Sector 2814

Posted in Uncategorized by Mogo on March 18, 2007

Black Pus – “Black Pus I”: a solo project by Brian Chippendale of Lightning Bolt fame (or is that infamy?), this may as well have been a LB release… slightly more chaotic and noisy than the Bolt, but it almost sounds like Chippendale was simply doing an experiment to see if he could make it a one-man-band in the studio. I doubt that’s actually the case, but if it were then I’d be saying he succeeded admirably. in other words, it won’t be much a stretch for LB fans to get into Black Pus.

Steel Pole Bath Tub – “Tulip” and “Butterfly Love/Lurch”: oldies but goodies at this point, these two releases (or three actually, since “Butterfly Love/Lurch” is a combo release of two previously-issued ep’s) prove that SPBT are essentially the perfect noise-rock band. trebly distorted Fender guitar tones over a pounding rhythm section playing catchy tunes, on the edge of utter chaos and threatening to fall apart at any second. even the “Paranoid” cover manages to (for once) improve on the original, no small feat given the number of bands who’ve likely covered it before SPBT without adding anything to it. easily some of the highlights of the band’s career, topped only perhaps by their other classic “Miracle of Sound in Motion”.

ESG – “A South Bronx Story”: I came across this in someone’s “no wave” folder and decided to check it out since if they were indeed no-wave and hadn’t been mislabeled by said person, they would turn out to be a no-wave group I hadn’t yet heard. so far so good. listening to the tunes certainly bears this out – catchy, vaguely poppy but more punk/noise-like-by-way-of-not-playing-their-instruments-very-well, they bear a certain resemblance to other female fronted and/or dominated groups of the same NY scene, like Au Pairs, Delta 5, Ut or Y Pants. further research bears out that they actually had very little in common with their scene contemporaries aside from their sound: where the other aforementioned groups were generally informed by the art school-meets-punk rock aesthetics of their scene; ESG were 4 sisters essentially trying to play soul/r&b who ended up fitting in with no-wave due more to their level of instrumental prowess than anything else. which is not said to detract from the enjoyability (is that a word?) of their songs – if anything, based on the material here ESG were more catchy and enjoyable than most of the bands in a scene they were shoehorned into. enough so that they apparently provided unlicensed-sample fodder for various hip-hop artists in the late 80s/early 90s – ironically bringing them closer by association to the genres they started out trying to play in the first place.

 Kraftwerk – “K4”: little info seems to be available about this release, aside from the fact that at the time of it’s recording, Michael Rother and Klaus Dinger of krautrock pioneers Neu! were counted as members of Kraftwerk. indeed, their influence on these five tracks is so prominent that it may as well be a Neu! release. even that might not be appropriate though, since it is actually a lot heavier than any of the official Neu! albums! go figure. it certainly has Rother’s signature guitar tone, but although the trademark simple-riff repetition is in abundance the riffs themselves are almost proto-metal, suggesting more than a hint of Stooges or MC5. contextually it’s a weird one indeed, confounded further by the fact that it’s a live recording bearing enthusiastic audience response – not the type of response one would expect from people showing up expecting “fun fun fun on the autobahn”… but then again it was the mid-70s and although it likely took place before I was even conceived, one gets the impression that true music fans back in those days weren’t as genre-segregated as they’ve since become. as it stands this could easily become my favorite album by both Neu! and Kraftwerk, though to be fair to both that may be due in part to the relative newness of this compared to my intimate familiarity with both bands’ other output.

German Oak – s/t: another previously unheard krautrock discovery, I approached this one with a lot of caution after seeing song titles like “swastika rising” and “the third reich”… fortunately, a little research bears out that the titles have more to do with the fact that the album was recorded in an abandoned WWII bunker in Germany and not any actual fascist/nazi leanings on the band’s part. which is a huge relief… although in all honesty even if they were nazi-sympathetic I’d still be listening to it, because this is some of the best damn krautrock I’ve ever heard. the first few tracks seem to be “bonus” tracks – the listing on Amazon only mentions the final four of the seven tracks I have here, which makes sense – the seven tracks clock in around an hour, where the last four clock in around 40 minutes, the proper length for the LP format this would have originally been released on. these extra few tracks have a better audio quality as well, lending to my belief that they were not recorded in the same bunker as the album tracks, but rather in a proper studio. anyway, trivia aside this is – as I said above – some of the best krautrock I’ve heard… on the heavier side of that spectrum, similar in a lot of ways to the Necronomicon album I reviewed a little while back. highly recommended.

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