Monday, January 31, 2011

New Spectre Folk "Black Meds 2" coming out on Woodsist March 29

Pete Nolan has been Spectre Folk since before drumming and strumming in Magik Markers was his main gig, and will be Spectre Folk long after he shuffles off this mortal coil. The main benefit of ghost folk is, you can play it way after you’re dead, and while you’re alive the Spectre can haunt any decent willing body with a gift for the unreal. This time around fellow Michigander Steve Shelley (Sonic Youth) ran drums, Peter Meehan (The Grey Lady) glued guitar and Aaron Mullan (Tall Firs) slithered bass in the Folk, creating an alchemy the Spectre hasn’t floated since the days of basement wig wearing, in the short-lived Norman Bates-era.

The band entered Echo Canyon West with the intention of recording a 7″ of the “up-tempo” version of “Blackest Medicine,” the title cut from the 2007 home-fi Woodsist debut. After several sessions, they emerged with a four song studio collage monster that won’t fit in your locker and smells like smoked banana peels and undies blowing down an alleyway. A vibraphone, piano, and a plate reverb unit the size of a brooklyn apartment were all employed by the Spectre like Uri Gellar used spoons, inappropriately, desperate and bent. They physically turned the 2 inch reel of tape over so Peter Meehan could put subliminal backwards masking under his Erkin Koray worthy guitar solo on “4th Dimension Refs”and Nolan put the Temple Screamer to good use on tracks one and two, using samples of Shirley Temple Black’s ‘Good Ship Lollipop’ as vocoder harmonies on choruses. As far as we know, this record also features the first gong solo by legendary skinsman Steve Shelley, since the gong heavy debut Crucifucks LP.

Oh yeah, it’s full of burning psych-pop jammers too! Earmarking Nolan’s long standing but unspoken obsession with personal hygiene, “Keep Your Teeth Clean!” is a krauty suite that betrays Shelley and Mullan’s recent stint as the rhythm section for Neu! Their teutonic influence has the effect of putting the dreamy psych-fuzz that Nolan exhibited on last year’sCompass lp through a blender.. with a frog… that spills out into a wide open milky wayhead zone. You can’t snuggle with this record, so strap yourself in and feel the G’s! Fearless as a lemming, Nolan has created a private universe here, a Society of the Spectre-cal if you will, and his gift is his freedom. Let’s have a drift.

- Elisa Ambrogio (Magik Markers)

Spectre Folk

The Blackest Medicine, Vol. II - 12″ EP
Street date: Mar. 29, 2011

Side A:
1. The Blackest Medicine
2. Keep Your Teeth Clean

Side B:
3. Sold Your Eyes to the Moon
4. Fourth Dimension Refs


Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Spring Releases for the ol Arbitrary Signs

Arbitrary Signs is proud to announce the upcoming release of 2 new lp's this spring....

1st off on March 1st... United Waters "Your 1st Ever River"

Solo lp by Brian Sullivan of Mouthus fame under the moniker "United Waters". The name of the lp is "Your First Ever River" It's kind of a loner home recorded exegesis that he's been working on for like 2 and a half years or something...some Fleetwood murk. Below are some words by food and hardcore heads.

The new lp by United Waters rises and falls, slowly and organically - if you're
half listening, it's a pleasant stream of organic electronics with the
occasional acoustic guitar sound cutting through, perfectly lovely
stuff, you could put it on anytime for anybody. but when the
headphones go on and lights get dimmed, the evidence of the
painstaking work that went into the composition and creation of these
tracks is apparent, beautiful and stunning.
the image that ran through my mind was Sullivan as a kid, late at
night, staring at the black and white snow of the television in the
dark - but he's seeing the secret patterns embedded in it, digital
sparrows flying to nowhere through psychedelic vectors that no one
else can see - or maybe listening to the radio long after the
broadcast dropped off and the station stopped broadcasting, and he's
able to hear the secret songs that the machines sing to one another in
the night.

Peter Meehan

If you know the man behind United Waters (B.K.A Brian Sullivan) from anything, you ll know him as the guitar thudder in Brooklyn s densest duo, Mouthus.
And if you were really listening to all those ninety million releases they did in the past few years, you d notice that Mr. Sullivan is a deconstructionist of the highest order.
Molten riffs that would cream the face off of both Nocturno Culto and Dave Murray combined dismantled themselves to reveal rock as a gas and thin air to be nothing but a
petrified turd left over in a backstage buffet platter by Michael Angelo Batio.

On his debut release under the United Waters moniker entitled Your First Ever River , Sullivan continues to expose the contradiction of sound for what it is, but there s not
so much discombobulated shrailing this time round to drive the point home. Brian s vision on Your First Ever River sucks in the sound and vibe of mid-nineties basement dwellers,
early seventies robe donning prog rockers and present day turtle necked Germans to continue his pursuit for the never knowing sound. Let s hope your there enough to bask in the
revelatory glow of it s sound.

Tony Rettman

Then on April 1st.. the new lp from the awesomest band in a really long time.. Devin, Gary, and Ross called "4 Corners Bounce"

This record features renowned visual artists Gary Panter and Devin Flynn with multi-instrumentalist Ross.. doing what they love best... jammin'... Totally zoned songs and jams that fit in great with the Arbitrary Signs aesthetic that you've come to appreciate over the decades...

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Magik Markers in the Village Voice

Live: Magik Markers Soothe A Rattled Crowd At Psychotropa

MMs' Elisa Ambrogio, paying us back for that hour-long opener. Pics by Mike, more below.
Magik Markers/SSPS
Friday, January 14

Better than: Sniffing magic markers

Psychotropa is the newest spoke on Brooklyn's wheel of venues, and in the interest of you getting to enjoy a show there sometime, let's just say it's off the Montrose Avenue L stop. It has a polite doorman and a greet-and-pay window, not unlike "regular" clubs; the basement space itself is long, pillared. and low-ceilinged, fluorescent-lit and easy to be in. Friday night's show was a mixed bag: One act didn't show, and one act that did consequently played for too damn long. But Magik Markers made it all OK.

It was immediately apparent that no one had seen or heard from Skaters' James Ferraro, who was set to open. Maybe that's why SSPS (Savage Society Private Sector), the solo thing from Excepter's Jon "Porkchop" Nicholson, went and played for more than an hour -- long enough to think both This is cool and This is why I never fucking go out a couple times each. If he'd stopped at 20 minutes, the loud, Korg-y set (abetted by the strapping young PA system) could've made some sort of rough-hewn statement, powered by sweet-and-sour Kraut rhythms fed through rambling-topography synths (with occasional five-string bass), arranged simply and refreshingly, without polish. He clearly had more grandiose ideas, though, given the painted face under the Spider-Man mask under the motorcycle helmet. Thirty minutes in, it still seemed salvageable; once he'd passed an hour, smashed an innocent midi deck, and placed himself in psychic debt to the entire room, a few kids up front started clapping in a concerted effort to suggest that he stop. He pressed on meaninglessly for another 10 minutes. Do not invite this guy to your dinner party.

Magik Markers, low and holy, redeemed us all. A Northeast band again now that singer/guitar politician Elisa Ambrogio has relocated from SF to Massachusetts, the Markers thumb-smeared two psychedelic jams from their 2009 split EP with Sic Alps and improvised the rest of their beautifully loose, squalling 30-minute set. It might've been impenetrable if it wasn't so enveloping. Drummer Pete (Spectre Folk) Nolan and bassist John Shaw seem to start every song or fragmented impulse from somewhere behind you, stealing up your legs, rounding a beat into life, and roping everyone in. Ambrogio, who by dint of either gender or her band's outlying-underground status may never get her due as a guitarist or lyricist, is even more focused and powerful a frontperson now than in the Markers' early days, when she'd often end up bleeding and hopelessly tangled in cords. Amid the din at one point, she invoked her former self, free-declaiming "I invented electricity!" and "If you have enough money you don't need to be seen," before dropping to the ground to sculpt waves of heaving noise out of the basement air. Was that a song? Was that the encore? Who went first again? Disoriented and tingling, the crowd (more musicians than you usually see in one place -- the Markers a psych-band's psych band) spilled out, having been karmically repaid.

Critical Bias: Paid my $7 at the door. A half-hour later, Markers drummer Pete Nolan gave me $7 and an unnecessary apology.

Overheard: "This is, like, the third straight show that [Ferraro] has missed."

Random Notebook Dump: When a DJ lops off a bassy hip-hop track to smash into an early Beat Happening tune (which will also meet a premature end), it may be surprising, but that's not the same as good.

Magik Markers Set List
Pasty Cline
White Map Laid With White Inks On White Walls
The Diamond Guitar Of Tico Feo

Nice bow tie
Elisa in repose
One of tonight's victims
markers set.jpg
Hell of a set list