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Saturday, July 08, 2006

RACCOO-OO-OON: BORED FORTRESS & BEYOND

Ohhhhh yesssss...it's a split non-distributed 7" on Not Not Fun:

Sword Heaven: "Town Hag"....Zero production values from Columbus, Ohio: splintered, broken-glass gtr and swollen, muffled jellymeat-drums pounding like a mogadon headache... i/magine a Buttholes intro slowed to 16rpm and recorded off the telly on a 30yr old Hitachi cassette-recorder with a uni-directional mono-mic..."I-it's tribal rock, Jim, but I...I..." Pray they don't find you hiding in the coal-scuttle. Def. gotta check more shit by these guys...

Flip it over like a fried-egg left in the garden for a month, only to find "Visage of The Fox" by RACCOO-OO-OON, Iowa City's finest: tinkling thumb-piano/glockenspiel and an unidentifiable squeeky-noise...distant echo-vox and bursts of tom-toms reminiscent of an Ash-Ra Tempel jam circa 1970...a couple minutes in, the drums and voices are joined by a bass and spiral upwards into a monged-out freeform freakout that ends two hours too quickly, or maybe I was playing it at the wrong speed, but who fucking cares, it sounds greeeeeat! Yeah, 33rpm makes more sensssse...

A beautiful inky scrawl of a cover on brown card, but someone's taken the time to stick on some plastic tree shapes and sprinkle glitter over the back-cover. Just how I like it.



I first checked RACCOO-OO-OON thru their triffik "The Cave of Spirits Forever" CD on Time-Lag which effortlessly straddles a whole bunch of styles from the fractured varispeed free-spaz-dalek-punk of "Cave of Spirits" (which I reckon Spike would love after a few Speckled Hens) to "Under the Deck" wh/ starts w/ a "Mother Upduff"-era Can-style sax-and-drums vamp that expands out into a bass n wah-wah n groaning monks' vocal free-rock skronk-out..."Stick-Eaters" is a full-speed-ahead fuzz-guitar gallop across the astral plains...."Forever" is my fave: a frantic acid-rock jam wh/ segues into "In the Woods" which has a hypnotic garage-rock riff worthy of The Fall, but is soon joined by warbling recorders, percussive tom-tom clud and cymbal skiss, until it breaks down into a plaintif kazoo played thru a ring-modulator...



Needless to say, I've invested in as much of the bands vinyl releases as I can track dn, so expect more postings soon as someone invents the 96hr day...

Meanwhile, I had a v. quick chat w/ Daren from RACCOO-OO-OON wh/ went a little like this:

Couldja talk me through who plays what in the band (or do you swap stuff round)...?

Daren: We play whatever instrument we are comfortable with at the time that we write a song. Ryan is the drum authority in our group. Andy is the main secondary percussionist who also plays saxophone, electronics and keyboards. Shawn is mostly a guitar guy and is an occasional keyboardist and percussionist. I play guitar, and I also play keyboards and electronic percussion. We all share vocal duties.

"The Cave of Spirits Forever" covers a wide-ish range of musical territories....there's a kinda semi-'punk-ish' sounding track, as well as some more free-form stuff, but also some full-on Acid Rock.....there's a variety of grooves and sounds, so I'm interested in how you would personally describe yr music....

Daren: People ask me to describe our music and I still find it difficult. I think we have an emphasis on blissfullness, but also aggressiveness in our sound. I usually don't go to lengths to describe our sounds...I just tell people we play Psych-rock (with some other avant-garde genre adjective thrown in like Free-jazz). I like to leave it up to the would-be listener's imagination and encourage him or her to attend our live performances.

You might want to take a gander at this interview we did with Foxy Digitalis.

Cheers, Daren!

Suffice to say, no corporate shithead is paying me to say nice things about these guys, but I'm totally fucking convinced of their brilliance; the music appeals (to me) on a visceral level...not to everyone's taste, I know, but those o'yuh that looove free/psych/acid-rock murk will dig this in a big way. Trust me; I'm a sumt'ing or other...

Like Death Chants, I feel an unstoppable obsession to check out all their other stuff, so expect further reports soon as I'm able....