plain ketchup 2

Posted by othiym23 Thu, 24 Apr 2008 07:52:23 GMT

As promised, here’s the list of what-all I’ve added to my collection since the last time I posted one of these omnibus roundups. As always, the sources are various: Amoeba, Boomkat, the Amazon MP3 store, Mutant Sounds, Dualtrack, The Thing on the Doorstep, No Longer Forgotten Music, The Soundhead, Phoenix Hairpins, and What Fucked You. Some of them are duplicates from the last list big list I posted because I purchased copies of things I had downloaded to check out (like the excellent Au Revoir Simone album).

Some of you may notice that despite my fevered excoriation of Death in June (or, you know, ambivalent musings thereon), there’s a hearty selection of their music here. I decided I needed to hear more of their stuff for myself, and I have to say, extended exposure to their music reinforces my conviction that they’re purposefully playing games with their listeners in a way I find unconscionable, even if some of the (earlier) songs scratch a very specific, Joy Division-esque itch deep in my head. This is something Jessica Hopper deals with obliquely, in the context of indie hipsters becoming fans of black metal bands with questionable beliefs (another thing I’ve had to wrestle with repeatedly over the years).

UPDATE: The conversation continues over Jessica’s way, just as ambivalent and inconclusive as the one that goes on in my head.

Anyway, here’s the list.

  1. ABC Mutes: Studio Stuff
  2. Ab Ovo: Empreintes
  3. Architects Office: 1987: Live
  4. Architects Office: 9th Year Gala Performance
  5. Area: Arbeit Macht Frei
  6. Art & Technique: Diabolus In Mecanica
  7. Au Revoir Simone: The Bird of Music
  8. Ballet Mécanique: The Icecold Waters of Egocentric Calculation
  9. Sir Richard Bishop: While My Guitar Violently Bleeds
  10. ビジリバ: ビジリバ
  11. Black Sabbath: Black Sabbath [box set remaster]
  12. Black Sabbath: Paranoid [box set remaster]
  13. Black Sabbath: Master of Reality [box set remaster]
  14. Black Sabbath: Vol 4 [box set remaster]
  15. Black Sabbath: Sabbath Bloody Sabbath [box set remaster]
  16. Black Sabbath: Sabotage [box set remaster]
  17. Black Sabbath: Technical Ecstasy [box set remaster]
  18. Black Sabbath: Never Say Die! [box set remaster]
  19. Blue Mathue: Perfect Pictures
  20. Bogart & S·Core: Pilgrim
  21. Boys Noize: Oi Oi Oi
  22. The Breeders: Mountain Battles
  23. Monte Cazazza: The Worst of Monte Cazazza
  24. CEDS: Xandosis
  25. CINdYTALK: Camouflage Heart
  26. CINdYTALK: In This World
  27. CINdYTALK: Secrets and Falling
  28. CINdYTALK: The Wind is Strong
  29. CINdYTALK: Transgender Warrior
  30. CINdYTALK: Wappinschaw
  31. Cardboard Village: Sea Change
  32. Coil: The New Backwards
  33. Combo FH: Véci
  34. Commando M Pigg: s/t
  35. Confetti: Retrospective
  36. Crawling Chaos: The Gas Chair
  37. Crawling With Tarts: Operas
  38. Crevice: Crevice 1
  39. Crevice: Think of Pleasant Things
  40. Curlew: s/t
  41. De Fabriek & Telepherique: PWZ
  42. Death in June: The Guilty Have No Past
  43. Death in June: Burial
  44. Death in June: Nada!
  45. Death in June: The World That Summer
  46. Death in June: Brown Book
  47. Death in June: 93 Dead Sunwheels
  48. Death in June: The Wall of Sacrifice
  49. Death in June: The Cathedral of Tears
  50. Death in June: Oh How We Laughed
  51. Death in June: The Corn Years
  52. Devo: Recombo DNA
  53. Disrupt: Jah Bit Invasion
  54. Dom: Fackeln Im Sturm
  55. Frank Domert: Kiefermusik
  56. Dorothy: I Confess
  57. Drahomira Song Orchestra: The Return of 120 Magicians
  58. Iancu Dumitrescu / David Prescott: split
  59. Alec Empire: The Golden Foretaste of Heaven
  60. Enduser: Form Without Function
  61. Eva-Tone: She’s-A-Wild
  62. Flipper: Love Canal / Ha Ha Ha
  63. The Flying Lizards: s/t
  64. The Flying Lizards: Fourth Wall
  65. The Flying Lizards: Top Ten
  66. Folkdove: s/t
  67. Francisco: Cosmic Beam Experience
  68. Frequency.m: Fm043
  69. Genghis Tron: Board Up the House
  70. Gorilla Aktiv: Umsonst Ohne Risiko
  71. The Hafler Trio: Ignotum Per Ignotus
  72. Hajsch: Nagual (für Silvio Manuel)
  73. Hands To / Eric Lunde: split
  74. Kevin Harrison: Inscrutably Obvious
  75. Hula: Black Pop Workout
  76. Hula: Cut From Inside
  77. Hula: Fever Car
  78. Hula: Murmur
  79. Hula: Freeze Out
  80. Hula: Get the Habit
  81. Hula: Black Wall Blue
  82. Hula: Poison
  83. Hula: Cut Me Loose
  84. Hula: VC1
  85. Indoor Life: s/t
  86. Linton Kwesi Johnson: A Cappella Live
  87. Linton Kwesi Johnson: Bass Culture
  88. Linton Kwesi Johnson: Dread Beat an’ Blood
  89. Linton Kwesi Johnson: Making History
  90. Kiss the Blade: The Party’s Begun
  91. Kiss the Blade: Young Soldier
  92. Hassisen Kone: Harsoinen Teräs
  93. Korean Buddhist God: Magnum You
  94. Korpses Katatonik: Sensitive Liberated Autistiks
  95. Joachim Kuhn: Cinemascope
  96. Der Künftige Musikan: Veitstanz
  97. LAShTAL: Thoum Aesh Neith
  98. Laddio Bolocko: Strange Warnings of Laddio Bolocko
  99. Laddio Bolocko: The Life & Times of Laddio Bolocko
  100. Leviathan: Massive Conspiracy Against All Life
  101. Liquid Visions: Endless Plasmatic Childhood
  102. Eric Lunde: V215
  103. Eric Lunde: Witness to Disaster
  104. M83: Saturdays = Youth
  105. Magma: Trilogie Theusz Hamtaahk Live
  106. The Master Musicians of Joujouka: recorded live in France
  107. Merzbow & John Hudak: The Time Stream
  108. Merzbow: Batzoutai With Material Gadgets
  109. Merzbow: Lowest Music 2
  110. Mesh: Claustrophobia
  111. Meshuggah: obZen
  112. Jeff Mills: Gamma Player, Volume 1: The Universe by Night
  113. Misson of Burma: Signals, Calls, and Marches [2008 Matador reissue]
  114. Mnemonists: Gyromancy
  115. Mnemonists: Roto-Limbs
  116. Mnemonists: Some Attributes of a Living System
  117. Monos: Everyday Soundtracks
  118. Monos: Generators
  119. Monos: Window
  120. Monoton: Monotonprodukt 02
  121. Monoton: Monotonprodukt 07
  122. Mr. Partridge: Take Away / The Lure of Salvage
  123. Nailsleeper: Marching Dynamics
  124. Neung Phak: Neung Phak (Mono Pause)
  125. Kaiser Nietzsche: Non Plus Ultra
  126. Hermann Nitsch: Klaviersonate für Arnulf Rainer
  127. Gary Numan & Tubeway Army: Replicas Redux
  128. Nurse With Wound: Steel Dream March of the Metal Men
  129. OAD: Daytona
  130. The Ocean: Precambrian
  131. Ora: After Rainfall
  132. Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark: Dazzle Ships [2008 Telegraph remaster]
  133. Jürgen Paape: Nord Nord-West
  134. PBK: Shadows of Prophecy / In His Throes
  135. Pearls Before Swine: The Complete ESP-Disk’ Recordings
  136. Bob Pegg: Ancient Maps
  137. Bob Pegg & Nick Strutt: The Ship Builder
  138. Pekka Streng & Tasavalla Presidentti: Magneettimiehen Kuolema
  139. PFN: Akasa / Für Cleo
  140. Phallus Dei: Pontifex Maximus
  141. Poison the Well: Versions
  142. Portion Control: Simulate Sensual
  143. Prag Vec: No Cowboys
  144. Princess Tinymeat: Herstory: 1984-1986
  145. Qua: Forgetabout
  146. Qua: Painting Monsters on Clouds
  147. The Raincoats: s/t
  148. Jay Reatard: Blood Visions
  149. Reyvision: The Sound Cage
  150. Chas Rose: Child of the Universe
  151. Jack Rose: Dr. Ragtime & Pals / Jack Rose
  152. Rosetta: Wake / Lift
  153. S·Core: A Great Lump
  154. S·Core: A Jest of Nature
  155. S·Core: Dross
  156. S·Core: Dysphonia
  157. S·Core: Finger Mark
  158. S·Core: Morbid Moppets
  159. S·Core: Shedder
  160. S·Core: Tarnish
  161. S·Core: Undersong
  162. Rolf Schulz: Tambora
  163. Adrian Sherwood: Becoming a Cliché / Dub Cliché
  164. Sigillum S: Abstraction
  165. Sigillum S: Dispersion: Sliced Carrions & Pixel Handcuffs
  166. Sigillum S: Es Database Chronology
  167. Sigillum S: Mutilated Terrorism
  168. Sigillum S: Terror-Auto Obstetrics
  169. Soap-Jo Henshi: s/t
  170. Social Climbers: s/t
  171. Somatic Responses: Augmented Lines
  172. Somatic Responses: Circumflex
  173. Somatic Responses: Pounded Mass
  174. Somatic Responses: Touching the Void
  175. La Sonorite Jaun: Heliae
  176. La Sonorite Jaune & The Haters: The Interstellar Destroyed Music Mail Project
  177. SPK: Dekompositiones
  178. SPK: Live 7 June 1987 Theaterfabrik Manege, München
  179. SPK: Oceania: In Performance 1987
  180. Stars & Stips: Nevergreens
  181. Suburban Lawns: Baby
  182. Suburban Lawns: Gidget Goes to Hell
  183. Supersister: Present From Nancy
  184. Supersister: Spiral Staircase
  185. Teddy & the Frat Girls: Audio Suicide
  186. Test Dept. / Brith Gof: Gododdin
  187. Steve Thomsen: Retrospective II
  188. Steve Thomsen: Retrospective III
  189. Throbbing Gristle: Discipline
  190. Throbbing Gristle: Mission of Dead Souls: The Last Live Performance of TG
  191. Throbbing Gristle: Subhuman
  192. Throbbing Gristle: The First Annual Report
  193. Throbbing Gristle: Throbbing Gristle Live: Volume 1 (1976-1978)
  194. Throbbing Gristle: Throbbing Gristle Live: Volume 2 (1977-1978)
  195. Throbbing Gristle: Throbbing Gristle Live: Volume 3 (1978-1979)
  196. Throbbing Gristle: Throbbing Gristle Live: Volume 4 (1979-1980)
  197. Torche: Torche [2005 original version]
  198. Torche: Torche [2007 re-recorded version]
  199. Torche: Meanderthal
  200. The Vaselines: The Way of the Vaselines: A Complete History
  201. Vazz: Your Lungs and Your Tongue
  202. Vendino Pact: s/t
  203. Virgin Prunes: A New Form of Beauty
  204. Virgin Prunes: Over the Rainbow
  205. Virgin Prunes: …If I Die, I Die
  206. Voigt/465: One Faint Deluded Smile
  207. Vox Populi!: Half Dead Ganja Music
  208. Warning: s/t
  209. Trevor Wishart: Journey Into Space
  210. Trevor Wishart: Red Bird / Anticredos
  211. Xanopticon: Liminal Space
  212. Yeast Culture: IYS
  213. Yeast Culture: Rena Leica: The Exposition of Nothing
  214. Yelle: Pop Up
  215. Zanov: Green Ray
  216. Zanov: In Course of Time
  217. Zanov: Moebius
  218. v/a: Alchemy
  219. v/a: Angelica 91
  220. v/a: Angelica 92
  221. v/a: Anthology 1: Come Organisation Archives 1979-1981
  222. v/a: Bogata, Luca & Richman: The Devil’s Trill
  223. v/a: Dry Lungs
  224. v/a: Dry Lungs II
  225. v/a: Dry Lungs V
  226. v/a: Freedom in a Vacuum
  227. v/a: Fridge Freezer
  228. v/a: Hands 2/3
  229. v/a: La Mort Heureuse
  230. v/a: Mutant Sounds Whacked-Out Singles: Volume 7
  231. v/a: No Big Business
  232. v/a: No Big Business 2
  233. v/a: PS1 Volume: Bed of Sound
  234. v/a: Project One
  235. v/a: Trumpett Sounds

lost Youth

Posted by othiym23 Tue, 18 Mar 2008 04:50:43 GMT

Once upon a time there was Option magazine. It covered a broad – yet oddly narrowly defined – cross-section of music that was too weird for the mainstream, but maybe not all the way underground. Each issue would feature quarter-page ads for ReR and Cuneiform Records, and generally there was one or more ads for The Bevis Frond. It had features of varying quality (one article on Swans featured the memorable observation by Jarboe that working in the studio with Michael Gira was much like what working with Paganini was said to be like: “like standing in vats of boiling oil, lancing each other with razor blades”), but the real draw for the magazine were the 30-40 pages of concise reviews, typeset in 4 columns of agate type. It took a couple days to work through them all, but doing so always left me with a feeling like I had a pretty good idea what was going on. They covered cassette-only DiY industrial releases as much as they did more established stalwarts of new and experimental music (Fred Frith, Eugene Chadborne, Zeena Parkins, John Zorn – the Knitting Factory crowd).

Option crapped out 10 years ago. It had lost its purpose, crowded on one side by the alternative-izing of Spin and Rolling Stone in the wake of the grunge explosion-implosion, and on the other by the explosion of subgenres and new bands that characterized the 90s. It’s impossible to imagine a magazine with Option’s broad remit succeeding today. There’s way too much music to cover, and the print magazines that do survive (in Pitchfork’s shadow) tend to be more narrowly focused and relatively conservative. Even The Wire, the most self-consciously hip’n’edgy music magazine out there, is much more predictable than Option was in the early 90s.

Even so, I did inductively identify an Option sound after reading it for a couple years, a kind of post-college rock / intellectual psychedelia that lived somewhere in the interstices between Galaxie 500, Robyn Hitchcock, Half Japanese and the aforementioned twisted guitar genii Chadborne and Frith. It was like art-hippy weirdoes Henry Cow tamed for a larger audience, or REM with more unpredictability.

I provide you with all this prolog because Damien Youth fits the old Option template perfectly. Having never heard him before, listening to his The Man Who Invented God filled me with a rush of nostalgia for high school, when my friends and I would swap REM and Let’s Active and Big Star tapes. Youth was contemporary with those bands, even though he never had their success, and he was clearly mining the same vein of intellectual, introspective folky psychedelia. The Man Who Invented God has the insular quality I associate with late-80s home studio recordings, and Youth practically ought to be paying Michael Stipe royalties, but there’s a free-flowing ease to the songs that makes the rough edges and stylistic debts less important. There’s also some eyeliner and goth poetry going on, which you can interpret as charming or grating as you see fit.

This is yet another of the trove of old recordings I got from Mutant Sounds, and it’s worth the download time and Rapidshare hassle to check out if you like gothic psychedelia. Youth outlasted Option and is still going, almost 25 years after he started, and he’s got a bewildering array of other projects he’s participated in. I might have to check some of them out.

Death in June are or are not Nazis

Posted by othiym23 Fri, 14 Mar 2008 06:07:52 GMT

…but one thing is for sure: when I start wading through the thickets of accusations and counteraccusations, rumor-mongering, sectarian and factional grudge-slinging and post-Situationist po-faced “pranksterism” around the neo-folk / neo-pagan scene, I get the exact same headache I used to get when I was a teenager trying to figure out the American Communist left by reading RCP and SWP newspapers (if you don’t know those acronyms, good for you – all you need to know is that they were / are both claiming the True Marxist mantle for themselves, and they loathe each other).

Out on the fringes of politics and ideology there lies a sticky morass of extremism and paranoia that manifests itself in seemingly incomprehensible shifts in belief, where people will go from hard, statist left to hard, individualist right, without stopping at any point in between. It’s the same phenomenon that produces former-Trotskyite neocons like Richard Perle and Paul Wolfowitz, only with much less disastrous consequences (Douglas P may be a jerk, but he hasn’t (successfully) started any land wars in Asia lately). In the case of neo-folk, though, art is involved, and art necessarily involves ambiguity. The problem of figuring out who actually believes what and who is a lying sack of shit becomes completely intractable, so there’s this peculiar Schrödinger’s box, within which a group like Sol Invictus is either a bunch of neo-Nazi meat puppets or kindly, misunderstood friends to Jew and puppy alike, or Death In June are either in hock to Croatian war criminals or bemused visitors to the region who donated money to innocent victims of the Balkan war. If you care about not giving your time and money to people whose principles you abhor, sorting through these messes can be troubling and maddening in equal measure.

To get a flavor for the complete vacuum of truth this sort of churning strife engenders, first read this hatchet job on Sol Invictus by Stewart Home (his Wikipedia talk page is more germane than the Wikipedia entry itself), and then read this confused atttempt to grapple with it on the blog of some innocent bystander caught in the crossfire. To me, it seems inescapable that the neo-pagan crowd has an awful lot invested in keeping their politics as amorphous as possible (mostly to keep their audiences from devouring themselves in an orgy of mutual loathing – fans of neo-folk run across the political spectrum. Black shirts and jackboots for some, tiny pagan flags for others!); it’s more telling to me if (IF!) Albin Julius of Der Blutharsch is an admirer of Jörg Haider than if he’s gone out of his way to make friends with SOME Israelis (as my good buddy Joel forcefully pointed out to me recently, it’s possible to find Israelis who are fans of just about anything, which means that you can’t exactly treat Der Blutharsch having Israeli fans as being equivalent to them getting [K] stamped on their asses by the Rabbinate of Jerusalem).

More materially, Home wrote a foreword for a booklet of Sol Invictus lyrics in the 90s. If he thinks Tony Wakeford is a tubby sack of Nazi shit (he seems to be very fond of calling Tony Wakeford a fat man), what’s that all about? And then there’s the Green Anarchism controversy (search for “stewart home” down the page)… it’s all a big fucking mess, and I’m thankful I don’t have to care.

The thing to take away from this is the disorienting sensation that you have fallen completely through the rabbit hole into a world where nobody ever tells the truth if they can wrap it up in a few layers of obfuscatory ideological nonsense first. I’m no closer to determining whether or not Death In June, Sixth Comm, Sol Invictus and a bunch of the other World Serpent neo-folk bands are closet servants of Space Hitler. For now, the fact that nothing conclusive presents itself is probably good enough; I can’t plausibly be a fan of black metal and own records featuring participation by convicted hate criminals and object too strenuously to artists who at least attempt to keep their politics private. (To completely muddy the waters, the most entertaining English-language source on the violent origins of Scandinavian black metal is Lords of Chaos, written by Michael Moynihan, member of Blood Axis and himself despised as a fascist neo-pagan by much of the far left.)

Of course, it’s worth pointing out that my whole train of thought initially started from investigating Death In June’s use of the totenkopf as part of their visual identity – a symbol, paradoxically, that is much more loaded when it is adopted by an English musician than by a German of any stripe, even though its use is illegal in modern Germany. For good and for ill, the totenkopf is part of German cultural heritage, and is much more plausibly adopted as an ambiguous / problematic / “reclaimed” symbol by someone who inherits from that culture than a self-styled “history student” from outside the context – particularly when that same person, like Douglas P, carries around a four-foot-tall metallized version of the logo on a banner he carries with him when he plays live to this day.

Which illustrates, finally, a point that is obvious to me now but wasn’t when I got into the spooky stuff as a curious and alienated teenager, which is that one of the risks of being a fan of dark, marginal and extreme art is that it is easy to fall prey to mental contamination. For every romantic who finds passion in extremity, there is someone much colder seeking to speak to the darkness in others and manipulate it for their own ends. Some dark art is beautiful and much of it is compelling, but it requires confrontation and self-analysis if you’re to avoid succumbing to the bullshit that comes along with it. Just appreciating it for what it is and not paying attention to the context isn’t enough, if you want to keep your hands clean.

2008/02/25 1

Posted by othiym23 Mon, 25 Feb 2008 18:48:30 GMT

Stuck in my head this morning: Danielle Dax’s “Pariah”, from Pop-Eyes. “Cat-House” may have been the song that got me into Dax, but “Pariah” has long been my favorite, because it’s so ridiculously over the top. Everything about it – the vaguely voodoo-inflected lyrics, the menacing, flat way Dax delivers the lyrics, the brittle electronic production – screams 80s gothdom. It is not a subtle song. (Which is what makes it so easy to get stuck in one’s head.)

Dax't 2

Posted by othiym23 Mon, 25 Feb 2008 01:33:15 GMT

I think most serious music fans and collectors have private creation myths: little stories they can tell about how they came to be the way they are. Either it’s a friend or a sibling who passed them some ear-opening tapes, or a family that was filled with musicians, or a glancing exposure to something that sunk its hooks deeply into their brains and took them over for life. Or, in many cases, a combination of all of the above, which is how it was for me. Here’s a little piece of my own story.

When I was a junior in high school, I spent one night babysitting some friends who were tripping (this was before we all figured out that mixing the high and the non-high is generally frustrating for everyone involved). They spent that trip mostly playing an already ancient version of Space War on one dude’s PC. I was mostly relieved to be left alone for a while, having spent most of the day feeling like a tool for not wanting to get high myself, and spent the time flipping through channels on cable, something I didn’t have at home.

This was shortly after the introduction of VH-1 but before the introduction of 120 Minutes, and Viacom had unceremoniously dumped a bunch of semi-alternative music videos on an unnamed show late on VH-1, which I happened to catch. The three videos I saw were by Helios Creed, Front 242 and Danielle Dax, and it’s safe to say they changed my life. The Helios Creed video was sleazy and struck me at the time as a not-so-veiled paean to heroin, the Front 242 video was for “Headhunter” and made me desperately nostalgic for Brussels (which I’d visited for all of three hours 8 months previously), and the Danielle Dax video was for “Cat-House”, and was by far the most surreal of the bunch – which was saying something.

“Cat-House” is a weird song, mostly because of the way it plays Dax’s girl-group-gone-feral singing against what seems like more or less straightforward industrialized rock and roll. It sort of sounds like the Sisters of Mercy got a less wildly demonstrative Diamanda Galás to sing for them, and it’s a song that starts out seeming pedestrian, only to get weirder and weirder the more you hear both it and the rest of Dax’s painfully eclectic catalog. The video is basically Dax miming the song run through a battery of cheap video effects (which are done absolutely no favors by YouTube), but it has a hyperdelic intensity that hit me just right, maybe due to spending the day around people who were capable of watching a stalk of grass for 15 minutes without moving.

Dax has been around long enough that most people have forgotten her altogether, but I’ve been listening to her US best-of anthology, Dark Adapted Eye, a couple times a year ever since I picked it up (on cassette!) in 1989. She got her start in the incredibly weird Lemon Kittens, and her music has stayed hard to pigeonhole ever since, borrowing elements of Orientalism, perverse morbidity, cryptic metaphysical references, and a generally goth patina without ever having a fixed sound. She gave up on the music business back in 1995 in a fairly flamboyant fashion, issuing another best-of and obscurities collection with the pithily summarizing title of Comatose Non Reaction: The Thwarted Pop Career. At least she kept her sense of humor.

After recently discovering the bonanza of music to be found on the MP3 Blogs of Blogspotistan, I found Devastate to Liberate. It’s not an album you’re likely to have heard of unless you’re a fan of some of the bands on it (or an old-school member of PETA), but in its way it’s a Rosetta Stone of mid-80s weirdo music, with songs by Nurse With Wound, Legendary Pink Dots, Crass, Coil and a variety of other (talented yet obscure) industrial and anarcho-punk acts. It’s also, I think, the first militant animal-rights benefit album, being released to raise funds for the Animal Liberation Front.

Perhaps my favorite track on the album is one by a band I’d never heard before: the Shock Headed Peters. “Blue Rosebuds” is an unhinged five minutes of feedbacked scree and post-Sabbath guitar histrionics that neatly bridges the gap between heavy metal and the noise attack of Skullflower. It’s not metal, it’s not industrial, and it’s not rock and roll, but it’s definitely crazed and loud and I love it.

Shock Headed Peters were a project of Karl Blake, who was the other member of Lemon Kittens with Danielle Dax, and hearing this track prompted me to finally find the Lemon Kittens’ albums. The least obscure album Lemon Kittens put out was released on Steven Stapleton’s United Dairies, and whether or not you have the faintest inkling what United Dairies is, that should give you some idea how obscure the Lemon Kittens were. Their entire catalog is seemingly irretrievably out of print, and it’s hard to identify why, because their music is not unapproachable; it’s strange and amateurish (Dax didn’t know anything about music when she joined the band), but in the best spirit of post punk experimentalism, ideas are king, and a lot of the songs click after two or three listens. For now, you’ll just have to find one of the internet rips and download those, unless Blake or Dax decides to chance their luck with a label or distributor again (they both have fairly dyspeptic Myspace blogs).

Dax’s kiss-off to the music industry contained a couple songs she did in collaboration with Blake, one of which is an absolutely fabulous reinterpretation of a Shock Headed Peters song, “Hate on Sight”, which is turned from an acidic post-punk tune into something not unlike Curve playing doom metal. It’s enough to make tracking down a copy of Comatose Non Reaction all on its own, because it’s a great song.

All of this has filled me with a burning urge to hear more Shock Headed Peters, but their stuff is also incredibly hard to find (I found this, but I’d like legit copies of this stuff without having to pay extortionate eBay prices). It’s too bad, because Karl Blake plays guitar like a gifted demon (much like Helios Creed, to bring this story back to its beginning). No matter how much music I find, I always seem to find myself wanting more. It’s a pleasant problem to have, especially because I still like the old stuff – I’ve been listening to Danielle Dax’s music a bunch over the last few days and, if anything, I find her outsider take on goth music more charming now than I did when I first heard it 20 years ago.

tangled roots

Posted by othiym23 Sun, 27 Jan 2008 00:58:00 GMT

Writing this blog is leading me into interesting terrain, as this recent batch of additions to my library shows:

  • The second half of Mordant Music's The Tower has been banging its way into my head far enough to make me take a leap of faith and buy the rest of their diverse and aggressively eccentric catalog.
  • I realized that I was entitled to download a bunch of Severed Heads' Op series outtakes due to having bought Op 2 a while ago, so I grabbed those.
  • Talking about Surgeon's awesome DJ sets reminded me to check his site to see if he had a more recent set than the ones I have, and indeed he did.
  • Finally, I've been accumulating a pile of crud from Mutant Sounds, so I added all that to my iPod so I could get to know it better. There is some amazing music that's been dug out of obscurity by that blog:
    • Tappi Tíkarrass, Björk's first foray into the post-punk sound that she refined in Kukl and the Sugarcubes, before she decided to become the most avant garde pop star ever;
    • a bunch of long out of print Hirsche Nacht aufs Sofas (HNAS) records from a parallel universe where Nurse With Wound were actually German, instead of merely being obsessive fans of Krautrock;
    • a whole pile of European art-damaged gothic post punk (Claustrofobia, Dark White, Epitaphe, Tango Luger);
    • some early records by the fucking tremendous Wall of Voodoo, whose Call of the West combines the miserably American, empathy-drenched humanity of Raymond Carver or Robert Stone with Ennio Morricone's expansive sound and Kraftwerk's electronic pulse – anyone who thinks the Wall of Voodoo story starts and ends with "Mexican Radio" is very much missing out;
    • a couple completely sui generis Japanese electronic / prog / jazz / avant garde records from the 70s, one of which was a collaboration between most of Yellow Magic Orchestra and the one Japanese Pop artist whose work I know well (Tadonori Yokoo – there was a semi-exhaustive survey of his work up at the Museum of Contemporary Art Tokyo when I was there);
    • and a pile of random singles from the Mutant Sounds archives, including an awesomely out of character John Duncan track and a deeply weird couple of tracks by Duppi, a Japanese band I'd never heard of and will probably never hear from again. Mutant Sounds is so awesome that there's no way it's going to last.

Here's the full list. I've appended links to sources for most everything. Downloading the albums posted by Mutant Sounds requires you to deal with quasi-filesharing services like Rapidshare, Zshare, Bodongo and Megaupload; these services' wack-assed stabs at business models make getting at the archives a pain, but I assure you that if you like boundary-pushing music, it's worth jumping through the requisite hoops. A lot of this stuff is begging to be put back into print, if only by somebody like Hyped2Death.

  • Claustrofobia: Arrebato (Fobia) [ms]
  • Dark White: The Grey Area (private) [ms]
  • Epitaphe: Syndrome (private) [ms]
  • HNAS: Melchior (United Dairies / DOM) [ms]
  • HNAS: Music für Schuhgeschafte (Dragnet) [ms]
  • HNAS: Willkür Nach Noten (Dragnet) [ms]
  • Haruomi Hosono & Tadanori Yokoo: Cochin Moon (King) [se]
  • Mordant Music: Baud With You / Shot Away (Mordant Music) [bk]
  • Mordant Music: Carrion Squared (Mordant Music) [bk]
  • Mordant Music: Dead Air (Mordant Music) [bk]
  • Mordant Music: Fallen Faces / Dead Air (Mordant Music) [bk]
  • Mordant Music: Filthy Danceheng (Mordant Music) [bk]
  • Mordant Music: Petri-Dish (Mordant Music) [bk]
  • Mordant Music: The Tower: Parts I-XVII (Mordant Music) [bk]
  • Mordant Music: Travelogues: A Beautiful Vesta (Mordant Music) [bk]
  • Severed Heads: Op 1 (sevcom)
  • Severed Heads: Op 2.3 (sevcom)
  • Severed Heads: Op 2.9 (sevcom)
  • Surgeon: Neck Face (www.dj-surgeon.com)
  • Tango Luger: s/t (Invisible) [ms]
  • Tappi Tíkarrass: Bítið Fast í Vítið (Spor) [ms]
  • Tappi Tíkarrass: Miranda (Gramm) [ms]
  • Wall of Voodoo: Ring of Fire / The Morricone Themes (Index) [ms]
  • Wall of Voodoo: Two Songs by Wall of Voodoo (Index) [ms]
  • Wall of Voodoo: Wall of Voodoo (Index) [ms]
  • Tsutsui Yasutaka & Yamashita Yosuke: IE (Fiasco) [ms]
  • whacked-out singles from the Mutant Sounds archives:
    • Drinking Electricity: Shaking All Over / China (pop:aural)
    • Duppi: Velvet Night / はつねつのみやこ (Night Gallery)
    • Électric Max Band: Mick and Max / Knives, Feathers and Fire (Reprise)
    • Electro Static Cat: Lethologica (Freedom in a Vacuum)
    • Eskaton: Musique Post-Atomique (Eskaton)
    • John Duncan / Andrew Chalk & Christoph Heemann: The Elgaland-Vargaland National Anthem / Old Hive (Die Stadt)
    • Kevin Dunn: Nadine / Oktyabriana (dB Records)
    • v/a: Earcom 3 (Fast Product)

"Red Mask"

Posted by othiym23 Tue, 15 Jan 2008 03:53:14 GMT

Red Mecca is a Cabaret Voltaire album I only picked up a month or so ago. It’s from the early “industrial” phase of the group, which is to say that it’s a mixture of experimental electronic sketches and tense, treble-heavy garage rock submerged in an acid bath of electronic squelch and unusual treatments (this perspective on their sound is also something I picked up only recently). Every so often they managed to float across some well-concealed rocking, too, like “Red Mask”, a droning, insistent and somewhat aimless song that misses being a goth club track mostly due to its compressed, reedy sound and the messy synth blurts and scribbles over the top. The song is constantly on the verge of falling apart, but instead the music and Stephen Mallinder’s near-chanted, surly vocals combine to hold each other together, making for a memorably crabbed and sketchy version of rock and roll.