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.)

Wednesday, October 03, 2012


Couple weeks ago I received two brand new records on the same day and, after listening, I felt like they had something in common. The bands don't sound anything alike, but I'll hang this double review on the premise that both bands feature veterans of the 2000s underground who are now reembracing certain 1990s sounds of their youth. And if when I say "1990s sounds" you feel some sort of "fear of indie rock" hesitation, well, fear not, these bands both hearken back to a rather golden time, a time just before indie rock became NPR's new wallpaper and the adult's new alternative . . . 

So, as I was saying: veterans of the 2000s underground, in this case Max Eilbacher (who came out of Baltimore's High Zero scene and plays with the form-destroying Needle Gun), and a guy from Teeth Mountain (I've never actually heard 'em but they've been making records since like 2008), are playing with two others (pedigree not immediately known by me) in a new band called Horse Lords that uses 1990s instrumental 'world music'-influenced 'post-rock' as a starting point, reappraised via the current explosion of African electric guitar music. I'll admit that, for a couple minutes, I was a little concerned that the main riff of the Side A track "Wildcat Strike" was a little too squarely in the Thrill Jockey When They Were Math Rocky tradition, but the band really stays with it, turning the riff around like a Moebius strip and trancing it out until teeth start to show. I just listened to it again and heard some nasty guitar licks I hadn't noticed before, so the grower is still growing. Also, bonus points for auxiliary second-line percussion that is not cosmetic but integral, because it airs the track out and spreads out the rhythmic space, playing "a beat in between the beat" (cf. Miles Davis, interviewed by Arsenio Hall in 1989, at the 8:40 mark of this YouTube). Side B is another single track, a little slower than the A side, also a burner. Reports are that the live show is too. You can get the Horse Lords album from (and listen to it at) the Ehse Records website. (P.S. That Arsenio Hall clip is a hoot and you should watch the whole thing. The tune they play is kinda nuts and I'm somehow still slowly getting more and more into 1980s Miles, which might just be the last frontier. And, in the interview, when he means Teddy Riley, he says Terry Riley, twice!)

And for the other example, we have a veteran of the 2000s underground in Michael A. "Ma" Turner, who made three or four* of the more singular underground rock LPs of the 2000s with his band Warmer Milks, now reembracing the 1990s sounds of his youth in his new band Cross, in this case going right back to Nirvana, Soundgarden, Alice in Chains, and the very birth of emotional grunge itself. Or is it that simple? Going into it, I was thinking of the band as a continuation of Warmer Milks, so it took me a couple listens to readjust and realize this is very much R. Clint Colburn's band as well. He writes four of the songs by himself, including the first two on the album. Turner writes two by himself, and the remaining four are by Turner/Colburn. And, where Turner is the sole credited guitarist and has more of a background vocal presence, Colburn is the sole credited lead vocalist on all tracks, using a smooth goth/grunge ballad style that occasionally rips into a most excellent Lizard King shriek. The grunge-ballad singing, as well as the crafty, hooky songwriting and a surprisingly professional and clean production style, took a little getting used to, but then the songs really started to kick in. They're deeply felt and carefully written, and what initially sounds kinda slick settles into a satisfying and psychedelic heaviness (props to the spot-on rhythm section of Jamie Adkins on bass and Jason Schuler on drums), sprinkled with odd bursts of noise guitar, sublimated demonic background vocal chorales, the aforementioned tightly rationed Lizard King shrieks, and more. The record is thematically challenging too; not only is the title Die Forever, but almost every song on the album talks about death or dying, reaching a fever pitch on side two when the song "Die Rock" and its (very catchy) chorus of "Dying Dying Dying [repeat]" is followed up two songs later by "Temple" with its final chorus of "Die Die Die [repeat]." One might say they're being overly repetitious, but I think they're very much doing it on purpose. They also sing about Jesus, and His Cross (on "Forever"), and the band is named Cross, so this might be some kind of new take on outsider weirdo private press Christian rock as well. Either way, almost all of these catchy songs are getting lodged in my head, particularly the aforementioned "Die Rock" and the leadoff single/video "Inhuman Nature." Wrap it in a nice and shiny gold and black Robert Beatty cover design, and you've got another bold step from the Sophomore Lounge label.    (* Penetration Initials, Radish on Light, Soft Walks, and throw Permanent Drool/Lucifers Twins in there if you're feeling especially frisky.)

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

LABEL ROUNDUP: Silvox Recordings

Silvox Recordings is a Philadelphia-based label that has released nine cassettes so far (and co-released one 7-inch). I have here what look to be their second and third batches, four tapes released sometime in 2011, and three more released just this month. The label is run by Robert Francisco, who Blastitude completists and some others (with hopefully more to come) will recognize as the musician behind M Ax Noi Mach and the street photographer and poet behind the American Rager blog. Several releases in, his label is as interesting as his work in other media has been. Here's some reviews. 

From 2011: 

DAWN CULBERTSON Return of the Evil Pappy Twin C30. I'm going to start with the Dawn Culbertson tape, probably the biggest anomaly in the catalog of what is ostensibly a "noise" label. It's immediately apparent that something uncharacteristic is happening; the uniform black & white design with clear typeface is a Silvox standard and does little to tip a release's hand either way (except suggesting the possibility of something stark and minimalist), but add a traditionally framed photograph of a stern-looking and possibly hippie-era woman playing a lute, with the normal name Dawn Culbertson, and the weird title Return of the Evil Pappy Twin, and you don't really think "noise" or "industrial" or "power electronics." Listen to the music within, and things get a little weirder; it is indeed a possibly hippie-era woman sternly playing the lute, but she's also sternly singing, and it's not medieval madrigals either, it's an eclectic and rather hip assortment of mostly 70s rock and punk covers, like "Search & Destroy," "Blitzkrieg Bop," "Mongoloid," even the Yardbirds' "Heart Full Of Soul." The results are palate-cleansing to say the least. I'm not sure how much I actually enjoy Miss Culbertson's music, but the strength of her singing and playing is lingering in my head as I write. I like what the label blurb says: "The whole album has a pretty somber feel. The lyrics take on a new meaning when coming from Dawn. She speaks of herself through others' lyrics, highlighting different themes by accentuating different lines. Certain lines that don't stand out on the originals stand out on her versions." This is true of her lute playing as well. The liner notes also reveal that Miss Culbertson passed away in 2004, which certainly adds weight to her music.


FRANCISCO FRANCO Instrumental Demos C50. This is another weird one because it's a band made of three known ragers -- Robert Francisco (M Ax Noi Mach, Angeldust, et al), Matt Franco (Air Conditioning), and Nate Davis (also of Angeldust) -- and what should they play when they all get together but . . . instrumental college rock demos that sound like a band that really looks up to The Cure and R.E.M. Okay, some of it gets a little dark, like a lighter and airier Joy Division, and most of it does have a pretty nice forlorn feeling, like prime For Against, but it's really not what I expected. Getting past these initial judgements somewhere along side two, I think the band does have a pretty good sound. It may be college rock, but at least its underground college rock, like those chilly thin-toned 1980s ballads that you only heard on tiny left of left of the dial campus stations. Still, as the album title itself admits, these are "instrumental demos," and I really do wish they had a singer. In fact, these are such good and clear demos, I can make up lyrics to 'em in all the right places. I might have to move to Philly so I can be their singer. You heard it here first. Guys? I'm in your band.

VEILED Museu Secret C24. Now here's a tape that sounds more like what I expected, again featuring Robert Francisco, this time playing in a duo with Barcelona, Spain musician Arnau Sala, who until recently ran the Ozonokids label and performs solo as Ex-Cop (see review below). There's a nice atmospheric photo of the duo in front of a wall-hung crucifix on the inside of the J-card, and an eerie forlorn religious statue on the cover. The Silvox description calls this tape "leather noise," and that's accurate, but there are no vocals, so it never really falls into the power electronics genre trap, instead riding a changing but constantly tensing electronic noise/synth pulse throughout four more-or-less equal-in-length tracks. It's loud but its also very subdued, and there is eventually even a strange languor in the way the tracks stay reined it. This works well with the "secret museum" concept, as the listener is allowed to step back and simply observe, evaluate, ponder. It also makes me realize how much I prefer drony synths in a noise/power electronics context to drony synths in a cosmic/new age context. (This just in: there's a new Veiled flexi-disc single available from the Glass Coffin label.)

BASTARD D-STRUCTION Narcissistic Suffering in the Static Understandings C24. This one has the most 'characteristic' imagery yet; the band name is Bastard D-Struction, the cassette title is Narcissistic Suffering in the Static Understandings (say what?), the first track is called "Industrialized," and it starts in unabashed classic industrial techno fashion with some news-bite of an irate broadcaster reminding us about all the piles of shit George W. Bush dumped onto our country during his reign . . . see, it's gotten me riled up too! Industrial music works! But seriously, this is some fairly generic but also fairly ripping industrial techno. Side one gets into some gabber styles which I haven't heard for a long time, and it's pretty invigorating. Side two is on more of an 'extreme techno with death metal vocals' trip that I find pretty grating. The vocals seemed a little more sublimated on side one, which I appreciate . . . I'm just not into dudes (or ladies for that matter, but it's usually dudes) who, track after track, only do one of the following: scream, yell, bark, bellow, or growl. Combinations of these five things can work well, but please don't get stuck doing one. But yeah, I already said that the vocals are somewhat varied on this tape, so they get a pass. The tape also has a cool cover. In general, I really dig the Silvox visual aesthetic; I appreciate not having to dig and/or guess to figure out who the artist is and what the name of the album is, and in my old age I'm finding black & white to be just as evocative (and even as psychedelic as) color. 

From 2012: 

MIRROR TALK s/t C38. This band, from Berlin, Germany, appears to be a Silvox discovery, and they've given us an au courant voyage into straight-up 80s-style synth-pop vocal tunes. It's not even really coldwave, more flowery and new romantic. Melancholy, but very, very pretty. Although it is a recent recording, there really isn't a single note, vocal, or move that couldn't have come straight from the 1980s, and I find that somewhat trendy and nostalgic. That said, I do like the way side one ends with a few minutes of near-cosmic instrumental music. It's like these guys earned the right to go near-cosmic by working out a few heartfelt-enough pop ballads first, just as Silvox Recordings earned the right to release trendy and nostalgic 1980s synth-pop by putting out varied music like Veiled and Dawn Culbertson first.

EX-CON Parlant Amb El Costat Esquerre C40. Okay, back to Silvox's bread and butter: "Delicately controlled, raw electronics. Industrial, rhythmic." This is a solo tape by Arnau Sala, the Spanish half of the Veiled duo, and again the label blurb I just quoted describes the music herein succinctly and accurately. There's been a lot of talk the past year or so about how "techno is the new noise," and how former noise artists are turning into techno artists. Some are being accused of trendhopping, not good enough to make real techno. Meanwhile, Ex-Con is sitting comfortably somewhere in between noise and techno without worrying about being either, just making music, and excellent tapes like this one. I like what Sala is doing and I think this and the Veiled tape are the pick of the label so far.

SYNB Scum Cusp C70. We close out this Silvox roundup with another 'characteristic' release: old-school "heavy dark electronics." In fact, SYNB is the nom de guerre of an actual old-school underground noise artist active since the 1990s, Mat Brinkman. You might know him as a musician with the groups Forcefield and Mindflayer, a superb visual artist, and a key member of the so-called Fort Thunder scene that spawned Lightning Bolt and others. He certainly knows what he's doing when it comes to heavy dark electronics, with plenty of space and separation for the weird sounds to be heard playing off of each other. Industrial rhythms both sublimated and pounding, creep-zone textures, and highly controlled white noise. Plenty of good stuff on the tape, though 70 minutes of it is a little too much for me. Tapes can be a different beast than an album, more like sketchbooks. Not to say this particular work is sketchy -- this stuff is "fully realized" -- there's just a lot on here, which means this tape will definitely give you your "money's worth."


Wednesday, July 25, 2012

PHO BAND/FAUX BAND 10" LATHE CUT (GREATDIVIDING) The greatdividing label of Queensland, Australia is back with a clear-vinyl 10-inch release that I'm guessing is a lathe cut -- it's got that Peter King feel. I'm never 100 percent sure who a greatdividing release is by, even as I'm looking at what I can only assume is the band name on the label. Other than the a range of greatdividing comp, it's either a record by house band Exiles From Clowntown or some combination of "Arob" and "Soottyb" (when Arob and Soottyb release records, are they split releases? Collaborations? For gods sake, are they split collaborations??), except this one is a split between the Pho Band and the Faux Band, although the Pho Band label also says "Arob/Soottyb," while the Faux Band label says "Soottyb/Arob." The greatdividing website says "Two 11 minute long tracks recorded at separate times in different places by the same two blokes," which actually explains it. Both sides of the record do have a very similar M.O., which is almost exactly 11 minutes of one guitar or instrument playing slowly morphing atonal skipping-record-style machine loops, which are improvised over by another with softly sketching guitar scribbles. I do wonder if all the greatdividing music released so far has been improvised, even when they are playing in Exiles from Clowntown, which has riffs and stuff, and sometimes even vocals. The Pho Band/Faux Band is more blatantly improvisational, mellower, and longer. The sometimes-maligned 10-inch format is actually welcome here, because it retains that quick-hit greatdividing style while going on plenty long enough to carve a quite nice and rarefied atmosphere, which I'm going to call 21st Century Industrial Electric Beach Dirge Raga.... good to know someone's doing it. You know, by the time greatdividing has built up 70 or 80 minutes worth of these obscure little 7-inches and 10-inches and lathe-cuts and whatnot, I'm going to want, get this, a CD of their whole discography, something in a nice and somewhat annotated foldout digipak, preferably with a high-quality slipcase. Hint, hint...


Is greatdividing an improvised music label? A rock label? Do you call your music anything, like when people in the real world ask you what kind of music you play? 

"a simple band of simple mates/ making sounds on a budget rate/ we make no claims to be great/ just simple sounds for simple tastes."

greatdividing was started to release some of the music we'd been doing that would otherwise never see the light of day.

We've been playing and recording in kitchens and halls since the late '70s / early '80s. We started in the same small town, but have lived in different states/cities for a lot of the time since and have swapped stuff and collaborated when visiting and via the post. By the mid '00s we had a heap of tapes and were still recording regularly. Although we had talked about releasing stuff over the years, it just never happened. Eventually greatdividing came into being in 2003. Our criteria for releasing stuff is 'would we want to own this ourselves, if we knew nothing about it?'

When people in the real world ask we're usually pretty flippant about it. We have no reason to label what we do. That's up to others. We are interested to hear other peoples takes on our stuff though. We like reviews, positive or negative…especially if they make us laugh.
Arob and Soottyb are two separate artists on the Greatdividing label, right? Two different people, right? Why does the Faux Band side of the lathe-cut say "Arob/Soottyb" and the Pho Band side say "Soottyb/Arob"? Does it have something to do with who plays 'lead' and who plays 'rhythm'? Are Arob and Soottyb also two of the three Exiles from Clowntown? How do you pronounce Soottyb anyway? I want to say Sooty B, which sounds like the name of a rap MC that performs dressed as a inner-city chimney sweep.  
Yep we're both Exiles and most definitely two different people. Both our 'handles' are taken from our email addresses. Soottyb is an amalgamation of a few different nicknames from over the years which got distilled down to Soottyb. It's pronounced : soot-tib. Thats a good one about the rappin' chimney sweep tho, ha!

The credits on the 10" reflect who instigated which track. We keep our real names out of it because our egos aren't involved. We'd been doing this for a long time without anybody ever knowing about us and we'd still be doing it if we had never released anything.

"kicking a few ideas around at greatdividing h.q." Pic by Soottyb.

You said you grew up in a small Queensland town. Where at and what was it like? How did you get into music there? Play in any shitty cover bands, or any good ones? Eventually you ended up in Sydney, right? How did 3 Toed Sloth come about? How did Exiles from Clowntown come about? 
Ah yes, Clowntown…a beautiful spot that the government seemed intent on turning into just another suburban shit hole (and succeeded). For instance, when i was a little kid there were miles of sand dunes along the beaches just outside of town where once you weren't even allowed to stop your car and walk because it was so environmentally sensitive, but by the time i was in my early teens those same dunes were being bulldozed to make way for canal style estates and shopping malls.

Like a lot of small towns, there were a lot of small minds, but also a few of the finest characters you'd ever wanna meet. Needless to say the small minds ruled. None of us have lived there for a long time now. We were run out of town by vicious mobs of grey haired pillars of society and golden haired hitler youth wannabes. 
We played music there purely for our own amusement. The place was ruled over by zealous senior citizens who's motto was There'll be NO FUN in this town! There were no venues or bands. We initially all bonded together through a mutual liking for punk rock. We got into music in the usual ways, friends, older siblings, radio, t.v. etc.   
3 toed sloth' were born from the ashes of Rodent. Rodent was the elder punk in Clowntown. He was great. He told me he could teach a five year old child to play guitar in 15 minutes flat, but he couldn't teach me. One day Rodent took his own life. Later i got his guitar from his parents and taught myself to play (take that rodent!) then i moved to Sydney where I tried unsuccessfully to join a few bands, but i could only play my own songs... A few years later Sharon (a friend from Queensland) turned up in Sydney with a bass. We started going to practice rooms where we would drink beer, make a racket and laugh at ourselves. After a year or so of this we invited Tom along because we wanted to hear what our racket sounded like with drums (feedtime had recently split). We sounded much better. I sang because i wrote the lyrics and nobody else wanted to. After awhile we were asked to play with our friends La Sect Rouge. We played our first show supporting them late '89. We never played all that often, it wasn't a good time for small bands like us. I only remember bits 'n' pieces…at one show i broke all my guitar strings by the fifth song. We were all good at breaking stuff. A friend once said that seeing 3 toed sloth was "like watching a bull in a china shop". Not exactly sure what they meant, but it rings true anyway. By the end of 1990 we had loads of songs and decided to record some to document what we'd been doing up to that point. In '91 we self released an lp. Our attitude was that it should live or die on its own merits. No promotion. We kept at it for another two years and recorded once more, when a fan offered to record us at his college studio as part of his course. Those recordings finally got released seventeen years later as the '…against the odds' dbl 7" on Unwucht and the Negative Guest List Jukebox Single #2. We never stopped coming up with new songs and it was always fun, but nobody wanted to know about us and towards the end we couldn't get a show for love nor money. Sometime around late '93 we just kind of stopped. People seem way more interested now than they ever were when we were around…we played four shows in 2011 (including SS-Ten in SF) to celebrate the release of the 7"s and twenty years since the lp. We had a blast. No future plans. 
Exiles from Clowntown is a bridge of friendship that links our futures and pasts. Although we'd all known each other for a long time, we only started playing together in this combination when the other two shared a big cheap house in Melbourne in the mid '90s. They had a room soundproofed with old mattresses where they practiced with a band they had with someone else. There were always instruments lying around so we would just muck around playing stuff off the top of our heads once in awhile. When it clicked it was effortless fun and we'd play for hours, if it didn't click we'd just hang out drinking and listen to records. After they moved out of there we all ended up in different cities and only got to play very occasionally. Somehow that made us focus on it more and its become our main musical focus. We enjoy it and although we do it for fun, we are serious about making music we want to hear.

Exiles in Clowntown live at 'greatdividing and friends' night. Pic by Kris Morriss. "Framed picture of the queen is part of the decor, not a prop."

"3 toed sloth and feedtime play their first shows in 17 and 22 years respectively greatdividing night easter 2011." Pics by Brendan Boucher. 

How often do greatdividing bands play shows? Do you ever tour in Australia? Any plans to travel to the USA and lose thousands of dollars playing to 10 or 15 weirdos at a time? Any other greatdividing plans being hatched you'd like to unveil here? An Exiles from Clowntown full-length perchance?
Everyone involved is scattered around the country, so its hard to arrange anything, let alone shows. We mainly play when people are kind enough to invite us…we try to oblige. We put on a 'greatdividing and friends' night last year in a small club on top of a large cliff over looking the pacific ocean. It was pretty great. 

We'd like to play more often, but its difficult with the distance thing and us all having busy lives etc.  As far as us coming to play in the U.S…that sounds only slightly less far fetched than saying we're going to tour Mars, but never say never i guess…we're open to offers! 

Current plans:  There's a new comp of new and old stuff 'Another range of greatdividing' in the works, with Unwucht doing the vinyl late 2012 or early 2013. 

There's been a long standing plan to do an Exiles from Clowntown LP.  Brendon from Negative guest list was a big supporter and had asked about NGL doing it, but that's not gonna happen since his unfortunate untimely passing. Since then Soft Abuse from Minneapolis have been in touch and offered to do it, so thanks to them it may actually happen in the not too distant future… 

Some good people here have offered to help organise Exiles…shows in Melbourne and Hobart later this year and we're looking forward to that.

"the small question mark in the middle of this poster was the only hint of a particularly well guarded secret that our friends feedtime (with tom on drums) *might play for the first time in twenty two years (as a public warm up for their one off at SS-Ten in 2011) *might  because we made them an open invitation and despite them all being in attendance, it was only confirmed they would play 45 minutes before they took to the stage...after saying 'fuck off, no way" when asked half an hour before that…"

Speaking of playing shows, what's the story behind this youtube clip? Some sort of outdoor festival, smart drink tent not visible? Was it a good night/day? If it isn't obvious by now in the interview, what's the lineup here?


It was a free festival of experimental and noise music. Held inside a large tin shed on an old government ship building island in Sydney Harbour early 2012. It was a good day, borrowed gear, no soundcheck, broken bass string in first song (no replacement), drum kit that kept falling apart…it all went pretty smoothly. Not saying we were best or anything like that, but we were definitely the loudest and most rocking.  Lineup: Soottyb - guitar + rav-box + shout , Arob - bass + mumble, Mr Mopriss - drums + inspiration *we like mix it up and swap instruments every so often. 

Who are these other bands on the range of greatdividing comp . . . Shoptoprockers? Rock Boycott? The heavily named Deep Brain Thrombosis? Rock Boycott & The Yellow Steed?? What's their deal, are they all still playing? Is either Arob or Soottyb or both in all of these bands too? 
Shoptoprockers: One of many projects that flourished in the cheap rental accommodation above shops on busy inner city roads in the 80's/90's. With no next door neighbours to annoy, we played to irritated flatmates and pissed off passing pedestrians. 

Rock Boycott: A jack of all instruments and master of drum (machine). Rumoured to be the bastard love child of Big John Zupp and Jackie Mac (minor '70s Brisbane t.v. celebs). Abandoned in the Beau Desert as a child and raised by dingoes. One day he crawled from beneath the rock ledge they called home, stood on two feet and walked. During this forward trajectory he turned laughing to himself and mumbled "rock boycott"...has made little sense since.

Deep brain thrombosis: Originally inspired to make music by T.V. advert jingles and later obsessed by the Radio Story from the second album by Alternative TV. Dbt is still trying to perfect the art of the downer jingle…its a real dilemma! 

the Yellow Steed: An early incarnation of Exiles from Clowntown during their space junk rock phase. Although they didn't know it at the time, they would prove to be the perfect backing band for Rock Boycott during his rock hard cock phase. 

Dbt and Rock Boycott are on going. Shoptoppers and Yellow Steed have been subsumed by Exiles… 

Arob and/or Soottyb are involved.

There has been a lot of exciting underground punk/rock musical activity coming from Australia just in the last couple years. Arob, in a previous communique you listed a bunch of killer Australian bands that inspired you growing up. So, in closing, the multi-part question from hell: who are the best Australian bands currently active, who are the best Australian bands of all-time, and who are the best non-Australian bands of all-time?

That's a great multi-part question from hell, but we don't really know much about best-evers…here's some Youtube stuff we like.


O string buster san 

A Warning


Nyuck x 3 


Village idiot 

Shirt Dance




Jesus christ in reverse


Some old guy




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