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Apr. 9th, 2016

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Hemorrhoy Rogers - I Can't Go To The Bathroom

There's something inspiring about dedication to stupidity. Hemorrhoy Rogers wasn't just dumb, he was dumb on an epic scale. For several years around the turn of the century he was devoid of talent, artistic intent, taste, decency or any idea of when the joke had gone on long enough. The man was a prolific, shameless, puerile idiot. On purpose.

I don't know how many hours there are out there of his home recorded songs about farts, dogs and fried chicken, and frankly I don't want to. This is something that can only be taken in small quantities. Typically a Hemorrhoy Rogers song is played at twice the speed it was recorded. This is a definite plus, as while it makes everything marginally more irritating it also becomes much, much shorter.

Here's his relatively conventional ode to linguistic pedantry, I Can't Go To The Bathroom. Believe it or not, this is as sophisticated as he gets. Enjoy, bad music fans.

Hemorrhoy Rogers - I Can't Go To The Bathroom
(alt)

Apr. 8th, 2016

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Julia Kent - Hellebore

Time to revisit Julia Kent's 2015 album Asperities. Not that it's much of a revisit; here at Doklands it's seldom been off regular rotation since its release. I've always been a complete sucker for those sombre, electronically treated strings. At times, Kent's cello sounds like a bucket of warm tears that she's carrying down a promenade, trying not to spill them into the sea. At others its like a cold mist clinging to the landscape by the power of romance. But there's always something distinctly fluid about her instrument.

Here's the album's opener, the magnificent Hellebore. She puts her looping pedal to terrific effect here, starting chilly and distant but building momentum and drama before returning to her original thin palette. Gotta be one of the best ECM records not to actually be released on ECM.

Julia Kent - Hellebore
(alt)

Apr. 7th, 2016

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Essential Logic - Tame The Neighbours

Sometimes you've really got to treat the post-punk label as a chronological rather than stylistic one. Take Essential Logic, the band formed by Lora Logic, formerly of X-Ray Spex. What on earth was going on there? Lora Logic alternated between sax and lead vocals on songs that were nothing if not oblique. Take Tame The Neighbours, the instrumental b-side to the 1980 single Eugene. It's half disjointed, abrupt outsider rhythms, and half sunny swinging ska. It's quite unlike anything else, including just about everything that would ever get called post-punk. Oh, and that goodtime guitar that you hear on there? That's William Bennett in his pre-Whitehouse days. Good luck making sense of any of it.

Essential Logic - Tame The Neighbours
(alt)

Apr. 6th, 2016

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The Fall - All Leave Cancelled (X)

The new EP by The Fall is a tough one to get to grips with. Most of the tracks on Wise Ol' Man sound mercilessly overproduced, as if you're listening to them through a midafternoon drunken headache. Sounds are at once both murky and tinny. But the final cut, a brief instrumental, is a complete breath of clean air. Stripped back so that you can actually hear the instruments, All Leave Cancelled (X) may be little more than a workout for drummer Keiron Melling and bass player Dave Spurr but it's great to actually hear them play. Many of Mark E Smith's best songs were built around a great rhythm unit; it's good to know he's got one available should he ever decide to use them.

The Fall - All Leave Cancelled (X)
(alt)

Apr. 5th, 2016

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The Bobby McGees - U'r Enemies Enimy Is Yir Pal

Twee Alert
On the one hand the Bobby McGees (or, as they would have it, The Bobby McGee's - I'm sorry, but some things are just beyond me, and grocers' apostrophes are among them) are twee as fuck. They're all ukuleles, recorders and boy/girl duets, singing about Wittgenstein and Calvin & Hobbes. And on the other, they're one of the most sinister acts I've heard in a long time. Alongside the vintage clothing and the studied innocence, they have a line in really creepy best-friend-as-stalker songs. Jimmy McGee is perfect as the most faux of all faux-naive indie boys. It's like listening to an abusive relationship put to song. Eleanor McGee's songs are jazzy and sweet, but when Jimmy takes centre stage as on U'r Enemies Enimy Is Yir Pal you really do get the impression he is music's greatest monster.

The Bobby McGees - U'r Enemies Enimy Is Yir Pal
(alt)

Apr. 4th, 2016

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Lightning Beat-Man - Wrestling Rock'n'Roll

Before he became the Reverend Beat-Man, the young Beat Zeller went by the name Lightning Beat-Man. A life-changing trip to a lucha libre show showed him how he could take his guitar on stage every night, fight it and win. A one-man band garage punk primitive in the Hasil Adkins style, there's something quite heroic about his blistering performances and lo-fi recordings. He gives the impression of a man who plays through the pain barrier, and actually rather likes it. Wrestling Rock'n'Roll is the title track of the 1995 album credited to Lightning Beat-Man and His No Talent. It's a pretty honest moniker: this is some fucked up trash. If you like your music unmediated by actual musical ability, this is the raw essential stuff.

Doklands also loves: the undiluted menace of the Jesus Christ Twist.

Lightning Beat-Man - Wrestling Rock'n'Roll
(alt)

Apr. 3rd, 2016

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Androids of Mu - Atomic X

Absolutely bonkers tune here from West London squatterpunks Androids of Mu. It's from what I think is their sole release, the 1980 album Blood Robot. Atomic X doesn't really fit in the anarcho punk mould. Lyrically they're all there singing about the imminent atomic holocaust, and musically they're about as proficient as you'd imagine. It's just that they plaster the song with every single Hawkwind-esque explosion and laser sound they could get their hands on. It's utterly chaotic and quite brilliant in its thorough unnecessariness. Nothing says late '70s/early '80s more than this, believe me.

Androids of Mu - Atomic X
(alt)

Apr. 2nd, 2016

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Alessandro Cortini - Stambecco

Alessandro Cortini is a part time member of Nine Inch Nails. That tells you a lot about the cadences and rhythmic devices that you'll hear on Stambecco from his 2015 album Risveglio but it doesn't tell you everything. Yes, it's got those now rather cheesy sounding signifiers of menace that you might associate with NIN in their industrial pomp, but the entire record is recorded solely on vintage Roland gear. The TB-303 on Stambecco imbues the dizzy crisscross sequencing with distinct warmth. That's not some fuzzy nostalgia. In reality the 1980s seldom sounded this good and outside the Sheffield electronic scene these sorts of hypnotic fugues were never heard. Far more dense and intricate than you might expect from the sparse instrumentation.

Alessandro Cortini - Stambecco
(alt)

Apr. 1st, 2016

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Nisennenmondai - Souzousuru Neji

It should come as no surprise how good Souzousuru Neji (AKA Ijen Urusuozuos) is. Nisennenmondai have been making their unique cocktail of uncompromising noise rock, motorik and techno for the best part of 15 years now. If you haven't caught on to that by now, you've not been trying. This is the opening track to their 2009 album Destination Tokyo. It's got a spine made of razor blades, rubber mallets, and piezoelectric crystals and all its muscle fibres are electric guitar strings. Exciting as fuck.

Nisennenmondai - Souzousuru Neji
(alt)

Mar. 31st, 2016

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Brian Eno - Seven Deadly Finns

I wonder what Brian Eno thinks of Seven Deadly Finns these days. He never recorded anything quite like this again. It was released as a single in 1974 and perhaps tellingly doesn't appear on any of his regular albums. Now what would that be? Perhaps because it's a quite outrageous glam rocker in which sexually underdeveloped English country boys are introduced to the wide world of sexual perversions by the Finns of the title? Yes, that might be it. Killer ripped up guitar solo, yodelling vocals, and sounds like it was the direct inspiration for at least a few first wave UK punk acts. 'Fess up Brian, you still quite like this one I bet.

Brian Eno - Seven Deadly Finns
(alt)

Mar. 30th, 2016

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Fire! - She Sleeps, She Sleeps

There's a new album out by Fire! called She Sleeps, She Sleeps. If you're after more Mats Gustaffson strongman sax abrasion though, you might be disappointed. This is Fire! in boilerhouse mode, playing almost Necks-like as they sit on a groove and slowwwly build the pressure. If there's an exception it's the title track. Gustaffson lets himself get a bit throaty even as Andreas Werliin and Johan Berthling keep the lid on and let the steam out slowly. It's dark, brooding and super-intense.

Have I mentioned before how irritated I get by jazz recommendations, by the way? Whenever some poor sod asks what they should be listening to because they'd quite like to investigate this new music they're just starting to get into, every single recommended album is the best part of 50 years old. It's fucking frightful. Here's a hint for you: never take advice from some dead-from-the-neck-down drongo who hasn't been excited by new music in decades. You've got your entire life to discover old music, and this is happening right now. (Can I do a dad joke about Fire! being hot? No? Sorry.)

Fire! - She Sleeps, She Sleeps
(alt)

Mar. 29th, 2016

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Venetian Snares - Pouncelciot

Remember that time around the turn of the millennium where electronica discovered free jazz? At least that was the story we were told, the means by which we were supposed to understand the music. The trouble was that the jazz elements were almost entirely superficial. It as as if the musicians had read a description of free jazz but had never actually tried listening to any before having a go. I sure there were some who thought it appropriation, but you've gotta bear in mind that there has never, ever, been any money in the outer reaches of jazz. If you were going to borrow a culture, wouldn't it be one you could turn a profit on? I found the whole experiment naively charming.

The above description certainly applies to Aaron Funk AKA Venetian Snares, a man who liked to spice up his drill & bass with what I assume is meant to be a bit of skronk. Here's Pouncelciot from his 2001 album Songs About My Cats. It's super-dense with musical ideas, completely in the moment. In fact it's not until the breakdown where he shows off his rhythmic intelligence and you get a thought that takes more than a single bar to express. That goes straight into the sax solo which... well, it tries hard. But for all of the many, many faults here I cannot bring myself to dislike like this for even a moment. Messy, incoherent, but totally in love with musical experimentation.

Venetian Snares - Pouncelciot
(alt)

Mar. 28th, 2016

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Nels Cline Singers - Caved-In Heart Blues

Don't call this music gently, call in kindly. Caved-In Heart Blues is a slow and spacious walk through somebody's sorrow, and there's no need to make it worse with any unnecessary feedback. It's too intimate for that kind of excess. The band start at lethargic, go through restrained, and after a brief squall of Cline's unique guitar misery the ending takes on a certain urgency. Not for the agoraphobic. Find this one on the 2007 release Draw Breath.

Nels Cline Singers - Caved-In Heart Blues
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Mar. 27th, 2016

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Meatraffle - Oppenheimer

Here's how you do a dirge. Oppenheimer might be broody, but it's also loud and shouty, full of furious drum passages and brass cacophony. Meatraffle is the new dialectic, full of bass and menace. From the 2016 album HiFi Classics.

Meatraffle - Oppenheimer
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Mar. 26th, 2016

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Pharoah Sanders - Love Is Everywhere / Valerio Cosi - Love Is Everywhere

Okay, seems like I'm still on a utopian jazz kick so here's one of the classics of the style. This isn't the 20 minute behemoth that would later appear on Love In Us All, but the more soulful number from the 1973 release Wisdom Through Music. I rarely feel the need to listen to music to make myself feel better, but if you do want something to lift your mood you absolutely cannot do better than this. Such a good number, and one that by all rights should have launched a thousand cover versions.

As it is, the only cover I know is by Italian avant-jazz player Valerio Cosi from his 2008 album Collected Works. Gone are the polyrhythms, the passionate singing, and the soaring emotions. In their place is an impressionistic lightshow of sounds, looping fragments of melody that mesh in and out of sync with each other. It could so easily be sonic chaos, but instead Cosi somehow makes everything seem as blissful as a state of grace, leaving the listener as the still centre point in his musical tableau. It's a completely different sense of joy, but none the less profound.

Pharoah Sanders - Love Is Everywhere
(alt)
Valerio Cosi - Love Is Everywhere
(alt)

Mar. 25th, 2016

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Josephine Foster - Blue Roses

You won't find many concessions to modernity in the music of Josephine Foster. She's a singer-songwriter who draws from country, dark folk, parlour music and jazz. Her voice though... I've genuinely never heard anyone else sing quite like her. The first thing to strike you is how mannered and precise she is. It's the sound of the historical upper middle-class soirée when everyone had to make their own entertainment. But it's so much more than that. Her icy soprano voice drifts as the dream of a theremin. It's an instrument like no other.

Based on a text by Rudyard Kipling, here's the eerie, bluesy Blue Roses from her 2016 release No More Lamps in the Morning. Accompanied by her husband Victor Herrero on Portuguese guitar, she cuts herself completely free from her harmonic moorings and drifts lazily across the chromatic surface of the musical waters. Daring and experimental stuff, and not afraid to be deeply unfashionable.

Josephine Foster - Blue Roses
(alt)

Mar. 24th, 2016

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Half Japanese - That Is That

You can't argue with a new Half Japanese album, not in any meaningful sense of the word. You can perhaps confront it along certain logical or rhetorical avenues, but this is not an argument. An argument requires two participants; most, if not all, Half Japanese albums are incapable of debate on the grounds of their lack of sentience. This isn't a complaint. As albums they tend to be very good indeed, it's just as verbal sparring partners that they tend to be a bit lacking.

So yes, new Half Japanese album released earlier this year, name of Perfect. Optimistic title perhaps, but certainly very good. Here's the opening track, That is That, in which Jad Fair leads the band in full science fiction funfair punk mode. Loud and awkward and still as defiantly themselves as ever.

Half Japanese - That Is That
(alt)

Mar. 23rd, 2016

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Don Cherry - North Brazilian Ceremonial Hymn

Here's Don Cherry at the peak of his utopian musical adventure through Scandinavia. North Brazilian Ceremonial Hymn was written by percussionist Naná Vasconcelos, who died earlier this month, and he is also the main performer here. It's an extraordinary piece: 12 minutes of droning tamboura, chanting, and Vasconcelos' percussion and berimbau. Some listeners may baulk at the length, some at the lack of structure, and some at the more eccentric moments of instrumentation. Their loss. Vasconcelos is amazing here in the way he uses his percussion instruments as textural rather than rhythmic elements. Tell me you don't wish you were there at 6am in Copenhagen recording this? From the 1972 "documentary" album Organic Music Society.

Don Cherry - North Brazilian Ceremonial Hymn
(alt)

Mar. 21st, 2016

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Kazumoto Endo - Falling In And Out Of Love

Let's face it, a lot of harsh noise music can be rather monumental, giant slabs of sound with little in the way of texture. That's never been the way that Kazumoto Endo goes about things though. Falling In And Out Of Love comes from his 2000 EP Never Gonna Make You Cry, a record notable for being released as a 3" CD bolted onto a piece of perspex. This is good, crunchy stuff. Endo uses four main elements: a high pitched whining scream, a mechanical hum, heavily processed clattering, and total silence. It's this latter that makes the piece so shocking, in choosing to impose structure on his work he has made it a far more radical-sounding piece.

Kazumoto Endo - Falling In And Out Of Love
(alt)
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Co)))ltrane - Spiritual Kannon 3

Just when you thought mashups had run out of new material, along comes Co)))ltrane. I mean, we're a long way from A Stroke Of Genie-Us, and yet so few people have really explored the form. But this, I think, does. Mixing Coltrane's Spiritual and Sunn0)))'s 2015 track Kannon 3. Spiritual is one of Coltrane's most ecstatic numbers, a fiery modal moan of joy and knowledge. And yet sat against O'Malley's dark drones it becomes something else entirely, at times paranoid and solipsistic. It's an incredible effect and a really interesting take on the bastard pop phenomenon.

Co)))ltrane - Spiritual Kannon 3
(alt)

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