the Hideout (Nov. 21st): Noise is a genre that’s steadily gained favor in the underground over the last decade or so. It’s obviously been around for a great deal of time, but the explosion in not just digital communication, but the ease of digital recording has resulted in a ground swell of acts. Wolf Eyes has become relatively famous and so has local Bruce Lamont.
The free jazz/improv scene here has its cadre of backers including the folks at Ememy, the Heaven Gallery and the weekly showcase at Hungry Brain.
The singer and guitarist has released some untoward number of records since the late ‘70s. And despite not receiving too much more than a few name checks from the rock cognoscenti, he continues to record and release music. At this point, though, it should be assumed that Jandek does all of this as a sort of therapy: a way to get the ju-ju out.
(Initial Records, 2004)
It’s really difficult for anyone other than Woody Guthrie, Ramblin’ Jack and Robert Zimmerman to sound as if he possesses a backbone while singing accompanied by only a guitar and occasionally a harmonica or some hillbillies. Peter Searcy has the benefit of being able to accompany himself with the guitar, cello and piano, all of this though. It sounds as if someone needs to support him with some solid mass in order for him not to vanish off into the ether. That being said, it’s equally difficult to not come across as overtly cheese ball when all you sing are love, being love, loving things and lost love. These are the problems that destroy the second solo effort from Peter Searcy (yes, that’s harsh). Couch Songs refuses to offer up anything other than songs about relationships. Inherent in almost every love song ever written (save “To Ramona”) are clichés that when heard should make the listener cringe. Searcy is unable to avoid these lyrical glitches – it’s part of his schtick. The upside to all of this is that the musicianship. While simplistic, Searcy’s performances are competent and well arranged. But, after you get through the first verse/chorus cycle of a song, you can skip to the next track, ‘cause ya already know what’s going to happen in the intervening minute and a half. “Gravity” sports a nice guitar progression in the finger style, nothing really stands out about it though. Each succeeding track seems like a downer, and it is. The trite lyrical index hits a high on “Loneliest Girl” with the line, “but it never works, out the way she wants it to / they stick to her like superglue.” Each track maintains the same pace, even while occasionally, as on “Graced”, Searcy double times the vocal delivery. This one point is a rare deviation of a style on an album that sounds kinda like dry crackers taste. Couch Songs is really just a dressed up cracker.
Sleepy Sun is my most favorite band at the moment. Their songs are heavy sex and psych indie rock genius mashed up into one big glorious hot mess of a sound. I cannot get enough of them. They played recently with a kickass Seattle band, Hypatia Lake and since being introduced to Sleepy Sun, I have not stopped listeing. They are seriously the shiznit. I mean the bees knees. I mean just listen to this.
A-Austr is one of those bands.
The fact that the band isn’t all that well known isn’t surprising. The group, formed by Holy Ground Records honcho Bill Nelson, didn’t perform outside of its studio setting. But being comprised of some wacked out commune members made those sessions full of musical exploration if not innovation.
Apart from the fact that psych folk is a horrendous genre name, it doesn’t really aptly describe the music that Higgins and company worked out back in ’73. Surely, there are some acoustic instruments, but there’s also a full band performing at times. Red Hash isn’t one thing. But perhaps that’s what defines the nonsensical genre.
So what I can surmise, the group comprises some Scotsman – how many, you might query? Well, judging from the record three or four, maybe. Who they were/are remains a mystery to me and will likely remain so.
It’s pretty much impossible to mention Tyondai Braxton without conjuring up his father’s – Anthony Braxton – image in some way. Surely, it’s tiresome and unimaginative to understand this multi-instrumentalist through his elder, but the reason that one finds so many mentions of the two together is due to their similarities. Neither would be considered a composer in the classical sense. But Tyondai’s work is too complicated and well thought out for an argument to be made against his composedly qualities. The same could be said for his father, who during the ‘60s and ‘70s truly did attempt to stretch out what jazz was and could be. There were some more palatable and digestible stuffs unloosed from Anthony Braxton – check out David Holland’s Conference of Birds – but his out and out experiments are what defines the guy.
Being released first in ’67 and then again reworked and distributed in ’68, Charles Manson’s Lie (The Love and Terror Cult) didn’t really move too well. Released through the ESP imprint, its label honcho figured that again reissuing the disc during the murder trials subsequent to the ’69 spree that the Family went on wouldn’t hurt.
Well, the album probably sold a bit more briskly. And I suppose that the moral aspect to this becomes moot considering that Manson wasn’t able to make a profit off of his crime, but still…you know.