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Obscure Indie, Lo-Fi, Garage, Punk, and Experimental Music
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Starting with the awesome "I Don't Need Society" and ending with the anthemic "Explorer," D.R.I.'s debut album was an important stepping stone in the evolution of both metal and hardcore. D.R.I. drew a line in the sand between the American hardcore bands who wanted to stick close to the original punk sound and bands who wanted to branch out into heavy metal territory. D.R.I.'s use of thunderous heavy metal drumming and California hardcore songwriting made Dirty Rotten LP something special, putting them in a category with Corrosion of Conformity and Suicidal Tendencies as the forefront of a new movement. Their angry lyrics revolved around the usual political and social ills, but their approach was a staggering blend of pre-grindcore blastbeats (that particular drumming style may have even had its first recorded instance here), blunt and simplistic guitar r ... Read more »

Views: 977 | Added by: wre | Date: 26 Aug 2008 | Rating: 5.0/3 | Comments (1) |

Social Distortion tends to be the band which gets venerated these days as the flagbearers of Orange County punk, while Agent Orange gets its own credit for amping up the surf sound for the slampit generation, but in terms of what could be called classic OC hardcore -- brattish, young, sneering and energetic -- it's all about this brilliant album, jam-packed with songs that to this day are constantly covered or cited by other acts worldwide. That the original lineup of the Adolescents itself spawned at least four separate future bands, if not more, further demonstrates that something good was going down, thanks to five kids who really were adolescents or had just barely gotten past that stage. The Descendents were the obvious role models for nearly everything on the album, if anybody -- same general sense of catchy bash and crash while voicing incipient yo ... Read more »

Views: 1409 | Added by: wre | Date: 26 Aug 2008 | Rating: 5.0/1 | Comments (3) |

In 1996, the fine Thirsty Ear label -- never motivated by commerce, always driven by the need to issue the what was new, odd, and fresh, even if it is that rare freakish and fractured thing -- released Cubist Blues. It was the unholy union of future roots music wailer Alan Vega with a pair of terminal rock & roll outsiders in Ben Vaughn and Alex Chilton. Since almost everybody else in the indie and pop worlds were still wandering around in shock after the death of Kurt Cobain, almost no one took notice of this terrifyingly great record made in two consecutive dusk to dawn improvisational sessions at Dessau Studios on the Lower East Side of New York in December of 1994! Like the best of jazz when the cats in the '50s would just show up to see what would happen (more often than not, it did: check the Norman G ... Read more »
Views: 1343 | Added by: illuminaut | Date: 25 Aug 2008 | Rating: 5.0/1 | Comments (4) |

One of my favorite Pere Ubu records...

"We've never been asked to write a pop record before. I guess it never occured to anyone." -David Thomas

"Cloudland is the industrial-strength equivalent of a classic Beach Boys album from musicians more familiar with factories than surf, Cloudland is one of the best albums of the 80's" -Greg Kot, Chicago Sun Times, 1989

Views: 1067 | Added by: LARM | Date: 25 Aug 2008 | Rating: 5.0/3 | Comments (3) |

In celebration of the recent Jad Fair roundup taking the spot of most popular post, I now present seven Half Japanese albums. Much has been said, written, and even filmed (make sure to watch the documentary The Band Who Would Be King) about the band, but as always, the proof is in the pudding - you have to listen to understand. I expect most readers to be already familiar with the band to some degree, but if you're a late-comer, start with the 2-CD Greatest Hits collection, which really does its name justice. It features most of the more accessible early songs, as well as some representative examples of their noisy, experimental side.

So without further rambling, here are the albums, this time in order of my personal preference:

... Read more »
Views: 2770 | Added by: illuminaut | Date: 25 Aug 2008 | Rating: 4.5/4 | Comments (1) |

While Strapping Fieldhands had plenty of other moments of brilliance throughout their too brief catalog, this is seemingly where it all came together for them. Reminiscent of an even more bizarre Piper At The Gates Of Dawn at times and as courageous as early Guided By Voices this record is truly a diamond in the rough. Spin Magazine called it "one of the greatest albums you've never heard". Drawing on British folk and psychedelia, Pere Ubu, and Red Krayola-style quirkiness, this album is a low-tech affair which experiments with some unorthodox instrumentation and has at its heart a delicate and crafty song sensibility that brings to mind Tall Dwarves and Television Personalities.

Debuting in 1991 as a three-piece support act for the Frogs, Strapping Fieldhands made a few waves as one of the more charming -- albeit ramshackle -- bands in indie-rock's decidedly ragged lo-fi movement. ... Read more »

Views: 1701 | Added by: LARM | Date: 24 Aug 2008 | Rating: 5.0/4 | Comments (1) |

Imagine that Syd Barrett and the Bonzo Dog Band had been born in Stinking Creek, KY, and joined forces to create bizarre, darkly humorous backwoods psychedelia in a variety of styles. Or that the Holy Modal Rounders decided to go electric and sing with fake British accents. Or that there was a time in the early '90s when groups as dissimilar as Guided By Voices, Tall Dwarfs, and Freakwater could be somehow lumped together. The latter is, of course, the real-life environment into which the Strapping Fieldhands sprang with a series of cracked singles on the Siltbreeze label, something of an American version of New Zealand's Xpressway. Gobs on the Midway compiles 17 songs from these singles, from the nearly straightforward rocker "October Kentucky" to "Ol' Jimmy Cole," which sounds like a manipulated country blues field recording. "Mysterious Girl" and "Eggs in the Reservoir" suggest a hillbilly ... Read more »

Views: 954 | Added by: LARM | Date: 23 Aug 2008 | Rating: 4.0/1 | Comments (2) |

Unlike most people, I got introduced to the music of Fred Frith through his arguably least typical work, a collection of home-recorded 4-track "pop" songs. If you hear this album after hearing the rest of his work you might be disappointed - no exquisite guitar solos, fairly straight-forward arrangements, and shockingly, vocals on most of the tracks!

If however you look at this album with an open mind you'll quickly notice how utterly fantastic it is. Oozing with creativity, it's easily Frith's most playful work. Some of the songs are featured in the amazing documentary "Step across the border". If you haven't watched this you really should, it's one of the most captivating music documentaries I've ever seen. Amazon has the DVD in stock< ... Read more »
Views: 967 | Added by: illuminaut | Date: 23 Aug 2008 | Rating: 0.0/0 | Comments (2) |

One of my favorite punk rock records of all time...and sadly, one of the most unknown.

...every honest man must be cryin', every honest man should be lyin'

After a bevy of cherished singles, Columbus, Ohio's favorite inebriated sons turned out this spit-caked debut full-length. How it managed to find its way out on a major label is anyone's guess, but it nevertheless confirmed Thomas Jefferson Slave Apartments' stature as one of the most excellent rock band's ever to drink and spew its way out of Cowtown's sloppy bars and subterranean clubs. Bait and Switch is punk rock at its snotty, anarchist best, music to both revere (the band was championed by none other than Thurston Moore) and revile (Ron House's cat-screech voice is an acquired taste, to say the least). Depending on where you're standing in the crowd, the album is either fingers on the blackboard or a perfect, thrilling sor ... Read more »

Views: 834 | Added by: LARM | Date: 23 Aug 2008 | Rating: 4.5/2 | Comments (1) |

The Thermals hail from Portland, and are easily one of my favorite newer bands. Simple and intense punk rock paired with smart, politically charged lyrics, that's just enough in-your-face to keep you dancing wildly, and subtle enough to keep you coming back for repeat listens. Fuckin' A was their second album, and the first to be professionally recorded, without being over-produced. The immediacy of their sound is their biggest strength, and similar to the Pixies they manage to provide a full sound where you can still easily make out all instruments (of which there only are three, plus vocals). Also similar to the Pixies, they have a hot female bass player in Kathy Foster. We'll see if the rest of their career takes a similar path.
Views: 2793 | Added by: illuminaut | Date: 23 Aug 2008 | Rating: 0.0/0 | Comments (1) |

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