Every July 29th, in dutiful observation of the Julian Calendar, ye heathens of Yatesbury - here represented by Driver X - indulge in a spot of ritual Matamp Worship.
Hail all ye heathens of Western Europe, nay, ye whole globe!
As the increasingly severe effects of climate change have this month put such English border towns as Gloucester, Tewkesbury and Cheltenham under several feet of River Severn floodwater, Dorian and I have been breakfasting as early in the morning as is possible in order to experience firsthand the bizarre weather phenomena that create these freak storms. For twelve years we’ve lived in our Yatesbury house and – throughout that time – we’ve watched enormous eastbound weather systems trudging across the sky from the direction of Ireland and the Atlantic, but no more. Nowadays, as we sit outside on our kitchen step facing Avebury to our southeast, two or even three opposing weather fronts may swirl simultaneously above Windmill Hill half-a-mile to our east, each at a different altitude and each with its own agenda. Any seemingly beautiful day may now turn sour in minutes, as turbulence created from a front of low-lying cloud issuing from the direction of Wansdyke to our near south, or from Devizes to the southwest, up-ends the peaceful cirrus formations, the combination unleashing millions of gallons upon the whole area. As a typical Englishman whose entire daily banter with casual acquaintances is based upon what the weather is doing, these events have set me up for some scorching conversations with Gordon the Postman and the guys at DHL and Parcelforce. But we lucky few in Yatesbury live on a landscape of porous chalk uplands, the kind that can accommodate millions of unwanted gallons quite happily. However, I can imagine that my dispassionate weather observations would be considerably more heated were we to have put our money into a house built at the confluence of rivers, or worse on a floodplain as many new housing estates have been. The further we venture into the 21st century, the more compassion I feel for the poor saps who chose to follow the way of the straight world. For myself, I was always so singular that there was never any doubt that I would be quite incapable of doing a 9-to-5, so I knew from the beginning that I’d have to make my way in rock’n’roll without all the supposed guarantees of pensions, lifetime service to the company, etc., etc. But if I’d fallen for the ‘you’ll need something to fall back on’ routine and was currently spending half my life commuting to my job along a sodden motorway, I’d be more than slightly fearful that my gun-toting Michael Ryan inner-self was about to come unsheathed at any moment. Because it is impossible for a strictly forward-thinking culture such as our own ever to know at precisely which point it reaches the summit or apogee of its technological and spiritual hopes and dreams, we are destined to recognise exactly when our so-called Road Culture peaked only once we’re well into our decline; over the hill and on the way down, so to speak. In several years, we may look back on this summer and decide that this was precisely the moment when we began to descend the other side of the cultural hill.
CADILLAC SITTING LIKE A TON OF LEAD by Taurpis Tula
Self-titled debut by the Cherry Blossoms
XPERIMENT FROM WITHIN THE TENTACULAR by GR
SUN ON SUN by Pontiak
MUSIC FOR AN UNTITLED FILM... by Lngtche
IN OCEANS ABANDONED BY LIFE I DROWN ... by Nordvargr
Anyway brothers’n’sisters, enough of my harping on and on. For at least there is in rock’n’roll’s Global Underground a whole slew of experimental artists whose raging Ragnarok style will be quite up to the job of providing an appropriate and sustained electrical soundtrack for these days of impending Armageddon. And timely indeed is the arrival of CADILLAC SITTING LIKE A TON OF LEAD, the new vinyl-only LP by Glasgow’s belligerent freerock trio Taurpis Tula. Limited to a run of only 440 copies and clad in individually screen-printed sleeves, this superb and supremely sustained bloodletting mungs up the stereo system with vats of shrieking and whinnying pedal steel guitar from ash blond Goddess Heather Leigh, while drummer Alex Neilsen and guitarist David Keenan sacrifice their instruments before burning effigies of Masayuki Takayanagi and Von LMO. Git down! And while I totally accept their claims of inspiration from Rudolph Grey and Von LMO’s too oft forgotten No Wave outfit Red Resistor, there’s also enough of P. Smith’s 1976 ‘Abyssinia/Radio Ethiopia’ near-side-long epic informing the ‘Stulas music to satisfy the De Twat impulse in nearly all of us. Score this tumult of freerock from Volcanic Tongue
Now, talking of singular American ladies, those of you of an in-bred persuasion, or any with a love of lo-fi back-porch recordings in the tradition of the Holy Modal Rounders and ARMCHAIR BOOGIE-period Michael Hurley will surely warm to the Cherry Blossoms, a loose Nashville aggregation led by the inspired feminist painter/singer Peggy Snow, who describes the outfit as “Middle Tennessee’s finest anarchic post neo-skiffle collective”. Aiming high or what? Released on the ever-reliable Black Velvet Fuckere
record label, this oft-screechy, oft-sublime self-titled debut vinyl LP sounds like the Roches meets Henske & Yester through a post-punk Snatch-meets-The Shaggs filter, and includes a berserkly menstrual and essential down-home version of Blue Õyster Cult’s ‘Godzilla’! U-Wha’? The third spectacular vinyl release of this Drudion’s review section is GR’s truly neon’n’flourescent avant-Street Punk classic XPERIMENT FROM WITHIN THE TENTACULAR, a bedazzling motherfucking gem in the chaotic Chrome lo-fi vein of (get this!) the first two Alan Vega solo LPs through a NEU 2/’Ruckzuck’ filter playing Todd Clark’s abrasive electro album INTO THE VISION in the monolithic ‘synth’ style of COMPASS KUMPASS-period Dalek I Love You. Motherfucker! GR is Gregory Raimo, a mysterious and wonderfully stylish neo-Krautrock master in somewhat the same area as Christophe F. from the Universal Panzies or perhaps Klaus Bloch from Extrem Musik à La Ping Pong. What makes this disc stand out, however, is not so much GR’s use of rock clichés and archetypes, but the glorious low-fi Dr. Mix & the Re-Mix manner in which it’s all captured, as soaring Rotherian twin guitars bark out songs with such mysterious titles as ‘Berlin Corpse is the Sister Damage’ and ‘A Rainbow Damnation’. That’s so beautifully Sir Lord Baltimorean, and GR on vinyl is one beautiful spirit, too. Get hold of this lo-fi colossus from appropriately named Les Disques Blasphematoires. I’ve also been vibing on SUN ON SUN by three-piece post-stoner nutters Pontiak, whose ominous, portentous music straddles a wide sonic rift valley, with references that stretch from the southern latitudes of Spain’s Viaje A800 to the northern majesty of Black Sabbath and Harvey Milk via the Doors. From their bizarre names (drummer Zain Jackson Carney, guitarist Van Champlin Carney, organist Jennings Ingham Carney fer Chrissakes), Pontiak are either space aliens or Mormons (what’s the diff?), which is probably why their music sounds as though it were filtered through deep space. Check this sucker out at fireproof-records.com/pontiak.html
, but only if you like music made by people whose brains are Xerox copies of their parents’ record collection, and who are now obsessed with Rubriking it and shoe-horning it all together in the most mysterious manner possible; and over and over and over again… Next, I’ve been spending probably too much time on the edge of righteous oblivion by making repeated listens to MUSIC FOR AN UNTITLED FILM BY T. ZARKKOF by the strangely-monickered Lngtché. Released on the Barcelona record label Etude
, Lngtché’s music is herein presented as a single 44-minute track that issues forth from the speakers like one continuous and unrestrained flow of lava bursting out from under the floorboards and seeping out of the walls, like bubbling plasma from the mind of Roky Erikson. Think of the music of Sacrificial Totem (see Album of the Month #83
for April 2007) or perhaps the tumultuous and timeless Finnish epic THE TEMPLE by Haare (see the current Album of the Month
), and yooz over halfway there. Finally, if you need such dark and intimidating stuff as Lngtché in your life, then it’s also gonna be essential to check out Nordvargr’s essential IN OCEANS ABANDONED BY LIFE I DROWN … TO LIVE AGAIN AS A SERVANT OF DARKNESS on the Essence Music
record label. For those of you who could get down with my description of Sunn0)))’s 2002CE epic FLIGHT OF THE BEHEMOTH (‘Two longhairs in a WW1 biplane towing a rainbow’), imagine this Nordvargr album as its hyperactive younger brother armed with a vocoder and an octave divider: i.e., more eventful and not quite so fundamentalist because its too busy being disruptive.
Okay, thus concludes the current state of avant-garde rock’n’roll according to Drudical Law! But before I leave, I’d just like to mention the excellent SUPERSONIC festival that I attended in Birmingham a coupla weeks back. I went ostensibly to hang out with Sunn0)))’s sacred twins Stephen O’Malley and Greg Anderson, but the opportunity to see the current underground functioning in party mode was too important to resist even for a Hermit With A Permit such as myself. Fearful of copping out at the last minute, I offered my services as chauffeur to Invada Records’ CEO Fat Paul and his designer Johnny O, so their expectations ensured that I couldn’t go AWOL. And in these overtly PC times, it was great to see what a beautiful crowd is created when a coupla thousand Godless rock’n’roll Westerners assemble in prosaic old Digbeth. I remembered Herr O’Malley’s lament on a Khanate tour a coupla years back that he wished his crowd was not always comprised of ‘beards and bellies’. Well, mein hairy, if yooz reading this, I’m sure you’ll agree that those women attracted to SUPERSONIC were beautiful and there were scores of them (many of whom my lovely Hungarian friend Sylvia Farrago tried to introduce me to!). And everything about the general stature, body language and overall look of the audience at SUPERSONIC reminded me that there are gonna always be feisty refuseniks here in the West who are more than willing to Fight For Their Right To Party! Furthermore, as I note to the fundamentalist Christians and Muslims on the title track of YOU GOTTA PROBLEM WITH ME: ‘Yeah, maybe you’re winning, but until victory… You gotta problem with me.” Yowzah! Sideways, always sideways, Motherfuckers!
Love right to your door,
JULIAN (Lord Yatesbury)