Farming Uncle

Farming Uncle

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Outsight brings to light non-mainstream music, film, books, art, ideas and opinions.
Published, somewhere, monthly since July 1991. Feel free to re-print this article.

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FARMING UNCLE

Farming Uncle, available for a single quarter from Box 427, Bronx, NY 10458,
is a 25-year-old zine for agricultural information. Where else, for such a price,
can you find out how to make hens lay all year or the ins and outs of cashmere
harvesting? There are plenty of classifieds ranging from Native American organizations
to seed sources. Another feature is historical articles such as a 1912 piece on
successful farming of Brazilian ducks.


SAMHAIN LIVE

In 2001 E-Magine Music successfully
released the packed Samhain boxset, selling more than 30,000 copies of the set
and over 40,000 copies of the re-mastered Samhain titles contained therein. However,
the only previously unreleased audio in the boxset is Live 85-86 containing
music from two Samhain performances. As its first self-distributed release, E-Magine
released an edition of this recording February 26. This edition, packaged in a
jewel-case, is ready to be the sturdy soundtrack to your Samhain road trip whereas
the cardboard-sleeved editions in the boxset are better left safe inside that
bulky container. Also, Samhain fans that saw no need to replace their vinyl editions
with largely redundant audio now have an option to purchase these live shows from
the Danceteria (NYC, 1985) and the Metro (Chicago, 1986) singly. For the Glenn
Danzig fan, these performance documents are important steps from The Misfits to
the horror rocker’s solo career.

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ANI DIFRANCO: SOLO FOR THE FIRST TIME IN EIGHT YEARS

April 2002: Ani DiFranco heads out on a rare solo performance tour in the Eastern
U.S. This is her first solo tour in eight years. In 1994 her fans had a multi-city
tour offering personal, bare solo performances. The set list for this tour will
include selections from the DiFranco songbook ranging from older classics to her latest
double-album Revelling/Reckoning, as well as new material. Opening on the
tour is underground folk musician sensation Dan Bern. He offers “brash humor and
addictive wit.” Dan shared the stage with Ani on several tours in the late 1990s.
Ani produced his 1998 album Fifty Eggs.

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23rd ANNUAL W.C. HANDY BLUES AWARDS NOMINATIONS

Stalwart legends like seminal R&B songwriter-producer Ike Turner and Texas boogie queen Marcia Ball receive multiple nominations and newcomers Kid Ramos and Otis Taylor make for strong showings. Awards will be presented to the select among the nominees Thursday May 23 at the Orpheum Theatre in Memphis, Tennessee. The ceremony features Blues performances followed by two days of Blues on Beale Street. Chief nominees include soul singer Bobby Rush, guitar legends Buddy Guy and B.B. King, young singer Shemekia Copeland, boogieing Marcia Ball and the rock innovator Ike Turner. This sets the trend this year of established career artists alongside trailblazers and new standard-bearers.

One of those new standard-bearers is Otis Taylor, nominated in the “Best New Artist
Debut” category for White African (Northern
Blues
). Taylor racks up a total of four Handy nominations in different categories.
The opus behind the attention from the Awards judges is his critically acclaimed
debut released one year ago.

Named in honor of W.C. Handy, “Father of the Blues”, the awards ceremony traditionally opens the Handy Weekend. Celebrations include the Blues Symposium with workshops, a Children’s Festival, the Handy Awards Festival with Blues bands performing in the clubs along Beale Street, and a Handy Artists Relief Trust Benefit Concert. For the latest information on the Handy Awards and Handy Weekend visit http://www.handyawards.com or http://www.blues.org.

JELLO SEES SCAM IN “FAKE” DKs TOUR

Jello Biafra continues to battle his former bandmates in the Dead Kennedys as
they seek financial gain from the punk group’s legacy. The booking agency representing
Biafra’s former bandmates reportedly sells the band as Dead Kennedys, asks for $10,000
guarantees, and only informs promoters that Biafra is not in the band when specifically
questioned. The band photo that the agency circulated featured Jello Biafra, instead
of the replacement singer Brandon Cruz. Most of the tour dates have been sold
to the public as “Dead Kennedys”, with at least one advertisement featuring the
photo containing Biafra. Some shows are advertised as “Dead Kennedys” with others
initially or eventually becoming “DK Kennedys” with members listed after tickets
have gone on sale. Jello Biafra calls this state of affairs “the real great rock
and roll swindle” and while giving the group the typical right to perform Dead
Kennedys covers, calls the tour overpriced performances by “the world’s greediest
karaoke band.” Early reports from the tour included poor performances and forgotten
lyrics. Witnesses in San Francisco noted that Klaus Fluoride bragged on stage
that the band had only practiced twice in thirteen years. Jello is already blocked
from receiving royalties on DK reissues circulating on Decay that he did not authorize.
For more information on the ongoing legal dispute and details on contributing
to the legal defense fund, please email
or visit the site.

STYLUS COUNCIL (VINYL REVIEWS) *****************

Autobody
Autobody
Old Gold, POB 8776, Atlanta, GA 31106
oldagolda@hotmail.com

Out of Brooklyn come five tracks of loose, formless, low-end rhythms and noise on a self-titled 7″. The consistent style of dark, deep and somewhat mysterious tones gives cohesion to the organic experimentation. However, the inability of the amorphous tracks to fuse into any overt harmonic or even rhythmic trend of substance leaves a vague, bland feel to the music. This is a limited edition of 300. (2)

DQE
DQE
Old Gold, POB 8776, Atlanta, GA 31106
oldagolda@hotmail.com

This is a noisy, clamorous affair of enthusiasm propelling each track forward. Two of the trio of tracks from the trio DQE arrangement are originals by vocalist/guitarist Grace Braun. Also included here is Jimmy Fautheree’s anthem about getting locked out of a wild party, “I Can’t Find the Doorknob,” a song with credence in the rockabilly scene and recorded by Jimmy and Johnny in 1958. DQE straddles psychobilly and cow punk in the most deconstructed, primitive forms on this raw 45. Grace Braun grew up learning mountain folk songs and hymns in Kentucky. The DQE she formed in high school has thus a folk and country substrate but the soul and delivery is garage punk.

CD REVIEWS ***************************************

Tim Foljahn
Obvious Urban Landscape
Old Gold
Old Gold, POB 8776, Atlanta, GA 31106
oldagolda@hotmail.com

Tim Foljahn breaks out of a three-cassette series on Old Gold with this full-length CD of strange electronic visions. Portions of those previous cassette releases are reprised here. The building blocks of these strange little pieces are robotic synthesizer sounds, affected voices and such environmental sounds as a construction site. For reading along, as well as the lyrics to the first track the thick CD booklet contains 50 enumerated paragraphs summarizing dreams had by Foljahn. These all-electronic compositions feature no traditional instrumentation and only occasional words. This is a limited edition of 500. (3.5)


Forever
Love Changes
Old Gold, POB 8776, Atlanta, GA 31106
oldagolda@hotmail.com

Amateurish enthusiasm, uneven recording levels and simple, sing-along songs give
this album a charming naivety. There is root psychedelia here, as the band playfully
muddles from one area of the song to another. The simplicity and honesty of it
is the beauty of it. (2.5)


Slaughter and the Dogs
Beware Of…
TKO Records

The members of Slaughter and the Dogs are veterans with a résumé reaching back
to the first wave of British Punk. They look back to these days by revisiting
their 1980 song “Hell in New York” with a new version on this album. But the times
have changed as they muse in “Welcome to our Town.” Including even some ballads
and a hard rock cover of “Hard Days Night,” Slaughter and the Dogs are more interested
in a solid, well-produced rock-n-roll album than noisy punk angst. (2.5)


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Kristi Martel
Brave Enough
Sealed Lip Records, POB 30484, Oakland, CA 94604

Kristi Martel’s dynamic and skillful phrasing, an ever-changing component of her
delivery, makes this vocal album an impressive effort. Tracks like “Silver” offer
the charming, hip style of electric neo-folk artist Ani DiFranco. However, Martel
builds on this with sophisticated jazz improvisation delivered naturally and easily,
as on the climax of “See You Sweet.” (4.5)


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Jude Johnstone
Coming of Age
BoJak Records, 301 N. Lake Ave., #310, Pasadena, CA 91101

Jude Johnstone is an established songwriter. Stevie Nicks, Johnny Cash, Trisha
Yearwood, Bonnier Raitt and Jennifer Warnes covered some of this material. Raitt
and Warnes show up to perform on some of these tracks, as does Jackson Browne.
As a matter of fact, the lineup on each track differs, adding variety to this
album already made exquisite by the excellent songwriting. The performance is
also top-notch, as one would expect from a woman who began playing music as soon
as she could reach a piano keyboard and is here singing her own successful creations.
(4)

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Tannis Slimmon
Oak Lake
Tannis Slimmon, POB 24062, Bullfrog, Guelph, ON N1E 6V8, Canada

This is the first solo album from Canada’s Tannis Slimmon, formerly of The Bird
Sisters, Crows Feet and Benji. Her hometown on the Canadian prairie lent its name
to the title track. The rest of the album is a biography in song about the transition
from the Manitoba family farm to a southern Ontario city. Many musical guests
appear in the telling, including bluesman Harry Manx and Jeff Bird (Cowboy Junkies).
The well-wrought tunes are joyous exhibitions of vocal harmony as Tannis accompanies
herself on guitar and mandolin. This album has a full, contemporary rootsy sound
entirely accessible to fans of country, pop and AAA. Each track builds onto the
previous reaching a jubilant plateau in “My Body Moves” featuring a bright trumpet
line. (4)


Curlew
Meet the Curlews
Cuneiform Records

Curlew is a long-lived electric experimental jazz band. Their thick, art-jazz
compositions earn kudos from avant-jazz fans as well as art-rock fans. This, their
eighth album, captures the bright scintillations of their musical chain lightning
and the dusk-gray aura of their more mysterious melodies. These are clever compositions
fusing classical jazz phrasing and woolly jazz-rock passages. (4)

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Arkham
Arkham
Cuneiform Records

Arkham, mysterious and dangerous like the H.P. Lovecraft city, recalls the earliest
King Crimson records in a primitive, deconstructed fashion. This Hammond-fueled
trio ruled the Belgium prog-rock scene during its short 1970-1972 existence. The
keyboardist and composer for the group, Jean-Luc Manderlier went on to greater
fame with Magma. Drummer Daniel Denis, also briefly in Magma founded Belgium’s
Necronomicon with Claude Deron. Deron plays electric flugelhorn on two of the
tracks here. Paving the way for the Rock In Opposition movement and helping create
art-rock and prog, this group focused on touring during its existence, but released
no live album. Compiled from tapes made at various Arkham performances and rehearsals,
this release rights that wrong. (4)

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The Exploited
Troops of Tomorrow
Captain Oi

Troops of Tomorrow is one of the records from The Exploited with the cleanest
production, especially a mean, crisp guitar sound. Also, those not from Edinburgh
will find this the to be the one with the lyrics most clearly enunciated. However, the rage
and anger from these anarcho-punks is undiluted in spirit and presentation on
this, the most technically superb in their discography. This digipack reissue includes
a two-sided foldout poster of album cover art and a half-dozen bonus tracks. Beside
EP versions of the title track and “Alternative,” there are non-album songs “Y.O.P.,”
“Attack,” “Computers Don’t Blunder” and “Addiction.” (4)

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The Exploited
Let’s Start a War…
Captain Oi

This is the first LP from the group that included a new lineup with vocalist Wattie
Buchan backed by an entirely new lineup, including his brother Wully on drums.
(The liner notes are misleading on this point, though.) The production returns
to the raw, live feel of the early albums with an occasional metal-edged guitar
slicing through from Big John Duncan. This edition includes the three tracks of
the Rival Leaders 7″ (1983 ) that came out the same year with the same lineup.
(4)

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The Exploited
Punk’s Not Dead
Captain Oi

This is a reissue of the 1981 release that started it all for the extremely long-lived,
angry leaders of the second wave of British punk rock. Featuring the exhorting,
fiery vocals of dynamic vocalist Wattie Buchan leading the pro-punk, anti-government
attacks through somewhat muddy sound. This reissue, along with a foldout poster,
includes ten bonus tracks. These tracks are the two cuts from Oi! The Album, The
Army Life single, and “Exploited Army Barmy” with some songs it appeared in single
version with including “Dead Cities,” “Hitler’s in the Charts Again” and “Class War.”
This is their seminal release that includes such anthems as “Cop Cars,” “Sex &
Violence” and the title track. This most important release in their discography
is a seminal album in the punk genre. (4.5)

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Splodgenessabounds
Splodgenessabounds
Captain Oi

“Splodge” is British slang for “mess,” but there is little that is not tidy about
this 8-piece early ’80’s group playing fun, varied post-punk British rock. They
often let their multi-faceted songs fall apart into a mess on the floor, but it
is a well-organized deconstruction with a winking sense of humor that flows from
change to change and track to track. This is a reissue of their peerless debut
experimental-Oi album, complete with proto-ska, that created enough of a sensation
to resurrect the group itself from an unfortunately early disbanding. This is
hilarious, crude but sophisticated entertainment that arose from the punk wake.
(4)

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The Lurkers
Wild Times Again
Captain Oi

This is a re-release of two albums spawned from a late ’80’s reunion; Non-Stop
Nitropop
and Wild Times Again. The impetus was to return to the earliest
sound of the group. With the full context of ’80’s power pop behind them, these
albums come across as an excellent post-punk pop-rock album, rather than the effete
punk imitation that came across on their early albums overshadowed by the punk
wave. The Lurkers were just early on the skinny tie sound, and these albums, besides
their varying ad hoc lineups, show the group as solid and tuneful when looking back
on the decade they helped define the indie sound for. (3)

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The Revillos
Totally Alive in London
Ahoy

Featuring a two-pronged vocal approach from the squeaking singer Fay Fife and
punkish Eugene Reynolds, The Revillos were the unpretentious comic relief of post-punk
power pop. This peerless release of an entirely successful show by the reformed
group in 1996 includes a 12-page comic by Vince Ray. The backup singers coo and
the organ pumps and the guitar jangles or features single-note leads in total
denial of everything that happened in the ’90’s from the time capsule group. Mixing
pop with camp and featuring such pure-spun covers as “Glad All Over,” this is
unadulterated bubblegum punk in a set that includes all the group’s best material
at their first show in the West in over eleven years. (4.5)

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The Vibrators
Punk Rock Rarities
Ahoy

The Vibrators brought age and experience to their participation in the late ’70’s
genesis of punk rock. As a result, these tracks from the time period already predict
the post-punk ’80’s power pop sound of better production, hooks you can hang your
hat on and solid verse-chorus-verse songwriting while dragging along that vital
punk energy. Exuberance rather than angst fuel even their most menacing tracks,
often ambitiously featuring analog electronic effects as on “Pure Mania” from
the 2-track demos for V2. Much of this is demos, outtakes and even some late ’80’s
stuff from an extra-group project. (4)

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The Yobs
The Worst of the Yobs
Ahoy

This is the infamous, rude and crude Christmas albums and singles released by
The Boys as The Yobs, pried from the grasp of three record companies and released
as one, single package. Their tasteless Oi takes on yuletide fare are the perfect
antidote to noel overdose or just hard-hitting pub rock any other time of the year.
(4)

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The Anti-Nowhere League
We Are…The League
Ahoy

As cartoonish in their exaggerated humor (“Woman”) and pointedly obscene (“So
What”) as this group is, some may not take them seriously, but they are creators
of some of the most enduring and vital music of English punk rock. This reissue
of their classic sophomore release includes “So What” and single versions of
“I Hate…People,” “Let’s Break the Law” and “Woman.” The album version of their
“I Hate…People” manifesto is a remix here on the album that includes their insightful
cover of the folk gem “Streets of London” (Ralph McTell). Classic anthems like
“Let’s Break the Law” perfectly encapsulate the alluring temptation of juvenile
delinquency on this enhanced opus from the winning songwriting team of rabid vocalist
Animal and guitarist Magoo. (5)

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Adam West
Right On!
Telegraph

This powerhouse group draws on the thick rock sound of stoner rock, the heavy
sounds of hard ’60’s psychedelic and Misfits-style American punk with no fear of
guitar solos. This post-60’s, post-punk approach to hard rock yields a bounty
in obscenity-laden, high-octane drag rock with street punk attitude and arena
rock power. (3)

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Badawi
Soldier of Midian
ROIR

Badawi is a byword in alternative dub and this third album is a new plateau in
production from the Jerusalem-born Raz Mesinai, AKA Badawi. Prayers of Sheikhs
and Rabbis became inspiration for the New York-raised musician who eventually
spent time in the desert with the Bedouins. The wide spectrum of his sound includes
Persian, Indian, Yemenite, Moroccan, and Afro-Cuban, especially the percussion
styles of these cultures. Sampling and affecting his live playing on such instruments
as flute, bendir (Moroccan frame drum) and the Persian drum known as a zarb, this
album is a cornucopia of Middle-Eastern percussion. The organic, electronic transformation
of these leads to an energetic yet hypnotic stream. The layering of
this percussion includes deep, substantial throbs and the bright, upper-register
beats we expect from the Mid-east. (3.5)

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Chao
Hitsthemiss
Last Beat Records, 2819 Commerce, Dallas, TX 75226

Chao is the début recording of the new group fronted by Regina Chellew. Formerly,
she fronted Captain Audio. This is potent indie pop guaranteed to affect the listener
with the clear, clarion vocals and quick-paced, bright beats. Captain Audio had
a grand tradition of covers, sometimes doing whole albums in concert. Here, Regina
includes a cover; an excellent rendition of “Lay Lady Lay.” On this track, she
sings in duet with Marcus Striplin (Pleasant Grove). The potent delivery on this
album, crisp production and arrangements that effectively punctuate every rhythmic
possibility make Hitsthemiss a superlative album. (4.5)

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Amy Jane
Wide Open
Pinnacle Records

Singer-songwriter Amy Jane has an excellent offering in her concept album. This
is a 16-axis theory of dimensionality exploring the different direction toward
becoming emotionally “wide open.” The emotional and interpersonal path through
life has such geologic features as peaks and valleys and Amy charts the discoveries
and sacrifices that map this textured landscape. Her included lyrics show understanding of the difficulties and rewards in making this journey: “There
were dark places/that we pushed through/Each time we reached the clear/I knew
a deeper love with you.” (3.5)


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A Life Once Lost
the Fourth Plague: Flies
Robodog Records

A Life Once Lost could be ‘hearing once lost’ for the unprepared listener that
starts off this noise metal sludge fest at maximum volume. Potent over-modulated
guitar chords supporting the piercing, pained vocals make for a devilish mix.
Echoes of straight ahead heavy metal, vicious grindcore and pure noise assaults
blend in this fiery mix. Sudden changes and lickety-split drumming all point to
a well-rehearsed, tight group providing top-notch extreme metal. (3.5)


Chargers Street Gang
Holy the Bop Apocalypse
Get Hip Recordings

This is a dynamic, no-holds-barred debut by a quality quintet from Cleveland.
This is pure, unadulterated rock-n-roll bristling with channeled, cathartic energy.
This is over the top even given such high-octane R&B-based rock groups as Jon
Spencer Blues Explosion and Delta 72. The clear, dry drums are brought out onto
Main Street in the excellent mix here, recorded by Tim Kerr and engineered by
Mike Vasquez. This is the same team that gave us a similarly blessed holy destruction
from Frigg-A-Go-Go. There’s ’60’s Detroit in here (think MC5, Psychedelic Stooges)
with wild, unleashed punk attitude and direct, in-your-face delivery. (4)


The Maggots
The Condition is Incurable
Bad Afro Records

Stockholm’s The Maggots explode with energy and a snotty sneer on this premium
garage rock revival disc. Their fearsome fuzz and gruesome guitar sound is vital,
visceral rock-n-roll. There was a garage wave in Scandinavia in the ’80’s and
Måns P. Månsson (guitar/vocals) was part of that movement as part of Wylde Mammoths
(one of the first bands to record for Crypt Records), Crimson Shadows and Friends.
Bassist Steffen Hellström was also in Wylde Mammoths and Friends and Jonas Lundberg
(drums) has a past in Slammer and A-Bombs. These journeyman psychedelic rockers
combine their experience and vigor for this more-than-suitable follow-up to their
excellent debut LP, Get Hooked (Low Impact Records). Also, available on 10″ vinyl,
this CD edition includes three bonus tracks taken from the Gonna Make You Pay
7″ on (Bad Afro). While their originals rock sufficient to carry this disc to
dawn and back, they include some righteous covers: a searing “Boy From Nowhere”
(DMZ) and the workout for their two guitarists from The Turpentines, “Heading
For The Texas Border,” also covered by the Flamin’ Groovies. (4)

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Porn (The Men Of)
Experiments in Feedback
Small Stone Records

This excellent experimentation in guitar-based rock opens with a patient, exploratory,
12-minute take on Pink Floyd’s “One of These Days.” After surviving the death
of Man’s Ruin where their debut Porn American Style was born, newly named The
Men Of Porn conjure blacklight moods and hard psychedelic experience. One member
of the group, Joe Goldring (Swans, Out In Worhsip), is given over entirely to
tape loops and effects, unusual for a rock combo but perfectly suitable for the
weird and wonderful sonic journeys. Experiments in Feedback can take stoner
rock fans to next level and make fans of vintage acid rock and psychedelia flashback
to where it all began. (4.5)


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Teenage Fanclub & Jad Fair
Words Of Wisdom And Hope
Alternative Tentacles

The catchy indie pop of Scotland’s Teenage Fanclub meets the winning oddball tunes
of Jad Fair on this collaboration disc. Both centers of creativity approach this
project with a long history of recording to draw upon. The result may be the most
accessible Jad Fair album and the quirkiest Teenage Fanclub album. It was nearly
two years prior that Fair and Norman Blake of Teenage Fanclub first discussed
this one-time union. The joyfully strange melding of Fair’s cartoonish visions
and Teenage Fanclub’s crisp, upbeat arrangements is well worth the wait. (4)


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