Friday, March 18, 2011

Music Library: Monkees, Monks, Monks of Doom, Monty Python

The Monkees - I'm A Believer: The Best of the Monkees (1966-1969) and Head (1968).  While I'm happy to admit that I love the Monkees, I think the 2-disc best-of might have been a little much for me.  When they're great, though, they are completely worth it.  Head is a little too much on the Zappa/prankster side of art-rock for me.  The Monkees deserve credit for trying something unusual, but they didn't really have the chops to pull it off.

The Monks - Five Upstart Americans (1965) and Black Monk Time (1966).  It's HOP time!  It's MONK time!  From bassist Eddie Shaw's autobiography of the band, I learned that the anti-Beatles (as they fashioned themselves) were actually a bunch of lovable goofballs.  The music is crazy-intense and utterly destructive, a precursor of punk even in the nascent days of High Rock.  Five Upstart Americans contains demo versions of the songs that would appear on Black Monk Time.  Black Monk Time is a motherlode of early art-garage, with highlights being "Monk Time," "Shut Up," "I Hate You," and "Complication."  I think that the Fall has covered every single one of these songs.  Basically influenced anyone who played loud, angry music afterwards, which includes, well, everybody.  If you want to learn about the secret history of rock music, start here.

Monks Of Doom - The Cosmodemonic Telegraph Company (1989) and The Insect God (1995).  This Camper Van Beethoven side-project let the non-David Lowery parts of the band get their not-so-inner freak on.  Pretty good mixture of indie-type pop and psychedelic weirdness, if not up to the heights of the CVB albums.

Monty Python - The Album Of The Soundtrack Of The Trailer Of The Film Of Monty Python And The Holy Grail (1975), Contractual Obligation Album (1980), and Monty Python Sings (1989).  Funny funny ha-ha stuff for the laughing and such.  Only the Holy Grail album is not a compilation.


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