Tuesday, August 16, 2011
The Polyps/Garrincha & the Stolen Elk Mini Tour
Aug 18 - Ella St Social Club, Portland
w/ Lady Shapes & Birch Cooper
Aug 19 - Debacle Fest, Seattle
w/ Tiny Vipers, Birch Cooper, others (On Sat: Golden Retriever, Operative, Plankton Wat, Brother Raven, Panabrite, others. On Sun, Blue Sabbath Black Cheer, LA Lungs, others)
Aug 21 - Mama Buzz Cafe, Oakland
w/ Chen Santa Maria
Aug 22 - Luigi's Fun Garden, Sacramento
Thursday, August 11, 2011
Jovontaes - Don't Vex - Gnar Tapes
The tape scene is largely the domain of the lone individual, the bedroom visionary broadcasting his or her electro-magnetic signal into the world. The occasional drone duo or improv group crops up but it's rare that a Band proper uses the scene as a jumping off point. Don't Vex is tape number three (by my count) from Lexington, Kentucky's Jovontaes. It strikes the middle-ground between the sludgefest of Masks of the Land and the cleaner, spacier Thief of Baghdad on DNT, and ultimately feels like the group has found their Zone. I bring up the thing about bands on the tape fringe because I found myself thinking, "I bet these guys can really rip it up live." After a few years in Kraut-mode with releases coming at a steady clip, a tour or two and -- I can only guess -- hundreds of jams, the chemistry in the playing is palpable. They sound at ease on Don't Vex, finding a Can-like buoyancy for their mid-tempo pieces on side A and unleashing some previously unheard proto-punk energy on the flip. Best release to date from these guys. $7
Email email@example.com to order
PS. limited quantities of Masks of the Land and Thief of Baghdad are still available.
Saturday, August 6, 2011
Friday, August 5, 2011
Thursday, August 4, 2011
El Hadrmy - Kamlat/La Mone 7"
Info about this release is scarce and the sleeve being a facsimile of the original, there is very little for the English speaker to read. I think it was originally released around 1970 and was the ONLY record every pressed in the West African country of Mauritania. (There's no entry for Mauritania over at Radiodiffusion so it must be true...). These recordings come from the Western Sahel region of Africa and share many of the qualities I -- as a lay person -- associate with music from that area of the world. Tinariwen are from the neighboring country of Mali, for example. Both sides feature spry, wah-wah guitar, relatively spare arrangement and propulsive, mid-tempo rhythms. The guitar work is really out-of-site on this record, free and expressive without getting away from the rest of the band. Both tracks are excellent, this is a must for fans of African music, however casual or hardcore.
Count Vertigo - X Patriots/I'm A Mutant 7"
A long-out-print and very rare piece of the Portland punk puzzle from 1979, I think the factoid is that an original copy was the most expensive Portland record ever to be sold or something like that...
Released the same year as the Wipers' first LP and a year before the Rats', the Portland punk sound is in full effect on Count Vertigo's one and only release. This is some dark, angry stuff (we don't call it Doom Town for nothing, kids), the lyrics shouted loud and clear with the same kind of forceful-yet-despairing delivery that Greg Sage favored (reminds me a little of Eat Skull, too) and the band pummeling away in the hard-edged New Wave style of the Rats. I guess these guys got on Sage's bad side, so maybe small-town politics had to do with why this band, and the related Ice Nine, were so short-lived because they seem otherwise to have a lot going for them. Both sides are totally solid late 70s/pre-hardcore punk, angry and catchy.
Both are $5 each, email firstname.lastname@example.org to order!
Julian Lynch - Buffalo Songs - Goaty Tapes
Audio doodles from the sketchbook of Julian Lynch. Over here is a little Beach Boys fragment; over there a daub of yacht rock; a few pages of New Music at Walkman fidelity; a big, noisy crayon scribble. Big, easy, emotional music.
$6, email email@example.com to order.
ALSO, please read this news bulletin from the desk of Zully "Goaty" Adler:
I leave today to travel for a year. Pretty insane, right!
The reason I’m traveling is to meet, document, and work with as many awesome tape labels and other DIY projects as possible. So if you are in Australia, Southeast Asia, Continental Europe, Scandinavia, or Central America email me (firstname.lastname@example.org) and let’s hang out! If you have any friends who are involved in DIY music, feel free to pass this information along.
Get in touch with that guy!
Wednesday, August 3, 2011
Village Of Spaces - Alchemy And Trust - War On Records/Corleone Records/Don't Trust The Ruin/Turned Word
I've been enjoying how pleasantly out-of-step Alchemy And Trust is with the underground pop scene of 2011. The ongoing simplification, the heaps of gritty reverb, worship of the early 90s or whatever scene it is -- no trace of any of that here. Dan Beckman (now Beckman-Moon), has been on his own path for quite a few years now and this is certainly a record made by a person pursuing a vision, and pursuing it long enough that the weight and maturity of the work is hard to ignore. It's not a record for everyone, and I wouldn't blame someone for turning up their nose -- the gentle tempos, the hushed vocals, the heady lyrics, the acoustic arrangements, there's a lot of music out there that matches those descriptors without much to redeem it. But if you're willing to meet these songs halfway (which is a fair requirement to ask of any music), you will find them to be sturdy and elegant. There are six songs in total, each around five or six minutes long, and each fully-developed in structure and arrangement. In terms of the music itself, it's broadly "folk" but pleasantly and subtly -- very subtly -- psychedelic in a way that reminds me of the Jewelled Antler scene as it was six or seven years ago, minus the reverb and general murkiness. Something in it reminds me of Glen Donaldson's Birdtree project. And in it's folk-ness, Beckman-Moon is clearly a devotee of Michael Hurley (who contributes fiddle to a track). Ultimately, a solid record from a man clearly "in it" for life. I have a hunch this is the beginning of his "mature" work, and I'm looking forward to the records to come.
$13, email email@example.com to order it.
I also have a few copies of the Peppermint Birdhouse Tea Shanty Shack LP made under the Uke of Philips moniker that was released by Mississippi, Friends and Relatives and Turned Word a few years back. Those are $10.
Tuesday, August 2, 2011
Mad Nanna - I Made Blood Better - Goaty Tapes
Here's the twinsies tape -- fraternal -- to the recent Eggy release. Mad Nanna is the project of Michael Zulicki who runs the excellent Albert's Basement label outside Melbourne, Australia. Me and Mickey have been buds for a while now via mutual appreciation and distribution -- his skewed take on "pop" music is certainly up my alley -- and the fact that I'm writing about a tape he did on Zully Adler's Goaty imprint -- ditto his "pop" sensibilities -- well, it's just right. This is the way Mad Nanna roll, or so I have gathered -- Mickey rounds up a band; somebody presses Record; perhaps some of the band have heard the song before or have rehearsed or have some idea of what they are doing; magic happens. In this mode of operation they have a precedent in the sideways stylings of the epic Garbage and the Flowers. Both make music that ambles and wanders and stumbles but cannot ultimately conceal the fact that underneath it all are great, memorable, weirdly catchy songs. I Made Blood Better has some excellent, poppy, newer songs, namely the title track and My Two Kids, as well as some different versions of tracks on the Eggy tape, You Can't Expect It and Outside Donati's Meats. Really great design work from Zully on this one -- the sleeve is nice, thick paper with a little letter-pressing under the inside cover with a "found"-style insert and a gold seal to top it off. It goes without saying that I highly recommend this tape. Also recommended is Michael's previous tape with Goaty with his band Silk Ears (you can read my ecstatic review here) which I just restocked.
$6, email firstname.lastname@example.org to order
Mad Nanna - My Two Kids (From I Made Blood Better on Goaty Tapes)
Monday, August 1, 2011
Positive Shadow - Fiume - Self-released
I won't lie, it can be a mind-numbing ordeal to try to sort through the massive output of synth music being released on tape right now, listening to Soundcloud fragments and mp3s to try to separate the substantive from the superficial. Sometimes you get to wondering if ANY of it is any good or if it's just going to be lowest-common-denominator, consonant-drone-with-obvious-melody, perfunctorily programmed, vaguely 70s sounding New Age BS from here on out. But, of course, it's nonsense to think that. They are still out there -- the ones pursuing a vision or pushing the envelope -- regardless of trends or fads. Which is all a big lead up to say, This Positive Shadow tape is great. On one hand, this is obviously synth music, on the other, the sounds are completely beguiling. Where does that incredible shimmer on the tones come from? Those roiling, electronic surfaces? These tracks have that great power to really exist as a physical presence in the room, which is the thing you really hope for from this kind of experimental music. OK, totally recommended but here's the pisser -- I only have one copy. I tried to order a handful but I'm pretty sure Keith Whitman over at Mimaroglu Music Sales snapped up a lot of the copies and I only could get two. And I'm keeping one. So after this one copy is gone, you can follow the MMS link and grab one from there. $7, email email@example.com to order it.