on LITTLE BIG CHIEF RECORDS
"Avant Blues; Ugh lawd, eye sey Ave-Aunt Bleu-oooozzzee! Typically, my first reaction when the term’s being tossed ‘round is not to look forward but down, as I certainly don’t want to trip over untied shoe laces whilst hoofing it outta whatever unsavory establishment I’ve found myself in. Nothing personal against anyone in particular, but the cases I have heard often lack one, at times even both signifiers, and just ‘cos you can’t be bothered to tune your guitar OR put socks on don’t make your brand of mudslingin’ no “Avant Blues,” OK? That said, me ‘n Ragtime Frank, we get on pretty good. “What’s so different ‘bout him?” One might ask. Well for starters, he uses his voice like Derek Bailey uses his guitar, his guitar like Joan La Barbara uses her voice, pairs up w/ a drummer who handles his kit like the bloke from the Monks, had he just nearly drowned in a pool of bourbon but was fished out w/ a copy of Detailed Twang as life raft (that’d be Leighton Craig, notably of Primitive Motion, The Deadnotes and Lost Domain, long running Aus. outfit in which guitarist/vocalist Simon Ellaby also did time), and in tandem they belt ‘em out with all the restraint of The New Creation (Rocket Ship for My Lord, indeed). Truly a recipe for success if I’ve ever heard one! No Corwood Rep. in sight (must be off jamming in his “festival shirt” with Mike Watt) and for once I’m not complaining. If you’ve heard Frank’s previous, far-too-limited efforts, both duo “studio” session and one man band live on Negative Guest List, then you know his is a brand of Anti-Art much akin to “You Are My Everlovin” dubbed over a 9th generation mix tape of the Tampax/Hitler SS split. And if you’re not one of the lucky 100 or so who have, then here’s a great place to hop aboard! Rest assured, Simon ‘n Leighton ‘aint tamed their attack in the least, just further honed it into a laser beam of moonshine-imbued vitriol. I don’t know or care whether most of this record is improvised or not, but a discernable structure, haggard as it may be, does sound apparent, and this sets it apart from others exercises in self-indulgence within your stock faux Gospel camp. Maybe the players involved have just been going at it so long in various configurations that they’ve developed a natural rapport, but all I know is stabs like “Married Woman” and “Since I Laid My Burden Down” drip of the same opaque bacillus that first infected the underground via Contact High With… ‘n’s been the life’s blood of damn near every ramshackle DIY outfit worth a toss since. ‘N when Frank really lets it fly loose, say on the indecipherable “Wrapped Up, Tangled Up,” why it’s as if the ghost of Jerry Rayson were in the room, yellin’ at the hippie junkies on his corner to take a bath. Show me another record released this year of which the same rings true and a bucket of fried chicken and malted beverage of your choice ’s on the house. In the Windy City they may have the “Hot Buttered Blues,” but down under we got R.T.F., and he sure ‘innit nothin’ like a slouch neither. -Thomas DeAngelo/April 2014
This product was added to our catalog on Monday 21 July, 2014.