Sunday, December 09, 2012


"Sometimes, a song will reveal itself to you. When it does, you know it. And sometimes a song can reveal itself to you in different ways over and over again. I think that's part of why I collect music. Because when a song does reveal itself to you, it is a physical and spiritual joy." Amen, sister and/or brother. Those words are from an Olympia, WA regional music/art/drugs/ethics magazine called Nuts!, issue #4 (pictured), and after first reading those words a couple months ago, I've had at least, I don't know, a hundred more songs reveal themselves to me, after a lifetime-thus-far of, I don't know, hundreds of thousands? Some are brand new discoveries, songs heard for the first time. Others are relatively recent acquaintances, heard for the fifth or tenth time, and sometimes even a childhood classic will reveal itself to me for the 100th time. I don't even have to be listening to a song for it to reveal itself to me, because by now a veritable Spotify-like catalog of thousands of songs can reveal themselves to me, even when I'm not listening to them, and haven't listened to them in years, because they're all stored on a "cloud" somewhere deep in inner space. These are basically the only things that Blastitude is ever about.


Today (which was August 5, 2012 . . . it takes me way too long to write anything these days -- ed.) the Mess Hall Free Store was open and were making available a stack of beat-up 1970s LPs that were actually occasionally decent. I grabbed two by Roberta Flack, her exquisite 1969 debut First Take and, from 1973, her biggest-selling album Killing Me Softly. A lot of First Take has a nice, hushed, spiritually overtoned atmosphere, and you already know what it sounds like because you've heard "The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face," thanks to a popular fictional DJ and thousands of popular non-fictional DJs following his lead. The whole album is recorded like that hit single was; simple piano folk/soul tunes given sparse but accomplished jazz arrangements by a guitar/bass/drums combo that includes Ron Carter. There are also tastefully deployed horn and string arrangements that sweeten the tunes up a bit, and belie the title, although the aforementioned big hit is one of the sparser songs on here, almost sounding like a really good early Jefferson Airplane ballad. Dare I even say that Pentangle is also a valid reference point, not to mention prime early-mid Tim Buckley albums like Happy/Sad? On that note, both of these Flack albums have a great Leonard Cohen cover -- a suitably exquisite "Hey, That's No Way To Say Goodbye" on First Take, and an album-closing 9-minute prog-folk version of "Suzanne" on Killing Me Softly. I can also see 1970s Roberta Flack, like her contemporaries the Pointer Sisters, as a straight-up kinder and gentler version of the titan Nina Simone. Flack's music is intelligent in its own right, it's just not as fiercely intelligent as Simone's. She also doesn't play piano nearly as incredibly (or fiercely) as Simone, or sing as heroically, but she does play piano in a way that frames her own soft vocals beautifully. If we're talking about the all-time pantheon of creative artists, and you asked me which one I would nominate first, it would be the titan Nina without any hesitation. But as far as putting on an LP while lazing at home on an exquisite summertime Sunday afternoon like this one, I would go for Roberta 9 times out of 10. Okay, 4 out of 5. Aaaaaand now for a TOTAL-SUBJECT-CHANGE CODA: the Free Store also had Meltzer's Whore Just Like The Rest anthology! I grabbed it, ready to rush it home, and then my conscience reminded me, Hey Larry, we've already got a lovingly taken-care-of copy sitting on our shelf at home, which we really should take down and look at more often, so duh, leave this copy here for some other tuned-in soul to take advantage of. Thanks, conscience.

I'm surprised it took me this long to learn about (or actually remember learning about) Robert Crotty. He was a guy from New Haven, Connecticut who played the blues, and was a big influence on Loren Connors and Suzanne Langille when they lived there. Last week (actually July 11th!  -- ed.), Connors and Langille visited Columbia University's WKCR-FM and played three hours of the music that had influenced and inspired them throughout their entire lives. They started the show with three tunes by Crotty (including one where Crotty and Connors play together), and I was immediately blown away, especially by the first one, a stone cold lonesome "T.B. Blues." From the internet I learned a little more about Crotty, that he lived in New Haven all his life, and had recently passed away in 2011, at age 57. The "T.B. Blues" recording was made in the 1980s, and it was released on a vinyl LP called Robert Crotty Blues (pictured) in 1989, on Connors and Langille's own St. Joan record label. There's a copy on ebay right now for $480.00 if you want to "buy it now." (Actually it's now $510.00 with some "previously $600" tomfoolery that wasn't there before.) I'm tempted to buy it now, at least whenever "T.B. Blues" is playing. I'm not going to, but I've certainly already spent that much on things that are far less spiritually enriching. I love what Langille says about Crotty after the three songs play: "He had a way of singing as though he was completely invisible. He never threw his persona around. He didn't smear himself over the songs. He just let the songs come right through him." Hopefully you can still listen to the full 3-hour show at this link:

New Frank Ocean album is pretty unreal. It took a couple listens, but man is it ever sinking in. Now, almost every single line is coming off as effortlessly literate, engagingly curious, always catchy as hell, sung with constant mellifluous melodies, ridiculous hooks, Mr. Ocean tossing aside satirical aphorisms, observational slices of lives, conversational quotes and mash-ups (is that "Real Love" by Mary J. Blige, or Anita Baker, or both at once, being referenced over the top of a "Bennie & the Jets" bounce??), and it all gets deeper and richer as it goes. For example, tracks 7 ("Super Rich Kids," the bouncy number I just described) and 15 ("Pink Matter") each feature a celebrity guest rap verse, by Earl Sweatshirt and Andre 3000 respectively. Not only are the two cuts staggered equally in the album sequencing, but both rappers use a similar downbeat tone, with a formidable poetic gravity and playful melancholy that masterfully echo Ocean's. And, in between those two cuts, at track ten, is the afro-futurist progged-out psychedelic 10-minute triangle-generation synth-funk of "Pyramids," a long brooding number in which Ocean parallels the story of a present-day hotel sex worker with that of an ancient Egyptian queen, all finally coming to rest on a bed of gorgeous electric guitar soul music by.... John Mayer?? I could go on.

And speaking of Great Black Music: Ancient to the Future, Kelan Phil Cohran has always been a favorite around here, and not just because he played trumpet and more with Sun Ra in the early 1960s, but because he's played his own brilliant celestial jazz music here in Chicago ever since, still doing it at age 85. I've also previously written about how some of his grown-up sons have a band together called Hypnotic Brass Ensemble, and right now I'm writing about how they've all gotten together with their father to record and release an album of new material, a double LP for the Honest Jon's label, self-titled Kelan Philip Cohran & The Hypnotic Brass Ensemble. When I first put it on, as with Hypnotic Brass Ensemble's recent recordings on their own, I have to get used to sparkly clean production (it's okay, it sounds good, I'm just more used to grime than sparkle), and I also have to get used to funky heavy bass lines being played not by strings but by a tuba, because playing a tuba is a strangely antiquated art in this electronic era. But really, it only takes a couple minutes before I start to fall in deep, pulled in not even by the unstoppable grooves (check out Side C's "Spin") so much as all of those sweet rich melancholy deep horn solos, wending their way over the low rhythms, chorus after chorus after chorus, trumpets, trombones, that tuba too, beautiful ancient singing improvisations that remind me of the sea-spray horn solos of Jamaican ska, early Miles Davis, militant 70s funk, so many voices, so much history, but still futuristic and celestial. (Kelan Phil's bowed string overtones are always good for that, just as much on this LP's "Ancestral" as they were back in 1960 on Sun Ra's Angels and Demons at Play.)


Gonna try to do an extremely overdue 7-inch round-up all of a sudden, right here in the middle of this weblog post. The reason I'm finally doing this is because all of a sudden I have four brand new or new-ish (released in 2012, okay?) 7-inches on my desk, sitting on top of a way-too-big stack that I've been neglecting for years. (No, seriously, since 2008 or so.) Two of the new ones were sent in for review, and the other two I purchased for myself. In the former category, we've got a record by Limbs Bin, co-released by the Familiar Combatants and Tickled Meat labels. Limbs Bin is described in an accompanying note as a "Western Mass noise dude." I would call it power electronics, in that it's a guy screaming and yelling along with noise and drum machine. I don't consider myself especially qualified to talk about power electronics, because I try not to listen to it very much. It's just too much extremity. I find it hard to listen to vocals and songwriting that are always pushed to the exact same breaking point. That said, this stuff sounds pretty ripping to me. Maybe just because it's been awhile. The vocals are rather samey but the music is somewhat varied. Really wish it said if the speed was 33 or 45 somewhere in the otherwise rather elaborate package (nice b&w graphics, fold-out sleeve). Sounds better on 45.

And while I was assessing Limbs Bin, another new 7-inch came in, this one by RSO and called Awl. This is a band I think we've heard from before, way back in 2008, when they released an interesting and well-played skronk-dirge post-punk LP called Row. This 7-inch is a fairly different proposition, in that it's the work of one man bashing away at an electric guitar in an avant-blues fashion while he sings like a mutated version of Dan McCafferty from Nazareth. I'm not even sure they're the same RSO . . . okay, I checked, and both records credit one Ryan Owens, who apparently is RSO (hmm, his initials maybe?), and this is an interesting turn he's taken into raw one-man punk-mutated blues. The two songs are pretty short, and even if the B side ends with a somewhat questionably goaty acapella version of "Lord I Just Can't Keep From Cryin," this sounds like a good direction so far. Here's the RSO bandcamp.

Now, on to the two 7-inches I actually bought with my own hard-earned cash, both from the upstart Little Big Chief record label and distro. I had heard some strange rumblings about this Mountain Cult single . . . it seemed like no one fully understood three things: one, where the band came from or who they were pals with, two, why they sounded so cruddy, and three, why the end result was so enticing. Naturally, I had to hear it for myself when I actually saw one available, and even after multiple listens, the answers to all three questions remain endlessly ponderable. It's sort of like early Royal Trux if Hagerty wasn't actually using his fingers to play guitar. Crude stadium riffs, incompetent rhythms, strange vocals, but very easy to play over and over again. I see they have a full-length LP out now, also available from Little Big Chief. Part of me wonders why I haven't ordered it yet, and part of me wonders if I'll ever have the guts to order it. If you've heard it, let me know what you think. The other record I got from Little Big Chief is the maybe-debut 7-inch by Australian band Mad Nanna. Kind of the same deal as Mountain Cult. If the playing could be called inept, it's that kind of ineptitude that still pushes a true-harmony room-sound through the air around you in a consistently pleasing way. Call it the Shadow Ring effect, or Praying to the Godz. Side A is the hit of the two songs, a drony folky skiffle number with sundazed and slightly froggy (not to mention Frogsy) vocals. Side B I honestly don't remember -- in a good way! I think it's an instrumental. ONE MONTH LATER: I just listened to it again, and I don't think Side B is an instrumental, but already I'm still not sure. The reason I listened to it again is because Mad Nanna just released a brand new 7" on the Soft Abuse label, which I just listened to it for the first time, and right now I don't think I like it as much as the Little Big Chief 7". Maybe because it's more 'rock band' sounding as opposed to 'avant folk skiffle group' sounding, so I pulled the earlier 7" back out and listened to it, and hell yeah, what I had previously been a little confused by now sounded better than ever. It was like it took the newer single to throw this previous single into a sharper relief, and a sharper relief was in fact necessary for the earlier music to blossom. Of course, now I've got the new single back on and it too sounds better than before, itself having been thrown into sharper relief. I wonder if these two records will keep having this effect, back and forth, compounding with each successive play. If they did, that would be very psychedelic.

Speaking of Australia, I'm pretty late on a couple records from the Australian label Bedroom Suck, who I think only release bands from said nation. The label discography can be viewed at this link; here in my house right now I have BSR 017 and 018. The latter is a 7" by Queensland band Per Purpose, who play a fairly frantic power-trio aggro swing with tensed male vocals, like crazier Minutemen tracks but with a dour Australian slant that is more on a par with UK ugly thrashy ducklings bIG fLAME. The record is called Heil Progress, it was released in 2010, and it's a good 'un. BSR 017 is a full-length LP by another band that I think is from Brisbane, which is also in Queensland, so maybe this is a 'scene' here, get it? They're called Blank Realm and their album is called Deja What? I believe it's a reissue of a CDR, also from 2010, and it's really grown on me after 3 or 4 spins. They aren't trying super hard, maybe a little unfocused, but they still get into grooves where trying super hard isn't the idea... sometimes appealingly Spacemen 3-ish, but also sliding between styles more than the average garage/guitar band, into weird semi-pop vocal tracks, keyboard-driven dances, and longer instrumental ruminations. And that's it this 'week' for Bedroom Suck Records . . .  if I wasn't a full two years behind on record reviews, I would probably also be writing about the greatness of the Scott & Charlene's Wedding Para Vista Social Club LP that Bedroom Suck just released this year, like everybody else is. (Wait, nevermind, I'm listening to it on Bandcamp right now! And damn, it really is good! So good that I've already ordered a copy of it from Goner Records, which I've not only already received, due to exceptionally fast order fulfillment and exceptionally slow reviewing speed, but have played several times, all before even finishing this sentence! God I love this record! It's one of the best ragtag electric-church psychedelic loud folk-rock bands I've heard in a long time. Ten years at least. After the back-to-back punch of "Footscray Station" and "Epping Line," there's not a dry eye in the house.) (And oh yeah, it's been so long that Blank Realm have a new album on Siltbreeze. Haven't heard it yet, and this time I swear I'm going to publish this post before I do!)

Now I'm listening to another new weird punkoid 7-inch, this time by a group called The Telephone Callers, I think from Ann Arbor, Michigan. I seem to remember these guys putting out a tape that I kinda liked in a brief noisy smudge-blast pop kinda way. That was back in like 2009 and this 7-inch could've been from around then too . . . hard to tell as it's not even on Discogs. It starts out much more loungy than the band I remember, with sparse Ribot-esque skronk guitar going against piano, then they do a brief little rave-up which must be the next song, which goes into an actual extended drum solo, which goes into what sounds like a really broken attempt at a yacht-rock song that I think goes on for almost 5 minutes that are not not proggy. Side B has three more songs and doesn't even seem as focused as Side A, but has another busted-prog centerpiece track, this one more of a dazed ballad that, I have to admit, makes me think of Supreme Dicks at their most bummed-out. Piano figures prominently, but this a far cry from the elegant contemporary piano rock of, say, Blues Control or Colossal Yes. This music sounds ugly and the record looks terrible, but I'm still considering the two long songs on here for the "KBD 2000" comp(s) that I'm currently bootlegging in my head.

Speaking of that KBD 2000 comp, a couple or four years ago a band from Florida called Blast and the Detergents sent me a weird CD that actually stood out somewhat from this crowded 21st Century pack of what literally seems like hundreds of post-post-punk DIY bands. It was rumbly and foggy minor-key blast-furnace punk that sounded like a youthful updating of certain conceptual aspects of Mission of Burma and Pere Ubu. They have two songs on this split 7-inch from 2010, co-released by the Scotch Tapes and No Clear Records labels, and they are as good as anything on the CD, especially the first one, which is called  "Minimalism, D'uh." The band on the other side of the record, Ghost Hospital, have also sent in material before, and I always thought it was decent, but wasn't sure how to write about it. Slightly cutesy nerd garage? Well, with the two songs they have on this split, they're like the nerd who at the end of the movie puts on a cool jacket and trades his nerd glasses for cool shades. Tougher riffs, tougher backbeats, more reverb, more laid back, cooler vocals. Most improved award!

Wow, the "21st Century post-post-punk" styles continue as I dig through these 7-inches from the last 2-4 years, the latest example being VNC, who I think are from L.A., or at least Southern California. Their name stands for Vienna Noise Choir, but their song "Harm Guitar" isn't some sort of noise guitar mess, it's a spiky rolling pop new wave anglo aggro number, more of that Burma gospel, if a little scragglier and scruffier. It's a good tune, and I especially like how the song kind of ends halfway through and gets taken over by a solo guitar playing a long outro of shard-like electric-church arpeggios. The other side of this split single is by someone called The Moore Brothers, and, wow, it's something completely different in that it basically sounds like a light attempt to emulate Crosby, Stills & Nash. Absolutely nothing punk about it, not even remotely post-. One of the rare ballads where I can say more irony might've made it better. This record is from 2010, and it's on the Brick Factory label.

Here's a split 7-inch between Infinite Light and Vibracathedral Orchestra, both from Britain, released in 2009 on the Krayon label, also from Britain. Vibracathedral kick a nice nervy bounce with glistening hover-drone and space-blues guitar licks, and after all they are one of the best British underground rock bands of the last 15 years. Excellent singles band, too. Infinite Light side is my fave though, not so much for the first half of loud and invigorated but semi-monochromatic psych guitar ecstaticitude (apparently the lineup is Barry Dean and Mick Flower on guitars with Pete Nolan on drums, not bad), but for the last half, which is a rather glorious duet between the actual musical melodic guitar playing of I think Infinite Light himself, who I think is Barry Dean, and a mysterious uncredited lady singer. Move over Sandy Denny and tell Jacqui McShee the news! (Wow, I'm reading about this section on the Krayon website, and not only does it not reveal the name of the lady singer, it just says the word "falsetto," which makes me think this track is Barry Dean, or another non-female male vocalist, singing along with his guitar playing. Listening to it again . . . and yep, it could be a dude! More like Jacqui McHE, am I right?)

Another sign of how behind I am at reviewing records, I feel like a couple years ago I actually rough-drafted, and maybe even published, a review of the next record, at least once. I know I've listened to it, at least once. It's a split between Tiger Hatchery and Wasteland Jazz Unit, on the Gilgongo label. Both groups consistently rip in respective hardcore free jazz styles, THC coming at it, still, somehow, with post-bop as a starting point, which makes it very exciting . . . I just saw them do this in front of 240 drunken revelers last week [Aug. 7, 2012 . . . incredible free Monday night show at the Empty Bottle with ONO -- ed.] and the crowd was way into it. WJU, on the other hand, come at it with no bop at all, entirely in a post-Borbetomagus scorched-earth style. I've never seen them do it live, but I would like to someday.

Oops! Earlier in this 7-Inch Roundup I was talking about the Bedroom Suck label, saying how the bands they released were all Australian, and how I was writing up everything I thought I had by 'em, but I was wrong on both counts. Not only did I find another 7" on Bedroom Suck near the bottom of the ol' pile (I'm almost done!), it's by a band that is NOT from Australia! They're from America even, Boston to be exact, and they're called Fat History Month. I'll admit, I thought Fat History Month were going to sound like Fat Day, who are also from Boston and have a band-name that starts with the adjective Fat. But I was completely wrong, because Side A "Safe & Sound" is a sweeping moody near-instrumental that's downright heavy and lovely and gently proggy . . . not what I was expecting . . . it might reveal emo roots a little after the song goes on awhile, especially when, right before the song ends, a guy singer comes in for one single meek but heartfelt verse . . . but shit, I just keep thinking how much better they are at it than, like, Mogwai. I'm picking on Mogwai because they're boring, but also because they're somewhat popular, and both bands use a certain type of post-spaghetti western, post-Slint guitar style to evoke big wind-swept landscapes. Thing is, Mogwai shows you the landscape, but they never get any wind sweeping through it. They just expect you to say "awesome photo" for a whole hour. Fat History Month is actually pretty adept at getting some wind sweeping through their emo-prog landscapes, which makes the "photo" living and three-dimensional. Surprised to learn that there's just two members, a singer/guitarist and a drummer, because they have a full sound.


I've been digging through old zines and pulled out Muckraker #5 with its extensive (complete?) Blowhole discography, as annotated by the band's two principle members, Jeph Jerman and Patrick Barber. If you happened to be reading a lot of noise/underground/experimental zines at a certain time in the early/mid 1990s, you'll remember this band being featured or reviewed in every single one of them, at least once. In fact, how many Blowhole records do you still have, or did you have at one point? I think I made it up to four, and I still have three, according to what I just pulled off of the shelf. Killing Noise always appealed to me because it was billed as a Jimi Hendrix tribute/covers album, and indeed it is, though very free with the source material, each side featuring a good 10 to 15 minutes of seemingly anti-Hendrixian table-top noise/ambient solo guitar, which on side two is extensively backwards masked... ah, backwards masking... there's the Hendrixian connection (slight return). When the actual cover versions do come, they are completely messed-up, ragged, punked-out, and also seem to have absolutely nothing to do with Hendrix's music, except for the lyrics. Oh yeah, and there's a couple snippets from interviews with Jimi spliced in too. I actually love this album. In part because of how much I've always loved Hendrix, but I've heard plenty of Hendrix tributes and covers that were lame as hell, essentially cocktail lounge bands playing blues standards, total noise reduction. This one gets the noise part right! "Wind Cries Mary" particularly shreds. Right next to Killing Noise was Blowhole's Gathering LP, so I pulled that one out too. (Free Metal, my other Blowhole LP, I remember you being a straight guitar/drums duo free-jazz freakout LP and I'll pull you out another time.) I'm pretty sure I only listened to Gathering once after buying it for 4 bucks at Amoeba in San Fran well over a decade ago. What can I say, I'm a sucker for hand-painted covers, and I also liked the labels it was on, Giarda being the record label wing of the same publishing house that did the aforementioned Muckraker zine, and surely you've met Fusetron by now... both labels originally from Minneapolis, by the way... I do remember this being Blowhole at their jazziest, which is still pretty anti-jazz, some sort of full-band hard-swinging free-blowin' concussion bop. At the time I bought this, which was like 1999, I was ready to take a breather from current avant-garde jazz after getting deeply into it for the previous 5 years or so. In 2012 it holds up pretty good and fits nicely into a since-discovered Mutant Garbage Jazz aesthetic. (Dig around this page for a little more info, or at least a record review written while I was discovering it.) AND, speaking of old zines, I would be absolutely remiss if I didn't mention the Cock Displacement #1 zine and 7" vinyl EP that are still lurking around from a road purchase circa 1999, because it was released in 1996 and indeed has a Blowhole track on it (charmingly billed as The Blowhole), in this case a very nice subdued and silence-flirting percussion improvisation . . . in fact each of the four artists seem to turn in particularly nice improvisations, all of them instrumental, with the exception of the Bunny Brains, who take up 5/6th's of Side B with one of their Dan Bunny dirge songs from a post-Flipper universe, followed with a sly semicelestial coda jam by The Tower Recordings that's really only about a minute long. The real news is the opening track, a great piece by the Shadow Ring from their early synth period, when Tim Goss had just joined the band.  

GHOSTWRITERS Music From No-Man's Land 12" (ZERO RECORDS). Every 5 or 6 years I get blown away by the synthesizer music of Charles Cohen. Last time it was in the mid-2000s, when he seemed to show up on a few improvised music CDs, though the only one I remember for sure is a great duo album with Ed Wilcox that I'm gonna dig out and listen to later tonight. (P.S. I also dug out another good and obscure CD, a 2006 collaboration Cohen did with Yanni Papadopoulos of Stinking Lizaveta under the name Planet Y. You can buy MP3s at Thrill Jockey!) This time around, it's the discovery-via-blogosphere of a two-man early-80s synth-pop-industrial group he was in called the Ghostwriters. Honestly these are just great cold-synth punk instrumentals.  

NEIL YOUNG Chrome Dreams (UNRELEASED). Any opinionated conversation trying to designate the most stoned recording of all time would have to at least consider "Will To Love" by Neil Young, with copious bonus points for 1) the central singer-as-fish metaphor and 2) audible fireplace crackle. The track was slated for a then-announced upcoming Neil album called Chrome Dreams, but got shelved in favor of the rather muddled American Stars & Bars, which at least did feature the two greatest Chrome Dreams tracks, "Will To Love" and all-time Crazy Horse dirge classic "Like a Hurricane." In fact, I think that, even though Stars & Bars has far fewer great songs on it than the loaded Chrome Dreams, it somehow works better as an album. The iffy sequencing actually sets up those two classic songs very well... even the cover art and the title work better in this regard. That's Neil for you, the sharp inconsistencies growing strange chemistries....

NEIL YOUNG Americana CD (REPRISE). Speaking of which . . . talk about a sharp inconsistency that is yet still growing strange chemistries . . . Crazy Horse get back together in late 2011 or early 2012, offer a pretty awesome 37-minute instrumental warmup jam on, and then record a brand new album . . . consisting entirely of old common domain folk songs like "Clementine" and "Oh Susannah" and even an a capella version of "Get A Job"?? A lot of people were grumbling about the concept, and I'll agree that it's a bit of a head-scratcher. Nonetheless, this is an interesting record. The songs don't blow you away, but they draw you in, which makes you sing along and think about things. The band plays it a little strange, completely forgoing their wind-tunnel extendo-dirging style, for shorter electric folk miniatures that they almost seem to play with a coy stutter-step. YouTube evidence of their subsequent and currently ongoing tour reveals only one song from Americana along with plenty of wind-tunnel extendo-dirging, including a 26-minute song called "Walk Like A Giant" that Holy Mountain astutely compared to an American Fushitsusha. These songs are going to be on an imminent new triple LP called Psychedelic Pill, and Americana will probably be completely forgotten. (UPDATE 10/21/12: Just saw Neil Young & Crazy Horse play live at the United Center in Chicago just last week and it was so, so good. I mentioned it on twitter already, but I learned so much from that show. I learned that Crazy Horse build a cave, and Neil is the cave-painter. It can also be heard as actual Big Sky Music, with Molina & Talbot creating the Earth and Tectonics while Young & Sampedro create the Sky and Heavy Weather. Also, they played precisely 0 songs from Americana, and among the new batch of songs Young has written for Crazy Horse are at least three absolute late-period masterpieces, particularly "Ramada Inn," as well as the aforementioned "Walk Like A Giant" and a piano ballad called "Singer Without A Song" that sounded like it could've come right off of After the Gold Rush.) (UPDATE 12/9/2012: Psychedelic Pill has been out for awhile, and I've listened to it about 50 times on Spotify, because I can't bear to spend $85 or whatever on the vinyl. I think it's easily the best Crazy Horse album since Rust Never Sleeps. I even like the classically cornpone Neil numbers "Born In Ontario" and "Twisted Road." And, my favorite song isn't even "Ramada Inn" or "Walk Like A Giant," it's the absolutely sublime and funny 27-minute opener "Driftin' Back.") 

GROUPER Violet Replacement (UNRELEASED?). These MP3s showed up in my iTunes... I guess I downloaded them from somewhere... sorry, I know that's not cool, but don't worry, because nowadays there's about 5000 fewer share blogs and Mediafire is emptier than a derelict shopping mall. Either way, Discogs is telling me that this was a 2-track CDR on Grouper's own Yellow Electric label. 51-minute ambient pieces are rarely what I choose to throw on the stereo, and as much as I think I would prefer to listen to Ms. Harris sing, these Violet Replacement pieces are absolutely deep and gorgeous. They take the heavy pressure that so distinctly marked the A I A albums, and, if anything, slightly increase it. (And speaking of Discogs, one of these CDRs has sold for $180 on there so I don't feel bad about downloading it at all.)

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