Saturday, January 23, 2010

GG Allin - The Troubled Troubadour + Bonus Tracks (1996)

GG Allin's infamous performance antics have probably overshadowed his recorded output, which includes numerous releases of gritty hardcore punk. In 1990, after a stint in jail for sexual abuse, GG put out one of his lesser known pieces, The Troubled Troubadour. Originally released on 7 inch vinyl, it included three Country-Western-inspired singer/songwriter numbers.

In 1996 the EP was repackaged with several out takes and live recordings, a few spoken word numbers and some lengthy recorded phone conversations that show a different side of GG. The whole album, in fact, could be described as showing a different side of him. Sex, drug abuse, alcoholism and other anti-social behavior take the forefront once again, but on these songs his words feel completely sincere. The exagerated depravity of his heavier material is absent.

There are certainly some good songs to be found here, particularly "When I Die," which is known from the Hated soundtrack. Any one interested in GG's legacy should try out this record.

Download it here.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Neutral Milk Hotel - Invent Yourself A Shortcake (1991)

Neutral Milk Hotel - Invent Yourself A Shortcake (1991, self-released cassette)
Before releasing the indie classic On Avery Island, there were a handful of self-released cassettes accredited to Neutral Milk Hotel. Most of the material was thrown together by singer/guitarist Jeff Mangum and exclusively distributed to other members of the experimental Elephant Six collective. One of the earliest is a piece from 1991 called Invent Yourself a Shortcake.

At this point, the Neutral Milk sound is radically different from what the band would come to be known for. There's a lot of sound collage / musique concrete to be found here with song titles like "Random Noise," "More Noise" and "Spooky Sounds." There are a few songs with no musical elements at all such as "Prank Call" and "Digestion Machine," and there are even a few pieces like "Charlotte" that are pure noise rock. However, there's still a bit of folky indie rock to be found, with pop songs like "My Dreamgirl Don't Exist," and "Synthetic Flying Machine" which eventually made it's way onto In The Aeroplane over the Sea.

While obviously not on par with their later, more official releases, this is a recommended listen for anyone into early 90's indie.