Saturday, March 04, 2006

New Stuff (and Old Stuff) for This Week

I missed this weekly post (not that anyone seems to care) but here's some of the latest from Aquarius, Forced Exposure and Darla:

First from AQ who have a shitload of great new stuff in their latest newsletter (#234) and their always informative reviews. Visit their site to stream some of the tracks.

album cover IFUKUBE, AKIRA King Kong Vs. Godzilla (OST) (La La Land Records) cd 16.98
We were recently visiting another store here in town, and were totally struck by whatever it was they were listening to. It was exactly the sort of thing we love here at aQ, it was creepy and dark and droney, sort of familiar, but totally strange and alien at the same time. Huge moaning horns, lots of incredibly low brass, emitting cacophonous groans, strange monk like chanting, it sounded a little like something we could have heard, maybe Hermann Nitsch, or Arvo Part, it was sort of choral, but also tribal, and those horns, it was like the sound they made was a physical entity, a brass wave filling the room, eventually we had to swallow our pride and ask just what the heck they were listening to. The answer was of course King Kong Vs. Godzilla. WTF?! KING KONG VS. GODZILLA? Now we love us our King Kong, and our cheesey, men-in-rubber-suits monster movies, but we certainly didn't remember the music being so... weird, and heavy, and haunting, and beautiful. Now that we've been listening to this soundtrack for a week or two, it's nearly impossible to imagine how this could be the music for a battle between those two classic movie monsters. And if we do, we can't help but imagine the typical clumsy rubber suited battles transformed into impossibly arty ballets, drenched in blacks and greys, gauzy and arty, like some hellish painting brought to life.
King Kong Vs. Godzilla, originally released in 1962, was the most maligned and misunderstood, as well as somehow the most successful of all the Godzilla movies. Unlike the films before it. KK Vs. G was a bit more light hearted (you would never know from the score!), the monster suits less scary, the whole film a subtle satire of Japanese commercialism. For it's American release it was tinkered with, chopped, edited and poorly dubbed. The result while obviously a far cry from the original's intent, resulted in a film that still appealed to the American market's love for cheesy monster movies and was thus a sucess here too.
Sadly though, when the film was re-edited for US release, the score was mostly replaced with music from The Creature From The Black Lagoon! Apparently that's not totally unheard of, since once a film is dramatically re-edited, the original music just doesn't sync up, but once you hear Ifukube's score it's impossible to imagine anyone wanting to replace it.
Since this is a soundtrack, there are definitely tracks that exist to support particular onscreen visuals, be it a melancholy bit of old timey jazz, some festive marching band music, a bit of playful calypso pop, some tribal drum / chant interludes, but for the most part, Ifukube's gives us a series of creepy, haunting orchestra driven chunks of dramatic moodiness, forboding and sinister, evoking not so much images of giant apes and lizards, but instead of human misery and terror, the frailty of human existence in the face of monsters and demons. Bleak and oppressive, funereal and somber, but with glimmers of hopefulness, and stretches of what sounds like resilliance in the face of doom, calls to arms, an amazingly emotional score for a monster movie, all conveyed via the aformentioned moaning horns swooping ominously above martial drumming and booming tympani's, balanced by bits of soaring strings and chanting vocals. We want to see this movie now so bad, but at the same time it almost seems like these sounds would be tainted, even though they were composed to accompany those specific images, having heard them on their own, the music has taken on it's own life, its own meaning, and exists fully realized simply as music, even (especially?) removed from it's visual counterpart.
We imagine that this was most likely re-released to coincide with the recent Peter Jackson King Kong remake, which is also probably why you won't find ANY images of King Kong anywhere in the booklet or on the sleeve. But don't let that keep you from discovering this amazing recording.
Extensive liner notes including the fascinating and convoluted history of the film as well as notes on each track.
Sidenote: Recognize the recurring theme? Check the sound sample for "Godzilla's Resurrection." We did the second we heard it, those low horns, that stacatto 'dun dun dundun'. It's the loop from Pharoahe Monch's 1999 hit "Simon Says" (which you might also remember as the song Sam Rockwell dances to in the first Charlie's Angels as he gets ready to torture Drew Barrymore)!
MPEG Stream: "Main Title"

album cover NARDWUAR THE HUMAN SERVIETTE Doot Doola Doot Doo... Doot Doo! (Alternative Tentacles / Nardwuar The Human Serviette Records) 2dvd 21.00
If you have even a tiny inkling of who or what Nardwuar The Human Serviette is, you know this is a big fucking deal! For years and years, the contents of his monumental interview archive vaults have only been accessible in bits and pieces on his home-compiled VHS tapes, on his weekly college radio show in Vancouver and on brief Much Music appearances in Canada, but now finally you can take a heaping double platter home with you!!! Are you prepared? For five and a half hours worth? Well, if you're unsure as to whether you have the endurance for it, we strongly recommend that you brace/pace yourself, and don't be dissuaded. Stock up on snacks, take the phone off the hook, you'll be okay. Hell, you don't have to watch it all in one sitting, but once you get started it might be hard to stop.
Many less observant, less hardy folks might dismiss the tartan capped, high-pitched Nardwuar The Human Serviette as simply a hyperactive irritant with a microphone -- lumping him in with seemingly similar in-your-face tightly-wound personalities such as fellow Canuck Tom Green, but first (and second) impressions can be deceiving. While we have to admit many of his disarming, oft-infuriating, absurd tactics do closely resemble those of more self-aggrandizing gonzo interviewers, there's definitely something else going on with this infamous irrepressible staunch Canadian. Let's take for example his unbelievably obsessive researching skills. For each and every potential interview subject, he consistently bloodhounds out the obscurest, mundanest, yet oddly fascinating facts that effectively stop the interviewee in his/her tracks. Y'know, those little skeletons in the closet that they themselves don't even remember, and that via Nardwuar have come back to haunt them much to their glee or chagrin.
In the early days, he started out by primarily digging into the nooks and crannies of the indie music scene doing interviews for his radio show. As his own notoriety grew so did his scope, broadening to encompass the whole show biz industry. Along the way he's also delved deeper and deeper into other media related areas and points of interest (politics, self-help, tele-evangelism to name a few).
The list of people to whom he's somehow gained access is in itself nothing short of mind-blowing (over 60 interviews are featured on this dvd set and that's a mere drop in this Serviette's bucket) -- Mikhail Gorbachev, Dan Quayle, Gene Simmons, Pam Grier, Marilyn Manson, Destiny's Child, Gwar, Kelly Osborne, Slayer, Ian MacKaye, Vanilla Ice, Franz Ferdinand, Wesley Willis, David Cross, Busta Rhymes, Michael Moore, Cradle Of Filth, Blur, Henry Rollins, Thor, Ernest Angley.... And that's not even counting his multiple interview encounters with Snoop Dogg, Courtney Love and Jello Biafra over the past decade.
Clearly people love him, hate him and love to hate him, but when he suffered a brain hemmorhage a few years back, it was nothing but an outpouring of love and admiration that came his way from all walks of life. While hospitalized he received an avalanche of gifts and well-wishes (including a painting by and from David Lee Roth!), and even had to have his own bedside payphone to take all the calls that came flooding in. But now fortunately he is back on his feet wreaking havoc with this, his most comprehensive crowning glory to date. Granted it's not for everyone, but those who rise to the challenge will be duly rewarded with a thorough schooling of headscratching useful and useless facts, figures and trivia, will be thoroughly entertained along the way, and will find themselves responding with a resounding "Doot Doo!"
Also included: lots of sights and sounds of Nardwuar's bands (The Evaporators and Thee Goblins), an eye-straining 16 page boooklet, and yes of course, audio commentary!

album cover ANDREWS, MICHAEL Me And You And Everyone We Know - Original Film Score (Everloving) cd 14.98
You loved the movie in the theater, now you can love the soundtrack in your car, living room or anywhere! Yup, here's the soundtrack to Miranda July's acclaimed film Me And You And Everyone We Know featuring a score composed by Michael Andrews (who also scored Donnie Darko and Freaks And Geeks!). Even without visual accompaniment it's a dreamily contemplative listen. Perfect if you're seeking something that will evoke a sense of calm in your surroundings. A spoken word piece by Ms July opens the proceedings, but from that point on it's primarily an instrumental work. Warm, smooth tones from a full spectrum of instruments drift, waft and float languidly for a spell, then dissipate. It's not until the sixth track that a human voice resurfaces. The mellow Cody Chesnutt sung "5 On A Joyride" could easily be mistaken for one of Money Mark's sensitive guy pop songs. After that, the soundtrack maintains the soothing pace with additional occasional verbal and non-verbal vocal interludes ("Peter And Sylvie" is particularly lovely!). Rounding off the album's sixteen tracks are a couple by Spiritualized (their very Jesus And Mary Chain-esque "Any Way That You Want Me") and Virginia Astley.
Psst, if you need more of Andrews' music, we've also just received his new solo album cd/book set Hand On String!

album cover ARAB STRAP The Last Romance (Transdreamer) cd 14.98
What's been concocted in the Arab Strap brewery since their last album Monday At the Hug & Pint back in 2003? Something big. To mark their tenth year of existence, they've opted to pour their sixth album into a sleekly produced affair with surprisingly fleshed out full band arrangements (horns, strings, the whole kit'n'kaboodle). As a result, it's mighty big on rock, lush and slightly shoegazerly, and their trademark endless-night-at-the-pub melancholia really benefits from this new turn of events. Never fear, Malcolm Middleton and Aidan Moffett are as bleary-eyed, sneering and ill-tempered as ever, but their sourness has never sounded so sweet. Their battered romantic hearts have muscled over their whiskeyed vitriolic spirits this time. Some songs here are downright beautiful. Check out "Don't Ask Me To Dance" and the album's official closer "There Is No Ending". You just wanna give 'em a hug. Psst, a secret bonus: we just noticed that there's an additional two songs at the end ("El Paso Song" and "Go Back To The Sea") that aren't mentioned in the track listing on the back of the cd!

album cover V/A A Tribute To Will Oldham : I Am A Cold Rock, I Am Dull Grass (Tract) cd 13.98
Wow! Here's a terrific tribute to Will Oldham (aka Bonnie 'Prince' Billy aka Palace aka Palace Brothers aka Palace Music, etc). This homage comes in the form of a collection of cover versions performed by many familiar AQ faves and fine contemporaries of Mr. Oldham. Each of them brings his/her own distinct flair to the chosen tune, but we noticed that some come remarkably close to absolute replication of the original. Hmmm, what's that old saying about mimicry being the sincerest form of flattery? But is it mimicry when someone really does sound like someone else without even trying? No, of course not. Anyways, the highlights and notables include Calexico, Iron And Wine, Mark Kozelek, Scout Niblett, Rivulets, Court And Spark, Pinetop Seven, and Jolie Holland. Great for fans of one and all.
album cover V/A And To The Disciples That Remain (Amish) cd 14.98
In celebration of their 11th year Amish records has released this comp filled with some names you know and some names you soon will from the murky wide world of the underground folk scene. A totally solid collection with not a loser in the bunch. From folks we've come to love like P.G. Six, Samara Lubelski, Dan Brown from Hall Of Fame, Helen Rush of Tower Recordings and totally stand out tracks from Oakley Hall and Bird Show. What's so nice about this comp is that while there is a connection in style and aesthetic between the artists they don't all sound alike and each brings their own slant to good old fashion american underground folk. Also nice to hear a collection like this that doesn't have some of the same names we're always used to hearing in this scene (Devendra, Sufjan, Joanna, etc) nothing against them, of course we love them but nice to remember there are many others doing wonderful things in that world.

From DARLA Records:

COCTEAU TWINS Treasure cd $11.49

652637041224. MOST HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!!! The debut full length release (1984). The opening two numbers are simply flawless, starting with "Ivo," where gently strummed guitar and low bass support Fraser's singing; then suddenly added, astonishing chimes and steady percussion build up to a jaw-dropping Guthrie guitar solo. Topping that would be hard for anyone, but in "Lorelei," the Twins do it, with an introductory, breathtaking guitar surge leading into one of Fraser's best vocals, compelling in both its heavenly and earthly tones and rolls. Not a word may be understandable, but it isn't necessary, while the music, driven on by a pounding rhythm, is as perfect a justification of digital delay pedals and the like as can be found. As Treasure continues, the accomplished variety is what stands out the most, whether it be the gentle, futuristic-medieval pluckings on "Beatrix," the understated moody washes and Fraser whispers on "Otterley," the upbeat guitar lines of "Aloysius," or the slightly jazzy touches on "Pandora." The concluding number ends the record on the peak with which it began. "Donimo" starts with a mysterious mix of mock choir sounds, ambient echoes and noises, and Fraser's careful singing before finally exploding into one last heavenly wash of powerful sound; Guthrie's guitar, Raymonde's steady bass, and drum machine smashes provide the perfect bed for Fraser's final, exultant vocals. Treasure lives up to its title and then some as a thorough and complete triumph. --AMG

Via Forced Exposure:


VA: All Tomorrow's Parties 1.1: Sonic Youth Curated CD (ATPR 002CD) 14.50
Originally released in 2001 as the companion to ATP 1.0, All Tomorrow's Parties 1.1 was curated by Sonic Youth, and was initially created to accompany the All Tomorrow's Parties events held in Los Angeles and England. This compilation definitely has the Sonic Youth fingerprint with acts as far ranging as noise mavens Boredoms to husky crooner Cat Power. Features exclusive unreleased tracks and new song versions by Sonic Youth, Unwound, Stephen Malkmus, Stereolab, Bardo Pond, Cat Power, Papa M, Cannibal Ox, Dead C, Boredoms, Kevin Drumm and Satans Tornade. This compilation captures the very spirit of the ATP Festival by matching disparate musical elements that together create a cross-section of the very best under-represented music.


VA: All Tomorrow's Parties 2.0: Shellac Curated CD (ATPR 003CD) 14.50
All Tomorrow's Parties 2.0 was originally released in 2002, and the festival itself was hosted by indie rock icons Shellac at Chamber Sands in Sussex, UK. As is the tradition, the curators were asked to assemble a lineup of their favorite acts to share the stage with them at the event. The accompanying compilation CD compiles moody angularity, and sometimes jaunty, sometimes orchestral indie emotives with a particularly Steve Albini stamp. All Tomorrow's Parties 2.0 features new and unreleased tracks from the likes of Shellac, Mission Of Burma, Bonnie Prince Billy, Nina Nastasia, Threnody Ensemble, High Dependency Unit, Arcwelder, The Fall, Shipping News, Do Make Say Think and Rachel's.


BARDO POND: On The Ellipse CD (ATPR 005CD) 14.50
Originally released in 2003, this is Bardo Pond's sixth release. Formed in Philadelphia in 1989 by brothers John and Michael Gibbons, Bardo Pond is one of the most mesmerizing bands of the past few years. On The Ellipse sounds like a heavy mix of Sabbath riffs blended with the folk beauty of Led Zep III -- a broad-stroked swirl of heavy riffs, improvised jams and acoustic meditations. Often quoted as being Mogwai's favorite band, Bardo Pond performed at the very first ATP festival, as well as being hand-picked by Sonic Youth for their ATP in Los Angeles. Both heavy and intense, Bardo Pond possesses a hypnotic spell that lures you into a psychedelic lair and always leaves you wanting more.


PUFNSTUF: Original Soundtrack Album CD (ACMEM 065CD) 16.00
"The soundtrack to the film version of Sid & Marty Krofft's gigantic children's TV hit HR Pufnstuf-the programme that introduced psychedelia into the diet of English and American children in the late sixties/ early seventies. Starring the most famous English boy actor of all, Jack Wild who had starred as the artful dodger in Lionel Bart's 1968 film musical smash Oliver! alongside the great Cass Elliot from the Mamas And The Papas (whose film debut this was), so a unique anglo-American appeal. Pufnstuf was a smash hit in America and is today an institution. Still remembered fondly by those that were touched by it as children and now enjoyed by younger viewers through cable transmissions. Pufnstuf was also a hit here in the UK where, like The Simpsons, it enjoyed prime airtime slot at 6pm in the evening. The soundtrack written by Charles Fox and Norman Gimbel (Barbarella, Happy Days, Laverne & Shirley) is a remarkable amalgam of bugglegum, psychedelic instrumentation and joyful knockabout songs including 'Zap The World' and the fine Cass solo number 'Different' which is exclusive to this record. Pufnstuf is full of great, clever, funny songs sung by Jack Wild, Cass Elliot, Witchiepoo and the cast."


VA: OHM+ The Early Gurus of Electronic Music DVD (ELLIP 3694DVD) 17.00
This is a stand-alone DVD issue of the recent bonus disc that was added to the 2CD/DVD 2005 reprinting of Ohm (so if you bought the old 2CD version years ago, now you just get the DVD by itself). "OHM+ DVD contains two and a half hours of rare performances, interviews, animations and experimental video. Includes Robert Moog, Clara Rockmore, Leon Theremin, John Cage, Morton Sobotnick, Pauline Oliveros, Laurie Speigel, John Chowning, Paul Lansky, Steve Reich and many more." Additional artists: Jean-Claude Risset, Holger Czukay, Bebe Barron, Iannis Xenakis, Milton Babbitt, David Behrman, John Chowning, Robert Ashley, Max Mathews, Pauline Oliveros, Mother Mallard, Robert Moog. Standard DVD packaging, NTSC all-region DVD.


JOYNER, SIMON: Beautiful Losers: Singles & Compilation Tracks 1994-1999 CD (JAG 076CD) 13.50
"The early 90's lo-fi explosion coincided with and was precipitated by the emergence of hundreds of small independent tape labels, many of which only existed long enough to release one compilation. It was during this heyday that Simon Joyner contributed some of his finest material to various intrinsically limited edition releases. Beautiful Losers: Singles and Compilation Tracks 1994-1999 collects all such compilation appearances and the few singles made during these years, including the perennial favorite 'One for the Catholic Girls' and 'Burn Rubber,' recently covered by Bright Eyes. This was such a prolific period for Joyner that he usually contributed his best songs of the moment to whoever requested a track, instead of reserving them for his proper albums. You'll find here varying degrees of sound quality and various approaches to songs, from solo acoustic to full band, but what ties the collection together is the strength of the material. This isn't filler."


PINK MOUNTAINTOPS: Axis of Evol CD (JAG 083CD) 13.50
"With Axis of Evol, Pink Mountaintops' second full-length record, Mcbean has once again created something much greater than the sum of his influences. Axis of Evol begins with a foreboding spiritual. It then almost immediately ramps up into a thumping, buzzing, blissful haze, at various parts sounding like the Velvet Underground or Spacemen 3 or the Jesus and Mary Chain circa Psycho Candy, and then ends with a hypnotic, Smog-like meditation. Throughout the record, Mcbean sings about love and war, the love of war, and the war of love-on the body, on the mind and on the soul. Home-recorded and largely self-produced, Axis of Evol is a further testament to the vital prolificacy of Stephen Mcbean."

WIRE 265

WIRE, THE: #265 March 2006 MAG (WIRE 265) 8.00
"On the cover: Phill Niblock (At 72, the pioneering American 'loud music minimalist' and film maker is at the top of his game). Features: Wooden Wand (The sprawling US collective stitch together a family quilt of influences, from Kraut to misfit hillbilly); Tape (The in-house group of Sweden's Hapna label make electroacoustic Improv in the midnight hour); Keith Berry (This British digital composer treats found sounds to plant surreal seeds in listener's ears); Invisible Jukebox: The Bug; Mat Maneri (New York's 'microtonal jazz' violinist tells Philip Clark how moving out of his father's shadow took him to the edge.); Once Upon a Time in San Francisco (How Quicksilver Messenger Service and others tore up the late '60s Bay Area Ballroom scene)."


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