Archive for the The Dead C Category

The Dead C – Armed Courage (Ba Da Bing) 2013

Posted in New Zealand Bands, The Dead C on September 1, 2013 by noisenoisenoise


Armed Courage is the first The Dead C record since the release of Patience in 2010.  Although both Michael Morley through his Gate project, and Bruce Russell with what seems like a million collaborations, have been keeping busy,  it’s taken a whole three years for them to get together and make a new Dead C record. Has it been worth the wait?  Abso-fucking-lutely. 

I ve been listening to this record for the past few weeks whilst I have been in quarantine because of a nasty  virus I picked up off one of my kids. My cabin fever allowed me to spend a good period of time going back through the band’s releases since their re-emergence with the amazing Vain Erudite and Stupid compilation in 2006. Armed Courage is more closely aligned with Secret Earth and Patience rather then the more difficult Future Artists. 

Armed Courage contains two twenty minute long tracks. The first one Armed is a mesmerising instrumental  swirl of droning rock guitar and primitive Sonic Youth avant noodling. Robbie Yeats drums dive in and fade out of the track at regular intervals. It may be my favourite Dead C track since Bitcher from 1995’s The White  House. The second track Courage starts out very differently with a quiet menacing ambiance overlaid with Michael Morley’s vocals which sound like a brain injured every-dude overdosed on codeine before the driving, rocked-out drone, kicks in. It is great and has moments which actually outstrip Armed.

Armed Courage  is a cracking record and it may also be the best recorded album they’ve released to date. If you have never heard the band before then this is a great place to start. These guys may just be getting better and better.

Bruce Russell and Roy Montgomery – Split (Grapefruit Records) 2012

Posted in Bruce Russell, Music, New Zealand Bands, noise, Roy Montgomery, The Dead C with tags , , , , on April 28, 2012 by noisenoisenoise

This vinyl release is coming out on Grapefruit Records. a subscription style label in the vein of Three Lobed. On this release we find two of the towering giants of the New Zealand underground. The Pin Group’s Roy Montgomery and the Dead C’s Bruce Russell. My love of the New Zealand  avant garde music scene should be of no real surprise to regular readers but I had very different reactions to the two tracks on this album.

Lets deal with the track that confused me. Bruce Russell’s track is titled Mistah Chilton, He Dead. I’ve listened to it a stack of times. In the car on the way to the tip, through headphones on a long walk and at the supermarket and a few times after my kids have gone to sleep and the house is quiet.  There is no doubt that it is a tricky track to write about let alone come to terms with. There is a squealing, frantic quality to the sound that during its earlier stages reminded me a little of some of John Zorn’s more brutal outings. It sure as shit ain’t the Dead C. It has a bit of the lo-fi about it, it’s not exactly drone but it is not noise as many of us understand it. It has its charms (especially the last seven minutes) but I didn’t a great deal of pleasure from it. And goddamn it, if there is no pleasure in noise then what is the fucking point. I felt the same way about Russell’s work in A Handful of Dust. I just didn’t get it. I am obviously the wrong audience.

The flip side by Roy Montgomery is a very different sound altogether. This is pure chiming guitar drone pleasure. Emotional melodies float over the top to create quasi folk-like psychedelia. It is absolutely gorgeous – an avant garde take on emotion and bliss. Pure pleasure.

I am keen to read other reviews of Bruce Russell’s track. I may be missing something. I’m just not sure what it is.

Gate – The Dew Line (Mie Music) 2012

Posted in Drone, Gate, Music, The Dead C with tags , on April 11, 2012 by noisenoisenoise


Gate is the name used for the Dead C’s Michael Morley’s solo output. A few years ago I was lucky enough  to get a copy of his remarkable electronica infused record, Republic of Sadness. That record was a strange yet totally compelling blend of Morley’s wonky, codeine-infused, lo-fi vocals with almost Hot Chip style electronica. On paper it shouldn’t have worked but it was one of my favourite records of 2010. The excellent Mie Music have taken it upon themselves to re-release The Dew Line which originally came out in 1994 and is a very different from his most recent work. Mie Music have put a lot of thought into rereleasing this record and it now appears as a double vinyl set, remastered, with its initial seven tracks expanded to twelve to include some other previously unreleased material recorded about the same time. If you are a Dead C fan there is a treat in store with the unreleased tracks because three of them ended up as Dead C tracks  including the almighty Bitcher (from 1995’s Whitehouse)yet on The Dew Line  appear in a prototype form. This record has a great deal in common with the Dead C’s material from the same time period which I have always considered to be among their best. The Dew Line find Morley exploring his repetitive guitar lines and outsider vocals which no one could mistake for anybody else. Yet throughout these utterly unique songs  there are glimmers of Sonic Youth style tunings  and even a little Pavement-like song craft. Beyond those thoughts it very difficult to describe this claustrophobic, chaotic, almost on the brink of collapse experimental rock music. It is music that has to be experienced to appreciate and I recommend you do just that. The Dew Line is  an absolute pleasure from beginning to end and is well worth tracking down in it’s remastered form.

The Dead C – Patience (Ba Da Bing) 2010

Posted in Music, noise, The Dead C with tags , , on September 13, 2010 by noisenoisenoise

I was having a drink with a newly acquired friend that I’ve met through the kindy our kids go to. We got onto the subject of music and I told him about this blog. His taste is pretty mainstream and it’s always awkward trying to explain to someone why noise is so special and the sort of records that I review here.  He’s an ex-pat New Zealander so in order to find mutual ground I told him how much I loved the Dead C. “Those old guys?” he said “Jesus. Are they still around.” We then moved onto the topic of the dearth of new ideas in music and left the topic of the Dead C hanging. In many ways the point he was trying to make is proven with Patience. There are no startling new ideas on this record. This is classic Dead C, but it still absolutely shits all over much else of what is being released at the moment.

On October 12th this gets released. If you are a follower of this band you will know that there is no other band that sounds like the Dead C. Whether they’re doing Sonic Youth style avant rock, experimental improv or extended lo-fi jams they still sound like the Dead C. Dead C records have this foggy, lo-fi beauty to them – like three blokes one day sat in someone’s garage and fire up the tape recorder. This is part of their charm and without it the band wouldn’t be the same.

After the excellent career spanning Vain, Erudite and Stupid compilation the band seemed to get a new lease of life. Besides some vinyl reissues of some long out of print records, the Dead C as a creative unit picked up momentum again. Their first original release on Ba Da Bing was Future Artists which was probably one of their most difficult listens. Secret Earth came out a year or so later with a more song orientated approach combined with stacks of classic Dead C moments and Michael Morley’s distinctive moan. Patience follows a similar path to Secret Earth – extended, droning, avant-rock jams, but on Patience the vocals are left out of  the mix. It is a bit more difficult than Secret Earth but a much easier to listen to than Future Artists. In many ways this might be the most social record they’re done in a while whilst keeping all of their difficult lo-fi charm.

If you are a Dead C fan then I am preaching to the converted – I guarantee that you’ll love it. For those that have never heard the band, this is as good a place as any to start. A fantastic record in any language.

Gate – Republic of Sadness (Ba Da Bing) 2010

Posted in Drone, Gate, Music, The Dead C with tags , , , , , on July 20, 2010 by noisenoisenoise

From the outset I should tell you that Gate is the side project of one Michael Morley who you may know from his other band, The Dead C. This is being released in a week or so on vinyl by the always excellent Ba Da Bing records. I managed to snag a review copy a couple of weeks ago and well let me put it this way; what would you expect from a record by a bloke from the Dead C. Some avant garde, lo fi, rock experimentation perhaps? Well so did I. This is the first time I’ve heard a Gate record and what I wasn’t fucking expecting is an album of downbeat, popish electronica. The first time I played this I was walking around my neighbourhood late at night. When the music  started, it took me by surprise so much that I checked my ipod to see that I hadn’t inadvertently started some Hot Chip record or something. Seriously. There are some genuinely funky beats in here especially on the third track Desert which had some major f.u.n.k. going on and the final track Trees which sounds like that overtly sentimental, continental techno so beloved by Germans. But you know its Michael Morley because that voice weaves in and out of the tracks like a confused dementia patient on codeine and jam. The lyrics, when I was able to pick them out, bring a melancholic edge to the whole thing. It’s hard to shake you ass when Morley sings about being unable to stop war and something about corruption.

So how am I really supposed to take this? Is it some post modern examination of the shallowness of body music or is it a record by a genuine fan of pop and beat looking for an outlet? In the end I don’t think it matters because I enjoyed this so much I’m worried by noise cred might be at an end. Republic of Sadness is all loops, pop, beats, a smattering of drone and that voice. It’s the most depressing time you’ll ever have shaking your ass.

The Dead C – Eusa Kills (Flying Nun) 1989

Posted in Music, New Zealand Bands, noise, The Dead C with tags , , , on August 16, 2009 by noisenoisenoise


If you discount the Merzbow posts, The Dead C are probably the band that I post on the most. The vast majority of their back catalogue have come out on very cool Siltbreeze and in recent years badabing records. This record (probably their first proper record) was released on the mighty Flying Nun in 1989. Now I have been a label whore in the past but one of the labels that I never really got into was Flying Nun. I had a friend who was though, and anything by The Verlaines, The Bats, The Chills, The Clean and the John Paul Sartre Experience were greedily snapped up by him. I always thought that a lot of the Flying Nun stuff was a bit too clever and  sometimes a little too pop for my liking. Now if I had heard Eusa Kills sometime before 2007  my opinion might have changed a bit.

This is commonly referred to as The Dead C’s pop record and if you listen to the first track you kind of get the shambolic, free form,  Sonic Youth vibe that very few bands pull off. But this the Dead C and it’s never going to be a very easy listen although maybe it is the easiest thing to get into. I also think that the Sonic Youth comparison’s have been a bit overstated. Sure there are some tracks which channel that Bad Moon Rising and Evol vibe but for the most part The Dead C  travel their own path. The highlights are the awesome Maggot which has always been one of my favourite Dead C tracks, the ultra Sonic Youthy Envelopment and the album opener Scarey Nest. They even manage to spew out a cover of Children of the Revolution but out of tune, slowed down and all over the place. The impact of a band live Deac c is indisputable. Think where bands like Mouthus would be without their influence. Eusa Kills is also probably the least experimental record they released and the closest to a rock album as they ever got. I wonder what the Flying Nun groupies thought about it at the time.

The CD of this is sadly out of print although Ba Da Bing recently  re-released it along with the Helen Said This 12″. Why no-one has re-released on CD is beyond me because more people need to hear this record. The best starting point is still Vain, Erudite and Stupid their two CD Best of released in 2007 but if you manage to track a copy of this down just buy it, you won’t be disappointed. My copy is the 1992 release which has some snappy liner notes from Tom Lax Which are pretty cool.

Derek Rogers – Color Shield (Last Exit Recordings) 2009

Posted in Derek Rogers, Drone, Music, noise, The Dead C with tags , on June 19, 2009 by noisenoisenoise


Today I’ve noticed that the Dead C fans are hitting this blog more than they have for some time. I look back on the posts I’ve done on that band and I think many of them really don’t do the band justice but hey this isn’t really a review blog, it’s more a “holy crap you need to hear this” type of thing. So in that vein I introduce you to the mighty Derek Rogers an avant garde musician from that hot bed of conservatism Austin, Texas. Derek has an excellent myspace page that you should check out and while you’re there throw him a couple of bucks for Color Shield because it, quite simply, is on my favourite records I’m playing right now. Although the music of the  Dead C might be difficult to explain to someone who hasn’t heard it, once you do you know instantly what a unique  and defining racket they make. Derek certainly hearlds the Dead C as an influence which is awesome to hear because the only other band that gives me that Dead C vibe is late period Mouthus. But Derek also manages to squeeze  a bit of a Vibracathedral Orchestra vibe into Color Shield’s amalgam  of  drones, lo-fi antipodean punk, noise and  kitchen sink-improv clatter. My listening preferences seem to have solidified on drone and Merzbow in recent months and Derek’s work has slapped me back into getting those Dead C records back out for another play. If I was writing for the Wire I might try to make parallels between the social conservatism of Austin and Dunedin but it’s late and frankly I’m drunk. If you’re lucky enough to live in California, Derek is touring and you’d be silly to miss it.

The Dead C – Secret Earth (Badabing) 2008

Posted in Drone, Music, New Zealand Bands, The Dead C with tags on November 15, 2008 by noisenoisenoise


After Merzbow, The Dead C are the most posted on band on this blog. The reason of course is that I just can’t get enough of their take on experimental, kitchen sink, alt-rock. Everything they do is disgustingly lo-fi and I’m glad to say that Secret Earth keeps up the tradition. Although my admiration of, and bias towrads The Dead C has been revealed  by this blog, the truth is that, like Merzbow I really have to be in the mood to listen to them. This may have been the reason it took me so long to post on Trapdoor Fucking Exit. It your not in the mood and your ear is not tuned in, the Dead C can be a slog. This may account for the reason that their last record Future Artists got such bad reviews. I thought it was pretty good and with some of the reviews I wondered whether they were listening to the  same record I did. Secret Earth follows on from Future Artists in that there are very few tracks, no information in the CD booklet and each of the tracks is mini-epic of The Dead C at the height of their powers. Secret Earth is more song orientated than  Future Artists and If you have done the right thing and bought the essential Vain, Erudite and Stupid think more Bitcher than Voodoo for instance.

What Secret Earth finds The Dead C doing, is returning in some ways to their Sonic Youth inspired roots. If you’re any doubt listen to the first couple of minutes of the opening track Mansions. At one point I thought maybe Thurston Moore was guesting. Mansions is the shortest thing on here at just on seven minutes. From there things get noiseier yet more mellow on Stations. Fifteen minutes of The Dead C doing their whole improv-rock thing over layers of no-fi feedback. Its great stuff. The third track Plains is my favourite it begins with a groove which underneath the fuzz, sounds a bit like Ciccone Youth’s dubby masterpiece Macbeth. It doesn’t last for long before the vocals to drastically alter the effect but it locks in a groove before sitting off towards noise-drone territory. The final track has the Dead C returning to tensely melancholy vibe, in fact it could be The Dead C’s first ballad. 

All in all, Secret Earth has the Dead C resisting the temptation to make their music more obtuse but it would also be a lie to say that they are becoming more accessible either. All of their records have amazing rock songs buried underneath the Dead C’s fuzzy, poorly recorded veneer. Secret Earth just happens to have four of them. If you’re new to The Dead C, this along with Vain, Erudite and Stupid are not bad places to start.

The Dead C – Trapdoor Fucking Exit (Siltbreeze) 1996

Posted in Music, New Zealand Bands, The Dead C with tags on August 4, 2008 by noisenoisenoise


Vain, Euridite and Stupid has to be one of the best compilations for any artist released in the last couple of years. It was a career spanning behemoth of the the best bits of groundbreaking avant-wahatever New Zealanders, The Dead C. For many that compilation is a mighty fine way of getting the Dead C into your record collection but for obsessive buggers like myself it’s always a treat to hear the tracks in their original context. Siltbreeze released the majority of the Dead C’s great albums. I’ve already posted on Tusk and The White House but for some reasion have negelected to post on Trapdoor Fucking Exit.  I’m a pretty huge fan of the Dead c and when they nail it they have to be one of the most underlauded rock acts of the late 1980’s and 1990’s. In my opinion all of the  Siltbreeze release (Tusk, Harsh 70’s Reality and The Whitehouse) are all pretty essential but I have a particular soft spot for this one.

This CD release  compiles the cassette only Trapdoor Fucking Exit and the Helen Said This record both of which came out in the  early 1990’s. It’s a pretty fine example of The Dead C at the height of their powers.  As per usual they start proceedings with a meandering and at time frustrating  slice of improv kitchen sink clatter in Heaven. After that the Dead C hit their straps on a big way. The shambolic sleaze of Hellis Now Love gives way to the stab at ealy 1990’s alt-rock. In fact it’s all pretty good and if you’ve listened to Vain …. and are thinking of dabbling further, this is not a bad place to start.

Live on NZ TV – Sky

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.

The Dead C – DR503c (Flying Nun) 1999

Posted in Music, New Zealand Bands, noise, The Dead C on November 4, 2007 by noisenoisenoise


I thought I’d post on this for two reasons.

The first is that I’m always a little nervous when delving into a great bands early output (a reason for my unease: I recently bought The Boredoms Oanie Bomb Meets the Sex Pistols. Holy shit, I’ll post on that one later). For the Dead C you can’t get much earlier than this. DR503c contains four tracks from the band’s debut Flying Nun LP, two from the cassette-only release DR503b, two from the Sun Stabbed EP, the entirety of the 15-minute Perform Max Harris cassette, a live version of “Sun Stabbed” and one previously unreleased track “Crazy I Know,” recorded in January of 1987. For the most part it is pretty great. Lots of lo-fi avant-rock gems. It’s certainly not as experimental as Future Artists but anyone who really likes the first disc of Vain, Euridite …. really needs to track this down.

Unfortunately this, like Eusa Kills, and about half of The Dead C’s back catalogue, is out of print. Most of Birchville’s releases are sadly out of print as well. I would start a record label just to make sure that anyone who wants a copy of Our Love Will Destroy the Earth can get one. And this brings me to my second reason for posting. Can someone tell me why great, even important, records go out of print? Is it really so hard to keep something in print. Is it really so expensive for a record company to every now and then get some of these made. A case in point is my search for a copy of Killdozer’s For Ladies Only which doesn’t cost me more than 50 bucks. Touch and Go hasn’t bothered to keep any of their records in print. Hey I realise that Killdozer weren’t the most popular band out there but fuck it, they did do the best Neil Diamond cover ever.

Seriously how much does it cost to keep a record in print. I really want to know.

Birchville Cat Motel

Posted in Birchville Cat Motel, Music, New Zealand Bands, noise, The Dead C on September 30, 2007 by noisenoisenoise

This is from Chi Vampires. Can’t find anything from Birds yet. Isn’t it fucking great?

Birchville Cat Motel – Birds Call Home Their Dead ( C Psi P) 2007

Posted in Birchville Cat Motel, Music, New Zealand Bands, noise, The Dead C, yellow swans on September 30, 2007 by noisenoisenoise


New Zealand is producing some of the most important music right now. A case in point is this latest offering from Birchville Cat Motel aka Campbell Kneale. This is a wonderful example of just how beautiful noise can become. It’s trance like, ambient, droning electronic squall. It’s strangely psychedelic. Imagine Panda Bear if he skipped the tunes and melody and embraced his inner Yellow Swan. The title track is pure fucking noise pleasure. The pastoral sounds that I like so much on Chi Vampires are back again. Birds chirp and tweet as the electronics slowly fade. Its a long bugger too 26 and a half minutes. The second track is Kissing Dragon and comes in a spritely eight minutes. Again we revisit a previous theme – experimental church organ that descends into the gentlest electronic squall you’ll ever hear. The final track ( again over the 26 minute mark) is pure Birchville, trance-like droning noise that hypnotises. In the liner notes Dianna Thomson-Kneale is credited with electric sander. How come my DIY never sounds this great?

The Dead C – Tusk (Siltbreeze) 1997

Posted in Music, noise, The Dead C on September 30, 2007 by noisenoisenoise


Holy Crap! This is great. Again we see two sides of the band. The experimental improv composer versus the avant garde indie rock gods. The whole things kicks off with one of the most “out there” tracks the Dead C have done. Plane is seven minutes of kitchen sink percussive loops before mutating into an improv jam session on codeine. The recording sounds hollow. Kind of like someone grabbed a micro cassette recorder half way through and thought, “Hey someone should really record this.” I’ll be honest, it’s not my favourite thing the Dead C have ever done. I find it ever so mildly pointless and if this record was full of Plane like tracks I might have just not bothered. But my initial disappointment is obliterated when the next track begins. Head starts as a humongous guitars on acid freakout track before morphing into a dark Sonic Youth-esque indie rock type thing.

When I really thing about it, it is this metamorphosis or evolution of the Dead C’s music which pushes all my buttons. The final track on the White House was extraordinary. A track that built and, developed and evolved. Tusk is chock full of the same thing. Head, Imaginary and the title track are all fucking wonderful examples of just how good the Dead C are in full flight. The title track is an absolute ripper. But unlike Head, Tusk actually starts as a rock track before descended into primordial feedback and electronics. It’s basically a track that devolves rather than evolves.

The thing that I can’t fugure out is why a band that produced music as good as this flew under the radar for so many years.

The Dead C live on NZ TV

Posted in Music, The Dead C on September 15, 2007 by noisenoisenoise

How great is this

The Dead C – The White House (Siltbreeze) 1995

Posted in Music, noise, The Dead C on September 15, 2007 by noisenoisenoise


Thursday was a great day. Not only did Tusk, Trapdoor Fucking Exit and the White House appear in my PO Box but so did DR503C. And then to top it all off I won Eusa Kills during a late night ebay session. Now I’ve never denied that I was an obsessive little fucker but you can’t fuck about with these sorts of things because the bastard record companies will delete them and … well, where are you going to hear them then.

I had these grand plans to write an essay on the development of the Dead c over the last 20 years and then I thought “how fucking arrogant is that” so each will be taken on their merits as soon as I have had a chance to digest them.

The first one I’ve managed to get through is The White House. This is a classic (and might i add readily available) example of how confusing the Dead C get. There are six tracks of this and none of them are super-stupid long if you know what I mean. The first two are the whole experimental, improv sound thing. We start off with Voodoospell an electronic avant garde psychedelic noise piece. The New Snow is an improv, free form guitar track with some nice droney elements. Both tracks are great and completely different from each other. Your Hand is the third track and somehow we have moved from experimental noise to a vaguely Sebadoh-ish moment. It’s fucking great and I’m sure that in a distant universe it is a college radio hit. Track 4 is a noise interlude which adds nothing before the immense greatness of Bitcher appears. A whole album of this and they would have been one of the biggest alt-rock bands of the 1990’s. Bitcher is a great big RAWK song. A really badly produced rock song but its in there, under the fuzz, perfectly formed. The final track is just as good. Outside is where I get the Pavement comparisons from. Its like a 17 minute lo-fi rock jam that slowly de-constructs itself into a much more drone-based experimental affair. With four minutes to go we’re in Mouthus territory. Its an extraodinary end to a great record. I don’t think it reconciles the tuneless experimental opening tracks with the great lo-fi rock tracks that come after them but does it really fucking matter? I feel like I should be saying “if you’re looking for a place to start with the Dead C this should be it” but I’ve got four more records to go and I’m in no position to be that helpful just yet. What I can say is that if this is supposed to be a noise record then its the most pop-like noise record I’ve heard yet.

The Dead C – Harsh 70’s Reality (Siltbreeze) 1992

Posted in The Dead C, Uncategorized, yellow swans on September 3, 2007 by noisenoisenoise


So, last week I’m out for a meeting with one of my colleagues and I decide on the way back to the office to stop by my post office box to see if the international postman has bestowed blessings on me. He had and as I opened the parcel the following conversation occurred.

Colleague: Oh Goody now we can listen to a CD on the way back to the office

Me: Umm … You’re not going to like this.

Colleague: I like all sorts of music. It is alternative?

Me: More underground I think

Colleague: Well lets put it on (she unwrapped the CD and put it in the very tasteful Toyota’s CD player. She politely listens for ten seconds). Dave there’s no tune.

Me: Yup I think that’s the point. It’s pretty cool isn’t it?

Colleague: (Becoming uncomfortable) You actually like this?

Me: Yep

Colleague: Why.

Me: Well Its great to test the boundaries of music; to listen to sound as opposed to tune. To hear what artists do to sound. To hear how sounds collide, intermingle and stand alone against silence. Umm, sometimes I just need a record to bring me the noise. Don’t you notice how hypnotic and ambient the noise becomes. It creates its own music.

Colleague: Perhaps it’s easier to appreciate through headphones.

And there the conversation ended. I don’t plan to post in any length about this until I digest the other four Dead C CD’s that should arrive soon. In a previous The Dead C post I said that I couldn’t hear the Dead C in what the Yellow Swans do. Well after listening to this for the last week I fucking do now. Thanks for the tip Mr Swanson.

The Dead C – Future Artists (Ba Da Bing) 2007

Posted in Music, noise, The Dead C, yellow swans on August 23, 2007 by noisenoisenoise


Oh baby this is good.

Now as anyone who has read this shitty little blog knows (and I’m fucking surprised at how many of you are out there), I’m quite fond of this whole current noise scene. I don’t for a minute pretend to know my avant garde/ experimental music history. I know my Throbbing Gristle, I know my no-wave, I know my Glen Branca, I’ve dabbled with some Zorn but that’s about as far as my historical knowledge goes. I’m not an expert, and I’m sure as shit not going to put myself out there as someone who can wax lyrical in an essay about the importance of the Dead C in the context of the current noise/experimental scene. All I can do is listen and try to somehow put into words my experience of the music. I am alone on a sea of noise.

What I can tell you is that this is fucking great. Five tracks of noise that have made me a very happy man indeed. If you read my post on Vain, Euridite ….. you will know that I didn’t really get the whole Dead C – Yellow Swans connection. If you go a step further and read the comments you’ll see that Mr Pete Swanson himself calls me out. Which is kind of cool but I’ve revisited that compilation and tried to hear the influence and well ….. call me a fucking luddite … but I struggle. Mr Swanson tells me that the four Siltbreeze releases are essential so I bought them. They haven’t arrived in Brisbane yet but hey I’ll let you know what I think at a later date. What I’m trying to get at I suppose, is that I finally get the connection when I listen to the first track on Future Artists and by the way thank you Dead C for actually having the fucking time to give these tracks titles. The AMM of Punk Rock is great. Apparently it is some sort of in joke but I don’t know who AMM are so it’s all a bit lost on me. It’s a nice warm pool of drone electronics, with drums and the odd glitch. Experimental ambient heaven. The second track The Magicians is a fucking cracker and reminds me of their previous output. Its an indie punk track with someone interrupting proceedings by doing something very cruel to a guitar which I don’t think is entirely legal. Its the last time you hear vocals on Future Artists before we’re back in experimental composition land with the third track Macoute. If you like your Mouthus, Double Leopards and Yellow Swans albums then you’re really going to like this. It’s less fierce than those other bands’ respective records and sometimes that’s not an entirely bad thing. The final two tracks have a great improv feel to them. Eternity has a great rock vibe and there are some tiny shard of guitar noise on it that make me think of Sonic Youth’s Sister. The final track Garage is a lengthy beast and sounds the most improvised thing here. It sounds to me like a twenty minute experimental jam session. There a bit of blues guitar, electronic fuckery and a big fat mellow vibe.

I know I have not done this record justice and I’m not in the position to tell you how it compares to their previous output and let’s face it if you liked those records you’ve bought Future Artists already. I know this though, Future Artists is one of the best, most original records you’ll hear all year.

Mouthus – For the Great Slave Lakes (Threelobed) 2006

Posted in Mouthus, Music, noise, The Dead C, yellow swans on August 18, 2007 by noisenoisenoise


This one of my favourite recent additions to “the Special”. I don’t know much about the band. All I know is that they’re a two piece from Brooklyn. One fellow drums and the other plays the guitar. They have a couple of official releases out there which are pretty easy to pick up but this is the first and only thing I have heard from them. This record was a bonus disc given to subscribers of Threelobed’s Modern Containment series (it featured discs by Hush Arbours, Wooden Wand and Bardo Pond to name a few.)

This is a a slight step back form the pure, harsh noise groups doing the rounds at the moment. Somewhere under the hellish mire is a drummer. A real drummer as opposed to some incessant drum loop churning out wave on wave of sickening aural horror. Mouthus have a real rock vibe happening here. A heavily de-constructed industrial, free-noise, rock vibe but I guarantee you, it is there. It may not be apparent at first but for a couple of tracks it’s almost a garage, swamp rock feel happening under the noise. The first track The Final Tribes has a couple of bass style noises ( I mean it might be a bass or some digital thing … who knows?) but to me it sound like Tracey Pew from the Birthday Party grinding his bass from the third circle of Hell.

There is something fantastically organic and human about For the Great Slave Lakes. Pete Swanson is right, it reeks of The Dead C and although Mouthus are a very different beast this record also made me think of Birchville Cat Motel. There is something approachable about it, its not all machines and death. Sure the metal machine music is all here. Bits of metal clank and clang but When We Were Graves has something which sounds oddly like maracas. There is oxygen in the noise. There are humans behind the racket. Even at their most machine like, the loop heavy track, Where Was I When I Laid to Rest There, is grounded by the intermitent smashing of cymbals. Many will disagree, but the frenetic drumming grounding the whole track (somewhere under the distorted fart of the electronics) reminds me of a de-constructed George Hurley doing Nuff that Shit George from Firehose’s “fromOhio.”

If you’re new to noise you need to track this down and perhaps also get yourself a copy of Yellow Swans “Global Cone” while you’re at it.

The Dead C – Vain, Erudite and Stupid: Selected Works 1987-2005 (Ba Da Bing) 2006

Posted in noise, The Dead C on August 11, 2007 by noisenoisenoise


It kind of disturbs me that I’ve spent a good deal of my life being a complete music snob and somehow I had never heard the best band in New Zealand until earlier this year. This is one of my most listened to records according to Mr Boo but I’ve been walking around all day thinking how I was going to post on The Dead C. The Katharina Grosse exhibition I saw this afternoon would be much easier to post on than this simple rock record (and that exhibition was basically large balloons and painted dirt for fuck’s sake.) Vain Erudite and Stupid is a compilation of hand picked tracks by the band. All bar a couple of their records are out of print and if your even mildly interested in experimental, free form rock then you’ll have no fucking choice but to buy this.

The Dead C are a three piece from New Zealand and have been around since the mid 1980’s. They were feted by Sonic Youth in the late 1980’s and early 1990’s but unlike many other friends of SY, The Dead C never made it big. Fuck it, that shouldn’t be a surprise and is there any wonder when you listen to some of the stuff collected on this compilation. The biggest issue I have is where do they fit in the never ending game of comparisons. The best I can do is Sonic Youth crossed with early avant garde Pavement, add to that a sprinkling of Throbbing Gristle and then make sure the whole thing is recorded live on a no-track cassette player. That’s my best effort. It’s stupid  but you should really go our and buy this. Words cannot do The Dead C justice.

The Sonic Youth vibe is really strong on the first disc and some of the tracks are remarkable. Maggot and Helen Said This I’m sure are hits in some alternative universe and despite their experimental excursions just about everything on Disc 1 is a alterna-rock song. Just really fucking “out there” if you know what I mean.

The second disc is a much stranger beast. In their later recordings the band abandon the need to conform to anything so petty as a song structure. Sure the production gets better but lyrics are (mostly) abandoned and the whole experience becomes much more unsettling. Voodoo Spell is a cracker of psychedelic, tuneless electronica. Head is a eleven minutes of a meandering Sonic Youth/ Kraut Rock style guitar jam.

The Dead C are being name dropped as one of the grandfathers of experimental rock and even the current noise scene. Sure there are a couple of experimental noise tracks on Vain but if your expecting to find the precursor to Yellow Swans then you’re going to be really fucking disappointed. The Dead C are a rock band but they’re so far underground they’re hitting magma.

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