A few years back Korein and his co-conspirator Colin Marston were bravely carving up Philadelphia's new music scene with their panic-inducing duo outfit Infidel? Castro! Half black metal, half electronic-prog weirdness, their surgery-obsessed themes and sine-waves sliced through the central nerve of the nuevo folkie soul that was starting to dominate that burg and I was waiting for a whole flock of their followers to take up arms. Sadly it was not to happen. Philly is a totally different town these days, that guy who founded Pat's Steaks is dead, even. Marston remained central to NYC doing a lot of work with Behold...the Arctopus, I/C put out another killer double CD and then kind of disappeared. Happy to see our boy back in the lab, and his latest is a masterpiece of even more schizoid stylings. Chattery This Heat-style guitars, sterile Germanic sexbeat rhythms thrown into the tumbler, anthems for termites, the bizarre juxtaposition of soul and black metal on "Writhe, Sally Writhe", and lots of creeping, crusty electronic flourishes. The Residents/Snakefinger comparisons inevitably pop up in reviews, though with Korein there's more of a grand buffet: Zorn/downtown NYC nods are flashing as bright as some of the Half Jap-descent seen in Baltimore's Megaphone heyday, I can hear bits of midwest post-rock guitar attack, dramatic Euro sensibilities (especially Goblin) as well. And thankfully the hawhaw factor never tips into the Zappa copyist domain that render so many bands unlistenable to these ears. Korein has his own agenda and he'll take what he likes, thank you. Some fine accompaniment herein by Helena Espvall and Liz Walsh as well. Real Audio: "Too Many Days".
I somehow would hazard a solid wager that Korein in some form or outfit has shared a bill with his Philly kindred souls in Stinking Lizaveta. Somehow this band has never gotten the real glory it so deserves, but mark my words down the line their day will come. It may be their similar knack for not being pegged; their all-instro sound swerves around from metallic jazz action to uber-complex weirdo prog ala King Crimson, but the bottom line is that they are crushingly heavy ROCK first and foremost. As a drums/bass/guitar trio they are absolutely massive, Yanni Papadopoulos' guitar sprays the same shards as Greg Ginn without losing the supreme tension and forward propulsion. With the Fucking Champs and their ilk knocking down the barriers of what indie rock labels are signing these days, I'm shocked a band as good as this can only get their records out in Italy (even with Albini's name listed as engineering). See 'em live by all means. Real Audio: "Willie Nelson (Tired of War)".
Selwyn Lissack - Friendship Next of Kin (DMG ARC)
Thanks to the NYC store Downtown Music Gallery for unearthing this 1969 treasure, originally out on the French BYG Goody imprint and never on disc until now. Like the South African free jazzers that carved out the path to Europe before him (Chris McGregor, Mongezi Feza, Harry Miller), drummer Selwyn Lissack was trying to make his personal connection with the music that barely filtered into his homeland, and made a three year detour to the UK in hopes of continuing onto America landed him with connections to the likes of Lol Coxhill and Mike Osbourne before he took on the reins as a leader for Friendship Next of Kin. Unfortunately the notorious label producer Claude Delcloo butted heads with Lissack, provided and unsatisfactory mix which kept the album in short run despite the stellar lineup on it. Besides fellow ex-pats Feza and Miller, there was another South African, Louis Moholo, plus Osbourne and others joining in for this amazing slab of music; and thankfully Lissack (now a laser artist and sculptor) retained the rights to fix up the sound and reissue it here. "Facets of the Universe" (Real Audio) is a complete blowout of unbelievable proportions; American/Euro/African universal soundmeld that spirals into vicious, relentless attack up there with Brotzmann's Machine Gun or Pharoah's Izipho Zam for sheer gut-bludgeon potential. I would love to hear Lissack's only other session, on the Ric Colbeck Quartet's "The Sun Is Coming Up", and also bummed that I missed his first appearance in 30 years at the Stone this past December (also lined up by DMG).
Airway - Live at LACE (Harbinger Sound)
And while we're on the subject of sonic attacks to carve you a new canoe, here's the proof in the pudding that the ascent of the Japanese noise scene actually was pretty well informed by the long-enduring weirdos of the Los Angeles Free Music Society. Well, more than they get credit for, anyway. It's no surprise that Keiji Haino came knocking on the Doodooettes' door in the early 1980's, nor that self crowned king of noize Jojo from Hijo Kaidan claimed he threw away the rule book and started from squat after he heard the live Airway recording, and now it's available again and its lo-fi muck shines glorious even in CD format. Comprised of LAFMS stable stalwarts Rick Potts, Juan Gomez (also of Human Hands fame), Tom Recchion, Joe Potts, Chris Chapman, Dennis Duck (who also has a new reissue of vinyl-glop tomfoolery on the Poo-Bah label) and banshee vocalist Vetza, this set was originally an LP in 1978 and also included in the 10CD LAFMS box set years ago, but has been remastered from the original source for this disc. It blazes like few other things from Tinseltown, that's for certain; a mutant jam of unrecognizable instruments (I dare say that the blaring scrapheap that rolls over everything in the mix in the middle of track 2 might be the mandolin????) Totally berzerk short-circuit mayhem that probably never had a chance to co-star in Urgh! A Music War by a long shot. But you, dear listener, deserve to be there. (Real audio excerpt here).