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Prem's Faves for 2000
{no particular order}
KUSF San Francisco, 90.3 FM
Band/Artist Release Record Label Prem's Spew
Adult Rodeo Texxxas Shimmydisc nerdliness, bloke folk, & rock intertwine with tongue-in-cheek absurdity, with more musicians on this album than on the last and hence a thicker more substantive sound; amiably schizophrenic, musically speaking
Bonniwell Music Machine Ignition Sundazed psychedelic garage rock meets doom and gloom via the third album of this artifact of the 1960s music scene, as many of the cuts feature dark organ backgrounds and unsettling vocals; not your typical 60s fare by any means [1965 re-issue with rare or unreleased bonus tracks from between 1965 & 1969]
Broun Fellinis Out through the N Door Brounsoun/Weed thick, avant-funk grooves contend with sometimes edgy, sometimes flowing but always passionate sax improv. to fill a void between acid and free jazz, with belligerent rap vocals on three tracks; Weed re-issued this recording, originally released in 1998 by Brounsoun
Buzzcocks Time's Up Mute old raunchy sarcastic Brit punk, culling tracks from the 1976 Time's Up bootleg LP/Spiral Scratch EP; disc includes a video of the Buzzcocks' restless first gig from 1976 back in Manchester
Califone Califone Road Cone an unlikely convergence of subtle twangy folk rock and minimalistic electronic scapes/percussion; on this self-titled EP, as on their previous self-titled EP, Califone quietly dispels notions of mutual exclusivity between traditionalist and modernist approaches in music
Nels Cline The Inkling Cryptogramophone a sonic menagerie focused upon Cline's guitar expressionism as a reflection upon the backing tapestry of Mark Dresser's aggressive yet fluid contrabass, Zeena Parkins' pensively eerie harps, and Billy Mintz's counterintuitive drumming; each track glides through phases of both chaos and confluence, blurring distinctions between them
The Double U Falling Lanterns Emperor Jones minimalistic strangeness rock with quiet croaking and/or squeaking vocals plus unexpected tinges of old Yiddish/klezmer music as well as a host of other subtle folk influences; fresh yet murky like a jig in a bog
Johnny Dowd Pictures from Life's Other Side Koch bizarre guitar-driven folk-tinged rock mingles with Dowd's gritty vocals and bitter disturbed blue-collar musings while eerie backing vocals and soundscapes pervade the haze; leering psychopathic turbidity [1999 release]
Drums and Tuba Flatheads and Spoonies My Pal God perky ditties for drums, tuba, and (surprise!) electric guitar that occasionally veer off in unexpected directions with peculiar developments; more reserved than previous Drums and Tuba releases, but peppy nonetheless [1999 release]
Eureka Farm The View Loose Groove spectral rock which emanates as though through the portal of some hidden cavern, thick with eerie resonance; three of the four band members interchangeably play the Moog synthesizer in the background, adding to the spookiness [1999 release]
eX-Girl Big When Far, Small When Close KIKI Poo beautiful though often bizarre a cappella vocal harmonies from this trio, incorporating elements from Indian music to Native American music to a zany rendition of a Bertol Brecht piece which was also covered by the Doors; vocals predominate, with minimal background instrumentation and/or percussion provided by Hoppy Kamiyama and others
Zusaan Kali Fasteau & Donald Rafael Garrett Memoirs of a Dream Flying Note two performances of multi-ethnic music by this multi-instrumentalist duo--the first disc, studio recordings from 1975 in Holland on which Fasteau & Garrett recorded stirring free-improv. duets then overdubbed further improv. while listening to the tape they had just created, and the second disc a live performance from 1977 in Turkey; while traveling for fourteen years through a great number of nations (India, Nepal, Morocco, Congo, Switzerland, Haiti, Greece, and Yugoslavia, to name just a few) Fasteau and Garrett studied a myriad of musical forms and instruments and incorporated elements of each into these multifaceted performances
Frigg Brecht Knitting Factory Works nutty interweavings of jazz/swing/cabaret/marching music/etc. that revolve around the written works of Bertol Brecht; the various influences here intermingle comically yet forcefully for a very in-your-face presentation [1999 release]
The Gits Seafish Louisville Broken Rekids explosive punk from the early 1990s Seattle scene featuring a mixture of unreleased live material and unreleased/rare studio material from the band's earliest years; the late Mia Zapata's raging vocals provide the lightning to foment her bandmates' thunder
Kim Gordon/DJ Olive/Ikue Mori Kim Gordon/DJ Olive/Ikue Mori SYR a meticulous barrage of electronics and elements of rock; Gordon spits out the ominous basslines and restless vocals, Mori infuses the menacing sounds of epilepsy-inciting electronic and computer music, and DJ Olive embellishes it all with edgy turntablistic flourishes
Richard Grossman Trio Where the Sky Ended Hat Hut Grossman mans the helm of this piano trio, joined by Ken Filiano on contrabass and Alex Cline on drums in a freely improvised mayhem that maintains its direction in spite of itself as Grossman's fingers race up and down the piano keys; these tracks were recorded between 1989 and 1992, as Grossman passed away in 1992
The Jack Saints The Jack Saints vs. Rock and Roll Holocaust Scooch Pooch blistering garage monster punk riddled with fiery guitar and witty twists as a subterfuge; crazed mayhem for the mutagenically-inclined
Keuhkot Ruskea Aikakirja Bad Vugum jumpy ultra-cornball...something...that brings to mind some of the more demented material of the Residents, but takes it ten steps further and injects it with a heavy dose of adrenaline; hyperactive goofiness that even the most jaded cannot easily dismiss [1998 release]
Nomy Lamm and The Need The Transfused Yoyo it's the soundtrack to...a Rock Opera!!!...just when you thought you were safe, Nomy Lamm teams up with The Need to depict a dreary apocalyptic scenario set in the near future where Corporate Creeps have subverted the law to oppress the Working Masses...(hmm...sounds familiar...); lunacy comes knocking on your door as demented broadway-style choruses back up nutty paranoid lead vocals and kooky rock/punk/metal/cartoonishness
Michael Masley Cymbalennium ArtistGeneral.com gracefully eerie compositions on the ancient hammer-dulcimer instrument known as the cymbalom, related to the santoor and belonging to the family of zithers; Mr. Masley's technique of playing this intrument throws tradition to the wind, however, as he plays it like no other, with 'bowhammers' attached to eight of his fingers with which he both bows and taps the various strings of the cymbalom either alone or in harmonic groups, and with picks attached to his thumbs to provide sharper contrasting sounds to create bright yet spooky atmospheres
Mike Min The Aberdeen Transplant (self-released) a delicious tweaking of the bombast of pop, venturing where pop as we know it could not dare tread; using pop as the foundation for each of his songs on this EP, Mike Min employs elaborate synthesizers, dainty background vocals, and unexpectedly bizarre undertones to build layer upon layer of pretentious whimsicality while maintaining a blasť attitude on vocals in stark contrast to the flippancy of each piece as a whole
The Need The Need Is Dead Chainsaw quirky-jerky rock returns on this release in a manner similar to that on their debut full-length, but this time there's a definite tinge of metal as Radio Sloan churns out bouts of sludge on her guitar to pepper the Devo-istic organ-y percussive weirdness punk; jagged and kinetic
Old Time Relijun La Sirena de Pecera K the wretchedness returns in full force on this release, whereas on their previous Uterus and Fire release Old Time Relijun took a stab at somewhat more intelligible rock; this time, to add a further twist to the swampthing ugliness that defines this band's sound, they sing some of the tracks in foreign languages (Portuguese, Italian...)--perhaps to strengthen their global appeal...?
The Onyas Heterospective Dropkick thunderous HR/punk hybrid from Australia cranks out pounding riffs/rhythms while feeding the fire with blasting intricate guitar shrapnel and unforgiving vocals; a crash course in ballistics
The Persuasions Frankly A Cappella|The Persuasions Sing Zappa EarthBeat! an entire album of The Persuasions covering zany Frank Zappa tunes in a cappella, allowing you a window to their loonier side with all solemnity cast aside; in case you're wondering why The Persuasions would churn out a tribute album to Mr. Zappa, it's because he released their very first album ('A Cappella') back in 1970 on his very own record label, giving a larger audience its first taste of the masterful vocal harmonies for which The Persuasions would become known
The Persuasions Sunday Morning Soul Bullseye Blues Classics the first gospel album released by The Persuasions, recorded in 1997 but withheld by the Bullseye Blues Classics label until after the release of The Persuasions' successful Zappa cover album described above; though the executives at Bullseye Blues Classics were too greedy to take a chance with gospel back in 1997, each track on this album shines with its own grace and humor as a cappella renditions of gospel classics as well as some original material lift the spirit
Rattlemouth Fist Full of Iffy Cuneiform zippy, nippy, bouncy trio of sax, bass, and drums (with occasional quirky twerpy vocals provided by the saxophonist) that chirps and flutters like a restless parrot doing a strange little head-bobbing dance; jumpy, mischievous fun [1998 release]
Ruins Pallaschtom Sonore premeditated mayhem for bass and drums; once again, the Ruins duo of Toshida Tatsuya and Sasaki Hisashi pummel you with an assault of time-signature-oblivious shrapnel and demented vocals to punctuate the unforgivingly choppy riffs
Sonny Simmons Manhattan Egos Arhoolie edgy free jazz focused upon Simmons' alto sax (or his English horn, which he employs on one track to replicate the sounds of a middle eastern double-reed horn) inspired in part by Ornette Coleman and John Coltrane, and a likely influence upon many up-and-coming free jazz/experimental artists; included are bonus cuts from an unreleased session recorded several months after the original release of this album on which Simmons is joined in tight, fascinating improv. by avant jazz violinist Michael White and a powerful rhythm session, and these four tracks could alone provide the impetus to check out this offering [1969 re-issue w/bonus material from 1970]
Songs:Ohia Ghost Tropic Secretly Canadian excursions into the seldom-witnessed dark side of folk; folk singer/guitarist Jason Molina provides the focus of all the tracks featured here, but the spooky, minimalistic music surrounding his Oldham-esque vocal distinguishes this album from its peers--especially the thunderous rumble of the enormous bass drum
Tabla Beat Science Tala Matrix Palm Pictures/Axiom a synthesis of electronic beat wizardry and tabla mastery that features tabla players Zakir Hussain, Talvin Singh, Trilok Gurtu, and Karsh Kale as well as Sarangi instrumentalist/vocalist Ustad Sultan Khan while Bill Laswell tweaks the background textures and adds basslines to several tracks; as the group's name implies, the tabla takes center stage as all performers traverse the realm of the rhythm
Vacuum Tree Head Coal Vig Pest Colors Music pleasantly jarring concoctions of influences from noizart to klezmer to fringe jazz and beyond; on these mid-1990s recordings, as in its live performances, the band leans heavily on jabbering woodwinds (saxophone, bassoon, clarinet, et al) to create shifty foundations for further elaboration by electric guitar, bass, violin, drums, percussion, piccolo, samplers, and vocals--textures which regularly and unexpectedly turn on a dime while bombarding you with slew after slew of choppy improvisation, tossing you back and forth between bewilderment and wonder [1999 release]
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