Gonna open up the files, here comes some (mostly) short reviews (most of which have been recently published in the new Bejeezus zine, mainly available in Louisville) that have been languishing in the archives. Enjoy.
Dungen, Ta Det Lungt (Subliminal Sounds) CD
Sweden’s been fertile ground for awesome psych reissues in the past coupla years. And wouldn’t you know it? They’ve got some good heavy slabs of new psych bands out now, too. Dungen‘s this band of Scandi whippersnappers who know how to bring the heavy jamz, with plenty of heaping helpings of melody. If anything, the sweetness might potentially put off some of the heavier psych heads out there. But fuck ’em, this album is great. “Panda” kicks off the show with a tune so catchy I’m tempted to learn some Swedish just so I can sing along. Dungen slows things down a bit by the fourth track, “Du hr for fin for mig” (yeah I have no idea what that means, either), which brings in some sappy strings and mellotron/synth soundz for maximum melodrama moments. Good times, and guaranteed to make the girls swoon.
Crain, Speed + 4 (Temporary Residence) CD
Whoa, this is a doozy. The debut album by Louisville’s super-heavy (and super-long-gone) Crain has just been reissued by Temporary Residence, and it’s about time. To say that this reissue was long overdue is an understatement. It’d be difficult for me to overstate the effect that Crain’s music had on my formative teenage years. It would also be impossible to recount the many times I saw them kick total ass live, though I do remember the Speed record release show quite clearly. That night I got my copy of the LP (limited glow-in-the-dark edition!) and, also, my mind blown by the sheer force that was Crain’s lineup at the time. Experience the glory for yourself, re-mastered to finesse.
The Weird Weeds, Hold Me (Edition Manifold) CD
To most people, weird as an adjective is a pejorative. Then again, most people are douchebags. C’mon, it’s not all that misanthropic to say that, oh, 80 percent of the earth’s population ain’t worth a damn. I’m sure most of the time you’ve felt that way too. Anyway, Austin, Texas’s Weird Weeds are weird in a non-pejorative way. That is, they are unique, not ooooh bad I don’t want to deal with this because I can’t/don’t/won’t understand it. Currently a three-piece (tho a four-piece on this CD), the Weird Weeds blend beautifully sung melodies with usually spare guitar lines and minimal drumming as accompaniment (though the first song “Paratrooper Seed” starts with what sounds like a nice synth part). Occasionally the players’ free-improv backgrounds come to the fore in the form of some radical-sounding guitar noodling and drum-thumpery (which adds a nicely-needed tension to the proceedings). All in all, this is emotional music, conveying a beautiful sense of desperation, without being emo blah bullshit.
Optimo, How to Kill the DJ Part Two (Kill the DJ/Tigersushi) 2CD
JG Wilkes and JD Twitch are the dj duo behind Optimo, the most popular dance club night in Glasgow, Scotland. How to Kill the DJ Part Two is their new mix compilation, and it melds dance floor classics with obscurities, and just plain weird stuff. Eclecticism is the name of the game here, and the listener ultimately is who “wins.” You’ve got your typical 00s party hits like Gang of Four‘s “Damaged Goods” (honestly, I get tired of hearing this one but these guys do mix it in inventively, so they get a pass), Arthur Russell‘s “Is It All Over My Face?” (under the Loose Joint moniker) and Carl Craig‘s “Demented Drums” but then there’s also tracks by the Sun City Girls, Langley Schools Music Project (covering “Good Vibrations” and signifying the change on the decks from Wilkes to Twitch), Suicide and Nurse With Wound to keep things interesting. The bonus disc compiles a good, non-mixed mix that listeners can play with. The now sound is the sound everything but the kitchen sink, people.
Keith Fullerton Whitman/Greg Davis, Yearlong (Carpark) CD
Keith Fullerton Whitman and Greg Davis toured together extensively in 2001 and 2002, and Yearlong is a fascinating document of their live electronic and electro-acoustic improvisations over that year. Though there’s very little music on Yearlong that could be described as “accessible,” there are some very pretty moments, along with some of the harsh sounds typical to a number of laptop improvising schtick. But don’t let the harsh sounds fool you: even at their most aggressive, there is a musicality to Whitman’s and Davis’s approaches, and Yearlong — while not for the average shmoe — definitely rewards patient listening.