Saturday, June 26, 2010

Abner Jay - Folk Song Stylist - Mississippi Records
Abner Jay - Folk Song Stylist - Mississippi Records

The return of Abner Jay! His first LP on Mississippi, The True Story of Abner Jay, is perhaps my favorite release from the label so I was thrilled to see this second collection of his work. Jay is an American folk artist in the truest sense of the term, a visionary who began his career at age 5 and was still performing the year of his death. "Outsider music" isn't really adequate here, as Jay spent his entire life immersed in the traditions of folk, blues and soul music -- the direct, emotional impact of his music is certainly uncanny but definitely not naive. Jay self-released a huge number of records and tapes during his lifetime and toured with Sister Rosetta Tharp but only in the last ten years or so has his music been made available to a larger audience, first by Subliminal Sounds who compiled a CD in 2003 and now with the pair of Mississippi LPs.

Jay was by and large a one-man band, playing the drums with his feet while strumming either a guitar or banjo and blowing on a harmonica. He claimed lineage to the black minstrel and vaudeville shows of the South and his exaggerated diction and full-throated singing style attest to that. Additionally, comedy plays a large role in Jay's music, which he often referred to as "comedy blues," and short routines or one-liners often pop up in middle or at the beginning of his songs. That said, there's definitely something fried about Jay's music and many of the songs he sings are about people at the end of their rope ("Cocaine," "I'm So Depressed," "Starving To Death On My Government Claim," "St. James Infirmary Blues," "I Wanna Job"). All of this comes together to form a body of work which is just as often humorous as it is melancholy, sometimes at the same time.

Honestly, the best place to start with Jay's music is The True Story of Abner Jay, and I would highly recommend tracking down a copy of that while they're still out there (they still have copies at Mississippi Records). While not as dizzingly good, Folk Song Stylist is nonetheless an excellent album and definitely essential (one big difference is the lack of comedy routines on Folk Song Stylist). Highlights are an alternate, full-band version of "I'm So Depressed" called "Depression," "I Wanna Job" and a wild-eyed take on "Swing Low, Sweet Chariot."
Maybe you've heard of the Social Music Record Club, the new venture by Mike McGonigal of Yeti Magazine, but I thought it worth mentioning that there is a cassette tape subscription as well as the vinyl one, for $50 instead of $100, which puts in the ballpark of affordability. Anyway, a lot of Eggy favorites represented in the club, Abner Jay, Grouper, Evan Miller, the freaking Bats. I signed up for the tape subscription.
Also, this is a nice interview with Mr. McGonigal in Digitalis.
And this is a great feature he did for Pitchfork about Galaxie 500.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Briefly, I thought I should mention that these fine distributors are now carrying select Eggy releases:

Weird Forest Distro
Brand new distro branch of the excellent Weird Forest vinyl label. Small but exquisitely -- if I may say so myself -- curated selection of records and tapes. Eggy stuff costs just as much from them as from me.

Discriminate Music

Discriminate is pretty much THE place to go for limited-release drone and fringe music, kind of a Mimaroglu focused on small run stuff. A lot of excellent releases that have sold out at the main distributors are still available there, I've noticed.

And in Australia, your Eggy distributor is Albert's Basement, really excellent selection and a fine label to boot.

Friday, June 18, 2010

water circle
Reminder! Tonight at the Wail (NE 42nd and Sumner):

The Polyps -- tape loops, audio collage, synthesizer, "songs."
Trust -- Lawton from Woolen Men's solo, fuzzed-out, Kate Bush style synthesizer and drum machine pop.
Adrian Orange -- We'll see what Adrian's up to these days.


Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Brian Mumford is DJing at Valentine's tonight, Wednesday. Should be spinning some nice and zonked tunes. See you there!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010


The Polyps, Trust, & Adrian Orange at the Wail, early show, done by 10pm

The Golden Hours, Wampire, & Shellshag at East End
& also
Orca Team, Blue Jungle, Sex Hair and Koban at In Other Words Bookstore

Mattress, ASSS, Alaskas, Haunted Horses at Valentine's.
& also
Orca Team, & many others at Ivy St. House.


The Woolen Men at the Little Red Bike closing party. Boo!

Monday, June 14, 2010

Weird Forest:
Grouper - Wide - Weird Forest/Untitled
Grouper - Wide LP - Weird Forest
Really glad to have a few copies of this in stock. "Wide" is the Grouper LP preceding "Cover the Windows and the Walls" and a nice half-way point between the faraway drones of her early work and the more clearly song-based work she's doing now. It's definitely a slow, meditative listen -- the songs are there but still just shapes beneath the flow of sound. Beautiful stuff, it's easy to get lost in the drift. $10

Gift Tapes:
Oregon Painting Society - Radiant Dream Face - Gift Tapes
Oregon Painting Society - Radiant Dream Face - Gift Tapes
Plants and square waves. Strange recordings of a small army of DIY oscillators droning, squealing, burbling and drunkenly swooping. There's something appealing about the sound of a handful of people each in charge of a sound-making device that seems somewhat cumbersome to control, and the tape swerves from borderline-chaos to relative clarity. $6

Zaimph - Gift Tapes
Zaimph - Coast to Coast - Gift Tape
Beautiful, hazy, weathered, long-form guitar work. This tape has a great feel to it -- grainy, shimmering, warbling. Movement is subtle but constant. Nice, solid tape. $6

Concessionaires - Skyline- Gift Tapes
Concessionaires - Skyline - Gift Tapes
Concessionaires is a synth duo made up of Brad Rose and Pete Fosco who present some long-form pieces here. I'm digging their willingness to dabble in melody without getting cheesy and overly synth-y about it. Editing could have been a tiny bit more judicious in terms of focusing on the good parts, but it's hard to complain cause the good parts are good and in the big picture they do keep it pretty tight. Really nice, mellow listen. $6

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

I just discovered that wonderful local DJs Linger and Quiet post monthly mixes on their website. And they're really, really great. Been jamming these like crazy, the latest is heavy in the minimal dance music zone but if that's not your thing there's plenty of warble and crackle on the other mixes.

Also, unrelated, there are now pictures on the distro page, with descriptions being added as they get added.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

In addition to tapes, I'm now distributing select vinyl titles, and I couldn't be happier to kick this new venture off with...
Michael Hurley - Armchair Boogie - Mississippi Records
Michael Hurley - Armchair Boogie - Mississippi Records
It's hard to even know where to start with this one! Armchair Boogie is Michael Hurley's second LP, recorded five years after his 1964 debut on Folkways in his bedroom in Brookline, Mass. This record is always paired in my mind with Richard Brautigan's In Watermelon Sugar because the two have the same feel. The gentle, whimsical come down of the late '60s, a simple life with a small group of friends, pockets of both deep melancholy and impish bawdiness, pastoral America. This is a very easy album to love -- the loose, folky arrangements have just the right bounce, the songs are solid and above all is Hurley's voice, bell-clear, tender and unaffected. I could go on and on but, anyway, this is a favorite of mine, highly recommended to anybody. $10

"Open Up" by Michael Hurley and Pals

(I have a handful of other Mississippi LPs in stock, check the distro page.)

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Taco Leg/Constant Mongrel split - Wuss Tapes
Taco Leg/Constant Mongrel - split - Wuss Tapes
Good, clean, dumb fun from Australia. This one is a split, but without being told you might not notice there were two separate groups here, which is all for the better (I honestly don't know which side belongs to which band). Taco Leg hail from way out in Perth -- first Perth band to grace the distro, I believe -- and Constant Mongrel are Victoria kids. I be would surprised if any of the songs topped either two minutes or three chords, which is to say, this tape rules. Taco Leg got some sort of nod from Terminal Boredom recently, so they're on their way to making millions, no doubt. One of the two bands has a great song about Indiana Jones that gets stuck in my head all the time. $5

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Goaty Tapes:

El Jesus de Magico - Goaty Tapes
El Jesus De Magico - Ragtime Hors - Goaty Tapes
El Jesus de Magico - Ragtime Hors (deluxe) - Goaty Tapes
El Jesus De Magico - Ragtime Hors (deluxe version) - Goaty Tapes
Somewhat under-the-radar release by these Columbus, Ohio hypnotic scuzzers, who have been cruising the fringe scene for the last couple years with some killer 7"s. It's been a while since I've heard their earlier stuff but I think the songs on this tape are relatively raw and direct in comparison (maybe less reverb and echo?). The basic format is the same, though -- lock into a groove and ride it into blasted infinity. Sonic Youth-y, Wooden Shjips-y vamping and freak-outery. Really nice tape, I'm surprised it's been so low profile (here's write-up, though). $6, or deluxe art edition is $7.

Street Drinkers - Goaty Tapes
Street Drinkers - Circles - Goaty Tapes
The nice thing about this tape is that the six or so songs are placed in the context of a very interesting, shifting soundscape that flows through everything. Crackles, hisses, low rumbles, scrapes, train-like rhythmic patterns -- evocative stuff, and there's sometimes a good 30-seconds or minute between songs to soak it up. The songs themselves, too, have a nice, worn quality to their sonics. A little muted and frayed. That said, the singer definitely has an Ian Curtis thing going on which I'm not crazy about -- the tape works best when the songs are half-way buried in the soundscape and less well when they're front and center. Still some very interesting ideas going on and some really nice passages. $6

I'm a record lover but definitely not a collector. That said, this CD is relatively uncommon, as far as I can tell out-of-print, and also one that I love dearly. I have a few excellent compilations of early African pop music but there is something unusual and intriguing about this one. The first time I put it on I didn't make it all the way through -- it took another go before my ears adjusted to the slightly skewed quality of the music, which is certainly influenced by western traditions but not as deeply as I think most of us are used to. My favorite track is H.K. Williams' "Mene wobeko Tamale," a sparse, melancholy duet accompanied only by slide guitar and clave. The liner notes suggest the influence of Jimmy Rodgers. Enjoy!

H.K. Williams "Mene wobeko Tamale"

The whole zip.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

I got these tapes right when the Half and Half was closing and never wrote about them, even though they get a lot of stereo time around here. Tone Filth is a Minneapolis based label run by Justin Meyers, who has been making very interesting drone and abstract music for years now under several different names, though more commonly his own these days. There is definitely a label style going on, in both design and sound. The silk-screening emphasizes subtle layering of ink and the tiny irregularities inherent in the process. The music, I'm not sure what the word for it is, the aesthetic is something like weathered tone work. Many of these tapes have the wonderful quality of decaying tape -- flickering textures, asymmetries, a deep sense of mystery. It's stoic, beautiful stuff.

Chambers - Soon - Tone Filth
Chambers - Soon - Tone Filth
A very, very restrained tape, made up almost entirely of swells of worn audio-detritus, rumblings, static-like whispers of sound. Something very evocative and affecting about it, though. Almost sounds like jets going by overhead, or a distant freeway, or a windy day, but not quite. Intriguing and strange. $7.

Scott Goodwin - Tone Filth
Scott Goodwin - Referent - Tone Filth
Abstract tape that is none-the-less very much the work of Scott Goodwin. His beguiling, op-art tones are in full effect here, but in this context placed minimally in the large open space of the tape. I enjoy this release quite a bit but in all honesty it's not an easy one. $7.

Helm - Direct Landscapes - Tone Filth
Helm - Direct Landscapes - Tone Filth
Gentle, shimmering, swirling textures with a twinge of Eno-like wistfulness and melody. Very interesting silk-screen job on this one -- thick inks that appear to have been applied to wet paper so that each tape is different in the way the color is dispersed. $7

Justin Meyers - Permanent Pressure - Tone Filth
Justin Meyers - Permanent Pressure - Tone Filth
Out of the last batch of tapes from Arbor, Justin's was the one I was really crazy about, and getting a hold of "Permanent Pressure" directly after was a real treat. There is a deep sense of mystery about this tape -- the way the it begins in near silence, the way the tones slowly break through like paint chipping from the wall of an abandoned building, the tones themselves, which are insistent and organic, that all but hide some kind of activity going on in the background. $7
Several excellent tapes are posted here: