STRANGE NOTES 1/31/05.....
That two-week layoff did me right. I listened to a nice handful of music, and now I’d like to tell you about some of it.....Got exposed to the RADIO BEATS
a few weeks ago, now I’ve heard their 4-song “Blow You Up” EP in its entirety. These West Virginians light up bonzai hardcore-tempo garage punk like no one since 1988-90 vintage DWARVES
, and their lyrics are so friggin’ dumb (“...gonna kill yo man tonight, oh yeah!”
) that they’re right at home with the modern nihilistic speed-punk crew. Just 20 times better than others I’ve heard. Watch this space – I think this band’s going to be a regular here.....Any band with Holger “The Oscillator” Zapf is all right with me, and Germany’s REMOTES
give me no quarrel. Their sound on their debut 45 “Transylvania Dutch/Do The Die”
leans toward an indiefied version of something you’d hear on 1960s late-night FM radio – a free form mix of pop and noise that brings up a head of steam slowly and frothingly. Just as the A-side’s starting to kick into gear with a little Silver Apples-style space noise, it does a 3-second quick fade and is over. The B-side is said to be “...in the tradition of ‘dance craze’ classics like the Twist, Watusi or Peanut Duck”.
It sounds nothing like these, nor does it bear any resemblance to a dance number in any way. The old bait and switch. These guys are OK!.....I expected I’d swoon over the DONNY DENIM
45 from 1999, since it was a Darren Rafaelli
) vanity project, but in a bizarre case of reverse transfusion, the worst elements of his dopey dopplegangers The Donnas appeared to have worked their way into the great man’s bloodstream, resulting in a 1970s lite-AOR tribute record along the lines of whatever band of hair farmers sang “You supply the night, baby I’ll supply the love”
(Toto? Ambrosia? April Wine?). No need to look here, folks, please keep moving....
Did I really
need to spend 7 dollars on and forty minutes with the thug-garage Big Neck records
label comp “PAIN IN THE BIG NECK”
, just to confirm my suspicion that the aforementioned Radio Beats
were their sole hotshit band? I did, so now you don’t have to.....A pleasing expanded bootleg version of the ROLLING STONES
' mid 60s hit collection "Flowers"
crossed my path recently. Beyond the original twelve 45s and album tracks lies a rare galloping B-side I'd never heard from 1965 called "Sad Day", as well as multiple cool backing tracks for stompers like "Have You Seen Your Mother, Baby" and "Out of Time". It's certainly for people who need to keep tabs on this kind of ephemera, people likely overrepresented in any Agony Shorthand sample size....Finally, it took me 5 years since I saw them play a stunning free show in a San Francisco park to check out their recordings, but the TIN HAT TRIO
are pretty neat. They form a disquieting nexus between classic gypsy folk music, rough-edged blues, and whatever genre it is that the KRONOS QUARTET
belong to (“20th Century Classical", the kids call it). On their latest CD “Helium”
, the result is a very intense soundtrack for wandering and thinking, much like the feel of Ry Cooder’s “Paris, Texas” if he’d added a traveling caravan of “roma” to pick the pockets of everyone they encountered. I just wish they’d lost the Tom Waits-like vocals on track #2 (wait, it IS
Tom Waits), but then I flat-out can’t stand that guy. Perhaps the CD is near-perfect for NPR pledge drives, but you’ll still appreciate it for contemplative listening at home. It’s just weird and distant enough to stay way shy of the mainstream of adult alternative. And that’s where we’ve been since mid-January! Keep your feet on the ground etc.!