New strangeness from Stavanger courtesy of Drid Machine, the label founded by friend of the station Kjetil Davies Brandsdal (Noxagt, Ultralyd). Golden Oriole is the new noise rock project of guitarist Kristoffer Riis and drummer Thore Warland from Staer, picking up where they left off with that band’s last release, the 2016 EP “Collapse of Ancient Funk.” But you wouldn’t guess that from the first few moments of this slab of white vinyl (“The Approaching of the Disco Void”, T1), as twisting metallic echoes, like they were ripped from a dark ambient record, set a mysterious mood. But out of nowhere, the drums and guitar kick in, riding a deranged groove until the six minute mark, when the duo shifts into higher gear with faster percussion, eerie electronics, and repetitive, rough-edged guitar work. In “The Chrysopoeia of the Trilithon Ass” (T2) Riis sustains a driving, prog-precision rhythm as Thore’s guitar swerves and snarls. “The Pyrite Wink” (T3) begins with electronic tones before the drums and guitar come crashing in again from all angles to wage an extended onslaught. Alchemical transformations of noise, prog, blues, ambient, jazz, and psych into pure Norwave gold.
Alice Bag is a punk rock icon, hailing from East Los Angeles, one of the original LA 100, the original punks from the mid 1970’s LA punk scene. Her original band, The Bags, was a major influence on what was to come in the punk scene. She was also a member of many other bands including Castration Squad and the amazing Cholita! the Female Menudo fronted by one of a kind Dr. Vaginal Creme Davis. Alice Bag has continued her career in music as a performer as well as author, activist and teacher. This 2016 release showcases Bag’s power punk/ power pop energy in 11 numbers that vary from old school punk sound to 60’s girl group shoo bop. Lyrics are direct political statements about abuse directed towards women, cultural and racial prejudice, inequalities in education, feminism. It’s all powerful stuff in simple language with a continuous beat. The musicianship is solid with a rotating cast of musicians who understand what Bag wants them to play and how it should sound. Many have worked with her in different projects so their is a solid, family feel to the recordings. This is not retro: it is a continuation of an artist who pushes herself on and on. A great addition to the collection.
Rotten Fux. The continued comment on many sights is will they last more than a year before they all OD. Not sure if they made it but this 2006 release on Six Weeks Records assured them some infamy with 9 tracks of hardcore punk energy. Bay area punkers from the now defunct Burnt Ramen club scene, taking names like Filthy, Smelly, Inbred and Steve’s Little Brother, one can guess the sound, speed and quality. But that’s the fun of it. They meant it, I’m sure, maybe, I don’t know, but with song titles like “My Rules”, “Sick of Life”, “STD Song” and “I Like Drugs”, you know a good time is guaranteed. Sometimes you just have to sit back and let it happen, not worrying about quality. Just enjoy. Each song under 2 minutes, so commitment is not an issue.
Outsider artists are a unique breed, difficult to define, hard to acknowledge, challenging for many to listen to. Once in awhile there exists an artist considered outsider more than outsider, yet whose vision is so complex and unique as necessary to be reckoned with. Such is Daniel Higgs. A member of Lungfish and participant with Skull Defekts as well as projects with Asa Osborne of Zomes, Higgs has a respected calling card. His solo work has often been stripped down, haunting, lyric heavy about mystical topics and other. “The Fools Sermon, Part 1” is a 35 minute sermon, a sermon intoned, not sung, by Higgs as fool, seer, visionary, nonsense maker, mystic, outsider in that he knows something more than most of us may be able to grasp. Maybe balanced with Sufism, Christianity and revelations about the Before (before it started), Higgs enunciates his poem with such specific authority that his unique voice becomes the instrument that will carry you away even if you do not grasp his meaning. Eli Winograd accompanies on bass and bass keyboard, Fumie Ishi plays drums and voice, Higgs plays banjo and speaks. Other sounds float in and out of the recording: Zen like and mystical. This work takes effort from the listener but with it might come a new understanding. Stunning.