Monday, July 20, 2009

Pharmakon + Wierd in Fader

From Fader's Freak Scene column:

Freak Scene #40

In this edition of Freak Scene, a still China-living Jamie Johns runs down what she’s missing in New York, highlights noisemaker Pharmakon and gets us an exclusive mix from Xeno and Oaklander.

Summer is probably the worst time to be out of New York City, as there seems to be nothing but great shows, fests, barbecues and the like happening every week. While it feels like 106 degrees outside here in Shanghai and I am still suffering from jet lag, which means I have seen Martian Child and To Gillian on Her 37th Birthday three to five times each on HBO Asia, I will be doing a complete rundown of Chinese Freak Scene happenings in the near future. I will soon be hitting Shanghai, Hangzhou and Beijing, so except a rundown shortly. Until then, here’s a taste of what I am missing back west.

The first missed fest was the Woodsist/Captured Tracks 2-day Fourth of July blow out. The FADER team had it covered, which you can check out here.

The second missed fest was the New York Eye and Ear Festival. A number of groups I have written about over the past few months performed: Axolotl, John Wiese, Liturgy, Telecult Powers, Drunkdriver, Total Abuse, Magik Markers, Led Er Est and Martial Canterel. Besides a great lineup, there was also a record fair and a program of female filmmakers, which included Sarah Lipstate from Noveller and Liz Wendelbo from Xeno and Oaklander. In honor of the NY Eye and Ear Fest, I asked Xeno and Oaklander, who mesmerized me at No Fun, to create a playlist for the column. Besides the presentation of Liz Wendelbo’s films, X&O member Sean McBride’s solo outfit, Martial Canterel, performed. Jam on their playlist below:

Xeno and Oaklander Mix for Freak Scene
Cleaners from Venus - This Rainy Decade
Jon St. James - Trans-Atlantic
Epee Du Bois - Misery
Lister - The Boogabe
Ann Summer - Ann Summer III
Xeno and Oaklander - Celeste
Twilight Ritual - Somewhere in My Heart
Resistance - The Gash
Led Er Est - Unkept Area
Nagamatzu - Magic
Automelodi - Schema Corporel
Sleep Museum - Unknown Song
Glenn Winter - Herrens Svar
Martial Canterel - Shrapnelle
Staccato Du Mal - Addiction
Magic de Spell - And the Burned Puppet

Perhaps the performance/fest I am the most bummed to miss is the Burning Fleshtival at Red Light District in Far Rockaway, Brooklyn. It’s happening July 24th and 25th and tickets are $8 a night. Sure, it’s a decent journey, but you can get there via the subway and it is by the beach. I would be at this thing all day and all night if I was in New York, so you have no excuse to miss such a brutal lineup. Highlights include Halflings, Sickness, Sewer Goddess, Reviver, Body Collector and Pharmakon, plus a few acts which I, admittedly, have yet to hear, which makes me all the more bummed to miss this. Halfings is two-thirds of my favorite group, Yellow Tears. Sickness needs no introduction—one of the most complex and merciless noise acts around! The internet says there will be events during the day as well. This is definitely not to be missed.

I have been meaning to write about Pharmakon for quite some time after watching the footage from her performance at the weekly Wierd party a few months ago, but I was waiting for a release to be in print. Although her earliest releases are long sold out, BloodLust! has reissued three crucial tracks and an unreleased song on a new CD EP. The best one is called Xia Xinfeng, which takes its name from a Chinese woman who killed her lover with rat poison delivered through a kiss. Pharmakon is Margaret Chardiet and the material is ferocious and cruel. It’s Chardiet’s vocals that really make the material unforgettable.I have been waiting to hear something completely and utterly deranged from an active female noise, not just experimental, artist and this is it. Plus, the cover art of the new EP reminds me of Babes in Toyland’s Fontanelle. Compare this and this. [ed. note: Cindy Sherman art on Babes in Toyland changed my life] I do not joke around about Babes in Toyland, so this release gets automatic bonus points.

Find out more about Burning Fleshtival here and buy the self-titled Pharmakon EP from BloodLust.

Send your tapes/LPs/7”s/lathes/CDs /zines etc… to:
Jamie Johns
5407 2nd Ave Apt. 3B
Brooklyn, NY 11220
Email me:
(Please note that due to my trip to China, there will be a delay in listening to the goodies but I promise they will be treated with love and affection.)