A "holy grail" for fans of outsider music: the only known (?) footage of the Shaggs live, at Fremont Town Hall in 1972. Context and introduction to the Shaggs here via Dangerous Minds. Mike McGonigal notes on Facebook that the footage was floating around a few years ago, but this new incarnation (courtesy of R. Stevie Moore) is higher quality, longer, and synced to audio. Though as one Youtube commenter notes: "The audio's out of sync. Or it might be perfectly in sync. Or... we'll never know." The Shaggs previously on Metafilter: 1, 2, 3.
Chicago's own Jan Terri offers up her version of "Ave Maria" paired with an interpretive video for your Xmastime enjoyment [more inside]
It's easy to dismiss DJ Dog Dick as a juvenile joke. Anyone with that name for a project can't be doing anything worthy of my time, right? But dig deeper, and what emerges is a man eloquently, urgently capturing the details of his life on the fringes of America. After years operating in the outsider noise scene, combining modular drones and off-kilter raps into a singular live show, 2013 saw a move toward something different. The Identity EP earlier this year was his statement of intent, a miniature coming of age narrative (stream full EP here.) His debut full-length on Hoss Records, The Life Stains was released last week. It's an ambitious, often deeply personal pop album. A modern song cycle about the way we live now. It also happens to be slathered in weirdo diarrhea death production. Watch the video for "Dried Old Leaves" and listen to "The Grease I Got", one of the best songs I've heard this year. And read a great little interview with Noisey that sheds light on where Eisenberg came from and where he's going with this unusual project.
In 1986, an episode public-access TV show Forestville Rocks began with these words: "Butch Willis has moved into the most selective rock n roll territory, that of the inspirational primitive. Guided by neither the commercial concerns of mainstream pop nor the calculated artsiness of new wave nor the hip rage of punk, Willis stands quite alone; undaunted, he dreams the rock n roll dream..." [more inside]
The Pirate of Love is an album of love songs to Sherry by outsider musician / truck driver Daniel C. The self-released album somehow found its way to Iceland, where it's had some influence on the music scene and caused an animation student to make an animated documentary about the film. A truck dispatcher in Memphis was given the CD by one of his drivers, Daniel Ciocan. The man googled it, found the documentary, and put the driver and the filmmaker in touch. Each of them is now working on a sequel. Daniel and Sherry are now married.
Over the past 13 years, Berlin resident Klaus Beyer has translated the Beatles' entire oeuvre into German, recording the translated songs in his home studio and releasing them on CDs with titles like Gummi Seele, Kloster strasse and Das Gelbe Underwasserboot, even recreating the cover artwork of the originals. [more inside]
Still hyped by his local press as a "neglected rock-and-roll genius" Ralph F. Gean is an old rockabilly guy who almost "made it" back in the early 1960s… but didn’t… and then sort of did after all. [more inside]
The American Song-Poem Music Archives dropped its song-poem mp3s in 2004, but Lee Rosevere "managed to collect all the tunes from the site and squirreled them away." Today he presents the first volume of the Song-Poem Archived Music series at WFMU's Beware of the Blog. (previously)
The New Creation was born in 1970 when Chris Towers, an unknown guitarist from Vancouver, decided to form a Christian rock group with his mother Lorna as lead singer and their neighbor Janet Tiessen on drums. Scared by reports of the hippie excesses of the Manson/Altamont era, Lorna Towers wrote doom-laden, apocalyptic lyrics for the New Creation's aptly titled album, Troubled. The band was unpolished, yet somehow captured a unique lo-fi sound comparable to a hybrid of the Velvet Underground and the Shaggs. The group might be totally forgotten today, if an aging hippie record dealer named Ty Scammel hadn't rescued a copy from a $1 bargain bin, leading to the album's rediscovery by collectors of Christian rock and outsider music. [more inside]
In 1968, three sisters from Fremont, New Hampshire -- Dot, Helen, and Betty Wiggin -- started a band, under the encouragement, support, and management of their father, Austin. Dot recalls that the girls would rise late, practice for two hours, then work on their home-schooling. Then they did their calisthenics, rigidly prescribed by their father, and rehearsed two more hours in the evenings when Austin was home. Over the next 8 years, Austin would rent out the Fremont Town Hall many Saturday nights for a dance; the sisters, known collectively as "The Shaggs," would play their music, while their mother, Annie, would collect tickets and sell sodas (with help from more of the Wiggin siblings). In 1975, Austin Wiggins died; the sisters, without their father to spur them on, laid down their instruments and got on with the rest of their lives. [more inside]
Jan Terri, an enigmatic outsider musician from Chicago, became a dubious celebrity in her own right after releasing a number of self-produced songs and accompanying videos on VHS in the 1990s. Among her "hits" were Losing You, Baby Blues, Get Down Goblin and the must-see Rock-'n'-Roll Santa (which has been covered by Yo La Tengo). Her music videos were so earnest and popular for their camp value that Marilyn Manson eventually enlisted her to sing at a birthday party of his and the Daily Show invited her on. However, she hasn't really been heard from since. Has Jan Terri given up her dream?
Secretly Canadian to reissue psychedelic rocker Bobb Trimble's ultra-rare lps on cd. Considered some of the best psychedelic music produced in the 80s, these self-released records are prized by collectors and routinely fetch hundreds on ebay. Pirates have tried to cash in with unauthorized reissues but now it's Bobb's turn. Download this hour-long radio special devoted to the music (playlist) to get a taste.
We've heard of outsider music, but along with this is the strange world of song-poems. ...ordinary people" respond to come-on ads on the back pages of magazines, mailing in their heartfelt but often bizarre poems to "music industry" companies that, for a fee, turn those poems into real recordings. More inside...
Outsider Music. From a mailing list, here's a concise description of what is really more an idea than a genre, per se. The Hip Surgery Music Guide has some info on the essential artrists of the phenomenon. If you wanted to stretch the definitions of the form you could include, some better-known artists as well. Unspoiled genius in the rough or merely crude freakshow appeal? The answer I believe is somewhere is somewhere in between. But in an age where most music is either a copy of what is currently popular or a revival of what used to be popular, Outsider Music is a place to go for a "Wow! What was that?" musical experience.