Disco Sin, Sans, and Without Dollars
The African ability to manufacture major exhilaration out of marginal economics is a skill young American musos should wrap their minds around. These 14 tracks, selected by ace German compiler-annotator Georg Milz from the decade-plus history of a broadly conceived genre that's not about to quit, modernize highlife with electronics, rap, and the occasional excursion into reggae. Their only program is getting parties started. These parties are as raunchy as they wanna be‑-"Toto Mechanic" means "Pussy Mechanic" in Ga. But they're markedly more relaxed than, for instance, the HI-NRG bashes evoked by VP's new Ultimate Soca Gold Collection‑-as if they've figured out that the toto feels better to both partners when all day and all night includes breathers. A MINUS
Sofrito: Tropical Discotheque (Strut)
The title means exactly what it says. Selected by a London dance collective called Sofrito, which is also the name of a fatback-based Puerto Rican staple, two-thirds of these 15 obscurish dance tracks are from the disco era of 1976-1980, almost all sound it a little, and all are from Africa, Colombia, and the Caribbean. Like a DJ set designed to blast rather than lure you out of your seat, they start strong, end classic, and let you sit down in the middle. Whether they achieve their pan-tropical goals is unclear; I probably prefer the African tracks‑-especially the Zaiko Langa Langa spinoff "Je Ne Bois Pas Beaucoup"‑-because I always prefer the African tracks. So let me now praise two barn burners I would never otherwise have checked out: a lead cut featuring cumbia stalwart Lisandro Meza and‑-from Guadeloupe, whose music generally leaves me feeling like I haven't eaten‑-a speedy call-and-response workout by gwo ka drummer Ti Céleste. DJ-annotator Hugo reports that this is his crate-digging crew's most-played track. You can hear why. A MINUS
Recording all of the overdubs in one 18-hour session (how did those guys do that kind of thing back then?)
and to think that Jimmy was wantonly dancing with the pale, moonlit knight back then... das ist gut, c'est fantastique, no?
Ok the Human Switchboard Anthology just came today. Still haven't received my Strawberry yet, but I was told that would be rectified soon (fingers crossed). Human Switchboard how did I ever miss you? The new anthology is phenomenal , and I haven't even downloaded the extra tracks yet.
Ok, and, it's another great punk/DIY band from the Cleveland/Akron area. Who cares? Here I'll list some of them again...
The Dead Boys, Peter Laughner, Chrissie Hynde ,The Cramps, Rocket from the Tombs, Pere Ubu, Robert Quine, Rachel Sweet, Pagans, Devo and the Rubber City Rebels, and now Human Switchboard.
I'm kinda proud. Civic pride is so bourgeois but in this economy I'll take pride in anything I can.
Presence may not be the best Zep album ever (that would be Physical Graffiti)
I gotta go with Zoso(IV) and like Xgau not for "Stairway" but "Levee". I understand the pick though as it is more than likely the most "metal" what ever that means. Only one left, did I miss it or has there been a Motorhead yet?
Maybe it'll be Smell the Glove, love that album cover.
Er . . . cocaine??
2. Led Zeppelin- Presence
The folks who argue that Led Zeppelin doesn’t count as “heavy metal” make the point that Zep was too stylistically diverse for the category, but in reality it’s because those folks haven’t given this staggeringly cacophonous album the attention that it deserves. Framed by the twin tragedies of Robert Plant’s car accident (he recorded the vocals for Presence from a wheelchair) and his 5-year old son’s unexpected death, and recorded and mixed in less than three weeks, Zeppelin stripped their music down to the raw essence of the band: Jimmy Page left his acoustic guitars behind at Boleskine House and Plant banished the faeries to the moors before coming to the studio. What is left is an extended colloquy between Page’s army of guitars and John Bonham polyrhythmic traps on the topic of relentlessness. Whereas Bonham used to mess around with the 3rd and 4th beats of a measure, here he is all in front (which is why for the first time Zep’s once-per-album James Brown homage doesn’t sound like a parody). Bonham’s drums are the lead instrument for “Achilles’ Last Stand”—pay attention to how he sets the pattern of the song during the push-pull intro, goes across that rhythm during the first part of Page’s guitar solo, and then brings those two elements together as the song winds down. Or listen to how he takes control of the harmonica interlude in “Nobody’s Fault But Mine”. Bonham’s ride-the-Furies onslaught showcased on Presence became a defining feature of New Wave of British Heavy Metal bands, and it’s not even the coolest thing going on here. Because that would be Jimmy Page’s quasi-Nordic guitar work. Recording all of the overdubs in one 18-hour session (how did those guys do that kind of thing back then?), Page creates a trebly, chiming and churning guitar sound that, when the ensemble sections all come together, sounds like a black metal Basie band. Presence may not be the best Zep album ever (that would be Physical Graffiti), but by toning down the chutzpah and stripping away the filler, it is their most singularly metal moment.
Wow, no AC/DC best-of?
Wow, no AC/DC best-of? I'm surprisedI believe Who Made Who is sort of like a best-of, not that I'm recommending it (a parsimonious nine songs, two of which are instrumentals, tied in to the Maximum Overdrive soundtrack). It does have YSMANL and "Hell's Bells" and FTATR(WSY). Oh, and the epochal (spot the entendre) "Sink the Pink." Nothing else of note, if I remember.
EDIT: Y'all already knew all this from Xgau's review, which tells you the same thing. I swear I wrote this without checking beforehand.
Wow, no AC/DC best-of? I'm surprised
I'm not. It means you gotta buy all the albums to get the songs you want.
[Edit] P.S. I think AC/DC is one of those few bands that refuses to permit downloads, too. So I guess they are convinced they will make more money by only selling albums with no compilations or downloads. (Although Mark above is right.)
If there was a best-of I'd put it on the minute I got it.
Wow, no AC/DC best-of? I'm surprised that a band that has been around as long as they have doesn't have one. They would be well-served if they did.
about the blogger
Starting in 1967, Robert Christgau has covered popular music for The Village Voice, Esquire, Blender, Playboy, Rolling Stone, and many other publications. He teaches in New York University's Clive Davis Department of Recorded Music, maintains a comprehensive website at robertchristgau.com, and has published five books based on his journalism. He has written for MSN Music since 2006.