LULU'S OCTOBER 2020 NEWSLETTER
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Hey gang. This month we interrupt our usual broadcast with something a bit different, but unfortunately necessary. It’s an obituary. An obituary for the year 2020, an obituary for Australian Winter, and an obituary for some people special to the underground. Now, as some of us will be be used to, or for those of you who are uninformed about the pagan history of the world, I write from the perspective of somebody living in the southern hemisphere who lives in a world of information dominated by the northern hemisphere. You all realise Halloween is backwards down here, yeah?
Let me begin by saying, amongst other recently departed; Rest In Peace to Riley Gale and Wade Allison. You changed many lives for the better. They also changed each others’ lives. The path traversed by Wade (guitarist of Iron Age) lead to the path of Riley (vocalist of Power Trip), and both of theirs lead to others, while also travelling alongside those belonging to a similar age and ilk all around the globe; much as the path of others, both forebears and peers, were the ones that lead to Wade’s. And as we who have aged into our more “middle” phases of life could attest, bearing witness to the “next generation” validates and invigorates the ones who rode before.
You see, we all can inspire each other. You see, we all can support each other. Especially when you see yourself (and the better version of yourself) in others. Others at a distance, from hemisphere to hemisphere, and others immediately around you, so close that you can touch them. So close that you do touch them; shake their hands, buy their tapes, clap in the same audience, vote in the same booths, sit under the same trees, listen to the same records, shed the same tears and smile the same smiles.
On a very personal level, I can honestly tell you that Wade’s music changed my life. And as much as I like/d Kurt Cobain, it was Wade wearing a flannie that made me think it was cool as hell. And it was Riley, being a similar age to me, taking that fucken ball and chain and running with it; affirming that we can so closely follow in the footsteps of those who we admire, whether at a distance or up close, and also lead our own way for ourselves and others. I feel strongly that the same is true in our own backyard, as it was true of theirs.
It would be foolish to ignore an elephant in the room, and that is the well-being of our mental health. Suicide in young people exists in tragic rates, and suicide in older people is a story just as sad. It isn’t easy to reach out, it isn’t easy to be yourself, it isn’t easy to ask for help. It isn’t easy. But we need to try our very best.
At the beginning of this piece it was mentioned that this is partly an obituary for the year 2020. But that’s bullshit. The world is fucked, and it has been for ages and ages. Let’s not wish away a shitty year that was and pretend the future will automatically be brighter. It will be as dark as we ever feared. We need to continue to struggle. To make it bright.
There is always time to support each other and help make the world brighter for all of us.
SIMON J KARIS “PIOVVE” CS [COMING SOON!]
With his first release since 2017’s “Madrugada”, Simon J Karis’ latest on the Nice Music label “Piovve” returns to his focused exploration of electronic murk with his densest release yet.
There is definite form to these six vignettes which utilise a varying palette of layered mono synths, disjointed sequences, pads, squalls and ominous throbs treated through a haze of blown out tape and distortion to evoke the motions of a hazy and introspective journey.
An unfamiliar dystopic soundtrack that leans into a meditative existential dread, reveling in its own uneasiness, and throbs like an ode to the eternal rhythms of the city.
PORTRAY HEADS “PORTRAY HEADS” 2LP
Bitter Lake Records / Minimal Wave
In a meeting made in the stars, fellow NY underground archivists/curators Minimal Wave and Bitter Lake Records have joined forces to release this masterwork; the entire recorded output of Japanese underground synth-pop trio Portray Heads.
Established in 1984 on the Japanese island of Shikoku, Portray Heads released two 7"s, with two different vocalists, in their two year lifespan. These two LPs collate all those recordings, alongside newly recovered demos of the band in both lineups.
Influenced by both Euro new wave and the their Japanese technopop contemporaries, the sounds of Portray Heads reflects this by veering wildly from playful synth-pop jingles to angular darkwave with ease. All the while fronted by two equally excellent female vocalists.
Portray Heads will appeal to those freaks like us obsessed with the apparently bottomless well that is the Japanese underground during this period, as well as those who enjoy the current output of artists like Nun or the equally expansive Minimal Wave catalogue.
Lulu's is also proud to be stocking in large numbers all present and future releases by both Minimal Wave and Bitter Lake Records in perpetuity. They're some of the best in the game, and we're stoked to be able to make their releases more easily accessible on this side of the globe.
THE STOOGES “LIVE AT GOOSE LAKE” LP
Third Man Records
There is perhaps no other band where the mythology and narrative have played as significant part in their legacy as the music than the Stooges.
With their 1969 self-titled debut the band found themselves branded as public enemy number one - an undesirable mutation of post nuclear family Americana so downright obscene they posed a threat to every walk of life in the ol’ U.S of A.
By 1970 they were the embodiment of social decadence and juvenile delinquency whose existence could not be entertained or tolerated by their peers and critics who did everything they could to keep them off the books.
For the hardcore fans and collectors their history was slowly pieced together over the years through oral histories, clippings, fan photos, abandoned studio sessions, bootleg tapes and archival footage.
After a decade where it appeared the well had run dry before straight outta nowhere appears this soundboard salvaged from the basement of a house in Detroit and possibly the one and only complete live recording of the bands original lineup in existence.
Goose Lake holds a special place in Stooge lore as the death of the dream with the firing of Dave Alexander and the attempted arrest of Iggy Pop cited by many as the beginning of their end.
Conceived as the mid west’s state of the art answer to Woodstock and a misguided attempt to reignite the Summer of Love the grounds reportedly descended into a sea of debauchery by its second day with it’s attendance blowing out to 200,000, pop up drug markets, organiser sanctioned groupie tents, low flying private planes, police surveillance and horse tranquilisers disguised as cocaine causing a “brown acid” type situation.
Evidently throwing Detroit’s finest into this cocktail at 8:45pm on a Saturday night was a bad idea and the fact that the Ig-man almost didn’t sign off on this one you know it’s gonna be worth the price of admission.
From the cautiously emphatic introduction into Iggy's Morrison-esque Betty Boop style audience baiting it’s clear the crowd aren’t exactly psyched to have them when The Stooges come out swinging.
The glory lasts all of one minute into opener “Loose” when you can literally hear the substances take a collectively wrong turn and knock three out of the four Stooges absolutely sideways before the rest of the set lurches in and out of complete mayhem.
File this one right next to that copy of Metallic KO - a narcotic, nihilistic, free jazz, feedback-ridden affair complete with crass improvisations, stunned silence, audience baiting, nonsensical ramblings, dog spotting and the sounds of a riot about to boil over imminently.
While MVP goes to brother Ron Asheton, whose insanely on point guitar work is really what holds the whole thing together, this release is about the redemption of the forgotten Stooge Dave Alexander who was dismissed from the band immediately after this set for supposedly being so stoned or zombified on stage he couldn’t play a note before tragically passing away at the age of 27.
Not his finest performance but this recording tells a different story and when he is present the band is untouchable.
Set highlights and two of the best versions of either track you will ever hear. “Dirt” flawlessly revels in that perfect narcotic haze while “Funhouse” is absolutely ferocious with saxophonist Steve Mackay letting that free jazz fly.
Five decades on it seems there were more personal differences at play and he’s finally getting his dues.
Props to Third Man on the restoration, killer liner notes and “Can you hear Dave?” run outs.
Crucial chaos for all the true freaks and real O minds out there. What a trip.
JYL "JYL" LP
Minimal Wave Records
In the booklet accompanying this Minimal Wave masterpiece, Jyl Porch (known here as JYL) says of her time studying Modern Dance at University of North Carolina School of the Arts, "I loved the discipline and creativity" Those few words nicely sum up the circuitry of this album; emotions and feelings rushing through the transistors and resistors of the then modern age.
This LP is very much a capsule, created at a time which existed on the brink (not so hard to imagine). Technology was advancing in a strange way at a rapid pace, creatives types were finding their way out of the hangover and haze of the hippie era. Reagan was about to do his worst to reinstate the imagined golden age of the West (while other "leaders" of the West weren't necessarily much better), and people at large were as confused and excited as one might expect.
The deceptively charming lyrics contained within this 12" time-machine are actually brilliantly penned, dealing with the human condition and intellect meeting automation & computing in that glorious, peculiar, imaginative retro-futuristic style (before it was realised that we'd largely just be losing jobs and staring at dumb and colourful bullshit on our computer phones).
The accompanying music is just as much of a collect call from a prior time. Producer Klaus Schulze (maestro of Tangerine Dream, Ash Ra Tempel, and a whole stack of 90s trance classix later on down the way) alongside fellow Berlin scanners playing with their then-shiny, strict drum machines and experimenting with new synthesizing toys. Clearly having some kind of morose fun and betraying a smirking humour every step of the way... how very German it is!
Sometimes it drives forward in a way that is unexpectedly punk, other times it meanders into melodies that I could only describe as the musical interpretation of the mind.exe of a young robot.
Music for technophiles and modern lovers everywhere. Plug in and turn <ON>.
"Destined for my velvet kiss
Embracing in the dark
They programmed all your fantasies
Within my plastic heart
Ready made to touch you
Maniplate our beat
I've got you in the system
And will reproduce the heat."
MINORU FUSHIMI "HAKODATE LADY" 7"
Left Ear Records
Extremely stoked to be stocking this hot slab of mutant enka from Minoru Fushimi. Originally recorded in 1983; armed with a TR-606 and other bits and bobs, Minoru took it upon himself to take two classic Japanese enka tracks and "update" them for a youth audience. The result is truly bizarre, squelching, stumbling versions of these traditional songs that land closer to bedroom freak funk than anything resembling "accessible to a younger audience". Nevertheless, they are infectious, unique and well worth your time. Reissued with the utmost reverence by Left Ear Records , in very limited numbers.