Thursday, November 26, 2015

alan moore's providence #6 review

alan moore is never NOT a creepy fucker. loved the journal entry of this issue but finding moores continual use of rape scenes banal and out of touch, though the dialogue was consistently a goodly ol' mindfuck and overall the issue was ok. seriously tho, i called it 4 issues ago and when you can meme out a guys misogynist telegraphed schlock time after time it wears on you. black is losing his mind faster than i thought so heres hoping #7 is aiming towards the more subtle of the series issues like #2,4 - if this dissolves into more monsters fucking women garbage i'll be so dissapointed

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

you know i am your dagger



Between their first and second LPs, Slowdive was fashioned into a Marketable Product and given treatment akin to a major label band (because they were). But between those two and all throughout the years consecutive, Slowdive wrote and recorded a load of tracks, only the selected 11 we now know making it onto Slouvaki. And thus we have this wonderful little bootleg, I Saw the Sun, first bootlegged on CD in 96 and now repackaged as a vinyl with only about 3/4 of the tracks and a different title (For Yer Eyes). What is here is both wonderful and heartbreaking, a collection of tracks similar in sound to those on Just For A Day while (unfortunately) being demo quality. But sound quality is the only minus because these are -mostly- fully formed songs, a few of which rank among Slowdive's best recorded work. "Silver Screen" is criminally overlooked. "Sleep" is the definitive version of Eternal's song of same name. The demo of "Dagger" is actually better in lo-fi form and also stands out as being better than the one that made it onto Slouvaki. Actaully, quite a few of these 21 songs sound good in lo-fi form, helping the listener imagine their hazy soundscapes as A.M.bient washes of pink noise with pop song structures over them. The heartbreak comes from knowing these will probably never get mixed properly and even with the band touring (and talks of a new album in the rumor mills) and continuing--- these tracks will probably be relegated to the past, themselves a time capsule of a band at their highest peak both commercially and sonically. One of the great lost recordings of the 90s.

watching the silver screen...

Sunday, July 22, 2012

An Evening of Contemporary Sitar Music


The two main members of Spacemen 3, Sonic Boom and Jason Spaceman, created as much a rift between fans as they did themselves later in the year (which was 1988, now that I mention it) and even further in the future with Recurring. I for one am thoroughly in the Spaceman Camp, though Sonic Boom's additions to the record that came shortly after (the masterful Playing With Fire) are not to be dismissed.  (They're even given added importance with this album's closing tracks, the glitchy "Ecstasy in Slow Motion" and "Spaceman Jam".)

But for unwavering, heroin-like drone-out bliss, you have to look to Dreamweapon's most druggy, eye-rubbing wonder, "An Evening of Contemporary Sitar Music". A single forty-four minute track, it buoys and wavers like a phased Rhys Chatham piece, and indeed is based mostly around guitar, completely repetitive but also mystic in its execution. [I have to note that while it isn't necessary, listening to their then-contemporary recorded output before this helps in its "narcotic tug"[1]; familiarity warms the soul, ya know?]

The musicianship and dedication to completely tonal catharsis are enough to bring this high up in the order of Spacemen 3 recordings, but the ambiance of the recording itself captures the live feeling perhaps better than any other live album. It's not for everyone; people close to mic chat away (though no actual conversation to distract you with can be heard), a baby cries in the foreground and the house phone can be heard behind the bar a couple of times, amidst the bustle of drunken Brits and smashed glasses inside of a trashcan. None of this can be heard individually of course, though it's worth noting, seeing as how some detractors prefer the "real" Live album better than this. About half way through, a man (one of the band?) coughs and announces over the P.A. that the wet bar is "now open, so you can float away." Or at least that's what I imagine I hear as I completely surrender myself to this complete Eden of drone music—primitive and esoteric all at once, when it ends it's hard to think of a way to bring yourself back to terrestrial roots. Like chicken soup for the cosmic bowl, yeah?

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Veins of Mount Meru Throb in the Underground

LRD is the psychedelic music lovers best (un)kept secret. Cable Hogue was assembled by singer and axe man Mizutani back in the 90s to accompany a video of same name. Looking at the tracklist is peculiar, because many songs are repeated, and while I'm not sure of what venue goes with which recording, it makes no difference because all versions of said tracks, (especially "Night of the Assassins" on disc 2) have their own merit; one being a softer, though quicker paced version (and clearer, for what it matters), and the other being a sweaty bar-room rocker with that does almost away with the romping, ripped off rhythm section during the guitar parts, and then goes barebones behind Mizutani when his vocals do pick up, the bassist lagging behind when he feels like it. There are also other great tracks here including a scorcher of a version of "The Last One" that feeds back until forever and still only takes 25 minutes of your Earth-time with its decending, chugging rhythm section and saucerspinning guitar feedback. Most notable to me is how Mizutani introduces the band on this set. The opening track is nigh unlistenable; a collage of instruments falling onto each other, begging you to push past (all the other versions of this song on here are better), arriving at a pair of tracks that show a softer side of Rallizes. Track 2, this time called "FallIn Love With", though also known as "Romance of the Black Grief," and about two other titles, is a space-rock fantasy piece that relaxes you with its drone and amp buzz until you're just about numb, never leaving its trotting pace. The next track, also having a sister on the second disc, is "White Awakening," (sometimes refered to as "White Walking") again softer than even the preceding track, grounding you with it's initial drum fill until it's last note, leaving you surrounded by smoke from the Ether itself; this is music made almost tangible, with reality feeling a bit more dull after having lived through the sounds of Mizutani and his axe, strings soaking with Hendrixian LSD and sweat. The result works better than drugs.

  

Decembers Black Children evokes the idea that every playthrough for this band was a exercise in what jazz musicians would say is a work out in the Shed. Each subsequent release from this band seemed to eclipse the last, showcase something new and different, and while I think this release came out in the late 80s, no real info is available other than noting it wasn't released on any label. So what are out there, bootlegs? Mizutani doing it for love or cash? More mystery from the eye-dropper of a band that was Rallizes. The blues takes on "Flames of Ice" on this set, and treats it like a slow-burning cigarette instead of a squat thrust work-out like on future releases. Both versions of "Deeper than the Night" here are rocking-chair porch blues versions, and have Mizutani's vocals mixed in a way actual words can be made out. The version of "Night of the Assassins" that finishes up disc 1 is quick and to the point, taking only 12 minutes to make it's point, an almost Richie Blackmore-type swell in some of the guitar riffs here.
Julian Copes review of this release in Japrocksampler says that the album says disc 2 starts with "Night Assassins" but really commences with all 19 minutes of the band's 1960s track,"Smokin' Cigarette Blues". I've found neither to be true, weirdly enough. What I have is a jazz-lounge version of "Enter the Mirror," complete with emotive (and even restrained) soloing from Mizutani, capping at only 5 minutes. Following that is two of the most blissful recordings of staple tracks in the band's decades long career. The sixteen minutes of "White Awakening" here brings to mind the one on Cable, but eschews direction for length, Mizutani's lips hissing and fingers probably bleeding from the performance—but it's only a warm-up! The 13 minutes of "Enter the Mirror" that follow rise like a tide, crashing and piercing through what ear drum you do have left, both blissful and scalding in turn, this version turns out better than even the famed Live 77 version, in its early moments as much obscured by the clouds as it is riding a-top and leaving a trail of its own accord, the band members vapor signatures collectively reacting at just the right moments. It's a wonderful thing this was captured on tape, as hearing it is like sitting in on Bob Calvert's space ritual as Sunday mass for plastic-mind melting fools like us. Almost scientific in it's execution though generative to the point of changing with repeated listens. The set closes with Mizutani flogging through another version of "The Last One".  Essential stuff.

Monday, July 25, 2011

High Rise — Live [1994]

I know I've abandoned this thing the past year and I meant to post far before this but my motherboard died while coping with the feedback and balls of this here record.

As a guitarist I see performance in two identifiable present participles: shredding, and blowing. Shredding is well known by any 15 year old with a baby Gibson and a stack of Maiden CDs, but blowing is the improvisational side you don't dig until maybe you've said fuck you to Kerrang magazine and left eleven far behind. Blowing is the forte of Narita-san and this live album showcases the band like...well, like their studio albums do, but somehow this is better; dirtier, even less restrained and even more ear bruising. Like everyone, I started with High Rise II and the Disallow ep, probably their best studio records, but the versions of "Pop Sicle" and "Sadame" here are somehow more mind-blowing, even with every track showcasing a shorter run time than its studio equivalent (check out 4 minute (?!) version of "Mainliner"). The booklet doesn't list any venues or dates, unfortunately, and its hard to tell if any editing has been done (probably only at the ends of tracks, if any) but this is one of my all time favorite live albums as it never wastes a single note and serves as the best introduction of the band you can have. So many godlike guitar solos here but the greatest moment of inspiration comes during "Ikon" where the feedback reaches new heights and Narita seems to be playing through banging his pickups with his fist alone (right around the 4:00 mark), but in a melodic way that perfectly complements Nanjo's throbbing bass, before completely flatlining only to come back even stronger. Have seventeen minute blowouts its awesome, but shortening them sometimes increases the impact of the sheer heat that this brings to your speakers. If you can't handle it, you don't like rock'n'roll.

Genre: Psychedelic/Heavy Metal
Label: P.S.F.
Origin: Japan
Bitrate: 192k
定めて掴む

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Fraser & DeBolt — With Ian Guenther [1971]

I've spent the last week digesting this. It's true, every bit of good criticism this has gotten is worth it. A true gem of folk music right here, and one that somehow DIDN'T explode when it was released on Columbia at pretty much the EXACT right time and still didn't sell a damn bit. This is also one of the truly great crossovers of country and rock and like John Gabree's review (included in this file) is 'one of the best pop records I've ever heard'. The lyrics here are damn poetic. Listen to the way they croon together on "Waltze of the Tennis Players" between the punctual, emotive playing of Guenther. "My love for you/ is an over night sensation/ Your love for me is an overnight sensation, too". The words are deftly simple and in a couple places hit you hard enough to weep. The songwriting is some of the best of the 70s, period. They apply an alto sax and piano to great effect on "Them Dancehall Girls", the albums most heard of track, and the most well produced. Everything else seems like it was recorded with no overdubs, but I'm not sure; it might as well be. Listen for the mild, playful wordplay on "Warmth"; notice the great guitar play on things like "Stoney Day" and "All My Paradise" which opens the album with an intro so slow and angellic as to make things almost surreal. Not even mentioning that they tackle a Beatles song (not even a year after it'd be realeased, and even better than the original!), or that a few of the tracks are mere snippets, this is one of the truly great folk/rock gems of the 70s, with many a song that could be placed on your mixtape of greatest love songs of all time. Drop everything else you're listening to if you haven't heard this. I wish I had sooner.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Spirit Caravan — Jug Fulla Sun [1999]


Wino Weinreich is one of the most under appreciated and inventive guitarists you've never taken the time to hear out. When he wasn't busy with reviving The Obsessed (who will have their own place on this blog, sometime), or moving on to more political tunes (the first Hidden Hand record), he was cranking out riff after classic motherfucking riff on this debut from Spirit Caravan, the short-lived side project from Wino before he announced his arrival in Place of Skulls and the aforementioned. While he was always a fan favorite for the doom scene, he elevates himself to livingfuckinglegend within the first half of this album. I hate to sound stale by working in those overused adjectives that I did in the first sentence, here, but the guys ability to churn out head-banging, catchy leads is unrivaled and you'll know it right up front, with "hate on you can look real pretty," the albums first lyric of archetypal biker-rock. This, along with some of the shorter pieces here, rank among the man's best (and most FUN (which doesn't see enough love in metal)) song writing. The preceding break, with its 'primal' half-time drumming cannot help but form itself into a Vitus song of old when you hear it. Some may say this is treading old ground, but others would say you're not a doom fan. Song like "Courage" and "Fang" have such simple guitar melodies its a wonder that they work on the high level that they do; that is, live up to the stature of slower, less melodic pieces that he's known for (Born Too Late). But the wonder has a direct answer in Winos guitar tone, a thing that gets no love in this digitally-produced age of pussies. Listening to "Powertime" for the first time makes this seem obvious; a simple, Iommi-influenced riff that brings into being what may be Wino's most shining three minutes in his entire career, both vocally and otherwise. The following, and title, track only ups the ante, by simultaneously paying homage to Sleep (with its instrumental anticipation) while keeping things on the clean end for the first half of the song, before really smacking you around with its almost pop chorus. The only complaint, and it's very minor, is that the album wears a bit thin toward the end, especially with such a large amount of marijuana haze and whiskey-stained-vox within the first six tracks. Whatever... Every track has at least one completely menacing guitar riff, and Wino has never sounded so good. This is a classic album of newer-age doom from a guy whose entire career has revolved around a single, but undeniable, perfecting sound -- this is the culmination of that very tone.

Genre: Doom/Stoner
Label: Tolatta Records
Origin: Leather-lovin' Cali
Bitrate: 256k
Gonna ride in the cloud-swept sky