Thursday, May 21, 2009
Grateful Dead, "St. Stephen" (YSI link)
Grateful Dead, "Eleven" (YSI link)
Wow, amazingly, we're back. I imagine that everyone has given up on Pound for Pound, as I kinda did too. But, things have calmed down and we are about to enter the Summer of Love '09 and you need Pound for Pound to guide your way through this epic season. That's right, 40 years later, it's time for a rebirth of the psychedelic vibes, epic jams and communal spirit. There's no better intro to that time than the Grateful Dead, those SF acid explorers who held it down on Haight-Ashbury and spilled LSD all over rock music.
These tracks are from the Live/Dead LP, possibly the greatest live record ever released (what are the other rock contenders?) It chronicles the peak of the band's psychedelic blues sound, early 1969 when the band was destroying various venues around San Francisco. The group was a septet at this point: Jerry Garcia, Bob Weir, Phil Lesh, Ron 'Pigpen' McKernan, Billy Kreutzmann, Mickey Hart and Tom 'TC' Constanten. At this time, the band played a similar setlist every night and above are two of the staples from that time, "St. Stephen" and "The Eleven." I think that they are good openers for anyone knew to the Dead or this era of their music. Both songs stay away from the ether, staying on the rails for the most part. Coming in the wake of a massive "Dark Star," it's especially impressive to hear the band rein it all back and bring everyone back to earth with two of their most rollicking, fun songs.
The opening "Dark Star" is not to be missed; since I want you to buy the album, I'm not uploading here. You'll just have to trust me that this is one of the great versions the band ever did, a 23+ minute opus that starts with the band stating the theme and quickly ventures into outer space. Jerry leads the way, forcing the band to leave the safe confines of the opening verse. It's really amazing to hear the band interact, especially Jerry and Phil, sounds much more like a well-oiled jazz band than any rock band out there. Later, you get the more blues-y side of things, with a steller-as-always "Turn On Your Lovelight" with Pigpen as horny frontman and "Death Don't Have No Mercy".
Go immediately and buy a copy of Live/Dead now. We are gonna be giving you a soundtrack for the Summer of Love, this is the essential starting place.
Friday, March 27, 2009
Ash Ra Tempel, "Amboss" (YSI link) 320
Time to fly our German freak flag, as we begin to dip into the krautrock pool. I want to first have us worship at the Ash Ra Tempel, one of the most influential of the genre. Formed in the 1970s from the ashes of the Conrad Schnitzler's short lived group Eruption, the band featured Manuel Gottsching on guitar, Hartmut Enke on bass and Klaus Schulze on drums and keys. Those are some serious names, so it's not surprise that they would create some of the spaciest, most cosmic music ever made.
This track is the A side to their first self-titled LP, released in 1971. The only word that comes to mind is epic. Or is it massive? Or is it psychedelic? Ah, who cares? This is an amazing 20 minute journey that takes you through various stops, from quiet contemplative to loud shredding. It starts off with a drone-y soundscape that slowly but surely builds, as the drums get more active. You're nearly 6 minutes in until Gottsching's guitar starts to take the lead with some jams. I'm not gonna say too much more about this, other than to say that some of the most amazing moments come after the 15 minute mark, when the heaviest, sludgiest rock band ever shows up. Put it on, head to the park, lie down and drop out.
Go immediately and cop this album at Forced Exposure, as I promise it will be out of print soon. It's already gone at Aquarius and these krautrock gems come quickly and disappear for long stretches. Much more to come on this front, please send along any recommendations you have for me, as I am far from an expert.
Friday, March 13, 2009
Grateful Dead, Live at the Fillmore West February 27, 1969
Dupree's Diamond Blues (YSI link)
Mountains of the Moon
Dark Star (YSI link) --->
St. Stephen --->
The Eleven --->
Turn On Your Lovelight (YSI link)
Here's the conclusion to the first night of the epic four-night run, the late show from February 27, 1969. This is classic 1969 Dead, the classic tunes from that year, when the band was playing right on the line of psychedelia and the blues, when Jerry Garcia began to take the reins of the band and made them into one of the most amazing improvisational acts around.
One of the things that has always interested me in the Dead's live music has been that tension between form and chaos. "Dark Star" is the perfect example, with its distinct opening bass melody and two verses which descends into an improvised jam that could go anywhere, oftentimes into a deep, space-y, tune-less music, which is eventually reined back in with the return of the final verse. It should appeal immediately to anyone who likes jazz, that world where standards become vehicles for free jazz debauchery. Like jazz, there's always a chance for these jams to become awful, noodling garbage, but that's the fun part. You never know what could happen, which is incredibly rare in music, especially today in the world of over-production and lip-synching.
I want to dedicate this post to MC, a.k.a. RV. That's right, the return of the prodigal daughter (or ex-girlfriend, whatever). She was the main reason this blog took in the way it did, as I pretty much wrote it so that she would think I was cool. She was the first muse, before Scarlett Johansson, Merilyn, Christy Marks, JH-B or anyone else. She bought the boxed set that features this music for me and so these posts would not happen without her. It's nice to come full circle and get back to a good place. Yeah!
Friday, March 06, 2009
Grateful Dead, Live at the Fillmore East February 27, 1969
Good Morning, Little School Girl (YSI link)
Doin' That Rag (YSI link)
The Other One (Cryptical>Drums>The Other One>Cryptical) (YSI link)
Over the coming months, I want to start adding a more psychedelic edge to the blog, take things back to the late 60s and early 70s to those weirdo sounds that sound so good today. I can't think of a better way to get started than commemorating one of the greatest weeks in the history of live music by the greatest of psychedelic warriors, the Grateful Dead's run at the Fillmore West from February 27 to March 2 1969. I know that the Dead's music is not what we call psychedelic today, but let's not get lost in semantics. This was music written and performed in the midst of the acid wave in San Francisco in the 1960s; these guys took rock, blues and folk, splashed LSD on it and made some of the best music ever.
I'm going to put up more discs from this limited edition 10CD boxed set over the next few days and will discuss the music more then. But, I want to first deal with the whole Deadhead thing and the hate these guys generate from people. Simply, get over yourself. Yes, some people only liked the band because of the drug association; some were annoying people who listened to nothing but the Dead; blah blah blah. These dudes created an entire alternate world, which had its own values, values like sharing, love and fun. Sound familiar? Does it sound similar to a lot of the same inspirations for the dance music that we love? There's a very straight line imo between the spinners at a Dead show to the ones who took over lofts of NYC in the 70s and the beaches of Ibiza in the 80s. Give it a chance and I promise you that this music will melt your face.
Friday, February 27, 2009
Heaven 17, "(We Don't Need This) Fascist Groove Thang (LP Version)" (YSI link)
Heaven 17,. "(We Don't Need This) Fascist Groove Thang (Full Length 12" Mix)" (YSI link)
Back with a bang, a classic 80s synth pop dance classic. Heaven 17 were a new wave-y band that was intimately connected to the amazing electronic rock music coming out of the UK in the early 80s. The band was formed by Ian Craig Marsh and Martyn Ware when they split from their group called Human League. Perhaps you've heard of them? The duo formed a production company called British Electric Foundation (BEF), eventually adding Glenn Gregory on vocals and becoming Heaven 17. They never quite broke into the big-time, although they did enjoy a few songs that charted, including this one above.
"(We Don't Need This) Fascist Groove Thang," the band's first single, hit #45 on the UK Charts, despite the fact that it was banned by Radio 1 DJ Mike Read. I love this song so much, it makes me want to start a dance party with Emma Goldman in a huge warehouse with lots of love and organizing and fun. You get all here: rad political lyrics about the horrible political landscape of the 80s with Reagan and Thatcher, that great UK drum machine and synth sound, clattering percussion, some nice keys and horns filling out the sound. I cannot begin to explain how great it is to hear dance music with such an explicit political edge; as much as I love the booty shit and the disco and house calls for love and sex and happiness, there's something inspiring about hearing dudes who understand just how radical it is to make people dance. That abandon, that mixing of bodies, that's a revolution every night people! Download this! Organize! Yeah!
Friday, February 06, 2009
The Dells, "Get On Down (Theo Parrish Re-edit)" (YSI link)
Minnie Ripperton, "Stick Together (Theo Parrish Re-edit)" (YSI link)
Let's get back ready for the weekend with some disco . That's right, more Ugly Edits from Theo Parrish! We've posted up one or two other volumes of this series, essential music, some of the greatest edits that I've ever heard, as the Detroit techno third waver and Chicago house-man shows his disco side.
The "Get On Down" edit has sweaty dancefloor written all over it. It's an 11 minute soul workout that really never lets up, getting The Dells ready to take over at peak hour. Parrish has added a rubbery bass that keeps the whole thing moving; amazingly it never gets boring despite the length. I really love the strings on this one, they are out front and melodic. There's a really nice repetitive sound to this one, as Parrish brings a new disco style to the old disco sound. Great stuff.
I'm an even bigger fan of the Minnie Ripperton edit, as this one rewards close listening. There's so many little pieces that turn this one into a winner - piano vamping, Ripperton's whispers, finger snaps. Things stay on a slow burn for the first 5 minutes, then Parrish raises the flame by letting loose with some real vocal fireworks and brings it home strong.
Tuesday, February 03, 2009
Armando presents Robert Armani, "Circus Bells (Armando's mix)" (YSI link)
Armando presents Robert Armani, "Circus Bells (full length original mix)" (YSI link)
Okay, I lied about getting back into the swing of things. Seriously though, I'm getting back into the swing of things, starting....NOW! It's been a minute since we dropped any house music here, time to remedy that grave error. What better way to remedy it than with a stone cold Chicago acid house classic, Robert Armani's "Circus Bells"?
This one's the B side of the Armani Trax EP, a classic Dance Mania record, released in 1990. Longtime readers know that that label has guided so much of my listening, taking me from acid to ghetto in the span of an insanely productive decade. "Circus Bells" is one of the label's most famous and from the first peals of the bell on Armando's mix, you know you are in for something serious. It's like a call to arms or something for the dancefloor. After the last bell sound fades away, you get a devastating, 10 minute long acid tinged monster. Deep bass drums, hi-hats and clapping snares lay the foundation for a siren-like synth melody that worms its way into your head and will make you freak out. The original full-length mix is a few minutes shorter and lacks the bells-opening. You win with either one.
Thursday, January 29, 2009
Harold Melvin & The Blue Notes, "Wake Up Everyday" (YSI link) 320
Harold Melvin & The Blue Notes, "Keep On Lovin' You" (YSI link) 320
Harold Melvin & The Blue Notes, "I'm Searching For A Love" (YSI link) 320
Here's the logical follow-up to our Dimitri From Paris edits, a return to the original source material, Harold Melvin & The Blue Notes! Yeah! Here's a few tracks from their 1975 Philadelphia International LP, Wake Up Everybody, classic Philly Soul sound, Gamble & Huff produced songs. This is what it's all about: songs about love, happiness, freedom, the good things in life. There's very few things I would rather hear in the whole world, this is LIFE on vinyl.
The LP opens with a bang, the title track and my personal favorite "Wake Up Everybody." This is just seven minutes of slow burning soul, featuring beautiful lyrics calling us all to action to change the world. Perfect soundtrack for these post Bush, Obama days. The band provides a subtle groove underneath, letting Teddy Pendergrass preach on as only he can do for the full seven and a half minutes. "Keep On Lovin' You" keeps the good vibes and beautiful strings and horns music comin'. As I listen to it now, feel like this might be my favorite, such a classic love song, perfect for listening to with your loved one, lying in bed on a lazy Sunday afternoon without a care in the world. Finally, check out Sharon Paige's vocals on "I'm Searching For A Love," giving us the opposite side of the love coin. This one has a sort of Bacharach/David feel to it, probably because of the melancholy lyrics, backed up by some heartbreaking strings.
I'll just leave you with the refrain from "Wake Up Everybody," take them with you and think them over today: "The world won't get no better if we just let it be/The world won't get no better we gotta change it yeah, just you and me."
Friday, January 23, 2009
Dimitri From Paris, "Madd Luck" (YSI link)
Harold Melvin and the Blue Notes, "Bad Luck" (YSI link)
Dimitri From Paris, "Feeling About 'Cha" (YSI link)
Harold Melvin & the Blue Notes, "Tell The World How I Feel About 'Cha Baby"
We're jumping right back in the mix here, with two edits from the master, Dimitri From Paris. Dude is probably best known now for his Playboy Mansion mixes, which feature a much more mellow, cocktail jazz, smooth disco vibe. But, the man is also responsible for some perfect, seriously funky, raucous disco edits and tracks and his Southside Edits Volume 1 gives you the perfect window onto that side.
Both of these cuts are edits of Harold Melvin and the Blue Notes songs, classic Philly Soul numbers that will remind you of why music is the greatest thing on Earth and Philly's its greatest city. Both are also furiously paced ragers, they get going quickly and never let up.
"Madd Luck" is my choice of the two, Dimitri's edit of "Bad Luck." There's just nothing like hearing Mr. Teddy Pendergrass belting out those "Satisfied"'s and "Down down down"'s over those beautiful strings, cymbal splashes, horn blasts, doubletime beat and vamping keys. Man, this needs to be the soundtrack to your life, this is LIFE MUSIC! Perfect for those days when nothing is going right, as it's sure to lift your spirits or provide company to your misery. For those wondering, Dimitri has mostly fucked with the drums, adding a kick drum to the mix that ups the pace and does away with the more relaxed original. The bass is also less prominent, making it less funky and deliberate.
"Feeling About 'Cha" adds an extended drums intro and outro, but for the most keeps things the same as the original, "Tell The World How I Feel About 'Cha Baby." Again, most of the edit revolves around the drums, as Dimitry has added a much more forceful beat, upping the tempo for the dancefloor. This one's on some feel good, I love my girl, the world is a beautiful place shit. If you don't love that, you don't love America, kittens or apple pie. Download all of this stuff, it doesn't get better.
Tuesday, January 20, 2009
Bob Dylan, "Chimes of Freedom" (live at Newport Festival 1964)
It's a beautiful day for America, as we inaugurated Barack Obama and we realized that George W. Bush can no longer destroy this country. Not much I can really add to this moment, just to say how wonderful a feeling it is to wake up into what feels like a genuinely new world. These past 8 years have been a nightmare, at times one that felt like it would never end. Well, it's over and you can hear the chimes of freedom. I love you all, let's get to work.
Saturday, January 17, 2009
Get ready NYC. Korrupt VII. Throne Of Blood. Dances With White Girls, Mattie Safer of The Rapture and WiZ. Meanred Productions. Good People.The divine Lorraine Sangre hosting. 88 Palace, 88 E. Broadway. This one's so rad, all I need is declarative sentences. Be there.