Friday, September 7, 2007

NORTHAMPTON WOOLS (Bonescraper)

Northampton Wools (shouldn't there be another "H" in there?) is the furious double electric guitar project of Bill Nace (from the always magnificent Vampire Belt) and Thurston Moore. Even before listening to this, I have to appreciate it soley on principle. Plenty of people in the underground resent Moore for being (easily) the wold's most famous fan of noise/experimental/weirdo music, and therefore theee major tastemaker in the culture. It's him and The Wire, really, and even that magazine mostly cows to Moore's taste when it covers music made by Americans. However: I believe this should be viewed as a positive thing. The system may seem a bit hegemonic, and no, that's not really healthy, but at least the weirdos have some representation in (what could be considered) mainstream music. How many noise artists have played for the largest crowds they've ever seen because Moore invited them to play one of the All Tomorrow's Parties Festivals he curated? How many total freaks have been allowed to open for Sonic Youth over the years? And nobody supports DIY music as consistently as Moore. Label heads will tell you: he's often the first person to order a new batch of tapes; his cassette collection must be fucking epic. Having said that, Moore should be appreciated also, not just as a consumer of weird music, but as a producer of it. The dude is on Geffen. His basement vanity label is distributed by Universal. And yet he still puts out tapes on labels that nobody's ever heard of to help them get a leg up. Such would seem to be the case with this double c24 of free skronk firemusic. It sounds pretty much like you would imagine: not much subtlety here. Both tapes have the structure of Dynamic Harsh Noise with the sound palette of Psych Rock. Lots of string scraping and feedback, not much interaction or variation. Not sure why they needed to put out two whole tapes of this stuff, but it's nice enough-- certainly serves its purpose. Plus the packaging is totally sweet-- one of those compact double cassette cases like from the old days, with cool drawings of hair on it.