This was a semi-regular post here on WFMU's BotB, but personal craziness leading up to the March fundraiser, working on assorted WFMU concerts, and being sidetracked by other things had me on the bench for a bit. So yes, you don't need me to tell you there are still a mess of very fine documents of recorded music worth seeking, hearing. Here's a few currently dripping some good grease into the station's new bin as we speak:
Warner Jepson's Totentanz was a gurgling slab of primal concrete in LP edition of 300 back in 1967; besides being the result of hours of tooling around in the SF Tape Machine Center and Mills Collage labs, the record served its purpose well of alienating patrons at ballet performances it was featured at. I haven't seen a proper reissue (though a grey area CDR floated around last year or so), but thanks to Mitchell Brown (aka the excellent KXLU radio host Professor Canteloupe) and his Melon Expander label, Totentanz and more are back. Jepson's works represented here span the years 1958 through 1973 and range from skittery, echoplexed moon rumblings to flat out sinewave scorchings all finding their ways into various theater and ballet peformances, and later onto PBS itself when Jepson got interactive with experimental visual media. Real Audio: "Laughter After" (1958).
The Sic Alps (pictured above) came from another zone of California experimentalism. For the last half decade or so, the zonked atmosphere of pre-Virgin Royal Trux has gone face to face with Nuggets ideology to probably alienate your average bowl-cut Little Steven fan more than anything, yet ably carries the torch of the Elevators, Troggs and more into a cosmic cohesion of faithful rock fandom and flipped-out otherworldiness. 2007's Description of the Harbor is probably one of the most tuneful "out" records ever made in my opinion, and since that thing disappeared rather quickly out of sight (and up the Ebay mountain) it's nice to see it's reappeared courtesy Animal Disguise on CD with other assorted 7" and 12" EP, CDR and 7" tracks from 2006 and 2007 compiled neatly. We're bummed to hear the new tour has been sidelined though due to drummer Matt's broken arm. Get better, Matt! Real Audio: "Message From the Law". Live performance on WFMU 11/6/07.
And while the Alps' SF brethren the Hospitals (whose Adam Stonehouse spent time in the SA's) channel their single-output cavesound in a similar way, the Hospitals' flat out destructo-factor has continually clubbed its listeners in a less subtle (but still awesome) manner. I always still considered the Hospitals a garage punk band in its purest form even as leader Adam Stonehouse changed up personnel around him constantly, but the latest LP Hairdryer Peace shows loftier ambitions.
If anything, this time out shows the ideal wedding between No Wave and garage psychedelia; there's lots more in the realm of subtleties within the tornado of lo-fi weirdness, and less linear thud and a lot more personal vibe to it (despite the fact it seems a bunch of guys are on this with Adam). I dare say it's an epic, classic rock LP of the modern age. Real Audio: "Hairdryer Peace".
I don't quite know the politics of the very Teutonic Der Blutharsch, but I have a sneaking suspicion that many of their fans are trading boot-lacing tips with the likes of Douglas P's hordes. I've found their records to be really interesting hybrids of psychedelia, Germanic folk and a surprisingly wide swath of other things. The new Philosopher's Stone starts out with what sounds like a creeped-out Total Coelo or something and rides into some fuzzed out wah-wah guitar haze amidst some less prominent industrial leanings than previous. Surging, emotional male/female choruses still very much intact, but by far one of the groovier takes on their gruff. There's an inside cover command to experience the record "while chemically imbalanced", so there you go. Real Audio: "Track 2".
I don't know what state is recommended to enjoy this no-info, out-of-nowhere CDR that's come in from Yomul Yuk, but it's definitely one of the best garbage guitar opuses of the year so far. We do know they are the guitar/drum duo of Edouard Larocove and Leyla Majeri and lie somewhere between the disorganized confusion of xNoBBQx and perhaps a slightly constipated, guitar-heroics-fixed Harry Pussy or Luxurious Bags. It's easy to get jaded when it comes to this realm: there's 5 or 6 CDRs coming in here a day with some sort of sleeves ripping off Brian Chippendale's art that bombard with the sounds of treble-laden, axe-wielding outsider expression but Yomul Yuk are thee shit. A real statement in damage. Real Audio: "Track 6"
Alkerdeel's Luizig CD (At War With False Noise label) is a burning, 20 minute epic blast of lo-fi necrofilth that's emerged from some Belgian basement, and it's relentless. Majestic, fucked up riffs and tortured vox, steampipe and cardboard box drumsound, strung together with live boombox samples of what sounds like Toshiro Mifune rants over woozy violins before the drummer counts off on his steampipe and the band plows into another mini-epic. Aquarius might have some in stock still, but likely pretty limited. Wow. ("Luizig" Real Audio).
One of the best overviews of 1970's Memphis has just come out on the UK Big Beat label, a 2CD anthology of the legendary Ardent Records
appropriately nodding to Big Star with its title Thank You Friends. Ardent was a significant crossroad of Southern Soul and UK rock icon worship as ably demonstrated by the classic body of work done there by Mssrs. Bell, Chilton, and company. Pseu Braun's 2003 show with Ardent fixture Terry Manning and members of the band Cargoe is a great place to check out the connection of the dots, but the sounds and liners of this 2CD collection doubtlessly are essential if you're at all interested in the zeitgeist of the place and music of shadowy figures like the Wallabies, Avengers, Sid Selvidge and others. Disc two is mostly dedicated to Big Star alternate takes and demos; I'm not sure how these demos coincide with the Norton release years back, but "Big Black Car"'s take on here (Real Audio) is so utterly wasted, numb and desolate that it makes the Sister Lovers record sound like They Might Be Giants or something. At one point Chilton switches the lyrics and slobbers "maybe we'll fuck in a....Holiday Inn" and seemingly gets scolded by someone midsong about where to come in. Real Audio:
Cargoe "Feel Alright"
It's no surprise Tom Hazelmeyer has been heaping praise on the Denton, Texas combo White Drugs, as Elisabeth Vincentelli pointed out to me a while back these guys have Amphetamine Reptile plastered all over 'em. I wasn't sure what she meant exactly, are they making their own teeth out of wood like Stu Spasm? But having heard their CD Harlem I can say for sure that there's a nice helping of the Halo of Flies songbook festering in these grooves, albeit with a bit more swagger. Reviewers are getting a little quick at invoking the name Drunks With Guns though, which to me indicates a dirtier approach than this disc offers, but not bad at all, esp. the bass and vox. "I Hate Your Face" (Real Audio).
If every hiphop artist was giving nods to the Jonzun Crew *and* Joe Piscopo I'd be more inclined to buy more of it these days, but it seems like Atlanta's Zano (who calls himself "Zano Bathroom" on his My Space page) might be achieving heights of dada previously owned by Sensational. His "Ass Birth" 7" (Real Audio of "There's Apple Fuzz in the Peach of My Eye") stumbles through fractured beats, Carl Stalling konks and some of the more leftfield rhyme grabs this side of Paul Barman (his "Entropic Evolution" MP3 rhymes John Tesh with the image of Courtney Love eating flesh). Seriously tripped out instro stuff that rules in its own realm.
On a last note, I've only partially digested the latest South-of-the-border S-S discovery XYX, but the new "Sistema De Terminacion Sexual" is hitting some most pleasing spots. Supposed pals of Los Llamarada (whose S-S LP and recent set at WFMU's SXSW showcase are both year highlights for me), there's more of a traditional punk rock drive as compared to LL, but it's sexy and wobbly in a Desechables kind of way. Why aren't the Cramps reuinting for a Mexican tour? They'd clean up in those stadiums. Real Audio: "Pan De Muerto."