Sunday, July 4, 2010

Sympathy for the Record Industry (1994)

"Stop messing with my head with your half baked ragas, dull pseudo ethnic arcana, fake folk etc don't give me 'give and take' improv, and please no 'interesting', I want full-on universal electric blood or nothing (Nothing is pretty good too)…"
— Matthew Bower, from a March 31, 2005 text for Volcanic Tongue record shop.

Happy 4th! In honor of this holiday, I offer a record under the lead of Matthew Bower, one British individual who’d be able to convert us into loyal British subjects again single-handed with just one guitar, an amp and a howl. (As he has in his bands Mirag, Pure, Total, Sunroof! and some later versions of Skullflower.) Thankfully he wasn’t around in the 18th century. We'd be eating grilled tomatoes with fish cakes for breakfast. So I offer a 7” from the first glory days of Skullflower.

I could mention I met him once at the Empty Bottle. Saw him standing alone before a show. I walked up, thanked him for the years of music and pleasure. Bower looked up at me (he's rather short), beer in hand, and replied, in a cold yet somehow not mean or condescending manner, "How do you know who I am?" Didn't have an answer. Then an hour later, electric bliss.

Back to the matter at hand. One of many of the best things about Bower, is his nonchalance about being tough. He came up with a great band name, everything else is malleable. Look at the label. Flies? Gnats? Drooling bumblebees? Ok, maybe a rabid wasp. Not too scared regardless.

And the song titles. You know you aren’t worried about image when you can use these titles for your heavy brutal stomp. If it is gonna pummel you, the title can have a little fun, no? Who needs bluster? I’m skittish just considering encountering any of the fully-grown horses of this “Ponyland.” Only Bower would dream to make a “Fake Revolt” more menacing than a real one. This is the stuff electricity was invented for, to mangle and buzz over paleolithic drums. When other opportunities fall through, sometimes to get the heart racing one must stick out your thumb and hold high that cardboard sign: “Nihilism or Bust!”

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