29 March 2009

all over but the listenin'

Here comes the series finale...

AC/DC - undeniably, classic rock all-stars! Everybody knows a pile of their hits and recognizes them instantly... Nobody understands the lyrics, and nobody cares. The git riffs and solos are perfection. All he has to do is scream "yeeeeaaahhh!" into the mic, and everyone goes nuts. It couldn't possibly get much better for this band. They're TNT - dyn-o-mite!

Ace of Base - highlighting that the nineties were often as nongood as the eighties... Don't forget, she's gone tomorrow!

I remember hearing "The Sign", "All That She Wants", etc., on the radio at the swimming pool around 15 years ago. Sadly, I liked them then, and more sadly, I'm still slightly addicted. The nineties are sufficiently retro/roots for those my age, right?

Afrika Bambaataa - funk/rap/electronics masters. Renegades of funk, even. I particularly appreciate that they have typical goofy 1990 rap themes, rather than going on and on about crunk. As old school hip hop was supposed to be, they spent half of every song doing name checks. Yesss.

Bonus for tagging up with Überzone on several tracks for the Über-album Faith in the Future. "What is this electrofunk that's drivin' y'all crazy?"

Alarm Will Sound - a classical orchestra who focus on performing symphonic remakes of quite non-symphonic contemporary music. Their main album has been Acoustica (I suspect a play on the term "electronica"), which is a collection of Aphex Twin songs turned symphonic (catch Aphex about ten bands further down in today's post). It's impressive work - though Aphex Twin uses sounds that obviously do not occur in the natural world, AWS still pulls some slick moves with a bit of creative license (ok, more than a bit) to imitate Aphex frighteningly accurately. There are plenty of "you can do that on a cello?" moments, de veras. I would have liked to hear them try something completely out there - "Come to Daddy (Pappy Mix)" and "54 Cymru Beats" (yes, Jo, the broken printer song) come to mind - but that might be asking a little much.

Courtesy of these guys, I must always have a brief chuckle when I see the signs on fire exits. Naturally, it scores me some questioning looks from passersby, but oh well. It's a drop in the jl-is-a-freak-show bucket.

Alec Empire - yum, more digital hardcore! There's absolutely nothing to like about this guy: he's way offensive; the beats aren't foot-tapworthy, danceworthy, or even raveworthy; the bass electronics aren't pleasant; there's constant electronoise; his samples are a bit frightening; he doesn't even have the slightly cute appeal of EC8OR's female rant machine.

Citing all of that, of course I love it! My favorite sample: "besides, I felt that if I smiled one more time tonight, my face would crack." Thanks, Alec.

Alice Donut - obscure as punk can get without it being down the street in your friend's basement. Mr. Knight probably won't bother reading this, but I recall our pal Bill asking years ago, "hey Ray... Uh, have you ever heard of Alice Donut?" I think that, unless you are a member of the Donut, the answer to that question is fairly obvious. Even I only know about them from Bill.

The All-American Rejects - yes indeed, I sometimes devolve into a faux-punk emo fan. Let's keep that our dirty little secret...

Amy Winehouse - further proof that no quantity of drogas can keep people from making pretty bad music that still somehow becomes popular. I'll give her credit for her unique, Motown-esque sound, but I'll promptly take away such credit for still being so bad.

They tried to make her go to rehab, [and] she said no, no, no... But they made her go anyway.

Andrew WK - what a fun style, very standard rockish with just a dash of punk! They're very energetic and fairly positive, and their songs imbue something happy-go-lucky. However, like our pals from Nickelback ;-) , they suffer from one-song syndrome; every track they record sounds exactly like every other. "Let's have a party party party hard party party fun hard party and we'll party hard, party hard!" Repeat as necessary.

Anne Feeney - weee, current-era protesty folk. She's obviously passionate, but if you don't stop and at least pretend that there is an inkling of justice in the world for the occasional song or two, people can only listen to so much. An essential characteristic of music is the fun factor, and unfortunately, her factor is zero. Also, she falls a tad further in my rankings by reminding me of Janis Joplin... However, she is ranked very highly as a person because I deeply respect her knowledge, passion, and true concern for those who indeed feel the injustice of the world on a regular basis.

Antipop Consortium - quite the creative rap clan. I don't know much about them, but I appreciate their use of both bizarre and thoroughly everyday samples - a song on Arrhythmia lays down thumps and rhymes over recordings of a game of ping pong. Pretty slick!

Credit by association for appearing when I search for the Primus album Antipop.

Ape - a guy with a Casiotone, something akin to cartoon music... I have one album, and every song is about monkeys. I'm not kidding - one is a parody of [the wicked] Wilson Pickett's "Land of 1000 Dances", entitled "Ba-na-na-na". One of the best lines on the album (if you can call it that) is "ooh ooh ah ah ooh ooh ah ah ooh ooh I'm an ape". Delicious! It's probably pathetic that Ape made it onto my mp3 player...

Aphex Twin - the original Tim-inflicted electronica in my collection, and still my favorite. The music is just irritating to most, but it's also genius. Read up on background info. Richard D. James is quite the oddball. He wrote his own audio software...

Anyway, this stuff is the real "beeps 'n' clix". He never really caught on in the USA, where we don't really have a club scene, but his weirdness became somehow popular in his native England and the rest of Europe. Not bad, sir.

Rather than rambling more, I reco listening to "54 Cymru Beats", "Bucephalus Bouncing Ball" (my favorite), and if you're brave, "Ventolin (Video Version)". I heart.

Aquabats - stole my sweater. Not the green one, which Weezer took and then lost; no, the Aquabats made off with the red one. Ska is strange sometimes, eh?

Archies - oldies masters who are surely diabetic. Candy girl, stop pouring your sugar all over them!

Arlo Guthrie - alllmost "oldies", but I think he's more like Vietnam protest-era, along the line of but not as angry as Country Joe and the Fish (that's who he sounds most like to me, a menos). He's most well-known for the slightly-protesty, 18-minute storysong "Alice's Restaurant" (you can get anything you want there, excepting Alice), which gets radio airtime every Thanksgiving because the song's antics take place around the fall holiday.

More enjoyable, though, is Arlo's "The Motorcycle Song", where he rhymes "pickle" with "motorcycle", among other "clever" lines... I simply recommend hunting this song down for at least one listen. Remember, dumb = fun.

Art Paul Schlosser - be my valentine, oh twanger of comedic anti-folk.

Artless - because "beer is better than girls are"... They are most nearly classified as "punk", I guess, and they quite live up to their name. That doesn't mean they're not fun!

Atari Teenage Riot - not to be confused with the Ataris, we have one more dose of digital hardcore. ATR is possibly the least unlistenable of the digi-core bands I'm mentioned. Though there's still excessive noise and lots of rant/yell, they're occasionally melodic, the synth-bass is clever (as in slidey), and every now and then the lyrics are a bit witty. It's no EC8OR, that's for sure.

Of course, Kyle disapproves of their Berlin Wall-era mockery of Deutschland. If it weren't for that, you'd be a huge fan, right K Griz?

ATR supplied my theme song for my trip to Portugal - I recall listening to "Start the Riot" during our descent into Lisbon, and subsequently over and over in the hospital. It's a disturbingly appropriate metaphor for the journey...

"I would die for peanut butter!"

Autechre - semi-ambient, extremely intelligent electronica. Rarely conforming to the standard four-beat notion of rhythm, or any notion of rhythm whatsoever, Autechre requires an unbelievable load of thought and concentration to grasp the essence of their ideas of music. Thus, few actually like this stuff.

Further, "ambient" music usually tries to recreate the beauty of nature, or some garbage like that. Autechre? Not at all. They seem to aim for reproducing the synthetic world with their more ambient works. For example, "Foil" reminds me of being in the MRI machine. Again, few would choose to listen to this, but the rest of you are missing out.

Finally, mad props to my brother for teaching me to appreciate these "beeps 'n' clix".

All done! And ha, I actually did it! Time for a break, then catching up on what I've been putting off all month. Thanks for reading, and add in the comments porfav!


  1. Thanks, John, for the education. I missed Couperin in the Cs, but otherwise, pretty comprehensive. Learned a lot and enjoyed your ready wit. My favorite song is still "I'm the mom of that."

  2. Nice work, dude. 27 (?) days straight is a lot of blogging.

    To the A's I would only add Aliotta, Haynes, and Jeremiah for the only song of theirs I know, "Lake Shore Drive," and if I didn't just skip it somehow on your list, the Allman Brothers for "Ramblin' Man."

  3. I will refer back to March throughout life. (Especially when contigo but musically waay atras.)

  4. Hi John,

    How are you?!

    I'm sorry it's been so long since I last wrote. I've started a new venture and so have been distracted from everything else while I hyper-focused on that one thing.

    I'm hoping to follow you more closely again and will do my best to keep up better again, at least checking in once a week.

    I hope you are well and still making progress.


  5. If you like AC/DC, maybe you should check out a classic little movie called Maximum Overdrive, for which they did the soundtrack.

  6. Hey J!
    I switch computers and had a mini-stroke when I couldn't find you using jlink.blogspot.com. Pam reminded me of the all important "the" and there you are with the complete alphabet of incredible and electic mix of tunes. Like Anonymous said i will be referring to this Music Masterpiece Review when searching for new artists.

    You are brilliant. Enough Said.

    Have a great Easter and write with an update on your progress. Take care!

    Monika, aka Flybabymoni

  7. theStephLink ;-)May 27, 2009 at 11:27 AM

    I was required to listen to Bucephalus Bouncing Balls with headphones. It was an awesome musical experience. I felt like I was in a strange little room with literally, these sound producing balls bouncing around my head...