Tuesday, November 24, 2009
Two Eggy-related events to report -- Wet Hair, fronted by Night-People main man Shawn Reed, are playing in Portland again tonight (Tuesday) with Pete Swanson, Eternal Tapestry and Chrome Wings. It's a house show, I think, 5245 NE 15th Ave, which is between Alberta and Killingsworth, I've been told.
And Mattress concludes their month-long residency at Berbati's Restaurant on Wednesday, playing with Magic Johnson this last time out. Should be really killer. Music starts a little after 10PM, free.
Saturday, November 14, 2009
I've been deluged with tapes! Really great stuff from Digitalis LTD, Gel Tapes, Goaty Tapes and Night-People. I haven't had a chance to listen to everything yet, but this is a start. The Gel and Digitalis tapes are already down at the Half and Half, hope to start stocking the Goaty stuff tomorrow, Night-People by next week.
Digitalis is an industry unto itself. The Tulsa-based web magazine and label has been around seemingly forever, and has released music by, or helped establish, countless stellar fringe, folk and avant-garde musicians. The cassette tape branch of the label, Digitalis Limited, started up around two years ago, I think, and has released about 100 tapes since. It boggles the mind.
Brother Raven - Nellie - Digitalis LTD. 103
It seems like more and more folks on the cassette tape underground are dusting off their old synthesizers and letting themselves go in the drift of mellow electronic tones. Not sure why that is exactly, but it makes me happy so I'm not too concerned. "Nellie" is really a treat because of the focus and restraint evident across its five tracks. The whole tape maintains a cohesive mood without feeling inert, and the compositions are all carefully put together in terms of tone and melody. There's something about the feel of the tape that reminds me of German synth stuff from the 1970s, but on the whole considerably less romantic and melodramatic, and definitely pre-New Age. Brother Raven are taking heavy cues from that era but their stuff has it's own place. $6
Lakes - Monument of Nests - Digitalis LTD. 103
Nice little chunk of dark, homemade pop music very much in the vein of Tall Dwarfs or Pumice. I like the energy on this tape a lot, it feels sideways somehow. The energy of being stuck in. "It's a day for staying inside," the Great Unwashed song goes. Lots ramshackle percussion and squiggles of weird noise adorn what at heart are oddly catchy pop songs. $6
On this tape, Plankton Wat create the traditional music of an undiscovered culture. The instrumentation is acoustic, with some nice, subtle electronic effects that quietly underlie a couple tracks. The songs are uncluttered, and understated, and the tape holds really nicely together as a whole. I also particularly like the art for this tape because it reflects the music well -- simple, balanced, quietly mysterious. $6
Goaty Tapes, currently based in Connecticut, has been quietly releasing amazingly packaged tapes for a couple years now. Each tape is a little event, involving multiple colors, textures and weights of paper, letter-press seriousness and cut-and-paste whimsy, and brightly colored tapes. This latest batch of tapes is very much in the outsider-pop mode -- two of the three have a whiff of Shadow Ring about them.
Banana Head - In the Tubs - Goaty Tapes
Blankets of reverb, tremelo and tape skuzz hide what is secretly a collection of pop songs, albeit off-kilter ones. Reminds me a lot of those early OCS records -- strange and far away, but at the same time familiar and vulnerable. By the second time through, the pop-song logic behind the tracks begins to reveal itself, and that's when they really start to work their way into your brain. Codine sadness. A tape for winter. $7
BIRD - HOY EN DIA - GOATY TAPES
Short, strange tape that's a peek into a girl's very unique looking glass. Home-made drumming and cheap keyboards back-up vocals that've been run though thrift store autotune, giving the whole tape an uneasy haze about it. Some tracks remain abstract, while a couple lock into a nice propulsive, sing-songy energy. Katie Leming is half of the strange, powerful Cro Magnon, who record for the venerable De Stijl label. $7
VINCENT OVER THE SINK - BIBLE BASHERS - GOATY TAPES
I've been a big fan of Vincent Over the Sink since picking up 22 Coloured Bull-Terriers, which came out on Near Tapes the other year(which I've still got a few copies of, by the way). They seemed very at ease in both the skewed pop realm and also doing the noisier stuff, which is still the case on the new tape, although the two poles seems much closer together this time out. The tape opens in a mode very much indebted to the Shadow Ring, including some nice background electronics, before moving on through some varied ground. Other highlights are the woozy, trumpet-lead, song-y passages. Side B veers into strange territory. Half of the duo that makes up Vincent Over the Sink is Matthew from Naked On the Vague. $7
Thursday, November 12, 2009
A couple of Eggy-related items:
Brian Mumford's Dim Holys project has a new CDR, called Paranoid Awareness, available at the Half and Half. Let's be honest, shit is brutal, really, really brutal, but also pretty amazing. Feverish, headachey, it's one half-hour long track that makes you feel weird. The textures are harsh but the whole piece is constantly shifting and folding back in on itself. Totally unlike any noise or drone music I've ever heard. Brian self-released this CDR in an edition of 10 which is mostly gone, but this is definitely a very good and very strange release, so I can't imagine it will never be available again after they're gone. The next CDR is already done, or so I hear. Also, I've still got a copy or two of the first Dim Holys tape, Is There Heat Rising In Your Neck, which came out on OMS-B, and which is 180 degrees from this CDR, being peaceful, glacial sleep-drones.
Also, Mattress is two weeks into their month long residency at Berbati's Restaurant. The show last night was killer, with Don Hellions opening. Two more Wednesdays to go, free, music starts a little after 10. The last show is on the 25th with Magic Johnson, and maybe I will have the new Mattress tape on Eggy done by then.
Last, I am buried in tapes, will hopefully get that stuff organized this weekend. Quickly, all three tapes from Digitalis -- Brother Raven, Lakes, Plankton Wat -- are really solid, some of my favorite tapes to come out recently. Not sure why, but I only ordered a couple of each, so they're gonna go quick. Dunebuggy tape from Gel is great, looks great. Huge box of stuff arrived from Night-People today, and a box from Goaty as well.