Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Infintesmal BBQ V / guest column

The following is the debut of an occasional column covering art and music in Jacksonville, Florida. All words and text by H. Yates


Hey there Roofless readers, Honkatonk Yates here dispatching news from the dark side of Florida: the side closest to Georgia. The unfortunately named Infintesmal BBQ V took place here Saturday night at the Devil’s Playground, a multi-functioning art space in a half abandoned pier. I’m not sure how Infintesmal Records managed (or decided?) to misspell infinitesimal for four straight barbecues but I’ll chalk it up to the phlegmatic attitude that pervaded the event.


The menu was the shit: 2 kegs of reliably delicious Bold City Brew, free cheeseburgers, and free cake. And the night started off just as dependably, with someone calling me an asshole. Some guy, who drove from Winter Haven or somewhere to play drums in some band that sucked enough to not mention their own name for me to reprint for all ya’ll, called me a fucking asshole because I didn’t take a picture of his foot.

Here’s your foot, dick:


The two person Spider + Octopus sounded sorta like The Mountain Goats, but that was easy to forgive when the lady was playing accordion, a barebones drum set, and singing all at the same time. Really made me want to whip out my washboard and saddle on up alongside.


I asked one of the attendees what they thought of the noise band that played afterwards, National Dairy: “Yeah, okay, but not better than the surprise veggie burgers.”


Since the food was a focal point, it only made sense that the bathroom be the backdrop. You see that ominously lit plywood fort someone leaned together back there? That was the can. There was a face-sized hole in the right wall.

Whatever, it was a fun night.


Sunday, October 25, 2009

New live footage from Self & Other's U.S. tour. Get stoked for their valiant return to South Florida.

flyer 2

New music video from Rare Fruit for the song "Someday we'll be cool old people" from their self-released demo.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Sunday, October 18, 2009

rare weather / rare fruit

rare fruit

Miami is in the throes of a fantastic cold front. This is a rare glimpse at what many parts of the world call "seasons" and the novelty makes the shift that much more pronounced/enjoyable. Plus, it's chilly enough to encourage seldom used autumn accessories, but the temperature never actually drops to slicing, miserable cold. Just cool, man. Cool.

Rare Fruit (1/4 of psych/hip-hop unit Space Voodoo Crystal) has a pretty cool, fall-in-Florida demo that goes well with the breeze rushing through your open windows. It's 6 pleasant tracks, each constructed upon an analog / digital collage equally melodic and abstract. You've got some ambient soundscaping ("Unique styles nobody knows"), you've got some friendly melody (the acoustic guitar on "Echolocation" is a major highlight) and repeat listens reveal some cleverly recurring motifs. In the more abstract moments, there is a bit of crunchy distortion, but it's an overall chilled-out endeavor.

Rare Fruit - Demo

Friday, October 16, 2009

cryptic transmissions

A recent communiqué from the ever tenebrous Controlling Human, leads to the following digital basement.

this page is a live audio and video broadcasting site for a basement that is located in portland, oregon. sometimes the broadcasts will just be live music/sound, other times there will be video. sometimes the transmissions will be rehearsed, scheduled, and planned. sometimes the transmissions will be random and spontaneous. tune in at anytime of the day or night to see if something is going on in the basement.

Just tuned in and no visuals yet but an interesting soundtrack: white noise (sounded like field recordings?) followed by some high-pitched squeaks/squawks and then for the past few minutes a rock/folk (well, now it's noisy techno) playlist streaming DJ style. Not sure where this is going to go, but certain it'll only get weirder.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

round 2

At the end of September, Aaron Hibbs (Sword Heaven / Noumena / Twink Bully / Rage Against The Cage) attempted to break the world record for consecutive hoola hooping. He was unable to go the 120 hours necessary and rumor has it he will be making another attempt shortly, possibly as soon as this weekend. You can find updates on Aaron's quest, as well as pictures from attempt #1, here

Monday, October 12, 2009

champ thrax
champ thrax (of warded halls) live in FL, 2009

Warded Halls is a new label / distro / psychic ether factory based in Sarasota, FL and run by some usual suspects (1 + 2) Below is a new single from the upcoming Evan Neal cassette they're releasing. Evan was the drummer in the notorious (now dormant) Pharaoh Faucett and currently plays lumbering percussion for swamp metal slow jam trio Skunk Ape. Seems like he's been brewing some revelatory one man pop, can't wait to hear the rest of the tape.

Is this Dino Felipe music video old news? Just stumbled upon it on and can't stop watching. It goes well with the song, which rules (lo-fi/lowbrow heaven) . As of April (when this video was uploaded) the track was unreleased but maybe it's on that new tape of his Senzei just released.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

photo by sandy heyaime

BFGF uploaded their demo and while it can't recreate the total package of their live show, it's still pretty good. 12 tracks, too (thick "demo"). The instrumentals are cold/tinny, and feature just the right amount of the glitch-twitch accents that electro inherited from house (and techno in general) without ever becoming frantic or tweaked. It's "dark" but not glum or sinister, more in that way everything looks cooler at night. The vocals switch off between (and sometimes meld) the breathy/reverb-laden approach of freestyle (and even some of the new "Italo"-influenced groups), and a bit of MC/hypewoman talk-rap. It's annoying to read a band description that just lists genres and BFGF do a good job of making one talk around genre: a little of this, a little of that. You can sometimes even hear some skinny tie-new wave: imagine "Dirty Dancing" or "City Girl" redone by a rock band armed with a keyboard. Wish we didn't have to pick a favorite track, but "The Sweetheart" leaves no choice. Great initial build up, lyrics (I'm in love/lie to me/you're in love/lie to me/what is love/baby?) and, also, pretty obsessed with the higher pitched synth that opens the track and runs through its entirety as key mutating melody.

On the total opposite end of the sonic universe, the new Halflings LP on RRRecords is charmingly brutal. Every genre has pitfalls and trap corners. "Power electronics" can be boring, predictable and obvious in its harshness and accompanying masculine/provocative posturing (a certain act that opened for Wolf Eyes @ Will's Pub in 2005 comes to mind...sorta one big dick-waggling feedback temper tantrum...which might sound awesome written out like that, but it was kind of embarrassing to watch). As Self-Esteem demonstrates, power electronics can also be crafty and dynamic. These dudes are working with a large sonic palette in their assault. The violent drones and damaged blasts at hand draw from a variety of textures. This isn't just a wall of cacophony and while a wall of cacophony is sometimes what you want, it's also interesting to hear abrasive abstraction that sounds so composed (as "Source" progresses it sounds more and more like a house being consumed by flames). The vocals are treated with a variety of effects on each track, giving the listener a wide range of dinosaurs to imagine roaring/shrieking at the mic.

That video of them above is from Breathmint's extensive video archive on Vimeo. If you're looking for a serious way to lose some hours, this is your ticket. Below are some favorites from the vault.

Oh boy, when the "heavy part" kicks in on this next one...

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

lesson lesson lessen relearn / russian tsarlag split 7''

For their inaugural vinyl release West Palm Beotch is pulling no punches. This is not the first time the duo of N. Hallonquist and C. Gonzalez have shared a slice of wax (see: the now classic Byron House / What's Yr Damage? split one-sided 12'' on Cephia's) but there's little chance one would mistake this for that. Minus bandmates and 5''s of vinyl, this pair of singles set up on opposite ends of the room (this metaphorical room in particular being a pretty weird place to begin with) and stretch as far as they can to meet in the middle.

Lesson Lesson Lessen Relearn's "Ultra Cultural Bummer" is packed with sounds you can say (burr, whizz, ping, etc). It's an almost entirely synthetic affair (throbbing/pulsing) aside from the sample of lost souls rambling and the faint chirp of our hero's beloved finger piano. Lost in a thick electronic bog you've got two choices: sink down into the swamp via mystic babbling or follow the tinny dripping of plucked metal to fresh air. You know you're doing something right when you make Russian Tsarlag seem like bonafide pop music. I guess you wouldn't even need to pair "The Master's Speech" with a more abstract A-side for it to sound like pop, but we'd have to qualify it as "cult pop" (calls to mind rituals/rites). This is a more straight forward rock n roll ditty (vocals, guitar, drums, all heavy on the fuzz) loaded with the signature tropes we've come to love and fear from the crowned prince of creep: relentless sleaze hooks/incantations, ominous reverb, sinister minimalism, dark art hippie shit. The use of "hippie" stands to be clarified...we're talking Gimme Shelter bummer daze, not flower power. Two high-quality, well matched tracks that can't be praised enough. Get a copy before you can't.

Monday, October 5, 2009

haunted disco

Click here for Darklord Disco's all-soundtrack Halloween mix. The music is pulled from Italian horror scores (guess which films from the picture below) and is the ideal accompaniment to building a haunted house or making time with a goth film buff. Also available at the link above is a similarly constructed mix from 2008. Darklord is a DJ from Philadelphia and regular contributor to the excellent and nerdy Dollar Bin Jams, which specializes in party music ranging from Italian disco to danceable post-punk and straight up classic funk.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

dana b's RAT OPRERA report (10/3/09)

We couldn't make it to the debut of the Rat Opera at Churchill's, so dana b. was kind enough to take some mental notes and fill us in on what we missed. All text and video by her.

So, we wanted to go see Shitstorm play at a house party, mostly because we wanted to go to a house party. You should write a blog post about how house parties rule and there should be more of them. Oh yeah, you should also mention that Sleeper made those projections for Space Voodoo Crystal.

Anyway, instead we ended up going to the Rat Opera at like 10:30. When we first walked up a guy at the door handed us a program reading, “Hearing Damage aka The Rat Opera,” with a picture of Rat coming out of a bleeding ear. Inside, we saw a set by that dude Alex Diaz and Eric Lopez (isn’t that Tee Pee?) and some drummer who I really liked a lot but didn’t catch his name [the video below reveals it to be Ed Wilcox...this trio has been killing it lately - Ed.]. He played the drums with his elbows. They seemed like they might be just jamming, but it was cool. Tee Pee played the saxophone and Alex Diaz played some sort of noise making knob object.

The Opera was a loose collection of anecdotes and pantomime punctuated by short songs expanding on the stories. There are two things about the Rat Opera that immediately stood out to me. First, the band sounded like a Guided By Voices cover band singing about Rat. Second, it was short. The whole thing probably only lasted about an hour and a half. We were out of Churchill’s before 1AM. Usually when I see Rat at Churchill’s it sounds like a-tonal screeching, it’s at like 3:30 in the morning and lasts forever.

I counted five people dressed like Rat Bastard in sunglasses, black beanies and Guided by Voices t-shirts (six if you count Rat). I also counted three people wearing cowboy hats. That reminds me—we were about half the age of most of the audience. As a matter of fact, I don’t think I saw anyone I knew there the entire time. It kind of added to the cool uncoolness of it. I imagined that all the people were Rat’s contemporaries and “real” friends. I think I was probably right.

Preceding each Guided by Rat Voices song, someone came up on stage and said a few words about Rat. Each person would either recite a personal experience or read from a letter that would dictate the content of the next song. Sometimes there were projections of Rat’s face and people acting out the story in the background. They talked about Ratcapella, Rat sleeping during recording, Rat falling off of airplanes, etc.

The whole production wasn’t exactly what I would called “narrative.” Some pieces were better than others. My favorite part was when they talked about the Squelchers. After the anecdote, the Squelcher girls and a Rat impersonator imitated a Laundry Room Squelcher’s set. The accompanying band included a little squelching noise part and afterwards someone in the audience yelled “MORE NOISE!” The other super sweet part was when Scott Putesky (aka Daisy Berkowitz of Marilyn Manson and the Spooky Kids) talked about recording with Rat Bastard in the nineties. He looked way different than the mental image I have of him, but he was in freaking Marilyn Manson and JackOffJill!

A life-size cut out of Rat was placed near the stage for the entire performance, but it really didn’t need to be there. Rat himself was probably the most enthusiastic person at the show. He stood in the front filming/taking pictures the entire time. Calling him “enthusiastic” might be a stretch; it wasn’t like he threw his underwear on stage, but I think he was certainly honored and amused by the whole ordeal.

Overall, you probably would most enjoy the Rat Opera if a) you love Rat Bastard (or you are him), b) you love Guided by Voices, or c) you want to relive your youth at the Kitchen Club.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

South Florida: 3/4 of the Roofless catalog (everything except the Fas'ners/Würst cassette) is available at Sweat Records in Miami (right next to Churchill's) and Radio-Active Records in Sunrise. Both are excellent stores with great selections and events, so we're honored to have our records sit on their shelves!

Thursday, October 1, 2009

band on the run

Self & Other decided to start a band by driving across the continental United States. They had never played a show before, have no recordings and had never practiced until they were on their way. If the following video is any indication, this new method is the way of the future.

self & other live in North America

More about their trip: here, here and here

A welcome back show is in the works, details soon.