Saturday, January 27, 2007

Lydia Lunch: Queen Of Siam

Lydia Lunch was the singer of the short-lived no-wave NY band Teenage Jesus & The Jerks, and "Queen Of Siam"is her first solo LP, a strange thing for a new waver: compiled in it there are some covers and some self-penned songs and, most importantly, it features also a -sometime and somehow- 50's-like orchestra (as in Lady Scarface that, with its arrengement, sounds just like out of an old hollywood movie). There is probably some mockery intent in here (how weird is it listening to a perfectly jazzy double bass going up and down a scale while an electric guitar bursts distortions as in A cruise to the moon?), but there are also some more typically new wave pieces as well as Tie and twist with LL's voice sounding both sleepy and agressive.
Anyway, this LP is just an example of how unpredictable music could be in 1979: this woman is one of the many icons of a rock "genre", the so-called new wave, but unlike many more rock genres (say punk, grunge, hard-rock, whatever), with new wave you can never tell what kind of music it really is that you are talking about... it can have punk guitars, it can have great tunes, it can be incredible dissonant... It can be very serious. It can be a joke. That's the reason why I find this musical period and people like LL so amusing: with all their musical naiveté and approximation they showed everyone that thery were not simply "playing some music" but that they had a "meaning". That whatever it was that they were playing it was important, it was a statement (on art, on the world, and so on).
It's really great to think of someone who intended their work, their art, their music with such gravitas. And this is true for many more post punk stuff: Gang of four, Husker Du, Joy Division, The Pop Group, Devo, Talking Heads, Wire, Magazine, PIL...only to say a few names.
If any of you is interested in all of this just go buy Simon Reynold's Rip it up.

Lydia Lunch on Wiki.

Queen Of Siam

Friday, January 19, 2007

The Raincoats: s/t

"The Raincoats - S/t" is The Raincoats' first album, published in 1979, by this bunch of women who made history as one of the best bands of the british new wave: their sound is raw but still pop, and their voices can be both similar to John Lydon's and sometimes, oddly, beautiful (as in the second track No side to fall in, a great example of how to make a post punk song out of...violins and sixties choirs).
So, you like the stop-and-go sound that is so typical of new wavers? You've got plenty of it, along with sax, violin, some trumpets here and there, and a not too fucked up version of The Kinks' Lola.

The Raincoats on Wiki

The Raincoats
The Raincoats (new link - mediafire)

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Re-Post: Karen Dalton

Since the link to "It's hard to tell.." has gone dead soon, here is another upload.

It's so hard to tell

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Iggy Pop: The Idiot

Iggy Pop is, without any doubt, one of the most important and influential rock musicians (even though I could easily live these days without "musicians" as, say, Peaches...), and the reason why I have decided to upload "The Idiot"is...well, because it is a wonderful album, also thanks to David Bowie's production (he was in great shape back in 1977: he was just in the middle of his Berlin-period, i.e. the last, and maybe only, time he did something ahead of everybody else), and because I think I am going to post some weird stuff in the future days, probably new-wave or some electrinica, I'll see. That's why such a "classic"LP.
Anyway, here is one of my fav tracks Iggy did: Nightclubbing. The kind of sexy thing just perfect for decadent times: and I am quite sure it was a big influence on Ian Curtis.

More info:
Iggy Pop @ Wiki.
"The Idiot" @ Wiki.

The Idiot

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Karen Dalton: It's so hard to tell who's going to love you the best

Karen Dalton had her fifteen minutes of (posthumous) fame in 2004 when Bob Dylan spent very fine words for her work in Chronicles Vol.1, but unfortunately she never was that lucky in life: after releasing this incredible first album in 1969 and another one in 1971 ("In my own time") she went through a lot of hard times, mostly drugs and alcohol issues, only to die -probably- as homeless in 1993.
It is very difficult to see how such a talented voice could not receive more from her career and life, and it is even more difficult to get it while listening to "It's so hard...", an LP that, or so the legend goes, was recorded by chance by her and by some other musicians/friends in just one night, and, moreover, that Karen Dalton was almost forced to sing these songs by some friends of her. Nonetheless the result is hell of a gem: an album rich where it is poor, with its simple and nightly arrengements, with her voice often so similar to Billy Holiday's, as many have noticed ever since then, and of course also thanks to a tracklist full of passionate songs (by Leadbelly, Tim Hardin, Jelly Roll Morton and traditionals).
Call it blues, call it jazz, call it folk, this anyway is a music so intense that it is very hard to find something comparable. Yeah, it's so hard to tell.

It's so hard to tell

Friday, January 05, 2007

Thom Yorke: Spitting Feathers

I am not even sure that I really like his solo so much..but nonetheless he is one of the most important musicians of the last 15 years (with his Radiohead), so here is this japanese EP, "Spitting Feathers", which is a more electronic counterpart to last year's "The Eraser".
If you are such big Radiohead fans as I am I have no doubt that you will find something interesting in it, though there are only 5 tracks (including an extended version of "The Eraser" 's Harrowdown Hill).

Spitting Feathers