Sunday, July 30, 2006

Days Have Gone By

Jakob Olausson is a Swedish musician that has previously recorded under the moniker of the Joshua Jugband Five; who have a record out on Slippy Town and possibly a lot more in the pipeline. His first ‘solo’ album on DeStijl however, is a beautifully hazy acid folk album with detuned guitars and multi-tracked vocals. Moonlight Farm seamlessly draws on the psych rock improvisations of Keiji Haino the murky electric guitar sounds of Loren Connors and the acoustic drone/raga of Six Organs of Admittance. Other reviewers have likened the album to Skip Spence taking up root in Sweeden, and putting out an album on Fonal records – I’ll leave to you to decide. Moonlight Farm is limited to 800 copies so get hunting.

Jakob Ollausson - Unforgivable Question


Other places of interest:

Jakob Ollausson
Volcanic Tongue

Saturday, July 22, 2006

Dr Livingstone, I Presume?

Our Brother The Native the latest in probably a long line of bands to get themselves a record deal on the back of the material they put up on myspace. What makes this prospect a little bit better than most of those that have come and gone before, is that the constituent members of this wholly acomplished band are all under the legal drinking age in the US. John Michael Foss and Josh Bertram both attended the same high school in Michigan, formed a friendship based on shared music tastes and eventually began recording their own output. The pair looking for a label to put out their material happened upon the Californian DIY label Delude Records ran by Chaz Knapp who jumped at the chance to put out the band's debut EP "Cheer Up My Dear, the Sun Will Shine Again" in 2005. Knapp another multi-instrumenatalist who's age defied his influences, struck up a geography beating friendship with Bertram via phonecalls and emails. After a stripped back solo release from Bertram put out via Knapp's label under the moniker JSP, the two began to collaborate via email on a project entitled Moses Grandy. The project never came to fruition due to a lack of percursive drive but this turn of event lead to Knapp being asked to augment the two piece OBTM into a three piece.

The debut album "Tooth & Claw" was constructed over the remainder of the 2005, the recording again built up from email colaborations. Often beginning as simple guitar lines for accoustic and/or electric recorded direct into the computer via a 303 sampler. Then passed back and forth and augmented via of found sound, circuit-bent toys ran through FX programs and percusion. A mixture of meta-folk as perveyed by Akron Family/Animal Collective/cocorosie, the sunshine drenched 70's pop psychedlia of Ariel Pink and the haunted American gothic revery as provided by bands the likes of The Handsome Family. It was at this point Fat Cat records spotted the band's Myspace and promptly signed them, it was this turn of events which also led to the band actually finally meeting each other after many months of email based colaboration. At the 2006 Open Circuit Festival in Belgium the band had just one day to meet, greet and rehearse their debut set. The show was well recieved and proved that the album was not a fluke as they put together a self assured if only slightly embrionic version of the recorded material. In the process it won over the opinions of some of the more well known attendees in the audience; and hopefully bodes well for a full UK/Europe tour in the near future.

[buy Tooth & Claw from Fat-Cat records]



From one lot of young great debutantes to another slightly older but similarly talented bunch of misfits this time from the centre of art/glitch/tribal techno fusion New Yawk. First Nation a trio of NY living ladies and the first to capture that sound first sampled on the most early incarnation of Animal Collective and not make it sound incredibly cheesey or worn; fitting then really that both their debut EP and LP should be put out on AC's Paw-Tracks imprint. Taking one part Animal Collective, some elements of The Social Registry's Gang Gang Dance, mixing in the odd squawking electronica go freejazz of Brooklyn based Stars Like Fleas, and bringing to the boil with a healthy slap dash of ESG in to taste.

The self titled album released in June this year has already gathered a healthy amount of praise from many points of the music media; the beguiling blend of slack blues meets skeletal psychdelical tribal jams which at first can seem unfocused reveals a well acomplished mix on repeated listens. An impressive debut which points to even greater things in the future.....

[buy First Nation releases from Paw-Tracks]

You Can Be

Monday, July 17, 2006

Here Come the Rome Plows

Photo: Mark Beemer

Since Haram feature ex members of Majority Rule, Pg. 99, and the Out_Circuit, expectation for their debut full length was always going to be high. And while their first release for Lovitt Records does not fail to disappoint, it does seem far more steeped in musical heritage of post hardcore that spawned such band as: Circle Takes The Square, Drive Like Jehu and Skull Control. For me at least: it’s a quantum leap forward. The band present an orgy of intricate guitar riffs that are rooted in hardcore and played with such blistering intensity, as to almost make any form of labelling redundant. Almost.

It's fortunate then, that the album has nothing to do with originality ('Scar Chest' is the Drive Like Jehu song that never was. And that's a GOOD thing) and all to do with attack. It never lets up, and word is that their live shows are every bit a chaotic. We'll soon find out of course, as the band are due to embark on a European tour in August which will take them as far an wide as Iceland, Croatia, Czech Republic, Hungary and the UK. It might also be worthwhile to mention at this point that the band take their name the Islamic word meaning "immoral and forbidden." Notice I said, worthwhile and not relevant as I haven’t noticed a political stance to their music, and I doubt it will appear to me anytime soon.

Haram - Fade Away

31 Reykjavik ICELAND @Kaffi Hljomalind
2 Copenhagen DK @Ungdomshuset
3 Fredericia DK @HC Festival*
4 Hamburg Ger. @Flora*
5 Bielefeld Ger. @AJZ*
6 Wurzburg Ger. @Cafe Cairo*
7 Vienna Austria @Movimento*
8 Munchen Ger. @Kafe Kult*
9 Saarlouis Ger. @Juz*
10 Geel Bel. @Youth Centre*
11 Brighton UK @Hobgoblin*
12 Leeds UK @Common Place*
13 Nottingham UK @Old Angel* (FLYER, FLYER)
14 Bristol UK @The Junction*
15 London UK @Grosvenor*
16 Edinburgh UK @Subway Cowgate
18 Belfast IR @The Bunker
19 Cork IR @Tikki Lounge
20 Limerick IR @Boat Club
21 Dublin IR @Eamonn Dorans
22 Coventry UK @Jailhouse
23 Caen FR @Bar Laplace
24 Metz FR @Le Tunnel
25 Lyon FR @Sonic
26 Milano Italy @Leonkavallo
27 Italy @TBA
28 Zagreb HR @Club Mochvara
29 Budapest HU @Suess Fel Nap
30 Brno CZ @Yacht Club
31 Prag CZ @007

Lovitt Records

Thursday, July 13, 2006

A Space To Think........

Ekkehard Ehlers, has cut a polymathic path across the German electronic music scene since his early forays into music with friend and collaborator Sebastian Meissner as one half of the band Autopoieses. 1998 saw them release a well received debut in which they explored the philosophies of Aesthetic Theory, on the Ritornell imprint. Further collaborative efforts have seen Ehlers working in the IDM/Post Rock group März with Albrecht Kunz. It is however in his solo output that he has seen the most success though; in 2000 he released two EPs under the umbrella of Auch before releasing the full length album "Kiss Tomorrow Goodbye" stylistically this was the most easily accessible work to date, a techno album at heart but imbued with his own sense of minimalism and rhythm.

Whilst recording as Auch, Ehlers also tended towards releasing material under his own name, 2000's Betrieb released on the Frankfurt based Mille Plateaux label. This was followed by a series of single releases where again the Aethetic Theory that drove his early work was again explored. Each record was based around an abstract informed by one of five selected personalities. Those selected for this project included free jazz impressario Albert Ayler, film maker John Cassavettes, and delta blues legend Robert Johnson. Though not based directly on the works of these auteurs, they were informed by their singular output. The Albert Ayler record was based around a funeral march paced cello drone, which owes alot to the drone based post rock of early Cul De Sac releases. In 2002 these recordings were drawn together in a single cd release on Staubgold, the compilation brought him a new found notoriety outside of the electronic circles he already travelled in.
He followed it with the far more abstract Politik Braucht Keinen Feind in 2003.

2006 sees the release of his forth solo album "A Life Without Fear" never one to go over ground already covered in his career, this album sees a delta blues inflected cycle of nine songs for viola, trumpet, mouth harp and guitar; replete with nihlistic lyrics and washed over with a sea of fuzzed up computer crackles and glitches. A cover of the traditional blues standard "Ain't No Grave" and haunting rendition of "O'Death" could well soundtrack a journey through the destroyed landscape of hurricane ravaged New Orleans. The album serves as a reminder of how fragile the human condition can really be in the face of adversity.

[Buy Ekkehard Ehlers releases from Staubgold]

Ain't No Grave

Monday, July 10, 2006

Eggstock, Phoenix Arts Theatre, Leicester

Photo: Grethe Kielland Jenssen

This was the second annual showcase of the weird and wonderful talents put out by Leicester's Pickled Egg Records. Nine bands and two films graced the two floors of the Phoenix.

The day opened with a 30 minute film, The Seance, which told the story of a travelling freakshow and the joys and woes of their enigmatic bandleader. This was all soundtracked by the quite wonderful pastoral psychedelic pop of Oddfellows Casino. The film was beautifully surreal in its monochromatic blood coloured simplicity.

First on upstairs were Black Carrot, an improv trio comprising the distinctive bass and vocals of Dragon Or Emperor's Stewart Brackley with drums, tenor sax, and harmonium (amongst other things). This works splendidly in a krautjazz kind of way, and sets the tone for the day; fiercely creative, smile inducing, engaging, and highly watchable.

Downstairs saw James Green take to the stage, joined sporadically by other Big Eyes Family Band players. Solo acoustic opener 'Donkeys Disturbed By Meteor Shower' is wonderful, mixing tempos and possessing a dynamism and energy lacking in other parts of the set. Generally the most interesting parts were those where loops and additional instrumentation (clarinet, harmonium, drums) gave the sound a bit more depth, although this may have been down to the Phoenix's acoustics than James Green's.

Photo: Grethe Kielland Jenssen

From the relatively sombre, we went upstairs, for the Super Bompers Band, comprising Tookie Sherman of Need New Body plus on this occasion a couple of Leicester's own Fabulous Foxes on percussive duties. The show starts with the band wrapping up the stage and various pillars and suchlike with foil, before Bob and Euan take to their drums and pound out hypnotic beats. Tookie wanders the stage, pounding occasionally at a battered gold spray-painted Casio keyboard on the floor, occasionally shouting somewhat randomly. Later on he picks up what appears to be a two string prehistoric guitar and strums at this. It is unclear whether it is audible or not. For the first 20 minutes, this was awesome, but towards the end it all went to pieces somewhat.

After that chaos, the moving documentary The Devil and Daniel Johnston is a welcome counterbalance. Absolutely heartbreaking, but totally awe-inspiring.

At this point, some old friend arrive for the evening sets, and I accidentally miss the excellent Dragon Or Emperor and am by then a little too beered up to appreciate the delicate low-key torch song laments of George. Upstairs Zukanican are an interesting mix of krautmotorik percussion and free jazz. When they take wholesale the drums from Can's 'Oh Yeah' it's a little too obvious though, and the free jazz element isn't quite to my taste so I listen to the rest of the set as background from the outside whilst continuing reacquainting with people.

Next up were the superb Nalle, a Glasgow-based trio who are also part of the excellent Scatter. A bowed bouzouki provides the haunting drone, while Hanna Tuulikki's Newsomesque warble sings of things of nature and man. Occasionally the three harmonise, and it's perfect. Three voices, one manly and deeper, one feminine and midrange, and Tuulikki's icing to the's spellbinding.

Photo: Grethe Kielland Jenssen

Unfortunately the lure of booze kept me from going upstairs to witness Now, although I heard positive murmurs from several people. Ooops. And so, lastly but not leastly, it was into the theatre to experience Volcano the Bear. And what an experience it is. Commencing with a teatowel being tossed between the various members as they trade chants before assuming their positions. Which naturally fluctuate frequently. here's such a fantastic humour in what they do, the whole feel of it being a theatrical perfomance as much as a gig; the communication between the group, the whole feeling of it. Drummer Aaron Moore marches about the stage, spinning cymbals around, hugging bandmates, whilst other members fritter around between instruments. They're always engaging, always interesting, they always sound good, and they make you laugh out loud. And that's what Eggstock is all about, the joy of creativity, the joy of spontaneity. The pureness of a natural reaction to not always knowing what's coming next. There's talk of the festival expanding to a 2-dayer next year, and after this, I can't wait.

Review: Craig Wood.

The following track is taken from Volcano the Bear's latest opus: Class Eramus Fusion. Their best yet? I think so - although i'm no authority on their back catalogue. It's defiantly original, as always; and I very much doubt you will hear a stranger record this year. All in all: Spiritual, surreal and totally mind-blowing. Give up the Nurse with a Wound comparisons people.

Volcano the Bear- Did You Ever Feel Like Jesus?


Volcano the Bear
Pickled Egg Records

Sunday, July 09, 2006

Life In The Undergrowth

I make no bones about it; the entry today is going to focus on the many varied types of flora and fauna that is hidden beneath the murky mainstream strata of music culture. Well two anyway!

We'll start off with Grizzly Bear who I profiled sometime last year, that's by the by though; as this September 4th marks the release of their second album proper "Yellow House" on Sheffield's own Warp Records. This record has been a long time coming, a fact acknowledged by the band themselves, so much so that they felt inclined to offer a stop gap recording in May this year, the apologetically titled "Sorry For The Delay" on Audraglint Records. "Yellow House" was recorded over the course of the last summer in a makeshift studio in Ed Droste's mother's living room in Cape Cod.

A shift in the band's already quite dynamic sound has taken place now that the once one piece come two piece, has solidified into a quartet. Yellow House all at once manages to sound as before like an etherised version of all those late great folk greats like Nick Drake but with a more modern take on things. There are also some fantastic sounding Beach Boys/Brian Wilson esque sounds that seem to drift in on an almost sonic feeling wind, that flows around inside the listener's mind (or mine) for hours or even days afterwards. By the time you reach the suitably soporific sounding closer "Colorado" you feel every bit as much as you've been on a journey with the band themselves.

On A Neck On A Spit

WOODS Began life as a collaborative project between musicians Jeremy Earl and Christian Derouek, who invited selected friends under the banner of "woodists" to play with them and record the output for human consumption. These early recordings were mostly issued in very limited runs as cassette only on a number of private press labels.

"How To Survive/In The Woods" is one such example of these early recordings originally issued as a double cassette release on Fuck-It Tapes it has now been granted a new lease of life thanks to the punative efforts of Release The Bats in Sweden. The band themselves are at times swathed in gentle bonhomie folkisms whilst at others prone to creating the most amazing burst of terroristic sounding lo-fi madness. A sound that cuts across the divide between the current trend for organic sounding primal folk of bands like Wooden Wand & The Vanishing Voice, to the fuzz laden music of late 90's band Eric's Trip.


Thursday, July 06, 2006

It ain't me, it ain't me, I ain't no fortunate one

With the exception of a few writers, I don't normally go in for the whole pantheon of rock critics. I certainly haven't read a lot of stuff by Richard Meltzer for instance, but i'm aware of him - as i'm sure a lot of other people are - through writers like Lester Bangs and Nick Toshes. If you're a regular reader of Perfect Sound Forever, you may have read an interview with Meltzer from a couple of years ago. In this interview, he comes across as fairly bitter and cynical figure who has pretty much given up on music altogether. At first, I didn't know what to make of it; but thinking about it more and more, a lot of what he has to say is relevant now more than ever...

But yeah, I don't want to get drawn into that right now. There is far to much good music to be positive about. And of course, 'good music' is all relative blah blah blaaaah...

The reason I even mention this interview is although Meltzer is disparaging of almost all NEW music (well, certainly the hype), he did have a lot of time for Minutemen; and for some reason - at this point - I had no real idea about SST Records or the Minutemen. Ok, so I was aware of SST as a label, but not their roster of bands - or at least, the extent of it. Eventually I did catch up for lost time and well, as you may already know, the soon to be released: We Jam Econo - The Story of the Minutemen celebrates everything that was so important about this band. For me, their DIY atttitude and poltical stance of this band is just incredible to me. They may have disliked being called a punk band, but their live performances were, in every respect PUNK. Of course, listen to one of their albums now and it's completely at odds with that view. Afterall, this is band that hated the seventies, but covered Creedance Clearwater Revival and Blue Oyster Cult? The also identifed a lot more with Funk (Mike Watt's elasicated bass sounds), Jazz (short, sharp blasts of manic energy) and British Art Rock (Wire etc) than they ever did with Punk, musically speaking.

So what is it about this band? Well they were FUN. And speaking from my own point of view, watching footage of Mike Watt, D. Boon and George Hurley playing in this documentary is one of the most inspiring things I have ever seen. I remember watching it at Camber Sands in May and being completely floored by Mike Watt's contribution; the making of this documentary was clearly cathartic to him - afterall, he lost his best friend aswell as a bandmate. Equally important though, is making sure people hear this band and that their legacy continues. The kids reponsible for this documentary have certainly done that!

Minutemen - Fortunate Son

We Jam Econo - The Story of the Minutemen (Trailer)

BUY at SST Records

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Damn Varmits

Raccoo-oo-oons a free punk noise unit with a decidedly folk attitude are the latest thing to come out of Iowa that is causing a buzz in music circles. The band formed in mists of time in Iowa sometime between 2004 and 2005 when founder members Darren Ho and Shawn Reed moved there to attend college. Whilst there they began creating their own brand of ramshackle music in a shared kitchen with third member and graduatiing film studies student Andy Spore fashioning their own noisy imprint into something they could preform at local venues. After a brief period of playing as a three piece the band was augmented by an old musical aquaintance of Andy and Shawn's; and Ryan Garbes was quickly absorbed into the fold.

The band's sound itself defies categorisation falling somewhere between the no-wave punk of The Fall and the tribal electiscism of Animal Collective or the wide eyed punk grabniks Sun City Girls. The band released their sound collages initially as private press cassette only releases before releasing a CD-R of fully realised material through Time-Lag records in 2005. The 40 minute long song cycle titled "The Cave Of Spirits" marked the band's first foray into the public sphere of recognition. June 2006 see a repressing of one of their early recording on the Swedish imprint Release The Bats, the album pressed in a limited run of 1080 (get it while you can) comes in a lovely looking black and gold inked arigato folded sleeve, and is available direct from source or through Eclipse records in the US or Volcanic Tongue in the UK.

Cave Of Spirits

On The Roof