Pere Ubu's new album 20 Years In A Montana Missile Silo opens the doors of the avant-garage to reveal the hardworking mechanics hammering away at the fundamentals of blue-collar rock. A three-guitar revision spans the state of the art for guitar-based rock in the year 2017. Keith Moliné is joined by Cleveland guitar legend Gary Siperko and Kristof Hahn in the now familiar orchestra of analog and digital synths, clarinet, drums and Thomas' unquestionably unique vocals.
It follows on from their release in 2015 of Carnival Of Souls, which was widely praised by the media, confounding the usual clash of critics' sensibilities, and chosen by cult series 'American Horror Story' to provide two soundtracks for characters Mordrake and Twisty, in Season 4.
David Thomas says 'To my way of thinking, the new album is The James Gang teaming up with Tangerine Dream. Or something like that. The Chinese Whispers methodology we worked on the last two albums, now that everyone has gotten comfortable with it, has been replaced by the Dark Room. Put a bunch of musicians in a lightless room and by feeling one small section of an unknown object have them figure what it must be.’
It would be easy to suppose that the album is about being in a Missile Silo... in Montana... for 20 years or so, but this is Pere Ubu and they're not about to make things easy. Thomas confirms, "I wanted to call it 'Bruce Springsteen is an Asshole,' then changed that to 'Robert DeNiro Is An Asshole,' then decided maybe that wasn't a good idea either. It's not my job to explain.'
The album was recorded and mixed at Suma, Painesville Ohio. Engineer Paul Hamann, and his father before him, have been part of almost every Pere Ubu album since 1976. Thomas and Hamann have explored innumerable production methods over the years, establishing the unique Ubu sound that pre-dated punk and still stands proud of the forced genre defined clichés of the music world.
Over the years, Kristof Hahn had become a regular visitor to the Ubu dressing room during his time-off touring with The Swans. He was given access to the songs from the new album as works-in-progress. "I was just listening to 'The Healer' again today and it gave me goosebumps," he wrote to Thomas. "The whole album sounds amazing already, I would be really proud to be part of it, however small my part might be." He was brought on board immediately.
The touring arm of Pere Ubu will be heading out with the new album; first-off in the USA in November-December, amd with a full European tour and further USA dates in 2018.
1. Monkey Bizness
2. Funk 49
3. Prison Of The Senses
4. Toe To Toe
5. The Healer
7. Plan From Frag 9
9. Red Eye Blues
10. Walking Again
11. I Can Still See
12. Cold Sweat
Pere Ubu is:
David Thomas (1975-present) vocals
Keith Moliné (2005-present) guitar
Gary Siperko (2016-present) guitar
Kristof Hahn (2017) steel guitar
Darryl Boon (2012-present) clarinet and more
Robert Wheeler (1994-present) analog synths, theremin
Gagarin (2007-present) digital synths
Michele Temple (1993-present) bass
Steve Mehlman (1995-present) drums and more
By distorting hard boiled film and classic instrumental music through a dark, overcast lens, Diminished Men refocus their influences into something entirely unique. Their jagged, hard-charging approach evokes images of slit jugulars and accelerated heart rates, all the while swathing you in a blissful claustrophobia. Drawing elements of Link Wray, Morricone's dissonant horror scores, gritty noir and Joe Meek's sickly productions, as well as the provocative imagery of filmmakers like Wim Wenders and Jean-Pierre Melville, synthesizing them into something truly organic and original.
"Capnomancy" (Jan 2013), their second release on Abduction Records, run by Alan Bishop of the legendary Sun City Girls and the Sublime Frequencies label, is a collection of stark instrumentals, full of high tension energy and infected terror. Cloaked in a supernatural fog and electrical storms, chiaroscuro landscapes read like a sci-fi postcard with a Giallo ransom note attached. One of the last albums to be recorded at his now defunct Aleph Studio, producer Randall Dunn (Sunn O))), Earth, Wolves in the Throne Room, etc.) contributes greatly with his visceral, heavy production, making this album their darkest offering yet.
Their first full length "Names of the Dead" from 2005 introduced the bands cinema obscura ethos. A bizarre series of cassettes 2006-2008 "American Volume Swells" and the more recent 2012 "Six O' Clock Baby" album revealed a raw and unchecked side of the band through live recordings, improvisations and collage. It was their 2009 "Shadow Instrumentals" record on the Abduction label that got the band wider recognition for their creative and distinctive sound. A superbly crafted mosaic of speakeasy hallucinations and haunted geography, full of lush production and ambitious arrangements. Besides the Italian western overtones, Khorshid Egyptian guitar passages, murder-blues drama and flipped out electronic space psych, are perhaps the best surf inspired tracks in years. A shape-shifting set of music, opening yet another wormhole to the groups varied influences.
Formed in 2005 by guitarist Steve Schmitt and drummer Dave Abramson, Diminished Men are an integral part of Seattle's unique and prolific underground music scene. Abramson, also a member of Master Musicians of Bukkake, has done time in Climax Golden Twins and has collaborated with Secret Chiefs 3, Eyvind Kang, Six Organs of Admittance, Grails, etc. Multi-instrumentalist Simon Henneman has released two solo records and plays guitar in the free jazz duo WA with iconic Northwest drummer Gregg Keplinger.