Thursday, December 20, 2007

RUSSIAN TSARLAG "untitled" (Eager Mother Tapes)

Holy shit, this is the motherload. Of the half-a-dozen or so solo Carlos Gonzalez tapes we own, the A side of this C20 is easily the greatest and best recorded collection of his psycho soul songs I’ve ever heard. From the hypno-pop of “Keeper’s Back Glove” through to the languid madness of “Uncovering Many Diseases,” these are crucial Tsarlag gems from the inmost vaults of Carlos’ warped song reservoir. Strangled, ailing guitar notes, robotussin drumming, fucked child rhymes – the combination all hits home like never before. Warrants endless listens. The B side was actually recorded by me, though I had no idea this was even being released. Documenting one of the bleakest, emptiest Smell shows I’ve ever attended, Carlos painted a slime cross on his forehead, wore a cape but no shirt, and set up a cheap strobe light under his chair for the duration of his 8-minute performance. He busted out some classics (“Bleach Party,” “Beach Banquet”) but it was all recorded on a found tape of home-recorded family conversations so there’s this constant vocal babble masking the nuances and deadening the overall audio impact. Too bad. J-card is killer though, tons of Carlos’ beautiful scrawl-figures copied on thick tennis ball-colored neon green cardstock.