A Review of KLYAM’s AMAM Noisefest Part 7

In the style of Blowfish

We headed to Trixie’s Palace for Kids Like You and Me (KLYAM)‘s A Mouth Is A Mouth Noise Fest Part Seven. KLYAM has been putting on underground – quite literally – noise fests for a few years now so we thought we’d go check it out.

We were greeted by what appeared to be AMAM Noisefest performers sitting on the lawn outside of the house concert venue. These friendly folks informed us that there was free pizza and beer inside of the home. Somebody said that the kids putting on the show directed the bands to load in at 5 PM, but nobody actually showed up on time. Anyway, we waited around a bit for the show to start.

Soundcheck kicked things off. This band is comprised of Chris from KLYAM on vocals, Brian, who will be performing two more times tonight, on drums and G. Gordon Gritty on mini keyboard.  There is a repetitive synthesizer loop in the background while the trio is playing. They played some bizarre song with the lines “I WANT A MILF” repeated and then maybe a couple of other quick songs.

Next up were Lindie and Con Tex. Two really talented guitarists playing off of the other. They might have been playing two totally different melodies, but it really worked. Picture a 10 minute long instrumental passage smack dab in the middle of a The Clean pop song. Those perfect kind of vibes. They looked at each other and decided that the set was over. We think they should play much more often in the rock ‘n roll circuit!

Next up was Brian, also known as >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>, UP UP UP, arrows, the drummer of Johnnie and the Foodmasters, the drummer of Soundcheck, the noise guitarist in G. Gordon Gritty. Among other things. Up Up Up is an innovative noise guitarist who constructs his own pedals, guitars, and peripheral accessories. He has played at other noisefests before. This time it is just him on guitar and he plays a variety of instrumental surf classics. He introduces the set by saying something like it’s summer. His style of playing is pretty percussive and the sounds very wiry, clangy, and fuzzy. He deconstructs Dale with his own signature attack, but not to the point beyond recognition. This is great!

Next up was DJ Tomorrow’s Achievements. His vocal-only set was broken into a couple of segments. Progressively depressing per the speaker. The first was a group exercise: we were to find someone we didn’t know and tell them the best thing that happened today. The exercise was to take five minutes. We didn’t participate, but most people did. After that DJ moved into throat singing. Singing or noise making. A long fart type of noise. But other noises, too. Next, he told a story of a prisoner who ate his own shit and the high costs of maintaining prisons. The atmosphere did not lighten up as everyone paid close attention to the speaker.

Lobotomizer from Pawtucket took the stage after DJ. Lobotomizer has a large speaker and a vast array of electronics perched atop a keyboard stand. Turning knobs. Glitching out. It’s hard to say if there were individual songs, but it might be safe to assume something like that. So many different sounds. Back when we were going to noisefests in the ’90s, we would see performers do stuff like Lobotomizer. Almost really really subtle dance music now that we think of it.

Next up was Healers Co. A duo with both players on electronics and tiedye projections in the background. We’ve seen them before with drums and guitar, but this set is notably scarier, more atmospheric, and more one-with-nature. The cornerstone of Healers Co. is intimacy and the open invitation to let your mind to wander. They occupy a flexible position in the weird world noise universe. We sure will keep an eye on them.

G. Gordon Gritty was next and again they were rough. A three piece this time with Brian from before on noise guitar, a gentleman named Kyle on drums, and Gritty on bass and vocals. Interestingly enough, GGG did not utilize wireless systems to execute this performance, as he had in recent times. There was a cover of Black Lips “O Katrina” and a rapid-fire out of tune/time burst of one or two lines from a half dozen or so songs  before the band got all wild and switched instruments mid-jam while GGG improvised a bit “Like A Stripper In Vegas” and called it a night.

Skull Urethra , a project of VomitBitch, ended the night with a grotesque, one-of-a-kind set. There were about a half dozen members of this collective. Add to that a tarp of fake blood, partial nudity, wrestling, and haircuts. That was just the performance piece of it. The music side of it was well orchestrated and in the general pedigree of noise. The crowd seemed to be in on what was happening and some found themselves suddenly a part of the act. The people in the band, so to speak, were doing their thing in a half circle around the space. The chaos was controlled and once it was over, it was over, but we all had never seen anything like it. No amount of recorded audio could capture this. So you’d have to be there. Interesting, huh!

Classic Album Review: Lightning Bolt- Wonderful Rainbow

Full Title: Wonderful Rainbow
Artist: Lightning Bolt
Year: 2003
Label: Load
Tracks:
1) Hello Morning- 7
2) Assassins- 8
3) Dracula Mountain- 7
4) 2 Towers- 7
5) On Fire- 8/9
6) Crown of Storms- 8
7) Longstockings- 6/7
8) Wonderful Rainbow- 4
9) 30,000 Monkies- 6
10) Duel in the Deep- 7

Comments: Every now and then as a fan of music I get a particular urge to go out and purchase a record I wouldn’t typically listen to or venture into a style that is less common on my ipod. Enter Lightning Bolt. Before I listened to Wonderful Rainbow I knew LB for about a year. I listened to several of their songs, researched the duo, and watched many a youtube video. I do this with various groups from time to time, so I when I got the aforementioned urge, I turned to these noise rockers and what do you know this LP was exactly what I was looking for; a musical (earthly) delight! From what I have read, this album is supposed to be their most accessible and I can definitely see why. The basslines are invigorating, memorable, and even hooky at times. As always the pair deliver a savage, brutal attack to your ears and never let up, not one bit. This may not be their harshest release, but without a doubt this is a euphoric onslaught of all different kinds of sounds and in many ways for a curious fella like me that’s part of the appeal. Just being blown away and perplexed, not knowing what the hell they are doing! It should be noted though that this isn’t just noise or collages of noise, it’s noisy alright, but has structure (amidst chaos) and certainly has musicality. It may be complex, but not too complex, if you are looking to just rock out, you can really enjoy this album. If you’re a musician or a recording engineer, you probably will appreciate the near flawless recording, production, and attention to the musicianship. Brian Gibson makes the bass sound more like a guitar, at least to me and he shreds like crazy. Brian Chippendale is easily one of the best drummers I have ever heard and brings a lot of force and intensity to his playing; his vocals are also extremely menacing, considering he (as always) uses a microphone that is made for a household telephone receiver. His yalps are eerie and sound like he is trapped somewhere, screaming for help from some damaged speaker. In any case, the group’s unconvential recording methods are not only unique, but ultimately effective in reeling the listener in and demanding their attention, unlike many other unconventional artists that usually end up boring you and me. In terms of tracks, I feel like this whole record is an entire experience and should be judged that way. But, at the same time each track has their own story, so to speak. The ratings listed above are more based on levels of enjoyment and not necessarily quality. Highlights for me include the transistion from “Hello Morning,” into “Assassins,” simply amazing. “Assassins” as a whole is one of the best tracks from the record and perhaps the easiest for the casual listener to get turned on to. “On Fire” is by far my favorite track, the riff is pretty damn catchy and ropes you in and never lets go. I really dig the variety of the tune and how it switches into gentler vibes toward the end, all while maintaining a pounding wall of bass. This continues on “Crown of Storms,” one of the other stand out tracks. I guess for my tastes the rest of the album, while still kickass in its overwheleming heaviness, didn’t WOW me as much as the earlier songs on the record, but this is more of a personal thing as I’m sure folks can find plenty to desire in these remaining songs. Lastly, another great thing about LB and this record is its recording; some of the best recorded music I have had the pleasure of hearing, with Shellac as the closest comparison that comes to my mind. Overall, this is not a record I will listen to all the time or through and through over and over again, but it is a little masterpiece in its own right and if I was more into the noise scene then I would probably rank this higher. All in all, a sound addition to my record collection, and I will be sure to listen to another record from the mighty Lightning Bolt again sometime in the future.

Grade: 7/10- I highly recommend, but I can’t give it a higher rating, because of my ultra pop loving soul.

Too bad they didn’t have “On Fire” live, since I wanted to post a live video. Here’s “Dracula Mountain” live instead, just as badass. I plan on seeing them live one day as they are on my concert bucket list. Looks insane!

Concert Review: Wavves, Ganglians, Many Mansions @ Great Scott (9/27/09)

Bands: Many Mansions, Ganglians, Wavves
Venue: Great Scott (Allston, MA)
Date: Sunday, September 27, 2009

Many Mansions
This band embodies what has become of the psychedelic trance/drum and bass genre. Their set up was different for sure: one man controlling the drum and bass machine, the effects pedals, and singing while the other dude was just on stage to (apparently) play with the visuals on the projector. And the visuals were weird as hell. Some of the images: an African boy running in a field, an African guy nailed to a cross and decaying, trees, a bunch of people moving away from a building, people break dancing, and an African woman doing a dance in the forest. These images did all sorts of crazy things like spin, flip, illuminate, and fade. The visual arts component was better than the music. I felt bored by the music, at least initially. A few of the electronic drum schemes were catchy and maybe one song was actually “good,” but other than that this band just didn’t do too much for me.

Ganglians
The best I can describe Ganglians is proto-Wavves. They played a lot of catchy noise-pop that certainly the crowd was into. There was definitely an element of their music (the bass lines, probably) that really allowed for dancing and grooving. The lead singer was rocking out and everyone in the band looked like they were having a blast. I sensed a lot of Jay Reatard garage-pop, especially in the drumming and singing. There was one number in particular that had a near identical drum part as “Blood Visions.” A song I highly recommend checking out that they played is “Blood on the Sand.” “Hair” had me mistaking this band for the War on Drugs with its active keyboards. Overall, this was a really good second band!

Wavves
After ten minutes of “technical difficulties,” the crowd got a little antsy. Like…maybe Nathan Williams consumed Valium and E before the show and couldn’t figure out which amp to plug his guitar into. Or maybe not since the only amp on stage was a huge Marshall double-stack mammajamma. Safe to say that no public breakdown happened last night. Williams, with his New York Death Adders hat and tee, welcomed the crowd saying “Hi, we’re Wavves” before blasting into “So Bored,” my favorite song! Everyone easily recognized this song because it’s Wavves’ biggest and just started going nuts, singing along, dancing, etc. The next set of seven or eight songs potentially ended with the word “Goth” or “Demon,” I just can’t remember. That’s because there was, at least for me, an unexpected amount of moshing. The first I got hit I was kind of like wtf okay that’s cool. But then I looked behind me and people were getting pushed around like crazy, bumping into each other. So the next twenty minutes turned out to be an awesome re-visitation of old No Age shows, because of both the music (noisy punk) and the crowd response (moshing). The final song they played was “No Hope Kids,” an awesome song to end the show! Pure pop beneath the massive wall of noise. Unfortunately they only played for 30 minutes, but it was a lengthy 30 minutes. After sweating my ass off from all the moshing and losing track of time, it felt like just enough.

Final Comments: Wavves put on a great show and the experience of watching them play was very top notch. Wouldn’t it have been better if I knew a majority of the songs performed? Probably. I didn’t let them bug me and in the end I walked out of Great Scott knowing that I had a shitload of fun. That said, this show is not comparable to some of the best shows I’ve seen. I would give it somewhere in the B+/B range.

Crowd during Wavves
Crowd during Wavves
Once Nathan Williams got stuff to work, all was well
Once Nathan Williams got stuff to work, all was well!