Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Art for Spastics v. 81

Stream the latest show at this link right here! (by tomorrow or too late)!

OR better yet…
Link to mp3 show archive (find "DJ Rick - Art for Spastics, Tue Apr 11") high & low bitrates available

MR. CURT – Write Down Your Number – only 7” – Euphoria 1978
PETER DAYTON – Skintite – Love at 1st Sight 12” EP – Shoo Bop 1981
LA PESTE – Don´t Wanna Die... – s/t – Matador 1996/1980
ROCK BOTTOM & THE SPYS – Rich Girl – Rich Girl 7” – Bottoms Up 1979

SST – Empty – v/a: “Homework #102” CDR – Hyped2Death 2005/1977

SACCHARINE TRUST – A Human Certainty – Pagan Icons – SST 1981
SACCHARINE TRUST – We Don´t Need Freedom

TREND – Was Dran Liegt – PatientenverfĂĽgung 7” – X-Mist *new
KURT – We Want Royals – split 7” w/ Popular Shapes – On/On Switch/X-Mist 2004
POPULAR SHAPES – Elevator Friends – Bikini Style – On/On Switch 2003
POPULAR SHAPES – Fluorescent Bikes Depressing
SWIMMERS – Jungle Beat, Where I Live – We Swam as for Behavior Our Behavior – Louisiana Purchase 2005

ANONYMOUS – Corporate Food – Corporate Food b/w Snake Attack 7” – Flat 1980
STEVE FISK – You´re Everything – v/a: “Life Elsewhere” 12” EP – Mr. Brown Records & Tapes 1980
NOTHING PEOPLE – Twinkie Defense – Hello! CDR – Self-Released 2004
CLIPD BEAKS – Nuclear Arab – Preyers – Deleted Art/Tigerbeat6 *new
PARTS & LABOR – A Great Divide – Stay Afraid – Jagjaguwar/Brah *new

PARTS & LABOR – Drastic Measures
MIKAELA’S FIEND – Track 3 – March 2006 Tour CD – Self-Released *new
HUSTLER WHITE – Blood Splatter Pattern – Fall 2005 Tour CDR – Self-Released 2005
BIRD COSTUMES – untitled – s/t CDR –Self-Released *new
FRUSTRATION – Premises – s/t 7” – S-S Records *new
DIGITAL LEATHER – I Tell My Sorrows to the Stones – Monologue – Shattered *new
BRUCE LOSE – Waking to Sleep – What´s Your Name b/w Waking to Sleep 7” – Subterranean 1983
BILLY SYNTH – Indigestion – Hartzdale Drive Destruction 7” – Sordide Sentimental 1980
FAT WORM OF ERROR – Hand of God – Pregnant Babies Pregnant with Pregnant Babies – Load *new
GROUND ZERO – Revolutionary Pekinese Opera ver.1.50 – Revolutionary Pekinese Opera 7” – Gentle Giant 1997
SCHLIPPENBACH TRIO – Ciclone – Detto Fra di Noi: Live in Pisa 1981 2Xlp – Po Torch 1982
YUMA NORA – Gifts & Collectibles – v/a: “Nightpass Quilt Series Sampler v.2” CDR – Nightpass Handmade *new
OVO – Voodoo – Miastenia – Load *new

We start tonight with the first--if not the only--7" record by Mr. Curt, and it's a powerpop gem outta Boston. On this A-side, Mr. Curt's backing band is La Peste, so you know it's gotta be great! The B-side is worthy, too..."I'm Going Blind" might be one of the cleverest songs about wankin' it ever!

Keeping in the La Peste vein, next is the best song from the first Peter Dayton solo outing. Peter was the original singer and guitarist of La Peste, and now he's an accomplished artist who specializes in lush floral, really, he does! On this EP, he's backed up by three of The Cars, including the man with the most vulnerable adam's apple, Ric Ocasek. And then finally, a classic by La Peste makes it all worthwhile, and thankfully for some of you, this shifts us into punk overdrive from pop gear.

Rock Bottom & the Spys made one of the best synthpunk records of all time before imploding in a blaze of...well, click the link above and read the tragic story. Some bands are too punk for their own good.

Little is known of the NoCal band called SST which predated the SoCal label that became legend thanks to Black Flag. This is some really cool female-fronted punk rock from the year that Britain supposedly invented punk. What, you still think so? Put down that Mojo mag and crank the first records by Crime and Chrome. Anyone else know much about SST the band? Please comment if you do.

Speaking of SST, one of my favorite records from the label was "Pagan Icons" by Saccharine Trust from 1981. They made some decent records later, but this first 12-inch is still their best in my mind. I think they could've been the West Coast's version of Mission of Burma with their poignant lyrics, driving solid rhythm section, and primo guitar work that flirted with flowery subtlety, yet always remained "punk." Saccharine Trust were mildly proggy or jazzy...sort of a fusion/punk band. Why do I speak in past tense, actually? These guys are still together, and I saw them play live last year at Grandma's House in Oakland, and they were brilliant, masterful, energetic...just great! And I'm really pleased that they'll be playing live at Kleiber Hall on the UC Davis campus on Friday, April 28th with Argumentix and Dead/Bird from Portland and local artists from the awesome Weird Forest label, Pump Kinn & D.O.N. (Chad Stockdale). 7:30 doors/8:00 music.

Next is Trend, and no, not the Trend who sang "Band Aid" as made famous on "Killed By Death #10"...this is today's Trend. They're a punchy/rocky sorta post-punk/HC band from Germany. 20% emo-core warning. Okay, maybe 30%, but don't worry 'cos this packs way too much wallop to be filed as sucky. Maybe Skull Kontroll fans should dig 'em. Kurt is another band from Germany and labelmates of Trend, and they've been around for a long time, seemingly just getting better year by year. I bet Kurt has influenced Trend.

Popular Shapes were a tremendous band from Seattle a few years ago who had one of the most creative approaches to making melodic punk songs with an intricate and textural dual guitar onslaught. They broke up way too soon, but the band members are still active in The Intelligence and Factums. Of all the bands that have played my living room (the DAM House), this band's performance was one of my all-time favorites.

Swimmers are a Portland band whose 5-song CDEP from last year reminded a lot of people of the Popular Shapes with the bursting energy, guitar angularisms, and whacked-out obtuse lyrics sung high and nasal and at the edge of no-control, but they also add a stylish farfisa which sorta reminded me of an obscure Michigan band from some 27 years ago called the Algebra Mothers, and that's a really great thing!

Anonymous was essentially a one-man-band from Olympia, Washington, who made this 7-inch in 1980. That man is Steve Fisk, who made several recordings under his own name before focusing more on sound engineering and production. During the 90's, he worked with just about every notable band in the Puget Sound area. Anonymous was also known as Customer Service for a while, so original copies of this rare single come with stickers that help explain the names. This song was also included on the great "Let Them Eat Jellybeans" LP compilation, so it's beyond me why "Corporate Food" is not better known.

Next is a very early recording of Fisk as a eponymous solo artist. This is from a 12" EP compilation of Oly-area artists on a label called Mr. Brown Records and Tapes, which was one of the earliest--if not the first--DIY music labels in Olympia. Calvin Johnson says he started K Records partly from the inspiration of the music exposed to him from Mr. Brown, as this was his portal into the "Cassette Underground." Now that K and Kill Rock Stars are emblematic of Olympia music, Mr. Brown is sorta like prehistory, and this record remains rather obscure. Calvin did a good job to shed some light on this era, though, when he reissued all the music of The Beakers (also featured on "Life Elsewhere") in Fall 2004.

As much it's uncanny that a city the size of Olympia can have so many bands and record labels and DIY show activity, it's even more miraculous that even a halfway decent rock band can come together in a town like Orland, California, a hicktown of 6000 a bit south of Red Bluff. How incredible is it that a great band should hail from Orland?

Most people don't even notice Orland on the way to Oregon on northbound Interstate 5, and if you do, it's probably the sign for the Orland Motel that catches your eye with its delightfully unseemly skyhigh sun-faded backlit sign accented with an orange, brown, and yellow rainbow...just like the uniforms of the Houston Astros back in the days of J.R. Richard.

But the Nothing People are putting Orland on the map now with their DIY psych rock. They're just about 90 minutes north of Davis and Sacramento, so we should be seeing more of them now that they've played a live set on our airwaves on Thursday, April 13th...DOWNLOAD THEIR PERFORMANCE RIGHT HERE!

Clipd Beaks are Minnesota transplants living in the Bay Area now, and on their new CD, there's a sweeping and dramatic sound that dominates. This is sorta akin to the music people were seriously calling "death disco" two or three years ago...lotsa icy doom and gloom, perhaps a tinge of gothiness, but zero percent cheesy. I'm sure Davis or Sacto will be seeing these guys soon, and I'm looking forward to helping to make it happen.

Parts & Labor have a new album which is totally ace, full of relentless pummelling and triumphant soaring vocal and keyboard harmonies. I haven't seem many drummers that hit as hard and display as much mastery as this drummer. All you young mathnerds and premie beardos who adore Zach Hill (hey, me too, guys!), you need to see Parts & Labor play live. They're coming to Davis next Tuesday at the G Street Pub. Another really interesting thing about them is that so many people think there's a bagpipe in the band. What sounds like a bagpipe is really just a keyboard, and what appears to be a raggedy-looking consumer grade one at that...perhaps a cracked or bent Casio?

Mikaela's Fiend are the phenomenal teenage power-noiserock duo from Seattle, and this song is supposed to be released in a proper album on Strictly Amateur Films (yes, that sounds like a porno production company, but the site is safe for at-work viewing). Speaking of incredibly powerful yet masterful, include these youngbloods in that conversation. Guitarist Chris deploys about a dozen pedals and effects, but culls each sound with supreme precision. I know you've seen dudes wielding more effects than they can handle, and as they punch those pedals, sounds just keep getting muckier and yuckier and definitely more disappointing, but this guy's like a confident surgeon. Drummer Donnie is the Dr. Pepper-fueled drum wizard who's as relentless as Brian Chippendale. Being a loud noiserock duo invariably draws comparisons with Lightning Bolt, and surely there's more than enough duos being loud as hell and enthusiastically going for it, but Mikaela's Fiend is on the very short list of bands that deserve the comparison. But they're also quite different from LB...and I say it's their "cyber" edge.

Hustler White are one of Portland's most valuable funmakers. I should dedicate the song "Busy Kids" by the Huns to them because they're always up to something, and it's always important. Everyone in the band has side projects which also rule, and somehow they have time to help touring bands play in Portland, and fliering, and just picking up people's spirits with the most encouraging comments on their Myspace profiles. Unstoppable energy and go go party vibe makes the band exciting, whether they're ripping through a fierce, composed song or jovially jamming through a cover medley meandering through freenoise freakouts. These songs from this most recent tour CDR are also supposed to be coming together in a legit release from Strictly Amateur Films, and it might be a split with Mikaela's Fiend. A heaping dose of 60's psych influence has crept in as the bands gotten more confident and that much more undeniable.

Bird Costumes is one of those Hustler White side projects, the solo experimental project of HW keyboardist Daniel. This CDR is an alluring blend of found sound and lofi jams. Daniel also teams up with HW drummer Meghan in the duo Me Con, which is top-drawer broody moodmusic...maybe we'll hear some more Me Con here soon.

Here's that Frustration song that cops the Joy Division riff, but that riff is from "They Walked in Line," not "Interzone." I was trying to work from memory at 3:00 in the morning...sorry. Anyway, isn't it great when bands do this sorta thing? Did anyone ever hear that band Airlines do a cover of the Clean's "Point That Thing Somewhere Else," but with the drummer and bassist playing JD's "Transmission"? It worked so perfectly. Tell me you ordered this Frustration 7" already!

Digital Leather is "synthpunk" from Arizona from members of The Wongs and Destruction Unit. I use quotation marks 'cos some of this record is rather synthy like so much teutonic EBM. The recent Digital Leather 7" on Plastic Idol's definitely more punk, in the vein of Metal Urbain or Volt, but I swear I even hear shades of industrial-ized Depeche Mode remixes on this LP. And I must admit that I am amenable to liking this sorta thing.

Bruce Lose was one of the bassist/vocalists of the legendary band Flipper, and on this solo 7-inch, we hear some low-rent synth-dirge full of self-loathing. I don't know if it's really worth recommending for any reason other than the Flipper connection, but I needed something to provide a smoother transition from Digital Leather to the bizarro Billy Synth.

Billy Synth was a man from Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, who made this completely whacked EP of leftfield noisepunk back in 1980 between his records with his bands, the Janitors and the Turn Ups. Based on this perplexing 7", I wanna hear everything ever by Billy Synth. Is this the same guy who made the "Psychedelic Unknowns" series, by the way?

Here's more whacked noise from leftfield foul territory warning track by Fat Worm of Error. That's two baseball references, and I actually hate baseball. On this new album, FWOE are bewildering beyond belief, and almost constantly alternating accelerando and ritardando like so much free jazz or a big-hold 45 playing at 33 off-center. The only question is...does bewilderment draw you in or drive you away? I am all in on this band, and they've never sounded better.

Last week, we heard the Boston Ground Zero; this time, it's the Japanese experimental outfit of the same name led by turntablist Otomo Yoshihide. Their crowning achievement in my mind was their monolithic "Consume Red," but we didn't hear that because it's an hour long. Ground Zero often revealed a fascination with Chinese culture and society, and on this 7", Yoshihide manipulated the sounds of actual Pekinese opera groups, interjecting revolting shouts and grunts over a bed of annoying smooth jazz which can only represent some kinda insidious government mind control.

This outstanding performance of the Schlippenbach Trio--including Evan Parker--is thee most high-brow thing we've heard on Art for Spastics in quite some time, and that's probably why I can't do much better than say "This is awesome!"

Yuma Nora made one of my favorite albums of 2005 in their Not Not Fun CD "Jewels in the Snakepit," and their collaboration with Smegma was also a highlight of last year. Vocalist and digital-bleep-bloop-improvver Amy Vecchione moved to Boise this year, but I think the band's still kicking together, as they're slated to play the awesome Neon Hates You 666 festival on 06/06/06 at The Smell in L.A. (with Coughs and tons of other rad bands, so I gotta be there!). This track from the second Nightpass "Quilt Series" sampler CDR shows off a new side of Yuma Nora...and it's almost like a gamelan slow jam.

Finally, here's a different side of Ovo than what you've heard here before.

Thanks for listening!


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artforspastics said...

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Phosphor said...

Yup...Billy Synth did the Psychedelic Unknowns. When I lived in the Harrisburg area I used to hang out with Billy once in a while. I knew the guys he played with, Roger Deller, Jim ?, and some of the others (lame ass memory!) It was wild hearing my old weird pal Bernie from the Punk Rock Janitors doing the vocals on Hartzdale Drive Destruction. Haven't heard that in, like for-fucking-ever. I wonder if Billy and Bernie are still alive? Any clue?