Archive for the 'funk' Category

“Sunny Day,” by Pigbag

pigbag.jpgPigbag is an absurdly funky post-punk ensemble. I ripped this track (the version from the Stiff US 12″) recently for a mix I listened to while training for the 2008 Buffalo Marathon (which I ran last week and got a PR of 3:44!). It’s got all the Pigbag trappings, frenetic funky beat, horn blasts, and countless changes. Theses guys are tight.

I was prompted to post this track this yesterday when I saw that the always fantastic Fantod Under Glass has made available a live Pigbag LP that I didn’t even know existed. Head on over and check it out.

More on Pigbag here. This band has been getting ripped off for years, but somehow still sounds incredibly fresh.

Pigbag, “Sunny Day,” from the 12″ single on Stiff Records (1981)
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“Kelly Kilogram” by Janeen Brady

metrics.jpgSorry for two reasons! First, I apologize for not posting for so long… I’ve been having some hardware issues lately that are keeping me from getting good recordings. Hope to have that sorted soon. So, on to the next apology: this post is only about half as good as it should be. I bough this metric system indoctrination LP in Boston several years ago because of this song, “Kelly Kilogram.” It’s got a great groove, but I was disappointed that the singer envisions Kelly as a man, instead of a woman. I was hoping to make this my wife’s theme song.

Anyway, here it is. I wish we were on the metric system.

Janeen Brady, “Kelly Kilogram” from the The Metrics Are Coming LP (1977)

3 solo works by Pere Ubu’s David Thomas

Due to some irritating computer problems across three systems, I’ve been unable to post lately. Sorry for the delay. I hope, in the mean time, you’ve found that I’ve posted many great new music blogs to the Now Rock N Roll Now! section of the sidebar. Click through to find some great tracks.

vocal.jpgToday’s post brings together three tracks from Pere Ubu frontman David Thomas. The first two tracks are from the Vocal Performances 12″, and they suggest that Thomas may have been a bit reigned-in by the structure of Pere Ubu. The “Sloop John B” cover is just strange, and sounds like it was recorded secretly in a public place. The version of “Petrified” (which also appears, in a more fleshed out vein, on Songs of the Bailing Man) is a bit more engaging, but still feels like it was made for an empty audience. I think the sleeve for this disc is a masterpiece of graphic design.

David Thomas “Sloop John B,” from the Vocal Performances 12″ on Rough Trade Records, 1981

David Thomas “Petrified,” from the Vocal Performances 12″ on Rough Trade Records, 1981

moreplaces.jpgThe third track in this post is David Thomas amongst friends, including Pere’s Tony Maimone on Bass. It’s more of a groover in the off-kilter Pere Ubu style.

David Thomas & The Pedestrians “Enthusiastic,” from the More Places Forever LP on Rough Trade Records, 1985

Relately and belatedly, RIP Jim Jones.

“Booyaka (Version)” by Verdy Green

verdy.jpgHappy new year! Here’s a a dinky dancehall gem to start your year right. Another one I know nothing about, but spin all the time. Both the instrumental and vocal versions posted here. I don’t know why I always prefer the instrumentals, perhaps so I can apply my own inner monologue as lyrics.

Booyaka!

Verdy Green, “Booyaka (Version)” from the Chopper Productions 12″ (198?)

Verdy Green, “Booyaka (Vocal)” from the Chopper Productions 12″ (198?)

“Decollage” and “Fonce a Mort” by the Honeymoon Killers

honey.jpgA couple of great tracks from Belgium’s The Honeymoon Killers. I couldn’t settle for a single one, so here are my two faves from this disc. Actually, now that I’m looking around, I realize you can purchase pristine versions of the entire album from other’s digital download site. Go for it. Also, there’s a 2007 remix of “Decollage” Prins Thomas’s 2007 release Cosmo Galactic Prism 2CD, which you can and should by at other music.

An uncited Wikipedia quote sez:

Live on stage The Honeymoon Killers often used pre-recorded drum machine loops which were played from cassette, over this they put guitar, bass, drums, trashy percussion, cheap-sounding organ, with Vromman and Vincent taking turns on singing. Some of their songs were extended to 20 minutes with their own brand of dub echo effects.

Sounds like fun, huh? I once posted that I purchased this album, and someone emailed me offering like $50 for it. Here’s a little for free. The CD/digital re-release of it are well worth tracking down.

The Honeymoon Killers, “Decollage” from the Les Tueres de la Lune de Miel” LP (1981)

The Honeymoon Killers, “Fonce a Mort” from the Les Tueres de la Lune de Miel” LP (1981)

Mutant Sounds has a super-rare album available (for free of course!) of the group that eventually released this disc in 1981, named, like this album, Les Tueures de la Lune de Miel. Go grab it and thank them!

Also, the always-terrific MissingToof.com featured them earlier this year on a New Wave Tuesday post; a couple tracks available there, including their full-blast version of Serge Gainsbourg’s “Laisse Tomber Les Filles”. 

Here’s a somewhat-tame live taste, from Dutch TV in 1983:[kml_flashembed movie="http://www.youtube.com/v/HZrDJvXyKBY" width="425" height="350" wmode="transparent" /]

Update: The Walrus Music Blog has what sounds like a higher-quality version of “Decollage” as well as the song performed above.

“Show Business” by Gil Scott-Heron & Brian Jackson

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I love any song that reminds me of the circus. This is from one of Gil Scott-Heron‘s strong, funky post “The Revolution Will Not Be Televised“-fame late 70s LPs with Brian Jackson.

This music is so polished and tight; the keys and beat in it sound like they came right out of a computer to me. Madison Avenue is my other jam from this album. I prefer his groovier, more singy music, which I feel often out-politics his spoken word work because the verses are so well-crafted and succinct. I’ll probably end up sharing a lot more in this vein.

Gil Scott-Heron & Brian Jackson, “Show Business” from the Secrets LP on Arista Records (1978)

The Bottle:
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Hold On:[kml_flashembed movie="http://www.youtube.com/v/uTCQSk2l8bc" width="425" height="350" wmode="transparent" /]

“Afro-Strut” by the Nite-Liters

nite.jpgThis one’s a bit of a dissonant squealer with a great mid-tempo beat and a sweet wah-wah breakdown. The Nite Liters put outa bunch of records in the early 70s, but eventually spun off into New Birth Inc., and had up to 17 members.
The Nite-Liters, “Afro-Strut” from the RCA/Victor 45 (197?)

You can find a best-of compilation at Amazon and some vinyl at Dusty Groove.
They also rocked K-JEE:

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Interestingly, Steve Keith, who seems to have played in another band called the Nite Liters, chimed in on a post over on Flea Market Funk. It’s cool to see the original artists getting into the fray on the mp3 blogs… it even happens here sometimes!

Athens, GA-related megapost!

I’m in Charlotte, North Carolina for the next few days, running my first marathon dsc_0005.jpg(wish me luck!), so I won’t be posting frequently again until the end of next week. So, please enjoy this hastily assembled, under contextualized early-80s Athens, Georgia megapost… more to come next week when I’m back in NYC.

Two tracks from the all-hits Squares Blot Out The Sun compilation of odds and ends on DB records, the label that really drove the Athens scene.

Pylon, “Party Zone (live in 1983)” from the Squares Blot Out The Sun LP on DB Records (released 1989)

Jack Heard, “Burnin’ Love (1982)” from the Squares Blot Out The Sun LP on DB Records (released 1989)

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I played this Side Effects track out at a bar in Brooklyn in 2001, and someone came up to me afterwards dying to chat. We spoke for a while about the band and the great music that came from that scene, which he’d come up in. When he was heading out of the bar much later, he stopped by again, introduced his wife, shook my hand. It felt a little strange, and when I looked down at my hand as he turned away, I realized he’d pushed into my palm the damp remains of the joint he and his wife has covertly smoked in the bar. Gross! That was the day I started lobbying for an enclosed DJ booth.

Once again, I realized the Side Effects are also on Myspace, after years of radio silence. Grab versions of their tracks (which sound a little better than this file there).

The Side Effects, “Pyramids” from the Side Effects EP on DB Records (1981)
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Love Tractor was one of the most prolific bands from this scene, with lots of great mostly instrumental songs. This cover of Marvin Gaye’s “Got to Give It Up,” makes the case that they could have easily had way more great vocal tracks. It comes from a Bigtime records compilation, but also appeared as the bside to one of their later singles. More on Myspace, of course (including a great loungey cover of “See Emily Play”). Pat Irwin, of the Raybeats, produced this track.

Love Tractor, “Got To Give It Up” from the Bigtime Syndrome compilation LP on Bigtime Records (1987)

method.jpgThe Method Actors made a lot of noise for just two guys. Like Pylon, they bring a bit of the UK sound you hear in the dancey songs of Gang of Four, the Pop Group, and the Au Pairs.

This album is particularly mind blowing because of the tiny little details and dynamic shifts that show up in many of the songs. Plus, I love the vocals and the near-droney reverb.

The Method Actors, “Bleeding” from the Little Figures LP on Press Records (1981)

shake.jpgAny B52′s fan should track down the Fred Schneider & the Shake Society album from 1984. Apart from a few uncomfortable guitar solos, it is pure party music. Fred is in the foreground all the time, and busts out some amazing lines. Those of you who know me will understand why I had to post this particular track. “Cut the Concrete” was what I was planning to post, but when I listened to “Boonga!” again, I knew what I had to do.  Maybe I’ll post the other one in the comments next week. Bernie Worrell produced this with Fred! Don’t skip the intro on his site either.

Fred Schneider & the Shake Society,”Boonga! (the New Jersey Caveman)” from the self-titled LP on Warner Bros. (1984).

Fred Schneider & the Shake Society,”Cut the Concrete” from the self-titled LP on Warner Bros. (1984). 

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Though Mitch Easter lived and recorded in North Carolina, there were few more influential folks as far as this music is concerned. He played in the Sneakers with fellow North Carolinian future dBs member Chris Stamey, recorded R.E.M.’s “Radio Free Europe,” and put out a bunch of albums in Let’s Active.

Mitch Easter, “Law of Averages,” from the Shake to Date compilation LP on Shake Records (1979)

Chris Stamey,”Get a Job” from the It’s A Wonderful Life LP on DB Records (1982)

While this isn’t Athens Music per se, the aesthetics of the music and the relationships involved have me placing them in this post. Most importantly, you will probably have the chance to see one or both of these guys perform live. The dBs are playing in NYC this weekend!

Things to buy: DFA’s re-release of Pylon’s Gyrate, B52s new album out on Astralwerks soon!, Let’s Active’s Cypress/Afoot double CD, dBs Stands for Decibles/Repercussions CD Mitch Easter’s newest album.

“Lean Meat,” by Lonnie Smith

lonnie.jpgSuspenseful near-disco funk number with almost no resolution. A great tranistional track, I’ve always thought.

Not to be confused with Lonnie Liston Smith (of “with the Cosmic Echoes” fame), this track comes from jazz organist Dr. Lonnie Smith. So many Lonnie Smiths, so little time.

This was released in 1976, but didn’t appear on an album until 1980′s When the Night Is Right, one of Lonnie’s many awesomely named albums. Many of these items are still in print and for sale, and all of them are funky, as far as I know. Please purchase some. From both Lonnies.

Lonnie Smith’s website says it all, so I won’t waste any more of your time. DO NOT SKIP INTRO.

Lonnie Smith, “Lean Meat,” from the Groove Merchant 45 (1976)

“Dr. Follow’s Dance,” by Gary Bartz & NTU Troop

bartz.jpgAnother jazzy funk number posted mostly for Sam. I love the bassline on this one.

It’s great music for standing in line, and gives even the most mundane event a nice little exciting soundtrack. A little short, though.

Gary Bartz & NTU Troop, “Dr. Follow’s Dance,” from the Prestige 45 (1973)

Lots of information on Gary Bartz at his website (wot no myspace?), & another great track (w/ vocals) posted at Groove Provider.