(mostly new, a bunch from New Zealand) (these are all first run-throughs)
Peter Jefferies/Jono Lonie, At Swim 2 Birds (Flying Nun, originally released 1987). Like the cult Surrealistic novel it’s named after, this is both wonderful in patches and overall rather too subtle for its own good. But it tickled me. Tricky, tail-eating little experiments featuring piano and guitars that never overstay. Too bad I know zilch about Peter Jefferies’s earlier outfit, This Kind of Punishment.
Milton Marsh, Monism (Manufactured, reissue of Strata-East, 1975). Whulp! — Another avant-big-band a bit in the Chicago mode, that I had never heard of. But Milton Marsh is a local and I was hypnotized enough by a first past that this is a strong candidate for one of my reissues of the year. Here’s some scoop.
Doprah, Wasting (Arch Hill). Supposedly in the Portishead mode, updated. Thing is, good trip-hop had snips of coiled barbed wire running underneath somewhere — this succumbs more to the persistent New Zealand tendency of mutter-whisper/mutter-whisper. The beats wake up on the second side and spooky begins to arm-wrestle somnolent. I’ll be back. But it would be unseemly to, you know, hurry back.
Boogarins, Manual (Other Music). Tough call, but I’m less psyched by this LP than I was by an earlier track this pair did that fit with the modern-LSD moods of the first half of this year. Will have to revisit.
God Bullies, Mama Womb Womb (Amphetamine Reptile, 1989). Woo-woo from Kalamazoo, collage-rockers in the manner of the Residents, but full of wild ‘n’ woolly punk rather than grunt-prog. Yeah, it’s a bit downhill after the band and album names — often amusing, never transcendent. Still, way out of print and I’m not getting rid of it.