Friday, December 11, 2009

ben franklin was a digusting lech

For a brief and bizarre period of time, Roofless HQ was based out of Philadelphia. Here are two operations we've kept up with since our return to the promised land.
In a welcome twist of fate, the Roofless "home office" was right above that of Richie RecordsT a.k.a. TestosterTunes This was especially fortunate as certain members of our staff still haven't stopped geeking over Kurt Vile's Constant Hitmaker CD on Gulcher (repressed for vinyl on Woodsist) and RR/TT is responsible for the highly underrated 12'' Hunchback E.P. that Vile released with his Violators back up band (Young/Crazy Horse is the laziest analogy, so we're going for it). All of the Kurt Vile records that came out in 2009 were excellent, but The Hunchback definitely rocks the hardest and loudest.

That record is a bit of an outlier for RR/TT, though, as Vile is kind of a hippie and the label's true luv is rock and roll's newest big mistake, Skull Music. The new genre seems to be a post-punk variant existing parallel (with no intersection) to the nu-grunge dirgepunk wave led by Pissed Jeans and the nihilist-chaos-hardcore of bands like Drunkdriver and the various projects germinating from the bloody scraps of Cult Ritual. Skull Music seems to have a slightly wider scope than the aforementioned developments. This variety is most exemplified by the recent already out-of-print Siltbreeze 10'' compilation Skulls With Borders which pairs Skull formalists like Chikins with lo-fi staple Dan Melchior [After this piece was posted we received word that this compilation 'is not recognized as a Skull Music record.' The plot thickens. - Ed.] From what we can gather, some Skull tropes include certain applications of distortion and reverb, alongside a "conceptual" neanderthalism, to create a total package equal parts dark and classically raucous. If we were to draw a ven diagram you'd find some overlap with Garage 09 (another distinction from the peer genres described above) and maybe even certain 90s Touch and Go acts. Some of these freaks even use synthesizers. Primary documents include the Clockcleaner and Homostupids LPs on Load as well as various 7'' on RR/TT, including FNU Ronnies Meat E.P. and Watery Love's Debut 45.

We've been so keen on the Testostertunes output of late (new Factorymen 12'' may be the decade's finest nimrod-goth record) that we harassed Richie, the label's sole proprietor (as well as guitarist/vocalist for Watery Love and drummer for the now defunct Clockcleaner), to sit down (at his computer) and answer some questions.

1. What is Skull Music?

Skull Music is an overwhelmingly macho, guitar-driven take on Deth Rock. Talk to Handsome Steve Peffer if you really want to know more.

2. Where does Skull Music stand in relation to other recently coined genre labels like "shitgaze" and "new weird America?"

High above.

3. Would you or anyone you know (or don't know) describe Richie Records/Testostertunes as "bromantic?"

What are you driving at?

4. What comments can you offer regarding the tragic outcome of the 2009 World Series?

I would have preferred a Phillies victory.

5. When I lived in Philly I was overwhelmed by the number of places to play and the constant barrage of shows. As a long time resident and guy-in-bands, what have been your best and worst Philadelphia venue experiences?

I don't really like this question.

[honestly, this was an attempt to get him to talk shit. we are impressed with your virtue, richard charles]

6. Why did Clockcleaner breakup?

Because we had enough. It's like I always say, the future is uncertain and the end is always near.

Lemme know if you've got any new records/projects you want me to mention.

Don't forget to listen to the new Home Blitz record. It's called Out of Phase and it's terrific.

Thanks for doing this.

No skin off my ass.

Philadelphia-based internet radio show ZRadio isn't quite the all-genre free-for-all exhibited by the essential WFMU, but their weekly broadcasts would fit right in on that stations lineup. Go to their Myspace and take a peek at their playlists (you can also stream from there). They pair experimental music from across the country with Noise Conference regulars and some of Florida's finest. Perfect listening for long drives and clerical work, just make sure you've got a pad to write down all these awesome new bands you're going to want to hear again. Their Youtube has lots of great footage from noise/no-genre shows in Philly.

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