from Sivan Silver-Swartz, co-vinyl director:
James Siegfried is better known as James Chance or James White–one of the seminal figures of late-70s/early-80s New York No Wave, along with people like Lydia Lunch and Arto Lindsay. In the early days, he had two groups and personas going on–James Chance & the Contortions and James White & the Blacks. Both were bizarre amalgams of free jazz and R&B, the former a little more funkier, the latter a bit more disco. And so, we found ourselves with a great vault find, the 1982 album from the White & Black side of things called “Sax Maniac.” ”James White & the Blacks,” “Sax Maniac,” songs with titles like “Sax Machine” and “Irresistible Impulse”–too good to be true, right? It features, rather than a bunch of No Wave people, some actual R&B session musicians and singers of the time. Compared to his earlier work, it’s a bit less wild, a bit less disorienting, a bit less rough. But don’t worry, it’s still revolutionary and transgressive and all of that good stuff.
from Ryan Jennings, workgroup member:
I found the first four Robbie Basho records in the vault yesterday at vinyl workgroup. It’s sweet to imagine WOBC being sent the records upon release, but who knows how all four stayed intact since they’re pretty rare and expensive on e-bay. Robbie Basho was a cool dude on John Fahey’s Takoma Records, and he and Fahey went to college together (wow, just like us!) And the record’s mostly 12-string solo guitar American Primitivism and, like, folk music I guess, but he studied with Ali Akbar Khan, the #1 sarod master of the world, and changed his name in honor of the Japanese poet Matsuo Basho. He sings on a lot too, but my favorite Basho record, “Falconer’s Arm I,” which is in the vault right now, is a masterpiece and completely instrumental. A very detailed and coherent record, each song represents a unique and beautiful story. “Babs” is a favorite track but I seriously recommend everyone to check out this haunting album on par with any Fahey and more accessible than a long winded raga!
Basho died in a freak chiropractic accident in the 80s.
from Olivia Simuoli, workgroup member:
This semester, I found in the vaults German progressive and space rock group Nektar’s concept album, “Remember the Future.” Recorded in 1973, the album features one song divided into two parts and tells the tale of the evolution of man through the eyes of a bird. The story begins with life originating in the sea and touches on other major milestones, such as man’s discovery of fire and invention of the wheel. The climax of the album occurs when mankind starts to wonder whether he is alone in the world or if there is some “Supreme Being” out there as well. Despite what may seem to be clichéd and at times bizarre subject matter, the album on the whole is pretty unique and interesting and has a good space rock feel with some nice funk undertones.
The single ‘Loose Fit’ from the Happy Mondays came out in 1990. Off of the label Elektra Records, the acid house band combines influences of funk, house, and dancehall hits. Check ‘em out in the WOBC vault!
We picked this stuff from the vault this week:
These ladies are from New Orleans. They sounds like the Andrew Sisters. They are friends (see below).
Here is a sample of their music. This song is called Mood Indigo.
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This band is one of those bands from the 80s who made a website and never updated it. We like them anyways. They are kind of folk rock-ish. This picture is called Hanukkah Nights (see below).
This is a song by Antietam. Here- it is called Camp Folk.
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Exceedingly strange punk funk band out of Boston. “Dogzilla is made of up five people, each one of a different sex.” Here are some stills from their music video Lunch With Ed. Everything that happens in this video is crazy (see below).
Here is a sample of their music: The Sphinx.
The Cosmic Psycho’s album Blokes You Can Trust is sheer gold from deep in the WOBC vault-mine. The Australian punk band is hanging by their threads to keep playing. Their ’91 album, off of Amphetamine Reptile Records was the first with guitarist Robbie ‘Rocket’ Watts, who died in 2006.
This one’s Angst with a capital A for sure. There’s a lot of easy, definitely relatable lyrics here. But these hard-drinking vulgarians from Melbourne are closet poets. In “Elle”, the last track on the album, we get ’I see you standing on the boat, shedding your clothes to stay afloat’, while the back vocalist groans, ‘Break my arm, break heart, tear my shirt’.
The rest is a little less romantic. ’Back at School’ is nice, moshy and grimey. Jump up and down for ‘Just good to be back at school’. Tons of shredding. ’Loser’ and ‘Nightshift’ follow suit. Come into WOBC’s vault for a listen!
WOBC has a lot of records. It’s a well-known fact that if you line up all the vinyl the WOBC vault has, it will circle the equator three times. If you stacked all of the records on top of each other, you will reach the exosphere. The weight of all of our vinyl will crush the Eiffel Tower. The combined speed of the RPM of our vinyl is enough to go back in time. So what to do with all these records? Well, sometimes they sit around on the third floor of Wilder — lonely… unseen… untouched. Sometimes, though, they get taken out and played on air! And sometimes, they’re corralled and examined and analyzed by “Vinyl Workgroup,” or “those geeky losers.” Well here’s a quick sampling of stuff you might not know is in the WOBC vault…
So the vault has, among other things, an incredible selection of Anthony Braxton records, something like 10 or 15 of his most important stuff from the 70s and 80s. This is fantastic. “For Alto” was maybe his first big record, from 1968 — it’s more than an hour of just him and a saxophone. An alto saxophone. I’m bad at writing about music I like, so I’ll just give it to you. This one is “To Pianist Cecil Taylor.” (We have some of Cecil in the vault too.)
Anthony Braxton – To Pianist Cecil Taylor
There’s this section at the end of all the pop stuff that’s called “Anthologies.” Mostly it’s record companies in the 60s and 70s sending samples of their artists to WOBC. Warner and Reprise happened to do one of these in 1971 called, for whatever reason, “Non-Dairy Creamer.” There’s usually a reason these people needed some extra publicity on the labels’ parts, but it’s always a great artifact. Here’s a prog-rock band called “Curved Air,” and it quickly becomes pretty obvious that the song is called “It Happened Today.”
Curved Air – It Happened Today
Clarence Clemons made a solo album. He actually apparently made quite a few, and of course in the vast ocean of mostly anonymous, mostly mediocre 80s rock the vault contains it would stand to reason that you’d find a Clarence Clemons solo album. This one is from his debut effort, with “The Red Bank Rockers.” This song’s called “A Man in Love,” and yeah, it kind of sounds like Springsteen. It’s not bad.
Clarence Clemons – A Man in Love
WOBC DJs — there’s more in the vault that awaits your discovery!