Sunday, December 12, 2010

Montgomery Chapel - Search Party

My new born based musical experimentation hasn't really reached the heights I had hoped it might. In fact beyond the occasional foray into the late 70's disco based inferno or dip into mid-period Neil Young our house has been as quiet as a mouse.

One thing that hasn't been as quiet as a mouse or in fact quiet in any way what so ever is my still nameless son. Some days he sounds like a lamb with it's neck trapped in a barbed wire fence, some days it's closer to an air raid siren. I've actually tried 'getting in to it'.

It was the middle of the night and the scream was in full effect.

'If this was a Merzbow record...Imagine it's an alto saxophone... Pretend it's Alvin Lucier' I thought.

Didn't work. In fact the entire internal dialogue was pointless as Japanese porn with it's annoyingly high-pitched moaning 'schoolgirls' and pixelated pubic areas.

Hard to believe I have a life-time of this as I honestly have no idea how I am not going to puncture my ear drums with a geometry compass or one of those things my wife uses to make sure that the insides of jacket potatoes cook through.

Anyway, one thing that did slip through the net was the CD reissue of Montgomery Chapel's 'The Search Party'. Apparently it's a bootleg and the Erebus record label is a new front for the guy that did all the UK prog bootlegs on Radioactive a few years ago. If it is we should lay siege to Amazon and rise up and stab them with the pointy edges of our broken CD cases because that's where I got it from. Forget the student riots over tuition fees,'potentially pirated Xian space folk' is the real issue here.

I don't condone musical piracy, that's the reason for the lack of MP3s on this site (that and a lack of basic understanding of how you might put MP3s on a blog) but if this hadn't been released (rather shadily) then I for one would never have heard it which would have been a massive shame because it's really rather good.

It's out of tune lo-fi West Coast psyche inspired genius for the most part. Yes there's some shit filling in the gaps of awesomeness but don't let that put you off checking this. There appears to be very little information out there about this band, which is good, it means I can make stuff up...

The lead singer was called Snowflake Jackson and she was a born-again ex- go-go dancer who stole money from the mob to make this record in an attempt to spread the message of our lord to a wider audience through this private pressing. She employed the help of three other members of her congregation none of whom had ever picked up instruments in their lives but instead relied on the guidance of Jesus Christ to show them how to make chords and blessed musical shapes.

Sadly this dream was short lived as a few days after the modest launch party the mob caught up with Snowflake and glued her to the tracks of the roller-coaster on Santa Cruz pier before running a car over her. They found her head in the candy-floss maker.

There really isn't much else aside of a sinister back story that could make this record, I mean CD any more exciting. The Xian angle is toned down to the point of depressing so it's in no danger of being a buzz killer. In fact the entire package from the cover to the tempo says 'pagan witch cult' way more than it does 'praise the lord' so don't let the the worry of accidentally being bathed in the light of our lord Jesus Christ when you listen to it put you off.

Well impressed with this, even if I did sound a lot like Violent J from ICP in that last paragraph.

'Fucking magnets, how do they work?'

Oh and lucky for me my vinyl based format snobbery is on a temporary hold because a copy of this goes for north of $1200.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010


Less than a year ago I was leaning out my apartment window despite of the snow drinking red wine and playing Faust IV really, really loud. Did I honestly think than only a few months later my world would have changed so much? That's a negatory.

Let me start by dispelling a few myths about the birth process. Yes, I know this 'blog' is about vinyl records and that shiny new Dutch invention, the saviour of the music industry the CD but if you ever go there or already have the inside track this might be worth your time.

When a baby comes out it is purple, it has a point head (just like Jefferson Airplane said) and it's covered in goo. It looks at you silent and exhausted with black eyes with an expression that can only say 'what the fuck?'. This is a far cry from any Hollywood or soap based pregnancy, no smiling pink and healthy little man, instead you are faced with something that could well be an extra from a bad Sci-fi horror.

The bonding, the serotonin rush of unadulterated chemical love.... Again, not something that necessarily happens straight out the gate. In total honesty my first night as a parent was spent wondering why my wife was holding a plastic stunt baby and me trying to work out if there was any way to reverse the whole process.

Day 2 on the other hand, when I held him. Not something I can describe beyond saying I have never felt so alive or unconditionally in love. I don't know his name, (for now we call him MR X like the Ultravox song) but I do know that I am a proud father and more than that a guardian, the Secret Service agent willing to take a bullet for his very own little Richard Nixon.

Anyway, back to that night in German, my leaning out of he window trying to annoy the overly noisy club goers below by playing Faust IV...

A few people including Julian Cope formerly of turgid and foppish New Romantic's 'The Teardrop Explodes' have this in their 'Top Hot Kraut' lists, one guy in particular, a german music journalist from way back, I forget his name (tell stories much?) has this as his all time favorite album ever. Would love to know why? For me it sways between half decent but 'done better' to utterly unlistenable. In fact my soul reason for choosing it was to aggravate the lederhosen wearing idiots below: A kind of declaration of sonic warfare along the lines of the US military attempting to oust that Southern dictator by playing Twisted Sister really loud.

It's just not very good. It's obvious, outdated and done better.

'Would you care to expand on that?'

Not really I'm off to see if I can find a Ramones baby grow instead.