#18, FALL 2005



by Larry "Fuzz-O" Dolman

MASTER MUSICIANS OF BUKKAKE: The Visible Sign of The Invisible Order CD (ABDUCTION)
It's probably just their name, but I had some trepidation that this might be a "goofy" band that zoinked through all kinds of globally accurate styles in a game of wink-nudge musical chairs while wearing period costumes or something, but I was completely wrong! Instead, this is one long slowly unfolding cinematic opium dream in which you're camping out on a hill and in the next valley over, barely visible through a thick mountain mist, is another encampment where shadowy figures come and go around a bonfire, pounding on drums, chiming in on various strings and flutes, chanting and calling to the heavens below, gathering and dispersing as if the ghost sailors in John Carpenter's The Fog suddenly came to life as nomadic warrior musicians. Twenty different people are listed in the album credits, and a couple of times the whole thing builds into near-oceanic proportions, sounding uncannily like Alan Silva's Celestial Communication Orchestra the first time, and the second time getting so violent that I momentarily thought that maybe a foreign country was invading in order to bring Democracy™! But, these passages are fairly brief, as the majority of the ritual is played with an ominous restraint, and always from the remove of that neighboring mist-enshrouded valley . . . . and it all ends an hour later with a haunted lullaby and goodnight while you curl up in your sabretooth tiger rug and stare at glowing campfire embers.

Brooklyn band, a new part of the NYC Psych thing that's been quietly killing for pretty much a full decade now. Loam is their second full-length,
a hard-ass record of metal machine rhythm and low-end guitar thrombosis. Acoustic trap set drums played in a rock'n'roll style add to the contusion. Album-ender is also album-maker, a sparser but heavier 10-minute moaner called "THROAT" that is the disc's black-drone pièce of résistance. Very solid band, I actually like their first album (CD on Psych-O-Path) better still.

For the record, this is not the band Mt. Eerie, which features ex-Microphones guy Phil Elvrum. I've never heard any of that guy's stuff, but I thought this CD was by him for a couple weeks. It's not, this is an unrelated band from Bloomington, Indiana called Mt. Gigantic. I keep trying to get into this CD but I just can't seem to make it happen. It's certainly creative, filled with these sorta complicated, sorta quirky, weirdly anthemic rock songs that are sung in yowling strange elf-voices. I'd like to recommend it to fans of Caroliner, and to fans of more poppy Caroliner influencees like the Thinking Fellers, but it's not quite there, though it might be a good follow-up for people who have just discovered the Animal Collective. Last track "Making Time For/It Is Time For" is pretty cool and wistful, but overall, the would-be animalistic vocals and the big swarming rock-anthem arrangements just kind of crowd me out of the picture.

MARISSA NADLER: Ballads of Living and Dying LP (ECLIPSE RECORDS)
Great cover! Looks like black metal, or something out of Japanese horror cinema, but this is an LP of low-key haunting psych-tinged lady-sung ballads. When I first put this record on, I ended up listening to it three times in a row, and it's been at least three times a week, every week, since then. I still can't really sing along with the songs, but I can kind of hum them, and I know I can FEEL 'em -- this is a damn good LP. Moody, mid-range, just the right side of witchy -- a sweet spot, if you will. First track "Fifty Five Falls" might be the very best of all, haunted voice over fingerpicked acoustic and e-bowed electric guitars creating an icicle of a love song that grows on a tree in a cold forest. (But not without a pop sense.) Last track "Annabel Lee" is the Poe poem set to music. Everything in between stays on the same sad-sweet haunted vibe. The album is performed by Nadler on vocals and acoustic guitar and one Myles Goodwin on everything else. I've gotten this far without knowing what town they live in or what "scene" they're from, and I think it's better that way. It creates an "out of nowhere" atmosphere for this excellent album.

Hey, I missed the first two volumes, but Rejerks Volume 3 is hitting the spot. Five ten-minute-ish free-form jams built with random splashes of sound-blocks that come and go like watching sped-up films of day-glo clouds thick with acid rain working their way across the sky, occasionally butting into each other and making little rainstorms -- better get out that titanium umbrella! And, the overall Nautical performance ethos is nicely summed up at the beginning of track 2, where Carly Ptak can be heard saying "We're just gonna let the tape roll....." and continues to riff back and forth on those words as the thick jams start to take over.

NAUTICAL ALMANAC: handcut record transfers CDR
. . . with cut record edge (HERESEE)

Damn, now this one I really like -- in fact, this is possibly my favorite N.A. release ever! Y'see, this band has their own record-cutting machine, and they don't exactly use it 'correctly'; they've made records out of "Video Disks, edges of CdR's, Plastic Lids, Lazer Discs, Wax, Paper, etc.," via "Odd styles: random play cuts, over-cuting ontop of pressed vinyl, heavy frequency/noise cuts, layered offset overcuts, etc." (See here.) This CDR release compiles a few of these odd handcut experiments; for example, the "Cleanse Bath" release is archived (Heresee 031, a 10" lathe cut on metal laquer, don't know how many copies were made . . . . five or six? Fifteen?). It seems that most of the 7 tracks, however, were just one-off experimental pressings, and man these things are heavy, thanks to the very act of "transferring," recording/mastering these handcut records to CDR, picking up all the extra sounds as the needle plows through the gnarly vinyl. It's nasty! Especially the mega-ruling track five, titled "one off-overcut-metal laquer" --- when it's old thrift store records already buried in gunk and getting wildly cut up that are mastered onto shit plastic, that's when it really wails. Musically, this is even better than the old NON record somebody loaned me once that was nothing but hastily remastered 1950s female-vocal pop music, with several tracks completely scratched out on the vinyl, and three different holes in the middle for me to try.

These Baltimore-area thrashers floored me a year or two ago with a really heavy, fast, and mean self-released cassette that placed them pretty high in the youth hate/horror sweepstakes. Now they've put together a nice pro CD and their sound is changing. Still lots of hate and horror, but they do sound like they're growing up a bit, with tempos that are starting to slow and a weird burnished tin-metal kind of sound that reminds me of professional 1980s treble-hate merchants like Big Black and Scratch Acid. As for the slower numbers, they are monster jams that I can hardly believe, particularly the 9-minute mid-album pulverizer called "Friend of Mine." It gets my head banging and shaking in big circles just like the Om CD does, except New Flesh play it much looser -- as the monstrous bass riff carries on and on, the drums start to lose their way on purpose and the guitar mess melts into everything else, and unlike Om the singer doesn't sound like a Buddhist stoner -- he sounds like he hates all Buddhists, and he doesn't like you much either, and besides that he's about to explode from all sorts of other related and unrelated internal tensions. It's a good 'un, that "Friend of Mine," and there's some other slower pulverizers on here that are certainly worth your attention.

OM: Variations on a Theme CD (HOLY MOUNTAIN)
The bassist and drummer of stoned doom legends Sleep are continuing on as a duo called Om. I was a little suspicious when I heard it was just a bass and drums duo, but not to worry, it's PLENTY heavy. Bass sound is so huge, tight, and overdriven, it actually sounds like a trio, the world's tightest stoner guitarist and stoner bassist playing with a kick-ass stoner drummer, slowly plowing on a steady mission through still waters running very deep. Oh wait, I just looked at the cover, and it's a picture of an eagle soaring, so maybe that's the metaphor instead of a ship plowing. Although the lyrics, which are generously printed, seem to be about going to space. Or are they? Let's see: "Alterates grid on the outer of a newborn theme. / Choric to the windship -- walk toward horizon. / Alterates grid on the outer of a newborn theme. / And pass into the orbitarm -- out from source to freedom." I'm pretty sure that's about going into space, but regardless, this is an endlessly heavy hypno-album that gets better and heavier every second you listen to it, no matter how many times you play it, seriously.

It makes sense that Orthrelm would sign up with the Ipecac label, and this potential for wider exposure has coincided with a challenging new aesthetic move on their part towards extreme length and minimalism. The album consists of one 45-minute track in which short frantic patterns are repeated for unheard-of lengths (minutes at a time?), sometimes evolving slowly as they repeat, sometimes remaining quite static. Eventually there is some pretty wild payoff and some serious changes of riff, etc., but for those who aren't already Mick Barr enthusiasts it's gonna take some pretty hardy souls to get there. A metalhead co-worker was impressed by the skills but gave up after 10 minutes or so -- "I just don't think it's going to go anywhere." It does go somewhere, many places in fact, even when it's apparently standing still, but even I didn't learn how to truly 'hear' such things until after spending 7 years living alone and rigorously meditating on a mountaintop retreat. Anyway, Barr's guitar skills have already been well-noted in these pages and others, but it's the drummer Josh Blair who really impresses me on here, maintaining a precise rolling and tumbling energy that never lags in the slightest underneath the guitar's double-picking frenzy.

I'm still amazed by the Finnish language. The words are so long and polysyllabic. I have no idea what they mean, but I recognize so many things in each word anyway, like Sade (the singer), sad (the emotion), vans (the automobile), Vans (the shoe brand), pelt (the fur), Pelt (the band), and sometimes almost a phallus! And speaking of amazing, Eclipse is really putting out a nice run of albums. This is like their eighth well-done release in a row, all of them excellent, musically and visually. This one, titled Puhalluspelto, by a group from Finland called Pãivãnsãde, might be the best-looking of the lot. The music isn't as blown-out pretty as the cover art, but it is pretty blown-out, and that does not necessarily mean loud. In fact, it barely means loud at all -- this is obtuse jam improv folk, and as you know, one thing about folk music is that it's rarely loud, and as you also know, another thing about folk music is that it doesn't have to be loud to be blown-out. Anyway. I'm just assuming Pãivãnsãde is another band from the K. Ystavat and Lal Lal Lal camp(s), but I honestly can't tell from looking at the minimal credits or anything. I do recognize one surname, that of Tolvi, which has also appeared on records by Laukheat Lampaat and Rauhan Orkestri, so it is highly likely that it is coming from somewhere within Finland's Golden Triangle of Music (as marked by the cities Tampere, Turku, and Helsinki).

The Golden Triangle of Finnish improv psych. (Diagram by Larry Dolman.)

PENGO: Moving Gelatin In A Translucent World CD+BOOK (AUDIOBOT)
Jeethush! (Translation: "Jesus!", slurred because I'm a little drunk right now.) This CD is packaged inside an amazing art book! The artist is Dennis Tyfus. He's from Belgium (I think), and for this book he's done a bunch of heavily full-color silk-screen paintings of birds that may never be featured in Juxtapoz, those hipster chumps, but would sing clear and true in that forum and any other. The art book is why I'm saying "Jesus" so loudly -- holding this thing I feel like it should cost $80 or something -- but damn, the music is pretty Jeethush!-worthy too. If you're looking for more of the same Pengo you found on their A Nervous Splendor LP, this might not be the one for you, because that LP had a lot of ominous delicacy and quietude, and this CD has three long tracks of pretty much full-on bludgeon. It sounds like it was recorded live, and the band is pretty much in giant-wall assault mode and the result just might blow your chair over. That upcoming Pengo/Hair Police collaboration LP is starting to make a whole lot of sense. Track three is especially a stormer, sounding like a cross between a Glenn Branca symphony, a Japanoise shitstorm, and Terry Kath's "Free-Form Guitar" all at once. (Um, yeah, I was right with all that storm imagery, the track is called "Sandpaper Storm" -- and yes, two of the three tracks were recorded live -- I guess I should read the liner notes earlier in the review next time.) And hey, props to the Belgian label that put this out, Audiobot, who is also Freaks End Future -- they're doing a lot of quality work, so catch up with 'em if you haven't.

PENGO: Their album has nothing to do with birds, but if Dennis Tyfus is drawin' em, hey, bring it on!

Reviewed a packaged-in-garbage CDR by these guys a year or more ago, and praised it for it's low-fi garage Beefheart worship that planked out fearlessly into it's own aggressive thrash-space. Now they've thrown together the scratch to put out a nice LP and I'm pleased to say it picks up right where the CDR left off. (The grotty and lovely color-silkscreen cover even continues the garbage theme, due to the strangely . . . . moist way it feels to the touch.) I don't know what it is I dig so much about these guys, but it's something about how they take weird riffs and, instead of hammering them in perfect tight sync, elongate and elasticate them until the song melts before your eyes without ever actually losing its shape. It's like Michael Morley and Bruce Russell joined the Hampton Grease Band, and then convinced the new four-guitar lineup to start working on Caroliner covers. (Totally.)

PSI: Artifically Retarded Soul Care Operators CD (EVOLVING EAR)
Surprisingly sick noisy improv album. I say "surprisingly" because I thought Psi were gonna be, you know, another 'dry improvised music' trio. Put it this way, I just assumed that the letters P, S, and I were gonna be the first initial of each member's last name! (Hotcha! Improv joke! That one gets a Gregg Bendian rim shot!) I say "sick" partly because the awesome wraparound gatefold cover by Stephen O'Malley really sets a tone -- I mean, there's Satan, right there on the cover, and the artist is in sick bands like Khanate and SunnO))). But Psi really do play genuinely sick sounds that do plenty of justice to the cover art: severe dog-whistle electronics and blatantly ill low-end stumbling and fumbling. This may indeed be dry improv, but it's dry in the way a hellish day in the desert is, or a virus creeping out of a clinic. (This just in, important correction from the band: "Just wanted to give you the ol' correction that the sick cover art from Artificially Retarded Soul Care Operators was actually all drawn by peeesseye's own Fritz Welch with color and layout by SOMA.")

As I suspected, ANYTHING can happen in the post-Smell L.A. "punk" scene. Quem Quaeritis are final proof. First of all, they named their band Quem Quaeritis. Say what? Second, they put their CDR in a jewel case and spray-painted it like that. (It's beautiful and it feels nice too.) Third, they perform such an absurdist melange of funky styles on their album, such as dark ambient, gabber techno, art-damaged free jazz, improvised musique concrete, spoken word, Venusian hillbilly Godz stomp, 'funny rap' (with the good sense to do it for only a minute), and whatever kind of music track 2 "Samurai Scientologist" is. (Futuristic jazz-fusion flute-funk a la The Cosmic Jokers under the direction of Tom Ze?) It's grooves like this track 2 business that are the deal-breaker for me -- if they're willing and able to do something this sexy, they win automatically. The second half of the album does kind of bog down into some toyish free jazz endlessness, but by the time it does, I've already been shook up pretty good and the devolution is kind of charming. One to watch! (Oh damn, I just learned that they aren't a band anymore, and that their whole concept was to make music without using guitars "because geetars are geetarded." I didn't even notice there weren't any guitars!)

Everybody knows Brian Ruryk, that crazy guitar improviser from Canada, but I haven't heard too much from him lately
. . . . . now that Muckraker magazine is no longer publishing! (Drum roll, please!) But what should show up in the mail but this new CDR release by Mr. Ruryk, and hearing him again after all these years brings me right back to when I not only mail-ordered his Nest of Guitar cassette back in 1997, but also back to when, in 1994, I borrowed the Guitar Solos 3 LP from some older Lincoln, NE dude and I could not BELIEVE the Fred Frith track "Alienated Industrial Seagulls." I played it for people, and we all went "What the hell?! Is that just one guitar??!" Well, this album gives me that same feeling times about 300. Except that it's clearly not just one guitar -- the credited "cassettes, records, computers, garbage" seem to make a lot more impact than the "guitars" -- but the guitar is certainly an omnipresent sound here, crunching and smashing and flapping around like renegade heavy machinery in an echo chamber being invaded by one thousand frantic doves. Also comes with a great little mini-book with color xeroxes and even some hand-painted pages, interspersed with lots of short little written bits about the piece of shit guitar by various, ahem, noise guitar celebrities. Good 'uns from Charlie Draheim, Keith Rowe, Carly Ptak, Joel St. Germain, Tu m', Tetuzi Akiyama, Aaron Dilloway, and a GREAT one by someone named CCC (about GTR, the 1980s supergroup formed by former Yes guitarist Steve Howe, as in "HOWE in the hell did something he recorded after 1974 make it's way onto your turntable?," and former Genesis guitarist Steve Hackett, as in "I don't think you'll be able to HACKETT anymore, you might as well just put on an Allan Holdsworth record instead"). Oh, and I like the one by John "Justin" Donovan too.

Um, so I think this cassette inside a g'damn handkerchief is my favorite SB release so far . . . . . . . . okay, 20 minutes later, it's definitely my fave. I've actually heard about six (!) releases by the SB and so far they've all been pretty much the exact same thing, in a real good way: one long single spaced-out dark-cloud numb-teeth tone-drone, and I assumed this one would simply, in the words of both Mike Love and Sidney Poitier, "do it again." I knew I was still gonna like it, and give it a thumbs-up review, but, other than the (g'damn) handkerchief, I didn't think there'd be anything new to report. Ah, but now that I've listened, I'm happy to say there IS something new to report -- I'm not even gonna need to mention that g'damned handkerchief again. This tape is GOOD. Yes, it's a side-long piece that really is still the same sad greyblack drift, but here's what's new, or done in a new way: synth-based pulses and waves cutting into the cloud, pumping weird life into it, making it glow and flicker while it sits there all spooky-like. Pulses, waves, sine-tones, sine-tickles. Mmmmm. Sine-tickles. (Wow, that was my first ever Homer Simpson reference in Blastitude. I know, I know, a little late to the game....)

I'm a little slow on the draw, and this album's edition of 200 is already sold out at source, but damn, it's good. The SB are a long-running improvised sound/noise group from New York City. They have been doing basically the same thing for a long time, a particularly bleak void of electronic improvisation that is very easy to fall asleep to, not because it is boring, but because it is enveloping, like a blanket. And friends, I do not use hyperbole in the slightest when I say that The SB, for this, their very first 12" vinyl release, have used some of their very best performances I have ever heard. This is great cold-electronic free-stuff that chills to the bone at the same time that it heavily relaxes. Black and white marble vinyl record comes as a "white label" in a nice anonymous chip-board disco sleeve (unfortunately not pictured here), except yours might also come with the sleeve of a 'dummy album' (mine unfortunately IS pictured here).

THE SB: "...the great cold-electronic free-stuff..."

The title of this 23-track CD made me think it was gonna be the Mee-Mees' version of Faust Tapes, with all the tracks segued together and mega-mixed. But now that I've listened to it, I realize that "garbage" just means that all these tracks are random outtakes and demos from 1975 through 1980 that never got released, and "collage" just means that they're all gathered here in one place. Can you imagine: Screamin Mee-Mees outtakes and demos?? Their absolute most polished songs are already outtakes and demos! But yet, the tracks on this disc indeed sound more like demos than usual. Like they weren't officially recording some unknown 7-inch for some never-heard-of label, they were just rehearsing for it. To wit, the album seems mostly 'unplugged', played on acoustic guitars with the beats played on a table or a coffee can. This all doesn't mean I'm not enjoying this, because I am -- it has a low-key and extremely casual acoustic haze that is surprisingly relaxing, and it's still rock'n'roll, and it's still permeated with patented Cole/Ashline third mind ridiculousness. For example, track three "C'mon Jimmy" is a very matter-of-fact number from 1976 about the pop politics of the day: "Why on earth didn't we have a winner back in '72?/Started with George McGovern and Eagleton so/they got defeated back in '72/by Richard Nixon and Spiro Agnew so/God help us now, we're in 1976/Oh God help us please!!/Jimmy Carter help us now!!" Or how about the self-reflexive "Mouth Song," which goes "I'm gonna put my mouth up here and sing / I'm gonna put my mouth up here and sing . . . You haven't heard us sing for a year / We've been out drinking beer." There are also ruminations like "You Wish That You Was You" and "Why Can't A Watermelon Pray?" (which asks the question, "Why can't you objects do the things you ain't supposed to do?"), a couple sequel songs ("I Drink Sody" and "Too Young To Shave Part Two"), a supra-reverb cover of "Pipeline," a cover of "You Really Got Me" that lasts about 4 seconds . . . and lots of other garbage too!

The Locust Music label has grown to be one of the most impressively prolific labels in Chicago, a city that is home to many, many impressively prolific labels. I first noticed Locust when they did those two Sun City Girls triple-LPs in 2001 -- wow! -- but when I first really checked back with 'em, just a few months ago, I was shocked at how busy they'd been, having released something like 50 or 60 more discs since then (no, I'm serious), from new stuff to old stuff, folk, jazz, electronic, academic, 60s freak, rare groove, and plenty of etcetera. They've even got about four or five sub-labels. Busy, busy, busy . . . . . and here's just one of their releases, by someone named Ramon Sender. I'd never heard of him before, but it turns out he was part of the San Francisco Tape Music Center in the early 1960s. From there he went on to the one and only San Francisco Diggers collective (hmm, I'll have to look back over Ringolevio and see if he's in there), and after that "co-founded the legendary Morningstar Ranch Commune in Sonoma County." There's tons of stuff about this to dig through on his website, raysender.com, but it's all new to me, and right now we're talking about the two tracks of music on this CD -- long ones, 29:32 and 43:15 respectively. Recorded in 1965, they are two in a series of twelve "Worldfood tape drones" that Sender created by experimenting with cutting-edge tape equipment that a hip employee of the Ampex corporation kept dropping by the Tape Music Center with. The first track, "Worldfood VII," is a real beaut, Sender taking a fragile woman's voice singing the line "To see him with my eyes," from some sort of Jesus-themed student performance he had composed and directed in his "early year at the conservatory," and mixing it into a heavenly tape-swirl of sun-spin cloud music. It's gorgeous and even a little bit scary. Track two, "Worldfood XII," is longer and more of a watery bloop-bleep classic electronic pattern/process piece. Very nice, but man, that first track . . . . . . Apparently more of these archival Sender releases are on the way, and with Locust's avidity, I wouldn't be surprised if we see quite a few of 'em......

Whoah, this is from the guy in England who does the Sniper Glue zine and, I dunno, I guess I figured this would be noisier. Why? Because the zine is B&W cut-and-paste and has features on Naturaliste and, uh, Sonic Youth? I guess that's why. But Shy Rights Movement are rather mellow non-noise singer/songwriter pop. Once I accepted this mild style shock, I noticed some pretty good twee-gaze dust-ballads on here, like the "Looking out the dirty windows" song. Good psychedelic feel on that one, makes the earnest AM Radio pop melodies really mean something. The more upbeat rock songs sound a little more generic -- the ballads are Shy Right Movement's strong suit.

SIGHTINGS: Arrived in Gold CD (LOAD)
I'll be damned -- Sightings went into a studio! On previous releases the band has recorded themselves in what sounds like an underground concrete bunker, where the sheer street-rock volume of the band has immolated itself in recording-level red -- extremely impressive in a totally blasting way, especially for new listeners (all releases have been killer, my favorite is Michigan Haters with Absolutes second), but when it's the third or fourth album recorded that way, you start to get a little frustrated, because you know there are songs and excellent rhythms going on under there, and you kinda wish you could hear them as intensely as you can the blasting. And now, with Arrived in Gold, you can! The studio is Brooklyn, NY's Rare Book Room, the outside engineer is Samara Lubelski, and together they have brought the Sightings sound away from the blast and toward the void with all the brilliant sharp shards intact and rendered in detail -- arrived in gold indeed! You can hear better than ever that Sightings are much more than a mere 'noise-rock' band; in fact, they turn noise into a full-fledged free-form psychedelic compositional approach, well-spiced with weird insect dance rhythms, ghost-memories of fucked-up hip-hop, and liberally bad vibes.

After six CD releases, the Smack Shire label is batting a thousand. Tarot or Aorta, Gravy's Band on the Run, the Rev. Lester Knox compendium, To Live and Shave in L.A.'s God and Country Rally!, the Xex reissue -- all highly recommended by Blastitude. Though for some reason, this Sightings/Tom Smith disc first hit me like a spell with the flu. It sounded wrong or something, and I was duking it out, not getting it, listening further, getting annoyed, the vocals seemingly drowned by music which was just lumpy motor-sounds or something, and finally I shelved it. About two months later it made it's way back into the changer on "second chance" status, and up popped track #3 "Keep Me From Speech" and jeezus, it floored me. Totally dirty truly driving power electro rock. Lumpy? Not at all -- the primary rhythm and song-force is this high-pitched guitar skree thing that dive-bombs at the end of each measure leaving shards of mind-melt detritus. In the meantime Smith's laptop spits out something rhythmic and sinister, and his singing is placed just right in the mix. Hell, I do call it crooning, but not as much "noise crooning" as just plain jazz crooning. You know, torch singing? Fire music? But a melancholy flame, a somehow resigned mood -- truly emotional (sniff) and heartfelt (sob), while the music powers onward and downward, crushing everything. Tracks 3 through 5 in fact form a devastating mid-album onslaught, with "Keep Me From Speech" followed by the 7-minute extended dance and falsetto glory that is "Capitalism & Schizophrenia," followed by "Beyond the Brain," also kind of a dance hit, albeit in a more low-key and street-ghost way, my favorite part the long a capella vocal intro by TS, with its sweet sparse amp noise punctuation. The whole album is damn good 2005 dub de roque de gutter concrete, more than even the considerable sum of its parts.

"Who is Mark Evan Burden?," you may ask. Then again you might be like "Mark Evan Burden? He's the dude from Get Hustle, except he's not in that band anymore...." I knew that myself, but I had temporarily forgotten that I knew it, until this CD came in the mail and I was like "Who is Mark Evan Burden? Oh yeah, he was the guy on the Hammond B3 organ when I saw Get Hustle in Chicago back in '03 or something. Must've read his name somewhere. Damn, he must've lugged that B3 around for the whole tour. That's work, that's dedication, that's why Get Hustle are being written about in a major international fanzine like this one (ha ha). Damn." Anyway, it was a great Get Hustle show, and Evan Burden is on the Get Hustle's Dream Eagle 1 release that I really like. But -- he's not in The Get Hustle anymore, now he's in this band Silentist, who are actually a metal band. A black metal goth-prog cabaret band, to be exact, and this is their debut CD EP, four tracks clocking out at 20 minutes or so. First track is a pretty well-done possibly-Darkthrone-influenced swarmer, but with intense piano barreling along as well, so that's kind of a head-turner. The other three tracks incorporate a little doom/stoner into the black/blur fabric, always with that symphonic cabaret piano riding atop, for a juxtaposition that is always pretty wild -- just check the way the title track thrashes for its length and then suddenly gives way to an extended high-speed Glass/Wakeman solo piano coda. I'm sure someone somewhere will call this "false metal" even if on a technicality alone (the piano) but that doesn't mean it isn't "real something else".

Spray-painted tape that comes with an actual silver dagger attached to it (one of those toy ones that retract so you can play like you're actually stabbing someone or something, with a cassette, in this case, pun intended despite being terrible), but don't let the striking Not Not Fun aesthetic distract you, the music is quite good too. Silver Daggers stand out by NOT being a spazz dance punk w/masks act -- their rock action is more laid back and spaced-out, krauty and dubby. Occasional wacked female vocals really take it to another tweaked level. Great sounds, great vibe, though not exactly a great album -- hey, some cassettes are, but this one sounds more like a practice tape of song ideas, rough sketches, fine parts and grooves to remember and do something fully-formed with later, etc. I'd really like to see what they do next, but this is still a fine listen while we're waiting, and it does come painted with a dagger attached to it!

THE SKATERS: Rippling Whispers CDR

I thought this acclaimed new duo was part of the new young American crop of new young noise-throat singers ("moan wave" as some new young genre-wags are already calling it), but it sounds to me like what's being whaled on here is 99% good ole distorted electric guitar, and when I say whaled on, I mean these guys are fuckin' WAILIN'. Amplified crunchy strings pushed to the limits, blasting not to bury but to REVEAL . . . There are vocals, but not zone-moan so much as weird little babble around the edges -- singing shearing guitar feedback tones that sound like human voices, and singing squealing human voices that sound like liquid guitar feedback. I'll be damned, the critics are right on this one, this is indeed ecstatic music! They can moan all they want next time, I'm sure they rule at that too!

THE SKATERS: Crowned Purple Gowns CS (LAL LAL LAL)
Man, these guys really do never cease to amaze. I've heard about three of their releases now and Crowned Purple Gowns has gotta be the queasiest dive through the omniverse, our favorite San Diegans-who-do-not-skate cooking up something that sounds like a huge wobbly funhouse mirror refracting satellite drones and space tones from a backwards space-station carousel floating upside- down somewhere to the left of South Venus, and it's all being picked up and broadcast directly through our collective brains by that tiny weird metal cavity filling in our collective upper left molar. The second piece on side one is the more unbelievable of the two, powered by ultra-high space-seer vocals as alien as any prime Sun City Girls zone-out. Side two continues in the vein of the first piece, except this time a small tribe of highly intelligent sub-verbal cat-people are thrown into the mix and doused with cold water. And I'm not even trying to write one of those "surrealistic noise reviews," that's just what it sounds like. Also while listening to this tape, I was thinking about the rather invigorating statements one of these Skaters made about slavery (as quoted in Matthew Bower's column on the Volcanic Tongue website, click here and scroll down to get to it), which made me think of Sun Ra (duh) and how he used ecstatic and violent free jazz and space-travel noise to combat and escape the slavery of Planet Earth, and how The Skaters are doing the same thing again now, just as effectively, and in fact in a more updated style, because Ra tried to get it to the people by couching it in big band jazz, and even that concession to popular taste didn't get it to most of the enslaved masses who needed to hear it, so the Skaters are past the point of couching it in anything, not even "rock": this is the uncut slavery-escape mind-travel music of today.