Listen on the Internet  |  Contact Us  |  Music & Programs  |  WFMU Home Page  |  LCD  |  Support Us  |  FAQ

Recent Faves from the WFMU Record Library
August 2003

Reviewed by Music/Program Director Brian Turner

THE HOSPITALS / The Hospitals (In the Red)
BOOGIE WITCH / Boogie Witch (Tequila Sunrise)
Need a dose of pure, unadulterated, no holds barred punk trash? I was immediately thinking Pussy Galore references with Portland's Hospitals, but Pseu Braun seems to think this stuff leans more towards the Birthday Party circa "Dead Joe". To be honest, the car the Hospitals are cruising in skreeches over both those references. It sounds like someone put the Electric Eels in a steel meat locker with one mic and mixed the treble all the way up, the "bass line" or whatever approximates it, sounds like the mere patter of the levels being overloaded to a rhythm (whether it's the drums or whatever back there in the mix). Jay Hinman of the excellent blog Agony Shorthand groused about the lack of "songs" and yeah, I have NO idea what's being discussed in numbers like "Hazmat" and "I'm Invisible" (though the cover of Suicide's "Rock and Roll is Killing My Life" is distinguishable, kinda. But for pure punk action that is ridiculously distorted (I don't think the In the Red label has TRULY earned its namesake at least in terms of production style since that first Horrors record a couple years ago, though the crank out fine music indeed) this fills the order.
As does the debut (?) EP (1 track, broken into 2 songs, 15 minutes) from Philly's Boogie Witch, who seem to have some kind of connection to Strapping Fieldhands. Here you get total bar band boogie choogle distorted into oblivion so it sounds like Acid Mothers offshoot Mainliner. Immediate "what the hell do we need an overmodulated Canned Heat" questions become dispelled as you actually jump into the river and go with the flow of THE RIFF. The hilarity of it all is punctuated by the arrival of the harmonica player, which actually sounds like some kind of crazed electronics blaring from a Masonna record or something; it eventually makes total sense as does this whole EP. It rocks and bulldozes beyond belief, and when song one is done, you get another almost like it. What more can a choogler want?

TROST / Trost (Struns/ Indigo)
Annike Trost is one half of the Berlin duo known as Cobra Killer, and former member of the Digital Hardcore Recordings' Shizuo (CK were also on DHR.) DHR's aesthetic was one of totally fried-n-pummeling assault, but lately Cobra Killer have excelled in warped 60's samples and a genuine pop sensibility, though slightly channeled through euro-dominitrix stylings. Trost's new solo CD sounds a bit like a porno-soundtrack-channeling Noonday Underground, complete with dirty-sounding go-go loops, Batman theme samples and more as provided by producer Patrick Catani (of yet another DHR staple, EC8or). Most FMU listeners who boop along to Stereo Total, Noonday, Tipsy and the ilk will certainly be wooed by Ms. Trost. In fact, most people probably can't resist a song whose sole hook is "Tatoo My Name On Your Ass". In a better world it could have even eclipsed Cisco.

SPRING HEEL JACK / Live (Thirsty Ear)
Kudos to Thirsty Ear for its adventurous and continually fascinating Blue Series, which has pitted some of the brightest lights in the avant-free jazz scene against elements you normally would not find them with (Anti-Pop Consortium meshed their futuristic hip hop with Matthew Shipp's dense piano improvisations for example), as well as just shining a light on free players like William Parker, Guillermo Brown, Tim Berne etc. After two stellar studio records featuring collaborations, British electronica duo Spring Heel Jack (longtime pals and supporters of WFMU we might add) take to the stage with a star-studded cast of heavyweight improv giants: Evan Parker, drummer supreme Han Bennink, William Parker, and Matthew Shipp, integrating with their sound to amazing effect. This is no mere beats-over-jazz, here; Spring Heel Jack dissect the group's individual elements into stark spotlights, churning live playing into their processors along with electronically-generated sound. The result is a foray into fractured, splintery sounds that ride along with both Matthew Shipp's Rhodes organ and J Spaceman's (aka Jason Pierce of Spritualized and formerly Spacemen 3) swelling distorted wah wah guitar, which sounds just perfect against Evan Parker's sax. Both the long tracks here are totally inventive and a great marker for the ever-changing role of jazz as it moves into the worlds other genres like free-rock.

Other Old/New Bins lists | WFMU Main Page