Posted by Billyjam, June 5, 2007 08:19am | Post a Comment

Call me cynical, but when I first heard about the almost two thousand strong mob of white folks* gathered in Kansas City a couple of days ago (all at their own expense) to play "Smoke On The Water" on their guitars for five minutes and then leave, the first thing that popped into my mind was that recurring line from some of my favorghost dogite Jim Jarmusch films. You know, the one uttered in both Dead Man and Ghost Dog: The Way of the Samurai that goes "stupid fuckin' white people."

Okay, so I admit, I am cynical and you might even accuse me of being self-hating, since I, too, am white. No matter. I still think what I think. And I think that if this same level of commitment and focus were directed at, say, getting Bush out of office right now, that the country might be in a better position to gather en masse to collectively strum 'dah, dah, dah.....dah, dah, dahdah....dah, dah, dah...dah dahdah!'

In case you didn't already hear this story: on Sunday exactly 1683 guitarists all converged at the Community America Ballpark in Kansas City to collectively beat a Guinness Book of World Records record set in Vancouver in 1994 when 1323 similarly minded guitar pickers gathered to be the largest gathering of individuals to simultaneously play on guitar the familiar riff of Deep Purple's "Smoke on the Water" (from their 1972 album Machine Head).  

And on Sunday, June 3rd, as part of a stunt organized by local radio station KYYS, the gathering of 1683 guitarists* (acoustic and electric), who traveled to Kansas City from all over the globe and who ranged in age from toddlers to senior citizens, did successfully accomplish what they set out to, collectively play that famous classic-rock riff for five minutes, and consequently made a new Guinness World Record. 

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out today 6/5...pelican...long blondes...

Posted by Brad Schelden, June 4, 2007 06:48pm | Post a Comment
 After a very slow new release week, we are back to normal with a kind of big week. Some of my old favorites like Shellac, Neurosis, and Marilyn Manson all have new releases. I am anxious to hear all these albums. The Long Blondes finally!!! comes out domestic. And the up and coming brazillian scenesters Bonde Do Role have their debut album out. Out today is also the new album by one of my favorite instrumental doomy metal Chicago bands, Pelican.

This is the third full length byPelican. Following their excellent albums "Australasia" and "The Fire In Our Throats Will Beckon the Thaw." My friend Jesse first got me into this band. I remember the first day she told me about them. She came running into the office, so happy to tell me about her new favorite band. I liked much of the same music she liked, so I knew that I would love them as well. Like the band Isis, they are not really what you normally think of as metal. They do use many elements of metal but combine them with some of the post rock kind of stuff that has come out of Chicago. Imagine some of the better doomy metal bands but without the lyrics. Sometimes the lyrics actually ruin some of those bands for me. Sometimes you just don't really need the lyrics. The music is sometimes more therapeutic without the lyrics to weigh it down. It allows you to sort of develop your own internal monologue while listening to it. I think I was drawn to Pelican for many of the same reasons I was drawn to the Explosions in the Sky. It is just some really beautiful music. Pelican is a harder version of the Explosions. But they do a lot of the same things with their instrumentation and song development. I guess all these bands are sort of like doom versions of a jam band. But its better than it sounds.

The new album, "City of Echoes" does not stray far from what they have done with their other albums. So I was not disappointed. But I also was not blown away by something completely different. They just do what they do very well. It is the sort of album you can loop and put on repeat and keep enjoying over and over again. It is easy to get lost into their songs. Easy to not want to leave the comfort that they give you. What also reminds me of the Explosions albums is the sense of optimism that you feel from the albums. Amidst all the doom and intensity is for sure a sense of triumph. The songs may take you on a little roller coaster to get there. But you don't finish the album feeling more depressed or beat down. They leave you with some optimism. And I do love some optimism every once in a while. And I sure do love me some Pelican.

Also out today is the domestic release of the debut album by "The Long Blondes." For those  of us that waited patiently for this domestic release, we have been rewarded with a bonus disc with 4 songs and a video for "Once and Never Again." I was tempted to pick up the import a couple times but I ended up waiting. The band is from Sheffield, England and is fronted by Kate Jackson. I wonder if her parents were big Charlies Angels fans. Or its just a coincidence.  Possibly she renamed herself after the more reserved of the angels. Or maybe she is just a big fan of "The Scarecrow and Mrs. King."

 The band seems to have a bunch of different influences. Steve Mackey, former member of the band Pulp, helped to produce the album. I really do love Pulp and you can feel his influence on the album. It does have the feel of those mid 90s bands like Elastica and Echobelly. A mix of girl group sounds and post punk and new wave and indie pop. It works out really nice to create a brilliant little album. Kate has a great voice and it really shines on the album. They are also great at creating a catchy sing along kind of song. The single "Once and Never Again" is not they only catchy song. The whole album is really consistently great. They do manage to capture that sexy vibe that Pulp captured so well. It is always nice to see a female fronted band that can pull this off as well as any dude band can.

 It is really hard to not like this album. It is just one of those albums that is made to be loved. One of those brilliantly catchy albums that you can't get enough of.  And it is seriously going to make me dig up my old Elastica and Echobelly albums. I have been craving another catchy lady in my life. These songs are not just simple pop songs. They really transport you to some late night all nighter type night somewhere in England. The album only gets better as well. I have now listened to it quite a few times and it really is getting better. The album is already almost a year old. But I saved it for this year. I knew I was gonna love it, I just wanted to postpone it until it came out domestic. It makes it a bit better for some reason. It was worth waiting for. You should love it as much as I do.

also out today...

"With Lasers" by Bonde Do Role

"Eat Me Drink Me" by Marilyn Manson

"Given to the Rising" by Neurosis

"Excellent Italian Greyhound" by Shellac

(In which horror shows its many faces... most of them silly.)

Posted by Job O Brother, June 4, 2007 12:52pm | Post a Comment

Last night, Carrie and Logan returned from their hike all a-glow. Logan in-particular seemed moved by the adventure. A woman of few words, the gleam of her face and twinkling blue eyes told a story her voice did not.

I presented my friends with the meal I had prepared only to learn that both women hate bell peppers. Hate bell peppers? But they’re so… innocuous! That’s like hating celery or Saltine crackers or Jane Pauley. I mean, I can understand not loving them, but they’re not dramatic enough to warrant hate!

"I just wanna be loved!"

After some bell-pepper picking and grumbling, dinner was served. The ladies had stopped on the way home and bought Slurpees to mix with the fancy rum that Corey had bequeathed. Between the two ingredients, I concocted an elixir that made you tipsy just by smelling it. Carrie and I fought over who would get the cherry-flavored, and as usual, she won.

We re-arranged the furniture in the living room and created an impromptu theatre, then popped in a DVD of Wes Craven’s “The Hills Have Eyes,” which had been recommended to me by Kirk, one of the VIP’s of the Amoeba Music DVD depot. I asked for a desert themed horror film and, like a computer, out came his suggestion.

Just one of many heart-warming moments from "The Hills Have Eyes"

I’m not a fan of horror films, per se, though I’m not opposed to them. I just never find them scary. Like, ever. My idea of a horror film is “Bowling for Columbine” or “An Inconvenient Truth”. Or, if you really want to see me sweat, tie me down and force me to watch “Dumbo”. I will pee.

[insert sound of Job screaming here]

What I am a fan of is seeing horror films with sexy chicks who shriek, hide their eyes, and clutch my arm; Corey, Carrie and Logan all fit this description.

The film, not awful by any means, was mostly a disappointment because the bad guys were very visible and silly looking and frankly, were less annoying than the heroes. We kept waiting for one of the female leads in-particular to get hacked to pieces, not because we’re sadistic, but because her constant screaming was violent enough to warrant her death, if only in self-defense of our ear drums.

Also, the film ends at what feels like three-quarters in. Imagine watching “Titanic”, and the film ends just as the ship starts to sink. That would be weird, right? And that’s how it felt. (I know what you’re thinking; you wish “Titanic” had ended then. That’s why you and I get along so well. Xoxo)

While smoking on the front porch, Logan and I shared amused glances as Corey and Carrie perched atop of their chairs, fearfully scanning the premises for bugs. Corey had spotted a potato bug which, I’ll admit, looks fierce, but since I’m not a potato I don’t feel threatened by them. Soon a cockroach was also seen, and that’s when Corey and Carrie turned into the housewives from a Looney Tunes cartoon who’ve seen a mouse. It was cute.

It was time for bed. Carrie and Logan toasted each other with shots of Nyquil and I sang lullabies, as our new tradition goes. I took a shower to wash off the smell of cigarettes. I don’t normally smoke unless I’m in the presence of Carrie, who brings out my “inner chimney” and Corey has been very sweet to allow me this indulgence without hassle, though I know he hates it.

At night, mysterious creatures scuttled across the roof of Carrie and Logan’s room, and Carrie was once again bitten by some unknown creature that only molests her. Evidence of this comes as tiny red circles dotting her legs, which she discovers each morning. We’re pretty sure it’s not pox, which is hopefully true, because then we’d have to burn her and leave her behind.

The author fearlessly braves bugs and sits on the ground.


Posted by Billyjam, June 4, 2007 12:20pm | Post a Comment

Although artists today aren't selling nearly as many records and CDs as they were several years back, it is can still be a positive time for them, provided that they can maintain an open mind and realize how to fully utilize and fine-tune the digital age's technologies to their advantage. Case in point is the SoCal emcee EV (aka Evidence of legendary LA hip-hop trio Dilated Peoples' fame), who recently released his debut solo album The Weatherman LP on Oakland's ABB Records (the same label that launched Dilated's career before they signed with Capitol Records). He has witnessed firsthand hip-hop going from being less mainstream, or as he called it, "like the black version of punk rock," to become the pop music form that it is today.

Evidence's "Mr Slow Flow" video from "The Weatherman LP"

EV, however, still holds tight to rap's punk-like DIY ethic of old and considers new online digital entities like YouTube and MySpace as perfect tools to do-it-yourself and build a fan base from the ground up. "Right now there are only a few outlets that are selling music on a major level. A lot of these stores are closing down. And only two or three rappers went platinum last year. Things are different. It's changing," said EV by phone recently. "It's a changing tide and you've got to figure out how to stay in your ship without sinking in it -- to weather the storm, so to speak, within these next couple of years, because there will be a new outlet, but right now people are scrambling, trying to figure out what to do. So with MySpace and YouTube and a lot of the other dope dot coms and what have you, there's a lot of ways to be heard. Especially doing shows live and networking and gigging and getting out in front of the people and letting them decide how you are live." 

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The Legendary Joe Baiza & The Cardovas Live @ Taix 5/1/2007

Posted by Gomez Comes Alive!, June 3, 2007 11:48pm | Post a Comment
Joe Baiza is a truly unique guitarist. His guitar playing is a mixture of angular punk rock, free jazz and the funkiness of one who grew up on thousands of R&B albums. His first group, Saccharine Trust, was ahead of their time during their first incarnation. Between the years of 1981 through 1986, Saccharine Trust went from minimalist punk to free jazz and spoken word, confusing most pedestrian punk rockers that wanted to hear hardcore. After Saccharine Trust's demise, Joe Baiza started The Universal Congress Of, a band that further explored his jazz influences. Again, Joe found himself between a rock and a hard place, being too punk for the jazz purists and too jazzy for the alternative rock set. Fortunately for Joe, Universal Congress Of found success in a Europe enthralled in the Acid Jazz movement in the late 80's/ early 90’s.

Joe continued to play in Europe for most of the early nineties until some idiotic German racists shattered his hand during a stay in Germany. He returned to Los Angeles to recover while his bandmates all remained in Germany. Joe decided to stay in L.A., starting a few new groups, The Mecolodiacs and Joe Baiza’s Congress Of, as well as reforming Saccharine Trust in 1999, who he still plays with to this day.

On Friday, I went to check out Joe’s latest musical endeavor at Taix Restaurant in Echo Park, The Cardovas. They played an all-Meters cover set, albeit with Baiza’s flavor. Normally, I don’t like the idea of seeing cover bands, but hey, it’s The Meters! And it's Baiza doing it! As I sat there waiting for The Cardovas to play, I couldn’t help but to look around. Taix looked like a punk rock rest home. I saw many people that I barely recognized from the punk scene back in the day because they look so much older. Some, like Nicky (formerly of the band Pop Defect), looked timeless. Nick is drumming in 3 bands, a sign that playing music will keep one looking young.

The Cardovas came on. It was Joe on Guitar, former Universal Congress Of bass player Ralph Gorodetsky on bass, former Claw Hammer/Devo Bob Lee on drums & vocals and local indie jazz icon Dan Clucas on the cornet. They also had an organ player as well who I did not recognize. They did all The Meters' classics, "Sissy Strut," "Look-Ka Py Py," "I Need More Time," "9 to 5," and, of course, "Cardova."

It was a blast! They were both tight and charmingly sloppy and of course, they had the funk. It was great to see those viejitos go at it. They looked like they were having a great time playing those songs. It made want to get married so I could hire them to play at my wedding.

The last song they played was "Hey Pockey Way," which is not my favorite song due to The Grateful Dead's butchering of it, but it got people up and dancing. Ex-punkers never made great dancers, so it was entertaining to watch them try to shake their thing. The band ended their brief set because they only learned so many Meters songs in the brief time they have played together. It was a bit of a letdown, only because I was having so much fun. I'm looking forward to the next Cardova show to hear what songs they will learn next. My requests: "Go For Yourself" & "Just Kissed My Baby."

Joe Biaza 101

Saccharine Trust:

Pagan Icons (1981)
Surviving You, Always (1984)
Worldbroken (1985)
We Became Snakes (1986)
Past Lives (1988)
The Great One Is Dead (2001)

Universal Congress Of:

S/T (1987)
Prosperous & Qualified (1988)
This Is Mecolodics (1988)
The Sad and Tragic Demise of Big Fine Salty Black Wind (1988)
The Eleventh-Hour Shine-On (1990)
Sparkling Fresh (1992)


Glamjazz (


S/T (2006)

For more info on Joe Baiza, go here.

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