Archive for the Sun City Girls Category

Sir Richard Bishop – The Freak of Araby (Drag City) 2009

Posted in Music, Sir Richard Bishop, Sun City Girls with tags , , on October 2, 2009 by noisenoisenoise


When  I was looking for a video to embed in this post I came across this little nugget from a  show he performed in Baltimore this year. Live, Bishop’s music reaches that moment of ecstasy that makes his take on middle eastern raggas pretty amazing. What a pity then that this record blows. Seriously, the Freak, barring a couple of exceptions,  is dull as shit.  The idea is great but  the execution is sterile, boring and much of it amounts to ethno-muzak. I really wanted to like this, I really did and I know it is rare for me to dislike a record openly on this blog because usually  if I don’t like it I just won’t post on it. But I feel like I’ve gotta warn people about The Freak of Araby, it’s not as good as his previous work  it just sounds like cafe music or even worse music for the local old people’s belly dancing/flamenco club and that is never a good thing.  Bishop always had form for loving a good spaghetti western soundtrack but in the past he turned up the freak level rather than play it straight. This is dinner party music I’m sorry to say. In any event enjoy him doing his thing live, in fact I hope he re-records The Freak of Araby live because I’ll line up for that one big time. Unfortunately my copy of  this one is going up on ebay.

No-Neck Blues Band -NNCK Meets the Clear People with Mystery Gypped: Live at Ken’s Electric Lake [LIVE] (Locust) 2007

Posted in Free Folk, hippies, Music, No-Neck Blues Band, Sun City Girls with tags , , 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.

Sir Richard Bishop – While My Guitar Violently Bleeds (Locust) 2007

Posted in Music, Sir Richard Bishop, Sun City Girls with tags on July 15, 2008 by noisenoisenoise

Oh Lord this is good. I’ve just come back from a weekend away in the mountains with the kid, the long suffering partner, and three friends with extremely questionable music taste (for Australian readers think Cat Empire). Unfortunately for them and fortunately for me, the  only music available while we consumed fucking abysmal Queensland wine and ate exquisite local cheese was the tunes on my ipod broadcast out of one of those flash Bose Sound Docks. It was a tricky audience and I had to tread carefully. Yo La Tengo and Shins were no brainers, I got away with some Ramones (mainly because my two year old sings the  chorus  “The KKK Took My Baby Away” and that kid is freaking cute) but the  real surprise was the  nods of approval at putting this tremendous avant garde, improvised guitar record on. I thought it was a bit of a stretch when I first queued it up, but reflecting on the sublime ethno-improv, acoustic guitar workout there is no wonder it was so popular. 

It has all the  qualities of what makes the  Sun City girls (Bishop’s first band) such a fantastically exciting band to get into. I’m always a bit dubious of the whole improvised mantle but this  has certainly put those fears to rest. 

Sun City Girls – Piasa:Devourer Of Men (Abduction) 2007

Posted in Music, noise, Sun City Girls, The Dead C on February 3, 2008 by noisenoisenoise


This is my first experience with Sun City Girls, the longstanding US avant garde group. Like many bands in this genre, their previous albums are notoriously hard to come by. Those nice people at Abduction have decided to re-release some of  their output from the early 1990’s. I wasn’t sure where to start so I took a punt on this one.

Piasa has a pretty interesting story. In 1994 a young Italian film director wanted to make a film based on the legend of a flying dinosaur that eats Native Americans in the ninteenth century. He decided to ask Sun City Girls to come up with the soundtrack. This was released as a vinyl only record in 1994 and was limited to 1000 copies. They sold out pretty quickly and since then these recordings have been unavailable. The film itself has never been made.

The titles of the songs give an idea of just how cheesy the film would have been; Hatchling (Folklore of the Nest), 17 Arrows, Glowing Red Eyes, A Warning to Massatoga and Lizard Copter are just a couple of examples. Luckily the music itself is pretty impressive. Apparently every track bar two is an improvisation and recorded live to a four track. The tracks themselves are difficult to describe. They are more like avant garde acoustic vignettes than traditional songs.

Piasa covers a lot of ground with its eighteen tracks. Hatchling is like other-wordly baroque church music, The Base of the Mountain of Noise has a real Dead C quality to it, and somehow they have managed to shoe-horn tribal elements  in each. Bongo drums, banjo and what sounds suspiciously like a nose flute turn up on other tracks.

I have no idea whether this is a good Sun City Girls record. I have nothing to compare it to. For me it works as a pretty decent piece of avant garde composition. My hope is that more of their back catalogue is re-released because quite frankly if this is improvised then this is a group that is so good that it seems unfair that I can’t explore further.

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