It's a chore enough these days for any kind of overseas band to land a U.S. tour on any scale, so its was nothing less than a pleasant surprise when we learned that New Zealand's Axemen had a pretty extensive one lined up with Columbus, Ohio's Times New Viking this fall. The Axemen started in Christchurch in 1981, a time when New Zealand and Flying Nun records in particular were stirring up a major musical waves (ones that were felt in countless 1990's US indie bands and are still being felt today especially disciples like TNV), yet the sweeping, strummy pop element that was evident in many of the Nun's stable was only a part of the fuzzy picture that was the Axemen. The band's central core of (Little) Stevie McCabe, Bob Brannigan, and Stu Kawowski recorded in both cheapo home mode and in traditional studios, but setting had little to do with the wide-swing of directions that are evident wherever you drop a needle (or cue up a tape). There's tons of basement weirdness nodding to the more antisocial Velvets and Swell Maps moments, scatterings of drunken White Album recreation attempts, even moments where they sound like Royal Trux way before their time. When they played at Union Pool in Brooklyn last week I could swear they were going for a Stackwaddy/Doors thing, but then they became Half Japanese with Stevie playing sax solos on guitar. In Axemen recordings, they have one song about Elmer Fudd that sounds like Psychic TV, and another that is totally inspired by Grandmaster Flash. They even did a full album of Elton John songs. I have a feeling that if Flying Nun gave them the giant studio budget like they did Straitjacket Fits they would have come up with an album just as great as their Big Cheap Motel and Scary! Part III cassettes that Siltbreeze thankfully reissued in 2009. Check out the clip below (and more after the jump) of the band on a 90's NZ kids' TV show (promoting their Peter Wang Pud album!), and dig in to their November 20th visit to my radio show, engineered by Jason Sigal and Alex Yockey. Thanks for Terre T for leaving us all the food the Reigning Sound didn't eat earlier that day, there were some fancy pastries!
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JoeMc on 12/09/2009 at 01:58PM
The sad end of Marion Harris teaches us all a very important lesson:
Don't smoke in bed.
Back in 1944, the "Queen of the Blues Singers" fell asleep in the Hotel Marquis in New York City, ciggie still glowing, and by the next morning, there weren't just cigarette ashes for the maid to clean up.
It was a rather sad end, but maybe not so surprising given the run of bad luck Harris had in the years that followed the heyday of her career. In the span of a few years, she broke her jaw in a fluke accident, her house in London was firebombed by the Nazis with her and her husband still in it, and she developed a neurological disorder that sent her on that fateful trip to New York.
Twenty years before World War II, however, Marion Harris was one of the most popular singers in America, a woman who not only was the first to record some of the defining standards of the American songbook ("After You've Gone," "It Had to Be You," and "The Man I Love" among them), but who also was among the first white women to record jazz and blues songs when "race" records were considered off-limits to proper young ladies.
Have a listen to Marion's "I'm a Jazz Vampire" and then read on for more about her life and career.
jason on 12/09/2009 at 09:40AM
Here's a little mix I made, inspired in part by The_Painters' request for sounds somewhere within the fractal of GloFi X PlasticCrimewave. Starts off warm, ends cold
Click the "i" next to each track to learn more about each artist
doncbruital on 12/08/2009 at 03:01PM
Incredible as this recently-YouTube-profferred footage of 1927 London, shot in improbable and vibrant color may be [it is], the thing kind of gives me pause, actually doling up some unease to go with all that vibrancy. The idea, after all, of truly inhabiting another time in history, short of making use of full-on Black Knight-style magically goof-affording time travel, is as false and hollow as the brightly lit footage that hides, behind its title cards, all the downer-aspects of London life circa 1927, not to mention those of the world at large: lookit, poverty, crime, those ubiquitous gray skies--they're all absent. What, then, do I get from such a furlough, a barebones visit to the gaudy trappings of a bygone era? Well, there's that texture, see--that the city, sure, but more importantly that of the video--which grants the listener an inimitably intuitive and above-all inclusive feel for the era, never mind all that's explicitly left out.
Texture is an arena in which THE COUNTRY TEASERS, that London/Edinburgh band of saintly cephalophores who, Denis-like, have been martyred again and again--for some 15 years now--at the twin rock and roll altars of bad lyrical taste and unhinged garagelick vulgarity, have always excelled. Their musical output, genuinely countrified and west-leaning as a London sun, affords, via reliably-deranged recording processes, an unwound sense of careening instrumentation unmatched, according to me, by any of their peers--except maybe THE REBEL, frontman Ben Wallers' solo-ish act. Perhaps befitting a band of such willful oddness and abrasively satiric bent, the Teasers haven't much of an internet presence--their official page is (pardon the necessary artist/commentator vulgarity mirroring) blank as a fart--but the FMA's got two great sets, one from each act, from each act's respective visit to WFMU. Go ahead, take a listen to these reeled documents and get in on that texture, hang with a glimpse of a world more fundamentally jarring, more intuition-stirring, more world-opening than any old footage, rife with vibrancy but short on truth, could ever hope to be.
full sets after the jump:
herr_professor on 12/08/2009 at 09:59AM
For those who follow such things, you'll find in the chip music as genre discussion lots of hand wringing about authenticity and the place chip sounds have in modern music. The weight of these arguments grow weakest when faced with the output of a significant artistic voice, whose results outweigh any semantic discussions of the source and the tools used, and just focus on the results. Swedish performer Psilodump has enough ammo for both sides of the debate. Having been involved with trackers and the demoscene since 1991, he has also crossed over doing remixes for Kraftwerk, Slagsmålsklubben and Bodenständig 2000, and has performed with Neil Landstrumm, Chris Liebing, Cari Lekebusch, Thomas Krome, Infected Mushroom, Slagsmålsklubben, Bit Shifter and Kleerup.
His 2005 release "You Sick Little Monkey" finds the typical chip arpeggios and blips mixed in with found audio and deep electronic percussion into a hard hitting blend of the two eras where one can longer tell where one starts and one ends. US fans are in for a treat as he is perhaps one of the most unheralded performers at next weeks Blip Festival, so check out this release and his extensive Archive.org catalog.
Speaking of Blip Festival, it starts next week! Check in next Tuesday for a special mix of Blip artists, or tune in next Monday to WFMU for a special edition of "Sound and Safe With Trent" with live performances, interviews and all that junk from some of the Blip Performers. See you in seven!
BTurner on 12/07/2009 at 06:18PMVia WFMU » Visit Blog » 0 COMMENTS
TAGGED AS:new zealand
mwalker on 12/07/2009 at 04:26AM
This Tuesday at ISSUE Project Room, trumpeter Nate Wooley (Anthony Braxton, Evan Parker, John Butcher), violinist C. Spencer Yeh (Burning Star Core, Thurston Moore, Evan Parker), and drummer Chris Corsano (Flower-Corsano Duo, Paul Flaherty, Six Organs of Admittance) join together in holy-shit revelry, forming a trio as intensely formidable as one might ever be lucky enough to witness. Along with a bracing evening of improv, attendees will also bear witness to the unveiling of a new tape piece from Wooley, expanding upon The Seven Storey Mountain album collaboration with David Grubbs and Paul Lytton (released last month on Important Records). To get warmed up for what should be a staggeringly awesome concert, check the playlist below for some past ISSUE performances from these three men. You’ll hear a newly-shared performance from C. Spencer Yeh (with Greg Kelley and Paul Flaherty) as well as a couple classic staples of the FMA.
BTurner on 12/04/2009 at 08:47PM
The Los Angeles Free Music Society had its earliest roots in 1972, attracting, almost by act of nature, like-minded audio hooligans who huddled around Tom Recchion's esoteric musical recommendations at the Poo-Bah record store in Pasadena. Not just content to sit around a listen to weird records, the LAFMS generally sought out to blur the lines of highbrow Euro-informed avant classicism, dada-rock ala Beefheart, humor-laced psychedelic jammage, and a million more influences. They did it in a very home-styled manner, held guerilla performances, took over parades and art spaces, and documented countless hours of their interactions on tape and the odd LP. Groups like the Doo-Dooettes, Le Forte Four, Solid Eye, and Extended Organ held court at the nucleus, while interactions with many in their orbit led to early documentations of free-blowing stalwarts like the still-viable Smegma, and to lesser extent notables like Monitor, and even Christian Death and 45 Grave wound up encoded in LAFMS documents. It wasn't until the 1990's that a 10CD box set on the Cortical label, and a 4CD anthology of the open-contribution-based Blorp Essette appeared to try to encapsulate things, inevitably only scratching the surface of the LAFMS saga. So when Mike Kelley's curated two-night noisefest landed at Performa's monthlong NYC event, and brought a slew of LAFMS alumni to town, I jumped on the opportunity to have them down to WFMU to decode the long and mysterious history of the collective.
andrewcsmith on 12/04/2009 at 10:41AM
To imagine the difficulty of imagining what a snapshot of the New Music New York series at the Kitchen in 1979 might be imagined as, begin by listening to these excerpts from last night's performance. But more than he sonic differences--flutes, trumpets, and voices or voice and tape recorder or solo piano--the differences were in the performances.
Connie Beckley, whose piece for voice and tape recorders is featured here, recorded these vocal loops while walking down the aisle, after which she placed the looping cassette players around the room and (eventually) turned them off one by one. "Blue" Gene Tyranny, who performed in many different contexts with everyone from the Once crew to pop to the Kitchen in 1979, presented both a duet for dancers with tape (featuring the voice of Harvey Milk, serving as a reminder to the New York Senate) and a solo piano performance. Peter Kotik's work with a text from Gertrude Stein began with relatively classical instruments and positions. In no time, though, the musical parts drifted apart--three of his compositions were being performed simultaneously--and floated back and forth among one another.
All of this is to illustrate that even after cutting out three different excerpts from a three-night concert series meant to represent the Kitchen in 1979, there isn't much of a stylistic thread to follow. But then again, the concerts weren't exactly specific in their implied content; New Music New York tells three things, none of which were disproven (well, aside from the "new" part this time around).
Which is to say, if you really want the full experience--mobile tape recorders and all--your best bet is to show up at ISSUE Project Room tonight and tomorrow night, for the rest of the festival. Check issueprojectroom.org or darmstadtnewmusic.org for the full details.
TAGGED AS:darmstadt essential repertoire festival
Scott_Williams on 12/04/2009 at 09:09AM
Been a month since I made a blogpost. Bad Blogger! I deserve, and accept, punishment. Can't have any pudding. How can you have any pudding if you don't blog on schedule?
Oh look, pudding!
Every track guaranteed arrived at through self-flagellation and crow-eating, always with an eye on the satorical prize.
wmmberger on 12/03/2009 at 10:00AM
When you're already in a dance with noise and free improvisation, the Kosmische is less than one membranous step away. And so it was with Ghost Moth, the duo of suitcase electronicist Todd Pendu and multi brass/woodwind blower Daniel Carter.
Live audio covered by a creative commons attribution-non commercial-no derivatives license.
After the jump, there's some video of the session, from Todd's YouTube channel: