January-May 2011 ( cover scans and information)
Evan Cantor “Just Sittin’ Around The House” (Sound OF Pig, 1987)
Walls Of Genius member goes solo on this intimate strummed acoustic ( with some brief electric ) guitar work with plaintive front room vocals. A real personal and sincere tape.
Charlie Mendoza “Pretty Ugly” (1987)
Off balance odd rock with nods to Beefheart and maybe Burroughs intoned over frantic drum machine with keyboards chiming in with unusual settings like marimba and oboe. Art rock for sure and highly creative.
Hub Music (Antelope Tapes, 1987)
Micro computer network music from Bay Area improvisers and instrument builders Tim Perkis, John Bischoff, Mark Trayler, Chris Brown, Phil Stone and Scott Gresham-Lancaster. Bleeps, bloops, eeks and oops.
Your God Rules (mid 1990s)
3 song tape with big, modern sounding drums and LA pop essence. This still sounds darn fresh.
Oeleo “Sea Of Nectar” (1996)
Now they would call this lo fi pop and maybe that is correct but to me this is some solid songwriting, some nice basic rock support with spot on vocals from the high tenor voice of Angelo Saucerdote. Perhaps a little Violent Femmes references could be made mixed with Ween.
Mark Saucier “400 Reptiles” (1988)
This 1988 tape was always a favorite with me. I believe Mark was from the south at the time but his influence was more New York area Lou Reed with some added blues and boogie elements. He mixed in acoustic with electric numbers and had a very good voice with excellent guitar backing. Mix in a bit of keyboards and drum machine and you have the whole package.
Privateworld “In A World Out Of Time” (1991?)
This project of Dan Stearns from Massachusetts was highly progressive and complex and although just one 6 minute song it really covered a lot of ground and showcased Dan’s outstanding musicianship. Also joined by Jim Capone on reeds and engineer Scott Dakota. Stearns was really one of the best technical players I ever heard in the underground.
Kvern-Juarez-Maytum-Kvern “Ancient Cities/ Future Ruins” (1984)
A Seattle area summit of improvising and experimental musicians that produced only this tape as far as I know. Undoubtedly, these fine musicians did their own things but I never heard about it. Drones, bowed guitars, synths are wonderfully integrated and meshed together. A really fine work.
Charlie Mendoza “Lies Of The Tragic Pines”(1987)
Split into two “acts” this second tape ( see “Pretty Ugly” above) from Mendoza ( or was it the first?) is a downtown sounding eclectic progressive rock workout. Occasionally in the RIO mold, then sometimes The Residents, this cassette is super high quality and sounds excellent even today. Mendoza took great care evidently in his mastering and duplication and it has paid off with a distinctive, energized and personal work that is rather timeless.
Orange Like Me “Radio Grave” (1990)
Ohio area taper Brian Nupp was the guy behind Orange LIke Me. And it had that weirdo Ohio flair that is evident in other players like Bill Jones Show, Plastic Eye Miracle and the lot. However, Orange Like Me is a bit more straight forward home taper rock and pop. Not a bad thing either because he does it quite well.
Science and Nature was headed up by Justin Mayer and Brian Todd from Boulder Creek, California at the time. This was purposefully commercial sounding 80s style pop music with requisite synths and leaden drum machine. Appearing in 1985 I never heard from them again.
On the other side of things, Fink/McCandless issued many, many tapes of totally free improvisation from their own Junk Room Studios in Alabama. I believe they traveled in the same improv circles as Davey Williams and LaDonna Smith. Their pieces would stretch on forever and they were serious about their noise and clattering. Scraps of metal being hit would join a constipated, snarling sax and stuttering, globby percussion for a sound that would rule the day. The tape to the left came to me in 1986.
Justin Saragoza was from Las Vegas and sent me this tape of improv, progressive rock and eclectic noises in about 1985. Listening to it now, this tape stands up well.Deftly and nimbly played rockish instrumentals sit side by side with disjointed keyboards, guitars and bass. Sometimes there is drum machine to propel it . This is darn good stuff even all these years later.
Pagan Amen was from Santa Cruz California and headed up by Joe Metheny with help from, among others, Ninah Pixie, later of Big City Orchestra. This tape didn’t even have a proper cover because it was a collection of live sessions and things released for various projects and labels I believe. Loops, hidden messages, relentless occasional drum machine and all sorts of other industrial elements going off helter skelter. From 1988.
Released in 1989, this tape by David Porter must have come out in the mid-late 1980s. Full of cut up voices, simultaneous conversations, odd instrumental fade ins like vibes..it’s a confusing mess which acts on me like a dream. Not a great sound collage but a real experiment in the best sense of the word.
Wooden Igloo “Jesus by the Neon Light” (1992)
Sounds like a pretty good live bar band ripping out the country style rock and slowed down laments.
Empty Box “A Blow To The Hat” (Sweet Portable Junket 1990)
This quartet from Virginia put out this sampler of material of tracks from 1986-89. They made some good choices as this illustrates the smarmy, ragged essence this group could provide. One might not call it “punk” but in reality it really is. And more.
Band JRA “Shallcross Potions” (1988)
California Jack Roy Anderson made at least a couple of tapes in the late 1980s. This strummy, drum machine release might reference Dylan’s “All Along The Watchtower” chordwise and the whole production just smells like home taper aspirations to something bigger. he’s sincere though and that gets him points with me. Others might not be so kind.
Various Artists “Generation XL: In Love With Lisa Suckdog” (Nut Music 1994)
Tributing Ms. Carver are 12 bands/artists honoring her Suckness with punky, goofy,and bizarre versions. In a way, very appropriate.
Scabby Waters: Acausal Misinformation for Broadcast on the SwampRadio Cobweb (Audio Muzixa Qet 1989)
Put together by Miekal And & Liz Was, this strange collection of sounds was intended ( I think) for radio airing on a collection of stations that they worked with. Their annual Festival Of The Swamps in Madison, WI featured sound poetry, instrumental craziness, disembodied voices, backwards bizarre treatments,etc.