Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Fly Ashtray - Clumps Take A Ride

So today I was planning to defecate on my keyboard and - HA HA, OH my, I'm sorry... what I meant was: "type up a spankin' new blog entry", but if you've been subject to the canon of past entries, you may be able to forgive the error in diction.
So anyway, I was planning on detailing (pft!) the varying qualities of the 3rd-5th Public Image Ltd albums, but ugh, it appears the long-delayed entry about Fly Ashtray's debut LP declenched it's "content sphincter" and unleashed all but the goddamn TITLE and DATE into the internet black hole. As such, here's an enormously underwhelming redux:

Formed from the condensation of intergalactic dust way back in '83, the Ashtray's been going sporadically strong for close to 3 decades now. While I can't say I've been a follower through all their sonic trails (being a twinkle in the heavens for a good 6 years of their existence), I can state with confidence that these dudes certainly have a bevy of strong releases and a lot of talent. Fly Ashtray's sound is a bit difficult to describe, but it lurks somewhere in the murk that I associate primarily with the Thinking Fellers Union and the extraneous/surface aspects of Sonic Youth (ie not songwriting) - a temple of obtuse guitar noise and songs built from strangled sub-riffs barely forced into rhythm with a sprinkling of 60's pop and whatever else crossed the band's creative path. For instance, ______ forays into a country-bumpkin bounce before dissipating into strains of feedback-laden minimalism, while _____straddles between an offbeat indie chug and a sinisterly distorted climbing riff and

I'm sorry, I really don't remember the songtitles and I don't have the album in front of me right now. My LCD sorta gotta squished.
With my foot.


Friday, January 15, 2010

Operation Rhino - Musique Improvisee

"Operation Rhino was a raid launched by the 3rd battalion of the75th Ranger Regiment on several targets in and around Kandahar, Afghanistan during the early stages of the Afghanistan War. On the night of October 19th, a group of around 200 Rangers parachuted from four Lockheed MC-130 aircraft onto a desert landing strip south of the city in an operation codenamed Objective Rhino. After securing the landing zone, the Rangers and special operations forces raided a number of locations around Kandahar.

The raid was met with little resistance from the Taliban. Although some documents were captured, the raid did little to change the overall situation on the ground. In November 2001, the United States Marine Corps would establish a base on the landing zone called Camp Rhino.

Although the raid was of little military significance, it had a significant propaganda impact as the American public was hungry for a concrete military victory after the September 11 terrorist attacks, after weeks of aerial bombing were yielding few readily apparent results."

- Wikipedia

Also, they were a crazy-ass improv collective with horns 'a bleating, percussion instruments a rat-tat'ing and fantastic crescendos rising from the murk just when you're about to drown in the complex layers of rhythmic noise. The internet really features no information about these guys, and with the current state of deletion this release celebrates, the best I could get is my own interpretation: it's good. Also: I enjoy it a whole lot. It's free-jazzy and kicks the rump. I don't know, find a copy and e-mail me the details.

Also: this link was from NWW List's blog; I'll upload my own later.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Ash Ra Tempel - s/t

Hey, did you know that Krautrock is considered a sub-genre of Progressive rock by almost everyone in the known universe? 'Cause I may have been the only person immersed in the music who bobbed around in eye-popping stupidity with the languid notion that krautrock was apparently the product of NOTHING. How did I become aware of this ? Ever had one of those moments where you blissfully and confidently recite your beliefs about one thing or another to get a blank response and have that person hesitantly ask you whether you're jerking them around or not? Worse yet, that you're an insufferable hair splitter??
Here's an impression of a recent dialogue of mine:

Me: I've been diggin' the avant-prog silliness lately. Any suggestions?
Record Store Owner: Is silliness the key word?
Me: Not necessarily, although it's certainly not a trait I'd distance myself from...
Record Store Owner: Well, you could check out Magma, Van Der Graaf Generator, all the Twink-relative bands, Faust-
Me: DUH, FAUST ARE PROGRESSIVE? HUH HUH, MOAR LIEK KRAUTROCK LOL XD (takes an enormous shit on the counter)
Record Store Owner: ...


Ash Ra Tempel is/was a power-trio (as well as a self-titled 1971 debut) featuring members of Tangerine Dream and Cosmic Jokers I've been enjoying immensely ever since I pressed Lex-Devil's Dave Lang for reccomendations. Much like krautbuddies Guru Guru, Ash Ra was a sort of rock'n'roll blitzkrieg unit that hinged their sound on crazy-ass guitar freakouts and lusciously spacey ambience provided by effect-pedals and urm, "electronics". Look, that's what it says on the sleeve. "Electronics".
Like every subsequent Ash Ra album I've conquered up to this point, side one ("Amboss", in this case) is a vinyl-side monolith of powerhouse riffin' and noisemakin', while side two is a more ambient, psyched-out affair replete with a huge percussionless stretch of atmosphere and some ethereal, near operatic howling.
Oh. Which is entitled "Traummaschine". Forgot to parenthese that 'un.
By the way, I always upload the albums in 128kbps. I have pretty limited disc space and wish to conserve it as long and heartily as possible. Just in case any of you were audiophiles, huh.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Discount - Crash Diagnostic

Now here's an entry that won't appeal to any semi-regular of this blog, but hey, I'm sure all of us have certain fixes of less than eccentric pop to keep us sane between AMM and Gerogerigegege rotations. Don't be too judgmental, a'ight?
Today's principal textual and aural dish is the swansong of Florida punk/pop unisex overlords Discount, and more importantly, an album so chock full of nostalgia for yours truly, it's biochemically saturated with those emotions for all outsiders to partake. That's how sentimental attachment works, right?
Anyway, this was a bit of a sonic detour for the group (possibly a dead end) who up until this point grounded their sound primarily in the Crimpshrine, J Church, and East Bay territories. Crash Diagnostic is pretty evenly split between the sparkling, adorable pop-punk of yesterday with an angular, subtle, post-hardcore coldness lifted straight from the guts of Fugazi and Fuel. I'll admit, the stylistic divide can be a little rough on the ears at first, but the songs themselves are just appealing enough to have sent me back for another listen. Perhaps you, the deadeningly unintrigued reader might agree!

The main attraction for me has always been the playful, untrained vocals of Alison Mosshart (later of the primordial garage dumbness of The Kills and associate of Jack "Musically Gifted" White), whose lyrics have always diced me up despite basically being stream-of-consciousness ramblings I'm probably unqualified to be touched by. A masculinity compromising formula I've discovered seems to be the track "Math Won't Miss You" paired with the scent of peach-deodorant. Suddenly, I'm flooded with angsty Junior-year and have shamed my bloodline with public weeping.
If you like this, which you don't because you're this blog's demograph (if you exist), then their first two albums are pretty swell, too.

Also: I just found out today that the owner of my semi-local record store finally kicked it after a way-too-lengthy bout with fuckin' brain cancer. I feel indebted to this dude for introducing me to everything from the Deviants and Simply Saucer to Albert Ayler and Sun Ra. He was a genuinely interesting and personable guy, and I'll miss the rambling conversations and accounts of live Beefheart shows and the like.
RIP Jack

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Earth - Phase 3: Thrones And Dominions

The internet is a truly magnificent tool for the burgeoning muso - a vast, aggrandizing, jungle of history, subjectivity, and enough illegal audio to consume a lifetime or two. The latter in fact, is exactly my problem, as I've owned the paragraph-adjacent album for over 1 1/2 years now but have only in the past weeks given a proper listen. On one hand, I feel like a spoiled grifter with my complete Residents and Current 93 mp3 discographies; on the other hand... let's face it - I missed out on tasting any hint of accessibility these records may have had in their original run at ye local wax shoppe. Beyond that, I'd probably be a bit more than bitter and jaded had I spent the small fortune necessary to acquire the stockpile of nuclear horseshit you may know as "inessential Residents". Need a head on that brew? Whatever Happened To Vileness Fats, Our Finest Flowers, The Tunes Of Two Cities, Diskomo 2000, both American Composer Series albums and plenty more. Yeck.

But anyway, I digressed a while ago, and the point is: while the internet is a fantastic (albeit overwhelming) resource, all too often it leads me to utterly neglect some of the tastiest pies on my windowsill - on this occasion it's drone-doom heroes Earth's 3rd full length, the aptly titled Phase 3. About 3 years back, I decided to give drone-doom a chance, and with my love of chronology, started with the Extra-Capsular Extraction EP and the Earth 2 full-length only to be slam-fucked in the face with boredom. I couldn't imagine how anyone could enjoy this stuff and moved onto Sunn O)))'s White 1 with a slightly better outcome. Skip ahead another 2 years and I've garnered up quite a bit of patience through extended Merzbow and Khanate sessions - enough to get through Earth 2 without a nod of the head or a droop of the eyelids. As for enjoyability however, I can't bite my tongue for indie-cred, it's a boredom sandwich with average condiments; the meat of the affair being the song "Teeth Of Lions Rule The Divine": 27 minutes of fuzzy nothingness. Why? Regardless, I was intrigued by a few reviews on for Earth's followup, the decidedly more "rockin" Pentastar, so I picked up that and the aforementioned Phase 3 for cheapsies at a barrel scraping rec-shop upstate.

BUT THEN. The Nurse With Wound list rolls into my life on it's bodacious 2-wheeler and consumes my life with bad-boy sex and wild nights lit by the glow of my monitor.

And here we are today, talking about the greatness that is Phase 3. If you skipped every bit of text up to this point, I should advise you that we have reached THE SLIGHTLY MORE IMPORTANT SECTION OF THIS ENTRY: the descriptor!

If Earth 2 was a monolithic block of fuzz and Pentastar was rockin', then Phase 3 is what we could solely consider a monolithic block of rock. Essentially, this record combines the weight and droning atmospheric touches of the debut with the plodding, fuzzed-out rock tendencies of the sophomore release to completely blow my mind with awesomeness. Seriously, the mix of primordial sub-Sabbath riffage with the noise of Skullflower and the panged contemplation of Fushitsusha makes this disc an aural cake frosted with guitar fuzz par deliciousness.
Hey, is it just me, or has my writing become a lot less anarchic and a lot more stuffy than it was when I started? Have I sold out? I'll hold a poll later.
In the meantime, both Lexicon Devil and DAR took their final bows just a day apart, so I suggest you give 'em both a look. They both gave me a lot of good reading, albeit of entirely different varieties.