Wednesday, May 23, 2007

It's far too easy for me to forget how many great rock bands Vancouver has. When you're getting bowled over by the likes of Prurient or Digital Mystikz, the appeal of largely trad music kinda falls by the wayside. Maybe I've just strayed too far from wandering puddle and junkie covered streets to drink cheap but oddly flavoured draft beer from places like The Astoria and Ms. T's(R.I.P.). Something about Black Mountain or Goatsblood or S.T.R.E.E.T.S. or Pride Tiger or Ladyhawk just sounds so right in a room with a couple yuppies, a bunch of closet fags, a few stray jocks and a handful of genuine, nice alcoholics. Plus, all the above (bands) make some of the most well crafted, passionately performed genre music around. And I know that's about as backhanded as compliments get, but what can I do.
Anyways, I've quietly enjoyed Ladyhawk's S/T album since it came out. Great songs, great lyrics, powerful rhythm section, all despite my personal reference points of Dinosaur Jr. and Neil Young being undermined by the band's professed love of Magnolia Electric Co. But I'm an ass, and as Paul F. Tompkins sez, it's best to judge in silence. So, real solid alb, albeit with strangeness and substance use/abuse kept too in check by far.
But, as I haven't been known to say, now is now, and a "beyond their years" world weariness and abrasion that I'd like to attribute to Vancouver living bleeds all over the Fight for Anarchy EP, the glorious bebearded shamble that it is. And seriously, if you only hear the gaffes, you've missed the point of Rock and Roll, and likely found a home at your American Apparel billboard slash webzine. And if all I can do is whine about how it's "been done", I've missed the point of music, and my savage soul deserves no such soothing. But if you want know whether Ladyhawk's newfound experimentalism is working (or if you don't, fuckface), just compare Anarchy's Red Teeth to its sprawling but ineffective album equivalent, Long 'Til The Morning. Definitely the right direction. Most definitely. Mayhaps even greater things to come, but I'll be a-swaying to this mess in the meanwhiles.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

"They seemed to have no more realization than the others that they were a lost tribe, that any kind of respect or appreciation for themselves had been squeezed out of them so thoroughly that they seemed to feel that their lives were as they should be. All they seemed to be concerned about was not getting beaten, having enough to eat, and somewhere to sleep. There weren't many nights that Kunta managed to fall asleep before lying awake burning with fury at the misery of his people. But they didn't even seem to know that they were miserable. So what busines was it of his if these people seemed to be satisfied with their pathetic lot? He lay feeling as if a little more of him was dying every day, that while any will to live was left to him, he should try to escape yet again, whatever the odds or consequences."

-from the liner notes to Tragedy's S/T (but originally from Alex Haley's Roots, I'm assuming)

Speaking of escape, Blues Control's Puff lp is straight bananas. Might be the most solidest capital T Trip since Beaches and Canyons. Yup. Dolman's comments about the ascendancy of Noise just being a part of an overall renaissance in Psychedelic music reminded me of some comments I read from Ben Chasny a while back. He said he started making music partially because he was tired of buying music that was supposedly deeply bent and tripped out, putting it on and being completely underwhelmed by its tameness, which largely reflected my own experience with finding new music. And that's become less and less of a problem as of late. Huzzah.

So Skull Disco is still batting a thousand on the "getting it right" front. They just put out their first CD release, Soundboy Punishments, and it's a two discer, one collecting their first five 12"s and the other an odds n odders. I think the common practice in the world of danceable musics is to put out a mixed CD, and this may be rockist, but I just like it like this, track after track, y'know. I mean, even if a track is supposed to be a throbbing hypnotic pulse, I'd still like to hear how it develops from start to finish. And Skull Disco tracks tend to hew much closer to "lissenin" music than most of the scene, in spite of the label heads known proclivity for throwing down. Really, it's one of the most rewardingly original sounds around, like some spacious, drum machine clattery, acid casualty, quote unquote ethnic beat sub-bass wasteland, and I would hope that a CD release helps them find their audience, cuz I heard they nearly packed it in after Vol. 5.

slow heaven in the oh seven (thus far):
Blues Control : Puff : Woodsist
Pink Reason : Cleaning the Mirror : Siltbreeze
V/A : Soundboy Punishments : Skull Disco
Burning Star Core : Blood Lightning 2007 : No Fun
Aaron Dilloway : Since He's Been Gone : Fag Tapes
Mala : Changes/Forgive : Deep Medi Musik
The Bug : Jah War (Loefah rmx) : Ninja Tune
Religious Knives : Remains : No Fun