Music/Program Director Brian Turner calls 'em as he sees 'em.

1975 and not a reissue, but something that fell into our hands and so great we had to review it. Apparently Cortes (a Brazilian) disowns this record entirely, but it's a staggering fusion of what one would think the Godz would sound like if they started around the circles of Caetano Veloso and company. If that's not enough, they also utilize a lot of the isolated sound techniques of krautrockers like Faust (especially in their use of messy fuzz guitar textures), weaving jams in and out of acoustic salsa, detuned string experiments, sound effects and tons of free jazz blowing around. Wild.

T. VALENTINE Hello Lucille, Are You a Lesbian? (Norton)
A song of legend through the years since that mysterious 45 arrived at radio stations during the 1980's: a rambling, off-time, marble-mouthed soul singer demanding to know why the hell the object of his attention "don't wear a dress, or skoit", actually calling her on the phone, finally squawking upon learning the truth. To add insult to injury, she has a date with his sister, causing him to close the song by intoning "I hate all less-bians, I hate all less-bians." Why such a single has never attained the status of any Whitney or Michael Jackson song is beyond us, but in the bizarro universe of all fans of Norton Records and WFMU I guess this would be their "Billie Jean". Now prominently (of course) featured on a retrospective of Valentine's entire history of Chicago-based recordings, the oldest of which are pretty damn good.

ARTHUR BLYTHE TRIO Spirits in the Field (Savant)
It's heartening to hear how good this recording (live in Amsterdam in 99) is considering the whole jazz-scribe community (and Columbia Records) hyped Blythe so much in the 80's and then dropped him like a hot potato. Blythe's alto-blowing got him accolades from both the mainstream and avant-garde jazz communities, sharing a lot of style with the likes of Earl Bostic and Lou Donaldson, but at the same time being compared to Coltrane and ripping up stages with James Blood Ulmer. Here, Blythe completely reinvents himself by painting up a storm between a drum and tuba duo (Bob Stewart and Cecil Brooks III) and it's amazing.

VARIOUS In the Cole Mind (Last Chance)
Seattle came, Seattle went, but the northwestern trio known as Dead Moon embodied (and still embody) grunge in its purest, high-octane form. Here, bands from all over the world to pay homage to Fred Cole, frontman/guitarist of DM (and also from other great bands of the past like the Lollipop Shoppe) in a 2CD garagefest. Some familiars: Girl Trouble, Marble Orchard, Antietam.

THE FROGS Racially Yours (4 Alarm)
Yikes, what a controversial and weird record the brothers Frog hatched in 1993, only seeing the light of day now (nobody would touch it with a ten foot pole). For the uninitiated, the Frogs are two Wisconsonians who have made some of the most bizarre recordings over the last 10 years; their first record was pure slick pop in the white-Prince mode, their second LP was a folk album that cast them as Gay supremists (it's almost as if they took David Bowie's "Laughing Gnome" to heart). They won fans among big dumb rock stars like Eddie Vedder and Billy Corgan, who actually took them into arenas (and fittingly so, as the Frogs are capable of tearing it up in noisy, feedback-laden electric sets), did one EP called Starjob and for the most part have since issued leftover outtakes of made-up, puerile tunes. This disc looks at the history of race relations in the U.S., writing songs from all sides, bigots, victims, etc., and is actually quite dark and sad. The music, however, is amazing pop, inflected with Big Star-ish melodies, Beach Boys-ish mellotron, great song structures, and at times weirdly Elvis Costello-ish vocal delivery (making one think this whole scheme includes busting on him?) You'll be shocked to realize some of the hooks that stay buried in your head for days upon hearing.

THE LOCUST Well I'll be a Monkey's Uncle (GSL)
A double 12" (though one side has a song that last seconds, and another has artwork etched) from California's spazz-core kings, getting the remix treatments from I Am Spoonbender and others. Finally, the link between the wiggy and brash junk-electronics scene fronted by the likes of Cex, Kid 606, Disc, etc. meets head on with the hardcore roots that certainly these folks came from and still aspire to utilize. Completely damaged and amazing, and hopefully setting off a chain reaction of more music like this to come in the future.

PEACHES The Teaches of Peaches (Kitty-Yo)
Last year's "Porn to Rock" compilation showed a pleasingly good musical side of porn stars, some of whom parlayed stiff studio techniques into some amazing and psychedelic-at-times pop that was refreshing to hear after all the years of indie rock. Here, Detroit stripper Peaches jumps into the music world with nothing but a Groove Box. Wow! "Rock Show" sounds like a tight Bratmobile with a drum box fronted by Royal Trux's Jennifer Herrema, and the other, more minimal tracks, let Ms. Peaches hold her own space with total power. If you're over 21 and she comes to town, go see her (for her music, of course...)

HANS FRISCH Levende Objekten Sjoo (Paradiso 4/1/69) (No Label)
Another amazing rarity that fell into our hands from a WFMU friend; wild, Fluxus-like recordings from Holland that sound like the birth of the Sun City Girls. Tribal chanting, excerpted monologues, sound experiments, full on communal jamming to a higher place.

Japanese enigma Keiji Haino draws as many barbs as praises; dark hair, clothes, glasses, walking around with a cane all-black CD covers, giving archaic, vague interviews, and making what some people call nebulous guitar wank. To others he's a genius, speaking a whole scripture through a pair of Marshall stacks in his own, uncharted language. Some ardent Haino fans are puzzled by this one, a "covers" trio that does Japanese oldies (and American rock songs), but it's already earned its spot as one of my favorite Haino discs. Rather than copying the songs, here Haino & co. build a massive cloud of psychedelic sound that then proceeds to carve out the general "vibe" of each cover. The Ronettes' "Be My Baby" gets a 15 minute treatment where chord changes crawl along, succeeding with dramatic, sad effect, while the Stones' "Satisfaction" almost varely hints at the famous riff; instead concentrating on an edgy, stabbing effect. When it comes down to defining the real progression of "blues" music (in terms of capturing the essense of blues rather than replicating western-designed stylistic codes that people seem to continue to hammer into a pulp), Haino, the Dead C and Jandek will all get their kudos some day.

AUCH Kiss Tomorrow Goodbye (Force Inc.)
AKA Ekkehard Ehlers, whose previous project Autopoeices boiled down the entire 20th century of sound into an electronic whirlpool. His fulllength under this monicker is a most pleasing excursion into deep, ultra-minimal and crisp techno sound complete with dub and hip-hop elements, a real stand-out amidst the avalanche of recordings from German camps at Mille Plateaux, Kompakt, etc.

Other old/new Bins lists | WFMU Main Page