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Slinging tuneage like some fried or otherwise soused short-order cook
Anyone who follows this blog regularly knows that I’m a big
fan of the Dead C. A great band from Dunedin,
that I have posted before & will surely post again. I thought I’d post up
something different here today. A couple other Kiwi acts that I also enjoy.
Dadamah was a short-lived group, started in Christchurch, New Zealand in 1990 & calling
it quits in 1993. Members were Roy Montgomery – vocals & guitar, Janine
Stagg – organ, synthesizer & backing vocals, Kim Pieters – vocals &
bass, & Peter Stapleton – drums.
While Dadamah is often seen as another step along the way in
the artistic path of Roy Montgomery, he'd be the first to disagree. He has
stated: "I look back upon the Dadamah album as an exercise in weaving
tunes into cacophony. The other members of the band had the energy &
enthusiasm for experimentation, I had the ‘hooks’, to put it crudely…I had that
at the back of my mind in trying to write tunes to go with the words &
ideas of the other members."
Unlike the consistently aggro noise fests of the Dead C,
Dadamah also draw on a generally more spare but no less compelling approach,
positively shimmering with beautifully earthy lo-fi Velvets/ Pere Ubu sound.
Roy Montgomery's droning guitars offset by Janine Stagg's gurgling synth woosh,
stabbing organ-wheez, & possessed femme voice over, Kim Pieter's cavernous
man-voice vocals weaving through the mix, with Peter Stapleton’s drums punching
through into your waking nightmare, because this is not a dream.
Gydja is the name of the musical projects of Abby
Helasdottir from Wellington,
New Zealand. The
project began with the aim of creating sounds that could be used for
magickal & shamanic purposes. Her approach has since broadened, now
creating music of both a mundane & a magickal nature. Works designed
specifically for magickal use sit alongside explorations of sound for sound’s
sake although some exploration of sound contain magickal themes, even if there
is no practical magickal application intended.
This is an aesthetic exploration of dark & mysterious environments
by a couple of talented, sensible, & unique visionaries who through their
musical expression inspire us.
Ma-Mo Rbad Gtong was released by Chmafu Nocords in
2005. New Zealander Gydja here collaborates with Maru (Marufura Fufunjiru, an
Austrian musician & founder of the Chmafu Nocords label) to create this amazing
dark ambient sound. This is an aesthetic exploration of dark & mysterious environments
by a couple of talented, sensible, & unique visionaries who through their
musical expression inspire us.
It explores the four orders of Wrathful Goddesses
encountered by the soul in the Bardo Thödol, or Tibetan Book of the Dead. The
tracks bear the names of each of these orders: the eight Kerimas, the eight
Htamenmas, the four female Door-keepers, & the twenty-eight Herukas. This
mysterious release is constructed with multiple layers of analog sounds
structured into minimalist soundscapes, where the vibe & the drones flows
through an intangible space, penetrating in our skin, reaching our bloodstream,
& sending an electrical current through our nerve synapses. The ritualistic
sounds are used repetitively to infuse a contemplative stage of mind where
momentarily we can abandon our physical body.
People who originated in Africa 50,000 to 70,000 years ago
traveled to Southeast Asia & then to New Guinea. These Aborigines then crossed a land bridge from Asia to Australia
which is believed to have existed about 45,000 to 50,000 years ago. The Aborigines
share heritage with the native peoples of Papua New Guinea. About
8,000 years ago the Torres Strait
Islands were formed when
the land bridge between Australia & New Guinea was flooded by rising seas.
Since then they have been separated, but their earliest traditional heritage is
This music is from the Cape York Peninsula of Australia, the Torres
Strait Islands, &
southern Papua New Guinea.
This is the real music before Europeans came to the area.
Australia is another country with massive amounts of music to which I happen to be damn partial, so this has been kinda a challenge to narrow it down with some sort of cohesiveness. Here's my baker's dozen, my imperfect 13. Those bloody Aussies are from down-under after all, everything is upside down, standin' on its collective head. I have enough trouble walking upright & chewing coca leaves, as they say...
When this first came out I bought it on 8-track to play in
my 57 Chevy. I still have the tape (though it no longer plays, even if I had an
8-track player). I’ve own this on vinyl, cassette, & CD. To me this is a
‘classic’ gem of punk rawk. I have so many memories associated with this music…
Radio Birdman was formed by Deniz
Tek & Rob Younger in Sydney,
1974. Often considered one of Australia’s
first punk bands, they were really predecessors of punk, much like their
MC5 & The Stooges. Radio Birdman were an influence on the music of many
Australian indie rock bands of the 80s. They are now considered to be one of
the most crucial bands to Australia's
Radios Appear was produced & recorded by John L. Sayers & Charles Fisher at Trafalgar
Studios in Annandale.
On Trafalgar, the album received little promotion or attention. Many Birdman
fans felt it did not properly reflect the ferocity & immediacy of the bands
true sound. Shortly after its initial release, Trafalgar Records leased the
recordings to WEA (Warner/Elektra/Atlantic) who took on the album & gave it
a wider release. However, sales remained limited. When Sire Records president Seymour
Stein came to Australia
to sign up fellow Australian band The Saints, he saw Radio Birdman play. He immediately
invited them to join his label. Sire released a new version of Radios Appear
featuring a mixture of re-mixed, re-recorded & new material. The new
release was a more accurate reflection of the band's sound.
Died Pretty are often regarded as one of the great
Australian acts of the late 80s & early 90s.
Died Pretty are an Australian rock & roll band formed in 1983 by veterans
of the Sydney
scene, deranged frontman & vocalist Ronald S. Peno, organist Frank Brunetti,
& guitarist Brett Myers. The group immediately attracted attention around Sydney & drew
comparisons to the Doors.
Died Pretty jumped straight out of the starting block, releasing the wonderful
"Out Of The Unknown" single followed by the impossibly cool
"Mirror Blues", a psychedelic 12-minute epic spread out over both
sides of a 7-inch release.
However, the real critical acclaim arrived in the form of the Next To
Nothing EP that earned the band accolades as a sort of modern day Aussie
Velvet Underground. Next to Nothing established Died Pretty's place in
the music world. Died Pretty are often regarded as one of the great Australian
acts of the late 80s & early 90s.
This has always been a favorite EP of mine, being
On Next to Nothing, Died Pretty are: Ronald S Peno – vocal; Brett Myers – guitar;
Frank Brunetti – keyboards; Mark
Lock – bass; & Chris Welsh – drums withguest Joe Borkowsky – cello.
Same Line-up here except guest musicians: Louis Tille - piano
on “Life to Go”; Graham Lee - pedal steel
guitar on “Through Another Door”; John Papanis - mandolin on “Blue Sky Day”;
Julian Watchhorn - violin on “Wig-Out” & “Blue Sky Day”; & Tim Fagan –
saxophone on “Round & Round”, “Next to Nothing” & “Through Another Door”.
On Trace, Died Pretty are: Ronald S. Peno – vocals;
Brett Myers – guitar & vocals; John Hoey – organ & piano; Robert Warren
– bass; & Chris Welch – drums & percussion with musical guests Jack
Howard – trumpet; Caroline Lavelle – cello; Sunil De Silva -percussion & Eleanor Rodgers – backing
The story of Died Pretty is a tale of endurance & self,
yet buoyed by a simple faith in themselves, they have remained afloat. Using
My Gills as a Roadmap is both startling in approach & exciting in its
musical depth. A release that clearly makes demands on the listener, it
confronts any pre-existing notion about what sort of band they are, or where
their limitations lay.
The most noticeable thing about Using My Gills… is the disparate range of keyboard
experimentation. From the start it is obvious that the distinctive guitar
dominated sound the band has previously relied upon has been dispensed with to
make room for this keyboard driven style. Although there is no lack of guitar,
the keyboards hold sway.
This record is sure to be perceived as a radical departure,
& it should be just the vehicle to open up a new world of possibilities for
one of Australia's
most creative groups.
Triosk were an
experimental jazz band from Sydney, Australia,
who formed in 2001 & disbanded in 2007. Though coming from a jazz
foundation, their sound has very strong electronica elements as well as
influences from the textures of musique concrete, with their using loops of
hisses & crackles. They released three albums: 1+3+1 in 2003 (a
collaboration with German electronic artist Jan Jelinek on Berlin label ~scape); Moment Returns in
2004, & The Headlight Serenade in 2006 (both released on The Leaf
Laurence Pike is also a
member of instrumental band Pivot (Warp), Roam the Hello Clouds & has
recorded & toured with Flanger, Savath & Savalas, Jack Ladder, Qua,
& jazz veteran Mike Nock. Pianist Adrian Klumpes released a solo album
titled Be Still on The Leaf Label in late 2006.
Triosk made their
international debut fronting with Jan Jelinek for the superb 1+3+1 album
on Scape. Utilizing a classic Jazz piano trio formation, Triosk employs a
plethora of devices both traditional & modern in their search for the perfect
jazz note, gliding from condensed electronic minimalism to low-end sultriness
overflowing with piano cascades, sweeping whispered percussion & some unforgettable
double-bass lines. Despite being compared to everyone from the Necks to the
Cinematic Orchestra & Thelonius Monk, Triosk's greatest triumph lies with
their natural shape-shifting ability, morphing from one mode of operation to
another with apparent ease, sometimes through delicate transitions as one
hypnotic piece fizzes into another, sometimes within the confines of the same
For those new to
Triosk's world, their sound is a post-modern view on jazz marinated in wisps of
electronica, minimal techno, & lush instrumentation that all unites into
abject clarity. Evidently taking advantage of an extended spell in the studio, The
Headlight Serenade is perhaps their richest release in terms of production,
yet rather than drown the band's charm beneath a deluge of mixing-desk
trickery, it instead seems to have focused them even more than ever.
On The Headlight
Serenade, Triosk are: Adrian Klumpes - piano, Rhodes
electric piano, synthesizer, & sampler;Ben 'Donny' Waples – acoustic & electric bass; & Laurence Pike –
drums & percussion.
Disc 1 recorded &
mixed at Paradise Studios, Gosford & BIB Studios, Sydney, Australia.
Disc 2 is a live performance by Triosk from 15th June 2006 for ABC (Australian
Broadcasting Corporation) Radio National's Sound Quality & Music Deli
The Necks were formed in Sydney, Australia
in 1987. The original line-up of pianist Chris Abrahams, bassist Lloyd Swanton,
& drummer Tony Buck remained stable, even though they all lead busy lives
& highly different careers. Abrahams is an acclaimed session keyboardist
who has released a couple of solo piano albums, has written music for film
& television, has toured the world in 1993 with the rock group Midnight
Oil. Swanton is a much in-demand session jazz bassist, a regular of the jazz
festival circuit. He has played in The Benders & The Catholics, & has
accompanied Stephen Cummings & Sting. Buck spends most of his time in
avant-garde circles, with multiple collaborations & projects. His best
known engagements have include the trio PERIL & the klezmer-punk group
The Necks' first album came out in 1989 on their own label,
Fish of Milk. The reviews were enthusiastic, most people praising the group's
ability to blend simplicity and experimentation. They would play whenever the
three musicians were in Australia
at the same time. The next three albums experimented with their format,
integrating occasional guests, electronics, & more. By 1998s Piano Bass
Drums their recipe had been fixed & would remain unchanged.
Typically a live performance will begin very quietly with
one of the musicians playing something very simple. One by one, the other two
will join with their own melodies, all three independent yet intertwined. A
piece of music usually lasts between 45 minutes to an hour, growing in volume,
pace & complexity before fading out.
Featured below is a cross-section of their extensive
discography. Prepare yourself for a space age journey with these releases.
Experimental jazz at it's best.
This album from Perth,
native electronica/doom pop star Abbe May was knocked out in five days with
members of Kill Devil Hills, The Lazy Railway & Abbe’s regular band The
Rockin' Pneumonia. It is brimming with spectral sexual energy, perfect for my
taste in things.
Abbe’s MySpace page says: “Five days, four musicians, three chords, too many
bottles of spliff wine & one Willie Dixon song.”
Abbe isn’t worried about evangelical threats of calling Satan into her life by
using his name; she’s willing to play with the Big Boy if He’s willing to play
with her. Well, are you, Natas, are you?
Hoodoo You Do
Call Me Back or I'll Unleash Hell’s Hounds
Oh Sweet Jaysus!
You Gonna Get It
A Wail of Sirens
My Heart, it Struck Sorrow
I’ve Been Thirsty, I Haven't Found Any Yet
The Soul of a Man
Wang Dang Doodle
The Ballad of Ignatius Elliot Archer
The Shaolin Afronauts are an Adelaide based instrumental Afrobeat band
started in 2008. They took their inspiration from Fela Kuti's Africa
70 band & the music of Sun Ra. They incorporate elements of avant-garde
jazz & soul with traditional African & Cuban percussive rhythms.
In 2011 they signed to Freestyle Records label & released
their debut album Flight of the Ancients.
On Flight of the Ancients, Shaolin Afronauts are: Lachlan
Ridge, & Kahil Nayton – guitar; Dylan Marshall – guitar & synthesizer;
Chris Soole – alto saxophone; Adam Paige – tenor saxophone; Jon Hunt – baritone
saxophone & bass clarinet; Chris weber – trumpet; Ross McHenry – bass; Tim
Wilsdon – congas; Joel Prime & Tim Bennett – percussion; David van der
Zwaag – shekere & hand percussion; & Kevin van der Zwaag – drums.
Well, after this one we're leaving Asia & heading to that land down under. But first, a few treats from the islands of the Philippines.
The Juan de la Cruz Band is a Pilipino rock
band formed in 1968. The original Juan
de la Cruz Band consisted of Wally
Gonzalez – guitar & vocals, Bing
Labrador - keyboards, Sandy
Tagarro - bass guitar & vocals, Edmund Fortuno - drums, & Alex Cruz - saxophones & flute. In December 1970, the band was
featured in the first open-air rock festival in the Philippines, the Antipolo Rock
Festival. Shortly thereafter, Sandy Tagarro was replaced by Clifford Ho on bass. Then Edmund
Fortuno, Bing Labrador, & Alex Cruz (along with guitarist Vic Naldo &
bassist Marlon Ilagan) formed a splinter group, Anak Bayan. The versatile Sandy Tagarro returned to the band,
now as drummer (Fortuno's replacement), as well as the band's lead vocalist;
Clifford Ho continued on bass. Romy Santos – flute,
sax, & clarinet replaced Alex Cruz & Rene Sogueco – keyboards & vocal was recruited to replace Bing
Labrador. In the wake of this major line-up revamp, the Juan de la Cruz Band
recorded their first album, 1971’s Up
in Arms. Up in Armswas not a commercial success & has never been reissued by Vicor Music
Corporation. Featured here is the unauthorized compact disc reboot of the LP,
excellently re-mastered & re-packaged by Shadoks /Normal Music of Bonn,
Germany. It has bonus live tracks from a later edition of the band. Within
several months, both keyboardist Rene Sugueco (briefly replaced by Larry Martinez), & bassist
Clifford Ho (briefly replaced by Tony
Rodriguez) had left the band. During this transition phase that Joey ‘Pepe’ Smith returned to the Philippines from a successful sojourn in Japan
& joined the group.
This state of Juan de la
Cruz's flux & gradual dissolution led Wally Gonzales to reconvene an
all-new powerhouse trio: Gonzales – guitar & vocals; Mike Hanapol – bass,
piano, & vocals; & Joey ‘Pepe’ Smith – drums, acoustic guitar, &
vocals. The ensuing album Himig Natin by the iconic trio of Gonzales,
Smith & Hanopol went on to become the anthem of Manila's post-hippie
culture, ushering in what became called Pinoy Rock. Himig Natin fueled
the Pinoy Rock scene, which swelled into a movement. The social impact &
innovations of the Juan de la Cruz Band inadvertently became the catalyst for
the inception of Original Pilipino Music (OPM) & the viability for diverse,
Pilipino authored musical genres to emerge & thrive in the Philippines.
JDLC’s music is totally
rocked out bluesy stoner jams, with Wally Gonzales’ brilliant acid psych leads.
A lot of the lead vocals are done by drummer Joey Smith who’s got the perfect psychrock delivery for this stuff.
Moscow Olympics formed during the summer of 2006. The band
is made up of AJ, Jojo, Melanie, & Richard. Almost immediately
they drew comparisons to the likes of Northern Picture Library, Blueboy, &
Slowdive for their fused implementation of shoegaze & post-punk. The
group’s vocal delivery is undoubtedly within the realm of shoegaze but the bustling
instrumentation are tight rhythmically inclined post-punk, yet with a polished reverb-heavy
form that brings it all back to their shoegaze roots.
Moscow Olympics’ debut album Cut the World features only
7 tracks & falls just short of 28 minutes. On the album, the band
demonstrates a form of musicianship that suggests that the members have been
creating music for much longer than the two years Moscow Olympics was together.
Their blend of modern production techniques with nostalgic odes to the 80s
proves constantly invigorating. It sounds fresh, engaging, & surprisingly
I really hope you take
the time to check out this band if you’re not familiar with them. I’ve been
looking forward to posting this since I began this journey many months ago.
Building are a Hong Kong indie band
whose name comes from a building in Jordon, Hong Kong.
They play instrumental rock. It is introspective & moody shoegaze at its
best. Not hip, not impulsive, not hysteric.
What if you were walking
down the darkness of a sonic pathway, listening to the tenderness of bodies
that move over one another, while the night is too much to spell a word?...Introversion,
sadness, glamor, confidentiality…like a flash in the wilderness forest, like a
breeze gliding over the green. The contrasts of day & night. Here comes the
different transient feelings of your existence.
Their music feels like a
guide to our private artistic morphology…drawings like mysteries, songs named
like fairy tales. A subtle atmosphere.
This is their debut
album called In the Forest & the Field, released in 2006 by Harbour