17 December 2008

2008 S.A. Friends Top Tens

Loren Chasse
Here seems to be the music that's most put my ear in its clutch this past year...
Nagisa Ni Te...Yosuga
Milton Nascimento...Lo Borges
Terry Riley...the Last Camel in Paris
Blackout Beach...skin of evil
Andrew Chalk .....time of hayfield
Tim and Eric...Awesome Record
Maureeny Wishfull...The Maureeny Wishfull Album
Steve Roden...a slow moving boat
Arthur Russell...Wild Combination documentary (and its songs!)
Autistic Daughters..uneasy flowers
Grouper...Dragging a Dead Dear Up a Hill
Peter Hammill...Fool's Mate
and as always: Camberwell Now....All's Well

Glenn Donaldson
late 2008 obsessive playlist
1. grouper dragging a dead deer up a hill
2. christian death only theater of pain
3. christian death catastrophe ballet
4. JFA my movie 7"
5. giorgio moroder from here to eternity
6. burial hex initiations
7. cocteau twins garlands
8. eyeless in gaza photographs as memories
9. blessure grave unreleased mp3's
10. brave new world s/t 7"
11. the clientele it's art dad
12. killing joke nervous system 7"
13. blackout beach skin of evil

Nick Forte
Monopoly Child Star Searchers- "Gitchii Manitu (12 Step Retrance Program For Troubled Dream Warriors)"
Monopoly Child Star Searchers- "Infant Spirituality Rates Coconut Percent"
Leviathan- "Massive Conspiracy Against All Life"
John Wiese- "Dramatic Accessories"
Graham Lambkin/Jason Lescalleet- "The Breadwinner"
Ancestors- "I"
Chris Corsano- "The Young Cricketer"
Jason Crumer- "Ottoman Black"
Philip Jeck- "Suite. Live in Liverpool"
Deep Listening Band- "Then & Now, Now and Then"

Stefan Neville
Kraus-Red Green & Blue 1998-2003
Jon The Dog-Live at Enban cdr

Leighton Craig-11 Easy Pieces
Planxty-Cold Blow & The Rainy Night
The Shadow Ring-The Lighthouse
Russian Tsarlag/Blueshift-split rare youth LP
Sunstabbed-doubtful sounds 7"
Henry Flynt & the Insurrections-I Dont Wanna
Michael Hurley-Armchair Boogie
Jos Steen-Electricity
the bug feat. warrior queen-poison dart
bonzo dog band-cornology

David Sutton
Graham Lambkin/Jason Lescalleet- The breadwinner (erstwile)
pac man (Bone tooth Horn)

karina esp/ circle brothers/ drekka 10 inch lathe (morc tapes)

Chris Berry
Leighton Craig - 11 Easy Pieces (Room 40)
Destroyer - Trouble in Dreams (Merge)
Eat Skull - Sick to Death (Siltbreeze)
James Ferraro - Marble Surf (New Age)
Grouper - Dragging a Dead Deer Up a Hill (Type)
Jeremy Jay - A Place Where We Could Go (K)
Tommy Jay - Tall Tales of Trauma (Columbus Discount)
King Darves - The Sun Splits For... The Blind Swimmer (DeStijl)
Nagisa Ni te - Yosuga (Jagjaguwar)
Pigeons - Virgin Spectacle (Black Dirt)
Arthur Russell - Love Is Overtaking Me (Audika)
Sic Alps - U.S. EZ (Siltbreeze)
D Charles Speer & The Helix - After Hours (Black Dirt)
Teenage Panzerkorps - Games for Slaves (Siltbreeze)
Vizusa - Vizusa (Seres)

Blackout Beach "Skin of Evil" arrives January 20

Carey Mercer's solo project, Blackout Beach, has been dormant since the release of his debut (Light Flows the Putrid Dawn) in 2004. That's not to say that he hasn't kept busy with other things... In that time, Frog Eyes has released two astounding albums & one EP, in addition to touring the world more than once. Mercer also started a side project, Swan Lake, with friends Dan Bejar & Spencer Krug. Somehow in the midst of it all, he's found time to write & record an epic new Blackout Beach full-length. At the risk of seeming overly hyperbolic, we'd like to formally proclaim that it's his most dense, rewarding, and frankly best work to date.

Skin of Evil is a song cycle based upon a character, Donna, and her past and present lovers. Though, as Mercer stresses in his own (highly recommended) blog, "I think my albums always get mis-represented. Skin of Evil is not so much about 'Donna', as it is about my own attempt to just stick to something, and not veer off into the nebulous domains of 'fractured social commentary.' I think that in this sense Skin of Evil is a moderate success." Over the course of it's ten songs, Skin of Evil does suceed in sticking to it's story, which is set against a dark backdrop that manages to reference proto-punk icons Pere Ubu & the textural/dense recent Scott Walker works. That's to say it's a wholly unique listen; one that's highly listenable, and yet challenging (in the best sense of each word).

Skin of Evil is currently available to pre-order here. Those that opt to pre-order the LP will also receive a Skin of Evil poster.

We've had several comments about the striking painting that adorns the sleeve, which was painted by Vladimir Kandelaki. Again, Carey wrote at some length about this at his blog, but Kandelaki lives & works in Georgia, and was incredibly generous to allow the use of the painting for this record. To see more of his work, visit http://www.kandelakiv.com/.

Our friends Dan Bejar and Glenn Donaldson shared their thoughts on Skin of Evil. Read on below...

“I believe Skin of Evil is the best record I will hear this year, but let’s not get into that.
  • A reference for something as singular would certainly combine goofy American babbler music (Jerry Lee Lewis/Dennis Quaid) with the highest, most harrowing modernist Euro nightmare (‘The Drift’). By this I mean there can be no frame of reference, for these two things have never met before, and external forces work hard to make sure they never do. Yet somehow the sonic space created for this set of singing happened, feels familiar, and doesn’t give me the willies. Maybe it’s because Scott Walker has never expressed interest in the traditions of rock & roll guitar, and unlike J.L.L., Carey is not a pervert/showman…
  • I'll make no bones, I enjoy the sound of people singing like this. I even like the sound of people talking like this. I also think that this is the best record Carey's been involved with. Note: how good it sounds when Carolyn & Megan chime in!
  • Maybe it's about a girl, about salvation's undoing through romantic love, wreckage of this kind…No matter, the important thing is that this is the first time I've REALLY heard theatrics AND atmospherics in a record, and such an abundance of both. One exception is Roxy Music’s Avalon, which this record reminds me of if only for how incredibly well you can (thankfully) hear every last thing. And though Bryan Ferry’s version of control and release are slightly different than Carey’s, Skin of Evil is more just different lyrical concerns, which we’ll here call “worldview.”
  • One last thing about theatrics and atmospherics: they are at war (did I already say that?). Theatrics (individual) vs. Atmospherics (the universe) seems pretty straightforward to me as a life model…

I keep thinking about this when listening to Skin of Evil, though I'm not sure if this is what the record's about.

Skin of Evil addresses panic in the face of dark nature, being fucked over constantly to the point of almost death (and then maybe death) by higher powers, like Gods, the jailer (or whoever holds the keys), your local PTA, etc., and finally the possibility that you have a small hand in it, this, your doom, a ditch in the rain you don't just somehow fall into."

– Dan Bejar, Vancouver, BC

"I've listened to this a dozen times & still can't figure out how this can be so indulgently arty & yet so easy to enjoy. Totally unclassifiable but file next to other lofty unheralded classics: Crime & the City Solution's Paradise Discotechque, Wallof Voodoo's Dark Continent & Eyeless in Gaza's Caught in Flux. I'm in awe of this record but fear it's just too good for the rabble."

– Glenn Donaldson (contributed to Stereogum.com)