Sunday, January 13, 2008

Christmas Favorites By The Original Artists CD
Latinamericacarpet: Exploring the Vinyl Warp of Latin American Psychedelia Vol. 1 CD
Spilled Filth! Live from the MT6FEST 2006 DVDR

Yeah, I wasn't too happy about putting on the Christmas CD here on January 12th or whatever but the kids insisted. Gene Autry bugged me right out of the gate, the way he kept slipping propaganda into his "Here Comes Santa Claus" composition: "Peace on earth will come to all/If we just follow the light/So let's give thanks to the Lord above/'Cause Santa Claus comes tonight." But Mahalia Jackson singing "Silent Night" transcends any propagandic repurposing with good old-fashioned heavy-ass gnosis. AMEN. And overall this CD is pretty good, at least sonically, because it focuses on old-time recordings that have a spectral low-fi glow. The closer, Billy Vaughan doing "Auld Lang Syne," is as haunting as all get out. Warning: if you wanna check out the Sublime Frequencies CD Latinamericacarpet in order to discover the next Almendras or Kissing Spells or Tropicalia obscurities, stop right there. The stuff on here is psychedelic, but more in the sense of "I took acid and went to Disneyland." The inclusion of "carpet" in the title is instructive, because this is like the aural equivalent to red shag carpeted walls. The operative word is KITSCH. It's a compilation of various thrift-score oddities recorded in Latin America, such as children's records, surf music, space-age lounge, instructional records, etc. The "Incredibly Strange Music" genre, if you will, which honestly was never really my thing, I guess because I prefer music to actually be MUSIC and not mere cultural signage. Latinamericacarpet is a good listen, warped, woozy, weird, and even a little creepy, but if you want Sublime Frequencies to bring you some lost early psych rock from overseas that is focused on electric guitars, proto-punk beats, and heavy singing, check out their revelatory Guitars From The Golden Triangle: Folk and Pop Music of Myanmar Vol. 2 CD from a couple years ago... The Spilled Filth DVDR is a 30-minute film made by N.O. Smith (he's 15 years old!), documenting the MT6 Fest that happened at the Talking Head club in Baltimore back in December 2006. It's a fast and fun presentation as we get more or less one song apiece from about 10 different bands, most of them on the weird and crazy tip. I don't mean to sound like "that guy," but this particular 2000s Baltimore scene reminds me of a particular 1990s Chicago scene, no wavey, dress-uppy, weird, ugly, wacky, crazy. Keytar? Yes. Only difference is that Baltimore's roots are more in Screamo where Chicago's were in, I guess, No Wave. Not always a lot of great music to take home with you, but there is the high energy of communal eccentricity and volume, and envelope-pushing skills are workshopped so that they can be applied elsewhere in the world. (Right?) This film captures it all pretty nicely, along with the John Waters-worthy vibe of the Talking Head club (which according to the credits is no longer open). And some of the music is good. #1 standouts on here are The New Flesh...I'd like to see more of their set than one song, but maybe the show was marred by the beer cans that seem to be flying everywhere while they play. Seriously though, they seem to be just as thunderous and skin-peeling live as they are on record. Human Host stand out with their bizarre goth/screamo/dude/sci-fi combo and sketchy/funny/unpredictable live presentation. Hex Screw start the DVD off in an attention-getting way, two guitarists playing mathy, noisy, crazy stuff along with a drum machine. Finger-tapping included! It reminded me just a little too much of some post-Don Caballero action, but I liked it anyway (because it was good). Other than that I can't really recommend anyone specifically (except maybe Heroin U.K., working a doomy sludge punk style that was almost 'there') but the whole thing is still a good watch.

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