Tag Archives: Magik Markers

SAPAT Record Release Show with ELISA AMBROGIO (of Magik Markers), NATHAN BOWLES, and CHAMPION ZOZ at THE NEW VINTAGE, Saturday, January 24th

Elisa Flyer
(Flier by Kaptain Molasses.)

The Other Side of Life is proud to present:

SAPAT Record Release Show!

with

ELISA AMBROGIO (of Magik Markers, on Drag City)
NATHAN BOWLES (of Pelt and the Black Twig Pickers, on Paradise of Bachelors)
CHAMPION ZOZ

Saturday, January 24th
at THE NEW VINTAGE
8 PM, $10, ALL AGES!
Advance online tickets available here: http://www.ticketfly.com/event/742259-sapat-record-release-show-louisville/
Facebook invitation here: https://www.facebook.com/events/1667672330126381
Recommended If You Like: Valley of Ashes, Magik Markers, Pelt, State Champion

Spawned from the formidable Louisville, KY collective known as Black Velvet Fuckere, SAPAT resides as the centrifugal force in this Midwestern psychedelic madrigal set in the psychosexual backwaters of the mighty Ohio River. For the entirety of the ‘00 decade, members have kept busy collaborating with and/or massaging the egos of various and sundry avant-pontiffs such as Robert Fripp, Magik Markers, Dead Child and Eugene Chadbourne – when not honing the orgone energy of SAPAT.

This show celebrates the release of their new LP, A Posthuman Guide to the Advent Calendar
Origins of the Peep Show, on Sophomore Lounge Records!

Limbo as the space between heaven and hell where unblessed babies float, sighing; limbo as the supple-spined Calypsonian dance craze: here exists The Immoralist, the new record by ELISA AMBROGIO. The Immoralist lies at the wicked crossroads of Wilson Pickett’s electric wail and the sweetest of Wilson Phillips harmonies.

Watch the video for ELISA AMBROGIO‘s “Superstitious” here:

The seven songs on NATHAN BOWLES‘ new album Nansemond deploy banjo, percussion, piano (his childhood instrument), tapes, and — for the first time — his robust voice to explore the rugged country between the poles of Appalachian old-time traditions and ecstatic, minimalist drone, moving effortlessly between composed sections, improvised passages, and field recordings. This forking-path approach follows his wide-ranging work as an ensemble player with the Black Twig Pickers (banjo, percussion), Pelt (struck and bowed percussion), Steve Gunn (drums, piano, banjo), Hiss Golden Messenger (banjo), Jack Rose, and others. For this record, he has assembled a sensitive group of collaborators from beyond the rosters of those groups: Tom Carter (guitar), Joe Dejarnette (guitar), Steve Kruger (fiddle, voice), and Jason Meagher of Black Dirt Studio (recording, production, mixing.)

Watch NATHAN BOWLES play “Sleepy Lake Tire Swing” here:

CHAMPION ZOZ is the duo of Ryan Davis (State Champion, Tropical Trash) and MA Turner (MA Turner’s Fatubyfairfe, Cross, Salad Influence, Warmer Milks), here making their Louisville debut on their debut tour! What soulful tunes will this wild-n’-wooly duo produce? Step to it, get to the show early, and find out!

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200 Years, s/t (Drag City)

This week’s LEO Weekly contains my review of the new album by 200 Years, the new project by Ben Chasny (Six Organs of Admittance, Rangda) and Elisa Ambrogio (Magik Markers):

At the conclusion of the Six Organs of Admittance show at Uncle Slayton’s back in August, Ben Chasny was joined onstage by singer Elisa Ambrogio, and the lucky audience was treated to a preview of their new band, 200 Years. The current concern for Ambrogio and Chasny, this self-titled debut on Drag City is superficially akin to Chasny’s Six Organs project as it features primarily acoustic guitars, delicately sweet melodies and the occasional accompaniment by harmonium. But the band is really Ambrogio’s showcase, as her voice dominates the album. However, unlike her usually confrontational work with Magik Markers, the overall aesthetic of 200 Years is one of dreamy, contemplative harmony between her voice and Chasny’s guitar. In songs such as “Partin Wayz” and “West Hartford,” there’s even a welcome sense of nostalgia and sentimentality, which gives 200 Years a sweet edge quite unlike anything previously by either artist.

Buy it from Drag City here.

New Reviews at Still Single, June 18th

A new batch of reviews I’ve written for Doug Mosurock’s Still Single column have been added to the tumblr site. Check ‘em out here:

City Center – Spring St. one-sided 12” EP (Quite Scientific Records)

Playing perfectly nice acoustic guitar-based pastoral pop from with occasional electronic flourishes, Fred Thomas’ City Center project makes some nice music that wouldn’t be out-of-place alongside similar artists such as Greg Davis, Mountains, and, hell, perhaps even Fennesz. Pretty decent, though not outstandingly great. Limited to 500, one-sided, screen-printed copies on clear vinyl. (http://www.quitescientific.com)

Steve Gunn – Boerum Palace LP (Three Lobed Recordings)


There’s been a lot of guitar players down the pike since the New Weird America became the same old shit, but Steve Gunn’s no joke. Former member of GHQ with Marcia Bassett (Hototogisu, Zaimph, Double Leopards, etc.), and occasional guest guitar grumbler with Magik Markers, Gunn doesn’t necessarily seem like the kinda guy to willfully approach the American Songwriter Tradition (with or without capitalization), but he does so with aplomb on Boerum Palace, his second full-length. The first song, “Mr. Franklin,” perfectly showcases Gunn’s approach, with its jaunty finger-picked guitar, slightly mumble-fied lyrics, and sweet pedal steel guitar that shows up towards the end (courtesy of D. Charles Speer & the Helix member Marc Orleans). Thankfully, Gunn’s got more than just one idea, and fills the album with lots of triumphant sounds. Though Gunn’s songs include flourishes of electric guitar and vocal melodies along with his acoustic figures, he in some ways is closer to the spirit, dare I say it, of John Fahey and Jack Rose due to the sheer joy his music provides. Edition of 823. (http://www.threelobed.com)

Hey Colossus and the Van Halen Time Capsule – Eurogrumble Vol. 1 LP (Riot Season) / Hey Colossus/Dethscalator – Vs. split LP (Black Labs)

The six-member UK-based outfit Hey Colossus brings a whole mess of noisy rub n’ tugging on Eurogrumble Vol. 1. While the opening number “The Question” plows through the same post-Flipper fields that a number of their American cousins do, Hey Colossus manages, on their fifth full-length, to throw in a couple of substantial riffs, with some strange atmospherics, totally indecipherable vocals on top, and what sounds like samples here and there (so ‘90s, fellas!). Hell, some moments such as the riff-tastic “Shithouse” might described as downright metal, in a gloom way (nothing here approaches Van Halen whatsoever, despite the name). The title track starts off side two much more quietly, with some banjo scraping and synth-work which gives in to more metallic pummeling. Over the course of the side, pounding gives way to more formlessness, but returns now and again in varying degrees of intensity without any break. The eleven-minute long side-ender “Wait Your Turn” turns up the aggravation a notch, capping what feels like a side-long suite. On the split with Dethscalator, released on Riot Season’s “sister” label Black Labs, Hey Colossus present about the same sound as the full-length, while Dethscalator take a much more straight-forward approach, if aping the Jesus Lizard counts as straight-forward. Not really my kinda thing, but not unenjoyable either. Both releases limited to 500 copies. (http://www.riotseason.com) (http://www.myspace.com/blacklabsinc)

Giuseppe Ielasi – (Another) Stunt LP (Schoolmap/Taiga)

Part of the fun (for me, not necessarily for you, the reader) of reviewing records for Still Single is receiving new releases about which I have no earthly idea. Such is the case with (Another) Stunt, the new LP by Giuseppe Ielasi, who apparently is some sort of Euro turntable guy. And by turntable guy, I don’t mean just another hip-hop “turntablist” out to wow the crowd with his behind-the-back scratch skills, as Ielasi is rooted in what used to be called “glitch” music, of intentional skips, scrapes, and wheezes, micro-popularized at the turn of the century, by a group of almost-always-European artists such as Fennesz and Thomas Brinkmann. The impressive feat – that these acts managed to break into new audiences, impressing even more than just dudes with tiny glasses and receding hairlines – brings us to this Ielasi disc: there’s nothing happening here musically that wasn’t going on a decade ago. While it’s a completely pleasant listen, I’m not sure that it’s possible for anyone to be nostalgic for glitch just yet. Edition of 500. (http://www.schoolmap-records.com) (http://www.taigarecords.com)

Magik Markers/Sic Alps – split 12” EP (Yik Yak)

For most people, Magik Markers are an either/or proposition: you either love ‘em or you hate ‘em. I’ve never been anything but an unabashed fan, even through their more recent “melodic” period while recording for Drag City. However, it definitely took me a while to warm up to Sic Alps, despite their music being theoretically the sorta thing all thirty-something record nerds would go for. By the time of last year’s West Coast tour with Magik Markers, for which this split 12” was released, I’d put the skepticism aside and jumped on board the Alps train, which of course moves in fits and starts, is incredibly noisy and occasionally off-putting, but nonetheless is quite the thrill ride. On the Markers side of the split, things mellow out even more, but that’s not a bad thing. If you’re a fan of both bands, and you don’t have this yet, go ahead and spring for it. (http://www.yikyak.net)

Gil San Marcos – Domes LP (Bombay Cove)

Domes is touted as “the definitive recordings from Gil San Marcos, who spent a few years performing, touring, and cultivating the sound” heard within, which ranges from spare glitch, to sweet drones, to noisy assaults. As if to prove that no sound present was made with an actual instrument, the sleeve lists the devices used for each track – it’s almost as long as the thank-you list! Stand-outs include “Every Clock and Wristwatch,” which includes both angry clouds of noise and a subtle background drone, and “Mass Grave (Live in Nashville),” recorded live at Grimey’s in Music City, U.S.A. If you listen closely, you can hear Conway Twitty rolling over in his grave. Colored vinyl. http://www.bombaycove.com)

Various Artists — Does Your Cat Know My Dog? (Three Four)

On this compilation, curated by the staff at a restaurant/venue somewhere in Switzerland that apparently hosts music fests, there’s a pretty wide range of styles, and names both familiar and unknown. Bonnie “Prince” Billy starts off the proceedings with a live version of “Love Comes to Me” which starts things off on a somber, sober note. The rest of the side features a bunch of similar sounding no-names, along with a collaboration between Carla Bozulich and Ches Smith, the former being a vocalist whose music I’ve never, ever been able to enjoy. Sorry. On the flipside, Sunn O))) and Sonic Youth are the only other marquee names, and aside from their tracks (neither of which are that essential), nothing much sticks out here, either. Edition of 650. (http://www.three-four.net)

No One at the Venue May Look Jandek in the Eye

Jandek

Last night I saw Jandek at the Abrons Arts Center in the Lower East Side of Manhattan. The mere idea of getting to see the mysterious entity known as Jandek play sometime in my lifetime would’ve been laughable a few years ago, but since 2004 the representative from Corwood Industries has made intermittent appearances in such far-flung locales as New York, Glasgow, Austin and Chicago, all with a different cast of musicians each time. For his third (I think?) appearance in New York, Jandek teamed up with Pete Nolan (of Magik Markers) on drums and Tim Foljahn (of 2 Dollar Guitar) on bass, in what turned out to be a rather inspired grouping. Initially I was a little wary as the trio launched into the first number, which was rather squall-some (in a good way), thinking it would be the only mode they’d be in all night. But over the course of the ten “songs” they played that evening, all three showed a lot of stylistic diversity while remaining true to what could undoubtedly be called Jandek’s very singular sound.

The man himself, an apparition of a ghost, was one of the most uncharismatically charismatic and powerful performers I’ve ever seen. He entered the stage wearing all black, with a black fedora and black guitar – indeed it’s almost as if the clothes wore him, seeing as he was basically a skeleton, only defined by what was not there. His shiny belt buckle was the only accoutrement, sticking out a little past his chest. Lyrically, he sang words that were almost as physically alienating as his entire appearance – and this worked beautifully with the music, which only rested at points to give him space to sing. He’d play a guitar squall – very “amateur” in terms of technique but disciplined and focussed in terms of sound and intention, then drop his strumming hand to his side while delivering a lyric like “Starve my body/Starve my mind” in his uniquely mournful moan.

Towards the middle portion of the set, after a good three songs or so of similar construction, things took a very abrupt turn. Lyrically, Jandek moved away from the rather impersonal description of general alienation that had been the theme, and went specifically into songs about prison, all from different narrative perspectives. This was kind of unexpected, at least for me, and really gave the overall set a depth that it might’ve otherwise missed. These songs ranged from description of a hairy, tattooed prisoner “From wrist to neck/From neck to belt/Sides and back” to an amazing jailhouse lawyer’s dialog with a prisoner in for being “provoked.” Really harrowing stuff, in Jandek’s very non-descriptive descriptive way: “There’s a shower and a sink/But you don’t want to USE them” (which got a few chuckles from the crowd).

After this short suite of songs, Jandek moved lyrically back towards general themes of alienation, but the trio moved in a more rock, less free direction, which I found fascinating. One song, anchored by Foljahn’s bass and Nolan’s drums, was basically a primitive punk song – which did not throw Jandek one bit, and his guitar playing became appropriately even more spiky than it had been already. He even cracked a few smiles, and seemed to engage the other players, without giving too much away or even saying anything – not the least acknowledging the audience, whose applause he seemed visibly shaken by.

I looked over at his amp, and noticed a small travel clock set to Houston time on top. After three hours, ten songs and a gripping sound that seemed to revel in every detail, no matter how nuanced, the three sheepishly walked off-stage, and the evening was over. Somebody else’s music – hopelessly inferior to what I’d just witnessed – was played over the PA, and the audience shuffled out into the New York night. I felt like I’d just woken from the best nightmare I’ve ever dreamt. And unlike those who think Jandek’s recent live shows have somehow destroyed the mystery (which isn’t even as interesting as his music), I was left with more questions than before.

Jandek

MAGIK MARKERS/MONOTRACT/MOUTHUS/PANOPTICON EYELIDS at the Hook, 8/5/2006

My ridiculously over-booked social schedule (no, really!) has me running all over town, and at no time was that more evident than last weekend, when I managed to make it from the Walter Reade Theater at Lincoln Center (to see “Not a Photograph: The Mission of Burma Story”) at 6, up to Harlem to walk my friends’ dog by 8, and then out to Red Hook to catch this show. Thankfully, a car was involved, otherwise that’d be way too long on the subway.

Montreal noise-rock quartet Panopticon Eyelids kicked off the show, and unfortunately I don’t have any crappy cellphone camera shots of them. But they were quite the debonair Quebec’ers, singing such things as “AARON’S BALLS!” really really loudly. Really good in a AmRep-meets-now style. Mouthus followed, and in their inimitable way, they smoked. I have to admit, despite loving them a ton (and thinking they’re swell guys to boot), they can sometimes not deliver live. This was not an issue Saturday, and might’ve been one of the better Mouthus shows I’ve seen – though not as good as the show I did with them at the Palace that like nobody came to.

I first saw Monotract way back when in Chicago when they were on tour with Russ Waterhouse and a very young Joel St. Germain, and they’ve definitely changed a bit since then, adding more electronics to their sound. Honestly, I wasn’t too into them before, but Saturday’s show really brought out the best, even though they had some technical equipment issues. Their new album, XPRMNTL LVRS (I’ll be reviewing this soon for City Paper), has some strangely weird pop moments on it, and I think I like that side of the ‘Tract more and more.

Magik Markers are, in a word, unfuckwithable (if that’s a word).

Seriously I cannot think of another group of people who manage to walk into any live situation and just completely own it in the way they do. Not in the “fantastic performer” sense, because yeah I guess “anyone” can do this (which is the complaint of the common dumbass – no your five year-old can’t paint better than Picasso, either), but there’s something about their mind-melding musical ways that just transcends the “noise” thing. Pete and Elisa are just amazing, no matter who they play with (this time it was with Greg Weeks Steve Gunn, I think – I’m not up on my noisicians much any more), and this show was no exception.

And on one last note: props to Tony Rettman for playin’ fruity tunes!