Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Performance Machine

Maserati (#1, 2010) filmed playing live at KEXP, with touring drummer A.E. Paterra of Zombi (co-#2, 2009... with Maserati).
Also relevantly: #2 Live Show, 2009!

LOTS of live recordings here - treasure trove, 2005-2011!! Very minimal overlap with our previous post o' tapes...

Setlist (links to indiv songs):
"Oaxaca" (7m25s)
"They'll No More Suffer from Hunger" (5m24s)
"We've Got A System to Fight the System" (3m46s)
"Monoliths" (6m50s)

Score! Exclamation point!!

Maserati live 2011
[more pix]

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Gnod Drop Out with White Hills (#5, 2010)

[A longletter from the faraway past - January 2011...]

White Hills can be pretty inconsistent. But in that best way that bands will be inconsistent - something about the hobgoblin of blown minds. I wouldn't go so far as to call them "all over the map" stylistically, because they do tend towards the psychedelic-space quadrant. But they are, in some ways, an experimental rock band - in the sense that they aren't afraid to play with forms and expectations. So you get standard blast-off space-rock jams, slow-burning drones with ambient noise, collaborations with a British electronics squad, etc... Something in their core style might fall a bit flat, or might play to their strengths. Sometimes when they go farther afield it yields unexpected treats, or something that doesn't work so well.

"Nothing Less" by White Hills, from Stolen Stars Left for No One EP (2010)

I think all the best bands do this to some degree - start with what they know and like, take it apart and tinker with it, experiment and fail or succeed, and put the best results back together into something that works. White Hills just replaces the last step with "make sure the tape was rolling and release it" (echoes of Emeralds side experiments). Having only recently acquired the Gnod, I'm not even sure that group has a core style. They are however inherently experimental and stylistically all over the map. I could see them becoming the flagship Astral Headspace band. The description above goes triple for them: you never know what to expect song-to-song, but much of it rules. The more recent albums probably seem more frequently "good."

cover ii
The 2xLP collaboration was just an embarrassment of riches. The White Hills self-titled album had a rockin' side and a dronin' side, and the latter was surprisingly satisfying. And them there's EP of loose, extended jams (whether rock or synth) represent the literal embodiment of my exaggeration about skipping the reintegration step of experimentation. It was real good too.

"Drop Out" from Gnod Drop Out with White Hills II (2010)

Just going to skip straight to the best: a tune so great they made it the title track... twice!! That throbbing bass, that kaleidoscope-carnival organ, that synthesizer swoop! And then the fuzz guitar, with some wild kind of ultra-vibrato and/or gating. I'm not sure how, but the drums manage to swing in an off-kilter way. It's totally sweet!

"Run-A-Round" - propulsive psych with all the accoutrements, even vocals! Probably the closest to a traditional rock song of the whole bunch. Guitars and keyboards play - together or alternating - in balanced equilibrium. The drumming's upbeat and steady, actually pretty damn catchy.

"Spaced Man" - phased and chugging space-out, noised up with Gibbytronix-style overlay. Settles down with a spiraling Dr. Who-ish electronic coda.

"Well Hang" - pinging synths over a tribalistic hand-drum, layering on the dramatic soundtrack flourishes. Sorta like Tangerine Dream vs. Popol Vuh in a deep electronic meditation cage-match.

"Per Sempre" - Side D, an ocean of atmospherics.

Wow. There's a bonus track on the CD edition that came out earlier this year, "Elka." You can stream a couple minutes of it from Aquarius Records.

Stolen Stars EP
That first video-psych up there covers the old-school kraut (and/or Emeralds) style synth-drone bases. From the White Hills' Stolen Stars Left for No One 3-song EP...

"Drift Away" - as the title might indicate, there's a bit of woozy drift involved across this 15-minute expanse. But not entirely. The lead guitar riffs and solos with psychedelic heft, as the rest of the band steps up the intensity.

"Don't Touch Me I'm Bleeding" - a murky stew of guitar feedback, cymbal splashes, bass pedal waveform, and electronic noise.


White Hills LP
White Hills self-titled was my first introduction to them ever. I don't even remember why I picked up the CD at the record store... Maybe just wanted something, and nothing else grabbed me. Anyway, it's weird and varied and different tunes hit me at different angles.

"Dead" - weird single. Like most everything on this record, the levels are truly strange. Everything seems submerged in the background, basically forcing the listener to crank it up. The drums come through a bit higher, but still not quite in the foreground. Listening-volume manipulation seems like the only explanation...

"Counting Sevens" - pattern-refracting and wave-crashing freak-out.

"Let the Right One In" - Wow, there's a major difference between the harder half (mostly up until here), and the more diffuse sound-trips (the next few). This one has a liquid bassline, some synth squiggles, and a lot of field-type sound effects (kids playing, sirens wailing, dogs barking) - and then a Slintesque break into heavier moods.

"Polve di Stella" - star-worshiping, sunlight-identifying grooves from the psyche of space. Trip-out guitar explosion wraps up the party.

Well. There are other songs somewhere in there, but my mind's been blown by a hobgoblin!

White Hills
Genre - Space-Rock Jams
Official -
Myspace -
Location - New York, NY

Review - Roadburn
Download - others on Amazon & on iTunes
Purchase - Forced Exposure, All That Is Heavy

Monday, November 28, 2011

Octopus Thunder

Wiley Wiggins! Video-game! Octopus Project! Themesong!!

Thunderbeam Theme Song
by The Octopus Project

Austin!! I remember that I saw Octopus Project open for Pong a time or two, long long ago...

Thunderbeam!, an adventure for the iPad... Read more and contribute to help at Kickstarter. Check out their influences, and other stuff at the website.

BBC 6 Mix
by The Octopus Project

The Octopus Project also has this cool-looking BBC 6 Mix, downloadable (down-arrow button). O what the hell, here's a video of their own!

"Wet Gold" from Golden Beds (2009)

And that's a video...

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Current & Former Locals

LP4 @ Rudz
If you've been following the Linus Pauling Quartet blog, you'll know that this Friday is no longer a record release gig, because Bag of Hammers has been pushed back. (2012?) But the show must go on!

"Alien Abduction [live 2006]" from The Proletariat, Houston, TX

Recently-posted, early/fast live version [studio 2007] - at the now-defunct Prole.

"Monster" by The Linus Pauling Quartet, from ST-37 split 7" (2010)

They'll be playing this one, some of the more recent 'mature' tunes, and I'm sure also some of the upcoming nerdgasmic anthems - like "Crom," "Saving Throw," etc. Although...
What are you planning for Saturday December 3rd? Well, fuck if I know but it’s probably bullshit!

…but I’ll tell you what you need to do that night – go to fucking Rudyard’s that’s what!
Who is playing you ask? Goddamn Linus Pauling Quartet, that’s who!

Here's the easiest-to-find links of the other two bands: Defending the Kingdom, Dead Mineral. (free & cheap Bandcamps!)

And then former Houstonians, Tom and Christina Carter - guitarist of The Mike Gunn (#5, 1993) and Sound Exchange clerk extraordinaire, respectively.

"Desecrated" by Charalambides, from Exile (2011)

New album out very recently, and it sounds like a good introduction for anyone not yet on the band's wagon. But you probably need some avant-drone tendencies already.

"Into the Earth" by Charalambides, from Exile (2011)

... stuff like that.

"Before You Go" by Charalambides, from Exile (2011)

This sounds like a good one for the vinyl! Out now on Kranky.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

The Gotham Knickerbockers

With the news of Fujiya & Miyagi coming stateside, as reported by Brooklyn Vegan, I realized I hadn't kept up with them since Transparent Things (#10, 2006). So mebbe time to catch up now?

Their next album was Lightbulbs in 2008... More of that patented brand of subdued Krauty electronic bump.

"Knickerbocker" by Fujiya & Miyagi, from Lightbulbs (2008)

The first single reminded me that I've never understood about The New York Knicks and the Knickerbocker nickname for New Yorkers. My research led me to Washington Irving - as all internet searches eventually do... per Wikipedia:
Irving created the literary magazine Salmagundi in January 1807. Writing under various pseudonyms, such as William Wizard and Launcelot Langstaff, Irving lampooned New York culture and politics in a manner similar to today's Mad magazine. Salmagundi was a moderate success, spreading Irving's name and reputation beyond New York. In its seventeenth issue, dated November 11, 1807, Irving affixed the nickname "Gotham" - an Anglo-Saxon word meaning "Goat's Town" - to New York City.

Wait, what?! That's not it.
In late 1809, Irving completed work on his first major book, A History of New-York from the Beginning of the World to the End of the Dutch Dynasty, by Diedrich Knickerbocker (1809), a satire on self-important local history and contemporary politics. Prior to its publication, Irving started a hoax akin to today's viral marketing campaigns; he placed a series of missing person adverts in New York newspapers seeking information on Diedrich Knickerbocker, a crusty Dutch historian who had allegedly gone missing from his hotel in New York City. As part of the ruse, Irving placed a notice - allegedly from the hotel's proprietor - informing readers that if Mr. Knickerbocker failed to return to the hotel to pay his bill, he would publish a manuscript Knickerbocker had left behind.

Hold on. Was Washington Irving insane, or from the future or something?
Unsuspecting readers followed the story of Knickerbocker and his manuscript with interest, and some New York city officials were concerned enough about the missing historian that they considered offering a reward for his safe return. Riding the wave of public interest he had created with his hoax, Irving - adopting the pseudonym of his Dutch historian - published A History of New York on December 6, 1809, to immediate critical and popular success. Today, the surname of Diedrich Knickerbocker, the fictional narrator of this and other Irving works, has become a nickname for Manhattan residents in general.
BOOM! #winning

"Taiwanese Boots" by Fujiya & Miyagi, from Ventriloquizzing (2011)

The concept of Taiwanese boots makes me think of Edgar Allen Poe... Actually, no. It doesn't. Anyway, looks like F&M are coming to NYC, Chicago, and L.A. Real original, I guess. Earlier this year, they released another album, but I haven't got that one either. Here's the official video for the actual first single: "Yoyo."

Ecstatic Dancer
And then there's the new one.

"Ecstatic Dancer" [live] by Fujiya & Miyagi, from new single (2011)

I knew they were a British quartet, but I thought they'd look at least a little Japanese. Why, they're just four regular geezers! You can buy the studio-version .mp3 at Amazon now.

"Ecstatic Dancer" promo, for Fujiya & Miyagi (2011)

O look, they have a promo trailer also! For a 1-track .mp3 download single!!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

777 Continues Apace

The metallic foil-embossed gatefold presentation, as well as the artwork detail insert-foldouts, for Chapter 2 of Blut Aus Nord's 777 series, The Desanctification (2011), is AWESOME!!

777: The Desanctification promo (2011)

No word on Liber II of What Once Was... (#16, 2010), but this 777 series is shaping up! I love a good album release promo commercial, especially for semi-obscure French Black Metal. Read about the first part: here.

"Epitome VIII" by Blut Aus Nord, from 777: The Desanctification (2011)

Just got this super-recently, so I haven't given it a listen yet. But I'm kinda expecting some BAN on the year-end roll-ups. And for this, I am thankful...

O yeah, and I got the t-shirt combo-pak. Buy the record HERE. (Add to Cart buttons are below each product, clothing combos are separated by shirt sizes... Non-combos are further down.)

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Zombi News of Cassette Apocalypse

New posting resumes slowly, but now with Big News!

Via Zombi Twitter, and Self-Titled Mag, Zombi (co-#2, 2009) is starting a new cassette label!

It's called VCO Recordings, and currently you can find them at Bandcamp.

"The Traveler" by Majeure, from Sankt Otten split (2010)

If you missed the Majeure split with Sankt Otten, or his own Bandcamp 7" this year, or the 22-min live track download... Well, sorry I wasn't here for you - don't miss this!