“POST NOW: PART ONE CHICAGO vs NEW YORK” (Skin Graft Records) – An album review? A compilation, In all honestly, what with all the pecking voices in my left ear and the other ones in my right ear and the goings off and yes play it, no don’t play it this week, and the yes review, no wait, not yet and contradictions and the everything else about it all (it was so so much easier when a physical thing sat on your desk looking at you until you had written the damn review, all these damn e.mails and sound files that may or may not exist somewhere on some no existent hard drive or on some cloud in some dropbox and a million e.mails about promo videos and you share this one but not that one become someone who goes on about Bananas wants to and what next, Apple cards you say? No! I’m a weaver, smash that mechanical loom!. I assume his album is out by now, don’t ask me, I lost track in terms of this album and the whole who where and what in terms of Skin Graft weeks ago
Chicago versus New York, I lost track, what was it all about again? Something about US Maple covering AC/DC songs? And who cared about what the hell we do or don’t have to say now anway, if you want music then there’s the Bandcamp page for the album, cut to the chase stop reading this and go listen for yourself. You’ve got the instant hit of a Bandcamp or a Soundcloud, there’s the Organ radio show, who needs words and if you do need words who needs some dinosaur fanzine from the last century cooking it all up? Bloody hell those Flying Luttenbackers are brilliant, I don’t need to look, there’s You Tube, who needs words and reviews, review were for the last century and when the hell is this one going to start?
It could be no one else but Weasel Walter and his Bang of musical acrobats coming at you relentlessly, we already had two tracks from the might prog beast that is Cheer Accident (proper progressive prog rock mind you, non of your watered down soft rock neo prog nonsense, this is your Porcupine Tree antidote), we’ve listened to two excellent Cheer Accident pieces and now the Lutenenbackers are flying at us and drilling it all into a place that only the brave dare go to I should have reviewed this already, the album has been out weeks now but then again I should have done a lot of things weeks ago and there were the apples to paint and that grapefruit and the East London Mango to deal with and… The Flying Luttenbachers make just about the best storm of noise ever, they do it every time, whatever or whoever Weasel Walter pulls together for his ever evolving troop they always do it, they never fail – listen to that, that’s like a runaway freight train in a triangular-shaped hurricane and just when you think you’ve got where they’re going the gear changes again and no, it isn’t a train, far more complex than that, far too clever to describe in such a throwaway way, this is high art, real art, run for your life, run for something, get ahead, the pecking order is pecking at you as much as those other voices, Remember that time, no, hang on, hang on, no really hang on, really really hang on, this is relentlessly good, four tracks in and well, it is the compilation of the year, of most years, of most ears and no you don’t need words or reviews, head for the hills, head for the Bandcamp,
See, the thing is you think you’ve got those Flying Luttenbachers nailed, you think yes, I know what they’re doing, I know where they’re going, always brilliant but yeah yeah yeah, I know where they’re going and just when you think that they smash you around the head with some extra detail, with another colour, with another obtuse angle or a really unexpected slice of beauty that they have to right to pull off in the middle of one of their onslaughts, of all the greatest bands in the world, they may, in all their formats, be the greatest of them all… This compilation is cooking and that’s before we get to the cartoons of of the disturbingly named Lovely Little GIrls (hand on, the even more disturbingly named Child Abuse are coming up later), Lovely Little Girls and be good to your shoes (yeah). Oh look, I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve said Skin Graft Records is the very best record label ever, they’re one of those rare labels you can always follow, there’s been very few, the early days of Stiff, most of those Neat seven inch singles they put out in their original form and way before Neat returned and messed up that Cheer Accident album they released, there;s no one as consistently brilliant as Skin Graft, You see, we’re six tracks in now, two from Cheer Accident, two from those Flying Luttenbachers and two from the strangely wonderful Lovely Little Girls, all six have been excellent, all of it works… Okay so this Skryptor live track is a little bit metallic and a little raw in terms of the quality of the recording, it doesn’t quite sit comfortably in the running order, it maybe drops the standard just a little but it is still very close to being brilliant and it does stab and thrash and rip and crunch, its a real rip cruncher, it sounds a little like Panixphere! Metal is good for you, metal on metal, the louder the better, how much more metal could Skryptor be? The answer is none, none more metal (okay, I used that one somewhere last week, I told you it was time to stop writing about music and to get on with painting apples).
Hang on who’s this going all Buffalo Girls on us, ah yes, Sir Bobby Conn, he of the great shoes, the thinking person’s Prince, the king of glam, I’m multi tasking here, those oranges needs painting and the football is on over there, proper football mind you, not that egg chasing thing they call football over in New York or Chicago. Bobby Conn is a god, his second track here sounds like he’s going to be the thinking persons AC/DC until he turns into the thinking person ELO doing something Devo shaped that involves bees and honey, something that’s going to get really sticky stick sticky sticky sticky stuck in your head and pop never sounded so good and real honey bees and triangular honey from triangular trees (or was it bees:) and oh me Confectioner please give me Toblerone, Bobby Conn is out on his own as well, everyone one on this album is, but it all makes such perfect sense, it all works so well…
Hang on, take a breath, Cellular Chaos, I’m running out of words, more of Weasel Walter’s driving of course, as unique as you’d expect any of his bands to be and she, she being Admiral Grey, she brings so much to it, all three do, Weasel, Admiral and Rad Chaines, “Gaslight” is brilliant as well and we haven’t even got to Dirty Girl yet! Yes, that song, Dirty Boy, all Cardiacs and into all that and we shall praise her we shall praise her and you really don’t need us reviewing this do you? It really is beyond all sense and all words and this is peak goodness and everything is all and going off and things and of course it can’t be as good as the Cardiacs origilLa but It is, it really really is is! It can’t be written about, I might be able to paint about it or at a push dance around some architecture about it and stop reading this, stop multi tasking, stop whatever you’re doing and just listen to it, just stand still shut your eyes, put your arms in the air, and listen to Dirty Girl, it doesn’t get any better, maybe the climax of Supper’s Ready at a push, but no, Cellular Chaos have done more to it, they’ve re-recorded it or remixed it or up it it even more in some kind of way and it might just be almost very nearly too intense and I need silence now….. wow! Dirty Girl! Perfect!
And the compilation goes on and Tijuana Hercules bring it all back down in just the right way, there’s an art to putting together compilation, these things take serious curating, like a good painting show or a decent festival Tijuana Hercules approach it in a less is more kind of way, mellow, Beefheart is their way, just right, Hang on, the aforementioned Child Abuse have just sucked us into their wind channel, we’re falling up stairs sideways, the roof is on the floor, they’re doing more head pecking than anyone, like that was a herd of mechanical wasps flying back and forth at your head and mine..and then they, Child Abuse rather than the mechanic plague of wasps, Child Abuse, with something that sounds like the final round of a boxing match involving two unbeatable robots go and, and and, hang on, that was stil lthe same track, it isn’t the final track though, that was only the first of two from Child Abuse, the second is even more extreme, and no you don’t need reviews, just go listen, if it doesn’t all get you first time around it will the second or the third in that way that all those people who love Cardiacs to bits now first saw them when they opened on that Marillion tour (before they were thrown off) saw them and and hated it and all bloody and muddy and bloody and muddy (said Tim) and, if I had a quid for every time someone has said I saw Cardiacs opening for Marillion, I hated them, I love them now. I love this Chicago vs New York album, I guess there’s a reason why its called that, I lost track, brilliant compilation album, how could anyone not have loved Cardiacs from the off? Loved them from minute one, just like this album and the first sound from Cheer Accident and this is not a good time to be talking to me because if I’m going down then I’m taking about five of you down with me, you’re not going to let me go are you, hey what’s up Jim? Haven’t seen you in a while/ Jim! What do you think about the new Seven Eleven down the street, hey out of my league right? Why don’t you come over tomorrow, come over next week, see all the apples and mangos and the Ridley Road Lemon, the Fruit Shop, kick you can until things are all over. I feel bad for yer, I understand a guy like you, that’s me to, Grow A Pair of what? Squalor is alive, going off and things, and I damn well know if you were reading the start of this so called review then you damn well stopped reading ages ago, I could be writing anything here! Hell you probably stopped reading Organ somewhere in 1993, that damn Organ, who needs it? I heard he didn’t like Cardiacs anyway, he was only in it for the money, he’s not a fan. Me? Well I never for a moment thought there would ever be a better compilation than Stiff’s 1978 album Heroes And Cowards, I’m probably almost certainly right about that, pretty certain I am, there again, this might just have topped it, almost, maybe, yeah, it does…outrageous, contagious, I’m out of here, better late than never, see you at the Moth Club for the Luttenbachers next week if I’m allowed in, they wouldn’t let me in the damn place last week, no time to proof read or spell check, no one’s reading and I’ve got things to do, more fruit to deal with, all about fruit. Skin Graft, what a label! Things like this are why we still do things like this, there;s an exclusive preview somewhere,don’t ask me where, the Soundcloud and the links are down there, fourth day, five day marathon, we’re moving like a parallelogram (sw)
Here’s what the label say or someone who talks sense said or something like that…
In the mid ’90s, Chicago’s Skin Graft label provided a home for a slew of noise-rock, post-no wave (dubbed “now wave”), skronky prog- and art-rock, and other musically indescribable acts. This compilation, which serves as a kind of restatement of purpose, features two songs each from a number of the label’s notable alumni (including Cheer-Accident and The Flying Luttenbachers), alongside tracks by newer, like-minded bands. The Flying Luttenbachers re-record one older song (“Demonic Velocities”) and deliver one all-new one (“Prelude To Mutation”); Cheer-Accident offer a King Crimson-gone-funk tune (“War Is A Warrior”) and a dreamy ballad (“Site”); and Cellular Chaos deliver two shrill, caterwauling pieces that keep the rock in noise-rock.
One group making its debut here, before releasing a full-length album at month’s end, is Skryptor, the kinda-sorta all-star trio of former Dazzling Killmen guitarist Tim Garrigan, former Craw bassist David McClelland, and STATS drummer Hank Shteamer (also a highly respected music journalist/critic). Their music is crushingly heavy, meant to be played as loud as possible; “Red Mountain” is pure arena-rock shred madness, with massive, Steve Albini-sized drums (actual engineering and mixing: Colin Marston).
The sequencing works very well, as immediately palatable acts are followed by noisier and more aggressive ones and vice versa. As a result, the ultra-aggro stuff (the Flying Luttenbachers, Child Abuse) seems even more like a kick in the ear, while Bobby Conn’s novelty pop songs are less jarring when plopped between Skryptor and Cellular Chaos than they’d otherwise be. The net effect reaffirms the label’s historical dedication to the avant-garde, while keeping its eyes firmly fixed on the present.