Monday, December 29, 2008

El Planeta Manzana

A panel from an upcoming summer Mome story (published by Fantagraphics)
Correction- this story seems to be in the save for later pile. Possibly making a appearance in Sandinista Vol.3 or The Post Modern Cadaver 3.

Sketchbook #5

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Work & Records No.2, Bauhaus


It's quite nice to be putting together a Bauhaus mix for my sister, as she did introduce them to me back in 1988. Two cassettes that had seen better days. Obviously these things had been covered in incense and whatever else, rolling around on the floor of that beat to shit 1979 Ford Fiesta that she shared with my brother Andre. The car was not unlike a traveling gypsy styled confession booth of sorts. Tonya had turned that car into something other than an automobile. It was unique and I loved it. Those two tapes that I borrowed were The Sky's Gone Out & Burning From the Inside. I was a musical sponge then, (still am) and grabbing random LP's and tapes from my sister's room was my entry into many conflicting genres and styles. Add to that whatever tapes her friends had lying around and some fine music from my older friend Becky who took pity on a very awkward youth.

But anyway, yes, Bauhaus. Essentially you have here a group that is equal parts glam, funk, dub, Leonard Cohen, & Iggy. like most groups, this timely collection of frictional elements would turn out a diverse set that proved difficult to match when the members separated.

The elements-A baffling vocal presence that can stretch from the nasal highs of Bowie's to the godly weighted oak of Cohen with little strain. Add to that often abstract and humorous lyrics that also touched upon a strict religous upbringing. Add to this some very entertaining stage antics and good cheekbones and you have Peter Murphy.

Backwards clipped trebly distorted funk/glam guitars, forward propelling acoustic minor chord plucking, and scratchy, very scratchy percussive chicken clucking bock bock guitars and smooth washcloth vocals brought to you by Daniel Ash.

Deep burrowing earthworm dub bass and funky eye bootings courtesy of David J. (Haskins)

Old timey deadpan stickwork and five gorilla tom tom team style rhumba finess by David Haskins

Were they arty? Yes. aggressive? Most definately! Subtle? sometimes. Inventive? absolutely.
Why didn't they last? Well, shit, I guess you could argue artistic differences but I think it had more to do with the image they fostered and eventually became albatrossed by. Now why would a unique band capable of such a variety of music confine themselves to such obvious goth imagery? It proved so distracting that eventually most of the press on them at the time would talk more about what they looked like than the music contained inside. Artists that know how to play this game can often subvert these obvious tags by giving them the opposite to work with.

Consider the following examples-1. The Pixies- their LP artwork is a universe in itself- the music (which is very rock) is now alien rock, capable of untold heights. Obviously the music held its own, but still. They dressed down, completely unassuming.
Eventually the music defied categories and one could expect anything from them on future releases.
2. Joy Division. The music is really heavy and yet they are not called goth due to their wardrobe choice which was brilliant. Unassuming work clothes. Just four lads that make tunes. Incredibly overcast tunes, but still.
3. Throbbing Gristle- I love the cover to "20 Jazz Funk Greats", again, four people standing in the grass looking quite ordinary, even smiling, while delivering some completely disturbing, uncomprimising misery inside.

This might imply that I am encouraging the downplaying of self expression. Yes and no. Imagine Bauhaus all wearing brightly colored sweaters and always smiling. They'd be taking the piss obviously, but bypassing labels and expectations as well that all have to do with herd uniform aesthetics. Your weapon is then ambiguity and confusion. They sound like this yet they look like THIS. How can that be? Anyway, I'm on a tangent here, all this to say at the end of the day, their whole catalog considered, they are not nearly conservative enough to be a goth band. If possible, seek out the following tracks for samples-

1. All We Ever Wanted Was Everything 2. In Fear of Dub 3. Dark Entries 4. Kingdom's Coming 5. Third Uncle (Eno cover)

The tracklist for my sister is this-
1.Bela Lugosi Is Dead
2.Dark Entries
3.St. Vitus Dance
4.Telegram Sam
8.Night Time
9.The Passion of Lovers
10.Of Lillies & Remains
11.Kick In The Eye
12.In Fear of Fear
13.Muscle In Plastic
14.Man With The Xray Eyes
15.In Fear of Dub
17.Third Uncle
18.Silent Hedges
20.All We Ever Wanted Was Everything
21.Exquisite Corpse
22.Antonin Artaud
23.King Volcano
24.Who Killed Mr Moonlight?
25.Slice of Life
26.Kingdom's Coming
27.Here's the Dub

The Ballad of Geraldine

Sunday, December 21, 2008


These are the results of getting a call from my man Sid (New Yorker cartoonist) re: hanging out at Gleason's Gym on a Saturday night. Sid took pictures, which in retrospect is what I should have done. I'll probably go next time with a flash Holga and some super crazy high speed film. Anyways, we attended a night of boxing- something like forty matches in one night- all of them 3- one minute rounds. As the night moved on, children became teenagers and teens were succeeded by very muscle heavy, tattooed adults. I tried to quickly document some of the inbetween moments, during the breaks when the trainers were giving advice. There were alot of interesting moments there. The only thing I could do was gesture draw as the poses often lasted less than thirty seconds.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Original Art Available/

I've posted a few pen & ink drawings of various sizes that I am intending to sell. It's time they left the nest, you know how it goes. Those interested should email me regarding pricing, etc. at

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

A New Buckingham Fades

I may have to duck out for a cocktail as I've got the cabin fever.
Here's more future Fantagraphics work on the boil as seen below-.

Needless to say, I need to get out of here before I start writing about the similarities between Fleetwood Mac's "Tusk" album and Wire's "154". I'm totally serious but i'll save that for another time. In the meantime break out your copy of the Stooges "Funhouse" and listen to "Hurt". Now there's a Joy Division template if I ever heard one. Don't get me wrong- I love them both. Anyways-

Work & Records No.1, Autoclave

One of the benefits of re-structuring my studio would have to be the valuable close proximity of the turntable to the drafting table and scanner area. While I'm back to work on the Calvo/French project, I have been putting on some records by a group I've enjoyed for quite some time called Autoclave. This quartet from Washington D.C. released records between 1991 and 1993 but lasted for only a small duration of that time.

Demo (not exactly sure what's on here as I never owned a copy)
S/T 7" Single on Dischord/K Records {I'll Take You Down/Go Far/It's Not Real Life} Recorded by Barrett
Lever v/a Single Simple Machine Records {Summer} Recorded by Barrett
Teenbeat 50 v/a Teenbeat Records/Matador {Dr.Suess} from demo
Autoclave s/t 10" Dischord/Mira Records {Dr. Suess/Still Here/Hot Spurr/Vision/Bullseye/I'll Take You Down} Recorded by Jeff (Geoff) Turner WGNS
Autoclave CD Collected Dischord {contains Dischord 7" & 10" tracks along with alternate inferior version of Summer & unreleased track Paperboy}

Autoclave consisted of Christina Billotte on The bass guitar & vox, Melissa Berkoff on The drums, Mary Timony on guitar & vox, and Nikki Chapman on guitar. The bands work included a great number of moods & sounds- the highlight of the recordings being the wayward and lazily drifting guitars, clarity & richness of the vocals, and tight rythym section. If I was to reference anything comparitively I would suggest early Fugazi & the always stellar Throwing Muses. The musicianship and audio quality of their catalog is of the most part very excellent, the only drop-off being any recordings from their demo, which believe me, is no real flaw. The demo version of "Dr. Seuss" from Teenbeat 50 is crunchy & crispy, yet superior to the WGNS recording on the s/t 10". Had the Dischord CD included the complete demos and Barrett version of "Summer" it would have been relative one stop shopping for the handful of wonderful recordings they left us. Back to work.