A free download compilation of experimental/noise/electronic artists coordinated througha Facebook group</i> by the great Hal McGee and posted to his bandcamp page. 60 artists, 1 minute each. You’ll find yours truly on there along with the likes of Marax, Elizabeth Veldon, Tree, Dave Fuglewicz, MUTATE, The Implicit Order, Subversive Intentions, Hal McGee, The Noisettes… and those are just the ones I was already half familiar with. Plans are for a second volume (which it is thought that The Earwigs will be on), followed by others of collaborative tracks by pairs of group members.</p>

EDIT OCT 28: Volume 2 is out already!

EDIT NOV 6 Coming back from the Ruby Midwest conference last night I see there’s now a volume 3!

Jason had posted to Facebook that the show was at 8, but I arrived at 7:40 to find Rhonda Is A Dead Bitch already playing to an empty room while bands load in. I don’t know what they were thinking starting so early, but they sounded good. They compensated for their current lack of a drummer partly by using some drum machine, and partly by doing some mellower tunes with acoustic guitar in them. These guys are different every time I see them, and this time they were kind of like if you took Jason Lowenstein when he was in Sebadoh (Travis in that role), got him on a 70s fantasy prog kick, then had him backed up by Chairs Missing-era Wire. I really wish they’d have waited until there were a few more people around to see them. Their set was done by 8:06. Afterwards, however, they all seemed very happy with how it had gone, Jason observing “nobody’s mad at us.”

Skin Of Earth set up, sound-checked, then were advised to waste a little time before starting their set since it was still so early, so there was an intermission. Besides RIADB playing so early, Druids had cancelled, so there was no rush for anything. To my surprise, Ember Schrag showed up, having heard about the show four hours before and deciding to drive down from Decorah right away… as it turns out, the connection is that Satanized’s bassist plays bass for her sometimes on the east coast so she took the opportunity to come see them and thereby see some friends.

Skin Of Earth play impressively loud low-tuned instrumental heavy psychedelic post-rock doom stoner whatever you want to call this stuff. They’re pretty rad, I like them. I texted Leah that one of their guitarists looks like a scuzzier Constantine Maroulis, to her amusement.

Statocyst was two guys playing one long loud droney probably-improvised soundscape on guitars with heaps of delay pedal. I’ve heard a lot of this kind of thing so I can’t say that it blew my mind, and I’m not sure so much whether I liked their set or just liked the fact that there is a local band actually doing that kind of thing. Noise music can be pretty difficult to evaluate since the quality standards are so wide-open but yeah, I’d probably listen to these guys more. I kinda wanted to try striking up a conversation with them afterwards but couldn’t figure out how. I’d love to have Distant Trains on the same bill with them a time or two and maybe even collaborate on something, but I can’t find any way to contact them.

By the way, I’ve talked about this before, but playing to half-dozen people is not uncommon in Des Moines on a Tuesday night, but one should still fucking bring it, and Satanized definitely brought it. Remember in the ’90s when you’d go see The Jesus Lizard and they would freak you out? You’d feel like something sick was at work and something awesomely horrible could happen any minute? Satanized have that vibe nailed; not only because the singer seems like he may have taken some performance tips from David Yow, but their sound is something pretty unreal too, a dizzyingly complex avant-prog-math style built on truly ugly guitar and bass tones and dissonances and disorienting time signatures. Also their guitarist eschews a guitar amp in favor of running direct through the house PA, resulting in that ear-lacerating Albini sheet-metal sound only if anything even more painful. It was fucking nuts. I hope they come back around again. Their new album is on Skin Graft and I rather wish I’d have bought one but times are what they are, so hopefully I get another chance.

5-way c-10 cover

This short compilation of noisy fun put together by Igloo Martian just hit my mailbox today. Only 10 copies made ever, and I have two of them available for sale or trade, make an offer, and/or I’ll probably stick then on the merch table at the upcoming Fetal Pig shows. No text anywhere on the tape or insert. The track listing can be found here.

By the way, here’s some stuff I’ve actually been up to recently, that’s also up on bandcamp. A.J. Herring of Velma And The Happy Campers has a series of free download EPs, by various artists, called Voices Green And Purple. The concept is each EP has to be no more than three minutes in total length, but with no fewer than three tracks. Here’s mine, and I have a second on the way:

And be sure and check out the Voices Green And Purple bandcamp site. There’s stuff by The Cryogenic Strawberries and Thunder Bunny, among others.

And here’s a streamable preview of the new Fetal Pig album:

This thing gets released middle of next month sometime on digital and an edition of 300 150-gram LPs. It’s the first recording I’ve played on ever to be released in a format other than home-dubbed cassettes or computer-dubbed CD-Rs, so it’s a landmark for me. Very excited!

Also, here’s an SK-5 noise piece I made on the occasion of the 40th birthday of Jason Warden, he of Rhonda Is A Dead Bitch. It’s going to be coming out on a 10-minute 5-way split cassette with Igloo Martian and some other people I don’t know of which there will be only 10 copies. I will have 2 of them. I can be persuaded to sell or give away one or both to suitably interested parties. You can also download this .wav file if you like it.

Jason Turns 40 by centipedefarmer

Uploaded a bunch of Bludy Noz and Bwang! to the bandcamp this weekend. Lots of awesome lo-fi improv outsider noise-rock to be heard. The following are the original Bwang! “Sixogy”, conceived as a series of 6 CD-R albums culled from the many hours of tape amassed by Bwang! during its initial burst of activity that then went mostly unreleased and sat-on for several years. Some copies had been made of earlier cassette versions, but not many.

And here’s some later Bwang! material:

Here’s some Bludy Noz stuff:

Things are tough all over the place. The economy sucks and one of the ways it keeps sucking worse and worse is the rising cost of health insurance. It’s squeezing working people everywhere. A couple weeks ago I got a packet in the mail from the company that handles my company’s HR concerns informing me that the insurance company our plans were through was getting out of the business entirely and we had to pick a new plan from the new provider. Every comparable plan on the list both cost more in premiums and had higher deductibles and copays, so we’re paying more on both ends.

But today I’m reminded that I’m lucky to even be able to complain about that. Craig Schumacher, owner-operator-engineer of Waveland Studios, where he engineered the 2nd Why Make Clocks album Midwestern Film, and has worked with tons of musicians beloved by myself and many others, has a cancer situation:

Craig Schumacher is a wonderful engineer and needs some help. He is the owner/operator of WaveLab Studios in Tucson where, among many others, he has recorded; Neko Case, Calexico, DeVotchKa, Animal Collective and Iron and Wine.

Earlier this year Craig was diagnosed with head and neck cancer. His doctors believe that with the proper treatments (which have already begun), he stands a good chance of beating this. The bad news is that the treatments are painful and costly. The out-of-pocket expenses will be enormous, not to mention the fact that there will be periods in which Craig will not be able to work.

Last year, Craig’s wife Karen was diagnosed with breast cancer. Following treatment she is currently cancer-free. Needless to say, these back-to-back cancer diagnoses have been tough on them, emotionally and financially.

Now, I don’t know what his exact coverage situation is but I do know from being around musicians and also having grown up in a small-business family that usually for people who make their living in music it’s not good. Musicians and people who run recording studios, labels, etc., along with other self-employed people and small-business owners, instead of being able to get in on a big company plan, have to buy their insurance as individuals. If you think your plan’s expensive, that shit is fucking inhuman and still leaves you paying a ton more out-of-pocket. I’ve looked into it. And musicians, by and large, apart from the mega-famous ones, tend to make pretty crap money, but still too much to qualify for Medicaid and the like. So a lot of them can’t afford insurance at all and just do without and pray that shit doesn’t go bad. Then, for the unlucky, it does, and it’s a mess. Me? I’m just a weekender who pussed out of trying to make a living in music and became a computer programmer instead. Guys like Craig Schumacher who have the dedication to stick it out and devote themselves full-time to making the world a more beautiful sounding place, are straight up heroes as far as I’m concerned.

I’ve never met the man himself, but his talents are readily apparent from the records I’ve heard that he’s had a hand in, including Midwestern Film, which Dan raves about having worked with him on, and any friend of Dan’s is a friend of mine.

Here’s what Dan had to say on Facebook earlier:

Please take a minute to visit this page to help out our friend Craig Schumacher.

Long story short, Craig Schumacher is an all around great guy, a phenomenal engineer that has definitely left an imprint on modern music whether it be through the fantastic records he’s recorded and they way they sound or his numerous contributions to Tape Op magazine over the years.

Among numerous others, Craig has worked with:

  • Neko Case
  • Iron and Wine
  • Calexico
  • Giant Sand/Howe Gelb
  • Richard Buckner
  • The Jayhawks

On a more personal note for me, he recorded/mixed most of Why Make Clocks 2nd album, “Midwestern Film”, and the time we spent working with him, is still one of the best times in my life.

Please go here and chip in what you can to help the man out. Every bit helps. I don’t have a lot but I’m going to send in something.