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

Saturday, January 27, 2007



I spent the day not in class (surprisingly), but rather working a few hours in the afternoon and then spending several hours with a bunch of old cassettes (crudely recorded probably about six or seven years ago) that I stumbled upon towards the bottom of a large cardboard box with busted-out-sides, due to the amount of junk artwork, photos, various post-its and receipts that Meghan is making me sort through. For your sake, I hope that these shit cassettes never find their way to another set of ears, but it was kind of nice to writhe in the pain that each terrible song after another, and tape after tape, would bring, because while it ain’t good, it's at least honestly terrible.

Axemen Three Virgins, Three Versions, Three Visions (Flying Nun, 1986)

If you hadn’t noticed already, the Lax-machine, Siltblog, has been dropping the word of this group of neglected Kiwis and their ultra-obscure label Sleek Bott for the past month and a half. I’ve had a few people a day ask me if I have any of this Axemen/Sleek Bott shit, which I didn’t. I bought the Axemen retrospective thing, Peter Wang Pud (still in-print after all of these years, try here), a couple of years ago from the $3 bin at Used Kids, and while it mysteriously went missing soon after, I was probably too busy listening to Juvenilia, or Goblin Mix to give two shits. Caught up in all of the Axemen-hype of the past few weeks, I re-bought Peter Wang Pud for $5 on eBay two weeks ago and then found this double-LP for $18 last week (thinking that if it sucked I could at least find an eager buyer amidst the hysteria). So where do we stand? While I still hold Marie and the Atom and The D4 to be the two weirdest bands on Flying Nun (hey! for two completely different reasons: one’s great and one spelled the end, mate), the Axemen make me scratch my head like untrimmed nails and a bad case of psoriasis (for the record: I am not saying that psoriasis is funny in any way, shape or form).

Three Virgins... is the Axemen’s sprawling double album Flying Nun debut, but the odd thing about this thing is that, while almost all of the double albums I’ve heard set themselves up from the get-go to be epic, grandiose artistic statements (the musical equivalent to a Western in Cinemascope), the Axemen went about it in the laziest way possible; creating a sprawling, scatterbrained mess of pop music that set the precedent for that roll-call of classic early-90’s indie-rock breakthroughs (SlantedBeeCrookedAlien LanesStangers from the Universe… you're still reading this?!!), and yeah, I can hear some of that Messthetics DIY horseplay in the dank ol' air as well. Sometimes the voices are as chirpy as a bird in the closet, sometimes I hear some Mark E. Smith-cadenced sing sing in the radar, sometimes some Nikki Sudden, but if you are one you registers rather irritating voices as ruggedly charming and charismatic… go on, you devil, and just surrender yourself to the “Rain O’Seeds.” How does the end of this old joke go: if you listen to Three Virgins for long enough…? Oh yeah, I remember: “I bet you won’t be able to stop!” Pretty damn ripe for a reissue... any takers?

Sunday, January 21, 2007



News, News... The Z Gun has been updated, so be sure to get yourself over there and read, read, read! The first printed issue should not be that far off, so I will post some information on that as soon as I get the word. In other news, the new Teenage Panzerkorps album, Harmful Emotions, showed up on my doorsteps yesterday morning. While it's about as fantastic as you'd think it to be, I wanted to write about a band from yesteryear that doesn't seem to get much praise these days. I think that this might be the first in a series of writings about the the many odd wonders hiding within Matador's well-known catalog.

Run On Start Packing (Matador, 1996)
Run On No Way (Matador, 1997)

This past Christmas got me thinking about this song "Xmas Trip" by Run On. I had never heard an album by them, but had watched the video on the Everything is Nice DVD once a few years ago, and although I wasn’t too into the song at the time, I was anxious to get back to Fox Point so that I could look at it with a more refined palette. I did, and had the song stuck in my head for days, which compelled me to go out and grab their pair of out-of-print albums on CD for less than $1 apiece on Amazon (and i'm sure that their vinyl ain't gonna break you bank either).

Now that I’ve been listening to them for a while, I’m really surprised that Run On never amassed much of a following (well they might have, but I had yet to meet a fan of them, much less somebody who has heard one either of these albums). While songs such as “As Good as New,” “Anything You Say,” “Doesn’t Anybody Love the Dark,” and the aforementioned “Xmas Trip,” are concrete proof they flaunted an impeccable talent for penning a pop song, but did so in a way that sounds so incredible unique and fresh, instead of relying on the fine-tuning the sounds and sonics of past pop giants (The Beatles, Beach Boys, Byrds, blah, blah... The Who). Man, I think it's time you all realize that there's nothing new about The New Pornographers. Run On's progressiveness seemed to make sense once I read up a bit more about the band: the sultry, proto-Neko Case-voiced, Sue Garner, who has some great solo albums on Thrill Jockey and was in the Homestead band, Fish & Roses, with her (eventual) husband Rick Brown, who also sings and plays drums in Run On. Perhaps one of the most innovative and resourceful drummers I’ve ever heard, Brown proudly turned his back on the use of hi-hats and developed a simple yet very complex style. Acclaimed avant-garde noisemaker/writer and former member of Love Child (another seldom-heard Homestead act), Alan Licht, who has seen his solo work released on Drag City, Corpus Hermeticum and Siltbreeze, among others. Yeah, pretty impressive as a three-piece core, but Run On always had a fourth element to add to their sound; on No Way, violinist Katie Gentile, and on Start Packing, trumpeter David Newgarden… (according to allmusic guide) a CMJ writer, former WFMU disc-jockey, member of The Mad Scene (with The Clean’s Hamish Kilgour!) and was an employee of John Zorn’s Tzadik label! Jeeeesus, I wonder what Newgarden’s up to these days?

I challenge anybody who digs their former label-mates and friends Yo La Tengo to try these two albums on for size, especially when last year's I Am Not Afraid of You and I Will Beat Your Ass had critics excited, one listen to either of these albums, will show that Yo La Tengo are just slowly retracing the steps that Run On walked over ten years ago. Now go out and raid those dollar bins!

Wednesday, January 17, 2007



After a few very relaxing weeks off of school, traveling back to Ohio, visiting friends and family, and catching up on episodes of House and The Office (thank you, Meghan!), I’m finally ready to get back to work. I’ve been writing reviews for the upcoming monthly update for The Z Gun, so things over here have been on the backburner, but I figured that I should give you something to bite on for the next week. Think of this post as an addendum to the "Top 25."

On On (Celebrate Psi Phenomenon, 2006)

Where did this come from?!!! I’m guessing that On is a new group from New Zealand, but to be honest, I don’t know much about them. Their self-titled CD was released last year on Campbell Kneale's (aka Birchville Cat Motel) impressive and uniformed CD/CDR label- thankfully distributed by both Midheaven, and Aquarius Records. If you think that this is akin to Birchville Cat Motel’s droning electric atmospheres, you couldn’t be more wrong. Blasted guitars, treble-kickin’, and a pair of screamers mired in overdrive, On is, at heart, a powerful punk band capable of moments which will humble even the most Flipper-crazed cheerleaders of them Pissed Jeans and Clockcleaner. However, the tapes are thick with submerged melodies (which were not immediately present to these ears), and a dialog between high-end amp noise and low-end drones that I can imagine that Boodle Boodle Boodle sounds like in a Morse code conversation in Okinawa. If I would’ve listened to this a few weeks earlier it would’ve easily landed a spot on the Top 25 list, but every winter you’ll get that. Tough shit.

The great thing about this is that you can totally hear 25+ years of kiwi rock in these lo-fi rumblings, but they’ve even moved beyond the left-field noise and experimentation which The Dead C, Pumice, Peter Jeffries, S.P.U.D., Birchville Cat Motel, and Gate into an exciting new terrain... and this is only their first album?! While underground American music (such as Scratch Acid, My Dad is Dead, Happy Flowers, Butthole Surfers, and Crystallized Movements) was, at the time, being overshadowed by the likes of The Chills, the Verlaines, and NME, it’s incredible to hear all of the aforementioned completely absorbed into a new breed of kiwi animal that's ready to destroy all that's left of the once-great Flying Nun. Highly recommended.

Sunday, January 07, 2007



THE BEST OF 2006 (Part Five... FINALLY!)
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 fifth and final group:

Sun City Girls Djinn Funnel (Nashazphone, 2006)

This collection of five choice Sun City Girls live recordings was released this past year was the first release for Nashazphone, a new Egyptian/Algerian label. I had always been a little too intimidated by the amount of stuff that these guys had out there to pay attention to pricey limited-run Sun City Girls stuff like this, but like that Blues Control cassette that also made the “Top 25,” Doug Elliott also recommended Djinn Funnel while I was back in Columbus for Xmas break. Opening with the galloping “Nites of Malta,” vocalist Alan Bishop drawls and drones sounding like something off of The Clean’s Oddities. The three tracks in the middle are instrumental, and while Bishop’s strong vocal presence is missing, the album begins to open itself up to the weirdo, spastic desert groove that the Sun City Girls have jammed on for the past two decades, and that final track, “Grand Trunk (Drifters of the Grand Trunk),” could be thought of as the transmogrification of the old slow blues closing number for the new class of nightfolk to beat to.

Self Destruct Button Natural Selection of Accidents (Tower Control, 2006)

I reviewed this for the November ’06 update of The Z Gun, which you can read in full here. Unfortunately I missed these Clevelanders’ show in Boston around Thanksgiving because I was swamped with schoolwork, but I as glad to see that they made a “show of the week” for our area’s scene paper, ‘The Dig’… so hopefully they had a worthy reception. I can’t recommend Natural Selection of Accidents enough; it’s entirely insane, and I still think that at any moment they can sound like “Brainiac, Big Black, or The Beatles,” but I think that is the strength of their sound… if I were to hear this back when I was in high school going through my obligatory teenage Beatles phase, it would inspire me to get into some really, really weird stuff. Don’t mistake Self Destruct Button as a pop group, they are far from it, but the way that they play their music is so tight and infectious that Natural Selection of Accidents should continue to influence and inspire all who hear it to branch out their tastes into unknown territory.

Teenage Panzerkorps Gleich Heilt Gleich 7" (Skulltones, 2006)

I’m really liking this new label Skulltones (they also put out the first seven-inch by Lambsbread and a new Sic Alps single) that gave this impossible-to-find 3” cdr an official release on that nice vinyl format we all love. Teenage Panzerkorps are a group of old Californian punks with cool stage-names and are fronted by a German transplant that touts the coolest stage-name of ‘em all, Bunker Wolf. Gleich Heilt Gleich is a strange little 9-minute pop record; Wolf has a scratchy loathsome growl, that works well with the punkest of the tracks, “Games for Slave,” but is most impressive when paired within more upbeat atmospherics, such as on “Burma Crawl,” and the most memorable “Christian Gender.” Yes, they also have a new full-length (Harmful Emotions) coming out on Siltbreeze at the end of this month, which will be (in the words of Lax) “a one-time vinyl-only release, with paste-on covers, in an edition of 500 copies. Just like your Grandpa's Siltbreeze!” If it’s good as Gleich Heilt Gleich and their full-length cdr from a few years back, Nations are Insane, you’ll have to move fast to get yourself a copy.

Frustration self-titled 7” (S-S, 2006)

Although they are curiously missing from the Tête de Bébé compilation that got a whole lot of love around here this year, Frustration are one of the best bands in France right now (with Cheveu and Volt). I’m not quite sure why this single hit me so hard this year, but it did. It’s post-punk at its simplest; Jay Hinman put it best when he reviewed this in Agony Shorthand earlier this year: “(Frustration) compare themselves to Killing Joke and Joy Division, and yeah, the excellent “Premises” is a total Warsaw/Ideal For Living rip-off, but it’s also that good. And as you know, that’s real good. Real real good!” Really.

Jakob Olausson Moonlight Farm (DeStijl, 2006)

This is a very impressive LP of antisocial whisperings which weaves inside and outside your existing preconceptions of new-age Scandinavian campfire folk. Sometimes closely adhering to the structure of the simple song, and at other times, drifting into some mystical timelessness. Probably one of my all-time favorite folk albums, it’d actually be nice to see this one given the CD treatment as well so that it might find it’s way onto more ears, because you don’t have to be enlightened collector scum to channel Moonlight Farm’s odd power. Of the 25 releases listed if I were to pick an "album of the year," this would be it.

Friday, January 05, 2007



THE BEST OF 2006 (Part Four)
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 fourth group:

Clockcleaner Nevermind (Reptillian, 2006)

Did this come out at the end of 2005 or the beginning of 2006? Oh, who cares anyway- this is an amazing album. One of those truly impressive new indie bands that seems to be cutting their own cloth while still keeping their influences close (Big Black, Jesus Lizard, Flipper). Heavy, periodically tuneful, and just weird enough to keep things interesting; Nevermind has all the trappings of a fist-pumping sweaty t-shirt breakthrough record. What year is it? This group's got some balls to call this Nevermind, but hey I give as much of a shit about Nirvana as the Replacements did about the Beatles. Yeah, I was sad to hear Mclusky call it quits a couple years back, but i'll tell ya Clockcleaner do good filling the void. I hear that they’ve got a deal with Matador in the works which should be a good deal for all. Maybe we'll even get to see this one on vinyl?

Pink Reason self-titled 7” (Savage Quality, 2006)

This debut 7” from what I presume to be Green Bay’s greatest one-man band was nothing short of monumental when it hit this past spring, as the whole of the pressing, a mere 300 copies, were devoured as sucked up as a quick as a snooter. It’s a taste of hippie psych rock performed as a clear-the-datebook bedroom acid-trip confessional; there's not much else I can say that hasn’t been said already… the debut full-length comes out at the beginning of next month on Siltbreeze, and the songs that I’ve heard off it are pretty good, so… yeah. Oh and what I wouldn't give to see a show off of their upcoming midwest tour- don't forget about the Ocean State.

Pere Ubu Why I Hate Women (Smog Veil, 2006)

This was the first album that I bought when I moved up to Rhode Island this past September, and immediately whipped up a glowing review of it- posted here as 1.15|. After giving this some serious listening for a few weeks after writing the review, I completely forgot about it until about a month ago when I started thinking about this “Top 25” list. While definitely not at the top of the pile any more, the reanimated Ubu of today is still good enough to hang in there among this year's clouds of dust and dogs. Here's an excerpt from 1.15|: "(David) Thomas’ voice takes on a unique tone for each song and his performances on Why I Hate Women are as electric as anything he did in the 70’s, but without the escapist excitement fueling the Cuyahoga. Here he is tired, frustrated and direct. It’s hard to find anything to criticize about this album, because it has a quality about it that is so deliberate and constructed, without ever sounding difficult or laborious. Every time I listen to Why I Hate Women, its dense layers reveal a new level of complexity and sophistication which is rarely seen in music these days, and when you do see it, is usually a product of ignorance rather than intelligence."

Blues Control Riverboat Styx (Fuck It Tapes, 2006)

I listened to this a bunch over Christmas break thanks to a recommendation by former Vertical Slum writer Doug Elliott; with traces of old-timey piano, harmonica, and other non-grating instruments of noise, this cassette is dreamy, hypnotic, and softly melodic. Can’t say that I know much of the back story, but rumor has it that Holy Mountain (Six Organs of Admittance, Lichens, Residual Echoes, Om, et al) is going to be dishing out Blues Control for us uninformed sometime in the near-future, but until then find time to track down one of the best releases that I have yet to hear from Fuck It Tapes while there’s still a few copies hanging around their distributor's warehouses.

Burnt Hills To Your Head (Flipped Out, 2006)

Holy moly! I went to Albany, New York once, about five years ago, packed in a Dodge Neon with a couple of fellow summer-camp counselors looking to get away from the Berkshires of western Mass in an attempt to find some semblance of the trashy college life that we had been missing. Albany is a fucked-up town, and you know it from the first glance… at night, the city looks like an old set from ‘Blade Runner’ and the nine-piece (five guitarists, three drummers, and a lone bassist holding down the fort) Burnt Hills calls the wasteland “home.” Sheer volume and geography puts gets them comparisons to the almighty Vermonster, but these guys have gone even further in the direction of that sweet new free shit (Lambsbread fans/collectors take note), and just wait until you get to the final five minutes of the record: an outer-body experience… “if only this record was long enough!?”


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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