Wednesday, November 30, 2005

dancing on my boomerang

Crippled Dick Hot Wax has done us a great service by recently reissuing some great releases from the late 70s/early 80s post-punk scene that just keeps getting more and more attention of late. A number of months ago it was GRLZ: Women Ahead of Their Time, which featured a fantastic set of songs from the Slits, Rip Rig & Panic, Bow Wow Wow, Delta 5, and much much more. The leadoff track was from Bristol, UK's Maximum Joy- a Pop Group offshoot that was as funky, political, dubby and experimental as any of their peers from the era. Now, Crippled has decided to also give Maximum Joy the full reissue treatment with a wonderful collection of rare and hard to find 7", 12" and some album tracks too called Unlimited (1979-1983).

Fuelled by Thatcherism, inner city race riots and growing protest amongst young and old, Maximum Joy’s songs and melodies were about getting conscious and waking up to life, " …stay positive, stay plus, pulsate, pulsate no terminate, no end, it’s only just beginning…"

Sidenote: Their releases were found on the uber-hip Y Records and NYC's 99 Records (pronounced Nine Nine). The story goes that 99 was desperate to license Pigbag's 'Papa's Got A Brand New Pigbag' from Y Records. Y's owner was really trying to push Maximum Joy so said he would only license the Pigbag if 99 released a Maximum Joy record first. 99 agreed and put out an EP. Initially the plan was that 99 would release Y records in the States with Y releasing 99 records in the UK. This didn't work out and when it came to 99 releasing the Pigbag, 99 felt too many copies had been sold on import and decided to release Pigbag's next record instead. When he heard it he didn't like it, and decided not to release it and that was the end of any arrangement with Y.

While the boys often got the most attention from the recent rounds of revisiting, its great to see the girls getting their voices heard again as well. Some other blogs have already covered Maximum Joy recently so I will try to do some different tunes...

Maximum Joy - Building Bridges
Maximum Joy - Searching for a Feeling

Monday, November 28, 2005

possible dawn

Loren Connors is a relatively unknown living legend of guitarists. Lots of critics love to elevate his name beside the likes of other masters such as John Fahey and Derek Bailey. With over 50 releases to his name on two dozen or so labels for over 25 years as a soloist or collaborator, you'd think even dad would have stumbled onto him by now. He has performed with Keiji Haino, Alan Licht, Jim O'Rourke, Chan Marshall, Darin Gray, Rafael Toral, John Fahey, Thurston Moore, Henry Kaiser, Dean Roberts, Jandek and the list goes on.

My favorite works of his are his slow-motion meditations. Sparse, empty spaces that wring emotion out of wood and steel. In a live setting, his fragile frame hunches over and gently reverberates out into the room just as delicately as the sound, leaving just enough pause to hear the chair underneath creak as weight shifts. Intaglio ambience.

Family Vineyard has been doing a great favor to us in recent years by releasing a half dozen recordings to the masses. Next year will see the completion of an amazing long term project for FV, Night Through: Singles & Collected Works, 1976-2004 triple CD boxed set. Painstakingly remastered by Jim O'Rourke from the original masters, this combines nearly all of Loren's scarce releases in one place and runs for 3.5 hrs and has an extended essay by William Ferris and even a song from Loren's mother. I can hardly wait.

In the meantime, to whet our appetites and minimize the holiday explosion of thanksgiving weekend, a couple of lo-fi tapes have been uncovered to help bring the merriment to a crashing halt. Silent Night has always been one of the prettier songs of the season and nothing warms a heart quite like a child singing along to dad's playing. Recorded at home in 1995, his son was around 8 at the time.

Music is silent when it's still inside you. When you let it out, it takes on a sound, just one hand held toward another. - Loren Connors

Loren Connors - Silent Night
Loren & Jamie Connors - Silent Night

Bonus tracks:
Loren Connors -The Departing of a Dream, Part 4
Loren Connors - Her Death
Loren Connors & Suzanne Langille - Why We Came Together

Monday, November 21, 2005

the rumble has ceased

Saturday night I was out DJing a whole buncha 45s at a local club and didnt even realise that I played some of a legend that just passed on into the dark night. The man had a sound and look that were completely his own. Perhaps the first cool dude. Some say he invented the power chord!

May 2, 1929 - November 5, 2005

It is with great sadness that we inform you that Link Wray passed away from heart failure at his home in Denmark on November 5, 2005. He was buried after a private service at Christians Church in Copenhagen Denmark on November 18, 2005.

He was a Korean War veteran and proud of his service to his Mother Country.

Link Wray played music for over sixty years, always staying true to himself. Not settling for the "oldies circuit", Link continued to release new music throughout his career. He recently completed a three month tour of the USA just four short months before his death.

Link Wray laid the foundation of rock and roll guitar, influencing the likes of Pete Townshend, Bob Dylan and Neil Young, as well as hundreds of thousands of musicians and fans all over the world.

Punk rock, grunge, garage, rock guitar, surf, heavy metal and all started with Link Wray. He shared the stage with everyone from Patsy Cline to Bruce Springsteen. He is truly an unsung hero of rock and roll.

Link's "Jesus God" has called him home and Heaven is rocking a whole lot harder tonight.

AP News Story

Link Wray - Rumble
Link Wray - Raw-Hide
Link Wray - Ain't That Lovin' You Babe

Friday, November 18, 2005

deep sea divers

Grizzly Bear began as a home recording project of Ed Droste. But soon it took on a life of its own and has now blossomed to four. I could easily namedrop Animal Collective, Sufjan Stevens, Nick Drake, Earlies, Syd Barrett, Pet Sounds, Tyrannosaurus Rex, Jim O'Rourke, Unicorns, Super Furry Animals and the Castanets. Just don't call them another progression of the same tired Nu York formula of freakdom.

A recent live performance wheezed a warm breath into a cold room. Autoharp, handclaps, woodwinds, electronics, strings and more all mixed in perfectly with a more traditional set-up, leaving plenty of space for the sounds to have a shape of their own yet combining for something strangely magical. Songs shift, evaporate, coalesce. A hazy dreamlike state shrouds everything. The limitations of the recording become its intimacies and draw you into its world.

A recent remix CD of their recordings has appeared with the talents of Tim Sweeney of DFA, Castanets, Soft Pink Truth, Ariel Pink, The Double, Efterklang, Hisham Bharoocha, Simon Bookish, Solex, and more. Do yourself a favor and grab their album from Kanine.

Grizzly Bear - Don't Ask
Grizzly Bear - A Good Place
Grizzly Bear - Owner of a Lonely Heart

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

found elvis

Taking a stroll at the Raleigh recycling center the other day I came across a Sony-Matic portable 1/4" reel-to-reel. Looks brand new. I dropped off my dead 40 GB hard drive and left with as much unneeded articles as I arrived. There was a reel already on the tape, already played and/or recorded half way through. Bets were on it being an interview or bull session between war vets, truck driving grandpas, or the verbal passing down of Hungarian cooking secrets. Nope. Instead, it was a slow-moving, blurry dub of, what sounds to me, an Elvis gospel album bouncing back from the other side.

Unknown - found recording

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

nowhere near

Dawn Smithson might be a familiar name to a few. Perhaps if you are a Kranky nut like me. She played in and sang in the spacey Jessamine during the 90s and lately has made appearances with Sunn O))). These moves did little to reveal what would happen on her new solo release, Safer Here.

Eschewing the volume of her other projects, Dawn chooses an incredibly intimate environment of mostly acoustic guitar and her lovely voice. A few synth warblings and guitar washes run underneath. But the centerpiece is absolutely the isolation and woe of Smithson's story. The sound of someone locked up in their own home. To me, each song must be listened to in order as they seem to tell a story and the emotions that pour out over time. A great break-up record, if there is such a thing.

As she describes it, "I have been the most extreme hermit I could possibly be during the year plus it took me to make the record, having neither the time nor the desire for most human company. Because this album so personal and intimate, I think it is also best listened to alone - like a melancholy movie that might deeply affect you, but that you don't want anyone to see you being affected by."

Safer Here teaches the thought that you know the variables at home, you won't see anyone you don't want to. Nothing can affect you. Nowhere Near has a deep nearly Labradford guitar figure over the sad realization that the hurt you have is not nearly gone. it may be time to watch the waves crashing...

Dawn Smithson - Safer Here
Dawn Smithson - Nowhere Near

Monday, November 14, 2005

return to burma

Thank your guru -- for on those evenings when your brain is frozen with TV-drool or wasting away weekends with the shades pulled -- that somewhere, some wide-eyed, deep-eared explorer is globe-trotting through the markets, ghettos and lost archives for music most of us never knew was there. Sublime Frequencies gathers it all up and hands it over. Yowza.

Guitars of the Golden Triangle: Folk and Pop Music of Myanmar Vol. 2 is like a mini-Nuggets or, better yet, a Bloodstains-styled gathering of day-glow Burma sounds filtered through a poppy-filled view. Compiled by Sun City Girl Alan Bishop, he writes in the liner notes that "this is a phenomenal 'lost scene' and we're thrilled to resurrect it for those interested in folk, rock, and pop styles from lesser-known regions of the globe". Lesser know locals is right. These songs are gathered from groups from the Shan State.

Shan State is Myanmar's largest province and larger than the entire State of New York. Most outside this Burmese region have never heard of Shan State, but this massive sub-tropic tableland has an average elevation of 3000 feet, perfect for the cultivation of poppies for which it is very well known (in fact and fiction) as the center of the "Golden Triangle."

There are quite a clutch of artists filling the 21 cuts here. Stands out are Saing Saing Maw, early 70's Burmese psyche rock pionneer and the Tex-style of Lashio Thein Aung (aka "Jimmy Jack," aka "Burmese Texan"). Each infuse more of their own personal touches and traditional flares than carboning western ways. Stellar chunks!

Saing Saing Maw - Than Shin Ley Ye Khan
Lashio Thein Aung - You Got What You Want

Friday, November 11, 2005

pretty shitface

Musical Family Tree is a labor of love. Its a wonderful little website that documents and spreads the love of the Hoosier State's musical heritage. Countless mp3s from over a hundred bands from the 80s, 90s and more recent from Bloomington and Indianapolis are all available for free download. Each of these songs is linked from their site so please take some time to visit them and check out some other bands (and if you donated a few bucks that would be awesome, too).

This weekend sees the inaugural 2-day 2-city Musical Family Tree Festival here in Indiana. While most of the historical relics presented didn't make much news outside of their homestate, here they were revered and adored. One of groups that I am most looking forward to hitting the stage once again is Uvula, of which Chris Kupersmith, Tina Barbieri and Wade Parish were the core. Prior to Uvula Chris and Tina were 2/3 of Fabric, a sorta precurssor that was loaded heavily with drum machines and electronic noise. Fabric was a fringe favorite of the Bloomington scene -- actually, despised by most due to their often chaotic shows (aka, disfucntional equipment) and artistic vision no one could wrap that tiny minds around. Though by the time of their last performance, which was actually after the birth of Uvula, everyone was sucking from their teet. (Fabric's sole album Woolly Mammoth came out in '97 on Scrimshaw and only then did people feel like they should pay 'em more attention. Too bad they'd already broken up. This review from then shares the same sentiment.)

Yet once Uvula was their full concern, it always seemed to be on the verge of breakup. An upstart label called Down Right Records (which was co-ran by a guy who once wrote in the college rag that Chris' vocals sounded like a cat being drowned) issued their official album About What You'd Expect in October 2001 and then prompty shut down before the album had a chance to get out into the world. A total crime. An early version of the album, with a few extra songs, called Smarm is also on the MFT site.

All 15 songs on About What You'd Expect are gorgeous in their male/female harmonies and that you can find something that doesn't sound quite right and which makes it damn-right pop genuis. You'll see what I mean. Recorded by Vess Ruthenberg (The Pieces, United States Three), it also featured a nice swath of local all-star/legends like John Terrill (Dancing Cigarettes , The Walking Ruins, Tea Cup), and Lon Paul Ellrich (Winechuggers, Marmoset, Sardina). James Grillo too -- what happened to that guy? The album title is kinda a joke -- it took these folks 18 months to record this monster. Which could be why Chris is credited with "guilty" along with his vocal/guitar duties. Tina takes "sorry."

They didn't get nearly the consideration they deserved, with only a couple of reviews still existing online. Like this one over at the wonderful and soon to be departed Splendid. A snippet:

When records with this much wit and effortless, hyperactive sparkle emerge from the piles of easily written-about and easily categorized discs that accumulate in music mag offices across the country, critics foam at the mouth and then whimper helplessly at how great it all sounds with comparison-laden glaze, much like the last three paragraphs you've read. So, in summary: Uvula play acoustic guitars, write great songs, and About What You'd Expect is full of them. Anything else I might say pales in comparison.

In order to truly beat the point to death about how much we like Uvula's only official album, we now present to you a track-by-track dual review from your pals at JFAD.

01 - Uvula - Aloha

h: a great opening track cuz its a standard Uvula song. stripped down, wonderfully harmonized, perfectly askew

e: Chris' lyrics eschew the silver lining for more of a rotten outlook that initself holds the silver lining. Without a doubt one of the best Hoosier lyricists, knocking down folks like Jake Smith and Jason Molina with simple ease. I often never know what he is talking about but it feels right: "Your elbow vacation is on the arm of your chair / and you don't even care / you don't care about your hair / and the cost of a phony flower means aloha / aloha."

02 - Uvula - Kicking Heel

h: clap along now. these are the kinds of people you hope show up at your party with their guitars. and where on earth do they find so many melodies? and what better place for the first chorus than the last 30 seconds of a 3 minute song?

e: Love the opening, "Sucker punch for lunch / felt much better." Chris strikes back and wraps it up in this proto-T-Rex stomp. "Scott was my friend until I screwed him / pulled the rug from under him / he was drunk seething."

03 - Uvula - Turbulent

h: damn they sound kinda pissed off. I really need a lyric sheet after all these years. alternating between a bile crust and sugary sweet insides. and I love the lines that welcome the listener to scream along...

e: Yeah, Tina and Chris either sound like they are cuddling up together or getting ready to drag it out in the street. Pissed for sure. "You had me when I was healthy / you watched me / You got me filthy." Hell yeah! I used to dream that all of these songs were true-life tales, but whenever I'd ask Chris, he either lie to my face or be like, "you thought the song was about that? Nope." Swarm version is a tad bit grittier.

04 - Uvula - King of the Echo People

h: Tina has the lead vocal here and she sings right in your ear. this could very well be the theme song of MFT: "you are important, and under-rated / I will remember you when you're gone."

e: When I wrote a cover story on the band for the Bloomington Indepedent, those lyrics were used as the the last line. Somehow, the song seemed to cast a spell on them. While there is some frantic folk chopping in the Uvula catalog, this is most twang they go toward.

05 - Uvula - Pretty Shitface

h: classic. a gritty drum program and tambourine. late drunken bloomington summer nights. so weird with its bathroom lyrics.

e: This is song sums up the quintessential Bloomington experience. Wonderfully mangled in 4-track style, with odd hiss, bells, and ambience streaming below the song, with a few drums parts spliced together. I kinda dig the 'demo' version on Swarm more, as the rough edges seem to show more. The beauty of most Uvula songs is the multiple parts, whether in the chours/lyrics or just the total shift in music. A hot-ass tale about drinking, droppin acid and being out way too late.

06 - Uvula - D-E-M-O-N-S

h: ok for the longest time I never realised that they were spelling out DEMONS, I guess I dont know how to read. and I love the big guitars and bratty na-na-na. "neven been hurt by a man so evil / all his girlfriends are now lesbians." damn.

e: Tina takes no prisoners here.

07 - Uvula - My Car

h: a song about having a flat tire and not wanting to do anything about it. how very midwest. may as well be on blocks eh? love the big echo.

e: Used to think this was too silly, but then grew to think the song is more about Chris just not wanting to deal with the bullshit of life. "Is this just laziness? / Or some kind of premonition." Nice shakers!

08 - Uvula - Suspense

h: another Tina song. this one stomps along. a tune about not knowing what is going on with another. am I cooooold? certainly not.

e: They could have easily dipped all their songs in the battered three-dimensional view, but taking some as just simple guitar strum/gallop drum with minimal lead guitar overdub makes the album feel so much like a lovely pillow for a sleepy head.

09 - Uvula - Miseries of Neutrality

h: perhaps the most broken song. somehow it works. if you don't like this song wait til the ending for the big payoff. rock and roll's on fire! what possesses us to write these blogs?

e: Yeah, this is almost like a free verse jam on Chris' part. Wobbly as all get-out and brimmed with odes to Chris' faves (Mick Fleetwood, Lou Reed, J.Richmond) to which he asks the question: "I think all of the avenues are sunk / and rock n' roll is on fire / I am depressed/ What posses you to write those songs?" I also believe this song was the source for the MFT web site name.

10 - Uvula - Momcat

h: porch-swing cat song. a genre unto itself. everyone with a cat and an acoustic has one, admit it.

e: Gettin high in the Midwest sun and watchin the cats play like they do. Though that rotten lining does creep in: "What am I to you? / Just a subject of a sentence?"

11 - Uvula - Weekend Gone

h: weekends go by too quick. especially when your cutie is miles away and you only see each other then.

e: True that!

12 - Uvula - Vocal Style

h: I think this was a "single"? once you spend so much time with someone you start to pick up their little things. and you love every second of it.

e: Again, Chris really slays with the intricacies of relationships -- whether in sickness or in health. It is heart breaker, but I can't stop listening. "Yes we have problems / our heroes have got stuck." And there is the great mid point break: "But I love you and public TV / or the time we connected the dots and [insert guitar solo]."

13 - Uvula - Ostrich

h: I never understood why splendid used this song as the snippet. its a fine song but rather flat compared to the rest of the album. no hands, look ma!

e: Hate to say it, but if a track was to be left off, I wouldn't miss this one. Can't believe I said that, but the other songs outweigh it in heavy manner. "Eyeballs" from the Swarm session would be a fine replacement.

14- Uvula - Drunk and Naked

h: drunk and naked. once everyone sees you for what you really are. I imagine this as the first encore. everyone cries, everyone hugs. thank you, goodnight.

e: This really feels like 'end of album -- we made it!' type-song. And I bet that is how Uvula felt with this record -- it took them 18 months to record it! Everyone is tried and just know the world is gonna end -- bring it on! "Where were you on the night / of the collapse of the summer / how much did you buy / how much did you discover?"

15 - Uvula - Yawning Dog

h: but its not goodnight! its time to lift the spirits and get you to drunken dance again. when everything becomes too comfortable and calm and you realise that those imperfections are what make things perfect. the outro answering machine moodswing piece is a perfect representation of this sadly gone time and sadly gone band.

e: "Cause life is too peaceful here / and peacefulness is queer." Always seem to hit my long-distance drive destinations when this track comes on. Electronics bring back the Fabric vibe, which is always good in my book. Great vocal tag-team/combo by C & T. "Well it's a crippling feeling / cause life is too peaceful here / it is too close to sincere / and where is the blue horizon in a town without a sound? / sneakers to a pond / lasers on the lawn / well how in the world can we feel pain in utopia?" Why does it have to end? It doesn't! A few extra snippets of C & T on the answering machine and acoustic bit brings the disc to a close...

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

leaves + two

A high of 83 is the blowing temp today in the Triangle, NC. Looks like fall; a ton of dying leaves covered my car since last night. So windows are open, cats are sunnin and I pulled out Live at Green Space LP, the 82 duo of Billy Bang (violin, etc.) and Charles Tyler (alto/bari sax, etc.) for a spin. Been heading back to a lot of violin music of late, Leory Jenkins, Ornette, and Michael Samson's live blasts from the Ayler box. And just came across the F'in dazzlin' CD collection Folks, He Sure Do Pull Some Bow!, vintage fiddle music 1927-1935 on Old Hat.

So, Bang/Tyler. Much different action from Tyler's 60s ecstatic thrusts (his '67 ESP Eastern Man Alone features an ol' one-time prof of mine, cellist David Baker) and Bang's late group The Jazz Doctors, a lot of space between the two -- just felt like today. While hitting the second side, I start to hear a underlying buzzin/rhythmic drone beneath the duo on "Viobari" -- what the hell? Fits perfect, ebbing with the final minute of somber tones. Inbetween cuts the buzz keeps on and I see my rowdy, old-time neighbor blowing the leaves from his yard into mine. Best trio work I've heard in the past few months.

Billy Bang & Charles Tyler - Viobari

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

gradual music and active listening

Apestaartje has been slowly dispersing quiet pieces of exquisite beauty since 1998. Releases from Anderegg and Minamo have been filling in the "audio wallpaper" to my monotonous day job in a very calming manner. So when I learned that the latest project from the label, Mountains, wanted to come to my town to play a show, I was very excited. This new "group" combines the electronic with the acoustic, I guess making them electro-acoustic. Mixing in field recordings with their sparse live instrumentation and subtle digital tweaking, I can easily hear this album melting into the rising din of summertime crickets, locusts and other night-time critters as the sun goes down. A new classic of ambient minimalism.

They already have a wonderful review that nearly perfectly captures their sound:

Often sounding like classic Apollo era Brian Eno recorded during a tropical downpour, while at others bringing to mind the glorious sun-drenched layering of genre-master Fennesz, this album evokes the feeling you had as a child when opening boxed presents only to find another box inside and then another ... until you finally reach the gemstone kept heavily under wraps.

I wish I wrote that, but they did. Check them out now, live, through the end of November.

Mountains - Blown Glass Typewriter

Monday, November 07, 2005

rip china

Mana "China" Nishiura rest in peace. Dynamo drummer for DMBQ, Shonen Knife, Jesus Fever and Rashiban, died after a three-vehicle accident on the New Jersey Turnpike Friday afternoon. Manager Michelle Cable's back was broken.

For more info and to help Lovepump United Records has info:

We mourn the loss of Mana "China" Nishiura; our hearts go out to DMBQ and their families. Booking agent and tour manager Michelle Cable suffered substantial head and neck injuries, and is expecting a recovery period of up to six months. Our best wishes go out to all of them.

Please forward and post this information as much as you can.

Donations towards medical, travel, and other expenses can be made to DMBQ and Michelle Cable by PayPaling or by sending checks to

Lovepump United
PO BOX 3241
Poughkeepsie, NY 12603

Thank you

big fun

Like most not living in the upper NY region, Steve Baczkowski was a fresh face when The Dim Bulb -- blast furnace trio disk with Corsano and Flaherty -- dropped unexpectedly earlier this year. In that date, Baczkowski is a fuggin' roar on the baritone sax, he nailed every register from the ships fog horn down to its trolling nets scraping the bedrock. Quite a show down. With that calling card in place, Baczko comes back with his working group Buffalo Suicide Prevention for self-titled debut disk. While fully improvised in the studio, they must have some hand signals going on here, as the group -- Baczkowski (tenor/baritone sax, bass clarinet, bugle), Mike Allard (alto sax), Michael Hermanson (trombone), Leif Ingvar Nicklas (contrabass) and Ravi Padmanabha (drums, percussion) -- switch from bleating skronk to swing in seconds flat on "Without Love We All Feel Sad" and at other points work at a razor edit pace. Allard's sweet tone is fine foil to the blurting bari and trombone. Though I find myself most listening to Nicklas' bowing which colors the pieces with dark turmoil of old Europe --dying villages and fruitless trees. "Sojourn non Troppo" slolwy grows from that vibe as Allard sprinkles some hope on top. Check in with "Revolting Phantoms" for the hyper-aktion the quintet spits out/horns tangled. Word is that Padmanabha and Baczkowski have a tabula/sax duo -- let's hope that will be out next.

Buffalo Suicide Prevention Unit - Revolting Phantoms
Buffalo Suicide Prevention Unit - Sojourn non Troppo

Friday, November 04, 2005

tears from space

Out of a cracked cosmic belly comes bouncin Mike Anderson. What has he been up to since drumming on Lanquidity? Since leaving the Arkestra in the late 70s? No idea. But out now is Zalvi (Tears for Albert Ayler), a one-sided LP on the always fine New World of Sound label, from Alaphabet City - past sides by Fuzzhead, Plague Head and Haino/MazzaCane (despite the nasty mastering fub job) have always deemed for major hat tipping. Word is that Zalvi has been a long-rumored project, six years-plus. So not sure when it was recorded. Either way, glad it has landed. Anderson tears into a free blow out all by himself, all multi-tracked in an Eye and Ear Control sorta implosion. Though amongst the fire breathing horns, lo-fi electronic hums and rounding drum solos is a top-level dark cloud. This was to be the soundtrack to an apocalyptic film, by Anderson, and mid-way through the side he opens the cellar door and The End flys right out. Shit gets dark at the end. Whether it is locusts eating our souls or Ayler gasping for breath in the East River, I don't know.

Mike Anderson - Zalvi (6 min excerpt)

Thursday, November 03, 2005

flags of the sacred harp

Jackie-O Motherfucker have been flying their freak flag for a decade now from the evergreens of the pacific northwest to New Orleans to Baltimore and to NY. While their line-up both on album and live has been moving and constantly growing and shrinking for years, the constant that has remained has always been Tom Greenwood. The newest line-up has shaved the group down to a lean, mean four piece. But the sound is as full as ever, full of every bell, whistle, drone, and noise imaginable- so really not much has changed.

Their newest release, Flags of the Sacred Harp, there first new album in three years, is perhaps their most realised and accessible release yet. It is also the first new album for their newest label, ATP, which are also doing us the kind service of reissuing much of their hard to find back catalog from the likes of Road Cone and beyond. The new songs are still long and meandering, but now also have more of a melody than ever before. While deconstructing genres from song to song they still somehow maintain a coherence that makes perfect sense. JOMF have further proved their abilities to capture a mood to build on and slowly away from seamlessly.

The album starts with a psychedelic sound in the round, but about half way through falls apart into fragments that can never get put back together. Rockaway is a downright country song with guy/gal vox. Hey Mr. Sky is a Nyquilfolk Sweet Nothin'. Spirits builds to Dreamweapon 2: Another Evening of Contemporary Sitar Music. Good Morning Kaptain might be what J Spacemen has been trying to capture for years: alien-abducted Appalachian spirituality. The Louder Roared The Sea deconstructs and reconstructs. Slow-mo sunlight refractions off of a shimmering golden body of water. Classic JOMF.

Jackie-O Motherfucker - Hey Mr. Sky
Jackie-O Motherfucker - Good Morning Kaptain

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

what up brah?

Brah Records is the name of the new imprint started by NYC freakprogthing's Oneida. And I gotsta say, I love the logo.

They have three releases so far, the first being their own split with Chicago's nu-psych legend Plastic Crimewave Sound. Each band fills a side and well, you won't get any songs from it here cuz they take up the whole side and I am feeling lazy today.

The second release is by NY's Company. They draw from a country-folk-fried sound that you might not expect from an Oneida sponsored joint.

The third release, from Pittsburgh's Dirty Faces is much more of what you might expect, Index calls it “classic Rust Belt punk, a frenzied take on drug use and crumbling relationships in a city where everybody knows everybody.”

Check em all out! Dirty Faces is on tour now in a town maybe near you... I know I will check em out this weekend when they roll into town.

Company - Red Army Blues
Company - In The Jaws Of The Lion

Dirty Faces - New Wicked Stepson
Dirty Faces - 1974