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Il Sogno Del Marinaio: La Busta Gialla


Il Sogno del Marinaio is Mike Watt, of Minutemen, fIREHOSE, and Stooges fame (and lots more besides), and two young gentlemen of Verona and Bologna, Stefano Pilia and Andrea Belfi. I can’t believe that Watt ever sleeps, given his proliferating collaborations, podcasts, and side-projects, but this is one of the most consistently exciting bands he’s put together for a while. Pilia and Belfi are very gifted musicians, and the whole thing gels as if they’ve been playing together forever (which they haven’t, it was recorded in two days).

ISDMWhat does it sound like? A mix, largely but not entirely instrumental; you could call some of it post-rock (both Tortoise-like and gloomier), like the eight minute opening track, ‘Zoom’. There are jazzier moments, like ‘Punkinhead Ahoy!’, and more experimental passages, like ‘Messed-Up Machine’. Since everything appears to be ‘prog’ these days, there might be some of that too. ‘Il Guardiano Del Faro’, one of the quieter pieces, is beautiful. Here’s ‘Partisan Song’:

And ‘Punkinhead Ahoy!’ because it cheers me up.

You can listen to this on Spotify here but if you want them to eat you should buy it on clenchedwrench records – CD here or iTunes here.



Sack of Streams #3

Snot, booze, PRESENTS, snot, booze, snot, booze, hacking cough, booze – pretty sums up Xmas for both of us. Still, happy new year to all and sundry. Here’s some tunes that might just lift that early January doom.

Mike Watt has joined up with Yuko Araki and Hirotaka Shimizu to put music to 63 Richard Meltzer spoken word pieces – or spiels, as Watt calls ’em, making the project spielgusher. The album’s out 17th January from Clenched Wrench, you can read more about it here, and you should buy it because Watt is a genius and Mr Meltzer may well have invented the metal umlaut (for Blue Öyster Cult). This track is hilarious but NSFW!

This track by Bear Driver sounds like something you’ve heard before a thousand times, but the melody is so strong and the guitar line so damned earworm that it would take stronger men than us to resist its charms [website]

Boogie Monster are a noise-mongering duo from Vancouver possessing all the necessary skills to sear your face off with their torrent of fuzz and distortion. And they’d do so with a smile and grin what with their penchant for an uplifting melody here and there amongst the beautiful sludge.  This track ‘Bullfrog’ hints at this, but the album Zechimechi is a splendid mix of Lightning Bolt meets Fang Island:

Clearly, Chicago based Fotosputnik are cut from a similar cloth to Cave and Eat Lights, Become Lights with this slice of psyche-motorik. With a gratifying hesitancy to the guitar lead and a threatening undertow, ‘Turnpike (Death Valley Driver)’ tightens the haunches for much needed escape [website]:

And finally the seemingly apocalyptic and eschatological warnings of the voice on Another Neglected Hobby’s ‘Listen Up’ seem particularly apt given 2012 has just dawned. Marching beats and frosty sweeps of drone accompany to make something very special [Soundcloud]:

Until the (end or) next time(s)…

Keeping It Peel 2010: The Shop Assistants, Godspeed, J Mascis and the Fog

A post inspired/reminded by Football and Music and Sweeping The Nation…  and countless other great blogs. This is my contribution to marking John Peel’s passing in 2004 with a Peel Session track is – well, I’ve cheated. I had a few choices, so why not post ’em all?

I Don’t Want To Be Friends With You‘ – Shop Assistants – Peel Session 1986

Hung Over As The Oven In Maiden Vale‘ – Godspeed You Black Emperor! – Peel Session 1998

Everything Flows – Range Life – In A Rut‘ – J Mascis and the Fog (feat. Mike Watt fercryinoutloud) – Peel Session 2003

It hasn’t really been the same since, despite the sterling work of 6music, and I’ve had no end of weird conversations about whether x or y would have been Peel favourites. Anyway. Cheers John.

If you want to join in, here’s your instructions from Football and Music:

If you are a Facebook user post a link to a You Tube video. If you are on Twitter then on October 25th post a tweet using the hashtag: #keepingitpeel and add a song/video clip, again from a Peel session.

If you ever taped a show, listened in bed on headphones, or thought “what the hell was that?”, get stuck in.



Mike Watt: Ball-Hog or Tugboat?

If you’re ever playing ‘Six Degrees of Separation’ with US postpunk, Mike Watt is your Kevin Bacon. He’s the great big knot in the Pete Frame’s afore-and-after-grunge Rock Family Tree. He is of course, Watt from Minutemen and fIREHOSE, and now a Stooge, but in 1995 he released a record that underlined his influence on US ‘alt’ music. Ball-Hog or Tugboat? is Watt’s first solo album, and he asked a few people to help out. Those people include (deep breath): both surviving members of Nirvana, all of Sonic Youth except Kim Gordon (but including Kim and Thurston’s baby Coco Hayley Gordon Moore), Frank Black, Evan Dando, Henry Rollins, the Kirkwood brothers from the Meat Puppets, J Mascis, Mark Lanegan, Epic Soundtracks from Swell Maps, Eddie Vedder, Flea, Dave Pirner, and two of the Beastie Boys. He even persuaded Bernie Worrell from Parliament and Funkadelic to accompany him and Mascis on a 12-minute version of the latter band’s ‘Maggot Brain’.

While this might seem like an enormous ego-project of back-slapping mates, Watt isn’t like that: he’s the inventor of the jam econo, after all, the DIY no-impact art punk that doesn’t rot your brain. Half of these people knew him when he was just another bit of an SST band, the rest grew up listening to Minutemen records. Watt’s a big wrestling fan and describes the album as a tag-team thing, hence the cover (by longtime friend Raymond Pettibon); it’s also a bit like a testimonial match. In case it all seems a bit cosy ‘Heartbeat’ includes a phonecall from Kathleen Hanna (Bikini Kill/Julie Ruin/Le Tigre) ticking Watt off for his ‘white rock boy hall of shame’, accusing one of the men on the record of raping her friend when she was 13. She ends the call by asking if he’s going to give her Annie soundtrack back soon, because he’s had it forever.

There are a couple of reworkings of Minutemen songs, a cover of Sonic Youth’s ‘Tuff Gnarl’ (which reminds you Watt was involved in Ciccone Youth) and lots of great Watt originals. My picks for now are that SY cover, with the Youth plus Carla Bozulich and J Mascis and others; and a song which is about a truck-driving man, maybe Watt Sr.,… the chorus is almost as much fun to sing along with as the chorus of Frank Black’s ‘Kiss My Ring’. Vocals by Evan Dando. Enjoy.

Tuff Gnarl‘ – Mike Watt – Ball-Hog or Tugboat?

Piss-Bottle Man‘ – Mike Watt – Ball-Hog or Tugboat?

Buy already enjoyed here or in your favourite record shop. Watt’s Hoot Page here.


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