Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
|Various Artists, Beck, That Dog|
The Poop Alley Tapes
Genres: Dance & Electronic, Alternative Rock, Pop, Rock
That dog. and friends entertain, as expected
Ben Boyden | Bay Area, California | 06/04/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This release deserves some sort of normal review, mainly for the reason of there being no helpful information about it easily available. I've wanted it for years but was never completely convinced of buying it, especially with the always fluctuating price.
The Poop Alley Tapes is "A Compilation of 31 Los Angeles Bands" released on WIN Records in 1995 featuring bands who have recorded at Tom Grimley's Poop Alley Studios. The artists primarily cover indie rock, garage, post-grunge, synth-pop, with some experimental visits mixed in. The sound quality is excellent, yet still maintains the comfort of a low-fi recording. It would also appear that the majority of these songs are exclusive to this release.
If you are a fan of that dog, this 2-CD set was made for you. Even though the bouncy, start-stop "Ridiculous" clocks in at a mere 1:08 as the shortest and only official that dog song included, don't let that fool you. There are many that dog related gems to uncover here. The first disc starts off with "California" by The Rentals, an early demo version of "Barcelona", which later appeared on the Seven More Minutes album. The song "Study No. 1 For Symphony No. 1" by Recess is actually a Petra Haden creation that would fit right in on her Imaginaryland album. Josh Haden (of the band Spain, brother of the Haden sisters) performs the track "Ten Nights" with Anna Waronker, who appears again on "Kinda Sorta Maybe" with The Strawberry Jams, a band who sound suspiciously similar to The Magic Pacer. However, the real treat from Waronker comes on the second disc where she appears under the pseudonym June Blake for the acoustic "Adam In June". The second disc also includes "Girl Of My Dreams" by Beck with that dog acting as his backing band, which is as comparatively captivating as "Totally Confused", another classic performed by this combo to lead off Beck's A Western Harvest Field By Moonlight album.
Then we have the obvious that dog alumni. "Drinking Dogs" by Bobby & The Magic Pacer, later dropped the "Bobby &" and put out the album White Room that featured both Anna Waronker and Petra Haden. Waldo The Dog Faced Boy who contributes "Turkey's Lament", released a split 10" with that dog where they took turns covering each others songs. Charles Brown Superstar, who appears on the second disc with the 8-minute epic "Solid Gold", have shared bills with that dog. It may also be of note that these artists have all put releases out on WIN Records. It would be interesting to find out what other connections are going on here.
Many other elements are thrown into the mix. Jackknife adds high energy garage rock in contrast to the surf rock supplied by The Neptunas, while songs from Lowercase, Kryptonite Nixon and Brown Cow adjust the noise level with some post-grunge explosions. Polar Goldie Cats kick off the second disc with the eerie circus sounding instrumental "Reverb Wa Doko" followed by the alt-country of Geraldine Fibbers. Three other instrumentals by Danny Frankel, Nastassya Filippovna and Vector 3Niner cover the relaxed, aggressive and experimental realm, respectively.
Several unexpected surprises come along the way, first with "Love On The Rocks" by Benett, a beautiful 7-minute acoustic guitar and violin driven ballad that almost immediately steals the show; and Fleabag, who supplies the melodic, punk-inspired anthem "Fading Fast", is easily the catchiest song of the collection, bringing the feel of bands from the pacific-northwest labels K Records and Kill Rock Stars. Hopefully someone can shed some light on these bands and if they have any releases floating around out there.
Like a lot of large collections that are excellent, there sometimes comes the bad, or at least weird. The tracks by Too Much Girl, Rump and Shady Ladies Of The Mother Lode (as their names might suggest) all sound like inside jokes I'm being left out of, where the Crib and Speculum Fight tracks are abrasively experimental. "Honky Tonky Woman" by the Radies Man sounds like a karaoke-trainwreck going down in a blaze of glory. (I was into it.) Finally, each disc ends with its own drawn-out song. "Excerpt From The Composition" by Rod Poole is an almost 15-minute stream-of-conciousness acoustic guitar track that closes out disc one, where the almost 20-minute atmospheric drone of "Silver Man" by Slug ends disc two.
Upon further listening you start to get the feeling that a lot of thought was put into not just the songs, but the order in which they appear. If you let it, this comes alive as a well constructed mix tape, where disc one(72:50) is actually Side A and disc two(73:08) makes up Side B. It should be mentioned that Amazon has wrongly labeled all the samples, but it is in order from disc two to disc one. I would have rated this slightly lower, but felt it necessary to counter balance the angry mom, who judged a book by its cover. This is highly recommended to anyone who enjoys that dog, the WIN Records catalog and/or experimental indie rock compilations."