Sunday, April 20, 2008

My Own Damn Review of "Live on AFS" comp

This review of these tracks is meant to remind you that this Live on Art for Spastics is a one-time deal, and this is happening on Monday night; this review is not to blow smoke up your ass about how incredibly awesome beyond belief this compilation is...I mean, it is awesome, but I don't wanna overstate that, y'know.

These Little Claw, Psychedelic Horseshit, and Pink Reason songs are from their live on KDVS sets recorded on November 17, 2007. Who knew my 34th birthday would be the special one when three of my absolute favorite bands would be playing on my radio show? I've culled the strongest moments of these sets so that you may be at least 80% as stoked as I was. And believe me...That will be stoked enough because I was very, very stoked.

I don't think Little Claw has been as brutal or savage as they were on this version of "Feeding You." This band has always made me glad to be in their presence, but they never crushed my sternum like they did then. And "Race to the Bottom"...That's probably my favorite song that they do, if not the first one on that new 7". It's kinda got a little bit o' hoedown flavor to it with the relentless fiddlesawing and cleaner guitar sound than other Little Claw moments. Possibly their catchiest tune.

I excised most of the between-song banter of all the bands, but some of the Tyvek banter was too good/funny to cut out, especially Larry's enthusiastic station identifications and Kevin's play-by-play of Matt Z's antics. But what makes this session really special is that it's the only high-quality recording of the full touring lineup including Damon's psycho guitar that I've heard. This makes all those songs totally new again no matter how many times you've heard the 7"es or Fast Metabolism over and over. Damon comes off like a cross between Steve Treatment's guitarist and the dude from High Rise/Mainliner. I think it most likely qualifies as "Tampaxian," but I defer to Soriano as the arbiter of what is "Tampaxian" for the final word.

"Hello, Friends" is my favorite Cheveu song, perhaps because it's got that keyboard line that's ripped from "No Tears" by Tuxedomoon. The LP version of it is rather crushing, but this one goes far when David loses all vocal restraint. We could not keep those screams outta the red, so this is admittedly the lowpoint of the comp in terms of fidelity. There was like a 10dB loss when David uncorked these histrionics. But it's still pretty great because Etienne and Olivier prove how sturdy the song is, as they plowed through. The whole band was much more composed for this masterfully rendered "Sacha," which is a song that you have not heard on a record yet. It's got the same kinda cool strut to it as other Cheveu songs you may know well, like "Dog" and "Hot," and it is just as rockin' as those, too.

After disappearing from the studio for a massive hotbox sesh, Psychedelic Horseshit came back and played it appropriately loose and fancy-free with maybe even some extra hilarity. The low-tech beatbox intro to "New Wave Hippies" gets extended, and just when you begin to think that there's no way they coulda pulled it together, they kick in the rock gear and tunnel into the groove...that is, until Matt proclaims "I sang the wrong lyrics!" The ad-lib bail-out is supreme for barely veering off the rhythm before getting it back on track and locked-in and smellin' like roses. It's like if Biz Markie was frontin' a rock band. They flowed right into "Rather Dull," which is faithful to the version you already know. But "Both Sides Now" is a treat as some instrument shifting happens midstream for the free-sax-squallin' finale.

Los Llamarada were the most locked-in of any band that played at KDVS in the last year, only missing perfection by one mistimed snareshot which was excerpted out. The guitar sound of "I Remember the Rest" is swirlin' yet snarly surfadelica, almost like if early Savage Republic had even a faint streak of blues in it. Michael Yonkers has achieved that sound a few times, too. This is a driving song sung by a shouting Sagan, then a bit more meandering beauty with Estrella's plaintive voice, and finally another more seductive Estrella-led song. The whole session should be released on an LP, though. It was hard for me to choose only three tracks from it.

We've talked about Pink Reason's "Bloodstains" cover before. I especially love how the song's lyrics seem to take on a whole different meaning when the urgency of the Agent Orange original is replace by hopelessness and despair on Kevin's writhing version. The lyrics were indeed timeless and versatile. This take on "Motherfucker" is absolutely filthy, though. Rich Horseshit picks up the sax again for the finale and almost hints at step one in a series of twelve. Just when you get sucked into the hopelessness in Kevin's guitar and voice, you get the feeling that he's gonna let himself fall of the face of the earth, but then Rich's desperate sax makes these cries for help, making this a song as round as any of Homer's heroic characters.

Eternal Tapestry phones home from a psychedelic journey to the center of thee infinite riff...rather Hendrixian.

Now, if you wanna get your own, please read the previous blogpost for instructions on how to get it.

1 comment:

Katie said...

Man, blogger just ate my damn comment. This one will be shorter.


Anyway, so your show looks rad. We had PsychHorseshit and Pink Reason at our station summer festival last year. We're trying to make a similar comp of our live music show's performances - but, you know, money and shit. I just started a blog for my show - check it out if you so choose.

Keep up the good work!