Saturday, April 30, 2011

COVERED IN SHIT: The Guilty Pleasures of Ambassador MAGMA

Behold, my friends, another tribute to the twin unifying powers of guilt and shame. I've been trying to draw an IllCon contribution out of the beautiful and talented Ambassador MAGMA (who has in fact been a Bro sice pre-blog days) for what seems like years. But ironically, it was the suggestion that he reveal his deepest, darkest, ugliest pleasure on these hallowed pages that actually ended up forcing his hand. Oh, the irony!
The good Ambassador writes Toppled Idols, and is also the sole creator of the "bong-crushingly epic wizard comics" of Symptom of The Universe. We are glad to have him.

- Cobras

Hello IllConnoisseurs, had to chime in on this shit-storm of guilty pleasure. Having worked retail for some twelve or so years, I've heard the worst of the worst and like Orpheus, have returned from the seamy underworld to gift it to you. When Shelby ripped opened your third eye/floodgates/broke the fourth wall in asking what the most embarrassing lurker on our computer was (our “basket case” if you will), I did some serious spiritual clam digging for my biggest sin.

Industrial music was really the big venereal disease of the 90s. It was fucking everywhere, it was fucking awful, it ruined many a storied metal band and I still fucking listen to it to this day.

Cleopatra Records released truckloads of tributes, industrial or otherwise to such esteemed cultural luminaries as Weezer, Cher, The Cure, U2, The Beatles, The White Stripes, The Offspring etc. etc. ad nauseum. Pretty much any big name with an insatiable fan base was fair game for forking over a little royalty money to catch some of that coveted mall goth cash.

They also paid tribute to some bands that actually deserve it, but these "tributes" are more "defamation/defecation" than tribute...

Exhibit A:

Covered in Black; An Industrial Tribute to the Kings of High Voltage

Just hearing the beginning to Thunderstruck played on a sequencer cracks a shit-eating grin across my face. I don't really know who most of these bands are, they are inexcusably awful yet truly guilty pleasures in my book.

AC/DC wrote some of the best songs in the history of music, which saves some of the piss-poor musicianship/production you will find here... the weird dub/bizarro world version of Back in Black, the lesbian-until-graduation-whisper version of Squealer, the Godflesh version of For Those About to Rock with corny alternate lyrics ("we dispute you!") to the laughable studio-chant-along TNT. Like a wheel, I hope you spin this. And don't let anybody mess you around.

(Full disclosure; they blew half the budget on designing the cover.)


UPDATE: In doing the exhaustive research for this post, I've discovered a "remix" album tribute to AC/DC put out by Cleopatra. So you lucky devils may be in for a round two...

Guilty Pleasures Week - Wendy Stonehenge

Wendy Stonehenge last passed through these parts back here, and when he's not busy being awesome over at Archer's Guild, he's busy being awesome all over the microphone in the unfathomably groovy GLITTER WIZARD. Lucky for us, Wendy isn't too cool to avoid getting ashamed of himself now and then.
Please find his contribution to the ever-expanding pantheon of Guilty Pleasures Week somewhere below.

- Cobras

One quick look through my record collection would show that my tastes are not exclusive to heavy music. In fact, I listen to a lot of shit that many IC readers might find cringe-inducing. I am not ashamed to admit that I still think that Weezer's first release and Dookie are two of the finest albums ever made. I would put Incredible String Band and Steve Miller in my top twenty. I have on multiple occasions forced my coworkers to listen to the Jesus Christ Superstar soundtrack in its entirety and loved every minute of it. I listen to ABBA. But there is one CD in my collection that I don't play for anyone else. This is an album so embarrassing I won't even play it in the comfort of my own room if any of my housemates are home. I'm talking about Loreena McKennitt's Book of Secrets.

On paper, this is the worst thing ever. Start with some Celtic folk music (already a guilty pleasure of mine), add some washy new-age synths, throw in tons of sitars, tablas, and various middle-eastern instruments, and then top it all with some Tori Amos style vocals. Sound terrible, right? I should hate this but I don't. I think it's fucking gorgeous. It's like wrapping myself up in a warm, fuzzy blanket that I bought at the Lilith Fair.

Don't say I didn't warn you.

I recently came out as a Loreena McKennitt fan to my girlfriend and she told me that most of the punks and art fags she hung out with in high school were McKennitt fans, so maybe I'm not alone after all.

Friday, April 29, 2011

GPW - On being "postable"

The other day, while fully enjoying Inquisition week over at The Living Doorway, an interesting accusation was projected in the wrong direction.  Although the incident was properly responded to here, the question of posturing and falseness has remained on my mind since. Obviously, Shelby is not a poser. I’ve seen him up close (camo shorts, pony tail, High Life tattoos, lets just say he’s not signing to Century Media anytime soon). But, what lingered is the idea that sometimes we as bloggers are compelled to post things based on a criteria that uses something other than quality as a measuring stick, a criteria which uses rarity and trueness to determine whether or not something is postable.  Now im not accusing any particular blogger of posting records they’re not crazy about, I’m simply acknowledging an impulse which I believe exists amongst bloggers, perpetuated by a need for social dominance. Is it possible that posting obscure records has become too competitive? Is it possible that even the true catch themselves posing?

even when Shelby talks about his excitement for the new Weezer album, he does not pose

So since it’s GPW, here’s Urfaust’s Verräterischer, Nichtswürdiger Geist, a record too postable not to post, and posting it is my guilty pleasure. No mention of this odd black metal two piece on IC, TLD, ANW, Cosmic Hearse or any of the other big blogs so it looks like the victory is mine. But not so fast. Once an obscure record is deemed postable enough to post, it's time for the commenters to jockey for status by proclaiming that they had already arrived, waiting for the world to catch up. "I have this on invisible vinyl" "I met these guys once, we're best friends" "I was more into these dudes before they bought instruments".


Classical bow chugging sections, bizarre vocals, difficult German song titles, a back catalogue of rare EPs, and to top it all off it was gifted to me by king bro Farron Loathing. Sure, this album is totally good, but what makes me feel guilty about it is that all I really wanted to post was this:


The Sudden Fart of Laughter

You guys all know abdul alhazred already. He does THIS and he came by and did THIS for us last year. He likes shit like THIS and THIS and THIS and THIS and THIS and THIS and THIS and THIS and THIS and THIS and THIS and THIS and THIS and THIS and THIS.
But you knew that already.
Here is his entry for Guilty Pleasures Week.

- Cobras

Not that I feel guilty about it, but it's not very cool to sit around and listen to poetry, is it? All poets are foppish failures so self-involved, so blindly arrogant that they think the universe whirls around their filthy word-holes, entranced and panty-wet, correct?

Indeed, but as with all truths there are exceptions. Let me give you a bit of perspective on Billy Childish: He's released well over a hundred record with his various bands, painted thousands of paintings, spewed out 40 books of poetry and two novels (all in his own dyslexic, brutally graphic mutant version of the Queen's English), become entangled with and unsuccessfully distanced himself from artist Tracy Emin (who visibly swiped quite a few of his mannersisms), become arch-enemies with vile douchebag Damien Hirst, created an entire genre of art (Stuckism) and disowned it, cultivated a prize-winning mustache, and still found time to garden and polish his Beatle boots.

What we have here is a disc of spoken word recordings, seemingly done in his kitchen, which came as a bonus disc with the documentary Billy Childish is Dead (which I highly recommend). I shan't comment too much on the poems, as they speak and spit for themselves, but if you're going to bother downloading I recommend you not browse around the internet looking at kitties, or play it while chopping cilantro with your wonderful soul mate, or listen to it on your ipod while using the thighmaster; none of that. Wait until it's late at night, and you're alone and ugly and your head hurts. Wait until the spectre of doom weighs down on you shoulders, crumpling your thin skull into a little fossilized turd. You guilt will save you, you bastard.

The Sudden Fart of Laughter

Guilty Pleasures Week: Crankenstien is a Softee for Walgreens Rock!

There are a group of guilty pleasures that I keep in my garbage pail kids stickered trapper keeper and I couldn’t decide which one would be the best to showcase. I should put them all in a shake and bake bag, mix them up and see what happens. But then I might cross over on someone else’s territory and a lot of contributors will be clamoring for this subject. So I’m going with soft rock or my own coined term “Walgreens music”. When I worked there I noticed they would have a certain line-up of dreamy 70’s tunes that were inspirational, like Air Supply’s "Makin Love out of Nothin at all", creepy: Benny Mardones “If I could fly I’d pick you up and take you into the night” (like the child molesting vampire that I am). Or just pretty: "IF…" by Bread or anything by Bread is earnestly sincere and dripping with corporate radio, manufactured feelings. I think Walgreens is to blame for my gravitating toward this FM 70’s radio goodness; I’ve made my own comps of type of soft rock (I was even excited to see The Yacht Rock people on Vh1 classics, ironic or not, doesn’t really matter to me). Eckerd Drugs had their own radio (and my wife will testify, it played the same songs that Walgreens played). It’s a corporate 70’s radio deal inked by Fleetwood Mac, Journey and Satan in ancient times. The two drugstore conglomerates got together and handpicked songs that would correspond to shopping for toothbrushes, laxatives or cold medicine. It’s a perfect marriage (See, I’ve been brainwashed!?). I kept hearing these 2 songs with piano and zombie like vocals played every hour at Walgreens, one is by Double (Double what penetration?,what a retarded name) and Alan Parsons, both are included on here. On a recent note I’ve totally been loving the Tim Heidecker & Wood’s tongue in cheek take on soft rock (it’s Spinal Tap genius level parody). And I can’t find anyone else who likes it? I guess it is guilty pleasure that only a few will admit to liking, the humiliation continues!

DOWNLOAD The Comp Here!

Heidecker and Wood Bonus

Donald Fagen defends Steely Dan (Onion)

Thursday, April 28, 2011


Living in Pacifica, CA in 1997 I obviously listened to a lot of Master P. I was fully committed to No Limit Records and had to buy everything they put out until around the time I stopped wearing LUGZ.

i think most album covers looked like this

I remember thinking it was odd that every kid in my middle school knew how to cook crack because of these records.  I also remember these records being great soundtracks for playing Golden Eye.

Although I'll admit my continued love for this music is partially fueled by nostalgia, I can still push them off on you with complete confidence. 14 years later, I'm still bout it bout it. (Click on the album covers for the DLL. Expect for the TRU record which was just too tru for one link).


Also there's this.


As promised, here's something that DOESN'T suck. Well, except for that Venom cover at the end of the album. Yeesh.
Cleanse your palate quickly, we'll be posting more awful shit soon.

Sorry about the mess.

Download HERE
Purchase HERE


Guilty pleasures week - Bloodler

On the right you will find the profile picture of longtime IllCon Bro Bloodler. I think that picture's pretty funny.
I also think Bloodler is a pretty cool guy.
He wanted to contribute something shameful for Guilty Pleasures Week. How could I say no?

- Cobras

Whatsup illcon brethren, I present to you one of my favorite guilty pleasures. the often Hessian shunned Katatonia. These guys hail from Sweden of course and if your not familiar play a very relaxing style i would describe as i dont know soft rock?? fuck it. they rule though and I like all their albums, but this is the album that started my katatonia addiction.

maybe can summarize Katatonia more accurately :

''Some people believe this band has some answers. I think it's predictable rock and roll dressed up like tripped out, keyboard enhanced black metal. It's gimmick rock with no lasting artistic or musical contributions, in my humble opinion, but a lot of people lap this stuff up like it's rare.''


I've been enjoying this "Guilty Pleasures Week" theme and just wanted to chime in with some of my own. I have kids so I listen to a lot of music about eating vegetables, looking both ways before crossing the street, marching ants, cows going moo and cats going meow and shit like that. It's all very catchy, very easy to listen to, and can get stuck in your head with alarming ease. As a result, I end up humming these songs while going about my day and eventually mixing them into the music I listen to at work. This, of course, results in increasingly strange looks from co-workers and customers who at first think I'm listening to normal adult music but quickly realize that I am listening to songs about talking donkeys and the yumminess of fruit salad. So in addition to my generally bad attitude, I also have very strange taste in music. Things seem awkward after that.

Here are two examples, both by this guy named Justin Roberts, who plays with the Not Ready for Naptime Players:

And, for the other parents out there, I've always liked this song by Fred Eaglesmith:

In reality I have several guilty pleasures, as I'm sure we all do. I've been "politely asked to leave" several adult drinking establishments for steadfastly refusing to lower my voice while singing along to this song. And I still have a poster with this chick on it somewhere (but, honestly, if you've seen someone six times in concert you need to keep some sort of memento, right?). And I've been lying to my best friend for ten years now about how much I like this song. If you're too lazy to click on the links they are: Bruce Springsteen, Tori Amos, and The Strokes, just so you know.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011


Earlier today, JGD spoke a bit about the effects of domestic partnership on daily death metal intake, and how living with one of the fairer sex will often cause even the most most hardened of Hessians to find him (or her)self occasionally listening to Duran Duran or Nelly on the regular. No big deal. It happens.
I concur fully with JGD's thoughts on the matter. I too have fashioned "compromise mixes" for my girl and I to enjoy together on long car rides, and as a result, I think we've both turned each other on to some sweet jams we might not have ever inspected otherwise. I've given her Deep Purple and Dethklok, and she's given me... Well, she's given me today's featured artist, among others.
Don't get me wrong: my girl is metal as fuck. She shamed me in the pit at Amon Amarth last Friday, morphing into a flurry of hair and limbs as I struggled to find a safe spot where I wouldn't spill my Diet Coke. Homegirl has a boner for double-bass and lyrics about Vikings, but our taste in tunes tends to diverge just as often as it coalesces.
Enough pontification, though. If I had to choose one girlfriend-inspired musical revelation that towered above all others in overall significance, it would have to be the 2005 debut album from some chick named Mathangi Arulpragasam. This shit goes against every musical instinct and fiber of my being, but it still kicks all kinds of ass, and makes me a little giddy every time I hear it. Dance music? Yep, it sure is. But like the Smoking Crab says, DEAL WITH IT.
Sorry. I promise to post some generic Swedish death metal or something tomorrow.

மாதங்கி 'மாயா' அருள்பிரகாசம்

Buy it


(WTF censored lyrics on the "Ain't that you with the Mus-i-lims" part?)


Drink the Kool-Aid.

Speaking of "guilty pleasures": Man, I really dig psychedelic hippie art. Alot.
I mean yeah, I live like 5 blocks away from the intersection of Haight and Ashbury, so I've seen hippie art at its very worst. And I mean its VERY WORST. But I'm super down with the acid/mescaline/ayahuasca galactic-vision quest type shit, silly connotations be damned.
I dunno how I managed to remain ignorant of the name "Alex Grey" for so long, but somehow I did. I've admired the man's art from afar for quite awhile now, never having a name to put with his work until earlier today, via a happy email accident involving IllCon uber-Bro Farron Loathing. But now I know.
Thank you, Mr. Loathing. I love this shit.

Wikipedia: "Grey was born Alex Velzy in Columbus, Ohio on November 29, 1953, the middle child of a middle-class couple. His father was a graphic designer and encouraged his son's drawing ability. Young Alex would collect insects and dead animals from the suburban neighborhood and bury them in the back yard. The themes of death and transcendence weave throughout his artworks, from the earliest drawings to later performances, paintings and sculpture. He went to the Columbus College of Art and Design for two years (1971–73), then dropped out and painted billboards in Ohio for a year (1973–74). Grey then attended the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston for one year, to study with the conceptual artist, Jay Jaroslav."

"At the Boston Museum School he met his wife, the artist Allyson Rymland Grey. During this period he had a series of entheogenically induced mystical experiences that transformed his agnostic existentialism to a radical transcendentalism. The Grey couple would trip together on LSD. Alex then spent five years at Harvard Medical School working in the Anatomy department studying the body and preparing cadavers for dissection. He also worked at Harvard's department of Mind/Body Medicine with Dr. Herbert Benson and Dr. Joan Borysenko, conducting scientific experiments to investigate subtle healing energies. Alex's anatomical training prepared him for painting the Sacred Mirrors (explained below) and for doing medical illustration. When doctors saw his Sacred Mirrors, they asked him to do illustration work. Grey was an instructor in Artistic Anatomy and Figure Sculpture for ten years at New York University, and now teaches courses in Visionary Art with Allyson at The Open Center in New York City; Naropa University in Boulder, Colorado; the California Institute of Integral Studies and the Omega Institute in Rhinebeck, New York."

"In 1972 Grey began a series of art actions that bear resemblance to rites of passage, in that they present stages of a developing psyche. The approximately fifty performance rites, conducted over the last thirty years, move through transformations from an egocentric to more sociocentric and increasingly worldcentric and theocentric identity. The most recent performance was WorldSpirit, a spoken word and musical collaboration with Kenji Williams which was released in 2004 as a DVD."

"Grey's unique series of 21 life-sized paintings, the Sacred Mirrors (on display at the Chapel of Sacred Mirrors in Wappingers Falls, NY), takes the viewer on a journey toward their own divine nature by examining, in detail, the body, mind, and spirit. The Sacred Mirrors present the physical and subtle anatomy of an individual in the context of cosmic, biological and technological evolution. Begun in 1979, the series took a period of ten years to complete. It was during this period that he developed his depictions of the human body that "x-ray" the multiple layers of reality, and reveal the interplay of anatomical and spiritual forces. After painting the Sacred Mirrors, he applied this multidimensional perspective to such archetypal human experiences as praying, meditation, kissing, copulating, pregnancy, birth, nursing and dying. Grey’s recent work has explored the subject of consciousness from the perspective of "universal beings" whose bodies are grids of fire, eyes and infinite galactic swirls."