Ear Candy: Beans in the Snackmaster

by Chris Ullsperger

Let's see, where did I leave off last time? Oh yes, the Mountain Goats. How convenient, because that brings me to the two music-related subjects of this column (the deadline for which is nearly upon me!). The two subjects are Cool Beans! and Franklin Bruno.

Cool Beans! is a zine published by a fan of beans and music named Matt Kelly. I've met Matt a few times here and there, traded a few tapes, etc., and I can tell you honestly that he's a real swell guy. Cool, even. But that's not why you should pick up a copy of Cool Beans!

You should pick up a copy of Cool Beans! (issue #4 is hot off the presses!) for the following reasons:

  1. It's got great interviews with the Silver Jews, The Mountain Goats, and Polvo, plus a 3 Day Stubble Tour Diary.
  2. It comes with a 7" featuring The Mountain Goats, 3 Day Stubble, and Biscuit.
  3. It's got lots of great record and concert reviews.
  4. It contains four pages of Courtney Love postings to the Internet, all of which are fucking insane.
  5. The Mountain Goats song is called "The Last Day of Jimi Hendrix's Life". I mean, how could anyone live with themselves knowing that such a song exists but never hear it?
  6. The thing only costs 4 bucks, and it represents at least two hours of solid enjoyment (depending on how fast you read).
Besides publishing the zine, Matt runs a BBS (called Cool Beans!, as well) that is worth checking out. 1-415-648-PUNK. And if you want to get his zine, you can write him at mattkelly@college.antioch.edu, or 3181 Mission #113, SF, CA 94110, or go to Tower Records and ask for it. If everyone who reads this buys a copy of Cool Beans! and subscribes to his BBS, Matt will owe me BIG TIME and then maybe I can get some more dubs from his tape collection, heh.

Okay, let me switch gears a bit and cream over something else. Or someone else, as the case may be. That someone is Franklin Bruno, a labelmate of the band I've mentioned too many times already. The label is Shrimper (PO Box 1837 Upland, CA 91785 -- ask Dennis for a recent catalog) and there is so much good shit on that label I don't know where to start. Unless I start with Franklin Bruno. But he's also on Walt Records (89 Fairview Ave, Port Washington, NY 11050 -- ask Dan the same as what you ask Dennis). In fact, Franklin's probably on some other labels, too ... who has the discography?

Here's what I know about Franklin Bruno. His Etudes for Voice and Snackmaster tape is my favorite of all Shrimper tapes. It's a tape filled with songs that are in turn filled with lyrics (mostly the relationship kind) and wrapped in catchy guitar riffs. Since I saw him play in San Francisco a few nights ago I can't help but feel birthday drunkeness all over again when I hear the sweet melody of songs like "You've Become Impossible" or "The Irony Engine". The guy's got it down, and I can't describe exactly what "it" is, but I do know that it sounds unlike anything else I've heard, and it makes me feel nostalgic about things I've never experienced -- always a good sign. The bonus aspect of the Bruno music library is that once you've got a handle on his melodies and lyrics, you can check out his band Nothing Painted Blue and get rhythm up the waz as well. I don't know the names of the other musicians in Nothing Painted Blue, and that's a fucking crime cuz they're all musical geniuses. Nothing Painted Blue is the kind of pop music that pops like balloons do in a church, making everyone wonder why the hell it doesn't happen more often. I, for one, would like an explanation, cuz any band as snappy and upbeat as Nothing Painted Blue deserves to be listened to as often as possible.

So Franklin does the solo thing, he has a rip-roaring band, and -- christ, I just remembered! -- he's also one of the two Extra Glenns (the other being -- who else? -- John from the Mountain Goats). Between the failing of my memory, and the church simile in the previous paragraph, it's clearly time to bag this one. Next time: the hippest guy in the world and his great collection of krautrock.

Added item of interest: Possibly I may get to some of this stuff next time, but for the impatient among you, here is a web site devoted to one of my favorite bands, Spacemen 3:


The reason you should care is that one spawn of the Spacemen 3 (Spectrum) is currently visiting the USA from the UK, and another (Spiritualized) is arriving soon. If you like psychedelic music, then these bands should, um, please you somewhat.

Copyright 1995
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