Well, life is busy in the best way possible and posting on this joint is a mere afterthought these days. However, I have been making a series of mixes for assorted folks and my own personal commute over the past couple years. An old friend, Robert Craig of Savannah, Ga, recently informed me that he had been listening to old mixes from the blog. I got to thinking that others might dig a few more I’ve made recently. Here they are.


Mix Number One

Jessica Pratt-Back, Baby

Willie Dunn-I Pity the Country

King Gizzard and the Electric Wizard-30 Past 7

Amen Dunes-Lonely Richard

Comet Gain-You Can Hide Your Love Forever

The Courtneys-90210


The Clientele-We Could Walk Together

Women-China Steps

Bright-I’m Colliding

Father’s Children-Inshallah

Leo Kottke-Watermelon

Lida Husik-California, Oregon

Normal Greenbaum-Campin’

Thinking Fellers Union Local 282-Hundreds of Years

Norman Jones-I LOve You

JJ Cale-I’ll Be There

S.E. Rogers-Love is Love

The Swirlies-No Identifier

Jeffrey Ziegler-Used to be Mine

Kendra Smith and the Guild of Temporal Adventurers-Wheel of the Law


This one is from last Christmas. It is as satisfying as the moment when the tarantula gets unleashed in Home Alone.


Ian Matthews-Keep on Sailin

Steve Harley and Cockney Rebel-Make Me Smile

Robert Carpenter-Miracle Man

Zola Jesus-Poor Animal

Ultimate Painting-Ultimate Painting

Steve Gunn-Way Out Weather

World Party-Is it Like Today

The Horrors-So Now You Know

Yumi Houma-The Brae

Parquet Quartz-Uncast Shadow of the Southern Myth

Strapping Fieldhands-Arrogant Flower

Ozark Mountain Daredevils-Colorado Song

Toni Brown-Good For You Too

Papercuts-John Brown

Bert Jansch-Lost and Gone

Teegarden and Van Winkle-Today I Left For the Big Ciy

David Kilgour-You Forget

Strapping Fieldhands-Discus

September 8, 2008

Strapping Fieldhands

Discus LP (Omphalos 1994)


There is something magical and special about this album and its place and time in my life. If you haven’t picked up my very unsubtle and non-existent hints, I grew up in Philadelphia and had the pleasure of spending much of my youth shopping at the Philadelphia Record Exchange, which is still manned by members of the Strapping Fieldhands. Now this is totally irrelevant to both mine and your enjoyment of this somewhat forgotten gem, but this store shaped much of my musical taste and served as an inspiration, source of advice and a place where I was mocked for buying a Steely Dan box set. Anyhow, it was a place to meander and get turned onto to the Majora and Siltbreeze labels while tempering my love of bad indie-rock with some hoary old psych chestnuts. In short, 3rd Street Jazz and Rock and Record Exchange sated my music addiction with proteins and monounsaturated fats instead of the empty calories to be found in the competing genres which could’ve stolen my attention. God, this was meant to be a simple salute and now it some meandering dedication, but thank you fellows.

Let us get back to the music.  After a couple singles on Siltbreeze, the band recorded their debut, which remains sadly out of print and unavailable to those that may latch onto their ramshackle love of loner psych, skiffle, untuned balladry and perfectly concocted pop melodies played off the cuff. I may be totally wrong, but Discus always seemed like a bunch of music aficionados tapping into the best of Peter Hamill, Incredible String Band, Lonnie Donegan and early Holy Modal Rounders in the context of what Guided By Voices were doing in the early 90s.

Until the day I die, I will always be sucker for the opening track “Boo Hoo Hoo” which says little beyond the chorus and invitations to engage in carnal passions in a Scottish glade. It is so simple, but a perfectly imperfect ditty about an illicit weekend rendezvous and the consequences with a lazy regard for the consequences. Almost three minutes into the track, there is a such a sloppy, but uplifting guitar riff that always plasters a grin on my face.

I could never figure out all of the lyrics to “When I Came” but it always engendered these melancholy feelings due to the ramshackle rise and fall of the instrumentation mixed with the endlessly hopeful chorus. It seemed like a feel good song strangled by an inability to decide which mood to embrace.

Polished isn’t a term I would use for any Strapping Fieldhands album or single, but there is something about the smudges and smears that endeared Discus to me. There is a sad heart that beats beneath the sloppiness, myriad of influences and happy-go-lucky exterior that kind of grabbed me and never let go years later.