I just got a great package from this new label based out of Berkely, California. So without further ado, lets jump in and check it out.
First up is a 4 song 7 inch 2 side 10 minute sampler. It starts with a warped bit of what seems like orchestral space rock balladry. Recorded by Bob Franklin (whom you will see again in the post) when, after an accident, all he could do was play with a turntable and sing, which is apparently all he had when he made this track. Such a warm, Jerry Garcia tinge to his voice.
Our next sample is from Jaki Jakizawa, playing a minimalist clucking of no melody electronics and Korg action. Very free noise type improv, with a hint of that cosmic mind space additive. Not harsh in the least, but also not one of those bright or pretty drone soundscapes. A sound collage of computer life and pillaged recordings. Look out for an upcoming 12" by Jaki on the Milvia Son imprint.
Flipping to the B side we get Bad Drumlin Grass, another band we will be discussing in more detail below. A slow drum build and piercing rapid fire guitar note show down. Snare abuse and feedback laden walls of sound with a few samples stuffed in for good measure.
Finally, we end with a song by Petomaine, a little bit of damaged americana acoustic and strained throat crooning. No word if he will have a full lengther any time soon.
Very cheap, very nice little introduction. Get an LP and get it for free, basically.
Now lets check out the meaty first releases of these guys
This album is more akin to what you might find on any given day here at the old Incomplete Tales Blog. Massive drones, glitched noise and looped, damaged past all recognition voice recordings, etc. The tracks here, however, are not massive in the time it akes to listen, as they come to be pretty concsise for the massive profundity they are expressing within. Both live tracks, both played live in Timber Cove in front of "The Expanding Universe", an 80-ft tall monument in mosaic dedicated to benevolent aliens. Yup.
So the A side is analog ecstasy. Very moody drones cut deeply with higher pitched strings. Pedal feedbacks and borrowed sounds make their presence known, along with some vocal haze. It is all very cosmic and pretty, but also maintains a certain amount of rhythm to it, with one foot planted firmly in the atonal noise category, thus not weighing you down to heavily or being too light and spacey.
The B side, a little diddy called "DMT Elf Blues" is meant to be played at 33 1/2 RPM, but fortunately when I had accidentally listened to it at 45 RPM I was on DMT so it tended to make sense. Just kidding (or am I?). Anyway, this one is a little more disqueiting than the first. The drones are a little more ominous and the guitars a little more languid. Also there is a repeated vocal bit throughout the track that I just read after listening is the damaged laughter of a clown skull, which makes me feel violated in a way.
Old Yeller and The Pigbites is the project of Bob Frankford, discussed supra. This is his first appearance on vinyl and is quite the debut on said medium. A musician who has been at it for a while, but in all senses of the word has been making music for personal purposes. Stuff like this always makes me think of this great Ingmar Bergman quote about the creation of art being separated from the process of worship and how I am such an attention whore with my own recordings and would probably be a better artist myself....but anyway....
I hate to stray to far into backstory, but beside the first point made above there is also a lot of interesting stuff to this story. Guy was living in a closet in Madison, wanting to sound like the Basement Tapes and the original members of the Grateful Dead. A dual cassette tape deck with mic input, a cheap classical guitar and a radio shack microphone taped to the body and wow, here ya go.
This is equal parts Lou Reed nihilism and utter frankness about personal things (lots of sucking on my ding dong) and Grateful Dead lamentful tales of Americana. Bob really does have a silky voice of golden joy like the main man Jerome Garcia, who is actually paid homage to in a song title. Lest you think it be too derivative you should listen in. It has playful romps, funky, off-kilter jamming and bits of sonic experimentation, but somehow remains true to the original vision. Great song-writing, coupled with jamming, pretty finger-picking and bits of blasted feedback that may have not been intentional. Also, while it is decidely lo-fi it is not to the point of distraction and is in no way that kind of intentional lo-fi by bands who got record deals and still needed to bury how little talent they have under distortion. For being self-taught the guy can play and write songs. I love the rustic, playing 3 strings on a damaged acoustic guitar feel, but I would also bet this guy could put together a slickly produced album with a full band and not miss out on any of the heart-felt intention that is so present in this music.
I really, really enjoyed this. I reccomend it highly
All info for ordering (great recession prices!) and other info on the bands and label can be found at their blog.
Please do yourself a favor and check it out. Great jams, quality prices and well done vinyls by a first time label that could probably use your support.