Tag Archives: Pete Nolan

SAPAT, PETE NOLAN (of Magik Markers), and ZACHARY CALE at NACHBAR, Thursday, September 3rd – FREE! FINAL SHOW!

The Other Side of Life is proud to present:




Thursday, September 3rd

969 Charles Street (at the corner of Charles and Krieger)
10 PM, 21-and-over
Check out the Facebook invitation here: https://www.facebook.com/events/979206792122162/

Spawned from the formidable Louisville, Kentucky 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. Their most recent LP, A Posthuman Guide to the Advent Calendar Origins of the Peep Show, was released last fall on Sophomore Lounge Records.

PETE NOLAN has been a figure in the U.S. underground basement psych scene for the past two decades. A co-founder of legendary noise-rock outfit Magik Markers (with whom he’s amassed over 50 releases), Nolan has collaborated with the likes of Sonic Youth’s Steve Shelley (who serves as drummer for his long-running Spectre Folk project), Jandek, J. Mascis, John Olson, Randy “Lee” Sutherland, Chris Corsano, Thurston Moore, Angst Hase Pfeffer Nase, Elisa Ambrogio, Double Leopards, Son of Earth, Julie Cafritz, Kris Abplanalp (as Virgin Eye Blood Brothers), Brian Ramirez, Steve Gunn, Aaron Mullan, Mick Flower, Ashtray Navigations, Kim Gordon, and Mark Ibold. Taking cues from time spent in pro studios with the likes of Lee Ranaldo, Scott Colburn, and Aaron Mullan but never straying too far from his base as a sound collage artist, Nolan wrote, recorded, and mixed his new album, the first under his name, Easy at home with the assistance of his wife, Julie. If you listen closely, you can hear Nolan electrocuting Mark E. Smith mid-performance and enslaving the Clean, making them play the funky drummer for days and days while Eno whirls his Revox in stormy guilt ridden dreams. But don’t be scared off, that’s just the process. The big payback of Easy is a joyful exaltation of life, freedom, mind-expansion, and love. It’s the long way around to a simplified meaning, it’s the goal achieved in the describing, it’s an invitation to get up and dance… it’s Easy.

ZACHARY CALE has been releasing records under his own name for just shy of a decade. Duskland, the title of his latest record, is a work of craftsmanship full of elegant lyricism and mysterious imagery; a collection of songs that look directly into the face of darkness yet drive beyond it, forging new paths. Taking cues from artists like Oh Mercy/Time Out of Mind-era Dylan and Nick Cave’s work with the Bad Seeds, Duskland evokes a restless spirit, one that is informed by American myths and tall tales. There’s a Western flair to many of the album’s songs with nods to soundtrack composers such as Morricone and the dream-laden noir of Badalamenti. Many of the album’s highlights maintain a ceremonial grace.

Due to reasons not worth delving into, this will be the last show produced and presented by The Other Side of Life for the immediate future, and possibly ever. We thank you for your support over the years, and we hope to see you at this fantastic show!

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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)

Crystal Healing LP

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.

No One at the Venue May Look Jandek in the Eye


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.