Friday, December 22, 2006

Yeah, yeah, yeah! It's what I've all been waiting for:

My 2006 Top Ten!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

10. Harvey Milk : Special Wishes : Troubleman Unlimited
When a band like harvey Milk reforms, it's hard to know what to expect. The fuck am I saying, a band like... it's Harvey Milk. You don't know what to expect. My point being, you probly didn't expect anything as good as Special Wishes. While they called their ZZ Top detour (still good) The Pleaser, they should've saved that title for this one, cause it's the straight goods. No extended silences, no Tonight's the Night vocal breakdowns, no weirdo-prog meanderings, just condensed Harvey Milk. So while it might not be the soul-cleansing statement of, say, Courtesy and Good Will Towards Men, it's all you could ever ask for. Show some goddamn gratitude.

9. The Goslings : Grandeur Of Hair : Archive
In the vast wasteland that's emerged of "Melvins influenced" bands, it's kinda nice that there's still groups that can distinguish themselves. In fact, if you hadn't heard Between The Dead and read that this was mixed by James Plotkin, the words "doom" and "metal" probably wouldn't even cross your drug-addled mind. Maybe "Kevin Shields," "lost at sea" and "blown the fuck out." Holy/Unholy noise from beyond.

8. Chris Corsano : The Young Cricketer : Hot Cars Warp Records
If you've ever listened to something like Flaherty, Corsano and Yeh and wished you could hear Chris Corsano's beautiful struggle without blaring sax convulsions and gargling noises, a solo effort as worthy as this one might assure you that you're not just being a wuss. Rhythm and organic drones can be about as expressive as anything. And if you don't know, now you know.

7. Heather Leigh : Jailhouse Rock : Fag Tapes
Out from the sewer of ultra-limited tapes and cdrs, a number of releases spew forth that deserve a "proper" release that can be "heard" by "people." Of what I've heard, Fag Tapes has a number. Nate Young's Betrayor, for one. The "fascinating music recorded terribly" Super Street series should receive some sort of boxset treatment when all's said and done. And now, Heather Leigh's Jailhouse Rock. And though I'm not sure what, it's most definitely an apex of something. Fuck, you can just download it anyways. I won't tell.

6. Prurient : Pleasure Ground : Load
While their might've been a minor backlash against Dominick Fernow after the praise he garnered for last year's Black Vase, (or maybe just 'maniacal noise purity' in general) judging by his own output and that of his brilliant stor/label, Hospital Productions, he ain't concerned. In fact, with Load's re-release of his Pleasure Ground tape, (see) he's got four releases under his blackest of belts that I'd have no issue calling "masterful," and all for their own reasons. Hell, Pleasure Ground might be his most emotive recording yet. Definitely his most melodic.

5. Fucked Up : Hidden World : Jade Tree
While "state of rock" whines bore me to freakin tears, I've got to take issue with "pick your retro." You know, choose an era, get the most tasteful influences, collect critical kudos for your soulless appropriation. But every once in a while a band comes along that so clearly means it with every ounce of their being, comparison must just equal praise. And if Pink Eyes' vocals are garnering all the Negative Approach comparisons, the instrumental side is more like some aggro pop-punk, somewhere between the Buzzcocks, Bad Brains and Angry Samoans, with intos and outros that make you go "whu?" over n over. And if the lyrical contradictions on their 7"s could be deconstructed for hours, this doozy might just be a term paper. I guess punk's not dead.

4. MV/EE & the Bummer Road :
Mother of Thousands : Time Lag
Green Blues : Ecstatic Peace
Deep Space Circuit : Child Of Microtones
For all the idyllic wonder generated by his music and life, I've grown convinced that Matt Valentine is on a mission to kill all record collector scum. I mean, with the release schedule that he, Erika Elder and assorted henchmen maintain, both on their own Child Of Microtones label amd scattered others, they're throwing down a hefty gauntlet for anyone to try and keep up. And for every release that elicits a "you'd have to be fuckin high," it seems like there's three or four possessed of a truly world-beating beauty. 2006 has been exemplary. Mother of Thousands had everyone going, "okay, this is the MV/EE album," only to have Green Blues appear a few short months later. And now the Deep Space Circuit 2cdr has its own set of essential red-lit ragas. I mean, I guess you could take the approach of saying you don't really like them, but I don't know how or why. Wait, did that QBICO pic-disk come out this year? Ack! Uncle! Uncle!

3. Magik Markers : A Panegyric To The Things I Do Not Understand : Gulcher
I think the adage goes that if as much verbiage is spent trying to call you out as self-indulgent posers as is used praising your skull-splitting brilliance, you're probly doing something right. So can we agree that Panegyric is the thermometer? I don't care if you saw them and Elisa totally punched your cousin and you could've made that cdr with a rubber band, a delay pedal and your worst Patti Smith impression. If you listen to Panegyric's wonderfulricical journey and still wanna scream "don't believe the hype," you're more than entitled to your stupid opinion. Stupid.

2. Nmperign and Jason Lescalleet : Love Me Two Times : Intransitive
I don't know what your definition of accomplished is, but Greg Kelley and Bhob Rainey are both accomplished, most definitely. And Jason Lescalleet is on his way. And getting abunch of accomplished folk together and culling the best of 6 years of improv? That's a fucking accomplishment. It helps that they've all seemingly found one another's missing puzzle pieces. i guess it's a complimentary accomplishment, and it presents viable exit strategies for noise and improv. So they can soften your skull with a rubber mallet, but if the devil's in the details, this album's downright Satanic. All hail.

1. Warmer Milks : Radish On Light : Troubleman Unlimited
As fascinating as their many tape and cdr releases can be, when Warmer Milks, like, do their best, I don't think anyone's safe. Listen to their half-hour song, Penetration Initials, if you don't believe me. So when they soak up the sounds of Kentucky comrades like Eyes and Arms of Smoke and Hair Police and the darkest grooves and bleakest passages of more than one sizeable record collection, purging the tar from their souls like those dinos in Jurassic Park, you know you're going out like Wayne Knight. not drone rock, not black metal, not free folk, not jam band, not doom sludge, not nothing, just condensed Warmer Milks. Tell your friends.

Honorable Mentionees:

Wolf Eyes : River Slaughter : Hospital Productions
Solid as it is, I thought Human Animal was a step back from the bleak, wide-open spaces explored on these four sides. Phaze 4, strong as ever.

J Dilla :
Donuts : Stones Throw
The Shining : BBE
In a year where we're supposed to get excited about "good enough" from The Clipse, hip-hop's soulful genius took everyone to school from beyond the grave.

Sick Llama/Barf Thoth : anything
You pick th ebest out of a fistful of releases that are fairly uniform in their greatness/suckiness. Tried to pry some secrets outta Stoned Heath, but all he'd tell me was "Synth Tapes." Huh.

Doubled Yellow Swans : Global Clone : Pacrec
Poor Gabe and Pete. Seems like noone wants to hear their artistic statements. The most praise seems to go to collabs and collections of jamz like this one.Ah, they seem pretty well-adjusted, I'm sure they don't mind. Might be pretty wide open and droney, but it's also, in noise speak, a real cleaver to the taint.

Converge : No Heroes : Epitaph
In a genre that feeds on youthful passion and severe extremitude, there ain't much precedent for a band like Converge to still be putting out innovative, intense albums this late into their Korea. Who gives a fuck about precedent?

Clockcleaner : Nevermind : Reptilian
Just read about this in Doug Mosurak's list. Think he's right. Some music exists and some music needs to exist.

All albums in this list are available to order over the internets or purchase from a store. Or not.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Heather Leigh : Jailhouse Rock : Fag Tapes

Goddamn, leave it to the pros. Cause that's what she is, y'know. I'm convinced. And I wasn't always. Heather Leigh Murray was just one of those names that would pop up in all the right places: playing with Charalambides, side projects up the hoo-ha, snugglin up to Dave Keenan. What'd I know? I certainly wasn't about to level an accusation at her, one way or another. (oop, peeps don't wanna hear about 'issues') I just followed my interests and figured if I ever crossed paths with something bearing her name alone, the proof would be in the proverbial pudding. And lordy lordy my, is it ever.
If some great rock floats in the air midst the mountains of Double Leopards, MV/EE and The Skaters, tis surely psychedelic Asgard, and Heather Leigh straddles its wind carved peaks and casts a howl out into the void. I mean, it's a fuckin trip, bud. And unlike, say, the aforementioned pair of felines, (quit it. just fucking quit it.) no sense of drifting aimlessness kills the kicks. However much she's improvised, these are side-long compositions, moving forwards with purpose and gaining power without simply gaining power, if that makes sense. I mean, it might be on a tape and everything, but there's certainly a lot more going on than just turning on the vacuum. The lady's a pro.

Been trying my hand at a podcast. Don't know why, it's nothing anybody couldn't do with a handful of CDs and a broadband connection. But I guess there's a certain mood that I'm not finding anywhere else. Plus it's not boring, so it's got that going for it. Maybe I'll hook up a mic and you can hear the voice of Black Bolt. Check it out. C'mon.
woundedgalaxy podcast