Magical Power Mako, "Hapmoniym 1972-1975"
This massive 5-CD boxset is the second attempt to publish the 15 CDs worth of material that the Japanese psych-rock legend Magical Power Mako recorded while making his magnificent debut and second albums. The first attempt was by Mom n' Dad Records (run by an ex-member of the Hanatarash) in the mid-90s, for which each CD was to be published seperately. For some reason, they gave up the series after CD #5. Now the relatively new Israeli prog label MIO is giving it a go in the massively pocket-draining form of three 5-CD boxsets. If you haven't yet heard Mako's 1970s records, you're in for a real pleasant shock. Along with his contemporaries, the equally legendary groups Les Rallizes Denudes and Takehisa Kosugi's Taj Mahal Travellers, Mako established a uniquely Japanese style of over-the-top psychedelic rock music, bearing only a casual reference to other bands active in the same period (in Mako's case, Faust is the easiest comparison). These groups paved the way for bands like Fushitsusha, Kosukouya, Ghost, and the rest of the heavy-as-hell (and utterly necessary) PSF Records scene. Because all of the music on these CDs is, essentially, Mako's notebook for ideas that either were polished up for his "Magical Power" or "Super Record" LPs or else discarded, the work is unfocused and rambling at times. But with so much gold for the listener to dig through, it hardly matters. Fried folk or prog tunes morph slowly into wild tape-splices, synthesizer sound-effect blasts, chanting and indescribably twisted digressions. Ideas take vague shape, feel themselves out, and slowly push themselves to ridiculous limits. Many of the "songs" (one track per CD, folks) meander for 15 minutes before coming to either a majestic revelation or studio-inflicted destruction, surely the result of a musician with no shortage of free time, potent herb and good ideas (and probably a home studio). The set comes in a lovely hard-cardboard box with a booklet in English and (mostly) Japanese. Never mind that the title is in Greek, the label is in Israel, and much of the liner notes are in Japanese... the confusion is, for me, part of the enjoyment and entirely appropriate to the music. Incidentally, PSF fans take note: a young Keiji Haino makes an uncredited vocal appearance somewhere on disc #1, probably his earliest recorded performance. Pick out which prepubescent yelps are his and win a real shiny US nickel. No shit. www.miorecords.com - Howard Stelzer
SWANS, "THE GREAT ANNIHILATOR"
One of the few remaining pieces of the digipacked and remastered re-issue puzzle, 1994's "The Great Annihilator" is reclaimed from Invisible Records for Michael Gira's own Young God Records. This was a transitive period for Gira and Jarboe's SWANS, a natural progression from the previous "bunny" artwork themed albums ("White Light From the Mouth of Infinity" and "Love Of Life") and a premonition of what was to come with the conclusive trilogy ("Die Tür Ist Zu", "Soundtracks For The Blind" and "SWANS Are DEAD"). Many of "TGA"'s songs delve into a darker and grittier sound but also maintain melody, mixed moods and brevity. "Celebrity Lifestyle" and "Mother/Father" flirt dangerously with mainstream rock & roll conventions while "Mind/Body/Light/Sound", "My Buried Child" and "Alcohol The Seed" throb with tantric mantras. Tenderness is a distinctive trait of "Blood Promise", "Warm", "Killing For Company" and "Mother's Milk", the last of which features an especially bittersweet vocal by Jarboe. Lyrical themes follow Gira's ever-present obsessions with the eternally entangled dualities of life and death, love and hate, mind and body, man and "God", etc. The title track embraces Stephen Hawking's theory of an omnivorous, universe destroying black hole - science's embodiment of God, perhaps. Near the end Gira invitingly sings "come on in and come inside" in harmony with the title and Jarboe's backing over a spiraling mass of percussion laden rock, perfectly evoking the very nature of said sucker. To my ears the remastering improves overall clarity but is far from drastic and the bonus track, a bootleg quality live rendition of "I Am The Sun", pales in comparison to the version on "SWANS Are DEAD". No matter. "The Great Annihilator" is what nearly all SWANS albums were and remain to be: powerful, evocative and, ultimately for me, indispensable ... - Mark Weddle
BERKOWITZ, LAKE & DAHMER, "WITHOUT CHEMICALS HE POINTS"
Berkowitz, Lake and Dahmer originally created the bulk of their latest manic loop noise excursion as a credit card shaped CD full of MP3 versions of some mostly fairly short tracks. This was sold only via Aquarius Records of San Francisco who have been longtime admirers of the Fflinty Ones. Now they've plonk the bulk of those MP3's onto a regular music CD-R with six mostly longer and dronier extra tracks, adorned in a sleeve featuring a grinning Bob of the Church of the Subgenius lookalike that could be a homage to the fifties spoof collages of Winston Smith's Alternative Tentacles sleeves. It's another dose of unsettled noisescaping that would sit well on the soundtracks for old horror or sci-fi films. 'Cyan Krilp Vipers' entangle and bite a poor Japanese singer causing her voice to sink much lower. 'Throat Corrosives' has near silent spells cut dead by sudden bursts of synth gloom and distant mumbling choking voices. 'Graphic Tranquiliser' drags a rapidfire loop through squalling feedback before submerging it in a fragment of a jazz trumpet radio broadcast. 'Blighted Sump' is as big a nasty oily engine noise drone as the title suggests. 'Kelpies' could be a short recording of the funny little creatures that sing a high pitched drowning song when the Fflint Central toilet cistern fills up. 'Fracas at the Hotel Gargoyle' loops fading photos of fairground organ as machinery rattles malevalently. 'Occident Bowl' shrouds a rambling guitar solo in gut rumbling gurgles. The clattering 'Skinned Teeth' sounded great coming over the radio on the John Peel show one evening and caught me by surprise as I didn't recognise it and at first expected it to morph into a Position Chrome type drum'n'bass track. Later longer tracks 'Cirrhosis of the Cormorant', 'Tones Unread' and 'Rubber Glove Stirfry' are mostly based around thick ectoplasmic synthtone drones and suggest that the Fflinty Ones' propensity for ridiculous song titles is not about to run dry. 'Four Minute Symphony' spins the radio dial again, with an etherial orchestra submerged in random synth squeakings. The final track 'Unseen' bubbles swampily as a mystery voice proclaims that, "People are afraid of what they don't know." - Graeme Rowland
"wave two - unbearable heroes"
The second CD compilation to emerge from Unbearable Recordings highlights recordings from Cursor Miner, Goodiepal and Nish. Anybody familiar with the music of Nordic wonder, Goodiepal knows there is absolutely no predictability. The music could be sheer noise or a six minute symphony. In this case, I think young Mr. Goodiepal has been playing too many Mario games circa 1992 Nintendo and has either come up with some rejected game themes or has been writing a score to a children's cartoon adventure. It's certainly the most consistently musical collection of his in one place. I can't get over the feeling however, that each song represents a different scene from a super Mario adventure from a bright, grassy blue sky bit, through a dark forest and into a murky underwater scene. Next up, Cursor Miner seems to be obsessed with breakfast and breaking up beats numerous times in the same track. Once you get your feet tapping, the rug's yanked out from underneath you. There are a couple exceptions like "Out of the Frying Pan," when the choppy beats are replaced with long delayed echoes and rumbling noises or "Babbel," where a freaky indescribable repetitious delay is guaranteed to drive anybody completely mad. Finally, five tracks from Nish close the compilation with charmingly unrefined, unpretentious shrill noises and post-apocalyptic score, peppered with what could easily be mangled sound effects and stomach-churning grit. Click and cut this, baby. It's only limited to 500 copies so get yours now. - Jon Whitney
Death Cab For Cutie, "The Photo Album"
Death Cab For Cutie was at first the brainchild of Ben Gibbard, his stab at a solo project. After early success, however, he recruited a band, a strong and tight group of players who could bring across his brand of post-punk pop with fervor and skill. "The Photo Album," Death Cab's third full-length, shows a lot of the strengths of their previous releases with a solid set of new songs, but also begins to show signs of weakness. It's an appropriate title, as the release is the slice of life type, stories told by the band on the road and pictures of their past. "Styrofoam Plates" is dripping with imagery of a life without a father figure, and "A Movie Script Ending" is a fine piece of toe-tapping indie rock with fluid guitar work and solid drumming. As always, Gibbard's voice is clear, distinct, and inescapably endearing, especially when he reaches for notes you swear he won't hit. The addition of harmonies here and there, notably on "Blacking Out The Friction," is a nice change, adding a nice dimension to the proceedings. The music is all fresh, full of energy, and well executed. It's in the lyrics where the weakness lies. On "We Laugh Indoors," Gibbard says "I loved you Guinevere" about eight times too many. And "Why You'd Want To Live Here," while a solid rock song, is full of images of Los Angeles that are trite and over-done. We all know it's smoggy and hard to breathe there, and the line "Is this the city of angels or demons?" almost made me want to gag. Still, it's a good record, and the band's most accomplished work, as well as their hardest rock record yet. I just hope Gibbard's lyric writing doesn't continue on its downward spiral too long, becoming a parody of every indie rock band, or of itself. But, as Gibbard puts it, quoting a billboard but inadvertently summarizing Death Cab's efforts "We are not perfect, but we sure try." Indeed. Catch them on tour with the Dismemberment Plan and Cex starting in February. - Rob Devlin
The Bohman Brothers, "A Twist for All Pockets"
Here's a very strange album that resides along a blurry line between tape collage and electro-acoustic improvised music. Despite the (intended to be helpful, I'm sure) liner notes describing which tracks were live performances (implying that the remaining tracks were studio creations), I can't tell what's what here, and I'm going to guess that this is the intended effect. A track of plastic fumbling and scraping of unidentified (and unidentifiable) amplified small objects is pluncked down side-by-side with mercilessly rapid cassette-tape pause-button collage. Through the collages, one can discern elements that might have started life as improvised amplified-object performances. Another piece might be a live performance overlain with a hectic tape cut-up. Maybe. I'm not entirely sure. Heck, I love it when I have no idea what's going on, so "A Twist for All Pockets" is just the kind of thing I can listen to over and over. If I have any complaint, it's that the sound quality is less than ideal for music so reliant on small movements and nuance. Particularly dense sections can appear muddy, when some crisp production might have shown the music off more strongly.
Adam Bohman is part of the long-running UK ensemble Morphogenesis (which also includes Michael Prime, by the way) and has published two solo CDs and countless cassettes since the early 1980s. Not confined to any one instrument or method, he has recorded pieces for prepared violin, amplified objects, tape and spoken voice. His brother Jonathan has, as far as I am aware, not been published before.
www.rossbin.com - Howard Stelzer
meat beat manifesto / jack dangers remix collection
I was living in NYC in 1991 when a co-worker's roommate had asked me to go down to where he worked for something. He was working for MTV and was on a team putting together a new show called "The Real World" and wanted me to audition. I picked up the entry form, filled it out, but was kinda revolted and reluctant and turned around and left (with the entry form in hand!) One of the things they asked was to name some of your favorite bands. Funny thing is, five years later I would never have guessed I'd be hosting web sites for nearly all of them. (Then again in 1991, a graphic internet was barely even conceptual anyhow.) Regardless, Meat Beat Manifesto was on that list. Jack Dangers was the first remix artist whose work I fell in love with. He sounded like he had the power to take nearly anything and make it all his own, long before Drum and Bass, Big Beat, Trip Hop, or any other overused terms came into the radar. 1991 was when his productions started to flood the market - David Byrne's "Ava", Coil's "The Snow", MC 900 Ft Jesus' "Killer Inside Me" and the Shamen's "Hyperreal" were four of my favorite tracks of the year. Couple that with the release of 99% and Consolidated productions and MBM was unstoppable. You knew who you were listening to when you heard that ride symbol, snappy snare, beefy kick drum, vinyl crackle and overcompressed bass. Eleven of Jack Dangers' remix moments are collected here, but as you can see from the (somewhat outdated) discography on the MBM website at brainwashed, 75 minutes can only cover a tiny portion of his remix work. While I personally agree with the inclusion of David Byrne's mix (where he simply added a beat and some neat background noises to a rather dreadful cello piece), and previously unreleased mixes like Freddy Fresh's "Party Right" or the obscure Atomic Babies and Banco De Gaia tracks, there is the gratuitous NIN remix of "Closer" which is still in print and easy to find. It's a wonderful overview but entirely too short, could have been a double like the similar collection from The Orb and deserves subsequent follow-ups. - Jon Whitney
John Hudak + Jason Lescalleet, "Figure 2"
Part of the Intransitive Recordings series of limited edition discs and vinyl, this CD documents a live collaboration between sound artists Hudak and Lescalleet in a chapel in Cambridge, Mass, while a blizzard took place outside. The liner notes make it a point to note that the sounds have not been altered or processed after recording: "What you hear is exactly what the audience heard." That's only partially true, as listening to this disc in your bedroom is going to have a much different effect than it probably had on the audience in the chapel. That being said, the pieces on the disc are all texturally rich, warm though electronic, and each evolves slowly and resolutely over time out of drones, noise, tape hiss, and the reverberations of the chapel. Of the five pieces, the first, "Figure 2.01," is the most hauntingly beautiful. A low drone builds slowly over the 17 minute piece (most likely from Hudak), underneath wind-like washes of sounds that echo the storm outside. Eventually the washes give way to static and the pops and clicks of Lescalleet's tape machine. "Figure 2.04" is another highlight: a low moan permeates underneath bell-like tape loops until both are buried under escalating noise and hiss. Lescalleet works within an analog medium, manipulating and amplifying tape noise and the sounds of the chapel itself in real time on reel-to-reel tape. It's nice to see someone utilizing the reel-to-reel; even though it might be a clumsy and awkward tool by today's standards, it's a unique instrument with a long historical track record and in live performance is much more interesting to watch than the glow of the apple from a powerbook. Though the static and noise that Lescalleet creates wouldn't be very interesting without the backing of Hudak's tones and drones, the fact that you can hear Lescalleet working his instrument on the CD makes this disc a step above most live recordings. Still, it's apparent that no listen to this disc can duplicate hearing it live in the chapel. - Nate Smith
Another limited-edition release from Intransitive Recordings, this is a collection of six pieces by Viennese artist Bernhard Gal, each created from Gal's own field recordings. The pieces are all pretty varied, and with the exception of the first piece, "It's Like...," an irritating pastiche of American idiom and slang voiced by Mandy Morrison, they are all highly intriguing listens. Two of the pieces are based around the sounds of public transportation: "57A" layers sounds of a train and a conductor in Vienna, and "68th Street" layers turnstiles and subway station sounds from New York. In both of these pieces, Gal processes the recordings just enough to make it apparent that he's manipulating them, without covering up the sounds themselves. An unintrusive high pitched drone pervades through "68th Street," giving it an eerieness that might be familiar to some MTA riders. "Tong-hua Yie-shi" is the only non-manipulated piece on the disc, a straight field recording that Gal made walking through a Taiwanese market. There are an incredible number of stereos blaring in the market, but Gal's mic is sufficiently directional that as he walks, he picks up each song, from the Backstreet Boys to the strangest Taiwanese pop, with the clarity of changing the dial on a radio. The most interesting sounds on the disc, though, happen when Gal lets himself completely process the field recordings until he renders them virtually unrecognizable. "Bee Bee" is "based on the humming of the Brooklyn Bridge." It's hard to tell what this means or what sounds he took from the bridge - passing cars, maybe? - but he creates a 15 minute ghostly, ambient crescendo that expands itself not unlike Ligeti's famous 'Requiem' from the movie 2001 (It's interesting but probably unintentional that the two pieces based in New York have such dark moods). "lv, nv" is the golden track on the disc: "The sound of money and slot machines as acoustical ghosts of a casino in Las Vegas." The sounds of the casino are barely existent in this piece, replaced by their own processed resonations. It's hard to believe that sounds this relaxing and pleasant can be created from the chaotic din of a gambling house. What really makes the disc as a whole such an incredible piece of work is that it's clear from the brief but informative liner notes that Gal is excited by the naturally occurring world of sound and music: "The personal discovery of music within nature as well as within the routines of everyday life keeps fascinating me." His fascination can be infectious, and if you allow yourself to get caught up in Gal's world-as-music, the CD becomes an engaging series of small sonic journeys. - Nate Smith
COUSIN SILAS, "LILLIPUT"
Cousin Silas is a new addition to the ever more rotund girth of CD-R label Fflint Central. This secretive sci-fi writer broadcasting backwards from the wilds of darkest Yorkshire fits right in with the Fflinty Ones, so if you feel at home with the Fortean soundscapes of Pendro and Cavendish Sanguine then Cousin Silas will bring welcome ear fodder. In fact Silas fits in so well that I end up wondering whether the sci-fi writer story could be a cover for yet another Jones and/or Williams noise entity even though they assure me that this is not so. Just take for instance the opening child's toy chime, out of time synth squelches and closing door slam of 'View from a Room' which could all quite easily be deployed the same way by Pendro. Named in remembrance of a 1975 tube disaster, 'Moorgate' revolves around a wondrously dense noise drone of the kind so loved by Berkowitz, Lake and Dahmer, shuffling like steam train shunting. 'Warlock Hill' has a brighter feel, with an uplifing rising keyboard line and pleasant little good trip pings. Even though the title 'Setting the Clinch' is pure Fflint Central, this track moves to a simple dancebeat with distant echoing ghost traces of early Non. Much of "Lilliput", especially the decelerating backwards voices and percussion of the title track, has a fading photograph feel, like a partial shadow of half glimpsed memory of something too shocking to bring to full consciousness. 'Lilliput' itself could actually be 'Setting the Clinch' played in reverse through some dirty effects. This is perhaps the spookiest Fflint Central release I've heard. The 'Garden of Pale Children' is a nightmarish walk through the dimly lit tangled limbs of tortured miscreants singing their unfortunate spirit songs and is a track Coil would be proud of. 'Chamber 7 Vat 3' closes the door to Silas' disturbing world with a horrific rotting futuremachine belch which I could imagine working very well as background music to the tense scene in 'Aliens' where they discover the alien hive. If you are yet to dip your toes into the fetid pool of the FFlinty Ones then this and 'The Oxide Heresies' of Pendro both make good starters that should leave you wanting to hear more. - Graeme Rowland
GAMMON & KHAN, "STITCH" SOUNDTRACK
At the end of a week in which reviewers for the Brain were accused of recommending too much 'gay music', homo-synchronicity struck as a disc featuring a couple of over the top camp electro songs from the prolific Khan arrived for me to review. These two mixes of the title song to a film about a small Alabama community are very much in a retro Vince Clarke / Erasure mould. I'm much more taken with the reoccurring themes of the emotive instrumentals that Vienna based composer Gammon provides for the bulk of this half hour soundtrack to a 22 minute film concerning everyday life in a quiet quilting community presumably bereft of hard ass power electronics performances. This lilting suite bubbles along in a way which ought to appeal to fans of the lighter more dancefloor orientated beat driven side which those fluffy suited 'gay music' troubadours Coil displayed on tunes like "Protection" and the themes from 'gay film maker' Derek Jarman's "Blue". Much of the melody comes from what I think is a harmonica, but it sounds more like melodica in the context of Gammon's beats. Even though the closing backbone mix of Khan's "Stitches" opens up a bass synth rhythm that initially sounds like something Wir might've discarded as too obvious in the early nineties, the vocals are just too 'gay' for even some Brain reviewers. Played over this bass line, Kid Congo Powers' brief slide guitar fills also begin to bizarrely recall shapes that night have loomed on a Wir "First Letter" out-take, although this track is much more linear and mundane. I'd be curious to hear more from Gammon, especially if he was exploring more experimental avenues. In time honoured Brain tradition I'm left thinking that perhaps this elegant but less than essential music would sound more poignant in the context of the film? And hopefully Eigentone are selling it for less than full price, as five instrumental variations on a theme and two versions of the same track don't really add up to a full album. - Graeme Rowland
static, "eject your mind"
The sky is grey and dismal on a cold, rainy winter day. You're alone in a room, looking up at the ceiling, with piles of things to do and no enthusiasm to do them. All is not bleak, however. As fate has it, there are excellent albums like this one to keep you company, painting a bright picture on an aural canvas. There's an undeniably similar feel which comes from releases on City Centre Offices and Morr Music that people have grown to love and respect. I think it has to do with a certain sense of unspoken optimism and hope the music seems to emit. This Static CD is no exception. Hanno Leichtmann has been releasing a number of singles as Static, but this is his first CD. Bright melodies have been carefully constructed through a number of sources in a balance which borders on perfection. Patient, tinkling melodies are never buried under an overabundance of sounds nor do they compete with strategically placed beats. Not one sound on this disc is sharp, painful or out of place. Of the nine tracks, two feature vocals by Ronald Lippok (of To Rococo Rot and Tarwater) while another features Justine Electra (who has also worked with Tarwater). The vocals are merely complimentary to the music, however, not crucial but on the other hand, not unwelcome by a long shot. Spark up and bliss out. Did I just say that? - Jon Whitney
Sianspheric, "The Sound of the Colour of the Sun"
Canadian space rock ensemble Sianspheric have been making music since 1994, despite several key line-up changes that might make lesser bands throw in the towel. Founding guitarist Paul Sinclair left the group in 1996, after their first major tour, and four shows into their tour opening for Swervedriver, bassist Steve Peruzzi disappeared. Undaunted, the band continued, and with the return of Sinclair recorded this, their third proper LP. The return of Sinclair has truly rejuvenated the band, as "Sound" is the most cohesive and striking release Sianspheric has ever put to tape. True, if you don't much like space rock, fuzzy guitar, vocals you can hardly hear, lots of delay, or Sianspheric, chances are this release will not floor you. But if you have even a mild like of any of those things, this release is definitely for you. Gorgeous melodies abound, like on "To Myself" and "Childrenrunningthroughovergrowntallgrass," and most songs on the record take what seems like an inordinately long time to reach an apex. Once the track climaxes, though, it's worth it. Sianspheric are also the first candidate for my new phrase, "pulling a Mogwai," where on "Tous Les Soirs" ("all the nights") everything starts off quietly enough before punishing your ears for daring to listen. In fact, the quiet pretty moments are almost in abundance here, more so than on any other Sianspheric release. It's easy for bands to attempt this sound and fail miserably. Happily, Sianspheric's success in the past culminates in this roster and album. Another fine release from a band that could have imploded but stuck it out. - Rob Devlin
We know that sometimes these CDs are somewhat challenging to find, which is why we have a community section which can be used to obtain nearly everything available on this site.
"I was there when..."
It was about 1982 or 3ish I was about 15, and I had just flown up to Boston
for the summer to stay with my Dad. WZBC used to have a show called called
Saturday morning music (just music) which was sort of a New Age-ier version of
NCP -- back before New Age was called New Age and before it got killed by ...
very bad music. The show eventually evolved into the most excellent show that
Victor Venkus now hosts (so the tradition somewhat was kept). Anyway, Dave
Hurlihy and the old GM Kevin Bruen used to take turns at the show. I had met
David a few times and after calling him at show that morning, he invited me
to join him after the show at the weekly ZBC BRUNCH. See, ZBC DJs used to
meet every Saturday morning at Deli King (which is now a MacDonalds) on
Harvard and Comm.
With my old boombox and a few tapes, I hopped on the T and into the big city.
Boston was still big to me then. I never left home without the box. It
didn't seem at all cheesy back then. Walkmen weren't quite a thing yet, I'm
not even sure if they were invented yet.
It gets better, I promise. A little, anyway.
After record shopping at the old Nuggets in Brighton (over by BC? My memory's
hazy), I went to Deli King. Understand ... this, to me at the time ... I was
like a little nun that just got asked to lunch with the 12 apostles. So
after eating my eggs, not understanding the jokes, and pretending to know all
the bands they talked about, I just sort of sat and listened and tried to be
cool now and then. They were a bit... mystified by the presence of this
sudden 15 year old surfer-dude-kid who played in a new wave/surf band in
Florida, and listened to Legendary Pink Dots and had a new copy of the Sad
Lovers and Giants album under his arm. I think they didn't know what to think
and now that I think about it, it must have been a little weird. Anyway,
David told me his band, (O Positive) was playing that night. Back in their
day, if you didn't mind the pop-ness (and I never did), O Positive were truly
a great, great band -- especially live. But I hadn't seen them yet. So I had
it all worked out. I got to the bar early, before they got a doorman up
front. I asked the bartender if he'd hold my boombox behind the bar
(establishing that I somehow "belonged there"), and then I helped the band
carry some equipment. I Never got carded. Not too hard back then, I guess.
It was this really small place where they had to push the pool table to the
back so they could fit a band AND an small audience. "Johnny's", or the old
Jonny D's, I forget. One of those. Salem 66 (an all girl band before that
was normal) shared the bill. I fell in love with the bass player. I must
have said to myself in my surfer drawl, something like, "she's hot as sh*t
dude." Anyway, I'll never forget, at the end of O+'s epic Factory/4AD-ish
"Weight of Days," the bass player sort of smacked this hanging lamp over the
band by mistake making it swing back and forth. Mind you, this was the only
"lighting" in the place, so now we had this sudden light show. Then they kept
smaking it, but now on purpose. I recently found out that it was a regular
practice at this club. Hold on. I'm writing a story about a band smacking an
overhead lamp and making it sound like you should have been there. This is
Anyway, after the show, which was an incredible experience for me, I called my
Dad from a phone booth (this was before cell phones - and long before every 15
year old would carry one - you actually needed a dime to call someone - two if
you were calling your Dad to explain how you weren't coming home that night -
but here was the best part - he couldn't call you back!). I told Dad I missed
the last T (not sure if that was true) and then I somehow finagled my way into
spending the night at Salem 66's apartment. I'm not sure how that went down,
but I think while I was helping O Positive unload, I helped Salem 66 carry
some stuff as well, and somehow engineered things so that I would wind up
going with Salem 66. Maybe I couldn't stay at Dave's cuz he lived with his
parents, but that's assuming I even asked Dave, which might actually be a
stretch. I had an agenda, you see. I wish I could remember how I actually
got invited to spend the night in an all-girl band apartment, or (more likely)
how I invited myself. In fact, now that I think of it, if I were offered by a
genie to see 15 minutes of my past life on a screen, I'm pretty sure this
particular 15 minutes would a first choice. I would take notes.
So, an unfortunately thing happened on the way to my little fantasy rock
brothel. I found out on the ride there that the bass player I was so crushed
on was going out with the guy from The Neighborhoods. Nonetheless, I was
somehow cocky and stupid enough to think some 15 yr. old surfer dude who
played in "some Florida band" might still be able to charm her over from the
guy in The Neighborhoods, who were about the hottest thing in the Boston rock
press at the time. Needless to say, I slept on the couch. I'm pretty sure I
wouldn't be writing about it otherwise.
So after a few hours of the bass player from Salem 66 NOT coming into the
living room with a nighty on, and NOT having mad crazy love with me ... I fell
asleep with my boombox playing Rain Parade's Emergency Thrid Rail Power Trip
(that, I do remember) ... just thinking about how cool it was that I saw
these bands and that I was laying on some couch in some chick bands' apartment
"somewhere in Boston." I felt so adult. Yet, I was still young enough that I
was probably practicing in my head just how I was going to tell the story to
my friends. Or maybe I was wondering if I even should. I mean ... when
you're that age, your friends don't like stories that end with you not getting
any. They want the encouragement and you want the praise. Otherwise, what's
Anyway, the next morning when I woke up and realized that my prayers weren't
answered - that the bass player from Salem 66 hadn't come in and shagged me, I
decided there was no God afterall.
But the rest of the night was still pretty good.
- Brian Cleary
PS. If you were in Salem 66 and you happen to be reading this, I don't
remember if I had any manners then, so thanks for the memory and your fine
PPS. If you were the guy in the Neiborhoods who was dating the girl in Salem
66 and you happen to be reading this ... NOTHING HAPPENED. We didn't even
PPPS. Okay, we might have held hands in the car, I'm not sure. But that
could be my memory playing tricks. I don't know. But come on man, I was 15
for Christ's sake!!! Get over it!!!
beloved contributors, so in touch,...
Subject: loscil disc
Has there been a review for the Loscil "Triplepoint" disc yet? If
not, I'd like to write one up for hopefully this weekend if that's
cool with you. Did you by any chance write the blurb on the Kranky
site? I've only discovered this disc recently and don't know too much
about Mr. Morgan, other than he's a fellow Canadian. His website also
looks pretty cool too.
[contributor identity withheld]
Read the brain, dingdong. You actually write for us so you have no excuse.
Subject: Seth Nehil, "Uva"
Seth Nehil just sent me his "Uva" 3" CD. has anyone reviewed this for B'washed yet?
[contributor identity withheld]
You too, monkeyboy! This one was even more recent.
Subject: empreintes digitales
Do you get sent CD's on the empreintes digitales label for review on the Brain?
[contributor identity withheld]
You know where my CD collection is posted, dingleberry.
Subject: Norway Squared
First off, I love the Brain. However, I think some of your comments
about the electro "revival" are somewhat misguided. You point to derivative
retro synthpop/electro hybrid bands as being representative of the scene,
when there are a lot of underground producers who are doing some really
innovative and amazing stuff. I recommend you check out the work of Carl
Finlow (under Silicon Scally, Il.ek.tro and Voice Stealer), Ectomorph,
pre-Neptune's Lair Drexciya, Dijital, Frank de Groodt (The Operator,
Fastgraph) and Klystron. Peace and keep up the good work!
Nate Smith responds: Granted, the term "electro revival" isn't a good one, but most genre names
aren't. I could have used the terms "new wave of new wave" or "80s
throwback" or "electro-clash" to describe the Norway Squared disc and it
wouldn't have changed my opinion of the album. Just because an artist is
"retro" or "derivative" doesn't necessarily mean to me that they're bad,
either - DMX Krew, Bochum Welt, and Soviet all make highly stylized music
derived from a similar history, and I think they all put out some great
melodic synth/electropop. I've never heard of the artists you mention, but I
will definitely do some research on them, and maybe even try to review some
of their work. Thanks!
Subject: your infatuation with Misty Dixon
I think this band is fronted by
Jane Weaver who is also Andy Votel's girlfriend. She's put out a few
singles under her own name before forming MD. I have a split 7" somewhere
with Gabrielle's Wish which I bought for the GW side & to be honest I
think I only everplayed the JW side once, but if I can find it I could
tape it for you.
"We could also tell people to be vegans and buy from organic farmers,
smoke only tax free pot, or whatever."
I suspect no one would listen, but its worth a try...
Where do you buy pot with tax on it though? Not in this country (yet). I
suspect the day might be drawing near (draw, geddit? It wa a terribel
So here are some title suggestions for the Brain:
Buy Organic! Save the Chemicals!
Go Vegan! No Eggs Wept!
Tax Free Pot Smokers Unite!
In England, "Pats" means "Cow Shit"
Tax Free Pot for Pats Now!
Where do I File for Pot Tax?
Graeme Rowland (a vegan who eats as much organic food as possible but has never
paid tax on pot)
That's it. I must track down this Andy Votel guy and snag his woman.
Subject: Tarentel review
In your Tarentel review you quote them as being on "San Francisco's Neurot Recordings." That particular label being the child of Neurosis/Tribes Of Neurot you forgot to mention, or for that matter provide a link to their website.
I think you should have, as I believe Neurosis should receive as much acclaim as possible.
my 2 cents
Rob writes: Done. I agree, and it was an honest case of innocent oversight.
Jon writes: Don't buckle down, Rob, it wasn't oversight. Your review was about Tarentel, not Neurosis. Next time Neurosis sends a CD of theirs for review we can give them their space.
I'd have told this kid to go fuck a duck.
Subject: Chris & Cosey - CTI
What does CTI stand for? Is it Conspiracy Technologies Institute?
Chris Carter replies: When we originally registered CTI way back in '81 or '82 it stood for the Creative Technology Institute, which it technically still means.
However, over the years it has mutated and changed to suite our needs.
I like your take on CTI but it currently stands for Conspiracy in T ernat I onal.
Kinda works I guess...
Subject: nice nww site.
say hi to robert solomon if you ever see him . . . or please send me his e-mail
address . . . I used to know him.
I don't know Robert Solomon.
Hell, what exactly is your problem? Its not my thing either but I wouldn't lose my lunch over it. Crips have a right to be sexy and people getting off on it are going to follow pretty damn close behind along with those who want to make a buck.
Sorry, bad word choice on my part. I was drunk with glee following the Pats first ever Superbowl win. More power to the crips!
just wanted to thank you for the link of the week!
What a joy to behold, It has caused much amusement amidst the Norm's of my orifice environment!
I thought the bloke in the hills with the prosthetic leg was very sexy!
I think they should give away more images for free.
Subject: Original Fire
I know you guys are gonna hate me for doing this, but it is imperative that I
own MBM Original Fire on VINYL, I just need to know one thing - was this
pressed as a promo only? And do you guys know ANYBODY that has this??? I've
looked on the web all day and couldn't find a single person that actually owned
this on vinyl... Isn't that insane..? I've already pleaded with Nothing to
press up a few more copies, haha.. (no, really though, I just did...) Anyway,
if you even know one person that has this, hit me back, I'd really love to
Search the auction websites.
Subject: SOTL LIVE?
Do y'all have a tour schedule for MA/New England? The SotL area is under
construction and I didn't see anything on the boards. I really don't want to
The SOTL website is actually functional. Don't mind the "under construction" words.
Hello--I sent you $46.00 a few months ago for the 3-CD package due in April and a Forest Green T-Shirt.
Obviously this isn't April, but I'm curious about the shirt. Can I get that any time soon?
Shirt orders will be sent out next week to the manufacturers. It all depends on how long it takes them to send the shirts here.