Wednesday, August 30, 2006
Not that I was there (much) 1st hand, but the Cleveland Scene of 85-86 was goin through a major transformation. Some peeps seem to think that the Electric Eels & Pagans was always around, ready to don superhero cape's & save the city from stagnation at any given time. Truth was, they was long gone & still some yrs away from canonization or reissues (& reunions). Pere Ubu weren't around no more neither, but let's face it, once they traded Tom Herman for Mayo Thompson, they'd gone from rooster to capon anyways. So in essence, it was left to the hoi polloi to keep the fires burnin. And fan the flames they did; the St Valentine's label/collective was started up which helped provide another round of (inter)national exposure for bands such as Death Of Samantha, Reactions, My Dad Is Dead, Offbeats, all of whom would soon jump to Homestead or Relativity to revel in more lucrative & complicated accounting. The hardcore blur of Starvation Army & The Dark was becomin burly 'n metallic (the Dark would morph into Knifedance who released an lp in '88) & there was plenty of action goin on otherwise w/labels like Herb Jackson & After Hours tossin up logs when they had the lumber. Eventually Scat would enter the fracas to become kingpin, turnin on the world to the cities 70's era prime movers & in all this you'd think there'd be no stone left unturned. I mean, even Psychobilly Cadillac put out a record! So how is it that it's taken 20 yrs for Numbskull's classic 'Final Days Of Torture' to finally become realized on vinyl?
The most likely answer would be they didn't give a shit to begin with. But that explanation's too boring & besides, you need money for these things (you had to pony up w/$$ at the SVR table) which equals less alchohol to some mathematicians, so let's just say their genius was too pure-grain for the distillation of vinyl & "the big time". Undeterred, 'Final Days' made the rounds as a super cult-item cassette (much like the Electric Eels material did before the Tinnitus lp in '89), one that those in the know nodded 'n winked about w/respectful elan. Formed as a trio of vocal/bass (aka "big guitar")/drums & existin in a condemned property between hardcore 'n crossover metal, Numbskull exfoliated a lo-fi sludge that smacked of Black Sabbath being channeled by Flipper (or in a parlance for the more "obscure" consumer scum out there,the 012 meets Men's Recovery Group). Sophisticated? They could dress themselves. Crazy? Like a fox! The lead bass throb of Dale is the Dukowski-as-Ginn wetdream that every BFlag fanboy has never known, drummer John Henry (also of Starvation Army) is right there too crashin away & the "vocal torture" 'n lyrics of Darryl are as brilliantly "dumb" 'n dope as any malcontent whoever claimed their last name ended w/Ramone. A 2nd cassette followed entitled 'Dale Is My Guru' but it was 'always a bridesmaid, never a bride' for Numbskull & at some point, they split up the hootch & went their separate ways.So imagine my surprise this past wkend when I took a break from the National Enuresis Convention in downtown Clevo to have a look around a neighborhood record shop & found 'Final Days Of Torture' on LP! Let's just say, I was lucky to have been wearin a diaper's all. Financed by local label My Mind's Eye Records (also a killer store, esp. for vinyl) & released in an edition of 300, here's your chance to own & pontificate on a missing piece of the Cleveland Rocks puzzle you (more than likely) didn't know existed. The mistake on the lake has finally been corrected.Contact'em at; firstname.lastname@example.org
& ask for Collinwood-001. Don't worry, they'll know exactly what your talkin about!
Sunday, August 27, 2006
It might dismay any scorekeepers or itinerant biographers out there in blogland to hear that I ain't one much for flea markets, thrift stores, etc. when it comes to lookin for 2nd hand records. Sure I've done it & have been rewarded for my time w/a smattering of MSR & oddball Xian psych finds, but on the whole I don't go lookin for luck. It just has a way of findin me. Take for instance the other day. I agreed to help my neighbor Sonny go & clean out his dead Pop-Pop's gas station. He was lookin to sell the property & it needed some spiffin up. There wasn't much valuable-save the Plymouth Fury out in the garage-mostly it was all rusted shit, old, oily rags 'n dead bird carcasses. We found a couple've vintage pinups but they was mulchin & smelled of mildew, so yeah, a whole lot of nothin. We tinkered around on the car & got it so's it was runnin, which was a victory of sorts (beat havin it towed). So once it was determined we could drive it away, we needed to fix the one flat & then it was good to go. Upon openin the trunk, behold, there was a crate of records, all of'em from the 60's/70's & in pristine condition. Sonny had a look through & as there weren't no Elvis or Sinatra's, declared it a bust. "You want'em, take'em. They're yours." I put'em off to the side, but then we couldn't find no jack, so we called it a day. Once home I started lookin through the box; Iron Butterfly, Pink Floyd, Zombies....not bad. Then all of a sudden, pow! I hit a motherlode w/Lillipop Shoppe, Wendy & Bonnie, Skip Spence, Damon, My Solid Ground + an lp I'd never heard of before by Lucifer called 'Big Gun'. Not that I knew what it was; a plain black cover, but inside there was a "poster" w/the band name, a few skuzzy photos + some cryptic jabber written about how they had a cave in Arizona they recorded in, brushes w/the police & how they wanted to make "evil music & sell it direct". I figured maybe I'd stumbled onto some Process Church album, you know, even if it sucked, it would still be a worthwhile curio. But I wanted to know more about it. So I called my buddy Oracle.
Danny Herman (aka Oracle) was a livin, breathin encyclopedia of all things stoner 'n stardust when it came to underground Rock. He'd been huntin (& findin) rare treasures at yard sales, Salvation Armies & sheriff's auctions for longer than I could recall. He hadda voice what sounded like a cross between Gabby Hayes 'n Walter Brennan but he weren't no piker, no sirree. I told him what I had. "You found that WHERE?!" he wheezed anxiously through the phone line. I could hear what sounded to be quiet sobs & maybe a pen scratchin on paper, like he was writin a note to himself or somethin ("must start looking in old gas stations' it likely read).Once he composed himself, Oracle told me one monster of a story about Lucifer. Allow me to paraphrase;
1st off, Lucifer wasn't a band at all, but the nom de plume & solo project of one Peter Walker, from the UK outfit Purple Gang (the band that did 'Granny Takes A Trip').Seems Walker was an ardent occult fan, hence the Lucifer moniker (he was also good bud's w/Syd Barrett for whatever that's worth) & made two lp's + three 7"ers as Lucifer that was funded & distributed by the legendary UK counter cultural magazine, OZ. The OZ story in itself is interestin too, sort of a cross between Rolling Stone & Aspen, but that' all's I'm sayin about it. Look it up! If you've ever come across that Lennon/Ono 45 on Apple goin as the Elastic Oz Band called 'God Save Oz' & didn't know what it was all about, well, mystery solved. Anyway,so these Lucifer records was ONLY available via OZ, which meant you had to know about'em or write to get'em as there was no real distribution, hence they'd become rare as hen's teeth. So what does it sound like? "Man, that 'Big Gun' lp is full tilt, bad hippie, black-acid boogaloo!" screamed Oracle. 'You know them Maitreya Kali lp's that everyone think's are so witchy? Lucifer could scratch that fucker's eyes right out. Hell, Kali wasn't nothin but a Peter, Paul & Mary kissass anyways till he took a hit of acid. What are you doin talkin to me? Listen to 'Big Gun'! It's killer!"
So I got off the phone & put on the record. Fuckin Oracle is right on the money too. A killer record. It crosses swords 'n burns barns right up there w/the likes of Godz, Deviants, Twink, Steve Took & early Edgar Broughton. Massively fringed & baked to the max, Lucifer's 'Big Gun' deserves all the blue ribbon hype it's been bestowed. While it's not likely you'll ever come across a real one, the good news is that it's been reissued on cd/lp & is available via; http://www.forcedexposure.com/
which is where I'm goin to score a copy as I'm tradin the original I found to Oracle for a pool table.
Eight ball anyone? Beep, beep!
Thursday, August 24, 2006
I'll say this about Philadelphia, it's one helluva walkin around kinda town. Walk, walk, walk, you could just about walk from one end to the other & not break a sweat. And for a city that's supposed to be big, it sure seems quaint. Not to disparage or nothin, I like that. What I mean is, things can happen right in your own back yard, so there ain't no need to be drivin a car or even ridin a subway train. Just walk! Like the other night; I was finishin off the last of MG's homemade egg salad taco's when I heard what sounded like a ruptured car alarm goin off. But it weren't a standard alarm sound. Repetitive, yeah, but also muffled & a bit too metallic. So I went out to have a look. I followed the wretched croak down about a block & don't you know I stumbled right into a noise show? Some band called Pabst Blew Ribbentrop (they had a banner up behind'em) was goin at it in this room (actually a screened in porch) & the fur sure was flyin. They had their synths, boxes, pedals, one of the guys was chewin on a chord, everybody was pumpin their fists, waggin their heads, the whole bit. Dudes was doin apewalks, chuggin cans of beer then smashin'em into each others foreheads. The band & audience was makin monkey faces & shootin finger guns at each other, a regular OK Corral in action. I seen a guy tear a little Sonic Youth poster off the wall, wad it up & eat it, then get put in a headlock while about 5 other oafs piled on givin him noogies 'n spillin suds all over place. Then outta the corner of my eye, I spied this girl what was takin in the whole spectacle, lookin right at'em & rollin her eyes. A sympatico! I ambled over & tried to talk but the level of static was deafening. So we went outside where it was a bit more tolerable for speakin. We exchanged the usual pleasantries; she told me her name was Dimes & that her boyfriend was the "singer" wearin the black Whitehouse t-shirt who called himself, appropriately, Piehole. She said they'd just moved in & that this was an open house for whoever wanted to drop by & thanked me for comin (nice people in this city too, just adorable!). So I got to askin about the band 'n whatnot & she went to makin a cigarette,laughin the whole time. Said the name of the band was a pun; they was into beer for real, but the gay Nazi thing (?) was strictly ironical. A play on words if you will. She didn't know for sure about Ribbentrop, but most Nazi's was gay, so fuck it. I hear ya Dimes! Told me up to a few months back, they was a Metal band callin themselves Prison Mouth but she'd put the kybosh to that. "I told'em noise was the way to go. Before they didn't know the difference between Masonna or Madonna. I sent them up to the No Fun Fest to see that shit then they came back & all they wanna do is suck Wolf Eyes dick's. Did I buy a cat in a bag or what?" I didn't know if this was a rhetorical question, so I just nodded my head yes. She was on a roll. "Look at that fuckin room. It's like 9 miles of cock in there. It's like a lame fratboy party. Fuckin dorks gone wild. Yeah it's loud & punishing, but it's got no spark. How about some equal fuckin time? These asswipe's need some Donna Parker to tear this shit up, that's what I'm sayin"! Now I was like a deer caught in the headlights. I was starin right at her but I had no idea what she was talkin about. Wha? Huh? Donna who? "Donna Parker, dumbass.You never heard her? Dude, you better get with it. Her noise is the fuckin bomb! Did ya ever see that movie, Rabid? It's kind of like that. Know how the Marilyn Chambers character seems shy & all, then that fuckin cock thing shoots out've her armpit & sucks the blood outta those dipshits & turns them into vampires or whatever? Dude, that's what Donna Parker's jams are like. Totally sick! Get her album. It's rad!" With that, Dimes stubbed out her cigarette, asked if I had an extra beer (I didn't) & went back in the house. Hell, it was a nice night 'n my feet was feelin perky, so I decided to hike on down the Record Exchange & see if that Donna Parker lp was in the house. Worst case scenario would be it ain't, but I'll still manage a belly laugh at all them Sleep Chamber albums they got that don't never sell. I do believe you could not give them things away!
But there it was, entitled 'Debutante' & released on the Twisted Village label. How about that? I reckon buyin them Xenakis lp's from all over God's creation finally paid off. Dimes was right; it might look demure, but once them contents is opened up, it's like a tenderizer poundin out yr cerebral cortex into a carpaccio. There's lot's of oscillating blips, tantalizing skree, doses of feedback & delay, all of it breathlessly navigated through the corridor between psychedelic & psychotic, as if Brian Aldiss' 'Barefoot In The Head' had become someone's reality. And while a lot of her contempo's smack of dopey pretense &/or clueless rage, Donna Parker's jams (thank you Dimes) are devoid of such trappings, instead they are as intuitive as a divining rod dowsing through the dude littered desert of noise. I trust she will never parch from thirst. Her scrambled drones are flaming telepaths of heavenly manna & boy do they burn! And dig those bewitchin hand colored jackets too. I tell ya, this record just don't never stop givin! Check her out at; www.myspace.com/msdonnaparker
LP is available via; http://www.twistedvillage.com/
Monday, August 21, 2006
Back in my junior high school days we had this teacher, Mr Snifert, whose whole job seemed to be presidin only over study hall's. I don't think I ever took a proper course from the man. When I say proper, I mean...well you probably know what I mean. He did some teachin though, albiet, non curriculum. Second period 8th grade yr was spent under his watch in the music room as it was the only one vacant at the time (the building was in the midst of renovations ). Anyhow, Sniffy (as we called him) fancied himself as somewhat of an avant gardist & hepcat. Some study hall's he'd pass out copies of National Lampoon, Crawdaddy or Creem magazines for kids to check out, other's he'd read aloud from the collected works of Carlos Castaneda, this here one I was in, he played music. And I don't mean records or tapes, I mean he played music,as in live performance (he brought stuff in too, but I'm gettin ahead). I don't think Sniffy was a musician in the trained sense of the word, watchin & listenin to what he was doin it seemed made up on the spot, i-m-p-r-o-v-i-s-e-d you might say. Somebody'd donated an EML 101 synthesizer to the school the yr before & most the time it sat over on it's side, completely ignored. Once Mr. Snifert found that thing, it was off to the races! He'd bring in records by Morton Subotnick, LaMonte Young, Terry Riley, various soundtracks, anything that had synthesizer's, loops're whatever that he could play for us & then expound via himself w/that EML. It was somethin to behold. Raw, monolithic, repetitive, he had a style I reckon, but it seemed very ham-fisted & oafish. One day Benny McCarthy brought in a copy of 'Metal Machine Music' to see if he'd play along to that. We thought for sure he'd be keen, instead, he got real mad, turned over a desk, called us all "ignorant infidels"! then ran 'n locked himself in one of the studio's & cried like a baby.That was the end of Sniffy's Music Appreciation Society.A few yrs ago I was in an airport & chanced a meetin w/his eldest son Dennis. We jawed a bit & he informed me his dad had died some yrs back & as they was goin through the estate, came across a box of reel to reel tapes, all datin back to that term of that year he spent tryin to hip us w/that EML. Now Dennis Snifert ain't no slouch when it comes to callin a spade a spade so I asked him if he'd listened to'em. "Yeah" he said, pausing, "I've given them a good once over". Well, I asked, was they any count? He sort've shot me a look, laughed 'n said, "Roland, does the term 'no lift' mean anything to you"? Then he excused himself, shook my hand & headed off towards his gate. Thinkin about that meetin later I got to wonderin about them tapes. Was Mr. Snifert some sort've primitive, electronic's genius? Was ol' Dennis sittin on a avant garde goldmine w/o even knowin it? Once I sobered up I reasoned there was probably a good reason why Sniffy'd kept them things secret. Maybe they was just exercises or some kind've catharsis, you know, for his ears only. Could be what I'd hear wouldn't be at all what he was tryin to lay down, so I let it go. There simply ain't enough hours in the day.
But I got to stewin about all that again as this lp I bought called Selectie 01 by a fella named Edmond De Deyster reminded me of what I envisioned Sniffy's stuff'd be akin to. Stark, lonely, antiseptic in a way, it just sounds like boorish knob twittling, a pre computer age game of Pong but w/more tone & resonance (it's still Pong though). I dunno, to some, the fact that it's culled from 1975 & has never before been released ( I guess the guy kept'em a secret & passed away in 1999) might be enough to warrant extreme hyperbole followed by a flurry of cash ' credit card activity, but I'm not fond of banana boats, thank you very much. Wanna know what a night on Davis Island sounds like w/tugs 'n barges snortin up & down the Ohio River? It's here. It would've made a helluva soundtrack for a sci-fi movie starring Gil Gerard or Klaus Kinski back in the day too.Or a long scene in the Six Million Dollar Man where some villian give's Steve a knockout drug & everything gets.....real.....slow.Yeah, sorry, I ain't bitin. This is extremely marginal to my ears & I'm bein kind. Did ya ever stop & think maybe Mr. De Deyster didn't want his recording's released? I will give whoever props on the cover, very nice, very....Corwoodesque. It also kinda reminds me of the back of S.Y.P.H.'s 'Harbeitslose' lp. You know, the one w/the blurred photograph of those snub-nosed beer bottles? But hey, it ain't Jandek & it ain't S.Y.P.H., I feel bad the guy's dead-regardless of the circumstances-but he ain't the one trying to get ya to shell out 25$ for a couple of neat family snapshots & a LIMITED EDITION lp of some mundane languidity. In fact, come to think of it, if it was up to Edmond De Deyster, we wouldn't even be havin this conversation right now! Now ain't that a kick in the ass? No lift.....I hear ya Dennis! Advance if you must, go to http://www.ultraeczema.com/
& find out more.
Sunday, August 20, 2006
It never rains when it pours. Ain't that the old saying? First I win 40$ on the lottery, then down the Acme they give me a dozen eggs for free 'cause they wouldn't go through the scanner & once home I get a phone call from my old Choate amigo, Taters Gwinnett ( a direct descendant of Declaration Of Independence signer, Button Gwinnett). Man.....me & Taters, you should have seen us! We sure raised some hell back in our prep school days. It's a wonder we's still around to laugh about it. I won't presume to bore you w/details, after all, it weren't just a catchin up call anyways. Taters had been keepin track of the Blog & got himself involved at some place that works for Peter Buffett-of the philanthropic Buffett family- & he was tellin me that they was lookin to unload some moola towards music 'n writin arts & that he felt Siltblog might be in the runnin if I did somethin "in depth". "You can keep it obscure" he advised me, "just be sure to follow through. We don't need to read about Steely Dan or any such nonsense." That Taters! A card to the end. So we brainstormed for a couple minutes till I said somethin about the Departmentstore Santas. I explained that the Santas lp has become maligned as the "go to" lp some scribes scratch about when they can't accurately describe disparate releases, whether they's any count or not (mostly not). Then there's 3 other lp's from 3 different bands, all've which featured (presumably) head honcho Joseph D'Angelo that're worth mentionin, if for no other reason than as a caveat. I'd write it as a four parter, starting w/the Santa's lp then go on about Guy Goode & The Decentones, Friends Of Ghost & Family Pet. Taters seems to think it might be the kind've topic that could coax a pen into signin a check. "Woodbe", he said, "I knew I could count on you. Do it! In the immortal words of Bart Giamatti to Pete Rose, 'take us back to the beginning'. Let's see what you've got." And w/that he hung up. No goodbye, no nothin. But then he never was one for mushy sentiment.
My experience w/Departmentstore Santas lp goes back to the mid 80's when I was workin out near Chico, CA on a farm, shakin walnut's & date's outta trees. Ever now & then I'd get into town to have a look around Melody Records & one particular day I came across this unique lookin album w/a full bleed, full color cover of a street fair or boardwalk scene. Up in the corner was a rectangle w/'Top T Shelf' written inside. On the outside plastic was a red sticker what read "Departmentstore Santas lp. Includes 'Kaleidoscope." The back cover was equally bewilderin; another full color bleed w/two losers at the horse track that read "we have lost something special".I didn't have any idea what I was holdin, but my gut told me not to put it down, so I bought it. Once back in my quarters, I proceeded to give it a few spins & admire the dazzling artwork 'n packaging. Besides the stunning cover, the inner sleeve was a printed diecut on both sides, givin all the pertinent info + the label was a 4 color job as well! Somebody had spared no expense on just makin the packagin for this thing. I got a gander at the spine & read the lp's title for the 1st time; "At The Medieval Castle Nineteen 100-Year Lifetimes Since." I took a long pull on a cold Anchor Steam, sat back & let myself be absorbed. The music certainly was strange, at least considerin the time frame. Most peoples around me was into Husker Du, Minutemen or Replacements. There was the Paisley Pop & it's aftermath stirrin. And the Sonic Youth, Swans, Big Black thing had legs too, but these Santas fella's were about as far away from all've that as anyone could possibly be. I was intrigued. They seemed completely contained in their own vacuum, a playful mix of quirky, exotic pop, a smattering of introspective psychedelia & a nod toward hippie folk, it's a record that get's around via it's own gravity for sure. Back then all's I could think of what it sounded like was an imaginary "lost" lp from the Straight catalog that could've existed between Alice Cooper's 'Pretties For You' & Judy Henske/Jerry Yester's 'Farewell Aldebaran'. Nowadays-what w/all the various reissues of lost "classics"-it's easy to draw a direct line of Cali weirdness (plus/minus affectations 'n idiosyncrasies) from West Coast Pop Art Experimental Band, to Bobby Brown, to ________, to Departmentstore Santa's whether it exists or not. I remember goin back to Melody a few days afterwards to see if I could get a few copies to take back East & the clerk told me there weren't no more distribution for it. Seems the place they'd come from in SF had gone belly up & he had no way to track it down. Despite all the personnel, titles & whatnot that was listed on the inner sleeve, there was no address to be found.It was to become, for all intents, a real "lost" album. A few yrs after this lp's discovery by the cognoscenti, a buddy of mine became obsessed w/trackin one down, investigatin all possible angles as to how to smoke it out. He surmised that the label # (Top In Shelf Records 92041) might in fact be a zipcode. He decided to call Information & those numbers did indeed match one in Cali. Then he was able to connect it-remarkably- to the name Joseph D'Angelo & got a phone number. It looked like he was onto something. The phone rang & in time, was answered. Yes, said the voice on the other end of the line, his name was Joseph D'Angelo. Next question: was he ever in a band called Departmentstore Santas? "What?!", was the bewildered reply, "what kind of a name is that? Where are you calling from? What's the weather like where your at"?, & on & on. Seems he was just an older gent & a victim of coincidence. The trail was cold again.
In the 20 yrs since I 1st heard this lp, it don't seem as strange as it once did. Maybe w/all that's come since that purports or is deigned weird 'n similar by others has helped erode some of it's oddball allure. Yet it remains a pillar of single minded vision & a true testimonial to getting-it-all-done in spite of costs incurred. You might say it is lavishly DIY.I firmly believe the reason it's never been bootlegged is because to do a run that would be identical to the original would cost a small fortune to reproduce. And while a cd version might suffice, well, something special would indeed be lost in the transfer. I'm not sayin it shouldn't happen, but that's up to the band or some feisty swampfox to see it through. Perhaps it's downloadable out there in the internet, who knows? Could be that there's a pile of'em sittin in a warehouse somewhere's, just waitin to be discovered & that this article could be the linchpin to settin'em free. You wish! I will raise my glass & toast to a remarkable record & group of individuals who are responsible for one of the true headscratchers to come down the pike. Hopefully some day more of you readin this will get a chance to know what I'm talkin about. Until then.....keep snoopin!
Next up is Guy Goode & His Decentone Orchestra 'There Are No Clean People' lp. The apple don't fall far from the tree. Yet.
Just got an email from Will Soderberg informin me he has a Departmentstore Santas & Joseph D'Angelo website for all to peruse. Go to; www.white-rose.net/dss/
Monday, August 14, 2006
I know I'm preachin to the choir when I say that there is singers, bands 'n records within the unhinged canon of Punk that's so sick & twisted in effort 'n production that they cannot be topped. You find'em on the Killed By Death, Bloodstains & Back To Front comps pretty easily & I bet there's fellers here in blogland readin this what's got a list of favorites. I can see it now (in no particular order); Freestone, Detention, Tampax, Mad Virgins, etc. And bein as how such a thing'd be totally subjective, it's possible that none of them bands'd make it on some goober's entry, which's okay, but if said thinkpad didn't offer up Bobby Soxx, it'd be hard to take seriously. Let's face it, the "Learn To Hate in the 80's' 7" sits at the contorted, unconditional apex of the genre. Nobody spit it out quite like that, the bile 'n menace couldn't have been more provocative or challenging. Never heard it? Your loss friend. The deceptively simple recipe is as follows; take a basic beat, pummel it, mix in a sparse, raw sound & glaze it w/a throatful of grackled rasp. Many have tried & the results have been estimable, at times notoriously so (Kilsug anyone?), but nobody on my watch has plunged to the depths of exuberant barbarism & gargled Hell like Bobby Soxx.
That is until Billy Bao showed up.
Unfamiliar? Well bud, hopefully not for long, cause Billy Bao has a 7" (& cd/ep) that's of today & it erupts like fissures of primordial ash 'n pumice from a toxic lava of Punk Brut that is most refreshing & revelatory. No stone is left unturned, ie., Billy Bao & his mission; formerly an unknown songwriter from Nigeria who emigrated to Bilbao, he discovered Punk Rock & has channeled it to "fight the system that fucks up everyday of our life". When he screams out "You can not dance like an spastic fuck"!, who are we to question? Teaming up w/"the most primitive drummer" & "noisiest guitarrist" in Bilbao, he formed the band under his own name & it is such a rare, goddamn thing of pure, discordant ecstasy that even ol' Doc Marten & Chuck Taylor are willing to hug it out for an erstwhile detente. And as I mentioned earlier, there's a 4 song cd that takes up-Stickmen With Rayguns like-where the 7" leaves off. If this is what a steady diet of Bacalo & Rioja gets you these days.....well, it beats the livin shit outta Texas Tommy's 'n Lone Star Beer. And only by a mile're two. He might not wallow in the same cesspool as Bobby Soxx, but Billy Bao has the shine & ain't that the why of it all in the end? Too bad there ain't any real distribution for his stuff or you'd know what your missin out on. Write to http://www.mattin.org/ & see if you agree.
Tuesday, August 08, 2006
The Corsican underground music scene......hello? Is anybody there? The ranks are not exactly swelling w/representation. Ain't it considered part've the French Riviera? I would imagine all kinds've sickening sights with yachts 'n speedboats, greasy mobster type's letchin on to emaciated heiresses, wearin damn near nothin at all & swillin champagne like it was an energy drink. Beaches full've depravity,sunburned skin, tiara's & captain's hat's, monocled fatsos, a cigarette danglin from every set of lips as far as the eye can see, all of'em naked're than jaybirds, as if Bosch & Passolini had collaborated on a vile construction of society moderne. The wretched class....if I had to live there & work for'em, I think I might have something to say that'd be more untoward in my spare time. So when I found out this band Ich Bin was indeed from Corsica, it was easy to understand where they was comin from w/their violent, jerky, electronic sputter.
But that is pure speculation on my part. I got no idea what goes on there. Historically the island has been inhabited & run by every imperialist civilization you can name: Greeks, Carthaginians, Romans, Moors, Vandals, blabblahblah, till eventually it was French. Or somethin to that effect. You might say Ich Bin's palate of noise is representative of their Corsican heritage in that way. Just take a gander at the cover of 'Obeis!'. It's a war boys! There's a whole brigade've influence on here that sounds like a set've stairs bein stormed in rapid ascent/descent by DAF, Metal Urbain, Mittagspause, Suicide, Ilitich, Cabaret Voltaire, Die Kosmonautentraum, late period SPK & the more confused moments in the Laibach catalog. Waves're rippled, electronics get smashed, you can dance, fight or cry, pump your fists or swivel your hips, it's all here. Supposedly these guys was doin this back in the 80's & 90's but nothin saw the light of day till this-most've it anyways--got released as a cdr in 2002 by some Belgian label. But Poutre Apparente has seen fit to give it a proper set've steppin out duds in the form of an LP-w/2 extra tracks-an damn if it ain't a humdinger. Flared bells 'n stunted cells, the dancefloor is wet w/both brandy 'n blood. Gettin it on ya is all part've the gas, so gas up!
(Obeis! is available via www.fusetronsound.com
or try www.vinyl-on-demand.com)
Thursday, August 03, 2006
While he's been at the helm of a home studio for 15 yrs or so, I only just recently heard-& fell under the spell- of Skidd Freeman. Maybe you know him, maybe you don't. Chances are, if you ain't a personal friend of the man or scourerin the record 'n second hand shops in East Lansing, MI, then this is a whole new ballgame. Seemingly a recluse-to me anyway, the few emails I sent weren't bounced back, they just wasn't acknowledged at all-Skidd Freeman's "discography" remains a mystery. I hear tell've cassette's, cdr's & whatnot, but never have they crossed my field of vision. He cut a couple've 7" 45's in the early 90's ('1969*'/'Poor Little Suzie' & 'Fell Through The Cracks'/'Gimme A Taste') that are flat out 2 of the most barkinest, howlin screamers to come outta that-or any other-decade. He packs all the raw crunch 'n spastic whoop as the savant avatars of the 1 man band genre-Hasil Adkins & Legendary Stardust Cowboy-while at the same time, heavily blurrin the lines between any of the obscure tree toppers you'd care to name on/in/between the Back From The Grave & Killed By Death comps.
So's I mentioned I'd picked up these 45's to Bryan Ramirez (formerly of Universal Indians, currently Ex-Cocaine, mainman at http://www.killertree.com/) & he tell's me he did an interview w/Skidd Freeman 5 years ago. And bein from them parts hisself, he knew all too well the self taught genius & distant nature of the man. Anyway, Bryan decided to mail him some basic questions back then & Skidd responded by answerin them on a cassette & sendin them back. Bryan transcibed'em verbatim & here it is. Now while it don't dot all the i' & cross all the t's of the man's life 'n work, it's still more than I knew before. You too! I wonder, with all them cherries & blueberries aboundin up there in Michigan, can he bake a pie? Much thanks to Bryan Ramirez & Brian Turner for makin this possible.
Skidd Freeman 7/23/01
How long have you been doing Skidd Freeman material?
A: I think about since ’88-’89 right about in there. I didn’t have much money back then so it took me a year or two to get the right equipment to record. That’s about the time I got the 4-track. I’ve been writing songs since I was probably about 12 or 14 years old.
Name the 3 most important events in music history:
A: I suppose in the rock music history, I would think it would be Elvis cuz he kinda showed what you could do blending a bunch of influences together and making something new out of it. Hendrix for what he did to the guitar and showing people what you can do with the guitar. And I think probably when home recording studio equipment became cheaper and accessible to people, I think that changed things a lot because people have been doing their home recordings and it showed that you didn’t need a bunch of money or even talent to try to make music.
How about a discography?
A: It’s hard for me to remember. I put out a bunch of tapes but I don’t think it was til about 1992 or ’94 when I put out a full length cassette called “More Songs”. Then I really hit my stride, I think that one was pretty good. Then after that I took a little bit of a break for a few years, then I think the next one was “Mid-Life Crisis” which I believe is just an EP and since then there’s been a “Monkey” EP and “Redemption” EP. And I have 2 vinyl 7 inches floating around somewhere and those are from the early ‘90’s. I haven’t done any vinyl since then. I’ve put out quite a few tapes. It’s hard to remember all of them but most of them were before I released “More Songs” weren’t that great anyway.
What musicians help shape your sound?
A: A lot of people. I learned guitar from listening to BB King. A lot of punk stuff like Stooges and Sex Pistols. Alice Cooper, a lot of Detroit stuff: Mitch Ryder. And then the newer stuff like Nine Inch Nails (?) and some of the industrial stuff. But everything influences you, I know that’s a quiche but it’s true.
We see Skidd Freeman tapes and records, why not Skidd Freeman live?
A: It really wasn’t planned that way but I thought of playing live but so far it hasn’t been that important to me. Maybe someday. When I think about putting a band together I start thinking; “Yeah, it’s a good idea.” I usually just end up writing more songs and doing some recording. I’ve been in bands before but it never really seemed very productive. I put a lot of time into practicing and things like that and it never really panned out too good. But maybe someday.
Give me some personal musical philosophy, anything at all:
A: Don’t worry about trends or what’s popular. Listen to everything, though. Steal what you can, little bits and pieces. Try to be honest, but keep your songs short, say what you gotta say and try to get out because when I first started recording my songs it used to go on for a long time, partly because I was just so excited to be recording that I would just keep jamming and playing and playing and I would have these 7 and 8 minute songs, it became a little self-indulgent. Be honest and keep it short.
You’re Michigan’s biggest mystery and I’m not sure if it’s stupid to ask why?
A: No, it’s not stupid to ask why. That wasn’t really planned at first either. I was kinda shy at first and I was playing in other bands but then I started recording my own stuff and the bands weren’t getting out of the garage or basement anyway. And then after a wile I started enjoying this kind of alter-ego, secret identity thing going on because I would play people music and not tell them it was me and for some reason I got a charge out of that. And because I haven’t played live, I haven’t seen the need for self-promotion and let everybody know who I am and what I look like. Besides I don’t think it really matters, it’s not relevant to the music. I don’t know, it kind of happened by accident and then I just kept running with it, I just kind of went out of my way after a while and stayed a mystery. For some reason, maybe it’s from reading comic books or something, I just thought it was funny being a big secret. I don’t know what I’ll do playing live, wear a mask or some Kiss make-up.
*(Not a Stooges cover if that's what you was wonderin)
Try writing Skidd Freeman at: Bad Productions, POB 4281, East Lansing, MI 48826
Tuesday, August 01, 2006
It Will Beggar A Doctor To Live Where Orchards Thrive.....Psychedelic Horseshit's 'Who Let The Dogs Out' 7" ep
In these troubled times of conflict & chaos alls I can do is sit & dreamily reminiscence back to a better era that in some ways was equally as confusin but more binary in the Us vs. Them scenario. What I'm tryin to say is......I miss the Cold War. The threat of a Russian invasion, nuclear bomb's, World War III, the apocalypse of modern society.....those were the days! Musically it seemed to be the muse for some great Punk & DIY songs/bands on both sides of the Atlantic, though I reckon the majority of best ones came outta the UK. And let's face it, Reagan was AWESOME for Hardcore, so if it's winnin your concerned about, we whipped everybody on that front. But no need to digress. I'm not sure what I'm tryin to convey w/this preamble except that all the great fuzzy, fall apart fumble that I am so smitten with bustled formidably back in the halcyon days of 77-81. After that it was a sputter here, a sputter there, & for the optimist's among us, this was good, for the realist's, discerning. The end of the 80's saw some new growth w/sapling's like 'Freed Man', 'DR 503', 'Royal Trux' & 'Slay Tracks' at the vanguard of a new battalion of lo-fi mongers who would define the upcoming decade & were arguably the last generation to have any 1st hand contact w/the pilgrims who'd planted their seeds. The 90's sure seemed longer than it was, especially by the end. Instead of fizzlin out like their forbearers, the bands known for them records pretty much made it through, albeit a lot more spiffier or square than as they'd begun. And while they trod the earth through them yrs, they sod it-knowingly're not-for another generation of seedlings to sprout up, only this time, they was kinda puny. Most've the roots got all tangled, they weren't capable of providin proper shade' re harvest, prone to rot early, you know, not very useful or as strong'n majestic as those what came before'em. But there's always a few that make it by & with any luck, may even thrive. If ya ask me, a small brush fire wouldn't be the worst thing to happen & I do my part whenever I can. But before another match get's lit, try & make sure you keep it out the way of this band Psychedelic Horseshit. Their debut 7" (on Columbus Discount Records) seems like it could be a hybrid of Versatile Newts, Treble Kicker era Pavement & Icky Boyfriends which is a way of sayin if you cut'em down, their rings mark practically 3 generations of Punk-gunk distemper. And the sleeve that houses it might be the best stapled package since TVP's '14th Floor' or the What Is Oil? 'Human Suffering' ep.Previous to this record they'd released (I think) 4 cdr's of same sort've chomp-nosh & I think they might have somethin a ranger'd wanna keep an eye on. So let'em grow I say! Flourish, feed the wind, bear your fruits. If they can sustain then it's only a matter of time before we sling a hammock through their branches & gourge till nod. Burpin never sounded so good.
Contact them at; www.columbusdiscountrecords.com