So, I’m trying to get this newsletter out more regularly, at least as close to regularly as it was when I started. Unemployment ends this week and, while I have a few freelance gigs coming up (look for the Turnstile essay on NPR next week), I need to get back to my hussle if I’m ever going to reach the numbers I need to reach in order to make my enemies feel as poorly as they deserve. I figure if I can get up to a few thousand subscribers (paid or not), I can really hurt some feelings within the libertarian community (music industry and/or substack division). In order to even approach those numbers (and of course in order to give you, my friends, the content you signed up for), I need to pick up the pace a bit; I need to provide the consumer all the mod cons and mod content one could reasonably expect from a newsletter named after an Iceage song and devoted to industry subtweeting and the gossip and minutiae of ‘90s/aughts boho alt culture.
Part of the problem has been, in my defense, life/death stuff. Even now, I’m straining to write this before I leave for Arizona for five days to fulfil another grief ritual that’s been both unnaturally extended by the realities of lockdown and perfectly naturally extended by the realities of, well, grief.
Having said that, while Ghost is great and slightly less morally irritating/neo-folkishly apolitical than Substack, the newsletter’s new platform isn’t doing me any favors by not having Substack’s 4,000 word limit. While I still believe that there’s nothing written under 1,000 words that wouldn’t be more true to the complexity inherent to it by adding at least another 500, I do realize that I have a tendency to go on (case in point), and going on takes time.
So, Jesus, I’m going to end the intro abruptly. Much as it pains me (really). It’s Bandcamp Friday! Here’s some, as briefly written as I’m capable, recommendations of new music for you to consider purchasing! (and if you’re reading this after Friday, I hope the future is amazing, that you’re reading this from a space station molded to resemble the exterior walls of Grimes’ uterus, and also here’s some recommendations of new music for you to consider purchasing.) (With moon money I hope.)
Filth Is Eternal Love is a Lie, Filth is Eternal (Quiet Panic) The Seattle band Formerly Known As Fucked And Bound are a d-beat metal band that intended to be a sludge metal band, but forgot to tell the drummer or singer. The guitar and bass are thick, fatty pudding avalanching down from the mountaintops in some gritty and amber-filtered Snyder Cut of Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs. The front person is the kind of singer that most bands of this sort give up on finding, so they just throw a “dis-” in front of their name and hope that people buy their patches. Lisa Mungo alternates between blood bother wail, Venom-ous beseeching to the gods Rock and Roll, and the kind of tuff shit shove that Suzi Gardner liked so much she named a song after it. The drummer plays way sexier than any of the genres covered here demand; d-beating with aplomb while still letting his instrument periodically pop and groove when appropriate. He probably gets complimented on his hands a lot. In fact, while not obvious on first run through, and perhaps counterintuitive for the form, all four members approach the pummeling sound, necessitated by the rage and battle vests, with a subtlety of touch that makes the album’s 20 minutes both speed on by and still feel like a (cohesive) collection of individual, actual songs.
Divine Horsemen Hot Rise Of An Ice Cream Phoenix (In The Red) The semi-legendary cow-punk band that wasn’t The Gun Club, but was kind of The Flesh Eaters, is back. And miraculously, crazily, it’s the best thing they’ve ever done. The tempo is mid, the vocal harmonies more wavering Mekons than John+Exene blazing, but, still, the barn gets burned all the way down. Divine Horsemen exist in a parallel world where The Rolling Stones broke up after Brian Jones died so it was left to The Stooges to make Sticky Fingers. Occasionally the band’s attempts to put its arms around a memory (you can’t!) veers into melodrama. OK more than occasionally. But guess what... melodrama fucking rules. And Divine Horsemen never once lapse into boring. The whole album is a haunted, Judas-at-the-wheel, hotrod driving down the desert blacktop, fueled by discarded sobriety chips, with the ghosts of failed marriage and early(ish) death making out in the backseat. Clearly the band is not the only ones here not averse to going a bit over the top… Whatever, ignore me… the album is extremely good.
GodDAMN it, I'm doing it again. Ok… three or four sentence reviews from here on!
Gabe ‘Nandez Seven (POW Recordings) On Seven, New York City’s Gabe ‘Nandez operates squarely within the “Voice of God” school of rap. While drawing from an expansively global pool of reference, and vocalizing with the slightest of rasps, he rhymes with a command that makes every bar feel like a natural world truth. Like action movies pre-Die Hard, there’s no winking at the camera. Even lines that are startling in their leaps, and laugh out loud funny in their chutzpah (“I’m running off of hate/It’s all love, one heart, just a different rate/I’m burning at the stake/But immortal like Joan of Arc that’s forever great/Fuck Napoleon Bonaparte shout to Willie Mays”) are presented as so incontrovertably matter of indisputable fact that I felt kind of bad for poor lil’ Napoleon but also was like, “yeah fuck that guy.” And to be clear, while the beats are closer to the sideways dread of The Limey than Die Hard’s jaunty maximalism, ‘Nandez’s meditations on betrayal and his own capacity for violence show that, like Bruce Willis barefoot on broken glass, the rapper is also unafraid to bleed on camera.
Taulard Dans La Plaine (Static Blooms) Been riding hard for this French synth-punk/post-punk band since reading about them in the old Ratcharge ‘zine. This album, a gorgeously inventive collection that feels as warm as the most accessible classic garage acts, as pub rocking as The Stranglers at their best, and as scathing as any coldwave aristocracy, was released in France last year but is only now available on vinyl in the States. Buy it and add it to the top of the extremely short list of contemporary post-punk acts worth even a single damn. (and if you like this, I’d suggest also preordering the also extremely fab upcoming Little Beards album, The Legend of Spectacular Living)
Psychic Graveyard Veins Feel Strange (Deathbomb Arc) Newest album from the newest project of Eric Paul; the battered, perverse, and brilliant soul of Providence, RI, trapped in a tight, wild-eyed package of shrieking, flailing meat. Paul has been slowly but steadily expanding his sonic palette over the years and now he and his compatriots have found the perfect balance of synth static and the clattering anti-dance no wave they’ve always ruled at. Lyrically, Eric Paul still writes about the human body, and existence itself, as though either he or humanity was the alien species, but now there’s a grace to his bewilderment, an empathy and love, even while he and the band still sound like immolation is imminent.
A Giant Dog Suddenly Seymour (Merge) Not much to say about this. The Austin band, who put out one of the best albums of 2016, did a cover of the song from Little Shop of Horrors. If you got a heart and two ears etc…
OK I gotta wrap this up if I want to sleep and pack before I leave. I didn’t have time for a bunch because I can’t shut up, but I’ll hopefully get to Chubby and The Gang, Buck Gooter, Moor Mother, the new Mick Jones (!) produced Subway Sect, Zilla Rocca, the Nothing EP, Mujeres Podridas, The Rebel Riot, Peace Decay, Maurice Louca, and Los Lobos next time. In the meantime, treat these links like a book club assignment and buy ‘em. Oh yeah, 12xU is donating proceeds today to Texas abortion rights orgs. So buy literally anything from them.
OK THANKS FOR READING