Friday, May 28, 2010

Abner Jay

Can't stop won't stop Mississippi Records has reissued a second Abner Jay LP.

Solo musician Abner Jay played outsider blues songs through the 1920s until the 1990s. Self described as; "the last great Southern black minstrel show" he first got a taste for music when his grandfather, Louis W Jay who was born a slave, passed down a six string banjo to him. Jay was taught an enormous repertoire of songs which he would continue to play throughout his career. He toured ingeniously with a portable home that folded out into a stage.

His unusual and unique heartfelt blues/folk songs about politics, relationships, war, religion struck a chord with music lovers, collectors and critics alike.

Jay's records were originally released on his own label 'Brandie' (named after his wife). Following his death in 1993 original LP's on 'Brandie' would go for upwards of $100 a pop. Today, first pressings are even more rare than ever before.

To make his work freely available again, Subliminal Sounds were the first to reissue material on 'One Man Band' at a modest price. Then, last year Mississippi began contributing to archiving Jay's work as well at a cost that won't equal the sum of third world debt.

Oh and did I mention this is the second reissue on Mississippi? 'True Story of Abner Jay' is just as good as the recent 'The Original Folk Style of Abner Jay'. Always a sharp shooter; bleak, soulful hymns are delivered with the deepest sincerity and brilliant comical anecdotes. First track 'Depression' is accompanied with what sounds like a full band, fuller than the version on the previous LP 'I'm So Depressed'.

Abner Jay in his own words: 'World's Champion Cotton Picker and Pea Picker, World's Fastest Tobacco Crapper, World's Greatest Jaw Bone Player, World's Fastest Mule Skinner... THE WORLD'S WORSE BUSINESS MAN'.

Read full review of Folk Song Stylist - Abner Jay on ©

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Kim Gordon 'Noise Painting's'

Kim Gordon's recent show at the McWhinnie Gallery NYC archived noise paintings, books, music memoriablia and poetry.

The images dealt with typography primarily. Gordon allows paint to be paint. Bleeding the medium on to the canvas creates letters that are not stylized. The shapes of the characters are undefined, the contours unbalanced, leaving nothing but possibility and a threat of disquiet.

The final pieces and inspiration behind them were all on display to look through. The paintings were strong pieces of work in their own right, and didn't necessarily need explaining. However, the show included the audience in the creative thought process; an intimate insight into the work a typical exhibition would not normally avow.

Masses of books by Philip K Dick were on show as well as cassette tapes and art catalogs, one most notably from Christopher Wool. The connection between Wool's work and Gordon's is palpable, the artist uninhibitedly referenced her muse, confident that her own voice will come through.

The show left me satisfied and hungry at the same time. Gaining knowledge to the inner workings of Gordon's finished pieces was fulfilling, the insight allowed me to take away more information and more questions then when I entered. 'Noise Paintings' also seemed like an opportunity for Gordon to reflect presently on where she stands creatively. Could this be a (for the lack of a better expression) pit stop where she's evaluating and recollecting thoughts before moving forward? I don't know, but that's what resonated with me after leaving the show.

Nerve City

New 6 track EP is unmistakably the work of Brooklyn's Sacred Bones. While the label has established itself for exploring all things dark and mysterious, you've heard nothing yet.

Nerve City is one guy based in Richmond Virginia/Florida. What sets 'Sleepwalker' aside from other releases on Sacred Bones is the pop elements in the songs. Sure, you can find pop at it's fullest dramatic expression on a Zola Jesus record, there's even quirky elements of pop in the Carl Simmons reissue.

'Sleepwalker's' jangly lo-fi bedroom rock stands out because of the regal folk quality to it. The EP is a far cry from previous releases by Nerve City. Material on Severed Hand, Kill Shaman, HoZac, and Sweet Rot (all now pretty much gone) were a lot more abrasive sounding more like Daily Void.

True to form the packaging is immaculate with a gorgeous screen print, making it feel even more compulsory to add to the collection.

John Savage: Secret Public

Collages, encapsulating British Punk aesthetic with music, politics and humor rolled into one made from the man how wrote 'England's Dreaming' and 'Teenage'. The show adhered to the spirit of DIY not only in the exhibition but the handmade prints and catalogs on offer too.

Here's the thing, the state of the art world presently is: bloated. Earlier this month Picasso's 'Nude, Green Leaves and Bust' was sold for $104.6 million at Christie's NY. This set a new world record for the most expensive piece of art work sold at an auction. The message sent out here is the art world is out of your reach, 104.6 million dollars out of your reach to be exact.

I LOVED the fact I could go to the John Savage show 'The Secret Public' (Boo-Hooray Gallery c/o Steven Kasher Gallery NY) where prints and limited edition catalogs (signed and unsigned varied price respectively) were on offer. Also, the work had two dimensions. It was aesthetically pleasing for people who prefer to take art on face value. The work was also thought provoking for those looking for it. Either way, whichever category you fit in - there was something for you to enjoy.

The point I'm trying to make is; the show was accessible to everyone. It didn't exclude a single person. If you wanted a piece of art work to take home you had the option without having to consider harvesting a kidney. It sent a clear and essential message art isn't just about how much money you can throw at a piece of work, or that formal education is required to appreciate it.

In short, this show is everything I admire in an exhibition and artist, my only grumble is that it closed much too soon!

Article from Dazed Digital with interview from John Savage:

Young Governor

Oh man, Ben Cook is one of those musicians where I love every record he puts out. Between exploring hardcore, folk and psych rock with Fucked Up and indie a la DIY with The Bitters, Young Governor is a side project he has had brewing since the beginning of 2009. Follow up to debut single "Virginia Creeper," easily one of my favorite 7"s of the year, is an EP Hidden Love on Parts Unknown.

Young Governor is a bit like a hybrid of Home Blitz and Jay Reatard if it were to be pigeon holed. Recently, there have been a lot of reviews for records citing bands like this and referencing punk/pop/DIY and you may be thinking this is no different. Let me tell you it is different! The six pummeling tracks on Hidden Love, fuses punk and pop together in a completely unique way. Rapid guitar and drum parts accompanied with melodic vocals are executed in a do-it-yourself aesthetic, creating an infectious and hyperactive EP.

He has two new singles out 'Cindy's Going to Save Me' and 'Bedtime Stories' showing a change of pace from this 'Hidden Love' EP.

Animals and Men

How much does this compilation RULE? Messthetics, true to form have released another essential and always epic collection.

Newest installment of the Messthetics series is from a DIY/Post Punk group based in Somerset, England. Revel in the Static, culled from Animals + Men demos and singles from '79 to '83 is compiled by renowned archivist Chuck Warner, who runs the Messthetics label.

The recordings on Revel in the Static are clear with the signature DIY guitar fuzz genius, unaffected female DIY vocals accompanied by minimal abrasive instruments. Highlights; "Man with the Steel Toe Shoes," "Don't Misbehave in the New Age" and "We Are Machines."

Revel in the Static is made for fans of Black Time.

This time last year, Animals + Men first got the reissue treatment from Mississippi on the Never Bought, Never Sold Singles from 79/83 LP. More recently, a six song 12" EP was released on Convulsive records.

Check out tracks here!

Read full review of Never Bought Never Sold - ANIMALS + MEN on ©


I'm no doctor, but it seems that people have Zamrock FEVER lately!

Underground Zambian five-piece Witch originally released psych-rock gem, Lazy Bones!! on a small local label in 1975. A treasure trove of ‘Zamrock’ (Zambia + Rock = Zamrock!) was unearthed by collectors at the time after been turned on to Nigerian Afro Beat by Fela Kuti. Normal Records, with the permission of the soul surviving member of Witch, Emmanuel Jagari Chanda have given this record the reissue treatment.

This lo-fi blues album mixes punk/garage/wah wah guitars with African rhythms and it just hits the spot, you know? That album you can throw on, no matter what mood you're in, and it just fits. Fans of BLO, Ofege, the Nigeria Special compilations and Chrissy Zebby will not be disappointed here; it's even better than those records! Stand out tracks are; "'Strange Dream," "Tooth Fairy" and "Off Ma Boot's."

Included here are the liner notes on the back of the album I enjoyed them so much I thought you might too:

"If you're feeling depressed, low, disturbed, irritable, out-of-sorts, sad, frustrated or wildly demented, then folks, we suggest you seek out a quiet place, indulge in some soothing meditation and cut away that headache by listening to this inspirational album (we've even included a copy of our lyrics to assist those who have difficulty in understanding the messages we transmit, in the hope that this will help them dig the LP in total). We would also like to extend our thanks to all those who have supported us in the past - we wish you well, brothers and sisters. To those of you who have been unkind and deliberately troublesome, we suggest you go jump in the lake specially featured for you on our cover. In closing, a special tribute to our collaborator Shaddick Bwalya for his tremendous contribution to this album."

Wet Dog 'Frauhaus'

London based trio follow up their 2008 debut on Angular (Long Blondes, These New Puritans) with sophomore album Frauhaus. Wetdog have brought their DIY synth/new wave pop aptly across the pond and found a home at Brooklyn's Captured Tracks. Playful and full of attitude, Frauhaus's post-punk authenticity has the potential to seduce its audience into believing the recording has come straight from 1977. Rivka Gillieron, Sarah Datblygu and Billy Easter deliver atonal harmonies and angular, spiky guitars. Lead singer Rivka's choleric vocals recall bands like Au Pairs, and Animals & Men. Post-punk and DIY are genres that have both been saturated lately with a revival, but Wetdog aren’t trying to be innovators; they’re new blood having some fun. Stand out tracks are "Tidy up Your Bedroom" and "Womens' Final."

The girls have also released a video for the track "Lower Leg" taken from the same album. Concept, filmed and directed by Wetdog, edited by Margarita Louca.


A Frames most recent LP Black Forest on Sub Pop made the band new favorites for noise rock, and also helped secure a release of their new project on the same label. Climax Golden Twins have released a wealth of records over the past 17 years which has well established the duo in the experimental music realm. Three parts of AF and two parts CGT join together and do not disappoint with this unexpected, but not all that surprising supergroup AFCGT.

Pushing aside hype surrounding their previous work whether it was due to a short amount of studio time, or just seeing where the music will take them (I prefer to think it's the latter), avoids running things through a fine tooth comb, and just delivers the jams.

Ten minute triumph "Two Legged Dog" makes me think, if "Apocalypse Now" could be put in to one song it would be this. Endlessness, despair, paranoia are all wrapped up in this epic song. The guitars resonate; psychedelic riffs and sludgy noise off each other as the drums just keep marching unrelentingly on.

"Nacht" has this Moroccan swagger to it. This is the only song with vocals which mumble incoherently recalling the sort of abstraction found on a Swans or Sun City Girls record.

Check out songs here!

Hole Class

Part Times New Viking, part Eat Skull make fuzzy pop songs together. Don't overthink this; it's a fantastic record to listen to over and over again. Songs are really simple even down to the titles – "Socks and Shoes" and "Horsies." Hole Class has this dark underbelly to it that is balanced by sweet pop-style melodies and innocence in the simplicity in execution of the record. "True Temper" and "Place like All" even have sing-a-long qualities to them. This is definitely a record that keeps giving on every listen.

Check out songs here!

Magik Markers/Sic Alps 12"

Somebody pinch me. I couldn't believe my luck when I found this, Magik Markers and Sic Alps on one 12".

The A side is written by gritty noise poppers Sic Alps, with help from Ty Segall and Lars Finberg (Intelligence). The stand out thing for me is abrasive noise in the first track. "Guxxe Bathe Ballade" is filtered out gradually through their three songs here. "The Greatest" which closes side A, by comparison to "Guxxe Bathe Ballade" is softer and clearer while the abrasiveness disappears, melodies surface coming through stronger. You might hear this too, I don't know.

B side features shredding drone makers Magik Markers, whose most recent full length on Drag City Balf Quarry is hands down my number one album of 2009. Elisa Ambrogio's reverb-ed vocals howl through psychedelic guitars and hypnotic bass parts on opening song "The Diamond Guitar of Tico Feo." "White Map Laid with White Ink" is a total jam and Pete Nolan's phenomenal drumming seems completely effortless here. Side B closes with Kraut Rock-esque "Tighten One and Loosen the Other."

I believe the first pressing of the EP (pink) was limited to 600 copies and is now sold out. You can still find the second pressing (blue) around though.