Saturday, December 01, 2007

Metrocide/Pedestrian Deposit split CDR
This is Hell radio show on WNUR
Endless - Stacked Decks CDR
Pandit Pran Nath - India's Master Vocalist mp3s
Grateful Dead - 3/23/75 Kezar Stadium

Had to drive in the car for the first time in weeks and quickly grabbed a couple discs from the 23 Productions label of Madison, Wisconsin. These had recently been unearthed after sitting at the bottom of a 'to be reviewed' mail bin for probably four years. As far as new noise/experimental/underground/drone/psych labels that over-record and over-release floods of short-run product go, 23 has put out a decent share of gems, most notably a good four or five excellent spaced-commune jam discs from the band Davenport aka The Davenport Family, circa 2002 or 2003. Metrocide I think came just before that, the harsh noise project of Davenport/23 ringleader Clay Ruby, but I don't know if harsh noise was really his thing because the project didn't last too long and he has gone on to more psych/jam and maybe black/beard metal territory. His half of the split is good, decent, etc. but really doesn't hold a candle to Pedestrian Deposit, who is a harsh noise lifer and turns in two excellent tracks........on the way back home I was stoked to find that This is Hell was on the radio (WNUR 89.3 FM, Northwestern University), hands down my favorite 'political' radio show of all time. It's more of a 'world systems' show than a 'politics' show, y'see. They were talking to some guy who has written extensively about Nigeria being the next target of imperialist oil/resource wars. I listened for awhile but the greatest world system of all time is music, so I put in the Endless disc, another good one from 23, Endless being a guy, not a band, who is/was also in Davenport. Stacked Decks is an hour-long piece performed live at a gallery or something, on 5 broken turntables with broken records and a broken effects box, no samplers. It's waaaay too long but really in any place has a nice gloomy/dreamy vibe, with little music-box loops that come and go in fields and flurries while evil turntable static constantly threatens to overwhelm... put the iPod on shuffle and it was giving me nonstop noise and punk and I had to chill the kids out so I spun it to the first album that seemed like it might work: India's Master Vocalist by Pandit Pran Nath. It did work, we listened to the whole thing, but Claire was imitating his singing style and I think she was making fun of him because she sounded just like grownups do when they make fun of stuff like non-Western music and free jazz, etcetera. Phil asked what the guy's name was, at least, but then asked "Why does he sing funny?" I told him that it wasn't funny where he was from and that he was singing a prayer. That shut him up! (For about 10 seconds.) The Dead show is the Blues For Allah one in Oakland, CA that they played for Bill Graham's SNACKS benefit, right in the middle of their hiatus. It's a totally killer oddity in which, after a showbiz Bill Graham introduction, they come out (augmented by Lagin and Saunders) in front of 50,000 people and play a progged-out 30-minute suite of the atonal "Allah" riff into a nutzoid/fusoid take on "Stronger Than Dirt" into a drumz section and then back out through more "Dirt" and finally into a wordless and bedraggled doo-wop farewell, the first vocals of the night. The crowd roars and live radio DJs chatter with a wtf glee, and then the Dead come back out and do the usual lame "Johnny B. Goode" encore, and that's it, possibly the shortest set they've ever played, first or second. Point this set out to your average avant-rock/post-punk Dead-curious skeptic, especially if they're into anything prog. Awesome, goofy, ragged, weird, and ultimately laid-back always.

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