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Savage Weekend, May 17-18, 2013

May 21, 2013 By: M*P* Lockwood Category: shows

Dromez at Savage Weekend 2013

Savage Weekend takes place at the Nightlight in Chapel Hill, North Carolina and has become another DIY fest to draw a lot of the east coast jank bands together for a marathon of noise. There’s no doubt the International Noise Conference has served as the template for this, and like that 10-year-old gathering, this one also packs tons of varied acts playing 15 minute sets into a couple of days. The connecting thread is “noise” and there are plenty of straight-up noise bands, but like INC that term is left wide open. It’s an exhausting and intense experience which is a labor of love for Ryan Martin the organizer and for everyone who travels to play, almost certainly losing money and sleep to do so. But it’s worth it, as can be felt in the warm afterglow among all attendees after particularly cathartic performances or during morning-after hugs goodbye.

It would be impossible to summarize everything, and I missed some things which I heard were amazing (like Ciccio Boys and Mincemeat Or Tenspeed when I simply had to nap for 30 minutes in the car) so I’ll mostly just post a few of the best photos I got and a few vivid memories. If you have additional documentation, please leave a comment! Above is Dromez, an intense harsh noise act from Texas that went on early in the fest and was one of the first to whip the crowd into a frenzy.

Unguent at Savage Weekend 2013

Unguent (ex-Dick Neff) plays looping, garbled swampy sounds that resemble some kind of alien music, while watching a psychedelic maze morphing on a TV screen.

Lazy Magnet at Savage Weekend 2013

Lazy Magnet, unpredictable in the past, played tight, danceable electronic music – which he claims is his new permanent (?) style.

Tanz Praxis at Savage Weekend 2013

Tanz Praxis is a new and exciting team-up of C Lavender and Ellen Foster, both long-time noise makers on their own, combining noise, video, and dance performance. Spooky, loud, and cool.

Toe Ring at Savage Weekend 2013

Toe Ring plays what’s almost straight techno, but with a gritty, industrial? (I saw someone describing it as “grouchy”) flavor. It’s hard to put your finger on exactly what he’s doing so right, but this got the whole crowd stoked and moving, even though it was happening at 3AM, after 9 hours of other acts.

hotel noise crew poolside at Savage Weekend 2013

Of course there’s a little time for relaxing, Saturday afternoon before night 2 starts. Many visitors are piled into local houses, but a large contingent of travelers staying at the Chapel Hill University Inn hung by the pool for the afternoon. A gang of Tampa noise girls even turned it into a regular pool party, but no noise boys were bold enough to approach…

Crank Sturgeon at Savage Weekend 2013

Crank Sturgeon, one of the more senior noise celebrities, doing one of his signature absurdist performances. Notice all the smiles!

Moth Cock at Savage Weekend 2013

Moth Cock. A few trusted people casually told me that I should probably not miss this one. They were right. Total confusion sound but with a bizarre kind of groove, it gets really layered and hyperactive and psychedelic. Really awesome, I’m a big fan now.

i_like_dogface at Savage Weekend 2013

i_like_dogface impressed people at I.N.C. and I think many of us were looking forward to it here. Some smart light effects and a relatively simple electronic set-up used to great effect. Shifted vocals and weird electronic sounds that built to a heavy rhythmic noise climax.

The Waitress at Savage Weekend 2013

The Waitress. Two ladies from NYC, Jane and Ciarra, who played to a short film about them – yes, as waitresses – taking grisly, protracted revenge on a really offensive restaurant customer in B-horror movie style.

Russian Tsarlag at Savage Weekend 2013

Russian Tsarlag dropped a hush over the room so thick that no one would even shoot flash photos, then made everyone crack up between songs with his deadpan deconstruction of rock band tropes. (He played a tape of himself reciting in a monotone loop phrases like “I love this venue” and “I hope you like my music”)

Humanbeast at Savage Weekend 2013

Humanbeast. Damn, what to say about these killers?! If one act could and should actually be giant, famous rock stars of this whole lot, it’s them. Tense, gothy noise-pop that’s seductive but frequently painful. They have an album coming out soon on Load, and even though I haven’t heard it, I’m calling it as one of the best albums of the year now.

Andrea Pensado at Savage Weekend 2013

Andrea Pensado’s wicked processed vocal noise had everyone shrieking and screaming in response.

Form A Log at Savage Weekend 2013

One of the most anticipated acts was Form A Log, the all-star, all-cassette band. Ren (of Container), Noah (of Profligate), and Rick (THE Rick Weaver) patch together absurd song-like constructs from found and faux samples. They had everyone throwing Benjis (it’s a Log Culture thing – Form A Log cultivates a whole language of in-jokes – only the band members understand them all) people tried to dance, and there was even crowd-surfing!

Kimberly at Savage Weekend 2013

Kimberly’s performance had her screaming into a turntable stylus (which, yes, will pick up the sound apparently) and smashing at least a dozen sheets of glass ON HER FACE. I somehow caught a before and after of this happening in this photo. She had already, as a member of Contortionist Jazz Exotica, destroyed a pile of household and industrial objects the night before, and somehow came away from all this without any visible injuries.

Lazer Slut at Savage Weekend 2013

Lazer Slut was spending his set (of blown out 8-bit techno) bent over like this, so his friends decided to balance objects on his back and pour various fluids on him.

Tinnitusstimulus at Savage Weekend 2013

Tinnitustimulus, the last act of the entire event, whipped those who stuck it out into a frenzy. Dynamics, momentum, raw energy, if you dig harsh noise, this guy is one of the best, period.

There are many more photos that I took HERE.

Just a few other strong memories: Hunnie Bunnies were off the chain, booty bass beats and harsh noises! Unicorn Hard-On showed everyone how it was done, hype electro-dance in a nice short burst. Spiritual Recess doing a total freak-out confusion act, it was impossible to know what was intentional, luck, or accident. Sagan Youth Boys’ deep synth sequencing. Pvre Matrix whipping up a noisy rave. A Misfits cover band (??) starting a room-wide mosh pit. Ironing’s radical anti-DJ style, piling records and record pieces onto multiple turntables.

UPDATE! Lots of excellent photos by David Kenedy found HERE!

Can’t wait for next year!

Ende Tymes noise fest is coming May 24-26, support now!

May 06, 2013 By: M*P* Lockwood Category: news, shows

The massive and awesome Ende Tymes noise fest is returning to Brooklyn in a few short weeks, May 24-26, and there’s an indiegogo page to raise funding. But this is not just a donation deal, you can buy a weekend pass (which you were going to do anyway, RIGHT?) or for those who cannot attend, you can get mixtapes, posters, an MP3 archive of recordings of every performance (!!!), or other good stuff.

THIS ENDS TODAY and just a few more people are needed to reach the goal. GO DO IT.

Ende Tymes Poster

I don’t want to play favorites, but … well, yes I do. Here are a few favorites slated to perform: Aaron Dilloway, Pod Blotz, Justin Marc Lloyd, I’d M Thfft Able, Long Distance Poison, Clang Quartet, Macronympha, work/death … LOTS more. It’s all happening at the Silent Barn , organized by the hard-working Bob Bellerue, and should be an outrageous good time. GET THOSE TICKETS TODAY!


Orcutt and Corsano at Roulette 08-30-2012

October 26, 2012 By: M*P* Lockwood Category: photos, shows

Bill Orcutt and Chris Corsano at Roulette, 08-30-2012

Exclusive(?) recording below!

This show was the first in a long time that I actually bought tickets to in advance. I don’t know how likely a sell-out actually was, but this was definitely one of a few real can’t-miss shows so I didn’t take chances! (the next show I have tickets for is “Royal Trux” performing Twin Infinitives in Dec.!!!) This was not only a unique collab show between these two peerless avant genii, but a release show for TWO Harry Pussy double albums, the band which Bill Orcutt was guitarist for. Does it go without saying that they are one of my all-time favorites? Does it go without saying that Bill Orcutt is one of my all-time favorite guitarists? Probably one of very few people whom I could watch play guitar unaccompanied indefinitely without becoming bored.

The show was at a place called Roulette, in a big, fancy room which seemed like it more often hosted plays or something like that. Everyone sat in folding chairs in rows. The show was in the popular solo/solo/duo format, with Chris Corsano doing a solo drum performance first. He basically improvs way, way off the grid and outside the box. What are usually percussion instruments become almost textural, sometimes being played in an irregular flurry, or scraped, or piled with curious objects. Corsano found some ways to “play” the drums which I haven’t seen anyone else do, like blowing through what looked like a plastic plunger flush against the drum head, turning it into a weird kind of reed/horn instrument.

Bill Orcutt at Roulette, 08-30-2012

Then it was time for the Bill Orcutt solo segment. Orcutt has come up with his own unique guitar stringing (two low and two high), and his own tuning, and his own technique, and hell, his own genre! He has named several of his songs with the word “blues” which makes a kind of sense. The guitar was a Spanish instrument, it wasn’t built to be played the way the original bluesmen did. But they came up with a whole new approach, invented without training. And that’s what Orcutt has done too. His playing is often spontaneous and free, often dissonant and clamorous, but never just one thing. There’s a lot of weird, original technique at play too and it’s not just noodling, it’s often riffing on parts that seem practiced, even if they’re barely holding together. There are spontaneous vocal exclamations too, and the whole thing feels like a musical speaking in tongues, channeling something from beyond our realm of logic.

Bill Orcutt and Chris Corsano at Roulette, 08-30-2012

And then came the duo! Bill Orcutt was also playing electric guitar, which he has not been doing since reappearing with his solo act. The very first thing that struck me was how much it sounded exactly like Harry Pussy. So it was LOUD and HARSH. It became really weird to hear this sound coming out of these two people who were sitting on a clean stage in front of a room full of adults in folding chairs. The guitar amp blew a fuse about a minute and a half in, and a replacement had to be found. Then they blasted through a batch more “songs” each about two minutes or less in length. I believe they were all improvised and could have been stretched out to any length, but they just all kept ending after a minute or two. And they didn’t play too many of these. There was probably about 20 minutes of music total. Short, fast, and intense, I’m incredibly glad I caught it. I also got a copy of the Harry Pussy “One Plus One” record, which rules. Some of the material appears on other releases, but there’s a lot of quality unheard stuff and the whole thing makes for a very coherent album.

I also recorded it! And so I present to you an exclusive, as far as I know, a recording of about half of the concert:


*Out of respect to the artists and the venue, I’m not including the whole show. As can be seen in the photos, Roulette was wired to record this show in much higher fidelity, so maybe someone plans on releasing a real recording of this show? In that case please consider this a preview. If anyone wants me to take this down, I will. Conversely, if those involved want to tell me that it’s fine to share the entire recording, let me know!

Doomsday Student, Ed Schrader’s Music Beat, Dan Friel, Bananas on Strings, Pardalince Bird at 285 Kent, 04-05-2012

April 08, 2012 By: M*P* Lockwood Category: shows

Doomsday Student at 285 Kent, 04-05-2012 .9

Doomsday Student at 285 Kent

I caught this awesome, slightly mixed-bill show last Thursday. Doomsday Student, the sorta-resurrected Arab on Radar was the main draw for me and I’ll jump straight to the main takeaway: They’re amazing. But everyone else was great too, so let me start from the beginning.

Bananas on Strings at 285 Kent, 04-05-2012

Bananas on Strings at 285 Kent

The first act was billed as Ramble Tamble, which is Turner of Guardian Alien’s project with a drummer, but apparently it expanded to include a whole list of guest stars and became a new band called Bananas on Strings. They went straight for a deep and heavy psychedelic rock, like Acid Mothers Temple minus the rock riffs and any of the quiet parts. The lynchpin here was drummer Adam Autry (of Olneyville Sound System fame) who was able to punch through the thick sound and keep things driving ahead with rolling, off-kilter beats.

Dan Friel at 285 Kent, 04-05-2012

Dan Friel at 285 Kent

Then Dan Friel did his thing, which is maximally loud and distorted, but also very melodic and tuneful keyboard music. The rhythms are generally huge, crunching sounds but the lead keyboard lines are usually the type of tunes you could easily whistle while you work. There’s headbanging. 285 Kent’s sound system is booming, but not always really clear, which worked perfectly for Dan Friel.

Doomsday Student at 285 Kent, 04-05-2012 .3

Doomsday Student at 285 Kent

And then Doomsday Student was up. This band is most of Arab on Radar and a member of the post-Arab on Radar band Chinese Stars. Now, I don’t know the whole back story, nor is it fair to dwell on it, but Arab on Radar reunited, broke up again, and then this band was formed minus one original member. There’s a new name and all-new material, but it’s impossible to ignore that this is essentially the new Arab on Radar. So for those of us who fondly remember that band and their cathartic live performances, the main question is how does Doomsday Student measure up? I am happy to report that they are every bit as great. None of the energy is missing. Here’s some video I took of them. The sound is terrible but the video is good.

The anti-melodic guitars, the looping dance-unfriendly beats, the nasally shrieked vocals (all imitated by almost every No Wavey band since AoR). I want to compliment them on the unified look, something I like in a band. Doomsday Student all wore black t-shirts and pants and matching orange sneakers. A band in uniform says that they’re here to do a job, or perhaps go into battle. I also appreciate the stark light show, all the house lights down and 2 very bright industrial lights on the floor. It makes for great photos. (to see more of the photos I took, go to the Flickr account, starting here.)

Doomsday Student at 285 Kent, 04-05-2012 .4

Doomsday Student at 285 Kent

Doomsday Student at 285 Kent, 04-05-2012 .7

Doomsday Student at 285 Kent

After Doomsday Student was Ed Schrader’s Music Beat. I’d heard this band mentioned, but hadn’t seen them play before this.

Ed Schrader's Music Beat at 285 Kent, 04-05-2012 .2

Ed Schrader's Music Beat at 285 Kent

I was really impressed by these guys. They had very minimal instrumentation, just a single floor tom and a bass, but they managed to be totally captivating just by having really great, simple songs and a strong performance. Maybe this is what the Violent Femmes would sound like if they formed in Baltimore in the year 2012? Well, these guys seem way more punk, but I’m trying to get you in the ballpark.

Pardalince Bird at 285 Kent, 04-05-2012

Pardalince Bird at 285 Kent

Dan Deacon’s Pardalince Bird project went on last, despite originally being scheduled to go first. There were some lengthy technical difficulties getting all the 4 channels of sound working too. Then as Dan explained, this would have made a lot more sense if it had happened first since it’s really background stuff, steady synth drones with occasional moany vocals. Lots of digital notes floating up and down scales. So scheduling and circumstances conspired to make this a sort of anticlimactic finish, but I’m not going to complain when this many good acts can be put together on one bill.

International Noise Conference Now + pre-shows

February 10, 2012 By: M*P* Lockwood Category: news, photos, shows

Ironing in Gainesville

Just a quick note that I’m down in Miami at the International Noise Conference and I’m trying to catch some photo and video to share. You can follow No-Core on Twitter and I’ll probably be posting up some comments during the show. My own project Radio Shock plays on Saturday around midnight, surrounded by countless other amazing bands.

Mine Canary at pre-INC show in St.Petersburg FL 2012

Mine Canary at pre-INC show in St.Petersburg

I was at a couple of the pre-INC shows in St. Petersburg and in Gainesville, and both were awesome fun with amazing acts. Mine Canary, pictured above were a highlight in St. Pete, doing hyper beats with bent electronic toys. Another highlight in St. Pete was Tree (see video) who played drums and some kind of rack mount oscillator thingamajig at the same time.

There is a set of photos at No-Core on Flickr – a few of my favorites below:

at pre-INC show in Gainesville 2012

Not sure who this was at pre-INC show in Gainesville

Names Divine at pre-INC show in Gainesville 2012

Names Divine at pre-INC show in Gainesville

Drums Like Machine Guns at pre-INC show in Gainesville 2012

Drums Like Machine Guns at pre-INC show in Gainesville

Tom Smith and Sightings, Fat Worm of Error, Child Abuse, Don Fleming at Death by Audio 01-04-2012

January 10, 2012 By: M*P* Lockwood Category: shows

Sightings w Tom Smith at Death by Audio 01-04-2012 .9

Sightings w Tom Smith at Death by Audio

I showed up to this show and the place was, surprisingly to me, already full. Sometimes shows that are can’t-miss line-ups of legends in my mind have single-digit attendance so I’m not really able to predict these things. But I was happy to see that these bands are apparently not just legends to me.

I completely missed the first act, which was Tom Smith and Don Fleming playing together. Don Fleming is a longtime NYC avant-rocker and Tom Smith is best known as the central figure from the post-music band To Live And Shave In L.A. Tom currently resides in Germany and was briefly in the states around the holidays, playing a few select shows. So I’m sad to have missed their performance.

The second band, Child Abuse, was going on. No photos, I was in the back of the room and they wouldn’t have been good anyway. Child Abuse are a bass drums keyboard trio who play metally brutal prog. Very technical, very tight, but with very messy and grungy sounds. It’s funny actually, most of the time the keyboard sounds like a distorted bass and the bass (run through some synth pedals I’m guessing) sounds like a keyboard. They were as great as ever.

Then the anti-rock, max-confusion band Fat Worm of Error was up!

Fat Worm of Error at Death by Audio 01-04-2012 .1

Fat Worm of Error at Death by Audio

Notice how it’s not even clear what’s going on in this photo? That’s how they sound, but much moreso. Of course 5 people just noodling and doing separate things would be pretty boring. Okay, maybe I’d think that was pretty cool too, but what makes Fat Worm really mind-bending is the way they have a plan and they’ve really honed their own style of playing – in a way that sounds like chaos at almost every moment. Until both guitarists suddenly play the same sequence of notes exactly together and your brain twists 360 degrees in your head in an attempt to figure out what just happened. More Fat Worm photos:

Fat Worm of Error at Death by Audio 01-04-2012 .4

Fat Worm of Error after one of a few costume changes

Fat Worm of Error at Death by Audio 01-04-2012 .3

Fat Worm of Error, feeling it at Death by Audio

I spent a little time chatting in the back room and realized this was almost like a reunion (to me) of people from a show waaay back – at the Polish National Home, now known as the Club Warsaw. Maybe I’ll write all my recollections from that show someday, but it’s where I first met lots of the people playing or in the audience. Anyway, with all these long-time friends and acquaintances in attendance, there was definitely a very friendly and supportive vibe going on. You could tell from all the chatting and joking and cheers, but also from the huge smile on Tom’s face between songs.

Sightings w Tom Smith at Death by Audio 01-04-2012 .4

Tom Smith with Sightings at Death by Audio

Sightings w Tom Smith at Death by Audio 01-04-2012 .2

Mark Morgan's guitar moves

Sightings were doing their thing, sounding as focused (yet blurred) as ever. I was told there was exactly one practice for this show but it would have been hard to guess they hadn’t been playing this set for a month on tour. Everyone seemed 100% in command, holding back or cutting loose exactly when needed with no nervous or puzzled glances. It’s a pretty perfect pairing too, Sightings and Tom Smith, as they both work in a similar mode: composed but loose, planned but spontaneous. Sightings works with sound shards and Tom works with words, both of them stretching their material to the breaking point.

Sightings w Tom Smith at Death by Audio 01-04-2012 .3

Sightings w Tom Smith at Death by Audio

Sightings w Tom Smith at Death by Audio 01-04-2012 .7

Mark Morgan of Sightings, bending spacetime

Sightings w Tom Smith at Death by Audio 01-04-2012 .10

Sightings w Tom Smith (and Pat Murano!)

Oh yeah, this fellow named Pat Murano also played with these guys. You can see him lurking behind that synth in the photo above. I can’t say too much about his playing, which is probably a good thing because it means it blended right into the Sightings vibe.

The set was short but satisfying. Definitely worth catching, but if you missed it some people seemed to be videotaping and recording so hopefully that will turn up online soon. Great show all around!

Even more photos over at the NO-CORE Flickr.


Ende Tymes Fest part 2: June 25 and 26, 2011

July 15, 2011 By: M*P* Lockwood Category: news, photos, shows

Ende Tymes Fest panel discussion left halfEnde Tymes Fest panel discussion left half

On Saturday I dragged myself out to Outpost, a place around the corner from the Silent Barn, for the panel discussion with Phill Niblock, GX Jupitter-Larsen, Al Margolis, Katherine Liberovskaya, AMK, Rat Bastard, Gen Ken Montgomery, Damion Romero, and of course Ende Tymes organizer and long-time noisemaker himself, Bob Bellerue. The subject of the discussion was listed as “Street-level experimental music and the evolution of technology and culture.” That does sound like it could be a stuffy snooze-fest, but it was actually very UN-like some of the pretentious art school events I’ve seen. I almost forgot what it was like just to listen to artists talking about why they like doing what they do, without trying to convince anyone that they’re brilliant and totally deserve that grant or gallery show. Rat Bastard’s opinions also kept things lively, as he disagreed with the other panel members on most points.

John Mannion at Ende Tymes Fest 2011

John Mannion at Ende Tymes Fest

I didn’t catch the video screening on any of the days, but I did get back in time to catch John Mannion kicking off Saturday night. Speaking of doing a lot with a little, Mannion’s main instrument is an open box fan, to which he applies an amplified screwdriver and subway pass. A laptop and effects also play a role, but still, it’s fun seeing the noises being produced by the fan-playing.

KILT filled the room with some thick wall-to-wall sound. Phil Niblock was one of the more famous performers (I gathered) and had one of the bigger crowds. However, he really only sat at his laptop so there was nothing to see. The sounds were a thick and constantly shifting river of tones. It sounded cool, but I felt like it would be more appropriate in an art installation setting where people come and go, as there was no big change in the sound at any point and little to watch.

Sick Llama at Ende Tymes Fest 2011

Sick Llama at Ende Tymes Fest

Sick Llama I’ve also never seen but heard the name pretty often. He made slow-motion echoed sounds sort of like… well, not entirely unlike a sick llama. GX Jupitter-Larsen, of Haters fame (a band which is sometimes just him so I’m not sure what the distinction is) did something or other with a suitcase that resulted in a heavy rumbling noise. The sound was nicely gritty and physical, but I do wish I could have gotten a better idea of how it was created.

Kyle Clyde at Ende Tymes Fest 2011

Kyle Clyde at Ende Tymes Fest

Kyle Clyde had a simple set-up and sonic palette compared to some, but really sold it with a gripping performance. Then at the other end of the spectrum, and closing out Saturday night, Yellow Tears had the most elaborate set-up with TVs, remote video, bowls of water, keyboards, etc. I couldn’t quite tell if their performance-art-like show, which seemed to be all about … drinking pee? … was supposed to be dark and disturbing or just a goof. It did end with someone getting a pie in the face though.

My resolve and health were deteriorating by night 3, though the quality of the acts didn’t slip. But the heat and hours of breathing cigarette smoke were starting to make me ill, so I made Sunday a shorter night and probably missed some great stuff. I was told that Gen Ken Montgomery was awesome.

Mike Shiflet created a varied range of textured sounds, almost peaceful but never boring. Damian Romero somehow made the walls, floor, and ceiling vibrate with some intense frequencies. It felt like he’d turned the whole Silent Barn into a speaker which we were all inside of. I was really, really glad I caught the set by I’D M Thfft Able (that spelling might be close to correct…) which turned out to be another one of my favorites.

I'D M Thfft Able at Ende Tymes Fest 2011

I'D M Thfft Able at Ende Tymes Fest

Much like Crank Sturgeon or john Mannion, I’D M has an approach where you can see how all the sounds are made. It’s simply contact-miked objects and improvised vocal sounds. But from that basic starting point, I’D M went way, way outside the box with his performance, creating some of the oddest, most surprising, and harshest sounds (his amplified scratching down a chalkboard made one audience member cover her ears and run to the back of the room). At various points he stumbled around, dropping and rolling bowling and billiard balls while singing stream-of-consciousness phrases. I wasn’t the only one impressed and I think he got the wildest cheers and applause of all the acts.

ID M Thfft Able at Ende Tymes Fest 2011

ID M Thfft Able at Ende Tymes

This overview is seriously incomplete, but this YouTube user, mathgrind, got far more and better videos than anything I got. I’m embedding a playlist of his Ende Tymes videos below, in no particular order. Please feel free to add other links in the comments.


Ende Tymes Festival part 1: June 24

July 08, 2011 By: M*P* Lockwood Category: photos, shows, videos

The weekend before last I caught a good portion of the epic Ende Tymes Fest at the Silent Barn in Queens. This is far from a complete overview, but I did catch most of the acts and got a few good photos and videos, so I’m going to post them up in parts. This was a 3-day, all-noise event with several long-time veterans of the noise scene represented. And when I say noise, I don’t mean just the “anything goes” stuff, but specifically the rhythm-free, note-free, harsh sound variety.

Twisty Cat at Ende Tymes Fest 2011

Twisty Cat at Ende Tymes Fest

When I got there on Friday evening, TwistyCat were going on. They’re locals who do cool free-horns through effects sounds. It’s not the harsh skronk of Borbetomagus, but it’s also not drone stuff. Somewhere in between. Vertonen did a fun set that ended with a feedback noise jam over Lady Gaga’s “Born This Way” which (I’m pretty sure) just happened to start coming through his radio.

Crank Sturgeon at Ende Tymes Fest 2011

Crank Sturgeon at Ende Tymes Fest

Crank Sturgeon is one of the scene veterans and someone I’d never seen before, so this was a real treat for me. My personal tastes also lean toward the absurdist/low-brow/dada, which had a smaller representation at the Ende Tymes, so this performance was very welcome. In addition to all that, I am always impressed when someone can do a LOT with a LITTLE. Sure, you can make some mean noise with a laptop, table full of effects pedals, modular synth and mixer – but can you put on an amazing noise show with TWO TIN CANS AND A STRING?

After the above segment, Crank Sturgeon proceeded to stretch packing tape across the venue and back (contact miked, which sounded amazing), strung up a violin from the center and did some kind of performance piece that seemed to be about him ejaculating cotton ball “clouds” onto a packing tape “sky.”

MV Carbon put in a good set of mutant sounds made with effects and a cello. (Was that instrument a cello? I don’t even know.) Bran (…) Pos was really cool to watch, creating noise from processed vocal sounds along with processed video of himself making the vocal sounds.

The Rat Bastard Experience also brought the low-brow in a big way. The Experience was comprised of all of the members of Cellular Chaos with Rat on guitar, C Lavender on a radio or something, and Nondor Nevai on “vocals.” And by “vocals” I mean freaking out and tackling people while sometimes holding a microphone.

Rat Bastard Experience at Ende Tymes Fest 2011

Rat Bastard Experience at Ende Tymes Fest

ISA Christ actually did bring a strong rhythmic element in, but run through a suitcase-of-noise-gear. And Hex Breaker Quartet closed out Friday night with their heavy psych-drone. Filling the position in the NYC scene vacant since Double Leopards?

Part 2 coming soon!

Paranoid Critical Revolution, Altaar, Benn Miller, Deathcrush, Neg-Fi, E.I.D. at Silent Barn 03-13-11

March 25, 2011 By: M*P* Lockwood Category: shows

Neg-Fi at Silent Barn 03/13/11

Neg-Fi at Silent Barn 03/13/11

I am hereby going to dub Neg-Fi “The most punctual band in New York City.” Even though they did cut an agreement with the organizers to start a few minutes after their designated time and put in what, for them, qualifies as an epic set (20 minutes?), I’m pretty sure no other band is in the running for this title. I’m always using the word minimal to describe Neg-Fi’s music, but I don’t think that’s really the right word, because they’re always plenty loud and fill the room with sound. It’s just such tightly scripted and executed music. Punctual is actually closer. Or maybe maximal.

E.I.D. at Silent Barn 03/13/11

E.I.D. at Silent Barn 03/13/11

This was one of the Silent Barn’s upstairs-downstairs shows, and downstairs the one-man noise project E.I.D. (Explosive Improvised Device) was going on. This contact mic harsh noise has been around almost 20 years now if you think about it, though it seems to be less popular at the moment and I think E.I.D. is too early for a retro resurgence – but he’s definitely carrying the flame.

The sounds here were actually really varied and dynamic. Lots of quiet-loud moments. More like a Masonna without the vocals than a C.C.C.C. or something. My only complaint: protective gloves! Does Masonna wear kneepads? Does Lucas Abela put masking tape on the edges of his glass? Bleeding for your noise is just part of the HARSHness, dude. Okay, okay, I’m giving E.I.D. a hard time, but there’s just something about a guy doing the full-on, serious noise thing (in a Macronympha T-shirt no less) that begs for a little heckling. But for real, I was impressed by how good this sounded.

Benn Miller at Silent Barn 03/13/11

Benn Miller at Silent Barn 03/13/11

Back upstairs was Benn Miller, who played a table full of fun, ancient-looking stuff. Cassette tapes, loop station, reel-to-reel, old synthesizer, and saxophone run through effects. There was also a drummer who did a good job of playing along, keeping things loose enough so that the oddball sounds could run free, and just tight enough to add a little rock. My only complaint here is that all the stuff could have been turned up because the drums were by far the loudest part.

Deathcrush at Silent Barn 03/13/11 1

Deathcrush at Silent Barn 03/13/11

Then Deathcrush (from Norway I discovered) played, and at first I honestly thought this was just terrible, but I was totally won over by the end. So many things made it seem like this was going to be awful. First, I’m always skeptical of bands that seem like they spent more time getting their hair, make-up and clothes right than their music. (male or female of course) Deathcrush came out of the gate with rock star “attitude” and “moves,” accompanied by completely un-tuned guitars and beyond rudimentary technique. (except the drummer who clearly had some solid skills) My first impression was that this band did all their song-writing and practicing in front of a mirror with non-functioning prop instruments, and this was the first time they’d been handed the real thing to use. It was like they thought they were in Def Leppard but came out sounding more like… The Dead C?

Deathcrush at Silent Barn 03/13/11 2

Deathcrush at Silent Barn 03/13/11

But as I watched, I found I did a complete 180 in my thinking. First I thought: if they were pulling out rock star moves and sounding like Def Leppard, would that be better? No way, that would be terrible. If they sounded like a sludgy & dirgey noise-rock band but spent the show crouching over their amps and staring at their feet, would that be better? Again, no way. Then at some point they did this one song and by some combination of willpower and magical happenstance it sounded perfect. Even when the guitarist was holding up her guitar and gesturing to her tourmates that a new string was needed, feedback howling away and sounding no different than it was when she was furiously doing something with it a minute ago – there was this great semi-melodic vortex of sound going on, like a Venus in Furs moment – and I officially changed my mind. The headbanging into the audience finale sealed the deal. Deathcrush were kind of awesome.

Paranoid Critical Revolution at Silent Barn 03/13/11

Paranoid Critical Revolution at Silent Barn 03/13/11

The Paranoid Critical Revolution, usually a duo, played without their drummer, who I’m told had quit the band. So it was just member Reg Bloor playing guitar. Reg also plays in Glenn Branca’s guitar orchestra, and on her own she sounds like a whole orchestra of guitars. I don’t really know how it’s done, but using an amp that doesn’t look all that big, she can blow out any eardrums in the room. Earplugs take a ton of the treble away, but it still sounds hellishly loud.

We’d had a brief conversation about black metal before the show started and with that in my mind, I couldn’t help thinking how Reg’s style is kind of black metal. The super-fast strumming with little notes picked out of a hurricane of white noise. It’s like part black metal, part no wave, and part nuclear holocaust.

Because of some overlap, I only caught the end of Altaar’s set. They also had thoroughly filled the room with smoke-machine fog, so my point and shoot camera was useless. This was the band that had been described as black metal, but we Americans do know a thing or two about our metal genres, and just because a band is from Norway does not make them black metal. I’d put this firmly in the sludge/doom metal category. Maybe with a noise-rock bent, given all the pedals in use. So what I saw was about 10 minutes of slow, heavy, thudding noise-dirge – which it wouldn’t really be fair to judge these guys on, as it was probably just the triumphant climax to an epic show. I’m going to assume that’s the case.

Cellular Chaos, Satanized, Drums Like Machine Guns, White Suns at Cake-Shop 2/25/11

March 11, 2011 By: M*P* Lockwood Category: shows

Satanized at the Cake-Shop 2/27/11 - 1

Satanized at the Cake-Shop

The Cake-Shop is one of the last places left in Manhattan that I still go to for shows, with virtually every other show happening in Brooklyn these days, but it’s also just about my favorite place for shows. They’ve got coffee and yes, cake!, and awesome records to browse, and the downstairs show space is great. And of course they host awesome shows like this one, which deserved a far larger crowd than it got.

White Suns at the Cake-Shop 2/27/11

White Suns at the Cake-Shop 2/27/11

The White Suns opened things up with their thunderous noise/rock. For some reason, this sounded better than any previous time I’ve seen them. Things can sometimes sound pretty indistinct when you’ve got 3 different people making 3 different grinding and/or screeching noises, but I could distinguish everything that went into the formula this time. While watching them, it occurred to me that while they look like a rock band, this is really a noise band with some rock instrumentation. They do scripted songs, but elements like rhythm or, um, melody? (ha ha) are distant seconds to sheer noise terror.

Drums Like Machine Guns at the Cake-Shop 2/27/11

Drums Like Machine Guns at the Cake-Shop 2/27/11

Drums Like Machine Guns are a long-time favorite. They’re generally a mixture of oddball experiments and howling, head-banging beats-&-noise. To be honest, this show was noticeably less intense than I’ve seen from them. I mean, these dudes always sound great, but they’ve set the bar pretty damn high for themselves with past performances. On the other hand, they did some different stuff, possibly knowing that most of the people in attendance had seen them several times before – and that’s a good choice too.

Satanized at the Cake-Shop 2/27/11 - 2

Satanized at the Cake-Shop 2/27/11 - 2

Satanized at the Cake-Shop 2/27/11 - 3

Satanized at the Cake-Shop 2/27/11 - 3

Satanized pushed things to new extremes with their music, becoming more obtuse and perplexing than ever. Which is meant as a high compliment, in case you don’t know me very well. Satanized are both heavy-bottomed and high-ended. The chugging bass and heavy, complex drums almost sound like they’re operating in a different dimension than the super-shrill guitar, which sounds like equal parts Mick Barr and Big Black. I’m used to Alex’s maxed-treble guitar sound, but he did some harmonics things this time that went into dog-whistle territory.

Cellular Chaos at the Cake-Shop 2/27/11

Cellular Chaos at the Cake-Shop 2/27/11

I hadn’t seen Cellular Chaos before, but since I’m almost always into Weasel Walter’s projects, it’s no surprise I thought they were great. It’s nice to see Weasel playing guitar too, and some of the heavy-handedness of Lake of Dracula is definitely present, but it’s also nice how there was subtlety and complexity involved too. All the members of this group are definitely players, but mercifully un-showy ones. There were moments of freakout improv and moments of rigid tightness, on-a-dime switches between the two, and times when it wasn’t entirely clear what was happening. Unclear to the audience that is, but the band was in command at all times.

All around great show, killer line-up from start to finish.

Satanized on MySpace
Drums Like Machine Guns
White Suns
Cellular Chaos


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