music

MONDAY MUSIC - IRREVERSIBLE ENTANGLEMENTS

A friend of mine turned me onto this just the other day. Kind of free / experimental jazz with some strong spoken word on top. Jazz isn’t really my strong suit and I don’t listen to much but I like this a lot. As my friend noted the rhythm section are top notch. The spoken word performances are powerful biting critiques of life in America towards the ruling white elite / military class. I have to give it a few more listens but I’m all ears with this one.

CAMAE AYEWA / VOICE

KEIR NEURINGER / SAXOPHONE

AQUILES NAVARRO / TRUMPET

LUKE STEWART / BASS

TCHESER HOLMES / DRUMS

Learn more about them here.

FV

 

MONDAY MUSIC - TOMMY GUERRERO

Pretty chill stuff I came across thanks to YouTube’s algorithms. Turns out this is the same guy who’s the legendary Tommy Guerrero of the skateboarding world. An O.G. in that scene I guess he’s been making music for some time now. This is his latest release so I have no idea how it compares to anything else he’s done but I plan to find out.

Check it out.

FV

 

MUSIC MONDAY - THE STALIN

From 1983, this is 虫 (Insect) from the legendary Japanese punk band The Stalin. Led by frontman and legend in his own right, Michiro Endo, I got turned onto these guys probably about 15 years ago. Can't say I understand the lyrics much, but it's got as good a punk sound and feel as any band from the west, if not better than many. 

It's funny how western music is so heavily exported, if not forced, on other countries. Here in Japan I meet cats who know all the obscure punk and metal bands from America and England but when I lived in the US, I'd meet very few people who knew Japan, Mexico or many other bands from outside the usual places (US, Europe and Scandinavia). I would of loved these guys when I was a teenager but I never heard of them.

I guess the internet has changed a lot of that and that's definitely a cool thing about it. You can find quite a lot of great stuff like this in any genre really from another era in a another country. That said, I think The Stalin really had punk flowing through their veins. Check out some live footage of them on YouTube sometime. Great live and Endo was an out there character. If you dig punk these guys gotta be in your collection.

FV

 

MONDAY MUSIC - DAX RIGGS

This was the first album I heard by Dax Riggs, in fact, the first I'd heard of him. Full of short tunes, with beautifully dark lyrics and sung with Riggs' from the gut vocals that convince he means what he sings, "We Sing Of Only Blood Or Love" is one of my all time favorites.

The friend who introduced me to this turned me on to previous bands Riggs has been in; 'Deadboy & the Elephantmen', 'Agents of Oblivion' and 'Acid Bath'. The music in those other projects varies from similar to what you hear on this record to heavy / thrashy / sludge stuff. I'm a big fan of all the stuff he's been associated with.

Don't know what he's up to lately. I've searched around but can't find much info. His website doesn't offer much current info at all and Google news searches don't come up with much either. As a guy who's pretty great and I think deliberately remained an underground / cult legend, maybe he said fuck it and got a job or something. Email me if you know anything. Otherwise, enjoy whats out there.

FV

 

REMEMBERING MCA

photographer unknown

With all the drama surrounding Kanye West this week, we shouldn't forget May 4th marks the 6th anniversary a real hip hop legend was taken from us; MCA of the Beastie Boys. Sounds corny, but his passing hit me so hard at the time.

I remember when the Beasties hit the scene and thinking they were funny as fuck. They really had it all and fit in seamlessly with hip hop as it was just getting going. Then "Paul's Boutique" came out and flipped my mind. That album was so ahead of it's time that a lot of cats were like, "Where'd those crazy party fools go?" and didn't get it till years later.

They went on to influence music videos, culture, political awareness and like many fans, I was with them for the whole ride. I don't know why but MCA always was my favorite of those guys (kind of silly to say). But his rhymes, his voice, his involvement with Tibetan situation and his growth as an artist and public figure really made me vibe with him.

So, when he passed, and being around the same age as me, it was like a kick to the stomach. I felt like I lost a brother and that the world lost a voice that still had so much to say and offer. A true original. I'm glad we still have all the records and videos to watch, but damn, I still miss that brother. Much love and respect my man!

FV

 

MONDAY MUSIC - MANU CHAO

I got turned onto Manu Chao about the time this album came out. A guy I knew from Tunisia knew I liked music and let me borrow this CD. I fell in love with it right away. From the mix being full of full of little bites of phrases and sounds, the blend of lighthearted sounds with social themes, his ability to sing in a variety of languages and mood setting tunes that let you drift away, there's nothing I don't like about this album. Manu Chao comes across as a true citizen of planet earth. I'd start with this and "Clandestino" and move forward through his catalog. Enjoy the ride...

FV

 

MONDAY MUSIC - NURSE WITH WOUND

Nurse With Wound has been around since 1980 and has an insane catalog of music. Mainly it's the work of Steven Stapleton, who's collaborated with various people over the years.

I really love this album, Spiral Insana from 1986. It's got a very haunting, sensuous, at times disjointed feel to it. Elements of electronica, noise and ambient are woven throughout and take the listener on quite a beautiful ride in my opinion.

As I mentioned, there is a huge catalog of music and I haven't explored it all. I'm sure it's worth investigating anything you can grab as Stapleton is one hell of a genius.

FV

 

MONDAY MUSIC - NINE INCH NAILS

I've been a big fan of Nine Inch Nails and of course, of Trent Reznor ever since Pretty Hate Machine was released. Back in those days I was more of a cautious fan. Loved the music, the energy, the videos and all but backlashed against the Reznor worship that developed among people I knew.

That said, I always followed and respected him and his music and kept a distance from the dramas of his personal life that a lot of fans got into. I guess it was around the time Year Zero came out, I really started getting 100% into Reznor. His personal life seemed to stabilize and the promotional / interactive stuff with that release was interesting and fun.

So, since then I've been really digging him as an artist overall. Now that he's got some 25 or so years worth of work, it's great to reflect on his career so far. He's never compromised on what he's wanted to do. I like every album he's released. I think he has a genuine respect for his fanbase (free downloads, etc). Plus, I just think he's a really gifted musician with a sense of vision. His music is going to stand the test of time, in my opinion.

Being around the same age as the guy, another thing I really respect is how he's matured as an artist. He hasn't abandoned his roots but they've definitely grown and mutated into new directions. Most importantly, he hasn't turned into a parody of himself. So much of the early work was so strong, it holds relevance now and probably always will, and his new stuff is him making art that I'd expect from a guy over 50 but that's still just as strong on a different level. That he's branched out into film scores and what not seems like such a natural thing to me. And, of course his partnership with Atticus Ross over the years has had a lot to do with everything I've just mentioned. Those two have a great working chemistry.

Above is some really good footage from the Tension tour back in 2013 at the Staples Center in LA. Sounds great. Visuals and lighting are a perfect fit. No Atticus on this but it really amazes me how Reznor and his traveling bands (who are always real pros) recreate the studio sound live. They really catch the nuances and layers combined with the energy a live show brings. 

Enjoy or if by some chance you've never heard NIN, check it out.

FV

 

MUSIC MONDAY: HOLY FUCK

I just learned about this band a few days ago. Holy Fuck (def one of the better names I've heard) is out of Toronto, Canada and been around for a while I guess. I don't really like labels but they fit into an experimental / electronica type of thing.

Either way, I really dig what I've heard so far. I have the albums "LP" and self titled "Holy Fuck" and am looking forward to checking out their other stuff.

This clip has live performances of 5 songs and a little interview stuck in there from radio station KEXP in Seattle. Sounds great and video quality is pro level. From 2016. Check em out.

FV

 

MONDAY MUSIC: DAVID BOWIE

Part of the so called "Berlin Trilogy", this album has a great sound and vibe. I've been a Bowie fan since I was a kid in the 70's due to my older cousins worshipping him. As I grew older and learned more about him, my respect for his successes and failures grew and grew. He was gifted dude and quite an artist (Dancing in the Streets excepted).

UPDATE: The whole album is always getting pulled from YouTube, so this video is part of a playlist, and is one of my faves off the Heroes album. Right now you have to search "Heroes Full Album" to access some playlists. If I see it reposted as a whole album I'll update this post again. 7/17/2018

FV

 

MONDAY MUSIC: MILES DAVIS

While I'm not a big jazz enthusiast, I do like what I hear quite often and am always open to recommendations from friends or whoever. "On the Corner" was definitely one of the first jazz albums that hooked me right away the first time I heard it back when I was in my early 20's. It is just so gritty and real to me. Miles really captured the essence of city life and it's various rhythms and tones. Truly an incredible piece of art in my opinion and an album I listen to quite regularly.

FV

 

MONDAY MUSIC: The Jesus Lizard

I bought this album on a whim not long after it came out based on the band name alone. Hadn't heard of The Jesus Lizard and had no idea what to expect. To say I was blown away is an understatement. GOAT, produced by Steve Albini (one of my favorite guys in a producer / engineer capacity), had everything I loved. Raw, in your face, heavy, angry, and on and on. For probably one of the most underrated bands ever, they created what is one of the best albums ever in my book.

FV

 

MONDAY MUSIC: MEAT PUPPETS

Meat Puppets have been around for thirty plus years now. Back in the 80's they were on my radar but I can't say I was a huge fan. If someone played them at a party or something I was at, I remember thinking they were good, but never really investigated them much further. 

Then they got pretty good exposure being in the Nirvana Unplugged gig, which was in the early 90's I guess. Again, thought it was a cool performance and good selection of tunes and that was that. I still didn't go much deeper or out of my way to listen to them.

After I moved to Japan in 2011, I don't remember why really but, one night I was in need of something new to get into. Somehow Meat Puppets popped into my head and they were exactly what I needed. In particular this album and Huevos really resonated with me. I like a lot of their other stuff as well but this album really got me through some tough times.

That's the amazing thing about art (music and literature especially), is that something from long ago suddenly finds relevance in your life. It's been there the whole time, you may have been exposed to it but it never connected. Then, boom! Out of the blue it becomes a life saver, making so much sense you wonder just how stupid you were not to have noticed it's brilliance.

FV