Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Theo Angell Dearly Beloved CD
P.G. Six Music from the Sherman Box Series and Other Works CD
Various Artists Why Is Anything Forbidden 2: A Tribute to Cash Money Records CD
Following Sean DVD
Naked on the Vague The Blood Pressure Sessions LP
FNU Ronnies 7"

Amish Records sent along a package with some good stuff from over the last few years. After being bowled over by his 2007 album Auraplinth, I was excited to hear the previous Theo Angell joint from 2006, Dearly Beloved. It's a good one - the basic Auraplinth approach is well in place, and although the sheer number of excellent songs isn't quite there, there are songs here that rival anything on the newer album, like the 9-minute solo haunter "Finally...Dreams." Also from 2006, the P.G. Six album is actually pretty fantastic - I only knew him as a singer/songwriter with records on Amish and Drag City that I have yet to hear, and as the 'quiet' member of Tower Recordings, but this Sherman Box is all-instrumental stuff for "wire-strung harp" and "bray harp," and though it was recorded to accompany a visual exhibition in an art gallery, it creates an exquisite melancholy & sparse Mazzacane-worthy atmosphere no matter where you put it on. There is guitar on the CD too, as it tacks on a 'reissue' of the Book of Rayguns 7", a sparser-than-you-might-expect piece for six electric guitars that came out on Memphis Luxure (actually Superlux, see comment below), the Tower Recordings 'in-house' label, back in 1995. The Sherman Box music is the real draw, though - very melancholy and contemplative stuff. I've had the Tribute to Cash Money Records CD for awhile and pull it out about once a year for good times. It strikes me as a definitive Deathbomb Arc release, big and sprawling, wildly creative, willing to try absolutely anything for better and for worse, etc. I really know nothing about the Cash Money label and I really don't hear any hip-hop or bling or gangstas referenced on here (thank god, because art-punk kids doing that can really annoy). I mean it starts with this creaky professional folk-rock by Belloq (don't know him) doing the song "The Killer This Time Isn't Me" (don't know it) and it sounds NPR-worthy and also inexplicably GREAT. There's a lot of LA notables on here like Rainbow Blanket, Captain Ahab, The Sharp Ease, Child Pornography, Rose For Bodhan, and non-LA notables like Friends Forever, Yuma Nora, and even Xiu Xiu (remixed by LA notable The Cherry Point!), mostly doing the more expected neo-punk styles but there's plenty of unexpected sounds too and it all runs together in a good way. One track I've gone to check the track listing for twice is this lady Ume because of her strikingly 'feral' trip-hop vocals. I rented the Following Sean DVD after reading about it on Jay Hinman's Celluloid Hut blog... it's about this kid who grew up in the Haight-Ashbury and, when he was 4 years old, had a short film made about him by his neighbor in which he claims to smoke weed and is shown running around the neighborhood barefoot in the height of the hippie madness. Almost 30 years later the filmmaker/neighbor decides to make a feature-length followup in which he reunites with the grown-up Sean (and some other people from the time) and follows his life off and on for almost 10 years. He also reflects on his own life and changes just as much, and the whole thing adds up to a wistful and bittersweet essay on the fine line between freedom and responsibility that EVERYONE has to deal with, whether by balancing on it, or rejecting it, or whatever. The film can get a little hokey, but I did almost got a little teary a couple times without knowing exactly why, always a good sign. Some great old footage of pre-McCarthy American Communist actions shows up here too (Sean's grandparents). I liked the FNU Ronnies 7", almost as much as I like their band name but I'm not sure why. Did it remind me of Chrome? I'll tell you after next listen.


Anonymous said...

Memphis Luxure was a band on SUPERLUX, the same label that issued the BOOK OF RAYGUNS single. This is was the Tower Recordings inhouse label... did the Cock Displacement zine, the first Tower Recordings lp, etc.

Larry said...

Thanks, I knew that once... jeez, that was almost fifteen years ago...

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