Friday, August 04, 2006

Bummer In The Summer

So it's been awhile since I've had the time to update. I started school again. What kind of dope goes to school in summer? Me, I guess. Since it's been so long, this is going to cover a lot of stuff with some short passages, sort of a tapas style review. The title of this update doesn't refer to the paper I just wrote on the United States' Middle East foreign policy (although it could) but instead to this

Arthur Lee dead at 61
Arthur Lee, frontman for the legendary psych-rock band Love has lost the battle to leukemia. Lee's manager released the following statement:
"His death comes as a shock to me because Arthur had the uncanny ability to bounce back from everything, and leukemia was no exception. He was confident that he would be back on stage by the fall. When I visited with him recently, he was visibly moved by the stories and pictures from the NYC benefit concert. He was truly grateful for the outpouring of love from friends and fans all over the world since news of his illness became public. Arthur always lived in the moment, and said what he thought when he thought it. I'll miss his phone calls, and his long voice messages, but most of all I'll miss Arthur playing Arthur's music."
Arthur was a wild man on and off the stage. On the last tour he did, he would refer to himself as "the first black hippie", boasting that he beat Hendrix to that title. He also served time in jail for drug and illegal firearms possession. I was fortunate enough to see Arthur perform a few years ago with Baby Lemonade backing him. When push comes to shove, Forever Changes is probably my favorite album ever made, which I am listening to as I type this. You'll be missed, Arthur.

Moving on to news from the WTF? sector, according to Smiths' guitarist Johnny Marr is now a member of Modest Mouse. Apparently Johnny had been lending a hand on the new Modest Mouse album and that was supposed to be it, but he had so much fun that he decided to become a full-fledged touring member. In other news, Modest Mouse frontman Isaac Brock has had to throw out all his old pants and buy a new set with a larger front area to accomodate the permanent boner he will be sporting since Marr's decision to join the band. I'm going to keep an open mind about this. I was a big fan of a couple of the earlier MM albums, maybe Johnny joining the band will be a shot in the arm. OK, onto what I've been playing lately:

Six Organs Of Admittance - The Sun Awakens Ben Chansy follows up last year's gorgeous, folky School Of The Flower with a visceral, dark psychedelic rock album. There are a couple pretty instrumental sections on here, and also stuff that sounds like Ennio Morricone recording with bedouin nomads, but the last track is a long instrumental ambient drone mind-fuck that sounds like those dreams you have where you're walking through a tunnel of living muscle tissue that keeps getting narrower while you're bathed in a pulsing red light. But maybe that's just me. It's heavy, heady stuff, even though the drumming isn't as good as the work Chris Corsano turned in on School Of The Flower. Check out the scorching electric version of the acoustic song "You Will Be The Sun" Chasny submitted to David Tibet's "Not Alone" 5 CD box set, titled "Black Wall" on The Sun Awakens.

Six Organs Of Admittance - Days Of Blood tour CD-R Incredible live recordings from last year's fall tour. Half of the disc is Ben playing solo electric, the other half featurs Keith Wood (aka Hush Arbors on bass and Sunburned Hand's John Moloney on drums. If you weren't lucky enough to see them this summer tour, try looking at Eclipse Records for a copy.

Sunburned Hand Of The Man - self titled? - also picked up at the Six Organs show, this just comes in a purple digi-pack case with a skull and crossbones on the disc that contains 4 untitled tracks of the unnerving, nail biting, heavy drug use induced stupors that you love this band for.

Om / Current '93 split 10"- Inerrant Rays Of Infallible Sun (Blackship Shrinebuilder - Om and Current 93 join forces on this incredible record. The Om side features the trademark rock solid drumming by Chris Hakius supporting Al Cisernos' heavy bass lines and chanted vocals on Rays Of The Sun / To The Shrinebuilder, a more faster tune that's heavier than the selections from their At Gize album. The Current 93 side features David Tibet's apocalyptic poetry atop a single riff repeated until the end of the song (perhaps influenced by Om?). Again, this is heavier than anything from "Black Ships Ate The Sky" that he released earlier in the year, save for maybe the title track. Also, he name drops Reese Witherspoon and Pol Pot in the same verse. I don't get it either, this guy is light years ahead of you or I.

MV / EE with The Bummer Road - Mother Of Thousands - if you only buy one of the dozen or so Matt Valentine / Erika Elder releases this year, make it this one. Available on CD or a 2 LP set, it's a collection of some structured hippie folk rock songs in the vein of The Tower Recordings, as well as long, free-form psychedelic excursions with weird instrumentations. There's a side long version of the traditional "Death Don't Have No Mercy" that was a staple for the Grateful Dead in their early days, but don't look for any Jerry worship on this version, it's a completely different species.

Suishou no Fune - Where The Spirits Are - Far-out and heavy Japanese psychedelic space rock trio on Holy Mountain. Goes from sounding like The Ventures if they were from a galaxy far, far away to ragged extrapolations of the middle freak out section of "Whole Lotta Love". I highly recommend this one for late night herbal influenced headphone voyages.

The Eccentric Soul series - Vol. 8: Wayfaring Strangers-Ladies From The Canyon and Vol. 9: The Big Mack Label - The Numero Group has put out a killer series of CD's re-issuing uber-obscure songs sure to surprise even the most jaded "I've heard it all" music snob assholes on these compilations. The first, Ladies From The Canyon focuses on early 70's hippie folk acts, some with a Jesus slant, with female vocalists. Every song on this is just beautiful, with the exception of Eternal Life by Shira Small, whose utterly tuneless vocals just make it painful to listen to. But the tune "And I A Fairytale Lady" by Propinquity will make your jaw drop. The second is a collection of tunes from a little known label from Detroit called Big Mack Records. Where Motown was slick, Big Mack is raw. They didn't have a rhythm section like the Funk Brothers or an excellent recording studio to work with. These 19 tracks range from raw garage soul to heavy funk. These aren't the most talented musicians that Detroit had to offer (anyone could walk into Big Mack studios with 15 bucks and get a 45 cut) but these recordings were made by folks with a fire in their bellies that supercedes a need for musical ability. Highlights are the Mae Young track "The Man Puts Sugar In My Soul" that out-Tinas Tina Turner, the thunderous, sax heavy instrumentals by L Hollis and the Mackadoos, and the porno funk version of the old jazz standard "Fever" by Essence, complete with Barry White-esque spoken word intro.

well that's it for now. everyone keep cool, especially those in the midwest/east coast.