Volcanic Tongue Catalogue

Bruce Russell
21st Century Field Hollers And Prison Songs

Rococo Records RCC-0023

LP
£12.99


Limited edition LP from Bruce Russell of The Dead C/A Handful Of Dust et al in a run of 300 copies with black on white screened glue pocket covers: “This album has been made entirely from samples taken from the Midnight Crossroads Tape Recorder Blues album, with I made for A Bruit Secret. Like that album, it is a tribute to the spirit of the blues, viewed through a prism of 21st century cultural criticism. It evokes an earlier ear when the relationship between a performer and a song rose out of a community, not a property relation. In appropriating my own material I have short-circuited the prevailing ethos of piracy and bricolage and returned in a sense to my self. Despite being made in New Zealand and using some recordings from The Rhineland, the two places that are really central to this album are the Mississippi Delta and the island of Jamaica.” – Bruce Russell.

Bruce Russell & John Wiese
Fronts

Helicopter H-40

7"
£6.99


More evacuated noise tectonics from the dream-team hook-up of US noise wunderkind John Wiese and NZ sound-thinker and Dead C member Bruce Russell. Limited to 300 copies.

Bruce Russell
Antikythera Mechanism

The Spring Press #09

LP
£18.99


Limited edition LP in a run of only 200 copies from New Zealand’s greatest axe-strangler, Bruce Russell of The Dead C. The playing here is more overtly euphoric than many of Bruce’s earlier sides, his grip tight around the neck, tearing clusters of squeal from conveyor belts of fuzz. The opening duo with Australian noise/guitarist Marco Fusinato is fairly epic but it’s the all solo “West Space One” that best documents Russell at his most Hendrix/amp-destroying. Playing with a machine gun style that comes over like Band Of Gypsies jamming the outro to “Bury”, it’s hard not to anticipate Robbie Yeats staggering in and pushing the whole thing over the cliff. Russell’s solo sides often have a whole bunch of fascinating conceptual/hermetic weight to them but Antikythera Mechanism succeeds because of its status as ‘simply’ a solo guitar record and in its own way it feels as definitive as Donald Miller’s A Little Treatise On Morals, Jandek’s Interstellar Discussion or Keiji Haino’s Affection. Bruce does a lot of actual playing here – as opposed to just letting the guitar sing - and on the third side-long track his guitar sounds closest to Nicholas from Love Cry Want’s guitar synthesizer’, albeit with the dials set to “Iron Man”. But in the end it all boils down to this: Bruce Russell was in The Dead C and you weren’t. That’s why he can pull off fringed leather jackets when you would just look like a dope. And that’s why in his hands an all-improvised guitar album sounds like the goddamn keys to the kingdom. So listen up. Pressed on ultra thick white vinyl.  Highly recommended.

The Dead C
The Damned

Starlight Furniture Company #21

CD
£8.99


2004 album from The Dead C that works to consolidate the kinda brut rock song destruction of ‘classic’ Trapdoor era with the kinda extended gunned-up machine noise of Tusk. Great, wasted performance by Morley, while Russell and Yeats stagger through the wreckage. Every release is, of course, mandatory.

Richard Francis/Jason Kahn/Bruce Russell
Dunedin

CMR #27

CD
£10.99


Fantastic all-electric three way that sees Bruce Russell of The Dead C (on analog electronics) joined by Richard Francis on modular synth and computer and Jason Kahn on analog synth, radio and mixing board: recorded live on January 28th 2011 at Dunedin Public Art Gallery in New Zealand, this is a single 38 minute improvisation that feels environmental in scale but with a heady synthesized aspect that makes for a ghostly metal machine music. Three distinct voices make for a bafflingly beautiful combination, with odd almost-melodies that feel like the F/X from a 1960s Supermarionation production soundtracked by Joe Meek going up against the kind of massive UFO touchdown aspect of MEV or CCCC and some supremely invasive alarm tones that have all the flesh-penetrating third ear aspect of Bernhard Gunter or Maryanne Amacher. Whenever Bruce is involved there’s always a great non-technical garage band approach to wrassling electricity into caveman submissions and at points this feels like the scientific power trio of your dreams. A great set, highly recommended. 

Peter Jefferies
The Last Great Challenge In A Dull World

De Stijl IND123

CD
£13.99


Necessary CD edition of this all-time classic New Zealand underground side, originally released in 1990 on Bruce Russell’s legendary Xpressway label: Jefferies was a member of This Kind Of Punishment and this is one of the all-time great weirdo singer-songwriter albums, with a backing band that includes all three members of The Dead C – Bruce Russell, Michael Morley and Robbie Yeats – as well as Alastair Galbraith, Kathy Bull, Robbie Muir , David Mitchell and Nigel Taylor. Jefferies channels the revenant forms of Syd Barrett and Kevin Ayers, all filtered through that amazing subterranean/basement distance that defines the best of the Xpressway sides. His song-writing is just heartrendingly beautiful, power crying over lilting repeat-piano minimalism and disembodied backing vocals, singing unaccompanied acapella tracks that have all of the alien power of Jandek and playing amazing damaged downer guitar dirges that marry the brokedown form of The Dead C to classic psychedelic songforms. Truly, an all-time desert island discs and one of the most magical moments in the Xpressway back catalogue finally available again on vinyl. Comes with a download code. No one does the sound of lonesome like Jefferies. Can’t recommend this masterpiece enough!

Eye
Winterwork

Nyali Recordings #9

LP
£12.99


Staggering full-length vinyl debut from this amazing New Zealand drone/rock group with connections that go deep into the whole Flying Nun/Xpressway/Metonymic scene in an edition of only 250 copies on 140g vinyl and with liner notes from Bruce Russell of The Dead C: Eye is a mind-flailing trio in the classic NZ style that features the legendary Peter Stapleton on drums (who has played with everyone from The Pin Group through Scorched Earth Policy, Victor Dimisich Band, Terminals, Flies Inside The Sun and more), Peter Porteous on guitar and Nathan Thompson on guitar and samples. As Russell says in his liners, Eye have the uncanny ability “to make time flow backwards” and across this stunning set they do violence to notions of linearity and past and future. No one can bisect a drone with the kind of uncanny feel for full group levitation as Peter Stapleton and here he is on true time-killing form, building violent cymbal ascensions over rainbows of overtone-thick amplifier worship as the 12 strings blossom into almost choral-primitive shapes, conjuring a form of ancient>future devotional music that feels supremely lonely and distant, touching on the magical voids-away feel of Roy Montgomery or Grouper while mainlining the post-Xpressway keys to the kingdom. Eye come out of the classic tradition of hands-on group-dynamic drone, taking off on lessons learned from collectives like AMM, MEV and, of course, The Velvet Underground and this is a tradition that has been central to the evolution of the NZ underground, with less solo drone workers and more big-band/group-playing freak focus, with a focus on actual hand-on playing to generate the kinda sounds that would bring down the skies. And this is it, one of the monumental contemporary drone summits from a buncha players who know. One of the major long-form statements of the year and a massive statement of intent from the Glasgow-based Nyali label’s new vinyl incarnation. Beautifully packaged with a hand-numbered risographed insert, this is a monster. Highest possible recommendation!

Various Artists
NoFi Rainbow Vol. 1

End Of The Alphabet Records EAR 001

CD-R
£10.99


Incredible new very limited proto-Tokyo Flashback scale compilation that attempts to take the temperature of the New Zealand underground circa now, complete with original artwork by Campbell Kneale: this one subverts and bolsters the NZ destructo rock/home-bled concrete tape work tradition, marrying tracks from heavyweights like Bruce Russell and Peter Wright, Campbell Kneale’s Our Love Will Destroy The World and Antony Milton alongside major new voices that range from obliterated almost Omit-scale homemade electronics, evacuate beats and splintered vocals through roaring drone and end of the world soundings courtesy of killer new breed voices like Mischancerie, ETRC aka Shannon Reed, i.ryoko, Oona Verse and Noel Meek. Highly recommended.  

Michael Morley
The Pavilion Of Fools

Gallerie Desford Vogel FSS 7s

CD
£9.99


Solo guitar/electronics record from Michael Morley of The Dead C, released by a New Zealand gallery and originally intended as a soundtrack piece. Moves from the sound of blood pulsing in your ears through classic saw-tooth Dead C riffing and Industrial machine noise. Another good one.

The Dead C/Rangda
Dead C Vs Rangda

Ba Da Bing Records BING-081

LP
£17.99


Massive two-header that presents unreleased archival recordings from legendary NZ underground group The Dead C paired with new tracks from the trio of guitarists Sir Richard Bishop (Sun City Girls) and Ben Chasny (Six Organs Of Admittance) and drummer Chris Corsano: the Dead C side is a particular revelation, with the discovery of previously unreleased tracks that were under consideration for inclusion on their masterful 1992 album for Flying Nun, Eusa Kills. On the flip Rangda make with some dazzling power trio moves, re-thinking rock dynamics with drooling polyrhythms and overdosed modal guitar histrionics that take off on Sonny Sharrock circa Monkey-Pockie-Boo. 

Gate/Tom Carter
Split

Carbon Records CR-208

7"
£10.99


Killer US tour split 7” from Tom Carter of Charalambides and Gate aka Michael Morley of The Dead C in a hand-numbered edition of 313 copies: Tom’s side is a beauty, with an alternately triumphal/melancholy electric guitar march that weaves post-Sharrock steel string logic into webs of dissolving tone joy that are then Eno-ised for maximum bliss potential. The Gate side is phenomenally heavy, with Morley playing gravity-mashing sludge power chords in a Blue Cheer-play-Outside feel but with a whip-cracking drum machine ploughing through the spectra-thick fuzz. When Morley’s classic narcoleptic vocals drool all over the top the accumulative effect is reality dissolving. No one can sing the edge of the world blues like Michael Morley. In two colour silkscreened Stumptown kraft sleeves with a free download, highly recommended. 

Richard Francis
Waste Away/Nun’s Murmur

CMR #29

7” Lathe
£16.99


Edition of only 25 copies hand-cut lathe from radical New Zealand soundist Richard Francis: Francis has collaborated with Bruce Russell of The Dead C and his solo work is uniquely brain rearranging. Using field recordings, modular synth, computer, looper and edirol recorder he conjures huge, phantom, barely populated soundworlds that are compulsive in the kind of entropic gravity that they generate, situating low drones and what sounds like distant airplane noise in fields of static, shortwave tone and that classic dying amplifier/overheating electricity appeal of the best of the post Xpressway/Corpus Hermeticum drone artists. A beautiful piece of radical drone deconstruction that sounds perfect on hand-cut lathe. Plays at 33. Highly recommended but very short supply obviously!