Longmont Potion Castle: 12 + The Albert Lerner Trio/Longmont Potion Castle: split 2LP (D.U. Records, 2015)January 24, 2016 at 4:26 pm | Posted in Reviews | Leave a comment
It’s a good start to the year if there’s not one but two new Longmont Potion Castle releases. LPC 12 is more Skype and voice modulator terrorism, and while he’s still calling people up asking about ridiculous products and demanding payment, the people he’s calling still fall for it and it’s still hilarious. He’s calling from the Ho Ho House, and all the calipers on his Daihatsu Blooper are ruined. His record store calls are as ridiculous as ever; he asks about a band called Hobo Barf and keeps throwing his voice around. He also claims that he’s in a band of musical gnomes and wants to sell his album on consignment. There’s also the saga of when he’s been hired to photograph the Little Miss Clackamas pageant and he’s been told to pixelize the film, and he just won’t give up whenever the guy tries to reason with him and tell him how to go about fulfilling his ridiculous requests. And then of course he threatens the guy: “How ’bout I pixelize your teeth?” His later albums have more of his own voice, because his voice just keeps getting funnier, but there’s a couple moments like on the earlier LPC releases where he repeats some of the more flustered responses from callers, and I think he might even cut his own voice out just to leave the confused-sounding callers. And he’s definitely cutting some space out of the calls to make them more rapidfire on a few tracks. The limited CDr version of the album was sold out by the time I found out about it, so I grabbed a digital download, but there was a tape version still available. Anyway, if you’re well versed in LPC, you know you need this in your life. If you haven’t heard LPC before, you need it anyway. The other new LPC release is a lot different, in that it’s one of the project’s few entirely musical releases. Basically the only other ones before this that have little or nothing to do with prank phone calls are the split 7″ with Hatebeak and a collection or two of just the metal interludes from the albums. This double LP collection (which also had a limited CD release which I think has sold out) starts out with an LP by the mostly instrumental Albert Lerner Trio (which lists two different drummers, I assume they appear on different tracks) who play a sort of twangy, thrashy spaghetti western rock. There’s moments that get pretty heavy which dovetail into sprightly country without missing a beat. The album’s 17 brief tracks all feel like the soundtrack to scenes of a trippy, surrealist film set in the scorching desert heat, so it’s all too appropriate that Longmont Potion Castle provides remixes for the album’s second disc. He adds plenty of exaggerated echo and effects to the drum and guitar tracks, as well as lots of spoken snippets, some of which are from his phone calls, but most of them are likely from movies or TV or other sources. It’s definitely fun and playful, even if it doesn’t go for all-out hilarity or ridiculousness. His sample placement is impeccable; his sense of timing is excellent no matter what he does. Everything fits together in a more musical way than it ever has for him. On “Birds (No, Sorry Mix)” he surrounds the atmospheric post-rock with bird sounds, and then samples one of his calls where he asks someone at a store if he can bring his bird into the shop because it helps him to see. A musician caller excitedly talking about mixing different style of music appears on both this album and LPC 12, and his enthusiastic rambling is bolstered here by LPC’s drum echoing, spiraling-up bass, and sporadic piano and sax bursts. Whoever this caller is, he could end up being the new Tight Bros. This definitely feels like a sort of vanity side project for Longmont, but it’s a good showcase of his musical side (it wouldn’t be accurate to say his “serious” side).