Irwin Chusid likes to take credit for a lot of my most intriguing traits and talents. (My fear of accidentally severing my hand at the wrist with a rusty chainsaw, my ability to play a saxophone while tapdancing on a Newark-bound PATH train perhaps chief among them.)
He doesn't really have anything to do with those details, but I like to humor the guy because, well, Irwin's a friend of many years and he needs his ego greased as often as possible. That said, one thing I do give him full credit for is introducing me to Moondog, the blind composer / multi-instrumentalist who lived and performed on the streets of New York City for decades. This here's a terminal favorite from the catalog. It's short (almost all of Moondog's tunes are two minutes and change), but says plenty.
Yep, I finally got around to buying it. Heavy duty vinyl gatefold re-up on Southern Lord Records. It wasn't cheap, but it was well worth the investment—kinda surprised it wasn't delivered by a private art handling service. Saturday morning skull battery sessions are now upon us! [Click here to listen]
If you wake up tomorrow morning and the first sounds to drift through your head are the opening notes of this song, it's a fair bet that you're going to be involved in a wild car chase and/or kill somebody. Just ask Charles Bronson, Telly Savalas, or Jill Ireland, all of whom star in the 1970 Italian crime thriller, Citta Violenta. (Later re-titled The Family for domestic release here in the States. Click here to watch the trailer.)
As usual, Ennio Morricone's soundtrack is something pretty close to godhead, as especially evidenced by "Svolta Definitiva". (Which I have opened many radio shows with—when you get down to it, what better subtexts are there for radio broadcasts than wild car chases and revenge killings?) You can also find the song on the completely excellent (and by now, probably about as scarce as the original Citta Violenta soundtrack) Cherrystones Hidden Charms comp, which also has ace appearances from Dynastie Crisis, the Shadows, Mashmakhan, and Cher. Yes, that Cher.
Web searches for "Pier Platters", the long-shuttered Hoboken record shop that is the object of nostalgic envy for a lot of people who came up in and around NYC, is still the #1 source of traffic on this blog thanks to this post. Seemingly, it's a time and a place that's still firmly lodged in the collective Google-conscience, so I'm wondering why hardly anyone seems to have picked up on this incredible Daniel Johnston live set, recorded live in the shop to a smattering of late 80s scenesters and underground music icons. (Less than 200 views for a clip that's been up since last September? C'mon, internet!)
It's a great document for Johnston fans, but equally appealing for Pier junkies who still pine for those decrepit floor tiles, dusty racks of fanzines, or tripping on the spiral staircase to the stars. Part one of Johnston's set is embedded here, click here for the conclusion.
I've been waiting for this one to turn up on YouTube for a while, and it was well worth the wait. BBC4's semi-recent (2010?) documentary chronicling the rise of Britain's electronic music scene/culture. Great insights from Daniel Miller (The Normal, Mute Records), Bernard Sumner (Joy Division), and Kraftwerk's Wolfgang Flür, who brilliantly summates:
"We saw [ourselves as] engineer musicians, instead of dancing boys on stage to arouse the girls."
If there's a better intersection of Phil Spector-like percussion (the bells! the bells!), male/female harmonizing a la Nino Tempo and April Stevens, and whatever it is that makes some songs just seem like they're about Christmas, I'VE YET TO HEAR IT.
I played this during an unanticipated fill-in
on WPRB a few weeks back, and it's been lurking in the dark recesses of
my brain ever since. That it took me almost a month to bother
discovering this video accompaniment constitutes my latest lifelong
regret. You can find it on A Arte de Caetano Veloso (pictured below), which Scott Williams somehow hasn't played on the air since 2008.
I'm still holding out hope that I'll track this one down on vinyl someday... But in the meantime, god bless whoever uploaded the entire Trojan Records Skinhead Reggae box set to Soundcloud. Part one is above, here are links to parts two and three.