Friday, March 5, 2021

Cosmonox update and more Norma

Just a reminder that the new Cosmonox album is available on Bandqlamp. It's awfully good if you like squeaky tape sounds, alien funk, noise, squelchy Casio sounds, found voices, or several of the above.

I keep listening to Norma Tanega. The difficult second album is available on YouChoob:

Her first album is such a breath of fresh air that it was a little hard to get myself situated in the dank pathways of the second one. Definitely more a product of its time, with the requisite guitar dude soloing over everything, songs that evoke Neil Y and Joni M. etc., but the deeper I get into it, the more the songs shine. Lots of autoharp in among the dude guitar sounds, which is a nice touch.

In some ways, it reminds me of Yoko Ono's Approximately Infinite Universe, which prompted the same eww-why-won't-that-guitar-player-shut-up feeling in me the first time I heard it. Eventually the strength of Yoko's songs finally blasted through its early-70s-yeahhh-man trappings and I learned to love it, wah-wahs and all.

Thursday, March 4, 2021

Alphabetical order

I've been filing some CDs in boxes. I know, exciting, right?! I was delighted to find that my own Spirit Duplicator CDRs got to hang out right after Souled American and Spherical Objects in my collection. You could do a lot worse. S has a lot of good stuff.

Back when I was making music under the names Yak Brigade and Celesteville, I found myself displeased with the company I kept. Y has always been a weird backwater. I guess there's Young Marble Giants and Richard Youngs. Youth Brigade (DC), of course, and the Yips (Blue Flannel Bathrobe Butterfly is still pretty great). And C has a lot of chaff in between the must-haves (Camberwell Now, Can, Cannanes, Charalambides, Gal Costa).

I'm just about finished with the third installment of mini-CDRs. It's going to be called Theory Internal. Like all the others, songs are in alphabetical order (with a bit of poetic license here and there). It has been liberating to let the albums sequence themselves. I've changed a few song names to enhance album flow, which is OK - I think "Letters Removed" is a better song title than "Clap Clap Clap Clap Clap" anyway.

Weird comparison: If you ignore Canto I, the Divine Comedy is also three sets of 33 items. Currently deciding which of the EPs is the Inferno.

Monday, March 1, 2021

Quality diction

The internet winds recently blew me to an old Canadian show about computers that aired in the early 80s and which I clearly remember playing on Iowa Public Television in the day:

It is weirdly soothing. Part of it is the ASMR-level* microphones on the computer keyboards and cassette deck lids, but mostly it's Luba Goy's lilting voice. Here she is pronouncing "ROM pack" and "Atari" in the best way possible. Quality diction.

* My boy is obsessed with marble run videos on that video site, and there seems to be a lot of crossover between the marble world and the ASMR world. He ends up watching a lot of mind-meltingly tedious ASMR marble videos, but thankfully there are a few good ones out there that end up sounding like Harry Bertoia sculptures with a lot more clacking of small spheres. Someday you may know what I'm talking about.

Saturday, February 27, 2021

Pinball/time signatures

One of the nice things about having a preschooler is that you can watch the Sesame Street "Pinball Number Count" without end. I love hearing my boy yell out numbers in highly dramatic voices. The best.

The other day on the way to daycare, we were listening to the aforementioned Pinball Number Count, and then he wanted to listen to "I Love Rock & Roll," which would just be a bump-bump-clap R&R vehicle were it not for that confounding little measure that's missing a beat, and then we went on to Norma Tanega, whose mind was not divisible by four in the slightest, and it dawned on me: I spent an entire half hour in a subcompact vehicle listening only to music in weird time signatures by female musicians. It felt good.

Friday, February 26, 2021

RIP Fryz

So a certain electronics chain shut down. When Tape Mountain was in full on CDR burning mode, many of its discs came from a certain aisle at the Fryz in Wilsonville. I'm contractually obligated to break out this chestnut:

NERD 1 (in lateral-lisp nerd voice): You can't get good media in Wilsonville.
NERD 2 (in nearly identical voice): Yeah, you gotta go to Beaverton to get good media.

My impression of these two CD-R enthusiasts still comes out every now and then and never fails to annoy the bejeezus out of my wife, mother, anyone else. It's even more horrible when my brother takes on the Nerd 2 role. Magical.

Other indelible Fryz memoriez:

  • Wanting electronics but feeling too poor to buy them (always)
  • Buying the world's most garish fake-iMac transparent blue plastic CRT monitor - it was horrible garbage and died about a year later
  • Having a sweaty salesman sell me a pretty good VCR in a space  that felt like it had never seen light, telling me that "Everyone knows Sony. Panasonic is kind of under the radar, so they have to try harder."
  • Back when the Wilsonville space was under the even-more-ludicrouz Incredibl Univerz, buying my first CD player (a never-quite satisfactory Magnavox - the price represented like an entire 40 hours of work, yikes...) so I could listen to promo CDs from the college radio station. Feeling like I had totally Sold Out by doing so. Listening to the one cutout bin CD that I owned (Eleventh Dream Day's Lived to Tell, which was kind of a snoozefest, but when it's the one CD you own..)


Tuesday, February 23, 2021

Vampisoul dealz and small moments of delight

Spanish label Vampisoul, they who brought you the aforementioned Elia y Elizabeth reissues (so good), is currently selling a bunch of their old CD stock for cheap, even with postage from Madrid. Lots of great vintage Peruvian, Colombian, African stuff, all lovingly preserved and presented, with ample liner notes in many cases. And there's a CD with a goat playing the congas on the cover that makes my son crack up. I spent double figures including lightning-fast international shipping** and ended up with a gluttonous feast of digital wonder on my doorstep.

One of the deeply groovy CDs* from the Peruvian pack had a feature that I appreciated:

Why yes, that IS an inner sleeve with rounded edges. Is there any need for an inner sleeve at all in a CD case, much less one with rounded edges? Not at all, but it's a nice detail and ups the verisimilitude factor for us cheapskates who like obsolete perfect sound objects instead of cruddy warped half-ass modern vinyls at ten times the price.

One more small delight and then I'll stop: Getting packages sent from abroad! Yesterday I got a box full of Hario V60 02 coffee filters straight from Japan. The packages are delightful (photo swiped from

It is great to see the phrases "Flexible coffee style!" and "Why cone shape?" every morning. On top of that, the box was filled out with a Japanese newspaper, so I got to look at the stock page, a picture of Hello Kitty advertising something, more ads, lots of things to explain to the boy.

*Does "groovy" work as a dad joke about CDs? OK, how about "so pitted"? Wait, what year is this anyway?

**It is sad that at this point, international shipping is probably faster than shipping from the next ZIP code over. Mandatory political reference: That gross dude aimed for full-on fascism but forgot the bit about making the trains run on time?!

Monday, February 22, 2021

Auction Polka

 The great Polkadon DB brings us another Ukrainian-Canadian polka gem in "Auction Polka":

That's right - the worlds of polka and auctioneering collide, and it is in fact BETTER than you thought it would be! This pretty much sounds and looks like my youth if you move things a little farther south on the North American plains and white-bread things up a bit.

As with a lot of the stuff on this YouTube channel, zero information anywhere on the internet about this stuff. I admire that, but there must be more information... OK, on to Dizqogs, dig a little deeper - whoa, how did I not know about Leroy Van Dyke's "Auctioneer"?

OK, maybe I've heard this before? Or maybe someone riffed on this? In any case, I am delighted that he apparently turned this schtick into a career, even a movie called "What Am I Bid?" in which he earned top billing as "The World's Most Famous Auctioneer."

Thank you, internet - what a world.