NO-CORE blog

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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!

Lazy Magnet "Why Go On?" C20 cassette

February 03, 2009 By: M*P* Lockwood Category: albums

Lazy Magnet is one of those “you never know what you’re going to get” acts, but you can be assured that it will always be good stuff. This tape is mainly drone/mood music, with some curious twists.

The first side definitely drops you into heavy drone territory with what sounds like an infinite-sustain vibrato keyboard note and some hissing/whistling that sometimes sounds like a tea kettle or a distant jet plane gradually taking off. It’s actually well-paced for the length of the side, building (or achieving lift-off) and then gently settling again just before the side is out. Then the piece starts to fade into some guitar strumming and vocals and I almost thought this was going to transition into some kind of moan-wave/new-weird-america/retro-hippie thing. But then the side abruptly ended.

Then strangely side 2 starts off sounding like it’s rewound 30 seconds and you’re still in the same drone, except instead of fading into some kind of meandering hippie jam, it (thankfully) transforms instead into what sounds an awful lots like a John Carpenter soundtrack. Gradually shifting and melodic plink-plonk 80’s synthesizer notes keep the tension at a slow boil. The knobs get tweaked a bit here and there and everything gets a little Moogey until the piece fades out. Then as a final head-scratcher, there’s some low, distant droning and what sound like the beginning of a new piece of music begins to fade in, but the tape ends before it becomes very audible.

This is definitely background or soundtrack music, though there’s a slow constant shift to everything. The mysterious end of each side also makes me wonder if my tape got dubbed wrong. Is it just a fake out, or a genuine mistake? I guess if you get a copy of this tape I can’t guarantee it will sound exactly the same as what I describe, but then that would be in keeping with the Lazy Magnet anti-aesthetic. You really do never know what you will get.
Lazy Magnet on MySpace

LAZY MAGNET "Is Music Even Good?"

April 08, 2008 By: M*P* Lockwood Category: albums

I’ll bet most reviews of this album will call it “schizophrenic” or use the term “genre-hopping.” Heck, you might even be able to convince those “musician” friends of yours who think Mike Patton and Zappa are genii that this is good stuff. (If they make it past the piercing feedback in the song “Masters of Science Fiction”) But it just wouldn’t be right to compare Lazy Magnet to Mr. Bungle or Naked City or other genre-hopping type musical show-offs. Those bands are largely all about saying “Hey, hey, did you know we can play death metal! Oh, hey, we can play swing too! We can play Zydeco!” Give this album a couple of listens and you’ll realize that songwriting came first for Jeremy Harris, Lazy Magnet mastermind, and then he simply tried to make every part of every song sound as great as it could.

Lazy Magnet is largely Jeremy’s solo project, who lives and makes music in Providence, RI, though here he is joined by no less than 16 guest musicians who add violins, flutes, piano, voices, trumpets, etc. So we do get a wide range of musical influences that show up here, including but not limited to: punk, noise, country, prog metal, ye-ye, folk. But there’s an underlying style that holds it all together. This is closer in spirit and sound to albums by the Melvins or even Ween than the above-mentioned groups.

Time was, an album like this would make a guy reasonably famous. I have no idea if we still live in a time like that but hopefully this at least puts Lazy Magnet on the map within the underground/weirdness scene. The full title of this album is: “He Sought For That Magic By Which All The Glory And Mystic Chivalry Were Made To Shine – or – Is Music Even Good?” I’m convinced that the first title-sentence is literally true of this album, and in so doing Lazy Magnet has proven that music IS actually still good.

By the way, the CD includes a live bonus track with a chorus of “Fighting to survive, when it’s cold outside.” I have visited the land of heating-free Providence factory-dwellers during a very cold time of year, and I can tell you that this statement is also quite literally true. So, you know, buy a copy and help a brother out. Vinyl version comes out in July I hear.

Lazy Magnet MySpace

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