Wednesday, April 09, 2008




Wild Gunmen s/t CS
Arborea s/t CD
Burger/Ink Las Vegas CD
Luomo Vocalcity
Nirvana Unplugged in New York CS
Espers The Weed Tree CD
Leonard Cohen Songs From A Room
The Animals 07.15.00 CS
Various Artists Shadow Music From Thailand LP
The Index s/t
Hall of Fame First Came Love, Then Came The Tree... LP



New tape on White Tapes by Wild Gunmen, I think I've got that right, but it's hard to be sure from the bleary/twisted cover collage and scrawled writing. As usual with White there aren't gonna be too many explanations, but this tape immediately begs for some.... it's weird and avant, lo-fi and scuzzy, but clearly an album of songs, folk/bedroom/psych songs sung by a lady who sounds young and hip and fresh enough at first but soon you will hear the years and experience and gnarl in her voice... early Royal Trux is a valid comparison but this is actually more broken and awkward, sketchier, lower-fi, and less classic rock informed. They are googlable, turns out it's a long-running collective from Cincinnati notorious for drugs and derangement and general weird vibes, and you can hear it all here on this long anthology-style collection. I think my favorite track is this dense-thicket bluegrass-terror piece somewhere deep in Side B called "Merleeto" with the lady obsessively going "Merleeto! Come back to me, yo, come back to be, yo..." in a weird country/alien voice, wow. Arborea is a duo from Maine, a luthier named Buck Curran and his wife Shanti, joined by Helena Espvall from Espers for this CD on the very consistent Fire Museum label. It's a fine set of sparse mostly-improvised mostly-instrumental near-gothic old-world rural balladry. First track is a short overdubbed vocal suite by Shanti that is right in line with some of Christina Carter's solo vocal work, and then the creaky and spooky guitars and violins and etc. start creeping in (Espvall plays only cello, overdubbed in Philadelphia at a later date). This is kinda like the real 'forest folk' so I won't sully it with that more image-reliant buzz-phrase. Back home I was digging through the cassette box and happened to come across a long out-of-print oldie by The Animals, also on White Tapes but from 7 years ago... this is music by White Tapes CEO Russ, now with Blues Control & Watersports, playing guitar with a drummer for duo free rock jams... wow, 7 years ago... before punk re-broke! Whoah, just got the Shadow Music of Thailand LP in the mail, the third wonderful gatefold vinyl LP from Sublime Frequencies. I love this album, but it's a whole different thing than the 'guitar from the Sahara' angle of the first two. It's still a guitar album, but the guitar is from mid-1960s Thailand and the style is, well, Shadow Music, meaning music in the style of The Shadows, the backing band for pop star Cliff Richard, which recorded mostly instrumental post-surf/Morricone hits under their own name and had a very influential UK charts-topping heyday from roughly 1960 to 1963. When I was a youngster I had this book called Masters of Heavy Metal, a collection of interviews that had originally appeared in Guitar Player Magazine, and it seemed like every single guitarist in the book cited The Shadows as an influence. "Hank Marvin and The Shadows" they'd all say, first time I'd ever heard of them. Now I realize it was every European guitarist who said that - Ritchie Blackmore and the Schenker bros come to mind - and it turns out the modernized urban rock scene in Thailand was listening too. This comp is made up of 17 tracks by three or four different bands, almost all of them created and managed by one Payong Mukda, an "industry-man" who went by the stage name P.M. (hence bands on here with rad names like P.M. Pocket Music, Son of P.M., and P.M. 7, which I'm guessing is the seven dudes pictured on the cover). The whole thing sounds like the first East-meets-West glimmerings of the full-on globalization we have today, the soundtrack to a flickering super 8 film of a washed-out sunset on a hotel-free Phuket beach... back when the idea of globalization might've had some promise, maybe something like the sharing of resources (such as electrical energy, human soul, creative beauty, surf rock) and not what it became, the most brutal and ruthless (i.e. efficient and successful) exploitation of these and any other resources societally possible. Anyway, this LP is a great listen and there might even be some still available - grab it now because the first two Sublime Frequencies vinyls have already been seen going for three figures.... After listening to Shadow Music of Thailand I had to put on the greatest American Shadow Music LP of all time, the 1968 release by Michigan's The Index. "Israeli Blue" is the real chill-inducer, what a song, and the album closer "Feedback" has some of the sickest low-end 1968 ever produced, and that's saying something...

1 comment:

Michael said...

I've been searching for those Animals and FKTRN tapes for a long dang time, to no avail!

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