EIC and Design Editor Eduard Abayev
Jude Noel Austin Naamani Corey Burks Aleix Major Basie Campbell Cory Fusting
Madelynn Erbe Peyton Crenshaw
“Devil in the Gardens” by Jack Scally
art and concept by Chloe Forsting
METAL MONDAYS HIGHLANDS TAPROOM 1056 Bardstown road Free 1 :00pm 21+
LOOKS LIKE SOMEONES GOT A CASE OF THE MONDAYS Live Bands Kick It off
Your Playlist Keeps It Going
As of February 21st, 2014, this is a list of the things I hate. By Leah Rose
Niedobitek By Amanda Grabowski
I hate cell phones and limitless knowledge in a world of idiots Like my date that won’t look up from her texts and my oh so proud mother that misses me, but misses her feed more.
In fifth grade I ate rotten meat because a ten year old cannot hate themselves.
I hate old dogs that eat cheesecake and wonder why they’re ill But can always pass judgment the moment I start to break. I’m ashamed of good grades among losers endlessly climbing a ladder of their efforts and reigning above them like the god that they worship.
Alchemy By Laurel Dixon Deep in the witching woods with the blood-dogs snapping at your fingers and only a thin shard of silver sword protecting you from hot teeth around your windpipe, well— you don’t need a princess clutching your arm.
I hate Jesus and Mary and Joseph and Hitler and every other being that my accomplishments are blamed on But most of all I hate that I hate all the people who work so hard to make my life Perfect.
In sixth grade my dad left for the sixth and the final time and I started blacking out from trying to hunt him down In seventh grade I walked down train tracks singing “I’m going to Chicago” because home it decorated my body with little red lines In eighth grade I was sent to a white building for people that try to die because it turns out a ten year old can hate themselves.
With their ropes of golden hair and white sail-cloth dresses they will not ferry you to safety, their sweet church bell voices arching like cat spines into a save-me scream, limp-fish hands folded to display the chalky fingers that never fidget, so as not to offend death. Princesses are white ash and a dull knife.
Smile as I limp closer to eight seconds.
They say you can’t reason. “It’s a LIE,” I scream right before I eat dirt and they send in the clowns.
Sanity by the horns in a last ditch effort.
The Negotiator By Jimmy Besseck
When the blinking trees skitter their arms together and whisper for your blood to paint their roots calling the red-eyed dogs down to hurl themselves at your trembling and burning arms, pray you have the peasant girl instead, the one who will lash together the rowan branches, the one whose fingers have memorized the tug of the knife, who knows the secret and bitter alchemy of fire.
Romeo’s a fucking philanderer By Zack Kouns Chorus: Romeo’s a fucking philanderer He’d stick his dick in a beehive if he thought there was any honey in it but I’d beg and grovel like a dog at his feet If I thought it would make him love me just a little bit I fell for him when I was just a girl I wasn’t a week over 15 years old He was like one of those frauds in a fairy tale So brash, so brazen, so bold Gradually, he began controlling my life Alienated me from my friends and family I longed for nothing but his long, slow kiss and his hands all over my body Years went by and he began to fuck around Still I’d follow him like a lost little child He’d come home drunk and lie through his teeth Still, I’d love him with a love desperate and wild Chorus When I got pregnant he wouldn’t touch me And there were nights he wouldn’t even come home I had a miscarriage and lost lots of blood Tried to call him but he wouldn’t answer his phone Ambulance came and took me to the hospital Gave me a transfusion on the way there He showed up smelling like bourbon and sex Stumbled past my bed and passed out in a chair Chorus
water you doing By Eduard Abayev the sparks got wet and fizzled out like that cheap hair dryer you bought at the goodwill to kill yourself in the tub with but once you dropped the lit fuse in the water all you got was a dark room and a cold bath that made you chuckle at how fucking dumb you sounded when you said “exactly like my life!”
art by Ashlynn Barker
EVERYTHING YOU CREATE IS COMPANY PROPERTY by
I was at work, setting an endcap. Capri Sun or Campbell’s Soup or Kellogg cereals or something. It was early, and I was tired. In order to fill the endcap, I had to find the product in the stockroom. They build these stockrooms with hardly an inch of free space. You get just enough room to walk two abreast. I was getting down this pallet from the top shelf with the electric forklift. The pallet was stacked to the roof, which left me just an inch or two to get this block of sugary snacks off the shelf. I was pretty good with the forklift; using it took practice and a delicate touch. You couldn’t fuck around with one of those things or you’d stab boxes of product or other employees with the forks. Or you’d run over somebody’s toes. Or you’d back the thing up on yourself; smash your guts in the wall. I had never seen any of that, but it could happen. I had to maneuver the pallet around an AC unit and a row of track lighting, while trying not to crush myself against the wall, knock anything else down, or drop any boxes on anyone’s heads. The whole truck unloading team is back there too, just a few feet from where I was trying to get this thing down. I was backing the forklift up, looking behind me, and suddenly there’s this piercing, twisting, shriek. It was right above me, and sounded like a pile of metal junk being crushed. Dust plumed in my face and eyes like a cloud of volcano ash. I looked up and there was this other mechanical unit, I think it was a heater, bent and barely hanging on to where it was bolted into the ceiling. For a second, I thought it was going to break off and fall on me and I’d be dead. Dead at work. The heater unit didn’t break, but it was warped pretty badly. The truck unload team was staring at me. The noise had reverberated off the concrete floors and across every steel shelf frame. I said “Oh Shit” and moved the forklift forward. It didn’t fall, and didn’t break. Everything was fine. I took the sugary whatever out to the floor. A while later, maybe twenty minutes, I went back to the stockroom. And everything smelled of gas. I didn’t think anything of it at first. The cleaning crew used propane tanks to run the floor buffers, and sometimes that shit leaked. It stank. I looked back up at the heater unit I hit earlier and there’s this pipe just hanging there. It was supposed to be attached to this other pipe that came out of the wall. I had smacked that thing and broken the pipe. And now there was gas leaking into the stockroom. The truck unload team was still going. They complained about the smell, but not one of them left the line to find out what was going on. I had three supervisors that morning, and two of them were wandering around, scanning the ceiling, sniffing the air and asking each other “Is that gas? Do you smell gas? What is that? Where’s it coming from?” So we had a major gas leak. They got it shut off, and I told them about what happened. I don’t know how much of that stuff was coming through that one pipe, but they told me the building could have burned down. They had us all evacuate the store and stand in the freezing parking lot and wait for the firemen to check the place out. Eventually they let us go back inside. The smell was gone, and things went on as usual. Management had me write a report on the incident, which I didn’t mind. I wrote it plainly, without any suggestion that I was unfit for the job, or that I was high, or that I was stupid. I didn’t know who would see this report, or what the company was prepared to do to me because of this shit. I didn’t know if this would end up in a lawsuit or what. They explained later that the report was only for standard procedure in the event of an accident, and really nobody would read it. I was disappointed. I was proud of that report. It was one of my best works of non-fiction. Without the pressure to entertain or try to appear clever, I was free to simply write the truth. No dramatic exposition, no heartfelt speeches, no clumsy character interactions. I asked for a copy of it, since no one was ever going to read it. They wouldn’t let me have it. They said it was company property. Management’s fix for the gas pipe was to paint it green.
art and words by Brian Wolf
“Art Police” by Darby Hampton
Interview by Eduard Abayev
MAXIMUM ROCKNCONGRATS ON THEHO W’S IT FEEL? ROLL REVIEW.
The Maximum R n R review is actually the first review we’ve gotten as a band and the nice people at maximum RnR will tear you a new asshole if they see fit, they can be offensively harsh with reviews. We were pretty damn nervous! We’re extremely happy we didn’t get slammed, let alone the fact that they liked us! Feels good.
WE SHOULD ANY RELEASESLOOK OUT FOR? E TH BE ON
We’ve currently got a 7 inch lathe cut record entitled Ace of Babes with 4 songs, 3 originals and a cover. It was recorded here in our basement in one night by our good friend, technician and label owner Ethan Rose (Funky Frankenstein Records). We’re recording the remainder of our first full length album at the end of the month, in the basement again.
HOW DID BARBARIETTES COME TO BE? BARBARIETTES started around May 2013, when the three of us moved into a house with full basement. Since two of us had been in bands for years it was only natural to all start playing together. We REALLY love wrestling of all kinds, it goes back to being middle class white kids in the south. It’s in our blood! We’re not serious people,when it comes to music or anything really so starting a band with a wrestling gimmick made sense. It’s something we’ve not seen before and we’re happy to combine two of the things we love most!
ARE WHAT OTHER MUSIC TH? WI ED YOU INVOLV We actually met playing in other bands. Addi(drums) and Canaan (bass/vocals) started dating 4 years ago playing in a girl fronted hardcore band Some Skank. We’ve been playing in our other current girl fronted band Shark Week for about 3 years, it’s much more poppy, clean and simple than Barbariettes. We also play with friends from Murfreesboro TN in Pogo Anal, a Ramones-core pop punk band with songs only about anal sex.
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WESTERN KENTUC KY’S SCENE IS BUT IS FULL SM L, OF THINK LIVING IN TALENT. HOW DO AL YOU A SMALL YOUR SOUND, AND EA AFFECTS THE COMMUNAR ITY OVERALL? We currently reside in Murray KY with the likes of bands such as Quailbones, ANT ELOPE, Joanie and the Missles and a handful of other excellent bands. It’s a very small college town and we usually have good hometown show crow ds because everyone’s just looking to have a good time. It’s something to do! Since it is such a small town we are very limited when it comes to show venues so we almost immediately started havi ng basement shows here at our house. We’ve had 6 or 7 shows here in the basement and have hosted tour ing bands from Santa Cruz, CA to Maryland. It’s wonderful to be surrounded by creative tale nted FUN people. at shows pretty often n We also play/attend tio Sta in rap store Ter the local record of us any ore bef ce sin which has been around just feels like home. t and is one place tha hour ucah, KY (about an Pad m fro e her ed but We mov ent fer dif there was north) and the scene it’s on, ng goi ing eth som there was usually h has d after all. Paduca where we got starte und for aro n bee e hav some punk bands who ugh we always had good tho years and years and MKY. more at home here in l fee we re the to shows e hav you n a small tow I think being from lves rse you ain ert ent to s find and create way Peothat’s what we do. (and one another)!so help to g lin wil ays alw e, ds ple are just nice her ban ing giv g up shows, whether it be settin show our at ht nig t las st me a place to crash..ju was happy to lend s’ Tim from Quailbone ues. iss ing hav was I e aus his pedal board bec
VITAL INFO Canaan
the bass and voBarbarian is on is on drum cals, Additude lost our gu s. We recently ifornia and itarist to Cala vastly ol man. We’ve der a 2 piece buplayed 3 shows as t we’re curren ly messing tound with di ferent guitar far most definite ists and will ly have a gu tarist on th ilength. Righe upcoming full t no w our main focus is gett ing this al recorded and bum We don’t have writing songs. any tour scheduled tes rrently butda spring/sumcu this me r we’re headin east! We’l g ton, Bowlinlg be in LexingGreen and Lo isville umost definitely.
CHECK OUT BARBARIETTES AT BARBARIETTES.BANDCAMP.COM
coffee with W
illiam Bryan Ragland is a gold mine (though I’d specify more of a silver) of musical and visual artistry, and he came to talk to me over caffeine so that you could have this. Being one of the most prolific artists here in Louisville William is involved with All Dead, The Revenants, Dirty Bitch, Gravework, and his own endless solo work including two compilation albums with other artists called Cosmonaught. He was the first in my interviews to be exempt from the handy prompt, ‘describe yourself to an alien’ . When I told him that he said that was perfect, because “We’re all aliens.” I didn’t exempt him from telling me the advantage or disadvantage to creating his particular art in a small town: “I feel like Louisville really has a glass ceiling in terms of certain types of music; you can only get so high and you’re not bringing anybody new out. You hit a point where unless you’re easily palatable, you just can’t advance. It’s good to get out of town. When I say I dislike Louisville, I don’t mean to sound unappreciative- if we didn’t have these people at shows, we wouldn’t be out there doing it. The people that care about what we’re doing are an indispensable part of our formula” All Dead is a local three piece falling under, metal , gallop thrash, punk, noise, doom,
Interview by Basie Campbell with Ragland as guitar and vocal. The band is currently sharing a drummer with his other band The Revenants, who just released a full length album entitled “Black Horizons”. ALL DEAD will be touring this summer and just put out a new 7 inch - “Rise Below”. William told me that in Louisville he and his bands like to play the Haymarket Whiskey Bar and Mag Bar and he, “would love to tour overseas but it’s a hell of an undertaking”. The second album in the Cosmonaught project came out on New Years Eve and works with the contributions of 12 different artists, some of which were not local and emailed their sound. I asked how he felt about working with new people and organizing the whole project himself- “I really like random encounters. I don’t like over thinking things.”
In addition to playing music, William does badass design work that connects his separate mediums. Doing design for All Dead, album art for Cosmonaught and other bands in addition to his solo work, he’s also involved in Ouisch, a clothing company with local artist Angry Blue. Though on a hiatus due to travels, he tells me that they’ll be back soon with the usual runs of 50 ltd. Edition shirts, reflecting the dark sharp nature of the two artists. Look out for new designs in spring. On his own he takes black and white photography, a lot of which is glitch and edited in a manner that looks very cold
and industrial. Photography can be found @ALLDEAD on Instagram and in a real life show coming up this fall. Location to be announced. Gravework is the most recent project, a two piece with Adam Greenwood out of LA, hoping to have an album out this fall. After talking to me William was on his way to work on the soundtrack for Beau Kaelin’s upcoming film, Kora. Coming out in late April or early May, the soundtrack will be entirely William’s music behind time lapsed photography in China and Thailand. Now this is where we broke into shared enthusiasm over a comparison to Goblin doing all of the soundtrack to the iconic Dario Argento film, Suspiria. I was hesitant to ask what I was afraid might be a tired question…How does he have time for it all? But its apparently just simple time management to make things happen. William is not looking for fame but for a personal mental goal and the opportunity to live off what he does. To add to his 10 solo albums, there’s a lot in store for us when he is able to transfer his old stuff from cassette to digital format. Now the next project in the idea stage is something heavily drum based with a lot of screaming that will be done with a “very very particular” type of band member yet to be found. Kora , Photography show, Gravework album, All Dead tour, Ouisch designs, solo albums, and in his dreams - who knows? The year of thrash is upon us, kids.
CHECK OUT WILL’S WORK AT WILLIAMRAGLAND.BANDCAMP.COM photo by Mickie Winters Photography
HAIR WHAT IS THE ORIGIN STORY OF HAIR THINGS?
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Interview by Eduard Abayev
WHAT YOUR SICAL
ARE INFLUEN SOME OF CES, OR M U OTHERWI SE?
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YOU ALL HOW LONG HAVE TH LEX E TO IN BEEN S? AL DU VI INDI AS SCENE
LB, and Coll moved to Lex in 2000. Swardo joined in 2009 after pursuing her hippy quest in Athens, Ohio. Our eastern KY roots gave us a solid base of farm parties, barn parties, and house shows. Lexington needs more farm parties.
Lauren wants a European basement tour. Sarah ‘s looking for a sponsored shopping mall tour. Colleen is dreaming of that reggae sound touring the Caribbean.
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D A TURF HAVE YOU STARTE LICE YET? PO IR HA WAR WITH Who are the Hair Police?
We’ve never been anywhere outside of LB’s basement, although we hear Al’s bar is pret ty cool.
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CHECK OUT HAIR THINGS AT HAIRTHINGS.BANDCAMP.COM
LEXINGTON LEXING LEXIN LEXINGTON festival Eduard gets to chat with James Friley and Eric Lanham about the first ever Lexington Lexington Festival
THIS IS THE FIRST LEXINGTON LEXINGTON FEST, RIGHT? This is the first one. We’ve been throwing Block Parties and Blocktoberfests in a similar style for a couple years but this is a bigger better version of that.
WHAT ARE SOME UNIQUE CHALLENGES TO BOOKING A LARGER FEST AS OPPOSED TO LOCAL BLOCK PARTIES OR A SINGLE SHOWS?
WHAT ARE YOU HOPING TO ACCOMPLISH WITH THE LEXINGTON LEXINGTON FEST? We just wanted to bring an exciting lineup to Lexington, a lot of good locals to compliment exciting out of towner bands like R Stevie Moore, and make it a really good time. No idea how it’ll develop in the future but I can see it growing quite a bit.
The scheduling gets pretty hard when you don’t want a lot of crossover, there’s 3 stages, and 16 bands. Finding the right balance throughout the day can be tough. Turning the outdoors area into a “festival grounds” makes all the difference. There will be food and drinks, DJs, christmas lights, yaddy yadda… and hopefully it doesn’t rain.
WHAT MAKES LEXINGTON AN IDEAL SPOT FOR SIMILAR EVENTS?
Lexington has a lot of weird talent. It’s also in an ideal location, right in the middle of everything. And it’s community is really supportive of these types of things.
WHO ARE YOU PARTICULARLY EXCITED TO SEE PERFORM? R Stevie Moore, Blues Control, Lazy Magnet, The Lemons…I see all these locals all the time so those others are more of a treat. But also Jovontaes and Dr Paul. A lot.
Al’s Bar/Beer Garden/Sidecar
601 N Limestone
BEER GARDEN 5:00 - ATTEMPT 5:45 - JOVONTAES 7:15 - CANDY 8:15 - THE LEMONS 9:30 - BIG FRESH 11:00 - R STEVIE MOORE
6:30 - MURALS 7:45 - SHEDDING 9:00 - THE NEC 10:30 - IDIOT GLEE 12:00 - BLUES CONTROL
10:00 - DR. PAUL 11:30 - LIVE ISLAND 12:30 - TROPICAL TRASH 1:15 am - STREET GNAR 2:00 am - LAZY MAGNET
Doors at 4pm Music at 5pm $13 ADV/$15 at the door
B.B.o.P. by Black Birds of Paradise blackbirdsofparadise.bandcamp.com Guys, I wanna say I love you and I do know why. It’s cause you guys make me think of Yo La Tengo; not that you sound anything like them (a good thing). But, like them, you all seem first and foremost interested in making music for the sake of music. Music about music. Musicians about music. And it’s loungey in the best pot-den way. This is a great start and I can’t wait to hear what you’ll do next. Something entirely different with just the right elements of the same, I’m sure. Also, I hear you all like Nilsson. He’d love the vibraphone. I love the vibraphone. Don’t be a dummy like I was on the release show; Get. On. This. - Aleix K.
Traversing the Abyssal Plane by Bermudan bermudan.bandcamp.com Bermudan is a 2-piece experimental-dream-pop-black-metal type project from Louisvillians Jacqueline and Nick. After releasing their first track “Icaro” in January, an aggressive 7 minute jaunt into their metal side, Bermudan returns with a 20 minute long track showing off their impressive ability for shoegaze-informed metal. The song begins with gentle bass, guitar, and cello all sweeping in and out of each other, creating beautiful lines. The vocals and drums then come again, and the swirling pieces coalesce into a smooth backdrop for the distant and echoing vocals. From here the song transitions into an intense and piercing segment of pure energy, with driving riffs, pounding drums, and howling vocals. In this portion, I did feel like the drums and guitar could have been tighter, but overall the rough parts were not distracting from the good parts. The lyrics throughout this song are haunting and gorgeous and I really appreciated the craft put into the music. I see a lot of potential here. If you’re a fan of stuff like this, Bermudan is worth following on bandcamp, a full length is in the works. - Corey Burks
evictionrecords.bandcamp.com Those clowns in Sweatermeat takes Manhattan in their first tape release. You remember that one ugly baby doll you had as a kid? The one where you’d squish the face in? “Bad Boobs” takes something familiar and unthreatening, smooshes it in, and creates an uglier yet much more amusing product. Featuring bluesy “Boy Gotta Turd on his Back”, the monstrous cartoon theme/Neutral Milk Hotel masher “Saturday Morning”, and every other crowd pleaser they got. Sweatermeat is fucking fun, guys. The shows are wild with none of those assholes with crossed arms (except me). Go see them play their Bad Boobs tape release April 26th at Mag Bar. - Eduard Abayev
Ducks Never Say “Die” by Blood Planet bloodplanet.bandcamp.com QUACK ATTACK IS BACK, JACK! Louisville’s doom duo Blood Planet have been playing live mercilessly lately and they STILL managed to release a three track tease including “Wolf the Dentist”,which sounds like a monster movie on VHS. “Ducks Never Say Die” is gloomier than the more manic “Summer Demo(n)s” or the forboding self-titled. However, Blood Planet definitely have a vision for themselves and each release fits into their mutated ideas. If you’re a fan of Guitar Wolf or or people banging on shit super loud you GOTTA LISTEN NOW. -Eduard Abayev
by Cher Von
chervon.bandcamp.com “Klik. Klak.” is the second in Chervon Koeune’s ongoing experimentation in found sound. Pots, pans, jugs, jars, (and regular ole instruments too!) are poked and prodded to create whimsical arrangements in the way Cher Von knows best. Her signature warble is as charming as it is haunting. I insist Chervon is some sort of devilish entrancess living in the sunny woods who occasionally bewitches cutlerly to playfully spook and delight curious kiddos. I dunno man, this stuff is magical. “Baam.” is by far my favorite track. FFO The Books, Bjork. - Eduard Abayev
When it comes to reviewing folk-influenced music, I’ll admit that my tastes can lean toward the lo-fidelity emo end of the spectrum, but most of the bands that fall under this category can sound dangerously similar. There’s only so much that can be squeezed out of an unabashedly minimalist style. On the other hand, I find that many of the sleeker, more well-produced releases of the genre can resort to handclaps and predictable chord progressions to reel listeners in. Joplin Rice’s latest release, a double album titled Spine Adagio II / The Prince, circumvents this problems, delivering polished yet fuzzy pop that reaches toward the high standard set by Merge Records icons like Neutral Milk Hotel, Lambchop, even the lovable melodrama of Arcade Fire. Blend all those bands together with a generous helping of melancholia, and you have the essence of the songs crafted by this Lexington, Kentucky based singer-songwriter. It’s cinematic, catchy, and above all, beautiful. - Jude Noel
61 Days Young by Yellow Cuss mikefarr.bandcamp.com Sounds older than 61 Days, much older. You’d think this might be some somewhat lost recording where ‘sad bastard music’ wasn’t quite coined as a descriptive term yet, but you’d be wrong. There’s distorted sounding guitar on ‘Grand Dad’s Golden Golf Clubs’ and the ‘Sad Bastard Medley’ (see?) splices Modest Mouse and ‘Communist Daughter’ together, so the cover’s blown. Like most ‘sad bastard music’ cocaine, drunkeness and the women that leave the men covort above loping minor chords. The story telling and subtle touches of banjo and midi are nice but if you’re not a sad bastard this might get sloggy. At least it’s not gypsy folk-punk, amirite? - Aleix K.
Spine Adagio Part II & The Prince by Joplin Rice joplinrice.bandcamp.com
Klik. Klak. EP
It’s safe to assume that just about any band with the word “beach” in its name will have a sparkling, reverb-laden sound, and Louisville’s BEACH HEART is no exception. The Louisville chillwave outfit is fresh off the release of its second official release, The End, which suggests an encouraging leap in musical maturity in the year since their self titled debut last January. While that particular release felt like a collection of five separate experiments, each track bathing in a vat of its own, unique brew of chorus and reverb, the new EP is a much more unified effort. The shoegaziness is scaled back to manageable levels that don’t mask the beautifully interweaving synth melodies, and each track has a similar vibe: distant and pulsating. Kinda reminds me of Memory Tapes to be honest. Download it if not just to keep it around for future poolside listening. - Jude Noel
The End EP by Beach Heart beachheart.bandcamp.com
Sean and Tyler over at Modern Cult Records give us their top four album picks.
2001 Frankfort Avenue Mon - Thu: 11:00 am - 8:00 pm Fri - Sat: 11:00 am - 10:00 pm Sun: 12:00 pm - 6:00 pm
The Hippies! Kill Yourself! in the USA 1973 - 80 Vol. 1
Underground (Soul Jazz)
This set compiles 21 tracks of pre, post and prime American punk rawk. There’s a decent mix of straighter, hard charging energy and weirder, more obtuse textures that keep things from getting too stale and predictable. Quite a few of the standout tracks don’t seem to fit firmly into any generalized box. (Ok...excepting the umbrella term of punk.) The Bizarros’ “Ice Age” is an oddly funky (and long for ‘punk’) 5 minutes that has shades of San Fran badass gangsters Crime and lead guitars that wear their Raw Power-era Stooges influence proudly and righteously. Several tracks document the only known recorded gasps of shortlived outfits such as New Orleans based The Normals, Cleveland’s X Blank X and The Hollywood Squares fittingly from L.A. These radar bleeps of the times sit nicely beside higher profile, bonafide legends like Pere Ubu, Johnny Thunders & The Heartbreakers and Flamin’ Groovies. The New York No Wave scene is represented by the quirky military march meets fucked up nursery rhyme that is Theoretical Girls’ “U.S. Millie”. Other memorable bizarro bursts include Tuxedomoon’s ”Joeboy the Electronic Ghost”, Crash Course in Science’s “Cakes in the Home” and electric eels “Agitated”. Overall, it’s got several you’ve probably heard and some you may have heard of, but yields a whole gaggle that begs for repeated listens at maximum volume.
Jucifer Beyond The Volga There Is No Land (Nomadic Fortress/ Alt. Tentacles)
Lead guitarist/ vocalist Gazelle Amber Valentine and drummer Edgar Livengood make up the husband and wife duo that is Jucifer. They tour constantly, living a nomadic life style in their RV. Their live shows are purportedly “ear slaying” in volume and differ quite a bit stylistically form the albums. Their music incorporates sludge, doom, black metal, death metal, grindcore, noise and drone. This latest album is about their time touring in Russia, most notably the town of Volgengrad and the struggle of the people there. The music is depressing, frightening and at the same time possesses a stark beauty, Beyond The Volga manages to move from drone to doom to death metal in a seamless manner . Each change in style not so much a change in perspective as it is a different narrative mode. Amber’s vocals are growled low or spit out with vile contempt, her guitar a sonic wall of chunky riffs (she does have a giant stack of amps behind her). Edgar’s drumming is heavy-handed behind the guitar sludge. All in all, this is Jucifer’s most dynamic and thought out offering.
Suzuki Junzo - Sings II (Nod And Smile Records)
Psychedelic troubadour Suzuki Junzo has a resume that is a who’s who of contemporary Japanese psych, having played in the legendary Overhang Party, 20 Guilders (w/ Mitsuru Tabata of Acid Mothers Temple, Boredoms, Zeni Geva), Miminokoto (w/ Shimura Koji of Acid Mothers Temple, High Rises), and Astral Travelling Unituy. His list of collaborations are even longer. Sings II was released last year back to back with another album, Portrait Of Madeleine Elster. This is his first foray into singing on a studio album (more like crooning). While the singing is interesting, it’s the guitar playing that is so confounding. He moves from sloppy, Jandek style picking to effects laden noise to a clarity and precision on par with and sounding at times like Nick Drake or Michio Kurihara of Japanese psych group Ghost (who was trying to sound like John Cipollina). Or reminiscent of John Frusciante’s “To Record Only Water for Ten Days”. The changes of styles from song to song are like seamless mistakes that he intended or knew he would make at some point inadvertently. He is very present in each musical moment, each transition unique in it’s discordant non-event or the smooth changes of a master of his craft. Layering and adding texture on a few tracks is Kawabata Makoto (AMT, Mainliner).Takahashi Ikuro (Fushitsusha, LSD March) contributes percussion on a few tracks as well. Sings II is one of the most dynamic, sprawling albums I have heard in quite a while. Junzo has mastered painting via guitar. Non-linear, noisome, trance inducing. He dreams for you and leaves the listener more with passions and impressions than with a structured song or melody to recall.
Land Of Kush - The Big Mango (Constellation Records)
Land Of Kush is a huge ensemble helmed by Montreal musician and composer Sam Shalabi. Shalabi, a major figure in the improv/avant and “post-rock” scene, has played with Silver Mt. Zion, Molasses, Evan Parker, Loren MazzaCane Connors and Tom Carter to name off just the highlights, as well as releasing six albums with his band, Shalabi Effect. He moved to Cairo in 2011 in the midst of “Arab Spring” to begin work on the third Land Of Kush album. In his own words this album was “a love letter to Cairo” framed by “the beautiful, surreal madness of the city…as joyous, horrific, historical events were unfolding”. Easily the more focused of the three albums, The Big Mango is a rich and ambitious work, fusing western post-rock to eastern instrumentation and harmonies. The 20-piece orchestra features members of Montreal bands Godspeed You! Black Emperor, Valley Of The Giants, Pas Chic Chic, Set Fire To Flames, Hanged Up, Hrsta, etc. Borrowing from jazz, raga, Indian, Middle Eastern and African traditions, Shalabi has created an astounding and original world-psych soundtrack to life in Cairo as he has experiences it.
art and words by Aleix Major