Saturday, April 25, 2009

...For The Whole World To See

Drag City Records
7 song vinyl LP

The story couldn't be more perfect. A lost album resurfaces 30 years later from a "proto-punk" Detroit garage band, made up of three brothers who were inspired after seeing Iggy & The Stooges back in the early 70s. And now the indie music scene is turned on its collective ear, wondering how such a gem could have been ignored for so long.

While much has been made of the punk elements of this record, suffice it to say it's as much rock-n-roll as it is punk. Comparisons to Bad Brains have been inevitable, considering that the brothers are African American, and also to the aforementioned Stooges & The Ramones, but when I listen, I also hear elements of Thin Lizzy, and even Cream. Simply put, this is one heck of a rock record that just happens to be punk, before anybody called it punk. Add to this the fact that this is one of the most exciting releases I've heard in a long time, and it's 30+ years old. Says a lot about the current state of rock music, no?

Highlights include the band's original "single" Politicians In My Eyes, a rambling, riff-heavy track that has relentless drive, and the intensely played Freakin Out, which is probably the most "punk" song on the record.

MISH MASH Mandate: Preview Punk
Death Myspace Page

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Loronix - Music From Brazil (blog)

You'll have to forgive my excitement, but this is probably one of my greatest discoveries of late. Loronix is a blog dedicated to the music of Brazil, featuring downloads of Brazilian albums forgotten and out-of-print. It's a veritable who's who of Brazilian music: Jobim, Caymmi, Sete, Regina, Bonfa, and the list goes on. It's a wealth of music that will make your head spin, and you can literally lose hours wading through all the music and information. Simply incredible.

MISH MASH Mandate: Brazilicious

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Charlie Parker
Bird In Time 1940-1947

Selected Recordings
and Rare Interviews
ESP Disk'
4 CD set

This amazing collection from ESP Disk' is like taking an intense college course on the formative days of bebop jazz. It not only features dozens of tunes from Parker, but it also contains vintage interviews from various artists including Parker himself, Max Roach, Milt Jackson, and others. Throw in a 32 page booklet with extensive liner notes, and you have a jazz lover's dream.

The four disc set follows Parker from his early days in the Jay McShann band to his work with Dizzie Gillespie, up through his leadership of several groups. This is the work that set him up to be the jazz legend a few years later, leading up to his tragic and untimely death in 1955.

MISH MASH Mandate: Bird Box
ESP Disk' Website

Thursday, January 01, 2009

The Long-Player Goodbye
by Travis Elborough

Sceptre/Hodder & Stoughton
Hardcover, 468 pages

Through its various formats, the long-playing album has been the standard form of music for the past 60 years. It started off with the format-that-still-will-not-die (the LP record) and physically transferred itself onto 8 tracks, cassettes, and CDs. Now in the age of digital downloads, we can only wonder: How much longer can the concept of an album survive?

Travis Elborough ponders this question by taking us back to the very beginning and then proceeds to give us a thorough (and cheeky) history of the album, examining the context of its creation and its progression into the modern world. When the LP record entered the scene in 1948, music lovers were listening to the single-song, four-minute-per-side 78's, and an "album" would constitute a bulky, inconvenient, multiple record set. The LP revolutionized this concept by providing twenty minutes per side, opening up a multitude of possibilities that literally changed the way people listened to music.

Elborough knows his target audience well, seeking to tackle the most trivial minutiae of popular music, yet at the same time providing it in a wonderfully entertaining matter that won't scare away the casual music fan. No sacred cows are left unscathed, as he tackles and tickles subjects ranging from cheesy 50's exotica to Blue Note jazz to The Beatles and beyond. Through all of this, he shows how the album has adapted over the years, changing according to the wants and wishes of society throughout the generations, and even influencing pop culture in more ways than one.

So will the album survive into the next sixty years? Elborough is optimistic, yet cautious in his ultimate summation: only time will tell.

MISH MASH Mandate: How Long To Sing This Song?
The Long Player Goodbye @ Hodder & Stoughton