Life in a Blender – Tell Me I'm Pretty CD (2002)

February 28, 2010

Life in a Blender - Tell Me I'm pretty
Track listing
1. Something Must Break
2. Kent
3. Hero Rising from the Sea
4. Mobile Wash Unit
5. Dead Get Down
6. Dolly Down the Hole
7. Sex With Cops
8. Sleep for Years
9. Eyes Are Red
10. Paterson Falls
11. Prize at the Bottom
12. Drunks Have All the Answers
13. Party Soon

buy it here: http://stores.shop.ebay.co.uk/Iron-Man-Shop

Details
Producer: Al Houghton, Chris Rael, Mark Lerner
Distributor: Big Daddy Music Dist.
Recording type: Studio
Recording mode: Stereo

Album notes
Life In A Blender: Don Ralph (vocals); Al Houghton (guitar); Dave Moody (cello); Rebecca Weiner (violin); Mel Melon (horns); Mark Lerner (bass); Ken Meyer (drums).

Personnel: Al Houghton (vocals, guitar, keyboards); Mark Lerner (vocals, dobro); Dave Moody (vocals, cello); Don Ralph, Julia Douglass (vocals); Olivier Conan (banjo); Chris Rael (sitar, piano); Rebecca Weiner (violin); Mel Melon (trumpet, trombone); Ken Meyer (marimba, drums, cymbals, percussion).

Recording information: Dubway Studios, New York, NY.

Photographer: Paolo Vescia.

Admittedly it’s a case of slightly dashed expectations (for some) when it turns out that opening song “Something Must Break” is an original rather than a Joy Division cover, but who says that titles can’t be used again, after all? As for Life in a Blender itself, at this stage in its lengthy existence the Brooklyn-based septet seems to occupy a quirky space between Firewater and Soul Coughing when it comes to try-anything-once eclecticism with the lead singer’s voice and vision front and center. In that regard the group seems like one of those many New York bands that has a love and hate relationship with rock & roll as such — they can certainly crank the volume as needed and drummer Ken Meyer can get some full-bodied stomp in, but there’s no mistaking them for the Yeah Yeah Yeahs or the Ramones. Lead figure and songwriter Don Ralph is unsurprisingly still at the core of it all when it comes to how the band can both work and not work in equal measure. Sometimes he seems to be exaggerating a strident speak-singing approach that aims for wry and witty but can just be tiring (or else seems to be trying to fulfill the non-present demand for a clear-singing Tom Waits). Then again, he can just as easily find a breezy, bemused wistfulness that works far better, sometimes in the same song (“Kent” and “Paterson Falls” in particular capture him at both his best and worst). When both band and singer bring it together to concentrate on a good song — the wistful New Orleans jazz/sea shantey tip to the street cleaners “Mobile Wash Unit,” the spaghetti Western-tinged drama of “Eyes Are Red” — then the group really has a certain fun and entertaining something. ~ Ned Raggett

Dark but humorous, an oddly skewed vision of the American landscape set to a unique score of string-driven rock.

Life in a Blender is an extraordinary band from Brooklyn that is not unlike the drunken clown lost in the darkened carnival grounds. Spectacular arrangements with strings and horns, a keen melodic sensibility, and a sense of humor that swings wildly from the absurd to the bleak make Life in a Blender a true original. Life in a Blender has carved out a special spot in the ears of fans worldwide. They show up unexpectedly, even at the breakfast hour, and begin playing. These guerilla tactics have made Life In A Blender one of the most notorious bands in the music business. When you open your garage door tomorrow, be warned. Life In A Blender may be waiting.

From the opening line of the first tune you’re attention is grabbed by the acoustic goolies and the album just doesn’t let go. Brilliant lyrics. Brilliant tunes. If there is a God, and he likes music, Life in a Blender will go far. 11 out of 10 – Pete Wade

Life in a Blender is the personal playground of Don Ralph, a bizarre vocalist that offers a deep-voiced quirkiness to match his charismatic college rock. Working with high school friends Dave Moody, Mark Lerner (Rosine,) Rebecca Weiner (Patti Smith,) Ken Meyer, John Donne, and Al Houghton (a frequent They Might Be Giants collaborator,) Life in a Blender is a project that is often put on hold due to the member’s various musical commitments. Still, as members of They Might Be Giants’ inner circle, they enjoy a status as a cute and lovable pop band that hides a twisted sense of humor and wicked attitude underneath the surface. Starting in the late 80’s, the band comes together every four to six years and makes fun rock music that offers a deranged lyrical viewpoint in contrast to the jangly guitars and lushly produced music. Based in Brooklyn, New York, the band makes waves in their home city with fun publicity stunts such as performing at a strip club art opening, and playing “Stairway to Heaven” on the street in their underwear. A lengthy absence marked the time between records after Motivational Tape #1, but they returned in 2002 with Tell Me I’m Pretty. ~ Bradley Torreano, All Music Guide

Tell Me I’m Pretty, the band’s fourth album, paints a landscape with strange, sad, and at times funny images. From the opening track, Something Must Break, very reminiscent of Cake, with its la la la’s and slinky trumpet to the sad finale, Party Soon, the tunes offer a welcome peek into Don’s fascinating off-kilter mind. The album’s strongest piece, Dead Get Down, is sure to become a Halloween classic, with its spooky horns, cymbals, and killer percussion. This song sounds like an outtake from a Danny Elfman soundtrack. The song Mobile Wash Unit is featured in the movie Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soapbox.

I just latched onto this CD as a result of playing a couple tracks on my radio program. I am surprised that more spot reviews have not been written on this group. In fact, a search of the web will find nothing but discounts on household appliances. On the subject of originality- to me there are two gigantic, but pleasing similarities. Vocalist Don Ralph must be holding a very large torch for David Byrne (Talking Heads), and to a lesser degree Fred Schneider (B-52’s). Ralph possesses that dark, keening vocal style reminiscent of Byrne, and perhaps even uses a few of the other expected stylistic tricks. Other times, his natural voice comes very close to the plaintive barking of Schneider. A bit darker than much of the Heads or B-52’s material, but these factors alone make this band in instant must have for any fan of those seminal 80’s groups, The Talking Heads, or the B-52’s. Enjoy it. – Jonathan Colcord

http://www.lifeinablender.net

http://www.myspace.com/lifeinablender

Video: DUFUS – Fireman – Hull 2009

February 28, 2010

Dufus playing at The New Adelphi, Hull, England. November 24th 2009

A Film by Iron Man Records
Cameras operated by Pete, Sarah, Linda
Directed and Edited by Pete Rhead
www.dufus.tv
www.ironmanrecords.co.uk
www.respectmusic.co.uk

Microblog 2010-02-28

February 28, 2010

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Life in a Blender – Two Legs Bad CD (1997)

February 27, 2010

Life In A Blender - Two Legs Bad

Strange, sad, and at times funny songs about chickens and teens featuring horns, cello, and violin.

buy it here: http://stores.shop.ebay.co.uk/Iron-Man-Shop

Like the Cyclone, Life In A Blender is a long-time Brooklyn institution that has been exhilarating and possibly nauseating audiences for years. Blender’s tunes leave you dancing in your seats and very often laughing thanks mainly to Don Ralph’s quirky stage presence–he belts out his off-kilter musings while dancing Sprockets-style or flashing his “bag of doorknobs”–aka beergut. The stellar band includes Don’s friend from junior high, Dave Moody, on cello; Mark Lerner (leader of the renowned country/dub band Rosine) on bass; Rebecca Weiner (she played with Patti Smith) on violin; Al Houghton (producer of They Might Be Giants) on guitar; Ken Meyer (author of The Solid-Time Tool Kit) on drums; and Mel Melon (a John Donne expert) on horns.

Blender was chosen as a 2003 Emerging Artist finalist in Washington State. Watch us as we now emerge.

1. Chicken Dance
2. Not Your Problem
3. Asshole from Menlo Park
4. Easy Eggs
5. Hard to Swallow
6. Headlights
7. Buzzing
8. Tiny Ankles
9. Teens
10. Power Mower
11. Man and a Woman
12. Big Hat
13. Grand Union
14. Motherlode

Life in a Blender – The Heart is a small Balloon CD 2007

February 27, 2010

Life in a Blender - The Heart is a Small Balloon
After a day of carnage and deboning, these would be the sounds that soothe the troubled brows of Odin and his Norsemen. Sven, the bashful oarsman, says, “I enjoy this music with my grapes.”

Audio CD (18 Nov 2008)
Number of Discs: 1
Label: Fang
ASIN: B000O780P6

Track listing
1. Blood Is Worthless
2. Fill My Glass
3. Whole Thing Down
4. Into the Bleak
5. Unfamiliar Sting
6. Sweet Things, The
7. Rope to the Water
8. What Happened to Smith?
9. Seagull
10. Teach Me How to Be Cool
11. Ashamed
12. She Handed Me the Mitten
13. Kissusness
14. Professional Mover

buy it here: http://stores.shop.ebay.co.uk/Iron-Man-Shop

Details
Producer: Al Houghton
Distributor: Burnside Distribution
Recording type: Studio

Album notes
Personnel: Don Ralph (vocals); Al Houghton (guitar, harmonica, piano, percussion, background vocals); Andrew Solin (slide guitar); Rebecca Weiner (violin, viola); Chris Rael, Jason Parker (trumpet); Ken Meyer (marimba, drums, cymbals, percussion); Mark Lerner (background vocals).
Recording information: Dubway Studios, New York, NY.

Like the Cyclone, Life In A Blender is a long-time Brooklyn institution that has been exhilarating–and possibly nauseating–audiences for years. Singer Don Ralph belts out his off-kilter musings backed by cellist Dave Moody, guitarist Al Houghton, bassist Mark Lerner, violinist Rebecca Weiner, drummer Ken Meyer, and horn player Mel Melon.

Having toured from Toronto to Berlin to Chicago to Seattle and back to New York, Life In A Blender has developed a devout fan base that is as broad and fat as the underbelly of the U.S. and Europe combined. Over the course of four albums, this orchestra of the bizarre and melodic has collaborated with the likes of John Linnell (They Might Be Giants), Ralph Carney (Tom Waits band), James Mastro (The Bongos), and sitarist Chris Rael (Church of Betty). Life In A Blender has played on bills with NRBQ, Camper Van Beethoven, the Buzzcocks, Scrawl, and even Billy Idol, who sucks.

“For nearly forever, Life in a Blender has been the secret jewel of New York City; their shows always frantic and feisty without being venomous, their songs merry and melodic without being vapid. Their newest CD, “Tell Me I’m Pretty,” is their best yet. Still as inventive, intelligent, and invigorating as ever, Life In A Blender has a new warmth, an immense and soulful complexity of sound. Highly recommended.” –Camden Joy, author of “Lost Joy” and contributor to Village Voice and Spin.

“Shows by local quirk rock favorites Life In A Blender showcase the band’s absurdist sensibility and oddball, prop-laden spectacles.” –The New Yorker

“An alternative five-piece with a curious sense of humor and a knack for the catchy pop song.” –Billboard

Isn’t It Time You Accepted Life in a Blender Into Your Life?
Here’s What the World is Saying About Life in a Blender and Their New Album “Tell Me I’m Pretty” on Fang Records.

“Life In A Blender have a bizarrely theatrical show (often involving tirades from a sheep-headed hand puppet named Rugged Rick) and lighthearted surreal sensibility that’s capable of amusing even the surliest indie rocker.” —The New Yorker

“Tell Me I’m Pretty was easily one of the best records I received in the mail in 2004….from Life In A Blender, a great band that puts out catchy and corrosive rock albums.” —J.R. Taylor, The NY Press

Photo: Paolo Vescia
“Life In A Blender is basically two parts cleverness, one part Stan Ridgeway’s dead-end gumshoe, and a pinch of Tom Waits’ grimy barker.” —Timeout New York

If They Might Be Giants got hammered and picked a fight in a bar with Tom Waits, if carnivals didn’t suck, if dancing were permitted on your boss’s desk, if Mark E. Smith were articulate and friendly, if instead of “mosh pits” rebellious teenagers congregated in “swoon pits” at rock concerts, if if if — then a brief glimpse of something akin to the experience of hearing Life in a Blender might be achieved. They are a band that is passionate about finding the absurdity that lurks within the marginalia of mundane everyday existence. And also rocking out. They make me feel like transcendence is constantly achievable.” —Francis Heaney, musical producer and DJLunchboy

“An American Robyn Hitchcock” —The Big Takeover

“Tell Me I’m Pretty, the band’s fourth album, paints a landscape with strange, sad, and at times funny images. From the opening track, “Something Must Break,” very reminiscent of Cake, with its la la la’s and slinky trumpet, to the silly “Mobile Wash Unit,” to the sad finale, “Party Time,” the tunes offer a welcome peek into Ralph’s fascinating off-kilter mind. The album’s strongest piece, “Dead Get Down,” is sure to become a Halloween classic, with its spooky horns, cymbals, and killer percussion. This song sounds like an outtake from a Danny Elfman soundtrack. I’m also fond of Ralph’s gravely vocals on “Prize on the Bottom,” as well as Houghton’s guitar work.” —Delusions of Adequacy online magazine

“Life in a Blender is the secret jewel of New York City. Their shows are always frantic and feisty without being venomous, their songs merry and melodic without being vapid. Their newest CD, “Tell Me I’m Pretty” is their best yet. Still as inventive, intelligent, and invigorating as ever, Life in a Blender has a new warmth, an immense and soulful complexity of sound. Highly recommended.” —Camden Joy, critic for the Village Voice and Spin

“Like Haley’s coment, a Life In A Blender album only comes along very rarely and Tell Me I’m Pretty should not be missed.” -Splendid magazine

“I just latched onto this CD as a result of playing a couple tracks on my radio program. I am surprised that more spot reviews have not been written on this group. In fact, a search of the web will find nothing but discounts on household appliances. On the subject of originality- to me there are two gigantic, but pleasing similarities. Vocalist Don Ralph must be holding a very large torch for David Byrne (Talking Heads), and to a lesser degree Fred Schneider (B-52’s). Ralph possesses that dark, keening vocal style reminiscent of Byrne, and perhaps even uses a few of the other expected stylistic tricks. Other times, his natural voice comes very close to the plaintive barking of Schneider. A bit darker than much of the Heads or B-52’s material, but these factors alone make this band in instant must have for any fan of those seminal 80’s groups, The Talking Heads, or the B-52’s. Enjoy it.” From Amazon.com— A Pleasantly Dark and Strange Surprise…, November 18, 2002 Reviewer: Jonathan Colcord from Concord, NH USA

“Life In A Blender was hands down the most entertaining, surprising showcase we took in over the week.” —Ezra Thomas at South x Southwest Austin, 2003

“It’s a wig…! After a solid 5-4 days of music at the ’03 SxSW it all ended on a positive note after catching the Life In a Blender set to close out the weekend. The band set itself apart as one of the tightest and most talented bands I saw all week. Further setting Life in a blender apart from the pack were the lyrics, delivery and theatrics of the lead singer that would please fans ranging from Eno and the T-heads to Ween and Beck.” —Matt Zdinak Nimbit

Video: DUFUS – You're the King – Hull 2009

February 27, 2010

Dufus playing at The New Adelphi, Hull, England. November 24th 2009

A Film by Iron Man Records
Cameras operated by Pete, Sarah, Linda
Directed and Edited by Pete Rhead
www.dufus.tv
www.ironmanrecords.co.uk
www.respectmusic.co.uk

Video: DUFUS – Balloon Rocking Chair – Brighton 2009

February 26, 2010

Dufus playing at The Hope and Anchor, Brighton, England. November 23rd 2009

A Film by Iron Man Records
Cameras operated by, Directed and Edited by Pete Rhead
www.dufus.tv
www.ironmanrecords.co.uk
www.respectmusic.co.uk

Video: DUFUS – Climb up to the Sky – Brighton 2009

February 25, 2010

Dufus playing at The Hope and Anchor, Brighton, England. November 23rd 2009

A Film by Iron Man Records
Cameras operated by, Directed and Edited by Pete Rhead
www.dufus.tv
www.ironmanrecords.co.uk
www.respectmusic.co.uk

Video: DUFUS – Death – Brighton 2009

February 24, 2010

Dufus playing at The Hope and Anchor, Brighton, England. November 23rd 2009

A Film by Iron Man Records
Cameras operated by, Directed and Edited by Pete Rhead
www.dufus.tv
www.ironmanrecords.co.uk
www.respectmusic.co.uk

English Heretic: GIMPO'S M25 25 Hour Spin 20th – 21st March 2010

February 23, 2010

All Agents:

GIMPO’s M25 Spin 2010.

Sat 20th to Sun 21st March 1pm.

Meet at ThurrocK Service Station, off M25 at 11am Sat 20th March.

This just in….. As many of you will recall a cache of lost and forgotten material was rediscovered during Jimmy’s house move early last year.

Some of the tracks were liberated by The Junior Insurgent Transmitter Ensemble for the soundtrack to the 2009 M25 Spin.

We have produced a single track DVD sampler and will be giving it away to all the “spinners” joining us this year.

The track featured is a unique version of the Pure Trance classic What Time Is Love and was recorded and performed by The KLF at the very first Helter Skelter illegal rave held on the 30th September 1989.

We will be meeting up at Thurrock Service Station just off the M25 at 11am on Saturday 20th March 2010 and will be on the London Orbital Motorway until 1pm on Sunday 21st March.

Every two laps we stop for fuel and pick up passengers / collaborators at Clacket Lane Services (clockwise side).

If you are unable to come along to this years Spin but would like to buy a copy of the DVD Sampler it is available at:

http://positivevoid.co.uk/PVCM25DVD09.htm

We look forward to seeing you all very soon.

Love Peace & Happiness

Tim & Gimpo

http://jamescauty.co.uk/
http://www.klf.de/

Video: DUFUS – Life is empty / Silence – Cheltenham 2009

February 23, 2010

Here is a Video of Dufus playing at The Frog and Fiddle, Cheltenham, England. November 26th 2009

A Film by Iron Man Records

Directed by Pete Rhead,
Camera – Pete – Sarah – Robin – Andy
Audio – Andy Ward from Musoplex
Edited by Pete Rhead

www.dufus.tv

www.ironmanrecords.co.uk

www.musoplex.com

www.respectmusic.co.uk

Video: DUFUS – Money Maker – Cheltenham 2009

February 22, 2010

Here is a Video of Dufus playing at The Frog and Fiddle, Cheltenham, England. November 26th 2009

A Film by Iron Man Records

Directed by Pete Rhead,
Camera – Pete – Sarah – Robin – Andy
Audio – Andy Ward from Musoplex
Edited by Pete Rhead

www.dufus.tv

www.ironmanrecords.co.uk

www.musoplex.com

www.respectmusic.co.uk

Video: DUFUS – Black n Blue – Cheltenham 2009

February 21, 2010

Here is a Video of Dufus playing at The Frog and Fiddle, Cheltenham, England. November 26th 2009

A Film by Iron Man Records

Directed by Pete Rhead,
Camera – Pete – Sarah – Robin – Andy
Audio – Andy Ward from Musoplex
Edited by Pete Rhead

www.dufus.tv

www.ironmanrecords.co.uk

www.musoplex.com

www.respectmusic.co.uk

Microblog 2010-02-21

February 21, 2010

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February 20, 2010

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