7.15am August 1st 2010CE: With Silbury standing sentinel on the horizon, three Black Sheep – Common Era, Julian H. and Vybik Jon – make their way across the Kennet Bridge up to W. Kennett Longbarrow.
I’m highly excited this month to announce the return of Dorian’s excellent ON THIS DEITY blog, which came to a rather untimely end last autumn due to her extreme commitments to family and work. She is once again commemorating culture heroes & outsider icons and excavating forgotten world events which Time has lent extraordinary significance; revolutionary happenings forgotten or submerged by traditional historians. ON THIS DEITY follows the model of the BBC's long-standing On This Day – but offers an alternative version and vision. Expect a persistent theme to emerge over the next 365 days as she sheds light on both moments & historical figures (‘ancestors’ or ‘beloved immortals’ as Dorian refers to them) whose singular actions defined the routes taken by future peoples; heroes & heroines whose words and deeds have caused such colossal footprints in the social fabric that their methods still inform and aid we Moderns in navigating the storms of the Here and Now. Holy McGrail has granted ON THIS DEITY a turbo-charged Motherfucker design befitting of its status as a Black Sheep project; furthermore, you can subscribe to her mailing list, as there are plans for related events and information. www.onthisdeity.com
Meanwhile, right down at that other end of the intellectual scale, several Black Sheep have been engaged in what I term Archaeosonics, ie: exploring the acoustic possibilities of various ancient sites. I invented the catchall term ‘archaeosonics’ way back in ’93, and even bought the url archaeosonics.com in 1998CE with the intention of commencing some sort of programme. Only now, however, through the comradeship of the Black Sheep, have I been able to entrust some of these ideas to others. So when Common Era and Vybik Jon decided to pursue the postponed Orkney Saga without the rest of us, I commissioned those two intuitive Ur-ruffians to perform rituals in as many Neolithic cairns as they had time to attend. Fuck me, the results were startling and utterly at odds with my own decade-and-a-half of site recordings, so different that I have decided to release a series of such recordings. The first, entitled ‘Archaeosonics’, is a massively long introductory 232-minute piece culled from 18 years of field experiments, and accompanied by a long historical essay. Thereafter, releases will include ORCADIA by Common Era and Vybik Jon, and some epic Peak District meditations from Holy McGrail. I’m gonna deploy a brutal policy of sustained onsite chirruping’n’chimping; getting gobby in a cairn if ya know what’s good for ya. Now, that’s gotta be great news for rock’n’roll.
INTERNATIONAL HELLO by Monoshock
The other great news for rock’n’roll this month is the superb return of those classy Intuitive Non-Career Movers Monoshock. Yup, Grady Runyan, Rubin Fiberglas AKA Mitch Fogelman and Scott Derr are back together at last with their superb vinyl-only LP INTERNATIONAL HELLO, released on the always culty Holy Mountain record label (www.holymountain.com
). Of course, nothing involving Messrs Fiberglas and the Runyoid could ever be THAT simple, so these canny’n’cagey druids have done a DROOLIAN and cunningly ensured that the magical word ‘Monoshock’ appears nowhere on the LP packaging. Aha, but such coyness and such evasiveness never stopped this Drude from sussing out their higher motives, and INTERNATIONAL HELLO is most serpently a Monoshock record AND of the highest order. Chock full of that inchoate stuttering, stumbling’n’s-s-shaking that only da ‘Shock do so well, INTERNATIONAL HELLO contains just four very long tracks, mostly inhabited by crunchy Chrome/Hawkwind rhythmic entanglements, those same Soviet space freighter rhythm section power drives AND those same euphoric/ecstatic seesawing dual vocals that bill and coo like suicidal doves caught in the updraught of a Saturn V rocket. Contact these reprobates via www.midheaven.com
and demand their appearance here in the UK before ye whole shithouse goes up in flames. Welcome Back, Gentlemen, this country needs you!
RECEPTION by Coin Under Tongue
Hey Kiddies, Brooklyn’s Coin Under Tongue are back with the magnificent opus RECEPTION, a fucking superb (and TOO BRIEF!) display of angular No Grunge by way of post post Post-Punk, through a hard rock filter, Methinks. Whatever it be, this record is one catchy bastardo. For RECEPTION resounds, nay, abounds with Ur-melodies and neo-riffage, crammed’n’rammed ingenious Futuretro guaranteed to re-fry listeners’ brainsacs. So while the title track dares to descend (almost) as low and as cumbersome as VINCEBUS ERUPTUM (though obviously nowhere near as ineptly), even Coin Under Tongue’s most gentle moments remain under the influence of a barely restrained sonic fury. Imagine Highway Robbery and De Presse as played by HOLY MOUNTAIN-period Sleep, or Harvey Milk-fronted by some W. Country yokel Kurdt Kobain. Well it’s not quite that but they ARE half-brothers. And we have the excellent Death By Audio Records (deathbyaudiorecords.blogspot.com
) to thank for unleashing this compelling digital frisbee of 21st Century field holler, kiddies.
SUPERPOWER-FRAGILIS by Van Allen Belt
Next, I’d like to draw your attention to the mighty orchestral Ragnarok of SUPERPOWERFRAGILIS by Pittsburg’s Van Allen Belt, whose soaringly epiphanic and euphoric Post-everything meditations on 21st Century Amerika succeed mostly by deploying umpteen orchestral themes sampled from that country’s glorious postwar Golden Age. Yup, by sampling TripHop-stylee those most hoary and Establishment P. Spector and B. Bacharach sounds of the sixties and seventies, then re-triggering those suckers back into the ether re-jigged and re-written from the post-Dubya perspective of No Future, the Van Allen Belt sugars, nay, saccharines its bitter cultural pill AND has us fingerpopping simultaneously. Non-stop orchestral wipe-out? Yes please! Doris Day rides the sybian? U-Betcha! Released by Nonstop Everything Records, this work inhabits a truly bizarre niche something like Cornelius’ early ensemble Flipper’s Guitar as fronted by Dorothy Moskvitch, chanteuse with Joseph Byrd’s flawed-but-high-reaching ensemble the United States of America. Unfortunately for the lyrics’ political comments, the music herein is often just so colossal and seamless that certain pertinent rages are wiped out by the co-lateral sonic damage. Fortunately for us, however, the Van Allen Belt is confidently and vigorously fronted by the Tamar Kamin, clearly the Barbara Strident of the New Age –– and one who seems determined to discover at all times new ways of singing: “Amerika, It’s over, Wake Up and Smell the Roses”. Check out this band at myspace.com/thevabelt
, and tell’em to turn the vocals up!
OBLATIONS TO A DIGITAL MUSE by 5-Track
Meanwhile, back at Green Acres, that cantankerous old San Fran backporcher 5-Track has just issued forth an excellent cassette-only album entitled OBLATIONS TO A DIGITAL MUSE, a remarkable collection of lo-fi home funk somewhere between Sly’s tinnitus-inducing top-end-storm THERE’S A RIOT GOIN’ ON and Oliver’s 1975 hen ejecting Oxfordshire barn LP STANDING STONE. To my mind, home-recorded funk best represents the genre just because all that midrange caught on cheap tape gets so fucking skanky. What a hissy fit! And boy does Mr Track represent the moment on this piece of work. I don’t even know where this record is available from, though I’ll wager His Five-ness would magic one up for ya, should you pretty please him via the webwide. Like the New Lou Reeds’ Stephe DK and Temple of Bon Matin’s Ed Wilcox, 5-Track appears intent on insinuating himself into our consciousnesses as a 21st century artist of the United States’ next phase… a realm where insurance and guarantees dare not show their phizzogs.
DUDE AWAKENING by One Dog Clapping
Okay, still whispering of the lo-fi loner trail, all of you people with a jones for singular obsessive Anglo-Rural back porch home recordings should try and gets their greasies on One Dog Clapping’s excellent debut DUDE AWAKENING. Part SW festival Amon Düül commune punk, part pre-hysterical apocalyptic balladeer, One Dog Clapping is fortunately for us one greedy bastard, one moment an Axminster laying sonic shag carpets of T. Verlaine in our doorways, the next barking out portentous I. Hunter vocaleptics! Like my own lo-lo-fi DROOLIAN, DUDE AWAKENING’s magic mostly exists on account of its down-home off-the-cuff performances. However, the actual music and words contained herein ain’t half bad, neither. Get down to www.onedogclapping.com
and lob some hard-earned at their doorkeeper, and pronto, Tonto!
DAAS by Machinefabrek
I’d next like to suggest to all you seekers of semi-conscious meditative states that you check out DAAS by the Netherlands’ Machinefabriek, whose music appears to exude some odourless otherworldy gas that renders listeners helpless, nay, catatonic. Released on Northampton’s always mind provoking Cold Spring Records (www.coldspring.co.uk
), this music – mostly the work of one Rutger Zudervelt – is a stone chapel on a hillside in November in the rain; it’s a haunted and low-masted Viking death ship drifting under the radar in the fog of night in a post-‘Sinking of the Titanic’ stylee, a rudderless and drifting motorized cloud fuelled only by dusty ½ bit low grade samples and banks of monolithic Soviet-sized robot choirs. But when you welcome DAAS into your living room, remember to keep some windows well battened down, or risk turning your home into Odin’s autobahn… a windy thoroughfare indeed! I’m sure my umpteen Welsh aunts used to keep jars of this DAAS stuff in their pantries, for use as bromides when their old men got the twitches. Oo-er missus!
FILTHY PLUMMAGE ON AN OPEN SEA
Okay, with the legendary Monoshock taking all the vinyl plaudits the other end of the review section, I’d just like to close with a few short words about FILTHY PLUMMAGE ON AN OPEN SEA, the superb preliminary 12” EP from dark folk balladeer Cult of Youth, whose frenetic acoustic strum and foghorn dark folk delivery evoke thoughts of Austria’s Cadaverous Condition, America’s Changes and, most of all, of Argentina’s Companero Asma. Released on the Avanti label, Cult of Youth’s debut statement is too brief to provide enough evidence of a sustainable talent, and too unfocussed to anticipate where its sonics are headed. But as an opening salvo of self-righteous indignation and piss-offness, the songs contained within the grooves of FILTHY PLUMMAGE ON AN OPEN SEA will really do us all right for now. Yowzah, as ‘they’ have been known to say.
Right Kiddies, as that leaves me with nowt more to comment on, I shall wish you a fine August (and a lucky one if you’re holidaying in the UK), and bid y’all ‘Good Day’.
May Love Rain On Ya,
JULIAN (Lord Yatesbury)