TONGUE TOP TEN — OCT. 20, 2009
by Byron Coley and Thurston Moore
Sorry about our recent absence, but travel and general shit have shoved their fingers deep into our collective schedules. Hopefully, we’ll manage to wiggle around in more timely fashions now that the nuts are off the trees.
1. Was really curious to hear some sides by The Pink Noise—Canadian noise rockers recently expanded to three pieces from two—after hearing them kill it one night at Union Pool. So, was hanging at Earwax on Bedford waiting for the line to shrink in front of the Endless Summer taco truck and eyeballed their Alpha LP (Almost Ready Records) and the “Gold Light/Prince Charlies Revenge” 7” on Sacred Bones Records. Grabbed ‘em both and was kinda stunned by how much weirder and seriously zonked they were in comparison to their live blast. Gotta see ‘em again now cuz these vinyls are really outasite no (whatever) wave primal beat drum/guitar from crazy place and the singing is odd guttural scrawl. You might wanna dig this. Or eat it. We did both and are ready for many more spoonfuls.
2. Incoherent Lullabies (Camera Obscura) is the second album by Denver-based space pop outfit, Fell. And it makes me (the older Tongue handler) recall the first time I ever heard of Pink Floyd. It was the spring of 1968. I was attending Montclair Academy. I was talking to someone about how much I liked the Doors and he said, “Oh, you should check out this new band from London, The Pink Floyd. They’re like the English Doors.” I did check them out, and didn’t really get the connection very clearly. Syd Barrett and Jim Morrison were so incredibly different it just didn’t make sonic sense. But now, hearing Fell, I am starting to appreciate some of the sonic similarities between Obscured By Clouds-era Floyd and L.A. Woman-era Doors. They really do share turf in terms of construction and looseness. Anyway, at several moments, Fell remind me of a cross between those two bands, although their vocals are more like generic post-Pepper Brit pop, verging on tongue-turf staked out by the pre-Threshold Moody Blues. Which is actually a fairly cool mix. Other parts sound real diff—with influences ranging from Suicide (copped from some Suicide-damaged band rather than the root source, I’d wager) to the Cure—but I keep thinking of 1968. Before Chicago. Before Nixon. It’s a pleasant memory.
3. Gotta say side two of the Diagram A LP, excellently titled Human Tissue Press : Vinyl Removal (Open Mouth), is one of the classiest cut-up, clipped and jagged one-man/one-mantra meditation sessions we’ve ever ommm’ed across. Really very sweet and ahead of the game. This Providence-expat dude has been on the sub-tributary scene of bizarro solo noise junk sculpture performance for like fucking ever and, along with Noise Nomads, is one of the Eastern Seaboard’s most magnificent purveyors of random brain rip.
4. Cruising the road and/or the dial and/or the web on Sunday mornings at 2:00 AM to 4:00 AM (CST), our ears are gently pressed to the dulcet warblings of Tulane Blacktop on WTUL-FM (91.5). The show, co-hosted by Lazy Dave and Mr. McSuds has proven to be a solid sniff of interesting night air. These 19 year-olds may not have brain roots as deep as redwoods, but we’ve heard more Dictators tracks played on this show than any other in recent memory, and one segue a couple of weeks ago—going from the Misfits into the Supremes—was the most bodacious transition we can recall since someone used Hendrix’s “Hey Baby” (from Rainbow Bridge) as an exit strategy out of “Anarchy in the UK” (single version) on a party mix back in ’77.
5. Ypsilanti, Michigan continues to throw up weirdo record labels without surcease, and one we’ve been sloshing through with boots of gunk lately is With Intent Records, which has been issuing some real nice graveyard drone dirt. A particularly deadening example of their aesthetic would have to be the new Exhumed Corpse LP titled Pray For Death. This minimal dark dirge morass spreads its inky stasis across both sides and when it’s over, well you won’t know it’s over, cuz you’ll be dead.
6. A couple of summers ago we had the chance to watch a mind-blowing pre-punk document from suburban L.A.’s deep underground. The object in question was video documentation of a gig by the Imperial Dogs at Cal State Long Beach, the night before Halloween, 1974. The Imperial Dogs were one of those bands about whom rumors more than facts have long tended to cohere. Led by writer/maniac Don Waller, they were part of the same aesethetic gush as Back Door Man fanzine (with whom they were tightly associated) and various other loose threads that were blowing around in those rough days. The band only had one posthumous 45 released in the ‘70s, and it didn’t seem indicative of the madness of which they were supposedly capable. That legendary quality was finally made manifest in 1989, when the Australian Dog Meat label issued the amazing Unchained Maladies LP. And this newly released dvd—Live at Long Beach! (Imperial Dogs)—is icing on all known cakes. It is an exquisite, Stooges-damaged dive into the dumpster of style—as punk as a glitter jockstrap caked with blood. It ups the ante as far as extremo-pre-punk recklessness is concerned and is one of the swellest things to watch ever.
7. Fuckin fuck fuck fantastic duo LP by trumpet mangler maestro Greg Kelley and Scottish drum freak Alex Neilson called Passport To Satori (Golden Lab Records). Just kills. First side is straight up awesome lips on brass spoot ‘n spit tone with sweet tap tap. Side two is more manic, more off the fucking wall with Kelley sending air sound through sickened pedal puh while who one of these drunk fucks starts whooshing some kind of synth hell—really great improvisation and it takes you straight to that Satori joint (or whatever that place is) where blowjobs are as good as free jazz.
8. We have been off the Corwood Records promo list for a few years now, so it was lovely to see a package with The Representative’s distinctive lettering on it in the mailbox once again. The parcel in question contained a 2CD set called Portland Thursday and it is an absolute ratification of the enduring brilliance of this eminence grise. Like Charles “Chuck” Berry, Jandek usually plays with pick-up bands as he travels around, and this quartet (Sam Coomes, Emil Amos, Liz Harris, Jessica Dennison) is very damn fine—creating drift clouds of beauty and menace to encircle the free-form composite-obsessions of The Representative. We must do some catch-up work on the Corwood catalogue. This music is far too good to not-gobble.
9. Meditations had a couple of cassette releases on the excellent Anathema Sound label a while back which exhibited a mesmerizing take on sick forest desolation and the harsh chill of deviant synth blackness. Whoever they are they got as good a grip on new nothing black grimness as anyone out there and this new Digitalis cassette of theirs called Precipice, is full-on beautiful agony of dead vocal puke tone awash in earthworm feedback. Genius.
10. Also embued with genius is Dark Horse Comics’ series of three volumes reissuing the collected adventured of Herbie–The Fat Fury. These books seem obvious as the root-source of some of the best characters invented by Dan Clowes and Chris Ware, but there’s a strangely inert quality to the drawing and writing that pushes this stuff into a real strange and unique place. Friends collected copies of these ‘60s books quite assiduously at various times, and they were never super-rare, but they were always super-weird. Great to have them in one handy place. If you got a taste of these in Dan Nadel’s great Art Out of Time: Unknown Comics Visionaries 1900-1969 (Abrams) you may now fully slake yr thirst.
Over & Out.
We remain interested in all spew—especially vinyl, print & visual. Two (2) copies are best. Send ‘em to:
PO Box 627
Northampton MA 01061