Thursday, February 25, 2010

Haunted Fucking


"Haunted Fucking is sex with an ex"

Haunted Fucking is Chris and Claire

Ladies and gentlemen, for your listening pleasure, Haunted Fucking.

Muffled Metal (Self)
1. Wooden Sword
2. I Want You
3. Wouldn't Go There Again
4. Front To Back
5. Saturday
6. Taunted Love
7. We Were Lying Down
8. ddrruummss
9. No I Couldn't Tell

Joan Of Arc (Hex Out)
1. Side A
2. Side B

Rare Stuff (Pukekos)
1. All It's Teeth Fell Out And This Had Nothing To Do With Telling The Truth Whatsoever
2. Second Guessing
3. Never Not A Vacancy
4. A Gift To Possess Apocrypha
5. Hex Out
6. I Can't Believe
7. I Can See The Differences
8. I Know Never Know
9. Looking So Lost/Give Yourself Away
10. Never Want To Go Home/Dreamworld
11. Whoo

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

The Fall

You skinny rats, etc.

Ladies and gentlemen, for your listening pleasure, The Fall.

Slates (Rough Trade)
1. Middle Mass
2. An Older Lover, etc.
3. Prole Art Threat
4. Fit And Working Again
5. Slates, Slags, etc.
6. Leave The Capitol

Tuesday, February 23, 2010



"James Siegfried (born April 20, 1953) hails from Milwaukee, WI. James was trained on piano from age seven and by his late teens, wound up studying music at a conservatory. His wild keyboard style (informed by dissonant modernists Thelonius Monk and Cecil Taylor) alienated his more conventionally minded instructors. After about a year at school he began blowing saxophone -- a progression inspired by the savage, screaming bathos of Albert Ayler, the subtler bop phrasing of Art Pepper, Lester Young and Charlie Parker as well as the gutbucket funk of Maceo Parker, Fela and various bar-walking R+B honkers. A few years later, the fledgling musical malcontent ditched his studies and joining up with a Velvets/Stooges-style proto-punk band called Death, before splitting to New York City in an attempt to crash the thriving underground jazz loft scene. When James hit NYC in 1976, he was not as well accepted as he'd hoped. Maybe the confrontational outbursts of this overly aggressive upstart were a bit too extreme for the intellectual chin-scratchers in the audience. Maybe his playing was too blatantly raw, unhoned and chaotic for the competitive, dues-minded musicians. Maybe the fact that some bizarre, scrawny white kid from the Midwest was trying his damnedest to infiltrate a predominantly black-identified cultural scene spelled disaster. This lack of welcome possibly embittered James -- in the following few years the issue of race would be unflinchingly referenced (along with plenty of other topics) in interviews as well as on his albums. Obviously James' quixotic energy hit a nerve with a small faction of the jazz contingent, because established players like Bern Nix, Luther Thomas, Joseph Bowie and Henry Threadgill would all eventually pass through the ranks of his various ensembles. Bloodied but unbowed, James hunkered down and studied his saxophone with another young firebrand named David Murray (who would later ascend to the top of the heap of recognition in the jazz world).

Rethinking his approach, James started making the rounds at skuzzy downtown rock clubs like CBGB's. The early punk scene was well in progress, typified by such legendary bands as The Ramones, Suicide and Television. James Siegfried soon made the acquaintance of an equally misanthropic 16 year-old cocktail waitress and renegade from Rochester, NY named Lydia Koch. At some point soon after, the dynamic duo took on the pseudonymous surnames of Chance and Lunch, and the rest is history. A brief black and white movie clip from early 1977 of the two pre-cool icons can be seen in a rare documentary called 'Punking Out': A mute, painfully shy James grins goofily at the camera through huge, dorky glasses while chipper young Lydia, complete with feathered hair, giggles enthusiastically about serving up the Dead Boys her used maxi-pad!

One band from the Max's Kansas City/CBGB's scene that took an increasingly left of center approach was the band China, who would re-christen themselves Mars by the summer of 1977. The group consisted of four enthusiastically non-musical artist-types who took the Warhol/beatnik/Velvet Underground aesthetic and started steadily dismantling it even further, breaking their rock songs down into sheer noise. Mars began sharing rehearsal space with like-minded rock weirdos like The Cramps and a newly formed group called Teenage Jesus and the Jerks. The early Teenage Jesus consisted of Lydia on guitar and vocals, James on saxophone, a Japanese guy named Reck on bass and Cleveland transplant Bradly Field on drum and cymbal. This initial line-up began playing out in mid-'77 and recorded three songs that would be released two years later by ZE Records. The music reflected a primitive but obviously disciplined approach to bludgeoning minimalism consisting of dissonant, pounding repetition and blankly cold shouting. Teenage Jesus pushed the nihilism of punk even further while completely circumventing the comforting rock and roll elements prevalent in most other bands at the time. Pretty soon, another group of inspired incompetents called DNA (a trio featuring Arto Lindsay and Ikue Mori) started practicing at the loft. Their own conception was based on deliberately skewed arrangements of brisk, lacerating noise and disorder.

By the end of the year there seemed to be too many egos in Teenage Jesus and the Jerks -- James' sax squiggles were too extroverted for the increasingly monolithic and faceless thud of the Jerks, so James split off to form his own combo. A few people filed through the ranks before the group began to take its definitive shape. James Nares (who directed the hilarious and chaotic 1978 film Rome '78 which featured a cameo by James Chance as a lowly slave boy!) was drafted on guitar. Pat Place, a visual artist who came to New York from Chicago in 1975, wound up wrenching slippery guitar racket with a slide. Reck held the bass chair for a while, but was replaced in December 1977 by George Scott, a tall, lanky surf music aficionado from Iowa who had been gigging with a prototypical no wave band called Jack Ruby. Reck's friend Chiko Hige manned the drums for a spell before both of them decided to head back to Japan, later establishing the long-lived punk/no wave/new wave band Friction. James had been occasionally sitting in with a bar band of transplanted Kansas boys called the Loose Screws and wound up codging their drummer Don Christensen. By early 1978, Nares was replaced by another member of the Screws named Jody Harris. Adele Bertei, who came from Cleveland and had played in a band called Peter and the Wolves with the late Pere Ubu founder Peter Laughner, pounded away noisily on a cheap Acetone organ.

The Contortions began developing a concept that fused brittle, jerky instrumental grooves with careening blasts of atonality. The rhythm section chugged away gratingly as if their prime directive was to substitute rusty razor blades for guitar picks and perform bizarro-world, amphetamine-jitter cover versions of The Meters songbook. Jody's clipped chicken scratch interlocked with George's brutally metallic bass tone and Don's odd, syncopated rhythm patterns to create a frantic foundation, both unnerving and danceable. Pat and Adele's contributions were more expressionistic and asymmetrical -- sharp fragments of sour, pungent sonic commentary filling the remainder of cracks in the sound. On top of the whole jagged musical puzzle James alternately screeched and crooned his own alienated, cynical lyrics or issued forth horrid torrents of saxophone glossolalia. Mr. Chance soon began turning his inner aggression directly towards the audience, issuing vitriolic verbal tirades or leaping into the crowd to smack some complacent bystander in the face. Confrontation became a regular part of the show, adding to the already violent sonic vibrations.

During the spring of 1978, the Contortions notoriety increased steadily while opening up for bands like Suicide, Mars and The Cramps. A pivotal event took place between May 2-6, 1978 as the crème of the Manhattan art/punk/noise bands were presented in a series of concerts at the Soho based Artist's Space gallery. The line-up included The Contortions, DNA, Teenage Jesus, Mars, Theoretical Girls, Terminal, Tone Death, Daily Life, The Gynecologists and Boris Policeband. The press had begun to tag these loosely associated groups with the stylistic demarcation 'No Wave'. At one point in the set James turned his attention towards harassing some unidentified woman when noted rock critic Robert Christgau tried to intervene and cool things out. The scene quickly turned into a bona fide skirmish, James emerging with a cut eye for his trouble. Progressive muso Brian Eno happened to be slumming the downtown scene and caught these gigs. He wound up masterminding a series of recording sessions by the first four units to produce a compilation entitled No New York which was released in November 1978. Although it has become de rigueur for anyone discussing this album to complain about the somewhat flat and muddled recording quality, the Contortions four No New York cuts give ample insight to a raw, feral intensity that would be missing from the later releases.

In the fall of '78 Adele left the fold and James' girlfriend, the notorious downtown scenester Anya Phillips, became the group's manager. Anya quickly involved herself with wide range of the group's affairs including photography (she's responsible for the cover art of these albums) and the cultivation of James' image as a debonair lounge lizard. It would be speculated that their business union signaled the beginning of the end for the band. Tension steadily escalated as Anya encouraged James to set his sights outside of the grungy downtown rock scene. Towards the end of 1978, ZE Records magnate Michael Zilkha supplied James with a large budget to create a disco album. Anya came up with the moniker James White and the Blacks and the band began recording the album Off White. The sessions featured guest appearances by a number of friends. Lydia Lunch (under the alias 'Stella Rico') contributed the distressingly erotic moaning on 'Stained Sheets' as well as some blasting guitar noise stabs on 'White Devil'. Kristian Hoffman, a member of the Sparks-like pop group the Mumps who is listed as 'Tad Among' on the album credits and Anya (a.k.a. 'Ginger Lee') gave their best lounge singer impressions on a version of Irving Berlin's 'Tropical Heatwave'. Bob Quine (who had become known for his utterly manic guitar ejaculations with Richard Hell and the Voidoids) guested on a few tracks. Vivienne Dick, director of the flick 'Beauty Becomes the Beast' featuring Lydia, scraped some violin on 'Bleached Black'. Even Adele Bertei returned long enough to pair off on some superfly-ghetto-race-rap with Ms. Phillips during 'Almost Black'. After the fact, George Scott claimed in print that he kept falling asleep while Off White was being recorded...

The first James White and the Blacks live show took place at Club 57 in New York City on Feb 2, 1979. Although the the Contortions were reaching their pinnacle of popularity in the New York club scene, James seemed to be making plenty of enemies -- for example, an anonymous saboteur ringed up the Village Voice (it wasn't anybody named 'Stella' however) and successfully instructed them to write 'cancelled' across the ad for the show. Local music rag New York Rocker began to document all of this interpersonal baggage as well as the increasingly outre and outspokenly negative behavior of James Chance. During the spring of 1979, several days of sessions for Buy would be recorded and abandoned - in print, James blamed the disaster on the incompetence of the musicians, while the band blamed it on James' technical ineptitude in the producer role. Emotions came to a head when James demanded that the rhythm tracks be re-cut again from scratch and Jody, Don and George decided to take a walk. The band reformed a few days later with Loose Screws/Chinese Puzzle bassist David Hofstra in lieu of George Scott.

At this point, James and Anya demanded that the musicians sign a contract relegating them to 'sideman' status. This reconstituted line-up soldiered on and laid down the final tracks for the album. Meanwhile, George made himself busy by joining John Cale's touring ensemble, as documented on the 1979 live LP Sabotage.

Buy is not considered by the members of the original line-up to be a definitive document (most significantly, Hofstra's neutral fretless bass tone is a far cry from the biting harshness of his predecessor's sound) cuts like 'Contort Yourself', 'Throw Me Away' and 'Bedroom Athlete' burn with plenty of real frenzy to spare. By the way, that's not Adele Bertei on organ (she was long gone by this point) but rather James himself torturing the keys here and there. 'Roving Eye' is a bonafide classic of white funk whiplash (it's hard to believe no one has sampled/stolen the main riff for some pre-fab dance or hip hop track!) Throughout the album, James' vocals set the mood, ranging from the utterly dispassionate to agonized fits of howling and screaming. Although the ragged freneticism of the Contortions live show is somewhat absent from this recording the rhythm section is certainly much better than serviceable and there's plenty of jagged glass guitar raking slathered all over the tracks.

The Contortions embarked on a brief Midwest tour before jetting off to Europe in Spring '79 for what would turn out to be their final show: a single concert in Paris held outside in a tent. The performance approached near-riot status as a cadre of French Communists flung hails of bottles at the stage in protest of some rather indiscreet comments James had made in a local publication. Or maybe it was just a bunch of enthusiastic nihilists, responding in earnest to the Contortions' rumored violence? James and Anya wound up hanging out in France for a while, but the rest of the group were left to find their own way home. By Fall 1979, James Chance/White reappeared fronting an all-new Contortions line-up (featuring Kristian Hoffman on slide guitar and Bradly Field on, um, bongos) in what would soon turn into a rapidly revolving door policy for side persons. James continued to seek out side musicians with more professional chops to fulfill his desire for a slicker group with a faster learning curve.

Off White hit the racks in Europe around mid-1979 and in the US later that year, while Buy saw release in September '79. Jody Harris, Don Christensen and George Scott joined up with multi-instrumentalist Pat Irwin towards the end of 1979 to form a modernistic neo-surf instrumental combo called The Raybeats. Jody also moonlighted in the Lizzy Mercier Descloux band as well as cutting a duo record with Robert Quine the following year. After a stint with Judy Nylon, Pat Place resurfaced in early 1980 with the urban dance/noise beat of Bush Tetras, which also briefly included Adele Bertei. George Scott went on to do double duty with The Raybeats and 8 Eyed Spy (also including Irwin and Lydia Lunch), before dying of a seemingly accidental drug overdose on August 5, 1980. Don Christensen made a few records in the early '80s under the moniker ImpLOG before going on to score cartoon soundtracks and working with Philip Glass. Jody Harris eventually played with John Zorn, The Golden Palominos, Syd Straw, Richard Hell, Kip Hanrahan, Matthew Sweet and others. Pat Place spent a few years in the mid-90s with a reincarnated Bush Tetras after having worked with people like Lydia Lunch and Maggie Estep.

Out of nowhere in February 2001, the Contortions took the stage for two New York shows -- one at The Cooler and the other at Irving Plaza -- with a line-up including James, Jody, Pat and Don. By all reports, the playing was solid and large portions of the sets were dedicated to classic Contortions material. Don't get excited though! It doesn't seem like this brief reunion trip is going any further. Perhaps the revolutionary events of the past should remain in memory, colored vividly by the revisionism of history. People tend to change and most of the time (especially in rock and roll) scenarios resulting from bygone times, places and personal chemistries cannot be merely reenacted like a television show brought to us in progress after a lengthy news report. When most groups decide to reform, the audience usually expects the sublime but is often offered the ridiculous instead. The music of the original Contortions erupted from a New York City that was still exciting, dangerous and full of possibilities. Those halcyon days of artistic insanity are long gone but the musicians remain . . . James continues to refract various musical angles with several groups, Don and Pat have been playing together in in a trio with latter-day Bush Tetra Julia Murphy on bass, while Jody, Don and Dave Hofstra gig about once a month with a singer under the moniker The Band of George.

Weasel Walter, February 2002

Thanks to Pat Place, Don Christensen, James Nares, David Hofstra, David Siegfried, Glenn Branca, Mark Cunningham and James Chance for clarifying details."

Ladies and gentlemen, for your listening pleasure, Contortions.

Buy (ZE)
1. Design To Kill
2. My Infatuation
3. I Don't Want To Be Happy
4. Anesthetic
5. Contort Yourself
6. Throw Me Away
7. Roving Eye
8. Twice Removed
9. Bedroom Athlete

Off White (ZE)
1. Contort Yourself
2. Stained Sheets
3. (Tropical) Heat Wave
4. Almost Black
5. White Savages
6. Off Black
7. White Devil
8. Bleached Black

Monday, February 22, 2010


I first heard Nervous Circuits in December of 1996. It was a dub of a dub of rough mixes that we listened to on my car stereo, the audio quality left a lot to be desired but that wasn't why we were listening. Leaks were harder to come by in those days, etc.

The VSS were like the Velvet Underground -- not many people saw them or heard the records, but those who did all started bands or labels. This was a different era when to go on tour was to take the message to the people, and the only way to find out about new bands was to go see them -- if you were lucky enough to know about the show. Zines with ads for the tour would be be hit with delays and not come out until after it was over. If you were out of the loop, you missed it. It was an inscrutable world, and the only way to gain entry was to meet someone who already knew about it.

This record is important, so I asked singer Sonny Kay to tell its tale:

"Nervous Circuits was written and recorded in the early fall of 1996. The band had relocated to San Francisco from Boulder, and secured a rehearsal space in the Tenderloin, at what was reputedly the 'highest murder rate intersection' in the city, Turk and Mason. We'd been in limbo regarding a record label for quite some time. Our singles had all been issued haphazardly, far later than planned, and with countless aggravating personal strings attached that we just didn't feel like maintaining at that point. I remember sitting at the bar in Bottom of the Hill one night, chatting with Lance Hahn, who was astonished that no one had stepped-up to offer us an LP deal. He did so on the spot and so the album was suddenly destined for release on Honey Bear (essentially Lance's 'wing' of Revolver USA). I believe that was the impetus that really set the wheels in motion.

The band had emerged from a fairly chaotic summer (including supporting Unwound on the west coast with a fill-in guitarist) but with Josh back in the fold once again, we set out writing the album probably sometime in early or mid-August. As I was the sole East Bay resident, I'd ride BART over during rush hour, emerging from the packed train at Montgomery Street where I'd promptly make a beeline for Taco Bell on 6th and Market, my usual meeting spot with Andy. A rock n' roll romantic might surmise that many a great idea was hatched at that Market Street Taco Bell. But in reality, only lice were hatching there.

I think we all perceived the album as being our most concise statement after a series of singles and EP's - although I don't think any of us suspected at that point that it would be the only LP. We'd been wearing our influences on our sleeves (literally, in Dave's case) since the beginning, and tasked ourselves with molding the quintessential hybrid; borrowing liberally from the Birthday Party, Pornography-era Cure, Gary Numan/Tubeway Army, early Public Image Limited, Swans, and The Doors. I don't remember ever sitting down and planning this out - we were all just in the same mindset, thinking like a hive-minded gang at war with the confines of the Ebullition-centric scene which we were struggling to differentiate ourselves from. The indifference towards 'hardcore' that had taken root in Angel Hair really blossomed with The VSS, although we were well aware that 'the kids' who identified with it were the ones coming to our shows. Of course, we knew we had allies - we could sense the boredom and redundancy other people were feeling - not to mention being aware of vaguely similar bands such as Mocket, Satisfact, and Brainiac. I think it's safe to say we felt as though we were fighting our way out of a box - using Rolands and flashing lights to counter the stiflingly dull earnestness of what was in those days called 'emo'. We wanted to inject a cold detachment and aesthetic opacity into what we perceived to be the phony world of 'woe is me' posturing typified by bands like, well, almost anyone on Ebullition, Council, Repercussion, etc. who all just seemed locked in homage to the truly great Rites of Spring.

For my own part, I distinctly remember struggling with the lyrics. Although I feel like I can write on command nowadays, back then it really didn't come easily. I would drive up to the overlook near Lawrence Berkeley Labs to try and clear my head, staring out at the Golden Gate Bridge while tapping my pen on an empty page. A lot of the content, I now realize, was my coming to terms with the frustrating reality of my existence - uprooting myself from the small-town college bubble of Boulder for the added expense and menial employment opportunities of post-graduate life in a big California city. I was striking back at traffic, rent, and exhaustion, and at the same time trying to embrace the precariousness of my/our situation. I mined relationships from years prior for inspiration, and I deconstructed the social fabric of the punk scene we were inevitably a part of. The overall difficulty/object was in how to say things in a manner that wasn't simple to comprehend - I wanted things to be abstract, poetic, and difficult - or at least challenging. Whether they are or not, I don't know. They certainly were to create.

The album was recorded in Denver in late October, culminating with our Halloween-night warehouse performance about 30 minutes after we'd finished mixing it. Ultimately, it was our only record. All I can say it truly represents is a brief window in the lives of four individuals who felt inspired to start with something old in the hopes of ending with something new. Beyond that, it's vague, inarticulate, moody, unpredictable and hopefully a little confusing - everything we meant for it to be."

Dave Clifford also felt compelled to add his two cents:

"Sonny's recollections are definitely very astute, and I look back at the time we spent creating that album as one of the most focused, clear-minded and incredibly inspired recording projects with which I've ever been involved. The thing that still impresses me about it today, despite the flawed, rushed mix and my limitations as a drummer, is that in the writing and recording process it seemed like anything was possible. While we were actively trying to create sounds that embodied many of our most bizarre aesthetic aims, it somehow worked without seeming completely hackneyed.

At the time, Andy Rothbard (bass/keyboards) and I lived in a small group house in the southern outer-reaches of San Francisco's forgotten zone, The Excelsior. We were all working grueling day jobs, then immediately proceeding to practice 5 nights a week, for 3-4 hours at a time working up a set of songs for the album. Afterward, Andy and I would sit up late into the night playing records and talking in abstractions about how to distill certain essences of music into something different. Once, listening to a Stooges CD that suddenly started to skip, I thought, let's make a song that sounds like a skipping disc ('In Miniature').

I still clearly recall another night sitting in my room and hearing a Leonard Cohen record playing in Andy's room upstairs. Muted and transformed by the thick walls, Cohen's gentle acoustic guitar plucking sounded like a rumbling mechanical hum of a thousand synths, his voice like a droning choral lull. That became the foundation of the album's title track droning thud.

All the time in the year or so that we spent composing and ruminating on musical ideas it seemed I never listened to music for the music's sake, but all for a song's mood, how certain sounds smudged into a powerful new and unique voice. Repetition, layering, buried sound effects, rhythmic juxtaposition... we had a screed of odd sonic ideas, and just dove in head-first without hesitation.

The VSS certainly also aimed to revamp the chilly detachment of the post-punk era, inspired both by the faux-earnestness of the major label Grunge ubiquity and the sniveling of the screamo underground. We'd always felt somewhat looked down upon by the white belt coterie for being Colorado hicks playing what some said was too 'rock', and we brandished our over-the-top musical and visual assertiveness in the faces of the foppish, roll-on-the-ground screaming babies with whom we shared the basement and VFW 'stage'.

At the time, I was very fixated on the writing of Antonin Artaud, Gilles Deleuze, Felix Guattari and a host of other highfalutin philosophers, whose every idea I seemed to try to find a way to apply musically. I was also listening to a lot of 'tribal' rhythm recordings, Balinese gamelan, Bulgarian folk singing, Funkadelic, 60s soul music, et al. Essentially, listening to anything other than what was going on in the contemporary underground. I'd only begun playing drums one year before we recorded the album, and I was hellbent on avoiding the Jesus Lizard-esque trappings that were so predominant in the era. Likewise, we were all very picky in the songwriting process about what was deemed worthy of keeping. While all of us were bringing in a vast array of influences and ideas, every one of us found a way to building upon the most abstract visions and creating something that I still think is pretty unique. I will always remember that time for our completely aligned sense of purpose and aesthetic."

I got this record the day it came out and I still listen to it. My copy sounds sounds great after all these years, and now you can hear it too.

Thanks to Sonny and Dave and Hyrdra Head.

Ladies and gentlemen, for your listening pleasure, The VSS.

Nervous Circuits (Honey Bear)
1. Death Scene
2. In Miniature
3. Sibling Ascending
4. Effigy
5. Lunar Weight
6. Conscious
7. What Kind Of Ticks?
8. Chemical In Chemistry
9. Swift Kicks
10. Nervous Circuits

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Buckets of Bile

This is why I like her music so much:

"almost a year ago i had surgery on my foot and they put me under twilight anesthesia, which is where you're not entirely unconscious but you also don't remember beans after the fact. so there i was, lying on the table, waiting for the drugs to take me away while about a dozen people scurry around in scrubs and get ready to break my bones. then this music comes on and i can't believe it because it's this intense, really clangy industrial noise music, and my doctor looks at me and goes 'hey jackie, you like the music we put on?' and all i can think is YOU ARE GOING TO BREAK MY BONES TO THIS? I HAD YOU FIGURED ALL WRONG, BUDDY, YOU ARE TWISTED! the guy always struck me as a who fan. but then the next thing i remember is waking up.

i go home and stay in bed for days. friends come by to say hi and i find myself repeating this story to everyone because i STILL can't believe that the entire room of people could have possibly agreed upon that music. so the next week when i go to the doc's office for my first follow-up i ask him for the band name so that i can listen to more of the soundtrack to my surgery. he goes 'what did you hear?' and i tell him and he laughs and goes 'jack, that was the drugs. we listened to classic rock.'

and i always think of that story now when people bring it up that 'buckets of bile' can be a misleading name for my music (my favorite: 'i was expecting 4 dudes from providence'). i guess deep down i'm not fooling anyone with this home-fried stuff, i'm secretly really all about harsh industrial noise rock."

Ladies and gentlemen, for your listening pleasure, Buckets of Bile.

Outside Mind (Speed Tapes)
1. Outside Mind
2. Growing Gone

Paid in Puke/Buckets of Bile (Speed Tapes)
1. Broke The Mold
2. Solver
3. My Viking Funeral

XXperiments (Die Stasi)
1. Caught It Still

Ladyz In Noyz: An Addendum (Corpus Callosum)
1. A Sign
2. So Knotted Down

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

T.M.I. 015: A Compilation

From the desk of Alice Cohen:

"T.M.I. 015 is a compilation of pop-rock bands from Ohio, Pennsylvania and Indiana. It came out in 1983 on the T.M.I. Products label which was started by two of the guys from the Pittsburgh band Carsickness. T.M.I. had put out about 20 products in all when it folded in 1984 or 85, and this comp was the 15th release, hence its name. The Moroccos track was recorded at a place called Linden Studios in Ambler, Pa. also known as 'the Barn' - probably the most magical place I've ever recorded in. It was literally a huge barn, on the home property of the Mauchly family - John Mauchly, the father, had invented the first digital computer there - the ENIAC - in the early 40s. His son, Bill Mauchly, was a musician and had started the studio in the mid 70s with the late Vinnie Moos, who played bass in the Moroccos. The Barn also had a mellotron - sent over from Britain in the early 70s. To this day, I've never seen one anywhere else. The mellotron used a series of tapes inside of it, which play when the keys are struck. This mellotron is used on the Moroccos track, and I think Carsickness used it on their track too. Carsickness and Club of Rome recorded their tracks at the Barn as well. Club of Rome was the band of Charlie Hanson, who later became my bandmate in the Vels. So these are pre-Vels projects. In addition to the mellotron, the 'Wheel of Fortune' track features a piano solo by me, samples of carnival sounds, and a sort of 'ska' rhythm influence, which was popular in bands we liked at that time, like XTC. It was a hugely fertile time period musically, with bands being sort of whimsical, humorous, and colorful, in a way that seemed really lighthearted and fun, and very specific to that moment in time."

Ladies and gentlemen, for your listening pleasure, T.M.I. 015: A Compilation.

T.M.I. 015: A Compilation (Three Mile Island)
1. Jungle Book (Dancing Cigarettes)
2. Dream Factory (Carsickness)
3. Nervous Breakdown (Johnny Clampett and the Walkers)
4. Sacrifice (Club of Rome)
5. Lies (Easter Island)
6. Beatsickness (Cold Warrior and the Mercenary Band)
7. It's Not Right (F-Models)
8. More (Nominal Bond)
9. Wheel Of Fortune (Moroccos)
10. Serenade (Tripod Jimmie)
11. A Quick Trip (Chris Koenigsberg)
12. Body Motion (Stick Against Stone)

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

No New York

"Let me spin you a tale of yesteryear ... a godforsaken time when sometimes you actually had to wait years (!) to hear certain kinds of music because you couldn't find a copy of the goddamn record!

By spring of 1986, I had deduced from my research at the public library that there was something weirder and better than good ol' Punk: it was a disjointed, surrealistic deconstruction of rock perpetrated by antisocial characters with names like Lydia Lunch and James Chance called No Wave. The rhetoric and pictures sure looked good in books and magazines, so the search began. By the summer of that year I had procured used copies of the Contortions and James White and the Blacks albums (four dollars each) as well as ROIR cassette-only releases by the Contortions and 8 Eyed Spy.

James Chance was an ornery character. His shrill, dissonant saxophone playing and petulant vocal tirades reeked of nihilism and lent a clearly sadomasochistic edge to the thin, jarring mutant funk of his backing bands. I used to stare at the back of James White and the Blacks (the Contortions 'disco' alter-ego) LP and wonder who the hell these weird people were: Pat Place, Tad Among (actually Kristian Hoffman, the keyboardist from the Mumps), Anya Phillips, George Scott, Stella Rico (Lydia Lunch incognito, her portrait consisting only of a set of bound, black stockinged legs) ... the whole milieu just seemed so goddamn PUERILE! As a kid, this was all very 'New York City' in my mind - a fucked up, sleazy place where outcasts gravitated and did their misanthropic thangs and actually thrived ... of course, now, NYC is merely a haven for the rich and debauched, a mere shell culturally of what it was once, but at the time the city's allure was dangerous and perverse in nature.

Lydia Lunch fascinated me. She was an exotic creature - only 18 years old in '78, sexually smouldering, with raven-black tresses - who seemed to utterly despise everything on the planet and did so with unerring articulation and intensity. The ultimate babe! Her 'rock mama' vocals on the 8 Eyed Spy tape were cool, but the shit hit the fan in early 1987 when I ordered her 2 LP Hysterie retrospective album from CD Presents Records. Teenage Jesus and the Jerks sounded exactly the way I knew they'd sound: minimal, cacophonous and terrifying. One reviewer once likened her ultra-assaultive guitar tone to 'a Chilean torture chamber', and I found that comparison completely accurate. Lydia's lyrics were completely alienated and nightmarish visions of abuse and death. Teenage Jesus was a slasher movie as music. I was hooked.

I read about DNA and Mars as footnotes in various geeky rock reference guides from the period. Both group's releases would prove much more difficult to track down. Luckily, Lydia's Widowspeak Productions imprint issued a rather lo-fi and reverb-laden Mars anthology entitled 78, which I got at my local record store in early '88. Mars seemed to be the result of waaaay too much LSD taking. Their lyrics shifted from reality straight into hallucinatory vision and their music corroborated this. Their drummer Nancy Arlen was bordering on inept and couldn't (or wouldn't) play anything resembling a rock backbeat; the guitars buzzed and reeked of filth and decay; and the inhuman, retarded vocals pushed the whole thing past the point of no return: Mars made ANTI-music with sociopathic glee. The DNA EP A Taste of DNA turned out to be in stock at a New York based indie distributor called NMDS (or New Music Distribution Service). I think i paid $8.98 for it via mail order in March '88. I was extremely pleased when it arrived. This 12" EP had 6 'songs' on it and barely lasted 10 minutes, but I couldn't have been happier with the chaotic guitar raking, tumbling drums and oddly lyrical bass playing holding the whole mess together. Once again, the band looked like a bunch of disparate freaks: an Asian woman on drums, some really nerdy guy on vocals and guitar and a lecherous looking bass player. I could strongly relate to the motley crew element of the No Wavers ... this was true individualism without the dress code of punk ...

The elusive No Wave Holy Grail remained the classic 1978 compilation No New York, produced by Brian Eno. I had read so much about it and heard all the bands, but my lust for more of this warped noise was hitting fever pitch. I wised the fuck up around early '89, walked into my local record store, flipped through the pages of the Schwann catalog (at the time, a reference guide to what was readily available from record distributors), pointed at a listing for the album and asked the clerk, 'Can i order this?' They said, 'Yeah, it'll be here on Tuesday.' I couldn't believe it was that EASY. For a long time, most people just assumed No New York was completely out-of-print: well, I know it was available until - at least - the late '90s, just sitting there in the warehouse, waiting to be ordered. I came back the next week, plunked down my $9.98 and that was that. I'm not going to say much more about it, but it's a great fucking record. If you like weird rock music, this is one of the foundations and it still sounds fresh and iconoclastic to this very day. There is a real grittiness here that is mostly lacking from today's neo-no wave experience - it think it has to do with eating fucking DIRT, not graduating from a liberal arts college ... Go ahead, listen to it. Those were different times.

By the late '90s, Antilles Records - the label which released No New York and a division of Island Records - was owned by Polygram Records and due to a technicality, the rights to No New York languished in the 'jazz' division of the daddy label. People like Atavistic Records and Henry Rollins were interested in acquiring the rights to the album, but Polygram's Jazz wing thought they had something to be ransomed off and kept raising the asking price every time someone new inquired about it. Now there's a legit Japanese CD version (far superior sounding to the original vinyl) and a few sketchy 'Russian' bootlegs, but for a while, it seemed like this seminal release was in serious limbo.

Now with the interweb, we have nothing but instant gratification ... but if it's all free and instantaneous, is it really worth anything? No New York is a slice of a bygone era - I ask you downloaders, what does it mean to you right now? Can it possibly mean as much to you as it did to me back in '89? I'm not claiming that struggling and searching to have to find music makes the experience innately better, but does all this free music floating around actually have an impact, or is it all just another download waiting around on the old iPod waiting to be listened to cursorily before moving on to the next thing? I would hate to think that's all this revolutionary music means now. This is not a challenge; it's a discourse. Leave a comment.

- Weasel Walter, 2.11.10"

Thanks to Alice Cohen for lending me her own well-worn copy of this record. I've been collecting records since the mid 90s and I have yet to see one for sale at any price.

Ladies and gentlemen, for your listening pleasure, No New York.

No New York (Antilles)
1. Dish It Out (Contortions)
2. Flip Your Face (Contortions)
3. Jaded (Contortions)
4. I Can't Stand Myself (Contortions)
5. Burning Rubber (Teenage Jesus and the Jerks)
6. The Closet (Teenage Jesus and the Jerks)
7. Red Alert (Teenage Jesus and the Jerks)
8. I Woke Up Dreaming (Teenage Jesus and the Jerks)
9. Helen Forsdale (Mars)
10. Hairwaves (Mars)
11. Tunnel (Mars)
12. Puerto Rican Ghost (Mars)
13. Egomaniac's Kiss (DNA)
14. Lionel (DNA)
15. Not Moving (DNA)
16. Size (DNA)

Monday, February 15, 2010


I would like to welcome Camilla Padgitt-Coles to the writing staff of Pukekos, although this is not our first collaboration. She (along with Hilary Zarabi-Azam) did the artwork for Teengirl Fantasy's Hollywood Hils EP, and directed the music video for "The Rings of Neptune" by Odysseus.

I purchased this record during my time as manager at Midnight Records, and Camilla had this to say about it:

Ladies and gentlemen, for your listening pleasure, Harumi.

Harumi (Verve)
1. Talk About It
2. First Impressions
3. Don't Know What I'm Gonna Do
4. Hello
5. Sugar In Your Tea
6. Caravan
7. Hunters Of Heaven
8. Hurry Up Now
9. What A Day For Me
10. We Love
11. Fire By The River
12. Twice Told Tales Of The Pomegranate Forest
13. Samurai Memories

Thursday, February 11, 2010


Starring seem to be PROGRESSing nicely:


This STARRING tape documents one of our many 'musical' efforts to represent all sorts of dumb things we love: jungle gyms, movie houses, massage parlors, scary situations...yeah, but also things like hugs, roses, cute animals, dinosaurs, etc.  Stuff like that.  Want in on this?  Let's do it, dudes!

Courtesy of our friend BJ here at Pukekos, this tape is going from ugly party favor into a digital FREEBIE!  Listen up, ladies!!! There's something for everybody here: Sing-Along, Gypsy Melodies, Holiday Themes, Hawaiian Sounds and other things.  It's yours, and we hope you love it.  STARRING's PARTY-TASTIC, and this is your party!  BE OURS AND WE WILL BE YOURS!!!


Ladies and gentlemen, for your listening pleasure, Starring.

Starring CS (Pukekos)
1. Wife of God
2. Aphonia
3. Stop Progress
4. July
5. Take Off Your Clothes

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

The Nurses

Influence is a curious thing. I would say a band like The Nurses borrowed from the spirit of bands like Minor Threat and Bad Brains (as they put this single out themselves and recorded it with Don Zientara) without actually lifting the sounds.

I am inclined to condone this sort of theft, etc.

Ladies and gentlemen, for your listening pleasure, The Nurses.

I Will Follow You b/w Love You Again (Teen-A-Toons)
1. I Will Follow You
2. Love You Again

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

The Ana Pérez Group

This is a hot little 45.

"A one way ticket -- you can't change your mind." Dangerous curves indeed.

Ladies and gentlemen, for your listening pleasure, The Ana Pérez Group.

One-Way Ticket b/w Hope There's Enough (Dangerous Curves)
1. One-Way Ticket
2. Hope There's Enough

Monday, February 8, 2010

400 Blows

From the liner notes:

"Concrete Productions: Playlist Summer 1982

Andrew Edward Beer (Bass, piano, tapes, percussion) --

D-Train - You're The One For Me (Instrumental)
Sun - Sun Is Here
Fela Kuti - Unknown Soldier
Gil Scott-Heron - B-Movie
Maze - Joy And Pain
Miles Davis - Back Seat Betty
Sun Ra - Strange Celestial World
Throbbing Gristle - Stained By Dead Horses
Yellowman - Lost Mi Love
Fatback - Kool Whip
Frank Frost - Pocket Full Of Shells
Brass Construction - Can You See The Light
Tom Tom Club - Genius Of Love
Black Uhuru - Natural Reggae Beat
Kleeer - Taste The Music

Alexander Scott Fraser (Vocals, Trumpet, percussion) --
Associates - Paper House
Soft Cell - Say Hello Wave Goodbye
ABC - Poison Arrow
Orange Juice - All That Ever Mattered
"Cabaret" Soundtrack - Heiraten
Walker Bros - Make It Easy On Yourself
Imagination - Flashback
Louis Armstrong - Basin Street Blues
Grandmaster Flash - Its Nasty
Fire Engines - Everything's Roses
Haircut 100 - Love Plus One
Hall & Oates - I Can't Go For That
Tom Tom Club - Genius Of Love
23 Skidoo - Last Words
DAF - Goldenes Spielzeug

Rob (Rhythm box programming, instrument treatments) -- *

Captain Sinbad - Sugar Ray
Heaven 17 - At The Height Of The Fighting
Throbbing Gristle - Guts On The Floor
Death In June - Heaven Street
Various Artists - Rhino Royale LP
Captain Sinbad - BAM Salute
Dillinger/Trinity - Rizla Skank
Throbbing Gristle - Live At The Death Factory
Imagination - Just An Illusion
Theatre Of Hate - Rebel Without A Brain

*Since the making of this record the above member has left our recording label."

Ladies and gentlemen, for your listening pleasure, 400 Blows.

Beat The Devil (Concrete)
1. Beat The Devil
2. The Beat Continues

Thursday, February 4, 2010


From the liner notes:

"In the storied annals of American music, we are too often struck by a dichotomy of function. The artificial divide between 'high-brow' and 'low-brow', 'art music' and 'pop music', independent and corporate values, and other seemingly mutually exclusive interests, serves the needs of the executives behind the record companies at the expense of the enjoyment of listeners. Even the term 'listener' separates music to be imbibed while in a reclined position from that which is more kinetic, more vibrant, more visceral. Music can still be danced to.

The releationship between movement and sound need not be a simple one. Cage's work with Cunningham, and Stravinsky's earlier collaborations with Balanchine, brilliantly demonstrated that abstraction can be achieved in both sound and movement simultaneously. Unfortunately, music that invites us to dance has become stigmatized by elitist taste-makers who value esoteric theoretical models over the communicative power of inter-disciplinary expression.

Brenmar, like Cage and Stravinsky, presents music that melds abstraction with kinesis. Driving rhythms enveloped in swirling clouds of polymerized sound engage both mind and spirit, yin and yang, body and soul. To dance is to participate and to participate is to communicate."

--Leonardo Featherweight

Brenmar is Bill Salas

Mastered by Josh Bonati at Bonati Mastering

Brooklyn, NY 2009-10

Ladies and gentlemen, for your listening pleasure, Brenmar.

Heavy Pockets (Pukekos)
1. Heavy Pockets
2. Freak Like Me (DJ Deeon)

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

BJ Rubin

From the liner notes of this, my debut comedy single:

"To spend one's life in the pursuit of personal wealth and happiness is commonplace in today's Western society, but there continue to be rare instances in which an individual will devote his or her life to providing happiness for others.  Some may do so through charity or social work, others by donating generously to philanthropic organizations, but a select few bring happiness directly to people.  We call these individuals entertainers, and of all the sub genres of entertainment, it is only the comedian that strives to elicit laughter directly from other human beings.

By devoting his life to the craft of bringing joy to his audience, BJ Rubin has placed himself in the company of not just peers such as Bob Hope, Andrew Dice Clay and Chris Rock, but Saints and Martyrs as well.

On his most recent recording, Rubin narrates scenarios and scenes of such side-splitting jocularity that all other worldly cares vanish from the minds of his rapt listeners.  Gone are the trivial responsibilities and nerve-racking decisions of modern life, which pale in comparison to the overwhelming enjoyment brought on by Rubin's ebullient and mirthful monologues. A man can heed no higher calling than bringing laughter to the people, a task at which BJ Rubin not only excels, but raises to a previously unimaginable level."

--Leonardo Featherweight

BJ Rubin is BJ Rubin

Monterrey produced by Jeff Davidson at Davidsounds
BJ Rubin -- voice, moog rogue
Jeff Davidson -- drums, percussion

Lesbians produced by Kevin Shea at Spermerang Studios
BJ Rubin -- voice
Kevin Shea -- drums
Matt Mottel -- turkish organ
Weasel Walter -- bass

Mastered by Josh Bonati at Bonati Mastering
Artwork by Dorie Van Dercreek

New York, NY 2009-10

Ladies and gentlemen, for your listening pleasure, BJ Rubin.

Monterrey b/w Lesbians (Pukekos)
1. Monterrey
2. Lesbians

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Sexy Thoughts

From the liner notes:

"Since time immemorial, the drum has enjoyed a place of privilege in the rituals and daily lives of mankind. The combination of its structural simplicity and tactile immediacy make it one of the greatest and most communicative spiritual tools in history. The sound of one solitary man accompanying himself on a drum predates civilization by many millennia, and this tradition has continued in the modern arena, augmented by new arrangements of percussion instruments in the drum set and electronic devices.

Kevin Shea explores the use of the drum as a communication device in his solo performances as 'Sexy Thoughts'. In this profoundly spiritual music, Shea uses the aforementioned techniques to present music that communicates the fecundity of the earth and divinity of the heavens. Many human cultures have used similar music in various rites, and Shea's references to sexual vitality, altered consciousness and supernatural phenomena display a deep kinship with past cultures' practices. From the ancient Egyptians, to the Aztecs and Mayans to contemporary urban dance culture, trance-like states brought on by special herbs and fermented beverages intermingle with orgiastic dancing to the percussive sounds of the drum.

Tu as de beaux nibards is yet another spiritual exploration by Sexy Thoughts, meandering through layer upon layer of subconscious material to expose the spiritual core of modern Western Society. Shea goes forth to forge in the smithy of his soul the spiritual unity of all beings."

--Leonardo Featherweight

Sexy Thoughts is Kevin Shea

Produced by BJ Rubin
Recorded by Josh Bonati at Monster Island
Mastered by Josh Bonati at Bonati Mastering
Artwork by vårin

Brooklyn, NY 2009-10

Ladies and gentlemen, for your listening pleasure, Sexy Thoughts.

Tu as de beaux nibards (Pukekos)
1. Angelina Jolie
2. History of Electronic Drums
3. Squeeze My Nipple
4. Toxic Blood
5. When My Penis Goes A Swingin

Monday, February 1, 2010


Odysseus is jazz, but mostly Odysseus is a journey.

From the liner notes:

"It has been said that good artists copy, but great artists steal. This idea can be expanded to include the phrase 'the genius expands'. True, Miles Davis and his cohorts began to explore the vast area of dark matter comprising inter-galactic territory between Jazz and Rock, and like its cosmic counterpart, this unexplored component of the cosmos is far richer than previously thought. Just as astronomers and astrophysicists are only beginning to understand the importance and prevalence of dark matter in the workings of gravity, Odysseus is making us aware that the style, once referred to pejoratively as 'fusion', conceals limitless musical potential behind its glossy sheen.

By scratching the surface of the facade of fusion, Miles, McLaughlin, and Corea provided a narrow entryway for Odysseus to enter the realm of compositional freedom and dialectical complexity heard on their current EP. The multifarious instrumental elements do not simply combine disparate elements as in the work of their predecessors, but create whole new musical worlds through the conflation of counterpoint and pedal-point, change and stasis, ebb and flow. To experience this music is to come closer to a truly universal understanding of humanity and its place in time and space."

--Leonardo Featherweight

Odysseus is BJ Rubin and Jeff Davidson

BJ Rubin: Fender bass, Wurlitzer 140B, Bontempi 4 Electric Organ, Drums, Vocals
Jeff Davidson: Moog Rogue, Roland Juno 60, Trumpet, Drums

Produced by Jeff Davidson and BJ Rubin at Davidsounds
Mastered by Josh Bonati at Bonati Mastering
Artwork by Dorie Van Dercreek
"The Rings of Neptune" video directed by Camilla Padgitt-Coles

New York, NY 2009-10

Two copies of this were cut to vinyl. The records are not for sale, but you can hear the songs for free.

Ladies and gentlemen, for your listening pleasure, Odysseus.

The Rings of Neptune b/w Light Matter (Pukekos)
1. The Rings of Neptune
2. Light Matter