Not all of Stereogum’s favorite sounds conform to what folks expect us to cover. In this space, resident Bananafish fetishist Brandon Stosuy focuses on bands, albums, singles, and villages in Sweden that may otherwise pass by unnoticed. This installment’s eclectic virtual milk crate contains Lucky Dragons, The Julie Mittens, MGR, and Xela.
I wanted to start with Lucky Dragons, probably the widest known of this installment’s artists. They (Luke Fischbeck, Sarah Rara, and friends) are part of the current Whitney Biennial and are playing a show there 5/23 with the excellent visual artist Matthew Brannon (they did a Biennial-related show with Rob from High Places on 3/11) and are tight pals with YACHT, et al, so you could argue that they’re actually insiders, but this is about sound…
When I reviewed Widows last year, I complained about the ADD quotient of the work, that I was hoping Fischbeck would get into (or at least emulate) Henry Flynt or Burning Star Core and let it flow: “His live shows receive high praise– some sort of interactive Please Touch museum with audience participation and collaboration. To me, that seems like just the sort of endlessness Widows needs: songs moving from hand to hand, spiraling as long as the audience keeps the tools afloat.” Listening to the new, more impressively mysterious work Dream Island Laughing Language, I decided to close my eyes and forget about when one song stops and another starts. I did that last time a well, but here there’s enough going on that I can stop bothering with intention. They’ve tapped into something freer, less attached. So, if you see the work as a dream language, a stream-of-conscious river of sound, it’s all the more hypnotic … but then, going back on my own listening ideal, here’s one track by its phantom-limb lonesome. I’m offering the last song on side A of the vinyl. This way, at least, I’m only dislodging it halfway from its context.
Lucky Dragons – “Givers” (MP3)
The Julie Mittens are the noisy Fushitsusha-style improvisational Dutch trio of Aart-Jan Schakenbos (guitar), Michael van Dam (bass), and Leo Fabriek (drums). They’ve been around since 2002. The four tracks on their self-titled Holy Mountain record are teach titled with a month, date, and year. The oldest is “December 12 2006,” but I’m going with “April 3 2007″ because it’ll clean out your ears the quickest.
Mike Gallagher, who plays guitar in Isis, is also productive in his solo form, MGR. He has three full lengths to the MGR name, but my favorite of his works is a split with Xela, simply titled after each band’s contributions. Gallagher’s is “Shipping Gold.” This is an excerpt from the 16-minute piece.
MGR comes from Slaughter House Five … “mustard gas and roses.”
Xela, the excellent project of John Twells, who’s the co-owner of Type in the UK (Svarte Greiner, Grouper, the North Sea, Sylvain Chauveau, Goldmund, etc), is MGR’s neighbor on the release. Continuing with the textual thing, the song’s title (“Calling For Vanished Faces”) comes from a Thomas de Quincy prose poem (Google the phrase…). Musically, the drums here are played by Jed Brindeman of Heavy Winged. The piece runs to a dizzying 23 minutes in its non-excerpted entirety.
If you liked that piece, I highly recommend the last Xela album The Dead Sea. Or, at least listen to this waterlogged track from it. The MGR/Xela split’s available as a vinyl LP or digital download via Barge.