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Monthly Archives: May 2008

A readers poll by Mojo Music Magazine, ranks this remarkable album up there with Sgt. Pepper and Dark Side Of The Moon as one of the top 50 most “out there” albums of all time. Dreamies 2006 Special Edition is a meticulous re-master, restoring previously lost audio detail, offering the best ever CD reproduction of Bill Holt’s 1974 psychedelic masterpiece. Deluxe package includes an eight-page insert and vintage vinyl look CD.

In 1973, Bill Holt hung up his ten year Fortune 500 career to make music. With an acoustic guitar, an early Moog synth, and a four track recorder, he created what many consider a sonic masterpiece. The album has two 25 minute long tracks titled simply Program Ten and Program Eleven. Each is a rich aural collage of song and found sounds. (This new 2006 release offers indexed sub-tracks).

-Amazon.com

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Bill Holt-DREAMIES (1974, 2006 reissue)
320kbps MP3

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Referred to by fans as “the best band you never heard of,” the Embarrassment also holds the distinction of being Wichita, KS’ most influential band. The group’s eclectic yet distinctive sound wrapped a post-punk approach and a deadpan sense of humor around pop, country, disco, and metal elements, crafting songs that rivaled the work of better-known contemporaries like Gang of Four, Mission of Burma, and the Feelies. Though they toured and recorded consistently from their formation in 1979 till their breakup in 1983, the Embarrassment won only a small — but intensely devoted — following while they were an active outfit. However, the group’s cult grew over the years, culminating in a reunion in the late ’80s and the release of two anthologies in the ’90s.

Vocalist/guitarist Bill Goffrier, vocalist/organist John Nichols, and drummer Brent “Woody” Geissman were childhood friends who played together in several groups during their school years. When Geissman met bassist Ron Klaus at college, the quartet became the Embarrassment, a reference to Kurt Vonnegut’s novel Bluebeard in which a character notes that “embarrassment” is the one word that sums up the human existence. Late in 1979, the group debuted with the Patio Set/Sex Drive single, which introduced the Embarrassment’s angular, multi-guitar attack and paved the way for appearances on compilations from Bomp and the Kansas-based label Fresh Sounds.

Though the band’s reunion album God Help Us had happily been available on CD since release, nearly everything from its early-’80s years had long gone out of print or was hard to find, a situation the double-disc Heyday rectified in full a few years later. Right from the start Heyday shows its worth thanks to the inclusion of the quartet’s wonderful, rocking debut, the “Sex Drive/Patio Set” single. “Sex Drive” itself almost comes across as a Midwest response to similarly minded landmarks of punk and post-punk like the Buzzcocks’ “Orgasm Addict” and the Gun Club’s “Sex Beat.” The production is thin, perhaps, but the delivery is nervous, wired to the max, jerky riffs, and Giessmann’s quick drumming increasing the weird paranoia even as Nichols’ singing exudes amusing, boring cool. “Patio Set,” meanwhile, sounds only a touch more relaxed, a weird metaphor combining love and outdoor furniture dryly delivered over the exuberant crunch. The remainder of the first disc pulls together the contents of The Embarrassment and Death Travels West albums, plus “Two Cars,” which surfaced previously on the odds and ends Retrospective cassette. The second disc, meanwhile, gets stuffed full of treats from Retrospective, various compilations, and otherwise unreleased sessions, split between studio and live recordings both. The live recordings are a particular revelation, confirming what the studio work always suggested — that the four members were barnburners, ripping with precise energy through their work. Two covers pop up, both of which are pretty funny as well as rather well performed: Michael Jackson’s disco hit “Don’t Stop ‘Til You Get Enough” and Led Zeppelin’s proto-metal stomp “Immigrant Song.” It’s a pity the version of the Seeds’ “Pushin’ Too Hard,” originally on a Bomp! compilation, didn’t make it, but that’s about the only thing missing here. A complete discography, a reprinted essay from 1988 about the group, and fun liner notes from Nichols and Goffrier complete this fantastic, long-overdue compilation.

by Ned Raggett, allmusic.com

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The Embarrassment-HEYDAY 1979-83 (1995 compilation)
V0 MP3

The island of Bali is Indonesia’s most popular place. With the modern beach resorts at Kuta and Legian, the lovely, tropic interior of palm-covered hills and rice paddies, and a rich variety of art, dance and music, it is a destination of choice for travelers around the world. But, regardless of their increasing role of servicing an ever-demanding tourist industry, the Balinese are a strong-willed and tight-knit society. The island is a tiny enclave of Hinduism within a massive nation of Islam, yet, their Gamelan music is faster, tighter, and louder than their mighty neighbors to the west, the Javanese. Balinese Gamelan stylings and the Ketchak dance are legendary throughout the world and have been immortalized in sound recordings and on film for decades. But, beneath the creeping exterior of a pseudo-western culture slowly overtaking an amazing tradition of unique human expression, the moods of the island are governed by magic and superstition. The hills, forests, rivers, and crossroads are alive with tales of demons (Leyaks) and a flesh-eating Ogress (Rangda). A lesser-known darker side of Balinese life secretly balances the lighter side “tropical paradise” of tourist brochures. This CD is composed of field recordings from August and September of 1989. The majority of the recordings were made at night in and around the villages of Peliatan and Ubud. Amidst the excerpts from Gamelan performances, rehearsals, and Ketchak, are sounds of the surrounding forests and mysterious crossroads where packs of dogs seem to take on forms of angry demons. Also encountered here are odd folk stylings for flute and drum, outdoor village theatre, and other various sound anomalies from the Balinese interior.

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Night Recordings From Bali
192kbps MP3

Radio Algeria is a multi-dimensional assembly of audio culture from the Mediterranean coast to the undefined border areas of the Sahara Desert and beyond. This is perhaps the most diverse collection of the Algerian listening experience ever presented featuring raw Berber folk, modern Arabic pop, sacred Islamic traditional, Andalusian orchestral, Guesba (the origin of Rai), classic early Rai, Khabyle, Tuareg, Saharaui, and hybrid music styles influenced by Europeans to the north and sub-Saharan Africa to the south. The presence of French culture is a relevant factor in some of these tracks as modern history would suggest and the language is still spoken by a large portion of the population. No English is spoken on Algerian-produced radio. Collected, assembled and edited in 2005 from AM, FM, and Shortwave broadcasts recorded in Algeria, there are radio finds here that defy categorization. Excerpts of bumper music, DJ announcements, advertisements, and radio station Id’s reinforce the transitions between the musical segments throughout this production.

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Radio Algeria
V0 MP3

The music and production encountered here represents a cross-section of Sumatran FM radio and to a greater extent, what’s happening now in Indonesian culture. From the signature sounds of Sumatra (Melayu, Minang Pop, the Batak ballad) to the widespread Indonesian phenomenon of Dangdut, this exclusive “FM only” Radio Collage will leave your skull shattered, wondering why it’s taken so long to be turned-on to the modern pulse of the world’s fourth largest country. Some of these selections come from Java and other parts of Indonesia via the FM airwaves of Sumatra’s major cities. Islamic Folk, Gambus Rock, and gorgeous anomalies are also placed in the mix amidst brief news reports, advertisements, prayers, and karaoke call-in shows. Many of the station ID’s could be mistaken for American or European networks and much of the music is highly influenced by western pop/rock/punk/metal/rap/etc. But beyond these obvious comparisons is an explosive musical kaleidoscope; still fresh, somewhat sincere and naive, and a bit resistant to the grasp of the world’s cultural export Moguls. This is an essential listening experience. There is undeniable evidence here of how Indonesians have crafted some of the world’s most thrilling popular music….yet the rest of this world somehow refuses to recognize it….that is, until now!

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Radio Sumatra: The Indonesian FM Experience
192kbps MP3

Schmaltzy synthpop, Revolutionary rock, Cheeky child rap, and a healthy dose of hagiography for Dear Leader Kim Jong-il, this is the now NOW sound of North Korea! A hermit kingdom with a rich folk history and an even richer tradition in over-the-top praise for the ruling House of Kim, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea remains a diplomatic thorn and a culture never Neverland. Boasting a heady mix of Stalin opera, Tokyo karaoke and brooding impressionism, the sound of present-day Pyongyang distills into warped agit-pop and lost-in-time commie funk. If you’ve ever wondered what goes on in North Korean music, this is your vehicle for exploration. Christiaan Virant has visited this mysterious land and has assembled this amazing audio collage. Captured within are rare live recordings from various performances and mass games demonstrations, sounds lifted from People’s Army television dramas, samples from hard-to-find CD releases obtained in the capital, and of course, news reports from the “real” Radio Pyongyang, which continues to broadcast to this day, albeit under the new, strikingly anodyne moniker “Voice of Korea”.

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Radio Pyongyang: Commie Funk and Agit Pop from the Hermit Kingdom
192kbps MP3

If you think you’ve heard all the great electric guitar styles in the world, think again. This Saharan sand-blizzard of fine-crushed glass will grind your face to a bloody pulp. Group Doueh play raw and unfiltered Saharawi music from the former colonial Spanish outpost of the Western Sahara. Doueh (pronounced “Doo-way”) is their leader and a master of the electric guitar. He’s been performing since he was a child playing in many groups before finally creating his own in the 1980’s. Doueh says he’s Influenced by western pop and rock music especially Jimi Hendrix and James Brown. His sound is distorted, loud and unhinged with an impressive display of virtuosity and style only known in this part of the world. His wife Halima and friend Bashiri are the two vocalists in the group. Saharawi songs are from the sung poetry of the Hassania language. The music is based on the same modal structure as Mauritanian music, however, Doueh’s style is a looser appropriation infused with a western guitar scope, one that relies, in his words, as much on Hendrix as it does traditional Sahrawi music. It also adds a playful pop element that rarely filters through in this region. Doueh has turned down countless offers from Morocco and Europe to release his music but he decided to offer us access to his homemade recordings and photo archive for this amazing debut release.

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Group Doueh: Guitar Music From The Western Sahara
192kbps MP3

Taking the detached plastic soul of Young Americans to an elegant, robotic extreme, Station to Station is a transitional album that creates its own distinctive style. Abandoning any pretense of being a soulman, yet keeping rhythmic elements of soul, David Bowie positions himself as a cold, clinical crooner and explores a variety of styles. Everything from epic ballads and disco to synthesized avant pop is present on Station to Station, but what ties it together is Bowie’s cocaine-induced paranoia and detached musical persona.

At its heart, Station to Station is an avant-garde art-rock album, most explicitly on “TVC 15” and the epic sprawl of the title track, but also on the cool crooning of “Wild Is the Wind” and “Word on a Wing,” as well as the disco stylings of “Golden Years.” It’s not an easy album to warm to, but its epic structure and clinical sound were an impressive, individualistic achievement, as well as a style that would prove enormously influential on post-punk.

-by Stephen Thomas Erlewine, allmusic.com

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David Bowie-STATION TO STATION (1976)
320kbps MP3

Get this one for the bonus tracks, which include the brutal “Jitterbug Love”, “20th Century Boy” and of course “Children Of The Revolution”, the defining T Rex song. -Ian

By 1973’s Tanx, the T. Rex hit-making machine was beginning to show some wear and tear, but Marc Bolan still had more than a few winners up his sleeve. It was also admirable that Bolan was attempting to broaden the T. Rex sound — soulful backup singers and horns are heard throughout, a full two years before David Bowie used the same formula for his mega-seller Young Americans. However, Tanx did not contain any instantly recognizable hits, as their past couple of releases had, and the performances were not quite as vibrant, due to non-stop touring and drug use. Despite an era of transition looming on the horizon for the band, tracks such as “Rapids,” “Highway Knees,” “The Street & Babe Shadow,” and “Born to Boogie” contain the expected classic T. Rex sound. The leadoff track, “Tenement Lady,” is an interesting Beatlesque epic, while “Shock Rock” criticizes the early-’70s glam scene, which T. Rex played a prominent role in creating. Other highlights include one of Bolan’s most gorgeous and heartfelt ballads, “Broken Hearted Blues,” as well as the brief, explosive rocker “Country Honey.” Tanx marked the close of what many consider T. Rex’s golden era; unfortunately, the bandmembers would drift off one by one soon after, until Bolan was the only one remaining by the mid-’70s.

by Greg Prato, allmusic.com

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T Rex-TANX (1973)
256kbps MP3

Buoyed by two U.K. number one singles in “Telegram Sam” and “Metal Guru,” The Slider became T. Rex’s most popular record on both sides of the Atlantic, despite the fact that it produced no hits in the U.S. The Slider essentially replicates all the virtues of Electric Warrior, crammed with effortless hooks and trashy fun. All of Bolan’s signatures are here — mystical folk-tinged ballads, overt sexual come-ons crooned over sleazy, bopping boogies, loopy nonsense poetry, and a mastery of the three-minute pop song form. The main difference is that the trippy mix of Electric Warrior is replaced by a fuller, more immediate-sounding production. Bolan’s guitar has a harder bite, the backing choruses are more up-front, and the arrangements are thicker-sounding, even introducing a string section on some cuts (both ballads and rockers). Even with the beefier production, T. Rex still doesn’t sound nearly as heavy as many of the bands it influenced (and even a few of its glam contemporaries), but that’s partly intentional — Bolan’s love of a good groove takes precedence over fast tempos or high-volume crunch. Lyrically, Bolan’s flair for the sublimely ridiculous is fully intact, but he has way too much style for The Slider to sound truly stupid, especially given the playful, knowing wink in his delivery. It’s nearly impossible not to get caught up in the irresistible rush of melodies and cheery good times. Even if it treads largely the same ground as Electric Warrior, The Slider is flawlessly executed, and every bit the classic that its predecessor is.

by Steve Huey, allmusic.com

DOWNLOAD:
T Rex-THE SLIDER (1972)
Vo MP3