Saturday, June 29, 2013

what i found in california ii

what it is: obama is a lizard
where i found it: california

While in California I was lucky enough to stay with a friend who is an expert in all kinds of esoteric things such as Arabic music, obscure LPs and Obama being a lizard. I was previously unaware of the considerable amount of writing and theorizing on the Obma lizard topic, which in most cases seems quite serious and highly misguided. Photos are analyzed. Essays abound. Videos are freeze framed. Each of which shows pretty much nothing remarkable unless you've smoked a wet boy (some kind of marijuana/angel dust concoction that people who end up on the show Cops seems to always be experimenting with). Below are some samples. You can pursue this as far as you like.

Friday, June 28, 2013

what i found in california i

what it is: noise
where i found it: california

While on vacation last week in the country's most idyllic and fucked up State I found many things, which I'll spend the next few days outlining. Let's start with noise.

While out near the beach I ended up spending some time with a guy named David Novak who just finished a very recommendable book on Japanese noise, appropriately titled Japanoise.  The book strikes a nice balance between scholarly theory and super descriptions (e.g. Novak failing when he attempts to sing with Hijokaiden, the Incapacitants' '07 Brooklyn appearance, Japan's high decibel basement record listening clubs). For better or worse it's gotten me onto a harsh noise kick and re-exploring the bottomless Merzbow catalog and the LA Free Music Society. If you don't know the LAFMS, you should - the group helped to midwife a lot of mostly-off-the-charts-craziness like Smegma and the difficult-to-be-reckoned with Destroy All Monsters.

Novak also wrote an article that centers around the mind bogglingly expansive ethno-document label Sublime Frequencies which you can download here. Since then he's the been subject of some provocation by the Sublimies/Sun City Girls when he's presented the paper, but provoking everyone is part of their job description (see building a campfire and reading poetry while opening for Black Flag and/or reciting pornographic excerpts about the Pope after blasting an audience with aimless improv noodling and Love covers).

Anyway, in digging around the noise centric youtube universe I came across this super clip of the Incapacitants playing on a mountain. I think that's Merzbow standing around in the background, who has done his own fair share of performing in unlikely settings. If you don't know the Incapacitants, they are a duo of Japanese 50 something salary men (one works in a bank and one is a beaureaucrat) who also happen to play some of the most searing and painful noise music there is. On a mountain.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

rip alan myers


Oddly, I just posted about Devo two weeks ago, so I'm hoping that this blog hasn't developed some magic divination powers, predicting the death of those posted about. Myers was an awesome, solid drummer who could keep the beat going even with one of those upside down flower pots on his head. My Devo immersion has generally continued since last posting and I'm thankful to Network Awesome for putting up a great collection of Devo videos yesterday, speeding my devolution further. I'll also provide a link to a great Devo Lollapalooza set from 2010 (without Myers on drums, but the new guy faithfully recreates his patterns). The festival seems to have improved since the 90s: the year I went to Lollapalooza I got fucking Body Count (Ice T's rock band), Eddie Vedder crowd surfing and the Red Hot Chili Peppers dressed up like lightbulbs.

welcome home ii

what it is: a giant underground tunnel
where i found it: the upper east side

Also continuing to progress in my home town while I've been away is the digging of a gigantic underground tunnel, which along with the other gigantic underground tunnel that's also being dug a few blocks away (between Grand Central and Penn Station) comprises one of the largest public works projects ever. Here is a great series of pictures of this absurd project.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

welcome home

what it is: beer man vs. weed man according to alien and predator
where i found it: my hometown paper

I've been a way on vacation for the past week and a half. When I opened the NY Times this morning to see what had been going on in my town while I was in absentia this is what I found.

Friday, June 14, 2013

find a grave

what it is: find a grave
where i found it: a weird request

A reader contacted me asking me if I knew where Jeff Hanneman's grave is. I don't. I looked around a little and it seems to be purposefully unlisted. I can understand if your dad or husband was in Slayer why you might not want fans visiting his grave, both because of what they might do in "tribute" and because you might have to deal with them when you're bringing flowers. My investigatory attempts did bring me to this amazing site called "find a grave", in which you can find pretty much anyone's grave anywhere. Unless they died in a gunfight in the Mexican desert and were left for the vultures or something. I found my grandfathers grave in two seconds flat with just his first name, last name and State. The site also has virtual memorials, in which you can leave "flowers" AKA comments. One of the first ones in Hanneman's virtual memorial is by someone named Angel Sodomizer, supporting my assertion that you probably don't want his more motivated fans hanging around your cemetary.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

blackmore tantrum

what it is: blackmore tantrum
where i found it: reader BB of new jersey

In this video, Deep Purple/Rainbow guitarist Ritchie Blackmore has an extended temper tantrum, smashing several guitars, a camera, throwing amps into the audience and initiating some explosions. That's enough for me, but what is more absurd is how he does it in a kind of calm way and that he seems psychologically disconnected from the rest of the band, who are still trying to make it seem like a legitimate rock sequence of events (keeping the jams going, "thank you good night", etc.) as it goes on forever.  I kind of just gave away a lot of the surprises, but it's still fun to watch it unfold and unfold and unfold.

Wikipedia tells me that Blackmore now plays New Age music and has a newborn child. Also, here are the informative last two sentences of the entry:  

Blackmore plays football once a week,[37] and always watches German language television on the satellite dish when he stays at his home.[43] He has a collection of approximately 2,000 CDs of Rennaissance Music.

recent picture of blackmore with current wife/singer. i don't know what to make of the hat or the lamp.

The same reader sent me a link to this documentary, which is more ridiculous than I can quite describe. I'll leave all the surprises for you in this one. 

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

overhang party

what it is: overhang party
where i found it: wfmu

Recently WFMU, the best radio station in the world, has been playing a lot of studio recordings by a 90's Japanese band called the Overhang Party, largely because their complete studio output has just been re-issued in a nice new affordable box. I wasn't cool enough to know about them the first time around and had to take a little leap of faith as I could only find relatively small samples online, but I got inspired to pick up one of these boxes anyway. Over the course of the four disks you can experience the band evolve from obscure improv that sounds a little like someone building a house while a kid plays with instruments nearby to song structures to insistent piano and violin to ecstatic guitar solos to ugly garage rock to distorted Asian pop that sounds like it's been put through a pasta press and gotten stuck on repeat. While none of these elements sound like the most exciting thing in the world, the music is good throughout. They apparently have a lot of live bombastic psych releases floating around, but I think it's going to be a while before I can wear this box out. The main character here is Rinji Fukuoka, who runs a label and has a new and different band, but you can look that up on your own time. His guitar playing gets a medium rating on the indulgence meter and his engrish lyrics are a little funny, but he exist in a relatively tasteful place on the Japanese psych rock guitar continuum (one very brief overview of which you can see here and one long directory of which you can further explore here).

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

dove the love band

what it is: dove the love band
where i found it: henry on the radio

Henry Rollins has screwed up my life twice. The first time involved him making his Loose Nut album available at the neighborhood skateboard ramp, exposing me to the first non-mainstream music I had ever heard and songs that had cuss words in them. The second was this weekend when I came across the archives of a radio show he’s doing these days, in which he proves to have genuinely diverse and interesting musical tastes. The segues are often abrupt and/or jarring and there’s a little too much energetic punk for my taste, but there’s also a lot of excellent free jazz, Jimi Hendrix bootlegs, doom and ultra obscure post punk that the guy spins. He also reminded me what great bands that Ween and the Fall are. The part where he screwed up my life again came when he played the out of print, not to be found first Devo EP, which I am obsessed with now (even though it’s only 16 minutes long). You can find it on the 5/5 show in the archives if you care. There are a lot of great facts about Devo, but probably my favorite one is that they used to disguise themselves and be their own opening band, Dove the Love Band, and sing about Christ. They’re a little like the Residents, though their code is slightly easier to crack and they don’t package their records in refrigerators (as far as I know).  As far as what Rollins does with his career, I far prefer this radio show to his playing bit thug parts in shitty movies or conducting sofa interviews with Marilyn Manson, though the latter gig did score him a talk with Werner Herzog about what it’s like to be the victim of a drive by shooting while standing in front of the Hollywood sign.
With all the recent talk of recent divergent Black Flag reunions I would also like to remind you that those early Rollins Band recordings (pre-End of Silence) were relatively awesome slabs of pulsing atonality and rage. I wonder if they're still in print.

rollins DJ-ing in devo shirt, presumably delivering same

Monday, June 10, 2013

Friday, June 7, 2013

another map

what it is: another map
where i found it: a vacant lot

On my daily walk across Harlem this morning I noticed that someone has attached the below flyer to several vacant lots, encouraging people to take over empty space and turn them into gardens. One of the great things about NYC is its community gardens (at least the ones that still exist), weed plots/rat pastures taken over by enterprising citizens and turning them into nice places to sit, grow some vegetables and stop looking at concrete for a few minutes.  Unfortunately the movement seemed a lot more active 10-15 years ago, but there are still some great DIY gardens around and maybe these flyers signal a new push. I looked up the website (, which has an interesting map of tons of vacant public land in NYC that you could work to make your own if you really want to.

You can also check this out, a good selection of pics of NYC community gardens in action.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

not on the map

what it is: not on the map
where i found it: i can't remember

This guy, probably for the better, did not make it onto the Map of Metal, discussed here yesterday. I know very little about him other than I enjoy his music, he's from Canada and he's named after a sought after cloak once featured in the game Dungeons and Dragons.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

map of metal

what it is: map of metal
where i found it: some interview with some musician

In reading some interview with some musician I was referred to this, the Map of Metal, which has a giant landscape detailing all kinds of types of metal and related genres, with many tracks from each pocket for the hearing. It takes a while and you have to drag the map around, but a little investigation will take you to states such as Blackened Crust, countries like Greek Black Metal and faraway lands such as Funeral Doom (and, unfortunately, Rap Metal). Enjoy.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

farewell, mule


When I was a young man living in Texas a friend of mine moved into a house that had been inhabited by an artist. In the garage of that house various art supplies had been abandoned along with several video tapes. One of the tapes contained the Monkee's unbelievable rock opera "Head", another presented only a handwritten label that said "Otto Mule" [sic]. If you've ever seen the work of Otto Muehl, you know what a treat we were in for. Group sex in a swamp, minutes and minutes of a woman having food and other goop of questionable substance thrown at her, some guy taking a shit, etc., all with some kind of sado-masochistic unsettling high art sentiment framework. Adding to this was the remarkably poor quality of the footage. I had never, not have I since, seen anything like it. Well, it turns out that Muehl had been living in a Portuguese commune for the last thirty years and died this week. If you can track these films down I wish you luck and enjoyment. Being at work right now, it is probably best that I don't do an image search. But here's a good quote from the NY Times obit:

“Although they now look rather like home movies from a scatology cult, it’s difficult not to be nostalgic about these films,” Mr. Miles wrote. “The sobering knowledge that they appeared in the same year as ‘My Fair Lady,’ ‘Mary Poppins’ and ‘A Hard Day’s Night’ helps us see just how far outside the popular realm Muehl has always operated.”