Sunday, March 06, 2005

Axis Annie Can Take A Back Seat

So, according to hearsay and rumor, when David Koresh's fun loving Branch Davidians were held up in their bunker in Waco, Texas, one of the strategies our Government employed to harass the innocent gun toting cultists into giving up and getting a fucking job was repeatedly playing Nancy Sinatra's perfectly pleasant number 'These Boots Are Made For Walking' on giant speakers for days on end. When this failed, they had to go in with tanks and machine guns. If I only I had been employed in a the PsyOps division of the FBI and could formulate a CD-R to make those turn those cultist into good Christian soldiers who don't dare act different, many lives could have been spared. In case of future extended sieges, our Government would be advised to follow my advice, this could turn devout anti-US Militia Members into pencil pushing bureaucrats, make fanatical Muslim religious extremists shop at Wall Mart while singing Christmas carols, and make IRA members worship at the alter of Tony Blair.

A caveat, I did not include any song that I do not personally enjoy to a degree or at least listen to a few times a year. I'm not one of those assholes that deliberately seek out terrible stuff and embrace the novelty of something worthless either. Therefore, this doesn't include the gratuitously unlistenable. I am also only including songs that at least have some semblance of a melody, so some of those bigticket noise acts are out. These are all, more or less normal songs, just really fucked up for whatever reason. Here goes;

Phil Honolulu's Ten Song Mind Control CD-R

1. Suicide 'Frankie Teardrop'
I remember listening to this as a teenager on headphones. Already thoroughly disturbed, when Alan Vega's screams ripped through my headphones, it sent chills down my spine and gave me a horrible case of the fear. Fuck, one horribly harsh, scary number. Could you imagine the Feds blasting this on the biggest speakers they could find?
2. Patty Waters 'Black Is The Color Of My True Love's Hair'
Special thanks to SS Records head honcho Scott, who recommended this one in a separate context. I was vaguely familiar with it through Lester Bangs, but after Scott mentioned it, I went to track it down. Holy shit, this one is something else. It's one thing to have a maniac hollering in your ear on a Suicide record, but when a jazz artist lulls you into complacency in 1965 with a more or less harmless music collection of piano and vocal ballads and then unleashes and unspeakable aural wave of sheer ugly naked emotion that, amongst other things, was enough to inspire the entire career of Diamanda Galas. This song is a monster, and I can't articulate the impact.
3. The Blue Men 'Entry Of The Globbots'
Wisely left off of what would be most record buyer's introduction to the work of Joe Meek, the excellent 'It's Hard To Believe' compilation, 'Entry Of The Globbots' starts out okay. In fact, the whole album (and for the record, I don't know if I buy the whole 'First Concept Record' jive either) starts out fine. There are definite hints of what is to come, buried under crude echo, compression and God knows what else, under some vague vocal noise on the title track, but you have to be expecting it. After two enjoyable instrumentals, we get some cool sounds on 'Entry Of The Globbots', until the Globbots actually enter. I remember my exact reaction upon listening to this for the first time, it went like this: Fuck, well, this song is totally ruined. The Globbots - one of the alien races that Meek is ostensibly delivering the story of on this record - chant like the Chipmunks in a repetitive nonsense drone, it's oddly soothing, almost hypnotizing, and horribly annoying all at the same time. This one ought to have Cultists holding their ears and shrieking in terror after a few spins.
4. Black Randy & The Metrosquad 'Idi Amin'
The peak of Black Randy's rotgut brilliance. Listening to this on repeat after being up for a few days is unthinkable.
5. Bunker Hill 'The Girl Can't Dance'
Primitive is a adjective thrown around entirely too much when describing music, but it's appropriate here. So is minimal, since the song track is just a vocal, sparse background singing, a perfectly recorded marching drum beat, and some very simple, subtle bass. There are entirely too many superlatives casually laid out when writing about music. It's hard not to, there is something so personal about the emotions something that subjective evokes, especially when coupled with enthusiasm and excited temperaments. Let me say this, Bunker Hill's harrowing, overamped scream is one of the harshest ever put to record. Bunker Hill screaming in your ears after your nerves have already been throughly frayed?
6. Wavis O'Shave 'Mauve Shoes Are Awful'
The song is horrid. It's by far the worst thing in the Messthetic Series, which because of it's completist nature is a valiant but often inconsistent effort. I don't like the song in the least, but every so often I give it a spin trying to figure out what other people see in it. After my Messiah had abandoned me and I was facing down an army of armed Officers and this was being blasted into my compound, I would be trying to tear out my eardrums.
7. The Birthday Party 'Deep In The Woods'
Before Nick Cave got too silly, he had offerings like this. It is normally something I would enjoy making fun of (just because you've got sycophants telling you how much of a genius you are doesn't make your Murder Ballads any less ridiculous) but there is such conviction and genuine unpleasantness going on in 'Deep In The Woods' that I love it. It's one of those songs that makes it impossible to relax while playing.
8. The Hospitals 'Missing My Hands'
The Hospitals debut is one of my favorite records of the last couple o' years. There is a delicate line between music and noise, and The Hospitals toe it which alarming accuracy. The production is absolutely punishing, the cymbals jump out of the speakers and you have to aurally hack your way through the feedback and sheets of torture to get to the actual songs, which are catchy and great. Currently, this is my favorite Hospitals songs, erupting at points where you can't imagine it getting any more fucked up and then it gets on top of you in a cloud of electric shrieks. You know H.P. Lovecraft? You know his old dark Gods that want nothing but the worst type of pain to befall mankind? Who are so horrifying that even momentarily glimpsing one would cause you to go stark, raving mad? The embodiment of hopelessness, death, rape, and pain? This is what they listen to. While not a noise music junkie, I nevertheless have a high tolerance for fucked up recordings, but for a total amateur to be exposed to this, it would cause nothing but incomprehensible horror.
9. James Chance & Pill Factory 'That's When Your Heartaches Begin'
I like James Chance a whole lot more in theory then in practice. I'm glad he exists, he's great to read about, but I end up picking up the tonearm on his records pretty often. Trying to figure out the most grating track of his prolific career - which I assess as either irredeemably pretentious or sporadic genius depending on my mood - is pretty thankless. They all grate. I picked this one mostly because of his 'that's the ENDDD OF HIS SWEETHEARTTTTTT!' pinched scream towards the end and some guitar work I really enjoy.
10. The Collins Kids 'Hey Momma Boom-A-Lacka'
I'm sure whatever frightening Psychiatrist that picked Nancy Sinatra off the shelf to torture the Davidians into giving up has pretty good explanation for why he picked that song. Maybe it's the just how catchy it is, maybe hearing it repeated unlocks dark doors in the human mind that were never meant to be opened. On to my shame, as much as I don't like admitting it, I have a weak spot for the really vapid, crassly commercial, grossly stupid pop songs the Larry Collins put out after being the the greatest rockabilly guitarist youngster to ever hit the scene. This song is a toe-tapper, one that urges, with disarming friendliness, for you to sing along. Hearing it's inane idiocy and manufactured pop wedged in with this company could break any man.

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home