Sunday, December 25, 2011

VA - A Christmas Gift for You from Phil Spector ( Philles, 1963)

For all my obsession with the most famous avant-garde record producers of pop history (Brian Eno, Daniel Lanois, Sam Phillips, George Martin, Tony Visconti, John Cale, Tom Dowd, etc., nothing matches Phil Spector. You may disagree, but as far as originality goes, nothing impresses me more than his "Wall of Sound" treatment.

This is the greatest Christmas album of all time yet it has been a relative failure. How is this possible? These recordings coincided with Spector at the peak of his creative genius. With The Ronettes and The Crystals on board it doesn't seem like anything could go wrong.

Well, there is a legitimate reason. Historically, Phil Spector has had a multitude of misfortune. Some of it his fault, some of it not, much of it due to serious psychological problems. Either way, Philles Records released this on Nov. 22, 1963. Does that date ring a bell? Yeah? That's because JFK was assassinated that day. Yep, Spector got screwed again, and although Apple re-issued it in 1972, Ronnie and Darlene's delicious voices weren't still wooing the world at that point.

As is often the case with great records like this, the original pressings sell for $400-500. I don't own it. If you do, I'm jealous. One day I'll crowd around the hi-fi and watch this turn on my platter. Until then, lets all crowd around the mp3's with our friends and family on Christmas day and celebrate the better hand fate has dealt us than Mr. Spector. Merry Christmas everybody.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Dr. John, The Night Tripper - Gris-Gris (Atco, 1968)

"My group consists of Dr. Poo Pah Doo of Destine Tambourine and Dr. Ditmus of Conga, Dr. Boudreaux of Funky Knuckle Skins and Dr. Batiste of Scorpio and Bass Clef...(rambles on)...who were all dreged up from the rigolets by the zombie of the second. Under the eight visions of Professor Longhair reincannted the charts of now."

Dr. John Creaux (Mark Rebinnack) was quite the character. After making it big in the Crescent City's R & B scene, he got especially creative and offered us this psychedelic swamp gumbo of a genre. Melding the blues, R & B, Hatian voodoo a la New Orleans, and Afro-Carribean percussion, this genre spawned many cult hit songs.

As weird as it is brilliant, this would easily be in my top 100 albums ever recorded.

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Sunday, December 18, 2011

My Top 25 Albums of 2011

25. Skull Defekts - Peer Amid (Thrill Jockey)
24. Cindytalk - Hold Everything Dear (Editions Mego)
23. Hype Williams - One Nation (Hippos in Tanks)
22. Elm - Nemcatacoa (Sweat Lodge Guru)
21. Zomby - Dedication (4AD)
20. True Widow - As High As the Highest Heavens and From the Center to...(Kemado)
19. Shabazz Palaces - Black Up (Sub Pop)
18. The Field - Looping State of Mind (Kompakt)
17. Liturgy - Aesthetica (Thrill Jockey)
16. Pete Swanson - Man With Potential (Type)
15. Dead Skeletons - Dead Magick (A Red)
14. M83 - Hurry Up, We're Dreaming (Mute)
13. Villages - Grey East (Hooker Vision)
12. Pinch & Shackleton - S/T (Honest Jon's)
11. The Caretaker - An Empty Bliss Beyond This World (History Always Favours...)
10. Oneohtrix Point Never - Replica (Software)
09. PJ Harvey - Let England Shake (Vagrant)
08. Tim Hecker - Ravedeath, 1972 (Kranky)
07. Tuneyards - Whokill (4AD)
06. Kurt Vile - Smoke Ring for my Halo (Matador)
05. Vatican Shadow - Kneel Before Religious Icons (Self-released)
04. Ezekiel Honig - Folding in on Itself (Type)
03. Implodes - Black Earth (Kranky)
02. Clams Casino - Instrumentals (Self-released / Type)
01. The War on Drugs - Slave Ambient (Secretly Canadian)

Surprised? Shocked? Pissed? Too bad... God Bless America, Bitches...

Friday, December 9, 2011

Implodes - Black Earth (Kranky, 2011)

The curtain opens and a lovely siren calls you to join a cult that has been around since before time began. The dreamy guitar welcomes you to a murky world of tribal yet simplistic percussion, washed out vocal incantations, over-driven infinite reverb, delay and distortion. These elements elegantly cloak this deceptively pretty soundscape.

The theme here is oppressively dismal but irresistible. With a legacy of influences like Swans, J&MC, Flying Saucer Attack and Jesu, this Chicago quartet coalesced around guitarists Matt Jencik (HURL, DON CABALLERO) & Ken Camden finds a narrow path with definitive intent. Never does this record feel like it strays. Its an extremely cohesive Drone experience. One of the best records of 2011, and by far the best album cover.

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Vestibule - Droned and Disowned (Mixtape, 2011)

My latest mixtape. Drone out mother fuckers...

Noveller - Glacial Wave
Deaf Center - Divided
Richard Skelton - Noon Hill Wood
Alva Noto & Ryuichi Sakamoto - Trioon I
Tim Hecker - Borderlands
The Caretaker - False Memory Syndrome
Calypso Borealis - Xelim (Ekuri Awai)
William Basinski - Untitled
Confused Kundalini - 1971
Locrian - Coprolite
Elm - Breath of Midnight Still
Thoughts on Air - Lazy Haze A1
Motion Sickness of Time Travel - Inner Circle

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Thursday, December 1, 2011

Dead Skeletons - Dead Magick (A Records, ltd., 2011)

If you're as tired of the word psychedelic as I am, you're probably going to hate when I tell you that this is the best psychedelic band I've heard in years. They actually sound like salvation for the genre as a whole.

Mysterious and occultic, the imagery in these songs is vibrant and virile, with a seeming overuse of verbal psychotropics and a healthy fear of God and Death. Danger lurks around every corner here, buried in mescaline-soaked minor cords and peyote-laced reverb. Everything here is some religiously erotic incantation worthy of a Jodorowsky film.

The sound is a driving yet loose ride through elements of Jesus and Mary Chain, Black Angels, the Brian Jonestown Massacre's Methadrone era, roadhouse blues and tuvan throat singing. Quite frankly, this is about as romantic as a nightmarish bad trip can get. Highly Recommended.

Get it Here