KFJC 89.7FM

Music Reviews

[coll] WFMU Radio Archival Oddities Vol. II

stingray   1/14/2005   A Library, CD

A 2 CD set put out by the folks at WFMU. Disk 1 is made up of non-WFMU radio moments that The Professor found ‘compelling, funny, or just plain odd?. Disk 2 is a collection of moments from WFMU broadcasts. The booklet provides an excellent overview of the clips. My favorites are:
1: 7 – The Black Pope; a Texas/Louisiana radio personality who sounds like a less grounded George Clinton (1979). Insane.
1: 14 – It’s Friday! An unknown DJ on an unknown station with a semi-orgiastic paean to Fridays. Awsome.
1: 15 and 16 – Neil Rogers and Bob Lassiter, respectively, taking apart ignorant callers.
1: 20 and 21 – John Lennon schilling for Tower Records and alarm clocks, respectively.
1: 23 – 8/18/1998 Tampa station WFLA manages to get in touch with a man who had shot a cop and was currently holding a hostage in a gas station. Chilling.
1: 24 – 9/11/2001 The first tower falls.
2: 4 (LANGUAGE!) ? WFMU DJ Vanilla Bean calls a phone sex service.
2:22 Call to Henny Youngman during a fundraiser. Hilarious
Language: Disk 1 – 19 Disk 2: 4, 10, 15, 26
Stingray

The Advantage – “The Advantage”

stingray   1/14/2005   A Library, CD

The Advantage is a Canadian 4 piece band that plays covers of music from Nintendo (ORIGINAL NES) games. Is it a gimmick? Sure! But it’s still fun! The band is made up of 2 guitars, bass, and drums. Interesting to hear this synthesizer music played without a keyboard. Tracks are very short (none over 3 minutes, many under 1 minute). Tracks from the same game usually track together.

Stingray

Anonymous 4 – “American Angels” [Harmonia Mundi]

stingray   1/14/2005   A Library, CD

4 woman a cappella versions of American sacred songs of the 18th and 19th century. The voices are good but not spectacular. The arrangements are intentionally very simple, attempting to recreate these songs as they actually would have been sung. The production is probably a bit heavy on reverb, but it makes them sound like they are being sung in a church, which is certainly appropriate. It’s all pretty, simple, and sincere.
Tracks that stand out to me are 1, 7 (Amazing Grace), 10, 13, and 20.

Kitten On the Keys – “Pretty Princess Day” [Rug Burn Records]

stingray   1/14/2005   A Library

Kitten on the Keys Is Suzanne Ramsey, a San Francisco based one woman burlesque show. Live she performs on a piano. On this album she uses piano, toy piano, Wurlitzer, and Ukulele. Her voice is a bit ‘cute little girl? that belies the bawdy nature of her lyrics.
Tracks 3, 6, 8, 16, and 18: Covers of 30’s-40’s style standards.
Track 11: Cover of an anonymous 1929 song called ‘My Girl’s Pussy?. The meaning of ‘pussy? here is, of course, intentionally vague.
Track 4: Cover of some new-agey ballad. I’d skip this one.
Track 1: A brief cover of ‘Anarchy in the UK?, Betty Boop style.
Everything Else: Originals. The lyrics are very burlesque style, often filled with double entendres (and quite a few single entendres). They mostly deal with various and sundry fetishes, such as furries (5 and 14), nurses (12), feet (2) and panty sniffing (17). A lot of funny stuff! Play it!
Language: The only unequivocal bad word is ‘shitty? on Track 7. However, the following tracks contain pretty graphic descriptions of genitalia and/or sex, even if they don’t have swearing, per se: 2, 5, 9, 14, 15, 17.

Tanakh – “Dieu Deuil” [Alien8]

stingray   1/14/2005   A Library, CD

Laid back psyche-folk. Pretty ballads with mournful gypsy-style fiddle, guitar, and the strong, clear, calm vocals of Jesse Poe. My favorites:
1 – Features some nice female backing vocals)
2 – A slow build of shimmery intensity using military-style snare drum, flameco-style guitar, and soaring vocals.
7 – Instrumental that showcases a very sad ‘gypsy? fiddle sound over a host of percussion that sounds like it includes a number of ‘found? instruments (i.e. banging on pieces of metal, wind chimes, etc). Despite it’s more percussive feel, it is still very mellow.
8 – Ballad featuring an interplay of Poe’s voice, a very sad and mournful slide guitar, and later in the track, the gypsy fiddle. This track makes me tear up if I attend to it fully.
Tracks 3, 5, and 7 are instrumentals.
Track 6 ends with ~40 seconds of near-silence.

Hypnotech 3 – “Prescription Electronics” [Futursonic]

stingray   1/14/2005   A Library, CD

Mellow, tripped out electronica from Canada. All instrumental, with the exception of some spoken vocal samples on track 1. Tracks 2, 4, and 7 are more ambient, while the others have a bit of a dance beat to them. All very mellow and relaxing, just the thing to listen to during ‘coming down? part of your rave while the light-sticks are fading out and you are eating the candy necklaces.

Branca, Glenn – “Lesson No. 1” [Acute Records]

stingray   1/14/2005   A Library, CD

A re-issue of three Glenn Branca pieces.
Track 1 (‘Lesson #1 for Electric Guitar?) is a shimmery, ambient piece of minimalist guitar music.
Track 2 (‘Dissonance?) features multiple tempo changes and some frenetic and chaotic percussion (including sledgehammer). Listening to it gives me a palpable feel of dread, probably a result of the cognitive dissonance of listening to these ‘rock? instruments creating what is clearly a neo-classical composition.
Track 3 (‘Bad Smells?) is a neo-classical guitar piece in several movements. It starts out with a kind of up-tempo prog-rock beat, then dissolves into chaos; after surfacing briefly as a funk-informed drum-and-bass jam, it then tumbles over the cliff of chaotic guitar chords over a bed of pretty synthesizer chords.
There’s also a quicktime video on here of ‘Symphony No. 5?, a guitar/drum/bass drone. The sound quality is pretty terrible on this (I can see the drummer, but I can barely make out any drumming), but it is amusing to see Branca ‘conduct? by leaping and convulsing about the stage like David Byrne on PCP.
‘Lesson #1 For Electric Guitar? and ‘Dissonance? were originally released as the two sides of a 12″ single in 1980. ‘Bad Smells? was originally released in 1982.

NOXAGT – “The Iron Point” [Load Records]

stingray   1/14/2005   A Library, CD

Heavy minimalist instrumental rock out of Norway. The bass and drums lay down heavy, thudding grooves and guitar and violin/viola screech over the top. This is music designed to be played loud enough to peel paint. A couple more dark/ambient pieces as well, if heavy thuddery doesn’t do it for you.
Tracks grouped by type:
1, 3, 6 – Slow and heavy.
2, 4 – Upbeat and heavy.
5 – Speed-metal fast and heavy
8 – Starts off speed-metal fast, transitions to mid-tempo, and then ends with about 1:30 of industrial ambient drone/whine.
7 – Synth-organ chords with and old man (the Violist’s grandfather). Singing in Norwegian. Darkly pretty and more than a little creepy.
10 – Industrial drone with a sparse drum beat. Piano chords start showing up about halfway through.
Liner notes are bizarre. To read them, it sounds like they are a country band recording in Nashville (‘plain, honest, down-home music?).
Stingray

Beck, Thavius – “Decomposition” [Mush Records]

stingray   1/14/2005   A Library

While Mush Records is a hip-hop label, this doesn’t sound like hip-hop to me. I would call it pseudo-industrial trip-hop, if I had to call it anything. Mostly what I would call it is dark and heavy. It’s the sort of music that makes me want to go to Ocean Beach on the grayest day of the year and stare out over the waves and contemplate my own insignificance.
What impresses me about this release is that he manages to keep up this consistency of tone while changing beats and tempos like mad. Beats include Industrial (2, 6, 7, 10), Trip-hop (4, 5), pseudo-Drum and Bass (3, 8, 12), Electronica/Glitch (9), and Mellow/Ambient (1, 11, 13).
Track 1 features eerie spoken vocals. Tracks 2, 7, and 13 feature deeply voiced rapping. Track 10 has vocals (the lyrics are in the book), but they are mixed so low as to be incomprehensible.
All tracks clean.

Stingray

[coll] Anticon Label Sampler: 1999-2004 [Anticon]

stingray   1/13/2005   CD, Hip Hop

An extremely long (almost 80 minutes!) compilation from east-bay hip-hop crew/label Anticon. Even though this is a collection, the tracks blend together, so careful at the start and end of tracks. I’ll split the review into three parts:
Singing: Some of the artists on Anticon are singers rather than rappers. The effect is that of indie-pop with a more hip-hip beat. Artists in this vein include Why? (2, 12, 22, 29) who answers the question ‘what if the Residents played hip-hop?, Passage (6, 18), Restiform Bodies (28), and the Alias track that features Markus Acher of The Notwist (31).
Rapping: In the more traditional hip-hop vein, Alias (4, 14, 20, 25), Sole (5, 13, 21, 32), Themselves (3, 11, 15, 27), Deep Puddle Dynamics (5), and Pedestrian (7, 19) feature skillful and dexterous rapping over backgrounds that vary from melodic and catchy (Pedestrian) to dark and mellow (Alias, plus 5 and 13 by Sole ? produced by Alias), to dark and heavy (Themselves, Deep Puddle Dynamics).
Instrumentals: Odd Nosdam provides dark, heavy, electronic instrumentals (10, 23) and a bit of comic relief (17, which features the Muppet Show bari sax baseline and sampled spoken vocals from TV/film); he also produces Sole tracks 21 and 32. Alias (26), Dosh (30), and Jel (33) provide smoother, trip-hoppier sounds.
Language: 4, 5, 12, 14*, 22, 27
*Only in the spoken outro. ‘Shit? at 3:20 of 3:37.

Stingray

Copyright © 2019 KFJC 89.7 FM
12345 S. El Monte Road Los Altos Hills, California 94022
Public Inspection File