Tuesday, December 31, 2013

TOP 73 LOUISVILLE ALBUMS OF 2013: THE ESSENTIALS




So, with all the thunder and lightning and fortune and glory that comes with year-end lists, here we have this one. This will be the third American Gloam treasure chest, mining Louisville and regional musicks released in 2013.  I will say, this year was the biggest year, as far as stuff I immersed myself in from this area. Read and listen.

Instead of a an easily read and organized list, my goal here is more to jumble the brain of the reader/listener as much as my mind is jumbled, what with schizophrenia and overload from too many genres, bands, scoundrels and performers in this area. However, because this list got so big, I did group it into some self-explanatory sections. Everything listed here was something I spent a lot of time mulling over on my work cubicle, car stereo, home computer, or kitchen cassette player, throughout the year.

I've also pared it down to recordings I've returned to the most. These are, out of a river city-full of good stuff, my favorites. It's bigger than ten, but it's far less than what's out there from the L'ville/regional area.

Also, feel free to listen in to the "'13 in Review" episode of my radio show, Club El Rancho on ART-FM (www.artxfm.com)...





Here they be:

DEBUTS THAT SUNK HOOKS INTO ME:

NEW BRAVADO - Unconcious Afternoon: A glorious fuzzed-out tight psych-blammo that spills from the glorious cup of 70s rock. That title track makes me day-trip. Full review here. They also released a live full-length this year, Live at Solidarity.




ALCOHOL PARTY - The Casual Sex: Bump and grind odd-timings. Another example of L'ville taking punk/hard rock/hardcore/whatever and pummeling it into something new. Challenging as shit, and heavy. Awesome. Unfortunately, now defunct. Full review here. They also released a split cassette with Tropical Trash.




SALAD INFLUENCE - STT: Lexington droned gazes from Ma Turner (CROSS, Warmer Milks), Joey of The Elsinores and Eldred. The bridge between Nuggets and Pebbles. Full review/interview here. They also released a cassette called Crossed Out/Firestarter.





BABIRUSA  - Pum: City Dog and Little Dalmation's Duet: Brand new musical project made of people I don't know making music that has no boundaries and no fears. Easily switches between very well-constructed pop to torn-down melodies and sounds a la Ween. Also released Mitch McConnell's Grapefruit Stand and a couple of singles.





MIRAGE MONTAGE - Letters to Long Lost Loves: A completely earnest, heartfelt collection of songs by Noah Church and friends, including Lacey Guthrie (Reading Group/Twin Limb) and Sazi Thomas. Songs of joy, love, grievance, loss, Emotion. A New Orleans influence with a singer-songwriter + full band feel. Full review here. They also released two other LPs this year: Past Life and Post Script.





JAYE JAYLE -...It's Jayle Time!: Evan Patterson of Old Baby and Young Widows brings us a solo concept album about loneliness, alcohol and the desert. Full review here.





THE NEW SHITBIRDS - Basement Demo Demo: This album shows me there is hope for the future of sloppy, uncontrolled, loud rock and roll. Rooted in garage, screaming through a telephone receiver, this is a two-piece that attacks rock music with Cramps-ish ions. Definitely one of my favorites of the year.




JULIE OF THE WOLVES - Create/Destroy: "The production of these songs, this album, is gigantic, and it brings the listener into these energetic compositions. Hints of Sleater-Kinney, but much more and many other directions combine and oddball each other through a variety of time signatures. The gun-fanned riffs spread through and into the songs, often reacting to each other much like Carrie and Stephanie's voices weave in and out and sometimes on top of each other." Full review here.




OPPOSABLE THUMBS - S/T: Crud punk forever. "OT is not a band that subscribes to one overall leading factor, which makes the CD a nice well-rounded pop to the head. Every instrument is as key and in your face; none overtake the order of the chaos being preached. It's stripped down post-punk that has a almost considerable dance to it" Full review here.


PLASTIC MELODIES - PM: "David Lucas slaps, pulls and strums his bass guitar until it turns into a different animal entirely at times. There are nasty distortions and clean pops that encircle each other through his expert use of effects, making the instrument sound like two guitars instead of one, gripping rhythms and leading the songs simultaneously...The beat is bound together by Bridget Knight, whom I believe actually has four arms, limbing them around the percussion in an aggressive pound that marries the bass and cracks through the songs, bleeding onto the streets outside the club, quavering the room." Full review here.





ALL DEADRise Below: Brutal three-piece thrash. A great seven-inch EP that doesn't swagger, but just rips and pounds in seconds. Fucking awesome.





NEIGHBOR - S/T: The Neighbor people include bassist/vocalist Adam Kirby, drummer Aaron Sortman (both formerly of Zombie Chickens from Outer Space) and guitarist Sean Gardner (Twenty First Century Fox, Bu Hao Ting). Part punk, part thrash and part noise, "Neighbor" is a machine that never stops the pulleys from moving. Ten songs at close to 21 minutes, it's impressive how powerfully and rapidly the album slams open and never fucking subsides its push.  Full review here.





WHITE REAPER - The Conspirator: Great debut from a great new band. A Ramones-ish punk that gets catchy and stays stuck in the head.






QUIET HOLLERS - I Am the Morning: Excellent debut from this Americana band. I returned to this one several times during the year. A very John Prine-styled grounding to it.




WEEKLY SINGLES FROM MISSED CONNECTIONS - Weekly Singles: A solo project by Will Allard (Xerxes, Whips/Chains), this collection of songs is an experimental project that sees him collaborating with musicians (including Lacey Guthrie), as well as exploring complete solo ponderings that tend toward a poppier and often electronic sway.



KP AND ME - EP: I keep coming back to this EP over and over. This is a garage band split between Bloomington and Louisville, between his vox and her vox, between garage, punk and pop. And it works. Really well. Organ-drive rock n roll for the now sound of today. As far as a full piece, one of the ones that hit for me this year.


GREAT NEW ALBUMS BY BANDS we've heard from before 




BLOOD PLANET - Summer Demo(ns): A feedback race to the death. Two-piece band makes two song EP that serves to scare and confuse. I loved this short release. Full review here.





TROPICAL TRASH - Think Back Kick a Beer: I've talked about this band a lot. They went through more lineup changes in 2013. Put this out and that split with Alcohol Party. "Where Fear of Suffering ripped open the cadaver of noise-punk and pulled out its organs and just started sprinting headfirst into an occult, Think Back, Kick a Beer gut-hooks the corpse, lubes it with aloe, sets it on fire and sleds it down Satan's inner thigh with a loathing grin. Jordan makes for a fucking sick bass player. Jeff's drums are a dismaying, frenzied, monstrous attack. Jim screams and harrows his guitar faster than ever." Full review here.






Madame Machine/Twenty-First Century Fox - split seven inch:
This is Madame Machine's second seven-inch, and it's TFCF's followup to their 2012 EP debut GuitarsGuitarsGuitars. Both of these bands create very energetic and often elaborate music...MM seems to mine more of a prog-metal, whilst TFCF comes from a more prog pop side. Sort of. Very creative and interesting groups...definitely looking forward to full-lengths from both bands hopefully in 2014. Full review here.




WEIRD GIRL - All I Wanna Do/When I Wake Up: I really dug Weird Girl's 2012 pop-surf-punk recordings. This single dropped in June and immediately became a favorite summer tune. Fuzzy, drugged-out sludgy Wipers-ish garage-pop on ludes.



THE DEBAUCHEES - Big Machines and Peculiar Beings: One of those big releases to hit Louisville in '13. I came across The Debauchees opening for Alcohol Party about two years ago, and have been a champion ever since. I'm glad to see them finally get accolades. This is the follow-up to their self-released debut (full review here). It contains some of the same songs, but a lot more production was sunk into it. People are talkin about their quirky, creative, almost New Wave style.






THE BOTTOM SOP - Outlaws Like Us: Their second EP, The Bottom Sop created a slightly slicker follow-up to the honky-tonk they touted on their 2012 self-titled debut. But this still finds its roots in 70s outlaw-country, and the songwriting here is stellar. "This is a record that shoots whiskey and thinks of Red-Headed Stranger, swinging into a faster-paced 21st century production, but with the same teeth." The band went on to release two more EPs and several singles during the year. Full review here.





WILLIAM BRYAN RAGLAND - Cosmonaught: This was the year I was introduced to William Bryan Ragland's music. I already knew of his metal bands All Dead and The Revenants, both of which released albums this year. He also plays guitar for Dirty Bitch, who released two singles this year. Besides writing bludgeoning music that he growls and screams into the night, he also creates drone-ambient-electronic-noise recordings. These monsters ferment like the lost soundtracks to space-horror films. Truly strange and scary. Ragland released TEN of these electronic unholy pieces before embarking on the grander scheme of the Cosmonaught idea. Two full-lengths, each consisting of collaborations with various musicians in town, aiming for a completely ghostly and doom-laden beauty. These albums are black magic. One of the most prolific people in town.





RUDE WEIRDO - We Are Whores: The creative insanity that Rude Weirdo smears over the playing field of a group of dive bar stragglers immersed in swill and debauchery, or even over the shitty stereo speakers as you sit naked at your desk at home, is as rapid-fire and hard to pin as greased shards of lust shot from a righteous, erect machine-pistol." Easily one of my favorite bands in town. Why? They don't give a FUCK. Really. Their songs and shows are completely unpredictable, and in a way, scary. Balls out with shrimp breaks during chants. This EP contained one of my favorite songs of the whole year: "Hi Death." Find it. Hell, I'll rip it for you. Full review here.





THE TEETH -  Brenschluss - "The Teeth don't chaw on just any post-punk muck, never spending too much gulping the molasses and butter of predictable no or new wave that gangrene some punk. It's a descendant of victuals of the crud-garage, as well as the surf-math that can walk barefoot far back into certain Louisville bands of the past." These guys are legends in L'ville at this point. Learn them, love them. Full review here.





ULTRA PULVERIZE - Toxic Vacation: Always one of the most inventive bands in town, I'm sad I missed UP's live re-scoring of Robo-Cop, a Happening that occurred twice this year. I've heard rumors it will be released as a recording, which I look forward to. This EP was a welcome release, and showed how much this trio of cyborgs do not stop recreating themselves and their takes on electronic-rock-n-roll sound. "Two Hugs" is such a good song.




STRAIGHT A'S - Humility the Hard Way: A welcome return from a circus of rockers. "It's an aggressive avant-punk that dwells here, well-recorded and in your face, with every song offering something different that the preceding one. Fifteen songs that present intelligent and demanding rock that showcases the talent of each musician." Full review here.






BLACK KASPAR - Schizo-Tech: A biggie. Loud sunuvabitchin layers of noise. Bill Zink's orchestra of sound. "The lead-off track "Space-Truckin' Part II" is that layered volume, and is the hypnotic impetus that kept me crouched until far too late in the dark. Beastly electronics, savage guitars, aggressive horns, frantic drums; it's the mammoth descent led by Dan Willems on a Hawkwindish bass guitar riff occurring near the seven minute mark that shifts my mind into my palms and restructures my spine, making everything indeed sound like a helicopter chewing its blades through a freight truck." Full review here.




MA TURNER - The Vibrant Light: Ma Turner put out a shitload of music this year. Only Derrick Manley and William Ragland really compete. It's so much so, he's releasing a box-set in Feb '14 called Zozma Turner, and has a sample of the recordings he posted all year, besides his work in Salad Influence and Cross. I've been a big fan of his takes on songwriting, where it goes, how it goes. One of the most important songwriters/composers of Kentucky. Full review here of only one of his 2013 releases.




TRIM - Deerskull: I had originally planned on a full-length interview with Trim's Douglas Maxson for a looong time. We worked on it for a loong time. Then I lost my mind inbetween two residence moves and time between jobs and crap like that. This fucking thing was finally released this year, and should have been one of the biggest deals of the year. I've still got my interview with Douglas that I will be printing in 2014 at some point. Recorded by Jon Cook (RIP) in the mid-90s, Douglas and this band represent an anchor to this scene, FOREVER.



J MARINELLI- The Moray Eel East J Marinelli: One of my favorite songwriters in the world, and as prolific as they come. One man garage band that makes the best goddamned anthems ever written.

The deal is, folks, I can go on. And on. There is so much amazing music that came out of this area in 2013, I can't keep up, and I don't know if the blogspot can even handle all the links. And I'm only paring it down to the stuff that I liked.

Gubbey Records released Head Cleaner, for hell's sake. A compilation of 46 currently active L'ville bands of all types and sounds. It's an amazing archive of what this town is currently offering. And it's mind-boggling.
> Artist/musician Yoko Molotov introduced me to the output of Eviction Records, and her noise project Harpy and her garage-rock band Sweatermeat, as well as the side projects that have stemmed from that. Brilliant stuff.

Douglas Lucas' ongoing project Mu, and his work with the Louisville Experimental Festival, has brought about some amazing performances and recordings, including his work with Thaniel Ion Lee.

Electronic musician Ellie Herring, of Lexington, released an astounding album called Kite Day. Her song "Always Just OK" was perfect.

RED.M was mysterious...and released an amazing electronic soundtrack album: The Elephant's Garden.

Hair Police alum/artist Robert Beatty's solo soundtrack album, was just as captivating. The death metal albums from both Seidr and Anagnorisis were perfectly orchestrated destruction pieces, to the point of beautiful. Sapat's seven-inch. Axelrod Nemoy. Leopold Zimmerman. Jovontaes' cassette Paranoia Makes a Great Gift. Raw Thug's Black Walmart. Anything by Wet. Black God's Three. Mote's Dirty Water. Gangly Youth's seven inch. COLISEUM and The Decline Effect for god's sake.

I'm old school. If you say, "back in the day," I know what you mean (unless you mean the 60s and 70s of local...no I wasn't there). But, goddamn, this area is cranking out some amazing stuff now, too. 2013 was fascinating with the output from River City and beyond.

2014...bring it. Shit.












Thursday, December 26, 2013

Black Kaspar, Schizo-Tech





Well, Schizo-Tech is here. And woe to you, Old Earth and Sea.

I've been waiting on this monster since the summer, when I heard first whispers of it. Received an early dubbed cassette copy, which I clung and listened to like a crystal egg in my front yard in the dark at 3am with headphones and beer under a titanic willow tree. There were several sessions like this, accidentally scaring roommates while hiding in the late night, sneaking smokes with a dying 90s Walkman, oblivious to everything accept the oblivion on tape.

Black Kaspar's latest cassette is an invitation to the bewitching giants of Bill Zink's mind, all made reality with the  inclusion of a pedigree that is just as giant in the scopes of experimental music. These roots surrounding Zink come from a musical family tree that run extensive and long, both in magnitude of bands, as well as time. Black Kaspar is a culmination of years borne of members of The Belgian Waffles and Sick City Four, and all three bands of musicians deserve as much as respect devoted to the legends of Borbetomagus, and as much popularity accorded to the revitalization of harsh noise that Hair Police participated in during the earlier 2000s.

The album itself is Zink's commemoration of the layers of sound. He said as much, when I interviewed him in September (see this archived episode of Club El Rancho: The Spooky and Spectacular Sounds of Cropped Out 2013 for a recording of that talk)

"It's sound that I hear in my head," Zink said, "...It's all about sound...It's one of the first times my improv playing has gone back to my heavy metal years....I'll never be at home about rock music unless I can feel it in my body..."

That need to feel a pummeling in your chest is thoroughly examined on Schizo-Tech. The lead-off track "Space-Truckin' Part II" is that layered volume, and is the hypnotic impetus that kept me crouched until far too late in the dark. Beastly electronics, savage guitars, aggressive horns, frantic drums; it's the mammoth descent led by Dan Willems on a Hawkwindish bass guitar riff occurring near the seven minute mark that shifts my mind into my palms and restructures my spine, making everything indeed sound like a helicopter chewing its blades through a freight truck.

The title track is a communication with dimensions Unknown, Unnamed, Feared. A unity of electronics and distortion that I imagine one hears when crossing to the other side after death by electric shock. The last track, "Burrowing," triggers riffs through stratums that lead to dusky places that defy seams.

This Black Kaspar swallows the village of Louisville, as well as the  year of '13 in just these last weeks, pounding out The End for all of us.

Really, really, really recommended. 

Released by Adept Recordings and Loin Seepage. Available at at least Astro Black Records and the bandcamp, if not other fine establishments in Louisville.

Friday, December 20, 2013

Jaye Jayle, ...It's Jayle Time!




Jaye Jayle is a briarbush that's been brewing and burning in the back of Evan Patterson's brain for a while, now. A concept based on loneliness and the mauling of time as anchored by a singer-songwriter frame. Patterson explores these ideas just fine in his other bands; through the harshness of Young Widows and the grooved psychedelia of Old Baby. But Jaye Jayle is a boiled identity bent on a specific concept.

This album is a spaghetti country-western score, a discombobulated soundtrack that follows a detached character through a desert of alcohol and solemnness. It's not necessarily a straight tip to Morricone's hat, with Men With No Name flipping back ponchos; this mysterious character is named Jaye Jayle, and he's in the songs, along with lyrics about liquor, The Devil, and dissents into madness. There's a reach into a cowboy imagery, as there should be, all of this material being experienced and breached into song during a time spent in New Mexico. There's also a wink throughout the pieces, with glimpses of fun within the detachment during these Minimal Blues.



The centerpieces for me here are "Valley of Alcohol" and its following chapter, "The Beast Keeps Cool." I've been rotating the gusty lament "Pull Me Back to Hell,"  an almost Southern gothic nod to the loftiest tunes from Masters of Reality, for about six months on Club El Rancho. "The Road to New Mexico" splays a Neil Young meiosis, and "Desert Dancin'" is a drunk clamor that feels as though the floor will sift into sand and you will slip. The closure of the title track brings a percussive soundscape to the anatomy of this full-length.

This album features a bank vault of perfectly selected instrumentation throughout from members of Sapat, Old Baby, New Mother Nature and several other bands in Louisville.

...It's Jayle Time! will see a series of seven-inches released, the first being put out by Sophomore Lounge Records. The full-length is available on bandcamp.






Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Head Cleaner, Vols 1 & 2





There have been one million Louisville compilation records. From The Sunny Side of Louisville to John King's Louisville Is for Lovers series (King just recently released his latest, There Is No One, a week ago from this date), there have been a comps that spotlight the indie rock scenes, the punk rock scenes, all the scenes.

Head Cleaner forgoes crowds, cliques and partioned "scenes," and chronicles Louisville music as is.

Gubbey Records, headed by engineer/producer/mastermind/musician Dave Rucinski, has created a perfect audio photograph of the currency of the Louisville music scene with the release of Head Cleaner, a two-cassette, 46-band comp that runs through the musical agriculture of the River City without barriers or worries about genres or buzz. This is what a comp can truly be: a complete, undiluted archive in the truest sense of the word. There is no leaning toward what bands are the most popular, what bands play genres that are trendy; this is the music being made in Louisville in 2013, and it's tremendous.

Rucinski is a fan of the city's music and of the many facets that make the scene here. Independent music is a large part of this town made by a huge variety of people. Most nights in this city there are shows of such differing species, it's a beautiful thing in all its diversity. These tapes present formations and ruminations on garage rock, punk, dance pop, harsh jazz, mathy metal, outlaw country, rockabilly, prog-rock, noise, singer-songwriters, thrash, twee, old-time string tunes, jangle rock, psyche-rock, electronic pop and all forms of experimentalism in-between. [full disclosure: I play guitar in one band on the comp.]

To even attempt to dive into the meat here is almost impossible, just because of the scale and quality throughout. Bandying about back and fro: Adventure's distorted-garage pop; Rude Weirdo's freakish-drive; Blackbirds of Paradise goth-fun; Opposable Thumbs' frenetic punk; Plastic Melodies' Pixies-meets-Primus screech; Danica Ransom's homemade dance tunes; Stonecutters' speed metal. MU makes sounds that I can't place the origins of. "Russian Space Things" is one of the best songs I've ever heard by the elusive Humongous. Light Box is a band I'm completely unfamiliar with, and love their "Drum Song" electronic dips. And I still don't know what Bus Hus are even doing; I'm still trying to figure them crazy motherfuckers out.  



And that Sick City Four track. Jesus Christ. Hurts it's so good.

That's the beauty of Head Cleaner. It's an atlas of the current machinations of L'ville, and a teaching aid, and a great listen. Rucinski mastered most of the tunes here, and everything is sparkly. Hard to argue that this is one of the best releases of 2013; the diversity and tunes here are perfect. Thanks, Gubbey.

Highest recommendations.







Available through the Gubbey website, and Louisville record stores.


 



Saturday, November 2, 2013

Blood Planet, Summer Demo(n)s, Blood Planet




There are sicknesses impregnating many of us.

I feel them, but I'm not hiding from them. Sometimes they infest me. I feel numb now. I'm prepared for them. I don't take these invasions offhand. I allow them to penetrate. Others surround themselves in an office of feedback and disease and hellish queerness. Some dance to the fire. Bite their tongue to cascades of crotch distortions and rains of Acheron shoved into soft mouths like hackamore bits.

I only say these things because I drink bourbon late at night and allow the demons in. So does Blood Planet.

Blood Planet.Whisper it. These fuckers call themselves shitcore, and I don't argue with them. A two piece that can make this much noise is bold, and magnificent at it. This is LO-FI-made noise-punk MADE PER-fucking-FECTLY. Really, folks. The first time I heard the self-titled EP, I fell in love. The self-titled EP sounds like screams were logrolled over a burning crucifix and Resentment began walking the Earth solely to eat your Ears.

Summer Demo(n)s is two songs and shows these two giving the middle finger to both kids and Thule. "Fit To Be Tied" should be a song on a "Back from the Grave" collection already. The drums crud through the feedback through the odors of Hell and then all bang for a skeleton funk that makes my mind swim. The vocals remind me of Yow. Just accept that. They've tapped, explored and fucked it.

To beat all, despite the scariness, these two dudes are about the nicest on the regular planet. Really. So, if you're making loud aggresive music and are an ass, go fuck yourselves. This band does it sloppier, better, and will thank you for listening.

Fucking recommended. 







Blood Planet is playing with Tropical Trash and Ooozing Wound on WED NOV 6 at Lisa's Oak Street Lounge.

Club El Rancho 10.27.13



 Features new tunes from Julie of the Wolves, Gangly Youth, Dirty Bitch, Ranger, Harpy, Ted Stevens and The Third Rail, Introvert, as well as tunes from Solenodon, Axelrod Nemoy, Bus Hus, R. Keenan Lawler, Lucky Pineapple and more.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Tropical Trash, Think Back, Kick a Beer


This album was reportedly recorded by Dracula in 2013, so I figure it's good fodder to review this week, what with Halloween coming up. 

I don't think Tropical Trash fucks with me with malicious intention, I just think they enjoy easing into my alveary and then turning on the Sunday chicken dinner afterwards. I think we're going to eat Tacos on a Thursday, but they show up with chicken dinner on a Sunday. What am I supposed to do?

Think Back, Kick a Beer is the band's follow-up to Fear of Suffering, and it's a different mouth. The members have altered some. Jordan Richardson has moved from drums to bass. Kirk Mattingly has moved to a farm. Jeff Komara (of Alcohol Party and Sapat) has joined on drums. Jim Marlowe has lost his gawdamned mind. Everybody is getting tans and working out, burning Playboy bunnies into their skins, surfing, eating louder.

I'm kidding. They all live in a haunted house that eats cats through mouths in the walls and pencil-skinny hands come from the basement to grab broken guitar necks. Besides that, I'm not sure if the switches or changes in members really decided the fact that this seven-inch sounds different than the last one, or if it's the fact that Tropical Trash doesn't fuck around with stagnation. I've been to a lot of their shows, and they keep it interesting. It's never the same. And I appreciate the switches.

Where Fear of Suffering ripped open the cadaver of noise-punk and pulled out its organs and just started sprinting headfirst into an occult, Think Back, Kick a Beer gut-hooks the corpse, lubes it with aloe, sets it on fire and sleds it down Satan's inner thigh with a loathing grin. Jordan makes for a fucking sick bass player. Jeff's drums are a dismaying, frenzied, monstrous attack. Jim screams and harrows his guitar faster than ever. And everything is off-balance again, throwing three songs on one side and giving you the epic three minute, 45 second masterpiece that is "Ritual Bath" on side two. This song was made to drive your motorcycle into a 27 car pile-up. Fuck you, Motorhead.You should have tried to write this.  

These folks are bound together in a snarl of yells and sonic creases that are good for hurts. Recommended.

Out on Sophomore Lounge Records.


Julie of the Wolves, Create/Destroy


All of these people are back in a new form, and that's a good thing. I fear calling every band that is pursed with established players a "supergroup" because it seems to diminish the origins of the band and its pursuits, and makes it sound like a one-off project. There is a layer of staying power here. The members of Julie of the Wolves have all been in several bands in Louisville, are all well-respected musicians in their various endeavors about town, and all happened to be friends who decided to get together and start an all-female rock band.

JOTW is comprised of vocalist/guitarist Carrie Neumayer (Second Story Man, Early Age), Stephanie Gary (Venus Trap, The Frequent Sea), Salena Filichia (Madame Machine, Venus Trap) and Becca Lindsay (The Red Nails, Minnow). Those are only a partial listing of the bands these people have been in. This lineup has a lot of musical history running through it.

The name of the band comes from the 1972 book by Jean Craighead George, in which the title character must face changes and dangerous challenges forced upon her from culture, the elements and humankind. Like the book, both Neumayer's cover and the means contained within Create/Destroy address conflict and serenity in and amongst the beauties and dangers of existence. These are challenging tunes that do not shy from pushing and pulling simultaneously, a teaming between catchy melodies and a pounding aggression.

The production of these songs, this album, is gigantic, and it brings the listener into these energetic compositions. Hints of Sleater-Kinney, but much more and many other directions combine and oddball each other through a variety of time signatures. The gun-fanned riffs spread through and into the songs, often reacting to each other much like Carrie and Stephanie's voices weave in and out and sometimes on top of each other. Both are strong singers with completely separate sounds and waves of hooking intonation. Becca's drumming is a secure strand that drives the rhythmic vessel here, strong and loud. Filling any cracks, as well as anchoring and driving is Salena's always enterprising bass, which walks, dances, turns and runs through and amid the other instrumentation.

The lead single "The Things They Say" plugs the album well: intelligent and captivating fucking rock. I'm fond of "Youth Wish," with its sludge start that breaks gates into a frenetic fury, washing onto a side-swerve of up-stroked jangle before changing again for the chorus. "S. Y. L. M. F." exemplifies the pound and noise this band can cross through, as well. The title track is another head-nod that slams, and comes armed with a video.

Julie of the Wolves will celebrate the release of Create/Destroy on Friday, November 1, 2013, at Zanzabar. Special guests Twenty First Century Fox will be there, too. The album is being released on Noise Pollution Records.

   


Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Club El Rancho, Noise Pollution Records Showcase, 10.20.13

Club El Rancho 10.20.13 by Club El Rancho on Mixcloud


The first hour is a Noise Pollution Records showcase, featuring interviews with members of Julie of the Wolves, The Teeth and Straight A's, as well as songs from the NP catalog, including Shipping News, Ousia, The Aasee Lake, VRKTM and more. Second hour features new music from Lady Pyramid, Gangly Youth, Andy Matter, Sweatermeat, Dirty Bitch, and Huh Robots, as well as tunes from The Fervor, Juanita, Black Kaspar, Derrick Wade Manley and Great Floods. 



Thursday, October 17, 2013

Mu + Peeling Wallpaper Ensemble, Mangled Guts



This is a tumble into educational madnesses; it's the matricide of my Buffalo Trace hangover that has mothered me all this day. It's how my bowels, neck muscles and brainwaves have functioned for 12 hours: a coarse chorus of bedlam, purposefully vindictive against my sanity. I was already in pain; this is pushing me past it.

Mu is here as Douglas Lucas, playing objects, some of them instruments, some of them not. The Peeling Wallpaper Ensemble are a pickled herring that surrounds, protracting sounds from the air made through some physical manipulations, as well. Jim Marlowe's baritone sax is murderous, clamping on and twisting. Kirk Mattingly has a guitar, which is always dangerous. And percussion is a sleight of hand performed by Raw Thug, a master of ceremonies unto its own entity, tucked behind the wrinkles of guitar feedback and cord tugs.

At points, the percussion is a jazz tap on hi-hats, while high-pitched wails cover the waterfront of the sax, moaning in tumultuous agony. Somebody left the fire going in the still and the moonshine is burnt, but I like my corn blackened. There is a calm in the confusion. A singing bowl is placed near my upset heart and wrung. Strings are plucked as a catgut harp. The beats increase as the sax begins to scale, and hover, ofttimes sounding like a wet balloon being pulled from The Blob. The guitar pinpricks the moon. And at 17 minutes in, everything you thought you could anchor to as nature, stops, strips and reassembles into an orbital crisis zone.

The second half of this barrage goes electronic whir and burr, and the noise begins. Feedback becomes our human geography, except the map was lost in the fiery still. This is when the Invaders take over. We are lost in the audial woods, and the Mu/Peeling Wallpaper Ensemble Blood Clan has the doused torch. The guitar unleashes sheets of fossilized intermetallic ballast and the road is cut. It trips. It flits. They backsource dirt fields and make them unsafe for play. Everyone is left holding their own grinding tooth in their hands, staring at the ground, hearing the ring of copper, getting lost in the guts, wriggling. So what.

This is a cassette released by Loin Seepage. It's available. Get it if you want 38 minutes of instrumentation that knows not of borders. I feel better now.

i got a candy bar. i got an apple. i got a cookie.

i got a rock.

i envy us.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Kal Marks, Life Is Murder



This a heavy record. The vinyl is thick. The words are dark mysticisms pondering porches and brisk-banked rivers and comfortless parking lots and a whole landscape of involved emotion(s). The music is melodic, striving into the Autumns of thought with the words themselves, blending a cold emotion with a warm depression, an occluded front that often leads to a bleeding second chorus that will rip the urine from your heart and the love from your intestines by the overturned drum clanks and fedbacked stringscreams at the end.

I love a lot of Sophomore Lounge's catalog. I don't lie about that. I think this might be nearing the top of the devoted soundheap.

Kal Marks is a trio, not a person. They come from Massachusetts, a state I know little about and realized (while typing this) that I don't actually remember how to spell. I've never heard their music prior to this release, other than what was released on a Cropped Out sampler I listened to a week before that celestial/bestial fest acided my brain away and away. I missed their performance because I was either a) interviewing people for ART-FM; b) eating; c) peeing or...nope, that would be it.

The song Ryan of SL included on Cropped Out was the title track to this album, and it perfectly exemplifies what is contained therein. Vocalist Carl Shane's voice is a gray gulch that is hard to specifically define, striking me somewhere in the ribs as part nasally, part Southernish, part nerdish, part firepit storyteller. It is distinctive, and it immediately catches the ear. The song strums forward with a striding lurch of bass, the guitars swarming, sometimes straight downstrums of accordant and controlled power chords steeped in soldered depressions, until the back-end chorus culminates by recognizing the build of destruction and abyss, all instruments opening into a trough of drive and stringy blame that Dan Hoerner could have penned, with hopes flopping high and descending into declining crescendos and chaosed spirit.

This LP speaks to me. I'm glad there are people making music like this. Fucking angry I missed their performance at the fest.

Recommended.

You can buy online from bandcamp, as well as record stores in Louisville and probably MAsssachusssetss.

   

 

Club El Rancho Episode 10.13.13

Featuring new music from Whips/Chains, Robert Beatty, Black God, J Marinelli, Empiria Vultura, Street Gnar, Tropical Trash, The New Shitbirds, Babirusa, Tiny Tiny, Harpy, Howell Dawdy, Salad Influence, and RED M, plus tunes by Belgian Waffles, Phantom Family Halo, Poor Girls, Gaj Mustafa Cell, Quiet Hollers, Bad Blood, Bill Widener and lots more.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Straight A's, Humility the Hard Way



Straight A's have returned after two years. Humility the Hard Way is the band's follow-up to Self-Help and its split with Prideswallower.

Like many of its labelmates on Noise Pollution, including The Teeth, Madame Machine, Julie of the Wolves, and others, to label Straight A's a prole in the post-punk genre is far too generic. There's something in the tea that these bands on NP are drinking, or perhaps it's something in the Louisville air in general, that adds an unpredictable left-turn progressiveness to their music. It's never just punk, just prog, just metal, just new wave. They all make challenging music, acting as obscurants to the genres they all toy with, causing the listener to crane neck, turn up, listen more. The hikes in these rock songs are never predictable, like the discordant chorus in "Wait for It" followed by a harmony that sounds like it was sung backwards.

It's an aggressive avant-punk that dwells here, well-recorded and in your face, with every song offering something different that the preceding one. Fifteen songs that present intelligent and demanding rock that showcases the talent of each musician. There is a lot happening here and it serves the grub pile. A tune like "Alpha Rock," led by its bass guitar and drum interplay, makes you want to dance. The rhythm might be too complicated to find your step, so you just start flailing for release. And that's something found in Humility; a heavy release, filtered through some confrontational gauntlets of sound.

"Stomach Speak" is ghostly with a driving lead riffing you into "Winner," the danciest of all the selections here, until it suddenly noises up and out and gets dark. The experimentation within the second half of "Seance" that bobs into the electro-destructo-distorto of "Wavetek" catches me off guard and it's these moments that are scattered throughout that make me arch an eyebrow and really appreciate all the work these folks are pulling off to make good loud musicks.

Recommended. 

Available at the Noise Pollution site, and rekkid stores.




Thursday, September 26, 2013

Cropped Out 2013 Preview



This is just fucking insane.

Cropped Out returns for its fourth year.



It's one of those moments when you step back and accede that this thing is HERE in LOUISVILLE for real and might stay, untouched, unsullied by bullshit corporate festival fingerings in search of smoothing out and smothering a real music festival that ACTUALLY fucking features real underground music without sponsors and dollar signs. This thing has NOT gotten undermined by some bigger festival organizer. It's still run by two Louisville dudes, and it gets better every year.

Ryan Davis and James Ardery have survived thus far. I've heard say a small business venture usually begins creating profit after five years. These two have the scars and are still living, and in fact, growing. This is a testament to both their vision and determination, as well to the support this city has to offer in supporting live challenging, interesting music. The award needs to go to Cropped Out.



On top of it, American Gloam is two years old. One of the first things I threw myself into covering for this blog was the Ohio River, bands, and Cropped Out, two years ago. After a brief hiatus, glad to be back. Headquarters have moved to the best space Gloam has been housed in, and my break has energized my brain.

So without more avaricious indulgence, I present a preview of Cropped Out 2013. I'm not hitting every band, and in fact, most of what this concentrates on will be local acts that are peppered throughout the fest. As is my want. I live in that. The whole point of Cropped Out is not to suckle on already-knowns...it's to stumble, fatigued and agreeable, into a show of snow-blindy conditions and wonder what the fuck is going on. Discovery. A beautiful thing.

This is a compendium of thoughts, of ideas, of hopes, of dreams of what might happen, what might be heard, what might enter the brain during a set cloaked in darkness of dusk on the backside of white-noised distortion and riverwater breezes. And again, only my standouts when I read the list. And I ain't the sharpest Ohio River blade around, always, anyways.

FRIDAY

White Reaper: Kinda new. White Reaper was (along with Blood Planet) one of the first bands I played on my radio show Club El Rancho as a rep of new Louisville rock, and they've since started to get ate up, breaking out of the gates of their own basement. Their seven-inch Conspirator is some heavily goodly fuzzed rock.

White Reaper

Salad Influence: Ah, the projects of Lexington-based Ma Turner continue on and on, thankfully. Turner is a prolific left-turn deity at this point. Cross, Warmer Milks, Pussy Kontrol, Ma Turner solo ventures, and now Salad Influence, his trio with psychedelic marinaded harmonies. I reviewed the debut cassette here (and interviewed him). Also interviewed him on Club El Rancho.

Salad Influence

Blues Control: The drippy sound concoctions of the north's Blues Control have not been in Louisville since I saw them wow a room in August 2012.  Unpredictable soundscapes that veer through rationality and into aural spices via electronics, guitar and insect communications.

Juanita: Limbo-ed groovy, loose, jangled garage legends from Louisville, and full disclosure: they're letting me sit in on the guitar for a second time during this show. Birthed circa 1992, Juanita have morphed and shape-shifted over the years more times than your band has ever even played out. Their core female-chorused vocals and hypnotic-plus-spastic melodies and rhythms are mesmerizing, and their on-stage presence is its own party. "Atira a Lobo" forever.   



Hair Police: Active since 2001, I saw this band evolve in Lexington from the quirked free-horn assault of Hexose and the insanity-bizarreness of Frankenstein With Knife into the scaled-back tweeks and twonks of experimental-whatever. It seemed like for a few shows these folks were running the gamuts of found experimentation, until suddenly one day they found their claws and became the savage hellion that is Hair Police now. Those were exciting times to hear and see. Undoubtedly, one of the most influential noise/experimental bands in the country, they helped revive and recreate a genre. I mean this is a wall of dissected terror through sound. The last time they played here was with my old band back in 2003ish at some defunct goth club on Main Street, and they were nearly attacked by the crowd. I welcome thee back, Hair Police. Here is a new track/video from them.

The Endtables: What can you say about The Endtables? They were here at ground zero in Louisville for the beginning of the punk scene in 1979. These people started what a lot of the musicians in town are still doing. I don't think they've played a show since the late 80s. If you're looking for the start of that noise/punk sound and that fiendish assault attitude that has existed in this town, it's with these folks.

SATURDAY

Asm A Tik: Keeping the awakened notion of mathy prog and its undying, measured oath to punk roots, Asm a Tik are a liner of complicated challenging rhythms and sound structures. Featuring members of bizarro-punkers Straight A's, this band's performance will also be a release show for its debut EP, Master Tape. 

Neighbor: Like a nursemaid to a tidal wave of bombastic mutations, this is a machine of punk-noise-metal that seems to only speed up per song. Karpish riffs on 45rpm, their 2013 self-titled album is a capture of two-minute car crashes.

Neighbor
Rinehart: Don't know this band, yet. They are from Louisville, and are releasing a debut seven-inch at the festival. I do dig the melancholic Neil Youngish violin swerve through hillside grasslands that their song spills through on the Cropped Out sampler at their website. 

N.E. Patriots: I know nothing about this band, but I love this song. One of their slogans is "Distort it all." Good. They're from New England. Yep.

SKIMASK: They are from the North. They are on tour with N. E. Patriots. Their 12-inch Cute Mutant was released by Sophomore Lounge. They are a Cropped Out shoo-in, sure to aggrieve and nutmeat you. It's an electro-punk assault that is both sexy and covetous, yet so disturbing. Reminds me a bit of early Louisville fuck yous from The Touched. Punk grub to coyote from. With a trash compactor robot. 

Montag: Montag reaches into chests and yank hearts out with lyrics and melodies that seem to the basic foundations of our fucking lives. Yeah. Really. You've probably met the man while renting a video or walking down an alley, but he truly is one of the best singer-songwriters in Louisville, and RARELY PLAYS. Like, EVER. And you need to see him. To me, Saturday is worth the price of admission for Montag's performance alone. To me, this is the headliner of the night. Simple, lo-fi, exquisitely written emotions, summations and observations summed into some of the best songs ever made in Louisville or beyond. Backed by Chris Wunderlich, Old Baby's Neal Argabright and Rude Weirdo's Dave Bird.  

Jaye Jayle: Evan Patterson wrestles with loneliness and the inner self through his music in both his bands Old Baby and Young Widows. Jaye Jayle, to me, is a more personal confiscation of that mental state. Educating himself in the isolations of travel.



Superwolf: I saw Bonnie Prince Billy and Matt Sweeney perform songs from this tour in Lexington when the album came out in 2005. This will be first time the two have performed it in its entirety. It stands as one of my favorites in the Will Oldham discography. There's the usual solitude found in Oldham's lyrics. Sweeney's guitar adds a different dimension to the gauntness that creates a sweetness in that album that I relish.




Again, when glancing through the lineup, these are just my personal picks and bands I'm looking forward to the most. The ones I know about. This fest is about aural revelation. There is so much else there. Mayo Thompson. Borbetomagus. Wolf Eyes. Orcutt and Corsano. Endless fuking Boogie.

See my radio show (Club El Rancho) and my interview with Ryan and James for more about the fest. See you on the other side.






 

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Jovontaes, "Paranoia Makes a Crazy Gift"


A library of space, a storage unit of magnetic moments, Jovontaes' Paranoia Makes a Crazy Gift is unstraightened garage psych surf that floats in a blank expanse of lo-fi experimentation and willful expansion. There are droney trilling moments, as in "Brewing," that seem to circle your mind, eventually kicking into something more groove and mad tom.

Formed from the 60s psych-garage force that was Tight Leather in 2009, Jovontaes has shifted between poles, anchored mostly by the presence of drummer-vocalist Reid Small. They're sounds change and shift through the sonic pilgrimages sought amongst home-built electronics between both Mark Murray and Josh Blaine (guitar and bass, respectively). When I saw them at Cropped Out in 2011, they seemed to be sowing wild drones that dripped with the grey skies that encompassed them. This recording parks in a maze of vast outer worldly communcations that seemed to have been recorded underneath puddles of audial aeronautics.

Dream-like space-time writhing written in a language somewhere in the backyard of surf-noise continues to survey the drone aspects of sound. "The Bend Before the End" is a William Castle jazz horror movie waiting to be made, being a constant battle between the drippiness of the guitars and the licks of overdrenching firepits cause by the Sun and and it's attack on us all. This is Cosmic Surf; not about exploring Space, rather getting severely Lost in it all. Electronics act as warning bells and reasons to remain in a paranoid aloofness, a distress call on a transistor made through a disconsolating wall of wah.

The entirety of Paranoia Makes a Crazy Gift is a landscape of scoped shots caught in sound. "Hill Top Sex Making" is crouched in a Kentucky woods during a rainstorm, breathing heavy and waiting for the river to quit flooding and the land to stop sliding along with Small's rolls. "Western March" is scrambling the morning after over dunes and through castle ruins in search of madworts and liberty. Or maybe not. Have your own visions.

Recommended.  



Available through Sophomore Lounge and probably at Astro Black Records.

Friday, July 5, 2013

Alcohol Party, "The Casual Sex"



Some kind of god made Alcohol Party to fuck with us. To twist our inner gears and skewer our ears into putty. This band's live shows have made me call in sick to the office in the past. No use slinking into a cubicle with a beaten, withered brain stem. Four temperaments spilled, soiled, sloshed through, abandoned, running across a linoleum floor, down a floor vent covered in cat hair/dust balls. The Casual Sex will make you vomit sanity from the pounding screws it drills through your cerebrum. 

This hits like a raw bone thud to the head. Several times. But in a complicated rhythm. Not just thud, thud, thud, thud. Some of that shit is 7/8 time. Or worse. Or better. I think it's taken a while to get my brain around this. Alcohol Party can be a loud rough noisy band. Alcohol Party is also some of the most complicated music being written in Louisville's landscape today.


Opener "Bee Trainer" immediately jellies the mind into tomato paste with it's hyperdynamic dissonance and strange jumps between chorus and verse. Make no mistake that Alcohol Party is loud noise rock n roll, but it strays so far outside any expected lines. There's a machine-tool tightness to the sounds and songs. The radar bouncing back and forth between guitar/voice/electronics by Zach Johnstone, drums by Jeff Komara and bass by Matt Watkins is a calculated erraticism.

These tracks are some of the fastest, loudest and most intense on record. The Casual Sex is like being in a room full of pulverizers set at speeds you can't guess; once you have a rhythm or some pretense of a groove down, another aspect of the song hammers from beside you, shattering your legs, crushing your hips forever. The angles in "Catholic Picnic" and "King Maker" get jagged. You might not be able to dance to it, but you can rip up asphalt and toss it at car windows to it. Johnstone screams rapid and afflicted like an abstruse neurotic, interjecting otherworldly electronic blurps through volumes of thick guitar. Watkins' bass is aggressively animalistic, matching Komara, who destroys drums with a monstrous measure and time.    

The Casual Sex gets my vote for the most intense thing released this year.