Friday the 13th (2009) - Given a bankrupt idea like remaking Friday the 13th in 2009, this is the movie that you will end up with. The only thing that this movie added was an unwelcome self-awareness that leads to the inclusion of the 80's cliche rich asshole, subversion of the slasher film sex rule, and violent slapstick humor from Jason.

The Last House On The Left (2009)
The Haunting In Connecticut (2009)
Notorious (2009)
Taken (2009)
Donkey Punch
The Burrowers
Land Of Plenty
Tokyo Zombie
Tell No One
Frozen River
Double Dare
Advise & Consent
Rachel Getting Married
Still Life
The Signal
War Inc.
Extreme Movie
Stoned Age
Little Children
The Good Night
The Verdict
Jack Brooks: Monster Slayer
The Ten
Final Destination 3
Blue Sunshine
Roman Polanski: Wanted And Desired

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Record Scores - G20? You sunked my batashp!!1!

Jack McDuff - Sophisticated Funk Lp (Chess/Cadet)
Disco Nihilist - S/T 12" (Love What You Feel)
Andres - II Lp (Mahogani)
Dam Funk - Let's Take Off (Far Away) 12" (Stones Throw)
Death - For The Whole World To See Lp (Drag City)
V/A - The World's Lousy With Ideas Vol. 7 7" (?)
Gorilla Biscuits - Start Today Lp (Revelation)
Black Sheep - Without A Doubt 12" (Mercury)
Free Moral Agents - Dre's Lament 7" (Broken Tape Publishing)
Letta Mbulu - Free Soul Lp (Capitol)

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Record Scores - Stupid Misanthropical

Kenny Burrell - Soul Call Lp (Prestige)
The West Coast Pop Art Experimental Band - Part One Lp (Reprise)
Psychedelic Horseshit - Shitgaze Anthems 12" (Woodsist)
Real Estate - Fake Blues 7" (Woodsist)
Kylesa - Unknown Awareness 7" (Hyperrealist)
Mia Doi Todd - Digging & Planting 7" (Self-Released)
Skate Korpse - Down 7" (DSK)
Mayer Hawthorne - Maybe So, Maybe No 12" (Stones Throw)
Alice Coltrane - Journey In Satchidananda Lp (Impulse)
Shirley Scott - Superstition Lp (Cadet)
Clifford Jordan - Inward Fire Lp (Muse)
Dexter Gordon - The Monmartre Collection Vol. 1 (Black Lion)
Eric Kloss - To Hear Is To See Lp (Prestige)
Louis Hayes - S/T Lp (Vee Jay)
Stanley Cowell - Brilliant Circles Lp (Arista)
Charles Earland - Black Drops Lp (Prestige)

Friday, May 8, 2009

Record Scores - Shouldn't You Be Working? edition

Mulatu Astatke & The Heliocentrics - Inspiration Information 2xLp (Strut)
Joan Of Arc / Bundini Brown - Split Lp (Sixgunlover)
Caldera - S/T Lp (Capitol)
Clifford Brown & Max Roach - At Basin Street Lp (Emarcy)
Vince Guaraldi - Alma-Ville Lp (Warner Brothers Seven Arts)
Teeth Mountain - Live On Lp (Not Not Fun)
Ducktails - S/T Lp (Not Not Fun)
Wavves - Wavvves Lp (Fat Possum)
Cause Co-Motion - Because Because Because Lp (Slumberland)
Andrew Hill Trio - Invitation Lp (SteepleChase)
Booker Little & Booker Ervin - Sounds Of Inner city Lp (TCB)

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Record Scores - Juh-azzz

John Robinson - Who Is This Man Lp (High Water Music)
Donald Byrd - Electric Byrd Lp (Blue Note)
Gabor Szabo - Bacchanal Lp (Skye)
David Newman - Lonely Avenue Lp (Atlantic)
Buddy Terry - Natural Soul Natural Woman Lp (Prestige)
Shirley Scott & The Soul Saxes - S/T Lp (Atlantic)
Jimmy McGriff - The Worm Lp (Solid State)
Chico Hamilton - The Head Hunters Lp (Solid State)

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Record Scores - Pick A Style & Stick With It Edition

Karl Berger, Dave Holland, Ed Blackwell - Transit Lp (Black Saint)
- Jazz trio recording from 1987. While the 80's were generally a dark time for Jazz, the Italian Black Saint label was more interested in the developing avant garde than the drive to Sunday afternoon, adult contemporary swill even respected labels like Blue Note were headed down. This recording isn't particularly out-there even, but features vibraphonist Karl Berger leading bassist Dave Holland and drummer Ed Blackwell through shorter, original compositions including a tribute to Ornette Coleman. Like most Black Saint recordings, the production is beautiful, clean but not over-filtered like most 80's material.

Joe Albany & Niels-Henning Orsted Pedersen - Two's Company Lp (Inner City)
- Safe piano-jazz from Joe Albany with bassist Pedersen. As i'm sure i've mentioned, Pedersen is my all time favorite bassist, so i couldn't pass this up even though it's pretty tame.

Balaclavas - Inferno Lp (Phonographic Arts)
- Discovered this on my friend Doug's excellent internet features "Still Single" where he sold me on it by describing it as a colder version of Mi Ami. I had some troubles getting the record direct from the label, but it finally arrived and it is fantastic. A well locked-in rhythm section with huge, pounding drums feeds a spare, guitar-wash trance and a talented singer punches in appropriately flitting somewhere between Ian Curtis & Grace Slick. Think Mi Ami, Gang Of Four, later Fugazi, and Joy Division...

V/A - Records Toreism Lp (Thrill Jockey)
- Oooh, Record Store Day exclusive compilation from Thrill Jockey featuring an as-yet unreleased track from Tortoise as well as exclusive-exclusive tracks from Mountains, Double Dagger, White Hills, and Trans Am. I admit that it was mainly the Tortoise-completist in me driving me to secure the limited-edition, silk-screen-covered, petroleum disco, and i went through that terrible addiction cycle of elation, deflation and desire for the next fix upon scoring it. The Mountains track at the out-set was a nice surprise, with its simple, soothing, psych drone tones. The Tortoise track has the group revisiting their guitar rock influences, a move that alienated me completely on their "Standards" album (the only Tortoise record that I don't own), but a stretched out run time of about 9 minutes does hold some interesting twists and turns, and i'm going to try to spend some time with it before throwing down my internet-critic hammer. Double Dagger & White Hills let the garage rock flag fly high. Trans Am is less casio and more rocked out too.

Carlos Nino & Miguel Atwood-Ferguson - Suite For Ma Dukes 12" (Mochilla)
- Carlos Nino, who I love dearly as the leader of Build An Ark, Ammon Contact, Life Force Trio, Hu-Vibrational... teamed with orchestral arranger Miguel Atwood-Ferguson to adapt the work of J Dilla to the realm of first chairs and cellos. Picking cuts from across Dilla's tragically short career, the duo bring a slighty stodgy manner to Common's 'Nag Champa', A Tribe Called Quest's 'Find A Way', Slum Village's 'Fall In Love', and Dwight Trible's 'Antiquity'. It's interesting, and maybe great brain food while i work, but not as full of life as i'd hoped.

Woods - Sunlit 7" (Captured Tracks)
- 2 great, delicate pop songs that i'm really happy about. $5 for 2 songs with a combined run-time of less than 4 minutes, not so much.

Jay Reatard / Sonic Youth - Split 7" (Matador)
- Record Store Day moment of weakness.

Osaka Monaurail - Signed Sealed Delivered 7" (Our Label)
- The Japanese funk outfit's cover of the Stevie Wonder classic is okay, nice and punchy in spots, but ultimately it was the cover of Angelo Badalamenti's 'Sunshine #9' from the obscure blaxploitation film 'Gordon's War' that sold me on this. I think a lot of this funk revival stuff would be really popular with the average joe if they could figure out a way to market it.

El Michels Affair - Enter The 37th Chamber Lp (Fat Beats)
- I really liked the 2 7"s of Wu Tang covers that El Michels Affair had put out over the last few years, but, honestly, i thought a full album of it would be overkill. I was wrong. El Michels affair is one of tightest bands working today (yes Hip Hop, better than the Roots) and with their locked-in groove mechanics, they're able to reconvert RZA's beautiful compositions back into raw instrumental funk. Now, if some young buck samples this record for a hip hop beat, the world may collapse under the weight of its post-modernism.

Gene Ammons - My Way Lp (Prestige)
- Haven't had a chance to really digest this yet, but its another slice of poppy, organ-led, R&B-jazz from the Jug in the vein of Groove Merchant or later CTI material.

Directions - Echoes 12" (Soul Static Sound)
- AKA Bundy K Brown one of the original architects of Tortoise (also of Bastro & Gastr Del Sol fame) remains one of my favorite musicians despite the fact that his recorded output is so limited. In that brief moment in the mid-90s when Mo Wax was huge and the Chicago family of 'post-rock' musicians were getting paid to do remixes left and right, Bundy's remixes were always my favorites, because they were often epic with multiple movements stretching out the tracks into 10 minute territory, and usually only borrowing the original melody for seconds at a time. Directions In Music was Bundy's group with Doug Scharin (drummer for June Of 44, Rex, HIM...) and guitarist James Warden. Their album was a mixture of Americana ballads and the sort of earthy, analog studio manipulation present in the early Tortoise material. This 12" is Bundy solo, maybe reworking some practice tapes, spliced with what i think are samples from a Paulinho da Costa record I have, bubbling into a soothing, sprawling dub. I have bought this record every time I've seen it (i think i'm up to 6 times now), giving it to friends and hoping that they appreciate its sublime beauty (although i suspect that i've bought back a couple of those copies)

Iceburn Collective - Power Of The Lion 2xLp (Southern Lord)
This was a really unexpected surprise. One of my favorite bands of the 90s, the hardcore band that became a free jazz group, Iceburn floated between the two worlds ably but largely unappreciated. This album originally came out CD-only in 1998 on Revelation Records, and probably never sold more than 10 copies, which is why I was so shocked to see the vinyl sitting in my local record shop 10 years later. I guess it makes sense now that a lot of the dirgy metal bands and protracted psych rock stuff is so big now that Iceburn's prog-rock/jazz stylings get a little credit.

The Dutchess & The Duke - Never Had A Chance 7" (Hozac)
- Two nice little hipster-folk pop songs. I have enough music with people screaming at me about how everything i do is destroying the world, sometimes i like to feel pretty.

Shirley Scott - Like Cozy Lp (Moodsville)
- Earlier Shirey Scott material (somewhere around 1960) that settles into long, wailing notes from her organ over subdued playing from George Duvivier on bass and Arthur Edgehill on drums. Most of the tracks here are more sorrowful than i'd expect from Scott as its her infectous playfulness that really hooked me on her in the first place.

Pterodactyl - Worldwide Lp (Brah)
- one of the few rock bands that i kept up with over the last 8 years (before my re-conversion this past 1.5 years). Pterodactyl has the sugar, that important X-factor of ego-less attitude, practiced musicianship coupled with abandon, melody married with noise. While their first 2 7"s, and most of the 1st Lp were raw and chaotic, like 90's hardcore, this album marks a very different turn for them, veering into psych-pop territory. It's still noisy but more delicate and pretty. This new sound is right up my alley right now. Definitely will be in my top 10 records for this year.

Cedar Walton - Animation Lp (Columbia)
1978 funky jazz led by keyboardist Cedar Walton. Features a well utilized horn section that gives the music body but isn't obtrusive, percussion from mister Paulinho da Costa, and frenzied playing by bassist Tony Dumas.

The See See - Keep Your Head 7" (The Great Pop Supplement)
Folky psych-pop from London. 2 sharply produced summer of love throwbacks.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Record Scores - Tea Bagging Ayn Rand

Crystal Stilts - Love Is A Wave 7" (Slumberland)
Onna 7" (Holy Mountain)
Heavy - EP 12" (Kindred Spirits)
Chris Stein - Wildstyle OST Lp (Beyongolia)
Art Ensemble Of Chicago - Full Force Lp (ECM)
Hips - S/T 7" (Going Underground)
David Newman - Newmanism Lp (Atlantic)
Arthur Taylor - Taylor's Wailers Lp (Prestige)
Elephant Micah - Equine Emblem 7" (The Great Pop Supplement)
Beach Fuzz - Untitled 1 & 2 7" (The Great Pop Supplement)
U.S. Girls - Me + Yoko 7" (Not Not Fun)
Wavves - To The Dregs 7" (Post Present Medium)
Wrath Cobra - S/T 12" (Wrath Cobra)
Eric Kloss - Doors Lp (Cobblestone)

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Record Scores - In Like A Lion...

Mike Richmond - Dream Waves Lp (Inner City)
Dum Dum Girls- Yours Alone 12" (Captured Tracks)
S.O.U.L. - What Is It Lp (Musicor) - Funky soul
McCoy Tyner - Today And Tomorrow Lp (Impulse!)
Richard Davis - Epistrophy & Now's The Time Lp (Muse)
Headhunters - Straight From The Gate Lp (Arista)
Brother Jack McDuff - Magnetic Feel Lp (Cadet)
Zombi - Spirit Animal 2xLp (Relapse)
Sudden Walks - Haulin Ass, Gettin Paid 7" (PTrash)
The Cool Kids - The Bake Sale 2xLp (Chocolate Industries)
Carlos Nino - High With a Litttle Help From My Friends Lp (Kindred Spirits)
Quasimode - Young Black Horse 12" (Flower)
Elvin Jones Jazz Machine - Soul Train Lp (Denon)

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Record Scores - A Day Older, None Wiser Edition

Here's the records i've stockpiled lately to use as fuel in the coming apocalypse:
Outer Spacist - The mind Is As Outer Space 7" (Columbus Discount)
A Big Black Cloud!! - Black Mold 7" (Stankhouse)
Susie Ibarra - Folkloriko CD (Tzadik)
Soul - Can You Feel It? Lp (BGP)
Moodymann - Anotha Black Sunday Lp (Mahogani)
Sunny Murray - Hommage To Africa (BYG Actuel)
Sunny Murray - Sunshine (BYG Actuel)
Portland Bike Ensemble - S/T LP (Olde English Spelling Bee)
Salah Ragab & The Afro-Egyptian Ensemble / Hypnotic Brass Ensemble - Split 12" (Honest Jon's)
V/a - Sprigs Of Time: 78's From The EMI Archive 2xLp (Honest Jon's)
Francisco Mora Catlett - Amazona 12" (Kindred Spirits)
Zombi - Sapphire 12" (Throne Of Blood)
Tribe - Vibes From The Tribe 12" (Planet E)
Groove Holmes - American Pie Lp (Groove Merchant)
Pink Noise - Gold Light 7" (Sacred Bones)
Spirit Photography - Time Is Racing 7" (Sacred Bones)
Max Elliot - The Nature O' Nature 7" (Sacred Bones)
Gary War - Zontag 7" (Sacred Bones)
Chico Hamilton - The Dealer Lp (Impulse!)

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Record Scores - Big Scores In The Littlest Month

Mi Ami - Water Sports Lp (Quarterstick)
Mi Ami - Echonoecho 12" (Quarterstick)
Elephant Micah - In Midnight 7" (L'Animaux Tryst)
GHQ - Requiem For Bhopal 7" (L'Animaux Tryst)
Vollmar - New Best Friend 7" (L'Animaux Tryst)
Elvin Jones & Richard Davis - Heavy Sounds Lp (Impulse!)
Art Blakey & The Jazz Messengers - Free For All Lp (Blue Note)
McCoy Tyner - Time For Tyner Lp (Blue Note)
Public Enemy - Shut Em Down 12" (Def Jam)
Your Heart Breaks / Madeline - Split 7" (Mighty Mo)
Stacy Epps - Floatin' 7" (Domination)
Foreign Exchange - Leave It All Behind 2xLp (Foreign Exchange)
Joe Farrell - Penny Arcade Lp (CTI)
Lonnie Liston Smith & The Cosmic Echoes - Cosmic Funk Lp (Flying Dutchman)
Pharoah Sanders - Jewels Of Thought Lp (Impulse!)
Catalyst - S/T Lp (Cobblestone)
France Has The Bomb - Invisible Angle 7" (Hozac)
Albert Dailey - The Day After The Dawn Lp (Columbia)
Gary Burton - The Time Machine Lp (RCA)

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Record Scores - The Ill-advised Tater-Tot Dinner Edition

Vivian Girls - Surf's Up 7" (Wild World)
I ordered this up right in that weird bubble between Christams & New Year's Eve. I was just killing time on the web and surfed (har!) my way over to the Vivian Girls' Myspace to check on some bit of information, probably for my top 10 of 2008 list. I ended up impulse buying the 7"/T-Shirt set. 3 short songs in their usual haunted sock-hop style. The 2 originals are fun. The Beach Boys cover is weak. The set is not a bad deal if you want a Vivian Girls T-Shirt, but hard to justify if you think the record is going to be rare gold.

Hampton Hawes Trio - Spanish Steps Lp (Black Lion)
1968 Straight bebop. Hawes swings mightily & loud while Jimmy Woode & Art Taylor keep the rhythms very punchy.

Andrew Hill - Lift Every Voice Lp (Blue Note)
1969 album that marries the compact power of the jazz quintet with the epicness of a vocal choir. Along with Hill, Woodie Shaw, Richard Davis, Carlos Garnett and Freddie Waits run with the emerging spiritual soul-jazz sound, and find inspiration like so many others in the newly achievable reaches of outer space.

Eric Dolphy - Last Date Lp (Limelight)
One of Dolphy's final recording session before his untimely death featured the musician recording live in Holland with the great Misha Mengelberg, Han Bennink and Jacques Schols. Despite some rumblings about artistic differences surrounding the recording, the musicians are very generous with each other in terms of space and the record has a lot of depth as a result.

Alice Coltrane - Prema / Andromeda's Suffering 12" (Slow To Speak)
Sneaky repress with silkscreeened cover. Two of Alice's mellower tracks taken from "Transfiguration" and "Lord Of Lords".

Rise Up Howlin' Werewolf - The Indian Curse Will Bring You Back To Me 7" (Vertical House)
Fiending for some new discoveries in the realm of basement-level punk/hardcore, i bought some titles from No Idea! distribution. This was a nice pull. Rock n' Roll rescued from the retirement cruises with adolescent swagger.

Snack Truck - Spacial Findings 7" (Rorschach)
A band that i've been enjoying for around 5 years now, always presuming that they've long burned-out on their sugary exploits, Snack Truck turns up again, getting down with a lot tighter song writing and playing than before. Angular hardcore with techy guitars.

Camp X-Ray - S/T 7" (Twistworthy)
Texas punk label Twistworthy has a pretty small catalog, but they blessed me with a couple of my favorite EPs in the Fatal Flying Guillotines and The Trigger Quintet so i trusted the brand. This delves more into the early 90's post-youthcrew metallic crunch of bands like Drive Like Jehu, Burn, or Inside Out. A style i'm happy to see back.

County Line Road - The Birth Of Hank Malloy 7" (Fast Crowd)
Oops, this is terrible. Gravelly voiced alt-country protest-rock. Woody Guthrie by way of Bruce Springsteen & Bon Jovi.

Cro-Magnon - Mellow Out & Acoustic EP#1 12" (Jazzy Sport)
Cro-Magnon - Mellow Out & Acoustic EP#2 12" (Jazzy Sport)
Japanese trio play covers of Moodymann, Jackson 5, Roy Ayers, Blackbyrds on keyboard, drums and guitars. I mostly bought these for the Moodymann covers, which hold up quite well. Some of the other songs are a little weak in the sauce, but nothing embarassing.

Luke Vibert - EP One 12" (Sound Of Speed)
Luke Vibert backs off a little on the disco sounds of Kerrier District or Acid sounds of Yoseph that he's been pushing for the last decade and refinds the downtempo boom-bap of his Warp & Mo Wax work. The tracks feature a heavy use of vocoder, which helps them fit pretty squarely with the now and the dominance of the Auto-tuner in hip hop.

John Coltrane - The Africa Brass Sessions Vol. 2 Lp (Impulse!)
A prestine copy of the 1987 repress. Some of my favorite material from Coltrane with the classic quartet rounded by McCoy Tyner, Jimmy Garrison & Elvin Jones and joined by legends like Eric Dolphy, Booker Little, Reggie Workman, Art Davis...

Pharoah Sanders - Thembi Lp (Impulse!)
Another prestine, remastered repress from 1987. Pharoah with Lonnie Liston Smith, Cecil McBee, Roy Haynes, James Jordan, & Michael White. These are records I would love to own originals of but i doubt I ever will, especially for the $5 each i snatched these for.

Factums - The Sistrum Lp+7" (Sacred Bones)
Due to funds, I was faced with the choice last year of picking up this or the Pink Noise Lp. I went with the Pink Noise album and was very happy with my choice but I was also happy when i came across this now out-of-print album again last week. Cyclic, lo-fi, psych jams.

Clutchy Hopkins - The Life Of Clutchy Hopkins Lp (Crate Digler)
I put off picking up this album of organic weed-hazed, downtempo instrumentals because it kept selling out of the shop faster than it could really get its hooks into me. I may or may not now have a stash of the last copies of the Lp to be pressed. I have a good feeling that it's going to stand the test of time pretty well.

Spider Bags - Hey Delinquents 7" (Dagger Man)
Fuzzed-out, slurred, blues punk, totally evocative of the sweaty house show that i'm sure it still rings out from. Putting these two tracks on, you can practically feel the slick arm hair and hot breath of the person crammed up next to you on those basement stairs with the peely latex paint.

Idle Times - Get Your Feet Off The Ground 7" (Woodsist)
Blown-out bedroom psych complete with heavy guitar solos. astounding in its ability to sound like very stripped-down 3-chord hooliganism and nerdy hyperactivity almost simultaneously.

Zombi / Maserati - Split Lp (Temporary Residence)
Pittsburgh ex-pats Zombi have their Goblin-esque formula for synth-heavy, drum pounding prog-metal instrumentals down to a science. For all I know they could be selling me the same song over and over again, but it sounds brilliant every time I put it on, so i don't care. Maserati do the instrumental math-rock thing and it's a good match

Eat Skull / Ganglians - Split 7" (Dulc-I-Tone)
I go back on forth on just how into Eat Skull I am. On the one hand, it's noisy rock music that can be fairly interchangeable, especially after 20+ years of collecting the stuff, but, on the other, there's never a bad time for some snotty, pop damage. This is actually some of the more distinct and catchy tracks i've heard from Eat Skull so a definite win on that side. The Ganglians, with their more precious indie pop style would have been a skip on their own.

Breakfast - Vertigo Lp (Six-Two-Five Thrash)
Even when i'd pretty much retired my ears for the punk rock around the new millenium, I still found room for this Japanese thrash outfit. A big part of that was their ability to switch it up entirely from song to song, sometimes sounding like the punishing power-violence and sometimes sounding like a Minutemen cover band; the latter being a bigger draw for me. I thought I was pretty good about staying up on their releases, but this 2002 album slipped past me until i found it in digging spot today, staring out with its Pettibon cover.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Top 16 Records Of 2008

16. Shepherds - Loco Hills Lp (Not Not Fun)

15. Zomes - S/T (Holy Mountain)

14. Q-Tip - The Renaissance 2xLp (Universal Motown)

13. Pink Noise - Dream Code Lp (Sacred Bones)

12. Crystal Stilts - Alight Of Night (Slumberland)

11. Moodymann "Det.Riot '67" LP (KDJ)

10. The Heavy Circles - S/T (Dynamite Child)

09. James Pants - Welcome 2xLp (Stones Throw)

08. J Rawls - Liquid Crystal Project 2 (Polar)

07. Vivian Girls - S/T Lp (Mauled By Tigers/In The Red)

06. Barn Owl - From Our Mouths A Perpetual Light Lp (Not Not Fun)

05. Flying Lotus - Los Angels 2xLp (Warp)

04. Erykah Badu - New Amerykah Part 1: 4th World War 2xLp (Universal Motown)

03. She & Him - Volume One Lp (Merge)

02. Wavves - S/T Lp (Woodsist)

01. Menahan Street Band - Make The Road By Walking Lp (Daptone)