Posts tagged ‘Post-Rocktoberfest 2009’

Post-Rocktoberfest: Terminal Cheesecake – King of All Spaceheads (Jackass) 2LP

Terminal Cheesecake - King of All Spaceheads

Terminal Cheesecake - King of All Spaceheads

Congratulations to those of you who are still reading. You have resisted the urge to say: “If it’s by a band called Terminal Cheesecake, I don’t want to listen to it, even if it’s good!” It must have taken quite a leap of faith. The name “Terminal Cheesecake” immediately conjures up the cheery, beery, dog-shit depths of British indie music from the early ’90s – where bands with names like Ned’s Atomic Dustbin and Carter the Unstoppable Sex Machine pedalled anthemic dross to drunken sixth-formers.

So, why would anyone with anything to offer name a band something like that? Reports suggest that, early on, this particular band wrote a song called “Terminal Headfuck” and – back in 1994 – if you had any commercial ambitions whatsoever, you just couldn’t have the word “fuck” in your band name, so…

But the fact that the members of this band (allegedly) chose to call a song “Terminal Headfuck” points straight at the real reason they ended up with such a goofy moniker. The reason is: DRUGS. And lots of ’em, if King of All Spaceheads is anything to go by.

“King of All Spaceheads” , the opening track, reaches its halfway point when a vintage radio announcer cuts in with a very important message: “What you’re listening to are musicians performing psychedelic music under the influence of a mind-altering chemical.” Again, you’d be forgiven for jumping ship at this point. Really, why should you be interested in this bunch of drug-addled goof-balls?

Well, the CD of this album was released by Pathological, the label headed by Kevin Martin, a prime mover in the original UK post-rock scene and the man behind God, Techno Animal, Ice, The Bug and many more genre-melting musical projects. If Martin involves himself in anything, you can pretty much guarantee it will be both heavy and interesting.

King of All Spaceheads is certainly both – a monstrous amalgam of arse-quaking guitar sludge and dubbed-out, post-acid house psychedelia. If it has anything in common with dog-shit indie, it’s only insofar as it sounds like Pop Will Eat Itself finally getting serious. Really serious.

Terminal Cheesecake’s best known single “Oily Hot Knife” (originally from the Jackass E.P.) reappears here, titled “Budmeister”. It’s a genuinely hypnotic melding of drunken brutality and psychedelic mania. “Ginge le Geezer” plays a similar trick but stretches it out until the listener is simply beaten into a state of unwilling transcendence.

The record is pressed on low-quality coloured vinyl, which reduces the sound to little more than crackle and low-end boom. Oddly, it works. The second disc is a one-sided live LP, which gives the impression that Terminal Cheesecake live was an even more murky-yet-heady experience than the recorded version. Among the hare-brained jamming, it features a reggae deejay repeatedly calling out the band’s name. You wouldn’t think he’d want to draw attention to it, would you?

Your chances of finding this excellent record are pretty slim. Check the dollar bin or – if all else fails – you can download the whole thing via Sickness Abounds.

October 12, 2009 at 9:00 am 9 comments

Post-Rocktoberfest: US Post-Rock Still Doesn’t Suck as Much as You’d Think!

There’s a thread on the UK Post-Rock Group’s forum called Newer Bands in the Spirit of Early UK Post-Rock. One of the most interesting facts to have emerged from this discussion is that, today, it’s American bands who most successfully encompass the essence of UKPR. Two such bands have recently released absolutely stunning albums.

Nudge - As Good as Gone

Nudge - As Good as Gone

Nudge is an ongoing collaboration between Portland musicians Paul Dickow (aka Strategy), Brian Foote (who runs the Audra Glint label) and Honey Owens (a survivor of Jackie-O Motherfucker). These fellows have released a bunch of albums but their new record for Kranky – As Good as Gone – seems to have brought them to a whole new level of prominence. And with good reason – As Good as Gone is an impressively confident resolution of opposing tendencies towards abstraction and song-craft. Folding in elements of glitchy electronica, dub, shoegaze and even the blues, tracks like “Two Hands” and “Aurolac” (which sounds remarkably like Papa Sprain’s “I Got Stop”) are utterly convincing in their effortless eclecticism and stark moodiness.

Buy it from Kranky.

A Sunny Day in Glasgow - Ashes Grammar

A Sunny Day in Glasgow - Ashes Grammar

Philadelphia’s A Sunny Day  in Glasgow may have a lighter, bouncier sound  but it’s a sound that shares Nudge’s emphasis on digital electronics, sinuous grooves and soaring, atmospheric guitars. On Ashes Grammar, the band explicitly declares a diffidence (with song titles like “Shy” and “Passionate Introverts (Dinosaurs)” ) that is somewhat perplexing given the musical confidence on display. This another beautiful and highly accomplished piece of work.

Buy it from Mis Ojos Discos.

Over the last few of years, the emergence of bands like Gang Gang Dance and The Dirty Projectors has shown us that there’s a surprising amount of life left in America’s indie rock scene. These two albums suggest that the spirit of UK post-rock is likely to play an important role in the continued development of this welcome trend.

October 9, 2009 at 9:00 am 8 comments

Post-Rocktoberfest: This Papa Sprain Thing is Getting Ridiculous!

Reclusive genius ahoy!

Reclusive genius ahoy!

Papa Sprain must have the nicest ex-members of any musical group that ever was. Cregan just uploaded some live recordings from the band’s heyday and you can download them from here. Sadly, he doesn’t have a copy of the elusive full-length (Finglas Since the Flood) but how long can it be before somebody unearths one?

October 7, 2009 at 7:55 pm Leave a comment

Post-Rocktoberfest: Butterfly Child – The Peel Session

Butterfly Child

Butterfly Child

Bubblegum Cage III is proud to present the first of two sessions that Joe Cassidy’s band recorded for the John Peel show. As previously mentioned, these 1992 recordings feature a line-up identical to the one that appeared on Papa Sprain’s one-and-only Peel session – Cassidy, Gary McKendry of Papa Sprain and Rudy Tambala of A.R. Kane. Cassidy’s guests certainly make their collective presence felt – the session includes some of the most aggressive, noisy material Butterfly Child ever recorded. Perhaps that’s why Peel was so effusive in his praise for these songs when the session was originally broadcast. He got particularly hot under the collar about  “Led Through the Mardi Gras”.

These MP3 were recorded from the same cassette that yielded the Papa Sprain session files. The cassette was provided by erstwhile electronica artiste FortDax – to whom this here blog is eternally grateful. The tape will be mailed back to you soon Darren. Honest.

Download the entire session here.

October 7, 2009 at 9:00 am 19 comments

Post-Rocktoberfest: Yet More Papa Sprain

The Blissblogger just posted a scan of an interview he did with Papa Sprain back in 1991 (click the image to see it up close). Thanks Simon!

October 6, 2009 at 6:28 pm Leave a comment

Post-Rocktoberfest: The Papa Sprain Saga Continues

Those of you who’ve been following the comments on the original Papa Sprain post have probably noticed the existence of nine (9) new songs on Gary McKendry’s Myspace page. This, friends, is the magic of Post-Rocktoberfest!

Right now, it’s hard to know quite  what to make of these new tracks but the likes of “Allow Users” and “Snake Paper Money” certainly seem like logical continuations of the trajectory launched by Papa Sprain’s Tech Yes 7″.

This is all pretty rudimentary stuff on one level – simple but highly processed spoken word loops repeating for two-and-a-half minutes, before fading out. Still, it’s also clear that whatever unearthly spirit was haunting McKendry all those years ago is still with us.

Papa Sprain is alive, well and sounding a bit like Machinefabriek. Whatever next?

October 5, 2009 at 10:21 pm Leave a comment

Post-Rocktoberfest: US Post-Rock Top Five

Today, most people who would admit to being post-rock fans are solely interested in the third wave of epic, instrumental post-rock typified by Explosions in the Sky. Call it “emo post-rock” call it “unmitigated dog shit”, there’s no denying that this terrible, terrible music is popular. If you don’t believe  it, just take a look at the After the Post-Rock forum.

With contemporary post-rock the world over moving further and further away from anything that ever made the genre worthwhile, UK post-rock enthusiasts are feeling an increasing allegiance with fans of the early US post-rock bands. To celebrate this slight shift of allegiances – not to mention the mighty Matt Woebot’s brief overview of USPR – it seems like a good time to talk about some early-’90s American post-rock records that don’t totally suck.

Tortoise - Millions Now Living Will Never Die

Tortoise - Millions Now Living Will Never Die

1. Tortoise – Millions Now Living Will Never Die (1996)
Millions Now Living… represents the moment when a US indie/avant rock band really broke on through to the post- side. Some may feel that the album’s electronica influences have dated poorly but – to these ears – the synthetic textures and experiments in remixology showcased here still sound utterly unique and timeless. Moreover, Millions… may just be the most melodically lovely post-rock album ever released. This is a record that truly lives up to its utopian title.

Tortoise – “Glass Museum”

Tortoise – “The Taut and Tame”

Labradford - A Stable Reference

Labradford - A Stable Reference

2. Labradford – A Stable Reference (1995)
Talking of utopia, early US  post-rock had a real retro-futurist obsession with the utopian promise of America’s space program. The three pale and interesting souls in Virginia’s Labradford were very much dedicated to exploring this obsession during their early career, using a combination of twangy, Tortoise-style guitars, droning vintage keyboards and whispered vocals. A Stable Reference, is the most well-realised testament to their childlike wonder at the universe and its infinite promise. A decade and a half on, its astral beauty remains undimmed.

Labradford – “El Lago”

Labradford – “Comfort”

Gastr Del Sol - Upgrade and Afterlife

Gastr Del Sol - Upgrade and Afterlife

3. Gastr Del Sol – Upgrade and Afterlife (1996)
As Gastr Del Sol, David Grubbs and Jim O’Rourke took a rigorously deconstructive approach to rock. The game was to smoke out musical and lyrical cliches, blast them into a million tiny fragments, then rearrange the wreckage into interesting new shapes. The results were cerebral, confounding and oddly beautiful. Upgrade… – their Woebot-approved finest moment – mixes modernist poetry, acoustic finger-picking and hardcore electro-acoustic noise, to mind-boggling effect. With feint-hearted readers in mind, the MP3s posted below represent two of its more accessible moments.

Gastr Del Sol – “Rebecca Sylvester”

Gastr Del Sol – “The Relay”

Bowery Electric - Beat

Bowery Electric - Beat

4. Bowery Electric – Beat (1997)
One of the problems that many UK post-rock fans have with the genre’s American equivalent is the Yanks’ avoidance of dub, hip-hop and anything outwardly, well… funky. Bowery Electric, though, were an American post-rock band that new a thing or two about a good groove. Beat layers My Bloody Valentine-style sampled guitar drones over grainy hip-hop beats, deep, lithe dub-funk bass-lines and cooing dreampop vocals. It lacks any of the fusionoid noodling commonly associated with American post-rock and instead displays a heady, relentless sense of purpose.

Bowery Electric – “Without Stopping”

Bowery Electric – “Fear of Flying”

Salaryman - s/t

Salaryman - s/t

5. Salaryman – Salaryman (1996)
Believe or not, Salaryman was the experimental offshoot of post-hardcore also-rans The Poster Children. This may explain the fact that their music is not remembered fondly – or indeed at all, for the most part. It certainly can’t be anything to do with the quality of the music on their self-titled debut LP, which is very high indeed. Like Bowery Electric, Salaryman had more in common with the British post-rock movement than the American scene (although, like much latter day post-rock, Salaryman is an entirely instrumental affair). However, whereas Bowery Electric made a sexy, streamlined noise, Salaryman was a lumbering beast with a penchant for gauche keyboard sounds and slightly fussy rhythms. The results, on this album, are never less than infectious – bearing an open-heartedness sadly missing from today’s post-rock scene.

Salaryman – “Rather”

Salaryman – “Voids+Superclusters”

October 5, 2009 at 9:00 am 9 comments

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