Love Belch

(Butte County Free Music Society - BUFMS110) CDR $8.00

Throughout the third album of recordings from the late 1980s by EL&C (congealed into a trio for this particular session), the bent scrapings just stop and go, because destinations are a myth. The hoity-toity can have their posh beginnings and endings. Thematic development — ew, gross. If you want a meaningful, satisfying arc, go buy opera tickets. These nine tracks do not fuss with making progress from one point to another on some big deal spectrum. Between guitarists Scud Mandrill and Phil Smoot’s heavy, bulldozed twang, damaged tape yoink streaks with more unhinged glee than nude exhibitionists, shoulder to shoulder with delay pedal jabs (and ’70s kitsch, and fragments from Bren’t Lewiis sessions). For 46 minutes, thick and rennetless improv gnaws on rock-infused, decibel-saturating garnk with a level of tunnel-vision determination that’d alarm your average neurologist. Includes bagged sample of inedible orange powder.


The Show That Never Starts

(Butte County Free Music Society - BUFMS102) CDR $8.00

On this 40-minute live recording from 1987, seven guitarists chop the audio space into nuggets and hoard it like desperately stir-crazed fanatics in a cave. Twitching streams of bending amp shriek and atonal blats ricochet as if the guitars are getting repossessed in real time, which makes it seem like the set meanders; it does lack direction, but it’s not at all lost. EL&C knows where they are — “writhing in a filthy pile,” to quote Fred Rinne. Invert the ratios of a Peach Of Immortality / Stefan Jaworzyn collaboration and here you are: Nothing sounds like anything, and everything is louder than everything else. Grinding, churning, sharpness, nausea, a post-godly orgy of guitar noise stabbing itself in the head. Then the queasy side effects kick in and you can practically feel the octet deflating, wound-licking, seeping into the floorboards of the MCS like a bunch of doused witches. Unimpressed silence, four people slow-clapping. Pure victory. Includes bagged sample of inedible orange powder.
“A bizarro-world whack on vanilla prog heavies. Selten Gehörte Musik and Nitsch actions, check, but surely with more clothes on.” —Tom Lax


Wild America

(Butte County Free Music Society - BuFMS99) CDR $8.00

Atrocious as the name of the band may be — as the name is, no need to hedge — there is no denying its accuracy as a descriptor: two parts shrill, overblown, and longer than necessary; one part aberrant, oversaturated, and lacking in nutrients. The near-hour-long nature-show soundtrack recorded live on KALX in Berkeley, 1987, by a short-lived group consisting for this session of Scud Mandrill and Phil Smoot (The Whitefronts), Greg Freeman (Pell Mell), and Chas Nielsen (Idiot (The)), aims to singe whatever porthole of empirical data collection is chosen. No matter what, part of you will end up scarred by Day-Glo hues, unpleasant grit, overexposure to reptilian crunch, the hot mulch of regret, and untamed electric howl.