THE ART OF LISTENING
Underground Resistance is a militant music-based collective in Detroit. It makes music, is a techno record label, and does outreach into some of the most deprived communities in Detroit. "Mad" Mike Banks, the collective's founder, is a basketball coach at a local school. Their identity (or lack thereof - Banks's face is never seen, and his interview in The Wire this month is unusual) reminds me a little of the punk-pirate-fanzine ethos, where you hear a one-off song by a band and have no way of finding out anything more about them. You can only listen to it on its own terms, without the gloss of magazine articles or promotional websites. This is "Killer whale."
Apropos of nothing, I present to you what, astonishingly, is the only Kleenex/LiLiPUT song on Youtube. It is "Eisiger Wind", and it's backed by a splendid video which lists 30 or 40 post-punk heroines, many of whom I've never heard of. Who could resist the Stinky Toys?
In a record-shop in Camden a few weeks ago, they were playing this music that kept swallowing itself up. The singer couldn't keep up with the hysterical casio keyboards, and the guitarist was playing something else altogether. Although this was unmistakably indie music, it reminded me more of dub than anything else - the tinny, cheap cassette sound would dive and plunge into deep echoing chasms. It brought to mind the very early Baby Bird CDs, the ones released before his brief foray into fame. I asked the guy behind the counter what I was listening to, and he told me, Ariel Pink. Stupidly, I didn't buy the CD. Then yesterday, Max Tundra played a song called "Higher and higher" on Resonance FM. "Wouldn't it be wonderful," I thought, "if this was by Ariel Pink?" And it was, which proves that Ariel Pink is haunting my life. This is "Make room for Harry".
Scratch that : maybe Ariel Pink really sounds like R Stevie Moore. This one is "Zebra standards 29 / Bulk of knowledge" - it's about throwing your life away.
And finally, here's Van Morrison with the best back-up band in history...