Monday, December 15, 2014

Deletist-Disappearing (Impromptus for Piano Cello Oboe Noise & Blood)-Bleakhaus, 2014

Disaster Amnesiac first experienced Deletist at this year's Nor Cal Noisefest. It was her mantra, "...I'm being STALKED by a CORPORATION..." repeated over a self-generated Ambient Noise Drone that initially blew this listener away. It seems like you'd be hard-pressed to find a better rumination on Late Capitalist life, at least the life lived as a "consumer". What person in the "developed world" could not at minimum understand, if not completely relate to that particular sentiment?
After said set, I made a bee line for her merch table and grabbed a copy of Disappearing (Impromptus for Piano Cello Oboe Noise & Blood). Mind you, this occurred in early October of this year, but it's taken some time to even get to listening to this disc, given the packaging. As you can see from the above picture, in order to even get to the music, one must tear through a tight and tricky layer of cellophane, meticulously hand-inked. This action, hell, even the consideration of this action, had Disaster Amnesiac feeling restless and upset, even. It seemed sort of a travesty to ruin such fine calligraphy! Needless to say, it took several weeks of consideration before this action was taken. I quite enjoyed what seemed to me to be a kind of Conceptual Art element to it. "Is it a comment upon human interaction? Does the ink represent the blood in the title? Is the ink actually blood?" These were just a few of my questions as I pondered getting to the music, and as I finally made the necessary tearing motion, there did feel to me to be a kind of "art moment". Is that pretentious? Frankly, I don't care, as it was an enjoyable and sublime (in the Kant-ian art-speak sense) moment, and, well, Disaster Amnesiac sort of lives for those. Thanks, Deletist.
Thanks, too, of course, for the great music that is encased by the black velvet and white feather underneath the (shr)ink wrap!
Disappearing features several pieces of moody Electro-Acoustic music, in which Deletist conjures up several deliciously darkened tracks. The pieces take their time, establishing drones as they unfold. Particularly striking is the live-on-air Rot aus Rauche, with its incessant cello grinding and the melancholy piano/electronics pairing of Loch, with its cold-crypt feel. Verrot continues in this vein, with cello and piano pairings, again, somber as hellish moods can be, yet somehow....uplifting, as is set closer Klein Liebe, made up of similar instrumentation. Exil Bose, with its Minimal drone and chanting, reminds this listener somewhat of Riley or LaMonte, but it's clear that Deletist most definitely has her own musical conception fully working. There are obviously many elements that make up the overall Deletist oeuvre. Disappearing is a great, moody piece of work, perfect for long, contemplative listening or background "work music". Either way, it's very effective.
During his introduction to Deletist's set at the Noisefest, MC Lob stated "...she's been making Noise for a long time", and that's obviously true. I'd say that Noise is one element of an entire, unique sound/conceptual/art world.

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Appreciating Lilyhammer!

Disaster Amnesiac realizes that it's been quite some time since my last post. Tons of personal, professional and artistic obligations have made it tough for me to muster the needed attention to detail, so essential to even the most half-assed blogging attempts.
That said, a recent spell of "sick in bed with a cold" afforded a chance to binge watch the most current season of Lilyhammer, Steven Van Zandt's excellent Netflix-based gangster show.
After wrapping up Season 3, Disaster Amnesiac just wants to say how much I enjoy Lilyhammer, along with a few notes as the some of the reasons why.
To start, the writing for the show, having been initially good to great, has gotten more brilliant as the show has progressed. This veritable Sopranos spin off has spun its own unique thread; the way that United States culture is reflected off of the Norwegian setting of the show is smart and witty, and the insights from this wittiness often leaves this viewer with all kinds of fascinating food for thought as regards that culture.
Secondly, the acting, with its contrast of East Coast U.S. heat against Norse understated cool, is always compelling. Van Zandt has proven himself to be a top flight satirist with this vehicle. There was always a certain black comedy emanating from his appearances on the Sopranos, and on Lilyhammer he perfects that particular mode.
Last, it's quite fun for this music fan to see the various "guests acts" that Van Zandt, an enthusiastic and dedicated fan himself, programs into each episode. Scandinavian Rock 'n Roll culture is quite fascinating to view from his curatorial perspective.
Take it from Disaster Amnesiac, if you've not done so already, and have time to do so, check out a few episodes of Lillyhammer. It's one of the best shows going!

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Barbara Borden-All Hearts Beating;Cloud 9 Music,1990

So on a recent trip into SF's Bayview District on music related business, Disaster Amnesiac had a few minutes in which to visit a favorite old haunt from my Golden Age of San Francisco crate digging, the Goodwill Store on 3rd St. at Evans.
Those few minutes' digging gave me a choice: either Nirvana's Live From the Muddy Banks of Wishka, or All Hearts Beating, Barbara Borden's 1990 release on the San Rafael based Cloud 9 label. Both CD's had a certain allure: the former, which I've heard, has the gritty insanity of Kurt and his future Foo Flipper dudes, rockin' hot and cynical to the great unwashed as their dream of Punk Rock Integrity in the teeth of hardcore Music Biz machinations is shown to be just that, definitely a dynamic with a certain appeal at this late date. The latter, with its somewhat surreal and delightfully spaced Feminist cover art won out on intrigue alone. Disaster Amnesiac figured that, if it turned out to be a bit too aurally saccharine, it wouldn't be the first time that a thrift store New Age purchase had turned out disappointing. Sometimes you just have to go with the unknown.
Glad that I did, too, as All Hearts Beating is a lot more than just a New Age toss off, and probably a lot more emotionally whole and filling than a clutch of Kobain tunes.
The whole disc is made up of essentially one long piece, split up into seven distinct parts. Ancient Rumblings starts things off with a short, sharp rhythmic tattoo and electronic washes before dipping into a darkened ambient track, And the Flowers Showered, that has the kind of eerie synthesizer washes that so many Black Metal artists are want to utilize. That this move was made well before Varg and Euronymous had their falling out just makes it that much cooler in this listener's ears. Disaster Amnesiac does not know if Borden's intentions with the Showered were as gloomy and cold as all that, but, still, it sounds mysterious and otherworldly. Things take a distinctly more drum heavy tone next, on Earth Beat; this one has all of the rhythmic bombast of the best that her Marin County neighbors in the Rhythm Devils had to offer at that time, especially with its 12/8 triplet ostinato patterns and deep bass drum blasts. Earth Beat's beating stands right up there beside Crash Worship or !Tchkung as far as 1990's drum-centric heaviness goes.
After Beat's nine minute continuous pound, Borden wisely reigns things in, energy wise, for Caverns of the Heart. Here, she brings the energy back down, building aural caverns with more synth/drum duo mystery, utilizing singing bowls and other resonant metals to great effect. Emerging from these Caverns, we find Borden joined by violinist Liz Spencer on Sanctuary of Tears. Spencer does indeed bow up some seriously melancholy tones from her violin. Her sound often has Disaster Amnesiac thinking of John Cale's low moaning on the Stooges debut. I realize that Cale played viola, but I'm talking tone and mode here.  Bordon does a great job in accompaniment, of course, utilizing lots of woodblock-ey tones, along with her great,  low toned, expressive drumming.
Things get really shamanistic on the next track, In-Chant-Meant, thanks in no small measure to the vocals of Rhiannon. She gets all kinds of crazed, by turns chattering and gruff, always out there. Hers is no fluff performance, and it sounds as it her vibes really lifted Barbara's drumming, which is accordingly inspired sounding. Cynical types might cringe at some of her glossolalia, but Disaster Amnesiac finds it to be really great. All Hearts Beating's ending track, of the same name of the CD, has Borden back to solo drumming, this time with some expertly tuned trap set drumming and a lot more cymbal thrashing than on previous tracks. Again, hints of Hart and Kreutzmann, but Borden has her own clear, eloquent, deep style, and she shows it off nicely to close out this recording.
Going back to my initial choice, Disaster Amnesiac is happy to have gone with the unknown (to me) quantity of Barbara Borden. While writing this piece, I've discovered that she's still active, still getting press, and still pressing out rolls on her drums. This makes me very happy. Hopefully I'll find a way to see her play live in the near future. One can always use the kind of shamanistic vibes that she puts out. The cynicism of Cobain et al, not so much, even if it is ostensibly easier to espouse. Thanks for the Heart Beats, Barbara Borden!

Thursday, October 30, 2014

The Improbable San Francisco Giants, 2014 World Series Champs!

Improbable. That's the best word that Disaster Amnesiac can find in regard to the San Francisco Giants World Series Victory.
After watching the team get off to an incredibly powerful start in April and May, their fans subsequently had to endure a June Swoon of epic proportions. Said Swoon had the team essentially stumbling through the rest of the summer and then lurching into the playoffs.
Improbable victories against the Pirates and the Nationals, both heavily favored by the national media, pushed the suddenly scrappy Giants into the NLCS against manager Mike Metheny's Cardinals. Surely, their luck would run out there, no?
No, in fact, if luck was indeed the main dynamic at play, it did not. The Red Birds were also dispatched by the Improbable G-Men, who now stood atop the heap of the 2014 National League, poised to take on America's New Team of Destiny, the American League Kansas City Royals.
Which was where Madison Bumgarner took over. The acknowledged ace of the Giant's pitching staff put in an historical effort, essentially carrying the team into baseball lore, with some fine help from so many members of the team and the Hall of Fame astuteness of manager Bruce Bochy. At the start of 2014 post season, it was only a few die hard Giants fans that were aware of and believed in the Improbable Champs. Disaster Amnesiac must admit to being highly skeptical, especially after Game 6's ignominious drubbing, but, now, here they are, World Series 2014 Champions.
Disaster Amnesiac would like to congratulate the 2014 San Francisco Giants and all Giants fans! What a fine ending to this manically wild season! It just goes to show that anything truly is possible. 

Friday, September 26, 2014

Royal Trux-Thank You; Charisma Records, 1995

During the initial conceptualization of this blog, Disaster Amnesiac made a mental list of records to be dealt with, along with a few interview subjects to be queried. Most of those items were checked off early on. Royal Trux's 1995 offering, Thank You, was most definitely in that initial short list, but, for whatever reasons, I have never gotten around to writing about it. This is odd, as I've often reflected, given the fact that Thank You became one of Disaster Amnesiac's top ten ever LP's within seconds of my first hearing it in late spring of that year; all these years later, I still thrill at its sounds.
Six string sound generation man Neil Haggerty starts off the album with an incessant, catchy boogie riff on A Night To Remember, and never lets up after that. Whether it's this kind of groove rhythm guitar playing there or on Ray-O-Vac or (Have You Met) Horror James, or his flipped out soloing on Map of the City or Shadow of the Wasp, Haggerty lays down some of the most righteous guitar playing put to record during the 1990's. His solo on Wasp has always been a mind blower for Disaster Amnesiac: a treatise that runs from B.B. King to Greg Ginn, and all points in between, in one minute flat. Along with his fleet fingered prowess, Neil must also be commended for his aesthetic touches on Thank You. He gets so many sweet, gritty, funky, and colorful tones from his amp, all of which are placed with really delightful precision. I don't know how much other guitar players pay attention to his stuff, but, I'm thinking that many should. Thank You is pretty much an electric guitar master class.
Not to be overshadowed within Trux, singer Jennifer Herrema puts in an equally great performance on Thank You. Her  low, gritty delivery has often reminded Disaster Amnesiac of Lemmy, but, to compare her style to anyone else's is just not fair. Where did she get the idea for this? It seems like, so often, female Rock and Punk Rock singers opt for a kind of "ultra girl" high end shout/yell (much like the way tons of Rock dudes go for that low tenor "yeeeaaah" thing). Herrema pretty much goes the opposite way, scraping her vocal chords low and rough. I've spent almost twenty years puzzling over her lyrics, the compelling stories of Granny Grunt, The Sewers of Mars, and (Have You Met) Horror James offering tons of imaginary mileage, her slurred lines on Fear Strikes Out giving surreal incomprehensibility. I recall the press for Thank You comparing Herrema and Haggerty to Jagger and Richards, and, it makes sense in a way, but Herrema's sound is more authentically Blues Punk singular, a lot less effected. It's sad that she lost the vocal foil of Haggerty, but I'm sure that her current band Black Bananas features that same front person chutzpah.
Going by the maxim that a band is only as good as their drummer, on Thank You Royal Trux provide extra insurance of greatness by utilizing the eminent skills of two skins men. Chris Pyle and Robbie Armstrong, along with bassist Dan Brown, lay down solid rhythmic moves throughout. Brown's clean and low melodic playing is always full of nice surprises: the tune grooves along, and then suddenly there are these saucy bass lines that accent certain spots perfectly. Listen to Lights on the Levee and You're Gonna Lose and hear it. As for the tandem drum team, it's just all over every tune on Thank You, with Pyle pounding out great kick/snare/hat patterns, solid at every turn, while Armstrong colors imaginatively with any and all manner of percussive implements. A Disaster Amnesiac favorite moment from them has to be their shuffled playing on the bridge part of Granny Grunt, or their chattering on (Have You Met) Horror James, or their album defining drum jam coda on Shadow of the Wasp, get the picture, right? You have to hand it to Haggerty and Herrema on that last example: here they are, giving the drummers the last word on their album. It's not many front line musicians that would even consider that. I often wonder how much the influence of Go Go, their original home town's real gift to the world, had on their percussion-friendly perspective.
The sum of all the great parts of Thank You equals a concise, rocking romp, fueled by multiple streams of influences, all of which emerge sounding through Royal Trux's very unique voice. Everything about this album, from the patina and pastiche cover to every song on its grooves, is so well regarded by this listener, even after thousands of spins. For Disaster Amnesiac, Thank You is right up there with Out of Step, or Volume 4, or ....And the Circus Leaves Town as being a singular, stand alone statement of Rock power and prowess. 

Monday, September 15, 2014

Faust & Omar Rodriguez-Lopez-Clouds Hill; Clouds Hill Records Vinyl Box Series, 2013

The recent spinning of the great Irmler/Liebezeit LP got Disaster Amnesiac to thinking about the other guys in Faust, and, thankfully, I managed to score a copy of what appears to be their most recent waxing, Faust & Omar Rodriguez-Lopez-Clouds Hill.
I'm not exactly sure what the rift between Irmler on the one hand and the Diermaier/Peron tandem on the other entailed (or, perhaps more optimistically did not), but, listening, what's clear is the latter men seem to be developing their aesthetic into an even messier realms. Disaster Amnesiac means this as a high compliment!
As opposed to the clean lines and Zen order of Liebeziet's drumming, Zappi's rumbling pound sounds relatively primitive. That said, both men retain the disciplined feel, so much pioneered by the German Psychedelic movement post-1968, with its Minimalist foundation.  Diermaier's sound just has a lot more overt wildness to it; his spaces seem less considered, more off the cuff. Perhaps the difference between driving a brand new BMW on an empty autobahn or a reconfigured Panzer tank through an onion field sums it up. They'd both be worth the experience, but their individual feels would be so much at odds. The latter would most definitely come with tons more grit, as Zappi's drumming surely does, but would be thrilling in it's own right, as his drumming surely is.
Jean-Herve Peron's front man action remains as inspiring, freaked out and other worldly as I imagine it was from Faust's very beginnings. Clouds Hill's image of him, as he wields his bass guitar as if it were some type of weapon shows a lot. He gets some great, blasting, outright Noise tones from his rig. To go back to the Irmler vs. Peron idea, whereas the former seems to be developing his sound in a traditionally more forward linear fashion, the latter sounds as if he wants to go back, moving to some ever more primal scream. I like both. The decision should be the provenance of the artist, and both men are indeed that. Jean's declamatory vocals on this 10"s sole track, This Is Not Music This Is Not Us And We Are Not Here, are also great. I can't make out what he says in French, but his German and English lines describe fingers and arschelochs having eyeballs, Omar's 26 hour flight to the gig, and, most understandable of all, his admitting of a desire "only to COMMUNICATE!!!"
Third man Omar Rodriguez-Lopez is a fascinating guy. Disaster Amnesiac has tried more than a few times to dig his band Mars Volta, to little effect, but I love his Gold Standard Labs label's output. He seems to be content with a sort of background role on Clouds Hill, coloring around the drum beats and vocals, almost laying out for minutes on end, but he definitely gets some nice processed guitar crunches in. His retiring presence is intriguing, and, in light most music industry narcissism, just cool. Hopefully he managed to get some rest after the gig.
To get back to the Faust split again, I'd have to say that Irmler is making sounds that are a bit more refined in their Psychedelic aesthetic, while Peron and Diermaier continue to "go back to the caves" for their inspiration. The good news is, of course, there's lots to appreciate from both methods. 

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Dry Bones-Peter Quinn, Overlook Duckworth Press; 2013

It's not too often that Disaster Amnesiac reads thrillers, but something about the cover image for Dry Bones, Peter Quinn's great recent novel, WWII grunts humping it through some village in western Germany circa 1945, compelled me to grab it from my local library branch and dig in.
Digging I have done so, too. 
Quinn's lean, eloquent Noir style tells a mid-20th Century story, encompassing the deep human wreckage of modern warfare, using the rough time frame of 1945 to 1958. Dry Bones offers poetic insights, generally reflected by men in mid-life, to muse on the human elements of love, loyalty, sacrifice, and betrayal, both on macro societal and micro personal levels. The issue of how societies and people make deals with themselves and others, not always "clean", to fulfill their aspirations seems to be central within this novel, and Quinn addresses it with highly skilled story telling. 
Dry Bones is a fascinating look into a period whose underlying dynamics are generally forgotten, with elements of Cold War espionage and revolution, MK Ultra slight of hand, and the often unseemly realities of national struggle all looked at from the somewhat tragic and darkened perspective of people at middle age. 
Disaster Amnesiac figures that its message is instructive and adds a lot to, at very least, my own understanding of these liminal issues.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Irmler/Liebezeit-Flut; Klangbad Records, 2014

Can  and Faust are first among the list of probably most any fan of German Psychedelic music, and deservedly so. Both bands, early and somewhat visible examples of said genre, continue to influence all kinds of musicians that have followed in their wake, and, obviously, not just in their home country. Disaster Amnesiac swears that their movement has had more influence than many contemporaries', over the long haul of extended time. It's extremely pleasurable to know, and, more importantly, to hear, the surviving members of both bands as they continue to produce top notch music.
Drummer Jaki Liebezeit and keyboardist Hans Joachim Irmler have recently released Flut, an LP's worth of duos, recorded, according the its liner notes, as they contemplated the Danube River from Klangbad Studios in Scheer. Naturlich, Disaster Amnesiac has been digging into it.
Liebezeit's drumming is always fascinating and fun to listen to. He continues to employ a paired down, willed simplicity in his playing. His trance patterns are by no means dumb, however. They are elegant and effective in their iterations, holding down tight rhythmic locked grooves that take their time evolving, and, in doing so, become something bigger. His beats carry the listener along without any sort of fuss; Jaki's aesthetic is one of Zen restraint and egoless-ness. Naturally, his presence becomes that much larger for all that. His deep toned bass drum and tight, small, dry snare drum hits cycle along in set grooves for extended periods, suddenly accented by cymbal splashes at exactly the right time. Musical subtlety often arises from a musician knowing when to accent and when to hold back, and Jaki Liebezeit is a master of this type of control.
On the melodic side of Flut, Irmler lays down wild and heavy organ grooves. Disaster Amnesiac hears echoes of Richard Wright and Terry Riley within his playing, but it's clear that he's got his own thing going. The control that he exhibits between left hand rhythm playing and right hand, high register melodics is impressive. The organ often sounds like much more than merely one instrument. There is so much going on within its sounds: treble-ey attacks that are almost as physical as the drums', deep, low grooves, and purely electronic sounding whirls. It's pretty clear that Irmler, confident with Liebezeit's more than steady hand, feels confident to explore any and all manner of tonal ideas, which he does with aplomb. There are times when he pulls back, adds space, and then....attacks. These moments are such a gas to listen to, so dramatic and equally well timed as the drummer's. Irmler's mastery of the organ is on par with Liebezeit's mastery of the drums.
The album's production is crisp and clear. The drum tones are mixed equal with those of the organ: they're equal players on Flut's sonic field. Disaster Amnesiac presumes that Irmler was the chief engineer, Klangbad Studios being his business. He clearly knows it!
Taken together, the sound of Irmler/Liebezeit makes for a thick and multi-faceted, grooving monster of a listen. One could put Flut on as simple background music, or space out mentally with headphones on: either way,  or at any place in-between, it's gorgeous and highly worth hearing. 

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Gamma 2 and In Through the Out Door: Possibilities Left Aside

Disaster Amnesiac figures that anyone reading this blog would be familiar with the dynamic of "purity" in musical output. Hardcore fans of a given genre or act have their gospel statements, held up as lofty untouchables, along with their heretical screeds, at best dismissed, at worst ignored. I also figure that "purity" in that sense is complete horse shit. Disaster Amnesiac enjoys probing those sometimes neglected areas, with the leading questions: "how?" and "why?" I love looking into those lateral moves, if, for no other reason, than to get a break from whichever hegemony is currently putting a bee in my bonnet. With that in mind, I've been listening to two LP's from acts/musicians that were firmly established when they were released; both seem to have been somewhat forgotten, at least as far as I can tell. Gamma 2 and In Through the Out Door were released within one year of each other, and they both strike me as statements of possibility, that, once unleashed, and for whichever reasons, were pushed aside.

Gamma-Gamma 2-Elektra Records, 1980
Ronnie Montrose had already established a Hard Rock archetype with Montrose's first LP. As far as Disaster Amnesiac can tell, that album was a blueprint for many American bands that followed in its wake. Van Halen and parts of Ted Nugent's early solo LP's certainly seem to have taken a huge chunk of their presentation from it. Listening to Gamma 2, I feel like it could have had similar effects on subsequent Hard Rock bands of the 1980's. Ronnie's guitar playing is a fine mesh of melodic restraint, heavy riffing, and, when he solos, blistering finesse. At that time, L.A. guitar players such as Randy Rhodes and Eddie Van Halen were the spotlight kids, but Montrose's sounds, textures, and riffing sound their equal and more. Listen to Four Horsemen, Skin and Bone, or Cat On a Leash for examples of what I mean. His playing is weathered, but far from stale. A fine solo even redeems the borderline cheese of the faux-optimism during a cover of Thunderclap Newman's 1969 nugget Something in the Air. Vocalist Davey Pattison delivers the tunes with a very male, almost gruff, melodic voice. The man could sing, and he was doing so on 2. An improvement on Sammy Hagar's similar style in Montrose, but perhaps taking some of the crooning influence of Paul Rodgers. Disaster Amnesiac wishes that more Hard Rock bands coming down the pike a few years later would have paid more attention to this style, but Davey's thing became outmoded pretty quick. Subsequent biz styled bands had moved to vocalists that aped the chicks that they wanted to meet up with in various ladies rooms, generally. And don't even bring up Eddie Vedder, it just ain't the same. Jim Alcivar provides good synthesizer support: always intriguing, often cutting with great treble-ey wheedles and Sci-Fi runs, especially on Mayday and Dirty City. Had he seen the Screamers? Probably not, but, you've got to figure that he'd been paying attention to Devo. His interjections are non-interfering New Wave touches to a very much Hard Rock overall sound. He certainly isn't wearing a sonic skinny tie. The rhythmic rampage of this LP, courtesy of Glen Letsch on bass and Denny Carmassi is perhaps its greatest asset. They're tightly entrained and focused throughout. Denny's stomping beats and fills on Mean Streak are downright clinical  in their precision, while Gamma's galloping Four Horsemen rides equally rough to Metallica's version of same. A better Rock undertow, one would be hard pressed to find, as Carmassi and Letsch lay it down. Gamma 2's great stylistic meshing, under a Hard Rock rubric, could have been just as much a template for succeeding bands' efforts as Montrose's debut, but, this was not to be. A few years later, and bands were either doing Hair Metal poodle dance or the Thrash Metal pit slam. Gamma 2, with its dry, booming sound, sits by itself now, with a foot in neither camp, but it sure provides a pleasurable listen. Kind of a shame that no one really took notice for too long.

Led Zeppelin-In Through the Out Door; Swan Song, 1979
Disaster Amnesiac feels pretty strongly that, unlike Gamma 2, which could have had tangible effects on other bands, had they chosen to listen and take note, In Through the Out Door must be conceptualized on a more singular level. It pointed to directions for one band: the mighty Led Zeppelin. I've listened to this one a lot, probably more than any other Zep LP, and I always wonder at where these developments could have gone, had John Bonham maybe drank just a few less white russians on that fateful night. By the time of this 1979 release, the band had already become more than established, a stand alone leviathan in the Rock world. Out Door seems to point toward fresh new approaches. Bassist/keyboard player John Paul Jones sounds like the member who instigated many of these new moves. His alternately punchy and swirling keys on Carouselambra, their theatrical mists on All My Love, and their pumping boogie on South Bound Suarez and Hot Dog give Zeppelin's sounds hot and fresh new timbres, sometimes looking back to earlier Rock 'n Roll (no surprise from the band, there), sometimes sounding as if they'd been listening to Morodor or the Stranglers. Disaster Amnesiac recalls an interview with Jones in which he claimed to be just a bit more on point than the rest of his droogies while waxing these tunes. Hopefully they were duly grateful for his focus! This is not to say that Page sounded any less focused than usual. Hear his solo on the majestic Fool In the Rain (hear the sound of rain in that solo) or his Punk Rock noisy squall on In the Evening, and it's clear that he was developing as well. The former points to concise, Pop-ey Rock that I seriously wish that they'd been able to explore more fully in the 1980's. On Out Door, the band seems to have gotten down to more essential, rockin' blasts, using any and all forms from which to draw inspiration, even on longer numbers like I'm Gonna Crawl. Robert Plant's vocals also sound as if he'd been focusing on pairing down to essentials. Gone are the high pitched caterwauls, replaced with a bit more croon, heaping helpings of Southern fried Rockabilly (continued from Presence), and a lot more emotional range in the lyric department. Plant's post-Zep work in the 1980's built upon this striving, so maybe Disaster Amnesiac is just a bit wrong in my initial assessment. Lastly......Bonham. I'd say listen to his ragin' snare pound on Hot Dog and South Bound Suarez, his slamming hi hat work on Carouselambra and In the Evening. All of these songs show more subtlety of touch and development from Bonzo, yes. That being said, listen to his fill that leads to the guitar solo on Fool In the Rain. For Disaster Amnesiac, that long snare drum roll, followed by the best tom tom set up ever, proves why it was such a musical tragedy the Bonham passed when he did. It's a shame that his drum innovations were silenced at the very outset of that decade. Clearly, he was in many ways just getting started. Sadly, In Through the Out Door was where, up until the reunions of the 2000's, Led Zeppelin crashed to a halt. A real shame, that, as, in Disaster Amnesiac's opinion, they were making fine aesthetic breakthroughs, rising up from their tragic late 1970's era, sloughing off some of the excess and getting down to slimmer, rockin' form. Keyboards and all.

So, back to the "purity" thing. Disaster Amnesiac realizes that people like what they like, and that it's near impossible to get them to change their minds, or, sometimes, to even consider alternate possibilities. Even tougher still to change what has already transpired within the linear time stream. Still, I find it fun to imagine what could have been, away from notions of "the pure". From Gamma 2 and In Through the Out Door, Disaster Amnesiac hears tons of appealing "what ifs", both for a collective, in the case of the former, and for established individual entity, in the case of the latter.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

The Achtungs-I'm Not The One; Going Underground Records 7", 2013

You just gotta love the 7" format! Disaster Amnesiac figures it's one of the best ways for a band to present an introduction to their ideas, short and sweet being the rule. Without having tons of time in which to get the point across, 7"s seem to force musicians to just get down to it.
Getting down to it is just what the Achtungs do here on what appears to be their debut recording. They fill it with six rockin' tunes (at 45rpm, no less!), all of which have that cool Nordic Punk Rock 'n Roll feel: an astute mixture of any and all worthwhile elements from the past sixty years of electric guitar music. Disaster Amnesiac hears 1960's American Garage Rock from vocalist Joni, D-beat Punk from Jussi's slappin' drums, and late 1970's nascent Hardcore from bassist Teemu. Joni rips some nice solo guitar action when he's up for it, particularly on the rippin' title track and Suicide. In keeping with the tenor of the format, he lays it out quickly and gets right back to the riffs, naturally.
This affair whips past with energetic precision and an appealing lo-tech (but non-muddy) feel. Grab it from Bakersfield's Going Underground and feel better for supporting the international scene! It wouldn't take too much time from you, and you'll rock out in the process. 

Friday, August 1, 2014

Brandon Evans-Foregiveness: Solo Contra Alto Clarinet (Live in Brussels, Belgium; October 20, 1999); Parallactic/Thought Authority Recordings, Remaster 22; 2013 reissue on bandcamp

Disaster Amnesiac once spent an afternoon hanging out and playing a bit of music with Brandon Evans. On a tip from a mutual friend who knew of my desire to play improvised/Jazz music, Evans came over to the Fillmore District flat that I was staying in. It became quickly apparent that Disaster Amnesiac would not be up to playing the complexly charted sound worlds that Evans had brought along with him, but we had fun singing Steve Lacy songs and talking about musicians and composers that we admired.
A few years later, it did not come as a shock to hear that Brandon had moved east to study with Anthony Braxton. Disaster Amnesiac figured that, of all of the people I'd encountered, it was Evans that could, and should, find a developmental path within Braxton's singular universe. Over the ensuing years, I've occasionally checked on line to  see where Evans' career was leading. It seemed like he'd disappeared for some time, but recently his bandcamp page has been filling up nicely. Dive in? Why, of course!
Seeing as that I really desired to hear Evans' music from a perspective of its core essence, Disaster Amnesiac figured that a solo recording would be a fine place from which to start delving into his work. Forgiveness-Solo Contra Alto Clarinet (Live in Brussels, 1999) marked that starting point for me.
Presumably culled from a longer set of solo music, Forgiveness features Evans wending his way through many melodic torsions on the very interesting looking contra alto clarinet. It sounds as if his approach starts with smaller cells of melody, from which he then extrapolates in many manners. It's really nice to hear the pure tone of this somewhat rarely used (at least in Jazz) instrument; it has a timbre that is rich and, from Evans, sometimes growly and raw. Along with the pure melody, he uses many manner of multi-phonics, tongue slaps, and fast riffs to get a great variety of interesting sounds from the horn. I also seem to hear some sly quotes from certain canonical items from time to time. The set's over thirty minutes of music retains a freshness over that period of time, as Evans explores his ideas, from said low tones to mid register trilling and higher register wails, to the fullest before moving along down their constantly renewing streams. He never lingers too long, but always seems to give each idea its full accounting before leaving it.
Forgiveness is a colorful and entertaining listen, and Disaster Amnesiac is happy to see Brandon Evans getting back to music making. He's put in work, physical and psychic. Spend some time appreciating his sound discoveries, the world could be better for it. 

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Earth Like Planets-self titled digital e.p.; Bandcamp, 2012

A few evenings, back, Mrs. and Mr. Amnesiac had a very enjoyable listening experience while tuned in to Marshall Stax's great The Next Big Thing demo show on KALX. The source of our intrigue was two songs from Earth Like Planets self titled 2012 Bandcamp release.
Disaster Amnesiac hears all kinds of fascinating musical juxtapositions here: L.A. Death Punk, early 1980's Rough Trade zeniths, S.F. Art Punk. Brian Cooper's Psych, and at times almost Country/Western, guitar moves on tunes such as Pry and Remind Me How, Again are framed by really creative drum programming and playing, along  with cool sounding synth coloration. His scientific/philosophical/speculative lyrics are intriguingly off beat and fascinating. Earth Like Planets stated goal is "to connect audiences to the world of abstract ideas"; trip out on Let the Drugs Help Them Out or Patternicity for examples of said goal.  Earth Like Planets is obviously bursting with ideas, and Cooper does a really fine job of congealing them all into a coherent overall statement. The project has a really appealing overall patina of home recorded sound that Disaster Amnesiac is just digging the hell out out, currently.
Earth Like Planets have made this e.p. a free download. I'd say snap it up quickly, as music this good will likely find its way to some sort of label eventually, at which point it will likely cost you a few bucks. Music this creative deserves it! To quote Earth Like Planets, "feel the blast of power in your hands".........

Thursday, July 24, 2014

9353-Ravens of Glenmore Drive; Brainwashington Records, 2012

Washington D.C. area based 9353 always struck Disaster Amnesiac as a "band apart", even within the small confines of that city's underground scene of the 1980's. Their vibe was more abstract, artier, and way more, ah, drugged, than so many of the other (fucking awesome) bands of that town at that time. Their signature song, 10 Witches, always resonated a lot more with my addled teenage brain during that time frame ("we used to be such NICE children") than those of many other bands, regardless of them being underground or mainstream. 9353 often came across as fucked up and beat down as Disaster Amnesiac felt, trudging through a miscast existence in Prince William County, VA; their outsider vibe spoke to me, that's for sure. Apparently their first drummer hailed from Woodbridge, too, and as such, the band seemed more like home town heroes to mopes such as yours truly.
It turns out that 9353 has diligently soldiered on in some form or another for most of the post 1980's time period, a fact that Disaster Amnesiac had been unaware of. Looking through the catalog of  their label, Brainwashington Records, it's clear that I've missed quite a bit of activity from Bruce and his band. Thankfully, I was able to acquire a copy of 2012's Ravens of Glenmore Drive, and although Disaster Amnesiac's party ("party", yeah right.....) daze are long gone, I'm still glad to get skull fucked by 9353's Art Punk surrealism.
Said fuckery comes in large part from the vocals of 9353 mainstay Bruce Hellington. His lyrical tableaux have always evoked strange, often nightmare scenarios. On Glenmore Drive, he reaches new heights of skill. From Sci-Fi imagery on Dinosaur's Spaceship Ark to brilliant social parody in Crime Stars vs. "Credible" Victims to heartbreaking lamentation in Luxury is Choosing How the Story Ends, among others, writing is effective and evocative. Read along with the printed lyrics and be blown away! Disaster Amnesiac has repeatedly seen bizarre, Bosch-like scenes within their worlds. Additionally, Bruce utilizes his long time method of multi-tracked vocals, their effect being a kind of schizo-voiced cacophony within the listener's perceptions.
Musically, the band's approach seems to be one of paired-down simplicity, in that changes are for the most part eschewed for repetitive, groove based tunes. These move along nicely, often on account of the heavy rhythm section of Kathleen Hellington on strongly pounded drums and Vance Bockis (RIP) on melodic bass lines. Disaster Amnesiac finds their playing on the tranced, Hawkwind worthy Another Dandelion Planet Goes Kaboom to be particularly amazing. Susan Hwang and Nan Helm add keyboard and synthesizer colors atop these concrete grooves, giving psychedelic, Post Punk abstraction to them. Beautifully heavy, even when they skew Doo Wop (Skew Wop?) on Luxury.
Sound and engineering wise, Ravens of Glenmore Drive plays deep and luxurious. One can tell that a ton of attention was paid to its production. The LP seems to be somewhat of a memorial to a paragraph long list of fallen comrades; it's fitting that 9353 would want this partly epitaph of an album to sound GOOD. And that, it does, along with having a sumptuous cover art job. Nice.
In parting, Disaster Amnesiac would like to pay respects to Edd Jacobs, who played Tibetan prayer bells on Ravens of Glenmore Drive. I did not know him per se, but he always seemed like a friendly guy at shows in D.C. May his spirit's transition be one of ease. 

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Just another Greg Ginn PoSST

One would have to figure that Greg Ginn is feeling pretty good these days. His reconstituted Black Flag seems to have survived 2013's assault from the legion of former Compadres in Crawl and the very public drama of Ron Reyes's exit. Disaster Amnesiac cannot make an informed judgement on Flag's new rhythm section and the singing of Mike Vallely, on account of herniated disc. My ticket sat unclaimed at the New Parish box office as I essentially could not get out of bed in May, when Black Flag's 2014 tour rolled into the Bay Area, without experiencing real physical agony. Thankfully for this listener, SST has released new sounds from Ginn's musical mind, and as Disaster Amnesiac's back continues to heal, it's quite a bit easier to walk over to the stereo and press play.

Hor-Can't Make It Up; SST Records, 2014
It's not shocking to say that Greg has been a man of multiple voices for some time now. Since the early 1990's, SST has focused pretty much exclusively on the myriad bands and projects that he dreams up and throws down onto tape at Casa Destroy. Disaster Amnesiac recalls Mark Prindle's excellent interview with Ginn, in which the later defined Hor as more of an Electronica influenced band, and I can hear that. Big, melodic keyboard riffs are laid down over Greg's rubbery, sometimes fuzzy bass lines. The tunes move along these currents while that characteristic skewed six string melodic sound then oozes and flies off of his fingers and into your ears. Can't Make It Up is definitely made up of layers of this action. In this sense, the Electronica comparison rings very true; put on headphones while you listen to it, and marvel at the intensity and multiplicity of lines emanating from the melodic instruments utilized. Additionally, one can really hear some of Greg's best guitar playing on this disc. He just continues to develop his technique, and the payoff is SOUND.
Drummer Sean Hutchinson pushes the jams with absolute steadiness and creativity. No more can SST detractors use the "drum machine" canard against its bands. His sounds are live, and lively, bumping along with discipline and funky, syncopated flair. Disaster Amnesiac imagines a really bright future for Hutchinson's music career. Top notch drumming here.
Can't Make It Up is stately instrumental cruise into Ginn's more colorful Psychedelic Jam Band side. Get in the (Volkswagen) Van!

Good For You-Fucked Up b/w Steam Roller; SST Records, 2013
As opposed to the blissful stylings of Hor, Good for You pushes a heavy Punk Rock/Hardcore Punk feel with their sounds. Co-conspirators Mike Vallely and Greg Ginn stomp out a funk injected jumper on the title track of this 7", while drummer Mike Shear grooves along mightily. Disaster Amnesiac would compare Fucked Up to Black Flag angst anthems on the Damaged LP, as it most definitely drips with the energy of adrenalized anger so evident on that one. Of course, Greg's guitar sounds cutting and great within the caterwaul. Vallely's clearly feeling the darkened emotions deeply. Good for You seems to feature the venting of frustration a lot, and he does a fine job channeling it with his vocal delivery. On the flip, Steamroller's double time guitar riffing blasts away atop Matthew Cortez's energetic pounding. This one's a real headbanger, as the lyrics lay waste to the (always, it seems) fading American Dream and its human wreckage. Disaster Amnesiac hears Greg's guitar solo and feels proud of my country, though. And to think, I'm currently "between jobs"! The tune also features a nicely integrated theremin noise blast! I feel like any discerning Punk Rock fan would be fine shelving this one next to their 7" copy of Nervous Breakdown or Paranoid Time. A classic, short rip from SST.

Disaster Amnesiac is beginning to wonder if and when Black Flag will record and release new tunes with their new (improved?) lineup. It seems likely, given Greg's penchant for constant development from all of his bands/projects. Until that time, I'll be digging these two SST releases. Perhaps, when I find permanent employment again, I'll splurge and buy a new SST coffee mug for my new cube/desk/cell. Hopefully that time, along with the release of said new Flag LP, will arrive sooner rather than later. 

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Three S.F Unheralded

San Francisco strikes Disaster Amnesiac as a very precipitous for one pursuing a musical vision. I'd recommend Joe Carducci's musings on the City's music industry limitations as authoritative in many ways. From my own lived experience, the place is just too damn small, its Historical Aspirations attempting to cram themselves into a physical area with the size of a mere capital city or D.C. suburb. There's just so much pie from which to slice, see, and the competition for that sweet taste of success gets down and dirty (all with a smile, and hugs, of course). It's also an extremely easy place in which to get lost, mentally, emotionally, spiritually. Apparently it's ruled by Gemini, so one can't expect the same face to be speaking today as that which spoke yesterday or will speak tomorrow. A dreadlocked astrologer told me that on Church St. in 1995, anyway.
Additionally, well, many are called, and few are chosen. It sucks, but, yeah......

Lately, Disaster Amnesiac has been digging three finds from recent years, all of them sharing Ess Eff as the territory in which they were conceived and produced. None of them seem to be household names from our musical culture, but all three provide fascinating sound glimpses into some of the unheard, unknown, and musically very rich, bands of that 7X7 space.

Aum-Resurrection; Fillmore Records, 1969
Per the title, this one definitely has a Jesus Freak vibe, especially album opener God Is Back In Town and the title track, but they keep things ecumenical with the Far Eastern sentiments of Aum. Resurrection is most definitely a spiritually inclined offering. Musically, Aum's sound was that of a tight power trio, less sloppy than Blue Cheer, not as pedantic as Cream, but cut from similar cloth. There are many fine moments of rockin' electric trio action here, particularly on Bye Bye Baby and Little Brown Hen. Along with that action, some of the factors that make the album really enjoyable for Disaster Amnesiac are the great, tom tom heavy pounding and focused cymbal tapping of drummer Larry Martin, the talented song craft of lead guitar/vocalist Wayne Ceballos, and the beautiful three part harmonies that are achieved when bassist Kenneth Newell joins in the singing. That latter aspect brings the great vocal groups of the 1950's to mind, and it's often lovely. I guess that this, Aum's second LP, flopped, and that they disbanded soon thereafter. Hopefully they were able to keep that spiritual uplift within their hearts as they transitioned into new phases of their lives.

Bardo-When U Were Born; Odrab Records, 1987
Moving about fifteen years down the linear time stream, we have Bardo, a tripped out troop of S.F. Art Weirds, and their Funk-ed up, Jazz inflected Jump Rock. The sounds on When U Were Born's three tracks are pretty varied, as the band draws from many styles; the unifying element is pretty clearly the Pop Surrealist lyrics and vocals by F Dzeikan. He definitely sounds as if he draws from the Zappa School of Sardonic, at least as far as his written/sung thoughts are concerned. The band's rhythms are generally swift, funky, and solidly swinging, even after the abstracted ritual feel at the beginning of what sounds like it could have been the height of their live sets, This Bi-Morphic Kiss of Ice. Disaster Amnesiac would note that drummer Dave Mihaly is still playing live music in the City! The horn section of Annelise Zamula and Fritz Hansen (who looks a lot like John Cale!) does great Punk Funk work, while string men Eric Von Rippy on bass and Aldo Perez on guitar keep things frenetic on their ends of the plucked spectrum. Bardo's neo-Pagan, Dionysian party vibe could be compared to similar nation wide acts from that time (Bad Mutha Goose, Tar Babies), but their eccentric hedonistic touches scream out: San Francisco.

Luis Gasca-For Those Who Chant; Blue Thumb Records, 1971
Disaster Amnesiac figures it ain't exactly right, calling this one unheralded (at least the players here), seeing as that the cast is made up of many of the soon-to-be leading lights of the Fusion movement: Lenny White, Carlos Santana, Stanley Clark. George Cables, etc. That said, I had never heard of this LP until picking it up at a Victoria, B.C. antique shop. One might be forgiven if they thought it was some type of bootleg of the Miles Davis Bitches Brew band, as it most definitely has a similar sonic feel to that watershed Jazz event. Gasca's trumpet riffs and runs are a lot like those of Miles, but, what younger horn man at that time wasn't almost completely under the spell of the Dark Magus? His Latin Music inflections are clearly his own, though. Things get really S.F. sounding about half way through Street Dude, when a plethora of percussion and acid stoked chanting remind this listener of the Mission or the erstwhile drummers at Aquatic Park (hope they're still hanging out!). Spanish Gypsy deals out dark, mysterious Spiritual Jazz tarot cards for many minutes, with really fine rhythm guitar from Neil Schon and bumpin' grooves from Mike Shrieve and many other bateria. Late, great tenor man Joe Henderson adds his formidable tone and real Jazz gravitas, too; his solos give Chant the wandering sense of abandon and out that make for fascinating Jazz listening. The other guys in the band must have been floored as he did his thing in the studio!
This one has the most beautiful cover art of the three spun here, by far, that Fillmore Woman staring straight into the eyes of her beholder.

So there you have it, three somewhat obscure slices of San Francisco music. Disaster Amnesiac is still holding out on giving S.F.'s mighty Bomb similar treatment, but, hey, you never know! Until then, or some other spiel, remember to curb your dog and watch out for bicyclists.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Public Eyesore Reviews, installment #2

The past few weeks have been particularly interesting for Disaster Amnesiac, on account of a herniated disc. I have been essentially on my back for almost fourteen days. This forced down time, while extremely annoying to me, has afforded plenty of time to listen to music. Along with getting reacquainted with Stoner Doom via the Cetralstodet cassette on Sky Lantern, Disaster Amnesiac has also dug into the recent Public Eyesore haul. These recordings merit and reward multiple hearings, and I have most definitely had the time to do so lately!

Tetuzi Akiyama & Anla Courtis-Naranja Songs; Public Eyesore # 127 (CD edition)
Consisting of four tracks of acoustic guitar duo interplay, Naranja Songs stays generally somewhat introspective in its mood. Akiyama and Courtis show their improvisational prowess and personal chemistry, playing twisty and spiked on Mind Mochileros, with its echoes of Towner's ECM offerings and Fahey-esque voicing. Springs and Strings speaks with low notes, deeply sliding harmonic glissando and funky, gritty low end/high end, almost Industrial sounding chatter. They return to the somewhat pastoral Fahey spaces in The Citrico Vibe, playing call and response tag, vibing off of each others' statements as they wend their way through those fields. The disc's closer, Los Frets Nomades, features deep extended techniques, the guitarists coaxing cool Electronic Music and cello sounds from their axes. Naranja Songs is a slow, stately ride into myriad possibilities for acoustic guitars.

Massimo Falascone-Variazioni Mumacs (32 short mu-pieces about macs); Public Eyesore #126 (CD edition)
Disaster Amnesiac is still not sure what exactly a mu piece is, but I am sure that this disc, with its mixture of Musique Concrete, Euro Free Jazz Poetics, and a surreal libretto, recited deadpan by Bob Marsh ("it's not like it used to be, but it's still the system"), is a compelling listen. Falascone takes all kinds of sounds and influences from about sixteen different players and mixes them with field recordings and said libretto, the resulting blend being a hugely diverse musical cloud. The gamut is run from solo pieces, to duets, to large ensemble movements within these Variazioni; the duel drumming of Filippo Monico and Fabrizio Spera sounds particularly cool to these ears. Falascone gets all manner of great Jazz sounds from his alto and baritone horns, too.  Things cross over the pond for a Monk cover, connecting Europe and North America with the acknowledged international language of Jazz, but this piece is really world-spanning in its scope, and Disaster Amnesiac would even go so far as to include non-terrestrial worlds therein. I'd also ask sound engineers to pay close attention: there are moments that bring the close mic'ing techniques of Stockhausen and Xenakis to the fore here, and they add to the intrigue of the mood, along with other discrete aspects of this very creative sound mixture.

Period-2; Public Eyesore #129 (CD edition)
Of all the  Public Eyesore music that Disaster Amnesiac has heard so far, it is Period's music that is the most challengingly heavy. Drummer Mike Pride and guitarist Charlie Looker  begin this corker of a disc with sparse duo action, tom tom ostinato pounding circles around crisp, abstract, and bravely clean guitar strumming ("no stairways to heaven", so sayeth St. Sharrock). It's often the case that these kinds of freedom pursuits have a kind of manic, dense activity within their process. Period manages to leave all kinds of sonic crevices within theirs, and yet to obtain a seriously abstract, otherworld feel. Disaster Amnesiac has felt, while listening to 2, that I've intruded on some private,  intense invocation. It just has that kind of weight about it. Vocalist Chuck Bettis joins the fray with his expressionist vocal techniques, sounding shamanistic and crazed with his glossolalia. Saxophonists Darius Jones and Sam Hilmer add No Wave melting tones and furious bleats, but also keep that kindled, spacious vibe going within this 21st Century Kabuki. Listening to 2, one may feel as is they are returning to some primordial cave. Intriguing wall drawings are indeed scrawled there.

Public Eyesore seems to be moving at a manic pace as far as releasing top flight Improvising/Noise/Abstract documents. If you're at all inclined to need those types of head cleaners, click on over to their page get gone with a few of their artists.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Centralstodet-Solkurva,Krok,En,Boj; Sky Lantern Records Tapes Series #002

Disaster Amnesiac figures, that if you're reading, or have read this blog, you're familiar with the feeling. At some point in your listening experience, you've gotten into a certain style or approach to music making. You delve headfirst into it, gobbling up as many recorded examples, taking in as many shows, reading as many articles as you can find. You REALLY dig it. Than, however many months or years later, you realize that you're a bit tired of said style or approach, and drift off to new interests and obsessions.
I bring this up, simply because Centralstodet's recent cassette on the Sky Lantern label, Solkurva,Krok,En,Boj has me really digging the Stoner Rock sound again, after many years away from its heavy, darkened vibes. The band's twin guitar instrumental attack from Daniel Johansson and Ulrik Lindblom chugs forward at nice mid-to-sludge tempos, always retaining the colorful psychedelic feel that seems so important an aspect to that genre's overall mood, working from almost Folk-ey melodies as they spiral upward into Space. The rhythm section of Joni Huttunen on bass and Jonas Fridlund on drums pounds generally spare and simple, pushing the guitar explorations with heavy footfalls.
The six tunes on this cassette put the listener into a nicely tranced musical world, mixed full Blues, Rock, and Psych, and Boogie influences.  The absence of vocal allows the band get right down to the business of jamming them out, plowing forward through them with skill and aplomb.
If you're interested in finding some groovy, raw Stoner/Doom stuff, seek out and find Solkurva,Krok,En,Boj and rip off a toke or two of its gooey musical buds.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Grateful Dead-Dave's Picks 10: Thelma, Los Angeles CA, December 12, 1969; Rhino Records 2014

Judging from the sound of Dave's Picks 10-Thelma, Los Angeles, CA December 12, 1969, Pigpen and the boys were caught during one of those quintessential runs, in which all of the elements of the Grateful Dead gestalt were mixing just so, the polyglot voices of what, for that weekend, was their High Psychedelic Masters Septet blending into one eloquent, elegant sound.
Did I mention sound? Why yes, and it's justified. Perhaps the most enjoyable aspect that Disaster Amnesiac has noted while listening to Thelma is the mix, the actual full sound. It just seems very different from the Bear-fried over the top ballroom blitzes that characterize so many of the other 1969 recordings that I've heard. From what I gather, the club called Thelma, on the Sunset Strip in L.A., was a mid-sized one (maybe the same size as the Straight Theater in S.F.?). I don't think I'm wrong in guessing that the amps may have been turned down just a bit, that the cymbals may not have been slashed quite as hard as when they were playing at the Fillmore East or on Haight Street. Even the Feedback sounds somewhat delicate here, before tucking into a lovely And We Bid You Goodnight.
Another possibility that Disaster Amnesiac has entertained while digging into this most recent Dave's Picks is the highly possible scenario that there were "industry types" in the audience on the evening of 12/12, and that the band were playing to their tastes somewhat. I'd argue that the preponderance of Pig tunes here (very much not a bad thing any time, anywhere) gives evidence of this. Ron's masterful showmanship, sounding slightly restrained yet very professional, is highlighted on a great, languid Easy Wind,  and straightforward takes of Hard to Handle and I'm a King Bee, dynamic Lovelight and a an almost Steve Reich-sounding (at least from Phil's vantage) Caution (Do Not Step on Tracks) marathons. This is not to say that he does the Industry Pussyfoot, mind you. He and the rest of the Dead most definitely get down. There's just a feel of them maybe attempting to put on a somewhat more understandable (for the linear types) presentation on these tracks. And, with Pigpen at the helm, it works, naturally.
As Disaster Amnesiac has listened to and enjoyed the newest offering in the Dave's Picks series, the idea of change keeps coming to mind. It seems likely that even the most casual of fans of the band will be appraised of the  Grateful Dead's penchant for change. Change was the lifeblood of the Dead. As I have ruminated from that point, it strikes me their aesthetic demise can probably be directly linked to the logistical barriers that arose with their Super Star Status later on, barriers that seemed to have made it impossible for them to go all I Ching on their affairs.
Way back in 1969, though, the Grateful Dead harnessed the high power of willful change with abandon and succeeded often. Thelma most definitely gives off that energy. Along with Primal Dead chestnuts (roasted) such as Cold Rain and Snow and Alligator, major stylistic signs of Change such as Black Peter, Casey Jones, Uncle John's Band, and Cumberland Blues are broken out. The band sounds as if they are enjoying the discovery of these slightly more inward-looking musical spaces; the playing often sounds as if they are collectively kindling these spaces, as opposed to just dosing them and blowing them up. The move away from Avant-Garde abstraction and into master songwriting is in full effect. After all, these may well have been among the last shows with TC! These tunes and others carried the band for a few years, and it's definitely fun to hear them as they were emerging, signaling new musical spirals, slightly more well crafted, in which they could collectively dance.

Bonus Disc Bonanza!!!!
Seeing as I've never bothered to review the bonus discs that come with the second quarter of each Dave's Picks year, I figured a bit of spieling is in order now. 2012's 1974 offering featured some really nice Wall of Sound jamming, with a great Nobody's Fault But Mine thrown in. Last year's bonus gave some hot 1969 Fillmore Auditorium jams, notable for one of those rare Mason's Children appearances. As for 2014's edition, recorded 12/11/1969, the listener finds the Dead in a bit more of an expansive psychedelic mode, with a a Dark Star that features lovely tones from Jerry and out into a pretty Feelin' Groovy Jam, a solidly played, after some initial sour notes, Saint Stephen and a nicely transitioned, ride cymbal swingin' The Eleven. From The Eleven's East Indian tala, they jump right into the West Virginia Appalachian stomp of Cumberland Blues. After a break, That's It For the Other One gets a nice, long, twenty five minute romp with a great tandem drums spot before the full on ensemble dynamics. The set ends with a snaky version of Cosmic Charlie, the band wants to play more, Jerry says "fuck it", and that's that! Good '69 stuff here, but good luck trying to find a copy at this point! 

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Public Eyesore reviews, installment #1

After Disaster Amnesiac's recent review of the Sondheim/Carter CD, Public Eyesore honcho Bryan Day got in touch. It turns out that he currently resides about ten minutes from chez Amnesiac. We spent a nice afternoon together recently, drinking some coffee and talking music, life, and time. Along with his good cheer, Bryan brought a stack of Public Eyesore releases, and graciously left them for me to check out. One thing about the music of Public Eyesore: it requires listening. One can't simply put these recordings on as background while one washes dishes or reads the paper. Disaster Amnesiac has slowly waded into the stack, trying really hard to really listen attentively. Needless to say, I've only scratched the surface, but here is my first installment.

Music For Hard Times-City of Cardboard; Public Eyesore #128 (CD edition)
Music For Hard Times consists of Tom Nunn and Paul Winstanley. Nunn has been developing, building, and playing musical instruments for many years now, and Winstanley has dedicated himself to developing all manner of extended technique for the electric bass guitar. Nunn focuses heavily here on his Skatchboxes, from which he gets scraped, ping-ey tones from amplified combs and nuts that are glued to cardboard resonators. He also plays his Resonance Plates, Crustacean, and Harmonic Rods. Winstanley matches him with his rig, and, by matching, I mean to say that it's pretty much impossible to tell who is doing what at times; this is a good thing, if one loves mystery and imagination emanating from the music that they're listening to. The sounds on Cardboard are generally somewhat quiet and mysterious, as the duo clearly pay close attention to what each other are doing as their improvisations unfold in real time. Disaster Amnesiac would compare the listening experience to the act of picking up a large rock and peering into the strange world that is heavy with previously unseen activity, or the summoning up of a deeper visual focus as one's perceptions delve into an abstract expressionist painting. In other words, Music For Hard Times never hit the listener over the head in order to get their attention. They simply get down to the Zen of their other worldly duo exchanges, and, if one is inclined to go along, one will surely find much intrigue. Kudos too, for the really neat sculpture which graces the cover, designed and built by Nunn and Winstanley for this release.

Cactus Truck-Brand New for China; Public Eyesore #119 (vinyl edition)
Very much playing yang to the yin of groups such as Music For Hard Times, Cactus Truck revel in thier highly energized Free Jazz blasting concept. Up in the frontal attack zone, reedsman John Dikeman blows with passion and abandon, his controlled tone often reminding Disaster Amnesiac of Archie Shepp. Dikeman gets all over his horns, going from low growls to high pitched yowls. Pushing the attack horns is the Jasper Stadhouders/Onnon Govaert rhythm section. The former gets any and all manner of Post Punk wailing and strumming from his electric guitar and bass, while the latter goes for the energetic multi-limbed freedom strut with his traps. These two play with such locked precision, it's pretty clear that they have spent a ton of time locked in rehearsal rooms together. We're talking extended slabs of deeply focused locked groove here, upon which the horns cry freedom and sex. Day suggested to me that this LP's title what supposed to say something else, which has a lot to do with randy musicians, ah, exploring as they road trip from town to town.........

Ron Anderson/Robert L. Pepper/David Tamura/Phillippe Petit-Closed Encounters of the 4 Minds (Live at BC Studio); Public Eyesore #116 (CD edition)
Wrapped with a sumptuously painted cover image by Alec Dartly, these eight tracks were laid down, live in one take, in NYC about four years back. This group conjures up great Electro-Acoustic blends. They are often heavily rhythmic and strangely melodic, with Tamura especially leading the charge with his sprayed saxophone riffing. Sampled voices and bleeping bloops, worthy of those great old 1970's LPs on Nonesuch, float in and out of the field, non-treated (very clean sounding, anyway) guitars get played by Anderson, and the whole ensemble gets down in a completely psychedelic way, like the next evolutionary step from the sounds of Death Comet Crew or something. Graff for the inner ear and mind. Disaster Amnesiac has no idea whether or not these gentlemen explorers are basing their operations within East Coast musical academia or grinding out meager existences playing music in the City, but, either way, they're breaking great new ground with their improvised Free head trip. Closed Encounters is a freaky good time skull fuck of a listen. Put on headphones and jack in!

Disaster Amnesiac will stop with the Public Eyesore spieling here (for now), and just reiterate-if you are inclined to want to seek out and enjoy odd music made by really talented musicians, you really must stop by at the Public Eyesore website and explore their myriad caverns of creativity. Please expect a few more of these Public Eyesore posts!

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Disaster Amnesiac SF Giants April Roundup

Disaster Amnesiac is not the biggest fan of Gary Radnich, who does mornings on the SF Giants flagship AM station, KNBR, but one of his lines has resonated with me for years. It's been a while since I heard him enunciate it, so paraphrasing is in order: baseball is like a friend that you hang out with for several months, providing intrigue, interest, and some form of companionship over that long stretch of time.
So far, the Giants 2014 has been surprisingly stellar. The team is not scheduled to play today, May 1st, but they are starting the month off in first place, 1.5 games up on the heavily favored LA Dodgers. It's a long season, and who knows if this will last, but Disaster Amnesiac really wants to chime in on what I've seen so far from the Orange and Black.

Pitching:  So far, the Tim Hudson pickup has looked like a pretty genius move. He's been downright competitive in every start, eating up innings with his mature, crafty style. We'll see how far into the summer he can go, but, his wounds from last year seem to be a non-issue. As for the rest of the rotation, Bumgarner and Cain are their usual winning selves, even if the latter has been somewhat shaky at times. I'm sure Matt will get his rhythm going nicely. Lincecum and Vogelsong remain, just as it was last season, wild cards, and Giants fans will never be sure what they're going to get out of them, performance-wise. Games that they have started have been nail biters, if not outright massacres. It seems likely that we'll have to resign ourselves to absolute uncertainty with Timmy and Ryan on the mound. The bullpen has been outstanding: Sergio Romo has all but erased the hurts of Brian Wilson's departure. When the Banda music plays at AT&T during the top of late innings, Giants fans certainly feel alright.

Batting: Disaster Amnesiac has to say: THANK HEAVEN FOR MIKE MORSE! The Giants, after years in the wilderness in the power hitting department, finally have a guy who can hit for both power and average. It's also thrilling to have Angel Pagan back. His lead off prowess has been breath taking. Brandon Belt has gotten off to a great start, too, even though he's streaky. Buster Posey seems to be getting his batting chops to work, also, which is really no surprise. As for Pablo Sandoval, I can't figure out if he's slow to warm up, or if the NL just has THE BOOK on his proclivities in a definitive way now. Giants fans seem frustrated with him, now more than ever. What will Brian Sabean do with him? Lower in the order, Brandon Hicks and Hector Sanchez have come up big more than a few times, and Brandon Crawford is finely consistent. It feels safe to say that the Giants have real hitting in 2014!

Fielding: Errors have dogged the G-men somewhat so far, especially in San Diego. That said, the Hicks/Crawford tandem seems to be working really well generally. Posey is still masterful at stopping steals of second base; if only Hector Sanchez could learn a bit more from him! The rest of the infield is doing OK, even with Sandoval's inconsistencies. Morse's fielding is not great, but Bruce Bochy has been making astute moves when subbing for him in later innings.

Managing: It appears as though Bochy is pretty well pleased with his 2014 crop of Giants. Disaster Amnesiac can't help but wonder if he wants to bench Sandoval outright, and, at this point, give Yosmeiro Petit a guaranteed spot in the starting pitching rotation. He's known as a players' manager, but he's also dedicated to winning. It will be interesting to see what kinds of moves he makes within those two situations.

As the season moves into May, the Giants have to run a real gauntlet: the Braves, Pirates, and Dodgers will all play host. Every one of those teams could easily win these series or worse. That said, it's clear that the Giants are not to be taken lightly, even on the road. Hopefully Disaster Amnesiac's May roundup will not have me lamenting early May as a cataclysm for the Orange and Black. I want to hang out with them deeper into the summer, after all. 

Friday, April 25, 2014

Blue Oyster Cult-On Your Feet Or On Your Knees; Columbia Records, 1975

Of all the mid-period Rock bands, say 1970-1980, Disaster Amnesiac's favorite, and one that finds me having occasional obsessive listening periods, is most definitely Blue Oyster Cult. There's something about the way that the band approached their guitar craft that rings solidly, satisfactorily, within my cranium.
As for said listening, it's currently On Your Feet Or On Your Knees, the band's live two-fer from 1975, that has Disaster Amnesiac gripped in a Cult obsession. It's here that what one of the top drawing live acts from that era laying down compelling versions of their early repertoire, their Psychedelic- shaded Doom Rock tunes getting the hell played out of them: Cities on Flame, ME 262, Hot Rails to Hell, The Red & The  Black, and more, all getting the up front throw it down live attack from the 1970's preeminent American Guitar Army.
BOC plays the shit out of all of it, front men Bloom, Buck Dharma, and Lanier pushed and pulled by the Bro-down Bouchard rhythm section: siblings Joe on bass and Albert on drums, always sinewy in their heaviness.  Disaster Amnesiac revels in their playing. While not the most rhythmically direct band, their changes are always compelling in their slippery groove before the band hammers down on some Boogie. I hear a lot of Big Band from Al's kit, in a way that's much more interesting than, say, that of another Krupa man of the era, Peter Criss. Hell, those guys could easily have had the same teacher.
As for said Boogies, I figure it was the 1970's and the Cult (the ONLY Cult), were just giving the People what they wanted; plus, there is so much great heavy rockin' before, after, and even inside them as to be rendered almost enjoyable as the more complexly satisfying tunes.
Did Disaster Amnesiac mention guitars? At one point, the expressive guitar was the hallmark of Rock (it seems to have been replaced in large part by having the correct tattoo on the forearm or something), and Blue Oyster Cult had sacks of that action. Listeners may cringe at having to play a tune called Buck's Boogie in 2014, but, man, can D. Roeser play a mean melodic line. Alan Lanier earns points for great Rock keyboard playing on this one, too, while E. Bloom ain't no slouch either. What Rock fan doesn't love a little bit of Stun Guitar? Their physical attack is just slathered all over the twelve tracks of On Your Feet.
One just also has to love the sardonic, down to earth feel of the band's vocal delivery as well. Disaster Amnesiac has always been able to relate the BOC here. If one is American, one probably can't help but feel an inviting, "man on the street" vibe from this, especially when it's coming from Bloom. Check his Punk Rock ('murican wing) The Red & the Black. Or, sing along with Joe B. on Hot Rails To Hell and understand. No pomp here, just dudes singin' for their supper, take it or leave it. Either way, a ton of folks lined up for that delicious, devious snake oil that they were slinging. It often is how you say things that matters, at least in a competitive market, right?
Blue Oyster Cult went on to even bigger things immediately following this one, and deservedly so. Still, if you want to rock with some Ur-Cult, cooked up live and served hot and shiny, go and grab your copy of On Your Feet Or On Your Knees. My copy is a beat up promo, with nothing checked in the "Suggested Cuts" boxes. Disaster Amnesiac figures you could just as well choose any of them and have a fun listen. 

Thursday, April 17, 2014

A trio of 3 inchers!

Disaster Amnesiac bears the compact disc no ill will. I am often fond of declaring that I'd buy 8 track cassettes if they were still being produced (are they?), or any other format for musical sound delivery for that matter.
That said, the 3" CD just seems really strange to me. Is it an approximation of the 7" record? Is it meant to be a willfully obscure medium? What's the point of releasing a disc that won't fit into most current hard drives?  I have an older Sony portable disc player with which to play the ones that I own, and, after very recently buying Matt Davignon's Charcoal 3", I dug up a few others for the patented Disaster Amnesiac describing and enthusing.

The Big Drum in the Sky Religion-Qalander Girl; A Beard of Snails Records, 2012
It's really perplexing to me that Brown Hat the Espresso Shaman's Shenandoah Roots Psych movement is not more well regarded. His The Big Drum in the Sky Religion always provide nicely droned, ear cleaning blasts of Rural Psychedelia. Qalander Girl is no exception, its 20 minutes of incessant banjo riffing and hand percussion provides the listener with an aural magic carpet on which to mentally drift away. The drone arises from the simplicity of the strumming and percussion, their interaction becoming a forest of ritualized tone matrix. Vocals eventually come by way of a child's ABC's chant, a sweet, youthful refrain that gives a nice sense of whimsy. This 3" also has really nice cover art, and I lament the fact that mine is getting so worn out. It spent a ton of time in my work-related back pack last year, as it was a favorite lunch time escape jam during the week.

The Locust-s/t; Gold Standard Labs, 2004
This little guy will always remind Disaster Amnesiac of the Tower Records in Emeryville, CA, now long gone. Jam packed with eleven of the Locust's patented Grind, it also has these San Diego thrashers playing Space Rock, Synth Punk and Hardcore, all mashed up within their extremely concise aesthetic, and pushed with awesomely pounded drums and whirling vibrato. I always marvel at the whip smart tightness of groups like this, and wonder, "how much did they rehearse?" After which I wonder as to the sanity of the poor bastards. Seriously, the Locust music is f-in crazy. I guess that explains all of that screaming. Oh, yes, dig that Chic Comics worthy "monster" on the cover! Spooky!

Matt Davignon-Charcoal; Ribosome
Like I said, it was purchasing this disc from Matt the other day at the Berkeley Arts Festival Building that prompted this post. Stoked on the purchase, too, as it features the kind of inwardly focused mystery electronics that make for such nice headphone listening experiences. Charcoal's five tracks bounce and ping around your skull, electronic echoes of deep process complexity and atmosphere. Disaster Amnesiac would even go so far as to call this Industrial music, in line with that genre's originators, all of whom seem to have been inveterate electronics tinkerers and innovators. Davignon's sound on Charcoal is a dark, gloomy one, heavy in its blackened mood.

In closing, Disaster Amnesiac would like to let it be known that, should your band or project have a 3" or 8 track or any other odd type of release format, you can always send me a message as regards hooking up review material. And it ain't the object, it's the sound contained therein.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Larry Livermore-Spy Rock Memories; Don Giovanni Records, 2013

It seems fitting to Disaster Amnesiac that I would find a copy of Larry Livermore's great autobiographical work, Spy Rock Memories, at the Goodwill in El Cerrito. One could walk over to Gilman St. Project, a place that Livermore had a huge hand in developing, from there within an hour or so.
That said, the SF Bay area plays a supporting role, almost that of a foil, really, for Livermore's compelling and emotive reminiscence of his time spent in Laytonville area of Mendocino County: Iron Peak, Spy Rock, and the town of Laytonville itself are the places in which Livermore's memories were lived.
Along with telling the fascinating, and, I'm sure, for most Bay Area residents, obscure stories of life in rural Northern California, so very different from that of the Bay, it's really the way in which Larry goes about telling that story that makes this book so compelling. Written in a frank style, in which he gives plenty of space for naked self reflection and self revelation, Spy Rock Memories really lets the reader in on Livermore's amazingly rich life, both the more readily apparent ups (massive success as an independent label owner, foremost), and the more seemingly ignominious downs (deep senses of self doubt and self-sabotage at the fore here). The reader really gets to know a flesh and blood person here, and the book is really great, just for that fact.
Add in the recounting of all manner of Nor Cal history that Livermore was pretty much an early first hand witness to, such as early SF Punk Rock and Hardcore, the previously mentioned nascent Gilman St. Project, Judi Barri and Earth First!, the shockingly brutal methods of the 1980's era of the War on Drugs (CAMP: as if the Vietnam Conflict had been moved wholesale to the "Emerald Triangle"), and his Gonzo Journalist activities by way of his Lookout magazine, and it all adds up to a great, quick, and really fun read.
Do seek this one out, you will not be disappointed. 

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Random 7" Round Up, Spring Time Edition!

Apropos of nothing, save the desire to write about some music, and perhaps that it's been several months since Disaster Amnesiac's last 7" roundup, I figured I'd bust out some of those delicious little slices of plastic. A few of these are long time faves, a few are recent arrivals to the library at Chez Amnesiac.

Beatnik Termites-Ode to Susie and Joey b/w Termite Hop; Recess Records
Disaster Amnesiac must admit that an appreciation for Pop Punk is not exactly my strong suit, but this one from Cleveland's Beatnik Termites makes me want to walk on over to Gilman St. (about 2.5 miles from where I sit) and pogo with the teen set. The drummer is key here, in that he or she actually plays a stompin' 4/4, often pushing things along with a really sweet ride cymbal beat and a nice, fat snare drum sound. The guitarist sounds to me like a Steve Jones acolyte: the tunes' chords are rung out and let to reverberate a bit, none of the characteristic staccato chunkiness that seems to mar so many other Poppy Punk bands. Of course, there's a Ramones bite here, but, I'm sure that at least one band member must have paid some coin for the mandatory Ramones t-shirt at least once, yeah?  The lyrics describe a lifestyle that Disaster Amnesiac was never privy to, even as a teenager, but it sure sounds like fun when narrated by these Termites.

Wemean-Faida b/w Goddam My Eyes (Live); Scheming Intelligentsia
This here hot slab of 7" wax has been a favorite of mine for years now. Zurich-based Wemean deliver a heavily rhythmic pounder on the A side, their double time, almost Hip Hop sounding chanted group vocal pushed by a really great bass drum and tom tom heavy trap action, scratchy six string chuck and thickly plucked bass. The whole thing slams to a stop, the gals of Wemean declare some emphatic point, and then they wind it down. FAIDA! The flip side's live spieling (in English, varum?) feels a bit more thin, but the drummer and bass player keep things tight and the guitar player practices the art of the wah wah to nice effect. Disaster Amnesiac will always come back to side one.

Crungehouse-New Society b/w Chocolate Love Groove; Bomb Apple Records
This Kramer-associated group will always bring cannabis to the mind of Disaster Amnesiac. I saw them play some Legalize It type of event on the National Mall in D.C., and picked up their 7" in Arcata (you know HUMBOLDT COUNTY). New Society has the band's guitarist jamming out hot and funky and Page-like to the accompaniment of some Rand Corp. type nerd as he pontificates about how the Psychedelic Indians of the 1960's will surely put an end to all that is Right and Good in 'merica. Point taken, but, hey, if these guys were teetotalers, they'd probably sound like Joy Division or something, so fuck it and pass the bong. Chocolate Love Groove marries more guitar flippin' with an almost Go Go beat and Surrealist Dream narration. That title just screams out "1988 Underground", but the tune's groove still holds up in 2014, even though it's over much too soon. Did Crungehouse put out an LP?

Las Mordidas-Surrounded b/w K.I.T.A; Compulsiv/Dischord split
The dudes in Las Mordidas may have been neighbors with Crungehouse, but something tells me that their song writing was not fueled by the same type of chemical intake. Not that that could ever stop Jerry Busher, one of the greatest drummers I've ever seen play (9:30 Club 1988), from laying down the heaviness; his stomping beats on Surrounded pair sweetly with the original Punk Funk fusion bass of Dug E. Bird and the skittering guitar stutter of one Jon K. Disaster Amnesiac fave man on the mic, Chris Thompson, made his debut on vocals with this band (switching over from bass guitar in Ignition), and, as we all now know most definitely, he was UP for the task. His lyrics are simultaneously sharp, insightful, disturbing, and mysterious. One of his best couplets ever, "the world don't owe you nothing/'cept for maybe a kick in the ass" graces the B side as Mr. K gives snaky lines while Busher and Bird absolutely don't fake the Funk. Another long time fave here. Would that they had released a whole LP!

Artimus Pyle-The Absence of Life (plus four other songs); Prank
Disaster Amnesiac always loved the name of this band, and, upon seeing this 7" at the Half Priced Books store in Berkeley for pennies, well, how could I resist? The listener is treated to five blasts of very Bay Area Thrash, more in the Christ on Parade style than that of, say, Exodus.  More rooted in Punk Rock but tempered with Metal power. D-beat, I guess? The songs fly past as chaotic whirlwinds, guitar/bass/drums making a harsh, noisy cloud wall while the singer tells you about a lot of really fucked up stuff in the world. Loud and frustrated Hardcore from the depths of Oakland. ARGH!!!!

In parting, Disaster Amnesiac would just like to give my thanks and regards to everyone who has ever read this little blog. Y'all are really great, even though I'd bet that most of you will never agree with me about the greatness of the reconfigured Black Flag. Who are playing in Oakland in next month! Do stay tuned!