Flotsam and sinksam from Bill Callahan. Well
captured in oft rough recordings. We’ve got
vapor-lock blues, anti-rock star heroics
(“It’s Not Gonna Be a Hit”) and the ol’
Smog favorite, collapsible relationships.
He seems like a guy who’s counting on the
big nasty breakup even in the honeymoon
phase of a relationship. (“I Break Horses”)
There’s a flare somehow in the flatness of
Callahan’s voice, and as well as anyone
he can make the lurid, alluring. I like
the fact that many Smog songs, when they hit
the spot where the bridge should come they
almost go flatline. Hell, the songs start
off with pretty economical lyrics and guitar
playing and then they lose their shirt and
their way for awhile….till the next verse
comes along and gives ’em a ride back to
tune. On the lighter side, Callahan does
quote “Baby’s Got Back” on the tail end
(where else) of “Real Live Dress”
Flotsam and sinksam from Bill Callahan. Well
A new release going up at the same time as
his Accumulation time capsule. Bill Callahan
has the detached disdain handed down through
various undergrounds, Velvet and otherwise.
The sharpness of his lyrics, and his acerbic
stage persona always command my attention.
The songs here are less dilapidated as he’s
got a real live band behind him, and his
fondness/fiendishness with the femme fatales
has been displaced by a love of conundrums.
There’s some solid cognitive dissonance he’s
dishing out…and “Truth Serum” and “Guiding
Light” are just well crafted.
I think this album gave me rabies. Froth rock, that takes its time sauntering through 9 sonic circles of a torturous hell. Enjoying every step. Led by a crazed and defrocked priest (Eugene Robinson) who sings-ah with salacious-ah certainty-ah. Ahhhhhhh! Backed by the yelp and mutter of a chorus. Thick like U.S. Maple, charged like This Heat but enough guitar swaggery to engorge your ears. You cannot buy this potent sludge on the open market, so bathe in it here. In the shadows. Apocalyptic aphrodesiac. A dark champion of a release. Enjoy the smack of success. -Thurston Hunger
Bristol septet, brash swaggery pop. Uplift mofo
horns party! And the horns are a quite sprite
French Horn (Daniel Cornfield) and Cornet (Aaron
Dewey). Sassy male/female vocals. Jenny Robinson
is the breathy, semi-sultry syllable stretcher
while Aaron Dewey is the “Speaker’s Corner” more
excitable ranter!! *Two* drummers in this…so
their sound has plenty o punch. Part of the UK’s
‘Pull the Strings’ collective. Horns kinda add
a Doc Severinsen dosed at the horse races amped
up vibe here that makes this pretty irresitable.
#11 is fancy phone freakout that tracks into the
closer. #9 is the slow dance. Right honorable
and simply smashing! -The Viceroy of Vice
Well-constructed dilapidation. Gravel in the
gullet vox of Jay Munly (from Slim Cessna’s
Auto Club). Ballads with ballast, a weight
that is lifted by a shoestring quartet (that
being Tarantella cloaked in shadow and soot).
Munly’s voice rises with an angsty twinge of
twang almost gets to a Gene Loves Jezebel
screech at odd moments. Songs of heresy and
fallen heroes, of people like Gerry Cooney
and Weegee, that Powers of Celebrity try to
pretend never supped at the popular table.
Like a barn in Faulkner story… every song
is ready to catch fire. Slow fuses throughout,
rocking chair rhythms. Has the acrid flavor
of moonshine with plenty of kick that catches
up to you long after you have imbibed the
lyrics. Perfect for that Belladonna/Joe Ed
team show! Gothic chamber country rides on….
Slap a retro-EARGASM sticker on this nugget. The
best new wave album to come down the pike in some
time. The panicky lead singer (Todd Baechle), the
sense of detachment, the air raid “subtlety” of
synthesizer, the little machine gun guitar rounds,
unabashed drum machines w/ their insistent slap
of digital ass. This supernovas on the promise of
their early (and excellent) 7″ split “Brokers,
Priests, Analysts” I am an unfair judge because
right now I’m 100% infatuated with this. “Control”
(about orchestral conductors in the dark) is a
massive masterpiece. Killer treated vox thoughout,
add some cello for the ultimate in pop. Omaha,
where infection meets confection.
Quite a story from ’63: a Nazi’s secret tape, a young chanteuse takes a chance, the Duke helps and heralds here husband’s (Dollar Brand to-be Abdullah Ibrahim) combo and we’re the happy ending when we play these refreshing trad ballads. Sathima’s voice is satiny, evoking a soulfulness beyond today’s brand of vocal cords on steroids. Makaya Ntshoko’s drums are mic’d as pure fountains of cymbals with soft, splashing snare. Svend Asmussen pops champagne violin bubbles. Ellington guests on two of his pieces, Billy Stayhorn adds a pair working the lower 44, and Ibrahim fills the rest with subtle strength. On all cuts, you can hear the space between their fingers. For a one-day session of one-takes, this is remarkably relaxed. Soothing and lucid as a clear mind in dawn’s light.
A simple sampled tramp’s prayer song unravels to reveal an amazingly rich orchestral life. Casual listening will miss the gradual momentous emotional shifts. This is actually a recreation/re-issue of the original sparked by fan and guest vocalist on the epilogue – Tom Waits. An excellent library add, excerpted overplay wouldn’t do this justic, invoke occasionally for lengthy stare-at-the-ceiling existential crises or fill an absent Public Affairs slot with this gorgeous listener epiphany generator.
-Thurston Hunger 7/13 1997
The mandala mandate continues. It may have started out as a crash hash course, but at this point one assumes the Girl’s devotion pure. “Borungku Si Derita” is one of them thar A-minory ballads which, despite achingly anthemic vocals, tastes like Middle-Eastern Meatloaf to me. “Abydos” however is a fine Hindu-Flamenco Locomotive Surf instro and “Carousel Tapsel” spins a Ferris prayer wheel of vocals chasing guitar melody chasing percussion slaps of the acoustic melody. Hello Dalai Lama.
Technically black is not a color, but the absence thereof. Similarly, silence is not a sound, but its absence. And yet silence is critical to Arvo Part’s sonic palette. Aural afterimages echo as quiet caverns of drone. Dissonant tension stretches taught across gaps between notes.
Arvo Part is dynamics. Stark yet strangely serene solitude. Quiet majesty. Ethereality. “Litany” is an epic offering, English lyrics transcribed from prayer are felt rather than heard, thanks to the Hilliard Ensemble’s “volume pedal” grace. “Psalom” is a latticework of breaths on strings. “Trisagion” is the sound of a high priest walking at midnight among the dead upon a battlefield in a religious war. Faith and doubt commune. Music for epiphany.
Thurston Hunger 10/23 1996
A concept 7″ exploring the vast reaches of sci-fi B Movies – mixing
levitation and levity with just enough fi, detuned guitar and detoxed
vox. “Comrade Cosmonaut” parallels the former Soviet Union with a
former red giant star flamed out into a flickering white dwarf. “Bad Aliens”
takes an eastern scale and sketches worst possible scenarios for
close encounters. “Galactic Living Family” is like the anthem for an
inter-species, outer-space equivalent of the Indian Guides. Complete
with too many words stuffed into the hilarious couplets…and ocarina too!
The truth ain’t out there, it’s right here.
12345 S. El Monte Road Los Altos Hills, California 94022
Public Inspection File