The Archdrude re-visits his spiritual ancestral home at Cerrig-y-Drudion, in North Wales.
Hail All Ye Heathen Revellers, Ye Marching Levellers, Ye Rampaging Hordes,
Happy New Year to you all. If the revolutionary actions of the Greek students and the colour of the new man in America’s White House are anything to go by, then 2009 can be our Year Zero for World Revolution. It’s for shit damn sure that nothing can be taken for granted anymore, and this world will most likely be all the better for it. The further we have proceeded into this 21st century, so all of Western society’s props, its givens, its guarantees (retirement pensions, insurance, indeed almost all safety nets of the current order) have slipped away. We need Revolution now more than at any other time in history. A total volte-face. A different way to view things. Our education systems are wrong, our Democracy is on the blink, our belief systems are wrong, and a quick tinker is not going to do a thing. Bring down the world order with disruption and random actions. Make people question why we get up in the darkness of January just to schlep our reluctant butts to work for the Man. Make people question why the Government nationalizes private companies only after they make a loss, handing the FatCat million-dollar rewards to the grey suited Greedheads but sending the bill to the taxpayer. Our Black Sheep Busking Tour and assault on Parliament Square reminded a lot of people that ‘Use It or Lose It’ is an essential mantra if we Westerners are not to take our Freedom for granted. The Poll Tax marches/protests helped to bring down Margaret Thatcher back in ’91, but then that was a time of marching, the Berlin Wall, nay, the whole of the Soviet Union had just come tumbling down. Still, perhaps this very grand evidence of change – Obama’s win and the Greek uprising – is maybe evidence enough to make a few people think ‘let’s get out in the streets’. Back in 1991CE, when I declared in the booklet of PEGGY SUICIDE: “Towards 2012!” I was really just attempting to get people to focus beyond the upcoming Millennium, because everybody back then thought 2000 was gonna be the end of the world. However, I believe that 2012 still remains a nice figure to focus on for the present if it means a few more of the population will get off their arses and make some demands. Looks like I’m marchin’ again! Uh, Look out!
SPACESHIP by Spaceship
Okay, let’s commence the first reviews of the New Year with a look at the first album from Spaceship, a monstrous ambulant Doom album that also just happens to be the opening release in the second series from our own Fuck Off & Di label. This one-piece Doom project is led by Mark Williamson, who also aided me in the Breton research for THE MEGALITHIC EUROPEAN. Featuring just two very long tracks, the opening track is ‘The Drowning of Ys’, a maelstrumm [sic] of whirlpooling density that sends the listener off kilter from the first moments. Stereo bass from Hel orchestrates spiky, chiming e. guitars as a-rhythmical powerdrones blitz the senses. Following this is the half-hour ‘The Long Walk West’, a dogged trek through the arid uplands after having mercifully escaped from the previous track’s storm of intense Doom overload. Score this sucker from our own Merchandiser
THE BOG by Slomo
Highly active at the moment is Holy McGrail, whose superb second Slomo album release appears this month on Massachusetts’ Important Records. For those of you who don’t know, Slomo’s seepage sounds like the wreck of some contaminated Russian oil tanker rotting on the ocean floor of the Bospherous, its hazardous 50K tonne chemical cargo issuing from a single rend in the hullside no larger than a silver sixpence. It’s as though somebody recorded the cooking of a mile-high casserole and sold it opportunistically as entertainment. Like people dying of passive smoking, the Slomo audience is assaulted so insidiously by Herr McGrail and his partner H. Marsden that they become aware of the effect Slomo music has only after it has finished, at which point a large percentage of them simply evaporate into thin air. Careful shoppers should grab copies of THE BOG through holymcgrail.com
GHOSTS by Monno
GHOSTS by Monno is a superb late Doom album, and another real spiritual aid in the mega-meditation department. It sends me under every time as the drummer leads proceedings in a highly ritualistic manner similar to Justin Greaves’ cavernous concussion during the opening of Teeth of Lions Rule the Divine’s classic LP RAMPTON, but with the guitars of Stephen O’Malley being substituted with the glacial sub-bass of Holy McGrail. Deep into the album, elements of Thrones appear, while the curious smasmodic rhythms of the song ‘Merrule’pitch them into the big band No Wave of Lydia Lunch’s QUEEN OF SIAM. But while the whole album rises and falls throughout its length, there is at the heart of each track a supreme turbulence that crashes through the psyche of the listener like an Ur-fart from the sphincter of the Lord. Released on Conspiracy Records (www.conspiracyrecords.com
), this band can also be accessed via www.soundimplant.com/monno
NOTHING TO SAY by Serpentina Satelite
Krautrockers, Spike-a-delick Metal Heads & Garage Numbskulls alike will most likely donate mucho braincells in exchange for a copy of NOTHING TO SAY, the breathtaking, furiously paced (and All Purpose) Ambient Buzzsaw debut album from Peru’s Serpentina Satelite. Gasoline leaks out of this ‘Into the Void’-styled space freighter, but its lowbrow Mad Max-ian crew persist through the asteroid belt, like the idiot savant offsprings of an Ash Ra Tempel/DOREMI-period Hawkwind-mad father and a FUNHOUSE-obsessed Detroit Rawkbitch for a mother. Smear this gloopy shit over the local highway and no fucker’s doing under 80mph, it’s a cert. Access this stereo FX fest from Germany’s Trip In Time Records (www.tripintime.de
) or check these geezerbirds at www.serpentinasatelite.com
TONITE WE RIDE by Burnt Hills
For those cold turkeying for the free commune rock sound, look no further than TONITE WE RIDE, on Flipped Out Records (www.flippedoutrecords.com
), the very wonderfuel new album from that Hooligan Guitar Collective known as Burnt Hills. Yes, they’re back with a single one-hour freekout from Hel and this time it’s personal! I’ve reviewed Burnt Hills before, but this is the best batch yet, occupying their audience with a full hour of devolved dyslexic dance music for the prematurely aged. At times during the hour, the ensemble very occasionally undergoes a re-shuffle, as new momentum is pumped in from some previously dozing and under-achieving member, and so the sonic baton is passed and the propulsion forwards maintained. What’s most to be admired in Burnt Hills’ attitude is the heroic manner in which they soldier through the ups and downs of the hour; for adventurers who dare to forge beyond the acceptable boundaries into landscapes considered ‘off limits’ may find themselves in treacherous terrain for much of the time. As evidenced by this album, however, they do also ‘trespass’ into some heavenly/hellish territory that brings forth highly providential material.
ORPHANED BY THE OCEAN by Teeth of the Sea
Brand new for this January is the marvellous debut from Londoners Teeth of the Sea. Released on Bristol’s cool Rocket Records (www.rocketrecordings.com
), Teeth of the Sea’s ORPHANED BY THE OCEAN is an outrageous Thrones-like necro-collision of Zarathustran meditational rites surmounted by Sergio Leone lone desert trumpet, Far East Family Band’s classic (and Klaus Schultze-produced) PARALLEL WORLD, Harvey Milk at their most Pink Floydian, and LAST-period Agitation Free, power-drives’n’all. Yes children, this Viking Mosh is a truly essential purchase and a saga that will last year round, freshening your room with lager light wherever it may be.
THE SHOVEL & THE GUN by Creech Holler
I’m also heavily digging the in-bred Christian holler of THE SHOVEL & THE GUN by Creech Holler, a quartet of mealy-mouthed post-Cajun, post-John Fogerty renegades with a moving but barbarous sound somewhere between the yawp of Creedence Clearwater Revival’s ‘Pagan Baby’and the mournful but unsentimental reflections of the Fall’s ‘Your Heart Out’. I’d read that they had the sound of back porches in Tennessee but don’t believe none of it. Them fiddles and banjos shure do make it sound authentic, but them songs they play are just too darn real to make this a Reconstruction Fest, indeed, this could appeal to fans of every guitar-overloaded band from the dark folk of the Youngbloods, via the proto-blues of the Plastic Ono Band and post-hippy electric BEARD OF STARS-period Tyrannosaurus Rex through to the Transatlantic Middle Englishness of early (worthy) Mott the Hoople. Nab this sucker from Bucket City Records (www.bucketcity.com
) or check the band out at www.myspace.com/creechholler
HIGH BEAMS by Magic Lantern
ENDLESSLY BLAZING by Robedoor
Joint winners of January’s Vinyl of the Month trophy are two American bands, Magic Lantern from Long Beach, California, and Robedoor from Los Angeles, both being practitioners of a fantastical Avant Kommune sound, wherein caves, gorges and archaic temples are wired for sound, several ritualistic evenings ensue, and the recorded evidence is manipulated digitally to enhance the most fiery moments. On their Woodsist Records LP ENDLESSLY BLAZING, Robedoor’s fabulous and solitary muse operates beyond even the valley of Brast Burn and the Residents, conjuring up a vocal heavy sound that is shot through with wa-bass organs, shuddering bass drums and juddering analogues of pure FX, as umpteen clamorous drunken randomers stagger mikewards briefly, spouting out their wisdom before disappearing forever back into the Heat-Haze-on-a-Summer-Road mix. Score this sucker from the excellent people at www.fusetron.com
, then scurry over to Not Not Fun Records (www.notnotfun.com
) and invest some dosh in the HIGH BEAMS, the epic new guitar mantra from Magic Lantern. Mastered by Khanate’s James Plotkin and replete with full-colour poster, HIGH BEAMS is a stoned gas of epic proportions, and we’ve had it on endless rotations here in the heart of Wessex.
Okay, there ends this month’s reviews, leaving me only to remind you to look out for the forthcoming Black Sheep 2LP red vinyl set at the end of this month. Released on Bristol’s Invada Records and now entitled KISS MY SWEET APOCALYPSE, this double album follows in the footsteps of the William Blake evening, the BLACK SHEEP album and the Joe Strummer Busking Tour, and is a further investigation and celebration of Democracy & Protest Movements. The packaging features within its 24” x 12” gatefold, a spectacular calendar of Outsider Icons by Black Sheep artist Hebbs. For the calendar, I have picked Hebbs’ renditions of TC Lethbridge, CG Jung, Leila Khaled, Emily Pankhurst, Joe Strummer, Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Yoko Ono, Eddie Cochran, Patti Smith, Vachel Lindsay, Albert Einstein and Jim Morrison to represent each of our coming months.
Love On Y’All,
Death to the Priests & Greedheads,
JULIAN (Lord Yatesbury)