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On the Download



So, I was surfing around looking for something to match my shitty mind state the other day and I happened upon the Bulb Records website. In case you don't have a way-back machine on your brain, Bulb Records was the genius Ann Arbor label that launched the careers of many a sub-underground legend. Among those legends, you ask? Well, Andrew WK is their "we knew them when..." flagship artist. But Bulb-er Jim Magas also went on to acclaim by shortening his name to Magas and making crazy-scary-good electro jams for the Ersatz label. Before said Ersatzery, Magas was in the duo Couch, which tore through Ann Arbor in the '90s, forcing much head scratching and beard pulling and general cursing with their basement take on confrontational homemade noisey-rawk. And Pete Larson, the other half of Couch and Bulb's mainman, made Motörhead-honoring hay as late as the latter half of the '00s with his husband-and-wife duo, 25 Suaves. There were dozens of other bands inspired by the chaos to release their own missives, including Prehensile Monkeytailed Skink, retro-rock-killers the Monarchs, Quintron, Wolf Eyes, the WK-fronted Pteradactyls and way too many more pieces of spontaneous musical combustion to catalog here. It was Ground Zero for much of what would warp the minds of many in the proceeding decade. The reason I bring all this up? As I said before, the chaos in my head often needs an analogue analgesic...and stumbling upon the nearly-neglected (it's still hosted, after all) Bulb website, I discovered they have a magic stash of mp3s, including jams by many of said above sonic wrecking crews that hurt so good it, er, hurts! Go get you some. The URL, you ask?

Speaking of ...

Noise rock has always been one of the paramount joys of music made in a town that values the simultaneous cacophony of manufacturing and emptiness. Where other towns have horns honking and hipsters gabbing on handhelds and shutter clicking, and blah blah blah associated with nightlife, we have noise, hard noise ... and silence. Hard silence. So, may I please direct your attention to a couple of bands that may or may not appreciate being lumped in said category — but who nevertheless are very much the progeny of Stooges-Destroy All Monsters-Princess Dragon Mom-Gravitar-Windy and Carl-Wolf Eyes.

Black Seal — On jams like the awesomely named "Bad Bloodshed at the Ball," the duo of Adam Pierce and Matt Wolverton create feedback pings and overdrive depth charges of ambience that sound like what I'd imagine an amplified sonar device might sound like when under attack by a pod of particularly aggressive killer whales who approach, circle away, make another pincer move, and then may ultimately destroy either the machine or the man manning it.

Mother Whale — Maybe I'm onto something or just reading into the cross-talk between Black Seal and Pierce's other outfit, Mother Whale — this time as a duo with Jesse Hoffman. The duo has been recording and releasing their meditative improvisations since 2006. There's only three recordings represented on their MySpace page, but they're ample reason to fire up the hooptie and head to Corktown Tavern on the 14th of November with a head full of maritime imagery and any other coloring substance in which you care to indulge.


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