Thursday, September 10, 2009

Music Library: Goatsnake, Godfathers, godspeed you! black emperor, Godz, Golden Arm Trio PLUS Bastro, Beach Boys, Dylan, Felt, Flipper

Goatsnake - I + Dog Days (1999 & 2000). After Scott "Wino" Weinrich left The Obsessed, the rhythm section joined up with guitarist Greg Anderson, best known for being one of the ambient-drone-metal-lords of Sunn O))), and vocalist Pete Stahl, who had made the transition from hardcore to metal nicely. This is a re-release combining the first Goatsnake album from 1999 and an EP from 2000.  Like a lot of doom metal, it's very Black Sabbath-y.  I haven't decided if I'm interested enough in the band to pick up their second album Flower of Disease or the somewhat-lauded EP Trampled Under Hoof.

The Godfathers - Birth, School, Work, Death (1988).  Apparently some of the members of this band later went on to make music with some of the members of The Damned, which is damned appropriate.  The title song is a great college rock track from the 80s (with the fatalistic chant of the title at its core, always sending a little shiver down my spine).  The rest of the album is a little forgettable, but it's a lot of fun while it's on. 

godspeed you! black emperor - Lift Your Skinny Fists Like Antennas To Heaven (2000) and Yanqui U.X.O. (2002).  This is the best music possible to accompany re-reading Gravity's Rainbow. GYBE plays orchestrated, surging post-rock that is as much based on Stravinsky and Steve Reich as it is on any music originating with guitars.  The individual works on these albums tend to run over 20 minutes apiece, if not longer.  And the works maintain a constant sense of tension and release.  Powerful!

The Godz - Contact High with The Godz (1966), The Godz 2 (1967), and The Third Testament (1968). I'm an unabashed fan of rock music where competency is far less important to the quality of the music than the intent to rock: The Shaggs, Half Japanese, The Legendary Stardust Cowboy, Daniel Johnston, and even Jandek (for the talk that the Jandek of today is making exactly the kind of music he wants to make, I think there's a decent argument to be made that he was trying to make more mainstream music for the early part of his career and has ended up in avant-music almost by default - although I agree that he's making some first-rate avant-music these days).  The Godz played music without a whole lot of skill, but with a ton of creativity and heart.  The first time I heard "White Cat Heat," I thought it was a joke, or rather a different kind of joke than what it is.  The song starts with out-of-key guitars strumming in some random approximation of a tempo, then the vocals come in, wordlessly imitating the yowls of cats in heat.  The tempo speed up, the grown men making their cat-heat noises speed up, and the whole thing is a hilarious mess.  But it's an intentionally hilarious mess, and a lot of fun at that, which is what I missed the first time around.  The rest of the album is equally great, if slightly (and only slightly) more conventional.  My favorite song is "Lay In The Sun" (the entire lyrics: "all I want to do is lay in the sun.").  The Godz 2 shows more competence, but still lays the weirdness on thick.  And The Third Testament is a howling storm that may show a slight improvement in skill, but keeps the skronk at levels guaranteed to end parties within two songs.

The Golden Arm Trio/Graham Reynolds and the Golden Arm Trio - The Tick-Tock Club (2007) and Cult of Color (2008).  From the psychedelic sounds of semi-competent musicians to the deliberate sounds of an extremely competent group of musicians!  The Golden Arm Trio is less a band than the collective of musicians who come together to realize the compositions of Graham Reynolds.  Reynolds seems to have his finger on the pulse of anything creative that happens here in Austin, TX.  If he isn't the pulse himself.  I sense that this metaphor has broken down.  But the point is still correct: Reynolds scores music to feature films (A Scanner Darkly and, unfortunately, films by right-wing conspiracy crank Alex Jones), silent films (the GAT performs Reynolds' compositions at showings of silent films, such as Battleship Potemkin or Metropolis at the Alamo Drafthouse), and plays (Reynolds performs music with the venerable Salvage Vanguard Theater), while still finding time to play, y'know, music shows (his website notes that there is an all-Ellington show at the Continental Club upcoming in November), and work on albums.  These albums showcase Reynolds' far-flung influences, touching on 20th century compositional work, big-band jazz from Ellington to Raymond Scott, Eastern European music, surf rock, and other elements to esoteric for me to catch.  I definitely prefer The Tick-Tock Club over Cult of Color, mainly because the music on the latter can be a little tough to connect with sometimes (although it has more moments of improbable beauty, too).  But both are worthwhile albums, and I think I should pursue more of Mr. Reynolds' releases at some point.


Bastro - Rode Hard and Put Up Wet EP (1988), Diablo Guapo (1989), Shoot Me A Deer/Goiter Blazes (1989), and Sing the Troubled Beast (1991).  Math-rock from David Grubbs, who would soon be creating folk-based post-rock with Gastr del Sol, and John McIntyre and Bundy K. Brown, who would go create Tortoise when this band was finished.  There's a lot of interesting things about this music, but it isn't as compelling as, say, Don Caballero, nor as interesting as the music these musicians would go on to make when they left the hardcore elements behind.

The Beach Boys - Rehearsal 1967.  I got this off of a blog a few days ago.  It's the Beach Boys messing around in the studio, most notable for Mike Love ranting about how financially unsuccessful "Heroes and Villains" is, while still mentioning that the barbershop section of the song is one of his favorite things that the Beach Boys ever did.  Mike Love: dick now, dick then.

Bob Dylan - Oh Mercy (1989).  One of the things I like (or maybe the only thing) about eMusic having the Sony catalog is that I can pick up some of the Dylan albums I don't have.  This is a pretty great later album (despite the presence of Daniel Lanois as producer) where Dylan channels John Fogerty to great effect.  The songs are top-notch, with Dylan laying out his problems with his old humor and clarity.

Felt - Poem of the River EP (1987). All I knew of Felt before last week was that they were Stuart Murdoch of Belle & Sebastian's favorite band (which I knew thanks to Scott Plagenhoef's 33 1/3 book on If You're Feeling Sinister).  My pal Gary (of the excellent Self-Help Radio show) recommended that I check out this album and more Felt, and I can hear why.  This is excellent indie-pop, reminding me a bit of their followers Belle & Sebastian, yes, but also the fantastic New Zealand band The Chills and that Plantonic ideal of 60's guitar-pop that all of these bands suggest, but that never really existed.

Flipper - Gone Fishin' (1984). Why, this is as good as Album: Generic Flipper.  Truly amazing hardcore that looks into the future and sees doom metal and Japanese psychedelia.


Bellagio 3:21 AM, September 11, 2009  

"The Beach Boys - Rehearsal 1967. I got this off of a blog a few days ago. It's the Beach Boys messing around in the studio, most notable for Mike Love ranting about how financially unsuccessful "Heroes and Villains" is, while still mentioning that the barbershop section of the song is one of his favorite things that the Beach Boys ever did. Mike Love: dick now, dick then."

If the tape was allowed to run its full length, you'd hear who was directing and encouraging Mike to "rant" from the control room: dude name of Brian Wilson. :-)

Hayden Childs 10:53 AM, September 11, 2009  

Really? Ha! Well, perhaps that's proof that Brian has always put people to their best use.

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