Saturday, October 30, 2004

 

Deerhoof

On Treewave's links page is a band called Deerhoof. They recently put together a live album, all of which is available for free download on their home page. Note that it includes two songs recorded for the John Peel show, "Giga Dance" and "Desaparece." Apparently these are busy people because the recordings also include sessions for radio programs in Canada, Sweden and Japan. I don't know a whole lot about them but I hope they come to the Athens area soon, and I don't see why they wouldn't because they seem to have been everywhere else, almost.

Tuesday, October 26, 2004

 

Remembering John Peel

John Peel, one of the very most important people in pop music, died today while vacationing in Peru. While we didn't usually have access to his radio programs, we alternative music fans know that virtually all of our favorite British (and some American and other nation's) acts have a "Peel Sessions" record in their catalog, and many of them considered their appearances as the best help their careers ever got.

While searching the web after hearing the news, I found this page, which was updated with the news today and features a long list of complete mp3's of Peel sessions available for download. There are too many listed for me to really choose any to highlight here so you should just look for yourself; you'll have plenty to discover there.

Friday, October 22, 2004

 

The Lovemakers

Oakland, California's the Lovemakers are what I, as a product of the 80's, call a good time electro-pop party band. We used to have more acts like this, sort of in the vein of the Flying Lizards, although the Lovemakers definitely use newer instruments and techniques. The lighthearted vibe is still there.

The Lovemakers have just been signed to Interscope, which is interesting in itself because I always associated that label with more industrial acts than pop groups, although I admit I haven't really studied their whole catalog. Supposedly the band is in Los Angeles now recording this major label debut.

At the top of their audiovisual page is a radio performance of the original version of "Dance," which is a pretty good representation of what they do. Note also the video for "Internet Girlfriend" which I think many of you will find very easy to watch, to say the least, and it's a fun tune, too. I won't list all the various remixes of "Dance" and "We Should Be Taking Our Clothes Off" but they're all rather neatly listed on the same page.

I don't think it's been announced when the new Interscope album will be out but I would expect heavy promotion when it does. I'm enjoying what we have so far.



Monday, October 18, 2004

 

Tree Wave

My favorite new band discovery this year is Tree Wave from Dallas, Texas. I first learned of them through AtariAge , which supports all the old Atari game consoles and computers with supplies and games, some of which are homebrew creations. Tree Wave's Paul Slocum programmed a cartridge for the Atari 2600 called Synthcart, which allows you to make music and play beats using the console's own sound. I ordered one and at that time followed the links to the Tree Wave site and mp3 page. If you like My Bloody Valentine and Stereolab, you'll like TreeWave. The only members are Slocum and his girlfriend Lauren Gray and the instrumentation is mostly old computer and video game gear, which in addition to the Synthcart includes a Commodore 64, a Compaq 286 portable computer running a shareware DOS MIDI sequencer and a dot matrix printer altered by Slocum to work as an instrument. There's a little bit of guitar in the mix but it's mostly the electronics that make the sound.

I think my favorite is "Sleep," which I'll probably name as my song of the year since I've been listening all summer and fall and I keep falling back on it the most. "May Banners" is a neat little song you might recognize if you've seen the TV show "Roadtrip Nation" in the last few months because it was featured in an episode of that.

While most of the songs from the "Cabana" and expanded "Cabana EP+" releases are available for free download, buying "Cabana EP+" gets you two videos ("Sleep" and "Combat") and Slocum's own Commodore 64 music program, stored as a data track for you to transfer to cassette and load into the C64 the old-fashioned way. I ordered mine from AtariAge but you can also go to their label page where you can find the aforementioned songs in OGG format along with "Machines Fall Apart" and "Instrumental 1b."

These folks have had a pretty busy year and it looks like they might break through to a larger audience before long. I'm looking forward to hearing more from them and to seeing them play live whenever it's possible for me to.

 

Speaking of Gary Numan...

The newest Gary Numan release is a reworked version of "Metal" done with Afrika Bambaataa on the new album, "Dark Matter at the Speed of Light." The song is available for free download at Better Propaganda and is currently the number one hip-hop download and the number three electronic download on the site. I can't really link to the mp3 directly because it's a javascript link but once you get to the page it's quick and easy.

 

R-3 / The Gary Numan Fan Project

I think an appropriate start to my new mp3 blog would be something I'm a part of myself.

In 1997 Beggars Banquet put out "Random," the Gary Numan tribute album and "Random 2" which was all "remixes" (which I still haven't bothered with, even being a Numan completist otherwise). "Random 3" was going to be a fan-created tribute, featuring all covers from fans who were not well-known recording artists. Supposedly the project got as far as a test mix that was to be sent to Gary himself but then the whole project went silent and no new posts have been made to the page since 1999. Now, five years later, I'm just glad Joey Lindstrom has kept the page up as part of his Gary Numan Fan Server.

My own contribution was with the band Broom Room Annex, which at the time was what I called my second band as Radio:Tahiti was what I primarily belonged to. In early 1996 we recorded what was supposed to be our first complete album and since "Oh Didn't I Say" was part of our live set, we went ahead and recorded it. I wasn't going to fool with the legal issues of including a cover song on the album anyway so when the call went out for fans to contribute to R-3, I just uploaded this recording. The original song was the B-side to the very first Tubeway Army single, "That's Too Bad," released 20 February 1978.

You'll find on the "Tracks" page four artists with complete songs available for download and a larger number with clips. Probably the best is the treatment of "Jo the Waiter" by Gregor Torrance and Sparrow West. A "jungle"-style remix is available, too, which is kind of neat but isn't outstanding like the first version. Probably the next best effort from this resource is Inca Airport's treatment of "Exhibition," another B-side that's a big fan favorite. Geoffrey Newcomb has some interesting commentary on how he made his versions of "Cars" and "Noise Noise," which come off with a character all their own. Then there's Martin Harper with an appropriately brooding take on "The Seed of a Lie."

I wish the other contributions were available in complete form. I'd love to see this project revisited and taken forward but I doubt it ever will be. There are a number of other fan covers out there but I haven't really found where they are online lately. I'll have an update when I do.

 

Beginnings

I just decided I wanted to start my own mp3 blog. I still don't have a high-speed connection to fully enjoy the experience of other people's mp3 blogs but at least I can report some of my favorite new and unusual music. I'm supposed to say all linked mp3's are intended for evaluation purposes but I think I don't really need to because my policy for this blog will be to link only those mp3's that are already stored for promotional purposes by the artists themselves or at least someone permitted to post on their behalf. You get to download without guilt and I get to completely avoid the hassle of storing, maintaining and rotating mp3 files on my own server space.

I hope my site is as fun to some people as all these other wonderful sites I've followed lately, are. At the very least, all it costs anybody is a little bit of time.

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