Saturday, December 08, 2007

So you ever just browse profiles at and pretend to fall in love with people based solely on their scrobble lists? Pretty nutty.

Hi kids. Happy '08 and all that good stuff. It's kind of an exciting time to be alive right now. Try and remember that. I've actually started writing a few posts in the last month or two and inevitably abandoned them. Less of my nonsensical pop culture ramblings seem as important as they once did, to the rest of the world anyway. I know a few people out there appreciate what Ol' Bull has to say, so I will keep saying it. Promise. Anyway I've missed some fine shows lately because of a slow healing ankle sprain, but it's almost 100% me thinks. And there's a quite a bit to see on the horizon...

Briefly, Movies: The proverbial horny virgin in me quite liked (and identified with) Superbad, but my older, more jaded self was more amazed by the quiet, tortured expanses of No Country for Old Men and The Assassination of Jesse James. Both are modern revisionist Westerns of sorts -- one more weighted towards the crime thriller perspective, the other a historical bio piece. I especially dug the examination of celebrity in TAoJJ, going from the age of nickle books into the encroaching 20th century multimedia whirlwind. These are definitely two of my faves of what I actually saw in '07. Same goes for Inland Empire and even Once, the little Irish musical that could. No no one gets shot in Once. No one gets laid. No one gets paid (though they probably should've). Kinda refreshing.

Aside from the ongoing tragedy that is the life of Britney Spears, another excellent satirical examination of the cancers of celebrity can be glimpsed in the film length conclusion of Extras (HBO) which is of course Ricky Gervais's brilliant follow-up to The Office. Gervais does a great service for all peripheral wannabes the world over by chronicling the successes and failures of Andy Millman. This is the stuff of the highest literary ambitions masquerading as something as banal as a sit-com (which is apt given Andy's big break comes via a braindead catchphrase-driven Brit sit-com). It's actually 80 mins long and has a moral arc that's worthy of Charlies Dickens. But I'm not really here to get all literary on your ass. Just see it for yourself one day. This blog is supposed to be about music, a good bulk of it gifts of goodwill from friends, far and near over the year. Twas the season! Next post will be a slightly delayed list of faves'n'raves in '07. Which means it'll probably hit these pages sometime in early '09.

First up: Our old friends at the always dependable Deep Water compound have rolled out another fresh bowl of some truly worthwhile sonic debris that together comprises some of the label's finest releases to date. Flying Sutra is a duo of drums and guitar that walks the swaying line between tasteful jazz fusion and total chaos in a way that could evoke comparisons to plenty more popular acts on the Levitate and Dissolve CD-R, but I wont cheapen this blissful tornado with any name-dropping and just say this is a seriously able-bodied brainscrambler that rocks hard as heck, but in a completely unconventional -- yet still well rehearsed -- way. These guys actually know how to play their instruments, and that's always a good thing.

Another band it's been a great pleasure to hear in recent moons is Oklahoma's Anvil Salute, whose This is the Voice of Doom Calling is the ensemble's first DW platter (CD-R in fact), and I'm going to agree that this is the finest Anvil Salute dish to date, fitting easily with the current free folk/improvised scene while injecting a healthy dose of traditional warmth every second of the way, which makes sense for a bunch'a freaks from Oklahoma. Highly recommended for fans of The Bummer Road, United Bible Studies, Jackie-O Motherfucker and the like. Arriving some time before and just as welcome from AS is the All The Animals of the Forest (Lofi Shit) CD-R, which is a slightly more progressive take on the above, and has an almost bouncing, festive quality in a way that makes me think of a busy forest floor bathed in sunlight and running over with all manner of scurrying little furry things.

A heavenly blissout can be found on the split CD-R between Scottish one woman post psych project Pefkin (that's Gail Brogan from the revered Electroscope and Boa Melody Bar mailorder) and The Circle and the Point, the duo of Grant Capes and Adam Richards. Pefkin's side is taken up by one extended minimal pop droneout, creeping along on clinking music box melodies and ghost harmonica (or is that an e-bow? Harmonium?). Maybe all of the above. Serious zoneout bedroom shoegaze here, folks. My friend sitting beside me just asked, "dude, are you zoning out?" and, indeed I was. Must continue typing. The Circle and the Point mines a similar ore with wandering acoustic guitars/vocals over desolate drones and ambient noises that go from stumbling broken folk jams to full on void scapes and back again, all captured in crumbling live fidelity. Very melty indeed.

Also in the same package was the 3" cd-r debut by Nessmuk (this one's actually on Abandon Ship Records but can be ordered straight from Kevin at DW), the solo guitar sculpting guise of DW head honch Kevin Moist, heard recently with The Clear Spots and Bardo off-shoot Third Troll, and currently weaving aaural magic with the ever luminous Evening Fires. If you've heard any of his other output, you might have an inkling of what to expect with the lovely trance journeys of Flies Free--cycling electric guitar mantras building and subsiding like a gentler Sonic Youth, but minus the bloat of any lowend or vocals and plus some very fine/tasty/disjointed leads mixed in for good measure.

Another righteous 3" CD-R recently bequeathed to your Wombmaster is the mighty Zanzibar Snails' dark moods and trembling dissonances of Krakkatowiak(available on their own Mayyrh Records). AMM and the cryptic improvisation of Dead C circa their self-titled 2CD on Language comes to mind, as well as the early days of industrial before everything got so damn synthetic sounding. The Dead C comparison is fitting given the (apparently accidentally) identical use of the same designer paper that the mighty Kiwi noise trio used for the packaging of the aforementioned opus. I dig those happy coincedences. The 'Snails will be creeping/crawling their way through what's sure to be a groaner of a set, with guest twiddling from Subkommander/S.D.S noise guru M. Maxwell, sharing a bill with Dust Congress and the always amazing Six Organs of Admittance at The Cavern in Dallas next week, and I will be there. Sweet.