Monday, January 31, 2011

Love and Rockets- Express (1986) MP3 & FLAC

"Are you confused by the chaos in everyone's wandering eyes?"

Express is often cited as Love and Rockets' masterpiece, and while it isn't necessarily better than the album that preceded it (their debut Seventh Dream of Teenage Heaven), it is certainly more fully conceived, creating a psychedelia-tinged Post-Goth template that a thousand wannabes would unsuccessfully try to replicate. Less consciously chart-friendly than Love and Rockets' later albums, Express contains some breathtakingly great songs, such as "Kundalini Express," which is carried along by a sexy, serpentine (and instantly memorable) Daniel Ash guitar riff, and the humorously titled, "Yin and Yang (The Flowerpot Man)," whose frenetic acoustic guitar-driven tempo feels like a runaway train heading straight over a cliff. This is, without a doubt, one of the more sonically striking albums of the mid-eighties, which is due, in large part, to the talents of Producer John A. Rivers, who had worked earlier in the decade with The Specials and The Swell Maps. Transcendental, anthemic, and catchy as hell, Express was one of the most original albums to emerge from the death throes of Post-Punk.

Dif Juz- Extractions (1985) MP3 & FLAC

Mining sonic territory located somewhere between The Durutti Column and This Mortal Coil, Extractions, the only full-length Dif Juz ever recorded, offers a glimpse of what Post-Rock might have sounded like 4AD-style. This strange jem, now resigned to a forgotten corner of the 4AD back catalog, was produced by Robin Guthrie of Cocteau Twins fame and, not coincidentally, also features a vocal turn on "Love Insane" by the other Cocteau Twin, Elisabeth Fraser. Subtle and at times haunting, Extractions deserves a listen if only for the disorienting experience of hearing Richard Thomas' fine sax work weaving in and out of 4AD's trademark gloom like a seal swimming in a sea of black satin pillows.

Various Artists- Too Much Two Tone: Ska Classics (2001) MP3 & FLAC

"Twenty-one years in captivity. Shoes too small to fit his feet. His body abused but his mind is still free."

Ska's "second wave," also called the "2-Tone" movement in honor of the record label that served as its main catalyst, was a radical hybrid, wedding the rhythm and style of 1960s Jamaican Ska and Rocksteady to the sonic aggression and socio-political lyrics associated with the then-burgeoning British Punk-Rock scene. As a result, second wave Ska had more on its mind than being merely danceable; many of the 2-Tone bands such as The Specials, The (English) Beat, and The Bodysnatchers (to name only a few) wrote lyrics touching on both the public and private disaffection of black and white working-class youths during the early years of Thatcherism. While the ironically titled Too Much Two Tone: Ska Classics is far from comprehensive as a compilation of second wave Ska (for example, The Beat are entirely missing), unlike many of the other available 2-Tone collections, this one includes several obscure, yet important tracks otherwise unavailable on compact disc.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

The Specials- "Too Much Too Young" Video (1979) Live, Old Grey Whistle Test

These guys are ridiculously underrated. As good as (or better than) any band of their era, Ska or otherwise:

Madness- "The Prince" Video (1979)

"Buster, he sold the heat with a rock-steady beat."

Four Tet- Ringer EP (2008) MP3 & FLAC

Whereas Rounds distinguished itself by expertly knitting the warm textures of wood and brittle timbres of string into laptop-conceived soundscapes, the Ringers EP suggests a conscious step away from "Folktronica," instead casting a forward glance back to collective points of origin- Techno & IDM. While Kieran Hebden references these liberally (along with a few splashes of Krautrock) on Ringers, this is no nostalgia trip, as he is clearly in the mood to play with the expectations related to these genres. On "Ribbons," easily the most memorable track, repetition and expectation predominate- the song, undeniably beautiful, seems to promise something revelatory but ends up delivering nothing but the lovely form of its promise, repeated over and over. Each track, in playing with expectation in its own particular way, is perhaps suggesting that revelation is never more than a promise, a sign functioning as both path and destination.

Dead Can Dance- 1981-1998 (2001) Box Set (3 Discs) MP3 & FLAC

"The great mass play a waiting game, embalmed, crippled, dying in fear of pain."

The career trajectory and creative evolution of Dead Can Dance is quite amazing given the band's humble beginnings: an Australian Punk band called The Marching Girls who couldn't land a recording contract. Brendan Perry eventually quit this band to pursue a more experimental musical muse, which ultimately resulted in the formation of Dead Can Dance with Lisa Gerrard in 1981. Early on, they were a four piece Goth-Industrial outfit with a slightly more exotic sound than most of their peers. However, over the course of the next 20 years, Dead Can Dance would prove to be one of the most singular and timeless bands of the Post-Punk era, integrating Gregorian chant, African percussion, Eastern Folk idioms, and Classical influences such as Arvo Part into their musical palette. The box set 1981-1998 attempts the impossible task of summarizing Dead Can Dance's discography, and while each of their original eight albums is represented by several songs, these, without exception, are better heard in their original contexts. What makes this box set worthwhile for those already familiar with the band's work are the rarities, which, though not plentiful, are quite desirable. Chief among these is a complete John Peel session recorded in 1983, a year before releasing their first LP for 4AD. Even at this early stage in the band's development, Lisa Gerrard's peerless alto and Brendan Perry's strangely Sinatra-esque baritone sound transcendent and creatively restless. Needless to say, this is absolutely essential listening.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Espers- The Weed Tree EP (2005) MP3 & FLAC

"Poison's in my bloodstream, poison's in my pride. I'm after rebellion; I'll settle for lies."

What made Espers' self-titled debut so distinctive was its psychedelically-soaked reconstructions of 60s-70s era British Folk, and while The Weed Tree EP occasionally feels more like unreconstructed adoration in comparison, it, nevertheless, finds Espers taking a step forward. This is partly due to the band's expansion to a sextet, giving the arrangements a clarity and depth not found on their debut; however, the primary reason is that Meg Baird's vocals play a more featured role here, sounding more assertive while somehow losing none of their haunting beauty. If Sandy Denny and Jacqui McShee are her touchstones, Baird certainly proves she can hold her own in such company. Although The Weed Tree EP is mostly comprised of covers, the song selection is inspired. "Rosemary Lane," a song most often associated with Bert Jansch, is simply stunning, as Baird powerfully conveys the resigned despair of the song's narrator. Also memorable is the cover of Blue Oyster Cult's "Flaming Telepaths," featuring a duet between Baird and Greg Weeks, with Weeks' guitar sounding every bit as corrosive as the addictions described in the songs lyrics. A future lost classic.

James Blake- "Limit to Your Love" Video (2010)

If anyone has this guy's upcoming LP in FLAC, hit me up:

Friday, January 28, 2011

Forest Swords- Dagger Paths + Rattling Cage EP (2010) MP3 & FLAC

While bearing a passing resemblance to the Post-Rock-meets-Dub palette of bands such as Labradford and Bowery Electric, Matthew Barnes' Forest Swords project effectively transcends such comparisons by integrating Post-Punk, Kraut-Rock, Reggae, R&B, and Techno influences into its reverb-drenched mix. Barnes' spiderweb-spinning guitar work coupled with the Dub-heavy atmospherics on tracks such as "Miarches" and "Glory Gongs" sounds something like Tom Verlaine in low gear fronting a space-rock band produced by Lee "Scratch" Perry. What Barnes does best on Dagger Paths is create some dark, atmospheric gems, all deftly structured around a surprisingly unique mix of influences. Yes, it is clearly indebted, in the guitar-atmospherics department, to Verlaine's instrumental work on, for example, Around and Warm and Cool; however, there is something dynamic and original about the EP, which has me highly anticipating Forest Swords' next move.

The Birthday Party- Mutiny EP/The Bad Seed EP (1983) MP3 & FLAC

"Deep in the woods, a funeral is swinging."

This collection, comprised of two EPs released in 1983 by The Birthday Party on the eve of their acrimonious, drug-fueled dissolution, begins unforgettably with Nick Cave's backwoods-preacher exhortation, "Hands up! Who wants to die!?!," and only gets more apocalyptic from there. While offering, once again, their sleazy Post-Punk take on the Country-Blues mixed with a liberal dose of The Stooges, The Birthday Party's swan-song bears some marks of a transitional work. For example, while Cave's vocals still exude his familiar over-the-top morbidity, there seems to be a greater quotient of seriousness on these EPs, which contrasts with earlier recordings, where Cave, Rowland & co. often served up their blood-soaked sermons with a subtle wink of the eye. This and the more polished production cause songs such as "Deep in the Woods" and "Sonny's Burning" to sound like something of a blueprint for Cave's next venture, The Bad Seeds, a name nicked, incidentally, from the title of one of these EPs. In fact, many of these songs sound like an early precursor to Murder Ballads, which, come to think of it, isn't a bad thing at all.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Brian Eno Series, #10: Brian Eno- Taking Tiger Mountain (By Strategy) (1974) MP3 & FLAC

"There's a brain in the table. There's a heart in the chair, and they all live in Jesus. It's a family affair."

Sandwiched chronologically between Eno's two best known (though radically different) "rock" albums, Here Come the Warm Jets and Another Green World, Taking Tiger Mountain (By Strategy) tends to be vastly underrated (or put more succinctly, under-appreciated), an ironic fate given that it may be the most consistent album of Eno's early solo career. Loosely constructed as a concept album based on a Chinese revolutionary opera bearing the same title, the songs, though uniformly dark, tend to be more humorous and playful than such an inspiration would seem to allow for. But then Eno's sense of humor and taste for ambiguity always were trademarks of his early Glam-influenced work. What is rarely discussed in reference to this album is its influence on the Post-Punk movement five years later. There is no better example of a Post-Punk prototype than "Third Uncle" with its scratchy guitars, clanging percussion and obliquely satirical lyrics. It is no coincidence that Bauhaus ably covered this song on their 1982 album, The Sky's Gone Out. Taking Tiger Mountain (By Strategy) is endlessly inventive both musically and lyrically, and in my opinion stands shoulder to shoulder with the best albums of its time.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Labradford- Mi Media Naranja (1997) MP3 & FLAC

Not quite Ambient, not quite Post-Rock, yet containing the best traits of both, Labradford's Mi Media Naranja creates a darkly-lit soundscape full of dusty, desolate expanses illuminated by Mark Nelson's melancholy spaghetti-western melodies. While certainly minimalist in approach, this is music that rewards familiarity because each track is fleshed out with many subtle details that only unfurl with repeated listens. For example, on the surface, the gorgeous opening track, "S," sounds something like a Morricone-inspired lullaby; however, just beneath the twang can be heard the rumble of a volcanic watery drone counterpoised with a high-pitched electronic bell effect ringing out a faint Dub-style beat. This oblique arrangement creates both a sense of formlessness and movement, making the song instantly memorable but even more revelatory on the second listen. Labradford really came into their own on this album, trading in the cluttered gloom of earlier releases for a more cinematic journey into the abyss. Highly recommended.

The Walker Brothers- "The Sun Ain't Gonna Shine Anymore" Video (1965)

Probably in my top five song-wise. Sublime candy-sweet despair...

One Series Ends; Another Begins (soon)

Hi, just a "heads up" that the next Brian Eno post, #10, will be the last in the series. I still have some Eno stuff that hasn't been posted, so it's certainly not the last we'll see of him on The Killing Moon. Meanwhile, I am busy preparing the next project: Scott Walker: The Series. This will also be 10 posts in length and will include a few recordings that do not seem to be available anywhere in cyberspace in a lossless format- stay tuned!

As with the Eno Series, I will be posting recordings from other artists in between the Scott Walker posts, so don't worry; it won't be all Scott Walker all the time.

Echo & The Bunnymen- S/T (1987) MP3 & FLAC -For Jo Jo-

"Just when you think she's yours, she's flown to other shores, to laugh at how you break and melt into her lake."

Without a doubt, Echo & The Bunnymen's eponymous swan-song is the most "commercial" of the albums recorded by the band in its original (and best) incarnation. Gone is the abrasive Post-Punk guitar-work that characterized Crocodiles and Heaven Up Here, and gone are the plucking, bowing strings that gave Ocean Rain such a distinctive sound. The cleaner, jangly guitar sound and greater emphasis on keyboards can be attributed to the choice of Laurie Latham (Squeeze, Paul Young) as producer and the fact that the band was too busy falling apart to counteract this commercial influence. Whatever the reason, Echo & The Bunnymen has tended to be either reviled or overlooked as a result, which is both unfortunate and unfair given the quality of the songs it contains. In addition to the cleaner production, Ian McCulloch's vocals also mark a break with the past, showing more range and sounding more restrained when he is not trying to channel the ghost of Jim Morrison. While the band apparently traded in their Post-Punk credentials for a 60s jangle and psychedelia fetish (a trendy move in 1987), and one band member has notoriously described it as "an overcooked fish," Echo & The Bunnymen deserves far better than its current reputation.

This Mortal Coil- Filigree & Shadow (1986) MP3 & FLAC -For Douxee-

"Notes that roll on winds with swirling wings, bring me words that are not the strength of strings."

If This Mortal Coil's first album, It'll End in Tears, felt, at times, a little too much like a 4AD talent sampler, albeit a more original approach to such a thing than the standard record label "comp" (see Lonely Is an Eyesore), the follow up album, Filigree & Shadow, avoids this by being far more ambitious musically and doing so with what had evolved into something resembling a 4AD "in-house" band. While This Mortal Coil's second album is noticeably lacking in 4AD star power (Liz Fraser, Lisa Gerrard and Brendan Perry had all participated on the first album but are absent on the follow-up), vocalists such as Dominic Appleton, Alison Limerick and Deirdre & Louise Rutkowski more than ably lend the cover songs a distinctive feel, often succeeding in liberating them from their original contexts. However, tying these songs together by way of moody, atmospheric interludes are 13 instrumentals that, while listenable, are more forgettable than not. The overall effect of this is both the main strength and primary weakness of the album: sonically, it comes across as remarkably cohesive (a rare feat for a double album), but you also might find yourself skipping over the instrumentals in search of the gems, such as the cover of Pearl Before Swine's "The Jeweller," which alone is worth the price of admission.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Brian Eno Series, #9: Robert Fripp & Brian Eno: No Pussyfooting (1973) Limited Ed. (Bonus Disc) MP3 & FLAC

Robert Fripp and Brian Eno's first collaborative effort was recorded while Eno was hard at work on his first solo album, Here Come the Warm Jets, and it marks not only Fripp's first foray into what would later come to be known as "frippertronics," but it also marks Eno's first experimental/Ambient recording. The music was created using two Revox tape recorders set up to play recorded sounds randomly and on a continuing loop, the volume descending slightly with each iteration in order to create a decay effect. On top of this repetitive yet dynamic soundscape, Fripp's beautifully serpentine guitar solos weave in and out, sometimes joining and melting into the loop themselves. While not entirely original (Terry Riley had experimented with this method years earlier), on No Pussyfooting, this all works to great affect, especially on "The Heavenly Music Corporation" suite, perhaps my favorite piece of "Ambient" music; with its melancholy drone and Fripp's aeronautical guitar antics, this is music paying homage to the depthless beauty of the arbitrary.

Foals- Antidotes (2008) Special Edition (Bonus Disc) MP3 & FLAC

"We fly balloons on this fuel called love."

Previous to the release of Antidotes, Foals suffered a fate not uncommon to new British bands who cut a few impressive singles before releasing a debut LP: massive over-hype at the hands of the British music press. If this wasn't enough, the band was extremely disappointed in the original (Dave Sitek) mix of the album and had to set about remixing it on their own. In most cases, all this would have added up to a huge letdown of an album, but Foals somehow avoided this by coming up with a frenetic (and strangely danceable) cocktail of New Wave, Post-Punk and Math-Rock elements wedded to quirky hooks, stop-start rhythms, and vocals that often sound like a chorus of Robert Smiths singing into a tin can. What really sets this album apart, however, are the arrangements, which utilize, in addition to some nice intertwining guitar work, horns and electronics. This coupled with Yannis Philippakis' oblique (if not charmingly limited) vocal style make for a unique sound that, while acknowledging its Post-Punk forefathers, is quite adept at establishing a groove, making it occasionally infectious and well worth returning to.

Destroyer- "Kaputt" Video (2011)

Not sure what to make of the new Destroyer, but it's really growing on me...

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Echo & The Bunnymen- History of the Peel Sessions: 1979-1997 (1997) MP3 & FLAC

"I've been up to Villiers Terrace. I've been in a daze for days. I drank some of the medicine, and I didn't like the taste."

History of the Peel Sessions: 1979-1997 saw limited release as a bonus disc issued with early copies of Echo & The Bunnymen's 1997 comeback album Evergreen. While not a comprehensive collection, the album does a very good job of cherry-picking the best of The Bunnymen's limited Peel Session recordings (no sessions were recorded from late 1983 to late 1997). What makes it worth seeking out are the early tracks, such as "Villiers Terrace," recorded nearly a year before the release of their debut album Crocodiles. While all the elements that made their debut so distinctive are already in place (except drummer Pete DeFreitas), Ian McCulloch's vocals are often snarling and aggressive (in a good way), giving the songs a bite and swagger not usually associated with this band. In addition, the live-in-studio sound lends the songs a sense of immediacy often lacking on their studio albums. The only track not performed by the original incarnation of the band is "Rescue," which dates from 1997, and it is no coincidence that this is the only non-essential track in the collection.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Wire- Pink Flag (1977) 1995 Japanese Ed. (17 Bonus Tracks) MP3 & FLAC

"His atoms were excited, and he glowed in the dark. The boiling boy was a picture of confusion, but he had the advantage of a cold start heart."

Wire's debut, Pink Flag, is a brilliant reminder of how vibrant and diverse the Punk movement of the late 1970s really was. While this movement is often characterized in terms of bands such as The Ramones and The Sex Pistols, both of whom never strayed far from a bare-bones Garage-Rock template, other bands pursued a more innovative sound by using this template as a foundation to be deconstructed and re-imagined. On Pink Flag, it is clear from the very first song, "Reuters," that Wire is of the latter camp. Taking the Punk ethos several steps further than most of their peers, Wire consistently reject traditional song structure on their debut by stubbornly refusing to deliver the verse/chorus movements and repeated measures that have come to virtually define "Rock" music. While the songs are brief and often abrupt, Wire's minimalist approach allows the album a depth and complexity quite unprecedented in Punk recordings of the period. By turning listener expectations inside out, Wire's debut album not only rejects the tired tropes of mainstream Rock, but also challenges the Punk movement to reject its own assumptions about itself.

Brian Eno Series, #8: Brian Eno- Another Green World (1975) MP3 & FLAC

"Well we rested in the desert where the bones were white as teeth sir, and we saw St. Elmo's fire splitting ions in the ether."

Unquestionably Eno's masterpiece and a huge artistic leap forward from the brilliant tongue-in-cheek Art-Glam of his first two post-Roxy releases, Another Green World is where Brian Eno became Brian Eno, finally privileging sonic experimentation over pop song structure. However, don't let the term "experimentation" fool you; this is album is full of sumptuous, gorgeous music. While there are a few pop songs in the mix (and quite good ones at that), much of Another Green World is comprised of minimalist instrumental tracks that point forward to Eno's Ambient works, while still managing to utilize rhythm and melody in a way that allows them to carry what, for all intents and purposes, is still a "Rock" album. In my opinion, there is no better place to start with Eno; this is absolutely essential listening, even for those with no more than a passing interest in experimental pop.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Roxy Music- Country Life (1974) MP3 & FLAC -For Jo Bangles-

"There are many things that I could say to try and comfort you, but I know the words you like to hear are simply, 'I love you'."

Roxy Music's fourth album (second post-Eno) just might be their artistic peak and sits in their discography as the last of their shape-shifting art-glam masterpieces. After Country Life, Roxy Music, despite some indisputable high points, would always seem more like a Bryan Ferry solo project than anything else. Like all of Roxy Music's best work, Country Life teeters on the edge of several creatively fertile contradictions. Chief among these is the lyrical tension between appearance and essence, glam facade and singer-songwriter introspection. This is even apparent in the infamous album cover, featuring two scantily-clad German models peering seductively into the camera while ironically covering various body parts in mock-modesty. This image can be read as a metaphor for the "upside down" introspection of songs like "Out of the Blue," which, on the surface, can seem like an ode to the transformative nature of love, but soon the song deconstructs this romantic notion, ironically stating, "throwaway lines often ring true." Roxy Music's initial run of albums are vastly underrated and contain some of the most ambitious popular music committed to tape during an era, the early seventies, rife with great music.

Can- "Paperhouse" Live on German T.V. (1972)

I'm on a bit of a Can jag at the moment, and now, so are you:

A Word About Requests

Hello everyone. I'm happy to post requests as long as A) I have the album requested, B) you are patient (I'll do everything I can to post it within a week), and C) you become a "follower" of the blog by clicking the "follow" button in the right-hand column. If you are interested in requesting something, please mention it in the "comments" section of one of the posts. I will respond. Cheers, voixautre (Man in the Moon)

Popcorn & Peanutbutter say, "Hit that 'follow' button!!!!"

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Various Artists- Lonley Is an Eyesore: 4AD Compilation (1987) MP3 & FLAC

"Have a fish nailed to a cross on my apartment wall. It sings to me with glassy eyes and quotes from Kafka."

In a certain sense, Lonley Is an Eyesore functions as a time-capsule, a snapshot of Post-Punk circa the mid-Eighties, albeit a snapshot saturated with the particular shades and tinctures of the Goth-informed Dream-Pop of the 4AD stable. As a result, there is an aesthetic cohesiveness to this album that is unusual for a compilation, which stems from that fact that, to some extent, 4AD was pushing a particular (Ivo Watts-Russell produced) sound rather than the bands themselves. This approach was taken a step further with the This Mortal Coil releases, in which various 4AD artists were thrown together in the studio (under the control of Watts-Russell) to record cover songs dressed up in 4AD-style gloom. Despite this overriding emphasis on style over substance, Lonely Is an Eyesore holds up quite well 25 years later because it contains an intriguing mix of the influential (Dead Can Dance, Cocteau Twins, Throwing Muses) and the obscure (Dif Juz, The Wolfgang Press, Clan of Xymox), all at the height of their powers. With the exception of the badly dated Colourbox contribution, this album still sounds fresh, dark, and revelatory, even if it is not quite the manifesto it was clearly conceived to be.

Dead Can Dance- "Frontier" Video (1984)

I've got some vintage 4AD in the works you guys, so here's a taster, some early Dead Can Dance:

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Pan•American- S/T (1997) MP3 & FLAC -For theStarry-

On Pan•American, Mark Nelson's solo project debut, he takes leave of the Ambient-informed Post-Rock of his then-main gig Labradford by constructing melancholy Electronic excursions that successfully wed dub-style rhythms to diverse and multi-layered experimental soundscapes. While later Pan•American efforts have tended to proceed in a more minimalist Ambient direction, the debut is ultimately more memorable because it, in many ways, is a hybrid creature, seamlessly traversing different genres and methods, and in doing so, creating something distinctive and surprisingly cohesive. For example, on "Lent," the guitar and organ effects create a noir-like vibe that wouldn't be out of place on a Chris Isaak album, but the spare yet insistent beat and ghostly whispered vocals suggest something far more dark and sinister. Pan•American was an album well ahead of its time back in 1997, and listening to it now makes me wish Nelson had pursued this muse a little while longer.

Brian Eno Series, #7: Brian Eno & John Cale- Wrong Way Up (1990) MP3 & FLAC

"I am the crow of desperation. I need no fact or validation. I span relentless variation. I scramble in the dust of a failing nation."

A one-off collaboration with John Cale, Wrong Way Up marked Brian Eno's very unexpected return to "pop" music after spending more than a decade submersed in Ambient projects. While Eno's next album, Nerve Net, would also adopt a more Rock-inspired approach, Wrong Way Up exists in Eno's oeuvre as something of an enigma, seemingly without context, and all the more brilliant for this. Of course, Eno and Cale did have some history together, most notably on Cale's mid-70s standouts, Fear (1974) and Slow Dazzle (1975). Nevertheless, on Wrong Way Up, both embrace a level of pop-sheen quite unprecedented in their earlier works. While the album certainly has a "consciously accessible" air to it and at times suffers from Cale's inherent (especially late career) pretensions, it is shocking how underrated it is given that it contains some of the best "straightforward" pop songs either of these two "sideways" artists ever committed to tape. For evidence, listen to "The River," which features Eno as nothing less than a Country crooner (did I just write that?). A strange and unjustly forgotten gem to be sure.

Balmorhea- All Is Wild, All Is Silent (2009) MP3 & FLAC -For Ana-

Austin's Balmorhea (pronounced Bal-mor-ray) wander down a uniquely Southwestern footpath of the Post-Rock template on All Is Wild, All Is Silent, constructing a sound equal parts country gloom and romantic crescendo. Unlike the subdued, occasionally overly-mannered approach the band took as a duo on previous recordings, now expanded to a sextet, Balmorhea charge ahead into sonic expanses both breathtakingly desolate and ornately lush. Nowhere is this better exemplified than on the opening track, "Settler," where a bright, loping piano figure is darkly augmented by a cello until the full band kicks in to send the song reeling towards a Post-Rock catharsis. Other songs are built around lovely acoustic guitar and banjo parts that manage to simultaneously echo Classical and Folk idioms while never fully resorting to either. This is an album full of distinctive melodies, dynamic arrangements, and unexpected turns, which make it well-worth returning to again and again. Truly great stuff.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Wire- "Heartbeat" Live (1979)

Sublime slice of Post-Punk gloom here. Perfect cure for a withering bout of the subterranean paranoid Tuesday morning DMCA notice blues:

Okkervil River- Stars Too Small to Use (1999) MP3 & FLAC

(my apologies for the crappy artwork scan)

"Relax, no song is written. It's nothing you thought of yourself. It's just a ghost, came unbidden to this house."

A garage recording in both the figurative the literal senses, Stars Too Small to Use contains the raw, often visceral, and intermittently beautiful early recordings of one of the great, underrated Indie bands of the noughties. It is quite interesting to hear Okkervil River in their formative period, sounding more "Alt" Country than they ever would again, while also echoing the acoustic slacker-Punk of early Violent Femmes. While this is nowhere near as essential as the amazing albums that followed it, there are, nevertheless, some shining gems waiting to be discovered. Chief among these is "The Velocity of Saul at the Time of His Conversion," which would be rerecorded two years later for their debut Jagjaguwar release. This song offers a prescient glimpse of the literate, shambolic beauty that would come to characterize their later work. Long out of print and a rare find in lossless.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Tim Hecker- Haunt Me Haunt Me, Do It Again (2001) MP3 & FLAC

Haunt Me Haunt Me Do It Again bears little resemblance to Tim Hecker's previous output as Jetone, a minimalist-leaning Techno-based project that is also well worth seeking out. Recording for the first time under his own name, Hecker makes a radical departure into minimalist ambient territory, but such a description does little justice to the cavernous depths and glacial beauty that characterize this recording from start to finish. While lacking any trace of traditional song structure, each track is shaded with many layers of textural detail that make the album surprisingly accessible and conducive to repeated listens. Every percussive effect, every glitch, every plunked piano key reveals the vast sense of space woven into the music. This gives the album a bottomless feel, pulling the listener in but never fully revealing its depths. Completely belying its laptop origins, this is Electronic music at its best.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Brian Eno Series, #6: Brian Eno- Ambient 1: Music for Airports (1978) MP3 & FLAC

One of the most intriguing aspects of Brian Eno's Ambient work is its acknowledgment of the functionality of art rather than simply its purpose. Traditionally, a work of art assumes an engaged audience; in other words, the purpose (and perceived value) of an artwork relates to its status as an object of aesthetic and/or intellectual contemplation. All of the reviews I've written (and will write) for this blog operate on this assumption. However, Eno's Ambient work attempts to explore the functionality of an artwork. To do so, Eno hit on the idea of a form of music that would be complex enough to reward the contemplative listener at louder volumes, but would, at lower volumes, function more as an acoustic texture or color, blending into the background of an environment, not as mere background noise but as a textural element creating the kind of ambiance a painting, a sculpture, or even a bookcase full of books lends to a space even when not an object of direct attention. Ambient 1: Music for Airports has much to offer the listener in terms of both purpose and function, so don't be fooled; this is very listenable and often very evocative music that is well worth your time.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Kraftwerk- Autobahn (1974) MP3 & FLAC

Autobahn is such an unassuming masterpiece, and what strikes me most when listening to it is just how contemporary it continues to sound (for example, where would bands such as Spiritualized be without borrowing liberally from the title track?). The reason for this, of course, is the incalculable influence it has had on the various forms of Rock and Electronic music that followed it, but it is also an album that demands to be heard on its own terms because it contains some truly beautiful music. Kraftwerk, intentionally or not, took a huge, unexpected leap toward accessibility with this album, mainly by employing a recognizable rhythmic pulse or beat that gives some of the songs a faint semblance of traditional pop structure. By doing so, they became instrumental in bringing the synthesizer to the forefront of popular music. While each of Autobahn's five tracks holds up well to repeated listens, the 22 minute title track is one of the most important recordings of the past 40 years and quite possibly the holy grail of Electronica.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Love and Rockets- "Yin and Yang (The Flowerpot Man)" Video (1986)

Winklepickers anyone?

Pulp- "Common People" Video (1996)

In my opinion, the best song of the 90s not titled "Bittersweet Symphony." I see more Pulp in our future very soon...

Brian Eno Series, #5: Brian Eno & David Byrne- My Life in the Bush of Ghosts (1981) MP3 & FLAC

A hybrid work through and through, My Life in the Bush of Ghosts revolutionized the concept of "World" music by exploring what it could be rather than preaching what it should be. By wedding African-inspired percussion (sometimes played with found objects such as a frying pan) to Funk-inspired compositions, as well as utilizing a vast array of vocal samples (also groundbreaking), Brian Eno and David Byrne carry out a relentless assault on the fetishistic notion of cultural purity.  Whereas previous "Western" attempts to engage the music of other cultures tended to treat these music forms as museum artifacts, Eno & Byrne highlight the fact that all culture is in some sense a mash-up, constantly in conversation with other cultures and therefore perpetually in flux. While this is heresy to preservationists, what it does is open our ears to the limitless possibilities of such conversations. My Life in the Bush of Ghosts was one of the first pop recordings to borrow freely and explicitly from multiple cultural sources in the effort to create something new, something unforeseen. In doing so, it laid the groundwork for, among other things, Paul Simon's next muse and all the Vampire Weekends of the future.

Bauhaus- In the Flat Field (1980) Omnibus Edition (Bonus Disc) MP3 & FLAC

"Let me catch the slit of light, for a maiden's sake and maiden flight. In the flat field I do get bored, replace with Piccadilly whores."

While In the Flat Field is certainly one of the most influential Post-Punk albums ever recorded, it also enjoys a far more rarified distinction: its release (arguably) constituted the birth of a new genre, Goth(ic)-Rock. Irregardless of what that term means today, at the dawn of the eighties, it was a particularly minimalist branch of Post-Punk, which, somewhat ironically, had roots in the Glam-Rock scene of the early seventies, particularly Bowie, Iggy Pop, and T-Rex. Without a doubt, these influences cast a long shadow on Bauhaus, but on In the Flat Field, the band consistently exploits these shadows in original and diverse ways. For example, lead vocalist Peter Murphy sounds something like Iggy Pop channeling a vampiric Ziggy Stardust, somehow possessing just the right type of deranged charisma to pull it off convincingly, and Daniel Ash's scratchy, noisy, minimalist guitar work ably ignites both the chaos and the spaciousness of these songs, often achieving these effects simultaneously. A truly stunning debut that they were destined to never top.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Antony & The Johnsons- I Fell in Love with a Dead Boy EP (2001) MP3 & FLAC

"Deliver them from the book and the letter and the word, and let them read the silence under soft black stars."

Released on the heels of Antony's under-appreciated debut album, the I Fell in Love with a Dead Boy EP is a little-known gem, employing the more intimate, stripped down sound that would help characterize his next album, I Am a Bird Now, as an artistic breakthrough. While the EP's title track is a memorable piece of necrophilia-themed chamber-gloom, the two covers are the real attraction: "Mysteries of Love" from Twin Peaks fame and Current 93's "Soft Black Stars."  The latter stands as one of the most achingly beautiful and exceedingly dark songs Antony has recorded. This hard-to-find EP is not to be missed.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Brian Eno Series, #4: David Bowie- Low (1977) Ryko Au20 Edition (Gold Disc) MP3 & FLAC

"Sometimes you get so lonely; sometimes you get nowhere. I've lived all over the world; I've left every place."

Low, the first installment of Bowie's so-called "Berlin Trilogy," marks the culmination of his metamorphosis from polygendered Glam-Rock icon to cool maestro of avant-pop, and when listening to this album, it's hard to believe that it is only three years removed from the Glam-meets-Cabaret of Aladdin Sane. Meanwhile, Brian Eno was undergoing his own metamorphosis, recording the last of his "pop" albums, the transitional Before and After Science, while collaborating with Bowie on these sessions in Berlin. Not unlike Eno's album, Low is comprised of two distinct halves: jagged guitar-pop married to Kraftwerk-inspired synthetics and dark, atmospheric Eno-esque ambient electronic pieces. It is evident throughout the album that Eno brings out the best in Bowie, allowing him to indulge in the kind of experimentalism that his Ziggy persona made impossible, and in the process, they come up with the blueprint for the dreams of a thousand Post-Punk bands to come.

Low & Dirty Three- In the Fishtank EP (2001) MP3 & FLAC

"I hear the window shake. I hear the silence break. I hear the moon turn to blood."

The pairing of Low and Dirty Three is easily the highpoint of Konkurrent's In the Fishtank series and never fails to leave me mourning the fact that these bands have not recorded together since. Nevertheless, what we do have here is an EP-length document of a truly inspired collaboration resulting in a creative alchemy that transforms these bands into something greater than the sum of their parts (and don't get me wrong, these are pretty amazing parts). Admittedly, Dirty Three tends to play a supporting role here, but their distinctive shambling Post-Rock ethos cuts through Low's hushed oceanic thickness, making it sound even more melancholy and epic. The centerpiece of the EP is a sublime 10-minute cover of Neil Young's "Down by the River," which proceeds by turning the song inside-out until Mimi Parker's deceptively lullabye-esque vocals lead us further into spiritual darkness. A small masterpiece.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Brian Eno Series, #3: Brian Eno- Before and After Science (1977) MP3 & FLAC

"It will shine and it will shudder, as I guide it with my rudder, on its metalled ways."

While the first half of Before and After Science still bears faint traces of the avant Glam-Rock of Eno's early solo albums, the second half is clearly grounded in his burgeoning interest in ambient music. While this prevents the album from knitting together as an organic whole, it is, nevertheless, Eno's most diverse and forward looking "pop" album (and his last of the 70s). This is partly due to having reportedly recorded over a hundred tracks during the sessions for the album, as well as to Eno's unusual production technique, in which assembled tracks were completed by eliminating layers of sound rather than the more traditional approach of taking a basic structure and adding layers of sound. While not quite as essential as Eno's first three solo albums, Before and After Science is far more indicative of where Eno's restless muse was heading next.

Ian McCulloch- Candleland (1989) MP3 & FLAC

"I heard the footsteps in the street. I saw the lights on the flickering wall. I moved my lips but I couldn't speak, choked on the wonder of it all."

In the context of the Echo & The Bunnymen oeuvre, Candleland functions as little more than a footnote, but it deserves so much better. Ian McCulloch's first release after the dissolution of the original incarnation of The Bunnymen is a dark, shimmering meditation on death and its aftermath (specifically the then-recent deaths of his father as well as Bunnymen drummer Pete DeFreitas), and for those dissatisfied with the commercial turn The Bunnymen took on their self-titled final LP, it might sound like a more worthy successor to the masterful Ocean Rain. While Candleland is not a radical departure from McCulloch's work with his previous band, he does walk down some new paths here, and his lyrics and vocals are (arguably) among the best of his career. If that isn't enough, the ethereal voice of Elisabeth Fraser (Cocteau Twins) pops up on the title track as well. This is long out of print and a hard one to find in lossless.

Mandatory Internet IDs on the Horizon?

First it was the infamous COICA legislation, now U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke has decided that what the internet needs is mandatory ID cards. Apparently, Locke is hard at work developing a program titled "National Strategy for Trusted Identities in Cyberspace." These cyber-IDs would be used for all transactions with the U.S. Government and (I'm assuming U.S.) businesses who opt into the program. What is most troubling about all this is the precedent it sets. If every U.S. citizen is issued an internet ID, how simple and enticing would it be for the government, at the behest of private interests, to require the use of such an ID for all internet-related transactions and communications? This would have a devastating effect on the concept of internet privacy. While Locke's program would only have purview over U.S. citizens, it's not hard to imagine other governments following suit. Let's face it, the internet as we know and love it is under siege by private (usually corporate) interests in the guise of publicly-elected government officials.  Those of us who value our privacy on the internet need to voice our resistance. Below are links to further analysis of the proposed program and a DemandProgress petition to Gary Locke :

Electronic Frontier Foundation Analysis

Petition Gary Locke

Bash the Fash

U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke: "Go ahead, laugh at my tie you fuckers- my next projects are a P2P surveillance system and a porn-eradication machine!"

The House of Love- 1986-1988: The Creation Recordings (2001) MP3 & FLAC

"I sold you a favour in the dark. Got a salt dream and a red scar. Weak, bending in the wind, two good words and white skin."

Posed precariously between the death of The Smiths (and Post-Punk itself for that matter) and the rise of Brit-Pop in the early nineties, The House of Love were strangely untethered to their own time and place. As a result, though they were easily the equal of most of their Post-Punk influences, Guy Chadwick & co. were destined to fall through the cracks of commercial success. What remained after the band self-destructed in the mid-nineties due to drug abuse and record company bullshit was a waiting-to-be-rediscovered discography saturated with sublime guitar-pop, not quite Post-Punk, not quite Shoegaze, not quite Brit-Pop, but somehow transcending them all. The Creation Recordings focuses on what many believe to be the band's most fertile period, when lead guitarist Terry Bickers was still involved in the proceedings. These are gorgeous, haunting pop songs that manage to look backward and forward simultaneously, which is why, unlike many of their better known peers, The House of Love invoke a sense of timelessness with their music.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Brian Eno Series, #2: Brian Eno- Small Craft on a Milk Sea (2010) Limited Ed. Box (Bonus Disc) MP3 & FLAC

I'm not sure whether Small Craft on a Milk Sea is best described as a return to form for Brian Eno or a case of self-reflection on his groundbreaking 70s ambient work coupled with a nod to contemporary Electronic music. Whichever it is (and why can't it be both?), this album pleasantly surprised me, especially given that it is, in part, comprised of some rejected soundtrack compositions. When Small Craft on a Milk Sea tries to sound contemporary (a move which more often than not makes an album sound dated), it tends to go percussive, really percussive compared to the more obviously Eno-esque ambient tracks. Occasionally, this undermines the album's cohesiveness; however, the highlights manage to do Eno's back-catalog justice, making this more than just another easily forgotten release by an elder-statesman of sound manipulation. The

Foals- "2 Trees" Video (2010)

2 trees = papier-mâché dog (gold fish) + musical saw.......Don't you just love Math Rock?   More Foals in the pipeline...

Sunday, January 9, 2011

The Big Pink- "Too Young to Love" (Delorean Remix) (2009) MP3

Here's an extra relating to the previous post. This remixed version of "Too Young to Love" is actually better than the album version.

The Big Pink- A Brief History of Love (2009) MP3 & FLAC -Links Sadly Removed-

"Into the dark and out of this world. Blow a kiss and burn it down. Together we'll live then turn to dust. Through the smoke and into the sun."

Yes, I'll admit that this is a band whose sound is not shy about revealing its influences, but who can argue with a concoction of My Bloody Valentine, Catherine Wheel, and Ride with some early Verve mixed in for good measure?  Despite my invocation of "spot-the-influence" (which is rarely a compliment) this mash-up really does come together, bending and twisting into something new and pretty damned irresistible (apparently Jaguar found "Dominos" pretty irresistible too). Underneath all the swagger and romantic vitriol (there's that pesky Verve again), there are some great songs on A Brief History of Love, which, in the end, is what makes an album worth returning to. Nevertheless, I am left with a lingering question: where does The Big Pink go from here? Here's hoping they don't take up an interest in pop culture shamanism, or they may end up like Verve.

Brian Eno Series, #1: Roxy Music- S/T (1972) MP3 & FLAC

"At last the crimson chord cascade, to shower dry cordials within. Too late to leap the chocolate gate, pale fountains fizzing forth pink gin."

It is easy to underestimate just how original Roxy Music's debut must have sounded in the context of the London Glam scene of 1972. Post-Modern in approach before the term was ever coined, balanced precariously on a combustible set of internal contradictions, Roxy Music, along with Bowie, forged a version of Glam-Rock that had more on its mind than lipstick and eyeliner; rather they endeavored to twist Rock n' Roll cliché into something artistically subversive. While Bryan Ferry plays the role of crooning ironic glamour god (in later years, he would dispose with the irony), Brian Eno's electronic interventions prevent the music from courting expectation, but just as integral to this heady mix is Andy Mackay's saxophone work. The inevitable tension between Ferry (sniffing stardom) and Eno (in it for the "art") is palpable throughout Roxy Music, but this is what drives the album toward greatness- each song teetering on the knife's edge of accessibility and experimentation.

Why Brian Eno Quit Roxy Music

This fine bit of Rock and Roll Revisionist Theater is brought to you by Brian Walsby.   
Visit his blog:   introverted loudmouth

Click on the image 2x for easy reading.

"I am Bryan Ferry, bitches!!"

Saturday, January 8, 2011

The Big Pink- "Too Young to Love" Video (2009) 4AD

It's hard for me not to like a band that helps itself to generous servings of My Bloody Valentine and Verve, but what's with the name? Is it a house with a famous basement in Woodstock or a Freudian nightmare? More Big Pink to come (pardon the pun)...

The Czars- The Ugly People vs. the Beautiful People (2001) MP3 & FLAC

"It's just a side effect of loving you, a nasty soundtrack to the city."

I first discovered The Czars in the bargain bin of a Berkeley record store during my college years. Clacking, bleary-eyed, through the endless cutouts and unwanted, discounted dreck that inevitably accumulates in such places, the album cover above immediately caught my eye, so I payed 75 cents for the honor of hearing The Czars for the first time (incidentally, I managed to discover Joe Henry the same way). This band was a fixture of the criminally under-publicized Denver Southern Gothic music scene of the 90s and early 2000s, a scene also home to 16 Horsepower, Woven Hand, Jay Munly, and Slim Cessna's Auto Club. On The Ugly People vs. the Beautiful People, The Czars were able to perfect their unique chamber-lounge-jazz-folk sound, once again allowing John Grant's languorous vocals to take center stage, but unlike their debut record, the song-writing is consistently great and the production provides an atmospheric intangibility that works wonders for these dark ballads of heartache and spiritual despair (although I could have done without the auto-tune vocal effect on "What Used to Be a Human"). A little Paula Frazer mixed in doesn't hurt either.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Mick Karn- Dreams of Reason Produce Monsters (1987) MP3 & FLAC -In Memory of Mick Karn-

"I burn a candle in your place. I picture the passions on your face. Feelings that rise on a wave and fall away."

What's most notable about Mick Karn's second solo album, Dreams of Reason Produce Monsters, is that it marked a rekindling of his working relationship with ex-Japan mate David Sylvian. Sylvian lends his inimitable vocals to two of the album's tracks, "Buoy" & "When Love Walks In," and it is no suprise that these are the most memorable moments on the otherwise instrumental album. Nevertheless, except for "Answer," which is built on choir-like vocal washes and goes absolutely nowhere (something like a Dead Can Dance throwaway), these instrumentals can be quite charming. The percussion is a little plodding at times, but there is some fine Japan-esque keyboard work provided by Karn, and of course his lovely, slinky bass work.

Japan- Quiet Life (1979) MP3 & FLAC -In Memory of Mick Karn-

"Now that you feel the weather, was it all in vain?  Now that we're together, we seem so alien."

Quiet Life is the album on which Japan took a significant step toward lasting relevance. It sits in their discography as the quintessential "transitional" record, but it's unique hybrid of the alternative Glam-Rock of their first two albums wedded to the more experimental synth and bass driven direction their later work would take suggests that the album should be evaluated on its own terms. In addition, Quiet Life marks the point at which David Sylvian began channeling his inner Scott Walker, taking his distinctive baritone voice down paths untraveled in Japan's earlier work. Yes, in many ways, this album opened the door for a wave of New Romantic bands comprised of much less talented musicians (e.g. Duran Duran), but Quiet Life contains a depth, a darkness, and musical pedigree far beyond the grasp of the New Wave acolytes to come. Simply put, you need to hear this if you haven't already.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Dalis Car- The Waking Hour (1984) MP3 & FLAC -In Memory of Mick Karn-

"Plant your tree of hidden dreams beneath your fears that burst the seams."

Dalis Car was a one-off collaboration between Mick Karn and Peter Murphy, sort of a rebound project after the disintegration of their respective bands, Japan and Bauhaus. Musically, the album owes more to Japan, though the arrangements are fairly minimal, something Japan was not necessarily known for. While Karn's unparalleled fretless bass sound dominates throughout (and this is a good thing), it is Murphy who steps into uncharted territory on this recording. His often dissonant, abstract vocals are a far cry from his ziggy-as-vampire onstage persona with Bauhaus. Little did we know at the time, however, that The Waking Hour would represent a first (uncommercial) baby step toward the goth-pop crooner Murphy would become at the dawn of the nineties. Having been a big fan of both Bauhaus and Japan in the early eighties, I remember being disappointed by this album (although I loved the cover). A quarter of a century later, Dalis Car sounds a little friendlier to my ears.

Dalis Car- "His Box" Video (1984) Live, Old Grey Whistle Test -In Memory of Mick Karn-

Here's a live track from a short-lived collaboration between Mick Karn and Peter Murphy of Bauhaus. Word is, they were planning to record a second Dalis Car album in 2011, but Karn passed away yesterday, succumbing to cancer. More Dalis Car to follow...

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Japan- "Quiet Life" Video (1979) -RIP Mick Karn-

At some point down the road, I'd love to do a series of posts relating to David Sylvian, but this Japan post has everything to do with today's passing of Mick Karn, bassist extraordinaire, from cancer at the age of 52. I didn't even realize he was ill. Rest in peace Mick, you will truly be missed.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Tarnation- Gentle Creatures (1995) MP3 & FLAC

"Where the gentle creatures roam, that is the place I call my home. You know I'll miss you when I'm gone, but I must be moving on."

Back in the mid-90s, a time when Alt. Country was not yet considered an anachronism and Indie chanteuse Neko Case was playing drums in a Punk band while going to art school, there was a band called Tarnation fronted by another ex-Punk drummer with a big country voice: Paula Frazer. Even more so than Case, Frazer is a torch singer, saturating every syllable with as much darkness and yearning as she can muster. The obvious touchstone here is Patsy Cline, and while Cline's iconic status is well-deserved, Frazer has a voice even Cline might have envied. Gentle Creatures is not for those who like their Alt. Country reverential (meaning traditional); this album was released on 4AD after all. You'll find no gentle acoustic ballads and sentimental odes to simpler times here; rather, Frazer's Gothic imagery and smoldering vocals coupled with spaghetti-western guitars and atmospheric production all coalesce into something truly "Alt." A forgotten classic by any standards.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Junior Murvin- Police & Thieves (1977) MP3 & FLAC

"Police and thieves in the streets, oh yeah! Scaring the nation with their guns and ammunition."

Many will already be familiar with the title track of Junior Murvin's debut "solo" album, as The Clash recorded "Police & Thieves" less than a year later for their eponymously titled debut. While The Clash's Punk-Reggae interpretation is memorable, Lee "Scratch" Perry's Dub-informed production and Murvin's unparalleled vocals make the original version truly definitive.  If your knowledge of Roots-Reggae begins and ends with Bob Marley, you are in for a revelation because Murvin brings an entirely different vocal style to these songs. While Marley's vocals add Rock and Folk influences to the Caribbean mix, Murvin seems to be channeling the ghosts of 1960s Motown and R&B, but these comparisons do neither artist any justice. If you want to understand why Police & Thieves is widely considered one of the essential Roots-Reggae albums, listen to Murvin's prophesying falsetto roaring through Perry's trademark heavily reverbed production, creating a dark and intense musical template for these tales of social unrest and spiritual reckoning.

Coming Soon- Brian Eno: The Series

In anticipation of The Killing Moon's upcoming series of Brian Eno (and related) posts, here's some live MGMT doing a song from Congratulations:

Don't worry, I'll mix in other posts, so it won't be all Eno all the time...

Senator Ron Wyden: Thank You For Fighting Internet Censorship!

I'm not a big fan of the U.S. legislative process and generally feel little more than a frustrated disdain for those involved in the day-to-day machinations of our "representative" oligarchy; however, when credit is due, credit is due. Ron Wyden, a Democrat, is a U.S. Senator from Oregon who recently prevented the dreaded internet censorship bill COICA (Combating Online Infringement and Counterfeits Act) from passage during the most recent legislative session. Do you think he's a FLAC kind of guy? Anyway, it's terrifying to think that a lone Senator from Oregon, who, for whatever reason, has a conscience, is all that stands between us and a "brave new world" of corporate interests using government authority to determine what we can and cannot express in cyber-space. Yay! Senator Wyden!- keep up the good fight; I only wish I was more of a man of faith...

Sign the Original Anti-Blacklist Petition

Support the Senator with a Conscience

Bash the Fash

I never realized how difficult it is to find a cool photo of a politician. I settled on this one because I can picture him saying, "Back off you corporate lackeys! This simply isn't going to happen on my watch!"