Monday, May 31, 2010

Mike Patton's Mondo Cane and Disco Violante Re-issue

For anyone familiar with Mike Patton he needs no introduction. If you are humming and hawing over whether you have heard him, he is the mastermind ‘voice’ behind projects such as Faith No More, Mr. Bungle, Peeping Tom, Tomahawk, Patton and Kaada, and hundreds of vocal side projects, most notably with Bjork and Rhazal. Genre of choice? That has never applied to Patton. From the Math-Death Metal stylings of Dillinger Escape Plan, to the Hip Hop vibe from the executioners, all the way to his spastic 'every-genre-at-once' Mr. Bungle, Patton has proven to the world that if a sound can be made with his mouth, he can make it. Patton was also enlisted to create the vampire sounds in the Francis Lawrence film 'I am Legend'.

In the midst of working with half of the music industry, Patton rarely releases an album under his own name. ‘Mondo Cane’, his latest and 3 solo album to date, is an 11 song compilation of Italian pop and movie theme songs from the 50’s and 60’s. This album is nothing shy of original. Taking the songs original structure and arranging music for him and 65 friends from various walks of instrumentation, ‘Mondo Cane’ is his most upbeat and exciting album. Patton performs ‘voice’, though his influence is heard throughout. It is impossible to describe something that perfectly combines 60’s bubble-gum pop, smooth jazz, and even the occasional Captain Beefheart-esqe freak out scream. Let’s just say this album is so good it has made me review a CD on my vinyl blog!

For any Mr. Bungle fans out there who have been patiently awaiting a nice re-issue of their ‘Disco Volante’ LP- wait longer. The copy I got was mastered so low, I literally had to crank my stereo to get a signal. This resulted in a significant ‘hum’ noise from my turntable’s motor. This LP was re-issued in 2008 and in 2010 on Green Vinyl, and reviews I have read for both seem to hint that the problem was existent in both. Perhaps it was a faulty batch and only complainers reviewed it (case and point), but purchaser beware- or ask to listen to a copy before purchasing it. To many this has been a frustrating purchase, as the original now catches upwards of $100 on Ebay.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings: Naturally

Sharon Jones and her backing band ‘The Dap-Kings’ have been at the forefront of the new Funk/Soul movement for nearly a decade.

Gabriel Roth and Neal Sugarman formed the record label ‘Daptone Records’ in the early 2000’s, primarily as a way of producing many of their own musical efforts. Though several independent releases came out in 2001, it wasn’t until 2002’s Dap Dippin’ with Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings was released that the label was off the ground. The label continues to release top notch Funk and Soul releases, with the main output being Sharon Jones and the instrumental Budos Band (highly recommend Budos II)

It’s absurd that it has taken me this long to get my first Sharon Jones LP, and “Naturally” was a wonderful choice. She’s the female James Brown! Funky repetitive riffs that slowly build to a climax; nothing has come this close to the ‘King’ in years. Naturally includes a unique rendition of ‘This land is your land’, which rivals Guthrie’s original (and can be heard over the titles of the 2009 film “Up in the Air”). Needless to say, I am heading out to pick up her other 3 releases, all of which are easily attainable (See Below!)


Fantastic pressing. The sleeve is a gorgeous gatefold, with a think spine reminiscent of old Impulse releases. The album was produced by ‘Bosco Mann”, who also acts as a multi-instrumentalist on this release. All of the LP’s on Daptone Records are still in print, many of which can be found for $15.99 a pop.

As always, Vortex Records is the place to be! They carry the full Budos Band and Sharon Jones Discography, as well as a 2 LP compilation put out by the label (Worth every penny if you want a survey course in Dap-ology). They can also order in any other Dap related items, both on CD and Vinyl (though who likes CD’s anymore?).

Monday, May 17, 2010

James Brown: Sex Machine Live

Though there is not a shortage of live James Brown albums out there, 'Sex machine' is a must have. Unlike the classic 'live at the Appolo', this album contains much more of a broad mixture of Brown's catalogue. Recorded in 70, the original line up of the JB's is featured, with stellar performances by both Bootsy and Catfish Collins.

The first LP is all done is the studio with fake audience sounds placed at the beginning and end of the track. Though many 70's artists would do this to have the live sound without the cost of relocating their recording gear, it rarely holds the same level of energy. This is an anomaly. The 11 minute title track stands out as a perfect mixture of funk and soul, what early 70's James Brown remarkably achieved.

For those Toronto collectors, it was picked up at "Play De Record", a shop primarily known for its DJ related material. The shop has a wonderful selection of Jazz and Soul at relatively decent prices, though a little digging is required.

Play De Record
357 Yonge Street, Toronto - (416) 586-0380

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Bluenote Reissues

'Vortex' resides at Yonge and Eglington, and is still considered one of the last remaining 'classic' record stores left in the GTA.

The store's owner, Bert, has a knack for getting in loads of consistently good wax at unbelievable prices.

Wednesday's Haul:

Aretha Franklin: Hey Now Hey (The other side of the sky)

War: The World is a Ghetto

Dexter Gordon: Gettin' Around (Blue Note, Audiophile DMM)

Wayne Shorter: The All Seeing Eye (Blue Note, 70's, Liberty Records)

Art Blakey: a night at bird land (Blue Note, 70's, Liberty Records

Dexter Gordon: Our Man In Paris (Blue Note, Audiophile DMM


The War album is nothing shy of unreal. It's reminiscent of Grateful Dead or any bad-ass black soul LP from the 70's.

The Dexter Gordon LP's truly show the absurdity of living in the year 2010 and having the luxuary of listening to music that is 50 years old. This music speaks! The musicianship showcases Dexter Gordon's ability to select top notch players (notably Bobby Hutcherson's Vibes playing on Gettin Around)who groove with severe aggression. If you like strait forward high energy Jazz, this is the era.


These mid 80's Audiophile DMM pressings are bloody sharp. From the slick appearance, to the sharp and bright lacquer, these Records play so clearly it is as if they are playing in the room. I have several of the 2006 and 2008 reissues, and they do not come close to the power of this series. Also look out for the Japanese releases from the 80's.

Monday, May 10, 2010

A few finds...

This past weekend I stumbled upon a gorgeous copy of Pink Floyd's "Live in Pompeii". It was never officially released on LP, so this double LP set is a good grab. The sound is taken strait from the film, and is one of the most lively live performances of theirs I have.

**NOTE** No where on this LP does it say "Pink Floyd". There are various incarnations of this record, and they likely avoided the name to prevent any subsequent law suits. Meh. Legal, illegal, it sounds damn good!

I picked it up at KOPS RECORDS, (229 Queen Street West, Toronto, ON), a shop equally as cool as this find.