This one is part of the tribute to Island records that started some months ago. We are still in the various/uncategorised part of the tribute. This latest upload truly explores uncharted territories. A genre of its own, a totally adventurous recording, I assure you that it will fry your brain cells. Handle with care.
review link: here (allmusic) and here (pitchfork)
download link: here (link removed due to a relevant request)
Monday, 28 December 2009
Sunday, 27 December 2009
One of the best albums of 2009 hasn't been officially released! It's of course Dark Night of the Soul, a collaboration of Danger Mouse with Sparklehorse (or Mark Linkous). Their cd was supposed to accompany a limited edition book featuring photographs by David Lynch. Unfortunately, because of a copyright dispute between Danger Mouse and his label, the book was released with a blank CD-R. The album quickly leaked to the web and proved to be a great collection of songs featuring guest appearances from Iggy Pop, the Flaming Lips, James Mercer of the Shins, Black Francis of the Pixies, Jason Lytle of Grandaddy, Julian Casablancas of the Strokes, Nina Persson of the Cardigans, Gruff Rhys of Super Furry Animals, Vic Chesnutt, Suzanne Vega and David Lynch himself. My perception is that Mark Linkous's style is more obvious than that of Danger Mouse, so I thought that a relevant upload would be appropriate. Another remark is that each song could easily fit to a release of the singer (or the group of the singer) who sings it.
Here are the introduction notes that Danger Mouse wrote for the book:
"Back in 2004, I was at SXSW, walking down the street with a group of people. Some musicians, a producer or two, and a few I didn't know. We were talking about music, bands we liked, bands we didn't like, and we stopped in a couple of different bars to check out the music. When one of the musicians asked me what I’d been listening to (a question I usually draw an instant blank on), I remember being able to answer pretty quickly. Sparklehorse was my current favorite. As I was going on and on about the "Static King" (Mark Linkous), one of the members of the group finally spoke up and said she managed Sparklehorse. I told her to pass along my love, and she helped me sneak into a Raveonettes show.
One year later I returned to SXSW to play people the new Gorillaz album I'd helped with. I got a surprise phone call. It was Mark Linkous. His manager has sent him the Grey Album, and he was calling to tell me how much he liked it. I asked him what he was up to, and he said he was trying to finish his next album but was in a rut. By the end of the conversation, I'd somehow been invited to North Carolina to see if I could help in some way.
Soon after that, I found myself driving my father's old van from Atlanta into the mountains of southern
North Carolina. Once there, I stayed with Mark, his wife, and his dog Smokey. Every day, we drove the hour-long trek down the mountain to his studio in a little one-stoplight town. He'd already been working on his album for over three years, and most of what he played was
working, things clicked.
As we got more comfortable, Mark played me "Revolution," an idea he'd had in his head that he had yet to record. Right away, we started messing with it. As we worked on it, it grew up into a pretty special piece of music. But Mark didn’t want to sing the song himself. I thought he could pull it off, but he decided not to even attempt it. After a few more visits, the album was finished, but “Revolution” remained incomplete. I asked him if he ever had other ideas that he never attempted because of not wanting to sing them simply, "Sure."
Later, Mark came out to work with me in Los Angeles. We didn't really have a set goal – we just wanted to make a bunch of music together and see what happened. I played him some ideas I had, and he played me some more of his. I could tell he was a bit more comfortable now that he didn't have to sing. Each day, we’d record music and then go to a movie, or watch one at my house. It was a routine we repeated many times over the next year. During that time, we created the music for what would eventually become Dark Night of the Soul.
As we recorded the music, we assembled a wish-list of singers: people we knew in some way, people we thought would sound great over certain songs. We started making phone calls and sending out the music. Over the next year, we recorded with our friends all over the U.S., and one in the U.K.
We worked with Jason Lytle of Grandaddy, Wayne Coyne and Steven Drozd of the Flaming Lips, Julian Casablancas of the Strokes, James Mercer of the Shins, Iggy Pop, Black Francis, Vic Chesnutt, Suzanne Vega, Nina Persson of the Cardigans, and Gruff Rhys from the Super Furry Animals (who helped turn "Revolution" into the song "Just War"). Mark eventually gave in and sang a song, too.
The album was taking shape. As we finished the songs with the various artists, we started to notice some interesting patterns. We'd never given specific direction to any of the singers involved, nor had we played them any of the other songs on the album. Yet, there seemed to be common themes in the lyrics and feel of the songs. There was pain, revenge, war, twisted dreams, and other beautifully haunting visual aspects to it all.
While taking a break from mixing the last Gnarls Barkley album, I watched David Lynch's film Inland Empire. I was already a fan of Lynch's other work, and I knew Mark was, too. I thought he would be perfect to give a visual representation to this album. I'd considered a visual dimension while recording, but never anything too specific. I didn't revisit the idea until I'd finished watching the film. I got together the latest mixes of all the songs on the album and wrote a letter to Mr. Lynch. In the first draft, I begged and begged him to do it and threatened to scrap the whole visual thing if he didn't agree" to do it. Then I thought better; I just asked him to listen to it and let me know if he had time to talk about an idea I had about it. A few days later, he wrote back.
I went to visit David. He was enthusiastic about the project. He even wanted to sing on the album. After we talked, I realized he'd sung some of the amazing songs on the Inland Empire soundtrack. (Check out "Ghost of Love.") Initially, I was there to discuss the visual element - he said that he'd give that some thought, too. Not long afterward, we met again. He said he'd listened to the music quite a bit and had come up with some visual ideas, and that he wanted to shoot them as stills. I called Mark to let him know about it, and at first he didn't believe me. Obviously, we were both pretty excited about it.
We gave David some instrumental ideas. He sat with them and eventually came up with some songs. It was ideal. Aside from Mark and me, he was the only musician who had listened to the entire album. His contributions turned out to be "Star Eyes (I Can't Catch It)" and the final song, "Dark Night of the Soul."
David Lynch's visuals of Dark Night of the Soul are presented here to accompany the album."
review link: here
download link: here (mirrorcreator) and here (rapidshare)
Saturday, 26 December 2009
Since Santa visits the Greek children on the new year's eve (he's probably too busy serving the other countries), my annual present to the readers of this blog will be given away on January, 1. Last year there was a restriction that the participants should be from Greece; the shipping costs prevented me to send it worldwide. But since my compatriot readers have been limited down to only 6-7% of the total visitors, and since the number of the participants last year were only two, I thought that it would be fair to send globally this year. So, everyone of you can send me an eponymous comment along with your e-mail address. If you do not want to show your e-mail address, then leave a comment and send me also an email to email@example.com. Last year it was the latest Clash live album, this year it will be the brilliant latest release of Unthanks (Here's the Tender Coming), which was awarded Folk Album of the Year by Mojo magazine. After a draw, one of the participants will be informed through the comments of this post on Jan. 1, to be sent the aforementioned original sealed cd. The shipping costs will also burden the musictraveler. For the time being you can download this excellent version of the Greek new year's carols as performed by Bruce Haack.
Bruce Haack - Saint Basil (Κάλαντα Πρωτοχρονιάς) (and in rapidshare) (both in wav format)
Friday, 25 December 2009
Lou Reed - The Raven (2003) (@256)
The Alan Parsons Project - Tales Of Mystery And Imagination + bonus material (1975/2007) (@256)
Various - Closed on Account of Rabies - Poems and Tales of Edgar Allan Poe (1997) (@256)
Tell-Tale Hearts - The Tell-Tale Hearts (1984) (@256)
Thursday, 24 December 2009
It's for sure that we'll have more opportunities to deal with Edgar Allan Poe in the future, so I'll keep a number of related albums for a future tribute. For the time being, enjoy this Lou Reed tribute release to Poe to whom he seems to have found a kindred spirit. There are numerous famous participants here among which are Laurie Anderson, Antony, the Blind Boys Of Alabama, Ornette Coleman, Steve Buscemi and Willem Dafoe and Hal Willner as the producer, who was also responsible for the brilliand compilation of Closed on Account of Rabies: Poems and Tales of Edgar Allan Poe uploaded earlier in this blog. Finally, these are the liner notes Reed wrote for this album:
For sure Edgar Allan Poe is that most classical of American writers—a writer more peculiarly attuned to our new century's heartbeat than he ever was to his own. Obsessions, paranoia, willful acts of self-destruction surround us constantly. Though we age we still hear the cries of those for whom the attraction to mournful chaos is monumental. I have reread and rewritten Poe to ask the very same questions again. Who am I? Why am I drawn to do what I should not? I have wrestled with this thought innumerable times: the impulse of destructive desire—the desire for self-mortification. To my mind Poe is father to William Burroughs and Hubert Selby. I am forever fitting their blood to my melodies. Why do we do what we should not? Why do we love what we cannot have? Why do we have a passion for exactly the wrong thing? What do we mean by "wrong"? I became enamored of Poe—once again—and when given the opportunity to bring him to life through words and music, text and dance, why I leapt at it. I surged towards it like a Rottweiler chasing a bloody bone. I read and then recited him out loud and for the first time understood "The Tell-Tale Heart." I dreamt and imagined and then saw the early performance come to life in the Thalia Theatre in Germany (who commissioned me to write this) where the thrill of its existence only made me hunger even more ardently for its American counterpart, its final rewrite, the yearning finally fulfilled by the mad presence of Willem Dafoe, Steve Buscemi, Fisher Stevens, the magnificent Elizabeth Ashley, the transcendental Amanda Plummer and castigating Katy Valk of [the Wooster Group, musicians magnificent galore—D. Bowie, the gospel glory of the Blind Boys of Alabama, the mind-tearing heart-rending sax playing of the incredible Ornette Coleman, the ethereal vocals of Antony, a descendent perhaps of Little Jimmy Scott, Jane Scarpantoni's passionate cello-loving arrangement by her of my guitar solo—strings, real strings—Rob Mathes taking my guitar line and building a universe with it, Steve Bernstein's power-melodic horns—all these pieces together forming for me a universe of sound I'd only dreamed of. My fellow artists...I thank them all from the bottom of my heart and reel with happiness at the CD's existence. My band—Mike, Tony and Fernando, the magnificent production of Hal Willner. I owe them all the greatest thanks.
This is a record made of love, - Lou Reed/NYC 2003"
review link: here
download link: here (cd1) and here (cd2 with liner notes & credits)
Monday, 21 December 2009
Celebrating Christmas with Rage Against The Machine at number one of the UK singles chart. Hats off to these guys.
Oh... and I stand opposed to those grumbling "You pay Sony either way" or "the Fuck You I Won't Do What You Tell Me is not what all those people that bought RATM did". RATM already told that part of the proceeds will go to charity. I don't think that it would be the same with the X-Factor shit, would it? As for the second argue, I'll quote a part of the lyrics of Which Side Are You On: "Poor folks ain’t got a chance, unless they organize"; all those people that bought RATM didn't go with the flow, but they organised to oppose it. After all, it's a victory of the music I love over the kind of music that nobody will remember next Christmas.
You can also check here for the same issue.
Now that the campaign has ended you can download a live clip (in avi format) of Killing In The Name performed live at Mexico City here.
Sunday, 20 December 2009
I was about to upload Tales of Mystery and Imagination, as a part of the Edgar Allan Poe tribute, when I read that Eric Woolfson, one of the two members of the Alan Parsons Project passed away on December, 2. Unfortunately, there are now two reasons for this upload. APP was the result of the collaboration of a talented songwriter (Woolfson) with a studio wizard (Parsons). Their first release, a concept album that retells horror stories and poetry of Poe, was an old idea of Woolfson which was abandoned since he realised that it would be impossible to materialise. He changed his mind when he met Parsons and realised the latter's mastery in production. The duo also hired some hundreds (!) of musicians among which were Terry Sylvester (singer of the Hollies after Graham Nash), John Miles and Arthur Brown. The result is a characteristic 70's grandiose concept album which gave "a pulsing beat of life into the body of Poe's work" as Orson Welles described in a relevant radio advertising spot.
A. Original album
01-A Dream Within A Dream (Instrumental)
03-The Tell-Tale Heart
04-The Cask Of Amontillado
05-(The System Of) Dr. Tarr and Professor Fether
06-The Fall Of The House Of Usher (Instrumental) - Prelude
07-The Fall Of The House Of Usher (Instrumental) - Arrival
08-The Fall Of The House Of Usher (Instrumental) - Intermezzo
09-The Fall Of The House Of Usher (Instrumental) - Pavane
10-The Fall Of The House Of Usher (Instrumental) - Fall
11-To One In Paradise
B. Bonus material
A12-The Raven (original demo) - bonus material
A13-Edgar (demo of an unreleased track)
A14-Orson Welles Radio Spot
A15-Interview with Alan Parsons and Eric Woolfson (1976)
B12-Eric's Guide Vocal Medley
B13-Orson Welles Dialogue
B14-Sea Lions In The Departure Lounge - Sound Effects And Experiments
B15-GBH Mix - Unreleased Experiments
review link: here
download link: here (original album) and here (bonus material with info, lyrics, credits etc.) (in mirrorcreator) or here (in rapidshare)
Sunday, 13 December 2009
Sometimes when you hear about an artist's death you feel that you've lost a close person of yours. It's when this artist's music has been utterly connected with a certain period of your life...
That's the way I felt when I heard about Liam Maher's death, at the age of 41. At the beginning of the 90's, with his group Flowered Up gave us some sparkling singles, a decent album (were Joe Strummer had participated) and... Weekender. A 13-minute single which, along with its video clip, marked the soundtrack of a whole generation by giving a precise documentation of the club culture. Suddenly, all the kids that were just spending their whole week through tedious, low-wage jobs just to become the heroes of themselves from Saturday 6pm to Sunday 6am had found their anthem. It's unbelievable that this masterpiece was the last moment in group's history (they didn't even manage to put it in an album), rather than the beginning of more such glorious moments. But, after all, such hedonistic culture was not meant to last for long. As Heavenly (their first and last label - London records was in between) boss Jeff Barrett said: "Liam and Flowered Up burned beautifully and brightly at exactly the right time. They had their moment and seized it by the bollocks"
RIP Liam. Go out, have a good time...
Weekender (amazingly its lyrics cannot be found anywhere in the web)
I see you everyday, you walk the same way
You go to work, Friday is payday
Give it up, give your wife up
Weekender – weekender
Go out, have a good time
Weekender – weekender
Go out have a good, good – good, good time
What you say weekender, we can work it out
We’ll work it all out
Don’t you hate, hate what you are
I’ll give it up, I’ll give it to you, you
Come on weekender, we’ll go out,
We’ll have a good, the best times
Right weekender, hows about we work it out
Weekender we could have such a good time
Show you, help you, a better way, a better day
A better way
A better life – weekender
Right, weekender we’re going out
You wash, blow dry your hair
New shoes, new suit
Oh, I say you look so super
Weekender you’re looking good
Don’t you hate, don’t you hate what you are
Don’t you hate what you are I ask, I ask you
Look around, don’t you feel a clown
Weekender, fuck off
Fuck off and die – I’m hating you
I hate you – goodbye
I’m slipping, weekender – weekender
Slipping down – down
Go out have a good time – the best time
Go away – away away away – sit back
Let it flow
Just like a little (have a good time)
Have a good time, have a good – good time
No work just party – party!
You got a new skirt, you got a new suit
Saved your life for a two day flirt boy
You pay the price coz Monday sure does hurt
Tell at work your weekend tale
Still need the pleasure of dirty sale
Monday’s back – what can you do?
Been away. Been away. You’ve seen a lot wow, wow
Weekender whatever you do - just make sure what
ya doing makes you happy
Liam Maher remembered by W.I.Z., the director of Weekender (NME)
"How Liam Maher from Flowered Up changed my life" by Robin Turner (Guardian)
download link: here (mirrorcreator) and here (rapidshare)
Monday, 7 December 2009
It's a little bit dated, but I saw the film Cadillac Records during the weekend. It's a biopic that deals with Chess records, a Chicago-based label that established what is now considered as Chicago blues. Colossal artists such as Muddy Waters, Howlin' Wolf, Chuck Berry and Bo Diddley built their careers in the studios of Chess. It's a pity that such a great subject was not developed in a satisfactory way. As Lois Wilson writes in Mojo (issue 190, Sep. 09) "this Chess-inspired romp takes too many liberties with the truth". One could argue that such "liberties" could be justified in a film loosely based in real-life events, where the real names are not used; the film Dreamgirls is I guess a good example. Here is the whole review:
"JUST OVER half way through Cadillac Records, a very-worse-for-wear Etta James played by Beyonce Knowles, kisses her label boss, Chess records co-founder Leonard Chess, played by Adrien Brody. It's implied that they are about to embark on an affair, the action taking place some time in the '60s.
After he saw the film Leonard's son, Marshall Chess — who was consultant on this Darnell Martin-written and directed film based on the Chess label story — rang up Etta James (the real one). "Did you really have an affair with my father?" he asked her, hoping that Leonard hadn't copped off with his leading lady. Of course not, was Etta's reply and therein lies the main problem with Cadillac Records. Not content to just tell the story of the label founded in 1947 by Polish emigre brothers Leonard and Phil Chess (the latter is airbrushed out, presumably to keep the plot simpler), it feels a need to tell great big lies. Like the one wherein blues harpist Little Walter (Columbus Short) shoots a man who is using his name. Perhaps Martin got him muddled up with Sonny Boy Williamson, another important Chess recording artist, who doesn't appear in the film, didn't kill anyone, but did steal his name from a different bluesman called Sonny Boy Williamson after he was murdered. Another player missing from the tale astonishingly is Bo Diddley, who signed to the label in 1955 and whose guitar playing caused a musical revolution. Even those with just a fleeting interest in Chess would recognise how integral Bo is to the label's evolution. And, of course, Leonard Chess didn't really discover Etta James: that was Johnny Otis, who conceived and recorded Etta's 1955 debut The Wallflower, a Number 1 US R&B hit five years before she joined Chess.
So either Martin didn't do, or has ignored, her research to come up with a script so inaccurate
that there's little point running the tag, "based on a true story". Sadly, her bending of the truth hasn't made the screenplay any more enticing.
And yet, when Cadillac Records sticks to the making of the music it delivers some great moments: Eamonn Walker as Howlin' Wolf turns in a mighty fine rendition of Smokestack Lightnin', Jeffrey Wright as Muddy Waters, a convincing I'm Your Hoochie Coochie Man, and Mos Def as the wild child Chuck Berry is compelling throughout.
The same can't be said for Adrien Brody, who is expressionless as the elder Chess brother, or Beyonce, who remakes every Etta James song into a hysterical modern R&B number. As such, there's very little to celebrate here. But should you want more, also included is a documentary on the making of the film, another one on the design and a director's commentary."
In any case, the film was a great opportunity to upload this Chess release, which is one of the greatest live recordings ever. And in order to cover the unreasonable absence of Bo Diddley from the film, I urge to discover another Chess release, uploaded earlier in this blog.
review link: here
download link: here