Saturday, February 28, 2009

The Best Wedding Band Ever

Sad to say, but last night was my first show of the modern ONO era. Over the past few years, I have have been running into Travis (first) and P. Michael (more recently), more and more, but I had not made it to one of their shows yet. I cannot emphasize the importance of this band and those guys in my early industrial/experimental evolution. Buy me a drink and I will tell you my stories... I probably will, anyhow, or maybe I already have. You know, I forget...

But we are jumping ahead. Neil Jendon started the night out by suddenly switching "on" and blasting a hole through the north wall at Enemy with a totally inspired set of aggro guitar noise, using pedals as weapons and his modular synth to filter sound back into a dark, strange place. That got my heart pumping. Holy christ!

Ono was up next and what a show they put on! Early industrial meets minimal synth meets almost surfed-out coldwave guitars meets true Chicago outsider weirdness. Travis remains the ultimate frontman, not that there was any doubt in that department. Expanded to a four-piece, sans Ric Graham, but with a new guitarist and a new keyboardist, the band has a fuller sound then I recall from the 1980s. And they rocked the room... heads were bobbing, people were smiling. Excellent! I am looking forward to more. Someday, "Ennui" will be mine...

Jeff Host (Cleveland) and Ben Billington set up for a really nice, cosmic dual "progressive" synth workout, playing off of each other very nicely. I am enjoying this "synths in noise" trend quite a lot, especially when it is done well, like these two guys did, and when people know when it is time to stop. Again, kudos to Jeff and Ben for not dragging it on forver... not even close. It is also quite interesting to see Ben trying (and succeeding at) more and more things since stepping out from behind his drum kit.

Finally, a trio of David Russell (recent trade from Cleveland), Andrew Young, and Michael Forbes launched into an explosive free jazz noise set of upright bass (AY), sax (MF), and all of David's tabletop junk store madness. And speaking of frontmen, David also never disappoints. Whether with Jerk, Tanked, or various other human combinations, David makes each perfomance that he is in a comprelling one. While the freaked out jazz stuff might not be my favorite cup of tea, these three still executed an extremely interesting set to watch and to hear.

I was sorry that Scarcity of Tanks was not able to make it... Wasco, come back to Chicago...

Since yesterday evening, I have had the strangest craving to watch "A Clockwork Orange." If I can get my work done quickly, I might just do that. Kuma's also threatens today, same scenario... work... then a mega-rock show with my winter 2008-09 dark guitar obsession, All the Saints, plus Darker My Love and These Arms are Snakes...

Friday, February 27, 2009


During a break in last night's intense thunderstorm, I made it over to Cobra Lounge to see an excellent set by my neighbor-cluster, Rabid Rabbit. Through a dense cloud of smoke-machine and crisscrossing lights, the band built a foundation of ultra-slow rumbling psychedelic doom that gave way to faster and more aggressive passages... the perfect sound for such a volatile night of weather extremes... which did not seem to dampen the crowd's size or enthusiasm...

Now, a deadline looms...

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Axehandle, Re-Visited

I may have had my issues with Alabama Thunder Pussy in the past, but visit number two to the mountain that is the Kuma's Axehandle was a success -- but it was a challenge, too -- especially since Isidro "insisted" on ordering mussels to start things off... at 11:45 AM, no less... about the only time that you can get a table there, these days...

Otto Song????

Well, it took me two tries to get through "Otto; Or, Up With Dead People" but I made it. I was totally surprised to see our friend Nicola Vinciguerra of Fecalove fame on the soundtrack, appearing as Splinter vs Stalin, alongside Throbbing Gristle, Black Sun Ensemble, Bryin Dall, etc. But my big question is, what song/band is playing at the end, when the credits start to roll? The track in question does not seem to be on the soundtrack CD released by Crippled Dick Hot Wax!

Mike IX on MTV Headbangers Blog

Just in time for Mardi Gras... here

Synth Pillows

(click to enlarge)

I do not think that I have quite the same gear obsession that I used to have, but these are pretty fun. If they could do a Roland MC-202, maybe it would create less dangerous in Pieter's hands, onstage...

Status - 2/26

- Still in deep work mode...

- I got a large batch of packages (mail-order, Discogs, eBay) out on Tuesday night before practice. More stuff should go out by the end of the day, today

- And what a practice that was on Tuesday! Blake's "rig" seemed to triple in size with the addition of some new heavy-duty support stands, but the sounds emerging from within the framework were excellent. Things were firing on all cylinders and we made excellent progress. "Overcome" is pretty much as tight as can be and I think that we worked out any last compositional elements that were still needed on song number two. It is a monster, no doubt! The third "work-in-progress" still has a ways to go but I think that I am comfortable with the lyrics for that one

- By the end of this week I hope to have a demo to send to the Cadaver in Drag guys for the track that we are collaborating on for their (long delayed -- my fault!) CD on BloodLust! This is easily one of the most direct and venomous songs that I have penned in a loooong time...

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Cosmic Renovation

Zoroaster did in fact seem to bend the cosmos a bit last night at the Empty Bottle. It was an excellent set. I loved the way the creepy Hellhammer/Celtic Frost sort of riffs would balance out the more psychedelic and driving doom aspects. There were some pretty strange synth freak-outs, too... It was a shame that Amen Ra had border issues. A very good night, though...

Monday, February 23, 2009

More on Redrot

The Redrot "Deviant" 7-inch vinyl is now in-house and the covers are expected in about a week. Expect an early March release...

Hair Police Poster

(Click to enlarge)

Locrian - Paris Transatlantic


It's raining. It's been raining off and on for the past week, either that or snowing. Bloody miserable. Perfect weather for enjoying this package of goodies from Chicago-based Locrian. Andre Foisy and Terrence Hannum – though maybe I'm not supposed to reveal their first names, as on the discs it's just A. Foisy and T. Hannum – play, if the back cover photograph of the Rhetoric of Surfaces CD is anything to go by, guitars, synths and a battery of FX pedals, and have, over the past four years, been digging deep into the extremely fertile (even if at first sight it might appear barren) wasteland between heavy drone and doom metal. Limited edition cassettes and CDRs have often been the group's medium of choice, but, like many of their peers in the world of noise, they've sought to preserve some of the rarer (and presumably by now OOP) gems in CD form.
Rhetoric of Surfaces is the one to get then, and the opening "Drosscape" – the only track not previously released, it seems – establishes the mood of the album from the get-go. Over an ominous backdrop of sustained low register synth tones, guitar lines teeter on the brink of uncontrollable feedback. It ends suddenly, but distortion and delay is the name of the game once more on "Burying The Carnival" (this is also available on a self-released cassette, along with a companion piece "Exhuming The Carnival", though the sound quality understandably leaves a little to be desired compared to the CD.. not that that's ever been a problem for fans of this kind of sound), with extreme high register metal-derived guitar lines screeching like demented seagulls over a decidedly chilly bassline semitone loop. Dark, doom-laden stuff to be sure, but ravens and elemental human dread notwithstanding, the tolling bell that opens "Visible / Invisible" is convincing – and musical. But the best is yet to come, with "Amps Into Instruments", a carefully structured epic which finally settles on a four-note bass riff (the same four notes as The Cure's "A Forest", actually.. intentional?) and builds impressively to a powerful conclusion.