Julian Cope presents Head Heritage

March Drudion

March 2009ce

Last summer, the Archdrude painted this William Blake quote on to the base of his mikestand to inspire the members of his band (Photo: C. Cheerio)
Hey Drudion,

The 19th Century historian Lord Acton was right when he declared: “the issue which … will have to be fought sooner or later is the people versus the banks.” That time has come right here in ’09 as activists plan to storm the Bank of England this coming All Fools Day (see: g-20meltdown.org). It was thirteen years ago, at the height of the struggle to save the Berkshire town of Newbury from its second unnecessary by-pass, that I last quoted Ernesto ‘Che’ Guevara on the cover of my then-current album INTERPRETER: “… it is time to moderate our disputes and to place everything at the service of the struggle.” Well brothers’n’sisters, the time has come once again to invoke both the words AND the revolutionary spirit of Che, for never never never before have Joe’n’Joanne Public experienced such unashamed treachery from a so-called Labour government as that perpetrated by our erstwhile Chancellor and now Prime Minister in the name of Kapitalist Greed. Blair the Papist shat a stinky poo … name’s Gordon Brown, what a number 2! If you’ve never been in a riot, then perhaps now is the time; apoplectic with rage is no state in which to live your entire life, but occasional weekends and feast days are essential. The Black Sheep have plans for some Spring Actions, so we’ve recorded a whole raft of Ambient Street Protest Chorales, Dìrges & Chant-o-thons, mostly dedicated to ancestral heroes past and social activists of the present. Unfortunately, those of you awaiting our long-announced double-LP KISS MY SWEET APOCALYPSE will be unsurprised to learn that major problems in European vinyl production (coloured vinyl is currently unavailable) have forced back the record’s release date, much closer to the release date of the double-CD version. We will, however, make a Head Heritage news announcement as soon as the record arrives.

CHE: THE ARGENTINE and CHE: GUERILLA

Now, I’d like to continue the timely Che name-check with a mention of Stephen Soderbergh’s two excellent Spanish language epics CHE: THE ARGENTINE and CHE: GUERILLA. The first film explores Ernesto’s role as an Outsider at the centre of the Cuban Revolution, the second being a meditation on Che’s disastrous attempt to overthrow the Bolivian government in 1967. Any fears that viewers may have had about their hero being depicted as too much of a Pop Star are successfully squashed by Soderbergh’s brilliant decision to cast the ‘too old/too ugly’ Benicio Del Toro in the role, immediately lending Che’s on-screen character a venerable (and ever-smoking) Jacques Brelian sagacity. Those with a passion for fast action and heroic deaths will be appalled by these films, for even the deaths of major characters are all radically underplayed, so determined were Del Toro and Soderbergh to avoid sentimentality. The action of the first film is unrelenting, but superbly filmed and is never overly gratuitous in its violence. It is, however, more essential to see the second film THE GUERILLA, if only to recognize how heroic was Che’s decision to struggle unwanted and poorly prepared around the soaking jungles of Bolivia, when he could have been lapping up endless plaudits across the Communist world, and hanging out with his wife and five children. Bravo to the filmmakers for these brave and epic (and often instructional) works.

CARVER BROTHERS LULLABY by The Tunnel

On the recording front, I’ve also been mightily impressed by the scratchy and acerbic post-MARQUEE MOON death C&W of The Tunnel, a duo whose debut album CARVER BROTHERS LULLABY is a collection of epic and strung-out Chain Gang-meets-Robert Quinean Blank Generation Blues. Brothers’n’sisters, y’all know how much I hate white blues and I positively detest most of the sub-Juicy Lucy, sub-sub-Capt. Beefheartisms that spew out the modern Underground. But The Tunnel is an entirely different kettle o’viciousness. For a start they got a songwriter! Moreover, they gotta traditional side that wouldn’t fare badly playing Alice’s ‘Ballad of Dwight Fry’ in a bassless Shockabilly stylee. Released on San Francisco’s Glorious Alchemical Co. (insidethetunnel.com/GLOinside.html), you can also access the band at thetunnelsf.com. These guys is Motherfuckers, no less. I wish them well and offer thanks for this major mudslide.

CELESTIAL GATES OF TIME by The Doom Riot

Of major psychic use is the Doom Riot’s enormous album CELESTIAL GATES OF TIME, whose four tracks offer listeners guaranteed guestlist entry into the Underworld. Led by Claus Haxholm, the Doom Riot is the kind of heavy usefulness that Head Heritage demands of its own acts, the four tracks contained herein being massively strung-out obliterations of the Urthona, Nadja, Sorc’henn, Spaceship persuasion. My two personal faves are the near-half-hour trek ‘Backup Angel Fire Sphere’ and the burned-out and Zoroastrian album closer ‘Night Saviour Drummer’, but the whole album is a righteous and coherent statement of intent that should have y’all returning again and again. Available in a limited edition from the good people at Stunned Records (stunnedrecords.blogspot.com), you can also petition them at stunnedrecords@gmail.com.

COL. WILLIAMSBURG by Pläns Pläns

I’m both confused, perplexed and inspired by the weird antics of American guitar band Pläns Pläns, whose hugely (overly?) adventurous self-released album debut COL. WILLIAMSBURG is a wild stoned-munchees melange of full-on axe overload, extravert psychedelic prog-outs and pure Colonial tradition. Indeed, if anything trips this Maryland band up, it’s their sheer delight at alluding to some sub-Danny Boy folksong in the middle of the most cathartic piece they do. However, COL. WILLIAMSBURG is a righteous tour de force from confident motherfuckers without downpayment blues (no borrowed Tokais for these gents), and those of you open-minded enuff should check them out at myspace.com/plansplans.

CLEAN HANDS GO FOUL by Khanate

Back in the Bog, it’s truly great to learn that the final Khanate album CLEAN HANDS GO FOUL can see the light of day at last, especially as it concludes with the perpetually-garrotted Alan ‘The Nightshitter’ Dubin’s half-hour-plus Diss-Epic ‘Every Goddamn Thing’. Some commentators have complained at the methods in which Khanate achieved this final session, as though they’re the Ramones or somesuch and must all be together when the tracks go down. Fuck that shit. Messrs. Plotkin, Whizz Kidda, O’Malley and the Dubin are the fucking Can of Doom, not some weekenders on a largactyl mong. Besides, there are chordal blisses contained within this new Khanate album that singe my psychic split-ends and shake my pagan ass like no Khanate record previous. Way. And if the Dubin was Hornby Size in parts of Khanate’s previous canon, then he’s veritably Utgard-Loki by the middle of ‘Every Goddamn Thing’, creeping about your larder like a rampant shrew on marijuana lardy cake. Released on Japan’s Daymare Recordings, you also gots the option to score ye picture disc version from trustnoonerecordings.com. Luvverly!

Goliath Bird Eater/Sasqrotch Split 10"

Finally, the Vinyl of the month award goes to Not Not Fun Records, who surpass themselves once again with the 10” split (Limited 400 ed.) release between two current Los Angeles bands, slacker/bandit fun duo Goliath Bird Eater and barrel o’laughs power trio Sasqrotch. What a Pallet Cleanser this mother is! Though I very much enjoyed Goliath Bird Eater’s first album BLOOD VENUS, they have – with a change of drummer – blasted out of the crowd with this awe-inspiring riffathon, which commences like a Stoner take of Devo’s version of ‘Satisfaction’, before being transformed into a demented and monotonous sub-Obsessed/St. Vitus blizzard. 2/3rds of the way through, guest guitarist Nels Cline lays out an exquisitely prickly single-coil axe solo that just takes ya even higher/lower. Bring on the extended 37-minute digital versh! On ‘tother side of the vinyl, well … it’s rare when artists understand their own metaphor as well as Sasqrotch obviously do. Describing their music as having been influenced by ‘gore films, depravity and the neighbourhood’, Sasqrotch bring forth on this release an ever-unfolding sonic checklist of wounded and remedial sub-sub-Melvins riffage and hollow vacant-eyed Fanny Robin polio wastage that clings to the corners of your bedroom and leaves sticky trails across your speaker wires. Listen in the dark, or slap it on first thing as an antidote to next door’s breakfast TV. To hunt this sucker down, just access those Visionary motherfuckers at Forced Exposure, but do get a move on, you at the back!

Okay, there endeth the news from Yatesbury for another month. But what with the disturbing and dystopian present in full bore, let’s hope that the coming months are as free of nasty surprises as possible. And to everyone who’s suffering, we at Head Heritage – Dorian, JoAnne, Wendy H, Holy McGrail and myself – send bales of fond regards, plus salutes and hails from all.

Be Good to Yourselves,

Love On Ya,

JULIAN (Lord Yatesbury)