Saturday, May 29, 2010

RIP, Dennis Hopper, American Icon.  Here's a series of videos, as assembled by our pals at Soldier Disease:

And don't forget to check out Matt Zoller Seitz's moving video essay, The Middle Finger in Life:

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

I am severely blown away by the audio/visual possibilities of the extended trailer for Christopher Nolan's new film, Inception.  WOW!

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Watching the LOST Finale Extravaganza right now.  Well I will be in just over an hour.  One long strange trip it's been!  Truly an awesome show for mainstream pulp sci-fi melodrama.  It will be missed.  Where do we go from here?

Addendum: For those who haven't yet, check out Doc Jennings' well researched and deeply felt Recap of The End and the entire series over at Entertainment Weekly.  It's very long and right on. My appreciation grows as my understanding does, with fear and trembling...  

Here's one possible destination:  Tom Lax recounts the recording of The Dead C's Clyma Est Mort, the live album that should've never been (and never was when you get right down to it).  As the intro says, Lax and his Siltbreeze label rival classic outsider indies like ESP and PSF in terms of subcultural influence the world over, and he is gentleman, a master chef and weaver of fine tales.  Don't pass up on that bbq if you get the invitation!  Thanks to Volcanic Tongue for the link.
Five More Randoms

Enumclaw Opening of the Dawn (Honeymoon Music) LP/Digital Download - Enumclaw is the minimal trance drone project of Norman Fetter from Philadelphia's Niagara Falls, operating in tranquil meditative mode across these six tracks of minimal electro-acoustic tones that gather inspiration from the elements, inner space, early minimal composers and Popol Vuh.  Florian Fricke is a glowing light source when it comes to merging modern electronic composition with the sacred, and in Fetter's hands, it's s a sound that goes beyond words to another plane of cosmic awareness.  There are some earthier moments -- tribal hand drums and shaking percussive passages -- but mostly Fetter stays head deep in the thick cozmik soup with cycling synth mantras from the Terry Riley school of drone gracefully gliding over a panorama of shifting melodies.  Highly recommended for fans of early ambient Eno, Harmonia and newer synth-psych head-trippers like Oneohtrix Point Never and Emeralds.    

La Otracina Blood Moon Riders (Holy Mountain) CD - Been meaning for a while to scribble a few words about this biker metal heavy prog syke opus.  These Brooklyn cats continue their natural evolution from amorphous prog psych fusion to some of the most head-smashing, mind-expanding space metal I've blinded my third eye with in recent moons. Blood Moon Riders fuses the best of both sides of the Brooklyn trio's sonic personality while setting the controls for the heart of the nearest supernova.  Followup imminent, but this is still highly recommend for heavy psychonauts the world over.  

Clair Cassis - Clair Cassis (Startlight Temple Society) Former members of Velvet Cacoon, the Portland, OR pagan metal band it's okay to smoke pot to, recently called it a day only to reconvene under the name Clair Cassis, a self described "pop answer to Velvet Cacoon," which is an amusing thought, as this sounds pretty dang doom 'n' gloom, even when compared to the spacier metalgaze atmospheres of VC.  Still, there is a certain self contained charm to some of these blackened morsels, along with necro-fixated witch-hag vocals and lulling prog ambient interludes that meld into a highly recommendable late night excursion through the swirling dark smoke of your mind.  Let there be starlight.
The Ritualistic School Of Errors Sweat Stained Fancy Heaps For First-Rate Ladies (Resipiscent) CD - Now this one is difficult with a capital D, but then there is no progress without struggle.  The Ritualistic School of Errors understands this undeniable axiom better than most.  The cut-up weird noise collages found inside Sweat Stained Fancy Heaps for First-Rate Ladies assume many guises and offer no easy path to illumination.  Instead we get jarring pastiches to the absurd and cartoon dementia with juxtapositions of every kind of twisted sample, honk and weird sound under the plunderphonic sun dropped in a blender with cracked accordion, piano, pipe organ, flamenco guitar, screwball operatic vocals, insanity chorales and much more.  It's complicated to say the least, assembled with meticulous mixing precision and actually quite recommended for those who like their tonal insanity multiplied to the nth degree.  File somewhere between The Sylvie and Babes Hi-Fi Companion, irr. app. (ext.) and early cracked Sun City Girls.   

Cadaver in Drag Raw Child Animal Disguise LP - Lord have mercy!  This is the meanest, grimiest, most fucked up slab of doom I've rattled my cage with in years.  Where to start?  Take the Melvins and cover them in shit, set them ablaze and roll them into the nearest tar pit.  Sidelong opener "Walking Through the Gates of Hell" sounds like the resulting explosion stuck in a relentless soul-crushing lockgroove of ugliness and despair.  Screaming gut wrenching howls and shrieks are the order of the day over massive lumbering sludgeoid grunge riffs.   For fans of early Unsane, Black Flag and doom of every kind.  I'm totally serious.  The last track sounds like Skepticism!  This has been out a couple years, but its primal rage demands attention like it dropped yesterday.  No shock to see this was one of Julian Cope's Albums of the Month at Head Heritage.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

One more quickie:  Rangda's False Flag comes out today on Drag City.  This is the mythical in our time super noise free psych trio explosion of masters Ben Chasny and Richard Bishop (both guitar) and the incomparable Chris Corsano on hands everywhere splatter percussion, though my cursory exposure to their sound suggests he may actually play some almost-conventional beats on this record, which for Corsano would be downright freaky.
RIP, Ronnie James Dio.  Here's his explanation for the origin of the devil's horns, which he's often credited with first bringing into the metal arena.  Must say his pre metal days are pretty surprising.   Rest well, Elf!  \m/

Howdy!  I actually spent a whole lotta cash on two Neil Young / Bert Jansch tickets a few weeks ago.  Insane.  I swore I'd never be that guy, but timeliness, this and the fact that it's happening here convinced me that it's now or never.  See ya there.  Also had fun at the Hair Police  / Awesome Color / Hawk Vs. Dove concert the other night.  Finally got my Wolf Eyes cherry popped (almost)!  Mike Connelley rawks!  Hope he and the boys comes back to Tejas soon.  Bought some rad merch from the table, more on that later.  Was also happy to score a new vinyl issue of Mainliner's Mainliner Sonic (Assomer) at the Acid Mothers Temple/OGOD gig just before that.  Mainliner is of course one of the all time great blown amp fuzz punk noise bands to come out of the PSF scene, and I think this is the first time Mainliner Sonic has been available on vinyl, clear in this case.  Looks like I blew my own no new records in 2010 challenge.  Come back, Asahito Nanjo!  The world neeeeds yooouuuuu!

Thanks to fellow Womblifer T-boz for pointing out this neat little trick.  It would appear Sunn O))) actually does have a sense of humor.  I've maintained from the start that Spinal Tap was a huge influence, live if nothing else, so the similarities found here seem to be definitely more than just coincidental.  You only need to hear the first 45 secs or so of the Sunn O))) clip to get the gist...

and on to The 'Tap...

Also, a quick shout-out to old friends, The Green Pajamas, for doing the right thing and releasing the digital single, "The Red, Red Rose (Song for Phoebe Prince)," a remarkably heartfelt tribute and memorial to Phoebe Prince, whose story is really too sad to bear, but you've probably heard it by now anyway.  The evils of bullying and victimization have been a subject close to my heart for many years.  It's good to know it's close to Jeff Kelly and Laura Weller's as well.  Here's the story from Blurt, and the song...

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Age of Disinformation Age of Disinformation CD-R / D and N D and N 2 CD-R (both Mayyrh) / Zanzibar Snails Vitiligo (Tape Drift) CD-R - There's still lots of activity happening in and around the Zanzibar Snails camp these days.  There's live gigs, and more gigs from side trio, The Watchers (debut release imminent?).  The 'Snails even received a perfect 10/10 grade from Foxy Digitalis for their Journey Into Amazing Caves! CD/DVD combo last year.  

The Age of Disinformation offers something of a detour from the usual ZS trajectories.  AoD is actually a local "supergroop" that features members of the 'Snails, The Great Tyrant, Akkolyte, Yells at Eels and others across 47 minutes of creepy-crawling drone, improv and ambient noise, which as orchestrated by multi-instrumentalist, Aaron Gonzalez, leaves plenty of space for embellishments and exploration.  These mutating oscillations, surges and crackling tones make me think of the frothing pools of analog electronics glimpsed on those early Cluster and Tangerine Dream records, along with hints of harsher noise, radio sounds and early industrial grime worked into the mix.  The results are a dark, enveloping mind swirl that ebbs and flows with primordial currents every step of the way.  Perfect for rewiring the synapses for a more celestial perception of the absolute.  Welcome to the new dark age, my friends.

D and N 2 is the second installment from the duo of Nevada Hill (of the Zanzi's and Drug Mountain) and David Price (also of the Zanzi's) operating via postal collaboration before, captured live in a weekend in an old church in East Texas this time.  And there's a twist:  The master recording of that session was chopped in two at the halfway point and then each half laid on top of one another, so what we have here is essentially a free noise collapsed folk industrial mashup.  It's a mouthful, but at 30 minutes the oblique trajectories of 2 manage to mostly fascinate, offering a fractured web of odd found sounds, broken guitars, harmonicas and the like which together sound more raw and abrasive than the excellent debut 3" CD-R and lands them in the same jagged terrain found on Richard Youngs and Simon Wickham-Smith's mythical Lake (which basically sounds like Jandek gone prog). 

Vitiligo is the name of the condition that causes people to lose pigment and turn white.  Michael Jackson claimed to have it, but we may know better.  As much as anything else, Zanzibar Snails are about reducing elements to their fundamentals.  Boundaries, barriers, matter itself is obliterated within their dark currents.  These five tracks offer the expected scrape and scrawl dementia designed to fuck with minds and obliterate egos, and they're pretty spooky at times.  In fact, the end results are some of the most cathartic raw noise excursions I've heard from the 'Snails to date, with Nevada Hill's electric violin screaming through dense electronics and stumbling percussion like a noise punk Tony Conrad.  Sarah Alexander's acid-opera vocals and effects really start to work their magic by the second and third tracks, as the ensemble alternates between cryptic Dadaist noise intervals and full on brain bleeding sonic mayhem.  It's awesome to finally get to hear Alexander on a 'Snails release as she brings an entirely new dimensions to the proceedings.  The closer is all about the subdued come down and a worthy conclusion to what amounts to a truly harrowing journey.  Vitiligo works remarkably well and simultaneously honors the uncompromising quality of past Zanzibar Snails recordings.  Awesome packaging once again from Hill.  Thumbs way up, peoples.