Sunday, February 25, 2007

Excellent Choices

I must admit that I was initially put off by The Horrors' big-haired goth look. But the fact that these kids dropped the names of cult favourites like Joe Meek, The Silver Apples and the like in interviews and have been known to cover The Sonics' "The Witch" in concert prompted an investigation. So off to the record shop to purchase a copy of their self-titled CD EP [Loog B0004401-02] because, as hard to believe as it is, I do enjoy some music recorded in the last twenty-five years. In the player it went and their sound grabbed me and tossed me to the ground. For once the hype is right: The Horrors produce seriously great garage rock. No kidding.

The disc has five tracks in total: three originals "Death at the Chapel", "Sheena is a Parasite" and "Excellent Choice" and two covers (and this is where the Joe Meek connection comes in) The Syndicats' "Crawdaddy Simone" and Screamin' Lord Sutch's "Jack the Ripper". All the tracks have the raw immediacy of 60's garage punk right down to Spider Webb's Vox Continental.

Their full length album Strange House is due in March. I, for one, am looking forward to it.

Click on the link below for their Sheena is a Parasite video. The video is also on the cd, by the way, but my steam-powered PC refused to play it.

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Sunday, February 11, 2007

Gal Costa

I purchased two cds by Tropicália veteran Gal Costa just before Christmas: Legal [1970] and Índia [1973] and it has taken me this long to wrap my head around these eclectic albums. The 70's was the time where no one would balk at an artist producing an LP where consistency of style would not be an overriding concern as opposed to today where pop productions are market focussed to sterility. The Tropicália were famous for this wild mix of styles, where the Brazilian musical traditions were blended with a dozen popular music trends, at times within a single song, or so it seems to me.

Legal kicks off with a high-energy loungecore number "Eu Sou Terrí­vel" with a big band plus fuzz guitar accompaniment. Another surprise is the old-timey "Love, Try and Die" which wouldn't sound out of place on Chilli Willi and the Red Hot Peppers' Bongos Over Balham release. Now I know that seems like an odd comparison to make: Brazilian Pop Diva mentioned in the same breath as a British pub rock band, but that is the sort of unexpected associations I made while listening. I wasn't kidding when I said eclectic.

Legal's oddest track is the Caetano Veloso-penned "London, London" which features a chorus of "Looking for flying saucers in the sky". That alone should guarantee purchase.

Índia starts with a lushly orchestrated title track, and then into the conga driven "Milho Verde (folclore Português)" which is hands down my favourite tune on either cd (click on the link above for a video of Costa performing the piece on Brazilian TV). Índia has a considerably more unified sound as compared to Legal, but it's still a mighty fine listen on the old Hi-Fi.

Fantastic music all'round.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

"You do that again and I'll tell Mom!"

"I want to go down to the ice cream shop/I don't care what you read about Dr Spock/ I'm gonna eat ice cream 'till I rot in hell/I don't care what you think, I'll get another pair of parents who'll give me ice cream all day unless you gimme some now!/ 'cause ice cream is better than you Mom and Dad."

Happy Flowers - Not Fade Away

I was inspired to take my beloved Happy Flowers albums off the shelf after reading the update regarding their use as an interrogation tool (click on the link above for the story).

So on the turntable went Making the Bunny Pay(a collection of their first two eps), and then on to their full-length releases My Skin Covers My Body, I Crush Bozo and Lasterday I Was Been Bad. I never picked up a copy of Oof, an oversight I cannot explain.

This is what you need to know: The Happy Flowers were/are/and ever shall be a duo of Mr Anus (guitar, bass, noise, yelling) and Mr Horribly-Charred-Infant (guitar, bass, drums, noise and more yelling). All their songs are from the perspective of a maladjusted eight year old. This explains why we get songs entitled "Mom, I Gave the Cat Some Acid", "Jenny Tried to Kiss Me at Recess", "My Frisbee went under a Lawnmower", "I'm the Stupid One", "The Vacuum Ate Timmy", and "If It was Broken You'd be Screaming". The latter, I swear was something my Mom once said to me.

It's tough being a kid.

They also performed a choice selection of covers: the Silver Apples' "A Pox on You", Big Star's "Thirteen" and Nick Drake's "Know" as well as a medley of "Hungry Like a Wolf" and the "Theme from the Love Boat". The songs don't sound a whole lot like the originals.

I could go all rockcrit and talk about the band's transcendent use of feedback...but that wouldn't be right. It's all just an hilarious gut churning racket.

The Happy Flowers are clearly not for everyone. I once made a best-of compilation for a friend and all I got in return was a look of blank incomprehension.

There you go.
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