Thursday, May 27, 2010

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Today is a Day for "Oye" by Aterciopelados (2006)

I have moved Jams, Mofo HQ to Colombia for the month. As such, the posts will be sporadic for the next 4 to 5 weeks. I have been listening to the Colombian band Aterciopelados (in English: "The Velvety Ones") for some days on the trip. Here´s the song "Complemento" off their 2006 album "Oye":

I´ll bust out some links to other Colombian music when I get the chance in the weeks ahead, mofos.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Today was a Day for "Your Future Our Clutter" by The Fall (2010)

The 28th(!) studio album by The Fall is the record that has been getting the most listens around Jams, Mofo headquarters the last week or so. I have played the new Hold Steady album a fair bit, but I have listened to Your Future Our Clutter several times a day for the last week. Not sure if I have much of a review to give. How does one review a new Mark E. Smith record anyway? Where to begin?

I think the Onion's A.V. Club review nails my take as far as they go. [UPDATE: This Popmatters review is spot on as well.]

First single (edited) from the album:

The Fall kickin' out the jams, mofo!

If you are a newcomer to the band, here's a recently posted story that makes for a nice introduction to Mark E. Smith and his assorted cast of band-members over the years, also from the A.V. Club. The Quietus goes one better as this essay on Smith's literary framework is a joy to read.

I bought the download for $6.99 on Amazon.

Here's the album on the soon to be defunct

Doesn't seem to be at as of yet, though there are some other great records by The Fall there to whet your appetite.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Tonight is a Night for "African Scream Contest: Raw & Psychedelic Afro Sounds from Benin & Togo 70s"

African Scream Contest is a 2008 album release from the label Analog Africa. The collection is yet another of the fabulous W. African early-70s music compilations that have been released in recent years.

From album promo: "After releases by Zimbabwean 70s bands the Green Arrows and Hallelujah Chicken Run Band, the Analog Africa label now delves into the amazing history of music from 1970s Benin and Togo. This compilation highlights forgotten raw and psychedelic Afro sounds, and the well-researched liner notes tell fascinating stories to accompany the mind-blowing music. The essence of Analog Africa is clear; searching in dusty warehouses for forgotten music to keep the sound alive. Label owner & vinyl collector Samy Ben Redjeb arrived in Cotonou, Benin, "without any special expectations, just hoping to lay my hands on few good records--what I found in the process cannot really be described in words"."

"Like most modern music in French-speaking West African countries, the music of Benin and Togo was influenced by a few main musical currents: Cuban, Congolese and local traditional music, as well as Chanson Francaise. Additionally, the geographical location of Benin and Togo--sandwiched between Ghana and Nigeria--exposed Beninese and Togolese musicians to Highlife music."

"The cultural and spiritual riches of traditional Beninese music had an immense impact on the sound of Benin's modern music. Benin is the birth place of Vodun (or, as it is known in the West, Voodoo), and some of the rhythms used during traditional rituals - Sakpata, Sato, Agbadja, Tchenkoumé and many others - were fused to Soul and Latin music as early as the mid-1960s and later to Funk. In the late '60s and early '70s rock and soul music started creeping into the region. In particular, the music of James Brown and Johnny Halladay became immensely popular with university students. It was then that the music scene in Benin really started to take off. That fusion is the essence of this compilation. The CD includes a well researched 44-page booklet & rare photographs."

The album can be found plenty of places online and you can stream on as well:

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Today was a Day for "Precise Modern Lovers Order" by The Modern Lovers (Live 1971-73)

Ain't none of the polish and shine as compared to the Modern Lovers studio output. (Note: This is possible.) It is straight-up gritty and raw Precise Modern Lovers Order. This offical compilation of some live sets from Boston and Berkeley in 1971, 1972, and 1973 was first released by Rounder Records in summer of 1994 on cassette and CD.

While it might be wise to start your introduction to this seminal band from Boston with one of the studio session compilations, I am going to suggest that you turn up your speakers just a bit and click play below (or find this album yourself online).

On the soon to be defunct


Saturday, May 1, 2010

Today is a Day for Joanna Newsom's "Have One on Me" (2010)

Ok, well, I have succumbed. Having not been too terribly fond of Newsom's previous two releases (2004's The Milk-Eyed Mender and 2006's Ys)[they were OK, but I found them a bit tedious and hard to listen to with any regularity], I have now been listening to parts of 2010's Have One on Me on a semi-regular basis over the course of the last 8 weeks or so. Parts? Did I say parts? When can an album not be listened to all the way through in one day? The answer is when it is a triple-LP that clocks in at around 2 hours, 3 minutes, and 57 seconds. Anyway, point is, I succumbed and am now a Joanna Newsom-convert.

While the obligitory Kate Bush and Joni Mitchell references are included in most of the album's reviews in the usual places, it is best to expand beyond those comparisons. That said, the Bush and Mitchell similarities are undeniable and one can't really be blamed for bringing them up. I have seen other music comparisons for Newsom ranging from Victoria Williams to Bjork, from "Olive" Oil (yes, Popeye's wife) to Cat Power, and from Syd Barrett to the Carter Family. While only the "Olive" reference would give the uninitated some pause for thought, I think we should be judging Newsom on her own merits and not get too caught up on her musical touchstones.

The new triple album is daring and really darn good. It is still revealing itself to me as I make my way through each of the discs. While I have some triple-studio albums that have gotten regular listens over the years (Sandinista! by The Clash, 69 Love Songs by The Magnetic Fields, and George Harrison's All Things Must Pass spring to mind), there aren't too many of them out there. And there aren't too many of them out there for good reason--they are really tough to pull off. I hazard to guess that there are hundreds (maybe more?) of cases where record labels have pulled the plug on an artist's delusional thoughts that they could successfully put out a triple-album. Nonetheless, some artists get around this by releasing a bunch of single LPs over the course of a year to try and "sneak" triple albums on the market (eg. Ryan Adams, Robert Pollard, John Zorn, etc.) through the "he's/she's just so prolific" loophole.

But back to Have One on Me -- it is good that her label Drag City supported her on this release. It is outstanding. And this is coming from a guy who has spent a lifetime disliking the harp. And I really mean disliking the harp. I have hated harps as much as I have hated recumbent bicycles and polka-dotted ties--a whole damn bunch. Maybe I just hadn't heard the right harpist and the right songs.

I won't be going off the deep end and joining my good friend Dave Eggers in the Newsom cult quite yet, but I do expect that this album will be on my playlist for years to come and secure a high position on my Best of 2010 list. Her big story and small story lyrics along with the lush arrangements (and strengthened voice) transport this listener into all of her micro and macro narratives. Some are silly and some are dense. Some are confusing and some are literal. The map is hard to read and I find myself pausing and asking for directions a number of times, but the journey itself has been rewarding. This album will be referenced by many people for a long time to come. 3 loud cheers for Newsom and her crazy worlds. They are very fun to visit.