To Live and Shave In L.A.
"God and Country Rally!"
(The Smack Shire)
Finally, a return to form from the "bad boys" of noise; God and Country Rally! may be their most fully realized album to date! Wait a minute, that is completely wrong, sorry, I haven't written any music reviews in a while. Let's start again... Listening to this album on headphones while walking makes me wonder if this is similar to what crazy bums hear when they are walking around. Tons of information unrelated, coming all at the same time, I believe it is called a fugue state, which can also be reached through certain drugs, or through certain magic (or magick, if you wanna spell it the weenie way) rituals. But both of those can be sort of scary, and sometimes unpleasant, so why not go down to your record store and buy this album instead? Because you don't have any money? Then start writing for Blastitude, go see the band play, get drunk on whiskey you snuck in, and demand that Tom Smith give you copies for review, even if you haven't written anything in like a year and a half! That's what I did, and I felt kinda bad about it afterwards. But look at me now, I am back in the saddle, and getting paid $12.50 a word for it! (Just kidding, Weasel Walter is the only columnist who gets paid.)
        How does the album sound, you ask? Well, it's a little more straightforward, production-wise, than Wigmaker was, there's not like 10 different production styles getting switched, all in one line of the song. Or maybe there are, but I don't notice it. Jesus christ, I can't really describe what's going on at all, for the most part. There's a lot of clean guitar dickin' going on, and it's really good, but the credits don't say who it is. Oh wait, yes they do, it's Bill Orcutt! I assume it's the dude from Harry Pussy, and not my 5th grade teacher of the same name. And Nandor Nevai is playing percussion, he's really good! On the back cover it lists the band as including Don Fleming, Mark Morgan, and Andrew W.K., but I am pretty sure they don't play on the album, Tom's just giving props.
        I will attempt to describe my favorite song on the album, "Got Up And Went To Piano Turds". The song begins with some throbbing bass hum, and some bass drum stomps, which get insistent. The vocals start, and some nice little circular(?) guitar lines go, and the drums speed up to climaxes, and then go back down, just like you pound on the ceiling when your neighbor is playing the new TLASILA album at one of his parties. Shaddup! Wow, this song is a little easier to describe than I thought, not a lot more happens (which is great, what IS going on rules), then it ends with the studio engineer saying he can hear something going wrong, and Tom is like "Deal, deal, hahahaha", and he totally sounds like Cansafis from No Doctors. Right on man, those fucking engineers, they are always freaking out, they need to just deal! Personally, I find this album to be a little more relaxing than Wigmaker was, which most people would disagree with. This one time I put Wigmaker on, and my roommate at the time (who also listens to loads of unlistenable noise) said to me “this is the opposite of relaxing music!” Which I found funny, as I had just got back from work, and was in fact having a pipe, leaning back, and chillin’.
Do I have anything more to say about this? The cover painting is really nice, it's got a picture of a guy who looks sort of like a NW Native American god, and also a little bit like that annoying aboriginal guy who is either playing a pipe or smoking a bong who is on hippy shirts. He also has a face on his crotch, which has it's tongue sticking out. Also, “God and Country Rally” is a real neat album title!

TO LIVE AND SHAVE IN L.A.: Now that's what I call a CLOSE sh -- waitaminnit, stop the press, what's Simon Wickham-Smith doing in this picture?!!!

(The Smack Shire)
Huh, this one really comes out of left field. Wait, is that even a saying? Left field? That doesn’t seem right, even though I am pretty sure that’s how the saying goes. I don’t know much about baseball. Whatever, this album is a reissue from 1980 from some band from New Jersey, and it’s synth-pop! Or maybe you’d even call it “electroclash,” if you are an idiot. Man, remember that? I remember reading an interview with the guy who invented that word, and he was like, “There’s all this fabulous music coming out, and it needs a fabulous genre name for the media to pay attention too!” Good plan, guy. Anyways, these folks do the synthesizer and robot voice (voices sounding like robots, not vocoders) thing really well, and the lyrics are about cool things like Soviet Nerve Gas, and fashion sucking. Right on! “I look so hot in these shoes from Italy/cant stand up cause my feet are killing me/can’t even breathe my jeans are so tight/ without the pressure I wouldn’t look right.” Remember ladies, high heels give you varicose veins, and only look good if your hair is bleached blonde poofry, and you are crawling on a sports car! And tight pants cause yeast infections! (I am not actually sure if this is true, but I heard it in a rap song once.) In conclusion: 3/5 stars. File under: the “X” section of your CD collection. (If it’s alphabetical. If not, between Creedence Clearwater Revival’s Greatest Hits, and D’Angelo “Brown Sugar”. That’s where I put mine, and I found it right away!)

XEX: Their sci-fi christian metal concept album was by a completely different band called xex.

Sightings/Tom Smith
(The Smack Shire)

I borrowed this to my friend Markus a month or so ago, and I haven’t got it back yet. It’s a good one though, especially Track 4! (Or maybe it was 5.)

SIGHTINGS/TOM SMITH: Music so weird and wild, listening to it is like examining alien life forms under a microscope!!!

Lord of the Yum-Yum
"Alliv-itself morf Evil"
(rock office records)
Ah, classical music. Is there nothing finer when you are drinking red wine and eating spaghetti in your Camaro? No. But what if you are a totally bitchin’, purse snatchin’ punk rocker (preferably wearing tribal face paint, as does the rest of your multi-ethnic gang; see Death Wish 3 for more style notes) who knows that rock and roll will never die, and the only way to show that is to break through a wall, smash a violin, and pour a can of beer on someone’s head, like I am? How could anyone get me, Reggie “Scumbag” Queequeg, to enjoy classical music? Well, one way is to make all the music with your voice, and loop it with a Boomerang pedal. And use a wireless microphone while you dance on the bar!
This is what LotYY did when I saw him play, and I assume he did the same thing, except there probably wasn’t a bar (it was an all ages club), when he played at Festivilla in Indianapolis, Indiana, which is where this CD was recorded. The sound quality isn’t great, and it’s not quite as fun to listen to on CD without seeing the dude (I think his name is Pete or something) capering about, but it’s still good to have a recording of. Hits include “1812 Overture” by Tchaikovsky, “Jesu Joy of Man’s Desiring” by Bach, and TWO songs by Aaron Copeland, “Fanfare for the Common Man,” a.k.a. “The Olympics Song,” and “Hoe-down” a.k.a. “The Beef It’s What’s For Dinner Song.” This sort of stuff normally bores me, because it’s all stuff you hear in TV advertisements and musak, and you’ve heard the songs a million times since you were a little kid. In the new context though, I notice what’s going on in the songs, and damn, Mozart could write some catchy hooks! No wonder those matrons who play the actual songs at their parties get upset when I ride in the hall backwards on a donkey with a lampshade on my head! Thank you, Lord of the Yum Yum (ugh, still can’t get used to typing out that awful, awful name)! Thank you for making me a more culturally rounded person!

LORD OF THE YUM YUM: Yum fucking yum in-fucking-deed!

Rusted Shut
(Emperor Jones)
Holy shit, this is one of the best albums I have ever heard. Totally blown out, crazy, downer shit, half recorded on a 4 track (I think), with everything totally in the red. The other half was recorded in a studio. When I listened to it the first time I wondered if the studio version would be a total wank, because the first half was so amazing. But the studio songs completely blow shit away too, except the vocals are a bit quiet. It seems like it was made by 19 year olds who are just starting to get drunk regularly, trashed, and starting to smoke weed all day long. Or maybe 22, and starting to do acid all the time. But the guy on the inside cover looks like he’s in his 40s, and the album is called “Rehab," so maybe it’s crazy old guys who used do that stuff, but are sober now! But then the last song, “Boring Fucking Town” (they are from Houston), is recorded at a show, and they demand more beer on stage, and are definitely REAL FADED.
        Most of the lyrics on this album are totally brutal bringdown suicide style, but the first song “Jesus Christ Inca” is completely INSANE. “Jesus Christ Inca” is repeated several times, then the dude screams the gems, “Sacrifice/ to the gods/ crush the skull/ slice the throat/ impaled by spears/ royal hunt of the sun(son?)/ lost warrior of the crowds/JESUS CHRIST INCA!” Actually, now that I am rereading that, it seems like the song might be about the Spaniards killing off the natives of South America. This album is like a mix of everything great about black metal, punk, grind, harsh noise, and hardcore, then stripped way down to the essentials. There’s always some sort of groove, and the vocals are always pretty easy to understand, considering the guy is screaming at the top of his lungs.
Other than that it’s just about getting the most intense noise possible. Most of the songs are 2-3 chords, and a few feature only one. There are a couple guitar solos, but they are buried in the mix, and they’re pretty much just noise, as far as I can tell. They sound like Michael Yonkers’ guitar solos as a matter of fact, another middle aged man who’s all about making crazy noise music with a bare bones musical structure.
Apparently Rusted Shut has been around since the mid 80s, and opened for Sonic Youth/Swans back then, blah blah blah, but only have one other album out (I think, not sure about that). There is also a band called Rusted Shut from Pennsylvania who are boring alternacrap, are aware that there is already a band by that name, but refuse to change their name! The grounds? “The Houston band sucks.” What the fuck? That’s the stupidest defense of a band name EVER. May the Pennsylvania Rusted Shut burn in hell forever!

RUSTED SHUT: See, they're totally middle-aged dudes.

The Eagles
“Their Greatest Hits”
(no label CDR)
This band is broken up now, I think, but it was a boy and a girl making love noise. Sounds like there’s some collaborators on the album though, to "spice things up
a bit." The first song “Take it easy” starts out with some water noises, radio collage, banging metal, you know, the usual. The next song is a pretty good noise with drums gritty, but still sorta grooving jam. It is entitled “Witchy Woman.” Wow, a power tool (belt sander I think) just came
in. Real original. Actually, even though this is sort of clichéd noise, it still sounds good to me. Right now at least. The song goes on for 26 minutes, a bit long sometimes, but
it’s droning enough so it would make decent background music for readin’. “Lyin’ Eyes” is a somewhat generic techno song, done on some sort of cheap keyboard or whatever.
Sounds great to me. “Already Gone”, one of my favorite (CA) Eagles songs, is pretty good, some hi synth droney doodles with a guy doing a sort of blues croon scat. “Desperado” has the actual piano part from that song, with some other guy doing sort of off key singing. “One of These Nights” is some more (relatively) straightforward techno, sounding pretty good again. “Tequila Sunrise” sounds like your everyday laptop rocker, i.e. a bore. Wait, I guess it sounds more like a desktop. Not everyone can hear the subtle differences, but I can! “Take it to the limit” has some clanging noises, some
wind, and some dude doing some black metal style croaks. Nice. “Peaceful, Easy Feeling” has a metronome beat, and porn samples. Another real original idea. Still sounds fine to me though, whatever, I don’t care. I’ll listen to anything. Except for the last song, “Best of My Love,” which isn’t on here. I don’t even know how the Eagles version of that song goes though. In conclusion, this is a fine album, except "Witchy Woman" is too long, and shoulda been edited down, or at least come at the end.

THE EAGLES: "A boy and a girl making love noise."

Elyse Perez
"The Tiny Album"
(EF Tapes and CDRS/Dirty Needle Records)
The first solo album from the singer for Cock ESP starts off weirdly, it’s an acoustic song! Well, sort of acoustic, there’s some echoing and editing, but an acoustic guitar is the main instrument, there’s also a music box playing at the end. It is a love song to Elyse’s dog Dee Dee, and it’s about how he is a good boy. I have met Dee Dee, and he is indeed a very good boy, a cute lil black pug dog. It’s a good little song. The album title does not lie, it is a 3” CDR. There’s some short noisier tracks, and some short songy tracks, and it’s over in under 10 minutes. There’s only two tracks I don’t really care for, “It’s not real” is just a loop of “it’s real/it’s not real” for a minute. But it’s over so fast that I can’t really say I don’t like it, it’s not like I’m going to get up and go skip the track. Also, if you are tripping or something, the song may make you think “what IS reality, Maaaaaan?” It is always good to think about such things, then you can bore your friends with trite conversations about the subject when you are drunk for years to come! Or better yet go into academia and write papers about the subject using exclusively proper
nouns! The other one is pretty much the same deal, Elyse and some other girl saying “something’s wrong/there’s nothing wrong.” I think I heard that it’s her sister, and they are showing us what conversations are like at family gatherings. So Elyse probably won’t get too angry if I say it’s an annoying track, that’s sort of the point of the thing. I hope she does some more albums featuring her voice, it’s a very cool, weird voice. Oh yeah, and her current project is rumored to be a tap dance/noise band! How cool is that?

ELYSE PEREZ: Filled with childlike wonder. Because children, like, if you just let them draw and shit, are like totally natural artists.

Wolf Eyes
“Fuck Pete Larsen” (no label)
“Fuck the Pigs” (no label)
Ah, two fine new releases from Wolf Eyes that say “fuck” in the title. What will they name their albums and songs in a year or so, when every possible combination of fuck, dead, black, scum, skull, stab, and vomit has been used up? I guess maybe “piss on.” There’s also members of Smegma whose names haven’t been used for songs yet too. Piss
on Amazon Bambi! Piss on Cheez-It Ritz Scum Vomit pt. II. Ah, this has been fun. So concludes my review of these two fine releases…
        Fuck Pete Larsen is a reissue of a “bootleg” record that came out a while back, only the music is totally different (or so Dilloway says, I don’t own that record, and haven’t heard it in a while). It’s Wolf Eyes in a mellower mood, nice and droney, good as background music for things like stomach crunches, showers, or writing reviews of the CD. There was some guy on the Hanson message board who said that his CD had a few skips at the beginning, and the guy at the record store he bought it at said that they all had it. John Olson replied “It shouldn’t have any skips,” and I was like “Yeah, mine works fine,” but then it turned out that they DO all have skips, from the master, Aaron let it go because they sounded cool. So I went back and listened, and there ARE skips, but only two of them, at the very beginning, and they are just little blips. That guy was a much more attentive listener than I am, maybe I should go to one of Pauline Oliveros’s deep listening workshops! Actually I probably didn’t notice them because I’ve grown accustomed to them, from all those CDRs with glue, stickers and bones on them, packaged in sandpaper sleeves.
Speaking of crap CDRs, Fuck the Pigs doesn’t work on my stereo, but it DOES work on my discman. It starts off with some static, some chirps, and the cranking of some rusty gooey machine, used for some sort of nefarious purpose (grinding up bones I’ll bet!) Some real good echoing percussion starts going. I was just thinking the other day (probably while listening to Excepter) that echo is probably my favorite effect of all time. Who first invented machines to make echoes? We will never know. It was probably cavemen. This album has lots of delicious echo to reverberate in your mind and expand your consciousness. I just realized that I totally sound stoned right now, but
I’m not! I am this dumb ALL the time! This album reminds me of this one time I listened to Dead Hills. I had eaten some bad mushrooms which made it feel like the 2 seconds of nausea before you need to vomit, only in the middle of my chest, and constant. It sucked. But I made it through by listening to Dead Hills and reading Swamp Thing comics. Fuck the Pigs would have worked just as well, I’ll bet. I guess the moral of the story is: Don’t eat mushrooms you found growing behind the hot water heater in your Uncle’s basement unless you have some good Wolf Eyes jams, and Alan Moore comics around!

WOLF EYES: Montana doesn't like Wolf Eyes either....

Don Howland
“The Land Beyond the Mountains”
Don Howland finally breaks free from the shackles of his old band, The Bassholes! Actually, the Bassholes was basically just him, and different drummers (I think it’s usually this guy Bim Thomas, who RULES). And they have had a double 7” out since this album came out. And the album came out a year or two ago. The liner notes are about how Howland killed himself (or was it MURDER?), which isn’t true. I thought it was a little tasteless when it came out, as the album is dedicated to Jim Shepard who DID kill himself. Whatever though, people have different ways of dealing with grief. It says that the way Don killed himself was by stabbing himself repeatedly in the neck with a sharpened screwdriver, which makes it kind of an interesting parallel to Elliot Smith, who I haven’t heard that much of, but who is apparently more of a genius than ever now that he’s dead. Of course if Howland actually WERE dead, most critics would still be ignoring him, just like they did Shepard. Oh yeah, there’s a funny “fuck you” to his old record label, “Matador which released and then utterly ignored what he felt to be the best Bassholes album.” I don’t think they really ignored it though, I remember seeing ads for that album. It’s probably my favorite one too, but it’s a WEIRD one.
The album starts off with a cover of Tom Rapp’s song “Sail Away,” which I haven’t heard the original of. It’s got some great lines though, especially “I do not wish to escape from reality/I want reality to escape from me!” Howland is one of my favorite guitar players ever, he’s got a really great propulsive style to his playing, and he’s got a high, propulsive wheeze of a voice to go with it. My favorite song on here is “Desdemona,” which has a reverbed sorta slow rockabilly(?) guitar along with some chimey keyboards.
And lyrics like: “I saw her pick a flower from a vine for her pants/I caught a glimpse of her pubic hair by chance/I could only stare/I don’t know how to dance/she got pigtails like pippy longstocking/and a nose ring/to show she’s rockin/
that sound you hear is/geese a flockin’/o why do the pretty girls gotta smile at me/it’s a torment/my feet in cement.” There’s more good stuff in the song too, like the pretty girls have breasts like muffins. I can’t explain exactly what he means there, but I think the fellas out there know what he’s talking about, hey boys?
Other highlights on here are “I am in hell,” a good organ jam, “The Conqueror Worm,” which has lyrics by Edgar Allan Poe, which are played backwards, and “Angel of Death,” which is a tale of vigilante justice…gone horribly awry! There’s also a version of this song on the aforementioned Matador album, “Long Way Blues: 1996-1998,” which is even creepier than this version. Oh yeah, and the song “Roots” has lyrical references to “White Rabbit” by Jefferson Airplane! And the album closes with “Sayanara,” a completely sad, beautiful instrumental song. This album is great, you should pick it up if you like weird, funny, downer folk blues. And who doesn’t?

DON HOWLAND: The heart of rock & roll is still beating