Dynamite Hemorrhage #124 leavens 50 minutes of mellow-harshing with about ten minutes of anti-harsh, adding up to 1 full hour of sub-underground music from the last five+ decades.
New music this time comes to us from SUBURBAN HOMES, SARAH MARY CHADWICK, CONSTANT MONGREL, NEO NEOS, FÅGLAR | BUR, SAUNA YOUTH, THE SHIFTERS, NAKED ROOMMATE, BLUE CHEMISE and THE STACHES. Plus The Rats, Hand Grenades, Loli & The Chones & much much more!
SUBURBAN HOMES – Magazine NEO NEOS – Politic Tempo FÅGLAR | BUR – Platt NAKED ROOMMATE – Lube Boys HOUSEHOLD – Never After RUSSELL ST BOMBINGS – Homicide Squad THE SHIFTERS – Andrew Bolt THE STACHES – Great Depression DEAD ANGLE – Why Don’t You? SAUNA YOUTH – No Personal Space MISSION OF BURMA – OK/No Way LOLI AND THE CHONES – Everybody Hates Me A-FRAMES – Neutron Bomb CONSTANT MONGREL – Birch SCIENTISTS – There’s a Monster in Me THE RATS – The Rat’s Revenge Part 1 HAND GRENADES – Cocoon HONEY RADAR – Rebirth of the Cornell Forestry Club BLUE CHEMISE – June SARAH MARY CHADWICK – It’s Never OK
The annual Cropped Out music festival just wrapped up in Louisville, KY this past weekend. I wasn’t there, but I did get to pen a little thing in the festival program about Mr. Bill Direen, who came from New Zealand to play a set there.
Truth be told, I stole most of it from my own intro to the interview I did w/ him in Dynamite Hemorrhage fanzine #2 (still available!). Yet I shuffled the words around enough that I thought it might be interesting to Direen fans and/or potential Direen fans who stumble across this on the internet, whenever and however you got here.
Here it is:
Bill Direen has cast an enveloping and beautifully unpredictable shadow over New Zealand’s indigenous rock music landscape the last forty years, after starting up a disjointed, all-shards experimental punk rock band called Vacuum back in 1977. His music has both skirted the edges of some dominant underground musical trends while being very deliberately out of step with them as well. Direen’s strange, abstract pop creations have been both “of” and “not of” the country’s Flying Nun-dominated post-’77 musical history.
He’s a recognized hero to those who gobbled up anything and everything Flying Nun & 1980s New Zealand coughed up, yet those who were willing to dig several layers deeper, on the periphery of the Velvets-inspired scene, have found many incredible gorgeous, offbeat pop gems such as “Alien”, “Dirty and Disgusting”, “Girl at Night” and literally dozens of others.
For you more patient and/or musically adventurous types, those who revel in the abstract and the off-putting (tape splices, compromised fidelity, live recordings and piss-takes released as LP cuts, and the like) – and who moreover get a big charge out of records released in editions of 60 or 100 or 150 – Direen’s got a goldmine of material to offer up to your camp as well.
When challenged with others’ ideas of how his music should be played, marketed or otherwise shaped, Direen has found new ways of strategizing, whether by starting his own label (South Indies, in the early 80s); by rapidly changing band members or band names; by deliberately botching his bands’ spelling and thereby willfully obscuring his own greatness (Bill Direen and the Bilders; Builders; Billdireen; Bilderburgers; Die Bilder, etc.), or by even releasing his material on CD-R.
Bill Direen’s musical output into the 21st century continues to reinforce every aspect of this iconoclastic musical ethos: contrary, beautiful, slapdash, non-commercial, raw, spontaneous and stunningly weird.
Post-Labor Day explosion of new sub-underground scorchers and blurry messes from BLUE CHEMISE, TABLE SUGAR, JJ ULIUS, RAYS, HONEY RADAR, SAUNA YOUTH, BLADES OF JOY, BILL ORCUTT & CHRIS CORSANO, FÅGLAR | BUR, BLOWDRYER and J GALLAGHER / SAM LANGMANN. It’s Dynamite Hemorrhage Radio #123.
I’ve also made a special effort to put forth things not from 2018 as well, including favorites of ours such as Mars, Jefferson Airplane, Sferic Experiment, Pang and the Electric Eels, too. Get it while it’s still out there – download or stream it now.
BILL ORCUTT & CHRIS CORSANO – Brace Up! HONEY RADAR – Hard-Panning The Nation JJ ULIUS – Era Jävla Manér RAYS – Yesterday’s Faces PANG – Attention Deficit SFERIC EXPERIMENT – Goodbye JEFFERSON AIRPLANE – Two Heads (alternate version) BLUE CHEMISE – Violet FÅGLAR | BUR – Öppen Inbjudan J GALLAGHER / SAM LANGMANN – The Staircase GROWTH – Turn MARS – Helen Forsdale BASE – One-Way Girl SAUNA YOUTH – In Flux BLOWDRYER – Insulated ELECTRIC EELS – Wreck & Roll FUCKED UP KIDS – Road Kill HONEY RADAR – Hard-Panning the Nation (again! mistakenly back-announced as Sex Tide’s “Cleveland Avenue” – sorry folks) BLADES OF JOY – Be Kind SIMPLE MINDS – Carnival (Shelter in a Suitcase) THE UNSEENS – Shut-In TABLE SUGAR – Millions Places
Larry from In The Red Records sent me an unsolicited tape of this masterpiece in the early 1990s, and it blew me the proverbial f*ck away. It’s been subsequently widely and rightly hailed as a (the) high-water mark of the Japanese late-20th-century underground, and as a this-point-forward template for the utmost nth in blown-out psychedelic guitar onslaught rock. Any band who later dared to spurt out the sort of distorted feedback squeals Munehiro Narita patented here was immediately scoffed at and tagged a “High Rise clone” by the sort of insular, all-knowing music douchebags I have long associated myself with. Now it’s been reissued by US label Black Editions in a gorgeously none-more-black sleeve and heavyweight vinyl.
Here’s what I said about the thing on my old blog Agony Shorthand back in 2005:
“High Rise II remains their masterpiece. The debut record Psychedelic Speed Freaks was also insane & wild distortion overload, but it suffered from a Solger-like sound that was more akin to a boombox recording than something you’d wanna bang your noggin to; the 3rd record Dispersion was just fine but leveled out the chaos a bit and branched the sound into the great improvisational beyond. Others built upon that one, but continued to be a bit less frenzied and more expansive than the first few. But this one – look out.
Any true “punk” worth his punker stripes should be getting down with this record in a jiffy, because it’s one of the all-time howlers. The solos are so over-the-top distorted and the drums are caked with so much reverb, it’s a total maddening echo chamber filled with the ghosts of Greg Ginn, Davie Allen, Sterling Morrison, Stacey Sutherland and Ginger Baker. Vocals are pretty much an afterthought, but there are present on just about every track, it’s just that they’re buried under the dense layers. There’s a 13-minute “Sister Ray”-meets-“Mother Sky” classic on here called “Pop Sicle” that became a staple of their live show, sort of their own “Black To Comm” & a knockout wailer you’ve got to hear. But mostly it’s just fast, fast, fast and rawer than raw. A stone classic disc that I’d recommend to anyone with a pulse and a tolerance for maximum volume.” (Black Editions; blackeditions.com)
I really have to be in an expansive and large-hearted mood to be magnanimous about this sort of compilation. I guess right now I’m not. After seeing that Förlag För Fri Musik staples Leda and Enhet För Fri Musik would be on this edition-of-100 all-Swedes LP, along w/ many unknown fellow Nordic travelers, I plunked down the required “import fees” to get one of ‘em shipped across the ocean to me, only to find that it’s the sort of bunk jive comp I’ve spent most of my life attempting to avoid.
It’s effectively a collection of sound snippets: some noisy, some ethereal and folkish, some of a masterbatory clown with a horn honking away solo in a bedroom. No matter how “fractured” and “lo-fi” the recording, there’s really no effective way to piece together barrel scrapings this mindless and somehow posit that it’s a document of a scene that’s worthy of documentation. Divorced from the broader context of their own (excellent) recent LP, even the Enhet För Fri Musik tracks land with all the authority of a missed left hook. The proverbial silver lining is that there’ll probably be someone on Discogs willing to take this off my hands for what I paid for it. (editor’s note: there was!)
Another absolutely joyful stumble-punk 45 from these Swedes, delivered in a hurried yet minimal style that mimics the sound of a beer-sloshed 50-yard dash with both shoelaces tied together. There’s actually more musical competence & self-discipline present in ‘em this time, and the beeping, pump-organish keyboards definitely add a retro UK-DIY touch. Even the scribbled cover art and overall first-take vibe has the same doofus charm of The Screamin’ Mee-Mees’ Live From The Basement and Mike Rep & The Quotas’ Rocket To Nowhere. I can already feel my net worth creeping up merely by owning it.
CONSTANT MONGREL – Living in Excellence JJ ULIUS – Tänder Ett Ljus KNIGHTS BRIDGE – C.J. Smith THE EASYBEATS – Sorry RAW PRAWN – None Left THE GERMS – No God MAN TEE MANS – Man Tee Mans (Theme) MAXINE FUNKE – Make That Dream I JOG AND THE TRACKSUITS – Red Box UNIT 4 – Hidden Faces XMAS EVE – My House DESPERATE BICYCLES – Handlebars MIDNIGHT MINES – Radio Dub CHROME – TV As Eyes VELVET MONKEYS – Everything is Right THE MASTER’S APPRENTICES – Undecided TY SEGALL & WHITE FENCE – Please Don’t Leave This Town DREAM SYNDICATE – That’s What You Always Say APRIL MAGAZINE – Snow SKYGREEN LEOPARDS – Julie-Ann, Patron of Thieves ALMOND – Washcloth