Sunday, January 20, 2008

42. Damien Youth - The Wedding Day (Songs From Black Tower,1994)

A mysterious artist who began putting out material on tape in the late 1980s, although some of it started to appear on CD in the late 1990s. His music is haunting, acoustic rock with a sense of British whimsy akin to Robyn Hitchcock or Donovan.Damien Youth is an independent singer/songwriter/musician who works in a number of rock sub-genres. He has been a part of various musical projects including The Cosmic Cult Of Adam Strange, Featherbox, Kyte, Magic Island, Surprise Symphony and Walter Ghoul's Lavender Brigade. He has also recorded with Peter Daltrey of the classic '60s band Kaleidoscope. The common quality in all of Damien Youth's music is his uncanny understanding of the melodic heart of the song.Damien Youth's songs are like yellowed pictures from another time. But as it's true with old pictures they come alive - contradictingly so - out of the yellowness, colours seep through - clear and imagination invoking, like a DALI painting.

The Wedding Day

In my silent room, I would whisper your name into the shadows, blow out candles and I’d dream of you. In the golden dawn, I would watch her spinning her yarns for May fair , wash her long hair in the golden dawn.
I’ve known you one thousand years, I send you this cup of tears and I was so hurt you didn’t recognize me.

Like the rosary, she had lost all of the faith she had in me, I weep softly.

In my silent gaze, you will see with-in my soul ancient spirits, swirling violent in my silent gaze.

I sing this soliloquy, and I summon you in my sleep, but no reply, I guess you must have just had better things to do...

Light the festival fires, let’s challenge the night, let’s gather in horrorfrain.

Dance in pantomime trance, this age of romance, this gathering doth conjure me.

Tho all good things have gone to waist, I have not gone I still remain, here with-in these fire flames, my ghost shall always haunt this place.

My spirit has known no demise, I only forfeit my disguise and tho you cannot see my eyes, please know I still behold thee.

Drink the festival wine, revel in time but please don’t forget your fate.

You shall mortal uncoil ascend from the soil and you all must leave this place alone.

On my final day, please don’t question if you will ever see me, I will long thee from my lonely grave.

On this wedding day, I’ll submit to thee all my life unfolding, Azrael hold me on this wedding day.

Light a candle for me, stay in your room, shut out the cold cruel world.

Angel just go to sleep and sore into dreams for there I’m awaiting thee, I love you still.

Sunday, January 6, 2008

43.Matt Piucci and Tim Lee Gone Fishin' - Charlie Jones ( Can't Get Lost When You're Goin' Nowhere,1986)

Tim Lee (Windbreakers) together with the imaginative Rain Parade guitarist Matt Piucci publised this folk-rock acoustic album. Called "Gone Fishin' - Can't Get Lost When You're Goin' Nowhere", was recorded in Mississippi in February 1986.
With the collaborations of Bruce Goldon, Randy Everett, George Cartwright, Bobby and Robin Sutliff and Andy Piucci this is an strange album.While the sound quality is good and some of the songs are decent, the album also has its share of less effective tunes, pedestrian solo break sections, and at times joltingly sloppy ensemble playing. Highlights include "Touch the Gold," twith its rasping bluesy singing and spare arrangement featuring twangy slide guitar and clipped organ; "Lift It Up," with its almost shouted vocal, fuzz rock guitar, and chorus-only vintage-garage-band-sounding keyboards and drums; and two acoustic singer-songwriter style numbers, "Take a Left" and "Too Many Eyes," the latter exhibiting an especially yearning, if squarish, melodiousness. R.E.M.'s musical influence on this album is never too far from the surface and is especially noticeable on the ringing guitar track "Charlie Jones", writen by Dan Stuart (Green On Red).

44.Steve Goodman - The Lincoln Park Pirates (Somebody Else's Troubles,1973)

The electrifying energy, accomplished guitar, and great lyrics of Steve Goodman lit up the musical world all too briefly. Cut down at the age of 36 by leukemia, Goodman left a lasting legacy of memorable music, which can be heard from front-porch gatherings to homages by his friend, John Prine. Best known for penning "The City of New Orleans," which Prine called "the best damned train song ever written," Goodman was a consummate performer and singer/songwriter. "Somebody Else's Troubles" Goodman recorded in 1973. It contains some of the musician's best-loved tunes.This one has a guest appearance by Bob Dylan on the title track. Check out a young Jimmy Buffett and a young John Prine on the album cover."The Lincoln Park Pirates" a song about Chicago tow truck drivers….with a chorus of “To Me Weigh Hey Tow ‘em away the Lincoln Park Pirates are we”… is melodic and lyrical favorite with a comical irony and charming beauty.

Lincoln Park Pirates

The streetlamps are on in Chicago tonight,
And lovers a'gazin' at stars;
The stores are all closin', and Daley is dozin',
And the fat man is counting the cars...
And there's more cars than places to put 'em, he says,
But I've got room for them all;
So 'round 'em up boys, 'cause I want some more toys,
In the lot by the grocery store...
To me, way, hey, tow them away,
The Lincoln Park Pirates are we,
>From Wilmette to Gary, there's nothin' so hairy
And we always collect our fee!
So it's way, hey, tow 'em away,
We plunder the streets of your town,
Be it Edsel or Chevy, there's no car too heavy,
And no one can make us shut down.
We break into cars when we gotta,
With hammer and pickaxe and saw;
And they said this garage had no license;
But little care I for the law!
Our drivers are friendly and courteous;
Their good manners you always will get;
'Cause they all are recent graduates
Of the charm school in Joliet.
To me, way, hey, tow them away,
The Lincoln Park Pirates are we,
>From Wilmette to Gary, there's nothin' so hairy
And we always collect our fee!
So it's way, hey, tow 'em away,
We plunder the streets of your town,
Be it Edsel or Chevy, there's no car too heavy,
And no one can make us shut down.
And when all the cars are collected,
And all of their fenders are ruined,
Then I'll tow all the boats in Belmont Harbor
To the Lincoln Park Lagoon;
And when I've collected the ransom,
And sunk all the ones that won't yield;
I'll tow all the planes that are blocking the runways
At Midway, O'Hare, and Meigs Field!
To me, way, hey, tow them away,
The Lincoln Park Pirates are we,
>From Wilmette to Gary, there's nothin' so hairy
And we always collect our fee!
So it's way, hey, tow 'em away,
Now citizens, gather around,
And I think it's enough, let's call his bluff,
Let's throw the bum out of town!

Saturday, January 5, 2008

45.a) Minimal Compact - When I Go (Raging Souls,1985)

Minimal Compact from Tel Aviv, Israel were one of the little-known post-punk acts outside of the usual suspects. Formed in 1981 by vocalist Samy Birnbach, bassist Malka Spigel, and guitarist Berry Sakharof, Minimal Compact incorporated native Middle Eastern sounds into dark European rock, breaking ground that groups such as Blancmange and Savage Republic would eventually cross."Raging Souls" was released in 1985. Produced by Colin Newman, with artwork by Eno/Sylvian collaborator Russell Mills, it has proved their most popular album, with tracks like "My Will", "When I Go" (which was included in Wim Wenders' "Wings Of Desire" movie soundtrack), "The Traitor", "Autumn Leaves" all of which became live favorites. By this time Minimal had become established in Brussels and were at the hub of the local "International Indie Scene" which featured at various times, Tuxedomoon (both individually and collectively), Bel Canto, Colin Newman, Sonoko, Gilles Martin, Benjamin Lew. "Raging Souls" was their best one, their peak of inspiration. In this album you can clearly hear the amazing voice of Malka Spiegel (singer, bass), especially in a LOVELY brilliant (and quiet) song called "When I Go". It seems the album deals with the powerful emotions of the human nature. It's so good that it's painful for being a little bit short work.

When I Go

When I go
It's time for you to see
That I was swallowing my pride
And now I know
It's not enough for me
To be on somebody's side

Can you hear it?
Can you see it?
Can you look me in the eyes?
It doesn't really matter anymore...

Not long ago
You ran away from me
But now I have my way inside
'Cause now I know
It's not alright for me
To close my eyes and life alike

Can you hear it?
Can you see it?
Can you look me in the eyes?
It doesn't really matter anymore...

45.b)Niki Mono,Minimal Compact - Marathon (Fuck Your Dreams, This Is Heaven,1987)

A rather strange idea, this original soundtrack has members of Minimal Compact and Tuxedomoon and vocalist Niki Mono diving into material by various disparate 1960s rock icons, with three tracks by Syd Barrett or Pink Floyd, a pair of Velvet Underground tunes, and a song each by the Yardbirds and Jefferson Airplane, as well as a Patti Smith piece and an original to round off the LP. The psychedelic '60s music gets transformed into chamber rock pieces, with somewhat subdued but lush piano and violins, stiff, clunky rhythms, and oozing with the peculiar Euro-decadence tendencies that both Minimal Compact and Tuxedomoon gravitate toward.This is a solid collection of songs that flows from start to finish. If you like hauntingly sad music of an alternative nature this is a rare find. Soothingly beautiful, heartfelt and creative. Very 80s, very dark, very depressing, very beautiful.

46.Phranc - Dress Code (Positively Phranc,1991)

Declaring herself as Jewish, lesbian, folk singer-songwriter that teaches surf and swiming, Phranc shocks all those who have closed mind. To shock and to make people think is someting that is certainly a letfover from her punk-rock heritage.She is open to everything in her style, but she also knows how to be very critical. She just knows how to name right things with the right name. When she sings about fachism, she simply shouts "Take off that swastika!". A lot of so called feminists would be probably negatively surprised by her treatment of Gerthrude Stein for example. She just took an old Modern Lovers song and simply replaced Pablo Picasso with Gerthrude Stein.She keeps her link with her native punk scene all the time. She played live with Husker Du, X, Dead Kennedys, John Doe... Phranc is an excelent signer and an excellent songwritter. She writes uncompromised folk songs, with defiant lyrics. She is also very found of surfing and she likes to perform and wite surf music. On her records often a surf song replaces a folk song, and like that 'til the end of the record. Unique feeling.To hear her music was the hardest thing to do, and the first song I heard was an uncompromised folk anthem to body and self (and to lesbianism) entitled Dress Code. Slap in a face! Strenght of a song strikes me even now. She sings: "You don't have to prick me, I bleed anyway".

47.Gene Clark & Carla Olson - Gypsy Rider (So Rebellious a Lover,1987)

An exquisite pairing of talent, the duo of Carla Olson and Gene Clark apparently came out of casual living room sessions while Clark was preparing for another project. The feeling of spontaneity and closeness of spirit engulfs all of the cuts here. Olson's strident and powerful vocals mesh beautifully with Clark's slightly world-weary, soulful performances. As for the material, both songwriters obviously put their best foot forward here. Olson's "The Drifter" and "Are We Still Making Love" are excellent country-folk outings. Clark contributes one of his finest later compositions, "Gypsy Rider," a multi-leveled song that can easily be viewed as autobiographical. Excellent support is provided by an array of backing musicians, especially Stephen McCarthy (lap steel and dobro) and guest Chris Hillman (mandolin). Chemistry is the operative word here. The only sad thing is that So Rebellious a Lover was to be the only studio effort by the duo before Clark passed away in 1991. This record is important not only for what it is, but for what it could have become.

48.Tuxedomoon - In A Manner Of Speaking (Holy Wars,1985)

Tuxedomoon rose from the heady atmosphere of San Francisco’s post-punk golden age during the late 70’s and in 1980 they fled Reagan’s America for Europe. Since then they have been ever-present on the continents avant-garde scene with their unique brand of eerie and atmospheric jazz-influenced soundscapes. To say that the members of Tuxedomoon are prolific would be a gross understatement. Steven Brown (vocalist, clarinetist, saxophonist, keyboarder), Peter Principle (bassist and producer), Blaine L Reininger (vocalist, violinist, guitarist, laptop botherer) and Luc van Lieshout (trumpeter) have collectively and separately been responsible for over 100 albums and many various collaborations in the worlds of theatre, film, dance and literature.Tuxedomoon know the way to surprise the first time listeners; nevertheless their old fans. Holy Wars is not a typical work of the band. Do not expect the aggression and irony of "Desire", or the experimentalism and loneliness of "Half Mute". Tuxedomoon in 1985 produced this album including hidden pieces from all the previous works the have launched. Holy wars does not talk to a restricted audience. They can vibrate the musical chords of every sensitive and demanding listener. The music is a strange and successful alloy of futuristic elements and well used music patterns by Tuxedomoon. Repetitive tones, melodic whistles and magnificent background noise-however, amazingly attractive- engaged with innovative lyrics to form extraordinary songs.Dark, minimal and intensely evocative. This is one of my favorite introspective-music albums of all time. Tuxedommon, however, is not for everyone. Their blend of goth, techno, new wave, chamber music, avant rock and minimalism can be incredibly challenging for some people to enjoy.

In A Manner Of Speaking

In a Manner of speaking
I just want to say
That I could never forget the way
You told me everything
By saying nothing
In a manner of speaking
I don't understand
How love in silence
becomes reprimand
But the way that i feel about you
Is beyond words
O give me the words
Give me the words
That tell me nothing
O give me the words
Give me the words
That tell me everything
In a manner of speaking
Semantics won't do
In this life that we
live we live we only
make do
And the way that we feel
Might have to be sacrified
So in a manner of speaking
I just want to say
That just like you I
should find a way
To tell you everything
By saying nothing.
O give me the words
Give me the words
That tell me nothing
O give me the words
Give me the words
Give me the words

Thursday, January 3, 2008

49.Vic Chesnutt - One of Many (Drunk,1993)

Vic Chesnutt, a paraplegic who was injured in a car accident when he was 18. The singer/songwriter began playing contemporary acoustic folk around Athens, GA soon after his injury. A show at the 40 Watt Club brought him to the attention of Michael Stipe, who helped with production on 1990's Little and 1991's West of Rome, both on Texas Hotel Records.Has had all sorts of drug/drink/mental health problems and admittedly some of this has come through in his writing throughout his career especially in the album "Drunk" when he was exactly that when he made it.But often his songs are very witty too and quite dark at the same time.
On his third, and maybe most conceptually complete, album "Drunk", Vic Chesnutt emerges as that rare kind of artist who can see right into the living room of small-town America."One of Many" is a bleak tale of murder and execution that finds Chesnutt truly at the top of his game lyrically and melodically.

One of Many

you're only one of many
of small account if any
you think about yourself too much
this touch the child with the quick touch
and worked his mind to such a pitch,
he threw his fellows in a ditch
this little child who was so mild is grown too wild

"murder in the first degree," cried old fury
recording the verdict of the jury
now we come to the execution tree
the gallows stand wide on me
"Christ died for sinners," explained the prison chaplain
from his miscellany
weeping bitterly,
the little child cried," I die one of many"

50.Bill Fay - The Sun Is Bored (Bill Fay,1970)

UK born singer-songwriter Bill Fay, has lived a life in musical wilderness until of late, a revival of his magical songs being long overdue. With artists such as Jim O'Rourke, Wilco and Julian Cope shouting their claims as to Fay being the lost great songwriter, one just has to take heed and see just what all the fuss is about. Usually when you get artists coming out of the woodwork, and stating that so-and-so was/is the greatest thing since sliced bread, I'm always well dubious. This time it seems, the hype is indeed warranted. Fay's debut album was originally released in 1970, and on the cover of this 2005 remastered re-issue we get the quote: "the missing link between Nick Drake, Ray Davies and Bob Dylan". I really couldn't have put it better myself. I would also add to that list the names such diverse characters as Syd Barrett and Scott Walker, who both in equal measures, cast a shroud over this album like some ghostly presence is at hand. With an almost deadpan vocal delivery, and set to a lush orchestrated backdrop, Fay's vision is immense in its outlook. Some of the tracks here, albeit without the orchestrations, wouldn't have looked out of place on Dylan's John Wesley Harding or New Morning. The gentle song one of the album's highlights "The Sun Is Bored" is the one of the most mournful and idiosyncratic.

The Sun Is Bored

“Tally ho, let’s go”, said the leader of the chase
“Ole ole”, said the fantastic toreador

And the sun goes down
Never to rise again
It was getting bored
With the same old faces

“Have you heard this one?” said the minister for laughs
“Obscene”, said the minister for good taste

And the moon is praying
It wants to get away
To some other place
Any place

And the sun goes down
Never to rise again