Saturday, March 28, 2009

Come On, Let's Go!!!

My friend Serge is applying for a $50,000 grant to document the young BlackFoot Indians! You procure this grant by getting the maximum number of votes for yr project, via the website. I really like his photographs, and his ideas; and i also agree with his point, in that native culture is disappearing like castles made of sand, and there will be a time when these photographs of normal people and normal life will be totally priceless.

The main thing i can say about Serge is that he is dedicated to his project, and to his art. He spends as much time researching photographers and technique as i do with music and musicians. He has also already started this, spending a summer on the Res. He desperately wants to go hang out with these people, and see his work realized. Let's help him!

Check out his proposal and vote here:

See his work here:

Friday, March 27, 2009

Danielle Dax

The year was 1993, and i was 13 years old. I was flailing about for an identity, first latching onto what was shoved down my throat via corporate radio, and then delving into the depths of obscurity. Alternative rock was at its heyday, and i liked R.E.M.,Nirvana, and the Smashing Pumpkins, and due to a fluke of the time, had heard the unlikely strains of Dead Can Dance's 'The Ubiquitous Mr. Lovegrove,' suggesting an exotic, magickal, and mysterious world which really piqued my curiosity.
Around this time, my sister was dating a guy from Munising, MI, named Joe. He would drive the 7 hours to hang out, and sometimes my sister would leave him at home with nothing to do. He was the first music obsessive i met, spending all his free time and dollars at record stores, pulling out arcane gems that no one has ever heard, before or since. An avalanche of cassettes would spill out of his back-seat when you opened the door. He didn't differentiate sounds or label himself; it was all gold to him.
When he was around, my Mom would let me stay home from school to hang out, probably to encourage me to have a male role-model, partly for him to have something to do. Those days were so MAGNIFICENT, driving around in his car, listening to the coolest shit, going to the tinytinytiny record store, where the owner Jim would give us free posters and flats, cuz we actually gave a shit. I was getting curious and asking questions, wanting to delve further into stuff i was hearing on the radio, and also cuz i looked up to him, i would ask him what music to listen to. I remember him handing me a stack of 20 CDs, with bands like the Pixies, Janes Addiction, Tool, Red Hot Chili Peppers, etc. Up to this point, i was a good little christian boy, and my mind was good and permanently blown.
During these long musical conversations, he pulled out a cassette by a woman named Danielle Dax, Jesus Egg That Wept, and it was the first time i heard the word Goth used in a sentence. I took it to mean dark and creepy, and that i was into, always have been. With the grinding, carnival-esque opening strains of 'The Evil Honky Stomp,' my hair stood up on end, every nerve standing on red alert! What the fuck is this shit?!? They don't play this on the radio... "Up in the Big House/They're Branding Niggers/Destroy a Life/To give 'em Gold." This was straight up evil, relishing in it. "They sing Hallelujah, praise to the lord, amen!" The low-down mantra chant of Pariah, "Walking sick sick/they walk and they crawl", was stuck in my head for probably 8 years, with its malodorous refrain. This record was the tip of the iceberg, with me getting into Dead Can Dance, The Cranes, and the Cure around the same time, hurtling me into the nether-world of obsession; dusty magazine racks, over-priced imports, eyes burning and raw from squinting at web-sites in Russian. This has become my all-consuming passion, my reason for living, and it all started on those afternoons skipping school. I have since lost Mr. Joe Hornbeck, due to being a drunken fuck-up for so long, if anyone knows him, please send him this way!
After the initial exposure, i hunted high and low for this album for probably 4 years, i mean almost every day. I found a record in Chicago at one point, and i bought it, without even owning a record player. I finally found a CD and taped it, had it in my Chrysler New Yorker during those infamous road-trips. Angela and i had a particularly memorable listening session driving through the depths of Mississippi, on our way to New Orleans, listening to this. I am pleased to report that it has really held up under time and scrutiny, unlike many of my gothic fetishes who were BADBADBAD, with their fake pretension and moodiness. Danielle Dax has a sardonic psychedelia, as evinced in her cover of the Beatles, 'Tomorrow Never Knows'. This shit is dark and trippy and weird and cool and controversial, and next to nobody knows about her. I have had these albums 3 to 4 times, and i went looking again recently, and nobody had them on their blogs, so i am doing the deed, hooking y'all up and i highly recommend that you listen and take note!
Great music that was highly influential on my life, that is horribly obscure, unknown and unloved. What more do you need? Go for it!
Jesus Egg That Wept+-+-+-+-Jesus Egg The Wept
Blast the Human Flower+-+-+-+- Blast The Human Flower
Inky Bloaters+-+-+- Inky Bloaters

ps... if anyone has Pop Eyes or Dark Adapted Eye, and wanted to hook a brother up, it would be greatly appreciated!

Jessica Rylan - Interior Designs

Well damn, i was hoping to be the first to post this, but while looking up the track listing, i found that someone had beat me to it. So it saves me the trouble of uploading to Mediafire, and i am borrowing the link from the mighty fine O Bam Garfo site, vestibule of many wonderful oddities.

So i thought i'd sling some of my own pixels on this audio document, adding to the stack that have already accumulated around it. This is the first release under Jessica Rylan's own name, released on Important Records in 2007. Normally releasing under the name Can't, this record is slightly smoother and less twitchy, more glowing and less glitchy. Predominantly built around the 8-bit rosy hue of her homemade synths, her sounds recall an inherent nostalgia; a childhood spent clustered around a 12" screen and an Atari 2600, its like seeing Polaroids of yrself as a kid, joyful and melancholy simultaneously.

Extraordinary opens the album, with nearly 15 minutes of sweeping oscillations, recalling sounds of retro-spaceships and early sci-fi. Sort of cheesy, sort of friendly, sort of ominous, an odd amalgam, a strange ambience is produced. She definitely knows her machines, and her touch is deft and knowing, carressing the crannies of the circuit-boards she has loving produced. This mastery of touch, and attention to detail, is the saving grace of this work, but 15 minutes of knob twiddling as an introduction is not a very engaging opener to anyone other than the initiated. Luckily, i like flying saucer noises, so i persevered.

The second and third tracks, timeless and phantasia, are when the going gets good, in my opinion. Transporting the listener, it creates an immersive environment, with traces of analog equipment flourishing around the edges, like a burned picture-frame, it creates a real-world touch stone that is easier to relate and emote to, rather than just sounding like theme music for a video game that doesn't exist. The low rumbling of 'Timeless' sounds like cassette rumble manipulated, searing the otherwise technicolor pixels of tweets and chirps, and the effect is unsettling and oddly beautiful. The vision scratched across my eyelids on this section is of Tamagotchi town burning, cartoon creatures twittering in alarm, while the static mountains and forests are unmoved. Its like watching an Atari campfire.

The last track, many people's favorites, Interior Designs, with Jandek-ian detuned guitar strumming above a tinny Casio beat-box. Its sort of enjoyable, definitely unexpected, but it goes on too long (nearly 12 minutes, if i remember correctly), and is sort of aimless. Looks like Rylan decided to include the kitchen sink, as well.

Overall, this album is enjoyable, and has many interesting ideas, but not many of them come to fruition. It is good, but not magnificent. The main problem i have, the question raised, is the intended audience and environment for listening. Its rather caustic and jarring to read or study to, too demanding to be audial wall-paper, but too sparse to be a party record. It works fairly well as a headphones album, close yr eyes and trip out on the technicolor twitters, but its too harsh to be soothing. My overall conclusion is that this record was probably fun as hell to make, and its probably great to witness the experiment live, and encompassing volumes, watching her fingers fly over her homemade creations, but as an integral audio artifact, it falls slightly short. There are definitely interesting textures and production ideas for those that are interested in homemade lo-fi sound synthesis, and i count myself among the choir that is being preached to.

Thanks to Postsilence for introducing me, and to O Bam Garfo for the link

Friday, March 20, 2009

Shitgaze, Shostakovich, and the Shangri-Las

I realize i sort of trailed off on that last post, but the good news is i have a rather inadvertent 'spring break', in that i work at a university, and they don't need as many workers, so i pretty much have the week off. I've been having a difficult time finding time for everything while working full-time, so this week i really hope to drill down, work on this blog and my print 'zine, as well as playing music and taking care of my heart, body, and soul.
So its been pretty strange in my head lately, since i've been working, really. My schedule is opposite of most of the rest of the people that i know, getting off of work in the middle of the night, coming home to an empty apartment and my thoughts. Lots of space to furnish my own interior universe, lost in daydreams, listening to headphones. My main past-time, lately, is listening to music and reading comics (Fables at present, which is quite good). Lots of fuzzy pop music, diddling my neurons and tickling my ears, falling into the psychedelic soup of silence behind my eyes. Things get really thick and heavy when i spend a good deal of time alone, all that acid i ate rearing its neon fangs, and i twitch and fight against the void, but it is always there, waiting for me. So i've been going through it, some times with grace, sometimes kicking and screaming. And when it all gets to be too much, i have recently found the pleasures of '60s Girl Groups; the Ronettes, the Crystals, The Shangri-Las. Sounds of joy and innocence and heart-break, adolescent and sincere, a refeshing remedy to these post-ironic times. Against the backdrop of soul-searing noise-static that i also like to immerse myself in; Fennesz, Gray Daturas, Yellow Swans, Merzbow, these pastel rosy hues sprawl like cuneiform, the most deranged and demented, novel and different sounds you could imagine. The dichotomy pulls me like wild horses, and i'm somewhere in the middle of this extremes, Old Man Gloom and Peter Pan, duking it out, and trying to find a compromise.
In the midst of all of this, i have discovered the delightfully titled Shitgaze movement; Wavves, Blank Dogs, Zola Jesus, Pink Reason, and it does seem to strike a balance between these extremes, noisy as fuck, buried in the red, while amazing pop melodies (sometimes) lie buried beneath the scum. In short, i love it, and can't get enough. Its got me saving my pennies and dreaming of the day that i get my very own cassette 4 track and start contributing to society.
This week, i've also taken on an assignment to work on a piece for my friend Teresa's new zine, Dorktits. Its a platform to air our geeky dirty laundry, and i've decided to expound upon my passion for russian composer Dmitri Shostakovich, who is a hero of mine, and i also adore his music. His string quartets reduce me to a drooling stump! So i've got heavy martial russian classical music on one hand, Diana Ross on the Other, and Blank Dogs somewhere in the middle, scrawling obscene graffiti on my dreams. These components make for a very interesting and surreal interior experience, and i realize that i am changing, mutating, going with it and trying not to be too afraid.
I had a dream this morning that my girlfriend was breaking up with me, had a messenger deliver the message in a condescending 'How Dare You, You Scumbag' tone of voice. I walked away, bewildered and hurt. There was a girl, sitting in the hallway, preaching to uninterested passer-bys, convincing them to have hope, to not be jaded, to continue to struggle and fight. She had 3 bigs blocks of wood, bound in iron, with 3 stone turtles in front and 3 daggers. Some person started to confess, she told him to go tell it to the trees. She described a scene of majestic, old-growth forests being clear-cut with angry biting chain-saws, and it was all too much, too much, i fell down on the floor sobbing, curling up into a ball. My own personal grief, with the weight of the world bearing down, how could i survive? How long can i carry on?
I woke up with tears streaming down my face. I never EVER cry, that well's been dry since i was a kid, and i was just sobbing like a babe, thinking of all those magickal forests, gonegonegone. I put on Wolves in the Throne Room, who are a black metal band that speak of these issues, reviving the old Pagan ways, fighting the war against the powers of darkness, meeting in secluded dimly lit groves to light the fires and DANCE! I felt their power roar through me. I felt better, cleansed of poison. Sue stopped by, was feeling angry and misanthropic herself, and we lie together, allowed ourselves to feel better, and i saw that we were together, close as ever, and we help each other get through this life, which is often a bitter barren wasteland. The voice of Hope. The voice of Healing. We lie together, curled up like semi-colons, and realized that we are no longer alone.
So all of this going on beneath the surface of an other-wise unexciting daily existence. Everything internal, and i finally have a moment to decompress and realize what the fuck's been going on, and where i'm at! So on that note, i will point you in the direction of a few of my favorite hidden clearings lately:
Will Oldham discography - for those hardy souls, willing to brave the darkness and find the light. I'm trying to absorb his body of work, before seeing THE MAN in April!
Girl Group sounds - a pretty choice Girl Group sampler, some deep dusty cuts. Enough to hold me over until i can find the One Kiss Can Lead to Another box set, which i will post when i find it!
shh... its a secret - i can't really say what this is, but i promised myself i would post it here, when i found it, since i spent literally weeks looking for this. Aerophones and Aeroplanes, you are the shit!

I hope to post some reviews this week, if anyone is interested, and some archaic archival recordings, since sharing it and talking about it makes me feel less hermetic, twisted, and obsessed! Hope everybody is doing well.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

mah week

yes, ladies and gentlemen, i have been downright misanthropic this week. Between the dual influences of reading Nick Cave's brilliant but brutal And the Ass Saw the Angel and seeing The Watchmen on Sunday, relating to Rorschach's views on humanity's depravity; it has left me feeling like an isolated Boo Radley, outside of society and always on the run, always on guard. Reminds me of being a kid, avoiding busy streets so as to not encourage any projectiles or insults being hurled. Like a whipped dog, i was, and i carry those seeds inside of me. Truth be told, however, is that i have been slack on my spiritual program, and my brain will seek any outlet for these uncomfortable feelings, itching in my skin suit, and looking for a way OUT!
Things came to a head on Tues., day 5 of my fugue and i just couldn't shake it. The pressure mounting, building behind my temples, eyes flashing red, i hate everybody including myself. Tired, harried, stressed-out, not one palm tree as respite in my desert of desperation. I took a deep breath, realizing that the only way out is to pass through the fire, i just had to get through my day by whatever means necessary, other than drinking. I embraced my malevolence, and vowed that i would spend my night and my days off getting centered and grounded, taking care of myself and picking up the pieces. That said, i through on Skinny Puppy's Too Dark Park on the Cd player, played 3 times through. I had forgotten how much i enjoy their nasty work. I will continue this at a later time, i've got some links for y'all, and will endcap this craziness. Suffice it to say, i'm feeling better, thanks for asking. To get you started:

Skinny Puppy - Too dark park
Nick Cave - And The Ass Saw the Angel - password: eniac

Monday, March 2, 2009

ty segall

just a quick note, my break is almost over, but this shit kicks ass, i just found it today! Can't seem to get enough of the fuzzy garage pop these days. Its pretty rude and raw! Saw an interesting comment today saying Animal Collective were the ultimate Appolonian band, that we were due for a new era of Sunshiny music after the doom 'n gloom of the past 8 years. Ah, sweet relief! For my part, a large part is feeling young and in love. So les bon temps roulez!

Get it here.

Thanks OngakuBake, you guys are aces.