It's been a while & let me tell you's, I can't recall a time when the old maxim, 'better late than never' EVER had a more literal (& profound) resonance. See, I done went & got burnt out on all this underground rock nonsense. It all's got to soundin more or less the same. I wish I could say for the good, but to be honest, it was more for the worst. Writin (or criticizin) on a blog weren't gonna change anything, but that's hardly a news flash. I reckon I just figured my time & efforts would be better served doin another kind've work. An old Saigon buddy of mine, a Swiss fella by the name of Aldo Gygax told me about some opportunities w/him up to Chomolungma (or Mount Everest as it's known to westerners) & if that ain't gettin away from it all, I don't know what is! So off I went. Aldo got me set up in Jiri (my sincere thanks to my host's there, Dawa & Chopel) & once I got to the hang of things, I made the trek over to Lukla to begin my apprenticeship. Once that was learnt I was assigned to South Base Camp, ostensibly to work w/the Sherpa's settin to fixed ropes & whatnot for climbers to begin their ascent's to destiny. But I reckon Aldo had other ideas for me. Next thing I knowed, I was put in change of makeshift 'Tea House' & cookin food for the various trekkers what was passin through. It weren't what I was expectin (or hoped for), but you either learn how to hit the curveball or you go down swingin. And no one love's a curveball more than ol' Roland Woodbe. The Gygax plan was "Grande western gastro grub far east of the Pecos', an idea which made no sense given our scenario. But Aldo had went & done a thesis on James Cloyd Bowman after 'Nam so he was all the time goin on about Pecos Bill & Slue-Foot Sue, so it was thematic if nothing else (what's up w/the Swiss & old west folklore?). I figured it was also a by-product of his "crops"-this food servin bein a "front" if you will- what he growed in Katmandu, but that weren't a topic we's talked about, if you catch my drift. Whatever the basis, it turned out to be a most lucrative proposition. You ask anyone what's ate at the Lasso Lounge (nothin more than some canvas, wood & tin but it's design woulda given Frank Gehry a boner) up the Southeast Ridge just this side've the Western Cwm & I bet you's they's will talk a blue streak about the Bronco burgers (ground yak meat) seared in gee (not to mention the Tornader Tots, Tibetan tubers bein about the best on this planet!). I had this one Sherpa guy by the name of Katu what was just about the fastest line cook I's ever seen. He really did get the hang of things pdq. The bread up there ain't much to speak of (it's fried rather than baked), so we didn't have a sandwich as you'd get 'round these parts. But you put a fried egg on one of them dudes & you could just about write yourself a ticket to anywhere in this universe! Talk about a hit, hell, them French & Japanese (especially) would be mountaineers just about shit themselves when they got a taste of what we's turned out. Not that I was countin, but I reckon the Lasso was probably most liable for more climbers comin up, piggin out, then gettin off than any from frostbite or lack of oxygen. Shit, I'd like to think we was savin lives in a few instances! You should see some of these goobs what think's they's is gonna be the next Edmund Hillary. I've seen more qualified lookin pindicks on the Epic Theatre Blog. All's I can say about it is this; if a burger & fries (at 17,000+ ft) is enough to entice a peckerwood outta climin the world's highest mountain (this is w/the 25K done spent on a permit too), well.....can I cook or can I cook?
But that life got tiresome, so dull in fact that when I got a cdr from Mr. Siltbreeze w/tracks've some of the new stuff that had been floodin in for my perusal, it got my radar piqued. I'd seen my share of frozen toes & blackened noses.And the level of entitlement these hikers permeate, even the most wizened servers & bartenders would howl w/derision (sauce on the side is the least of it up there, pal). I said goodbye to my staff (I esp. miss Mida, what a pistol she was!), hiked back down to Lukla for the rest of my belongings & began my epic journey back to the Fishtown of Philadelphia. And here I am, behind this keyboard one more time. It's funny what you miss, especially what don't come to the forefront of your mind. And I don't mean that new Psychedelic Horseshit 12"either, though it is sweet. I just ate me a pint of fresh picked strawberries & all the overpriced/hyped Mexican Summer records out there COMBINED couldn't compare to something as simple & delicious. What with this music & food comparison's, I think I'm finally startin to acclimate myself back into the tenure of Siltblog. Am I stoked? Probably not as much as you are Hoss, but then I'd be lyin if I said I don't appreciate bein appreciated. So w/that in mind, let's see if I can sniff some truffles outta this mess.
I did enjoy the Mantles debut 7" ep what was released a yr or so back, a demure yet solid grower spiked w/pop-psych moves that seemed germinated as much from early Chills as it did Kendra era Dream Syndicate. This new one on the Mt. St. Mtn. label keeps that notion locked 'n loaded, however on these 2 fantastic cuts there's a breezy 'n original confidence that is undeniable, which is to say these guys (& gal) are as much a contemporary distillation of the sassiest moments found on the Velvet's 3rd lp as them aformentioned influences was in their nascent endeavors. At the risk of soundin maudlin, there ain't many little records comin out these days I care to give more than a cursory listen to, but this one I keep playin over & over. To my ears it's about as close to perfect as you can get. 300 was pressed, check it out via email@example.com & dig the band at www.myspace.com/mantles
Another burst of 45 rpm brilliance is this mindblowgly great 1 sided gem (via Columbus Discout Records) from the lost archives of Jim Shepard entitled 'The Voices Of Men'. With assistance from Roxanne Newman & Nudge Squidfish I'm thinkin this might've been a V-3 outtake cut around the same time as them tracks on the 'Earth Muffin' ep. It's got Jim's tenorous gallows wit 'n lyrics splached onto some highly diggable Eno-esque musical twitter, imagine a pre-apocalyptic interpretation of 'The Third Wheel' & just in case you ain't sold, there's some Rev. Jim Jones heralding tacked onto the end for further dark,comic effect. Jeez....I tell ya, there ain't a day goes by I don't miss that fucker. But I ain't gonna eulogize, hat's off to the CDR crew for findin this beaut & pressin it up. What's more, it's free. Shepard would've loved that! (NOTE-This record is no longer available).
Matt Korvette ain't afraid to chort about his enthusiasm for the contempo dark/cold/goth/techno aktion what's ragin across Europe. In fact, he's put his money where his mouth is & released 'Right Thant', a willfully under-the-radar 7" of electro/industrial-ized wave that would seem to be an estimable calling card into the plethora of club thumping genre benders.And as the groups therein seem fueled by limited edition releases (& 7"ers in particular) then Herr Korvette's entry fit's like 3 shots've Jager into a highly combustible shaker've German Leg Spreader. For some reason I feel encouraged to mention Haus Arafna & their doppeganger November Novelet, but then I'm liable to get light-headed alot sooner now than in the day's of yore. Maybe yr pipe is filled w/stronger smoke. I was told this was ONLY available for the asking (ie, no distro), so if curious, you could do worse than chime up here; firstname.lastname@example.org
Comin outta nowhere is this shimmering nova of blissful folk-psych from the leading voice of the Newe Detroite (?), Aran Ruth. I gotta admit, she cut me off at the knees, what I know about her (& this Newe scene) wouldn't fill the paper on a hit've blotter, but wow, I sure am willing to change all that right here 'n now! Ruth ably summons a voice & ethereal aura not unlike Linda Perhacs & while it may not play as vocally zonked as the tastier cuts on 'Parallelograms', the 3 tracks on this 7" ep are still pretty tranfixing stuff. Even a tune as seemingly 'straight up' as 'Cast Your Ship Upon Rain' is so coddlingly lysergic it feels like 4am no matter what time've day it's played. And the flip delivers the goods as well, this time dressed in wisps, hums & echoes of practically kosmische design. Comes in a lovingly handmade jacket, penned w/all the baffling geometric artful whatsis once attributed to the El Saturn style. What a treat. Try www.myspace.com/aranruthsmusicpage for more info.
Someone told me I'd like this Pheromoans record on account of how much they's resembled The Fall. Seein as how this person was someone what knowed me, I assumed they meant that once great band durin their formative yrs on Step Forward. But whatever, I don't hear it, nor did it strike me that these guys shared anything w/The Fall outside of a shambling nature. The one track, 'The Man Who Wolf Whistled' has a kind've NWRA drum patter but I couldn't follow the gist of the muttered narration-which resembled a halfhearted Shadow Ring at best-so I zoned out & dreamt instead of cold kidney pie & warm imperial ale. The flipside started out nicely, 'Revamper' bein a splendid discharge of DIY gurp ala Different I's, you know, goin nowhere fast & lovin every step. 'Penis Envy 96' breaks off from there but only runs headlong into a thicket of Country Teasers like bramble. I dunno, can't says it's neither to condemn nor condone. They's certainly got the right foundation to be a contender & Matt Z from Tyvek says they's a good band live. And who am I to argue w/the inventor of Ass Rocks? Stateside find this at; http://www.s-srecords.com/ & for further info; www.myspace.com/pheromoans