Tuesday, December 10, 2013


Hand Grenade Job
s/t tape
summer 2012

Year+ late & a cliche short, but it bees that way sometimes. "Featuring ex-members of Turboslut (best sludge band of their generation?) and Problems," ain't really gonna prep you proper for what this tape contains. Lifestyles & addresses change & art is a lonely hunter, nahmean? Gotta find a place for it to curl up, otherwise you might. Part of why I've been holding back on spittin verbiage bout this here is because I love it so much. Tryin to vacuum seal & compress it down into something I can plate up all pretty and concise for y'all sometimes sucks the fun outta the listening experience. I wanna do right by it. The music writing community crutches HARD on the sad tradition of comparing bands with women to other bands with women, whether they's relevant references or not. You can count down from the lead how long it'll take til you read "The Raincoats" or "Kleenex/Liliput" or even "Inflatable Boy Clams." Which is to say, dudes thinkin' women making music always sounds like other women making music; as if their audience needs warning. I ain't about to shovel bullshit like that.
What we have here are 6 songs about loss, creepsters, losers, witchcraft and social problems. The sounds move in shivers, hums and throbs, the humor and politics perfectly wed. At times it's painfully sincere. I felt a tremendous relief, a ball of acid finally dissolving in my gut, when I hit play and realized something like this could exist. It ain't fireworks, nor screams and snarls. But it ain't safe neither. Round the time I got to "Personhood," a reworking of "Miss Mary Mack" that contains the lines
"Your sperm will not
Make a lovely person
And I will not
Shelter deadbeats in my womb"
then fades out in a hail of laughter into what sounds like the Video Poker help line hold music, I knew these folks had backtracked over the steps that lead them here like Danny in the hedge maze. To hell with whatever they did before. If there's a tradition this comes out of (Lou Harrison? Femirama? Shit, there I go...), please holla at me. I need more.

Comes with an elegantly letter-pressed J-card to charm you right outta your kicks.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

DARK SIGHED OF THE MOOB: The case for Floyd boots

Pink Floyd
Water's Gate (aka "The Man" In Paris¸Champs Elyses, Mothered Man, Work in Paris, ad infinitum)
bootleg LP

Years back I was tossed down the Pink Floyd 67-73-era bootleg cavern by a particular member of Wolf Eyes, as I'm sure many of you "innocent" (read: woefully naive) bystanders was, in his Listed article for the oft-respectable Dusted Magazine. In it, many a wacked out behemoth live set was touted, under one of the scores of names pasted on the endless n-th generations thereof, as a primo cabbage shredder. And lo, the man spoke the truth. As a teen finding my way through stacks and crates, my puzzler ached whenever some gray-hair told me the Syd era wasn't the only good bit; that I oughta pick up Atom Heart Mother or Meddle. With the notable exception of Ummagumma, they all seemed somehow more overwrought and pretentious than the King, Court and Aristocracy of Crimson combined. Apparently, something about the recording process cheeseclothed the jagged, sweaty, shrieking combustion engine they were as live act into so many paisley snuggle-ups and well-mannered whispermints. Double shame.

Lots of Floyd headcases call Water's Gate the worst recorded bootleg of the era, but don't listen to them. They eat their morning eggs off Dark Side picture discs still in the shrink. They're after clarity; minor alterations on a tenaciously gripped theme. Combine the forces of the Theatre Comedie des Champs-Elysses acoustics, 1970, the alledged first performance of Atom Heart Mother, a warbling tape and a French radio broadcast, and you get a ping-ponging, nauseating, smudge of a performance. Sometimes the waning frequency adds a much-needed whine here, and sometimes a French broadcaster prattles there. Cooing vocal sections sound more like cardboard sitars and heavily-treated percussion improvs manifest as train yard maintenance calamities. As a listening experience, it's at least as harrowing as (for contempo analogs) Blues Control's Puff, insofar as the blues sits awkwardly but amicably beside righteous blat-n-squirm. Now that I've made an already muddy pit all the more muddy, go dig for the cheapest Pink Floyd boot of the era. Oh wait. Give me a few weeks to secure another copy first. Thanks.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013


The Bibs
Waiting for Alex c18
All Gone 2013

This here is one tiny, crumbling brick of stanky cheese. Am I allowed to call it a cassingle? Am I beatin' the vogue to the pose by bringin that term up? Either way, there's just enough of a bite herein to give a gent the proper willies as to the potential of this Bibs outfit. America needed it's own Mad Nanna, and Car Commercials just ain't quite doin' the business of late, at least in my camp. But really what they're riding on is the dusty, nappy, folky fringes of the Acid Archives tattered rug; a kinda Carr & Kahl or Crandell & Bartels for early 21st century Detroit abandominiums. The four originals have all the stumbling, dorky squiggle of early GBV (I'm thinkin Same Place the Fly Got Smashed specifically, but maybe that's the boozer vibes this also happens to exude by the hectare) tempered with some properly alienating darkness. Was that an organ or a violin with chronic congestion? Alla that's peachy and perfectly welcome in my hovel, but givin the Red Crayola a run for whatever passes for currency in TX with a cover of "Transparent Radiation" that sounds like it was performed lying down in a pool of Everclear--THAT is pretty damned impressive. Not to mention a good and smart-mark way of distinguishing yourself in an age when cover selections sometimes seem like implied wilderness rather than actual wilderness.   As to what this outfit is like with a drummer, maybe you got one up on me? I'd surely like to know.

Still some left at All Gone for the lurkers.

Sunday, April 28, 2013


No Guru
There's No Guru LP
Hashram Concern 2013

What we got here is a wonderfully un-communal, barely ritualized, fun, wholly unpretentious, only-faintly-Krauty, collection of 2006 improvs from the Sky Needle/Mad Nanna extended Brisbane family. Why such a litany of un's and dashes? Cuz the cud what get's chewed herein smartly avoids the mushy chyme or well-trod bunny trails of a lotta this sort of noise. Basic bits shuffle in and out, riding a kind of mobile counterpoint, which surely is the bouncing baby of good listening and a healthy sense of humor. They snake thru the neighborhood, but're more content to either brood in novilunar shadows ("Happy Keys") or swan-dive into the shrubbery. And alla you ADHD sufferers can cool yer jets; this ain't just a pair of slowly unfolding sides. No Guru keep it lively and shifting. The best bits, like a lotta the greatness oozing out of the Brisbane margins these days, are both rooted and landless ("Ruptet"), cosmopolitan and insular ("Exploding Beef," "West Born Dadanelles"). Heck, the closest they get to identifiable is a track dedicated to Fela Kuti that sounds like that there Nonesuch Music from the Morning of the World LP covered by No Neck in their infancy or Circle circa Arkades (the Circle record we can all agree doesn't suck, I think). Which is to say, it's as much what it ain't as what it is that makes it what it is. Ya feel me?
Not to close on too sad a note but, it's a howlin' shame that a key member of this caravan is no more. Does that mean this, like the Hammering the Cramps stuff, is only a posthumous release? As Ol' Neil woulda said, long may it run.

Available thru Easter Bilby, Little Big Chief, and Goner, near as I can tell.

s/t 7" EP
R.I.P. Society 2013

I took a coma-length nap on this, so it may have passed many of y'all by. Shame, really, especially since I got zero excuses. Maybe I wernt in the mood to have a roilin' 15min good time! Housewives take a hoot of a ride thru all the fun spots of almost every punk scene worth a doot around the world and in half a dozen eras. Ya got the babble of 90s Japan, the bouncy squeal of 80s Sweden, some A-Frames (sans robot fixation, thankfully) and even the vomit and cocaine encrusted curbs of late-90s San Diego. The hand claps in "Special Power," cloaked in the smoke of a dark surf peel-out, got me up offa my pouffe every time. Otherwise, the shorter numbers (like, "Lick the Pip") hit me right in the deep pleasure lizard brain zone, but I'm an 8-day-a-week slut for economy. All 'round, though, I'm light on complaints. Which is to say, I'ma shut my yap, drop the needle, and smash another can against my dome.
Recorded with maximum hiss to properly swab out yer sound holes. Lookin' forward to mas!

Saturday, April 6, 2013


Hammering the Cramps
Ghosts b/w Black and Blue 7"
Wormwood Grasshopper 2013
ed of 150

This pair of live recordings from the mid-aughts, readied for the plastic treatment by Matt Earle ('s it me or is that feller capable of quantum superposition?), sees these Hobart outliers a bit further afield. On the A-cut, they shail about thru Wreck Small Speakers melodies, but the drums (as they do on the flip) make a man feel like he's bein' tipped back into a volcano; really a lovely keen to it. "Black and Blue" keys up the dire to eleven and snuffs itself sursaut--but it adds up, as the bass gets the spins, the vox are un-Englishable, and the drum set seems gassed from fendin' off alla dem dere demons. Though the rehearsal that makes up Hammering the Cramps' LP has a fair bit of brightness in its blare, this lil attachment seems to be choking on exhaust; a defiant wail hollered up at the all-consumin' darkness of obscurity. They weren't just some "local band" toiling in the winds; they were a tornado that spared town hall. Sure glad we've got the evidence to prove it!

Check this at Easter Bilby and Little Big Chief w/ the quickness. (I think Easter Bilby might still be holdin' some copies of their LP too!)

Thursday, January 31, 2013


Machines That Kill People LP reissue
Galactic Archives/Priority Male/SOTA Chicago

My sweat glands empty & my hands start to quake whenever some writer tells me I gotta forfeit all sense of music history just to enjoy a particular record. (Next thing you know, I'll have to surrender alla my worldies & torch my passport.) I ain't gonna do it, nor should you--but I do suggest you shut off the label maker and keep yer brain quiet if'n you spin this re-ish of ONO's impressive debut. It don't need yer help in bein' any more confounding a transmission from 1983 than it already is. Just let it bleed out into the room, cast numinous strobe shadows like it wanna, and plant your ass somewhere stable. Machines that Kill People ain't powerful because it self-consciously foxtrots in the DMZ of spiritual jazz, Cold Storage-menace & no-wave. (It's so easy to slip back into, innit? --Ed.) On the contrary, this don't strike me self-conscious at all; just the byproduct of articulate folks, dialed into inner spaces for which no area code was ever listed. It ain't about mischief, either, & whatever it was tryin' to decry don't seem to have much to do with music, per se: more like religious fanaticism, reckless foreign policy and the mislaid goals of the ever-dimming counterculture. It's an arousal, an incitement of sorts. When midway thru Side B a frat rock fuzz-stomper emerges outta the hollerin' clouds, I realized it wasn't meant to seem like a fireworks display but a German air show.  It was a reminder that what came before wasn't a rumble from the wreckage, but a lugubrious moan that it's on its way. Wild, handmade riflings from a barrel pointed out again, as ONO are back in service--bigger & younger than before, & with a new one on Moniker. Catch them live if you can; the footage of them on Youtube is entrancing. Maybe we'll see their 86 LP Ennui redid next-like...? Preese?

Get it direct from Priority Male Tapes, who are shapin' up right nicely.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013


Summer of Sprot 7"

Just when I figger I got both mitts 'round what's gwan in the Australian underground, turns out I'm just grippin' fistfuls of my own hair. I canna keep up! Round about the time this drops, this record'll probably cost twice the goin' rate (the exchange rate makes em about as pricey as a pack of Kools in Bagdad ta begin with). As always, if'n you cashy, make a move. Then again, we're talkin small press noisemaking, so the real committed (as in medicated) parties must each have 3 copies & a test pressing by now. But plow on I shall.

Speakin' on multiples, if ever I were to covet 5 or 6 of a 7", this'd be it. All the handmade sleeves, collaged from color newsprint clippings, are distinct & fulla the same smashed attitude as the music inside. To double-up the comfort rating, the A-side is suggested at 45 & the flip at 33.3--which always inspires me to be disobedient. But like the Corvair [up on cinder blocks in my front yard], this thing is unsafe at any speed.

Sprot, for y'all accountants of history, is Adam Park (Girls Girls Girls...?) & Matt Earle (he of every band on the continent). Over these two unnameable cuts, they make like an army of vacuums & suck the room into a pressure system so low it'd give a tornado a migraine. One of the best lessons anybody makin noise can take from the Dead C. is the importance of room tone, & this pair behave as though they'd carved those two magic words into their hearts with rusty Opinels. Maybe they got booked in the wake of an air show one lucky night, but I'd plunk down coin it's the wise editing of these rakish kids, runnin' back the reels of a swamp-ass evening & finding some good ol horrorshow.
Pressed nice & loud, but I bet you knew that. Dig at Wormwood Grasshopper or Little Big Chief. Wholesale from Easter Bilby.

Saturday, January 19, 2013


Buzz Martin
Where There Walks a Logger There Walks a Man
Ripcord Records 1968

Referred to in the liners as "the fellow with a pen in one hand and an ax in the other," (a description I wish somebody'd apply to me), Buzz Martin was born in a tent somewheres in Oregon (how many in your archives can claim that?) and overcame childhood blindness to become the Red Sovine of the timber industry. Actually, that's a libel on ol' Buzz, as he's less of a sap than Red and, near 's I can tell, the only times Red ever touched the handle of a semi's door were for sleeve covers; Buzz spoke[-sung] as an insider. I reckon this, his 5 other LPs and assorted Ripcord singles all feature session dudes, but on tour he enlisted his extended family for extry "aw shucks" points. Though a fistfulla cuts can be gripped here and there digitally and there's an AllMusic entry, I feel a twinge of guilt writin' bout the guy with anything other than the last nub of a grease pencil. But Imma do my part to make sure he ain't historically mislaid.

Where There Walks A Logger, Buzz's first, is top-to-bottom classics ("Used Log Truck," "Whistle Punk Pete," "Sick of Setting Chokers," and "Fire Danger," bein' the standouts), but the returns steadily diminish the deeper ya get into his body of work. ("Butterin' Up Biscuits" in particular always brings on the quease for me.) Though this'll induce plenty of smirks & chuckles, Buzz was quite skilled at parlaying sawdust-flecked anecdotes into broader themes. Right now, eBay is teeming with leeches, trying to get 40 bucks outta ya for much of Buzz's catalog, but in amongst them are perfectly serviceable copies for single digit ducats. Go forth and harvest, whistle punks, and leave Phantom 309 in the buck bin.