NO-CORE blog

noizy music blog
Subscribe

Sightings “Terribly Well”

April 23, 2013 By: M*P* Lockwood Category: albums

sightings terribly well cover

Several years back, a friend, commenting on a new Sightings album, said “They don’t even sound like a band anymore.” And despite Sightings’ claim that it’s still just rock music, try playing this record for your mom and see if she believes that it’s the sound of a rock band. At the same time, Sightings have never sounded more confident and sure-footed in their style. They broke through the walls defining the boundaries of rock music long ago and have become masters of their new territory. Sightings are one of very few groups to have created their own unique musical language and then mastered it as well.

Sightings’ members all have very distinct playing styles. Drummer Jon plays looping, skittering percussive sounds more than beats. Bassist Richard plays wobbling subsonic pulses. And Mark Morgan’s guitar exists almost entirely in the mid-to-high frequencies, often sounding like a train wreck at the end of a tunnel while his vocals are confused mutterings and unhinged rantings. They’re even joined by Pat Murano playing synth on most tracks, something I didn’t even notice on first listen, which is a testament to how well he’s blended into the Sightings vibe and sound. The first track, “The Loafer” starts out with some guitar notes that are deep into the Psychocandy reverb zone, and might almost lead you to believe for a moment that a steady beat will drop and you’ll hear something that sounds like post-punk. Until the other instruments roll in like irregular boulders and the guitar sound starts stretching past the breaking point, cracking and sizzling. The closest precursors to Sightings’ style might be Mars, early Public Image Limited, and Royal Trux’s “Twin Infinitives.”

This album is not radically different from the last couple Sightings have done, but it might be even better. More focused, more confident. One of the all-time great bands, reaching a new peak. Good stuff.

Listen to the track “Better Fastened” on Soundcloud.
Purchase from Dais Records

 

FOOT VILLAGE “Anti-Magic”

October 23, 2009 By: M*P* Lockwood Category: albums

Foot VillageThe last time I wrote something about the infamous 4-drummer/vocalist band Foot Village, I said that they reminded me of one of those weekend project bands that would normally play one show and be forgotten. Somehow or other I had in fact forgotten that I actually WAS in a percussion-and-vocals-only band called The Old Joe Smiths. It was formed on a weekend and did play exactly one show.

But wait, this is not one of those self-absorbed reviews where I just talk about me, I have a point about Foot Village. As soon as the Old Joe Smiths band concept was born, it immediately expanded to include multiple odd percussion instruments, including glass bottles with varying amounts of water to make a crude xylophone. Foot Village on the other hand, has a much stronger purity of vision. If someone tells you that a band is made of 4 drummer/vocalists, you might picture some kind of world music group with bongos, bells, vocal harmonies, etc. Heck, even other multi-drummer noise-rock groups like Aa or current Boredoms go in for this stuff.

Foot Village? None of that. Four matching rock drum kits. Kick, tom, snare, hi-hat, crash. Times four. Pounding and screaming. That’s what you get. They allow themselves exactly one additional “instrument” – the megaphone. I suspect the tone in “Death of the Endless” is megaphone feedback and the sirens in “National Jamthum” and “Chicken & Cheese 2” are a default sound created by the same megaphone. In addition to these restrictions, Foot Village also operate within an established concept – they are building their own nation. This album, “Anti-Magic,” is vaguely about their first war, with the forces of mysticism and magic. The album art shows Foot Village tribe members – all nude – fighting wizard types with sticks, spears, and bombs. I thought this concept might be about the battle between superstition and rationalism, but if so it comes across vague and playful, not political.

You might think the tight restrictions would make things boring, but no. It just forces Foot Village to push the creativity of their composition and interaction. There is one small deviation from this plan, the half-way point track “Grace’s Death” which is mostly vocal, then veers into some kind of remixed/electronic segment. A nice little break, then back to the drums. Also, the album closes with the track “Chicken & Cheese 2,” which turns into a relay race of rad underground bands covering the song, one after the other. The results are extremely varied and it’s a super-fun way to close things out. In fact, each edition of the album: CD, vinyl, cassette, and digital – has a different collection of bands doing the covers.

One last thought: It is really hard to capture multiple drums in a recording. I don’t know if it always sounds like there are 4 drum kits here, but it almost always sounds like there’s more than one. The drum-layering works best when there are lots of fast rolls going on, like those in “Reggae War Zone.” The “heavy” all-together pounding moments sound much more impressive in a live setting, which is really how you ought to experience Foot Village. Still, none of that changes the fact that this is a great and super-entertaining album. (But maybe they should put out a Dolby 5.1 version too).

Free mp3 sample download: Foot Village – Reggae War Zone

Foot Village website
Foot Village on last.fm
album can be bought here

downloadable noise-rock albums, get ’em while they’re hot!

June 18, 2009 By: M*P* Lockwood Category: albums, downloads

And not just from some unknown punks neither, but some danged “luminaries.”

XBXRX have made their new album, “Un Usper,” available for “FREE” download direct from their website:

http://www.xbxrx.com

This album is a nice mish-mash of punk rock moves, noise-rock attitude, free-jamming, synth sounds, and is that a xylophone? Nice.

Those quotes around free are, however, intentional. While you are permitted to download it for free, XBXRX ask that you make a donation in return. I know that sometimes it feels like digital music should be completely free, but I reasoned with myself as follows: I would blow 4 bucks just to make a round-trip subway ride to the record store, and that’s more than most bands on a label get from each CD sale, so heck, it seems reasonable to throw those few dollars to XBXRX and support really, truly DIY music. But hey, don’t let me discourage you from donating more… or less…

Next up, AIDS Wolf “Pas Rapport”:

It’s a tour-only tape of improv jams, or maybe they’re not totally improvised. The boombox quality recording is not too much different from the blown-out sound on their album proper and the tracks are all punctual full-band jams. So if you liked the albums, you will definitely want to grab this while the download link still works.

Get it here!

AIDS Wolf ask for nothing in return, but you might consider following their blog (http://aidswolfs.blogspot.com) so you can find out about things like this, and of course go see them when they come around on tour!

ENJOY.

LIVE: Teenage Jesus & The Jerks reunion (06-13-2008)

June 26, 2008 By: M*P* Lockwood Category: shows

So I went to the recent Teenage Jesus & the Jerks reunion show at the Knitting Factory. I know, I was fully expecting that I might be paying $25 for 10 minutes (or less?) of disappointment. But heck, I went to the Contortions reunion show and it turned out to be pretty damn good. Turns out this show was pretty damn good too. I’d even say really good.

This show was celebrating the release of some No-Wave Book. I thought I already knew about this book, which came out a few months back, but it turns out this is ANOTHER No-Wave book. I have no idea why 2 different books came out at the same time, or how exactly they differ, but maybe once I get some extra money and buy them both I can do a compare and contrast book review for everyone. I’m going to assume that any readers of this are familiar with the original No-Wave bands, and if you’re not, well there are now TWO books on the subject which you could refer to.

The opening band was a group of original No-Wavers called Information who, I’ll be honest, wasn’t familiar to me. Apparently Information was a short-lived group which played alongside all the No New York bands. Members were in several other bands and Informationeers Chris Nelson and Philip Dray formed The Scene is Now, a band which has been in existence ever since. (This article tells some of the story) They sounded fantastic, absolutely nailing that rough/complex, untrained/brilliant dichotomy that sounds exactly like what you’d hope to hear at a No-Wave reunion show. Drums that thump right along with guitars doing things that shouldn’t go together but sound amazing together anyway, and hey, that exact electric organ (?) sound from the Contortions record.

There were lots of older folks in the audience, fans and friends from the original days it seemed. Then some music nerds and most heartening of all, some younger kids, including some cool dudes rocking flannel and the classic Mudhoney Big Muff T-shirt. The kids are alright! Very few hipster 20-somethings, but you know, I was at the early show (8:00) and maybe the scene was different at the 11:00 show.

Teenage Jesus and The Jerks go on at 9:30 sharp. As it turns out, this performance was pretty much everything you could have wanted. Lydia Lunch was a fireball of spite, the guitar sound was just as shrill and dissonant as it should be, and I’m pretty sure they played every single song. (Except for the early ones with James Chance. I suppose you could have wanted a guest appearance by him too, but no such luck.) The drummer, Jim Sclavunos (who originally played bass with the band), and Thurston Moore who was filling in on bass (of course?) tried very hard to stand perfectly still with permanent scowls on their faces throughout the set.

I say “tried” because while all the No-Wave hate was in place, it was clear that tonight it was all in good fun. The “hecklers” in the audience were in on it and laughed and cheered at Ms. Lunch’s comebacks. Sample: “Fuck you!” LL: “You’d like to fuck me but you STILL couldn’t afford it.” TJ&J were known for their brief sets and military-like discipline. When the band were a slight bit off on the beginning of a song it was immediately halted and Lydia shouted “Again!” When the song was cut short a third time and she simply shot a deathly glare at Thurston, he and Mr. Sclavunos couldn’t quite suppress their grins. When Thurston’s guitar strap broke later on, Lydia said “This is what happens when we let a member of Sonic Youth join the band. Fumble!” But then even she cracked under the good vibes and had to say, although in a sarcastic tone “No… I love Sonic Youth.”

Despite a closing comment of “Less is more, get over it,” I have actually seen many much shorter sets in recent days. I guess the standards have changed since ’78 thanks to groups like Cock ESP and the whole International Noise Conference scene, and of course Teenage Jesus in the first place. No complaints though, TJ&J still wrapped up in 30 minutes max, way before anyone could get bored.

photos by Georgia Kral

MINCEMEAT OR TENSPEED “All Critters” LP

May 13, 2008 By: M*P* Lockwood Category: albums

I know, there aren’t a ton of reviews here and already I’m writing about another release from Mincemeat or Tenspeed. I’m trying to be a bit more current though with these writings and I want to say something about this 12” release before absolutely everyone’s talking about it.

Mincemeat or Tenspeed (yes, that’s one band name) is Davey, a one-man table-top-of-pedals dude who makes noise that you could maybe actually dance to. Despite more than a decade of feedback-loop noise dudes, somehow none of them had yet hit upon the magic formula MMOTS uses to make his slamming, high-speed rhythmic noise jams. Or maybe they did and then they thought “Fuck this, this almost sounds like music!” Indeed it does. This doesn’t really fit in at all with the whole “serious noise artist” crowd, but it’s an excellent representation of what’s been brewing in Philadelphia’s low-brow party-noise scene.

I just saw a Mincemeat or Tenspeed show the other night and let me tell you, his skills with manipulating these sounds have become razor-sharp. This is evidenced on this new record too, which has 4 long-ish tracks. Most follow the MMOTS formula of starting with a simple, almost relaxing rhythmic sound. Track 3, “Root Furz” almost sounds like it starts with some kind of electronic banjo fiddling. Then out of nowhere some crushing distortion kicks in and we’re straight into headbanging territory. The rhythm shifts, slips and slides but keeps pulsing away. The last track is a bit more subdued, starting with some grainy electronic noises and building up to what sounds almost like distorted bagpipes playing a sad tune of escalating intensity.

This is a killer release from a real innovator who is finding new methods for making new kinds of music. Nice silkscreened art on the record sleeve too! Co-released by Big Monies Tapes, Malleable Records, and Deathbombarc.

http://www.myspace.com/mincemeatortenspeed

http://malleablerecs.com
http://deathbombarc.com
http://www.myspace.com/bigmoniestapes

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.


http://www.corleonerecords.com

Lazy Magnet MySpace

THIS IS MY CONDITION – DVD

March 18, 2008 By: M*P* Lockwood Category: albums

Here’s the set-up. Craig Comstock is the one-man-band This Is My Condition. He plays guitar and drums and sings, all at once. I’m not talking about playing a bass drum strapped on his back, I mean he plays a full drum kit and plays a guitar, balanced across the snare and floor tom, with his drum sticks, as he plays. And honestly, if you just listened, you would never believe what was happening, which I suppose is why this is a DVD and not a CD.

So that sounds like an interesting gimmick, right? But how does it sound? This will rock your face off. Serious. At the risk of going on and on about all the bands I saw play at the INC in Miami, This Is My Condition stirred up the fiercest mosh action there, complete with dudes stage-diving off his kick drum! (because he was playing on the floor, see?) Unfortunately, this DVD documents some shows with more sedate audiences, but This Is My Condition still gets them moving.

Because the guitar is being played with drum sticks, it mostly sounds like noisy finger-tapping (again, a bit like Lightning Bolt) or noisy slide guitar, rather bluesy even at times. At times the guitar is sampled and looped, but usually this is just so that a second guitar part can be played over the top. And in between all the high-energy stuff, there are just enough quieter tension-building songs (that really work!) to make the rock really hit you. The footage is clear and steady, with some relatively non-distracting effects here and there, and the sound is good. At times the camera microphone is overblown, but it still sounds great. It’s pretty captivating to watch this music being made, but the music is also good enough on its own that I wish it came with a CD of just the audio.

Comes in a nice recycled-LP sleeve, on Sounds From The Pocket.

http://www.thisismycondition.com/
http://www.myspace.com/thisismycondition
http://soundsfromthepocket.com/catalog.htm

SONIC YOUTH “The Destroyed Room: b-sides and rarities”

March 18, 2008 By: M*P* Lockwood Category: albums

Everyone loves Sonic Youth, right? Or at least , everyone loves Sonic Youth at some stage of their evolution. You already own all their records, or at least, you own all their records up to a certain point where you lost track. So do you need this one?

The subtitle of this album is somewhat misleading. “B-sides and rarities” suggests that there is going to be some stuff dug up from across SY’s long career. And aren’t all the b-sides compiled on some other release by now? Well, that’s not really what we have here. This is basically a bunch of jams recorded in more recent years that didn’t have anywhere else to go but were too good to just throw away.

If you enjoyed Sonic Youth’s last few records (“Rather Ripped,” “Sonic Nurse,” “Murray Street”) then you will be really happy to get this record, which is essentially the outtakes. Improvised jams and songs that didn’t quite make it. I’m pretty stoked about this because I think those are some of SY’s best releases since (insert favorite old-school SY album here). If you did lose track of what they were doing X albums back, I’d recommend at least checking in again.

There are a couple of tracks I could live without. “Campfire” is some kind of ambient electronic track from a compilation and sounds to me like it’s just filling space here. There’s also a new, extended “Diamond Sea,” the already rather long track from the end of “Washing Machine.” Since we already got some 15 minutes worth of the very same recording on that album, I would rather have gotten more totally unheard material here.

But I’m pretty happy because the bulk of this is blissful, breezily dissonant and eezily rockin’ Sonic Jams. Good tour driving music, drinking coffee on the porch late Sunday morning music. (Or maybe oil-painting in your over-priced “East Williamsburg” loft to the track “Fauxhemians?”)

MINCEMEAT OR TENSPEED “Harsh Nice”

March 14, 2008 By: M*P* Lockwood Category: albums

Alright, the first thing is, this CDR says right on the back of it that “No synthesizers, samplers, sequencers, drum machines, computers, or musical instruments were used to make this recording.” What was used then? Just a big table of effects pedals. Okay, we’ve seen and heard that set-up a dozen times before but I’ve never seen it sound like this. For lack of a better word, it’s amazing how musical this sounds.

I’ve seen Mincemeat or Tenspeed live and it’s just one guy head-banging and slapping pedals and somehow telepathically beaming this insane music out of his brain and through the speakers at deafening volume. Totally rhythmic loops and blasts and even occasionally some subtle, peaceful chiming or bird-like sounds. It really sounds at times like Lightning Bolt’s bass finger-tapping. This noise gets people dancing, I’ve seen it happen! You could even drive around playing it on your car stereo on a sunny day.

This is also a very music-like album in that it is a sensible full album length with a very sensible 10 song-like tracks. Perfect if you suffer from musical attention deficit (like myself at times) or if you’re not into waiting through the first 30 minutes of that noise record for it to start getting good. My only complaint is that this seems to be recorded direct and lacks the sonic blast and low-end boom that MMOTS has pumping out of a good P.A. Just hit the bass-boost and turn your stereo up to get the proper experience.

This is a self-released CDR, but MMOTS now also has a split LP with Drums Like Machine Guns out on Badmaster Records and a new full-blown LP coming out any second now.

http://www.myspace.com/mincemeatortenspeed

COUSINS OF REGGAE “Methridge”

March 14, 2008 By: M*P* Lockwood Category: albums

I love this record! Alright, I don’t love it yet, and in fact find it a bit of an exhausting listen and don’t always finish it. But then I keep finding myself wanting to listen again and enjoying it more each time. An addictive acquired taste! I had the same kind of experience way back when with Big Black’s “Songs About Fucking” which seemed pretty sonically extreme to me at the time.

Cousins of Reggae is a duo from Montreal, one of whom is Blake Hargreaves, a guy who keeps busy in the underground noise scene and is also half of the excellent noise duo Dreamcatcher. This is basically a guitar and drums thing, but a seriously dense and blown out cacophony of drums and guitar, and a whole bunch of sounds that come from sources unknown. There are even unintelligible vocals in the mix. I’d say this falls somewhere between Royal Trux’s “Twin Infinitives” and the noisiest Harry Pussy stuff.

I think what keeps me coming back to this is that there seems to be some deep logic underlying all the squall, but it’s hard to decipher. Now and then you get a definite guitar riff of the caveman/early Royal Trux type or an almost math-rocky rhythm, but any coherent music usually disappears into the sonic blizzard. I feel like if I keep staring, a master plan is going to pop out at me like those 3-D fractal posters. How much of this is really planned and practiced, how much is just free improv, and how much is a figment of my imagination? Cousins of Reggae definitely blur those lines, but that’s what makes this album so much fun. And it’s one hellacious racket.

CDR on “Our Mouth” Records

http://ourmouthrecords.com/catalogue.html

http://www.myspace.com/cousinsofreggae

  • Categories

  • RSS the No-Core podcast

    • No-Core Mixtape no. 24
      Did you miss me? I can’t guarantee this will be a regular thing again, but I got the itch and busted out another one of these podcasts. Some weird stuff in this one. Featuring soundz from Lightning Bolt, Profligate, Xerobot, Moth Cock, Skeleton Warrior, Pod Blotz, Mincemeat or Tenspeed, Mansion, Doomsday Student, Bromp Treb, Form […]
  • No-Core on Facebook

  • No-Core on Twitter