Tuesday, October 18, 2011

A-Z PROJECT: 184-191

191 days ago I started listening to all of my CDs in alphabetic order to see if I could do it. I found myself bored with what I was listening to and spending more and more time deciding on what to listen to. I realized I had a lot of CDs I never listened to, stuff I never had the urge to put on, and decided to just listen to all of them in order instead. My goal was to listen to everything in a year, or at least to see how long it would take me to accomplish this. I’ve been tracking my progress on Facebook by posting daily playlists and giving my immediate thoughts on what I was listening to as I was listening to it. I've since deleted my Facebook and thought I’d post my progress here instead since I need to make more use of this Blog site anyway. I don’t consider myself to be a writer, a music critic or an authority on music. This is simply a way to alleviate boredom at a job in which very little is expected out of me. I’m also not posting these playlists to brag about my music collection and I’m not burning copies of this stuff for people, so don’t ask.

(*) asterisks note things that are burned copies and not an original release. CDRs without asterisks behind them were originally issued as CDRs.

Day #184
MINUTEMEN - "Post-Mersh Vol. 3" CD (This is another great collection, this time with the "Paranoid Time" EP, "Bean Spill" EP, "Joy" EP, "Tour Spiel" EP and the "Politics of Time" LP. All of these are great, even if the LP is a mixed bag collection of recordings with varying sound quality - some of which are downright dreadful. These earliest Minutemen recordings are great. This CD gets played pretty frequently, it's one of my favorites.)

MISSUS BEASTLY - s/t CD (Garden of Delights is one of my favorite record labels. I've never purchased a CD of theirs I didn't like. Their releases always sound and look great, usually have bonus tracks and have booklets so thick they're difficult to fit in the jewel case. They've done a great deal to preserve German psychedelic and progressive rock of the 70s and I wouldn't have had the chance to hear most of this stuff if not for their reissues. Missus Beastly are an early krautrock obscurity, formed as early as 1968. If I remember correctly, members of this band left and formed a new band also called Missus Beastly. This first album of theirs alternates between shorter psychedelic rock numbers and longer bluesy/jazzy jams. "Chinese Love Song" is an early example of tardcore and is completely disposable. Other than that one song, this is a pretty enjoyable album. I've not heard their other albums, but I understand they are more jazz/fusion style and more technical.)

MIXTURIZER + PHIL TARR & FRIENDS - "Collaboration" CDR (I'm not sure I've listened to this before today. It's not sounding familiar to me. I have no idea who Phil Tarr is or what part he played in this collaboration. I'm not a big fan of shouted obscenities over music or noise. I think that has a lot to do with why I was never able to get into Bastard Noise. The first 4-5 minutes of this CDR is filled with shouted obscenities. It moves from there into two channels of medium-grit electronic noise before the the vocals return along with what might be a guitar, though it's so distorted it's difficult to tell exactly where the melody is coming from. 12 minutes in it's apparent it was a guitar I heard earlier, followed by several minutes of abusing said guitar. I think I might be able to enjoy this if were vocal-free, but 40 minutes of this sort of stuff isn't easy to take on at once. A rare "miss" from the R.O.N.F. label.)

MOB 47 / PROTES BENGT - "Garanterat Mangel" CD (I bought this from Vacuum when it was released in the mid-90s. It was the first time any of this material had been released on CD, it's since been expanded and rereleased at least two more times. Mob 47 were the fastest of all the Swedish D-beat bands, at least until they topped themselves with the proto-grind Protes Bengt 32 song 7". I haven't listened to this in several years, but this is shit-hot. Most CDs with 80+ songs are, though. I can't imagine how mind-blowing this stuff would have been back in 1982. It still sounds fresh today.)

M.O.D. - "Gross Misconduct" CD (I've owned this on all three formats in my lifetime. While not even coming close to touching the greatness of their first album, this one is terrific in it's own right. Strangely enough, as much as I like this album I've never heard any of their releases after this one. M.O.D. were one of the best crossover bands, in my opinion. They were angry, funny, tight, heavy, wrote catchy songs and had that great Megaforce crunch so many of the bands on their roster had. I think this was the first album of theirs I heard. That's probably why I still consider it to be a classic. This CD has a song about Batman, "Dark Knight", as a bonus track, but it's pretty shitty. I wish they played more stuff from this album when I saw them live a few years ago.)

M.O.D. - "Surfin' M.O.D." CD (A strange choice for a sophomore release, and probably one of the strangest thrash/crossover albums ever recorded. Instead of playing it safe, they recorded a beach party concept album with cover versions of Beach Boys, Isley Brothers and Chicago. One side of the album is "The Movie", the second "The Soundtrack" without the sketches and intros. This is a fun album, but it never occurred to me until just now how essentially this is just a bunch of NYHC guys making fun of west coast culture. The spoken bits are really, really stupid.)

M.O.D. - "U.S.A. for M.O.D." CD (An absolute classic crossover album. Mean spirited and tough as nails, controversial enough to vilify Billy Milano for years to come. This sort of humor spoke right to me as a teen and I've yet to outgrow it. Bands like M.O.D, and Dayglo Abortions have done more to shape my personality than I should probably admit. Humor aside, the music on this is fucking intense with a nice dirty production job by Scott Ian. "The Hate Tank" still sends the hairs on the back of my neck standing on end.)

MONASTAT 2600 - "Haunted Lullabies and Nursery Rhymes" CD (I'm assuming this is one or more of the guys from Monastat 7. This shot sounds like Faxed Head, but nowhere near as good. I'm not a fan of "wacky", and this CD has it in spades. No thanks...)

MONGOLOID WITCHCRAFT - "A Disgusting Gush of Perished Hymns" CDR (I had the pleasure of meeting Ian, the drummer/singer of this band on one of my trips to Colorado to see my friend Ace. They had hung out previously and got along swimmingly and Ace thought I should meet him, so Ian and I both planned a trip to Denver to meet up. While there, we recorded a bunch of songs with Ace and Sic-Nic of Yeast Infection, but they're still unreleased today. I had traded tapes with Ian before then, but I didn't know it was the same guy until I got there. Ian explained to me that Mongoloid Witchcraft is 100% improvised in the studio, then the good bits are edited out later and vocals are added after the fact. As a result, the music is often quite noisy and sometimes lacking in structure. This also creates interesting, unique short bursts of songs that don't sound like any other band. Not all of this works, but it often does. It's somewhere between noisecore and black metal, but not really either. I lost contact with Ian over time. He was a fun guy, easy to play with and we had a great time that week.)

MONGOLOID WITCHCRAFT - "Practice Makes Predictable" CD (See above... This was their first, self-financed CD.)

Day #185
THELONIOUS MONK - "The Best of the Blue Note Years" CD (I'm not terribly versed in jazz. Monk's name gets thrown around a lot, so I bought this to check him out. I don't think I know enough about jazz to say if it's good or not. Monk's playing is very percussive and angular, doesn't flow very well and I imagine he'd be hard to play along with. I've not heard anyone with this particular playing style before or after, so I guess that's something. Wikipedia says Monk is the second most recorded jazz artist after Duke Ellington and that's an accomplishment because while Duke composed over 1000 pieces, Monk composed only 70 or so. The more I listened to this CD the more I liked it, but I never got around to buying more of his stuff. I'm definitely open to hearing more, though.)

THE MONKS - "Black Monk Time" CD (Monks were a late-60s garage rock/proto-punk band. If I remember eight, they were American GIs stationed in Germany and the band broke up when they returned to the states. I heard them on the Nuggets box set and wanted to hear more. They were the subject of a documentary a couple of years ago, but I haven't seen it yet. They're a cult band of sorts and their sole album was even reissued by Henry Rollins at one point, but there's way better stuff that's similar to this that people don't cream themselves over. Hear this if you have the chance, but I wouldn't go out of your way or pay collectors prices to do so.)

MONTY PYTHON - "The Final Rip-Off" 2CD (This is a compilation of sketches selected from all of their previous LPs. I had a history teacher in 10th grade that showed "Monty Python and the Holy Grail" during class time. That was my first exposure to Monty Python. I'm not sure how he didn't lose his job over that, but none of his students complained. I bought this 2CD set sometime after that. Aside from a few short linking pieces, there is no new or exclusive material on this, hence the title. I've heard this too often to laugh at it today. Most of this stuff I can recite from memory.)

MONTY PYTHON - "Monty Python Sings" CD (This Monty Python stuff is giving me a headache today. I stopped enjoying it half way through the last disc.)

ENNIO MORRICONE - "Dario Argento Collection" CD (This shit is great. Most of it is really minimal, all of it is creepy. Unlike some of those Goblin scores, which I also love, there isn't a shred of disco on this stuff.)

ENNIO MORRICONE - "Molto Mondo Morricone" CD
ENNIO MORRICONE - "Mondo Morricone" CD
ENNIO MORRICONE - "More Mondo Morricone" CD (I'll talk about all three of these together since they came in a set and because they're so similar. This stuff was taken from soundtracks to underground + cult Italian films from the 70s, most of which I'm sure I'll never have the chance to see. Words can't describe how great this set is. A lot of this is lounge music-like/ jazzy sounding with bouncy bossonova rhythms, lush instrumentation and light/airy female vocals that float above all of it. Stereolab did similar recordings after their drone period, but nowhere near as smooth sounding or as sexy. Underneath all of these smooth sounds are complex arrangements and instruments I can't quite place a name to their sound. There's an underlying sadness to most of these pieces, too. This shit great, I can't recommend it enough. Morricone's range is amazing to me. While I haven't heard a lot of his output, none of it has been bad.)

Day #186
ENNIO MORRICONE - "The Thriller Collection" 2CD (This set is better than the "Dario Argento Collection" and shows he has a wider range of styles than just moody atmospheric background material. I suspect I'm still in the dark re: the range of his work and the full scope of his genius. With well over 500 film soundtracks under his belt, I'm sure there are very few people that can make such a claim. The entire set is great, but "Revolver" (from the first disc) is a stand out. It's such a powerful piece of music, full of tension, explosive percussion and punctuated by sharp horn blasts. This is a nice overview of some of his darker work.)

MORTE MACABRE - "Symphonic Holocaust" CD (This is a great CD. With the exception of the last song, it's all covers of songs from Italian horror films. I think the guys from Änglagård were behind this, you should be listening to them because they're awesome, too. Modern day prog metal guys covering familiar territory with amazing results.)

MOTHERFUCKERS - "Limited Chaos: Discography" CD* (A friend of mine burned this for me, I was never sure if this was a real release or just something the band threw together to send to people. Brutal balls-out HC that borders on grindcore at times. They released a demo tape, two 7"s and recorded for a split LP (I think?) that didn't happen. All of that stuff's on this disc.. The vocals are great, nice and clear, with stupid and offensive lyrics. More people should have been into these dudes, but most people are fucking stupid.)

MÖTLEY CRÜE - "Shout at the Devil" CD (The first two Crüe albums are a lot of fun. I need to replace my "Too Fast for Love" cassette one of these days.)

MOTÖRHEAD - s/t CD (Straight out of the gate Motörhead delivers a noisy batch of dirty rock 'n' roll. I prefer the versions of these songs from the "On Parole" album, but it's easy to see why they re-recorded this stuff and went with this as their first album. This sounds like Motörhead, whereas the other only sounds like them occasionally. This is a solid debut, everything we've come to expect from them was there at the beginning.)

MOTÖRHEAD - "Ace of Spades" CD (One of their best releases. Things have tightened up since the first album, but this still swings. Lots of great, classic songs on this one.)

MOTÖRHEAD - "Bastards" CD (I'm not a huge fan of their releases past "Iron Fist", but this is still enjoyable enough. Still, I doubt I'll listen to this again anytime soon.)

Day #187
MOTÖRHEAD - "Bomber" CD (This album doesn't get the attention it deserves. It's one of their best albums. I'd guess that I listen to this one more often than "Ace of Spades", even. You never see/hear anyone talking about "Bomber".)

MOTÖRHEAD - "Iron Fist" CD (Yep, this one is great, too. I read on Wikipedia yesterday that the band didn't really care much for this one, thought they they just slopped it out. Sounds perfectly fine to my ears. The guitars sound massive on this album.)

MOTÖRHEAD - "Live, Loud & Lewd" CD (I have this exact same live set on another CD called "What's Words Worth?". I didn't know they were the same when I picked this up. This is an early live recording made up of songs primarily from their first two albums. The sound quality is pretty good.)

MOTÖRHEAD - "On Parole" CD (This is probably my favorite album of theirs. It was recorded in 1975 before their debut, then shelved until a couple of years later. The label didn't see any potential in it at the time, then cashed in on it after Motörhead went to another label and found success. These recordings do sound poppier than the versions on their self-titled album, but they sound good like this. Larry Wallis from the Pink Fairies played guitar on this album and sang a couple of the songs. As much as I like the Lemmy/Clarke/Taylor line-up, I wish there were more recordings with Wallis on guitar. I've always liked that guy's playing and he always attached himself to cool projects.)

MOTÖRHEAD - "Overkill" CD (Huge leap in heaviness from their first album and this one. Another album full of classic songs, including the great "Damage Case". The main riff for "No Class" sounds exactly like the main riff in ZZ Top's "Tush". I know they were fans of ZZ Top because they covered one of their songs early on. There's no way they couldn't have spotted this similarity.)

MOTÖRHEAD - "What's Words Worth?" CD (Some guy I knew in Spain from a message board, "trollucifer", sent this to me for free years ago with another CD I bought from him. I wonder what happened to that dude...)

Day #190
MR. BUNGLE - s/t CD (When I was in high school this was just about the coolest CD ever to me. I bought this and it didn't leave my CD player for at least a month, and after that it was played all the time. I have a difficult time listening to it these days and enjoying it. No amount of dumbfuckery can take away how great the playing is on this album and how unique it was at the time, but decades of shitty, wacky imitation bands and of Patton proving time and again how big of a fuck he is have tainted the experience for me. As an adult I'm unable to separate someone's personality from their art. If someone repeatedly says and does things to make me dislike them, I have a difficult time enjoying their work no matter how much I enjoyed it in the past.)

MR. BUNGLE - "Disco Volante" CD (When I bought this CD I was disappointed it didn't sound more like their first album, but I ended up liking it more than the first eventually.)

MUCKY PUP - "Can't You Take a Joke? / Boy in a Man's World" CDR* (I downloaded this stuff from the band's website, had both of these on cassette back in the 90s. The first album is still mostly good and there's some good stuff on the second, but they really turned to shit quickly after that. Their first album is quirky HC/trash crossover with silly and "offensive" lyrics, enough crunch to hold a metalhead's interest. It sounds like something M.O.D. might have recorded after their first album had they not done "Surfin' M.O.D.". The second album on here slows things way down and sheds most of their metal sound. For the most part it sucks. A year or so ago I found a CD used with their 2nd and 3rd album on it for $6.00. I bought it, but ended up giving it to my wife. I couldn't get into it. They should have reissued the first album, instead.)

MUMMIES - "Death by Unga Bunga!!" CD (Mummies were a great band from the 90s that played throwback 60s garage rock with some of the dirtiest production this side of Charley Patton, all played on vintage equipment, of course. This is a retrospective CD, a "best of", I guess you could say. The song selection is nice and makes for a fun 45 minutes of rowdy rock. This would be a nice introduction for those that missed out on the vinyl. Most of their output is out of print now.)

MUMMIES - "Party at Steve's House" CDR* (I ripped my LP and made this CD of their fake live album. There's a good chunk of songs on here that don't appear on their other LPs. I ripped their Peel session songs from one of the "Running on Empty" LPs, too, to fill out the disc. These Peel sessions tracks were the cleanest sounding recordings they ever did. I'm sure they hated them as a result.)

MUMMIES - "Play Their Own Records / Never Been Caught" CDR* (More rips from my vinyl. The first is a collection of their 7"s, the second is their first and only studio album. Both are great, nice and noisy.)

Day #191
MX-80 SOUND - "Hard Attack / Big Hits" CD (This shit is amazing. I'm so glad I stumbled upon this. I don't remember why I was looking up The Gizmos online, but it led me to the Gulcher Records website where I found this CD and a live CD from 1977. I knew MX-80 Sound from their "Out of the Tunnel" LP on Ralph Records, but didn't listen to it enough for it to stick, certainly not enough to buy two more CDs of theirs. I'm not sure what made me pick "Hard Attack" up, but it became one of my favorite CDs. This CD collects their first 7" and first LP, released on Island Records strangely enough. Pre-dating punk rock and heavy metal (for the most part), MX-80 came from Indiana playing a weird mixture of punk, metal and jazz with two drummers, a guitarist who's shit-hot and some of the most deadpan, dry, not-giving-a-fuck vocals ever recorded. The addition of saxophone pushes this into no-wave territory, but way too fun, way too mid-western and not nearly serious enough to be lumped in with those bands. They get labeled "art-metal" a lot, but these tags are really meaningless. There are moments that sound not unlike Chrome, but even that comparison is forced. This is just great music in a league of it's own and sounds totally fresh, even today. Island dropped them right after their LP, they signed to Ralph, moved to San Francisco and lost one of their drummers in the process.)

MX-80 SOUND - "Live at the Library" CD (This CD unearths a live recording from 1977 at the Monroe County Library in Bloomington Indiana. The liner notes make unnecessary apologies for the sound quality, but other than a few expulsions of guitar, this sounds pretty good. Vocalist Rich Stim sounds especially disconnected and bored on this recording and provides amusing banter between the songs, some of which are previously unreleased. This wouldn't be a good place to start with the band, but it's essential for fans.)

MX-80 SOUND - "Out of Control" CD (This CD collects their second and third albums, "Out of the Tunnel" and "Crowd Control", both released by Ralph Records. These are slightly less quirky than the "Hard Attack" album, darker in tone. The guitar takes a more prominent role and, while still being strange music, this sounds a little tamer than their previous releases. "Crowd Control" slows things even more, but takes on a harder, more metallic, musical style. Both albums are great.)

MY MINDS MINE - "48 Reasons to Leave This Planet" CD (A partial discography, all their 7"s and splits. It's nice having all this stuff in one place, even when owning all the vinyl. There's heaps of live stuff on the end of the disc that's exclusive to this release, too.)

MY MINDS MINE - "Between Soothing Consolation and Uncontrollable Madness" CD (Awesome Dutch grindcore. This was their first release and was later released on LP. I sold heaps of these through Mortville and released a split 7" with them shortly after hearing this and their first 7". They really sped things up after this release, moving into blurr territory.)

MY MINDS MINE - "Scenes of the Complete Annihilation of the Planet" CD (As far as I know, this was their last release. I haven't heard or seen anything from them since. They were great up to the end.)

MY SOLID GROUND - s/t CD (These guys were one of the earlier krautrock bands. This, their first album, was released in 1970 and found a second life on CD thanks to the great Second Battle label. If you skip the meandering first track, this is pretty good. Unless you're in a doom band, 13 minute songs should have more than one part. The music is a mixture of hard rock, blues and psychedelic, all with piano playing that's probably too high in the mix, but gives this a unique sound that sets it apart from a lot of other German bands from that era. The CD is crammed full of bonus tracks, including the great "Flash" that clocks in at just under 25 minutes. This is a nice reissue with great sound.)

MYSTIC KNIGHTS OF THE OINGO BOINGO - CDR* (As far as I know, aside from the soundtrack album to "Forbidden Zone", the Mystic Knights only released the one 7" on Pelican Records. I was able to find 29 of their songs on soulseek, though. Most of them are live, but a few were studio recordings. Formed as a performance group in 1972, they later achieved fame after cutting back to just an 8 piece band and playing ska-influenced pop music. Before shortening their name, though, their music sounded like 1920s flapper-era cartoons and sometimes 50's doo-wop music. I'd love to get clear recordings of this stuff, but I doubt it will ever see a reissue.)

MYTHOS - s/t CD (The first Mythos album is a cosmic krautrock classic with long spacey passages and some mid-eastern influence. The second half is the real gem, though, two long songs telling the story of Man's destruction of the earth. The Teutonic vocals make this album sound much creepier than intended, I'm sure. This is one of the greatest krautrock albums ever.)

No comments: