Five Black Sheep congregate at the foot of the Rudston Monolith, England’s tallest prehistoric standing stone. (L-R) Michael O’Sullivan, Hebbs, The Archdrude, Acoustika and Christophe F.
So sorry about the tardy nature of this Address, but I got sick after my Monfalcone show and took to my bed briefly. Still, whilst up there in Northern Italy, I seized my chance to view the mountains of Austria and Slovenia from this rare geographical perspective, as I had often wondered what had compelled the Italian Navy, back in 1912, to invent air raids right here in this Monfalcone neck-of-the-woods AND a full two years before WW1, a time when GB, France and Germany were still humming-and-hah’ing about the morality of even flying reconnaissance missions too far over their opponent’s frontline ... what the? However, as I stood viewing from an Italian perspective the massive mountains of the then-Habsburg Empire, I soon understood why their bombardments had begun so early. Paranoia or what! And in these ever-changing situations that we of this Western World currently face, it’s perhaps good for our mental health to be granted a look from another’s worldview every now and then. Which is why several Black Sheep rallied at England’s largest standing stone – The Rudston Monolith – on the day following my Stockton-von-Teese show. Back in 2500 BC, this 25’ tall pillar was the terminus and focal point of four ceremonial earthen avenues, all hundreds of metres long. This huge megalithic complex – the Avebury of its area – represented the upland area known as the Yorkshire Wolds, this last word connoting exactly the same meaning as ‘world’. In those ancient days before the stinking concept of nationalism obtained a hold, certain insular ancient English places such as The Wirral, the Cotswolds, The Weald (in Kent) all took their ‘world’ names from enthusiastic ancient locals who’d been convinced that their patch of land was the only world worth considering. It’s for this very same reason that we have here in Britain six rivers by the ancient name of Avon: taking the name of each river from the Old Welsh ‘afon’ or ‘river’, six different ancient tribes believed their particular river of enough world importance to allow them the right to give their particular favourite stretch of water no other name than simply ‘river’.
ALIEN BRAIN v. MAGGOT BRAIN by Psychic TV
Okay, now I’ll slide off my lofty cultural sandbox and stick a few recommended listens your way with this month’s Review Section. For we gotta a fabulous manner in which to start courtesy of ALIEN BRAIN v. MAGGOT BRAIN, the brand new album from Psychic TV. Released on Vanity Case Records (www.vanitycaserecords.com
), this new statement from Sister Gen is a totally brilliant and highly unexpected Outcast Broadside, two side-long Kosmische epics of the exhilarating powerdrive variety, one original that sounds like Death Comes Along playing Ash Ra Tempel and one epic Funkadelic cover – expertly delivered by the New Orridge 4 – over which our shaman muses, croons and declaims several bathtub-fulls of highly effective Revolutionary Drool. Even better, this superb artefact arrives in the kind of 12” bloodstained white vinyl that put me in mind of the first Suicide LP campaign back in early ‘78. Dig this music, brothers and sisters. And dig this sustaining Orridgean motherfucker. To Genesis P. Orridge, fuck yeah!
HIT SONGS by the New Lou Reeds
Next up, I’m a little concerned by the New Lou Reeds’ HIT SONGS, an erratic bunch of complain-o-thons that too often submerges rather than showcases lead moaner Stephe DK’s expert lyrical asides, and shamelessly undervalues the atonal Peter Laughnerisms of his otherwise Creedence guitar ramalama. And boy do the New Lou’s suffer without Maximum DK at all times. Hell, without our hero’s molto Sioux E. Pig whinny flamethrowing the hairs on the back of your neck, far too often is the juggernaut of sound merely generic in its rocking: an un-logo’d 24-wheeler without even an ‘Am I Driving This Vehicle Well?’ panel on the back door. Hey, that’s not to say I ain’t spun this disc umpteen pleasurable times, brothers’n’sisters. Ain’t nothing gonna put me off Herr DK’s World’s Oldest Teenager Weltanschauung, nor even his extravagantly high expectations for his locality and environment. But what worries me most is we need more more more. And since I been youtubing these guys perform this new LP’s final epic ‘The Mainframe is Coming Down’ since about 2007CE, its underwhelming final form can only seem disappointing. Released on their usual Exit Stencil Records (www.exitstencilrecordings.com
), HIT SONGS may be way patchy but it still kacks big logs in most of the other boys’ sandpits.
BLIND BABY HAS ITS MOTHER'S EYES by Les Rallizes Denudés
Re-issue of the Month has to be the beautiful new vinyl edition of Les Rallizes Denudés’ timeless subterranean Ur-klassik (er… classic?) BLIND BABY HAS ITS MOTHER’S EYES, if only for the superb manner in which the dub fury and wind tunnel e. guitar downpour of the 19-minute title-track translates on to the analogue format. Crunchy Crunchy Crunchy! Fuck me back’erds or what? This is a lovely little number indeed, its bass base as d’Ur-stupid as some of those early Paul Simenon figures, and all overlain by some hiccupping & pre-hysterical Frenched-up & pouting be-shaded Boy Orbison with a Jackson Pollock-meets-Photoshop Paintbucket lead guitar style. Whew! Yer typical Rallizes closer ‘The Last One’ achieves its traditional epic place at the end of side two, but it’s an awful shame the way ‘An Aweful Eternie’ gets scalpelled and spead across the end of side one and beginning of side two. Still, as this is the first time on vinyl for this JAPROCKSAMPLER hi-flyer, let’s celebrate its release by Phoenix Records (www.secondlayer.co.uk
) and do make sure to score your copy pronto, Tonto!
DEEP TISSUE by People of the North
Okay, next up comes the endless forward motion of DEEP TISSUE by Brooklyn duo People of the North who, over just four long tracks, describe an ecstatic and meditative sound somewhere between Amon Düül, Simply Saucer, Friendsound and Loop playing Eno’s ‘Third Uncle’. And boy, what with the epic drumming of Oneida’s Kid Millions informing the core of this ensemble’s sound, don’t this just shit all over so many modern so-called Kraut-informed bands. Kiddies, you get somebody this righteously Taliban behind the traps and you just cain’t go wrong. Released on vinyl by the oft-wonderful Jagjaguwar Records (www.jagjaguwar.com
), this is a highly driven yet divine cosmic ooze that envelops listeners in its inner hurricane and allows them merely to … Be, Motherfuckers! Propelled, urgent, intense and yet always subterranean, DEEP TISSUE is a highly useful sound that’s had me spinning this sucker on endless repeat.
AN ANARCHIST’S STORY by Chris Dolan
I’ll next mention Chris Dolan’s AN ANARCHIST’S STORY: THE LIFE OF ETHEL MacDONALD on Birlinn Books (www.birlinn.co.uk), as I’ve long held a fascination for this lunatic Scots chancer who, in 1936, semi-hitched a ride to Barcelona just as the Spanish Civil War broke out, somehow becoming the international radio voice of the Catalan Anarchists. What a story and what a life, I thunk. I can’t wait to read this book! Well don’t hold your breath, kiddies. There ain’t no story. And at one hundred pages too long, AN ANARCHIST’S STORY is cobbled together from hagiography and seemingly endless hearsay from distant relatives, many of whom never even met Blessèd Ethel. The whole think-piece is then all ‘backed up’ by comments from such Spanish Civil War luminaries as La Pasionaria, Emma Goldman and George Orwell, each one of such World Intellectual vastness that our Ethel inevitably ends up sounding like the Bash Street Kids, her own remarks recorded herein sounding in such company more like those of a J. Rotten-styled punk than any real practitioner of anarchism. And while all this comes as no surprise to me, they don’t half get her biographer in a tizz, e.g.: “Today was a demonstration to celebrate the Russian Revolution … [but we] went to the harbour an enjoyed sunray treatment instead!” Time and time again, Ethel Mac reveals that she was not the Scots Anarchist we Moderns had yearned to learn about, being instead more of a refusenik of the highest order: a Naysayer, a punk and what a punk. Hell, she even scrawled ‘Get Lost’ across her tax returns before mailing them back. Ethel clearly never ever knew when to back off. Unfortunately, AN ANARCHIST’S STORY does not therefore tell Ethel MacDonald’s true story at all, her biographer steadfastly refusing to fess up to the evidence-or-lack-of-it, mostly merely adding to the already bullshit-heavy Ethel Myth with yet more bluff and ballast. Damn it, Ethel, with all those sleights-of-hand and deft moves, it’s no wonder they nicknamed you ‘the Scots Scarlet Pimpernel’.
BECOMING ELEKTRA by Mick Houghton
Meanwhile, at the other end of the information scale – as in: ye overlode – comes the magnificence of BECOMING ELEKTRA: THE TRUE STORY OF JAC HOLZMANN’S VISIONARY RECORD LABEL, a wonderful new 300-pages-plus tome written by Mick Houghton, my publicist of these past 30 years. And damn it was worth all the effort, the sweat, the interviews and the bullshit to get together such a righteous volume. Published by Jawbone Press (www.jawbonepress.com
), Brother Houghton’s extraordinarily thorough work not only features a running commentary courtesy of Jac Holzmann himself, but also even includes full colour packshots of each and every Elektra LP! And when your subject matter is as culturally rich as Elektra’s back catalogue, well, readers can only utter the occasional “Sheesh, I’ll just read for another five mins” before watching the whole day slip seamlessly away. Kiddies, don’t let this book near your bog or your bum’ll dry out and your legs will develop chronic pins’n’needles as yet one more essential Arthur Lee/Jimbo Morrison/Ignatius Popular/MC5 story passes across your near horizon. To Mick Houghton, therefore, I raise my cup and scream: “Brother Motherfucker I salute thee!”
Right, I shall now quit this ultra late Drudion with yet another apology for its tardiness. But, c’mon now, you do gots to admit the above reviews were all worth waiting for! In the meantime, keep your heads down as these shorter autumnal days slowly fog up our consciousness. And to those of you who attended last month’s shows, many thanks for coming and get yerselves back in as soon as you can. Until then, as ever, let’s move to destroy the Greedheads and Priests who fuck us around with their taxes and fairytales.
Secular Love, Brothers & Sisters,
U-Know it makes sense!
JULIAN (Lord Yatesbury)