Byron Coley and Thurston Moore’s “Bull Tongue” column from Arthur No. 29 (May 08)

BULL TONGUE by Byron Coley & Thurston Moore
from Arthur Magazine No. 29/May 2008, available from The Arthur Store

Great new LP by Portland’s Jackie O Motherfucker may be our fave of theirs since Flat Fixed. Spaced out jabber and float with casual/urgent female vocals that almost sounds like certain moments of Fuzzhead at their most blues-wailin’est, interspersed with Velvetsy volk moves, and overlaid with swabs of smoke & jibber. The slab is called Valley of Fire (Textile) and it’s a monster. Also out from Jackie O is a sprawling 2 LP set, America Mystica (Dirter Productions), which was recorded in various caverns by the touring version of the band between ’03 and ’05. Not quite as precise as Fire, but its muse is savagely crunchy in spots and never so formal as to appear in a bowtie. It’s an open-ended weasel-breeze you’ll happily sniff in the dark. Is that a hint of Genevieve’s crack?

This young noise dude from Minneapolis named Oskar Brummel who records and performs under the name COOKIE has released his first entry into the new new American underground noise forest and it is frothingly balls-deep: good n’ harsh. It’s a cassette titled Ambien Baby and it flows with both a FTW sexual undertow and a strange-feeling/shit-coming rejoice. There should also be rejoicing over the fact that Times New Viking seem to have made their transition to Matador with their instincts intact. Their new LP, Rip It Off, is as grumbly and fucked sounding as any blast of gas they emanated previously. Nice thick vinyl, too. I guess you need it heavy when the needle’s buried this far into the red. Smooth!

It has taken a little while to actually read the bastards, but now that it’s done, there can be little doubt that Process Books has blasted out three of the best music-related tomes to have been peeped by our tired eyes. First up is the new edition of John Sinclair’s Guitar Army. This is one of the great American underground revolutionary texts—ecstatic, naïve, visionary and powerful. It’s a little funny to glom a few of the embedded old (old) school opinions about what is happening, but it’s still a wonderful read, and a doorway into eternal truths, if you can stay open to its music. The new layout is pretty good. We miss a few visual aspects of the old one (like, where’s the Frantic John flyer?), but the new pics more than make up for it, and the bonus CD—music, interviews, rants, poetry—is fantastic. As is Paul Drummond’s Eye Mind: The Saga of Roky Erickson. We’ve read endlessly about Roky over the last 30 years, but this book is jammed (JAMMED) with new facts, reproductions of fliers, posters, photos and ephemera we never even imagined, and Drummond really covers the subject the way he deserves to be covered. It’s really an overwhelming effort. The same is true of Robert Scotto’s Moondog: The Viking of 6th Avenue. The writing can be a little sere, but the story is juicy enough to mitigate this dryness. We finally get to read the story of how the collaboration album with Julie Andrews came to be. There are meetings with Arturo Toscanini and Edgar Varese. It’s quite a tale, and Scotto has done his homework. The only frustrating note is that there really isn’t a comprehensive straight discography. If there’s a second edition, it would be a welcome addition. Also, while the CD tracks are bitchen—especially the early recordings by (one presumes) Steve Reich—some notation there would be cool, too. Other’n those quibbles, we couldn’t be more celebratory ‘bout popping our corks. Buh!

We reported a while back how the horn has become a significant sound source in basement noise life with the weirdo bleat/junk processing of John Olson’s reed kill with Wolf Eyes, Dead Machines etc., and certainly Slithers, and to a mighty free jazz extent the always amazing Paul Flaherty. Furthering all this way hep ghost-trance-sense improv is Dan Dlugosielski’s new(ish) project Uneven Universe. Dan oversees the EXBX Tapes label and has recorded great gunks of noise-jam as Haunted Castle, plus he’s spooged out a few Uneven Universe documents. The one we keep going back to is The Rattling Caverns, on sweet Ohio label Catholic Tapes. It will make you wanna huff smoke-think and drink brews and maybe get some arm-around. If you’re lucky.

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Byron Coley and Thurston Moore's "Bull Tongue" column from Arthur No. 32 (Dec 08)

BULL TONGUE
by Byron Coley and Thurston Moore
from Arthur No. 32 (Dec 2008)

Of all the fucked up, nasty ass, deliriously damaged rock bands in the recent history of the American underground wonderland (particularly Texas), none come close to the squirm and hellacious sqwunk of Rusted Shut. From the incinerated skum of Houston weirdness improv outfit Grinding Teeth arose Rusted Shut in 1986. Their shows were a notorious mess, drunken and fueled by cheap-jack acid. After years of slovenly survival they’ve been somewhat rescued from universal distaste by the current noise legions. The Emperor Jones label released the Rehab CD in 2003 and AA Records did a sick lathe (“Bring Out Your Dead”) last year and their notorious “Fuckin’” track off the 2006 End Times Festival live comp is still the only loop that matters (check their myspace page for that one). It was with some apprehension of being held up by knife point that we unzipped their new Hot Sex EP (Dull Knife). But goddamn if this is not a great goddamned beast of a record. The core duo of Don Walsh and Sybil Chance (the original still alive members of Grinding Teeth) and Domokos (on drums and ‘earthscreamer’) just lay it out in an unctious smear of rawk n roll decimating any obvious pretence of hardcore, black metal, death metal, sludge, punk, avant improv goop etc.—shit is the REAL amerika full on. Salute and die.
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"BULL TONGUE" by Byron Coley & Thurston Moore – June 2007

BULL TONGUE

Exploring the Voids of All Known Undergrounds Since 2002

by Byron Coley and Thurston Moore

Trans Industrial Toy Orchestra’s Alzheimer Underground LP (Ti Prod) [www.transindustriell.de] is a pip. They are a German troupe where the decidedly fluxus membership play and record by reading words without “e” with nuts cracked in a nut cracker and reading backwards while tearing a sheet. They also utilize record players in aurally illegitimate ways. Sounds dada, bizarre, unlistenable? Actually yes and no: it is indeed a fucked up thing but quite alluring in its tribute to brain blankness.

Very nice slab here from Liverpool’s Solar Fire Trio (Invada) [www.invada.co.uk]. Formed in ’05 by Spiritualized saxophonist, Ray Dickaty, alto player Dave Jackson and drummer, Steve Belger, their eponymous debut LP is classic squee-pileage in the post-ESP tradition. Unlike some Euro players, these three base their sound on loose sonic collisions and and interwoven blather in ripely extended fire-form, all revolving around theories of meat and its ability to burn. Solid, savage blurt.

Debut release by Weak Sisters is a cassette called Subterfuge (Basement Tapes) [myspace.com/boilerroomemissions]. Awesome cut up screams and dead-time pronouncements make this release unbearably savage. The fact that it’s not just wank but pretty taut and focused nihilist sense-slicing makes for killer listening. Weak Sisters is basically a solo spurt of Will van Goern of Other People’s Children and word on the streets of Fort Collins, Colorado is that this tape don’t come close to his live actions. Hopefully, we shall see.

The great Marcia Bassett is rightfully hailed around the globe for her work with Double Leopards, Hotogitsu, GHQ and plenty more. She’s been responsible for some beautiful visual projects as well, but we are here this time to praise her new solo LP, recorded under the monniker Zaimph. Mirage of the Other (Gipsy Sphinx) [myspace.com/gipsysphinx]. This album seems much more flowing and less harsh than the last Zaimph CD (not that flowing necessarily trumps harsh, it’s just different). The combination of voice and guitar here has lots of raspy edge, but there’s a deep gorgeousity to it making the record seem like it’s glowing when it spins. Long lunar notes have rarely sounded so fresh. Gipsy Sphinx also has a fine album by Bear Bones Lay Low [hets.tk] called Djid Hums. This is another solo album, cut by an 18-year-old Venezualan ex-pat living in Belgium. Guitar drones and tape loops pile up higher than kites and there are blasts of fuzz that will tweak every psychedelic bones in yr body. Beware!

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BULL TONGUE 26 by Byron Coley and Thurston Moore

(intended for publication in the cancelled Arthur Vol. 1, No. 26 [March 2007])

Bull Tongue 26
The Top 80 of 2006

1. GOTHENBURG BLOOD CULT – New tape label out of Sweden bartering in ultra hell noise. Check out the compilation Fuck Money, Fuck Life w/ grinding hardcore spew from Maniac Cop , Ochu , and Treriksroset . Sweden’s such a beatific place, it’s hard to figure the gore mania the noise scene there is so preoccupied with.

2. SAME BAND – Boxed Set 10 CD box (Disques Dual) Amazing documentation of a Portland, ME combo who existed in an oddball universe akin to some of the best just-pre-punk weirdos. They came along later than bands like MX-80 Sound, but manifest a similar vibe, which makes sense because their roots are in combos first formed in 1968 or. Part free form, part Zappa, part punk, this is rural-experimental fuckeroo of the highest order. Includes some DVD video footage, interviews, a great booklet of fliers and pics, and is contained inside a most lovely wooden box. During their lifetime they cut only one LP and one 45, but this set (recorded between ’77 & ’80) captures a brilliant, beautiful strangeness.

3. SIC ALPS – Pleasures and Treasures LP (Animal Disguise) It’s time for Sic Alps to fully bust out. An incredible raw psychedelia is being played here and after a couple of down low tapes on Folding and Animal Disguise we’re steamy mouthed listening to their first LP (which is basically an early version of the band w/ the awesome Bianca Sparta of Erase Errata .)

4. DESPERATE MAN BLUES DVD – director: Edward Gillan (Dust to Digital) Nice to have a DVD of this great documentary on Joe Bussard , plus another featurette, King of the Record Collectors , and other bonus stuff. Bussard is a stone gas, grooving around his basement amidst one of the finest collections of pre-war 78s ever assembled. A few nice archival shots of Fahey , too. And the stories are hilarious.

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