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.

Tom (T.L.) Kryss himself is well-served by The Search for the Reason Why (Bottom Dog Press). This is not exactly the “Collected Works of Kryss” we all deserve, but it is a great sampling of new and old work, both poetry and prose, with a smattering of Tom’s rabbit drawings thrown in. It’s a lovely collection—Kryss’ writing can be as “street” and real and anyone’s, but he also possesses a clarity of spirit that allows him to write about simple beauty without resorting to cliché or tired imagery. The smell and weight and feel of Cleveland (and environs) permeate the text, but we don’t think you’d wanna have it any other way. Anyone serious about reading poetry should be reading Kryss. Now.

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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. It’s a freebie, edited by skate/zonk artist Ed Templeton, super Dogg and Pony visionary Brendon Fowler and Aaron Rose who runs the rogue Alleged Gallery. Alleged was the place, no matter where it was, that we first encountered such art babes as Mark Gonzales and Chris Johanson. Johanson and his wife, fellow artist Jo Jackson, grace this issue’s cover with their dog Raisin. Inside is full-on interviews with them by Rose, a piece on collecting by Templeton, a review of book stores that rule, and an interview with ex-Scissor Girl Azita, which alone should make you hunt this sucker down. It’s filled with nice layouts of new art and photo miasma. The previous issue with Raymond Pettibon on the cover was as choice. In the same vein are a couple more great homemade books by Matt Chambers, combining text, squibbly line drawings (often based on photos) and beautifully surrealist weevil to massive effect. These ones are called I Taught Myself to Survive and Warm Pessamisum (Hello Trudi), but there are certainly more by now. And they surely RULE!

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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.

25. THE DRUMMERS: Coming out of the legion that was Adris Hoyo, Tom Surgal, Susie Ibarra, Willie Winant, et al. we have the new bloodz Chris Corsano, Nate Nelson, Trevor Tremaine, and Pete Nolan super-destroying time and space with Kong-like energy and thought.

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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. As a note, when heard on CD, from the next room, one local thought this record sounded BOGUS. However, heard close up and on vinyl, she agreed it rocked like a berry. On a Calvin-related note, have been digging the curves of the new Old Time Relijun LP, 2012 (K). Must be the sixth or seventh by these Olympia mutants, but the Spotlight Kid vibe is so strong this time, I feel like we better pull out all their old records and give them a thorough sequential listen. Another record ripe with not-entirely-expected Beefheart sprong is the eponymous, posthumous MLP by Selten-Ubel (ABC Group). This Knoxville, TN group existed for only a couple of shows and broke up in ’01. But the five songs here have a very swank post-core blump into the shadows of a Magic Band.

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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. The proprietor dude is Heath Moerland who either works or owns the record store that Mike “Hair Police/Wolf Eyes/The Haunting” Connelly works at. Which means, just by that association alone, this label is el sickosonik. He’s released awesome noise death jammers by the nefarious doom-improv unit Death Kcomm as well as straight-up bloodfeasts from both Hair Police and Dead Machines. Sad to say Fag Tapes only issues these animals in editions of 50 or so. But you can, at least by today’s date, still grab the best dealio from the label. That be the Street Freaks 2 and Super Street 3 “diamonds in th’ ruff” compilations with skrewed out trax by Pengo, Sick Llama, The Haunting, Tape Deck, Wolf Eyes, Sightings, Aaron Dilloway, Connelly and Death Komm. Again, these babies are in hand numbered editions of 50 and 75 respectively so you may wanna act FAST. (Update alert: since this writing Fag Tapes has released vols. 3 and 4 of the Super Street series so stop sleepin’). The two distributors who have this shit-fry are Volcanic Tongue in the UK and Fusetron in USA.

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BULL TONGUE by Byron Coley & Thurston Moore from Arthur No. 18 (Sept. 2005)

first published in Arthur No. 18 (September, 2005)

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

Beautiful (in every which way) is the debut LP by Knoxville, Tennessee’s Picks & Lighters. TVA/Starvation (Living Room). The fact that it came out in 1997 does not detract from its glory one jot. A trio at the time of this recording, two guitars and one drum sullenly slam into each other with the lo-fidelity magnificence that so many strive for, but so few achieve. Rambling in a way that is almost incoherent at times, this is music made by humans and you’re never allowed to forget that for a second. It also has a cover that will make you slap your forehead and say ‘WHY THE FUCK DIDN’T I THINK OF THAT?’ Their new, eponymous, Picks & Lighters CD (no label) shows off the band’s latest incarnation. Expanded and regrouped, they make sounds that range all over the place, from further scum-blues dirt-investigations to disabled semi-acoustic ramblings that move around the sofa like Jandek at sleepytime. It’s all bitchen and comes with the highest commendations.

The great Tom Carter (Charalambides, etc.) pops up on a coupla fine fine disks this time around. The eponymous debut LP by Zaika (Eclipse) documents a duo project he does with Marcia Bassett (Double Leopards, etc.) and it’s truly puce. Two guitars shimmer and duck under each others’ beams with the lazy and luminous grace of twin zebras. It’s quite a show, and a beautiful production by every measure. Tom is also a member of a wild instrumental quartet called The Friday Group. Their eponymous debut LP (Beta Lactam) is a stunning ride through mountains of sustained-string/key blather. Filled with monumental creations of feedback and drone that stretch and swoop into imaginary sunsets, The Friday Groupi is an ethereal charmer. Prog rockers will dig its latter skysaw phrases the most! And as it’s part of Beta Lactam’s Records Are Not for Baking subscription series, it is accompanied (for subscribers anyway) by an additional picture disk 12”. On the bonus record, the Friday Group add percussion, which gives one side of this set the feel of Popul Vuh at their most tranced out. Brilliant stuff. Tom’s partner in Charalambides, Christina Carter, also has a comely new release. It’s the latest in My Cat Is an Alien’s set of split LPs (Opax). The MCIAA side features those feckless Italian brothers in their most masterful space mode—burbling like the sons of Tangerine Dream and then some. Christina’s side is a duo improvisation with Andrew MacGregor (aka Gown) and is really a kinda new thing for her, at least in compositional terms. She focuses a lot on small repeated figures (almost like Tara Burke in Fursaxa) while Andrew does some vocal moaning of his own, and splashes out small spouts of acoustic guitar. Packed in another cheery hand-painted cover, this is one for the archives.

A most valuable read can be had by picking up Sun Ra: The Immeasurable Equation, compiled by James L. Wolf and Harmut Geerken (Waitawhile). This hardcover collects pretty much every bit of poetry and prose that the great Ra scribed. Which means it’s no longer necessary to try and track down all the obscure pamphlets in which they originally appeared. Ra’s own material is appended by a buncha good (‘though sometimes impenetrable) critical and historical essays. Plus, there are some very swank snapshots. It’d be a dang nice present for someone special. Maybe even yourself!

The peripatetic Richard Youngs has a new duo LP with Andrew Paine, although it’s not being released under the band name Ilk (which is what we thought they called their duo). Regardless, Mauve Dawn (Fusetron) is a titillating space-out assemblage of keys and phases and tones that stretch from here to Venus. This one woulda nailed me to my dorm bed in ’74 or so, since it has a vibe that (in parts) reminds me of nothing other than the Gong tracks on the second Greasy Truckers compilation (which must be one of the great dorm-bed-nailers of all time). And hey—it still sounds pretty damn piercing now. Youngs has another excellent duo LP, Beating Stars (HP Cycle), he did with Alexander Neilson. This one’s a little bit noisier than the other, but it still fits into a virtual space-groaner bag. And the opening track—a killer noise-folk version of the traditional “Rolling in the Dew”—is guaranteed to slay anyone who hears it.

L.A.’s Trinie Dalton sent us a couple of very fucked up books she did over the past whenever, and they both have a very evil whiff of magnificence. Touch of Class is a disturbed visual rumination on the world of unicornology, including a very wild critical essay of the Eno’s early works, viewed from a unicornly perspective. Yikes! The other is Rodenta, which is a collection of art and essays about rodents as pets and/or pests. The crazy mix of low-art/high-art vibes here is pretty damn invigorating.

Stone classic punk rock action on Furthur, the debut LP by Chicago’s Vee Dee (Criminal IQ). You can hear moves nipped from The Nomads, the Misfits, Radio Birdman and other masters of in-your-face guitar snarl. Especially nice is the fact that they mix their aggression with lyrics that sometimes lean in a kinda freakbeat direction. Cool. More totally ace punk-shit arrives via the archival Karate Party LP, Black Helicopter (SS). This Sacramento band had only a small amount of stuff released in their lifetime, but their approach made a vast impression on the nascent A-Frames. Helicopter collects their known reelases and throws in a sweet load of previously unheard material, all of it in stripped down UK-DIY/Urinals/Middle Class chopper mode. Even the Devo cover. Honest. It’s a totally solid listening and head-frogging experience and should be “had” by “all.” Fave leftfield punk slab this outing must be Human Eye’s self-titled debut LP (In the Red). There seem to have been about a thousand people in the band, but the sound is basic, whipped quartet-scum-punk (Electric Eels style) with primitive art-damage hallmarks. These Detroiters even manage to toss some keyboard munge into the mix without making it sounds like revo-new-wave-puke. Nice choppers!

Klyd Watkins is not a poet we recall running into before, although we surely have, since he was involved in most of the Poetry Out Loud LPs. Anyway, he has a sweet new book of poems, 5 Speed (The Temple), that is about nature and desire and waiting around and going places and nipples and sortsa other stuff. His rhythms are very natural, his images have a soft, strong humor to them, and his voice is incredibly becoming. Seems like he has a buncha other stuff out as well. If you don’t check it out, we will. The publisher of 5 Speed is the great poet, Charles Potts. And there is a new splendiferous collection of his out as well. Kiot (Blue Begonia) is a selection of poems from ’63 to ’77 and includes a buncha (what we feel) is the most mind-battering work by this brilliant writer. The poems are arranged by the places in which they were writ, and the travelogue they present will allow you to roam across the belly of an underground (and of a natural world) that no longer exists. All Potts’ books are essential, but this one would make an excellent introduction for anyone. Even babies!

The Keep America Mellow LP by Montana’s Ex-Cocaine (Killertree) is one of the season’s more fascinating finds. The duo (guitars, some drums, some voices) is led by a long-time running mate of John Olson, and their sound is a unique chunk of basement invention. Parts of it are extendo-jam string-weaving, other parts are reminiscent of Robert Pollard’s dustiest early experiments, still others are some of the sweetest bongo/guitar-raunch duets you’ll ever hear. It’s very excellent to think that this was made in Montana (for some reason), and we can’t wait to hear more.

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BULL TONGUE by Byron Coley & Thurston Moore from Arthur No. 17 (July 2005)

first published in Arthur No. 17 (July, 2005)

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

It takes a lot for us to actually look at a CD but when we recently got a letter which began, “Dear Bull Tongue, Do you want to hear about my vagina?” we had to blow the dust off the laser and hear just what the hell this could be about. We were immediately stuck to our seats stunned and smiling as Jessica Delfino engaged us in tune after tune referencing her, and others’, vagina(s). Jessica grew up in Maine, took acid once in a while, but states she never became a hippie. In fact, she states this quite a few times, not in defense or in repulsion to hippies but…just so you know: she is not a hippie. But she is funny. And smart. And she lives in NYC doing stand-up comedy here and there, is an activist thrown out of 9-11 meetings (we know all this reading her blog). She also has songs, some of ‘em are great, particularly “Rock n Roll Pussy” which we’d throw on an Arthur comp any day, especially if that day ever comes (we’re working on it).

Way back in the early ‘80s when we first went to Germany looking for records we were led by a young German lad named Jochen Schwartz to a small store on a tiny street in Hamburg called Walter Ullbricht Schallplatten. The proprietor was a dark and serious man with a slight and somewhat sinister sense of humor named Uli. His store was a goldmine of weird European industrial noise and, with our limited funds, we were able to only grab a few sides of sick noise slabs like the infamous Desperately Seeking Suicide comp and the initial offerings of Japan’s Merzbow. Uli was one of those guys who saw that we had an appreciation for the deeper troughs of sound skum and generously heaped freebies on us. Some of these were sides from his own label such as Throbbing Gristle, Laibach and Werkbund. Through the subsequent years we’ve kept track of Walter Ulbricht Schallplatten (now Schallfolien, which translates to Sound Foils as opposed to just Records), particularly through the record label and distribution service of our young guide Jochen called Die Stadt.

Die Stadt has been releasing a steady stream of sound block aether by the luminaries Organum, Hafler Trio, Asmus Tietchen, Mirror and others. It was to our knee-jerk surprise that we saw he was offering copies of a new Walter Ulbricht label release and we snatched it and it’s excellent. It’s by a mysterious entity named Dietrich von Euler-Donnersperg. The LP is called Der Kleine Fritz in Klopstockland and the cover shows an anteater and a tiger both on hind feet grappling, with the tiger maybe getting the best of the anteater by chomping on his rather extended proboscis. This LP fits into a longstanding series of music and art releases that Uli refers to as Neu Konservatiw, a socio-political statement of regard towards order with a sly wink to inevitable carnage and human chaos. Anyway fuck all that, the music on this baby kills. Nice hard shards of shredding spike noise and found sound concrete blat. If that’s your schnitzel then this, truly, is your spatzle.

Marci Denesiuk read at the infamous Ecstatic Yod Montreal gathering a couple of years ago and really scorched the room with a story both savage and sensitive. We’ve been waiting for a real live book of hers to dig into and New West Press has answered the call. It’s a collection of stories called The Far Away Home and they all deal with the lives of women experiencing and processing daily violation and profound worlds of thought/feeling. Marci writes tough with a conscientious center and knows how to move a storyline. Recommended.

Coupla nice split LPs from Indiana’s Friends and Relatives label. The one by Impractical Cockpit and Nuclear Family rubs together two distinct, sap-soaked sticks ripped from the trunk of the American Noise Log (so called). IC are from New Orleans and produce a very namby kinda post-core glitch-rock that stutters like a room filled with gargling dentists. And they do it with virtually non-non-standard punk instrumentation and even songwriting. Which is a trick, and a good one. Nuclear Family are more like some sorta kids’ organization tinkling around in a high school music studio. The ganged vocals can make you feel like you’re praying. The little electro blips sound less like cellos than the actual cellos do, but there isn’t that much electronic stuff, so it’s not too confusing. The instruments and songs will make you imagine some lost early Teenbeat session. How cool is that? The split by Justin Clifford Rhody (of the great Mt. Gigantic) and Little Wings is hip, too, in a more overtly camp-volk bag. Justin’s side sounds like it was lathe cut onto rough leather by mice who work after hours in a cartoon shoe store. Which makes the Little Wings side sound relatively hi-fi (even the fake commercials, which remind me of when my friend Jeff got a tape recorder when we were in fourth grade). But you’ll still feel like you’re hearing the whole thing from inside a big pile of leaves. Which will either comfort you or not.

Sindre Berga has been running his label Gold Soundz way the fuck up there in Norway for a few years now and has dropped some very hep sides on us since. Last year we reviewed a series of 7”s which included delicate explorations of improv guitar/vocal sweetness by Christina Carter and the stoned camel slather of Volcano The Bear. Now there’s a new series of lathe cut 7”s which continue this fine curatorial goodness. Wooden Wand & Satya Sai Baba, which is basically Wooden Wand and one of its members, namely…Satya playing “Moray Elk Themes” live to tape in an arresting murk-o-phonic style. All the Wooden Wand releases will someday have to be collected in a fig-scented box as they tend to be scattered on every disparate label out there these days and each one is fairly incredible. If you see the name WWVV (Wooden Wand and the Vanishing Voice) anywhere just grab it, it will grab you back, and you will totally dig it, guaranteed. The other 7” is My Cat Is An Alien playing “Everything Is Here” in their now identifiable Italiano improvo manner. Patience and spirit-sense are the earmark of this brother duo and this offering, along with their “From the Earth to the Spheres” series of art LPs, is choice. The third lathe is a mystery—can’t decipher the text on the sleeve and there’s no other info. The Gold Soundz site has nothing there about it, hmmm… let me email Sindre and see what the fuuuhhhk is up. Until I hear from the Nordic brother let me tell you about his non-lathe actual vinyl 7” he released, a split from Crank Sturgeon and Gastric Female Reflex. This is a lot of goddamned record with Crank Sturgeon pot-busting sonik spazzola in all directions. Crank is from the netherland of Maine and has been slowly developing into one of USA noise’s great collage champions. His work has only continued to majesterially kick ass since we first heard him banging around the RRRecords bins years back. Gastric Female Reflex are a psyche/concrete sound unit from Toronto that has a few CDRs (mostly on Gold Soundz) and have been bending the ears and brains of anyone lucky enough to get near them. We look forward to hearing more and hopefully seeing these North Americans as their side of this 7” is enough to make you pee. Hot and free. Oh cool, Sindre has emailed this about that third lathe: “[It’s] Uton, a one man psych-army out of Finland. He has released plenty of CDRs of different labels (Jewelled Antler, Pseudoarcana, Gold Soundz etc). I think there’s a double retrospective CD coming out on last visible dog.” Izzat clear? Clear as mud, baby.

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BULL TONGUE by Byron Coley & Thurston Moore from Arthur No. 16 (May 2005)

first published in Arthur No. 16 (May, 2005)

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

One record we’d been waiting for a long time is the Black Noise Practitioner double LP (Apocrypha Totalus/Skul) by Electrophilia, which is Steve Parrino on heavy bass noise and Jutta Koether on strange keys. This duo has been playing around NYC for the last few years, mostly in art gallery-related scenes. Which makes sense as both members are recognized and well-regarded visual artists. The gigs we’ve been lucky enough to check out were always complete room crushers. Parrino’s monster bass blow-outs were some of the heaviest noise grenades happening in a city awash with such everyday sonix. Jutta, who relocated to the USA from Koln, Germany, sits at her large Casio straight and tall with long ironed hair and black aviator shades playing minimalist structures and rhythmic pokes. Here is what Jutta wrote about Electrophilia:

A music of resistant resonance – moving forward and from – a post punk existential – toward a megalith that collapses into a black hole joyously toward the void toward you not an end point but process – a supersession & pure expression of impossible range only the impossible is worth the effort – materialist music rendered with unconditional love – black psychedelic noise crashing minimalisms temporarily suspending all rules of sound – a virtual practice way of life – electrophilia a Fresh Aufhebung keeps occurring only in the present in the unconditional urgency of a Now.

Though they never really mingled into whatever inner noise circles there were in the area, all who saw them left with appreciative mind-zap. Parrino went on to release a few documents: seven-inches, CDs, artist books and mags (one recent book was No Texts, published through the Marianne Nowottny-related Abaton Book Co.) A notorious performance in 1979 called “Guitar Grind” was Parrino rubbing two electric guitars together, creating screaming insane feedback. Since the mid-’80s he was showing work that was at once abstract and slashing as well as graceful and sublime. Though part of the celebrated East Village Neo Geo scene, he was total punk rock. The tragedy here is that Parrino died in a motorcycle accident New Year’s Eve. He was 46, a good, good dude. We’ll miss him for sure.

Although certain heads took it upon themselves to warn me against the “stupid machismo” of Burmese, I think their herrings were red. Men (Load Recordings) is the third album by these San Franciscans, and they really kinda make that two-bass-and-two-drum thing sound like it’s a natural step in sonic evolution. Some mooks have commented on the static nature of this LP’s music, but it seems to me that the magmic core is fairly glistening with all kindsa post-core noise squantum. And it’s really kinda moving and emotional. For men, I mean. Sighting’s third effort, Arrived in Gold (Load Recordings) is pretty manly, too. But the spectral presence of non-rockers Samara Lubelski and Chris Freeman means that there’s a special kinda non-rock action going on admist the noise, too. Call it whatever you want, but I hear a new kinda freedom,baby. And it’s mighty upful.

As usual, there are been several blatches of greatness dropped from the poop hatch of Ed Hardy’s Eclipse Records label. First (perhaps) is the new Michael Yonkers LP, It’s Only Yonkers (co-released with Galactic Zoo Dossier). Yonkers is a legendary Midwest psych guitarist, interest in whom was revived by a crucial archeological de Stijl release a coupla years ago (which was reissued by Sub Pop). This new session is a blast—extremely raw loud guitar sprayed through classic one-man-band weirdness. Reminiscent of George Brigman or Horton or any of the other old school DIY heavies, with a cool Amerindian approach to rhyhms. Beautiful. Just caught up with Eclipse’s second Jack Rose LP, also. Apocalyps X/Raag Manifestos is another brilliant set of acoustic guitar inventions from this member of Pelt. Jack has really grasped a special place in the post-Fahey finger-master universe, and I just wish I woulda been able to catch his shows with Glenn Jones. Damn! There’s also the third volume of the proposed ten-volume set of double LPs reissuing the Sun City Girls’ cassettes. Fresh Kill of a Cape Hunting Dog/Def in Italy is crucial ’83-85-era stuff, and would be a very nice introduction to anyone who doesn’t understand how deep and wide and fast the Girls’ creative river runs. From pure mess to brilliant sharpness, it’s all here. Lastly is Puhalluspelto by Paivansade, one of those super-rural Finnish the-woods-are-full-of-acid-and-feathers bands. This is very pre-electric and stoned sounding instrumental madness. Perfect for late night glistening.

Something heavy happened in Finland again, this time in Tampere. Some float-head members of Tomutonttu and Uton connected in a basement and shared “bowed rainbow, contact-mic’d worm brains, boiling water, electric organs and shameless vocals” and created Hevoset. The cassette from this union is beautiful and amazing. Gorgeous love/sex trip organic zone flow. Co-release from the Haamumaa and Huutomerkki labels.

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BULL TONGUE by Byron Coley & Thurston Moore from Arthur No. 15 (March 2005)

first published in Arthur No. 15 (March, 2005)

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

80 Goddamn Good Things Of 2004

1/ ALBERT AYLER Holy Ghost box set (Revenant)
As Sun Ra so aptly put it, “It’s a motherfucker, don’t ya know?” Seems quite unlikely that there will be another release with such gushing importance and pleasure, mixed so sweetly, in our lifetime or the next.

2/ Here comes BLOOD STEREO cdr (Absurd)
Local Brighton UK housecleaners Dylan Nyoukis and Karen Constance (has anyone there reading this ever hired these guys? curious…) continue to amaze after years of startling da-da dropdead music as Prick Decay and Decaer Pinga. Now they are Blood Stereo and are even more deadly.

3/ MARCIA BASSETT Assembling box
Because I never actually sent her my piece I’ve never seen the finished thing, but Marcia’s tribute to Flux collectivism and correspondence art sounded like the Project of the Year to me, and I bet it’s fucking boss.

4/ JOHN OLSON’s stapled skull
Minneapolis summer slice. Seen a lot of fucked shit happen on stage these last few decades but seeing Olson whipping a knight’s mace over his head in sick noise frenzy only to have it shave a bit of cranio-meat and, hence, blood spoo all upon his tronix box and then keep on rockin for 40 more minutes was heavy.

5/ THURSTON MOORE nice war (flower + cream press)
Political shit box rattlers in non-prose form by a puissant who swigs where most swag. What’s not to like?

6/ BILL KNOTT The Unsubsciber (Farrar, Straus & Giroux)
Out-of-nowhere mainstream publication of work by the poet both Richard Hell and Tom Verlaine pointed to as an aesthetic signifier to their own vision spiel back in the early ‘70s. Knott has been making and issuing self-published staple books for years, all great, and this is an easy way to cach his drift—a remarkable humorist/tragedist balance.

7/ GARY PANTER Light Show with Joshua White at Anthology Film Archives & Jimbo in Purgatory (Fantagraphics)
The new Jimbo book is totally maxed-out, something like a core dump of everything Panter’s head has consumed for a while. A better Dante I don’t expect to read any time soon. And the lightshow collaboration with Fillmore veteran White (plus a variety of musicians) was a shotgun blast to every brain that saw it. Sweet!

8/ JOSHUA Life Less Lost cd (Spirit Of Orr)
Joshua Burkett at one time was a dragon slayer of noise insanity with the late great Vermonster but the last few years has him journeying thru wonderful folk/acoustic passages. This latest CD is killer.

9/ JULIE DOUCET Journal (l’Association)
Hilarious new novel-length, illustrated diary by this always amazing artist. Supposedly an English translation will be coming along soon, but this is a great read even if your French is perfunctory.

10/ DEVILLOCK/CHARLIE DRAHEIM 2xcs (Tone Filth)
The Minneapolis/Detroit nexus of suburban gore drone gets fully realized here with Minnieapple’s own Devillock (headed by Tone Filth label honcho Justin Meyers) and Michigan street rat Draheim. Cities on flame!

11/ SAVAGE PENCIL Trip or Squeak in The Wire
It has been a long time since the classic Rock & Roll Zoo strip, but Sav’s ferocious new comic strip has just been gathering strength and weirdness as it rolls along. For my money, it’s the best work he has ever done. Total crack fantasia.

12/ VALERIE WEBB & PAUL LaBRECQUE Trees, Chants & Hollers cdr
This fucker is sold out and we can’t sem to get a copy even tho these two kids live next town over. Having heard these two as The Other Method as well as their participation in Sunburned Hand of The Man we know how awesome they are. this CDR must be the shit as it’s just them—anyone got one? All reports is that it is “amazing”..damn…

13/ JOHN FAHEY The Great Santa Barbara Oil Slick cd (Water)
Incredibly swank live Fahey sets from the Matrix in ’68 & ’69 with superb Glenn Jones liner notes and lovely packaging.

14/ BILL DWIGHT radio grapple
Waking up every school morning to Bill Dwight’s almost free radio show made 2004 that much easier to bear—but he was too good and they got someone who maybe tows the line more or something.—whatever—Air America wants him—here’s hoping he returns…somewhere.

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BULL TONGUE by Byron Coley & Thurston Moore from Arthur No. 14 (Jan. 2005)

first published in Arthur No. 14 (January, 2005)

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

Some new and excellent small presses have been rampaging across the USA. First up is Matthew Wascovich’s SLOW TOE PUBLICATIONS, which has been hellbent on issuing stapled 8.5×11 paper poetry screeds at a rate of almost once a month. Most of these are Matthew in conjunction with one or more other writers, either vintage heavyweights from his beloved Cleveland scene or underground noise freaks. The dude has an ear for who out there may be spilling righteous verbiage, such as Elisa Ambrogio and Pete Nolan both of blasted headcase rockers Magik Markers. Anyone who’s seen that group twist and spout will know that, yeah, they must have some kind of wowsville poetry wheel just going off in their heads n’ hearts. And they do. As does Tyondai Braxton, Dylan Nyoukis, Dead C’s Bruce Russell, Charalambides/Scorces’ Christina Carter, Valerie Webber et al. Don’t expect “rock” poetry, this is all way more out there and off the tracks. Wasco hears it with the same brain that has read the primordial greatness of the long-flowing history of Cleveland’s heaviest. Peeps such as Tom Kryss, Kent Taylor and Alex Gildzen, all constituents of the famed Asphodel Bookshop, where the recently and dearly departed Jim Lowell held court and where the visionary and law-hounded poet d.a. levy burst forth. Slow Toe has been slipping out a few CDRs lately as well, mostly of Wasco’s bent brain guitar expressions either solo or in group-mode as Real Knife Head.

There is something eternally appealing about women playing punk rock, negating (as it does) the testosterone monotheism that is so synonymous in the field. A fine new entry in this area is the debut album by Chicago’s MANHANDLERS. Their self-titled LP (Criminal IQ) is more like a vicious update on late period Runaways than some others inside the genre, since they don’t shy away from flash-qua-flash, or rely on the primitivist approach favored by the post-Riot Grrrl generation. The album is just slamming, high-speed, old school punk of the early OC variety. As such it is a splendid thing. Criminal IQ have another punk winner with the eponymous LP by THE FUNCTIONAL BLACKOUTS. It has been out for a while, but it’s really a world-class destroyer in classic CA punk terms. Filled with reckless noise owing small debts to bands like Crime and the Weirdos, but powered by lotsa pumice unique unto itself.

We’ve been languishing in the strictly female scribulations of NYC’s BELLADONNA BOOKS lately. This long running series of pamphlet poetry editions has been edited by the poets Rachel Levitsky and Erica Kaufman since the mid ‘90s, and is getting close to its 100th issue. Each zine is a succinct piece by a female poet, all of whom share a common sense of adventure and active consciousness. Great writing from Anne Waldman, Eileen Myles, Nada Gordon, Lynne Tillman, Lisa Jarnot, Rosemarie Waldrop and so many others. So if you’re in the market for deadly nightshade, this is the place for you. An adjunct press to Belladonna is Erica Kaufman’s own BOKU BOOKS, which is just getting started releasing some good new staplebound killers. Her own the two coat syndrome and Chris Martin’s The Day Reagan Died are verily hep.

Brooklyn label The Social Registry has also released a handload of jake new wax. THE ELECTROPUTAS’ 3 LP continues their strategy of investigating Can Groove Land, then blasting it with all kindsa crude noise hand grenades. I mean, just when you’re about ready to settle back into a ‘Turtles Have Short Legs” mood, the forest starts to melt around you. Pretty cool, and then some. Damn nice, also, to have vinyl on the new HALL OF FAME album, Paradise Now. Samara, Theo and Dan continue to kick out the smoke with their fourth, giving spatial folk stylings a disturbed urban underpinning. The way they layer rondelays of slithering acoustic muzz and scarily genteel vocals is as killer as ever. It’s good to see that the time Samara spent hanging with Jackie O Motherfucker didn’t spoil her campfire ghost-spirit. Dan’s is another story. Give it a spin.

Some really nice tactile offerings have been sloughing out of Woodstock, NY by way of SHIVISTAN PRESS, which is run by the charmed beard of local cosmo-poet Shiv Mirabito. Shiv is one of those cats who somehow manages to trounce back and forth from India a few dozen times a day. How he travels we’re still trying to figure out, but it’s certainly produced some groovy results. The Woodstock community remains rich in deep literary vibes with the likes of The Fugs’ Ed Sanders, nomad spirit seducer Louise Landes Levi, right-on Janine Pommy Vega and hard lovin’ Andy Clausen, all of whom have books pub’d by Shivastan. Meta-thought warrior Ira Cohen, famous for his mylar photo LP jackets of Hendrix and John McLaughlin, has a hip book just pub’d here. Like Ira’s prescient Bardo Matrix press, whose publications are as now rarified as god’s nipple junk, these books are all manufactured in Nepal utilizing Nepalese woven paper. The heft and olfactory sublimation put you in direct line with a strange bliss-out. A good place to start may be with the Woodstock mountain poetry journal series Wildflowers, but they’re all pretty tasty.

Got a really good booklet of poems called Birthmarks & Plastics (So & So Publications) by Bill Cassidy. Know nothing about the guy, except that he seems to live in New York, and has fine-tuned himself to the music of Ted Berrigan and Joe Brainard, and a lotta other really fucking good NY poets. There’s a fake sonnet, a few aphorisms, and some really striking imagist writing about being young and adrift. Cassidy’s work seems untainted by the stodgy academic bullshit that holds so many back, and his stuff is revelatory without being confessional. And that’s pretty cool.
Aa (big a little a) has a very swank one-sided LP out on Narnack. It’s the first release from this Brooklyn combo, and has a very beautiful way of shifting its center in unexpected ways. The album is pressed on white vinyl, the jacket contains a passel of very righteous inserts by a buncha artists who are in (or are friendly with) the band, and the single side of music is a fat-shifting tableau of the kindsa sounds that young people should be making and enjoying in bistros from here to Kalamazoo. Having not espied them, it is not simple to discern their true nature, but what the fuck? Here they club out bite-sized hunks of neo-no, new-wave-electro-murk, disco-noise-readymades, French duck calls and a buncha other stuff. And it sounds quite pleasing!

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