Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Esquivel- 4 Corners of the World

For YEARS I've dreamed of finding an Esquivel record in a $1 bin, but I never expected it to be in such good shape.  I even found very beat up, but playable, copies of Captain Beefheart's "Safe as Milk" and Electric Prunes "I Had Too Much to Dream Last Night" on later trips.
Anyway, this record is a little different than other Esquivel albums.  Rather than all kinds of instrumentation zooming all over the place, this is a more "straight forward" ensemble recording, focusing more on Esquivel's unrivaled piano skills, and still with those wonderfully wacky arrangements...maybe more like this music would've sounded performed live.  Few geniuses were ever this much fun.


Mohammed El-Bakkar and his Oriental Ensemble- Music of the African Arab Vol. 3

It's weird to find world music records with boobs on the cover in the dollar bin, well the back cover's got a little mold, but moldy boobs could get at least $2-3, right?
Great high energy record, more dance parties should have music like this, then maybe I'd go to one.


Mohammed El-Sulimen and his Oriental Ensemble- The Music or Port Said

Record is a bit scratchy, but no skips or anything.  By looking at the cover you can probably imagine exactly what this record sounds like, whether you find that to be a good or bad thing doesn't matter.  It's a good record and it only cost $1.  The opening track title just about sums it up: "Temptacious."


Bali- Gamelan Music from Sebatu

Never heard a gamelan record I didn't like, truly amazing music...one small skip on the record though.
If only American religious music was like this...


Lew Davies and his Orchestra- Strange Interlude

Another cheesy dollar bin easy listening record (and plenty more to come).  For the life of me, I can't remember where I know the title track from...geez.  There are some great tracks on here, plenty of wacky stereo separation, and to my delight the really low clarinet (don't remember what that's called either) and other less than traditional instrumentation adds that little something extra that corny jazzy music needs to stand apart from the boring ol' pack.
Great background music for, go figure, cocktails, lounging, and/or getting into something or another...


Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Pheromoans- "Does This Guy Stack Up?" *Plus* The Sticks- "I Don't Like It" *Plus* The Bomber Jackets-"Centurion Travel"


The Pheromoans- "Does This Guy Stack Up?"
This band is easily a favorite in contemporary music.  Past efforts were rough and ramshackle DIY post-punk gems, in all their deadpan glory.  The two mini-albums from 2011,"Bar-Rock" and "Darby, Joan, & Fosters," showed a path towards more, not necessarily polished, but clearer recordings and more pop leanings.  This one goes another step further in that direction, and despite what many punk/garage fans may think, this is not a bad thing at all.  Granted, "I'm Through with the Wedgie Cubist" (2009) is one of my favorite songs out there, and ideally I'd love more records like that, but I don't think I could continue to be interested by a band that continually played to fans' ideals.
The album starts out with a great one two punch, namely "The Final Sugar Rush" and "I'm a You-Know-What" (possibly the pop hit of the album) before venturing into more mysterious territory (odd ditties and pop hits in equal measure).  "Power Watch" vaguely reminds me of "Chairs Missing" era Wire...maybe it's just the backing vocals.  "Grab a Chair" plays like a cool guy slacker anthem, if slackers could bother with anthems.
Aside from art-punk leanings, there is a strong low-key garage influence too.  Still plenty of wordy, smart, smart assed lyrics, that are better heard than read.
Basically, this music is hard to put into words (that's a very good thing, you know) and this record, and band for that matter, are for anyone with an adventurous taste is music and a sense of humor.
Even though this LP is more pop influenced, this is still not a record for the masses, just something wonderful for us weirdos.


The Sticks- "I Don't Like It"
I'm not entirely sure of the personnel, but this group does contain a Pheromoans member.  The Sticks are even more stripped down and just as deadpan (maybe more?) than the Pheromoans.  There are some similarities to their sounds, but now that I'm familiar with the Sticks, there's no mistaking them.
The first time I listened to this tape I was struck by how sparse it is...clean low-key guitar, bass, drums, and sometimes vocals all doing something completely off the beaten path.  After the first listen, outside of a few tracks, I didn't really get it, but something made me keep flipping and re-flipping the tape all night.  Then it made a hell of a lot of sense.  I really recommend repeated listens to this band, really rewarding stuff here.
If the video below doesn't pique your interest, I really don't know what to say to you...


The Bomber Jackets- "Centurion Travel" 7"
In all honesty, electronic pop is not my favorite kind of music, granted a good song in any form is a good song regardless.  My first introduction to this group (2/3 Pheromoans members, I think) was their split 7" with the Rebel.  I think I'm a little partial to that one, though this one is not without its charm.  I guess it is a little more electro-pop, so it just took a little getting used to for me, but considering the other contemporary electro-pop bands I have been subjected to, this one is a breath of fresh air in an array of synthetic shit.
Go figure that deadpan sense of humor is here, too...would be curious to hear their cassette releases...


As you can tell, this group of guys are really on the ball, hopefully they have more side projects I haven't heard of...a true hub of post-punk brilliance.