Sunday, August 09, 2009

Music Library: Fannypack, Far Rustics, Fatlip, Fats Domino, Fats Waller, Faust, Fazil Say, Fear, Feelies, Feist, Fela Kuti

Fannypack - "Seven One Eight." Minimalist retro NYC-based hip-hop that is sassy in a Salt-N-Pepa way. This was a favorite single of some friends back in 2005 and it is as catchy as it is relentless.

Far Rustics - Iredell Street EP (2000). My pal Zach and me doing some originals and covers. Zach plays violin on this little homebrewed EP, but he's currently the guitarist out in front in the Chapel Hill band Last Watch.

Fatlip - "What's Up Fatlip?" Great single from the former member of Pharcyde. I never got around to checking out the rest of this album, though. This song also has a fantastic Spike Jonze-directed video.

Fats Domino - several tracks. A few random tracks from a friend's mix. I should probably spring for a full-on best-of.

Fats Waller - A Handful of Keys (recorded 1938). This is a live performance by Waller, one of the original superstars of jazz, a guy who wrote a ton of songs are are now considered standards. He's not just an amazing pianists, but a great entertainer and his sense of fun and showmanship shine out of this album and grab hold of you, some 70 years later.

Faust - Faust (1971), So Far (1972), The Faust Tapes (1973), Faust IV (1974), and Faust V (unreleased, 1975). Krautrock pranksters who toed the line between the VU and minimalist composition. Their first album has only three tracks and their second nine. Both share a fearless sense of experimentalism (which you get in all krautrock, really) and a heavy sense of psychedelic freakout that Faust manages, somehow, to make sort of light and jokey, too. The Faust Tapes is either a sliced-up (26 tracks in 43 minutes) single composition or a stitched-together group of fragments of the band fucking around. It's brilliant, although inaccessible to anyone who is not thoroughly soaked in the band's aesthetic. Faust IV is their most user-friendly album (from the first run of the band, that is), with actual songs, including the jokey-brilliant "Krautrock," which is both a satire of the genre's excesses and one of the best examples of the form, and "Jennifer," a simple pop song built on one of the deepest, most wobbly basslines outside of dub. Faust V is the unreleased demos for their aborted fifth album, which was well underway when Virgin Records pulled the plug and the band disbursed. Pretty great stuff, though, and easily found on music blogs. They reformed in the 90s and have been playing shows, making albums with current avant-electronica musicians,
and the like. But I haven't checked out those albums.

Fazil Say - Stravinsky: Le Sacre du Printemps (2000). As you may know, Stravinsky's The Rites of Spring can either be performed for orchestra or solo piano. This is one of the latter versions, and I love it.

Fear - The Record (1982). Lee Ving is, of course, a right-wing bozo, and this album is full of his moronic hate and vitriol. To tell the truth, there's not much to recommend it, outside of the fun single "Fuck Christmas." Right-wing hardcore makes me a little sick to my stomach, even when it's delivered with reasonably good humor, as it is here. I can't think of a good reason not to delete this album.

The Feelies:
  • Fa Cé-La 7"(1979) and Crazy Rhythms (1980). The Feelies only made four studio albums in their 12 years, but each one is a stone-cold classic in its own way. These feature the earliest version of the Feelies: Glenn Mercer and Bill Million on guitars, Keith DeNunzio on bass, and Anton Fier on drums. The single is exactly the same as the album version (or close enough that I can't tell the difference), and the album is utterly brilliant. The Feelies' guitarwork is ultra-clean, umamplified even. They have a certain kinship with Television, although neither of the Feelies guitarists are in the same league of musicianship as Verlaine & Lloyd. But it doesn't matter because this album is the equal of Marquee Moon, with the Feelies using their songwriting talent, enthusiasm, and fun polyrhythms to make everything perfect. Many of the tracks begin with long silences, some up to a minute. I don't know why. The cover of the Beatles' "Everybody's Got Something To Hide Except For Me and My Monkey" is definitive, better than the original. There's a cover of "Paint It, Black" stuck on the end from a later version of the band. And it doesn't matter. The Feelies rule.

  • The Good Earth (1986), No One Knows EP (1986), Live November 27 1986, Barbue, Copenhagen, Denmark (1986). Six years later, Million and Mercer have been playing with a new rhythm section for a while: Dave Weckerman on percussion, Brenda Sauter on bass, and Stan Demeski on drums. They've formed three offshoot bands: The Trypes, who recorded lightly psychedelic folk-rock with Sauter on lead vocals, Yung Wu, which was the Feelies with Weckerman on lead vocals, and The Willies, a cover band that unfortunately never put out an album (although the performance of David Bowie's"Fame" in the film Something Wild is credited to The Willies). By the time of The Good Earth, the Feelies sound had embraced something that is almost country-ish without losing any of its New Jersey/Television-ish edge. This is one of my all-time favorite albums, with chiming guitars and Mercer's voice mixed almost inaudibly, and the overall bittersweet feel makes life seem even more precious. The EP has covers of the Beatles' "She Said She Said" and Neil Young's "Sedan Delivery." Both of these covers also appear on the bootleg, which also has tracks from the two studio albums, Wire's "Mannequin," and the Monkees' "I'm A Believer."

  • Only Life (1988), Four Free Feelies Songs (1989), 06/12/89 Lyon France (1989), and With Lou Reed, Club Babylon Long Island (1990). Only Life was a major-label release, and it sounds like the Feelies are trying to be more accessible to casual listeners. It's definitely not a bad album - in fact, it's utterly wonderful - but it's not quite as charming as the prior two. It's a little more relaxed, which is fine by itself, but doesn't quite hold up to the jitters that drove the previous albums. I only kept two of the Four Free Feelies Songs, because the other two were album tracks. The ones I kept are covers of Patti Smith's "Dancing Barefoot" and Jonathan Richman's "Egyptian Reggae." The French bootleg has terrible sound quality, but the live version of "Slipping (Into Something)" is worth the irritation. The Lou Reed bootleg has the Feelies backing Reed on five VU tracks. I should mention that Only Life ended with a cover of the VU's "What Goes On," and the comparisons between the two bands most likely led to this grouping.

  • Doin' It Again 12" (1991), Invitation 7" (1991), Jake's 91 (1991), and Time For A Witness (1991). Some critics slagged the final Feelies album, which was a big mislistening. Time For A Witness is the middle ground between the maybe-too-mellow Only Life and the prior jittery jumpy crazy rhythms. The Feelies were at the peak of their powers, and the album rocks like crazy at times, while holding back enough to keep listeners fascinated as well. Mercer and Millions had reached a level of guitar interplay to match their heroes Verlaine and Lloyd. And their cover of the Stooges' "Real Cool Time" is, as promised, a real cool time. The B-sides from the singles are Neil Young's "Barstool Blues," the Modern Lovers' "I Wanna Sleep In Your Arms," and the VU's "White Light/White Heat." The bootleg is a mother, the Feelies playing all of the songs at twice the normal tempo with breathless intensity. No covers, but the songs are from all four of their studio albums.
Feist - Let It Die (2004) and The Reminder (2007). Leslie Feist's chanteuse thing isn't my thing, but it's okay. That "1234" is a heck of a single, though, right?

Fela Kuti - Gentlemen (1973), Confusion (1975), No Agreement (1977), Zombie (1977), and The Best Best of Fela Kuti (1999). The king of afrobeat, Kuti made music that cannot be ignored: a mish-mash of jazz, funk, West African highlife, and Nigerian Yorumba music that combines political lyrics with looooooong jams, call-and-response vocals, and it is unbelievably great.


My photo
Cary, NC, United States
reachable at firstname lastname (all run together) at gmail dot com

About This Blog

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.

  © Blogger templates Brooklyn by 2008

Back to TOP