music

Have fun generating band names

My friend Roger has just made his first blog post. I helped him get set up with Blogger and some free file download service and I'm pleased to see he's written a nice first post, including a downloadable file of one of his musical adventures.

At present, he's looking for names for his latest band. To be honest, the selections he has on show are less than inspiring. Fortunately for him, the Band Name Maker online is on hand to generate some rather curious, and occasionally half-decent, band names. For example:

  • Actor Of The Bipolar Fish
  • Hawk Purse
  • Shell Of The Frozen Shiver
  • Gold Implant
  • Jolly Champion
  • Phat Church
  • Reverent Freeway
  • Blazed Mammal
  • Busted Power
  • Hardly Place And The Incoming Reject
  • Barbed Of The Jumping
  • Kumquat Lantern
  • Second Night Of The Yellow Operator
  • Pickled Paranoid

I think "Second Night Of The Yellow Operator" is my favourite there. Though I've never had problems thinking up band names:

  • Truncated Edifice
  • Yaibotchun Combo
  • Two Hands Falling
  • Giant Child
  • Quinn And Jane
  • Fed Bag C
  • Spill Twins
  • The Black Lab
  • No Vehicles Without Boats

Then again...

Ever seen someone playing three saxaphones at once?

That'll be your man, Rahsaan Roland Kirk. Later in the video, he invites the audience to take whistles and join in with his band, in the key of W; then plays jazz to a tiger while a child rides on his back; then plays a flute and annoys a fox. Interspersed with the very droll John Cage talking about music while preparing for a performance with a musical bicycle. I just realised John Cage sounds very much like Vincent Price, which may partly be why I like him so much.

On a related note, I'm doing my monthly hunt around YouTube for interesting videos. Here's what I found:

  • This little gem is Can in the studio. What I particularly like is the intense concentration, interplay between the band members, and the frenetic activity which initially produces light ripples of sound but builds into a flutter of noise. Also I like their long hair and the way Damo Suzuki is standing in a cubby hole at the back to do his vocals.
  • Here's another one, a performance of Bring Me Coffee or Tea by Can.
  • Also discovered Finitribe did a cover version of The Electrician, one of Scott Walker's rather extraordinary mid-career experiments (when he was transitioning from his crooner phase to the all-out avant gardism of his current work).
  • And this is one my favourite Can tracks, Oh Yeah, bizarrely shown on MTV. As someone points out in the comments on this one, you can definitely hear what Radiohead have been listening to. I liked the man juggling umbrellas in the middle of their live act. This is the song which The Fall pastiched in their Can tribute, I Am Damo Suzuki, which is also great. Here's a version of that.
  • Here are Portishead's performances on Later this week, preceding the release of their new album (the first in 11 years):
    • Machine Gun. Pretty brutal that one.
    • The Rip.
    • We Carry On.
      Somehow I think the album's going to lack the dinner party appeal of their previous efforts.

Planningtorock

One of my favourite recent finds in the music sphere is Planningtorock. I think this is a performance artist originally from the UK. She recently released an album called Have It All, which I bought through eMusic. It is a really unusual, exotic, hilarious, deranged, baroque album, reminding me of The Residents, Aphex Twin, Kate Bush, Lydia Lunch, Moloko, Kurt Weill, Goldfrapp, and Bjork, often all at the same time in one song. It's a while since I've heard something so outrageously inventive, especially in how the vocals are layered and manipulated. Well worth a listen.

Here are some of her videos on YouTube:

The Two Petes

Some tracks by a misguided but utterly engaging pub band. Their rendition of Macarthur Park seguing into Popcorn has to be heard to be believed, including a slightly out-there moog solo. The singer sounds like the pub singer as rendered by Vic Reeves.

A computer scanner playing music/Are you being served? etc.

Has to be seen to be believed: ftp://ftpmirror.sectoor.de/private/ganjatron/scanjet-elise2.mpg

A remix of the theme tune to Are You Being Served?: http://www.scottcairo.co.uk/pilchard/tunes/served.htm

Pilchard has a whole range of other remixes/mashups at: http://www.scottcairo.co.uk/pilchard/tunes/index.htm

I've spent this morning listening to WFMU (mp3 feed; ogg feed), a New York freeform radio station (basically, the DJs choose what to play). It is awesomely eclectic. It's like listening to the record collection of a mad friend who's spent too long at car boot sales. Jason Elbogen, I salute you.

I really should have a music category...

John Cage - super cool

Some fantastic footage of John Cage, that most endearingly controversial of avant garde composers, performing one of his pieces (Water Walk) on the American game show "I've Got a Secret" in 1960.

Here's some crazy mashups for my sis. Now them's what I call mashups. You might also enjoy these one minute or less remixes of various songs. My favourite is this version of Stagger Lee by Nick Cave. I also enjoyed Take One (a version of Dave Brubeck's Take Five). Or how about the whole of OK Computer in 45 seconds (wait for the hilarious ending).

Martin Denny performing Quiet Village. Class.

In fact, just go and read this fantastic radio station blog I stumbled across where these and many other nuggets came from.

It's another "I'm in love with music" post

I love my music. I think I might die if I couldn't listen to music all day. I also love the 22nd of every month, as that's when my eMusic subscription refreshes. This month I've been loving:

  • Philip Jeck, the master of skipping vinyl transformations. Try Surf for size.
  • Oval, who are a bit like Mr. Jeck, but use CDs painted and scratched as source material rather than vinyl. Juddering ambient washes. Try Ovalprocess.
  • Funkstorung, who produce nasty beaty acid. Try Return to the Acid Planet.
  • Metro Area, sublime disco-tinged house. Try Miura (my favourite track from their self-titled album).
  • Pole: precise, dub-inflected, glitchy down-tempo techno. The new Steingarten album is great.
  • Soylent Green: spartan acid/house. I got La Forza Del Destino, which works really well as a complete album and keeps up a decent quality and tempo throughout.
  • Paul Dresher, modern electro-acoustic music. I've got the first two tracks from Cage Machine, which are excellent.
  • Trans Am's new Sex Change LP is excellent. They seem to turn into a different band for each album: this time there are echoes of Can and Kraftwerk, plus some raucous guitar work-outs.
  • And of course, most importantly, I forgot my friend (he's been promoted) Mark's band TheRubbish. They've got a MySpace page where they claim Beck and Jarvis Cocker as friends, though I'm not so sure. I recommend their classic Compo Compo.

Looking at that list, there's definitely a Teutonic tendency.

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