Monday, August 25, 2008
Jarrod Zlatic and Nisa Venerosa make up the Australian duo Fabulous Diamonds. Venerosa drums and sings, her voice a bleached out, post-punk siren wail. Zlatic plays guitar and sports unreal amounts of back hair, if the cover to their debut EP is to be believed. Siltbreeze's Tom Lax found it to his liking and released it on wax stateside, after Nervous Jerk handled the domestic CD release down under. True to Fabulous Diamonds' sound, Zlatic stuck to second-hand vinyl for this week's Listed.
Top Nine Used Records Found on Fabulous Diamonds / Psychedelic Horseshit Tour
1. & 2. – Velvet Underground – Sweet Sister Ray and 1966 The whole tour I was hoping to find these two Velvet Underground bootlegs and I happened upon both of them on the wall at Long in the Tooth in Philadelphia. Both are amazing examples of the band’s Cale-influenced trance rock tendencies. While Sweet Sister Ray has two amazing versions of “Sister Ray,” I’m mainly into the 40-minute title track that’s split over both sides of the first LP – lots of repetitive guitar twang and viola drone. The 1966 LP has early side-long jams “Melody Laughter” and “The Nothing Song,” each a throbbing, rhythmic wall of sound.
3. Kebekelektrik – Kebekelektrik Initially, I noticed this because it boasted “A Tom Moulton Mix” and had an enigmatic cover of a woman seemingly turning into pure yellow electricity. The actual music is amazing, spaced-out electronic disco. The a-side begins with a 14-minute version of Ravel’s Bolero and ends with a cover of Space’s “Magic Fly.” Though the crowning track is the album’s final song, “War Dance,” which is co-written with disco-notable Gino Soccio – congas and Roman circus synths intermixing with weird treated horn sounds and a pulsing disco rhythm section. Found in Philadelphia at the amazing Beautiful World record store
4. Centipede – Septober Energy This is listed mainly for the huge jam that takes up most of Side D. The album, to my ears, sounds like the assorted British jazz-rock scene attempting to meld Coltrane’s Ascension with Hair Septober Energy is the brainchild of Keith and Julie Tippets, who gathered about 40 musicians (Robert Wyatt, Jan Steel, Zoot Money, Ian MacDonald, Dudu Pukwana, Gary Windo, Robert Fripp, Karl Jenkins etc.) to make a giant free-jazz rock-chant orchestra that sounds like an unhinged hippy-drippy Utopian rock-opera.
5. Craig Leon – Nommos I was hipped onto this record by Michael K, who released the CD of our album in Australia. Going from the tribal-statute front cover and the song titles, I guess that Craig Leon was attempting to make ritualistic electronic music – and he succeeded pretty well. Relentless drum machine beats plum away over layered synthesizer drones – songs oscillate between calming and the frenzy-esque. Strangely, this was released on Takoma, though maybe that’s an illustration of Fahey’s breadth more than anything. Apparently the master tapes to this record no longer exist so it may, sadly, never see a reissue.
6. Judy Henske / Jerry Yester – Rosebud While I was already a fan of Judy Henske from her High Flying Bird album, the Fred Neil-esque blues-folk isn’t present on this album. Instead, her and husband Jerry Yester, he of The Loving Spoonful, concoct a slightly left-of-centre West Coast record. Denigrated by some, I think this record is an enjoyable afternoon affair.
7. Lou Reed – “Nowhere At All” 7” As far as I can tell, this is the last hurrah of boogie-rock Reed, weirdly recorded, I assume, during the Coney Island Baby sessions by Gregg Diamond, which means after Lou Reed had already (wrongly) dismissed Sally Can’t Dance and made Metal Machine Music. I just imagine Lou Reed wearing metallic shades, riding down the road in a huge jeep, slumped behind its giant, oversize steering wheel while looking out the window at babes and dudes… Just tough, funky rock. Sort of.
8. Little Howlin’ Wolf – Cool Truth Not technically second-hand, but old enough to be. I bought this off the man when we played on the same gig in this tiny, very dusty, cluttered house in Washington, D.C. The music is cluttered, strange bluesy music that obviously will draw Trout Mask Replica comparisons, but I think it inhabits its own strange world removed from that.
9. Frolk Haven – At The Apex of High Strange, home-made jazzy-spacey-prog record that may be more well known for the fact that Stuart (a.k.a. Stewart) Copeland from the Police was drumming on this years before he bunked down with Sting & Co. Not an original copy, but a convincing looking mid-’90s reissue found for $5 in Amoeba. Jazzy guitar noodles, proto-punk prog rock outs, droning electronic drones etc. Like most private pressings. it is compelling for the homely, no-budget vibes, especially given the high-minded outer-space pretensions.
Friday, August 22, 2008
At 7 p.m. on Wednesday, August 27th, during the Democratic National Convention, the Nader/Gonzalez Campaign will be holding a Super Rally for 5,000-7,000 people at the University of Denver Magness Arena.
Featured guests include Val Kilmer and Sean Penn, Cindy Sheehan, Jello Biafra, Tom Morello of Rage Against the Machine, Nellie McKay and Ike Reilly.
Wednesday, August 27th at 7 PM Magness Arena, University of Denver 2199 South University Blvd, Denver CO 80208 Donation: $10 Advance $12 At the Door.
Also on Thursday August 28th Jello will be the emcee of the evening at Slim Cessna's Auto Club show at the Bluebird Theater.
Music Review | Vivian Girls
Punks, but Really Romantics at Heart
By JON CARAMANICA
Published: August 21, 2008
During the 20 minutes it took Vivian Girls to set up their gear at the boxlike performance space Death by Audio in Brooklyn on Wednesday night — fiddling with guitar strings, asking for more volume in the monitor — a melodic mix was playing over the sound system: Cyndi Lauper’s “She Bop,” Elvis Presley’s “(You’re the) Devil in Disguise,” Heatwave’s “Boogie Nights” and Rupert Holmes’s “Him,” a spectacularly schlocky yet effective soft-rock number. To this last song, particularly, Vivian Girls’ bass player, Kickball Katy, was bopping her head.
In May Vivian Girls released their self-titled debut album on vinyl on the Mauled by Tigers label, generating a minor blog-hype storm; it will be reissued on CD in October by In the Red.
When Cassie Ramone (in a weathered Graceland T-shirt) and Katy (in a paint-splattered T-shirt bearing the name of the Portland punk band Wipers, given to her by a fan) sang together, they were strong, and the effect could be spaghetti-western soundtrack. But the two were even more effective when Katy sang
forged ahead with the main melody.
Throughout, Ali (in a Closet Fairies T-shirt) was precise and tart in her playing, adding a needed anchoring heft, especially on “Damaged.” Though this band’s songs are short, they are also dense; no matter how quickly it moved from song to song here, the music never felt rushed.
“I Can’t Stay,” a recent seven-inch single, was aggressive and sharp, with lyrics about, of all things, being faithful: “You are a perfect match, but he’s my other half/He always treats me right, and that’s why I can’t stay/Tonight.” And midshow, Vivian Girls performed a cover of the Beach Boys’ “Girl Don’t Tell Me,” roughing up its clean melody just enough to sound as if they might not be paying tribute, even though they were.
Not much later, exactly 24 minutes after the band began, the show was over, a hot, sticky blast. It left the impression of having gone on for far longer, and not just because it took almost that long for the members of the band to pack up again.
*A version of this article appeared in print on August 22, 2008, on page E17 of the New York edition.
Playing live a few weeks back.
There are plenty of opportunities to catch the band live this year:
08/30 Brooklyn, NY @ McCarren Pool w/ Sonic Youth, Times New Viking
09/02 Brooklyn, NY @ Death By Audio
09/06 New York, NY @ East Village Radio Festival
09/12 Swarthmore, PA @ Swarthmore College
09/19 New York, NY @ Cake Shop
09/20 Princeton, NJ @ Terrace Club
09/21 Philadelphia, PA @ Danger Danger Gallery
09/24 Nashville, TN @ Exit/In
09/26 Memphis, TN @ Gonerfest at High Tone
09/29 Knoxville, TN @ Pilot Light
10/01 Baltimore, MD @ Ottobar
10/03 New York, NY @ Rocks Off Concert Cruise
10/12 Boston, MA @ Great Scott
10/13 Danbury, CT @ Heirloom Arts Theatre
10/15 New York, NY @ Bowery Ballroom
10/16 Brooklyn, NY @ Harket Motel
10/17 Baltimore, MD @ Sonar
10/18 Philadelphia, PA @ Rock And Roll Hotel
11/08 New York, NY @ Bowery Ballroom w/Deerhunter, Times New Viking
11/10 Boston, MA @ Paradise w/Deerhunter, Times New Viking
Thursday, August 21, 2008
"Brewis has built his thumpy, string'n'piano-laden compositions from the soil upwards, painting layers of 'Ashes To Ashes'-dusted synth creeps, Kate Bush ivory-punch dramatics and Sufjan Stevens-esque string-dives ......TWTW's beauty is obvious when it first hits your ear - one of the curveball LPs of the summer". 8/10 NME
"omniverous visionary pop" **** Mojo Album of the Month
"charaterstically intricate yet marvellously accessable" **** Observer
"Songs with architectural scale and precission..dazzling" **** Uncut
"there are echoes of the early albums by that eighties egghead, Brian Eno. Brewis has synthesised a similarly brave music that is both progressive and humane, that takes melodic and sonic risks - those drums! - but still ends up as vibrant modern pop"
**** The Times Album of the Week
Friday, August 15, 2008
[Ba Da Bing; 2008]
Devon Williams' timing sort of sucks. As a teenager in the late-1990s/early-00s fronting SoCal punk outfit Osker, he was a good 15 years late for hardcore's salad days and a tad tardy to enjoy the post-Offspring spotlight that lit up the L.A./O.C. scenes. Notable mostly for the youth of its players, Osker was a decent-enough band in the sing-songy, suburban angsty vein-- decent enough, anyway, to get signed by Epitaph. Fast forward 10 years and the hipsters are sample-splicing, tribal-beating, and tapping out ironic 80s tributes on analog synths. Devon Williams? He's just released a solo record of heavily orchestrated pop crooners cobwebbed with Harry Nilsson's wistful romanticism, the Everly Brothers' rhythmic urgency, and the mighty sonic wall of Phil Spector. Dude might want to recalibrate his zeitgeist meter.
Even if it isn't trendy, Carefree, whose emotional centerpiece "Elevator" turns on a corn-syrupy pun (el-le-va-tor = "I love her") and moonstruck vocals, is a long way from beer-drenched basements and might, therefore, come off dilettantish. Not really. Williams has composed pop ditties in his bedroom for years and spent the past one sponging up sweetness and light as guitarist for Lavender Diamond (does it get any less punk than Becky Stark's fairyland fantasia?). Then there's the fact that Williams is no longer a child, and has, to some extent, put away childish things. Carefree's closer, "A Day in the Night" mulls the difficulty of navigating the surprisingly rocky chasm between guy with a band and professional adult: "Once was a musician, but now I just say artist/ 12 years must stand for something."
Not that he totally rejects the direct stage-to-audience channels of punk: "Stephanie City" is an enjoyable couple of minutes of pop pogosticking. Album opener, "Please Be Patient", however, is more typical of Carefree's mid-tempo fare. With a string section arranged by Lavender Diamond's Steve Gregoropoulos and torn from "Then He Kissed Me", cooing girls, and bomping-bomping guys, "Patient" could score a pink tulle, white jacketed prom circa 1963. "Honey"'s rippling 12-string guitar and echo-chambered vocals, is even retro-dreamier, its melody-- like many of Williams' tunes-- recalling those of the new wave era's 60s-pop revivalist, Marshall Crenshaw. But "A Truce" trounces both tracks for sheer stylistic conviction. Conflating god-devotion with girl-devotion and boasting an awesome game of drum and tambourine tag, the song recovers the lost white boy R&B-pop tradition of Dion.
Unfortunately, Williams doesn't sing as well as Dion or those Everly boys. His tenor is slightly nasal and his delivery can be flat and, well, a little callow sounding, distracting from the lush sophistication of Carefree's music. But you've gotta give the guy credit for his superb pen. Like Nilsson and Crenshaw and other men just slightly out of step with their times, Williams ultimately could build a reputation as a fine songwriter.
- Amy Granzin, August 15, 2008
Wednesday, August 13, 2008
Friday, August 08, 2008
Thursday, August 07, 2008
Neurosis To Perform At Roadburn 2009
Wednesday 6th August, 2008
Neurosis will be making an appearance at Roadburn Festival next year as part of their "Beyond the Pale" series. The event takes place April 23rd through the 25th Tilburg, Holland. Neurosis will have complete freedom to invite all the bands and set the lineups for each of the stages for their day of the festival.
Steve Von Till had this to say of the event:
It is a great honor and privilege to have asked to host our own Beyond the Pale event at Roadburn 2009. Since playing Roadburn 2007, we could think of no better people to work with on this event than the organizers and promoters of Roadburn and the wonderful staff at the013. Roadburn is a completely different experience than the traditional music festival. It is a small, intimate, extremely well organized festival, put together by people who love the bands, and thrive on creating a unique social vibe where the lines between artist, audience, and staff are often completely blurred.
Neurosis live schedule summer 2008.
08/12 Oslo, NOR @ Kanonhallen
08/14 Warsaw, POL @ Club Stodola w/ A Storm Of Light
08/15 Prague, CZE @ Brutal Assault Festival w/ A Storm Of Light
08/16 Hasselt, BEL @ Pukkelpop Festival
08/18 Leipzipg, DEU @ UT Connewitz w/ A Storm Of Light
08/19 Leipzipg, DEU @ UT Connewitz w/ A Storm Of Light
08/21 Munich, DEU @ Metropolis w/ A Storm Of Light
08/22 Le Locle, CHE @ VNV Festival w/ A Storm Of Light
08/23 Ancona, IT @ Mamamia w/ A Storm Of Light
Tuesday, August 05, 2008
A band from North Carolina, U.S. Christmas plays slow, loud, echoey and powerful psychedelic rock, reducing things to the essence of power chords and groove: even the guitar solos, such as they are, become sublimated within the fuzz and the unruly yelling of the singer, Nate Hall. But the music is really distinguished by the sounds of old synthesizers — bubbly, oscillating noises pushed up to the surface of the mix. These sounds worm their way through “Eat the Low Dogs” (Neurot), the band’s fourth album; it’s deeply interior music, stretched out to the length it deserves.
Monday, August 04, 2008
It's rare for a band less than two years young to surprise with their debut album, but that's just what Eat Skull have done with Sick to Death, released this month on Siltbreeze Records. After a pair of exuberant, limited-run singles and a slathering of praise (guilty!), the gang in Portland raised the bar for the lo-fi pop set with an album full of bizarre, touching and often hilarious anthems. Eat Skull pick at the corpse of '80s hardcore, the scruffier wing of the Flying Nun discography and British DIY, laughing all the way. Sick to Death is immediately jarring and a tough cookie to crack, but after a week it will be that friend you've needed in these tough times. I caught up with singer/guitarist Rob Enbom as he gears up for their first nationwide tour later this Summer.
Lets begin with pre-Eats Skull. Which members were in bands previously, and what did they sound like?
Rob Enbom: Rod (Meyer) and I were in the Hospitals. He started the band with (Adam) Stonehouse and left broke and destroyed, later to rejoin for the four-person line-up and leave again broke and destroyed. I was in the band for awhile on second guitar with the excellent Ned Meiners (the third person to play guitar). I remember we played Columbus once in a basement with Sword Heaven. I was wearing flip-flops. I quit after that tour, and then Ned quit and I rejoined and we started recording Hairdryer Peace. Later Rod and Chris Gunn joined, and that's how I met Rod. Rod was in some '80s hardcore bands in the Dixon/Sacramento area like Necromancy and Puppet Show and also some '90s bands. Most of the numerous weird bands I played in don't have much to do with Eat Skull. But I spent years playing in different projects with a couple of dudes who always deserve mention: Randy Lee Sutherland in San Francisco and John Benson in Oakland. Both are completely wonderful and insane and very active and inspirational. For a while Beren was playing drums in practically every band in Portland, but eventually she settled down with us. Scott (bass player Scott Simmons) was a deejay at this place called Tube.
Eat Skull seemed to take form not long after you left Columbus. How quickly did it all happen?
RE: While in Europe with the Hospitals, Rod and Chris told me I should move to Portland because I was totally broke and didn't know where I wanted to go when we got back. We talked about playing music there, and Rod said he would let me stay at his house. So we got back and all that happened and was really cool, except that it was cold and rainy as shit and I had holes in my shoes. It can be a depressing atmosphere and that comes through in the music. It's bittersweet, I think. We started the week after we got back and the first batch of songs came very fast. The name Eat Skull came fast too. Once we got Beren and then Scott we practiced once or twice and recorded the first 7-inch and the song "Dead Families." Then we started playing shows in town.
Did you have a specific idea of what you wanted the band to sound like or was it a more of a progression?
RE: We wanted to start two bands and write tons of songs and record ourselves. One would be a sick California-style hardcore band and the other was going to be a sick California pop band. We knew the hardcore band was going to be called Eat Skull, but we couldn't figure out what the other was called so it turned into one band. More than anything we're trying to make a classic California band while exiled from California in a green hell.
Did what was going on in Columbus at the time affect your approach to songwriting or the band's sound? Was forming Eat Skull in any way reactionary to the scene in the Midwest?
RE: I do enjoy the Midwest's whiskey-and-wings vibe, but it doesn't specifically have much to do with what we're doing. A couple of songs we play were written when I lived there, but I think they were looking forward to this time here more than being of that time and place. What we do is more about the sun being missing from our lives right now. The songs and sound come about naturally and very quickly from drinking a lot of beer and walking around here in Portland. Rod and I grew up on punk and acid in California. That's where the roots are.
Was it the band's intention to introduce a more hardcore approach (or at least a hardcore influence) into the lo-fi pop sound?
RE: Hardcore factored in because it makes sense when you are going crazy. It's also probably my and Rod's first real musical love. A good hardcore song is just as infectious as anything else. A good hardcore song is an undeniable assault. That kind of energy makes sense to us.
After the first (self-released) single came out it didn't take long for the collective slobbering to happen. How quickly did Mr. Lax (Siltbreeze Records mastermind) lock Eat Skull into a long-term deal. Did he make any of his infamous threats, or was the signing with Siltbreeze amicable?
RE: He got in touch some time after the first 7-inch came and went and during the six-month wait for "Dead Families" to come out. He came out and barbecued some octopus and acted like a dick. He's not a first impression kind of dude. He drunkenly made fun of us all while eating food I can't pronounce. Pretty much a class act.
I hear the song "No Intelligence" has an interesting back-story to it, something about a disastrous trip up to Seattle. Care to discuss the relationship between Portland and Seattle, or your opinion of Seattle?
RE: Seattle is a stupid place full of idiots. Every time I've ever played there there has been some kind of psycho drama. It's a place full of rich brats who think they are activists and are obsessed with the WTO riots and nitpicking. Either that or drug addicts. We drove up there last summer to play a show and immediately the shit began to fly. It was absolutely ridiculous and all sorts of these Seattle people should be ashamed of themselves. "No Intelligence" is actually about Scott. We did recently decide to give Seattle one more chance and it was really fun, so maybe all that hatred is paying off. Scott is a real sweetheart, by the way, that's why I get to make fun of him so much.
With the new album, I think it was Scott who told me it was intended to have two distinct sides, the first half more "difficult" and the second more "pop." Was this just an easy way to break up the different types of songs you guys have? It seems like the singles are split up that way as well.
RE: The idea was to have a "sick" side and a "death" side, like the tape 94 Mobstas by C.I.N. (a gangster rap group from Richmond, California). I used to listen to them back in Cali around that time with my dumb friends. C.I.N. loved MGD, but I'm more of a High Life kind of guy. That's where the name of the album came from. But really it was more about making the songs flow in a way that made sense. We picked 14 out of about 25 songs and figured out where they went. We didn't really argue about it much, they just sort of popped into place. I think it's the sort of album where side one doesn't really hit you right until you flip it back after side two. I like records like that.
What do you plan on doing with all the other stuff you have recorded?
RE: We put a song on the Worlds Lousy with Ideas, Vol. 6 7-inch, which should be out any day now. There's a split 7-inch coming out this summer probably with the Ganglians, who are a bunch of delinquents from Sacramento. They rule, and we're going to be touring with them in July. Other than that, I think we're just holding off on stuff. Maybe we'll use some of those extra songs on something. I don't know. New material is piling up and we've recorded some of it, but we're getting better at recording and want to spend a little more time on the new stuff to achieve different results.
One of the greatest things about Sick To Death is the lyrical content. You seem to tap into a very youthful dialect: confusion, "Punk Trips," licking spiders. Where does it all come from? Do the lyrics come before or after the music?
RE: Thanks Doug. Usually the song title comes first. There is no separation between the lyrics and day-to-day life here in Portland. The lyrics describe or predict what is already happening. Sometimes they come before and sometimes they come after the music. They always eventually feel predetermined and make more sense than I think they do at first. My uncle told me that Willie Nelson said that when he needed a song he pulled one out of the air above his head. It's kind of like that, but less evolved probably.
Does Eat Skull as a band have a favorite food to eat on tour?
RE: Tacos Sinaloa on International Boulevard in Oakland.
Do you all agree on the music in the van? What are some albums and songs Eat Skull love that most wouldn't expect?
RE: Scott puts on shit like Sun City Girls or Blue Cheer. He's a record collector and has an iPod. I prefer Rupert Holmes' "Pina Colada Song" for roadtrips. I think we all fucking love Buckingham era Fleetwood Mac (except maybe Scott). I love all his solo albums too. None of that Peter Green shit though. The blues suck. The stereo is broken actually, so I guess we can agree on conversation. I don't know what music people wouldn't expect. I guess people might find it weird that for most of the winter, when we were writing the tunes that ended up being on the LP, all I really listened to in my room was DRI's first stuff and TSOL's Dance With Me. People might expect that another big one is GBV's Same Place The Fly Got Smashed. I have, however, never listened to the Axemen.
I am also a huge fan of Lindsay Buckingham. If Eat Skull were to cover a Fleetwood Mac or Buckingham song, which would it be?
RE: "That's How We Do It In L.A."-definitely.
So, a big tour coming up later in the summer. Any fun tourist spots the band plan on hitting or ir is this tour one hundred percent business?
RE: One hundred percent business. Except the beach down in San Diego. Probably Encinitas. Should be cool to hang out at Carabar (in Columbus), maybe have a drink before the show at Bourbon Street.
Summer Skull Shows:
08/09 Portland, OR @ Rotture
09/05 Portland, OR @ Satyricon
09/06 Missoula, MT @ The Palace
09/08 Omaha, NE @ O’leaver’s Pub
09/09 Iowa City, IA @ House Show
09/10 St. Paul, MN @ Big V’s
09/11 Chicago, IL @ Hozac party @ Cobra Lounge
09/12 Detroit, MI @ UFO Factory
09/13 Columbus, OH @ Carabar w/ Psychedelic Horseshit
09/14 Cleveland, OH @ Now That’s Class
09/15 Toronto, ON @ Sneaky Dee’s w/ Blues Control
09/16 Montreal, QC @ Zoo Bizarre
09/17 Northampton, MA @ Pearl Street w/Thurston Moore
09/18 Poughkeepsie, NY @ Vassar college
09/19 Brooklyn, NY @ Dead Herring
09/21 Brooklyn, NY @ Market Hotel w/ Psychedelic Horseshit
09/22 Brooklyn, NY @ Death By Audio w/ Psychedelic Horseshit
09/27 Memphis, TN @ Gonerfest
09/28 Lawrence, KS @ Replay Lounge
09/30 Salt Lake City, UT @ Red Light