Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Tastes like chicken

How to turn your stomach...toward something better? The more innocuously shapeless a chunk of flesh looks on your plate, the more disgusting it probably is once you get to know it. Better to not be so squeamish and face your naked lunch honestly, perhaps.

Arthur Lee: the wilderness years

Felt like posting some rare Arthur Lee footage, and found these two performances from 1990, well after the dying days of the original run of Love lineups, but still before his highly suspicious arrest and jail term, and his subsequent glorious 21st century revival, sudden decline and exit from this plane. This was a time when Arthur was ignored, taken for granted and thought of as a has-been, knocking around L.A. clubs with various pickup bands. His astounding voice, wryly witty lyrics, and total commitment to self-expression never faltered, even in these dark days.

One of his greatest solo songs: "Everybody's gotta live/and everybody's gonna die!" If rock and roll is an art form that finds the most stunning and illuminating ways to speak the most obvious truths, this song is one of the best examples.

This song is new to me. "Somebody's Watching You": not the Sly Stone song, but equally paranoid. Hard-living African-American hippie geniuses do have to keep looking over their shoulders, after all.

I'm not really certain what Lee's spiritual beliefs were, but the final punchline, "God is watching you" does not sound the least bit comforting here, which is part of what makes this song is so appealing, I think. A very complex guy, Arthur Lee. We miss him.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Here comes the argument

I used to get caught up in this kind of discussion all the time. Brilliantly rendered.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Number 3!

"Mark Time", a track by X-tal, from the Ear Candle retrospective album, Who Owns Our Dreams?, has just leaped to the number 3 spot on the charts on North Fork Sound. North Fork Sound is an excellent online radio station run by our old acquaintance Howard Thompson. Thanks for playing our music, Howard!

Saturday, September 4, 2010

The lights and the sound

A nice clip of Alan Vega's visual art retrospective in Lyon, France. Belated congratulations to the great man for getting recognition for his work.

Plus, a snippet of a great, passionate improv version of "Cherie" at Hurrah in 1980.

These clips and many, many more can be found on the Live-at-Hurrah video archive. What an incredible time capsule of New York. Check it out.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Ear Candle Radio's Top 20, August 2010

Oh, what a month.

Hip-hop academic DJ Spooky recently supervised an ear-tickling mix of reggae gems from the Trojan label to celebrate their anniversary and a particular highlight of that collection tops our charts: An a capella mix of Bob Marley, Peter Tosh and Bunny Wailer harmonizing sweetly and spookily on the eerie Lee Scratch Perry collaboration "Mr. Brown". Is Mr. Brown controlled by remote? Calling Duppy Conqueror!

There's a new album by 90s New York indie stalwarts Versus; it's loud, brash and tuneful, and we picked one of bassist Fontaine Toups' featured numbers for the station, where it has already shot up to the number two spot. Behind that we have the spiritual Celtic drone of the Incredible String Band, the harsh, dubby post-punk protest of World Domination Enterprises, an exquisite jewel from the Tall Dwarfs (keep sending your love to Chris Knox!), exuberant catchy gibberish from the Plugz, a brief burst from the Minutemen with more ideas than most bands muster on an entire album, a track from one of our favorite dub albums ever courtesy of the late great Mikey Dread, and an incendiary love song from the mighty Flesh Eaters.

An exciting new Portland band, Explode Into Colors, bring forth rhythms that pin you against the wall in a track from the bonus CD of an issue of Yeti, which if you don't know what it is, you should: it's a nice, thick bound book/fanzine courtesy of Mike McGonigal, former editor of Chemical Imbalance, ably assisted by Steve Connell of Puncture and Verse Chorus press fame. They've got a new issue out; get it!

Behind that, there's Centry And The Music Family with their heavy dub version of "Smells Like Teen Spirit", the Bonzos with Vivian Stanshall's first installment of the mad soap opera he would keep coming back to for the rest of his life, X-tal caught improvising at a practice and stumbling on something gorgeous, the Skatalites stretching out (heavy dub content on this chart; the summer sun must be affecting our listeners!), the Poison Girls at their caustic best (no one else will ever rhyme "Ethiopia" and "utopia" with as much bitter, ironic truth), the Conspiracy Of Beards winning the ladies' hearts and teaching the men to be gentlemen in New York last year, Van Morrison gasping through a bad case of survivor's guilt at the dawn of his solo career in the 60s, Jefferson Airplane lead guitarist Jorma Kaukonen offering a breathtaking melancholy folk ballad that shows he's more than a mere jammer, the Zombies giving voice to the optimism we struggle to maintain against all odds (as in fact they were themselves at the time), and dear Yoko, supported by an all-star, mostly-Japanese Plastic Ono Band, reminding us how to love.

This station is a tonic for its creators and a gift to our listeners. Listen, vote on the songs you hear, and give us your feedback!

1. The Wailers - Mr. Brown (DJ Spooky remix) - Creation Rebel
2. Versus - Into Blue - On the Ones and Threes
3. Incredible String Band - The Circle Is Unbroken - The Big Huge
4. World Domination Enterprises - Asbestos Lead Asbestos (Heavy Pollution Mix) - Love from the Lead City
5. Tall Dwarfs - Open Wide Your Pretty Mouths - The Sky Above, The Mud Below
6. The Plugz - Wordless - Electrify Me
7. Minutemen - Straight Jacket - The Punch Line
8. Mikey Dread - Fast Forward Dub - At The Control Dubwise
9. The Flesh Eaters - Tightrope On Fire - Forever Came Today
10. Explode Into Colors - Paper (Hot Sax Version) - Yeti 7
11. Centry Meets The Music Family - Release The Chains - Dub Revolution
12. Bonzo Dog Doo Dah Band - Rawlinson End - Let's Make Up and Be Friendly
13. X-tal - Slow Fidelity - Who Owns Our Dreams
14. The Skatalites - Middle East Dub - Skatalites Meet King Tubby
15. Poison Girls - Price Of Grain - Poisonous
16. Conspiracy of Beards - Lady Midnight - Live at Highline Ballroom, NYC
17. Van Morrison - T.B. Sheets - T.B. Sheets
18. Jorma Kaukonen - Genesis - Quah
19. The Zombies - This Will Be Our Year - Odessey and Oracle
20. Yoko Ono Plastic Ono Band - Calling - Between My Head And The Sky