It's pretty sad that there are already uploaded copies of the Chris Knox benefit album, Stroke, floating around the blogosphere. Please BUY IT from Merge or don't listen to it at all. As I'm sure most of you know, Knox recently suffered a life-altering stroke that has left him partially paralyzed. I enjoyed a pretty amazing night/morning hanging out with Chris and his wife Barbara about 10 years ago in Austin. I interviewed hims for The Broken Face, and we enjoyed a great breakfast at the Magnolia Cafe and got them both to the aeropuerto just in time for their flight, despite my dunderheaded non-realization that Austin had just opened the new Austin-Bergstrom International airport some months before, which was nowhere near the Austin Municipal or whatever the fuck I was looking for (looser). Chris is an amazing, intense performer/songwriter with a deep catalog of weird home-made psych pop, art punk and whatnot songs -- solo and with his duo Tall Dwarfs -- that comes with the highest Womblife recommendation for anyone even remotely interested in weird pop/folk/punk/psych (from The Beatles to Elephant 6 'n' beyond). Recommended records: Chris Knox solo - Meat, Seizure, Beat. Tall Dwarfs - Hello Cruel World, Weeville, 3EPs, The Sky Above The Mud Below. His work with early Kiwi punk bands The Enemy and Toy Love also should not go ignored. The tribute has a stunning roster of some of my favorites: The Chills, David Kilgour, Stephen Merritt, Pumice, Hamish Kilgour, Bill Callahan, Jeff Mangum, Bonnie Prince Billy, The Bats, AC Newman, Lou Barlow, Lambchop, The Verlaines, etc.
Here's one of my fave live clips of Chris from Youtube, complete with broken guitar string:
There's also a benefit concert happening in New York next month (already sold out) with a stellar lineup. Major props to Ben Goldberg of Ba Da Bing for making that happen!
A group I've been meaning to write more about here one day is Philly's charred to the bone Pissed Jeans. They merge psych slop and punk trash better than just about anyone else makin' records out there today in the US. Think somewhere between newer La Otracina and Pussy Galore. Here is a killer live set recorded on Brian Turner's show on WFMU which offers a potent example of their mongrel sludge fury.
I also feel the need to mention Fort Worth's Drug Mountain, probably the scariest band operating in the DFWD triangle currently. Definitely the loudest. After seeing this quintet of sax, sax, bass, drums and electric viola (played by Nevada Hill from Zanzibar Snails, who joined the band after it recorded its debut 12" at Steve Albini's studio in Chicago), I was so gleefully pulverized by their Contortions-meets-Jesus Lizard skronk attack that I went and threw down the bucks for their lovely one sided LP, which features an archaic etching on the flip by maestro graphic artist Hill. You can snag your own at the Myspace site above if that's yr cup of joe, and yessir, it'll make ya go. Edition of 111.
And let me close it with a thank you to friend Aaron Gonzalez -- he of the Gonzalez brothers, who plus their father Dennis are thee fabulous Yells At Eels free jazz/fusion trio -- for throwing me a rough copy of his duo (with his brother Stefan) Akkolyte's forthcoming debut LP, which comes highly recommended for weirdoz into early Napalm Death, Takashi Miike and Ornette Coleman, to name but a few possible influences on their pummeling/absurd grind/jazz/thrash.