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© 2000-2008 The Authors


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bIG fLAME by Tony Rettman

NEW REVIEWS by R. Queequeg

WHAT'S ON D'S iPOD? by D and D

RECORD REVIEWS!!! by Larry "Fuzz-O" Dolman

2007 WRAPUP by Dolman too




By Tony Rettman

I don’t have much time for anything these days, but I will always have time for the digestion of the singles done up in the mid-80’s by Manchester’s premier ‘Jazz Fuck’ trio bIG fLAME. Arriving at a time in the English popular music scene when things were at a mind numbing standstill, this trio assessed the situation and did up a batch of brutally direct singles to hopefully wake their nation from its mediocre sonic slumber. Some dents were made, but in the long run, people will remember A-Ha more than the jagged zap of the tracks found on those singles.

For some reason or another, Drag City did up an excellent compilation CD (which is currently out of print) in the late 90’s of all the singles, etc. entitled ‘Rigour 1983-1986’ but it still didn’t pull in the punters’ interest. Every once in awhile, I find someone who's aware of this trio’s existence, but it’s few and far between. Like most of the better things in life, bIG fLAME is best enjoyed with very few people and copious amounts of red wine.

This interview was done via electronic mail in March of 2008 with Greg Keeffe, former guitarist of b.f. Appropriate links and discography will appear after the interview and there will be a choice of carrot cake or brownie served afterwards.

Tony Rettman -- Let's get the basic stuff out of the way...How and why did bIG fLAME come together? How did you 3 know each other? What was the specific time you started playing together? How old were you guys at the time of forming?

Greg Keeffe -- We started X-Mas ’82. Dil and Alan had been in a band together previously and I used to share a flat with Dil in Hulme Crescents, these shit derelict modernist council flats that everyone lived in. It was out of the blue when Dil asked me to play guitar. I had never played before (I'd played bass before tho’) and I was unsure I wanted to be in an indie type band. I was more into A Certain Ratio, Pop Group, Jazz Funk, and early hip hop at the time, but he was persuasive so I said I'd try it. After the first rehearsal (we played the theme from Shaft by Isaac Hayes - which was my choice!) Alan said to Dil he didn't want me in the band ‘cos I was too shite, and I said to Dil I didn't want to be in the band cos Alan was too professional!! Somehow we carried on, but the tension was always there. I was 19 at the time, Dil 20 and Alan 21.

T.R. --You say you were unsure of being in an ‘indie’ band at the time. What was your idea of an 'indie' band in '82 and what were your problems with it?

G.K. -- I think punk had run its course really. Britain had become obsessed with Goth music, which seemed to lack any political intent. The politics of punk were what really interested me - the Clash, Pop Group and Gang of Four - Dil politicized me too. At that time with Thatcher in ascendance, the battle-lines had been drawn and the right was winning and suddenly music was completely non-political. I just couldn't understand it. With punk, in five years we had had a complete lifetime of music from punk, new wave, nu punk, punk-funk, ska, funk, jazz, pop... And suddenly Goth was like heavy metal. I was oppositional to that. I hated metal.

T.R. -- What were some of your 1st gigs like + where were they performed?

G.K. -- The early gigs were all in Hulme. It was easy to play there cos no one gave a shit. We were the sort of band who had no fans whatsoever. Most people in Manchester at the time were either Goths or Jazz Funk boys - and we didn't really fit in to either camp.

T.R. -- Describe what the Manchester music scene was like at the time bIG fLAME was starting up. Was there anything inspirational to be found musically (or otherwise) in what was going on in the city at the time?

G.K. -- Manchester was good at the time. The city was in terminal post-industrial decline and the Factory Records scene that I was in was small yet friendly. The Hacienda had just opened and was in walking distance of the Hulme Crescents. Me and Dil were glass collectors in the Hacienda early on so we knew everyone there. The best of Factory was coming to an end then and the Smiths were starting up. Me and Dil saw their first gig, but they were considered a student band. There seemed to be a bit of a gap in the punk continuum that we thought we could fill. Me and Dil used to call it ‘H.D.L’ - Hip Difficult Listening.

T.R. -- Do you think the formation of bIG fLAME was a reaction to the end of the quality Factory bands at the time?

G.K. -- Yeah I think so, but it was conscious. I loved A Certain Ratio and they started to get into Roy Ayers and Maceo Parker. I just couldn't go there! It was too wimpy and meaningless. I was left with nothing but hanging around at early electro nights and jazz funk nights watching all the black boys dance. I just didn’t fit in. Jazz Funk or Goth?? It’s not much of a choice.

T.R -- As far as The Smiths go, even if you didn’t like their music, could you sense the impact they would have when you saw that 1st show?

G.K. -- In hindsight, I quite like The Smiths now; they were just a Pop group with a weird singer. Morrissey was cool. I was amazed when Rough Trade signed them. They seemed so manufactured at the time.

T.R. -- I read somewhere once that Moz threw a bunch of confetti around at that 1st Smiths gig...true?

G.K. -- Yeah that's true. To be honest, I thought they were his pants!!

T.R. -- Was there any interest in bIG fLAME from the Factory/Hacienda crowd?

G.K. -- Post 1982 Factory really went up their own arses with loads of indulgent crap. We were against everything really. Dil and I were totally puritanical about everything. Nobody measured up to our ridiculously high standards.

T.R. -- Were there any groups from Manchester (or elsewhere) that you regularly performed gigs with?

G.K. -- The bands we liked were sort of random. We liked the Mackenzies from Glasgow. I met Paul the drummer in the barbers one day and he said 'We're supporting you in Glasgow on Sunday' and we've been mates ever since! We also liked the June Brides. They were a sort of ultimate pop group and we quite liked the idea of that ourselves. We also liked the Age of Chance and The 3 Johns.

T.R. -- I love the June Brides...were they as tight live as they were recorded?

G.K. -- The J.Bs’ were excellent live. I suppose they were modern folk music in the true sense of the word.

T.R. – So bIG fLAME wanted to be the ultimate pop group?

G.K. -- We set out to be the ultimate pop group, there’s no doubt about it. We wanted to take on the whole industry on our terms. We were stupid really. We thought that if we could produce something ultimately ultimate, it would sell well. We were living in this incredible bubble in Hulme, where everyone was under 25 and alternative, and we imagined that the rest of the world was like that. We couldn't believe how conservative the music buying public are/were. That's why the Smiths made it and REM made it and we didn't!!

T.R. -- How did you gain the interest of John Peel + what were those sessions like? Did you have any interaction with the man himself?

G.K. -- John Peel was really important. Nobody showed the slightest bit of interest in us until JP played our first D.I.Y. single and offered us a session. He also put us on in his John Peel Rock week at the ICA in London and said on his show that we were the best live band he'd ever seen in 40 years, which was nice. That got us started with touring. We met him a couple of times. He was always very shy really. More like an obsessed fan rather than someone famous.

T.R. -- Where did the name bIG fLAME come from?

G.K. -- bIG fLAME were an anarcho-syndicalist collective who mobilized wildcat strikes and wrote passionate diatribes in the 1970's. They were particularly big in Manchester and Liverpool. We were never in them, but we liked the idea of libertarian socialism as an ideal, so we chose the name as a tribute to them.

T.R. -- Out of curiosity, what were some of the 1st live shows you saw?

G.K. -- My first ever gig was to see the Buzzcocks in '78 at Blackpool Mecca, which was amazing! During 1979 and 1980 I used to wag school and follow the Clash around. They were amazing live. I remember seeing them at Rafters in Manchester at a secret gig where there were only 200 people, which was amazing. As soon as I got in bIG fLAME - I said we have to be as good as the Clash live!!! They were the benchmark for me and Dil. Other bands I saw live that really influenced me were the Fire Engines. I liked the way themselves and Josef K created so much with such a limited palette of sound. That’s one of the things we tried to do with b.f. Really limit ourselves and then explore within those limits. Orange Juice was brilliant live, particularly early on in ’79 through ’81. Within the harshness of Punk was this ironic wimpy band who took the piss out of everything, themselves especially, yet created really brilliant songs. I liked the way they could start a song, let it sort of dissolve and then find it again and reach some sort of crescendo! Early on the Pop Group and Gang of Four were so funky live. A Certain Ratio were just really fucking cool. One thing I didn't mention that was also really important was dub reggae. Hulme was full of Rastas and Dil and I really liked the rigorous way they approached life. We used to see them working out outside in the winter, all looking super-muscley and I loved the way they played amazing music without really trying!!

T.R. -- How did you come upon being on the Ron Johnson label? Did Dave Parsons see a gig of yours or hear one of the singles or what?

G.K. -- For some unknown reason we sent a single to Ron Johnson. I've no idea where we got the idea from. We were desperate and we sent out hundreds to anyone whose address we could find. Dave contacted us and he said it was the first thing he'd been sent that was any good. He wasn't really running a record company at the time. His band, Splat! just came up with the name Ron Johnson to release their own record. When he heard us he thought he might try and start a proper label.

T.R. -- I guess before we get into getting on a label, we should talk about the release of your 1st self-released single. Did it prove to be difficult?

G.K. -- We had no money and releasing a single at the time cost £100 for studio time, £500 for pressing and £100 for printing sleeves. We were all either on the dole or students so we only had £30 a week each so it looked impossible. Alan's mum loaned us the money and we paid it back later. We were very insular and very D.I.Y. We did not want anyone else involved. We never had a manager ever. We did everything ourselves.

T.R. -- Why did bIG fLAME call it a day?

G.K. -- We wanted to be as pure as possible, so when we started we agreed on a ‘sell by’ date that would prevent us being seduced into full time careerist stuff by the music business. The date was Oct 1986. So when it came up, we packed it in…simple as that. We were at the height of our powers at the time with a record in the top 5 of the indie charts. Suicide really!!

T.R. -- What did the members of bIG fLAME get up to after the break-up?

G.K. -- I didn't speak to Alan again for 15 years. Dil moved to London. He'd had enough of music and it just didn't interest him. I felt too old to do another band until Meatmouth asked me to join them. Alan tried exceptionally hard to make it as a pop-crooner, and was professionally styled by professional stylists. I felt and still think that he betrayed everything we stood for. I cannot forgive him for that.

T.R. -- What other things caused the fallout with the members of the band?

G.K. -- Loads of things really. I suppose being in van three or four times a week for two years can lead to a lot of intolerance. Dil and myself were very combative and mouthy. Alan was quiet and not as radical. So there were differences. We never really let Alan say anything or really shape the band ideologically so I suppose he was looking for a chance to do that with his new band. I felt that in the last year all the later songs were written by me. I would bring all the guitar parts in and everyone would play along. I was amazed a month after the end of the band that Alan already had an albums worth of tunes for his new band and then I realized he'd been holding back a year's worth of songwriting. That really fucked me off. I could never look him in the face again. I felt he'd betrayed the whole idea of the band. Stupid really, but that's how it goes. It meant everything to me... and not as much to him... he wanted a career in music. Dil and I, not being so conventionally talented, wanted to express ourselves and make a difference.

T.R. -- Is there any music/sound that's being produced today that you enjoy or admire?

G.K. -- I am old, so this won’t sound good, but I mainly listen to 70s dub reggae!! I hate new-folk and Franz Ferdinand. I like noise and hate commercial stuff.

T.R. -- How and when did Drag City approach you to do the CD?

G.K. – I have no idea about this. Alan organized this after we split and I never received any monies from it at all and I’m still furious!!

T.R. -- What were the inspirations for the graphics on the bIG fLAME records? Any certain record covers or artists that stick out?

G.K. -- I like 7" singles with picture sleeves. I spent my teenage years poring over all the punk singles, so it started there. At the time we really liked pop art and op art, so we took that as a starting point along with Italian futurist and Russian constructivist stuff. In typical bIG fLAME style it never really came out right, so we got the blue and red kangaroos. As Jean Cocteau said ‘Genius is the inability to conform’. Dil and I had plenty of inability. Alan had plenty of musical ability! But we had lots of ideas.

T.R. -- Any final words or things you'd like to address that weren't covered in the questions above?

G.K. -- I really enjoyed the band and I'm glad we finished when we did - I think music today would be loads better if all those old stars had packed in early too. Music today is dominated by old fuckers who are busy making cash, with their back catalogues. Young people need to have a revolution and kick all those fuckers into touch…you know who U2, New Order, R.E.M. etc etc etc. ALL of them have nothing to say to 16-year-old kids. Oh and ban computer games too!!

‘Sink’/’Illness’/’Sometimes’ 7” E.P. (Laughing Gun Records) 1984
‘Rigour’ 7” e.p. (Ron Johnson) 1985
‘Tough!” 7” e.p. (Ron Johnson) 1985
‘Why Popstars Can’t Dance’ 7” e.p. (Ron Johnson ) 1986
‘Two Kan Guru’ 10” (Ron Johnson/Laughing Gun) 1986
‘Cubist Pop Manifesto’ 7” e.p. (Ron Johnson)
‘Cubist Pop Manifesto’ 12” e.p. (Constrictor)
Communicate!!! Double LP compilation (T.P.S.U.) 1985
NME C86 Cassette Compilation (NME/Rough Trade) 1986

bIG flame MySpace --


Ugh, I have SO MANY things to review! Why did I ever agree to this sort of “lifestyle”???

Oh well, might as well start off with this big stack from Vanishing Records, which is of course Angela M's label from down Nashville way. All very nicely packaged in multicolored screen printed glory. Harrowing Narrowing is possibly the name of a really good CDR by Vegan Brand Mouth Pet, which is a collab of Angela Vegan Brand, and Bridget Mouth Pet. It's pretty nice and spaced out, lots of feedback, fuzz, some echo here, a rhythm there. I think it's called Harrowing Narrowing, but I am not positive. But I am "timeless positive infinity" right now! What does that even mean? I have had that phrase in my head the last few weeks...maybe it was the name of a Bananafish comp? Another one from those same "girls in the mist" (as it says on the insert) has the delightful title of Dry Humping! This one is mixed louder, and arguably better (to me right now at least). More of Angela's crazy guitar jamming in the mix, and more "space", and "heavy air" to it all. Listening to this is one "dry hump" that won't end with "painful chafing"! Haha, did you see what I did there? Eat yr heart out, Gene Schallitt! Next up on Vanishing is D.I.B., a supergroup of Nashville jammers, which is about 5 or 6 women whose names I got mixed up a lot when they played at my house, but thank god for the internet, they are: kuss "Sweet Bref" Csillagi, Angelars Messina, Bridge Titsworth III, Ms. Brookesy G., and Murder Epic. Their name stands for "Do It Big," and that is what they do. It including awesome distorted vocals and making chaos rippers turn into what sound like actual songs including some very nice SOUL singing!? Sort of foul mouthed soul singing, but soul nonetheless. Taiwan Deth! What can I say about them? Most underrated band in the freak scene, except maybe for Pengo? They got everything I like in a band, psych/sick guitar jamming, violins, synths, saxophones, and lots of gadgets and pipes to make even more cool sounds. And LOVE POWER. Life/Deth is a nice long creeper, it builds you up then it shakes you down. DOWNTOWN, WHERE THE CROWN IS BROWN. I don't know what I am saying, this music is making me feel crazy right now, and I am completely sober!

Records...pretty much the best format out there, right? So why have I managed to go for like the last 4 years without a goddamn record player of my own? Well, problem solved now, so I guess I should get around to reviewing all the vinyl that people gave me back my stoned age (and also, more than a little drunk)! Sword Heaven/16 Bitch Pileup have a record called Come Here, Sandy, which basically everyone owns by now, right? And 16 Bitch Pileup are now famous superstars, having performed with Pink Floyd reunion at Live 8, and have been featured on the cover of magazines like Time, Vice, and Cat Fancy. So how does it hold up right now? Pretty great actually, with their side of the record being a murkey haze of grit, gunk, and squiggles (squiggles courtesy the turntable scratching, something they do about 10% as well as Rock and Roll Jackie, which is to say 100000% better than Christian Marclay, and still 1000% better than everyone else). The Sword Heaven side is super killer too, they remind me of the Swans a bit, with pummeling beats, and angry vocals, but the vocals are super delayed out, and also there is some delayed sax in the jams (or at least it sounds like a sax to me). It looks like this record is still around too, it's put out on on Cephia's Treat and Gameboy Records.

Coming from the killer Killertree Records out of Montana is Ex-Cocaine's "Keep America Mellow", and it's so fucking good. I saw them last year at No Fun Fest, and was duly impressed by Bryan Ramirez's Grateful Dead/Michigan Basketball t-shirt, as well as the fact that he was playing actual SONGS, and TUNED HIS INSTRUMENT! The music doesn't sound like the Dead per se, but it definitely is kind of going on the same vibes of mellow psychedelitude. Songs about dogsleddin'...a Roy Harper cover...they've got an even newer record out on Siltbreeze...Keep America mellow forever, JERKS!

DeStijl is one of the best record labels around today, thanks to Clint Simonson's vision. Spectacular of Passages is the second album on the label by Samara Lubelski, and I like it even better than her first one. It's some real solid, uh, folk pop I guess? She has a beautiful whispery voice, and the arrangements on this are top notch, sort of a looser version of the first handful of Belle and Sebastian albums. Put this album on when you have a day of work in the summer, and are sitting in the sun, and tell me life isn't OK. What, you say it still isn't? YOU ARE LYING, AND I WILL BREAK YOUR FUCKING TEETH, MAN!

Jakob Olausson has a record called Moonlight Farm, and while it's folksy, it's less poppy, but no less good. Apparently he is Swedish, and works on a sugar beet farm, which has caused some other reviewers to be like "working in the sun has influenced him". However, while that is a nice image, that's not the way sugar beet farming works, he's most likely driving around a huge machine when he is working the fields. I used to live in a rural town where sugar beets were the main industry, and boy does processing those things smell bad! So it is really better for me if I don't think about sugar beets when listening to this, even though Jakob mentions them. The musical jamming on here is super great, it reminds me a bit of Skip Spence, and the Supreme Dicks, in the way that it's fairly melancholy, but also has a sense of no matter how sad life can get, it's still pretty mindblowingly beautiful....Ju Suk Reet Meat has got a reissue on Destijl that is just about to come out (i.e. probably been out a year after I write this goddamn review column!), entitled "Solo 1978+79/Do Unseen Hands Make You Dumb?" Well yes, Mr. Suk, if that IS your real name, they do, sometimes! Like tonight, as a matter of fact! These goddamn hands...everywhere...making me crazy...but, I guess I should try and describe this album right now? And try and do a better job of it than John Olson who wrote the liner notes? Who manages to namedrop Patrick Marley of the late, great Muckraker zine which John ALSO contributed to? Well, to be honest, I really can't. I am a bit "shattered" right now, over a bombshell (as Alan Partridge would say), over the fact that my claims to be a triple Cancer were false…I am only a double Cancer, and my mistake was due to my previous research being done in a hungover/possibly still drunk haze one morning long ago.

Sounds of Shinkoyo is a compilation of the Shinkoyo label, I guess. And hey, it turns out I know most of the people on here…there is a song by Skeletons Band, which compares favorably to, I dunno, Animal Collective and Depeche Mode, maybe? Next up is a song by my neighbor Carson, which is a total pop song! I didn’t know he had it in him! Creative synth pop, which is probably about Swedenbourg or something…next is a track by this dude Sevy, which is pretty cool, like spoken “raps” style, with some crackle, clatter guitar, far out, like I am still floating. The next side of the album is a lot of "wanking about", but is still good here and there!

There is this label called Hidden Birdhouse which is run by one of the first people I ever met in Minneapolis, and still one of the best, Josh Tibbets. He has a band called Neglected Receptors with another guy named Josh, last name Mead. The cover of this CDR, Tropic of Canada is silkscreened, w/ a LOT of ink…it is a bit strange, actually, even though they probably spent a fair amount of money on this, it still comes off as seeming like the packaging is a bit cheap. Of course this is a very good thing! The music is pretty classic lo fi weirdo 4 trak awesomeness…guitars and drums, with plenty of “mushrooms pedal” on the guitar side. The drums are simple, in the best way, and the vocals have a clear understanding of what made punk vocals so awesome (the holiness of sound over all).

Speaking of the holiness of sound, this album by LHD on Misanthropic Agenda, Gerritt’s label, entitled Limbs of the Fawn, is…well standard harsh noise. You can tell exactly when he (and I do mean he, I am betting dollars to donuts a woman did not make this album) is twirling the knobs. In a proper state of mind, this could be truly transcendental music, however when I am in that state of mind, I find myself usually listening to things that are more interesting to me, like Lindsey Buckingham solo albums! (This is not meant sarcastically at all either, Buckingham’s solo albums are ALL good…if you like the weirder parts of the Tusk album you will probably love any of Buckingham’s solo albs, including his most recent...actually I think I will do a feature review on them all when I am done with this…look for it sometime in 2013!)

Replicock is a duo of Rock and Roll Jackie of Smegma, and Angie from Tarantism, if I remember correctly…no label on this one, but it is maybe related to the Fish Pies label done by Bobby Loachfillet…maybe not though…anyways, there is no label listed on this 3” CDR, but the title is “bloody delicious”. It is a good description, as it allows the lazy reviewer to just say things like “bloody delicious…INDEED!” and they can just write it on their one sheet, and go on and work their way up the underground industry ladder. Except Angie and Jackie don’t care about things like that, and would be probably too “clouded” to do that sort of deal even if they wanted to! Instead they just put all their effort into making cosmic sounds. Remember in that last review where I said I could tell where the dude was twirling the knobs? Well I still can on this, but the difference is, I bet watching them twirl the knobs is actually interesting. It is like their fingers are performing ballet, if ballet were interesting. Though I may eventually grow to appreciate ballet…like I used to think jazz was bullshit, I love it now! I have kind of been getting into some really cool modern dance pieces I have seen lately…not that lately though, I don’t see them that often…but I am guessing there are some cool ballet dances out there, so maybe I should just change my “dance style I just don’t get” to….what…the lambada? Not sure what that is either, but it’s supposedly “forbidden”, but whatever, I was raised Baptist, ALL dancing was forbidden! In the Midwest that has caused this joke, first told to me by Clint DeStijl, which goes:

Q: “Why do Baptists refrain from performing the act of intercourse standing up?”
A: “Why, a Peeping Tom might catch sight of them, and assume they were dancing!”

Definitely not on the Fishpies label, but on the 267 lattajjaa label, but by Loachfillet is another 3” CDR entitled “In Random Selekt, Volume II 2001-2006”, which seems to imply it is a sort of “best of”, and it sounds like it. The sounds of robotic sirens from the covers of Heavy Metal magazine from an alternate universe (or non-nerd culture perhaps), where sexy robots would have different aspects than “giant metal boobs” and “servitude”. Of course, this would just mean “more like real women”, which would just mean “sexy robots are unnecessary”…which would mean, I guess, that my sexual robot fantasies are my reality, if I consider myself to also be a robot, only one made of flesh and bone and spirit and soul. What an amazing future, it is!

Yeesh, I keep grabbing from my pile to try and grab an album I know is on the Fish Pies label, and I keep failing! My latest grab was The Beast live at No Fun Fest CDR, but the boombox I am listening to things on would not accept the spraypainted top of the CD. Well, it was a good set, and you can also hear it on the DVDR of the set on AA Records. Speaking of them, I was given one of their lathe cuts…but they forgot to lathe it! I actually noticed this, and asked for it to review, and they said ya! Thanks Etan and Alivia!!! Since all their releases LOOK very good though, I will be hanging this on my wall (and I have, since I wrote this! –RQ)…it’s by Christina Kubisch and the cover is some b/w photo of her wrapping some yarn around a tree from a huge spool, or something…it looks super cool though, and seems to have some ceremonial aura about it…way to go Aryan Asshole Records! They also have a zine out, which is untitled…the cover is a woman’s feet, tied up. It is actually a very cool looking image, even if, like me, you just think girls feet look good and all, but you like their eyes and everything else just as much…the playable lathe cut on the cover is some sort of Detroit garage rock shit! It’s not that bad, but it’s not sounding like Demons or anything either…who is it? Who knows…I like to imagine it is Nate and Alivia, but I will ask them next time I see ‘em if they made the song…and will pass it on to you, dear reader! AA has another offering in magazine form, only since this is actually bound, I think it qualifies more as an art book…it is by Nate Young, and entitled "Drawings 2004-2006”, and it is pretty “f’n” sweet. Cover: the back of a hot woman with a fulsome ass embracing w/ one arm a horned yeti with several eyes, next page dying angels and birds part of the top of a skull with teeth in the one visible eye socket next page a “chooping block”, after the fact, with hatchet and flies and lies, next page, the landscape of infinity on one plot of land, with all the dead skeletons some of children crying, but a cabin on top, that’s America, next page, simple fuzz, mold style. You can create your own meaning (but of course you can do that with everything), next page dark palms, the horizontal page is later on in the evening and the yeti is grinding on the side of the naked woman’s leg, next page, crucified cedar witch above the fur and moss, opposite page from that a medieval death tableau. A couple simple lines above represent the passage to the next realm. Next page, a smudge under a mountain, probably representing the Tungaska Event. Opposite side, a chemical marriage between the foetus and the aether. Last page…a sexual tribute to the wilderness in Northern Militiagan. You will have that from time to time.

Hoss Records has a split LP out by I think the singer of 90 Day Men’s solo jam Lichens, and then on the other side is my #1 soul sister in the universe Lexie Mountain. The Lichens side is playing well on me right now, it reminds me a lot of the things I was enjoying that were coming out on the Thrill Jockey label from Chicago back in 99 or so…I kind of got tired of that style for a while, but now lately, with time collapsing on it self a lot (which is not to say it wasn’t already), it sounds even better…it actually sounds a lot like he’s been jamming out on some Lexie influence. Speaking of which…Lexie’s side, entitled “If you so choose” is miles beyond…how to describe this yodeling yoni? Heavy reality mixed with the spaciousness of the infinite, all on a tarot card which Pamela Colman Smith wishes she were alive today to create? (My guess is it would be #2, The High Priestess card, but interested readers are encouraged to write in w/ alternate responses.) “Yo this is is K Swiss, and I am going to tell you how you can buy some weed and buy some sweaters/I know you all wanna know how I lost the weight, cause my name is K Swiss!” she says at one point…but though she is not the famous Baltimore Club DJ, she is just as good, and is merely paying tribute to a national treasure.

Lexie’s also got a CDR out on the Afternoon Penis label [c'mon Reggie, it's Our Mouth Records!! - ed.] entitled Bloodshed in the Course of Things…definitely a sentiment I can appreciate…the other night I was a little loaded after a show, and I hadn’t put in the ladder on my loft bed in my room yet, and it was just an aluminum step ladder I was using, I thought I knew where the ladder was, but didn’t and fell HARD, and bled all over my floor. Funnily enough because of that, my back was fucked the next day, so I spent more time on the internet than I do usually, and I found a job on craigslists, and one week later at my job I found a perfect sized ladder to attach to my loft bed in the dumpster at my work! (Which is shared with a Dunkin Donuts, I am pretty sure it was from them.) Anyways, this album is some pretty crazed art shit, lots of repetition of phrases, mostly vocals, possibly all, with backgrounds being other tapes. Fuck Yoko Ono, Lexie is now my new favorite Beatle.

“999999996666666666666666666666666-“…I just walked back into the room after a smoke, and that was T. Hill cat Shrimpy’s review of the Men’s Recovery Project, “Bullets Over Basra”…I should prolly listen to this myself, since Ben Mcosker of Load Records gave this to me 2 No Fun Fests ago…and hey, they actually were a good band! I’d always classified em in the “90s hardcore scene”, which usually = horrible, but they got a “more political Buttholes” going on. Which I guess was said about the Sun City Girls back in the day…and they certainly aren’t as good as the SCG. Still good though. But even with the cool definite Tubeway Army influence, I bet these guys still think that voting is a legit way to influence our mass culture. CHUMPS.

Leslie Keffer…probably the best noise jammer around these days…she’s got a remix album out even (just like Madonna), this one is a remix of one song (or probably the whole album, but he only got past the one song) by Rodger Stella. Possibly, the label name is “Mutter Wild”, and since I bought this off of Rodger, who was once a co-owner of Mother Savage label, that would make sense…anyways, it seems a lot like Rodger playing w/ Leslie, in that he is off on his own pill zen journey, and Leslie is doing her thing, but he has tripped over an important wire and he is only allowing the most important parts to go through. Leslie also has a split LP out with a band called Robedoor, who I don’t think I have ever met, they are probably from the West Coast or something. Is this label called Lost Treasures of the Underworld? It might be, anyways, it’s #2 of that series/label/whatever. Anyways from what I can tell Grimdoor, I mean Robedoor’s side is atmospheric guitar pedal jamming. Yeah, like we need more of that shit in 2007…NEXT SIDE! (Actually I would probably be amazed by them playing this live, and maybe even if I wasn’t kind of tired and cranky right now!) Leslie’s side is way more raw, and atmospheric if you are Phillip K. Dick in 1963 looking in the sky while in a field at yr house in the country, and you see a hideous mechanical/organic being looking down at you with malice. Only sexier. And she’s also got an even newer LP out on Ecstatic Peace, entitled Feels Like Frenching, and (sic) excellent title...real cool packaging too, the cover is by Adriane Schram, and looks like a cross between Leslie’s drawings, and Andy Bolus’s drawings. Oh yeah, a little Lexie Mountain in there too, though maybe Lexie and Bolus just have the same influences as this Schram character. The insert is a photocopy, but what with the “Geffen millions” (ha!) they are able to provide, get this, COLOR photocopy on one side, a cool picture of Leslie at No Fun Fest 06, which I missed cause I was checking Lambsbread downstairs at the time, and on the other side is Leslie apparently making out with a piece of her equipment, only her body is Xeroxed/collaged to be a fucked up mangled mess…the music on here is pretty fucking sick, I don’t know if it’s like frenching Leslie, but it’s at least similar to being passed out on a couch, and having her end up passing out on top of your head. Sort of weird and maybe hard to breathe, but you are friends, and even if you weren’t you are too tired to care.

Gowns is a duo that has been traveling the land lately, bringing their songs made of noises to ears and feet, and the sounds are made of Erika Anderson and Ezra Buchla, whose father apparently invented a famous synthesizer or two, and for some reason everyone always brings this up. I guess it is sort of interesting, but he makes electronic instruments of his own, must he live under his father’s shadow forever? Cardboard Records put out their sort of annoyingly titled album Red State. I totally hate that red state/blue state bullshit. It’s not like everyone in those states voted for one party or the other. And Ohio still counts as a red state even though they were nearly 50/50? Horsefeathers! The first track is a poem over an organy with the poem spoken in a sincere whispery talking, sort of like that Miranda July does in her art. It is the sort of thing that I would find very annoying 4 years ago, back when I still felt I had to give a shit about being macho, but now I think it’s fine. My favorite song on here is called “White Like Heaven”, which is about mystical experiences you can have from drugs, or just from out of nowhere, and it sounds a lot like one too, or at least would be a good soundtrack for a video where you were trying to convey what things like that are like.

Hair Police…one of the best bands around! And they managed to stay such diasporatic moves to different cities! (Or at least the Con Man, who moved to A2 to take up a “totally nonsexual relationship with John Olson.”) Their album Prescribed Burning on the Hospital label is pretty “f’n” sick! Basically sounding like circa 73 boots of Tangerine Dream if the band drank Steel Reserve Malt Liquor, and maybe a little crack too. Fortunately the Hair Cops don’t need to get on any sort of death race like that, they just make fucked in the head music, while being ridiculously over the top nice reasonable people. OR ARE THEY? Maybe listening to their 7” on the Troubleman label, entitled “Strict” will change your mind about their aspects which would allow you to watch after your children. The cover is pretty “f’d up”, it is like a hot Patty Waters type’s head and hair, but then the cut faces of a baby and an older woman…in some sort of collage! Everyone knows collages are the domain of those satanic postmodern dada artists, who deny the virgin birth of our lord jesus Christ! And the unholy echo effects that Trevor makes use of, implying some sort of Eternal Now! Disgusting!

“Usaisamonster”…”Aren’t they some sort of anti United States band?" That is what you’ll hear a lot on your Cingular Verzon tele-vision, Fox-Nyt-Cnn telephonodigivision sets right? Well let me blow your mind, CHUMPS….there were some people living in the USA before us Americans…and they were called…THE ENGLISH. And they created a band called the Incredible String Band who would never have existed without a magical idea called empiricism! And this picture disc by Usaisamonster totally sounds like ICB! Did I just blow your mind? No? Good. Because there are alternate views of history you can view, very easily, which are not even illegal yet! And I would personally recommend viewing this alternate view first though the lens that USAIAM provide, over the more academic views of people like Ward Churchill (he is still cool though). Poetry is the true Buddha! Ha!

How about those early years of Usaisamonster? Early out of print 7”s you can never experience, probably? Actually, now that I think about it, they probably are still affordable, but still, who wants to shell out more than $20 for a 7”? Apparently they were yelling about “let’s fuckin’ party” back in 2000 or so though, according to this cassette on the label…you have to admit that that is a bit forward thiniking…AWK was still in his early mode of that stuff at that point…homeboys might have still been living in Militiagan back then and created his whole “POV”. Standard history may not agree with this sort of “high altitude mapping”, but let’s follow it, further, into what is probably truth. “Ooosaeesamonster” did not turn into a band who can be all “shit, we gotta pay the rent (for their HUGE place in NEW YORK CITY)" by CHANCE! They did it by lots of HARD WORK, but also not taking themselves too seriously! Seriously, the end of side A of this early shit by them is fucking DUMB! But AWESOME too! Like early Lightning Bolt dumb! “C’mon, do it!” they yell, before an amazing folk pop ballad….”if I have another shot of whiskey/I think I’ll grow too fat”/”and I’ll walk down to the river/just to see who’s standing there”….who amongst us hasn’t done that? And who amongst us hasn’t performed a Sebadoh III influenced song like that “back in the day”? Answer: No one whom we shall not eternally love!

To Live and Shave in LA have had a release schedule lately that would put people like Luke or Master P to shame…however the biggest of the releases is probably still the long awaited Noon and Eternity album on Menlo Park…it finds the band in a somewhat more minimal mode than most other albums, but with maximum results. The beginning of the first song sounds like the middle part of one of mid-period Pink Floyd’s longer jams (especially the bootlegs), and then goes into a territory I tend to assosciate with Excepter. Then it goes farther out, and becomes it’s own thing…creepy sad tendrils wrap…tearful outrage over the current idiotic war becomes manifest. The last section actually reminds me of the bringdown vibes of The Wall a bit, even. No idiotic comparisons of “you know, going on tour is a lot like being in the trenches of WWI” here though…Tom Smith’s kid is fighting over in that mess right now. I can’t imagine what that is like, and neither can my dad, who several years back, before the war become consensus unpopular, once told me “I can’t imagine sending any of my kids over to war.” Last time I saw TLASILA play, Tom let off a torrent about harsh noise dudes. I paraphrase: “these guys talk about their shit being harsh…a kid who my son was riding with in a humvee got his hand blown apart by an IUV…running a synth through some distortion pedals ain’t harsh!” At first I was kind of “whatever, it’s just music, no one really thinks it’s that harsh”…but then I remembered an issue of a harsh noise scene zine I picked up at the last No Fun Fest, and these people really DO think their shit is that hard. Every interview was like “what do you want your music to do to people?”, and they were like “we want to shred and rape them physically and mentally until they are too broken to continue life”, and shit like that…then a few questions later they are talking about their favorite serial killers and porn actresses. All I have to say to them is “C’mon guys…” Anyways, this album is a real solid jammer, up there with the best of the krautrock space cadets, like, I dunno, Zweistein, as well as…some other genre I was going to bring up but am too spaced out by the music (as well as the “dojha’) to remember right now. TLASILA was always a kind of “party clearer” band to most people, but for real, you can play this to your friend who thinks like Spiritualized is the best band ever, and maybe they jam out on some Animal Collective when they are feeling real freaky (which is totally fine of course, I think that band is at the top of their game right now…not Spiritualized though, they stink!), and I think they would be totally down with this album…especially when you mention that it features members of Wylde Ratzts, Gumball, Pterodactyls, and Cocaine! (That is the funniest band name I could think that Mark Morgan was in…or was he? Maybe it was just Richard and John w/Mouthus?) Fuck, this album is so good…

Well this column is turning out a bit long, and I have way more stuff to review! I guess I will finish this up with some things I’ve been sitting on for a while. First is a CDR by this band Aghost, which is an artist dude named Walter who I met at a backyard potluck show. It is maybe called Scary Shit or maybe AAAAA. The first track sounds sort of like good fusion style (no fast guitar lines though), like Bitches Brew influenced, but fucked with/possibly all made on a computer. Then it goes off into smooth techno territory, I don’t know what the genre is or anything, but it’s pretty mellow and pretty and relaxing. Oh wait, it’s a few songs later, and this song is a banger! I was just going that I could see myself listening to this and getting bored at times, but that one rocked! The next song is more bangin’ too. Still, I guess I might skip over those other tracks when I listen again. Hopefully he will put out a record of his prepared guitar playing sometime, that’s what he played the first time I saw him play, and it’s amazing.

Sejayno is fast approaching Pengo as the most underrated experimental band going right now…they haven’t had that many releases out, but that’s quickly changing. Sedainty is an LP co released between Shinkoyo, Heresee, Skulls of Heaven, and BOC Sound Laboratories (who I’ve never heard of, they better be Blue Oyster Cult fans though!) The band is made up of my fellow West Side Baltimorons Peter B and Carson, and then also this guy Sevy who is in California now or something. They met at Oberlin College, and all have some impressive chops. This record is pretty stoned improv jams all the way through, and there’s non vocal vocals, as well as plenty of electronics that Peter has invented. They are pretty much living in Pythagoras’s cave, if Pythagoras wasn’t “basically a cult leader”, like this book on Numerology published by the Mathematics Association of America claimed. The author’s proof consisted of the fact that Pythagoras was mystical, and mathematicians aren’t mystical, cult leaders are! Sound scientific evidence, if you ignore the fact that lots of science went into everything these guys do, and they’re mystical as all fuck. More evidence of their esoteric leanings can be found on their album Laity on the Megaphone Records label, which is the label of that Jason Willet guy’s label! Is Jason famous elsewhere? He’s in Half Japanese, and he’s a real Baltimore treasure, one of the nicest guys ever, always there with a hug whenever you see him. Anyways, this CD is part live on the radio (on Professor Cantalope’s show), part live in Birmingham, Alabama (which has a crazy iron hill which attracts radio waves that you can sense if you are “tuned in” as it were, and there’s also a statue of Vulcan at the top!), and then a song recorded at the “Baltimore salon” which I believe is Peter’s basement. There’s some real top notch trombone playing on here, and oh yeah, some cool apocalyptic poetry by Sevy…who is using an English accent! A few times back when I saw them play, Jenny Graf Bibulah from Metalux had to restrain herself from laughing at some of Sevy’s poetry, which was a bit silly, there were a lot of fantasy elements that night. That’s kind of part of the band’s aesthetic though, transcendence through silliness. It helps if you are stoned though. Oh yeah, there is a nice neighborhood moment on here where Peter starts riffing on the phrase “shordy” (as it’s spelled in the liquor stores, to describe a miniature bottle of liquor) or “shorty”, as I believe it’s spelled by the white man. It’s an all purpose word, like “dude”, or “gnarly”, but probably has even more meanings. It can mean a child, a girlfriend, a miniature bottle of E&J, or, as Peter is referencing here, the cops (the lookouts for the drug dealers yell “SHOOORTAAAY!” when the cops are rolling).



by D and D

(October 2007)
D: I have no idea who it is, but I'm digging it.
D: It's Magik Markers.
D: No shit! Wow, I've already been thinking about this goddamn band all day, because their new album Boss is just.... it's invading my soul. And I want it there. I want it to invade my soul, and make it safe for democracy.
D: Boss is pretty incredible.
D: And get this, they're playing in Chicago.....RIGHT NOW. As we speak. 30 blocks south of here at Schuba's. Somehow I didn't even really hear about it until yesterday. No way I could get a babysitter. But anyway, this song is about as good as Boss, in a different way. What album is this?
D: For Sada Jane.
D: Yeah. Is it just me or is there like some kind of salsa music playing underneath this whole album, like it was taped over a different album and there was a lot of bleed-through? See, you can hear it right there.
D: Yeah, I do hear it. I've never heard this album before. I'd say it's intentional. Boss has stuff like this.
D: Yeah, it kinda does. Weird layers. Reminds me of Royal Trux.
D: Or Charles Ives.
D: Yeah! It's definitely American music. Speaking of which....Bob.
D: We don't need to listen to this.
D: No, we don't. We're not gonna say anything new about it, that's for sure. You know, I honestly don't know the name of this song. It's the one that goes "Honey, why are you so hard?" From Blonde on Blonde.
D: It's "Temporary Like Achilles."
D: Of course. Who calls a song that?
D: He says the name Achilles in the song.
D: Yeah.... it all goes by like a dream. Like right there! That line he just sung, "I'm helpless like a rich man's child." We listened to this just a couple days ago at work, and that was the first time I ever noticed that line! Which is another one of those lines that suddenly sums up so much, you know, like Phil is just starting preschool, and he's meeting these rich kids, and you know, they're good fun kids, but they're just so indulged, and they'll probably all grow up basically refusing to work, just sitting around like playing video games on their cell phones or whatever, and no one will get mad at them for it because there's no actual need for them to work because they're rich and they live in this abundance society, and even I am raising my son to be helpless, because I'd much rather just put his underwear on for him in 5 seconds than wait 5 minutes for him to put it on incorrectly, you know?
D: Hello, tangent....
D: Well, you see, that's what Bob Dylan does, he inspires reveries on the human condition, even with just a simple aside, a mere suggestion at the end of the line...
D: Dude, you sound like Owen Wilson right now. I mean not what you're saying, but physically.
D: Holy shit, I did sound like him! That was weird.
I don't sound like him now, do I?
D: No, you're back to normal.
D: Oh, this is John Bender. I love this guy's vocals. He hits the echo on the last syllable of his lines really well, as good as Alan Vega. What's he saying, something about outer space? "Long distance runner of the human race," is that what he said?
D: (shrugs)
D: Total sci-fi electronic pop. Play this for people who like Kraftwerk.
D: It's a little more lugubrious. Maybe more stoned.
D: Yeah, that's what makes it creepy. Kraftwerk was cold, but they were never really creepy. That's why you can hear a sonic connection between John Bender and Wolf Eyes, but not Kraftwerk and Wolf Eyes. This part is especially nice. Which album is this?
D: I Don't Remember Now.
D: Oh yeah. I've just started listening to these. The John Bender trilogy, if you will... this one, Plaster Falling and Pop Surgery. You know this is the guy that John Olson was talking about in that Bananafish interview, right? Where they were listening to the album and found his number and that strange woman answered....
D: "How many men do you need in your life??!"
D: Yeah, exactly! When I read that interview years ago, for some reason I pictured the music as like loner folk music, like self-released weird shit with acoustic guitar and everything. But there's no guitar on here whatsoever...... okay, next song. No idea what this commune jam is. It's funny, people who don't like New Weird America would totally point to this as an example why they don't like it. "Long-winded hippie jams."
D: It's Tower Recordings, from Folkscene.
D: Ha ha! Okay.... but see, there, they just cut it completely, after only a minute or two.
D: Short-winded hippie jams.
D: Yeah! That's what the whole Folkscene album is like, nothing ever adds up, everything cuts out way early. I actually wrote a thing about it for Blastitude a few years ago, how it has the same narrative arc as a lot of William Burroughs books, where it starts out strong and genre-allegiant for the first few chapters, or in this case songs, but then rather quickly starts to dissipate into just total subconscious, no language or narrative from the conscious mind, in this case like improvs and sound pieces, lots of edits and collages. When I wrote the review I was pretty impressed but now I find it kinda unlistenable. See, this song is already over, nothing lasts for more than a couple minutes. Oh shit, this is something from Killed by Finnish Hardcore. Great album. Who is this?
D: This is "Sotaa" by Varaus.
D: I love it when you can pick out the song title. It's kind of like American hardcore that way, where all the vocals are a blur, but you read the title on the record sleeve and those are the words you pick out, so the meaning of the song is filled out sonically, more so than... textually.
D: Right on.
D: This is probably Sir Richard Bishop.
D: That is correct.
D: Is this the new one on Drag City?
D: No, this is All Strung Out.
D: Oh yeah! That's a great album. And it was released in what, an edition of 40?
D: Yeah, if that.
D: I like this one better than Improvika. I really like it when he changes approaches. Like Improvika was all just acoustic improvised arabesques for 50 minutes, but on this album, and Salvador Kali, and While My Guitar Violently Bleeds, which is also excellent, he really gets into a lot of different electric guitar sonorities, like with drones, and feedback, and whatever.
D: Have you heard the Drag City album?
D: Not yet. I think it's on here though.
D: It's really good. It's got that kind of variety you're talking about. It's got arrangements, overdubs, electric, acoustic.... It's got a piano piece, like on Salvador Kali.
D: Awesome. I'm glad he's on Drag City, that was a good call by them. This is Swell Maps, isn't it? "Rundown." Great song.
D: "Rundown Tube," to be exact. This is Train Out Of It.
D: This is the only Swell Maps thing I have. A cut-out cassette I bought for a dollar at the Antiquarium in Omaha. "Stop the train!" There's a lotta different ways to play krautrock. Like Circle, for example.......this has gotta be Sun Ra. I know this one, it's "On Jupiter." From the album of the same name. Oh shit, is there synth doubling the horn melody in there?
D: There is some sort of wah-wah super-chorused electric guitar doubling it.
D: Yeah, I hear that, but I could swear there's some synth in there too.
D: This is 1979 -- he was playing a lot of synth around then, right?
D: I think so. But obviously he's playing acoustic piano here. Yeah, I think it was just that chorused guitar. Which is awesome. June Tyson is killing it on this song too.........okay, this has gotta be the new Mammal. [Lonesome Drifter, track is "Cyclops"] That high-end feedback thing he's doing there... I mean, I know we're not supposed to use the word "gnarly" anymore, but....
D: How about brutal?
D: Yeah, I think we can still use brutal, for like another month or two. But this track is like... there's something so still and calm and hollow about it.... it's like.... electro-acoustic. It's such a solo track, and as brutal as it is, the sounds are still small and, like, naked. I mean, this is a solo bass track, and you can tell it's a solo bass track.
D: The isolation thing ain't no shtick.
D: Totally amazing album..................... This is Brainbombs. I was gonna guess Brainbombs but thought I'd wait for the vocals to be sure. This is one of the live cuts on the Singles Vol. 2 disc. From like 1993.
D: The early days.
D: I have no idea. The vocals work better in the studio.
D: Oh definitely.
D: This is still good. The band sounds great. The faster live songs are better, the singer goes apeshit and basically just screams like a hardcore singer, which is better than this slower song, which is kinda blustery. The words are too obvious, it's better when you can just pick up brief little phrases here and there. Like you listen to it here and there for months and a year goes by and all of a sudden you're listening to it and you're like, "Wow, I could swear that he just said 'I need speed so I can fuck black trash in the ass,' wow, I hadn't noticed!" (next song starts) Oh sorry, I looked. I cheated. I saw that unmistakable cover art floating by.
D: No Age. Weirdo Rippers.
D: Yes. So far with this band, I still have to look and see who it is every single time.
D: There's something weirdly nondescript about their sound.
D: Yeah, and I think they kinda work it to their advantage, they hide behind it and get away with playing these incredibly anthemic songs. You know, like, embarrasingly anthemic. Emo-anthemic. Emoanthemic.
D: E-"moanwave"-themic.
D: Gesundheit. I don't know, but then there's like almost a British thing going on too, from left field, you know like Guided By Voices but a little milder, and much more emo.... and from California definitely, not the Midwest...
D: I'm starting to it.
D: I know what you mean. It's interesting. I do like how it's all kind of... humid and hazy. It's like a dream commercial for Gatorade. Like ghosts surfboarding in a Mountain Dew commercial... I'm gonna have to listen to it some more. But only someone from California could get away with naming their album Weirdo Rippers. And I'm not quite sure these guys have gotten away with it.
D: I think they have.
D: Maybe. (next song has started) Dude, I have NO idea who this one is.
D: Do you like it?
D: Yeah, it's pretty good. It's fuckin' excellent, really. Who the hell is it?
D: Guess.
D: Mouthus.
D: No.
D: That was a joke, I know this isn't Mouthus. I don't know, fucking.... Phillip Werren?
D: Ha, well, that's at least ballpark. This is the Seastones album.
D: Oh fuck. I always said this was some impressive shit, like any connoisseur of hardcore electronic music or today's noise music should appreciate it. [Twenty minutes later.] Yeah, I think you should just jump to the next one, this is great but now's not really the time for a 55-minute track, ya know? Here, I'll hit next without looking.... [new song comes on], I really have no idea, but surely this ["School Jerks" by Vains] is from a Killed by Death?
D: Yeah, Killed by Death #9.
D: Some of this Killed by Death stuff is just okay. I downloaded four volumes, just at random, I didn't even get the first one, and there's some great awesome songs and a lot of so-so songs, and I really don't know anything about any of it. I think the Finnish one is the best of the four.
D: Which ones did you get?
D: I have no idea. You'd have to look it up. Here, give me that thing. [looks it up] Let's see, #0, #9, 7, and Finnish Hardcore.
D: Means nothing to me.
D: Me neither. Tapeworm is on one of these, and uh, they were actually on the cover of Blastitude once. Good thing I've finally heard 'em.
D: Well yeah, all your covers are just whatever Rettman writes about.
D: How could they not be? No, I mean, there's some definite classics on these, like "UFO Dictator" by Tampax, I mean that song is just... I mean that's it. This whole Killed by Death reissue program coulda just been that one song. I mean the name of the band is fucking Tampax. But there's uh... the "Cola Freaks" song is on one of these... actually, one of my favorite songs on these, "Police State" by the Crap Detectors.
D: Nebraska!
D: Yes indeed. "Police state!!! It's your.... fate!" Speaking of which, here's These Are Powers ["Silver Lung"]. Pat's from Nebraska. He's lived in New York for ten years now, but before that.... I really like 'em, but they're my buddies so my opinion doesn't count. I recuse myself from the trial. But I do think it's the best thing Pat's done so far, including the Liars. I think Anna is awesome. She's a great singer and a great performer. Not to compare them to the Liars. Actually, do you know what it would be like if we did compare them to the Liars?
D: No, what, in fact, would it be like?
D: It would be like comparing apples and - now I don't if you're gonna get this analogy right away, but.... apples and oranges.
D: Or maybe comparing green apples with honey crisp apples.
D: Oh my god, you do get it. Holy shit. No, but I have not heard a single thing by the Liars since the witch album. The first one after Pat and Ron left. I thought that album was good. Oh, this is.... Val & Oli.
D: Good, I'm glad you knew that, because the iPod just says "Track 12," by "Unknown Artist," from "Unknown Album."
D: Huh, I just ripped the CD, I guess I forgot to write in the track names the right way or something. I think it's called "Gift," and the album is.... some pun joke title.... Shocking Pink?
D: That's not a pun.
D: I know. Oh wait.... Raw Powder! That's it! Raw Powder.
D: Okay, I think that's a pun.
D: Yeah, that's a pun. It's on Blossoming Noise.
D: Great label.
D: Yeah, a lot of good stuff on there. The Daniel Menche album he just put out is really good. The G*Park CD is wonderful. And they all look great. Nice digipaks. I wonder how long he'll go at this pace.
D: We'll see.
D: Not that this Val & Oli is one of the great ones.... it's good, but pretty uncharacteristic.... I mean it's basically a rock CD.
D: Yeah, but it's good. Kind of a bedroom Syd Barrett T. Rex thing. Really weird.
D: Yeah.... that's a woman singing. Her name is Val. Val Denham, I think.
D: (listens) I actually can't picture this being a woman. That's really weird.
D: I wish I could show you the pictures on the CD, she's definitely a woman. Although you can't be too sure, as we move into this new pansexual era. Blossoming Noise also just put out a Genesis P-Orridge album, after all. [listens to next song for awhile] Okay, I was gonna guess Ceramic Hobs already, but hearing that, some British voiceover talking about "80s punk" seals the deal. No idea what album this is.... either Psychiatric Underground or Straight Outta Rampton.
D: It's Rampton. Those two together are the real Sandinista.
D: Wow. I'll have to think about that one. Okay, Dylan again. From the Tree With Roots bootleg, absolutely indispensible for anyone who cares about American music.
D: Music snob.
D: It's true though. But maybe we should... I don't know, can we figure out a way to shuffle out the Bob Dylan on here? To keep all his songs out of the shuffle?
D: I'm sure there is, but how the hell are you gonna figure it out with fucking iTunes? I mean you're not gonna figure it out from the manual....
D: No shit, so it isn't just me, that program is kinda clunky, right?
D: Yeah, I think so.
D: I mean, it's fucking amazing what it CAN do, so I'm not complaining too much. Oh, this is uh, "Cold Rain," by MV & EE, and probably the Bummer Road, or the Golden Oblivion, or the Electric Mayhem, or whatever the heck they're callin' themselves these days. But anyway, the album is Deep Space Nine.
D: Don't know it.
D: There's a lot of MV & EE to keep track of. You're not gonna know 'em all. It's a CDR only release, I think it was a two-disc set of various performances, all from their 2006 tour. There's only like, 8 or 9 tracks on the whole double disc. Long live tracks. Some of it is really good, and some of it is just kinda long. I think this is the best track on here.
D: This is a great song. I think the, uh, 'studio' version of this was on Mother of Thousands.
D: Yeah, I knew I had another version of it, that's probably it. It's not like he plays too many songs, like with singing, on these CDRs, ever. His 'song' to 'extended free-form guitar exploration' ratio is pretty crazy, like if you did it by the minute it would probably be, I don't know, 1 to 27.
D: For every one minute of song they play 27 minutes of guitar extrapolation?
D: Exactly.
D: This is a good song.
D: It is, this is really nice. I was gonna say I actually saw them here in Chicago on this tour. At South Union Arts, have you ever been there?
D: Once. It's a cool place, but I don't know, it seems like it's hard to have a good show there.
D: Yeah, the whole playing in church thing just seemed kind of awkward. Are they still having shows there?
D: I don't think they are, actually.
D: Ronnie's is the new spot I guess. I haven't seen a show there, but before they were doing shows there, I lived just down the street from it for 2 years. I'm talkin' like a half-block away, if I leaned out my bedroom window it would be right there. I mean it was always just a mellow neighborhood Latino dive bar. Anyway, the MV show at South Union Arts was kinda awkward, mainly I guess because there were only 10 people there total. Chris Miller said from the stage -- he played a solo set, and before he started he said, "I think I know each and every one of you," and it was literally true. It was a weird show but they did play good, some of it was fairly amazing. It was nice to be able to sit in a chair. Hey hey, Sun City Girls. This is the Caroliner cover, from that split 7-inch with the Thinking Fellers... can't think of what the song is called.
D: "Wheat Delusion."
D: That's right. How could I forget. I like this one. Probably doesn't sound anything like the original.
D: I'm pretty sure I will never find out.
D: What the original sounds like?
D: Yeah.
D: Yeah, I would rather hear Sun City Girls do Caroliner than Caroliner do Caroliner.
D: I can only take so much Caroliner....
D: Yeah and whenever you play one of their records at home you get shit all over your couch.
D: Yeah, I mean they are an amazing band, but sometimes I don't want amazing, at least not for very long, especially when it's full-on amazing and what you see is what you're gonna get, it's all right there and there it stays.
D: Yeah, I don't remember there being a whole lot of nuance... whatever. Haven't listened to 'em in quite a while, I got tired of vacuuming the floor every time I was done..... Okay, who the hell are these punk rockers? It's obviously not Killed by Death. It's too well mastered.
D: This is Fucked Up, you dumbshit!
D: Oh yeah, does everybody know Fucked Up?
D: You should probably be able to recognize the singer right away.
D: I've really only heard 'em once or twice. Yeah, I do remember this singer. But he wasn't singing at first. Is this like the B-side to the Year of the Pig 12-inch?
D: Bingo. "The Black Hats."
D: I think this is the only full song I've heard by 'em. It's good.
D: Yeah.
D: The singer is fucking killing it. That was pretty awesome at the end.
D: I think he might've lost it with the rhinoceros mention. That was like one too far.
D: Ha ha, maybe.
D: At first I thought the singer was awesome but I think it's starting to get old. No variability, or something.

D: I know what you mean, it's the same with good-looking people. Some are good-looking in a way that can only decrease as you get to know them better - you start to notice the blemishes and the quirks and the struggle to cover it all up - and some are good-looking in a way that only gets better, you can only discover more....
D: True, but that might be a little much if you're describing the singer of Fucked Up...
D: Wow, it's the new Sightings again. "Cloven Hoof" is the name of the song.
D: This is a straight-up noise piece. Like subdued noise, not that insane super-distorted stuff they were doing a few years ago.
D: Absolutes.
D: Yeah, that was the one I was thinking of. But this track -- it's noise, but it keeps the needle out of the red. It's got all these weird characteristics, like the acoustic drums, and the occasional little bristles of post-punk guitar... this is like Keith Levene jammin' at No Fun Fest, special collaboration with, I don't know, Slogun or something.
D: Slogun?
D: I have no idea what I'm talking about, I've never heard Slogun. Here, go to the No Fun Fest website and I'll pick someone. [at site] Okay... Putrefier. Maybe. Go to the 2007 archive.... wow, that Maya Miller stuff is amazing, that flier...
D: Totally. I don't think I ever saw that.
D: Not out here in the sticks. Anyway, where's the lineup? Oh there.... okay, how about a Keith Levene & Pain Jerk collaboration? Or Grunt... Keith Levene & Grunt.
D: Actually, that was the name of his band before PiL. Back in the early 1970s, they were more of a pub rock kinda thing, before he got real experimental. Keith Levene & Grunt.
D: Nice. I'm just picking the ones I've never heard before. How about Keith Levene & Sickness? Actually, there's one I haven't heard that I want to hear, Deathroes. They sent an LP awhile back, I need to break that out. Too bad Angelina's coming home in 20 minutes. Deathroes would not fly.
D: No. But yeah, this Sightings album is getting better all the time.
D: I knew it would. You know, I was just thinking of that Sonic Youth track coming up a couple days ago, when we weren't recording ourselves talking about it...
D: Yeah, "Satan is Boring."
D: Yeah, see, "Satan is Boring" and "Cloven Hoof"... both New York City noise-rock songs about Satan.... and I actually think this one is better.
D: I like "Satan is Boring." It's a different thing than this. I mean it's basically a spoken word piece. It's like anything on the so-called 'beat poetry' album they did 15 years later, NYC Ghosts & Flowers.
D: Yeah, that's true. They were already doing it, way back then. But that song, that piece, "Satan is Boring," I find it just a little awkward. And I think Mark Morgan's vocals on this album can be awkward too, in much the same way, the same way a guy on the street in New York City can sound awkward even as he's being tough and self-determined.
D: Awkward in a punk way.
D: Yeah, it's a good thing. His vocals on this album are great, it's really a big jump forward for everyone in the band, I think. Oh fuck, not the Grateful Dead. Fucking "Weather Report Suite Prelude." This might be where we have to call it a night. But you know, this is gorgeous. So fucking beautiful. And it's so.... sluggish, which is when I like them the best. This is early-mid 1970s, prime sluggish era. This isn't the Grateful Dead Movie version, is it?
D: I don't know, is it?
D: Actually, it's not, I can actually tell by listening to the guitar. So this has gotta be the Missoula show, I'm pretty sure that's the only other Dead stuff I have on here so far.
D: Yep. 5/14/74.
D: This might be my favorite Dead show. Totally mystical sounding, ridiculously mellow show.

(November 2007)
My iPod has gotten insane. I've been putting like 10 albums on here every night. I'm 99 percent sure this is The Shoes, from just up the lake here. Zion, Illinois. It's about 50 miles from here, kinda almost past the suburbs.
Is this supposed to be great?
Yeah! It is considered a great private-press power pop album, maybe the first one? It's from 1975 or something. I kinda know what you mean, this song ["If You'd Stay"], I mean it might be one of the last songs on side one or something...
We really should be sitting down with the original vinyl and listening to it sequentially before we pass final judgement.
Exactly. This song does kind of have that, I don't know, that weird electronic sheen that a lot of the great underground sci-fi rock had back then.
Yeah, actually I hear that.
I don't think there's any electronics on here though. No Brian Eno in the band.
No Ping Romany.
No. It's just some weird blend in the reverberation of their cheap guitars.
A haunting echo.
But I was gonna say, I was once at this guy's house, at a party, and he put on a Shoes LP and it just sounded fantastic, like this feathery dream of a pop rock album. I don't think it was this one............. Ah yeah, finally got On The Beach on here. Ripped from a co-worker's copy.
He had the actual CD?
Yes he did.
I love this album.
I do too, of course, but when I finally heard it, I thought it was a little shy of Tonight's the Night. To me that was the ultimate downer album, but over the years, the more I listen to On the Beach, especially now on headphones, I'm starting to hear the difference, like Tonight's the Night may be a downer, but it's not a dirge album like On the Beach is. On the Beach has much fewer chord changes. It makes Tonight's the Night seem much more ornate, occasionally almost getting into, like, show-tune territory.
Oh man, I can kinda see that.
Yeah. On the Beach just has that implacable dirgey perseverance, you eventually just have to give up.......... Oh God, this is a great song. Pink Reason. "By A Thread." I love the production on this song so much. The tone of the vocals, the echo on the drum... damn. I think this 7-inch is better than his first one, and I love the first one.
It really is good.
Have you heard the full-length?
Not yet.
You have seriously got to hear it, it is one of the best of the year and maybe the decade. That's high praise, but it's seriously just six great songs, each one like six or seven minutes long, all with this same dirged-out atmosphere, much slower than this, or at least they seem to be. The story is that he was doing speed the whole time he was recording, and he was so speedy that he actually thought all the songs were, like, three-minute pop songs, with you know, like two or three choruses and out....
Maybe it's the same thing as tape speed, you know, where if you record something at a faster tape speed, it comes out slower when you play it back.
I gotta hear it.
What, like on this recorder? Our voices recorded at double speed?
No, the Pink Reason album.
Oh, yeah, you do........This is from Area C Haunt. An excellent new album of mellow kraut chamber jams.
Actually, I just heard Emeralds for the first time this week. Do you know that band?

Yes, from Ohio. I haven't heard them but I think I would like them.
You would. Trust me. They are fucking excellent. A great new band. I don't usually say this about a band this quickly. But it's not noise music at all. That's what you should know.
Anyway, this kind of reminds me of Emeralds. It's not as, like, awesome, but it's the same type of music. I like it.
Whoah, this is fucking fIREHOSE. I just put this album on here, If'n.
Wow, this just sounds ridiculous. Like Carribean boat party music.
Oh, I know. I think it's beautiful. I've got a major soft spot for this, and I'm just realizing it right now. I mean, I really love Flyin' the Flannel and Mr. Machinery Operator, I've actually had both those albums back out, I've been listening to 'em at work for about a year now. I've loved those albums both for over ten years, especially Mr. Machinery, which I think is very underrated. If'n was always, like, in the middle for me. It wasn't great, but it was better than the other middle album, which was....for 20 points....
I don't know.

This is good music, but don't tell me there's gonna be a fIREHOSE-is-better-than-Minutemen movement.
There already is!
I mean, because this is much more chilled out. And a lotta people do swing that way.
Hell yeah. Sea and Cake fans.
A band that is in fact fucking excellent.
Ha ha. Can't say I've ever disliked a single thing I've heard by 'em... though I haven't heard too much.

(December 2007)
D: Ah, yes, finally got some Thin Lizzy on here! I actually put about four of their mid-periods on here, all my faves, Jailbreak, Johnny the Fox, Fighting, Black Rose... I actually don't know this song, it's probably on Fighting. That's the one I know the least. Johnny the Fox and Black Rose I have completely memorized from the back to the front.
D: Yep, this is "For Those Who Love To Live" from Fighting.
D: The chorus sounds familiar. Damn, this is vintage Lizzy, soulful as hell.......Ha, this is Bobb Trimble. "One Mile From Heaven." Wow. Super chill. I didn't realize this instrumental intro was so long. Ah yeah, this guitar part.
D: And now the singing.
D: What a voice. I don't know, I still haven't really heard these albums all the way through, and the rip is really weak, I can never really hear these albums when I'm outdoors. The train's too loud or whatever. But I think they're awesome. Did Secretly Canadian put out vinyl of these?
D: I'm sure they did.
D: I'm gonna buy one, so I can really hear it. FINALLY! Remember buying albums?
D: It was so much fun.
D: [new song] Hey, here's one I bought, 10 years ago on used vinyl. Maybe 5 bucks. Does that count?
D: For the used industry it does.
D: Jesus and Mary Chain, of course. Actually, I think a girl just gave this album to me, because I actually still had a turntable and she hadn't had one for a few years. Anyway, this is the first time this has played, and I put this on here about two months ago. I'm finally catching up to the last 40 albums I've put on here. I think this album is awesome, I guess some would call it one of the greatest post-punk albums. Psychocandy. I definitely like this better on original vinyl. CD is way too sharp-sounding for this band. It is a great album.......... Dylan. So good.
D: This is the Basement Tapes?
D: Yes, the complete basement tapes, the Tree With Roots set. "The Mighty Quinn." Insane song, actually. I mean the lyrics are as incredible as ever. "I'm a whole lot like the rest/I like my sugar sweet/but guarding fumes and making haste/ain't my cup of meat." I don't know what that means actually.
D: Well he does get credit for coining the phrase "ain't my cup of meat."
D: "Quinn the Eskimo" man.... it's the most psychedelic song we've heard all night. Oh man, Can! I finally put just about every Can album on here. Man, I love Soon Over Babaluma. It's easily my sixth favorite Can album or whatever, but it's so good. This song. Probably the best song on here. He actually says "I don't smoke with the angels, oh no."
D: Michael Karoli. Playing violin and singing. This is fucking sick. Are you sure this is only your sixth favorite?
D: Yeah, I'm starting to wonder.....................Oh man, fuckin' Patti Smith. This is AWESOME, it's a live bootleg from like 1976.
D: Wow.
D: Seriously, it's really good. It's like some live radio performance, not a whole lot of people there, not an actual club date or anything. Very intimate.
D: Ha, she just said "You can't hype what's great." And now she's talking about Lester Bangs! "Lester loves us," hah. Ha ha! Did you hear that, she's saying "Oh, I don't know him personally, LENNY knows him..."
D: Ohmigod, they're gonna play... this song is so good. "Redondo Beach." This robot keyboard intro.
D: Fuuuck. So good! Look at us, we are straight-up GUSHING over this Patti Smith bootleg!
D: "Have ya gone gone." I seriously walk around singing that hook all the time. All over town. "Are you gone gone"................ Okay, this is NOISE.
D: Oh really? Thanks for the insight there, Dr. Music.
D: You know, it's a secret, and I hope you can keep this secret, but I don't listen to noise. I don't know shit about it. Every time one of these new noise tracks come up on the iPod, I just skip past it. I wouldn't be able to guess who this is in a million years. But, actually, now that I'm listening to it...... from the expert crazy edits, I would guess John Weise.
D: It is indeed John Weise.
D: Well there ya go.
D: Has it been a million years already?
D: Yes. Is this that L.A. Noisescape album?
D: Yes.
D: It's a compilation. It's a really good compilation, it's got everyone you could possibly think of from L.A., but like I said, when it comes on here I almost always skip the tracks. They're all perfectly mastered like three times louder than any other album, so when they come on shuffle it's just a total assault, almost impossible not to skip. You know, John Weise is awesome, though. The way I could tell it was him immediately, that really says something............... Ah, Sonic Youth, the first song on Bad Moon Rising.
D: Yeah, it's called "Intro."
D: Alright then. I'm pretty sure this has never come up on the iPod, and it's one of the first albums I put on here. So good. This takes me back to like 1994 when I bought the vinyl reissue of this, like a Blast First import. Oh, I guess the track is over.
D: It normally would've gone into "Brave Men Run."
D: Yes, the first real song on the album. I love that song. I love the prog suite feel. It reminds me of like early middle Rush, and that's a very good thing. I've actually been thinking about the guitar tone on Bad Moon Rising a lot, and on Evol, this really brittle and pale and jagged but not too loud guitar tone. It really defines one aspect of the mid-to-late 1980s for me. It's kind of a British tone.
D: Shoegaze.
D: Yeah, like early dirty shoegaze, before it had a chance to refine itself................... This I have no idea. This could be any of about 40 albums I've put on here. I mean, it sounds really good, but this could be Graham Lambkin.... or Juk Su Reat Meete..... or whatever. There's a lot of stuff on here I haven't heard.
D: It's Bhob Rainey.
D: Oh shit, from his 7-inch a couple years ago. Wow! It's fantastic, I've finally heard it at the right volume. Excellent use of rainstick................... This would probably be The Valerie Project. Pretty amazing album on Drag City, this supergroup, conducted by Greg Weeks of Espers, that did a new soundtrack to the movie Valerie And Her Week Of Wonders... it's this weird psychedelic Czech movie from.... 1973? Oh man, it's probably associated with some revolutionary period and I just totally mis-dated it...
D: Maybe you're thinking of the Velvet Revolution. Which was 1989.
D: I don't know any of the history but it's a weird-ass trippy movie, and the music they did for it here is like the most ambitious thing done all year.....[Fluxion "Bipolar Defect" comes on] This is fucking good. Man, all this shit is fucking so good. I love music. I love my iPod. Fuck it, I don't care if this becomes a commercial for Apple, I love this fucking iPod. I mean, I'm sure it will break down in two years, about half full with like 1100 albums, and people'll be like, "Oh, just wipe it and reload it" like that's so easy to do, but right now..... it's the best.
D: It's about time somebody did the Apple brand name right.
D: Yeah, don't let any British musicians around that brand name.
D: Yeah, California computer geeks only, please.
D: Actually, the fruit did pretty well with that brand name.
D: Apple? The fruit?
D: Yep. It did pretty well with that brand name for millennia. And then Monsanto bought 'em out.

(January 2008)
D: Alvarius B, Blood Operatives of the Barium Sunset. One of the best albums of 2006. This is a good song, it made me laugh out loud once.
D: Oh yeah? You lol'd?
D: Yes I did. it's these lines towards the end, I'll point 'em out when they come along. But yeah, this album is really something. I don't think people realize how special it is. It's actually really accessible.
D: I don't know if that's the right word.
D: No, it isn't. The subject matter isn't accessible, but the actual sonics of it really are. It's very well recorded in a studio, he's not screeching, he's not speaking in tongues, he's singing very articulate songs with verses and choruses and bridges and orchestral arrangements. There's no wrong notes. There's plenty of wrong lyrics, but no wrong notes. My Grandma could listen to this album for 20 minutes before she realized something was wrong.
D: Terribly wrong.
D: Oh, this is the part, right here. [They listen.] "She's got a flavor all her own/She's pissed on fourteen telephones/She's always out taking care of fuckin' business/She's never home."
D: "Lol."
D: Fuck you............... HOLY SHIT.
D: Fuck yes. Where did you get this?
D: I don't even know what this is. I mean, this is definitely Run-D.M.C., but FUCK.....
D: Live, obviously.
D: Yeah, early....right when the first album came out. Oh my god, they are NAILING this.
D: Greatest rap group of all time.
D: I don't know, I think so...I mean yeah, they really sound like the perfect midpoint between old school and new school...
D: It's sounding more old school to me, like this is the Cold Crush Brothers or something...
D: God, the way Run is shadowing D.M.C....
D: Is that what you call that style?
D: I don't know, I wonder if there's a name for it. Accenting. The Beastie Boys got it directly from Run-D.M.C who got it from Cold Crush or whoever. Anyway, I don't know what this is from.... I do have Run-D.M.C.'s first album on here with bonus tracks...
D: Okay... that seems to be it. It says "Live at Graffiti Rock."
D: I saw that! That was a one-shot TV show on CBS or whatever. I stayed up and watched it, it was on TV at like 11PM or something some Saturday night. Maybe after midnight. We thought the setup was pretty corny but, you know, the talent was fucking amazing... I'll never forget Mr. Wave...
D: You say we? You and your parents?
D: Me and my hip-hop buddies.
D: You were into it? I was like 5 years old.
D: Yeah, I bought the first Run-D.M.C. the year it came out, 1984. I mean, I was already 14.
D: Yeah, but you lived in Bumfuck Iowa.
D: Literally. That was the name of my town. The high school football team was the Bumfuck Patriots. We were terrible, our record was like 0 and 9 one year........... Alright, a little Black Flag. "Police Story" with Rollins.
D: The worst version, of course.
D: Of course. Still better than 99% of all music bands in the history of musical bands. I mean, this version is actually fucking awesome. Musically it sounds great. I think the Chavo version is my favorite, though. "FUCKIN' CITY!!! / Controlled by pigs...."
D: Rollins is amazing, he's the 4th best singer in Black Flag but yet, like, the 2nd best hardcore singer of all time.
D: Yeah, how does that work? [new song] Diggin' this. That is a hellish riff. Fuck, who is this?
D: Six Finger Satellite. Song is "Pulling A Train."
D: Ha ha! These guys were raw as fuck. I kinda hope this is an instrumental. I don't really think the singing adds too much. The guy is a good screamer, but I don't know. Oh, there's some singing. See, it's cool, it's fine, but the distortion and the delivery just kind of make it....textually meaningless.
D: Hmm.
D: I don't know, I'm kinda down on any vocalist that intentionally adds distortion to their voice on a consistent basis.
D: Hmm....
D: It's this theme I keep coming back to, I'm just continually annoyed by it. New garage bands and noise-rock bands are especially likely to do it. I mean, it's cool if a singer is always singing so loud that the mic is naturally constantly distorting, like any hardcore singer, but nowadays it seems like there's a lot who aren't actaully singing that loud, they're just kinda talk-singing like this, but there's all this distortion intentionally added to the vocals, instead of naturally added.
D: I know what you mean.
D: It just kinda flatlines any possible vocal expressiveness or nuance. I've never heard an intentionally distorted singer who sounds like he has anything to say.
D: Well...... what about David Yow?
D: Yeah, he had something to say..... "I'll calm down....I'll calm down but I'm shaking." That's good simple stuff. He is a great singer. He's got a great howl, you know. A lot of 'em don't, it's just generic psycho mumbling, or generic screaming or shouting. A howl or a yowl can have a lot more nuance than a mere scream or shout.
D: I can't believe I'm saying this, but I follow you, and I agree with you.
D: The band can still be awesome with a distorto-vocal singer, if the instrumental aspect is awesome, like it is here, but it's dangerous when the vocals become flatlined like that. Either way, Six Finger Satellite were really carrying a torch there in the late 1990s................... Thin Lizzy. Is this from Fighting?
D: No, this is Jailbreak. The song is "Emerald."
D: Nice. I actually don't know this album too well. It's Johnny the Fox and Black Rose that I know better. I think I said that before in this, ahem, article. Oh shit, that riff. That's why they are great.
D: The open spaces they hit, the places they choose to stop.
D: Yeah, like the riff to "In The Light" by Zeppelin.
D: Great riff. That was a John Paul Jones riff, actually.
D: Yeah, cuz his were the...notey ones.
D: Exactly, and Jimmy Page's were the chunky ones, the chordy ones...
D: Yes, like "Rock'n'Roll," and I think the chorus to "Black Dog" was his, but not the crazy main riff, that was a Jones riff.... man, I was watching this Scorpions video on YouTube, it was posted by this DJ Mike Lupica on the WFMU blog.
D: I think I've listened to his show.
D: Yeah, it's a good show. But this Scorpions video was fucking awesome. I mean, it's a song I loved when I was younger, "Sails of Charon."
D: I don't know that one. Is that Uli Jon Roth era?
D: Yes! I mean some people probably think it's Spinal Tap cock rock or whatever, and Klaus Meine's dancing might be a little questionable, but, I don't know, I think Roth-era Scorpions are just massive. Seeing this clip was awesome. I like the way Uli Jon Roth just stands there and shreds...but my point is the riff, it's this heavy notey riff with some great holes and pauses in it...I just hope I never see the album cover again.
D: Oh yeah, was it on Virgin Killer?
D: Probably, but even if it wasn't that cover was probably something equally gross, because hey, it was the Scorpions. Like that ridiculous cover with the chewing gum....or the one with the dog....
D: Nothing is grosser than the Virgin Killer album cover. Not in the whole entire world.
D: [new song] I'm gonna guess this is Sun Ra.
D: Yes, "I'll Wait For You" from the Strange Celestrial Road album.
D: I haven't heard this album yet. Is this like a 1970s album? Disco/synth era?
D: I think it is.
D: It's definitely from the 1970s or possibly early 1980s. I will listen to any record that Sun Ra plays synth on.
D: I'll listen to any record he plays piano on.
D: I will listen to any record that was recorded while he was merely standing in the room with his arms folded. But actually, what you said reminds me, I think I've got St. Louis Blues on here. I haven't heard that album, but it's a solo piano album.
D: I haven't heard it either. Who needs to, when Monorails and Satellites is easily available....
D: Are those Evidence CD's from the 1990s still readily available?
D: I don't know, actually. I've never thought to look for 'em because I already have about 15 of 'em.
D: Same here. Well, I'm gonna use the long track here to take a little break, go to the bathroom, get a drink of water, get another beer. Another beer?
D: Of course.
D: We are so Arthur Magazine. C and D.
D: D and D.
D: Dungeons and Dragons?
D: This is nerdier than Dungeons and Dragons. Recording ourselves talking about records.
D: Yeah, to be transcribed later and posted on the internet.
D: God, what have I become.
D: This Sun Ra is fucking awesome.
D: Have you ever not been able to say that about any Sun Ra track?
D: Pretty much no.................... Tribe Called Quest. "Award Tour." Great song, love it, but maybe we should just jump ahead, it's so familiar. There's Trugoy with the guest appearance. Actually I've got some De La on here, I'd rather that came up.
D: Actually, this is sounding really good.
D: It is so good. "I learned how to build mics in my workshop class," I always loved that. "Shaheed, come in with the sugar cuts." That's another of my all-time favorites.
D: That's so good.
D: No, I've been saying at work that Midnight Marauders is the best Tribe album. I realize you can't top Low End Theory, but somehow Midnight Marauders is like the perfect blossoming of the stripped-down Low End Theory style, I mean it stays relatively stripped down but you can hear it blossoming into this production wonderland.
D: Hmm.
D: I can't believe this was a single. They're gettin' pretty ruff on here.
D: Q-Tip uses the N-word a lot.
D: This is probably the Sun City Girls. It better be, I have like 30 albums by 'em on here.
D: That's all?
D: Yeah, a mere one-third of their discography. This is definitely the Sun City Girls. I couldn't tell you which album, though. I love those pops, the recording fidelity. Sounds like a Cloaven Cassette.
D: It is. Tibetan Jazz 666.
D: Oh yes...this might be the first time I've heard this. This guy who lives out in the suburbs that I traded a bunch of Sun City Girls with was totally after this. He was like, "Oh man, if only you had Tibetan Jazz 666, I'm really looking for that one..." I just got it for the first time, it's an mp3 rip that was on a blog......... Oh shit, is this the Dead? I mean, of course it's the Dead. I've got basically their first 10 studio albums on here, all with bonus tracks. I have never heard this song, whatsoever. I'm going to guess it's on Terrapin Station. Possibly a bonus track.
D: This is "Loose Lucy" from the Mars Hotel album.
D: Oh man. You know, a couple years ago I bought up all the Dead LPs I could on original vinyl, like the first 10 or so. Shitty copies for like 6 bucks in used bins. And it took me awhile to find Wake of the Flood and Mars Hotel. I really wanted both of 'em because they were both on Grateful Dead Records, and I like the way that stuff looks, and they're both still early LPs... I mean Mars Hotel is what, 1974?
D: I think so. Maybe '75.
D: No, Blues For Allah was '75.
D: Okay... was Mars Hotel before Blues For Allah?
D: I think so. I think it was '74, which was still one of their most crucial periods. And I finally found Wake of the Flood, which was '73, and then after that I finally found Mars Hotel, for like $6.99 at Hyde Park Records. And I got all excited, but I looked around some more before I bought it, and I was kinda checking it out while I looked around.... and after awhile I just ended up putting it back. And I've seen it a couple times since then, just as cheap, and I still haven't bought it. And, you know, I think the reason I put it back that first time is because I saw that it had a song called "Loose Lucy."
D: Ha ha.
D: I'm serious, I really think that's why, because of the title, and more importantly, because I knew it would be a downtempo boogie song like this. I should just buy the fuckin' thing anyway, I mean the cover art and the concept are that ratty 1970s bad-cartoon Grateful Dead style at its rattiest. Like the animation at the beginning of the Movie.
D: Yeah, it's gross. That sci-fi picture of 'em on the back, where they're all aliens?
D: Exactly. And the floating hotel, and the weird runes that say "Dirty Rumors" or something when you hold 'em up to the mirror.
D: "Ugly Rumors."
D: Whatever. Fuck you, asshole, acting like you don't like the Dead, all high and mighty, and yet you know what the runes on Mars Hotel say when you hold 'em up to the mirror.... seriously, I'm gonna kick your ass for that....

(February/March 2008)
Uhhh... this might be Dadamah?
Yep. "Replicant Emotions."
Oh yeah, this song. I know the title. I really don't know the song. It wasn't on the This Is Not A Dream album, right?
No, I think it was a 7-inch.
I think sci-fi and rock is one of the greatest hybrids of the modern world. I'm really a sucker for it. Heldon. Simply Saucer. Voivod. Rush 2112. Oh shit, listen, they're saying "Flies inside the sun."
Aha. The name of their next band.
Yeah, Peter Stapleton... and Kim Pieters?
I think so.
Was Danny Butt in Dadamah?
I don't think so.
Wow, we are just not quite experts on this stuff. That's weird because now, hearing them sing "flies inside the sun," I'm hearing "flies" as a verb, like a person or spaceship or some entity actually flying into the sun, but before right now I always pictured "flies" as a noun, like houseflies inside the sun.
Very short life expectancy.
Exactly, I thought it was actually kind of an intense name, like a snowball's chance in hell, a fly's chance inside the sun, this over-the-top juxtaposition of two objects.
Hey, that too. Well, we've talked well into the next song....
Yeah, well we all know what this is. How about you, go ahead and name one for once, since you know this band so well.
This is the Grateful Dead.
Indeed. Now this is the side of the Dead I could care less about. It's funny, I'm doing a Top 10 right now, Top 10 Grateful Dead Songs I Hate, by Larry "Fuzz-O" Dolman. I might have to put this song on there.
"Beat It On Down The Line."
I don't know, I kinda liked this one acoustic. When they were doing their early 1980s acoustic sets... there's a version of it in one of their Melkweg acoustic sets, in Amsterdam. The one on Bobby's birthday, 1981...
Okay, you might as well be talking Greek right now.
Yeah right, I bet you could tell me Bobby's birthday right now.
The hell I could.
Well, it's October 16, and the Melkweg version on October 16, 1981 is pretty good, but that whole set is pretty great so maybe that's why I like it...
"Great vibe"? "Melkweg"? Still Greek....
Geek, maybe. Next song. This rules.... ah, this is Alice Coltrane. I haven't heard this yet, but psychedelic organ playing a John Coltrane standard with strings in the background...
This is great. I'm gonna just listen to this for awhile. [D and D just listen for awhile. Eventually the song changes.] That was awesome. Holy shit, what is this? Don't tell me. Nah, I won't be able to guess it. But I'm glad I have it.
It's Faust. "Lauft.. Heisst Das Es Lauft Oder Es Kommt Bald.. Lauft." Wonder what that means?
"Fucking awesome psychedelic organ solo." [new song] Not sure who this is. Pretty ripping hardcore. Kinda goofy, earnest, but that was never really a bad thing with hardcore. Oh, it's over. This is Unrest, but who was that?
That was The Faith.
Oh, okay. Ha, another DC band. Well, I gotta admit they're only on here because they tagged along with Void.
Void put out one of one of the greatest half-albums of the 20th Century.
I've never really listened to the Faith side. I was always so excited to get to the Void side, it was like, "This is fine, but why am I wasting my time with it? I could be listening to Void right now..." But that track was cool, had a pretty fat low-end actually. But anyway this that we're listening to now is another DC band, from a few years later, Unrest. "Nation Writer" I think it's called?
That's right.
The instrumental from the Isabel Bishop EP. I think maybe written by the drummer? Phil something, his name was? Man, it's amazing to just witness the memory loss, to have these obvious examples one after another. A music critic losing his memory for details, such as 'what is the last name of the Unrest's drummer?', is just like a football player losing his speed and agility - he can't do his job without it.
Yeah, but speaking of being old, I saw Unrest touring for this album, or EP I guess it was. They were opening for Fugazi, and it was the In On The Killtaker tour by Fugazi. It was great, an outdoor show at Peony Park in Omaha. I guess this was like 1993. Unrest was really good, and I definitely remember 'em playing this song. They played all the hits from Isabel Bishop. I Iove that album....... Ha, doo wop. This is from The Doo Wop Box, which was a 4-disc set on Rhino, and it is almost up there with the Smithsonian Anthology of Folk Music for a compilation of great American music.
Seriously. Listen to this shit.
This is "Unchained Melody."
Yes, it is. Who's it by?
Ha, are you ready?
Of course.
Vito & the Salutations.
Wow! I don't know any of this stuff by band name. I mean, it's like The Penguins! The Orioles! The Salutations! The Cordones! The Du-Tels! The Exponentials! None of the names mean anything to me, it's all just one big movement. I mean, I can't even say for sure what band did "I Only Have Eyes For You" and that's one of the greatest songs of all time, period.
C'mon, take a guess.
Do you know it?
Hell no, but c'mon, give it 5 seconds, you might realize you actually know it....
The Flamingos, maybe? Look it up on there.
Um, how should I....
Do a search for the word "only."
Okay.... here we go.... it is by the Flamingos.
Okay. That's the only song I could do that for, I swear. Like "Get A Job" is one of the most famous doo-wop songs, right and I have no idea who sings it.
I don't either.
This is the Sun City Girls.
Yeah but can you name which album?
Man, you're tough! It could be one of three or four... or more... this is kind of a standard of theirs, I think maybe it's... "On the Sign"? No, it's not that... "Hitman Boy"? Whatever it is, it's on their first album, which might be what we're listening to here. Either way, this version is really good... great raw sound, kind of languid even when they're freaking out. Great noise bass by Alan Bishop.
This is "Rubbing Stamp Icons" and it is indeed from the first album.
Oh yeah, I know the title "Rubbing Stamp Icons." The first album is truly great but it's hard to keep the song-titles straight with all the tunes. I mean there's like 17 tracks on that album, most of 'em are actual tunes and not improvs, they're almost all instrumental.... it's actually kind of a great jazz album.
Snuff jazz.
Yes! They certainly would've been one of the best snuff jazz bands on SST.
Better than Gone.
Yes, they were definitely better than Gone... although I have been meaning to pull those Gone records back out.
You have 'em?
I should have at least one, maybe two. Actually maybe I don't have those anymore, sheez............ anyway this is some dub. I won't be able to name it, ever, but I love it.
This is "Beat Them In Dub" by King Tubby & Friends.
Oh yeah, the Dub Like Dirt album?
This could be one of the Friends. Actually I've got the disc over here, we can look it up. After all, that's what we're here for.... to learn. (Looks it up...) Okay, this was a dub by Prince Jammy.............. [new song and it's by Magik Markers] Let it be known, for the record, that Pete Nolan is playing some of the greatest drums of today.
Oh yeah. He's feelin' it.
He's playing patterns, he's really just creating and sustaining patterns, and they're so deep and full that basically Elisa can step up and do whatever she wants, whether vocally or on the guitar, and be completely supported. And that really works out, because she's a fascinating performer/poet/spirit/whatever, and an amazing guitarist too, but her style is so raw and non-traditional, we might never have realized how good she was without the context and support that Nolan provides.... I mean, listen to the two guitar parts on here.
One of those might be Leah.
Right, well that's how big Nolan's drum parts are. The guitar parts might not fit with each other, but the drums fit with both guitar parts simultaneously, which makes the whole thing work. I do get the idea that this is one person overdubbing both guitar parts, and that it's Elisa. This came out in like 2006, maybe after Leah left. But anyway, for the folks reading and not listening, one guitar part is just playing free-form noise, kinda like Sharrock or Rudolph Grey, and the other one is playing this really crude surf rock riff, kind of. And that riff is what Elisa works off of vocally, that and the drum pattern together, it's enough to make a song, and her improvisations are really clever and well-paced... the way she just riffs on the word "yeah" or some clipped no-wave variation thereof.... "yer!" or something like that.
Totally. This song, by the way - since it inspired such a reverie from our resident musicologist here, we'd better identify it - was "Mr. Soul" from the album Road Pussy.
[new track comes on] Well this is terrific. This might be something on Basic Channel. Doesn't quite sound like it, though. Maybe it's something off of that Michael Mayer mix CD, Immer. That's on here....
Actually, this is Burial.
Oh, wow. Which album, Untrue?
Wow. This guy is terrific. I really, really like Untrue. I like the first album too. It took me a while to really warm up to it, but it's undeniable. Truly bleak stuff, and it's beautiful too. Like it really makes an effort to be as beautiful and gentle as it is dark................ Oh, I know this track. I don't think I'm gonna place it though. Don't tell me just yet. [Listens to elegaic solo organ.] I know it's not Faust. It could be Faust, but I know it's not. This isn't, like, Magical Power Mako or something is it?
Oh, it's over. I don't know, who was it?
That was Eduard Artemiev, from the soundtrack to Solaris.
Yeah, that's a nice album. Still haven't seen the movie.


by Larry "Fuzz-O" Dolman

16-17 Early Recordings 2CD; 16-17 Gyatso CD (SAVAGE LAND) In 2006 the Savage Land label in France sent along a double CD by a group I had never heard of called 16-17. Glancing at the press materials I half-gleaned that they were formed in Basel, Switzerland in 1983, released a cassette in 1984, a full-length LP in 1986, and another in 1989, and that this double CD compiled those three records. I put it on and the music kinda blew me away, a wild blend of the sickest free jazz (Alex Buess on sax) and hardcore industrial noise electronics (Markus Kneubuhler on guitar and electronics), all with a free-swinging Prime Time-meets-Neubauten big beat behind it (Knut Remond on drums). In fact, I really didn't know how to write about it at the time. Now I'll just say that it's almost exactly what I always wanted Last Exit to actually sound like, with an even deeper level of heavyweight scorch, and none of the dorky stuff. It really is savage and unrelenting music, but with an intangible good-time bounce to it that most of their peers never really could pull off (hence the Prime Time reference). What's more they can go into change-ups like "Buffbunker IV" (from the debut cassette) in which the skronk is dropped for a calm detour right into the This Heat alien anti-groove playbook. Also important to note is that Last Exit didn't play together until 1986 and John "fucking hardcore rules" Zorn didn't really seem to incorporate too much hardcore influence at all until say Spy vs. Spy in 1988 and Naked City in 1989. 16-17 were more hardcore than all of 'em easily, well ahead of time. Now in 2008, Savage Land has reissued the third 16-17 full-length, an album from 1994 called Gyatso, and it's an absolutely next-level follow-up. The original trio had gone their separate ways, so Gyatso began as a collaborative studio project between Buess and Kevin Martin (of Techno Animal, God, Ice, later of The Bug). The two were mutual fans and had some heady ideas, with Martin bringing a Public Enemy/Bomb Squad obsession into the project which made the band's already dense sound completely overwhelming. They also enlisted G.C. "Benny" Green from Godflesh and Main to play bass, and the result really is kinda like a violent free-jazz instrumental reimagining of Streetcleaner as produced by the Bomb Squad. Ridiculously heavy end-of-the-world music. As Buess is quoted in the liner notes, "It was made to stretch the parameters of a stagnant jazz scene, where the spirit of Teo Macero could still be used to ignite reaction and demand both love and hate. No neutrality - Switzerland's had enough of that!"

AINOTAMENISHIS: Live'418 LP (HOLY MOUNTAIN) Wow, the Holy Mountain label sure knows how to write an enticing blurb for the sticker on the outside of the shrinkwrap. For the Klangmutationen record it was "organic free metal from Malaysia," and now for this Ainotamenishis LP of a live show from 18 April 2006, it's "vicious psychedelic no-wave from start to finish," and after listening I agree completely. The most obvious reason is frontman "Gento" and his almost unbearably freaked-out guitar style, but to drive and frame his freakouts the band plays a remarkably mean strain of hyped-up and seething grunt-rock that in a few places verges on a totally ratty and previously unknown form of actual sleaze-funk, with perfect song titles like "I Don't Smoke It," "I'll Slice You Up," "Premature Vagueness," and "Speed Complaint." (Their website rules too.)

AMOLVACY: Ho-Ho-Kus LP (BLACKVELVETFUCKERE/S@1) Man, has No-Neck Blues Band been going nuts with the side projects or what? D. Charles Speer, Coach Fingers, Malkuth, Under Satans Sun, and Angelblood have all had releases in 2007 alone, and you can add Amolvacy to the list, with a debut LP released on clear vinyl in a cool cardboard pouch/sleeve kind of thing that looks non-traditional and shelves traditional, a sweet combo. Starts out with a freewheeling percussion jam blitz that is totally No-Necky but gets quickly repurposed by the entrance of some sharp declamatory female vocals. She sounds smart and pissed and articulate in a Jean Smith/Mecca Normal kind of way, except she's more cryptic, even when I understand every word she's saying, like right there when she said "I feel very unwell and might be in danger of falling sick." Over and through the driven percussion waft the small sounds of not much else - ghost whistles, some gnarly sax playing, some subtle guitar that is also very percussive, and.....that might be it. Makes sense because reading more I see that this is a trio of David Nuss from No-Neck, a guy from Volcano the Bear, and, on vocals, Sheila 16, who is really the centerpiece of Amolvacy, and a strange one at that.

THEO ANGELL AND THE HILLSIDE TABERNACLE SINGERS: Auraplinth CD (DIGITALIS) I'm going to be frank with you, this disc is blowing my mind. It's really goddamn good. Just as a warning, it will probably be described by music journalists as free folk, and maybe even as freak folk, but if that happens just ignore it and try to hear the album anyway, because these are just plain fine songs and fine songs always trump any genre chatter. I mean, sure this is folk music, songs in a North American Appalachian-style folk tradition, complete with guitar and banjo finger-picking accompaniment and mountain-stream autoharp strumming, and sure it's weird and pretty freaky, soaked with an aura that the overly-genre-allegiant will never be able to touch, an all-natural melancholy joy colored in every corner with a high lonesome and distinctly Venusian voice. Angell's singing is revelatory, laying down a soul falsetto that one minute is sweet and lovely but in the next begins to shape the notes into completely alien forms that twist into your heart right when the song needs pathos, or into your brain right when the song needs to surprise. And, for all this talk of otherworldliness, these songs show a remarkable feel for American plain speech, even when sung majestically, as on the very first lines of the album: "Yeah, in about a half an hour / You'll be passed out in the corner...."

BAD DRUMLIN GRASS: The Invigorating Scent of Bad Drumlin Grass LP (MILVIA SON) I'm all for low-budget paste-on jobs, but when they're adorned with font choices as dorky as the ones on the back cover of this record, I start to get nervous. The rather silly band name didn't help either, but at least there was some genuine hippie/freak promise in the burnt-out band-portrait cover drawing and the fact that the sides were titled "SIDE SUN" and "SIDE RAVEN." And whaddayaknow, the band made good on these vague promises completely with the long first cut "Can Do," a lazy and unrepentantly bluesy psych jam with a lot of loose and aimless lead guitar and a rhythm section that occasionally seems to fall asleep and then OOPS gets back into it for late 60s worship so downbeat it makes that Wooden Shjips full-length sound like the music for a Toyota commercial. Side Sun is rounded out by two shorter tracks in which the rhythm section goes into crude fusion-prog while the guitarist switches to some sort of bubbling electronic madness. Didn't see that comin', and yes, it does smell rather invigorating, while on Side Raven the band devolves further into some sort of higher-still improvisational weirdness that has yet to sound the same way twice. Get back to me on that one.....The record label address is Berkeley, California, but the insert says "Recorded in Phoenix" and I'm not surprised, these guys could hang out in Sun City.

BARDO POND: Cypher Documents I CD (THREE LOBED) "A collection of studio material originally presented by the band in mp3 form on their website in 1999 and 2000," released in 2005. Nothing like letting this CD sit for two or three years in a pile and then randomly pulling it out one day and playing it, the first time I've listened to any Bardo Pond in like three years (excepting one half-hearted spin of Amanita about a year ago that didn't go over too great with the co-workers), and being rather knocked out by it, or at the very least reminded that they were (and I imagine still are) a very strong band, one of the few who really can just 'make stuff up' in the practice space and have the results sound as fully-formed, from beginning to end, as their actual pre-composed songs, best case in point on here being the masterful 31-minute album-closer "From the Sky."

BIG NURSE: Temporarily Unavailable LP (HIGH DENSITY HEADACHE) Extant since 2002, from the evidence on this 2007 LP I think these guitar noise jam loons from the Murfreesboro-Nashville region might be mellowing a bit. Their music is still filled with plenty of high density guitar/amp/noise headaches, but I don't think a drummer ever shows up on these two side-longers, and the overall tempo and attack is slower than I recall it being before. I think it's a good move for 'em, although, as on their debut LP from 2002, these are still just tossed-off jams. There's some choice guitar mangle here and there, but I would like to hear 'em try to play an actual song or two again, like they did on the "Who Wants To Kill The President?" 7-inch. Either way, I will check out their next move....

CAR COMMERCIALS: Judy's Dust LP (CENOTAPH) First off, let's hear it for the Cenotaph label. They've taken it slow over the last three or four years and put out only three records, all of serious quality.... the Eyes and Arms of Smoke LP, the Burning Star Core Mes Soldats Stupides double-CD, and now this. I loved the Car Commercials 7" debut from last year, but I must admit, the prospect of them fucking around trying not to play music for a whole 40-45 minutes seemed a little daunting. Until I put it on. Turns out these two have really mastered whatever it is that they do, something like playing pure shambling bedroom noise in which punk songs that can't help but bubble up in stray places before they quickly pop and dissipate. What remains is brackish noise/improv/whatever water filling up most of both sides and somehow it sounds better than ever. See also 90s Siltbreeze, i.e. Dead C and Shadow Ring at their most perverse.

THE COMPANY: Side Three of the Moon LP (DIFFICULT LIFE IN A MENTAL JAIL RECORDS) Ah yes, song titles like "Your Cock In My Pines"...."Happy Colored Boy Game"....."The Jimi Twins or Are You Both Experienced"....."I'll Fuck Your Wife In A Mellow Wine Bar".... anyone else detect the distinct presence of B.R. Wallers of the Country Teasers? Well, you'd be right. The Company is his duo project with one Amir Shoat (rumored to not exist), and where the Teasers are the 'rock band' with guitars and drums, The Company is more the 'two guys messing around at home with shitty samples, shitty keyboards, shitty field recordings, and shitty drum machines DIY style' project. Along with the edgy and comical subject matter, you also get such trademarks as confusing sonics, sudden dubby drop-ins and drop-outs, inscrutable heavily accented texts, and a general go-nowhere-intentionally vibe. The opening track is called "Goodbye!" (that's a joke too!) and once it works its way out of the murk of banal suburban field recordings and clumsy sampling, it gets into a knockout intense-but-chill krautwise groove over which various concrete detritus is sprinkled and stirred. A great track, I could listen to it all day, and there are definitely a couple other gems, but you'll have to pick them out of a scrambled mess of dead ends and aborted junk-toy almost-songs. That's to be expected, though, and a large part of the charm....

D. CHARLES SPEER: Some Forgotten Country LP (S@1) This full-length is really a different thing than their debut 7-inch from earlier in the year. That was a full-on electric guitar band doing two upbeat crawling psychedelic country rock songs, where this album is much more of an unplugged solo porch-sitting affair. I don't think there's a single song on here that's as jukebox-ready as the two on the debut, but this album has a whole different intention, a more measured and ambling pace in which the songs are allowed to come and go peripherally while the focus is trained on a strange clearing in which bluegrass, psychedelia, outlaw country, and avant-garde instrumental technique meet harmoniously, a strange summit between Hank Williams and....Siloah? (P.S. Speer's backing band The Helix is on their latest and greatest album After Hours, one of my favorite of 2008 so far.)

EDDY CURRENT SUPPRESSION RING: Primary Colours CD (DROPKICK/AARGHT!) Fuck it, this is the best rock album of the year. Yeah yeah, it's only May, I know, which makes it the best "so far," but I already know it's gonna stay pretty close to the top. The ECSR is from Australia, and they really sound like it, in fact I can't help but think of AC/DC before their 1976 relocation to England, and one very specific aspect of AC/DC, those laid-back low-boil power-grooves like "Jailbreak" and "Ain't No Fun." (With none of the blues and bluster.) But of course it's crazy of me to say AC/DC (even if both bands made their name in Melbourne, and even if lead singer Brandon Suppression really does often remind me of Bon Scott the way he talk-sings) when all the in-the-know blogs and publications are name-checking far more obscure bands than that. Then again, I was playing this album at work and my co-worker said "Devo," which I thought was kinda off the mark, but in the Terminal Boredom interview someone in the band cites Devo as an initial influence, so who knows? The point is, they have a hard sound to pin down, which is surprising because it's also a very simple sound. True to their name, they take those power-grooves and suppress them, or at least compress them, until they're as sharp and chiseled as they can possibly be. In some ways, and I'm serious, they are the most minimalist rock band I've ever heard. (The only band I can think of that even plays in a similar minimalist way is Circle from Finland... and hmmm, both singers wear leather gloves.....) The only part of the whole that occasionally deviates from the utmost chiseled groove is Eddy Current on guitar (and sometimes keyboards for songs that have an upbeat Clean feel), with an arsenal of subtle counter-melodies and small bursts of raga-level extensions - not to mention key silences - that he keeps up his sleeve for well-timed plays. Suppression's vocals are just as important, and he really makes these songs with his concise charismatic phrasing and especially his timing. I think my favorite song so far is "Colour Television," featuring a stunning bass/drums riff and brilliant lyrics like "Everywhere I'm lookin'/There's another wheel spinnin'/They comin' from my colour television/Another wheel of fortune/Another million tortured/It's all comin' from my colour television/Another story televised/Another billion hypnotized/They're comin' from my colour television/Now I'm hearing voices/I got no real choices/It's all comin' from my colour television..."

BRYAN EUBANKS / J.P. JENKINS: Split LP (OLDE ENGLISH SPELLING BEE) In contrast to another LP that Olde English Spelling Bee released this year, the lavish and gorgeous gatefold by Susan Alcorn, this earlier split LP is a grungier and more low-budget screenprinted affair. Bryan Eubanks I have not heard of, but he's from New York, contributes here some live electronics from October 2006, and sure can write some nutty liner notes. "The desirable work of climate is the piece of trial that a vivant feedback of circle and two up to three read prjvoyants samples of utilisation in order to it realises a space of music that intergrates with your opinion..." I like his liner notes and his music, a 20-minute deep drone in which the low end just grinds into your bones, while some sort of high-end is also emitted, the softest and most unrelenting needle-drill..... it made me turn down my stereo, one of those "in case it actually IS an appliance malfunction" deals, and whaddayaknow, even with the volume completely down that needle-drill sound kept trucking on at the exact same volume... so I lifted the needle off the record, and whaddayaknow, it stopped. Pretty neat trick and really a harsh piece -- this guy can really bring the "three read prjvoyants samples," I'll tell you that much. On the flip is another guy I hadn't heard of, J.P. Jenkins, but I guess in a way I have because I've heard the band he's in, Ghosting, from Portland, Oregon. Even though Jenkins plays in a more folk-based unadorned-guitar style that doesn't try to compete with Eubanks's devastated landscape, it does take a while for his side to get out from under the other's shadow. In fact, I'm not sure if it ever really does.... tense and hovering acoustic slide guitar explorations, at its best getting into some L. Connors ghost-tones here and there, but mostly just meandering without building any real head of steam. The record is pretty much worth it for that Eubanks joint, though....

GAYBOMB/ZACK KOUNS split LP (ISLE OF MAN) [CORRECTION! CORRECTION! It has come to my attention that in the following text I reviewed Gaybomb's music as being by Zack Kouns and vice versa. That's because the LP sides on my copy are labelled incorrectly. I now see that in the run-out groove etching the sides are labelled correctly, and that Gaybomb's side is called "A Bomb A Nation" and the Kouns side is called "Native's Orphans". I've added two bracketed and bolded comments to the review that correct the mistake.] Isle of Man is a label based in the U.S. coastal semi-metropolis of Charleston, South Carolina, run by one Andrew Barranca, who also performs and records as Gaybomb. I expected him to be a "noise" artist, but his side of this split LP [actually ZACK KOUNS's side] is pretty much all electronic love songs and weird soul songs, with some sort of glam doom undercurrent in a couple places. Some of it is almost like another take on John Bender, 25 years later. The last song is a really harsh breakup thing in which he bellows "FEAR OF THE SEXUAL ORGAN" a few times. Kind of a disturbing note to end on, but it leaves me asking sincerely: what's this guy all about and what will he do next? On the flip, Zack Kouns [actually GAYBOMB] seems more like a "noise" artist, although there is something weird and genre-refuting about his style too. Actually, I feel disqualified to review this side because I listened to the lock groove at the end for like 15 minutes before realizing it was a lock groove. I thought he was just doing tons of loops, but after a while I was like "WAIT, album sides don't last 35 minutes! I've been LOCK GROOVED!!!" His side is pretty good, I think, kind of a mind eraser, obviously. Red vinyl, no cover, just a heavy plastic sleeve, which seems to be the Isle of Man style.

DANIEL "BELTESHAZZAR" HIGGS: Metempsychotic Melodies CD (HOLY MOUNTAIN) The formula is the same as on last year's great Ancestral Songs LP/CD, with four long tracks, two of them for acoustic guitar and voice, and the other two instrumentals in a distinctive Nor'eastern raga style -- but this follow-up album is a more feverish affair. The opening guitar instrumental features faster runs that almost spiral into flamenco or rembetiko territory, and on track two Higgs brings in hissing and wailing vocals that, I'll be honest, scared me away at first. But I'm coming around -- those instrumentals are awesome and the lyrics (as provided in the booklet) are top-notch Higgs: "New organs promised if we but cultivate their need / An eye that can grasp the sound of a fragrance sublime / A green tongue with which to sing the songs of the trees / Immortal fangs with which to butcher the carcass of time / Love abides." It's pretty worthwhile just as a little hand-lettered poetry book (that happens to come with a bonus CD)....

INTELLIGENCE: Deuteronomy CD (IN THE RED) Mostly one-man band from Orange County, California, playing songs in some sort of loud new wave style. His voice makes me think of the first couple Brian Eno albums, as do the punchy and upbeat weird rock songs, but by the second or third song on it's clear that there will be a whole lot less happening in the hooks, personality, production, and surprise departments. "Not bad" of course, but that most-recent Miss Alex White & the Red Orchestra CD (Space & Time) on the same label has been a lot more appealing to me, even though I haven't written a review of it. I guess one is style over substance and the other is substance over style.

JERUSALEM & THE STARBASKETS/SKAREKARE RADIO split LP (APOP) Even Siltblog is wrong sometimes -- there was that Ukes of Space County LP, for example, which sits firmly in the "okay" pile around here (although I recently gave it another chance right after Roy Harper's Sophisticated Beggar, and the combo was a lot more flattering to the Ukes than I thought it was gonna be). For some reason I suspected that this Jerusalem & the Starbaskets/Skarekare Radio split LP might also go into this camp, I think mainly just because I assumed Skarekare Radio were one of those 2002-type yelp/squeal say-they're-no-wave-but-they're-actually-dance-punk bands. But on my last visit to Reckless, there this LP was, sitting in the used bin for a mere $5.99, and it looked so good in its worn but sturdy cloudy-sky-blue hand-painted sleeve, the name of each act scratched on its respective side, perhaps with fingernails, right into the paint, that I just had to buy it. And now, I'll be goddamned, but I can't get this Jerusalem side off of the player. I go up to put something else on and there it is, still sitting there on the turntable from last time, and I just play it again instead. This has happened like five times now. Which is weird because it's nothing obviously special -- just a little wistful post-punk guitar-pop, heavy on the distortion but not too, indeed with that rainy Christchurch afternoon feeling, even though they are just from Columbia, Missouri. Which is what makes it so special, because they've got rain and trees and grey skies and electric guitars in the Midwestern United States too, but for some reason it's rare when a band from here gets it just right. I liked the Skarekare Radio side better than I thought I would too, because it's not yelpy dance-punk, more like avant.... ritual.... play.... loud..... sorry, I haven't listened to it in awhile, like I said I can't seem to flip the record over.....

JON SPENCER BLUES EXPLOSION: Jukebox Explosion CD (IN THE RED) Hey, I remember these guys. In The Red has just put out this extensive compilation of a few complete singles of theirs, some B-sides, some outtakes, and other rarities, starting with their very first 7" in 1992 ("Shirt Jac" b/w "Son of Sam," for In The Red's Jukebox Series) and going all the way up to more or less the present day. I'm sure there are still some people who will be excited by this, and they won't be disappointed by the compilation and the nice booklet with extensive liners and photos. I just can't get into it myself. I mean, they do rock out on every song, they're a super-tight band, just like I remember from 1995, but, having heard so many bands in the interim like say the Brainbombs and Eat Skull to just name two, the JSBX aesthetic just doesn't sound raw or scuzzed-out to me at all, and unlike the hit-packed Orange album which I haven't listened to in 10 years but can still hum in my sleep, both times I've listened to Jukebox Explosion I can't remember any of the songs on it one day later.

KEVIN SHIELDS / THURSTON MOORE split 7-inch, BARRABARRACUDA / THURSTON MOORE split 7-inch, MEN WHO CAN'T LOVE / THURSTON MOORE split LP, packaged as the Thrash Sabbatical box (DEATHBOMB ARC) I definitely like the idea of a big split release between a bunch of L.A. punk noise pop youth and their punk noise pop dad Thurston Moore that is in fact so big that it sprawls out over two rad-looking 7-inches and one rad-looking LP, all in plain white paper sleeves . . . I just don't like that they're all stored in a big fat pizza box. The spraypaint + graphic design on the pizza box is excellent, I just wish it had been applied to something I could store in the stacks, like, you know, an LP sleeve? One of those slightly bigger ones? I mean these crazy packaging deals that everyone is doing are great, but sometimes they're only great for about 5 minutes. By this time the new owner of the unsolicited sculpture has gotten down to the business of whether or not the music is any good, and if it's not, both the unsolicited and sculpture aspects of the release will quickly lose their charm. Luckily the music on Thrash Sabbatical is holds up well past the 5 minute mark. Kevin Shields starts off proceedings (labelled Side A) with her brief and hectic amp-bombing sounds, here joined by Amy Vecchione of Yuma Nora (who unfortunately does not sing), while on the other side, Thurston plays a nice low-end burbling wall that seems to be overdubbed two or three times. The second 7 (labelled Side C) kicks off with Barrabarracuda, a sideways Pocahaunted/Robedoor collaboration doing some clangy aggro verbal punk, not necessarily what I expected, a nice changeup actually from the 'noise' perspective, and on the flip Thurston changes things up far more with a pensive and thoughtful clean guitar ballad instrumental, something like the intro to "Candle" for a good 3 minutes. Probably my favorite side of the whole shebang, but that's because I'm old. Nah, the Men Who Can't Love side (labelled Side E) might be the best, as it makes the jump from 7" to 12" with an actual various artists comp EP, individual tracks by Solitary Hunter (rad name), Impregnable, Moth Drakula, Haircut Mountain Transit, Toxic Loincloth, and Privy Seals, most of whom I recognize from the L.A. Noisecape CD comp. That was a cool and extensive disc, but its very extensivity made it hard to keep up with who was who -- this LP side is a more intimate setting to hear these bands. The vinyl helps, it's like listening to noise by candlelight, and it's still easy to forget who is who because of the overall unified-side flow. Finally, for Side F, Mr. Moore just straps on his trusty guitar and improvs solo, a loud and loose extended piece of pure guitar make-stuff-up, actually pretty rewarding, covering all kinds of tangents and pockets, going from goofy noise to folky shimmer to spastic something-else to sheer expendability to something else really cool. I like this whole release, now where am I gonna keep this box?

KLANGMUTATIONEN: Weisse Messe LP (HOLY MOUNTAIN) The sticker on the shrinkwrap says "organic free metal from Malaysia," it's got a killer cover (rad out-of-focus B&W photo of a bunch of candles on the darkest of altars) and the label is Holy Mountain.... of course, this is going to rule, right? Well, you could indeed pitch it as some sort of slow-burn midpoint between Last Exit and Abruptum, with side one featuring one long cut in which an electric guitarist plays sick drawn-out feedback, while jazz horns go apeshit and a drummer clatters, also in a fairly apeshit fashion. For side two the formula is similar, but the drummer plays a groove which pushes it more towards the Last Exit approach, until it all falls apart back into free cacophony a mere two or three minutes in, after which I seriously lose track, because it's all pretty clattery, sluggish, and samey, and the guitarist really holds those monotonous feedback notes forever, which I've gotta admit is bothering me. Of course it's interesting that this kind of familiar free-form aggro is happening in Malaysia, but does that alone make it groundbreaking?

KTL: KTL3 LP (OR) This is a collaboration between Stephen O'Malley of SunnO))) and Peter Rehberg, aka Pita, of the Editions Mego label. A great looking record, with spooky band logo on the cover, spooky hi-res close-up photo of a woman on the back cover, and heavyweight vinyl pressing with music on one side and a killer Savage Pencil etching on the other. But as for the music.... well, I hate to be the guy to bust out this cliche, but basically this sounds like the soundtrack to a horror movie to me. A tasteful soundtrack, no less, in which modern urban malaise is symbolized by things like flickering lights, heavy rains, and desolate subway stations. I mean once you've heard bands like Wolf Eyes who, at their best, aren't creating would-be horror movie soundtracks, but simply would-be HORROR, this sounds like something that could be featured on NPR. Has it been?

LAUHKEAT LAMPAAT: Taikaa Takataskussa CD (PEIPPO) Music nerd time: I just tried to spell their band name from memory and I was only ONE LETTER OFF. (Left out the "h".) I can also tell you from memory that Lauhkeat Lampaat are a duo brother act from Finland, the Tolvi brothers I believe, and that they are/were two-fourths of the Spirit of '65 freejazz blowout combo Rauhan Orkesteri (short-run LP from 2003 on Lal Lal Lal), and that one of them played as a utility/backup musician with Lau Nau on her US tour a few years ago. I've even heard two of their scant releases, this one and a 7-inch of obtuse small-sound quasi-jazz that was released also around 2003 on the, ahem, Pohjoisten Kukkaisten Äänet label (I know you're getting all this down). This new one comes with a press sheet that says, "Once upon a time there was a band called Rauhan Orkesteri. All their instruments and half of the players were taken away, leaving only two peasant brothers and a pile of garbage." Nice, and on this CD you can indeed hear them dropping the more overt jazz references (as described in the press release) and at the same time moving into more expansive territory (one track is 30 minutes long). The result is quiet, subdued, creaking and croaking mystery music, kinda like Anima-Sound playing inside your radiator.

LOVELY LITTLE GIRLS: Glamorous Piles & Puffy Saddlebags CD (APOP) Costume rock. Cabaret punk. Chicago No Wave recorded after 2002. These are all things that I'm really not interested in anymore, ever, but this CD, recorded in 2006 and released in 2007, is arguably all three of those things, and it's great. Why? Because it has real songs and the band kicks ass playing 'em. Lots of people can do one or the other, but doing them both at the same time has become surprisingly rare... I already knew this band could do it, not from any records (did they even have any records?) but on the basis of two excellent live shows from way back in 2003. Now the songs are more razor sharp and they've got a completely different lineup, a bit of a Chicago all-scar crew with actual decade-deep roots, Alex Perkolup on guitar (bassist in Flying Luttenbachers from 2001-2002, now with Cheer-Accident), Zack Pink Shoes on bass (I think he's one of those "cholos" from Lumpen), Eleanor Balson on drums (she rules), and of course Gregory Jacobsen on lead vocals with the mad lyrics about stuff like meat, hair, fat, guts, shit, you know, the greasy stuff. But anyone who knows this group already expects all that -- it's how well these nutso songs work as songs for the perfect 20-minute length that will seal the deal.

NATARAJA black CDR (SELF-RELEASED); NATARAJA orange CDR (SELF-RELEASED) New solo project by Travis Shelton of Lexington, Kentucky, a longtime key member of the Warmer Milks band, recently seen playing with Cadaver in Drag. Anyone deep enough into the Milks universe to have heard the Nephalim1 disc will have an idea what to expect from these two simultaneous releases with the same cover symbol, one black, the other orange. Nephalim is a solo joint from 2006 in which Shelton zoned out at a Wurlitzer for 30 minutes of bare-minimalist soul piano, one sweet and grim note at a time. That same kind of patience and rare-atmosphere quietude is in this Nataraja stuff too, except that the instrumentation is guitar and electronics played with more overall density, resulting in new-vintage NZ-style noise/drift, the music of RST being a definite point of comparison. Both discs are interchangeably excellent chiller/zoner material.

NECROPOLIS: The Hackled Ruff & Shoulder Mane LP (COLUMBUS DISCOUNT) For an underground punk whatever band, these guys sure sound like the Talking Heads (not a huge compliment coming from me). I guess I was just expecting something more thuggish, being that they were called Necropolis, and that they were from Columbus, home of the shit (that you gaze at), but their music is just a little more.... educated-sounding, and quirky, than all that. I mean, some of this could almost pass for an XTC demo (also not a huge compliment coming from me). Then again, this stuff is pretty old and I've heard that they got better, so don't listen to me....

NUSLUX: Folkol CDR (OH NO, MORE TAPES!), Triple CDR (SELF-RELEASED) You might remember me flipping for Avarus member Roope Eronen's solo debut as Nuslux a few months ago (s/t CDR on Lal Lal Lal), and here's a couple more pieces for the puzzle. The one on Swedish label Oh No, More Tapes! is actually a 20-minute live set from April 2007, and where the debut had a real crude dunderhead broken-machines-on-repeat feel, with a bunch of short tracks/miniatures, this one takes the harsh homemade electronics on more of a journey, morphing slowly through different fields of sound, which almost gives it an early Cluster/Tangerine Dream feel. The self-released joint Triple, on the other hand, is harsh all the way, "100% SHORT CIRCUIT SOUNDS. 10 POTS OF 2 OSCILLATORS IN 3 GLASSES OF WATER." There's even a picture of this setup and it looks almost as dangerous as it sounds. Super harsh bouncing and jerking electronics that end up making playful rhythms -- an unsettling combination. I wonder what will be next....

OCCASIONAL DETROIT GAYBOMB LP (ISLE OF MAN) Even over here in peaceful Lotus Land USA you still have to watch for an occasional Detroit gaybomb. Here's one now in fact, a musical collaboration between Occasional Detroit (from the Detroit area of Michigan) and Gaybomb (from the Charleston area of South Carolina), pressed on purple vinyl and released with no artwork in a clear plastic sleeve by Gaybomb's Isle of Man label. The collaboration is seamless, and marks the longest I've actually sat down and listened to Occasional Detroit. I've heard them for sure on the absolutely ridiculous free-mp3-release collaboration with No Doctors called "Breast Feedin (Is What I'm Needin)," but I think the only other place I have is on YouTube (or better yet, Real Player, back in like 2002), and I think I always turn it off after about 30 seconds because it just sounds so fucked-up, and I mean that in just about every sense of the hyphen. I mean, live they do seem kind of awesome and cinematic (the latter in an early John Waters or Andy Warhol sense) but I really have a hard time understanding how to listen to the music. Is it hip hop? Is it a guy talking over noise? Are they wasted or joking? Both or neither? But there's something kinda special about this LP. When I say that the Gaybomb collabo is seamless, I mean that this sounds like a serious studio record. Even though Gaybomb sings on his records, here he lets Occasional Detroit take all the vocals, presumably so he can focus on beefing up OD's somewhat sketchy (amorphous) sound. It works - they sound more accessible and tuneful than ever on here, and without compromising their weirdness in the slightest as they mix and blend lo-fi, noise, drum & bass, hip hop, toasting, and maybe more.

POCAHAUNTED/ROBEDOOR: Hunted Gathering 2CD (DIGITALIS) A band of two young Los Angeles women who are not Native Americans but do occasionally wear psychedelic headbands for live shows and photo shoots calling themselves Pocahaunted is not something that the average post-punker/thinking-person might let them live down. I can't say I'm totally into it myself, but I have no choice but to forgive them for their imagery because of a certain purely sonic psych-rock pinnacle that they can hit when all cylinders are firing. I'm not saying they hit it all the time, but they have done so at least once on each of the two or three releases I've heard, and definitely on this split/collabo release (in which the two bands trade off long tracks and then join forces for a grand finale). It's some sort of epic wordless one-song mantra style that gets laid down via heavy shoegazer guitar strum, simple booming percussion, and vocals that are like ghost-traces of girl-group soul-music and/or new wave hiccups angelically floating up through the demonic hard-psych strum-churn. Like I said, I may not be too into their imagery but while I'm averting my eyes I could listen to this music all day. The Robedoor tracks are mostly good too, but the more I listen to them and compare them to Pocahaunted, their style seems a little more mired and unmalleable. They are like a brother/mirror band to Pocahaunted, two dudes, one of 'em married to a Pocahaunted lady, and where Pocahaunted sound like they're trying to levitate, Robedoor sounds like they're trying to bury themselves, digging into the lower end of the psych-drone frequency with deep groans and grinding instrumental tones. Sometimes they really get there (I was especially struck by an early CDR of theirs called Grendel Glare) but on this release I usually just jump ahead to the next Pocahaunted track.

POINTS OF FRICTION: Afterlife DNA Finger-Painting CD (MELON EXPANDER) LAFMS alert...... new CD here of surrealist real-time-collage abstract-sound improvised music called Afterlife DNA Finger-Painting, which might as well be the name of this music style too. You know, "I like country-western and funk-metal. What do you like?" "Oh, you know, pop, rock, folk, R&B, jazz, Hindu, rap, disco, punk, afterlife DNA finger-painting, pretty much anything." Points of Friction are a quintet from Los Angeles, and yes they are LAFMS-related.... I recognize two names, Damian Bisciglia (as featured in Bananafish #15), who plays his own "metal sculptures" among lots of other things, and Joseph Hammer (from Solid Eye, solo work, lots more) who plays "real time tape loop manipulations, electronics, etc." Other instruments, to name just a few, include "prepaired zither" (sic), "spring-loaded mechanisms," "Arp synthesizer," "turntables," "thumb piano," and no less than three of the five musicians are credited with "birdcage." The disc goes on forever but they never really make wrong moves and any section is fine to dive in and get lost in the constant reconfiguring and patient swirl. Of course Smegma are the godhead grandparents of this style and anyone who digs what they do will likely appreciate Points of Friction.

POST-ASIATIC: LOST WAR DREAM MUSIC 2CD (Various Artists, URCK) Alright, I've been listening to 'em a couple years now, but I still haven’t written a thing about the Refrigerator Mothers band and their Hop-Frog Music Collective or label URCK. I can be silent no longer, because this new two-disc compilation in a sweet gatefold sleeve is absolutely packed top to bottom with excellent “eastern influenced experimental music.” This is where I say something about the Sun City Girls, because of course they are the ones who blazed this particular trail, and what’s impressive is how confidently and ably the Refrigerator Mothers follow it. I’ll admit, the reason it’s taken me so long to say this is that I wanted them to fail – I wanted them to be second-rate SCG imitators, I’ll admit it – but after a year or so I was still playing their debut CDR and 7-inch, and they just kept sounding better to me, and not nearly as indebted to the SCG precedent. They are mostly anonymous like the Girls were for years and years, they travel like the Girls do (this compilation features field recordings from an early 2007 trip to Myanmar/Burma), but the difference is that where the Girls tend towards berzerker/HC punk/confrontational madness, the Hop-Frog Kollectiv kind of ambles into the background with a deceptive kind of ambient/world gloss that ends up sounding more like the Muslimgauze side of things (he has a track on here). Still host to plenty of weird systems and heavy ideas, just not as confrontational about it. This thing flows very well as an album, something beyond a mere compilation, so unified in its presentation that I have a hard time picking out individual highlights and can only recommend the whole entire thing.

SIC ALPS: Strawberry Guillotine 7-inch (WOODSIST) I'm still stoked about any new vinyl from the Alps, but I'm starting to think nothing's gonna quite measure up to Pleasures & Treasures for me. I realize this is a minority opinion but I think that album, recorded by a one-off trio lineup, is a slow swirl of black and blue pop shimmer with a certain dazed and tangential magic in its air that has not been repeated. The two or three things they've cut since Pleasures & Treasures have all been exciting, but a little more trad, a little more believable, a little more 1960s garage-scuzz specific, if you will. Strawberry Guillotine also belongs in this category. Side A is the title track, which really reminds me of early Spacemen 3, but the guitar tone is pretty ripping, an aspect used to even better effect on the flip, most of which is a super-weird guitar/sax noise improv that is surprisingly vicious and unsettling. I didn't expect 'em to go all Borbetomagus on us.... and there's another song after that, the shortest of the three, also Sp. 3-ish but a little more nasty and with more of an American accent, no drums. (And this just in, they've really come into their own with that Description of the Harbor LP, already out-of-print but compiled on the Long Way Around To A Shortcut CD, now available from Animal Disguise.)

SON OF EARTH: Pet LP (APOSTASY) Intricate and boldly subdued amp-drone jams and compositions from these Western Massachusets all-stars, Aaron Rosenblum (now in Kentucky with the awesome Sapat), Matt Krefting (of The Believers and all the teen gossip rags), and John Shaw (the quiet one). (Actually I have no idea what I'm talking about). For the first five minutes they test out the limits of the instruments and let them wail a little, a sort of brief heraldic call to order, after which they get down to the business of hushed and haunting strains that carry on for the whole rest of the album. Side two in particular is barely there at all, in some of the best possible drone-band ways. As minimal as it is, there are a whole lot of stories in these four tracks (one short and three long), and this is a pretty fantastic LP.

SUN SUPREME LP (MEDS) This is an apparently self-titled but mostly anonymous vinyl LP released rather furtively by Meds, the label that also released the great Eat Skull 7" this year. It's got a nice screenprinted mandala on the front cover, and on the back the words "Sun Supreme" are printed over a drawing of some sort of temple, with what appear to be initials printed within -- the initials, one might presume, of the musicians that play on the LP. Now, two of the six initials are "CG" and "AB," and when certain maniacs see those particular initials on a mysterious mandala-decorated LP that has "Sun" in the title, well, their minds start to wonder.... especially when the grooves of the album contain some low-key but very fine tinkling and surging improvisational instrumental ethno-misterioso played on drums, guitars, what sounds like gamelan bells, and other possibly stranger instruments. Four or five longish tracks, no titles, no other info except "recorded at the Chummery in Seattle" (hey, Seattle is where Sun City Girls are from), but hey, if you tend to like the sounds described you don't have to worry about any of this identity stuff, just listen.

TEMPERATURES: Ymir LP (HEAT RETENTION) I'm glad T. Moore talked about this LP for his "Favorite New Music" section of Pitchfork's Guest List, because I'd been listening to it for a couple weeks myself and still wasn't really sure who or what it was. There was no info on the record or the package it came in other than the band name and title, silk-screened on the back cover in a slightly confusing triangle shape. All I had to go on was name of the label, Heat Retention Records, because it was typewritten on the back, and I already knew 'em from their excellent recent Church of Yuh LP release by the George Steeltoe Ensemble. After listening to this new LP once, I thought it might involve some of the same players, because it also combines noise and jazz in some rather daring and surprising ways, but, according to Mr. Moore, Temperatures are a duo from the UK, and the more I listen, the more obvious it becomes that they are totally onto their own thing. At first, side one of Ymir was almost too much, some sort of shuddering noise piece that moves very slow chord changes through a severe filter of obfuscation. It took me awhile to notice that some live free jazz drumming was also in the mix, somehow eventually taking the whole thing into tranced-out slobbering HC song territory, and then ending it all with seance noise over which the singer dude keeps saying shit. Whoah, and side two was perfect right away, starting with a hot double-bass-and-drums steeplechase not unlike a William Parker and Hamid Drake duo before morphing into some burning noise with more bizarre hardcore vibes. Apparently they only made 100 of these, so jeez, I feel lucky and I'd definitely like to hear more...

TOM THAYER: s/t LP (CARDBOARD MIRROR) The bio says that "Tom Thayer is a visual artist who creates paintings, drawings, sculpture, music, puppetry, film and theatrical experiments," and that this is his first record of music. It also says "these works are often loosely strung, frail objects depicting dilapidated, fantastical scenes of abstract human and animal figures." When I first glanced over that statement, I thought it was some bizarre way to describe his music and not his actual visual art, and as such it almost works -- of course, music can't exactly depict human and animal figures, but it can sure make you think of them, and these works are indeed like little abstract sculptures that kind of dangle in the air as much they are like music. The whole thing is a head scratcher, one for the curiosity file, and if side one seems to err a bit too often on the side of post-Ralph Records theatrical technoid quirk, side two finds a more rarefied alien-loop atmosphere and digs into it comfortably.

TOTALLY DAD: Ttwwoo Hearts CD (OBSOLETE UNITS) I've been seeing the name of this Brooklyn act fact I even think they've sent me previous albums, but this new CD Ttwwoo Hearts has really made me take notice. It's partly because it's in my all-time favorite CD packaging, the good ol' GATEFOLD DIGIPAK, nicely printed with B&W graphics, but it's mostly just the basic fact that it features two electric guitars that sound real good and hot, playing distorted rock chords and broken no wavey splinters against each other in hot rock rhythms. In other words this is fine Trout Mask Maple guitar clash and scribblage, played in a casual style, with no rhythm section or lead singer to potentially ground it or normalize it.


by Larry "Fuzz-O" Dolman

Hey, so it's been awhile, I've definitely been taking a break, wondering what it all means, thinking about packing it in, buying a pickup, heading down to L.A., etc., but also still working on this thing all the time, trying to redesign some small but crucial details, so we'll see what happens with that. Until something does there's always THIS to tide you over, and that "writer's strike" stuff is a joke -- although submissions have dried up considerably (anyone got anything?)*, "writer's block" is more like it, and the displeasure is all mine. The blog seems to be curing it a little bit, though, so check there often while I/we regroup over here at the domain name. I sincerely wish you all a great 2008 and thanks for continuing to check out this site.... I know things aren't the same as they were back when Blastitude started, when we updated more often and albums could be mentioned on the internet without a "download album for free" link expected every single time.... and speaking of albums, here's the HQ favorites from 2007. Top 10 is roughly in order of appreciation, and the rest are alphabetical. I know it's huge already but things might still be added. Absolutely no "download for free" links.... hell, I didn't even include the name of the this age of "too much information" we gotta have something left to dig for, right?

*I meant submissions from writers by the way, like reviews, interviews, articles. I ask again: anyone got anything? As for submissions from musicians, I'm still getting far more than I'll ever listen to, but don't worry, I know how to pick out anything that's remotely good. Keep the good stuff coming! One of these days I might actually figure out a way to write 100 words about it in less than 18 months...

"TOP 10"
Susan Alcorn "And I Await (the Resurrection of the Pedal Steel Guitar)"
Pink Reason "Cleaning the Mirror"
Blues Control "Puff"
Emeralds "Allegory of Allergies"
Grouper "Cover the Windows and the Walls"
Magik Markers "Boss"
Group Doueh "Guitar Music From The Western Sahara"
Group Inerane "Guitars From Agadez"
Mammal "Lonesome Drifter"
Cherry Blossoms s/t
Theo Angell and the Tabernacle Hillside Singers "Auraplinth"
Sapat "Mortise & Tenon"
Mouthus "Saw A Halo"

Air Conditioning "Dead Rails"
Bad Trips s/t
Blues Control s/t
Burial "Untrue"
Burning Star Core "Operator Dead, Post Abandoned"
Cadaver in Drag "Raw Child"
Charles Cohen & Ed Wilcox "Those Are Pearls That Were His Eyes"
Circle "Tower (Featuring Verde)"
Collection of the Late Howell Bend/Warmer Milks split
Cooper/Jones/Nichols s/t
Daniel Menche "Bleeding Heavens"
Eyes Like Saucers "Still Living In The Desert"
Face Place "Floralor"
Fantastic Magic "Witch Choir"
The Fun Years "Life-Sized Psychoses"
La Otracina "Tonal Ellipse of the One"
Lichens/Lexie Mountain split
Locrian/Daleth split
Long Legged Woman "The End of False Religion"
Lovely Little Girls "Glamorous Piles & Puffy Saddlebags"
Meg Baird "Dear Companion"
Monotract "Trueno Oscuro"
Monster Island "Children of Mu"
MV & EE with the Bummer Road "Green Blues"
No Doctors "Origins & Tectonics"
Om "Pilgrimage"
Omar Souleyman "Highway to Hassake"
Pocahaunted & Robedoor "Hunted Gathering"
Pulga "Pulga Loves You"
Ricardo Villalobos "Fabric 36"
RST "Axes"
Sightings "Through The Panama"
Sir Richard Bishop "Polytheistic Fragments"
Son of Earth "Pet"
The Terminals "Last Days of the Sun"
These Are Powers "Terrific Seasons"
The Valerie Project s/t
Various Artists "Post-Asiatic: Lost War Dream Music"
Various Artists "Thai Pop Spectacular"
Violent Students "Towelhead"
"Vole Radio 1"
Warmer Milks "Interiors"

I'm just now hearing something from this year's Charalambides album Likeness for the first time, the 13-minute track "Memory Takes Hold," and I'm about to put the whole album on here too just on the strength of this free-floating hall-of-mirrors trance-folk kaleidoscope of a song alone. When will it end?

And here's some mostly unknown but very good 2007 albums I was reminded of by finding 'em in piles under my desk just now: Zelienople "His/Hers", Kevin Frenette 4 "Connections", Argumentix/Ghost to Falco "Widow Masters", Owl Xounds "Stoned & Zoned", Radio Shock "Burn Down Radio" EP, Alec K. Redfearn and the Eyesores "The Blind Spot", Totally Dad "Ttwwoo Hearts", Keijo "Whose Dream We Live In?"

J.D. Emmanuel Wizards LP, Home Blitz CD, Jakob Olausson Moonlight Farm CD (reissue of 2006 LP, right?), Roy Montgomery Inroads 2CD, xNoBBQx LP, probably 50 more

Wooden Shjips "Sol '07 (parts 1 & 2)", Pink Reason "By A Thread", Brother JT "Sweet Purgatory", D. Charles Speer "Past or Beyond"/"Canaanite Builder", The Touched, Eat Skull, These Are Powers, Clockclean er, Car Commercials, Wicked Poseur, probably 32 more

Warmer Milks/Locrian, Blues Control/Number None, These Are Powers/Head of Femur/Domestica @ Duffy's (Lincoln, NE), Berg Sans Nipple, Zelienople/Grouper, Sonic Youth/GZA/Slint @ Pitchfork Festival (Union Park), Nicole Mitchell's Black Earth Orchestra @ Pritzker Pavilion (not counting Sonic Youth, best show I saw all year), Om/Circle/Endless Boogie/Ecstatic Sunshine (second best), Air Conditioning/Mammal/Cadaver in Drag/Paranoid Time/Bloodyminded @ Flower Shop, These Are Powers opening for The Black Kids (YAWN) on New Year's Eve.... that's basically just every show I went to all year, in order, and they were all good.... (all shows in Chicago and at the Empty Bottle, except where noted)

Susan Alcorn And I Await, These Are Powers Terrific Seasons, both gatefold vinyl

Charlie Gocher, Charlie Nothing,
Henri Chopin
, Rod Poole, Dave Cross,
William Pisarri
, Mott-ly





SLY STONE INTERVIEW WITH DICK CAVETT I had always heard about how fucked up Sly Stone was on the Dick Cavett show way back when, and indeed he was, but now that I've finally seen it I can't believe how witty he is too. He may be high as hell, but watch how he plays Cavett over and over again while still coming off as a nice guy. I always love the comments on YouTube, seriously, and there's three comments on this one that are very accurate: "With Dick interviewing, I could listen to [Sly Stone] sermon all day. Yes, Dick is caught off guard a little but he scheduled Sly twice! He knows what he is doing & so does Sly. It's an interesting dance of minds. Both come off...Great." "Plus, i love it when Sly says 'I like you man, you're a nice person' it really throws Dick, cos Sly sounds so sincere, he really means it, and it makes Dick look bad." "Dick trys to be a f~cking smartarse but Sly plays him very well. He's like the the shakesperian fool, really the wisest there." Here is Sly's previous appearance on the Cavett show, from 1970 -- a little edgier, I don't like it quite as much as the second one, but still "an interesting dance of minds," to say the least...

Ben Chasny recommends some albums in Pitchfork, February 2005. Generous and genuine music love. Billed as a "Guest List" -- isn't that the Pitchfork feature where they ask questions like "Favorite Recent Purchase" and "Favorite Video Game" and "My Ringtone"? Notice that Chasny didn't follow that format....



OMAR SOULEYMAN (UK tour 2008?)