Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Random Emanations from the Bottomless Well

Some time back I received a sweet package from one Mikey Turner, lead milker in the Warmer Milks, a Lexington, Kentucky ensemble that it's been a great pleasure to watch mature, or should I say devolve, over the last few years. 'Course their debut LP Radish on Light (Troubleman) is a goddamned classic of detuned angst-grunge that bears the weight of a dying world on its shoulders, the resultant stress cracks making it that much more of a harrowing thing of beauty. Then came some lineup shakeups and--shock!--Shawn David McMillen is invited into the fold along with Paul Oldham (as in Will's brother) for the culmination of the mini-album, Let You Friends In on Sweden's revered Release the Bats. Two tracks here, each a side-long plunge into some mighty destroyed psychedelic head-space. Opener "The Ripple, Children/The Jaunting" is the knockout with warped tape-speed madness giving way to a massive cycling sludge mantra that kicks the mud off my boots and makes it dance around like some sort of irate earth spirit. Turner's screeching balls-out death vocals on this song are the shit, easily some of the most harrowing/ visceral/ hilarious exorcizing Ive heard in a good long while. Beautiful. "The Wanderer" on the other hand is a bit more aimless with its Beefheart-on-thorazine lurching rhythm that keeps threatening to pick up steam and kick ass like the first track but never really does. I'm not saying I'm disappointed in this one, more that the first track is a hard act to follow.

A Special Time is a 22 min CD-R that comes courtesy of Turner's own Paranormal Overtime label (which can be ordered from him via the Warmer Milks website). It's a home-recorded piece conjured by a duo version of Warmer Milks featuring Turner and McMillen. Composed as an imaginary soundtrack to the cult TV show "The Tomorrow People," some 30 years after the fact, A Special Time is a surrealist garage drone freakout with levels maxed and eyes glazed over, detailing the ongoing struggles between the Homo Superiors and the rest of the Saps. The piece itself wavers from Faust-ian industrial pulse to a primitive Spacemen 3/Velvets guitar rush that cuts out far too soon but still makes me giddy with goose-pimply satisfaction all the same, before devolving into stumbling percussive sprawl and some eerie-as-shit deep space emanations more expected from such a garage soundtrack expedition. My favorite part just might be when the whole morass fades to just Mikey singing naked over guitar, banjo and what sounds like a distant helicopter. Pink Floyd couldn't have done this shit any better. It's like a new Faust Tapes for all us metaphysical neo-apes.

Also of note in the same package, the stripped down synth dreams of Collap (Paranormal Overtime), which covers everything from minimal techno pulse to OMD worthy synth pop blissouts via the M/T solo W/M guise. Who knew? Very cool. And that brings us to the Lortab Sunsplash 90 min tape, also on POT, which is an epic of slow burning bass hum and lost in the dark psychedelia that's probably best heard in the wee morning hours when the things that go bump in the night start to sound as if they were composed by some preternatural force that permeates the living space with infinite curiosity. I think I'm in love.

And now we say hello to San Francisco's Rahdunes. Rahhhhdunnness...I dig the name. Live in a Cave in 07 is a smoking little CD-R for the UK's Darkest Rainbow that features a series of live actions captured throughout 07 (duh), and color me head-fucked, this is the bomb. After having experienced somewhat mellower/more minimal live excursions by this duo/trio in recent months, I was pleasantly surprised to hear the molten supernova explorations of the first two tracks, coming off like a more probing, genuinely psychedelic Dead C. Yum. Elsewhere there's percussion, distorted shrieks and an overall tendency towards power-lectronic rocking that I've never really heard in the Rahdunes' music before, but then I haven't heard much. There's a full length on Emperor Jones I've been meaning to pick up and a brand new picture disk on Italy's great Qbico label, which Aaron Coyes claims really is a genuine rock set. But then in the end I guess it's all rock, aint it? Deep space bass hum meets wall of distortion overload never sounded so tasty. I'll definitely be on the hunt for Rahdunes in more permanent formats.

Mr Coyes also slipped me a CD-R by his self described "fucked modern pop duo," Peaking Lights. Clearvoiant offers up 6 songs of damaged hiss and surprisingly accessible acid pop meets freeform clatter that should appeal to devout fans of early Flying Nun/Xpressway Records, early Eno and other damaged post Velvets head-trippers. More, please.

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