Friday, August 12, 2011

Remainder :: Bass Drum of Death Releases T. Rex Cover

Barely beating me to the punch for my new 4-track cover of Celibate Bummer...Think I'll be famous?

Bass Drum of Death :: Celebrate Summer

If you like Marc Bolan, you'll probably like this, but really I'd rather hear from you if you don't like him. Gotta lot of love for his man skin pants, but, seriously, how many fucking people have to crawl out of the sewer to prove that the diamond dog was king for a day? I'm tapping Dave Thomas to sub in for my Bolan festish. Sir Thomas, I'd like to personally welcome you to my collection of Pere Ubu stitched pillows. Hope you've always wanted to know what your death mask would look like in macrame.

Totes B. Dumb of Meth. Gonna catch them in tobacco town this fall for Hopscotch Pest.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Reviews :: Factums :: Gilding the Lilies

New double LP from members of Intelligence may be the most ambitious album to be released in years, and the shit'll shoot hot lead through your veins, too. Experimental, noise, garage, eleki, surf punk, tribal psych. You can't throw enough adjectives at these guys and hope to catch their meaning. So you look for consistencies in the material to maybe make sense of what you're hearing. Familiar drum/guitar rhythms, submerged vocal tracks that sound like they were recorded in the trunk of a car, driving south on I-10--waves in the distance, tires turning on blacktop, and the specter of the Manson family behind the wheel--and this withering electric guitar burn that picks up seemingly whenever these jokers just feel like being badass.

Factums :: Another Place

I'm not clocking these guys, but I'd say most of the tracks are coming in under two minutes, which means they're either trying to squeeze every penny out of their studio time, or they're trying to get Mike Watt's attention and maybe make his fucking face melt, or maybe all of the above and something more. It may not sound like it at first, but Gilding the Lilies is pop music. It's just way more concerned with the nature of sound and the human experience of that sound than anything else new coming out these days.

What they're able to accomplish with this format (long record, short tracks) is absolutely worth noting: long range and varied gestural experimentation, gestures that materialize and fade on the hard, flat surface of the band's practiced repetition. Gestures pointing to every influence and every contortion of those influences as they strain to find the next sound, or some impossible future for sound and, more importantly, pop music. This may not seem like an obvious point on listening alone, but it's maybe more plain from their name, factums. I don't feel like boring the shit out of anyone here, but I feel that the Factums may be the most important American band going right now for the very reason that every element of their songs is engaged in the disentangling of controversy, and they reorder the disarray of modern music by issuing an epic, double vinyl replete with musical statements of fact. The last time I had a listening experience like this one was when I bought two separate Sun City Girls collections on a whim, having only ever heard the band's name in passing. Shit, was that ever a brain-blasting experience. I think my roommates found me face down in my closet, bulbs broken in my room, resting on a pile of chicken bones...and incredibly I've lived to experience that sensation again.

Factums :: Near the Beach

 I'm not doing them justice, Assophon Records makes sense of the Factums sound this way, and I won't even try to do it better: 

This mythic release has been rumored and debated for some time and to say this is their crowing achievement is an understatement. Factums have been shrouded in mystery, rarely playing live -- this hermetic Seattle/Chicago combo have been releasing rustic/futuristic artifacts for a variety of labels over the last few years. On Gilding The Lilies, all the ideas come together: sci-fi surf rock, post-apocalyptic murder ballads, musique concrète anthems, hell, on Gilding The Lilies they even dedicate the latter half of this masterpiece to Far Eastern exotica and incorporate sitars and tablas. Yeah, this ain't no Beatles trip, it's a Factums take on their inner chakra or pith helmet exploitation or whatever the kids are calling it these days.

Factums cranked out a C45 tape last year that's apparently an abridged, reordered version of the Goliath pictured above, and that's what you're hearing from the linked mp3s in this post.  Whoever these guys are, I get the sense that they're sitting on a solid stockpile of effects pedals that they should pack up and take on the road with them. To have any idea of just what the fuck these guys are really up to, buy this limited one-time pressing from Forced Exposure while you still have a chance of getting any enjoyment out of  life.

By the way, pith helmet exploitation is now my new world view. I'm adopting it right now.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Video :: True Widow :: Skull Eyes

Been spinning True Widow's Kemado Records release for a while now, and they're garotting DC tonight at Rock and Roll Hotel with a serial killer lineup. The theme of this post is way more wan/fey/goth than any of the bands playing tonight. Gonna paint my nails black, and then go check out some freak folk.

RNR lineup...
7pm: True Widow
8pm: White Fence
9pm: Woods
10pm: Kurt Vile & the Violators

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Reviews :: Biosphere :: N-Plants

Geir Jenssen's newest album for UK label Touch is one of the most beautiful and technical representations of post-bomb, world architecture to be attempted since Kraftwerk first harnessed the essence of radioactivity. Jenssen's execution has more depth and feel to it as though the music successfully encases the motorik urgings of his No-Euo (kinda like Fro-Yo, but with more blonde, blue-eyed kids holding ice cream cones) predecessors. Only, there's no paranoia here. There's no grim acceptance of nuclear energy's potential. Or any other portentous message for the generations. For me there's a distance between the viewer and the subject like Jenssen's crawled out of his fallout shelter to discover a  world in which objects no longer hold their old meanings, in which there's time enough at last to look over mankind's creations.

Jenssen completed recording a month before the Fukushima Daiichi disaster, he had this to say about the album's production:

Early February 2011: Decided to make an album inspired by the Japanese post-war economic miracle. While searching for more information I found an old photo of the Mihama nuclear plant. The fact that this futuristic-looking plant was situated in such a beautiful spot so close to the sea made me curious. Are they safe when it comes to earthquakes and tsunamis? Further reading revealed that many of these plants are situated in earthquake-prone areas, some of them are even located next to shores that had been hit in the past by tsunamis.
A photo of Mihama made me narrow down my focus only to Japanese nuclear plants. I wanted to make a soundtrack to some of them, concentrating on the architecture, design and localizations, but also questioning the potential radiation danger (a cooling system being destroyed by a landslide or earthquake, etc). As the head of the Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency said: “the plants were so well designed that ‘such a situation is practically impossible’.

The album was finished on February 13th. On March 17th I received the following message from a Facebook friend: ‘Geir, some time ago you asked people for a photo of a Japanese nuclear powerplant. Is this going to be the sleeve of your new coming album? But more importantly: how did you actually predict the future? Kind regards, David.”

Here's a bonus photo of Jenssen... recording avalanches. I suppose I don't know of another way to go about it. Just never thought it would look so damn easy.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Features :: Mixtape :: Swanchez's Mind Eraser Mix

Mind Eraser Mix by machinedream

1) Bedhead - Disorder
2) Clams Casino - Wizard
3) John Maus - Believer
4) Xander Harris - Fucking Eat Your Face
5) Moon Duo - When You Cut
6) The Caretaker - The Sublime is Disappointingly Elusive
7) Nathaniel Mayer - White Dress
8) Purling Hiss - DUI
9) Zomby - Witch Hunt
10) Ariel Pink - Revolution's a Lie
11) Factums - Sod
13) Pissed Jeans - Fantasy World
14) Flight - Goodbye Horses
15) Dent May - I'm an Alcoholic

News :: Upcoming Shows :: August

Dope Body.

It's gonna be a slow month for shows round here, but here's what scuzz city's cooking anyhow...

8/9 :: Memory Tapes/Sleep Over @ Red Palace

8/10 :: Kurt Vile/Woods/White Fence/True Widow @ Rock and Roll Hotel

8/12 :: Hume/Dope Body/Buildings @ Comet Ping Pong

8/19 :: Celebration/Deleted Scenes/Tree River @ Subterranean A

8/25 :: Richard Buckner @ Iota