Monday, July 27, 2009

Sweaty and Uncomfortable


Santana III

David Crosby

The temperature supposedly reached 97 today, which is a pretty rare occurrence here in the pacific northwest. On top of the heat, it rained yesterday, making it nice and humid. Ugh. I feel like I'm breathing and wading through hot, sticky, damp, fetid water vapor. I'm usually a hot weather person, but not this kind of hot weather.
Of course, it's too miserable to sleep, even with the fan on in the bedroom. It's almost midnight as I write this and the temperature is still in the 80's, so I'm still up (despite starting a new job at 6 tomorrow morning). So just to make the atmosphere complete, I'm posting a couple "uncomfortably hot and sweaty summer night" songs.
The first is "Taboo" from Santana's III album. The cover of the album let's you know what it sounds like. It's a great track, great and sweaty. I picked this album up at a yard sale in the dog days when I was in high school and I guess this song sums up the feel of humid northwest summers for me.
The second track is David Crosby's "Almost Cut My Hair", off of CSN&Y's Deja Vu, and if you think the first song is hot and sweaty, this track is like taking a bath in a hot KFC bucket of steamy lard. A family size bucket. For real, in the pantheon of disgusting, sweaty songs, this one is the most likely to start a grease fire. You can almost hear the oil drip off David's straining neck veins.
So turn off the lights (they emit heat), sit back on the couch in your underwear, try not to move too much (except to pick the crumbs out of your mustache/beard/chest hair/navel), and have a listen. Oh yeah, the heat is supposed to last through the week...

Taboo

Almost Cut My Hair



Thursday, July 23, 2009

Bring That Beat Back!

Hi everyone, just a quick note. I've started up another blog to run concurrently with this one. Whereas In Search of the Lost Chord showcases all kinds of music I love, this new one (Bring That Beat Back) will deal exclusively with hip hop releases (at least for the time being). The reason for this is because I have some rare and out-of-print hip hopery that I don't feel necessarily warrants the dear-to-my-heart specification I have here at Lost Chord, but I know some cats want to hear anyway. So there you go. Feel free to stop in and check it out!
The URL is http://beetbak.blogspot.com/

The Ethiopians

The Ethiopians are a complete joy to listen to. They recorded a ton of great music in the golden age of Jamaican music, from the mid 60's to the mid 70's. Because their output is so immense and their music so good, I picked their song for this post, "Come On Now," completely at random.
And it seems the Fates chose wisely. This cautionary rocksteady tune has all the best elements the Ethiopians utilized: The high, soaring harmony vocals; the bouncy, infectious rhythm; the ragged horns; and the unnameable, magical quality that makes the world a happy place.
The temperature in the next few days is supposed to reach the mid-90's, so at some point give yourself a few minutes to sit back with a cold beverage and listen to this track. It's the perfect music for a summer afternoon.

Come On Now

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Hip Hop Holy Grail Part 3: Puzoozoo Watt: Self-Help

Here's another impossible-to-find nugget. This weird release came out only on cassette in 1999, at least I think. This cerebral Blowdian rapper Puzoozoowatt was, and maybe still is, a member of the group Onomatopoeia, along with Slant (who made the beats for this release, as well as guested on one spot), and Vixen, who shows up a couple of times. I remember ordering this from P-Minus' website back in the day, along with a bunch of Rifleman, CVE, and GPAC cds. When I got the package it was one of the happiest days of my pathetic, nerdy life. Go check out Puzoozoo's myspace page to hear the strange and cool stuff he's up to these days. While you're there, ask him please to release some more tracks! Please!! For now, enjoy this strange tape.

Self-Help

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Hip Hop Holy Grail Part 2: Give and Ye Shall Receive

Ganjah K

Ganjah K's legendary unreleased album from the early 90's, Harvest For the World, is a record I've tried to find for more than a decade. It's my own personal "most sought after" record. I'd hear about it here and there, and I'd find it listed on online trade sites, but despite a number of valiant efforts at getting a copy, (including ignored offers to trade, then ignored offers of money/sex, leading to ignored threats of emotional blackmail, extortion, and bodily harm) I would always ultimately fail at getting my hands on this coveted gem.
But I never gave up hope. I knew that some day, on some blog, or sketchy hip hop forum, or Russian pirate/porn site, I would find this most holy of hip hop holy grails. And low and behold, it finally happened. And not only did I find Harvest for the World, but I also located his other impossible-to-find album, Danksta Life!
Before I go further, a quick run-down of the man of the hour: Ganjah K is a Los Angeles emcee, a member of First Brigade (and possibly also an early member of Freestyle Fellowship?), who kills it on the mic. He yells when he raps. He has amazing battle skills. He's had an elusive career, getting signed to the great Satan Pallas Records in the mid nineties, never getting official release for his records, and subsequently appearing almost entirely on small compilations and guest spots for nearly 20 years.
And this could very well be a valid reason why I'm so passionate about Ganjah K's work. Certainly there's the struggle I have to go through to find his music, which I find rewarding. But more importantly, where some of his more successful cohorts have had the means to become slicker, flashier, and more mainstream, Ganjah K has been denied that success and therefore still retains that raw edge that is so appealing. Ultimately, this means that whenever I hear a new appearance by Ganjah I'm not disappointed.
Here's where I found these jems:
http://philaflava.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=111336&sid=50851f9312644e3f977ae8364c5a3a00
Be sure to give praise where praise is due(i.e. to Ganjah K and the dudes who actually uploaded this shiz)! But be aware: I'd always heard that the sound quality of Ganjah's Harvest was terrible, but I wasn't prepared for just how terrible it was. So, if anybody out there reading this has a better copy, please let me know! I Will gladly trade/pay money for/have sex with you for/blackmail you for/threaten you with bodily harm for a quality version of Harvest.
Now that I've finally found these records, my life is strangely empty.
Here's a hit of the Ganjah.

Got My Mind Trippin



Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Hip Hop Holy Grail Part One: Portrait Of A Ghetto Raised

As far as I can tell, this can't be found anywhere. For those who know of this, no intro is necessary. For everyone else, this is the ultra-rare Project Blowed-related compilation album Portrait of a Ghetto Raised on One Punch Records. Just barely dropping in 1998, it came about soon after the blow-up that was Beneath the Surface and just before the equally-incendiary Cater To the DJ. However, unlike those two comps, Portrait came and went with barely a rumor to mark it's passing.
Produced in large by Fat Jack, Portrait boasts some unheard tracks by some Blowed veterans: Abstract Tribe Unique, Ganjah K, Volume 10, Smooth 7, Dutch, DK Toon and others. The vibe is a relative departure from the experimental flavor that the Blowed camp generally deliver: This is raw, post-g-funk-era hip hop. The beats are from drum machines, not samples; the bass is smooth and prominant; and high, whiney synth lines dominate.
I remember learning about this release when a promo cd single showed up at the indie record store down the street from my apartment. I recognized Fat Jack's and Dutch's name at the time, and waited impatiently for the album to show up, but to no avail. Then one night, years later, I was checking out the tiny shelf of tapes in the same record shop (Orpheum, for those who care-RIP) and low and behold, there it was! I asked the tight-pantsed clerk about it, and he told me it had been sitting collecting dust for all those years, waiting for my sweaty palms to clutch at it. Cosmic.
Check it out! The tracks by Ganjah K and Dutchman are standouts.

Track listing:
A1: Portrait of a Ghetto Raised: Intro - Ab Rude
A2: In the Club Tonight - The Suspects
A3: It's the Life - Smooth 7
A4: Right Or Wrong - Mark Means feat. Mr. Beloved
A5: Feel the High - Ganjah K
A6: Clothes By the Trees - K-Lam
A7: Do Or Die - The Suspects feat. Sir Loon
A8: Affiliations - Abstract Tribe Unique
A9: The Game Has Been Good To Me - Ganjah K
B1: Profound - K-Lam
B2: Everybody Banging - DK Toon feat. Smooth 7
B3: Peace Of the West - Dutchman feat. Volume 10 & DZL
B4: Take Me - Billie feat. Mr. Beloved
B5: Give It Up - Israel
B6: Low Low - Volume 10 feat. Flowood
B7: In the Zone - The Suspects feat. Money Green

Portrait of a Ghetto Raised

Monday, July 13, 2009

Another Notch In My Elitist Bastard Belt


It's a sad-but-true fact: When it comes to music, I'm a snob. I'm as worse as they come. It's despicable, and at night I cry to the Lord and beat my pillow about it, but there it is, staring me in the face come morning.
But really, if I wasn't such a snob, then why else would I have a music blog?
Case in point: The subject of this week's post, the Coachmen. Who the hell are the Coachmen, you ask? Thurston Moore's band before Sonic Youth, I say! Are they any good, you query? No, but that's not the point!, I shout at your face with spittle. Listen: recordings like the Coachmen's are released for one purpose and one purpose only: To let hipster wannabe's obtain and then name-drop crap that normal people don't know about. I know you know what I'm talking about.
I worshiped Sonic Youth in my early teens. I saw their video for "Kool Thing" on MTV one night and fell in love. They were angry, beautiful, hip and ugly all at the same time. They posed and presented a themselves as detached observers and passionate activists; as proponants of hipster culture and dejectors of corporate America. they were articulate and abrasive, and unlike anything I had heard before that point.
"Kool Thing" was on their new album Goo. But what did album did I go out and pick up? "Sonic Death", a soon-to-be out-of-print slab of dark, claustrophobic noise recorded by the Youth on 4-track in the dark days of the early 80's, during their European Tour. Yep, 64 minutes of audience chatter mixed with abrasive, dirgy, out-of-tune noise. And next I bought what this post is about: The Coachmen's 13-minute 1979 demo record - just to show the world how cool and into Sonic Youth I was. But, as it turned out, nobody cared. Which I guess, by my standards, actually means that I was EXTRA cool.
The Coachmen were snobs themselves. Consisting of a RISD student, some other guys, and Thurston, they rode on the coattails of the Talking Heads and Television, playing, nerdy, edgy, New York punk. But where the former bands succeeded in creating amazing and transcendent works of forward-thinking and sophisticated artwork, the Coachmen didn't really have the same spark. They sounded exactly like what they were: A bunch of guys shamelessly in love with Tom Verlaine and David Byrne.
But therin lies their beauty. They strike me as naive and wide-eyed, worshipping the time and place they found themselves in. If punk hadn't become the measuring stick of all that was cool, the Coachmen might have seemed even downright endearing.
So take a listen with that in mind, and what you'll hear are a group of young people tentatively stretching their imaginations in a genre that was known for its constraints, singing about what they're familiar with. And just to get the added hipster effect, you're getting the entire record (as one single track), dubbed off tape. How hardcore is that!? Enjoy the tape hiss.

Failure To Thrive

Monday, July 6, 2009

You Wanna Hear About My New Obsession?


Goodbye Mr. Mackenzie

I have a voracious appetite when it comes to music. I get a hankering for some sound, or some band, or some song, and I get an insatiable buzzing in my brain, and when I find what I'm looking for I gorge myself on it until the very thought of it makes me want to puke. Yep, sounds healthy. But that's the way I am, and that's what makes the buzzing subside, and there isn't much I can do about it. At least I'm not into crack.
By chance I happened to hear a song by Garbage the other day, and for whatever reason the buzzing started up and it got me to thinking about an old video I saw on MTV late one night back in the 90's. Garbage had been receiving heavy airplay of their song "Only Happy When It Rains", and on the late-night alternative show 120 Minutes, MTV played "Suffocate Me" by Shirley Manson's earlier group, Angelfish. Buzz. I did a little online research and as it turns out, Angelfish was just a side-project of another band, a Scots group called Goodbye Mr. Mackenzie. Apparently they were a big deal in their homeland, but unfortunately didn't make much of a splash elsewhere. So, to make the buzzing go away, in short order I tracked down everything I could by Angelfish, and just to be safe, I did the same with the Mackenzies. For the sake of my sanity, am I glad that I did!
Angelfish were a decent outfit, and comparisons to Garbage are warranted, since it was essentially Shirley Manson's solo outing with Mackenzie members serving as her backup band. The mood of the music was similar as well: although rawer than the band that would make Manson famous, the music was still dark and dirgy alternative rock. But where Angelfish seemed to point the way to Garbage, Goodbye Mr. Mackenzie struck me as a complete about face. Their sound was that of an honest, hard-working, and full-fledged band with a penchant for soaring melodies and catchy hooks. The music was lively and memorable, with a foot-stomping rhythm and songs that got stuck in my head after only one listen.
Shirley actually played only a supporting role in Goodbye Mr. Mackenzie, as a backup singer (sounding a lot like Deborah Harry) and keyboardist. The major focus of the band was the charismatic vocalist, Martin Metcalfe, who at a turn could remind you of diverse talents like Scott Walker, Ian McCulloch, Nick Cave, Michael Hutchence or Lou Reed.
They were glossy and idealistic as only an 80's band can be, singing at times dingy third-person narratives about street life (Jim's Killer), and other times slick, Simple Minds wannabe anthems concerning vague world issues (Goodwill City). Whatever the style or subject matter, they tackled it with a raw energy that Garbage never came close to attaining (thanks in part to ex-Exploited guitarist John Duncan). It's almost a crime that they never made it big, when at the time shit like Information Society and Escape Club were radio mainstays. But that's always how it is, I guess.
I'm still listening to the Mackenzies every day, and I don't feel like puking my guts out yet. So they must be good. Check out the following tracks to hear some great music.

Goodbye Mr. Mackenzie


Goodwill City (12" Remix)