Apr 22, 2008

BE SURE TO WEAR FLOUR IN YOUR HAIR - Bored Fortress Round-Up (So Far)

The o'fishul Not Not Fun blinky place tells me the Bored Fortress Singles Extravaganza of 2008 (it's third year, I believe) is closed. However, that don't mean these tidy little slices of currency (for better or...ahem, worse) won't be hitting ebay the moment the last package is mailed. I signed up cuz I was cashy and a few of the bands excited me. & c'mon, who doesn't love a surprise in the mail--except for the flaming sack variety.

1. Magik Markers/Vampire Belt
I'm a MM hater so I'm going to skip talking about them altogether to keep everyone happy. Now, I'm not sure I love Vampire Belt's half, but it's a grower. They come at the rumbly noise world from a NYC loft-jazz angle and they've got a drummer who doesn't sound like he was on Load Records! They might even be listening to each other! Get these guys a slice of cake; they might make me hold onto a record with the Magik Markers on it.
(The cover sucks, though.)

2. Slither/Moore+Flaherty
Slither sounds like "The Education of Lars Jerry" if it had been released on one of them lost German tape labels. Seagull saxophones pulled apart like fresh bread and cast into the ocean. I'm lacking the proper touchstones to make it read like anything less that snooze metal, but I was impressed. I might even wanna hear more! Who knew a singles club could be a window onta new ground? Ha!
Thurston and Pauly do their best to sound like they can keep up with the kids, but c'mon. You don't want Moore crankin the out-jazz. I'm okay with Flaherty and if he's the only free jazz titan my home state has produced ('ceptin ma uncle, Joe Morris), well all the more power to him. The man can blow, if nothing else. If this'd been [Wayne] Rogers + Flaherty, I'd be sittin pretty. They coulda named it after Tolland County and we'd all have a good laugh. Instead it's called "Western Mass Hardcore Rules Ok" and I'm struggling to smirk.
Once again, only half good. And, again, the cover is dumpy.

3. Skullflower/Axolotl
The best thing about Skullflower is the transformation of time. Every album feels like a few stitches in a cosmic tapestry, compressing miles of strings into infinitely dense thread. It might be, paradoxically, the busiest drone you'll ever hear. This one is only the length of a single 7" side but feels like it could be hours. You want it to be hours long. It's no small feat to make 8 or 9 minutes feel like a beautiful eternity.
Now, I'll admit I know nothing of Axolotl, except that I see the name scattered everywhere and I get them confused with Avarus, for some reason. I like Avarus; it's the same every time, but it's a great formula and they know how to edit.
What distinguishes this from the Skullflower side, seeing as they're both preoccupied with sustained chords and chiseled feedback, and much like Avarus, is editing. This doesn't stretch time, so much as magnifies it. It takes a long-form, Birchville-style structure and cuts it down to a curt 5 or 6 minutes. Hey, if Mr. Kneale can pull it off...well, so can these cats. And if you dig 'em, go check 'em out in Baltimore on the 18th of May with Blues Control, Daniel Higgs, and Cluster and/or 6 days later with Skaters and some of my favorite Fins, Kemialliset Ystavat. No, I didn't book those; yes, I wish I had.
I'm okay with the cover, but the record inside is better.

4. Charalambides/Pocahaunted
Apparently Christina & Tom Carter dig those cute lil spinsters, because they've been working together everywhere. Oh well. It's not like a half-good seven-inch is any kinda surprise at this point.
First up is the Texas twosome. The tune and lyrics are simple, a strange mix of hypnotized and desperate--a Texas mark of quality, if ever there was one. In someone else's hands, this might be forgettable.
Charalambides have heart.
Pocahaunted have t-shirts with hearts on them. You can talk all you want about the Amon Duudling that goes on throughout side B, but I ain't buying. They're hucksters.
I like the sleeve, though. It would look good on a dinner plate.

Mint. This is suitably disastrous. Hopefully Ignatz will share their record with Shepherds so I can put the rest to bed.

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