Friday, November 28, 2008

I've had some technical difficulties here at the Womb lately. Information has been lost, and along with it some of my fighting spirit, but I persist and that internal/eternal love light remains aglow. As a result, I'm going to offer abbreviated reviews of MANY THINGS in a series of posts over the next days, though I may expand a bit here and there.

This Is My Music: Vol 1 (Garage Days Revisited).

Bad Statistics Bad Town Gone (PseudoArcana) CD - An album to inflame passions and bruise brains. Ya either love or hate the Bad Statistics, maybe even at the same time. Hawkwind, Scorched Earth Policy, Reynols, Circle -- BS come from a long line of such rambunctious tail-chasing weirdos. The fuzz blowouts that comprise their second album, Bad Town Gone (the first was released by Belgium's Kraak label, and critically thrashed in the e-pages of Foxy Digitalis), are tribal and invigorating like a blood-soaked Pagan rite just after midnight, while still rocking in a semi-conventional but completely destroyed way. Also: There's a mush mouth singer named Thebis Mutante that sounds like he was left out in the sun a little too long. Lather on an overall grimy distorted murk that can best be described as avant-stupid, and you've got one of the neatest/weirdest things I've popped in the changer all year. Most norms will hate this. Guess that makes me "special." A sample from the Kraak album.

A.M. Rag Red Reverie (PseudoArcana) CD - Antony Milton's typically more sedated A.M. project gets injected with dancehall beats and boogie fuzz guitars on the extended noise trips of Red Rag Reverie, a freakout that you can drone out to on the horizontal plane just as easily as you can spaz out in the vertical. Fans of Vibracathedral Orchestra/Astral Social Club, minimal techno, Blue Cheer/Sonic Youth and the more serene past A.M. releases should gulp down this smokestack lightnin' with nary a grimace.

Sunken Eye Electric Organ, Brain Electric Nerve (PseudoArcana) CD - Long in the making, this first full length from the duo of Milton and Stefan Neville offers up grinding minimal trance-scapes via organs and more primitive means across epic excursions that suggest John Cale's early noise experiments and the great Tony Conrad gone garage, while the quieter bits are more akin to a kinder, gentler Main. Deeply rewarding stuff whichever path these lads choose. Consider me sunk.

Glory Fckn Sun
Vision Scorched (PseudoArcana) CD - Repackaging of the excellent debut by this levitated free noise trio should register with fans of Flies Inside the Sun, AMM, Sun Ra, luminescence, the pineal gland, infinity and all those flickering flames on the horizon. Vision Scorched is actually a continuation of Milton's duo recordings with Ben Spiers under the Seen Through moniker with the free percussion of Simon O'Rourke lending everything a decidedly off kilter arrhythmic flow. Glory Fckn Sun, don't go down on me!

The Free Players Snakes From Space (PseudoArcana) CD-R - Not sure how much Keijo has made it into these hallowed pages. There was a while there when so much of his product was flooding the shelves that I just started to let things go. Since then he's introduced the world to his free trio, the suitably christened Free Players, and amassed a musical catalog that's vast and uncompromising. If Jandek is the post-modern answer to woebegone blues, then Keijo is closer to the Finnish Sun Ra. His compositions seem to literally materialize from the aether; and the half hour "Snakes From Space" does just that as bouncing jaw's harp, percussive clatter and various string vibrations melt into one hypnotic rhythmic dream that truly earns those late period Sun Ra comparisons. To add: I once literally had a dream of snakes from space invading earth and basically taking over, but, despite a few fairly Lovecraftian aspects, it wasn't a nightmare. It was in fact one of the most profound dreams of my life, and this CD-R could very well be the soundtrack. Fuckin' a.

Michael Yonkers and the Blind Shake Carbohydrates Hydrocarbons (Farm-Girl) CD - Michael Yonkers is one of the more unlikely cult rock stories to emerge from the garage underground recently. His band signed to Sire Records in the late 60s, recorded a mind-blowing proto-punk psych assault entitled Microminiature Love which was deemed unreleasable and actually shelved(!), I guess, because it presaged everything from no wave to shoegaze, and young hippie ears just weren't ready for all that chaos. Thankfully Sub Pop and De Stijl Records rectified things a few years back by giving Microminiature Love a proper release on CD and LP respectively, and the rest is history still unfolding before our ears. Now comes the issue of the equally blistering noise assault, Carbohydrates Hydrocarbons, and once gain, Yonkers has assembled a first rate power trio to back him in The Blind Shake, and more importantly that same wiry Godz/Stooges fuzztone that made the first album so stunning remains intact. Yonkers' own madman vocals sound pristine, dulled none by age, and the songs are heavy as shit. I mean this rocks hard! It's not necessarily on par with the greatness of his early work, but I got to think no other old school rocker (aside from maybe Moe Tucker) still rocks with as much heaviosity. Truly a mind-ripper. And for an abrupt shift to the equally compelling psych folk side of Yonkers' singular abilities, look no further than his excellent Grimwood, recently reissued on CD by De Stijl. It's a real beauty in the post early Cohen vein.

Times New Viking Rip It Off (Matador) CD - Noisy Ohio darlings make the leap to the big time, get played on eMpTyV and still manage to drop another hum-dinger of a sing-songy brain-smasher with 15 blistering guitar/organ/drums fuzz nuggets cranked out in just under 30 mins of distorted hook-laden bliss. Boy and girl vocals, sometimes together, never boring. I have no doubt that this is the ugliest production to bear the Matador stamp in over decade, but the melodies are there screaming through the grime and demanding your attention. I pity anyone who thinks this is just a bunch of bumbling amateurish nonsense. Listen to the songs! To the point: If you love to get sloppier than hammered shit on your favorite cheap whiskey and dance like an epileptic at a Motorhead concert, Rip It Off is pretty far from a rip off.

Sic Alps
A Long Way Around to a Shortcut (Animal Disguise) / U.S. Ez (Siltbreeze) both CD - Two very fine platters dropped by this San Francisco duo this year. The first, Long Way Around To a Shortcut (clever title, that), is a compendium of singles and other comp cuts that's stuffed to the gills with some of the most purely satisfying psych pop anthems I've grooved to this year. Sic Alps has a gift for emphasizing the ramshackleness of its arrangements but never to the detriment of the songs. Whether blasting things apart and getting freeform, or patching together a series of haunted instrumental segues into drifting interludes, or recasting the glory of nuggets old into modern art slop masterworks, these dudes seem incapable of releasing shit. And based on this CD they're one hell of a singles band. On the long players the duo aims to make things a little less digestible and stranger. Their Siltbreeze debut may not be as consistently fun as A Long Way Around... It's less than half the length, but under the right circumstances and proper conditions U.S. Ez strikes a lazy balance between stoned psychedelic destruction and hummable in-the-red pop that comes off like a late night meeting between Madcap era Syd Barrett and Pussy Galore. The deconstructed bits, which on first listen, sound more like aimless freakouts reveal their charms and manage to squeeze a lot of transcendence into just a few minutes. Fans of vintage psych artisans such as Outrageous Cherry and Maher Shalal Hash Baz really should hunt both these beauties down. A rockin' live sample.

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Hey! I'm still alive! Courtesy of our friends at Foxy Digitalis (Absolutely LOVE that new La Otracina tape btw!), great article here with Campbell Kneale of the esteemed Birchville Cat Motel, which was recently put down like an old family pet in favor of newer realms of exploration via the designation Our Love Will Destroy The World. Especially interesting for his observations re the current state of the digital download underground and the problem of too much, too fast! More to come... I swear.