Tricky’s new album is great. Reminds me a bit of Pre-Millenial Tension with the overall vibe and the sparse piano backing on one track. Great to see such a talented and somehow still fairly underground artist is still creating such great work. But it’s so sad that both he and Nick Cave have created such brilliant albums recently in the aftermath of the death of one of their children.
I love how his albums veer from dark, slowed down Tom Waits and Kate Bush inspired smoky trip-hop to rougher, aggressive rap and bouncy pop. Still no-one has really copied his brilliant style of whispered background vocals behind a more upfront feminine voice.
Every now and again I get angry about how overlooked Maggie Holland is. I’ve been a fan of hers for about 25 years, when I heard her song ‘Salt of the Earth’ on an great obscure cassette compilation called ‘Jali House Rock‘ that I’d found in the bargain bin in a record store. This is my own small attempt to draw attention to her work, so I’ve put down as much information as I can for people who may be interested.
She’s a fantastic songwriter and musician, and at least these two songs of hers should be considered as alternative national anthems for England. Although she’s won folk awards and June Tabor’s cover of ‘A Place Called England’ got a lot of radio airplay, her work has not penetrated the national (or international) consciousness as much as it should have.
In my view, with these two songs alone, she should be championed alongside Billy Bragg, Crass, New Model Army, and the Levellers as a particularly English songwriter fighting for the common folk and resisting the greedy and the oppressive with passion and outrage and music. Because she’s seen (or marketed) as folk, she gets pigeonholed like so many other artists.
Very happy to see Zoogz Rift’s “Murdering Hells’ Happy Cretins” (from 1986) being re-released yesterday, on what would have been his 66th Birthday. Not only a great title, please check it out on Spotify or mega old-school: CD Baby! It was originally released on SST records – not sure what a Mudhoney, Hüsker Dü, or Screaming Trees fan would have made of it…
If you’re thinking (quite reasonably) “who the hell is Zoogz Rift?”, then please read on for my quick overview:
Sadly left in the shadows of even most underground music fan’s interests, Zoogz Rift is just begging to be rediscovered. He’s often thrown in with oddballs and outsiders like The Shaggs, The Residents, Jandek, or Tiny Tim, or turns up with on the fringes with cult or obscure artists like Z’EV or or Ivor Cutler or Sun Ra…
Sound-wise, he’s usually an odd blend of Frank Zappa and Captain Beefheart, with a bit of post-punk Pere Ubu type angular aggression, and the odd touch of synthesizer. He was enough of an influence on Mike Patton for the latter to name his record label after a Zoogz album (Ipecac), and a lot of Mr. Bungle’s work owes something to Zoogz.
But he was also a professional wrestler (for UWF), and, despite having obvious Zappa influences, was definitely walking his own unique path. His album titles are part hilarious, part disturbing (“Island of Living Puke,” “Idiots on the Miniature Golf Course,” “Amputees in Limbo,” etc.), and his album sleeves often have a photo of him showing an emotion somewhere at the intersection of anger, insanity, and outrage.
Island of Living Puke has one of my favourite (very NSFW) album openings of all time:
I originally came across him while looking for ever weirder, more obscure music, all the way back when MySpace was good place to discover music. (Seems like the stone age now). He used to sell his CDs through his MySpace page, which shows how underground he was…
Composers and artists embracing randomness and chaos (as we do here at Kaboodle Sound) have often recognised or exposed underlying patterns in their work, either accidentally or intentionally. It’s always nice when the scientific and the artistic find these kinds connections and common points of reference.
Happy to see that Diamanda Galas’ work is available on streaming services at long last! Although I’ve got all of her albums on CD or digital download, I’ve become reliant on Spotify for ease of access. Also, the more people who discover her astounding body of the work, the better!
I was lucky enough to see her live in Paris a few years ago, after a day spent exploring the Catacombs and failing to have my poor French pronunciation understood. She was as wonderful live as I’d hoped for, and her audience were as entertainingly dressed as I’d hoped, too!
Really loving this album of Tuareg style guitar folk by Ahmed Ag Kaedy, released last month on the brilliant Sahel Sounds label (one of our favourite labels at Kaboodle Sound). Hard to believe the album was recorded in single takes on to 8 track cassette!
Definitely needed if you like Tinariwen and Tuareg or Mali music in general, as are all of the Sahel Sounds releases… Plus, we’re loving Ag Kaedy’s awesome scorpion guitar and his cool, natural look here: