Sad news from the underground, Arthur magazine calls it quits. Jay Babcock, former Arthur editor had this to say via a post on Myspace:
Laris Kreslins wanted me to buy him out of his 50% share in
Arthur [I own the other 50%] if I wanted to continue the mag since he
didn't want to do it anymore, and I couldn't raise the cash and get
someone to sign the deal that Laris wanted signed. Straight-up
greed/idiocy. Anyways Laris has now barred me from the Arthur
website/blog/mailing lists that I've maintained for the last four
While there are definitely two sides to every story, it's a damn shame that Arthur won't be around anymore. They were a forum for daring, original bands who exist on the fringes of the underground, that would get little to no press elsewhere. While Mojo is still a good read, you're not going to read about Silvester Anfang or Sunburned Hand of the Man in their pages. In addition to covering music, they were an unflagging critical voice against the current political powers that be. While most of it was preaching to the choir, it was nice to have that ally. You'll be missed Arthur. On to happier news...
The Black Lips signed to Vice Records, who have released a recording documenting the glorious, shit hot rock-n-roll trainwreck of their live performances called Los Valientes Del Mundo Nuevo, loosely translated as "The Brave Ones of the New World". In Tijuana of all places. Usually, live recordings aren't worth the time it takes to listen to it, or the plastic used to press them. I've gone back and listened to shows that I had a great time at, but taken out of the context of the connection between artist and performer, it loses its effect. Luckily the Black Lips shows are crazy enough that the energy is translated in the recordings. Albeit in a muted form, but you can still feel that presence. Here's a couple clips from the show it was recorded at:
Now I'm not sure if any of you have ever been to Tijuana, but I have. Boomerang is the perfect Tijuana theme song. After sitting at sidewalk bars drinking 75 cent Tecate cans while the hookers (with rooms conveniently located upstairs) cruise the gringos, your Xanax that you bought at the pharmacia finally kicks in and you feel like walking. Boomerang is the perfect soundtrack, all sloppy diazapam swagger and trying not to attract the attention of la policia (or something worse) while you're pissing in a poorly lit alley. This next clip though is the real meat and potatoes of the record.
Sea Of Blasphemy
This is the first song I've ever heard by this band, the first track on the "Let It Bloom" record. This version however, leaves the original in the dust. It's pure breakneck amphetamine garage punk, played at twice the speed of the original, magnified by that effect pedal the Electric Prunes used on "I Had Too Much To Dream Last Night" (I'm not going to pretend to know what it is, I'm no guitarist, I have no delusions). There's also barely contained physical violence and the sweet sounds of smashing bottles, the mark of any good party, as well as a young chica in tight black pants who is so overwhelmed the only thing she can think to do is lay down and manually stimulate herself. That is why every blogger wants to be in a band. No woman is reading this and being driven wild with lust to the point that she throws herself to the floor and pleasures herself. It's been far too long since I've been to Tijuana, my last trip to Mexico was Cancun, which really pales in comparison. There were way too many gueros for it to really feel like Mexico. Oh and by the way all you gueros, it's pronounced "Tee-HWA-nuh", not "tee-ya-wa-nuh". This concludes the Spanish lesson portion of the update.
Marissa Nadler has a new CD coming in March called Songs III:Bird On The Water. I don't really want to cheapen it by giving it some insignificant review that isn't going to come close to conveying the heartache and beauty present her music and tormented angelic vocals. Just go to her Myspace page and listen to "Diamond Heart" and buy the 7 inch.
Another band I can't get enough of lately is The Besnard Lakes. First off, they're a band from Montreal without "Wolf" in their name, nor do they play overdone dancey punk. They do however deliver a lovely brand of narcotic shoegazery reverb drenched surfy psychedelic anthems, so give them a listen you hosers.
Finally, I'd like to thank the Academy for finally recognizing the significant contributions that Martin Scorsese has brought to the world of film. Shame on you elitist bastards for taking so long to award him one. I still haven't seen The Departed though.