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Farquhar, JW – The Formal Female [Brainblobru]

sluggo   11/4/2009   12-inch, A Library

A self indulgent bedroom rock opera released on private press in 1973. Apparently Farquhar had something to get off his chest here. He’s just a wee bit bitter. The “formal” female of the era being his rally cry. He had just come off a ten year marriage and I guess the bitch fucked him over. At least he seems to think so. All of that ads up to not enough reason to make this album. I can take the bitterness but there is no excuse for boring uninspired tedium – which is most of what I hear here. I’m sure someone will find this a masterpiece, so give it a spin just be careful not to fall asleep.

Vinegar – Vinegar [Garden of Delights]

sluggo   11/4/2009   A Library, CD

This 1971 gem from Cologne combines prog, garage and early Floydianesq psych into a very pleasing whole. Recorded mostly live with minimal overdubs because of time constraints on Jan 9 1971. 1000 copies were pressed – this is its first reissue. Vinegar never saw much success, they broke up soon after and have no other recordings to tantalize us with all these years later. lyrics are in English. on Garden of Delights.

Rock ‘N’ Roll Monkey And The Robots – Back To Beatsville [Motor Sounds Records]

sluggo   8/19/2009   A Library, CD

Rock ‘N’ Roll Monkey And The Robots play a particular brand of way fun R’N’R, its an Infectious mixture of pop, punk & new wave with a retro 60’s esthetic. The Monkey is Motor City’s Craig Campbell (ex-Cold Crank) with Jackie Herman & Ken Seech as the main Robots. Danger Will Robinson! It sounds as if a bunch of 60’s hep-cats stumbled into a Twilight Zone episode and suddenly found themselves in 1990’s NYC. The restrained sax which punctuates songs with short bursts and the cool vocal delivery recall the sounds of Morphine. I’m also reminded some of Possum Dixon and on “Thee Black Sea” – of the Cramps. Despite the NYC vibe I hear floating around, there is nothing pretentious or serious about this music. This is Phil Dirt/Big Mike Destiny style ass-wagging R’N’R. On Motor Sounds Records

Transmissions From Sinai – Coll. [arthur magazine]

sluggo   8/12/2009   A Library, CD

CD with sixteen standout trax compiled by Al Cisneros (OM, Sleep). Most of the cuts here are of the gentle, haunting, atmospheric variety, with many having some sort of sonic undercurrent swirling through them. The exceptions are 2 & 16 (Reggae), 14 (unreleased J.Mascis guitar attack) & 15 (heavy) Wino. Compiled by Cisneros in 2009 for arthur magazine (arthurmag.com), an East Coast based ‘Zine boasting “Homegrown Counterculture,” which is well worth a browse (especially for their archive of original Haight-Ashbury Diggers flyers). There is something for nearly everyone here so have at it. Limited to 1000 and available here, where “all proceeds go to supporting Arthur Magazine’s mission.”

Track listing:

1. Lichens – ???Kopernik Trip Note??? (previously unreleased)
2. Linval Thompson – ???Wicked Babylon???
3. Grouper – ???Everyone in Turn???
4. Current 93 – ???Mockingbird???
5. Scott Kelly – ???The Ladder In My Blood???
6. Quixotic – ???The Breeze???
7. Hush Arbors – ???The Valley???
8. Mia Doi Todd – ???Night of a Thousand Kisses???
9. Six Organs of Admittance – ???Bar-Nasha??? (previously unreleased)
10. Holy Sons – ???Drifter???s Sympathy???
11. Pantaleimon – ???At Dawn???
12. Grails – ???Acid Rain???
13. Sir Richard Bishop – ???Almeria??? (previously unreleased)
14. J. Mascis – ???War??? (previously unreleased)
15. Wino – ???Silver Lining???
16. Alpha & Omega – ???David and Goliath???

Mirrors – “Something That Would Never Do” [Violet Times]

sluggo   8/12/2009   A Library

This compilation vinyl only release from Cleveland’s Mirrors is limited to 800 copies. Raw 1970’s power – Stooge-like punk rock, Velvety (Underground) in texture (especially in the use of repetition), Kinks-like in 2:00 pop framework. These songs feel like they are a lot longer than they are. They’re so densely filled with chewy nougat and tempo changes. It can be easy to think a song is ending when it’s actually just breaking-down and transitioning to a new part. There are some very nice guitar sounds mixed with pop song structures and grungy lo-fi 70’s jams. So, really, just play the crap out of this thing.

Metzger, Paul – “Anamnestic Tincture” [Roaratorio]

sluggo   7/22/2009   A Library

Live solo Instrumental acoustic bastardized guitar and banjo from Minneapolis’ Paul Metzger (ex – TVBC). Riveting from the first notes, Metzger’s fingering is stark and offsetting – a satisfying discordance which is only compounded by the instruments – a modified banjo (on tracks 1&3) and a modified guitar (on track 2). There is a distinct Indian flavor to the banjo cuts as Metzger has strung and tuned the banjo to sound more like a sitar. Dark Green Water (track 2) is an even odder beast. Metzger has drilled out the body of his acoustic guitar and set a cymbal into its face, with varying metal strings laid over top. He gets a metallic sound which he augments with his own slapping percussion. Milo (track 1) builds nicely only to break down half way through into a confusion of ecstatically slapped percussion then, implausibly, rises again to attain new heights. (a different version of this same song also appeared as an untitled cut on the CD “Three Improvisations on Modified Banjo” in the KFJC library. On Roaratorio.

Home Blitz – “Weird Wings” (Parts Unknown Records)

sluggo   7/15/2009   A Library

Home Blitz from Princeton, NJ plays lo-fi garage punk rock. This 12″ E.P. on Parts Unknown Records collects five songs, which fly by in a blitz of home-brewed un-self conscious adolescent sounding anarchy. The longest of the bunch, ???My Town,??? clocking in at 2:59, has a nice guitar throughout.

(All of these songs are also collected on a self titled CD on Gulcher along with material from 7″‘s, splits and some unreleased tracks).

Bogner, Ursula – Recordings 1969-1988 [Faitiche]

sluggo   2/13/2009   A Library

Ursula Bogner, so the story goes, was a West German pharmacist and mother who “liked to play around with synthesizers.” She built her own “music room” and began to record on reel-to-reel tapes in the late 60’s. She never shared her music with anyone & it would have been lost had her son not struck up a conversation with electronic musician Jan Jelinek when they were seated together on a flight. It seems likely, however, that Mrs. Bogner is actually Jelinek disguised with a beatle wig. Whatever the truth, the recordings, all instrumentals, are simple, innocent & experimental in nature. All the sounds are warm & vintage, though frustratingly, no hint is given as to what machines are used. Most everything here is happy, quirky & poppy. Track 15, Soloresonanzen, is darker, more minimal & according to Jelinek a harbinger of the next Bogner compilation. This is the first album on Jelinek’s Faitiche label.

Wicked Witch – Chaos 1978-86 – EM Records

sluggo   2/11/2009   A Library

No longer melting into obscurity, the Wicked Witch rises from the 1980’s Washington DC underground. Playing an unholy blend of psycho machine disco fusion funk, this isn’t your fathers guttural “Good God!” James Brown Funk. It’s more of a P-Funk/Rick James/Sun-Ra/Prince low-rent D.I.Y. hybrid. This Wicked Witch of the East is in reality the mild mannered (?) Richard Simms when not donning his very special boots & black leather costume. Rick does all the writing, producing, mixing & instruments himself. The one exception is Vera’s Back – which was recorded as Paradiagm (sic), Ricks group in 1978 – the funkiest, best & longest of the bunch. On EM Records.

James Blackshaw – Litany of Echoes – Tompkins Square

sluggo   2/9/2009   A Library

James Blackshaw is a London based 12-string fingerstyle guitarist. He also plays piano on this instrumental recording. Fran Bury adds violin & viola. Blackshaw and Bury blend their respective instruments to create a sound – brooding & intense – which is greater than the sum of its parts and hypnotic in its emotional pull. Litany of Echoes is full of expressive melodies, an occasional underlying drone and creative 12-string guitar picking. Blackshaw’s music is influenced by minimalist composers such as Steve Reich and Phillip Glass. Litany of Echoes is too melodic and lush to fall into that category, but at the same time it retains much of the tension and structure inherent within the style. The album is book-ended with two piano pieces, “Gate of Ivory,” and “Gate of Horn.” On Tompkins Square, 2008.

Sonic Attack (Lords of Light) [coll.] Kinski/Bardo Pond – Trensmat Records

sluggo   2/9/2009   A Library

Third and last installment of the inspired “Sonic Attack” split single series of Hawkwind covers on Ireland’s Trensmat Records. Seattle’s Kinski tackle “Master of the Universe” while Bardo Pond unleashes “Lord of Light”

Spacy driving psych-pop slowly melts your brain. Candy coated electrodes glow as they repeatedly pump the pulsing waves of energy into your very being, delivering them to your synapses to be dispersed throughout the whole. Arrayed before you in chronological order are the colours. All in the perceived spectrum are represented with more bleeding in around the edges. They slowly blend with the energy coalescing into an infinite sound radiating now from all the pours on your body as you are lifted to a higher plain by the hawkwind

Volcano Suns – All-Night Lotus Party – Merge Records

sluggo   2/9/2009   A Library

Released originally on Homestead Records in 1986, All-Night Lotus Party was the Volcano Suns second album. It’s pretty basic alternative rock with a bit of a midwestern vibe. They began in Boston with ex-Mission of Burma drummer Peter Prescott handling both drums & vocals. The first two Suns albums also feature Jon Williams on guitar & Jeff Weigand on bass. This re-issue on Merge records (the first time on CD) features 11 bonus tracks culled from long out of print 7″s. – Sluggo

Lamps – Songs of Sexual Frustration 7″ – s.s. records

sluggo   1/28/2009   A Library

1. Boring girls (3:12) 2. I Need a Chick (4:58) LANGUAGE,

Dirty, distorted, garage punk from L.A.’s Lamps. Here we find two songs of sexual frustration. First they cover The Pissed jeans’ “Boring Girls” before obliterating Devo’s “I Need a Chick.” Despite the noise attack enough of the lyrics are discernible on “I Need a Chick” to place this squarely off limits during respectable hours. It is also extremely catchy and more than once I’ve found myself repeating to no one in particular “I need a chick to suck my dick” – be warned!

The lamps are an L.A. Trio consisting of Monty Buckles (guitar/Voc.), Josh Erkman (Drums), Tim Ford (Bass). They have two albums and a number of singles to date (1/2009) this single appears on Sacramento’s s.s. records – sluggo