Tuesday, June 01, 2010

AFS v. 269 ~ Deathwish VI

This week in AFS...

* Get ready for Slicing Grandpa to eviscerate California!
* The finest drops of much maligned Wire side-projects
* Refocusing the rekindled interest in Kevin Dunn

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HYGIENE | Town Centre | Town Centre E.P. 7" | Static Shock *new
REAL NUMBERS | Na Na Ooh | self-titled 12" | Three Dimensional *new
HAPPY BIRTHDAY | Zit | self-titled | Sub Pop *new
MATT K SHRUGG | Freak Out | Gone Ashtray | Tic Tac Totally *new
VAMPIRE COWS | The Old Endicott Building | v/a: Artifacts vol. 1 | Artifacts *new (orig 1975)
CABALLO TRIPODE | Masterman | Horror Vacui | Tic Tac Totally *new
DAVILA 666 | Dos o Tres | 12" EP | Rob's House *new
THE WIGGINS | Walk | Walk b/w Sick 7" | Needless *new
THE DROUGHTS | Floating in the Lake | Stopping a New Start Again CS | no label *new
RODNEY MAYNARD & THE HUNDRED DOLLAR BAND | Sittin' On A Stool | v/a: Artifacts Vol. 1 (orig 1975)
RON HOUSE | Statues Lose | Blind Boy in the Backseat | Columbus Discount *new (orig 1986)
NUDGE SQUIDFISH | Wonder Where You Been | Twenty Thousand Leagues Under Nashville | Columbus Discount 2010 (orig 1985)
THE GREEN KNIGHT | Tolerance | Half Pipe CS | Pollen Season *new
PAUL CARY | On the Rise | Ghost of a Man | Stank House *new
TUSK LORD | Mars Compound | Meeting Blood Sentinels 7" | Dear Skull *new
JERUSALEM & THE STARBASKETS | Room 8 | Room 8 7" | De Stijl *new
THE FANS | Deathwish | True 7" | no label 1980
EFFI BRIEST | Nights | Rhizomes | Sacred Bones *new
THIS MORTAL COIL | Not Me [Wire] | It'll End in Tears | 4AD 1984
COLIN NEWMAN | Fish Three | Provisionally Entitled the Singing Fish | 4AD 1981
GRAVE BABIES | Gouge Your Eyes Out | Gouge Your Eyes Out 7" | Skrot Up *new
SLICING GRANDPA | Clown Hand | Chaos Midnight 10" | Strain Theory/Scatalogical Liberation Front 2007
SLICING GRANDPA | Half Man Half Sandwich
WIR | A Bargain at 3 and 20 Yeah! | The First Letter | Mute/Elektra 1991
HE SAID | Kidnap Yourself | Hail | Mute 1986
NO UFO'S | Cajmere Dreams | Soft Coast CS | Nice Up *new
NO UFO'S | Archer Heights
SHIT & SHINE | Bass Puppy | Bass Puppy 12" EP | Badmaster/Suicide Tax *new
BILLY BAO | The One That Brings Death | Urban Disease | Pan *new
MAMA BURIES | untitled | Alive @ The Lab | no label *live @ Noise Pancakes, SF 05/21/2010

Slicing Grandpa are one of the most fascinating bands of the last two decades. They've made dozens of records, tapes, and CD releases, mostly in ridiculously limited quantities. To see them live is like a baptism in filth and misery, yet it's also a psychedelic experience swirling together punk, doom, and goth drenched in scuzz, yet totally memorable for the way that many of their songs pulse with a brainworm Flipper-esque riff. They are the parent trunk of one of my utmost favorite family trees of bands including Kount Fistula, Tractor Sex Fatality, Arachnid Arcade, Thee Wickermen, Plain, and many more. Jon Laux is such an under-rated outsider music folk hero. I hope several listeners/readers in Northern California will bear witness this weekend...

Thursday, June 3 in Oakland
@ Stork Club

Friday, June 4 in Sacramento
@ The Hub
KDVS presents w/ Butcher Cover & Outer Zoning Committee

Saturday, June 5 in San Francisco
@ Bleak Haus

Kevin Dunn was a big mover/shaker in the late 70s/early 80s new wave scene on Atlanta, GA--he's credited as a producer on "Rock Lobster" by The B-52's--and recently, he's been seen playing in-store performances to promote a retrospective album release called No Great Lost Song, 1979-85. Among the records released under his own name, this is surely his best known...

....but please check out "Deathwish", a B-side on perhaps the most obscure release by his band The Fans. I don't think that power-pop has ever sounded so eerie, chilling, and anxiety-ridden. I believe it's the pinnacle of Mr. Dunn's creation, but alas, it is not on the tracklist of the retrospective.

Wire's first three albums are rightfully considered the stuff of legend, of course. It's almost unfair to compare their albums following their mid-80s reunion to those three, but surely those four 80s albums were successively more dreadful. By the time drummer Robert Gotobed allowed himself to be completely replaced by a machine--the remaining three members dropped the silent "e" in "Wire" to mark this--it seemed that everyone had given up on them. So, Wir's 1991 album, The First Letter, caught everyone snoozing. But I believe that The First Letter is nearly as good an album as any Wire mk III-era stuff (i.e., Read & Burn, Send, etc.)...maybe even better, actually! It was way better than IBTABA and Manscape....not that that's saying much. Those albums are completely unredeemable. The weirdest songs on The First Letter are pretty cool, I think. Have a listen this week to "A Bargain at 3 and 20 Yeah!"...maybe I'll get to "It Continues" some other time. Please don't mistake me taking this stance publicly as an attempt to be a self-conscious tryhard contrarian or non-conformity conformist. I know you may think I like everything because I'm not prone to talking shit on things I don't like. There is plenty I don't like. And fully half of The First Letter is not in that category.


Anonymous said...

...the reason "Deathwish" is not on the Kevin Dunn retrospective is because the retrospective focuses on songs either written by Dunn or recorded by Dunn as a solo artist. "Deathwish" was composed by Dunn's co-conspirator in the Fans, Alfredo Villar, who certainly deserves an anthology of his own. Dunn doubtlessly contributed to the arrangement and sound of "Deathwish," but it's just barely outside the scope of the compilation.

Also, it's worth mentioning that the "True"/"Deathwish" single is not "the most obscure" release by the Fans: it was released in the UK by Albion and can usually found on eBay, in addition to being self-released in the states. Compared to their self-released three-song 33 and 1/3rd RPM seven inch, with "Telstar" on it, it's positively common!

Still, awesome to see Kevin's getting out there more!

DJ Rick said...

Great info...thanks!

I hope The Fans can know more glory through a reissue/retrospective if this Kevin Dunn comp does well.

Anonymous said...

...a Fans anthology would be amazing! The idea has been bandied about for some time -- perhaps its time has come!