A barn with hex signs in Lehigh County (photograph by Nicholas A. Tonelli)

Fans of the band Earth, profiled by author Brian Evenson way back in Arthur No. 20 (Jan. 2006), will be particularly interested in this post by Melissa Marshall over at Atlas Obscura: Folk Magic: The Hex Signs of Pennsylvania

2010 Arthur Magazine Gift-Giving Guide, approximately

Here’s a short list of recent gift-worthy work by folks who have either contributed to Arthur through the years, or been covered in the magazine. Promotional text for each item is in quotes, with order links at the end of each item’s entry, as close to the source as we could find. This list is not meant to be definitive—just some stuff that’s caught our attention recently that we thought Arthur folk might dig…

THE BEAUTIFUL & THE DAMNED: Punk Photographs by Ann Summa
Edited with an introduction by Kristine McKenna
Foreword by Exene Cervenka
Foggy Notion Books/Smart Art Press
Hbk, 9.25 x 12.25 in. / 112 pgs
“When photographer Ann Summa arrived in Los Angeles in 1978, the city’s punk scene was still fresh, diverse, smart, utterly original—and fertile territory for a young photographer. The Beautiful & the Damned is a collection of her portraits of the musicians, artists and fans who made Los Angeles such a crucial part of the history of punk. Taken between 1978 and 1984, the images mostly revolve around L.A.’s first punk generation, and include portraits of the Germs, the Screamers, X, the Cramps and the Gun Club, among many others. From there, the book expands its scope to accommodate the cross-pollination that took place between L.A.’s punk scene and the fine art community, (at the time, the audience for avant-garde artists such as the Kipper Kids, Johanna Went and Laurie Anderson was primarily drawn from the underground music scene), and the two other cities—London and New York—that played a central role in the birthing of punk. Photographed during their first U.S. tours are U.K. groups the Clash, Magazine, the Fall, the Slits, Bow Wow Wow and the Pretenders, among others. Visiting dignitaries from New York include Television, James Chance, Lydia Lunch and Talking Heads. Also included are portraits of artists who served as an inspiration to L.A. punks—Captain Beefheart, Iggy Pop and David Bowie, among others—plus candid shots of unidentified audience members. Includes 95 previously unpublished images.”

From the introduction…
“Everyone knows that punk rock is rude. What’s less known is that during its first incarnation in Los Angeles, during the late 70s, it was ecstatically beautiful. At that point mainstream culture hadn’t yet detected the scent of money on this newly-born music, and punk hadn’t yet been hijacked by adolescent boys bent on transforming themselves into human cannonballs. Punk was an intimate affair then. Nobody was watching or judging that original band of outsiders, because there was no money to be made, and nothing much to be won or lost at all. There was no reason for those people not to cast off the rules that had governed their world up until that point. And so they cast off the old rules, and made themselves a new world that was entirely their own. And, for a brief, glorious period they operated in a zone of complete freedom.
“The taste of freedom can be startling — you can see that in the faces of many of the people who appear in these pictures. They were surprised to find their tribe — surprised to discover they actually had a tribe. Surprised to learn they could be themselves and be embraced for it. Surprised to find they could create beauty, and live without the comforts of the middle-class homes they came from. What made all of this possible was the simple fact of community. Most L.A. punks of the late 70s were poor, many were high a lot of the time, and everyone was a little crazy. Nonetheless, they supported and shared with one another, and they saw the brilliance in each other.”

HOW TO WRECK A NICE BEACH: The Vocoder From World War II to Hip-Hop—The Machine Speaks
by Dave Tompkins

Stop Smiling Books
Color, 336 pages
“The history of the vocoder: how the Pentagon’s speech scrambling weapon transformed into the robot voice of pop music. How to Wreck a Nice Beach includes interviews with:
Afrika Bambaataa, Ray Bradbury, Florian Schneider of Kraftwerk, Peter Frampton, Laurie Anderson, T-Pain, Teddy Riley, DJ Quik, ELO, Rammellzee, Arthur Baker, Michael Jonzun, Midnight Star, Lester Troutman of Zapp, Holger Czukay of Can, Donnie Wahlberg, Egyptian Lover, Fab Five Freddy, Forrest J. Ackerman, Man Parrish, Cybotron and Wendy Carlos, composer of A Clockwork Orange and The Shining.
$25.00 ($10 off the cover price)

by Dame Darcy

“This multimedia pink 3 ½ in. doll cake is really a little round box containing pink powder puff and magnetism glitter body powder to puff over your skin after bathing. Rose love potion bubble bath, Mini-Chalice, instructions for moon water and a magic wand for stirring your bath. Draw your true love to you now and forever!”

by Steve Aylett

Scar Garden Press
122 pages
“Collects 19 stories including ‘The Man Whose Head Expanded’, the prophetic ‘Download Syndrome’, ‘The Burnished Adventures of Injury Mouse’, the full text of ‘Voyage of the Iguana’, the last ever Beerlight story ‘Specter’s Way’, ‘Horoscope’, and the closest thing Aylett has ever written to a traditional SF story, ‘Bossanova’ (featuring a robot and two spaceships!) There are also animal-attack-while-writing reminiscences in ‘Evernemesi’ and top-of-the-line declarative bitterness in ‘On Reading New Books’. Snails, whales and cortical drills. Aylett’s last collection.”
Buy: Amazon

by Trinie Dalton

Madras Press
“The story of Candy, a candy-addicted witch who resents her inherited lifestyle. After a fire burns down her gingerbread house, she leaves the forest and ventures out in search of the excitement of a more urban environment. Along the way she encounters a self-mutilating puppet, tastes meat for the first time, and falls in love with Death, a skeletal woman with a shoe fetish. Proceeds benefit the Theodore Payne Foundation.”
Trinie Dalton blog:

by Stacy Kranitz

Square 80 pgs Premium Paper, lustre finish
Cultural ethnography by photojournalist Stacy Kranitz.
Hardcover with dustjacket, $100
Stacy Kranitz:

PURE COUNTRY: The Leon Kagarise Archives, 1961-1971
Text by Eddie Dean
Process Media
9.5” x 9.5” • 204 pages • 140 Color images
“Throughout the ‘50s and ‘60s, many of country music’s biggest stars played their favorite shows on the small backwoods stages of rural America’s outdoor music parks. These intimate, $1-a-carload picnic concerts might have been forgotten if it hadn’t been for the documenting eye of music lover Leon Kagarise, whose candid photographs of the musicians and their fans provide the only surviving window into this long-vanished world. Kagarise captured dozens of classic country and bluegrass artists in their prime, including Johnny Cash and June Carter, George Jones, Dolly Parton, Bill Monroe, Hank Snow, The Stanley Brothers, and many other greats. Pure Country presents this collection of rare color images for the first time, revealing an archive considered by historian Charles Wolfe to be one of the richest discoveries in the history of American music. Foreword by Robert Gordon.”

“We have all your favorite colors, as long as your favorite color is black.”
$24 tshirt, $40 hoodie

Subculture Books
208 pages
“A collection of the important essays that helped define the bioregional movement and established Berg as an icon in the environmental community. Spans three decades of Berg’s life work, combines the candor, humor and vision that helped shape the sustainability revolution.” Don’t let the unfortunate cover throw you off. This has some classic San Francisco Diggers-era Berg pieces from now-unobtainable broadsides and posters in addition to the aforementioned pivotal bioregionalist texts.
Paperback $11.69, Kindle Edition $8.99
Buy: Amazon

Informational video: Arthur blog

NOMAD CODES: Adventures in Modern Esoterica by Erik Davis
Yeti Verse Chorus Press
352 pages
“In these wide-ranging essays, Erik Davis explores the codes—spiritual, cultural, and embodied—that people use to escape the limitation of their lives and to enrich their experience of the world. These include Asian religious traditions and West African trickster gods, Western occult and esoteric lore, postmodern theory and psychedelic science, as well as festival scenes such as Goa trance and Burning Man. Articles on media technology further explore themes Davis took up in his acclaimed book Techgnosis, while his profiles of West Coast poets, musicians, and mystics extend the California terrain he previously mapped in The Visionary State. Whether his subject is collage art or the ‘magickal realism’ of horror writer H.P. Lovecraft, transvestite Burmese spirit mediums or Ufology, tripster king Terence McKenna or dub maestro Lee Perry, Davis writes with keen yet skeptical sympathy, intellectual subtlety and wit, and unbridled curiosity, which is why Peter Lamborn Wilson calls him ‘the best of all guides to modern American spirituality.’ Cover artwork by Fred Tomaselli.”

HOWLIN’ RAIN “The Good Life” EP
Ethan Miller from Comets On Fire’s other, earthier acid rock band. Features two originals sandwiching a daring cover of the Jimi Hendrix Experience’s “Burning of the Midnight Lamp.”
Preview/buy: iTunes

TED LUCAS “Ted Lucas”
Beautiful wise hippie folk music from 1974.
cd $12

IASOS “Realms of Light” dvd
Inter-Dimensional Music
“Iasos has created heavenly visuals to accompany the celestial music on his Realms of Light album. There are visuals for all 8 pieces on the music cd. The visuals are synced with the music with delightful precision. Like the music, some of the visuals are stimulating, and some are relaxing. And all are heavenly, uplifting, beautiful, and celestial. It took Iasos 4 years to learn video special-effects, and then another 3.5 years to actually create the 65 minutes of visuals to go with this music. But finally, here it is! Underlying Purpose: Music is capable of inducing Divine Emotions. Visuals are capable of inducing Divine Thought-Forms. When these two work together synchronistically & synergistically,their combined influence can trigger or “ignite” expanded States of Being. THAT is the Intention behind this DVD.”

EARTH ”A Bureaucratic Desire for Extra Capsular Extraction”
Southern Lord
“For the first time the debut recordings of Earth are available in one concise, beautifully documented capsule. All 7 tracks have been carefully remastered by Mell Dettmer to make a more burly, mammoth and crushing audio experience. Includes liner notes from Dylan Carlson with artwork by Simon Fowler and package design via Stephen O’Malley.”
CD $10, 2xLp $18

ROTARY SIGNAL EMITTER 12-inch picture disk LP by Sculpture
Not even sure if these are even still available—they only made 300 of them—but…gee whiz. Coolest low-cost audio/art object since the Buddha Machine? Yes.
Preview/info: Arthur blog

2011 calendar and poster by RON REGE, JR.
Little Otsu
“Experience the mind-blowing combination of colors and drawings that make up this incredible 2011 fold-out calendar & poster by the talented Ron Regé, Jr. On the calendar side, the amazing devolving drawings form a comic-like linear backdrop to the twinkly bars of dimensional months. Turn it over to find a detailed panoramic scene of hot-air balloons and mountains and lands surrounding a giant inverted triangle of “abracadabra” magic. So at the end of the year, you can flip over the calendar and still have a great poster to hang on your wall, giving this calendar a second life.
Measures 8” wide x 9” tall folded and 24” wide by 18” tall when unfolded. Printed in Hayward, CA with vegetable-based inks on 100% post-consumer recycled 80# cover stock.”
$12.00 USD
flat poster (limited ed. of 50) for $16.00 USD

“A full colour calendar comprising all-new artwork in a psychedelic interpretation of Through the Looking-Glass and what Alice found there. The 1860s collide with the 1960s in lurid efflorescence!”

32 pages, 12 x 16 inches, saddle stitched
“Hundreds of radical cultural and political heroes are celebrated here, along with the animating ideas that continue to guide this project – a reprieve from the 500-year-long sentence to life-at-hard-labor that the European colonization of the “New World” and the ensuing devastations of the rest of the world has represented. The Planetary Work Machine will not rule forever! Celebrate with this calendar on which every day is a holiday!
$9.95 / Pay for two, and we will send a third calendar for free!”

“Plastic Crimewave, creator of the Galactic Zoo Dossier magazine for Drag City, proprietor of the Galactic Zoo Disk reissue label, leader of spacepunkers Plastic Crimewave Sound, and general music historian/head has reached the end of the fifth consecutive year of his Galactic Zoo Mix Tape Club, and will be taking subscriptions again with another year of Mix Tape-age starting in December. You get six 90 min. tapes (one every other month) with exclusive artwork and the sounds of rare and populist psychedelia, glam, acid folk, prog, boogie, power pop, soft rock, shoegaze, protopunk, hard rawk, experimental, bubblegum, etc. for a mere $30.”
Info: Arthur blog
Paypal at, or send a check or cash to 1061 N. Western Ave, Chicago, IL 60622.

BLACKOUT Arthur mixtape
49-minute compilation curated and sequenced by Arthur editor Jay Babcock to stimulate or simulate a sweet blackout, featuring music by Moon Duo, White Hills, White Noise Sound, Lords of Falconry, Endless Boogie , Masters of Reality, Messages and Enumclaw. Mixed by Bobby Tamkin (Xu Xu Fang), with cover artwork by Arik Moonhawk Roper. All proceeds go to Arthur Magazine. Pay-what-thou-wilt digital download starting at $4.20…

A tax-deductible donation of any amount may be made to Arthur by going here:

Happy season,

The Arthur Goofs
Austin * Marfa * Joshua Tree * Portland, Oregon * Greenpoint * wherever you are

A DEEPER SHADE OF DOOM: Sunn 0)))) and Earth, profiled by author Brian Evenson (Arthur, 2005)

A Deeper Shade of Doom
How do the drone-metal bands Earth and Sunno))) get something out of nothingness?

By Brian Evenson
Photography and layout by W. T. Nelson

Originally published in Arthur No. 20 (Dec 2005)

In 1993 the Olympia, Washington-based band Earth released their second album, Earth 2. No drums, no voices, two guitars, nothing else. It was ambient music done by a demon on downers—highly lugubrious, with slowed-down underwater metal riffs. Earth 2 traded in the glam, stagy evil of classic heavy metal for a brooding darkness, simultaneously a descent into hell and a sort Buddhist chant pushing you toward either Nirvana or nothingness (you choose). It was the kind of wandering super-vibrating music that makes your leg tingle where you’d broken it ten years before. Not only was it something you couldn’t dance to, it was something you couldn’t move to. It slowly shut you down. And with each of its three tracks over fifteen minutes long, by the time you’d finished the album you felt like you’d never start back up again.

Earth 2 is the ur-album of drone metal (it’s probably not a coincidence that their name is the same one originally used by Black Sabbath). It’s nothing at all like the grunge stuff—Nirvana and Mudhoney for instance—that their then-label Sub Pop was putting out then. But after Earth 2, the band—really just guitarist Dylan Carlson and whoever he wanted to partner with at the time—moved in different directions. Phase 3: Thrones and Dominions, a hard-to-find album from 1995 that you can pick up on disk for around $90 (or at itunes for $9), added one more guitarist and, for one track, a drummer. 1996’s Pentastar (In the Style of Demons) was still drone-y but just a hair away from being a rock album: cleaner sound, drums on all the tracks, deliberate shapes to the songs (most of which ran around five minutes), and even some vocals.

Continue reading



Earth  formed in olywa. In early 90(?). d. carlson wants to call the band wormwood but compromises
with then members Slim Moon (later to found kill rock stars), and Greg babior. Original lineup 2 guitars, vocals, and the now trendy and de rigeur old analog synths (earth misses out on hipdom by 4 years). TDG becomes revolving bass player and does white noise side project the fragile sphincter with d. carlson. Greg is very caught up in sound proofing the practice space. Greg departs over the rest of the bands ineptitude at jazz improvising over a three note riff. TDG caught up in ascendancy of his band. Move to Seattle. D.carlson meets Dave Harwell at Hard-On’s show. Joe Preston signs on while waiting for his dream to materialize. Slim and D. war over vocals and their place; or lack thereof; in the band. 1st show at Portlands Blue gallery. Last with Slim and vocals. TDG and his bass player are driving
earth. Earth get in wreck at gas station 3 blocks from house. Bass player and the assailant go off to smoke pot while waiting for insurance companies to call back. Not the last time earth’s transport will be hampered by chemical dependancy/abuse. 2nd show in Portland. Earth is Heavy Metal cover band. Set includes ‘Animal Magnetism’ by Scorps, ‘One Track Mind’ by Motorhead
and a handful of Saint Vitus tunes. 3rd show in Olywa. Sets trend of audience participating from the outside. We record in Portland at Smegma Studios with Mike Lastra. The studio is in his house, which is besieged by ‘coons. TDG and Kelly Canary along for vocals. TDG sleeps a lot during sessions. Earth opens for L7 at Vogue. Most of Sub-Pop are in attendance. D.C. behind amps at this point. After show Bruce and John asks Earth to release something. Earth volunteer Portland tapes and sign-on -board. Extra-Capsular Extraction (earth 1) released sometime in ’91. We play our best show as a three piece. 5
people watch us open for Hell-Cows. Next weekend earth blows chunks opening for TDG’s band. Play in Olywa. with Blake Babies. They spend their entire sound check playing riff from Yes’s “Owner of a lonely heart”. During show with Screaming Trees the drum machine first becomes a problem, with Joe repeatedly stepping on the pedal and restarting songs half way through.

Joe’s dream becomes reality. He is asked to join the Melvins. He can’t leave earth fast enough. Dream becomes nightmare when his bitter, money-grubbing ways do not endear him to his employers. The Melvins can him. He takes revenge by bootlegging earth 7in’s. Carl Anala formerly of Hell Cows joins briefly. He departs rapidly. Earth is a two piece. 1992. Earth are interviewed by then up and comer Tabitha Soren for MTV. Dave not realizing who she will become in the near future repeatedly offends her with a knowing and friendly hand on her thigh during each response to a question. Earth is delighted. Last show with the drum machine. MTV is unaccountably filming the show. Earth is opening for a speed metal band so there are plenty of mustaches and long shorty hair do’s . The drum machine gives up the ghost early in the first song. Dave wisely exits the stage. D.C. remains to play an open chord for 35 minutes. Fists and fingers raised the audience chants “you suck” emphatically. Downer use begins in earnest among one half of the band. Earth 2 recorded in august at Avast studios with Stewart Hallerman at the helm. Many consider this record a definitive statement of the drone triumphant. Others merely the inevitable result of the damage downers do to perception of time and duration. Earth plays the Ultra-Lamefest with many other labelmates. Earth only wants to do one song. The powers that be want the band off after 15 minutes. Earth holds on and finishes
the song, all 25 minutes of it. Sometime after the release party Dave decides his life and new interest in gardening would be better off without Earth. Earth is a one piece. Downer use at atrocious, possibly toxic levels in remaining member of band.

Fall of ’93 recording begins on Phase3. D.Carlson, for a variety of sordid reasons, misses the first 2 1/2 days of recording. For these sessions Tommy Hansen (formerly of the Fartz and Crisis Party) plays second guitar. Sub-Pop pull the plug on the sessions. Anger and recriminations follow. Earth’s standing with the Company are at a low-ebb. D.C.’s imminent demise predicted. Ian Dickson leaps into
the breach and stakes job on completion of record. A year later (fall ’94) sessions are booked at the Soundhouse with Scott Benson on the board. Rick Cambern does drums  on one track. Sessions in trouble Ian locks D.C. in isolation booth for 6 hours. Due to a medical emergency the sessions
crash to a halt. D.C.: “_____ went out in the bathroom, Scott won’t keep recording.” Ian: ” How much do we have recorded, is it enough for a record?” D.C.: ” It’s 58 minutes, long enough.” The album is a critical masterpiece (well, at least 2 critics). Phase 3 released April ’95. May of ’95 Paul Smith invites earth to play Disobey night for Blast First and record a live record. When the fax arrives at Sub-Pop they think its a bad joke. Earth is supposed to play for 45 minutes. They play for 26 and 2 english kids play the last 5 minutes of feedback. Ian is now member. Earth is a 2 piece again. The album is mixed at Mute’s Worldwide studios with PK at the helm. Earth mess with Texas. Too much of everything (3 oz. Methamphetamine, 80 valiums, 25 Xanax, riding a white horse). Disaster at Dripping Springs. Redemption (a very wet version) at Emo’s. If they take me back to Texas they wont take me back alive. June Earth play the MacIntosh New Music Seminar. Sub-Pop decides to re-sign earth for 3 more records. February ’96 finds earth with 2 new members, Shawn McElligot on lead guitar and Mike McDaniels on drums. Mike Deming is engineering and playing organ. The recording takes place at Studio .45, which happens to be in the old Colt manufacturing plant in Hartford, Connecticut. Recording and mixing take about 2 weeks. Before the album is released, earth is invited to play Hyperstrings in Austria. It’s a festival of modern guitar (especially non-traditional manipulation) techniques. Other people playing included K.K. Null, E.A.R.(with Sonic Boom), Jim O’Rourke, fellow Seattleites Magnog, and DJ Haswell. The album is released July  23rd. On to the future. Re-mixes of a few songs are in the works. Look for them on Sweet Mother. They should include versions by DJ Nasir, Spooky and Constantine. Coming soon, the franchise.