Best record I bought in Austin, hands down. I’d been waiting to hear more Space Lady material ever since two of her tracks appeared on the Songs In The Key Of Z compilations, which of course were my major introduction to the world of outsider music, in conjunction with Irwin Chusid’s book of the same title. If you haven’t read that book or listened to those compilations, The Space Lady is a street performer who performs ethereal Casio covers of pop songs to passers-by, wearing a helmet with wings and a blinking red light. She was active throughout the ’80s and ’90s, retired the act around 2000, but recently started playing again around Colorado and New Mexico due to popular demand. Most of the tracks here are covers of ’70s and ’80s pop/classic rock tunes, most notably her version of Peter Schilling’s “Major Tom”, which is far more haunting and timeless than the dated-sounding original. Even though I would be perfectly content with never hearing “Fly Like An Eagle” or “Born To Be Wild” again, her simple, spacey, echo-drenched reinterpretations take the familiar songs somewhere else entirely. She even manages the impossible feat of turning an ELO song into something I actually really enjoy, with a truly chilling version of “Domine, Libra Nos/Showdown”. And there’s also a few original tunes, written by her then-partner Joel Dunsany, which generally seem to be about her act, performing simple electronic pop songs (“Synthesize Me” says it all). Definitely bridges the gap between Bruce Haack and more recent naive Casio-pop experimenters such as Dan Deacon. I bought this on vinyl, which includes a download card of the entire album as well as the bonus tracks from the CD version, which includes covers of The Doors, Elvis and “Radar Love”. And for more Space Lady, there’s a free digital EP on Comfort Stand.
Supremely trippy mind-expanding techno, which drifts out into other genres, and into surrealist dream-like sound collage. Plenty of strange sounds in the mix; “Aramaic Owls of the Eternally Infinite Rainforest” starts with echoing cat growls, and ends with owls, rain, and mystic speech. “White Sage Black Mountain/White Mountain Black Sage” starts with water dripping, and goes into a kind of action-soundtrack-on-a-budget electronic rhythm. “A Whistle in the Mind’s Kaleidescopic Sky” gets into Demdike Stare hauntology darkness territory, with slow pounding beats and desert animal calls, but then it goes into another action sequence-y groove, but midtempo and with bongo-like drums. “El Jardín Misterioso del Curandero Viejo” starts out really disturbing, with a slow quiet intro for the first minute, then sounds of a baby crying, a female orgasm, a heartbeat, and a heart monitor which eventually flatlines. Very creepy juxtaposition. Then there’s some screaming (maybe from a rollercoaster, or maybe from something terrible happening, it’s hard to tell), some very ominous synths, and eventually whooshing, whispering, bird chirps, shaking/rattling, chanting in Spanish, mystic flutes, coughing and spitting, and strange laughter. And it’s still not over, there’s Hebrew chanting, Arabic singing, rushing water, bells tolling, and high-pitched chattering voices. “The Divine Psiamese Twins of Psilent Inner Psiberia” is a strange midtempo journey with slightly tipsy synth-trumpets, pianos, bass, and canned applause around the 5.5 minute mark. After 9 minutes, the music hushes down, with the sounds of children playing and an indoor conversation between a man and a woman, before a triumphant, skygazing ending for the last few minutes. “Into the Heliotropium of Heaven’s Hallucinatory Heart Hologram” starts with a voice saying that “we are all going to die”, which echoes (panning left and right through the speakers and gradually getting quieter), and then a sad, cinematic post-rock instrumental emerges, although there’s enough simple, MIDI-ish electronics and quirky sounds to confuse it with anything that sounds like Mogwai. At about 8 minutes it fades out and sounds like the song’s over, but then there’s come police siren-like sounds in the background, after which the MIDI-post-rock returns. The song ends with more siren sounds, mystic chanting, and rushing water. “An Opal Squid in the Temple of the Ivory Monkfish” starts out sounding like it’s going to be a dark soundtrack-like piece, but eventually lightens up with cuckoo sounds, and a wondrous, piano-heavy electronic beat, and fireworks! There’s also more bird calls, more amped-up action scene music, more cosmic chanting, and more quiet piano interludes. It ends with a new age voice proclaiming “let us all unite”. Free download at Bandcamp.
First album by a Japanese noise-rock band, now being released in America after Kawabata Makoto of Acid Mothers Temple recommended the band to Important Records. Very dense, unpredictable, schizophrenic collage of fire-scorched guitar, clattering trash noises, and electronic detritus. “Mishima To Kuchibeni” features a few moments where it almost sounds like Gibby Haynes rapping in Japanese. “Getsumen No Tsume” is a much thrashier, riff-heavy track. “DODDODRIL BLUES” is a spiky industrial-punk track with a few rave synth blips. “Kouchuu No Wakai” isn’t a fast, noisy thrash track, it’s quieter and slower, but it still has a confusing mass of distorted, pitch-shifted voices and violent noises. Lots of evil whispering, laughing, and screaming. It isn’t until almost 5 minutes into the track that the guitars kick into distortion and a fast rock’n’roll rhythm, and then it all explodes and goes haywire… until it cuts to being quiet and randomly mysterious again. “Kocyuu, Shitatarazu” again starts slow, with a deceptively relaxed groove, but it keeps going off on tangents, with volatile drums trying to break into other rhythms, in some sort of bizarre dub-noise style, and sinister vocals sneaking through the whole song, and getting screamy for a bit towards the middle, and again towards the end. “MAN Machine” starts with a minute of collaged speech, but then turns into another noisy punk track with cut-n-paste vocals. “Kyoushin” is a long, slow, sludgy track with lots of pained screaming, and some random moments where the music mutes and there’s a guy saying something quietly in the corner. “Haru no Hiza” is the album’s uncharacteristically pretty track, and it’s probably my favorite. No brain-attacking noise, no random cut-ins or screaming, just quiet, drifty guitar and drums and soft vocals, with just a couple minutes of noisier psych guitar soloing at the end. A really lovely end to a supremely bizarre, exciting album.
Second CD-r from Dhow, one of Ryan Huber’s latest and greatest projects. The first 2 tracks on here were actually released in mono versions on a limited-to-23 lathe cut 7″, but are included here in stereo. “Galil” is overwhelming, distorted, and fuzzy, with a constant drum machine bashing away and uncountable layers of vibrating sounds. “Nhi” is a sad, blurring, drifty dronegaze track with abrasive yet floating textures. “Scultone” reminds me a lot of Alec Empire and Christoph De Babalon’s early ambient works, starting with clicking and popping sounds and quiet melodic ambience, but evolving into thick distorted noise. “Neophyte” is a much more melodic, guitar-centric anthemic post-rock song with plenty of cloudy distortion, and ending with disturbing crackling and gray drone for the last minute or so. “Magna Mater” is 2 minutes of guitar and drums that sound muted under a haze of smoke. “Amara” is full of meandering guitar loops, distant crashing factory-like sounds, and some hidden drum beats for a few brief periods. The last 2 minutes are much calmer. “Lindworm” is another melodic, anthemic guitar-driven track. “Captus” is slow, sludgy, and scorching, but only 2.5 minutes. “Archon” is a smokey, polluted cloud of drone, but with some thumping beats for the last minute. “Bells” has lots of scraping noises throughout, starts out slow and trudgy, but then halfway another muted beat pushes through, and it ends with layers of tremolo distortion and cathartic screaming.
Two side-long improv psych tracks. Side 1 is called “Fry Your Brain”, and that says it all. Supremely distorted, swirly acid psych, with a loose meandering groove and lots of blown-out distortion. Side 2 (“Drunk of Colustro”) starts calmer and a bit more detached, but about a third of the way in, gets furious and noisy and just continues and gets more searing and caustic. Gets itself together for a pretty straightforward rhythm (but still wildly distorted) for the last couple minutes, before fading out to oblivion.
Newest album by noise/drone vet Deison, in collab with Andrea Gastaldello (Mingle). Definitely far more active and dynamic than the previous Deison release on Aagoo, which was very bleak and droney and generally just sounded like standing next to a giant reactor. This one has glitch beats, processing, and pianos, and even some singing. The last track (“Static Inertia”) ends with a short period of silence, followed by a cover of “Failure” by Swans, featuring a vocalist named Daniele Santagiuliana who makes a very convicing M. Gira impersonator. Other than that, lots of buzzing textures, clicks and cuts, and crunchy, sometimes erupting beats and bass. “Everything Collapses” has a horn-like drone texture with its blips and clicks. “Nessun Desiderio (Decimaction)” has rumbling static and crackly, ground-shaking downtempo beats that could rival your favorite Modern Love artist (Demdike Stare, Andy Stott et al). “Settled Apathy (Hospital)” has bass-growly IDM beats, then drifts off into a hospital deathbed scene. “One Million Parsec From Your Sun” is a “staring at a vast star field” moment. “An Estranged Perspective (Time Off)” is more piano ambience with subtle glitch rhythms.
Mic break music = The Glass Orchestra
3:02 AM Robert Aiki Aubrey Lowe ~ Clearlight Alhemio ~ Fazo IV: La Kvalito De Speguloj ~ Rainbow Body Records
3:07 AM Deison & Mingle ~ Nessun Desiderio (Decimaction) ~ Everything Collapse(d) ~ Aagoo
3:13 AM HTRK ~ Chinatown Style ~ Psychic 9-5 Club ~ Ghostly International
3:18 AM SSLEEPERHOLD ~ F.I.S.T. ~ Ruleth ~ Holodeck/Light Lodge
3:22 AM Coil ~ Penetralia ~ Horse Rotorvator ~ some bootleg LP pressing that’s probably ripped from a CD version and doesn’t include the last song on the album
3:28 AM Dhow ~ Galil ~ Amara ~ Inam Records
3:41 AM Future Islands ~ Spirit ~ Singles ~ 4AD
3:45 AM S U R V I V E ~ Short Hour ~ MF064 ~ Monofonus Press
3:49 AM The Space Lady ~ Domine, Libra Nos/Showdown ~ The Space Lady’s Greatest Hits ~ Night School
3:53 AM Skanfrom Vs Pest(e) ~ Wrinkle (Remix) ~ Snow Robots Remixed ~ Suction
4:01 AM Tycho ~ Apogee ~ Awake ~ Ghostly International
4:05 AM Panther God ~ Golden Changes ~ Golden Changes ~ Outside Recordings
4:08 AM Tensnake ~ No Colour ~ Glow ~ Virgin
4:11 AM Doug Hream Blunt ~ Fly Guy ~ Gentle Persuasion ~ self-released
4:17 AM Patrick Cowley ~ X Factor ~ Menergy ~ Unidisc
4:23 AM Bobby Draino ~ One Last Nut ~ Brain Drain ~ 100% Silk
4:26 AM Erika ~ Early Warning ~ Starfield Hexagon Cloud ~ Interdimensional Transmissions
4:35 AM WLISPS ~ Neurophasics ~ Plurals ~ Impko
4:40 AM Picaflor ~ A Whistle In The Mind’s Kaleidoscopic Sky ~ Magician ~ self-released
4:49 AM Ryan Huber ~ track 2 ~ Abiff’s Gaze ~ Inam Records
5:01 AM Inutili ~ Fry Your Brain ~ Music To Watch The Clouds On A Sunny Day ~ Aagoo
5:20 AM Gezan ~ Haru No Hiza ~ Katsute Uta Toiwaretasore ~ Important
5:33 AM Robert Alberg ~ Night Wind ~ cd-r single ~ self-released
5:36 AM Hardon Collider ~ track 6 ~ Particle Exciter ~ self-released
5:39 AM Watabou ~ Impulse ~ Plasticity ~ self-released
5:41 AM K-Rock ~ B3 ~ Part 2 ~ Rephlex/Top Shelf
5:43 AM Lace Curtain ~ Unfortunate Life ~ The 3rd EP ~ Mexican Summer
5:47 AM Davidge ~ Zero One Zero ~ Slo Light ~ The End
5:50 AM Mark McGuire ~ Turiya (The Same Way) ~ Along The Way ~ Dead Oceans
5:56 AM Duke Ellington ~ Mood Indigo ~ Unknown Session ~ Columbia
Crush Collision 3/27/14
11:00 PM Steve Foulds ~ Polar
11:04 PM Lace Curtain ~ Fortress
11:08 PM Ovrkl ~ Ghost Hnds
11:12 PM Siggatunez ~ Offenbach Bay Area
11:16 PM ODESZA ~ Sun Models
11:17 PM Skream ~ Bang That
11:22 PM Crash Course In Science ~ Flying Turns
11:24 PM Cute Heels ~ Calibre 2000
11:31 PM Lassigue Bendthaus ~ Automotive
11:35 PM Kangding Ray ~ Amber Decay
11:41 PM Jules Dickens ~ Another Place
11:46 PM Light Year ~ Come Together
11:51 PM Santiago Salazar ~ 3000 Northend
11:55 PM Sean Ray ~ Deep 454 (MGUN Remix)
Newest album from Australia-originated, London-based noisy-post-punk-turned-slow-creepy-electronic group HTRK (pronounced “Hate Rock”). As with their previous album, 2011’s Work (Work, Work), this is dark, chilling, a bit frightening, and absolutely beautiful. This album takes that album’s sound and makes it a bit more spacey and sensual; instead of dark, ticking drum machines and slowed post-punk basslines, this is more of a a pulsating, amorphous slither. It’s also a considerable bit brighter and more hopeful, even if the music is somehow a bit more minimal and airy. The lyrics speak of love, lust, sunshine and beauty, and the vocals on “Feels Like Love” just consist of laughter. “Chinatown Style” is easily my favorite, just a beautiful, heartbreaking vocal melody. Overall, not quite as devastating as their previous album, but this one turns the brightness and sexuality up a bit, and is well worth your time.
I went to Austin with a friend for SXSW. We flew from Detroit to Austin on March 10, switching planes in Charlotte, NC.
As soon as we got to downtown Austin, we went to the convention center to see a film.
We saw a documentary about zombie movies called Doc Of The Dead, and there were plenty of zombies wandering around the lobby before the film started.
On Tuesday the 11th, we started by wandering around downtown, getting bus passes, and walking around the state capital building.
We saw a documentary about Rahsaan Roland Kirk.
We went to Thai Passion for lunch.
We went to Waterloo Records, and then went down to the river and walked around a bit.
We saw The 78 Project, a film about a traveling machine that records sound directly to 78 RPM discs, and the machine was actually present at the screening and someone recorded a song on it when the film was over.
After the film, we saw Ramesh (formerly of Voxtrot), found a food truck that was giving out free burgers and fries, then saw the reunited Coachwhips playing a free outdoor show. They played in the audience with tons of people up on stage.
We ended the night by seeing a killer set by The Octopus Project, an Austin band I never got around to seeing before.
Wednesday was more of a shows downtown sort of day, we saw DJ Spinn + DJ Rashad, Future Islands, Eternal Summers and Mirah, did a bit of walking around downtown, and took the bus back to my friend’s house, thankfully avoiding the tragic accident that occurred right near where we saw Spinn + Rashad earlier in the afternoon.
On Thursday there was a Pitchfork day show at the French Legation Museum that we stayed at for a while, then we saw SSLEEPERHOLD in the backyard of a bookstore, and then saw Giraffage at a cafe by the river.
Went to Elysium to see Lee Bannon (who actually did a tag-team set with The Range), and then went to Hotel Vegas again to see Forest Swords, who were incredibly late but did an awesome set. Before their set we saw the last few minutes of Blouse’s set, and then a mindblowing set by Bo Ningen.
On Friday, we went to the convention center for Flatstock and saw a few artists (Angelina Lucero [this time without Jerome LOL] and Pure Bathing Culture), ate lunch at Koriente, visited the Museum Of the Weird, attempted to see Basecamp who had tons of tech problems so we just left, and then we went to Red 7 for the Holodeck Showcase, which was awesome.
On Saturday, we went to WFMU’s showcase at Beerland, then we went to Flatstock to see S U R V I V E (who played last at the Holodeck showcase, but we left before they started), and then went to the Paramount Theatre and saw God Help The Girl, with Stuart Murdoch in attendance! Then we got dinner at an awesome food truck, then saw Kumiko, The Treasure Hunter.
Sunday was the day Austin went back to normal after SXSW, so we just wandered around downtown and went to museums. Everything closed at 5, though, so we just took a bus back to our friend’s house.
Monday was our last day in Austin, and we took a bus down to the south side of town and went to End Of An Ear and walked around and visited lots of cool shops, and then ended up back downtown on Congress and our friend picked us up.