Freak Scene #29

February 25, 2008


For the first time in its history, we have heard of every band written about in Freak Scene. We're not sure if that's indicative of its unrelenting dedication to weird shit or dumb luck, but we feel pretty good about it.





For those unfamiliar with Chris Corsano (above), the extreme shorthand story is that he came up playing with free jazz sax head Paul Flaherty and soon was sitting in w/everyone from Six Organs to Carlos Giffoni. The last few years he’s been playing drums for Björk, thus earning him the distinction of being the only artist to play both the No Fun Fest and Saturday Night Live. The Family Vineyard label went to some lengths to fill the void of new Corsano releases with a heavy duty vinyl reissue of his self released solo cd-r The Young Cricketer, which is a collection of mostly solo percussion tracks. What makes Corsano such an interesting player is his everywhere sense of rhythm, that of being attuned to a frequency of more cosmic, yet fundamentally grounded, earthly sounds. There are touches of Sunny Murray’s fire, Charles Goucher’s eclecticism, and a touch of William Hooker’s attack, but throughout, Corsano is able to echo these players while carving his own style. Corsano also creates drones through horn mouthpieces and vacuum cleaner heads while he brushes his cymbals and pounds the skins. So there you go. All the track titles allude to a topical guide to the sport of cricket. What exactly the connection between this music and the European sport is, I’m not sure, though both require a discipline absent in most of us.



Atlas Sound get a lot of shine around here outside this column, yet at the risk of redundancy I’d like to chime in on a very nice 7-inch I picked up at their show last night, packaged in a hand-stitched cloth bag. “Requiem for All the Lonely Teenagers With Passed Out Moms” is a nice long John Hughes suburban depression ballad that reeks of smoked out teenage boredom. I would certainly have no qualms putting this on a mixtape in my moms ’89 Taurus in-between Spiritualized and Bardo Pond. The B-side is “Cobwebs” a more mid-tempo guitar ramp up that’s still fuzzed out enough to get Velvet-y freak out when it wants to. This unpolished material is listenable enough to stand on its own. No need to overthink things here, I don’t care what this guy eats for breakfast. Keep making spaced out handmade 7-inch’s and there’ll always be someone listening. It’s not exactly rocket science.



Six years ago you couldn’t leave the house without hearing some watered down post-punk dance party band like Radio 4, but since that saturation point was surpassed awhile ago, its nice to hear people going back to their Kleenex and Pop Group records and discovering those joys. Kill Rock Stars is putting out the The Secret Life, by Portland, Oregon’s New Bloods, who are a bass/drum/violin trio who play a genuine melodic blend of ESG and the Raincoats. There’s nothing abrasive about New Bloods. There is a real, natural chemistry between these women—there’s a solid backbeat, the lead bass lines form a firm backdrop for alternating spoken/sung vocal interplay and some downright gorgeous violin playing. While upbeat at times, there’s a cynicism and disdain in between the joyousness. New Bloods come out sounding fully formed and confident, a damn impressive feat. I’m going to get my Essential Logic records off the shelves for the first time in a few years and listen back to back with this.




Lastly, one record that has just been on repeat a few too many times to not have been mentioned here is Charalambides’ Likeness, released late last year on Kranky. Over the course of the last few records Tom and Christina Carter have continued to expand and develop. Take “Saddle Up the Pony” for example. With just one guitar Tom can sound like Crazy Horse. Christina, as usual, delivers the vocals with a sincerity, urgency and clarity that just commands attention, Patti Smith style. This record takes on a darker aspect of the group as compared to their last love song-infused full length A Vintage Burden. The album closes with the almost accusatory “What You Do For Money?” There is a search for morals, a lament of death and lying in graves. Charalambides are able to tackle these themes with focus and craft, creating psychedelic folk music that transcends any barriers those genre’s normally present. So pick this one up asap.

STEVE LOWENTHAL

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Freak Scene #29