Friday, May 30, 2008

Clockwork Orange Grab Bag

Greetings music lovers... With the European Championships in Switzerland and Austria getting closer and closer, football fever is slowly but surely taking over at For The Sake Of The Song HQ. We´re quite busy joining pools, debating favorite teams, rating players and ironing old team jerseys. It´s gonna be a great event whoever wins, but I for one hope the Dutch team will perform like a clockwork orange for once. But hey, Holland is in a ´group of death´ with Italy, France and Romania, so it´s going to be real tough...

While the pressure builds, let´s hear it for some cool tunes. What have we got in store for you this Grab Bag Friday night? Let´s see. There´s Bonnie Prince Billy going all exotic on us for starters. Then we´ve got a New York noise department with Sonic Youth and James White & The Blacks. We´re presenting a new trio you just have to hear from Amsterdam, Holland, and let´s not forget a thirsty Sleepy John Estes singing the blues. "If the river was whiskey..." And last but not least Robert Palmer will take care of some groovin´ blue-eyed soul. Enjoy.

Good news for all you fans of Sonic Youth and other New York noise bands out there. Together with Byron Coley, noise-connaisseur Thurston Moore has just published a book called No Wave: Post-Punk. Underground. New York. 1976-1980 (Abrams Books) which looks mighty interesting. Illustrated with lots of pictures and with a foreword by no wave legend Lydia Lunch, it chronicles that fruitful period when James White, Richard Hell, Glenn Branca and David Byrne were kings of the scene. Shadow Of A Doubt comes from Sonic Youth´s masterly Evol album (SST ´86).
Sonic Youth - Shadow Of A Doubt MP3

Speaking of James White, let´s get down for a bit with the master of no wave funk. Dig that honking saxophone brothers and sisters! "Once you take out all the garbage that’s in your brain, forget about your future, shatter your frame... Contort yourself!" White recorded this song in a slightly different version with his other group The Contortions, but this here is the original, done under the James White & The Blacks moniker. Find it on the excellent Rough Trade Shops - Post Punk Vol. 1 compilation (Mute ´03).
James White & The Blacks - Contort Yourself MP3

Bluestime! The great Sleepy John Estes recorded this gem way back in 1929. "Now if the river was whiskey, and I was a diving duck, I would dive to the bottom, never would come up." Cheers John. Estes came from a large family in western Tennessee and subsequently didn´t receive much schooling - he once joked that he spent 12 years in school, all in the first grade - and was a farmer first and a musician second, but his talent was nothing short of amazing. Believe me, no blues collection is complete without his I Ain´t Gonna be Worried No More 1929-1941 (Yazoo).
Sleepy John Estes - Diving Duck Blues MP3

Now this one´s way cool. The Italian collective Numero 6 just released an ep called Quando Arriva La Gente Si Sente Meglio, and you can download it here for free. But wait, the best is yet to come... I haven´t got a clue how they managed to lure the Louisville legend to their lair, but that´s really Bonnie Prince Billy singing on one of their songs, and in Italian at that. Sounds great, ragazzi. Haven´t got a clue what he´s on about, as my Italian is kinda rusty, but I think Da Piccolissimi Pezzi translates as ´the smallest slice´. I can´t imagine this song being about pizza though.
Numero 6 (feat. Bonnie Prince Billy) - Da Piccolissimi Pezzi MP3

Here´s some fresh new talent for you. Boompity (the name comes from a Kurt Vonnegut story) is a trio from Amsterdam that definitely deserves your attention. Just two guitars, a drumkit and a swampy sound that would make Tom Waits more than proud. They have just recorded a great demo and will be playing their first gigs soon. Check their website here to book them for all your birthday parties, weddings or funerals.
Boompity - Elevator Pitch MP3

Let´s call it quits for tonight with some white soul and rhythm & blues. The late Robert Palmer is well-known as a slick blue-eyed soulsinger in a sharp suit who had quite a few hits in the eighties. He wasn´t so slick when he started out though. On his debut album Sneakin´ Sally Through The Alley (Island ´74) he was lucky enough to be backed by members of two of the funkiest bands around at the time, Little Feat and the Meters. Palmer´s vocals are pretty damn sharp on Sailing Shoes (a Feat cover) and the title track (an Allan Toussaint composition) but it´s the band that really grooves here.
Robert Palmer - Sailing Shoes MP3
Robert Palmer - Sneakin´Sally Through The Alley MP3

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