Sunday, December 9, 2012

NEGATION - Demo [2012]

Here's a demo tape fresh outta New Orleans. Pretty rough around the edges but I definitely hear something good coming out of these folks' amps. Negation have a driving post-punk sound in the vein of the better purveyors of no-wave, with feet planted firmly in the realms of both the cerebral and the untamed. But this ain't some No New York ripoff band; a closer point of reference might be Silver Abuse, and the scuzz guitar reminds me of End Result more than a little bit (of course, most everything sounds like 80's Chicago punk or Hüsker Dü to me, so what do I know). The three members all share vocal duties, which is always a plus in my book when done well.

I will say this demo sounds pretty great paired with the Orbit/Regrets 7" by Kitchen's Floor. They don't really sound the same, and the association is probably arbitrary on my part, but their respective rackets complement each other in my ears.

I don't want to draw too many conclusions from such an early document of a band, but suffice it to say I'm excited to see what happens with this three-piece. A couple months ago I ran into the bass player Osa when the POC Zine Project Tour stopped in Urbana. She's much of the brains behind Shotgun Seamstress, a "black punk fanzine that also focuses on black queer & feminist artists and musicians." If that zine is any indication, there are some great ideas to be played with here, so keep an  ear out.

You can download the demo for free-ninety-nine at Negation's bandcamp page.
Follow them on tumblr for photos, live dates, etc.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Sexgender - Split w/ Baklavaa [2012]

Baltimore is home to a thriving radical queer community, members of which are up to all kinds of cool stuff. One such example is Sexgender. On this split EP they dig out some muddy noise terror with mid-tempo beats just right to get you dancin' (if you're as screwed in the head as me and find this kind of stuff danceable). The lyrics deal in personal politics that channel a special kind of fear and desperation, and beat you over the back of the neck with it. There's definitely some My War-era Black Flag sound in here, and the second to last song is a shit-caked (in a good way, of course) cover of Nirvana's "Negative Creep." As for Baklavaa's side, I haven't heard it. If you have, lemme know if it's any good?

You can listen/download (PWYW) on Sexgender's bandcamp. Physical copies don't appear to be avialable online (try emailing, but if you're in B-more check them out -- they're playing at Club K (2101 Maryland Ave.) tonight. They're playing two more East Coast shows this weekend:

Dec 8 - Philadelphia PA
At Motel Hell (Watts & Mckean Streets)

Dec 9 - Brooklyn NY
At Fitness (1196 Myrtle Ave)

Sexgender tumblr
Sexgender bigcartel

Dog Faced Hermans - Hum of Life [1993]

Sometimes I'm shooting the shit about music with someone or having some other idle conversation, and one of us will mention Dog Faced Hermans. Inevitably we'll both crack a grin of having the shared knowledge of the band. Because they're criminally overlooked among your Sonic Youths and Chumbawumbas of the late '80s/early '90s. Their sound really cannot and should not be aped -- much in the same way that Can made music that was singularly Can, the Hermans' music was a convergence of four personalities whose expression at all times openly defied the restrictions of a 'style' that might be copied or clotted into some fad subgenre. Musical and philosophical connections with the Ex are readily discernable, as Andy Moor was playing with these guys in Scotland for years before he joined up with those Hollanders, and the two bands frequently collaborated and toured together.

"How We Connect" is a perfect example of what makes the Hermans so great. Stomping, bassy drums, excavator-engine bass, aggressive horns, and guitar that scuffles and screes on a no-wave frequency, only to stop on a dime and change to something resembling West African highlife. And then there's Marion's vocals. She never really yells so much as sings fiercely, with a poetic clarity that demands your attention and thought. Definitely a good LP band, because these folks know how to exercise song dynamics (for all the experimentation the Hermans engaged in, they wrote good songs, first and foremost). They close this album with Ornette Coleman's "Peace Warrior," a rollicking punch in the gut of a cover that fuses free improv jazz with punk in the most brilliant and intuitive way.

Hum of Life has been out of print for a long time, but in 2009 the vinyl was reissued on Mississippi Records, a very cool-sounding establishment in Portland. I don't know if it's still available, and the store/label's web presence is rather scant, but see if you can get in touch with them to find out: their facebook page has their contact info. For those of you who aren't registered on that NSA shadow site, there's always the old-fashioned physical location/phone number:

Mississippi Records
4007 N Mississippi Ave
Portland, Oregon 97227
(503) 282-2990

Mystery lies in the space between us, I make sound which approaches language

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Mark McGuire - Nightshade [2012]

This has been my night music for a little while now so I'm posting it tonight. If you are into what Mark McGuire does, have at this, 'coz it's a good one. In his words:
"NIGHTSHADE" was originally released in May of 2012 on cassette, for a short tour in Japan. Although there were 50 or 60 copies made, only about 30 or 40 of them ever got assembled and out, so it's fair to say it won't be popping-up in stores anytime soon. Originally inspired by a deep, nocturnal journey that took place in New Zealand earlier this year, these tracks were made as a devotion to the spiritual elements of the infinite space of the night sky. Electric & acoustic guitars, and vocals run through guitar-synthesizer and other electronics, calling back to the voices in the sky. A small, dark stage in the open air, a light drawing constellation trails on the hills, underneath the infinite Recorded Spring 2012 in a big, empty house in Portland.
Guitars, vocals, and electronics recorded during the first first-quarter, and the last first-quarter (the waxing gibbous and the waning gibbous) of March 2012 at Heavenly Bodies, Portland, Oregon. This music was first inspired under the bright and beautiful night sky of the southern hemisphere. More specifically, at 41° 15 41.12 S, 174° 57 3.04 E, Wainuiomata, New Zealand, February 11th, 2012

This music is some top shelf latter-day American kosmische; in my light-polluted corner of the world, music of the heavens has to substitute for the sight of them. Good for reading, headphones, sleep, ambience or active listening, pondering, etc etc etc. Get into this you heads.

You can stream/download/buy Nightshade on McGuire's bandcamp.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

VA - Ethiopian Soul and Groove [1960s-1970s]

Just look at the cover. I shouldn't even have to try to persuade you about this comp. As was true for a huge portion of the world by the late 1960s (Cambodia, Iran, Peru, Japan, and much of West Africa stand out in my admittedly limited experience), Ethiopia had been permeated by American jazz, r'n'b, and rock music, only to spit back out their own take on the stuff. Ethiopian musicians tended to blur the lines dividing these genres in the US, and the results are pretty fantastic.

A few of the more famous guys on here include Mahmoud Ahmed, Alèmayèhu Eshèté, and  Gétatchèw Mèkurya (who fans of the Ex are probably familiar with). But the whole tracklist is stacked with funky psyched-out tunes that naturally incorporate the region's folk melodies thanks to a tendency to play traditional songs in popular styles. Musical influence from Somalia, the Arabian Peninsula, and North Africa via Sudan can be heard -- though what do I really know about that? Just give this one a listen:

Buy Ethiopian Soul and Groove at Dusty Groove
Yegenet Muziqa