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jason on 04/22/2013 at 07:16AM

Blanche Blanche Blanche & The Home Recordists of Brattleboro VT

Bird's eye view of Brattleboro, 1905 (public domain via)

Brattleboro is a small town in southern Vermont with a high per capita of home-recorded experimental-pop. From King Tuff's scuzzy glam, to the prolific Happy Jawbone Family Band, to new migrants like Chris Cohen (former Deerhoof/Cryptacize) and Bird Names, this historic river region seems to fuel creativity.


OSR Tapes Dax Bills has released some of the most exciting new sounds from Brattleboro: cassettes by the likes of Nals Goring, Horse Boys, Heat Wilson, Blanche Blanche Blanche, and Zach Phillips. Phillips, the force behind the label, is also the enigma behind pretty much all of these projects. FMA's doncbruital tried to help us wrap our heads around the OSR phenomenon back in 'Dec '09, but the OSR Tapes well of creativity continues to flood down the Connecticut River.

Blanche Blanche Blanche is Zach Phillips' collaboration with vocalist and lyricist Sara Smith, doing something they describe as "open session rock." They performed with members of Punks on Mars, Big French and Great Valley as a tight-knit 5-piece opening for Howling Hex at Brooklyn's Secret Project Robot last month, slipping a Royal Trux cover into a set that came across like Philip Glass scoring a prog-metal/hardcore-punk opera. I asked Zach how the guitar, synth and V-Drums so fluidly follow Sara's pink-haired poetic punk incantations. He explained how he writes scores for each song in his own notation—"four E's, one C, etc"—where each number is a beat.


On their home recordings, Blanche Blanche Blanche paints a lofi atmosphere that should appeal to fans of Ariel Pink, Gary War and James Ferrarro's Nightdolls With Hairspray. The songs are semi-linear, and the sound changes with each release along with the lineup. On their latest 7" (Scam b/w Press Dumps), they wanted to do something without keyboards, so they enlisted guitarist Graham Brooks from the local metal band Atlatl, and fellow home recordist Chris Weisman. Available from Adagio 830, they've also worked with Feeding Tube, La Station Radar, Night People. You'll find all 8 BBB releases for sale + free download at osr-tapes.com, alongside gems from other OSR family members. You can dig deeper here on the FMA, too, with the fantastic Songs For Music by the mysterious Bruce Hart, after the jump.


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doncbruital on 12/15/2009 at 02:56PM

Vermont's Riverrun Detrita

The FMA has recently been bolstered by slews of noisy new material which, having likely floated unprotected down the near-frozen Connecticut River for some time, is basically mangled beyond recognition and so contains little to no extant connection with the recognizable world save for a possible origin point up in Brattleboro, VT. Yeah, surely any analysis of this most mysterious body of work is liable to be bewilderingly inconclusive and maddeningly equivocal thanks to the wild multivalence of the material, which runs the gamut from harsh radioclip soundcollage to enlightened decentralized forms of rock'n'roll libertarianism to autoharmolodic piano concerti to SNLian youth theatrics and back again. But some things are clear; namely, that these Vermonstrous acts--HEAT WILSON, HORSE BOYS, ROAN STARS, SORD--all seem to connect to a mysterious personnage by the improbably gristley name of NALS GORING. This much we know, no matter that the music continues to confound.

And you can rest easy on that last score, too, cause if Goring's work is a touch bewildering, it's all the more entrancing for this mystery element. Indeed, this doublepronged dynamic--bizarrdom-mit-newfangling--runs through the FMA-documented wealth of works solo and collaborative. In HEAT WILSON and ROAN STARS (in each of which acts Nals Goring's partner is apparently named, uh, Nals Gorman), cut-tape cs dissemblage is married with honest-to-God band antics, guitars, drums, the whole bit. Seriously! Meanwhile in HORSE BOYS, a project for which, despite its Quixote-flavored found manuscript form (for it seems to comprise found piano playing by one Zach Phillips) Goring is intent on taking credit, field recording weaves between brittley oldpiano strands of melody while someone, Goring only knows who, takes on the "Nancy Sings"-vibe vox. And of course there's more, lots, in fact; the author figures that you, reader, will take that icy Connecticut plunge and do some digging yerself.

Follow the links above to the respective Goring project FMA pages, or check out the tasty sampling tray I've prepared below. There's also the myspace, the hometown OSR Tapes/Dax Bills tape label website for all your Goring needs, and that reliable youtube option. That this material needs to be heard, riverripped and raggedness-wrought though it may seem, should then quickly prove self-evident.

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