Thursday, February 27, 2014
Bob Pollard is known for yanking albums last minute for re-tooling. Around this era (Pre-Propeller 1991-2) was when the band famously began the "this is our last album" phase, which after a few of them paid off immensely with Bee Thousand in 1994. Propeller was the first one of these albums that was seemingly designed as a send off for a band that never fully blossomed into the comfort of their own niche. Corpse-like Sleep of Stupidity is a super early version of Propeller that has some songs from the also aborted Back To Saturn X album, some stuff that would eventually end up on Propeller, and more. On Propeller proper, there is a track called "Back To Saturn X Radio Report" which is where I first heard little glimpses of some of these songs. The first time I found this collection was in a late night search discovery on soul seek (more about my exploits with Pollard and Soulseek soon, and I promise it's an interesting story). I began listening to it early mornings at work and the sequence really stuck with me. The beginning is eerie and foreboding (#2 In The Home Model Series [inst]) and it cruises through some lo-fi rockers, like Some Drilling Implied. It comes to a version of Damn Good Mr. Jam which I think really stands out as one of the weirder and more surreal Pollard songs of this time period. I feel like this could have been a brilliant track on King Shit And The Golden Boys. Later on, Kisses To The Crying Cooks appears, which later on becomes a high quality studio version in the "medley intro" Over The Neptune/Mesh Gear Fox on Propeller proper. I think Kisses To The Crying Cooks is far superior despite being lower fidelity. There seems to be a hidden charm missing in the bigger sounding version.
GBV did some hi-fi versions of old songs (see: Tigerbomb EP, plus more) but I feel it rarely improves on the songs reception.Anyone who loves GBV will know the worst example of this happening: Don't Stop Now, which is nearly insulting in its big band "goodbye" version on Under The Bushes, Under The Stars. Alternately, there was an extremely good recording of Choking Tara (Creamy Version) that I think improved on the original.
Dusty Bushworms, Melted Pat, My Big Day, this aborted album has it all for someone like me looking for more secrets buried in that weirdo's brain. It's like a creepy dream, much like the previous 2 albums by GBV at the time.
I love this album, I like it even better than Propeller.
You can read some more about this aborted album HERE and HERE
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Saturday, February 22, 2014
For the uninitiated, 12 oz. Mouse centers on a green mouse alcoholic who (unbeknownst to him) is called "Mouse" "Fitz" and "Butch". He seems to re-awaken constantly in state of near amnesia in this city made out of cardboard. Populating the city are extremely odd characters (not just in personality but in physical design as well). Much like The Prisoner, Mouse spends much of his time learning who he can trust, and who his captors are. Mouse has one of the best side-kicks ever created, a squealing, violent squirrel called "Skillet". Mouse and Skillet are best friends and their partnership is in that classic "buddy cop" vein.
I am not exaggerating when I tell you that this series which begins as frustratingly plot-less as is possible in a show, had moments in its ending that brought me to tears. To step back and think about that is nearly funny, but to immerse yourself into the story and these characters, you will know the spots I am talking about, and YES it is CRAZY sad.
"Zoo Day" is a holiday created by fans of the show. It takes place on 2/22 because the clock (and all clocks for that matter) in the show is stuck on 2:22 (a significant plot point), and it's called Zoo Day because of a wonderfully funny scene where Producer Man is having a conversation with Shark about them getting together for Zoo Day, and possibly going on "tour". Producer Man says "Come on Shark! It's me and you and me and you AND WE GO TO THE ZOO!" and then he shows a T-shirt he got made featuring himself and shark holding hands and balloons (see image above).
I cannot recommend this show enough. And I hope you see it like I do if you try.
For now, and for Zoo Day, I present to you an episode from the 2nd and final season of 12 oz. Mouse, an episode which doesn't progress the plot, but rather serves as an exhibition of a chunk of the music produced for the series, accompanied by odd, unused animations and other video. It has a tiny piece of story at the end, amounting to less than 4 minutes.
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Thursday, February 20, 2014
I first heard Hermit Thrushes at a music house/venue in New Milford called Groove Street. It was the headquarters of Tape Reels For Eyes and where some of the most impressively noisey CT music of the 00's was born. Hermit Thrushes wasn't especially noisey, and made use of horns, and had multi instrumentalists who took up several positions. I was really impressed with the combination of heartfelt/boastful and meek/muted these guys had. I picked up a copy of their album Benaki in 2007 I think, and I played it many many times. I included tracks on mixes. So many good tracks. The best one for me is Fourth, the drum switches drive me up a wall. The title track is wonderful in every way. It has that sunny Pavement vibe with Melodica and Trombone (I believe). Started to is another weird track, like it speaks my musical language in a way that's hard to explain. I remember them playing In The Shower live and it was pretty grand, triumphant and emotional. It's really hard to explain this bands sound. Like SUPER proggy, maybe even near impossible to follow at times, moody, melodic and not, self deprecating but easy going...
Download this album, and if you like it a bunch, go give these dudes 5 bucks at their bandcamp. They are still making records and no doubt confusing a ton of people in Philly (where they operate out of) wherever they go
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Monday, February 17, 2014
Tom Waits is a crazy motherfucker. One of the few who stood the test of time simply by doing what he does and not compromising. Being well loved certainly helps also, especially when you are too drunk to show up for your OWN BROADWAY PLAY!
Here is a double set of Tom's in Willimantic CT's Shaboo Inn, hence where the bootleg title came from.