Sunday, February 21, 2010

Dclare yr independence! ("Strange Music" poll)

Not trying 2 steal the thunder from NE1's recent readers'-survey results or best-music-of-the-decade blog posts or NEthing like that, but I thot it might B briefly amusing if we were 2 Dclare R independence from standard popular-music buying patterns (in honor of George Washington's birthday) & cast R votes 4 R Favorite "Strange Music" Albums Ever.
I'll lead-off, of course. I have a baker's dozen titles onna list already prepared -- & I doubt I'll havta Dscribe NE of them cos I've written about all of them here (or at the olde website) B4.
I'll take yr choice 4 yr fave weird album ever, yr Top 10 faves, yr Top 100 if U feel that NRgetic & brave. MayB we can get a dialogue going here, mayB we can turn each other on 2 some great new sounds. MayB it'll just B fun 2 C what all U guys out there listen 2....
Do I havta Xplain what I mean by "Strange Music"? Strange music is what U'r pointing at when U say something sounds strange or diffrent or just not Top 40 pop -- or whatever the standard radio 4mat is these days. Is there 1?
4 Xample, Fleetwood Mac's TUSK I would say definitely IS strange, while Mac's RUMOURS pretty definitely is not. If U were 2 counter that RUMOURS does subtly & subversively shed a diffrent lite on the morals & mores of American male/female relationships circa 1977, I could probly go along w/ that. But don't push me.
4 other Xamples: I'd say the Velvet Underground definitely IS strange, whereas the Ramones pretty definitely were not. At least based on my limited listening. I'd say Fairport Convention, Steeleye Span & the Incredible String Band definitely WERE strange, whereas the Kingston Trio definitely were NOT. Bob Dylan I'm not sure about. Lou Reed? He'd probly say Hell Yeah! Genesis was strange 4 at least 1/2 of their career, whereas Phil Collins definitely was NOT. Kansas clearly IS while Styx we're gonna havta make a case-by-case call on. Gentle Giant clearly IS while Whitney Houston clearly IS NOT.
All clear as mud? Great. Onward.
Here's my 13 fave Strange Music albums ever, & U should know me well enuf by now that U'll probly B bored w/ the list:
* Providence: EVER SENSE THE DAWN.
* Moody Blues: THE PRESENT.
* Nick Drake: BRYTER LAYTER.
* Beach Boys: PET SOUNDS.
* Gryphon: TREASON.
* Happy the Man: CRAFTY HANDS.
* Group 87: (1st).
* SOME Camel album, tho I don't know which 1: NUDE, THE SNOW GOOSE, BREATHLESS, Side 2 of THE SINGLE FACTOR -- something!
* Beach Boys: SMILE.
Mosta these hit me at an impressionable age, teens or early 20s. The newest of them is the Moodies album, preceded just slightly by SINGLE FACTOR, NUDE & Group 87. The rest R solidly in the '70s or earlier. What this sez about me I'm not sure, Xcept that stuff I loved at that age I played over & over, so it has left its mark even 2day.
So, wanna give this a shot? I'd love 2 hear more about yr faves. So far I think the biggest response I've gotten 2 NEthing lately was that piece about checking-out people's music & book collections. I thot mayB a poll would bring U all out & get U on the record about yr tastes.
So vote early & vote often....

In other updates: Currently reading Paul Theroux's THE HAPPY ISLES OF OCEANIA, about taking a long canoe trip thru the South Pacific. I ran outta rock-music criticism 2 read, & I'd 4got10 how good Theroux is, how wonderfully cranky he can B.
The book opens w/ Theroux & his wife breaking up, & him thinking he might have cancer. Then he's invited 2 take a book tour of Australia, & his crankiness really kicks in. He catches people at their worst & Mbarrasses them w/ their own stupid words. & he's not even trying 2 set people off....
We'll C where this goes. Theroux's travel writing (which I've written about B4 here) has only 1 drawback -- it can get a little overlong, & this is a long book. But it's also a breath of fresh air.
Also started Rush drummer Neal Peart's ROADSHOW, about touring the US & Europe on a motorcycle during Rush's 30th Anniversary Tour. The intro is funny & in4mative & I'll B getting back 2 Neal, but 4 now Theroux has shouldered him aside....
The weather is beautiful here, a wk of April in the middle of Feb, sunny & temps above 60. It's great. I feel really good 4 the 1st time in mo's, but I can't help but feel that the weather's setting us up 2 get zinged in Mar & Apr -- it's way 2 early 4 this. But I'm loving it while it's here.
Hope U all R well, & let me hear from ya....


Gardenhead said...

My favourite strange album of all time has to be The Tired Sounds of Stars of the Lid by Stars of the Lid. Amazing

R Smith said...

As you know TAD, I review and buy a lotta albums, some good, some bad and most of them overplayed on the radio. For strange albums you can't no stranger than the infamous Cromagnon-Cave Rock which popped out on ESP Disk, by far the most bizarre label for creative freedom-but no commerical potential whatsoever.

Other strange LPs I encountered
Old Skull-Get Outta School (Restless 1988) 12 year old kids playing heavy metal and sound like 12 year old kids messing around.

The Godz-Contact High (ESP) another ESP band that was learning to play as the recording was going.

Captain Beefheart-Lick My Decals Off Baby (1970) more accessible than Trout Mask Repulica. Wished I still had that album or CD which is commanding big bucks on Amazon. I have yet to hear Trout Mask myself.

Hawkwind (1971) Some free form freakout Be Yourself and Paranoia (Parts 1 and 2) but starts out with a country flavor number called Hurry On Sundown.

Neu! 2 (1973) What happens when your record label runs out of money for studio time? Simply remixed the two finished songs in slow versions, record them on tape and edit during recording or speed them up. Hilarious if you ever hear it.

Other strange albums of note

Ornette Coleman-Free Jazz
King Crimson-Red
MC5-Kick Out The Jams
My Bloody Valentine-Loveless.