Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Coupla things…sorry I’ve been absent

Combination of laziness and very slow internet connection, actually, has been keeping me quiet. Oh yeah, and I’m getting a little bit of work these days, thank god for that. But anyway, while I was slaving away, a couple of my reviews ran at various places.

First, the very odd Cave Rock by 1960s industrial-noise-free-folk progenitors Cromagnon, reviewed at Dusted yesterday.

Originally released in 1969 (as Orgasm), Cromagnon’s first and only full-length is intriguing and utterly confounding, a jumble of rackety percussion, chants, shouts, moans, giggles, whispers, drones, found sounds, bizarre rituals, ethno-freak-outs and one actual song, “Caledonia,” a sort of metal bagpipe reel. Its two main songwriters, Austin Grasmere and Brian Eliot, were, by all accounts, bumping hard against the limits of writing bubblegum pop for money. They heard somehow about the eccentric ESP-Disk label and dropped in to its studios for one day to record this odd, possibly brilliant, but only marginally listenable CD. The album went on through the ’70s, ’80s and early ’90s to become a kind of lost Atlantis type of recording, heard about more often than heard, an entry on Stephen Stapleton’s famous list. It was released on CD for the first time in 1993, again in 2000, once more in 2005 and this time, possibly prodded by Ghost’s cover of “Caledonia” two years ago, in 2009. It is always released by the original label, ESP-Disk, and the critical reaction always seems to be the same: How could anything this weird, this prefigurative of industrial out-rock and experimental psyche have possibly been produced in 1969?


And also the very hipsterish Phenomenal Handclap Band…BTW, I wrote the last sentence before Michael Jackson got sainted, don’t think I was trying to cash in on the hysteria.

In the Phenomenal Handclap Band's debut, DJs Daniel Collas and Sean Marquand showcase the tangled guitars, the slushy cymbals, the viscous bleats of synthesizer of 1978 or so, a polyester sound akin to funk but sleeker, chillier, less human. They dip, sometimes, into other genres -- prog, downtempo electro, kraut, hip hop, psych and indie rock - but all their songs are paced by a plastic beat and lit by a mirror ball. The alphabet-reciting "All of the Above" is like a Jackson Five song covered by Ace of Base and if that sounds like fun to you, go ahead, clap along.


“15 to 20”

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