Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Year End Lists 2010

Here's a list of my favorite year end best music lists. I like lists, and that's why I compiled a list of those lists, HARDWorlders. In order of loves:

Haunting the Chapel (on Stereogum. Stereogum is a decent site, and similar to pitchfork, but better. They also have this metal blog by Brandon Stosuy. He also writes about non metal music on there too. Good stuff.)

Fenriz (of Darkthrone. His blog and his picks of the year.)

Aquarius Records (my favorite record store, and their lists are usually metal mixed with indie rock, world music, experimental, etc....)

Boomkat (another great record store, but one I have never been to. Just online ordering style. Keeps my ears tuned to the electronic side of things. They also get reggae, sometimes metal, and classical/experimental)

MetalSucks (just got turned onto this site recently. A good one.)

Two other sites I am waiting for year end lists from:

Peacedogman (tons of super nerd lists like, best albums of 1972, and the Buyer's Guide section for their favorite bands. Definitely on the punk and metal side of things - old, but also new stuff as well.)

Teeth of the Divine (writing is probably the worst out of all of these sites, but I still check it once a week for metal happenings and reviews).

Wednesday, December 8, 2010


And I ain't talkin' about Rodd Lunt (you know who you are). I'm talkin' Rod, as in Rod Stewart. Or The King. I really like....no, love Rod Stewart (and Rod Lunt for that matter). There are many reasons why Rod Stewart should not be dismissed. Number 1: he's a great singer. And with the right material, you will hear his golden pipes in the proper light. Number 2: he is a great song interpreter. Lots of artists get hammered over from people that think song interpretation isn't talented because "they didn't write the song". I call bullshit on that. A great song interpreter can make the song his or her own. Elvis was great at that. So was Johnny Cash. Most country singers don't write their own songs, and that's okay by me. They don't have to as long as they pick the right ones. You here shit all the time from artists pass their prime picking terrible songs to interpret. Willie is definitely guilty of this, and Rod? Fuck yes. And he's also guilty for writing some of the worst music in pop music history. But don't hold that against him, and I say this because of his first 4 solo albums (and maybe The Faces, but I still have never delved into them much despite my Rod love).

First up is "An Old Raincoat Won't let you down" (1969) or self titled in the states. This is the blueprint for the next 3 records. Rod is backed up by most of the Faces during this time, and they make a ragged and loose country blues racket. In some ways they pull it off better than the Stones. This could be because of their working class background (the Stones were art school kids). Anyway, the lead off is a cover of the Stones "Street Fighting Man" which sounds, pretty dang different until they launch into the chorus towards the end of the song. Almost a complete makeover. I have to admit, though, I don't go back to this album as much as the others. "Street Fighting Man" is definitely worth a listen, though.

Next, from '70, is Gasoline Alley which might be my favorite Rod album. This is pretty solid throughout with favorites "Gasoline Alley", "Only a Hobo", "Country Comforts"....damn. It's all good. Ragged and rich blues country folk stompin' music. And it makes you feel great. Maybe that's reason number 3 to like Rod: his music makes you feel good. When he has the right back up that is.

Then there's the classic: "Every Picture Tells a Story" (1971). Yes, it is a classic, and I really like it, but I'd pick Gasoline Alley or Never A Dull Moment over this one. It's pretty much the same format, musically, as the last two, but it doesn't feel as solid. I guess just preference, really. And it's got its classics for sure: "Maggie May" which is just a fantastic song, "Seems like a Long time", "Tomorrow is a Long Time", etc. etc....blah blah.

Last: "Never a Dull Moment"(1972). Which is true. It's really not dull, but you wouldn't know it from the ironic album cover. Probably one of my favorite album covers. I can't decide if I like this one or Gasoline Alley better. Look: all 4 are worth buying. Just get it over with already. But, Never a Dull Moment is the first I ever bought. So, maybe it's my favorite. Anyway, opener "True Blue"- great rocker with a singalong chorus (like many of his songs), "Mama You been on My Mind", Maggie May part 2 which is called "You wear it well" and it's almost as good as "Maggie...". Great one, and I guess the end of an era, really. Next was "Smiler" which is universally panned despite having The Faces on board again. Maybe everyone was losing their "id" or whatever. Anyway Faces broke up not long after it, and Rod went on a solo tear and a move to America. Some of that stuff I really like. Even "Do ya think I'm Sexy" and some of his early eighties new wave-ish stuff ("Young Turks") ain't bad, but he has reached so many nadirs that it's hard to believe sometimes that this is the same man that did some truly great rock n roll.

I'm not gonna post his albums for download. You know where to get 'em if you want 'em. But I will put up some video clips:

This first one showcases his voice.

The Faces pretend playing n having fun on Top of the Pops. The soccer ball at the end was a part of their stage act, and reminded folks of their working class roots.

Monday, December 6, 2010


And not the Japanese psychedelic band. But some crazy devil worshipping Swedes. However, this is NOT black metal. More like Blue Oyster Cult and Judas Priest and maybe....Boston? I don't know, but it's catchy as shit. I heard about this from the great Haunting the Chapel blog on Stereogum, and there's a song on that blog too, so I'm not gonna post the whole album like I have for some stuff. Just listen to that song on the blog, and I guarantee that it will be stuck in your head for years to come. The album cover rules, too. And here's a video clip I found, but, strangely not a whole video. Not sure why.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Video Roundup

The most interesting videos I seen lately. Yo, Check.

1. Susan Boyle "Perfect Day" Directed by Lou Reed. Unbelievable.

2. Nachtmystium "Every Last Drop"

3. Gary War "Hollow Futures"

4. Major Lazer "Pon de Floor" in case you forgot about watching this at Fara's about a year ago.

5. Kylesa "Tired Climb" another metal song just for good measure. Though they don't sound as metal as they used to.


Saturday, November 6, 2010

Jaws: The Revenge - The roaring shark

It's a HardWorld. That's why I watched all 4 Jaws movies, n here's my all too brief thoughts about 'em:

Jaws - Last time I saw this was when I was 10 or something. A classic. Nice pacing, and good characters. But, kinda boring cuz of that too. The build up to the finale is nicely done.

Jaws 2 - Boring. Has all the same cast members, and about the same theme of a misunderstood lone wolf shark killah and the city politicians that want everybody to get eaten by a shark. The city is wrong again and the sherriff is right again. And too many teenagers complaining.

Jaws 3 - Or 3-D. I saw this one in the theaters back in the day. It ruled back then. Almost as good now. Actually, it's not that good, but more entertaining than the second. There's some weird surrealist sounds in this one, but Jaws looks way stiffer in this one. Too robotic.

Jaws The Revenge - I thought it had a made for TV vibe to it, and later I found out the director is a made for tv kind of guy. I have to admit, it's kind of an effective drama, (one of the Boyd family sons die from Jaws early on, and everyone is sad and trying to move on in life). What makes it ridiculous is the shark revenge theme (on the Boyd family, or Boyle...whatever they're called), and the last 10-15 minutes. They re-did the ending several times, and the one I saw had the shark blown to bits, but no one knows why. I think he had a bomb placed in him by the fake Jamaican dude. The other cut is one where the shark gets stabbed. Both don't make much sense, and have terrible editing, but if you appreciate B-movies then I think you'll like it, and, in fact, love it. Here's both clips. Oh, best part: Jaws roars like Godzilla in 'em. That rules.

I couldn't find the blown to bits ending. This will do.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Gregory Isaacs - The Cool Ruler - R.I.P.

Alright, Hardworlders. You should definitely KNOW this guy. Ultra smooth voice. Seductive. Looking for his Night Nurse. Unfortunately, the man died 2 days ago. Long battle with lung cancer, which I thought wasn't too surprising since I'm sure he loved the ganja, but then I found out he had a decades long battle with 'other' drugs. Cocaine and crack and crap like that. He'd also been arrested a bunch of times for various crimes. Perhaps he did these crimes because he is the ultimate "lonely lover". Anyway, his eighties stuff is some of my favorite, but he was working in the scene since the sixties. He also penned the first "lovers rock" track called "My Only Lover". Now, I haven't heard that song, but surely it can't be the first "lovers rock" song. There's been tons of rockin' love ballads inna reggae style before. What I normally associate lovers rock with is 1980s-early 90s England. I guess mostly English Jamaicans. However, listening to Gregory Isaacs stuff from the eighties, he definitely pioneered the sound, and it is a wonderful sound. It's a shame that he went as young as he did.

Gregory Isaacs: July 15, 1951 - October 25, 2010.

Below is all the Isaacs I have on my computer here in Korea. Back home, I have "Lonely Lover" and "More Gregory" on LP, as well as "Night Nurse" which is below. The other tracks are from several compilations that date 1979-1993.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Graham Greene "The Heart of the Matter"

As a Hardworlder, it is my duty to inform other hardworlders and hardworlders to be about classic books that are shit. In this case it is Graham Greene's "classic" The Heart of the Matter. Graham Greene is one of my favorite authors, although this is only the third book I've read by him. But, The Quiet American and The Power and the Glory (I wonder if Saxon took their album title from that) are 2 of my all time favorites. Great and direct and also very sad.

The Heart of the Matter is about half a great novel and the other half the most whiny, melodramatic romance novel ever...in the world!!!!! I don't know. I just kept wanting it to end already. Please end. It was bringing me down. I was walking into work thinking like Scobie (the main character) from the book. "'This is the end of us, I suppose.' 'You know there is no end to us.'" That line is actually in the book. Anyway, the last half involves a love triangle, deceptions, death, whining to God, and suicide. What a miserable book. However, there is a good message there: pity is a dangerous thing. So, the book is how pity is a kind of pride and that it's just as bad, if not worse than regular old pride that you see in people everyday. So...that's good. So, yeah, what a great book! I can't recommend it enough. Excellent message. Just be careful not to slice your own throat and drown your cat at the end.

I don't know why you would want to drown a cat. I just threw that in there.

That cover is similar to the one I have, but the font is different and it doesn't have the provocative subheading on it.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Skeletonwitch "Breathing the Fire"

Not very obscure or underground. This is the shit. I never paid much attention to 'em before, but I'm hooked now. Fast, straight forward black/death/old school metal. Iron Maiden, At the Gates, Slayer. No song hits 4 minutes. Guitars guitars guitars. Riff riff riff. Done.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

The New Old Whatever

Slow madness coming on here in Anchorage. The winter is sweeping in and I am dwelling here purgatorially, no aim, no trajectory, save leaving. I wonder if this is what the Rapture is like. As in: remaining. Anyway. But here I am. Again. It's me, again, maniacally bashing my forehead repeatedly into the ribs of a long dead burro, like some depraved lunatic, somewhere in some god-forsaken desert region of the soul. A burro I delivered personally, so many years ago. Jesus. This hideous trek for money. Roll the boulder up the hill, Wirtala. Bellow and belch and snarl and gnash. Right up there, way up into that firmament. Then chase it all deliriously down the other side. Repeat, ad infinitum. The only latin I know- or at least the only bit that matters. That goddamn foul rock. Scorched with my own blood, cum and bile. Smeared Chunks of my skull, brain tissue. My strewn, dilapidated psyche. But within the repetition of it all there are these goddamn slivers, little fucking miracles that justify each foray. You know, moments you couldn't live without, etc..Little diamonds buried in heaps of dread waste. And yeah, it's all hyperbole, a bit at least. It's not like I was born into brothels or given a Kalashnikov at age 11. But still, this place. Anchorage. What a goddamn madhouse. What a slagheap. Refuge of the insane. Where civilization comes to water's edge. This place. It's equally a state of mind I guess. My state of mind. Somehow, this town and I deserve each other. This context just slowly burns me to ash. And every year, it just gets more formidable, the tasks that much more absurd.The principals that much more fucking retarded.

I'm listening to Nick Cave at the moment, so please pardon the drama. Maybe I'll switch that up. You Hardworlders understand, of course. I'll go for some Major Lazer. Time to switch this shit up.

Meanwhile my libido threatens to snap my spine in two. Or maybe it's my ego. Sometimes I can't differentiate between 'em. Perhaps yoga- It's supposed to help pretty much anything, right? Laughing Cow. Belching Weasel. Wait, those are either weird cheeses or bad punk bands. But, maybe, they are my positions.

Hm. File those away.

Finishing up the work season is like coming out of a powerful hallucination. Like, you're right there, in aisle 11 at the grocery store, stark naked, and you have no idea how you got there. A stirring of pubes in the wrong palace? It all seemed so logical, so completely rational to be there, right up to that moment. Then, poof! You're right there, looking at a bottle of V8 juice, so unnaturally nude. Totally exposed, under those flourescent lights.

So yeah. I am the steward and last remaining resident of the Early Riser, the latest out of a series of work flop-houses for whoever has the disorganization and ill-wisdom to commit to a summer up here. Always alternately excruciating, revealing. It's an interesting experiment, the matching up of different individuals, the clashes, the new symmetries and the berzerko- delirious consumption that salves the brain but also contributes to what amounts to a vicious psycho/physiological tailspin. It's kinda like recruiting a crew to man a pirate ship. Every summer. Whole universes of people, every single one it's own weird bird. So this go-around we had The Early Riser, named by Covey Quist. (Delicate nod toward Utah.)

It's a lot like Vietnam, I'd wager. Not the band. No death of course. And it has a definate end. But it is a tour of sorts. A Tour of Duty. Alright. Maybe duty is inaccurate, too. Goddamnit.

All these inaccuracies.

Hold on. Gotta pour another drink. Ok. Whiskey and water. You're all welcome to the bar, by the way. More than enough for all.

Alright. Thanks. On to Ghostland Observatory. It's got The Spirit. And, weirdly, TOTALLY WEIRDLY, they're playing here in Anchorage. Shit, maybe tonight even. For a mere $35.

Yeah. Alright. again. Getting a bit drunk here. Focus, Wirtala! What else is there. An anecdote, perhaps? An experience? An illustration. Yes. Must provide proof. It's on to Beirut now.

Oh yeah, and all that other stuff. Music. The Walkmen have been good to me as of late. I know, I know. The singer. Try out You and Me. It's the record that turned me. What else. Oh yeah. Lee Hazlewood. Cowboy in Sweden. Believe it. Relieve it. Bereave it. Retrieve it. Castanets. Good stuff. Phopherscent. True. And then there's Covey's findings. Planning to Rock. Yes. Major Lazer, belieeeeeeeve it. Glass Candy. And Beyonce. Courtesy of Laura Williamson. 'All the Single Ladies'. So there's that. That magical, catchy fare. It was all the rage around here. Covey's a strong influence. Kinda awesome. Mormon! Awesome!

Into Eno's Ambient Music now. Soon into Bowie's Low. This drunk is stabalizing. Maybe, just maybe, I can jot down something actually substantive. So. I just don't have anything demonstrative right now. I'm terrible at relaying actual happenings, anyway. Consider yourself spared.

I get into these contexts. I engage in their particular, their very peculiar logic. So different, one to the next. Contexts. Jesus. I get attached. I never want to let go. Even the shit situations. Like Alaska. Christ. I find something to hold onto. Getting older, man. Too aware of things. Don't want to let go of The Now. Alright. Another drink. More whiskey. More time.

But New York is another context, and I will land there in some strange state and engage. Mememe. Christ. This Ego. This motherfucking monster. Right outta Monster planet. Into Calla now. Don't think it's doing me right. Too dramatic. Switch it up.

Alright. Live a little bit longer, Wirtala. Blog. Anchorage. Pertinent subject matter. There's not a whole lot more to it. Wrapping this thing up. Just isolation. But more. Like it all opens up a primal fissure. Meaning, purpose, etc... Here for money. Money for life and it's grand pursuit of It's Riches. Taking part in The Great Pageant.

Man, I just wander around this place. Muted fugue state. Giant bottle of Vodka protruding from the trash can. Another husk. Bygone purpose, bygone meaning. Speaking of vodka, I got more. Ready? Cool, just give me a second. It's The Magnetic Fields now. I think we all like those guys

I'm just grasping I guess. For the next step. Just not sure. You fuckers know me. I am no mystery.

Christ, going sideways. The real flounder! Capsizing! Here's to the Hardworlders! Fuck it all!

Mogwai now.

Yeah. I got all dressed up. Western shirt and everything. Didn't make it anywhere.

And here I am. Slackjawed, eyes gazing. Trying to muster everything and anything to get this place ok. This Riser. Anybody would tell me that I have so much ahead of me. Jesus. Just look at it. The future. But I'm fucking mired. Always goddamned so mired. Attached. Loyal like a dog. A buffalo heading to the edge, horns aimed, mind long fixed.

But I know I'll get it going. Right? Onward into the new scheme. The new logic. New paradigm. New romance. All that weird shit. Jesus. But this stupid apartment. It needs my attention. Kinda desperately.

Come on Wirtala! Come on Graybill! Stanfield! Off we go! Goddamnit! Into the fucking fray!

Saturday, October 2, 2010

look at this handsome devil and think of going fishing with him drunk in a boat with a shotgun and a can of worms.  Unfortunately this isn't what fishing on sunday sounds like, but it still has quite a few decent numbers on it.  It may be a little over produced as his live shit is generally better. Therefore I'm throwing up a couple songs from a different album,

汽車が田舎を通るその時     (Kisha ga inaka o tōru sono toki) ~ The train through the countryside 

酒屋    (Sakaya) ~ liquor store

新わからない節    (Shin wakaranai fushi) ~ I don't know the new way

something like that

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Loudness "Disillusion"

Heavy Metal Thunder! Hell yeah. I picked this up on my recent trip to Tokyo to visit the other Hardworlder, Joel. I think these guys are one of the first True Japanese Heavy Metal bands, but I'm not certain of that. This is their third or fourth album filled with some true ragers. I noticed it gets compared to Rush a lot, and I can hear that, but it's definitely NWOBHM all the way. 'Cept maybe more like NWOJHM.

Judas Priest, Iron Maiden, and even some Bay Area thrash (this is '84, after all) are heard in this MIGHTY stew. This is really good. Better than I thought it would be. I had heard of Loudness since I was a kid, but didn't ever really think much about 'em (cuz my older brother didn't), but this is well worth checking out. Also, this is the Japanese version, so most of the lyrics are not english (some are, like the last 2 live tracks). I picked this up at Yellow Pop in Kawaguchi along with a YMO, a Lovers Rock comp, and a Japanese heavy metal comp called "Metal Warning" which I'll probably post later on. I haven't even listened to that yet.


  1. "Crazy Doctor" - 4:13
  2. "Esper" - 3:45
  3. "Butterfly" - 5:12
  4. "Revelation" - 4:19
  5. "Exploder" - 2:29
  6. "Dream Fantasy" - 4:34
  7. "Milky Way" - 4:17
  8. "Satisfaction Guaranteed" - 3:39
  9. "Ares' Lament" - 5:30
  10. "Crazy Doctor" (live English version) - 4:18
  11. "Dream Fantasy" (live English version) - 4:37

Monday, September 27, 2010

so this is what I just picked up last time I was in small music. 

Twinsistermoon, levels and crossings, which my brother just sent me some of their other songs by way of a new fangled idea,  dropbox where you can send and share shit online without have to go through your goddamn email.  anyway,  twin sister moon is a nice easy ethereal sound sleepable to, relaxing and sometimes a little frightening  maybe not so sleepable actually,  more like evil folky shit with devils and witches, as I guess the name suggests.

myrmyr,  the amber sea,  kind of a rachel's sound.  easier than twinsistermoon and yet still a little dark, maybe white witches mating with the dirty three.

vetiver,  more of the past,  michael hurley plays violin on one of these tracks. along with about fifty million other folks it seems.  good stuff I first heard of at recycled books though I can't remember which album that was...  This one's more upbeat folky stuff with some decent vocals and a nice clean sound

sun city girls, singles volume 2,  I haven't ventured into this one yet, but I got it for sake of the past.  Im looking forward to the bizarre memories I hope this one conjures up.

Small Music

www.smallmusic.jpThe coolest thing i've found in tokyo lately...

We happened into a little empty junk shop in koenji and the girl working there was checking out the new cd's she'd just rented.  of course jeff recognized it and so we struck up a conversation.  She ended up drawing us a little map how to get there.

Usually record stores here are pretty well stocked and I've spent fifty or sixty bucks just on random purchases, but here  you can just borrow anything you like and take it home for a listen.    Probably the sheer volume of quality music lifts it beyond any similar shops I've seen.

later we spent the evening at an izakaya feasting on raw chicken and beer and sake.  later things blurred but there was Okinawa and karaoke in there somewhere

Welcome Hardworlders.

There are too many blogs out here, and that's why this one exists: to add to the heaping pile of shit. However, the two men that will be writing (and hopefully more later) have interesting ideas, and backgrounds. They are men that live in other lands. We are both from Texas, but we have not taken the easy road (although, it's usually a good idea to do that). Joel lives very close to Tokyo, Japan; and I (Jeff) live very close to Seoul, South Korea. Together, we are THE HARDWORLDERS! I know it's a bad ass name, but we didn't come up with it. I will give you a small hint where we got it: Slough Feg.

This is a blog about our lives, but also what we enjoy, and what we see. Kind of an autobiographical thang. There may be pictures, music, film, books, food and more recommended because we really like it, and we want to share it. I hope there's more than one post, because I think everybody has something interesting to share, and it gets lonely being a HARDWORLDER! Don't fucking forget it!