Wednesday, September 19, 2007

AFS v. 149 feat. Los Llamarada live in Studio A

Los Llamarada were outstanding live at the DAM House in Davis on Saturday, September 15, but they were especially stunning and sublime on this live performance in Studio A at Freeform KDVS the following day. I've included this performance in its entirety on this week's program. It was enhanced by a piano being available. Thanks to Andy Pastalaniec for engineering.

To DOWNLOAD this program, CLICK HERE (archived for 10 weeks).

To STREAM this show before September 27, GO HERE.

DER SUBMARINE RACERS // Space Burrito // Space Burrito b/w Skatebored 7" // Spin the Bottle *new
DIGGER & THE PUSSYCATS // Timebomb // split 10" w/ the Magnetix // Every Night Is a Saturday Night *new
RAXOLA // Kill Your Son // self-titled LP // Radio Heartbeat *new (orig 1978)
HUBBLE BUBBLE // I Wanna Die (but not Right Now) // self-titled LP // Radio Heartbeat/Daggerman *new (orig 1978)
HUBBLE BUBBLE // Faking // Faking // Radio Heartbeat/Daggerman *new (orig 1979)
THE LAMPS // Javelin // self-titled LP // In The Red *new
THE INTELLIGENCE // Sailor Dive // Deuteronomy // In The Red *new

THE INTELLIGENCE // The Receptionist
LEADERS // Crime Passionel // Synthesizer Sketchez & 4-Track Demos // no label *new
DAN MELCHIOR UND DAS MENACE // I'm Blue // The Pink Scream EP 12" // Shake Appeal *new
DAN MELCHIOR UND DAS MENACE // Hippy! // Elev to Mezz 7" // Daggerman *new
D.STOP // Traitement de Choc // Traitement de Choc 7" // Autoprod 1982
DEAD HEAT // Damnée Petite Sophie // Damnée Petite Sophie 7" // ??? 198?
TWIST NOIR // Ein Paar Tränen // self-titled 10" // Kernkrach *new (orig 1985)
HAIRCUT MOUNTAIN TRANSIT // Winona Rider Voice-Over // v/a: Thrash Sabbatical LP+2x7" // Deathbomb Arc *new
SIGHTINGS // Debt Depths // Through the Panama // Load *forthcoming
MOUTHUS // Armies Between // Saw a Halo // Load *new

*** LOS LLAMARADA // Live in Studio A, Sunday 09/16/2007 (48 mins) ***
I Remember the Rest
Julia Got Out
Never Found the Head
The Very Next Moment
A Chance to Become Transparent
Walk Look Climb
The North Is Death
I'm Sorry [Peggy Lee]
Nothing Changes
Second One Is Here!
WOODEN SHJIPS // Shine Like Suns // self-titled CD + bonus CD // Holy Mountain *new

I remember the first time I heard "Space Burrito" by Der Submarine Racers because it provoked such a fit of hilarity on my part; I'm pretty sure that was the last time that my drink came out through my nose. For all I know, this record and a Reed's Extra Ginger could do more harm to your mucus membranes than a sack of speed. It's been a year since that first listen on MySpace, but now the record's finally here, and the joke is still plenty funny. Just think if Darin had svengalied a budget-rock band led by Gilbert Gottfried instead of The Donnas..that's pretty close to Der Submariners' ballpark (I feel dangerously close to a Dan Quisenbury joke). Trashed-out, ultra-adenoidal, snotty, and fun.

Digger & the Pussycats sounds like it's at least a trio by name, but this Aussie two-man group tears a swath wider than most full-bands with hard-chargin' raw garagesleaze. Their thundering caveman drums and guitar like a killer bee swarm breaks no new ground, but they disturb the familiar soil very vigorously. On the flip, The Magnetix from France dish some cryptic cavestompers with some sweet organ riffs, making this split 10" a sure pleaser. Digger & the Pussycats have come to the States for a long tour which swings west in October.

9/24 NYC @ Fat Baby
9/25 Charlottesville, VA @ Atomic Burrito
9/29 Memphis, TN @ Gonerfest
9/30 Nashville, TN @ Alley Cat Lounge w/ Sweet Velvet
10/2 Chatanooga, TN @ TBA
10/5 Columbus, OH @ Cafe Bourbon Street w/ Grave Blankets
10/6 Lafayette, IN @ Zooleggers w/ the Mans
10/7 Three Rivers, MI @ Paisano's
10/8 Chicago, IL @ TBA
10/10 Omaha, NE @ O’Leavers Pub w/ the Boxed Elders
10/11 Denton, TX @ J & J’s Pizza
10/12 Austin, TX @ Beerland w/ John Schooley vs. John Wesley Coleman + Hex Dispensers + Pumpers
10/16 Tucson, AZ @ Vaudeville
10/17 Las Vegas, NV @ Divebar w/ the Mapes
10/19 Portland, OR @ Tonic Lounge w/ the Flip Tops & Pathogens
10/20 Olympia, WA @ Le Voyeur
10/22 Seattle, WA @ Funhouse w/ Ape City R&B
10/23 Portland, OR @ Ground Kontrol w/ Holy Shit!
10/25 Oakland, CA @ Stork Club, Budget Rock VI Showcase! w/ Husbands, Les Hormones, & the Cormans

...and then off to Korea!?!?! I'm definitely gonna try to catch them at Budget Rock VI.

Belgium had some of the best punk rock in Europe in the late 70s, and their three Bloodstains Across Belgium volumes were among the best of the entire series. Raxola and Hubble Bubble were two of the bands from that particular time and place who made an outstanding album, and now these records have been faithfully and legitimately reissued. The sound is certainly an upgrade from the bootlegs that came out about ten years ago. Hubble Bubble's second album Faking is a bit more of a powerpop record, but there's still a few nuggets for the punks, so you might as well get that, too.

Once again, we hear The Lamps, and if I haven't persuaded you to buy this new LP or CD in the last few weeks, "Javelin" is my new point of attack. Also new from In the Red and finally on AFS this week is Deuteronomy by The Intelligence. Early reports that it was "not as weird" or "cleaner sounding" almost had me worried that I'd be bored with it. How could I have second-guessed the songwriting of Lars Finberg? I'm ashamed of myself. Indeed, these songs all rule as they no less than inch toward pure pop perfection; actually, some of these songs even leap in that direction rather daringly. It's a growing album, too. Five listens in, and I'm especially enjoying it now.

I think I've shown you most of the Leaders' bag o'tricks from their first demo now, so surely all you label bigwigs must be drafting your contract proposals now. Get in early on the sneeringest art/synth/weirdpunk duo since the '78-'83 heyday.

Dan Melchior's never made a bad record, but his last few have been so incredible. My enjoyment and intrigue are ratcheting up to a whole new level even as he becomes seemingly more prolific. The Elev to Mezz and Pink Scream EPs are top-notch, comprising eight of the best examples of songcraft you may hear in 2007, and there's a new EP on Plastic Idol just around the corner. Plans are also coming together for Dan und Das Menace to tour, hitting the west coast in the first week of November. Surely, it's been said too often by lazy reviewers that Dan's music is "like the Country Teasers," and while I'd definitely recommend these records to any Teasers fans, such a one-sentence review is not a fair summation, and it does little to alleviate the confusion that exists about the man's music.

Most recordgeeks became familiar with Dan when the Broke Revue was anointed briefly as an up-and-coming "it" band in NYC, shortly after the time that Dan came to the States from his native England, where he had worked with Billy Childish and related projects such as Holly Golightly. The Revue even opened for much-hyped midmajor stars as Interpol, and my guess is that it looked like too much too soon for cred-conscious scene-honchos to hitch up to the bandwagon. I was skeptical, too. Probably a year or more went by before I learned that the Broke Revue's album on the In the Red was actually really good! And there were a buncha other records that came out around then by Dan which for me got lost in the shuffle, never bought, never heard. I thought I had him pegged as a bluespunker. I respected him for the raggedy edge and a unique singing voice, but I was afraid he was a little too prolific, and I felt late to the party after missing so many records.

Nowadays, Dan's music has become even more diversely influenced, and while it surely seems to share many influences with the Country Teasers, I also get the sense that Dan's got a subscription to the Messthetics series because The Pink Scream and Elev to Mezz sound as if they'd fit right into that (albeit, his music's blues edge is still more palpable than any of those British DIY bands of 1978-1980). There's keys and synths in there in places, even the occasional disco beat, but it's never the least bit cheesy, and like the Teasers' main man Ben Wallers (here's where the comparison does indeed ring very true), Dan's lyrics are enthralling enough to command close attention.

Next up, here's a couple of mysterious synth/wave records from France from the early to mid 80s. These are from Jacque's home stash, so thanks to him for letting us hear them. According to the site linked in the playlist beneath their band name, D.Stop also had this LP...

Anyone got a spare copy? I'm a payer for it...The promise of the single must be investigated! Dead Heat is even weirder, more minimal starkness with near zero melody and absurdly slow and sped up vocals. I can find no information anywhere about them. What does anyone know? Please tell!

Kernkrach just plucked this forgotten nugget of minimal synth/wave from Germany by Twist Noir, and unlike so much industrial music of that era (by 1985, it seemed that over 90% of industrial had become so homogenized that it was split into two camps: dancey EBM and metal-tinged industrial rock), this still sounds pretty fresh. If it's dated at all, it's a shining example of some of the best darkwave from the original heyday. The female vocals are sexy and cool, but not nearly as emotionally detached as most Germans on the cusp or splitting the uprights of EBM. Even the synths and beats are not as unflinching...maybe more like mid-era Tuxedomoon plus more aggression. The packaging is awesome as you should expect from Kernkrach; the 10" cover has spare graphics plus four daggerlike shards from a broken mirror. One shard has fake blood on the tip. Handle this with care.

Truly, Los Llamarada are such a miraculous band, and we feel lucky to have had them visit us ever so briefly. I realize that two of the members probably never want to get back on an airplane again, so unless we west coasters plan on next year's SxSW (which is never conveniently timed for me to take a vacation), we may never see them again. But this I pledge: If they get enough time off next year and fly out again in Summer 2008, I will drive them up and down the West Coast. It's really a shame more folks didn't get to see them.

New from Deathbomb Arc is this Thrash Sabbatical compilation, an imposing space-taker with a 12" and two 7-inches in an overlarge pizza box that's been spraypainted and screened. But I said it's a space-taker and not a space-waster. Within the grooves are some awesome sounds including extreme ends of the spectrum of the "New Noisy L.A." scene, plus three sides of Thurston Moore solo work. There's even a masterpiece of a post-riot grrl punk rock song by Barrabarracuda as heard last week on AFS v. 148 along with an ear-scouring stunner by Kevin Shields with help from Amy Vecchione of Yuma Nora, Gang Wizard, et al. This week, we hear Haircut Mountain Transit, bringing to mind the ferrous static sheetnoise of P16.D4 from two decades back. The pacing is well-done on these discs, so the variety is never too much to bear all at once. I like to think of Thurston's side as audio antacid to calm your stomach from the discombobulation of the whacked and cracked.

Haircut Mountain Transit is part of the ungodly dudecircle of L.A. noise artists collectively known as Men Who Can't Love. I saw them on July 3, 2005, at Food Hole in Portland, and it was like a harshnoise-style reenactment of Lord of the Flies...all neck-yoking moshpit mayhem. The premise behind a Men Who Can't Love show is that they are five or six individual members who each perform solos ranging from 30 seconds to five minutes. They simultaneously set up at once in different corners of the staging area, and the show begins when one member is forced to perform by all the others. It appeared to me that a "go" button was pushed, setting off wildly unstable circuitry, and then the "it" man would struggle to hit his "stop" button while his bandmate adversaries tried to prevent him from reaching it. His solo would continue for as long as everyone could block him from the button. Their mountain of speakers peaked just a few inches from Food Hole's ceiling, so it was quite frightening when the top speaker caught fire. (Yuma Nora played an awesome set right after that, and there was more burning plastic smell about midway through. I'll never forget that show.) Thrash Sabbatical's got a whole side of Men Who Can't Love, and it's essentially like listening to a Men Who Can't Love live show. The variety of sounds from the most extreme harshness (probably Privy Seals) to the most subdued and songlike (Solitary Hunter's folky bit) is very wide.

The new album by Sightings is due to drop just in time for their mid- to late-October tour of the Eastern U.S. and Canada, and through five listens, I'm certain now that this is THEE BEST Sightings album. Load CEO, cook, and bottle-washer Ben described their previous Load effort, Arrived in Gold, as "[dematerializing] any trace of guitar, bass and drums into proton dust floating microns on top of the speaker cone." On Through the Panama, Sightings' metal shavings, scrapings, and outright manglings are just as alien-weird, but they're oddly complimented by the sheeny gloss from Andrew W.K.'s production. This time, your speaker cones are gonna have a botox boost and the lushest, most luxurious moisturizer after they've received their most violent dermabrasion yet. Just as most power-electronics and harsh-noise sounds best with ultra-hifi recording, Sightings, perhaps the most extreme and harsh of the world's rock bands, also sounds great with high production value. This week's track selection is such a strange dichotomy of tonally correct singing (as much sweetness as the band can muster) over an atonal bed of nails and gauntlet of industrial furnace blasts that is more timbrally rich than anything I've heard all year.

The new Mouthus album on Load is a big winner, too! I'll have more to say about it next week.

There was a runaway rumor about Los Llamarada that they were all teenagers. I think it started from Siltblog's review of their SxSW performance, and then I probably did most of the running away with it. Llamarada's singer/keyboardist Sagan surmised that "Maybe he thought we were so young because it was such a dark room." And now that it turns out that they are actually academes who met in psychology class, I think they seem even more mythical.

The following night at the Delta of Venus, the Wooden Shjips capped off "Davis Feats of Strength II" with their strongest performance I've seen to date. Whereas the larger spaces and formal stages they've performed on feel so unlike their practice room, the Shjips said that the cozy Davis café felt more familiar to them than any venue they've played so far. Certainly, I've never seen them look more comfortable and less tentative. Here's some video that Brian Faulkner captured during the show...

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