The Ancients 2/White Woods, Bellplay (Sensory Projects)

December 29, 2010 - Leave a Response

The Ancients 2 supports any occasion, be it solemn (lovemaking, funeral), or unfortunate (stranded on a desert island/dateless night). The few times I tried to write this album up I hesitated. Street Funk was such a jam I just wanted to get down to it, revel in it and not have to think about it. This is probably due to the meteor shower of melody that rains down from it, from all over: the monstrous keyboard hook, the buoyant guitar that recalls Graham Coxon at his Blur-riant best and an ace beat from the ravishing Raquel that neatly clicks and pops. I’ll give Mark credit for the whammy bar in the chorus because I can’t give Jon all the credit.

Anyway this is a sterling guitar record and droll as all get out. Opening salvo: “Moving to the Street Funk/the invisible power/ looking through the street junk from a luxury shower,” sung by Jon and it’s safe to assume there’s a view out the window of his expensive shower (perhaps he has gold taps) to the street where someone’s left their junk. Other lines jump out (“jump into the rainbow in the media age”) — reminding me of, I don’t know what: pogoing asshats in bursting jodhpurs reading the news to kids?

The lyrics evoke otherworldliness (“he lives on a monastery on a mountain of bad dreams”) and paint nice pictures (“she drank the black mead and saw what the world needs/ her holographic horse she rode to the bottom of the sea”). On Rising Seas, the whimsy is suburbanized. All the sadness of life is here: broken tambourines, sax players in dead bars, seeing your boss drink until he cries. The nail in the coffin? “Singing Kokomo and songs you almost know.” Ouch.

The influence of Felt is felt all over. So many lovely filigrees I think Jon’s hand must hurt! Raquel and bassist Georgina sing harmonies on Christine that is like the early-girly Origami being lushly “Felt” up (The analogy isn’t perfect because Origami are lesbians).

Mark has found a weird uncle figure in Syd Barrett. His songs have a lugubrious doped quality that plays well here. Stoner trick on Missing Page is the descending bassline that pulls you down to a height no less strange.

And could the woebegone weekend be expressed anymore dolefully than Nathan Gray’s trumpet on the perfectly-titled Sunday Evening? A Patriot’s Duty, ironic or not, is one fat jam, a smart conclusion to a great album.

Jon’s now made, to these ears, four classic Australian albums (three from Mum Smokes and now this): urbane, wry, dry-humored with wonderfully observed details of Australia and all its walks of life. They’re also musically rich rock records with gorgeous guitar tones and spacey effects.

A good indication of a successful album is not to desire any other album while your listening to it and this also applies to lovemaking as well. When you are doing the wild thing, presumably it is with someone you care about and that person should be the only person you are thinking about — this is one way of saying that Ancients 2 inspires faithfulness and devotion.

Released on Sensory around the same time, Bellplay is like a low-rent Fritz Lang’s Metropolis, crepuscular and Tasmanian, made by nice people who like dark stuff. You can hear the machinations at work, every cog, grinding and droning, Rotwang giving them no slack, the band, in turn, growing delirious with repetition, the kind of workforce that achieves one-hundred percent efficiency for the quarter and spends their bonus on LaMonte Young bootlegs. A lot of people complained about the shit-stained recording, but I’m totally fine with it.


Vote for the new name

July 22, 2010 - Leave a Response

We are going to change the name of Friendly Fire in the near future to reflect the very real reality that everything else has this same name. Suggestions on the back of an envelope scanned and then emailed to us please. Or vote in the poll.

By the way, there is no Henry Cow track called ‘No Henry Cow please’. This is just the one you select if you would prefer the blog’s title did not make use of Henry Cow titles.

Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti: Doug Fir Lounge, Portland, Oregon, July 12

July 18, 2010 - Leave a Response

pink, fourth from left, with various haunted graffiti

 The opening acts were mostly hot, but dull, mature-acting girls in their early twenties. Music that middle-aged lechers would describe as precociously sumptuous. Ariel came out and sang a song with them and I swear the whole band got like a hundred times better.

Pink and his band The Haunted Graffiti came out in cool sunglasses and really good moods. I said if they open with Butt House Blondies I’m ordering shots. Not sure what they opened with, but it wasn’t that, whatever it was, was totally cool though. My friend Matt turned to me and said this sucks and I was like I know man, isn’t it great! They were confident and irresistible and I was at a loss deciphering clear messages from my friends. When I went up to the bathroom I heard Bright Lit Blue Skies and I couldn’t finish what I was doing fast enough, nearly performing an ill-advised jig midstream it was so danceable.

Back downstairs a mosh pit ensued and my buddy Tim was right in the middle of it. Tempers suddenly flared and some meat head with his baseball cap reversed wanted to take on the whole floor. Where was the security? Tim obliviously continued pin-balling people elsewhere. Good energy inside that place. Tim took breaks to lean his head on my shoulder before the music propelled him forward once again. At one point he was supposed to catch this girl crowd surfing or rather he didn’t have any choice it was up to him and him only and he had as much chance of catching her as these five fire marshals did catching a black bear falling out of a tree on this TV show I watched the other day. Lucky for them they had a trampoline to brace the bear’s fall. Tim wasn’t so fortunate and she fell right on her head. We all heard the sound over the band’s swank disco din. We gasped when suddenly she sprang back up boogying!

Less the off-putting rugrat who weaselled through Melbourne in 2006, this Pink acted casually nonchalant with his considerable starpower. He surfed the crowd and I thought of Cobain. Ariel came out for an encore smoking a cigarette that is totally against club policy. It was a night for breaking rules with aplomb. He was also wearing sunglasses which is no is totally not au fait, but we loved him for it just the same.

The 70s eurotrash synthesiser on L’estat (Acc. To The Widow’s Maid) is one example of something that gets me up in the morning and keeps me going at night. The band seemed to nail every tricky change and weirdness challenge that came their way. I couldn’t find the Portland setlist, but this is roughly what he played in Seattle the next night: Menopause Man, Poultry Head, Getting High in the Morning, Strange Fire, Bright Lit Blue Skies, Round and Round, For Kate I Wait, Among Dreams, Flying Circles, Fright Night, in addition to the others I already mentioned. He may have also played Thespian City, Artifact, Hot Pink/Somewhere in Europe! and Hardcore Pops are Fun.

Round and Round was the undisputed highlight – actually raised their performance to an incredible level. “I’m calling, calling back to the boat and we’ll dazzle them at the mall,” I sang, even though the lyrics I were singing were the wrong ones. The lyrics are, in fact: Hold on I’m calling, call me back/ To the ball and we’ll dazzle them all.

Sonoi (Low-Transit)

March 18, 2010 - Leave a Response

Adam Busch I last heard from in 2003 with Manishevitz’ City Life and boy, what a record that was. Let’s take a moment to take that one in…

Did Adam do anything in the interim? 2003-2010? I don’t know. Google it. I’m here to talk about Sonoi. Manishevitz were one of the best bands I didn’t rock-write and I reviewed a lot of stinkers between 2002-2008. Out of semi-retirement to specifically rock-write this. At the end of the final paragraph you will have to decide whether you think my taste in music is ace or filth (exciting way with words notwithstanding).

So Sonoi, right?

Direct from Chicago, the epicentre of avant garde, and also a lot of avant garbage.  Sonoi deal the realness. They are leaner than Manishevitz —down from four to three and you can kind of hear that there’s more air unaccounted for here. Less sax-pumping Television-style rock and roll, fewer guitar solos, more hypnotic drones, muted trumpets (horns in Busch-related projects are always remarkable), discretely-deployed synthesizers and guitars that glisten like glazed architecture.

I’m tracing the origins of this and it’s a pain in the patootie, its making me work (in a good way), and I’m rewarded for my hard work by the simple fact that this is actually beautifully-original post-rock. Radiohead for people who think the vocal stylings of Radiohead are anemic whiny and twattish among other things. I’m thinking of someone like the Red Krayola.

Try a tune like Sherry Fall, a gem-cornered melody sitting somewhere between the sublime and the weird flicker you find on RK albums such as Hazel. The pleasure principle of pop permeating its fine lines. Eva Baton kicks so much patootie you’re left thinking how can a songform be expressed so smoothly. The cutely named ‘Cat and The Barbie’ is an introspective piano-banging pub-rocker. Listen and love it. Clouds satisfies late-period Sonic Youth fans and with its Fourth of July reference, Fourth of July by Galaxie 500, natch (lyrical snatch: “Clouds over your shoulder/ I was useless in the heat” —). There’s an eleven minute postpunker (‘Anchor Tattoo’) that takes its time and if you’re anything like me you don’t realize it’s eleven minutes until there’s only seconds remaining. I listened to it twice before I realized this. Now that’s what I call impressive execution.

Chances are you haven’t heard of these fellers. Do you think the name throws people off their scent? What would a Sonoi even smell like? Not pertinent questions in the rock arena I’m sure. Heck if we knew what half the things we liked in rock and roll smelled like, we would keep our distance. I would like to talk in detail about this album in the same way I want to discuss good books, but I gotta go do something less constructive like stretch my lumbar region.

Rentboy starts decade strong

February 2, 2010 - Leave a Response

Rentboy EP (Nocturnal Emissions) launch with guests at Horse Bazaar on Saturday consisted of three hours of jolly good times and not a minute more. Beers were eight, the gig was six. Got there about 7. It was still hot and it stayed hot. Got even hotter the next day. Tad cooler inside the Horse, but what the hell. Got home by 10:15.

Rentboy Dan played along to an old-school backing track. Five songs just like the CD advertised and in the same sequence.
‘This is rentboy’ – a despondent rap in a Buffalo Stance bridged boasting & banality by bragging like a pimp one moment and offering to buy you milk the next.

His red face was probably a sunburn, all things considered.

Next he shifted down into a mode that would comfortably sit well with fans of St. Elmo’s Fire (movie soundtrack or Eno song). However as the song began to wig into my ear like a hook-tailed insect I turned my attention to a Madonna tune I couldn’t quite put my ear on, other than my certainty of its role in a 1980s film starring Sean Penn and Chris Walken about a dysfunctional father/son relationship.

What the heck was it? I made Tristan look it up on his iPhone. I watched the entire video on youtube, and by then Rentboy was onto their next song and Tristan was asking me if I had worked it out yet and I said oh yeah long time ago it’s Live to Tell, and at that, he yanked his phone away from me in furious anger.

Rentboy feeds wet 80s pop through a dry Tasmanian cigarette filter. Take the industrial throb of someone fun like Deutsch-Amerikanische Freundschaft (D.A.F.), throw in ripened cheeze guitar and then sing like you’re having dirty thoughts about Debbie Gibson. Dan’s turning shit into expendable waste product with every slip of his tongue/grope of his guitar.

Popolice finished the night in style, covering Rentboy’s Girl on a Bike (“she’s so inde-pen-dant”).

sails of oblivion

August 23, 2009 - Leave a Response

Did not attend for all (even most) of this show. What could be worse than spending a day at the Corner, regardless of the entertainment on offer? So only saw the last three acts, Brian Hooper who is not terrible and all the more terrible for that i.e. he is a character in a film, played perhaps by Ben Mendelssohn or (oh no) Peter Fenton, who sings in a band and all the songs he writes (and perhaps he himself) are so utterly the sum of their parts that you feel if you accidentally (on purpose) knocked him with your elbow he’d shatter into those components (nine drops of essence of Velvets, three drops of Spencer Jones sauce).

Steve Kilbey’s ‘Almost With You’ is so slapdash that if it was someone other than the writer of the song performing it you’d assume he hadn’t learnt it properly, but in fact he’s e x t e m p o r i s i n g (he ended it with a leg-kick and a ‘woah!’. Kilbey was enormously engaging in his very short set. His so-called punk song ‘Wolf’ was, like much of his work, a bit predictable. When he got it right however there was no stopping him. Numerous jokes about getting his teeth fixed in the Northern Territory abounded and a story about New Zealanders throwing sharpened 50c pieces at him early in his career was… marvellously irrelevant. I walked around the block after this performance and heard two women talking: ‘that was really great, a really good thing to do, I’m really glad we did that’. So the day was over for them, but the real stars had yet to appear.

Strangely for me I once saw the Ears play at the Oxford Hotel (now the Oxford Scholar) in 1981 or so, on a bill with The Fabulous Marquises (below them) and the Models (above). The Marquises’ bass player was Chris Walsh, who was deftly subbing for Cathy McQuade in this reunion show. The Models’ Sean Kelly, extraordinarily, guested with the Ears singing one song and playing guitar on another. The song he performed, incidentally, was ‘Owe you nothing’, a song that the Models wouldn’t have dreamt of playing in 1981 as it was too old (1979). Anyway my point is that this was a trip and a fall down memory canyon for me, as though it was put on personally for me, and I had died and was imagining it as my brain shut down. The Ears were spectacular (within a day of this show they agreed to do another!) and sounded amazingly fresh and resilient, better than most of their cohort then or now. Can they keep it up? Seems unlikely but even more unlikely is this statement from me: I actually hope they do. Sign of amazing confidence: they played their best-known (?) song, ‘Scarecrow’ about 4th in the set. Magic. I took some pictures but they were complete rubbish; anyway, this great YouTube clip (even if it is of one of the less interesting songs) says it properly.

The Unth!nkables Untitled (Doublethink)

February 28, 2009 - One Response

utkbl0061Certainly the names of Roger Grierson and Phil Judd are two you would tend never to have expected to see in the same place and the same time, though both men first came to prominence in the mid (for Judd) to late (for Grierson) 1970s, as members of Split Enz and the Thought Criminals respectively. Judd’s best-known moment is The Swingers’ ‘Counting the beat’, and Grierson doesn’t have one, though his career as a musician, manager, record company exec, music publisher, CEO and everything else is diverse and by certain gauges you could blame him for the careers of Tex Perkins and Caligula (the band), none of which, Thought Criminals included, should or would make anyone want to listen to music he was producing in 2009. In fact, ditto Phil Judd who has been exceptionally quiet in the last 20 years – you hear more about Phil Judd in songs Tim Finn writes about him than you do from Phil Judd himself.

Whatever the genesis of the Unth!nkables is, and whatever made Roger and Phil get together, the short album that has resulted is actually pretty good fun, in the vein of Stinky Fire Engine or Merle Morris. There are almost no songs exactly – ‘Kiss the dream goodbye’, the opener, does at least have vocals – and most of the record is a series of blends of music and spoken word which sounds like it came from films but probably didn’t, since there are no credits for samples, or perhaps it’s all just obscure and/or public domain stuff. The music is pretty good value, only occasionally dipping into the generic, and the words are usually pretty funny.

I listened to this in the company of the Starstruck soundtrack (which Judd wrote a lot of) and Godley and Creme’s 1975 triple LP set Consequences (which I have been trying to ‘get’). It strikes me that Untitled belongs to an earlier time – no, that’s wrong, but it belongs with things from an earlier time. Concept albums’ heyday was before the advent of video, and people who used to buy concept albums presumably sat around and listened to them words ‘n’ all like they had stories in them, which in some ways they often did. And when you went to a record store in the 70s not only could you perhaps buy a concept album or two, you could also buy bootleg albums of entire film soundtracks – I’m not kidding – classic movies like Marx Brothers films. And this was part of the culture and/or counterculture. People who bought that stuff then, now buy complete DVD collections, and talking books to listen to in the car.

The connection really is not that this is a concept (unless the concept is: we shall evoke western culture in various forms for you) but that it is not something you can put on in the background. You have to listen to it. That feels weird. But not unrewarding.

Todd Rundgren, Arena (Cooking Vinyl)

February 13, 2009 - Leave a Response

51nompf4zgl_sl500_aa240_1You may recall the absurd joke a journalist for The Australian played on… who? … a few years ago by sending extracts from Patrick White books to publishers who (a) did not recognise them as White and (b) rejected the work in various ways. What this was supposed to prove is anyone’s guess – like a lot of literary hoaxes, there was some kind of underlying assumption that no-one actually holds if they think about it for more than a minute.

Nonetheless as per the Systematics, I have to wonder about context. Is Todd Rundgren helped or hampered by his legacy? Economically, it undoubtedly helps: ‘Hi my name’s Todd I’m 61 this is my first album, I’m wearing leather shorts on the cover, I play all the instruments myself and…’ hmm, well, it might work (it’s more likely to work in 2009 than any other time, I suspect) but you know really it wouldn’t. On the other hand, if you were wanderin’ into JB one afternoon, having never heard any Todd Rundgren and hoping to sample some (and being part of that very rare breed of people, once quite common, who (i) wants to expand musical horizons (ii) does so alone (iii) does so by purchasing things on spec rather than downloading or looking at stuff on YouTube, etc, would you buy the guy’s latest record or one of his alleged classics? You’d be a very strange person if you bought the new album. (Perhaps songs from this record are getting airplay somewhere and people are actually seeking it out on that basis, but it doesn’t seem likely). And this suggests to me that really Todd – having alienated most of his core audience more than most great artists who rose to prominence in the 70s – is being heard only by a very select few, who can put his work in context, and who are willing to follow him up hill and down dale on his many bizarre forays possibly just because they like the idea of An Eccentric Genius.

What I miss about old Todd that doesn’t show up too much on New Todd records – unless you count bizarre notions like the cover of Liars or the concept of the New Cars – is the humour that used to be evident in old Todd. I’m thinking of the spoken discussion, with illustrations, of recording technology on Something/Anything, or ‘An Elpee’s Worth of Toons’, etc. It was a kind of intelligent goofiness that stopped Todd from coming across like a poncing progger, or rather, allowed him to be a poncing progger whenever he wanted to be because he could be anything: a wizard, a true star and/or your unemployed elder brother with a good record collection in the granny flat.

OK for all that, and despite the fact that the least palatable tracks come first, Arena is on balance a great album. Presumably coming from Rundgren’s response to the 2007 tours by the New Cars (did they fill arenas? Their website has them playing a lot of State Fairs) The humour has arguably given way instead to a fine line in pastiche – ‘Strike’, f’rinstance, is AC/DC and ‘Mountaintop’ is glam rock (very good glam rock, actually). I’m not sure what ‘Manup’ is – not familiar enough with the genre – but it’s not that pleasant, stylistically. Elsewhere, Rundgren is furious and vibrant, though more into parody/exercises than building in any sensitive way on his considerable legacy. The exceptions come midway through, and they are startling and fine: ‘Courage’ would have fitted nicely into Hermit of Mink Hollow, and you know that’s got to be good. ‘Weakness’ is perhaps Todd-era Todd, and that’s pretty strong stuff; could be the best song here, could even be one of Todd’s best overall. It’s a soulful rock ballad which has a beautifully strident and crooked guitar figure woven throughout, and enough musical ideas for three songs (at least). (And whatever the strengths of ‘Strike’, it’s a shame it interposes straight afterwards: you feel like you’ve met someone really great at a party and then the bass player in your wife’s band starts yelling in your other ear about bullshit).

On balance then a strange melange but screw it – it IS Todd. And it’s good Todd, too, in the main. I recommend. (Note: I have struggled over this review for two weeks now – that’s a reason, not an excuse!)

The Systematics What we did in the afternoons (TU-134)

January 31, 2009 - 2 Responses

syst_lpI was a Systematics fan from the second release, though I would have been one from the first. Hard to imagine an Australia that was so provincial, in the sense not of being one large province but a number of them, that an independent band’s first single basically could not get out of the city from whence it originated, but I’m pretty sure that’s what happened to the Systematics’ single ‘Pulp Baby’; I didn’t see or hear the record until about five years ago, and I’ve seen things. The second release was a 12” EP called Rural, and it was extraordinarily (literally) diverse, showing pretty much the limits of what two wry Sydney men (Patrick Gibson had been the only member of the ‘Pulp Baby’ band; he was then joined by Michael Filewood) could do with a four-track, a guitar and a synthesiser. They were sick (just as ‘Pulp Baby’, as its title might suggest, was sick) with their songs ‘When I’m Older’ and ‘Numbers in General’; they were dextrously tuneful with their instrumental ‘Dinner’s on the Table’; they were outrageously (literally) obscure with fauxk tunes like ‘Stuh Echipidah’; they weren’t cool, in fact the whole thing might have been regarded as a proud wank, but much of it was highly listenable. They added a member in Fiona Graham and their next release was another EP – a 7” this time – called My Life in the Field of Cows, with funny songs like ‘Bovine’. And that was it (or rather, one member, Patrick Gibson, left and Michael Filewood, Michael Tee and Fiona Graham became Ya Ya Choral, a group with a whole weird history of its own). The Systematics were a part – a formative part – of the M2 record label, which issued about ten records of varying quality bound to divide opinion. If there was a label sound it was probably partly because there was a label studio, and synthesisers record better to four track than guitars (and because they had a niche there). This sumptuous double LP collects the whole world of the Systematics with one disc of the official vinyl releases (not the cassette releases, though M2 did do some – there was a ‘Rural side 3’, for instance, and a live compilation called Box Brownies which was ¼ Systematics) and a second of demos and etcetera. There are a number of ways one might approach this material; the way I’d be most interested in, I suspect, though probably because it’s the one I’m least able to imagine or take on, is what one might make of it today having never heard any of the material before and, even better, having little understanding of or familiarity with late 1970s/early 1980s independent pop-‘electronic’ (as Patrick Gibson points out in his sleevenotes, a very problematic and probably quite lazy descriptor) music. My memory of this kind of thing was that it – not just most of the M2 material, but contemporaneous international things like Throbbing Gristle (particularly their pop end), Fad Gadget, men-only Human League, perhaps even Suicide, was that its very existence seemed like a brash challenge. Synthesisers were regarded with suspicion in some quarters (until they sounded sufficiently like ‘real instruments’ that they could be used secretly) and – just like sampling a few years later – were seen as, somehow, a cheat. To my mind the Systematics demonstrably engage with this all the way: a number of their songs (‘Pulp Baby’, ‘International Voltage’) are about electrics (as opposed to electronics); Patrick Gibson’s (it is usually he, I think) vocals are affected and over the top ‘showbiz’ parodic. The mere act of recording synthesiser music with mistakes deliberately left in (and not just pushing-the-wrong-key mistakes – towards the end of ‘Numbers in General’, Gibson announces he’s finished the vocal track, things like that) and then releasing it on a permanent, forever, unchangeable vinyl record was a statement of its time. In these ways the Systematics were very 1980, and even if you really like experimental music of a particular epoch (like me, in this case) you might well ask, as so many people so often do, why should I have to learn about a milieu to enjoy its artefacts? Then again, perhaps my knowledge/ memories mask for me the fact that much of this stuff is, on its own terms, quite remarkable. I can’t know!!!

On the other hand, there are some things I can know, and indeed some things I only really appreciate now I am listening to this material again in a new form. That is, the Systematics – whatever incarnation – really had a way with a tune. ‘International Voltage’ is a really fine punk rock workout, like the Buzzcocks in its rock-pop simplicity; ‘When I’m Older’ is a jaunty, thudding recording the first thirty seconds of which are simple (accidental?) genius; ‘Midnight on Balancing Day’ is just a plain old catchy ballad in the best mid-70s way. ‘Pulp Baby’ is too long, but it is a great song. Even when the words are overly jokey-throwaway (‘Golden Age’, ‘Going to War’, ‘Hippie Happening’ – a lot of songs that weren’t released the first time around, in fact) the music is a grouse combination of the very obvious and the unusually skewed, a simple formula but how could it not work?! Something I have never really grown out of is the fine, trebly, crystalline sound of the late 1970s drum machine. Gibson, in his sleevenotes (presented here in a sweet booklet) discusses, amusedly, the difference between M2 and their main Sydney rivals/co-‘electronic’-ists Terse Tapes: it all comes down to Roland vs. Korg, apparently. Like the synths themselves, a drum machine went down to tape easily and sounded so fine, people seemed to like to give it greater prominence than they might an ‘ordinary’ drummer (perhaps there were just no rules; perhaps it naturally sticks out more because it’s repetitive and propulsive. Whatever. It (and the very nice mastering on this reissue, generally) makes the songs sound aggressive and fragile at the same time. Nothing wrong with that. Limited edition of 500. Available from Round and Round

Wilderness, (k)no(w)here (JagJaguwar)

November 7, 2008 - Leave a Response
what's going on with the artwork


Alright who nicked James Johnson’s granola bars? Whoever it was, it wasn’t very nice because now the sonofabitch is really mad and he’s screeching his lungs out in a wildly unpleasant fashion (I’m insinuating he really likes granola bars when he’s probably just an enigma full of angst expressing himself in a way that he prefers). Sorry I really can’t get past the pretentious vocals. As dominant a fixture to this wilderness landscape as trees are to an actual wilderness, Johnson’s tribal chants fall squarely in the love ’em/hate ’em camp. Even the song titles I find a bit suspect (‘<….^….>’, ‘(p)ablum’). Colin McCann, whose siren leads punch holes in the songs’ post-punk ceilings, shares vocals on two tracks and worth noting is his excellent side project ‘Lord Dog Bird’ where he lays down awesome melodies on 4-track. Given the choice, I’d take the more modest ‘Lord Dog Bird’ to the art rock ball.