Monday, December 24, 2012


"Pagan Tiger Swing Band" reviews.

"Pagan Tiger Swing Band (Lp)"
released July 2012

Not such a fan of this band's name (sounds like a bad hippie jam group who do US government conspiracy inspired songs) but I do love what they're laying down on this LP. I can't identify all the players, but it does have Columbus Discount main man Adam Smith on "oscillating feedback network"(!), and at least one member of Guinea Worms and Necropolis also in the ranks. Overall, it has a constant running vibe very similar to El Jesus De Magico, a sort of dubby and dirty Midwestern psych-out with various other tricks and influences coming in and out. It's loud and deep and sometimes reminds me of the nastier Twisted Village products, Wormdoom in particular. "Foolish Pride" opens triumphantly, sounding like a spaceship making its landing on earth during an electronics shitstorm with guitar/bass riffs falling from the sky. Smith's oscillating feedback network (whatever the hell it is) sounds amazing. Some tunes go for the melancholic and heads held low Cheater Slicks-esque approach, but mutated with electronic effects, more drugs and less alcohol ("Fancy Lines", "Picking up the Man"). Listening to endless jams like "I've Been Mad for Quite Some Time Now" makes you feel like you’re doped up and watching tracers scream through the sky while a garage band is stuck in a time loop playing the same riff over and over. Serious shit. Fave cut might be "Neither Do You" which sounds like the best Guinea Worms line-up deconstructing "Hey Joe" while hopped up on (and covered in) glue. The record of course ends on a massive drum-n-psych barrage ("Executive Suites") and stick around for the after-party Satanic dub bonus track as well. This is exactly what I wanted the last El Jesus De Magico record to sound like. Best Columbus psych record since 'Scalping the Guru'. Fantastic. Scum stats: 300 copies (100 each on black, white and swirl), with hand painted sleeves (with track listings done in ball point pen!) repurposed from the Used Kids' dollar bin.(RK)

  From the one true dead angel
Man, this is a confusing record. Because it was recorded at Columbus Discount Recordings, I thought it was on that label -- but no, it's actually on another label entirely, something that's not made terribly clear by the album's deliberately mystifying packaging and liner notes. It certainly sounds like it could be a CDR release; it's all about the lo-fi, mind-melting psychedelic garage rock experience. Just to make things more confusing, there are apparently a couple of unlisted songs (meaning, the scribbled titles on the jacket are not terribly helpful), and the songs themselves are deeply mysterious, sounding something like the product of members of an obscure religious cult jamming in the temple basement. Half the time the treble-heavy guitar sounds like a piano fed through miles of reverb, and while the bass and drums provide a regular (if sometimes ramshackle) rhythm section, the addition of "oscillating feedback" adds a spaced-out layer of sound that makes it all the more otherworldly. Even more intriguing is how the guitar and oscillator tones frequently mimic the sound of a demented gospel choir -- or maybe those really are vocals buried in the background and drenched in so much echo that they're indecipherable; certainly the liner notes appear to include lyrics, although they're written out in such a primitive form of hen-scratching that it's hard to tell. (There are clearly discernible vocals on a couple of songs, but that doesn't mean there aren't hidden ones elsewhere; this is definitely a band that likes to play it close to the vest.) I can't decide if they were high on drugs or Jesus when they made this, but either way, it's a pretty surreal listening experience, and definitely one that's probably best appreciated while under the influence. The vinyl is limited to 300 copies (100 on black vinyl, 100 on white, and 100 in fluorescent swirl), housed in hand-drawn / silk-screened jackets repurposed from old record jackets scavenged from the Used Kids Records free bin.

From Yellow Green Red:
There’s something about an LP jacket so thickly crusted with paint that I find undeniably appealing, from my copy of the Universal Indians / Gravitar split LP (which is still somehow wet!) to this wonderfully disorienting LP by The Altered States Of The United Snakes. I think anyone outside of Ohio probably figured this was an LP by the Pagan Tiger Swing Band from the cover design, but nope, it’s vice versa. Not sure if this is anything more than a one-off project from what must be some group of Columbus Discount buddies (a Cheater Slick? a T.N. Viking? Some sort of Basshole?), but I’m not too concerned with The Altered States Of The United Snakes’ touring plans – they gave us an album of nicely-distorted rock songs and that’s good enough for me. Musically it’s not too far from El Jesus De Magico, or maybe even The Dead C (if you want to expand the geography), but really this sort of thing has to come from Columbus; even Australians can’t rightly fake it. It’s kinda like the Columbus indie-rock answer to the early Comets On Fire records, where you can tell they’re in some cramped and stinky room, high, and jamming their songs harder and more extended than they should (who’s gonna stop them anyway?), with one guy chain-smoking and running keyboards and tapes through a space-echo just for the hell of it. Sounds like something I’d want to hear, and it certainly is!

Still Single
Played this once a while back and learned that it was Columbus guys who’d used this name back in the ‘90s, and are now reconvening for a full-length largely in the spirit of Jim Shepard’s musical legacy. Songs and vocals are very reminiscent of the meatier side of V-3, except for a little hollowness which Shepard’s spirit would have filled in his own band. It’s nothing to worry about, though, as this one is a worthwhile listen of patently overeducated, well-read Ohio males in the demeanor and delivery expected from that town’s bands. Songs take a lot of left turns in the name of coupon-clipping profundity, and these guys make that sort of turbulent sound with a natural touch. They share a member with Guinea Worms and in a way Pagan Altar Swing Band plays as the aggravating afternoon to that band’s blackout drunk late night at the bar. Don’t let this perceived lack of enthusiasm steer you away from this record; it’s a good one, but I’m having trouble piecing together why, apart from who made it, where and when. If you are after Ohio rock that is a few cuts above, this’ll be it. Comes in a hand-painted/screened/written-on sleeve and looks really good in a very sloppy sort of way, though that split-second pause between tracks will not go away once you hear it. 300 copies. (