1/18: Hands & Fingers

The new Silver Mt. Zion album, Kollaps Tradixionales, is the big feature for this week’s show. I started things off with “There is a Light,” which is the first song on the record and a pretty good indicator of how excellent the rest of it sounds. It’s dramatic and despairing and melancholic, but also a little less meandering than past efforts. It has seven songs and none of them are gimmicks based upon the album’s title! Everything just sounds tigther and more focused, as though they entered the studio with a clearer idea of where they wanted to go. Maybe it’s just the horns, but parts of the album have a distinctly American vibe to them. Charles Ives came to mind for some reason. After just a couple of listens I like it even more than 13 Blues for Thirteen Moons, and that’s quite a standard to be measured against. You can check out their website (linked above, too) and hear another song from the album called “Bury 3 Dynamos.” Kollaps is due out in the US on February 16th.

I was really excited to play a song from the new Jack Rose album, Luck in the Valley. If I hadn’t restrained myself, I might have dedicated the entire second half of the show to it. There’s no doubt that this is going to be one of my favorite records in 2010. It’s in the style of Jack Rose and the Black Twig Pickers and Dr. Ragtime and His Pals in that it features a lot of band-oriented tunes and a kind of outlaw or ragged sound: you know, jumping pianos, big upright melodies, and a rambling quality across all the instruments. You can hear the band whoopin’ and hollering on a couple of the tunes. The energy over the course of the whole record is really amazing and it’s great to hear further interpretations of songs that Jack had covered in the past, mostly by himself. With Jack’s death so fresh in my memory, it’s nice to hear his last record is so joyous and upbeat.

Also of note is Gil Scott-Heron’s new record, which is to be released on XL Recordings on February 9th. I’ve only listened to the album once, but his sound has changed quite a lot, much more than one would guess based on his output from the 70s and 80s. I guess that’s to be expected, though: Gil hasn’t released a record in 13 years and the producer for this record is XL label owner Richard Russell. There’s a definite hip-hop vibe through the whole thing, but there’s also some acoustic songs and a couple of poem-oriented sound pieces, too. According to Gil’s website, there’s going to be a couple songs included on the LP that will not be on the CD, but XL’s terrible website doesn’t mention this, nor is there any information who is responsible for what on the record. Richard Russell’s name is all over the promo sheets, and there’s a few photos indicating session musicians were used, but with all the songs being so different I suspect that there’s a few names missing. Guess I’ll have to find out once I get my hands on a physical copy. The song featured on the program (“Me and the Devil” ) is the first single from I’m New Here and already has a video, which you can view below. It’s a beautiful black and white video and it absolutely captures the mood of the song and much of the album:

Along with those features, there’s new music from Ceremony and Soundpool in the first hour and a great MLK-related song from Greater Than One. Thanks for the request! Make sure to check out that Killer Pimp website if you like those Ceremony and Soundpool songs: both A-sides are available as free downloads.

Lots more stuff is coming. I recently obtained a copy of the new Extra Life album, which is exciting and perversely weird and titled Made Flesh. There’s all kinds of weird synthesizers and vaginal references to be heard, and it’s quite a change of pace from Secular Works, which was my favorite record of 2008. I’ve also been enamored with the new Pantha du Prince record, which is due out on February 8th and reminds me just a little bit of the good ol’ Autechre days. You know, back in the mid and late-90s, before they let algorithms write their music. I’ll be playing songs from both records next show. If you’re impatient or if you like Pantha that much, you can check out a fragment or two from the record right here:

That ’09 mix is almost done, too, and I’ve got a couple reviews just about ready for reading. Stay tuned.

Thanks for visiting and enjoy the music!



01. Thee Silver Mt. Zion Memorial Orchestra “There is a Light” from Kollaps Tradixionales (2010) on Constellation

02. The Angels of Light “Untitled Love Song” from How I Loved You (2001) on Young God

03. Retribution Gospel Choir “White Wolf” from 2 (2010) on Sub Pop

04. Ceremony “Someday” from Someday 7″ (2010) on Killer Pimp

05. Greater Than One “Now is the Time” from London (2008) on Brainwashed Archives — originally released by Wax Trax! in 1988

06. Soundpool “Makes No Sense” from But It’s So 7″ (2010) on Killer Pimp

07. Daedelus “The Crippled Hand” from Exquisite Corpse (2005) on Mush

08. Gil Scott-Heron “Me and the Devil” from I’m New Here (2010) on XL

09. Coil “Who’ll Fall” from Stolen & Contaminated Songs (1992) on Threshold House


10. Wovenhand “The Good Hand” from Wovenhand (2003) on Sounds Familyre

11. Jack Rose “St. Louis Blues” from Luck in the Valley (2010) on Thrill Jockey — written by W.C. Handy

12. The Dutchess and The Duke “When You Leave My Arms” from Sunset/ Sunrise (2009) on Hardly Art

13. Man Or Astroman? “Put Your Finger in the Socket (Maximum Voltage Version)” from Intravaneous Television Continuum (1995) on One Louder

14. The Sonics “Strychnine” from Nuggets – Original Artyfacts From The First Psychedelic Era 1965-1968 (1998) on Rhino

15. The Teardrop Explodes “Bouncing Babies” from Piano (1980) on Griffen Music — originally from 7″ single, 1979

16. PJ Harvey “Rub ‘Til It Bleeds” from Rid of Me (1993) on Island

17. Extra Life “Blackmail Blues” from Secular Works (2008) on I and Ear Records

18. Espers “Hearts & Daggers” from Espers (2003) on Locust

19. TV Buddhas “La Li Loo” from The Golden Period (2009) on Trost

20. Castanets “As You Do” from Cathedral (2004) on Asthmatic Kitty Records

21. Human Bell “The Singing Trees” from Human Bell (2008) on Thrill Jockey



  1. Ha, it’s funny you start your show with this song from Kollaps, because it’s the only thing I can’t get into on this album, and it being placed at the beginning and being so long… I dont know just kills the rest of the album for me. I’ve listened to this album something like 7 times since I had it, and it bothered me every time. Then I decided to skip this one (which I usually never do, I’m an album guy) and start from track 2, and the album became like 100 times better for me. And yeah I would agree that it’s the best, most focused thing they’ve ever done. Well, except for that first track. I just hope I’ll get around because the rest of the album sounds so good it deserves it.

  2. I want to add that it’s great you’re playing something by Human Bell, I love their album but somehow I never found anyone else who liked it :)

  3. I’m in love with that song… with the whole album really – some of it has a weird jazzy feeling to it, like it could fit right into one of Scorsese’s films. I think the first song is a great introduction to the mood of the whole record, like a prologue that isn’t a proper part of the rest of the record. The whole thing is cool, though; I just wish Efrim wouldn’t curse so damn much. So many of ASMZ’s best songs can’t really be played on the radio because of it. “I Built Myself a Metal Bird” is one of them. I could edit the ending to death, but then it’d sound like crap.

    That Human Bell record is superb. I read about it over at Dusted when it first came out. Doesn’t seem like too many other people picked up on it, though. I should play more from them.

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