Dead Machines, Damion Romero & John Wiese - Friday the 13th (Anarchy Moon 2xLP)
When you play a gig on a friday that just happens to be the thirteenth day of the month, is there really any other option? You gotta release it, man. And you gotta get that nice old school horror feel to the cover to make it complete. Would you believe me if I told you that's exactly what happened here? It's the truth. John Wiese, Damion Romero and the Dead Machines played a show at today's "it" venue Il Corral on January 13th 2006, Anarchy Moon boss Bob Bellerue was on hand to record it, and the rest is noize hiztory. Pretty pretty packaging job on the sleeve too, 12"x40" screened semi-gatefold fully-scorchin' doodles all over. It hurts so good.
So let's break this down...Wiese, Romero, Dead Machines and four sides of vinyl, how they gonna fill that last side? You know it, collaborative battle royale. The three artists/four sides combo is crucially under-executed, glad to see it's coming around like last year's Double Leopards/Mouthus/Sunroof! dance and now this one. Wiese bats lead off and wow brother, not at all like I expected. He's known for laying it on heavy and low and low and heavy and I wasn't sure how well a live recording would translate to record but this is a beaut. A slow-moving trawl through smog-choked wastelands forcing you to wrestle through the haze, winding up at a run-down busted shack. The rusted iron gate swings open, sounds like it's coming from within your head, wind chimes all clanging ominously persuading you to turn back but you're drawn in...foot's set inside the house and it hits you like a Tyson right to the stomach - this is your house! But you died a hundred years ago!!!! It's a ride, no foolin'...probably even better here than it was live, something about hearing it under the covers in the privacy/confines of your own house, angering poltergeists and shaking spirits.
Dead Machines (it's some guy and his wife, I don't really know) start on eleven, like being belted with a billion theta waves. That assault falls off into a low mechanical rumble hit with spasmodic fuzzy coughing from what I assume to be the jreaded J-tar and then a lovely/horrific flute duo psych-out. Side ends with probably the harshest harsh noise of the set which isn't very harsh at all, Olson slops on surges of power strokes to the ambiance noire hamster-wheeled out by Tovah. Vicious and delicious.
Damion Romero's fully harnessed the machine-generated drone at this point in his career and that expertise is on full display here. He takes a while to get going, cobbling together low groaning and threatening, warbly crunches that sound almost guitar-like but I don't think that's a part of his set up...anyway all this results is a total brain-wasting drone like a grindhouse chainsaw symphony. Basically a fifteen minute long searing. I feel like I'm the bread inside the toaster, charred but not black. Go figure.
Which brings us to the trio (which is more like a quartet really) performance, a lot quieter than I would've expected with Wiese and Romero (and Tovah?) building a rocky foundation over which Olson exercises the sax chops as the noise behind him reaches a boil. To be perfectly frank Dead Machines with John Wiese and Damion Romero doesn't sound a whole lot different from Dead Machine without John Wiese and Damion Romero but the two do a good enough job filling in the necessary holes with buzzes and drones. Overall though they never really go anywhere as a unit and it kinda sounds like lip service, but these kinds of dream-team hook-ups do have a tendency of setting the bar to unrealistically (or unfairly) high levels so I'm not too...plussed.
Overall these sides are still quite good, can't bag on the fourth too much since it's more of a bonus than anything. And you may still love it yet. My only real complaint is that both my A-sides (Wiese and Romero) are pretty scratchy for the first few grooves, I dunno if that's across the board or what but it's a slight irritant. Bob was kind enough to send me a couple other recent Anarchy Moon jammers in the same mail crate so expect those soon enough. In the mean time these are limited to 515 copies so gauge your purchasing accordingly if need be.