Saturday, November 23, 2013

Down in the Dubs

I've always had a love/hate relationship with Dub music until recently. At first listen I think holy shit this is the most amazing thing i've ever heard. After two more songs i'm thinking: this all sounds exactly the same! Reverb drenched drums, dub dropout, and delayed vocals: mix and repeat. BOOORING.

I kind of wrote the whole genre off a while back until I read England's Dreaming where Jon Savage describes how big of an influence a lot of reggae and dub producers were on the emerging punk movement. Not only in production of the music but in the rebellious nature of the lyrics. I had no idea Lee Perry produced that Clash single... So now i'm down in the Dub, soaking it all in.

The whole history of dub music is interesting and shit Jamaica sounds like an awful place to live then and now if you're poor. Just watch The Harder They Come for a time capsule of what life was like for the early pioneers. Doesn't sound too far off from the modern rap rag to riches mythos except they never got rich! I am utterly fascinated by the moving sound systems used for parties (see above). Thats some Mad Max shit right there.

I kind of see dub as the beginning of rap (deejay toasting), remixing, and a hell of an influence on later electronic music that I cant give two shits about. I'd go so far as to say when punk, krautrock and dub all meet up in the late 1970's modern music as we know it today was born.

Sifting through all the sameness that dub can be, there are some monstrous and just plan crazy ideas within the best recordings that eventual mutated into other wilder forms. Here are some of my favorites.

You gotta start with that wild maniac producer Lee Scratch Perry. This guy made a gazillion records so many in fact i bet he doesn't even remember half of them. I just picked up both his Megaton Dub volumes on wax. You cant go wrong here.

Dr. Alimantado was picked up on the Green Sleeves label when John Lydon said this dude ruled. He totally does. That bass is impossibly deep. For a Doctor you'd think he'd zip up his pants for the record cover.

The Congos Heart of the Congos was produced the fuck out of this world by wild man Lee Scratch Perry. This is the record where I said i never need any other Jamaican music. This is it. I was wrong but still its one amazing record. Phased and delayed: I hope those falsetto vocals don't grate ya!

Augustus Pablo played that wondrous bong like melodica and King -don't smoke weed in my studio -Tubby dubbed him into the stratosphere. King Tubby Meets the Rockers Uptown is one of the most famous dub records and for good reason. Strap on some headphones and you're likely not to return to this earthly realm until the duration of the record.

PRINCE FAAAARRRR I! This guy i'd never heard of until i read about him in England's Dreaming. What was this guy SMOKING? Oh right... Listen to that crazy synth!

Slits on vocals for this one.

Joe Gibbs was a producer and made many many many records. A poor mans Lee Perry? Nope! Dude had his own style.


Keith Hudson

Scientist took dub to a whole new level with Scientist Meets The Space Invaders. So much space! so much room for activities!

Prince Jammy is right up there with Scientist. With that toy synth in the mix, this gets pretty close to Cosmic Jokers territory.

With Dub making tracks more spacious DeeJays would fill the voids with toasting a precursor to rapping. Lone Ranger toasting about his M16

Clint Eastwood & General Saint are basically rapping on this one. If you cant get the fuck down to this one you have no soul.


As dub became more controlled the DeeJays took over. Ya got yer Yellow Man here and god damn i love it when Eek A Mouse busts out in Mexican regalia, does his thing and the crowd just goes nuts. What a character.

King Jammy dubbing in the studio

Teeth of the Sea - Master

So you're cruising around a post apocalypse landscape in a hovering mustang with your hybrid hyena/dog companion at your side: what are blasting out of your stereo? Jam the fuck out to Teeth of the Sea's Master. Cyborg prog rock that teeter over into epic-ness with squeaky clean electronics knocking against dirgy bass lines and just enough spaciousness. Is that a god damn trumpet in the mix? Hell yeah. Phillip Glass meets Tron then goes Nine Inch Nails. The soundtrack to you next road trip into a destroyed future.

Friday, March 8, 2013


When I hear anyone talk about Jazz music three things pop into my mind: Bill Cosby, this skit from The Mighty Boosh, and how much I abhor it. The structure, the instruments (get dat trumpet the fuck outa here) turns me off musically immediately . However, my whole mindset about what exactly is jazz music changed this past year after investigating works by Miles Davis, Sun Ra and Herbie Hancock. Check out these offerings of sublime "otherness" by these masters of jazz that took the genre so far out there that ya can't still call it jazz no more, or can you?

Sun Ra, as my boss (a jazz enthusiast) so eloquently put it, was an amazing jazz musician who just so happened to believe that he was from outer space. Sign me up I'm on board! I mean I already love Parliament (clearly influenced by the man, at least visually) for the same thing... here's a couple cuts to get started on your free jazz journey with Sun Ra to the farthest regions of outer space.

Sounds like someone is building a car in the middle of this one, a space car...

Nothing like the sound of a synth gone MAD!

If you dig Sun Ra then you HAVE to watch his SciFi race politics film Space is The Place. Plays like a blaxploitation Holy Mountain directed by the people behind Pee Wee's Play House.

Herbie Hancock has gotta be the one jazz dude I NEVER thought I'd listen to, let alone drop some mulah on one of his records. But damn if that isn't exactly what I did after i heard his masterpiece Sextant. This monster sounds like early Kraftwerk (I'm talking bout the cone records folks) but a hell of a lot funkier and wilder with pling plong electronics all over this mess of a jazz band. When I plunked the needle down on Sextant at la casa, girlfriend became increasingly uncomfortable and said she was in a "Jazz Jungle". Yeah, I feel that too, and I love it!

You can take the Hancock trip one record further with Head Hunters.

After this one my interest in his discography wanes as Herbie goes further into Jazz funk and I'll let The Mighty Boosh tell you bout that ...

The main offender in my preconceived notion of jazz has to be Miles Davis. My introduction to Mr. Davis's music was in the car coming back from Cleveland with my mom after shopping for music 9 years ago. She purchased Bitches Brew and proceeded to torture me with that cantankerous abomination (at least in my mind) of an album all the way back home. Still hate that record even today and what further solidified in my mind that I'd never listen to Miles again was having to listen to a warped record of Evil Live at a store while perusing books. Shit sounded LITERALLY like nails on a chalkboard.
What changed my mind was Julian Cope drooling about these four mid 70's albums, much hated by the jazz world at large. I take heed whatever the arch-dude throws out on his site so I dove deep and can confirm: these albums are OUT THERE man. Mucho wah wah pedal all over these fuckers. Trumpet yer wah wahed. Guitar! Yer wah wahed. Keyboard yer wah wahed to fuck all abandon. Miles took the best from Sly Stone, Payback James Brown, and Jimi Hendrix to make the best kind of freaky out there acid rock funk that no man has approached since!

Dark Magus is an incredible record. The guitar stabs sound like laser beams.

Watch out you'll get lost in Get Up With It's two hour duration. This one comes close to touching on krautrock. The phased guitar reminds me a bit of German Oak no?

Agharta cranks up the acid funk vibe to maximum overload.

Some mental guitar melt downs on Pangaea

So am I forever labeled a jazz lover, shunned by my rock n roll brethren for loving so hard on these albums? Is it "jazz"? I dont know and im not gonna argue or care what you call it, I like mon aim.

Friday, March 1, 2013

Punk N' Prog: Two Genres In Opposition

In the late 1970's Punk and Progressive rock were bitter enemies locked in a war between street attitude musical ineptitude and bloated sci fi lyric circle jerk opuses, so far at the opposite sides of the musical spectrum you'd be hard pressed to find any common ground between the two am I right? Nope. The punx had some prog in their closets whether they liked to admit it or not. The punk/post punk musicians tried so hard to distance themselves from the pompous progressive rock they were rallying against but in reality were clearly influenced by them. Some went so far as to write themselves manifesto's of what they would not do in their music (looking at you Wire) and then did it anyways. When punk came knocking on the record company's door, execs started to either dump progressive rock bands or have them change their style into something more accessible. So herein is a little incite into how punks soaked in that prog rock and the prog soaked in that punk rock. No Krautrock in here, thats a whole other article!

I know two friends who went to see King Crimson back in the day and both said they fell asleep during some 20 minute mellotron solo. Sooooo besides his tendency to cruise into snooze ville Fripp's unique take on progressive rock had a lot of the early punks scratching their heads. All King Crimson records have at least ONE amazing hard rocking masterpiece that scrapes the enamel off yer teeth and have greatly influenced bands like This Heat, Scritti Politti, The Fall, etc. Lets not forget Fripps contributions to Eno's records (especially that white hot lick on Baby's On Fire) that everybody in the pre punk days listened to. But the one awesome record that gets dismissed by long time by KC fans that I think fits right at home next to Metallic KO is EarthBound. The shambolic take on "21st Century Schizoid Man" has that brutish Stooges like ineptitude where the whole thing feels like it could fall apart at any minute but still begrudgingly trugs along.

Van Der Graaf Generator doesn't get enough credit from the punx even though Johnny Rotten and Howard Devoto did a fantastic job of nick'n old Hammill's vocal style pretty good. Heck even Mr Bowie picked up a few things from Hammil's solo output... SHEE-IT do I hear a little Iron Maiden too?  Gawd damn the whole U.K punk "sound" is entirely indebted to this mans vocal pipes.

Need further proof? Look no further than Mister Hammil's solo work. Sex Pistol's blue print right here folks:

Gong, a space rock, prog rock and even jazz rock leaning group hated by punks and non punks alike (The Radio Gnome albums are fantastic doods, especially You, just delete those jazz rock songs off your ipods!)  but man did founder Daevid Allen love the punks. So much so he's got two records informed by the punk movement. One that is super obvious and one more subtly so.

New York Gong is Daevid  trying hard to be punk even donning a black leather jacket. Its a weird uneven album.

Planet Gong's Live Floating Anarchy is the one I adore. Its that sweet spot mix of prog rock played with punk energy. Daevid's sneering like a punk too!

If you dig Planet Gong you should check out Here & Now the backing band behind Daevid Allen who have the punk prog thing down pat. A lil like The Stranglers no?

Hate on Yes all you want but hey wasn't PIL's Keith Levene a big fan of them.... hmmm well I'm not going to go out n out and say that a 1977 Yes album was informed by punk, but I think its entirely feasible that some music executive who spent a lot of money on the band over the years and heard the rally sound of the punk drums thought it might be a good idea to have Yes hone in their sound and push some Chuck Berry guitar riff'n high up in the mix for a single. What came out was "Going For The One." Still progressive rock but you can't not hear that C Berry riff without the context of what was happening in music at the time!

Is Hawkwind too easy for this article? Are they prog? A lot of genres get thrown at Mr. Brock and company including progressive but in all honesty they really are their own thing that had a huge influence on the early punkers. Without "Brainstorm" their would be no Sex Pistols said one Johnny Rotten and hey reformed karaoke Sex Pistols love to cover "Silver Machine"

The Stranglers 70's and early 80s output in 2013 sounds more like a sneering progressive rock band than a "traditional" punk band. Just listen to the keyboard player, and don't give me that pub rock hub bub, there is some serious Rick Wakeman virtuoso playing going here. By the time they recorded The Raven they weren't hiding it anymore just listen to the intro for "Ice".

Another favorite of  J. Rotten and Julian Cope is Magma, a progressive rock band from France. Their music sometimes referred as Zeuhl, is dark, heavy and brooding that sometimes dips into Jazz rock. I love the fuck out of this band and had to include them.

Henry Cow has the reputation amongst punkers for the mere fact that Mark E Smith, tried out for them before he formed The Fall. Luckily for us all he was not admitted!

The Damned, the quintessential U.K. punk band have lasted so long and changed their musical style so many times its difficult for me, someone born way after their peak, to understand that by the time they wanted to record their second album why were the punks in an uproar over the fact that a Pink Floydian was producing their album? I mean who gives a fuck right? But back then Pink Floyd was the enemy and everyone had forgotten about lil old acid casualty Syd Barrette when punk came clanging through, everyone except The Damned who originally wanted him to produce their second LP. Except they got Nick Mason instead who didn't give a flying fuck about them and produced a pretty tame boring record called Music For Pleasure. Womp wahhh.

The years between punk and progressive rock are pretty slim and sheesh rock n roll was only 20 some odd years old at the time these two genres clashed. Now in 2013 its ponderous that these guys didnt just join forces and create some far flung punk prog masterpiece but the stigmas held strong then.  Thanks to time the barriers have slowly withered away you can hear common ground between the two. A punk can learn to love prog if he knows where to listen. To conclude, listen to Wire do their best pompous progressive rock impression:

Monday, February 18, 2013

Folk From The Underworld

In the dead of winter these snow queens are keeping me company. The sound of Hades draggin Persephone into the underworld...

Sunday, February 3, 2013

A Killer's Dream: Comic


I created this eight page comic collaboration, illustrated by my friend Hazel Santino, the Moebius to my Jodorowsky! It's the first in a series of comics, all based upon dreams that I expanded into surreal, hypnagogic-logic mini-stories ranging from tales of possession, killer fungi psychedelic cult bands, time traveling specters, psychic parties and more! Influenced equally by the works of Colin Wilson, Philip K. Dick, J.G. Ballard, David Lynch, and whatever/whomever else my subconscious filters and spits out in the middle of the night.

"A Killer's Dream" is professionally printed on heavy gloss white stock paper with deeper-than-the-night black ink. For 8 bucks + shipping this beauty can sit pretty between your fingers and you'll be funding the next comic in the series, "The Path Of Sadness." So get on it, internet surfers, because once this limited run is gone... it's GONE!

Thursday, January 10, 2013


The first time I listened to Venom P. Stinger I kinda hated them. Hardcore punk but it sounds off and weird? Couldnt wrap my head around'em. With a second and third listen i'm diggin on them HARD. A little like Scratch Acid, no? Gotta love that Aussie punk from the 80's!

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Best Records of 2012

In no particular order here are the tunes I was smittin with this year. Some wild shit this year. Hold onto your butts!

Kraus - Supreme Commander

GR -  A Reverse Age

 Aluk Todolo -  Occult Rock

Spacin' - Deep Thuds

 Puffy Areolas - 1982 Dishonorable Discharge

Hashbrown - The Walk On

Camera - Radiate!

Verma - Exu

Glow Factory

 Lamps - Under The Water Under The Ground

AZURAZIA - Original soundtrack Lowering the Mediterranenan, irrigating the Sahara

Best Reissue

Palais Schaumburg

 Noh Mercy

Lost Sounds - Lost Lost    um so no sounds clips anywhere for this one ughhh

Gunter Schickert  - Uberfallig

 Can - Lost Tapes

 Bizarros - 1976-1980