“Tony’s Last Communion” (Gnod cover)
Hampington Upon Wicke is a town in which everyone bleeds profusely from the knees. The cobbled streets have a lacerating bite that turns even the most hardened kneeler’s kneecaps into a pair of scabby, weeping wounds. In the middle of the town is a lake, bordered by an almost impregnable circle of benches, each dedicated to deceased former residents. “To Edith, Who Kneeled Well. INGNODWETRUST,” says one. “To Tony, Who Needed No Knee Pads for his First Communion,” says another.
On a fine day, you can wander into the central square of the town, vaulting the ever accumulating rows of ergonomic, wooden memorials, and glimpse a rare site in the lake’s shimmering waters. Beneath the surface is a bizarre hellish nether world made up of whips, chains, and iron grips. Most disconcertingly, apart from the aforementioned instruments of pleasure/pain, the two worlds seem almost alike. Yet, in this world, the benches are not comfortable, they are deadly sharp. As a consequence, inhabitants of Hampington Below Wicke bleed profusely from their rear ends. Instead of kneeling forlornly at the lake’s edge, knees streaming iron-red goo into the clear water, the “People Bellow The Wicke” stand tall, staring up, yet never floating to the top.
Two years after releasing Deep Politics (TMT Review), Grails is paying another visit into the quagmires of the Black Tar Prophecies. If you’ve yet to bear witness to the Portland instrumentalists’ expansive experiment, do yourself a favor and check out Black Tar Prophecies Vols. 1, 2 & 3 (TMT Review). It’s sludgy psychedelia at its finest, swarming with Eastern polyrhythms, killer drum fills (courtesy of Emil Amos), and banjos (because who doesn’t love banjos?). Throughout the years, Grails have quietly stitched on additions to their enigmatic tapestry; Black Tar Prophecies, Vol. 4 was released in 2010 as a limited-edition 12-inch, with Black Tar Prophecies, Vol. 5 — a similarly elusive, limited-run split with Finish psych-rock phenoms, Pharaoh Overlord — following two years later.
Because of their limited physical release, these tunes were apt to sink into the tar long before listeners knew of their existence. Luckily, with next month’s physical release of Black Tar Prophecies Vols. 4, 5 & 6, those unfortunate Grails geeks will get a second chance, and then some. The 12-song collection includes Vols. 4 & 5 in their entirety, plus a trio of previously unreleased tracks. “Self-Hypnosis” is the second cut on the album, and, well, the title pretty much says it: a freefall down the rabbit hole that contains fleeting glimpses of New Age, Kraut, prog, and every other subspecies of trippy you can imagine. Listen to it enough times, and you’ll find yourself transported to some other astral plane, guaranteed.
Black Tar Prophecies is out September 23 on Temporary Residence. For all you vinyl diehards out there, you’ll be pleased to know that the Deluxe Gatefold 2xLP features four mind-blowing laser etchings — one on each side of the record, beginning where the grooves of the music end. And be sure to check out Amos’ morbid album trailer!
“We Are The Worst”
Some of my favorite musicians are the ones who can create and maintain a style built off of diverse influences. What I find interesting about these folks is how every release seems to highlight a different element of their sonic makeup, thus creating a diverse discography while still maintaining a distinguishable voice throughout.
Martin Dosh is definitely one of these artists, and with “We Are The Worst,” he’s finally made the move towards focusing on the minimalist elements of his work. “We Are The Worst” very gradually unfurls from a gorgeous slice of looped electronic ambiance into an even lovelier fractured pop song of sorts, which features some of Dosh’s signature skittering percussion amid flutes and strings. Formally, the track finds Dosh presenting all of the piece’s harmonic/structural elements in the first half and then subtly shifting the focal point of each element in the song’s second half. In this way, the structural shifting of “We Are The Worst” is reflective of how new parts of Dosh’s influences come to the forefront with each release. If “We Are The Worst” is any indication, this new phase of his career might be his prettiest yet.
“We Are The Worst” is from Dosh’s forthcoming record, Milk Money, which will be released October 22 no Graveface Records.
“An Archaic Code”
The chem trails have seeped in when clouds cross in the sky, the landscape and sunset smear, and dark tears streak cheeks. Wiping at one, in a blur, but it doesn’t help the feeling of being simply upset. So, relax. Have a seat on this here log and enjoy these moments as they blissfully waste life. Not that this is death, no, but that time in every person’s life for rejuvenation. Thy mind weeps with colors, while juicing, flooding, and numbing all perception as a whole; one-being of thinking. Everyone is calm. Nobody complains anymore. Mind-poison is “An Archaic Code” to a consensus solution.
And everyone associates poison with something bad. Let’s take a step back here and find point A within point B. The Archaic Architecture, if you will. What makes this poison create cooperation? From what plant or from under what rock was this poison extracted? Does it populate the natural state of most everything inhuman? This is real. This is in our minds and sounds and matter. This feels venomous, but important. Like being drunk, only awhile afloat, so physics don’t matter. Thus, this log upon you is post-nature. Human is the soil now. Root all that is perpetual into the mind. Become the world’s key to… “Yo, that’s my boiii Jason Lescallet. Aye, Jason!? Toby and Matt poppin your new c40 today, yeah? That’s so ill, my dude! “
Jason Lescallet’s new cassette, Archaic Architecture, is out now on NNA Tapes.
“Mag & Kev & Rad”
Between press emails and music blog RSS feeds, nearly all of my new music discovery happens from someone else running the spotlight. So it’s great when those “I wonder what this band’s been up to?” inquiries pay off. Seattle’s Pill Wonder has been quiet since their wonderful 2010 release Jungle/Surf,” an eight-song safari of jangly, shade-searching pop songs with more than about 30 layers of shaking and thumping auxiliary percussion. Pill Wonder’s new track “Mag & Kev & Rad” doesn’t stray far from the formula. The guitar tones still bounce around a bed of driving drum sounds, only this time, much of the energy has been toned down to a Julian Lynch kind of wooziness, and the obtrusive, overblown vocals are entirely left out. Check it out below.
• Pill Wonder: http://pillwonder.bandcamp.com
The Pluto Moons
Making pop music is something to be made very daringly. Like, like, look at Gaga, Ke$ha even, MNDA’s adverts, Daft Punk featuring Giorgio Moroder, anything Ween ever did, ever. So, I’m feeling that vibe with The Pluto Moons’ Mannequin Legs. Honestly, without all the verbiage below describing the band or the Bandamp’s picture on picture on picture visuals, I imagined just a pair of pantied Mannequin Legs dancing to everything and at the right speed: all entertainment. Controlled and within themselves. Completely conscious of their variety in step and sequence. Right down to the toe, actually. Tipping them legs, shaping the foot arches up to the curves of their calves, and so on. More-so, as if The Pluto Moons were watching these legs lead them in song and groove.
So, here is The Pluto Moons being daring: taking structure and genre and sound, cutting it at the waist, and dancing tracks out with their own patience and humor. Maybe at times a little too far away from where they are trying to take the listener, but sustained by sonic and melodic intrigue. The mystery of “Why?” however is maybe most tossed off. I get that there is mystery here and enjoy their ability to switch up their sound while remaining consistent in pop focused on skill. Shit, it’s even daring in lyrics with the song “BlkPPLSellingWhtPPL#Food,” leaving listeners a little curious of musician intention, but playfully. Yet, I don’t want to know “Why?” As much as I want to, it’s hard for me to pinpoint “Why do I want to know more about this album?” My final conclusion: Listen to Mannequin Legs by The Pluto Moons a dozen more times today for answers. It’ll be a fucking PARTY!! Also, CDs are available through their Bandcamp, which were exclusively sold on tour before. Get ‘em while they’re burning!
• The Pluto Moons: http://theplutomoons.bandcamp.com