Friday, May 31, 2013

offshore jazz shelter

what it is: offshore jazz shelter
where i found it: amazon

I've been in a Bill Evans mood recently. Sure his music sounds like a coctail lounge if you let it, but it's virtuosic, well thought out, beautifully gestural and pretty cool if you imagine yourself standing in the snow wearing a tie smoking reefer with Neil Cassidy or something. Poor Evans eventually went to deep opiod exploration after the death of his bassist, girlfriend and brother (the latter two to suicide), but his music really stands up as a pillar of the pre-free era. Just listen to this.

In my recent search for Evans records I came across this label called Real Gone Jazz, which seems to only operate through Amazon and to be taking advantage of European copyright expiration laws. As a result I got seven fucking Evans CDs for 14.99. And low and behold their catalog includes early releases by Cecil Taylor, Sun Ra, Ornette Coleman and other heroes of freedom. Here's the Evans listing where you can scroll a bunch of their catalog under 'customers who bought this album also bought'. Enjoy.

either bill evans or george mcfly. not sure which.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

hating people who don't hate cats

what it is: hating people who don't hate cats
where i found it: my home/my cousin

I used to live in a house with three cats who got in a territory/shit war. They shit on the stove, in the shower, in the beds (not in mine, kept the door locked) and in piles of clean and/or dirty clothes. Their owner could admit no wrong and this is one of the reasons why I hate people who don't hate cats. This week my cousin sent me the below video, which strongly supports my bias.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013


what it is: thoth
where i found it: 125th St., originally

Back around the change of the millenium I used to see this guy on 125th street in Harlem named Thoth who dressed like a native villager, played violin, sang opera in a self-invented language and did a weird dances that made the bells around his ankles jingle in rhythm. They don't let street performers do their thing on 125th anymore (including the Black Hebrew Israelites, who dressed up like unique superheroes and yelled insults at nearly everyone walking by) and the last time I saw Thoth I was sharing a bill with him in the early 2000s at a preposterously booked children's music festival where my free jazz band was playing. Who books Thoth and long form absurdist free jazz at a children's music festival? At any rate, I was in a tunnel in Central Park this weekend with my kid and there was Thoth, only this time he had an albino woman with him, also with ankle bells, violin and an equally operatic soprano howl. Even my four year old formed an immediate opinion, yelling out "they are ridiculous!" at too loud of a volume.
When I brought this up to a friend, he filled me in on recent Thoth goings on - he was the star of an Oscar winning documentary and even appeared on America's Got Talent only to be cruelly ridiculed by David Hasselhoff, who was drunk and eating a cheeseburger off the floor with his little daugther last time I saw him.

Thursday, May 23, 2013


what it is: storytelling
where i found it: last week

While I was busy meditating Slayer and centaurs last week I didn't have a chance to give heroic Charles Ramsey, the guy who rescued those abducted girls, his due. Someone was nice enough to put together this compendium of his 911 call and subsequent interviews with him. Yes he tells the same tale a bunch of times, but he's a great, animated storyteller who keeps it going even as he is harassed by the media for 72 hours straight. Despite his domestic violence history that nobody gave a shit about until he got on the news, I really like this guy and so do several area establishments that have supposedly offered him free hamburgers for life (I'm not making that up).

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

opting for fatha

what it is: opting for fatha
where i found it: dollar LP bins

Ray Manzarek died and there's probably a lot to say about that, but I'm more in the mood to watch this video of Earl "Fatha" Hines., whose records are often available, inexplicably yet luckily, in dollar LP bins.

Monday, May 20, 2013

the master is back times two

what it is: the master is back times two
where i found it: some video store a long time ago

Alejandro Jodorowsky, everyone's favorite weirdo movie director/comic book writer/mime is back at this years Cannes not once but twice. It seems he's emerged from his den of tarot reading and spooky psychoanalytically based seminars at the age of 84 to make a brand new movie and star in a documentary about his failure to make the movie Dune. Here's the trailer for the new film, which looks kind of like typical European arthouse cinema. While it's probably no where near as bruising to your unconcscious as Holy Mountain, El Topo or Fando and Lis my guess is that it is better than anything else you can see in a movie theater these days. As far as the Dune doc, which was set to star Orson Welles, Mick Jagger, David Carradine and Salvador Dali, who requested $100,000 for every five minutes he was to appear on film and to be able to burn a giraffe. . . wait. what can i say after that?

Friday, May 17, 2013


what it is: mantras
where i found it: eastern europe

For the last few days I've been listening to Master's Hammer comeback album, Mantras. In case you don't know MH is an early, weird and excellent BM (as in black metal, not bowel movement) band from the Czech Republic. Their albums Ritual and the Jilemnist Occultist are great helpings of what was going on for misathropic satanic teenagers behind the Iron Curtain. The second of these albums features weird orchestrations like harps and shit that come completely out of nowhere, much to the delight of reader EN, who was nice enough to pass me a CD-R cut from the vinyl a while back.  

Mantras still piles on the weird influences (periodic Beach Boys harmonies, church organ, choruses, Indian chant) but they've had 14 years since their last album to figure out how to integrate them with their consistently creative and evil guitar chugging and noodling. I can't find a full link to the album, but here is a track that starts off sounding like a garage band covering Bon Jovi and goes on to demonstrate what I theorize is a mind-state created by a youth spent swimming in communist Czech rivers and all the bacteria infects your brain via the ear canal. This is one of those albums that really needs to be heard in full, but it's impossible to find so you'll probably have to download it and risk having your door kicked in at 6AM by the FedsHere's what you will do the night before, in the meantime making excellent simultaneous use of Black Sabbath and John Bonham before jumping into a horrible acting career, inexplicably maintaining employment year after year on Law and Order SVU.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

centaurs and shit

what it is: centaurs and shit
where i found it: john varley's titan

While listening to way too much Slayer over the past week I've been making my way through a preposterous science fiction novel called Titan. Apparently the first volume of a trilogy, I picked this one up at random from a table at the local bookshop, mostly because of its ugly neon green cover.  Here's a little bit of what's happened so far, which I find hard to make commentary upon:

People riding in a spaceship sight a weird moon next to Saturn. They get too close and a big octopus eats them. They then enter an abstract sensory deprivation state. The octopus shits them out naked. They kill animals with harmonicas for mouths. A blimp eats them. The blimp shits them out with parachutes. They go down a river riding in a nut. They meet some multicolored centaurs with two penises that like to stomp on angels. All of this is interspersed with softcore porn.

I cannot possibly imagine where the plot may go for two more books, but I think it's worth finding out.

Here's some art from an old edition of the book. I probably would not have bought the book had this been on the front, but I'm now saving my money to get this airbrushed on the side of my motorcycle's gas tank.

Monday, May 13, 2013

slayerothon (final)

Today bring us upon Seasons in the Abyss

This album is certainly a step down from South of Heaven or at least a lot lazier and more repetitive. But it still has some excellent moments and is worth a listen from beginning to end if for no other reason that it beings by talking about hollow point bullets and ends with an ode to Ed Gein. Also, on a personal note, I have a friend who totalled his car while blasting the song Skeletons of Society, throwing another friend many feet into the air and onto a median strip. Ah, high school.

I want to wrap up this Slayer shit, because I've had about enough of it and all of the albums after this one suck, but I would like to add that a few years later the band had somewhat unbelievable timing in releasing an album on 9/11/01 entitled God Hates Us all with a lead single released on the same date called God Send Death. There probably aren't many of these around, but a Becos reader who worked at the label at the time hung onto this souvenir and was nice enough to send in pictorial proof, which I can't get to rotate, so you'll have to turn sideways to read it:

Friday, May 10, 2013

slayerothon #6

Today we arrive South of Heaven.

Some may think that Slayer went downhill with this one. Not I. This is my next favorite after yesterday's frozen water burial. This album has more expansive focus, more dynamics, more pensive moments (even if you're contemplating evil, hell, serial killers and WWII). Between the two albums it seems as if they stopped drinking gasoline every single day and now on odd numbered days opt for speedballs, marijuana and Pepsi. 

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

slayerothon #4

Before we move on in the chronology to Reign in Blood, I'd like to share some reader contributions that have rolled in over the past few days.

First is this great early live video, which is of relatively poor quality, but that has really loud guitar solos, which I like. This is from 83, the tour (I think), which was financed by Tom Araya's respiratory therapist job and Kerry King's dad, during which the band pulled a Uhaul trailer hitched to Araya's Camaro.

Second is a reminder about one of Slayer's ridiculous live song intros. Venom gets all the credit with that 7" inch of Chronos' stage banter, but side B should have been full of Slayer tidbits such as this:

How many of you dig older wooooooooommmennnn!.....


Thanks to readers BB and EN for these.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

slayerothon #3

Here we have Hell Awaits.

Still a definite classic, though, I experience this one as sort of bland meat between the awesome bread of Live Undead and Reign in Blood. Opening with the much feared backward masking of the era, the album goes on to present pounding, but long compositions, a highly compressed sound, effects like flanges and delays and lyrics that get kind of dumb in parts (see "blood sucking creatures of the night").  But hey, it's fucking Slayer!

Here's a great video from just after the album's release. I prefer this live version. This whole concert used to be available on VHS, also featuring Venom's set from the same night. Not sure if it ever made it to DVD. I hope so.

Monday, May 6, 2013

slayerothon #2

Next up with have a couple of  1984 EP treasures, Haunting the Chapel and Live Undead.

Haunting the Chapel presents us with a much more refined and focused sound, both in terms of the music and Araya's vocal delivery. Somehow Slayer bootstraps themselves up from being a really good thrash band to a mysterious and sizable creature nearly impossible to be reckoned with. They also connect with their passion to songs about warfare.

Live Undead, on the other hand is probably the most authentic audio document of what a room full of mid 80s meth and booze amped metal grits sound like while reveling in their semi-newfound teenage sociopathy.The full album is not available on youtube, but this needs to be heard on cassette anyway.

hanneman creepeth on the left

Saturday, May 4, 2013

slayerothon #1

What better excuse for a slayerothon than the recent Hanneman demise?

Here we begin with Show No Mercy.

This one is an undeniable classic, yet the full Slayer aesthetic is not yet formed. The elements are here, but you can still hear other bits and pieces that would be trimmed away: early 80s thrash fidelity (contemporary to Metallica's Kill Em All), early Maiden/Judas Priest-like guitar runs/harmonies, occasional Dio-ish melodic vocals, uncut hardcore punk stretches, extreme rhythmic galloping between all of the instruments and guitar solos that have not yet reached pure un-moored atonal oblivion. Despite their undeniable awesomeness they also still come across as a little campy, a stones throw from Venom. 

Friday, May 3, 2013

cemetery expanding


Our cemetery of 20th century luminaries continues expanding with the more than worthy edition of Jeff Hanneman of Slayer, co-master of atonal warble solos and some of the best guitar riffs ever written. If I had wanted to write a mythical ending for his demise I couldn't have come up with a more poetic metal method than nature did: liver failure and  complications related to "necrotic fascitis", an infection resulting from a spider bite (which he got in a hot tub).

Slayer was the first band to scare the shit out of me. I was mowing the lawn of my Southern Christian household the first time I listened to Reign in Blood, feeling that I was faced with something very wrong and dangerous when Alter of Sacrifice, mixed with the sounds of spinning mower blades, invited me to "ENTER TO THE REALM OF SATAN!!!". I was faced with the decision of throwing the cassette into the ditch immediately or letting it play on repeat (same program both sides of cassette). It's still looping.

There have been a number of great commentaries in the last 24 hours inspired by the angel of death finally showing up on Slayer's doorstep. Some of the comments in the thread below this obit really had me laughing (e.g. "I hope he shreds Satan's dick off with kick ass solos for the rest of eternity"), though a lot of them require a familiarity with the band's lyrical material.
With all of these hi caliber folks dying in the past few weeks, I'm seriously wondering how we're going to live up to things like George Jones, Pink Floyd album covers and Slayer in the 21st Century.

far better times for both of these guys

Thursday, May 2, 2013

the becos graveyard

This blog has temporarily become the Becos Graveyard, where we only discuss people who have just died. Here's another interesting one: Bob Brozman. Admittedly I had never heard of this guy before I read his obituary, but after I looked him up he seems like a good candidate for our new cemetary. An ethnomusicologist, philosopher and self described anarchist, Brozman was a scholar of "guitar colonies" around the world. A virtuoso on the National steel guitar, he's a little bit hammy and waxes obnoxious at times, but there are some good some good points amid his talkativeness. His music is pretty great too. 

Here's a good short documentary he made about Hawaiian guitar playing.

This video provides a pretty good overview of the guy and his philosophy.