Monday, September 22, 2008

Steady Nerdin' Volume 2

Hey kids – I’m back for another installment of my column. Same rules apply this time – I set my i-pizzle to shuffle, listen to the first 15 tracks that come on and write about ‘em. Simple enough, right? Please send your comments to - that’s the e-mail address for my currently-on-hiatus radio show Steady Nerdin’ – the next incarnation of that is in the works but meanwhile, you can listen to my old shows from when I was briefly on – just click on the blog and then search for the word “steady” – you’ll come up with all the broadcast days when my show was on the air including the one episode that guest MC Paul Barman insisted that we call Steady Coolin’ in respect of the fact that Paul steadfastly denies being a nerd. Also, while you’re there, make sure you check out Jason Shithead’s show The Shit Shack as our shows were on back-to-back and often bled into one another. More columns coming down the pipeline and (knock on wood,) other projects as well. Enjoy.

Kyuss - El Rodeo Kyuss - ...And the Circus Leaves Town - El Rodeo
From …And The Circus Leaves Town

Most Kyuss fans seem to have a preference for their two middle albums (those being Blues for the Red Sun and Welcome to Sky Valley.) I will agree that their debut Wretch leaves much to be desired but for me, their swan song, And The Circus Leaves Town really has a lot more songwriting chops and the beginnings of the masterful sugary pop sensibilities that make Queens of the Stone Age such a combo to be reckoned with. This track's no exception - it's the heavy desert rock that Kyuss and their various progeny helped to conceive, but it's definitely betraying the start of something a little more hooky.

KRS-1 - Brown Skin Woman KRS-One - Return of the Boom Bap - Brown Skin Woman
From Return of the Boom Bap

It always confused me that people consider KRS-1's "solo" career to be some tragic departure from the BDP years considering the fact that the last few BDP records were KRS-1 solo records in all but name. In defense of those people, albums like 1994's Return of the Boom Bap do have plenty of filler tracks. This is one of them. "Don't call a Black woman a ho" in patois stylee. KRS-101.

X-Clan - Heed the Word of the Brother
From To The East Blackwards

Wow, my iPod is showing its Afrocentricism today (well it is black.) There's a reason why X-Clan always played second fiddle to other late 80's Afrocentric rap groups (your PE's, your BDPs.) Their jams were funky enough and their lyrical skills fresh enough, but they didn't carry the sense of sonic urgency of those other groups. They still bring back memories and flip that style better than most groups of that era though. RIP Prof. X.

Agnostic Front - Your Mistake
From Victim in Pain

Not to be confused with the shitty metal version on Cause for Alarm. Ah, great fuckin' mosh part in the middle. If you don't already know this album, to quote Raybeez, "You're a new jack and a sucker."

Pink Fairies – Raceway
From Kingdom Come

The owner of this here blog introduced me to the music of the two great Motorhead predecessors, Hawkwind and Pink Fairies. The latter clearly brought a lot more of the boogie rock influence into Motorhead's punked out mix. This track is pure rock goodness reminiscent of all the early 70's greats - your Blue Cheers, your Purples and a little psych. More Motorhead (and Hawkwind,) fans need to know about songs like this.

Ill Bill - Darkness Deepens (Feat. Sabac Red and Slaine,)
From La Coka Nostra Presents Ill BIll

You'd think that a white rap supergroup including all of House of Pain (among others,) would be disastrous. However, with Ill Bill at the helm, La Coka Nostra have been known to bring that grimey Brooklyn shit that Non-Phixion pioneered so nicely on The Future is Now with a heavy Wu influence. There is nothing self-conscious or apologetic about these fuckin' dustheads and they're better for it. This isn't the best track I've heard from them or from Ill Bill, but if you like the aforementioned urban white boy MC's and are sick of nauseatingly sterile and innocuous suburbanite shit (you know who I'm talking about,) you should probably give these guys a listen. And Ill Bill is the fuckin’ man.

Red Alert - Screaming at the Nation Red Alert - We've Got the Power - Screaming At the Nation
From We’ve got the Power

Not to be confused with Kool DJ Red Alert, this is the British Oi!/streetpunk band. I haven't listened to their album enough to give you a fair review, but great bass lines, strong pissed-off vocals, nice lead guitar make this one of those street punk records that are hard to resist. Jamie from Off Minor just put me onto these guys recently and I'm thankful.

Opeth - The Leper Affinity Opeth - Blackwater Park - The Leper Affinity
From Blackwater Park

Well, considering how much black metal I've been listening to as of late, it was bound to happen - a 10+ minute track was bound to pop up. But I'm gonna be a trooper and sit through it...for you! For those not in the know, Opeth are the reigning Gods of prog metal. They come from a death/black/doom background but have always been "talented" trailblazers of one sort or another (I put the quotes in because "talented" is one of those words like "progressive" - it's got insidious undertones.) On the one hand, I can't see how you can spend ten minutes playing straight metal, proggy and experimental though it might be, without boring even yourself. Droning is one thing, but these guys are clearly different types of people from me (read: Scandinavian.) The "clean" vocals are uber-cheesy as are their accompanying acoustic guitar interludes. But there's some awesome, slow, duel guitar harmony laden heaviness right after them and I got more than halfway through this jam before I started getting impatient and if you knew how hard it is for me to sit still, you would be proud. I dunno, man. Opeth is not dark or evil sounding enough for me to put up with this long a song, but they're good enough songwriters that I can't complain. Does that help? Ugh, here comes a piano outro...

Butthole Surfers - Gary Floyd Butthole Surfers - Psychic.... Powerless.... Another Man's Sac - Gary Floyd
From Psychic, Powerless, Another Man’s Sac

Ah, now that cleared the palette. The Buttholes at almost their most demented - this one's pretty tame by the album's standards as far as general acid-addled lunacy goes - it's sort of more of a send-off of feel good Freedom Rock era shit; a Butthole love-in if you will. Anyway, I shouldn't need to describe this shit for you - it's awesome and you should know about it and don't give me any of this shit like "The Butthole Surfers I've heard [i.e. their major label crap,]- sucked." NO FUCKING SHIT! When you check out an older band, you don't check out their newest album unless they're Tom Waits.

Al Green - Look what you done for me Al Green - I'm Still in Love With You - Look What You Done for Me
From Greatest Hits

Speaking of shit I shouldn't have to educate you about, you can pick up pretty much anything touched by Al Green's beautiful hands and you will find that few voices are even in the same ballpark as far as range of emotion and subtlety. It took me a long enough time to get out of my Loud Fast Rules phase and embrace stuff like this, but take it from me, you can't go wrong with Al.

O' Brother Where Out There Soundtrack - Hard Time Killing Floor Blues Chris Thomas King - O Brother, Where Art Thou? (Soundtrack from the Motion Picture) - Hard Time Killing Floor Blues
From O’ Brother Where Out There Original Soundtrack

Am I showing myself to be a total nincompoop with pedestrian old timey stuff like this soundtrack? I don't know but it's fucking beautiful and so was the movie. Maybe you'd be happier if I had some obscure Alan Lomax shit that no one but he and Bob Dylan himself ever heard of. Well, I'm not perfect. Why don't I go kill myself? Anyway, if you're one of the five people who aren't familiar with this soundtrack, it's gorgeous.

Organized Konfusion – Stress Organized Konfusion - The Best of Organized Konfusion - Stress
From Stress

OK are one of the most criminally underrated groups of hip hop's golden age. Listen to their self-titled debut for some of the most insanely frenetically fast crackhead beats and rhymes that the early nineties had to offer. This is off their second album and they used to run it on The Box video network all the time and I loved it. Composed of Pharaoh Monche (of Simon Says fame,) and Prince Po, you need to hear this shit. It's dark and crazy and ill and contains the line "Why do you choose to mimic these wack MC's/Why do you choose to listen to R&B?" Why indeed? Buybuybuybuybuy.

Steve Earle - Ben McCulloch Steve Earle - Train a Comin' - Ben McCulloch

For those not in the know, Steve Earle is the Dylan disciple who plays Bubbles' redneck narcotics anonymous sponsor on The Wire. Again, I'm no authority on country/folk/Americana but this is some really well-done melancholia and it seems to be made for people like me who like the darker side of said genres. Real pretty, sad song. I want to listen to this whole album and drink myself to sleep now.

Band of Horses - Lamb on the Lam (in the city) Band of Horses - Cease to Begin - Lamb On the Lam (In the City)

This is one of those bands that I might've passed on due solely to their name and my prejudice against almost everything. But thanks to The Sound of Young America's interview with members of the Onion's AV Club wherein they highlighted and played clips from their top albums of last year, I came to realized that they're really quite pretty, solemn and have a great air of mystery surrounding them. What is it with bands/albums with horse in the name? They all end up having a similar vibe, me thinks - 16 Horsepower, The Dirty Three's "Horse Stories," Patti Smith's "Horses," Dan and my late project Horse Graveyard, Crazy Horse...I'm not so sure about Dead Horse, but you get the idea. This is a short interlude but it's nice and echoey and evocative and leaves me wanting to hear more, and that's never a bad thing.

The Litter - Journeys

Early 70's fuzz/stoner rock, the likes of which I am a sucker for. Very garagey too. Got this off of Decibel Magazine's stoner rock special from a few months back wherein they provided a list of the genre's lost gems from the early seventies. This is far from mind-blowing but it's the type of thing that I can listen to in the background all night long without complaining. It's a nice way to end an overall nice mix from DJ Little Man Who Lives Inside My Ipod. Bye.

Until next time, kids!



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2:04 PM  

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