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by Tyler Gould

16 Oct 2009

Various Artists
Zevolution: ZE Records Re-Edited
(Strut)
Releasing: 24 November

This batch of re-edited songs from the legendary post-punk label includes dance floor classics (“Annie”), fresh mixes (“Almost Black”), and the odd rarity (“No Turn on Red”). The package will come with an extensive booklet with an introduction by Greg Wilson and sleeve notes by Bill Brewster.

SONG LIST
01 Kid Creole & The Coconuts – I’m Corrupt (Idjut Boys Edit)
02 Gichy Dan’s Beachwood No 9 – Cowboys & Gangsters (Social Disco Club Edit)
03 Gichy Dan’s Beachwood No 9 – On A Day Like Today (Todd Terje ‘Friendly Children’ Edit)
04 David Gamson – No Turn On Red (Fat Camp version)
05 Material with Nona Hendryx – Bustin’ Out (Rub & Tug Edit)
06 Aural Exciters – Spooks In Space (Luke Howard & Felix Dickinson Edit)
07 James White & The Blacks - Contort Yourself (Twitch-Optimo mix)
08 Was (Not Was) – Tell Me That I’m Dreaming (Greg Wilson ZE-Edit)
09 James White & The Blacks – Almost Black (Richard Sen’s Padded Cell Edit)
10 Garcons – Encore L’Amore (Leo Zero Edit)
11 Don Armando’s Seventh Avenue Rhumba Band – I’m An Indian Too (Pilooski mix)
12 Kid Creole & The Coconuts – Annie I’m Not Your Daddy (Soul Mekanik ‘Bounty Girls’ Edit)

Aural Exciters
Spooks In Space (Luke Howard & Felix Dickinson Filthy & Foolish Edit) [MP3]
     

by Eleanore Catolico

16 Oct 2009

Shoegaze songstress Tamaryn drapes palpable reverb over the lovely “Mild Confusion”, a beautiful melange of spiky guitar, monster drums, and Tamaryn’s sultry timbre.

Tamaryn
Mild Confusion [MP3]
     

by Eleanore Catolico

16 Oct 2009

Watch the handcrafted magic of “Feel Good Together” from the masterminds of Drummer, which includes Patrick Carney (Black Keys), Jamie Stillman, Jon Finley, Steve Clements, and Greg Boyd (all drummers themselves). Their album, Feel Good Together, is out now off Audio Eagle.

by Allison Taich

16 Oct 2009

When thinking of punk rock what bands come to mind? Maybe the Sex Pistols, Screeching Weasel, NOFX, or Naked Raygun? What about the Butthole Surfers? I normally would not have associated the Butthole Surfers with punk, that is, until I witnessed them headline the opening night of Riot Fest in Chicago.  The aim of the five night event was to showcase generations of punk rock music of all shapes and sizes.

Normally punk is not my first choice of music; I associate it with teenage friendships, an adolescent rite of passage soundtrack if you will.  But what drew me to Riot Fest was the Butthole Surfers, a band I have enjoyed since seeing them on Beavis and Butthead.

Photo by Patrick Houdek

Photo by Patrick Houdek

Hesitant about their association to punk rock I really did not know what to expect.  The venue was filled with an eerie glow from a screen serving as a stage backdrop.  As the band took the stage, audience members packed in as close as they could to best glimpse the imminent spectacle.  The backdrop began to flash, spastically, three different montages as the band hammered out “Something,” with guitarist Paul Leary on lead vocals.  Meanwhile usual front man Gibby Haynes danced around, honking on the saxophone.  Jeff Pinkus slammed his bass, and percussionists King Coffey and Teresa Taylor drove a steady yet intricate rhythm on various drums.  The lineup of Haynes, Leary, Pinkus, Coffey and Taylor represented the band’s original roster from the mid-‘80s.  After the first song I knew it was going to be one hell of a ride.

The music got increasingly loud, intense, and stylistically interesting.  Every song featured Haynes’ patented “Gibbytronix” voice modulator, which tweaked sounds and altered his vocal pitch.  Other effects included an abundance of distortion pedals, industrial soundtracks, a megaphone, sirens, squeaking, squawking, and plenty of noise trails.  Interacting with the crowd, Haynes chatted about how many girls were there, the number of people wearing glasses , how many were bald, and how young the crowd seemed.  He described the scene as “unprecedented.” 

Photo by Patrick Houdek

Photo by Patrick Houdek

Known for their extreme debaucheries on stage the Butthole Surfers played a relatively tame show.  The only shock value came from the blood, guts, fear, fury and skin projected on the backdrop.  Some film scenes were recognizable—such as It, Silence of the Lambs and Killer Klowns from Outer Space—while others just included surgeries, zombie/slasher films, bugs, geometric shapes, explosions, combusting heads and more.  It was not unlike A Clockwork Orange, being force fed images of violence and gore.

Their set closed with “Who was in My Room Last Night?,” with Haynes performing an inspiring interpretive dance as the song rumbled to a close. Then the backdrop went black and the stage remained still for almost half a minute.  At this point the venue reeked of B.O. and smoke, thanks to a smoke machine filling the room with a thick fog.

Coming back for an encore, Leary confided in the crowd: “Normally we’re this really good rock and roll band [who] plays normal shit…it takes special people to come see us!” Their encore, lasting almost 20 minutes, was full of monster solos from each member, and more deafening psychedelic freak outs.  It felt like a finale to one of the slasher films projected in the background, when the apparently doomed teen knows they will eventually get out alive.  The show officially ended with grinding noise, like helicopters hitting pavement, topped off with bass reverb.

Reflecting on punk, the theme of Riot Fest, and how the Butthole Surfers fit into the picture, I thought that their sound was not all-out punk, but instead their energy and ethos reflected the genre.  They took the audience for a twisted ride, razed some eardrums, and upheld their legacy of being a motley band of bizarre, discombobulated chaos, who ultimately leaves their fans satisfied.

Set list obtained by Allison Taich

Set list obtained by Allison Taich

by Tommy Marx

16 Oct 2009

A few years ago, I made a mix CD of some of my favorite songs and gave copies to my friends. One of the songs on the CD, Arcade Fire’s “Wake Up”, is currently being used to advertise the Where the Wild Things Are movie, and most of the other songs I shared hold up equally well, including Bright Eyes’ “First Day of My Life” (one of the best love songs I’ve ever heard), Doves’ “Black and White Town”, Jill Sobule’s “Cinnamon Park”, The Thrills’ “Big Sur”, Stereophonics’ “Dakota”, Keane’s “This Is the Last Time”, Interpol’s “Evil” (which has an awesome video, btw), Deena Carter’s “In a Heartbeat”, and Easyworld’s “How Did It Ever Come to This”. Of course, I also added Daniel Powter’s “Bad Day”, but in my defense, this was before the song got chosen for American Idol and started getting played 14 times every hour on the radio.

I ended the CD with one of my all-time favorite songs, “How to Be Dead” by Snow Patrol.

When I first ran across the video for “Chocolate”, a Snow Patrol single that spent two weeks on the Modern Rock chart, but otherwise didn’t make a major impression in the United States, I was intrigued. The video portrayed hundreds of people reacting to the world ending, from people running frantically and a couple having sex for the last time to a woman holding her crying child, while the band members calmly played their song. Towards the end, the sand in the hourglass runs out, and everywhere, people fall to the ground and shield themselves from the inevitable horror. Except… nothing happens. As they’re beginning to comprehend that fact, Gary Lightbody, the lead singer of Snow Patrol, walks over to the hourglass and turns it over, and the panic begins anew.

Although the song wasn’t bad, I was actually more impressed by the video, so I searched for more. Fortunately, I came across “Run”, a song that peaked at #15 on the Modern Rock chart in America, but was actually a Top 5 hit in the UK. The song was provocative and unforgettable. The last time I’d heard a song that instantly created a mood and a mystique like that was almost 20 years earlier, when “Silent Running (On Dangerous Ground)” by Mike + the Mechanics played on the radio. I bought Snow Patrol’s Final Straw CD the next day.

And that’s when I heard “How to Be Dead”. I’m not completely sure what the song is about—it sounds like an argument between a drug addict and the woman who is tired of being hurt by him—but when she says, “You’ve not heard a single word I have said. Oh my god,” there’s something so heartbreaking about the way Gary sings the line (even though everyone’s probably heard and/or said something like that a thousand times in their lives). A clichéd complaint suddenly becomes far more serious than it should be, although it doesn’t hurt that earlier, she asks him, “Why can’t you shoulder the blame? / ‘Cause both my shoulders are heavy from the weight of us both”.

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