Sunday, November 13, 2011


This was a short but busy week, both at work and at play. Tuesday night was spent with David Sedaris at the Paramount Theater in Denver, a hilarious Grammy Award-nominated American humorist, writer, comedian, bestselling author, and radio contributor. A friend picked up the tickets while I picked up dinner at Earl's, our seats in the second row right in front of the podium. He's a great story teller, his disdainfully mocking wit and incisive social critiques brought the audience to tears with laughter. Great show.

This was followed by a trip to Bent Gate in Golden on Thursday with two others to see the 2011 Powderwhore film, Breaking Trail, with Jonah Howell and his wife running the whole affair. Another great visual experience, with skiers flying down mountainsides and riding through clouds of power. One can't go to Bent Gate without buying something!

A holiday weekend meant an extra day lounging at home, doing long neglected chores and sleeping in late, but only after staying up late the night before, outside with the truck whose stereo cranked.  This time I wanted to try something different, going instead for the studio releases of several artists, listening to them in crystal clarity that you can only get when listening to official releases.

The Fall - Bingo-Master's Break-Out

Friday night was devoted to something old, listening to some classics out of the late 1970's, early 1980's. First up was The Fall, an English post-punk band from Manchester in 1976.  In 1978, The Fall made their vinyl debut with the release of Bingo-Master's Break-Out!, a three song EP featuring "Bingo-Master's Break-Out", "Psycho Mafia", and "Repetition".  Wiki says: Despite an ever changing line up, the group essentially consists of its founder and only constant member, Mark E. Smith, who has said "If it's me and your granny on bongos, then it's [the] Fall".  First associated with the late 1970s punk movement, the band's music has evolved through numerous stylistic changes, often concurrently with changes in the group's membership. The Fall's music is often characterised by repetition, an abrasive guitar-driven sound, and is always underpinned by Smith's often cryptic lyrics, described by critic Steve Huey as "abstract poetry filled with complicated wordplay, bone-dry wit, cutting social observations, and general misanthropy.

Guitarist and one of the founding members, Martin Bramah spoke about their song "Repetition":

It wasn't punk.  It didn't have structure - it was just a riff and a beat.  Live it was usually a lot longer than it was on the record.  [But] it became a war of attrition against the audience.  If we were feeling particularly abused, we'd just play 'Repetition' till the audience either walked away or got really violent...It was like, 'If you can take this...'  In the early Fall, confrontation with the audience was sort of the lifeblood.

Download it here:

Killing Joke - The Peel Sessions 1979–1981

Next up was the Killing Joke, the Peel Sessions 1979–1981, a compilation that collects the first four sessions they did for the legendary BBC Radio 1 DJ John Peel plus a bonus session recorded for Richard Skinner's program. Songs have been previously circulating on bootlegs, but are presented here in pristine sound quality.

Download it here:,g/killing-joke-peel-sessions.html

Nevermind The Bollocks Here's The Sex Pistols

Wanting to get the sound just as it was when released in all its glory back on October 27, 1977, I cranked up the stereo a couple notches higher and listened to Never Mind The Bollocks Here's The Sex Pistols, "the only studio album by the highly influential and controversial British punk rock band The Sex Pistols. Fans and critics alike generally regard it as an extremely important album in the history of rock music, citing the lasting influence it has had on subsequent punk rock musicians, as well as other musical genres that were influenced by such punk rock artists. In 2003, Rolling Stone rated it #41 on their list of the 500 Greatest Albums of All Time."

The Rolling Stone said:

If the sessions had gone the way I wanted, it would have been unlistenable for most people," Johnny Rotten said. "I guess it's the very nature of music; if you want people to listen, you're going to have to compromise." But few heard it that way at the time. Packed with disgust, nihilism and raw guitar, the Pistols' only studio album sounds like a rejection of everything rock & roll, and the world itself, had to offer. True, the music was less shocking than Rotten himself, who sang about abortions, anarchy and hatred in general on "Bodies" and "Anarchy in the U.K." But Never Mind . . . is the Sermon on the Mount of English punk — and the echoes are everywhere.

Download it here:

Tom Waits - Bad As Me

Saturday night was devoted to something new.  The show started at 11 PM so I was limited to two albums.  First up was Tom Waits Bad As Me, his first studio album in seven years.  I'm not a Tom Waits fan but when I heard a few of the songs sampled on the radio, I immediately put it on my list of albums I had to listen to.

"...Waits’s singing is the true surprise. His voice is often restrained on Bad As Me and mostly avoids the self-mimicking, high-in-the-mix growl that hurt past albums.

"But for anyone who misses the more avant-garde Waits, there's the penultimate "Hell Broke Luce," a stunning four-minute encapsulation of the modern soldier's lot, framed as a stream-of-consciousness marching chant with otherworldly percussion and occasional bursts of Metallica-style guitar. Its abrasiveness doesn't quite fit with the rest of the album, but it's tour de force enough to be worth the price of admission."

Go out and buy it!

Pretty Lights - Spilling Over Every Side EP

One of the great things about watching ski porn is that they usually include a lot of good music to accompany scenes of ripping down deep powder covered mountains.  That was the case with Breaking Trail, a lot of good music from bands I had never heard of before.  I had bought the video (autographed by Jonah!  This is another way for me to support their efforts to shoot gorgeous mountain scenes that bring us like minded skiers together) from which I pulled the names of bands off the credits. The Fort Collins band Pretty Lights was the one I wanted to hear more about.
Their Facebook page says:

"Pretty Lights is the musical vision of the ultra-versatile Colorado based producer Derek Vincent Smith.  At a time when music lovers from almost all subcultures and genres are finding common ground in the basic form of bangin' beats, Pretty Lights is giving the people what they want: electro organic cutting-edge party rocking beats that fill venues with energy and emotion and send dance floors into frenzies."

They are scheduled to play at the Paramount Theater in late December.  I may decide to check it out, assuming its general admission, unlike the David Sedaris show at the same local, as this post began.

Download it here:

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