BULL TONGUE by Byron Coley & Thurston Moore from Arthur No. 23 (July 2006)

first published in Arthur No. 23 (July, 2006)

BULL TONGUE
Exploring the Voids of All Known Undergrounds
by Byron Coley and Thurston Moore

It’s nice to report that Sickness has the most goddamned great locked groove we’ve heard in years. As good as any of the 500 locked grooves on RRR’s classic 500 Locked Grooves omnibus a few years back. It’s on the Sought for Slaying LP freshly minted by Hospital Productions (not to be confused with the Graveyards cassette on American Tapes with the same title which is only available in the Hospital store on 3rd Street NYC). Sickness has a sewer full of grey life noise releases and is linked to the most ferocious and panting of compadres in that scene. One dude killing it with gore stench tabletop and loving it.

Speaking of Hospital Records, Prurient master and store proprietor, Dominick Furnow, has finally opened the amazing Hospital store in NYC. Brian from Mouthus has been keeping us up to date with every nail he pounded into the bins of this basement bordello. It lies below a reggae record joint called Jammyland and not only does it serve up a sweet load of blackness, but it is very very neat. It is also the best art gallery in a city which prides itself in such things. Unbeknownst to the art scene in NYC, this space has the most absurd and arcane objets de fetishisme we’ve ever encountered. Beautiful box frames containing such brain zapping items as Hair Police Mike Connelly’s torn shirt guitar, Dominick’s first broken-to-screaming-shit microphones, Emil Beaulieau’s button down sweater! We picked up the Ash Pool first taste of slaughter cassette on Public Altar, which is Dom’s black metal duo with Kris Lapke (dude who plays drums on Purient’s Black Vase CD). Dom explains Ash Pool as a “black metal sound with more of a ritualized abusive/obsessive sexual theme of demise vs. the usual satanic garbage.” We would have to agree definitely—pure hell vibe straight to the core with no time for comic books.

Only other metal we’ve let pass through the Bull Tongue gate is the weirded-out lung slime of Bone Awl. Two fucking insane bastards from Novato, California who go by the names of He Who Gnashes Teeth (vocals, guitars, bass) and He Who Crushes Teeth (drums). We haven’t heard their Bog Bodies/Magnetism of War LP on Goatowa Rex but if it’s anything like the miserable mung heap of their Up to Something tape or the split tape they did with The Rita (Canadian noise freaks who we wrote about last issue), then we’ll fly to Novota and prostrate ourselves, tongues lagging on hot suburban cement, to get just a taste. Shit is downright brutal with its amplified pain.

Also intriguing, in a blackened corpse kind of way, is that which is Montreal, Quebec’s Akitsa. These dark dream mugs issued a cassette years back called Soleil Noir on a Montreal label (Tour De Garde), which made many a noir metal enthusiast’s butthole pucker. It’s just been reissued as a pic disc on German rotting carcass label, Raging Bloodlust. As far as this shit goes, Akitsa has an endearing capacity to fall into hypno-stasis repeato-relentlessness with dead simple crunge n’ blunt trauma riffing. The cult of Akitsa is strong enough where Raging Bloodlust has issued Aube de la Misanthropie, a double LP of demos, comp tracks and way limited CDR heaviness, which really gives you a primer into what seems to be Akitsa’s nefarious perception of Quebecois nationalism. Go figure, but go get it for true underground hell-sludge goodness.

Chuck Dukowski is a goddamn legendary figure in terms of American undergroundism. His work with Black Flag, SST Records, Wurm and whatnot have earned him a permanent place at some kinda special table. Anyway, that’s our take. Chuck’s take is that he has this new band, CD6 (aka the Chuck Dukowski Sextet) and they’ve now released an actual CD after a couple of CDRs. Eat My Life (Nice and Friendly) has a cool, strange feel. Dukowski buckled when we called it hippie music, but it’s got a real free flow, and the graphics (by vocalist, Lora Norton—check her site for examples) look like Japanese hippie space manga to us. The first half of the album is pretty great—loose, weird rock moves with almost-‘mersh female vocals and aggression hidden in the smoke. The jazz bits that pepper it make me think of an updated version of the ‘60s band, Womb, or something. The latter half of the album is more jazzbo-specific, meaning that it’s a lot less reliant on riff primacy. And when you’ve got somebody who plays bass like Dukowski, we’re not sure that’s the ultimate best choice. But hey—it’s his band. It’s just nutty to hear “My War” played without that insane bass barrage. Anyway, it beats the shorts offa SWA, and Lora’s images have a real bizarre way of sucking you in.

A most exciting music book is The Sound of Squirrel Meals: The Work of Lol Coxhill (St. Pauli Druckerei) by Barbara Schwarz. Coxhill’s fantastic arc as a genius of the soprano saxophone (and other brain/mouth/finger hybrids) is dealt with here in loving detail. There are reprints of interviews, articles, fliers, photographs, record covers. There’s an exhaustive annotated discography, a chronology, a list of film/TV appearances, and just a whole pantload of information and wonder. Miss this one at yr own peril. Another fascinating research document is the William S. Burroughs Literary Archive catalogue from the rare book dealer, Ken Lopez. This is a detailed look, with historical context, about a very important cache of Burroughs’ letters, manuscripts, recordings and paintings that was recently sold. Not everyone’s cup of jiz, but a great thing for fanatics. Lovers of frozen oink should also check out Verksted #4/Sonic North (Office for Contemporary Art Norway). This issue of the journal is a compendium of facts and opinions about the state of the noise scene in Norway. There’s a good overview and discography, plenty on Rune Grammofon, Lasse Marhaug, Fe-Mail and more.

Mouthus have been simply RAMPAGING from burg to burg, releasing Mouthus and related jams (such as Canada’s Cousins of Reggae) on their own Our Mouth CDR imprint. And Important Records released their The Long Salt CD, which absolutely kills from start to finish. We began investigating the actuality and whereabouts of Mouthus way back when our first lead came from Michael Bernstein, who said his groovy group stroke Double Leopards shared a rehearsal space or some such thing with ‘em. As it turns out, the Brooklyn community of Double Leps and Mouthus has continued to expand particularly to the UK and particularly to Double Leps’ Marcia Bassett rockin n rollin with Matthew Bower of Sunroof! under the aegis of Hototogisu. Follow? Anyway what we’re getting at is there’s a new 2LP, Crippled Rosebud Binding with one side each from Double Leopards, Mouthus, Sunroof! and the 4th side a collab between ‘em all. Sounds like it could be a lotta pudding to digest but this monster goes down juicy. Sunroof!, augmented by Bassett and Vibracathedral Orchestra’s Mick Flower, absolutely stuns with a raw dimensional take on some tune called Cortez the Killa. The record is on Music Fellowship and is the fifth installment in their triptych series where they pair three distinctive mofos to mess your dick around. Don’t sleep, this baby is already out of print and getting hard to track down.

One more lovely, oversized, English language literary/art magazine has emerged from Eastern Europe. Blatt, based in Prague, has a bit more sexual energy than some of its confreres and is all the better for it. We are none too conversant with much of the material presented, but the prose and poetry and photography and art are all top flight. The format is goddamn elegant as well. And Michael Jackson’s head looks so cute on a deer’s body you might well rethink his whole, uh, “situation.” Also, sexy as always is the latest issue of Lauren Naylor’s Pretend I Am Someone Else. Dreams, fantasies, poetry and collages, all collide in the shadow of Leeds’ largest orgone generator. Contributors include the immortal Val Webber, and Lauren introduces a series of Titcat postcards this time as well. So write her today. One of the sharpest U.S. ‘zines to come along lately is O Sirhan O Sirhan. The debut issue has a sorta lo-fi look, but the contents are “boobs” as hell. There’s an excellent piece on Henry Flynt’s anti-racist protests of ’64, a photo essay of Deerhoof relaxing, a Devendra Banhart sketchbook, a long interview (and accompanying CD) by sound artist Jorge Boehringer, and even more. Excellent peeks!

The fabulous Memoirs of an Aesthete label out of England has released a fabulous cassette by the fabulous Melanie Delaney who is part of the fabulous Ashtray Navigations. We always thought that these days AN might be pared down to just founding member Phil Todd, but it seems that Melanie is indeed a primary ingredient of that outfit’s contempo primo bliss hiss. Add to that, the fact that this cassette has Melanie partnered with the ultra-fabulous Bridget Hayden of Vibracathedral Orchestra and sweet jesus, you know the unfolding will envelop and save your rotten tongue. We can assure you. The cassette is entitled Ground Zero Celebration Pessary, it is lovingly spraypainted and it moves forward with frozen sun guitar/amp melt-zone with an incendiary ALIVENESS. Nice shit m’lady.

Brother JT is best known for his musical madness, but he has long been a writer of immense talent as well, although his work is usually available only in fits and starts. His latest booklet, The Jesus Guitar, may actually get reprinted by Bastet at some point. Which would be cool, ‘cause this is one of JT’s best. It’s basically an extended essay on his idea of transcendent guitar playing and drugs and records and a lotta other good stuff. Definitely worth some squinting. JT has another volume out as well. Nine (Whatisit? Press) is a lovely collection of poems about music, Greg Shaw, D.A. Levy and T.L. Kryss. JT has a beautiful way of connecting interior dots, and observing his journey is a real pleasure.
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BULL TONGUE by Byron Coley & Thurston Moore from Arthur No. 22 (May 2006)

first published in Arthur No. 22 (May, 2006)

BULL TONGUE
Exploring the Voids of All Known Undergrounds
by Byron Coley and Thurston Moore

Richard Youngs opened the new year with a sweet drop on the Jagjaguwar label, The Naïve Shaman. It’s hard to tell where Youngs is going to go with each release. The dude travails in more numerous far-out tundras than mere mortals can only hope to experientially glimpse in a single lifetime. And lucky for us, he docu-records these tripped excursions. This is one of his more excellent forays—with percolating electronic bass guitar and frazzed guitar spuzz creating beds for lyrics of gentle fire thought.

And Jagjaguwar has other new goodnesses in LP form. Pink Mountaintops’ Axis of Evol is another nice Funhouse/Barrett blend from Canada with a dollop of Bob Dylan blues overlays. Parts & Labor’s Stay Afraid only has its CD version on Jagjaguwar, the LP is actually on Cardboard Records. But we’re sure it sounds best on vinyl, so hear its beautifully spazzed prog-pummel in that format and you’ll be happiest. It has been said that these Chicagoites sound best when they’re instrumental, but the yammer here is really quite pleasing. Lastly, there’s an Oneida/Plastic Crimewave split pairing Brooklyn muzz-harmonics with the metallic kraut shimmy of Chicago to surprisingly wonderful effect. On a related note, Oneida’s Kid Millions guests on the new LP by Ex Models. Dunno if that’s the reason that Chrome Panthers (Troubleman Unlimited) is such a lovely chalice of prog-raunch aggression, but it’s a possibility. Still, Troubleman’s best recent Brooklyn-related release must remain Mouthus’ Slow Globes LP. Spaced as they sound on this platter, the duo always stuns.

From a kozmik holler betwixt Massachusetts and Vermont comes the second release by The Bummer Road, Suncatcher Mountain (Child of Microtones). It’s in all ways a patient (‘though not without underlying stovetop rage) unfolding wind of charm-soul music. Each of these CDs is handmade with paper finger love in an edition of 99. Gorgeous. Paper finger love is just what brims from the new issue of Sleep Tight, as well. The content is mostly single page illustrations this time, and the visuals have really jumped up a notch on the intensity scale. They’re much more disturbed and quite bodacious—just the kind of thing to read when you’re deep inside your personal holler.

It’s been too long since we’ve scratched our heads to an Idea Fire Company record and out of nowhere lands this hot rock—Stranded (Swill Radio). We were sick excited, thinking maestro Scott Foust was treating us to a new-mind rendition of Roxy Music’s uber-classic. And this time surrounding hisself not only with his lovely betrothed Karla Borecky, but the twin dyna-beautyism of Feathers’ Meara O’Reilly and The Believers’ Jessi Leigh Swenson. Indeed it is obvious that Roxy Music circa ’71 is a primo informant for Foust aesthetically, but what IFC toss off here is from a whole other inner glam strata. Boss minimalism and true star experimentalism (O’Reilly plays pencil on one track, yeah!) make this one of the coolest blasts from Swill Radio’s “The Anti Naturals” community ever.

Taurpis Tula is David Keenan (guitar) and Heather Leigh Murray (vocals, pedal steel)—proprietors of UK distribution wonderland Volcanic Tongue—abetted by drummer Alex Nielson (who’s played with Jandek, Directing Hand). They’ve released a couple of fine dark drift noise docs, most notably the LP Sparrows (Eclipse) from a year or two back. Since Nielsen joined them on skins they’ve really let their brain-muse glowingly expand and it’s all there in a fine smoosh of Scottish spotted dick and Texas BBQ on the newly minted I Can’t be Satisfied / Kingdoms Come to Birth CDR (American Tapes). Angel vision vox celebrate rising noise cloud guitar/amp and free fire drumming action to blast forth a wholly glorious spontaneity. Ruling, and the CDR is one of two, the other being label boss John Olson’s ongoing zap journey sound world endubbed Spykes. Can’t miss.

There’s a good, funny interview with Olson (by Since 1972 label honcho, Drew Demeter) in the debut issue of a great new ‘zine called Ong Ong. It also features a CD of Yann Novak field recordings, and words on Jennifer Gentle, Sublime Frequencies, a useful (if small) guide to European beers and a lovely silkscreened cover. Very eye worthy. It’s available from dragon’s eye.

A couple of nice spurts from two distinctive Carsons. First Carson being Carson Cistulli who has published a staple-bound book called Assorted Fictions (The Chuckwagon), which is an amusing collection of paragraphs steeped in sardonic philosophies—gentle, absurd and always with a slight bite. To wit: “On May 3rd 1993, Pierre Boulez asked the question, ‘Does the Zeitgeist even exist?’ You’d call it poetic justice, I guess, if the Zeitgeist said the same about Pierre Boulez. Unfortunately, this won’t ever happen: the Zeitgeist is an abstract concept and possesses no faculty of speech.”

The other Carson is Carson Arnold out of Vermont with his musical foray, Starbird, releasing a debut CDR on his boss-looking Frost label. Starbird is Carson and his wife Becky and they’ve recorded a beautiful personalized soundtrack to the 1922 Robert Flaherty film Nanook of the North. Great, yet modest, swooshes of thought-tone composition. A second Frost release called chorals has just landed and it’s Carson doing “all voice,” though you’d be hard-pressed sometimes guessing some of these tracks are voice as source as they are waaaaay out there in the processed sound world. But it has an organic maple-like blend keeping it close and real to the earth.

Believe it or not, New Jersey is spearheading some new excitement on the noise band scene, particularly with the dark and dogjaw blasting skuzzicity of acts like 2673 and Ladderwoe. We’re just guessing Ladderwoe is part of this scene as they seem to be connected via Larry Hernandez of Scientific Explanation Of Despair and Dave Sutton of Current Amnesia, both of whom we think are Jersey freaks. Whatever. Who cares where they’re from? They’re all seemingly pals and have a certain united aesthetic towards grey noise felch which’s pretty damn jake in its wretch. Ladderwoe, in particular, have knocked our asses to the ice with their latest killer, Rowboat Virgins on the Water (Bone Tooth Horn). What sounds like overgrown kittens mewling through rusted vocorders in a bag of Don Dietrich’s chomped-to-shit reeds develops into tight and tense improvisations that really have that freaked edge so often missing from newcomer noise mung. Exciting shit on a label that seems bent on exposing more along these lines. They already have a handful of cool jammers from Asps, Human Adult Band, Penis In Vagina, Gerritt, the aforementioned 2673 and a sizzler from L.A.’s busy busy busy The Cherry Point. Totally recommended.

Bennifer Editions is a label outta Canada run by the fine fuck-noise gang who roam the Canuck basement world as Gastric Female Reflex. Some nice CDR puh has been squirted by such legendary groovesters as id m theftable, Brian Ruryk and Witcyst, but the label’s sweaty hands-down mama-mia disk is the beautifully OUT THERE jammer by Tovah Olson. This is Tovah making moves both classic Dead Machines style and altogether beyond what we’ve come to expect—sheer heart grenade and supremely killer. Another sweet meat Bennifer Edition expulsion is the 7” by Pan Dolphinic Dawn which is pretty much just James Ferraro, he being of groove n’ ‘grease spatial harmony heavies, Skaters. Rich, textured and lo fidelity lovely. Gastric Female Reflex themselves have unleashed their first vinyl LP, Lovers in the Midst of Eating Fries (Bennifer Editions/Absurd/Gold Soundz/Humbug), and it’s a beeyootiful earful of sput n’ blonk not too unlike Prick Decay’s Very Good LP from moons back. A-side starts with a pencil point jabbed in your vestibular cochlear nerve and the B-side ends with a gorgeous femme hum with magnetic tape wave wash.

Third issue of new oversized art rag called ANP Quarterly is out and it’s pretty badass. Continue reading

BULL TONGUE by Byron Coley & Thurston Moore from Arthur No. 21 (Mar. 2006)

first published in Arthur No. 21 (March, 2006)

BULL TONGUE
Exploring the Voids of All Known Undergrounds
by Byron Coley and Thurston Moore

BULLTONGUE TOP 80 (+ 1) of 2005

1. VIDEO MADNESS 1 VHS tape (Aryan Asshole): Astounding lo-tek, plexiglass disturbance of TV transmission video psyche-mung. On Wolf Eyes’ Nate Young’s “label.”

2. GREG KELLEY I Don’t Want to Live Forever (Gameboy/Little Enjoyer): A fantastic conceptualist known for his Salt Peanuts from Hell trumpetizing with Nmperign, Kelley creates here a supremely sonik slipper of a disk. Remarkable. And his ice hockey skills are legendarily brutal as will be seen when he singlehandedly desecrates Aaron Dilloway’s pathetic Michigan “team.”

3. EYE Black Ice CD (United Fairy Moons): No, not Eye from Voordoms but a trio of Peter Stapleton, Peter Porteous and Ryan Cockburn from New Zealand ripping forth mesmerizing rockadrone swoop core.

4. ARCHAEOLOGY IMPULSE book, Eldon Garnet, ed. (Univ. Toronto Press): Incredible compendium of Impulse magazine materials, Toronto’s edge slicing lit/art mag of yesteryear (1975-90) with Kathy Acker, Chris Burden, Devo, Jenny Holzer and a myriad more.

5. HER NOISE exhibition and catalogue as presented by Electra (Anne Hilde Neset and Lina Dzuverovic), featuring Jutta Koether and Kim G.’s karaoke tent, Christina Kubitsh wonderment and other femme sound noise installations. Wish we were there.

6. SIBYLLE BAIER Colour Green CD (Orange Twin): Total, heart/mind-melt acoustic bedroom action, recorded in the early ‘70s by a German woman, whose only known recording was as part of the soundtrack from Wim Wenders’ Alice in the Cities. Lost until now, but recovered through a weird chain of events. Couldn’t be better.

7. DEAD MACHINES / DOUBLE LEOPARDS Fuck Victoriaville one-sided LP (American Tapes): Say no more. killer kuts from krazy kids kreeped by kanada.

8. REBECCA GODFREY Under The Bridge book (Simon & Schuster): Detailed account of the before, during and after killing of 14-year-old Reena Virk by other teenagers in View Royal, Canada in 1998, penned by the author of the amazing The Torn Skirt from a few years back. Excellent perspective of teenage foster home psychosis.

9. MARY GAITSKILL Veronica book (Pantheon): Rich, deep language reveals the heart and soul of an aging supermodel. Uncorny and heavy thought trip.

10. MUGSHOTS cassette series (Fargone): Ass-crackling noise cassette design series with new and classic jammers from The Cherry Point, Roxanne Jean Polise, Monster Dudes and other remarkable destructos.

11. CAN’T New Secret LP (RRR ): This was Jessica’s year all the way. Along with this wicked pic disc was a slew of hot cassette releases like Private Time, Long Slow Changes and her mother of a 7-inch on Ultra Eczema. All exhibit Rylan as an altogether distinctive force/voice in noise newness.

12. PRURIENT / AARON DILLOWAY Disappearance of the Maya 4Xcs (Hospital): Dominick Fernow has always been there with the most scarring and borderline insane vocal chord insane asylum dance. Here he connex wwith Aaron Dilloway fresh from sick head trip days in distant lands where snakes dance for men with rotting eye sockets.

13. SICK LLAMA unholy ghost 3Xcs (Fag Tapes): Heath Moerland continues his spread of infectious assault with a stunning release blitzkrieg from his Fag Tapes empire. Sick Llama is his skum drool of sound project and it’s been consistently mindwiping.

14. TARPIS TULA Steel Rods Bruise Butterflies CDR (Chocolate Monk): Love buzz stoned humz from the heart-to-heart village core of David Keenan and Heather Leigh Murray. Mmmm.

15. X.0.4 All Alien part one CDR (Wabana): This is a reissue of a monster ear load from X.0.4’s Bill Nace’s openmouth cassette label. Wabana has been releasing skull + crossbones CDRs of critical swoop for a bit now and this one is most welcome as X.0.4 are criminally underdocumented and have blown out many psyches live. This shall be rectified. But this ain’t to discount openmouth, they just released a gushing wealth of material we’re still trying to interpolate. More next time!

16. LESLIE KEFFER Devastates CDR (no label): Keffer is Ohio’s most intriguing raw sound annihilator since the Pere Ubu/Devo shows of 1972. Devastates takes off where her earlier Pollutes only hinted at. Keffer is set to profoundly detonate in ’06.

17. CHARALAMBIDES Live/Dead CDR (Wholly Other): This was sold on the Charalambides’ Euro tour of ‘05 and was recorded at the earlier West Coast run of ‘04. Stark and deep and completely soul-scraping.

18. AUGUST KLEINZAHLER Cutty, One Rock – Low Characters and Strange Places, Gently Explained book (Farrar, Straus & Giroux): Grizzly, leave-me-alone scribe gets woozy in memoiristic flash pen. A great American writer akin to the primary Beat canon of which he is concurrent to but way too boss to dick around with.

19. FONOTONE RECORDS CD box (Dust to Digital): It’s not that the appearance of this makes us stop salivating about the idea of Revenant’s forthcoming set of Fahey’s complete Fonotone recordings, but hey—this is probably the most extraordinary documents of late-period roots archaeology that will ever exist. And the booklet and tha bottle opener both work great.

20. SUNBURNED HAND OF THE MAN Puppet Heaven cs/zine (Manhand): Thank God for Boston’s most favorite sons since Aerosmith.

21. ULTRA ECZEMA: Belgian dude Dennis Tyfuss’ label, which is an astounding palette for his own art mania. Along with Double Leopards’ Maya Miller, Tyfuss has infused the New Weird Earth with a living, screaming rush of horror confusion graphix.

22. NO NECK BLUES BAND Qvaris 2LP/CD (5 rue Christine): The other night we were at some hunting lodge for the traditional yule game feast and we kept hearing this heavy fucking music coming out of the kitchen. Finally we asked what it was and the kitchen guys told us it was this new NNCK. Which they actually own on vinyl. Lucky fuckers. Sweet No Neck have grown with their devotion and this killer double is as listenable and genuine as any of their previous output. In fact it’s an exciting signpost for them as they head into the March 06 No Fun Fest as headlining close-out act.

23. JOHN COLTRANE QUARTET One Down, One Up: Live At The Half Note 2CD (Impulse): Still the father. An amazing document of a complete connector to the star world of mythos.

24. DIRTBOMBS If You Don’t Already Have a Look 2CD (In the Red): In a world of scum perfection, Mick Collins would get carried around in a very special chair. Thankfully, that is not the case, so we get to carry around this collection of singles and outtakes and whatnot, by his band instead. What a very flat garage.
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BULL TONGUE by Byron Coley & Thurston Moore from Arthur No. 20 (Jan. 2006)

first published in Arthur No. 20 (January, 2006)

BULL TONGUE
Exploring the Voids of All Known Undergrounds
by Byron Coley and Thurston Moore

August Born is Hiroyuki Usui and Ben Chasny. Hiroyuki you may know as the Japanese chap who has recorded under the name L. There was an L record on VHF a few years back that was astounding. Beautiful, home baked organic spirit folk-sonik drone breeze. The self titled August Born (Drag City) is the first in a purported series of “music by mail” sessions Hiroyuki has been involved in. Not email but snail mail, a slow process, which shows in the careful and gorgeous strains which this recording delivers. Simple and haunting vocal lines with classic Chasny guitar moves, expressive of his work with both Six Organs of Admittance and Comets on Fire. There’s an August Born track on the Bread, Beard and Bear’s Prayers CD that Comets’ Ethan Miller compiled for this mag’s Bastet imprint. A perfect winter sound.

More Ben Chasny finger-scorch news is the junk burn collaboration he’s done with squelch lord and fellow Comets creep Noel von Harmonson called NVH/CHASNY PLAYS THE BOOK OF REVELATIONS on the Folding label. It truly howls and is just one of the amazing new releases on this long-standing cassette label. Folding comes out of the Northwest and has always delivered some of the more confused and beyond-the-unknown explorations of the lost universe. Along with the NVH/Chas tape is an awesome foray into sound deviltry by someone/something called Telepathe. Their tape “I” which features Mick Barr is one of the swingenest kosmo-jungle reverb from God’s ass recordings we’ve been priveleged to hear this year no doubt. One more killer Folding jammer is the Child Abuse cassette which may be a goddamned lame name but is saved by the nutso retardo sleeve which has some little dude hand tethered to a stick looking very pissed off. It’s horrible yes but so ridiculous that you can see MAYBE where these mofos are coming from (answer: we don’t know). Child Abuse is a drum/organ twisted nut of a sesion and pretty damn fucked and really doesn’t audibly portray the sad violence of their moniker. Which is OK and adds new depth to their motive. What the fuhk.

A couple other great tape labels are Jyrk and Sloow Tapes. Jyrk is from the Bay Area and is infamous for unleashing the force that is D Yellow Swans who have been on a tear lately. The “D” standing for something “D”ifferent on each release (Dead, Destroyed, Disabled, Deaf etc.). They are consistently happening in their electroacoustic amps and wires noise/hum concertos and anything they release is gonna be worth your while. A young woman named Inca Ore, an associate of D Yellow Swans has a Jyrk tape called Milky Petals of the Solar Meadows and by that title you can bet she’s got something to say. And she does but in some strange other-planet tongue. What seems like a sensual loop of vocal matter gets entwined with live barbed wire ululations and comes at you like a repetitive salivation machine. Heavy move and we want more. Sloow Tapes out of Belgium has been releasing small numbers of fine rips by the likes of My Cat Is An Alien and others. One of the latest is certainly one of their greatest, the Slingshot Feud Vol. 2 cassette by Family Underground. Real sex-surround sound and dusk to dawn huzz. All yours.

Four hot new(ish) poetry journals of the sort that burn with modern energy and multi-levered thought/rock, roll/sexx prayerz-on-fire sensation have hit our desks recently and we feel the need to share the word. Mirage #4/Period(ical) is on its staggering-to-believe 120th issue which we guess is not so staggering-to-believe as it’s a single stapled one-sided xerox read which is really its minimalist charm. It’s edited by Kevin Killian and Dodie Bellamy out of San Francisco. Killian is an interesting playwright, poet, critic, novelist who supposedly has a book being published all about Kylie Minogue, whether in verse perspective or in perverse invective remains to be read. Dodie has written some of the most astounding beyond feminist lit of the last decade. She created a helluva stir when she wrote and published an amazing fem take-off on the Burroughsian cut-up technique called Cunt Ups, which is must for any progressive library shelf. Their po journal has new and ongoing work by young writers who catch the editor’s eye as well as a few surprises such as this issue’s print of a great 1959 poem by the deceased homo-beat legend John Wieners. Next up is the irrepressible Industrial Sabotage out of Toronto, Canada. Edited by the non-stop archivist, poet and all around good guy J W Curry, this is the foremost publication of the ongoing history of Canada’s amazing concrete/language/etc lit scene, primarily jumping off and around the wonderment that is bpNichol, an artist/poet who died in 1988 and left behind a living trove of experimental and loving word-work. Curry has been involved with archiving thousands of items of A list to ephemera of bpNichol’s output for well on 30 years now and has yet to exhaust his endeavor. If you think record collecting is deep dirt digging, then try to get into avant garde post war poetry. His mag is awesome, multi-hued and a great glimpse into what is one of North America’s strongest literary scenes since forever. Speaking of which it’s exciting to see the folks at St Marks Poetry Center in NYC making a fresh move with the first issue of The Recluse. Whether this mag is taking the place of the long running Poetry Center journal The World or will co-exist alongside it is anyone’s guess. Regardless, it has the cool passion aesthetic of young, serious, touch-the-sky poetry that the downtown New Yok scene has always exuded: a dynamic of voices multi-psyched, daring and thoughtful. Last, for now, is another mag outta the SF scene, a new one called jouissance. First ish has not only rad poemz by the abovementioned Kevin Killian, but also some from the ass-slapping mind of Dennis Cooper (one called THE JPEGS is about a Ray Romano/Bernie Mac sex-mail exchange). The mag has good interviews with Jamie Stewart of Xiu Xiu and novelist Scott Heim (whose book Mysterious Skin is being made into a film by Greg Araki), as well as writing by Dodie Bellamy. Cool shit.

While he has laid hand and/or hip on more record-projects than almost anyone, Calvin Johnson has not previously released a solo album. Dunno why this is exactly, but Before the Dream Faded (K) is really a good one. Calvin’s dark voice is probably known to some of you from Beat Happening or Dub Narcotic Sound System or somewhere, but it’s really a rumbling rose here, because it’s the album’s one constant. The instrumentation and arrangement techniques wiggle around like a hot can opener on god’s ass, but there is a foghorn in the night. Hooray! Songs go into all the hoped-for hoops and come out smelling great. Continue reading

BULL TONGUE by Byron Coley & Thurston Moore from Arthur No. 19 (Nov. 2005)

first published in Arthur No. 19 (November, 2005)

BULL TONGUE
Exploring the Voids of All Known Undergrounds
by Byron Coley and Thurston Moore

Boston’s Sunburned Hand of the Man have been devilishly busy this time out, blessing our ears and asses with a shelf-filling pile of audio goodness. The Complexion LP (Records) highlights their percussion-and-swoop angle more than some of their others. It’s a nice thing to listen to on a rooftop, while ambulances skedaddle around the corners. Bursts of internal static and much less jam-cuss-aktion than some might dig, but we are not they. The Wedlock 2LP (Eclipse) is a document of a trek the band made to Alaska three or so years back to play a wedding. Some of it is Wedding Album audio collaging of the haps, but there are also huge patches of the band in a weirdly Hendrixy mode with heavy jam flashes and rhythm underpine. Great looking package, too. And there are at least a couple of new CDRs. Live in Shit (Manhand) is an utterly spaced-out live show from some damn time and place, one of our favorites of theirs overall. And Knifelife (Manhand) is like eating an electric waffle and grunting about its pleasures or something. There’re plenty of analog crosshatches and rich hints of both butter and maple, but that’s only part of it, naturally. Bite it hard to discover more.

Seems like Jessica Rylan can’t do wrong (get it?). Yeah, anyway, she has out a boss new booklet of drawings called something you entered into or headed towards (WFOT). We guess the format is color Xerox, and they look totally great. Some are like Adolph Wolffi doing his versions of Patchen’s poem-paintings, others are just disturbed (or calm) and beautiful. Rylan mixes word and image with a really bodaciously intellectual primitivism. Worth many peeks, both fast and slow. And, as Can’t, Jessica has released a super stark-o clipclopped-note-beat-disaster 7” through the supremely jake Ultra Eczema label outta Belgium. The label is run by an illustrator named Dennis Tyfus and his sluice-and-gangrene color creations are HOT and WEIRD. His illo of Can’t on the oversized sleeve is insanely lovely. All the releases, mostly CDRs by the such outfits as Guam River (a John Olson zap-zone), are wild on the iris and his site is a fuuking trip to knock around.

The MVEE Medicine Show rolls yet again with a stunning new LP, Moon Jook (Records), which is the most devilishly musical-qua-musical move they’ve made in a bit. Matt Valentine’s guitar playing is really exceptional here, and Erika Elder’s grasp of all “little instrument” dynamics is a breath of pure meditative smoke. It’s true the pair (and their extended family) have recorded a daunting pantload of stuff over the past few years, but this one’s particularly CHOICE. Matt’s old bandmate (from Tower Recordings), PG Six, has a great new LP too, The Well of Memory (Perhaps Transparent; CD on Amish). Pat has been playing especially superb shows this past year and this album collects a few live favorites, all of which bristle with his mastery of many strings—guitar, harp, banjo, piano and on and on. There is a sweet melancholia that seeps through every note here. It will ebb and flow through synapses like burning honey. And the word is that his next album may be harp improvs, which would be hipper than shit.

Anyone who has wanted to sample the work of the great American poet, Charles Potts, but has been mind-dicked by either the abundance or lack-of-abundance of available titles, has just had a lucky day. The Portable Potts (West End Press) is a goddamn glorious paperback compendium of his work throughout a vast array of decades, styles, foci and haircuts. And this book may lack the visual oomph of seeing Charles get blown across the stage at the Arthurfest by Sunn 0))), but it’s a book that will satisfy in many other ways. It represents a real slice of Potts’ work from the wild ‘60s poems to the insane prose to the cowboy stuff to the Chinese stuff, to the sociology and all points in between. Be a sport and stuff it in someone’s stocking this Christmas, it would be a vital gesture in support of true culture.

Our knowledge of the Portugese underground is not what it should be, we admit it. But it just got a little better, with the arrival of two records by the Loosers. Not that there’s much findable info at hand, but the sounds themselves are sweet. A trio, the Loosers do a surprising number of things at once. Their basic focus is art-damaged power-pus, but they do it in a variety of ways, recalling everyone from Sonic Youth to Jackie O Motherfucker at various times. Their first LP is For All the Round Suns (Ruby Red) and it is a pretty wonderful blend of several generations of underground nonsense —from the Birthday Party to NNCK to My Cat Is An Alien—and could easily be the best new CDR from Brooklyn this week, if you know what we mean. But it’s a dandy looking LP and that ain’t hay. Nor is their second LP, Slugs (Ruby Red), although it is not quite as overloaded with sheer idea-wattage, taking more the form of debased prog-grope excursions onto the ramp of the ringed percussive o-mind. It’s a nice trip, with flutes and toots up the old wazoot. Why they only pressed 100 is anyone’s guess.

Best tape label so far this year has been Fag Tapes out of Ypsilanti, Michigan. Continue reading