marble stature The Offense we trust! Rural bullshit from the heart of Fox Point, Providence, RI 02906

Saturday, October 28, 2006



This is a very special Marble Stature post, as I am not writing from Fox Point, but rather from the Park Slope area of Brooklyn. I rolled in a little too late to do anything last night, but woke up on the good side of the couch watched an old episode of “A Pup Named Scooby Doo,” and I’ll be off to class in a little bit. I’m going to go ahead and wish you Happy Halloween a few days early, because I think that the annual Huron Keg Race (drink ‘til your done!) is happening this weekend in Washington Beach, Ohio, and for me, that is the true indicator of Halloween weekend.

Psychedelic Horseshit The Anticoncept (Self Released, 2006)

Columbus, Ohio’s Psychedelic Horseshit are an interesting band; they played a show (I think it was one of their first, if not the first show) at Cafe Bourbon Street last New Year’s Eve with Night of Pleasure, and Times New Viking and then within a couple of months they already had a couple of cdr EP’s for sale at their shows and on the Columbus Discount website. Over the course of this past year they have put out a total of five of these “paper singles,” a fantastic seven-inch called Who Let the Dogs Out? on Columbus Discount, and are now working on their debut full-length to be released on Siltbreeze next year. I’d say- that’s quite a year! It’s a shame that these “paper singles” are now all out of print, because they are all great in their own way… and eventually I’ll have some reviews up for all of them. They all have really nice collaged artwork that’ve been color copied, folded and stapled on the sides, as to make a folder for the cdr. Simple enough, yes, but there’s something really nice about these little artifacts.

The first one that I got was their (somewhat) breakthrough release Blown Speaker Standards, and I was pretty impressed by it (especially the anthemic opener, “Not Since Now”) and picked up a copy of the two which preceded it: King Tubby’s Baddness Dub, and The Anticoncept. Out of the three, I thought that The Anticoncept was the pick of the punk litter… opening with “Punk Tree,” a (somewhat) typical mode of Horseshit as singer Matt Whitehurst’s cocaine-addled Dylan-meets-E. Smith stream-of-conscious riddim raps atop simple street-side musicianship. But it’s The Anticoncept’s two other songs that really stand out across their EP’s. Soft and almost lilting; “Nothing to Do” sounds like one of those great down-tempo heart-tuggers off of Slanted and Enchanted, driven by Rich Johnston’s sloppy drumbeat, and washes of guitar, casio and bass slugging along until their brilliantly un-climactic union at the end. On the final song of the three, “Dead Horse,” they slow things down even more; even resembling a ballad, with pretty keyboards, soft drumming, Jason Roxas’ melodic bass-playing, and a ton of atonal saxophone skronk upsetting the mix just enough to charge the piece with unforgettable moments of beauty and catastrophe. Good luck trying to find a copy of The Anticoncept (or any of their other stuff, for that matter), but here’s to hoping that down the road somebody puts together all of this great material for the people who weren’t lucky enough to grab a hold of them the brief time that they were around.

Monday, October 23, 2006



I got a pair of records in the mail today from My Mind’s Eye in Cleveland, The Easter Monkeys' Splendor of Sorrow and Numbskull’s Final Days of Torture) and it got me thinking about all of the eccentrics in my life that are from Cleveland.

The New Year Newness Ends (Touch and Go, 2001)

Matt and brutha Bubba Kadane made a career throughout the 90’s writing sad and sleepy songs as Bedhead, a group that embodied the “slow-core” genre with a yawn and a stretch. I never really heard anything from them that ever got me interested enough to care (…I’m getting sleepy just writing this). That all changed around 2003, while cruisin' Pearl Alley, either coming from or headed to Bernie’s Happy Hour, (back when Tree of Snakes' singer Jeff Fernengel deemed it was “the thing to do” on a Friday night) with "the most eccentric" Vertical Phil (fact: "the most eccentric" is an actual award to be won at the annual CDR-BBQ). In his typical ecstatic Friday night state, Phil was worked up about this album from the Kadane’s new band, The New Year. This ain’t no Bedhead! It was upbeat and exciting (especially on the first three songs), and I think we officially had own minds blown by “Gasoline,” which is still up for download on the Touch and Go website… hurry! Packed tight with drummer Chris Brokaw, who has played drums for Codeine, the excellent Mission of Burma side-project Consonant, and Evan Dando (with that pedigree- it’s no wonder Phil liked The New Year so much), to name a few, The New Year is a fiery indie-outfit sized up like a Silkworm sans Shellac. When the tempo drops down a notch, we don’t get so much Bedhead, as we do get reminded of Canadaddies Broken Social Scene and Pitchforked and “rah-rahed” Ohioans turned Brooklyn babies, The National (can’t say that I agree much with Pitchfork these days, but I did like You Forgot it in People and Alligators).

Yeah- I think that Newness Ends should have been as recognized as those albums, and probably would have if it didn’t look so deceptively resemble "another Bedhead album." The New Year put out a follow-up to this called The End is Near, but I don’t remember much about it except that Phil dug it at the time. Maybe it’s time to give that one a listen, because my random impulse to reach for Newness Ends last night really hit the spot.

Sunday, October 22, 2006



My girlfriend went back to Ohio for her sister’s wedding, and I was given the task of watching her dog, Lemmie, who has been suffering from severe separation anxiety and has basically been acting like a jerk whenever I went in to the studio and left him alone in the apartment; basically pissing and shitting all over the apartment. So I finally decided to just take him into the studio with me, knowing that he would probably be good when people are gawking over him. I was right! The Korean girls were all over him and took turns walking him by the river, and I think that he was a little happier after that.

J. Mascis and The Fog More Light (Ultimatum/Artemis, 2000)

So yeah, there may not be a whole lot of stylistic differences between this and the last couple of Dinosaur Jr. albums, Hand it Over and Without a Sound, but More Light is easily stronger and tighter than the pair; benefiting from the new escapist and atmospheric moniker of "The Fog."

Guided By VoicesBob Pollard has made it a fact of his love for Dinosaur’s great early albums, and here joins his indie-peer on a trio of songs with long solos (let ‘em burn slow forever, man). The opening power-anthem, “Sameday,” is cut from the cloth of the Where You Been classic “Out There,” but is a little sadder, yet more melodic, and far less reliant on layers of guitar sludge (although there is still plenty of it here); kicking off a string of hook-heavy songs the only way that Mascis can do them. The recording excellent articulates the power (“More Light,” “Back Before You Go,” and “Where’d You Go”) and the delicacy (“Does the Kiss Fit,” “Ammaring,” “Wasitin,” and “All the Girls”) of Mascis’ guitar prowess; creating an album that is less schizophrenic than Hand It Over, and far more exciting than Without a Sound.

The absolute killer on More Light is Mascis’ collaboration with My Bloody Valentine’s reclusive aural-hobbit Kevin Shields on the titular closing track. The drums drive along a coastal highway penetrating the white-noise and winds, while Mascis’ distorted worried warble makes way for the most infectiously simple and beautiful falsetto refrain: “I’ll… Be… There!” The tough promise during the most trying times, the wind against your back, onward and upward, and bring on his next album Free So Free; it seems as if Mascis had finally decided to lighten up his “do-it-myself” ego, which had marred the great negative spirit of Dinosaur’s classic line-up, and enjoy making some crushing and melodic guitar albums. I can’t wait for the new Dinosaur Jr. album that’s currently in the works; Mascis might be losing his mind, but it’s also evident that he has always been capable of delivering some of the most punishing hardcore/psychedelic/pop/metal music ever written. After hearing the final minute of “More Light,” you can start to understand why he toured with the Stooges immediately after his tour to support this fucking fantastic album.

Saturday, October 21, 2006



The Bucks are still kicking it at #1, and it doesn't look like they are going to budge, baby! Come November, as this is going to be the best Michigan game in the history of the series.

The Red Crayola w/ Art and Language Kangaroo? (Rough Trade, 1981)
The Red Crayola w/ Art and Language Black Snakes (Recommended, 1983)

I really like this era of the Red Crayola, summed up by a pair of albums in which Mayo Thompson was backed by this odd punk super-group (composed of members of Swell Maps, X-Ray Spex, Essential Logic and The Raincoats) called Art and Language. These albums really stand out in Red Crayola’s storied, vast and ever-expanding discography, as they are two of the most conventional releases but strangely enough two of the least heard. Between 1995 and 2000, Drag City reissued the pair (in addition to, ahem, Coconut Hotel, Live 1967, Corrected Slogans, Three Songs on a Trip to the United States, and Malefactor Ade) digitally for the first time ever, but they both eventually fell out of print. Fortunately, Kangaroo? has been repressed, but Black Snakes remains strangely out-of-print. It’s a real shame, because the two albums should be heard together, showing two sides of Thompson's post-punk experiment, as Kangaroo? is ecstatic, sprightly and bouncy, Black Snakes is a bit darker, funkier, and far less lyrically absurd. It’s also interesting to hear Thompson translate British and ‘Rust-Belt’ post-punk into a “new” brand of Red Crayola, turning away from his psychedelic roots.

While I’m by no means an authority on Red Crayola, as I think that, while they are extremely imprtant as a band, a lot of their stuff is so wildly expressionistic that it starts to become redundant and banal. On these two albums, however, the sound veres a little more towards sanity without ever sounding like a tamer strain of Mayo Thompson's lifelong art.

I think that I prefer Kangaroo? when it's all said and done (so pick it up while it's still available) because it sounds a little more democratic and band-like, but keep an eye out for Black Snakes as it is nearly as good, but prone to the occasional, aimless jam. It's kind of hard to believe that he made these great albums during his stint as the guitarist for Pere Ubu, but at the same you can, because these albums are a hell of a lot better than the crap he did for Ubu (The Art of Walking and the also mediocre Song of The Bailing Man).



I got an exciting email today: Scott Soriano and Ryan Wells announced that they are going to start a new print zine called The Zap Gun. While the first issue sounds like it is in the works, they have created a website for the zine, from which the reviews will be posted, although it looks like the articles, interviews, and assorted zine-stuff are going to be in the print version only. The first batch of reviews is already on the site, so be sure to make your way over there (

Debris Static Disposal (Anopheles, 1999)

This first couple of times that I listened to this, I really didn’t think that it lived up to the hype that’s been bubbling up as of late; not bad by any means, but just lacking some sort of cohesive identity. I didn’t know how to describe what I was hearing, and so I just stopped listening to it for a couple of months, but I gave it a listen on my way to class last week and haven’t stopped listening to it since. I’m starting to think that Debris is like a twisted and tangled collision of Guess Who-la-la beef-rock and the meditative compositional experimentation of Faust. The Anopheles reissue of this art-punk oddity (originally released by the band 30 years ago) has a pretty informative booklet on Debris; you get a feeling from the number of interviews and writings from the band, that there was an incredible amount of foresight running across the entirety of their work, although I think that a lot of their intentions we’re never really pulled off as eloquently as they describe. Enter the Guess Who side of Debris; after all, we are talking about Chickasha, Oklahoma in the mid 70’s. I think that I started liking Static Disposal a lot more once I started hearing more of that side of the band; maybe because there is an identifiable point of origin from which Debris can skew time and texture into a mess of prophetic doom. Of course, you might say that that is descriptive of Pere Ubu as well… but I think that Ubu is quite a bit more composed, while Debris are more surrealist in their approach. Taking obvious cues from Captain Beefheart, the songs have a grandiose choreography of interconnected elements, so as to obscure the individual within the larger context of the song (or the album, in that matter). Where Beeffheart was clearly the iconic constant organizing The Magic Band’s wilderness, it’s the dumb 70’s rock running through Debris’ music that is nucleus of the meltdown, which is a pretty interesting and original idea; straying from the typical assumption that the frontman is the thread from song to song.

You might ask, “How do the songs read, after giving Static Disposal a little love and attention?” I say, pretty well! While there are definite peaks and valleys here, Static Disposal clusters the peaks into the middle of the album, leaving the meandering focus of the beginning and end to act as the preamble and postscript to Debris’ singular statement.

Sunday, October 15, 2006



I hadn’t listened to this in a year or two, but it really hit the spot the other night, so I think it’s time to write about an old favorite.

The Dream Syndicate The Day Before Wine and Roses: Live at KPFK, September 5, 1982 (Atavistic, 1995)

I’ve never been to L.A., I have never seen a Dream Syndicate show, and actually my first experience with the band was buying their Ghost Stories album on a whim. I know, I know, you probably think that their debut The Days of Wine and Roses is their best album, and you have a point, since it captures the band at their most distinct, before they started down the road of bar-band booze rock (which they were actually pretty good at, just check out the fairly recently expanded Live at Raji’s, or their Weathered and Torn DVD for some persuasion). Rhino finally reissued an expanded version of The Days of Wine and Roses back in 2000, and I finally got to hear what all of the fuss was about, but to be honest, I think that the band’s power has dulled a bit over the years, because when I was expecting Velvets-via-The Germs, I just heard slow and dated chocka-chocka College guitar rock. I was kind of pissed. But of course, the more that I read about the band, and the more I listened to it, the more life seemed to go back into the album. It wasn’t until I heard The Day Before Wine and Roses that I really got a feel for The Dream Syndicate.

Recorded during a late-night radio broadcast about a week before the group went into the studio to start recording their debut, it captures a station packed with the rowdy scene that brought us the crash and burn greatness of early 1980’s So.Cal-punk. The Dream Syndicate’s own Lou Reed, Steve Wynn, dishes back at the audience’s agitated state, with wit and sarcasm in between their especially punishing set. I can’t imagine how great this must’ve sounded on-air, but you can’t help but to think hat when Wynn says that they have yet to find a label to put out their soon-to-be-recorded debut, the lines were ringing off the hook. There’s a lot of speak about the lead guitarist, Karl Precoda, who reportedly was such a monster at the guitar that he left a pile of busted hollow-body thrift-store Kay’s in the dust, but on The Days of Wine and Roses he seemed a little tamer than the legend. Here, you can actually hear and feel the legend at his peak, especially on the fucking insane version of Bob Dylan’s “Outlaw Blues,” and on “Sure Thing,” which was from their excellent self-titled EP (included on Rhino’s The Days of Wine and Roses reissue), which had just been released. Although there is a definite fire in the air, there’s also a late-night drinking blues vibe going on as well, which seems fitting considering that it was recorded at 2:00 am. This contrast between a rowdy and excited crowd and a trio of long drawn out, but tight as tight jams, creates an array of unpredictable and powerful moments escaping from a band that is just playing with their audience of friends and drunkard, with a restrained and cocky composure. It’s no wonder that the legend about them that just grew (somewhat) out of control.

You might say that this isn’t their definitive document, but I beg to differ, this is The Dream Syndicate before people put ideas into their heads, and producers tried to turn the scene’s most accessible-sounding punk band into something that more closely sounded like their heroes and influences. Just try to give the horrible Out of the Gray a listen and I think that you’ll get my point. The Day Before Wine and Roses is heavy on The Velvet Underground of course (they can’t hide that one much), but you do finally get a sense of all of those obscure forces at work, that pushed the record obsessive Wynn out of the crowd and onto the stage in the first place.

Friday, October 13, 2006



So that new Robin Williams movie looks promising, I the way that it doesn’t fall into the “Patch Adams,” “Mrs. Doubtfire,” “Bicentennial Man,” “Jack,” typology. Is he on drugs again? I hear he is on drugs again.

The Lindsay Dragged Out (Manup Music, 2006)

I’ve been eagerly waiting for this album to come out for a while (although I should give props to Manup Music, which really pushed this thing along quicker than one might expect from a new label), The Lindsay have been a band that during my past year in Columbus, Ohio really made a name for themselves by their excellent live chemistry, always managing to pull out a great show- show after show. I loved seeing them live, but to be honest, when I would sober up in the morning (after the first couple of times that I saw them) I couldn’t remember anything specific about their songs… it was almost as if there was a void in their music. Of course, some people might think that to be a bad thing, but it actually popped my interest even more, so much so, that I ordered this baby the day that Manup put it up for pre-sale on their website (I found out that I was their first customer!) because I knew that once I heard it, the pieces would all fall into place. I couldn’t have been more right.

Recorded over at Columbus Discount this past summer, it sounds crisp and meaty, and in a weird way reminds me a little of the late great Blue Revision (who called it quits this past year) at times. Hey- in fact there’s a lot of bands that The Lindsay remind me of sometimes: X, Neil Young and Crazy Horse, The Beatles, Opal, The Breeders, Blur, The Wipers, Superdrag, Sonic Youth, The Wedding Present, Throwing Muses…etc. but the great thing about The Lindsay is that they (like The Blue Revision) don’t really sound like anything else, and I think that is partially because the songwriting on Dragged Out is so diverse. It’s hard to think that I used to think of their songs as one big indefinable blob, because they’ve got some excellent songwriters in their ranks, capable of creating a dark and romantic mood across the album that never recycles any ideas or structures. I also like the dynamic between guitarist Jon Olexovitch and bassist Gretchen Tepper, as their voices just simply melt into each other, but the effect is never falls static. The drummer James Lavery is minimal but brutally effective evoking, at times, Mo Tucker’s big drum, while Tom Schmidt and Olexovitch subversively turn this fucker into a great big fucking guitar album. I was going to say that it’s hard to pick out a favorite, but the swirling jangle of “Your Contemporaries” is an absolutely mesmerizing exercise in melody and dynamics… and while Dragged Out is compelling enough to make me listen to it over and over again, every time I hear “Your Contemporaries” chime in mid-way through, the hair on my neck stands on end. Great album.

Thursday, October 12, 2006



I was working in the studio a couple weeks ago listening to an Art for Spastics (see entry 1.20) show that I had downloaded over dinner. It was a great show, and then I heard this fucking amazing song that had just embedded itself into my head. I just couldn’t escape from its hypnotic grip. I did some digging, kidd.

Pumice Yeahnahvienna (Soft Abuse, 2006)

“Brawl” was featured on Art for Spastics as a live (in-studio) recording that will hopefully be coming out soon via the KDVS label, but you know how these things go… but case in point, both versions sound like reverb drenched in magic. Seriously, MAAAN… magic. Yeahnahvienna is, remarkably, a live album, recorded two years ago during an artist residency in Vienna, Austria. I say remarkably because unlike all of those other four-track bedroom whack-offs, this guy, Stefan Neville, is an actual one-man noise band/singer. Hailing from- you guessed it- New Zealand, Neville is perhaps the most exciting thing happening there right now (at least of the stuff that has made it over to the States), but as it turns out Pumice is nothing new over there. He’s been performing and making DIY albums (primarily released on cassette) and singles for the past 15 years! I found an old website (here) which has a discography dating up to 2003 which is definitely worth having a look at, since it gives you a good idea of the level of prolificacy we’re talking about here. Anyways, back to Yeahnahvienna… this album is very complex in the way that Neville juxtaposes noise and song into a single performance of choreographed limbs and voice. ‘Noise’ as music is often criticized as not directly relating to the body, and in the past couple of years there has seemed to been a whole movement of bands which try to soften noise so that it more-often-than not exists as an additive creation; a backdrop to freak folk or whatever’s the hot deal. Here, Neville succeeds in marrying noise music to the intimate and personal scale of the body. Limited by contradictory rhythms and gravity, you can directly hear the tension of the body being affected by the physical constants of the universe in every nuance (MAAAN… I’m telling you, it’s magic).

The album as a whole can be split, albeit somewhat superficially, down the middle, dividing the more noise-oriented and the more song-oriented, but really the only significant difference is whether or not the piece is an instrumental or contains singing, as the two sides of Pumice seem to be completely codependent and can not be isolated from each other without collapsing into mediocrity. Thankfully, this tension between the song and the noise is surprisingly relentless.

Yeahnahvienna could be kissing cousins to At Swim Two Birds' neo-classic rumination on the darkness (and a Vertical Phil favorite), Quigley's Point, but most people seem to compare Neville with fellow New Zealand native Alastair Galbraith (who made a name for himself throughout the 80’s and 90’s with an excellent solo career and fronting a pair of short-lived oddball groups such as Plagal Grind and my favorite, The Rip). That comparison is also fitting, especially when you hear him on the opening track, “Abominable,” which is almost unsettlingly gentle (in all but subject matter) compared to the whole of Yeahnahvienna. That’s not to say that this is a difficult album to get into, if anything, it is inviting and intriguing rather than disorienting, and its complexity is masked by passages of intoxicating beauty which just seem to reverberate within the noise long after the passage has slipped in the next subsequent movement. The depth of Yeahnahvienna, opens itself to be dissected analytically, and ultimately is an interesting and boundlessly rewarding album- easily one of the year’s best. I can’t believe that I missed him on his US tour this summer, but I was a few months late in moving to Rhode Island. Shit luck, shit luck, in the meantime, there’s plenty here for me to enjoy. Get over to the Soft Abuse website and grab yourself a copy before you start drafting up your best-of ’06 lists.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006



I was startled by a mouse run across the floor while I was writing this review, and when I heard some weird crunching noises from beyond my headphones, I thought that maybe the mice had gotten into the dog’s food, and so I got up slowly… leaned over to check out the closet, aka “the scene of the crime.” The next thing I know is that my laptop (the next few moments were like a whirlwind of trauma) which was sitting on a tray table was teetering on the edge of the table and then I feel this pull on my foot and then CRASH my computer hits the ground (seemingly unharmed) and I quickly tumble down with it. Yep, this is quite embarrassing, but the companion tray table was somewhere caught in between the wall, couch, the computer, and myself, and I took the motherfucker out. It’s in like four pieces, which would in the past not be a problem, but I’m just hoping that the girlfriend has a sense of humor about the thing. I'm pretty sure that she will... anyhoo

The Black Swans Sex Brain (Bwatue, 2006)

I don’t know how Vertical Phil was able to convince Jerry DeCicca to give him a cd-r of Where is David Blue Tonight? I have a hunch that Phil swayed DeCicca with his unmistakable drunken charm and most likely an oath not to play it for anybody, but I think that Phil went straight over to my house with it and immediately put it on. I had seen DeCicca play solo a few months before and was pretty damn impressed, but I had yet to see his band before I heard the recording; I think Phil and I went to every single Black Swans show for about a year and a half because the album struck such a chord with us. This was in the formative stages of The Vertical Slum, and I remember coming up with tons of questions for an interview that Phil would go on to do with DeCicca for one issue. Usually, it’s a bit difficult to come up with interesting questions for interviews, but we had pages (literally) of questions that we were dying to ask him, and frankly we were really impressed with all of his answers. DeCicca’s style of singing (which is typically the make-it-or-break-it) at the time was so fragile, delicate and intentional that it was almost overpowering on The Black Swans’ debut album, which would eventually be renamed Who Will Walk In The Darkness With You? before finding release on the small label Delmore Recording Society almost three years ago.

Who Will Walk In The Darkness With You? was my pick for best debut of the year (by a longshot, actually), and this new self-released EP is probably gonna end up on this year’s best EP list, as it is absolutely fantastic. Sex Brain is evident of DeCicca’s incredible ability to fine-tune The Black Swans approach. In a way, they are almost the complete opposite of the band that they used to be. Of course, with the exception of the core group of DeCicca and violinist Noel Sayre we are talking about a different band. The Black Swans of Darkness were soft, subtle, and haunting, but on Sex Brain, and especially on the shocker opening track “I.D.W.2 F.” The Black Swans are a loose, and uninhabited, and dare I say… joyous folk unit. Very odd to think of these guys as joyous, but there is a definite excitement in the room when you are running on all cylinders and you bet your buck that it’s evident on this ep. Even the subject matter is a bit lighter, or I should say, a bit more humorous… let me quote a few lines from each of the songs to illustrate my point (*in hindsight I think that Pitchfork may have also quoted some lines when they reviewed this, but I can't really remember... anyway, to quote lines from this EP is almost irresistable, because they are so elegantly romantic, humorous, and crude):

“I don't want to fuck/ I just want to spoon/ I'm too sensitive of a man/ To be any closer to you.”
(the great opening line from “I.D.W.2 F.)

“Tequila, my friend/ She pulled my pants down/ and said she knows/ My girlfriend.”
(from “Friends”)

“It was sweat and shampoo/ Now it's cocoa butter lotion/ and I dream of your hair/ In my afternoon motion/ And your hands/ Are better than mine/ and your hands/ Aren't here at my side.”
(from “Your Hands”)

“Can you feel them swell beside you?/ Shoo the fruit flies out of your way/ It's been like this for two months/ Are we too good of friends to play?”
(from “Dark Plums”)

and we’ll end it like this:
“My chest on your back/ My lips tickling your arm/ I'm counting brown freckles/ You're making silky white tar/ Will we wear out our welcome/ As closeness grows dull?/ Our bodies too familiar/ My hard-on sinks into a lull.”
(from “My Lips”)

Yes, yes, yes, Sex Brain gets my full A+ endorsement; if you were not a fan of their heavy debut, give this one a shot, because frankly it is better… which should speak volumes as to the greatness of this little five-songer.

Friday, October 06, 2006



Cheer on the Buckeyes tomorrow as they take on... Bowling Green?! Yes, it should be a blow out, so I will probably be spending my Saturday (for the first time in a month in a half) not watching College Football, but instead pounding some beers with the girlfriend down in Newport for Oktoberfest. Sounds good to me.

Kousokuya First Live 1979 (PSF, 2006)

After reading, um, Roland Woodbe’s “voicemail from a concerned mother” review of this disc last week over on the Siltblog, and I had a hunch that this was going to be good (or at least interesting) so I visited my old pal Forced Exposure and ordered myself a copy. Now, I admit that I know next to nothing about the Japanese underground, psychedelic speed freak scene, but I don’t think you really need to be up to snuff to dig this one. First Live 1979 is immediate yet expansive, and is definitely going to make you want to do some research. As you may have guessed from the title, this album captures Kousokuya at their most embryonic, a stage of the band that has only this new release to serve as a document. The three-song set warms up with girl-voice bark 'n wail, over rolling random guitar and drums, and equaled by the industrial synthesizer. I don’t know if it is just because I have been listening to Trout Mask Replica a few times in the last couple days, but Kousokuya’s vocalist, Mick, reminds me of a female Beefheart in the way that she can couple tuneful melody with creative expressiveness. Ok, I admit that that might have been a little far-fetched, but I think that you get the point: that this stuff is more from a Beefheart/Psych Rock tradition, than anything punk or "post"-punk. Eventually the noise morphs into a steady beat and melody, but the guitar, girl-voice and synthesizer play hopscotch to the bass-drum, creating an intoxicatingly modern dance… and Chuck Berry is nowhere to be found. To top it all off, Fumio Kosakai (of The Incapacitants, Hijokaidan and C.C.C.C. infamy) articulately recounts the artistic de-evolution of Kousokuya, which was thankfully in both Japanese and English. Very interesting stuff, indeed; chaotic and deconstructive, but (I swear) you’ll actually enjoy listening to it, much less obsessively guarding your copy from wear and thievery (I'm still bitter about some jerk that stole a bunch of my shit, while I was in the Berkshire Mountains for a few months of the summer of 2002).

Where was I? Oh yeah, Kousokuya is so good, that I wonder why I've never heard their name uttered in hipspeak? Maybe I have, but after hearing this you'll find that they are the type of band that you'll never forget. Kosakai nicely wraps up his piece with emphasis on the obscurity of this incendiary recording: “The fact that that Instant of Illumination should have been captured on tape and now released on CD is nothing short of miraculous. But it’s a miracle that many music fans deserve to hear.” I can't help but to agree, First Live 1979 is miraculously timeless, in every sense of the word.



I haven’t slept since Tuesday night, and last night I was caught in a trance.

Roy Montgomery 324 E. 13th Street #7 (Drunken Fish, 1999)

As a founding member of the Pin Group, Roy Montgomery would usher in a good decade for NZ’s Flying Nun. I bet you thought that The Clean’s “Tally Ho” was legendary label’s first single, but no, it was “Ambivalence,” a haunted dirge obviously taking cues from the Joy Division, but worryingly in its near effortless depression. Good stuff, yes. A few years ago, Siltbreeze collected the Pin Group’s history with a self-titled trip to the dark side of the Kiwi-craze shadow that is definitely worth spending a little time with.

Much like his contemporary and occasional collaborator Bill Direen (Bilders, Bilderene, Die Bilder Schwimmen in Der See, et al) Montgomery never really fell in good with anything in New Zealand, and has remained the outcast in the pop circle, and the silent speaker amidst Xpressway’s noise. In the 1990’s he formed the also (all so) impressive Dadamah, and finally found a proper home with a pair of acute labels as Kranky and Drunken Fish, who kept his basement tapes within arms reach for the curious. In 1999, after a slew of critically acclaimed solo releases which followed the demise of Dadamah, Drunken Fish released this compilation of ultra-mega-rare singles (including one from his legendary post-Pin Group… group, The Shallows) rounded out with a few unreleased tracks.

The tone is stoic, and incapable of connection; the tough guy act that Calvin Johnson was too child-like to wholly pull off. The music is also evocative of the Beat Happening, but lacking the beat to ground the reverberation. The percussion-less arrangement of these tracks transform these simple chord progressions into obscured mantras from which Montgomery narrates. Conjured of the shadows, the apparition is always at your feet, and song-after-song, single-after-single, you’ll succumb the uneasy stillness with each sporadic shift of intonation; the momentary spasm of consciousness when you are next to asleep.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006



Ok, so activity on this ‘ere blog has slowed down a bit since I went back to school, but I assure you that it is only temporary. Unfortunately I have had and will continue to have (for about a week or so) a series of long nights in the studio. I haven’t had a whole lot of time to sit down and write up something, but I’ve been listening to a lot of great stuff lately… and will be doing some writing as soon as a get a little free time. You can expect a review or two to be posted this weekend, but in the meantime, you should really check out this incredible radio show out of Davis (California) on KDVS, Art for Spastics.

The 2-3 hour program is as entertaining as it is insightful. Although the wide range of material may not appeal to all tastes, the program’s coagulant is a punk DIY ideology… and it is nice to hear a knowledgeable host try to make sense of it all. DJ Rick has a simple mission: “While there's many great music bloggers mining overlooked should-be classics of a bygone era, and others scoping out new and exciting music, I hope this one can strike a balance and teach you something about how all the music under the sun is related,” and he really nails it. Instead of the narrow and exclusive point of view you might expect from such the quintessential record nerd/collector scum, the program comes across as adventurous and all-inclusive as you would hope after reading DJ Rick’s mission statement. Don’t believe me? Go ahead and download or stream a show and spend a little time exploring some adventurous and wild music that you will have a hard time hearing anywhere else.


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of similar interest:
marble stature archives
art for spastics
crud crud
detailed twang
electric pure land
population: doug
static party
terminal boredom
world of wümme
the z gun

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