Monday, March 23, 2009


It’s 1968 at UCLA in California, the season of the hippy is in full swing, and teacher/ethnomusicologist Joseph Byrd wants him some of that free-wheelin’, free-lovin’, psychedelic hippy action. Leaving his teaching gig to play music full time, Byrd recruits students Dorothy Moskowitz (vocals,) Rand Forbes (bass,) Gordon Marron (electric violin,) and Craig Woodson (drums,) to form a band and record a truly groovy record, the self-titled United States of America, LP.

The album is a paisley tapestry of psychedelia, with swirling arrangements and ethereal vocals, and perhaps most notably, eschewed the use of the electric guitar completely, in favor of keyboards and early electronic synthesizers and processors. Perhaps that’s why, commercially, it didn’t fare very well – in the rock ‘n roll game you’ve gotta have a guitar hero. Members of the group were arrested for drug possession and Byrd, apparently, was a bit of a tyrant and very difficult to work with. And so, like most things rare and beautiful, the United States of America died and early death, disbanding shortly after their record’s release.

But we’ll always have the music, like the beautiful Cloud Song, which opens this week’s playlist.


MP3: Disco Volante – Cloud Song

1. The United States of America - Cloud Song (3:20) 2. Corinne Bailey Rae - Munich (Editors Cover) (3:58) 3. Lambchop - Up With People (Zero 7 Reprise) (5:28) 4. Amon Düül 2 - Archangel Thunderbird (3:33) 5. The Go! Team - Bull in the Heather (Sonic Youth Cover) (2:59) 6. M.I.A. - Boyz (3:27) 7. Ladybug feat. Warrior Queen - Dem A Bomb We (3:21) 8. Kurtis Blow - The Breaks (7:47) 9. Breakout - Planet Rock Pt 1 (Afrika Bambaataa Cover) (4:33) 10. Apostle of Hustle - The Naked and Alone (4:36) 11. GZA/Genius - Swordsman (3:21) 12. Feist - Mushaboom (K-Os Mix) (4:01) 13. Steely Dan - Black Cow (5:08) 14. Anne Waldman - Musical Garden (3:38)

Friday, March 13, 2009

DISCO VOLANTE: Street Preacher

DISCO VOLANTE – Street Preacher

*Sorry I was so late this week everybody, but Disco Volante is now switching over to Sundays, beginning with today's installment. Enjoy...*

I must confess, I don’t know an awful lot about or opening act, the Troublemakers, and my research has born little fruit. DJ’s Fred Berthet, Arnaud Taillefer and Lionel Corsini aka DJ Oil hail from Marsailles, France, and have released three albums, the 2004 film score Express Way, the 2003 mix album Stereo Pictures, and their 2001 debut Doubts & Convictions, the only one I own and from which we take our opener.

I’m not even sure how I got the album. Did I get it from Greg? It has a Greg type of feel to it. Wherever I got it, I’m glad I did, Doubts & Convictions is a cinematic and utterly charming melange of acid jazz, instrumental hip-hop, funk, house, samba and god knows what else, peppered with some truly funny vocal samples, like the rant which begins our first song, Street Preacher. Bonus points to anyone who can name the early 90’s indie film it comes from.


MP3: DISCO VOLANTE – Street Preacher

1. Troublemakers – Street Preacher (6:16) 2. Peter Bjorn And John – Young Folks (4:39) 3. Luna – California (All The Way) (4:15) 4. Edson Frederico – Bobeira (3:10) 5. Os Mutantes – A Minha Menina (4:42) 6. The Slits – In the Beginning, There Was Rhythm (5:35) 7. Pixies – No. 13 Baby (3:51) 8. Devo – Be Stiff (2:35) 9. The Afghan Whigs – Miles Is Dead (5:06) 10. Enon – Disposable Parts (1:52) 11. Barbara Morgenstern – Come To Berlin (Telefon Tel Aviv Mix) (5:14) 12. Bat For Lashes – Pearl’s Dream (4:45) 13. Portishead - Silence (5:06)

Thursday, March 5, 2009

DISCO VOLANTE: Alone Together

In the mid 1990's, dj/producer/instrumentalist Yuka Honda was one half of the Manhattan J-pop phenomena Cibo Matto, a more than slightly twisted but cute as a button hip hop band whose wildly eclectic debut album, Viva La Woman! was an instant classic, one of the best examples of layered sampling I can think of, and a used cd bin glittering gem (like Last Splash or Elastica.)

Since the band split up in 2001, Yuka has worked on remix projects with everyone from Yoko Ono to Medeski, Martin & Wood, and released two fantastic solo albums of elegant, organic-sounding electronica. I love her song titles, like "Why Are You Lying to Your Therapist?" and "Spooning with Jackknife".

Here she reunites with former bandmate, Miho Hatori, herself enjoying a promising solo career, and former that dog violinist/vocalist Petra Haden, whose acapella version of The Who Sell Out has to be heard to be believed.


MP3: DISCO VOLANTE: Alone Together (right-click-save-as)

1. Yuka Honda - Humming Song (Alone Together) (3:44)2. M.I.A. - MIA's Thing (MIA vs Amerie-Carrasco! mash-up) (4:25)3. Public Image Ltd. - Seattle (3:41)4. Public Enemy - Don't Believe The Hype (5:19)5. The Sea and Cake - Sound & Vision (4:06)6. Joan As Police Woman - Eternal Flame (3:39)7. Devendra Banhart - Mama Wolf (3:54)8. Destroyer - The Sublimation Hour (4:12)9. Cornershop - Hong Kong Book of Kung Fu (3:23)10. The Fall - Arid Al's Dream (4:48)11. CAN - I'm So Green (3:07)12. Camp Lo - Luchini (This Is It) (3:59)13. Stereolab - Household Names (3:42)14. Kate Bush - There Goes A Tenner (3:26)