Monday, February 28, 2005

zoo psychology

Brooklyn's post-punk quartet, Ex Models are one of the forerunning champions of the new New York Underground, as recently determined by the most influential and historically sound magazines and newspapers. The Ex Models have strived to bring an edge of authenticity back to the NY underground scene. Oft compared to greats such as Devo, Talking Heads and Shellac, they are already the stuff of a many a Top 10 List.

"New York noise that's more Sonic Youth than Strokes... a very loud, very strange and playfully destructive album of explosions attached to titles... It sounds as if Ex Models are driving through the window of a jewelry store with the emergency brake still on, and in every track they back up and do it again and again and again... a funny and relentless advertisement for atonal living." - Rolling Stone

"At last the no-wave revival has produced a band with the genuine weirdness to match the original late-70's movement and the furious chops to follow such later jazzcore bands as John Zorn's Naked City... The disc last only 20 minutes, but it would take weeks to unravel all the hypertense riffs and squeals." - Blender


Ex Models - Buy American
Ex Models - Pink Noise
Ex Models - U Got What I Need (Shake)
Ex Models - Girlfriend is Worse

Friday, February 25, 2005

televised

since my little ole blog here is named after the debut long-player from brit shoegazers extraordinaire, slowdive, I feel very much obligated to pass this information along to you. thanks to chromewaves and mystery and misery for guiding the way.

Simon Scott from Slowdive surprised a few people recently when he unveiled his new band Televise. After late night jams with drummer Nick King and bass player Alex Dowding, Jamie Armstrong was added on guitar in January '04 to complete the lineup after writing an imaginary soundtrack to NASA's space exploration videos. Following their track on the recent Club AC30 EP the band have been in the studio recording their debut single due this April.

They are also about to record a cover of Ultra Vivid Scenes 'Mercy Seat" for AC30's early 1990's covers album which includes Fennesz covering Verve's "Gravity Grave". Other bands covered on this exciting and eclectic release are My Bloody Valentine, Slowdive and Swervedriver and it's due out next springtime. (Airiel, from a post last week will also be on this compilation)

Reverb, delay, distortion, digital silence, analogue destruction and very very good songs form the distinct sound. Echoes of 4AD's finest moments, Thrill Jockey's freedom and Creation's greatest signings are clues to the sound.


Televise - If I Told You
Televise - Smile

Thursday, February 24, 2005

girl on the escalator

a brief post today but heavy on content. normally I wouldn't be posting four songs from a single release, but this lovely new disc from Monika Enterprise has twenty tracks and it was hard enough to choose so enjoy the extra special treat!

figurine gives us another modern tale of electronic love, this time found at an internet cafe. masha starts with acoustic guitar and then drops in the electronics, quickly holding her own in the growing folktronic or ambient-pop scene. michaela has a music box melody that is just waiting to be added to the latest german-italo horror hybrid soundtrack. komiet squishes along with the lightest dark driving song.

monika has been releasing these types of gems for 40 releases now and this compilation grabs some of the finest and rarest and ties them all together for you. recommended for fans of Múm, Quarks, Kompakt Records, the Books, Junior Boys, dntel and Notwist. buy, buy, buy!

Figurine - Connections
Masha Qrella - Hypersomnia
Michaela Melián - Brautlied
Komiet - 3 Hours (T Raumschmiere Mix)

Tuesday, February 22, 2005

feast on my heart

what happens when gang of four meets b-52s meets bush tetras? give up? its pylon, of course.

Despite failing to equal the commercial success or cross-cultural impact of their Athens, GA ,compatriots R.E.M. and the B-52's, Pylon's influence on the city's legendary music scene proved just as pronounced -- the group's propulsive, angular jangle pop sound resonated not only through the Athens creative community but throughout the American pop underground of the 1980s, and though more heard-of than actually heard, their role as elder statesmen of the alternative rock explosion is unassailable. Borrowing their name from the William Faulkner novel, Pylon was founded by guitarist Randy Bewley and bassist Michael Lachowski, University of Georgia art students inspired by the likes of Television, the Ramones, and Talking Heads; the twosome soon sublet practice space in a studio loft rented by local artist Curtis Crowe, who quickly signed on to play drums. After auditioning a series of vocalists, the band finally settled on fellow UGA student Vanessa Briscoe, whose distinctive yelping style ideally complemented the music's jagged guitars and martial rhythms.

The quartet made its live debut in March 1979; that summer, the B-52's became the darlings of the New York scene thanks to their breakthrough hit "Rock Lobster," and their success paved the way for Pylon to make their own Big Apple debut, with Philadelphia and Boston appearances following before the school year resumed. Pylon's debut single, "Cool," appeared on the dB label in early 1980, earning strong critical notices and emerging as a major underground dance hit; that summer, they issued their debut LP Gyrate, also opening for the B-52's in New York's Central Park.

Pylon toured regularly leading up to -- and in the wake of -- their sophomore effort, 1983's Chomp, but dissatisfied with the finished LP, and also disheartened by an abortive tour in support of U2, the band dissolved. In their absence, Athens emerged as the nexus of the American underground thanks largely to the snowballing success of R.E.M., who regularly cited Pylon as a major influence on their music; in fact, when in 1987 Rolling Stone named R.E.M. "America's Best Band," drummer Bill Berry argued the honor actually belonged to Pylon, even though the group had disbanded four years earlier. - AMG


I'd say go buy their wonderful compilation, Hits from Amazon, but its not in stock. and Insound doesnt carry it. and half.com doesn't have it in, either.

Pylon - Cool
Pylon - Dub
Pylon - Yo-Yo

Monday, February 21, 2005

I feel the same way about disco as I do about herpes

every blog and news site under the sun has their own little tribute to Hunter S. Thompson. here is another. this is from a Q&A from 1977 at the University of Colorado. The whole session is about 75 minutes long and here are four excerpts from the middle where HST had evened out and talked a little more seriously, nearly down to earth (as down to earth as this man can be). here is a link to his final column at ESPN where he had been writing a regular column of late.

Dr. Hunter S. Thompson
UC Auditorium
Boulder,CO
11/01/1977

Hunter S. Thompson - VD, Disco & Rolling Stone
Hunter S. Thompson - World Series, MK - Ultra
Hunter S. Thompson - Kesey, Canada
Hunter S. Thompson - Evil As Nixon?, Uganda, Degeneracy

Sunday, February 20, 2005

legend of the elk band

Puppy vs. Dyslexia is a mangled mess that is fully sensible at the core, like the painting here by drummer Jeremy Kennedy. The painting is the equivalent of Puppy music: hovering pie-holes that are either gagging or smiling; a prancing wolfy; and phone calls that track you down; plus smears of paranoia. Jeremy asked me to write the one-sheet for, The Legend of the Elk Band 1996-1999, their new album of old songs, though still undiscovered to those outside of the Southern Indiana radius. It should be in stores sometime in the spring or now via Jeremy's own FMSMPRC label.

Presto! Here we have the dream-time years of Puppy vs. Dyslexia, brought forth from beneath their molten-bomb of total fruit, fruition and foam. In 2005 Puppy is moving forth, quartet-style, after five years in Bloomington, IN, eeking out rhythm field and baseball mantra. But sink back nine years and it was just two in the resident rathskeller of Owensboro, KY: Jeremy and Zak.

The Legend of the Elk Band 1996-1999 pieces fusty tapes of pot marked seedlings, folio imprints and live shots, 25 in all, that would eventual morph into ululations of societal mirroring on Let's Foam, their 2001 FMSMPRC debut. But heard without the knowledge of future, The Legend turns into a living album, totally absence of pastiche, that is thick with fidelity-less Midwestern lore and imaginative due of counter-country drugs. Puppy emits singular visions per song with vocals stacked on guitar/ drums/ bass/ noise, as if they were a much younger Sun City Girls with an ethnographic search limited to the 2.3 square miles outside their front door.

Particular glimmers are the wavering tone suspension of "Final Worning," dully adjusted by the garbled mouth verses; possibly the first stabs at pop biscuits "Blackout Gonorrhea Madness," "Old Man with an Electric Toolbelt" and "Orgy on the Radio." Other spits ("NASC" and "Evergreen") are frothing basement-inverses of (Michael Hurley's) Snock folk.

The Legend of the Elk Band is an audio log misanthrope life looking out while keeping inside; park walking; pulling the tales with The Ssion; and setting up for the expansive that Puppy would become in the next milleniu. Here we are with frozen-time that continues to flow free.

Puppy vs. Dyslexia - Evergreen
Puppy vs. Dyslexia - Orgy on the Radio
Puppy vs. Dyslexia - Old Man with an Electric Toolbelt

Thursday, February 17, 2005

we like it wild

Conceived and birthed in the span of 2 weeks, Tum is the younger sister to The Impossible Shapes forthcoming, Horus. Where the Shapes proper new LP, Horus, nods back to John Cale & Brian Eno's better days, Tum revels in the homespun mysticism of its four creators. A four-track patchwork stitched together in the back garage, Tum picks along with banjos, churns with over-driven cellos, rocks the CCR and sings the angel's song to Florida. We're not really sure what it is here, but - like their last St. Ives album "The Current" - this limited (to 300 hand-numbered copies), hand-made LP is sure to go out of print quickly and become a lost Shapes classic.

In honor of the Shapes remaining tour (see dates below) we offer it, to you, for free for the next 6 weeks (from Secretly Canadian's website) - to be taken down at the close of their outing with Jens Lekman. So, go ahead and click below to download the album in its entirety. Grab it now so you won't have to go through all the work of digitizing your vinyl later.


THE IMPOSSIBLE SHAPES w/Jens Lekman

02/18 Houston, TX - Mary Jane's Fat Cat
02/19 Austin, TX - KOOP in-studio (1pm)
02/19 Austin, TX - Emo's w/Black Lipstick
02/20 Denton, TX - Hailey's
02/22 Tucson, AZ - Plush
03/01 Seattle, WA - Crocodile Cafe
03/04 Bloomington, IN - 2nd Story
03/05 Chicago, IL - Schubas

The Impossible Shapes - Tum LP (zip file)

Wednesday, February 16, 2005

swimmin' in sewage

for those of you outside of nyc, you may not know about Tonic. for a number of years now, this one location has been a haven for the experimental and avant-garde scenes. with multiple performances happening every night, there is surely something for everyone- even those who don't like skronky free-jazz or noize-core or freak-folk or midi feedback.

Over the past few years we have suffered a series of blows: our rent has doubled since 1998, our insurance costs have tripled, we’ve been robbed, and we’ve been plagued by the expense of maintaining a building in ill repair – including the collapse of our main sewer line. For Tonic to survive they will need to raise upwards of $100,000 in the next few weeks. A number of benefit shows will be happening there in the coming days, from Yoko Ono's 72nd Birthday Party to Devendra Banhart to Jim O'Rourke to Vincent Gallo and beyond.

In 1999, DJ Olive and Toshio Kajiwara founded Phonomena Audio Arts & Multiples, a weekly event as well as a record label. The weekly event has been happening at SubTonic in the Lower East Side of Manhattan from the beginning, developing from a platform for local DJ's and beatmakers to perform downtempo abstract electronic music to a space for electro acoustic improvisation with many international guests. however, now with the Tonic sewer woes, Olive aka Gregor Asch has been flooded out of his comfortable downstairs music space and is up to his ears in nastiness!

anyone who is able should go to one of these shows at Tonic to help maintain one of the great clubs for the underground. if you aren't in NYC, you can also contribute online at the Tonic website. while you are at it, check out some of DJ Olive's latest workings... the first track is a contribution on the sub rosa vs kompakt CD. and the other two are from Olive's recent debut solo album, Bodega, available now on the Agriculture label. Olive was one of the founders of the "illbient" genre, a deep downtempo dubby exercise that also featured such luminaries as dj spooky, we, and sub dub.

DJ Olive vs. Jürgen Paape
DJ Olive - Rooster Rooster
DJ Olive - Round Fire Strut

Tuesday, February 15, 2005

thirteen and god

maybe you heard the first rubbings of this combination some time ago on themselves' remix LP, The No Music Of Aiff's, when the Notwist cut up a track. perhaps you were hinted when the two did a tour together in 2004. regardless of what you may or may not know, 13+God's self-titled debut arrives courtesy of Anticon on April 26th. The first singles, "Men Of Station" (previously posted over at scissorkick) and "Soft Atlas", come a month earlier (March 28th) as a 12-inch packed with a Hrvatski "mega remix" and an exclusive remix from Why? and Alias. The band plans to tour Europe in June and July, then the U.S. in September.

From the balloon-and-burst child psychology of Adam "doseone" Drucker, Jeffery "jel" Logan, and Dax Pierson (collectively themselves), and the pinhole-in-paper astronomy of the Acher brothers Markus and Micha, and Martin "Console" Gretschmann (the core of The Notwist), emerge 13 & God music-fed bodies coming together for a first crack at making something from nothing. All connections formal and former cast aside, this half-dozen form a transcontinental supergroup of very human proportions: American angst and honest ability, German composition and countryside chill, and the simple recurring universal urge to locate oneself within the folds of time and place.

Our players first met over blushing cheeks at a show in Munich. Themselves were traveling, spreading The No Music (their darkly smile-twisted second full-length of free-rap, chaotic atmosphere and electro-hop) from their Berkeley, California base to Europe and points beyond. Dax's copy of the 2002 The Notwist masterpiece Neon Golden was the tour van favorite, instantly claiming Adam and Jeff as casualties of its gorgeous arrangement and dubby glitch-pop. The whispering began, and the whatifs followed, and when themselves reached their German destination, there was Markus audience. Talk of collaboration began by the end of the night, but really, they'd been saying it with their eyes all along.

Demos flew back and forth across the Atlantic. Home recordings were made and shipped; ideas were added to, subtracted from and otherwise modified, then sent back in tiny little care packages. And in September, themselves got on an airplane in San Francisco and woke up in Munich. They were crammed into cozy guest house converted from a late-19th Century wash shed, and for 17 days counterparts banged out  their newfound sound in Micha's newly acquired Alien Transistor studios in nearby Weilheim, on a lot shared by an industrial metal cutting factory. Each day 13 + God would record, friends would stop by and contribute (The Notwist drummer Martin Messerschmid, Valerie Trebeljahr from Lali Puna, Steffi Böhm of Ms. John Soda), the sun would begin its set, and everyone would return to Munich for home-cooked feasts, the world's greatest beer, and whatever sleep they could scrape together before it was time to start again. It was a partnership steeped in work ethic and wide eyes, with no time for doubts and no need. On the final night, the band committed their songs to memory and performed them live for the first time.


13 + God - Soft Atlas

Monday, February 14, 2005

eight bit reggae

back in the 80s, everybody and their mom had a Commodore 64. for years, the C-64 reigned on top of the home computer market. when it dropped, it was years ahead of its time and it took years for the people who programmed software for it to fully work out all the possibilities for it. part of this was due to its wonderful SID audio chip. unlike previous machines that only allowed for a blip or beep, the SID was a fully programmable synth chip that made for all kinds of memorable gaming experiences in my youth.

for years, electronic musicians tried desperately to escape these digital soundscapes. as technology got better, the cold blips got replaced with warmth and the now sounds are almost indecipherable from real instruments these days. however, as we all know, retro is in. mining the past is the new future and more and more artists are bringing back the old-school synth sounds and making something that is a mixture of the new and old. one of my newest and favoritest recent discoveries are doing just this and seem to be having a blast at it.

Jahtari is a small group of musicians merging their love for two things that I can't get enough of lately: reggae/dub and the early 80s sound. there name might scare you- perhaps you haven't seen such a combination since the dark days of the ska movement tried to insert their name witfully into every crevice (a la Mephiskapheles). (my personal favorites that never seemed to happen (YET) are skoth (ska + goth) and rastabilly)

anyway, Jahtari is doing good things. they do not have any commercially available releases just yet, but they do have a number of net-released 7 inches (complete with vinyl sound mixed in), EPs, and mix-tapes which are all available for download. throw in their clutch of histories and links, and their website has a pretty damn good thing goin for it!

Disrupt - International Karate Championship
Disrupt - Don't Talk, Shoot

Thursday, February 10, 2005

old fashion morphine

Jolie Holland's is a voice that attempts to transcend the new and encompass the old through the medium of American music. Like Ralph Stanley told her, "I don't even know what bluegrass music is- I consider myself a soul singer." So, yes, its the blues, and the tunes our grandparents hummed on unpaved highways, but its the same songs that coaxed tears out of the punk rock boy at the bar. The ladies swayed, the street kids hooted with bright eyes, the hip hop composer unselfconsciously slipped his hand over his heart, and your momma tapped her foot. New time old time: spooky American fairytales.

Possessing a remarkable voice and nuanced phrasing, Jolie Holland puts a new spin on rural Americana with jazz-informed textures and back-alley poetry. Her debut album 'Catalpa' has captured the hearts of critics as well as her fellow artists. Tom Waits nominated it for the Shortlist awards. Michael Goldberg (Rolling Stone) put it on a list for potential album of the year. Salon says, "She does for folk, fiddle and country what Billie Holliday did for the blues, wrapping her unforgettable voice around each note and taking it somewhere you wouldn't have ever thought of..."
Her new album, Escondida, is available now on Anti Records. Buy it over at ye olde Amazon.

Jolie Holland - Old Fashion Morphine
Jolie Holland - Black Stars

sound for the sake of art

During 1989-1991 I spent most nights huddled in my bedroom listening to the radio: 97.7 FM WOXY, Oxford, Ohio; "The Future of Rock 'n' Roll" was their slogan (made famous by Dustin Hoffman in Rain Man). WOXY was my salvation, an endless window into music I couldn't get enough of. Outside of the "modern rock" staples aired during the day, "Gridloxx" became my show of choice. It was a Sunday night affair that delved into the underground of, at the time, what I thought was already underground. My mind was blown every week listening. It was where I got my first doses of Loren Mazzacane Connors, Foetus, Derek Bailey, Einstuerzende Neubauten, even Mudhoney.

One fall night in 1990 I heard a selection of pieces from Artsounds, a dbl LP from 1985 featuring visual artists making music. It was truly bizarre to me: sound collages, misshapen pop music, interviews about architecture, field recordings. I didn't understand it and was never able to find the album or much information about it.

Now, UbuWeb has brought it to the public domain. As their site states: UbuWeb was founded in November of 1996, initially as a repository for visual, concrete and, later, sound poetry. Over the years, UbuWeb has embraced all forms of the avant-garde and beyond. Its parameters continue to expand in all directions.

The album, included with all of its extensive liner notes on each artist, features the sonics of Marcel Duchamp, Minneko Grimmer, Philemona Williamson, Jeff Gordon, Tony McAulay, Jonathan Borofsky, Les Levine, Philip Johnson, John Burgee, Italo Scanga, Thomas Lanigan-Schmidt, Bob Gruen, Jennifer Bartlett and five others. It is hard to pick a favorite, so I suggest downloading the entire album here.

If you just want a sampling, go for Tony McAulay's "Collaborative Poem," with its tinkling jazz piano backing and recitation of famous duos (i.e. Abbot and Costello, Derek Bailey and Even Parker, etc.); Jonathan Borofsky's harrowing yet soulful vocal/amp buzz "Take Your Dreams" (the image above is Borofsky's, Counting From 1 To 3227146 Hand Written On 8 1/2" x 11" Sheets Of Paper With Pen Or Pencil 1969 / 1976); Les Levine's collage "Hereditary Language" of youngsters talking about their future and how they see their world; "Air de Paris" soundpiece by Marcel Duchamp; and rock 'n' roll's photgrapher of choice Bob Gruen doing a pretty straight version of "When You're Smiling."

Marcel Duchamp - Air de Paris
Jonathan Borofsky - Take Your Dreams
Tony McAulay - Collaborative Poem
Les Levine - Hereditary Language
Bob Gruen - When You're Smiling

Wednesday, February 09, 2005

frosted, dizzy, melted and crackled

nick from gabbapod RIP - so very sad and tragic.

I first met Jeremy Airiel as an undergrad. I don't remember where exactly it was, we both had radio shows at the university station, maybe. Perhaps our mutual friends in similar bands. There has been too many un-sober nights since then to know for sure. One thing is for sure though, we instantly clicked on our adoration for all things noisepop, shoegaze, blisspop, or whatever you wanna call it. He's come a long way from recording in his tiny room with a drum machine. And good for him, it seems others have come to agree. Now in Chicago, he has a full band and has put out a series of EPs on Claire Records. For years Airiel has been burying some great pop tunes in mountains of bliss a la the usual suspects- MBV, Cocteau Twins, Slowdive, Ride, etc.

Here is a cut from each of the 4 EPs which you can get as a set in the Winks and Kisses Box. Buy it over at ToneVendor.

Airiel - Kiss Me Slowly
Airiel - Stratosphere
Airiel - Firefly
Airiel - Airtight Angels

Tuesday, February 08, 2005

like kiwis & lava rocks

Raft, the new album by New Zealand's Stefan Neville, aka Pumice, out on Portland, Maine's wonderful Last Visible Dog is a smoldering cathedral ragged with collapse though offering equal translucent melodies from behind that signature Kiwi-murk. Pumice, who started out in 1991 and began releasing records since 1994, follows in the path of fellow NZers Alastair Galbraith and Peter Jefferies (whose Last Great Challenge in a Dull World is on my ultimate top ten), while also being contemporary and outright member of newer festerings with folks like Armpit or Peter Wright. The Hawaiian slack guitar opener “Pumiceraft” floats marvelously across its trembling sliver of tape before the down strokes remind that this is a songwriter’s record. Neville’s control on these ten songs, whether collaged or fragile with instruments or near-solitary voice, is massive enough to peel emotions and its bier structure down to a frightening core. Each song smuggles miniature detonations, whether its the misshapen guitar summoning of Julie Andrews on “In Space (on the burst)” to the scarcely present miming of “Awe of Oar,” either are enough to raise the album as touchstone for NZ pop. Sound artist Witcyst makes a contribution via tape loop on countryside picking of “Pudding Stone” that evokes circling birds; vulture or friendly, you aren’t quite sure.
A near-prefect addition to the NZ cannon. If Ajax Records was still around, this would be the toast.

Pumice - Pumicefraft
Pumice - In Space (on the burst)

Monday, February 07, 2005

how do I let a good man down

holy cow I cannot stop listening to Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings' new album, Naturally out now on Daptone. This is the real deal. Other blogs have blathered about it, but so what- its just that damn good! This is not nu-soul. If you dig the classic soul / r&b / funk you will love this. And they are on tour! I think I might have to make the trek to Chicago to experience the 9-piece awesomeness. here are some great and accurate words of description:

In a desert of computerized over-produced faux-R&B, "Naturally" is a cool glass of water for anyone thirsty for Real Soul and Funk Music.  On this, their sophomore release on Brooklyn’s own independent Daptone Records, they have succeeded in transcending the boundaries of time to bring us face to face with the naked body of vintage Soul.

From the first track, a funk-infused shuffle, the Dap-Kings carve a deep and heavy groove which only gets deeper and heavier as the needle cuts further into the flesh of the album.  Through ten solid tracks, ‘Naturally’ explores the many moods and tempos of a group that is quickly earning a reputation as one of the hottest live acts across the nation, stretching their versatility to map out the full panorama of the idiom in which they so effortlessly reside.  They are able to bring us back to 1970 not with the usual bell-bottomed conventions and wah-wah clichés employed by so many retro-funk wannabe’s, but by reaching back to the original source of all that good music: sincerity, integrity, melody, and an unwavering loyalty to rhythm.

In arrangements punctuated by bold horns and tastefully accented with piano, vibes, and strings, the Dap-Kings road-tight rhythm section expertly frames the skeleton of a classic Soul album, breathing life into a body of songs penned exclusively for Sharon Jones’ unique voice.  In turn, she masterfully and instinctively reaches beyond the basic melodies into her gospel-soaked roots to pour every drop of herself into each note that passes her lips, elevating the music from craft to art.  With every moan she reminds us that before Whitney, Mariah, and Jay-Z, there was Tina, Aretha, and J.B.


Buy Naturally here.

Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings - How Do You Let a Good Man Down
Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings - Natural Born Lover

Sunday, February 06, 2005

so, a drummer walks into a bar

Post-move unpacking has revealed too-many unheard recordings aquired during the previous eight months. What was I thinking? But gems that I never imagined have been languishing away and now they are as good as new. Here is the primo crop, Installment I:

Besides being a swell Easthampton fella who has hooked-me-up shows at Flywheel, Matt Weston can beat silly some skins. I know he loves The Who and Sun Ra but there are no remnant strands of either on Bloomington 2003, a ltd 3" CDR (every cover is different, all 100 of 'em) recorded one October eve at the usually astute Indiana University Memorial Union Gallery. I was out of town for this, but praise be, in the present it is like I wasn't. Outside his kit, Matt has various electronics that get half the disk time here. Raw oscillations, wooly and wonderfully reckless alternate to meditative metal etchings. 3" CDs always offer the safety of a 21-minute cut off, though Matt could go on for 'nother double nickle here and I'd still be smiling. The solo percussion tracks are brief yet amply testify his right-on extension techniques (gnarled bowing and multi-directional sub rhythms) and a curve of development that bridge these four pieces as a whole; a sorta concrete cohesion. This release is currently Matt's only solo work outside of his debut Vacuums (Sachimay) from a few yrs back. (He did do an odd session piece for Smog which is worth the story alone.) Outside the solo realm, Matt kicks it with the superb Barn Owl (along with scuzz-tarist Chris Copper who also gets jaws droppin in Fat Worm of Error -- but that is all for another day). Matt says he is finishing up his next and last solo percussion/electronics album! Read more at his Tarfumes blog and check out live dates for the Boston/NYC area. Until then:

Matt Weston - Live in Bloomington pt. 2
Matt Weston - Live in Bloomington pt. 4

Saturday, February 05, 2005

autograph - I don't need your

one of my favorite bands, low, have a new cd called the great destroyer. its good, they're on subpop now, buy it, yadda yadda. thats not the reason for this post at all. they are also on a big tour right now, with lots of dates having pedro the lion in support. that's not the reason for this post either. the reason for this post is the amazing autograph signing that happened at their release party in their hometown of Duluth, MN. ya see, a number of years ago, low's mainman (alan sparhawk) and spouse (mimi parker) had a little girl together. her name is hollis mae sparhawk. it appears that if you were lucky enough to be there, miss hollis mae would personally autograph your copy of the new low cd or lp and personalize it even moreso with a drawing. the drawing seen here is obviously for the song 'monkey', which is the first song on the new album. one wouldn't think it would be a child's favorite track since the lyrics talk about a monkey dying (!) but to each their own...

watch the movie here

Friday, February 04, 2005

fishing without a pole


Sun Ra Arkestra under the direction of Marhsall Allen: Live, last night at Cat's Cradle. Full-on cosmic rays and space chant were in fine order for a 3+ hrs of combined sets. Almost ramshackle at times, Allen jolted members with hand signs and waves to bring them in/out of step with seamless transfusions of melting horns to interlocking multi-melodies. (Allen took the Arkestra controls in 1995 after the death of John Gilmore, who had previously lead after Sun Ra left the planet on. May 30, 1993.) There were 14-16 members on stage or in the audience at all times. Baritone saxists Charles Davis (who joined the Arkestra in 1955) took a few blazing solos that spanned Count Baise-swing to scattering freedom notes, and even a dead-on Chicago-style blues number ("I'm goin fishin without a pole, without a line"). Outside of Allen's totally erratic solos (that blurted out in almost ecstatic Ayler-style), Art Jenkins (member since 1960) was the cherry on top for me: when he wasn't tapping on an unamplified drum (aka, no one in the audience could hear it) he belted out lead space chant and summoned the Ra spirit. Plus, his blaring funnel solos! Yes, just blowing into a funnel that sounded as if he was under water and loosin' breath. While the Arkestra operates without any organ/keys/Moog since Ra ascended, the vacancy is filled by Allen's EVI (electronic valve instrument) which seemed to be a long kazoo with a ring modulator on the end; the Saturn vibes were showering down.

While their tour wraps up in a few days, Allen is heading out in March for "Spaceship on the Highway Tour" with master free jazz bassist Henry Grimes. Side note: If you haven't heard the truly bizarre comeback story of Mr. Grimes, you need to spend a few minutes reading it.

3.4.05 - 4O9 North Charles St, Baltimore, MD
3.6.05 - Brew House, Pittsburgh, PA
3.8.05 - WBLV 90.3 Twin Lake, MI
3.9.05 - Young Soul Rebel Records, Detroit, MI
3.11 + 12.05 - Quartet w/ Fred Anderson, & Avreeayl Ra, Hot House, Chicago. IL
3.15.05 - 128O1-3 Buckeye Rd., Cleveland, OH
3.17.05 - Rosewood Theater, Morgantown, WV
3.18.05 - Slought Foundation, Philadelphia, PA
3.19.05 - Clemente Soto Velez Center, 1O7 Suffolk St., NYC

If you can't make it out, you can always spend time tracking down the 100+ releases in the Ra discography; watching the solar mind-meld Space is the Place, a feature-length film that brings you up on Ra truth and Ra myth; or fade into prime-1968-era Ra from the Solar-Myth Approach Vol. 2 (Actuel):

Sun Ra and His Solar Myth Arkestra - The Utter-Nots

Thursday, February 03, 2005

a thousand points of night

lo and behold, the staff here at JFaD is doubling in size... hopefully my crony e.w. will be making a splash up on here for all y'all. I'd expect much less pop appeal from him on a general basis but we shall see.

Long before the recent mash-ups of our beloved political leadership, there already existed similar ideas. Back in the early 80s, Arthur Baker, the producer of such acts as Afrika Bambaataa and New Order (Confusion) worked on a 12" called Air Force 1. It consisted of sliced up Ronald Reagan quotes over a streetwise Bakerian production.

In the early 90s, Don Was of Was (Not Was) (check out of Xmas post about them here) made a little side-project cut called Read My Lips by a 'group' called A Thousand Points of Night. This cut takes Baker (and other's) ideas one step further and directly splices George Bush Sr's hypocritical sound bites one against the other. Scary shit. And in the light (night) of the speech last night, this cut sounds eeriely poignant. Its a lot like listening to the essential Bill Hicks stand-up comedy recordings where he is going off on the president and it sounds perfectly applied to today's situation, except Bill has been deceased for nearly 11 yrs (RIP February 26th 1994, at the age of 33).

If you are like me, its hard to listen to Bush's voice, even if it IS his father and not him. So why don't you just buy the cd single at Amazon for only $0.14. Then you can listen to it from the comfort of your home once he is no longer in office in a few years. Or, you can buy a great compilation of strange disco classics from Ze Records that features this song, along with 14 others.

A Thousand Points of Night - Read My Lips
Air Force One - See the Light, Feel the Heat
(according to the co-producer, you can listen to this track at his website, at www.elliotsokolov.com )

Wednesday, February 02, 2005

barging into the presence of pale saints

Ethereal pop band the Pale Saints formed in Leeds, England, in 1987. Ian Masters (bass/vocals), Chris Cooper (drums), and Graeme Naysmith (guitar) were signed by Ivo Watts-Russell to his 4AD label on the strength of their first London appearance. The three-song Barging Into the Presence of God was released two years later, receiving praise for it's lead track, the melancholy "Sight of You" (which was later covered by Oxford's Ride for a radio session). In 1990, the debut LP The Comforts of Madness appeared in the bins, produced separately by Gil Norton (Echo & the Bunnymen, Pixies) and John Fryer (Cocteau Twins, Depeche Mode). Categorized within the current shoegaze scene with My Bloody Valentine and Lush, the billowy Comforts of Madness had just about all the features of the sub-genre, as well as a bizarre experimental bent. Masters' boyish vocals also stood out, not needing any production treatments to carry a wispy, levitational quality.

A handy compilation of the band's earliest EPs, Mrs. Dolphin was a Japanese-only release that swiftly became a new point of obsession among the band's fans when it first came out, leading the group themselves to ask that folks not re-buy material for only a bonus song or two. That said, the unfamiliar songs that did surface were quite enjoyable -- "Colours and Shapes," if one of the more conventional compositions from the band, still has a nicely hyperactive drum shuffle on the verses and a fine Ian Masters lead vocal. "A Deeper Sleep for Steven," an alternate take of the Comforts of Madness track, isn't radically different, but has a little less echo and still makes its attractively woozy way along. As for the rest of the contents, consisting of tracks from Barging Into the Presence of God and Half-Life Remembered, both still sound as wonderful as ever, the often-underappreciated creativity of the band in their rhythm work and sometimes off-kilter melodies still shining through. "Sight of You" remains a deserved high point of U.K. indie as well as being one of the best drone/shoegaze songs ever done, with Masters' sweet singing belying the sharp sentiments of the lyrics while his majestic guitar overdubs are both loud and heavenly. More frenetic combinations of soothing singing and feedback chaos like "She Rides the Waves" and "Baby Maker" still sound truly captivating as well (the latter's shifts between wistful verses and pile-it-on choruses are to die for). - AMG


Buy it from Amazon for *cough* Best Price $59.99!?

Pale Saints - Sight of You
Pale Saints - Half-Life, Remembered
Pale Saints - A Deeper Sleep for Steven