Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Jedediah Logsdon - Ancillary (Laser Palace)

Ancillary, by Jedediah Logsdon, is a musique concrète piece in 3 parts, released on Laser Palace, a label run by Ryan McRyhew and Kristi Schaefer, formerly out of Denver, now located in Chicago. On Ancillary, recorded over the span of 2 years, between Seattle and Chicago, Jedediah Logsdon utilizes every trick available to the modern experimental artist: field recordings, MAX-MSP patches, dithering digital noise, laptops, tape recorders, and lovingly sculpts them into an audible narrative.

Ancillary is about leaving, and returning. It starts out with 'Take Steps' which is full of mangled bird sounds and lapping waves, that were probably recorded here in the Pacific Northwest, and then segues into 'Let's Try That Again' which is nearly 7 minutes of polychromatic digital fog, floating tone colors that feel like being in a pressurized airplane, at 12,000 feet; speculative, inconclusive. The pièce de résistance comes with 'Mention', the artist at his most mature and refined, buzzing insects and disembodied vocals, squeaks and rattles, fiddling with a radio. Leaves you wondering what the fuck he's doing, not really ominous, just curious. Strange worlds, visually rich, pleasant drones, its a time-lapsed simulacra of a day in Chicago, walking, wondering, and watching.

Jed's a serious dude, enthusiastic about concrète and tape music; he pores over Paris Transatlantic, he builds his own modular synths. We kicked it pretty hard in Colorado, and he turned me on to giants such as Bernard Parmegiani, Luc Ferrari, Otomo Yoshiide (this kid's got the most authentic Japanese pronunciation this side of the Pacific), Delia Derbyshire. He's investigating the question we're all wondering about: 'Where do we go from here?' How does one discern a quality noise/drone release, in the sea of offal? In the past, electronic musicians would spend a month of 18 hour days to make a 3 minute piece. Xenakis didn't take on another architectural project for a decade, after helping to construct the Philips Pavilion during the Brussel's World Fair, in 1958.

An artist in 2012 must be self-accountable, striving for excellence, on guard against laziness and self-indulgence, especially if one is outside of the academic circles. Few will call you on yr bullshit, and many will praise it. Jedediah Logsdon just wants to make interesting art, something that will stand the test of time. He's constantly dis-satisfied with his own work, always moving forward. He's steeped in tradition, almost in awe of it; he has exquisite taste and discerning ears, for almost every style of music you could imagine. It comes through in his music, and Ancillary is an interesting snapshot of a young artist, coming of age in the early part of the 21st century, standing on the shoulders of giants, but sweeping out their feet at the same time.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Holy Filament Sounds

Holy Filament Sounds is the experimental/noise project of Andrew Consiglio, damaging ear drums and providing soundtracks for avant-garde dreamscapes since 1999. I became aware of his work through the message boards at Noise Guide, and i was quite ecstatic when i figured out that he was my neighbor to the north, right across the river in Vancouver, Wa.

With tracks dedicated to Peter 'Sleazy' Christopherson, Jandek, Tom Waits, and Harley Quinn, and a whole slew of music for free download, i knew i had found a kindred spirit. Anyone that can hear the commonalities of Consumer Electronics terrorism, freakish free folk jazz, and Tom Waits is family; i began a tireless listening campaign, providing the soundtrack to any number of misty, somnambulent northwestern rainy afternoons, staring out the window at featureless grey skies. This is always my favorite kind of music, where you feel like you've slipped into some nether-dimension, or a lucid dream. Like yr a ghost, haunting yr own house. Everything is quiet, the rain falling on the porch outside, the computer is making some infernal shriek, and there's a peace here, a meditative quality.

This is music to be listened to, appreciated. It will never be on the radio, anytime before 3 a.m. anyway. It is a mystical transportation device, and its very format, its instrumentation, the way it is distributed, ensures that it will be pure of heart and intent.

When i was younger, and just getting into the noise scene, it was so esoteric, so hidden, like Marco Polo's middle-east, with me drunkenly stuck and stupefied in rural Indiana. The ability to know, to correspond, to help spread the work about quality artists, and have them living so close, geographically, is endlessly invigorating; it keeps me up at night, listening to Pierre Schaeffer collages and sharpening my literary claws. It keeps me driving, and biting, and fighting.

'Black Holy Ceremony - Approaching the Altar of Baal' and 'The Throne of Belial at Dusk' are good places to start, for a dreamier, drearier vibe. 'All My Neighbors Hate Me' is a quick powernoise sugar bump for yr day. 'The Piano Has Been Shooting Ketamine (Not Me)' is an eloquent free jazz excursion that is bumping into john cage/twelve tone territory, and shows that Holy Filament Sounds can play, has chops, and is well versed in tradition.

This music makes me ache, makes me crave, leaves me wanting more; it unfolds like a hallucinogenic indigo lotus in my frontal lobe, the visions are starting to flicker even as i type. The fact that he gives it away for free astounds me! Go pounce!

Monday, February 27, 2012

Pierced Arrows, Night Nurse, Terokal, The Lordy Lords @ Plan B; 2.25.12

A few months ago, i e mailed Pierced Arrows on a whim; i was trying to con my way into the dinosaur jr. show. I had heard them down in Austin, TX, (which i talk about over here, along with their predecessors, Dead Moon), and i considered myself a fan, although i haven't really listened to them a ton. Out of the blue, i got a message from Toody, the bass player, who told me she'd love to put me on the guest list for upcoming shows, and she'd be into doing an interview!

This sent my engine into overdrive, nearly overheating: "oh shit, i've got to be a REAL journalist." This sent me into a manic spiral of research and worry, pre-meditating and zen-like calm. I even considered not going at all. On the way over, my tape recorded decided to crap out, and i was off the hook, was able to attend the show without worry or pressure of being legit.

Night Nurse was playing when i arrived, a very satisfying crunchy death/thrash metal band, crunchy low end that eased my worries, that sent my analytical brain to sleep, let me engage in the flow, the bacchanale, the orgy. This is rock 'n roll, its not devoid of intellect, but its not entirely comprised of it, either. Body and Mind, working together. Night Nurse were the perfect appetizer, easing into the evening, whetting my pallet, eager for more. There was a moment when the singer was the most beautiful woman on earth, goddess personified, feral and hungry and sexy and angry, totally fucking owning it. Unashamed. Beautiful to watch. These guys are relatively new, and are from Portland, so i would recommend seeking them out, if you like blackened crust metal punk.

Terokal up next, a hardcore punk bands, with vocals espanol. The singer seemed like a caged pit bull, down on the floor, pacing, screaming at people. He seems like a person who is used to brawls and possibly knife fights, like he wants people to get into his face, to DO SOMETHING. The band was flailing, vicious, taut as razor wire; and for the umpteenth million time, i was reminded why i like punk rock. These guys meant business.

The Lordy Lords were the worst band that i've had the misfortune to come across in a hot minute; imagine the robots from West World, if they were to start a Misfits cover band. All accessories, no meat on the bone. "So, i hope y'all like Rock 'n Roll," stuttered the singer. Too bad there was none to be found. Avoid this band at all costs.

I had run into my buddy Jefferson "3 Moons" Zurna, propping up a barstool, and we commandeered Plan B's free pool table right before Pierced Arrows took the stage. Working on bank shots and the gentle nudge when they began, and all was right with the world: a dingy night club, REAL rock 'n roll, free pool. There was almost some violence regarding a balked corner shot, shit was talked, alcohol and water was consumed. This is the BEST POSSIBLE SCENARIO to encounter Pierced Arrows. Burning ballads like 'This is the Day' or 'Let it Rain' or the jagged, strung-out metal of 'Paranoia', their music dripped with experience and reality, with implied meaning, gesture and inuendo. All the things that can't be spoken, but which come out when people are watching. They got warmed up and into it, their voices found their unity, somewhere between the tempered notes; it was like a punk rock church service, voices and instruments intertwining in the air; a screaming, singing paean to the night, to saturday night. Fred's guitar was ominous, angsty; Toody's bass playing was fast, frenetic, round and robust, driving into the future at a breakneck speed, common to all the best punk rock bassists.

I am glad that i didn't have to try and pretend to be an honest music journalist, and that i took a day to write to this review. This music is not analytical, if you look at the constituent parts, it falls away, like an engine being reduced to greasy nuts and bolts. Often times, their voices and instruments are ragged and out of tune. Their lyrics, on paper, can read like 70s protest songs. On the way to Plan B, i had entered an irreverent saturation point, ready to kill any idols or buddhas i should happen to meet. Just because you've been making music since the 60s does not automatically ensure you my respect, its not enough on my own. In this day and age, everybody is vying for yr ear time, so many bands. It is up to us to not believe the hype, to be discerning and to trust our judgment, and it is my job, at this site, to be honest about what i hear, think and feel. I will not blow sunshine up anybody's ass. Listening to The Rats (Fred's first band, re-issued on Mississippi Records), Dead Moon, and seeing Pierced Arrows the other night, i got it. I understood; these guys are fucking good. They've been playing together, in Dead Moon and Pierced Arrows, since 1987; i can't fathom how many shows they've played, in how many countries, to still be out slinging their shit on a sat. night for 60 people. They walk the walk, and when you catch them in their element, the air shimmers with the potential power of rock 'n roll: defiance, passion, CONFIDENCE. Living yr life the way you want to, unapologetic. All of this comes through their music, in and out of the pummeling bass and paranoid guitar.

Its a real treat that these dudes live in Portland and you can see them a bunch. Thanks so much to Toody, for getting me into the show.

I'm gonna be interviewing PA in the near future, i'll let y'all know when that comes together.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Pye Corner Audio - Live at the Outer Church

Here's a little morsel from the British hauntological society; a live nugget from the head technician of pye corner audio, unearthing slimy sonic artifacts from mouldering attics. Think Lovecraft's Innsmouth, if it had an underground disco scene, the head technician's reels are the dustiest in the land.

British do surrealism like none other; i highly recommend checking all of this guys' works, along with the likes of Belbury Poly, Mordant Music, The Caretaker, Johnny Mugwump's Exotic Pylon label and radio show. Dolly Dolly and the moon wiring club. This branch of weirdoes have turned me on to more surreal -xploitation films that you can fathom. My life would have far less Raw Meat and Comic SANS in it.

Exhumed for yr pleasure.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Thurs Night @ The Jade Lounge


If you are in or around Portland tonight, i organized a free concert at the Jade Lounge, 2342 SE Ankeny, just a few blocks from where i live. Mostly mellow, friends of mine, sweet song-writers i have been fortunate enough to meet and play with. Damn Divas play first, at 7, which is my roommate Alex's band, who play an ornate filigreed style of folk music. Acoustic instruments, vocal harmonies, i've seen 'em a bunch of times, and they keep getting better.

Cotton is Jim Han, and he's a minimalist. He doesn't draw attention to himself, but speaks with wisdom and clarity.

Dylan Bloodaxe is sort of like my younger brother, if my younger brother played ska guitar on the corner, to make 3 bucks. He plays in Kings and Vagabonds, who are all bros of mine.

My band, Meta - Pinnacle, plays last, ending the evening on a confusing note. Me and my friend Lily, blurring lines, playing guitars. We like to pretend no one is watching.

Expect to hear more about this tomorrow, but if yr around, come out and find out for yrself. Don't take my word for it.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Boyd Rice interview

Found out about this one through the Chondritic Sound forum, fella named Arvo had done an interview for an unnamed publication, who didn't follow through. He tried to air the audio on his radio program, Delirious Insomniac, but was bombarded with harassing phone calls until he had to desist. Boyd's just that kind of guy, he's controversial, he pushes buttons.

I have recently had my hunger for late '70s/early 80s industrial/electronic music, looking back to before culture was formulaic/codified. When there was an element of danger, an element of risk.

Over the course of this interview, Boyd discourses on familiar topics like Tiki culture, early industrial & Noise music, 60s television, the Partridge Family Temple. He also takes about being a working musician in 2012, which i find most interesting, for someone who was participating in the unfolding of the futurism.

For someone who was, at one point, the head of the Church of Satan, Boyd Rice has mellowed significantly, and most of this interview borders on hilarious. The interviewer is fluid and informed, and it is set to a beguiling backdrop of exotica and retro sci-fi soundscapes.

There is no substitution for experience. Someone who has been making unconventional music, art, literature, and films since the early 70s has had so much trial and error, seen so many trends come and go, there is a sagacity that seeps through Boyd's words, a mellowness that is common to the slightly older. Not like he's some relic to be venerated, but brother's got a lot of good shit to say, and reputation aside, i think he's got great taste and makes interesting art. I was recently listening to a record he made with Frank Tovey, from Fad Gadget, which i reviewed over here, and its good noise; satisfyingly abrasive, mind melting, prone to painful moments of unexpected peace, its well put together, and i was struck that this is a guy who helped write the rules, who doesn't follow rules. He's out in the wilderness, ahead of the pack. That's the way forward, mediocrity will be assimilated into the drift, and in certain ways, we are seeing some of the Satanic/Nietzschean values spring to life. Music for Iron Youth.

For those not yet in the know, here's the first part of this interview, which Arvo claims in THE resource for the unininformed:

here's the rest:

Thanks to Arvo, for the heads up, and for conducting the interview. Good stuff!

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

3 Moons - Almanac of the Dead

'Alamanac of the Dead' is like a diary, chronicling the first five months after violent death; full of sand and whispers and scorpions.

3 Moons is the solo project of Jefferson Zurna, who i became aware of with his work with Fake Hospital, who make the best post-Gysin Morrocan dervish worship that i have yet witnessed in person. Imagine my incredulity when encountering 3 Moons, and finding this irrational, out-of-body cosmic blues. All right folks, i would never utter these words without complete sincerity, but i have truly never heard anything like 3 Moons; i mean, i've heard similar ilk. At times it rubs elbows with psych/free-folk, there's definitely an improvisatory air at times. There's a creepy, reclusive Jandek vibe, (which for some reason, is the highest mark of recommendation i can give right now). But Almanac of the Dead is all of these things, at the same time, with even a splash of early N'awlins jazz, at times. The impression i am left with, which makes it all the more surreal, is i am reminded of pre-war blues, field recordings from dark hollers, when acoustic instruments had not yet been tamed, and confined to 12-bar cages.

The acoustic guitar is the spine of this record, and Zurna's really a damn fine guitarist, and song-writer too, that is just making this otherworldly ethereal music. I am in awe of artists who put such care and craft into left-field creations; the world is a stranger and more magickal place because of it. These acoustic barn-burners are accentuated with unexpected textures like sci fi warbles, frogs croaking, waves lapping. Almanac of the Dead will take you places, far far off the map, off the grid, beyond words, beyond linear thought. You better pray you have a guide book, cuz otherwise yr gonna get eaten by a jackal-demon.

Zurna is also the closest living inheritor of the Burroughs/Gysin cut-up hashish mysticism that i have met in person. His music, and his writing, is imbued with those stark jump-cuts and pulp mysticism, gunslingers and mummies and hashish and the afterlife. I truly get the feeling that he lives in his own goddamn world, and i want in! He has seen things, known things.

At the end of the day, all that matters is the sonics, and Almanac is an enjoyable listen, something for the hermeticist and the traditionalist alike. The guitars, the clarinets, the banjos, all glowingly recorded. The voice; plaintiff, heartfelt. You can really get a sense of 3 Moons Kansas City warmth, humility. His music is sweet, mournful, heart-felt, real, and really fucking strange.

The more i peer into the cracks of the Fake Hospital axis; 3 moons, white gourd, million brazillions, probably others i haven't heard yet, i am slightly in awe that i know these people.

Almanac of the Dead is available as a free download, from 3 Moons bandcamp, and can also be had as a cassette or CD-R.

Fake Hospital is playing tonight, at the fabulous Ella Street Social Club, joined by White Gourd for the occasion, with Eye Myths, Dracula Lewis, and JAWS.

Monday, February 20, 2012

BPM Ensemble - Rechargeable vol. 2

'Battery-Powered Electronic Music', 'Drum Circle 2.0', 'Epic Mass of grinding handheld techno (!!!)'; these are all phrases that catch my eyes and make my ears stand up like antennae. Due to my recent fondness of shitty 80s cheapness, i have found warmth towards 8 bit, which i never had much use for.

Battery Powered Music is a bi-weekly event at Backspace, where they open up the stage and the mixer for a bunch of analog fetishists to throw down and make some strange sounds. As they put it, its more r2-d2 than rjd2, post-hippy jam sesh, i have been intrigued to hear what a mess of insectile, buzzing electronics would sound like.

'Rechargeable Vol. 2' is the cream of the live sets from 2010 - 2011, available as a limited-edition cassette or for download off of Bandcamp, for whatever price you see fit. They've also got an archive up on SoundCloud. The overall effect, which of course is rather varied, since it was recorded on many a night, over the span of 2 years, runs the gamut from Congolese junkyard techno, to gritty hip hop, to Tron atari punk.

There's just no faking that 8 bit sound, that sound of cheap nastiness. It has a hint of nostalgia, for me, being a creature of the 80s, but it sounds more like protest. Like irrationality, raging against the hype machine. Ninja strikes in the night, making music for the sheer bloody minded thrill of sonic exploration. For me, what thrills me the most, is seeing people 'jamming', ie getting together, using unconventional sounds and instruments, breaking down genres and barriers.

More adventure! More exploration! More community!

If you live in Portland, BPM is going on tonight, at Backspace, and every other Mon. and if you don't, you can check out our retroxoticism.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

DTF, Bad Music, Caroline, Blind Lovejoy @ Backspace; 2.18.12

Attended the Music in the Schools showcase last night at Backspace, one of the few all-ages venue in Portland, worthy of support for that reason alone. Extra kudos for being a coffee shop that has a pool table, (it has a lot of spin to it, watch out), and there tends to be interesting art on the walls to gaze at and ponder.

Running a little late, (a running theme), due to complications getting on the guest list, but thanks to the delay, i found a snazzy black feather boa, which complimented my Freddie Krueger sweater and 9 day shadow quite nicely. I thoroughly enjoy confounding the delineation between music journalist, record producer, and deranged meth-head. I might as well accept it, as people are going to think it anyway.

I missed DTF, but caught Bad Music, who were actually pretty good. Probably around 15 or so, but already sporting Crass patches and devil locks, i seriously wonder what it would be like to grow up in Portland, Or. with the entire recorded output of civilization at yr finger-tips. This band was grasping at every cultural signifier they could sew to their clothing, a raggedy anne patchwork collage of hardcore anarchist punk rock history: MDC, Crass, DOA. They had a small but enthusiastic pit going, a little too self-conscious about running into people, but i chalk this up to living in a room where random assault rifle shoot-outs and firebombings is the norm. I tried to set aside my condescension, and focus on the music, cuz i don't care what age you are, if you are going to ally with the anarchist punks, pick up guitars and play a show, it is my job to tell it like it is. I'm glad to say that these guys play their instruments pretty well; a muscular sludgy guitar sound, drums kicking acceptably hard. In short, they ROCKED, to the best of their ability. I was almost shocked when they played one of the better versions of Sonic Reducer, originally by Rocket from the Tombs, made popular by the Dead Boys. These guys want to be Young, Loud, and Snotty; my advice, forget there's anybody in the room, pretend yr practicing. And play LOTS AND LOTS of shows.

Caroline next, my second time seeing them, and i can pay them the highest compliment: i don't think of them as my friend's band. They are a legit band, playing around town, doing the deal, trying to get shows, practicing a lot. They sounded fucking hot last night, (Backspace has pretty sweet sound, i gotta say), with the guitars pleasantly piercing, along with the drummers falsetto battle-cry between songs. I love their dreamy j-pop drift, and their twitchy thrash. I could do without the powerpoppunk emo posturing, but that was after my time, and everybody likes a ballad. I think their tongue is pretty firmly in cheek with their posturing, i still fucking hate it, but i forgive them, and i like 98% of their material. Go see them live. Often.

I was so stoked to see Blind Lovejoy, i've been working on an EP with them (almost done, now), but had not seem them do their thing live. We've gotten to be pretty solid friends, working together, but again, this factor does not effect the objective part of my brain, which merely observes sensory data. There are certain nuances that i can pick up on, being very familiar with a band or their personalities, which makes for a richer experience, but just because i like you does not mean i will like yr band. I happen to like Blind Lovejoy a lot, as people, but i fucking LOVE their band. I felt like watching them live, i was able to get a more complete vision of their sound, what they were going for, which is going to help me complete their EP. Cayla is a fucking ferocious guitar player, her Les Paul screaming like a panther in heat; so low down she was almost to the ground. I see in Blind Lovejoy the future of indie rock, young people with fervor and drive, with excellent taste, but not confined to replicated the glories of the past. I see and hear echoes of perennial favorites like PJ Harvey, Built to Spill (sorry guys), Death Cab for Cutie, Liz Phair. Lo-fi and authentic, muscular and uncompromising, but sweet and drifting, like on Noah's song, 'Umami'. The details and contrasts, the way they switch instruments around, keeps the performances rushing forward, keeps it interesting, and cayla and noah both have very different styles on their various instruments. They get a full rich sound, for being a two piece, and their tone is always impeccable. The guitars are nice, and in tune, the amp sounds sweet, the drums are solid. This band fucking rocks. You heard it here, first.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Michael the Blind

Michael Levasseur toiled for years in obscurity as a solo singer/songwriter, before breaking down and compiling 'The Els' in the Spring of 2011, with his wife, RachaEL Renee, longtime friend and misanthrope NathaniEL Lee on drums, and J ELwood Johncox, on bass. While some doubters might criticize for succumbing to market pressures, for caving, The Els add depth and dimension, weight and heft, texture and nuance.

J Elwood Johncox invited me out to see them at the Spare Room Restaraunt and Lounge, an honest to goodness working-class watering hole in NE Portland that doubles as a karaoke bar other nights of the week. The event was curated by one Sam Densmore, who also played that evening. The night was hushed, intimate; the lights all turqoise, crimson, rose, like the memory of a dream of Miami. The scarce crowd spoke in a low murmur, between sets. A feeling of Deja Vu pervaded me, as i watched the bingo numbers reflected in the picture windows.

The combination of lulling voices, low lighting levels, and the open-air acoustics of the room, it was the perfect combination to experience the music of Levasseur and Co. for the first time. The Els' music fluctuates between early 90s folk jangle, like vintage R.E.M., faded denim barnstormers, and sweet melancholy balladry. Levasseur's beautiful Les Paul hollow-body guitar was gracefully accented by Rachael's auto-harp and vocal harmonies, with J Elwood holding down the groove with vintage McCartney basslines, and NathaniEL shuffling and skiffling in, around, and between the beats; a deft touch, not too pummeling, but not too scattered.

With all the various strands, threads, and tendrils of folk-infused music, its all about the little touches. Accentuating and flourishes can make or break what has essentially been done a million times before. But when the stars align, just right, when the voices and instruments are in tune, in time, it can become gospel, a new skin for the old ceremony, and the human spirit can radiate, shine like the brief, iridescent constellation. A random Thurs., nothing special, but its not coming back. The songs live and breathe, and the Els' made for the perfect bedrock with which these sparse, honest, heartfelt tunes could lift off.

I left the gloriously gaudy tavern, with a renewed appreciation for stripped-down, acoustic music, practically frothing at the bit to write faded campfire symphonies of my own.

If you were not one of the 20 or so people who were at the Spare Room, or even if you were, Michael The Blind and the Els will be playing twice next week: Mon. at the newly christened Elixir Lab, and again on Fri. 2.24 at the ever-popular Ella Street Social Club.

If you aren't from around these parts, Michael the Blind also has a new album, out on 3.20, on Alder Street Records, available on 180 gram vinyl and for digital download.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Blind Lovejoy

Blind Lovejoy are Noah Johanson and Cayla Davis, from Portland, Or. They met freshman year of high-school, bonded over an almost creepy adulation of Janet Weiss, and a mutual disdain for Built To Spill's bloated prog pyrotechnics (although they can sound like Built To Spill, at times)

They were able to achieve the alien mind-meld possible to the very young; in essence growing up together. There is a simpatico, a wordless understanding, that is belied by their very different personas.

Noah is dreamy, misty, sweet, funny;
Cayla is spiky, sharp, determined, meticulous. Their sound does not water down either of these aspects, but rather is an alchemical aberration of the two, something wholly OTHER, that exists in the air between them. It is psychic, empathetic, and fucking hilarious.

Blind Lovejoy are part of the extended Goat's Head family; they've played shows over here, and shared bills with other friends' bands. They all went to college together, met during that awkward transitional freshman year of college phase, and developed a phase 2 mind meld, meant for young adults and those possibly deranged from mind-altering chemicals, which is the cosmic soup that i landed in, when i met all these folks.

I've had the opportunity to work with Blind Lovejoy, without hearing much of their music; some of my earliest attempts at recording a band. I'm extremely proud of the way its all turning out, we're almost done mixing now, and during the process of recording them, and getting to know them, i found that essence rare: two musicians with good taste and excellent skills, that know what they want to hear, and how to achieve it. To watch these two manipulate tone and mood, and make their aesthetic work together, has been revelatory.

Their music, that i have heard so far, mixes the abrasive with the smooth and sweet; rough, groddy guitars, reminiscent of early Polly Jean Harvey, spliced with a cutting, serrated stacatto skank. Their music moves. Noah and Caylah both play drums, as well, so their music is rhythmically very tight and focused, which can make or break a band. All in all, their music gives a sense of adventure, adrenaline; a night on the town. It is funny; it is sad. It is apologetically romantic. It will conjure landscapes in yr mind, both damp and dry.

Mixing this record, daydreaming with my friend Lily who is making the artwork, bouncing mixes back and forth, getting it all perfect. Getting everybody to understand one another, on the same page, becoming friends, has been one of the most rewarding experiences i've had so far, and i feel like the art comes out fully formed, effortless, from that understanding.

Blind Lovejoy is playing this saturday, 2.18.12, at Backspace, with another friend's band, Caroline (whom i discussed over here), which i'm tremendously stoked on, as i think Caroline and Blind Lovejoy will complement each other, and gain each some new fans. The show is to support Music in the Schools, a non-profit organization to raise funds for Portland Public Schools music progams. All shows are all-ages, a rare and precious commodity in PDX, and worth yr support for that reason alone.


...and just in case you can't make it out to Backspace, or if you don't live in the Northwest, Blind Lovejoy will be playing live, on the radio, on Seattle University's KSUB, on 2.24.12, which will be streamable via the internet. More info: here

Wednesday, February 15, 2012


A week or so ago, an anonymous correspondence, pertaining to js heaven. The title: Antimusic dilemma. Its author was the enigmatically named BuboTucoTumbo, who is a painter turned sound artist, looking for some insight on the electricity flowing through his veins and out his fingers. I can relate to the 'What have i done?' feeling of curiosity, awkwardness, pride, shame, fear, lust that comes from channeling the air, creating bizarre soundscapes, immaterial cinema firing through synapses.

On Roomfield Recordings we find three recordings clocking in at 12 minutes each, filled with honeybee electrical impulses, rootless granular drone, flickers of speech, field recordings, knocks bumps and scrapes. The overall effect is monochromatic, stark, extreme, silhouetted. It seems psychological; the drifting drone reminds me of being unable to concentrate, and having a broken tape loop in yr mind, that won't let you sleep. The pulsing electrostatic makes for a calming, analog influence in the miasma, tactile, familiar, as well as providing some cohesion to the tracks. The feeling i get when listening to this is of listening to early industrial music and tape culture, blind anonymous transmissions from a nocturnal realm; esoteric names, very little data. Tapes found at the bargain bin, or lost in a warehouse. Dusty, subjective, crumbling.

Listening to BuboTucoTumbo creates a potent air, like rich incense. It breathes and swells, particularly when one is alone. While most dark ambient, industrial, or experimental music makes you feel like yr in a slasher flick, like the guy with an ice pick is hiding behind the door, Bubo's music is more surreal, more artsy. More about the blurred lines, the grey zones. Its like a Brothers Quay full-length, rendered to tape. The odd rustlings and bumpings make it seem like something is happening, but yr not sure what it is, and the ubiquity of the electrical hum gives it an air of reminiscence, embodying the nervous system and its mysteries.

The question i ask, every time i come across a piece of media, whether its something i come across myself, or if somebody points something out to me is, do i like this? Do i enjoy listening to this? If i were to stumble upon this in a store, or on a friend's shelf, would i listen? I've had a number of atmospheric days listening to this recording, moving around the house like a specter, in some electrical zen somnambulism, listening through the floor boards, listening through the vents. It makes for pleasant company, and it works as both wallpaper music as well as active listening. I find it to be more effective when yr paying attention to it, there's a lot of nuances, and like with most 'experimental' music, it is best played moderately loud, to pick up on the details. Also, be advised, depending on who you live with, this music will most likely creep out yr roommates. Stacked up against more established dark ambient/noise musicians such as Wolf Eyes, Lustmord, Nurse With Wound, Non, it holds water. There is nothing incidental about this music, it has weight and gravity. It sounds good. S/he claims that these compositions are, 'quite primitive, and without aesthetic.' I would argue that artists are poor judges of their own creations, especially when one worships interesting sounds. I DEFINITELY hear aesthetic in this work.

I am intrigued and excited by this discovery. I like that he's just making sounds, with no career motivations or status to burn. He (?) (i'm not even sure if its a he) is just invoking visions, and doesn't understand them, so feels the need to put them outside of him/herself. S/he was even very humble and non-assuming, when contacting me, not expecting me to go through the canon. As such, i probably will.

I'm very pleased to have RoomField Recordings in my life, and the cavalcade of sounds to come. You can expect to hear more from BubuTucoTumbo here at Js Heaven. In the meantime, you can also get the rest at the Antimusic blog:

Monday, February 13, 2012

Lore Acts, 3 Moons, Meta-Pinnacle, The Ghost Ease @ Goat's Head Manor, 2.11.12

me, lily, yule bok

Meta - Pinnacle

After much hard work, from all involved, i'm happy to report that Saturday's ceremony, here at Goat's Head Manor, was a success. A lot of people showed up, good weird music was made and listened to, allegiances were formed. Normally, my birthday season, and February in general, kind of sucks; its nice to herald in my personal new year with artistic, vivid projects and people. Running around town, putting up flyers, having rehearsals, making playlists; it just feels right, and i feel like i am finding my niche here in Portland. The basement looked rad as all get-out, the walls adorned with red and black, courtesy of Guild Works, and even more mojo was contributed by Arun Once Was Zygoat, owner of the Aruniverse, purveyor of fine tapestries, and he was also kind enough to bring Yule Bok, (Phabomet during the non-Yule season), to bring even more Goat Head-ed energy to our house.

My friend Jake and i called the corners, playing under the name Lore Acts. We have a mutual fascination with the inky black, the desolate, the holy and the unholy; the sacred and profane. We started hanging out and working together, back in the fall, using noise music as a bonding ritual, as a way to peer into each other's soul, and at least found the landscapes adjacent, if not exactly the same dark continent. Let's call them sympathetic eco-systems; we bring an odd and enjoyable mutation into each other's realms. Getting to know one another, making music together, has led into a real and much-appreciated relationship, a dark support network, a comfort when surrounded by daywalkers.

During this set, we opened with a dirty, sludgy cover of the gun club's 'Sex Beat', in derision and scorn for those that are slave to their desires, to their flesh. Our version replaced acerbic garage punk scorn of the original with something colder, deader, getting slower and more pummeling with each successive go 'round. Leaden, deaden, i've never played metal in front of a crowd, before, so it was nice to unleash my primal scream. From there, we played some middle-eastern trance sludge, where i called down the spirits, transforming the room into a lysergic subterranean temple. The air was thick as molasses, in the corner, where all the various wizards and witches hunkered down, and made their musickal magick. After the veil was ripped away, from materialized twenty minutes or so of alien noise sculpture, jake playing 'noise boards' of various treated insect noises and 80s horror synth, and myself pulling some power noise moves, with supportive atmospherics: cicadas, wind, distant drums. Our forest is uncharted, menacing, and full of possibilities. In Lore Acts' camp, you can be wild and free.

My friend Jeffrey played under the name 3 Moons, served up a blend of astral blues and dervish clarinet. The times i have seen him play solo, previously, he plays acoustic guitar through a battery of lo-fi pedals, and sings through a tinny, jc penny microphone. Like peeping through time, having a campfire sing-along with the time travellers you find there. Not quite here, not quite there; its somewhere in-between. I wish i could have listened more thoroughly, but i was off transforming into a leopard angel.

Meta-Pinnacle played next, which mostly comprises of my friend Lily and i, occasionally joined by others. We're pretty new-ish, still exploring our sonic terrain, our sympathetic and dissonant aesthetics. Still figuring out how to conjure inky, tendrilly figures from the void. I feel like this performance was like the culmination of meta-pinnacle 2.0. We played once before, a living room set, also here at Goat's Head. We were mostly acoustic, at that time, reflecting endless coffee-infused mornings sitting on the porch, playing guitar and blinking sleepily. We are starting to explore technology more, investigating our options. We are becoming more solid, more competent musicians, and this time around, we just went for it. Raw and ragged and real, not two fucks were given. We gave it our best, we are kind of ragged, homespun, honest people. We are precisely messy, and cheaply elegant. We played most of the songs that we know, so far, three originals by Lily, a couple of covers (Sia, Mazzy Star, Sneaker Pimps) and a quicksilver guitar noise drone wash to finish, something that i've been kicking around for a month or so, which was unexpected and beautiful, a wonderful encore.

Last up, The Ghost Ease; another band i've seen several times around Portland. In the previous incarnations, The Ghost Ease was just jem marie, coaxing a symphony of disembodies loops to hang in thin air and play nice together. Imagine my surprise when The Ghost Ease this evening, turned out to be spectral garage afrobeat band, instead. They had a horn section, sax and i think trumpet, plus guitar and drums, making an unbelievably rich, dense sound, that woke everybody up, made everybody move.

Unfortunately, Cult of Zir didn't get to stick around long enough to play, so i encourage to keep yr eyes out for upcoming performances, and keep weird music in Portland thriving.

Its so unbelievably satisfying to provide opportunities for this kind of thing to happen, a new mutant surrealistic mixture of art and magick. The sacred, and the profane, things holy and tender, spilling over on to unsuspecting party goers, who are just out looking for a good time. Too often, hermetics are too hermetic, too insular, too shut off, chanting in some lofty ivory tower, or up in the clouds. So unblemished, and pure. I have not found this too often, in my lifetime. Things tend to be muddy and messy and real. So many people just use the underground, and things like house shows, as a trampoline, to spring their way to 'legitimacy', and the revolution loses its fangs and claws. This kind of laid-back atmosphere, funky and homespun, makes all sorts of adventurous art possible. It doesn't have to be good, so it often is.

I'm so proud to have been a part of this. I feel like my life has commenced, is rolling along rails rubbed with crisco and vaseline. Thanks so much, for everybody's help, to all my Goat's Head family, who have made all my dreams manifesting possible. Thanks to Portland, for having such a vibrant scene. And for those who have been here for a while, look around! There's a lot of interesting things happening around you, and often times for free. Don't be apathetic.

me and lily


me lily and leland (the future of meta-pinnacle?)

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Goat's Head Noise Show


Hey hey y'all, for anybody that's actually out there who reads this spot, hesitantly or regular, i'm happy to say that i'm having a house show tonight at my house in Portland, Goat's Head Manor. Two bands i'm involved in will be playing, along with three of my local favorites: The Ghost Ease, Cult of Zir and 3 Moons, which is the solo project of my friend Jeffrey, whom i met playing with Fake Hospital at Ella Street Social Club. One of my favorite people, and i don't get to hang out with him enough.

The flyer was made by friend Lily, a last-minute explosion of ripped up color and coffee stains. It was fun hanging them up around town. This has been the most legitimate project i've been involved in so far.

My friend Jake and i have been making music since the fall, he's another resident of Goat's Head Manor. We represent the dark side. We got our shit together, to release a track on a Hermetic compilation, which is here, under the name Lore Acts, which we will be invoking again this evening. I haven't gotten around to mentioning these compilations yet, but i will, soon. I've released tracks on both of them, so far.

Meta-Pinnacle is me and friend Lily, who have also been making music since the fall. We played at the house one other time, more acoustic, with colorful lights. We've hung out on the porch a lot, like to drink coffee and smoke cigarettes and wake up playing and singing. Along the way we figured out our voices sounded nice together, and we made music together well. We share a copasetic aesthetic; we vibe well. Tonight our sound is more fleshed out, more full: we are learning how to GET DOWN and make sound. Tonight we will be our full, weird selves.

Tonight is for the noise freaks, the awkward and the real. Those that like to sit around in their living rooms and make art, doing it for the fuck of it.

I'm fucking stoked to have been a part of this, and its gonna be fuckin' rad. If you live in Portland, and you happen to get this in time, come by! We live at Goat's Head Manor:

Tonight's gonna be special. Expect to hear more!

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Nothing Lasts Forever

Head's up Portland. Tonight is this month's installation of Lovecraft's monthly noise series, Nothing Lasts Forever. This month features a couple of sonic terrorists from Eugene; Don Haugen, (Holy Rodent, Warning Broken Machine, ManDom) & M Scott McGahan (The NecroSluts, INRI, Vivimancer, Scrolls).

I have heard that they just open up the floor, allowing the artists to freak out and experiment as they see fit, which is how i have always found Noise to be at its purest, most adventurous, most sincere. It is where we are in our element.

I haven't been yet, and i've been climbing out of my skin all day, in anticipation, so you can expect to hear all about this, tomorrow! But who cares what i think, just come out and see and hear for yrself. As i always say: any excuse to go to the Lovecraft is a good excuse.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Super Fresh 3

This is the 3rd time i've sat done, to write this article. My annoying 'serious journalist' voice was striving to take over, like some malignant tumor, and i was getting bored writing it, so i can't even imagine what it would be like to read. My nervous system literally won't let me put out stale, forced art.

I managed to talk my way into a guest pass for Super Fresh 3, which happened last weekend at Branx, which is on the bottom floor of the Rotture building, in the Produce Row section of SE Portland. Its grimy as fuck, and it fills me with a warm, decrepit post-industrial phosphorescent. I felt like a character in a William Gibson novel, i was wearing goggled and leopard skin, stalking the shadowy streets of Portland.

The posters for Super Fresh had caught my eyes, intrigued by the tag line Revenge of the Synths. For the past couple of months, i've been obsessed with minimal and cold wave, anything vaguely eastern european sounding, or resembling early industrial music. I can't even describe what it is about this aesthetic that is so intriguing to me, maybe the early electronic music seems SEXIER, more dangerous. There's a real sense of adventure and possibility in the early 80s, streamlined into the future. But the fact that it was an all ages dance party at Branx had me worried that it might be a furry ritalin rave for the pre adolescent, which is sort of fun, but it makes me feel old as dirt.

I was surprised and delighted to find Super Fresh 3 to be two days of analog goodness and weirdness. The whole spectrum of synth music was represented, something for the Harsh Noise freak and the candy raver alike. Highlights for me were Litanic Mask, the perfect blend of dystopian noise and raw beating heart. I loved the combination of weirdo synth tones and old drum machines with a woman singing ethereally over top. The combined whole was evocative and mesmerizing, and answered some lingering questions i've had about writing songs with unconventional instruments and sounds.

Another highlight for me, was Johnny X and the Groadies, who blended technical thrash death and black metal with cybernetic blast beats. It was like a race of warlords, attempting to invoke the Elder Gods, as a last ditch effort to stop a rampaging band of Terminators, accompanied by a dizzying onslaught of strobe lights, dayglo, flashing lights, fog. Paradise. Lost.

Radiation City, the headliners of the second night, were probably the band most people were there to see, a bright light on the event horizon of the fragmented Portland music scene. They are sort of friends of friends, but i hadn't heard their music yet. Kind of an anomaly in the mix, in that they were hardly electronic at all, yet they did have kind of a Stereolab retro-futurism vibe at times, with multiple Rhodes and Wurlitzers on stage. Their music is mostly a very luxurious, ornate, pop; rich as truffle groovy, smooth as satin. They have an infectious innocence, but also confidence, that probably got the people moving more consistently that any other band i had seen that weekend.

Honorable mentions to Vice Device, with a new New Romanticism. Echoes of early Cure, Erasure. Synth pops like a balloon, the future stands starkly revealed, looking into the mirror, examining its flaws. Which way forward? How to be young? I feel old.... A graceful, feminine heart, peaking through steel girders. Anoint thyself in iron and bronze, hide behind artifice and posture, and maybe the stones flung will not hurt so badly. And to the woman singer, i do not know yr name, or anything of yr biography, but you move me in an inarticulate way, and i like yr labcoat.

The rest were a hodge podge of live pa techno analog electronics and rock bands, with some degree of synthesis mixed in. I didn't hear a bad band in the bunch, i would advise looking at the flyer at the top, and doing some research. I left early the first night, i had a bunch of shit to do the next day, but i hear that Wampire are quite tremendous, and i will check them out, next time they play. I also really liked Truckasaurus, from Seattle. I love dancing to analog equipment, and i am astounded how i rediscover, on a nearly daily basis, how much i fucking love techno and every variant of electronic music, and also how good it is for me to dance.

This event was organized by a group called SuperNature, who do a monthly dance night. Portland brings out my inner goth kiddy, and the fact that there are events like this going on, at all, and there are places like The Lovecraft within walking distance from where i live, makes me a happy kitty indeed.

I heard a lot of haters, this weekend, and i wonder what the hell it takes to impress you people? I mean, really, what are you looking for? This was two days of interesting music for 10 bucks. Maybe they just don't like experimental music? Or sincerity? For my money, i thought everything i heard was worthwhile, and worth the price of admission.

Big big ups to Manny Reyes, for putting this together and for getting me on the guest list, and also to all the bands that played.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Threadbear, Sioux Falls, The Steven Lasombras @ Ella Street Social Club 2.1.12, Portland, Or.

Last night's show at the Ella Street Social Club was pretty much a perfect end to a perfect day: groceries, dinner, art, music, city streets. Friends and conversation; hazy sunset. A freshly mopped floor. A good, and rich, life.

Arrived slightly earlier than usual, which is to say about halfway through the first band. I never know if 9 pm is going to be 9 pm in the rock 'n roll wormhole galaxy, which actually means, 'somewhere between 8:45 and 10:30, depending on hang-overs, broken equipment, traffic, bail,' or if they are referencing to the clocks that are generally calibrated to Greenwhich Mean. It always kind of fucks me up when shows start right when they are supposed to.

Threadbear were in full swing, upon arrival: 4 blokes, 2 guitars, 1 drummer, and one funky ass skeletal six-string bass, an electric piano. They conjured, in mid-air, visions of Hoover Towns, the ghost of Tom Joad, a brief recollection of '90s-era Dave Matthews. Rent parties in Dhalgren, anachronistic and cut-loose, post-modern folk songs, unrestricted to time or place. What you are left with, then, without specific codifiers, is something wholly human, almost archetypal. They were seasoned performers, and clearly knew their shit. I noticed, watching the guitarists, that they were mirroring and pirouetting around one another, stacking up contrasting melodies on different parts of the neck, which made for a rich, dense sound that was interesting and fun to listen to. I relaxed, the analytical part of my mind, that loves to label and categorize, and come up with catchy journalistic nomenclature, went to sleep, and i was left in the no-mind void where i remembered, 'i love to listen to sounds!' I was watching the fat, round bass-end weaving around the spikier, treblier guitars, dancing like a guppy ballet, and all need, all fear, all worry, disintegrated.

Sioux Falls were up next, whom i previous wrote about over here. This young 3-piece is impressively dense, considering the stripped down instrumentation; the bass was thick and luxurious, the guitar warm but still abrasive at the right moments, the drums satisfactorily pummeling. I still couldn't understand the vocals worth a damn, although there is a song about the singer's dog, apparently, and that is the common plight of the small indie club. My friend didn't much care for the homogenous tone of their music, found it to be consistent, to predictable, and to close to her natural state for comfort or interest. I found them to be slightly nervous at first, and then loosened up, and sounded pretty legit up there. Came to the conclusion that i love the drama of young men with guitars, trying to EXIST, to make their way in the world, to express what they're feeling, even though they don't know what they're feeling. I feel like if they worry less about promoting their band, and focus on the purity, intent, and message of their band, they will loosen up, and their sound will really be able to take off. They play next at Valentine's, on 2.13.

The Steven Lasombras was the main draw for me. I had seen William Justin Landers' doing a solo version of the steven lasombras during EsoZone, earlier this year, and was impressed by his one-man visionary noise guitar assault, and this time he had another fella playing guitar up there with him, as well. The first thing i noticed, in proper audio geek fashion, is this band has BEAUTIFUL GEAR, one guitarist playing through a beefy marshall bass cab, with Landers playing through a gorgeous, creamy Orange Amp. They had a small army of pedals on their stage, and to their credit, i could not immediately identify a single one. That's the thing with the steven lasombras, they defy easy categorization. There's no 'loop station' experimental indie preset, or fuzzy, sludgy big muff cliche to hang yr cloak on. Its a familiar line-up, two dudes playing noisy as shit guitars, occasionally singing, and it is just entirely unique. Its OWN THING. I stopped looking for comfortable tags, to shield myself from the experience of this unique Wed night, and let the music wash over me, unfold in my brain like some beneficent Transformer, like Valis beaming hard-coded schematics into my amygdala, to be deciphered at a later time. I relented to the sound, and became alive to the moment, to my life: the light started to glow with a back-lit intensity, as if from something very hot. I could see the pastpresentfuture, and things that have never been. There is something wholly unique about The Steven Lasombras. They are making experimental music, but they are deadly serious about it, or i should say dedicated, cuz William Landers is a very, very funny man. Even their comedic timing was spot-on. Everything about their performance was considered and well thought out. Their instruments sounded amazing, their timing was perfect, the songs were arranged well, keeping you guessing, keeping you on their toes, and from what i heard, the lyrics were thought-provoking and vision producing, also.

In short, i think i have stumbled upon the perfect noisy music, an undiscovered gem, and deserve to be heard by ANYBODY who digs adventurous, left of the dial sounds. And if you happen to live to Portland, lucky you. Go see them every time that they play!

My friend and i took off to the streets, to find a quarter and shoot some pool for an hour, in our dedicated quest to become Pool Shark Hustlers.