tinhuvielartanis: (ELO)
I’ve been doing some hardcore servicing on my computer.  The keyboard and touch pad were starting to act up shortly before the trip to Los Angeles.  A few days after I got back to San Diego, the computer flew al to hell.  So I’ve been working on it; thus, my delay in relaying the rest of the Los Angeles story.  I think everything is sorted, now, so onward and upward!

I'll only be posting a fraction of the images I took whilst in LA, but you can click this pic to access all of them, if you wish.  Also, the original size pics are only a click away from the pics I posted here, so get that mouse to moving!

Our only two forays into Touristville was our trip to the La Brea Tar Pits museum (the Mother Unit and I went to the pits last year, but did not go into the museum.).  I don't think I've ever been in the presence of so many bones and fossils.  It was awesome.


Then Andy needed to go to the Harley store to get his sister-in-law a shot glass that said Los Angeles on it, so we found ourselves battling the cast of thousands on the streets, who oblivious to nothing but the stars embedded in the sidewalk, and legendary locales like Grauman’s Chinese Theatre.  I stayed in the car while Andy ran his Harley errand.  I would only have slowed him down, and the clock was beginning to tick by then.

After escaping the tourist traps, it was off to House of Pies.  This is a great hang-out place, and my biggest regret is not actually getting a piece of actual flipping pie from there!  There’s always a next time, and a slice of blueberry cheesecake with my name on it, trust me.



Now, I was under the impression we were meeting only Paul, because Richard was in Las Vegas.  When I got a text on the way to the restaurant informing us that we were on for 3 PM, I thought it was Paul.  Andy and I got there a little early to get us a booth and, shortly thereafter, Paul showed up.  I was taken aback a little, because I had forgotten he’d shaved, so I was expecting the furry edition of the beleaguered Jack Cucchiaio.  We gleefully chatted for a few minutes and Paul and Andy got acquainted, when Richard Gale showed up, which surprised the fuck out of me.  I figured we wouldn’t have a chance to meet him, because he was out of town, and all.  He even brought me a Ginosaji spoon, which is the last thing I expected, because I contributed without requesting any perks.  The perk for me is to see this film come to fruition.  If I had my way, the people with the real talent, in my opinion, which is the only one that matters, would have endless funds for their projects, frighteningly organised promotional work, everything they need at their fingertips, and 100% creative control of their own work.  It was the only way to change the music business, which we’ve seen on almost every level, and I believe that’s how it’s going to end up in what we still call “Hollywood.”  Anyone with any shred of talent, and imagination, and a Tribe that will back them up no matter what will eventually own the world. Jeff Lynne found that out initially at Hyde Park.  He’s still being shocked by it all.  It couldn’t happen to a better person, except people like Barry Andrews and Richard Gale.

The Spoon of the Ginosaji has found a place of honour next to my baby dancing Groot.  Behold the oddest couple in fandom!

Our early dinner lasted longer than expected.  We talked movies, film-making, music, and general tomfoolery until it almost ran Paul and Richard late.  I thanked them for being two of about ten people on this planet to make me genuinely happy and laugh since 2011.  That means more than most everyone can possibly realise.

Richard introduced Andy to the wonders of Uber, which saved our butts as far as getting to the Hollywood Bowl in time, we took an awesome picture, courtesy of the kind cashier at House of Pies, and reluctantly parted ways, promising to do it again soon.

Both Paul and Richard are funny, talented, delightful souls, filled with stories about what it’s like to live and work in Los Angeles.  It was deeply insightful, none of which I’m sharing here, because I haven’t asked permission to share, and there are some things that just shouldn’t be public without the consent of the persons to whom it happened.

I will say that the Ginosaji movie is progressing nicely and is beginning to live up to its description as epic on a level that’s hard to imagine.  Impressed doesn’t even begin to cover how I feel about the project.  I can’t wait for it to all be a reality.

Before heading back to the apartment, Andy wanted to go get the tee with the space cat invaders, so we hied down to the shop to find it.  Whilst there, I found a shirt that was so anti-this trip, I knew I had to have it.  I’m not one to buy frivolous stuff for myself, but I knew this would always conjure the memory of the grooviest birthday I’ve had so far whilst incarcerated in this current veil of tears, and it was only $10, so I took my chances, in more ways than one.  They only had the one shirt, and it was a woman’s medium.  Since I’m still having problems figuring out what can and can’t fit me, I decided to go for it anyway.  Luckily, it fit perfectly, so I wore it with my galaxy pants, because you can’t go to an ELO concert without having the cosmos nearby for their spaceship to have a place along which to triumphantly coast.

Jumping into our Uber with a tad of time to spare (we would have been woefully late, had it not been for Richard’s suggestion.  Thank you for that!), Andy and I were on our way to what I believed would be a defining Life Moment, and Andy was keen on a concert at the Hollywood Bowl.  He specifically said that he wasn’t tingly like I probably was.*  Since I tend to try to keep my emotions in check, my tingle factor was definitely present, but I did my level best to keep it together as we hunted for our seats, which was relatively.  The folks who work at the Hollywood Bowl are quite courteous and helpful.  They’ll also read you the riot act and not give you entrance if you have a camera that even vaguely looks professional.  Mine does not, but I didn’t want to take the chance of losing my camera, so I took my iPhone, which has a very good camera, so I wasn’t too very lower-lippy about leaving the camera at Brian’s apartment.

Andy’s phone had very little charge and he was responsible for the Uber ride back from Hollywood Bowl, so it was up to me to get as many decent pictures as I possibly could.  I even managed to get part of All Over the World, which was personally important, since it was Xanadu that officially introduced me to the Electric Light Orchestra.



The concert began with the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra, conducted by unspeakably cool Thomas Wilkins, playing pieces from English composers, like the lush Nimrod by Edward Elgar, which thrilled Andy no end, considering it’s one of his favourite pieces and and he can play it on organ.  I wish I had that kind of talent.

Being raised on various Classical composers (like Antonín Dvorak and Johann Strauss) along with the Beatles, the Carpenters, and early Electronica like Popcorn by Hot Butter, I was eating the opening act by the orchestra up like a thirsty dude in the desert who just found a water fountain.

When Jeff Lynne and his band finally took the stage, it was nothing short of a religious experience, especially since the opening song was Tightrope, which is one of the closest songs you’ll ever get Jeff Lynne to being cynical.  Even then, it turns out in the end.  Yes, I admit, I got teary.

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All of the songs the band played were their classics, and they were played with precisions.  The only exception was the single release from the new album, Alone in the Universe, When I Was a Boy.  Despite his hearing the new album prior to the concert, Andy was very deeply impressed with Jeff Lynne’s autobiographical opus.

After the concert, I said on Facebook, “No words.”  Honestly, I’m still having problems putting into words the experience I had at the ELO concert.  It turned me into Ellie Arroway, no doubt about it.

I had a suspicion he might do All over the World, but knew there was no hope for Xanadu or the title track from Eldorado.  Jeff just doesn't consider Xanadu to be his best work, and Eldorado is just too obscure for your "basic fan", whatever that means.

There was one song that brought me by surprise, and that was Wild West Hero, which they did with the a cappella in tact.  I thought I was taping that portion of the concert but, unfortunately, I screwed that up big time.  Wild West Hero is my second favourite ELO song, specifically because of the a cappella portion of the piece.  You can hear the breath, albeit very slightly and you need headphones, in between each phrase in the song.  It makes it real.  It makes it human.  It makes it breathtakingly beautiful.  Anyone interested in seeing the concert, along with this exceptional performance, you need only click the embedded video here, with the masterpiece in question beginning at 50:30:

As Richard and I had discussed earlier, the subtly of sound makes all the difference in anything, be it music or film.  If you can’t appreciate that, you’re losing a completely vital portion of your creative process.  Unless it’s a silent film or sommat, then you have to be living in the 20s or be Mel Brooks!

I must freely admit that it was during this song that I lost my shit.  I never expected to hear Wild West Hero live.  Ever.  EVER.  EVER EVER EVER. And that harks back to my initial statement that you never know what’s going to happen in this crazy existence.  Ten years, I never expected to be in England meeting one of my heroes.  Ten years later, I never expected to be in the presence of my first ever hero singing a song that only hardcore fans know by heart and audiophiles need a cigarette after hearing it.

Just as I’d heard from concert goers from previous concerts, there were moments Jeff would forget the lyrics.  None of that mattered, though.  The audience, most of us who had already forgotten what we had for breakfast that day (except for me and the Popeye’s Breakfast I’m craving like crazy right now), filled in the blanks for him.  Besides, it showed that Jeff Lynne is human and aging along with his fans, both older hardcore fans, and his new generation.  It shouldn’t be held against him for interchanging the occasional lyric the man wrote 40 years ago.  We should all just be lucky he’s willing to get up there and sing it live for us, when none of us expected to ever see him on stage again, especially not in this capacity.

His typical banter in between songs was “Thank you so much,” with his thumbs in the air.  This wasn’t surprising, coming from a man who said four words after being cornered in a studio back in 1979, that made me fall in love with him.  He was ambushed by an interviewer who asked why the band were named “Electric Light Orchrstra.”  Jeff’s reply, short, sweet, to the point, was, “Uhm...well… why not?” Right then and there, I wanted to be an eccentric recluse.  Got my wish. Haha!  What surprised me was that, even after all the concerts he’s done since Hyde Park, and the worshipful reception he’s gotten every single place he’s played, he’s still shocked and humbled that so many of us are there for him, singing with him, celebrating his life like he never expected it would be.

Paul saw the band at their lowest point in 1986.  I wish he could have been there to see how drastically times have changed that ebb in their career, and see how the band was always supposed to be seen live.  Even though always called Electric Light Orchestra, the orchestral part would still be lost to the electric instrumentation, despite the sound department doing the best they could with what they had to work with at the time.  Technology has finally caught up with Jeff Lynne’s vision, and we who never got to see the orchestra during their supposed heyday, got to see and experience something that is unique and miraculous to our times.  We got to see ELO the way Jeff Lynne always envisioned it.  There were live bands, then there were bands whose light shone brightest in the studio.  What Jeff Lynne finally got to do was bring his fans into his studio and let us see, at least in part, what he sees in his mind when making the music we so adore.

Prior to the concert, Andy asked me what I thought their opener and encore would be.  Getting it completely wrong, I suggested Last Train to London and Mr. Blue Sky.  As mentioned above, Tightrope opened and the perfect marriage of Rock and Classic closed us out with Roll over Beethoven along with perfectly-timed fireworks.

It took us a while to get out of the area, and it was such a relief to get back to the apartment and just lie there, basking in the glory I just had the honour of experiencing.  Even though I was exhausted, I didn’t sleep the entire night.  My inner vision was too filled with astronomical imagery, and my inner song was pure harmony.  I figured I wouldn’t sleep the night of the concert, so I had it in my head to do all the laundry and perform any other duties to ensure Brian’s apartment was exactly as he had left it, or at least as close to that as possible.  The problem was, I didn’t know where the washer and dryer were and couldn’t find them.  Texting Brian, I revealed my intentions, but he would have none of it.  So I limited my restoration to cleaning everything I could, and triple-checking everything I could think of…  I haven't heard any complaints, so I'm hoping we left Brian's uber-groovy pad just as fabulicious as it was when we arrived.

*I would like to note that, by the end of the concert, Andy admitted to being more than a little tingly.  HA!

tinhuvielartanis: (Torquemada)

I haven’t done one of these in about 10,000 years, so let’s get this show on the road.



This is all true. photo 1264091_10153348891685721_288267917_o.jpg1. Full name: Tracy Angelina Evans
2. Nicknames: Tin, Tinhuviel, George, Darth Shriek
3. Birthplace: Asheville, North Carolina USA
4. Birthday: 10 September, 1967
5. Where Do You Live Now?: San Diego, California
6. Parent(s): Father Unit has passed.  Mother Unit is here in San Diego.
7. Sibling(s): ZERO
8. Looks: Better off invisible.
9. Favourite Animal(s): Anything non-human, except for millipedes and centipedes.  Like humans, they can go fuck themselves.
10. Favorite TV Show(s): Impractical Jokers, Better Call Saul



11. Favorite Kind(s) Of Music: Most everything but Country and Opera.
12. Favorite Movie(s): Sci-Fi, Unusual, Conceptual, Foreign
13. School: Some college, focusing on English and Veterinary Assistance
14. Future School: I’m too old for this question. The Chapel Perilous

15. Future Job: Testing new, effective sleep aids.
16. Boyfriend/Girlfriend: nah
17. Best Buds: I’m a bit of a hermit these days.
18. Favorite Candy: Milk Dud
19. Hobbies: Music, reading, writing
20. Things You Collect: Grudges, CDs, movies, moments in time.



21. Do You Have A Personal Phone Line: Yes
22. Favorite Body Part Of The Opposite Sex? The eyes and brain
23. Any Tattoos And Where Of What?: Red & Black Triskele on right hand, Green Shriekback logo on left hand, Mwanza Flat-headed Agama with green and blue hues instead of pinkish and blue.
24. Piercing(s) And Where?: not anymore
25. What Do You Sleep in?: clothing
26. Do you like Chain Letters: aw HELL NAW.
27. Best Advice: Reality is peripheral.
28. Favorite Quotes: Hope for the best, expect the worst. - Mel Brooks.
29. Non-sport Activity You Enjoy: sleep
30. Dream Car: A transporter



31. Favorite Thing To Do In Spring: Avoid the sun.
32. What’s Your Bedtime: Whenever I’m lucky.
33. Where Do You Shop: Wherever I can.
34. Coke or Pepsi: Cheerwine

35. Favorite Thing(s) To Wear?: Something loose that will allow me to blend into my surroundings.
36. Favorite Subject(s) In School: English and Creative Writing

37. Favorite Color(s): Green, Red, Black
38. Favorite People To Talk To Online: People with brains and a wicked sense of humour that has set them on the road to Hell.

39. Root-Beer or Dr. Pepper? Root beer

40. Do You Shave? I’m too old for that bullshit.




41. Favorite Vacation Spot(s): I don’t do vacations.  My favourite place to BE is England.
42. Favorite Family Member(s): Smidgen
43. Did You Eat Paint Chips When You Were a Kid? WHAT?
44. Favorite CD you own: Currently Without Real String or Fish by Shriekback
45. The ONE Person Who You Hate The Most: Going with an old standard here and saying Pat Robertson.
46. Favorite Food(s)?: Potatoes
47. Who Is The Hottest Guy or Girl In The World?: I have a very short list.
48. What Is Your Favorite Salad Dressing?: Bleu Cheese.
49. When You Die, Do You Wanna Be Buried or Burned Into Ashes? I don’t care, as long as I end up on Craggy Dome.
50. Do You Believe In Aliens?: Absolutely.








51. If You Had The Chance To Professionally Do Something, What would You Do? I’m already a Professional Misanthropist.
52. Things You Obsess Over: Various artists, ideas, philosophies, theories, general weirdness
53. Favorite Day of the Week: Don’t bloody care.
54. An Authority Figure You Hate: The Feudal Mistress still tops the list.
55. Favorite Disney Movie: Bambi
56. What Is Your Favorite Season? Winter
57. What Toppings Do You Like On Your pizza? Cheese, with extra cheese, and cheese on the side.
58. Do You Like Your School Food Itself (As In The District Food): I never ate it.
59. If You Could Live Anywhere, Where Would You Live? Avebury, Wiltshire, UK
60. Favorite Thing(s) To Do On Weekends: Sleep, if I can accomplish it.







61. Favorite Magazine(s): Don’t have one.
62. Favorite Flower(s): White rose

63. Favorite Number(s): 5

64. Favorite Ice Cream flavor(s): Ben & Jerry’s Wavy Gravy

65. What Kind of Guys/Girls Are You Attracted to?: Dangerously intelligent, beautiful, talented, and hilarious.

66. What’s Your Most Embarrassing Moment? I inadvertently introduced myself to someone as his wife.

67. If You Could Change One Thing About Yourself What Would It be? I would be fearless.

68. Do You Eat Breakfast First Then Brush Your Teeth or Brush first ten eat breakfast: breakfast first.

69. Favorite Time of Day: Whenever I get to sleep.

70. Can A Guy and Girl Be Just “Best Friends?”: Why not?



71. Do You Ask The Girl/Guy Out Or Do You Wait For Them To Come To You?: I don’t go there anymore.

72. Do You Mind Paying For Sex? I never would.

73. What’s The Most Important thing In Someone’s Personality: Sentience

74. Do you have a pager or cell phone? Cell

75. Favorite Sport: Flambodious Butt-walking

76. What Was the Best Gift You Ever Received? Love

77. How Long Did This Letter Take You To Finish?: Not very long.

78. What Did You Listen To While Completing It?: Electric Light Orchestra’s Alone in the Universe.

79. Are you or would you like to be married in the near future (next 5 years)? NEGATIVE

80. Don’t u just hate how psychics never win the lottery? I hate it more than I don’t win the lottery. I hate psychics, especially the ones who claim to talk to your dead relatives.  They’re grifters who should be drawn and quartered.  The End.

tinhuvielartanis: (Jeff Lynne)
I just don't even know what to do with myself right now.  I needed to mark this moment, but I'm barely dealing with the incomprehensibility of it to feel like I would be making much sense.  So I'm just gonna let the pic speak for itself, and go scream in a pillow for an hour or two. Now, if only SHRIEKBACK would come to Cali and play a concert...

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Each Arm

Feb. 21st, 2016 04:08 pm
tinhuvielartanis: (cadmus pariah)

On occasion, I have been asked how I get anything done, because it seems I’m doing everything all at once.  Well, I am doing everything all at once, but it’s really all about what a person gets used to.  It’s also about how a person’s mind works.

 

My mind has always been way too busy for its own good.  Many of my teachers in school allowed me to doodle as I took notes, because the only way I could fully focus on the work at hand was to allow my mind to drift in other matters.  I know that seems counterintuitive, but it worked for me, and I soaked knowledge up like a sponge.  The same concept applied to reading for me.  I have to be reading more than one book at a time, and I have to read each page at least twice, because the first time is a kind of overall imprint, and the second review is more of an in-depth absorption.  I read by paragraph, not by sentence.  

 

I think faster than I can write, even with typing, so I often skip words, which can be frustrating.

 

When I began working in Quality Assurance at BMG, we were all allowed to do as we pleased whilst auditioning new releases, just as long as we could remain focused on identifying sound and technical issues with the recordings.  I got into the habit of writing and working on art while I listened.  It took the pressure of having to listen to shite.  When we began testing video games and upgraded to computers, my focus had to change.  I could audition new releases while testing new games.  I was also tasked to teach myself the computer, then give instruction to my boss and coworkers, so I would often find myself listening to an album, playing a game, and learning the PC by trial and error, all at the same time.  It was never an issue for me.  I adored it.

 

After BMG decided it no longer cared about the quality of its products and I ended up in the Pit (Special Orders Services/Point of Purchase promotions), my need to multi-task came in extremely handy, garnering me a lot of praise from a lot of labels, and some really nice raises.  There were days I would be working on a dozen different promotions projects, and still be writing on my own stuff.  When we got plugged into the Internet at work, I was introduced to LJ and created the Cliffs of Insanity to help me deal with the madness of working in the music business.  Even though the coping mechanism only partially worked, as is evidenced in my obvious madness even today, it further developed my multi-tasking skills, allowing me to be able to listen to music, talk on the phone, communicate via email, process orders, organise promotions, bitch in my journal, and write on my fiction simultaneously.  The more I did, the more I could do, and the more I needed to do.

 

I never had any capacity for patience, though, and what little patience I had, began to deteriorate.  I am now pretty much devoid of any patience, but the mind is still on overdrive, and I often find myself incapable of doing just one thing.  I feel incomplete and lazy.  I feel disconnected, not only from the world as I perceive it, but also from myself.  I also need some distraction in order to keep Cadmus in his Tulpa form at bay.  If it weren’t for multi-tasking, Cadmus would have driven me the rest of the way mad as a hatter long ago.

 

I know a lot of people find multi-tasking to be a pain in the arse but, for me, it is a blessing for a mind that will sleep when it’s dead.

The End

Dec. 31st, 2015 08:44 pm
tinhuvielartanis: (Darth Geek)

And so we have arrived at the threshold of yet another year, four cycles after the long hoped for Alpaca Lips.  In some ways, it has been an eventful year and, in others, things have barely changed.  I figured I'd touch on the highlights of 2015, then throw some hopes (gasp, hope?  Tin?  NOOOOOO!) out for 2016.  So, let's begin.

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The first major thing that happened in 2015 came in February, when I was allowed unprecedented liberties to continue and expand my campaign to disseminate All Things Shriekback.  I was elated, for I had watched for too long their greatness be swallowed up by the ever-expanding Internet, without the proper tools in my box of toys to make enough digital noise to be noticed.  That changed prior to the release of one of their best albums to date, Without Real String or Fish.  To my immense joy, this was only one of many releases by the band that I got to relentlessly plug throughout the year.  It's been an honour to do what I could for the guys, and I will continue to do what I do until they tell me to stop!

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In April, another wonderful thing occurred:  I got to go up to Los Angeles to attend Jeff Lynne's Hollywood Walk of Fame star ceremony.  Even though I didn't get to meet him - again! - I was still thrilled to be in the general vicinity of my spiritual and musical godfather, and listen to him talk a little about his career and how honoured he felt to be getting the praise and attention that has long been due the man.  He's a genius, and I am overjoyed that people are finally catching on to this fact.  It also heartens me that so many Millennials, particularly in the music world, are embracing Mr. Lynne and his music.  That means that his legacy will live on through the generations, as long as humanity plagues this world.  It almost makes me glad we're all still around.  Anyway, also in attendance to the star ceremony, making speeches of their own about how groovy Jeff Lynne is, were Tom Petty and Joe Walsh.  I caught this epic photo before the brouhaha began.   

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And it got even better later in the year, in November, when Jeff Lynne released Alone in the Universe, the first official ELO album since the release of Zoom in 2001.  I'm currently listening to it for the first time but, hey! better late than never, right?  2015 was the year both Shriekback and the Electric Light Orchestra gave the world new music.  If for no other reason, this year should be marked as a complete success because of this.

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Shortly before I moved out to San Diego, my TV died.  For a while, I was pretty miserable, until I got used to watching streaming formats online, like Netflix.  It cut down on my viewing habits considerably, and I found myself focusing on just the movies and shows I personally found important and worthy enough to spend my time watching.  Beginning in late 2014, though, my number one go-to place for instant entertainment gratification became You Tube.  I discovered Alonzo LeroneGarret John, and a host of other talents, visionaries, and creatives.  In June of 2015, though, I stumbled upon a short film that completely blew my mind. It's what made me realise how grateful I am to no longer have a television. I probably would have never discovered such brilliance had I still been enslaved to the mediocrity that spews out of the boob tube.

When I first saw The Horribly Slow Murderer with the Extremely Inefficient Weapon, I had a reaction eerily similar to what I had upon seeing The Joker Blogs' Therapy Begins.  I couldn't get enough!  Impressed didn't even begin to cover it.  The more I watched it and the related films on Richard Gale's You Tube channel, the more I laughed.  As anyone who has known me since losing Aunt Tudi in 2011 knows, laughter is something I treasure above all other things.  I credit anything that could cut through the grief and trigger laughter as holding a seed of the miraculous within its heart.  The Impractical Jokers were the first to make what I thought was impossible happen.  The Horrible Slow Murderer carried on that life-saving tradition.  

I was so impressed with the undeniable talent in this short film and others on the channel, like the wholly unfunny and horrifying Criticized, I was compelled to learn more about the film maker and his posse.  Employing the web search skills I learned in the Pit oh so very long ago, it didn't take me long to learn a good bit about the director and actors Paul Clemens and Brian Rohan.  

Well, one thing led to another, and I ended up helping them with their Kickstarter campaign, after having the pleasure of discussing a few promo ideas with Richard one Sunday a few months ago.  During this time, I've come to see that not only are these guys uber-talented, but they are also genuine, groovy, insightful, kind individuals.  How could anyone not want to help people like this in any way they can?

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While all this was happening, I was going to the doctor about my back pain, which seemed to be getting worse despite all attempts to reverse the issues causing it.  The doc finally suggested that I look into getting an panniculectomy.  Now, in South Carolina, no insurance, private or public, would cover anything considered cosmetic.  When I got the gastric bypass surgery, I went into it with no pipe dreams of getting any excess skin removed.  It was never an option, so I never entertained the idea.

When the doctor brought up the panniculectomy, I silently scoffed, but decided "what the hell?  It doesn't hurt to ask."  So, a couple of days later, I called Aetna and asked them if such a surgery were covered.  They informed me that, if it were considered medically necessary, they would cover it, and all I would have to pay would be $264.00.  I called the doctor, who referred me to Dr. Jason Hess.  He took pictures, informed me that he'd gotten approval for surgeries with less severe pannus issues, and said he'd be asking approval for not just a panniculectomy, but also an abdominoplasty which, combined, are basically the human equivalent to being cleaned like a fish.

In two weeks time, Aetna gave the go ahead, and I had a tummy tuck and panniculectomy in September.  I'm still recovering from it, but my back does feel better after no longer having to deal with 17 pounds of dead weight constantly pulling on my lower lumbar region.  Also, for the first time in my life, I actually have a figure.  I'm still not used to the new body.  It's like living in an alien biological construct.

So, 2015 saw me become a bit of a California stereotype in that I got plastic surgery and began "hobnobbing" with Hollywood directors and actors.  Folks, don't expect that, if you're thinking of planning on moving to California.  Bear in mind that I live in the Twilight Zone and have no idea how shit like this happens to me.

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One more cool thing that happened this year actually happened this month.  After over a year of struggling with it, I finally had a breakthrough in my arduous Wacom education.  I still have a very long way to go before I consider anything I do with the tablet worthy of pride, but at least I'm finally seeing results from what I have so far learned.  This is the result - the best representation of how I see Cadmus Pariah in my mind's eye.  I plan on making this a full body picture, not just a floating head of death, but I thought I should make note that my obvious learning disability when it comes to digital art has at long last had a wee chink taken out of its seemingly impenetrable wall.

There have been some unhappy things to happen this year - conflicts with Matt, friends falling prey to illness, seriously fucked up news on the family front, among other things - but I am choosing not to focus on that in this year-end post.  There is nothing I could write here that would change any of these things, and I frankly don't want to give the bad areas of 2015 any more power than they already have.  I would prefer to give energy to more positive outcomes in those categories in the coming year. 

That being said, here are some things I'm hoping to see happen and/or make happen in 2016.

  • Friends and family beat the odds and kick all manner of ass with some insane Health Fu.
  • The Presidential election does not turn out to be a disaster of mega-Fascist proportions.
  • People collectively reject the status quo and embrace a higher vibrational state of being.
  • There is full disclosure on extraterrestrial life and activities, as well as extra-dimensional life and activities.
  • Jeff Lynne plays a concert in San Diego and I get to attend.
  • I can eventually feel as comfortable riding the buses in San Diego as I was riding the ones in Los Angeles. LA makes a lot more sense as far as layout is concerned.  Or maybe that's just me.
  • Yoga becomes a part of my everyday life.
  • Barry Andrews has more delightful written and musical works of art in store for the world.
  • I complete my latest book and maybe even publish it.
  • The filming of Ginosaji goes smoothly and is a low-stress joy for all involved.
  • I get to go to the desert to gaze at the Milky Way at least once in 2016.
  • I and those I love are surrounded by non-toxic individuals and that we can continue to expand the influence of beauty, creativity, common sense, and divine madness.
  • The Alpaca Lips finally happens.

Here's hoping everyone has a fantastic new year.  May it be visionary in every way.

tinhuvielartanis: (Spork)

marevaporum.png

So here am I, spooning tiny bites of Stove Top Stuffing into my piehole, and trying to watch Boogie Nights for the umpteenth time around Smidgen’s wide, hairy butt.  Another Thanksgiving winding down.

After Halloween, Thanksgiving was always my favourite.  It seemed less stressful than Christmas.  I still feel that way, even though I really don’t do anything, and haven’t since 2011.  But I do want to send some shoutouts of gratitude into the aether, so here goes.


  • I’m thankful for my friends. ff.pngYou all know who you are, both old and new Tribespeople.  Those of you who have been with me for a while  have stuck by me when even some family chose not to.  You’ve been with me longer than anyone else in my life now.  And my new friends, though thin on the ground, have opened up new avenues to experience, exhibited goodness and decency that threaten to prove my theories about our species dead wrong.  All of you:  Despite my dedicated misanthropy, you still love me just as I am, and I am happy to reciprocate.  When we are facing the Alpaca Lips, I hope we get to do it together.


  • I’m thankful for the Earth. It has been quite a year, as far as space exploration has gone, but I find it incredible that we still have so much about our home planet that needs to be discovered, explored, and possibly explained.  With every dim twinkle of light far beyond our comprehension of just how really fucking large the multiverse is, there is an equal twinkle far beneath the churning seas, something we’ve never been able to see, something even the angler fish, who can twinkle themselves, would be afraid to examine too extensively.The Earth is where we open our eyes each day.  Instead of casting those eyes to your feet as you go through the motions that are expected of you, cast them outward.  Not upward, but around you.  Everything that you are is star stuff, yes, but that stuff chose to touch down on a world that both nurtures and destroys us.  We owe it to ourselves, to one another, and to our home planet to try to find out why, before it’s too late.  Even if it’s all a hologram and we are not truly physical entities on the surface of a planet, it’s all we currently have, and it is a wondrous construct, so full of mystery and music.  I’m glad to have been able to see what I have of this world.


  • I am thankful for the music.jlshriek.png  It has been a truly resplendent year in music for me.  I got to see Jeff Lynne get his star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, and watch him perform live (on TV) for the first time in over a decade.  I’m foaming at the mouth to get my ears on the new ELO album.  Then there’s Shriekback, who has dominated my musical choices for yet another year, giving fans both old and new, the triumph that is Without Real String or Fish, not to mention all the rarities, reissues, and side-project material.  I have long contended that, as long as the Shrieks make music, I will be “doomed” to write, and my friends will be doomed to read, or say they did!  Even earlier today, I was constructing a possible chapter in the WIP, based on a Shriek rarity, ‘Shake the Big Tree’.






  • I am thankful for laughter. As all my older friends know, I’ve been a bit of a laughter junkie since 2011.  Laughter is the human purr.  It’s present when we’re happy, and it can heal when we’re sad.  daffyporky.gifBeing a devout believer in Jessica Rabbit Syndrome, I would have to say that laughter is the most important thing in this reality, especially when you are more than underwhelmed about trudging forth, but trudge nonetheless because you have responsibilities.  If something makes me laugh, its therapeutic qualities are far from lost on me.  So, to all the things and people that have gotten me through 2015 by making me laugh like a demented Vizzini, I am quite grateful for it all.



And there you have it.  Short and simple.  I tried to be as upbeat and uncomplicated as possible.  I gotta go outside for a few minutes, ‘cos it’s raining, and that shit’s rare here.  Happy T-Day, freaks.  May the Dark Side of the Force Be with you.

tinhuvielartanis: (B Interview)

Another Throwback Thursday confection for all my homies.


greendivide2.gifgreendivide.gif

Some time ago, we were pleasantly surprised to find ourselves in contact with Barry Andrews via the Internet. He further astonished us by agreeing to an Interview! So, with an abundance of fan input, we put together a "small collection" of the most pertinent questions and fairly alarmed him with a Lengthy Interrogation. Undaunted, Mr. Andrews expressed himself as he most usually does: with eloquence and not a small amount of wit.


Shriek Questions



The Band


  • How did you meet Dave Allen, Carl Marsh, and Martyn Barker? How did the band come together?
    Errr, met Dave thru Sara Lee –(Bassist w. League of Gentlemen –Leeds connection) He rang me on leaving Go4, Carl wrote him a letter (ever the literary one) and I brought Mart in when we needed a proper drummer –I knew him from Clare Hirst, the sax –player who I was going out with and who played in The Emotional Spies w. Mart. ( I think that’s right ??)


  • Did Shriekback try to create an image with your music and visuals? If so, were you successful?
    Sure we tried, I think we had our moments.


  • Were you surprised with the positive response to last year’s album, "Naked Apes and Pond Life"?
    Very much so. I’d disowned the whole project and was off bashing bits of metal (rather than other band members). Had it not been for Lu and Martyn it would never have come out. The fact that it was sonically the least user-friendly of all our work made it doubly suprising that it was getting good reviews (the old ‘fuck em if they can’t take a joke’ ethic again I guess)


  • Is that what got you to thinking of the possibility of a new Shriekback project sometime in the future? There’s rumour that both Carl and Dave are involved with the new Shriek project. Would you care to comment?
    Dave was in London with a big expense account to abuse, so the Shrieks (class of 85) duly obliged. It was a heady mixture of lurid cocktails, free money and that ineluctable chemistry of 4 old pervs with something still to prove. It looks very likely that we will do Another One. With D & C.


  • What are the Seven Pillars of Shriekback?
    They were a series of principles by which we intended to focus our, at the time, dissipated and addled energies in order to create a rock band.  Have totally forgotten what they were, though..


  • Tell us about the Shriek logo. Whose idea was it and does it have a particular meaning. If so, what?
    It was Al Macdowell’s design –our sympatico Art Person (last seen being head of production design on the Fight Club film –howabouthat?).   I think it was to do with cyclical energy (otherwise known as going round in circles –hmm, be careful what you visualise).


  • Do you still have contact with Sarah and Wendy? What are they doing these days?
    Oh yes, very much so. Seeing them this Friday, actually. Wendy’s a homeopathic practitioner (with 2 kids) about to Move to The Country. And Sarah manages recording engineers and producers.


  • Are you enthusiastic about the resurgence of Shriekback’s popularity?
    Now there’s a leading question, with a certain ambiguity. I certainly like the idea of making some more music both with, and without, the Chaps. A Shriek-Renaissance would be handy. Is it happening? Maybe. You tell me… I don’t get out much.

Shriek Works


  • Why do so many Shriek songs resonate with a subtle (and sometimes not-so-subtle) spiritual energy, both sacred and profane?
    Aww, get outta here. Do they? Cheers. Nice one.  Like Jah Wobble (whom God Preserve) said: 'You either make music to see God, or to make money, and if it’s making money then you end up like a million other people all trying to get lucky with a beat.' That’s not exactly relevant really though, is it? I love the idea of touching people in That Place. That’s the main idea, of course.


  • Looking back on the albums the Shrieks have made, do you have a personal favourite and, if so, why? Do you have any favourite Shriekback songs? Any you dislike?
    Care, because we really had no idea what we were doing but we couldn’t help doing it. It was discovering a place where we / I could legitimately and comfortably express ourselves. Finding a Voice, all that.. The end of a hard, messy road of adolescent angst and it was Going To Be Alright after all. Still does sound like that to me, as it goes.

SONGS:


  • Evaporation because it was the first time I got the underwater, Lee Perry, ‘it’s dark but don’t be afraid’ thing to happen. Nice ‘tune’ (meaning melody).

  • Black Light Trap because it’s so ..Large. Lots going on. Architectural vibe. Big creaky Gormenghast thing with disco. Sounds like Shriekback and absolutely noone else.

  • This Big Hush - A big scary fantastic Love affair in the snows of 85 and everything impossibly vivid. Well that’s what I was doing. Add your own recollections, of course.

DISLIKED:


  • Get Down Tonight (what were we thinking of? oh yeah, making money , that’s right)

  • Mercy Dash the single (the intoxication of trying to sound like someone else - don’t do it, kids, especially not with machines that you don’t understand.)  Still, that’s it, not bad over 8 albums, is it?


  • What songs were made into videos?
    Nemesis, Get Down Tonight, Lined Up...


  • Any hope of a video compilation? Speaking of videos, who conceptualised the ‘Nemesis’ video?
    Probably not, who could possibly have the ‘masters’? and they were all dodgy apart from Nemesis.  I did all the ‘conceptualising’, Al McDowell did the visualising, Tony VandenEnde (the ostensible director) made it happen.

Projects


  • There is word of a new compilation album of obscure and unreleased material coming out sometime in March entitled "Aberrations 81-4". In what countries will this be available? Is there anything further you would care to offer to your listeners regarding this album?
    The territories are down to who wants it –where we can get licensing deals. The States will be covered by Nail Records, we think…  It will be available from Mauve Records mail order if all else fails.  It’s an interesting car-boot sale of weirdness, 9 never before released songs also remixes, live bits etc. Copious sleeve-notes by Marsh and I. We’re going to include ‘Naked Apes’ in the package, so it’s cracking good value for anyone who never got the latter.


  • Will we ever see the BBC recordings released?
    Hope so, we’re looking into the Legalities (not the name of a soul band).


  • Michael Mann used the Shrieks’ music extensively in ‘Miami Vice’ and in the movie ‘Manhunter’. Did you ever meet him and do you foresee any future collaborations?
    No and No. Shame: I especially liked it when they were chasing the Miami coke-baron round the harbour in speed-boats, white 80’s trousers flapping and Shrieks are singing some weirdshit in Sanskrit (Running on the Rocks). Obviously made sense to Mike.

Personal Questions

Music


  • Tell us about your Illuminati project.
    Doomed doomed, emotionally overwrought Guitar driven rock, Humungous female vocal, ravishing melodies. Me trying to be ‘non-ironic’ and ‘not weird’. Don’t fight your nature, that’s what I learnt. Still have the album in the can. Maybe release it someday.


  • What music do you listen to? What do you think of today’s pop music scene?

bazzachat2015.jpgANDREWS PLAYLIST 2001

  1. Beethoven ‘Creatures of Prometheus’

  2. Planxty (Irish trad) ‘The Woman I loved so well’ ‘After the Break’

  3. Nick Cave ‘The Boatman’s Song’ ‘Murder Ballads’

  4. Arvo Part 'Cantus for Benjamin Britten' 'Festina Lente'

  5. John Cooper Clarke ‘Snap Crackle and Bop’

  6. Slade ‘Greatest Hits’

  7. Underworld ‘Everything Everything’

  8. Mouse on Mars ‘niun niggung’


  • Will we ever see a collection of your solo work?
    Dunno, it’s nearly all only on cassette so it would be a hissy kind of a thang.


  • Will we see anymore from The Caretakers, the Refugees, or some other project yet to come to light?
    Caretakers are Bruce Mcrae and Carlo Asciutti, both of whom are complicated men to get hold of. Bruce is in Canada and Carlo’s in East Dulwich – which might as well be Canada. Come on guys, the World needs you… sigh, what can you do with ‘em?


  • What prompted the song ‘Win a Night out with a Well-Known Paranoiac’?
    The Adolescent angst of which I spoke and my snotty scruffy persona, (at 22-23) & resistance to authority which wound up all the right people sufficiently to support a – that’s right - paranoid world view. I liked the idea of a spoken song like Patti Smith’s 'Piss Factory'. It’s funnier though-especially the bit about the 'Underwater Toilet.'

History


  • When did you develop an interest in music?
    The parent’s collection of 78’s on the wind-up record player (fuck-I’m old) me alone in the attic playing ‘Shifting Whispering Sands’ and 'Indian Love call'. The rest is history.


  • Most of what we’ve heard about your departure from XTC has been from sources in relation to that band. In fact, in the liner notes of the recent XTC box set, Andy Partridge laments your leaving the band. To balance things out, would you like to let your side be heard?
    Well, as I’ve said probably more times than I should – I always regarded XTC as a stepping stone –we came from the the same town, were all working class pissheads and were all talented, it was never really a meeting of minds. Thus, as soon as we had some breathing space from touring and getting a deal it was obvious that this combination had run it’s course. You don’t need a degree in Workplace Dynamics to see that both an Andrews and a Partridge is one egomaniac only-child too many. For me that was – as they say in Swindon – ‘it and all about it’. It was great fun for a while though. And loads of shagging.


  • Many articles and XTC book passages indicate that you’ve seemingly resented the intellectual labels attributed to you and, later, Shriekback. Have your feelings changed on this issue or do you still wish to stress the physical aspect of your music?
    I don’t know why you say this. Anyone who calls me an intellectual will have me purring on the floor and buying them drinks.

    Oh, you probably mean that ‘what do your lyrics mean?’ type thing.

    It’s really that what I’ve always tried to do with music – specifically SONGS- which are a brilliant art-form and still nowhere near exhausted - is create new places - funny little aquariums where the rules of the outside world no longer apply. Bear in mind that this is not sheet music it’s recorded music so all sorts of subtleties and inflections are possible – the ambient sound in the room, the slapback echo all have different things to say (ambient sound says ‘fly on the wall documentary,’ slap-back can mean Elvis or, add a few repeats and it’s Nuremberg). What I mean is that Songs are perceived sonically, primarily - then we add the strata of meaning. But, as with all good art-forms the most fun is in the grey areas. Where the Delicious Frissons of Ambiguity live.

    So when you can’t quite hear what Strummer’s singing on Janie Jones, you hallucinate your own visions into the gap between what you can understand and what you can’t. As one does as a child listening to the grown ups talk. It’s an interesting place to be. When I finally saw those lyrics written down the song was over for me. Not that they were bad lyrics, just that they were only what they were, no longer all the things they might possibly be.

    So the lyrics are one part of this tense interdependent little biosphere. Another example: Marvin Gaye's ‘Grapevine’ –it’s dark, the bass and congas sound jungly (like a Rousseau jungle in purples) the song’s about jealousy - there are loads of different ways of saying ‘people are saying that you’re seeing someone else’ but he picks vines – big strangly creepy things with round sweet purple grapes on them and the jungly groove and the sweet sad voice and the minor key all support each other – organically, you’d have to say - the medium and the message all beautifully shmershed together. The lyrics as written don’t tell you any of this, like the sheet music doesn’t tell you how sexy that bass line is. The experience is to be had in front of a speaker and that’s it. SO - even if you use words like ‘parthenogenesis’ and ‘historesis’ you’re still playing the same game. I used ‘parthenogenesis’ mainly because it sounded good and almost rhymed with Nemesis. The meaning was secondary (but relevant). So if you were to apply the ‘Grapevine’ treatment to that chorus - my intention was to get a laugh - or at least an internal smirk - from the big-almost football crowd-chorus, the long ungainly scientific word, the huge daft power chords, and everything within this barmy context of ‘let’s examine the nature of morality’ – like some philosophy professor who went to Vietnam and listened to a lot of Gary Glitter. Still makes me laugh.

    Another way to see it is like you ‘get’ a joke, which, if you want, you can explain, and you can even analyse why it’s funny. But the point of the joke is really only in the ‘getting’ of it. If you don’t experience that then all the rest is pointless. Thus, when people make a big deal of 'explaining the lyrics', it very often (experience has shown) means that they never really ‘got’ the idea of the song. It’s turned into some gnarly little Eng. Lit puzzle.

    Blimey, value-for-money-question.

The Individual


  • We know that you are a consummate musician, that you’ve dabbled in filmmaking, and that you’re also an artist, having studied 3-D design. It would seem that you’re quite the Renaissance man. Is that a fair description? How would you describe yourself?
    Naah, the trouble with doing lots of things is that you meet lots of people who only do one thing and are therefore extremely good at them. Bad comparisons are inevitable. ‘Jack of all trades’ says it . Still, it seems to be my nature to apply a similar aesthetic to lots of different things and this is as close to a mission statement as I can get: ‘try everything, make up as many things as possible; remember to take notes.’


  • There have also been many comments from folks who’ve met you that you exude an otherworldly air. Would you care to address that?
    I have been known to drift, somewhat. Oh yes..


  • We’ve heard many stories from fans whom have attended Shriek concerts and, afterwards, were thrilled to find you dancing, drinking, and generally making merry with them after the show. Why are you so prone to mingle with the fans when artists, including other members of the band, don’t generally engage in such activity?
    Human fucking Beings, man. What else is there?


  • In what other projects are you currently involved?
    The ongoing exegesis of Parc Stic (a metaphysical theme park) and amassing material for a solo album. And keeping an eye on Finn (the lad) who’s starting his own musical career (which is spooky).


  • Being the primary lyricist for Shriekback, it’s obvious you have a gift with words. Do you write prose as well or have you considered doing so?
    Saving that for when I’m Really old and can’t do anything else.


  • Who or what would you say is your greatest influence?
    Alex Harvey, Lee Perry, Patti Smith, the Constructed World (not a band either).


  • The dance that you and the Sids perform to ‘The Reptiles and I’ in the ‘Jungle of the Senses’ concert video exhibits a variety of Kung Fu movements. That, combined with the fact that you’ve been spotted many times wearing Tabi, lead us to ask if you’re a Martial Artist as well. If so, what form or forms have you studied?
    Mark Raudva – who plays on ‘Naked Apes’ - is a qualified Tai Chi teacher and would piss himself if he read that. I studied with him for about six months and gave up. I did Aikido for about three weeks – way too upsetting.


  • What do you think of the world today?
    Oh the easy ones at the end eh?

Final Thoughts


  • What would you like see happen at Shriekback.com?
    The hub of a new Renaissance, a centre for Excellence, a source of psychic nourishment and high quality gas-masks.


  • Is there anything you’d like to say to the fans of both you and Shriekback?
    ‘Hold fast to that which gives the deepest jollies.’

7 February, 2001

Help the Shrieks give us all more memories.  Visit their official website to sign up for the newsletter, and don't forget to pick up a copy of their new album, Without Real String or Fish!

tinhuvielartanis: (Shriekback Logo)

The band have posted an hour-long interview, answering fans' questions. Take a gander, and don't forget to pick up a copy of Without Real String or Fish.

tinhuvielartanis: (RepLogo)


Shriekback

Big Electric Energy

by Lesley Sly


They are tired of being cult heroes – Shriekback, the weird studio band, the unpredictable performers. Their new line-up, tour and album were the firt lap in a drive for wider acceptance. Head shrieker, Barry Andrews, maps out the course.


The Shriekback of old was, by their own admission, chaotic and experimental. They were machine-men, dabbling with drum computers and Fairlights, every song a loose sketch from backing track to overdub. And live, it was jam science.


But the Shriekback that stormed Australia with a high octane live set and the cruisy cocktail-style album, Big Night Music, in March was a different kettle of…fish. (Alas, little light was shed on their strange preoccupation with deep sea creatures in our post-gig interview).


They are now a band intent on cracking the mainstream, getting their powerful live sound onto vinyl and dispensing with as much machinery as possible in the process.


They’ve been streamlining the human element, too. When they hit the cultish London circuit in 1981 with the mini-album, Tench, they were six-piece. By the following year, they were three – Barry Andrews (vocals/keyboards; ex-XTC, Robert Fripp’s League of Gentlemen), David Allen (bass; ex-Gang of Four) and Carl Marsh (guitar).


Then came the albums Care and Jam Science and in 1984 they took on drummer, Martyn Barker, had their first chart single Hand On My Heart and followed up with the album, Oil And Gold, inn 1985.


In early 1986 they signed a new deal with Island and lost Carl Marsh. Another change was the approach to recording. The writing trio of Andrews, Allen and Barker decided to concentrate on the expansive, atmospheric elements of their music and go for an ‘all-played’ groove, augmented by their four-piece Big Live Band – Michael Cozzi (guitars), Steve Halliwell (keyboards) and backing singers, Wendy and Sarah Partridge.


For the Australian tour they added a percussionist and Barry left keyboard duties to Steve, bar the occasional solo.


The last time I saw the band live was at one of their first gigs in a seedy London pub. On stage this year, in the claustrophonic refectory hall at Sydney Uni, there was hardly a trace of the enfant terrible. Dynamic, controlled, structured rock’n’roll theatre, a new authority, no chaos.


In the dressing room later, Barry Andrews explained this new order…


Your live set is much more structured now. There are middle-eights, you all start and stop in the same places. You’re very tight and professional…

I don’t know about very tight and professional, but certainly more than we used to be. We do all end at the same time.


Remember the Greyhound in Fulham (London), one of your first gigs?

(Shudders) Christ Almighty. We have changed since then.


Do you think you’ve sacrificed spontaneity for structure?

Not really. It used to be a fucking mess. There was a good, wild, out-of-control energy, you know all those AAARRRRGH, post-punk screams. But after a while…it’s unchannelled and ultimately not satisfying when you do seven gigs in a row and only one of them is any good.


I think we are channeling that energy more and there are still areas of improvisation…freedom within that structure.


What parts are improvised?

All the solos. I never play the same solo twice on Feelers, I’m always mucking around with the vocals, doing little improvised rants and stuff.


I think it’s a popular misconception that you have to do completely improvised music in order to have freedom. Mike (guitarist) always plays the same solo but there’s a difference when he’s really putting his heart and soul into it. It has an authority and power to it.

You get quite close to recorded sounds live…

I think we do considering how many overdubs and weird things we’re doing in the studio.

Were you using Fairlight much on Big Night Music?

No. We’d decided it was going to be a low budget album and we weren’t going to use the Fairlight as much as we had on Oil And Gold. We also wanted to use more acoustic instruments, so that it sounded like a band in a room playing some music, all in time.


Towards the end of recording there was a particular sound on Underwaterboys that we couldn’t get on either the JP8 or the DSS1 and me and Gavin (MacKillop, co-producer) were tearing our hair out [er, figuratively speaking]. So we decided to chip inn out of our own money and get the Fairlight to do this sound. As it turned out we did do it within budget – we didn’t have to sell our cars or anything – and so we went round the tracks putting little touches of Fairlight on here and there.


You’ve always used machines to make music. Was the decision taken on this album not to do so due to budget or were you bored with that approach?

No, it wasn’t because of the budget. It was the first record where Martyn (drummer) had really found his feet and he had loads and ideas bubbling over. It seemed a bit irrelevant to haul in a Fairlight or drums computer and put it through its paces.


We were bored with all that stuff after a four-year romance with technology too. Also, some of the rhythms are so subtle like, Running on the Rocks – there no drum computer in the world can do that.


How do you write your songs?

Always from the rhythm. In the old day it was a drum machine and we’d build the songs in the studio a la Bowie and all that. But, that wasn’t a particularly cost-effective way of doing things and we also decided that we wanted the…thing to happen in music that you only get when you’ve played a song for a long time on stage.


On Oil and Gold there was only one track that was like that (Health And Knowledge) which, while it wasn’t a great groove or even a particularly great song, had this smoothness, a rotundity to it. We thought it would be nice to have a whole album with the edges worn off, with a nice ‘used’ quality to it.


Do you write together?

Generally, Martyn will put down a rhythm and we’ll all – me, Dave and Martyn – improvise around that. If there’s an energy to the groove we’ll just tape the drums on cassette for two minutes.


Then, I take that home and put it on my cassette machine which has a loop function and just sit there singing to it, record that on another machine and listen to it. I find that quite often good things come out when you’re just burbling off the top of your head whereas if you sat down and tried to write it, that critical part of the brain might be brought to bear on it and crush the idea before it grows. I then go through and make notes, wander round, have a cup of tea, read a few books, find a few weird words (laughs).  Then I do the whole process again until the thing starts to bed down into a structure, verse, chorus, etc.  Then, I take it back to Dave and Martyn and we work on chords and details.


Atmosphere is crucial in your music. Is sound important in the writing process?

I tend to find that the rhythm will suggest a certain kind of atmosphere. It will all be encapsulated in that rhythm. Once you’ve got the initial crystalisation of the song, it’s all police work from there on. Like, Shining Path…it was obvious from that rhythm and the title that it was going to be this huge, swirly, exotic druggie-opium vision. From there on we knew it was going to need bells, big chords, wind gong, etc.


No home studios?

Martyn’s making moves in that direction. Sometimes I think it would be a good idea but then…I used to do that with XTC. I used to sit in my bedroom with an Akai two-track machine, a Wurlitzer piano and microphone and write the whole thing. Then I’d go along with a song and try to impose it on the band and tell the bass player and drummer what to play.It had a kind of awkwardness to it because they were playing something which wasn’t quite natural for them. Sometimes it worked but now it works every time because we don’t add things to songs unless they do work.


So, when you record now you take complete songs in?

Yeah and we’re going to work that way on the next album. There’s a couple of new ones we’re playing already.


How long does it take to get a song together?

Maybe a day per song. But, once I take the verse and chorus along we just put a bit of intense energy into it, maybe an hour, and then I take it home and work on it again. Then we bring in the other players.


You use the Jupiter 8 for rehearsals?

Yes.

What’s happened to that battered old organ you used for years?

It’s in my ex-wife’s cupboard. I go round every now and then and dust it off (the organ, that is). It’s a sweet little thing, and I can’t bring myself to throw it away but I can’t find any use for it anymore.


Was recording Big Night Music standard procedure?

Yes…I haven’t worked in that way since the Robert Fripp album. Gavin is a very traditional producer and I really left it to him. It’s nice, there’s something very organic about recording that way [as a band]. You don’t have to go through the endless…well, there’s a drum rhythm and I haven’t got a clue what to do next, maybe go blurgh on the first beat of every bar and then try to find some chords, and lay three tracks of percussion that we’ll never use.

It was exciting to work like that and if money was no object I probably still would…


Because there’s always the element of surprise when you’re actually creating the song track-by-track?

Yeah…the only track we did like that was Sticky Jazz and I think you can hear the difference…the textures change suddenly.


What about vocal treatment?

On Big Night Music I was getting into big whispering but the process of recording was mostly traditional. Occasionally I fed my voice through an AC30 amp wound up like fuck and recorded in a live room. On the end of Black Light Trap I fed it though Mike’s pedalboard with the distortion wound right up…and all these other knobs. I don’t really know what they do.


It’s your fifth album and seems like a summary of the rest. Do you agree?

No, I think there are areas left out…mainly the big noisy stuff. It’s like taking one of the themes of Shriekback, which is the big, dark, quiet cocktail band thing with more of the reggae influence. We’ve taken that and really explored it.


On the next album we’ll get into the big racket.


Using players and no machines?

Yes, I think so. It usually becomes apparent after you’ve been on the road a while what sort of album you want to make next. On this tour it’s become clear that everyone is excited about taking the atmosphere we get live and trying to record that and mess with it and see what happens.


Back to the whispering…you’ve said you’ll do more shouting next time. Isn’t the whisper part of Shriekback’s charm, a hallmark almost?

Well, for the sake of making an homogenous record…it always irritated me, about Oil And Gold especially, that you’re listening to a noisy track, you’re in party mode and then suddenly it goes all quiet and mushy and you have to leap for the turntable and get that track off.


When I want to listen to a piece of music I want an atmosphere and I think most people do. So, I would say…yeah, we’ll have a whispering-free, high-noise album. (laughs).


Why are you so popular here and often dismissed as an arty band in the UK?

There’s two things…if you’re not getting played on radio in the UK there isn’t really the gig circuit to establish yourself anymore. Also, the British psyche finds it a bit disgusting seeing this person up there on stage going ‘waaaah, look at me’. They like records and nightclubs and keeping it all under control.


For a long time in England we were making experimental, reflective, not grab-you-by-the-throat sort of records and people got a bit bored waiting for Shriekback to do something that would be devastating. And live, it was a shambles. We couldn’t take an audience like we did tonight. Now, we can take a cool audience and have them in a frenzy by the end because we’ve learnt the art of rock’n’roll theatre.


The soundtrack you’ve done for the movie, Slamdance…

It’s not a soundtrack, it’s just the song at the end. I’m looking at doing a soundtrack though…I’ve done a film music demo to a whole bunch of image from wildlife documentaries and films like Conan the Barbarian and Passage to India. So we’re going to go to LA and throw a few video tapes at a few moguls there.


Shriekback has its own sovereignty – it’s not something that each of us independently would do. I found doing the film music demo it was more one dimensional.


You’ve talked about having a magic power live that you don’t understand. Is that created because of the audience?

I think it’s there in rehearsal too, it’s just a smaller audience! It’s partly that with the band the sum is greater than the parts. I like working on my own but I prefer having other people around to bounce off and crash into.


What about your preoccupation with fish?

(Laughs)…What can I tell you?


Other projects?

Yeah…Martyn is writing his own songs which sound fabulously commercial, Dave is talking about doing an album with Jorgensen of Ministry and I’m making Super 8 movies at the moment.


Film seems to be quite a strong direction for me…I’m just assembling images and playing around with scripts.


Solo albums?

No. Shriekback is not entirely my vision but at least I can involve all my musical interests which is great.


In XTC I didn’t really know what I wanted to do, only that it wasn’t XTC. It was only after that that I started to look at my musical language…finding out why I liked certain kinds of music, and what moves me.


Do you listen to music for pleasure?

Yes…not pop. I used to have a clock radio which drove me mad because it would come on in the morning with this pop music and I’d wake up going ‘oh, the bass is good, drums are okay, what about the chorus’ and you go into all that.


I listen to old church music, nice gentle things.


This need for wider appeal…does Shriekback need more commercial success to reach full potential?

I think it’s a popular misconception that you achieve commercial success and then you do what you want to do…I don’t know anyone who has done that.

We are doing what we want to do, it wouldn’t be different if I had loads of money.


What is there left for Shriekback to do?

The next album – translating the live thing. And, getting our music to a wider audience. I don’t think there is anything hopelessly archane about what we do and I don’t see why it shouldn’t appeal to a lot of people. I think it’s a case of appropriate presentation.


And…I’m tired of being a cult figure.



THE BACKLINE

Martyn Barker (drums): I’m using a hired Yamaha 900 Series kit – 8, 10, 12, 14, 16 toms, 22" bass drum, 14" x 10" deep snare and Zildjian cymbals (16, 17, 18 crashes, Chinaboy and Swish both 16"; hi-hats are K Series (top) and Dynobeat (bottom); Camco chain bass drum pedal.


I’ve been using this kit on the American and Australian tours. In England I’ve been using a Gretch kit but I’m changing to Yamaha because I like the depth of the sound of this kit. You get a good natural sound, it’s very good live and as an all-round kit.


I’ve been using very thin crashes because Shriekback is a dynamic band so you don’t need any ride cymbals. The music needs good splash sounds…plenty of that.


The difficulty for me with cymbals is trying to change the sound all the time…in Underwaterboys I used coins to rub against Chinese cymbals which makes that off-beat sound. And in Nemesis the chorus has to be very dynamic so I use lots of splashes, lots of crash cymbals.


No electronic drums?

I used to use bits of Simmons gear and I use the Linn 9000 for writing. But for Big Night Music I used a real drum kit with percussion because it was easier and that was the direction the music was going in.


(Live percussion is: LP congas and cowbells. Cymbals in Zildjian (16" thin crash), and 20" Chinese wind gong.)

Mike Cozzi (guitar): I’ve been experimenting a lot lately and have just changed all my gear. At the moment I’m using a Gallien-Krueger amp as a preamp sending it though a Carver power amp. The main effects I use are a volume pedal, which I think is well under-used these days, and three different distortions, Big Muff, Boss overdrive, and the other is the distortion on the Krueger. I use various rack delays…everything is rackmounted.


I still use a Strat which I’ve had customised (added a Kahler tremolo and humbucker pickups). On the acoustic numbers I use a Hohner semi-acoustic 12-string.


Bass equipment: Music Man bass guitar through Trace Elliot gear, using 4 x 10 and 1 x 15 speakers.

Martyn: Dave has a custom-built bass which he uses for the slower moodier numbers which makes a deep, warm sound. But the Music Man is his main instrument.


Keyboards: Jupiter 8 and Korg DSS1 which wins heaps of praise from Barry Andrews: "We seem to be getting sounds which are as good as a Fairlight Series II. It’s helpful having the synthesizing part as a well as the sampler because you can really fuck around with those samples and make them sound interesting.



Sonic (July/August 1987)


Shriekback recently released their 13th studio album, Without Real String or Fish. It is available on their website. Click the album cover to be taken to their online store!

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tinhuvielartanis: (RepLogo)
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There is still a dinky handful of these left. Any of you who have known me for long, know the story behind them. If you don't, just ask. All you really need to know is that the CDs available are in their original wrap (the cigarette kind, not shrink wrap) with the barcodes and spine sticker unaltered or defaced in any way. These are, for all intents and purposes, brand new. Shriekback are offering the album for £40 (just over $60, USD), which is a median price for what the used CDs are typically going for on sites like eBay (new copies of the double CD are priced considerably higher, and you can't be completely sure that what you're buying hasn't already been opened and played, then rewrapped). With these, you can be confident that the product has never been unwrapped and played, and your money goes directly to the band, instead of to middleman profiteers. More importantly, your purchase will help Shriekback record more music for us all to enjoy!

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To the best of my knowledge, these are the very last new copies of 'The Y Records Years.' To acquire one is pretty much a chance in a lifetime at this point, and I am not being dramatic. The band began to send word out a couple of days ago, that the CDs are available, and many have already been reserved for shipment. Right now, I believe around 10 are left.

JUST TEN

Write the band at shriekprods@outlook.com to inquire about purchase.

If you have any questions regarding the double CD, feel free to ask me here or at susperia5@yahoo.com. If I know the answer, I'll give you one. If I don't know, I'll try to find out, then let you know what I've found.

Also, you may want to look into purchasing a copy of Shriekback's new album, their 13th studio project called Without Real String or Fish. It is a genuine tour de force that will more than satisfy longterm fans as well as seduce newcomers into Shriekback's eclectic reality.  The new album is available through Shriekback's official website.  Click on the album cover below to be taken to their store.  Besides the new album, they also have all manner of goodies ripe for the picking.  It's a veritable musical Garden of Eden!

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Now, go forth and shop with abandon!

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You may get a better look at the CDs by clicking on the images for full size.
Hand model is Wilma Terry Evans.

tinhuvielartanis: (RepLogo)


Shriekback
The World’s Second Best Pop Group with a Bald Singer
By Dave Segal (‘Creem’ June 1987)

“…Shriekback have opted to make a different kind of music – one which exalts human frailty and the harmonious mess of nature over the simplistic reductions of our crude computers.” – liner notes to Big Night Music. This thing called Shriekback is a strange beast. Trying to describe them gives me one hell of a headache. The new Shriekback music (it’s called Big Night Music but it could just as easily be called Small Morning Music) screws with rock critics’ rote jargon. If you wanted to be crass, you could label ‘em an intellectual funk band with gospel/cocktail lounge pretensions. Unlike most Anglo-Caucasians who funk around with black styles of music, Shriekback throw a skewered light on what, in pedestrian hands, can be a brain-numbing genre. You can attribute Shriekback’s uniqueness (no lie) to keyboardist/singer/lyricist Barry Andrews.

Andrews has full control of Shriekback now that Carl Marsh has departed with his Fairlights and drum computers for solo obscurity. Pared down to a trio (Dave Allen, he of the Zeus-like bass playing on Gang of Four’s first two LPs, and Martyn Barker on percussion toys), Shriekback have for the most part ditched Marsh’s vision of a “harsh disco reality” and gone for a rococo/eclectic sonic gumbo that’s as slippery to grasp as Eno’s skull in a bathtub. There’s a slickness to the Andrews/Gavin MacKillop production on Big Night Music, but don’t let that trouble yer noggin. It’s a good kind of slickness; Andrews has a Byrne-Enoesque aesthetic that enables him to craft exotic pop of excessive fussiness (‘Black Light Trap,’ ‘Running on the Rocks,’ ‘Sticky Jazz’) or of severe sparseness (everything else). You could call this The Soft Album without too much controversy.

Oddly, some of the songs sound better with the volume turned down. Perhaps because he can’t sing very well, Andrews often resorts to an intimate whispery delivery. Very nice and relaxing, this voice. And he’s a clever gump, too. It’s not by accident that wispy, gentle toons sit cheek by jowl with swollen brassy epics; and then out of nowhere will sprout a pretension-deflater like ‘Pretty Little Things,’ which sounds like Prince on helium and dexies. I tell ya, listening to Big Night Music is more fun than working in an abattoir on a humid day.

Andrews has the serene monkish demeanor of the Keith Carradine character in the Kung Fu TV show. Before Shriekback, he was in XTC from ’77 to ’79, and he also played with Robert Fripp’s League of Gentlemen in 1980. He’s a peace-lovin’, broad-minded intellectual dabbler wearing a black floppy hat and a long black coat. We had a civilized chat amid the delicately bubbling jacuzzi water inside a swanky Detroit hotel. Andrews proved to be more stimulating than a week’s worth of The Dick Cavett Show.

CREEM: Why did Carl Marsh leave Shriekback?
BARRY ANDREWS: He wanted to do solo things, really. Carl’s quite a self-contained sort of bloke I don’t think he ever found it easy working with other people. The band was becoming a two-headed beast that was tearing itself in half. Oil and Gold (released in ’85) suffered from that. A bit of schizophrenia between the Carl direction and my direction. I like things when they’re soft and vulnerable and maybe even a bit maudlin. I like a certain amount of crying into my Guinness.

Did Marsh’s departure cause a change in your sound?
Definitely, there was a sort of opening of the sluices. When Carl left, I felt like, firstly, I’ve got this huge canvas to work with on the whole record. It’s all gonna be my words, my tunes. So instead of it being this common denominator area we could inhabit with Carl, what the three of us could agree on was actually a bigger area because there were fewer things to filter out. I wanted to try doing something very simple and direct and emotional, like ‘The Cradle Song,’ Just trying out every option and seeing what’s possible. There’s a certain amount of experimentation that doesn’t work, but a whole lot that does. Normally we wouldn’t have even dared to try. Big Night Music is diverse. I don’t think anyone could complain about it being too homogenous. I think there is a coherence to it that we’ve never achieved on a record before, with the possible exception of Care (released in ’82)

Does everyone have creative input into the words and music?
I’m the sole lyricist. On the new album, Dave confined himself to bass playing, Martyn did a whole lot more than he’s ever done. He plays all the drums and does lots of percussion. So he’s actually responsible for quite a lot of the textures. I’m really responsible for the way the whole thing sounds and the structure of the songs. I can’t imagine collaborating with someone on a song. It would be like having somebody advise you while you’re having sex with somebody (laughs). There’s so much that just happens in your head. It’s quite a fragile process and it’s not something I could easily involve someone with.

Your lyrics have a stream of consciousness to them…
A stream of unconsciousness…(much laughter).

Sometimes it’s brilliant and at other times it leaves the listener baffled. Maybe they’re too oblique for universal understanding.
Maybe that’s a valid criticism. I don’t go in for any kind of broad political commentary.

You write more about personal things?
I don’t know if they’re even personal things, really. What I try to do is create an entity with sound that has not existed before. The songs are meant to be things you can walk into and walk around, that have their own kind of smell and atmosphere and texture. They’re not meant to be billboards or television programs. Or newspapers. The lyrics aren’t the point any more than the bass drum pattern’s the point. You might have a very good pair of kidneys but that’s not your whole story, is it?

If I asked you what ‘The Reptiles and I’ is about, could you tell me?
I can tell you what I was trying to do. It’s what it is for you definitely. That’s a nice fatuous answer, I suppose, and it’s what it means to me. And that’s about as far as it goes. I had this idea of using a lot of lists that I found in Webster’s Dictionary. A list of languages, elements, proverbs. I liked the idea of a bunch of verses that were lists. I was trying to create a nursery rhyme that would work in an adult way and would have that sort of darkness about it, that sinister kind of thing that the best nursery rhymes have. I’m really a little kid sitting at the foot of the great god Language. I’ve really got no command over it. I pretty much take what it gives me. I get excited by all the different ways people speak in the same way. I get excited about all the different cultures people can have, all the different ways of being in the world. It seems very rich and diverse and brilliant. And it inspires me.

Were you influenced by any writers?
I steal a lot. I’m a complete bastard for that. I’ll tell you the dead ones. I’ve ripped Shakespeare off something rotten. I’ve had my way with T.S. Eliot. Martin Luther King. The Bible. Certainly bits of the Koran. Complete verbal beachcomber.

At least you’re taking from great sources.
Oh yeah. That’s what they’re there for. To get crunched up and recycled. I don’t do it in any cynical way. It’s like doing a cover of a band’s song that you really think is a good song. It seems silly to wrack your brains when somebody else’s said it so well. I just rip it off. Shameless, really.

Have any current songwriters influenced you?
David Byrne’s approach – when I was a bit more uncertain about writing lyrics – he seemed to offer quite a good little cubbyhole to hide in, where you could get away without saying anything at all as long as it sounded all right. But on this LP, I got less and less satisfied with what you could do with that and more interested in what would happen if you pushed the thing up toward the light a little more. So things like ‘Cradle Song,’ ‘Reptiles,’ and ‘Gunning for the Buddha’ are like little narratives, stories, which I’ve never attempted before. Getting into the old Tin Pan Alley thing. People like Gilbert and Sullivan and the English music hall singers. Popular Victorian kitsch. Edwardian parlor songs.

Shriekback is often labelled an intellectual band.
It’s high time we burst that bubble.

Are you college-educated?
No. It was between making a choice of being in a rock’n’roll band or going to university.

Are you religious?
I don’t belong to a religion. I don’t have any faith, in that way. I do have a strong religious sense. It’s difficult to say without it sounding pretentious. I have a sense of awe of a kind of religious veneration or worship in the presence of what is around – people, mainly, the rush and energy of people and what they can do and build and keep going on and having babies. Just what it is to be alive. There’s definitely a force that moves us on in a mysterious way. I said to someone once that I feel about religion the way I felt about sex when I was 12. You know there’s something going on, but you don’t know what the fuck it is!


To read more about Shriekback's music and career, please visit their website (sign up for the newsletter for free downloads) and Tumblr. You can also join in our conversations over on Facebook. And, while you're at it, pick up a copy of their new album, Without Real String or Fish!

tinhuvielartanis: (Thiyennen)

iTunes just played a song I've been hunting for for almost 20 years, without being able to remember the composer or title of the piece, except for the word "Gypsy".  I had it on a cassette that was nothing but Romani-inspired Classical pieces, which I found in a bargain bin in Camelot Music in 1985.  The tape broke around 1990 and I had long since lost the case card, so I couldn't remember one flipping thing about it.  This song…this song was incredibly influential in the forging of Thiyennen Vathyella back in 1986.  This, an assload of Antonín Dvořák​’s works, and traditional Klezmer music.

The last time I tried to find the song was about mid-2014.  I could hear it in my mind and, at one point was intent on translating it to keyboard, 'cos I used to be able to play things by ear.  My hope was to record myself playing the song - badly - and share on social media, in the hope someone could identify it for me.  I couldn't get to the Unit's keyboards, though, because *hoard*.  It was only then I became resigned to never finding the song again.

It's been on my iTunes for fucking years and I didn't even know it!

What's so bizarre is, I was sorting through some paperwork having to do with Thiyennen at the time the song began to play.

That’s some Six Flags over Synchronicity shit right there, I kid you not.

Without further ado, I present the undeniably Vampiric Danse De La Gypsy by Camille Saint-Saens.


tinhuvielartanis: (Shriekback Logo)

As seen on Shriekback's official Tumblr.

Filter Buried Treasure

Commodity Blaze

Dug up from the permafrost of punk-funk obscuria, ex-XTC and Gang of Four men explore the emotional life of monsters.  It’s alive…

Shriekback - Oil & Gold

ARISTA, 1985

Throughout the rock epoch, commentators have slagged record companies for the dilution of art in pursuit of profit.  Full marks to the Arista label, then, for releasing Shriekback’s Oil & Gold.  A chthonic portal into an inverse world of eat-or-be-eaten terror-funk, macabre amusements and terminal ambience, it would have sat heroically askance in the Phil Collins and Wham!-embracing charts of 1985.

Co-vocalist Barry Andrews looks back on an anomalous situation.  “There was a precedent in the Thompson Twins - also on Arista, also signed by the bloke who signed us - of a band turning from weirdo, uncommercial ugly ducklings into great big shiny ‘80s cash swans,” he reflects.  “I think Arista still held out a wispy hope that that would happen.  The cover idea was to make us look dreamy and great, but we ended up going for a gang of eels and feathers, which were props that became the main event.  Once again the record company were not totally made up.”shriekmojo3.png

Formed in 1981 in Kentish Town, the group’s core consisted of ex-XTC keys man Andrews, Gang Of Four bassist Dave Allen and Carl Marsh, former guitarist in squat funkers Out On Blue Six.  Having logged such unnerving dancefloor releases as My Spine Is The Bassline and Tench EP on the Y label, they’d signed with Arista for 1983’s Jam Science album.  After July ’84’s crisp single Hand On My Heart got to Number 52, they regrouped for a third LP, having been joined by drummer and Fairlight sampler operator Martyn Barker.

Andrews recalls a complicated genesis, commencing when the band took 20 rhythmic sketches to Rockfield studio in south Wales, with producer and future Hollywood soundtrack composer Hans Zimmer (who turned up three hours late, copping a £600 black cab bill after missing his train).  “Everybody was involved in a lot of groove-building and improvisation to get ideas rolling,” says Marsh.  “Then Barry and I would pick the ones we fancied and write lyric and melody ideas and structure them into songs, after which everyone would pitch back in with ideas to fill in all the gaps.”

After more session at Lillie Yard in west London, mixing took place in various studios in the capital and Bath.  It was not an over-harmonious process, remembers Andrews.  “There were a lot of major rifts,” he reveals.  “Our manager wanting to sack me, Carl was gearing up to leave, Hans getting sacked - we ended up mixing with Gavin MacKillop.  God we spent a lot of money.”

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What emerged clearly thrived on the discord.  Opening with the febrile, spasming Malaria andtwo more feverish funk eruptions sung by Marsh, Shriekback’s strangely scientific world of primordial nature was revealed in its noisy, intoxicated splendour.  Drastic contrast was provided by This Big Hush, a phantasmal, possibly post-apocalyptic contemplation of ultimate extinction sung by Andrews, and similarly spectral pieces including the Cretaceous instrumental, Coelocanth.  Marsh cites lead single Nemesis - which name-checked 2000AD comic’s alien hero who battles Earthling superfascist Torquemada - as “the one that sums up all the themes and contrasts into one pop blast.  The animals and monsters, the tensions between instinct and intellect, nods to high art and comic books, and big laughs in dark places.”

Despite this, Marsh would leave the group after the album was completed, fulfilling press and photo duties but bailing before the touring could begin.  “I did feel that the band had become a bit of a two-headed monster with myself and Barry both fronting it and pulling in different directions,” he says.  “That said, I’m actually always surprised the album as a whole has such a unified feel.  I guess we had a common purpose after all.”

The group forged on, but despite all efforts including an arena tour with Simple Minds, Arista’s dream of an immaculate cash swan would prove chimerical.  Director Michael Mann, however, would add to the group’s cult cache by selecting Oil & Gold tracks for his movies Manhunter and Band of the Hand.  “He got the tenderness in the weirdness, I guess - the emotional life of monster,” muses Andrews.  The singer continued to lead Shriekback, with 1986’s Big Night Music a worthy companion piece to its predecessor, but would cease operations after 1992’s Sacred City.  The beast would not die, though, and four more releases down the line, Marsh was back in earnest for 2010’s sterling Life In The Loading Bay.  Now Barker is also returned; the three-man line-up is finishing a new album.**

Twenty eight years on, Oil & Gold remains visceral proof of what they’re capable of.  “The actual title came from a lyric that wasn’t used,” reveals Marsh.  “‘It’s as physical as oil and gold’.  It was the contrast between dark, sticky, clingy blackness and bright, hard clarity that seemed to encapsulate some of Shriekback’s extreme qualities.”

Ian Harrison

MOJO July 2013



**The new album referenced in Ian Harrison’s article is Without Real String or Fish, our thirteenth studio album, just released earlier this month.  You can learn more about it on the official website.  Please join us in the discussion on Facebook, Twitter, and Tumblr, and don’t forget to sign up for our newsletter for free music downloads and current Shriek activity.

tinhuvielartanis: (Shriekback Logo)

Inspired by listening to Without Real String or Fish, James from Canada (his preferred cognomen) felt compelled to share his thoughts about the mighty “Coelocanth."

Coelocanth: The Last Shriekback Song I Will ever Hear?


So here we are in 2015, and Shriekback have just released their 13th album, Without Real String or Fish. And a most excellent album it is, too: full of the usual Shrieky goodness - clever lyrics and wordplay, groovy basslines, catchy tunes that run the gamut of dark, light, thoughtful, funny and sombre (often at the same time!).

So it is not surprising that while one is feasting on a plate of brand new songs, that one also reflects on a band’s past releases, and how they may have influenced one’s musical tastes, preferences, or - perhaps - one’s life.

In my case, I'd like to look back at one particular song - "Coelocanth" - the atmospheric conclusion to the Oil and Gold LP back in the 80's.  I was a teenager back when Oil and Gold was released, and at the time I preferred all the hard-rockin' tunes like "Nemesis" and "Malaria."  So while I loved most of the Oil and Gold album, I always thought that "Coelocanth" was a piece of crap.  "What the hell is this?" I asked at the time.  "Did Shriekback hire Zamfir and his cheesy pan flues to play on this record?** Awful!"  As far as I was concerned at the time, Oil and Gold finished with the conclusion of "Hammerheads."  And so it went for many years... until Manhunter.

Many Shriekback fans either discovered or re-discovered the band as a result of Michael Mann’s film Manhunter, which featured the Shriek songs “Evaporation,” “This Big Hush,” and “Coelocanth.” For me, when I saw the famous tiger scene in that movie, set to the music of “Coelocanth,” I had a bit of an epiphany. All of a sudden, this song wasn’t a cheesy woodwind “extra” tacked on at the end of Oil and Gold, but something which really penetrated deep down into the soul. I promptly began to listen to “Coelocanth,” and with my ears now finally open (so to speak), I realized just how haunting and beautiful a track it really was.

Back in the late 90’s, I once had a dream about this song. I remember it quite vividly - I was lying on some ocean beach on an alien world, with a huge ringed planet rising in a dark aquamarine sky. I heard “Coelocanth” playing somewhere in the distance, although I knew that I was alone on this planet.

At the time I didn’t give the dream much thought… it was just a cool thing that happened. Well, you can imagine my surprise when several years later, while I was surfing the internet for some new desktop wallpaper for my Mac, I came across this particular image at the Digital Blasphemy website :

This image - minus the palm trees - was almost 100% verbatim what I saw in my dream.  It really chilled me to the bone to see my "vision" realized by some person whom I'd never met.  Of course, I immediately pulled out Oil and Gold and played “Coelocanth,” and found myself thoroughly captivated by the synergy of sound and image…it was absolutely hypnotic, even magical. I had already grown to appreciate that once-belittled track “Coelocanth,” but from the moment I heard it in conjunction with this image from my dream, it just became so much more.

So why is it that I say “Coelocanth” is “the last Shriekback song I will ever hear?” Well, it may not be, but - and this is where I perhaps get a little morbid and over-the-top for some readers, but bear with me - I have for many years thought that “Coelocanth” would be the perfect “last song” for me. The last song is essentially the soundtrack to one’s end: when you’re on your death-bed, and you know that you’ve only got minutes left to live, but you can pick one piece of music to accompany you as you journey out of this world and into “whatever-lies-beyond.”

For me, “Coelocanth” conjures up many feelings and imagery. The obvious one is that of prehistoric fish moving through the dark depths of an ancient ocean. But I also see strange alien landscapes (as in my dream), or even the infinite depths of outer space, filled with stars and galaxies. Combine all that imagery with the background synths and trickling water samples, and you have a concoction that just soothes the soul in a way that’s hard to explain. This is why I would be quite happy to spend my final moments with this song in my head. It really encompasses, well, just about everything, for me. Not bad for a previously-mocked, little 4 minute atmosphere track at the end of a 30-year old album.

So why all the “deep-thought” and rather mawkish gushing over this old song? Well, for me, it really demonstrates what I (and no doubt many other Shriek fans) love about Shriekback. How their music grows on you over time, and how deeply it can affect you. It’s not surprising that I’ve been a fan of the Shrieks since the 80’s: they’ve consistently delivered amazing and diverse music, and the new Without Real String or Fish album continues this tradition. Hopefully there are many more wonderful albums coming from this talented bunch in the years to come.

©James from Canada
8 March, 2015

**with apologies to any fans of Zamfir. I also heartily recommend Digital Blasphemy’s Desktop Wallpaper site. The worlds that this guy creates with 3d software really go well with the whole Shriekback vibe. “Without real worlds or matter”, I guess!

tinhuvielartanis: (Can't Stop Writing)
I thought it might be convenient, as well as give the album more visibility, if I created a You Tube playlist featuring the three official music videos for Shriekback's Without Real String or Fish. The URL for the playlist is below the embedded player here. Please share it with anyone and everyone!



http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLhGoy_yBqvYnjZ1ds7WxkbDprKe-f_PPL



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Also, if you want to buy the album, which I advise you to do, as it may be the best decision you make all year, click the festive Shriek logo to your right to be taken to Shriekback's online store. While you're there, click the music option, 'cos there are songs there to download, some of which are free!

tinhuvielartanis: (Shriekback Logo)

Barry Andrews posted the video for Now Those Days Are Gone, from Shriekback's new album, Without Real String or Fish. The album can be purchased directly from the band on their website store, beginning at Midnight GMT on 4 March, 2015! Just a few hours, and your life could be filled with some of the best music you'll ever hear. Enjoy this wonderful Gen X anthem, and be sure to make note of the accompanying information, regarding the Shrieks and where you can find them on Teh Intarwebz.



From 'Without Real String or Fish,' Shriekback's 13th studio album. Available only from http://shriekback.com/store from midnight GMT tonight, 4 March!!

Visit: http://www.shriekback.com and sign up for the newsletter!

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/shriekback
Tumblr: http://shriekbackmusic.tumblr.com
Twitter: https://twitter.com/shriekbackmusic

Subscribe to Shriekback's You Tube Channels!

Barry Andrews - https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCo3E-T15XkSzg0reNcFalPw

ANAXATON6 - https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCJMkzOIkm9sqOjch00BhHBg


I'm also reposting the other videos the band have made available this week, but I'm cutting it, so please click to expand the entry.

They have such sights to show you )

If anyone has questions regarding any of this, please feel free to reach out. Also, if you would like to review the album, or know anyone who may want to take on such a task, let me know. The more response the band gets, the more music we will get to enjoy in the coming years.

Be sure to pass all this great music on to everyone and, as noted in the album announcement, send the band proof of your dissemination, and they will heap all manner of musical treasure on you.

Be pure, be vigilant, behave!

tinhuvielartanis: (Shriekback Logo)



Good things
come to those
who wait.

Screen Shot 2015-02-24 at 8.36.32 PM

The English proverb certainly applies to Shriekback’s thirteenth studio album, Without Real String or Fish.  Begun back in 2011, the band completed work on their latest offering on 1 November, 2014 – a wholesome day, indeed – much to the delight of their fans, both old and new.

Before I delve into the song-by-song, I must come clean by informing readers that I count myself among Shriekback’s fans, and the songs I can admit to not enjoying that much can be counted on one hand missing a couple of fingers.  Although I will do my level best to remain objective in writing this, my subjectivity should be considered when you read it.  For that reason alone, you should listen to the album, so you can judge for yourself.

Also, please bear in mind that any lyrics interpretation is mine alone, and could be completely off the mark.  Again, you should listen and judge for yourself.

That said, let’s go!


  1. Now Those Days Are Gone (Andrews/Marsh)

In the tradition and spirit of Shriekback’s 1985 magnum opus, Oil & Gold, and its first track, Malaria, Now Those Days Are Gone bombards the senses, leaving no doubt the band are not playing around.  The groove is deep and unrelenting, living up to the Shrieks’ decades-old agenda to create music to which people cannot resist dancing.  The combination of Rock and Funk, along with the rousing chorus, makes the song a solid anthem.  The lyrics sound not only autobiographical, speaking to Shriekback’s early days, they also convey a biography of the time in which most of us long-time fans came of age.  The chant-like call and response chorus hint at regret for an age that’s passed, but the accompanying music doesn’t let any potential navel-gazing progress go too far.  Sure, those days might be gone, the song seems to say, but we aren’t, and that is what matters.

Favourite lyric:

We were living in the future
Now those days are gone
We were kings, we were preachers
Now those days are gone
We had incubi and succubi
Now those days are gone
All these pleasures standing by
Now those days are gone


  1. The King in the Tree (Andrews, Barker, Marsh)

hapexamendiosBeginning with a clockwork carousel, the song seems to promise a tour through a deserted fairground containing the ghosts of revelries once indulged in happier times.  In typical Andrews fashion, the lyrics contrast with the music, and they conjured in my mind visions of the demiurge-like Hapexamendios, the insane architect of the First Dominion, in Clive Barker's Imajica. Regarding The King in the Tree, Andrews had this to say: [M]y image of a King in a Tree was King Sweeney of ancient Eire (from Flann O'Brien's 'At Swin Two Birds'), who was cursed for attacking a priest and went mad:  climbing into a tree where he stayed - reciting poetry and eating cresses.

The title character in the song also seems like a representation of the Green Man in modern times, invisible to most everyone who prefers to turn [their] face to the wall rather than see him and rescue him from us before we find ourselves in need of rescue from him. A wise warning indeed.

Favourite lyric:

Secrets words of the world are Engulf and Devour
(why is all this tyrannical shit in the soul of a flower?)

Note:  When listening to this portion of the song, pay attention to the music when Andrews sings “why is all this tyrannical shit in the soul of a flower?”  It mirrors the lyrics with an aural blossoming.  Brilliant.


  1. Soft Estate (Andrews, Barker)

Soft Estate weaves a delicate soundscape that will doubtless make the hearts of Big Night Music enthusiasts beat just a little faster.  The undulating melody dresses lyrics that encourage the listener to populate that soundscape with beasts and structures.  It is absolutely a song you would want to sing in your sleep, but it also one that promises waking dreams.  Andrews shines here, his command of language obvious, along with an uncanny ability to seamlessly meld poetry and music to create a unique visual for every listener.

Favourite lyric:

all along we were licking at the light
and clawing at the roots
and walking in the night
all startled at the sound
and reeling at the sight:
all the information:
limitless and liminal…


  1. Woke Up Wrong (Andrews)

Musically, this song is probably my least favourite, but the lyrics, with their play on names and words, more than compensate.  The conceits are all tongue-in-cheek, but for any linguaphile, they will also double as pure delight.  The second verse takes the wordplay a step further, hinting at a little bit of danger you think you can’t quite grasp, but it may be you really don’t want to…  Like so many Shriek songs, the mischief implied latches on to your subconscious, and that’s what you carry with you long after the song has ended.  A particular stand-out is the piano solo, sweeping the languid patterns of the rhythm along in a flourish.

Favourite lyric:

Barney Manglue with his running gags
(you wouldn’t want to do the kind of things he wants from you)
Butcher’s sawdust in a hundred bags
(needs that soak-up since he woke up).
Stretch the moment with his steely claw,
spread this second to infinity and more.
World-matter rattle, it’s a losing battle
(we always knew it had a tendency to get bad)


  1. Beyond Metropolis (Andrews/Marsh)

After days of mulling over how to best describe Beyond Metropolis, I finally settled on Etymological Chimera.  This song is a triumph in every way, and will more than likely drive lovers of language to smoke a cigarette after each listening.  The afterglow is that good.  I’m really not going to say much about Beyond Metropolis, because it would be unfair to spoil those who have not yet listened to it.  Musically, the song is what we’ve come to expect from the Shrieks:  intelligent, funky, and rhythmically perfect.  Lyrically, Carl Marsh makes a good case for adding words to the Scrabble dictionary that will let you win every single time.

Favourite lyric: All of them.


  1. Ammonia Tree (Andrews/Barker)

This song may be the perfect example of why so many of Shriekback’s fans are often also seekers of knowledge, long after they have completed their “official” education.  It is fraught with references to mythology, literature, history, theology, and philosophy, but also offers Easter eggs of a more personal nature, evidenced in a kind of gentle angst and nostalgia.

Framed within Mark Gowland’s fierce harmonica, and underscored with a quiet rhythm, both of which enhance the longing, and a certain level of regret, you can clearly hear in the lush tapestry of Andrews’ keyboard work, Ammonia Tree vividly takes you to the locations, both real and imagined, mentioned in the song.  It paints pictures and freezes moments you can take with you when drawing to a close.

It may be of interest that the last stanza of the lyrics is signature Andrews work, which focuses on a word or phrase – this time, it’s a phrase – that becomes a chant.  It’s very Shamanic in nature, using mnemonics to teach by rote.  This signature composition places Ammonia Tree in Shriekback’s family of songs that also includes The Reptiles and I and Hammerheads.

Favourite lyric:

When your own head bores you
with its bloody awful song
it wasn’t pretty wasn’t clever
and didn’t last for very long:
it felt like looking in the mirror
with all the strip lights on.
(might be a Stendhalian glory if you can only wait that long).
Is it holy intropection or wrestling futility?
In the quest for Truth and Beauty under the Ammonia Tree


  1. Recessive Jean (Andrews/Barker/Marsh)

In the hierarchy of my personal taste, Recessive Jean would rank #11 to Woke Up Wrong’s #12.  What I find most impressive about the song is the rhythm and bass that makes it sound like a descendant of Feelers.  That’s not to say it’s a rehash of the elder song; Recessive Jean is undeniably a force unto itself, but it carries that Feelers vibe, which will make many Shriek fans miss Dave Allen.

Carl Marsh is once again taking the lyrical and vocal reins in this one, growling about the clever homonym in the title.  The apocalyptic implications are deftly hidden within the jaunty melody, and is a reminder that nothing is ever what it seems when you’re listening to a Shriekback song.

Favourite lyric:

With a charm to disarm and a passion for harm
In so many ways, so many ways
A façade of calm can but raise the alarm
At the end of days, the end of days


  1. Horrors of the Deep (Andrews/Barker)

One of Shriekback’s more consistent trademarks is combining unease with beauty.  What could easily be the title of a chaotic Death Metal song delivers to you an ethereal vastness that overwhelms the senses.

Horrors of the Deep revisits Barry Andrews’ preoccupation with the sea in all its metaphorical glory.  The music alone is an aural ocean unto itself, all delicate ebb and flow.

As with Cormorant’s Sea Theory, Andrews offers up a meditation on the sea and how little we know about it, despite being born from it, carrying it within us, and eventually coming to rest within it, in some way or other.  The dust of our evolutionary ancestors can be found on ocean floors, and attempting to comprehend that is often unsettling, as such evidence forces us to come to grips with our impermanence when compared to the unimaginable immensity from which we came.  So, too, is our inability to understand mortality and what happens after.

Just as with death, the deeper the waters go, the less we know.  And it’s a human trait to fear the unknown.  That fear is etched into our DNA.  But just as with this song, if we dare to explore these arcane landscapes, we often find beauty and transcendence just under that layer of dread encoded within us all.

Looking at it from that perspective, the horrors woven into song become a living cradle instead of a watery grave.  Despite the horrors, in the end, it is illumination (or bio-luminescence) that wins the day.

Favourite lyric:

Sumptuously poised here in the foam
a watery quintessence
later pitifully trailing home alone
my bio-luminescence.    


  1. In the Pylons (Andrews)

An instrumental that may be a musical re-enactment of touring an Egyptian temple, In the Pylons begins subtly, but escalates into epic, hard-driving drum-fest. No proper Shriekback album can go outside without an instrumental to keep it warm.


  1. Man of Foam (Andrews)

The first thought that came to me upon the initial listen is that Man of Foam could be a lyrical look in on New Man from Go Bang! Elegant piano and shimmering synth carry the tune into Big Night Music territory, bridging a gap between the two albums in a very satisfactory way.

Favourite Lyric:

Oh Man of Foam
What you gonna do if he follows you home?
There will come a day
when the moth meets the naphthalene.


  1. Everything Like That (Andrews/Barker)

Prepare to worship at the Church of Shriekback when you’re tossed into the Gospel-driven Funk that is this baptismal fire they call Everything Like That.  If anyone needs proof that Shriekback are still making music, this is all the proof you need.  A culmination of Andrews giving a nod to an author whose books have been of inspiration and the long love affair the band have with deep and dangerous grooves.  Everything Like That is relentless in its invitation to be properly arranged in the construct of the song.  Lyrically, it is a very close to being as brilliant as Beyond Metropolis.  The bass line of the song is one of the best on the album, in my opinion.  Judge for yourselves; however, it may take more than one listen to hear everything that’s going on.  It’s a veritable fun park for Shriek fans who prefer their tuneage to threaten as much as delight.  It could break some hearts as well, though, because you can only imagine how a live performance of this song would be.

Favourite Lyric:

Under the time-lapse clouds
out on the screen of green
I want to see the monsters couple
with the wet machine.
You are my salad witch
that I would like to dress.
I do not lack the Wound.
I do not lack the Mess.
And Everything Like That.

I could have easily said “all of them” as I did with Beyond Metropolis; however, this particular stanza holds one of my personally favourite things about Shriek lyrics – words that usually would not be capitalised, but are, to make them seem Very Important,  but the reason or meaning behind it is never explained, and that makes my imagination go wild.  What is this Wound of which you speak, Shriekback?  No, don’t tell me, I have my own ideas.


  1. Bernadette (Andrews/Barker/Marsh)

A perfect end to a nearly perfect collection of songs, Bernadette is a lullaby that lets you get grounded after the manic Everything Like That.  It promises you good dreams and rocks you, overlooking a sprawling cityscape bathed in the twinkle of electricity, as the sun retires with you.

Bernadette‘s gait is akin to a metronome, used not only to maintain the see-saw magic of the melody, but to also hypnotise and assure you of your safety, even when the music spirals down as though the cradle has fallen.

Carl Marsh’s vocals and Barry Andrews’ piano give the song a stately air, a sort of ritual procession done each day as the sun begins to set on the place you call home.

Favourite lyric:

When beauty starts to fall apart
The savage eye and beating heart of darkness
Blessed Darkness.

WRSoFOverall, I cannot recommend Without Real String or Fish strongly enough. Since they returned to music with Having a Moment, I have always cited Cormorant as my favourite among the albums they’ve recorded in the 21st Century. That must change now. This is one of those Shriek albums that doesn’t just shine in its place among the recent outings; I have no doubt that Without Real String or Fish will stand the test of time, and find itself treasured by Shriekers old and new. From the opening song until the soft dissolve into Dark, it’s more than obvious that this was a labour of love.


And we are the winners.

tinhuvielartanis: (Shriekback Logo)



shriekthink
Dave Henderson gets intensive care from Shriekback


Sitting in Barry Andrews' flat in downtown Kentish Town Carl Marsh and Dave Allen relax and try to get a word in as Barry, in his laidback veteranmanner, compares Shriekback in its rising stature to throwing pots and books that he's read.


Barry Andrews uses long words but he's sincere, he believes in Shriekback as do his two cohorts. The room is airy and almost a million miles away from the group's new LP Care. There's a kind of urgency there, a plethora of ideas busting to get out and because of their diversity constantly struggling. It's hardly surprising really, after all, they all come from very strong and varied musical backgrounds. With pasts of varying stature Shriekback's first LP was an expressive and spikey start. Months in the studio - due to the high quality publishing deal the trio had secured - gave them the freedom to work as they wanted and throw ideas around.

"There was always a deadline looming in the future but nobody really knew when," forwards Carl.

Dave continues: "It took quite a while to get it onto vinyl because we didn't have any real commitment to getting anything done. In the end it was really just a summing up of that period."

Loose and rough as Tench was, it still didn't give anything away. The ideas were there, interest created, but no real statement of intent hit you in the middle ear. With 'My Spine is the Bassline' winning new friends for them, had they purposely attempted to take a more commercial tack with their music?

Dave: "It wasn't at all intentional. It just appeared to be going in a funkier direction and we just followed it that way. With the new album we just continued with that attitude and followed where it led. We don't sit down and write songs, we built them in the studio and we just travelled along the paths they took us."

Barry: "When we did Tench, there was a thing about not doing things that were commercial, but we always wanted it to communicate so that people could play it and get into it. We say that we didn't have to live with making music that was rubbish just so that we could live off it, we realised we could actually put out brilliant music and live off that."

But if Tench was inaccessible - it wasn't, but it was a lot less, say, mainstream (pun) than their later work - has their recent work been a conscious effort to get across to a wider audience?

Dave: "People haven't adapted to us. We know what we want to do and they're getting that from us. They haven't just clicked to Shriekback, we've set the ball rolling by getting our house in order, by accepting the fact that you don't have to sell yourself short to sell records and make money. There's no sort of secret message or hidden thing there. What we want is for people to play the album and for them to get the honesty and the communication from us. It doesn't have to be an album of potential hits and in the same way we didn't sit down and say 'Let's do "Lined Up" as a commercial single so that people will buy the album and hear all the weird shit', it just wasn't all that."

The honesty shines through in Shriekback, their unorthodox techniques allow them to come up with things that, if premeditated, would lack the power that they have. Their instruments are extensions of their bodies, claims Barry in a nother reeling cascade of anecdotes, and you can see this in their music.  It's personal, tribal even.  The inner sleeve bears witness with a collection of aids and accomplices written like's their gang, their team.

Carl: "That's just like an acknowledgement of how it works."

And the music too has the spirit of an organised outfit, which is dispersed through numerous people's attitudes and characters. And the tribe was in full flow on Riverside last year when with anarchic precision Shriekback performed a couple of songs.

Carl: "If we'd thought about what we were going to do on Riverside we would have made arbitrary conditions about what we could or couldn't do instead of just doing it. You have to make rules around the things that matter, not the little things."

But this trendy-right-place-at-the-right-time thing doesn't quite fit into Shriek-think.

Barry: "Maybe you'll get it right and the things that you choose to recycle are trendy that week, but that's much less important than the actual degree of conviction and commitment that you actually put into getting things over."

Carl: "It's like we've found when we've been playing live. What you play doesn't matter it's the way you do it, so the songs that we do are structured to express that."

The whole area of being hip is like a recurring virus. In whatever mode you place yourself, the onus will shift within a matter of weeks or even hours. In some cases it can take years to transcend the petty bracketing.

Dave: "I get the feeling at the moment that anything is honest and coming from a real love is definitely not hip. Some people, like Sun Ra and the jazz greats, are allowed to be really close to the earth and won't hear anything said against them. At the moment everything has to be really trivial and it has to come from hearing the right twelve inch this week and trying to copy it. It's like with Sun Ra if you've served your time and done 40 albums then you get your Golden Honesty Award."

With a mere one and a half albums under their belt Shriekback have got quite a hefty trek in front of them. As with all outfits of their structure they will inevitably go in and out of fashion at the drop of a hat. The thing that matters about Shriekback is that they are open to influence. Their music is a hybrid of their moods and experiences and for that it will always be fresh and intriguing.

As Dave confided later, they'd "love to release lots and lots of material but we would feel that we were swamping the market".

I'd love to see that happen as Shriekback are like a magazine rather than a group, a constant ongoing entertainment. A collection of people - fluctuating in numbers - who may not be hip but are always approachable.


Click the button to purchase Care and learn more about Shriekback.     shriekbutton

tinhuvielartanis: (Can't Stop Writing)
speechless

From about noon yesterday, I have been rendered a bit speechless. If I ever turned on my webcam, this lemur is what people would have been looking at for the past 20 hours, even in my sleep. Since not babbling incoherently is very rare on the Cliffs, I figured I should bookmark the moment. Nothing is wrong. Far from it. I'm just gobsmacked. Truly. When I'm reduced to speaking with memes, you know shit has gotten real.

pentacost

tinhuvielartanis: (Shriekback Logo)

Last night, the Mother Unit knocked on my door and said "mail call!"  She came in and handed me a mail order catalog and a small white lined mailer with a customs label on it.  I knew right away what I was in for, but I took a deep breath and told myself to be patient and wait for tomorrow.

Well, tomorrow is now today, and I opened that bad boy up to find the shiny new Care CD by Shriekback!  I must say, I'm delighted with the album, now that it has finally established its rightful place in world of Compact Disc.  And I'm even more thrilled with the fact that it boasts among the bonus tracks, my favourite song by the Shrieks, 'Despite Dense Weed', along with the story behind how this malignant serenade came into being.  I've posted the story here before, as well as posting on You Tube when I uploaded the song from another collection.  But, I'm sharing again, because no one has the power to stop me.




This - if I may make so bold - little gem was only previously released on the Y Records Xmas album, which may not have found the Total Market Penetration it doubtless deserved, so here it comes again. Inspired partly by the novel Riddley Walker (Shriekback required reading) and also by an Acid experience in a forest in which Vivienne Kent and myself experienced being predators of a blood-thirsty, lupine/vampirish kind, and, from the top of a tree contemplated a cosy little family out for a stroll with a view to slaughter and dismemberment (their only possible use). Ah, great days - and they still haven't found the bones (joke).  Viv plays murderous viola on the end bit and the Tiny Green Garden Sticks rear their vicious little heads again.


I left the CD on the bed while I went to get some water.  When I returned to my room, this is what I beheld.

shriekspokesmanx1

Ah, Smidgen...  She truly is my totem and spirit guide.  She knows good stuff when she sees it.  The digipak is obviously delicious.  Thankfully she did no harm to it, and even posed for a second picture.  She looks like a spokesmodel, so I have dubbed her the Shriekback SpokesManx. There's no denying like draws like.  Shriekback are brilliant and take pretty pictures, and Smidgen is the same way.  This pic should be a billboard, I swear to Christ.

shriekspokesmanx2

I may have to cajole her into modeling with other Shriek albums.  It could become a Thing.  With the Shrieks dabbling in forbidden aural alchemy, combined with Smidgen's laissez faire attitude regarding the paparazzi, and the sentient presense of the Internet, anything is possible. While I'm working at evoking a feline pout out of the Shriekback SpokesManx, you should meander over to the Shrieks' website and buy a copy of Care while you still can.  All these reissues are limited editions so, if you don't act now, you may end up lurking in the dark corners of eBay, hoping for the chance to purchase a used copy at some godawful price that helps the band in no perceivable way.  If you're unsure you want the album, allow me to direct your attention to a version of one of the songs on the CD, entitled 'Feelers.'

It's sure to wrap around you like celestial swaddling.

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