Thursday, November 3, 2011

A-Z PROJECT: #199-206

206 days into this stupid project, and well on my way to getting through all of my CDs in jewel cases within a year. At this point I'm sick of listening to music 8 hours a day, but I'm still finding things I forgot how much I enjoyed that I wouldn't normally choose to listen to.

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

Day #199
HARRY NILSSON - "Aerial Pandemonium Ballet" CD (Nilsson is my favorite singer ever. I became a fan in high school when I picked up "Nilsson Schmilsson" at a thrift store based on the cover art alone. To this day, it's the single greatest cover art I've seen. Straight out of the gate Nilsson was great. His first two albums were awesome, but he didn't find fame until "Everybody's Talkin'" was used on the Midnight Cowboy soundtrack. Instead of reissuing his first two albums, Nilsson took the best songs from both, re-recorded a few and released "Aerial Pandemonium Ballet". It was probably the right decision for him, every song on this LP is fantastic. It's crazy to think there were enough songs on two albums to create a "best of" essentially, but there were. A couple of these songs were later recorded by the Monkees and "One" was skyrocketed into fame by Three Dog Night. There was a great story on the documentary about Nilsson where a guy said he loved this album but thought it was fucked he didn't credit any of his backing singers not knowing it was Harry doing all of the vocals himself.)

HARRY NILSSON - "As Time Goes By... / Monkees Demos 1968" CDR* (Harry did a lot of things to sabotage his career. At the height of his fame he recorded an album of old standards against everyone's recommendations. He reasoned that his voice would never sound better than it did at that point and it was something he wanted to do. "A Little Touch of Schmilsson in the Night" didn't sell very well, but it's a fantastic album and I'm glad he recorded it when he did. The effects of alcoholism were already starting to show in his voice, but his tenor is still clear for most of this album. "As Time Goes By..." is the expanded import version, the full studio session. I only have "A Little Touch..." on LP, so I downloaded this. I had the CD at one point, but gave it away as I had planned on buying the import version. I figured I had plenty of time to buy it, but it went out of print before I had a chance to. I learned today that the domestic reissue has the additional songs as bonus tracks, so I'll be picking that up on my next Amazon order. The added songs are as great as the songs on the domestic release. The Monkees demos were recorded in 1968 during an audition as a song writer for the TV show. Just Nilsson solo with an acoustic guitar, then with a piano. I'm not terribly familiar with the show (though "Head" was a terrific movie), so I'm not sure how many of these songs were chosen. The recording seems to be done all in one take with false starts and talking between songs left in. The audio is great considering it was never released.)

HARRY NILSSON - "BBC 1971" CDR* (The version of "Mr. Richland's Favorite Song" on here is the best I've heard and is one if the saddest things Nilsson has recorded. Nilsson went his entire career without playing one concert. When the BBC approached him about doing a performance, he broke the rules and recorded himself solo, sometimes multiple tracks, and dubbed in audience noise when in fact nobody was there. There's a clip on YouTube of him singing with himself from this session, it's pretty funny.)

HARRY NILSSON - "Harry" CD (When I bought this CD it was years after I had stopped buying Nilsson albums. I had no idea there were albums before "The Point" and had always assumed it was his first. I bought this at Cheapos in Minneapolis, not even knowing it existed before then. It renewed my interest in Nilsson and sent me looking for other albums I missed out on. There were quite a few I had missed. This is a great album. A lot of the songs take on an old-timey feel, the instrumentation is full and Harry's voice sounds great. There's an innocence and child-like quality that's not present on some of his other releases. His sense of humor is in full swing, more so than on his earliest albums.)

HARRY NILSSON - "Nilsson Schmilsson" CD (This was the first of his albums I heard, it's my favorite and most people consider it to be his best. It contains his biggest hit, "Without You", a song he always resented because he didn't write it. It's difficult to consider Harry a rock singer, but this was one of two "rock" albums he recorded. This is a great album with a dynamic range of musical styles throughout, one of those that's great from start to finish without a single track of filler. I can't imagine anyone not liking this. "Jump Into the Fire" is a phenomenal song, probably the heaviest thing he's ever recorded. )

HARRY NILSSON - "Nilsson Sings Newman" CD (This is probably my second favorite Nilsson album, a collection of songs written by a then unknown Randy Newman. His voice is the best it's ever sounded on this release and the simple piano arrangements really allow room for his vocals to shine. The songs are sometimes quirky, sometimes sad, always great.)

HARRY NILSSON - "Pandemonium Shadow Show / Aerial Ballet" CD (His first two albums, later condensed to "Aerial Pandemonium Ballet" (see above). This stuff sounds very European, very schmaltzy, but it's still awesome. His young tenor sounds great and most of these songs are catchy and well written. These songs sound better on the condensed version, but it's great having both.)

HARRY NILSSON - "The Point" CD (A charming concept album, a children's story about a boy named Oblio born without a pointed head in a place where everyone and everything had points on them. Songs are broken up by bits of spoken narration telling the story. I won't give away the story and there was a full-length animated feature based on this album that's worth seeing, even if it is filled the the trappings of 70s hippie shit. This is one of Nilsson's best albums, but it sounds pretty dated.)

HARRY NILSSON - "Popeye Demos and Original Soundtrack" CDR* (Definitely not his best work. At this point Harry has completely lost his voice as a result of alcoholism and his contest he had with John Lennon to see who could scream the loudest and longest. Harry sings on the demo versions and they're quite sad. Not a total waste of time, but he really can't sing at all. The song writing even sounds pretty uninspired, with the exception of "He Needs Me" which is great. It's probably the only reason to check this out. The soundtrack is a little better, but not by much. Feel free to give this one a pass.)

HARRY NILSSON - "Skidoo Soundtrack 1968 / Botkin Sessions 1967 / Smothers Brothers Show 1970" CDR* (Skidoo was Nilsson's first soundtrack work. He and his collaborator George Tipton wrote all of the music, but he sings on only 3 of the songs. A lot of this is instrumental. It's interesting and worth checking out for the songs Harry sings on. Perry Botkin, Jr. was an early collaborator of Nilsson's. They recorded these songs to pitch to different label/artists to try to sell the songs. Some of these songs ended up on Nilsson's first LP, but a lot of them are exclusive to this promotional album. The Smothers Brothers stuff was recorded live, songs from "The Point" and "Harry" album, just Harry solo at the piano.)

Day #200
HARRY NILSSON - "Son of Schmilsson" CD (Nilsson's other "rock" album, just a step below in greatness when compared to "Nilsson Schmilsson". Coming off the huge success of his previous album, Harry was urged to write a single for this album for radio play. He came up with "Your Breakin' My Heart", a song guaranteed never to get airplay because of its continued use of "fuck you" in the lyrics. Harry, still upset about "Without You", decided he was playing by his own rules this time. The album didn't do as well as a result, but this is one of his best releases. The ridiculous cover art would make one think they're in for some acid rock or heavy metal album, but instead we get a lovely mixture of rock, raunch, piano ballads and even a tongue-in-cheek country song.)

HARRY NILSSON - "Spotlight on Nilsson 1966 / Hollywood Dreamer 1962" CDR* (Most of "Spotlight..." is made up of singles Harry recorded and released under pseudonyms while he was still trying to sell his songs to other artists. A few new songs were recorded to flesh it out to an LP. It still sounds very much like Nilsson, but Nilsson set in the early 60s with Phil Spector producing. It's interesting, but not something I listen to often. "Hollywood Dreamer" was Harry's first paid job as a musician, fetching a whopping $5/song to sing someone else's songs for this recording. This sounds more like Ricky Nelson or the Everly Brothers than Nilsson, but Harry's voice sounds great. The legend surrounding these recordings say that they went unreleased until after Nilsson became famous. The song writer wrote to Nilsson about coming to a financial agreement in order to release them and Harry told him he'd already been paid $5 per song, that was their agreement, and he was free to do what he wanted with them.)

HARRY NILSSON - "That's the Way It Is... / Knnillssonn" CD ("Knnillssonn" is a great album with lush string arrangements, and while Harry's voice is damaged at this point, he sings in a range he can pull off fairly well. This is probably his last great album. "That's the Way It Is..." is sort of a mixed bag. Most of it is really good, but clunkers like "Zombie Jamboree" do a good job of dragging the album down for me. It's worth checking out, for sure, and I probably would have bought it on it's own, but being paired with "Knnillssonn" sealed it for me.)

HERMANN NITSCH - "Komposition für Orgel" CD (I'm not terribly familiar with Mr. Nitsch's work, but know that he's a German performance artist of sorts. This album is made up of organ drones with the occasional sound of what seems to be fists mashing against the keys.)

MOJO NIXON & SKID ROPER - s/t CD* (I've never been able to find this on CD, so this is a rip of my cassette tape I've owned since middle school. This kind of stuff gets better with age. It's funnier today than it was when I was going through puberty and it holds up really well musically, too. Mojo does a pretty good imitation of George Thorogood mixed with Howlin' Wolf, good raunchy blues / psychobilly / punk with humor to spare. This stuff works better as a duo. When Skid split and Mojo got a full band backing him it lost a lot of it's charm.)

MOJO NIXON & SKID ROPER - "Frenzy" CD (Huge leap in sound quality with this one. This is a great album, lots of "hits". My CD has the "Get Out of My Way" EP as bonus tracks. I've heard this so many times I have most of it memorized.)

NME- "Unholy Death / Machine of War" CD (Their first album from 1986 with their 1985 demo as bonus tracks. They get lumped in with black metal bands a lot because they were supposedly an influence when Mayhem started, but they sound like a slowed down, sloppier version of Slaughter or a sped up version of Venom. I like a little slop in my metal, so that's okay.Their guitarist killed his mother with a hatchet and a pair of scissors while on drugs claiming he was a robot and wanted to open her up to see if she was a robot, too. After serving a lengthy prison term, he drove his car off of a bridge and killed himself. Neat!)

NO TREND - "Mass Sterilization" 12", "When Death Won't Solve Your Problems" LP, "Too Many Humans" 12" CDR* (Bunch of trouble makers from the 1980's HC scene who went out of their way to piss everyone off, point out how stupid punkers were and made a bunch of great noisy records in the process. They changed musical styles often, but their oldest stuff is great. Similar to Flipper in their approach, slightly more musical and way angrier. They quickly started adding funk and lounge elements to their music, including a saxophone, but it's still stupid, angry and awesome.)

Day #201
NOISEAR - "Red Tape Agenda" CD (There's a severe lack of Noisear in my CD collection. I have a couple of their full-lengths on LP and a few split 7"s, but I'm missing a ton of their releases. This is embarrassing seeing as I released their first record, but it was a matter of thinking I'd pick them up later and never got around to it. I asked them about doing a trade for some stuff I was missing last year, but nothing materialized. Anyway, I'm happy these guys are doing so well today, they deserve it. They're one of the best grindcore bands today and are nice guys, too. This CD is short, only 19 minutes, and the guitars sound pretty thin, but it works as a whole. Alex's vocals are brutal and Joe's high screams give John Chang a run for his money. There was talk of a discography CD. a few years ago. I wonder if it will ever happen?)

NOMEANSNO - "The Day Everything Became Isolated and Destroyed" CD (NMN always remind me of my friends Chris and Jake from high school who listened to them all the time. I had "Wrong" on cassette and loved it, so when Alternative Tentacles had an $8.00 CD sale years ago I picked up a bunch of their stuff. I kept only this one and "Wrong". I'm not terribly familiar with their music having only heard 5 or 6 of their albums, certainly not familiar enough to call myself a fan, but this CD is pretty rockin'. I like their faster stuff a lot more and there's quite a few slower songs on this CD, but the balance is okay. The second album on this disc is the better of the two. It's always amazed me that two people were able to do this band. I've never understood the writing process for guitar and bass when one guy is playing both instruments. Some songs start with guitar, others with bass. How do you rehearse those songs? Do you switch back and forth, or just leave holes to fill in later? I'm sure I'm over-thinking it. Edit: I just read that they were a 3 piece for most of their history, not just a duo. Fuck, I'm stupid. I'm leaving all of this in as supporting evidence.)

NOMEANSNO - "Wrong" CD (There isn't a thing I would change on this album except for maybe stripping the female backing vocals from "The End of All Things". This is a hard album mixing metal, punk, funk and progressive rock. Tempos shift from song to song sometimes crossing into thrash metal territory. The vocals and music are angry and precise. The recording is great and packs plenty of punch. I pull this one out often.)

BRIAN NORING - "Ice and Snow and Ice and Snow" CDR (You know somebody is recording for the love of recording when the release is limited to 10 copies. You don't release 10 copies of something to spread your name or to get pats on the back. You don't even do it for feedback, except from the few people who get one. In my opinion, creating music for the sake of creating is just about the greatest thing ever. I'm pretty sure that was Brian's motivation. I wrote Brian a few times in the 90s, shortly after he stopped doing his zine, but we lost contact with each other eventually. A few months ago my band played a show in Des Moines and someone complimented me on my Sore Throat shirt. After talking for a few minutes we figured out we knew each other, sorta. After the show, I sent Brian some of my releases we talked about that night and he sent this CDR among other things in return. Before this, I had only heard his noise project EHI. This stuff is far less noisy. Sort of short pieces of minimalist sound, some played on piano, some on guitar, some on what sounds like a harmonium. None of it is particularly musical, but at the same time it's not exactly noisy. It's like a snapshot of whatever held his interest that day. The last piece is half as long as the entire CD, clocking in at over 22 minutes. It sounds like Zoogz Rift attempting an Eninno Morricone score. It's bizarre, dark and sloppy, but somehow entertaining and not irritating. I expected to get sick of it 5 minutes in, but it held my interest the whole time. I can't say that about a lot of music people consider essential listening.)

NOSFERATU - s/t CD (Another gem from the early German rock scene. Recorded in 1970, this was their only album. Great hard rock stuff with synth and flute. The vocals are great and fit the music perfectly. This took me years to track down a copy. It was worth the wait. The best song on the album, "No.4", sounds like something you'd hear on the first Mythos album.)

NUCLEAR DEATH - "Demos 1986-1988" CDR (I don't remember where I got this bootleg, but there's fuck all information on the cover. Just a band photo and a tracklist, no address. I probably wouldn't have had the chance to hear these if it weren't for this boot, so I don't care how crappily it was done. It sounds as if it was sourced from mp3s, but the audio isn't too bad. One of the most extreme metal bands for their time, Arizona or elsewhere. These demos are a little less extreme than their LPs and Lori sings more than she did later on, but this shit is fierce and dirty as fuck. Somewhere between thrash and death metal, they got more brutal with each release. These early demos are great, I just wish there was more info, some liner notes, etc. Maybe they'll get a proper release someday? Every other fucking demo recorded is being reissued as a forgotten classic, why not these guys?)

Day #204
NUCLEAR DEATH - "For Our Dead / All Creatures Great and Eaten" CD (The third and fourth albums collected on one CD. These aren't quite as good as the first two, but they're still great. The transfer seems to gave come from a cassette tape,there's a lot of hiss on this CD. Nuclear Death were a bizarre band and hard to pin down to a genre. This is some murky, dark and doomy stuff. A lot of the time it's impossible to make out what the guitars are doing, and those few times you can, the guitar parts sound like they were lifted from a Flipper album. I really can't think of any other band that sounds like them, that has a lot to do with why they're so great.)

NUNSLAUGHTER - "7" Collection" CDR* (At one point I owned all of Nunslaughter's records. I've been a fan since the demo days, but it didn't take long until they spiraled out of control releasing a new record every month and I lost interest. I can't afford to be a fan of a band that prolific, not with a mortgage to pay. After a while I just stopped trying to collect everything, only buying things I could find, then eventually I stopped buying altogether. I think when bands do shit like this they're doing a disservice to their fans. Who can keep up with this shit? Just write enough songs for a full-length, record them and release an album twice a year. Stop trying to create collectors items and start making it easier and more affordable for people who like your music to obtain it. I really fucking like the Nunslaughter records I own, though. I made this CD from rips of my vinyl and probably listen to this more than any of their albums.)

NUNSLAUGHTER - "Devil Metal" CD (This is a live CD and sounds pretty crummy. Not only is the sound distant, but there's an audible hum between songs. I wonder how much I could get for this? I probably won't listen to it again after today.)

NUNSLAUGHTER - "Goat" CD (I suppose it's fitting that I'm spending Halloween day listening to Nunslaughter. Strange timing, I guess. This is a great CD, solid from start to finish, packed with great memorable riffs and a recording that's clean enough to be an asset but still miles away from being too produced. The lyrics have always seemed sort of cartoony, but even more so on this release. No complaints from me, though. Listening to Nunslaughter = good times. At this point I've not heard most of their albums, but this is my favorite of the ones I own.)

NUNSLAUGHTER - "Hell's Unholy Fire" CD (This was their first CD, and if I remember correctly, it's entirely made up of old demo songs re-recorded. This CD is great, too.)

NUNSLAUGHTER - "One Night in Hell" CD (Another fucking live album. How is it that a band can follow up their first studio with multiple live albums? When I bought these, I had no idea they were live albums. The titles gave no indication they would be live. The sound on this is better than on "Devil Metal", the stage banter is way more ridiculous. I don't think I'm in the right mind frame to enjoy this sort of stuff today.)

N.W.A. - "Straight Outta Compton" CD (At one point I thought this was either cool, "hard" or funny. At one point I was really fucking stupid.)

NYC MAYHEM - "Discography" CDR* (I downloaded this stuff before it got a proper reissue. What a weird band... There's some crossover elements to this, but it's also dripping with Possessed influence and full of blastbeats and ripping guitar leads on the earliest recordings. It kind of sounds like a mixture of Crucial Youth and Lärm playing thrash metal, or what I imagine that to sound like. I should probably pick up that 2CD reissue someday before it's out of print.)

NYCTOPHOBIC - "Blast From the Past Takes You Back With..." CD (It's weird. I usually don't care much for these guys. I've given them several tries, have owned several of their releases, but they usually leave me wanting more. Today, just now, I'm enjoying the shit out of this CD. I only picked this CD up because the place was having a buy one get one free sale and I needed an even number to place the order. Nyctophobic were a German grindcore band from the 90s who reached some level of fame releasing a full-length on the great Morbid Records label (who ripped me off for 60x 7"s - I still haven't forgotten). This CD compiles most of their releases. They make nice use of samples, not going overboard with them. The recording on most of this stuff is pretty good with the bass guitar high in the mix, like I like it.)

OBITUARY - "Cause of Death" CD (Obituary are one of my favorite death metal bands. Nobody else sounds like them and their singer sounds like a wild animal cornered, warning you to stay away and leave him alone. Listening to this right now, it feels as if a giant hole is being ripped through my chest. I'm having the worst day I've experienced in years and this music is compounding things, making me feel like crawling into bed and crying for a couple of weeks. This shit sounds so much more brutal today because of my current mindset, it's fucking devastating.)

Day #205
OBITUARY - "The End Complete" CD (The local record shop in town sold me a copy of this the say before it was released because of how hard I hounded him about it. I got it home and didn't like it because of how dry the production was. The production doesn't bother me anymore and I love it today, but it's still a bit of a disappointment after their first two albums.)

OBITUARY - "Slowly We Rot" CD (Probably my favorite death metal album of all time. Nobody mixed doom riffs with death metal better than Obituary, not even Autopsy. The guitar tones on this album are insane and those slow crushing riffs over double bass is something C3L borrowed from often. The contrast is an amazing effect and a big part of their signature sound. I still get goosebumps when I listen to this, even today when I feel like my heart has been ripped from my chest.)

OBITUARY - "World Demise" CD (Their fourth album, and the last one I bothered checking out. I can't pinpoint exactly what it is I don't like about this one, but it didn't move me enough to want to hear any of their releases after it. I remember my friend Brian getting a set of promotional postcards for this album in the mail from R/C and wanting them very badly. After hearing this I didn't want them anymore. I bought this CD upon it's release, sold it, then bought it again a few years ago at a pawn shop because it was cheap and I wanted to give it another shot.)

OINGO BOINGO - "Dead Man's Party" CD (Another one of my high school senior year obsessions, started with finding this album and "Nothing to Fear" on LP at Newsland. Of course I knew them from soundtracks, but hearing "Nothing to Fear" in its entirety hooked me. "Dead Man's Party" was the only Oingo Boingo album I didn't own on CD. I liked it, but not enough to replace the LP I owned. I let my friend Brian borrow it and somehow he got it in his head that I gave it to him, so I just let him keep it. A couple of years ago I found this CD at a pawn shop and picked it up. Their releases on IRS and A&M are the best. By the time they signed to MCA they lost all of the ska influence and herky-jerky sound that made them great leaving only quirky pop music. I shouldn't say "only quirky pop", because they were a terrific pop group who were heads and shoulders more interesting than most of the dreck from that era. I bought several of their albums after this one but ended up selling them to feed my grindcore addiction in the late 90s. I wish I had them back now. I'm sure they're more interesting than the CDs I bought with the money I made selling them.)

OINGO BOINGO - "Good For Your Soul" CD (Their releases got less interesting for me with each release, but this, their third full-length, is rock solid. This is one of their best albums, their last on A&M. I was too busy listening to and enjoying this to find words to describe it.)

OINGO BOINGO - "Nothing to Fear" CD (Their second album, and their best, in my opinion. The perfect marriage of punk, funk,ska and synth-pop. Elfman gets all of the attention for Oingo Boingo, but the band was loaded with players with talent to spare. I think Steve Bartek's contributions, especially, are overlooked. His sharp, angular guitar playing is prominently displayed on this album. If you listen for it specifically, he's all over the place playing weird passages that only make sense in the context of Oingo Boingo. This is a fantastic work of music.)

OINGO BOINGO - "Only a Lad" CD (Their first album is great, though not as great as their second. One noticeable difference is the amount of space in the songs. While still extremely busy when compared to other bands, it sounds a little sparse. This isn't a bad thing, it just gave them room to grow with their arrangements later on. There seems to be a heavier focus on vocals on this one than on later albums. A lot of the songs are crammed with lyrics. "Little Girls" has to be the most inappropriate opening track for a band's major label debut ever. I can't believe that was green-lighted, boggles my mind.)

OINGO BOINGO / DEVO - s/t 10", "Be Stiff" 12", "Sing if You're Proud to Be Devo" LP CDR* (Some stuff I had on vinyl I wanted a digital copy of. Oingo Boingo's 10" is great and has "Ain't This the Life", one of my favorite songs of theirs. "Be Stiff" collects the early Devo 7"s released on Stiff Records and the last is a live Devo bootleg with demo-era intros breaking things up a bit.)

OLD LADY DRIVERS - s/t LP, "Bathrooms Rule" demo, split 7" with ASSUCK CDR* (I don't own any of these things. I've never seen the LP for less than $50, and while it might usually fetch more than that, I'm not paying that much for it. I read somewhere that Plotkin is embarrassed by this stuff and has been the roadblock for this stuff being reissued. I have no idea if this is fact or not. This is the only OLD stuff I like, too.)

THE OLD MAN - "Demo" CDR (There are some great bands here in Iowa. Not a lot, but a few. The Old Man are probably the greatest rock band I've seen in Iowa, but they're a band filled with problems that keep them from doing what they love doing. It's too bad. I'm happy I had the chance to see them as many times as I did, but they had 3 different drummers in the 5 times I saw them live, and this was after their original drummer was gone due to other engagements. They play a gritty mixture of riff-rock, blues and a little country. Both guitarists are great, trading licks back and forth throughout, and the singer/bass player's vocals are terrifically raspy, rough, yet melodic. It blows me away that talent like this exists in my backyard, but kills me that whatever shit is going on with them in their personal lives is keeping them from playing. This 7 song demo is great, but they easily had another 5-6 songs written they were playing out when I saw them. It would be a fucking shame if they don't get recorded before the band falls apart. I'm still holding out for a triumphant return, though. I haven't given up on them yet.)

Day #206
MIKE OLDFIELD - "Tubular Bells" CD (I picked this up at the Virgin Megastore in Melbourne, Australia while I stayed with one of the guys in Warsore for a few weeks in 2000. Paul worked days while I was there, so I found myself fucking around downtown a lot of the time and buying things I probably wouldn't have in different situations. Anyway, Mike Oldfield is a multi-instrumentalist and recorded this album all by himself. It's pretty awesome, like a 50 minute musical landscape with reoccurring themes, different instruments added all the time. The first 5 minutes or so were made famous by use of the Excorcist soundtrack, but this isn't a "dark" album at all. Quite the opposite. A lot of it is upbeat, at times even funny. There's a few surprises here and there that catch you off guard and make you jump because of how drastic the changes are. This is great instrumental music, though a bit linear. It doesn't sound like a band playing, more like a story being told through sound. It's pretty unique. Those twink-like pictures of Mike posing shirtless inside the booklet are ridiculous, though. My Australian host had a good laugh at them, then at me for buying a CD with those pictures in the layout. Like I knew...)

OLHO SECO - "Olho Por Olho" CD (I'm pretty sure this is their first full-length album, released in 1989. Their discography is kind of confusing, lots of releases with the exact same material on it, some as split LPs, some bootlegs. At this point Olho Seco had lost all of the melody in their music and are playing pretty much straight up blurrcore. Instead of turning into a metal band like most punk bands did, they just got faster and noisier. This shit is insane: 16 songs in 17 minutes, no discernible riffs, fucking great.)

OLHO SECO / FOGO CRUZADO / BRIGADO DO ÒDIO - "Botas, Fuziz, Capacetes" CD (This is a weird release, I'm not quite sure what's up with it. I'm reasonably sure the Olho Seco material is their first 7". That same material was released as a split with Fogo Cruzado, then later with Brigado Do Òdio's only 7" as a split LP. I think since the same Olho Seco material was used for all three releases they just collected everything for this one CD, but the traycard and spine don't mention the other bands at all, as if this was just a straight reissue of their first 7". Olho Seco's tracks are from 1983 and are awesome. Nice aggressive Brazilian HC with shouted, angry vocals. There's some life stuff after the 7" stuff that varies in sound quality, but all of it is listenable. Fogo Cruzado don't sound all that different from Olho Seco, but nowhere near as good. Their material is live, could use more guitar in the mix. Brigado Do Òdio are the real gem on here, though. They're one of those great examples of accidental noisecore blasting through 28 tracks of screaming nonsense, completely clumsy and sloppy, but awesome for those very same reasons.)

YOKO ONO - "Plastic Ono Band" CD (I never thought I'd be able to get behind anything John Lennon related, but this is great. Yoko Ono has two things going for her. She might have been responsible for the death of The Beatles and she makes really horrible music, but in a good way. Even with Lennon playing on this, it sank like a stone. Most of the album is filled with primal screaming and sounds of a goat being ass-fucked (not literally) over weird proto-punk or full on improvised crap. Ornette Coleman even guests on a track, sort of a whining / sax duo. I like the idea of this album existing more than the experience of listening to it. It's hard to believe music this dumb existed so long ago.)

OPENWOUND / ANTIGAMA - "Blastasfuck Split" CD (Openwound was Roby's band before The Kill. They released a great demo and a split 7" with Captain Clean Off, probably other stuff I'm forgetting. There was a time when I was really up on the Australian grind scene, but I've lost contact with so many of those people since then. Openwound were great. Not as full-on as The Kill, but great. The recording sounds like it was done on a 4 track, drums are a little hard to make out. Antigama's material sounds like it was done at rehearsal, but gets better deeper into their tracks. Those guys are always great, even the sound is not so great. The Repulsion cover is awesome, totally furious.)

ROY ORBISON - "The Legendary Roy Orbison" CD (I've always like Roy. This is a CD filled with his earliest rockabilly recordings.)

ORTHRELM - "IORXHSCIMTOR" CD (A side project of Cromtech, my brother saw these guys open for Thrones years ago and bought two of their CDs at the show. I liked them enough to buy this CD and three of their LPs, but it's probably been 10 years since I've listened to this. This stuff sounds good on paper, but it's a real headache in practice. Sounds like drums and a guitar fighting with each other, no riffs, just ripping solos for 17 minutes. The guitarist's involvement with Flying Luttenbachers makes sense. Both projects are equally complex and difficult to listen to.)

OUT OF FOCUS - s/t CD (Another great German progressive rock band from the 70s. Without so much emphasis on flash or complex arrangements, these guys excelled at longer, more mellow, slow building moody songs not unlike Embryo, another of my favorite krautrock bands. The closing song on this CD is awesome, a great example of effective dynamics within a song. The vocalist sings in strained English, sometimes with eyebrow-raising word choices, but overall he does a pretty decent job. I just wish more German bands sang in their native tongue. This is a great album, a real improvement over their first album which is also great. All of the rough edges are sanded at this point.)

OUT OF FOCUS - "Four Letter Monday Afternoon" 2CD (Holy fuck, what a way to start an album. "L.S.B." is as strong of an opening number as anyone could hope for. The Monday Night Football horns trumpet over a stomping instrumental number complete with blippy synth noises crescendoing into sounds of exploding mortar shells before bringing it back down to a simpler melody. All this within the first 7 minutes with still 11 minutes of the song remaining! It's really attention grabbing. This was the first Out of Focus album I heard. I bought it used for $18. While it was fucking expensive, I had a feeling it was going to be great. It's their best album, in my opinion, and they're one of the best bands in this style of progressive, jazz fusion. On this album they expanded to an 11 piece line up (!!!) and it shows. It's like the band Chicago joined forces with them to create the biggest sound ever. The second disc is one 50 minute long track broken into 3 segments, all improvised. It drags on a bit, but most 50 minute songs do.)

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