Vinyl Sevens round-up (1 of 3)

From Private Leisure Industries, we have Buffalo Bangers (PLI-4) with two nifty songs ‘Granite Grandma’ and ‘Blockader’ which it’s possible to locate in the area of minimal new-wave influenced avant-rock…by which I mean that both songs are typified by their economy, their brilliantly spartan sound – Cooper Holmes twangs a mean and moody guitar, proving once again that Hank Marvin casts a long “shadow” over the history of the Fender strat in music…1 Lindsey Elcessor is the singer whose hollow voice evokes nine shades of disaffection and alienation, and she carries this forward into her symbolically-charged lyrics, such as “The King and Queen have eaten all the flowers”. No disguising the snarl of menace and anger in her voice, even when the targets of her lyrical barbs remain somewhat obscure. Suitably angsty cover drawings too, full of spikiness and double meanings. This label also sent us the excellent seven-inch by Trophy Wife who I think are from Nashville, while Buffalo Bangers are from Atlanta. Arrived 21/11/2011.

On what might be the first seven-inch released by Monotype Records, we have a dandy split (MONOSP001) of abstract noise and electronics by Cremaster and Komora A. Cremaster from Barcelona, currently operating as the duo of Fages and Monteiro, realised ‘Haz’ using assorted electroacoustic methods, and create a glorious slow-motion wave of unstoppable force. Like witnessing a volcano fizzing over the rim of its own crater like red-hot soda pop. Or a tidal wave causing awful havoc and destruction. As ever, Cremaster retain their detached outlook and stony visage, even in the face of ultimate disaster. Komora A have a better title – ‘Crystal Dwarf Opens His Eyes’ – but this trio of Polish players don’t have quite the force behind their punches in their melange of analogue and digital synth porridge. Even so, their stop-start approach and eccentric performance method guarantees a few unsettling moments for the listener. Mirt’s cover art suggests a very clinical and scientific view of “deconstruction”, which may be appropriate for the aural contents. From 21/12/2012.

While Poland is still uppermost in the noggin, Tomasz Krakowiak is a young Polish percussionist concerned with exploring the sound of his drums using electro-acoustic methods. His A/P (BOCIAN RECORDS BC 03) is a rather process-heavy work produced using just one of his cymbals recorded using a stereo microphone; the resulting continuous sound is probably intended to be quite hypnotic, and is replete with many undulating and slightly “sparkly” layers, but even so I found my attention wandering fairly quickly. Oddly enough, things fall into place when we hear the B-side, which I regard as a ghostly counterpart to its brother, a more subdued version of the results but using the same technique. For some conceptual reason, each side has been edited to last precisely one second short of five minutes. For those who wish an entire solo album of Krakowiak’s percussive experiments, try the recent Moulins CD on this label.

‘Bitter Ballads’ (HOLLOW BUNNY RECORDS HB005) by Nine Fingered Thug is just totally excellent, from its twisted Matt Minter cover art to every second of its EP-length grooves. While Buffalo Bangers pay explicit homage to various late-1970s New Wave bands with their sound, Nine Fingered Thug are far more eccentric and artistic and while it’s possible to characterise this record as some species of punk-inflected monstrousness, it’s just got so many elements that don’t fit neatly – including the mannered snarly vocals by Samuel M.Z. Mintu and the utterly spooked-out organ work from the great Irene Moon. Come to that, what’s the madcap Irene Moon even doing in a “band”? 2 The two songs here are both hymns to a pair of subversive visual artists, Hans Bellmer and Unica Zürn 3, and the insert includes a photograph of the duo nursing one of their doll constructs. The lyrics, especially those for the ‘Hans’ side, are sympathetic to the dark side of these far-out modernists, while also spinning a nightmarish yarn out of free-form streams of surreal poetry. It’s a genuine attempt to crawl inside the heads of these strange creators. Mintu, credited with “grumbling” as well playing the bass, grunts out these unwelcome visions of ugliness from a deep part of the psyche. There’s also the guitarist Services Lobo and Dabney Scott Craddock IV on drums, and I mention all four players because I can hardly credit the bizarre sound they make together – guitars and keyboards shining dimly among a fug of rather awkward rhythms – rather like a gothic version of Butthole Surfers. Also I enjoy they way they don’t really sit comfortably together as a band; each one plays as though they were making a completely different record from the others. Nothing but praise have I for this slab of grotesque beauty. Probably received some time before June 2011 but was released in 2010.

  1. Many UK punks acknowledged their love of Marvin’s work; this coincided with EMI’s release of the compilation 20 Golden Greats (0C 062-06 297) in 1977.
  2. Of course she was a member of The Collection Of The Late Howell Bend.
  3. Others who have explicitly professed their obsessions in this area are Stephen Thrower and Alfredo Tisocco.

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