28 May 2009

Sarolta Zalatnay - Sarolta Zalatnay (2007)

From Stylus (B) :

"Oh, Cini, how little we knew ye. Literally. Sarolta Zalatnay, better known in her home country of Hungary as Cini, never really made it over to America in, well, any capacity. Being Hungary’s #1 pop star for a number of years, both the desire and the ability simply weren’t there. But in listening to this self-titled collection of some of her finest moments, it’s hard not to imagine an alternate reality where (with some English language versions, natch) that Cini could’ve been welcome over here as the second coming of Janis Joplin.

That idea is helped out considerably by the final track on Sarolta Zalatnay, in which Cini takes on Joplin’s classic “Move Over.” Cini provides a reasonable facsimile, even if she isn’t quite as full-throated about it. The charms on Sarolta Zalatnay aren’t always down to Cini’s brassy voice, though. Oftentimes it’s as much a pleasure to hear the Locomotiv GT, Metro, Omega, and Skorpio backing tracks. These instrumentals are remarkable for their funkiness; you can imagine enterprising DJs scouring this record for breaks, such as the ones that begin “Ne Hidd El,” “Zold Borostyán,” and “Rögös Úton.” Sarolta Zalatnay offers much for the listener not looking for the perfect breakbeat, though. “Adj Egy Percet” is a flute-flavored lament (I’m guessing) that speaks for much of its duration in the international language of “na-na-na”’s, while “M?nanyag Álmok” is a lushly orchestrated chamber-pop piece worthy of the Free Design.

The one name that I keep coming back to, however, when listening to Sarolta Zalatnay is Betty Davis. In comparing some of these tracks to the upcoming Light in the Attic reissues of Davis’s self-titled and They Say I'm Different albums, it’s hard not to hear Cini as the rock/jazz/soul/funk hybrid that is consistently hard to pin down, but equally as consistently hard to stop listening to.

Cini might’ve done well to take a page from Davis, however, after these stunning records were released and her collaborators began to embody what most American imagine Hungarian pop music sounds like. But instead of disappearing from the public eye, in 2001 she was seen in Hungarian Playboy (at the age of 54) and three years later she was convicted of fraud and sentenced to three years in prison.

With Sarolta Zalatnay, and recent reissues of Selda and Mustafa Ozkent, Finders Keepers is making a strong case for Eastern Europe as one of the final frontiers in the rock reissue game. In their press release for this record, they mention that Cini’s work here sits alongside Czechoslovakia’s Marta Kubisova's Songy a Balady, “as well as early LPs by Greece's Elpida and Poland's Maryla Radowics.” Let’s hope they’re in the pipeline."

Get it here.

22 May 2009

Cool New Website

I just found this pretty sweet website called "WhoSampled.com". It is indeed an awesome find. Ever wondered how your favorite song was made? With a growing data base, it is a pretty awesome to pass the time, not to metion an educational experience for samplers everywhere, so then maybe you can go ahead and produce your own jams.

Give it a peep

The December Sound - The Silver Album (2007)

This is one of the best shoegaze albums since Loveless. I couldn't really find any comprehensive reviews for this album (but then again, I didn't try too hard either), so here's synapsistapped's review over on Rate Your Music (5/5):
"The Silver Album is a breath of fresh air. It is shoegaze in its best form, filled with buzzing guitar sounds complemented by soft, echoing vocals unintelligibly distant in the background. With this release, The December Sound indubitably distance themselves from the generic minimalist post-rock sounds revered by today's indie culture. The music effectively pulls the same emotional strings, but instead leaves the listener with pure substance rather than ambiguous sentiments."

Take his word for it. This album is great.
Get it here.

20 May 2009

Big Sir (2000) and Und Die Scheiße Ändert Sich Immer (2006)

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Two of the rare awaited albums from Big Sir. If you want to know who they are just look back on the blog to find out that these are great finds. Enjoy!

Fun fact, Und Die Scheiße Ändert Sich Immer means "and the shit always changes".

19 May 2009

Ride - Nowhere (1990)

From allmusic (4.5/5):

"Nowhere seems to hold consensus as the second-best record of the shoegaze era, and with very good reason. All of the common words, phrases, and adjectives commonly used with the short-lived subgenre fit properly here, and they're all positive, every one of them. Whir, whoosh, haze, swirl, ad nauseum -- this record holds all of these elements at their most exciting and mastered. But in the end, great pop records necessitate quality songs, which Nowhere delivers throughout. Undeniably, it's Ride's zenith -- dense, tight, hypnotic. "Seagull" serves as a dynamic opener; after a couple seconds of light feedback, bassist Steve Queralt kicks in with a rubbery, elliptical line (reminiscent of a certain Beatles song), which is soon followed by Andy Bell and Mark Gardener's guitar twists and Loz Colbert's alternately gentle and punishing drumming. After the upbeat "Kaleidoscope," the record falls into a tempo lull that initially seems impenetrable and meandering. However, patience reveals a five-song suite of sorts, full of lovely instrumental passages that are punctuated with violent jabs of manic guitars. The endlessly escalating "Polar Bear" is a high point, featuring expertly placed tom rolls from Colbert. The tempo picks up for the closing "Vapour Trail," a wistful pop song with chiming background guitars galore and mournful strings to close it out. The U.S. version was bolstered significantly with the remainder of the Fall EP ("Dreams Burn Down" having reappeared earlier in the record). "Taste" is one of their finest pure pop numbers; the moody/driving "Here and Now" rates well, and the five-minute "Nowhere" is a nasty distorto-freakout."

Get it here.

Gang Gang Dance - Saint Dymphna (2008)

From allmusic (4/5):

"Brooklyn's Gang Gang Dance is an excellent example of the vibrancy found in the loosely knit underground musical community in New York. Traditionally, the trio has relied heavily on electronics and sampling but has used them to very free-form ends. Influences from Brian Eno to Tetsuo Inoue, and Eastern-tinged world music could be heard in their sprawling textures and ambience-laden warp grooves. With Saint Dymphna (titled for the patron saint of outsiders), GGD has a made another left turn but this time by turning right, away form the hippie/patchouli saturated post-psychedelic tribal music and toward the more structured forms of electronic beat music like dubstep and grime. Gone are the long, sprawling ragged jams of their previous albums; they are replaced with 11 "songs," none of them more than five-and-a-half minutes. The beauty in this is immediately apparent: the listener encounters the influence of latter day digital dubbers like Mad Scientist andDub Syndicate in the sprawling sonics on the album opener "Bebey," but that quickly morphs itself into a more rugged, robotic formalism with traces of Kraftwerk, Deutsche Amerikanische Freundschaft, and even Der Plan. This opens the fader gates for the floppy electro-funk of "First Communion," the first track to feature Liz Bougatsos' vocals. Sharded streams of electric guitar wrap themselves around her voice, also adorned by a deep rumbling bass that's fuzzed to the max, and then the winding, melodic, pulsing, electronic synths and a drum kit. It's the beginning of an exotic journey into sound that gets to the aforementioned dancefloor styles in earnest, such as the slower, four to the floor loops on "Blue Nile," and the truly exotic mélange of samples, sprawling void atmospherics. and stretched beats on "Vacuum." MC Tinchy Stryder is a featured vocalist on "Princes," where grime and dubstep come together in a rhythm collision of startling proportions. There is room for the truly abstract here as well, such as on the ambient soundtrack-like "Inners Pace," and the more elastic rhythmic construction on "Afoot." But by the time the listener gets to "House Jam" -- which is nothing less than an utterly psychedelic blend of acid house and trance with a "straight" sung vocal by Bougatsos -- she'll wonder if she's really hearing GGD at all. "Desert Storm" winds all of these explorations in a tightly constructed mélange of dubstep, electro, breakbeat science, and freaky trip-hop. GGD claim that this record was influenced by the bombast of reggaeton blasting on N.Y. streets. Maybe so, but the brew they've conjured is their own. It's easily their most fully realized project to date and rather than simply a pastiche, they've managed to create something that's completely their own."

Get it here.

17 May 2009

Jackie-O Motherfucker - Fig. 5 (2000)

From allmusic (4.5/5):

"In its superb 2000 LP, Fig. 5, Jackie-O Motherfucker was inspired by drones, ethnic and folk musics, free jazz, and the hippie spirit of the Grateful Dead, but Fig. 5 melds these genres so effortlessly and convincingly that the results barely resemble any of their antecedents. Captain Beefheart's Trout Mask Replica is probably the most famous precedent for this sort of free-thinking fusion of jazz and folk music, but Fig. 5 is far less forceful than its late-'60s forebear. Jackie O's interpretation of "Amazing Grace" is perhaps the best example of the eclecticism at work here: Violin, harmonica, and banjo settle into a plodding drone that sounds like a skipping recording of a drunken Appalachian band. Then, various wind instruments glide around the drone in a free, fluttery manner that's halfway between Arabic taqasim and the Art Ensemble of Chicago. Elsewhere, the group plays bits of old American spirituals, Dirty Three-ish indie rock, Duane Eddy-like guitar twang, and electronic noise, all to good effect. Jackie O's ability to incorporate elements of so many disparate kinds of music without seeming dilettantish is remarkable; the band's ability to do so without showing any seams is extraordinary."

Get it here.

Serge Gainsbourg - N°2 (1959)

From allmusic (4/5):

"The late Serge Gainsbourg made a name for himself fairly early in his recording career with his combination of French cabaret music, bordello jazz, and drunken musique exotica. His second effort features Gainsbourg with a cigarette, appropriately seated at a worn desk littered with roses, a long-nosed 38 caliber placed squarely in front of him, and a quizzical, daring look on his puss that seems to say, "Can't figure it out? Of course!" Gainsbourg actually attempted singing in the early days, before his voice began to go and all he could do was whisper or rant his crazy poetry. Here he fronts the Alain Goraguer Orchestra on eight selections that are as typical of his oeuvre as Love on the Beat was nearly 30 years later. His topics are the seduction site of the jukebox on "Le Claquer de Doights" and a theme based on d'Alfred de Musset's "Night Doctor." There are also a couple of Latin-styled numbers in "Mambo Miam Miam" and "Indifferente," with a serious Stan Getz-aped sax solo in the middle eight (not to mention a crazy TV western theme as a cabaret song in "Jeunes Femmes et Vieux Messieurs"). This is truly the beginning of Gainsbourg's hepcat legend, and musically, for all the kitsch and gimmick, it comes across as totally sincere in its campy chariot. This is why we dig French pop, and this is why Gainsbourg holds sway with everyone from Nick Cave to Angie Stone."

If you're only familiar with Gainsbourg's Histoire de Melody Nelson, or if you've never heard of Serge Gainsbourg, make sure to pick this one up. If a lot of people download it, I'll upload more from his oeuvre.

Anyways, get it here.