Tuesday, December 30, 2008

In which I quickly review Benjamin Button and Cadillac Records

No, no the music well has not run dry over here, I'm working on a few posts but in the meantime:

Benjamin Button

a pretty good Forest Gump wannabe that's well-directed and fun to watch and all. It's set in New Orleans, which is an added bonus for those of us living there, but IF THEY ARE GOING TO CONTINUE TO GIVE EVERY NEW ORLEANEAN A STUPID ACCENT IN MOVIES I WOULD PREFER THE MOVIE INDUSTRY LEAVE OUR CITY ALONE ALTOGETHER (despite the needed cashflow from the insdustry). IT WAS PAINFUL AND THOUGH SOME PEOPLE HAVE A SLIGHT ACCENT HERE, THEY DO NOT SOUND LIKE GONE WITH THE WIND

I give it a 7+ up out of two thumbs.


Cadillac Records was absolutely great and you would likely think so too if you check this blog out. It doesn't force feed you the legendary status of these artists, it lets them live the legend and you judge for yourselves. All of the songs featured in the movie were sung by the actors and with the exception of Mos Def's overly silly Chuck Berry, they were all absolutely incredible, particularly the genuinely menacing Howlin' Wolf. One of the few movies that I wish were a little longer so they could stuff it to the gills with nods to Chess fans, flesh everything out and give us some lagniappe. Maybe I'm just a little bitter because after being underrecognized his whole life, Bo Diddley was missing from the movie potentially about him. Also Beyonce's musical performances got a little more attention than the equally worthy male roles, while as mysterious poster "eaw" suggested, her bionic hand was barely shown or something.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Ponderosa Stomp line-up is-up

Now New Orleans' Jazz Fest is a wonderful thing, but there's only one Ponderosa Stomp. Jazz Fest muddies up the Jazz Fest thing with big wonderful Dave Matthews' Band shows and whatever, but every year Ponderosa Stomp gives you one of the most impressive, if not thee most impressive line-ups in the nation of traditional (both old and recent) Rock & Roll stars. And most importantly: This time I'll finally be in town for it. I was lucky enough to catch bands like The Staggers, Satelliters and of course the Sonics at last year's Cavestomp in New York, but now right in my old town I get to see (copied and pasted from here)

Wanda Jackson, Roddy Jackson, Alton Lott, Carl Mann, Johnny Powers, Jack Earls, Dale Hawkins, James Burton, Dan Penn And Bobby Emmons, Howard Tate, Otis Clay, The Hi Rhythm Section, The Remains, Question Mark And The Mysterians, The Legendary Stardust Cowboy, Bobby Patterson, Wiley And The Checkmates, The Bo-Keys, Lil Buck Senegal And The Top Cats Featuring Stanley "Buckwheat Zydeco" Dural, Dennis Coffey, Robert Parker, Jivin Gene, Ray Sharpe, Long John Hunter, Texas Johnny Brown, Little Joe Washington, James Blood Ulmer Trio, L.C. Ulmer, Little Willie Littlefield, Lil Greenwood, Jerry McCain, Kenny And The Kasuals, Classie Ballou, Deke Dickerson And The Eccofonics, Roy Loney And Cyril Jordan Of The Flamin Groovies Backed By The A-Bones, and Lazy Lester.

Now I'll be honest, there's a lot of returning artists on here from last year and not too many new ones, especially for an event that has hosted acts like Link Wray, the Fabulous Wailers and, really, just look at this line-up. However, there are some pretty exciting new ones on there, such as Roy Loney backed by the A-Bones and The Legendary Stardust Cowboy. But like I said, I haven't even seen the returning names, so there's absolutely no question that I'm excited.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Sandy Nelson - Walkin' Beat

Sandy Nelson probably wouldn't show up in your average list of 20 surf/surf-era-instrumental musicians today, but he really should be quite a heavyweight. He's got an enourmous discography, most of which is great, he just approaches Rock & Roll from a drumming angle when most of Rock & Roll is very guitar-centric. Still, he certainly does operate in the realm of rock & roll... though he does deviate a little here.

Most of the stuff on here are surfy instrumentals a la Teen Beat, but on the B side things get a little more interesting. He delves into chops demonstration territory, which may turn some off but I think Soul Drums' tribal pounding is just as danceable as anything else on here. Teen Beach gets a little more showy, with a lot more snare and admittedly dragging at parts. Then there's Beat From Another World, which is probably the highlight of the album. It starts out similar to the two before it, but with some spacey electronic yelps... and then the yelps of space creatures themselves. Clearly they're just human voices slowed down to unrecognizable levels, but it's used so much the music comes to a stop just to listen to these monsters go "YORP". It's hilariously strange stuff and the album cover leaves you no clue that Sandy was going to earn a sci-fi tag for this post, but I love it and it will certainly make great 4AM college radio. Then of course, he goes back to another great surfy instrumental.

Unfortunately this isn't a wonderful copy, and I doubt it's really all that rare either, so if I ever find another copy I might revise this one. It took some cleaning just to get the album into this shape, but now I think it's pretty listenable, just with plenty of crackles and pops. There was a spot on the second track with an unavoidable skip, but thanks to a little surgery in Audacity the song should sound fine now. So here's the final product, you can click that image below for the full tracklist.

Recently I found out that Sandy Nelson hasn't called it a day. He's teamed up with another band including Los Straitjackets' phenomenal Eddie Angel for a new (digital only) album. Unfortunately I'm at my absolute worst financial state right now so I can't get myself a copy, but the stuff on that Myspace sounds excellent. Anybody heard it in full?

Monday, December 15, 2008

The Day The Earth Stood Still kind of sucked

Yes, this is sometimes a sci-fi blog. In fact this is a really bloggy blog entry and is probably best ignored.

One of my first posts on here was about Hollywood's sudden urge to respin sci-fi's forgotten classics for today's audience. Death Race was surprisingly fun; not nearly as outrageous as the original but gratuitous enough for today's audience to have a blast. Yep, it was pretty good, though hopefully it inspired people to check out the first o0ne. 

The Day The Earth Stood Still was not. While I don't think either movie really needed a remake, the message from the original (NUKES ARE BAD) is still very true, just less trendy than... wait what is it they were warning us about in this one? When watching you probably infer a global warming theme, but really all they ever come out and say it "humans are really destructive"

But we can change! In our darkest hour Keanu Reeves is convinced to save humans because... they love each other. Sure, NO NUKES is a pretty easy answer to the original one, but without a real answer to humanity's problem in the new one, I'm left wondering what the aliens wanted from us. What was this movie about? Why did we remake it? What are you trying to tell America?

But I will give them this much: there was plenty of reverence for the original. Klaatu and Gort are pretty cheesy now for sci-fi names but they still used them, and Gort is extremely similar to the original in appearance and function. I was especially pleased that they kept Klaatu's solving an equation as a means to meet the the professor. It was a pretty minor role really and not necessary, but it was probably one of the nicest scenes in the movie.

Because it was boring. The first one wasn't actionfest '58 and thankfully neither was this, but when it was attempted it wasn't really great and it held none of the ominous tone that the first one had. I loved Gort's inclusion but he really didn't mean much, just kind of stuck in there while in the first he made a great parallel to the could-happen-any-second power of nuclear weapons. The first one achieved drama by situation, and this didn't deliver in that respect or with action.

Kudos for making Will Smith's kid one of the biggest shits I've ever seen in a movie. I mean, no problem with Will Smith, but usually they try to give the kids some degree of likeability. Not here.

Anyway, don't worry I've got some good rock & roll coming up. I just needed a little closure from one of my first posts. Or just reason to gloat because I was totally right about everything. And if you really cared what I thought about this movie, I'd suggest you get a hobby until I come back from seeing Cadillac Records

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Bo Diddley's A Twister

This is on request from Tristis Vox and I'd like to thank him/her just for bringing it to my attention that this album hasn't been reissued. For those of you who haven't heard Bo Diddley, you have lived an impoverished life as a Rock & Roll appreciator. I say this with no condescension because I think it was almost a year ago that I first heard Bo Diddley. I don't know, maybe it was two, but I do remember that it was on his birthday, December 30th (I could have waited for this post but I couldn't help it). I walked into Domino Record Shack knowing it was Bo Diddley's birthday and decided "Let's see who this guy is". You see, this was before I learned two very important Rock & Roll maxims: Rock & Roll musicians with ridiculous names are often proportionately ridiculous (in a good way) and that ridiculous Rock & Roll album covers, despite what Bo himself would preach in one of his songs, can purely be judged by how ridiculous the covers are. I learned these rules that day by picking up Bo Diddley is a Gunslinger, which proves both rules well. He quickly rocketed up my list of favorite artists, where he now resides near or at the top.

Anyway, impoverished Bo Diddley non-listener, Allmusic and other sources would like you to think this album is a throwaway effort. Well, that's not entirely incorrect, but this would actually make a great introduction for you. Like many albums with "twist" in the title, this is a cash-in album and as a result half of the tracks on here appear on his other more canonically recognized albums. They aren't even different takes, as far as I can tell these are identical recordings... of some of his best hits like Roadrunner, Bo Diddley and Who Do You Love. But by golly, who doesn't want to hear those songs again? However, unlike the aforeposted cash-in album the other songs are originals written and played by Bo Diddley. They don't change Bo Diddley's sound to something more twist-friendly (they're all pretty twistable already), they're plain old 50's and 60's Bo Diddley, just the way we all like 'em. Sure, they can't compete with the monster hits they're sandwiched next to, but they stand tall next to them and are certainly worth a listen to a seasoned Bo fan. Essentially you have a solid Bo Diddley album mixed with a Greatest Hits.

This particular rip is a miracle. That picture at the top of this post? That's my album, and it's hiding the archival tape holding the cover together. The album doesn't look too much better. However, probably for Bo Diddley's sake, the muses have blessed us by preserving the sound quality despite its scarred visage. Oh it's not perfect, there's certainly a fuzz but thoughout the album, but not an obnoxious one. It sounds great save for two things: the very first second is a skip, so the album gets off to an awkward start. I did what I could, y'all, I couldn't fix it. But no real significan part of the song is lost. However, "Hush Your Mouth" skips around repeatedly and is unlistenable. Thankfully, the song can be found on his other albums, again the exact same recording. It's still included for continuity's sake. As with any album, if somebody can pull up a better rip I'll gladly either put it up here or link to it on here, but this is better than nothing. In fact, really not all that bad.

Anyway, that's might be the longest blurb I've written so I'm done. Here 'tis

Side A:

  1. Detour
  2. She's Alright
  3. Doin' The Jaguar
  4. Who Do You Love
  5. Shank
  6. Road Runner
  7. My Babe

Side B:

  1. The Twister
  2. Hey, Bo Diddley
  3. Hush Your Mouth
  4. Bo Diddley
  5. I'm Looking For A Woman
  6. Here 'Tis
  7. I Know

Snow in New Orleans

It's raining again by now but I have a deck covered in ice. For those of you that have never been, this has happened about 3 or 4 times in my lifetime and everybody's flippin their wig. Especially since it was in the 70s two days ago and according to meteorologists, 70's again Saturday.

oh jeez I screwed up cropping that

more (and larger sizes) at my flickr page

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

The Soul Finders - Sweet Soul Music

The Soul Finders' Sweet Soul Music provides many ways for me to redeem myself as a blogger. First of all: I've stated earlier that I think funk and soul has plenty of business under the umbrella of Rock & Roll, I just haven't really posted much to that effect, mostly because there are 400 incredible blogs already posting all the rare stuff. Well I haven't seen this anywhere aside from a small mention at Funky16Corners. His opinions seem pretty mixed and I might agree, but it's worth a listen.

Most (all?) tracks are covers and with some variation on music styles ranging from straight soul to organ-fueled R&B. I guess that's not many but at times it sounds like different bands playing each song, especially when it comes to the vocal tracks. Which leads me to redemption point #2: on this blog I've had a habit of scoffing off vocal tracks in favor of instrumentals. Other way around here. All four vocal tracks are excellent, sweetly sung and well-played, more energetic than the instrumentals. The instrumentals are good, sure, but I'd do just as well listening to Bill Blacks Combo or Booker T and the MGs.

From doing a little research it seems that the arranger and band members come from a reasonable pedigree, but to be honest most of what I've read is a little past my level of savvy. As funky16corners points out, this is NOT related to Eddy Bo at all. For a while I thought it was local to New Orleans but I don't know where I got that. Maybe I was just going on the arrangers name that ends in "eaux" and the fact that I found it in some tiny pocket of the west bank, nestled among much less exciting records.

The cover may not look great in that picture and the record is hardly silent but it's certainly clean enough to enjoy. You'll just be aware that it's vinyl, that's all.

So here it is

Side A:

  1. Sweet Soul Music (vocal)
  2. Respect
  3. Dead End Street
  4. Tomorrow Night (vocal)
  5. Passion Flower

Side B:

  1. The Happening
  2. Why Don't You Do Right (vocal)
  3. Soul American
  4. Raindrops
  5. Oh How I Need You Joe

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Another Funk/Soul Show tonight

Once again I'm covering for WTUL's Funk and Soul show at Midnight Central time tonight. To stream it online just go to www.wtulneworleans.com or tune in at 91.5 FM if you're in the area.

The playlist will be edited in after the show

edit: true to my word

Cliff Nobles - Judge Baby, I'm BACK
African Music Machine - Black Water Gold
The Mighty Imperials - Kick the Blanket
Connie Price and the Keystones - Sucker Punch
The Soul Finders - Why Don't You Do Right
Major Lance - Rhythm
Syl Johnson - Come on Sock it To Me
Robert Willis - Stoop Down

The Meters - Ease Back
Booker T and the MGs - Soul Clap '69
Ramsey Lewis - Party Time
Menahan Street Band - Birds
Mandrill - Positive Thing
Fred Wesley and the Horny Horns - Say Blow By Blow Backwards
J Blackfoot - You can't Take It With You
Apollo - Space Cannibals

The Emperors - Karate
Honey Cone - Stick Up
Sweet James - Soul Man
Nicole Willis and the Soul Investigators - Soul Investigators Theme
Black Merda - Reality
Hannibal - All Nite Long
O.V. Wright - Ace of Spade
Boogaloo investigators - Moove to the Groove
King Khan and his Shrines - Pickin' Up the Trash

Blo - Blo
Bad Medicine - Tresspasser pt 2
Dr. Victor Olaiya - Omelebele
The Rwenzori's - Handsome boy (pts 1 & 2)
The Nite-Liters - Afro-Strut
(around here I kind of forget because the next DJ couldn't make it and I needed to figure out what to do. I just kind of played whatever was in front of me)
The Kustard Kings - Jungle Boogie
The Wild Magnolias - Smoke my Peace Pipe

Sun Ra - Hot Skillet Mama
Curtis Mayfield - We People Who Are Darker Than Blue
Sun - Radiation Level
Ebony Rhythm Band - Soul Heart Transplant
something or rather
Benny Spellman - Fortune Teller

Monday, December 8, 2008

Vintage Sci-Fi Illustrations

Probably going to have a music post soon but I gotta heal my computer first. In the meantime


Thursday, December 4, 2008

Tone Tank - King of the Surf Guitar Rap

Last night at dinner I mentioned that I used to DJ a surf rock show and I got a response much different than "uh.. what's that?" This guy pulled out a sheet of paper and told me to go to radiobelly.com and check out Tone Tank - Surf Guitar Rap. Well I'll make this easier for you, you can just checkit out here

This isn't the first time I've heard the two genres meet. Most recently famously Black Eyed Peas confused surf fans with "Pump It" sampling Misirlou but I  prefer the oldies lovin' Fat Boys

Tone Tank doesn't really reinterpret the songs or chop up the beat. They straight rap over surf rock songs by Dick Dale, The Ventures etc.. I won't say it's all that smooth, but it's definitely a pretty fun listen if for nothing else than hearing them say "RAP" after the girls sing "Listen to the King of the Surf Guitar" or rap about kicking over your sandcastles. What What worthy material if you ask me

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Ernie K-Doe at WTUL

As I've said a few times here, I DJ at Tulane's Radio station. My show right now is nothing I'd recommend tuning into, but I certainly would have tuned into Burn K-Doe Burn. Such exuberant DJ stylings are pretty much gone on that station now.

And since there might be a little draught of vinyl rips for a while (most of the out-of-print stuff I have is pretty boring or put up by somebody else) here's MY favorite Ernie K-Doe song. For those of you unacquainted with this New Orleans music personality, his biggest number is Mother In Law, though he's getting a little post-humous popularity resurgence since "Here Come The Girls" was used in a Levis commercial.

If this song "Ain't it the truth" (sometimes "Tain't") doesn't impress you just give it one more listen and be surprised when it doesn't leave your head for a month. Or maybe thats just because I mangled its meaning to be about New Orleans when I was evacuating for Gustav.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

UFO's and ET's presented by Brad Steiger

Just the intro folks, the rest is on Youtube from some other user

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

The Barbwires and Royal Pendletons have new albums outish!

Ever since the Barbwires put "Playa Del Muerto" on their Myspace I've been checking obsessively for a new song from or at least a release date on their new album Searider. While that wasn't announced until recently (December 4th... but hold on about that) they did mention a CD release party in Sweden... with legendary New Orleans garage combo The Royal Pendletons, who I had assumed to be a done group since they hadn't put anything out since the 90s and all.

Well whaddaya know, last night I caught the Pendletons opening for King Khan & BBQ. The Pendletons were a little before my time, especially the time that I would end up appreciating garage rock, and it was all great. Not only them: King Khan & BBQ, and DJ Pasta, it was all great. It's comforting to know that though the 90's garage rock revival has come and gone and now Garage Rock has become Garage Punk, but New Orleans retains one of those that still revere Rock & Roll in the proper sense... especially now that I'm not in 6th grade and can appreciate them, whereas I thought I would never have a chance to see them.

It turns out they're not just back though, they've released a new album! It's all live material, but most (all?) songs are new and sound great live. Well, I guess you'd expect that from a live album. Anyway, it's great, just listen to one track (not sure if it's my favorite yet, I've only listened to it 1.5 times so far).

So I was kind of hoping to have a quick chat with one of them about the Barbwires, their new album Searider and all that. Well, I couldn't find them when I went to look for them after the show but it turns out that's OK because Wild Records didn't wait for that whole December 4th thing and I found myself with a copy of Searider the next day in the mail. I think I ordered it like 3 days before that.

Well I've only had it for a little more than 24 hours now, but I can pretty squarely say that despite how obsessed I was, checking Myspace every day for friend updates from the Barbwires, my anticipation was well warranted. This is a FEAT. Not for the small surf scene, not for garage rock today, I mean this is a MEAN surf album. Extremely ambitious, beautifully produced (from what I understand they have friends in The Hives that gave them a hand) and all-around impressive from any standpoint. Previously I was a fan of their 7"s over their last LP "...Sounds Like Trouble" because despite Trouble's impressive musicianship and variety in instrumentation, the 7"s were better songs with better feeling. Searider's got them both. And unlike other big-budget big-sound multi-instrument albums from surf bands (such as Laika's Global Warming) this is definitely certainly surf rock by anybody's definition.

OK I don't really want to write a full review but I'll leave you with this: this is an album that can put surf back on the map. Not like North America on the map in terms of popularity, I don't think Surf can achieve much more than something like Madagascar, but with our dear Laika & The Cosmonauts calling it a day, the Barbwires are worthy enough to take that place.

Since the Barbwires have been sooo secretive and only putting Casa Del Muerto on their Myspace, as a sample I'll stick with what Double Crown put on a compilation, but I don't even think this is one of the best songs. So you've got the song on their Myspace, this song and my promise that other (all, really) songs are just as good... BUY THE ALBUM GO GIT IT

Sunday, November 16, 2008

The Lifeguards - C'Mon and Swim

So there's Bobby Freeman performing his 1964 hit, apparently written by Sly Stone and... some other guy named Thomas Coman. And this post is about The Lifeguards' 1964 album starting with a nearly identical song.

So what's the deal here? I have no idea, this is just some album I found and the internet isn't helping me. I can't find any references to original writers or even band members on this album, all I've got is Wynecote Records. But if the Lifeguards are ripping Bobby Freeman off they're putting a lot of effort into selling this new dance craze of theirs. All 10 songs here include the word swim and more than one are describing just how to do this dance. And more importantly, they're actually pretty catchy and energetic, to the point where I really don't have a preference between this version of "C'Mon and Swim" or Bobby's (assuming it's a different band). The rest of the songs, while not matching that single, are all pretty worthy, especially Slow Swim

My copy's in pretty good condition, though there's some pretty loud crackles between tracks for whatever reason. But I'll give you a present: while it's downloading, listen to this excellent cover of C'Mon and Swim by The Flakes. And wonder what "Licorice Swim" could be about.

The Lifeguards are here

And the Flakes:

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Dr. John - Zu Zu Man (Trip Records)

There are a ton of Dr. John albums named Zu Zu Man, I believe all of them unauthorized. Allmusic alone lists five... not including this one that I found in a flea market in Connecticut. To quote a guy from the bomplist I found on Google

Trip Records certainly lives up to its name. They also did a Dr. John album,
"Zu Zu Man," that overdubs scrapped instrumental outtrakes of his
with...somebody IMITATING Dr. John on lead vocals, singing cheesy New Orleans-themed
lyrics passed off as the real thing. If you're a fan, it's pretty hilarious.
And if does of course feature a photo of him as he looked at the time.

I'm not sure whether that's true at all, although at times I thought the voice DID seem a little off. Sometimes on target too. Sometimes clearly female. As with everything I throw up here it seems, the cover is misleading; this isn't really Night Tripper-Gris Gris psychedelic stuff so much but it's pleasantly funky, especially Della I think.

So go download it already

Sunday, November 9, 2008

The Road

Here's a little thrift store gem I found. I had never and still haven't heard mention of the band, but saw their stylin' leather jackets, swanky hairstyles, cool attitudes, cheesy use of Robert Frost quotes and choice of covers and thought I'd be in for a good dose of Mersey/Pop-psychedelic sound. And I was correct! Although considering all these factors and the intro track, I expected more of a concept album experience than all the covers and dance numbers they play.

Only two of these songs are written by band members but the covers are high energy and fun, sometimes mixing them up. The most notable example being the song that starts out as Dance To The Music, which reminded me of Mitch Ryder's excellent combo of Devil With The Blue Dress and Good Golly Miss Molly. The Road don't really approach anything quite up to that caliber, but Mitch Ryder doesn't have the occaisonal psychedelic touches that The Road have.

According to the back cover this album is exclusive to ITCC stereo tape cartridges and cassettes, making this vinyl rip a complete paradox. Considering it doesn't exist and despite the cover condition it's not a bad rip. Enough little pops to let you know it's vinyl, but not much more. Oh and ignore the tracklist on the back cover, it's totally wrong. The album label is more accurate although still a little tough to deciper considering the medleys. It Goes something like

Side 1:
(brief intro)
1.She's Not There
2.Love Is All
3.Love-it-is (or Loveitis)
4.A Taste of Honey
5.I can Only Give You Everything
Side 2:
1.Dance to the Music (shotgun)/Never Gonna Give You Up
2.Mr. Soul
3.In Love
4.See You There
5.Rock & Roll Woman/The Grass Looks Greener On The Other Side
3.In Love

Here's Your Link

Tuesday, November 4, 2008


The Rock & Roll Hoo-Ha What What, though it hasn't been demonstrating it much, is a funk friendly internet place. Tonight at Midnight Eastern I'll be doing a live funk show streamable at wtulneworleans.com

I'll update this posts with playlists when I have them. 

Hopefully it'll be a show of victory


Nice one dumbass, you live in CENTRAL time, not Eastern. Anyway, Obama won, my show was great, they apparently played me in some bar

here's the setlist:

Curtis Mayfield - We Got To Have Peace
Cane and Able - Who's Gonna Take The Weight
Cliff Nobles - Love Is Alright
Ike Turner - Gettin Nasty
Major Lance - I Just Can't Help It
Ebony Rhythm Band - Don't Get High
Billy Preston - Space Race

Meco - Star Wars
Fred Wesley & The JBs - Damn Right I Am Somebody
Chet Poison Ivy - Poo Poo Man
Clarence Carter - Funky Fever
Golden Toadstools - Silly Savage
Tom and Jerrio - Boo-ga-loo
The Emperors - My Baby Likes to Boogaloo
Kashmere Stage Band - Do You Dig It, Man?

Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings - Baby How Long
Spanky Wilson & The Quantic Soul Orchestra - Waiting For Your Touch
Rufus Thomas - Push and Pull pt. 1
Eddie Bo - Hook and Sling pt. 1
Dyke and the Blazers - Funky Broadway Pt. 1
Mandrill - El Funko
The Gaturs - Wasted
Budos Band - My Girl
Brothers Johnson - Come Together

Femi Kuti - Sorry Sorry
Karl Hector + The Malcouns - Debere
Afrique - Hot Mud
Fugi - Jo Jo
Ofo & The Black Company - Allah Wakbarr

The Bamboos - Step It Up

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Mustang Lightning - Guitaro Loco

I often accidentally leave Mustang Lightning off my quick list of New Orleans surf bands. Possibly because even their myspace lists them in two other places as well and I've never seen a concert listing for them. While I'd picked up an old copy of their more recent album Texas Voodoo Surf it didn't grab me, though checking out their myspace again and listening to this album I think maybe it needs another listen.

So I don't really know much about them or about this release and all I could find was that it was meant as a sort of Dick Dale/Link Wray tribute, though they certainly do a little more than that considering stuff like the Astronauts and Good, Bad and Ugly covers. But those covers are good! This band is hardly the first to cover that old...uh... Clint Eastwood classic (according to the CD), but this is certainly in the upper ranks of those that I've heard. The whole album is really quick and aggressive but with some playful touches and a personality of its own. For instance one track features a banjo solo that doesn't sound too out of place.

If you can judge by that CD cover right up there, this is pretty rough quality. I don't necessarily mean lo-fi, I mean sub-par engineering (but not that bad), sub-par packaging and a crude attitude: they finish off their thanks with "This disc is Dedicated to ALL the HOT Bitches from South fo the Border That Love to Dance until they Droo" (I think the P is cut off). But crudeness plays well with Rock & Roll. I don't know whether this is a demo or just a plain old "LIMITED EDITION CD", I just saw it today at the Mushroom and thought it was good enough to throw on here.

Here's a tracklist (as listed on the CD)

Our Side

  1. Speed Crazy
  2. Barbwire
  3. El Toro Diablo
  4. Boys Ranch
  5. Slow Walk
  6. Their Side

  7. Thunder (Jodie Reynolds)
  8. Banzai Pipeline (The Astronauts)
  9. The Good, The Bad, and, the Ugly (Clint Eastwood)
  10. Ghost Riders (traditional)
  11. I'm Dead (Western Waste)

and the 11th track is some sort of interview and outtake thing that's still worth listening to. 

Download it HERE

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Mediocre Spotnicks double post!

I love the Spotnicks. They've got a unique sound and great shtick, not to mention Rocket Man was probably the song that got stuck in my head most last year and I ended up christening my blog with it.

I have here two Spotnicks albums that I haven't seen elsewhere, perhaps because I bought both of them in Europe (though the Spotnicks were from Sweden so that doesn't mean much). They both aren't very good for reasons I will detail, but first I should address the obvious question of "if they suck then why?"

First and foremost: I think that all records deserve the right to existence. I've come across so much great music from taking risks in the dollar bin, music that will never be written about in history books and are excluded from musical canon. A lot of it will be buried in time, plenty of it by the time the baby boomers croak. The internet provides a no-risk sampling environment for this music to be heard and continue to exist. And there's often a reason for bad music to exist, that Surfin' With Bo Diddley Album being a great example. There are better surf albums out there, but my curiosity was piqued and since it's the most visited page on this blog I'd wager I'm not the only one.

Secondly: This CD contains some of the only examples I can think of where all the foci of this blog come together: Sci-Fi, Rock & Roll and New Orleans. Specifically I'm talking about Take Me To The Mardi Gras and a vocals-present cover of Jambalaya. I'm kind of glad I got this album just to hear those alone, but there's some other odd ones like a cover of "My Baby Left me" and "The Great Snowman's" crazy banjo meltdown. They don't often make great songs, but really my judgement is clouded on all of these tracks; the production is just way too clean and cheesy throughout all these songs. The high-pitched undistorted guitar falls into Walgreens soundtrack territory. This claims to be a greatest hits collection but only out of their post-60's career, so despite what the cover might lead you to believe they've dropped the whole sci-fi thing and probably look more like this other album.

Oh my god how the mighty have fallen. "Yeah guys, the Spaceman thing didn't work but I'll tell you what's in right now is blue shirts, jeans and not getting haircuts. THAT'S our new uniform. However, I think synchronized guitar playing is still in. Except for you, fourth guitar player, you play guitar over there"

Just like 20 Nice Ditties or whatever the Swedish translates to, these are mostly covers and not particularly inspired, though they do have their moments. It's still got that clean sound, but not as unbearably so. And it does have their cover of Ghostriders in the Sky which rightfully made it onto my actual Greatest Hits album not featured in this post (I have it ripped but it just seems redundant considering that there are CD collections and albums available pretty easily. I could be convinced otherwise).

There you have it. You've got hard drive space you're a spotnicks nut, go forth and check these out, then watch that rocket man video again.

You can get "20 Heta L├ątar" here


And Electrifying Spotnicks here


Thursday, October 23, 2008

(slightly late) Voodoo Fest Picks

Maybe Voodoo Fest has steadily gotten better and it has just been my tastes that declined. Or maybe it's just that I would have been out of town for past years anyway so I didn't give it a good look. Well, either way it's GREAT this year. Lots of big name picks but it's the alternative to alternative bands that are really making this year's lineup stand out.

My picks:

FRIDAY (this isn't just a highlight list, this is a gameplan. No overlaps):

Extra Action Marching Band

I didn't know about these guys until reading up about the lineup, but apparently they're ex-members of the great noisy racket band Crash Worship and play a marching band cover of Dick Dale's "The Wedge". No, I don't have an MP3 of that to share, their myspace will have to do. Unfortunately they seem to be slated as an opening ceremony or something so we'll see if this will be possible

The Dirtbombs

These Detroit garage greats have been getting a lot of press since the release of We Have You Surrounded. I seem to remember hearing mixed reports of them live and I guess I'll only really be satisfied if I hear stuff from their incredible album of funk/soul covers "Ultraglide In Black"

The Dynamites feat Charles Walker & Big Sam's Funky Nation

Another ashamed "I'd never heard them before now" entry... even for Big Sam. But from what I've heard from the internet they seem well worth my time.

Andre Williams

What a cool entry. "The Black Godfather", Detroit grease legend Andre Williams is coming here after a great new album supported by members of Morning 40 Federation, Quintron and others (that oddly enough is really hard to find in stores around here, I been looking). Apparently here's he's backed by the Diplomats of Solid Sound, who I have an album of that I don't really care for but would probably still give a chance if they were performing alone. This guy has also recorded with the Sadies and members of the Gories (yes, including Mick Collins of the above Dirtbombs). Worth the price of admission alone to me.

Download a song from Bloodshot's slow-ass servers

Reverend Horton Heat

While I might take a peak at Man Man in between sets, this is pretty much the face of Psychobilly right here. Admittedly, I've always liked his enthusiasm more than his music, but I'm pretty sure he'll put on a good show.

Soul Sister/Devotchka

I guess it really comes down to how tired I am. Legendary local and inspirational funk DJ  if I'm still up for dancing or the only Gypsy-esque indie band I like (aside from Gogol Bordello but that's different)


Save my money. Or make it I guess, I gotta work. Seriously, not much standing out to me.


Quintron & Miss Pussycat

Part of me says "You're planning on seeing them on Halloween, don't bother and go see Dirty Dozen". We'll see what happens but Quintron following up a great new release on Goner Records. I love him, he's found his own sound with the subtlest hints of his great respect for New Orleans R&B that are still recognizable to those that want to hear it. And you can dance oh-so-well to it. I was going to make a post just about that new album being released but oh well have a link to one of his songs

Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings

Yes! I'll finally get a chance to see a live show of Daptone Records' flagship artist. I don't really know what to say, but this is one of the biggest must-sees on my list.

Butthole Surfers

What's wrong with me? I have the chance to follow up Sharon Jones with our local best answer to her (Irma Thomas) or maybe finally go see a Trombone Shorty show, something I've always meant to do. But no, I'm going to go see this sacred cow indie band that got back together to make a few bucks just like every other band from that era. Why? Because their live shows were once practically factually the most off-the-wall performances period... then they started sucking, then they quit, now they're old. Also because they have really sweet album titles. And I guess because they're one of those "so you can say you saw it" bands. Stupid Stupid me. Well, at least once it's over/I get disappointed enough I can high-tail it to one of New Orleans' finest.

Soul Sister

What else am I supposed to do? Go see REM?

BUMMER: After searching the lineup over and over for him, it turns out Eli Paperboy Reed had to cancel. See you round buddy

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Joe Houston - Surf Rockin'

Unfortunately, due to a recent camera theft I can't give you a picture of the cover to this album, but you can get a good idea here. When I get a new one I'll try to update this page.

Despite the Mummies' claim to the name, Joe Houston would make a good candidate for the King of Budget Rock in a different way. As I saw mentioned elsewhere, he found his way onto more budget rock & roll compilation LPs back in the day than anybody else, and sure enough that's where I first heard him. I later found Doin' the Twist with Joe Houston which I found to be a pretty nice and relaxing Rock & Roll album. You can find it here

I don't remember where I came across Surf Rockin' but the idea of Joe Houston's midtempo bluesy jazzy saxophone in the context of surf was pretty tempting, so I went for it. Not surprisingly, this bares no real similarity to surf rock aside from its instrumental makeup. Really, it's just another Joe Houston album with no attempt to switch up styles, just another clamor for attention by sticking the name of a big craze on his album (much like Doin' the Twist, though more excusabel that time). I'm not resentful or anything, I've always thought those albums were pretty funny and I bought it figuring this might be the case.

I do kind of like Joe's brand of Rock & Roll. It's not something I would dance to, but it has its own attitude and I've enjoyed myself sitting back, relaxing and drinking a root beer to his music. It sounds a little earlier than it is, blending jazz, Rock & Roll and Blues well enough that you could call his music either one of the three and probably not get fussed at. I wouldn't call it surf though.

This rip isn't pristine but it's clean enough that the light crackles are easily ignored.

Go Get it HERE

tracklist (featuring goofy surf lingo to convince you it's legit): 

Side A:

  1. Wipe Out
  2. Gremmie
  3. Night Lamp
  4. Dig
  5. Ho Dads

Side B:

  1. Haleiwa
  2. Surf Rockin'
  3. Maile
  4. Hooked
  5. Pupukea

Monday, October 20, 2008

RYP where did you go? Plus an update on me.

Trying to visit TWLIGHTZONE!/Ride Your Pony today and found a "blog removed" error. Hopefully this is just a glitch

UPDATE: They're back. Since apparently google is sending searches for RYP over here, here's their new address http://twilightzone-rideyourpony.blogspot.com/

As for my own inactivity: I've been real busy life-wise lately but also listening to a lot of stuff. I'm not sure what I'll put up here next or when I'll do it, but this blog is certainly still on my mind.

I guess for the sake of putting something up on here even if it's unrelated, you can check out my flickr page for neat pictures of animals and the swamp. Sadly my car got broken into and camera stolen, so that's all for a while


Sunday, October 12, 2008

Weirdo Blues


Now I'm hesitant to jump the gun with this, but I'd reckon that Don Cavalli's Cryland is one of my favorite albums of the year. It hit me when I was so sick of the music I was hearing as the music director of WESU and was so goofy and refreshing with his Frenchness and overuse of wah pedal that I listened to "New Hollywood Babylon" about three times a day for a week or two. It costs 1 cent on Amazon so I'd advise you buy it without even listening to the below link.

Don Cavalli - New Hollywood Babylon

Well, my new station has given me something similarly nice. Or nicely similar. I guess they really didn't give it to me as much as I combed through the CD library and read an interesting description and played it on a show. Either way, the excellently named Super Chikan does the same "haha whatever" blues that Don Cavalli does, though perhaps with a little more proficiency. Then again, proficiency isn't what I appreciated in Don Cavalli. I won't pick favorites out of the two, but Super Chikan makes me hope that I'm just a totaly neophyte to a whole world of similar goofballs.

The below song is not his best work but is really convenient for Don Cavalli comparisons. 

Super Chikan - Willie Brown Jr.

Then I guess there's Bob Log but that's different.

warning: plenty of boobs

Clint West and the Fabulous Boogie Kings

Every time I post I repeat to myself "this will not be a surf blog, this will not be a surf blog". Here I thought I had a solution but, well, I'd skip most of the vocal tracks on here.

The Boogie Kings are one of the more prominent swamp pop bands and this is one of their earliest appearances. I've got a lot of headway to make before I could explain swamp pop to you; my current understanding is just a simple "rock & roll made in cajun country" but at least that's a very attractive definition to me. And this is very much a Louisiana album. If you check the back cover, "LA" is included in about every paragraph and only one of the reviews of the group aren't from Louisiana (it's from Texas). My only previous exposure to them was a tape I picked up on a whim that was pretty weak and underwhelming, but this is a totally different beast.

As I've previously stated, the vocal tracks (aside from the last few) on here are pretty worthless to me. I've never been one for ballads and all of them are slow, including the opener "I'm Sorry Pillow" which is really obnoxious. Thankfully, you can pick out the good tracks by name alone and they're all pretty good.

I'd like to clear the air here: I have a huge surf bias having had a surf and instrumental radio show, so it's going to show up here because I've bought a ton of it. But I love vocals. Just yesterday I was screaming my head off to the Fabulous Wailers. I love many types of rock & roll. I love music that isn't rock & roll. HUR HUR Even RAP.

So yeah, the instrumental tracks here are the highlights. They're not surf, no reverb or normal surf staples, just instrumental rock & roll that might even that almost sit just as well next to James Brown as they do the Ventures (I believe this album is from 1963, so think about that for a while). This isn't raw Sonics or '66 garage stuff really and you can kind of pick up on some classical or jazz training on their instruments but they're clearly loving it and getting into it. Makes me wonder what they're thinking for the vocal tracks.

This is a pretty nasty copy and there won't be a single song where there isn't some (or plenty) of noise, but I don't think it ever ruins it. As always, feel free to point towards a better rip or provide your own, but I'd be surprised if there are many copies of this floating around, much less on the internet.

Side A:

  1. I'm Sorry Pillow
  2. Choo Choo Locomotion
  3. Twelfth of Never
  4. Trey Me
  5. A Tear Fell
  6. Boogie Chillun

Side B:

  1. Honky Tonk pt. 3
  2. It's No Use To Try
  3. Okey Dokey Stomp
  4. Our Love
  5. Night Train
  6. Twist and Shout

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Johnny & The Hurricanes

I think I got this in Belgium. That would explain the "Imprime en France" on the bottom right corner of the back. I might have gotten my other self-titled J & the H's album there too but that's got a different songlist. Before I talk about the band I'd like to ask you to pay closer attention to this cover. My favorite part is the black explosion letting you know that this product has ROCK. But also notice the very young kid playing acoustic guitar for a very amplified band. This is forgiven when you contemplate the mystery of these dancing teens. Are they in a bubble? Who designed this?

Anyhow, from what I understand Johnny and the Hurricanes are sort of pioneering fathers of surf but really make more sense as instrumental rock & roll. It's a distinctive sound, not aggressive but still very fast with their loud organ sort of acting as a calliope and managing clever covers of "Head, shoulders, knees and toes". Depending on the listener, this could either come off as really cheesy and a little early for the genre or one of those way-out sounds that was never duplicated like the Tornados. Maybe a little bit of both, but outside of their historical worth there's a simple glee to them that I can really get behind. There's not a shred of pretension here, like a kid made it (in spirit I mean, these guys can clearly play their instruments well enough)

I didn't take a picture of the back cover because it was just a songlist and advertisements for other albums but for those familiar with the group here's the line-up: 

A side:

  1. Reveille Rock
  2. Milk Shake
  3. Cyclone
  4. Travelin'
  5. Beanbag
  6. Rockin' "T"

B side:

  1. The Hungry Eye
  2. Hot Fudge
  3. Time Bomb
  4. Corn Bread
  5. Catnip
  6. The "Hep" Canary

Another clean rip here. I've also got another album with their big number "Red River Rock". I might give it some space before it finds its way to the Rock & Roll Hoo-Ha What What, but I could certainly be convinced otherwise.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Neil Young's surf band

caught wind of this through the Cowabunga listserv. I don't know much more about it than the title but fancy that

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Big Over-detailed Guide to New Orleans Record Stores

Well crap, looks like Antigravity just printed their "record store issue" about a month after I started working on mine, got frustrated and got lazy. Whatever, I think I can outdo them.

When visiting other places I always google for some good guide of where I should shop for music in the area and often I come up empty-handed. Well, it turns out New Orleans actually already has a few of these, but some are out of date or biased. Well, I'll be biased too, but as long as I update this blog I'll update this page. Not that I know how long I'll update this blog.

Also, from googling I'm find out about all these stores I've never seen. Some of them may be gone, some of them I might have just been too stupid and missed. Help me out.

The Stores

The Mushroom

Short review: go here for used CDs

I live and grew up Uptown, so the Mushroom has always been right in my neck of the woods and available. And I mean ALWAYS: The Mushroom was open by October after Katrina, and they provide the strange option of music shopping when you're bored at 11 at night. That said, I've always been conflicted. They're the best place in the city to buy used CDs, but you'll have to wade through a lot of crap since I'm unsure whether they have ever turned away an album. It's all very reasonably priced in that respect though. Used vinyl follows the same policy, except with MORE crap to sift through. I've [i]never[/i] come away with vinyl from the Mushroom, possibly because I no longer try. It's all thrift store variety, maybe with the occaisional major label 80's artist that little Billy with his new record player won't realize is a dime a dozen.

New music is a wash, nothing particularly well priced or noteworthy. They're starting to work on a new vinyl section that's filled with your indie rock top 40, but they're marked up. Atmosphere wise, enjoy the Jimi Hendrix shirts, kids giggling about the pipes they're about to buy, and the Misifts/Dead Kennedys blasting over the speakers. I don't love the Mushroom, but I've benefitted from its existence, possibly more than any other store.

Jim Russell Records

short review: go for turntable equipment or the 45 you just can't find.

Jim Russel Records is old, so old it's where my dad goes to shop when he tries to surprise me (I still appreciate it). I like the place too. It has friendly owners that really do know New Orleans music when you get to talking about it, and there's always folks just hanging around, which I think record stores should aim for more. I think I'd even venture to say that of all the stores in the city, even if you go to Jim Russell's less you'll feel like a regular quicker.

But ultimately it's a frustrating experience. CDs are a mix of used and new with most used retailing for up to $10. The prices are moot though, because the rock CD selection has mostly remained the same since high school for me (at least 5 years) and has had all the good ones picked out.

Rock vinyl LPs are also Thrift Store variety with plenty of cheesy 70's and 80's rock and nothing terribly obscure. Not to mention overpriced: one of my first records ever was from Jim Russell: Ventures Christmas album for $50 looked up in a blue book (I had no idea what I was doing but it was Christmas and I wanted to hear it).

Genre-wise, the strength of the store is local and funk vinyl with a great selection of rock & roll 45s. The local selection is subdivided and though not huge, I've found many a tempting thing, lots of great old New Orleans R&B. Tempting because they know what they've got and they're not good at letting it go. It's all overpriced and underconditioned. But sometimes, that's what you've gotta do! Their rock & roll 45 selection is unmatched in this city, but same rules apply.

What I do like about them is that they have plenty of stereo equipment, record players, needles and the knowledge to sell them to you. They're cheaper than guitar center, nicer, and kind enough to tell you to go there if they can't help you. I really want them to succeed as a store because I like the people and the atmosphere, but they've gotta wise up, price to move, and filter out their stock.

Domino Sound Record Shack

2557 Bayou Road

Short review: I love it. Choice vinyl at unbeatable prices.

I believe Domino Sound has only been around for a little more than a year now but it's the sort of store that I'm happy I've gotten to step foot in, let alone have it in my city. It's not big in size or stock, but so skillfully picked I've begun limiting my cash when I go in.

There are NO CDs, though a few 8 tracks and cassettes. Really though, it's a specialty vinyl store and admittedly not for everybody. There's no top 40 stuff, not much indie top 40 either(i.e. Bright Eyes, Animal Collective, post-rock etc.). But within the well-represented varieties: punk, funk, rock, blues, jazz, caribbean, "world" (and a couple of others offered for pure intrigue) you can expect to find classics mixed in with plenty of "I never thought I'd see this in a store" albums. There's also plenty of nice little touches such as personal picks from WWOZ's DJ Soul Sister.

And the toughest part: painfully sweet-spot prices. Expect to find plenty of sealed albums go for $8 (the price at which I lose wallet control) and many great used albums for much less if you're willing to suffer some scratched sound (the only album too scratched to enjoy was from their dollar selection). Since I don't think I'm doing a good job here, I'll list some great albums I've bought there: Dead Moon, Sun Ra, Dr. John (a lot of their local music tends to retail for one dollar cheaper than LA Music Factory), Link Wray (and plenty of other cheap Norton Records reissues), Kashmere Stage Band, Dick Hyman (real cheap).

The only real drawbacks are the limited hours (only about half the week, sometimes taking a break) and a location that's pretty out of the way for me. I guess they don't accept cards either if that's a problem. But I really like employees, the feel, and of course the music. Support them!

Skully's Records

short review: Good indie on CD and Vinyl, worth checking out if you're in the quarter

When I first saw Skully's I actually kind of shrugged it off. For a small Bourbon Street location such as that I expected mainstream music for high prices, possibly even mostly crappy Louisiana music compilations (crappy describing the compilation, I love zydeco). I can't remember what made me change my mind, but I was pleasantly surprised when I checked it out. While it had organizational problems that made it hard for me to look for something in particular, especially amongst the mixed in mainstream, it's clear that it's a much hipper store than I thought. There's no used albums: at least that I could find, and most albums are around the $14 they would be anywhere. Of course, some vinyl can be much more expensive than that, but judging from the sub $10 copy of Gun Club - Miami I got from them the more expensive albums were probably expensive for them to buy.

I don't have too much to say about Skully's because it doesn't do anything phenomenally or abysmally. I think it's a good store with a solid selection in both CD and Vinyl for listeners mainstream and otherwise. Surprisingly good considering how small it is.

Revised review:

I can't remember whether Skullyz got better or whether I was an idiot when I wrote this. There aren't many used records (there are some) but there are plenty of used CDs, and, perhaps to deal with their cramped quarters, they tend to drop the price of their sealed CDs below $10 pretty often. While Skullyz doesn't have much going for it in the trad department, and it's not the place to find your obscuro holy grail 45, it's probably the best place for the opposite: they will carry the band that's making waves on Pitchfork, and will likely do so on vinyl as well and, jesus christ, not demand a stupid amount for it like The Mushroom. They're proactive, and often hold weekend sales of their stock. While I wouldn't recommend it to the travelling record tourist, they are a very important part of the New Orleans record store landscape.

Louisiana Music Factory

short review: Monstrous local CD section and extensive vinyl at reasonable prices. Always worth a look... even if you don't like Louisiana music.

I feel like an idiot for not visiting LA Music Factory until last year. I think my reason was that I thought it was exclusively Louisiana music... however there would still be stuff for me to look for there if that were the case. In any case it's now a regular visit when I'm in the quarter.

I would say that the store is mainly focused on CDs, most of them local residing downstairs. Honestly, I haven't combed much of it; there's a lot of bad music in there and I prefer vinyl if available, not to mention smaller selection make for easier choices. Although going by magnitude alone, that's a pretty good selection of local music.

Upstairs seems to be run by the guy who worked at my favorite store in high school Magic Bus Records. That's where you'll find non-local CDs both new and used in rock, blues, "r&B" etc. The new CDs are actually pretty well picked and have a lot of stuff from smaller reissue labels as well as new releases from larger indie labels, though I suspect these are chosen with particular taste. The used CDs... eh not so much in variety or price.

Vinyl-wise there's plenty in rock, jazz blues and funk. The used rock hasn't yielded much interesting stuff for me aside from some Duane Eddy I could probably find for cheaper if I kept looking. But their limited "new" albums often come from great reissue labels like Sundazed, Norton, Funky Delicacies, Soul Jazz etc., all these alongside newly acquired used releases that can be just as sharp at sharper prices. I've snagged some great local vinyl too, even if many of them are reissues, and don't ignore the local 45 selection either.

This is dragging on so if I haven't gotten through to you yet, this is an essential spot if you're visiting or live in the area. If I could change one thing about it, I'd want the prices to come down just a little. Their clearance prices are often $9.99 or higher, which really isn't that appetizing. But really, it's all very affordable and reasonable.

Euclid Records NOLA

Short review: Beautiful store with strong selection of vinyl. Could be cheaper, but right out the gates makes my short list of stores worth visiting in the area.

Long review: is here

Oddyssey Records

Short review: Mainstream French Quarter store with some small things to keep you interested.

Located further up canal street than I usually found myself going, Oddyssey records didn't wow me but didn't frustrate me either. I can do this review quick: take the selection from Borders, throw in a little more local, lower the prices (but not enough to wow), throw in some CD listening stations and you've got Odyssey... except for the fact that they actually do have a little bit of vinyl in there. Only enough for it to really come off as "let's see how this goes" but I happily walked out with one of those Eddie Bo reissues I've been seeing around. And the owner was pleased to see Mr. Bo had found a new home on my stereo. Not to mention they have a little bit of DJ/vinyl gear if you need it.


short review: overpriced, underspecialized, and over-CDed, but with good intentions. The verdict's still out, I think.

Although I hadn't been to their old Gretna location and I don't remember their Riverwalk location, Peaches has a history of supporting local artists. Since the storm they've set up in the same space as the old Tower Records in the French Quarter with vocal support from many prominent Louisiana artists I can't remember right now.

While I get the impression that Peaches is still figuring things out, I was pretty disappointed. The prices are absurdly high: for example Iron & Wine - The Shepherd's Dog, a normal single CD album, retailed for over $18. Most prices seem to hover in the $16-17 range. Expect to see similar high prices in their DVD section. S

Selection-wise it's a mixed bag. Their local music section is probably second only to LA Music Factory and their Hip-Hop even has subcategories. Funk/Soul is pretty well chosen as well... compared to the measely other sections. The Rock section will have most of what's talked about today, but don't expect to find anything you haven't found elsewhere. The first time I was there a shopper was complaining about not being able to find DJ Tiesto. I love specialized stores but this doesn't strike me as going for that, and local music is done better by LA Music Factory hardly two blocks away.

Right now I feel no need to shop at Peaches, but I'm rooting for them anyway. This quote confirms it "We're doing a whole different thing, " Rea said. "Ours is a multicultural experience. I want the world to see what is going on in New Orleans. I want them to have a bowl of gumbo in the cafe and listen to the artists and see the painters. It's not just selling a CD." Yes! That's EXACTLY what I've always thought a good record store should do, and I believe them. And sure enough, they've got concessions that you can buy right there in-store.

edit: They've since added a ton of used vinyl. I can't say I was terribly thrilled at the selection, and it's definitely one of those places where your used vinyl deals will be found by out-savvying the owners. My lukewarm opinion remains.

The Iron Rail

Part of an anarchist collective/bookstore, The Iron Rail has a pretty good selection of punk and hardcore CDs and vinyl for Fugazi prices. There's not a terrible too much to say about it because you can make up your own mind on whether to go by their online inventory list

They do play neat movies too so whether you're a big fan of anarchism or not it's worth subscribing to their blog

Musica Latina:

Honestly, I'm woefully undereducated in latin music so I've never ventured inside. I'd welcome a guest review.

Retro Joe's on Magazine St: Not so much of a record store as it is a place with a small collection of records but HOLY PRICE GOUGING! I saw thrift store regular Harry Belafonte's Calypso for $20 a few hours after I saw it for $1 at the airline Bridge House. Ventures Live On Stage was $45: their best album but certainly one of the Ventures albums that you'll find for $5 with patience

Cookbooks store on Toulouse: former location of Magic Bus, kept selling a small amount of records. Small blah selection of overpriced stuff. I've been a few time and found nothing.

Nuthin but Fire Records: from what I gather this just recently opened and sells hip-hop. I rarely shop for hip-hop so I haven't been. Again, guest reviews would be welcomed.

Flea markets, Thrift Stores, Garage Sales: more on this later.


Vieux Carre Vinyl: never had much luck with them but it broke my heart last time I was there to hear them openly saying to each other "we gotta sell pipes or something because this thing isn't working out". Even if your good stuff was all overpriced, I'll miss your unreachable piles of music.

Magic Bus Records: Had two locations before the storm and didn't return. I bought so many used CDs there, many of them not proud purchases, but I loved doing it. One of the guys works at Louisiana Music Factory now.

CD Warehouse: used CD store that really kind of sucked despite two locations. For a while after the storm you could find a lot of their stuff at Bridge House. Some of it is still there.

Rocks Off: Even closer to my house than the Mushroom and so much cooler. Specialty selection with lots of punk and indie. Colby, the owner, is a real nice guy and I think he lives in Austin now.

Underground Sounds: I don't really remember this place, it was a real long time ago. I probably didn't even have enough taste back then to tell you if it was good

Wherehouse Music: I list this because I loved it back when I was 14 and it was within walking distance. And because you can find their old shelves all over the place now.

Virgin/Tower Records: You were corporate chains but I still enjoyed having you. Luckily, we may be doing even better without you

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Oh and by the way

See that bloglist on the right? I've been meaning to add to it and point out some more good catches on there but in the unlikely chance you visit me but not them, RYP has been on a roll for the past few days with Louisiana swamp pop, cajun and r&b. Gitit, as they say

Little Richard & Sister Rosetta Tharpe

I just got this album pretty recently in the midst of a week where I would watch the following video at least once per day

Unfortunately you won't hear anything like that monster solo she pulls off about halfway through, but this album managed to knock me off my feet anyway. About 75% Gospel music and 75% Rock & Roll (yes, those are my figures), high powered throughout. While a little bit of internet research and the previous owner's own notes seem to suggest that this is less of an actual collaboration than it is both artists throwing Gospel songs onto the same album, they both sound good together. While I'll admit to not hearing much of Little Richard's works outside all his biggest hits (which I love), his tracks are the more surprising ones; his lunatic screaming replaced by a surprisingly strong, resounding church-singing voice. Not a single WOOOO! to be heard.

Despite my buying the cover in two pieces, this is a pretty clean rip with most imperfections only noticeable in the silence between tracks. Hope y'all enjoy this as much as I did

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

A very short tribute to the French

Google Analytics tells me that outside of America I get more visits from France than anywhere else. I have no idea why the Rock&Roll Hoo-Ha What What appeals so disproportionately to you guys, but thank you for giving the world SPACE

and a secondary thanks Ian Staub for exposing me to them on the WESU blog

I was a music director once

And I've been quoted! Actually I guess my quotes have been quoted!

I wrote this stuff for QRD last year, I guess mostly because I was bored and opinionated. Apparently this pretty sick blog Spinning Indie that deals with college and community radio thought I had something interesting to say.

I'll spare you from the wall of text from me blockquoting their blockquotes but I thought I'd throw it up here. I'm mighty proud and maybe you'll be bored enough to care

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Memphis, New Orleans, and tourism

With the sudden surge in popularity I've been getting recently I've been sticking firmly to music and there's certainly more of that coming. But this is also about music and music in the city I live in: New Orleans

So first of all *ahem* WE AINT SUNK YET

And the real point of this post, the recent Gambit weekly had an article that echoed pretty much exactly what I've always been saying after visiting Memphis. Which made me think "then why post somebody else's article? Why not just say it? It was your idea" Because this VALIDATES my idea. This stuff is PUBLISHED.

Memphis Soul

By Alison Fensterstock

Memphis continually celebrates its musical legacy.

There's something about living in Memphis that turns everyone into a tour guide. For a week's worth of evacuation, my boyfriend, his dog and I stayed with hosts in Memphis. Every drive we took together was soundtracked by a running commentary on Memphian points of interest, mostly musical: Elvis' high school, Willie Mitchell's studio, Alex Chilton's old apartment. A drive through downtown Memphis, which almost always looks creepily deserted, was accompanied by a brief history of the area's decline after the Civil Rights riots that followed Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s assassination. Awareness of Memphis' rich cultural history permeates everything in the Bluff City, from Graceland to Stax.

Memphis was home to some of the most influential labels, studios and personalities in American music from the "50s through the "70s, and for a city that in parts looks much bleaker than New Orleans, amazing work has been done to pay tribute to that. At the former Stax offices and studio on McLemore Avenue and College Street, the original structure has been rebuilt as a museum of soul music that houses everything from original contracts for artists like Otis Redding to vintage tape machines to Johnnie Taylor's platform loafers and Isaac Hayes' leisure suit.

While in Memphis, I worked on a project that included interviews with legendary session guitarist Teenie Hodges and trumpeter Ben Cauley, the only member of Redding's band to survive the 1967 plane crash that took Redding's life. (At the museum, it was odd to see the stocky 60-year-old on video from the early "70s, hot-stepping with the horn section in a leather vest.) Both artists work steadily in Memphis and make a great living. Most recently, Hodges played on indie-goddess Cat Power's 2008 release Jukebox. The museum lauds the two like the kings of the sound that they are.

Our hosts of the tour-guide mentality were hardly lifelong Memphians. They were Lakeview residents whose rental home was destroyed after Katrina, and although their awareness of the city's many stories was based on personal interest, it was buoyed by the obvious pride Memphis has in its own history. In the weirdly empty downtown, the Lorraine Hotel, where Dr. King was shot, is now a stellar Civil Rights museum that does its part to heal the wound that emptied the neighborhood in the first place. Sam Phillips' and Willie Mitchell's studios still function and let tourists take a peek at history. The rebuilt Stax is a one-of-a-kind tribute to the history of American soul music, and Phillips' old Memphis Recording Service is pristinely preserved. Tourists — not just music geeks, but regular folks with shorts and Nikons — flock there and pump cash into the economy. The Recording Academy's southern base is in Memphis, a few blocks from the Lorraine. The Stax facility hosts a NOCCA-like music academy for kids, who learn the ropes alongside a monument to Memphis' musical history, absorbing what makes their city important.

It's hard not to compare Memphis' preservation efforts to New Orleans. Here, Cosimo Matassa's J&M Studios — where integrated bands recorded years before Booker T. and the MGs or the Memphis Horns busted the color line, and Fats Domino and Little Richard laid down tracks without which there would have been no Elvis — is a laundromat. Jelly Roll Morton's house has a plaque but not much else.

Since Katrina, some stellar organizations have done fabulous work cleaning up the mess and taking care of the musical community that is so essential to New Orleans' identity and to our tourism draw. But we're still way behind the solidly branded home of the blues in terms of celebrating (and leveraging) our rich musical heritage. The tours we got from our evacu-hosts came from their being part of a city that celebrates awareness of and pride in its history — pride that translates into real, brick-and-mortar institutions that in turn generate tourist dollars.

The next time I drive a visitor past Hollygrove, I'll mention former residents Allen Toussaint and Lil Wayne. If enough of us start to think like that, maybe in a few years all that energy could generate the will to create a New Orleans Museum of Rock "n' Roll, or a rhythm-and-blues museum. Then I can look at Ernie K-Doe's shoes behind glass.

I grew up in New Orleans and graduated from Newman (which explains some), went to Connecticut and got horrible homesickness after Katrina. 90% of what I know about New Orleans came from research while away. In fact, maybe I just pick it up more but I swear more New Orleans music lovers CAME here because of it. Even Quintron isn't a native from what I recall, and that dude seems to eat this stuff up. Ask a New Orleans high schooler to name one New Orleans R&B artist. Rock & Roll artists. Blues. They won't get one. MAYBE Fats. I bet most of them couldn't even get a zydeco. They can do Jazz because it's a buzzword for the city, but how about naming 5. They'll get Armstrong and maybe 2 Marsalises.

I can't blame them though. This stuff is over, and there's nothing cool about it. Well, that's not entirely true. CLEARLY it's cool or I wouldn't be typing this crap, but without hearing any of it I would think old people, many of them dead, probably aren't cool either. Just give us a museum! We can't top Elvis (duh) but we can stand toe to toe with Memphis in terms of quality, variety and originality. Years ago they were throwing around stupid ideas like a Grammy Museum, so you know there's enough money floating around to do something good. But god forbid our tourism actually honors our tradition! You want us to be a tourist in our own city like the commercials tell us? Let people living here realize the culture that they're apart of and get them interested in it. Then we'll do it on our own

The results in Memphis are impressive too. I mean, it's not like they're all playing rockabilly and soul, but I don't think it's a coincidence that Goner Records in Memphis is such a nexus for garage rock. They have exposure to a unique musical tradition and whether these kids even try to or not, it finds its way into their music. Most musical tradition we have now is handed down, mostly in the form of brass bands (and of course, the efforts of the Mystic Nights of Mau Mau and Ponderosa Stomp and the Ogden Museum). I love brass bands, but I wish I could get more than a Dave Bartholo-who? out of most people I talk to.

That's most of what I have to say but I'll throw this in there: a friend of mine told me she heard about a guy in the 9th ward that went ahead and made a New Orleans music museum right in his backyard. If anybody knows more about this, I'd appreciate your tips.

Also, I'd appreciate some input if there are any New Orleans music fans that have visited. Were your interests entertained upon visiting? How?

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Let's get heavy

The real benefit to my radio show at WTUL right now is that I can plow through the 7"s and find great garage acts that I wouldn't have heard otherwise. One of the better finds so far was the Chrome Cranks. I might be showing my age here, maybe they were actually pretty big in their day, but I've been listening to this song an awful lot for the past few days.

Download Chrome Cranks - Lo-End Buzz

There's a pretty clear noise influence in there and it's a lot more harsh than what I would normally call Rock & Roll, but the attitude is definitely there. Sure, they're not the only band to do this brand of Rock & Roll; Jon Spencer's done this in all sorts of ways for instance.

Two great bands that do a similar thing, though perhaps less stricly within the realm of rock & roll.

The Distortions (sorry, no MP3 for you because I don't have any)

Download Clockcleaner - Vomiting Mirrors

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Oh god

Somebody apparently has been getting really negative thoughts about their crate-digging experiences. More here

Thanks to xtabay for finding this I guess

Johnny Zorro

I found out about this artist from one of the Frolic Diner compilations and headed to ebay to pick up a random 45. That's about all I can tell you here other than that it's surf, fun, wierd, and the B-Side is good but not as much as Bongo Guitar. Wish I knew more about it, since Bongo Guitar is ferocious.

download Bongo Guitar

Download Kangaroo Hop

These are hosted on my recently-graduated-school's hosting which may not be legit so get it while it's hot.

I've been a little slow lately because of hurricane nonsense and indecision about what to throw up here next. It's between the Lifeguards, Joe Houston or Little Richard + Sister Rosetta Tharpe

Monday, September 1, 2008

Yahoo has the real news on Gustav

This storm was a wimp and I feel like I shoulda been among this fun crew

A Hardened Few Choose To Stay and Ride Out Gustav

Hattie Callan, 36, weaved her way down the street Sunday, a vodka drink already in her hand and it only 9:20 in the morning. She was staying behind to watch over several houses, and she wasn't worried.

"I've got liquor, cash, food, ammo and weed," she said as she floated out of sight.