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Friday, February 27, 2009

New SIX FINGER SATELLITE album is real?!?! "Half Control"

"I will believe it when I see it." That's what I've thought every time I've heard that there would be a new Six Finger Satellite album. Well, I haven't seen it but I have heard it. There is no physical album yet, but all the tracks can be heard HERE AT LAST.FM and the mp3s can be BOUGHT HERE. And it's GOOD.

Six Finger Satellite were one of my personal favorite bands back in the 90's, putting together Big Black guitars and Jesus Lizard rock with DEVO rhythms and synthesizers to create a sound that tons of bands are still just catching up to. They fell apart in 98 or so after releasing "Law of Ruins" - an album that was far more minimal and stretched out than any of their previous stuff. It definitely seemed like a "final album."

Then I think it was 2001 or so when I tried to see a "reunion" show in Brooklyn. They were touring with Landed, 2 members of which were now members of Six Finger Satellite. Except that 6FS didn't play, with no explanation. Then there were rumors of a new album, another reunion, etc. but years went by and nothing happened. Maybe a year or more ago a couple of the band members started an official MySpace page - with the usual claims of a reunion and new album in the works. By this point I was much too skeptical to believe it, but then they just recently posted the above links!

I tried to do some research by looking at the 6FS wikipedia entry and apparently this album was recorded back in 2001 (or partly recorded?). Maybe everyone was just waiting for a real stable line-up to come together so that there could be some shows around the release. I don't know if I can make sense of the membership over the last decade, but it seems that every incarnation, including the one which recorded this album and the current line-up, includes founding members J.Ryan and Rick Pelletier (also in Chinese Stars). Wikipedia claims that the current drummer is Jon Loper, member of Made In Mexico, which would be cool.

Anyway, here's the important information. This "new" album sounds like classic Six Finger Satellite. No one would be surprised by the sound or suspect a membership change if it came out right after "Paranormalized." The guitar has that characteristic shrill metallic feel and all the drums hit hard while always staying seriously off-kilter. The sci-fi synthesizer sounds are in place. Mostly fierce little rock songs, with just a few touches of the minimalism that filled "Law of Ruins," like maybe in the title track "Half Control." It's built mainly on a single lurching, pulsing rhythm but keeps the energy very high throughout. Only the last track stretches out enough to feel like a long song, but really, there is no filler and you get to the last track so fast that you'll want the album to be a little longer. The whole thing hits hard and fast. If you love Six Finger Satellite, you will love this record too.

Apparently the real thing will be released by Load Records - date unknown, but I now believe it may happen. No mention at the Load Records website site yet. There are shows in April listed - I'm less convinced those will happen, but let's hope!

Relevant links:
Six Finger Satellite on MySpace
MySpace page
The album on LAST.FM
Buy the mp3s from fina
Boomkat also sells FLAC files.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Various Artists "DIS-ADELPHIA"

I got this press release from Philadelphia label Badmaster Records specifically stating that this compilation would be released as a free download on Thursday, Feb.26th. So it only makes sense to post something about it on Feb.26th and see if we can overload their bandwidth.

If "it's free!" isn't enough of a reason to go download the comp, then here's why else it's cool. Philly has one of the best music scenes going on right now. All the current artists I know from there (and those I learned about on this comp) are totally DIY, unpretentious, sincere, hilarious, and good-natured. I mostly know about the noise/weirdness scene, but there's also plenty of bleed over into punk, indie, art-rock, etc. - which is also a reason that the scene is cool. And this comp covers some examples from all of the above mentioned genres. "Something for everyone" also means "not everything's for everyone" and there are a few tracks here which I'm not personally into, but I'm also not into doing negative reviews so I'll just mention some of the highlights for me. Besides, it's a free mp3 comp! Just delete the tracks you're not crazy about!

First of all, this is worth downloading for the new Mincemeat or Tenspeed track, which is a top-notch example of his stuff and has these bizarre melodies that crop up which you almost feel you could sing along to. Noise music you could sing to! A bunch of bands fall into the category of "noise-pop" which falls nicely (for me) on the noisy side, for example Hot Guts and U.S.Girls. (Hot Guts would probably be way too heavy for most to classify as noise-pop, but I call it like I hear it, and that's a pop hook!) Pretty much all the bands share some kind of element of noisiness or a lo-fi edge. The prog/noise-rock band Satanized does a cool cover of NON's "Total War." There are a handful of bands which fall into some kind of post-Unsane sludgy-noise-rock category, like Talk Me Off, The Blacks And The Blues, and Rawar. I might have believed someone if they told me that the Birds of Maya track was Guitar Wolf - except that guitar solo was a little too fancy. The track by Fun Dogs was a cool surprise, being really hard to pigeonhole with elements of metal, noise-rock and post-hardcore, with a strong melodic sense - closest thing I can think of might be Killing Joke. There's also something from a personal favorite, Drums Like Machine Guns, a weird little song by them which leans more heavily on electronic beats than noise. No Tickley Feather track, but we do get the Serpents of Wisdom, who lives in a similar foggy Casio-goth world.

There's more too, but hey, free download. Check it out for yourself. Go to the Badmaster website:

Oh yeah, and someone did a smart mastering job on the whole thing so that you don't have to hover over the volume control as you listen, which is much appreciated in a comp.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

International Noise Conference 2009, Miami, Feb.12-14th

I'm not even going to attempt a proper "review" of this event. Not only would it inevitably overlook the majority of amazing acts, it would almost seem to contradict the spirit of this gathering. Each year, freak-noise godfather Rat Bastard puts on this 3-day festival in his hometown of Miami. No one is charged a cent, no one is payed a cent. By design, it is a showcase of bands who love making noise and acting like freaks for the pure love of it. There are really no genre restrictions and what ties all the performers together more than anything is a shared ideology.

This year may have actually been slightly less insane than last year - but you still get to see at least 30 of the best performances you'll see all year, inside 3 days. A number of acts seem to have dropped out, including some of the heavyweights, though I didn't really notice until I'd gotten a few nights' sleep back at home and started to think things like "Weren't Sword Heaven listed originally?" Perhaps the economy is to blame? I hope they (and some others who were missed) will return next year, but there was still way, way more great stuff than any one person could hope to catch. No one catches everything, except maybe Rat.

Here are some links to some INC2009 documentation that should keep you busy.

First of all, to see (almost) all the photos I took, click on this pic of some noise kids at the beach:

noise kids at the beach, INC2009

I also took a bunch of videos and stuck them on the NO-CORE YOUTUBE HERE - but there are far more and better videos that Breathmint Records got and put on Vimeo!

Laundry Room Squelchers - live during International Noise Conference at Churchill's - Miami, FL - 02-12-2009 from Breathmint on Vimeo.

Check out the rest, seriously.

There are also some great photos on Flickr from "That Bad Larry" like this one of Head Molt killing it:

Some more great ones from "Gold Pony" like this one of Noumena:

And perhaps best of all, the dudes who do Zradio (probably the best podcast and radio show in existence right now) were there and recorded a whole bunch of acts. When they got home they assembled a 3-hour podcast of what they got, which sounds great and provides a nice cross-section of the styles. (maybe leaning a bit toward the noise-rock?) The first recording, of Undrskor, sets the mood nicely and demonstrates what happens if you choose to let Nondor be your drummer. GO HERE TO DOWNLOAD IT. Notice also that the previous episode has a bunch of recordings from the Philadelphia pre-INC show.

Got more? Add a comment and share your link!

Friday, February 13, 2009

INC2009 - Day One

I am at the International Noise Conference in Miami right now. A more detailed write-up will follow, but I will share some photos and videos as I upload them. More photos at and more videos at

Thee Heidlecrumbs at INC2009

Rat Bastard performing with Undrskor INC2009

impromptu outdoor INC2009 performance

Burak at INC2009

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Lazy Magnet "Why Go On?" C20 cassette

Lazy Magnet is one of those "you never know what you're going to get" acts, but you can be assured that it will always be good stuff. This tape is mainly drone/mood music, with some curious twists.

The first side definitely drops you into heavy drone territory with what sounds like an infinite-sustain vibrato keyboard note and some hissing/whistling that sometimes sounds like a tea kettle or a distant jet plane gradually taking off. It's actually well-paced for the length of the side, building (or achieving lift-off) and then gently settling again just before the side is out. Then the piece starts to fade into some guitar strumming and vocals and I almost thought this was going to transition into some kind of moan-wave/new-weird-america/retro-hippie thing. But then the side abruptly ended.

Then strangely side 2 starts off sounding like it's rewound 30 seconds and you're still in the same drone, except instead of fading into some kind of meandering hippie jam, it (thankfully) transforms instead into what sounds an awful lots like a John Carpenter soundtrack. Gradually shifting and melodic plink-plonk 80's synthesizer notes keep the tension at a slow boil. The knobs get tweaked a bit here and there and everything gets a little Moogey until the piece fades out. Then as a final head-scratcher, there's some low, distant droning and what sound like the beginning of a new piece of music begins to fade in, but the tape ends before it becomes very audible.

This is definitely background or soundtrack music, though there's a slow constant shift to everything. The mysterious end of each side also makes me wonder if my tape got dubbed wrong. Is it just a fake out, or a genuine mistake? I guess if you get a copy of this tape I can't guarantee it will sound exactly the same as what I describe, but then that would be in keeping with the Lazy Magnet anti-aesthetic. You really do never know what you will get.
Lazy Magnet on MySpace