THE FAUVES – “RAW HEART SOUND” (2001)
The Fauves rocked my fucking world, migraine and it’s a terrible shame that few have known their pleasures. They were an unholy mixture of Unwound and Radiohead, and had they stayed together, they just might’ve taken over the world.
They were three teens from Glendora, a suburb of Pasadena, CA, and “Raw Heart Sound”, originally on Redwood Records (now defunct…?), was their only release I know of. I saw them play just once at The Smell, the long-standing all-ages Los Angeles club (where I took the above picture), and as their unusually long set morphed and twisted and turned — I swear, tears formed in my eyes. I was witnessing something huge and special, corny as that sounds, and little did I know that it’d end for The Fauves before it truly began.
They broke up, I assume, for the usual teenage reasons: college, or some silly fight, or disinterest. Who knows? After the gig of theirs I saw in December of 2000, I approached the drummer (whom I also had a huge crush on), and asked him if they’d recorded anything yet. He said he’d mail me a cassette of what they’d done up to that point, and weeks later, there it was sitting in my mailbox. I stuck it in my car and promptly forgot about it, until a solitary road trip from L.A. to Monterey to visit a friend months later. The tape of what was to become “Raw Heart Sound” inadvertently made it into the car stereo at the start of my drive back home — and managed to stay in, repeating from side A to B and back again in a 40-minute loop, for almost the entire five-hour ride. I was transfixed, locked into a harmonious nirvana with these three Glendorians. Funny enough, as soon as I grew into this massive never-ending appreciation for The Fauves, they all disappeared from the scene. They stopped playing shows, they stopped going to shows as spectators at The Smell and other points similar, and their album came out and passed through the world unnoticed. I never got the proper chance to thank them. Hopefully, one of them well eventually stumble across ECR and smile.
VON LMO – “FUTURE LANGUAGE” (1981)
You’re not ready for this one. Seriously — nothing can prepare you for this sound. Nothing prepared me when I first heard it —
There was this guy who was briefly a co-worker at the video store that I run with my friend in Los Angeles, and he was an immense fan of the original NYC No Wave scene. In addition to this addiction, he had played in a few skronking music outfits when he’d lived in Chicago, and he started this label called Flemish Masters, which only put out two releases before he seemed to either grow disinterested, or stopped having the funds to do more releases. One of them was of his own music, and the other was a reissue of “Future Language”. Before he gave me a copy of this CD, I’d never heard a note of Von LMO, nor did I know it was even a reissue! I thought it was a current band, since I was provided with no context (or explanatory liner notes).
I could write volumes of how jaw-dropping this album is, but I’m going to leave you with only as much info on it as I was originally given. It’s more fun that way. The cover art should tell you all you need to know.
MISTREATER – “HELL’S FIRE” (1981)
Wow, wow, wow. This is a brainboiler of an album, an true metal gem that came and went completely unnoticed in the early eighties. Mistreater were from Ohio, and sounded like suburban 14-year-olds working in total isolation, doing inspired Black Sabbath riffage through a wide-eyed innocence filter — although there’s hardly any info about them at all on the web, so I can’t verify the actual circumstances under which this was recorded. After this, their first album, they waited another six years before coming out with their second and final, “Swami”. Sources tell me that it’s not that good, so I’d stick with just this one —
I was introduced to this incredible band by the Reverend Magog of the Beer and Jesus Archives. He originally suggested that I start with the track “Evil Woman”. I suggest you do the same.
THE BIRTHDAY PARTY – 3 live sets
My favorite live album of all-all-all-time is “Live 1981-82″, an emotionally overwhelming posthumous compilation of material from The Birthday Party, released by 4AD several years ago. The BP were an all-consuming flame as a live act, something not entirely apparent if you listen to their studio releases which, while appropriately cluttered and insane, can be thin-sounding (with the exception of the apocalyptic “Mutiny” EP from ‘83, their final burst). I’ve started to collect Birthday Party live shows with the rabidness of a Grateful Dead-following douchebag, and here’s three of the better-sounding ones…
The Birthday Party – University Refectory, Sydney, Australia, January 6th, 1982 (ZIP file)
The Birthday Party – The Hacienda, Manchester, UK, 1982 (ZIP file)
The Birthday Party – The Hacienda, Manchester, UK, 1983 (ZIP file)