Friday, April 13, 2012

Top 13 (of the Week)

Sure,you know what's cool. But do you know what's really fuckin' FAR OUT? That's where Advanced Demonology takes over. Every week, (K)en and (S)wilson trudge through the murky waters of the pop culture hellscape, dredging up sparkly morsels of wonder. These are the result of our latest foray into the world of the weird, our wildest, wiggest-out picks of the week. Call it our 13 Point Program.

 13. Wytch Hazel
Clearly, heavy metal's apex was the fertile time in the late 1970's when the famed and fabled "NWOBHM" sprang up in working towns all over England. A rock-slob reaction to the first wave of punk, NWOBHM bands like Angelwitch, Venom, Tank, and Motorhead took the spit n' piss of the Pistols and wrapped it up in all the goofy excesses of 70's arena-sludge. These bands had terrible haircuts and a lot of them had stupid names (Sacred Alien!) and many of them couldn't even play and only lasted for a 7" before imploding, but the freewheeling, ramshackle spirit of the stuff is pretty infectious, and it's hard not to like clunky mullet epics like Savage's Loose n' Lethal album or Girlschool's amazing/awful Gary Glitter tribute. Which brings me to Wytch Hazel, a new band from Britain who do a fairly amazing job of recreating the sound (and, I'm assuming the smell) of used leather and walls-o-Marshalls in Birmingham circa 1979. They've just released their first single (digitally), and it's a corker. Be sure to save some room on your denim vest for a Wytch Hazel patch! (K)

 12. Dire Con - Pills
Driven by a chorus lifted from  Marvin Gaye, this tune has the swagger. Fantastic first thought best thought rhyming lyrics that jumble into each other about the sensation that is sweeping the nation!  I think these guys are out of Knoxville? I think this tune is all they have up? I know It's very crucial to America that anyone in Tennessee with musical interests, outside of country music, pursue them in these Dire times….and the Con…well, all rock musicians are con-artists, really, and I got no complaints with that. (S)

11. The Midnight Archive
Demonologists (budding or advanced) will definitely want to check out The Midnight Archive, a great web-doc series that explores various facets of the occult and High Weirdness with a sober but inquisitive eye. There's episodes on ouija boards, a woman that mummifies pets, the weirdest spots in New York, and lots more. Great production values and really interesting subjects. Check it out. (K)

10. Those Were Different Times: Cleveland 1972-1976
Somebody makes the good point that had all of Cleveland's great punk bands not left the city for grittier pastures in the late 70's (Devo, Dead Boys etc.) that it would be regard as one of genre's founding bloody fountains. This comp of blistering and absolutely undeniable proto-punk certainly helps the case. This now completely out of print collection from 1997 focuses mainly on three bands: The Mirrors, The Electric Eels and The Styrenes.  Mostly Stooges rip-offs and Velvet clones, and the secret to their greatness is the fact that they were doing it in a time when The Stooges and Velvets were mostly despised. But that last statements sells this stuff short. These bands are all monsters in their own right. It's like you can hear the American dream dying. (S)

9. Jill Barber
Is there a less ridiculous word I could use here than chanteuse? Probably, but I don't know any, so Jill Barber is a Canadian chanteuse and her new album, Mischievous Moon, is amazing. It's got flutes and clarinets and pretty much every song sounds like something John Waters and David Lynch would slow dance to at their respective proms. Or with each other, if they went to the prom together. It could've happened. Also, this is great "mood music", if you know what I mean. And I think you do. (K)

8. The Mirrors - She Smiled Wild
When I grabbed Those Were Different Times I was really looking for this song. the Swilson band is going to cover it. The Mirrors really are unabashedly Velvet Clones fronted by an ex-Vietnam Vet (if I remember correctly). This youtube clip has been on constant rotation. I think I'm going to make up my own lyrics for the "verse" and keep the chorus. By the way, The Mirrors had a revolving cast of members except for Jamie Kilmek, and one of those members was drummer Michael J. Weldon , bashing away on the tune above, who went on to found the Psychotronic Video empire!(S)

7. Keeping the British End Up
If you're a fan of saucy 70's Brit comedies - the Carry On films, Confessions of a Window Washer, anything with Mary Millington - then you're going to want to snatch up this fun and informative book, which gives not only an overview of the Brit sex-comedy genre and it's principle players and plenty of (ahem) "inspiring" photos (some in color!), but also offers dozens of reviews of individual films. If you're a big fan of popped-tops, flipped-wigs, and the phrase "How's your father", then you'll love this book. (K)

 6. Dave Wyndorf Interview

Tom Scharpling from WFMU talks to my hero Dave Wyndorf in his kitchen in Red Bank  about being a kid in the 60's, a teenager in the 70's, GBGB's punk mayhem, early 90's drug rock , turn of the century rock stardom, overdoses, Norman Mailer, Gene Simmons, and Jersey!  It's Epic!! (S)

5. Charlene Tilton on roller skates, circa 1979 
I was only 8 when roller disco mania hit the US around the summer of '78. All the girls I skated with were also around 8 years old and I fell down a lot. So I quit, and considered the whole stupid "roller fever" a waste of time. But, I mean, just look at this picture. Clearly, if you were old enough to reap its rich rewards, roller skating to disco jams definitely had some serious sex appeal. (K)

4. Phil Yost: Bent City
Grabbed this off the mighty Ghost Capital blog. Released in 1967 on John Fahey's Takoma Records. There is no info about him out there. The record is a cavalcade of beautiful acid woodwind, that will make your house melt into your head if you play it while cleaning. I should know.(S)

3. Winchester Mystery House
I used to read about this joint a lot when I was a kid, and it really freaked me out. Basically, what happened was the widow of the Winchester rifle fortune began building useless additions to their mansion as a way of dealing with her grief. This went on for 40 years and the end product was a crazy quilt house filled with stairs that go nowhere and doors that open to brick walls. I dunno, something about that seriously creeped me out as a kid. Anyway, it's supposedly haunted (spoiler alert: it's not) and it's definitely unnerving, and I just found out that you can actually tour the place now! Holy smokes! If I'm ever in Northern California, that's where I'm going. I'll probably get lost in there and end up crying.  (K)

 2. Rory Gallagher: Irish Tour 1974

I bought this on blu-ray. It's freaking amazing! Rory Gallagher is the most exciting Irish blues guitar player ever. His records are good, but live…holy smokes!!!!  This is a great document because you can see how much the early 70's Irish kids love Rory, when he hits Belfast the kids go berserk.  Immediate and intense. Do yourself the favor.(S)

1. Satan's Satyrs - Wild Beyond Belief LP
A headache-making racket of greasy biker scuzz-rock wrapped up in a Satan's Sadists rip-off sleeve and pressed on red vinyl. I think your next move is pretty obvious. (K)

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