Sunday, December 28, 2008

PBK – PBK (aka Phillip B. Klinger) is a tireless, long-suffering ambient/noise musician of Flint, Michigan. Beginning in or around the mid-80s and continuing to this day he has performed and recorded his at times lovely, other times terrifying brand name music. Anyone interested in the DIY cassette network of the 1980s or the noisy musics of today, should check out Klinger’s blog at Obviously there are thousands of locations along the web roadways for information of this sort, but I believe this stop to be a worthwhile source for choice bits of information and history, beautiful photos of rare cassette cover art, links to downloads of previously difficult to find sounds, and much more.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Performing Ferrets: No One Told Us (Hyped2death/Messthetics CD) This CD is a collection of songs by a heretofore-unknown band from the 1978 to ’82 era. The folks at Hyped2death call this short span of years the DIY era. Whatever you want to call this musical era, whether it is indeed anything as profound as “an era”, this was a time when an amazing bunch of secretly talented young (non) musicians performed and recorded an extraordinary rich variety of music. This music continues to trickle back to us on-line and on official compilations. Most of these bands were unable to grip their personal muses long enough to put together a longplayer’s worth of material. And many of these bands can be found on the 2-dozen (plus) CD compilations available from the Hyped2death label. Performing Ferrets is/was one of the exceptions. This newly collected CD includes material from their long lost L.P of 1981 along with an E.P., a self released cassette and previously unreleased demos. This music, retrieved from the vault of history, amounts to a brilliant new release, enough for a vinyl L.P. (If any labels are listening, you could do, no doubt have done, much worse.) The Ferrets are comparable to such U.K. contemporaries as the Mekons (circa their debut Quality of Mercy), early Fall, and pre-L.P. Gang of Four. On this side of the ocean Performing Ferrets had (no doubt unknown) musical brothers within the New York sub-No Wave set. The P. Ferrets bring to mind the brilliant tin-can clatter of Blinding Heahache, Mofungo & Information as heard on their cassette compilation Tape #1. Since I discovered this terrific compact disc, the Ferrets have been pretty much all I want to hear.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

I knew I would want to make adjustments to my 2008 “best of” lists before long, but I would not have guessed I would need so many changes so quickly to my music choices. Nevertheless only days later and Cat Power’s new Dark End of the Street (Matador 210”) a collection of covers including “Who Knows Where the Time Goes” & “I’ve Been Loving You Too Long” immediately found its way near the top of my list. The Mojo top-50 list influenced me to consider records by The Last Shadow Puppets and Fucked Up. Age of the Understatement (Domino LP) by the former is too beautiful to ignore. The latter’s Chemistry of Common Life (Matador LP) is too deliciously ugly not to love. And I don’t know how I managed to ignore the Nixe 1980-81 Recordings by the First Dutch All-Girl Punk Band (Polly Maggoo 2-LP) in my selection of golden oldie re-issues of 2008. I fell for this one months ago, but somehow allowed it to slip to the back of my pile. It is back on top now and highly recommended.

Sunday, December 07, 2008


1. Alexander Theroux: Laura Warholic or, the Sexual Intellectual (Fantagraphics)
2. Nicholson Baker: Human Smoke (Simon & Schuster)
3. David Lodge: Deaf Sentence (Viking)
4. Cynthia Ozick: dictation (Houghton Mifflin)
5. David Benioff: City of Thieves (Viking)
6. David Barber: A Hard Rain Fell: SDS & Why It Failed (University of Mississippi)
7. Peter Doggett: There’s A Riot Going On (Canongate)
8. Paul Auster: Man In the Dark (Henry Holt)
9. Mary Jo Salter: A Phone Call to the Future: New & Selected Poems (Knopf)
10. Thurston Moore & Byron Coley: No Wave (Abrams Image)
11. Stephane Dunn: Bad Bitches & Sassy Supermamas: Black Power Action Films (University of Illinois Press)
12. Lydia Lunch: The Gun Is Loaded (Black Dog Publishing)
13. Brian K. Vaughan; Georges Jeanty; Joss Whedon: Buffy the Vampire Slayer (Season Eight #2): No Future For You (Dark Horse)
14. Dave Zirin: A People’s History of Sports in the United States (New Press)
15. Tana French: The Likeness (Viking)
16. Todd Oldham & Cindy Sherman: Place Space #3: John Waters (Ammo)
17. Vijay Prashad: The Darker Nations: A People’s History of the Third World (New Press)
18. Tom Hayden: Writing for A Democratic Society: The Tom Hayden Reader (City Lights)
19. Graham Vickers: Chasing Lolita: How Popular Culture Corrupted Nabokov’s Little Girl All Over Again (Chicago Review Press)
20. Marc Masters: No Wave (Black Dog Publishing)
21. Roberto Bolano: Nazi Literature In the Americas (New Directions)
22. Martin Amis: The Second Plane: September 11: Terror and Boredom (Knopf)
23. David Lebedoff: The Same Man: George Orwell & Evelyn Waugh (Random House)
24. David Sheppard: On Some Faraway Beach: The Life and Times of Brian Eno (Orion)
25. George Pelecanos: The Turnaround (Little, Brown)

Unlike the music list(s) posted earlier, I have not bothered to separate apples & bananas amongst my book choices. And like my music lists, these book choices will doubtless change as I continue to read the dozens (if not hundreds) of 2008 books I plan to read in the future. At the risk of offending my two readers with blatant commercialism, I would like to point out that these books are available through A Cappella Books. If we do not currently stock them, we can order them.

Saturday, December 06, 2008

BEST OF 2008 LPs & CDs

1. Portishead: 3 (Mercury LP)
2. The Kills: Midnight Bloom (Domino LP)
3. Tricky: Knowle West Boy (Domino LP)
4. Mercury Rev: Snowflake Midnight/Strange Attractor (Yep Roc 2-LP)
5. Brian Jonestown Massacre: My Bloody Underground (a Records LP)
6. Juana Molina: Un Dia (Domino CD)
7. The Bug: London Zoo (Ninja Tune CD)
8. Cold War Kids: Loyalty to Loyalty (2-10”)
9. Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds: Dig Lazarus Dig (Anti LP)
10. King Khan and the Shrines: The Supreme Genius of King Khan and the Shrines (Vice LP)
11. Indian Jewelry: We Are the Wild Beast (Tigerbeat6 CD)
12. Don Cavalli: Cry Land (Everloving A Rag CD)
13. Dandy Warhols: Earth to the Dandy Warhols (Beat the World 2-LP)
14. Gnarls Barkley: The Odd Couple (Warner LP)
15. Mudhoney: The Lucky Ones (SubPop LP)
16. Pit Er Pat: High Time (Thrill Jokey LP)
17. Deerhunter: Microcastle (Kranky LP)
18. Pram: The Moving Frontier (Domino LP)
19. Erykah Badu: New Amerykah Part One (Mowtown CD)
20. Sonic Youth; I.C.P.; the Ex: In the Fishtank (Konkurrent LP)
21. A Place to Bury Strangers: A Place to Bury Strangers (CD)
22. Ratatat: LP3 (XL LP)
23. Gang Gang Dance: Saint Dymphna (The Social Registry LP)
24. Pontiak: Sun On Sun (Thrill Jockey LP)
25. Richard Pinhas & Merzbow: Keio Lane (CD)
26. Atlas Sound: Let the Blind Lead Those Who Can See But Cannot Feel (Kranky LP)
27. David Byrne & Brian Eno: Everything That Happens Will Happen Today(CD)
28. Deerhoof: Offend Maggie (LP)
29. Earth: The Bees Made Honey in the Lion’s Skull (Southern Lords 2-LP)
30. Matmos: Supreme Balloon (Matador LP)


1. DNA: DNA On DNA (No More Records LP)
2. David Bowie: Live in Santa Monica ‘72 (Virgin 2-LP)
3. Neil Young: Sugar Mountain: Live At Canterbury House 1968 (CD)
4. Sir Victor Uwaifo: Guitar-Boy Superstar 1970 – 76 (Sound Way 2-LP)
5. Scritti Politti: Early (limited edition) (Rough Trade LP)
6. MC5: Live At the Grande Ballroom 1968 (Get Back LP)
8. Captain Beefheart & His Magic Band: It comes to you in a plain brown wrapper (Sundazed LP)
10. Led Zepplin: Dazed & Confused (The 1969 BBC Sessions) (Atlantic LP)
11. The Clash: Live At Shea Stadium (LP)
12. Suicide: Live 1977 – 1978 (CD Boxed Set)

1. Nigeria Rock Special: Psychedelic, Afro-Rock & Fuzz Funk in 1970’s Nigeria: Various Artists (Sound Way 2-LP)
2. Nigeria 70: Lagos Jump: Original Heavyweight Afrobeat, Highlife & Afro-Funk: Various Artists (Strut 2-LP)
3. An England Story: Volume One: Various Artists (Soul Jazz 2-LP)
4. An England Story: Volume Two: Various Artists (Soul Jazz 2-LP)
5. New Orleans Funk: New Orleans: The Original Sound of Funk: Volume 2: Various Artists (Soul Jazz 2-LP)
6. Give Me Love: Songs of the Brokenhearted – Baghdad, 1925 – 1929: Various Artists (Honest Johns 2-LP)
7. Living Is Hard: West African Music In Britain, 1927 – 1929: Various Artists (Honest John 2-LP)
8. Nigeria Special: Part 2: Modern Highlife, Afro-Sounds & Nigerian Blues: 1970 – 76: Various Artists (Sound Way 2-LP)
9. Nigeria Disco Funk Special: The Sound of the Underground Lagos Dancefloor: 1974 – 79: Various Artists (Sound Way 2-LP)
10. Don't Stop Recording Tap: Various Artists (Nb 3-LP & CD)

* The term, “re-issues” is inappropriate for a couple of reasons. (a) The records included are not (in fact) reissues. (b) Actual reissues -- Jandek’s “Ready for the House” or many amazing Bjork releases on vinyl -- have all been excluded. I use the term “re-issue” to describe 2008 releases that belong to an earlier period. The category includes live recordings, collections and compilations of vintage material. I have left out such records as “Ready for the House” and “Post” because they are on my “best of” 1978 and 1995 lists, respectively. (Good luck finding that post!) All these “re-issues” are actually new issues, yet the material is old. I have also decided (somewhat arbitrarily) to bunch my “re-issues” into 2 groups of records. As much as I enjoy comparing apples to bananas, comparing various artist collections to single artist works inevitably results in a list that is in no logical order. Logical or not, these lists are in order of preference, but (my) preferences change day to day, if not hour to hour. Therefore, my "best of" list will doubtless change immediately after I click upon the save button. (And just in case there is someone insane enough to search, I was kidding above about posts of ancient G.T. "best of" lists. I might someday post my favorites of 1965, etc., but it has not happened yet, to my knowledge.)