Long Legged Woman - The End of False Religion / Various Artists - Deeded to Itself: Athens Southernoise (Thor's Rubber Hammer CD-Rs)
By far the best thing about this little gig here is hearing sounds from people and organizations I never in a million years would've ever thunk to check out. Or maybe I would've seen their goods shopped on a disto site somewhere and thought "yeah that sounds okay, but I just can't afford to take the chance" or what have you. That's the case with Thor's Rubber Hammer, a (largely) noise label based out of Athens, Georgia (edit: it's actually based out of Washington, D.C. but was in Athens for a time!). I must confess I don't always keep my ear to the ground of the current U.S. noise scene so I was somewhat surprised to hear the Athens stomping grounds were fertile enough to not only start up a label but to release an entire compilation of like-minded artists from the locale (featuring names I've never heard before in my life). This would all be for naught if, you know, the records stunk. But the exact opposite is true. Both the Long Legged Woman and the compilation are great stuff and wholly welcome entries into the old CD rack, although they might not fit. Both these sprayed discs come in oversized cardstock fold-overs sealed in mylar plastics, each hand-numbered.
Long Legged Woman is a duo featuring two dudes named - somewhat obscurely - J. Flowers and G. Vodicka, with Flowers operating electronics and bass and Vodicka on guitar. Their MySpace portrays them as a kind of psychedelic-tinged noise/rock outfit and maybe that's their bag in the live setting, but "The End of False Religion" is a different beast entirely. Two long (twentyish minutes) tracks, the first of which is "No Notes, Just Ghosts", and it generally invokes the kind of rumble typically in line with what you hear on Earth's "Earth 2" and Sunn O)))'s "Flight of the Behemoth", but with a bit of a harsher burn. There's also some curious sounds to be heard underneath the dull, raging groan, almost like vocals that I can't quite make out. Anyhow it's no Prurient-esque shouting so I can't tell you for sure. Whatever it is, it lends somewhat of a halcyonic vibe to an otherwise imposing aural structure. It's a good listen though. If I'm doing the blender/jam session thing, I'm thinking Sunn, Kevin Drumm, C.C.C.C., the Rita and Hair Police breaking off into pairs, squaredance style. Kinda weird since the only person credited for this track J. Flowers on tapes. He musta been busy. Anyway, the soup's good and I'll have encores, thanks. Which works since there's a second track, "Drone's Not Dead". It's got a bit more space to maneuver in butm despite crediting both members for guitar and bass, it still sounds suspiciously like the last piece. Who's to say just what's being manipulated here. Like the quasi-vocals in "No Notes", there seems to be more submerged treasures here beneath the surface, this time a weird, haunting, keyboard loop. Something the Skaters might've tried if they put down the pipes and picked up mean streaks. Anyway all these comparisons to people you already know are just reference points and nothing more. Long Legged Woman, depsite the unfortunate moniker, have hit on a sound all their own and it is indeed a surprisingly great, fresh, organic sound. Fully recommended.
"Deeded to Itself: Athens Southernoise" is a compilation put together by Thor's Rubber Hammer label boss Lars Gotrich, and as the title suggests, it showcases the fertile noise gardens of Athens, Georgia. Noise compilations can be sketchy, because no one wants to be bludgeoned for seventy straight minutes (well okay that's not true), but this one does a great job of spreading itself out and putting forth a wealth of different sounds. Long Legged Woman make their return with "It's the End of the World (And We Didn't Know It)", a totally unexpected acoustic guitar riffing/oceanic atmospheric session with some lilting male/female (female-sounding??) vocals, like sleeping on the beach in August. It's downright baffling compared to what was heard on the disc just above, but it's also stark and beautiful and real great. Somehow I knew they had it in em to impress me once again. Definitely a highlight of the set. Other goodness comes from Sailor Winters' bizarro loner synth/vocal mutter séjour that'll have you questioning your own well-adjustedness just by listening to it, and Killick's curiously addictive watery loop slosh, zeroes and ones all over the place and Jesus Jones ain't even behind the deck. Sounds like an anything from the American Tapes crew. Real helpful, right? Altruizine's "Poem X" is a strange slowed/sped tape manip and found instrument freedom that threatens full-blown song, something I'd normally chalk up to Finnish spirits Fricara Pacchu and Amon Dude. Also most enjoyable is Garbage Island's cymbal/guitar drone skiffle like playing the opening to "Riders on the Storm" and cycling it upon itself till it turns into this great free-rock churn. The drummer's got serious kicks too man, whoever he/she/it is. Telenovela's "Green Mountain" starts off with a foreboding synth drone but is quickly overtaken by a heavenly flute and a cleanly strummed acoustic guitar. I was thinking maybe an Amps for Christ type folk/noise aria but this is more dirty Six Organs/Charalambides style, a fantastic way to close out a sincerely interesting/intriguing set. The hip thing thes days is regional LP sets, as seen with New England and Portland and California...well if Lars ever threw down for a 5xLP Athens box, I'd be seriously contemplating shoving a suitcase full of money into his hands in exchange for one. And I didn't even know any of these guys existed past yesterday!
Looks like Thor's Rubber Hammer have an Owl Xounds CD-R in the works, so when that's the Tip of the Tongue upon its release and they list the rest of the T.R.H. catalogue, you're gonna thank me for this advance heads up should you act on it. Long Legged Woman's record is limited to just 70 while the compilation runs out at 200 and you're still trying to figure out which Magik Markers album is gooderer n' th'other. Clock's ticking, Nancy.
Long Legged Woman - No Notes, Just Ghosts (excerpt)
Long Legged Woman - Drone's Not Dead (excerpt)
Killick - Stormdrum
Garbage Island - Heart Skins