Sunday, September 25, 2011

Unknown Thai Orchestra

This recording has been issued and reissued a few times, but seems to be out of print again. It's available elsewhere on the internet, but I keep returning to it again and again and decided to put it up here so as many people as possible get a chance to hear this... First made available in 2000 as "Siamese Temple Ball," it was later repressed on vinyl with the cover you see here as "70s Thai Orchestra." There seemed (seems?) to be quite a lot of speculation as to whether this is actually a field recording of Thai musicians from the '70s or some jams whipped up by hipsters in a practice space in Brooklyn. After sifting through a solid amount of the vintage Thai music on offer over at Monrak Plengthai, I'm going to go ahead and say there's no way this is not authentic Thai music, unless you can show me a Brooklynite who slays on a bamboo mouth organ. I may be way off here, but this sounds to me like an electrified, (more) frenzied version of the klong yao tapes downloadable from Monrak. Meaning it is in fact music played at a temple fair in Thailand. It's not hard to hear where the confusion arose, though. The foundation is provided by what sounds to be a trap kit in the process of disintegration, some hypnotic electric guitar and pulsing bass. It's got an addictive kind of shambling groove going on in places,  making it a distant aural cousin, to my ears, of the recordings bequeathed to us by the great Parson Sound. But it's the traditional instruments such as the gamelan-esque xylophone and the aforementioned mouth organ that really take these tunes to the next level, giving them an unhinged psychedelic edge enhanced by the ecstatic whoops and hollers you can hear way down in the mix. Must have been one hell of a temple ball.

In case you need further convincing, this is the only sound sample I could scrounge up on the web. In keeping with the confusing history of this recording, someone has delayed the fuck out of one of the tracks and slapped it over some unrelated video of Thai dancing, apparently trying to pass it off as something they taped on their last vacation? Who knows. I think the original recording does quite nicely without the sonic tinkering, but here it is, for preview purposes only:

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Ilaiyaraaja - Adutha Vaarisu OST (1983)

When well enough just can't be left alone... Here's one more download of synthtar bombast from the Maestro Ilaiyaraaja.

This track seems like it has to have been sampled by J Dilla or Madlib, but maybe not. All I know is that is one brutal groove:

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Akiko Yano - Japanese Girl (1976)

Alright, Pop Overbite is back for real now. Been on a bit of an avant singer/songwriter jag here lately, and I figured this was as good a place to start as any. "Japanese Girl" is Akiko Yano's debut from 1976 and the 26th-best Japanese rock record of all time, according to Rolling Stone Japan (ahem). I don't know if this really even qualifies as rock, though. It's a truly odd mix of lots of things that shouldn't work together in theory but do. Isn't that always the way? '70s synths clash with rubbery bass lines and compressed drums, Latin percussion patters behind Akiko's piano and vocal acrobatics, traditional Japanese instruments and melodies are squeezed into almost-proggy time signatures. But always glued together by a tight pop sensibility. Oh, and did I mention that she was backed on half of this record by Little Feat? Better just check it out before you get any more confused.

All but the best three songs are available on Youtube. This should give you an idea, though:

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Arthur Verocai - S/T

Apparently, Arthur Verocai is old news to crate diggers and beat makers, but I just caught wind of this 1971 album from Brazil's answer to David Axelrod thanks to a fine homemade comp of obscure Tropicalia and more over at Ghost Capital and thought I'd post the whole thing. I can see why dudes like Madlib and MF Doom are all over this. Breezy Brazilian pop dipped in reverb with big brassy choruses, unpredictable arrangements and sample-ready 70s drums anchoring it all down. Perfect for summer or any time of the year, really.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Joachim & Rolf Kühn - Bloody Rockers

As featured on the unfuckwithable Byg Deal comp, German free jazz vets and brothers Joachim and Rolf Kühn here bring their unholy organ and fuzz-wah clarinet skills to bear on a set of relatively poppier material, circa 1967. Big brother Rolf got his start on the German big band scene and would later go on to play with the likes of Benny Goodman and Tommy Dorsey, while baby Joachim was a familiar face in Eurojazz blowout circles. Mix those two ingredients about half and half and you've got "Bloody Rockers," perhaps the finest in-and-out balancing act I've ever laid ears on. Numbers such as the title track keep things firmly in the pocket, without slacking on the Neu Thing solos, while tunes such as "To Our Father" take things out to lunch, complete with a bit of Krautnik spoken word. And then there's the likes of "El Dorado," which move between free and 4/4 in ways you might not have suspected possible, topped off with glorious Morricone-esque melodies for a smooth, refreshing finish.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

V/A - Beat der Sozialisten, Vol. 2

Pop Overbite is going on vacation for a month or so, but here's one for the road, another compilation to keep your ears occupied for a bit... This one is all bands from the former Eastern Bloc. There's the requisite amount of typical period fare here, but there is enough Bolshevik brilliance to make this one worth your while. Check out the broken amp fuzz of Krzysztof Klenczon (below), Hungary's General flexing their heavy pop chops with some Rob Halford-like banshee wailing from their frontwoman, some funky drumming from fellow Magyar lady of rock Kati Kovacs, a bit of early Scorpions-esque proto-metal from the DDR, with what sounds like (but I suspect is in fact not) a Jew's harp, courtesy of Puhdys... And the list goes on. Check it out for yourself!

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Pugh Rogefeldt - Ja, Dä ä Dä (1969)

Album number one from this glassy-eyed Swedish rockstar of yesteryear, "Ja, Dä ä Dä" may be more readily recognizable to many as the source of that DJ Shadow sample from "...Endtroducing." Make no mistake, though, Mr. Rogefeldt's idiosyncratic and sometimes whimsical pop is worth a listen in its own right. His later albums sort of wandered off down a less-appealing boogie-rock path, and you can see it coming at times here, but the guy's charisma makes up for it.... The first three tracks, including a cover of Kurt Weill's "Surabaya Johnny," are a lead-off 1-2-(3) punch that could make anybody jealous.

The Grodeck Whipperjenny - S/T (1970)

This seems to be pretty readily available on the Internet, but it was new to me so I thought I'd share it... Cincinnati's The Grodeck Whipperjenny was led by writer/arranger Dave Matthews, a favorite of James Brown, who even put this out on his own label. This is their first and last album under their own name (although they backed up JB on another fine LP) and, to my ears, is a minor psychedelic soul gem. And psychedelic is how we like our soul. There are a few clunkers on here, but I think basically what you need to know is that there's a song called "Put Your Thing On Me" and it's as good as its name would suggest.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

V/A - Sinhala Pop!: 15 Golden Oldies from Sri Lanka

Ladies and gentlemen, I give you... the first official Pop Overbite compilation! I became a bit obsessed with Sri Lankan pop music after running across a group called The Super Golden Chimes over on the mighty Radiodiffusion Internasionaal Annexe blog, and I just had to hear more. But... even in the Age of Internet, some things are still not easy to come by. I'm guessing that, like many places, whatever limited runs of vinyl once existed in Sri Lanka have long since been lost to time and lack of care. The only stuff I was able to track down were '90s synthesizer-heavy remakes of a few classic tunes. And then I hit Youtube... So what we have here are 15 songs recorded between 1959 and 1974(ish), ripped from Youtube and cleaned up as best as I could manage. The sound quality is rough in places, but I've been a-begging, so guess I shan't be a-choosing.

So just what does Sinhala pop sound like? For the short answer, check out the video below. The long answer is that it's a breathtaking mix of influences from around the globe, from the requisite '60s surf guitars to Bollywood film music to Hawaiian slide to Sri Lanka's homegrown baila, a folky type of dance music drawing on the influences of the island's Afro-Sinhalese community as well as its former colonizers, the Portuguese. For an example of baila in a purer form, check out "Irene Josephine" by Wally Bastiansz, the "Godfather of Baila." M.S. Fernando, on the other hand, mixed baila with more modern influences. And of course I've included plenty of Super Golden Chimes, known as the Sri Lankan Beatles, though I guess that comparison may be apt only in terms of importance for the music scene there, rather than the actual sound. Judge for yourself!

Sinhala Pop!: 15 Golden Oldies from Sri Lanka
1. Udarata Niliya - The Super Golden Chimes
2. Nelum Malae Pethi Kadalaa - M.S. Fernando
3. Sande Yaame - Priya Suriyasena 
4. Ran Masu Ne - Milton Mallawarachchi
5. Hada Giley Ama Mihirey - Mohideen Beig & Rukmani Devi 
6. Sayuru Theraedee - Milton Mallawarachchi
7. Gamen Liyumak - The Super Golden Chimes
8. Gana Anduray - Milton Mallawarachchi
9. Rathnamaaliye - J.A. Milton Perera
10. Kandasurinduni Kataragama - Clarence Wijewardane & The Super Golden Chimes
11. Guwan Kumari - The Samanalayo
12. Irene Josephine - Wally Bastiansz
13. Maaniyani - The Super Golden Chimes
14. Madaraa Mal - Clarence Wijewardane
15. Mata Men Ohutada - Milton Mallawarachchi

Monday, April 18, 2011

V/A - Las Raíces de la Chicha, Vol. 1

Poking around blogland, I came across this fine compilation of psychedelic cumbias from Peru! Get it over at Garage Latino. Lots of other ridiculously rare stuff to check out, too. This has to be one of the better collections of chicha out there, which may be explained by the fact that it seems to have been put together by some Peruvian collector nerds, and is thus more representative of the scene in general than some of the other compilations. Lots of tunes I hadn't heard. The bigger names, like Los Destellos and Los Mirlos and Juaneco, are well represented, with a bunch of songs which I don't think have been comped yet, along with much more random and obscure stuff, like Los Zheros from Iquitos, Los Claveles and Popi y Sus Pirañas. There's even a cover of Simon and Garfunkle's "Sound of Silence," done up chicha-style. Don't miss Volume 2, while you're at it... Psychedelic cumbia or bust!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Moraes Moreira - S/T (1975)

Moraes Moreira (left) and friend, 1979
The first solo album from ex-Novos Baianos member Moraes Moreira, and it's a good one! Like so many others, Moreira seems to have devolved into some seriously glossed up schlock (and the occasional Carnaval party anthem) post-1980, but rest assured, on this LP he brings some manic Brazilian folk-prog-pop for the ages. File it next to that Brazil '70: After Tropicalia comp.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Los Kipus - Y Sus Voces

Genaro, Carmen and Paco: the original Los Kipus
A collection featuring some of the incredible singers who have passed through the ranks of these Peruvian waltz heavy hitters. If you haven't heard Peruvian waltz, now is the time to right that wrong: mix virtuoso fingerpicking and the traditional Peruvian percussion instrument known as the cajón (later incorporated into Spanish flamenco) in 3/4 time with some histrionic singing about lost loves, the occasional organ and other flourishes, and you've got a new favorite record to cry into your beer to...

And here's a low-quality sample of what you can expect from this gem of a disc:

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Edip Akbayram - "Yapraklara Dallara" (1982)

I wanted to follow up  Las Grecas with something sonically related, if geographically distant. While there are a host of compilations (almost all of them outstanding) devoted to the Turkish rock scene of the '60s and '70s, and the majority of Istanbul's major musical figures and many of its minor ones have had their albums reissued and made available in the West, I think the year 1980 has been a bit of a cutoff point, and maybe not entirely without reason. Unfortunately, it would be a mistake not to give this 1982 LP a listen. It's got all of the synth-driven, ethnic dancefloor glory and Arabic modal melodies that make Catalan rumba so fascinating, except here Mr. Akbayram applies this tried and true treatment to Turkish folksongs, with equally enthralling results. Check it out:

Las Grecas - Gipsy Rock (1974)

I've had this Catalan rumba stuff on heavy rotation here thanks to the Captain Entropy blog (via the always quality Holy Warbles). My favorite song on the compilation there was credited to an "unknown artist," who, after a bit of investigating, I discovered was none other than these ladies right here, Las Grecas. This, I believe, is their first album, from 1974. It's a bit lighter on the flamenco in places than some of the tunes on the Acid Rumba compilation, but it's got plenty of fuzzy (bordering on Sabbathy) guitars! Based on the video below, it looks like if you lived in Catalonia in the mid-1970s, rather than glam and and disco, this is what you were into:

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Los Pekenikes - Grandes Éxitos

Formed in Madrid in 1959, Los Pekenikes started off playing surf-inspired instrumental covers of the English-language hits of the era. They stuck together through the '60s, opening for the Beatles and picking up other influences along the way: classical, spaghetti westerns, waltzes and more, all melded with that original echoey surf guitar and backed by ambitious orchestral arrangements and rampant multi-instrumentalism. The material here dates from 1966 through the early ´70s, the point when they really found their own voice and started putting out records of their own special genre-melding brand of pop genius. Don't sleep on it!

The audio in this video's a bit muddy, but it's worth a look to see just how they pulled these songs off live. Insane.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

V/A - Psychedelices 1969 - 1972

Here's a compilation I ran across on the file sharing networks. Searches for "Psychedelices" (which I think could be roughly translated to something like "psychedelicacies"... correct me if I'm wrong here) only turn up a highly questionable album by some modern French singer who is probably referred to as a "chanteuse" even in her English-language press kit. So anyway, I don't think this is actually a real compilation available anywhere. It's in a similar vein to the mind-blowing Finders Keepers The BYG Deal disc, to the point where I actually wondered if this might not be an early version of that compilation that got leaked onto the web. There is a bit of overlap, although this one's missing some of the more leftfield inclusions from The BYG Deal (the Kuhn brothers' Bloody Rockers, Art Ensemble of Chicago's "rock" song, and that fucking Vangelis tune!). What it may lack in breadth, however, it makes up for in depth... Some rare 45-only tracks by French pop-prog space invaders such as Alice and the Alan Jack Civilization, with multiple songs by most of the artists featured. I mean... do realize you need to download this, right?

Yat-Kha - "Yenisei Punk" (1995)

Out-of-print second album by the only Tuvans to grace the pages of Mojo magazine. Combining traditional Tuvan throat singing and instrumentation with electric guitar and a distinctly modern sense of songwriting, to my ears this is where these guys really got things right, before they opted for that glossy production sound that world music fans seem to go in for and started doing Joy division covers. Here, the only covers you're going to get are disgruntled takes on Soviet-era propaganda hymns (as in the video below). Maybe it's just me, but that seems way more badass. The arrangements are incredible, the songwriting strong, managing to strike that delicate balance between tradition and innovation.

V/A - Psychedelic Trip Through Bulgaria

And we're back in the former Eastern bloc, this time with a compilation of prime Bulgarian brainmelt. I'm often skeptical of these Nuggets-type country-themed psych compilations, which many times turn out to be nothing more than versions of early Rolling Stones tunes sung in Czech or Afrikaans or whatever. But this... This little collection covers that period from the very end of the '60s through the early to mid-'70s, when bands around the world were starting to break free of their Merseybeat chains and spending time locked up in their room/basement/practice space with a load of effects pedals, even more drugs (I'm just guessing here) and their amps cranked to 10. What's interesting about the rock music coming out of the Balkans at the time is that in many cases the only record label in the whole country was state-run (Balkanton in Bulgaria, Electrecord in Romania, etc.). In the stricter of the Communist countries, this meant no rock or Western-style music, period. But in the Balkans, if you mixed in a bit of folk melody or an odd time signature here and there, this was sufficient glorification of the people's heritage for the censors and you could get away with electrifying your music (and your audiences). And thus we have the music contained on Psychedelic Trip Through Bulgaria. While some of it is standard comp. fare (I mean, there is a Bulgarian-language cover of "(I'm Your) Venus," which, by the way, is great), there is also traditional polyphonic chant blasted into orbit, reverb-drenched Slavic proto-metal and enough other oddities to make this an essential listen.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Outrageous Peruvian Fuzztones, Vol. 2: Grupo Trebol

Another hole in the wall find, this time with some wooly mammoth fuzz from Cusco, the "bellybutton of the world," circa 1973. As is often the case with psych rock albums from that era, this one is not necessarily killer all the way through, but... Just take a listen below to the flip side opener, "Caballo," which sounds like an army of drunk Santanas stumble-charging down from the Andes. And then there's the track that kicks off the album, "Algún Día Alcanzaremos," about which I would go so far as to say that it's the closest that Latin America ever got to Blue Cheer. Out-of-tune dual guitar solos never go out of fashion around here.

Grupo Trebol - "Buscándote" LP

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Outrageous Peruvian Fuzztones, Vol. 1: El Medio Grupo

J.L. Carvallo and Chacalón
First in a series of over-the-top distortion from purveyors of fine Peruvian fuzztone, the stars of this installment are Saul Casahuaman and his Medio Grupo. Picked this up on CD-R in a hole in the wall in the backstreets of Lima, so I have neither cover art nor a great deal of information on these guys. It is apparently a selection of tracks from different albums and 45s, ripped from the vinyl by the guy who sold it to me. Saul Casahuaman was the little brother of Victor Casahuaman, the leader of Grupo Celeste, one of the major Lima-based exponents of the '70s chicha sound and an early showcase for cumbia superhero Chacalón. The Big Jackal sings here, too, along with his little brother, "Chacal" and, uh, another gentleman named Oscar Hidalgo. The real scene stealer, though, is the guitarist, José Luis Carvallo (more to come from him) and his direct-into-the-mixing board fuzz stylings. Throw in a bit of moog, cowbell and some of the best bass playing this side of the Cordillera Blanca and you've got some classic chicha. It's worth noting, I think, that this is what people mean when they talk about chicha (as opposed to cumbia), being the Lima-based variant of the cumbia style that spread from Colombia down through the Amazon and the Andes to the city, with a lyrical focus on class issues, getting drunk, and... that's about it.

Download the Medio Grupo Mix

4 Hermano Pobre by The Silent Partner

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Hamlet Gonashvili - Hamlet

Moving east from Poland to Georgia, here's one that took me a few years to track down. Not so much because of the rarity of the album, but because it took a bit of detective work to figure out what I was even looking for. Good to know that everything isn't at our fingertips even in the age of internet.

It all started with this scene from Werner Herzog's Nosferatu:

While most of the soundtrack was done by the mighty Popul Vuh, this scene uses a bit of Georgian polyphonic chant credited to the Vokal Ansambl Gordela. Good luck tracking down their lone LP from 1969, "Georgian Folk Songs" (though I wouldn't mind if someone did and uploaded it for the rest of us!).

What I was able to find was a compilation of music by one of the founders of the group, Hamlet Gonashvili. I'll skip the Shakespeare jokes and just say that he has an awesome name. The music's pretty decent, too.

Hamlet Gonashvili - "Hamlet" CD

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Alibabki - Kwiat Jednej Nocy (1969)

For those who have wondered what it might sound like if David Axelrod had been hired to arrange a bunch of Central European cabaret tunes for the Polish Supremes... Well, probably no one ever wondered that, but here's your answer: the female Ali Babas and their "Flower of One Night." The song titles may not have much of a ring to them in English, but the music more than makes up for that. Whistling solos, overcompressed drums, angelic harmonies and handclaps in 5/4 time.

Alibabki - "Kwiat Jednej Nocy" LP

The video seems to be a non-album (and not-as-good) version of the single, taped off of Polish national television, but it's got some nice flower shots to compensate: