Wednesday, February 25, 2009

RIP Pylon guitarist

Sad news about Pylon guitarist Randy Bewley. He's in an intensive care unit after suffering a heart attack- more details here.

Pylon recently did reunion shows to coincide with the reissue of their 1980 debut Gyrate and they sounded great. There's been plans to reissue their wonderful 2nd album, Chomp, later this year.

If you're a Pylon fan, please contact them at their MySpace page and send your best wishes and thoughts to Randy, his friends and family.

UPDATE: Sad to say, news just came out that Randy passed away at 5PM today. He will be missed.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Horace Parlan & Paul Chambers- Blue Note mines their catalog for more goodies

As comforting as it is to hear about Blue Note Records surviving and thriving and looking forward (note this NY Times article), it's also great to see that they're digging through their famed back catalog to bring out some hidden gems to light again.

There's two prime examples of this from the past week. First up is pianist Horace Parlan, a mostly unheraled (outside of bop circles) alumni of Charles Mingus' band as well as sessions with Dexter Gordon and Roland Kirk. His discography is skimpy to begin with and what's available is hard to find. Fortunately, we can now again enjoy a 1961 session, Up & Down, featuring guitarist Grant Green and the wonderful saxist Booker Ervin, (whose amazing album The Freedom Book was reissued in 2007). While Parlan's dominant left-handed playing (marked by an early bout with polio) isn't in command as much as Ervin's lead lines, it's still a pleasure to hear such a swinging ensemble, having such an infectious good time.

The late bassist Paul Chambers (who died of TB in 1969 at age 33) had quite a storied career, appearing on many late 50's/early 60's albums by Miles Davis (including Milestones, Sketches of Spain, Kind of Blue) and John Coltrane (Blue Train, Giant Steps), not to mention other sessions with Gil Evans, Herbie Hancock, Milt Jackson, Sonny Rollins, Thelonious Monk (on the classic Brilliant Corners) and many others. Somehow, he also found time to cut over 10 albums under his own name, including 1957's Quintet. Chambers beautifully fluid playing is appropriately featured here (dig his funky cello on "Four Strings") but so is trumpeter Donald Byrd and saxist Clifford Jordan. Plus any record that's got Elvin Jones on drums is bound to move along nicely.

Thursday, February 05, 2009

Simon Reynolds interrogates the post-punk posse

If you're going to have someone chronicle the interesting aftermath of punk that's been christened post-punk, it should be someone with enough brainy perspective about the movement and the forest/trees thang. So on the heels of his Rip It Up & Start Again chronicle, Simon Reynolds has followed up with the meaty details from the artists themselves in Totally Wired.

Ari Up (The Slits), Jah Wobble (Public Image Ltd), David Byrne (T-Heads), Edwyn Collins (Orange Juice), Nikki Sudden (Swell Maps), Mark Stewart (Pop Group), David Thomas (Pere Ubu), Devo, Alan Vega (Suicide), Lydia Lunch, Alison Statton (Young Marble Giants), Gina Birch (Raincoats), Green Gartside (Scritti Pollitti) and the late lovable DJ John Peel are among the intereview subjects here, making it a veritable who's who/where/when of the scene. Plus, he adds chapters/meditations on PIL, Joy Division, non-musicians, mutant disco. What else do you need to tempt you?

You can order TW from Amazon UK for 20 bucks (or maybe less by now, depending on the exchange rate). The American version won't come out until next year so why wait?

Sunday, February 01, 2009

PSF new issue is up- Feb/March 09 edition

Along with PSF, some other items that might interest you:

- See videos of Mike Watt's New Year's day tour of San Pedro:

- We have a station set up, featuring music from artists featured in PSF now:

- Please see my Twitter page for PSF news, music news, band finds and other things having to do with... music!:

And of course... in the latest issue of Perfect Sound Forever, you'll find (among other things):

- A good role model?
"Lester Bangs, like many deceased luminaries in their respective fields of criticism, haunts everyone who, against all odds, decided they want to become a rock critic. I had mildly dabbled in pop music criticism before I first read Main Lines, Blood Feasts, and Bad Taste (quickly followed by Psychotic Reactions and Carburetor Dung and a slew of internet scooping). Like many critics before me, I immediately tried to follow in Bangs’ lead in my own writing. And like a playwright who’s just discovered David Mamet, the results could be disastrous."

Still Rock and Roll machines: interview
"The ABC’s of punk rock have been learned and demonstrated by four women who are not an overnight success in the music industry. The Donnas are a group of four women (they are older than twenty-one, a fact that inspired the title for their fourth CD) who have been playing together for over ten years. Palo Alto, California claims them as their own--as well they should. Three elements usually appear in their music: alcohol, boys, and covers."

- Poet turned theater man
"In the 1950's Kenward Elmslie was the protege of the well-known lyricist John Latouche, who had worked with Duke Ellington and many others. Elmslie, at times uncredited, helped Latouche with such chores as writing a lyric for Leonard Bernstein's theme to the movie On the Waterfront, and songs for on and off-Broadway revues. Elmslie even had a jukebox hit (or, per Elmslie, 'hitlet') in 1959: "Love-Wise," sung by Nat King Cole"

- Portrait of concert pianist
"Striding across the stage in a determined and focused manner, Thomas Hansen seats himself in front of the piano. He's all business. After adjusting the piano bench, he is ready to perform. Hansen has been performing for a quarter-century. Born in Massachusetts, near Boston, in 1956, he started exploring the piano at age four. "

- Nerdy-pervy hairy MOR
"Hard Place is a joke: like all good jokes, they contain an ugly truth and a joyful shell. The joyful shell is their
nerdy-pervy quality- their combination of low-budget videos, costume and rock and roll scholarship. The specific brand of rock n roll they work within is the mass culture of the 70's and 80's- 'Labrynth' era Bowie, hair metal, MOR bands like Journey and Fleetwood Mac and 80's synthpop. They treat all of these with loving respect and distance"

- Alt-rock mysteries
"As I began searching for information about The Magic Magicians online, and I discovered that while their music is widely available for purchase that it was difficult to find writings on the band itself. Google searches for 'The Magic Magicians' & 'Review' yielded less than 95 results—to be exact—most of it comprised of scant biographies, about a dozen or so album reviews, some with mixed reactions (some of them with negative reactions, and a lone black-and-white promotional band photo."

- Their psycho-geography, by Johan Kugelberg (Ugly Things), intro by Jon Savage
"Does it matter what time you get in to the record fair? Whether you get in at four o' clock for an extra 20 bucks, or if you arrive with the average Joe at six o' clock? Or for that matter, if you chum up to a dealer and procure a coveted pass in the guise of being his... helper. What records are found during those first two hours? What records are found during load-in? Rifling through a half-open boxes as the dealer subdues his cardiac-arrest in mid-shlep..."

- Early UK punk gone dub: interview
"Out of the four albums that were released while the band was still a going concern, it's the last of these, a dub album called Rhythm Collision, which I've gone back to the most. Released in 1982 on the band's own label, it was the result of a band set free from major label shackles, laying back, letting go and enjoying themselves. It came at the tail end of a long period of turmoil including heroin addiction and the subsequent death of lead singer Malcolm Owen in 1980, and a failed third rock album for Virgin without him in 1981, by which time the band had appended their name with DC."

- Lost NYC music venues (part 3)
"A sparsely appointed West Side loft dedicated to the presentation of improvisational and global music, Soundscape was the spiritual predecessor to such contemporary NYC venues as the Knitting Factory and The Stone. Soundscape was founded by Verna Gillis, a City College graduate who earned her PH.D in ethnomusicology from Union Graduate School in 1975. Verna did extensive field recording in Haiti, the Dominican Republic, Surinam, Peru, and Ghana; 25 albums of her material were released on the Lyrichord and Smithsonian Folkways labels."

- Their early years
"... Television walked on, four tall skinny lads with military-erect postures. Drummer Billy Ficca dressed simply in T-shirt and jeans, but his bandmates' clothes flashed despite their thrift-shop shabbiness. Positioned center-stage: guitarist Tom Verlaine, a hollow-eyed blonde scarecrow, sported a delinquent's black Banlon-knit shirt. Bassist Richard Hell grinned behind a baggy wrinkled suit and a tab-collar shirt, his rectangular sunglasses and teased-out hair completing a sardonic 1965 Bob Dylan look. Soupbowl-blonde guitarist Richard Lloyd wore a brazen black T-shirt that bore the crimson legend 'PLEASE KILL ME.'"

- Guitars in different, 'strange' scales
"True Temperament's guitar necks look as if they have been haphazardly constructed. But the construction of the seemingly warped frets gives them a sound very much in tune. Anders Thidell, the man behind the company, tells his story about the invention and demonstrates how they are produced."

- Its dizzying history- from Africa to techno
"Trance music staged a takeover of the world's clubs sometime in the early 1990's; its steady, pulsating beat dominating the drug-addled dance floors that had once been the domain of Disco and Synth-Pop. It stripped away the flashy adornments of earlier dance musics and placed it emphasis squarely on dance's 'trance inducing' qualities."

- The misunderstood Hagar years
"The Cinderella tale begins in the sterile year of 1986 - before Guns n' Roses rebooted history - and the choice of Sammy Hagar, perennial minor-leaguer, adopted favorite son of St. Louis' KSHE-95 for chrissakes, was obdurate, at best. Following 1984's close scrape with #1, millions of dollars rode on the risk. That's a lot of lines. Of course, Eddie Van Halen wanted his hereditary spotlight back from the perpetually usurping David Lee Roth, but, what the f---, puppy-faced "I Can't Drive 55" Hagar was, huh, Ted Nugent without charisma."

- Turntable alternatives
"Why do we talk about Rega and Technics as if they are the only game in town? If you read these forums regularly, you'll know that many analog fans also own 'tables from Music Hall and Pro-Ject, two companies that are also very competitive in the sub-$1000 turntable market. Yet the debate always becomes heated when you compare the virtues and sins of a particular Japanese mass-market direct-drive 'table with that of a particular English belt-drive turntable."

PLUS rememberences of Ron Asheton (Stooges) and Mark Price (from his Tin Huey band mates) and a list of the staff's favorite music of 2008.

We're always looking for good writers and/or ideas so let us know if you have anything to share.