The second installment in my October favorites series starts with an opera LP from Brazil, it's a single LP of excerpts from Johann Strauss' "O Morcego" or "Der Fledermaus" or "the Bat" if you must. Issued on the Copacabana label, the sound quality is radio broadcast level and the performance by the Zurich Radio Orchestra is fine, but it's the cover art that makes this a Halloween treat. Cool record store sticker from the Loja Gomes store on Av. Afonso Pena. It appears that the store was once in the center of Belo Horizonte-a huge city about 300 miles above Rio...
Up next...a classic American mix
Folkways and Edgar Allen Poe...Folkways records released this version of the Pit & the Pendulum in 1967, the orator is David Kurlan. I was abe to dig up a little about his Broadway work, mostly roles in musicals. He also did a couple of other Folkways voice overs. His reading is straight forward and very effective, kind of like the polar opposite of the Lou Reeds double CD nightmare based on Edgar Allan Poe. The LP comes with a small pamphlet containing instructions for teachers as well a sheet of transparency images for the old mimeograph...
I do love conspiracy theories and here is one of the best. On this date, October 28 in 1943, at the Philadelphia Naval Shipyard in Philadelphia, a naval military experiment often called the Philadelphia Experiment took place … allegedly. According to published reports the USS Eldridge turned invisible to eye witnesses for a brief moment, dematerialized, teleported to Norfolk, Virginia, and then reappeared in Philadelphia. The experiment supposedly had some horrific side effects on the sailors who either became extremely sick, insane or among other things, became engulfed in flames; many of the crew never led normal lives again. Since this had a few negative consequences on overall morale, the Navy halted the experiment and silenced the whole affair … allegedly.
The U.S. Navy of course has always stated that the experiment never occurred and many refer to the entire narrative as a misguided and absurd hoax. It doesn’t matter that many details of the Philadelphia Experiment contradict some of the facts about the Eldridge. (The USS Eldridge was not commissioned until late August 1943 and remained in port in New York City until September, 1943. During the month of October the ship was undergoing training exercises in the Bahamas -or was it the Bermuda triangle! - and never made it to Philadelphia that year. But who cares!) Conspiracy theories don’t get much more fun than this. Take this gem and sprint with it baby, because this where it all starts, this is the granddaddy of them all, from here countless Conspiracies can be traced, directly tripping into other conspiratorial ideologues of covert governments, secret organizations, murder corporations and agendas for world domination.
endlessly without fatigue or boredom."
a bit from the mission statement from the
Environments LP series website, a run of
"psychoacoustical" field recordings that
evidently made some big promises to their
listeners. I'll have to give it a try next summer...
Wooden Shjips is, quite simply, my favorite local band. They have really gotten it all right. They've got it right in sound, melody, musicianship, energy, independence, intelligence and gentlemanly-ness (very important).
They have a dense, heavy, fuzz-filled sound that nonetheless still reverberates with hooks and energy, and it's at their fantastic live shows that they show off this sound at its peak. They have stripped it down to just the right basic elements with nothing remotely computerized (thank god!). Those who speak and judge quickly may lazily label them "stoner rock." Have you ever gone to see a "stoner rock" band where they busted out a trumpet? Yes, the musicians lock together in repetitive, tantalizing riffs, and yes, they have big amps, but the moral of the story here is although we do happen to live in a hipster- approved "stoner rock" time, didn't your mom ever teach you to not judge a book by its cover?
This band is far too smart and skilled to be labeled by simpletons. They started off their recording career by literally giving away a 10" and a 7" to anyone that happened to find them at Aquarius Records, or anyone that would listen. Imagine that, a San Francisco band, a ROCK band, no less (it's a rather rare breed here, don't know if you'd heard.), that cares more about building an audience of listeners than making money? Wooden Shjips' first live performance was a free show at Cafe Du Nord. Again, they used their sound, their songs and their mysteriousness to build word of mouth support that packed the room. Their second show ever was opening up for recently recuperated 13th Floor Elevators' Roky Erikson! They've parlayed all this into a recently released full length, self titled record on Holy Mountain and they just got back from playing at CMJ. One of the record's tracks was featured in the giveaway CD in a recent issue of Mojo. They got a write up in David Fricke's section in Rolling Stone. They released a single on Sub Pop. Not bad for less than a year's time since that first show. A little intrigue and all the skills to back it up was all it took and this band is officially en fuego.