Archives for posts with tag: avant garde

All roads lead to Bandcamp. Reflecting earlier today on a treasured 7″ acquired in a record shop on cobbled Cockburn Street, Edinburgh, summer of 1980, by …and The Native Hipsters, called “There Goes Concorde Again” and find it is included on a compilation of their works released 21 years after the event, then loaded to Bandcamp. Here’s another song from the album, called “Stuck”:

…and The Native Hipsters originated from a duo – William Wilding and Nanette Greenblatt – adding Robert Cubitt and Tom Fawcett by the time they recorded their landmark chart-topping avant-garde experimental post-punk realist/surrealist/dadaist performance art single “There Goes Concorde Again” in 1980. Their home recording was self-released in the finest post-punk DIY tradition on their own Heater Volume Records on a 33 1/3 rpm 7″ with stamped labels, and a sleeve assembled by the band out of bits of old posters, meaning every sleeve was unique.

The song was played a bit on John Peel’s influential BBC radio show and the initial pressing of 500 they sold out. They re-pressed it a couple of times but continued to hand-craft the sleeves, even as the single reached #5 in the independent singles chart in the UK. According to wikipedia they declined an offer by Bowie/ T Rex producer Tony Visconti (!!!) to re-record the song, fearing commercialism.

The album is a mixed bag (in the best possible way) of 20 years of assembled avant-garde oddness. “Stuck” seems crafted from the same vein of quotidian observational weirdness as “There Goes Concorde Again”:

“Stuck my head through the railings of the park last night/ Don’t believe in the fire brigade so stayed there all night”

The sound collages on the album are a mix of cut’n’paste sound collages and baffling-strange storytelling. It’s not everyone’s cup of tea. This kind of thing annoys the hell out of some people. I love it.

It’s clear that for all the anti-art deconstruction of music, there are some very clever unconventional artistic minds here. The words and situations have disconcerting familiarity, but twisted into bizarre nonsense and delivered with an eery innocent childishness and menacing detachment at the same time.

bent_bandcampThe unholy racket of BeNt comes from Brisbane, a city of surprises. “Bad Beds” opens their new and 2nd album “Snakes and Shapes”.

Among the debris of BeNt’s anarchic approach to post-punk song-craft there’s a lot of bits and pieces reminding me of an unlikely collection of avant-pop adventurers.

Foremost is NZ  avant-pop pioneers The Spies, but there also seems to be trace residue here of experimental approaches by the likes of Captain Beefheart & the Magic Band, Pere Ubu and The Sugarcubes, as well as the somewhat mis-placed (but understandable) Slits & Raincoats comparisons they seem to attract.

There’s some absurdist or Dadaist overtones to some of the content – like spoken interludes – and also some approaches to guitar noise that evoke the spirit of Fred Frith’s ‘Guitar Solos’ at times.

This kind of wilful disregard for form can often lead to all kinds of unlistenable noise, but BeNt have melody and rhythm at their heart and there’s a spirited and playful wide-eyed enthusiasm which keeps the songs fun and engaging.

If you enjoy what you hear on this album check out their action-filled Bandcamp back catalogue for more gems, like “Skeleton Man” here from their 2014 album “non Soon”

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Strap yourselves in folks, it’s time for piano ballads from the edge of the planet from Opposite Sex multi-instrumentalist Lucy Hunter, with the disturbed, unique oddness of “A Bottled Brain” via The Attic Singles Club series.

Lucy’s solo performances on piano have elements of Gothic show tunes about them. Dramatic, melodic, with vivid images, baroque piano flourishes, and occasional dissonant touches to break the spell. All of those are here on “A Bottled Brain”.

The Attic Singles Club releases have featured on Pop Lib a bit. One original song, one cover selected by The Attic. This time around its a David Lynch song and it’s just perfect. Perfectly weird. Lucy on piano, bass and trumpet and that vocal performance is part malevolence, part helium-toned freakiness, thanks to Adrian Ng’s inventive production.

I’d love to hear a whole album from Lucy like this. She’s a courageous innovator and risk-taker. Her lyrics (assisted by the music) often create fictional worlds rich in nightmarish imagery. I love the sometimes unconventional approach taken to her playing and song-writing – breaking the rules and challenging, while remaining accessible if you invest the time to connect with the spirit of the music.

[Photos: The Attic]

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