Saturday, February 28, 2009
(Disclaimer: this is my first blog post ever. I am not what you could call an internet-savvy individual at the best of times, and have avoided blogging thus far solely due to my immense dislike for the word Blog. However, I feel that it is my moral duty as a "weird punk" queer woman (a minority within a minority within a minority you could say) to at least try to contribute to this glorious Blog. Blog, still has a terrible aftertaste. Anyways).
Recently I was sitting around in a friends jamspace, waiting for my bandmates to arrive (the norm), listening to my two dear friends discuss their new-and-exciting project – a cover band. Not just a cover band mind you, but a band that is really a bar band for young-hip-and-happenin’ kids (scenesters, hipsters what have you) in Vancouver. And my friends are being paid nicely for this. Much more cash than your regular band can pull in a night in Vancouver.
So, anyone who knows me knows that I am big-time into theoretical bands/projects/dreams and will joyfully dream up new and wonderful ideas with anyone, anytime, anywhere. And these projects have of course included the odd cover band concept, of course. But sitting listening to my friends discuss their band, play tunes they wanted to cover, I was struck by how I wish they were this excited about their own projects and that we were listening their creations with this much enthusiasm. Not that I wasn’t enjoying their back-and-forth, I just was left thinking “does this mean I am getting old? My friends are becoming the bar band! Did I ever think this would happen? (Answer: no.) And is this the future for most musicians?”
Understandably, most of us have surrendered the notion of being rich-and-famous as we for the most part play in such niche genre. But being able to sustain art and lifestyle is key, and in a ridiculously expensive, soulless city such as Vancouver (the city aptly nicknamed No Fun City) this is pretty much an unattainable pipe dream. Leaving selling-out to the masses one option, at least. And I for one don’t begrudge my friends for trying to make a living out of music, not in the least.
In light of this, I would love some discussion on this topic. Is this happening in your city and to your friends? Is this the future we face? Can a cover band be even better than the real thing?
And here is my favourite cover from my formative high school years:
Much love, always.
One of my many obsessive-music-fan traits is that part of my attraction to a band is occasionally centered around a proprietary mythology or mystery that I've created in my own head about them. This was true of Codeine, since I never had the chance to see them live or knew anyone who had. I'm actually totally content with this - I've imagined some really great Codeine shows in my own head, and those are what I'd rather think about rather than watch any shaky, low-resolution video footage of the band that might exist on Youtube these days.
When I was listening to The White Birch obsessively ('94-'96) I remember being annoyed that reviewers often mentioned Low and Codeine in the same sentence. For me, the bands shared similar tempos but not much else. And even though I started listening to both bands around the same time, the early Low records had a sound that was more conventionally palatable in a way that was less appealing to me and didn't possess the alienated, lonely, and introverted mood that the Codeine records had. I liked that The White Birch wasn't slow because it was relaxed, but rather because it was more hollow, rusted, frozen-over.
Understandably, these qualities have given The White Birch a special resonance to anyone living through oppressive winter weather. Among some of my midwestern friends Codeine records were often described as a "good soundtrack" to certain things: smoking, winter walks, late night drives, or any somber, solitary activity we might have been doing during those snowy Dec-Jan-Feb months. (To be fair to Low here, I make an exception for their excellent 1997 Songs for a Dead Pilot record, mostly because of its' pseudo-Codeine-like bleakness and glacial sustain - specifically the songs "Born By the Wires" and "Landlord", which I always secretly wished Codeine would have covered...I would've gladly paid for the studio time...)
But for all the crawling tempos and delicate, sustained notes this band could rear up and make some loud fucking noise. Many have made note of Codeine's wide dynamic range, and it's impossible to ignore. I don't think I've ever heard sad chords roar up at such high volumes and then instantly dissipate all the way back down to a clean-tone whisper. And I'm not sure I've seen a more confident and elegant career-exit moment (and better album-end fade-out) than the last song on The White Birch, "Smoking Room", whose beautifully slow retreat out to sea sounds like a band writing the music for the end credits of their own movie. I have always been humbled by the restraint on Codeine records in general, and this end part in particular. I think this is one of my favorite endings of any song, and it always makes me think fuck, these guys knew exactly what they were doing. It took a while, but after some time I had to admit that The White Birch and Codeine had influenced almost every aspect of my approach to playing and thinking about music. I'm not sure if its embarrassing to admit this, but this record taught me quite a few important things.
There are a few mysteries surrounding Codeine I have always wondered about. For example: How did the relationship between Codeine and David Grubbs come about? A solo piece of Grubbs' minimalist piano music (similar to his other solo piano work for the Table Of The Elements label) appeared on Codeine's previous 1992 EP release Barely Real and was later cleverly arranged as a full-band song for The White Birch. I have always been a pretty big Gastr Del Sol fan, and so Grubbs' behind-the-scenes presence was always intriguing and never really defined in print - what exactly was he in Codeine? Producer? Collaborator? (Studio shadow?)
Another Codeine mystery that I've never solved: What the fuck ever happened to singer/bass player Stephen Immerwahr? Two-thirds of this band is a known quantity - Chris Brokaw went on to be active in Come (and now The New Year, among other projects) and Doug Scharin continued with Him, Rex, and a pretty lengthy, well-regarded stint in June of 44 as well as a billion other drummer gigs. The hollowed-out, ghost voice of Codeine is nowhere to be found in music these days. I had heard that Immerwahr was in a new band called Raymond who had released a debut 7" shortly after the demise of Codeine, but I have never seen a physical copy of this or heard the material - only scans of the record and cover remain on the internet. Please post if you have any info on this.
Here is an excellent posting of rare Codeine 7"s put together by NYC uber-archivist, Daily Show employee, and good pal BJ Rubin.
Also, the rare Codeine / Bastro euro tour split 7". (I once got involved in a very bitter Ebay bidding war over this one)
I would also hate to have written this much about Codeine and omit the mentioning of their floating, expansive cover of the Joy Division song "Atmosphere" on the Means to an End tribute compilation (on Virgin Records, no less), whose lyrics are right at home beside those on The White Birch:
"People like you, have it easy - face like the sun, walking on air..."
(p.s. - I will edit this post and try to have The White Birch and the "Atmosphere" cover available for download in the next day or two.)
Friday, February 27, 2009
Two of my friends are both into the same guy. I want them to FOLLOW THEIR HEARTS, but at least one person is going to come out of things unhappy and hurt.
They are roommantes, my bandmates, and a couple of my bestest friends.
One is being irrational because the dude he wants doesn't want him (he's into the ladies). The other made the mistake of promising her friend she'd never get involved with this guy... but now feels differently.
I'm not going to be a meddling friend, but if they come to me for advice I want to be there for them.
Sorry this question is not music-related.
Please do not print my name!!!!
THis reminds me of the awful story of Qualcast, Flymo and Scotch Dave.
Qualcast was a stunner who had just won Miss Canadia 1970. She was a lesbian. Flymo was obsessed with her, but he was a Guy. Scotch Dave was in an alcoholic blur and didn't give a fuck about anyone. This one time, at band camp, Qualcast needed a lighter for her foil and gear (all the Miss Canadias in\ those days\were heavily into the Fleetwood Mack; Keith had turned them on to it at the aftershow of "Wild Horses" single release, which had coincided with the Miss Canadia heats, held in Toronto, because the Stones were tax exiles from Britain and AMerica at the time) and she happened to knock on Scotch Dave's hotel door at the hotel. Scotch Dave was a friend of one of the Stones's roadies. "Sure love come in whatever do yous wunt a wee drinky there ken, Pet?" he mumbled through sick and hamburger detritus.
Well, it was love at first sight. So often a really gorgeous chick falls for a total wanker, an arsehole, a loser, a violent brainless twat. YOU CAN'T DAM THE RIVER OF LOVE. And you can't tame a wild pony! And you're left wondering why they went for that guy, when they could of went for you, with your sensitivity, your gentillnesse, your ultra hot sex skills hidden under the guise of a whatever-you-want-me-to-be-i'll-be-it motherfucker.
Your advice, dear Triangle, is simple. QUALCAST WILL PICK THE WINNER. Dude, he might even turn over to our team and agree to fuck Flymo. We've all seen that film where the 2 cowboys go up to the hills above QUebec and discover they're true destiny. Brokeback Mountain, was it called? No; but it was an Ang Lee film... I think it was called "Hulk Wedding Banquet". That's right. Hulk agree to fake marriage Hulk friend, to pretend to Hulk Parents that Hulk not gay. But AAARRRRRRRGGGGG HULK TRICKED INTO SEX WITH FRIEND, AND BOYFRIEND GET JEALOUS AND NEARLY SPILL BEANS TO HULK PARENTS!! Hulk smash kitchen up.
I've spoken. Not much help i know, but i'm really tired and believe it or not I've got prombles of me own right now too.
Dear Uncle Ben,
I’m totally obsessed with this girl I’m friends with. She’s in a band and every time they come to my town her band crashes at my place and we hang out. Last time they stayed here I lent her some bedding cause she had lost her sleeping bag. At soon as their van pulled away I was sniffing the sheets and jerking off more furiously than I ever had in my entire life. I can’t stop thinking about doing her. When I talk to her I can’t even hear what she says anymore ‘cause I’ve just perving out in my head. It’s keeping me awake at night.
She has no idea about any of this and even worse - she has a boyfriend and he is in the band! And him and I get along really well! Now our bands are about to do a string of shows together and I’m really stressed about it. I don’t want her and her bandmates to think I’m a creep but I can’t stop thinking about putting the moves on her. So , how the hell do I keep my cool?
---Not a stalker!
Ah, Obsession - my first love!
There's nothing you can do about it really, except divert all the angst it throws up (that's English for 'barf') into your creativity, your real human beauty. If I hadn't wasted about 10 years of my adolescence being obsessed with female friends who didn't have a clue about it, i'd never have developed the central part of my Creative Human Essence, my MISOGYNY.
You remind me of the dreadful case of Flymo and Qualcast, referred to as "Policy is the best policy", ironically, in self-help literature circles. Just like you, you poor dear, Flymo was obsessed with his "friend" Qualcast, a happily married fox with awesome pins*. Flymo was always courteous and polite to Mr Qualcast, and kept his friendship with Mrs Qualcast pure, chaste, that awful word PLATONIC. (Fuck! You think Plato wasn't a pussy-freak?)
Can you imagine Flymo's horror when, after Qualcast's suicide, which was her response to Mr Qualcast's serial infidelities,
he read her diaries?
Oops I pressed send when i was only halfway through. Sorry to keep you hanging, Notas T. Alker from Ottawa.
We were talking about Flymo, who read his unrequited-beloved's diaries after her suicide. She was into Flymo the whole time!
So you see, it's not 'Policy' that is the best policy, but in fact openness.
Flymo met Qualcast's late husband, Scotch Dave Qualcast, at a bar, years after the death of his wife. "It's a lot less bovver than a hovver!" sad the scotchman with a broad grin and a big red nose. "Ah'm fuckin steamin by the way what are ye drinkin".
"You don't recognize me do you," replied FLymo.
Scotch Dave stared at him with difficulty through squint eyes which relayed 4 uncorrelating images to his mind.
"Aye ah ken who y'are yer that poof who couldnae tell QUalcast ye fancied hurr. Do ye know hink she hud aboot fifty offers every fuckin night by the way?"
Flymo punched scoth dave passionately and stomped off.
Look, it's like heroin, ketamine or jumping off a cliff: YOU'LL NEVER KNOW WHAT IT'S LIKE UNTIL YOU TRY IT!!
Send troubles , desperate pleas, panty shots ect to : firstname.lastname@example.org
Thursday, February 26, 2009
Fast forward to 2007, as I see the TPK 7" Skulltones released hanging on the wall. Besides having the greatest band name I'd heard in a long time, I couldn't help but noticed the imagry used for the cover and wondered "wait... are these guys nazis too?" I got echoes of those same feelings cruising through my body, transporting me back to being thirteen years old. All of that was shattered away when I finally picked up "Harmful Emotions" and let it bash my head in. Had Warsaw moved to Germany in their humble beginnings and recorded an album in an old war bunker before they became the most important band in the world? Probably not, but whoever these guys were I wanted more. It might have taken a while but "Games For Slaves" was worth the wait. The recording quality varies with a better production on most of the songs than on previous releases, while still maintaining a raw, cold take on early post punk. I worship any record that can make me feel good and bad simuletaneously, pushing my most awkward and uncomfortable emotions to the forefront while still allowing me to enjoy a great song.
A few weeks back I DJ'd a bar on Sunday because some friends needed a third. I put on my favorite song from "Games For Slaves" since too many people were dancing to the selections I had picked by Talking Heads and Blitz. Instead of making everyone run for the door, they danced like drunken fools, maybe even more into it than moments before. So in the end this record is good for not only making you hate how you feel in your own skin but also to dance to while shitfaced on a Sunday night before a hard weeks work selling shit on eBay.
The debut Gary War LP, "New Raytheonport", on SHDWPLY last year was undeniably one of my top records of 2008, occupying a space and sound in music I frequently think about and entertain myself with, but rarely see occur. SACRED BONES, one of the best active labels, as far as I am concerned, presents this second offering in their first batch of 2009 releases. Bizarre time signature arrangements, weird fat synth tones, muddy vocals, This record makes me think I am playing F-Zero on super Nintendo, or perhaps more appropriately, SKY ROADS
1993. What a great year for video gaming. Anyways, I think that image gets the point across. Driving a space car at night(?) wearing sunglasses. Fuck yes. Gary War's sound draws comparisons, immediately to some of tape wizard R. Stevie Moore's earlier, more bizarre works, synth punk ala Tone Set, and from more recent times, Ariel Pink. The title track on this 7", "Zontag", is a high speed wash of upbeat synth melodies, almost out of control, but also managing to keep up with itself from start to finish. The B side, "Don't go out tonight" is a more laid back hazy bass riff jam out with a plethora of manipulated samples buried underneath the catchy synth melody and his melted vocal style.
Dude is prolific as well, he has at least another 3 or 4 releases planned in the near future, first being the "ANHEDONIC MAN" one sided 7", which is for pre-order on Hell, Yes! right now, ltd 300, with 100 copies coming with a backward version of the record as well, next being the "Galatic Citizens" LP scheduled to come out on Sacred Bones, and after that a 12" out on Captured Tracks! Get on it!
Tuesday, February 24, 2009
So , right off the bat , this series of chapbooks about rock lust on Disco Babel imprint , La Carte du Tendre , is right up my ally. I might not share the authors' crushes but I UNDERSTAND , man. I relate to these crushes that are often more about the brain than the body . Art than chemistry.
Benjamine Dorno's crush is J.Mascis. She joins his fan club , letters are exchanged and they become friends . His band crashes at her place and they swap postcards.
After a lull , they cross paths at a music festival , catch up on old times and she goes back to his hotel room. But J. can't/won't fuck. Instead he rub his cock on her leg and in her armpits before cumming on her back and thighs and passing out.
In the morning he smiles and gets in the van and that's it.
Does this serve as a teaser to make Benjamine become obsesed or does it repulse? We are left only with ambiguity and the hangover of touching stardom.
In Bed With J.Mascis by Benjamine Dorno
Disco Babel ,Paris
22 pages - in french
Cover illustration : Frederick Fleury
Photos : Phillipe Dumez
Feel free to send me your zines or stories about rock crushes///rock sex , true or fantasy in english , Français or Deutsche ::
PO Box 226, Station B
Monday, February 23, 2009
I’ve been to both of these towns and they’re kind of surreal in how they are both the kind of towns that remind you of old timey times, when people churned butter and hit their kids with rulers, but are also still trying to desperately hold onto the last vestiges of liberal / hippie idealism that showed up there in the 1960s. Up until very recently, public nudity was rarely contested in these parts and not recognized as a violation under local legislature until 2007. During my one visit to
Its exactly the kind of place that perfectly suits the music of KING TUFF – aka- Kyle Thomas - front man of The Witch (a band that I admittingly know very little about other than J Mascis is the drummer), as well as a member of the Brattleboro based experimental whimsical pop band Feathers. Besides that, I know absolutely nothing about Thomas, and searches on Google did very little to enlighten me on the dude. My record label colleague Graeme Langdon was the first person to tell me about how great this KING TUFF shit was, and shortly after that, I checked out his MySpace and fell head over heels.
I was immediately blown away by the bombastic Neil Young-esque guitar solos and ridiculous hippie lyrics of the acoustic tinged “Sun Medallion.” That song is absolutely perfect: a time capsule back to an era in late 60s / early 70s rock when playing this kind of shit still meant something. And the lyrics . . . Jesus Christ, they are absolute fucking genius:
“Well, I had a dream today. . . in the graveyard where I do my dreamin’ / I tied my hair in braids . . . yeah the colors, big wheel spinnin’ / Smoking pipes . . . thought I’d get away / But I can’t go anywhere . . . without my Sun Medallion.”
This song is so hilarious and so fucking awesome, I feel like I should be lying in a field, sipping on organic buckwheat beer, blowing on dandelion seeds, tripping my balls off on mushrooms listening to this shit. I’ve probably listened to this song fifteen times in the last hour alone, imaging that exact scenario.
It takes someone pretty cleaver and hilarious to write a song this catchy and tongue in cheek, so it’s no surprise that the other two songs on here are no slouches, either. “A Pretty Dress” sounds almost exactly like The Seeds at their catchiest, with tough 60s garage riffing over strange reverb chamber explosion sounds. Thomas sounds very Sky Saxon-esque on this track, employing a snottier vocal delivery than on the other two tracks present here. Not quite on the level of “Sun Medallion,” but nevertheless a solid song.
The hippie dippy themes and acoustic guitar accompaniment return on the third track, the soaring “Freak When I’m Dead,” which has an oh-so-familiar jangle rock riff omnipresent in so much classic 60s American garage rock, and sounds absolutely perfect here. More amazing nuggets of hilarious lyrics pop up on this song, which articulately captures the absurdity of the flower power era :
“When you bury my body . . . Oh, make sure I’m wearing all of my rings / And favorite clothes . . . Yeah, everything with patches and everything with holes / Cause I don’t care what my grandma says . . . I don’t care at all / Cause you know I’ll still be . . . a freak when I’m dead.”
The lead guitar on this track really carries it into the next stratosphere, though, recalling Neil Young yet again with a face melting solo that reminds me of the one Shakey busts out on the Buffalo Springfield’s “Mr. Soul.” Groooovy, baby!
For all of these reasons, I will be trying my damnedest to track down the Was Dead LP, which I’m sure will be an absolute gem. Rarely does anyone capture the roots and feeling of a time and place (as metaphysical as that may actually be) like this.
P.S. - SEND ME SOME REAL RECORDS TO REVIEW, I CAN'T AFFORD TO BUY THEM RIGHT NOW!!!
982 rue Sainte Marguerite
Has anyone seen the recent 12" LP re-issues of BLOOD ON THE MOON and RED EXPOSURE by Chrome? Both are totally awesome compared to those ghetto Chrome boot lp's that have been floating around the last few years. These re-issues have well printed covers, heavy vinyl, etc. Thank you Cleopatra Records!!
I'm sure you all know these albums, so I won't say too much. RED EXPOSURE has Chrome dipping into some of their most dubbed out and grooving songs ever, going to the point of totally killing music on the cut "Eyes on Mars". BLOOD ON THE MOON, rocks a bit more on the the Helios Creed metal guitar tip, but they still kick out the jams Chrome style.
I talked to the dude at my local record store and he said the earlier LP's will be re-issued over the next few months. Although these LP's were $24.95 each, their still worth it since each of these LP's is better than 2-2 albums by some other band, right?
FOR BLOOD ON THE MOON
CLEOPATRA INFO FOR RED EXPOSURE
PS - Also finally got the 1st Trux re-issue....awesome....gonna grab Twin Infinitives soon too.
Friday, February 20, 2009
And what do these kids do in their spare time? Well Tyler expands on his contributions to the band with his project entitled TWIN LION. It almost seems realistic to say you could cut out what he brings to RAPID YOUTH and you'd have TWIN LION, but that's really only the start. Bouncing between garage stomp of "Creeps in the Sun" and the goth-tinged new wave of "Boring Ghosts", Tyler showcases many unique and varying ideas in about eight minutes time. While he can't cut out a CD insert to save his fucking life, he sure can craft a pop gem.
Whereas TWIN LION keeps thing bouncing from content to sad, TRUDGERS keeps shit dreary from start to finish. The real standout is "Freezing Over" which could quite possibly be my favorite song created by any of these kids. It takes the loner bedroom vibe so many tired projects aim for and interjects good, solid song writing and melody to make it memorable. Dude's influences? "Oi!, Crisis, Christian Death, Brian Eno, Rudimentary Peni, Sex Gang Children". I'd swear this kid is trying to get in my fucking pants! Some serious TSOL syndrome going on in SoCal right now. The kid's are going goth and it feels fucking good!
Last but not least is Travis' ANCIENT CRUX. Easily the most upbeat of the trio's solo projects, AC could have opened for Camper Van Beethoven or Built to Spill in the 90's and fit right in, all the while keeping his punk integrity and under the radar messethics in terms of sound and style. Nashville-style picking could get him a Gretsch endorsement, or a place in Johnny Cash or Roy Orbinson's backing band once he reaches the gates of heaven (Trudgers is going to hell, for sure. Not too sure about Twin Lion). I've heard it called "Doo Wop", but maybe we'll coin this "Don't Wop", like no wave was to new wave. Or maybe we won't.
20 some labels were pressed and distributed by Touch and Go , Drag City , Kill Rock Stars , and Merge being some of the more recognizable names. Closer to home for me, Lovepump United , a label that my own band is on , had just begun a p&d deal with them this January.
It's easy to imagine a domino affect on some of those distroed labels , but what of other small labels?
I'm worried (paranoid??) that when a 27 year old label , that is well know and well regarded and has a reputation for being fair and a sizable back catalog of some pretty popular bands has to make such extreme cutbacks other labels are gonna start being much more cautious.
And what's worse than caution in independent/underground music?
Pundits have been saying for a few years that physical format music is dead (nevermind the bands that enjoy producing an object rather than just digital files , and all us dorks who enjoy having those objects rather than a hard drive full of low quality sounds that could die any day) and that in the near future bands will make their money on licensing deals. Well , where does that leave bands making more difficult , challenging and un-commercial music?
Or bands who simply don't WANT their songs to be used ad hoc jingles???
Now more than ever is the time to show your support for the bands , labels , distros and stores that matter to you. Buy a record today.
Carrie Brownstein on NPR : Touched and Gone
What's I'm listening to : Drag City recently reissued the first 2 Royal Trux albums on beautiful vinyl so I gladly replaced my scratched-to-shit CD versions. This shit still sounds daisy fresh 20 years latter. Royal Trux are an obvious influence on so many of the most interesting bands around today.
Mammal " Let Me Die " on Animal Disguise == serious darktime jams, I'm finding it perfect drawing music so I guess my recent drawings will all be demonic.
Raccoo-oo-oon s/t on Not Not Fun. Looks like the boys started getting rock before they called it off. I'm excited to witness the greatness that the ex-members will surely grace us with.
I've also been listening to the 8 x 7" box set on Rock is Hell that i picked up awhile ago when i was in Germany. I'd been avoiding listening to the whole thing cause the unlabeled disks don't jibe with my ocd. I'm glad I loosened up.
And lots of Throbbing Gristle , cause they fit pretty well with the cold and cabin fever.
Nothing super new cause I've been kinda broke myself the past few months but I am about to go on a record binge!
What I'm reading : We Are DEVO! -- Nice look at the early years.
I just stumbled upon one of my old Black Dice 7"s and gave it a spin a few minutes ago. Man, their early stuff up until Cold Hands is still pretty killer. A lot of people don't even know now, but BD layed down some serious Void meets Harry Pussy style jams back in the day.
One of the best shows I've ever seen was Black Dice in Philly at some music fest about 9 years ago...they K I L L E D it. Raging hardcore set that was about 7 minutes long. A garbage can flew over the crowd a few times, some bread got thrown around, some kids got scared shitless.
After the show, a sizeable gang of about 7 "emo" kids (remember early '00 emo kids?? no eyeliner!!!) and lectured them on how their music and stage antics were not welcome in the hardcore scene. Still think that was an amazing moment in music for me. The singer dude said he will do whatever he wants to do, then the emo kids sulked off...gold.
Here's a link to the only youtube clip I could find of earlier Black Dice....this is a bit more in the TMU era of the band, but still captures that original rawness. I have a full VHS of this set and the guitarist totally sounds off on the soundguy at the end for not doing a good job with their vocals...amazing!!!
Thursday, February 19, 2009
Red Mass is also a new band from Montreal , with a foot firmly planted in the city's garage rock scene , and another in it's art-rock scene. Led By hy ex- CPC Gangbanger , Sexareeno , Daylight Lover (and the list goes on and on ) Choyce.
Chloe: How is religious worship important to your creativity?
Choyce: The Red Mass is not religious in the sense that what binds us is an objective based on goals and ideals as opposed to a value system. Some of these objectives necessitate a certain course of action, but ultimately its more a work ethic. It does have elements found in a religious organism such as spirituality which is facet of the mass, but only in a very open ended way. In both gospel and experimental music there is definitely a call on more primal instincts, which tend to move the listener in a more intense way when one allows himself/herself to be carried away by the sounds.
People are often weary of the term magik (be it white,black, sex or chaos magik) but in the mass we've simply tied in notions of chaos magik in the icons used and the soundscape created. When chaos magik surfaced (see occultist Austin Osman Spare) it made a parallel with magik and science. As chaos theory became a recognized factor in modern scientific research so did the idea that there were still many forces we are unaware of. It simply referred to the inexplicable energy and electrical currents around us as magik.
The mass uses some of these principles to break down our own barriers and leave our comfort zone. Through intense stimuli, in this case with art & music, we are using all the energy at our disposal to obtain our objectives. It's creating your own "religious" symbols and rites and we invite people to do so with us. The sacrifice is not to a specific deity but to a serious, open-minded artistic work ethic and when speaking of the beast we are referring to the lifeforce surrounding and affecting us.
At this point in time we've concentrated on creating a foundation for the mass and once this foundation is solid we can build on it and invite younger artists to join in, be productive and get their own art out there. Some of the more occult and mystic components may come into preparing a certain environment but these are some of my own beliefs which are not necessarily shared by all the members. No beliefs are imposed on the members, the only thing we ask of them is interest and commitment according to what each member wants from the mass.
Red Mass have a 12" out on Psychic Handshake and a 7" on Goodbye Boozy. They are playing Quebec City , Toronto and Montreal this weekend.
Tuesday, February 17, 2009
I just broke up with my girlfriend now I want to quit my job and tour the world should I do it?
Dear Confused of Oregon.
Jeff: I've toured the world an amazing TEN TIMES, and believe me, the chicks was fantastic.
No but seriously!
Personally, I've never been happier since I got my job/s at the Garden Centre and the Bookshop. The 30 minute bike ride to Tottenham is great for strengthening my bad back as it's mostly up hill through dangerous traffic. They drive a lot faster here in London than they do out there in Portland, Jeff!
HANG ON TO YOUR JOB AT ALL COSTS.
So, tell your job that you have an exciting opportunity to assist your old college professor Doctor Tobias Strut of Oxbrige University England as he embarks on THE MOST RADICAL new edition of James Joyce's Ulysses.
Hey presto, you're free!
I'm sorry to hear about your girlfriend.
We had a dumped friend on our couch for a week because she couldn't handle being dumped.
But I am strongly against bullshit relationships and like a parachutist, the first person who recognizes the appearance of the bullshit must jump before the whole plane crasheds into the MOUNTAIN of bullshit. I refer you to the divorce case of Flymo versus Qualcast, adjudicated by Judge David Scotsman thus: "IT'S A LOT LESS BOVVER THAN A HOVER!"
It's a lot less bother with a hover, Jeff!
Tony Pearson, Management.
Dear Uncle Ben,
I have recently begun losing all faith in humanity. It feels like art is dead - The lowest common denominator is plunging through the floor, all entertainment is watered-down, rehashed crap, all of our standards have been lowered so far that we think mediocrity is the new gold standard. Adolescent rebellion has become safer and more irrelevant than ever. The people who succeed in the entertainment industry are the ones who are most willing to compromise to a national standard that is plummeting lower and lower, even as I type this.
Its harder and harder to find decent artists or musicians, as it is generally the realm of people with lots of time and disposable income. Unless you have corporate backing and widespread promotion, your amazing work of art/song/writing/etc will go totally unnoticed. So naturally, the only people who have the time, money, and naiveté to devote all of their time to art are people who are cloistered away in suburbs (generally in southern California) and have no real experience with life. Perhaps I'm just getting old and cranky, but when did mediocrity become so "cool"? Are there ANY kids these days who are aware of how bland and lame their attempts at rebellion are?
Business is no longer an option; if you didn't win out in the globalization lottery, you aren't going to succeed in America these days. College doesn't really matter, with no money left in any line of work, even skilled ones. You just have to stand in line, and hope that you can acquire a stable job working for the same people who have ruined the world. All the ruthlessness in the world won't help you in business these days.
My question is this: Is there any hope for humanity? It seems "progress" has brought us to a sickening state of exploitative functionality; only the ignorant survive, to serve and sustain the system. Has society forced us to evolve into ant-like versions of our former cognizant selves? Domesticating us, as the human race once did to the livestock we cultivate?
Humanity are like Ants. They farm animals.
Do you hate ants?
I recently listened again to my old Bob and Doug Mackenzie album; they're from the Great White North, like you, and they have a lot of wisdom on this topic. In his lecture to School on day one of the new term, principal Doug's message was clear : DON'T KILL BUGS. What has a bug ever done to you? Now, if we all went around killing each other, where would we be? Because if you kill bugs, it's like you wouldn't kill a person, and someday someone's gonna come along and think of YOU as a bug, and, huh, then you're gone, so, like, DON'T KILL BUGS.
Now it's recess. Everyone get oat of the classroom and go for a smoke.
Hey wow I just read the rest of your letter all the way to the bottom and YOU are talking about ants TOO : Weird !
See, humanity ain't so bad, you and I are connected, aren't we?
I was lucky my whole creative life, I didn't have to make money off it. I got a grant. I was paid by 2 ghosts to research the nightmare of wakefulness, that's the truth, but i don't want to get any honester than that or I might have to go to jail.
Now that I have to work for money and haven't much time to make "Art" i feel a lot happier. But no one is going to pay for art to be made. Artists have to make it and die.
Try looking at art as the symptom of humanity's mental illness, and also the balm for that illness.
For instance, I was really depressed and wanted to kill myself, but by a miracle of will i managed to crawl into the studio and record an absolute masterpiece which made me feel like Hercules or I should imagine how Hitler felt when he killed all those jews. Amazing! Wow what a feeling. Morally, I don't think he was right to kill those jews, but we're not talking about morals, we're talking about FEELING GOOD.
So humanity as a big colony doesn't really SEE art, and doesn't therefore CARE A FUCK about it, or you, or any other artists. You must ignore all that bullshit, it is only bringing you down. I'm reminded of the argument between Flymo and Qualcast. IT'S A LOT LESS BOTHER THAN A HOVER! The former was an artist and the latter was his patron. Flymo made really crap art for Qualcast and lived in comfort. Qualcast began to hate Flymo's boring, comfortable art, so he cut him off. Flymo cried for ages and got a really shit studio way the fuck outside Williamsburg (this all happened in the 90s) and between getting stabbed and having no heating, made some AWESOME new canvases. Qualcast knew this was going to happen and had arranged for a 3rd party, Scotch Dave, to go round and steal the new 'poverty' works. They were shown and sold for thousands, then a million, in one case (it was a pure abstraction in black, yellow and red oils, 6' x 4', called CASE STUDIES IN DECISION ANALYSIS: SHOULD I CUT MY HAIR OR WASH IT).
Now, my question to you: should Qualcast give the money to Flymo, or split it with Dave and go to that bar in Brooklyn where you can openly ingest Coke?
IT'S A LOT LESS BOVVER WIV A HOVER!
Manual labour through the day, art at night, ignore those bad artists you don't like, try not to drink too much. ALCOHOL CAUSES DEPRESSION.
I think i've given you quite a lot to go on there,
UNCLE TONY/ BEN
Uncle Ben's Rice.
MANAGEMENT : Tony Pearson, THE REBEL.
Got troubles of a sexual nature? As Uncle Ben / The Rebel ::
MOUTHUS AND YELLOW SWANS – LIVE ON CONAN ISLAND LP (NO-FI)
2 heavy hitters in the noise rock scene collab and come out with this record that sounds totally fuzzed and tripped out, while still laying down a heavy groove with makes each song move along at a smooth pace. This record literally sounds like what it is, the guys from Mouthus laying down some of their molten guitar/cyborg drum jams, with Yellow Swans adding amazing textures and drone-scapes over it. Too bad Yellow Swans are done, hopefully they will have hot new projects soon. Mouthus have a new LP on Ecstatic Peace very soon.
You can watch a video for their song Glass Sun RIGHT HERE
Saturday, February 14, 2009
Every so often, I am lucky enough to succumb to the guilty pleasure of “wanting” something for no other reason other than aesthetics alone. When CLOCKCLEANER’s “Babylon Rules” LP showed up at the local shop, I instantly found myself smiling at the completely unnecessary gatefold cover, which featured the three members faces with packaging tape wrapped around them, though mostly black otherwise. It was silly and absurd, but didn’t look lame at the same time, kind of like the LP itself: sort of like the Cramps or a Albini’d out Pussy Galore or something, but completely / legitimately disturbing, sleazy a bit, though ironically one of the most accessible releases I’ve heard on Load Records in a long time.
Well anyway, that’s is completely neither here nor there. Just a bunch of filler.
When I caught wind that, for whatever strange reason, Clockcleaner had been asked to open for Negative Approach, and that when doing so, they ended their set doing a 20 minute rendition of NA’s “Ready to Fight”, I was blown away and laughed about it sporadically for a day or two, until a short time later when I found out the cover was going to be released as a one-sided LP (appropriately titled “Ready 2 Fight”). (Then I pretty much died, and obviously sent the well deserved money to Fan Death Records for their premier release).
Although this is more than likely not something that will be pulled out very often to listen to, the sheer fact that such a perfect moment of absurdity was documented makes me feel very good. There’s something to be said about a band that’s playing in front of several hundred kids who probably really hate what they are doing already (do you really think the clientele of a Negative Approach reunion show wants to hear Clockcleaner at all?), and would then have the genius / guts to throw down a sloth like (the original is under two minutes), reverb soaked (the “Clockcleaner filter”), generally irritating rendition (unnecessary guitar leads / solos / feedback) of a song by the band they are being forced to sit through their annoyance to see. And then actually have it cut as an LP too? “Ready 2 Fight” indeed. (I can’t believe that not a single person in the building tried to physically stop them at some point). An “(LOL)” would have been a welcome addition to the title too.
Highly recommended with complete and deserved weariness.
James Fella | Gilgongo Records PO Box 7455 Tempe, AZ 85281 USA
Friday, February 13, 2009
HAPPY BIRTHDAY HENRY ROLLINS!!!!
hank is now 49....1 year shy of a half century. rollins cannot be stopped.
MY TOP 5 FAVOURITE ROLLINS MOMENTS OF HIS FIRST 49 YEARS:
1 - biting the head off a toad while playing with the flag (as told in get in the van)
2 - the gap ad (anyone remember this??)
3 - beer can to the head on youtube (ouch!!!!!!!!)
4 - interview where he gets freaky on a 13 year old hxc kid (stevenson gets wild too)
5 - the chase (rollins the cop, remember that??)
the previous entry made me all HP wild, so i did some youtube searches and found some vids. there are some more vids of HP on YT, so check them out.
does anyone know of any bootleg vids of any full HP shows? i would love to see a whole show....i'm guessing their problem only about 15 mins long anyways.
also, was there any other bands from around those HP days that blazed the jams like these guys do??? i want more!!!
Thursday, February 12, 2009
PANOPTICON EYELIDS 'GLITTER VOMIT' - CASSETTE
ASR035 (Abandon Ship Records)
Amazing freaked out jams from Montreal's loosest and weirdest. This is a heavy dose. This band gets so far in the zone they become crazed sounding. They are mentally locked in to unlock the mind. Finally some Psych-Kraut that sounds like it was played by actual aliens instead of just cosmic dudes. Anyway, improvisation and psych guitar with screeching electronic vomit is on the menu here. They also employ total hypno-bass mind control techniques. At some point during Side One the intensity switch is flipped and they start barfing out the jams double time. Side Two is works the same where the jam continues to sink in as it progresses. This time the squelching freaked-out electronics which stole the show during the first side are missing/missed. The final track "Hello'weed Night" changes things up and serves as a nice outro. It's worth mentioning that the tape artwork is exceptional, no credit is given to the designer but it's a nice package that features colorful wild paint ejaculate. Panopticon Eyelids score more unneeded points for having a cool name - based around a type of prison architecture where the prisoners are on display and observed without being able to tell whether they are being watched, conveying the "sentiment of an invisible omniscience." - Tobias Rochman
Monday, February 9, 2009
Chicha is also a genre of music that is a blend of Cumbia and Surf Rock with some Psychedelic Rock sprinkled on the top. It was really popular in the year 1970.
If people like the Tropicalia band Os Mutantes and think there is a link to the whacky weird music of today's hot underground then they should really grab up some of the Juaneco y su Combo.
Juaneco what? There once was a man named Juan Wong Paredes who was born in the Amazon, in Pucallpa to be exact, and was also Chinese. Confused? Well, Juan jammed with his friends in proletarian bliss for many years. He then passed his band on to his son. It seems like a weird thing to do, but he was a Chinese guy from the Amazon so just go with it.
Juan Jr. developed Juan Sr.’s band into what is now known as Juaneco y su Combo which is one of the most uplifting, positive, spiritual and melodic bands I have ever laid ears on. Juaneco used the classic Cumbia instruments: bongos, timbales, cowbells and other percussion mixed with new Psychedelic Rock instruments like a Farfisa organ and Fender guitars with wah-wah, reverb and distortion effects. The end result is a raw, tropical, working class music that just feels so right when the temperature is above 90 degrees Fahrenheit.
Another important figure in Juaneco y su Combo was a man named Noe Fachin who was the band’s resident Roky Erickson (minus the electro-convulsive therapy). Noe was the “composer” of many of Juaneco’s best songs – El Brujo (The Wizard) and Vacilando Con Ayahuasca (Changing or alternating - vacillating - with Ayahuasca). He sang and played some of the best guitar I have ever heard. The Ayahuasca is a shamanistic brew that Noe was fond of. Juaneco related closely with the Shipibo tribe who used the brew to break on through to the other side. Ayahuasca gave Noe a deeper sense of psychedelic consciousness (insert didgeridoo sound here). The entire band dressed in indigenous garb with feathers and robes and spears! They had two or more female dancers on stage (or dirt clearing) at all times when they played. It was a complete vibe that this band brought, marinated in deep culture, meaningful in its lyrical content and solid in its musical contribution.
You can purchase the latest re-issue of Juaneco y su Combo’s music (sold now as Vol. 1 of Masters of Chicha) on the Barbes label out of Brooklyn. You can also learn to dance Chicha style if you really want to impress, well, I guess just me.
Sunday, February 8, 2009
Friday, February 6, 2009
Please send your problems his way for a kindly ear::: email@example.com .
Thursday, February 5, 2009
There was no band more influential in my late teens than rRope from San Francisco. It was the mid late or late mid 90s and one era of SF weirdness had just died out (Thinking Fellers, Caroliner, even Primus?) and the next wave of noise rock wouldn't really get happening until about 01 when XBXRX would move to town and bands like Erase Errata and Coachwhips would start really kicking some major ass. What was cool was emo-hardcore, the Locust, and all that GSL gothness. You know, nothing too psyched out or f'd up. Meanwhile, rRope and a few amazing bands like A Minor Forest and Fuck would not stop fighting the good fight in that name of forward thinking rock kept beating the weird. I moved from LA to Berkeley in 96 to start college. I attended every rRope show from that time till their final performance opening for Sonic Youth on the Thousand Leaves tour. I tried to turn college peers onto rRope but it just wasn't emo enough or whatever.
Now its now and rRope still blows my mind every time I hear it. rRope still sounds unlike anything noise rockers are doing despite this being the wet season. Interviewing rRope guitarist Scott Thiessen reminded me of just how meticulous of artists the members of rRope were. In the sorta electronic Turbine and his current project VNC (once known as Vienna Noise Choir) this is the M.O. as well. Always playing guitar in way that is romantic and hopefully, Scott is a rare breed in noise rock. Definitely worth checking out anything from his body of work. Hopefully one day the movie score he did with a member of Thinking Fellers will come out! Anyway, this interview was done via an internet chat.
Brian: ok, this is for a new noise rock webzine starting up soon and I thought it would be fun to interview you since you have been in the bay area for a while. When did you move there, and what did you know about music in the bay before you moved?
Scott: I moved to San Francisco in 1991, and knew nothing about the current bay area scene, except its distant past. I knew the bay area music from the late 60's that seeped into popular culture. Mike the other rRope guitarist had already moved to SF and he convinced me to move here to play music. We both assumed that SF was more open to avant garde type music. We didn't realize how small that scene was.
Brian: In 1991, what other bands did you relate to in SF? Were Thinking Fellers and Caroliner active then?
Scott: I didn't relate to any of the bands at first. I was coming from a heavy guitar feedback vibe. I went out to shows as much as possible. Every other night or so, so of course I then discovered the great Thinking Fellers & Caroliner ...and the tail end of the Heinz
club scene. So yeah those local bands then had a huge influence...the plinky plinky sound.
Brian: Your guitar sound, as far as I have been aware, has always sounded a way that maybe no one else in experimental rock has, which is truly romantic. Even SY and MBV sound so existential to me that I can't associate your playing with them. And it is not emo either. Less
longing and more like true bliss. Do you ever think of your guitar playing this way? In any case, I am curious where your soulful style comes from.
Scott: My style doesn't fit into the popular notion of emo. I look outward as much as inward. Life can be better, our relationships, what a society values. So I do have longing and it does show up in some of my playing. Out of that longing comes bliss...an escape from that longing. From what I've heard from John Frusciante I would say there are similarities in our style. I think he gets over looked in the avant garde because of his rock star status.
Brian: People i trust really like Frusciante. i don't know much, but one early solo album is great. i actually like his RHCP ballads. my band foot village listens to them on tour :) So I'm not too off-base then in feeling a certain happy element in some of your work.
Do you think this is rare in noiserock?
Scott: I'm no expert on the noiserock scene, but often you get some artists that wish to shock. I have no interest in that even though I've probably in my past forced more people out of clubs while playing, this would mostly apply to rRope.
Brian: well, i guess I'm at no loss to think of happy or dreamy experimental bands, but usually they lack the forceful rock element that rRope and VNC have. Ok, lets talk about Turbine for a bit. Of rRope, VNC, and Turbine, Turbine was the least rock. the most just dreamy and romantic. but also fairly complicated in the arrangement department. What type of people did you find this appealed to most? At risk of sounding stereotypical, does Turbine have more female fans than your other bands?
Scott: Not the people who liked the onslaught of rRope! Turbine was my direct reaction to rRope and the narrow-mindedness of the noise scene. Turbine is so unknown, but there's such a funny story about that LP. All the feedback from people was that they liked for making love. David and I thought this was odd, but over and over those who we knew had the record would confess this. I still have to giggle over that.
Brian: That's pretty great, although it makes you wonder what the appropriate live venue is then. Its funny that you call rRope an onslaught. I don't disagree, but it was not an aggressive band really. Not like Jesus Lizard or a hardcore band though. Just really intense. But in many emotional categories. that, and loud as fuck. You seem to break a lot of rules, without doing total weirdo music. How intentional is this outsider perspective?
Scott: rRope somehow manged to be introspective. There were large dynamics...very quite sections..with the loudest I've ever experienced playing. You can not capture this on recording
medium unless there is no compression and the listener is using a very loud high quality PA. We did not keep up a constant din of volume or aggression. This approach was very deliberate, and confused audiences.
Brian: this was something all the members agreed on? knowing Mic's relationship to more academic music circles, it makes sense for him. But for a rock group this is rare.
Scott: Oh yeah, we all loved it. Of course it made us inaccessible, which we didn't want to be, but it was how we sounded. Its also why we used such powerful amps, and I got into building amps. I was broke and couldn't afford to have a tech maintain them.
Brian: you still use homemade amps. pedals too? are they based on any designs you admire?
Scott: My current VNC setup is all homemade stuff, I've modded all of our amps trying to get a certain sound that works for everyone. I'm not an electronics engineer, I'm self-taught so I usually base my work off classic designs then alter them to fit my needs.
Brian: Is there a simple way to describe this certain sound that works for everyone?
Scott: VNC currently is about blending, creating a large swirling sound. Its not done with volume but in the way we naturally play off each other. When you play an instrument its about how it feels as well as the sound that comes out. So if I make David's amp sound or feel a way that he doesn't like he just tells me. An example recently was when I made David's amp too rock n roll...he said "hey I want it to sound more like a chain link fence ...I used to get that sound." So I did that, tube amps are constantly changing sound...especially if you push them. The sound of the tubes and speakers change over time.
Brian: Ok, I'm gonna try to wrap things up. If there is anything clear here, I think it is that you have always been a really thoughtful musician. Which must be a good formula, cuz it has made a lifelong fan out of me. Who are you a fan of these days though? Who inspires you?
Scott: No one artist specifically...but the dreamers, those to strive to work with what they have, those who are not afraid to go against the grain...even though it makes them "uncool." Those who always want to learn.
I honestly think that when it comes to "writing songs", portraying the pretty cool, simplicist non-groundbreaking events in YR life is the HARDEST thing to write about. It's easy to puke out songs about lovin on someone, or hatin on someone, or g.w. bush, right? Maybe too easy? Maybe, maybe not...
For this reason though, the Nodzzz debut long player is my favourite record of 2008. Everything about it, musically, lyrically, the feel - it's all smothered in this simplicist laid-back vibe that just seems to make all the stress of the daily grind float away in a cloud of smoke.
Yeah yeah, I know nirvana is too rock for many, but I wanted to do some quick pieces high-lighting some of their best weird songs, so people who are more into the spacer jams could dig some Nirvana songs. My first entry is Curmudgeon, a song which was the b-side to the “top 20 smash hit” Lithium single and sadly was later remixed and fucked up by some idiot who does “modern mastering” aka “killing all sound range” mastering for the With The Lights out box-set version. I’m not sure of the exact date, but I think this single came out very late 1991 or early 1992 when Geffen were sweating balls on what could be the next Teen Spirit.
OK, enough of that intro, boring talk, to the song we go! Shortly after Nevermind was getting huge, Kurt was really confused, partying a lot and he starting to write weirder and deeper songs that would appear on In Utero, which is hands down one of the best rock records of the 90’s....way way better than Nevermind. After Nirvana was mixed and mastered to the bands unliking, the band was desperate to make raw and direct music that harkened back to the Bleach/Incesticide era of the band. Thank got they went back to the raw, since I can’t even listen to Nevermind anymore, who thought it was a hot idea in mixing to sample drum beats with samples and put chorus on the guitar all over the album.....some moron, maybe his name is Andy Wallace!! Everyone is better off with the Nevermind demos or even the boombox jams on the box set.
Maybe I’m talking about Nevermind too much, back to the jam...this song, along with the Jesus Lizard split 7” track (Oh The Guilt) were recorded with Barrett Jones at the Laundry Room. Upon further research of this song, I learned Laundry Room was in fact a laundry room in Barrett Jones’ basement and he was just some guy with an 8-track Dave Grohl was friend with. Awesome. For this session, the band decided to improvise and jamout a song and Curmudgeon was written on the spot. Interestingly, this song was never performed live by the band, one of the few to have this honour.
OK, time to talk about the actual music finally. You can probably tell I love Nirvana too much already. So, the song moves along at a semi-fast and perfect pace with a heavy, thumpy drumbeat reminiscent of Floyd The Barber, kicked up a level with Dave Grohl’s supreme drum skills. Krist Novoselic lays down some heavy string bends on a totally fuzzed out bass. Even though people always talk about KC, those other dudes played such a huge part in the flow and timbre of every song, and have been under-rated, kind of like the other dudes from The Jimi Hendrix Experience; everyone knows any Hendrix shit without those 2 dudes is just not the killer Hendrix shit you need to hear and head-bang to.
Now to the star of the show: KC...Kurt lays down some totally phased out, heavy as fuck, sludge guitar, probably the closest he comes to noise-rock jammage on any Nirvana song in their whole catalogue. He kills the mic on this one, does some wicked stretchouts of words that seem to go on forever and some totally throat-shredding screams that sound raw, direct and primal, the way only a basement tape can sound. When you think about the time in their life, being hyped beyond belief and kinda freaking out about it, it was awesome to see that they decided to just get together, jam the fuck outta some killer riffs, and drop it to 8-track. (M. McLean)
just go to youtube and look it up....i’m sure some fan has a sick video of them playing along to it on acoustic guitar or something. Actually maybe look up “Curmudgeon Lithium” to get the proper mix first!!!