Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Usputuspud Disco CS
Crank Sturgeon Onager Sass CS
Bruce Springsteen Nebraska
The Fugees The Score

The Usputuspud tape is on the Caligulan Records label (which I've posted about before, use that handy search function up there), and it's "the solo endeavor of Matt Rogers, guitarist of Crucial Blast and [oops, torn press sheet]rdo's Wildildlife." That doesn't mean much but the terse next line, "It's all harmonica," pretty much guaranteed that I would listen (that and Caligulan's suave packaging). Not that "all harmonica" meant that it would be good, in fact, I listened more to just see how bad it could be. But you know what? It's good. Very good, in fact. The harmonica is slowed down and stretched out and overdubbed and stacked up until it gets louder and thicker and heavier and becomes some cosmic railroad-in-your-bedroom-closet type shit. Seriously, check it out. The Crank Sturgeon tape is on a new-to-me label called Cryptic Carousel. Let me tell you, I haven't listened to Crank Sturgeon in years, and there was something so instantly comforting about putting his tape on and realizing all over again that no one else drags an overamped contact mic through "tape, junk, voice & squawkbox" quite like he does. A sound as recognizable as Hendrix playing guitar.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Hey there - just added a few more posts from (yikes) back in April, with more to come - these will all be appearing below the Bishop Bros. post so be sure to scroll past it if you're looking for updates. Also, over at blastitude.com I've finally updated the EVENTS page and, thanks to reader 3dsunglasses, there have been some updates at The (Unofficial) Sun City Girls Lyrics Archive - check out Box of Chameleons and Dante's Disneyland Inferno for starters...

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Alan & Richard Bishop are The Brothers Unconnected, a Tribute to the Music of Sun City Girls and Charles Gocher, and they played the Lakeshore Theater in Chicago, IL on Saturday, June 14. As announced, instead of an opening act the show started with a 40-minute collection of Gocher's film/video stuff called The Handsome Stranger, various vignettes and interiors and uncategorizables, some stuff that I think we've seen before on the VHS series and a lot of new-to-the-public stuff too, the morbidly hilarious head-shot readings, lip-syncings, next-level video experiments, the awesome throwdown version of "Let's Pretend" that was indeed released on the Halcyon Days of Symmetry VHS, and more. It was a fine tribute to the man in and of itself, and then Alan and Rick came out dressed to the nines and sat down with acoustic guitars next to an urn of Charlie's ashes, in front of the great image of Gocher with polaroid that you can see here, and proceeded to play two sets of music. The first was heavy on the songs with words, most from "the book of Gocher," while the second was heavier on instrumental and mostly-instrumental classics, and as intense as the Gocher songs were, the instrumental stuff was perhaps an even greater revelation. It's always been a daring body of work, the combination of non-Occidental melodies and raw American music and a whole lotta guts, but these songs in particular have most often been filtered through a punk/hardcore aesthetic and a loud guitar/bass/drums lineup. Tonight we heard them filtered through an acoustic blues/folk aesthetic by two great guitarists, simple as that, and it was stunning, with Alan more than holding his own with Sir Richard (even though he played the whole first set with just 4 strings... he broke strings during both sets with his serious right-hand technique). I won't tell you everything they played but here's some highlights: "Black Weather Shoes" (even slower than the Grotto of Miracles version, heavy and bleak), "Book of Revelations" (one of the most serious moments of the night - Alan played the music alone with the utmost implacability while Rick did the singing, channeling Charlie right down to the last spittled roar and harsh whisper of his epic vocal, read the lyrics here to get an idea), "Rodent With A View" (a short little gem about harsh food chain reality from Box of Chameleons which got a stunning epic treatment here, one of the best songs of the night), "Eyeball In A Quart Jar Of Snot" (how about that 'walking bass' playing by Alan on the low strings of his guitar, holding the thing in ridiculous poses and making faces while pulling off the most absurd flowing 'changes' underneath Rick's jazz chords and further expert Gocher channelization), "Bitter Cold Countryside" ("this is a song about hangin' a preacher"), "Nyne De Gris Sang" (another revelation in this book of revelations, coming off like some crazy fuzzy manic 60s global pop nugget from some out-of-print a-go-go compilation), regular set closer "Space Prophet Dogon" (totally beautiful with an intense outro/coda that seemed new to me, I'll have to go back and listen to the LP versions for the hundredth time, maybe it's been there all along)... that's maybe one third of what they played. The music was great but I gotta say the venue was a little off... while it wasn't NOT cool to see them in a seating-only theater (because, you know, they are fearless individuals who can work any situation), I think these guys ultimately work best in a setting where people are standing and moving around, the phenomenon that Gocher classically described as "like an ocean-herd, warm waves moving through cold waves of water." When they were playing as a trio in a rowdy club, everything was so multidirectional - there were the three minds of the band, each of which could take things in several different directions, often simultaneously, and all these energies were going from various places on the stage out to various places in the audience, and then from all kinds of varied audience members back to the band, and so on, until so many different currents and eddies and feedback loops were swirling around the room that, trust me, it was a serious drug experience without any drugs necessary. At the Lakeshore Theater the feedback loop was mostly closed (and no, I don't blame it all on the famously cool Chicago audiences because the last two SCG shows here, 2002 and 2004 at the Empty Bottle, were very rowdy multidirectional affairs) but even as a unidirectional musical presentation (you know, like 98% of all shows and concerts) I would highly recommend it, to both long-time fans and curious newcomers. And, there's still a few weeks left of the tour, with a lot of different audiences and venues and directions sure to come...

Here's the remaining dates:

6.19.08 - Cambridge, MA - The Brattle Theater
6.20.08 - Portland, ME - SPACE
6.21.08 - Philadelphia, PA - Johnny Brenda's
6.22.08 - New York , NY - Knitting Factory
6.24.08 - Pittsburgh, PA - Andy Warhol Gallery
6.25.08 - Washington, D.C. - Black Cat
6.26.08 - Asheville, NC - Grey Eagle
6.27.08 - Atlanta, GA - The E.A.R.L.
6.28.08 - Chattanooga, TN - Barking Legs Theater
6.29.08 - Memphis, TN - Odessa
6.30.08 - New Orleans, LA - One Eyed Jack's
7.02.08 - Austin, TX - Emo's
7.03.08 - Dallas, TX - Granada Theater
7.05.08 - Tucson, AZ - Club Congress
7.06.08 - San Diego, CA - Bar Pink Elephant
7.09.08 - Santa Cruz, CA - TBA
7.10.08 - TBA
7.11.08 - TBA
7.12.08 - TBA

Thursday, June 05, 2008

New issue #26 is finally up. Tony Rettman interview with bIG fLAME, reviews by R. Queequeg, and the usual questionable stuff from yours truly. Check it out RIGHT HERE. Hopefully in about 6 months we'll have another one... in the meantime keep checking back here at the blogspot for more frequent posts... Today I listened to "Sam Stone" by Swamp Dogg about 7 times. Why didn't anyone ever tell me this was the heaviest song of all time?

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