Archive for May, 2015

This: from the Dangerous Minds website (taken from an NBC story of one of the famous  “eyeballs” the Residents were famous for wearing in public, onstage, in pix – everywhere – anyway, let me show you…

SAN FRANCISCO POLICE NEED YOUR HELP LOCATING A STOLEN RESIDENTS EYEBALL HEAD MASK The San Francisco Police Department has issued a statement detailing the theft of one of the original Residents’ eyeball head masks.

The mask, valued at $100,000 (yeah, OK), was signed for by an unknown person and is now missing. Along with the mask is an original photograph of the Residents which is valued at $20,000 (yeah, OK).

SFPD has included an anonymous tip line, should you happen to see the famous eyeball in your local pawn shop.


The missing mask


And the case it came in

A local San Francisco resident had a famous “Eyeball with Hat” mask and an original album cover photo from the musical band called the “Residents” taken from him by an unknown suspect.

In this incident the victim loaned the mask, which was valued at $100,000.00, to a museum in Seattle for a predetermined period of time. On May 5th, at the conclusion of the loan, the curator sent the mask back to the victim using a major delivery courier service. Unfortunately, the victim was traveling and was not present to receive the shipment.

The package was delivered and signed for by an unknown person using an illegible signature. The mask has been used on a record album cover and is periodically displayed throughout the country. The pictured top hat is now black instead of white and was contained in a shipping crate (photo attached). Stolen along with the mask was the original album cover photo which the victim values at $20,000.00.

Anyone who recalls seeing the mask, photo, or crate or has information on this case is asked to contact the Anonymous Tip Line at (415) 575-4444 or Text A Tip to TIP411 and include “SFPD” at the beginning of the message.

Wish You Were Here?

Posted: May 21, 2015 in New Indie Music

of Montreal

Snare Lustrous Doomisnare lustrous doomings coverngs

Polyvinyl Records, 2015

Review by Kent Manthie

Coming to an internet dealer to you quite soon (like, for instance: https://www.polyvinylrecords.com or, I suppose, you could go to Amazon or some other online fixture):  of Montreal, caught in the act, so to speak, from some live gigs from the recent past, many, if not all, from San Francisco, in the form of this new CD, Snare Lustrous Doomings. At 92 minutes, it’s a safe bet that this is a double CD, although I haven’t seen the hard-copy product, myself, I received it all via the promo way: downloaded from email. But it’s a treasure to have.

Not surprisingly, Kevin and company play a lot of strong stuff from the Hissing Fauna Are You the Destroyer? and Skeletal Lamping/False Priest-era tunes as well as a couple other surprises thrown in; sorry, though, no interesting cover versions that sometimes show up in a band’s live set list . The album opens up with a more guitar-heavy, stripped down, a bit more raw version of “Suffer for Fashion”. “Coquet Coquette” from Skeletal Lamping‘s follow-up, False Priest, starts out with this wicked guitar riff that, in short order goes into the twice remixed song (from False Priest -the last two tracks).

Having covered all of their albums since 2005’s Satanic Panic in the Attic, I’ve seen the band evolve from a jingle-jangle, psychedelia-tinged sound, with Kevin Barnes’s clever, cryptic and sometimes just meaningless lyrics to the androgynous funk/post-disco, “Club Kids” unpredictability.

I don’t know for sure if this live album was recorded all from one (or maybe a 2-night stint), but one can tell, from a bit of the between-song-banter, where Kevin makes some references to being in San Francisco. But to hear the crowd, it sounded like they were in a pretty good sized place. I’m thinking, like, something along the size of the Cow Palace, in San Francisco.

Whatever places these were recorded at, the sound is commendable; the performances top notch. The band seemed to be in a good spot, mentally, emotionally and creatively. The songs they play, although, they have to follow the original tune as much as possible, don’t always adhere to the studio versions of them. As a matter of fact, one thing that sticks out on Snare Lustrous Doomings more so than on record, is the guitar. Whereas, on the studio works, the guitar was there, it was much of the time overtaken by various synthesizers and whiz-bang bells & whistles. For example, on “Time Will Show the Wiser” (which was recorded in San Francisco, unfortunately, though Kevin mentions that he loves “the venue”, he stops short of mentioning which one it is (could it be the Great American Music Hall? The Warfield? The Fillmore? Maritime Hall? Cow Palace? There are so many great venues in that best of American cities, the City By the Bay. After he flatters the audience about how great their city is and how much he loves it, he then announces that the next tune is their “love song to San Francisco”, which turns out to be “Honeymoon in San Francisco”, which is a nice, slowed down, but still a “keep-you-on-your-feet” tune, followed by a version of “You Do Mutilate” which is a bit faster and has a bit more soul to it, not to mention that awesome guitar, because on stage, in a live setting, you don’t have a studio engineer who can (or will) bury it beneath all the techno-stylings.

Kevin really burns it up on guitar, he shows that, yes, indeed, his band does rock. I can just imagine the multi-colored, day-glo freak circus these shows must’ve been. I missed their San Diego appearance last time they were in town, which was, oh, at least two or three years ago and it was at one of the venerable small-ish clubs.

Hardcore of Montreal fans will definitely want to add this to their of Montreal collection. But, this is such a great album – live or not – I’d recommend it to anyone, whether they’ve heard of of Montreal or not. In fact, a neophyte who listens to this live album as their introduction to the band and their music, will then be able to get a sort of cross-section, at least of the band since 2007 or so, and so then be able to, one by one, get the albums that have what they liked the best from this album. Also, another San Francisco-stage-banter reference was to something about the O’Farrell Theater [you know, the infamous Mitchell Brothers lust factory] just before they go into “Bunny Ain’t No Kind of Rider”.

Running at 19 songs, Snare Lustrous Doomings is a great treat for those who love the magic in the air of a live show. You can sit back at home in your favorite easy chair and enjoy an of Montreal concert without even getting up. A must have for anyone who loves the novelty and urbanity of the wittily hip, sexually overt, love-fest that Snare Lustrous Doomings represents. –KM.

Arthur Rimbaud:  Majestic, Anachronistic, Visionary? or the 19th Century’s Version of Jim Morrison?

Arthur Rimbaud.  That name evokes so much in people’s minds:  some of them are thoughts of decadent genius run amok, others think he was nothing more than a mad, alcoholic, junkie, who juxtaposed the sacred with profane; the highfalutin with the vulgar and wormed his way into Parisian salons, into where, according to his detractors, he shammed his way.

For those who have been inspired, through the ages, by his high-spirited, verbose and extremely, delightfully, intellectual poetry.  One of his big, if not biggest, poetic achievements was his “quartet”, “Season in Hell”, made up of various visions of the artist in his most despairing and vulnerable hours.  This was a project he worked on throughout his, unfortunately, short life.  But it was a fabulous accomplishment, in the end.  Then, in between, there were many great works of poetry, which, not unlike a Baudelaire or even the more strait-laced (by contrast) Proust, was profoundly and completely French in both its outlook as well as its esprit.  There’s just something that is so unlike any other literary nationality:  America got going, in literature hitting the ground running, so to speak, when, in the 19th Century, authors such as Hawthorne, Melville, Poe and Mark Twain really grabbed a hold of the consciousness of Americans – each for different reasons, but all had a way of enthralling readers with novels, which, by the late 17th Century and the 19th Century, gave a mode of escape to poverty- or war-weary Americans that wanted/needed something to pique their interests and rattle their imaginations.

However, it was France, a land, long a haven for great artists of all kinds, especially painters, sculptors and the like as well as, in its literature, both serious philosophical minds as well as whimsical, erudite, cutting edge poets who, using metaphors, allegories and other intellectual devices, made some cuttingly, bitingly critical works, both in the form of essays and poems that were just this side of vague to keep them from getting into trouble.

But, back to Rimbaud.  His legend has lived on – well into the 20th Century, where his mindset, his words, their meanings and that one-of-a-kind French sentiment which found its way into a whole new generation of youth, especially in America, in the late 60s and the 70s.  In fact, if one takes a good look at Jim Morrison and his excesses as well as his talents, one can see a great deal of a modern-day Rimbaud in him, although Morrison was maybe a bit more of a mess and a really tough critic would casually dismiss this comparison as a crude sort of comparison, but one who would be so snobby would, no doubt, have very little, if any, idea of what the ideas of the times were.

Anyway, to show off a little of Rimbaud’s poetry, I include here, some shorter pieces and I hope that the reader will see what I’m getting at (of course, if one was able to speak and read French, it would be even more of an apt exposition).  But, when you really read, not just the shorter ones I was able to fit in here, but the longer, brilliant poems he wrote, I, at least, find, in a modern comparison, Allen Ginsberg, as far as kindred spirits in writing.  I mentioned Morrison because of the bacchanalian lifestyle Rimbaud and Jim both shared.

Venus Anadyomene

Out of what seems a coffin made of tin

A head protrudes; a woman’s, dark with grease –

Out of a bathtub! – slowly; then a fat face

With ill-concealed defects upon the skin

 

Then, streaked and gray, a neck; a shoulderblade,

A back – irregular, with indentations –

Then round loins emerge, and slowly rise;

The fat beneath the skin seems made of lead;

 

The spine is somewhat reddish; then a smell,

Strangely horrible; we notice above all

Some microscopic blemishes in front…

 

Horribly beautiful! A title: CLARA VENUS;

Then the huge bulk heaves, and with a grun

She bends and shows the ulcer on her anus.

The Stolen Heart

My weeping heart on the deck drools spit;

They soil it with cigarette butts,

They splatter it with slop and shit;

My weeping heart on the deck drools spit

The soldiers drink and laugh at it;

The sound of laughing hurts my guts

My weeping heart on the deck drools spit

They soil it with cigarette butts.

 

Soldiers cocks are a black burlesque;

They rape my heart with what they say.

In scrawls on the mast, grotesque

Soldiers cocks are a black burlesque.

Ocean abracadabrantesque,

Take my heart and wash it away!

Soldiers cocks are a black burlesque;

They rape my heart with what they say.

 

When they are done, and all worn out

How will I act, my stolen heart?

All I will hear is a drunken shout

When they are done and all worn out.

I will throw up and then pass out,

I know, with my heart torn apart

When they are done and all worn out

How will I act, my stolen heart?

Rimbaud’s contribtutions to the Album Zutique

Drunks

Mad

Quean,

Sad.

Been

 

Had;

Mean

Lad.

Scene

 

She

Falls,

Bawls:

 

“My

Thigh!”

Whee!

The Old Guard

Long live the emperor’s peasants!

Long live the peasant’s emperor!

Hip hooray and Forward March!

Hooray for the great eighteenth of March!

For blessed is the Fruit of thy womb, Eugenie.

 

Forever & ever & ever

Posted: May 20, 2015 in New Indie Music

To accompany the below review for the new Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin album, which hits the street one 6/2, here’s a sneak peak at what to expect: the video for “Trevor Forever”

-KM.

Top of the World

Posted: May 20, 2015 in New Indie Music

Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin

The High Country

Polyvinyl Records, 2015

Review by Kent Manthie                               the high country

Springfield, MO indie band, Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin (SSLYBY) has a new album in the can and now it’s just a matter of waiting for it to hit the streets. The High Country will be out June 2 (2015).

The one thing that hits you upon listening to The High Country is how raw, gritty, distortion-infused and, well, damn catchy it is. There’s something spirited, a little rougher around the edges, but smoothed out by the catchy hooks and the laid-back vocals. One thing that does differentiate this album from their previous works is that on The High Country SSLYBY manages to convey, via the studio, an element missing from other albums: some of the essence of their live shows, at which the amps are turned way up, the polish of the studio is taken away so that you get less of a sheen over it and more of a true, spirited and maybe even a more honest take.

Their last album, 2013’s Fly By Wire is even a different animal from this new one. That one, as well as their whole catalog has been full of songs that, stripped down and played live, would, no doubt, have a similarity to The High Country. The songs themselves, most of them, anyway, have catchy pop hooks, clever lyrics and great foundations from where to start. When you listen to, say, Fly By Wire and hear songs like “Harrison Ford” or “Cover All Sides”, for example, the underlying structures of the tunes are such that, indeed, they would make for great live show fodder. The problem, I think, was that the producer and the band, as willing accomplices, went a tad too far in polishing things up in the studio, I know that somewhere in there, maybe on a riff here or a hook there I caught little Beatle-esque moments: but, of course, there is and will always only be one Beatles. Other places overdubbed atmospherics, layers of pillowy sheen, meant to clean things up, bring a textured listening experience forward, ended up, instead, clouding up what were, otherwise good songs, as has been shown in their live gigs.

This time out, though, a new approach is heard. Instead of letting the studio take over as an extra instrumental figure, SSLYBY decided to go full throttle and let their hair down for this album. The High Country sees the return of bassist Tom Hembree, a founding member of the band who departed SSLYBY after their Broom album. According to frontman, Phil Dickey (vocals/guitar), it was the returning Hembree who insisted on “stir[ring] things up in the best way possible and demand we play louder and faster. Well, it turned out to be a wise choice to listen to Tom. The result has been the first studio album by SSLYBY that tones down the polishing effects that the studio can create and instead has fresh, more “live” sound; more guitar-heavy and with a lot of the previous atmospherics and textured layers that sometimes just ended up obscuring songs that were, in themselves, good songs, ones that, no doubt, came off great live: no cloudy effects murking up otherwise clever, wry and indie-pop tunes. The first few tunes, “Line On You”, “Step Brother City” and “Goal Mind” all grab at you, shake you by your lapels until you jump up and down. Hell, the whole thing really has a great ring to it.

Those who have been long-time SSLYBY fans, familiar with their live shows, will, I’m sure, really dig The High Country. This is probably their best album to date. The production and engineering were much more sympathetic to the gist of the songs as they were written. The only thing that may be a bummer here is that the whole album clocks in at a mere 26 minutes; that’s 11 songs, at an average of 2 ½ minutes long. But it’s better to have a short album full of great stuff than one that’s too long by half, with achingly dull, droll studio-tanned material.

This is definitely a keeper. One to hold on to for a rainy day when you need a bit of inspiration or cheering up. -KM.

Here is a nice little bit of distraction from the drudgery of your everyday life (if you have any…).

Iggy Pop’s always been a big influence on me: even when I was a kid: from, like 12-13 up to, well the time I finally slimmed down, I always had this yen which was that I would’ve given ANYTHING to have the super-skinny body Iggy Pop had. I did, finally achieve that “rock star skinny” look in my late 20s -up to about 2009 or 2010, when I started (well, looking “healthier”, to some, but, to me, it was just putting more weight on). I haven’t gone back to what I was previously, just need a little bit of toning up here & there.

To that end, I found this interesting video (Iggy’s all over this refrigerator) and I thought I’d share it with you.  Now, just to be clear, my favorite Iggy stuff, well, besides Fun House, with The Stooges (of course) and Raw Power (Stooges), the two greatest solo albums, in my opinion, were ones he did when he was close to David Bowie and the latter wrote or co-wrote many of the songs on them: I’m referring to The Idiot and Lust for Life.  Each album is packed with great things.  There’s an effusive excitement that one cannot just slough off.  I hope every serious Iggy fan has these two albums (as well as the aforementioned Stooges albums; Funhouse happens to be my favorite).  Anyway, enjoy the video: “Dog Food”…KM

Meesh

Three New Singles, 2015

Review by Kent Manthie                                    

May has just sprung up the oft-awaited flowers that those “April showers” are supposed to bring. Unfortunately, that won’t quite be the case, here in California, unless you’re growing succulents – cacti, aloe plants and the like: basically plants that don’t need a hell of a lot of water because, well, a lot of them are used to, by Darwinian adaptation/evolution, desert climates.

Anyway, one thing that has bloomed, or maybe I should say, is in the process of blossoming is new material by Meesh (see three previous Meesh reviews, for context- do a search, in the Independent Review home page, for Meesh). I recently received, from Adam Hachey, half of Meesh, the other half being Mitch Chisholm, who was absent from the scene for a time, leaving Adam in charge to finish Wall Carpet, with Adam’s girlfriend, Jacky Munoz, who sings background vocals.

So, these new “May flowers” I am writing about are three new songs by Meesh. Three new tunes which are preludes to a new, full-length album, which should, most likely, be coming out this summer and, of course, will be reviewed here, once it comes out.

The first of this new troika, “Lake”, starts out with a nice low-note (or high bass note?) riff which is not unlike the great Rob Crow’s previous bands, like Heavy Vegetable, Thingy and his latest, still going concern, Pinback. Also, “Lake” is an all-around mellow, but not melancholy song. I detect a bit of optimistic reflection, an emotional slow ride on the rails. Whatever else can be said about “Lake”, I like it!

Song number two: “Endings” is also a quiet, mellow tune, with hushed tones and also a catchy, “upbeat” (although, without a beat, per se); it’s a song about those inevitable endings that occur in pretty much every endeavor, project, many relationships which, then, usually bring about guilt in one of both parties, etc.

The final song in this triumvirate is called “Glenn”. I admit, somewhat, to being a bit mystified by this guy named Glenn, who shows up in the refrain – “Glenn…Glenn…Glenn” Nonetheless, it’s another good song, fits in with all three of these new tunes, which I hope will be included on their next full-length release, which may be out by this summer.

So, for now if I’ve piqued your interest with this reviews and you and you’d like to hear them, then go to https://soundcloud.com/meeshartists/lake or https://soundcloud.com/meeshartists/endings or https://soundcloud.com/meeshartists/glenn.  You can also visit https://www.meesh.bandcamp.com – just another recommendation for you.  Hope you like.  Let me know what you think.  -KM.

Jacco Gardner

Hypnophobia

Polyvinyl Records, 2015

Review by Kent Manthie                                      hypnophobia cover

One of the coolest, most breeziest, slickest records I’ve heard in a while has just come to light. I’m talking about Hypnophobia, the latest album by flying Dutchman, Jacco Gardner, a native of Hoorn, Netherlands. Hypnophobia is a super-groovy album, bathed in a mixture of sunshine, boron and 4am brainstorming.

In a bio I read about Gardner, it describes him as a “baroque, pop, multi-instrumentalist…[creating] a unique sound by combining the sounds of harpsichord, strings, flutes and other classical instruments with raw, psychedelic effects”. That is a spot-on description. A bit incomplete, maybe, but what a great way to start off. There’s more to it than that. Of course, a lot of it is in the individual’s head: dreamy, escape from reality, lovely, lush, hauntingly beautiful, atmospheric, textural and lively. Those are some of the superlatives I, myself would use to describe the music (and, well, you can quote me on it).

I’ve had to listen to Hypnophobia several times in order to get as much out of it as I can; that is, for a fuller, broader spectrum of it’s multi-faceted, multi-tiered, vast ethereality, I wanted to, being unfamiliar with Jacco, develop a conscious familiarity with the album; the better to spell it out for you, the reader.

It begins with this lovely “Another You”, a sensual, lush, brightly burning dreamlike state which is a wondrous way to begin the album. The next tune, the instrumental, “Grey Lanes”, continues in a similar vein as “Another You”. Just as “Another You” finishes, you’ve still got that swirling, flowery, partly psychedelic sense to it, when “Grey Lanes” begins and doesn’t give you any time to stop and think about what it is you just experienced. In this case, however, the segue works out well, the song, being an instrumental coda, in a sense, keeps you in that dreamy fantasy for another three minutes. Next the album takes a turn, with “Brightly”: it shifts downward by going in a slowed and quieted direction: acoustic guitar, warm, with a somewhat introspective, inward look with a lovely, ballad-esque sound. Then, another sharp turn and we get to “Find Yourself”, which, I think, is one of the apexes of Hypnophobia. Very catchy, with a caramelized sound, captured by the carousel keyboard which plays the wonderful hook that, from the first, keeps you spellbound and in rapt attention.

After “Find Yourself”, the album just keeps on churning out these wonderful, illumined, breathtaking beauties. Another standout that has to be mentioned is the eight-minute “Before the Dawn”, a gorgeous potpourri of that keyboard, acoustic guitar, incidental sounds from the various studio props, etc. A fiery attack on mediocrity! The title track is another instrumental which is great as it is. Even though there’s few lyrics in it, it still speaks volumes in the seemingly chaotic-yet-ordered blissful charm offensive.

The penultimate track, a song about a minute and a half, “Make Me See” is simplicity. Just an electronic piano and his voice. It’s gives one 97 seconds to take a breath, get situated and ready for the finale: “All Over”, a great way to end this great record. “All Over” – I’m sure not only named for being the last song on the album, but it does fit the bill because, of course, after this, the album is all over. Of course, there are several different ways to interpret the meaning of the song title: as in, “I’ve been all over and I like xyz the best…” or “I’d like to see that color all over your body” and so on. It’s a real handy, unfixed meaning to give to the song. The song, itself is a really good note on which to go out: it’s an instrumental which has a keyboard-laden, even harpsichord-sound to it; just a nice song that doesn’t imply anything, there’s nothing that subliminally tells you how you should think, coming away from this album. No, it’s more like a pleasant “thank you for listening, we love you and hope to see you again soon” kind of message. That’s what I took away from it, anyway. -KM.

Walk This Way…

Posted: May 2, 2015 in New Indie Music

David Wakeling

Detour

Self-released, 2015

Review by Kent Manthie                                                                 detour-front

Our old friend, David Wakeling is back with a new CD. His last release was an album of covers, which were great interpretations of others’ tunes, including a great version of Todd Rundgren’s “It Wouldn’t Have Made Any Difference” as well as a much-better-than-Rod-Stewart’s-version of Tom Waits’s “Downtown Train”, not to mention stuff by James Taylor, Dave Grusin and more.

This time out, Dr. Wakeling’s new release, Detour is full of originals like his other albums. Quite an able songwriter as well as a musician, he really does a fine job, here, on Detour.

Actually, Wakeling includes one cover and an old standard, “Doctor! Doctor!” is a cover of the 80s hit by the Thompson Twins and is used, quite aptly, I thought, in an intro type of way, with only about a minute or so of it, then going into “What Will it Take”. “Paper Moon”, is the old crooner standard, written by Harlen/Harburg/Rose, but the rest of the album is nicely filled out by such great songs of his own, including “Proof of Life”, “It’ll Be Alright”, “Sonny Boy” and the quiet, acoustic ballad, “Might Have to Write a Love Song”.

Alternating his time between his medical work (he’s a medical doctor), whether in the ER or in a less busy clinical setting, and the world of songwriting and making music, David sure keeps busy. But on those precious off-days from the hospital, he composes music and works on his chops, keeping up with the musical scene as much as he can. He seems to be forging ahead pretty well, after about three or four albums under his belt and he sees to be going up, up, up.

The songs on Detour definitely seem to show more confidence than the previous releases, though, not a pompous alienation of the past. It’s still the same David, thoughtful, poetic lyrics, good melodies in the music. The album seems to go into a more jazzy vein, like the kind you might hear at a jazz club or a hipster bar in a nice part of downtown. “Proof of Life” is also a quiet, acoustic number, but has an uptempo, jazzbo style to it.

Actually, to tell the truth, the whole album is based on hushed, acoustic guitar-based, drumless melodies, sung with much verve and the aforementioned poetic lyrics that really shine. It shows that Wakeling’s not staying in one spot, but experimenting with styles and also changing things up, album to album.

This is a very easy album to listen to, the mellowness of the tunes belie an intricate, complex songwriting behind it all. It’s great to have independent singer-songwriter musicians, such as David, making his own stuff, with no one breathing down his neck. A refreshing change from the typical fare one hears on the radio, over and over again, this is something one can enjoy at one’s leisure in the solitude of one’s home or in the car or out and about on your iPod. Very easy on the ears and a good batch of songs here. I’m hoping he comes back soon with another release that shows off this great lyrical ability and the catchy melodies.

For those whose interest has been piqued and want to find out more about David Wakeling and his music and/or find a way to purchase this CD, you can visit his website, Wakeling Music, just by clicking here: https://www.wakelingmusic.com – there you can find out more about the man and his music as well as order this album or older ones (see my previous reviews on his last two albums for a guide). Anyway, happy listening and hope you pick up a copy. We need more of these iconoclastic types in the music scene to keep the overly soundalike top 40 pap at bay.

Like I said, I hope the good doctor brings some more good medicine our way soon! -KM.