Clearly we will have to turn and come home soon.
Axolotl speaks: Hum is playing a reunion a reunion show on New Year’s Eve at Chicago’s Double Door.
I have my tickets.
In that emotional space between a good drunk and sobriety, I’m sitting here on this Sunday morning listening to Hum’s monument to perfection, 1997’s Downward is Heavenward, at the infinite and revealing mercy of every moment in that beautiful album that swept off the Illinois prairie and into my permanent regard.
I am particularly vulnerable to the band’s sound for reasons of my nativity, perhaps, with the spacey thunder of those guitars that imply infinity so akin to the endless flat expanses of Illinois fields over which the unbearable heat and humidity of summer shiver. This does not change the fact that this criminally overlooked album should qualify as one of humanity’s few fingertip brushes with G-d.
Yesterday I began listening to Poni Hoax. I received an email from the Tigersushi Records mailing list, the label of a lot of electro weirdness from the old place over the sea. They are also home to art/synthy rockers Poni Hoax, who just came out with a new album in May called Images of Sigrid. I watched this video of them playing a live set, all Bauhaus and Bowie, and I thought to myself, wow, these guys are kind of good.
I then listened to the album. I thought to myself, yes, very good. Lots of space, lots of power and noise when the playing gets fast and business-like. Synth lines, long croons, and songs about women and disaster. And they are playing July 5th at Studio B.
In from the other room collects and coalesces the apparition of The Black Dog’s ghostly tunings, possessing the Saturday morning air in my everyday apartment. Spinning on the magnetic discs is their most recent full-length, Radio Scarecrow, ownership and first-hand enjoyment of which I secured through the top-notch Bleep digital music store. Short, very short historical notes on the Black Dog entity:
Formed in 1989 by Ken Downie, Ed Handley, and Andy Turner, (the latter two leaving to form the ever-noodley and atmospheric Plaid).
Currently a solo effort on the part of Ken Downie.
This is a work of beautiful, very deep production. Sharing this passion for the haunting of 3-dimensional aural spaces with Plaid, The Black Dog delivers a very synthetic set of melodies minimally framed by a post-rave aesthetic that still sounds pleasingly and eerily natural. All the various wind-up monsters of sequenced repetition or LFO modulated pulses roaming the scales of this songlist in their terrific chrome and black matte definition, even at the full distance of hearing’s horizon, seem to do so obfuscated in a shadowy and endless nighted wood. It is seeing with the ear magic and clockwork in a land of tin wendigos.
By all means, please dig for yourself.
“Lazare” (Principles of Geometry)
Normally I wouldn’t just take to promoting electronic music that so flagrantly espouses the combination of nudity and polygamy in in a primeval environs, but for this set of glitch-influenced, hip-hop sprinkled, Boards of Canada-indebted (for cover art and in part for style) platter of unflinchingly digital oscillators with a taste of ye olde industrial gait, I will make an exception.
Exception made. Album recommended.