Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Slacks At Cap’s - May 15, 2012

Slacks - Bellingham - source

Slacks At Cap’s

Tuesday - May 15, 2012

Show up at Cap’s on the right Tuesday for once to see the Cherry
Blossoms and discover that they are not playing. However, the Slacks
are. Perfect. Andre and LP stripped down to drums and guitar. They
start off the night, invoking the soul of the 60s garage punk sound
with “Bye Bye Mind.” A slowly building drum rhythm riff. Aching
vocals. Next song, “Don’t Come Over,” sinks the lo fi sonic aesthetic
hook even deeper. Elements of the Greenhorns. Retro lo fi. Ghosts of
the 13th Floor Elevators. Andre’s feedbacking buzz humming guitar
fuses into perfect fuzzed out sounds. Imagine T-Rex crossed with The
Stooges. Both LP and Andre are wearing shades. Lou Reed ultra-style.
LP’s drumming is immaculate, tight and honed down to a zenlike
simplicity, every phrase like a koan: what is the sound of one drum

I swear I can hear Roky Erickson’s soul is screaming with insane joy
somewhere inside of it all. The wail of a forlorn soul in a dark world
full of sex and death, with just this one moment of music offering any
measure of redemption. The crowd at Cap’s is appreciative and
screaming like early Stones’ fans. The song, “You Ain’t” gets everyone
dancing in the aisles. “I Don’t Wanna” with its warm buzz of tubed up
amps is just pure snake hot music. They finish out with a diamond
perfect version of Roky’s “You’re Gonna Miss Me.” Later Andre tells me
that it isn’t complicated, but sometimes it is difficult to make it
that simple. They are The Slacks and you aren’t. My new favorite band
in Bellingham.



Saturday, May 12, 2012

Biagio and the Argonauts, Coty Hogue with Kat Bula - Honey Moon - May 12, 2012

Biagio and the Argonauts, Coty Hogue with Kat Bula - Honey Moon

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Sitting outside on the patio of the Honey Moon listening to the plaintive Appalachian styled melodies of Coty Hogue and Kat Bula drift out into the darkening sky. Echoes of the Carter Family and Gillian Welch but unique and distinctive in their own right. Coty and Kat’s harmonies seem of reach deep down into the brain and stir up ancient memories. Family and blood, broken covenants and lonely dreams. The musicanship is excellent, sparse and evocative. Each song seemed to reach a place of haunting beauty before, stilling the capacity crowd into a hushed reverence. Coty was due to record a live album the next night in Seattle. If it turned out anything close to her performance at the Honey Moon, it should be a gem.

After a brief break, Biagio and the Argonauts (Biagio Biondolillo, Anna Arvan, Rabia Magnusson and Kat Bula) assembled their chairs and various instruments. Biagio’s entertained the crowd with surreal banter and puns. “We are Puddle of Mead!” They started off with “Born to Fall Apart” immediately charming the crowd with engaging melody and sweet harmonies. Having recently recorded a full length album (due out soon), they demonstrated an easy familiarity and humor with each other. Biagio is a talented guitarist and singer. At times, I was reminded of Poi Dog Pondering. “Big Money” stood out as one of the biggest crowd pleasers. They finished out the sweet and lovely evening with “Nothing Here” - an evocative and poignant tune. It was another beautiful night at the Honey Moon.




Friday, May 11, 2012

Falling Up Stairs - Redlight - May 11, 2012

Falling Up Stairs - Redlight

Friday May 11, 2012

It all begins with beautiful feedback that evolves into a screaming sax solo. Standing room crowd, so much so that it is impossible to tell where the crowd ends and Falling Up Stairs begins. Ryan, Edwin, Brendan and Jonathan suddenly are the ones with instruments. After the squelch of pure and ominous noise, the crowd steps back. These are strange musical keys, whistled tunes of serial killers doing their dark work, Chinese butchers carving the bone with swift strokes. It is all about the slow build right now. A train is coming from far away. The percussion creates a throbbing beat of metal running over the rails. The intimacy of the Redlight leads you to believe that you are sitting in a friend’s living room. But then the music spirals into sublime spaces of complex alienation. The intimate space is suddenly too intimate, inside your skull like a snake of many diamonds, uncurling with each new riff. The crowd is thoroughly entranced, letting the skull snakes unfurl with abandon.

The second piece is heavy funk. Discordant works of music hewn out of some weird firmament. Quick time and mood changes. Imagine John Coltrane as a paranoid schizophrenic on LSD. Absolutely beautiful. Awkward and wonderfully difficult confrontational music. Raw and uncontained. At times, reminiscent of the Dirty Three with all the shifts and changes.

 The last piece starts with the tribal throb of drums with enormous, monstrous and wicked, sax riffs peeling off into the night like dark genies freed from the interior of the instrument. These are occult intensities, weird and uncanny and amazing to experience. The crowd is twisted into musical ecstasy. Rare to witness and be a part of. All together beautiful and strange.


Tuesday, May 1, 2012

12 Questions from What's Up Magazine: Scot Casey - May 2012

12 Questions from What's Up Magazine: Scot Casey

May 2012

Tell us a lot about yourself? What’s your background?

Don’t figure there is a whole lot to tell. Born in Austin, Texas. 1962. Raised around a blink and you miss it place called Little Hope, intersection of Farm Roads 154 and 312. Spent a fair number of years learning to fish on Caddo Lake and Boney Sands before I headed back to Austin to spend about 10 years studying osteological legerdemain and epistemological cetology at the University. Worked for many years in bookstores, Europa, Desert Books, Apollinaire’s, before finally trying to own one called FringeWare – which ended up being a beautiful work of performance art, a Temporary Autonomous Zone that lasted for 3 years before flaming out. I then headed out to the Chama River Canyon in New Mexico and spent six months or so at a Monastery arguing with God and contemplating the mystery of the Bone. Deciding I wasn’t yet suited to be a monk I wandered back to Austin and got a job at the legendary Hole in the Wall, becoming involved in the local music scene. Then, burned out from all the cocaine and tequila, I moved a block up the street to work as a bartender at the Texas Showdown. When the Showdown closed, I found myself at loose ends and, after a time living in bad houses on the wrong side of town, decided it might be time to make a move before I ended up either in jail or dead.

What three words do you think best describes your personality? Why?

I am often accused of being humorous, funny in my tastes like cannibals eating a clown, so I imagine that might be apt. Then there are those that just seem to find me a bit peculiar, something like a skull in the rose garden. Mostly I think I am a fairly affable individual who doesn’t have to work too hard to feel friendly towards most of the other beings in the world. So there: humorous, peculiar and friendly.

What is the biggest difference between playing music now and playing music 25
years ago?

Here’s how I see it: when I was younger and playing open mikes in Austin and small clubs in Dallas, I would see these guys about my age wearing broken fedoras and tattered jackets, shoes that had no shine, and they would stand on stage and try to act like old blues men or ex-junky jazz musicians. Weary with the world and their voices false with pretended roughness. And they would try so hard to not be trying so hard. But it was inauthentic. Too clean. As obvious as a sheep in wolves clothing. I never wanted that. Never wanted to fake having lived any sort of hard life with music. 25 years later, after having lived up and lived down, I understand that playing music is one of the crucial things that make my life worth living. 25 years ago, music was a hobby, something I did to pass the time. These days, music is like breathing or the pulse of blood over my bones. I am with the German that said, without music, life would be a mistake.

What is the oddest job you’ve ever held? How long did you hold it and why?

I have had a lot of odd jobs. Pulled weeds in the desert for monks. Managed a book festival for Laura Bush. Taught high school students about suicide. But the one that seems to surprise most people is that I was a high school football coach for seven years. I played the game all my life. Used to love it. Now I couldn’t tell you who won the Super Bowl.

What initially brought you to Bellingham? Why have you stayed?

I was burned out and a few feet off of rock bottom in Austin when my sister, who had moved up here years before, offered me a room in her basement to stay in for free. I came up here to finish the biography of Charles “Bonesy” Jones – which I wanted to write in scrimshaw on a whale’s skull. After several months of inquiries, I realized it would take more time than I thought to find the right skull, so I started looking for a job. To my great fortune, I was hired at the Black Drop Coffeehouse. Within a year, there was an opportunity to become an owner – which I jumped at. Everything has been golden since. Never found a place with nicer people who, mostly, seem to tolerate my periodic performances and enjoy the coffee I make for them.

Would you rather have the ability to speak to animals or to trees?

Animals all the way. Trees would be too strange. Being able to talk to a dog would be endless laughter. And being able to talk to a whale or an elephant seems like it would be a very holy thing – also with a lot of laughter.

When was the last time you drew a picture? What was it of?

A few weeks ago, I drew a portrait of a model posing at Modsock during Art Walk. I drew her “inner self,” which was, of course, a skeleton with a radiant skull mediating upon the broken bone of being. I think it is still up on the wall over there.

What part of the United States would you most like to visit and why?

Chama River Valley. New Mexico. Home of the Monastery of Christ in the Desert. Crucible of the Penitientes. Burial place of Charles “Bonesy” Jones. I consider it my spiritual home in the sense that everything I know about God and the Devil was uncovered there.

What musician, living, would you most like to share a sandwich with?

If I could share a corned beef sandwich on rye with Leonard Cohen, I’d feel pretty good about that.

You recently turned 50, what was the first thought that popped into your head when
you woke up? What was the last one?

More like an explosion of first thoughts: that I was a lucky man, that everything was so beautiful, that I was the happiest man alive, that I just wanted to laugh until my skull caught fire.

Last thought: pray that my bones might still be able to dance tomorrow.

If given the opportunity, would you be mayor of Bellingham? If so, what laws would
you immediately pass?

Mayor? Sure. Be happy to. Three laws: 

1. No development around lakes, watersheds or areas of natural beauty.
2. No businesses of any kind that produce, import or export anything that is toxic to the environment.
3. No bad coffee.

What’s next for Scot Casey?

At the end of June, I have a show at the Honey Moon that pairs music with an 8 course dinner plus mead drinks. I expect there will be several dishes that feature bones: BBQ ribs, turkey legs and such. I am also working with Honeybee Press to get a small letterpress chapbook out something later in the summer. Also, what I initially came up here for: to finish the biography about the beautiful life and violent death of Charles “Bonesy” Jones – and to continue to work with the Jones estate to publish his artwork. And always, always, to help to keep the Black Drop shining bright and beautiful.