Friday, December 31, 2010


Last August I posted a short thing about Dillinger's "Cocaine in My Brain" and how it borrowed the bass line from People's Choice's "Do It Any Way You Wanna", a song he toasted over prior to recording his signature song. Today, while browsing American Athlete (an excellent blog with tons of groove heavy international music), I ran into a post about Escort's "Cocaine Blues", which is as close to a disco type cover of Dillinger's "Cocaine in My Brain" as you can get it. It's a recent release, but you could swear that it was one of those songs that you never heard back in the late seventies (because, of course, disco sucked, right?). So, the bass line has come full circle, from dance floor to sound system, and back to the dance floor. (Note: get the Escort cut now, because it was posted with a note that said it would only be available for a few days, and that was back in November.)

In looking for an image for this post, I ran into an instant book mark. It's a site called Streamola Archive, and it has tons of reggae-centric stuff on it, streaming and in mp3 format. And I'm not talking about just songs. There's tapes of sound systems, interviews, radio shows, and all sorts of cool shit. Some of the sound files are a teeny bit warbly in parts (because they were ripped from streaming webcasts, from 1999-2001), but it's very minor. And there's some more recent stuff, including an Ari Up DJing gig, from February, just months before her death. It's an excellent set, with recent sounds from Jamaica and a few of the new Slits songs, and a mash up of John Lennon's vocal from "A Day In the Life" with a rhythm that, if you're at all into reggae, you'll recognize. (Stream the whole show at your hoedown tonight!) There's other posts with a Lee Perry set and interview, a King Jammy sound system set from '87, and a interview with Dillinger, and tons more. (Links are below.) I'm also including a repost of a link from a while back, in case you missed it. It's a Slits live set, from the Primavera Sound Festival, in Barcelona, from earlier this year.

The bass line that won't die:
Escort - Cocaine Blues mp3 at American Athlete
Dillinger - Cocaine in My Brain mp3 at Giant Panther
People's Choice - Do It Anyway You Wanna mp3 at

PARTY SUPPLIES, the other good stuff:
Ari Up DJing w/Joly & Mad Scientist at Party 4 Haiti (2/2010) mp3 and streaming at Streamola Archive
The Slits, Live at the Primavera Sound Festival (2010) at Free Music Archive (NOTE: Click the arrow to the right of the plus sign [+] to download)
King Jammy's SuperPower soundsystem set (1987) mp3 and streaming at Streamola Archive
Lee Perry gig from 1999 mp3 and streamimg at Streamola Archive
Lee Perry interview (mid-80s) mp3 and streaming at Streamola Archive
Dillinger & Trinity interview mp3 and streaming at Streamola Archive
Breif Selection - Reggae mix mp3 and streaming at Streamola Archive

Thursday, December 30, 2010


Stevie Wonder was in his creative prime in the early seventies, after renegotiating his contract with Motown. His new terms gave him complete artistic control, allowing him to create full length recordings conceived as albums, rather than collections of singles, and other songs. He began working with Tonto's Exploding Head Band, a UK electronic duo, who utilized the Tonto synthesizer (more about that here); and he got really into a funky clavinet thing. The combination of the two dominated the sound of the first few albums under his new contract, and obliterated any remaining remnants of the "Little" in "Little Stevie Wonder". This was when he began creating his own legacy.

Here's a few things from that era. Above is a video from August, 1973, from Top of the Pops. (Note: TV tape, the song ends at 2:10, then segues to another channel with some weird dancers). The first live set below is from a show at the Rainbow, in London in January, 1974. (I'm not direct linking to the download, but you can get it at Aquarium Drunkard). After that is a link to Troubled Souls Unite, who have two songs ("Superstition" and "Higher Ground") from the same set (streaming) so you can see if you want the whole set. Captain's Dead has a live set from Brighton, UK in July, 1973, comprised of 11 individual mp3s. Those are also available streaming, individually, so you know what that means (play them all at once, of course).

Stevie Wonder - Live at the Rainbow Theatre (1/31/74), full set download at Aquarium Drunkard
Stevie Wonder - Superstition, Higher Ground (Live, 1/31/74), streaming at Troubled Souls Unite
Stevie Wonder - Live in Brighton (7/4/73), Full set, 11 mp3s (and streaming) at Captain's Dead
Stevie Wonder, Official site


I don't even know where to begin with the Tielman Brothers. They were from Indonesia, and moved to the Netherlands at an early age. Credited with being one of the very first Dutch rock n' roll bands, they were a scrappy bunch. Early on, they used radios for amplifiers, and on one occasion sang to a music shop owner in exchange for down payment on instruments. They arrived in the Netherlands with one suitcase between them, containing all of their clothes ("thin tropical cloths"). Musically, they borrowed liberally. Their first single "Rock Little Baby of Mine" sounds an awful lot like they were trying to cop Eddie Cochran, but other stuff sounds like Elvis, Duane Eddy, and others of the same era. Lead singer (and guitarist) Andy Tielman had a four octave vocal range, perfectly suited for their cover-heavy repertoire. But their sound is really just a part of the package.

The Tielmans were showmen, complete and total showmen. Watch the video below, and take into consideration that this was 1960. In one song, hotshot Andy plays half a dozen solos, and few are played in a normal fashion. Though in most parts the solos are standard licks (rockabilly type, with a touch of maybe Chet Atkins and/or Les Paul), it's the performance that gets me. Behind the head solos, over the head solos, solos with the drummer hitting the strings, solos played with feet, and, what must be his specialty, the tour de force, playing behind his back while standing on the stand-up bass. Sure, at the time T-Bone Walker had already played behind his head, but all the other oddball solos? Keep in mind that this is seven years before Hendrix arrived. Watch the video. It's almost comical how, just when you think the song might end, another crazy solo appears. You might expect a song of that vintage to be in the three minute range. This sucker is almost six minutes long, and is a study in complete solo saturation. Guitar, bass, drums; they all get solos. It's exhausting.

From all appearances, the Tielman Brothers, as a band, crapped out some years ago. But Andy Tielman is still at it, bless his crazy ass solo soul.

The Tielman Brothers - Rock Little Baby of Mine mp3 at De Wereld volgens ARF
The Tielman Brothers - Love So True mp3 at
The Tielman Brothers - Tahiti Guitars mp3 at
The Tielman Brothers - Little Bird mp3 at
The Story of the Tielman Brothers at Indorock
Tielman Brothers photo gallery at Indorock
Andy Tielman - Official site (in Dutch)
Long first hand account of meeting Andy Tielman at (scroll to "customer reviews")

NOTE: The title of this post refers to the definition of nazi as "a person who is fanatically dedicated to or seeks to control a specified activity, practice, etc.: a jazz nazi who disdains other forms of music; tobacco nazis trying to ban smoking." (Definition 3, as found here.)

Tuesday, December 28, 2010


A few years ago, I was walking down Haight (in SF) with a friend, when we happened upon a kid, a teenager really, who was at that age when one is discovering that a lot of black, and a general disheveled appearance, separates people in two groups; those who get it, and those who don't. Especially if you're sitting on the sidewalk, writing in a journal about your tortured existence and how nobody understands you. My friend and I started talking about our own "woe is me" journals, and how every kid at that age, who is just trying desperately to find their identity, has to have a journal. We laughed at our younger selves, because we were identifying with what the kid was going through. Though I don't know for a fact, I'd bet that Kathleen Hanna started out like that kid. And she's a great example of what happens when you keep that part of you alive.

She's got a varied CV, but it all involves her outspokenness, and self-empowerment, both as a woman and an individual. She's had a good run too. First with Bikini Kill, and the whole Riot Grrrl thing. Later going solo as Julie Ruin, which would morph into Le Tigre. All along the way, she's been a vocal feminist, often making a point to simplify the message. You can read about her at Wikipedia. Suffice it to say that, like that kid writing in their journal on the sidewalk, I've got a soft spot for her. After running into the recent video below, I finally relented on my reluctance to do a post about her (for lack of specific mp3s). Because you might be the people who do get it.

Storytelling and song, a winning combo: Hanna on 12/15/10

Bikini Kill - New Radio mp3 at Kill Rock Stars
Bikini Kill - I Like Fucking mp3 at Kill Rock Stars
Bikini Kill - Carnival mp3 at HBML
Julie Ruin - The Punk Singer mp3 at Recidivism
Julie Ruin - Stay Monkey mp3 at FredFlare
Le Tigre - Deceptacon mp3 at IndieShuffle
Le Tigre - Bang! Bang! mp3 at Aquarium Drunkard
Le Tigre - TKO mp3 at Kels the Nu
Le Tigre - I'm So Excited mp3 at Kenny44200
Le Tigre - My Metrocard mp3 at FredEeky
Le Tigre - Fake French mp3 at CCMixter
Le Tigre - Get Off the Internet mp3 at Fimoculous
Kathleen Hanna - Smells Like Teen Spirit/Rebel Girl (live) at YouTube
Kathleen Hanna's Blog
Le Tigre World (official site)
Kathleen Hanna interview at The Fader
NYU Acquires the Kathleen Hanna Papers for Their New Riot Grrrl Collection at the L Magazine
Kathleen Hanna entry at Wikipedia
Totally unrelated, but totally funny:
Hipsters Through History, the Definitive List at the L Magazine

Monday, December 27, 2010


Freezing your ass off? Buried in snow? Here's a handful of tropical head scratchers and semi-easy listening (along with a new free album download by the Gorillaz), to help you keep warm. As always, it began with just kind of poking around online. I ran into a song by Clout, a band from South Africa that I was only vaguely familiar with (years ago someone gave me a single by them called "Substitute" because I had a fanzine with the same name). Not expecting much, I was pleasantly surprised to hear a reggae-ish song with a little wah-wah and some wicked strings and horns. Seriously, with the exception of the lyrics (which reference "my disco dancing baby"), this sucker sounds it could have been released last month. It kind of sounds like the Gorillaz, with a female lead vocal. (Which reminds me, if you like the Gorillaz, they just released a free album, The Fall, recorded in hotel rooms and such, while on tour last fall. You can get it here. Note: email address required.)

So, I started looking around at the other posts on this German blog and found a bossa nova ditty by some lady named Sophia Loren. After a little more digging, I figured out that this blog really has a thing for mid-sixties semi-easy listening (amongst other genres). I say "semi-easy" because this type of music was hip to a certain young adult demographic back then. Think of it as the Hai Karate generation. (For those who understand only hipster points of reference, just consider it as the source material for Pizzacato 5.) So, a dozen or so downloads later, I found myself halfway into a playlist for a swinging New Year's Eve party (that I'll never have). Here's the highlights (more links below): I liked the cover of Burt Bacharach's "The Party" by the Smart Set, an Italian outfit. And you'll want to dig the happening bossa-Hammond of Walter Wanderley's "Batucada." The cow bell guy in the cover of "Grazing In the Grass" sounds like he's had about six pots of coffee. (He shows up in spots, then there's long pauses where I think he's catching his breath.) The rest are various semi-easy listening songs from all over, that all happen to fall under the category of "way more interesting than elevator music."

Clout - Sunshine Baby mp3 at Muzik-Kurier
Sophia Loren - De Jour En Jour mp3 at Muzik-Kurier
The Smart Set - The Party mp3 at Muzik-Kurier
Walter Wanderley - Batucada mp3 at Muzik-Kurier
Roberto Delgado - Grazin' In the Grass mp3 at Muzik-Kurier
Towa Tei - Obrigado mp3 at Muzik-Kurier
Quarteto Em Cy - Canto de Ossanh mp3 at Muzik-Kurier
The Gimmicks - Roda mp3 at Muzik-Kurier
Klaus Wunderlich - Baby Elephant Walk mp3 at Muzik-Kurier
Santi Latora - The Look Of Love mp3 at Muzik-Kurier
Nino Ferrer - Mirza mp3 at Muzic-Kurier
Corisco E Os Sambaloucos - Bal mp3 at Muzik-Kurier
Bela Sanders - Brazil mp3 at Muzik-Kurier
Astrud Gilberto & Walter Wanderley - Tristeza mp3 at Muzik-Kurier

The Gorillaz - The Fall, free album download
(email address required) at Recordings made on the road, with limited equipment, in the fall of 2010.

Friday, December 24, 2010


Here's Darlene Love's performance of "Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)" from last night. on the Late Show with David Letterman. It lacks the very beginning of the introduction and the reprise, but I will update this when the full video becomes available.


I rarely play Christmas music. I can't really see having music that I'd only play one month out of the year. If I still threw holiday bashes like the good ol' days, I might want some. Although, come to think of it, when I did have holiday parties, the music was usually something like Mudhoney, Sonic Youth, Pussy Galore...that type of stuff (which should tell you how long it's been since I actually hosted parties). But they were ramshackle events anyway. Just a bunch of the usual suspects, getting drunk, with a tree in the corner. So, I tip my hat to the hosts of holiday parties, and say, with all the sincerity that I can muster, better you than me.

Here's a few to get you through the last day. But not without a few notes about some of the songs. Listening to the Mojo Nixon cut, I just realized how much he sounds like Peter Wolf, in the early J. Geils Band. The Donnas thing is a cover of a horrible song by the Waitresses, so even this version is a little ill-conceived. The Slade song isn't their most rocking, but it's Slade, a band dear to my garish plaid heart. The Dick Dale song is uncharacteristically mellow, but nice (your Mom will dig it). It's hard to believe that the Kink's "Father Christmas" is thirty years old, I still think of it as their newer stuff. The Julian Casablanca cover of the Saturday Night Live skit is here even though he's always kinda bugged me, but I guess he has a sense of humor. Poly Styrene's making a return, because she started this whole mess the day after Thanksgiving. And, after you've sent the kids to bed, you can relax by the fireplace, and listen to William Burroughs tell the story of Danny the car wiper's Christmas. Wind down with a few from "The Hipsters Guide to Basic Holiday Jazz," while you take a bite of one of the cookies that the kids left out for Santa, just so they will believe for one more year.

Mojo Nixon & the Toadliquors - It's Christmas Time mp3 at Good Rockin' Tonight
The Donnas - Christmas Wrapping mp3 at Good Rockin' Tonight
Slade - Merry Xmas Everybody mp3 at
The Ventures - White Christmas mp3 at My Aimz Is True
Shonen Knife - Space Christmas mp3 at Lost In Your In Box
The White Stripes - Candy Cane Children mp3 at Indie Rock Cafe
Dick Dale - Silent Night mp3 at My Aimz Is True
The Kinks - Father Christmas mp3 at Indie Rock Cafe
Julian Casablancas - I Wish It Were Christmas Today at Indie Rock Cafe
James Brown - Go Power at Christmas Time mp3 at Plain or Pan
Lee Perry w/Sandra Robinson - Merry Christmas, Happy New Year mp3 at Music Like Dirt
Poly Styrene - Black Christmas mp3 at Lost In Your In Box
William Buroughs - The Junky's Christmas mp3 at Music Like Dirt
Chet Baker - O Come All Ye Faithful mp3 at Can You See the Sunset
Dexter Gordon - The Christmas Song mp3 at Can You See the Sunset
John Coltrane - Greensleeves mp3 at Can You See the Sunset

Thursday, December 23, 2010


So, what to pick up for that retro roots fiend on your list? You know, the one who thinks they have everything sewn up. They have their cowboy shirts, Levis, pomade, boots, vintage ride and a few Hank Williams and Gene Vincent records. They've spent so much time covering the bases, getting all the required accessories, they've now considered their job finished, and retired to the bathroom mirror. Here's what you do: send them to school. Run down to your local drug store and pick up a couple packs of blank CD-Rs. Then head over to Western & Bop for the motherlode. The amount of genre specific stuff they've got is mindblowing. Really, they have all the bases covered. Hillbilly, rockin' hillbilly, obscure rockabilly, western swing, trucker favorites and more; and much of it obscure.

It will take a little bit of effort. The music they've posted is all in album length RAR files, which, if you're technically inclined, is no big deal. If you don't have experience with RAR files, or don't have a converter, it's easy enough to find one online (for Windows, try WinRAR at Look, if I can figure it out, you can. The payoff is huge. Here's direct links to their posts with "Rockin' Hillbilly" compilations, but do browse. If you're into anything affiliated with old country & western music, bookmarking should be a reflex. Now tell your greaser to get back to work!

Rockin' Hillbilly - Volume 1, Volume 2, Volume 3, Volume 4, Volume 5, Volume 6, Volume 7, Volume 8, Volume 9, Volume 10 at Western & Bop
More country & western, hillbilly, western swing, trucker's favorites, and rockabilly compilations at Western & Bop

Tuesday, December 21, 2010


Okay, what we have here is another double opportunity. The first is rather obvious, if you're a Cat Power freak. You head on over to Captain's Dead for all twenty "On The BBC" tracks (conveniently posted in individual mp3s, just right click the titles). The other opportunity is for the just plain freaks. Worry not, because if you dig aural oddities but not necessarily Cat Power, there's option B. Just as I suggested with the Black Sabbath post a while ago, because all of the Cat Power cuts are available as mps and streaming, you can play them all at once. If you did play all the Sabbath cuts at once, you probably noticed that it sounded like a multi-stage festival, where you're in the middle, equidistant from all the stages, with Sabbath playing at every one. It's a marked difference with these; playing all the Cat Power cuts at once produces what sounds like a crowded bus terminal. That's it. Exciting, huh? Hey, it's Cat Power. Did you expect different?

Cat Power - All 20 "On the BBC" live cuts at Captain's Dead
(NOTE: Captain's Dead has disabled direct linking to mp3s, so go there to get them. Sorry for the extra click.)

Monday, December 20, 2010


Here's a mess of last minute background noise for your holiday shindig, and it's a weird mix. Let me preface all the descriptive rambling by saying that I'm not one for playing a lot of holiday music. (It's just not my bag, man.) That said, I know some of you can't get enough of it. So, here's a bunch. Some links, some mp3s, and a couple full mixes; all told about 175 songs. And, if you're going to a family get-together, I'd recommend previewing some first. (Let's just say that no matter what, Eazy E's getting coal in his stocking for life.)

Now, about the songs: I had to start with Darlene Love's "Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)" for one big fat reason. It's not often that the hardened semi-geezer that is your host gets choked up. But, it does happen at least once a year, while watching TV of all things. Because, every year, Darlene Love appears on Letterman, on his last show before Christmas (this Thursday, the 23rd). She performs her signature song, in front of a brass section, a string section, and a choir. Now, one of things that gets me all misty eyed is that she does it year after year (twenty three and counting), and I reflect quite a bit in those three minutes. I get to thinking about how many of my friends purchased the Phil Spector Christmas album as their first adult holiday music purchase, a sort of serendipitous rite of passage. And I think about how all of those friends, now far and wide, have probably dug it out for the holidays, somehow linked by their appreciation of Spector's Wall of Sound. That's the big thing, that Wall of Sound. It also hits me, as I watch it, that it is probably the only time I will ever see a Spector produced song performed live, with anything that approximates the same arrangement and backing that was in the studio way back when. It's really something to watch. It's big. It's joyful. It may be corny (specifically, when the sax player appears), but if you're anything at all like me, it can be goosebump inducing. (There's links below to videos of previous performances to give you a taste.)

Now that I've about used up my allotment of wordiness, here's the rundown on the others. The Pogues "Fairytale of New York" is such a melancholy song, and made more so when you consider what a relative mess Shane MacGowan is. It's beautiful, in a very weird way. After that is another Spector produced Darlene Love song. Then there's a little soul interlude, with JB, Carla Thomas and Clarence Carter. Following that is Joey Ramone's version of "Merry Christmas (I Don't Want to Fight Tonight)" because it seems a lot more heartfelt than the original by the Ramones proper. The Apoctalyptica cut's in there because you always need a little Finnish cello-metal in a holiday mix. The Reverend Horton Heat song sounds like something out of a Sergio Leone flick. Jimmy Smith is just so cool, nothing further needs to be said. The Deer Tick song, as much as I hate the premise, is some pretty worthy banging. The Stevie Wonder cut is such an amazing anti-war song that I'm embarrassed to say, I never heard it until recently (as in, a couple hours ago). Buck Owens is down there because everybody needs a tear jerking Bakersfield breakdown at some point.

Turn it up guys, and remember: Darlene Love, Thursday night.

Darlene Love - Christmas (Baby Please Come Home) mp3 (plus 9 others) at AM Then FM
The Pogues - Fairytale of New York mp3 (plus 38 others)t Salad Days of Music
Darlene Love - White Christmas mp3 at Aquarium Drunkard
James Brown - Santa Clause, Santa Claus mp3 at AM Then FM
Carla Thomas - Gee Whiz It's Christmas mp3 at Kick Kick Snare
Clarence Carter - Back Door Santa mp3 at AM Then FM
Joey Ramone - Merry Christmas mp3 (plus a 24 song mix) at Sucka Pants
Apocalyptica - Little Drummer Boy mp3 at Cover Me
Reverend Horton Heat - What Child Is This mp3 at AM Then FM
Jimmy Smith - Santa Clause Is Coming to Town mp3 (plus 9 more) at Review Stalker
Deer Tick - Christmas All Summer Long mp3 (plus 19 others) at Consequence of Sound
Stevie Wonder - Someday At Christmas mp3 at AM Then FM
Buck Owens & Susan Raye - All I Want For Christmas Is My Daddy mp3 (plus 14 more) at My Aimz Is True
A Different Kind of Christmas - 25 song mix at Flowering Toilet
(The Fall, Jack Scott, Johnny Otis, Chuck Berry, Solomon Burke, etc.)

Christmas Wrap - 25 song hip hop mix at Electric Adolescence
(Snoop, Eazy E, 2 Live Crew, Biz Markie, Big Daddy Kane, etc.)

Here's a few of the Darlene Love performances from the Late Show With David Letterman. Another post will be about the videos (only so much gushing in one night). For now, here's these:
Darlene Love - Christmas (Baby Please Come Home), 2009, Letterman at YouTube
Darlene Love - Christmas (Baby Please Come Home), 2008, Letterman at YouTube
Darlene Love - Christmas (Baby Please Come Home), Compilation of four Letterman appearances, 1995, 2000, 2005, 2009 at YouTube

Sunday, December 19, 2010


You can guess what this is. It's a album length mash up of the Wu-Tang Clan and the Beatles. And it's not quite as gimmicky as it sounds. The guy behind it, Tom Caruana, did a bang up job of using samples, rhythms and vocal tracks only where needed. The thing flows seamlessly (well, most of it), good enough that I caught myself wishing that I wasn't familiar with the Beatles's music, just so I could be really objective. The thing I found pretty remarkable is that the Caruana had to have had a good knowledge not only of the of the Beatles' music (including easy listening covers), but Wu-Tang's entire output, both as a group and solo works; because the vocals are cherry picked from their entire discography. That's the kind of musical knowledge that you rarely find outside of serious music journalists. Combine that with the know-how to actually put it together and you'll understand why you ought to at least check it out.

I'm putting this up, just because it came and went so quickly when it was originally on BandCamp, that it was a nice surprise to see a new download link at Covert Curiosity, posted with their year end "Best of" list. I'm not linking to the download link directly, but you can find the link to the entire album download if you scroll down to the 18th album on the list, at this post. For those not ready to commit to a 178mb download without a sample, there's some links to sites with individual mp3s to test the water.

Wu-Tang vs the Beatles - Enter The Magical Mystery Chambers (mixed by Tom Caruana) zip download available at Covert Curiosity
(NOTE: Scroll down to the 18th album on the list for download link.)

Wu-Tang vs the Beatles - Got Your Money, Uh Huh mp3 downloads at Subservient Experiment
Wu-Tang vs the Beatles - C.R.E.A.M. mp3 download at IndieShuffle
Wu-Tang vs the Beatles - Forget Me Not mp3 download (scroll to tenth mp3) at The Fmly
Wu-Tang vs the Beatles - Uzi (Pinky Ring), Slang Editorial mp3 downloads (scroll to third & fourth mp3s) at Les Enfants Terribles

Saturday, December 18, 2010


They were a great band, while they lasted. Sure, there were accusations of plagiarism (Wire and the Stranglers), but that's at the business end of it. To me, they were just a nifty rock n' roll outfit. I'm not a total fiend, otherwise I would have known about the six song EP they put out in '95. Figured that some of you may have missed it as well. If you dig these, I highly recommend the first full length. Last time I checked, it was out of print, but, passing fancies being what they are, it pops up all the time in the used bins. I've never understood that; people dump perfectly good records because the band doesn't have a lengthy catalog of releases; as if the lack of a long track record diminishes a quality debut. Go figure.

From the first LP:
Elastica - Connection mp3 at Recidivism
Elastica - Stutter mp3 at Recidivism
Elastica - Line Up mp3 at Recidivism
Elastica - Waking Up mp3 at Recidivism
From the EP:
Elastica - How He Wrote Elastica Man mp3 (via at The Vinyl Villian
Elastica - Nothing Stays The Same (Donna's Home Demo) mp3 (via at The Vinyl Villian
Elastica - Miami Nice (Home Recording) mp3 (via at The Vinyl Villian
Elastica - KB mp3 (via at The Vinyl Villian
Elastica - Operate (Live Version) mp3 (via at The Vinyl Villian
Elastica - Generator mp3 (via at The Vinyl Villian
Elastica - Connection, Blue, Vaseline (live, 1995) video at YouTube
Elastica at Wikipedia
Justine Frischmaan (head Elasticeer) "Where Are They Now?" at Spin


Captain Beefheart (real name Don Van Vliet) died yesterday from complications from multiple sclerosis. He probably influenced a dozen bands in your your collection and you may not have a single thing by him. Let's just say this; his music was an disjointed mix of blues, jazz, and rock. It was punk and no wave before they existed.

Tom Waits wrote yesterday "He was like the scout on a wagon train, he was the one who goes ahead and shows the way. He was a demanding bandleader, a transcendental composer (with emphasis on the dental), up there with Ornette Coleman, Sun Ra and Miles Davis. He drew in the air with a burnt stick. He described the indescribable. He's an underground stream and a big yellow blimp.

"I will miss talking to him on the phone. We would describe what we saw out of our windows. He was a rememberer. He was the only one who thought to bring matches. He's the alpha and the omega. The high water mark. He's gone and he won't be back."

Capt. Beefheart & his Magic Band, Cannes beach 1968

Though often critically acclaimed, his music was just a little too out there for mass consumption. His first album (which contained the single "Diddy Wah Diddy") wasn't initially released for that very reason. But he was never concerned with popular acceptance, and did things his way his entire career, regardless of the reward. That alone is something to be championed. The fact that his music was challenging is icing on the cake. And he was a painter as well. He really had it going on, friends. You wish you could be half as creative.

Captain Beefheart - Sure 'Nuff 'n Yes I Do mp3 at Mad Makerel
Captain Beefheart - Diddy Wah Diddy mp3 at Plain or Pan
Captain Beefheart - Woe-Is-Me Bop mp3 at Letters With Mixtapes
Captain Beefheart - Black Snake Moan II mp3 at Letters With Mixtapes
Captain Beefheart - Pachuco Cadaver mp3 at Mecca Lecca
Captain Beefheart - Sun Zoom Spark mp3 at Fmly
Captain Beefheart - Call On Me mp3 at Fmly
Captain Beefheart - My Head Is My Only House Unless It Rains mp3 at Town Full of Losers
The Black Keys - I'm Glad mp3 at Town Full of Losers
The White Stripes - Ashtray Heart mp3 at Town Full of Losers
(Two more White Stripes Beefheart covers here)
Don Van Vliet at Micheal Werner Gallery
Captain Beefheart 1997 documentary in six parts, narrated by John Peel, on YouTube

Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, Part 6 (Highly recommended)
Captain Beefheart Yo-Yo Stuff, by Anton Corbijn at Ubuweb
Captain Beefheart - Ice Cream For Crow video at YouTube
Captain Beefheart on Letterman video at YouTube
The Captain Beefheart Radar Station, official site
Captain Beefheart's Ten Commandments of Guitar Playing at Beware of the Blog
Captain Beefheart at Wikipedia
Captain Beefheart obituary at the Guardian UK
Captain Beefheart obituary at the Los Angeles Times

Friday, December 17, 2010


'Tis the season, eh? You got that one, buddy. Let's just face it. It went from the celebration of religious icon's birth, to a month long (and getting longer) gluttony of shit you and I don't need. It's so perverse. Sometimes you figure you should just go with the flow, endure the shit the best you can, and try not to make waves; because it's just easier that way. Or is it easier? I just had an unproductive day of running around looking for anything, anything that would end this aimless shopping misery. So, today's not the best day to ask me.

Viv Albertine - Home Sweet Home (For Christmas) mp3 at Joyzine
Rocket From The Crypt - Cancel Christmas mp3 at Can You See the Sunset From the Souths
Cyndi Lauper & the Hives - A Christmas Duel mp3 at SwedesPlease

Thursday, December 16, 2010


Here's a whole bunch of music to get the guests riled up at the your Xmas joint, yo. All told, the songs and mixes below equal 10+ hours of ignoring the turntable. Not that I'm a supporter of ignoring the turntable. These will just free you up to park your ass under the mistletoe.

The bulk of the material below is from Spread the Good Word, who's host, the Rev Tom Frost, is a pretty mean musician himself. It's a go-to blog for vintage rock n' roll and stuff the Cramps would have have listened to. His mixes are legend amongst lazy party hosts. A bunch more down there are from Big Rock Candy Mountain, a country and western, blues and roots music blog. Besides his mixes, he always has individual holiday songs, posted liberally all through December. I'm a newcomer to Decibel Tolls, but any mix with the Sonics, Can and Lee Perry is A-OK in my book. I may post more, but there's more than enough to keep you busy and out of the spouse's hair.

The Sonics - Santa Claus mp3 at Sailor Jerrys
Eddie Kookie Byrnes - Yulesville mp3 at Big Rock Candy Mountain
The Ventures - Sleigh Ride mp3 at the Decibel Tolls
Candye Kane & Country Dick Montana - Let's Put the X Back in Xmas mp3 at Big Rock Candy Mountain
El Vez - Poncho Clause mp3 at Big Rock Candy Mountain
Rev. Tom Frost - Santa Bring My Baby Back (to Me) mp3 at Spread the Good Word
Patsy Raye - a Beatnik's Wish mp3 at Big Rock Candy Mountain
A Bloody Christmas Mix (Part 8) at Spread the Good Word
Mix with the Bell Rays, the Twist Kings, the Cadillacs, James Brown, the Neptunes, and more. Plus links to the first seven Bloody Christmas Mixes! Hours of yuletide oddities.

A Big Rock Yuletide Egg Nog Mix at Big Rock Candy Mountain
Flat Duo Jets, Leadbelly, Replacements, Dave Dudley and more.

A Big Rock Candy Mountain Stocking Stuffer Mix at Big Rock Candy Mountain
Billy Childish, Hank Thompson, Solomon Burke, the Enchanters, and more.
Holiday Mixer at the Decibel Tolls
20 individual mp3s featuring the Sonics, Lee Perry, the Ventures, Can, Sonic Youth, and more.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010


Though it's become obvious that some music publishers cannot read, I will remind those that can. I have never uploaded a single copyrighted recording, ever. With the exception of seven songs (of which I hold the original master tape), every song that's been mentioned on this blog was uploaded by someone else, on someone else's server. Because the music was posted by someone else (and, in many cases I don't own, or have even downloaded the songs I'm writing about), it would be reasonable to assume that, since I didn't upload the material, I can't take it down. I thought it obvious enough because I have mentioned, and linked to, the hosting blogs where the songs were found, and am now posting, above every group of links "NOTE: ALL MEDIA IS HOSTED BY THE BLOGS & SITES NAMED BELOW." So, music publishers, recording artists, record companies, and anyone else directly involved with any song linked to on this blog, if you think that the meager traffic that this blog receives is a threat to someone's livelihood, by all means let me know. All comments left on any post are read and followed up on within hours. I'm reasonable. I'm trying to increase the appreciation of music, not take the grilled cheese sandwich out of Mick Jagger's mouth.

Monday, December 13, 2010


I'd seen blurbs, but I didn't really read about these guys until the New Yorker had a piece. That's what it's come to friends. Which isn't as bad as it sounds. I actually read quite a few music magazines. The difference is, I tend to trust the New Yorker. Because I wasn't a doubter from the outset (ahem, all you dudes my age who still blurt their hatred for rap & hip hop every time the subject comes up, it comes off as phobia), I found it catchy as shit. Zef is spreading.

Das Racist - Combination Pizza Hut and Taco Bell (Wallpaper remix) mp3 at Live For The Funk
Das Racist - I'm Up On That mp3 at Subservient Experiment
Das Racist - You Oughta Know mp3 at Stereogum
Das Racist - Amazing (streaming) at the Digital Outhouse
Das Racist -Ek Shaneesh video at YouTube
Remix contest for "Hahahaha JK" at Tracks & Fields
Blacklisted by Sasha Frere-Jones at the New Yorker
Das Racist official site

Sunday, December 12, 2010


As a guitarist, singer, producer, and general fiend, Billy Zoom is a 100% unadulterated rock n' roll purist. I'm not just talking about X. He had his head on straight before X (and since). I'll give you an idea what runs through his veins. What were you listening to before punk rock? Bowie? Stooges? New York Dolls? Not Billy Zoom. He would have none of that. As he said in 1998, "I think everything between Woodstock and the Ramones is an embarrassment and needs to be erased from the history books. I hated all of that stuff." Before punk rock had even entered the picture, he'd already played with soul legends Etta James, Johnny "Guitar" Watson, Johnny Taylor, and rockabilly first stringers Gene Vincent, Ray Campi, and Mac Curtis. He had his own bands too, notably his rockabilly band that had a few cuts on Rollin' Rock Records in the mid-seventies, the Billy Zoom Band. And this wasn't some sort of latching on to a trend type of thing. Rockabilly was all but dead in the mid-seventies, and Zoom was young. The fact that he landed on Rollin' Rock says a lot about the respect he commanded in the small L.A. rockabilly camp.

Everyone thinks of Zoom as the guy with the silver Gretsch, standing with legs spread, apart, on the left of the stage; as he did night after night with X. But he's no punk rocker. He is a rocker, as in old school, unabashed. Not one for trends in music or anything else. There's a telling scene in the X biopic, The Unheard Music. As it shows Top Jimmy, a friend of the band, giving John Doe a tattoo, Zoom is asked if he's going to get a tattoo. He replies "No." When asked why he's not, he answers "Don't want one." Period. No elaboration is offered or needed.

We all know about the spot-on guitar Zoom provided for X. He made it look easy. That was partly intentional, as he tells it, a direct result of having to witness one of the Doobie Brothers play a simple solo with an agonizing guitar face,..."So as a joke, I would play something difficult and just smile and not look at the guitar and act like it was nothing." Dave Alvin, who took his place in X, said it was no easy task learning his parts. "How Billy Zoom put his parts together was amazing. For a three-piece band, his orchestration on guitar was really tremendous. They were almost mathematically perfect arrangements."

Today's whole Zoom-fest started with a hunt for his Rollin' Rock cuts. I'd lost the long out of print Rollin' Rock compilation that they appeared on, and hadn't heard them in at least twenty years. In the time that's elapsed, my tastes in rockabilly have become more refined, and I wondered, if I ever found them again, if I would still think they were as good as I remembered. I found them today, right under my nose, on Zoom's site. And they are as good as any rockabilly I've ever heard, vintage or not. And not just the Rollin' Rock stuff. There's a cover of Ray Charles' "Hallelujah, I Love Her So," recorded live in 1981 (at the Whiskey-A-Go-Go), that sounds like Eddie Cochran back from the dead. A few oddities on his site as well: X doing a Budweiser spot (utilizing the same backing tracks used for their cover of "Wild Thing"). And an X "blooper" (as he calls it), where his guitar is out of whack from the git-go, before the whole song just falls apart. (Exene, the only non-musician of the band, sounding a little peeved, "Whose fault was it? Whose fault was it?!") Following that, theme music for Gearhead TV (all instruments and production by Zoom); and a great, no, outstanding profile/interview, by Buddy Seigal (AKA Buddy Blue). There's more mp3s and radio interviews, so dig in!

Billy Zoom Band - Bad Boy mp3 at
Billy Zoom Band - Say When mp3 at
Billy Zoom Band - Crazy Crazy Lovin' mp3 at
Billy Zoom Band - Hallelujah, I Love Her So (live, 1981) mp3 at
Billy Zoom Band - Big Legged Woman (live, 1976) mp3 at
X - Budweiser commercial "Bud Thing" mp3 at
X - In This House That I Call Home (live, blooper) mp3 at
Billy Zoom - Gearhead TV Theme mp3 at
Billy Zoom - Gearhead Tenor Sax Theme mp3 at
Billy Zoom - Gearhead Alto Theme mp3 at
X- Beyond and Back (live, with snippet of Billy Zoom interview) video at YouTube
X - Los Angeles (live) video at YouTube
X - Live, David Letterman appearance, video at YouTube
Billy Zoom with the Blasters - Long White Cadillac/Border Radio (live in Finland, 1987) video at YouTube
Billy Zoom interviewed by Buddy Seigal (Buddy Blue) from the OC Weely, 1998
Billy Zoom at Wikipedia
Billy Zoom's Official site