More Reviews in the Latest Still Singles Column

The following reviews appeared in the Volume 3, Number 7 edition of Doug Mosurak’s Still Single column at Dusted Magazine that ran today:

Dog Faced Hermans
Mental Blocks for All Ages LP
(Mississippi Records)

Dog Faced Hermans were one of the best bands I’ve ever had the pleasure to see live. This amazing Scottish-via-the-Netherlands four-piece just absolutely fucking destroyed on stage with an intensity and energy that even their sister band the Ex sometimes can’t manage. The key to understanding what sets them apart from other ostensibly good post-Crass UK punk bands is the direct connection that singer Marion Coutts’ vocals, lyrics and presence made with earlier 20th century developments in radical art and politics. Mental Blocks for All Ages, originally released on Project A-Bomb in 1991, is the moment when the Hermans really came into their own, showing an ability to absorb all kinds of fantastic non-punk sounds (Indian, Kurdish, Vietnamese, free jazz) while still retaining the steadfast adrenaline rush-sound fueled mainly by Andy’s guitar-playing-and-dismantling and Wilf’s ridiculously ferocious drumming. So while it’s easy lament the band’s passing (Marion continued her art in the UK), it is fantastic that those not privileged to see the Hermans can at least still enjoy their recordings. Key tracks include “Suppressa” (with a fantastic overdubbed horn break), the mellow “Astronaut,” “Ballad About Bhopal,” and “It’s Time” (based on a Charlie Haden tune). So when can we expect a vinyl box-set of their discography and one or two live shows? (no address provided)


Egypt Is The Magick #

The Valentine Process LP
(Mad Monk)

Charlie Manson once said “No sense makes sense,” and that’s all fine and dandy, but every once in a while a little clarity goes a long way. But if you’re looking for clarity, or at least want to hear it; you won’t get it from Egypt Is The Magick #, a long-running mystery project with perhaps some No Neck Blues Band ties. Nope, on The Valentine Process you get lots of murk, maybe even a little esoteric mysticism, and a lot of nonsense. Now, nonsense ain’t necessarily bad, sometimes it’s even good, but in the way it manifests on The Valentine Process, it’s mostly just kinda boring and pointless. I hate to bag on a band for doing things their own way, and Egypt Is The Magick # is certainly unique, but ultimately the music just doesn’t gel in an interesting way for me. There’s a lot of moaning, some scraping and bowing, and on the second side an extended electro-ish sequence reminiscent of what the far-more-interesting Excepter does, but yeah, I just can’t get into this. Sorry, mystic weirdos. On the other hand, this record does look good, so at least they got that part right. (www.woodenwand.net/madmonk)

Emil Beaulieau
Moonlight on Vermont LP
(Ecstatic Peace!)

Ah, the myriad guises of one RRRon Lessard. Among the pranks and put-ons, fun times and harsh noise, one thing has remained constant: RRRon’s propensity to just do whatever he damn well pleases, and to do it damn well. The Beaulieau nom-de-plume (swiped from a former conservative mayor of Manchester, New Hampshire) has been with us for a while and much like the permanence of the magic marker scrawl when I saw it written in a bathroom in a gas station in rural Oregon in 2003, who knows how much longer it will last? Will RRRon get bored and move on to something else, hanging up the sweater vest and turntables for some other means of expression? I don’t know, but I’m glad that for the moment we’ve got Moonlight on Vermont to listen to. While it’s taken some years for it to, uh, come to light, Moonlight delivers some harsh ’00s realities that any longtime listener will enjoy. The noise novices out there might enjoy it, too, especially the slightly-more-rock overtures of the second side. As for me, this disc goes quite nicely with the incessant pounding, drilling and sawing of the workmen converting the first floor of my building into what will soon be some new bouge’s apartment. What noise will exist when the housing and new construction boom ends? Ask Ben Bernanke. In an edition of 300, each with a unique cover handmade by the artist. (http://www.ecstaticpeace.com)

GHQ
Crystal Healing LP
(Threelobed)

This long-running unit comprised of heavy-hitters Marcia Bassett (Double Leopards, Hototogisu, Un, Zaimph), Pete Nolan (Magick Markers, Bark Haze, Flux Spectre) and Steve Gunn serves up some tasty extended drone action on Crystal Healing, from the Bardo-affiliated Three-Lobed Recordings label. Those familiar with their work in other bands and configurations won’t really find much out of the ordinary here, as the emphasis is on lots of meditative fuzz. However, occasionally the fuzz is accompanied and complemented by acoustic guitar – and on the second side by a plaintive male groan – both injecting a subtle yet affecting melodicism that helps make Crystal Healing sound more interesting than your average drone fest, making it clear that it’s played by above-average droners. Perhaps the only complaint is that there isn’t enough; the drawback of the LP format is that it just isn’t long enough for me to get really immersed in the music. Like a nice warm bath on a late fall day, the GHQ performances I’ve seen had a tendency to make a long amount of time seem like it really had just been standing still, regardless of (or perhaps in spite of) the added pleasures of imbibitions and inhalations. Maybe a five-hour long DVD with some Marian Zazeela-style light installation visuals should be in order. Or maybe not, as we wouldn’t want La Monte Young to sue anybody. Either way, Crystal Healing provides a nice, if only temporary, fix. Nice gatefold sleeve, edition of 855. (http://www.threelobed.com/tlr)

…and there’s a couple more, but I don’t feel like posting the rest, so I guess you’ll just have to read the rest of the column. Which you should anyway, as it contains some good writin’ by Mr. Mosurak and special guest Matt Stern. Will I contribute more often to Dusted? Well, I have no idea, so for now, let’s just enjoy the moment.

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