Not really a live show, but Michael Rother and Klaus Dinger (along with bassist Eberhard Kranemann) rehearsing in the spring of 1972 for an upcoming tour. A reviewer once called this “the bottom of the krautrock barrel” but whatever, dude. It’s eeeeeeessential! Extracts of the tape showed up on the Neu! box set a few years ago, but this is the complete, of-dubious-legality Captain Trips disc, which popped up briefly in the 1990s. Totally great stuff. Thanks to I Love Total Destruction for posting.
Holt and Ramirez’s Chem Lawns at totalfest Friday 8/15.
The Invisible Hits keep on coming over at Pitchfork. This latest column dives deep into Kraftwerk’s work before they hit it big on the Autobahn. Some seriously great stuff to check out.
Unfriendly reminder that in America it’s reasonable to say an unarmed black kid deserved to be shot six times because he might have robbed a convenience store, but a white kid shouldn’t be kicked off the high school football team just because he violently raped a girl.
Sometimes you just gotta wait for the stuff. THAT stuff, you know, the stuff you’ve been waiting for. It doesn’t necessarily have to be groundbreaking (it isn’t) but that stuff is still there waiting for you whenever you wanna recognize it’s there. Missoula’s had that stuff for a long long time in the form of Kalen Walther’s Ancient Forest, our resident hermetic psych-folk-rock chanteuse.
The last few times we’ve been lucky enough to catch Ancient Forest it’s been a sublime affair. He’d graduated to the world of two-man band with the addition of a man named Cooper on bass. There was something unsettlingly beautiful about that lineup. I don’t think it lasted very long because here we have what I think may be the first full-band Ancient Forest recording. Sam Molstad rounds out the ‘Forest on drums and though I was skeptical at first (I really liked the percussion-less sets) this version is phenomenal.
It’s a live album. So you know that, I mean. It’s a live album recorded at the Ole Beck VFW Post, presumably made during their show with Iji a few weeks ago.
Syd Barrett, Skip Spence, and White Fence references may abound and really, they’re all true, but Ancient Forest is still a kind of mirage in a town that doesn’t have anything even approaching this level of depth within what (I guess) I’ll call the “psych idiom.” We need Ancient Forest. We need Ancient Forest to succeed. This record is really great and it’s the kind of document I’d like to see as the tea leaves predicting an absolute masterpiece of an album, hopefully to come. You can do it, guys.
Some fave tracks, dunno if Tumblr is still weird with Bandcamp links or not:
You can purchase THE ANCIENT FOREST BAND from the OLE BECK at a cost you choose from their Bandcamp site. We highly recommend it.
We’re never gonna give up our Missoula-focus entirely, but for the hell-of-it we plan on covering some some arts-related content we just like, regardless of wherever the hell it comes from.
We’ve been fans of the arts archive known as UbuWeb for some time. For the uninitiated it’s essentially a massive database cataloging video, audio, prose, images, basically anything that seems to loosely be described as avant-garde. It’s pretty awesome.
Lately, we’ve been watching a bunch of excerpts from this "Two Moon July" exhibition from The Kitchen in NYC in 1986. UbuWeb does a pretty good job describing the thing:
The television production Two Moon July was a multidisciplinary event that featured experimental video, film, visual art, performance and music in a theatrical framework. More than thirty artists participated in the program, which was produced for the Kitchen by Carlota Schoolman and directed by Tom Bowes. This production reflects a moment when art centers were experimenting with new modes of presenting the arts for television. The participating artists read like a “who’s who” of 1980’s downtown art icons. Short excerpts from video and film works (by artists including Vito Acconci, Dara Birnbaum, Bruce Connor and Bill Viola) are intercut with performances and art installations in the Kitchen’s gallery spaces. Laurie Anderson performs Difficult Listening Hour, speaking through the male voice of hher “Soul Doctor” character; Talking Heads’ front man David Byrne is featured in the performance piece Report from L.A.; choreographer and dancer Bill T. Jones performs Inspiration to the accompaniment of John and Evan Lurie’s music. Art works by ’80s art stars Cindy Sherman, Robert Longo and Jonathan Borofsky are integral to the mise en scene, while music by downtown legends Brian Eno, Philip Glass and Arto Lindsay, among others, provides a running soundtrack.
This video is an ensemble piece that contains a collection of experimental performance art pieces by various artists including: LAURIE ANDERSON; DAVID BYRNE (of Talking Heads); PHILIP GLASS; ARTO LINDSAY (founder of legendary New York No Wave band DNA) w/TONY NOGUEIRA; EVAN LURIE; JOHN LURIE; BILL T. JONES; GEORGE LEWIS; and MOLISSA FENLEY (Piece has music by ANTHONY DAVIS). The entire video takes place in The Kitchen, a legendary artist’s loft in New York City. All the performance pieces are what would be considered Experimental/Avant-Garde. The highlights of the Two Moon July video are performances by Laurie Anderson, a fantastic running commentary on newspapers, media and film by Talking Heads frontman David Byrne, and a rare performance of an incredible piece by Phillip Glass entitled ‘Mad Rush’.
Some of our favorite pieces:
Bruce Conner, though this is actually a music video for Byrne & Eno’s record My Life in a Bush of Ghosts.
Arto Lindsay (of DNA, dudes)
We had such High Hopes for you guys this month. It Was Not To Be. First off, the projected show (that would’ve happened two Sundays ago) with Arizona’s Prom Body didn’t materialize. They had van problems and had to abruptly return home. We understand and all. Still a bummer.
Secondly, Minneapolis’ Tender Meat (pictured above) was gonna roll through with Midwestern weirdo/sports columnist Matthew Saint-Germaine August 30th. That would’ve been one killer night to remember but alas, they too have canceled their tour. UGH. You guys!
Take some solace, the boys in Tender Meat just released an album today via Minneapolis label Totally Gross National Product. Entitled Hello, World, it’s available for streaming in its entirety today. Check it out.
We be sad. Two cool things planned for you, our friends and readers getting by in our fair Missoula-town. Though we’ve taken a bit of a sabbatical from booking shows, we hope to have something available for you guys in the not-to-distant future.
Once again this Missoula-place turned into a mecca for the sweater-toothed and right on, it was worth it. It was really worth it, guys. We saw more than we have in years previous, we’re still reeling from minds blown despite the fact our illustrious editor felt like an Old Man for much of the weekend. HELL IS REAL. I’ve been getting there, feeling 10 years older every day for the last week. I’m 203 now. I look awesome. I feel like all I want right now is fried chicken.
So after our favorite-thing-that-happens-in-Missoula is over, what the hell do we do now? No idea. This was kind of a watershed Total Fest for us. You may or may not know this but two Important Missoulians left town. They’ve left marks on festivals past and neither was in attendance. You were missed, Dane “Naked” Hansen and Colin “University” Johnson. It doesn’t help either that Important Missoulian Mikki “Internet” Lunda announced plans to leave town too. I’m beside myself, guys. What are we to do??? I totally understand the need-to-leave but I’m sad and these three folks are/and have left massive holes in our little town. :(
Oh well….still had fun this year. Most memorable to these ears (in no particular order): Dreamsalon, Darto, Chastity Belt, American Cream, Chemical Lawns, the last bit we saw of Shramana, KITTEN FOREVER, J. Sherri, King Lollipop, Toupee, Nerve Beats (wow!), and of course WOLF EYES. Saw some girl that looked like a blonde version of our friend Martha, watched some lady enter the festival with her dog and complain the music was too loud, Reggie Watts crashed the thing again, someone threw up outside, debauch debauch debauch, after parties that were probably amazing that I didn’t go to (Old Man Excuses). Another year, guys. We have to wait another fucking year.
And because I love lists, here’s some cool groups that come to mind should the Total Fest committee have trouble thinking of bands or whatever for next year (no order):
1. Punishment. From Seattle, he’s pretty hard to describe. Some of you may remember the time we brought him to town along with solo-Megabog at the ZACC about a year or something ago.
2. U.S. Girls. From Chicago (or maybe Canada now? dunno). Just listen to her shit and fucking do it already. One of the best.
3. Megabog. Seattle again. In a similar vein with say, Chastity Belt (bring them back too!), and they cover Kevin Ayers so they’re golden in my book(s).
4. Naomi Punk. They live in Olympia now and are thankfully nothing like those joyless poli-prudes that seem to overpopulate the place. The Only Grunge I Like. Killer live, doods. Bring them to this festival.
We could probably think of more but hey, we don’t wanna be too annoying. Bring back all the good bands too, we never get sick of good bands. CYA next year.
Missoula Punk News’ Kate Whittle just posted a list of the top ten or so bands she’s anticipating at Total Fest this year. Good idea. We’re just going to take that and run with it it. This is very very loosely ranked, btw.
1. Wolf Eyes (pictured above). I’ve been lucky enough to see Wolf Eyes multiple times in the past and I can attest to the absolutely mind-melting effects their music has in person. You’ll be on the edge of the abyss knowing full well that that abyss is looking right though you (pardon le cliche). You will go insane. Wolf Eyes is easily the heaviest band to have played Total Fest in the history of Total Fests. (playing Saturday, Aug. 16th at The Palace Lounge)
2. Nerve Beats. Who would’ve thunk there’d be a band like Nerve Beats playin’ Total Fest? Not this guy. Nerdy post-punk angular jizz jazz fusion or whatever. Shit’s taught, Wire-y, just up my kind of anti-punk Punk alley. They would totally rule that Punk Alley. Can’t wait. (playing Saturday, Aug. 16th at The Palace Lounge)
3. J.Sherri. Together with Boys (also playing Total Fest this year) and anything Max Roberston is doing, this is my favorite band in Missoula right now. (Re)Joining forces with their drummer Sam (who is a big part of the Sherri’s Prince-esque public language), their performance at Total Fest is something that really shouldn’t be missed. I remember hearing a rumor that one veteran member of the TF committee “doesn’t really get it” but to be honest, I don’t think “getting it” is the point. These kids got the stuff and to define the stuff is to completely misunderstand what the stuff is doing to your groin. (playing Saturday Aug. 16th at Big Dipper during the Record Swap)
4. Dreamsalon. Seattle seems to have a glut of good bands spewing out of the ashes of their ill-advised grunge experiment from howevermany years ago that was. I dunno. I was in middle school. Most kids today touting Nirvana are/were younger BY FAR. Don’t mean to pull out Mr. Older-Wiser, but come on, there are some better ideas floating around in the music ether and Dreamsalon just got that stuff. Dreamsalon = psych rock without all the wishywashy un-fun blokes running down yer good time. (playing Friday, Aug. 15th at The Palace Lounge)
5. Sediment Club. Rhode Island has always been known as the prime purveyors of The Weirdness, The We-Hate-New-York-School, and the General Fucked-Up-Ed-Ness of the East Coast. Sediment Club plays that card and then just pretty well runs with it. We don’t necessarily have a Lightning Bolt on our hands (thank gawd) but we almost have an Arab on Radar. These dudes write some seriously fucked up amalgamations of sound that the better part of me would classify as songs. True Total Fest children, Queen Mab, these guys. (playing Friday, Aug. 15th at The Badlander)
6. Woolen Men. This is for you ten (x50) Burger Records fanatics that probably lose your mind every time Thee Oh Sees come to Missoula. They didn’t come this year? Boo hoo, there are a ton of bands better that have been doing the same damn thing. Woolen Men, they’d tickle your fancy. Garage Rock has been slowly ebbing and flowing since 1963 and dudes, take one last look before you turn 30. This is the soundtrack of the last fun you’re ever able to have before the realities of life, debt, relationships, adulthood, whatever you wanna call it, have destroyed your ability to party. Cheers! To no more parties! (playing Thursday, Aug. 14th at the ZACC)
7. Chastity Belt. Fuck men. No. Seriously. I have it on good authority a person-that-is-well-known-in-Missoula yelled “My friend wants to BONE YOU!” at the guitarist in Chastity Belt while they were playing the Treefort Music Fest in Boise, ID. She belted back “I’m a lesbian!” Fuck you, guys. Come see Chastity Belt and be grateful that such a killer band of Seattle ladies have figured out how to essentially make the late 1980’s indie-rock moment irrelevant. (playing Saturday, Aug. 16th at The Palace Lounge)
8. King Lollipop. Cody, one of the folks I’d tab for BEST GUITARIST EVER is finally gracing Missoula with his superb solo concoction known only as King Lollipop. He’s that dude-voice you’ve heard on every Shannon & the Clams record, btw. Think children-sing-along-doo-wop. This shit is candy-coated and perfect for the record swap Saturday morning/afternoon. (playing Saturday, Aug. 16th at Big Dipper during the Record Swap)
9. American Cream. If anyone’s ever been asking why there isn’t more Krautrock or something you might mistakenly define as Krautrock at Total Fests past, there’s no reason to look no further than American Cream. These Minneapolis weirdos write songs in REAL TIME. Confound your notions as to what a band really is supposed to be with these guys. They too, they got the stuff. (playing Saturday, Aug. 16th at The Badlander)
10. Criminal Code. Read Echo & the Bunnymen + excess chorus, punk, some other shit that sounds nothing like Echo & the Bunnymen, you almost get the idea. Sing like you’ve got a nasal injury. Play guitar like you’ve no idea that chorus is a thing you can use some-of-the-time. It won’t matter. You’ll still rule. You’ll still be Criminal Code. This may be the sound in which we get the closest to Olympia via listening to a band from Tacoma. Check it, dudes. Broken Water a few years or so or whenever ago, Criminal Code is that cool band right now. (playing Saturday, Aug. 16th at The Palace Lounge)