Friday, January 30, 2009

Talking 'Bout That Number Which No Man Can Number

ROKY ERICKSON "I Look at the Moon"

PRECIOUS BRYANT "When the Saints Go Marching In"

DeZURIK SISTERS "Go To Sleep My Darling"

...No, how you doing? Yes, I know it's been a while. Wanted to wait until no one was looking, or linking, I guess? No, really, I just got busy. I know, I know, yeah, we're all busy. OK, I got sick of blogging. But I am less sick of it now, today! And I will cease with this ridiculous fake conversation, toot sweet.

Someday soon this blog will be transferred over to a new/ improved/ actual YETI website. But for now, I'll get started again with three little very pretty songs. Today we're unplugged. God, I hate that term, but anyway.

The Roky song's from the long out of print album The Holiday Inn Tapes. It's my second-favorite post-Elevators number (very favorite being, of course, "You Don't Love Me Yet").

The Precious Bryant track is from this wonderful George Mitchell book which comes with two CDs. George Mitchell might be one of my heroes. I really need to talk to both Bryant and Mitchell, if possible, when I return to the South. (Note to self!)

The DeZurik Sisters tune is from some comp. called like Early Country Ladies Who Sing or something. You may know them as the Cackle Sisters.

It's a very pretty late January day here in Portland (translation: it is not currently raining). I'm obsessed for some reason with trying to find out more about P.M. Wentworth today -- he or she was a very interesting self-taught artist, hardly any known works around -- maybe 40 survive. But who knows? That one lucky family found a stack of unknown Ramirez drawings a few years back -- that show in New York was fabulous, and I highly recommend the catalog. Maybe there's a stack of this person's stuff in a trunk somewhere. But Wentworth -- fuck, there's hardly even any images on the Internet. I'd love a monograph of this work, all in one place, no matter how small. Anyone know if there is one? My guess is no, just need to make sure.

Friday, August 24, 2007

HALLELUWAH Fest lineup finally finalized.

Presented by Blackbird, Yeti & PSU’s Popular Music Board
Three days at Holocene, Portland, OR: Aug. 31-Sep. 2 (1001 SE Morrison, Portland OR 97214)

The music-film-arts event that ‘Portland Mercury’ called “the greatest festival of all time” --without a hint of hyperbole, of course-- returns to Portland, OR next weekend.

This year we’ve got a slew of Portland’s finest musicians paired with such internationally renowned musicians as Califone, Climax Golden Twins, the Blow, They Shoot Horses Don't They? and Can vocalist Damo Suzuki (which is sweet since he inadvertently named the festival some 35 or so years ago). (Very) loosely put, Friday is the more dance-oriented night, while Saturday is more folk and rock-based, and Sunday’s performers lean more towards improvisational freak-outs and drones. We didn’t want to divvy it up by genre too much, so there are plenty examples to the contrary.

There’s a rad literary program put together this time by Yeti magazine, and brilliant films shown each night from Seattle’s DIY ethnography crew Sublime Frequencies. We’ve enlisted artist/ Albina Press curator Gretchen Vaudt and photographer Norm Sajovie to mount a full installation of new work solely for the festival.

{ Friday 8.31.07 }
* The Blow, Panther, They Shoot Horses Don’t They?, The Beauty, White Rainbow, Alexis Gideon, Valet, Metal, The Joggers & Modernstate. Hosted by DJ Spencer Doran, DJ BJ & DJ Hanukkah Miracle.
* Sublime Frequencies presents: ‘Niger: Magic and Ecstasy in the Sahel,’ a film by Hisham Mayet. 70 minutes: A celebration of life in the Sahel region of Africa, this film showcases many of Niger's venerable music styles: Tuareg electric guitar trance rock, Bori cult dance ceremonies, Fulani folk, and roadhouse gospel rave-ups.
* Doors at 6PM; film starts 6:30 PM promptly.

{ Saturday 9.1.07 }
* Califone, Dark Meat, Bowerbirds, Plants, Eternal Tapestry, Builders & Butchers, Whip, Strangers Die Everyday & a special appearance by Rob Walmart (performing from inside a van outside the venue). Hosted by DJ Yeti.
* Sublime Frequencies Presents: ‘Palace of the Winds,’ a film by Hisham Mayet (filmmaker in attendance!) 45 minutes: An entrancing look at the culture and music of the Saharawis from the Western Sahara and Mauritania. Journey from the northern fringes of the Western Sahara to the Mauritanian capital of Nouakchott.
* Action-packed and NOT-BORING literary event curated by YETI magazine with Jana Martin (author of ‘Russian Lover,’ a Yeti publication), Curtis Knapp, Tom Blood, Vanessa Veselka & Mike McGonigal.
* Doors at 4PM; literary program starts 4:30 PM promptly (even if it’s nice outside).

{ Sunday 9.2.07 }
* Damo Suzuki (performing with the Portland All-Stars: Honey Adams, Yellow Swans, Adam Forkner, Emil amos & Dan Wilson), Tara Jane O’Neil, Ilyas Ahmed, Master Musicians of Bukkake, Evolutionary Jass Band, Climax Golden Twins, Cexfucx, the Sea Donkeys & Katharina Tunicata. Hosted by DJ Old Fronteir.
* Sublime Frequencies Presents: ‘My Friend Rain,’ a film by Robert Millis (filmmaker in attendance!) 45 minutes: A collage of musical segments, tropical backdrops, and mysterious celebratory events captured live and in the moment by Robert Millis and Alan Bishop on location in Thailand, Burma, Indonesia and Laos.
* Doors at 6PM; film starts 6:30 PM promptly.

Portland State University students get discounted admission. Three-day passes are available for $30.00 via Brown Paper Tickets here.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

'Russian Lover & Other Stories'

Didn't realize it was such a pain in the ass to DL tracks off eSnips; I just signed up for another service to host the mp3 files. I'll have more tracks up soon.

Biggest news around these parts is that the very first YETI imprint title, Russian Lover by Jana Martin, is in hand. We also have advance reader copies of the Luc Sante book, Kill All Your Darlings: Pieces 1990-2005. Both books came out really really nice, I think. We're just getting those mailed out now so interestedd reviewers should contact us ASAP for either title.

Jana's book is available pretty cheap here, and I will now quote from the jacket copy OK:

Jana Martin’s sentences have beauty and bite and a rhythm all their own. These are tough, funny stories from a writer wise enough to know that wisdom doesn’t always come with experience. Russian Lover won’t teach you much about Russia, but it will give you some exhilaratingly painful portraits of people trying to love.--Sam Lipsyte, author of Home Land

There’s an elegant, flaring strength to Russian Lover, a precision of language that is daring and unique in the way it touches memory. Martin’s stories are cocoons spun tightly around an elusive, idiopathic emotional core—always intriguing, they give life to the tired mind. --Lydia Millet, author of My Happy Life

Monday, May 07, 2007

Go back to Germany

CAN "Doko Daie"
CAN "Introduction"

CAN "Mushroom (Alt. version)"
CAN "Halleluwah"
CAN "Bring Me Coffee or Tea"
CAN "Mushroom"

At last night's Miniluwah (with Valet, Au, Smoke & Mirrors, and Amen, Again Amen doing a live score to Kenneth Anger's sometimes gorgeous Pleasure Dome flick) I was having a lot of fun playing with the song "Halleluwah." It was the first time I had allowed myself to be so literal as to play the actual song our little festival stole its name from. I never practice DJ, and lately my office with the stereo in it is in such disarray that I do not get to listen to my LPs as much as I'd like. So when I get fancy and play stuff at the same time ("Mind Train" by Yoko worked well with "The Creator Has A Master Plan" by Pharoah Sanders) or chop a song up into different parts or whatever, and it sounds good, then I'm extra psyched.

These tracks posted today are from a CD bootleg that came into the used book and CD shop I worked at in Oak Ridge, TN, of all places, in the mid '90s. This is where I learned about the "alternative" Christian" genre, discovered that paperback romance novels can be bought and read at an alarming rate by some people, and met one of my favorite people ever, this guy Martin Beeler who did a bang-up job on his Akron/ Family piece for the next Yeti.

That CD, Free Concert, has since been eclipsed by the Can Box in many ways -- you can view the entire concert on that VHS/ DVD, for instance -- and I know at least a few of these tracks are on the CD component of that set, and that they sound better on there. I do not think the entirety of the 28-minute track "Doko Daie" was ever officially released, however. I am not sure I'm even spelling it right. Anyway, "Doko E." appears on Unlimited Edition. I think it's safe to assume here that "E" is for Extract or Excerpt. My years as a private detective come in handy some time...

The first track is a lower res mp3 -- had to make it smaller so I could upload it via eSnips. The other tracks are lossless mp4s. Hope that's cool, that people do not have a problem listening to/ playing those files. Please lemme know if so, OK.

Saturday, May 05, 2007

PUMICE "Eyebath"

Here's the first track off of Pebbles by Pumice. Pumice is the AKA of one Auckland, NZ chap named Stefan Geoffrey Neville, which is such a great name I want to bestow it upon a pet of some kind. Maybe tomorrow I'll run out and get a pet. I was woefully ignorant of the supreme excellence of Mr. Stefan Geoffrey Neville's music until this week, when I was lucky enough to receive this not-yet-released disk in the mail.

I have been in one of the most embarrasingly extreme don't listen to any new stuff at all phases in my life here lately. That does make some sense, in that I'm working on a book centering largely on music made in the '20s and '30s. But between this and the new-ish R. Kelly and Diddy singles -- both of which rule, of course -- I'm slowly being brought back to the music of today's youth, to the now sounds that are currently happening. Yay, Pumice!!!

They muuuuurdeeerrrrrrrrrrred himmmmmm


TONY SCHWARTZ “Religion (Street Preacher, Jewish Prayer)”


TONY SCHWARTZ “Imagination & Music”

OK, so things seem a bit less harried and crazy and nuts and busy around here today so I aim to post with regularity -- we'll see!

The EMP Pop Conference remains the best thing happening in music criticism (as Christgau has claimed I believe? -- don't want to misquote him, especially now that I finally really like the guy and his work).

I was honored to be included, and the presentations I saw by Scott Seward, Michaelangelo Matos, Erik Davis, Ned Sublette, Simon Reynolds, RJ Smith, and this guy whose name I forget who had super interesting things to say about the ways Hawaiian culture interpreted / appropriated minstrelsy, he was awesome too. I missed as much great stuff as I saw, too. My brain's still processing stuff from then, and it was two weeks ago now (also just getting over a cold I picked up on the trip, yay).

One of my outlets, eMusic, has recently uploaded hundreds of Folkways titles. Hundreds!

There's music from the rarely recorded Tuareg people of the Sahara and cool looking weirdo classical people I've never heard of and a great Fugs record and some weird guru chanting recordings and Tim Leary telling you how to get high and a recording of the way a Manhattan street sounded in the early '50s. I know it's been said dozens of times, but if Folkways is not the most judiciously interesting label that's ever been launched, what is? They should have just sent the entire Folkways catalog up in the Voyager -- or sent an extra one along with it, crammed with a nice hi-fi and a robot eager to cue up every Folkways disc.

Even more obscure titles from the Folkways catalog remain un-digitized, though presumably it’s only a matter of time before everything is released—hopefully including archival recordings that never got put on LPs or CDs in the first place, going back to acetate 78s and early wire recordings! I personally can’t wait for the release of Elder Charles Beck’s awesome and super rare recording Urban Holiness Service, though it looks like it's digitzed elsewhere. The Blind Willie Johnson LP that Sam Charters did in the '50s which has his second wife taking credit for stuff his first wife did; I have it on vinyl but it would be nice to easily have it in bits, too.

The two things that have me really freaking out are the near-complete recordings of the genial, New York City-based musique concrete/ collage artist/ contemporary sound ethnographer dude Tony Schwartz, which just got added (you may know him for his Moondog recordings.)

Also just added is Nancy Dupree’s brilliant 1969 album Ghetto Reality, essentially an inner city version of the Langley Project with the kids writing their own songs. Holy fuck, it's so good!!! Hope you like these samples. I urge you to check out more at your earliest convenience.

Thursday, March 29, 2007

He'll be with me 'til the end

BISHOP PERRY TILLIS "I Found a Solid Rock in Jesus"

Woah, how did I ever miss this song by Bishop Perry Tillis on the compilation Traditional Music from Alabama's Wiregrass, a gift from esteemed scholar/ gentleman Kevin Nutt? Here I thought I'd never heard Tillis until I got sent the swell Perry Tillis disc that Birdman released last November. My brain's a sieve, apparently. Anyway, that disc is rad, the Alabama wiregrass one, and I guarantee you'll be the first on your block to own a copy. Plus it's only ten bucks, and the $$ goes right to the folklore society people themselves.

I wrote about Tillis a bit here a few months ago, if you care to know more. Nice to hear him in this 1995 service excerpt backed by drums and a congregation! This here song is about as raucous as I've heard him Tillis get, FYI. Part of his appeal is actually how subtle and "soft" his style is. Tillis actually played with Blind Willie Johnson. According to Bengt Olsson (awesome Swedish music fan who discovered / recorded Tillis some thirty-five years ago) Johnson himself hunted the dude down to play with him in the '40s! Wow. I wonder if BWJ was performing "Dark was the Night" live at the time (or really, ever)?

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

I once was lost in sin


You know, The Stuff That Dreams Are Made Of: Super Rarities & Unissued Gems (subtitle: The Dead Sea Scrolls of Record Collecting!) really should have topped my little list of favorite albums from last year. I didn't dig into it until January of this year, however. I guess I'd heard that the presumed-lost Son House find of a few years back, "Clarksdale Moan,"* was on a compilation somewhere, but... you know, you get busy, you move around a few times and aren't on anyone's promo lists anymore. And that's mostly fine by you since publicist emails and phone calls are maybe not worth the "free" discs after twenty-plus years of such stuff. Plus hardly anyone sends finished product anymore, it's all CD-Rs in the mail or lo-bit advances streamed on choppy proprietary players -- it's not like the old days of fancy lunches based on the boxes of discs loaded into your shiny Amazon cubicle weekly, daily. Just saying I'm a little out of the loop, and do not always hear everything months before it comes out. I wrote about this collection a touch here, months after it came out.

If Phipps' name sounds familiar, well he's on The Anthology, in Social Music of course, ruling on a ragged send-up of "Must Jesus Bear the Cross Aone" which they called "Shine on Me." And here, "A Little Walk" has become "A Little Talk." Not sure if this was because of royalties or just the natural desire to put one's own stamp on something? Phipps and his crew were part of Ralph Peer's mindfuckingly important Bristol sessions. If you like this, check out their few other numbers, especially "I Want to Go Where Jesus Is."

* That song is awesome, by the way -- worth the wait, even!

Friday, March 23, 2007

PON DAO, JUEN "Sad Love/ Gungteng & Voice"

Everyone and their househeld pet is going gaga over Sublime Frequencies’ Omar Souleyman release, and with good reason. This past week, while prepping the full text of an interview with the Sun City Girls I did a few years ago for a Seattle weekly cover story, I spent a lot of time revisiting the SF records, and #27, which has the Nonesuch Explorer-ish title of Ethnic Minority Music of Northeast Cambodia, has been kicking my ass: it's meditative and lovely.

On their own website, the SF folks have this to say: For the first time, here is a recording that documents the ceremonial animist music from the mysterious tribal villages of Northeast Cambodia. The Tampoans, Krungs, kavets, Braos, and Jaraîs of Ratanakiri Province and the Phnongs in Mondolkiri Province have been living amidst each other in this region for centuries preserving and expanding their unique cultural heritage, sometimes at peace and other times in conflict with one another or with foreign invaders. The music includes hypnotic gong ensembles, guitar ballads, bamboo flute, and unique local instrumentation such as the “Gungteng” and the “Mum”. The superb singing styles and vocals present throughout are absolutely mesmerizing. These tracks sound like nothing you’ve heard before, all magnificently documented transporting the listener into the heart of each performance. Recorded on location by Laurent Jeanneau over a 2-year period from 2003-2005 with his revealing liner notes and a detailed tracklist included within.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Of ouds and fuzzes


How about an Armenian-American psychedelic jamlet to help you get through hump day? It's no Mogollar, but it's definitely worth hearing. F.E. has a bootleg reissue for pretty cheap, via the label with the best name ever, Acid Symposium (World's Leading Terr0r1st State). They have this to say about it:

An inspired fusion of Middle Eastern rhythms and the fuzz guitar blasts so dear to fans of psychedelia resulted in this the most accessible album by accomplished oud player John Berberian and his troop of skilled musicians. First released on Verve/Forecast in 1969 this exotic album features music based on traditional themes from Turkey, Armenia, Greece, Arabia and North Africa blended with the terrific improvised energy of psychedelia. So what you end up with here is bustling bazaars and scorched sands passed through the prism of the lysergic sensibilities of the late 60's.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

They know where they are

ALEX CHILTON "The Walking Dead"

I am a little, tiny bit disappointed upon hearing this for the first time in about sixteen years. It's just not how I remember it, somehow. Either the song sounded rawer, crazier and a tad more "jointed" to my younger ears (which of course had yet to listen to the Rev. Overstreet for days on end) or it's the magnification process in the space in-between owning the song on vinyl then finally finding it on disc? Most likely it's a bit of both -- or perhaps the version I used to have was different?

Anyway, these are MY ISSUES, and I hope you enjoy this song. It's surely one of the five best paeans to zombies ever written (the other four being, I don't know, most likely Misfits songs). Dude clearly sounds out of his skull here, and once I relax and just accept the thing for what it is rather than what I thought it maybe was going to be, it's not half bad at all, especially delivery of the line "it gets stuffy in the lab." Hope you like, and many thanks to Douglas and Jason for saying 'welcome back' to me in the comments section! PDX represent, and stuff.

Saturday, March 17, 2007

My soul got happy so I stayed there all day.

Straight Street Group (featuring Rev. Milton Phelps) "Angels Keep Watching Over Me"

Gospel Keynotes "Jesus Will See You Through"

The first song is a latter day sanctified blues tune done just the way I like. It was sent my way by the esteemed Kevin Nutt, the man behind the Case Quarter label and the Sinner's Crossroads radio show. He had this to say about the number: "Thought about you when I heard this. Vanity label South Georgia Pentecostal throw down. c.1975 maybe."

Thanks Kevin! And holy frijole this thing is awesome: rollicking distorted guitar-heavy stuff in the manner of Rev. A. Johnson and Rev. Charlie Jackson. Can't find anything out about this Phelps guy but I know I need to hear the flip-side of this one. I'm going to presume he's of no relation to the famouser Rev. Phelps, the not very nice one, OK.

I feel a great desire to hear every single song that sounds like this. I don't need to own the stuff, and I know I'll never hear it all of course -- I just want to try, you know? All the cool cats are down in Austin this time of year immersing themselves in the crowded venues all day and night. And even a few years ago I'd have been there or wanted to be there bathing in the excitement of next big things and enjoying the awesome BBQ (eat the brisket, kids -- you'll never have it as good anywhere else!) and all else that SXSW has to offer (I love the running into old friends aspect, and the Yard Dog shows, the best). Instead, I'm up here in Portland combing through the Dixon and Godrich book, trying to find sanctified blues numbers I've never heard before, salivating over the idea of unheard Paramounts and unissued test pressings. I'd love to be in Austin (even though it is in TX) but I'm not at all sad to not be there, is what I'm saying.

Song number two is from about the same time as the first single, though most likely a few years earlier: a delightfully smooooooove number in the style of the Delfonics/ Floaters, by the Gospel Keynotes, who I do not think I've ever listened to before. This one was sent in by Ted Sonnenschein, whose ears are burning since I talked about Ted quite a bit at last weekend's moving, sweet memorial service for Charles Gocher of the Sun City Girls up in Seattle, at the SCG/ Sublime Frequencies compound.

The gospel soul era (very roughly, '69-'82 or so--whenever it is everyone and their mother had to start sounding all super mass choir) isn't my area of expertise, nor too often is it even an area of that much interest. But damn, I'm digging this song, today. It's what I imagine riding around in the back of a huge old American car that smells good heading to church with your man or woman dressed up looking so good you can't wait to get back home later but also you want people to see you with them just might be like. This song. I hope it is not too terribly lame for me to have shared this minor fantasy of mine with you. Ted writes: "Every time I listen to gospel I think of my pooka bear. If you ever need a hand, I have this song for you. God Bless, Teodorus Sonnenrighteous."

It's good to have friends. Anyone else care to send me some mp3s of gospel music, or maybe some drone I've never heard, that would be swell. But pretty pretty please, no more mp3s from indie bands trying to break into the don't-call-it-the-blog-o-sphere -- that email address is all clogged up already! (PS: there are of course five thousand, three hundred and twenty-three other blogs which people actually look at, unlike this one, which are all ready and aching to hear your stellar and exciting sounds and to help you get signed to, say, "Megakid"'s label before she gets shit-canned. Ummm, best of luck to you!)

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Thirty three and a third reading

'Sup? I'm deep in a review-writing crunch and getting back taxes sorted so this is more news-based than, well, interesting, sorry!

I'm reading at the new Sonic Boom General Store in the Fremont section of Seattle, WA Thursday evening, at 7:30 PM. It's free, and maybe fun. Be sure to heckle me if you show up? I am nervous enough as it is during these things; maybe I'll do a Scanner-head?! That would be cool.

The esteemed KEXP Blog said nice things so I'll just quote them:

Thursday February 8: 33 1/3 book reading with Sean Nelson & Mike McGonigal {Sonic Boom Records General Store}
It doesn’t seem so long ago that we were buying our copies of OK Computer from Sonic Boom’s wee-sized Fremont location. Now they’ve grown to multiple locations all over to fill the backpacks of Seattle’s music lovers. Their latest addition to the SB family is the Sonic Boom General Store, which will specialize in vinyl, magazines, books, designer toys, gifts, and snacks. We’ll find any one of those things exciting. We mean, “designer toys?” Snacks? FUN!

But we digress. This Thursday is a night of smarty pants good times that involves a trifecta of things, each as fun as a mouth full of pop rocks: Sean Nelson, Mike McGonigal, and 33 1/3 book series. Sean Nelson, Seattle Man about Town, will be reading from his new 33 1/3 book on Joni Mitchell’s Court and Spark and Mike McGonigal, curator of the finest arts and culture publication-Yeti, will focus on My Bloody Valentine’s Loveless. With both men being stunning examples of charm, eloquence, and wit, we’re breathless with anticipation for Thursday’s reading.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Russian Lovahhh

As the first two titles from YETI Publications near completion, the first one's now up on Amazon and ready for pre-order: Russian Lover by Jana Martin. It's a collection of short stories from the upstate-New York-based writer.

Also, Greil Marcus is writing the introduction to our second title, out late Spring/ early summer: Kill All Your Darlings by Luc Sante. And Patrick Barber is designing the cover just now, which has a sweet painting on it by Francesco Clemente.

The other two YETI titles which will be out at the end of the year, Mike Doughty's Eritrean photo book and Tara Jane O'Neil's art book will both be 6" by 6" full color hardcover titles with CDs inside them. Rachel Carns has signed on to design those.

Pre-order Jana's book at a sweet discount here.