Saturday, July 27, 2013

CHARLIE MCALISTER / SPEW GEYSER

TWO NEW MCALISTER CASSETTES VIA SPEW GEYSER

let me let the computer world know. sub-underground madman genius charlie mcalister upstarts new label "spew geyser" and as always, with any mcalister related projects, its quite a doozy!

mcalister has been releasing cassettes since the mid-late 80s on various micro labels, including his long running "flannel banjo" imprint, which spanned a good 10 years before falling off the map, only to resurface here and there under the title "tar owl" - but like all mcalister output - it was shrouded in mystery. never any sort of web presence, which i myself admire, being a fan of letter writing. again, though, it was a sporadic release schedule to be sure. about a year ago tar owl became "meggapecka records" and it seemed as if charlie was back on the map again - releasing three or four tapes with a fury. now, the name has changed yet again, this time to "spew geyser" and things are looking good. an extensive websight has been set up in which you can order new (and older) cassettes & records as well as issues of the fabulous "sardine magozine" of which there are 10 issues available, and may quite possibly be the greatest collection of consumerism collage and writings known to man. 

but here we have two new mcalister collections. the first is "triangle state mental zone" which was originally released as the complimentary supplement to sardine magozine #9&10 (thick ass double issue). recorded mostly in 2010 with the help of one rebecca h. who sings & shouts along, as well as helped to co-write some songs, and add instrumentation. overall grand collection in true mcalister form. songs suffer from the falling apart treatment - rag tag explosion & electric snap and buzz. subjects revolve around the "triangle state" of south carolina as well as food products, backwoods exploration, and of course bodies of water. overall very raucous, though on a few songs, the sleeves are rolled down, and some heart shines through. especially on "tourism is dead" and  "hugor" the later which pulls from an old folk melody - or so i think - its very recognizable, yet hard to exactly pin down. complete with kazoo and mumblings. may be one of my favorites in recent memory. 

also just released is "enthralling pop songs and attempts at jazz" credited to c. mcalister and sagging sandcastle. collected recordings from 2010-2013 which contains some songs from various lathed plastic plates which came out over the past couple years. there were about 4 or 5 of these released cut by rah rah records, and put out on a few different labels in very small editions. as cool as the lathes were/are - the quality was pretty crackly. so its nice to have some of those in better quality. as the title states, this collection showcases songs closer to the pop form, but again, deconstructed as always. solid catchy tunes that it seems would win anyone over. not exactly sure what attempts at "jazz" are made, but many of the songs on the b side include trumpet via celie d. who executes non pitch perfect blow-alongs that fit perfectly with mcalisters demented strum and hoot. these are the newer songs on this collection, and its always exciting to see the constant change in style and playing that happens from release to release. 

anyone with pen and paper (or now a paypal account) should write to spew geyser and explore some of the best clatter junked song writing around. and do it quick. you never know how long charlies records will be available, or how quickly the man himself will disappear and retreat to the bogs and inlets. spew geyser also has releases from other tape vets : furniture huschle & caleb fraid, and is currently working on a compilation which will be sure to showcase all over madness via many folks, calling in from the sewers to the highrises all across this great and odd world.

SPEW GEYSER
PO Box 1156 
Clinton SC 29325
www.spewgeyser.com

Saturday, July 20, 2013

777 CD-R Label




Well, I've gone and done it. I'm posting something about a CD-R label (they still have those?). First off, I'd still rather not accept CD-R submissions at the mailing address, so please don't send them. (Wow, that's so unfair!?! Gee, so is life folks). I'm really just here to let the people know that there is still some damn fine music coming out on those horrid plastic things. But please don't take this as my encouragement of the format's continued existence.  777 for instance, a label which I think is from Asia, is specializing in limited edition releases of really fucked up music from around the world on recordable digital media. There's an upcoming archival release from Lisa Carver's old band Psychodrama that got me kind of excited, so I decided to check out the other releases.  Any label that's putting out Astral Social Club offshoots, Don Bolles mixtapes, Alejandro Jodorowsky spoken word, plus Excepter, Aaron Dilloway, Sissy Spacek, Kommissar Hjuler & GG Allin, as well as compilations featuring members of Boredoms is alright with me, no matter what format they choose to dish it out on.

Email seven3wassix6 [at] gmail [dot] com for more information. Or check out the website: http://777was666.com/ ... thought the Psychodrama thing isn't up for sale yet.  It looks like there's also an associated tape label called 666 that has a bunch more compilations with artists from the same scene.  It looks like some of those are (bootleg?) reissues of some 80s stuff...but I haven't quite figured it all out yet.  Anyway...interesting label. Glad I found it.

More on the Psychodrama release:
[Interview] http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ci_uD6ridl0
[Live] http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5yXP4ebguBI

I'm going to go wash myself now...

Friday, July 12, 2013

TOP TWENTY MOST UNDERGROUND, UNDERRATED OR UNKNOWN ARTISTS IN NEW ENGLAND


I've been a part of the underground music house show/noise show or whatever scene for ten years now either as a performer, show attendee or venue runner.  During that time I've seen some really great stuff come and go, some of it gaining a modicum of national exposure, but much of it remaining woefully obscure to all but the very lucky few.  This post is an attempt to highlight some of the best acts from my adopted home of jolly olde New England that you may not have heard before.  Initially, one of my selection criteria was lack of web presence, but it's harder and harder to find a band who doesn't put themselves out there in some way these days.  The list is by no means complete and is somewhat of a contradiction of terms.  Clearly the truly "most undergroundest" artists are ones I or no one else has ever heard of.  So please don't take the title too seriously. The list in some sort of rough order that is a combination of how much I like the artist v.s. relative level of obscurity...plus mysterious factors.

Skimask
20. Skimask - I feel kind of funny putting these guys on the list because they're so well liked in Boston. But when you release your first LP and you don't put the name of your band anywhere on it, well that's definitely a nod in the direction of obscurity.  This trio sounds kind of like a somewhat standard (but great) noise rock band, but all the "guitar" and "bass" parts are made by one dude with a mic and a table of pedals.  There's also a more traditional singer, a real fine upstanding citizen and a powerhouse drummer who's in tons of New England punk bands.  Adding to the aura of mystery around these guys is the fact that they cancelled what would have been their first big tour out of the region, only to appear again unannounced at some local dives a few months later.  Hey, I guess they have a website though: http://skimaskboston.com/

19. Peace, Loving - Another one that I wasn't sure belonged on the list at first.  Adam Kohl and Kate Lee (who are soon to be expecting their first child) are founding members of the Whitehaus collective in Boston, a house/venue that has hosted hundreds upon hundreds of touring bands for the last 5 or 6 years.  While many people are aware of their efforts in the DIY community, I think their strange and prolific musical output is often neglected.  From their one of a kind live performance events that feature a mix of music concrete, folk and poetry, to their micro-edition releases, Peace, Loving is one of the most unique groups from New England.
http://www.travelingband.org/

18. Nathan Ventura - Travelling dude and sometimes Boston resident who produces quite a lot of music, but has only played live a handful of times.  A debut LP on Anonymous Dog Records doesn't seem to be doing much to spread the word on this guy, and that's a shame.  Maybe cause you can't even buy it from the website of the label that put it out (!!!), but I swear his record exists. I have one!  True outsider one-man-band fucked up folk noise. Hear much sound on bandcamp: http://nathanventura.bandcamp.com/

Horse Spirit Penetrates
17. Horse Spirit Penetrates - A Western Mass band who seems to play about once a year and has maybe put out 3 or 4 tapes or CD-rs over the last decade. Here's what I said on Cassette Gods three years ago:  The wigged out almost-moog-toned guitaring generally maintains a permanent tonal fantasy, while the drums are a constant swirl of never-dying fire with free-jazz-mannerisms in tow. It's loud and it hurts, but it achieves a mythic greatness.  Some old music on myspace: https://myspace.com/horsespiritpenetrates


Clare Hubbard
16. Clare Hubbard (Caethua/Ancestral Diet/Sports). I think Clare lived in New England long enough to make it on this list...though she might have left for greener pastures by now.  Whether it's the gloomy folk of Caethua, the industrial goth noise of Ancestral Diet or the totally thrilling and even more refined solo jams of Sports, Hubbard has been a guiding light in underground music to lucky few who get to hear her play or grab one of her totally underrated records.  www.saxwand.com

15. Visitations, et al. - This mysterious psych folk group from Portland Maine was active for a few years in the mid 2000s and did have a relatively well received full length LP on Time-Lag (again, a case where the band's name appeared nowhere on the physical release), but there's something about their personas that always kept them a secret from the world at large.  They don't play (much? at all?) together anymore but you should try to catch a solo set or hear a release from the three members' current projets: Janane Tripp plays solo under her own name and Chris Livengood and Brendan Evans  perform as a duo called Video Nasties.  Brendan also has a solo record on Don't Trust the Ruin as B.R. Garm.  This is the only band on the list that I would call "collectible" in anyway.  For the most part I've tried to stray from artists whose releases fetch higher than list price on the internet (thus the lack of Josh Burkett on this list, one of my absolute favorite New England musicians (sorry but I just can't afford a vinyl copy of Gold Cosmos or Where's My Hat...plus the dude's got too many fans in Europe).  Check out one track off the Visitations self-titled LP here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jaoZHhgOgc4

Shea Mowat
14. Shea Mowat - This Maine/Massachusetts resident has been continuing some sort of avant-garde performance-as-composition trend that draws parallels to Paul McCarthy, Robert Ashley, Alvin Lucier, Walter Marchetti and, you know, all those dudes. This video is pretty intense: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ng-BPdN5DxQ.  This one is more musical:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kHhTpbbCRr4

13. Astral Plane Junkies - Very confusing and completely unheard of performative noise/metal with psycho undertones.  Check out this rare set captured on camera a few years back: http://youtu.be/dA7WVTZSn5Y

12. Dark Rodeo - Some of the bleakest of the bleak here.  Truly fucked up lyrical content that sometimes borders on criminality, pornography and other such subject matters, but always maintains a somber and captivating tone. Some of it is folk music, some of it is tidal, elegiac rock.  Maybe two highly limited physical releases on cassette, but some more material on bandcamp: http://darkrodeo.bandcamp.com/

11. Martin Chartrand - I'm basing this one on the strength of a single performance at the Frantasia Festival in Livermore Falls, Maine during the summer of 2009.  I find it hard to describe what made it so captivating, but it's a set that I will never forget as long as I live.  Chartrand sang male/female songs in two different voices in a way that completely floored me.  He was backed up by an out of tune "jazz fusion" bassist and an overweight Native American woman on handdrum.  Had to be there.  He's got a CD-r or two out there and was a member of a collective band which I've since forgotten the name of.  I've honestly been afraid to listen to any of his music since that night...Trying to keep the dream alive.

Ruth Garbus
10. Ruth Garbus - Ruth might be one of the most well known people on this list, but it's been more for her membership in other groups than for her gorgeous solo work.  She first came to my attention as a member of Vermont's Feathers in 2004 or 2005.  She was also the drummer in the short lived rock group Happy Birthday (with Feathers alum Kyle Thomas on guitar and vocals & Chris Weisman on bass).  Plus, here sister is pretty well known for making music as Tuneyards.  So yeah, she's been on the edges of some stuff that is approaching the mainstream, but I think that's all the more reason to include her on this list as I feel like her solo acoustic music is very little heard or discussed. Some oldish tracks on myspace: https://myspace.com/ruthgarbus

9. Altered Gee - A new group of two just barely twentysomethings from Portland Maine.  These guys make chillout keyboard and drum machine jams that are great for making babies to and don't really fall into any kind of trend. Hear ten minutes of their debut LP here: https://soundcloud.com/lanimaux-tryst/sets/altered-gee-rise-from-yr-grave

Glade Swope
8. Glade Swope - Another Mainer, Glade has been making his bizarre brand of psychedelic christian metal since the late 1980s and he's still going strong.  There's somewhat of a learning curve to this stuff, but there should be enough assorted sound, text and image on his website for you to get the picture.  "I've seen it through my own three eyes."  http://www.gladeswope.com/

7. Bryan Gillig - This guy is pretty much known only to me and a few lucky others.  A songwriter who I would say is as good as Warren Zevon, but he works in the produce department of the co-op in a little college town in the hills.  Bryan's singing and performance style might take you a minute to appreciate, but his lyrics are at the absolute top of the heap.  He's got his first band together after many years of playing around campfires.  They're called Loudville, and hopefully you'll be hearing something from them soon.    http://bryangillig.bandcamp.com/

Bengeorge7
6. Bengeorge7 - One of the funniest acts I've ever seen play live. Period.  This is a duo of Ben Hersey and George William Myers, two good friends from Western Massachusetts who blend Dada, slapstick and noise in a way that always brings a smile to my face.  Don't expect much in the way of releases though as these guys have probably been around ten years and I don't know if they've put out a full length, and who can blame them? The physicality of their performance is what makes it so truly special.  Check out this youtube video of what I think was the most recent set they've played: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r-Kt8vn4p6s.  Also see their spiritual brother: Anthro Rex.

5. Edith Bunker's Demonized Vomit Insurance - Another guy who's been at it for along time.  Edith Bunker is the pseudonym of crazed New Hampshire loner Brent Field, who is sort of like a one man Sun City Girls or Caroliner.  Someone told me he's from the same town the Shaggs were from but I'm not sure if that's true.  Used to have a confusing myspace page, but I'm sure all the html has been stripped by fascism long ago.  Do a google search maybe? I dare you...

4. ANTi - Perhaps the most undeservedly unknown artist on the list, ANTi is a bassist and vocalist from Martha's Vineyard who is kind of like a one-man No Trend, Kilslug or Flipper.  Scott Seward, who owns John Doe Jr. Books and Records in Greenfield, MA showed me this guys music and I've been obsessed with it since day one.  So cruel sounding, so personal.  Check out this sick song "Sacrifice" on youtube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WHkQuPW8RHk, but really any of the 92 videos on his channel will do.  Many of them have under 30 views!  He's also got a soundcloud: soundcloud.com/antibassmetal

3. Moscow Mule - This duo of then teenagers could be found rocking shows in the Pioneer Valley of Massachusetts from time to time in the mid 2000s.  My favorite part of a Mule show was the subtle slide from set-up, to tuning, to banter, to technical difficulties, to half-song noodles, to full frontal shit rock and finally to complete and utter collapse, all in the course of about 25 minutes.  Cory Matthews (drums) and Coco Schachtl (vocals, bass) were probably majorly influenced by Lightning Bolt and their ilk, but the humor and total unrehearsedness gave them a real edge for me.  They only recorded 5 songs to my knowledge, all of which were released on a split tape with Laudable Pus on Breaking world records. You can still hear some of that music on an old myspace page: https://myspace.com/moscowmule

2. Taboo - Unlike most of the artists on this list, this trio from rural Maine has actually toured all the way across the United States (though I think they've had shows cancelled due to lazy hippie west coast bookers' concerns with the group's "image").  Also, they've got three full length vinyl out too, which makes them un unlikely pick so high up on the list...but there's something truly frightening about this band of true pagan blood sacrifice freaks that will make it so they absolutely never achieve any kind of real acceptance, even in self proclaimed underground communities.  I think it's better that way because Taboo are true dark sorcerers whose magick should not be taken lightly.  They tour with their own soundsystem in order to create punishingly loud psychedelic rock onslaught, but clean up pretty nicely on record.  When I say 'clean up,' I'm probably envisioning a handsome man in drag mopping up a pool of blood.  One of my favorite bands in America right now. http://taboomaine.blogspot.com/

Jeremy Latch
1. Jeremy Latch - Who's this guy? What, never heard of him? Exactly!  Jeremy has been one of the most consistently inspiring musicians to me, mostly based on the strength of one cassette collection of songs and tape collages entitled "Love Letters to Everybody" (yeay! tapes 2007), but also just from knowing the dude and being able to hear him sing from time to time.  I've been told that he was friends with Devendra Banhart before the more popular (and more hirsute) folk singer stole Latch's bag of tricks and blocked all his calls.  Whether or not I heard correctly is unimportant (and who the fuck is Devendra Banhart anyway?), this is some real stuff right here.  Find that tape at all costs.

Honorable Mentions - 

Chris Dooley (Holyoke, MA area show booker extraordinaire and secret genius of horrifyingly loud noises)
The Terribles (Worcester punk band with amazing licks and 15 years of playing together)
Jow Jow the Death Knell Rung (psychedelic jam supergroup with revolving membership)
Turtlecat Symphony (perplexing tiny noises made by a half-deaf woman)
Grey Skull (these guys have toured and released lots of stuff, but they are still criminally under appreciated. Probably because they sound like they don't know what they're doing, but trust me, they do.)
Barn Owl (that is the original spazz noise Barn Owl of Chris Cooper, Andy Crespo & Matt Weston, not the currently semi-popular Barn Owl from SF)
Belltonesuicide (one man noise machine with probably 100 releases and very little exposure)
Pine Tree State Mind Control (patience trying conceptual noise)
Radioactive Prostitute (long running Nirvana inspired rock cum destructive performance art unit)
Codeine Schoolboy (this chick is completely on her own wavelength)
Mystic Out-Bop Review (high quality acoustic free jazz trio from Portland, ME)
Tumble Cat Poof Poofy Poof (profoundly strange costumed performance and tape music, plus the dude is a great visual artist)
Foom (Triple 7" on Stomach Ache came out in the 90s and then only a few CD-rs here and there.  Currently doing super chill turntable sets and working in "the music industry")
Sound of Pot (solo project of Conrad Capistran of Sunburned and Tarp.  Big man with beard makes movie soundtrack miniatures with an SK-1 and Kaoss Pad)
Andrea Pensado (maybe she's well enough known know, but this miniature Argentinian woman who lives in Boston is one of the best screamers and computer noise artists I've ever seen live. I think she's finally got some tapes and records coming out)
Extreme Beer Trio (cracked out comedy-noise-metal-rock.  They also have a recording of them singing fucked up songs while riding on freight train. so unknown...)
Family Pet (another group of weirdos from rural Maine. They did finally make a terrible LP that I'm sure no one would ever want to hear, but the recordings on their myspace used to be so fucking evil. Sounds of metal scraping and saxophone/groaning)
Dan Knudson very unique and subtly bizarre savant pop from Portland, Maine.


Special Mention - Flaming Dragons of Middle Earth.  I can't fairly rank this group because I've been one of the members for 5 out of the 7 years of it's existence.  I can say however, that we are one of the most unpopular bands in existence.  FDOME has played countless shows to crowds of 15 or less from Portland, Maine to Harrisonburg, VA.  I think people think we're some kind of sick joke, ya know? "Throw the kid in the wheelchair up on the stage in drag" and all that.  Couldn't be further from the truth.  Front man Danny Cruz is one of the most charismatic, entertaining and spiritual singers I've ever seen perform or had the pleasure to play with.  He's the creative force that has drawn over 20 deep-weirdoes into his orbit (some of whom appear on the list above) and I urge you all to become inspired by his muse: http://flamingdragonsofmiddleearth.blogspot.com/.

Okay, that's all for now. This has been fun.


Thursday, July 11, 2013

Fare Thee Well

Editor: We say goodbye to Jeff/Teflon Beast. He's done so much to keep CG alive over the last year or so. For now, please send submissions directly to the editor, but expect a new batch of writers soon. We're working on streamlining the whole process and getting even more content on the blog in the coming months.


Dear Readers,

This will be my last post. After one year of reviewing and listening to a wonderful, inspiring, crazy, broad spectrum of music released on cassette (and vinyl) I've decided to take a long break to focus on a myriad of personal projects. I'll get back to putting out stuff on my own tape label as well as furthering the musical mission of the collaborative bizarre-o podcast THIS JUST IN (AND WE'RE BACK)

Thanks for sending so much music my way! 

keep up with my activities on Twitter: @teflonbeast

Here are a few links to labels/tapes I didn't get to write about, but received recently:

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

2 X Bleeding Gold Records



Two releases from May of this year by Bleeding Gold Records finally got my attention and, though they're fairly different listens (even down to the format, one tape, one vinyl), they're both top quality melodious affairs. Both bands (Moon Jelly and Just Handshakes) approach indie-pop/synth-based head bopping in a professional and well-recorded manner. Of the two albums, Moon Jelly's self-titled tape is my fave. Its a trip to put it bluntly. Sound collage and "pop" meet head to head in a battle royale and neither completely overwhelms the other. I'm a big fan of "normal" songs fighting "weird" sounds and this is good tape to experience that with. The second BG listen is the debut LP by Just Handshakes titled Say It. Shimmering pop and (maybe a bit too twee for me) dream-like vocals propel this work. If you're in the mood it sounds great, but I'm a little tired by the second half, so for me the album works in split listening sessions. The musicianship is quite nice throughout however so dig in...basically Bleeding Gold knows what its doing as a label, so explore why dontcha?

Buy and Listen HERE.

follow me on twitter: @teflonbeast

Monday, July 8, 2013

Θ - "æ ω" (Hel Audio)

Utah based label, Hel Audio, gets Scandinavian spooky with this hour-long ride through existential despair. The ambient/drone/synth music of (what the ?? - is that a symbol I should know?) is meticulous and patient. It builds and folds and rides ennui static waves. Sixty-minutes is a long time for me to sit still and meditate on the nothingness of life...thanks a lot! The music isn't all atmosphere, but even when a "beat" appears, it descends into the depths just as fast. Its almost as if, something sorta fun wants to break free of the darkness, but just can't. This will be a tough listen for some, much enjoyed by others.


Buy and Listen HERE.

follow me on twitter: @teflonbeast

Thursday, July 4, 2013

BRUNDLEFLY AND THE SWEDE
"Cabin Music" LP
(Shoddy Merchandise)


This LP recently found it's way into my hands, and despite the kind of meh band name, I'm really enjoying what I'm hearing.  The sounds on "Cabin Music" could best be described as modern day chamber music.  This all instrumental record is mostly made by two dudes, Matt Kohnle and Jason Socci, who play acoustic and electric guitars, flutes, upright bass, bass clarinet and lap steel.  There are some really beautiful melodies and arrangements here, and for the most part the record sounds neither academic nor new age.  I recommend this for sunday morning relaxation.  The whole thing is really professionally done and the 45rpm pressing sounds fantastic.  Stream or purchase the vinyl here: www.brundleflyandtheswede.bandcamp.com

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

MT Coast - "Beach ++" (Dismantle Records)


Artist and musician (1/2 the band Battleship) Jeff Milam using the moniker MT Coast has released a great slice of vinyl revolvings titled Beach ++ on Dismantle Records that I think a lot of you will want to track down. First thing ya will notice is the scratchy glitch vibe of the overall work, but the beauty comes in waves throughout and the balance is perfection. The noise is never overwhelming and the colorful palette of tone clusters never becomes too spacey. The eleven minute plus closing piece is drifting, rattles, bells, and janked all at once and I could loop that mofo for days! Highly recommended! 

Buy and Listen HERE.

follow me on twitter: @teflonbeast

Monday, July 1, 2013

GUARDIAN ALIEN
"See The World Given To A One Love Entity" LP
(Thrill Jockey)


Just over a year ago I wrote a pretty bad review of a Guardian Alien tape.  Well I'm happy to announce that I was either smoking crack on March 22nd, 2012 (possible?) or this band of brooklyn psychedelic scenesters has gotten a hell of a lot better.  There's a lot to like on their second long playing vinyl, this time from Thrill Jockey.  This record came out quite awhile ago, but I've avoided it like the plague until now, despite the pretty sick cover art.  I think I've got to track down their first record now and see what that one's all about.  Anyway, you can probably find out everything you need to know about the band right here: http://guardianalien.tumblr.com/. Take the journey...