The Muffins — <185>
(Cuneiform 55013, 1981/1996, CD)
by Steve Robey, Published 1997-02-01
This newly re-released version of <185> is an excellent document of the final recordings by this talented Washington, DC quartet. First, a little history: Fred Frith produced the album in 1981, culling compositions and improvisations from the Muffins' live repertoire. Electronic effects and overdubs were added, making this a truly unique and intriguing Muffins album. However, over the years (as drummer Paul Sears recounts in his liner notes) they couldn't help feeling that the album "didn't sound like us." And so the idea came for the CD re-release: in addition to the original album, seven of the ten tracks were "remixed" to more closely resemble the original live tapes from which the original album was made. These seven tracks appear on the CD as "bonus tracks," bringing this hearty CD up to a 75-minute length.
While I can't make a definitive decision on which "version" of the album I like better, suffice it to say that regardless of the mix, this is some of the best music the Muffins ever recorded. The compositions are both wilder and more concise than much of their previous output. The squealing woodwind (with the emphasis on wind) sounds on "Horsebones" are astounding, and the manic riffing at the beginning of "Queenside" is as grungy as Canterbury/RIO-styled music is likely to get. Along with Open City (which contains music from the same period but was released posthumously), this release is a fine example of the Muffins' last days.
Alex's Hand Seeks Spa Treatment – American / European band Alex's Hand has a new album in the works called Hungarian Spa, which looks to be their biggest and best yet, featuring a large roster of guest musicians. They're seeking funding to take the project on the road, and are looking for help from the crowd of wisdom. » Read more
Legendary Co-Founder of The 13th Floor Elevators Passes Away at Age 71 – Sadly, Roky Erickson passed away on May 31, 2019. Known as the father of psychedelic music and co-founder of the ground breaking 13th Floor Elevators, Roky had a profound influence on music from the 60s to today. Plagued by his own personal demons, Roky had a difficult life and is now free of these burdens. » Read more
Help MoonJune Bring Great Music to Life – Like many music lovers around the world, we’ve been thrilled and amazed to hear the recordings that have been released by MoonJune from sessions at La Casa Murada in Spain. Such label stalwarts as Mark Wingfield, Markus Reuter, Asaf Sirkis, Tony Levin, Dusan Jevtovic, Vasil Hadzimanov, and many more have gathered in various combinations at the studio to produce some of the most creative music in recent years. Now, label head Leonardo Pavkovic is offering a compilation, La Casa Murada - MoonJune Sessions, Volume One, as a fundraiser for upcoming sessions. » Read more
The Pineapple Thief to Tour North America – November and December of 2019 will see The Pineapple Thief bringing their music to Canada, Mexico, and the US, and famed drummer Gavin Harrison will be on board. The band has been touring extensively in Europe, but North America will be new territory for them. » Read more
Scott Walker RIP – Noel Scott Engel, better known as Scott Walker, was one of the most intriguing and enigmatic musical figures in the second half of the 20th Century. His strange career started with The Walker Brothers, an American pop group that featured no one named Walker and no brothers. After moving to England in 1965, they had a series of hit singles. Scott's solo work started with Scott in 1967. Starting in the 80s, his work took an increasingly avant-garde turn. » Read more