Sunday, September 26, 2004

United Future Organization / The Swingin' Swamis

About a week or two ago I felt like going for a ride around town in my Mini Cooper, but didn't know where to go - at the suggestion of a friend of mine (and since I hadn't been there before), I went out to Fells Point in Baltimore, about a 30 minute drive from where I live. While I was out there I found a used cd/dvd store called The Sound Garden and went in to poke around and see if I could find a copy of Frank Zappa's "Joe's Garage". Didn't find what I originally went in there for, but ended up leaving with a few other albums, including this one that I picked up on a whim based on the album cover:


United Future Organization: "No Sound Is Too Taboo"


I hadn't heard of the group at all and had no clue what their music would be like (The Sound Garden has listening stations for previewing, but I was feeling adventurous!). It's rather jazzy... I'd say it's similar to Fantastic Plastic Machine, but heavier on the jazz and lighter on the electronic mixing. The group is actually comprised of three DJs (two Japanese, one French) and had apparently been performing in nightclubs in Tokyo since the early 90s. The music on this album really does cover a range of styles (I guess lending credibility to that "no sound is too taboo" title?). I'd have to say that my personal favorite on the album is track #5: "Make It Better" - it's a very catchy song with a tune that I can't help but have run through my head later. I'm very impressed with this album, and hope that maybe my luck at blind picking of albums will continue, haha...

- "United Future Airlines
- "Stolen Moments"
- "Make It Better"
- "Sunday Folk Tale"
[ buy No Sound Is Too Taboo ]


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the swingin' swamis:
Later that night, while walking back through the neighborhood to my car, I passed by this one pub/bar/whatever called "The Cat's Eye" where a group named "The Swingin' Swamis" were inside performing. I wished that I could have gone in to listen but I had places to be, so I stood outside for a minute and gave a quick listen before continuing along my way, and from what I heard and what I saw later when I looked up their webpage I'm disappointed that I didn't go in to listen more. They had a kind of jazzy lounge / bachelor padish sort of feel to them. Their webpage says that their cd can be bought at The Sound Garden, so it looks like I'll have to make a return trip! They do have a video of a performance they did at the Kennedy Center linked to off of their webpage, and they also have mp3s for sampling (the mp3 download links weren't working, but here's a secret: try opening the .m3u files in a text editor for a more useful web address).

- "Belly Up!"
- "Night Train"
[ check out The Swingin' Swamis ]


I've definitely got to pick up at least their debut cd - any jazz/lounge/bachelor-pad-y sort of band that can do a cover of "The Sabre Dance" has GOT to be listened to!

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misc:
Also, I don't remember on what musicblog I first saw it pointed out on, but there's an amazing mix of songs by Queen with hip-hop tracks: "A Night At The Hip-Hopera".

You also might have noticed that I've taken down the link for Webradio KRUD - the computer I used to host it on (named "The Lemon", how apropos), might have finally died :( I'm still trying to find time to fiddle around with it and see if I can get it back up and running.

Finally, this coming Saturday local band Woodswork (possibly along with others, I do not know) is going to be performing along with previously-mentioned on Radio KRUD Carbon Leaf in Federal Hill in Baltimore on Cross Street - $3! Depending on my schedule for the day I might be going... Check their sites for more info.

Sunday, September 19, 2004

Drain S.T.H. & Denali

Lately I've been listening to my Drain S.T.H. CD, Freaks of Nature, a lot. It's been a while, so I'm reminded of just how good they are. Drain S.T.H. is a band from Stockholm, Sweden that formed in 1993. Their music is mostly a fusion of grunge and heavy metal, but it separates itself from the likes of Alice in Chains and Soundgarden. However, I don't think they were taken as seriously by audiences as they should have been because, as All Music Guide puts it, "they were simply too drop-dead gorgeous to be taken seriously by the notoriously chauvinistic metal masses." And they are really good-looking. But you don't even think of that when you listen to their music.

Their first album, Horror Wrestling, definitely sounds heavier than Freaks of Nature. the album I have. Horror Wrestling includes a cover of Motorhead's song "Ace of Spades" done at a quarter-speed of the original song. It's just as heavy, but it has distinctly a darker feel to it. I'll admit to not having heard much of this album. Can you tell? Hehehe...

Anyway, saying that Horror Wrestling is heavier than Freaks of Nature is not a knock on the latter. In fact, I would say that that's a bonus for Freaks of Nature. That means that it has more variety on it. The first track, "Enter My Mind," is an all-out assault of raging guitars and pummeling percussion and the next two tracks continue keep up that vibe. Then "I Wish..." takes it down a notch without making the album seem bipolar. After that track, the album gradually gets heavier and will sometimes reach that point of extreme heaviness created by the first three tracks and sometimes stay on the borderline.

I would also say that Freaks of Nature outdoes Horror Wrestling and most other bands of their genre in that they have a very unique and distinguishable sound. If not because of the lead vocalist's grindingly beautiful voice, but also because of the band's compositional skills. So all those who read this should check out Horror Wrestling and Freaks of Nature, the full albums they released before their break-up in 2000.

And just because I feel guilty about not connecting people to music, I'll link to an indie rock band called Denali. They've got an interesting sound that I really enjoy. I'm addicted to their song called "Hold Your Breath," which, conveniently enough, is available for downloading from their site. So go to http://www.denalimusic.com/ and poke around.

"Doctor Who" - Orbital

If you haven't heard, Meaghan and I have been interviewed about Radio KRUD over at The Tofu Hut! Welcome to new KRUD listeners as well! It was lots of fun participating, so much thanks to John as well as the betterPropaganda crew (where the interview will be showing up eventually as well). Hope you enjoy our little corner of the intarweb e-zone!

I was trying to think of a good song to post and was in the middle of browsing my iTunes library while starting to watch "Dr. Who" on tv when I heard the intro used in this live cover of the opening theme as done by Orbital. I've heard that it's on their cd "The Altogether" as the song "Doctor?", and I've been meaning to pick it up for a while but haven't seen it around - I'll have to take a look-see when I go out on some errands tomorrow and see if I can find it.

"Dr Who Theme (live)" [ buy The Altogether ]

Saturday, September 18, 2004

Scat, Mario, scat!

As promised:

I got these little gems from my friend Petie. They came after a week of me and my sister in law singing as much Super Mario Brothers ditties as we could remember. The music is just oddly good, a fact other game developers tend to forget when doing other scores and forcing me to mute the TV and put on some real music.

And these, uh, non electronic performances are just... WORDS FAIL ME!

The Big Band of Rogues (Tokyo Cuban Boys Jr.), Shigeo Nukita - SUPER MARIO Bros. 3 Ending Theme

The Big Band of Rogues (Tokyo Cuban Boys Jr.), Seiko - MARIO Scat Version

[buy the Mario & Zelda Big Band Live CD]

Wednesday, September 15, 2004

Puttin' the 'K' in Canada.

I've spent entirely too much time in my life dismissing country. Then dismissing everything but Patsy Cline. Then excepting folk rock that sounded country. Then southern rock that only sounds country to a certain Canadian who likes 80's prog rock. But then I spent an entire week 'accidently' listening to country and changed my bias against only pop country. You're not fooling anybody, Shania Twain!!

But it's hard to dismiss an entire genre when there are absolute gems like The Trailer Park Troubadours running amock. And you can't quote me on it, but I like Big & Rich. Reminds me of when I was teaching horseback riding in the north Georgia mountains and you don't get anything but country on the radio up there. Back then I blamed my liking the music on getting acclimated to it, and now I blame it on nostalgia. Whatever.

Old 97s - Won't Be Home [buy 'Drag It Up' from the artists or from Amazon.com]

Picked this up from another musicblog and adore it. The album's going on my amazon wish list for buying later, because it's just so good... and yes, I might actually put it out on my display case and not shoved into a box under the TV like my Monkees albums. It's not straight country, but then very little is. If I hadn't given in and admitted I liked the genre, I'd be calling this, what, americana rock? Who really knows what that means? This is why I like musicblogging, you can actually hear the song and not need the genre description at all.


And just for fun, won't someone tell my husband this is Southern Classic Rock, not Country?? Otherwise I'm going to have to tell him XTC is electronica or something. I still haven't convinced him that bluegrass isn't the same thing as country. Look at what I have to do to overcome years of Canadian music education!
Pure Prairie League - Amie [Buy 'Bustin' Out' from Amazon.com]


Next update: Big Band SNES!

Friday, September 10, 2004

Senses Working Overtime / webcomic themes

I probably could have combined this into the previous post, but the bits for this post deserve a mention by themselves...

Recently I've been trying to organize the different songs I've heard from various musicblogs, so as I buy the actual albums or hear songs that I've downloaded I know where they came from. Since I've started, I've noticed that many of the songs/mixes that I've enjoyed the most have come from one place, so because of that I've added Senses Working Overtime to the list of Other Stations On The Dial to the right. A few of the gems I've found via Senses have been from Dana's Downloadable Album of the Month, so why not just add Senses Working Overtime to your regular list of reading and see that when it gets published as well as all else that gets published over there?

Dave and I did our on-the-air radio show the other day (with our maximum number of listeners for the entire show being at 1 whole listener!), talked about a few different groups and generally had a good time. I think the show'll now be called "Fresh KRUD", and I want to try to showcase different songs from other musicblogs that I've found in the previous few days, so we'll see how that works out - more details as things get figured out.

Courtesy of Garth (you might remember him from the listeners' choice bit done last month), we also have two songs created by fans of webcomics as themes for a few different online comics: here are "Never Known Before" by Cyberseth for "College Roomies from Hell!", and "Superhero" by Lareth for "It's Walky!". Meaghan should probably be the one really doing the bit about online comics though, as she's the one that's more hands-on with them (Megs: feel free to edit this post to add your own horn-tooting if you want! :D), hahah... As always, feel free to email in stuff for us to take a look at and post up!

Oh man, now I'm listening to German EZ listening songs, such as a version of "Cossack Patrol" (boy does that bring back memories of my Tetris-playing days), and "When The Saints Go Marching In" and a song that sounds rather similar to Classical Gas - I'm sad to say that it looks like this is a one-post fanboy-a-thon about Senses Working Overtime, but right now it's my most favorite thing in the whole wide world, as if my entire taste in music has been channelled into one particular blog. Yowza!

The Abe Lincoln Story

Recently I was contacted by Steve Moramarco about his band The Abe Lincoln Story, wondering if we would please do a piece about them - I took a listen to their tracks they had online for download, liked what I heard, bought their cd Dance Party via the iTunes Music Store, gave that a listen along with Dave, and here's what we have to say: great! :D Steve mentioned that they were a kind of "swing / punk / soul" band, or as he also put it, "Cake meets Booker T". I could definitely notice the Cake influence, but not so much the Booker T. sound. Dave, meanwhile, said that it sounded to him a bit like surf-rock (especially the song "Rock Paper Scissors"). The lyrics are off-the-wall enough to make me think of They Might Be Giants, but rather simple - instead of songs about American presidents, here you'll find songs about playing rock / paper / scissors, or not needing a bag at the grocery store (I could totally see Mitch Hedberg inspiring lyrics like "you don't need a bag for a bag!", haha).

I also looked at some of the older material by his previous groups, like the music video for "Satan, Lend Me A Dollar" which got stuck in my head. A pity that this song wasn't available on the site for download, though... :( Anyway, check them out and see what you think - as for me, I think they're fun!

"I Don't Need A Bag!" [ site for The Abe Lincoln Story ]

Thursday, September 09, 2004

Playing with Tantrums

One of the things I miss most about the south is that there used to be all these bands there that I knew I could go see and have a good time no matter what. Such a good time, in fact, I'd drive to other states to see them and drag along a car full of friends. I wish I'd done that more in regards to Danielle Howle, because the few times I saw her (all with The Tantrums) it was just a fun show, though I didn't know her music extensively. In fact, all I ever got was one album and either I got it after seeing her, or she never rarely played the songs on it, because I can't remember ever knowing the words to a song she performed. Which made the concerts all the more fun. There's few times I've liked music so much on first listen, since a lot of my taste is based on hearing everything that's going on and I can't do that. Listen to the music, can't focus on the words and vice versa. Music that's simply great and engaging on first listen in regards to the overall effect, conversely, sometimes turns out to be lackluster if listened to repeatedly. Something about how if I can take the whole thing in, it must be very simple, and simple music doesn't bear up well the way I like to listen to music. Which is to repeat, repeat, repeat. If the CD player/iTunes isn't on repeat, there's something wrong with me.

All that to say, this lady rocks.

Danielle Howle and the Tantrums - Host for the Notes [Buy 'Do A Two Sable' direct from the artist - Click on 'Store' on her site]

Tuesday, September 07, 2004

Jim Steinman

I've been meaning to post this for a while now, I realized somethign and just had to share... Two songs, and they each have two things in common: both are track #6 on their respective albums, and both are composed by Jim Steinman. I strongly urge you to listen to them with the volume cranked as high as it can go.

I didn't get to know about Meat Loaf until I first watched Fight Club, and even then I didn't know much about the man other than he had done the albums "Bat Out Of Hell" / "Bat Out Of Hell II: Back Into Hell". I hadn't even heard the albums until I bought them on a whim online, and WOW... it was like a Spectorean wall-of-sound out of nowhere! I'm not really a fan of most modern rock, and these songs turned out to be right up my alley.

It's hard to tell though with "I'd Do Anything For Love (But I Won't Do That)" whether it's the guitar leading and being backed up by the piano, or if it's the other way around - with both of these instruments they seem to alternate taking the lead with the other one slamming into the song for extra emphasis. The quality of the recording is unmatched (at least to my ears) - it's the difference between a bright fire engine-red convertible that's been freshly washed vs. a brown rusted Yugo that hasn't seen a drop of water in 20 years. (My apologies to the Yugo owners). Besides, that engine-revving intro just sets the scene for the entire song and is best listened to with the volume cranked sky-high. (That reminds me, I ought to add this to my playlist of songs to listen to while driving if I haven't yet already...)

The lady coming into the song at 5:53 unnerves me for some reason... I think it's something about the way she's vocalizing, how her voice kind of seems to float around until it finds the pitch. Maybe it's just annoying to me, though. That's really about the only part in the entire song that I don't like, and the rest of the song clearly makes up for it.

The Story Behind The Album has some interesting info to check out as well.

"I'd Do Anything For Love (But I Won't Do That)" [ buy Bat Out Of Hell II ]

A few weeks after I bought that album, I was at Otakon where I was watching the anime music video contest and saw this video set to "Tonight Is What It Means To Be Young" from Streets of Fire. I thought that it sounded similar to the Bat Out Of Hell tunes, so after searching around I discovered that (surprise, surprise) they were both by the same composer, Jim Steinman. This one's energetic enough to dance to, but it's one of those ones that I need to dance to in secret else I really look a fool. But now that my secret is out, I guess it's safe to rock out to in public now. I haven't heard the other songs from Streets of Fire yet, but hopefully they'll be as awesome as this one.

It just occurred to me that perhaps Streets of Fire would be like what if Bat Out Of Hell were by Meat Loaf's complete opposite, especially in the gender bits. Hm. I don't know that much about Streets of Fire, actually - I should keep an eye out for it and see what I can find.

"Tonight Is What It Means To Be Young" [ buy Streets of Fire ]

---

Dave and I will attempt webcasting sometime before 4 pm EST (so in the next 2 hours or so) as a test-run, and we'll try to do an actual show sometime between 5:15 - 7:00 pm EST. Whatever it ends up being, I'm sure it'll be something!

Monday, September 06, 2004

The Singing Nun

Welcome back to Dave, he's going to be providing another viewpoint into different music types here on Radio KRUD along with myself and Megs. Tonight, playing yin to Dave's yang, I'm offsetting his death belching metal post with one that's on the complete other side of the spectrum. There's nothing further away from what he posted than "Dominique" by The Singing Nun [ buy The Singing Nun ].

Amazingly enough, "Dominique" actually reached #1 on the charts in 1963! And here I was thinking that it was going to be "Louie, Louie" all along... :(

---

I think I've got most of the kinks worked out with the music stream, so now by clicking the link over on the right it automagically launches the internet radio stream for you. I've noticed occasionally that the program that uploads the current track listing occasionally quits after a few hours, so I'm fiddling around to see if there's any way that I can fix that up. Next step: getting some station IDs made up, one of my coworkers might make some amusing PSAs for it as well, and this coming week Dave and I are going to try to do a live radio show about musicblogging, most likely Tuesday/Thursday night - more details as we finish working things out. Hope you can tune in! (The station only supports up to 10 people, so good luck getting in if it's swamped!)

Here hopes all goes well! *crosses fingers*

Later, on Radio KRUD:
- John over at The Tofu Hut / Better Propaganda just interviewed me for an article about musicblogging / music in general - I'll be pointing it out once it's posted. :D

- We've been contacted by Steve of The Abe Lincoln Story to do a piece about their band - that will also be forthcoming! A song by one of his previous bands, Satan, Lend Me A Dollar by "Hill of Beans", has been stuck in my head since I stumbled across it on the site while poking around.

- Upcoming listener-provided tunes include themes to webcomics!

So yes, I've been working hard on different things behind the scenes here at Radio KRUD. Hope you like what we have in store!

Death Metal & An Alternative

Recently I've been listening to death metal, especially Cannibal Corpse. In my experimentation with this genre I have come to realize something: it's very hard to sound incredibly loud, choatic, and aggressive with insanely violent lyrics without being laughably bad. A lot of bands just aren't capable of meeting the standards set by the genre. I mean I came across this one band called Cattle Decapitation that has created songs like "Humanure," "Pedeadstrians," and "Carnal Fecophelia Due To Prolonged Exposure To Methane" with supposedly serious intent in mind. The lyrics are just dumb, the music sounds terrible, and the lead singer sounds like he's belching out the words. Although their origins make me wonder about their intent. I know they were originally formed by two members of a famous cult band called The Locust. That band was all about incredibly weird, nonsensical lyrics and song titles, such as "The Half-Eaten Sausage Would Like to See You in His Office." They also had really wild and out of control songs. Although nowadays Cattle Decapitation doesn't have any Locust members left over from their formative years.

Anyway, let's get back to Cannibal Corpse, the band I mentioned at the beginning of my post. They've been pioneers in the death metal scene for over ten years now and I can see why. Their music is definitely chaotic but not so chaotic that it's lacking in structure. It's also really frickin' heavy! And their lyrics are actually very well-written, even though I would rather not look at them most of time. When you read them, you don't get the impression that they tried too hard to come across as being excessively violent and you don't laugh because they're just plain dumb, both of which happened when I read through Cattle Decapitation's lyrics. Instead, they succeed in doing exactly what the band set out to do: evoking some of the most violent imagery imaginable. Not pleasant. Luckily, you can't understand a thing the lead singer is screaming in the songs, so there's no audible lyrics unless you're reading along.

To summarize, Cannibal Corpse is at least tolerable and most other death metal is laughably bad, like Cattle Decapitation. I also don't really think that death metal is for everyone. I started listening to it because I'm a hardcore music fan who likes everything. I guess hardcore heavy metal fans would like it as well. And those who have violent or aggressive personalities, but I think they should steer clear of death metal and start listening to classical music.

Cannibal Corpse (I suggest you check out the song "Devoured By Vermin") - http://www.metalblade.com/bands/cannibal_corpse/index2004.html
Cattle Decapitation (For the ultimate in badness, check out "Humanure") - http://www.metalblade.com/bands/cattle_decapitation/index2004.html
...and for you violent people, Cambodian Mahori (I suggest the song "Phoumea Tak Lolok") - http://www.asianclassicalmp3.org/mahori.htm

Sunday, September 05, 2004

I-tunes roulette!

I'm not feeling particularily inspired for posting, since last night I was at a friend's house who was playing an Eric Clapton live album that basically consisted of a bunch of Cream songs and that's all I want to listen to right now. I haven't listened to this stuff since, I don't know, maybe the first year of college. There's just something really awesome about having so much music old albums can feel all new again. Anyway, because of that, I have to post at least one Cream song and one random one to make up for it.

Cream - Tales of Brave Ulysses [get Disraeli Gears, with the cover painted by Martin Sharp, who helped write this song]

I went to college for classical languages (greek and latin), so naturally this song appealed to me. It's about Homeric hero Ulysses (latin name) or more commonly Odysseus (greek) from the Oddysey. The song really only refers to the Oddysseus story, but Eric Clapton wrote it after a trip to Greece and presumably under the influence of something as indicated by the lyrics. It's just rambly and full of pretty phrases. The guitar work is very distorted and the heavy drumming seem a little at odds with the "prettiness", but that's Cream. Because it's a three member dealie, there's a bit of heaviness everywhere puntuated with empty sound that really shows off their blues/jazz influence more than the lush productions of other rock groups at the time. Anybody can do a wailing bluesy solo, not everyone can get the mood right.

Random song time! I played a bit of I-tunes roulette and came up with

Steve Martin - I've got a special purpose/Thermos song (from the movie "The Jerk") [get the movie]

Ah, good stuff. I love this song so very, very much. I've got a version of it done my favorite local band, Jump Little Children, that I'll post next time. But behold the original in all it's glory!

Friday, September 03, 2004

Internet Radio

No, I'm not dead! I just haven't thought of anything good to post, or what to say about the good stuff I did find. I owe you a post or three, I expect... Also, note: now that I was able to get Gmail invites I updated the email for contacting me if you need to, now you can reach me at radiokrud@gmail.com.

After thinking it over some after reading a comment on Radio KRUD about my idea of making an internet radio station and poking around Live365's page I bit the bullet and am trying broadcasting for a bit. At least until my free 7-day trial expires! So for now, tune in to Radio KRUD using your favorite mp3 streaming program at "http://216.235.81.21:20696/play?membername=&session=radiokrud:0" ! I'm still working out any kinks with the broadcasting setup as for quality vs speed, so check it out and listen for a bit and let me know what you think. It only holds up to 10 people at a time, though (unless you people like it so much that you want to throw cash at me so I can afford the higher-tier broadcasting plan!). Next step: trying to figure out a way to get the currently playing song title/artist to display on the site here somewhere. Hm...

Now, to Ikea to return some shelves I bought the other day but don't have room for, and some wandering around doing errands. Like I said, I owe you a few posts, so I've been thinking over what I want to end up posting...

Yay bandwidth/ Random Wakeman

My bandwidth is back and just fine. I had to play it cautiously last month, because I also host comics on tiefgrau.com and didn't want them to go down.

Back in the heyday of music downloading, I was happily in college and sought out the most random things I could find with the old napster. I've always been a bit of an audiophile, thanks to my experience in recording studios, so mp3s always sounded a bit weird. Heck, computer speakers always sounded a bit weird. So I kept buying albums, but I cought out the stuff I couldn't buy. Like as much Rick Wakeman as I could get my little hands on. I really only had a couple of tapes off of records to go on, but I loved his Criminal Record so very much (but not enough to import it for way too much money). The albums still availible, like the Six Wives of Henry VIII, I didn't really like. It was simply too electronic and dissonant. When he uses dissonance in moderation, it's wonderful, if not especially easy listening. If you're familiar with his work with Yes, you'll know what I meant. During his tenure with the band, their music got remarkably hard on the ears, if still excellent. It wasn't the sort of stuff you could listen to in the background, it required your full attention or it gave you a headache. His solo stuff is very similar in that regard for the most part, due to the complexity that he creates just on his own.

Rick Wakeman - Summertime [from Rhapsodies, which I'd buy if I could find anywhere]

Rick Wakeman (with Jon Anderson) - The Hymn [I'd also buy 1984 if I could find it anywhere for less than $45...]