Rebellious Jukebox XIV: Jack Buck vs Pound Of Flesh

IMG_20150605_154714Originally published November 2013

When it comes to deluxe packaging, metal & noise bands are hard to beat. Take the mighty Fister’s blood-inked 16 RPM 13″, for example, or that unlabeled noise cassette packaged in an air-sickness bag full of anthrax they’ve got at Apop. Without the muscle to back it up, of course, who cares how cool a record looks? Well, okay, fine. I still do, & you probably do, too, but let’s just say that a cool record makes a cool package even cooler, & vice versa. Simpatico!

Jack Buck’s latest 45 is pressed on clear vinyl & packed in clear, etched, lucite. It’s a solid & formidable wall of a record before you even drop the needle, & the music doesn’t drop the ball. Side A’s Proud Mary (no, not a cover) is a drum heavy rocker that reminded me of a less jazz-inflected Jesus Lizard. The guitar winds around your throat, like it’s trying to pull you close so some guy can yell his manifesto into your face. Side B’s Slave Driven goes moody & ominous, with Slint-ish instrumentation under the moaning & howling.

St Louis/Chicago/who knows who late 90’s noise supergroup Pound Of Flesh also opted for the clear vinyl/clear shell package, slipping in some vellum sheets with genital surgery illustrations, masturbating Casper The Ghost comics,  & other stuff to liven it up. What they didn’t do is enclose any information about the record, & my memories have dimmed. Nihilist put it out, so label-head Andy Ortmann is surely twiddling at least a few of those knobs, but is that blurting sax Dave Stone? Probably. Is Jeremy Brantlinger drumming? Maybe. Who’s that screaming? Who’s that pianist trying to hold things together on the first piece? In any event, it’s a well crafted, interesting, dare I say MUSICAL proof that noise isn’t always “noise,” even when it’s confusing. And hey, y’know, it’s cool looking, too.

Jack Buck “Proud Mary”

No Pound Of Flesh music could be found on the internet. The mystery continues…

Rebellious Jukebox XIII: This Is The Dope vs 13th Floor

IMG_20150605_154814Originally published October 2013

Hip hop’s home is traditionally the 12″ single (or, nowadays, the download “mixtape”), so it was a bit of a surprise when veteran intelligent/conscious/whatever you wanna call it St Louis hip hop mainstay Black Spade dropped his latest project, This Is The Dope, on a 45. I’m glad he did, though, because it’s a concise introduction to a sprawling concept. A “Space Trap Oddysey Through Afro-Futurism” is apparently what they’re shooting for, & on 3013 they spell it out. Well, kinda. See, they’re 1000 years ahead of us, though Teresajenee’s vocals are solidly in the 70’s, or at least in the neo-soul version of how awesome the 70’s were. Her strong voice carries the first half of the track, leaving Black Spade & Indiana Rome to rap the rest. The track, as a whole, would have fit nicely in the late 90’s Lyricist Lounge scene. The other featured track on the 45 (there are a few more out on the internets, but that’s got nothin’ to do with the Rebellious Jukebox) is the appropriately named Theme Music, where the project’s name is occasionally mumbled in the background under some sweet Herbie Hancock-style 70’s future-fusion-lounge-jazz-funk. There are no credits, so I have no idea if this is straight beat-creation, live instruments, or some combination. Whichever it is, it’s pretty cool.

Gina Lako Nani (What’s Your Name), by North St Louis early 70’s funkateers 13th Floor, could have been Theme Music’s father. The few vocals are phased to the point of being barely decipherable, leaving the fuzzed guitars & spacey keyboards to do all the talking. How this track hasn’t caught the ear of some 70’s funk reissue label yet is beyond me. The other side’s Leanin’ is a moody guitar workout penned by the late great Oliver Sain, who also recorded the session & released it on his Vanessa label. If any of the 13th Floor dudes are still around, somebody should introduce them to This Is The Dope, and they can create yesterday’s future together today!

This Is The Dope-Theme Music

13th Floor-Gina Loko Nani (What’s Your Name)