Scab Queen / Snowbride – “PM016″ split cassette

scabkingSeveral months back (maybe a year, I don’t know) I was on this Industrial music kick, more a feverish obsession, educating myself in it’s history from the 70s to the present. Things have a way of working in my favor (seldom) and now the Industrial, in it’s many forms, is finding me. A lot of people don’t dig that shit (you have to question your status as a music lover if you can’t at least groove to early SPK or their [Graeme Revel mostly] Songs of Byzantine Flowers) and that’s fine, but the argument that there’s no talent required is bullshit. Michael, of Scab Queen recently hit me up,
“I wanted to drop you a line that Scab Queen has released a new album via split tape ‘PM016′ with Atlanta’s Snowbride on Persistentmidnight 02.28.14. Our style consists of textural and harmonious explorations for guitar and cello and fits somewhere between the sound-art and tape/loop experiments of groups such as Cabaret Voltaire and This Heat and the free improvisation of players such as Leroy Jenkins, Derek Bailey and Lol Coxhill. Last year, scab queen released 4 EP’s (BRAGS, released May 2013, features vocalist Leo Ashline of Austin TX’s Street Sects, recently reviewed by Pitchfork as “an exciting new direction for heavy music”). For 2014 we’ve extended to the duo of Michael Lauden (8-string guitar) and Alec Lividitis (cello). Live, we utilize transistor radios, tape loops and FM transmitters as well as the live manipulation of video feedback projected on the stage-areas and sometimes across multiple monitors. On top of our instrumental/vocal loops, we have prepared tape loops and sample underlying audio from VHS tapes (mostly found footage, at Tea Club/murk daddy flex “genesis” listening party on 4/6 we used a tape simply labeled “London 1998″). For our live visual rig we utilize dueling signals from VHS camera & VCR, which is then projected on the stage-areas and across monitors. On top of our instrumental/vocal loops, we have prepared tape loops and sample underlying audio from VHS tapes (mostly found footage, at Tea Club/murk daddy flex “genesis” listening party on 4/6 we used a tape simply labeled “London 1998″). For our live visual rig we utilize dueling signals from VHS camera & VCR, which is then projected on the stage-areas and across monitors.”
I know that was rather lengthy, but I didn’t know how to regurgitate all that information in a more concise way, except to say that these guys are serious about what the hell they’re doing. Well, well, Industrial artists that know how to play instruments (and I’m a huge fan of the cello, even though I know very little about music written for the cello, downright moved when modern bands throw it in the mix). I think my response to him was describing the music as “otherworldly”. I guess I should elaborate. I went to Scab Queen’s Bandcamp page, they have a shit ton of recordings and I did a shit ton of listening. “Otherwordly” just kind of scrapes the surface. A song popped into my head at some point doing that listening, The Creatures – Pluto Drive. It completely reminds me of that kind of other-worldliness. A lyric from the song goes, “I want to see Pluto, I want to have fun, I want to turn blue, under an alien sun”…that is Scab Queen. They are so otherworldly, they’re not even in this solar system. Their ambient styled Industrial would make the perfect soundtrack to a movie set in the most alien of worlds. It would work well as Alice’s caterpillar sits thoughtfully puffing on his opium. I’ve smoked opium and you don’t need that shit, you need Scab Queen. These guys really could get a gig doing soundtrack as so many Industrial types have. I’m not sure how they do it, even though it’s explained quite well, the execution is spot on. Ambient is a tough sell for me sometimes, I don’t like the drone ambient, it’s just too monotonous, but these guys are not drone, they’re unfolding a musical story, slowly but deliberately. When I hit Michael back, I wanted to know what made the duo tick,
“I would describe our sound as heavily improvisational. I really like the idea that radio waves are all around us. I like the idea that constantly and consistently, we’ve been living our entire lives entangled in a field of invisible signals. We create loops not only from our instruments, but from whatever is playing over the AM/FM airwaves. I also have the ability to project my signals over-the-air via a modified home intercom system/FM transmitter.”
All that talk and thought about Scab Queen and it wasn’t until today that I gave Snowbride a whirl, but it was Michael of Scab Queen who I have been in touch with. I think it was someone’s really good idea to put these bands together on a tape as they are very different, so you get a little variety. Snowbride is still under the greater umbrella of Industrial, but their compositions have more rhythmic structure (2 of the 3 songs), and harken back in a remote sense, to early New Wave (maybe it’s the synth-y-ness). The vocals (there’s no lyric) are dreamy and I think their overall soundtrack would be something a little more psychological. The songs don’t unfold as much as permeate. Very enjoyable. As far as the tape as a whole, I’d say Georgia has more going on than you think. You can listen to you heart’s content, Snowbride and Scab Queen. Below is a vid Scab Queen put together of one of the songs from the cassette…

Ed Cole interview (part 1)

In my self imposed isolation (something I am content with), I find that I have good friends all over this (great?) nation of ours. I haven’t seen any of my old friends in almost ten years, some much longer than that, so I do daydream at times about what it would be like to have some of them as close neighbors. Ed Cole, musician, band mate and longtime friend, would be one of those ones that would nice to have living down the road. We could visit and discuss family life, talk shit about the status quo, ponder over music past and present, and I would be able to see him do his art live. He is the second guitarist that I have played with, that I have also asked to do an interview (I now have plans to interview the third). Ed is one of the finest human beings I know (I wish the world was filled with more Eds) and just an amazing musician. My burnt out brain has left me with just scattered memories, but what I do remember is that we had a blast creating together. Here’s Ed…

Garden WeaselDamn Ed, I was thinking about it and we’ve known each other a long time. We haven’t hung out in forever, your Son Cosmo was newborn last time I saw you, but through the web we’ve managed to stay in touch. I think our meeting had something to do with KHSU and you being a DJ (Dead Ed) up there, but do you remember the circumstances of how we met and what was going on with you at that time?

A: I first remember seeing you onstage with WD40 at Tsunami’s opening for MDC in 1990. I first met you at KHSU in the engineer booth, I think Cathy M introduced us. I remember your fish tattoo looking very fresh.

Husband, Father of some youngens, long time organic produce warehouseman (what’s your official title?) and musician, where do you find time for it all?

A: My official title is Purchasing Inventory Maintenance and I review quality and “select lots” for specific customers at Organically Grown Company in Portland. It’s actually a really fun job. I don’t find time for it all, I feel like I barely get anything done except for work, sleep, raise kids, eat food, spend time with my wife Tina and then sometimes if I’m motivated I go downstairs into the basement studio and work on recording my music. I wish there were more hours in the day.

Ed1You are a fellow music lover and you’ve never let genre hold you back, I’m curious about what was your earliest exposure to music and how did that affect you?

A: My earliest music memories are the Beatles, they were huge with my older brothers. “Yellow Submarine” was my first favorite song, followed by “Rhinestone Cowboy” by Glenn Campbell and “Thank God I’m a Country Boy” by John Denver. When I had the opportunity, I would play those 8 tracks over and over again. I really liked FM radio hits when I was 8,9,10, I loved whatever shitty classic rock was big at the time. I first wanted to be in a band after being exposed to AC/DC, Van Halen and Ozzy. I picked up guitar at age 13 when I traded a BMX bike for a shitty electric guitar that I plugged into my stereo. That was 1984.

Are there genres that you find distasteful or others that maybe you’ve grown to appreciate?

A: I savor the moment anytime music disturbs me enough to almost offend me. I was recently exposed to large doses of Ke$ha, Brittney Spears and Katy Perry; part of me wanted to barf but I still find some musical value in that very crass, commercial crap. Of the three, I like Katy Perry the best. I so far can’t get into techno or club type music. I have lots of friends who are into it but it’s for sure not for me. Modern country is pretty revolting, it’s pretty much the worst. I’m pretty sick of 1980s music about now, I heard enough Duran Duran the first time around, it makes me puke when I hear it at a restaurant now. Bleccchhhh!!

Garden Weasel – Look and Judge
Tulip – Wipe It Up

At what point did you make the transition from listener of music to wanting to play an instrument? What was your first band experience like?

A: before I could really play guitar I had a crappy acoustic guitar that I would tune to an ugly chord and just make up “rock riffs”. My friend Bear (Bar with an umlaut is how he spells it) had a home-made drum kit constructed of a plastic bucket, a tinker-toy can and the top head of a banjo, would would jam free of shame and then make overdubs of piano, clarinet and have the cello play a bassline, etc… We would just pile on tracks by holding one boombox near the other recorder and then playing along with our own tapes, eventually making a masterpiece mainly composed of tape hiss. A year or two later we had actual instruments and a 4 track, we spent many afternoons and evenings in his bedroom making up our own songs. Bar later went on to join the group Mr. Bungle. I learned everything I know about self-recorded songwriting from watching him work. Near the end of our collaborative high school years, Bar was playing every instrument and doing 4 part harmonies with the 4 track, really cool stuff.

Did you have anyone you looked up to, or who sort of showed you the ropes in life or music?

A: My brother Monty comes to mind immediately. He was always very musical, learning clarinet early on and expanding to many other instruments. I remember him banging away on piano when I was 5 or 6, really just thinking he was a god because he could play Scott Joplin ragtime piano as well as popular hits of the day like Styx or Supertramp. He also played guitar and taught me my first chords. He is a monster musician who is a woodwinds professor and lives and teaches in Macon, Georgia. My older brothers Mike and Darrow and my sister Neva all went to pains to expose me to what they felt was cool music, I think they all gave me the impression early on that music is very important.

Ed with Meat Puppets 1988First memorable show you went to see? Or feel free to list several.

A: A third-tier heavy metal band called Rail played in my town (Crescent City) in 1984. They sounded like most every other heavy metal band ever from the 1980s but it was cool to see a loud show . Van Halen 5150 was my first arena show in 1985, not very memorable but it was ok. The first show that really blew my mind was Meat Puppets with Mr. Bungle at HSU, this was probably 1988. They were the first underground band I really connected with because I sensed a similar kind of nerdy, classic-rock-hard-rock fandom with the Meat Puppets, and they were fucking weirdos, really did their own thing at the time, so I was happy to have a band that seemed like “mine.”

How about that first time you hit the stage yourself in front of an audience, what was that like?

A: After playing for 4 or 5 weeks I got up onstage with my brother’s (former) band Puffin, an R&B blues band and I played “Peter Gunne” out-of-tune but with sunglasses and feathered hair. I had a solo all worked out and still probably have a recording of it somewhere. Next was the Catholic school talent show at the Octoberfest in 1984. Bar and Ed did a kind of medley of Kinks and Quiet Riot songs that we knew. I played as often as possible during the first few years of high school with different bands at assemblies school events and what not. I was pretty comfortable on stage from the beginning, I always liked it.

HeadphonesYou’re like me, been collecting music for a long time, can you list some of your favorite bands, or maybe the influential ones, and what makes those bands so special to you?

A: Wow. I have so much music on my mind all the time. Where to even start? Lou Reed was huge to me because I also sing in a low register and he has probably above all others been my guiding artistic muse. Bob Mould, Paul Westerberg, David Bowie aer all top favorites for general listening. My late-night listening includes lots of mellow music like Devendra Banhart (only his early stuff), Cocteau Twins, Nick Drake, Robyn Hitchcock and Swans. I listen to lots of jazz, mostly at work. For Punk-era stuff, my initial favorites were Minor Threat, Black Flag, Agent Orange, Social Distortion, Fear, Devo – I still rock my exact same mix tape of all that shit in the car. Black Sabbath I’ve listened to so much that I almost can’t listen to it anymore but I think all that music is in my DNA. Rolling Stones, Hendrix, Stooges, the Who, the Doors – I guess I’ve gone classic rock, I’ll listen to any of that still. And Helios Creed and Chrome and Killdozer. And Thin LIzzy. I pretty much eat, breathe and shit music, I’m always curious if there is stuff I haven’t heard yet.

You’ve been in a hell of a lot of bands, can you possible name them all? Or how about just the memorable ones?  We talked the other day about all the bands you play in, two, and your solo project. Give me your take on those bands and what’s the deal with your solo project?

A: Sure I’ll try:

1. Bar and Ed/No Nik Muk No Tin Lik 1985-1990
2. Garden Weasel 1990-1992
3. Tulip 1994-1995
4. Billy Jack 1995-1996
5. the Naysayers 1996-2002
6. Velocirapture 2000 1999-2000
7. Activator 2001-2004
8. Ed Cole and the College Girls of Tora Bora 2002-2005
9. White Hot Odyssey 2004-2005
10. The Underlings 2006-present
11. Thundering Asteroids 2014

The deal with my upcoming solo album is: I have 10 new songs that are all-acoustic. I’m very nearly done with the music-making part of it. There are about 6 different people on it, lots of odd (for me) instruments like banjo and cello and jaw harp. I plan to have it released by the end of summer.  (See the song/vid at the end of this interview…

Ever since I went to visit you that one time, I’ve loved Eugene and thought it would be a great place to live (like Frisco it’s got a shit ton of cafes). After being a long time Eugene Oregon resident, you made the big move to Portland, what the hell man? What’s so special about Portland? Are the scenes different?

A: Eugene is the ultimate hippy town, which is both good and bad. Lots of good, healthy food and good coffee, etc… The music scene in Eugene is actually pretty good for a small town and all the players are fairly close-knit. There is a great pub called Sam Bond’s that everybody knows about and at least 7 or so other places to play music at around town. The WOW hall is one of my favorite venues. I’ve seen Nomeansno there perhaps 12 times? It’s THE place for all ages punk shows for touring bands. Too much reggae and hippy jam music in Eugene but it’s a nice place that I’ll always come back too. There are some younger people with good taste who are hosting interesting bands, there’s a lot going on for such a small city.

Do you have any records/CDs for sale and where can a guy get those?

A: You can download my home recordings at my Bandcamp page. The Underlings have 2 CDs you can get through CD Baby
and we have a 7″ . You can order those by emailing us on Facebook.

The Underlings – Part Time Crime

The Underlings – Foreign Sausage

The Underlings – Vice Squad

Ed Cole – Cross 2 Bear

Ed Cole – Working Class Losers

Ed Cole – Underbelly Set

What new stuff spins on your turntable these days?
A:Today it was John Fahey, Return of Blind Joe Death. Earlier it was Guided By Voices ??? I forget which album and then Brian Eno, Before and After Science. I listen on headphones to spotify at work, I often play Dead Boys, Warren Zevon, Amanda Palmer (barf! I can’t believe I liked her, that was last year), Kurt Vile, Camper Van Beethoven, Pere Ubu, Judas Priest, I think I listened to all of that and more this week. I listened to Mylie Cyrus’ “Bangers” this week also, it wasn’t very good but I still like her.

As I said earlier, you seem to always have a lot of coles (pun intended) in the fire, any future projects in the works?

A: I’m working on an album in my head right now, a rock album that is going to be like Lou Reed meets Tom Petty with Television as the backing band.

Ed Cole Fucking RocksAny additional words of wisdom? Anything to the young musician? Or perhaps to the world and humanity in general?

A: Play because you want to, play because it feels good, make music freely and don’t worry about the consequences. Don’t get bogged down worrying about success, just keep making music because it’s just the best thing that humanity has come up with so far. Music will heal you or at least make your transition to death much more pleasant.

Thanx bud!

Ed is well represented on the net with a Bandcamp to get your listening on of his solo material, a Facebook where you can socialize and swap recipes, more listening at Reverbnation, you can get inside his head at Edhead 101, and you can take an epic journey in his Garden Weasel Diaries.

After a while here we’ll have part 2 of the interview with a ton of killer tunes. For now, wanted to finish this off with what I consider to the culmination of years writing and performing music. This here vid, I need to give anonymous kudos to the videographer who did a stunning job, is the kind of stuff that should be popular on the radio right now and really is testimony to the sophistication of Mr. Cole as an artist and composer, enjoy…

Stroamata – “Dollar”

stroamataPRESSdb65ceYou know it’s nice when a really good tune just drops right into your lap and you’ve just gotta pass that on to someone else. I don’t know much about the scene in New York (or more specifically Brooklyn) but I have a feeling Stroamata is not as under the radar as most of the music I seek out and am exposed to, but rightly so, this band has something special going on and a wide variety of folks could relate to their groove. Their newest single, “Dollar” is certainly worthy of 3 and a half minutes of your ear time. Here’s the press release type deal about the band…
“With backgrounds in music and performance ranging from self-taught to classical and theater to conservatory training, Stroamata translate their skills into an edgy sound. Stroamata has been coming into their own and absorbing new vibes and inspirations since their start in 2008. Originally backing MCs and performing as a triphop/psychedelic soul band in Boston, MA, Stroamata delved into writing original material with an indie rock edge when Dorothy (Dara) Eagle (lead vocals, rhythm guitar) joined Robert (Rob) Morrison (lead guitar, vocals), Akil Marshall (bass), and Alexander Markowitz (drums/backing vocals). After releasing their EP The Phoenix in 2010, the quartet made the move to New York in 2011, continuing to gig heavily at notable venues, such as The Bowery Electric (NY), TT the Bear’s (Boston), and Church (Boston). Stroamata began releasing monthly singles starting in 2012, catching the attention of fans and press alike, receiving an Honorable Mention on Adam’s World Blog for “Best Live Band 2013” and taking the title as Harpoon Brewery’s “Best Unfiltered Band.” The future holds an upward trajectory as Stroamata continues to innovate their sound and audiences revel in the band’s newest single and accompanying video, “Dollar“.
What I got outta that is that these gal/guys are multiply inspired, not novices at what they do and they’re willing to go where the action is. I asked the band what made them tick and got a commendable response,
“Stroamata keeps ticking and creating because we want to be on the road, touring cities all over the world for the rest of our lives! We stick to our signature style because we want to create the kind of music that we want to hear. We hope to one day be considered one of the best band’s in world, but we really keep going because we all have that unnameable drive in our hearts to make music!”
They have crafted a hell of a lot of tunes as you can see/listen/buy at their website (Bandcamp), but this latest tune is a masterpiece. I listened to several of the songs from the past 6 years, all pretty rockin’ tunes, but “Dollar” doesn’t just rock, it grooves. It has this mature sound, showing off everybody’s individual talents, but as one marvelous composition. The vocals stand out to me, reminding me a bit of Siouxsie, a sultry warm voice, but in a more general sense a hopping cabaret or a lively lounge. But this ain’t lounge or cabaret, the song is very much in your face and seems to have a life of it’s own. I really hope this band sees the success and happiness they desire and can make a living from their art. You know they at least got their shit together enough to have a video that captures that rockin’ vibe…

…and just because one song is never enough here at the Relics, one of my favorites, a garage-y intro followed up by some funk, some folky metal, progressive jazzy-ness, maybe a little psychedelia, with those sensuous vocals throughout. I see a fog machine and a strobe light for the video of this one…
“Edge of the Sky”

Hrabe Farm short documentary…

FelixHaven’t watched a Felix The Cat cartoon in ages, just the Opening Theme (original theme song) and singing along to it would bring me joy beyond belief when I was just a tyke.

Been slammed lately with review requests, so much so that it’s bogged me down, it’s easier to climb a hill than it is a mountain. Most of what I’ve posted in the history of this blog has been on a whim, but a few years back I thought, instead of just reliving the glory days I could give something back to the artists of today, just a little bit extra exposure (the teeny-est, tiny-est, bitty-bit that MR offers). It’s been a good thing, sort of symbiotic, because I have been blessed to have been turned onto a shit ton of good music. I guess this goes out to those waiting for a review, be patient and don’t think we (me) are flakes here. Upcoming we’ve got some seriously good stuff from the likes of Stroamata, Animal Hands, Skabking, Pears, Flag Polers and an interview with one of my favorite guitarists, Ed Cole. As always, don’t be a twit, comment, it’s the junk I cook up in a spoon, and shoot to thrill.

Today is the anniversary of the death/suicide of Wendy O. Williams, an avatar in the world of music, I worshiped her at one time…

…a little tribute to her…
Chaos U.K – Butcher Baby (Plasmatics)

An animated horror short, well worth watching, called Francis

A few days ago, was out having a smoke on the porch (we don’t smoke in the house), the wife was at work and thought I’d capture a minute and a half of my life…

DEVO – Gates of Steel

I was a little late to Devo, a friend gave me the Freedom of Choice cassette (still have it) when it came out in 1980 (he also gave me ACDC’s Back in Black cassette that same year, still have that too). Later I discovered their early stuff, most of which I have picked up on vinyl over the years, and as with moist bands they earlier the better, because as time goes on a band tends to water their stuff down. Not sure why that is, but Freedom of Choice, their last good album is still my favorite, every song kills it…holy shit I played the hell out of that cassette. My son recently asked me for a Devo mixed CD, which got me to thinking about what some of my favorite tunes were. I’d have to say the number one tune is “Gates of Steel”…
Twist away the gates of steel
Unlock the secret voice
Give in to ancient noise
Take a chance a brand new dance
Twist away the gates of steel
Twist away
Now twist and shout
The earth it moves too slow
But the earth is all we know
We pay to play the human way
Twist away the gates of steel
A man is real
Not made of steel
But the earth is all we know
We pay to play the human way
Twist away the gates of steel
The beginning was the end
Of everything now
The ape regards his tail
He’s stuck on it
Repeats until he fails
Half a goon and half a god
A man’s not made of steel
Twist away
Now twist and shout
The earth it moves too slow
But the earth is all we know
We pay to play the human way
Twist away the gates of steel
A man is real that’s how he feels

This here live vid from 1980 is just about the most perfect performance ever, to have been a fly on the wall. I had a chance to see them sometime in the mid-80s at the Forum in LA, my buddy had tickets in hand. Of course his opinion of the show was that it was epic. This will have to do, imagining myself there…

The audio in case it iPod! worthy…
Devo – Gates of Steel (Live)
My buddy Chris’ band Labrador did a very fine cover of the tune…
Gates Of Steel