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.