Sunday, November 30, 2014

Music Library Compilations: Ms and Ns

Making Losers Happy (rel. 1992). This fantastic compilation collects a number of tracks from bands on the NZ label Xpressway between 1988 and 1991, including The Dead C, The Terminals, and Alastair Galbraith.

Mali To Memphis (rel. 1999). This compilation mixes blues tracks and afropop/afrobeat tracks to draw parallels between them with various degrees of success.

Manifest Destiny (rel. 2007). This is an excellent compilation of metal including Earthless, High On Fire, and Sleep. No idea where it came from or why.

Merge Records 2011 Sampler. I think this was a freebie on Amazon, maybe? Great collection, either way. Times New Viking, David Kilgour, Mountain Goats, East River Pipe, among many others.

Metal Swim (2010). This one is another free [adult swim] collection, and it's phenomenal. Lots of my favorites here: Torche, Isis, Jesu, Boris, Pelican.

A Misra Sampler (2006). Collects a bunch of tracks from the late, lamented label. Most notably Centro-Matic (and spinoffs South San Gabriel) and Phosphorescent.

MOJO Presents: I have a bunch of free discs from MOJO magazine, all of which are worthwhile. Instead of going through them all separately, I'm just going to list them.

  • Maximum '65 (2000).
  • Trojan Explosion (2002).
  • The Roots of Hip-Hop (2003).
  • Up Yours! Punk's Not Dead! (2003).
  • Cash Covered (2004).
  • Blue Christmas (2005).
  • The Who Covered (2006).
  • The Who Jukebox (2006).
  • Sub Pop 300! (2008).
  • Heavy Soul (2010).
  • Festive Fifteen (2010).
  • A Monstrous Psychedelic Bubble Exploding In Your Mind (2010).
  • 1-2-3-4! (2011).
  • Roots of Nirvana (2011).
  • The Route To Quadrophenia (2011).
  • Sticky Soul Fingers (2011).
  • Sub Pop Jubilee (2013).
  • Heavy Nuggets III (2014).
  • Brain Damage (2014).
  • Death Disco (2014).
  • Jack White Presents The Best of Third Man Records (2014).

Monster Rock & Roll Show (rel. 1990). This one has a bunch of 50s and 60s garage/horror-rock and horror movie soundtracks, and it totally worth owning around Halloween.

Music! 100 Years of the Berlin Phonogramm-Archiv (rel. 2001). A century of field recordings! Some are interesting and some less so, but still a fascinating document.

New Coat Of Paint: Songs of Tom Waits (2000). Decent tribute album. The highlights are Screamin' Jay Hawkins doing "Whistling Past The Graveyard," which sounds like one of his songs, anyway, and Dexter Romweber's "Romeo Is Bleeding."

New Orleans Funk (rel. 2000). Groovy comp from Soul Jazz Records with the Meters, Lee Dorsey, Professor Longhair, Ernie K-Doe: the guys you'd expect, basically. But the selection is top-notch.

No New York (1978). This is the famous compilation of avant-skronk downtown bands from 1978 with one foot in the punk scene and one in the minimalist-compositional scene. The bands are the Contortions, Teenage Jesus and the Jerks, Mars, and DNA.

No Thanks! The 70s Punk Rebellion (rel. 2003). This is the companion volume to Left Of The Dial, an amazingly well-curated collection from Rhino of great punk albums. Wikipedia says that the Sex Pistols are a notable exclusion at their own request.

Nuggets: Original Artyfacts of the First Psychedelic Era (1964-68). This collection of garage singles, lovingly curated by Jac Holzman and Lenny Kaye, was originally released as a double-album in 1972 and only later expanded to its current state as a four-disc collection. And holy damn, it is truly fantastic, even all of this time later. All of punk started here. I've owned this album for more than 15 years and still find plenty of mind-blowing creativity within.

Nuggets II: Original Artyfacts from the British Empire and Beyond, 1964–1969. This collection, released in 2001, pulls garage music from the UK, Europe, Japan, and South America, and it is a little more haphazard than the original Nuggets, but there is still lots of interesting music within.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Music Library Compilations: Js, Ks, and Ls

Jamaica Funk: Original Funk and Soul 45s (rel. 2007). Killer compilation from Soul Jazz Records of singles on the edge of reggae and funk.

Just One More: A Musical Tribute To Larry Brown (2007). Brown used to be one of my favorite authors, but, well, it's not that I soured on him so much that my tastes changed. I still think fondly of his books, but his interest in the lurid and grotesque parts of the South don't linger as much as, say, Barry Hannah's or Harry Crews's books. I also don't have as much taste for the friendlier, folkier side of the used-to-be-alt-county-now-is-Americana-or-some-such-shit genre. This collection, which Bloodshot Records put together upon Brown's premature passing, collects a number of tracks inspired by Brown's fiction, and Bloodshot should be lauded for doing something so creative. The problem is me, I guess. I don't really care much about some of these tracks, which are back-porch-friendly to the point where I find them dull, while the woolier tracks (Vic Chesnutt and Jim Dickenson, for instance) are pretty interesting, but a maybe a bit too far between to keep me coming back. Nice to hear Madison Smartt Bell, who wrote some of my favorite short stories, trying his hand at folk songs.

KCRW: Rare On Air, Vol. 4 (1998). No idea where I got this. There's some interesting tracks here.

Ken Burns Jazz: The Story of America's Music (released 2000). Full of good stuff. Like the mini-series that spawned it, the hard bop era is overrepresented if this wants to be definitive, but for an introduction to early jazz and the bop era, this is a great starter compilation.

The Kings And Queens of Bollywood (2001). More my wife's thing than mine, this collects a bunch of old Bollywood musical numbers, mostly with Asha Bhosle and Kishore Kumar.

Knitting On The Roof (1999). Weirdo comp with artists from all over the map - who, I guess, played the Knitting Factory at some point - playing songs from Fiddler On The Roof.

Kraut! Demons! Kraut! German Psychedelic Underground 1968-74. Pretty fantastic pre-krautrock nuggets collection.

The Last Soul Company: Malaco, A Thirty Year Retrospective (rel. 1999). Killer southern soul comp of a beleaguered record company based out of Jackson, MS.

The Late Great Daniel Johnston, Discovered Covered (Disc 1: The Covers) (2004). This was one of those two-disc compilations with one greatest-hits side and one cover side, but I only have the cover side. It's pretty good, although not nearly as strong as Kathy McCarty's Dead Dog's Eyeball album. When the Bright Eyes cover popped up in Friday Night Lights (the TV series), though, it slayed me.

Left of the Dial: Dispatches from the 80s Underground (rel. 2004). This compilation hits me right in my happy spot. I mean, there's nothing all that surprising on this, but for people of my age who cared about 80s post-punk, this hits many of the highlights. I just this minute realized that it weirdly doesn't include the Replacements song that gives it its name.

The Legendary Sun Records Story Vol. 2 (1956-57). This is a compilation, presumably the second, that appears to collect every Sun 45 for the period covered. Do you like early rock & roll? Then you will like this.

Legends of Guitar: Rock (The 60s) Vol. 1 (rel. 1991). Should be more accurately titled "Guitar Player Presents..." and so on. Much better compilation than any cheapo disc put out by Guitar Player Magazine has any right to be. Full of crazy-hot licks.

Legends of the Blues Vol. 1 (1925-65). Another mystery compilation. I have what seems like dozens of blues compilations with early tracks (most of these are from the 20s and 30s). And yeah, they're great.

The Life Aquatic With Steve Zissou Soundtrack (2004). I like Seu Jorge's mellow bossanova Bowie tracks, but the whole here is less coherent than many of the Wes Anderson joints.

Live At The Continental Club (1985). I think this may be a Bloodshot thing. Features two tracks each by several bands playing Austin's legendary Continental. Best track is Ben Vaughn's cover of Lee Hazlewood's  "Sundown, Sundown."

Los Angeles Post-Punk (1974-1988). This is a compilation made by a blogger, mostly filled with LA punk and post-punk (1978-88) with one Jobriath track from 1974 at the end. Very thorough mix of the good and bad and worth searching out for the curious.

Lux and Ivy's Favorites (1930-98). Another gift from the Internet, this collects 11 volumes of music supposedly curated by Lux and Ivy (of the Cramps, which I don't have to mention to anyone who's read this far into this post). Even at its most ridiculous, this is a sublime collection.

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