American Dollar Bill – Keep Facing Sideways, You’re Too Hideous To Look At Face On

“American Dollar Bill – Keep Facing Sideways, You’re Too Hideous To Look At Face On,” by Keiji Haino and Sumac.

Bandcamp Link: American Dollar Bill – Keep Facing Sideways, You’re Too Hideous To Look At Face On

I first encountered Keiji Haino and one of his bands, Fushitsusha, during my great enthusiasm for Japanese culture in the late 1980s and early 1990s. Their records were some of the most brutally overdriven guitar psych freakouts of all time.

The trio Sumac are modern heavy things. But heavy in an arty way, more like say, Swans or The Birthday Party, than Black Sabbath or Iron Maiden.

Listening to this album, one of whose tracks is actually named, “What have I Done? (I Was Reeling In Something White and I Became Able to do Anything I Made a Hole Imprisoned Time Within it Created Friction Stopped Listening to Warnings Ceased Fixing my Errors Made the Impossible Possible? Turned Sadness Into Joy) Pt. 1”, I am most reminded reminded of esoteric 1970s music like The Godz or MC-5, along with The Birthday Party and Swans.

Pounding rhythms, clouds of overdriven guitar, bass guitar that is more of a feeling than a key. All things I enjoy.

Indeed, there are some moments on the track, “I’m Over 137% A Love Junkie And Still It’s Not Enough Pt. 2”, where everything is so amazingly distorted as to be ecstatic.

Lucky I made it to work this morning, and didn’t just sit in the parking lot at the beach with the stereo turned up to 11 and this album on repeat.

#TodaysCommuteSoundtrack #Sumac #KeijiHaino #AmericanDollarBillKeepFacingSidewaysYoureTooHideousToLookAtFaceOn


Oto by Sonore.

Sonore was a trio of three titanic modern reed players: Peter Brötzmann, Mats Gustaffson, and Ken Vandermark.

Recorded live at the Cafe Oto in London, this album has everything you would hope for from these three masters of Squonk. My favorite section is probably one where Gustaffson and Vandermark are on Baritone Sax and Brötzmann counters them on Tenor. Practically feels like a knife fight.

There are some folky passages from Brötzmann on tárogató, a nice clarinet duo, and Gustaffson’s patented extreme skronk. No one gets much rest on this album.

All in all, it must have been a very lively night in Dalston!

#MatsGustaffson #PeterBrötzmann #KenVandermark #todayscommutesoundtrack

The Strife of Love in a Dream

The Strife of Love in a Dream by Miracle.

Miracle is a duo of Daniel O’Sullivan of Grumbling Fur (etcetera) and Steve Moore of Zombi.

Most Music Press I’ve seen describes this group as their “Dark Synth-Pop” ensemble.

Now, I don’t know about you, but for me, “Dark Synth-Pop” is, say, Foetus, Clock DVA, or Cabaret Voltaire. Going from the auditory contents of this album, for the Music Press, I guess “Dark Synth-Pop” is more like, say, early Orchestral Maneuvers in the Dark, Tears for Fears, or Dead or Alive.

Which is to say, this album is a bit quirky, but I would be hard pressed to describe it as “Dark”. I know I’ve gone over this before, and I don’t really know why I continue to investigate albums that Mr O’Sullivan is involved in. Some perverse curiosity? Anyway, I don’t feel much nostalgia for cheesy sounding electronic percussion, chorale scented male harmony vocals, or KeyTar solos, yet I continue to listen to each one of these releases from his bands, perhaps in the hopes that the interesting bits which lurk at the edges of these albums will somehow finally make it into the spotlight on one of them.

I will say, the name makes this album sound quite ambitious. “The Strife of Love in a Dream” is the English translation of “Hypnerotomachia Poliphili”, the title of a 15th Century allegorical romance by Francesco Colonna, a Dominican Monk, poet, and author.

#TodaysCommuteSoundtrack #Miracle #TheStrifeOfLoveInADream #HypnerotomachiaPoliphili #DanielOSullivan #SteveMoore

The Indeterminate Existence

The Indeterminate Existence by Jack Wright.

Pittsburgh based musicians and poet Jack Wright had eluded my gaze until I noticed he was playing a series of gigs in the Bay Area this week.

These solo workouts on various Saxophones date to concerts he played in the late 90s.

Not sure how to describe them. Sonically they are very diverse. Especially on Alto Sax, he makes some sounds I can honestly say I have never heard come out of a Saxophone before.

If it reminded me of anyone, it would probably be Joe Maneri, with his invented languages and microtonal expressions.

The style of the improv is very conversational, in fact I notice for most of the tracks here he is vocalizing through the sax while he is playing, a conversation between himself and the instrument. However, this is an exhausting thing to do. It takes twice the breath support of just playing the sax. But, you get some very cool over tones.

In any case, you can check him out this week at Studio Grand, The Luggage Store Gallery, and The Canessa Gallery.

#JackWright #LuggageStoreGallery #StudioGrand #CanessaGalery #TodaysCommuteSoundtrack #TheIndeterminateExistence

Room Inside the World

Room Inside the World by Ought.

I liked Ought’s first album, but wondered if they weren’t painting themselves into a corner by hewing so close to Joy Division’s sound and feel. Making Interpol’s mistake all over again.

While there is still the occasional twinge of hookian bass and curtis-esque nasality on Room Inside the World, their sound is significantly opened up both musically and spiritually.

It’s definitely still sounding 80s/90s, but often a bit more like the Cure or The Smiths, than Joy Division.

Variety is a good thing.

#TodaysCommuteSoundtrack #Ought #RoomInsideTheWorld

Journey to the Mountain of Forever

(You just never know when you’re going to run across a 15 ft tall Princess Mononoke.) Journey to the Mountain of Forever by Binker and Moses.

A pretty cosmic name. 
Fortunately, however, this album owes almost nothing to the 70s Jazz Fusion band Return to Forever.

A double album is a pretty ballsy move for a Sax and drum duo!

They do include some guests, among them Saxophonist Evan Parker and percussionist Sarathy Korwar, for variety.

The weakest song is probably the Caribbean tinged Fete by the River, which ends up sounding like 70s tv soundtrack music or something the Saturday Night Live band might kick out between sketches.

But, other than that slight mis-step, the album feels largely filler-free, impressive for it’s length.

Nice to hear their playing with a few more performers to bounce off of.

#TodaysCommuteSoundtrack #BinkerAndMoses #MosesBoyd #BinkerGolding #EvanParker #SarathyKorwar #ByronWallen #ToriHandsley

Two City Blues 2

Two City Blues 2 by Peter Brötzmann, Keiji Haino, and Jim O’Rourke.

The interesting thing about improv, is, well, sometimes something interesting just doesn’t happen. Which can be interesting, in it’s own uncomfortable way. But… The first, long, track on the second disc of Two City Blues starts with Brötzmann noodling out tones on Tenor, O’Rourke doing his best impression of country slide blues guitar, Haino on Shamisen and his patented shout-sing voice. O’Rourke moves through several guitar strategies, but for the first 15 minutes of this track, the musicians just don’t sound engaged with the music or each other. Fortunately, at around 17 minutes, the energy flow changes, somehow, and they turn it around for a blistering final 35 minutes.

#TodaysCommuteSoundtrack #PeterBrötzmann #KeijiHaino #JimORourke

Two City Blues 1

Two City Blues 1 by Peter Brötzmann, Keiji Haino, and Jim O’Rourke.

Two Guitarists and a Brötzmann recorded live in Japan in 2010.

While the guitars are occasionally mellow, Brötzmann is in full roar mode for most of the 40 minutes of this recording. Tender, it is not.

#TodaysCommiteSoundtrack #PeterBrötzmann #KeijiHaino #JimORourke #trostrecords

The Underside of Power

Feb 13

The Underside of Power by Algiers.

You know how you read about an artist, or album, and think, “Wow! That sounds really cool! I should like everything about that!” But, then you listen, and you think, “Meh, not for me.” Ostensibly, the idea of Algiers sound great. Sort of, “Goth Meets Gospel with a political conscience”. But, when I listen it just sounds like a tired retread of 80s/90s commercial industrial music. Like Ministry or Depeche Mode. Music I didn’t much care for the first time around. Or, a more predictable version of Tackhead and Little Axe.


#TodaysCommuteSoundtrack #Algiers #TheUndersideofPower