Category Archives: Sun City Girls

Resurrection, everywhere, all the time

In Diaspora, Greg Egan, the master of mind-blowing hardcore sci-fi that is more easily readable if you have undergraduate level training on physics or biology, tells us of a distant future where mankind’s tribes reconfigure their physical and psychical setup to explore new ecosystems, and alter their perception of the world. These diverging branches stop being able to communicate with each other, not just because they speak different languages, but because the cognitive make-ups underpinning what they are trying to say have become orthogonal (in several dimensions). A new tribe, the bridgers, seek to overcome these barriers by evolving in their population a wide span of subtly modified yet overlapping psychic maps, so that they can act as translators across the cognitive Babel which humanity has become.  A bit like six degrees of Kevin Bacon after the singularity.

If we were really on it – and indeed knowledgeable enough – we would do the same thing for the tangle of cultural branches which is the sonic universe that we dig. We would describe the connections between the differentiated species that have evolved from that initial big bang where sound become more than the indicator of an environmental threat/ reproductive opportunity, to turn into a whole new language through which feeling survives across space/time.

Alas, we aren’t Alex Ross, so we do this instinctively rather than systematically.  Hopefully, from time to time, you will feel that there is a method to our madness, an invisible thread running through everything that we do. Like today.

Space.Rec have, over the last few months, locked our neural circuitry into a exponentially expanding sensory overload feedback loop whose X axis is beauty, Y is awesomeness. Just to kick off 2011 in style, here you have a taster of their new release by Indonesian experimental composer and traditional gamelan player, I Wayan Sadra, whose tune Crung sounds like Barry de Vorzon’s legendary theme credits for the Warriors’ Soundtrack if only the peace envoys were alien races of impossible physiognomy and enlightened spirit, and their summit took place in the vicinity of a pulsar. Yoooou shall dig it.

I Wayan Sadra-Crung

Sun City Girls are one of the foundational stones on top of which this house was built, and to this day, each of their releases brings much exhilaration and joy to our spirits. Funeral Mariachi, released in 2007 before their drummer Charles Gocher’s death, has animated in its reissue form (on Abduction) indolent times of rest over the seasonal break.

It bridges the gap between the delicate folk massage which was their contribution to the soundtrack for Mister Lonely, and the psychodelean soul reboot of one of our fave albums ever, Torch of the Mystics. The Imam, with which we exit today, is the echo and scent and telepathic imprint of a hazy jaunt in two acts where the coyote, the philosopher and the spiritualist get drunk over a spicy meal washed away with homebrewed liquors, music untangles at a leisurely pace like a slumber song for summer shadows, casting all pragmatic preconceptions into doubt with a gap toothed smile of belief and tolerance.

Sun City Girls- The Imam

In the dark, that’s where I shine

Yes, now that’s a quote by Vin Diesel, there.

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In was in el Prado in Madrid last week, lost in the carnival of the Goya, the Bosch and the Brueghel, the latter’s ‘Triumph of Death’ puts to shame all feeble attempts to shock and shlock as deployed by the total loser torture porn movement, now here is terror as the living are exterminated by the skeleton hordes, if you look into the background you shall see butchered bodies hanging from trees in the midst of that apocalyptic scenario William Hope Hodgson wasn’t quite able to convey, closer to you, a skeleton which has torn the face off one of the living wears it on top of its grimacing skull and revels in the massacre, death doesn’t forgive, we know that, the problem is when the living become death, Brueghel was just reflecting on the carnage of his days, the carnage that was to come, the carnage that seems to accompany us wherever we go.

As I got ready to listen to Throbbing Gristle’s US tour exclusive new album, the Third Eye Movements, I thought that maybe it would sound like it would sound if you were inside that painting, all dust ochre, and splatter red and the yellow of cruel bone. But it doesn’t, no, TG never fail to surprise and that’s where their morbid fascination lies, The Third Eye Movements sounds nothing like that, it sounds like the devastated scenery once it’s all over, a wasteland of derelict metal structures on which you, the survivor, walk alone like one of those pathetic humans in a bedevilled version of the Fantastic Planet, surrounded by levitating unfogiving Dalek-like pyramids of skulls which slide into the eternal night like cyclopean icebergs of numb evil. It’s dark like that.

Throbbing Gristle- Not that I Am

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And if one was going to look for the total and fierce reverse to the onslaught of the troops of death soundtracked by Throbbing Gristle, one would be hard pressed to find anything more fitting than the ramshackle collection of beautiful folk paraphernalia that Sun City Girls bring to us in their second collection of singles (bless ’em), which goes by the name of ‘Napoleon and Josephine‘, another subversive ploy to infect all the secret, oft unbeknownst potential conspirators out there with a bizarre virus for which there is no cure. Theirs is the music of everyone,  the music of laughter down some primitive road of an Indonesian forest and the music of old men sitting outside a restaurant in El Paso, chatting about this and that as the sun continues its eternal cycle in a steely sky, it’s the music of mother cheetah sparing its victim for once, the music of foxes howling at the moon in the stoney mesas, in the spaced out gaps between the humming and strumming of wood and string lies the good humoured truth of the dishevelled hermit that breaks 50 years of silence to crack a fart joke, just because he knows.

Sun City Girls- A Wake

This is the sort of tune that DJs that have what it takes should use to start their sets.

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Following on from the first one which was all kinds of fun, another SO BONES party is happening very soon. Friday May 1st, if you happen to be in London and you wanna shunt and sweat with us come upstairs to Catch.

This time around the usual 2OJFG DJs will be in the awesome company of the Notorious V.I.C. and Bumps (aka Dom & Eka.)

Love your hunter

I asked the incredibly talented Chris Pell for some of his awesome illustrations, and lo and behold the astonishing triad he has summoned specially for us as they illuminate these black spaces in all their sublime and twisted glory. The strength of their psychedelic imaginery has dispelled the pseudo-writer’s block that afflicted me, imagine my scrawny soul contorting pulled furious by a cruel mesh of barbed wire, convoluted pink tongues and the bristling hairs of a primeval spider, from the metaphysical saucepan of nothingness into a labyrinth of flames dancing in intricate bliss.

Like Weir said, Hell is only a word. So is inspiration.

We can’t wait for Chris to make some tees.

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Blue lightning Bolts stretch like the phosphorescent limbs of emaciated giants outside my window, trampling the tatty buildings of Brighton town with the fierce stomping of their electric shock, in the darkness of this room it feels as if we were being subjected to God’s own Blitz.

If only.

The pilgrimage of these tendrils of power across the black gulfs of the turbulent sky shines with the same epic fractured heartrending beauty of Sun City Girls as they open their cyclopean jaws to engulf us whole, so we can feel Noah’s predicament, drowning in acids distilled through esoteric processes of alchemy, strangled by warbled spirals of distortion cruel and portentous like aztec snakes, Sun City Girls make non-euclidean rock music for coyotes that know more than you, they make music that always leaves a taste of peyote in your mouth, and the mirage of desert dawn in your eyes, they lay there somewhere in between Leone and Jodorowsky, we couldn’t think of a better place to be.

Sun City Girls- Sev Archer

This song is taken from ‘You Are Never Alone with a Cigarette’, a compilation of long-lost 7”, unreleased gems and never heard before versions.

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Plastique de Reve has been going on for a while, you can imagine him lounging in a sofa of the gigolo manor, picking bits of meat from between his teeth with a switchblade while the asymmetric crowd got down under a rococo chandelier, yeah, whenever Plastique de Reve appears in our radar we know it is time for dancefloor carnage. We have fond memories of sweaty headbanging to the classic hip hop acid styles of ‘Do it’ as played by Optimo in Primavera 05, and we have been known to wiggle wobbly to their jacking remix of Future Forward’s ‘Welcome 2 Chicago’, just to mention a couple. No overcompressed bullshit or concessions to the beat de jour, no respect for genres, just pure unadulterated sweaty energy flash and speaking in the furious tongues of tribal dance mania.

Plastique de Reve doesn’t do disco, he does the disco in, vicious.

But don’t take my word for it, juts listen to the stonking Lost in the City/Resist, out in DFA’s import imprint Death from Abroad.

Plastique de Reve feat Radical Cheerleaders- Resist (Original Mix)

Resist isn’t classy. Resist cracks the floor mercilessly with a beastly rhythm exterminator somewhere in between Giorgio Moroder and Nitzer Ebb, while Radical Cheerleaders shoot their fists in the air in true old skool Baltimore style, abnormal arpeggiated bleeps tumble upon us like random mutterings from a deranged god of technological thunder, all coming together layer after layer of sublime mind-numbing simplicity so that all those kids in the dancefloor who walk the walk can lose their shit, and crack their knees, in true no-style style.

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Astrological Straits, the new album from Hella Drummer Zach Hill out on Ipecac is an inebriating a brew as I would have expected, and then some. 20JFG have a winter demesne whose entrance is guarded by a pack of grey wolves trained not to gore visitors that arrive bearing messages such as these, they can recognise the scent quickly, something about Oneida.

We show them across wooden halls and into a vast room where we sit on the floor, sip a preparation of vinum sabbati from a golden chalice while the fire devil whistles delighted in the hearth, we break the seals of scrolls that unfurl covered in geometric schemata telling of odysseys across furious seas populated by mythical beasts, close our eyes & listen to the music hidden in the colours and lines, staccato drums pound like obelisks of ice precipitating from a ring of fire in the sky, concentric circles of rhythm that culminate into an altar covered in glam rock splatter.

Then’s when we gore them.

Zach Hill- Dark Arts

Lonely is lucky

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In this room of shadows the dust dances jaunty to a tune played by timid rays of light and Lucky Dragons, a strange Friday morning turns into a reverie, a flight over prairies different tonalities of golden shifting with the sunset, descending upon the strange coralline configurations of a city blinking at us from the darkness, Lucky Dragons’ new album ‘Dream Island Laughing Language‘ sounds like High Places kit rattling in the back of a van being driven by Philip Glass and Steve Reich up into a place of magic at the summit of a blue Appalachian mountain, or Dan Deacon dreaming placid of the place ‘Where winter wolves bark amid wastes of snow and icicled trees’, and that’s all you need to now, now, listen.

Lucky Dragons- I Keep Waiting For Earthquakes

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The ghost of love stops to visit us as part of its journey between the pale provinces of longing and mourning. We haven’t seen Harmony Korine’s new film Mister Lonely, but it would seem from the brief dialogue excerpts included in its soundtrack, which Jason Spaceman and Sun City Girls have sewn with beautiful threads of ambient and folk, that it is concerned with the escape from one-self which aspiration and impersonation entail, this flight is one that appears to unfold upon a strange path scribbled in a slender font so that a secret story can be tattooed in the skin of haunted landscapes (whoah).

This is a magnificent soundtrack, perhaps the best we have heard recently with that of ‘There Will be Blood’, and one that draws the contours of a film we shall be watching soon.

Sun City Girls- Mr. Lonely Viola

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Mus have accompanied me for a long, long time, like a revenant shrouded in the memories of past loves, lost friendships, bereavement and melancholy, music that has always managed to bring tears, or the prelude of tears, to my eyes and which, if it was to be left behind would perhaps make for a sunnier life, but also an emptier one. As I was writing the previous songs up, I thought of them and, when researching their current whereabouts, stumbled upon an album they released last year, La Vida, and one I didn’t know about maybe because of being here in a country which looks mostly eastwards, and inwards, or because of the way my own life has gone, leaving that ghost on the side of the road, under a grey Asturian sky and bitter rain. Either way, sliding inside Mus lush architecture of despair feels like coming back to a place that I haven’t visited for a while, and one where I wouldn’t want to live in, but which nevertheless lives inside me.

Mus- La Vida