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

Thursday, December 21, 2006



THE BEST OF 2006 (Part Three)
So this is how the end of the year is going to go down at the Marble Stature blog: I’ve painstakingly spent the last week digging through my records and CD’s, downloads and tapes in order to cull what I believe to be “The Top 25” of 2006. There’s gonna be some bitchin’ because I’m close friends with a lot of bands, and I feel a little weird listing something that I’ve had my hands in, but I think that the end result is as fair as it gets. Next year it’ll be a little easier as I am stranded out East for keepers (not really, but for the time being). These aren’t in any order because it’s hard to say that one thing that you like a lot is necessarily better than something else that you like a lot, but they will be presented to you as five groups of five albums. Here’s the third group:

Sapat Tongue-Tied & Staid 7" (Black Velvet Fuckere, 2006)

This loose-conglomeration of grisly Bluegrass metallurgists named for something precious and rare out on the other side of the world pressed one of the most chattered about seven-inches of the year via their own hillbilly commune and label, Black Velvet Fuckere. These three tracks are amorphous; dense with almost Amon Düül II complexities, and voiced by a croaker channeling Van Vliet by-way-of that Mirror Man record. Some might say, “The best $5 spent on a record this year,” and who could blame them? It plays nice and long and after you get about a minute into it, you’ll be entranced for good. I am dying to hear what they do on their debut full-length, Mortise and Tenon, which is set for release at the end of January… on Siltbreeze, of course.

Robert Pollard From a Compound Eye (Merge, 2006)

I can’t help but to still be impressed by From a Compound Eye, which came out when it was still snowing this year. I figured that’d be terrible because Matador passed on it and then about a year after it had been shopped around, Pollard’s old pal Mac McCaughan seem to get coerced into putting the darn double album out on Merge. Oddly enough, it was the biggest (and possibly the best) album that Pollard had put out since Isolation Drills. Why do the scores of Pollard fans dig it so much? Because it has some absolutely fantastic songs on it such as “Dancing Girls and Dancing Men,” “Love is Stronger Than Witchcraft,” “Blessed in an Open Head,” “Kensington Cradle,” “The Right Thing,” “50 Year-old Baby,” “The Kingdom Without,” and so on and so on. I come and go with Tobias’ production as a whole, but here it seems to sound less “cheap,” than it does on Normal Happiness or any of the last three GBV albums. Perhaps the most exciting aspect of From a Compound Eye was that Pollard didn’t sound as if he were just throwing away songs and ideas; here, each song- check that, most songs- sound as if it were carefully focused on, from the riff all the way down to the lyrics… and that is a major accomplishment for the big boy at this point in his career.

Major Stars Syntoptikon (Twisted Village, 2006)

Team Twisted Village, husband and wife lead guitarists Kate Biggar and Wayne Rodgers, juiced up the Major Stars formula by moving the Stars bassist Tom Leonard to 3rd lead guitar, and then added a new bassist, Dave Dougan, a new drummer, Casey Keenan, and a full-time singer, Sandra Barrett. There- I just introduced you to the most fucking bad ass band on the Eastern seaboard. There’s no frills; just the pummeling drone of a triad of deft guitarists pushing each other into transcendence while a husky-voiced pretty girl sings nice every once in a while, just when things have cooled off enough to be mistaken for a band of “just another rowdy bar band of frustrated 9-to-5-ers.” Whoa Nellie! Very impressive, and probably my favorite album that has come out of Twisted Village to date, who thought that these guys would just now be hitting their peak?

Hue Blanc's Joyless Ones Fait Accompli (P. Trash, 2006)

This group from Algoma, Wisconsin released a pair of seven-inches before dropping Fait Accompli, their debut full-length, by way of overseas garage-rock magnate P. Trash. With a two-guitarist and drummer line-up that brings to mind fellow “joyless ones,” the Cheater Slicks, but Hue Blanc’s take two decades of Lou Reed (the good decades, don't worry), and manage to come out with a whole new street hassle. Yeah, Fait Accompli does at times threaten to go the direction of stale garage stank, but when it happens, it doesn’t sound forced; mapping their own path about 95% of the time. Ryan Wells from The Z Gun dropped Death of Samantha and Sister Ray in his review of this back in October, and I couldn’t agree with him more, but the Joyless Ones seem to have a bigger flame under their asses.

Ex-Cocaine Keep America Mellow (Killertree, 2006)

You know what they say, “If the cover looks like Twin Infinitives...” hey I’m just joking around, but rather Keep America Mellow is the work of another duo, this time a guitarist (Ramirez) and a drummer (Mike C.) hailing from Missoula. Sounds innocent enough, but the music here is as boundless and airy as their State’s speed limit; a bit like a jam session between Michael Morley's pre-Dead C duo, Wrecking Small Speakers on Expensive Stereos, and early Tyrannosaurus Rex under the summer stars of Montana's big sky. If you can picture that I think you can just taste the mellow rural vibe that Ex-Cocaine conjure. To put it quite simply- a hauntingly beautiful and meandering record.



THE BEST OF 2006 (Part Two)
So this is how the end of the year is going to go down at the Marble Stature blog: I’ve painstakingly spent the last week digging through my records and CD’s, downloads and tapes in order to cull what I believe to be “The Top 25” of 2006. There’s gonna be some bitchin’ because I’m close friends with a lot of bands, and I feel a little weird listing something that I’ve had my hands in, but I think that the end result is as fair as it gets. Next year it’ll be a little easier as I am stranded out East for keepers (not really, but for the time being). These aren’t in any order because it’s hard to say that one thing that you like a lot is necessarily better than something else that you like a lot, but they will be presented to you as five groups of five albums. Here’s the second group:

Jay Reatard Blood Visions (In the Red, 2006)

With 15 songs in less than a half-hour, two-minute power-pop reigns yet again! Blood Visions is the first solo album from Reatard, the prolific 26 y.o. who spent his teens in the 90’s fronting the much-loved… uh… Reatards. This guy is an interesting songwriter, who is able to effectively translate his love for all things Killed By Death, Hyped2Death, Yellow Pills, Bloodstains and Teenline, and make something sharp and exciting; this is what I wanted The Ponys’ second album to sound like. Every song is intricately crafted and fully realized, the recording is crisp, and it’s all quick enough to never overstay its welcome. I don’t know any other way that I can sell it you; this is a fantastic album.

Raccoo-oo-oon Is Night People (Release the Bats, 2006)

These four guys from Iowa that go by the name Raccoo-oo-oon (silly, ain’t it?) released their first recording, Is Night People, last year but its scarce run was gobbled up quick. Luck for us, Swedish label Release the Bats gave the cassette a proper CD release earlier this year. Is Night People is an organic and inventively recorded album that seems to have conflicted intentions; an album organized by songs, or a freer assemblage of pedal-manipulated experimentation that is organized by passages. I think it is more of the former, but in the best possible way; by keeping a trace of structure to the chirps, wails and moans, parts of the album become identifiable and memorable, effortlessly seducing you into the more interesting experimental nuances which are at work within the album. Great stuff from this prolific band, I have a few other things that they’ve put out this year, but haven’t been able to pull myself away from Is Night People for long enough to give any of their other stuff a fair listen.

Tête de Bébé (S-S, 2006)

For me, this was the clear winner for compilation of the year (but it should be noted that Hyped2Death’s Messthetics Greatest Hits was thrown out of the running because it is comprised of archival recordings). With Tête de Bébé, music critic and S-S label head, Scott Soriano, created the definitive document of the now French Underground, introducing the likes of Cheveu, Dragibus, Le Club de Chats, The Normals, Crack und Ultra Eczema, and Lawrence Wasser, to a hungry domestic audience. Surprisingly, due to the nature of the release, each song used for this compilation is impeccable; exhibiting each group’s most interesting nuances. But perhaps my favorite thing about Tête de Bébé is that it is a fun album; uncompromising, colorful, bouncy, angry, exciting, and yes... intoxicatingly melodic.

Pumice Yeahnahvienna (Soft Abuse, 2006)

I wrote a nice long review of Yeahnahvienna back in October, and so you can read the full review by following the link here, but here’s a little, slightly re-worded, excerpt: "Stefan Neville (Pumice) is perhaps the most exciting thing happening in New Zealand 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! Yeahnahvienna, his most recent full-length, 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."

Sic Alps Pleasures and Treasures (Animal Disguise, 2006)

Composed of members from Erase Errata, the Hospitals, Big Techno Werewolves, and the Coachwhips, San Francisco’s Sic Alps earn the pedigree of a super-group in my blog. Their sullen “early” recordings (“early,” as in last year) have been collected and released as Pleasures and Treasures, an album that is almost as menacing as it is pretty… kind of like a fusion of Skip Spence, Bobby Beausoleil, and Fushitsusha, if that means anything to you. A tough album to get at, i've been listening to it for a while, and feel as if I have still only scratched the surface.



THE BEST OF 2006 (Part One)
So this is how the end of the year is going to go down at the Marble Stature blog: I’ve painstakingly spent the last week digging through my records and CD’s, downloads and tapes in order to cull what I believe to be “The Top 25” of 2006. There’s gonna be some bitchin’ because I’m close friends with a lot of bands, and I feel a little weird listing something that I’ve had my hands in, but I think that the end result is as fair as it gets. Next year it’ll be a little easier as I am stranded out East for keepers (not really, but for the time being). These aren’t in any order because it’s hard to say that one thing that you like a lot is necessarily better than something else that you like a lot, but they will be presented to you as five groups of five albums. Here’s the first group:

Home Sexteen (Brah/Jagjaguwar, 2006)

This is a hard one to write anything about; I tried to come up with a review for The Z Gun a few months ago and it got tossed because it was couple paragraphs that didn’t really go anywhere, or do anything, but this is about as clever as indie-pop music got in 2006, with a rotating cast of singers, songwriters, lovers, and fuckers, coming off like swarm of arrogant Brooklyners looking to do nasty things to their long-time girlfriends. The result is a wild-card; as style, point-of-view, affection, and intention never remain constant. Home have been around for a long time now, and it has taken them 16 albums to finally make one that feels like a focused album, with real album character, although each of the songs have very distinct and diverse identities.

Sparks Hello Young Lovers (In the Red, 2006)

Whoa. Let me collect my thoughts about this; this is one of the few albums that my girlfriend banned me from ever playing while she was around… so in that way, I guess that it makes sense after all, being released by the notoriously crude and rude L.A. punk and garage rock label In the Red. I had never listened to Sparks before this, and Hello Young Lovers has since turned me into a big fan. While it turned out to not be half as good as their string of classic albums in the 70’s (Kimono My House, Propaganda, and Indiscreet) it is better than the rest, and that counts as a comeback in my book. What we have here is an inventively arranged album of snappy melody, operatic intensity, and puns… oh, the puns. I can’t wait to hear a follow-up from the Mael’s, because they’re riding on a wave that hasn’t been this high in 30 years.

Wooden Shjips Shrinking Moon for You 10” (Self Released, 2006)

In a brilliant move earlier this year, this group from San Francisco pressed a 10” record, housed it in a plain white sleeve, stamped it with a mysterious sun image, and sent it out free to whoever wanted one. Well, the record fell into some grateful hands, getting praise from taste-makers such as Agony Shorthand, Terminal Boredom, and Siltblog, and the rest is history. Yeah, but the beauty of this 10” is not just the story behind it, the music is fantastic; the A-side, “Shrinking Moon For You,” takes a simple bass riff (or is that a keyboard?) and lets it churn out a poppy groove as guitars, drums, sleighbells, backwards vocals, solos, and chintzy electronics simply, but provocatively get added and subtracted from the mix. On the other side, the mud just ain’t as deep, but is a nice contrast to the more conventional side of psychedelia, with enough air in the room to get a good feel for the keyboard, guitar and voices. Simple, exciting, mysterious; and they’ve put a 7” out this past fall that’s almost just as good.

Psychedelic Horseshit Who Let the Dog’s Out? 7” (Columbus Discount, 2006)

The ‘Shit had spent the first 8 months (or so) making precious little EP’s, playing what seemed like just about every show that was thrown their way, and basically carving out a name for themselves one chip of the chisel at a time, that is until this solid three-song EP came out, instantly hurdling these guys onto the top of the heap. It’s infectiously amateurish, sloppy, even lazy, but it’s mostly drug-induced… they ain’t dumb; they have wild ideas, write great songs, and consistently execute with everything that they’ve released to date. They’ve got a split with Times New Viking out now on 300% (which I haven’t heard yet), and a full-length with Siltbreeze in the works (which I also have yet to hear stuff from), but they’ve yet to let me down, so I expect some kills.

Red Red Red Mind Destroyer (Big Neck, 2006)

Ryan Sabatis, former drummer of the much-missed punk outfit The Piranhas, grabbed himself a guitar and fucking cranked up the amps with his new group, the Detroit-based, Red Red Red. Easily the loudest CD I got (except maybe for an unlistenably loud vinyl-rip of a GBV boot that I tried to make my Junior year at Ohio State), and I wouldn’t want it any other way. Loud and fast, a lot like pre-Rollins Black Flag, but some songs remind me of the middle, more hardcore areas of Zen Arcade- I think you can get the picture. While the territory has been beaten to shit by a million bands… Mind Destroyer is one of the few that actually stand out, crammed with unexpected hooks and packed with about as much bite as a White Castle 'Slider.' If you’re gonna make an album like this it’s gotta be as nasty as you can make it, and Red Red Red really got it right from the start, and didn’t try to fiddle it to death. If this would've been released last year, we'd have a street-fight with The Feelers' Learn to Hate..., that would rival this year's OSU/Michigan game, but it wasn't, and therefore Mind Destroyer gets the punk revival title by a longshot.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006



Life ain't easy.

Jim Shepard w/ V-3, Lacquer, etc... Evil Love Deeper (Thrill Jockey, 1995)

I was sitting around a few nights ago, and I realized that, although I’ve owned Evil Love Deeper for a few years now, I have never actually listened to it. Weird, right? This album is special for a couple of reasons: unlike Shepard’s other LP’s, it is still available (from Thrill Jockey’s website for a mere $10), and it is one of the two times that his short-lived group with Bob Dickie from the Strapping Fieldhands, Lacquer, makes a significant contribution to the album (the only other time that I recall a Lacquer track is on Picking Through the Wreckage with a Stick). Evil Love Deeper exists in a weird place in the Iron Press; not quite as song-based as much of the V-3 material (although there is a great live V-3 track here, “Tetramagorica”), and it’s not as Jandek-influenced as Shepard’s aforementioned solo Siltbreeze LP. There are some great moments on Evil Love Deeper, such as Skullbank’s bouncy, Minutemen-like “Revelling Finalities,” Dickie’s cello-hook on “Your Leader,” the somewhat pretty “That One Thing,” and “Harry’s Getting Ready to Shave,” which sounds like a medley of two of V-3’s most well-known tracks, “Negotiate Nothing” and “Harry,” as played by a sleepy Pere Ubu.

How do all of these memorable moments add up? Pretty well, I’d have to say that Shepard really knew how to orchestrate his material over the course of a full-length better than most people know how to pick their nose, and I’d take a full-length of his over one the many seven-inches he put any day; because while this may not be as oddly heroic as Negotiate Nothing, as eerie and unsettling as Picking Through the Wreckage with a Stick, as impressive as Photograph Burns, it feels like a lot more than the collection of odds and ends recorded over the course of the first half of the 90’s. Evil Love Deeper is a focused effort, full of peaks, valleys, twists and turns; one of Shepard's few remaining artifacts… urging us to scratch deeper beneath the surface of the two themes of love and evil, and dwell with Shepard in the underworld where the two could coexist with almost interchangeable identities.

Monday, December 18, 2006



Eh, after doing some much-needed apartment cleaning, I don’t feel like much of an introduction today.

A-Band Artex/Alot (Siltbreeze, 1993)

This classic Siltbreeze title is comprised of two live songs/sets. The first starts out like some later-day Roland Kirk accompanied by a few Dust-Deviled harmonicas and saxes, before a bass guitar lays down a droning groove, and the drums slowly trip into the bass’ beat while white alarm noise sears in the distance. Gasp! ...long sentence. Are those vocals or is that a crusty record of ancient war chants? The voices and saxes exchange back-handed blows of singularity and multiplicity, near and far, sneaky and blunt, within the confines of the cave-like walls of The Wharf. I don’t know much beyond the names of A-Band’s Neil Campbell and Richard Youngs, but you gotta start somewhere, and this is sounding right quite nice following an afternoon of thorough house-cleaning and record-dusting.

The B-side, “Alot,” is more cacophonous; the rapture from the other side of the table. A guitar gets played like a tornado on the prairie sending Danny Taylor’s infamous drumset up and down the cellar stairs while the keys only seem to get tickled and wiggled by the gale. Like “Artex” eventually the mess stumbles around into some logic behind alternating movements of primitive and technical drumming, and the alarm motif from the A-side is once again revisited, but vocalized this time, bringing this chaotic LP to an wailing conclusion.

Contrary to my initial feeling about this release, it's been much more of a mindfuck 'n headache to track-down a copy than it has been to listen to.

Sunday, December 17, 2006



Back when I was a kid, it’d be snowing by now. Head on over to The Z Gun, as it has been updated. I didn’t have any time this month (finals) to throw any reviews their way, but rest assured I will be contributing for January’s update, as I am now on fuggin’ break and ready to head back to Ohio next weekend.

Raven Back to Ohio Blues (Owl, 1975)

It makes sense that information about this LP is about as mysterious as the moniker. I guess that this pup is one of the most valuable records that’s ever been released by a guy from Columbus, fetching close to a grand for copy on eBay, not too long ago. Originally pressed in an edition of 500 on Owl records (also a creature of the night), but reissued twelve years ago in another edition of 500 LP’s on Rockadelic with a new more colorful and overall pussier cover (by-the-way, the Rockadelic pressing is also long gone).

Jared Phillips from Times New Viking played a cdr copy of this last summer and he sat around drinking beers to it. I had never heard of it; I guess Mike Rep burned him the copy and said that Raven was some biker local that wrote and played all of the instruments on this, his sole release, and then died of an O.D. months after… or at least that is the version I remember. Anyway, I was pretty excited to see that somebody had a copy of this to download, so now I am able to give it some of my hard-earned free time and shit out a little nugg about Back to Ohio Blues.

This must’ve had a big impact on Rep, as it sounds a lot like some of that good old early Quotas/True Believers stuff that we all rub our dicks over. Maybe if the guy stuck around here a little longer Raven could’ve shared a little of The Godz’ headlight, because frankly this is a lot better; darker, and less tongue-in-cheek. Back to Ohio Blues is split between snappy rockers reminiscent of Aerosmith’s better days (but imagine Alice Cooper in place of Steven Tyler) and longer acid-blues workouts, the most notable being the titular track, which is so seedy that you can just picture the guy shooting up in between the overdubs.

I don’t know how this slipped by Chuck Eddy while writing the quintessential Heavy Metal guidebook 'Stairway to Hell,' but this is definitely worthy of a spot in the better half of the 500… maybe taking the place of one of those shit Kix albums.

Friday, December 15, 2006



It's my girlfriend's birthday tomorrow so I am going to make her a cake after I write this.

Luxurious Bags Frayed Knots (Twisted Village, 1995)

I’m starting to think that this might be the most straightforward thing that I’ve ever heard come out of Cambridge’s Twisted Village, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. I hear that Luxurious Bags is a bedroom project; if that’s the case, that schizo’s gotta full band in him, because Frayed Knots is a pummeling fusion of Robot World-era Bailter Space, Crystallized Movements, David Baker's Mercury Rev and the first Dinosaur album. Appropriately planned as the final album from Luxurious Bags, who had released two rare LP’s on Twisted Village prior (compiled on the Quarantine Heaven CD), because I doubt that this guy’s vision could be any more succinct and affecting; each of the seven (somewhat long) songs is entirely memorable after first listen- plodding stoner-jangle (“Monster Mind”), junkie noodling (“This Won’t Help a Bit”), in-the-red bluesy drone (“12 Miles Back”), and a long psych-out at the end… you gotta have a long psych-out at the end! I’d say that Frayed Knots is a forgotten classic of this past decade, but I doubt anybody ever really paid much attention in the first place, nevertheless, it’s thankfully still in-print and ready to bite.

Thursday, December 14, 2006



I think it was Steven Tyler who shreiked it: back in the saddle again. Although I have a busy weekend of tying up loose ends, cleaning out my studio and documenting my work, after what turned out to be a little over 100 hours of work in the past five days, my semester has come to an end.

Markku Peltola Buster Keatonin Ratsutilalla (Ektro, 2003)

I went into this one completely blind; I had no idea what this would sound like, but the Buster Keaton reference (i think it translates to: "in the ranch of...") made me think of watching 'College' and 'The General' as a kid with my dad AND this is the time of the year to get sentimental over a good nog, so I guess that's a-ok. Buster Keatonin Ratsutilalla opens, oddly enough with some cheesy cheddar guitar shredding, but then bounces out of metal box and with the help of some om'em bongos, spritely acoustic guitar and a violin melody that screams ciné-mentality but thankfully the "it" indies have yet to tap Finnish sap for obscure additions to their shitty soundtracks (...Zack Braff ...Wes 'Small Change' Anderson ...Sofia Coppola, yes, but terrible nonetheless). Oddly enough, bandleader Markku Peltola has made a name for himself in Lappywood or whatever, starring in the only movie from Finland that I have ever heard of, a movie by Aki Kaurismaki that if I remember correctly came out while I was still a dorm-boy (so about five or six years ago) called 'The Man Without a Past.' I don't know a whole lot about the background of this release (or Peltola for that matter), but a few songs into this album I couldn't help but to think of the phrase Swedish Reggae, which was the proposed title for that self-titled Steve Malkmus album. It's a good concept though, and while I don't think it would be appropriate for Malkmus, it really does nail what Peltola and his players conjure up from some wintry jamming. There is a looseness to Buster Keatonin Ratsutilalla that is almost spongelike; ontologically simple, but rich in texture and rather sophisticated upon examination, especially the interplay between that violin and the guitarist, one of whom I would assume to be Peltola. While this ere oddity may not be earth-shattering, it is admirably unassuming, strangely familiar- maybe even sentimental music that I like to think of less like "another jewel on the shelf" but rather like a stack of old pictures from a fun party that you that you threw.

Saturday, December 09, 2006



Long time no see... as you may have guessed, I have been incredibly busy with school, but thankfully (as of the end of next week) I will be officially half way done with my Master's degree program. I have no time to write any reviews right now, but I just wanted to post something new up here, and also direct you over to the z gun, where you'll be able to read reviews for the new This Moment in Black History, Self Destruct Button and Crack Und Ultra Eczema, before the new issue goes up at the end of next week.

Here's some stuff that I have been listening to this past week of finals hell:

Maher Shalal Hash Baz Kunitachi Kibun ('84 & '85) (PSF, 2006)
Markku Peltola Buster Keatonin Ratsutilalla (Ektro, 2003)
Bill Fox Transit Byzantium (SpinArt, 1998)
Fushitsusha Double Live (PSF, 1989)
Cornershop When I was Born for the 7th Time (Luaka Bop/Warner Bros, 1997)
Hole Class A Glimpse of Hole Class (Self Released, 2006)
Luxurious Bags Frayed Knots (Twisted Village, 1995)
Sun Kil Moon Ghosts of the Great Highway (Jetset, 2003)
Verlaines Hallelujah All the Way Home (Flying Nun, 1985)
The Feelers Just Can't Get Enough 7" (Contaminated, 2006)
Thin Lizzy Vagabonds of the Western World (Deram, 1973)
Drunks with Guns Drunks with Guns (Behemoth, 1995)

Check back in a week and a half, and i'll probably have some reviews posted for some of the albums listed above.


August 2006   September 2006   October 2006   November 2006   December 2006   January 2007   February 2007   March 2007   May 2007   June 2007   July 2007   December 2007   April 2008  

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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