Archive for The Dead C

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.

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

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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.

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

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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

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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.

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