KFJC 89.7FM

Music Reviews

Volga Select “The Unconditional Discipline of the Bastard Prince” [Output Recordings]

Thurston Hunger   4/7/2005   12-inch, A Library, Format

Parisian pair Ivan Smagghe and Marc Collin hook up for this
2003 top notch tour de fanny. Heavy thudliness reclaims the
dance floor, the bottom line is the bottom end. You can set
your oil derrick to the pound of the title track; discipline
indeed the beat never strays, never breaks. There’s a nice
fuzzy morse code squiggle rhythm on top as well, it closes
out the piece too. Additional bubbles of analoguery get
dropped in here and there, Things really lock in step with
“Sister Poverty.” Superfat synth oozes on top of jackbooty
basslines, with those searchlight pitchwheelin’ and dealin’
keys whirping in on top. Drum-machine gets in some solid
face slapping as well. But it’s the gladiator chords that
give “Sister” her blister. The EP closes with “Joie de
Vivre #1” which feels more like foreplay than aftermath,
a little more motorized movement to this piece (instead of
the megathick marching on the first two). Slippery servo
snippets and a sort moebius soundstrip make this piece
less dancey, but dodgey…in a good, evasive way.

Lekan Animashaun — ?Low Profile (Not For The Blacks)? — [Honest Jons] — (33 rpm)

Hunter Gatherer   3/20/2005   12-inch, International

This is classic Nigerian Afrobeat music by baritone sax player and then leader of Fela Kuti’s Africa 70, Lekan Animashaun. Originally recorded in 1979, this LP was re-released by Honest Jons Records in 2004. Copies of the original album are exceedingly rare because harassment from the Nigerian government delayed its release and when it was finally released it wasn’t promoted very well.

The release contains two songs about 11 minutes long, one on each side. Both tracks settle into a groove with scads of horns, scads of percussion, bass, guitar, and organ. Different instruments step forward to add their thoughts and then recede back into the music. Then some lyrics are shouted by men and answered by a female chorus. Rinse and repeat.

The lyrics are translated into pidgin English, which is to say enough English to get the point across.

The first song Low Profile (Not For The Blacks) is a reference to a statement by General Obasanjo. Commenting on a rise in robberies by armed bandits, he helpfully suggested that people keep a low profile.

Se rere is an exhortation to be good and act right, similar to what Dr. Laura does at the end of her show each day.

Three word review: Nigerian Soul Stew

–Hunter Gatherer

[coll] ?The Sound Of Philadelphia? — [Soul Jazz Records] — (33 rpm)

Hunter Gatherer   3/20/2005   12-inch, Soul

Soul Jazz Records has put together an awesome 20-track set of songs from the mid-60s to the mid-70s when funk and soul recordings made in Philadelphia dominated the charts and airwaves. (This is actually part two of a series started with their Philadelphia Roots compilation, which we have in the Soul collections on CD.)

This Philly compilation differs from most in that it reaches beyond the obvious Gamble and Huff hits (though they are certainly present here) and includes more obscure tracks, especially ones featuring the session musicians that made the Philly Sound possible. They are listed in the liner notes, but since they only got union fees for their playing I will list them here as well: Ronnie Baker (bass), Norman Harris (guitar), Earl Young (drums), Karl and Roland Chambers (drums, guitar), Vince Montana (vibes), Bobby Eli (guitar).

Though one or more of these musicians are on almost every track, in particular check out A3, B3 (The Family is actually MSFB), and B4.

The music is varied and not laid out in a neat stylistic order, so you will have to bounce around to find a track that works for you. There is straight ahead soul by uber-foxes The Three Degrees and Frankie Beverly. There are proto-disco tracks like 100 South Of Broadway and Hot Pants. There’s some party R&B by Ruby & the Party Gang. There’s soul with fuzz guitar by Yellow Sunshine. All tracks are worthwhile, just bounce around and you’ll find something you like.

There is a little bit of confusion around two of the tracks by The Three Degrees: D5 is the instrumental version of B2. They both appeared together on a 7″ on Neptune Records. The A side (with vocals, B2 on this collection) is called What I See and the B side (instro, D5 on this collection) is called Reflections Of Yesterday. A minor point sure, but one that must be cleared up.

Instrumentals: A5, B3, B4, C1, D2, D3, D5

–Hunter Gatherer

[coll] The Music People [Soul Patrol]

Hunter Gatherer   3/13/2005   12-inch, Soul

This album is a collection of 12 deep funk tracks from the late 60’s and early 70’s. Released by the ‘Soul Patrol Corporation? in May 1998, these tracks are as infectious as they are rare. The original 45s for all these songs are regularly auctioned on rare record sites for more than $100.

Of course rarity is not a guarantee of quality, but I love every single track on this album. The obscure labels represented here are from a variety of areas like Indianapolis (A5), Milwaukee (A6), Texas (A4 and B4), and L.A. (B5), so it’s a great way to sample local funk sounds from around the country.

I wrote the track times and original labels for the 45s on the back. (Hey, I have to do something to earn the two hours.) Some corrections/additional information to the track listing on the back:

B1: Features Ural Thomas

B3: I also saw the artist listed as Eddie Bo with James K Nine

B5: The correct name of the song is I Who Have Nothing (Am Somebody)

B6: The artist is listed as Bob French’s Storyville Jazz Band on the original 45.

Instrumentals: A1, A3, A4, A5 (with spoken intro and outro), B3, B4 (with spoken intro),

Misogyny alert: A2 (If you don’t get in that kitchen/’I’m going to break your jaw/’cause ‘I’m hungry)
–Hunter Gatherer

Grayskul — “Prom Quiz” — [Rhymesayers Entertainment]

Hunter Gatherer   3/13/2005   12-inch, Hip Hop

Grayskul is three gentlemen from the Pacific Northwest: MCs Onry Ozzborn and JFK of the hip-hop collective Oldominion and Rob Castro on bass. (They also have the alter egos Reason, Fiddle Back Recluse, and Phantom Ghost El-Topo, respectively.) Produced by Mr. Hill and Fakts One.

This release is a 12″ single promo for their 1st album Deadlivers, which was released 2/15/05. Rhymesayers is the same label that brings us MF Doom and Mr. Dibbs, both recently added to the KFJC library.

The music is doomy (goth?) hip-hop with clever rhymes that go great with the heavy beats and that point out (in case you hadn’t noticed) that the world is fucked.

Three songs on this 12″ single:

Prom Quiz (radio/dirty/instrumental versions) A ‘morality rap? about the pressures that young women face in today’s culture. Sympathetic or misogynistic? You decide. Catchy sample of a whistle or something.

Cursive (radio/instro versions) Features Mr. Lif helping out with some raps about how their raps are hard to understand like cursive. There is a sped up sample, so don’t be confused. 33rpm is the right speed.

Thee Adventures (clean) Bonus track not on Deadlivers with a catchy piano sample riff.
–Hunter Gatherer

Simon, Joe – “The Power of Joe Simon” – [Spring Records]

Hunter Gatherer   3/13/2005   12-inch, Soul

Country soul baritone Joe Simon is a powerful man with a powerful voice. The Power Of Joe Simon, released in 1973, is a collection of 10 of the singles that he recorded with Spring Records.

Working with a variety of producers and wearing his special purple pants and multicolored vest, Mr. Simon sings tales of love lost and found. This is deep soul, but country influences are also always present, though stronger on some tracks than others (esp on the last two tracks).

Many of these songs will be familiar, the biggest hit on here is Gamble and Huff‘s Drowning In the Sea Of Love (R&B #3), which pops up on most Philly Soul compilations. Step by Step was a hit in the UK.

Read the text on the back of the cover for an example of some crazy slang and some ideas for back announcing.
–Hunter Gatherer

Sun City Girls “Fresh Kill of a Cape Hunting Dog/ Def in Italy” [Eclipse]

outlier   3/12/2005   12-inch, A Library

1983-85 recordings that reinstall SCG as the grand shamen of anti-pop. 1st LP is a studio release with all the markings of SCG brilliance; a tale of cop corpse desecration, a stunning sound piece, snake-charmer guitar magic, cutup madness, mid-eastern weirdness, destroyed guitar blast and recoil…’I Told You So’ and ‘Nile Hilton Burning’ are destined KFJC classics. 2nd LP is live recordings of 1984 tour including an SF show. If I was Byron Coley I would drop in something about a cherry enema right about here.
3w: DON’T FUCK WITH
– Outlier

UNSANE “Occupational Hazard” [Relapse Records}

jack soil   3/6/2005   12-inch, A Library, Format

12 inches, 13 tracks of unpure, untainted, unsane sounds.

This record kicks much ass. The vinyl is 1 out of 1000. It is a much louder,
harsher, “quicker” (maybe even more mature) sounding release than their last
effort, Scattered, Smothered & Covered (out on Amphetamine Reptile, 1995).

The NYC trio is celebrating their ten-year anniversary with an unrelenting release
out on Relapse Records. Unsane consistently delivers the goods on every track; you
won’t be disappointed. Chris Spencer’s aggressive vocals are nearly indistinguishable,
but if you’re into Unsane, this to be expected. Don’t let the lack of hemoglobin on the
cover steer you wrong. If blood covered record covers were the litmus test for an
Unsane record, Unsane should have filled the Hudson river with blood for the photo
on this monster. Track 13 appropriately leaves you wanting more; abruptly ending
in a rising wall of noise. This record will punish you and your listeners, and everyone
will be happy about it. Driving sounds, crushingly inventive rhythms. Unsane.

Ugly Duckling – “Fresh Mode” [Special Records]

jack soil   3/6/2005   12-inch, Format, Hip Hop

You want simple hip hop? Ugly Duckling sets it up for you on this little single.

Side A – Two MC’s, Andy C (the C stands for Capp) and Dizzy Dustin let it flow smooth
and intelligible. Accompanied by Young Einstein on the faders, this is simple and
easygoin HIP HOP for anyone. Not much info on the trio, but this leaves you
wanting more.

Side B – Young Einstein sets the environment for an Open Mic – great for a bed or
your favorite visiting MC. No swearing here, and no braggadocio either, other than
lettin’ you know that they’re in the Fresh Mode and you should be too.

New Bomb Turks – “At Rope’s End” [Epitaph]

jack soil   3/6/2005   12-inch, A Library, Format

Going strong since 1990, this is the Turks’ 4th full length allbum with tons of
7″s and comps. in between. Keeping with the theme of their last outting “Scared
Straight”, they’ve got horns and piano embedded in several selections; of course,
the whole thing rocks like hell. At times, I thought I was listening to odd
combinations of KISS, the Stones and the Who. Songs are short blasts of adrenaline
that are rooted in hardcore punk as much as hardcore R&B. Oh yeah, six out of
the thirteen rippin’ tracks have language. . Classic ass kickers. Attitude abounds.

Neil Hamburger – Raw Hamburger [Drag City]

jack soil   3/6/2005   12-inch, A Library, Format

Art Huckman, Neil’s mother fucking manager has decided that Neil needs to get wi
th the goddamn times; spice up his fucking act so to speak, so, what better way
to season up an act than to do a RAW album. At first thing’s don’t go so goddam
n mother fucking right, but as soon as the cock sucking sound man gets his head
out of his ass, Neilllll motherfucking Hammmburgerrrrr gets rolling. Neil moves
from tame G/PG rated humor to full on ass reaming rated R shit. No holds barre
d, no punches pulled. No one is safe around this raunchy madman. This is an ass
kicking record (literally, actually, Neil gets his ass kicked by a pissed off patron)
Neil doesn’t know when to fucking stop on this one. Language galore here. For
you music lovers, there’s even a little song tacked onto the end of the album
about a urine filled vegetable garden. Listen to this album a couple of times
and you’ll be reminded of the genesis that is Neil Hambuger. Perfect for late
nights. Bottom line, this shit is fuckin’ funny as hell, so get your head out of your
ass and play this record mother scratcher.

Gasoline – “Gasoline” [Estrus]

jack soil   3/6/2005   12-inch, A Library, Format

apanese drunk rockers, Gasoline, tear the shit out of this slab o’ vinyl. Produced
and assisted by Tim Kerr (Lord High Fixers, Jack O’Fire, Poison 13) and Michael
Maker (Makers), this trio’s debut feedback infused release on Estrus never lets up. Evidently, the singer, Gan, graduated with honors from the Captain Jack and
Scully school of microphone techniques so that the profanity and other vox are
barely intelligible. That being stated, Estrus releases always seem to kick
superior ass, and this is no exception. 14 high-octane incendiary tracks of sloppy,
RockNRoll. No foolin, this ripps!

coll – Break the Rules # 8 [V2}

jack soil   3/6/2005   12-inch, A Library, Format

Practically lost recordings of punk, powerpop, melody punk and sometimes banned
materials revived for your true punk listening pleasure. Inside, find a fantastic
collection of rare 7″s from punk bands around the world (Sweden, Italy, Germany,
USA, UK, Canada, Norway, more) spanning the dates of 1978 to ’82. Peter P (the
Germany based mastermind behind this comp.) hooks up with friends around the
world to put the collection together. All records are limited editions, one of
the releases were limited to 100 copies. There is some truly great material here
from the likes of Snuky Tate, Dayglo Abortions (the cover of this coll. is borrowed
from one of their jackets), Haerverk, and Xtraverts. Every song is a winner,
you will not go wrong. Excellent liner notes include little stories/history
about the band/particular song, pix from the original sleaves and inner label art.
Top shelf comp.

The Other Side “Don’t Look Back” [Desco]

jack soil   3/6/2005   12-inch, Soul

Enormous slabs-o-funky super soul-icious sounds. Absolutely amazing work from T
he Other Side. I’m almost speechless, but here goes – James Brown inspired phat
phat as hell funky sounds. All instrumentals, heavy heavy funky boogaloo, heavy
heavy duty wax. This shit is broke. Don’t bother repairin’ it. Just go with it.
Sounds like this should have been recorded twenty-plus years ago. This is
chunky, sticky and thick as fresh tar on a hot summer afternoon. The back of
the album maybe sez it best, “DESCO is seeking bands and musicians interested in
recording HEAVY HEAVY Funk or Boogaloo. If your influences include Parliament,
Stevie Wonder, or be-bop, you need not apply. When it comes to getting’ down,
James Brown is the ground.” Grooves and grooves and grooves.

Antony and the Johnsons “I Am A Bird Now” [Secretly Canadian]

Thurston Hunger   3/5/2005   12-inch, A Library, Format

Antony’s voice remains a blessed bandage for all the hurt of
his lyrics. So rich in its delicacy, and so heartfelt that
the aging celebrity vampires who flock to him are simply
overpowered by it. It’s a stake through the phantom hearts
of Boy George, Rufus Wainwright and Lou Reed, and yes they
all are on here…wait, wait don’t run away. The quavering
croon beckons you back poking at the the vulnerability of
life (and vinyl, goddamn our copy had a scar pop bruise on
it right out of the bird canal). Our strange changeling moves
through the family tree here, with songs of boys/girls/sisters
but strives for the higher branches, where only a bird can
alight. I love it when his voice is doubled, trebled and
trembled on top of itself. I try to listen to the words but
his voice lulls me into just hearing the emotions. His many
Johnsons too should get some credit, they are the make-up
that can stand the spotlight. Evidently Julia Kent was in
Rasputina, and here she applies sweet doses of lacrimose.
The enzyme that breaks our bodies down… Right now Antony
has all the fleeting luster of a shooting star, here’s hoping
he breaks out of the tragic trajectory, the collision course,
the fiery fate and instead gets lodged in a safe heavenly
orbit. With a piano and several costume changes. It’s a bird,
it’s a plane, it’s a man, it’s a woman, it’s Antony.

DJ Shadow – ?Mashin? On The Motorway/Walkie Talkie? – [Island] – (33 rpm)

Hunter Gatherer   2/27/2005   12-inch, Hip Hop

This is a double 12″ single released in June 2003 and consisting mostly of remixes of tracks by DJ Shadow. Oddly enough the title tracks (and the only two radio edits) are on sides B and D.

This is turntable-ing, MC-ing, and remix-ing at its finest. If you like hip-hop even a little, then you will find something to like about this release.

Be sure to check out the Soulwax remix of Six Days (D1), which is almost a DJ Shadow/B-52s mash up, and D4, which is a fast and funny track that would work well on a drive shift.

C1 stretches out a bit, starting with a sample of DJ Shadow from the excellent Scratch documentary, then taking a detour into techno, then back to the turntables. For a more dark, techno vibe, check out B1.

Language: A1 (Check the title), B2 (Though it is a ‘radio edit,? the word motherfucking is barely concealed. I had to listen carefully to hear that the word was scrubbed.)
–Hunter Gatherer

James White – ?Flaming Demonics? – [Ze Records] – (33 rpm)

Hunter Gatherer   2/27/2005   12-inch, A Library

James White (a.k.a. James Chance n’e James Siegfried) has great taste in suits and oh, by the way, is one of the main characters associated with the late 70’s/early 80’s No Wave scene in NYC.

This album, released in 1983, is his last studio release of five (if you count his LP with the Contortions and the 4 tracks on the No New York compilation, which we have in A on 12″). Ze Records was recently revived and moved to France by label co-founder Michel Esteban, who provides excellent liner notes that are definitely worth a read.

The music is demented, cacophonous, and chaotic. Most tracks find the rhythm and horn section working a minimal funk riff, while Mr. White wails away on his tenor sax frenetically. He sings too.

This is an incredibly energetic album. At least one track will have you dancing around like a maniac. Like he shouts in another song: ‘Try being stupid instead of smart.’ Good advice for us and advice he takes as well.

Three word review: VOODOO DISCO JAZZ
–Hunter Gatherer

Hood – ?Outside Closer? – [Domino Recording] – (33 rpm)

Hunter Gatherer   2/27/2005   12-inch, A Library

This is Hood’s sixth full-length release and their first one in four years. But the Leeds, UK-based quartet have released some singles and EPs in that period.

The music is beautiful and smart indie pop, equal parts natural sounds (guitar, vocals, drums, violin, piano) and electronic sounds (sampled vocal loops, beats, synth). It sounds like it has less electronics than it really does.

It may take a few listens to get through the shiny finish. Though each song is it’s own creation and has its own sound, the entire album hangs together.

Each side starts off with an upbeat track and then unwinds into an introspective vibe. I really like this album.

Language: B1 (‘fuck’)
–Hunter Gatherer

Underground Resistance – “Return of Acid Rain Ii, the ” – [Underground Resistance]

Hunter Gatherer   2/27/2005   12-inch, A Library

By the time this EP was released Underground Resistance was just ‘Mad? Mike Banks, the two other co-founders, Jeff Mills and Robert ‘Noise? Hood, having gone off to explore other opportunities. It was released in 1994.

UR, always the political group, is warning us about the perils of acid rain, a particular problem in Detroit it seems. You need to read actual album to find this out, for it is impossible to deduce this from the music.

And the music is Detroit techno. The versatile Roland 303 is the primary instrument, and it is being put to good use creating lots of good acid-y sounds. The tracks are short-ish — for techno anyway — ranging from 2:20 to 4:19.

My only complaint is that the tracks seem to end just when they are getting a groove. Maybe the acid rain got them.

–Hunter Gatherer

Kirk, Roland “I Talk with the Spirits” [Limelight]

Thurston Hunger   2/13/2005   12-inch, Format, Jazz

Pre-Rassan flute frenzy… Kirk as accustomed to blowing many
minds at a time as he was accustomed to playing 2 or 3 saxes
(or flutes) at the same time, relaxes and struts here with
a sweetheart of an album. Still there’s some fierce blowing,
from shrill squeals, to raspier reed-rattling. His breathy
grunts and choked chuckles are all mic’d up tight…and you
can hear him singing right on down and out the holes. Bobby
Moses drops in on some tracks with vibes that work so well
with the flute… One track, “Fugue’n and Alludin'” is gone
too quickly but the title track with Miss C. J. Albert
harmonizing along with them both is hauntingly captivating.
The short solo from Kirk on that begs to be turned up loud
to catch every nuance of sound that this blindman could pull
out of the dark center of a flute (or a sax or a trumpet or
an unique horn made just for him…but here he is confined
to flutes). The music box of “Ruined Castles” pitches an
almost gamelan shadow and that tinkering (Moses?) lingers
on into “Django” before the piano and bass take over and
we get a more standard combo toe-tap tour. Kirk’s exhaled
his last in 1977, but this 1964 album still breathes fine.

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