Mar 28, 2012


Walking Slow 7”
Siltbreeze SB155
Another in the tornado of Bill Direen-related rereleases sucking sheep off pastures around the globe. What is it with this guy? I maintain that ½ of the sweat over Kiwi punk/post-punk comes from the subatomic crud woven into its fidelity and production—but I never meant it as a diss! It can be a righteous boon! This little frisbee positively glows with post-Stones (the NZ one) rock-kipple, the kinda music that remains after everybody else has squeezed all the obvious tricks outta the VU. All things being equal, that’s the last time you’ll read those initials here—but at least it’s a complement. (For full disclosure, this was a consolation prize for a long and confusing shipping mishap with Siltbreeze and, lemme say, ALL IS FORGIVEN.)

A Full Cosmic Sound
s/t cassette
Fabrica 2011
Ooookay, kids: there’s “static” like Luc Mariani (good), then there’s “static” like a drone (also good), then there’s “static” like the far end of the shortwave dial (has its moments), then there’s “static” like dull late-80s English heroin music (yeah). Plink and plod as you will, even bust out a 101 bassline and some scrap instruments, but it can’t all be spacey crud. C’mon. All your neighbors have bands that sound like this. At some point, somebody’s gotta do something. What do I look like, the DNT Records distro page?
Pretty sure Tedium House has this.

PULLIN OUT THE SLATS: The continuing archival spew

Kawaguchi Masami’s New Rock Syndicate
Cat VS Frog LP
Palindrome 2007
Masami’s continuing riff-saga here receives the live treatment. For he of Broom Dusters and LSD-March, Side A/Cat surprisingly keeps the lid on—though this is overall a nice, bright recording. Side B/Frog is where things start to properly unchain, with some sections sounding like a private press psych wallet-$layer fed through the last gasps of an ’88 Buick. But alas, and despite Masami's heartfelt vocals, the wind-up hardly ever ends in pitch. Can’t quite place it, but there’s a real lurgy feel ‘bout this affair that makes me pine for a hot water bottle and a copy of Bless the Weather. Yeesh! Still, I’m sure there are toads scattered about just waiting to carry this home in their craws. Lay on, I say! Just don’t expect your brains to slosh about like a fortnight’s chawanmushi by last runout. Nothing doing.

Figures of Light
Smash Hits LP
Norton 2008

Cripes, I feel like a skel just trying to write about this, let alone having just gripped it. If every time you dial up the latest proto-punk reissue, it comes with a free eye-roll, this is perhaps the missing piece you’re actually missing. But, really, this is almost proto-everything. You get flakes of Devo and the Urinals, but with that wide-open early-70s sense that this approach (read: beer, pot and volume with occasional police interludes) really coulda gone anywhere. It will also remind you how many more hearty suicide endorsement songs we need (“Why Not Knock Yourself Off?”)—and that’s from the 2007 session! “It’s Lame,” and “I Jes Wanna Go to Bed,” are all-time high school dropout bangers, full of chewed fingers and stomped bedrooms. This is also a wonderful chance to remember that Norton really does an A#1 job in the reissue department, despite their predilection for archival hot rod singles.
Note to self: File in Stooges sleeves, hand out at parties.

Mar 17, 2012


Robert Turman
Spectrum Spools reissue SP010

Well, ain’t the world fulla surprises? Having heard this reissue was out just before I cracked the piece on Dilloway’s new double-twelve, I figured anybody collaborating with him oughta be a sore for sighted ears. Ain’t no way! Once again, a lack of Internet research permits shock and amazement—though I do still get the feeling this is this the big ol’ thumb on his handful of releases. Who woulda suspected a kind of muted, Sunday afternoon gamelan stone-out? Flux straight-up trickles out the stereo and collects in resonant pools on the kitchen floor, sneaking out the back door and into the grass—meaning, there is something at once artificial about it, yet it modulates in an almost defective, loping way. There is evidence of tape fiddling and plenty of cue marks (which’ll surely drive Scott Foust up an elm  –Ed.) which dunks the whole affair in the deep end of homemade “ambience,” and all for the better. I never heard so many shades of gray at once!

I’ll leave the moment-by-moment Eno and Basinski comparisons to some other schmuck; ain’t no cut-n-paste half-steppin here. You know what, I’ll spare you the contemporary analogs, too. Just swear you’ll give this a peek. Deal?

Mar 15, 2012

MARCH IS FOR HATERS: Recent wins/losses

Harry "Suni" McGrath
Cornflower Suite
Adelphi 1969

Barely falling under the FYC flag, here, but that ain't stoppin me. McGrath is a lost Takoma-type weird folk picker, falling somewhere behind Sandy Bull and before Dave Evans in the obscuRolodex. This is the sole Suni I've heard, and it's a fine one. His style leans closer to an earlier bloke like Derroll Adams when he grabs the 12-string, but on the whole this is his thang--and boy do it run the snake-handlin' down. Why ain't this sweated like Basho?! You get a taste of the whole range of raga- and mid-eastern- spinoff players without a hint of wispy singing or ambiguously new-agey titles. Though, I'll throw in that McGrath seems just as nutty as the rest of them but in a less drunk way. And for that reason I restate the question: Why ain't this sweated like Basho?!
Grab this if you see it.

Patrick Lysaght
For the Birds
Frank Records 01

I'd wish ya good hunting on this but, the spoils ain't really worth the burrs ya'd probably pick up cutting through the underbrush. Lysaght is now a Googleable sculptor and, heck, probably was at the time, too, til he got up the notion to record flute improvs in the tropical bird house of a zoo. I will say, in a sympathetic attempt to tag this as a singularity in a good way, this record is a great example of how outlandish collector scum descriptions can often yield dull results. On top of being mixed by somebody who clearly didn't like Patty much, For the Birds is basically a beautiful field recording with a heckler on the sidelines. Thus, it also illustrates how dudes hunger for nature, then have no idea how to behave in the thick of it. Do with such math as you will.
Poor birds.

Lauri Paisley
Fire of Dreams
Methylunna Music 1987

Aw, man. Another rabbit hole. In the sparkly, fluffy, carpeted hallway between new age slush and vernacular creepster lurks Lauri Paisley and her band of Jersey snuffers (in loose-fitting silk shirts, no doubt). Like Matthew Young's Traveler's Advisory, Fire of Dreams veers so wildly from truly cranked & gone to the ravine of breezy queasy it becomes literally harrowing. I can never tell if the next movement or perverse keyboard effect is finna roast my lobes or make me flee the county--and I'm on my fifth listen. On top of it, Side A is practically an apology for Side B, which toys even more vigorously with soap opera interludes, largely leaving the NES menu screen errors behind. In fairness, it may just be a ride that gases early and is inherently unsustainable. But when it's on, it truly mystifies.
I seen-tell of a self-released tape from earlier in the Reagan-era, but ain't no tellin what horseyhockey lay-eth within. Here Be Dragon-shaped Crystals.

Mar 12, 2012


Aaron Dilloway
Modern Jester 2xLP
Hanson Records HN250

Taking a wheeze from plumbing the Aussie depths whats been seepin into the States United past few years to catch up with ol’ A. Dilloway. Modern Jester is catchin all kindsa hugs & cheers from strangers & cousins. So naturally I was curious as to the makings of this monster.

I was thrown a bit, for starters, since all but one track appear on an earlier Hanson tape of the same name. But what a track: a wild little carousel nightmare called “Eight Cut Scars (for Robert Turman)” and dedicated to a recent collaborator and early 80s tape strangler famous (…? –Ed.) for small media in large containers. While the whole show’s fulla fireworks, I wanted to light this one first since it seemed the most, uh, compressed and seething. It’s brilliant, really; a kind of David Borden counterpoint for the Prick Decay epoch. The arpeggio’d tape squealings modulated so furiously, I looked over to find the cat painting the bureau with puke. Yessir. It is a nigh-perfect embodiment of what I mean when I say FYC is all about “the dirt floor D&D basement of music.”
But before I make this seem like a top-heavy event, let me get to the other aforementioned crosettes. The gatefold gives away Mr. Tom Darksmith as a co-conspirator of sorts and that is a wise name to keep in mind; fans of Total Vacuum and last year’s Million Year Spree will find much plumage to admire in this decimated road carcass. “Body Chaos” peels the paint like little else and “Shatter All Organized Activities (Eat the Rich),” defends its turf with chiseled vocal fry and more of that ol time string hassle fed in bulk through a ferris wheel of tape derision. You make it onto his porch unscathed, he’s bound to give you a nip off the bottle; you’ve earned it, son.
T'would be easy to pitch Modern Jester as a breakout work for Dilloway and his convoy of lunatics, but...haven't we already said that a few times? I do, however, feel comfy sayin this is a fine, fine record, all its cowlicks in a row as though a tidal wave about to crash in on its own skull. Nice moves!


According to the extended Hanson family blog, the second pressing is on its way. Patience is a ver-chew.

Mar 7, 2012


Dan Melchior
Excerpts & Half-Speeds LP
Kye 016

Sorry for the delay, citizens: actually had this one in the can (no, not that can) for a few weeks now! The boss been gettin' me up at oh-dark-thirty the past few weeks, which sucks the breeze outta me long before the sun peaces out and, ya know, life really begins.

'S it me? Or is this place turning into the Dan Melchior fan club mud room? I sure does stomp and stutter a good bit about his recorded works, and I ain't about to stop now. So slip off yer Stacys and get comfy.
I read elsewhere that this here's supposed ta be Dan's "fan-shedder," kind of a DMZ dropped smack in the middle of his demographic. Trouble is, it seems perfectly sensible to me. Anybody with attention to pay must've noticed these homegrown "experimental" tendencies snaking through many of his records--including last years much-applauded Assemblage Blues! Why laurels for "tendencies" and none for full-bore? 
Surely there are some that got more than they bargained for with Excerpts, but I think all there is to like about Dan's modus is in full view here, if not better illuminated. There are drastic dynamic shifts, elegance and sentiment brushing up against a third-beer sense of humor, and a healthy enthusiasm for alternate recording techniques--not to mention the re-purposed dollar bin sleeve. The thing rightly reeks of continuity, but then I suppose we humans are built to detect such things. (We invented that shit, after all.)
So whether you want it to be Vibing Up the Senile Man, a sly nod to The Faust Tapes, imaginary outtakes from Like Flies on Sherbert, or exactly what it say it be (How novel! --Ed.), which is to say another good wrinkle, you oughta pony up and needle down.

Pardon me while I return to the sloth position.

Dan hisself has half a handful left and so do Kye.

Mar 4, 2012


The Wire's got The Invisible Jukebox, but here at Fort Rust in Atlanta, GA, we can see our stereo just fine. My buddy, henceforth identified as "D" (and not to be confused with D of C and D in Arthur magazine), decided to pull out assorted sundries and stuff from my stacks hoping to throw me off or something and we're calling it SWAMI RADIO.

Bob Dylan
Live at the Royal Albert Hall 1966

W: …hit it.
Whoa! Strange place to start.

D: I really didn’t mean to do this. I swear!

W: Whenever I doubt I’m growing old and corny, I check and see how many Dylan records I have and…yeah, gray hairs confirmed. I used to hate this guy.

D: How come?

W: A little of everything. I have a hard time relating to legends. And when the whole of Western culture seems to be lurching towards you with copies of Blonde on Blonde, you can’t help but…wanna put up your dukes. That being said, the “backing band” did it for me and made me realize I could like him and all his strange choices.

D: They do kinda slay all over the place.

W: It’s like they all decided ahead of time to play the delicate stuff crudely and the crude stuff delicately. Gotta respect that. And I actually like his voice. Some of the songs, especially the political folkie moments, still make me pukey. There’s this hardcore myth (with all kindsa sinister roots) that he did that style better than anybody. But, see, I got this Jim Page record—street folkie from Seattle back when—who does that schtick a good sight better.

D: Don’t know him. Hey, we’re getting off track here.

W: Sorry. I always go for the comfiest topics.

Nik Pascal Raicevic
Magnetic Web

W: Ok, now we’re talking. You picked one of the sleeper albums, too!

D: [long pause during “Edge of the Unknown”] I don’t get your taste sometimes.

W: [laughs] What’s not to dig about this?! This is what I meant by “I can’t relate to legends.” Here’s a guy with no discernable—meaning, I guess, marketable—skills, but he does have a shitload of rad equipment and time. And inspiration for weeks, if you ask me! It’s almost visionary in its defiant quasi-shittiness. He blunders in and out of every impulse, whether it leads somewhere great or not. And maybe that’s also what I like about it. There’s filtering to be done. After digging for a record you get to dig through a record.

D: [long pause] Yeah, I don’t know, though…

W: C’mon. If you made this, you’d be proud. And I’d be proud…and maybe a little concerned?

Walt Rockman

W: We’re stuck in some 70s synthesizer holding pattern here…

D: Any guesses?

W: Shit, it could be loads of stuff. [long pause] Wow, it’s even got the token Rockford Files car chase funk track. Why does every “library music” record have one of those?

D: You’re sidetracking again. Are you giving up?

W: [long sigh, rubbing eyes] I guess so, yeah. [the reveal] Aaahhh! I don’t know that I ever got all the way through this one. Put on Underwater Volume One! That one’s got a lot more weird zoning out—although it’s still more focused than Raicevic. Not that that’s hard…

Rockman has his moments. And then there’s Biology. Those Rockford cuts are just total poison to me. What the fuck is funk doing in a library anyway?

Maria Barton
Rainful Days
Korean CD reissue

W: This is great! Glad you’re digging in my UK folkie repository. Been trying to puff that up lately.

D: You’re right so far.

W: I feel like the earth opened into a massive, foaming sinkhole in about 1970 and sucked everything good into it until swollen and belching around 1984. And these ponderous little topaz skeletons of songs went in along with the rest.
[long pause]
I just got this, too. What’s her name? … Maria…Barton?

D: Yes! Thought you were a goner.

W: It makes a weird kind of sense that after years of being dead to the world, this LP winds up in the hands of a record slut in Korea who throws it on one crampy, foggy Sunday afternoon, it totally fills his drawers (in a gentle, strummy, folky way), and he immediately decides to rerelease it. The packaging is so respectful, so faithful to the original, it’s practically a religious document. I bet he took some weird Canterbury pilgrimage—no pun intended—to her old flat.

D: Why’s it gotta be a dude?

W: It don’t. My bad.

Loose Grip
Live Under Jackson’s House

W: Oh shit. It’s that Aussie hardcore band! What’re they called…? Loose—Loose Grip!

D: Right on. There’s some newish seven-inch out, so the Internet tells me.

W: I don’t remember how I found this and I could never find any info on it. This is everything I like about hardcore: you can detect little moments from a million styles and creeds packed into just a few seconds, but delivered so beautifully. Noisy, cruddy, but so bloody efficient at the same time. I always thought this kind of hardcore asked a really pertinent question: why DO songs have to be soooo long?

D: So is this a live thing? A bootleg?

W: No idea. I think its a few years old, but there’s songs on it that wound up on the seven-inch—which I really want to hear. I picture mountains of damp, mushy cigarette butts in the back of their tour van, sloshing back and forth like spilled Gatorade.

D: Ugh. Let’s call it on that note.

W: Same time next year, yeah?

D: You got it, Swami.