34 Bands, 4 nights, 5 Clubs! That’s Musique Automatique in Asheville, starting tonight. The band I’m most interested in are those alt-prog-metal-instrumental-video crazies Kings of Prussia. I probably won’t be there because I’ve lost the will to rock, or at least the time and money. Maybe I’ll stay home and play my Gore records instead. Go on without me! Save yourselves!
I can’t believe I just found this. This is a last minute post, but go see Kings of Prussia at Gourmet Perks (Asheville, NC) tonight. I’m sure I’ll be posting more about them soon. For now I’ll just say if a combo of Durutti Column, Voivod and Death Angel sounds good to you, then you’ll love this. Check out the video of my new favorite band.
And congrats to whoever made that show flyer. Fantastic.
Radiohead fans raise your hands. I guess I’m a fan, but it’s an intermittent relationship at best. Maybe you hard core folks can comment on what makes Radiohead so great. I bought their first album, Pablo Honey when it first came out, and let’s be honest, it was pretty inconsistent. Unfortunately, that stuck with me and I missed out for a while when they started making great music.
Kid A actually won a Grammy for Best Alternative Album and was nominated for Album of the Year. This version is an appropriately arty package for an increasingly experimental band. It’s a gatefold double LP, on vinyl of course, but records are 10 inchers, not 12. All sides of the gatefold and liners are covered with art by Stanley Donwood and singer Thom Yorke.
I like Kid A, but it’s not something I’ll play often. The overall vibe is like a Pink Floyd album, not really my thing. I thought maybe I was crazy, or maybe just old, for thinking that, but I’ve read the comparison elsewhere.
Here’s a interesting song by experimental folkies ((sounder)) with a video to match.
“Directed by Mike Aho, Illustrated by Michael Sieben
This is the first installation of the ((sounder)) Directorâ€™s Collaboration Project a series of 5 videos premiering ever month throughout the spring and summer of 2008. Featured artist/directors are Michael Sieben, Mel Kadel, Todd Bratrud, Travis Millard and Dave Bryant.
All of the artists worked with Mike Aho in a creative collaboration to develop images that either capture or decompose the music through the use of drawings, film, animation and video.”
Title: Musik for Insomniaks (Limited edition Japanese boxed cassette with deck of cards)
Rating (1-10): 6
Acquired: 1985? – I must’ve been working at a record store…
All the nerds in the house say, “Hey!” This one is for you. I know I promised something for the nerds the other day, but I’ve been planning on posting Mark Mothersbaugh’s Musik for Insomniaks since I saw him playing “guest programmer” on TCM a couple weeks ago.
Mark had some interesting movie choices. I didn’t see his entire shift. I wonder if Robert Osborne asked him about Devo. Anyhow… Of course, Mark has made many soundtracks and that’s pretty much what Musik for Insomniaks sounds like. It’s a little too staccato to be considered truly soporific (false advertising!) but it does get boring at times. And those times really depend on the listener because all of the “songs” sound similar. I thought I was playing the same side of the tape by mistake for a minute, but it turned to be side 2 after all. Even the names of the songs are similar: “XP25”, “XP31”, etc. To be fair, the collection is really more like a film score where the pieces are variations of the core theme. It’s all instrumental, with no drums or guitar, that I could tell.
What makes this piece interesting enough to keep is the total package. This version was a Japanese import produced as limited edition boxed cassette with a deck of cards. Mothersbaugh completely covered this thing with art and quirkiness. The text on the cover is in gold leaf box, the cassette itself is metallic gold, there is a comic inside the box top, and included is a letter in kanji signed by Mark. I saved the best for last, there is also a full deck of playing cards, to play some sleep-inducing Solitaire I assume. All the cards have a different picture of Mark. For each suit he is wearing a different suit of his own. I don’t know who the woman is with him on one of the Joker cards.
I have the perfect Halloween soundtrack for you: EinstÃ¼rzende Neubauten’s Strategies Against Architecture 80-83. These guys are the uncrowned kings of noise and experimental music. This early compilation is particularly eerie, and metallic, in the literal sense of the word. Typical “instruments” listed for each song include “hollow metal object”, “metal plates”, “scratching metal”, “air conditioning duct” and so on. What vocals are there, are, how you say… distressed? And check out a few of these Halloween-ready titles: “Tanz Debil (A Dance of Mental Illness)”, “Schmerzen HÃ¶ren (Listen with Pain)”, “DrauÃŸen ist Feindlich (Outside is Hostile).”
Of course, the band expanded beyond this type of music over the years. And they have put on some noteworthy live performances in their time. I have never seen them in person, but I did get to see leader Blixa Bargeld once with Nick Cave.
They have a MySpace page. The two songs there are very pretty, and not at all like what this album is like.
You should read this Wikipedia article about EinstÃ¼rzende Neubauten. No self-respecting art school student should be without some of their music.
Zvuki Mu? Ever heard of them? They are a modern art band from Russia that started in the 1980s. This is their debut album and it was produced by Mister art rock himself, Brian Eno. This album is very eclectic with everything from strange pulsing dirges punctuated by sporadic drum and vocal outbursts to accessible but nerdy art disco. Yes, it is that good. The lyrics are in Russian. I’ve read descriptions of singer Pyotr Mamonov’s lyrics as “absurdist”, but how would I know?
My two main memories associated with Zvuki Mu are that my brother and I played it a lot at our record store. We got it as a promo from our Warner Bros rep. She also got us into a live show with Zvuki Mu at the 9:30 Club in D.C. We got to meet Mamonov and the other guys, and in hindsight they did seem somewhat absurdist. In their proper business suits they reminded me more of the Dadaists seen in old photos than the average rock band. Mary thinks we also went to dinner with them, but I think that was another band. Ah, the perks of owning a record store.
Acquired: 1988 – At our store RIP Records in Norfolk, VA
I respect this record, and this band, more than I enjoy the music. I’ve already told my story about seeing them live in London, and it was a great experience. That said, though Pere Ubu has created a lot of interesting music over the years, I guess it’s just not my thing. The Tenement Year has some great songs, but it also has some challenging sounds and noises layered in that I often find distracting, off-putting even.
Trust me, this sucks, big time. Having shingles that is, not this record. It’s also my excuse for not posting for so long. At least I got through the weekend and got to see my friends at Chris Hunter’s wedding. Throw in some time with my extended family and a gang trip to Busch Gardens and the long trip was well worth it.
What to say about The Ordinaires? This record, One, is pretty interesting. Since I’m feeling lazy (see above) I’ll just say that if you like Kronos Quartet, Zappa, or any other quirky instrumental music this is the record for you. The front cover is a “computer generated composite photograph” of the nine band members on the back. Read more at Trouser Press.
Want to know what it's like to have brain surgery? Well here's the long version of my experience. Complete with pictures and videos! Read all about the Brain Surgery Experience.
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