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Wednesday, August 30, 2006

JKS video.

Here's a little slice of fun from James Kochalka Superstar's newest CD, Spread Your Evil Wings and Fly. Which, by the way, I reviewed in this week's issue. The clip was shot on a GameBoy camera, no less. Editing was done by ex-Pants guitarist Pistol Stamen.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

OK: You got me.

Another not-so-well-kept secret of mine is that I truly enjoy dub. Keep in mind it has to be top-shelf; spare me the jam dudes with delay pedals, please. Well, today I was surprised by something I initially put on as a joke.

But first, a little backhistory:

Remember that Pink Floyd tribute album Dub Side of the Moon by the Easy Star All-Stars? I seem to recall their cover of "Money" had gurgling bongs in place of cash registers. Suffice it to say, I detested it in both concept and execution.

Now the band has returned with a tribute to Radiohead, called... wait for it... Radiodread. The source material is OK Computer. It's gotta be atrocious, right?

That's what I assumed, anyway. But I had to know how bad it really was, so I gave it a spin. Hmmm... a few tracks in, no feeling of nausea. Blood pressure seems normal — what gives?

Here's what I came up with: The music is fairly authentic as far as dub goes, and creative to boot. Easy Star seems to understand the experimental side of Radiohead, something that countless non-reggae acts (umm, Starsailor, anyone?) miss.

Let's face it — the bassline to "Airbag" is almost dub as it is. And lord knows there's plenty of tape echo on the original album. It also helps that the guest vocalists (including Horace Andy, Toots, and Israel Vibration) sound more enthused here than on their own recent work.

Not a five-star release by any means; more like three-and-a-quarter, if we're using Star Search grading (and why wouldn't we?) But I didn't want to gouge my eardrums with a spork, and that's saying something.

See? I can be swayed from time to time. That's not an invitation to try.

Friday, August 25, 2006

Last Night.

Went to see Unlikely Cowboy and Carrigan last night at Metronome. Missed Resonator; maybe next time.

It was a fun show, great to see my old friends and ex-bandmates. UC were cool in an urban country kind of way. The coolest part was their spot-on cover of Led Zeppelin's "Black Dog. I've heard too many shitty Zep covers, so it was fun to see it done right.

Carrigan played with special guest ex-members Daryl Rabidoux and Jeb Interlandi. No offense to the two-piece, but they truly sound the best with those two on board.

Unfortunately, I didn't make the post-show party. We didn't leave the club 'til after 2 a.m., and I had to be fresh to write that Saget piece. Which I did.

Can't decide whether or not to go to Montreal to attend the Osheaga Festival next weekend. It'd be kind of cool, but I know I'll just end up spending a crapload of money, even though the tickets are taken care of. And it would also mean I'd totally miss Foreigner at the fair. I think it's funny that Jason Bonham is now playing drums for them. And they've got a new singer, too. You can hear him squealing away on some of their classics here. So you're all going, right?

I'm gonna lay low this weekend and work on more music.

Next week: Kayo Dot at 242 on 9.1 and Christina Carter of Charalambides at Green Door Studios on 9.3. More info on those shows in Wednesday's issue, and future posts.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Bits and pieces.

I reviewed the new Slayer over at Dusted.

Me and Buzzo from the Melvins are hooked up to chat within the next few weeks. Yay!

In non-heavy news, I picked up the 1968 Billy Nichols album, Would You Believe, at Pure Pop yesterday. It sounds like a cross between Pet Sounds and the Zombies' Odessey & Oracle  with some guitar-driven freakouts thrown in for good measure. Fun stuff, especially if you like vintage psych-pop. Here are a couple of choice cuts:

Billy Nichols - "Girl From New York"

Billy Nichols - "Portobello Road" 

Entering the record shop, I was surprised to see rawker and longtime PP shopper Jason Cooley behind the counter. Hey, it only took 15 years, right? I guess persistence pays off. Lookin' good, X-12.

It also happened to be my man Tanner's last day. Best of luck, scruffy buddy!

Tuesday, August 22, 2006


Remember a couple of posts ago where I bitched about how nobody informed me about the Sept. 1 Kayo Dot show at 242 Main?

Well, someone finally did, and it was no less than KD leader Toby Driver, who also has an excellent solo album on Tzadik called In the L..L.. Library Loft. He truly is an interesting composer; I'll try to post a piece from that record today.

Needless to say, I've called off the hounds.

Monday, August 21, 2006

Three dumb things. One dumb post.

Psyched to see the Melvins are coming back to HG. This is the new, four-piece incarnation of the band, with two drummers. Sludge-tastic!

OK. Here's a really dumb thing. Remember Andrew WK? Had to think about it, dintcha? Back in my record shop days, we used to sell the everloving shit out of his debut, I Get Wet. It didn't do a damn thing for me, but then again, I hate KISS. I remember actually trying to talk people out of buying it. All I know about the follow-up, The Wolf, is that it had ridiculous, Elton John-style piano. By the time of its release, most folks had moved on.

Well, I was just sent a copy of AWK's new one, Close Calls With Brick Walls, and I gotta tell you, he's lost his fucking mind. It has to be the weirdest *mainstream* music I've heard in a while. Who is the intended audience for this stuff? It's too out-there for many rockers, yet experimental snobs will no doubt find it juvenile. Somehow, while no one was looking, the Dude in White Denim made a truly odd album that will likely sink without a trace. God bless him.

Some songs sound like Meatloaf channeling Dennis Wilson. Other tunes are are the crack-rock (not a pun) that he's known for, but with even more ridiculous ramp-ups.

I didn't ever want to champion this guy, but how can I not talk about a record this bizarre?

Don't take my word for it:

"I Came For You"

"Pushing Drugs"

And quite possibly the weirdest one:

"Close Call With Bal Harbour"

And finally, there's this, courtesy EC. Dig the non-expression on the kid's face.

I almost forgot: tomorrow I talk to Saget. Will it, too, be dumb? As Asia once sang (and apparently still do), only time will tell.

Holy shit — that's like five or six dumb things! An all-time record!

Nobody tells me anything.


I was at City Market this morning when I saw a nice poster for all-ages venue 242 Main. It was partially covered up by an ad for "transcendental wellness and past-life regression."

Gingerly moving the New Age thingie, I discovered that my favorite avant-metal band, Kayo Dot, is coming to town on September 1.

I'm not in the habit of checking the 242 website, because there have been long spells with no updates. And, with so many venues to list each week, I rely on the club owners, promoters, and lastly the bands to get me the info.

Also on the bill are Carrigan, Tell No One and Junius, who didn't alert me either. Should we all just surrender to MySpace? No way. I don't have the time to trawl through every band in my "friends" list to see who's playing where. Nor can I look at every single "event invitation" that comes down the pike.

Nevertheless, I'm psyched to see Kayo Dot again. I may even give the show some editorial love.

Maybe they just don't want me to list the shows. That way it's more underground. Well, tough luck — you're getting some free friggin' publicity, kids.

Sunday, August 20, 2006

New Musicks, Old Ear.

This is a repost from somewhere else. Because I'm lazy.

I've been working on some new music with my friend Mark G.Cooley. It's a long-distance, file trading project. It sounds great so far. Lots of possibilities.

Mark is an incredible guitarist in the Kottke tradition and also has a keen understanding of the avant-garde and noise worlds. One piece I've begun working on sounds a bit like Ry Cooder and Robert Fripp being disembowled by Lord Kalki. Suffice to say, it's pretty fucking catchy. A real West-East showdown.

I've also started messing around on a classical guitar-oriented piece, over which I shall add some electric skitters, my ghosty vocal harmonies and the odd soundwash.

We haven't figured out what to call ourselves yet, though. I want to keep branding myself as "The Contrarian," but this project deserves its own moniker, particularly since Mark is such a huge part of it.

Anyway, the collaboration is a saving grace for this old dog.

The only bad news is that I'm deaf in my left ear again.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Here's some more awesome "hippie" stuff.


You indie record store kids have undoubtedly already digested the new Comets on Fire album, Avatar. I think it's pretty bitchin.'  Some of it even reminds me of Secret Treaties-era Blue Oyster Cult.

A few tracks are throwbacks to '72, but they're convincing nonetheless. Others point to a new future for song-based, electric psych.

Check it:

"Dogwood Rust"

"Lucifer's Memory"


Monday, August 14, 2006



So I just heard that the Flaming Lips won't be doing any interviews in advance of their Sept. 7th performance at UVM. Guess I can't ask Wayne about that giant hamster ball.

Say, didn't State of Mind Magazine do something on them somewhat recently?

I might not make the Lips' list, but you know who will talk to me, dont'cha? Bob "Pottymouth" Saget, that's who.

Stay tuned.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

You know what I actually like?

"I'll take 'Potent Potables' for 200."

The new-ish Espers album, II. They were supposed to play Burlington on the Crystal Totem Tuur, but dropped off just before the gig. I attended anyway, and saw another fine group, Brightblack Morning Light, play to a completely empty room.

Check out this Espers tune: "Mansfield and Cyclops". And this one: "Dead King"

You'll swear off all that other hippie stuff.

Flaming Lips controversy rages on.

Well, not really. But I did get an e-mail from Ben of the band Farm, regarding my initial post. It reads:

Hello Casey,

I was listening to At War With the Mystics when I read that Pitchfork thing.

"Hippies n' sequencers": Two of the biggest features of hippy stuff, in my mind, are its lack of clarity and a sort of quasi-mystical/we believe in anything-positive worldview. The Flaming Lips are pretty much atheist/physicalist and fairly direct with their music. What's the Casey Rea/Flaming Lips/Hippy Connection?

We're still recording. We've got about 10 tracks with meat on their bones. Some kid just gave me a pirate copy of Sonar 4 producer's edition. I'm trying to learn its ways.

Please, excuse my grammar and "clarity" — I've got about a half a gallon of Dayquil in me right now.

Hope everything is good with you,

My response:

I give the Lips shit mostly because they were the first of the so-called "alternative" bands to embrace giant hippie festivals. Now everyone's doing it. Also, I'm a bit tired of high pitched bleating about robots and the like.

I'll admit I did listen to them back in the day. They always sounded good on pilfered pharmaceuticals. But somehow the relationship soured. I believe it was back when I was working at Pure Pop and the consonant-averse, mouth breathing burnouts were rocking "Yoshimi" like it was a live Phish album.

Sonar, eh? No idea how that sucker works. Good luck!

Yours in Dayquil abuse,


Further commentary is, of course, welcome.

PS: Remember the other day, when I said that I'd be "all set" if Stevie Nicks joined Sunn O)))? Well, the next best thing has occurred. One of my favorite spooky-Americana performers, Jesse Sykes, is featured on Sunn O)))'s upcoming collaboration with Japanese noise terrors Boris.

While I can't quite imagine what that'll sound like, I look forward to hearing her
syrup 'n' sandpaper coo on some evil fucking drone.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Bless these internets.

Every day brings a new adventure in time-wasting fun.

First up is this OK Go video, courtesy 7D design maven and Dirty Blonde, Reverend Di. Make sure to watch it all the way through, even if you don't like the song. It's quite amazing.

Have you ever messed around with the Korg Kaos Pad? It's one of Jonny Greenwood's favorite effects. Greg Davis sent me this link. It's a dude making prank calls with the damn thing. Hilarity inevitably ensues.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Screech Update.

Courtesy our pal Molly:

Poor, pitiful Dustin.

The return of SubSin!

I, for one, am very excited.


Anyone remember when the Flaming Lips played on Beverly Hills 90210? I discovered this clip via The Onion's pop culture blog. It pretty much speaks for itself:

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Lolla What? Flaming Who?

It's rare that I care to read a PitchforkMedia article, and even rarer that I don't want to scrub myself raw with a steel wool loofah afterwards.

But today's review of Lollapalooza 2006 is priceless. It makes a great many points I feel need to be made. Here's one of my favorite bits about Flaming Lips, or Hippies N' Sequencers, as I like to call 'em:

The biggest flop of all was reserved for the Flaming Lips, whose music has become simply an excuse for Wayne Coyne to play with his props and sermonize in front of crowds. His injections of whimsy and beauty into dour, late-90s rock were crucial and welcome, but he's since become indie rock's Carrot Top, waving gigantic hands in the air like a Michel Gondry video come to life and relying on the same tired confetti and nun-puppet schtick.

No fooling. Read the rest of it (if you haven't already, haters) here.

Friday, August 04, 2006


R.I.P. Arthur Lee.

Love was one of my favorite bands when I was younger. Gonna have to bust out some Forever Changes on the drive to Maine.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Enter the Dragon.

Img_0210So we went to see DragonForce last night. Utterly ridiculous. Metal should never be in a major key!

Since y'all are undoubtedly interested, here's some of the highlights:

#1 The place was packed. The audience — mostly kids born after 1985 —  knew the words to every song, singing lines like, "So now we fly ever free / We're free before the thunderstorm / On towards the wilderness our quest carries on / Far beyond the sundown, far beyond the moonlight / Deep inside our hearts and all our souls." Can you believe it? I couldn't.

#2. The band cracked weird sexual jokes about one another. It seemed a little too cozy, if you get my meaning.

#3. The singer can hit all the notes.

#4. Guitarist Herman "Shred" Li is out of control. Two-hand tapping is just the tip of the iceberg with this fella. His Digitech whammy pedal makes the solos sound like sped-up video game music.

#5. They had a wind machine, a fog machine and a giant banner. It was as if they were performing in a stadium. Band members took turns running to either side of the stage, stepping out front and flipping their hair around. Rinse and repeat.

#6. The keyboardist took a solo during which he played the keytar with his teeth. Ever go through the patches on a synth and wonder who the hell would use those cheesy factory presets? I found the answer in this guy.

#7. They have an honest-to-goodness power ballad. The shirtless frontman actually asked if there were "any single girls in the audience" before donning a glam-tastic black cowboy hat and crooning like it were 1987.

#8. The ladies actually ate it up.

#9. The drummer must have Popeye-size forearms from all that jackhammer snare action.

#10. All of the songs employ the same formula and construction. That didn't stop the audience from singing along, raising their fists and hopping up and down as instructed.

It was truly a bizarre spectacle. The world has apparently gone mad. I'm just waiting for the inevitable a capella craze.

Speaking of silly metal stuff.... Thanks again, Mark!

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