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Recent Faves from the WFMU Record Library
November 2002

Reviewed by Music/Program Director Brian Turner

LARY SEVEN & JIM SHARPE / Burlap Fantasy double 7" single (Plastikville)
Conceptual record of the month, maybe the year (this duo also did up a 7" encased in sandpaper that was meant to be heard in decreasing condition every time you pulled it out of its sleeve to play). Here, we have Mountain's classic "Mississippi Queen" deconstructed into various isolated channels direct from its source, an 8-track tape from the 1970's. Ultimately meant to be played on individual turntables simultanously (I tried it kind of unsuccessfully on two of them and couldn't quite sync them up, but I'm no Kid Koala), you get individual channels on each side of this double 7" single set. Favorite mixes: the cowbell WAY up front, and also the drum-heavy mix while Leslie West yelps seemingly down a long corridor. Maybe next the whole Allman Brothers Eat a Peach double LP will get the treatment?

FOOD / Veggie (Rune Grammofon)
Thanks to some nice government funding, and of course ample players, Norway's new music scene has evolved into quite an amazing one, so much that high-tootin' label ECM has invested some serious interest in distribution. That's a good thing, as the world needs to hear some of the serious forward action in jazz that's going on up there. Supersilent's 3CD set a few years ago pretty much floored many ears with their amazing hybrid of amped electric Miles, electronic flourishes and the anything-goes free music approach of rock bands like the Dead C. Now Food, which features members of Supersilent, mash up more of this in a bit more spare environs, complete with acoustic instruments. Evocative of echoey sounds on the North Sea, Food (who, ahem, title pieces such names as "Tofu" and "Chickpea") play masterfully and inventively, giving jazz another arse-kick forward, certainly to be ignored the next time Ken Burns gets going on the topic.

THEORETICAL GIRLS / 1978-1981 (Acute)
THE GIRLS / Live at the Rathskeller 5/17/79 (Abaton)
Several years ago some of the Theoretical Girls' (actually 3/4 male) rarely-heard tracks appeared on an anthology of early groups featuring famed avant-classicist composer Glenn Branca. Branca, in the 80's and 90's, built notoriety for his massive electric guitar ensembles performing, in alternate tunings, compositions of his own design; in some ways giving birth to rock-n-rollers Sonic Youth (whose Moore and Ranaldo were part of Branca's group). In Branca's earlier groups the Static, and Theoretical girls, his music is much more in tune with grotty, assaultive, no-wave that was the rage downtown in the wake of the explosion that brought the Ramones and Voidoids into light. This disc actually complements the Branca-related anthology, as these tracks were all penned by TG-member Jeffrey Lohn and are quite different. Here, we get a messier blast of the Theoretical Girls but it's glorious indeed. These tunes sound like they have more in common with the mid-70s Ohio noisemakers like the Electric Eels in some ways; the hints of the classicism/downtown element that would dominate Branca's work later is evident, but it's more of a White Light/White Heat konk over the head. Other men maurauding as ladies in monicker, Boston's Girls came into prominance with the help of producer David Thomas from Pere Ubu, a band that shared a similar art-punk aesthetic as well as some screeching synth blatt (courtesy of the Girls' Robin Amos, who later went on to Cul de Sac).

Besides pumping out some excellent punk-that-bordered-on-new-wave, the Girls were to the Cars what say Red Transistor were to Blondie; they were dangerously weird (guitarist Mark Dagley once performed in a suit made of newspaper, which an audience member eventually came up and lit on fire), and surely provided a blueprint that more successful Bostonians like Mission of Burma and the Pixies alluded to in some way. Eventually they splintered off to different paths (bassist George Condo and guitarist Dagley both pursued the art world), and this newly issued live document is a scorching reminder of greatness.

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