Friday, June 09, 2006

everything degrades down to the most poisonous substance known to man

Recently, I've been semi-obsessed with the Radiohead B-Side "Polyethylene (Parts 1 & 2)", mainly prompted from this video of a live performance of the song in 1997. It reminded me that Radiohead, as a band, has possibly the most consistently great b-side catalog I can think of. Some of their best material, really, can be found in their B-Sides.

Normally I'm not one to bait the recording industry's lawyers on this blog, as about 99% of what I post in mp3 format is of artists or an artist belonging to indie labels who, if having a problem with music being posted on blogs, tend to just shoot you an e-mail asking you to take whatever it is you have up down. That being said, I'm about to take a possibly huge risk with Radiohead being on a major, but, well, a) it's Radiohead, and b) it's Radiohead's b-side material, not their major releases.

Here, in a large zip file, is Radiohead's entire B-Side catalog (as far as I know). It's a huge RAR file (nearly 200 megs), and if you have a problem with scattered 128 kbps bitrates, then too bad. This is more meant as an opportunity to expose you to the richness of Radiohead's B-Side catalog than provide you with crystal clear copies, anyway. Because of the implied legal risk, I'm going to cancel the sendspace link within a week, so grab it while it's hot:

Download Radiohead's entire B-Side Catalog

edit: So not everything is included, really mostly only the B-Sides which should matter (songs not included on the LP's), but anyway, sorry, here's the tracks included:

2+2=5 (live)
A Reminder
Banana Co.
Bishop's Robes
Coke Babies
Faithless, the Wonder Boy
Fast Track
Fog (again)
Gagging Order
How Can You Be Sure?
How I Made My Millions
I Am A Whicked Child
I Am Citizen Insane
I Want None Of This
India Rubber
Inside My Head
Killer Cars
Lewis (Mistreated)
Life In A Glasshouse (Long Version)
Lozenge Of Love
Meeting In the Aisle
Million Dollar Question
Palo Alto
Paperbag Writer
Permanent Daylight
Polyethylene (Pts. 1 & 2)
Pop Is Dead
Punchdrunk Lovesick Singalong
Stupid Car
Talk Show Host ("Long" Edit)
The Amazing Sounds Of Orgy
The Trickster
Trans-Atlantic Drawl
Where Bluebirds Fly
Yes I Am
You Never Wash Up After Yourself

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Just Bring Me Back My Girl

The acoustic guitar is an instrument oft-ignored in the modern popular music landscape, if only because, well, it seems like everything's been done on it that could conceivably be done. It's an antiquated, tired vehicle of musical composition. Pedals and manipulation aside, pure, unadulterated acoustic playing rarely raises any eyebrows.

There are, that being said, exceptions to this perception. Recently, artists like Sir Richard Bishop (formerly of Sun City Girls) and even the layered psychadelics of GHQ have paid nod to John Fahey. Fahey is, arguably, the modern revivor of the acoustic guitar, taking many disparate playing styles and integrating them into cohesive albums with exceptional skill. Possibly the pinnacle of his early works is 1969's The Yellow Princess, which finds Fahey incorporating some minor percussion to his usually bare, back-to-basics style, with great results. Here's a song:

Download "Irish Letter"

Inspired, or perhaps exposed, by Fahey's innovation, Leo Kottke joined Fahey's label in the early 70's. His album, the aptly titled 6 & 12-String Guitar is an absolute masterpiece in general, and, perhaps, the primary flag-bearer for the "acoustic revival" occurring at the time. Here;s a song:

Download "Busted Bicycle"

Lastly, there are the modern incarnations, including the absolutely fucking amazing Sir Richard Bishop. Formerly of the slightly less focused indie/experimental group Sun City Girls, Richard Bishop has recently been exploring his playing skills in wonderful CD-R releases that have distributed recently. Really, really cool stuff, building on the ideas Fahey etc. generated. Here's a song from All Strung Out:

Download "Free Masonic Guitar"

Monday, June 05, 2006

Be A Hobo

Moondog, the alias for Louis T. Hardin, was a pioneer in the minimalist/avant-garde music scene, if not its progenitor. Blinded at the age of 17 from a fireworks accident, he was taught at various music schools for the blind, but, in a remarkable example of the compensational amplification of one sense so often reported in those who lose another, largely learned chord structures by ear alone. I'll let an excerpt from an as-yet unpublished biography of Moondog, by "literary studies professor" Robert Scotto, explain some of the rest:

"Arriving with no contacts and only one months rent, for the next 30 years he became something of a cultural enigma. It was during this period of flirtation with the Big Apple that the Moondog legend began. Positioning himself on 54th Street and Avenue, later to be known as Moondog corner, he would entertain crowds playing his compositions on home made drums and some portable keyboards and reciting his own poetry. His eccentricity was furthered by the fact that sporting a long beard and a spear, he wore home made clothes consisting of a robe, a vikings helmet, and leather patchwork trousers again the influence of the Indians having effect. However, this unsual form of dress was to lose him prestigious contracts in the future.

As the legend would have it, musicians from the Carnegie Hall spotted Moondog just across the way from where he entertained. Impressed by what they saw they persuaded the conductor Arthur Rodzinski to let him sit in on rehearsals."
(read the rest at Moondog's official website)

Anyway, it's a really cool story, and this guy essentially came out with just the strangest avant-garde material in 1956, of all years, with his first self-titled release. None of it sounds in the least dated, and stands up to the work of later, more "modern" avant-gardeists with ease. Here are some songs:

Download "Lullaby"
Download "Surf Session"

Friday, June 02, 2006

Jay Babock versus The Man

I mentioned this in my ArthurBall review, but I'll repeat it: I won tickets to the wonderful ArthurBall, which is one of two festivals Arthur Magazine has started to put on (the other being "ArthurFest"), this past February, and was led around by Jay Babcock, the editor and mastermind behind the whole project. I had no press passes, nothing of that sort - I simply was lost trying to find one of the art installations, and Jay patted me on the back, introduced himself, and talked Joanna Newsom with me as he led me around.

Arthur is, for the uninformed, quite possibly the only media outlet which supports independent culture with a true, unashamed allegiance to what being "independent" means. The "vibe," for lack of a better term, at both ArthurFest and ArthurBall is like nothing I've ever experienced - surrounded with artists and art which should be deemed "pretentious," but truly lacked any pretense whatsoever. So hearing something like what I'm about to post is just amazing. Jay, somehow, managed to get an interview with the band Godsmack, part of the "new rock" movement which has pooled its way into tired rock casings in the absence of true artistic presence from a popular rock perspective. In a convenient coincedence, Godsmack also happens to provide the music for Marine recruiting commercials, produces albums with military themes, and displays military imagery during their usually packed arena shows. Jay simply calls the lead singer of Godsmack on his obvious politcal and military allegiances, but does not pussy out there. Unlike even most extreme liberals lately, he "mans up" enough to really play hardball with this guy, and express his anger surrounding the thousands of meaningless deaths American occupation in Iraq is producing. The singer is completely caught off guard by this, and it's just fucking hilarious. In short, Jay Babcock is my hero, and here's the mp3:

Download the interview between Arthur Magazine editor Jay Babcock and the lead singer of Godsmack

Arthur is one of the few things which gives me some hope that the idealism I want to believe in as a "liberal" in this country is not being some sort of pipe dream, but entirely possible. Arthur is completely grass roots, and this sort of interview just brings a smile to my usually overly-cynnical facade.

For less political listening opportunities, I present to you another one of Keiji Hano's offerings this year, with Sitaar Tah! this time, the result being a sort of psychadelic freak-out you won't hear anywhere else. Here's the first of the album's two tracks, but be warned, it's a large file:

Download the first track of ANIMAMIMA

keiji haino's website
arthur magazine