Out NOW! Basczax – Music From The Post Punk Dystopia 1979-80

Alan Savage, BASCZAX, Music, post punk, Teesside

Basczax – Music From The Post Punk Dystopia 1979-80

Basczax were a British post-punk band that was formed in Redcar in August 1978.

The musicians were : Mick Todd (bass), Jeff Fogarty (saxophone), Alan Savage (2) (guitar, vocals), both members of member of The Flaming Mussolinis
Plus Nigel Trenchard (keyboards), Cog (drums) both later replaced by John Hodgson (keyboards), Alan Cornforth (drums), both from Blitzkrieg Bop

In February 2010, four members from the 1979-80 line-up (Alan Savage, Jeff Fogarty, John Hodgson & Mick Todd) started to record and released a digital album entitled This Machine Rocks was released on 1 September 2010.

GRAB IT HERE!

OUT NOW! Song of Co​-​Aklan by Cathal Couglan

Cathal Couglan, Indie, Linear Obsessional, Music

Limited to only 50 copies, this is the official cassette release of Cathal Coughlan‘s new album.
Released as part of the Linear Obsessional Cassette imprint, featuring full colour insert, red cassette shell, and clear case. Approved of and encouraged by Cathal Coughlin and Dimple Discs.

Includes digital pre-order of Song of Co-Aklan. You get 1 track now (streaming via the free Bandcamp app and also available as a high-quality download in MP3, FLAC and more), plus the complete album the moment it’s released.

Out NOW Wrong Way by Scarlet

Frank Duffy, Horror, Indie, Music

Scarlet – Wrong Way [Official Music Video] Video Made by Osomly in Letnica / Zielona Gora – Poland Director / Script / Screen Writer – Frank Duffy Production manager / Costumes / Makeup – Aga Ejsmont Photography and editing – Michał Koźba Starring – Aga Ejsmont / Oliwia Chilińska Storyboarding – Krystian Seredyński Marionette made by – Artur Endler

Out NOW! Summiting by Bill Thompson and Richard Sanderson

Bill Thompson, Indie, Linear Obsessional, Music, Richard Sanderson

Summiting by Bill Thompson and Richard Sanderson

Professionally duplicated audio cassette in light blue shell and design by David Little. The cover image is a 3D anaglyph and the cassette comes with a pair of 3D glasses to get the full effect.
Sleeve printed in full colour, with clear plastic case and download coupon which allows access to a third bonus track and PDG booklet of notes and images. Includes unlimited streaming of Summiting via the free Bandcamp app, plus high-quality download in MP3, FLAC and more.

LinOb’s latest release is a cassette of two long, immersive improvisations by the Texan guitarist/composer Bill Thompson and amplified melodeon player Richard Sanderson. Exploring a slo-mo environment of sustained tones and mysterious incident, the tracks are enveloping and compelling. The download includes a third bonus track “First Ascent” a recording of the first meeting of Sanderson and Thompson at 100 Years Gallery, London.. The found cover image is a three dimensional anaglyph, the cassettes come with a free pair of 3D glasses, and a download coupon.

Bill Thompson – Moog guitar, live electronics, found objects
Richard Sanderson – Amplified melodeon

All music © Sanderson/Thompson (PRS)

Moll & Zeis by David Long & Shane O’Neill

David Long & Shane O'Neill, Indie, Music, The Beautiful Music

Both of these musicians were the singers and main songwriters in two separate Irish 80’s post punk / indie / rock bands. David Long was part of ​Into Paradise​, who released two albums and a few EP’s on the legendary British independent label Setanta Records and the major label, Ensign. Shane O’Neill was part of ​Blue In Heaven​, who released two albums on Island Records.

They both come from the same part of Dublin and have known each other since they were about 6 or 7, when they knocked over Shane’s TV set, rolling underneath it, fighting over which channel to watch. Their first band was a three piece group called “amuse” (small a), David on bass and vocals, Shane on guitar, and Dave Clarke (now Hothouse Flowers) on drums. They played some gigs around Dublin, including one gig where David put down his bass and walked out the main door and got the bus home. After playing on for five minutes, the other two realised he was probably not coming back. For some reason, after taking up a fan’s offer to come stay with her in Oxford for a few months, the band split up. They both did their separate thing, and later around 1996 they recorded an album as Supernaut. This is their return to working together.

Spaghetti Eastern Music Returns to Orbit with Spacey Soundscape Maxi-Single, “Blues for A Lost Cosmonaut”

Music, Sal Cataldi, Spaghetti Eastern Music

Can world beat and electronica fired guitar instrumentals co-exist with luscious soundscapes of Fripp & Eno vintage and intimate acoustic vocal ballads straight out of the Nick Drake playbook?  They can and do in Spaghetti Eastern Music, the critically-acclaimed solo project of genre-leaping New York and Hudson Valley-based guitarist, keyboardist and vocalist Sal Cataldi.

Cataldi’s cheekily debut album, the instrumental and vocal offering “Sketches of Spam,” and his 2020 instrumental singles, “Her Lemon Peel Raincoat (Because It’s Raining)” and “Peace Within,” have drawn notice from critics at outlets including The New York Times, Time Out NY, Jazz Times and The Huffington Post and airplay on 150 radio station and podcasts across the globe. 

With his new maxi-single, “Blues for A Lost Cosmonaut,” Cataldi ventures again to the ambient sphere of his sonic lexicon, with an instrumental chapter of evolving minimalism with a deep space vibe. 

The piece unfolds slowly in a series of waves, an aural mediation built upon a three-note motif which returns periodically throughout the nine-plus minute composition.  Peaceful synth drones and echoed piano pads are complemented with a duo of sustained Ebow guitars and melodic acoustic guitars.  The middle movement, at about 4 minutes in, evolves to more dissonant waves and tension before returning to a calm and cavernous ambience for the concluding three minutes of the piece.

“The inspiration came from watching some old videos of the early Soviet space program, especially the first space walk by Alexei Leonov,” says Cataldi. “It was about recreating the contrasting moods and feelings that the film of this moment imparts. There’s peace, wonder and weightless combined with the realization that this could spin out of control at any moment, as it did for some early Soviet space explorers.”

“It’s just a fun exercise in soundscapes, in impulsive sound painting recorded in the wee small hours during the lonely moments of the Covid quarantine,” adds Cataldi.  The track is the final chapter of a three-piece venture into this arena started with Spaghetti Eastern’s 2020 releases, “Her Lemon Peel Raincoat” and “Peace Within.”

The single is available for download and streaming via Bandcamp, CD Baby, iTunes, Spotify and other services (Bad Egg Records 5155).  It was recorded by Cataldi at the studios aboard his houseboat in Port Washington, Long Island, Houseboat Garlic Knot Studios, and at his Sonic Garden in West Saugerties, New York (1/4 mile from the legendary Big Pink house made famous by The Band) during the Covid-19 crisis. 

Cataldi’s much-varied sound is the product of an insatiable musical soul and a record collection rivaling the Smithsonian’s. His debut album was an hour-plus journey through contrasting moods, with instrumentals inspired by 70’s Miles, Krautrock, Ennio Morricone, Bhangra, Fripp & Eno and ECM’s icy guitar great Terje Rypdal giving way to bare-bones acoustic vocal tunes – ones oft anchored on unusual tunings, with narratives that chart the course of difficult loves, in styles that range from Brit Folk to Bossa Nova.


The New York Times says “Cataldi’s funk-tinged original instrumentals and acoustic vocal tunes have a beat unmistakably his own” while Time Out New York writes: “Cataldi’s largely instrumental, Eastern-influenced jams are infused with some delicate guitar work and hauntingly moody atmosphere.” Newsday adds: “Mad scientist-guitarist-keyboardist Cataldi brings da funk and throws it in a mixer with electronica, bebop and blues.” Called “truly excellent” by The Village Voice, “a wild ride, a fun name for some very good music” by Radio Woodstock, “beautiful and unique” by WFUV’s Mixed Bag, “triumphantly funkified” by UPI and “a jazz virtuoso without the need to prove it” by Aquarian WeeklyAlmanac Weekly’s John Burdick proclaims Cataldi: “a unique voice who conjures a surprising blend of exploratory fusion, electronica and indie song craft, from the Ennio Morricone overtones anticipated by his handle to currents of Krautrock, techno, modal folk and various world music styles.”: East Coast Rocker/Rolling Stone writer John Swenson, the man who penned the liner notes to Frank Zappa’s “Shut Up n Play Yer Guitar,” may have put it best, “he’s the hippie guitarist playing to another dimension” while Hudson Valley One recently called Cataldi’s music: “Part Sergio Leone fever dream, part Ravi Shankar raga, a whirling dervish of musical creation.”

The authority on all things Beatles, The Beatles Examiner praised his debut album’s “ sharp soaring guitar jams” and called the distinctive cover of “Ticket to Ride,” “incredible, a wonderfully moody re-imagining” of the Lennon classic. Huffington Post dubs his music “the perfect soundtrack for New York City life,” while WFMU’s Irene Trudel calls it “charming melodic and off-center.” Popular Zappa fan sites Idiot Bastard and United Mutations gave raves to his reinvention of “Sleep Dirt,” a Zappa acoustic instrumental rarity, which appears on his debut CD as “Nap Dust.” Spaghetti Eastern is now enjoying airplay on radio around the globe including WFUV’s “Mixed Bag,” SiriusXM, Sonic FM, WDST-Radio Woodstock, WFMU, Oakland’s KALX, NYC-area college station including WCWP, WDFU, WVRK and WHPC and many more.

In 2020, Cataldi was making news and more beautiful sounds with “One Act Sonix,” the critically-buzzed about debut album from his spoken word/music side project, The Vapor Vespers, with noted Alaskan playwright/slam poet Mark Muro.  Cataldi is also one half of the improvisational and ambient Hudson Valley-based guitar and efx duo, Guitars A Go Go, with Rick Warren.  Their first single, a 12-minute improv opus called “The Volcano Lovers,” was a preview of their bold experimentation featured in the June 2020 CD debut, “Travel Advisory.”  A live album, taken from a series of livestream performances recorded at the Greenkill art gallery in Kingston, N.Y., will soon be released.

Order Coming Through in Waves: Crime Fiction Inspired by the Songs of Pink Floyd NOW!

Andy Rausch, Anthology, Bill Baber, Jim Shaffer, K A Laity, Mark Slade, Music, Paul D. Brazill, Pink Floyd, S.W. Lauden, T Fox Dunham, Tom Leins

Perhaps no other major band or artist has equaled the lyrical and musical poignancy that Pink Floyd has achieved in landmark records such as The Dark Side of the Moon, Animals, Wish You Were Here, and The Wall.In this, the fourth installment in Gutter Books’ Rock Anthology Series, we pay tribute to, and hopefully in some small way enhance the legend of, a band that has spoken so compellingly to— and for—millions of people searching for meaning in the modern world.Featuring some of today’s most exciting authors, and edited by horror author and cancer survivor T. Fox DunhamComing Through in Waves weaves together a plethora of dark, strange, and intriguing images that only Pink Floyd could inspire.

TABLE OF CONTENTS

COME IN NUMBER 51, YOUR TIME IS UP – DBSCHLOSSER. A SAUCERFUL OF SECRETS – PAUL D. BRAZILL MOTHER – KIMBERLY GODWIN HAVE A CIGAR – FRASER MASSEY FEARLESS – LINDA SLATER HEY YOU – PHIL THOMAS ARNOLD LAYNE – BILL BABER BRAIN DAMAGE – TOM LEINS CAREFUL WITH THAT AXE, EUGENE – MARK SLADE HEART BEAT, PIG MEAT – KENNETH W. CAIN ONE OF THESE DAYS – JIM SHAFFER JUGBAND BLUES – C. W. BLACKWELL JULIA DREAM – MORGAN SYLVIA KEEP YOUR HANDS OFF MY STACK – RENEE ASHER PICKUP LUCIFER SAM – K. A. LAITY NOBODY HOME – JOSEPH S. WALKER ON THE RUN – S. W. LAUDEN REMEMBER A DAY – KURT REICHENBAUGH OBSCURED BY CLOUDS – ALLAN ROZINSKI THE SCARECROW – KAREN KEELEY WISH YOU WERE HERE – ANDY RAUSCH CHILDHOOD’S END – A. B PATTERSON WAITING FOR THE WORMS – PAUL WILLIAMS

ORDER COMING THROUGH IN WAVES HERE

Two Poems By Dan Holt

Dan Holt, Music, Poetry, Torch Songs

Dan Holt is blues singer/songwriter/recording artist, poet and fiction author from a suburb of Cleveland, Ohio. He has produced 11 albums of original music along with various singles and eps. Like most writers, his work has been published in various tiny online and print journals. After many years away from the poetry scene, Dan has returned to writing poetry in 2021.

Suicide With A Gun

Suicide with a gun

leaves no room

for turning back

No room

to turn the car off

No room

to open the garage

No room

to stick your finger

down your throat

No room

to call 911

There’s no

changing your mind

with a gun

You’re just

dead

Something To Write

On the table

a blank piece of paper

On the paper

a pen

In the pen

black ink

Across the room

the wild eyed poet

sits on the edge of the couch

arms clasped around his knees

Not afraid

that he has nothing to write

Instead afraid

that he does

The Unreliable Narration of Phil Spector’s Wall of Sound by Gabriel Hart/ And Then He Kissed Me by Stephanie Tisza

Gabriel Hart, Music, Phil Spector, Stephanie Tisza, Torch Songs

As we mourn the celebrities who shaped our generation slowly but surely dying off, it makes me wonder if we are also witnessing the death of celebrity itself. Demigods like Prince, David Bowie, and Lou Reed who can’t be replaced — not only due to their mold-breaking artistry, but because of the industries, PR machines, and social paradigms that made them are quickly succumbing to obsolescence. But when Phil Spector finally passed last month, his death was met largely with relief due to his cold-blooded killing of Lana Clarkson. But for me, there was so much more to unpack. My dear friend Stephanie Tisza texted me right away when the news broke — no surprise, as we both shared a specific place in our hearts for his music. Since we couldn’t stop talking, we decided to start writing a male/female perspective on his insidious legacy. Read on.

THE UNRELIABLE NARRATION OF PHIL SPECTOR

By Gabriel Hart

Like the nuclear age from when it was born, The Wall of Sound was pure radiation. Resonance. Historically umbilical as much it was biblical, a skewed gospel that redefined our perception of love’s coil, like a Slinky overextended from its rabid undercurrent of madness. Spector distilled a sound akin to a whole body-high that made you feel like you were actually coming out of your body. Tympani pounding like over-eager heartbeats, triggering butterflies in the stomach. Earworm melodies that kept you awake at night. Female harmonies with a ghostly, occult majesty — like how Gene Sculatti describes in the liners of that great Rhino Records girl-group box set when he says, “I don’t know about you, but when I listen… I feel like I can walk through walls.”

As a child of the eighties, I saw the 50s/60s resurgence, a black leather and hot pink renaissance with Sha-Na-Na, Happy Days, the Stray Cats, Cyndi Lauper’s Blue Angel, my favorite special occasion diner Ed Debevic’s in Los Angeles — these were my first impression of what it might have been like back then.

Now we know, that’s not at all what it was like.

Especially now that we know Making America Great Again refers to a time that never even existed. Nostalgia just isn’t nostalgia unless we put it through the meat-grinder of our selective memory, so who else would be the most imperfect, unreliable narrator for those unattainable halcyon days other than Phil Spector?

Overidealizing romance through his untouchable Wall of Sound, he threw everything and the kitchen sink into this monolith of aural ecstasy; compressed into two-minute morsels containing multitudes, dispatches from the prison of youth through lyrics you might find scribbled in the margins of a school paper. And just like that, he created the concept of teenager: a child in limbo, tragically misunderstood, whose only chance at redemption would be to fall in love.

And we’ve been trapped there ever since.

Until last January when Spector passed unceremoniously in prison, catching COVID-19 at the ripe age of 81 — the Tycoon of Teen who sought to preserve timelessness was dead from our most modern ailment we currently cannot even see past.

Since he created the teenage, could his death mean that spell he cast on all of us has been lifted? Let’s hang precarious on that a minute while I self-indulge.

Though his presence haunted me since childhood, the height of my Spector worship would converge in 2006/2007 when I decided I would form the ultimate band (even if confined to my ears) largely colored by his looming shadow. It would be a punk band for adults — a matured, well-dressed yet tattered take on the Wall of Sound I would call Jail Weddings: the perfect analogy for the conflicted “can’t live with her/can’t live without her” heartbreak I was navigating.

For whatever reason, all I could do was exclusively listen to the Ronnettes, the Crystals, and Gene Pitney to get me through it, to remind myself what romance was, that I would maybe find it again one day anew. I wanted to write music that would be salve for people the way Wall of Sound was for me while adding the liberation of the unchecked “why me?” scream to God, the beta-male lurch that hinged at violence even if it was just performative on stage. In other words, we wanted to give our audience the real, unfiltered Phil Spector experience — no more hiding behind bubblegum harmonies and the genius tag so you could get away with murder.

Oh, and it also looked like his time was just about up since his trial for the cold-blooded killing of Lana Clarkson had just begun, in chilling synch with the larvae stage of JW.

Our popularity mounted as his trial continued, adding a sensational sub-plot to the group that made our devotees (and occasionally my own band members) misunderstand my role as “the Phil Spector of the group” — a title I never asked for. While I would correct them, attempting to recontextualize my role as singer/songwriter who preferred leaving knob twisting to the experts, I also found myself subconsciously pushing everyone’s buttons. I maintained a state of disembodiment through copious amounts of drugs and alcohol and I encouraged the whole gang to indulge so we could be Los Angeles’ worst nightmare coming to roost. To whip it up into an even further frenzy, I was creating wild double-standards like firing our drummer for smoking crack while I was getting into onstage fistfights with our bass player for nodding off on heroin. They had every right to be confused, considering the ambiguous circus I had constructed; all the while I was staying wasted just so I could deal with our own hydra-headed serpent promptly eating its own tail.

I believe every single engineer/producer/front man in rock n’ roll has to wrestle with Spector’s slime oozing into our artistic DNA, derailing us in the name of (re)tired rock n’ roll. He created the unwavering rules, the excessive lifestyle, the my-way-or-the-highway tantrums, resulting in a flirt with death lurking beneath every resolving major chord — the toxic power structure which we all would subconsciously imitate. Like, I’m not sure if I was ever abusive to anyone as a result of falling into that role, but I’m positive I enabled our collective endangerment more times than I could ever count. And that whole not being sure thing leaves me feeling suspect under my own call to the stand (and maybe if I stay at that stand long enough, we can learn how and why our violin player drank a whole bottle of tequila to make it easier to break my nose the night before tour). But all these questions will likely go unanswered due to the adapted disconnect that comes with looking up to fiends like Phil or Kim Fowley or whoever is your preferred megalomaniac poster boy.

But a deeper, more disturbing question: Could Spector have proved the exalted artistry of the engineer/producer without ruling the studio — then his loved one’s personal lives — with an overzealous iron fist? It’s an elusive query to answer, since he was the architect. Sure, Shadow Morton, Jack Nitzsche, George Martin, and Brian Wilson were able to do it with more applied patience and out of the cage imagination (they all did it better, in my opinion) but Spector was their immediate inspiration. Would we even have those visionaries without that first homicidal maniac?

And that’s the most radiating element of Phil Spector, the way he triggers our very American cognitive dissonance: where we know something is bad, unhealthy for our psyche’s attention, but the next thing we know, we’re indulging them like narcotics personified, scrambling for excuses to support an industry who cares not whether we live or die. With this in mind, Spector fits on the same shelf as Charles Manson, Sid Vicious, Suge Knight, Robert Blake, OJ Simpson, William Burroughs, Don King, Ted Kaczynski (who, I may add, my co-author of this twin-essay had a close friendship with through his prison bars — another example on which we’d rest our case first-hand). These are all American men, touted as geniuses, propped up by money and legacy, whose homicidal instincts only added to their magnetic legends. It reeks as something indigenous to our country founded on genocide, triggering me to wonder if we are ever able to escape our abusive relationship with American heritage.

 It all applies as we bid farewell to Spector, another man we hated to love, a brittle love-starved I-hate-you-don’t-leave-me hypocrite of our national psychosis, one more Founding Father of pop-culture’s scorched Earth manifest destiny.

AND THEN HE KISSED ME

By Stephanie Tisza

Everything was red and black and out of focus. I was floating and slowly spinning in an iridescent, primordial cosmic goo. Teeny-tiny particles and swells of visible, vibrating sound surged, enveloped and echoed all around me and through me. I pointed upward and looked at a shadowy figure next to me:

“This is the Wall of Sound.”

Then I woke up. It was 9:02 a.m. in California, on Sunday, January 17, 2021. I looked at my phone and saw a text message from my mom in Chicago.

“Phil Spector died.”

The initial response from my coterie of discerning thirty and forty-something year old musician and writer peers – who also consume and create culture like only a former Napster teenager can – to the death of the revolutionary music producer is one of extraordinary relief mixed with sadness.

When David Bowie unexpectedly passed in 2016, many noted that it felt like one of their parents died. But the shimmering Thin White Duke pariah who beguiled us with galvanizing acts of gender transgression and glam rock was merely the ‘parent’ most of us would have chosen for ourselves if we had any control over the situation. Symbolically, Phil Spector and the aesthetic he created and disseminated is closer to reality.

Spector’s early and most enduring pop music had its genesis in the cultural permutation of the 1950s-1960s that saw young people drowning in sock hops and soda fountains while simultaneously being threatened with nuclear war for the first time. The good ol’ days of 1950s hyper-oppression of Women and Black and Brown communities were finally beginning to slowly dissolve and a quasi-existential mood usually reserved for classical arrangements and free jazz began to materialize in popular music. Lyrics became a little more reflective than say, Elvis’s “Hound Dog” or Danny and the Juniors’ “At the Hop.”

The first inkling of this at Spector’s creative direction was in 1958. The bleak and haunting “To Know Him Is to Love Him,” performed by The Teddy Bears and inspired by words on Spector’s suicide-victim father’s tombstone, spent three weeks at No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. “Why can’t he see / How blind can he be / Why can’t he see that he was meant for me?” lead singer Annette Kleinbard desperately wails before inexplicably reassuring the listener, again and again, that “to know” her would-be suitor “is to love him.” She seems to latently suggest that he doesn’t necessarily give off a positive first impression. Perhaps he’s that kind of guy “you need to get to know;” the type who’s probably “really sweet when we’re alone,” right?

The outsider theme came up again a few years later with The Crystals’ “He’s a Rebel”. Written by Gene Pitney and reimagined, recorded and produced by Spector, the song fittingly reached No. 1 in the middle of the Phallic Flexing Event that was the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962.

“When he holds my hand, I’m so proud

‘Cause he’s not just one of the crowd

My baby’s always the one to try the things they’ve never done

And just because of that they say

He’s a rebel and he’ll never ever be any good”

Since the Byronic hero made its appearance in the cultural milieu of the early 1800s, we’ve had a mélange of interpretations of the brooding male figure who may or may not have the following character traits: arrogance, past trauma, nihilism, disrespect for authority, emotional moodiness, dark humor, self-destructive impulses, mysteriousness, and on and on. The taboo of loving who we aren’t supposed to love can be a powerful and attractive notion for those of us predisposed to basking in the warmth and smoking shotgun fury of adrenaline and dopamine. Spector sank his teeth right in. And as life imitates art, stories of his maniacal studio tendencies, like chasing artists around at gunpoint, began creeping to the surface, unsurprisingly adding more allure to the genius behind the mixing board.

Just how far are we to take “he doesn’t do what everybody else does”? What happens when the well-meaning person equates the rebel epithet and anthem to “she drank too much last night and slapped me” or “he has a little bit of a heroin problem but he goes to work every day?”

I’m aware the lyrical interpretations here may seem a bit of a stretch to the cynical and insensitive, but context changes when you consider them alongside Spector’s more overt, latter-day sins like the savagely ominous and totally unironic arrangement of Goffin-King’s, “He Hit Me (And It Felt Like a Kiss)” or the Leonard Cohen-Phil Spector collaboration, “Don’t Go Home With Your Hard-On.” “Approach her you ape with your tail on / Once you have her, she’ll always be there,” Cohen sings.

What you must understand though, is that what Phil Spector managed to pull off was utterly brilliant and demented: perpetuated by his own troubled mind, he orchestrated a foreboding, high-stakes concept of desire that perpetuated impossible-to-achieve archetypes of masculinity and femininity, underpinned by demeaning, dime store definitions of what it means to love. And this riff was instantly learned and performed by Boomer teenagers everywhere who were reeling in the unbounded emotions of youth. Then they became adults.

I grew up with what I call hard-Boomer working class parents. We ate meat and potato TV dinners. Dad frequently came home drunk and started fights or fell asleep, it was a coin toss. I was placed in front of the television to watch Leave it to Beaver and Donna Reed. Mom dissociated from all emotions. Horror stories of helicopter air assault outfits in Khe Sanh were brought up frequently. I got away at 22 when I moved to LA.

Spector was on trial for the murder of Lana Clarkson at the time. I’d lived many important moments in my life along to his music. I knew so deeply the joy espoused in “Then He Kissed Me” and the real life, scintillating push and pull of “(The Best Part Of) Breakin’ Up.” Regularly on rotation at home and in popular films, Spector’s songs weren’t just background noise, they were words to live by.  

But I never had a face to the name until one day on television, I witnessed the persona that was Phil Spector. The blue tinted sunglasses. The massive Afro wig. Thronged by his lawyers on one side and his new wife, Rachelle Short, who didn’t look much older than me, on the other. I was instantly intrigued and instantly infatuated. I wished I was Rachelle Short. Equipped with tits and brains in equal measure, I would be the best wife ever to the aging, eccentric music producer. He could tell me stories about the 1960s that I was so sad to miss because I wasn’t born yet and I would be the first woman to really understand his cultural references and above all, mediate his neurosis. To pledge my allegiance to this cause, I attended a few days of his murder trial proceedings, making sure to sit on his side of the courtroom.

I tried in vain to make eye contact a few times but Spector had the shakes so badly, he didn’t really even seem all there. The defense was presenting their case that Clarkson was fragile and suicidal in the days leading up to her encounter with Spector. Despite Phil running outside and telling his driver, “I think I just shot her,” the defense claimed that Clarkson found one of Spector’s guns and committed suicide in his remote Alhambra castle that sits atop the highest hill around for miles.

“She’s got blood on her hands, gunshot residue on her hands, an intra-oral wound. Ninety-nine percent, it’s suicide,” forensic pathologist, Vincent DiMaio testified.

I remember, at the time, thinking that the defense’s case could have actually been the reality of how that night’s events progressed. Not because I thought it was the truth. Not because I didn’t want my object of idolatry to die in prison without his precious wig. I wasn’t conning myself. But because both narratives of what might have occurred on that night were relatable to me. The Reason Why came from the same place, and I knew it well. It was either, “I need this chaos in my life” or “I need this chaos in my life, but I am so exhausted, I’m ending it all right now.”

A few hours after his death settled in, I turned on Back to Mono. I spent days listening to the old hits. I woah-ho’d through a land of onlys, nevers, always, come on baby’s and I get down on my knees for you’s. I felt glad this pest from the past was gone.

“This is a symbolic death,” I told a friend.

“It’s liberating! Our 1960s idols are dying out! It’s our time now!”

I wish I could say elation was the only emotion I felt when I found out Phil Spector died, but it is untrue. I felt a pang of deep regret that I’d never written him the fan letter I’d always daydreamed of. What can I say? He kissed me in a way that I’d always been kissed before.

Bios:

Gabriel Hart lives in California’s High Desert. He is the author of Virgins In Reverse/The Intrusion and A Return To Spring. His debut poetry collection Unsongs Vol. 1 (Close To the Bone) is out this April. He’s a monthly columnist for Lit Reactor and EconoClash Review. His punk rock Wall of Sound group Jail Weddings released their latest album Wilted Eden in 2019 but these days he wonders if music even exists anymore.

Stephanie Tisza is a multimedia artist and writer who lives in Joshua Tree, CA. Her work has appeared in VICE, the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, Dallas VideoFest, and many other museums and microcinemas around the planet. In 2015 she began her ongoing social practice performance, FORCED TO PLAY, in which she sells her ideas to Fortune 500 companies in exchange for capital. The performance will end when her student loan debt is paid in full.

The Tin God—Daniel Figgis by K A Laity

K A Laity, Linear Obsessional, Music

Linear Obsessional is delighted to present the first of two EPs by the extraordinary Irish composer Daniel Figgis: Figgis (a long time friend of this label) released the magical “Skipper” in 1995. Since then Daniel has primarily worked on extraordinary large scale live happenings involving waterfall, abandoned buildings, forest, World Financial Center New York, Symphony Space Broadway, Wexford Opera House, National Concert Hall Ireland, City Hall Dublin, National Basketball Arena Ireland, underwater choreography conducted under hypnosis at the Olympic Swimming Pool Limerick, and site specific compositions for various ensembles. See danielfiggis.com

First I should declare that yes, I have ties to Linear Obsessional, so I may be biased when I say that Richard has released an incredibly fascinating array of sound recordings, but 1) everyone has their biases so why not be clear about mine and 2) why wouldn’t I want to be associated however slightly with such an amazing catalogue?

As you can tell from the liner notes above, Figgis has been working in a lot of different mediums and spaces. This recording is a wonderful introduction if you are unfamiliar with them and an absolute treat to anyone who loves sound. The tracks have a texture of sound that transports you to liminal spaces and new vistas. I recommend putting on headphones and shutting out the noise of this unstable world for something more magnificent. The title track offers an almost operatic sweep of sound that vibrates with the very pulse of life. Quite extraordinary.

While I have the digital edition, THE TIN GOD has been released as a limited edition in the Linear Obsessional cassette imprint (design by David Little) with download coupon, and as a download. Both downloads come with a PDF of text, images and further information. The companion cassette THE TYPING POOL is now up for pre-order.