David Wrench at Silbury
While my lovely missus has this month been re-engaging us all with bizarre tales of past heroes & heroines, tyrants, revolutionaries, even final solutionaries through her On This Deity (www.onthisdeity.com) website, fellow Black Sheep David Wrench and I have on record been pursuing a highly political Shelleyan metaphor – Percy not Burke – first with David’s version of ‘Men of England’ and also my own take on ‘The Masque of Anarchy’, that highly controversial 92-verse behemoth written by Shelley – while in Italy – in response to the news of Manchester’s horrific Peterloo Massacre of 1819. Of course, the Black Sheep Acoustic Division’s November ’09 busk on the site of the massacre had manifested in all of us a true sense of the cruel injustice perpetrated there against men, women and children. But it was only when we travelled to Rome last October that Acoustika, Michael O’Sullivan and myself discussed the massacre from Shelley’s Italian-based temporary worldview; and I realised that a version of the poem must be recorded, if only to discover whether or not such an effort would bear repeated listening! That this poem remained banned from publication until 1832 adds further and heavier weight to its cultural importance, so I shall not hurry to rush release my version. Meantime, David’s version of ‘Men of England’ has developed from its initial hesitant stumblings into an epic funereal trawl somewhere along the lines of Wolfmangler or a valium-doped Kevrenn Alré, and will hopefully soon be available for your delectation. Yowzah!
PALE FACE DESTROYER by Bibilic Blood
Okay, over in the Reviews Section, that confounding Helbound duo Bibilic Blood are extremely back with another totally relentless und cunted new album of monoliths entitled PALE FACE DESTROYER, eleven inappropriately-titled statements driven as always by the 1- or (stretchin’it) possibly 2-note bass-that-wishes-to-be-a-washing machine stylings and post-PUSSY CANNIBAL HOLOCAUST Vokills (sic) of Ms. Suzy Psycho, each offering knocked senseless-then-garrotted into shape by drummer/guitarist Wizard, who stacks up such seemingly endless layers of Leigh Stephens-oid axe wringing that the reverb from previous tracks overflow into the next, so backing-up your hi-fi’s plumbing you’ll be calling out Dynorod by disc’s conclusion. Fuck me, there’ard this pair. You should see what they do to two Neil Young songs; I won’t even tell you which ones, neither, because it’s all sent through the Bibilic Blood mangle anyway, thereby rendering both songs as close to Bibilic Blood originals as could be possible. Released on their own Stearns Dog label (www.stearnsdog.com/bibilicblood
), this new album continues to plough successfully that stumbling Ur-rumbling that only such one offs as Japan’s Death Comes Along would wish to occupy. Man, I fucking dig it.
BEHOLD A NEW TRAVELLER by The Goner
I’m also digging the huge & Cosmick heathen folk of The Goner’s BEHOLD A NEW TRAVELLER, seven tumbling & loud loud acoustic-driven tales geyser’d forth from the pen and guitars of Swede Daniel Westerlund. Recorded deep in the heart of some Cretan antron by the sounds of it; this singular reverb pervades the entire record, lending, nay, endowing BEHOLD A NEW TRAVELLER with a hefty Post-Punkiness, a kind of Chills-like frosting that candy-coats each song. When the banjos plunk, the log drums clunk and the backporch harmonies yodel, the spectre of Stone Breath’s tiMOTHy is inevitably invoked. But there’s precious few others nowadays peddling such a rich and thorough Trip as the Revelator, so any artists daring to plough that same agri-furrow should be welcomed and shared around. Besides, the Goner’s Trip is entirely his own. It’s psychedelic, it’s glorious and – best of all – it’s useful. Released on the Deep Water label (www.dwacres.com/label
), this record is a highly complete statement, and a beautiful thing well worthy of the scoring.
II by San Francisco Water Cooler
Meanwhile, try to feast your lobes upon the new San Francisco Water Cooler 12” vinyl LP. This extraordinary second album – entitled simply ‘II’ – inhabits a shadow territory somewhere between the laser-bleached burned offerings of Comets on Fire’s FIELD RECORDINGS FROM THE SUN, the 13th Floor Elevators’ impenetrable Stacy-led masterpiece BULL OF THE WOODS and the Buzzcocks’ Instant Snapshots bootleg TIME’S UP. Yup, that harmful to your normality! San Francisco Water Cooler is a Santa Cruz trio whose deployment of transcendental harmonies, essential pop sensibilities and even the occasional Tin Pan Alley chord sequence conspire to cloud our melted plastic minds, making us forgetful of their roots in that utopian carcrash known as Residual Echoes. I gots to tell y’all, kiddies, these druids sound like they fuck each other’s wives AND each other AND share the same toothbrush… sorry, what the? I mean these druids undoubtedly share a genuinely psychic bond that erupts skywards whenever they get a coupla hours away from the office to practise rigorously upon their instruments. Sheesh, from the evidence of the sounds within the grooves of SAN FRANCISCO WATER COOLER II, these warlocks wouldn’t even know the whereabouts of their OWN undies let alone hold down day jobs. Listen to me, grab this second LP – released on Sun Sneeze Records (firstname.lastname@example.org
) – while you still have time and marvel that there remain humans here in the west that are this fucking FREEEEEEEEEE!!!
ARE WE EXPERIMENTAL? by Acid Mothers Temple
Uh, meanwhile from back in the East racing towards us like 10,000 suns comes yet another sonic barrage from those Japanese over-achievers Acid Mothers Temple (www.acidmothers.com), whose brand new album ARE WE EXPERIMENTAL – released on Prophase Records (www.prophasemusic.com
) – takes the form of one huge solo cut-up Kawabata Makoto solo axe freakout, cross-edited with roughly inserted shards of band performances, exquisite acoustic Keltothons and even the occasional vocal-led sojourn. It’s a giddying and snarling bronco ride; a genuinely psychedelic experience that leaves you forgetful of time and exhausted. Beautiful. Unfortunately, however, like Bristol’s the Heads, Acid Mothers Temple must lose a lot of potential listeners because of their obstinate dedication to decorating their record covers with tired shots of semi-clad ‘60s chicks. Moreover, ARE WE EXPERIMENTAL’s particularly motley collection of lazy booklet shots offers listeners no reason to own the actual Prophase Records CD itself; crazy really, because this unwieldy, nay, axe-wieldy album is a righteous epic – the perfect psychic poultice to apply when you just need to plughole your immediate surroundings and fade away for a while.
DRONE MACHINES by Author & Punisher
No chance of fading away with DRONE MACHINES from San Diego’s Author & Punisher (www.myspace.com/authorandpunisher), wherein the sounds of colossal industrial cultures are sampled, reduced and crunched into 1/200,000,000th scale micro Soviet-sized cubes of concentrated saccharine badness, over which a deadringer for Ted Hughes’ IRON MAN leads massed robot marching bands armed only with tambourines the size of the Millennium Wheel, as long distance telephone recordings of CARMINA BURANA are dolloped over the spectacular results with all the grace of your old primary school’s 16-stone dinner ladies. Whew! Really? Yup, really. Furthermore, imagine an electronic Khanate in an early Furze black metal atmosphere constantly invaded by exhilarating yet ambulant updraughts of Kabalist and LIVE ON A BOAT-period Wolf Eyes, and yooz even closer to reaching Author & Punisher’s metaphor. Motherfucker! Released on Israel’s molto fabulous Heart & Crossbone label (www.HCBrecords.com
), this far-reaching and truly epic heart-stopper is more than worth the searching out; it’s a fucking lifesaver!
SOLSBURY HILL by Adrian Arbib
I’ll conclude this month’s reviews with a look at SOLSBURY HILL, photographer Adrian Arbib’s brilliant visual account of the ring road destruction caused to the water meadows and foothills of Bath’s legendary Solsbury Hill during the 1994 construction of the infamous ‘Batheaston and Swainswick by-pass’. Beautifully published in hardback by Oxford’s The Bardwell Press (www.bardwell-press.co.uk
), and complete with a foreword written by George Monbiot, SOLSBURY HILL’s startling black-and-white photos not only serve to remind us how brutal was the manner in which this road was achieved, but also – to we locals – just how unnecessarily destructive it all was to the entire surrounding landscape. Adrian Arbib’s also pays photographic tribute to the protesters who heroically put in months of spirited resistance to this foul destruction, his shots often ingeniously juxtaposing some slim smiling be-dreadlocked girl-elf next to the very ugliest and fattest of white-hatted security guards. Of course, the most heart stopping photos have to be those violent, evil scenes which feature the tearing down of the final trees (and encampments), as arsehole wall-eyed fluorescent guards shear the protestors’ rigging, sniggering as they do so. In its presentation and graphic detail, this superb historical document certainly reminded this some-time Road Protestor that those trunk road confrontations, both to the protestors AND to the authorities, are truly a brand new form of civil war.
Right, that’s me finished for another month. Hopefully, I shall see some of you at the Croydon and Stockton-on-Tees shows, on the 18th and 23rd of this month respectively. Until that time, start preparing for the winter, brothers’n’sisters, and stay safe on the roads if you need to travel.
JULIAN (Lord Yatesbury)