Monday, June 24, 2019

"Almost every fifteen minutes for two years"

John Phillips was never going to win Father Of The Year Award, and let's leave that at that. Please. And then there was the sheer tonnage of blizzard he did. He and Bowie were a marriage made in Colombia, and it's a wonder that Nic Roeg's movie got made at all, what with the snowplows in constant use. Bowie said he was "stoned out of my mind from beginning to end", and that's probably true of the moviegoers, too.

Phillips' solo work has been exhaustively re-issued, sometimes with more respect than it deserves (Man On The Moon, anyone?), but this OST on RCA might have passed you by. Check the curves on that cover! Don't you want to oil up and writhe over that gorgeous body? (Hey - Michelle Phillips ain't so bad, either).

Saturday, June 22, 2019

(... and that's the truth)

Long-time readers of th' Foam may remember - if they did their meds today - our exclusive coverage of Paul Manafort's little-known sideline as jazzbo hepcat [April - Ed.]. Turns out he's not the only White House felon to grace the recording studio! Luscious, pouting nymphet Sarah Huckabee Sanders (be still my heart!) recorded this CD of cover versions for Baltimore's prestigious Beltway Digital Supplies a year or so back, to little applause. A shame. I was lucky enough to grab one from the racks of a Fairfield convenience store I was tossing, and boy, was I ever glad I did! Sultry Sarah belts out the hits in her trademark mouth-full-o'-dick whine to a fashionably eighties Casio VL-Tone beat in a non-stop synth-pop medley! Hmm ... maybe getting her pretty face out of the President's lap presages good news for pop fans???? You read it here first!

Friday, June 21, 2019

Music, Laughter, And Hard Liquor

Dean Martin was a bigger star than anybody, ever. Even Sinatra, who worshiped him. He got so rich that "money was just there, like smoke in the lungs" as Nick Tosches would put it in his fine biography. He was a superstar in a way we haven't seen since the passing of the Age of Entertainment. The only artist to have ever been at the top in TV, radio, movies, recordings, and live performance simultaneously. Yet he took none of it seriously, never broke into a sweat. He played the lush, but never lived it like he played it. That whole Rat Pack thing is anathema to the Woke Generation, who are too busy cringeing and groaning and judging and apologizing to share a table at The Sands, nibbling martinis and each others' ears and guffawing at the sheer outrageousness of his act. But we can get a hint of what that experience was like, in all its man-made fiber magnificence, from this recording, which has somehow survived as some kind of Rosetta Stone of Lounge.
Cody digs Dino!

Although it all sounds unrehearsed and freewheeling, his act changed only fractionally from night to night. Hundreds of nights. Millions of dollars. Note how it lasts an hour, almost to the second, as per his contract. This was business, the business of Show, and the hottest ticket in town. So if you can scrape one together, raise a frosted cocktail to Dino, the King of Kool.

Wednesday, June 19, 2019

La Marr Bruister's Protegé

Oboyoboyoboy! Here's Jeff Simmons' entire œuvre [French for egg - Ed.], except for the apparently unfindable Blue Universe from 2004 which I strongly suspect is the usual return to *cough* blues roots made by rock musicians of a certain age in the absence of any better ideas. Or chords. As an hors-d'oeuvre [French for horse's egg - Ed.] we have the swell single-sided disc cut by early Simmons combo Easy Chair for Seattle's mega-corporation Vanco Records in '68, complete with unused cover slick in the low, low quality you've come to expect from FalseMemoryFoam©! I tried sharpening it up but it still looks way gnarlacious.

Around this time, La Marr Bruister, noted bandleader and rodent-heater, took the fresh-faced Master Simmons aside, dangling a contract to record his good shit on Bruister's record label, Straight. Eagerly inking pact, Simmons immediately landed the prestigious gig soundtracking the Favorite Films blockbuster Naked Angels, which starred like, nobody, and was only seen by a couple hundred people nationwide, most of them projectionists.

Undeterred by his Tinseltown heartbreak, Simmons went on to record the epochal Lucille Has Messed My Mind Up, with generous contributions from Bruister, and although you won't find a better album title this side of the Pecos, the album itself joined the efforts of pop chart hopefuls Wild Man Fischer and the GTOs in the cut-out bins, in spite - or maybe because - of Simmons' way bodacious 'fro on the front cover. Jeff Simmons - we salute you!

Twisted Orange Rainbow

The great thing about these out-of-print Sundazed Psychedelic Microdots comps is not so much the choice of tracks, a mix of the relatively well-known (The 13th Floor Elevators - again) and the obscure that seemed to offer little to the swivel-eyed afficionado, but the quality of the sound. Bob Irwin sourced the master tapes, and it's a quantum leap from the gritty Pebbles noise the collector had come to regard as standard - this material has never sounded better, and possibly never will. There are also enough unique stereo mixes and otherwise unavailable tracks to make this set kind of essential. Details at discogs.

Sunday, June 16, 2019

Let's Be Franks

Michael Franks is very nearly a weirdo, but in the nicest possible way. He's got a voice that'll either make your skin crawl or hook you right in; a breathy jazz-lite whisper that never strains for a note or hangs on to it past its sing-by date. You could, if you were feeling uncharitable, describe it as a tad precious, with top-notes of wimp. And you'd file him away in the nothing to see here file, and it would be your grievous loss. Maybe he was canny enough to adopt the style because he knew it would last his lifetime - his latest album shows no signs of ageing except the white hair (and the hands suspiciously clasped over a bald spot) on the cover. But that gossamer-weight delivery hides lyrics with a bitingly sharp edge, playful wit, and a surprising sexuality. Floats like a butterfly, stings like a bee.

This, his eponymous [big as a horse - Ed.] first album from The Year Of The Singer-Songwriter 1973 wasn't his breakthrough - that came with the second, The Art Of Tea. But it shoulda oughta. Chock full o' tunes, top flight musicianship from the cream of the LA cream, and anti-Jesus lyrics - what more could you want? It got re-released a decade later, with the standard cheap sleeve "update" that dumbass record companies think will make for an attractive new product, and predictably re-nosedived. It's so under the radar it doesn't even rate an Allmusic review (neither does his new one, ironically). You might have enjoyed his stuff for years and ignored it because everyone else did, like I did. Do me a favor - kick my ass - I'm not asking, I'm telling with this - kick my ass.

Saturday, June 15, 2019

"Cancer Is Always Good" - An Interview With Ethan Krönut

Fans of Millennial music will know that Ethan Krönut is the owner of Gap Year Records, Dad's Amex Records, and Side Project Records. He's also their in-house producer, head of A&R, and Art Department. We spoke to Mr Krönut on Skype at Seattle's hipster hangout, Ethical Sprout.

FMF©: Why are we doing this on Skype? We're sitting at the same table.
EK: I do everything online. And this way, I can look at myself instead of you.
FMF©: How did you got into the music business?
EK: Who-ah! We don't use the term music business. Have you tried the artisanal steel-ground kelp porridge? It's shade-grown kelp from sustainable low carbon-footprint sources.
FMF©: Tell us about how you work with - sorry, enable - your musicians.
EK: We offer a complete package of media production and distribution across appropriate platforms, at realistic and ethical rates.
FMF©: Wait - you charge your acts to make recordings?
EK: I'm sorry? How else could I bring value to partnerships?
FMF©: They don't get, like, royalties on sales?
EK: What sales? Our musicians create through love of music, and a respect for the process. One of the qualifications for joining our [finger-waggle] family is bringing funding for your project, as a demonstration of commitment. We don't believe in charity.
FMF©: What advice would you give to new musicians?
EK: The text is the most important aspect of your work. Text is key. Your supporting text will get you coverage at Slate, Pitchfork, and other ethical online marketplaces. The consumer will spend more time reading about your æsthetic and motivation and reference points than listening to your music. Ideally, your work should be inspired by a death of a loved one, or battling a serious illness - cancer is always good - or the breakup of a love affair. Depression is a given requirement. The longer you've spent in rural isolation coming to terms with your demons, the better. It helps if you are breaking a hiatus of several years to make your new recordings - the longer the better. Maybe you've been traveling the breadth of this great land gathering tunes from endangered indigenous communities - you can do this on-line.
FMF©: And you offer - er -  optics consultancy?
EK: The right look is key. Anything Amish is good. The more you look like American Gothic, the better. Most of our musicians already own vintage Martins, which photograph well. We offer a portfolio of optics for your album cover. Bare trees and wooden shacks. Waist deep in water. Woodcuts of owls. Face covered by hair. Bleak motel interiors at an angle with cables and sockets. We offer the optics that are most appropriate to your stance. Above all, we don't let your project be tainted by professionalism at any level.
FMF©: Any new act you're particularly excited about?
EK: Act? Excited? Oh. Well, we're pretty proud of the new album by hdhnn#±pnp.
FMF©:  hdhnn#±pnp?
EK: It's a side project by gIRLwITHbEARD. A psychedelic mix of Inuit and Mennonite musics which - shit - connection lost - the wifi here is ... ooofff.
FMF©: We could, you know - just talk to each other?
EK: [blank look]

Friday, June 14, 2019

Roger, Roger

For those digging the Roger Miller post (enjoying a frisky popularity here at th' Foam) here's scads more. Two swell collections on the defunct fan-created Warped "label", Chronological 1957-62 (Warped 5790) and Chronological 1962-64 (Warped 6401). Fifty-six tracks of Prime Miller Time. Yes, there's some duplication with the previous post but what the hey, right? Over, Over ...

Thursday, June 13, 2019

Diving For Pearlman

There's no empty space in Sandy Pearlman's head. It's seething. There's no time for zen contemplation, the simplicity of incense smoke curling up into still air. In Pearlman's head, everything's happening at once, a rush of events too intense for narrative to describe. One side of the original inner sleeve of Imaginos was entirely filled with tiny text, trying to set out the story that infested his head. It didn't help. Here, nothing is explained, nothing is logical. You're on your own, in this cavernous, howling vacuum. No air. Sound like fun to you? It is.

There are some who say that this isn't a "real" BOC album. Who cares? Eight years in the making, Imaginos reaches parts of your brain you didn't know you had. It makes Phil Spector's Wall Of Sound sound like a picket fence, Wagner like a celeste being kissed by pixies. There are more guitars here than in Nigel Tufnell's Semi-Detached House Of Guitars. The drums sound like planets would sound if you could find big enough sticks. The bass vaporizes your bowel content. Amazingly, the tunes are melodic as hell, and beautifully sung -there's virtually no hoarse heavy metal vocal styling that normally infects the genre. And the production is gorgeously detailed, repaying endless listens. This is very, very, clever stuff.
Hi! I'm Cody!

But I didn't need the silence between tracks - it seemed to run counter to the crammed-universe theory, and I never cherry-picked individual songs. It was always listen to the damn thing all the way through or nothing. And the sequencing was baffling - not in a mysterioso way, nor in a literary narrative way. The dynamics of the album were shot to hell, random. The Siege and Investiture of Baron von Frankenstein's Castle at Weisseria (one of the greatest song titles ever - no, scratch that - the greatest song title ever) was surely the obvious last track - nothing can come after this except a cosmic and deafening silence. But there it was, buried half way through the album.

Hence, dear readers, the FalseMemoryFoam© Mindmelt© Edition. Say yes to no embarrassing silences between tracks! Say howdy to a new, improved running order that'll leave you a shuddering wet mess after an hour under the headphones!

Plus also too, I done did a swell cover remix so you can click with confidence in yer iTunes. No, no, don't thank me. Having Cody as my blogintern is its own reward.

Tuesday, June 11, 2019

The Wild Child

Born into a dirt-poor family, Miller picked cotton, ran away from home at seventeen and stole a guitar. Too fundamentally decent for a life of crime, he turned himself in next day, and enlisted to avoid jail. Served in Korea. Came home, did this and that, went to Nashville to pursue his dreams of becoming a songwriter. Got a gig playing fiddle. Wrote some songs (some in the time it took to sing them), got rich, did drugs, got his own TV show, got married three times, did some more drugs, wrote songs for movies and shows, won some awards, and died of throat cancer - he was a life-long smoker - at fifty-six.

Yep. Miller lived the life. Undiscliplined, charming, generous, funny, and superhumanly talented, the sharp-looking Texan wrote and performed songs that in their unabashed sentiment or flat-out humor could never have been created in these grim times, where his values and behavior would be judged problematic by prematurely middle-aged Millennials without one percent of his talent.

Where you find him praised, it's often as a "guilty pleasure", that jarring phrase used to show you have sophisticated tastes but can be adorably human too. Nuts to that. There's nothing ironic or self-conscious or arty about any of his work - he's as transparent as a glass of vodka. When he sings sad, you're sad. When he sings funny, you laugh. Simple emotions, directly evoked, nothing fancy about any of it. Pure pleasure from the lost age of entertainment.

Here's a couple of his earliest albums. Some vinyl crackle may be present - if in doubt consult your physician.

Little Boots 2

Second in a series. Collect the set and win swell premiums! No Whispering is a little different, concentrating on studio rehearsals, demos and the like, and boy, does it ever make for a swell package! Exclusive extras include Fool On The Avenue, an otherwise unavailable soLowell tune from '77. The only in-concert piece is the closing Eldorado Slim. Don't miss this opportunity to add to your collection of Little Boots you'll be proud to display in den or lobby!