Saturday, March 08, 2008

Odessa Memphis

Odessa is an art space collective Andy and I have decided to join. I had my first art show there February 14th. We have a show tonight and another Monday. If it's possible, leave your egos outside and stop in. Both of these shows are free of charge. We must be doing something new and different to already have haters. It's great. Ahhh, jealousy makes people say the darndest things. Anyways, we don't really care what these folks say and the show will keep going on. Some simpletons just don't have anything else to do, ya know. It's just a space bringing bands and hosting shows we want to see in Memphis. Those that don't likey can start one on their own to get their own group together. Or, pick up a book and learn something. I am a proud Chick of my hometown and love seeing Memphians collaborating and creating to do something different. Anything. Just watch your words and don't waste my time with mindless chatter and destructive criticism. Don't move, improve. Thank you. Here's our lineup:

Saturday, March 8th:
Neptune from Massachusetts with White Creeps (Wolf Eyes-style power
noise from Jonesboro Arkansas. Yeah, I'd wanna bum people out too)

Active now for close to 14 years, Boston band Neptune has crafted not
only a formidable array of releases that document their squalling,
post-industrial noise punk, but an awesome arsenal of home-made
instruments they they've used to etch each and every one of their
tracks. Though beginning life as the extension of a sculpture project
by Jason Sanford, the band has shunned the austerity of art galleries
in favor of cranking out high-octane, oft-visceral exercises in

Their discography stretches to around 20 releases, but Gong Lake,
their debut for Table of the Elements' Radium imprint, is the first to
be widely available outside of Neptune's own merch table. Five
full-lengths in now, and the band is nothing if not tightly wound – no
hesitation, no faulty missteps. As such, Gong Lake presents a solid
half an hour's worth of the trio's finely detailed improvisations and
galloping, percussive punk, bounding from the queasy loops and
pounding drums of "Grey Shadows" to the more carefully considered and
ominous oscillations of "Black Tide."

While Neptune's penchant for homemade instruments is well known, they
wisely avoid reducing their work-shopped creations to kitsch levels.
Instead, they spend the whole of Gong Lake blending a number of
different homemade synths and effects boxes with more tradition drums
and baritone guitars. The results are slyly alien, invoking a creeping
sense of the bizarre and unfamiliar that's effortlessly meshed with
exceedingly familiar rock dynamics. Thus, while "Paris Green" may
start with commonplace guitar strums, it quickly gives way to the
chunky low-end of a synth of unknown provenance, one that battles for
space with a rising tide of screeching oscillators. Elsewhere, "Yellow
River" ricochets with the effected sounds of a mutated thumb piano,
opening up spaces for echoing synths to shoot past the percussion's
insistent rhythms.

As much as a seemingly unkempt aggression is Neptune's hallmark
throughout Gong Lake's 10 tracks, these three are no ordinary brutes.
Time and again, their dedication to expanding a familiar rock lexicon
with instruments of their own creation calls to mind the work of folks
like This Heat. Much like those Brits attempted the use the basic
palette of punk rock as a spring board for deeper experimentation, so
too does Neptune work a similar trick, obliterating the familiar
structures of rock and punk with otherworldly timbres and tones that
are wholly of their own design.

MONDAY (3/10):


Sunburned Hand of the Man is a band in the loose sense of the word;
it's better described as a banner under which a collective of musical
freaks have gathered. Based in Boston, Sunburned Hand of the Man grew
out of trio which called itself Shit Spangled Banner and featured John
Molony and Rob Thomas who would later become anchors of the Sunburned
coterie. According to Molony, Shit Spangled Banner was conceived as "a
cross between the Melvins and Sonic Youth," but the group was fast
picking up a host of like-minded dropouts and musical wanderers who
would show up at their loft, and their sound soon began to incorporate
everything from early American folk music to drone, free jazz, space
rock, and funk. After one release, 1996's No Dolby No DBX (released as
part of Ecstatic Yod's Ass Run series), the group changed it name to
Sunburned Hand of the Man. A string of self-released CD-Rs followed,
including Mind of a Brother (1997) and Piff's Clicks (1998). With
2001's Jaybird, Sunburned reached a new pinnacle, forging their
disparate elements into a distinct (if not complete) sounding
collection. By this time like-minded groups such as Jackie-O
Motherfucker, Tower Recordings, and the No-Neck Blues Band (who are
somewhat of a sister group to Sunburned) were also coming into their
own and gaining critical applause. The term "free folk" started
popping up in an attempt to describe these bands and Sunburned were
seen as leaders (or at least co-leaders) in a musical movement of
sorts, a movement which had its antecedents in Harry Smith's Anthology
of American Folk Music as much as in avant-jazz and noise groups.
Sunburned Hand of the Man continued to refine and expand their sound
on CD-R and vinyl-only releases such as 2001's Wild Animal, 2002's
Headdress, and 2003's Trickle Down Theory of Lord Knows What. Each
release was a rough but often brilliant indicator of where the band
was headed, rather than finished statements of where they had been. In
August of 2003 the profile of the band raised considerably when they
were featured on the cover of the respected British music magazine
Wire, appearing above the headline "New Weird America."

Blues Control might just be the missing link between Van Halen and
Henry Flynt. They are a duo. Lea Cho plays swank but grounded
atmospheric keyboard parts [think Harold Budd] for guitar player and
manipulator of assorted junk-on-table Russ Waterhouse to cut through,
whittle and lay waste to. It's a hazy, spaced world that exists
between fuzzed distortion, jabbering electronics, a lazy stay-in-bed
psychedelic glaze, with rhythmic keyboards pulsating below it all a la
a guy named Florian-and you can choose which one you want. Oh yeah,
did I mention the humid bikini-vibe that permeates the entire album?
So is there a blues angle to it? Yeah, but you've got to bury yourself
in it or dig your way in. Come out stinking if you want.

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