Scott Williams's Blog
Scott_Williams on 08/03/2012 at 03:00PM
Jealousy in the Love Room (pic by Yvonne Szymczak)
This picture captures the last moment before the lights went out, the strobes came on, and everything went weird. Great weird: disorienting, non-linear, exploratory, and those other catchy faves trippy, spacey, and whoah...
San Francisco-based Mark Treise's 4-year running project Jealousy takes a wildly disparate set of inspirations and distills them, coherently and brilliantly, through a bass guitar and his voice. The bass is relentless, repetetive and symphonic; his voice is high & textural and occasionally takes on the cadence of Genesis Breyer P-Orridge. Lyrics are abstract poetry that often seems to be on about some sex stuff or other. Jealousy has been described as having come to fruition with last year's excellent Moniker Records LP "Viles" (dl the whole thing here on the FMA). But while Mark has indeed sharpened his focus, this session on my radio show displays him very much still searching. 4 of the 5 songs played were largely improvised.
Mark was joined on this session by Alison Peery, who played theremin and the handheld Korg Monotron synth - Hawkwind-style swoops and sweeps abound. The songs were dark as pitch, but the vibe here was very laid-back and open to whatever might happen.
Here's some major trippy light show video, shot by Yvonne Szymczak & David Van Dokkum.
And here are some handy links:
Scott_Williams on 08/01/2012 at 02:00PM
Obviously, you start with Suicide. Then you hit the dusty highway & head backwards, about 15 years. On the way, you stop at a Howard Johnson's where you pick up smokes and an underage girl. Leaving, you spot a shoebox on the ground - it's filled with a stranger's snapshots, postcards and love-letters. You take it, because this will contain your memories. Heading back to the future, you make a pitstop in downtown NYC ca. 1981, just to wash up.
Now that you've got the basic ingredients for Dirty Beaches, you just need the right chef. He is Alex Zhang Hungtai, a bi-coastal Canadian of Taiwanese birth and no place of his own. Though currently, Montreal seems to be doing quite nicely.
Alex and guitarist Shub Roy recently made their first visit to WFMU, and I'm the lucky sumbitch who got to host & record them, while trying not to get drool on their sweet gear. Korg MS-10 synth! Ace Tone analog delay! A homemade fuzz pedal! Real nice mic too, I forgot to ask what that was.
Anyway, we're all real excited to share their live set with you, including an interview where we learn of other things happening in Montreal, and some upcoming releases, including 2 of Alex's film soundtrack projects. An Italian horror film!!
Check out the video of their performance, and here's more Dirty Beaches on the FMA.
Scott_Williams on 08/16/2011 at 12:08PM
Somewhere in the cold grey spaces between Amen Dunes and Kurt Vile live the faraway, mournfully woozy guitar ballads of Terrors, the home-recording project of Elijah Forrest, whoever that is (I'd like to know).
Lagan Qord is a CD & vinyl issue of 2 years' worth of cassette releases. Check his take on "God Bless the Child," which sounds almost like John Cale demoing tracks for Nico's Chelsea Girls sessions.
Scott_Williams on 01/12/2011 at 05:59PM
Brooklyn's Oneida has long occupied a large engorged chunk of the collective heart of us freeform freaks in Jersey City, so it's with much excitement that we're finally able to share with you three full sets (and then some) that the band has performed over the years on WFMU. I'll introduce you to the two I was fortunate to host.
Oneida's first appearance, on my show in June 2000, introduced us to their homebrewed blend of minimalist no wave, kraut jams and freedom rock. Overheated farfisas and squalling guitars collided with the most propulsive and exciting drumming since Keith Moon, while the singers mined the classic lyric canon of rock music.
FMU history buffs take note of the answer to the question "who was the first band to play live on WFMU after 9/11?": Oneida, on my Sept 17, 2001 show. When you need a heavy fog-lifting and blast of clarity, you call Oneida. They delivered. Set opener "To Everything There is a Tyme to Remember Aaliyah" rescued the recently deceased singer from the historical black hole that swallowed Gary Condit and sharks, while "Sheets of Easter" provided the necessary peeling back of the sky and release of a lot of anxious, nervous, just plain bad feeling. Fittingly, when the radio show was over, the band kept playing, as you'll hear on "Double Lock Your Mind". This set, by the way, was one of my all-time personal favorite WFMU experiences.
Five years later, Oneida returned yet again, performing on Terre T's Cherry Blossom Clinic, and we've got that set here as well; then there was that amazing collaboration with Alan Vega, doing Suicide's "Rocket USA" at one of our FMA launch shows in October 2007. Annnnnd, we've got their May 2009 performance on the banks of the ol' Mediteranney, at Barcelona's annual Primavera Sound Festival, recorded and broadcast by WFMU. Whew... Dig in!
Scott_Williams on 11/11/2010 at 03:00PM
Melbourne, Australia's Fabulous Diamonds have haunted the periphery of my consciousness from the get-go. Too subtle to beg or demand notice, their charms are more a natural ooze that works, without trying, to irrevocably attach itself to the listener at the chromosome level. Which doesn't tell you dick about what they sound like, which is... let's say repetitive, rhythmically propulsive, melodically and harmonically static music that nevertheless is vertically dense and ever-evolving texturally. Does that help? Alright, my friend Sarah astutely said "they should've been on that (tribute to the Oneida song) 'Sheets of Easter' compilation"; last.fm compares them to Sun Araw and Gary War; and several publications have drawn lines to Blues Control and Naked on the Vague; all of these bands do ring in sympathy with Fabulous Diamonds.
Fabulous Diamonds are actually Nisa Venerosa and Jarrod Zlatic, drummer/singer and keyboardist/saxophonist, respectively. They've been at this game since about 2007, when they released a 7" on Nervous Jerk, & Mistletone Records and toured the U.S. with longtime FMU faves Psychedelic Horseshit. By 2008, they'd signed with underground Philadelphia stalwarts Siltbreeze, who have so far released 2 full-lengths by the band - a self-titled slab o'wax, and a CD called "II" on Chapter Music (song titles have yet to enter the picture, and we’re not holding our breath).
Scott_Williams on 06/22/2010 at 01:30PM
WFMU recently returned from Barcelona's annual Primavera Sound Festival with a briefcase full of blues, beats, rocks, and yes, punky reggae. While it was a joy to share so much of this very 'FMU-friendly festival over the airwaves, we were sadly forbidden by federal language restrictions from airing much of the amazing set by the class of '76 all-stars, The Slits. Happily, words like "poom poom" still manage to travel unmolested in blogolandia, so it is here that we thrill to share their entire set with you, full blessing of the band in tow.
The Slits were formed in 1976 by mainstay Ari Up and future Raincoat Palmolive. Guitarist Viv Albertine and bassist Tessa Pollitt joined shortly after; soon enough, they were on the road with The Clash and gaining the attention of John Peel, but it wasn't until 1979 that their first record was released. Cut, produced by Dennis Bovell, introduced the long-lasting prominence of reggae to the Slits mix. The trio of Ari, Tessa and Viv remained more or less intact until 1982, when the band called it a day.
In 2006, Ari and Tessa reformed the band. The current lineup includes German drummer Anna Schulte, American singer Michelle Hill, and guitarist Hollie Cook (daughter of Sex Pistol Paul, as a matter of fact). By 2009, they'd released a new album, the far more dub-heavy Trapped Animal, on Narnack Records, who are also curating a label portal here on the FMA.
The Slits' set at Primavera Sound was a freewheeling and crowdpleasing mix of old faves like "Typical Girls" and "Shoplifting" and new tracks like "Babylon" and "Lazy Slam", plus some nuggets from Ari Up's solo career. Ari's charisma, onstage costume changes, audience come-ons and dreadlocks-as-dance-partner defined the vibe of their enchanting Saturday evening set.
Scott_Williams on 04/26/2010 at 09:15AM
The long-standing open relationship WFMU shares with Genesis Breyer P-Orridge just survived another milestone, as Gen and fellow ranking experimental music legend Tony Conrad joined with Psychic TV drummer Edley O’Dowd for a couple of gorgeous sets of string and percussion based improvised music on Fabio's show. That performance, along with some words from Fabio, is now permantly branded upon the interwebs here.
Previously on WFMU, Genesis has sat for several long interviews with Fabio, once with Throbbing Gristle during their 2009 reunion tour. And in 2006, Gen brought the PTV-3 incarnation of her hyperdelic pop group Psychic TV down for a live session. Three songs from that session are now on the FMA here for your downloadable pleasure.
The day after that session, I posted what follows to WFMU's Beware of The Blog.
Scott_Williams on 12/19/2009 at 01:35PM
Austin, Texas has got a lot to love if you're a music, bbq and concrete gorilla garden-gnome lover like me. And the assorted distorted musical minds of ST 37 measure their Austin roots back to the 13th Floor Elevators. Tapping into the future with furrows into gardens also visited by the Buttholes and Scratch Acid, ST 37 has arguably now achieved the status of greatest working surrealist psychedelic punk band in Texas.
ST 37 formally came together in 1987, as a collaborative project between several other Austin bands. Scott Telles, Joel and Carlton Crutcher, and Jon Torn (son of Rip) laid down the blueprint: a heavy devotion to Hawkwind, Chrome (from whose Alien Soundtracks they took their name), and the original Krautrock band of 5 (Neu, Kraftwerk, Amon Duul, Can, Ash Ra Temple). Lest the beards get too long, live sets always included covers by the likes of the Urinals and Aussie deviant Pip Proud. By the summer of 2000, Telles and the Crutchers remained, with new guys playing Theremins, guitars and more synths, to make their first visit to New York. While here, they stopped off at my WFMU show to play a set that was wasted, shambolic and visionary. They've agreed to freely share these tracks with us. Enjoy!
ST 37 live set on Scott's show, August 11 2000, here
ST 37 home page here
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.
Scott_Williams on 10/21/2009 at 04:00PM
If you're in, or can get to, the NYC area this weekend, do whatever you have to to get to the 2009 edition of the WFMU Record Fair. Sell your spleen, your sibling, your self-respect- hell, sell your soul - just be there.
Inducements are many: 10,000 sq. ft. of dealers, pizza, DJ petting zoo, amusements, cigarette girls, celebrity sightings, beer, you name it. But today we're gonna focus on the live music. God DAMN, there's been a lot of amazing live music over the years going on at the WFMU Record Fair. The FMA's here and happy to give you a (downloadable) preview of some of the artists we've got lined up for this year, as well as representatives of Record Fairs past (and undoubtedly future).
Among the acts performing live this year are Chris Brokaw, veteran of Codeine + Come + a thousand support & collab spots; WFMU's very own queen of media manipulation People Like Us; Jon Spencer's new rockabilly project Heavy Trash; and the ultra-dramatic (and unspeakably weird) new broadway-piano project from electronic cut-up superstar Kevin Blechdom; and more!
Continue reading for many hours of past live performances at the FMU record fair, and much music from artists who've performed there.