have been saying that there are no really good zines or music
writing these days. They've even been touting Blastitude as
the "only zine that matters" or something like that.
I certainly agree with them, except for one exception: BANANAFISH.
For some reason, Bananafish never gets mentioned. Maybe it's
because it is so fucking dauntingly good. I just bought issue
#17 today -- it came out this week -- and I am in awe, even
having read not even one quarter of its vast contents. And
it's not just the extremely good writing; for sheer volume,
attention to detail, critical fearlessness, intelligent interviewing,
brilliant curating, and much more, it's the best music magazine
of all time as far as I'm concerned (besides Bangs-era Creem,
of course). Maybe you haven't noticed because you didn't look
past the "weird" veneer, but spend more than 15
minutes actually reading it, and you'll see . . .
I got this e-mail today, and the subject was -- and this is
exact, not a single letter changed -- "Wsr everything
pharm q." And, it was from "bonnar farstad,"
and I'm like, "Is this spam or did someone subscribe
me to the brutal sfx mailing list??"
ever seen Maciste in Hell? Just saw it last
night . . . 1924, Italy, about a Joe Millionaire type dude
who for some reason (didn't catch it) goes down to hell and
does battle with hordes and hordes of demons. Surprisingly
insane movie, while watching with the sound down and something
cranking on the stereo, I was thinking that it rivalled some
other classic films: This Midnight I'll Possess Your Corpse
(for the depiction of hell as a place, even if just a movie
set) and Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers (for the
battle scenes!). There's also one shot that reminded me of
Saló (a brief long shot of a torture field!),
and another moment that was like Evil Dead trilogy,
in which a decapitated demon got his head thrown back to him,
and was shown reviving himself via primitive claymation or
some shit. And, at the same time all this was going on, I
was like, "This is the predecessor to the dumb Schwarzenegger
and Seagal movies."
LARRY DOLMAN LISTED!
Current faves (8/17/03)
comps, all. Someday
someone is going to have to release all (seventeen?) of these
as a box set and call it the American Anthology of Noise Music.
Smithsonian, you still around? And by the way, Seymour Glass
/ Earl Kuck / whoever is one of the best music writers of
the century. Somebody has to say it. More people would be
saying it, but nobody, including me, has a clue who/what they
are reading during all the voluminous review columns. Fiona
Finesse? Helen Twelvetrees? I. Vern Beezer? That guy who dictates
all his reviews over voice mail? My personal theory is that
they're all one person, who is named Seymour Glass and/or
Earl Kuck, with some exceptions here and there, like Stanley
Zappa and guests like Tom Smith and Scott Foust, and they're
all great too. Just great music writing, really.
Mind Tunnel Birth CS. Hearkens
back to Klaus Schulze Black Dance or something, that
classic one-piece-per-side dark-analog lowdown.
Ceramic Hobs, all. My
good friend C.M. Von Bligablum recently laid 4 CDRs on me
which collected something like 72 releases and 3,086 tracks
by Rudimentary Peni. It's good disturbed 1980s UK material
("post punk"), but it doesn't hold a candle to the
Hobs. Not that they're peers or anything, they're a decade
(or two?) apart. But there's a similarity there, and I think
it's more than just the UK location. Migidum
Bligablum is the primary United States distributor of
the Ceramic Hobs.
Sun City Girls, natch,
this month it's Box of Chameleons! Live at the Empty Bottle
2-disc bootleg! Grotto of Miracles (side one)! Self-titled
first album! Torch of the Mystics (back again)! Wah (but not
so much Flute & Mask)! The Nat Pwe DVD! Sugar: The Other
Tubular Bells LP.
Not the Mike Oldfield version, the Glands of
External Secretion and Decaer Pinga versions. Decaer Pinga
version especially, it's pretty damn heavy!
Gan't Boar Like An Eagle When You Work With Turkrys:
Amarillo Label Sampler CD. Right now Faxed
Head is playing. Today's Sounds is coming up. What a crazed
label. I like every track on this sampler. Along with Mr.
Show and maybe a couple other things, Amarillo Records is
one of THE exemplars of the post-Kaufman & Letterman school
of fin de 20th siecle humor. And mostly excellent rock music
Help Yourself: Beware the Shadow
LP. Every time I think it's going
to be mere hokey hippie laid-back country boogie, guitarist
Richard Treece melts the song into mellow fuzzy lava right
in front of my ears. And Malcolm Morley (not the guy in Can
or the guy in Dead C) is a great singer of melancholy blues.
And it's barely boogie or the blues, it's mostly epic lost-zone
balladry. Don't miss the 14-minute "Reaffirmation,"
and make sure you spend some time exploring the nature of
the cover art, "by Annie."
Thin Lizzy: Jailbreak LP.
I really like the song "Runnin' Back."
Ozzy Osbourne: Diary of a Madman
LP. Really great! Possibly better than Blizzard
of Ozz. A little less poppy anyway, the proverbial "darker
sophomore effort." I love the band photo on the inner
sleeve, and it's underneath these runes that I couldn't read,
so I held 'em up to the mirror to see if they spelled something
satanic, but I still couldn't make anything out, so I guess
they're just nonsense runes.
Deep Purple: Made in Japan
2LP. As good as both Live Dead and the Velvet
Underground Quine Tapes, and it was only a dollar!
"Burn The King's Road"
Nachtmystium Reign of the Malicious
Metallica "Disposable Heroes"
Metallica "Call of Ktulu"
Metallica Kill 'Em All
Budgie "Nude Disintegrating Parachutist Woman,"
"Young Is A World," "Crash Course In Brain
Surgery" ["show me how to neutralize
Thin Lizzy "Massacre", "Boogie Woogie Dance,"
Deep Purple "Fireball"
Black Sabbath Sabotage
Elf Speaks "Creation Story"
Mercyful Fate Melissa
Random albums previously reviewed in Blastitude
and still sounding great:
Fukktron & Hair and Nails CDR (Public Eyesore);
Dead Raven Choir / Furisubi / Timothy the Revelator
3-way split CDR (Last Visible Dog) -- REALLY good
shit by all three artists -- get this disc from LVD!;
The Somnambulist by Delayed Sleep CDR demo
thing -- DAMN I like this album as much now as I did a year
ago when I raved about it -- SO mellow, nodded up, nodded
out, just not nodded OFF . . . .
time in a long time dept.:
The Terminals. That guy's voice is odder
than ever . . . I'm especially noting a little trill he puts
towards the end of almost every single line. At least on the
song "Deadly Tango" he does. Brian Cook actually
sings, I think, three songs on here, and his voice his interesting,
like Keith Richards, except even mealier-mouthed! Y'know,
Brian Crook, from the Renderers, and Flies Inside The Sun?
The band itself is great, even better than I remember it,
hammering out romantic chords crudely with lots of reverb
and Pere Ubu noise creeping through it all. But that singing
. . . I don't know man . . .
Williams Lifetime Emergency. Damn
this album is sounding good. McLaughlin at his most gnarly
on guitar, Young playing that technicolor psych organ, Williams
all over the place and contributing his nutty vocals. And
what about this "Spectrum Road" jam?? Is that McLaughlin
singing? I've never heard the later albums that had Jack Bruce
on bass . . . . that must've been over the top.
Ash Ra Tempel Ash Ra Tempel,
Join Inn. Jeez, speaking of great
drummers, how about Klaus Schulze??! Especially on the track
"Freak 'n' Roll" from Join Inn, on which
he expands and contracts and syncopates and plays around with
the groove at will. And I won't even mention that he was even
better than Florian Fricke when it came to synthscapes . .
. . .
Heldon I/III Electronique Guerilla/"It's
Always Rock 'n' Roll". The last
time I went on a Heldon binge was exactly three years ago.
Barely listened to 'em in the interim, but I just picked up
Vangelis's Spiral album for $2.99 and when it comes
to synth-swoosh it's pretty damn lame compared to Heldon so
back in my player they go. I used to not totally swoon over
Heldon until monster-drummer Francois Auger joined the band
(fifth, sixth, and seventh album), but now I can't even get
past their first and third albums, reissued as this 2CD set
by Cuneiform Records. They didn't even have a drummer on these,
but they are still monumental works of robot-drone sci-fi
Charalambides Home. Released
on CDR only back in 2000 or thereabouts, I feel really lucky
to have this one. The approach is 'quiet' here, just two guitars
plucking and chording away in late-night-of-the-soul mode
with no hurry and absolutely nothing to prove, and the result
has melted my entire being into my own carpet many, many times.
Time seems to stand still and calm every time I play it. I've
played it hundreds of times and I'm terrified of the day this
starts skipping -- Kranky, are you listening? Thanks for reissuing
Unknown Spin, that was a good choice, but can you
PLEASE reissue this one soon?
David Bowie Scary Monsters.
This was my favorite Bowie album
when I was 15. This is the first time I've listened to it
since then, and it's still my favorite Bowie album. The first
five songs are all pop hits, boom, boom, boom, boom, boom,
one after the other. They're also all weird as hell, thanks
in no small part to Robert Fripp's mind-blowing guitar.
A bunch of other people have already quoted this,
but jeez, just read it, how could I not quote it too? "My
joints ache so much that I walk weird. Improvisation?? Improvisation??!?
I've never seen it, heard it, or played it. You say that you're
uncomfortable. I felt so good that I stopped laughing. I love
silence because I am so brutal, but because I breathe there
can be no silence. I call it Rock 'n' Roll. Because I breathe
-- because I have a mouth. Duo 1988, Ju/A Brute, Urklang,
Soingyokusaiseyo -- Improvisation can eat shit, that's what
I've always said. Musicians are the scum of the earth, and
hell's a lie, that's what I've always said. Do you know a
word that means both look at me and leave me alone? I'm so
fuckin' glad that I've got no reasons, no dreams, nothing
to believe in. I'm so fuckin' glad that I have no interest
in the occult, in salvation, in playing my part, in meanings.
I'm so fuckin' glad I met you and left you. I'm so fuckin'
glad that I'm not you. What I really mean is that I'm so fuckin'
glad that you're not beautiful. What I really mean is that
I'm so fuckin' glad that you mean nothing to me."-- Masayoshi
Urabe, from his linernotes.
OTHER BITS OF TEXT I GOT A KICK OUT OF:
"Videodrome came out just when I was
really getting into starting to think about writing about
horror movies and I was watching fucking videos, like five,
seven, ten tapes in a session, smoking tons of dope. Taking
loads and loads of drugs: acid, heroin, speed, anything and
watching all these fucking movies endlessly. It was insane
- when video first started, I had a couple of friends with
machines and we were heavily into drugs and videos - we just
watched everything. Every fucking lousy gore movie that ever
came out, you know, Italian Barbarian movies, anything, just
any piece of trash we could find. Videodrome came
along just when I was really getting into that, so it just
seemed perfect. You know, that's what it seemed to be all
about, it seemed to capture that kind of madness we were going
through." -- Stefan Jaworzyn, from interview at prism-escape.com
. . . . . . "ALL
MEMBERS OVERWEIGHT AND/OR GAY-ACTING." -- written on
WHPK copy of Whitehouse
Bird Seed CD by DJ Seth Sanders, capitalization his
. . . . . . . Surreal sci-fi Phil Dick headline of the week,
#1 news source: "Transfer photos from cell phone
SYNCHRONICITY #1: Over the span of the last two weeks
I have heard three different punk or punk-related versions
of "The Batman Theme" (a/k/a "NUH Nuh Nuh Nuh
NUH Nuh Nuh Nuh etc.") without planning to or expecting
to. They were performed by the Sun City Girls (Seattle WA,
1990-present), Terrifying Sickos (Hattiesburg MS, 1986), and
then someone at work on a record I didn't bring, I can't remember
what band it was (they weren't that good). Three months later
. . . . . . haven't heard the theme since then, but just about
5 minutes ago I read this in an interview with highly regarded
Chicago jazz drummer Hamid Drake, talking about his elementary
school band: "I had a friend named John Watson, he was
in the stage band. He played piano. I had another friend named
Clark Taylor, he played clarinet. So as time went on the students
had to form different groups to do a recital, so Clark, John,
and I came together. And we did a rendition of 'Batman!' (laughs)
That was our recital." [from 50 Miles of Elbow Room
SYNCHRONICITY #2: It all
started with the Double Leopard's enjoyable list
for Dusted Magazine, in which they wrote, "Late-era
Cecil Taylor sweatsuit style tucked into flourescent tube
socks …. music goes without saying…as well as
endurance thanks to the coca leaf…" What? Did they
mean that he drinks a lot of coffee before he plays, or could
Cecil be a cokehead? Hmm, I thought. It actually kind of made
sense . . .
Then, just a couple weeks later,
I was reading an interview with NYC-based jazz keyboardist
Masako Yokouchi, who I think I saw perform in Chicago with
Sabir Mateen a year ago, and she dropped this bomb while talking
about her unnamed NYC-based trio with Daniel Carter and Matthew
Heyner: "And, Matthew (bass player) is a member of Cecil
Taylor's Pthongos which is a big band and performed at Knitting
Factory recently. But Cecil isn't there whenever I go to his
live . . . He was stoned in his home!" Wha....? Cecil,
are you some kind of crazy partier or what? (Go here
for the whole interview -- it's fun.)
And THEN, I come across
this, in an online essay:
"I've seen Cecil Taylor and his group emerge onto stage
from the back room in a monstrous cloud of marijuana smoke
and do just fine." What, Jimmy Lyons too?? Maybe even
. . .William Parker???
SYNCHRONICITY #3: Well, this
one . . . let's just say it's a thing that reminds me of another
may not exactly be synchronicitous . . . in fact, none of
these examples might be textbook synchronicities. Anyway,
if you read my Top Ten List
about the Chicago Cubs, do you recall what I said about
their catcher, Damian Miller? That his work behind the plate
was so solid that it was hard to even notice, or realize,
how solid it was? So solid it bordered on invisibility? Well,
SHIT, dig this exchange from a very
recent interview between Mark "The Great" Prindle
and Kira "Black F***ing Flag" Roessler:
"Who do you think are
the best bassists ever?"
"I always talk about the
bass player from ZZ Top. Because for me, a bass player is
great if he does exactly what’s right for that band."
"I don’t know that
I’ve ever noticed a ZZ Top bass line in my life."
"Exactly! He does what’s
exactly right for that – exactly! He’s just 'the
guy'! The guy that makes that band sound like that band without
being noticed. I think it’s so important if you’re
a bass player."
Um, the Damian Miller Award
For Bass Playing Excellence?
SYNCHRONICITY #4: I've
got in the comps for both Bananafish # 13 and Bananafish #
11, both of which happen to have tracks by Witcyst. And the
changer just played the Witcyst tracks back to back!
SYNCHRONICITY #5: Also
changer-related, I've just discovered that there are two completely
random CDs in the changer right now that were both mastered
by Thomas Dimuzio at Gench Studios, the Neung Phak CD (2003)
and Noothgrush's Failing Early, Failing Often CD
hit me today that the Laundryroom Squelchers and the Vibracathedral
Orchestra have the almost exact same modus operandi: "get
it up and flying" drone maximalism. Except the Squelchers
use darker tonalities and more "noise" influence.
stuff from J. Niimi, that appeared only on his review on the
WHPK station copy of a CD by Chicago band Vortis: "A
caustic fusion of three potent irritants: vocalists trying
to be 'relevant,' rock critics trying to be playful, and inept
rock bands trying to be anything."
of the New Psychedelia
Foliage. Nature has always been psychedelic -- oceans, mountains,
deserts?? Sheez, of course. But how about that tree outside
of every one of our homes? Look at that thing sway and shimmer
in the breeze and light! Then try tripping on the blades of
grass in your very own postage-stamp yard for a few hours.
Then go to Seattle or one of these other super-lush "city
in a garden" type places and have your mind blown just
walking to the convenience store.
2. Wolf Eyes. You know the thing from Woodstock, "Don't
take the brown acid," the scary stuff, that gives you
a bad trip? Well, Wolf Eyes music will make you think you
took the BLACK acid. The BLACK VOMIT acid. Talk about room
3. No brainer: Fort Thunder (see also Paper Rodeo, Paperrad,
Retard Riot, Here See, Little Cakes, and many more).
5. Everything. Everything is now psychedelic.
list didn't run on Blastitude's new Top
Ten List page because I only came up with 5. There are
10, though, at the very least!)
lost record alert: A single released by Bruce Cole
(of the Screaming Mee-Mees) in 1996, "Nine More Lifetimes"/"Ow,
My Finger!"/"Beware, the Third Assault," b/w
"Angel's Carcass." Sounds like a Dr. Demento novelty
record from the 1950s, except for all the sick synthesizer
bleat and ominous vocal intonations, which sound like an electronic
and/or satanic record from the 1960s, so it's like . . . 1996??
And then the B side, "Angel's Carcass," my God,
what a title, and it lives up to it, being a deep-space duet
for the world's loneliest guitar and some far-off mega-dark
synthesizer ripple. With 30 seconds to go, vocals come in,
more lost than even the instruments. [Actually this record
was just reissued by Gulcher Records as part of the Screamin'
Mee-Mees' Live in a Basement CD.]
Over The Changer
who ask me what kind of music I like, I've figured out the
simplest possible answer: "Music with heart." That
way I don't have to say "psychedelic retro neo no wave
folk noise rock -- but I also like a lot of country music,
the good stuff, not that Music City U.S.A. bullshit."
All I mean is that I like "Music with heart." Same
goes for noise. It really sucks if it isn't from the heart.
I think that's what I've always meant by quirk vs. soul: the
more quirky it is, the less from the heart it is. Apparently
people in this "modern age" are getting more and
more heartless; at least plenty of bands are, in order to
show how "heartless" the masses are, but their shows
and albums reveal them to be the ones who are especially heartless.
To "clarify," Wolf Eyes' music may be about the
condition of Heartlessness, but is itself played with great
heart. It illuminates, where others merely indict . . . .
Who's this on my stereo? Kind of derivative, like Johnny Rotten
singing, and the drumbeat sounds very much like . . . Mac
McNally? Was that really the name of Jesus Lizard's drummer?
[Close, it was Mac McNeilly -- ed.] It sounds like
him, anyway. Whoah! Now the vocals got a lot less derivative
and super intense. Shit, now the song's over and the changer's
moved on and I really couldn't tell you who that was, but
good band . . . Now it's back to Delayed Sleep, also a good
band, but tonight they're suddenly sounding extra-meandering
to me, less trance-inducing than the last 13 times I listened
to this disc. Very strange . . . Now I've figured out who
the band was that reminded me of Jesus Lizard: Lake of Dracula.
Funny, huh? They were both from Chicago. Yeah, LoD is surprisingly
"Shellac-y" in some ways. Having no bass throws
it, as does Marlon Magas as the front-man, as I pointed out
when I didn't know who he was, when I thought he started as
Rotten-derivative but quickly transcended it for the song-ending
flame-up. His lyrics were great too, they were reprinted in
an issue of Modern Rock Magazine, alone worth the cover price.
See if you can still get it from Tim Ellison. Shit, Blastitude
should do an online reprint, whaddaya think, Tim? . . . Now
we've got something that sounds like the Sea Ensemble, I have
no idea what this is, I just put in a bunch of brand new discs
and they were whatever was on top of the pile, I barely even
looked at 'em and at the age of 33 I have NO short term memory.
Don't worry, I'll figure it out . . . the track is like 20
minutes long so I'll have plenty of time . . . Hmm . . . .
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . really does sound like the
Sea Ensemble, mysterio-flute over sparse, percussive string-saw,
but I know I didn't put anything by them in . . . still don't
know . . . I guess I should just surrender and walk over to
the stereo where I stack the 5 cases for whatever's in the
changer at the time. Hell, I'm gonna have to do it . . . NO
WAIT! I just figured it out, it's the No Neck Blues Band,
the Sticks and Stones one on Revenant Records. Ah,
Sea Ensemble, that's a good comparison, this is just like
The Wire Invisible Jukebox. See, I don't have any friends
OR fans so I have to play games like this myself. I interview
myself too, trust me, it's even been published in Blastitude
a few times, with the names changed of course. ANYWAY, NNCK,
I've been catching a lot of internet wind that says things
about these guys like "overrated" and "they
suck." One friend who borrowed and burned 5 of their
LPs from me said, when he returned the records, that a lot
of it was "really boring." Bananafish Magazine,
where I first heard of and heard NNCK, turned on them with
a one-liner in a recent issue. Sometimes I think they're all
right, like it's just feedback and barely-there drum circles,
but then I really listen for the 7th time and it blows my
mind again. This track is sounding pretty good, the vocals
are really good, and when the beat comes in loud they prove
they can really play it hard and for real . . . . . . . Now
it's some really annoying kazoo bluegrass that a super white
guy introduced. This is NOT my thing right now. Man. I know
what it is, it's the CD that came with the latest issue of
Roctober, all about the music and films of a guy named Sid
. . . Laurentes? Something like that. His music is REALLY
annoying, both kitschy and screeching. Oh wait, that sounds
like most Neo No Wave, a camp that Roctober does keep a pinky
toe in . . . 'nother LoD tune, this is one with "The
Manhattanite" on it, who appears on random LoD songs
"from another dimension," apparently the one where
he's the lead singer for Chicago band U.S. Maple. Always a
nice touch . . . Next is a song by Paul Harrison, actually
by Expose Your Eyes. Great shit, total techno but total bad-ass.
As good as the Michigan scene if not even better . . . now
some totally harsh shit, still some kind of gabber pulse deep
in there, so it could be more Expose Your Eyes, but that doesn't
seem quite right to me . . . again, I'm not sure what all
is in the changer right now . . . totally harsh shit, it's
great, I'm gonna play this on my next "all gnarl radio"
special . . . Oh, right on, it's a CD on FDR Tapes! Excellent
3-way split by label CEO Brian Noring (recording as "E.H.I.")
and friends "Hal McGee" and "Separation."
This track right now is by Hal McGee, who lives in Gainesville,
FL and if I remember right is kind of an older guy, with glasses
and wild hair, sort of a Eugene Chadbourne librarian kind
of guy. Go get 'em Hal! I'm gonna have to pull Noring's zine
Scraps out again . . . This is great, I've been wanting to
pull my FDR stuff back out . . . more LoD . . . I think I'm
ready to take this one out, 4 or 5 hits is enough for now,
since my changer stack is like 30 discs high gotta keep 'em
moving. That's one of the drawbacks of the changer is that
you never listen to an album consecutively anymore . . . CD
technology made 'consecutive' more irrelevant than ever .
. . oh, another LoD song, two in a row! Okay this one is coming
out . . . and what's replacing it? Oooh, the Bananafish comp
My Baby Does Good Sculptures! We'll see when and
how that one surfaces . . . Now a really pretty tinkly spaced-out
piano piece . . . what is this, Tubular Bells? No, it's much
better . . . this just might be Expose Your Eyes, and if it
is, he's possibly the greatest underground musician ever.
Oh, it's not, I just had to look . . . Oh my god, it was Hal
McGee again, this guy is GOOD. I reviewed this CD back in
THE VERY FIRST issue of Blastitude . . . Man, now it's the
Mike Boner song from that Blastitude comp, c'mon, sing it
with me: "Here comes the pussy monster from outer SPAY-YAY-YAY-YAY-YAY-YAY-YACE....."
Kind of annoying. Oh, it's supposed to be. OR IS IT?? There's
also the "giant penis from beyond the grave." And
"the nose who can smell the end of time" . . . Now
some casio-drone mixed with bubbling electronics . . . not
bad, thought it might be Noring in his "Cluster"
mode but it's not . . . It's not the Bananafish comp either
because we just heard the Mike Boner song from that and according
to the LED readout, this is the first track to be played from
this particular CD . . . I'll have to let you know in a bit
. . . The track is fifteen minutes long . . . What can we
talk about while we're waiting? How about . . . my son Phil
Dolman? HE'S SO FRICKIN' CUTE. "Cuter than shit,"
as Jay Bayles once put it, with absolute pathos, talking about
his own son, now in college, and still pretty damn cute, if
no longer quite cuter than shit. Anyway, Phil's four months
old, still very much in his cuter than shit phase . . . Still
don't know who's doing this bubbling droner is . . . doesn't
quite have the gnarly echo I've become addicted to after overdosing
on King Tubby but it's good, actually pretty relentless .
. . I'm gonna have to go look -- unless it's Expose Your Eyes,
that's still in there. If it is, it's kind of uncharacteristic
-- actually I could see him doing a drone piece like this,
and the "relentlessness" is apropos, but the production
should be gnarlier -- this is almost like IDM production.
I'll be damned, it is E.Y.E., with a track called "Trepidation."
Interesting! And really, I've gotta stop doing this, especially
considering that you've probably already stopped reading.