Friday, September 26, 2014

Music Library Compilations: Ds and Es

Daughters of Texas (rel. 2002). Blues comp that is my wife's. It has Big Martha and Janis Joplin and seems to be about blues ladies from Texas.

Daytrotter Sessions, Vol. 1 and 2 (2007). A bunch of indie rock bands playing live in 2007.

The Debut/Period Original Jazz Classics Sampler (rel. 2002). This has some seriously great hard bop from Charlie Mingus's short-lived label.

The Devil's Music: Keith Richards' Favorite Tunes (rel. 2002). Top-notch comp from Uncut Magazine with blues, jazz, country, R&B, and reggae. What any of this has to do with Keith Richards is unknown. I mean, yes, the Rolling Stones have some wide-ranging influences.

Dirty Laundry: The Soul Of Black Country (rel. 2004). This is a comp of country songs performed by R&B and blues singers, emphasizing how very fragile the notions of genre are.

Do It Again: A Tribute To Pet Sounds (2006). Indie-rock folks cover the iconic Beach Boys album. Almost all of these songs make me wish I was listening to Pet Sounds instead of this.

Don't Let The Bastards Get You Down: A Tribute To Kris Kristofferson (2002). Lots of folks cover Kris Kristofferson songs. These are much better than the Beach Boys tribute, mostly because the songs are a bit more universally-accessible than the Beach Boys songs (I mean, anyone can cover Kristofferson), and the artists on the album are well-chosen for the material.

Don't Mess With Texas: SXSW 2008 New Music Sampler, Don't Mess With Texas: SXSW 2009 New Music Sampler, and Don't Mess With Texas: SXSW 2011 New Music Sampler. Bunch of indie-rock bands appearing at SXSW on the identified year. There's no rhyme or reason for these selections otherwise, and the whole is pretty lackluster. Some songs are good, though.

The Doo Wop Box (rel. 1993). Four discs of doo-wop, a genre that I can stand for about 20 minutes at a time, as I learned while listening to this. As a historical document, though, it is quite interesting.

Down And Out: The Sad Soul of the Black South (rel. 1998). This is a fascinating comp of semi-obscure down & dirty blues.

Down To The Promised Land: Five Years of Bloodshot Records (2000). This may be the first of Bloodshot's yearly compilations, but it is one of the best.

Eccentric Soul 1: The Capstone Label
Eccentric Soul 2: The Bandit Label
Eccentric Soul 3: The Deep City Label
Eccentric Soul 4: The Big Mack Label
Eccentric Soul 5: Mighty Mike Lenaburg
Eccentric Soul 6: Twinight's Lunar Rotation
Eccentric Soul 7: The Prix Label
Eccentric Soul 8: The Outskirts of Deep City

These comps, released between 2004 and 2007, are the R&B versions of garage rock, collecting  regional sides from the 60s and 70s made in communities all over the country. The Numero Group, which releases these, has done a phenomenal job. I think the first one, compiling songs by the Capstone Label, is my favorite, but they are all worth seeking out.

Eu Vim da Bahia (rel. 1965). This is an early comp of music from the Bahia area of Brazil, featuring many musicians who would very soon after become associated with the tropicalia movement. This collection features the artists playing slightly syrupy bossanova, which doesn't indicate the musical mayhem that they would create within the next five years.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Music Library Compilations: Cs

Cambodia: Traditional Music Vol. 1 (released 1975) and Cambodian Cassette Archives: Khmer Folk and Pop Music Vol. 1 (released 2004). I'm not too enamored of the traditional Cambodian music, but the second disc, a recording of Cambodian garage bands, rocks most mightily.

Casual Victim Pile: Austin 2010. An excellent compilation of Austin music curated by Gerard Cosley with the extraordinary Follow That Bird! (who have re-formed as Mirror Travel) and the great Distant Seconds.

Chains And Black Exhaust (released 2002). This top-notch comp collects rare psychedelic funk tunes.

Chess Psychedelic Jazz and Funky Grooves (1968-75) and Chess Soul: A Decade of Chicago's Finest (1963-72). The former collects the awkward attempts of some great jazz, blues, and soul artists to make garage-y psychedelic music. Perhaps it helped create a market for the brilliance of the Chains and Black Exhaust music, but it pretty well sucks. The latter collects the more classic Chess blues, soul, and R&B music, and it is solid.

Classic Bluegrass from Smithsonian Folkways (released 2002), Classic Harmonica Blues From Smithsonian Folkways (released 2013), and Classic Mountain Songs From Smithsonian Folkways (released 2002). Smithsonian Folkways is doing the lord's work here. Each of these collections contains amazing old music that would be right at home on Harry Smith's Anthologies of American Folk Music (and, in a couple of places, overlaps that collection). The Harmonica Blues compilation came out last year and is proof that Smithsonian Folkways can continue to curate a collection built around a central concept, and the label's seemingly endless depths and quality of their archives, a veritable diamond mine of folk music.

CMJ 2007: The Bands, The Music, The City, Vol. 1. A freebie collection of indie rock bands from 2007 that I will probably delete.

The Complete Stax-Volt Singles 1959-1968, The Complete Stax-Volt Singles Vol. 2: 1968-1971, and The Complete Stax-Volt Singles Vol. 3: 1972-1975. Total songs on these three boxes: 669. The first two box sets are perfect. The last still has moments of brilliance, but things were getting sloppy at Stax-Volt.

Country Funk 1969-75, Country Got Soul Vol. 1 (rel. 2003) and Country Got Soul Vol. 2 (rel. 2004). These are much better attempts at fusing two genres than the Chess Psychedelic stuff. The tracks are well-selected from white folks (especially Memphis-based white folk) who were often classified as country musicians while any fool can hear how much R&B goes into their sound (Charlie Rich, Dan Penn, and Bobbie Gentry, most prominently).

Country Legends Hits (1955-75). This is an 8-song cheapo compilation that I may have bought in a gas station with some truly excellent songs - all original versions! - on it: Glen Campbell's "Rhinestone Cowboy," Conway Twitty's "Hello Darlin'," Sonny James' "Young Love," Ferlin Husky's "Wings of a Dove," Merle Haggard's "Okie from Muskogee," Tennessee Ernie Ford's "Sixteen Tons," Faron Young's "Hello Walls," and Willie Nelson's "Crazy." I think I bought this on a road trip in 1991 or 92 and realized that I really love country music.

Crossing Jordan Soundtrack (rel. 2001). This is a show I never watched, but I had the distinct impression that it was not one I would enjoy. However, this soundtrack, which is mostly Americana types covering iconic 60's songs quite well, leaps way higher than I could expect with Vic Chesnutt's "Buckets of Rain" and - especially - Richard Thompson burning down "Season of the Witch."

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Music Library Compilations: Bs

Beat The Retreat: Songs By Richard Thompson (1994). This is a pretty fun tribute album. Best track: Dinosaur Jr. - "I Misunderstood." I can't find a copy of that, though, so here's a close runner-up.

Before Night Falls: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack (2001). Pretty pleasant music, I guess. I'm not so knowledgeable about Latin music.

Beg Scream and Shout!: The Big Ol' Box of 60s Soul (1961-69). Well-named. Six discs of 60s soul music with no clear rhyme or reason for the selection or tracklist. I don't have the liner notes, so maybe they would clear this up a bit. All awesome.

Believer 25th Issue Compilation (2005).  This one has indie-rock bands covering other indie rock bands. Best track: Spoon doing Yo La Tengo's "Decora."

Believer Music Issue, July/August 2008. This one's all over the place and not in a good way. The Madlib and Aceyalone tracks are good, though.

The Best American Nonrequired Reading 2002. Buncha authors reading from their own work, curated by Dave Eggers. There's some good writing on here (Sam Lipsyte, Sara Corbett, Eric Schlosser), but it's like a serious of This American Life Act IVs.

The Best Of Blue Note (1958-65). No idea where I got this one! The tracks are great - Herbie Hancock's "Maiden Voyage," Horace Silver's "Song For My Father," among other greats, you know - but the selection is disjointed.

The Best of Mountain Stage Live, Vol. 3 (1992). I only have a couple of tracks from this one, actually: Yo La Tengo doing an acoustic version of "Lewis" and Jo-El Sonnier covering Richard Thompson's "Tear Stained Letter," but both are excellent. This is not the same version, but it'll do.

Better Than The Beatles: A Tribute To The Shaggs (2002). Not too bad, as far as tribute albums go. Deerhoof is an obvious inclusion, but the Danielson Famile and R. Stevie Moore nods are inspired.

The Big Beat 1963. All Brian Wilson projects. Best track: The Honeys - "Little Dirt Bike."

The Big Lebowski Original Motion Picture Soundtrack (1998). I picked this up for a read-through of The Two Gentlemen of Lebowski at my house a few years back. Solid selection, curated - I assume - by T-Bone Burnett, although it leaves off a number of songs from the movie.

Black and Proud: The Soul of the Black Panther Era, Vol. I and II (1968-2001). The first one mixes obscurities with soul classics from 1969-75, and it is excellent. The second one throws in some hip-hop and a Galactic track from the 00s, and I don't know what the hell they were thinking.

The Blasting Concept, Vol. 2 (1986). Top-notch SST comp.

Bloodshot Records Free Label Samper 2007: Yr Welcome, World. Okay.

Bloodshot Records eMusic Honky-Tonk Compilation (2007). Best track: Robbie Fulks and Kelly Willis on "Parallel Bars."

Bloodshot Records Sampler 2012. Even stronger. This comp sold me on Lydia Loveless, who stands her own with the likes of Dexter Romweber, the Waco Brothers, Kelly Hogan, Graham Parker, and Alejandro Escovado.

Blue Note: The Lost Grooves 67-70. Jazz-funk with Grant Green, Stanley Turrentine, and Lou Donaldson.

Blues Legends (1947-82). Well-curated cheapo blues comp. Wins by starting with a Gatemouth Brown track.

Blues Masters: Essential Blues Collection (1927-67). I don't know how essential it is, but there's some solid choices here, too.

The Bottle Let Me Down: Songs For Bumpy Wagon Rides (2002). I think this is Bloodshot doing music for kids, but Robbie Fulks wins again with his creeptastic, kid-unfriendly song "Godfrey."

Brain In A Box (throughout the 20th century). Bizarro box set collecting theme music from sci-fi movies and tv shows along with a disc of incidental music and two discs of sci-fi songs. Fun listen, but weirdly curated.

The Bridge: A Tribute To Neil Young (1989). This is a really great comp. Best track: The Pixies doing "Winterlong."

Thursday, August 07, 2014

Music Library Compilations: As

I'm not really going to review my compilation albums unless they need it. I will, however, list them. It's the least I can do, literally. Well, almost. I suppose I could also do nothing. But this is a blog post, which is almost the same thing. After some consideration, I'm not including friend-made samplers because it's just too complicated to mention what's on them, but there are quite a few of those, too. Five here in the As.

Absolutely Kosher 2002 Sampler. Best track: The Extra Glenns - "Baltimore."

Achoo! An Asthmatic Kitty Sampler, Vol. 2 (2007). Best track: Half-Handed Cloud - "Sailing The Veil-Boat."

Acute eMusic Sampler (2006). Best track: Theoretical Girls - "Computer Dating."

Adult Swim Singles Program 2010. Best track: High On Fire - "Speak In Tongues."

Adult Swim Singles Program 2011. Best track: Cerebral Ballzy (name: ugh) - "On The Run."

Adult Swim Singles Program 2012. Best track: Wye Oak - "Spiral."

Adult Swim Singles Program 2013. Best track: Captain Murphy feat Viktor Vaughn, Earl Sweatshirt and Thundercat - "Between Villains."

Adult Swim Singles Program 2014. Still ongoing. Best track so far: Sleep - "The Clarity."

African Swim (2008). Another [adult swim] compilation, this one featuring African hip-hop. Best track: GUMSHEV - "Matha."

AK79 (1979). This is a compilation of New Zealand punk from 1979. Best track: Toy Love - "Toy Love Song."

American Primitive, Vol. I: Rare Pre-War Gospel, 1926-36. No best track. They're all phenomenal.

American Primitive, Vol. II: Pre-War Revenants 1897-1939. All good again.

The American Song-Poem Anthology: Do You Know The Difference Between Big Wood And Brush? (2003). These are the songs where people would send in their poetry throughout the 60s and 70s and a group of very game LA session musicians would throw it down on vinyl. There are so many great songs here. And there are some that are unambiguously ironic. This is one of both.

The American Song-Poem Christmas: Daddy, Is Santa Really Six-Foot-Four? (2003). These are less engaging, but there's a few standouts. The following has been covered by Yo La Tengo.

Angola Prison Spirituals (1959). Gut-wrenching religious songs by prisoners in dire circumstances.

I Eat Records 2005 Sampler: Appetizers and Leftovers. Sampler from a pretty great defunct Austin label with tracks from Okkervil River, Phosphorescent, and Shearwater. Lotsa great tracks from bands that no longer exist, but the only one I can find on youtube is the Okkervil River track.

ATL RMX (2009). Another [adult swim] compilation, this one featuring remixed hip-hop tracks from Atlanta. Best track: Young Jeezy - "I Got This (Remix by El-P)."

Monday, August 04, 2014

Music Library: Neil Young, Yuck, Yung Wu, Yusef Lateef, Frank Zappa, Zombies, Zoot Sims, ZZ Top, 3Ds, 6 String Drag, 6ths, 13th Floor Elevators, 16 Horsepower

Neil Young - Live At The Cellar Door (1970), Chrome Dreams (soniclovenoize recreation) (1977), Don't Spook The Crazy Horse bootleg (1990), and Americana (2012). Yeah, I've talked about Mr. Young ad nauseam. The Cellar Door is very similar to the Massey Hall live album that came out a few years back. Chrome Dreams is a recreation from here. The Don't Spook bootleg is from the Ragged Glory tour, and Americana is, of course, a recreation of traditional folk songs in the style of Crazy Horse.

Yuck - Yuck (2011). Young people who sound like old people. But my kind of old people!

Yung Wu - Shore Leave (1987). The best of the many Feelies-who-aren't-Feelies bands. This one is fronted by percussionist Dave Weckerman!

Yusef Lateef - The Three Faces of Yusef Lateef (1960), Eastern Sounds (1961), and The Golden Flute (1966). First-rate hard bop/post-bop that cooks even when Lateef switches to flute. And that's a feat, y'all.

Frank Zappa - Hot Rats (1969). The only Zappa album that I will own because I hate Zappa but love Beefheart, who sings on two of the songs here and gives the proceedings more of a Beefheartian feel than the usual Zappaist self-indulgence.

The Zombies - Odessey and Oracle (1968) and R.I.P. (soniclovenoize recreation) (1969). The original chamber-pop maestros. Odessey is delightful and R.I.P. is yet another recreation by the blog guy here.

Zoot Sims and Stan Getz - The Brothers (1956). Just realized that this should probably be a Stan Getz album and not a Zoot Sims one.

ZZ Top - ZZ Top's First Album (1971), Rio Grande Mud (1972), Tres Hombres (1973), Fandango (1975), Tejas (1976), Deguello (1979), El Loco (1981), and Eliminator (1983). Tejas is kind of terrible, mostly because of lousy production, but the rest of these are quite deserving of their reputation as Texas boogie (or cheesy synth-y Texas boogie, in the case of Eliminator).

The 3Ds - Hellzapoppin (1992). Most excellent kiwi-pop.

6 String Drag - 6 String Drag (1997) and High Hat (1997). Fantastic alt-country from Raleigh. Saw them back in 1997 or so, and they rocked like hell.

The 6ths - Wasps' Nests (1995) and Hyacinths And Thistles (2000). Stephin Merritt's project of electropop as sung by other indie-rock personages. The titles are deliberately designed to make you lisp.

The 13th Floor Elevators - The Psychedelic Sounds Of The 13th Floor Elevators (1966) and Easter Everywhere (1967). Roky Erickson's Austin-based psychedelic-garage rock band. This is Ground Zero for Austin music.

16 Horsepower - Sackcloth n' Ashes (1996) and Low Estate (1998). This was a Denver-based alt-country band with a predilection towards sin-and-retribution lyrics.

...and - holy smokes - that wraps up the regular coverage of my music library, which I started in 2008. 2008! We were all so young then. I'm going to run as quickly as possible through my compilations and the numerous albums I have picked up in the meantime or accidentally skipped in the regular rotation. And then I will try to enjoy music again. Is crunking still a thing?

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Music Library: X, X-Ray Spex, Iannis Xenakis, XTC, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Yeasayer, Yelawolf, Yes, Yo La Tengo, Yo-Yo Ma, Dwight Yoakam, Yoko Ono, Young Knives, Young People

X - Los Angeles (1980), Wild Gift (1981), Under The Big Black Sun (1982), More Fun In The New World (1983), Ain't Love Grand (1985), See How We Are (1987), Live at Emo's November 11, 2002 bootleg. The best thing Ray Manzarek gave the world was the first X album. The best thing X gave the world was their second album. My favorite song X gave the world was on their fourth album ("I Must Not Think Bad Thoughts," and check out how much they progressively tear up the two chords of the verses with each new iteration in the attached video), but their essential punk-rockabilly-art mojo was starting to pass by that point. Still, there's some great moments on the next two albums, and even when I went to see them on their nostalgia tour of 2002 (represented on the bootleg here), they cooked like hell.

X-Ray Spex - Germfree Adolescents (1978). So freakin' great. I had never seen video of X-Ray Spex live until recently when I caught a piece of Wolfgang Buld's not-great documentary Punk In England with footage of the band, and man, Poly Styrene is electric.

Iannis Xenakis - Kraanerg (performed by the ST-X Ensemble, 1997). That's avant-garde, all right.

XTC - Skylarking (1986) and a compilation by a friend. The compilation has tracks from all over their career, so I know that I really like the ones from Drums and Wires more than any of their other tracks, but I'm not really much of an XTC fan.

Yeah Yeah Yeahs - Fever To Tell (2003), Show Your Bones (2006), and Is Is EP (2007). They come more into their own as they go, and I ended up liking each of these more than the last.

Yeasayer - All Hour Cymbals (2007). Having finished appropriating everything they could from African-American culture, young Brooklynites went for African and Latin music.

Yelawolf - Arena Rap (2008). This is silly as shit.

Yes - Fragile (1971) and Close To The Edge (1972). Well, I don't hate Yes as much as I thought I did and - I guess - quite like them for a lot of these albums, but I really do not like Jon Anderson's voice, which could charitably be described as hobbit castrati.

Yo La Tengo - Ride The Tiger (1986), New Wave Hot Dogs (1987), President Yo La Tengo (1989), Facebook (1990), Here Comes My Baby EP (1990), May I Sing With Me (1992), Upside Down EP (1992), Painful (1993), Shaker EP (1993), Electr-O-Pura (1995), Camp Yo La Tengo EP (1995), Genius + Love = Yo La Tengo compilation (1996), I Can Hear The Heart Beating As One (1997), Little Honda EP (1998), Strange But True (with Jad Fair, 1998), Aligre Radio 12/2/1999 bootleg, ...And Then Nothing Turned Itself Inside Out (2000), Danelectro EP (2000), WFMU Request Show 2000 bootleg, The Sounds Of The Sounds Of Science (2002), Nuclear War EP (2002), WFMU Request Show 2002 bootleg, Summer Sun (2003), Today Is The Day EP (2003), Merry Christmas From Yo La Tengo EP (2003), Prisoners Of Love: A Smattering Of Scintillating Senescent Songs 1985-2003 compilation, Yo La Tengo Is Murdering The Classics (2006), Mr. Tough/I'm Your Puppet single (2006), I Am Not Afraid Of You And I Will Beat Your Ass (2007), iTunes Live Session EP (2007), They Shoot, We Score (2008), Popular Songs (2009), Fade (2013). As you might have guessed by this list, I like Yo La Tengo. I am 42 years old, and I have loved YLT since the early-to-mid 90s. But you probably know all of that. So this is really just an excuse to post a whole bunch of awesome YLT videos.

Yo-Yo Ma - Bach: Six Unaccompanied Cello Suites (1990), Elgar, Walton: Cello Concertos (1990), Rachmaninov, Prokofiev: Cello Sonatas (1991), Concertos From The New World (1995), Soul Of The Tango: The Music Of Astor Piazzolla (1997), Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon Soundtrack (2000), Brahms: Cello Sonatas (2004), The Dvorak Album (2004), Obrigado Brazil (2004), Appassionato (2007). Much love for this man's music.

Dwight Yoakam - Guitars, Cadillacs, Etc. Etc. (1986). I covered Yoakam earlier, but picked this up since. Used to have it on vinyl back in my youth.

Yoko Ono and the Plastic Ono Band - Fly (1971). Pretty bad-ass stuff.

Young Knives - Superabundance (2008). Not bad, but not great, either, and more than a little forgettable.

Young People - War Prayers (2003) and Five Sunsets In Four Days (2006). Pretty cool avant-rock band with a serious love of movies.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Music Library: Willie Dixon, Willie Nelson, Wilson Pickett, Windbreakers, Wings, Wire, Woggles, Wolf Parade, Mozart, Wolves In The Throne Room, Wooden Shjips, Woods, Woody Guthrie, Wreckless Eric, Wrens, Wu-Tang Clan, Würm

Continuing to keep it brief with an eye on finishing this damn project before I am overtaken with the sweet relief of death.

Willie Dixon - I Am The Blues (1970). You know, he really is. When other people (Howlin' Wolf, primarily) play his songs, they are the blues, but Willie Dixon is always the blues, too. These aren't the best versions, but they're pretty good.

Willie Nelson - Crazy: The Demo Sessions (1966), Phases and Stages (1973), Shotgun Willie (1973), Red Headed Stranger (1975), To Lefty From Willie (1977), Stardust (1978), Willie and Family Live (1978), Greatest Hits (And Some That Will Be) (compilation, 1973-81). Once I didn't care for Phases and Stages, but now it's my favorite. I know I need more Willie albums, but I don't know which ones. Any advice would be appreciated.

Wilson Pickett - The Exciting Wilson Pickett (1966) and The Very Best Of Wilson Pickett (compilation, 1965-71). Mr. Pickett is definitely exciting.

The Windbreakers - Run (1986). Pretty great Southern power-pop from Mississippi.

Wings - Band on the Run (1973), Venus And Mars (1975), and At The Speed Of Sound (1976). I'm not a big fan of Macca's post-Beatles work. These are ok, especially the hits, but the deep cuts really sound like filler.

Wire - Pink Flag (1977), Chairs Missing (1978), The Peel Sessions Album (1978), 154 (1979), Live 1978-79, On The Box: 1979, A Bell Is A Cup... Until It Is Struck (1988), Wire 1985-90: The A List, Read And Burn 01 EP (2002), Read And Burn 02 EP (2002), Send (2003), Read And Burn 03 (2007), Object 47 (2008), Red Barked Tree (2011), and Change Becomes Us (2013). I freakin' love Wire. The first two albums are perfection, with the uber-chilly 154 not far behind. The 80s electropop albums aren't as fun for me, but they are still full of brilliant ideas. The 00s reformation as a frosty industrial--punk-metal outfit are most excellent and the reworking of their nonalbum tracks from the 70s in Change Becomes Us (the original versions appear on the Live 78-79 bootleg) is also definitely fascinating. Man, this is one of my all-time favorite bands.

The Woggles - The Zontar Sessions (1994) and Wailin' With The Woggles (1998). I have more Woggles on vinyl. Utterly great garage band from Georgia with the utterly great Dan Elextro on drums and a first-rate frontman in Professor Manfred.

Wolf Parade - At Mount Zoomer (2008) and Expo 86 (2010). I don't much care for these guys' output. Sounds like 80s radio music to me.

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart - Requiem, KV 626 (BBC Symphony Orchestra and Sir Colin Davis, 1967), The Complete Mozart Piano Concertos, Vol. Seven (Derek Han, 1996), various other compilations. I got bored trying to write out all of these Mozart performances, sorry.

Wolves In The Throne Room - Diadem of 12 Stars (2006). Black metal made by hippies in the Pacific Northwest with a theme of ecological disaster. Pretty damn cool.

Wooden Shjips - Volume One (2007), Wooden Shjips (2007), Dos (2009), Vol. 2 (2010), West (2011). Build a jam song on a solid foundation of bass riffs and it will rock every single time. Each of these albums is better than the last, so that's pretty awesome.

Woods - How To Survive In/In The Woods (2007). 'Sokay. Needs work.

Woody Guthrie - Dustbowl Ballads (1940), Worried Man Blues (1944), This Land Is Your Land: The Asch Recordings, Vol. 1 (1944), Muleskinner Blues: The Asch Recordings, Vol. 2 (1944-45), Hard Travelin': The Asch Recordings, Vol. 3 (1944-45), Buffalo Skinners: The Asch Recordings, Vol. 4 (1944-45), Ballads of Sacco and Vanzetti (1947). The man is a legend for a reason. "This Land Is Your Land" should be our national anthem.

Wreckless Eric - Wreckless Eric (1978). Great Stiff Records (aka pub rock-protopunk-power-pop) singer-songwriter-guitarist with a feel for the rootsy guitar-pop of Nick Lower and early Elvis the C.

The Wrens - Silver (1994), Seacaucus (1996), Abbott 1135 EP (1998), The Meadowlands (2003). As unlikely as it seems, the Wrens are supposedly still working on a follow-up to The Meadowlands, a near-perfect piece of indie rock. The prior albums, especially Seacaucus, are also really good.

Wu-Tang Clan - Enter The Wu-Tang (36 Chambers) (1993), Wu-Tang Forever (1997), The W (2000), 8 Diagrams (2007). I keep forgetting: Is the Wu-Tang something that I should be trying to fuck with? Or are they for the children?

Würm - Feast (1985). SST-approved metal with Chuck Dukowski on bass and vocals.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Music Library: Wilco, Wild Flag, Wild Magnolias, Wild Poppies, Wild Tchoupitoulas, Wilenski, Will and the Bushmen, Will Johnson, Will Kimbrough, Will Oldham, Willard Grant Conspiracy, William Basinski, William Bell, William S. Burroughs

More all-too-brief reviews.

Wilco - A.M. (1995), Being There (1996), Outta Print Outta Site (bootleg compilation, 1994-98), Summerteeth (1999), Summerteeth Demos (1998-99), Yankee Hotel Foxtrot Demos (2000), Yankee Hotel Foxtrot (2002), More Like The Moon EP (2003), A Wilco Anthology (bootleg compilation, 1994-2003), A Ghost Is Born (2004), The Wilco Book (2004), A Ghost Is Born Tour EP (2005), Kicking Television: Live In Chicago (2005), A Prairie Home Companion appearance (2007), Sky Blue Sky (2007), Wilco [The Album] (2009), The Whole Love (2011), June 1, 2013 Solid Sound Festival. Much love I have for Wilco, even as I have cared less and less about their output since A Ghost Is Born. And, see, on that album, I noticed how hard Jeff Tweedy was trying to sound like Nels Cline when it first dropped, and then Tweedy went and hired Cline to be in his band. They are one of the most exciting live bands out there, but I just can't work up much enthusiasm for the studio output. It's  pretty good, sure, but it doesn't blow my mind like they used to. I mean, I was there! I went to see them right before A.M. dropped, two or three times on the Being There tour, maybe three times for Summerteeth, a couple of times during the build-up to Yankee Hotel Foxtrot and a few times since, although they're mostly outside of my price range now, because I am nothing if not cheap. And I can't name a single song on Wilco [The Album] without looking. Here's my favorite Wilco song, which is not a guitar freakout, all of my tastes to the contrary.

Wild Flag - Wild Flag (2011). Ah, superfun indie-rock lady supergroup. The Germans probably have a word for this.

The Wild Magnolias - The Wild Magnolias (1973) and They Call Us Wild (1975). The first of two Mardi Gras Indian albums in this post! The Wild Magnolias are a bit wilder than the Tchoupitoulas, especially on the first album here.

The Wild Poppies - Heroine (1986). Great kiwi-pop band doing that kiwi-pop thing.

 The Wild Tchoupitoulas - The Wild Tchoupitoulas (1976). The other Mardi Gras Indians! This one has the benefit of the Meters as the backing band.

Osias Wilenski, Don Juan-Rodolfo Valentino, Cesar Puente, and Maria Rosa Lopez - Wilenski: Carmen's Revenge (2010). This is some sort of classical response record, I think? I am really not qualified to tell you anything about it, because I really don't understand it.

Will and the Bushmen - Gawk (1987). Ok, Will and the Bushmen were an excellent power-pop band from Alabama led by the incomparable Will Kimbrough. I have completely lost my vinyl copies of the other two W&TB albums, so I'll have to fix that at some point.

Will Johnson - Murder of Tides (2002) and Vultures Await (2004). A couple of whispery-quiet acoustic albums from the leader of Centro-Matic.

Will Kimbrough - This (2000), Home Away (2002), Americanitis (2006), Godsend (2006), EP (2007), Live At Grimey's (with noted author Hayden Childs, 2008). I gotta catch up on Kimbrough's more recent albums, too. The man makes some great, great music.

Will Oldham - Western Music EP (1997), Black/Rich Music EP (1998), Little Joya EP (1998), Guarapero: Lost Blues 2 (2000). I have no idea how Oldham decides which release should be under his own name instead of Bonnie "Prince" Billy.

Willard Grant Conspiracy + Telefunk - In The Fishtank 8 EP (2001). Boston-based alt-country band meets European electronica band. Not one of the greatest Fishtank Eps, but, like all of them, it has its moments.

William Basinski - The Disintegration Loops I-IV (2002-03), Melancholia (2003), and The River (2008). Basinski - legendarily - finished salvaging The Disintegration Loops, earlier compositions on rapidly decaying tapes, on the morning of September 11, 2001. They consist of short burst of minimalist compositions falling apart, and they are achingly beautiful even as they fall into ruin. The other compositions here are also quite affecting.

William Bell - The Soul of a Bell (1967). Heck to the yeah.

William S. Burroughs - Dead City Radio (1990) and The "Priest" They Called Him (with Kurt Cobain, 1993). The junky monk of Beat letters, the man known more for his life than his works, Burroughs was king when I was in my late teens/early 20s and I'm not sure I have the patience for his work now. But these musical vignettes on Dead City Radio, which marry his words to music - mostly incidental TV music - hit the spot. The Priest single, which has him telling a duller story over the dull sound of Kurt Cobain screwing around with feedback, is less essential. Here's the apocalypse for you.

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From Here To Obscurity, founded ca. 2003, population 1. The management wishes to emphasize that no promises vis-a-vis your entertainment have been guaranteed and for all intents and purposes, intimations of enlightenment fall under the legal definition of entertainment. No refunds shall be given nor will requests be honored. Although some may ask, we have no intention of beginning again.

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