Friday, February 25, 2005


Problems with my browser (now fixed) stopped me from putting in links 'n' shit for a coupla days, otherwise I'd've made connections to some useful Matt Valentine info against my recent post. (But why put in a plug for a gig in Brooklyn? Well, why not? Believe it or not, though, a handful of Brooklynites do read this blog...and hopefully, when Matt valentine plays Yeovil (yeah, in my fuckin' dreams, man) they'll put a plug on their blogs. Heh.

So, who da fuck Matt Valentine? The terms "Acid Folk" and "Free Folk" are bandied around much too much, methinks, and can be a major turn-off for a lot of people (myself included, to be honest...I'd probably really hate it if I hadn't actually heard some of the music first: for us Brits the word "Folk" often carries an irritating bourgeoise resonance)...and, um, "Rural-based Drugs Music" is a bit of a mouthful...and "Rural Psychedelic Rock" is a bit fucking, well, Mojo magazine...whereas "New Weird America" means what, exactly: the opposite to "Old Weird America"...?

Valentine (along with p.g. Six, Tim Barnes, Samara Lubelski and a host of other like-mind'd Out-There individuals) is most-recently responsible for (among other things) "The Galaxies Incredibly Sensual Transmission Field Of The Tower Recordings" by Tower Recordings, which is, to put it bluntly, the sort of record that Neil Young should be making: discordant/mournfully blissed-out vocal-wails over fuzz-guitar drones, detuned Moog swirls and stoned tabla benedictions. Occasionally, an accoustic guitar motif will pick its way through the remains of a burnt-out barn in search of a fifth of fire-water. Plenty of slowed-down Post-Duul violins and a pedal-steel played though a flanger: Christ, it's like Gram Parsons has come back from the grave and relocated to Goa.

"Ibiza Within You" is Nu-Psych 'Country' for the Post-Rave Generation and features a backwards guitar so fucked by its own fuzz-pedal that it sounds like it's being played thru a lap-top: Glitch-Folk, anyone? Well, maybe not: these guys are resolutely analogue to the point of recording in an old church with bongos and organs and shit. "Empress of I.91" is finger-picking, barbituate-frazzled Psych-Blues: "New York City is where I wanna go," moans a voice so fuckin' sad that you believe him without a moment's hestitation: "...And if the river was whiskey, baby, I'd buy me a million jugs..."

Well, I think he says "jugs", but maybe it's "drugs".

Random hand-claps and a drummer on sleeping-tablets. A harmonica blows in from someone else's record. "Forum" sounds like the sort of song Beck wishes he could record: "Sisters, Brothers, expectin' to flyyyyyyyyyyyyyy..." A ring-modulator rubs up against a guitar and they're so radically out-of tune with each other that it sounds fantastic. A depressed farmer sings in a falsetto about tangerines. The drummer starts dreaming.

"Other Kinds Run" is The Velvet Underground circa 1967 playing an unexpected gig in a bar in Kansas. Everyone gets loaded on smack and whiskey. Some local musicans help out. John Cale plays piano. Sterling Morrison sings, not Lou. After a while the band drink so much that the music sounds like it's being sucked down through the knots in the wooden floor; "I'mmmmmm gonna go on down to where there is no pain..." And then a guitar solo comes in that's, fuck it, people: just go and buy the damn thing.

Matt Valentine has made loads of records; some by himself, some with Erika Elder (who plays the best electric jug this side of the 13th Floor Elevators), and some with Tower it's totally unfair to colour him in with just one review of one record, buuuuuuut: if you like music (forget the tags/label/genres) in any way/shape/form (and I know you people do) then you'll love this LP. And if you love this LP, then you really should drill down and check out his other stuff in all its shining Alt.Blues/Raga/Drone-y splendour.

And that is why I posted about him/them.

Oh, and there's a diskography of sorts, here.

Goodnight, Austin, Texas, wherever you are.