Bitch Magnet - Valmead




Given that David Grubbs slid from Bastro into a world of different ideas ... and played with Bitch Magnet and (basically) the backing band for the second track is Codeine ... it made sense to segue into this. I had some conflicted feelings about them at the time and still do to be honest. They had loads of that underground Bastro tornado style but you can hear glimpses of the themes that led to the year that punk broke. Yeah, for me that was when people that I knew were arseholes started to pretend they were really into it and always had been. Inverted snob and proud of it. Don't get me wrong there are some brilliant things within the Magnet canon and I was going to post a few of the things that I bought at the time. In preparing those posts I realised that in 2011, Temporary Residence released a triple CD / LP set that remasters pretty much everything they ever did and includes some unreleased stuff. It's still for sale. I've listened back to it and it sounds pretty immense. As a taster, here's this:

12" released on Glitterhouse Records in 1990.

Valmead

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Bastro and Codeine - A L'ombre De Nous




Apart from the Antlers CD containing live material from 1991 (that you can still pick up from Drag City), this was all she wrote. Really, it marks the transition of David Grubbs from one band to the other and into an area that journos tried to initially pigeonhole as slo-core. The members of Bastro would continue to orbit around each other for years to come in the form of Gastr Del Sol and Tortoise.

7" released on Sub Pop in 1991.

A L'ombre De Nous

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Bastro & My Dad Is Dead - Split




Where one plays the song of the other ...

7" released on Clawfist as part of their singles club in 1991.

Nothing Special / Flesh-Colored House

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Bastro - Sing The Troubled Beast



In an echo of Big Black, Bastro left at the top of their game with Clark Johnson going back to law school. I didn't know it at the time but I sat in anticipation of the next album and it never came ... information was different then. In retrospect, the fact that Brian Paulson handled most of the recording gives a clear light towards the future direction that these people would take and it makes a lot more sense now. Yeah, he was in Man Sized Action and was behind the desk for the Cows and a lot of the better end of the Touch & Go roster (Killdozer, Brick Layer Cake, Arcwelder) but later he was involved in Slint and others trying to slip into that stream ... they were all riding a wave heading in the same direction.

Released on Homestead Records in 1990.

Sing The Troubled Beast

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My Dad Is Dead - Let's Skip The Details




Apparently, this was more or less the work of Mark Edwards with a couple of people making small contributions. 32 years ago I read this really small piece talking about it and went out and bought the vinyl. Just my opinion but maybe the others were contractually tied up and kept anonymous. This is a full band pure and simple. MDID don't tend to get written about much even back then ... if they were from New Zealand we would all be lighting candles on a nightly basis at our home-made shrines. To my mind, this is a masterpiece.

Only released in America in 1988 on Homestead Records and then never available again. Criminal.

Let's Skip The Details

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Culpis - Situation Vacant Columns

Incredibly, this is the only full album by Culpis! The trio of Michi Nagata on guitars, Daizo Nishimura on harmonium and Takuji Naka on reeds, makes one hell of a racket. They remind me of Voice Crack or Dislocation, an energetic and dense improv/noise clatter. I like this album a lot, and would have liked to have heard them do more... but other than "Situation Vacant Columns" (released as a CD by PARA Disc, the label affiliated with the Parallax record shop in Kyoto), they made two split CDRs with MSBR and nothing else. Nagata was also in the grindcore band Casket K. Takuji Naka went on to record with Tim Olive, Frans de Waard and Jason Kahn. The other guy hasn't made any other albums that I'm aware of. If you're only going to leave one album behind, this is a pretty good one.

Culpis - Situation Vacant Columns

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Steel Pole Bath Tub - The Miracle Of Sound In Motion




"Sorry" if you're not enjoying this latest incursion ... but I'm having a blast (first). Slurred psychedelic overdriven garage noise-rock at it's finest. I've loved these people for a long time but had forgotten how much. I've been playing their releases all day and I'm waiting for the noise abatement notice from the neighbours. Shit happens. I could have started at many points but this is the one that when I took it home, my head fell clean off and it all made perfect sense. Saw them live somewhere between one and three times ... who knows?

Released on Boner Records and Tupelo Recording Company in 1993. Seems like this was only released in America ... I bought it over here in the civilised world so maybe it was an import? It's never been reissued since ... legalities I presume.

The Miracle Of Sound In Motion

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Jun Kawasaki - 左岸右岸 (Left Bank-Right Bank)

Solo album by bassist Jun Kawasaki of EXIAS-J, released on CD in 2003 by Bishop Records. EXIAS-J's guitarist Hideaki Kondo and pianist Shin-Ichiro Kanda appear on several songs, as does oboist Toshiya Nakamizo.

Jun Kawasaki - 左岸右岸 (Left Bank-Right Bank)

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God Is My Co-Pilot - Getting Out Of Boring Time Biting Into Boring Pie




I really like angular music that leaves you with little idea where it's going or why. Listening back to 10 X My Age made me go back and listen to this ... another great 10" that I bought at around the same time. It sounds better to me now than it did then. I distinctly remember reading them described as Dutch queer-core and hopefully the author is now not employed in any capacity. Well they are from New Amsterdam so good I named it once and I have never bothered to find out what the sexual preferences of the individual members of this collective are ... because it has absolutely no relevance.

10" released on Quinnah Records in 1993.

Biting Into Boring Pie

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Shoji Hano - Tayhei Nipon

Solo drum album by Shoji Hano, with guests Keiji Haino (who plays guitar on two songs) and Yoshinori Yanagawa of Dislocation (who plays alto on one song). Hano is now known mainly as a free improv drummer who plays with Peter Brotzmann, Olaf Rupp, Billy Bang and other jazz heavyweights. But he was also sat in High Rise's combustible drum seat for a time, and plays in Dare Devil Band with members of Acid Mothers Temple. This album came out in 1991 as a CD on the evocatively named Package Records Corp. label.

Shoji Hano - Tayhei Nipon

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Trumans Water - 10 X My Age




This is such a gorgeous thing ...

It was released on Elemental in 1993 in a beautiful white marbled 10" vinyl version. I used to stare at it for hours at a time whilst it played on rotation. There was a CD version (with nothing extra) and I might have bought that as well but I can't be bothered to get a ladder out to climb the CD wall.

10 X My Age

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Shoji Hano & Munehiro Narita - Kyoaku No Intention

This one is confusing. Jazz/rock drummer Shoji Hano and High Rise guitar shredder Munehiro Narita have played together as a free-rock-jazz duo called Kyoaku No Intention since the 1990s. They have several (probably grey area) cassettes on the La Musica label under the name. But for their debut live-in-the-studio 2001 CD on the mighty PSF label, the album is called "Kyoaku No Intention" and its credited to the artists' names. What does it mean? Nothing? Something? Does it matter?

Shoji Hano & Munehiro Narita - Kyoaku No Intention

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Bastro - Diablo Guapo




A year later, Roland was replaced by an actual drummer ... John McEntire who frankly is a proper legend. He left My Dad Is Dead to join Bastro ffs ... I'm really hoping to pull all of these threads together at the end. Anyway, John (being a human and all that, with arms and legs and other moveable parts) adds a massive propulsive force and a subtle counterpoint to the release ... that has never seen the light of day since. To save you some time, I certainly don't count the half-arsed Drag City CD from 2005 that combined this with the Sing release ... it didn't have all of the tracks included ... apart from kerching, what is the point in that? Yeah, no point at all ... "fun fact" again ... on 'Flesh-Colored House', William Bennett (has no dick) plays the drill (although I think that might be an in-joke, it sounds like guitar string being abused). Just fact ... the drummer on the final track "Shoot Me A Deer" is Britt Walford who was in Squirrel Bait and later Slint. Nobody is credited on the 7" I posted so it seems fair to assume that he was the drummer on that single. There is some marvelous trumpet abuse on Guapo ... no idea if it's the same horn abusers as on the previous example.

Released on Homestead Records in 1989. I bought the LP ... and then the CD ... this is the CD.

Genius. Simple.

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Trumans Water - Spasm Smash XXXOXOX Ox & Ass




I'm not expecting this to work for anybody else but ... the opening track "Aroma Of Gina Arnold" starts off as though Sonic Youth played Pacific Coast Highway and Xpressway to Yr Skull at the same time and that was a normal thing to do ... and then it launches into a different universe if it wasn't there already. I know loads of things and I'm right more than 100% of the time (obviously) so that means I'm pretty sure it was the Spasm Smash tour that I saw them at the Boardwalk in Manchester. I would be astonished if there were more than 30 of us there. Apart from the joy of dancing to Rations whilst being really fucked up (if you understand my nancy reagan) my favourite flashback was when Ely Moyal split a drum stick half way down (I don't even know how you do that) and he threw it into the non-existent crowd. This absolute fucking hero got there before me and bent it just enough to wear it like antennae and danced for the rest of the gig with the clear intent of dislocating every joint in his body.

They are one of the high points of Western civilisation.

I am not worthy of Trumans Water and neither are you.

A double LP released on Elemental Records in 1993 with a CD version two years later. Naturally I bought both of them at the time.

C'mon get in the car, we're gonna kill the California girls.

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Bastro - Rode Hard And Put Up Wet




David Grubbs (guitar) and Clark Johnson (bass) left the melodic hardcore of Squirrel Bait, programmed a drum Machine and really went for it. There are inevitable comparisons to Big Black but this was an entirely different troubled beast. A "fun fact" is that on 'Counterrev: Bhutan' the Bhutanese horn is played (badly) by David Sims (who was also in Scratch Acid, The Jesus Lizard and Rapeman) and Don Moist (yep, the way hap Steve Albini ... who also handled the recording for this release).

Mini-LP released on Homestead Records in 1988 and criminally never to see the light of day again.

Rode Hard And Put Up Wet

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Bastro - Shoot Me A Deer




Bastro should have been the biggest band on the planet. Luckily for them, they walked away from recording Goo and keeping us all waiting for another 12 years before releasing anything reminiscent of the majesty. Joke's aside, they are immense. The B-side was never released anywhere else as far as I know, and was co-written by Mark Robinson (who was in the magnificent Unrest and ran the equally great Teenbeat label ... both of which could not be further away from Bastro).

7" released on Homestead Records in 1989 as a precursor to the second LP.

Shoot Me

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Cows - Chow






There is so much music that was lost when the (then) newly expanded American distribution networks got swamped by charlatans, A&R arseholes and corporate whores who dumped people into a legal netherworld where bands no longer owned their own music and it could never be re-released. There are so many out there whose masterpieces never got past the initial vinyl release and Cows were one of those. Until recently. I was going to post the Cows albums that had effectively disappeared but then realised that Amphetamine Reptile have made them available as $5 CDs over the past couple of years. So, here's the first five 7"s instead.

7" released on Treehouse Records in 1988.

Chow

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Cows - Slap Back




7" released on Amphetamine Reptile Records in 1990.

Slap Back

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Cows - Plowed






This was released as a 7" on Amphetamine Reptile Records in 1992. This is the extended CD ep that includes the spectacularly unhinged "I Love You" ... not that there is much evidence of hinges on the other three tracks.

Plowed

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Cows - Woman Inside




Excellent bovine noise-rock with the B-side being a cover of "Theme From Midnight Cowboy" with a hovering guitar covering the harmonica part.

7" released on Insipid Vinyl in 1992.

Woman Inside

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