December 3, 2009
Crime | San Francisco’s Still Doomed
I’ve come to think of Crime as such classic punk that I forget many people may not know about them…but you should! Crime was a brutal punk band from San Francisco that wore cop outfits and recorded quick abrasive songs like “Piss On Your Dog,” and “I Stupid Anyway.” Johnny Strike, Frankie Fix and the gang released their first single, “Hot Wire My Heart” in 1976, (yes, the one Sonic Youth covered) but never received the same level of attention as their New York contemporaries. Their surface level crudeness was paired with funny lyrics and a discordant take on R&B grease that made so much ’70s punk so satisfying, and it feels more dangerous than, say, The Ramones. If you ever thought the West Coast was too soft, maybe you should check out this footage from Crime’s show at San Quentin Maximum Security Prison. (For video go to “Piss On Your Dog.)
by Erin Sheehy
Toumani Diabate | Kaira
At a jazz concert I once heard someone play the kora, a 21 string Malian harp, and I was so moved by the incredible tone coming from it’s strings, that immediately upon returning home I researched the instrument. That research encouraged me to buy Toumani Diabate’s album, Kaira, the first ever solo recording of the kora. Toumani comes from a lineage of kora playing griots that dates back 71 generations, and while his music may sound traditional, he has cited rock icons like Jimi Hendrix and Led Zeppelin as major influences. This makes complete sense, because the improvisation displayed on this disc is absolutely incredible. Kaira is hands down the most soothing and beautiful album I own. Watch this video for more on Toumani and the kora.
by Matt Moretti
Albert Brooks | A Star Is Bought
Although filmmaker and actor Albert Brooks started off as a stand-up comedian, very little of his act is featured on his two comedy albums from the ’70s. The second album, A Star Is Bought, is a masterpiece. It’s a fake audio documentary about Brooks trying to create an album that can be played on every radio station format of the time. To get on country radio, he does a nonsensical patriotic song; to get on the classical station, he sings new lyrics to Ravel’s Bolero; to get on freeform FM radio, he tries to tell jokes to bluesman Albert King in between guitar refrains; to get on “nostalgia” stations, he creates a fake ’40s-style radio sitcom that is absolutely note-perfect. This gem is out-of-print but you can find it on some blogs online.
by Justin Remer
The Dirtbombs | Ultraglide in Black
Oh look, it’s allison, suggesting we listen to another garage rock album. How fucking novel, I know. But you have to believe me that Ultraglide in Black by The Dirtbombs is an album that you need to own. Primarily a covers album, Ultraglide in Black flips on its head what the idea of a covers album can be. From the opening blast of “Chains of Love”, originally by J.J. Barnes, you know this is something you will listen to over and over again. Tending to pull the deeper cuts by artists such as Curtis Mayfield, The Parliaments, and Sly & the Family Stone allows The Dirtbombs to really express themselves, and push past some of the inaccessibility of their fuzzier work, along with playing music nerd and beating you soundly at it. There are a lot of bands out there, but few, if any, like The Dirtbombs. Remember that.
by allison levin