Sunday, October 31, 2010

" T H E T R O P I C S O F P H E N O M E N O N - S W E E T D R E A M S E D I T I O N "

Tomorrow will see the release of a greatly expanded version of Dragging An Ox Through Water's excellent 2008 LP "The Tropics of Phenomenon" by the Tokyo imprint Sweet Dreams. This thing is bigger and better in every direction; more paintings by Dana Dart-McLean, more original songs from Dragging An Ox, remixes and reworkings by pillars of the Portland music scene (Tara Jane O'Neil, Grouper, Thicket, E*Rock & Yoni Kifle, and yours truly) and an essay by Patricia No. It's really nice to see such care being taken with an album that I feel like a lot of people slept on the first time around, hopefully it will reach many new ears with this edition. It looks awesome in the photos, can't wait to see it for real.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

This Sunday! At Valentine's! Free!
Pete Swanson
Litanic Mask
The Polyps

Pete has been killing lately, topping a string of excellent tapes with the excellent Feelings In America LP that came out on Root Strata the other month. Litanic Mask is Mark from Silentist's new band with a lady singer doing epic electro-goth, should be awesome. Me and Josh Kermiet are being the Polyps, doing the moon circle textile instrument thing again. All in all, a kaleidoscopic evening of sound. Don't miss it!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Gremlynz/Ajilvsga split - Prairie Fire
Gremlynz/Ajilvsga - split
Just in time for Halloween, got a few copies of the this all-start split between Gremlynz (the fellow from Pink Priest) and Ajilvsga (Brad Rose and Nathan Young). The Gremlynz side is in-line with the last Pink Priest tape on Night-People but even more subdued. Slow and low, like early morning fog moving across an empty field. Suitably haunted to not feel new age-y. All in all, a good set-up for the flip, which is a real head-cleaner of square-wave and feedback assault. Bracing and refreshing like jumping in an ice-cold lake. Nice match-up of sounds, though opposites in mood and tone, both are long-form drone-noise and oddly compliment each other. I'd kind of like to play them both at once. $6

For more or less the entirety of my adult life, Brian Mumford has been a friend, collaborator and constant source of inspiration. I am very pleased to point you in the direction of his latest venture, a tape label called Musical Impressions. Many of you had shown interested in the Grandfather Claws tape listed for many months in the "future releases" section of this blog -- that tape will see the light of day very soon as one of the first two tapes on the Musical Impressions imprint, the other being a tape by Deeds (Mumford and John Niekrasz). Future releases will include tapes by Thicket, Sun Foot, Dim Holys. Can't wait! In the meantime, check out the audio up on the site.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Grouper - Dragging a Dead Dear Up a Hill LP - self-released
Grouper - Dragging A Dead Dear Up A Hill LP
I have just a few copies of this LP, the third pressing of Grouper's masterpiece record from 2008, pressed by Liz Harris herself (not Type). For those unfamiliar with Grouper's work, her music started out in the form of stark, textural pieces made from distortion, delay and voice then very slowly, release by release, incorporated elements of melody and song structure. The DDD LP is probably the farthest she's leaned into the realm of song-craft, and it's also the first release that really opened up her sound texturally. It's a stunning record, the songs are incredibly good and deeply affecting, they really give you chills. I have listened to this record many many times. $16

I also have copies of Wide
Grouper - Wide - Weird Forest/Untitled
Grouper - Wide LP - Weird Forest $15

Friday, October 15, 2010

Foxy Digitalis gave some love to the Jovontaes tape, you can read the review here.

Also, listed the new Goaty tapes but it got buried a few posts down.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Dirty Beaches - Night City - Night-People
Dirty Beaches - Night City
Dirty Beaches records are about travel. His last tape on Night-People evoked highways and open roads and the hypnotic rhythm of the dotted yellow line. Night City turns instead to the eternal flicker of neon signs, to long, winding florecent tunnels, to the dreamlike energy of the 24-hour city. Instead of countless miles coast to coast, the travel is within the labyrinth of the metropolis, and instead of the dry twang of highway guitar, the melodies are carried on the opaque shimmer of plastic synthesizer. Where before the rhythms came from the lulling infinity of the endless road, here their cut-time pieces move together and apart with precision. And instead of Alex's lost crooner baritone, only a pair of relective sunglasses float diembodied on the cover. $6
Broken Water - s/t - Night-People
Broken Water - s/t
Olympia group with a dark sound, heavy nods to Sonic Youth and the dissonant 90s. "Boyfriend Hole" leads the tape off, makes sense they made a 7" out of it, too, total ripper. They've got their sound locked down, make heady work of the six songs here. As solid as anything out there. $6
Dunebuggy - Live: White Paint/High Jinx and the Perfume Tuxedo - Night People
Dunebuggy - Live White Paint/"High Jinx and the Perfume Tuxedo"
Live murk from everyone's favorite Iowa City weirdo-duo. Gotta say, this might be a fans only outing. The 'Buggy seems to be in great form, thrashing on the thrashers and slow burning on the slow burners, but the whole affair sounds to be a little much for the walkman charged with recording the goings-on. That said there's a gem on the b-side -- a mellow, echo-y guitar and drums number that is in a more gentle mode than I've heard from Dunebuggy. This show sounds like it was a blast, hope they take it outside of Iowa so we can hear for ourselves. $6
Rene Hell - Baroque Arcade - Night-People
Rene Hell - Baroque Arcade
Jeff Witscher continues his run of Rene Hell releases with this tape of eerie, outer-space synthesizer work. With all the mining of the Cluster/German scene going on right now, Witscher's releases are instantly recognizable -- there's a definite edge to them, an uneasiness and insistence where others are looking to sooth. Less John Carpenter-y than the Ekhein tape, the pieces here are constantly shifting and dense, yet the sounds remain vivid, defined. Hope he sticks to the Rene Hell name for a while, interesting stuff going on here. $6
The Savage Young Taterbug - Syrupy Evenings - Night-People
The Savage Young Taterbug - Syrupy Evenings
It seems like forever ago that Boys of the Feather dropped with all its naive, sing-a-long energy and dreamy, contact-high sparkle. With every tape since, that mystical, boyish Taterbug has slipped a little bit farther into the haze, always a little bit harder to hear in the nostalgia/nightmare kelaidoscope of audio. Not that this is a bad thing -- the California Son tape is maybe my favorite Charles Free solo work and it's one of his most fractured. On Syrupy Evenings, Taterbug appears like little more than the Chesire Cat -- a strange, fixed, pained grin floating above the warble of gritty keyboard and cheap FX. Weirdest, saddest tape I've heard in a while. $6
Sleep Over - s/t - Night-People
Sleep Over - s/t
Nice little tape of dreamy pop music that sounds like it could be the demos from some long lost 4AD band. Warbly synthesizer, slow drum-machine and lots of reverb give it that hazy MBV feel that really hits home. Nobody's quite doing it like these ladies are right now, super nice to jam this kind of stuff. $6
Pageants - s/t - Night-People
Pageants - s/t
Dark 60s pop from Australia (where else these days!) that leans heavy on reverb and dirty, 12-string electric guitar. No summer of love here, though -- late-night feelings of loss and regret lurk behind every ringing melody. Short, sweet and deeply catchy. Lithe chord-progressions and subtle organ work really seal the deal. For all the rep Night-People has for ruling the fringe scene, their pop-leaning tapes rarely fail to deliver (Terrorbird, Twerps and Dunebuggy tapes all remain in heavy rotation around here). Can't wait to hear more from these guys. $6
Lazer Zeppelin - Pyramid Echo - Night-People
Lazer Zeppelin - Pyramid Echo
Oddball sounds from Olympia, Washington. Hard to know what to say exactly about this tape -- they do a Uke of Space Corners cover and I think that goes a long way to describe the off-kilter, exuberant, shambolic, folk-country, collective-sound psychadelia going on here. The whole thing's been run through an echoplex which gives is a nice, full, swampy feel to it. Upbeat, clattering and weird in an old-school, "let's just act weird" kinda way that feels friendly and goofy. Good tape for late summer full moons. $6
EMA - Little Sketches On Tape
EMA - Little Sketches On Tape
Sketches in a good sense of the word, the little vignettes of song here are fragmented but have that spark of life to them. EMA is Erika from Gowns, and the set up here is incredibly simple but bears some weird, interesting fruit -- sparse guitar or piano and voice and tape speed manipulation. The audio stretches and warbles, adding texture, depth and almost a kind of rhythm. It's awesome that with so few and familiar components, EMA has put something together that sounds like nothing else out there. She's carved out some very fertile creative ground for herself with this stuff. I really hope these little sketches on tape are pointing towards a big album on vinyl. $6

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Dear Portland,
You should know about Little Axe Records. Jed and Warren run it out of their garage, 3637 NE 14th. It's open 12-6 on Friday and Saturday. I've started stocking them with tape releases, Night-People, Ekhein, Gift Tapes, Digitalis, etc., so if you're looking for a place to grab that stuff locally, Little Axe is the spot. They've got some great records there, and very reasonable prices.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Handful of new tapes from Goaty...

Silk Ears - Bed Room Water - Goaty Tapes
Silk Ears - Bed Room Water
So I am sitting in front of my stereo with an impossibly large pile of tapes to listen to and the afternoon dwindling and yet I can't help myself from listening to this Silk Ears tape twice all the way through. Sprawling, directionless, We-Don't-Give-A-Fuck, zero-fidelity, bedroom mess of weirdly brilliant songs, if they are songs even. Drums, bass, guitar three piece from Victoria, Australia, playing is primitive at best but I get the sense that these two guys and a gal have got deep record collections. Not that they SOUND like other bands, but that they've got that intuitive sense of what sounds good. The group starts upright, if teetering, moving more-or-less together through the first number but it's not long before all organized momentum dissipates and the music is let loose to drift in hazy, outer zones. Two singers, boy and girl, the girl a dead ringer for Karianne from the Whines, every time she pops up it really hits you in the gut -- distant and immediate, witchy and melancholy. Wait around for Side B when she really lets loose, it sends chills up the spine. Really fucking good tape. OK, as finish typing this the tape is finishing out it's third time through. I move on reluctantly. $6

Baronic Wall - Traditional Appearance - Goaty Tapes
Baronic Wall - Traditional Appearance
Truly, deeply strange new tape from Baronic Wall. The layers of distortion that characterized his last one on Night-People have been pulled away but the new set-up offers little relief to the listener. Like turning on a florescent light in a creepy, dilapidated factory, what's revealed is still a creepy, dilapidated factory but now bathed in bright, cheery light. The mad-man raving is as unsettling as ever, sometimes even more so for the shopping-mall keyboard backing tracks. I think the song title "Shooting From the Sundeck" just about says it all. Like the Night-People release, this is a tape you really have to engage with but it's well worth the commitment. $6

Sohni Chambers - Yaw-Mah-Ha - Goaty Tapes
Sohni Chambers - Yaw-Mah-Ha
Organ and drum workout from Cameron Stallones of Sun Araw and Nick Malkin. All in all a lo-fi affair but the duo keep it interesting, moving from more upbeat pieces into dronier territory. Actually reminds me a lot of the Jovontaes tape that came out on Eggy last year. Straight-forward tape but well done. $6

Banana Head/Rosemary Krust - split - Goaty Tapes
Banana Head/Rosemary Krust - split
Second release (to my knowledge) from Goaty Tapes main-man Zully Adler, more straight-laced affair this time around. Repetitive loner-pop very much in the Russian Tsarlag mode -- minimal, if any, percussion and slack playing and singing.
Rosemary Krust steals the show on the B side, which makes sense considering that she's been roaming the badlands between noise and pop for quite a while now. This release tends towards the abrassive, opening with a fever-dream of sea-sick loops before lurching into the first "song," which reminds me a lot of Eraserhead for whatever reason, maybe the general sense of unease and desolation. By the second track we are given that glimmer of sweetness that is the key to Rosemary Krust's music. A good reference point is probably Fursaxa's poppier moments. Great side from start to finish, this kind of thing is right up my alley. $6

Smegma/Kommisar Hjular and Mama Baer - split - Goaty Tapes

Smegma/Kommisar Hjular and Mama Baer - split

Being from Portland, I'm not sure how much explaining I have to do regarding Smegma. Pretty much the deal is this; these guys have been around forever and they are really, really good at what they do. There's is a very pure kind of noise music, notable for it's almost complete freedom from delay, feedback and distortion. The focus is instead on group play and the interaction of simple, sometimes garrish sounds. Cut-up audio from old records lends a musique conrete vibe, but drums and guitar-like strumming are just as likely to pull things toward more familiar musical references. The pieces scuttle and move organically, passing quickly but deftly from one sound environment to the next. Really wonderful, curious audio from the masters.
The Kommisar Hjular and Mama Baer side is the same track as on the A side of their Feeding Tube LP of last year except with a music box tinkling away in the background the whole time. I was dissappointed for a second until I remembered how much I love this insane and wholly bracing slab of madcap audio, and that I was perfectly happy to be listening to it again (my housemates, however...). What do we call this? A lecture on Concrete Poetry gone totally unhinged? There's a lot of screaming and feedback and references to Mary Ellen Solt. Brilliantly zonked, the work of deeply strange minds. So if you don't have the LP, this is KH and MB at their best, totally essential.
Excellent tape, props to Goaty for the deft pairing. Best $7 you'll spend in a while.
The Woolen Men - The Portland Building - Gnar Tapes
Really happy to announce the release of a new Woolen Men tape on Gnar Tapes, an awesome label who've done tapes with White Fang, the Whines, Meth Teeth, Starving Weirdos, Lucky Dragons, and on and on. Seven songs altogether (six originals and a Go-Betweens cover), pro-dubbed tapes, pro-printed J-cards, link to a digital version. The works. They cost $7.

And to go along with the new tape, here's EGGY MIX NUMBER TWO, this time put together by Lawton Browning of the Woolen Men:


Harry Nilsson - Cuddly Toy
Volcano Suns - Jak
Scott Walker - Three
Judee Sill - The Kiss
Killing Joke - Requiem
Frank Black - (I Want To Live) On An Abstract Plane
X - The Unheard Music
Destroy All Monsters - Vampire
Talking Heads - Girls Want To Be With Girls
Faust - Jennifer
Ramones - Bonzo Goes To Bitburg
Replacements - Bastards of Young
Lou Reed - Coney Island Baby

Get it


Friday, October 8, 2010

According to Dusted Magazine, I'm a member of Idea Fire Company.