Basement Songs

This is an mp3 blog, made purely for the love of music. These tracks are for sampling purposes only! I'm not in it for any type of profit. I'm hoping the musicians featured here can benefit from the promotion. Please buy albums and go to shows! I DO! If any labels or artists would like a track or photo removed, please email me at If you would like me to review tracks for posting, contact me! POSTS ARE ONLY UP FOR ONE WEEK--so listen while you can!

Thursday, August 31, 2006

Fish Swedish

Photo by Steph Carley

From Folke Rabe/Jan Bark, the masterful Argh! album:
Bar (Jan Bark)
To the Barbender (Folke Rabe)
Buy from Kning Disc

experimental music would not be the same without these two men. at the end of the 50s, after growing up together post-WWII in Stockholm and attending the Royal College of Music, they discovered the wonderful world of the trombone. Bark had been composing long before Rabe, who claims it was he who had inspired him to start writing his own music. together, they founded an all-trombone quartet, the Culture Quartet, in the early 60s. at around the same time, the two fellows became friends with some serious members of the San Francisco Tape Music Center, throwing them into a whole other dimension of music-making. both became enamoured with tape looping and sound effects. so with these two tracks, the first is an electro-acoustic piece by Bark in 1968, inspired by gramophone media, going from the lowest bass to the highest treble. and the second is by Rabe in 1982, a tape collage created for the legendary John Cage's 70th birthday, someone who had never questioned the limitless possibilites in sound. this entire album is the biggest treat i've given myself in the past few weeks. a truly inspiring body of work. it's already making me turn over new ideas for my own material.

From David Stackenas' new album Bow:
Track 1
Buy from Kning Disc

Ok. before you read what this is, we gotta play a little game: name that sound. listen to a bit of the track and then i want you to guess what "instruments" are being used for this album. David Stackenas borders on "noise" here but it just stays at a lush drone. at times, music can become uncomfortable. it's a misnomer that all music should be "comforting and relaxing." sometimes it should shake your bones and hit your core. it grows hair on the chest! i had someone listen to this recently and they said it was like seeing tons of flashing lights while driving through the lincoln tunnel. whatever the visual it might inspire, Stackenas has that talent to engage all senses. the answer to that burning question? 5 levin acoustic guitars and oscillating fans. what is in the drinking water in Stockholm? sheesh. i love it.

**good news and bad news. the bad news first. i'm moving to brooklyn tomorrow which means no internet connection until the cable guy comes. that won't be that long. i need some tv eventually. so Basement Songs will be resuming in between one and two weeks, maybe even sooner. ok the good news is because this is the last post for a little bit of time, i really put a lot of thought into what is going up here. had a bang-up week in picking up music and these two are sincere jewels. in the meantime, if you're bored on tuesday nights you can always turn to my radio show. i need the company. and this upcoming saturday, 2-4PM on is my last Sound Between (all new indie) show, which means playing the best (in my opinion) of 2006 thus far.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Loosen Up the Serious Pants

Photo by Steph Carley

From Drunk Demos, new tracks from Drunk Country:
A Smile That Takes the Hinges Out of Knees
What Do You Miss Most About What You Forget
Buy from them on Demo Heaven! (i think you could probably just email them if you're interested-get yeself on the waiting list!)

These fine blokes out of Cardiff, England (i mean WALES--i'm geographically challenged), Drunk Country, make me smile. with a humble and simplistic attitude, "affectionately dismissing" their album Drunk Demos as a raw piece of good bad multi-instrumentalism, they have managed to charm the pants off of me. if they are indeed drunk, they pull themselves together, cleaning the slobber and puke off their shirts, wearing enough deordorant and honing their imbalanced hand-eye coordination skills for enough time to make a thoughtful and enchanting record. even if they are not drunk, the wavering guitar and blips of electronic disconnection at least remind me of drunken bar conversations, being in a state halfway between "there and not there." or as a band member would like to put it: french kissing after eating oranges. or rather finding anyone to take home at the end of the night, beergoggles and all.

From their S/T? album, new tracks from Dr. Shock and the Deathray Ballet:
Ixion MD
A Ne'er Received Su...(i don't know. fill in the blank. sun? subject? sundae? sunday?)
Visit their my space page--i don't know if you can buy from them too

Dr. Shock & the Deathray Ballet is one big mystery to me. i know they're from Montreal, but beyond that, they are an enigma. the only thing i can tell you a bit about is the actual "Dr. Shock" & "Ixion." Ixion was in the rock opera of Dr. Shock and had attempted to save the world, but was diverted by his own greed. i'm sure someone in Canada can clue me in. cousin liz? where are you? what struck me about them was an almost childlike nursery-rhymish approach to folk-pop that i find to be incredibly endearing. like reading the Giving Tree or Where the Wild Things Are at 26. definately takes me to a time where i was extremely excited to learn how to tie my shoes outside the girl's bathroom in 1st grade (late bloomer). life gets too complicated. this band reminds you that it's ok to loosen our "serious pants" every once in awhile.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006


Time for some "Outside" action tonight, 8-9PM EST on 89.1FM or! Sorry no posts today...

Monday, August 28, 2006

the hypothetical brave new world

Photo by Jabenaki

From New Humans, tracks from the 12" Diassociate:
Track 1
Track 3
From last year's S/T album:
Mandolin Song
Buy from them! (or actually one of their distributors--you choose--i like them all)

if it would be possible to create a genre called "below sea level minimal", the Brooklyn duo New Humans would be at the forefront of this revolution. Howie Chen and Mika Tajima (with two other rotating members) have been making noisy, twisted, audio distortions for the past three years, and have been known for wittily combining these heady soundscapes with video and visual art installations. anyone would agree that the beginning of a New Humans track can be somewhat mindnumbing. but it's really the movement of the compositions, their transformation and eventual disintegration, that makes them so intriguing. a ball of twine that slowly unravels into a mess, continuously falling apart and taking over the entire room, down the stairs, onto the street, overtaking the whole city. so as a recommendation, if you happen to cop-out early on any of these tracks, the New Humans infestation will not have it's chance to take over. allow it to expand.

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Swarming Furious Bugs

Photo by Amit Gupta

From the band Farmacia:
Estas Tecnicas on Crucial Sky in the Land of Premonitions at Lorenzo's Weekend (2006)
Buy from Psych-O-Path Records
Que Se Le Va A Hacer on Mal Y Bien a la Vez
Buy from Discos Sordos
'70 on the comp Fuga Externa
Buy from Fuga Records

this six-year-old Argentinian trio brings to mind a combination of three things. UFOs. vintage video games. and interrupted radio transmissions. i heard their new record (Crucial Sky in the Land...) for the first time today. it compiles their works previously unreleased in the U.S. i knew they sent it here to corrupt our virgin ears. and i'm beyond glad that they did send it our way. don't be fooled by their seemingly calm and centered "new-agey" kentaro-ish nature. in every track, the peaceful synth soon gets overtaken by ghostly tones and effects. upon further investigation, two Farmacia members, brothers Ariel and Diega Sima, wear lab coats and play alongside a neon-green pharmacy sign, considering they are both pharmacy employees. i'm wondering if it's an indication of anything else? hm.

From Wzt Hearts, the new debut album Heat Chief:
Track 1
Buy from Hit Dat Records

I have to laugh at myself. I just popped this in and quickly looked behind myself in a panic. i thought i was being attacked by a furious swarm of bugs. but it was only the sounds of Baltimore's Wzt Hearts, a talented quartet who successfully draws on the effect of "coming at you from all angles." like the insert, an off-the-wall smattering of zigzagged, supercharged, colorful afghans, Heat Chief pulls your innards and senses in one direction while dragging your head and extremities in the other. or as i like to see it. a man on the brink of a total mental breakdown. who holds on for as long as possible. who cannot hold on any longer. finally losing it completely. thinking he is being attacked by a swarm of furious bugs. all in all, the Wzt Hearts take you on a strange trip indeed, but the destintation is purely dependant on how ready your brain is to ingest the upheaval. meditative or destructive?

Radio Time!!

No post yet today because it's radio show day!
tune in from 2-4PM on
i'm getting the tracks ready now and hearing some great stuff! so it should be a goody! and feel free to call me for requests!

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Flip it Good

Photo by Robin

Debut album Secrets to Superflipping from Yikes!:
The Cars
Holy-Hand Shake (live)
Buy from Upset the Rhythm

I've been wanting to post this for about a month now, and i've been nearly bursting ever since trying to keep it tucked away. it became an immediate addiction for the whole first week. then i had to detox from it for another two weeks. then all of a sudden it sprung forth again this morning. John Dwyer's mind-numbing vocals. unruly guitar. i do this immediate shoulder shake and head bob to "The Cars." i can't control it. i mean already by the second song there's a four alarm fire. which becomes progressively more violent with each subsequent track. and just when it seems to be dying down, each instrument screams together at it's most choatic level and slams you against a wall. those who love Dwyer, and are still mourning the loss of San Francisco's Coachwhips, will be happy to find that Yikes! is exactly how a fan would want them reincarnated. the resemblance is clear. but it's like they came back as a giant elephant on a quest to pummel it's trainer.

as a slight update, i am a little overwhlemed right now. just started a new job. and am now moving in less than ten days. without being packed. so Basement Songs will keep going for the next couple of weeks, but it might not be as consistent as i would want it.

Monday, August 21, 2006


Photo by Joe Williams

From The Gospel Comes to New Guinea by 23 Skidoo:
The Gospel Comes to New Guinea
Last Words
Buy from Forced Exposure (on Ronin Records)

New Order plus A Certain Ratio plus Fela Kuti minus the "throbbing" of Throbbing Gristle and that's 23 Skidoo (1980-1984). One thing i get a bit annoyed by are horns, but that's just a personal pet peeve. if you like ethnic drumming, those blaring horns and early 80s dance tracks, they are the band for you.

From Astral Glamour (1973-1978) by The Homosexuals:
Hearts in Exile (45 version)
Astral Glamour
Buy from Hyped 2 Death (on ReR/Morphius Archives)

The Homosexuals stayed as far under the radar as possible during the post-punk (and punk) boom. only to emerge in this past decade as one of those bands that people would fork over a couple of thousand bucks for some cassette tape that was supposedly found in between the seat cushions of L'Voag's pad. i'm kidding. but i'm kind of not. i unfortunately don't have the other 2 discs to this 3 disc comp. and supposedly, when the tracks get shorter (ie strange segs), the Homosexuals truly show their artistic diversity . you either love them or hate them for the reason that most of the time they weren't very clear-cut in any sense of a "message." sometimes lyrics didn't even string together in any coherent fashion. i think mainly because what they recorded were works in progress or experiments, integral slices, minutes, of the 70s. one of my favorite quotes from the 1982 manifesto of Black Noise Productions (their record label): "the first rule is to exist...The music will be there to remind and say what we perhaps did not have time to."

In other news, i got my apartment today! so this is why we're listening to classics. of course they are dear to my heart, but new music will be coming up this week if i get around to finding it! check back if this is not your bag.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Blow the House In

Photo by Joe Williams

From Alan Sparhawk's Solo Guitar album:
How a Freighter Comes into Harbor
Buy from Silber Media

Minimal, stark stuff from Low's Alan Sparhawk. on his own. all tracks purely experimental, testing how far he can push his guitar. As Brian John Mitchell (x-Remora) said of him, "I realized Alan was a guitar player after I heard Songs for a Dead Pilot in 1998." a guitar player should fill the room with the sound. every square inch. and sometimes not think of the guitar as an instrument, but rather an extension of himself. i think that's how Sparhawk comes across on this record-through his dead space and his filled space, he manages to convince the listener that each soundbyte (or soundless byte) is naturally essential.

From Mars' Complete Studio Recordings NYC: 1977-1978:
Helen Forsdale
Buy from Forced Exposure (on G3G/Spooky Sound)

i think monopoly was playing in the background during my mini-meltdown at a brooklyn realtor over the past few hours. Mars. One of the first no-wave bands, one of the best and dearest. This compilation is kind of old (3 years), but it needed to be dusted off tonight. and this album is stacked like jenga blocks ready to collapse-from the track "3E" showing the most straight-forward and structured part of their career, all the way down to the purely bizarre "Immediate Stages of the Erotic", absolute erosion of all moral fiber and mental stability. timeless. for the main fact they played without boundaries from the very beginning. and at the end, were ready to huff, puff, and blow any house in, out, up and down.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

One if By Land, Two if By Sea

Photo by Travis Gray

From the album The Forest & The Sea by Leafcutter John:
In the Morning
Buy from Staubgold or visit his site here

As I've said before, i like when records tell stories. this one in particular by London-based electronic composer, John Burton (aka Leafcutter John), telling the tale of a couple that gets lost in a forest. they stray so far from home that they have no choice but to sleep there with the other forest-dwellers. morning comes and they climb to the top of a moutain. one between the forest and the sea. instead of leaving through the forest, they take the sea. blair witch project meets 'folktronica.' really. on a serious note, it's a beautiful and calming album from the first to the last track. those chosen above--well the first follows a full-dream sequence where the couple is sleeping. and they're trying to decide how to get out that morning. then the second is about deciding to the take the sea. i suppose about being free and less constricted in general. stop rushing. slow down. enjoy life.

Monday, August 14, 2006

2 BOXED Bedroom off the BEDFORD L!!! WOWWOWOW! won't LAST!

Photo by Ari Moore

From Umberto's Yellow Cardigan and Other Light-Hearted Songs (out of Ann Arbor, Michigan):
Don't Move to Brooklyn
Yellow Cardigan
Buy from We're Twins Records

i guess this is an inside joke. sorry. this is in special dedication to everyone trying to move to brooklyn. and of course, for all those who already live there. i have looked at 5 apartments in the past week. the only one i wanted just got snatched up this morning. all others have bedrooms that i could *possibly* fit a bed in. gas. electric. that's not included. the monthly rent is enough to make anyone have to live off pizza, coffee and cigarettes for the rest of their lives. is it stupid? yes. would i leave new york. nah. sometimes you can't avoid getting branded with the cattle prod. especially when it's either move to brooklyn. or well. hoboken.

Friday, August 11, 2006

crush on this

Photo by Steve Prakope

From Crushed Butler's Uncrushed: First Punks From the British Underground 1969-1970:
Love Fighter (this was not a favorite-once again, i go for the underdog because maybe people have already heard the wonderful Factory Grime)
Buy from RPM/Cherry Red

My alter-ego listens to Crushed Butler. she wears steel toe boots and has tattoo sleeves. she wears fire-engine red lipstick everyday and drives an Indian motorcycle to work with this song piped through some built-in subwoofers. she winks at everyone while licking her lips. really i like her, but she can only come out to play on occasion. when she does though, be prepared to do shots of Wild Turkey and stumble home at 6am. sometimes she's a little too raw and risque for me. but she always talks about Crushed Butler as being the best band ever. the first punks (which some of her friends argue). long before the sex pistols and the stooges, often touted as being way "ahead of their time." and even though they kind of blew it with record labels here or there, that's what makes them even more appealing. so very punk rock. puke and pass out on couches punk rock.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

I could write something horrible with "kraut" (like sauerkraut) in it. i'll spare you.

Photo by *becky

Blumen Des Exotischen Eises tracks from the album Karawane Der Mystiks:
Das Rot Der Ampelhure
Buy from Forced Exposure (on Psycho-Path)

Started my new radio show off with this bottom track here last night. and i got a phone call from a man who was a "messenger." i already love that someone calls and says "i am a messenger" because i'm thinking what kind of message is he going to send me. and he asks if i'm going to play anything else. like what? well, anything besides this. sure, plenty of stuff. no, i mean i'm coming home from work and i don't want to hear crap like this. this is all you can get in NY. *click*
actually, it's what you can get from Mr. Alfred Otterstaetter from 1986 (he had started in the late 70s). during the krautrock era, he had released a bunch of different improvised records under various bandnames, all being homemade, some with friends & some just by himself with overdubs. a man of mystery, certainly with different musical "pennames" and such. it's hard not to see some kind of eastern influence here--very much like Ravi Shankar meets Amon Duul I. and from the guy's reaction above, i know it's not for everyone.

And as a bonus--keeping with the "I heart krautrock" theme of the day, here are some lords of the genre, Faust. There's a tendency to praise Jennifer and Krautrock and It's a Bit of Pain on this record. But a few times, i've blasted this album and always come to this track, saying what is THIS? yes, the other ones are equally as amazing, but i have a certain passion for this underdog that no one ever speaks of:
From Faust IV, Lauft...Heisst Dad Es Lauft Oder Es Kommt Bald...Lauft
Buy from Amazon (re-issued on Virgin)

Sunday, August 06, 2006


Photo by Travis Gray:

Random offerings/findings of This Bike is a Pipe Bomb--
Live at the Tour of the Living Dead (a three-week tour in 2000 w/ Cliff Clavin & Dave Dondero & Boy Was it Fun):
Mouse Teeth
Hot Diggity
From Front Seat Solidarity (2002):
This is What i Want
From Three Way Tie for Fifth (2004):
Jack Johnson
Visit them, buy records, become my space friends, show love, make babies
Oh. or go to the record label that houses some of their material, Plan-It-X.

This Bike is a Pipe Bomb started in 97 as a jokey country band. but considering they were "punk" in nature (sleeping on floors, playing at basement parties, making political riffs before sets), this came across in their sound from the get-go. which is why they spawned a fun, bouncy, "folk-punk" band, damning yuppies, the president and Pensacola, Florida. i saw them for the first time out in Bushwick yesterday, since i think it's a rarity they would be coming this way. it didn't take a lot of convincing to get the crowd to bop around like mad. truly a great time and i could be wrong but it seems like they don't take themselves all too seriously. funny i had a conversation with a kid after the set last night who said he spent too much time in a band that wasn't serious about music. now he's in a serious band. not to insult the serious at all. but serious is just such a dry word. it has the tendency to squeeze the juice out of anything. TBIAPB is full of juice.

speaking of "Juice". holy holy moly. Spank Rock also played at the same show last night. i thought he was a part of the audience. meanwhile he just stands up from squatting position with mic in hand, busting out the smoothest flows ever! the album is good. as a performer, however, there's something about watching SR that's visually stunning and goes beyond the record. sounds strange, i know, but watching this skinny little guy with the backdrop of a couple of delivery trucks and a brick wall in middle-of-nowhere Bushwick just made my night. but the piece de resistance was this guy "Juice." who is Juice? the mystery of it all. i think he was a friend of SR's. an even skinnier little dude, also squatting on the floor, jumps up, grabs the mic and starts bouncing and leaping around from one point of the crowd to the other, freestyling, red in the face, mouth running a mile a minute. i haven't had that much fun since some old MC battles at the defunct wetlands.

From Spank Rock's new Yoyoyoyoyo (which i'm sure has been posted 1 million & 1 times):
Rick Rubin
Buy from Big Dada

Friday, August 04, 2006

Take Pride, My Friend

Photo Felicia Atkinson

From First Nation, their debut S/T album:
Female Trance
Buy from Paw Tracks

i originally saw these three NYC ladies play at Cakeshop a few months back, after this album had officially dropped. and the place was packed maybe three weeks post-release. maybe it was because they were opening for White Magic, but really i think it's due to the publicity they gathered after touring with Animal Collective last year. that's a lofty undertaking having never had an album. maybe they had put everyone in a hypnotic trance (they do have a tendency to come off as 'tribal' at times...and, this just noted, i wrote that before realizing the track i'm posting is called 'Female Trance'). First Nation is a softer, more feminine form of that Animal Collective sound. i don't know why, but on hearing their first song live, it felt as though you were trasnsported into an aviary. i know, an odd comparison, but their harmonized voices can sometimes naturally sound like birds overlapping one another (which doesn't necessarily come across on this disc).

From Jacob Smigel's release Eavesdrop: A Wealth of Found Sound:
Trailer Couple
Hamburger Hamlet
Fight with Michael
Buy from Smigel himself

I can't even express to you how much i respect "found sound." why? because there is not one false aspect to it. it's all real. as genuine as a documentary, as valuable as photographs and antiquities. Jacob Smigel discovered these found tapes over the course of 4 years from thrift shops, yard sales and trash cans. absolutely brilliant collection from front to back. comedic, tragic, fully cinematic. this is America baby. doesn't it make you proud?

If you like this, check out more "found sound" at Tape Findings for some new funny goodies updated weekly
OR 365 Days, a weirdo project of one MP3 a day for one year of found tapes, mainly of crazy people singing crazily...there are more and if i find them again, i will direct you that way.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Wordless Things/Thingless Words

Photo by Bill Walsh (actually of Bill, far right, after he incorrectly spelled the word "ninety")

From Theta (Mika Vainio)'s new album Kantamoinen:
Buy from Forced Exposure, released on Sahko (Finland) Records

Mika Vainio aka Theta (or the symbol theta that i can't find on my computer) aka one-half of Pan Sonic or Panasonic has given birth to this brainy piece of minimal, early-style electronic, originally recorded in Barcelona, Wien & Berlin from 1999-2004. i can only think of a few ways to describe it. as a space oddessy. as the little control we have over the earth. for instance, i just looked out the window and the sky changed from grey to yellow to green to purple to deep blue to black. and (i apologize for being way too into Auster's "NY Trilogy" right now) as "a place of wordless things and thingless words." an exploration of sound in it's purest form, manipulated yet somehow appearing "undoctored." all in all, i think "clarity" might sum it up.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Life Breathed into Death-Metal

Diptych by Billy Quinn

From Bardo Pond's new Ticket Crystals:
Destroying Angel
(and they practice in a Philly basement and used to record there, so close to a true Basement song. yay!)
Buy from ATP

this album makes me feel that we live in a world of illusions and oxymorons. nothing is ever as it seems. sweet can turn sour. sour can turn sweet. and you can have sweet sour and sour sweet. Ticket Crystals is a trip through the angelic to the demonic. and each time i listen to it, i pick up on something new. like reading a passage again that you didn't quite get the first time. and in Paul Auster's novel "New York Trilogy" when Quinn talks about books, saying "the world of the book comes to life, seething with possibilities, with secrets and contradications. since everything seen or said, even the slightest most trivial thing, can bare an outcome to the story, nothing must be overlooked." and go figure, that's what prompted me to listen to this entire thing all the way through. mainly because i have a short attention span and never originally got past the first track and had only sporadically touched on the "trippier" tracks of the album--but sometimes when things are over 5 minutes, i get antsy. as well as repetition can make me feel the same way. although repetition plays a large part in the making of the record, it's the variations that make it unique within the Bardo Pond discography.
therefore, i believe, thoroughly recommended for focused (or the pure opposite, no in-between) individuals, who like the nitty-gritty details amongst repetition, and those who like bittersweet "epic death-metal/psych" tracks with a halo and a smattering of puppydogs and echoes.

****BIG APOLOGY to KRISTINE BARRETT, not KATHERINE Barrett (see under, "Books on Tape" post). sometimes i make mistakes. actually, often.

Basement Songs will resume later in the day (it's a toss up between a Bardo Pond track or some crazy kraut, blumen des exostischen eises). Check back! I've been trying to get life in order...sorry...