Tuesday, June 24, 2008

AFS v. 182 ~ Hello, Tonsils...It's Me, Clifford!

For as long as I've been fanatically obsessive about music, perhaps no other band has been as special to me as Severed Heads. I've caught all kindsa hell from people about it, but I've always rated them right next to The Stooges, The Wipers, and The Fall atop the pinnacle of my all-time faves. Hardcore fans of the Sevs call ourselves "Cliffords", particularly if we enjoy the early, more experimental, primarily loopbuilt stuff from before the mid-80s turn to more pure pop formalist song structure, lyrics and actual singing, and dancefloor accessibility. To call oneself a "Clifford" refers to the band's 1985 2xLP collection of false starts and unreleased early ephemera entitled Clifford Darling, Please Stop Living in the Past. Although I would contend that the band never made a stinker (Rotund for Success from 1989 is the band's low-point for me, but most of it's not as drecky as it is just unmemorable compared to their other albums), and I continue to enjoy Tom Ellard's work up to this very day, I do confess a special fondness of this early stuff. That's what made me spring for the big bucks ($149 + tax at Amoeba SF) for my very first Vinyl-on-Demand boxed-set. This is truly a treasure trove for a Clifford like me. And with all kindsa ex-slackjaw punx gettin' smart now as they hip to the sounds of the "weirdpunk" and the "minimal wave", surely more of you will wanna be a Clifford, too.

You can download this week's show AT THIS LINK HERE! @ 192kbps
(archived for ~4 weeks)

Or, also AT THIS LINK (@ 320 kbps!!!)
(archived for ~10 weeks)

BLACK & WHITE | title unknown | Suicide CS | no label *new
LEADERS | Grenade in the Face | 2nd demo CDR | no label *new
MATTRESS | Eyes | Heavy Duty | Reluctant *new
PHEROMOANS | Open for Business | demo CDR | no label 2008
THE ELKS | Auxiliary Tremors | v/a: Moon Boot Boutique vol. 1 CDR | no label *new
NOTHING PEOPLE | Outsiders Are | Anonymous | S-S Records *new
PIGEONS | Moon Whiskey | Virgin Spectacle | Black Dirt *new
LITTLE CLAW | World of Tired | Why/Why Not 7" | Physical Sewer *new
FEY GODS | Bury Me Standing | Untied CS | no label *new
FEY GODS | Untied
BLUES CONTROL | End Zone | Puff | Fusetronsound *new
JEX THOTH | Equinox Suite | Jex Thoth | I Hate 2007
COMUS | Children of the Universe | To Keep from Crying | Virgin 1974
HEXLOVE/FAULOUAH | Big Happy Lotus | Free Jazz from Slavery 2xLP | Weird Forest *new
BULBS | Uamanas | Light Ships | Freedom to Spend *new
LES BEYOND | More Hands or Wings | v/a: Ammugammu 2xCS | Isolated Now Waves *new
SEVERED HEADS | Headless Corpses | Adenoids 5xLP | Vinyl on Demand *new (orig 1979)
SEVERED HEADS | Nightsong (orig 1981)
SEVERED HEADS | Cowboy Muzak: Dressed in Air/Russian Rifles (orig 1982)
SEVERED HEADS | Lamborghini (orig 1982)
SEVERED HEADS | Harold & Cindy Hospital (demo) (orig 1985)
ZOLA JESUS | Dog | Poor Sons 7" | Die Stasi *new
LEPER PRINT | Dead Flowers | Coma 7" | Die Stasi *new
MOM | The Monkey's Uncle | Tender Sweet Young Thing CDR | Dirty Dog Dick *new
THE FEELING OF LOVE | The Rape Man | new 7" | Florida's Dying *new
A.H. KRAKEN | Black Borny | A.H. Kraken | In The Red *new
NIGHT WOUNDS | Animal | split 7" w/ Mutators | Badmaster *forthcoming
SHPILBERG | trks 4-5 | Gold Fish | Brise Cul *new

One of the most admirable things about this band is that years before this file-sharing phenomenon went big overnight and controversy ensued after corporate douchebags whined woefully--hell, even before the very dawn of the mp3--Severed Heads was the first band to make every song from all of their albums available for free download on "mp2" format. The band continues to let you stream damn near all of their catalog at their website: http://www.sevcom.com/ (with very inexpensive downloads in a choice of hi-fidelity digital formats as well). The band also published schematics for several of their albums to teach fans how to make such creative music themselves. And now their website continues to offer musicmaking tutorials. As helpful and inspirational as the liners of Desperate Bicycles records and Mark Perry's "Here's Three Chords - Now Form a Band" diagram in Sniffin Glue were, the Severed Heads have given their fans as much assistance as possible without driving them to the dump to salvage the tape machines themselves. And, they made a tons of scintillating audio way back in the day, and many great songs since.

The amazing Adenoids 5xLP collection includes material from 1977-1985, and only a few tracks of it are recognizable as early forms of songs heard later on proper albums, such as this instro version of "Dressed in Air", or an early take of "Harold & Cindy Hospital" wherein Tom Ellard is in an early stage of becoming a better singer, or "Lamborghini", an early version of "Petrol" (one of their best-known dancefloor songs) with female vocals. I had never heard anything by the Sevs that predated 1979's Ear Bitten, but Record One includes an unreleased song that restored from a 1977 tape that predated the band's name change from Mr. & Mrs. No Smoking Sign. And while it's been assumed by most of us fans that Severed Heads has been driven primarily by Tom Ellard himself, the annotations also help reveal what the other members of the band did...and now we know that Tom wasn't merely being modest by giving so much credit to Ray Bradbury and company.

I'm also very excited to be bringing you the debut of Badmaster's upcoming (early July) split 7" release of two of my current fave live bands...Two different creatures of the night yin and yang together into this chilling and thrilling split 7". Portland's Night Wounds lead a lurching charge like a compulsively calculating murder cult on the intriguingly textured, ominously creeping "Animal" before warming up the vampire libido on their seductively bleak cover of Death in June's "Nothing Changes", which all the goth and minus the mall, recalling choice cuts of Virgin Prunes and seminal L.A. deathrock. Sounding just as murderous, Vancouver, BC's Mutators are a more unrestrained kinda killer. Supremely incendiary female vocals enmesh with raw Ginn-like guitar without a cushion over the top of militant drums. Side A sucks your blood; side B splatters it on every wall. Seripop sleevework should just put it over-the-top as a multi-sensory exciter and exquisite artifact. We'll flip it next week!

And, yes...the new Mattress full-length is superb! An LP is not too much a dose for Rex's singing...croony nearly to the brink of buffoonery, but only to make naked emotion set against minimal electronics just good humored, wonderfully weird, but still plenty raw and real. And it's a pretty record, too. White vinyl. Screened covers with a hand-drawn portrait. Same program on CD to bump in the ride. If you missed it last year, my girlfriend put out his debut vinyl as her label's first release (Malt Duck 001..."In Your Pocket" 7"+CDR...down to the last few, so hurry!). Now here's a shockingly pro-looking video for one of his early hits, "Eldorado" from his first album-length CDR of the same name...

OH!...and that Jex Thoth! Sorry for sleeping on that one 'til now. That's gotta be the most beautiful and bewitching metal album in years. Maybe in forever!


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