Monday, December 21, 2009

Freeform Friday

free-form (frē'fôrm') [adj. free-fawrm; adv. free-fawrm]
2. characterized by an unconventional or variable form: their own freeform teaching methods.
4. without restrictions or preconceptions: The children were allowed to paint free-form.

All photos by Dana Bassett @ the America Legion on Friday, December 18 2009.

megacunt & treesa
megacunt + treesa

self & other
self & other

Lesson Lesson Lessen Relearn had to cancel, so we called in a pinch hitter

rat bastard
rat bastard

freeform chillin



slash pine
slash pine

Thursday, December 17, 2009

tomorrow @ Harvey's

6445 NE 7 AVE


performing live

Premier South Florida psych-eclecticism. Sets range from one-man fuzz anthems to blistering group freakouts.


Delicious metal brought to you by an ensemble cast of usual suspects and true heroes. Hybrid brutality. Debut performance.

Crescendo-oriented post-rock two-piece. songs & jams.


Psych sirens team up for a collaborative set. Thick, melodious waves wash over you like oatmeal on chicken pox.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009


Short but solid clip of Endless Boogie's set during Art Basel, courtesy of the New Times Crossfade blog:

endless boogie live @ max fish (305)

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.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

weird world

Can't wait for Glenn Beck to namedrop Skrewdriver.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

future rumbles

photo of peter evans by hiroyuki ito

New York Times ran an interesting piece yesterday about the Peter Evans-led jazz quintet, which utilizes a laptop as part of their performance. Computers and avant-garde classical+jazz are certainly not strangers, but the integration of these bedrock genres with contemporary digital sorcery is still novel enough to warrant critic Ben Ratliff to situate the move in a context of innovation:
...a jazz quintet, fully paid up in jazz’s mainstream small-group language, except it’s got a computer instead of a second frontline instrument.
Even better than if Sam Pluta (the man behind the keypad) had been using the computer as "an instrument," it seems, from the Times's description of the performance, that the laptop was utilized more as a portable studio. Rather than mimic preexisting organic sounds, Pluta endowed the music with effects that none of the instruments present could produce:
He built on the musicians’ lines by delaying them for a second (a canonlike effect) or a hair’s breadth (a kind of close-echo rockabilly reverb effect). He isolated and digitally looped clarion phrases from the pianist Carlos Homs and the bassist Chris Tordini, and he took the hectic parts of the music — the pops and sizzles in swing rhythm made by the drummer Kassa Overall or Mr. Evans’s upward scale rips and tremolos — and ran them through a sound blender. He made the loud parts juddering and the soft parts misty.
His contribution was not a sound meant to interact with others, but an overall manipulation of the composite sonic fabric. At moments it seems like the more traditional members of the ensemble were being remixed in real time and then challenged to interact with mutated reverberations of their own recent maneuvers: Mr. Pluta took up the slack of the repo job, feeding tart, thin playbacks of the players’ solos back to them through the club’s speakers, giving them something to parry and cut through.
Sounds cool. Next stop: opera, chopped-n-screwed.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Art Basel 2009 Live Music Report

Art Basel 2009 has come to a close. Voices are hoarse and eye-bags permanently darker. Years have been shaved off our total life expectancy. In the course of driving back and forth between South Beach and the Design District, walking the length of both multiple times, drowning in the convention center and the multitude of excellent satellite fairs, getting rained on, and lapping up the subsequent temperature drop, we also managed to hear a little music.


O.H.W.O.W. Gallery
O.H.W.O.W. Gallery
o.h.w.o.w. gallery

Art Becomes Anti-Art was a prologue to the-week-as-we-experienced-it, and O.H.W.O.W.'s opening for their It Aint Fair exhibition was our official Basel kick-off. There was a variety of work displayed throughout the gallery's various rooms, the centerpiece being the David Lynch / Dangermouse / Sparklehorse photo & music collaboration. Never really heard Sparklehorse before but from what could be gleaned from the show was some sort of pop-indie, maybe low key? Honestly, it was hard to hear the music with so many people milling about and talking, which might warrant an additional trip to make an attempt at a more immersive experience. In general, the show seemed like it was begging for a little more thoroughness in the way of pairing visuals with sounds: instead of playing a record really loud in a room with a bunch of photographs, why not pair each picture with a set of a headphones playing a unique track? There could be endless answers to that question, but it just seems like the intended correlation between mediums could have been more pronounced. Regardless, the art throughout O.H.W.O.W. was generally engaging (we especially and shamelessly enjoyed Julia Chiang's ring pops), the gallery continued to assert it's essential role in Miami's visual art scene, and the event provided our first dose of Basel 09 surreality: Iggy Pop posing for pictures with Dangermouse.

Our next stop was the "pop-up bar" Max Fish, another O.H.W.O.W. sponsored endeavor. The goal was to recreate the actual Max Fish in honor of their 20th anniversary. Our more reactionary tendencies and aggressive, Florida-centric regionalism has us scoffing at anything that puts anyone in an empire state of mind, but approached with a more sensible attitude, the bar proved to be an exciting cornerstone of Basel live music.

Animals of the Arctic
Animals of the Arctic
animals of the arctic @ max fish

Animals of the Arctic played a strong set of contemporary electro with new wave / post-punk-ish flourishes. Kinda dark (in a Factory Records way) and the vocals were reminiscent of David Byrne and Danny Elfman. They established a Basel precedent (followed by every local act we saw this weekend) of the Miami opener upstaging the out-of-town talent, or at the very least, giving them a run for their money.

Silk Flowers
silk flowers @ max fish

Generally, It's pretty boring to describe a band by simply listing others, but it might be impossible to talk about Silk Flowers without mentioning Joy Division. To be fair, you would never mistake the latter for the former (especially considering the absence of the signature Peter Hook bass lines). Less than a straight rip-off, Silk Flowers sounded like if Joy Division occurred in the midst of 00's indie-electro rather than 70's post-punk, though a little noisier around the edges as compared to some contemporaries (not as much New Order worship as you find in Cold Cave, for example). Animals of the Arctic were a sensible opener as both bands play a variation of dark dance music, though Animals went a little further with the sound. Silk Flowers were solid nonetheless.


little beard live @ the ice palace

We saw our favorite pieces this weekend - including okaymountain's excellent and hilarious convenient store - at the Pulse Art Fair. Pulse also hosted early evening sets from a diverse selection of big name indie/rock acts from across the country.

It was the first time we'd seen Little Beard since Death to the Sun, and their well-executed set gave us deeper insight into their pop collage. The crux of their sound is the indie guitar-jangle that was the foundation of 80s indie/alternative/"college rock." A little later, as R.E.M. got cheesier and the focus moved from Athens to Olympia, people started calling it twee, with the sound later exporting and expanding to/in the U.K. Little Beard pair this sunny/shimmering take on pop rock with a driving, danceable rhythm section to come up with a fresh amalgamation of charming influences. The lead singer's vocals could be compared to riot grrl/Lydia Lunch-styled vocals, which contrast nicely with the sugary harmonies she'll often partake in with the guitarist. In reading Pulse's promotional blurb on Little Beard we were a little confused by "horror" in their catalog of genre influences, but this was clarified by the last two songs which displayed a heavy Cramps influence.

vivian girls live @ ice palace

The Vivian Girls were cool too. If you can get past the hype and the counter-hype, they put on a fun show. Their vocals are definitely the highlight: kaleidoscope 60's girl-group harmonic bliss.


exene cervenka live @ ice palace

Exene Cervenka who got her start in classic L.A. punk band X played an unfortunately short set on Friday's edition of Pulse's live music series. Her songs sounded like grim, rockin (much like X) acoustic punk (not folk-punk, important distinction) and we were feeling it but after about 20 minutes she was done. A little disappointing, but that gave us an opportunity to check out the fair.


endless boogie (endless bangs) @ max fish

Later that night it was back to Max Fish where Endless Boogie opened the show with dad-approved, groove-oriented heavy psych. The rhythm section played what sounded like an infinite loop of the instrumental from "Stuck In The Middle With You" while the guitarist, sporting perfect, mesmerizing Nico hair, jammed in every direction possible. These righteous solos were accented with occasional shouts (maybe singing?) of things like "feel alright!" and "making love for 6 hours!"

teepee live @ max fish

Teepee performed as a power trio but their set was cut unfortunately short by a broken guitar string. The band solicited the crowd for a replacement and then asked repeatedly to use a guitar that was already on the stage. In a bit of a do-or-die moment, the decision was made to use it rather than delay the set further. This prompted a member, presumably the guitarist, of headliner Gang Gang Dance to throw a fit onstage and call the venue's promoter/manager over to cut the set completely. Was he afraid that Teepee front man Eric was going to steal his guitar? Would the wear and tear from the handful of songs on the set list have damaged the instrument irreparably? Maybe if this guy had been inside watching the band he would have heard them ask permission. The 2 or 3 songs they managed to eek out sounded great, including a robust version of "I Told You So" from the Morals LP.


teepee live @ ice palace

Luckily, the same Teepee lineup was playing on Saturday at the Ice Palace and this time they were able to complete their set. Thus far we've seen Teepee perform as one-man space pop and three-piece psych-noise jam assault. The Art Basel line-up yielded a raucous, anthemic fuzz rock style reminiscent of the Mascis/Malkmus/Pollard 90's triumvirate. Their set reached a satisfying finale as an oncoming wind storm brought dramatic gusts of wind as the final song reached it's climax.

the blow live @ ice palace

Though we enjoyed all of the sets we saw at Pulse, the stage set up was definitely a little bit of an uphill battle for the performers. It's always hard to play outside and the expansive yard caused audience members to be sprinkled throughout, appearing sparse. Throw in brash lighting and a stage of awkward height, and you've got a pretty intimidating performance space. Everyone that played transcended the challenges of the venue, but none more-so than The Blow, who managed to keep everyone completely captivated as she simply sang over a prerecorded track. We've noticed an influx of vocal acts who sing over loops or whole instrumentals and these performers often manipulate their vocals live. She didn't even do that. Instead, she held the crowd's attention with technical singing ability, cleverly synchronized dance moves (including some excellent breaking/robot action) and a bizarre performance story line (almost an extended skit that her set was a part of) involving Lindsay Lohan leaving her voice messages with song ideas (allegedly, this was the material she was performing). Most of the songs favored the minimal and sparse pop of her early records over the more electro-crunch of her last two albums.

After The Blow, we were lured to Max Fish with the prospect of the "special secret show" they had been advertising being something, uh, special. In the end, no one ended up playing which left more than a few people scratching their heads. Both the guy at the door and the gentleman running the P.A. said they were being asked all night who the secret performance was but to their knowledge there were only DJs. They also had no idea if anyone was ever supposed to play or if the whole thing was a trick to get people to come out on a night there was nothing particular going on there.

Since no one played, how about we list everyone we heard might be playing? In order: Iggy Pop &/or the Stooges, No Age, David Byrne, Jay-Z, Marilyn Manson and the Spooky Kids, just the Spooky Kids, the Vivian Girls, the Village People, Gym Class Heroes, the Strokes, Sonic Youth.

Though the last night at Max Fish was a bust in terms of live music, it was a nice time nonetheless. Lots of old friends, new friends, strangers becoming friends and shit we were so delirious from 5 straight days of bands, art, and relentless hanging out that it was a fine time to have the credits start rolling.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

anti-art becomes art (12/01/09)

art basel 09

Art Basel is this week and we're doing our best to get as little sleep as possible. Along with the incredible overload of gallery openings, installations sprinkled across the city, parties, weirdos in costumes, exceptionally wealthy & cheesy patrons, reactionary purists, etc, there is also a large number of notable shows/concerts going on and we're going to cover as much Basel music as we can.
Last night, Churchill's hosted Kreamy Lectric Santa's annual homecoming show. Not sure if Kreamy are in town to check out Basel or if it's just a coincidence, but it seems like the timing of the show may account for the scattershot sampling of national artists who were also on the bill. Though not an official Basel music event, the eclectically curated line-up and authentically bizarre locale (CBGB's slowly turned into a museum and now exists in full simulacrum as a Vegas attraction; Churchill's only gets blissfully grimier and weirder) made the show a fine start to the week.

boise bob and his backyard band

Boise Bob and His Backyard Band play country music. Their set was a mesmerizing performance of Broward County Americana indistinguishable in intent: campy, but also severely earnest. We especially appreciated Boise Bob's between-song banter.


Florida (Tampa, especially) is famous for it's drum and guitar duos and the diversity found within those parameters is striking: the minimal power-pop of Tyger Beat; the no-wave tantrum of Parts and Pieces of Past Ticiples; the noise-punk perfection of Byron House. These bands all use the same two instruments and still cover a lot of distance. If you rubbed off all of the fuzz and echo and ramshackle from hahahelp!'s songs you'd have precious indie-rock. Thankfully, this duo isn't looking for you to pinch their cheeks and instead dress pop numbers in burlap sacks. The phrase "burning the house to clean it" comes to mind. Their Myspace alludes to a more tender hahahelp! - some jangle, some genuine ballads (can't get enough of the sleepy-eyed "Laid Out" remix up there, especially the infectious riff at the end) - but the edges are (thankfully) still raw and blurry.

Kreamy Lectric Santa

Kreamy 'Lectric Santa are the ultimate realization of the old axiom "punks is hippies." Wrought from the same 1990s, grab bag Miami/Churchill's rock scene that was home to pop-punk like Los Canadiens, metal sludge like Cavity and noise like the various endeavors of Rat Bastard (Scraping Teeth and Laundry Room Squelchers being perhaps the most historicized), their yearly return to Miami is always a testament to the power of pan-musicality and genre cross-pollination. You could ultimately call them a "rock band" but it wouldn't quite communicate that KLS play an expertly blended style of many rock musics: 90s guitar rock in the vein of Dinosaur Jr., straight ahead gallop pop-punk, crescendo-laden power pop, and, yes, the heaviest of metals. Their 2009 set at Churchill's was a solid 30 minutes of full bodied rock and roll and good natured banter. They seemed like they were glad to be home, and the audience was happy to welcome them.