Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Music From Star Wars: Performed by the Electric Moog Orchestra

Music From Star Wars: Performed by the Electric Moog Orchestra - 1977

This a pretty terrible record. It pretty much nearly made Sara cry. I kind of like the fact that it sounds a little like early video game music with better drums, but generally, it is the piece de regurge. So why review such a lousy record? Well, besides the fact that it only ran me a buck at CD/Game Exchange in Silver Spring, I have to also give a shout to one particular track. On a whole, the album is lame bleeps and bloops, which really drains the joy out of John WIlliam's superb original soundtrack. One track in which this actually complements the original source material is the music from the Cantina Band. You know, that scene in the first movie with all of the fun oddball creatures getting their drink on whilst networking for space related job activity? Well, the band in the futuristic space dive bar is busting out some serious space funk. It's easy to picture the moog version fitting right into the movie, it's so shitty/futuristic. The moog version has a lot less jazz and swing, it fills in with a bitchin' drum solo, manic crackhead tempo, and it even gets kind of dark and psych-rock towards the end. It's the kind of track that will turn your head because it actually one-ups the original in a dirty kind of ham fisted way. Is this enough to recommend seeking out the entire album? No, not by a long shot. Nice to know it happened though. The decision to green light this project must have been made around the same time George Lucas approved the Star Wars Holiday Special. Also bad, but some parts just work and are kind of revolutionary in they're own freakish way.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

We've Got a Fuzzbox and We're Gonna Use It

Fuzzbox - We've Got A Fuzzbox and We're Gonna Use It 1987

This is actually one of the very first vinyl records I ever purchased. Picked it up in '91 at Yesterday and Today Records along with "Bleach" from Nirvana on pink see-thru vinyl. Before '91 I was listing to mostly crappy glam hair metal, tried and true classic rock, and whatever lame pop rock that was radio friendly. A high school friend I barely knew lent me a video cassette of an English comedy show on late MTV called "The Young Ones"(worth seeking out, if you're a crackhead) and the tape included about a half an hour of the early alt music show 120 Minutes. Cable television had not arrived at our house just yet, so what I was seeing was completely new, strange, and compelling. The Fuzzbox video for "Love is the Slug" was absolutely crap, but it also completely blew my mind. What the hell was going on here anyways!?! These sort of Jem and the Holograms looking pop/punk young ladies were dancing badly, sort of dancing, not really dancing. It looked stupid, but it was train wreck stupid. Most importantly though was the buzzsaw sound that accompanied the driving pulse of the tune. Yeah, the ladies chirp and tween through the almost incomprehensible lyrics, but it never tops that grinding guitar fuzz. It's a freaking monster.

The album is just a damn bastard. It's bouncy and filled with plenty of thunder. The songs are generally mini stories about love and loss for the high school set. "Love is the Slug", "Jackie", You Got Me", and "What's the Point" all follow that mold to a t. The last two tracks of the album, "Preconceptions" and "Rules and Regulations"(the first single the group ever recorded) break away from this and actually do a fine job at explaining why being a teenager and being different can just completely blow. The whole thing is done so tongue in cheek though, it's hard not to smile and dance. Even "XX Sex" which has a sing along "rape, rape, rape" finale, will make you jump up and down like an idiot.

Why did people forget about this great band? Well, the rest of their career was absolute poop, lacking almost any signs of the aforementioned good stuff. Bugger.