On the real, not even Simone Trabucchi (Dracula Lewis, Hundebiss Records head) knows how old Griff Pyn may be, maybe. Seems like the boy was birthed from the sewers of New Orleans and has been traveling around as SEWN LEATHER since, fused with animal-like ferocity, drunken-sailor swaggery, and methadone clinic dropout pastiche. As second cousin of Philip Anselmo of Pantera, Griff had to up his music/killing game by slaying every ear he comes into contact with, becoming the pinnacle noise-punk goddess of the NOTHING/EVERYTHING generation we live in today, thus creating the “Unclear War.”
While Griff growls lyrics over pulses of falling airplane alarms/sirens, screeches of uncertainty and pensive synth melodies wave out, tapping along a snare of rhythmic abandon and selfless mockery. SEWN LEATHER becomes sound, and sound becomes the metaphysical within your imagination of what embodies perfect static sludge. New LP Freak on Hashish is popping on Hundebiss Records right before SEWN LEATHER’s European Tour in April. It’s going to be Griff’s last record under the name, as he “became” Skull Katalog late last year. So, enjoy these last few moments under this moniker before another starts cracking the surface, and try to decipher the “Unclear War” streaming below:
One would think that, for as long as free music has been part of the world’s musical landscape, it would insinuate itself more readily into the popular consciousness, if not a variety of musical structures. And when free music (or “free jazz”) does become part of a rock band’s aesthetic, rarely does it blend itself seamlessly into the proceedings. But then there are bands like the Bay Area trio Grex, made up of guitarist-vocalist Karl Alfonso Evangelista, keyboardist-vocalist M. Rei Scampavia, and drummer Robert Lopez. Initially a duo, Grex has recorded four proper albums since 2010, of which Monster Music is the latest.
All three members of Grex are Mills College graduates, yet their work is anything but academic in its approach. Drawing from indie pop, Satie, Hendrix, South African jazz and 1960s Afro-American free music, Grex presents biting, squirrelly RIO and unsettling, proggy folk that often spirals into controlled chaos. Of the eleven tunes on Monster Music, nine are originals by Scampavia and Evangelista, abetted by covers of multi-instrumentalist Don Cherry’s “Guinea” and saxophonist Albert Ayler’s rocking “Holy Family.” The likelihood of a band with peers like Deerhoof and the Weird Weeds (albeit weaned on a healthy dose of blues rock) pulling off an honest take of “Holy Family” and making their reverence and competence clear is pretty slim, but Grex do just that in impressively closing the disc.
Of the original tunes here, “Christmas Song” taps into Canterbury progressions with a wet, attractive slink, Scampavia’s presence nodding in twee directions while maintaining the overarching ensemble gravity. “Love Song” is a creaky hymn that inhabits some of the disc’s darker corners, while “Up Popped the Snake” is an earlier piece that has become more methodical and more unabashedly open-ended in its two-year existence. Perhaps like the Spontaneous Music Ensemble’s “Click Piece” and “Sustain Piece,” it will enter the literature as a tool for understanding Grex’s unique sound-world.
Having quit Facebook for about a month or so now, I feel like I’m missing out on all the insane Chocolate Grinder post suggestions from TMT review writers. A good pal tossed this video at me from some Washington-state city based group, so I had to share it. Here I am interrupting my first listen of the newest batch from mind-peace music curator Ginjoha to watch Purr Gato’s video of their title track off last year’s debut album, Heart Breaker.
Everything in this video that ISN’T real, is awesome. I mean, not happening in real time. Like, the heart in the beginning and the mechanical heart at the end. Some of the microscopic images, or kaleidoscope images… shoot, the mirrored camera kaleidoscope stuff is a trip too. Even the SILVERman group that provides the singers’ accompaniment are dope, looking like enslaved tin-men. And that spotlight make-out sesh in the basement is hawt. Well, maybe not, actually. It seems like these people broke into someones house, and then are caught, so we’re watching the moments just before they all scurry out, all the fellahs be running at an angle.
Scope the video for “Heart Breaker” by Purr Gato above and figure the “what-have-you’s” about REALITY. hi-hi!
• Purr Gato: http://www.purrgato.com
Allied Forces Press
EARWAX ZIPTAPE SIX
Had to get to this one before C Monster snaked it like (s)he stole that Hi-Hi-Whoopie mixtape. “You bastard! That’s so good – that should have been mine.” I thought I could at least wait until morning before I wrote up a little some-some, but some people are just better at Internets than others, as if the keyboard were a mere extension of the brain, subsequently brightening and enlivening occurred thoughts, causing less filtration through factors that occur naturally when sending the signal all the way from the mind to the fingertips, like time, distractions, or-uh… typos. Can it be said that modern beat music and the old WWW share a similar symbiotic relationship? Like, Soundclouds raining new life into the genre’s roots? If so, this EARWAX ZIPTAPE really highlights some people and leaves out all of the others. Pure gold shining from between the lines of the tracklist, and you get to decide what it’s worth.
Allied Forces Press are based out of San Francisco and release these mixes four times a year, so keep your ears free from wax and to the dirt for future vibrations from the Press.
• Allied Forces Press: http://alliedforcespress.com/
Following last month’s excellent release from NYC-based lifestyle calibrators Mind Dynamics, Northern guardians of the so-real-it-looks-fake realm 1080p are back for another sojourn through the desert of the real with Montreal’s AT/NU, in search of a place called Psi Grove.
Deep, deep in the threshes of Psi Grove, ketamine-addled grooves swirl into telepathic mandalas, fallen victim to the total and radical permeation of a distinctly digital psychedelia, a new, unassuming psyche-tracing that blossoms out of the network, first benignly; and then completely raising a flood of surplus data—AT/NU appeals to the neural attenuation of overstuffed receptors and instant-weary time-travelers, an anxiety-induced eclecticism sprouted through the prism of consciousness.
Psi Grove speaks in drones and glitches, glacial movements of organic noise underpinned by memetic rhythms covered in tape gauze, the semiotic status of sound as communicator brushing against the co-existing status of sound as pure sound, as coincidental and formless. The two weakening one another, flirting, but never bending.
Follow the stream below—enter it with piousness and curiosity, and let yourself become one with its aesthetic tug. It’s bound to keep flowing on without you, anyhow. And while your thoughts are amiably calibrated, slide on over to 1080p to cop a tape, limited to 50 copies.