Jim Finnigan Poop 05

Well my ultimate PoOP list is here and I didn’t even write it! Simon Reynolds book Rip It Up and Start Again – Postpunk 1978-1984 was my favorite musical experience of the year. Not the book alone – I DJ’d my reading experience with the records listed or mentioned in the text, and the soundtrack on my stereo(s) was better by far than anything else that made it to my turntables or CD players. And what a selection: Slits meets Pop Group meets Gang of Four meets Mutant Disco meets 99 meets On-U meets PiL meets YMG meets Joly [!] and on and on… I knew some of these people, still keep in touch with some of ‘em. Reynolds calls the people who made this music and made these scenes “5000 of the most pretentious people on earth”, and what better place to honor these pretentious people and this opinionated book than making it my #1 PoOp Pick of 2005? So do I feel guilty about ignoring current trends to dwell on the past? No! I’m using “the abundance of the past to make it through the dry spell of the present.” Besides, as Michael Corcoran says, “Listen to the music of today…and 1979 could almost pass for last month”. In fact several writers in the DaCapo Best Music Writing 2005 dwell on 1979 and past trends. So, I’m not alone. And, if you check my list, you will see that I am checking some current sounds. And in no case do “I don’t even like the records I like”, to quote the sadly departed John Peel. (And what a sad quote that is. I hope it never happens to me…)

Top Eleven Music PICKS from 2005 – one for good measure

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1.Simon Reynolds – Rip It Up and Start Again – Postpunk 1978-1984 (book)


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2.Moondog – The Viking of Sixth Avenue


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3.Konono No.1 – Congotronics


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4.Kraftwerk – Minimum Maximum
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5.Roger Eno – Live at Lincoln Cathedral


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6.Jon Hassell – Maarifa Street – Magic Realism 2


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7.Harold Budd & Eraldo Bernocchi Music for Fragments From the Inside / and / Harold Budd & Robin Guthrie – Music from the Film Mysterious Skin (tie)


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8.MIA – Arular


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9.Maximum Joy – Unlimited (1979-1983)


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10.Peter Stampfel & The Bottle Caps – The Jig is Up


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11.Chicks On Speed meet The No Heads – Press the Space Bar


Extensive Runner-up PICKS

  • Magpie Lane – A Taste of Good Ale
  • Pauline Oliveros – Tara’s Room
  • Brian Eno – Another Day on Earth / and / Music For Films III (remake / remodel) / and / More Music For Films (can be used to reconstruct Music for Films II)
  • Ari Up – Dread More Dan Dead
  • Girlz – Women Ahead of Their Time (compilation)
  • Alvin Curran – Maritime Rites
  • Vashti Bunyan – Lookaftering
  • Prince Far I – Silver & Gold (1973-1979)
  • Adrian Sherwood – On-U Sound Crash (DJ mix)
  • Keith LeBlanc – Stop the Confusion (Global Interference) with Bim Sherman
  • Ze compilations – Undercover (versions) / and / Ze Xmas Record Reloaded 2004
  • Lee Dorsey – Yes We Can / Night People (reissue)
  • Leon Thomas – Blues and the Soulful Truth / Full Circle / Spirits Known and Unknown
  • Mark Stewart with the Pop Group & Maffia – Kiss the Future
  • Mel Blanc – Party Panic! (Rhino recommended)
  • Music from the NY Underground (1977-1984) – New York Noise Vol.2 (Soul Jazz)
  • On-U Sound reissues with outtakes and rare trax: Bim Sherman’s Across the Red Sea / Dr. Pablo’s North of the River Thames / The New Age Steppers Vol.1, and Action Battlefield, and Foundation Steppers
  • Jamaican Songs of Freedom (1970-1979) – Am I Black Enough For You?
  • Linval Thompson – Don’t Cut Off Your Dreadlocks (Trojan comp)
  • Desmond Dekker – You Can Get It If You Really Want (Trojan comp)
  • Lola Perrin – Perpetual Motion
  • Roger Eno – Fragile (Music)

What other cool reading matter would I recommend? I have been happily reading through the 33 1/3 series from Continuum Books. I liked the books about Bowie’s Low, The Kinks Are The Village Green Preservation Society, and even the book about Jeff Buckley’s Grace, which was an unabashed fanjob but got me to listen to the album and like it. The books on Springsteen and The Smiths and Sign O’ The Times couldn’t convince me to like the albums in question, though. Even though the Springsteen book was good. What else was good? Ben Edmonds’ book on Marvin Gaye’s What Going On (which wasn’t part of the 33 1/3 series) was a good read. And I thoroughly enjoyed Shirley Collins’s autobiographical America Over the Waters, especially her accounts of song collecting in southern prisons and the discovery of Mississippi Fred McDowell. Too bad she didn’t talk that much about her wonderful songs. But enough about books. It’s life, not books, that’s taught me all I’ve learned…

Wallace & Gromit won my Oscar vote, with The Aristocrats a close second. Nomi Song, the story of the ultimate post-punk counter-tenor Klaus Nomi, was thoroughly bizarre. Best song in a movie was So Long and Thanks for All the Fish, in The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, which was not bad, at least not nearly as bad as the TV series. In repertory houses, it was good to see Jacques Tati’s amusing Playtime and Phillipe Garrel’s La Cicatrice Interieure again (Nico’s crying scene in the latter has gotta be in the running for the worst acting ever)

Favorite gigs have been Peter Stampfel & John Kruth’s band that’s been playing out a lot at Bowery Poetry Club. The drummer plays a watering can, and Sam Shepard sometimes sits in on banjo. Not forgetting Peter’s bud Gary Lucas, whose concerts with Dutch lute player Jozef Van Wissem are very intense and delicate.

I also must give a shout-out to Alex Chilton & The BoxTops gig at the Ulster County Fair, Michael Hurley at Colony Café, Richard Thompson in NYC, Pete Seeger & Arlo Guthrie in Beacon, the Battlefield Band in Croton, Vince Giordano & the Nighthawks at Bard, and Daniel Lanois at Stuyvestant High School. Let us not forget debonair Rick Lange as Hildy in The Front Page at the Rhinebeck Center for the Perforated Parts. And how about Mel & Vinnie’s Clearwater repertoire inna Dan Hicks-stylee at the Newburgh-Beacon river swim this fall!

The Moondog CD included quite a few rare trax from the 50’s, mixed with stuff from the 70’s to the 90’s. No new stuff, but a good selection and it spent a lot of time on my CD.
So did Congotronics, which sounded like a Mark Stewart remix of one of those ‘60’s Paul Berliner Nonesuch mbira records. Congotronics 2 is supposed to be even better, but isn’t due out here ‘til 2006.
The MIA album sounded like Neneh Cherry’s Buffalo Stance meets Chicks on Speed.
The Maximum Joy singles comp was much better than their only LP way back when. Good to hear them again!
I was real happy to find that a bunch of Leon Thomas albums finally made it to CD.
Ditto the Japanese On-U Sound reissues with some interesting rare trax and outtakes.
This year’s strangefolk rediscovery was Vashti Bunyan’s first album in 30 years. Who’s next? Licorice McKechnie?

The Books. Boring.
Pink Martini. Boring. If you want bossa nova, try The Mosquitos. Or Rita Calypso.
Ex-Wire things such as Githead and Edvard Graham Lewis’s Presence. Boring Boring.