Mp3 Killed the Vinyl DJ 15: The Spooks

Ah, Hallowe'en… Cool for kids, but for adults, Hallowe'en merely caters to conformists who think they're being «crazy» by not conforming to standard measures of propriety by—that's right—conforming to the expectation that they get dressed up for Hallowe'en.

«Toilet Guppies,» I hear you think, «you think too much.» And you'd be right. (Especially if I think I'm hearing your thoughts.)

The best remedy for thoughts, of course, is the moronic noise dredged up by Black Lips. In this case, the three original members of Black Lips in conjunction with members of Deerhunter and the Kiwis, for the silly Hallowe'en act the Spooks:

It's not Mozart. Or Black Lips, even. But the inept vinyl transfer you'll find above—of incompetently composed and performed songs from the Spooks' one and only album, 2009's Death from Beyond the Grave—is the closest Toilet Guppies will ever come to celebrating an obnoxious Anglospherical holiday. (Yes, Valentine's Day, you're next.)

Do me a favour and at least dress up in something wrong.


Toilet Guppies Tries to Connect with People via Mixtapes, No. 6: Easy Listening for the Hard of Hearing

Some time ago, I posted a mixtape containing 30 minutes of poorly engineered punk and lo-fi noise pop. 'Twas quite a doozy, if I may say so myself. And back by popular demand—if one person hinting about more of the same may be called «popular demand»—here's another 30 or so minutes of barely listenable bish bash mess. Screeching treble, ringing cymbals, pathetically thin bass, murky mixes… spanning four decades of rock 'n' roll, the common denominator here is, well, tinnitus.

If high fidelity is a form of naturalism, lo-fi noise is not inability or poverty as much as rock's own expressionism. And as naturalism is a form of sobriety, it should go without saying that low fidelity is far more fun. Hedonistic. Life affirming, as only the death wish can be. Expressionism—brute strokes and all—is hardly subtle, but who's got time for subtlety?

Of course, ineptly taped home recordings became all the rage in the early noughties. Just don't expect warbly acoustic, singer/songwriter noodlings on this comp. (Not that there's anything wrong with that.) As the last mixtape stayed clear of tape hiss balladry, so this one sticks to more violent noise. But where the last mixtape veered towards the horny and/or idiotic, this one is moody and brooding and perhaps a little bit killjoy. Artsy fartsy, even.

Yet it rocks, and should you ever feel like dancing and being true to your feelings at the same time, this comp's your stop: 33 minutes to blast the wax right out of your ear and the nihilism out of your mind.


First Day of Winter

In Norway, 14 October was traditionally seen as the first day of winter. To mark the occasion, here's an unreleased, but truly transcendent live record by one of Norway's foremost composers—a man seemingly steeped in winter, by the sounds of these monumental, monochromatic and meditative orchestral pieces.

You may curse it in a couple of months, but winter has its own beauty.


Support Larkin Grimm

The formidable Larkin Grimm has already recorded, mixed and mastered her new album, Soul Retrieval, but has yet to print copies or secure a distribution/promotion deal. As far as Toilet Guppies knows, this is not being done through a label, so funds are needed. The release was scheduled for autumn 2011, now early 2012.

Larkin Grimm saved my life, and if Larkin Grimm saved your life (or got you back with your ex-wife), go here to donate whatever you can to encourage, nurture and pay the dues due an artist who delivers.

Few songwriters are able to pen lyrics like those of Kaliesque Grimm, and you won't find many who can sing with such authority and beauty either, her voice clear and strong and coming out of a cavernous, seemingly prehistoric mouth full of compassionate destruction. Still, her name isn't nearly as known as it deserves to be. Nor is it likely that she'll be hyped by the indie hipster biz any time soon. So, take charge of the marketplace; support your favourite artists now. These interweb times are no time to be a lazy consumer. There's hope beyond the record industry yet, but only if you act.

It's time, then, to stop down-/freeloading art and to give something back to those who transport you to secret places, or who bust you open, whatever needs release releasing all over the place as your cooped up energy once again flows out into the universe in one momentous, bitter sweet moment of messy bliss. Or who simply gave you some grace or perhaps brutal honesty when you thought you really needed it. Patrons who donate, via PayPal, more than U$D 50.00 to Grimm are set to receive an autographed advance copy of the album.

Perhaps one day, Grimm will be routinely mentioned in the same breath as Dylan, Cohen or Cave. But none of those guys got there by themselves...


Hate Rock Is so Successful

Toilet Guppies loathes music videos. This one is the same pretentious superficial-marketing-nonsense-masquerading-as-art wank, but the song will undoubtedly prove itself one of thee stand out tracks of 2011:

Download the demo version of the song here, and—not «or»—buy the album here. You won't regret it.

And if you do, you have more money than sense anyway.