ARTISTS: Assult With Insults CS (UNREAD)
one just feels good to me. It's a cassette, and I love cassettes
more than ever. Then there's the black & white xeroxed
look to the thing, with fucked-up artwork -- that's the way
DIY cassettes are supposed to look. Then there's the misspelling
in the title -- very promising. Hell, the lineup is good too.
With the cassette format sometimes it's kind of hard to tell
when one track switches to the next. (See my "review"
last ish of the great but impossible-to-keep-track-of-when-one-track-switches-to-the-next
double-C60 comp Sounds For Collector Scum on the
Seagull Tapes label, which, like Unread, is from Omaha.)
But here, I'll try to
run it down: King Frog = suburban gamelan. Baby crying, which
makes me think it might be my baby for a second. But it isn't.
Mattin = field recording of a vacuum cleaner? Heavy and short.
Sistrum = the apparently non-metaphorically titled "Yahtzee
vs. Tub Draining." Will Simmons = 'oriental' guitar.
Charlie McAlister = lo-fi violin drone. Mammal = short, noisy,
not as beat-oriented as a lot of Mammal stuff, but beats are
in there. The Thunder Perfect = mellow naked wasted 'pretty'
guitar. Sort of like a lower-key and a slightly less evil
version of Pengo's "Ill-Fitting Tourniquet." Honeymuzzle
= noise, good. Title: "oven." Perfect. Arnoux =
excellent crunchy guitar sounds. Short. Made me think of Don
Miller's Little Treatise On Morals. Remember that
album? Classic, especially the cassette edition. Decaer Pinga
= never quite know what to expect from these guys. Very large
room-drone. Sort of like Birchville Cat Motel material that
uses "vacuums." Smack Music 7 = Ms. Pinga (there's
a picture of her on page 3) treats her
shriek/screams. I like it better than Diamanda, definitely.
Draw a straight line back to Yoko, but in Ms. Pinga's case
the execution is every bit as good as the theory. James Davis
= "Naturaliste Remix." More fine crunch and tape-tweak.
I think he's remixing that "toy music" track from
A Clamor Half-Heard. Okay here's where I kind of
lose the play-by-play: for all I know I've heard both Nutrition
Fun and The Mikroknytes and both have done more excellent
short noise crunch pieces. Maybe we're already into A John
Henry Memorial and their track "more bored." These
three kind of run together for me, but I do know that the
tape closes out with Das Torpedoes, doing a long-ass, super-stretched,
ultra-slow hum that you have to turn up the stereo to really
hear, and when you do, it's beautiful. I'd love a 74-minute
version of this track on compact disc.
ARTISTS: Bulb Singles #1 (BULB)
one's historical. If the spirit-of-1993 No Wave revival didn't
start in Chicago, it definitely started in Ann Arbor with
the first Couch single (and Ann Arbor No Wave and Chicago
No Wave was in fact the same scene -- not only were members
shared, but they were only a couple hundred miles apart, so
if you look at it from a global perspective they sort of were
the same scene). Said single starts off this collection of
the first eight Bulb Records 7-inch singles. I'm hooked right
away with the first song, "Haters of Couch," and
how the two guitar lines play off each other, one super-chugging
pure motion, the other one a soft melodic descending line,
possibly meant as a joke. The vocals are a little more run-of-the-mill
than the music, but they are still definitive pressure-cooker
nerd rantology, the kind of thing that second-tier no wavers
are still imitating today.
Next band is Prehensile Monkeytailed
Skink. My favorite band name of all time, but they only put
out a couple 7-inches I never tried to order, so this is the
first time I've heard 'em. Great singer and a nasty band!
They make a lot of fun of themselves being totally shitty
on their totally shitty hand-scrawled covers, with slogans
like "98% Talent Free!" and "Years of Practice"
and "We Found A 4-Track," but I think they're pretty
damn good. Among other things, they write a song called "I
Love You" and make it new (it's an unabashed ballad,
with the guitar strumming folk chords that are only slightly
out of tune -- the WHPK writeup advises "Skip it, sounds
like G&R," but I had already played it on the air
by the time I read that because I thought it was great). "I'm
a Spy" actually makes you say that Comets on Fire may
be damn good but they weren't there first. Who knew?
Gomez also bring noise-rock. It's interesting how in place
the David Wm. Sims influence is, but it's totally subverted
by the "since it's summer and we're recording in my bedroom
I'll play drums on my fan" percussion and the vocals,
which sound like at least two different people yelping uncontrollably.
(And the David Wm. Sims influence is really the Tracey Pew
influence, which is why you'll like it better than just another
Jesus Lizard jam anyway.)
Next is The Monarchs,
the most trad thing on here. Garage punk that could actually
be described as "Estrus-like." There's enough tape-gruk
for Bulb to wanna put it out, but if one of these songs came
on the Maximum Rock 'n Roll radio show, you wouldn't bat an
eyelash. Not one. Which is still a compliment, because I usually
really liked that show.
The first Monarchs song
("Wanted Man") is followed by like five minutes
of silence. It must be there to represent the time it takes
to go and flip a 7-inch single over from the A side to the
B side, and they couldn't put in for every 7-inch because
there wouldn't be room on the CD, so they just did it once,
in the middle of the album, where it in turn represents the
time it takes to go and flip a 12-inch record over, except
that this is a CD comp and not vinyl. Or, maybe it was a mistake:
I just sit still for (and enjoy) these kind of art statements,
but about an hour ago I bought a boom box from Best Buy, and
then when I got home Bulb Singles #1 was in the mailbox,
so it's the first disc I'm playing in my new piece of equipment,
which I'm already a little leery of, because it was only $29.99,
and the Best Buy's entire stock (of three) were sitting on
the shelf in boxes that had already been opened. I grabbed
the one on top and from what I could see the boom box looked
fine. The young lady who rang up my purchase informed me that
my item had been discounted another ten dollars because the
box was open, and she had to call her manager over to sign
for the discount. So that was all kind of shady, and then,
at home, when I open the CD tray to play the disc, there's
already a disc in there, which is actually a disc-shaped piece
of paper that reads, "STOP! DO NOT ATTEMPT TO RETURN
THIS PRODUCT TO THE STORE! For Fast Help, Call us first! 1-800-705-4986."
Just the phone number -- no company name, no logo. So, naturally,
this all makes me wonder if maybe this big gap of silence
isn't just "the Bulb aesthetic" but my sketchy new
purchase, already fucking up on the fifth song, and that Best
Buy manager really was trying to do me a favor when he pushed
that $5 warranty at checkout. But no, eventually the second
Monarchs song starts, so it is just "the Bulb aesthetic."
Eight singles are collected
on this comp, and they appear in chronological order. Next
is the second Prehensile Monkeytailed Skink single. The vocal
structure sounds like an homage to Iggy's clarion calls on
Funhouse, where the vocals on the first P.M.S. single
were a little more Fair-ish (no reference to Gerty Farish
intended but probably fairly app. too). Last Skink song "Kenneth"
is killer -- someone actually doing the right thing with the
Joy Division influence, without being all boy-band about it.
(Not to mention doing the right thing with the stop-start
rock technique as long ago ruined by all loud Emo bands and
all Jesus Lizard imitators).
Bullet In The Head is
like a guitar noisescape like something by Bruce Russell!
(Or at least Terry Kath.) Intriguing and heavy. I can't believe
how obscure this stuff still is. Type in "Prehensile
Monkeytailed Skink" at AMG and what do you get? Nothing.
As for Couch....remember how there was that confusion in the
underground a few years ago when there were three different
bands named Couch? There was this one from Michigan, another
one from Germany, and the other one I think from Texas. Well,
the usually impressive AMG has no listings for a
band called Couch. Even the most traditional band on here,
the Monarchs, straight-up Estrus-like garage rock, has no
listing. Not to mention "Bullet in the Head" or
"Mr. Velocity Hopkins." (Another weird thing is
that when you type most of these bands in the search engine,
the screen just goes blank, which I haven't seen before. That's
how hard it is for the mainstream to handle "the Bulb
aesthetic"! The computer just freezes and smoke starts
coming out of it and it starts shaking like there's an earthquake.)
a couple more 7-inches: Shriek, who I also know nothing about,
another spazz band that almost sounds like the culmination/reductio
ad absurdum of everything Couch/Skink/Gomez have put on the
table. It's probably all the same members. Then there's one
more by the Monarchs. Can't wait for Bulb Singles Vol. 2!
ARTISTS: Heat & Birds CDR (JEWELLED
Jewelled Antler thing isn't just a label, it's the name for
a collective of musicians that record in different combinations
under different names. The flagship band seems to be Thuja
but there's tons more, as you can learn by reading the lineup
of this comp. Thing is, listening to this album beginning
to end doesn't feel like you're listening to a Various Artists
CD, it feels like you're listening to one big long masterwork
by a really big varied group called Jewelled Antler. Members
trade instruments and some people leave for a few songs before
returning for a few more, but it's all Jewelled Antler. And
the result is pretty much perfect, like a summation of everything
that was ever good about both Ashtray Navigations and Richard
Youngs, except better than that, and as a compilation every
track is short and it moves and flows like one big unit. And,
the field recordings that pop up every three or four tracks
might sound to you like a cliche, but the result is LOVELY.
We've got Hala Strana, The Floating Birthday Children, The
Muons, Of, Kemialliset Ystavat, and right now, The Blithe
Sons & Daughters. Mmm . . . now we've got banjo . . .
that might be just a little too obligatorily alt-country for
this comp's rarefied atmosphere . . . woah, actually now we've
got a full-fledged alt-country vocal going on for the first
time on the album -- I mean comp -- except it's more avant-
than alt- . . . oh, never mind, this is our old friend Smolken
from Dead Raven Choir. He kind of breaks the mood, but something
like Dead Raven Choir always breaks the mood, and it always
ends up being in a good way, especially if you don't really
follow the Palace Brothers anymore. Anyway, Heat &
Birds is one of top 5 for the issue.
ARTISTS: The Invisible Pyramid 2CD (LAST
totally plan on writing a review of this thing, I just never
make it past the first track, by Kawabata Makoto and someone
named Roco, playing as Karma, which is officially the 398th
band that Kawabata has worked with or recorded as. The track
is like 9 minutes long and has plenty of great 'atmosphere'
-- Kawabata never does anything badly -- but this one isn't
especially heavy and it doesn't go anywhere too quick. It's
kind of like psych souffle.
Second up is someone and
they don't exactly catch on like a house of fire either. Again,
like Karma, it's not bad, with more perfectly adequate 'atmosphere,'
but I do wish something more was happening by now. Okay, now
we're around the four-minute mark and there's some serious
bowing going on -- this is good, I guess you just have to
'earn it.' I would've edited out the first four minutes. Oh
now I remember: this is Flies Inside The Sun. They're always
good, but again, you don't need too much of it. Two records'll
do ya. (I remember a joke some rockwriter made about their
album An Audience of Others (Including Herself).
When he called it by name for a second time in his review,
he called it An Audience of Others (Please Don't Make
Me Type That Whole Title Again). It was funny, I wanna
say it was Jon Bywater writing in Opprobrium. That Bywater
guy was pretty good, anybody else catch him?)
Third up is Fursaxa, who
I've been wanting to hear more of because I like this whole
"free folk" movement of "the new weird America."
All I have by her are two comp tracks, and I don't even know
where those are buried. Now I have three comp tracks, and
this third one is real good, and short. Good vocals, a real
mellow strummer. Would've been better first or earlier.
Fourth is good old Campbell
Kneale, playing as Birchville Cat Motel. (Check out his other
band Sunship too.) Everybody knows: Campbell's shit is always
Fifth is Pelt. These guys
are just hitting their guitars funny. It has to be more than
just hitting funny -- that style hasn't even worked for Pelt
since the classic Burning Filaments Rockets album,
and that was just because there was a rock drummer making
it all work. Man, I swear it's been a good 4 years since I've
heard anything special from Pelt, since the Empty Bell
Ringing In The Sky album, which marked the pinnacle of
their 'high drone' phase, which now seems to have given way
to a 'I'll play drony and you hit your guitar funny and Jack
Rose will play bluegrass' phase. (At least that was their
show at the Hideout last year -- granted, I only
heard like 7 minutes of Ayahuasca, couple years ago,
but what I heard didn't stay with me.)
On this track, Jack just seems to be playing either drony
or hitting it funny, no bluegrass.
Sixth is the Iditarod.
I've heard of these guys mainly through Mr. LVD, as they're
one of his favorite bands from Providence. Of course, a completely
separate 'scene' than the Fort Thunder/Load side of town.
Oh yeah, it's that no wave vs. free folk thing again. Two
different worlds, folks. Except in Blastitude Land. It's good,
more of that Fursaxa vibe, i.e. a weird nature strummer. I
like it quite a bit but I think it might be a little long
-- c'mon, you gotta keep it short for comps, except for the
Scenes From Ringing Isle comp, the whole point of
which was to have long tracks, same with the Fog People
comp on Animal Disguise.
Seventh is someone
I just read but already forgot (short term memory loss), and
eighth is someone I don't recognize. Okay, let me think hard
about seven....nope, it's gone. I think track eight was someone
from Japan. Track nine is someone I definitely recognize:
fuckin' REYNOLS. Sounding great too after all those long slow-developing
tracks. You know, my one quibble with the awesome Reynols
sound is that Tomasín sings too much. I mean, I LOVE
Tomasín's vocals, and he's honestly one of my favorite
rock drummers, but just like I never get to listen to the
city summer outside my windows without hearing the usual 29
neighbors standing in front of my building yelling, you never
just get to hear the Reynols band jam without Tomasín's
space-moan in the foreground, drowning the background out.
And believe me, it would be cool as shit to just hear the
way Anla and Moncho tickle their guitars over that slow and
endless Tomasín drum groove. Psychedelic as f******k.
Reynols actually do tracks 9-12 here. All four tracks sound
exactly the same.
And, damn, that's all
the farther I've gotten on this one and I've got to go to
press with this. Obviously there's a lot more tracks on this
massive comp, like, for example, the entirety of Disc 2. Sorry!
See, it could've been edited a little snappier but I know
LVD likes things to be massive and if you like free folk and
new psych music get it immediately. Great cover too, very
ARTISTS: Progresso Soup VHS (GRAVEDIGGER VIDEO)
might've read the column called "A No Wave Guide to ELP"
in the last ish, by Tim Ellison. You might've thought, "This
is fun but jeez, is ELP really No Wave??" Well,
if Tim didn't convince you, your final lesson will be to watch
their performance of the song "Knife-Edge," collected
here on yet another murky Gravedigger Video treasure-trove.
Keith Emerson's disgusto blue sequin jumpsuit alone is practically
the visual essence of No Wave, and during his super-long solo
he freaks out masturbatorily on a stick-like theremin-like
contraption, jams a knife into his organ, then leaps over
it and plays it from behind, and it's all a bunch of calamity
and silly pomp, and is that not the goal of almost every single
No Wave band working today? And then there's Blodwyn Pig,
also on this compilation, who for some reason remind me a
little bit of No Doctors! They're smoother and more antiquated,
but not a whole lot smoother, and they have a sax guy that
really almost reminds me of CansaFis's sax role for about
a minute. (Except the Blodwyn Pig guy plays two saxes at once
a la Roland Kirk, which is something CansaFis should do some
day . . .) There's tons more on here, like Jethro Tull rocking
out live on that laid-back heavy song "Teacher"
and a great clip of Yes playing in what kind of looks like
a big high school gym or something. There's also Yes playing
on Beat Club, Germany's infamous "show of 1000 cheesy
psychedelic effects," doing a killer and confusing version
of "Yours Is No Disgrace" that seems like it's about
26 minutes long and includes at least 930,000 notes, a few
of which are contributed by Jon Anderson via two of his fingers
and some antique chord organ. There's also the Edgar Winter
Group doing "Frankenstein," which is kind of amazing
to see live and at the same time kind of nauseating, for reasons
too numerous and varied to go into now. The last clip on here
starts with a title that reads "King Crimson & Black
Oak Arkansas," and I'm like "whuuhh?," but
unfortunately it's not a collaboration, it goes into Wetton
& Bruford-era Crimson, a pretty cool jam, and then the
tape ends before I get to see any Black Oak Arkansas. Bummer,
but I'm already thinking of No Doctors again, because I think
I've figured them out: they're the EXACT midpoint -- sonically,
physically, aesthetically -- between King Crimson and Black
ARTISTS: SNSE Fall Sampler 2002 CDR (SCRATCH AND SNIFF ENTERTAINMENT)
fine sampler from the fine North Central U.S.A. (Kalamazoo,
MI) Scratch aNd Sniff Entertainment label (a/k/a SNSE). The
real surprise is the last track, "Merhorse (live in NYC)"
by Mommy Won't Wake Up. I've never even heard of 'em before
but this jam "Merhorse" sounds like a much noisier
and crapped-out International Harvester/Parson Sound, like
those guys if they hadn't been Swedish Art Students and had
been Midwestern Community College Students.
stands out from the crowd in the middle, with the instantly-recognizable-as-Mammal
"Fog Rhythm" . . . I honestly can't really recall
any of the other tracks, all of them being introductions to
artists I had never heard before, and never really heard of:
Girls Throwing School. Leather Monument. Pig Exam. Basement
Parade. Mechanik. (Okay, I've heard of him, I think I reviewed
his split 7-inch with Viki in the last ish.) Jockesses. Kitty
Cat Pirate. Night Doctors. (Not to be confused with No Doctors.)
I think I remember Pig Exam being some good harsh noise. I
did pretty much enjoy the whole disc -- I was never bored.
(Addendum from a couple weeks later: other standout tracks
are by the Jockesses and Kitty Cat Pirate and Night Doctors,
all in a row after the Mammal track. Which gives me a hunch
that the whole thing is good. So check out the label.)
ARTISTS: Spoken Word by Noise Artists CDR (BREATHMINT/EF TAPES
hard to get through all of these, but pretty fascinating none
the less. Especially if you know all the groups/individuals
represented, but also if you just really like to scratch your
head in confusion, you should check this out. Lineup is: Crank
Sturgeon (good satire of political correctness without taking
the easy route of political incorrectness), Kyle Lapidus (short
and funny), Hermit (actually like a slam poet, except a fucking
killer metal/punk slam poet), Weasel Walter (a live-in-concert
standup routine, included here to prove to his detractors
once and for all that he indeed does have a sense of humor,
even though this particular routine STILL barely does the
job -- poop jokes and Bill Cosby impressions? -- and he rips
off Neil Hamburger without credit!), La Persona (I think this
guy likes to talk), III (didn't catch it), Carlos Giffoni
(killer stoned poem in Spanish, I have no idea if he was actually
stoned, but I am), Panicsville (X-rated and rather amazing!),
Bill Exley (a confuso-rant that gets the audience laughing),
Roesing Ape (didn't catch it), Zartan (another prank phone
call, if I remember right), Burning Star Core (didn't catch
it, sorry Cincy!).
ARTISTS: Sun Records Collection (BOOTLEG CASSETTE)
talk about raunch epistemology. First song, "Gotta Let
You Go," by Joe Hill Louis, is positively bru-tal (rhymes
with ti-cal), just him beating the shit out of a couple blues
chords on a guitar that sounds like it's going to break, and
then howling the title in between mean raps. He's got another
one on here called "She May Be Yours (But She Comes To
See Me Sometimes)" -- ha ha, you tell 'em, Joe Hill.
Then there's a couple by Howlin' Wolf, so you know those are
pretty raunchy, and a couple animal-themed Rufus Thomas cuts
("Bear Cat (The Answer to Hound Dog)" and "Tiger
Man (King of the Jungle)") where he gets all feral and
shit. A lot of other stuff is kind of suave-o supper-club
jump-blues, but it all goes down pretty easy, especially with
all that grease in between. Even the sweetest song on here,
a ballad called "Just Walkin' in the Rain," is by
a band called the fucking Prisonaires. I mean, they were all
criminals. Been reading John Fahey's weird-ass book,
where he's talking about how freaky and mean and evil bluegrass
music sounded to him back in 1953 -- well, Sun Records was
the next step in the trail of evil -- they are to Fahey's
bluegrass as, I don't know, Hair Police are to Black Flag,
or Darkthrone is to Maiden.
K: A Sampler of 3" Singles CDR (UCR 1004-1006)
is a free jazz kind of band, starting with an explosion of
acoustic scream-noise and then going into a quiet, naked,
searching section that I'm kind of digging. The saxes and
flutes and whatnot work their way back in, dropping little
quick caterwauls and yelps, and it all builds into some dense
scuffle, without falling prey to tired and easy soft-loud
juxtapositions. Wow, and it eventually gives way to a psychedelic/electronic
kind of mood! They're the first jazzish band I've heard to
specifically remind of New Zealand's CM Ensemble.
That's their 3"
CDR called "Chimes At Midnight," gathered on this
sampler along with "Live At Wild Weekend 19," which
is also them doing the sparse/dense scuffle trick, except
now they're doing it in a goddamn FOREST. More psychedelic/electronic
tweaking too -- these guys are friggin' excellent! I've heard
enough dry jazz improv for two lifetimes, but I've never quite
heard this before.
Also collected is
Joezef K's "Nuclear War," which is one man doing
psych meandering on guitar while tapes of . . . politicians
play? The whole thing was kind of daunting, so much so that
I can't really describe it here any further . . .
EYES: Fuck Pete Larsen LP (BAD GLUE)
compendium of inexplicable deep Michigan basement shatter
that most of the world has missed from WE's confusing amount
of homemade tiny-run cassettes and CDRs. Halfway through,
I forget what record I'm listening to while the music just
moans. Sometimes you'd almost think they're using the exact
same approach as your average New Zealand band circa 1998,
or, as Weasel Walter heckled at the last W. Eyes show I was
at: "Dark ambient!" But that's wrong, because this
stuff just hurts more, and a Wolf Eyes record NEVER
goes on too long. (All dark ambient records go on too long
-- notice that they never use the LP format -- too concise!)
EYES: Mugger CDR (HANSON)
The reason I like Dead Hills so much is the vocals
on the last two tracks. Nate Young's vocals always blow me
away and I search for them on these more limited Wolf Eyes
releases like I used to search for bad-ass DJ scratching on
dodgy mid-80s hip-hop records. Malcolm McLaren's D'Ya
Like Scratchin'? was a major disappointment, but Wolf
Eyes records aren't, even when they don't have very many vocals,
because they still HURT. And, when vocals finally become momentarily
clear somewhere in the middle of track three it's like HOLY
SHIT: if this was the soundtrack to whatever scene in an 'independent
horror movie' the film stock would suddenly decompose, as
if cursed. "Dedicated to Shock Treatment," the band,
not the science.
OF THE INCRYPTION CONVICT: London Marrow CS (AMERICAN TAPES)
the press release: "Am 277 Words of the Encryption
Convict 'London Marrow' C60. Part one of streets London mangled
grime field recordings. Subways, English Breakfast joints,
quails, weird talk, the tube, etc. Processed in inzane studios."
Apparently that was written by Words of the Incryption Convict
themselves, and I don't have much to add to that, except that
the key word is processed: this shit is HEAVILY processed.
It fuckin' rules, but you already missed it: "Edition
of 16, painted slip case, numbered."
WRIGHT & BOB MARSH: Birds in the Hand CD (PUBLIC EYESORE)
when I was sure I was D-O-N-E with freely improvised music
(see Evan Parker/Joe McPhee write-up), along came this CD.
It took me a few months just to get the nerve up to put it
in the changer: a duo of saxophone and cello? Damn, sounds
like kind of chamber improv that Cadence would approve of,
right down to the helvetica type face and abstract painting
on the cover. Two guys using their, gasp, given names, and
picturing themselves on the back in a 'chummy' photo, and
they're two old guys too! If Parker & McPhee didn't even
turn my head how was this CD even going to make it in the
thing that finally got it in is that I've admired Mr. Wright
for a long time -- back in Lincoln he would come through twice
a year, usually solo, and play at a coffee house or art space
to like 4 people, and I was usually one of them. There's always
been something about Wright's delivery that make what could
be the same old artsy tail-chasing lines come out as what
Revenant Records called "raw music, punk." Really,
Wright is sort of a punk -- I've read about how he had his
'anarchist' years back in the 70s when he renovated old rowhouses
in run-down Philadelphia for a living, and he's still punk
the way he travels the country and blows his guts out through
the saxophone to audiences of almost none.
that's all in here. However, it's a pretty low-key album --
it doesn't beat you up with attack and volume -- but Wright
does constantly slap you upside the head with surprise. His
sax constantly reinvents himself -- it almost never sounds
like the same tone for more than a second. As for Marsh on
cello, he's admirably less of an in-your-face sawer or 'radical
reinterpreter of tradition' than he is a ghostly presence
that Wright whips and flutters above and within. Marsh also
plays violin and processed voice, but I have yet to discern
when he changes from any one to any other. Believe me, I'm
as surprised as anyone to be highly recommending a free improv
duo CD -- but you should hear this!
YONKERS BAND: Microminiature Love CD (SUB POP)
slept on the LP issue of this by Destijl Records last year,
and too bad because it's one of the greatest albums EVER.
This is hard guitar Noise Wave like Sonic Youth's Confusion
Is Sex, and it was done in 1968. The vocals are totally
scary -- at first they might sound like campy goth to you,
but keep listening. He starts throwing in some second vocal
overdubs and early electronic studio effects, and besides,
the songs themselves really are as SCARY as his style makes
them out to be. There's just something that sounds absolutely
HAUNTED about the first 7 songs on here, the ones that made
up last year's original LP release by Destijl (if you have
it, you're a very wise person -- I fuckin' SLEPT on it). For
one thing, this is one of the most devastating anti-war albums
ever recorded, Yonkers using his delivery and imagery to get
way beyond the 'war is hell' ethos of the movies, into a zone
where he's not so much saying 'war is hell' as he is that
HELL is hell. And I believe him. This stuff reminds me of
my favorite Vietnam movie of all time, Deathdream,
because it's not just about the horror of war, it's about
the horror back home, the horrors behind teenage bedroom doors.
My favorite guitar solo of all-time is on the track "Boy
in the Sandbox."
Sidekick, Collected Works 1991-2001 (SUNSHIP/
FEVER PITCH/LITTLE MAFIA/BREATHMINT/FREEDOM FROM)
ESP side project"? Prank phone call album. You'd never
know by the packaging, but this is straight-up prank phone
calls. Actually not straight-up -- this isn't jokesterism
as much as it is method acting, which then becomes the joke,
but it's a much slower process than the Jerky Boys or Neil
Hamburger. Then, just when you've decided this is just so-so
as prank phone calls but effin' great when it comes to modern
theater, you realize hey, most of these prank phone calls
are actually hilarious after all!
there's a series where Zartan calls a series of grocery store
clerks to get a price on T-bone steak by the pound. On the
third guy, he goes into a profane rage that is kind of terrifying
and definitely noise music. After a couple more of those,
the series ends when a younger-sounding clerk named "Dave"
picks up. Dave sounds like he could be a punk, and he's not
afraid of this yahoo on the other end. The ensuing confrontation
is priceless. (Actually, it's 10 dollars post-paid from the
bit is when Zartan calls radio station DJs as "Bocefus."
A lady DJ who sounds like she's partyin' answers and he does
the old "I want to request a song but I can't remember
the name" bit, singing her songs by Hank "Bocefus"
Williams, Jr. and Rick Springfield. She can't place either
of them, but she's playing the Chemical Brothers, which Zartan
says sounds like "dishwashin'." He flirts with her
in his inimitable 'metal' way ("I ain't fuckin' drunk")
and she flirts back, for like 6 or 7 minutes, which is an
ETERNITY in prank phone call time. Even better is when he
talks to a hapless Metal DJ: "You got any Zartan? You
heard their shit? How about Black Witch?....oh, how about
Infection? They've got this one song that goes [unintelligible
fast death metal vocals]." They bond over a Cannibal
Corpse song, but when the DJ mentions Metallica, Bocefus says
"Never heard of 'em."
And track 6 is
one of the funnier prank phone calls I've ever heard, in which
Zartan portrays a record producer ("Beaux Hill")
calling from his "convertible on the Pacific Coast Highway"
to some big-fish-in-a-small-pond local grunge rocker to tell
him that he really wants to sign him to a huge contract .
. . and the local rocker haplessly believes him! For almost
15 minutes! But I don't wanna give it all away -- don't worry,
not one of the CD's 74 minutes is unused, so there's plenty
more for you to discover on your own.
12 WAIT: To The Maxxxxxxxxxxxx CD (SELF-RELEASED)
don't know, maybe the artist is just Zeehas and the album's
called 12 Wait and the label is called To The Maxxxxxxxxxxx.
There's an egregious 80s-pop vibe to this whole thing, mixed
with a tough and knowing post-noise avant-garded-ness (track
7 "geisha grin" fluctuates schizophrenically from
the former to the latter). In the meantime, there's these
comical he-man vocals throughout, like it's Bono singing for
Animotion produced by Squarepusher. And it does rock. Ends
up quite unique and well worth a listen.
KOPF: The Architecture of Dark Dance CS (TOYO)
cassettes rule. It’s just so nice to get a good old
classic cassette in a basic sturdy box with a nice j-card,
well-printed on sturdy paper. Have you seen those Emil Beaulieau
cassettes where he takes like an old cassette of Aerosmith’s
Greatest Hits and makes a new cover out of it? I haven’t
heard ‘em, but they rule just to look at.
release The Architecture of Dark Dance is a cassette
released by Toyo Records of Oakland, California. You might’ve
heard about Z.K. I’ve heard about ‘em, because
there’s this essay by one of the gay guys in Matmos
because Ziegenbok Kopf is a joke band that does a faux gay
faux German schtick, and Matmos Guy kind of calls Z.K. on
the gay-but-not-really-gay schtick while being smart enough
to not be P.C. about it. I’m not P.C. about it, but
I also haven't really been anywhere near 1000 miles of this
band, ever, and the joke doesn't seem all that funny to me
on paper. I'm sure it's funnier live, but on paper, it sounds
a little SNL circa 1988. In 1988, the cast of SNL consisted
of Al Franken, Nora Dunn, Jon Lovitz, Dennis Miller, A. Whitney
Brown, Jan Hooks (va va voom!). Victoria Jackson (va va VA
voom!). Dana Carvey! Phil Hartman! Kevin Nealon!
C'mon, folks you know 'em all . . . you even know that season's
supporting players, who happened to be a couple of guys named,
well, Ben Stiller and Mike Myers, the latter of whom that
year debuted a bit known as Sprockets, effectively making
Ziegenbok Kopf's gag ten years too late.
No, I don't know, once
again, I haven't seen 'em live. Maybe it really works live,
and either way, the schtick really isn't evident on this tape,
which is just kind of ruling hard breakcore with croaked lyrics
that sound as much like European death metal as they do gay
slut schtick. Actually I have heard one first-hand account
of this duo performing, but it wasn't an onstage music show;
they went out after-partying in character after a hometown
San Fran show, attending some dull indie hipster bar where
they actually picked up unsmiling strangers, off the ground
or right off their chair, and carried them around the bar
for little rides in an attempt to get them partying. Well
done, lads, you've conquered indie hipsters, but have you
tried that in a gay bar? I hear there's a couple gay bars
in San Fran that you could try that at. Anyway NONE of these
Matmos-type issues end up mattering at all because put in
the cassette and it's just really good new heavy music.
KOPF: Nocturnal Submissions CD (TIGERBEAT 6)
now I'm starting to understand the lyrics, such as the clear-cut
opening question on this one: "So you're ready for sex
with a man? C'mon, take me on if you can." Dwyer better
be careful because some big gay dudes might just take him
seriously some time. Hey Dwyer, if you happen to be in a community
shower with some big gay guys who've heard Ziegenbock Kopf,
DON'T DROP THE SOAP!! Y'know? 'Cause those gay guys, they'll
get you, man, ESPECIALLY IF YOU DROP THE SOAP!!! It's because
if you bend over like that, it really kind of exposes your
nude bunghole, which gives the average gay guy much easier
access, y'know? I mean, especially if a nearby gay guy already
has an erection, he can just walk up and POP! It's all over,
y'know? Just a warning.
Okay, so that was
'over-the-top' humor, sort of like Ziegenbock Kopf. Of course,
you could compare this to The Frogs' It's Only Right and
Natural for its gay-but-not-really-gay approach, but
I think this is more like the gay-but-not-really-gay equivalent
to 2 Live Crew. Which is to say it rocks, it's funny, and
you can dance and party to it. Like "To Do List,"
which goes "Fuck/Fuck/Fuck/Dance/Dance/
Dance." That's pretty funny. The back cover photos make
their live show look pretty cool too, and anyway what's important
(and appropriate to the comedy theme) is that the music really
does ROCK HARD, even as hard as 2 Live Crew. The bass lines
(check the very opening seconds) are HUGE, heavy as hell,
evil, undeniable, etc., and at the same time anyone could
dance to it, which doesn't let up for the entire album (which,
at 33 minutes, is, if anything, too long). As the Tigerbeat
6 website says: "Their bass is too loud and the highs
are acrid. You can smell the cum steaming out of the monitors."
It's true, that's why I say these guys should be careful.
Cuz it's dirty and slutty, and they are fronting. The good
news is the music rules, and I don't even like darkwave danse.
KOPF: I.D.M. LP (KIMOSCIOTIC)
do I have to review ANOTHER Ziegenbock Kopf release? I'd rather
just go see 'em live. (This could be their best -- so far
they're all pretty similar.)