In April 2009CE, the Black Sheep recorded their first BBC session in the same Maida Vale studio as Bing Crosby back in 1935. (Photo: Brent Hansen)
What with the death of innocent bystander Ian Tomlinson and the ‘Shit happens’ Facebook comment from some cynical cop, the fallout from the G20 Protests will be far more major than the authorities can ever imagine. We only have to look at the historical response to over-violent policing to know that the powder keg always eventually erupts and showers everyone in the vicinity. As John F. Kennedy once commented: “Those who make peaceful protest impossible make violent revolution inevitable”. Keep bottling it up like Charles I did with his policies and it’s only time before heads roll. It seems to me that the officially sanctioned violence inflicted by the police authorities will only send the protest underground, with all of the scary implications of such a move. Anyway, on the Sunday following the G20, myself and nine other Black Sheep – Holy McGrail, Acoustika, Antronhy Øh, Big Nige, Michael O’Sullivan, Fat Paul, Common Era, David Wrench and Christophe F. – amassed at the BBC’s Maida Vale studios to record our first radio session. Three brand new pieces entitled ‘Not Happy’, ‘Bank of England’ and ‘Vachel Lindsay’ spewed forth. At times, the music was a wild switchback ride and a cacophonous Cack Off, whilst at other moments, it became a dozy slug inching its way across a salty baking tray. Yowch! Also, in celebration of the Black Sheep Electronic Division’s forthcoming 10” E.P., the BBC kindly invited them to record ‘The Doorway Character’, with author Eddi Fiegel narrating in her most dulcet tomes. Unfortunately, the bad news is that our double-CD KISS MY SWEET APOCALYPSE has been held up because of packaging problems, which means Invada Records wanna hang fire on issuing the vinyl, too. Still, at least the appearance of my CD-programme for THE UNRULY IMAGINATION has taken the edge of the absence of the Black Sheep debut. Soz about that, ladies’n’gentlemen.
WILD & INSIDE by Eat Skull
Let’s move on to the Reviews Section, now. Jumping straight in, I’ll tell you what for kick off, I’m a mad cunt for the ecstatic and Shamanic meld of Post-Punk & Commune Kraut served up on WILD & INSIDE by Eat Skull. Released on the almost always excellent Siltbreeze Records ( www.midheaven.com
), this disc is a doorway that combines the Art School ramalama of Swell Maps, Blue Orchids and the Fire Engines with such bizarre song-based Commune-style music as mid-period 13th Floor Elevators and PARADIESWARTS DÜÜL-period Amon Düül. This lot rage and rage then blink and it’s gone. I like that but it don’t half breed the need for repeated plays. Leave ‘em wanting more, that’s my motto.
ALBATROS by The Snobs
Worthy of everyone’s careful attention is ALBATROS, the intriguing new album from bizarre French duo The Snobs, two brothers who go by the nom de guerres of Duck Feeling and Mad Rabbit. The Snobs’ manage to infuse their highly melodic and masterfully choral music with all kinds of Faustian clatter and Neu/Can inspired workouts, yet never approach homage because they always keep you guessing. For example, one song commences like ODESSY & ORACLE-period Zombies doing the Beach Boys ‘A Day in the Life of a Tree’, then percolates through low church rumbling into a headlong post-Glam charge via Eno’s motorik ‘Third Uncle’. Both brothers exhibit such extreme confidence that this fabulous record is chock full o’wild guitar mangling moments, monumentally twatted freakouts, and heightened areas of High Contrast euphoria. Score this sucker from these druids by contacting them direct at firstname.lastname@example.org
, or through www.myspace/thesnobsdustbin
CONJURE WAR E.P. by Invasion
Next up, ‘Conjure War’ is an impressive three-track E.P. from London’s non-conformist power trio Invasion. For, in a metal world replete with hairy bands of the guitar/bass/drums format, Invasion showcases the formidable talents of female vocalist Chan Brown and lady drummer Zel Kaute, supported only by the inspirational (and fucking confident) Marek Steven on guitar. As evidenced by the post-Janis Joplin shriek of Robert Plant and Dickie Peterson, the female soul roots of Heavy Metal have never been too far away. However, Invasion makes damned sure we re-new that almost severed connection and then some! Access this brief-but-spectacular display from This is Music Records (www.thisismusicltd.com
) or via www.myspace.com/invasion
BLACK TO COMMUNIST by Various Artists
Hot on the heels of last month’s High Rise onslaught comes BLACK TO COMMUNIST, an enormous and incredibly lavish yellow-and-pink double-CDR of lost and rare Japanese Commune and Festival bands from the period 1969-75. This huge album contains music by many of the bands that I discussed in JAPROCKSAMPLER (Brain Police/Zuno Keisatsu, Acid Seven, Brast Burn, Murahatchibu, Karuna Khyal), as well as showcasing Les Rallizes Denudes’ little brother band Yellow, whose two epic sludge-trudges rival even Miles Davis’ sub-moronic ‘Right Off’ epic for sheer pre-Fall pre-No Wave gumption. Wrapped in a wild punk mini poster and clocking in at over 120 minutes, this is an ideal manner in which to navigate your way into the sometimes lo-fi, always sci-fi world of the early Japanese communes. Grab this monster from our Merchandiser while they last! Yow-fucking-Tsar!
THE POLITICS OF THE IRREDEEMABLE by the Human Quena Orchestra
That I’ve been meditating to the inhuman sounds of THE POLITICS OF THE IRREDEEMABLE by the Human Quena Orchestra probably says more about the current workings of my mind than any useful comment about the music of the band itself. However, if you also find your sleep suffering from 100,000 thoughts downloading every moment, please try this exquisitely epic (and obliterating) sonic journey through landscapes of burnt out Black Metal, and onwards trudgefully past a Burke Shelley rehearsal and fallen statues of the Doom God Dubin, through a Wodenist environment wherein tortured vocalists serenade crows and tree-impaled musicians set off Nadja samples to long-rotting corpses. It’s not for Casuals maybe. But I’ve always been a sucker for a Hieronymus Bosch pic, and this new album on the excellent Crucial Blast Records (www.crucialblast.net
) is a sonic Dead Ringer for that Dutch painter dude. Besides, any ensemble this Cunted that manages/needs to quote R.D. Laing, Jared Diamond AND the Iron Cross-wearing Dakota Sioux chief Big Soldier has gotta be worth paying attention to. Damn.
DARK SHADOWS by Cold Sun
A couple of weeks ago, my friend and 13th Floor Elevators biographer Psychedelic Paul Drummond handed me a CD by Cold Sun, but we were too caught up in the moment to discuss its provenance. Imagine my delight when I discovered that this was a re-mastered edition of Rockadelic Records’ masterful (yet long deleted) discovery DARK SHADOWS, a full album of 1970 recorded material by Roky Erikson’s former backing band Bliebalien. Hard to imagine, I know, but hidden away within the grooves of this record are three of my favourite ever songs, written and sung by autoharpist Billy Miller, and influenced by my three of my All Time Favourites: the Velvets, the Doors and the Elevators. Sad to say this compilation includes far too much mediocre material, sad because so much of it hides the real classics. Nevertheless, this was an essential release and a righteous one, no less. There are great sleevenotes by Jello Biafra and some classy photos, too. Don’t download the crap vinyl-transferred mp3, kiddies: World in Sound have done a sterling job and methinks you really should pay for your own copy. Score this sucker from www.worldinsound.com
NO MORE INVENTION 12" by Gunslingers
Staying with the World in Sound label, please excuse my decision, nay, my need to conclude this month’s reviews with a re-tread, but that German label must surely get an award for their sumptuous gatefold sleeve vinyl issue of the incredible NO MORE INVENTION by France’s lonewolf power trio Gunslingers. Although I’ve made this Album of the Month once already, it’s such a huge piece of work, so iconoclastic and spastic in its performance that I feel obligated to take every opportunity to further Big Up this monumental album. And you truly get the feeling that should even one member leave the band, it would all fall apart though becoming too together. Yup, just as drummer Ken Pustelnik and bassist Pete Cruickshank were essential to the Groundhogs’ admittedly T.S. McPhee-ian led muse, so are Gunslingers’ bass player Matthieu Canaguier and drummer Antoine Hadjioannou totally integral to generating Gunslingers’ ever changing spiders-on-vaseline sound. Those with a Jones for this ensemble’s quicksilver sound should check out www.worldinsound.com
Okay, I’d like to conclude this Drudion with a mention of some big changes coming to the Head Heritage website. Within the month, we shall be offering both a Collectors’ Shop that links to eBay, and a Download Site that will make available several long deleted Head Heritage and Julian Cope releases. So, uh Look Out! And with that, I shall sod off once again for a month, knowing that – most likely – the Black Sheep’s KISS MY SWEET APOCALYPSE will probably surface quite randomly and out of nowhere, kind of like Godot in that S. Beckett play. What? Oh, hold on, didn’t he just never make it or something… Oh whatever!
Mucho love (and macho hugs)
JULIAN (Lord Yatesbury)