jason (FMA Admin)
I'm a Free Music Archivist based out of WFMU.
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jason on 04/22/2013 at 07:16AM
Brattleboro is a small town in southern Vermont with a high per capita of home-recorded experimental-pop. From King Tuff's scuzzy glam, to the prolific Happy Jawbone Family Band, to new migrants like Chris Cohen (former Deerhoof/Cryptacize) and Bird Names, this historic river region seems to fuel creativity.
OSR Tapes Dax Bills has released some of the most exciting new sounds from Brattleboro: cassettes by the likes of Nals Goring, Horse Boys, Heat Wilson, Blanche Blanche Blanche, and Zach Phillips. Phillips, the force behind the label, is also the enigma behind pretty much all of these projects. FMA's doncbruital tried to help us wrap our heads around the OSR phenomenon back in 'Dec '09, but the OSR Tapes well of creativity continues to flood down the Connecticut River.
Blanche Blanche Blanche is Zach Phillips' collaboration with vocalist and lyricist Sara Smith, doing something they describe as "open session rock." They performed with members of Punks on Mars, Big French and Great Valley as a tight-knit 5-piece opening for Howling Hex at Brooklyn's Secret Project Robot last month, slipping a Royal Trux cover into a set that came across like Philip Glass scoring a prog-metal/hardcore-punk opera. I asked Zach how the guitar, synth and V-Drums so fluidly follow Sara's pink-haired poetic punk incantations. He explained how he writes scores for each song in his own notation—"four E's, one C, etc"—where each number is a beat.
On their home recordings, Blanche Blanche Blanche paints a lofi atmosphere that should appeal to fans of Ariel Pink, Gary War and James Ferrarro's Nightdolls With Hairspray. The songs are semi-linear, and the sound changes with each release along with the lineup. On their latest 7" (Scam b/w Press Dumps), they wanted to do something without keyboards, so they enlisted guitarist Graham Brooks from the local metal band Atlatl, and fellow home recordist Chris Weisman. Available from Adagio 830, they've also worked with Feeding Tube, La Station Radar, Night People. You'll find all 8 BBB releases for sale + free download at osr-tapes.com, alongside gems from other OSR family members. You can dig deeper here on the FMA, too, with the fantastic Songs For Music by the mysterious Bruce Hart, after the jump.
jason on 04/05/2013 at 10:30AM
Here's a classic from Olneyville Sound System. Like their namesake System—the inspirational former workplace of David Byrne that churns out hot weiners covered in a legendary meat sauce—OSS also specialize in a flavor that is distinct to the Olneyville neighborhood of Providence RI.
OSS make bass and drum music. Not to be confused with "drum 'n' bass." This is real raw bass sludge from Dan St. Jacques (Landed, Six Finger Satellite) and Adam Autry (Boredoms' Boadrum, Plate Techtonics). Their sound is akin to Lightning Bolt doing ESG, concise noise-funk with the experimental humor of Men's Recovery Project. "These Guys Don't Take Requests, They Don't Play Showtunes" comes from their '97 Load Records debut Because We're All In This Together, which featured "anti-blues" harmonica by Roma and maniacal vocals by Jon Von Ryan.
"Olneyville Sound System was very influential on Usaisamonster," Colin Langenus wrote in a post describing a recent collaboration Adam Autry. The Colin L Orchestra joins in on a rare OSS Brooklyn performance this Saturday at the Silent Barn. Providence's Russian Tsarlag, recent WFMU guests Source of Yellow, DJ Greg Fox, and a ventriloquist who goes by the name of Bernard Herman are also on the bill.
Feel free to request "These Guys Don't Take Requests" at an upcoming OSS show, but they'll be playing new material. Word is they have a new album tracked at Machines With Magnets. I got to see some of it live about a year ago and it is going to rule. We'll hear some when they swing by Talk's Cheap / WFMU on April 18th. For a deeper voyage into the history of OSS, check out On Safari, recorded live at Providence's defunct Safari Lounge.