First off the bat we have Severed Heads' 1983 album, Since the Accident. It's wild to think that this has been around for twenty years - it sounds as fresh as it did way back in 1985 when I heard it for the first time. SH are one of my old favorites - part of the reason I got a post office box at the Darlinghurst post office in 2002 is because I'd sent away cash for booklets to that same post office back in '85. Anyhow, Tom Ellard is still making music all these many years later; over the past few years he's been slowly putting together versions of the older albums that he sells on his Web site. This is the second one to be released in a DVD style case [the first was 2002's Op]; it's got a few pages of cool printouts detailing how the album was made [it's essentially a rewrite of the original booklet that he would have produced back in 1985]. And the whole shebang only costs US$12, delivered anywhere worldwide. C'mon, how the heck do you find better value than that? Handmade CD, elaborate packaging, great music - all for less than any new CD at Target.
I got a chance to listen to the new Kraftwerk album driving to and from work today, and I have to say I'm neither disappointed nor particularly enthused by this one. Entitled Tour de France Soundtracks, it's not exactly an album of versions of Tour de France, which IMHO is a good thing: that was always once of the weakest Kraftwerk songs, at least according to me. Instead, it's largely new music which might vaguely be seen as having something to do with athleticism in general, if not specifically bicycling. But how does it sound? Well, it's been 16+ years since they released an album of new music... I mean, I'm grateful, but... it's somehow lacking. Some of the traditional Kraftwerk sound manages to peek through, but a lot of it just sounds kind of pedestrian. At the same time it doesn't really sound like anyone else, so I suppose it's still Kraftwerk but... there's just nothing as remotely beautiful as The Telephone Call, Computer Love, or Europe Endless there. I also like to think they stole Max Tundra's song Lysine for this one - OK, they didn't, but it's amusing that there's a song on there with no lyrics save for the names of vitamins. And again, it sounds pretty cool, but... I don't know if it's going to get any better if I listen to it a few more times.
Finally, my copy of Foetus' The Radiolarian Ooze arrived. I listened to this all afternoon yesterday while I was laboring over my wine inventory database. Thirlwell isn't always the most consistent musician out there, but when he's good, he's damned good. [For my money, Nail is still a masterpiece nearly twenty years on.] Anyhow, this is a side project of his, released as Manorexia [great name!], only available from his Web site. It seems stylistically a follow on to his earlier Steroid Maximus project, only without the fucked up big band mayhem; it's quieter, almost like The Foetus All-Nude Revue's song Diabolus in Musica. Even more strangely, there's one song that gets some disc-like CD skipping - this was noted on the sleeve, so at least I knew my CD player wasn't breaking down. Add in some atmospheric music that sounds like a Serge Gainsbourg spy movie soundtrack [if such a thing exists] complete with some very obscure samples [I coulda swore I caught a sample from Yello's third album], mix, and boom, good stuff!