Saturday, November 21, 2009

Awesome Flier Art By My Pal JOE LEGS!!!!!!

I first met Joe Legs when he was a film major at VCU here in Richmond, VA. I always saw him at shows and he was in this weird band HO-AX, through these meetings we became good friends. Last year he relocated to Austin, TX and joined a band called MAGIC JEWELS. He also started drawing like crazy and told me if I ever needed art for fliers or record covers to hit him up. So I did, and was more than pleased with the results:
Joe Legs is no longer with Magic Jewels but he's still doing his solo work with YOKO BONER...he also paints, draws, makes videos, he obviously does fliers but also does other band art, and computer art/ other mixed media art. If you want to contact him for quotes or just to creep him out, contact him here. He also blogs at BLACK FONTANELLE and CONTORTIONIST JAZZ EXOTICA. I now leave you with a couple of his other pieces:

Tuesday, October 27, 2009


THE EYEDRUM (Atlanta, Georgia) 10/24/09


Plenty of people enjoy the fetish of collecting things that are obscure, it's apparent in the closed auction listings on Ebay when you search “American Tapes”, that's for sure. But I wonder: How many people there are, out there, that truly appreciate how special these artifacts are, both in the absurd aesthetics as well as in the unpredictable, outlandish and often times regurgitated sounding audio content. And I wonder: How many people read through John Olson's AOL 1996 style listings for new releases, and instinctively forward them to their friends because there is something so special and smile inducing about reading through such upside-down / “weirdo English”, but also due to getting excited and knowing you'll be buying one copy of every thing listed in that e-mail, maybe even some at wholesale if it's something familiar (or if there's more than 15-50 copies that are ever going to be made). And what about when there's the rare opportunity to see some of these documented projects, outside of the narrow confines of art galleries and basements in their home towns? I suppose I can only really know for myself, how I feel.

Which brought my girlfriend, Teta, and I to a large Atlanta warehouse gallery, The Eyedrum, for a fest commemorating the 25th anniversary of the Destroy All Music festival. I was supposed to fly home on Saturday night, but since booking my ticket, I no longer had any obligation to be home in Phoenix on Sunday. We had already considered having me change the return flight to Sunday instead, so that we could have an extra day together, but getting an e-mail from Blossoming Noise a few days before leaving, about this show, really pushed it over the edge. An extra 24 hours with my significant other and the chance to see some of these people / projects in a live setting was just too much to pass up.


Fenton: I was a bit confused by what the desired effect was with his performance. Two long copper pipes were propped up in front of a couple of combo amps that were spewing out what sounded like low-end feedback, the kind that makes you really question the stability of you speakers' frames... but I couldn't tell if the sound was being altered or created by movements in the pipes. He seemed sincere and extremely drawn in and attentive, this came across like a project that he had much time invested in and that he was actively attending to the minor fluctuations in sound, but I felt like so much more could have been happening, even if just tapping or scrapping other pieces of metal or pipe into the ones that were upright. I was anticipating something dramatically different at some point or towards the end, but it never found it's way to that subsequent portion. I want to know.

Graham Moore: Fairly loud, wall of noise approach, the type of set up the easily allows chilling and the consumption of alcohol, only hindered by the occasional tone adjustment, for the most part. I appreciated the high volume and abrupt start, and even more so: unexpected increases a long ways in that really seemed to upset various portions of the PA in uncompromising sequences, but I really was not grabbed by what he was doing until things came to a stop towards the end of his set, with the last five minutes of churning, fluttering low end tones lurching in and out of existence, with higher end sound and feedback skirting on it's cruxes. It was really well done: tense and slowly peaked at smaller and smaller spikes until fading out completely. I was won over, 100%.

Tamio Shiraishi + Sean Meehan: The Eyedrum has several rooms that make up it's innards, the one in which the stage and the majority of this night occurred is actually not the largest, which is actually a rather gigantic square, white-walled gallery space that you first find yourself in when entering, an openness that begs for large multimedia pieces to be sprawling for 100 feet at a time. From one of the even smaller corners of the building, this squealing started, unannounced. The type of squeal that I've only experienced when an accidental and dangerously loud signal is patched into the wrong jack, and meets an open-air feedback loop (unloving accomplished on several occasions when sampling an old solid state washing machine sized receiver's faulty AM feeds into layered tape collages, which is an artistic way to dance around the fact that I could have easily broken an ear drum and surely irritated all dogs in a three mile radius of my living room). ...the sort of situation where you hear feedback, but it sounds like there are multiple pitches sort of shifting back and forth.

Over the course of the following twenty minutes or so, the apparently saxophone generated high-end tones ricocheted off the walls of the main room, into which an older Asian man (Tamio Shiraishi) eventually walked into, meeting up with another man who sat calmly at a single snare drum, using sticks and cymbals to create friction based, smooth sustained tones, at times coming close to matching the ear drum slicing sounds that were somehow being belted out of this man and horn. The sheer amount of physical force that he pushed through his entire body and instrument was perfectly contrasting that of Sean Meehan, who at his most animated moment, found his way down onto his knees, using forks to generate series of short ambiance until ultimately using the snare's head to crackle and crush an empty beer can that had been left on the gallery's floor, at the most slow pace imaginable (it probably went on for about five minutes or so).

Shiraishi and Meehan's piece was the most confrontational and performance based of the night, and the tenseness and anxiety that their presence created even phased me a bit. Shiraishi walked along the walls of the gallery, occasional in-between some of the people that were watching, and he seemed irritated and angry. His sax never made it down to the range in which notes are generally produced for more than a split second, and it seemed as though he was just blowing through and biting down as hard as physically possible, destroying three reeds in the process, while Meehan seemed completely devoid of emotion and life, never changing or moving at any more than a snails pace. The two seemed completely unaware and detached from each other in some ways, but still strangely maintaining this uniform state that relied on both of their input and stability,... they did an incredible job of utilizing the enormous space of the gallery's front room and complete attention and silence from everyone in the building.

(...okay, to be fair, some of us absolutely did let out a laugh when after changing out one of the reeds, Shiraishi approached the front, seemingly swung the entrance door open with much annoyance and then let a few seconds go by before belting out another series of extremely loud saxophone squealing for the few unexpected and unappreciative people on the patio and in the parking lot. ...because that was just truly smart and funny).

Mr. Natural: Before he started, Teta made a comment about this insane looking antler “instrument” that was sitting on the stage, leaned against a stack of amps. I told her about how I once played with this band in Phoenix, in which one of the members had made a contact-mic based unit using antlers, and they had springs of bike chains or something along those lines attached to them, and as the rest of the group (which I later tacked down as Sikhara) did their own thing, he would bow it or smack it against the ground and it would sound like thunder. ...a few minutes passed, and this taller guy, that had already looked familiar, walked by a few times, and too many different light bulbs started going off. It was absolutely the same guy, it had to be.

Sure enough, in ten minutes time, Teta and I were sitting on the floor in front of the small stage, completely enthralled by the simplistic genius of Mr. Naturals set, a dense and intricate collage of sounds generated by tapping and dragging the antlers across the wood planks and bowing (or hitting with the bow) the two long springs that ran parallel down the length of “the instrument” (as he refers to it), with the contact mics feeding the organic sounds through several effects and delay. The overall tone shifted from thick and low and percussive, to portions that were almost harmonic and ambient, which felt delivered from a natural combination of pitch-shifted vibration and occasional allowance of feedback.

In conversation, he expressed that he felt like he went into the performance without the needed preparation, but I feel obligated to express that what he managed to produce for those 20 minutes was not only textured, varied and interesting, but an impressive display of control and innovation (even if it might be a simple idea, he's the one doing it, making it interesting and having me love it). Really neat / nice guy.

Trauma: In my excitement for the night as a whole, I had completely spaced on who Trauma actually consists of (specifically Ben Hall!), and I was ultra excited to see a table full of Graveyards and Editions Broken Research releases, as well as the momentary / situational meeting with Ben, who is the percussive machine in various outsider units (Graveyards, Melee, Traum, Hell and Bunny, ect ect ect). A gigantic relief for me, (and sub-sequential bummer for them), I already owned a majority of the extremely neat things they had with them: some recent and not so recent Graveyards LPs and 8” lathe, a few tapes and countless Broken Research releases that I had gotten from Ben awhile back via the mail. I mentioned that if he had invested his paypal balance wisely, they'd be in good shape, but still managed to grab some exciting new things: new Melee and Graveyards LPs that he had released and I hadn't grabbed from elsewhere yet, a couple of Trauma cassette and a heavily advised / recommended tape from an artist called Skin Graft on Chris Riggs' (the other ½ of Trauma) label, Holy Cheever Church Recordings: which sadly did not come to my attention as the name of his label until Teta and I were back at our place, because the reference in that name is extremely obscure, to the point that I've never met another person who has even seen the film it's culled from, and I would have loved to connect on a mutual appreciation for it. I need to e-mail that guy.

Trauma's set was truly fantastic. Ben had an assortment of belted down styrofoam, what seemed like guitar or bass strings and other assorted items which were bowed atop on large drum, while another, which was more obviously contact mic'd, was used for generating vibration based drones and rapid, forceful skips of drumsticks across the head (with bells eventually making their way on as well). The dynamic range in both volume and type of sound that Ben crafted was completely engaging, the styrofoam and particular edge of this long plastic tube were scathing and could compete with any harsh noise approach that could have been alternatively used, and his various other combinations of actions kept things subconsciously rhythmic, the sort of vibe that causes you to start swaying, without really knowing or understanding to what pace. Chris used a bow and several wooden sticks and other small items to occasionally re-”prepare” the guitar across his lap, and often provided a simple, perfect baseline for what the two would be creating at the moment. Most notable were the movement changes, sparked by the occasional eye contact and body motion, the two would completely alter what they were doing in unison. The changes were exciting and further drew me in. I really loved their set and am grateful to have been able to catch them outside of the parameters of the cassette on American Tapes that I've come accustomed to letting repeat while working on projects at home.

Andrew Coltrane: ...actually played as a duo with a drummer, under the name Cold Turkey. In both his demeanor while playing and throughout the rest of the night, Andrew seems like a really shy, nice guy. I had really been looking forward to see what he was going to do, the various releases of his that I own are pretty varied and almost always really interesting. As Cold Turkey, while the other guy played scattered jazz-style percussion, Andrew played sax through a rig of various machines, not sure if some were tape units or samples of other sorts, but he had healthy amounts of sound spinning around underneath each fresh onslaught of reeded noodling, which itself would often have thick murky substance to it. While I liked what they did overall, the drums kind of took away from it a lot. Unless I was completely misunderstanding what I was hearing and how loud things were, I think they might have even been going through the PA, which seemed completely unnecessary. Of course, to be fair, it's probably hard for anyone that is banging on anything to leave much of an impression directly after watching Ben Hall do anything. (I would assume).

That being said, with an awareness of the critical tone, I was actually into it and grabbed their LP without hesitation. (and it's awesome, much more sparse, no percussion at all, just some heavily effected sax sputter that got a double play spin earlier this afternoon).

Wasteland Jazz Unit: Other than Trauma, I was most excited to see these guys. They had gotten a hold of me to say hello after they saw something I wrote about them (in regards to a CDr they did on American Tapes, actually), and since then, I played with Talibam! (who they have a split LP with), and have come to learn about the space and radio show they help coordinate in Cincinnati, the Art Damage (Lodge). Their schtick is simple and to the point: a reeds duo (sax and clarinet) through some effects and extreme volume, and it becomes much more apparent live, as the two play their instruments the way you would aggressively imitate Glenn Branca on guitar, that the approach is half of the game. It's not easy to swallow, but once you get to a part of the room where you can stand and watch them without your ears bleeding, you catch that it's a full on noise/jazz freak-out, most directly carved in stone when the amps shut off for the last couple of minutes and you can clearly hear John Lorenz wailing relentlessly. Obviously not for everyone, and especially not for anyone with sensitive ears or an opposition to feedback, but the “anything goes” / “fuck it” vibe is playful and sincere in it's specificness. I was way into it, despite taking a bit to figure out where and how I could be able to tolerate the aural attack. “All music has been destroyed”, indeed!

...neat meeting these guys and chatting for a second. I gladly picked up their new CDr that documents a collaboration with C. Spencer Yeh. “That's a fucking weird one”, the other John points out while laughing a healthy bit. I laughed too: “yeah, I bet!”. I look forward to eventually passing through their part of the country, I am sure it's a blast.

I thought it was extremely refreshing to see a group of people doing this sort of thing, keeping a cool, positive attitude, not taking it all so seriously when appropriate to acknowledge the absurdity, but in other contexts: having a psuedo-professionalism in the instances of well-thought out ideas and intricate / innovated creation, and universally: being approachable and nice for the most part. I was really happy to see all of these different personalities intersect and balance so well. I wish that there were some more people attending and that I had played too (I never think that though), but it was hard to not feel extremely good about walking to the car at 11:30pm, when it was originally set to last until about 1:00am. I didn't spend nearly half or even a third of what I was expecting that I would have been tempted by via merch, but still left with some exciting new stuff to check out. Met and re-met a few nice people, got to check out a legit gallery and space that I've never been to before, was truly blown away by several of the performances and shared the experience with someone that I love. I feel as though it's safe to say that I may have enjoyed this night more than most anyone else in the building, and I'm grateful that my obsession of the fringe delivered us to that moment in time.

Saturday, October 10, 2009


I got excited when Teenage Jesus & the Jerks "reunited" to play those Knitting Factory shows a while back. I checked airline tickets, promised myself I was going, realized it was too expensive and ultimately forgot about it. So when word came about that Lydia Lunch was taking the band on tour I got excited. Now a two hour drive is all it would take for me to be face to face with a band that rearranged every conception I had of music and how to make it. DNA were always my favorite, but Teenage Jesus were the most punk in a time where words like that were a thing of the past.

First off, it must be mentioned that this was not a true to form reunion, but considering TJ&TJ was a revolving cast of members, all that really matters is Ms. Lunch was on stage with hopefully at least one member of the original band. And that's all you got... Lydia on guitar and vocals, James Sclavunos literally playing one drum and Algis Kizys from Swans on bass. Considering the band's discography is about as long as the dead air before the first song on my highschool band's demo, my expectations of a magical, lengthy set never danced across my mind for more than a moment. Perhaps this was the reason each show's openers were a who's who of modern no wave, punk and whoever else made it onto the bill: Mika Miko, the Bay Area's unruly Burmese, Talk Normal (best NY band going!!!) and so on and so forth. Could these be great shows? Possibly... but I'll never know.

Why? I didn't go. Chalk it up to my general laziness and procrastination of even the things I'm most passionate about, but I'll blame it on youtube. After watching video after video of recent Teenage Jesus shows, I vowed not to waste my 20 bucks and stayed home. As my friend Patrick mentioned (he actually went to a show), "you could tell this was a big joke on everyone who came", and maybe I should have expected that and probably would even embrace it? Hell, I like a good joke, but from the sound of Ms. Lunch's vocals, their set was either a 15 minute anti-smoking ad (thanks Patrick, I'm still laughing) or Large Marge from PeeWee's Big Adventure reincarnate on stage after her fatal truck accident. Gone is what I truly loved about this band... youthful angst, a sound that challenged your ideas of what music is and so on and so forth. With those key elements in the trash, why reunite? Money... I get that, and fuck she probably needs it, and while this is hardly as obnoxious as say Joy Division getting back together with Ian Curtis' daughter on vocals or some lucky chap they met at a pub "who had er' real passion fer the urly werks", I still think it's silly that this happened.


Monday, September 28, 2009

A Totally Biased Guide To Pop Montreal!!!!!!

Pop Montreal when me and my fellow Montrealers open our cluttered apartments to dozens of bands (and if you are like me , that means serving brunch to 10 scroungers each morning), dust off our woolens and bike around town furiously making it from show to show.

This year there's a lot to please Thee.Ou. readers but it's gonna mean me plugging my own band and bands of my friends and fellow Thee Outernet contributors cause in Montreal , we keep shit local.

Set times for most of these Shows can be found on the Pop Montreal website.

Wednesday, September 30th :::


@ Sala Rossa (4848 St-Laurent)

Thursday , October 1st :::


@ Théâtre Olympia (1004 Ste-Catherine Est )

8:30 - 11:30 pm


Thursday, October 1st :::


@ Sala Rossa (4848 St-Laurent)

10:30pm - 1:30am

Friday, October 2nd :::
/// DAYTIME SHOW!!! ///

+++ MORE

@ Friendship Cove (215a Murray St)

Friday October 2nd :::
/// NIGHT SHOW ///


@ Le National (1220 Ste Catherine Est)

8-11 pm

Friday, October 2nd :::
/// NIGHT SHOW ///


@ Casa del Popolo (4873 St-Laurent)

9pm - 2am

Friday October 2nd ::

+ Guests

@ Studio Juste Pour Rire

10pm - 3am

Friday, October 2nd :::

(Homosexuals canceled)


@ Lambi (4465 St-Laurent)



Saturday, October 3rd :::

HELL SHOVEL (Jeff Clark from Demon's Claws)
+++ MORE

NOON - pwyc
@ Friendship Cove (215a Murray St)


Saturday , October 3rd :::

JERUSALEM IN MY HEART (performing w/ 30 piece men's choir)

@Théâtre Outremont (1240 avenue Bernard)

9:30 - 12 pm

Saturday October 3rd :::

@Fédération Ukrainienne (5213 rue Hutchison )

8-11 pm

Saturday, October 3rd :::
//// NIGHT SHOW ////


@ Sala Rossa (4848 St Laurent)

10:30 pm - 1:30 am

I'm probably most psyched to see Diamanda Galas , who's been a huge influence and inspiration over the years , if only I can snag a ticket! Opening for Teenage Jesus is pretty exciting too.

Both matinees are a sure bet with cheap cover , BBQ , coffee and many of Montreal's best locals bands as well as some awesome touring bands. Friendship Cove is one of my personal favorite venues. It's a warehouse space , on 2 floors with a rooftop perfect for chilling. HIGHLY RECCOMENDED to outta towners who wanna see what's cool in this part of Canada and meet some friendly peeps.

My boyfriend told me that Human Eye were the best band he saw at SXSW , I missed them 'cause I was watching The Intelligence but am pretty stoked to see them as I've been a longtime fan who's never seen 'em live.

Same for FNU Ronnies , I've been wanting to see them forever.

The Intelligence and Thee Oh Sees are both playing Montreal for the first time this Pop , I wonder if it has anything to do with me insisting to head honcho Dan Seligman that he stick around too see them at the SXSW Panache showcase?

See you in the pit , just don't spill my energy drink.


# denotes band of Thee Outernet contributor.

Sunday, September 20, 2009


TF by Kimber VanSant

The following interview was conducted through various e-mails and text messages...

Jason- Who is Tickley Feather?

Tickley Feather- I come from the land of the long pig! I am edible and delectable.

Jason- So, can I refer to you as Annie in this interview or as Tickley Feather?

Annie- Please do refer to me as Annie, Jason.

Jason- Why the name Tickley Feather?

Annie- Tickley Feather is a name that sounds silly, and I like things that are silly.

Jason- Have you been tickled by feathers?

Annie- I have had the experience of traveling on the interstate behind a truckload of chickens. So not only have I been tickled by feathers, but also, have been blasted by them. The word "blasted" is funny!

Jason- So you recently "blasted" through Richmond, VA to finish your next album, how was the experience and how was it spending time in this city you once lived?

Annie- The experience was very nice, thanks. I loved working with John at The Etching Tin. He's really funny and he offered to cook me something on the grill one night, which is right out the back door, 4 feet from the mixing board. I was treated kindly by many old friends and new friends alike during my visit. I drank much more than usual during my last night out there, as usual. I would like to visit Richmond more now that I am living down south again.

Jason- What is the name of the upcoming record and when can we expect it to be released? Paw Tracks correct?

Annie- My upcoming record is going to be released on October 20th by Paw Tracks. It is my second full length and my first album with a title. The title is Hors D'oeuvres, a word with multiple spellings, that symbolizes hospitality and tiny snacks that do not stuff you.

Jason- So, will this album be edible?

Annie- I wish that were possible. Or at least for it to be made out of cardboard or something out of the ordinary. I heard people have made wooden records in the past. I will say that the album is on vinyl, which is round and at least as sturdy as a disposable plate, and could always be eaten OFF of if one found themselves in a pinch.

Tickley Feather 2nd album on Paw Tracks

Jason- Is that your son Aiden on the new record cover? Is that how you spell his name?

Annie- Yes to both!

Jason- What touring plans do you have following the release of Hors D'oeuvres?

Annie- I will take this album on tour with me to Europe in November and sell it to Europeans! I'm still working on a US tour, for afterwards.

Jason- Were there any collaborators on the new recordings and will there be anyone accompanying you for touring?

Annie- This album just has me on it, not including mixing. BUT I would like to collaborate with someone at least for one project sometime in the future. Or, actually, I'd like to try working with a producer of some sort sometime. That might be neat. It'd be fun to get pushed around a little by someone who has ideas that are better than mine. Someone guided by that deck of cards that Brian Eno invented, maybe?

Touring: For various shows, I'll have AKASHA BLADE and SERPENTS OF WISDOM, both dudes who have incredible solo projects of their own. It feels really great to work with people who have skills and creativity that I trust and admire. You should look them up! Also, If Tim from MY MIND will do some shows again with us, I'd be totally happy. He has a special keyboard sense and also looks neat-o, in general. We did a few shows, the 4 of us, before I moved away from Philly, and I felt like it was really right.

Jason- What instruments are you using on the new album? I hear you play guitar this time!!!!

Annie- Guitar, keyboards, toy piano, a noisy thunder-sounding thing. I think that's it.

Tickley Feather by Kimber VanSant

Jason- So you've moved from Philadelphia to rural VA, was it a positive move?

Annie- Yes, it's very good. I like it a lot.

Jason- What are the differences between living in (it's Staunton right?), VA and Philadelphia?

Annie- My favorite person I've seen here is an old man who is really hunched over and is always walking around with a garbage bag in one hand and i big old black umbrella, wide open, in the other. My favorite person I used to see in Philly was a big huge lady that wore really small, tight, close curlers in her hair and was always clapping her hands together joyously. Oh, but in Philly there was also this other lady who had electroshocked grey hair and screwed up looking makeup. She had a big crooked ring of red lipstick alllllll around the outside of her mouth. And blue eyeshadow alllllll around her eyebrows.

Jason- What are your releases thus far?


Deaderna Doornail (tape, 3 copies) released by Diaper Records

Tickley Feather (random content CD, 10 copies) released by Diaper Records

Serpents Of Wisdom/ Tickley Feather split 7 inch Badmaster Records

Bermuda Triangles/ Tickley Feather split 7 inch C.N.P. Records

Tickley Feather s/t CD and LP Paw Tracks and Badmaster Records

Tickley Feather "Hors D'ouevres LP and CD Paw Tracks

Tickley Feather "B Sides and Bonus Tracks" (9/25) tape released by Diaper Records

a track on "Killer Workout Mix" comp CD C.N.P. Records

Jason- Have you ever had a pet turtle?

Annie- Yes, 2 box turtles for a few days. I fed them too much lettuce in the hot sun and I think they exploded.

Jason- If there were a movie made about TICKLEY FEATHER, who would you envision playing you?

Annie- Shirley Temple.

Jason- So, how tall are you anyway?

Annie- 3 feet 4 inches

Jason- What did you have for dinner last night?

Annie- Well last night it was classy. I made a roast and mashed potatoes and that long fancy broccoli. I tried to drink both of the beers in the fridge before my man got home and wanted one. I only got through 1 and a half. But I don't think he knew there were 2 to start with, so I'm ahead.

Jason- Alright, I think that covers it, thank you very much Annie!!!!


Friday, September 18, 2009


Lowell, Massachusetts is a strange place. Notorious for being poverty stricken and home to one of the UMASS campuses, Lowell is more a haven for Asian gangs, crack use and junkies. Nestled in the middle however is RRR Records, run by Ron of Emil Beaulieau fame. Ron has thousands of rock and pop records on the walls and it's not rare to see him in some weird musical debate about the relevancy of (insert known or obscure rock icon here) with random locals. But you almost wonder if these Elvis collectors ever took the time to sift through the thousands of noise cassettes, compact discs and vinyl that Ron possibly makes a living off of via the internet. RRR has always been a trusted retailer and label in it's own right, releasing a plethora of noise releases from bands and artists all over the world. Crude, stripped down packaging has been the norm but not always the rule... whereas most can tell an American Tapes release by John Olson's artwork, Ron's aesthetics are almost like Olson in his childhood sketchbook. Dumbed down, primitive scribble and packing tape as cover art.

So I frequented RRR whenever I had an excuse to do so... Lowell isn't exactly far from where I grew up but it's not really "on the way" to anything besides trips to other run down Massachusetts cities (Worcester, Springfield) or New York. After doing my best to make sure the store was even open, I arrived one day shortly after eating some speed and scooped up several tape and vinyl releases from whoever caught my eye. When I arrived home that night my friend Fife and I jammed the 15 or 20 tapes I bought and I found myself immediately drawn to "Live, Estral Beach, MI" by Mammal, self released on his Animal Disguise imprint. As disgusting and blown out as the rest of the lot, but strangely rhythmic, the gnarl of synth crunch and tape hiss smashed into your brain in the same way a drumbeat would. I became a follower at that very moment, about four years late to my dismay, and began grabbing whatever I could find.

Mammal is a guy named Gary from Michigan who played a pretty big role I'd imagine alongside Wolf Eyes, Hive Mind and other Midwest noise neu-legends who have been at it strong for the past decade plus. Recently relocating to Tacoma, WA, which is in many ways similar to Lowell aesthetically and it's history of gang violence, something seems to have clicked and changed within this man's brain. Channeling the pummeling, soulless monotony of Suicide through distortion and crafting something all his own, a surprisingly melodic and straight forward Mammal emerges from his noisy past. "Lonesome Drifter" is a complete masterpiece. Two LP's of crushing downer vibes... this is either one big joke on society or we truly have here a man who's friends gossip behind his back about rare glimpses of a smile forming on his somber face during times they hung out. We could have a totally pleasant, nice guy here but his music conveys a different image altogether. Indifference overpowers excitement, but don't think the music is in anyway boring. Sifting through the piles of cassettes and CDR's he's unleashed over the years, comparing those to "proper" full lengths and trying to make sense of his progression will never leave you questioning his seriousness or validity. Even the most obscure tapes showed an artist on to something all his own, but what exists in such a rare form is your inability to deny that he's probably happy regardless of who hears it, hence the limited number of copies each release has been granted since his start. I think that's a beautiful thing to find in an artist... with it being almost impossible to ignore the blatant attempts bands make to appeal to audiences no matter how large or small. Here we have a true statement of love or hate from an overlooked yet relevant musician in a time when obscurity is just as much an attempt to appeal as aiming for the current trend.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

6 Part Motivational Series on Bands

If you can forgive the mild Francophobia, slightly sexist undertones (unintentional), and the endorsement of an obsolete musical format once called a "compact disk", this could be worth watching if you are contemplating being in a band. This was a response to the many e-mails that come into my mailbox every month asking basic questions about being in a band.

Sunday, September 6, 2009


Does anybody else write in this thing anymore? Regardless, I felt it was important to shine some light on Boyd Rice's current rebirth of importance in the modern noise/indie scene. Pulled from the depths of isolated hibernation in Colorado by various NY/Philly minimal noise luminaries, Mr. Rice has once again graced us with his presence and who knows what the future holds for him or his various projects.

One thing is for sure though... I patiently am waiting for him to go back into hiding. NON never impressed me, besides a few live renditions of "Total War" that I dug, and his works with my favorite band DEATH IN JUNE were always kind of bullshit in my eyes. But what really turned me off about Mr. Rice was his appearance on "Race & Reason" with Tom Metzger. Metzger is known for his formation of the White Aryan Resistance, a group that bred various smaller hate organizations across the country throughout the 80's and 90's. Boyd and Tom talk about using music to form an Aryan Youth Movement, writing off his works as propaganda, and I guess I would agree considering how unimportant most of it was to begin with. It's hard to say what were his true beliefs and what was just shock value... god knows Sid Vicious didn't know shit about Hitler when he donned the famous Swastika shirt in his Sex Pistols days. All he knew was it would shock people, and while I don't label myself PC and think shock value is important to some degree, this interview shows a man taking the joke a little too far. In fact, I think it was him openly embracing the hatred he hinted on that ultimately sunk him below the depths of "the pulse"... Boyd was all but forgotten by most, usually mentioned due to his weird fascinations with Tiki Culture or other idiosyncrocies that made him stand apart from the rest of normal society.

I think noise has done equal parts good and bad for music. For me it proved that 4/4 rock n' roll was a limiation, not the rule. It was not until hearing Throbbing Gristle and Whitehouse albums that I knocked down my own musical barriers in my mind and started to embrace the fact that anything is possible with sound. But it also has become a format for people to spout hatred, as well as pair shock value with audio extremity. I find nothing artistic, beautiful or intense about a woman ballgagged and tied up, or screamed lyrics about raping unsuspecting victims. This white, macho, embracing your most disturbed and perverted side is just as prevelant in high school lockerrooms as it is a PRURIENT concert. The same goes for talk of racial purity and seperating whites from the rest of the world via music. The National Front and WAR have used black metal, Oi!, punk rock, Skinhead culture and other methods to pull confused white youths into their circle. Why would you want to contribute to that? I truly feel Boyd Rice knew how limiting a career in noise would be and felt "why not alienate myself further?" but that would be a cop out. In reality I think he just decided to show the world what a piece of shit he truly had become, and it's sad, because I know his contributions to music and art have influenced many projects I hold dear to my heart. Wheras DEATH IN JUNE flirted with imagry, Boyd Rice took on the openly proud image of a neo-fascist Aryan purist. Douglas P sucks uncut dick... Hitler would have thrown him into the camps with the rest of the "undesirables", but Boyd... why do this to yourself or anyone else, and if you truly believe the filth you spit, good for you, just go back into hiding where I don't have to hear any of it.

Shame on the artists who I won't even bother naming for seeing importance in this man and going out of their way to help him resurface. Maybe I don't get the "joke", but from the punchlines I've seen and heard over the years, I'm not laughing.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009


French Cold Wave is "Mr. Hip Shit" around town right now. Obsessed over by weird folks with asymmetrical haircuts, anti-hipsters who swear they don't even listen to music anymore and dudes who work at independent video rental stores. So what do you do when the world is obsessing over the minimally synthesized sounds of France? Delve into Spanish Death Rock & Post Punk!

PARALASIS PERMANENTE is part Factory Post Punk, part Killed by Death comp with a healthy dose of Death Rock for good measure.

"Autosuficiencia" (in case video doesn't show/work)

DECIMA VICTIMA ignore the rest and stick to the Factory Post Punk sound and they offer a really interesting take on the style. It's totally excusable when a band sounds so close to one of it's influences when they write exceptionally good songs.

"Detras de la mirada" & "La razon de la discordia" (in case video doesn't show/work)

AGRIMENSOR K are one of my new favorite bands. Totally perfect, early lofi-goth from Spain. Completely perfect in every way.

"Principio Y Fin" (in case video doesn't show/work)

Start here.

Saturday, August 22, 2009







Thursday, August 20, 2009


Finding a good band is no longer a needle in a haystack scenario, and a great song seems to be just around ever corner these days. While some lurk in the shadows calling out "poser" at everything that gets "big", I've done my best to shed my judgmental attitude (which I wrongfully labeled my "opinion") to just ENJOY whats going around. Here are some bands and/or songs I love.

WILLIAM HART inspired this entire post to begin with. "Coal" (with or without drums) is a depressing, lost romp through the mind. I mean what else could influence a song this dark? You know the original jam that spawned this song was an hour long with a main riff that you could literally play forever. I was in a band that had a song like that... with in an insane riff that you just pummel into your brain. It never left acapella/in the van humming stage though. His other songs are decent takes on downer folk, but if he released an album of songs like "Coal", it'd surely be one of my favorites of 2009. Think Birthday Party, Son House at his most ugly and depressing and the small circle of us who think all Cramps songs should sound like "Human Fly". If those things interest you this song might too.

"Flowers" by FLIGHT is another song I totally adore right now. It makes me think of bands from the 80's who did old rock n roll stuff and made it sound futuristic. It's got this great Weezer/Rentals breakdown in the middle. He might take that as a diss but it's not meant to be. I also have a creeping suspicion that this is Beck playing a trick on us.

BESTIAL MOUTHS are my new favorite band. I feel blessed that they live so close to me as I know I'll experience them live many times in the future. This is band #3 in a long line of Los Angeles by-way-of Atlanta (or the other way around?) goth punk units who keep getting better and better with each attempt. It looks as though garage punk is the "it" thing now, but for those who prefer Sioxusie over the Sonics like me, look no further. This group in this phase convey a mentality that has stopped giving a fuck what the kids at the Smell thinks and are playing from their hearts. Gone were the equally awesome crossover attempts of the previous projects. You'll have to leave the Indie section on your way to the Goth corner at Amoeba for this record.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Interview with Dum Dum Girls


1. What are the pros and cons of being in a band in the music scene right now, 2009?

I probably never would have made it out of the bedroom if not for the internet. I owe my Hozac, Captured Tracks, & Sub Pop releases to myspace discoveries. But I also struggle to be detached from the internet in other regards because I really don't need to read hater commentary that focuses predominantly on my looks or pitting me against other female musicians. It's unbelievable how stone-age sexist my apparent peers are.

2. What has Music provided for you on a personal level over the years? I know for me, as morbid as this may sound, I would probably be dead or a drug addict or a dead drug addict by now if it weren't for Music intervening in my life in such a deep way. Is it like that for you all or is it more of a hobby?

It is the same solace and salvation for me. I can't imagine myself outside the context of making music -- other than my love, it is my sole motivator.

3. Do you notice any trends in underground music scenes these days? A few observations I have are that it is a lot less common to see bands or musicians have a "following" it seems that music fans take it a lot more night to night now. What do you think?

I'm not sure. I am interested in observing how internet buzz translates to touring attendance.

4. Sorry I have to ask a cliche one - what music are you currently listening to?

My husband played DJ this week, so it's all about early Phyllis Dillion (she's the "queen of jamaican soul"), The Ramones, and The Kids.

5. Is there any particular music that you think people must hear from now or anytime for that matter?

Oh I don't know, I blow my mind on all sorts all the time.

6. What inspired the creation of Dum Dum Girls? And can you comment a little about getting signed to Sub Pop; that is very exciting!

I was writing songs and doing home recordings and essentially stole (I claim collaborated) the name from Brandon [Welchez]. I had no lofty intentions, so even the Hozac 7" offer was a complete shocker. The Sub Pop thing is still too surreal to really get into.

7. Do you have any tips for kids just starting off in a band? Any ways to cut through some of the BS or advice?

Do everything for yourself as long as you can. There's no need for outside "help" or intervention until much later. It will fuck you over.

8. Are there any musicians that you think had a great career or ones you'd like to emulate as far as success in Music is concerned? For instance, Tom Waits (love him or not) seems to have had a good run, not too big, has control over his performances, delivers a pretty decent show and ya know... lasts.

I think Sonic Youth and The Yeah Yeah Yeahs are perfect examples of respectable and exciting longevity and creativity.

9. What is your opinion about Music and Politics? Do you like it when musicians fuse politics into their music (e.g. Hardcore Punk, Public Enemy, Phil Ochs) or do you think it is best left outside of music. What about Dum Dum Girls? Is there a political ingredient in your music?

I only talk personal politics, but I'm not for or against more general politics being in music.

10. Last, is there anything you'd like to let people know about or add about anything?


Thursday, August 13, 2009


It has been said many times before this, usually tucked in dark corners of record geek message boards or in comments to some forgotton blog, but I'm going to put it out there in plain view for some to see with hopes that you'll spread the news that Vancouver is ten steps ahead of every other part of the DIY world musically. Something about every project that emerges is legitimately awesome, and the incestuous nature of these bands makes spreading out and discovering more as easy as tracing the family tree so to speak.
I first experienced TWIN CRYSTALS in Portland, Oregon at the cavernous Branx located behind Rotture on the the Southeast side. Awkward hellos and solid conversation trickled through the night till they completely leveled the building on borrowed gear. A band so weird and fucked up, alienating and intense, yet with an equal obsession for the Wipers and early Kraftwerk. Whereas Channels 3 & 4 took the route of crafting anti-hits that got stuck in your head faster than radio singles, Twin Crystals creates legitimate classic songs that no one questions. Like AC/DC... even those set on hating them admit they write memorable, great songs, but maybe my view of how they'll be remembered is different from what will become reality, and wrongfully so! Napa and Davis, California are places that I will always go hand in hand with becoming a genuine believer in everything this band is doing. I can't visit or even think about these cities without seeing things on repeat. And their LP is the most solid punk record of modern times and I never even thought they had it in them.
RANDOM CUTS is Justin taking what he brought to the table with Mutators and deciding to raise the child alone (with the supposed help of some mannequins). It's bands and people like this that make me think Brace Paine got his entire schtick from Vancouver, because it sure didn't come from Arkansas. Songs that are so catchy yet never let you get comfortable in your enjoyment. This is not music to go about relaxing to and winding down after a long day. It's the type of gnawing post-punk hits that you listen to while trying to hold your piss in. Another complete winner from a dude with a pedigree including the violent punk of Mutators and jarring no wave of Female Health.
MODERN CREATURES, DEFEKTORS and SHEARING PINX all dominate their respective lines of work. Defektors drops punk gold... amazing songs you'd feel just at home with were this 1979 or the early 80's. One of those that wasn't there when it started, but ended up doing it close to the best sort of deals. Modern Creatures, like most every band from up there, puts great, engaging vocals on top of perfectly replicated (insert genre here) yet made all their own. That's really the formula for this city. No band sounds exactly like anything you've heared before. They all take a genre and do their absolute best with it, adding their own touches and usually deliverly an improved version of what you've come to know. SHEARING PINX is the band that will never break up. They take said formula and beat it to death with dozens of yearly releases ranging a broad spectrum of influences and styles. The underlining theme of said band seems to be "we enjoy playing together", and when put at the forefront of a band, seems to be the missing link in so much of what we hear today. The tension created in the music is for everyone else, no anyone or anything within. Whereas Random Cuts seems angry at itself, Shearing Pinx is angry at the world.
Go to myspace right and search any of these bands. An LP containing all of them would be a starting point for any future punx to begin their search for all these band's records twenty years down the line.
Brave New World, Play Dead and Deep Wound were all criminally overlooked and made their ways into my life way too late. Thus is the trend of focusing all energy on one scene and ignoring the most inspirational pieces of it. Now is Vancouver's time. With this accepted, I find no reason for these records not to stay print and be considered classics by the youth to come.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Tobias' featurette No. 4 - Angels In America (NYC/MTL)

'Angels In America' is a band made up of two kids who have assumed the persona's Moppy Pont and Rob Rombus. Who met in High School in NYC and formed the group at that time. After self-releasing their 1st tape "Cunt Tree Grammar" they sent a copy to Thurston Moore & Byron Coley's Bull Tongue column in Arthur Magazine (R.I.P). Soon after that exchange they were invited to have the tape re-released by Moore's own label 'Ecstatic Peace!'. Moppy has been living in Montreal for the past year or so (and is returning to the states permanently after this tour). While they were staying in Montreal they picked up two backing members which they will be taking with them through the states all month on their first tour.

They have been described as "a really stoned Teenage Jesus and The Jerks." and variations of that. They are way too pretentious to have a myspace page but you can download some high quality mp3 versions of their tunes on WFMU's Free Music Archive.

They sell teeshirts at their gigs of a man in black face being hugged by witches for $5.00 printed on the thinnest and tightest material known to man. 1 size. Which they got wholesale for .99 cents each.

Oh and probably the greatest live band you will see this Summer! We got into it recently. This was a recorded conversation in their borrowed apartment from 1am after a long day of wearing colorful costumes, barfing sprinkles and gummybears for an artfilm called "Smile Stealers" that Moppy stars in and Rob Rhombus also cameos in. I will also mention that Rob Rhombus has a stick n' poke tattoo on his stomach of a gravestone that reads "PIZZA", which he got this Summer.

(Moppy Pont in the film 'Smile Stealers' by Jasa Baka)

(Rob Rhombus in the film 'Smile Stealers' by Jasa Baka)

Rob Rhombus: I gotta control myself.
Tobias: Okay. You're a band, you did a
tape, how old were you? 18? You covered 18 by Alice Cooper when you
were 18? Is that right?
Moppy: um huh.
Rob Rhombus: We were babies.
Tobias: You were babies.
Moppy: We were 18.
Rob Rhombus: I had adopted this baby.
Moppy: And we had just been adopted by Mr. Boombastic.
Rob Rhombus: Father Boombastic. He runs a mission.
Moppy: We said "Can you be cute to us?"
Rob Rhombus: Yah.. he was a real fi-yah-star-tah.
Tobias: And the tape?
Rob Rhombus: I made one. And then I tried to make another one. I
couldn't do it so I called up my friend. My friend Peter. Greazy
Peter. Yeah we made it and then we made more of it. Let's just leave
it at that, allright?
Moppy: Then we had a little rendezvous at Kinky's.
Rob Rhombus: Yeah it was just the usual stuff. You go down to Kinky's.
They make your paper pop.
Moppy: Now we have a lot of inserts. They made a big mistake.
Rob Rhombus: Let's just say we knew what they knew. Listen this is the
real deal. We had gotten Mr. Boombastic to sponsor us at this
Dance-a-thon. And for every dance he would donate a tape. So we got
really energized. And then we got all these tapes outta the deal.
That's true. That's a true story.

Tobias: How many shows have you played in total?
Moppy: 4
Rob Rhombus: 5.
Tobias: So you've been a band two years and you've played 5 shows. 2
in the last week. And then.. a 100 in the next month on tour in the
Rob Rhombus: We just decided to start showing our turds. Spreading our
stuff around. Smearing it. We are going to teach the people about
Tobias: Who's your favorite philosopher?
Moppy: Maria Bello.
Tobias: Angels In America is..
Rob Rhombus: Some Kinda Monster. It's this quote we heard in Some
Kinda Monster. Phil Towel says it. Then Lar's dad reiterates it later
in the film.
Tobias: What do you think about..
Rob Rhombus: I got this rash. Seriously. Off the record. I gotta rash.
Moppy: I think this is a good interview.
Tobias: Where do you want to go from here? Not in your band but in
this interview?
Rob Rhombus: Basically the main thing is.. we're like..everytime I look in the mirror I expect to see the Candy Man. And that helps me because if I don't. In a way I feel like my day
has been ordained for safe passage. I just keep licking myself. I
can't stop. That's how I know it's going to be a good day. If I lick
myself for like 3-4 hours at the beginning of the day. Then I can go
out and just take care of it.
Moppy: yeah.
Rob Rhombus: That's what Mr. Boombastic taught me at the Rash Academy.
He taught me if you have a rash you need to just lick yourself. 'cause
that's how you clean.
Moppy: But sometimes if you lick yourself too much you get a rash.
Rob Rhombus: That's called too much of a good thing.
Moppy: That's what we're about.
Moppy: We wrote a new song about Obama.
Rob Rhombus: It's called "Touch it." We're going to debut it really soon.
Tobias: What are you touring in?
Rob Rhombus: America.
Tobias: No.. what kinda of vehicle are your touring in? Greg (of
Special Noise)'s parents car?
Moppy: & Markus' parents car.
Tobias: So that cars of both band drummer's parents.
Moppy: Why don't we talk about the new song?
Tobias: Sure talk about it.
Rob Rhombus: Talk about it but talk loud. We wrote a scary song about
the moment we saw the ghoul;that has become our god.
Moppy: And..
Rob Rhombus: .. he told us..
Moppy: There was some bad news.
Rob Rhombus: And the bad news is "Congratulations.You are.."
Rob Rhombus: ".. a satchel.. down below.."
Moppy: "..a little.. living...cutie..."
Rob Rhombus: It's about how if a cutie comes out of you.. and what to do then.
Tobias: What's the song called?
Rob Rhombus: Phallaform. It's like "Brenda's Got a Baby" meets Ramstein.
Tobias: Can you talk to me about the new members of your band you've
picked up in Canada?
Rob Rhombus: Yah we're playing with a couple of real greazzzy weasels.
And their great.. Nader.. I mean called BiteNFight.
Moppy: Nader Hasan.
Rob Rhombus: But he goes by BiteNfight. And then there's Papa Spawn.
Moppy: He's kind of our new daddy.

Tobias: What would be a good reason to come to one of the upcoming performances?
Rob Rhombus: If you like good time Hellraiser licks. Mixed with
Darjliing Limited costumes.
Moppy: I'm sari.
Rob Rhombus: No it's okay, I was sarong.

(by David Forcier)

08/08/09 - Montreal, QUE - Divian Orange w/ Woods
10/08/09 - Montreal, QUE - The Silver Door w/ Special Noise, NightGoat
12/08/09 - Providence, RI - AS220 w/ Kokomo, The Ram, Special Noise
13/08/09 - Boston, MA - House Show w/ The Great Drought, Special Noise
14/08/09 - Providence, RI - Warehouse Party w/ Special Noise
16/08/09 - Brattleboro, VT - Jared's House Party w/ Special Noise
17/08/09 - Brooklyn, NYC - Don Pedros w/ Stupid Party,Bad Blood
18/08/09 - Philadelphia, PA - TBA w/ The Great Drought, Special Noise
19/08/09 - Baltimore, MD - The Bank w/ Sewn Leather, DJ Dog Dick
20/08/09 - Washington, DC - The Mini Gallery w/ Sewn Leather, DJ Dog Dick
21/08/09 - Brooklyn, NYC - Monster Island (Todd P presents..)Sewn Leather, Teenage Girl Fantasy, MDNR
22/08/09 - New Brunswick, NJ - Meat Town w/ Special Noise
23/08/09 - Brooklyn, NYC - Silent Barn w/Sewn Leather, Hume
30/08/09 - Burlington, VT - TBA