MORE STRANGE INSTRUMENTS FOR JESUS

If the GlassDuo album I posted last week had you hungering for more musical wine glasses...



My review of the first Musical Betts album posted here three years ago also applies to this one: "The Musical Betts were a husband-and-wife duo who played (mostly) instrumental versions of gospel songs on such instruments as cowbells, marimba, musical saw, slide guitar, and sleigh bells. And vibraharp, which I think is like a vibraphone. Really cool stuff, but alas I know nuthin' about 'em...It's a bit odd hearing melodies played on instruments like cowbells performed not as Spike Jones-like comedic music, but in a stately, emotional manner."

Well, that was easy. I have nothing further to add except that we know a little (very little) bit more about these two, thanks to this album's liner notes: Mrs. Betts was a "college teacher" in Michigan before she met Rev. Clarence, but we don't even learn her first name! Also, this album's volume level has to be one of the lowest ever. Nice relaxing music for when that tryptophan kicks in.

The Musical Betts "The Golden Bells"

UPDATE: reader Richard L. writes "The low level may be result of a very astute engineer.  The bells have an incredible amount of very high frequency (even ultrasonic) sound levels.  Early analog audio equipment could not handle this at normal levels resulting in a lot of audible artifacts (partial erasure of the tape, thumps, and distortion).  Also, the VU meters would not respond to the quick attack of the bell clapper hits.  This is the sad voice of experience speaking.  One solution was to run everything at -10 dB to get more transient headroom."










MUSIC MADE FROM SOUND EFFECTS

For newcomers looking for a crash course, or vets who want to relive old favorites, check out the now-archived 3 hour Music For Maniacs special on WFMU's Bodego Pop, a look back at ten years of blogging. On to the next decade!

My fave new discovery was recently sent to us by Australia's sound collage superstar Buttress O'Kneel, who co-recorded this in 2000/2001 with Panthera Leo (who is now the mother of the kid in Stinky Picnic) and is finally letting it out of the can. The Fruiting Body used no guitars, no keyboards, no drums...heck, no instruments of any kind. Check the ingredients for one song: 

2 rubber bands, plucked 
1 retractable ball point pen, clicking 
2 Bessemer saucepan lids, ringing 
1 elephant, thumping 
1 elephant, spraying 
1 elephant, rumbling 
1 extremely low sine wave

Sample, loop, and serve. Could have been a gimmicky novelty, or a dry piece of conceptual art, but it's really just good music. I started listening out of curiosity (what does a radar, owl, and air raid siren sound like mixed?) but ended up being quite struck by both the technical ingenuity and the musical qualities. The song "Eel Race Road" is freakin' epic. Free/name-your-price download here:

The Fruiting Body: "Nudibranch and the Moondew" (click on 'lyrics' to get each track's ingredients)

This album reminded me of the early days of sampling, when the idea of finally being able to make music out of everyday sounds was an exciting new one, e.g.: Bernie Krause' 1988 all-animal-fx classic "Gorillas In the Mix." But sampling existing musics (and tv, radio, etc) as a way to deal with our 'media environment' quickly took precedent, Ms. O'Kneel being one of it's foremost proponents (she claims that the events of 9/11 also pushed her into that direction.)  And there's also the fact that it is simply easier to make music with music then with hairdryers and trains. Still, there's a lot of potential for this approach. Back in 2005 we wrote about Matthew Herbert's yummy album that used only food sounds. It is now available to listen/purchase:

Matthew Herbert "Plat du Jour" (song notes HERE.)

The notes point put that the first song uses, among other sounds "chickens being killed for a local farmers' market and its feathers washed and plucked." Oh man, now I'm hungry. Who's up for some KFC?! 


THE CLASSICS PLAYED ON 57 WINE GLASSES

I am quite delighted to announce that the crucial WFMU show "Bodega Pop" will devote all three hours of its weekly programming to this here web-log as our 10th anniversary festivities continue. This Wednesday 7:00PM Eastern time on Woof-Moo's "Give The Drummer Some" stream (not the over-the-air broadcast) the party commences. Your host-with-the-most Gary Sullivan helms a blog also called "Bodega Pop", and its tales of international music-collecting derring-do fills me with insane envy. Damn, this guy's got a great collection. And now, my latest Bandcamp discovery:

AllMusic said about today's album: "In the running for strangest novelty item of the year [2007], A Drop in the Glass is nevertheless an impressive display of musicality." Indeed. GlassDuo from Poland have constructed what they claim is the world's largest wine glass instrument, some 57 pieces strong.  Yes, wine glasses. You know how you can wet your finger and rub it along the rim of the glass to produce a musical, if somewhat squeaky, tone? Well, these two have taken this old idea to a virtuoso level. Mussorgsky's "Pictures At An Exhibition" is one of those classical war-horses that I'd never really given much thought to, but that was before I heard the familiar opening "Promenade" performed on something I am now drinking out of.



Other highlights: Chopin's "Prelude" (tho I prefer Serge Gainsbourg's remake "Jane B"), the clanging of metal percussion (a trash can, perhaps?) halfway into "Great Gate of Kiev", and the medley of hits from Grieg's proto-goth "Peer Gynt." After a while you may forget the unusual methods used to produce these sounds, and just listen to it for it's musical merits. It's available for purchase, or listen to the free stream:

GlassDuo: "A Drop In The Glass"

An mp3 for ya: 

GlassDuo: "In The Hall of the Mountain King" (excerpt from track 10)

I'm finally listening to some proper classical music. My mother will be so proud.

2 ALBUMS OF AUTHENTIC BURLESQUE MUSIC

This blog is now 10 years old. And amidst all the media hype, the presidential pronouncements, and the parades, one lovely maniacs actually sent me an email headed: "I love Filthy Fridays and want to give you money." Well... okay! Hadn't thought about it before, but if someone wants to click on the new PayPal button to your right, that's up to you. We all celebrate in our own ways. And this is how I celebrate: by continuing our series of weekend-starters from the mid-century Golden Age of Sleaze. 

What to read/look at whilst listening to these instrumentals? Why, take a gander at the gams on this website (makes wolf whistle): "Decedent History," a site of particular interest to those in the Dallas/Fort Worth area, but any dedicated sleaze-ologist worth his/her weight in tassels should find it fascinatingly filthy fun.


Listening to a burlesque show?! Who'd want to do that? Well, for starters, the millions who bought David Rose's bump-n-grind big band instrumental, "The Stripper," a record that went to #1 on the American charts in 1962. Which of course, lead to records released designed to cash in on Rose's success, inc. 2 albums by Rose himself, "The Stripper," and "More! More! More! of the Stripper," both of which are in print.

So yes, one of today's albums does indeed include a cover of "The Stripper," but these records weren't just cash-ins. "Bald" Bill Hagan & His Trocaderons were an actual burlesque show band that performed at Philadelphia's still extant Trocadera Theater, tho nowadays it's a concert venue. The music is mostly the kind of Dixieland jazz played as a slow grind that typifies burlesque music, but also dips into rock'n'roll ("The G-String Twist"), and psuedo-Middle Eastern belly-dance exotica ("Erotic Fantasy" is a version of that exotic antiquity "Song of India"), another common style found wherever 'torso tossers' were found strutting down 'varicose alley' (aka: the runway.) And compared to Rose's studio slickness, these fun records sound a little more raw and loose - probably closer to what it actually sounded like at joints like the "Troc".  The recording dates would seem to put these at the tail-end of the original burly-q era.

Both albums recorded from vinyl. The first one starts off a bit scratchy, during the MC intro/phony applause effects, but improves. Va-va-voom!

Bald Bill Hagan And His Trocaderons - Music To Strip By (1966)

Bald Bill Hagan And His Trocaderons - Music For A Strip Tease Party (1967)


Music To Strip By:
A1A Pretty Girl Is Like A Melody
A2Bumps And Grinds
A3Frankie And Johnny
A4G-String Twist
A5Temptation
A6Night Train
B1The Stripper
B2Party Time
B3Bedroom Blues
B4Second Honeymoon
B5Girdles Aweigh
B6My Heart Belongs To Daddy
 Music For A Strip Tease Party:
A1I'm In The Mood For Love
A2Stripper's Delight
A3Erotic Fantasy
A4C Cup Blues
A5Vampin' And Campin'
B1A Good Man Is Hard To Find
B2Fascination
B3Koochie Galore
B4Cha Bump
B5Makin' Whoopee





Your Dead Pet Sings To You

Oh, so horrible, so hilarious...how can this be real?! I just discovered this on craigslist whilst looking for something else entirely. From reading the below description, you know this is all kinds of wrong, but the reality is even worse than you can imagine. 

A touching memory from your beloved little friend you miss can always be as close to you as your computer.
In our Pet Memorial Photovids,,,the pet photo that you send us will be animated to sing our original song,,,"When You Think Of Me,,,Smile !". Yes,,,your own pet will sing to you.

You may order a song-only version,,,or you can choose to order a Customized Memorial photovid for which I invite you to compose a brief script of dialogue that you want your beloved little friend to say in their video.
I will help you with the script as much as you want me to.

IN this example for you,,,,this video is a customized Memorial with added dialogue that I produced for a client. A customized version like this featuring your own script thast your pet would perform is $60.00. A song-only version with the pet just singing the song is $30.00.
This is the song your pet would sing,,,and your Memorial Photovid would be similar to this video: 



The song is acapella - let the mashups begin!

Buy This Box or We'll Shoot This Dog: The Best Of The National Lampoon Radio Hour (3 Disks)

By request, "Night of the Living Monster Mash-up" is back up. 

I had a fine time when I recently spoke with M4M contributor James "DJ See" Carroll of Orange County, CA's KUCI on his "Radio Chimichanga" show. Mr. Carroll's most recent gift to us is this amazing document: 3 disks of audio shenanigans from the highly influential 1970s humor magazine. The radio show lasted from 1973 to 1975, when key members jumped ship to TV, joining the first cast of "Saturday Night Live." And indeed, there are some first-draft versions of future "SNL" skits here (not to mention the roots of "Spinal Tap"/"A Mighty Wind"). This collection features the amazing cast of Christopher GuestJohn BelushiGilda RadnerBill Murray, his brother Brian Doyle-MurrayChevy ChaseRichard Belzer, Joe Flaherty (hey, we just featured "Count Floyd" on the "TV Horror Hosts" post), Billy Crystal, Michael O'Donoghue, and others, all in the crude early garage-band stage of their developments. 

It's not all purely of historical interest tho - there's still some great stuff here, esp. the spot-on music parodies. And some of those parodies are by one Tony Scheuren, whose musical satire career was sadly cut short by an early death. Scheuren had been in the crappy late '60s Boston band Chameleon Church. I'd never heard of them, but found their album in a thrift store. Wondering who they were, I looked at the back cover and there was Chevy Chase looking at me. He was their drummer. So I bought it, but it is so wimpy and low-key it makes Donovan look death-metal. Scheuren was in another Boston band that wasn't very good (whose album I also discovered whilst thrifting), Ultimate Spinach. But at least they used some weird instruments.

The Best Of The National Lampoon Radio Hour [Disc 1]
The Best Of The National Lampoon Radio Hour [Disc 2]
The Best Of The National Lampoon Radio Hour [Disc 3]

Tracklist/artist info HERE.

Apart from his mighty contributions to this blog, James Carroll is also the man behind the Lamposts band, whose album "Adolt Cartoon" is available on Bandcamp. Lets take a listen, shall we?  "f14" is most excellent punkabilly. "I Hate Cops" isn't the hardcore you'd expect, more like a jazz band covering Led Zeps' "How Many More Times."  "Skull tattoo" is agreeably trippy, and first part of "the process of discrimination" is great if weird funk-rock, before it moves into mopey George Harrison territory. Check it:

Lamposts - Adolt Cartoon

Thanks and praise to DJ See Lamposts!