"Solar Motel Part III" - Chris Forsyth & The Solar Motel Band, The Rotunda, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, November 15, 2013

Keeping things Forsyth-y today. Here’s a video preview of his downright incredible Record Store Day release, Solar Live 11.15.13. If you’ve been following along, I reallllllly like the Solar Motel LP that Paradise of Bachelors put out last year. But this live reinterpretation with the Solar Motel Band might be better. The rhythm section of bassist Peter Kerlin and drummer Steven Urgo is a thing to behold — check out the furious freakout that takes place during “Part II.” And Forsyth and guitarist Paul Sukeena (also of Spacin’) trade dazzling and daring leads throughout. The live Solar Motel breathes a little bit more than its studio counterpart; things get dangerous and teeter on the edge of collapse before being snapped back at the last minute. What can I say, you need this LP. 

Peeesseye - Sci Fi Death Mask
Amplifier buzz, unnamed clangs and clatters, painful bellowing and brutally abused drum kits appear to be the primary ingredients of the Peeesseye’s Sci Fi Death Mask. The Brooklyn trio (pronounced PSI, I think), featuring Chris Forsyth (guitar), Jaime Fennelly (harmonium/electronics) and Fritz Welch (percussion/vocals), disbanded a few years ago, but their final LP is just seeing the light of day this year. It’s a rough and noisy ride — what would you expect from an album that kicks off with a song called “Let The Hate Flow”? But stick with it and you’ll be rewarded. The 20-minute closer, “What is the value, what is the purpose?” climbs to a strangely satisfying drone plateau (droneau?) that somehow makes the whole journey worthwhile. Peeesseye go out on a high note. 

Peeesseye - Sci Fi Death Mask

Amplifier buzz, unnamed clangs and clatters, painful bellowing and brutally abused drum kits appear to be the primary ingredients of the Peeesseye’s Sci Fi Death Mask. The Brooklyn trio (pronounced PSI, I think), featuring Chris Forsyth (guitar), Jaime Fennelly (harmonium/electronics) and Fritz Welch (percussion/vocals), disbanded a few years ago, but their final LP is just seeing the light of day this year. It’s a rough and noisy ride — what would you expect from an album that kicks off with a song called “Let The Hate Flow”? But stick with it and you’ll be rewarded. The 20-minute closer, “What is the value, what is the purpose?” climbs to a strangely satisfying drone plateau (droneau?) that somehow makes the whole journey worthwhile. Peeesseye go out on a high note. 

"Sweet Sister Ray" - Mirrors, Beachland Ballroom, Cleveland, Ohio, March 2, 2014

One more “Sweet Sister Ray" addendum! Cleveland art-punk ensemble Mirrors reunited recently for some shows and they brought Ray back to life one more time for a great, fairly faithful rendition. Though this one doesn’t last 40 minutes. I believe that Mirrors’ frontman Jamie Klimek and guitarist Jim Crook may well have been the taper we all have to thank for hearing "Sweet Sister Ray" at all. All together now: Thanks, Jamie and Jim! 

Sweet Sister Rayn’s Heroin
More Invisible Hits! Go over to Pitchfork to read my rambles on the depthless mysteries of The Velvet Underground’s “Sweet Sister Ray.” There’s a YouTube link to listen, as well. Or you can grab Sweet Sister Rayn’s Heroin, the awkwardly titled third disc of the VU bootleg box, Caught Between The Twisted Stars. It’s got “Sweet Sister Ray,” the “Guitar Amp” version of “Sister Ray” from 1969, a 1993 reunion rendition of “Hey Mr. Rain” and the only other complete recording from the “Sweet Sister Ray” evening: a crackling “Heroin.” It’s all so good, dudes!
[Dead/VU Freaks may be particularly interested in something Jesse Jarnow just pointed out to me about the Guitar Amp jam — the moment around the 17-minute mark when the VU appear to segue into “Turn On Your Lovelight.” For real!]
Let’s also take a minute to consider the following anecdote from Michael Carlucci, who says the Cleveland fan who recorded the ‘Sweet Sister Ray” tape “[left] it in his car. His sister used the car, saw the tape, put it in a cassette player and started recording her friends laughing and being stupid. He wanted to kill her.” That’s why the tape fades out just as “Sister Ray” begins. Also missing is a half-hour version of “Hey Mr. Rain.” Read it and weep! 
Since Lou died last fall, I’ve been thinking about him even more than usual (which is a lot, believe me), and the main thing I keep coming back to is that the guy’s music was positive and life-affirming, despite the fact that he was the “poet of the dark corners of NYC, drugs, S&M, etc etc.” Like in “Sweet Sister Ray” he sings about getting electroshock therapy, which was basically his parents/society telling him: “You can’t be like that, you have to be like this.” The fact that he spent the rest of his life proving them wrong is nothing less than heroic. If Lou ever had a message, it’s that the possibilities really are endless. And that’s a message worth remembering. 

Sweet Sister Rayn’s Heroin

More Invisible Hits! Go over to Pitchfork to read my rambles on the depthless mysteries of The Velvet Underground’s “Sweet Sister Ray.” There’s a YouTube link to listen, as well. Or you can grab Sweet Sister Rayn’s Heroin, the awkwardly titled third disc of the VU bootleg box, Caught Between The Twisted Stars. It’s got “Sweet Sister Ray,” the “Guitar Amp” version of “Sister Ray” from 1969, a 1993 reunion rendition of “Hey Mr. Rain” and the only other complete recording from the “Sweet Sister Ray” evening: a crackling “Heroin.” It’s all so good, dudes!

[Dead/VU Freaks may be particularly interested in something Jesse Jarnow just pointed out to me about the Guitar Amp jam — the moment around the 17-minute mark when the VU appear to segue into “Turn On Your Lovelight.” For real!]

Let’s also take a minute to consider the following anecdote from Michael Carlucci, who says the Cleveland fan who recorded the ‘Sweet Sister Ray” tape “[left] it in his car. His sister used the car, saw the tape, put it in a cassette player and started recording her friends laughing and being stupid. He wanted to kill her.” That’s why the tape fades out just as “Sister Ray” begins. Also missing is a half-hour version of “Hey Mr. Rain.” Read it and weep! 

Since Lou died last fall, I’ve been thinking about him even more than usual (which is a lot, believe me), and the main thing I keep coming back to is that the guy’s music was positive and life-affirming, despite the fact that he was the “poet of the dark corners of NYC, drugs, S&M, etc etc.” Like in “Sweet Sister Ray” he sings about getting electroshock therapy, which was basically his parents/society telling him: “You can’t be like that, you have to be like this.” The fact that he spent the rest of his life proving them wrong is nothing less than heroic. If Lou ever had a message, it’s that the possibilities really are endless. And that’s a message worth remembering. 

Foggy Notion - Maxwell’s, Hoboken, New Jersey, May 14, 1984
We’ll just make this a WFMU fundraising kind of day. Scott McDowell (host of WFMU’s great Long Rally program) recently reminded me of this very fun set of Velvet Underground covers, recorded (eep) almost 30 years ago at a benefit for the radio station. It sometimes circulates under the Feelies name, which isn’t accurate, but Stan Demeski is behind the kit throughout and Glenn Mercer shows up to contribute guitar on a handful of songs. Good stuff! This is the lineup as far as my research tells me:
Tim Sherry (Phosphenes) - lead vocal, casio keyboard Michael Carlucci (Ward 8, Winter Hours) - lead guitar, vocals Steve Lapore (Grey District) - rhythm guitar Rob Norris (Bongos) - bass, vocals Stan Demeski (The Feelies, Trypes, Willies) - drums
guests: Janet Tensen - lead vocal on “I’ll Be Your Mirror” Toni Paruta (Trypes) - lead vocal on “All Tomorrow’s Parties” Glenn Mercer (Feelies) - guitar on “Sister Ray,” and maybe “Foggy Notion”
Good timing too, with the news that Maxwell’s Todd Abramson will be booking shows at the White Eagle Hall in Jersey City in the near future. The Hoboken Sound lives on! In Jersey City! 

Foggy Notion - Maxwell’s, Hoboken, New Jersey, May 14, 1984

We’ll just make this a WFMU fundraising kind of day. Scott McDowell (host of WFMU’s great Long Rally program) recently reminded me of this very fun set of Velvet Underground covers, recorded (eep) almost 30 years ago at a benefit for the radio station. It sometimes circulates under the Feelies name, which isn’t accurate, but Stan Demeski is behind the kit throughout and Glenn Mercer shows up to contribute guitar on a handful of songs. Good stuff! This is the lineup as far as my research tells me:

Tim Sherry (Phosphenes) - lead vocal, casio keyboard
Michael Carlucci (Ward 8, Winter Hours) - lead guitar, vocals
Steve Lapore (Grey District) - rhythm guitar
Rob Norris (Bongos) - bass, vocals
Stan Demeski (The Feelies, Trypes, Willies) - drums

guests:
Janet Tensen - lead vocal on “I’ll Be Your Mirror” 
Toni Paruta (Trypes) - lead vocal on “All Tomorrow’s Parties” 
Glenn Mercer (Feelies) - guitar on “Sister Ray,” and maybe “Foggy Notion”

Good timing too, with the news that Maxwell’s Todd Abramson will be booking shows at the White Eagle Hall in Jersey City in the near future. The Hoboken Sound lives on! In Jersey City! 

The Fugs - WFMU Marathon, Cafe Au Go-Go, November, 1968
Fuggin’ A! The estimable Jesse Jarnow has unearthed this incredible document of the Fugs in late ‘68, raising funds for freeform radio. Or as Ed Sanders puts it, “The Sound of Communist Ape Smut.” Beware — this is a dangerous 18 minutes of music, even almost 50 years later. As the DJs note at the end, WFMU depends on listener support, so consider donating some cash to the greatest radio station in the galaxy, so that the communist ape smut can continue warping young minds. 

The Fugs - WFMU Marathon, Cafe Au Go-Go, November, 1968

Fuggin’ A! The estimable Jesse Jarnow has unearthed this incredible document of the Fugs in late ‘68, raising funds for freeform radio. Or as Ed Sanders puts it, “The Sound of Communist Ape Smut.” Beware — this is a dangerous 18 minutes of music, even almost 50 years later. As the DJs note at the end, WFMU depends on listener support, so consider donating some cash to the greatest radio station in the galaxy, so that the communist ape smut can continue warping young minds. 

"Trippin’ On Krupa" - Sun City Girls, Bohemia After Dark Show, Phoenix, Arizona, 1988

If you do the Record Store Day thing, I’ve got two guitar soli recommendations for you over on Aquarium Drunkard: Alvarius B. and Sir Richard Bishop’s If You Don’t Like It … DON’T! (with artwork by Dead Notes' Darryl Norsen!) and Glenn Jones' Welcomed Wherever I Go. So you should check those out. You should also spend some time thinking about Sun City Girls. Wow! 

"The Houses of Parliament" - Cian Nugent & The Cosmos, The Joinery, Dublin, Ireland, February 14, 2014
Doom & Gloomsters! Cian Nugent & The Cosmos are taking the UK and select cities on the European continent by storm right now. It’s possible that they are the best band in the universe, so you should probably go see them if you’re anywhere near one of the venues (listed below). Here’s a hint of what’s in store — a massively monolithic live rendition of the sidelong epic “The Houses of Parliament.” A jam for the ages! I suggest you turn it up. The tune is available in studio form on Nugent & The Cosmos’ eeeeeessential Born With The Caul LP. 
Here are the tour dates! 
April 15 ­- UK, LONDON, CAFE OTO April 16 - BE, GHENT, VOORUIT April 17 ­- NL, ROTTERDAM, WORM April 18 ­- FR, PARIS, ESPACE EN COURS April 19 - NL, APELDOORN, DE GIGANT April 20 ­- DE, BREMEN, SISSI & DIE CHINESISCHE WÄSCHEREI April 21 ­- DE, BERLIN, MONARCH April 22 ­- DE, STUTTGART, TONSTUDIO April 23 ­- CH, GENEVA, CAVE12 April 25 -­ NL, AMSTERDAM, OCCII April 27 - UK, CAMBRIDGE, THE CORNER HOUSE April 28 - UK, BRISTOL, START THE BUS

"The Houses of Parliament" - Cian Nugent & The Cosmos, The Joinery, Dublin, Ireland, February 14, 2014

Doom & Gloomsters! Cian Nugent & The Cosmos are taking the UK and select cities on the European continent by storm right now. It’s possible that they are the best band in the universe, so you should probably go see them if you’re anywhere near one of the venues (listed below). Here’s a hint of what’s in store — a massively monolithic live rendition of the sidelong epic “The Houses of Parliament.” A jam for the ages! I suggest you turn it up. The tune is available in studio form on Nugent & The Cosmos’ eeeeeessential Born With The Caul LP. 

Here are the tour dates! 

April 15 ­- UK, LONDON, CAFE OTO
April 16 - BE, GHENT, VOORUIT
April 17 ­- NL, ROTTERDAM, WORM
April 18 ­- FR, PARIS, ESPACE EN COURS
April 19 - NL, APELDOORN, DE GIGANT
April 20 ­- DE, BREMEN, SISSI & DIE CHINESISCHE WÄSCHEREI
April 21 ­- DE, BERLIN, MONARCH
April 22 ­- DE, STUTTGART, TONSTUDIO
April 23 ­- CH, GENEVA, CAVE12 
April 25 -­ NL, AMSTERDAM, OCCII
April 27 - UK, CAMBRIDGE, THE CORNER HOUSE
April 28 - UK, BRISTOL, START THE BUS

The Ballad of Geeshie and Elvie by John Jeremiah Sullivan
A well-nigh unbelievable journey into the depths of pre-war American blues is now online and at newsstands in the New York Times Magazine today. Sullivan really is the best writer out there right now and he may have outdone himself with this one, both deepening the mystery at the heart of the story and stripping away any romanticized BS that sometimes accompanies blues writing. Whatever, just go read it! At the bottom of the page you can download mp3s by the article’s titular singers, Elvie “L.V.” Thomas and Geeshie Wiley. You may also want to check out Sullivan’s Unknown Bards piece, published in Harper’s a few years back, which can now serve as a prelude to the NY Times feature. 

The Ballad of Geeshie and Elvie by John Jeremiah Sullivan

A well-nigh unbelievable journey into the depths of pre-war American blues is now online and at newsstands in the New York Times Magazine today. Sullivan really is the best writer out there right now and he may have outdone himself with this one, both deepening the mystery at the heart of the story and stripping away any romanticized BS that sometimes accompanies blues writing. Whatever, just go read it! At the bottom of the page you can download mp3s by the article’s titular singers, Elvie “L.V.” Thomas and Geeshie Wiley. You may also want to check out Sullivan’s Unknown Bards piece, published in Harper’s a few years back, which can now serve as a prelude to the NY Times feature. 

Bob Dylan - Still The Same Man, vol. 1, Fall 1980
I wrote up another one of those Odds & Ends columns for Aquarium Drunkard. This edition features two wonderful tracks from the Warfield Theatre residency from late 1980. If you want more, as always, had to the Thousand Highways blog, really the best place on the ‘net for Dylan rarities. This comp is a great overview of the period — if you’re not convinced to get into the gospel years by the end of it, your soul might be never be saved. 

Bob Dylan - Still The Same Man, vol. 1, Fall 1980

I wrote up another one of those Odds & Ends columns for Aquarium Drunkard. This edition features two wonderful tracks from the Warfield Theatre residency from late 1980. If you want more, as always, had to the Thousand Highways blog, really the best place on the ‘net for Dylan rarities. This comp is a great overview of the period — if you’re not convinced to get into the gospel years by the end of it, your soul might be never be saved. 

Neil Young - April 1, 2014, Dolby Theatre, Hollywood, California 
Kickstarter genius / PONO founder Neil Young also has a musical career. Here’s one of his recent solo gigs. A couple surprises — a new, very nice Gordon Lightfoot cover, plus the return of “Thrasher”! Holy shit. Can “Will To Love” be far behind? Also: I believe that this photo captures the moment when “Man Needs A Maid” gets totally synthed out. 

Neil Young - April 1, 2014, Dolby Theatre, Hollywood, California 

Kickstarter genius / PONO founder Neil Young also has a musical career. Here’s one of his recent solo gigs. A couple surprises — a new, very nice Gordon Lightfoot cover, plus the return of “Thrasher”! Holy shit. Can “Will To Love” be far behind? Also: I believe that this photo captures the moment when “Man Needs A Maid” gets totally synthed out. 

"Your Girlfriend Might Be A Cop" - New Bums, Stone Fox, Nashville, Tennessee, March 18, 2014

Another plug for this show! The New Bums hit Denver this Sunday. The show is at the Lion’s Lair on Colfax Ave. Right near Pete’s Kitchen. And a 7-11 probably. Also on the bill — THE HOWLING HEX, ladies and gentlemen. And my band, Forces At Work, is playing too. Holy moley. See you there? 

"Night Comes In" - Richard Thompson, Rockapalast, Hamburg, Germany, 1983

A very happy 65th birthday to Mr. Doom & Gloom himself! Here he is jamming moodily on “Night Comes In.” Not sure about the mid-song sax solo, but it feels good not to be sure, you know? I am sure about the accordion solo, though.