Archive for the The Dead C Category

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.

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