Wednesday, October 24, 2007

the mennu method celebrates Israel at 60...musically, of course (Part VII)

I think I'm gonna stop writing about this subject now. I would like to spend a little time editing what I've already written, and trying to see if it's coherent.

Here's a picture of my lab where all this stuff was written:

Digging In The Crates

Some random thoughts about random Israeli discs and albums that I have in my crates of music:

Charlie Megira
If surf rock or the 50's come back, Charlie Megira will be way ahead of the game:
Charlie Megira - Dynamite Rock

Kruzenshtern & Parohod
Where does Klez-Core fit into the Israeli music scene? If gypsy is the new punk, as bands like Balkan Beat Box and Gogol Bordello have recently proven, then there might be room for Kruzenshtern & Parohod

Pollyanna Frank
I wish I had a YouTube video for Pollyanna Frank. Their 1990 album, "No Choosing," scored a modest pop hit with a song called "Ziva," which was about a girl named Ziva. In the chorus, the singer tells Ziva that her name is disgusting, then terrible, then nauseating. But hidden in that album is a smart and catchy tune called "Dykes and the Holy War." I should try to get hold of the lyrics.

My Second Surprise
In the section on Israelis who sing in English, I should have spoken about My Second Surprise. I have their 2005 CD "Avoidance As A Way Of Life," and it was in heavy rotation in my playlist from the summer of 2005 until well into the spring of 2006. The song "Meeting's Over" is a terrific example of "spy rock," and it's available for download off their website. They were recently at South By Southwest in Austin, TX. Ayal Nistor, their lead singer and the brain behind the band has recently relocated to San Francisco. I wonder how long it's going to take him to figure out that he probably paid a lot less rent in Tel Aviv. Then again, he and the band could strike it big here: they definitely have the talent.
My Second Surprise - Perfect Cure

My Second Surprise MySpace

Adi Ran
An Orthodox rock and roll singer: the Jews answer to Christian rock.
One of his songs, Atah Kadosh (You Are Holy) is in the movie Ushpizin. The film took place in an Ultra-Orthodox community, where the film maker agreed not only to refrain from filming on shabbat, but also that the film would not be screened in Israel over shabbat. All of the actors in the film were actually Ultra-Orthodox or Haredi as they are called in Israel. It's a really great movie; well worth watching because it gives a realistic window into the Haredi community. I especially enjoyed watching them rock out to Adi Ran.
Reviews of Ushpizin on Rotten Tomatoes

Ehud Banai - City of Refuge
Here's a perfect example of a song that's significant to Israelis, but probably doesn't mean a thing to a broader audience. Here's Ehud doing the song:

And here's Berry Sakharof doing an excellent cover of City of Refuge. It's also got a good video:

Shem-Tov Levi is one of my favorite Israeli artists of all time. It is impossible for me to get sick of his album "Waking Up." For the past three years, I have been trying to get a picture of me seated at Cafe Tamar on Shenkin street in the same pose as Shem-Tov. I would use it for either an album cover or radio show about Israeil progressive music called "Hitkadmut" ("Progress") a spin on Shem-Tov's "Hitorrerut." I enjoy all the project he's been involved with; whether with Ktzat Acheret, Tuned Tone, Arik Einstein or solo. Shem-Tov's musical style includes making the flute a rock and roll instrument. In an interview, Shem-Tov once said that he was inspired when he heard Ian Anderson of Jethro Tull play the flute in rock music. Shem-Tov realized that the flute could be an instrument with
Recently he put out an instrumental album with the Shem-Tov Levi Ensemble called "Stations." Click here for a video of material from the album performed at the Eilat Jazz Festival 2007, and click here to buy the album.

The Mind Church
An odd name for an Israeli band, I will grant you that.
I wish I had listened to more of their material in the past. They are pretty good. I look forward to exploring their catalog further, and possibly getting together with them for a drink.
The Mind Church - Let Me Drink:

Their self titled debut is one of my favorite recent Israeli albums regardless of the gratuitous mention of vomit and menses in the lyrics. The album is lots of fun, particularly the yiddish kazatzka ending to "When Napoleon Conquers Akko." There's also the poor man's lament of "No Baguettes In The Ghetto." It's a totally irreverent album whose lyrics become more disturbing when you focus on them. Their unique polka rock songs are deliberately grotesque, but you can read more about that on their MySpace profile. An example of their bizzareness, the single off their new album.
Habiluim - Bab El Wad 38a

Zingaleh - Peace
I'm not sure where to list this album. They sing in English, but it's progressive Israeli from the 70s. There are all kinds of interesting sounds woven into the music. On the CD there are a few Hebrew songs. Maybe I should add them to the progressive all-time list...

The Witches - Anticipating Another Rapture
Since their lead singer was a suicidal lesbian, the band wasn't going to last forever, but lucky for us, they cranked out a few good albums in the 1990s. Here's a song of theirs in poor quality on YouTube. It looks like someone recorded it off of the television with a camera phone. Oh well, what can you do? It's the internet!
The Witches - The Witches

And here's HaBiluim covering The Witches as a ska/polka/punk version:

The Apples
A guitarist, drummer, double bassist, sound guy, two DJs and four man horn section make up The Apples. In 2003 they released their first album which was unlike anything I had ever heard before. Of particular interest to me was the use of old Hebrew language instructional records as samples on "Zeh Ra'ayon Tov" and the use of a shofar as a musical instrument on "Jewfro." They just returned to Israel after a European tour in order to record a third album. I can't wait. Here's a video from their second album, Attention!
The Apples - Attention!

The Apples Website

Braad Session
Between haircuts, and Israeli hair stylist put out one the finest chill-out discs ever. Chill-out is a genre of electronica popularized in places like Cafe del Mar in Ibiza. In 2003 the first Braad Session came out and it was received so warmly, that at the release party they decided that they would collaborate on another album. Their sound is so soothing and original that I can't wait until they release their second album.
Braad Session Website (with music samples) MySpace

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