8.05.2016

THE SUN AIN'T GONNA SHINE ANYMORE: In The Sun I Feel As One or... Scott Walker Forever

By Source, Fair use, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?curid=6334953
The Walker Brothers were a curious lot, a trio of Americans persuaded by head Stone Brian Jones to move to the UK during the height of Swingin' London. Another American would arrive a year later  There were no siblings to speak of in this band, something the Ramones made note of when they adopted the same surname sometime in the early Seventies. They were instead named after a car dealership deep in the loins of Porn Valley aka Van Nuys, CA. That L.A. touch, not to mention Gary Walker, nee Leeds was a founding member of the Standells, always made the group stand out on the radio as a kid. Back when I was young, AM radio was a real thing and you could get killer stations from all over the country at night or while driving in the car across town. My earliest memories of music weren't the ones being codified as dinosaur rock as I was literally coming up, I guess shirtless wailings not performed by Iggy were never my thing. What I remember was American Top 40 mid Seventies style - a mix of treacly crap, oldies - mostly the Stones and the Beatles, the nascent disco thang, and Sunday night mysteries. Yeah, you could still listen to dramas on the AM as late as the mid-Seventies. That was the kind of time it was, kinda recovering from the sonic boom that was the Sixties and ready to get on some sort of drugs in the Eighties - prescription or otherwise - over the counter culture was what my friend used to call it. Out of all those shitty AM radio tunes, in floats "The Sun Ain't Gonna Shine Anymore" like a ghost ship with Scott crooning the lyrics that complete sold me on the concept of sex, drugs, and rock & roll as a noble pursuit even at the tender age of four. 

Loneliness, a cloak you wear
A deep shade of blue
Is always there


I thought it was odd as a young 'un that Scott Walker would personify loneliness lyrically. Now, as a middle aged man, I feel like he's speaking directly to me. Maybe that goes a long way in explaining why I love Scott's music so much, it evolves. The song itself would be a typical American single produced by Phil Spector or any of his contemporaries and played by the Wrecking Crew if it was for the fact that it was recorded in London for Philips with the same team who made Dusty Springfield a huge star, mainly by aping the Wall of Sound style by rote. Written by Four Seasons' alums Bob Crewe and Bob Gaudio, it was intended to be a solo single for Frankie Valli in '65 but saw no chart action.  '66 saw the Walkers pick up the tune and take it to #1 in the UK and a top 20 hit in the US. Their version was a refreshing change of pace from the Motown and Chess obsessed purism of the top dogs in the British Invasion scene. Granted, the 'Bros. weren't exactly a top dog and often veered well into the territory of Neil Diamond and the dreaded Humperdinck comma Engelbert. Personally, I prefer to think of the gloss and shine as a taste for fine cabaret pop ala Jacques Brel, specifically "My Death",  but that kind of music so often that just turns to a whole bunch of fat Elvis schmaltz that doesn't age well with time.

These guys were a singles band all the way in that respect, but unlike their American brethren who had Hal Blaine and Carol Kaye at their disposal, that's the band really playing. Heavily arranged by Ivor Raymonde, of course, but check out their live performance of "No Regrets" on Youtube to see these guys were all good enough to be top session men. The song has a deep, melancholic feel that only the best records on Phillies hinted at and took the teen drama portion of rock music to a whole new level whose ante would be upped in the coming years in Swingin' London. But for a brief, shining moment the Walker Brothers were the best there ever was and it was grand when I was age four hearing it for the first time on the car radio; even more so now because the lyrics are so obviously about depression. Interestingly, Crewe and Gaudio never had that intention in mind when they wrote the tune for Frankie, who over-emotes the hell out of it, as is his wont. Hearing the original, it is no wonder it never broke the Billboard Top 100, it is that same kind of typical Broadway schmaltz shit I alluded to above, which is just one small step above that hellhole known as Wayne Newton. The Walkers' version represents a major leap forward eleevating the whole thing to high art with Scott's daring reading that changes the song into an anthem for anyone who has ever struggled with serious, long term depression. That is why the song speaks to me, Scott shows tremendous courage in trying to articulate the ephemeral nature of mental wellness and the ache of a broken heart that can never be mended.
'The thoughts we used to share I now keep alone'


No comment...



THE SUN AIN'T GONNA SHINE ANYMORE
Loneliness, a cloak you wear
A deep shade of blue
Is always there


The sun ain't gonna shine anymore
The moon ain't gonna rise in the sky
The tears are always clouding your eyes
When you're without love, baby


Emptiness is a place you're in
With nothing to lose
But no more to win


The sun ain't gonna shine anymore
The moon ain't gonna rise in the sky
The tears are always clouding your eyes
When you're without love


Lonely, without you baby
Girl I need you
I can't go on

The sun ain't gonna shine anymore
(The sun ain't gonna shine anymore)
The moon ain't gonna rise in the sky
(The moon ain't gonna rise in the sky)
The tears are always clouding your eyes
(The tears are always clouding your eyes)
The sun ain't gonna shine anymore
When you're without love, baby

6.09.2016

CONDUIT 05 Mix - Buddha of Suburbia


CONDUIT 05 Mix - Buddha of Suburbia
by Sean-Michael Yoder

2016 has been so challenging, starting with David Bowie's death and culminating in the passing of my father this Spring. The emotional ride has been wild, to say the least. But music has always been a great source of comfort for me. I turn to music the way most people turn to drugs & alcohol. To say I'm obesessive about it would be an understatement. On a more positive note,  I've been playing out more frequently (not bad for being "retired", supposedly) so these tracks are very much road tested... to great response - btw. I also really wanted to give a big thanks back with this mix to all of my fans, allies, and supporters around the world. It means a great deal to me to be able to share such amazing new music with you.

DOWNLOAD CONDUIT 05 - Buddha of Suburbia
https://db.tt/gE1YkNZ4

MAY DJ CHARTS
https://www.residentadvisor.net/dj/theabstract_terrorist/top10?chart=190256

TRACKLISTING:
David Bowie - Untitled No. 1 (Virgin)
Deee-Lite - Groove Is In The Heart [The Reflex Revision] (white)
The Black 80s - For The Rest (Freerange)
Shit Robot - End of the Trail feat Alexis Taylor (DFA)
Shit Robot - End of the Trail feat Alexis Taylor (Roman Fluegel Remix)(DFA)
thatmanmonkz - Turn It Out ft. Dave Aju (Dave Aju remix) (Delusions of Grandeur)
Terr - Metropolis (Hotflush)
Shit Robot - Lose Control ft Nancy Whang (DFA)
Madonna - Justify My Love (Lee Van Dowski Edit) (white)
Kevin Over - Ode (Truesoul)
Ost & Kjex - Queen of Europe feat Anne (Solomun Remix) (Diynamic)
Kevin Over - Duster (Truesoul)
Jay Shepheard & Kito Jempere - Deben Tide (Retrofit)
Alec Troniq & Gabriel Vitel - Walk Myself (Broque)
Martin Eyerer feat Abby - Turn Turn Turn (Chopstick & Johnjon Remix) (Kling Klong)
Karim Sahraoui - Prelude (Transmat)
Denite - Morning (Redlight Music)
Pellon - Feeling Out Of Control  (Parallel Label)
WonderNature - Take My Love (Sweetwax Recordings)
Lisa Shaw - I Can See It (Miguel Migs Dub Deluxe)(Salted Music)
Jori Hulkkonen - Black Books (Jori Hulkkonen Club Dub) (My Favorite Robot)
Duckhunter - Oasis (Quanticman)
One Less of Them - Solace (Substation Recordings)
WonderNature - Party Lights (Elomak Remix)(Sweetwax Recordings)
Big Strick - Dirty Burner (7 Days Ent)
Lady Maru - Dub Stop (Semplice)
Doctor Dru - Proper Lane (Maxxi Soundsystem Remix)(Jeudi)

4.11.2016

CONDUIT 04 Mix - Body Heat


CONDUIT 04 Mix - Body Heat
by Sean-Michael Yoder
2016 is off and running, weeks into the second quarter of it at last check. I have been active in that time as a DJ - sifting through tracks, listening to mixes, and investigating full lengths at a furious pace. I hope to be more active on the DJ mix front in 2016 and kick the CONDUIT 2016 series off with Body Heat - a journey into the earlier realms of the night out experience. It was a nice challenge to pick tracks for a 10PM set rather than a 2 or even 5AM one and still come up with something meaningful and moving.

DOWNLOAD CONDUIT 04 - Body Heat
https://www.dropbox.com/s/2bfy3z8daeq8dye/Conduit%204%20-%20Body%20Heat.zip?dl=0

APRIL DJ CHARTS
https://www.residentadvisor.net/dj/theabstract_terrorist/top10?chart=188135

TRACKLISTING:Tycho - Coastal Brake (Ghostly International)
Smog - Salamandre (Blaq)
Fiona Beeson - Drift (Caesar Caballero Remix) (Beesound Recordings)
DJ Onionz - Space Slave (Pezzner Remix 2) (Uniting Souls Music)
Jonra & E-Machinery - Bodys In Motion (Jay Tripwire Remix) (Superfreq Recordings)
Tim Susa - House of Lazy People (Broque)
K-Ten - Forget The Past (Rene Breitbarth Remix) (Buena Onda)
Azimute - Laterra (Serialism)
Jepe - XTC (Perce)
Yougene - Spazio Scuro (Ghosthall)
Fred P - Wave Patterns (Rex Club Music)
Nadja Lind & Brendon Moeller - Saharan Night (Trinity Remix) (Lucidflow)
Mark Evemport - Sedih (Sticky.Music)
Donor - Counter (Kangding Ray Remix) (Prosthetic Pressings)
Sky Deep - Thinking of You (Reveller)
Desta - Rolling (Kling Klong)
Hollen - Pistones (Terminal M)
Naufer  - Arnkhaar (Nosso)
Aggborough - Modal (OTB)
Tolga Fidan - Fra-B-C (Bass Cadet)
Bellville - Hanoi (Sasse Remix) (Incroyable Music)
Stekke - TLP (Olga)
Donor - Fault Is Found (Takaaki Itoh Remix)  (Prosthetic Pressings)
Florian Kruse - Broken Mirror ft. Hendrik Burkhard (Jeudi)
DEAS - Space
Darlyn Vlys - Butterfly (My Favorite Robot)
Rick Wade - Funkopolis (Emotion's One Take Jam Edit) (RYMD)
Danny Oliveira - Faraya (Uphill Mix) (Aequivalenz Recordings)
Leach & Lezizmo ft Heleen - Body Heat (Lars Behrenroth Remix) (Muzik & Friendz)

















12.29.2015

CONDUIT 03 Mix - The Mega Holiday Explosion Mix


CONDUIT 03 Mix - The Mega Holiday Explosion Mix
by Sean-Michael Yoder

This past year started with such promise, I was blogging again, making mixes, doing things...But life often has a way of getting in the way of things. As the Kinks once sang, "Where have all the good times gone?" Mostly, my love of music and fun got caught up in the pressures and tribulations of serious adulthood. I figure once you hit your mid-forties there is no denying adulthood any longer and so it goes. Rather than sit back and watch the year pass away with a whimper, I got my shit together, downloaded a ton of promos and made the DJ mix I've always wanted to make. Back when I started DJ'ing -  one DJ, generally the one with all of the equipment, would be the only person on the line-up. He or she had to have the wax stacks to comfortably play for six or more hours at a time. A true journey with a dizzying amount of records to set every mood. With that in mind, I composed three distinct mixes - a daytime/evening collection, a peak hour mix, and a lil something for closing time. I took all three and uploaded them together to make it a mega holiday explosion set and, in my mind, a complete artistic statement from yours truly. So sit back, take a load off, and prepare to spend the next 5 1/2 hours blissing out to the tracks laid out before you. Enjoy and happy holidays 2015!

DOWNLOAD CONDUIT 03 Mix - The Mega Holiday Explosion Mix
https://www.dropbox.com/s/h56jabfqsjzy3kk/CONDUIT%20Mixes.zip?dl=0

TRACKLISTING:
Mix One - Angst In Your Pants

Sparks - Angst In My Pants (Atlantic)
Szkatulski & Kosmalski - Keep Your Head (Downpour Recordings)
Lee Mills - Floating Around (We Are Here Music)
Werner Niedermeier - Easy Peeler (Ayeko)
Fairmont - Still (My Favorite Robot)
Telonius - Hit Me (Ian Pooley Main Mix) (Gomma)
Suba - Tantos Desejos (Nicola Conte Remix) (Secret Life)
N'Conduit - Intro Dance Sequence (Voodoo Down)
H.O.S.H. - Camino (Diynamic)
Aki Bergen & Richter - Nights & Days (Neurotraxx)
NAOME vs. Slumber - Kosmatic (Speaking Minds Remix) (My Favorite Robot)
Napoleon - Let's Stick (Secret Life)
Napoleon - Moogie Wonderland (Secret Life)
Napoleon - I On U (Secret Life)
Landschall - The Chinese Girlfriend I Never Had (Broque)
Cubenx - Deauville feat. Pris Wayland (InFine Music)
Alec Troniq & Gabriel Vitel - The Aviating (Broque)
Astvaldur - Swallowed (Blaq)
The Ball And The Wall - Standing On My Own Feat. Ida Wen√łe (Secret Life)
Real Nois - Chekechela feat Diabel Cissokho (Sun-El Remix) (Real Nois)
Fred P - Don't Be Afraid feat. Minako (Energy of Sound)
The Ball And The Wall - So Good Feat. Clara Sofie - (Balearic Gabba Soundsystem Remixd Mix) (Secret Life)

Mix Two - Time and Space
Phil Asher & James Massiah - Time & Space (Rekids)
Inland Knights - Still Feel Good (Drop Music)
Dantiez Saunderson & KPD - Another Day feat. Ann Saunderson (Frequenza)
Alternative Reality - La Tierra (Prompt Digital)
Clavis - Banza (Freerange)
H.O.S.H. - Cilantro (Diynamic)
Aki Bergen & Richter - Sacrifice feat. Ken Rosen (Neurotraxx)
N'Conduit - Middle Dance Sequence (Voodoo Down)
Geddes - On The Streets feat. Elli (Richie Ahmed remix) (Truesoul)
Yvel & Tristan - Throw Your Hands (Mathias Kaden Remix) (Hi!Fly Music)
Shall Ocin - The Cliff (Hotflush)
Lando & Xavier - Brick City (Tanstaafl)
Fred P - Memory P (Energy of Sound)
Vibe Killers - When It Comes Together (Killer Vibe)
Phran - Motivation (Albion)
Vibe Killers - Kave Rave (Killer Vibe)
unknown - She Gets High
Argy - Alfredo (Bedrock Digital)
Blue Hour - Moments (Steffi Remix)(Blue Hour)
Youcef Elaid - Backstage (Black Flag)
Robert Armani & Ghettoblaster - Blotter Paper (AYCB)
Paul Woolford - MDMA (Hotflush)
K-Ten - Meanwhile Talking (Gurwan rmx) (Buena Onda)
Antonio Caballero - Play My Record (Panama Red)
Bardia F - Base & Booty (Black Flag)
Flashmob - Little Helper 190-5 (Little Helpers)
Edgar Ariza - Nebulous (HMWL)
Gel Abril - When It's Just You and Me (Mobilee)
Hunzed & Harvey - Cala Salada (Luca M & JUST2 Remix) (Terminal M)
Fiona Beeson - Mementos (INXEC's RE-Ravenator Remix) (Beesound)
Brsensation - Delirium (Vayk)

Mix Three - When The Music's Over
LFO - Simon From Sydney (Warp)
Aphex Twin - Tha (Apollo)
Fairmont - Neolith (My Favorite Robot)
Uchuu Saru - Nobody... (Paul Leath Remix) (El Otro Mundo Productions)
Dantiez Saunderson & KPD - Another Day feat. Ann Saunderson (Bjelo Remix) (Frequenza)
DkA - Lost Track Of Time (Bruxsel Jardin)
Auden - Sewer System (Hotflush)
Georg Neufeld feat Gertrud Polonyi - Another Dimension (Broque)
Nadja Lind & G-Man - Verboten (Lucidflow)
Alderaan & Mental Resonance - Man From Earth 1 (Mindtrip)
Rodriguez Jr. - Chrysalism (Mobilee)
Mark Evemport - Bagus (Sticky Music)
Dean Chapple and James Daniels - Revelry (Jus Nowhere Remix) (Exotic Refreshment)
Sebas o Verde - Fresko (Ayeko)
Hole Box - Star Mine (We Are Here Music)
Jori Hulkkonen - Four Step Program (Villanova Remix) (My Favorite Robot)
Robin Ordell - There Somewhere (Onirik's Bird Somewhere Remix) (Finest Hour)
Niereich & Xhei - Vrill (Miss Sunshine remix) (AFU Ltd)
Shall Ocin - The Mist (Hotflush)
BK Rogers - Love In The Music (4AM Deep Mix) (Kingdom Kome Cuts)
Simon Garcia - Ataraxia (Poker Flat)
Kim Kemi - Hypnotic Steps (Central Rodeo Remix) (Darek)
Zakir - Oriental Moods (Exotic Refreshment)
Simon Garcia - A Hot Drink In The Desert (Poker Flat)
Jonra & emachinery - Fiji (Blaq)
Nina Kraviz - Ghetto Kraviz (Regal Dub Remix) (Rekids)
Aggborough - Bats (OTB)
Mike Gervais - Relax (System)
Schmutz - Blue Dust (Omnidisc)
H.O.S.H. - Cambia (Diynamic)
Gel Abril - Carpet Sneak (Mobilee)




















8.13.2015

RICHARD: Or How I Learned to Tolerate Jane's Addiction Enough To Tell This Story


 I had a wonderful time last night celebrating the birthdays of two awesome young people who I cannot say enough good things about. During the course of the celebration I was struck by two moments in the flow of the evening's events. Someone asked me how I was doing with my wife, Anna's, Lyme Disease very directly. I answered very truthfully, it's a real struggle keeping it all together. And then later, an old friend said she had read my previous piece about the song "Get Thee Gone" and felt she got a good sense about what Lyme was all about. This is an artist I admire greatly and have sweated it out in the trenches next to her and her family at hot, dry late summer art festivals many times, so feedback like that was well-received by me and really meant something. Words do matter and I am thrilled about that, because right now not much seems to matter to me at these lowest of times. 
I started thinking about what it is to be an independent artist and the song "Whores" by Jane's Addiction came to mind when I started thinking of all the backbreaking labor that goes into hawking wares at an outdoor event to uncertain receipts and how so many amazing artists I respect make their livings flinging creations out into the world like this - including my wife. Much respect, I think none of you are whores f'real but I am pretty sure all of you have felt it for a moment or two negotiating with the drunks or the extremely indecisive. It's like, "What is it going to take here, buddy?" I am pretty sure this song isn't talking about real life whores, either. Being an artist can mean forgoing a lot of important, "normal" things in life and really, as I said, flinging your works out there to the world. That takes guts and it isn't always wine and roses doing it.

'Not just some art statement to drown a few passionate men.'

Whereas my last post about "Get Thee Gone" may have painted my wife as a bedridden shut-in, nothing could be further from the truth. She is one of those amazing, aforementioned artist flinging it out to the world and putting in the work to back up her creations. She is a bundle of energy who has nagging pain and other maladies almost daily but still works creating amazing pieces that she sells online...and up until this year...at various events around Northern California. It was poor health that kept her away from those events this year and that is the real nature of the disease right there. It hides and seeks until it fucks with your mind (was that good, Stephen, did I swear enough?). But still she remains incredibly upbeat and positive and that also takes guts.

"I'm gonna kick tomorrow..."
 

What does any of this have to do with Jane's Addiction and why are the song lyrics for this piece to "Richard" by the Geraldine Fibbers? The two are actually very much related, wrapped in the lore of the secret L.A. music annals. Both bands are tied together by the song "Jane Says". There was a real Jane, her name is Jane Bainter, she was a junkie, prostitute, and general mid Eighties L.A. underground rock groupie. On that first live album, Jane's Addiction nails this song and it adds so much to the pantheon of L.A. underground culture despite the "meh" nature of the band, overall. Ms. Bainter happened to live with my old friend Jack Gould of Trash Can School as well as one Carla Bozulich, who would soon launch Ethyl Meatplow before painting her masterpiece - the Geraldine Fibbers. Carla wasn't in much better shape than Jane back then but didn't need to run away to Spain to get her life together, she channeled it all into her music. You can tell by the packaging of the now 20 year old seminal release, Lost Somewhere Between the Earth and My Home, that there are going to be scary little-lost-girl-in-all-of-us moments being exorcised all over this beast of an album. I'm mean a freaking school library checkout card as part of the artwork, you know where this all headed and it ain't, "...is my wig on straight?" In comparison, Jane's Addiction was never going to be my band, they represented the fringes of the source of danger in the L.A. rock world and had about as much edge as the Germs' big, blue circle logo and that might as well be the Foo Fighters, as far as I am concerned - music for weenies who claim to like rock & roll but have never actually met it. The 'Fibbers, on the other hand, were everything bad ass about this world: Dez era 'Flag, Pat Smear playing guitar at a house party dressed in nothing but a kids' pair of footed pajamas his woman egging him on, or the Alvins' showing the neighbors (us) a thing or two about partying to excess - a department we were no slouches in, btw.  Carla, in fact, once sold stories of her life on the street as a young child to an up and coming Matt Groening for food money. Here's a women who has seen tough times and danced with a lot of demons but is still, to this day, flinging her art out to the world and putting in the work to back it up. It shows best in th the song "Richard", which is about dancing with Mr. D, the devil, and mental illness.

'I've been wondering what's been troubling my head'

RICHARD
The devil smiled and put on her party dress. Out on the curb, her curls were a mess.  Chaos went tumblin' through her nimble hands. Never skipped a beat as she netted another man.
I often relate to the heroines of song, mostly because the most vivid prose available is usually set to a tune about a woman. I think, in a way, this is to speak to our collective fragility and mortality - regardless of our sex. I have a checkered, rock & roll kinda past, just like Bozuluch. I thought instead of directly relating my past in some awkward, TMI kinda way to y'all, I felt these lyrics would do a better job of it. They hit straight in the part of my troubled mind that has crossed paths with a lot of predatory women in life and often wondered, as fellow travellers, if they were as empty inside as I often felt. I am certain they must be, at least from time to time. This has had an obvious negative effect on my life starting at a very early age.

In forty-five minutes his head was on a plate. Served as the main course at a banquet for the state. Should've stayed home. Should've worked late. Should've sent those letters in the dusty milk crate.
But it's too late, ha ha.  It doesn't matter anyway. Cuz when the light goes out heads are gonna roll.

Coming from as dark a place as this, empathy and love are going to be alien to this level of despair. Hurt and pain are the natural states of someone this on guard against humanity. Couple that with already coming from a dark place and mental stability is going to be elusive from time to time. When you are a young punk rocker, that's a badge of honor, as a married, middle aged idiot it's a liability.

In an hour and a half the devil was down by the sea, working strange mischief on her bride to be. It seems the pretty girl was laughing as her world was filled with doubt. She laughed as her own head was chopped off and the fish came spilling out.  Watching the fish swim into the sea through a river of red, she said, 'I've been wondering what's been troubling my head and I thank you for expelling those irritating pests. Now if you'd slap me back together I'll be at my very best and we can go you devil, we can go.'
Honestly, I cannot think of a better way to describe the bad days going on in my head when dealing with the Lyme rollercoaster than as fish. I so wish those irritating pests swimming around in there could be released simply by chopping my head off and then gluing me back together again. I am certain tougher, more together people can hold it all together better than someone like me in these kinds of tense situations. But I have spent a lifetime allowing chaos to tumble through my grip... well, let's just say, it truly does take a worried man to sing a worried song.

Should've set the clocks back. Should've taken her time.  Should've set her hair on fire with vodka and lime. But it's too late ha ha... It doesn't matter anyway. Cuz when the light goes out heads are gonna roll.
I find that most people limit themselves to one or two vices - a lot of sex, chocolate, or gambling - standard, boring ass BS. A bunch of fucking boozers, too. Gag! Me? I've subscribed to the holy trinity of sinnin': the unrepentant life of sex, drugs, and rock & roll. There's a reason this life is called the "Born To Lose" ethos, choose it and you know the ultimate outcome. Most people don't have that kind of certainty in life. Just ask Johnny Thunders, oh wait, you can't because he's fucking dead. Being married to someone like this ain't easy, add sickness to the equation and lookout it's danger Will Robinson. It's too late... 


Now the story takes a happier turn. Cuz the devil loved the girl and the feeling was returned. They cut through the trees knocking the tops off as they flew. To a pretty place for kissing, a place with a view.
They watched a man lay down his hand in a game of chance. The lust for luck and security is a hopeless romance. 
Thank god there is a happy ending to this story...and there is, I swear. It's the acceptance of one's checkered past and limitations of self carrying on well into the future. To be okay with that and to give up all hopes of expectations of a normal life, that is the real struggle I face everyday in my head, and that's not even including the Lyme Disease factor in the equation. Will I make it through all of this ok? Hard to tell...


The devil grinned and whispered, 'Comfort is a myth... The clock is ticking ticking, goin' tick tick tick tick.'
The time is now, don't ever forget that. I cannot stress this enough. Waiting for the perfect moment for anything is like waiting to crawl into the grave to take a little dirt nap. The keys to your own sanity are here right now and right now, seize the opportunity to make life better, if you can. The alternative ain't pretty.


Should've took the train. Should've wore black. Should've rode his high horse over a red apple jack. But it's too late, haha... It doesn't matter anyway. Cuz when the light goes out heads are gonna roll. 
Quoting Freddie Mercury here, because the ghost of Queen looms large over the L.A. scene and is there anything more rock & roll than Bohemian fucking Rhapsody? 

Nothing really matters. Anyone can see. Nothing really matters. Nothing really matters to me.
There isn't a day that goes by when I don't think of myself as being like Fairuza Balk's character in the film Almost Famous, a slave to the grind who has literally traded the life of flinging it out into the world like a real artist for one that is purely born to lose like Jane Bainter - one that is deeply sad. The doubt swirling in my head threatens to subsume me just like this and the future is always uncertain. but as long as there is a hellhound on my trail I will continue to run toward the light in the hopes I may find it again, someday.

8.04.2015

The CONDUIT Pt. 2 - Drums & Wires Mix - Summer 2015


CONDUIT 02 Mix - Drums & Wires
by Sean-Michael Yoder
 
Time for another CONDUIT mix. I had hoped to have Drums & Wires posted much earlier than the beginning of August and spent more time focusing on my upcoming radio gig right now instead. But when do things ever go as planned when flying by the seat of one's pants? Rarely. And it is in that haphazard spirit of organization that the Drums & Wires mix for the CONDUIT came about, a random late night expression of all the amazing alleyways and side streets of techno without much of a road map. But all who wander are not lost and what might seem like a meandering DJ mix at (the best of) times comes to a very psychedelic point in tracks like John Tejada's latest classic "Cipher" or the beauty-so-deep-you-can drown-in-it vibe of "Cassandra" by Donato Dozzy. There are other moments, too but overall this is a deep and gauzy mix filled with enough techno drums to appease even the hardest of core fans.

DOWNLOAD CONDUIT 02 Mix - Drums & Wires:
https://www.dropbox.com/s/2c0myb2jamvdhxu/Drums%20%26%20Wires.mp3?dl=0

RA DJ Charts - August 2015:http://www.residentadvisor.net/dj/theabstract_terrorist/top10?chart=178495

TRACKLISTING:
Cio D'Or - And On (Telrae)
Cem Orlow - Lightfield (Fred P Reshape)(Soundscapes)
John Tejada - Cipher (Palette)
Nitin - Dubbed Out (Steve Rachmad Remix)(No. 19 Music)
Chi Thanh & Florian Kruse - Crickets & Bats (Olivier Weiter Remix)(Subjekt Recordings)
Dan Mela & Lady Blacktronika - Drive Me Crazy (Deep Mix)(What Ever Not)
Carl Cox - The Nite Life (Pornographic Recordings)
Andrea Frisina - Wild Prairie (Joey Beltram Remix)(Gate Null Recordings)
John Tejada - Dramamine (Palette)
Solar Estate - Solar Estate (unknown)
Ucleden - Summerjam (DML Deconstruction)(Broque)
we:us - For the Night (Berlin Lounge Mix)(Bikini Sounds)
Douglas Greed - To The Moon and Back (Fenou)
Ellen Allien - Lou (Bpitch Control)
Yannick Labbe - Always Look In Front (Kris Davis Remix)(Hafendisko)
Guido Schneider & Jens Bond - Trippin' (Amam)
John Tejada - Code Ext (Palette)
Martin Landsky - Under The Bridge (Poker Flat)
Noa - Tears Inside (Jay-J's Shifted Up Mix)(Sonido Local Recordings)
Jimpster - Solitude (Freerange)
Pete Dafeet - Wife (Extended Mix)(Lost My Dog)
Donato Dozzy - Cassandra (Claque Music)
John Tejada - Clairaudience (Palette)
Felix Lorusso - Human Blackout (Nonlinear Systems)
Sirius Brown - Arsat (Different Is Different)
Mar.key - Manta (Music Lovers)
Nitin - Dubbed Out (Deadbeat Remix)(No. 19 Music)
Knip - Warrior (Gurwan Remix)(Buena Onda)
Luna City Express - Tell Me When You Ready (Gruuv)
My Favorite Robot - Cast (My Favorite Robot)
Adjust & Rissa Garcia - Remmidemmi (Cosmic Disco)
My Favorite Robot - Manifesto (My Favorite Robot)
















7.04.2015

GET THEE GONE: Country Soul Sister Sh*t or How I Learned to Love Lyme Disease


"Get Thee Gone" by the Geraldine Fibbers is one of pop music's great sad songs. Written by the immensely talented Carla Bozulich for the 1995 album Lost Somewhere Between the Earth and My Home, the song is an odd mix of country soul sister shit from the golden age - think a roughed up Loretta turning "Fist City" into "Kill City" - with some banjo tossed in for atmosphere and then a hefty dose of Sonic Youth dissonance and Plastic Ono Band P.S.T. for good measure - making sure all of the bases get touched, part of the Fibbers overall musical appeal. The lyrics are some of the finest in Bozulich's career, a real spiritual bloodletting of the highest order in terms of poetry. The words have the hard edged nihilism of Darby Crash baked into them - because it's impossible to escape that influence in underground L.A. - but there is also a gentle sadness of resignation "that grows upon their thighs and knees" that can only point to one source - the Gun Club. That's the influence that is strongest on Lost and one of things that first drew me to the band and eventually Carla, who  - as I suspected - was a big fan of Jeffrey Lee Pierce and that his work very much influenced her work.

I also recognized a universal quality of sadness to this song and for me the lyrics speak to the demons who haunt me every night in my dreams as my partner fights for her life against the insidious effects of Lyme Disease. That's why I am starting a little blog series about my surreal life with music and Lyme with the eventual goal of compiling and self-publishing the results of my writings on the subject. Or at the very least, a bitchin' Youtube playlist.  For now, I am singling out songs that I believe were written for people surviving Lyme but obviously weren't written for that purpose. Sometimes songs really tap into that loneliness of the soul and blackness of spirit that can accompany the helplessness a supportive partner of a Lymie often goes through. This is my therapeutic response to that pit of despair that always lurks out on the edges of reality and put it in it's proper place while merging my loves of writing, music, and self-improvement. From here, we only go up.

GET THEE GONE
My sadness does escape me now, I care not where I go.  The black old moon takes off my clothes,  and throws me in the snow.

The opening line of this song speaks to the resignation I feel everyday as I leave my wife on her own to earn our meager wages. Who has ever written a better line than: "My sadness does escape me now, I care not where I go."? You can feel the pain right there and the hollowness of  bitter defeat.

I gave you all I had to tell and you gave me your will. Well that's enough to wind a clock, but not enough to kill.

When I hear these lines I think of how much Lyme robs from you and the helplessness associated with that.

Go away my precious doll. Get thee gone from here. When I close my eyes to sleep. Please do not appear.

Greatest chorus of all time, with Bozulich's sandpapered up Bobbie Gentry vocals, if this doesn't give you a little lump in the throat then I guess you haven't seen much shit in your life and I envy you for that. It's sad but hopeful...someday the nightmare will end.

I emptied out your bag of toys and let them spin their web. But oddly as I watched them turn,
my love begins to ebb.

I run like blood through open doors. I go where hope bends me. You're in my guts but evermore our hearts will not agree.


These ones are very personal, but I will say that 75-80% of Lyme marriages end in divorce so my wife and I know what we are up against. But these lyrics also speak to how much a serious disease will mess with your mind and turn you into someone you are not before finding redemption and becoming someone you want to be. There's always hope.

Go away my precious doll. Get thee gone from here. When I close my eyes to sleep, please do not appear.

Go away my precious doll. Get thee gone from here. When I close my eyes to sleep, please do not appear.


The repeat of the chorus is incredibly dramatic, swelling to an emotionally cathartic climax. If we're going to continue with the sexual terms - let's call this the tune's money shot. This is the "Born To Lose" ethos fully realized, it's both brave and resolute while displaying appropriate sadness and elegy. All you can do is sigh when the song reaches this point.

When I close my eyes to sleep, please do not appear.

The song breaks down for the incredible final line to just Carla's husky voice, all countried-up, and the hints of a pedal steel. It's like the Gun Club's "Mother of Earth" from a woman's perspective. All of that "We can f*ck forever but you'll never get my soul" bravado reduced to a small woman begging for someone or something to stop slowly killing her. Which, unfortunately, has been a phrase uttered more than once in this household since all of this madness began.




6.09.2015

ALBUM OF THE WEEK - Week of June 8th, 2015


ALBUM OF THE WEEK - Week of June 8th, 2015: DANCE SPIRIT - The Sun Also Rises

It has only been four months since my last installment of ALBUM OF THE WEEK. Looks like I predicted my downfall with this exercise from the very first installment.  But as I've said before, this is mostly a writing exercise for me, so frequency was never really factored into the equation. Part of the reason for the long hiatus is that I've been writing a new installment of my Gun Club epic for my good pal Lance over at the Adios Lounge. It's a real labor of love so it's taking up a major chunk of my time and energy as a writer. The response to the first piece has been stunning so I'm obviously very excited about the second piece, which is coming out very soon, so most of my focus is there right now. I've also been working with an amazing artist named Ivan Dbri on his new album Ones for my good friend Antonio's label Panama Red. It's a fantastic record and one that more than likely end up being featured here on AOTW at some later date and one that has required my full attention as a writer the past couple of weeks in more of a professional capacity. That still leaves a lot of time in-between then and now - and the majority of that time has been spent living with my wife's Lyme Disease treatment, which is surreal and making great fodder for my eventual book about it. I'll leave things nice and light, sparing you the realities of life with Lyme, it's TMI. Just ask any of my good friend's who have ventured the courage to ask me, "How are you REALLY doing?" There was also an amazing trip to the coast with my best friend Stephen, where he suggested I use more profanity when I blog to make the narratives a little more realistic. Because that's the kinda shit good friends do. How am I doing?

We also got a chance to talk about music, something Stephen, my wife Anna, and I LOVE to do but rarely have the time to devote to the pursuit. Attentions turned to our friends Chris and Reagan, who were gracious enough to come play to a tiny crowd up here in Chico as Android Cartel, and what they were up to musically. The few people that were there when they played had a blast and heard some fine tunes that night. And ever since then we've all followed their music fairly closely and I have to say I've found myself more and more drawn to their Dance Spirit project, initially a side project but gradually growing into the pair's main focus. I raved on and on about their new album, The Sun Also Rises for Audiofly's Supernature label, was just about the best record I'd heard in years. One of the reasons is because it is a mature full length rather than just another collection of tracks. The production is also unbelievable, why these guys aren't ghosting big pop radio hits is beyond me, but I also think these guys have a little more dignity than a hackneyed whore such as myself, so there's that. There are also lots of quality vocal tracks that are more like radio tunes than anything I've heard in years. I'm not surprised, though. I have an entire unreleased album from these guys that continues to blow my mind using all the same kinds of pop tricks. What makes The Sun Also Rises so distinct is the deep, nuanced musicality. As I said, real tunes, not just more tracks for the dance floor. That's not to say these tracks can't be played on the dance floor but many of have a distinct Balearic flavor and would do better at a place like Cafe del Mar than DC10, not that that is necessarily such a bad thing. There are also gems like "Beauty and Sadness" and "Where You Want To Be" that just make you just stop and say, "Day-um!". And who doesn't love an album like that?

There is a real sense of ambition emanating from the new Dance Spirit album and it's rare to find an electronic music album that is nearly perfect from top to bottom. The Sun Also Rises is one of those select few records.

Get The Sun Also Rises here: http://www.discogs.com/Dance-Spirit-The-Sun-Also-Rises/release/6703368

Undressed feat. Shawna

4.05.2015

The CONDUIT returns - Download CONDUIT 01 Podcast


CONDUIT 01 Mix - The Captain and Me
by Sean-Michael Yoder
 
It's been awhile since I last released a DJ mix to the public. It's not that I haven't been making mixes over the past three years since my wife's health fell apart due to Lyme Disease. Life has been such a roller coaster ride since then that I had to put the public aspect of my life in music on serious hold. But I've continued to foster relationships behind the scenes and my passion for music has continued unabated in the interim. Playing records has been a big part of my life for over 25 years and it's been a great way to escape the madness, even if only for a moment or two, so it was highly unlikely I would give it up for good even though I am rapidly approaching the age of too-damn-old. I didn't want to share the mixes I've made during the hiatus with the public because they are highly personal, most made specifically to lift her mood during the not good days or the theme to one of the few road trips we've been able to take in that same time period. It's only been these past few months where my wife's health has improved enough that it's reached an up & down stage rather than just being a continuous downward spiral.  And in proportion, I've begun to feel the weight of responsibility to everyone sending me promos. I really need take the time to highlight the good tracks people send me for free. I am ALWAYS grateful for that and never take it for granted. My earlier goal was to blog weekly about my favorite album of the week but between my daily commute, my wife's ongoing health issues, and taking up selling rare records on Discogs things ground to a halt around mid February, the graveyard of all New Year's resolutions. I hope to return to it shortly because I've picked up about 10 amazing albums in the last month that all deserve a little spotlight. But looking at the stats, no one really seems to care about enthusiasm for the British Invasion, my deep appreciation for Laurel Canyon country rock, and I'm pretty sure they don't care about my concurrent loves of punk, hip-hop, or jazz. What people expect from me when reading my blog is thoughts and ideas about electronic dance music so future ALBUM OF THE WEEK installments to be a little more techno focused with an occasional foray into deep catalog albums. In the meantime, I have resurrected the CONDUIT podcast with a different look and seriously pared down to give me a little time to get back in the game after sitting on the sidelines for so long. The idea of bundling it with my blog was a no-brainer in terms of generating content for it and getting the word out on all the amazing tracks I pick up every month. The podcast will, for now, just be focused on my own monthly new music show but hopefully expand in the coming months to include guest mixes as well. I'll be curious to see how things progress over the year.


DOWNLOAD CONDUIT 01 Mix - The Captain and Me:
https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/8141358/Conduit%2001.zip

RA DJ Charts - April 2014:http://www.residentadvisor.net/dj/theabstract_terrorist/top10?chart=173773
 
TRACKLISTING:
unknown - Drone Connection

Savas Pascalidis - Mastermind (Non Series)
Monika Kruse meets Pig & Dan - Colours (Terminal M) 
Hibernate - Getting There (DMP Remix) (Alpha Milk Recordings)
False Image - Second Horizon (Get Physical Music)
False Image - Second Horizon (Dub) (Get Physical Music)
Walker Barnard - The Wake Up (Alexi Delano Remix) (Serialism)
Harry Axt - Altes Eisen (Arms & Legs)
Sirius Brown - Abyssal (Original Mix) (Different Is Different)
S-Man - Time 2 Stop (Steve Mac & Mat Playford Remix) (Hard Times)
4BeatClub - Soul Food (Original Mix) (Freche Fruchte)
NIBC - Love Lesson (Ian Pooley Remix) (Trunkfunk)
Guillaume & The Coutu Dumonts - Doughnut Jam (Who Took It Out?) (Freerange Music)
Christian Arno - South Central (Original Mix) (All Blak)
Dole & Kom - Fly Bar (ft. Seth Schwarz) (Original Mix) (3000Grad)
Talal - Manama (Original Mix) (Boulevard)
Walker Barnard - Trollops & Cherubim (Serialism)
Ricardo Baez - Butoh (David Jach Remix) (Exotic Refreshment)
Lando & Xavier - My Pet Human (Face To Face Recordings)
NIBC - Love Lesson (Tuff City Kids Remix) (Trunkfunk)
Christian Zanni - Merckle (Original Mix) (Aerotek)
Daniel Steinberg - Lonely (Arms & Legs)
P41 - Lalguer (Get Physical Music)
Monika Kruse meets Pig & Dan - Soulstice (Alberto Ruiz 80Monster Remix) (Terminal M)
Miyagi feat Ronald Christoph - This Must Be Love (Douglas Greed Rmx) (Turnbeutel)
Marco P - Rumpelstilz (Tech Factory)
Sirius Brown - Advanced (Original Mix) (Different Is Different)
Savas Pascalidis - Nightshades (Non Series)
Codeless - Regen (Original Mix) (Coincidence)
Super Flu - Volkwein (Kollektiv Turmstrasse Remix) (Monaberry)
Frederick Alonso & Pat Lezizmo - Tablao (Original Mix) (Muzik & Friendz)
Cio D'or - Off (Telrae)







2.21.2015

ALBUM OF THE WEEK - Week of February 16th, 2015

ALBUM OF THE WEEK - Week of February 16th, 2015 - DILLARD & CLARK - The Fantastic Expedition of Dillard & Clark

Back again after taking some time off last week to enjoy the balmy temperatures that have been a staple of yet another winter. After looking at some of the best electronic music albums of 2014 in the past two installments of ALBUM OF THE WEEK I am doing a little focus on the birth of the country rock genre with the 1968 A&M release of The Fantastic Expedition of Dillard & Clark. This release features Doug Dillard of the famous bluegrass family the Dillards and Gene Clark formerly of the Byrds. In retrospect, you can see that both Dillard and Clark were already working in groups that came from a folk background, were well-versed in country music, and most certainly would have stumbled across the whole country rock thing as the Dillards or the Byrds. The Dillards were an Elektra act and everything from 1968's Wheatstraw Grass onward has a slight tinge of the radical rock & roll vision of Jac Holtzman's mighty label. The Byrds teamed up with Gram Parsons the same year and released their finest record - the country tinged Sweetheart of the Rodeo. In fact, a good case could be made that Parsons beat them all to the country rock promised land with the International Submarine Band the previous year, but like most of Parsons' work it went virtually unnoticed in every sector except serious musicians paying attention. Other groups like the Youngbloods, Buffalo Springfield, and the Grateful Dead were definitely looking in that direction as well, but no one really packaged it in such a complete way as to codify the nascent genre as Dillard & Clark did.

I recently picked up the 2008 reissue of the album with three bonus tracks, including a ragged cover of the Elvis hit "Don't Be Cruel" that is to die for and nearly pays for the price of admission here. Many of the usual players are here including Byrds rhythm section Chris Hillman (mandolin) and Michael Clarke (drums) with Bernie Leadon on banjo, who brings the future Eagles' tune "Train Leaves Here This Morning" with him, although this version will quickly make you forget the mellowed out strains of the Don Henley No-Soul Revue. It's obvious when listening to this album, especially "The Radio Song", that this whole country rock thing is going to end up at the Hotel California by the late Seventies. But Andy Belling's harpsichord playing gives this album that classic, roughed-up Sixties psych feel that ties it together with the baroque Arthur Lee stylings of Clark's first post-Byrds attempt - Echoes with the Godsin Brothers. The Fantastic Expedition... represents some of Clark's best work in what turned out to be a very troubled career, dodgy recording output, and a premature exit. Dillard passed in 2012 and turned out to be the banjo playing ambassador for the bluegrass nation, based on the reputation of this album and his subsequent solo work. The music is a beautiful mix of country, rock, folk, and gospel. It's hard to pick a favorite because nearly every tune is a classic but the most recognizable track from the album is "The Radio Song", which features the diverse mix of styles that came to define the genre as played by the Flying Burrito Brothers, Neil Young, and Waylon Jennings just a few years down the road - the whole blueprint for country rock is laid out right here.

Get The Fantastic Expedition of Dillard & Clark here: http://www.discogs.com/Dillard-Clark-The-Fantastic-Expedition-Of-Dillard-Clark/release/1330863

The Radio Song

2.07.2015

ALBUM OF THE WEEK - My Picks for 2014 Pt. 2


ALBUM OF THE WEEK - Week of February 2nd, 2015 - My Picks for 2014 Pt. 2

My hope was to get this feature finished last week, before the end of January so my 2014 picks wouldn't be quite so dated. What are you gonna do? I missed a week of blogging, which would have made this second list a little more relevant. But because I have an extremely sick wife at home who needs a lot of looking after and more professional challenges than any one dude should be privileged enough to have, hence my free time to recreate like this is rare. The good news is that readership numbers are rising, not as high as they were a few years ago when I was blogging 1-3 times per week, but bouncing back surprisingly fast. The writing is still pretty bad, I've been out of practice and it shows. I appreciate everyone hanging in there with me as I work out all of the kinks. I actually took some time before writing this post to update the blog layout and got rid of all the dated widgets cluttering things up. Baby steps. But enough about me, let's talk music. 

It may seem like a big letdown taking two weeks to follow-up with a post about the second tier of 2014 winners, akin to being an NIT team rather than an NCAA one, but there were so many good albums to come out last year and I'm still digging out new ones as I type this so I felt that a top ten list just wasn't enough. My ideal here would be a top 50 list, but by the time I finished it we'd be talking about the top albums of 2015. Rather than bitch about this bounty of my musical riches, I'll do my best to shine the light on some of the elpees of 2014 that didn't make my arbitrary top 20 list in future installments. Stay tuned and thanks for the support, it sure feels nice to be back.
 


1.25.2015

ALBUM OF THE WEEK - My Picks for 2014 Pt. 1



ALBUM OF THE WEEK - Week of January 19th, 2015 - My Picks for 2014 Pt. 1

Honestly, these kinds of lists are mostly arbitrary and boring. I hardly ever read them. There are several reasons for my list ambivalence: These lists are usually composed months before the end of the year thus eliminating any surprise late arrivals and also preventing most critics from listening to their selections with anything more than a half-an-ear. Of course, if you wait until the new year to capture everything and give it all a proper listen you run the risk of having irrelevant selections - too late to the ball, so to speak. So why, after all of these years of not doing 'em, am I suddenly composing a 2014 best of list...in mid-January?!

This post is primarily a response to a holiday challenge/encouragement from my homie Symbio of 530Techno, who wanted to know what my favorite new albums of 2014 were and thought I should blog about it. The reason it has taken until mid-January to compile this list is that it took me this long to just listen to 20 albums from last year that I thought were worth the time to write about. This after an entire year of listening to promo albums like a madman, the sheer volume music flowing my direction is daunting at times and probably an underlying motivation behind my not ever doing a best of list. So this list comes with the preface that I finally surrendered to one of my above-mentioned best of list pet peeves - I didn't listen to all of the promos sent my way in 2014, the late arrivals got left hanging. It was either that or once again abandon the concept of completing this project at all. In keeping with my New Year's resolution of being a more disciplined writer, I chose to finish the task instead. But in the process, another arbitrary line was drawn and it's irritating but not so much so that I can't live with an imaginary bi-sector dividing my choices between those promo albums included and those left behind. Part of my hope as a more disciplined writer is to cover some of the unselected albums I missed in 2014 and return to them in future ALBUM OF THE WEEK features. That's the hope any way. The final reason was that I missed writing and I get all of these wonderful promos from a variety of artists, labels, PR agencies, and record pools and thought it would be a great way to reconnect and let 'em all know I was back in biz.

What were the criteria that made up my 20 selections? Mostly that they were neither trend-humping or derivative. I was looking for things that specifically caught my era that were both energetic and creative. Simple enough but it turned out to be a huge ordeal. Leading me to believe that dance music artists need to try a little harder, although I know they won't. That's the problem with party music, there is just way too much partying to be done that the music is always of secondary consideration. I am ok with that but it does make finding inspired albums kind of a big pain in the ass. Rather than review each selection individually, I gave you a chance to listen to some music from each selection so you can make up your own mind about whether it is a valid choice or not. If you discern any common themes between my choices please send me a message, I'd love to hear your thoughts.
Here is the top 10:




 



 



1.14.2015

ALBUM OF THE WEEK - Week of January 12th, 2015


ALBUM OF THE WEEK - Week of January 12th, 2015 - KINKS - Arthur (or the Decline and Fall of the British Empire)

Back for round two, although after looking at my stats no one was reading the first attempt. So I am back whether the world wants me or not. Honestly, this is more an exercise in discipline and an opportunity to get my writing chops up to par again so this is mostly for me. It's also a way to sharpen my vision for this series and that vision isn't necessarily to review seminal British rock music from the Sixties, although these first two installments might have you (me?) convinced otherwise. I find myself caught between two powerful forces currently: articulating my complicated feelings for music while toiling away on a Gun Club piece I promised to deliver six months ago and the awe-inspiring beat jive of Richard Meltzer's record reviews. Under these writing influences, I've come to conclusion that I don't really care about track by track record reviews, large arc narratives (usually loaded with a silly leftist, college boy bent), or the history behind the music - other than the basic rundown of who did what on it. What I do care about is something more expressionistic and primal - what a record feels like rather the sounds coming off of it. And to write about the music in such a manner you have to bury yourself in it first. From that perspective, these first two selections are like training wheels, music I have been fully immersed in since childhood. I know what the Small Faces and Kinks feel like because I've listened to all their records so many times that it's like I practically know them.

From a sound perspective the Small Faces and Kinks are practically polar opposites. The only real similarity is that they are both British Invasion bands with a heavy interest in the R&B music of that era. The Kinks started out loud and crazed just like all of the other UK beat bands of the early-to-mid Sixties but quickly became the vehicle for Ray Davies' incredible storytelling. The Small Faces took much longer to develop because they were connected to the same scene as the Stones and Pretty Things, which was unilaterally based in juicing up blues and R&B cuts with a good dose of rock & roll. It took awhile for those bands to move beyond the live crowd energy driving those early belters and discover the SF Sorrows and Ogdens Nut Gone Flakes lurking within them. The Kinks, on the other hand, were from the same musical leanings as the Beatles and Dave Clark Five - high energy and totally English. Had the band not been banned from touring the States during the peak years of Sixties' high musical mass the story of that era might have played out differently for the Kinks. But the reality is that some of the best pop records ever made were made these guys and not a jive muthafucka at the time bought 'em. Arthur is definitely one of those albums and it was made after the horrendous failure of Village Green Preservation Society when founding member Pete Quaife left the band, Dave Davies began work on a solo album, and poor Ray had moved back to the family home in Muswell Hill. That feeling of defeat permeates the Arthur album, with slyly venomous lyrics wrapped around a lot of moody, minor keyed music. These guys are feeling bested by life and wrote a proper rock musical about it in that grand and corny but quintessentially British music hall style. It sold only moderately better than Village Green but really set the stage for the next album, Lola, and the return to superstardom. The album is all about the opening track, "Victoria", one the best songs in the band's entire canon. But there are so many amazing tracks of decline and loss on this album - "Shangri-La", "Arthur", "Yes Sir, No Sir", "Australia" - most bands would kill to have one track as good as any of the aforementioned and here's a whole album full of them. I lucked out and scored a Japanese promo of the 2004 reissue and it's got the entire album in mono, which is a huge bonus. A rocker like "Brainwashed" sounds like the Sex Pistols in mono when Dave gets his guitar revved up. It also includes the mono versions of the singles from the album including "This Man Who Weeps Tonight" from Dave's aborted solo album and "Mindless Child of Motherhood", another Dave tune, which Lance Davis of the Adios Lounge astutely pointed out are really just the same song. Davis was also kind enough to send me the stereo version of those songs for ever more complete Arthur package! In addition, there are BBC Session versions of "Victoria", "Mr. Churchill Says", and "Arthur" tacked on for good measure. It's like I've died and gone to Kinks heaven!

Get Arthur (or the Decline and Fall of the Britsh Empire) here: http://www.discogs.com/Kinks-Arthur-Or-The-Decline-And-Fall-Of-The-British-Empire/release/5468106

Victoria (BBC Mono Version)

1.07.2015

ALBUM OF THE WEEK - Week of January 5th, 2015

ALBUM OF THE WEEK - Week of January 5th, 2015 - SMALL FACES - BBC Sessions

FINALLY! The first posting in my new series, ALBUM OF THE WEEK. It's been awhile since I've blogged, four year actually. I've been thinking about this idea of a weekly random record review for quite some time - at least two years - but it's taken quite awhile to slip out of the perpetual inertia that has gripped me for way too long and get moving on it. I listen to about 20 albums or so per week, sometimes more and sometimes less. I have opinions about all of them and I really need to get them down on paper but that takes work and discipline. So, for better or worse, this here weekly installment is my New Year's resolution to be more disciplined as a writer, and we all know how lame those kinda promises are, abject failure awaits I am sure. Until that inglorious, near term flame out what better place to get things rolling than with the Small Faces, perhaps my favorite of the British Invasion combos with all of the playing ability of a master band like the Beatles or Kinks and all of the reckless bravado of the Who or Led Zeppelin. These guys had it all and churned out quite a few masterpieces along the way like Itchycoo Park, All Or Nothing, and that genius Ogdens' Nut Gone Flake album. The band never really had much impact here in America but when founders Steve Marriott and Ronnie Lane split to form Humble Pie and the Faces respectively, that American mainstream success was finally achieved and the two bands also served to launch the careers of Rod Stewart, Ronnie Wood, and Peter Frampton (God help us all). I've listened to every Small Faces song to the nth degree and can wring out nearly every note and chord progression from the band's amazing catalog from my head. What had been missing for me all these years was the purely physical aspect of the band's music and while we still can't travel back in time (yet) and see these cats in their prime we can at least hear what they sounded like when they let their "balls drag on the concrete" (Ted Nugent's quote, not mine) on a convenient media type disk. And that's what the BBC Sessions is - a nice collection of great tunes played really, really loud and live. You can say all you want about Black Sabbath being the godfathers of metal but you'll really need to clean the crack cocaine out of your ears and re-listen to those crucial Small Faces singles being played live here and tell me again who invented what. There are a lot of these BBC Sessions albums out there - Beatles, Yardbirds, Who, Led Zeppelin, Pretty Things, etc. and the one thing that hasn't translated a half century later are those goofy interviews, how far we've come since Richard Meltzer decided to get as serious as the musical acts he was writing about and it's kinda hard to look back to the days before that without it feeling a bit savage. That is definitely the case here, as with others in the series, but the tunes are belters and come hard and fast. It's hard to keep up with blistering energy at times but the big payoff is Marriott killing it on the Tim Hardin tune If I Were A Carpenter. It seems appropriate that it took a house fire to tame this guy's restless soul, he was like a raging Otis Redding-esque inferno on the microphone. He, Ronnie Lane, and now Ian McLagan are all sorely missed but this album goes a long way in bringing them all back from the dead, if only for a moment as ghosts from an era when bands could actually be this gutsy and still maintain popular appeal for the most crucial years of the Sixties aka the High Mass.
 

If I Were A Carpenter