Revisiting Old Music: Mission Accomplished

Posted on

Well, it only took me twelve years. I have finally finished my quest to re-listen to my entire CD collection. This really didn’t need to take more than decade, but in the middle of the process I decided to start reviewing each CD individually. After a while the thought of having to type a new review if I listened to a disc would discourage me from continuing. I finally gave up somewhere in compilations. The world doesn’t need to know that each of the eight or so Back from the Grave compilations sounds pretty much like all the other ones. On top of that, there was an excursion into my vinyl collection in which I ripped all my 45s and then started in on my LPs too. Who knew listening to music was such hard work.

My final thoughts are that I like most of the music that I have bought. Who’da thunk it? At the very bottom there a few stinkers which I keep mainly because either they are my wife’s (A Very Special ChristmasLou Reed) or they have maybe one song that’s worth listening to (Planet PLambadaBob Mould solo crap). I also have a box of freebies that bands have given me and junky Lumpen Media compilations which are mostly crap but I need to keep for archival reasons.

CDs are getting a bad rap these days. Other than a good old fashioned punk rock 45, I still think CD is my preferred format for physical media music. If anyone tells you vinyl sounds better, they are lying. I only wish that instead of jewel cases they were packaged in thinner sleeves. A little known benefit of CDs is that they don’t really appreciate in value which means they are super cheap to buy used. Often cheaper than MP3 albums (Discogs is a great way of building up a killer rare CD collection).

Revisiting Old Music Part (Fu-Go)

Posted on

Fudge Tunnel – Hate Songs in the Key of E
Grungy metal. Not sure why I own this. All I know is that it isn’t worth putting up for sale on Amazon.

Fugazi – 13 Songs
Stop all that slam dancing you punks. It’s Fugazi! Classic post-punk record(s).

Fugazi – Repeater
Although there are not as many stand alone “hits” as there are on 13 songs, this is perhaps their best record.

Fugazi – Steady Diet of Nothing
There’s something about the attitude of this record that turns me off. Ian Maykaye’s vocals are at his absolute most annoying level on the attrocious track, Long Division. I stopped buying Fugazi albums after this (for a while at least).

Fugazi – In on the Kill Taker
Although the ultra cool opening is quickly squandered by Fugazi sameness, this CD redeemed the band somewhat for me. There are a couple of stinkers, but not bad overall.

The Galaxy Trio – In the Harem
Surf inspired instrumental music, but with a more distorted, 90s edge.

The Galaxy Trio – Saucers Over Vegas
More of the same.

The Giallos Flame – The Giallos Flame
Despite the corny cover, this is a pretty decent CD. The songs are inspired by the music of Gobin, Fabio Frizzi and other Italian Giallo soundtrack motifs. The tone fluctuates between jazzy, funky and synth-rocky (the latter being my favorite).

Girls Against Boys – Cruise Yourself
Groove-centric 90s hard rock. A laid back wall of sound.

Godflesh – Godflesh
Extremely heavy and slow. This is from before they discovered house music.

Godflesh – Streetcleaner
These are slow jamz for the grindcore set. Loud, piercing and slow. The slightly more experimental bonus tracks are better than most of the actual tracks on the LP.

Godflesh –Slavestate
A really great album. The gurgle and grind of the previous albums is honed in with a rhythmic, electronic backdrop. Not dance music, but a far more groovy version of Godflesh indeed.

Godflesh – Pure
This is my favorite Godflesh album. This is almost an industrial music album, but the samples and electronics are only there to color the edges of the mix. Unlike previous feedback heavy Godflesh releases, you can actually hear the instruments and what they are playing–this is a good thing.

Godflesh – Cold World
A nice Pure-era single. These tracks are as good as anything from that CD.

Godflesh – Merciless
How Godflesh lost her groove.

Revisiting Old Music Part (Do-Es)

Posted on

D.O.A. – Bloodied But Unbowed
Straightforward Canadian punk rock.

D.O.A. – True (North) Strong & Free
Slightly less punk, and a bit more cheesy bar band sounding. Dull.

D.O.A. – Murder
Again, not the most innovative band around. Slightly better than the previous CD listed here.

Thomas Dolby – The Golden Age of Wireless
She Blinded Me with Science is so over-played that I can’t enjoy it anymore. Thankfully, many of the other songs are worthwhile on this CD: Europa and the Pirate Twins and Windpower stand out for me.

Thomas Dolby – The Flat Earth
Veers a bit into adult contemporary territory, but there’s enough new wave-ishness here to keep it interesting.

Dollface – Corvette Summer
The finest band to ever come out of Peoria, Illinois. Every song is a gem here.

Dollface – Lights the Pilot
Geez, this band was good. Shoulda been bigger.

Drop Acid – Making God Smile
Kevin Seconds’s post 7 Seconds band. Very 90’s sounding. I saw this band open for Superchunk in Champaign, IL the night Magic Johnson revealed he had AIDS.

Drums & Tuba – Flatheads and Spoonies
Really they are drums, tuba and noodly guitar. Bought this on a whim after seeing them live. Different, but the songs get old pretty fast.

El Vez – How Great Thou Art
A certain amount of pop-music literacy may be required to really appreciate El Vez. Funny, but there’s much more going on to really discount him as a “joke” band.

El Vez – Merry MeX-Mas
El Vez’s first Christmas album. His cover of Feliz Navidad/Public Image is a classic. Highly recommended listening.

El Vez – Boxing With God
Religion-inspired rock from El Vez. His amazing skill as an arranger is in full play here.

El Vez – Sno Way Jose
More Christmas (and Hanukah) greatness.

Eminem – The Marshall Mathers LP
Okay, Wika bought this one. She got it at Wal-Mart so it is edited and bleeped. It’s almost worth a listen just to hear how much this is cut up. Even if we could hear the bad words, this album still would suck as much as it already does.

Esquivel – Space Age Bachelor Pad Music
Wonderful, off-the-wall big band arrangements from the 50’s and 60’s from this musical genius.

Revisiting Old Music Part (De-Di)

Posted on

Devo – Now it Can Be Told
Despite being recorded during the waning years of Devo, this live album is actually pretty great. They even make the bad Total Devo tracks seem almost good.

Devo – Smooth Noodle Maps
Devo’s last release is okay. I bit more consistant than Total Devo. But still nothing close to their glory days. The cover fo the Greatful Dead’s Morning Dew is the best track on the CD.

Devo – Post Post Modern Man (single)
A CD single from Smooth Noodle Maps. Nothing remarkable here.

Devo – EZ Listening Disk
Devo covers devo.

Devo – Hardcore Devo Vol. 1
Lacks the electronic polish of their best work, but most of this CD is essential Devo.

Devo – Hardcore Devo Vol. 2
Same as above, just more.Devo – Greatest HitsMost of my Devo collection is in the form of cassettes, so I bought this so I would have a CD version of their best stuff.

Dianogah – As Seen From Above
Two basses and a drummer. My friend Jay’s band revived my waning interest in indy-rock in the early 00’s with this CD.

Dianogah – Battle Champions
My favorite Dianogah album.

Dianogah – Millions of Brazillians
Not their best work. I think I was wanting more from their sound when this CD came out. I still like it quite a bit.

Dick Dale – Tribal Thunder
Dick Dale’s awesome comeback album. Totally insane. Dick Dale was signed as a witness on my organ donor card for years.

Dick Dale – The Best of Dick Dale and his Del-Tones
More great Dick Dale – the self-proclaimed inventor of heavy metal(?!)

Didjits – Hornet Piñata
Champaign band. They were a great act to see live, but in hindsight, their music is kinda lame.

Didjits – Full Nelson Reilly
Same as above.The Dirty HowlersGreat garage rawk from Chicago.

The Dirty Howlers – Behold!
Another batch of raw rockers from the Howlers. They broke up immediately after they released this CD.

Revisiting Old Music Part III (Ch-De)

Posted on

Happy New Year! My overview of my entire CD collection continues.

The Challengers – Lloyd Thaxton Goes Surfing with The Challengers
One of the best of the early Sixties surf bands. A very polished sound.

The Challengers – K-39
Another great Challengers record with even more focus on Delvy’s drums.

The Cherry Poppin’ Daddies – Ferociously Stoned
Great song writing, lots of hopping big band-ish numbers and the wonderful The Lifeboat Mutiny. A couple of funk laden stinkers, but aside from that and maybe some thin production on the drums, I love this record.

The Cherry Poppin’ Daddies – Rapid City Muscle Car
A far more consistent album than the previous, and just as good. The best tracks here aren’t quite as good as the best ones from Ferociously Stoned, but nothing to complain about.

Chrome – Half Machine Lip Moves / Alien Soundtracks
Contemporaries of Cabaret Voltaire, Chrome were just about as noisy. Chrome stuck to a more traditional guitar, bass and drums for the core of their sonic abstractions. There are some toe tapping tune hidden in here.

Circle Jerks – Group Sex / Wild in the Streets
A punk band that everyone had to have listened too when they first discovered punk. The songs don’t hold up that well these days, but they are short and it’s over before you get bored.

Circle Jerks- Wonderful
I think I bought this CD for 2 or 3 dollars used. The lyrics are funny and the musicianship is improved, but the songs are really stale compared to my favorite Circle Jerks’ record, Golden Shower of Hits.

The Clash – London Calling
I don’t know. I think this may be one of the most overrated records ever. It’s not awful, I guess. But it just doesn’t clique with me. There are plenty of memorable moments, but outside of The Guns of Brixton I find this stuff plain boring. It’s like fairly proficient bar-band music with (politically) revolutionary lyrics. Meh. And if I never hear the excruciating anthem Death or Glory again, it will be too soon.

Chris Connelly – Stowaway
RevCo / Ministry singer does his best David Bowie impersonation yet.

Coyle & Sharpe – On the Loose
Incredible man-on-the-street gags. Pure genius.

Coyle & Sharpe – Audio Visionaries
More Candid Microphone weirdness. Not as good as On the Loose but still is hilarious.

Criswell – The Legendary Criswell Predicts! Your Incredible Future
Be amazed as Criswell gets about 99.9999% of his predictions wrong. Nakedness is a key element of many of them. Funny and weird and mastered as a single 45 minute long CD track.

The Dave & Deke Combo – Moonshine Melodies
Hillbilly bop. Great musicianship and a great sense of humor.

The Dave & Deke Combo – Hollywood Barn Dance
More swinging hillbilly music. Better than the first CD. A whole barnyard of fun.

Sammy Davis Jr. – Greatest Hits
I have a real soft spot for Sammy Davis Jr. There’s a lot of delicious cheese mixed in with the big band numbers, and man was that guy an Entertainer (with the capital “E”). The live version of Come Back to Me will blow your socks off. It makes any live rock band you’ve heard feel like a 2 hour conference call with regional HQ.

The Dead Kennedys – Fresh Fruit for Rotting Vegetables
When I started this project, I was dreading revisiting these DK albums. Jello became soooo annoying later on in his career. Anyhow, I was surprised that much of this was still pretty good. It holds up much better than the drab SoCal punk of bands like Black Flag. Inventive guitar playing and more abstract political snarkiness make this a classic. Even though the CD I got is mastered like crap.

The Dead Kennedys – Plastic Surgery Disasters / In God We Trust, Inc.
More awful sounding production/mastering from the DKs. The music is still pretty good. In God We Trust, Inc. is the weaker of the two albums on this CD. Not quite as inspired as Fresh Fruit but good.

The Dead Kennedys – Frankenchrist
This album sounds great. Too bad most of the songs are crap. The lyrics are forced and the songs are starting to get too long without going anywhere.

The Dead Kennedys – Bedtime for Democracy
Jello is in full on annoying mode on this record. Again, the songs are too plain or just go on too long.

The Dead Kennedys – Give me Convenience or Give me Death
A great compilation of singles and imports. Mostly from before the band went sour.

Death Valley – ¡Que Pasta!
Nice Ennio Morricone Spaghetti Western inspired instrumentals.

Deke Dickerson – More Million Sellers
Wonderful collection of rock ‘n’ roll and country numbers from Deke.

Deke Dickerson – Mr. Entertainment
A collection of extras and rarities. As one might expect, not as consistent as his albums but includes some of his best songs such as Double Zombie and Muleskinner Blues.

Deke Dickerson – In 3 Dimensions
Another great record from guitar geek Deke. Nicely divided into three groups of styles: rock ‘n’ roll, rockabilly and hillbilly.

The Denison/Kimball Trio – Walls of the City
Jazzy guitar-drums combo. Some pretty off-the-wall guitar work, but suffers from every song sounding pretty similar.

The Denison/Kimball Trio – Soul Machine
Much more diverse and interesting than the previous CD.

Devo – Q: Are We Not Men? A: We Are Devo!
An all-time classic from the definitive new wave band. Quirky, energetic and flat out genius.

Devo – Freedom of Choice
My favorite Devo album. The perfect blend of electronics and standard rock instrumentation. Most punk-types prefer their 1st album, but this one works much better as a whole for me.

Devo – Total Devo
The “comeback” Devo album that was a flop. It’s not awful, but the spark is gone. Too overproduced and sequenced, unlike the early era albums which were a melding of man and machine. This was the first DDD CD I ever owned.

Revisiting Old Music Part II (Bu-Ca)

Posted on

My overview of my entire CD collection continues. Lots and lots of Cabaret Voltaire!

The Budget GirlsOn a Tight Budget Two screaming gals front this wonderfully crude and trashy garage rock outfit.

The Buggles The Age of Plastic We all know the hit “Video Killed the Radio Star” but there about 2 or 3 more songs on this New Wave disc that are just as good. Some crap too.

William S. BurroughsDead City Radio The only way to appreciate Burrough is his spoken word recordings. He could read the farm report and it would seem meaningful. But, let’s face it. His books are well-written but in the end, are just meandering, plotless garbage. In this case, the short format suits him better.

William S. Burroughs & Kurt CobainThe “Priest” They Called Him Painfully short and Cobain is there in name only. Mostly just feedback. Lame.

Cabaret Voltaire1974-76 Cabaret Voltaire at their rawest. Barely listenable.

Cabaret VoltaireMix-up A few good tracks, but they hadn’t quite got the idea that music needs some structure to make a person want to listen.

Cabaret Voltaire – The Voice of America The first decent Cabaret Voltaire record. The noise begins to become more musical. Still, not for the feint of ears.

Cabaret VoltaireThree Mantras 2 Long tracks make up this good early Cabaret Voltaire record. World music has begun to creep up into the noise-scapes.

Cabaret VoltaireThe Living Legends A compilation of early recordings. Pretty good.

Cabaret VoltaireRed Mecca The best of the Chris Watson era Cabaret Voltaire records. Dark, dense and challenging. Not to be missed.

Cabaret Voltaire2×45 Almost as good as Red Mecca with more natural sounding instrumentation and some genuine grooves. A perfect transition into the next phase of their sound.

Cabaret VoltaireHai! A post-Watson live recording of some of their early material. Surprisingly improvisational in nature.

Cabaret VoltaireListen Up With Cabaret Voltaire A 2-disc compilation of early and mid-career tracks. Highly recommended if you want to hear some of their old material, but don’t want to dive right into the hardcore stuff.

Cabaret VoltaireThe Crackdown This record is the start of the funky, danceable era of Cabaret Voltaire’s records. My favorite of their long career.

Cabaret VoltaireMicro-Phonies The noisier side of Cabaret Voltaire is almost completely absent from this recording. A solid record that includes the super-excellent “Sensoria” remix.

Cabaret VoltaireEight Crepuscule Tracks A dreamy journey back to the noisy-era.

Cabaret VoltaireThe Covenant, The Sword, and The Arm of the Lord Found sounds and noise are brought back into the songs. It’s definitely danceable and funky but the added harshness is a nice change.

Cabaret VoltaireCode They really lay on the funk on this record, with pounding drums and electric guitar. The sound has once again been cleaned-up and minimalized.

Cabaret VoltaireGroovy, Laidback and Nasty Another dramatic shift in the direction of the band. This album is filled with traditional Chicago-house electronica and Mal actually sings melodies. In hindsight, a mediocre release, but a necessary transition into their electronica period.

Cabaret VoltaireHypnotised (cd single) The best song from Groovy, Laidback and Nasty gets some remixing.

Cabaret VoltaireKeep On (cd single) More remixes from Groovy, Laidback and Nasty.

Cabaret VoltaireBody and Soul This record is a great improvement on the previous. Richard H. Kirk is beginning to get a handle on the computer music. The music still lacks some edge but is pretty good nonetheless.

Cabaret VoltaireWhat Is Real (cd single) More remixes. Cabaret Voltaire – Percussion Force A few remixes of “Don’t Walk Away” and several new tracks. Highly recommended.

Cabaret VoltaireColours The last recordings to feature the singing of Steven Mallinder. Along the same lines as Body and Soul with some further refinement in the style.

Cabaret VoltairePlasticity Much of the spirit of the old Cabaret Voltaire has come back in this CD. The music is pure dance electronica, but there is a return to found sounds and exotic world-music samples. Alas, no more singing.

Cabaret VoltaireTechnology: Western Reworks 1992 They dip way back into their catalog to find songs to remix/re-record using the power of computers and such. The result as a dazzling mix of noise and beats. I think this record changed the way Kirk/Mallinder approached electonica. Perhaps one of the earliest examples of I.D.M.

Cabaret VoltaireI want You / Kino Remixes of the remixes.

Cabaret VoltaireInternational Language A collection of new songs continues to refine the electronica meets noise.

Cabaret VoltaireThe Conversation Cabaret Voltaire’s swan song is a sprawling 2-disc masterpiece. It ebbs and flows through various themes and closes with an epic 40 minute track filled with hypnotic sonic beauty. Awesome.

Revisiting Old Music

Posted on

The past year or so I have been an iPod owner and have not paid much attention to my wall o’ CDs. Well, the same songs are popping up just a bit too often during shuffle, and I thought it would be a fresh change of pace if I started popping in a good old CD every now again. To make sure not to miss anything, I decided to pull the CDs down for listening in alphabetical order. I happened to be listening to Big Sandy and the Fly-rite Boys when I made this monumental decision, so that’s where I started.

So here’s where I am so far: There’s the aforementioned Big Sandy CD. It’s listenable yet unremarkable rockabilly stuff. Next, a slew of Blonde Redhead records. The first two CDs, when they had a bassist, are the best. They start to get tiresome up until Melody of Certain Damaged Lemons which is when they start adding electronics and some weirdness to their songs. These were followed by my two Blue Hearts CDs. The first is their U.S. release, Blast Off. It’s a collection of some of their best songs from their first 3 Japan-only albums. Amazing. Next is Bust, Waste, Hip which isn’t nearly as good because the punkishness is toned down quite a bit. Moving on we have The Blue Meanies’ Pave the World featuring fellow Nonagon‘er, Tony on drums. Lots of ska rhythms and horns, without being a ska band. Bomboras, Savage Island is next with lots of organ tinged surf. Pretty good but not their best. Bongwater, The Big Sellout: it’s funny, catchy and psychedelic all at the same time—a very good record. The Boogie Patrol Express La Polyester Fantasy is the only(?) CD from this early 90’s Eugene, Oregon band. Straight-forward, ever-so-mildly ironic disco music, played expertly with real instruments by talented kids. Next, I have two wonderful Boss Hog CDs, Boss hog and Whiteout, both of which are great loud . Finally, we have Brian Brain’s Time Flies When You Are Having Toast—A solo effort by then P.I.L. drummer Martin Atkins. This is a weird CD with lots of late 80’s sounding synths in front of Atkins pounding drums. Some of the tracks would be at home on a childrens’ record. It is about as far from Atkin’s Pigface as you can imagine, but, you know what, I love this CD. It was 99 cents when I got it!

Well, that was shelf unit 1 of my big Ikea CD rack. I will report back when I get through the next section.