TONGUE TOP TEN by Byron Coley and Thurston Moore

The last year has been rough, but we’ll try to face the new dawn more regularly. See how it goes, and we’ll deal with some older stuff amidst the newer stuff. Can’t be helped. Thanks.


1. I guess it’s beyond the point of convincing anyone that some of the best music/sounds is happening on small cassette labels, but once in a while something gets slapped in the tape deck that just utterly, completely nails you to the underpinnings of heavens dripping maw. Such an experience is to be had by anyone lucky enough to grab hold of if only goodnight, the first cassette on the Wagtail label by Eastern Massachusetts improv/noise/strange-string shaman-femme Ashley Paul. Ms. Paul has been on the hot tongues of local noise lovers for a few years now and has gotten some recognition through her collaborations with the amazing Rel Records imprint. This cassette is really, really stirring and odd and affecting with high-frequency vox (which may or may not be ACTUAL vocals, but the mystic air conjured by reed-tongue) that call to mind early Connie Berg (Mars) interacting with bowed percussion and dislocated guitar sex. Cool as it gets. Get it.

2. Recent times appear to have been busy for Ed Sanders (above), one of the heroes of this century and the last. Amidst rumblings of a vast archival reissue series of material recorded by Ed’s band the Fugs, there is also a new Fugs album due sometime soon, and a slew of printed material already in hand. Poems for New Orleans (North Atlantic Books) came out in ’08, but only recently came to our attention. The book is full of Sanders’ beautiful verse, inspired by a trip to the city, which lead to intense reading about its history, and imaginings of chance encounters that might have been. Thus, the book’s a mix of investigative poetry (a school of thought Sanders founded), pure conjecture, and his own special lyricism. Great stuff, tying together near-ancient history with the catastrophes of Katrina and much else. Here’s a brief sample of the poem, “Echoes of Heraclitus”:

A helicopter flew me away
I wound up in Utah
where I am waiting for Jesus
or anybody
to help me home.

Also new to us is America, A History in Verse: The 20th Century Volumes 1-5 (Blake Route Press). The first three volumes of this massive, detailed ride through the American consciousness were published by Black Sparrow Books, but following the retirement of the legendary publisher, John Martin, there was no one around to actualize the words. Thus, the full set is available as pdf files on CD. And hideous as this format feels (we spend way too much time on screen already), the work is fantastic. Here’s a short piece from Volume 5:

The Oklahoma City Bombing
April 19
Timothy McVeigh
looked like someone who could have been a NASCAR driver
or a retired quarterback
Close cut hair
White eyes of blue a Gulf War vet
and bursting from a sliver of the small town ethos
that allowed grumbling gun nuts
& gummint-haters
to exist without much hassle

It would be delightful if someone would turn these last two volumes into actual books as well, but for now, this will have to do. Ed was also the main subject of a recent show hosted by an amazing gallery/printing shop in Brooklyn called The Arm. They hosted a brief show of his many glyph-based artworks from the last half a century, and while the show has ceased to exist, The Arm’s Dan Morris is working on a portfolio reprinting several of Ed’s most eye-commandeering efforts. There are also a few loose sheets of this work available. And they are guaranteed to make yr brain very hot.

Anyway, we await finding a copy of Ed’s new poetry collection from Coffee House Press, and the soon-due Fugs CD as well. ‘Til then—keep grope alive.


3. One dude who has been on the UK underground noise cassette scene as long as Ashtray Navigations’ Phil Todd is Joincey. Haven’t really heard to much from Joincey in a while but he has this new thing now called My Carapace Is Leaking and the first thing we’ve heard by “them” is a split cassette with Swiss-Swedish double bass improvisor Nina De Heney on the Rayon Records label from Lyon, France. Joincey, or My Carapace Is Leaking, also employs bass action, though unlike De Heney’s more raw, organic scrape and touch (which is ruling), it is more of a skin-melting lather. And it is completely great. A wonderful split by these two, and anyone who has followed Joincey through the years with Wagstaff, Inca Eyeball, Coits, Stuckometer, and his amazing Face Like A Smacked Arse label will desperately want this.

4. Another great set of releases has appeared from Mondo Macabro, who seem to have a truly insane grasp of international exploitation films. The third volume of their Bollywood Horror series pairs two films from the Ramsay Brothers studio, Mahakaa and Tahkana, which combine tons of bad vibes, dance numbers and surreal juxtapositions of elements – I mean, who knew Nightmare on Elm Street was lacking a gay Michael Jackson character? Not us. But now we do.

We also understand, from seeing Akio Jissoji’s Marquis De Sade’s Prosperities of Vice, that it would have been a bad idea to create a criminal theater based on the works of De Sade in Japan during the 1920s. As to whether it’d be a good idea now, we can only guess. But watching how the bad idea actually was is a great visual treat. Weird to think this same director did the Ultra Man movies!


5. Great Dividing, the Australian label that kicked in the front door of our o-brain with the posthumous 3 Toed Sloth LP (which for better and/or worse is as close as we can get to contempo Feedtime action as it features almighty Feedtime drum-jesus, Tom), has issued a cassette comp, A Range of Greatdividing, which has some primo Sloth as well as other Oz dementia like the top-notch Shoptoprockers. Primal, guitar scrawl with dirty-hair free-chug moves that proves Oz still the sexiest dirtbarge ‘neath the meridian.

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BULL TONGUE "TOP TEN #2" by Byron Coley & Thurston Moore

April 14, 2009



Martin Kippenberger. Untitled from the series Dear Painter, Paint for Me (Ohne title aus der serie Lieber Maler, male mir), 1981.

1. There is currently a huge Martin Kippenberger retrospective show up at MOMA in New York City. It’s called “The Problem Perspective”, and it is an incredible tribute to this wild artist, who created a fairly unbelievable amount of stuff in a trajectory that lasted only 20 years. We first became aware of Kippenberger in the late ’70s or very early ’80s because of his musical work with the band the Grugas (with Christine Hahn and Eric Mitchell), and for his association with the performance space, SO 36. There’s not much evidence of that aspect of his work here, but the multi-floor museum exhibit (and the dandy ass catalogue accompanying it) is a massive mind-blow. Went with some kids and one of ‘em was most impressed by the endless array of sketches, collages and whatnot Martin did on the stationery paper of fancy hotels. Another almost lost it when she realized how mean and funny the sequence of paintings of Picasso’s last wife was. But there is something for everybody here. And the book is excellent. It reprints a long, legendary interview Kippenberger did with Jutta Koether, and includes some extremely useful essays, plus a huge selection of eye candy produced by a guy who was the most influential German artist of his generation.


Leah Peah

2. Hampton, Virginia has been throwing down hard lately with its weirdo sick homegrown noise skuzz scene. The group Head Molt seems to be the chief instigators, particularly with the inclusion of wild woman Leah Peah. Leah’s solo cassette, peah pop & the baby lion show on Anti-Everything/AEN tapes is a peek into the furious sensibility she seemingly has raging through her consciousness. Lots of junk psychosis noise swill dementia. But it’s her split tape with freak loop weirdos Cheezface that really caught our attention. A highly contagious flow of sense bliss destruction.

3. A couple of jazz reissues just came out that are so savagely great it would be a goddamn shame to imagine there are homes without them. Both are on Eremite, both are LPs, and are packaged with amazing care via-a-vis sonics, wax quality & visual/heft appeal. The first is Sonny Murray‘s Big Chief, originally released on the French Pathe label, not to be confused with the sessions released under the same name by Shandar. Recorded in January ’69, Murray leads a wild international octet (supplemented in spots by the expatriate jazz poet, Hart LeRoy Bibbs) into insane, ragged bursts of gorgeous beauty. The material they tackle is a fine sample of Murray’s early compositions and the brakeless genius of the group (Francois Tusques, Ronnie Beer, Beb Guerin, Bernard Vitet , , Kenneth Terroade, Alan Silva and Becky Friend!) is the perfect compliment for the moment. Long a lost piece of the Murray discography, it is finally back the way it should be.

The same is true of Red, Black and Green by Solidarity Unit Inc., a rather obscure St. Louis combo led by Charles “Bobo” Shaw, which was essentially an expanded version of the legendary BAG (Black Artists’ Group). The band this evening is Richard Martin, Oliver Lake, Floyd Leflore, Joseph Bowie, Carl Richardson, Clovis Bordeaux, Danny Trice, Baikaids Ysaeen (aka Baikida Carroll) and Kada Kayan. Here, they present a concert, dedicated to Jimi Hendrix, recorded on the day he died, and filled with some of the craziest electric guitar ever, courtesy of the late Richard Martin. The sonics have the same raw galacto-fidelity associated with Arkestral recordings of the same period, and this is a great goddamn explosion. You bet!

From Demons’ “Life Destroyer” dvd

4. Steve Kenney has always been the wild card lost cog in the Michigan noise underground – the true wizard, the most insane of the insane. An original member of the legendarily fucked up Beast People along with Aaron Dilloway,and a current member of Demons with Wolf Eyes’ Nate Young and visualist Alivia Zivich, Kenney is just now beginning to bust out some releases of his own. His axe is the synth and with the proliferation of interest in synth investigations going on in the Midwest with Cleveland’s Emeralds et al and even out East a la Infinity Window and pals–it’s gotta be said: SK rules the fucking roost. The guy’s brain might as well be a modular synth smoked with toxic fuels it sounds that jazz. A great place to lose yrself in his sweet swarm is the cassette In the Sphere I am Everywhere on Nurse Etiquette. Majestic excellence.

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