Jackie-O Motherfucker are a band from Portland, Oregon based around two core members, Tom Greenwood and Jef Brown. They started their career as a much more experimental band before embracing pastoral themes on 2006’s Ballads of the Sacred Harp. Jackie-O Motherfucker have made a previous appearance at Ducks Battle Satan and that record is along the same lines as this. Blood of Life was a live record which covered a couple of the tracks from Ballads. There is such a serene quality to the music of JOMF on this record and if you like your folky improvisers to have a bit of a tune then this is worth while tracking down. I like this better than Blood of Life for two reasons. Firstly because it’s less bleak than Blood of Life and secondly because they hit a groove right out of the Religious Knives playbook on some of the tracks here. It also has some nice noise elements (around the seven minute mark on Nice One for instance) which lift this beyond hippy dippy psych- folk. They also show a more experimental side – the 16 minute long Spirits would not be out of place on one of the stranger Nurse With Wound outings. I’ve always found a lot of improvised, experimental, folk records a bit of a slog. I’ve dabbled a fair bit but very few have made their way onto DBS. That said, when a band gets it right like Jackie-O Motherfucker do on Ballads of the Sacred Harp, this sort of sound is well worth tracking down.
Archive for the Free Folk Category
No-Neck Blues Band -NNCK Meets the Clear People with Mystery Gypped: Live at Ken’s Electric Lake [LIVE] (Locust) 2007Posted in Free Folk, hippies, Music, No-Neck Blues Band, Sun City Girls with tags Free Folk, Music, No-Neck Blues Band on September 10, 2009 by noisenoisenoise
A dilemma. I hate Hippies. No-Neck Blues Band are hippies. I like No-Neck Blues band. Did you see this lot in the Wire. Too many ginger beards I think. Improvisation? Meh. There is a very fine line between inspired improvisation and a two thumbs down clusterfuck. The great thing about this record is that they really hit the mark. No-Neck Blues Band sound kinda like Sun City Girls meets Jackie-o Motherfucker with the Dead C fucking around at the edges. This record spans two discs and rather than name the tracks, they split the continuous improvisation into sections. There are eight sections in all and the music can run the gamit of pastoral, avant garde, experimental, tribal drum circle and drugged out jam band but for the most part No-Neck Blues Band occupy the very left side of the whole free-folk thing. I like it. I don’t know if I need much of it but it’s worth tracking down.
God I’m fucking loving this band right now. I stayed away from Excepter for some time for a reason that now escapes me. Perhaps it was their delightfully corny early 80’s metal name that put me off, fuck knows. They reappeared on my radar earlier this year when I stumbled across this for a very good price at Rockinghorse. Rockinghorse label them as avant garde and stock Excepter in the same section as Merzbow and Wolf Eyes. Although Excepter are note even close to being a noise band in the traditional sense they are decidedly odd and anyone who hears their schtick understands the problem in trying to either define their sound. Excepter began when one of the dudes form No-Neck Blues Band teamed up with a couple of New York DJ’s earlier this decade. To me they sound like a dub-soaked Animal Collective exploring a world of post-electronica weirdness. The dub is what hits me the most when I listen to Alternation and it is precisely this element that separates them from other New York weirdos like Gang Gang Dance. They’re worth checking out and they’re certainly a shit load more fun than No-Neck Blues Band.
With a name like Jackie-O Motherfucker I was expecting a lot of things. What I wasn’t expecting was a band that sounds like Sir Richard Bishop’s musicianship crossed with Earth’s recent pastoral bleakness. But this is in fact the best comparison I could come up with to describe the melancholic,folk ambiance of Jackie-O Motherfucker. This is just sublime and sometimes I need to take a rest from noise and listen to something as peaceful, mellow and clever like The Blood of Life. A great deal of this new weird folk stuff I can do without but this bunch of improvising troubadours are an unexpected and welcome addition. I’d really like to hear from anyone who knows a bit more about the band. Is this sort of stuff representative or have some of their earlier releases been a bit weirder? I know very little about the band and this record is a live-to-tape show they did for a Dutch radio station. It’s a great antidote for all the Merzbow I’ve been listening to today. I recommend it.
I was pretty excited when I came across this in Missing Links new releases pages. As anyone who reads this blog regularly knows I hate hippies. Always have. I make an exception for this mob though. Woods Family Creeps are basically Brooklyn’s Woods with an extra member. Not that you’d know there was an extra member on this, Wood Family Creeps sounds just as charmingly no-fi and minimalist as previous Woods releases. I’ve always had a thing for their lo-fi sweetly, weird love songs. For the most part Wood Family Creeps certainly don’t fuck with the formula exhibited by Woods on At Rear House and How to Survive In the Woods but their is a more melancholy edge to the whole thing. There are moments of experimental weirdness (especially the fourth track Family) that stick out a bit on an album that is chock full of what are in essence pretty straight forward pop songs done by freak folk troubadours.
I love their sound. Can’t get enough. Try to track it down if you love Woods as much as I do.
The first track, End to End
I picked this up in Sydney last week. I was in town for a conference and walked up to Red Eye during a particularly boring session. Red Eye’s experimental section is pretty tiny when you compare it to the wall of noise records that Rockinghorse has here in Brisbane. The pleasant difference is that Red Eye manage to sell their stuff without the bullshit massive markup that we get slugged with here in Brisbane. Anyhow, the other great thing about Red Eye is that their staff know their shit. I wandered up to the counter with my purchases of Ashtray Navigations and Zelienople and the counter guy starts talking up the Zelienople record. Now I’d never heard of either Zelienople or Ashtray Navigations but I nodded my head so I didn’t look stupid. He mentioned The North Sea as a band I’d probably like. Being the impulsive little fucker I am I bought the only record of theirs in stock. He was right. This is great.
The North Sea is a fellow called Brad Rose who collaborates with one of the guys from Hush Arbors in the band Gold Oaks or it could be Golden Oaks (I can’t read my writing). Despite my unabiding hatred of hippies, this is free-folk with an emphasis on the free. How about this for an association game. Earth is to Black Sabbath as The North Sea is to The Woods. This is gentle folk: guitars strum, a cello does it’s thing, there’s even a harmonica on there. All of the songs are instrumental and are played under a blanket of nature. On the first track it is the sounds of birds and the forest which rest on top of the music. On the second it’s the ebb and flow of the sea. There is no electronic fuckery on this thing. Nothing strange or seizure inducing. There is a very peaceful drone-like quality to this record whilst still being melodic. There is tune! Its like the free-folk equivalent of a cup of tea, it always calms you down, will never do your head in and is strangely satisfying.