I sometimes have difficulty recalling birthday celebrations but I'll never forget my fourteenth as it was without a doubt the heaviest of them all. It was 1991 and basically still heads and preps all the way, socially speaking, and if you rolled with the heads yours was most likely a metalhead. That year my birthday party pretty much resembled any old home-spun celebration save for the fact that I obtained permission from my mother to invite my friends over to jam as loud. and for as long, as they liked. To this day I cannot fathom what my mothers thoughts could have been while she watched my friends and I bang our heads along to deft renditions of Slayer's "Seasons In The Abyss" and Megadeth's "Holy Wars...The Punishment Due" wrought by the likes of a then thirteen year-old Cory Smoot and friends, the sheer multitude of amplifiers and other necessary equipment crammed into the tiny den guaranteeing almost certain instant deafness. I can say I have never ever experienced a bang-over as intense as the useless lolling-melon that hung from my sore neck and shoulders for days after that singular house party thrasher.
Though time has put quite the crook between the Cory I knew then and the Cory who was found dead this morning on GWAR's tourbus - a band he's been lending his sick licks, shreds and metalhead essence to for the last decade as lead guitarist Flattus Maximus - I feel an obligation to pay proper tribute to his memory. I do this not just because he was a homie from way back nor for the fact that he's managed to impart his humor and wizardry to our most notoriously messy hometown band but simply because Cory's technical prowess and musical influences heavily informed my tastes from an early age.
Come Fall! Come all to the Hotel Utah Saloon -- San Francisco's historic (circa 1908) "tall ship" themed venue where Marilyn Monroe used to await her beau Joe Dimaggio -- tonight and see local bard of beard and board Little Wings air some new songs along with Juanita and the Rabbit and the Lowrollers who'll be kicking it off at 9pm. The Utah being something of a fabled haunt, both in the literal and figurative sense, the eerie vibe of this dark and mysterious bar always frames nothing short of an ideal setting for Kyle Field's alter (altar?) gig-ego. Who knows if the last captain's face is still stuck in the mirror, but I'll be around to speak his name three times tonight and see if he appears. Stowaways: $6.
Tonight tonight tonight! (((folkYEAH!))) presents the latest aural conjurings from local pop-psych wizard (popsyzard?) and Fresh & Onlys brainchild/frontman Tim Cohen's sleight of band side-project Magic Trick in celebration of their latest release The Glad Birth of Love (out on Empty Cellar) -- a record consisting of only four songs clocking in at nearly forty-five minutes that finds Cohen coloring outside the lines, expanding upon his improvisational troubadour habit by exploring a limitlessness of epic, long-form composition most gallantly, with more than a few influential favors bestowed from Joanna Newsom tucked beneath his armor.
That Cohen continues to maintain an excitement about his rambles comes as no surprise as his previous works, given his Two Sides, Onlys, Black Fiction, Feller Quentin, Smif Carniverous et al, are as different as pineapples and peaches but remain each enjoyable to the last. And this newly-born Glad Birth of Love is no exception, for it is most definitely Cohen's most ambitious release to date and features several heavy-hitter guest appearances like John Dwyer of Thee Oh Sees, Grace Cooper of The Sandwitches, Diego Gonzalez of The Dry Spells and Citay, plus many more. The limited-to-100-copies edition “comes in an elegant old-style tip-on jacket” with an 11″ x 22″ poster featuring what one dear friend of mine declared to be "some scary-ass artwork."
Mr. Waits certainly has his own way of getting his point across so don't take my word for it, find out for yourself by letting Tom indulge in a little of your time (engage below). The short of it is, kids, the tangible version of new joint Bad As Me hits the well-worn shelves of Amoeba on Tuesday, October 11 --- don't be a meanie, come get some!
I suppose it should go without saying that we here at Amoeba Music thrive on finding hidden gems buried in plain sight, but I'm just gonna go 'head and reiterate said statement, kicking it off with a completely enthused, rustic expression. Oh my lands is the recent reissue of the lost recording/private press These Trails record ever the very boon of my acid folk dreams! Resurfaced, re-pressed and well regarded by the good folks down at Drag City (it seems like I'm always tipping my cap at them, with good reason) this enchanting collection of hallucinatory rambles (circa 1973) is redolent of paradisiacal psychedelia espoused with that patent sundazed acoustic folk sound that forever seems (to my ears anyway) second-nature to native Californian singer-songwriters. However, there is no question that this masterpiece of psych/folk ecstasy could have been conceived anywhere other than its Hawaiian birthplace thus making it a top, if lone, contender for best literal inclusion into one's "deserted island" fantasy list of music must-haves. The second song on side A, "Our House in Hanalei" being one of the most mana-licious, check it out:
"Our House in Hanalei" - These Trails
With a voice that seems to echo from the same otherworldly well the likes of Melora Creager and Linda Perhacs draw from, Margaret Morgan's melody driven yet free-wheeling vocal style intoxicates as it harmonizes with the smokey vocals of These Trails co-conspirator Patrick Cockett, mixing with their heady, hallucinatory acoustic folk instrumentation - an odd/complex muddling of dulcimer, sitar, tabla, ipu, recorder, electric guitar and then state-of-the-art Arp synth - to spawn a crystal clear yet purple hazy sound-geography that feels all together edge-of-the-map exotic and humbly homespun.