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.

Continue reading

"We're all going one way, but we may as well get down to it while we're here"*

(*John Martyn talking about the themes of mortality on 1970’s Road To Ruin)

stormbringer

John Martyn’s two 1970 albums with his wife Beverley — Stormbringer! and Road to Ruin — are near perfect examples of lush, freewheeling ’70s folk music. There’s the intricate guitar picking that characterized his earlier work on albums like The Tumbler, and there are a few of the jazz affectations that defined his later, more experimental efforts like Bless The Weather and Solid Air. But mostly this is the sound of two people in love, holed up with pals like Levon Helm in the idyllic countryside of Woodstock NY — e.g. just look at the two Martyns huddled together on Stormbringer!‘s awesome cover (later appropriated by Wooden Wand & The Sky High Band for their 2006 album, Second Attention). On his website, John offers these memories of the sessions:

“It was the year of the festival. We just lived there and worked with Paul Harris very quickly and very briefly and we just went into the studio and did it very one-off, very swift. Levon Helm and Harvey Brooks we met in Woodstock and used them, just because they were friends. It seemed obvious that they should be on it. Dylan lived up the road, and Hendrix lived virtually next door. He used to arrive every Thursday in a purple helicopter, stay the weekend, and leave on the Monday. He was amazing…a good lad.”

Here’s my favorite song from the album, the absolutely magnificent “John The Baptist.”

Download “John The Baptist”

On his 2006 tour Will Oldham was playing a hybridized cover version of Martyn’s “John The Baptist” and another song on the same subject by Virginia country gospel players E.C. and Ornal Ball. Here’s an acoustic version of Oldham’s medley, from his August 2006 run at Joe’s Pub in NYC. (Thanks to Aquarium Drunkard for posting the complete Joe’s Pub sets back in December).

Download Will Oldham’s “John The Baptist”

Road to Ruin–also recorded in 1970–has more of the same but with lots more jazz playing. It includes the melancholy vacation anthem “Give Us A Ring,” in which the couple ask their friend Nick Drake to bring them something cool back from his time abroad.

Download “Give Us A Ring”

Martyn went on to make weird, wonderful records that spanned folk, improv, ambient and reggae, but those two albums with his wife — they divorced in the late ’70s — will always be my favorites.

John Martyn died today of pneumonia. He was 60. Various obituaries and remembrances after the jump.

Continue reading

ARTHUR NIGHTS (2006)

Poster by Maya Hayuk.

(Late booking, not on poster: KYP MALONE (TV on the Radio) solo set)


INS & OUTS ALL NIGHT * ALSO CHECK OUT CLIFTON’S CAFETERIA FOR AFFORDABLE AMERICAN FOOD FARE AND A DECOR THAT WILL GIVE YOU A CONTACT HIGH — OPEN ONLY TIL 9PM *

GOOD AFFORDABLE FOOD TOO, RECORDS AND BEAUTIFUL HANDMADE CLOTHES PLUS MORE ON THE FOURTH FLOOR


THURSDAY, OCT. 19, 2006 [stage/schedule is lost, sorry!]

DEVENDRA BANHART
a special performance to close the current cycle

BERT JANSCH
first US visit in 8 years from the ex-Pentangle musician–a guitar hero to Neil Young, Jimmy Page, Johnny Marr and countless others–his new album just got 5 stars from Mojo magazine

ESPERS
gorgeous psychedelic folk-rock from Philly co-ed ensemble

JACKIE BEAT
singing spirit guide to Silver Lake scene queens

BELONG
ambient post-My Bloody Valentine fog-throb duo from New Orleans, spotlit in Arthur 23

BUFFALO KILLERS
lumbering, melodic rock ‘n’ roll from Cincinnati bros featuring former members of Thee Shams

YELLOW SWANS
psychedelic Bay Area agitnoise peacegrunt duo

GROUPER
Bay Area neo-ambient noiselady — ‘some of the most ethereal and powerfully heavy-lidden sounds this side of Brian Eno and Arvo Part’ says Mojo

AXOLOTL
San Francisco drone/noisefella

PLUS:
DJ sets by Dublab rats, Brian Turner (WFMU) and The Numero Group


FRIDAY, OCT. 20

7:20 MAIN HALL

AWESOME COLOR

awesome garage-mantra rock in a Stooges/Spacemen 3 ancestor worship mode

7:30 FIFTH FLOOR

SEAN SMITH

Berkeley-based fingerpicking acoustic guitarist in the great John Fahey-Robbie Basho tradition, part of the Imaginational Anthem tour 

8:05 MAIN HALL

THE HOWLING HEX

He was a prime mover in Pussy Galore and Royal Trux… a brilliant solo career and now his latest project, The Howling Hex… guitarist/genius Neil Hagerty in harmolodic prog-jazz-rock-whatsit flight 

8:15 FIFTH FLOOR

CHRISTINA CARTER

Texan matriarch of the current avant-folk-psych scene, and member of Charlambides, in solo guitar and voice set, part of the Imaginational Anthem tour

8:55 MAIN HALL

HEARTLESS BASTARDS

walloping Ohio rock trio led by wailer/guitarist Erika Wennerstrom–second album just out on Fat Possum

9:05 FIFTH FLOOR

FORTUNE’S FLESH

features ex-Starvations members; “Cockroach’s larvae stage of death doo-wop”

9:45 FIFTH FLOOR

TALL FIRS

mellowside trio on Thurston Moore’s Ecstatic Peace record label

9:55 MAIN HALL

BE YOUR OWN PET

Nashville teenage action-punk quartet led by firecracker vocalist Jemina Pearl

10:30 FIFTH FLOOR

SHAWN DAVID MCMILLEN

“Soporific, glazed” (sez ‘The Wire’) Texas psych, part of the Imaginational Anthem tour

10:50 MAIN HALL

TAV FALCO & THE UNAPPROACHABLE PANTHER BURNS

Charlie Feathers, Alex Chilton, Rural Burnside and more…The truly legendary ‘Dorian Gray of Rock ‘n’ Roll’ from Memphis–admired by rock n roll luminaries like Spiritualized’s Jason Pierce, The Cramps and The Black Keys–in his first L.A. appearance in a decade!

11:15 FIFTH FLOOR

CHARALAMBIDES

beyond-rare L.A. perf by co-ed twin-guitar psych/dream duo on the brilliant Kranky label

12midnight MAIN HALL

BORIS

Japanese doom/rock/blissout superpower trio in performance ahead of the Halloween release of their devastating new album-length collaboration with dronekings Sunn0))) 


Saturday October 21

4:00-on FOURTH FLOOR

SCHOOLHOUSE DROP-INS: “Visit the geodesic tent as the 9 Sundown Schoolhouse residents present projects to partake in, forums for engagement, acts of interaction, thoughts for collective inquiry and general happenings.”

4:20 MAIN HALL

RESIDUAL ECHOES

Stomping West Coast high-energy rock attack unit who blew us away at loast year’s ArthurFest.

5:10 MAIN HALL

FUTURE PIGEON

galactic dance-dub heroism from local ensemble 

5:30 FIFTH FLOOR

WOODEN WAND

mercurial, provocative, prolific folk-rock dude in a solo turn 

6:10 MAIN HALL

WATTS PROPHETS

righteous word jazz elders 

6:25 FIFTH FLOOR

NVH/BEN CHASNY

noize proj from Comets on Fire’s echoplexist/drummer Noel Von Harmonson and guitarist Ben Chasny

7:10 MAIN HALL

MONEY MARK

always imaginative keyboardist/music man–best known for co-writing work with Beastie Boys 

7:10 FIFTH FLOOR

MIA DOI TODD

L.A. singer/instrumentalist on guitar, vocals and harmonium

8:05 FIFTH FLOOR

RUTHANN FRIEDMAN

Folk singer-songwriter, a real child of the ‘60s canyon scene, introduced at Big Sur Folk Festival in 1967 by Joni Mitchell –She wrote “Windy” and so much more–now returning to live performance at age 62!–she lived the ’60s and she remembers it 

8:10 MAIN HALL

SIX ORGANS OF ADMITTANCE

apocalyptic free-mind guitar & voice from Ben Chasny 

8:55 FIFTH FLOOR

MICHAEL HURLEY & JOSEPHINE FOSTER

Hurley is a legendary mellow bard with a hint of wry 

Josephine – you gotta hear this woman sing! “She’s a genius” – Joanna Newsom

9:10 MAIN HALL

WHITE MAGIC

long-awaited return of Mira Bilotte’s NYC-based unclassifiable folk band, new album out next month; this perf will feature Dirty Three drummer Jim White!

10:10 MAIN HALL

OM

return of Bay Area metal trance/mind expander duo who laid peacewaste at this spring’s ArthurBall

11:00 FIFTH FLOOR

LIVING SISTERS

joyous acoustic trio featuring Inara George, Eleni Mandell & Becky Stark (Lavender Diamond), with special guest VAN DYKE PARKS 

11:20 MAIN HALL

SUN RA ARKESTRA

11-piece Arkestra still going deep, now led by the great Marshall Allen 

~12:30am MAIN HALL

NUMERO GROUP DANCE PARTY

“Misplaced soul/funk hits” dance party DJed by the 20th-century pop archaelogists of THE NUMERO GROUP label from Chicago… They’ll be spinning throughout the day, with special sets before and following the Sun Ra Arkestra….


Sunday, Oct 22 

4:40pm in the Main Hall

SSM

John Szymanski, David Shettler and Marty Morris –rawk n roll from Deeetroit on the Alive label

5:30pm on the Fifth Floor

C.B. BRAND

local cosmic California country rock

5:30pm in the Main Hall

THE NICE BOYS

grade-AAA glam rock from Birdman recording artists

6:15pm on the Fifth Floor

THE COLOSSAL YES

Comets on Fire’s Utrillo’s brilliant piano pop proj 

6:20pm in the Main Hall

THE SHARP EASE

Paloma Parfrey-led liberation rockers featured in current issue of Arthur 

7:05pm on the Fifth Floor

CHUCK DUKOWSKI SEXTET

L.A.’s own… featuring Ms. Lora Norton – Vocals, Mr. Chuck Dukowski – Bass (Black Flag), Mr. Lynn Johnston on Horns, Mr. Milo Gonzalez – Guitar, Mr. Tony Tornay – Drums (Fatso Jetson)

7:10pm in the Main Hall

ARCHIE BRONSON OUTFIT

sharply shaped rock music from new English four-piece

7:55pm on the Fifth Floor

EFFI BRIEST

all-female experimental/noise combo

8:05pm in the Main Hall

KYP MALONE

extremely rare solo set from the TV on the Radio singer-guitarist–he’s flying in from the Darfur benefit show in Philadelphia

8:55pm on the Fifth Floor

OCRILIM

solo electric guitar hotwork set from prog-metal-avant maestro Mick Barr 

9:15pm in the Main Hall

THE FIERY FURNACES

justly acclaimed thrill-a-minute brother-and-sister-led clever combo, gifted with pop sense, improvisational chops and conceptual ambition

10:45pm in the Main Hall

COMETS ON FIRE

Quite possibly Earth’s greatest living rock ‘n’ roll band–see present issue of Arthur for more details

DJ sets by Dublab rats and Brian Turner (WFMU)