Wednesday, December 30, 2009


mi ami 'watersports'
these are powers 'all aboard future'
burial 'untrue'
skull disco:soundboy punishments compilation (feat shackleton, appleblim, gatekeeper)
sunn0)) 'black one'
lungfish 'necrophones'
kode9 & the spaceape 'memories of the future'
ataxia 'automatic writing'
a silver mt zion '13 blues for thirteen moons'
fugazi 'the argument'
the bug 'london zoo'
the for carnation 's/t'

mi ami 'african rhythms' 12"
wire 'read and burn 03 EP'
twisted wires 'one night at the raw deal' 12"
hand fed babies CD EP


we shall wrap up our christmas posts (get it?) with the 423 gallery christmas playlist. although, in our opinion, the season doesn't end until january 2nd.

dec 24 - 25, 2009...

living strings 'the sound of christmas'
boston pops 'christmas party'
muzak 'stimulus progression number three: christmas'
in the pouring rain dj set 'at war'
the cure 'japanese whispers'
siouxsie & the banshees 'kaleidoscope'
bright eyes 'christmas'
'the great songs of christmas by great artists of our time'
low 'christmas'
new kids on the block 'merry merry christmas'
pole 1
a john waters christmas
bracken 'we knew about the need'
bing crosby 'i wish you a merry christmas'
pole 2
pole 3

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Wednesday, December 23, 2009



the andy williams christmas album
the hollywood bowl symphony orchestra, conducted by carmon dragon: the music of christmas
muzak:stimulus progressoin number three christmas
arthur fiedler/the boston pops: christmas party
percy faith and his orchestra: music of christmas
living voices: the little drummer boy
bing crosby: i wish you a merry christmas
a jolly christmas from frank sinatra
ferrante and teicher: snowbound
the mormon tabernacle choir sing songs of christmas
christmas favorites by the hollyridge strings arranged and conducted by stu phillips
a christmas sound spectacular: john klein at the carillon americana with orchestra and chorus

Thursday, December 17, 2009


christmas music is something heard in a sub-ambient fog while shopping for holiday merchandise. it is a soundtrack to commerce. but if you can subtract the commerce and return to your living space and actively listen you'll find protest. a chanting down of babylon by poor people trying to avoid war and dark age displacement. it is anti-imperialist, anti-war and always searching for hope. looking for a sort of savior to arrive and defend them from the kings & governments & armies and countless years of being exploited.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009


to watch the many productions of charles dickens' a christmas carol is a reminder that revolutionary thought can go over the heads of our oppressors and turn up on our television screens or community stages.
how long must the shackles dragged by our modern day scrooge & marley's even be? as they sit in their comfortable homes with high tech security and taxpayer funded secret service do they not watch the yearly broadcast of a christmas carol starring alastair sim and realize they are looking into a mirror?

Monday, December 14, 2009


ok, so we went to the //tense// show saturday night at the meridian and it was fantastic. yes, its a shame it wasn't louder but i guess that is what happens when you play large places like that and open for a famous band. remember when sonic youth quit the neil young tour? but despite the sound issues (which admittedly seemed to improve as the evening went on) it was a great show and its awesome to see a band like //tense// getting recognized.

all that aside, what is up with the HOUSTON PRESS? they previewed the show the other day (without naming //tense//), and today they posted a review of the show. while the writer of the review admitted he didn't get to the venue until 10:30, likely missing the performance by //tense//, he mentioned the opening act VERTIGO BLUE in the review but didn't even bother naming //tense//.

and for the record, the headliner was nitzer ebb and they did their thing quite well and they sounded really good. nice and loud. but hey, we're trying to write about local stuff so no need for me to review nitzer ebb. if you want to read about them go check houston press.

-sharpe james

Wednesday, December 9, 2009


lots of stuff happening saturday. terry suprean art opening. somosuno playing. party at dan & jessica's.

this is where the 423 gallery will finish the night off...

Saturday, December 5, 2009


interview with SOMOSUNO by rich kimball

houston's answer to to the legendary rip, rig & panic talks to the 423 gallery.

brief history of somosuno...
SOMOSUNO = Aleks-drums, vocals/ Richie-Horns, vocals/ Alexis- lead guitar, vocals/ Jesus- Bass, vocals/ Fernando- guitars, keys, vocals (looking for keyboardist, percussionist, more horns)...... started on may 13th, 2009, our first shows were like 2 weeks after that and we played random shows ranging from parties, graduation parties, and last minute shows at mango's, shfl, fitzgeralds and a parking lot show in Deer Park. Shows got better and better after we jammed all together for awhile.

guy picciotto of fugazi once sang "c'mon bust a genre". somosuno seems to have taken him literally. what has influenced somosuno? what has inspired all of the genre hopping you do?

explain the connection between cop warmth/rape worm/fg & the gunz. where did this scene come from?
no association...JK'ing NO TE CREAS!! HAHA, nah, those guys are bad ass, they're Aleks' and Fernando's childhood friends, growing up not liking anything around us, we started playing music together and learned alot from them. (with chemical plants in the background), homies from the young daaaazeee! LOTS OF LOVE TO THOSE DOOODS! Fernando plays in Copwarmth and loves Rapeworm's and FG's music!

there are many small scenes in houston, split of by style of music/art interests/age groups etc. is this healthy? what makes a good scene?

is it better houston remains houston, rather than become the next seattle, athens, brooklyn... is there such a thing as too much exposure?
as long as it stays TRUE. because all of the artists are doing what they want, how they want it... they're just doing their own thing like us.... and we would be happy if there were good festivals hosting local bands and artists of all kinds.... THERE IS SO MUCH TALENT IN HOUSTON... more shit going down in houston = good.

what has houston taught you?

importance of language to the music of somosuno?
Language is awesome, we want to make more songs with different languages later on, but really, it comes down to if it feels right and if it fits, then we use it, We just talk about our view of Life, anything that happens to us that we wanna talk about, right brain thoughts, trips (road or psych.a.d.e.l....) shit that makes us feel good, we just wanna make other people feel good, fuck division shit, anyone that digs it is welcome to like our sometimes spanglish mixed music. UNITY OF MUSIC AND OF PEOPLE. JUST BEING REAL.

what is the future of somosuno?

why somosuno?
SOMOSUNO=WE ARE ONE. just like everything in the universe. galaxy... everything represents ONE just like all the parts in our bodies just make UP ONE and all the things in the earth make up ONE ORGANISM etc.... we like to listen to and play all kinds of musical styles, we're all different from each other but we're ONE band, ONE kr3w, ONE bacteria, UN BANDON.

see somosuno play saturday night at aztecas.


they remind us over and over again that we are free
they keep reminding us so many times we eventually believe it
but let not all hope be lost
for when we realize we are not free
those shackles suddenly become undone
and we walk away, chanting down babylon

Wednesday, December 2, 2009


ok, i've been away for awhile sorta.. we did our FSKD block party gig which went well.. saw twisted wires/the wiggins play an incredible show at the avant garden... on sunday 22nd i played guitar with 1000 cranes at rudz.. next thing you know i've got strep throat!

but i shall not be stopped.


it may snow here on friday. i cannot wait.

-rich kimball

Wednesday, November 18, 2009


THE WIGGINS/TWISTED WIRES/BLUES CONTROL moved to the avant garden. make note and don't miss as it will be awesome.

Friday, October 30, 2009


there is talk on the HANDS UP HOUSTON message board FUTURE BLONDES is playing superhappyfunland tonight along with the amazing COP WARMTH among others. astute readers will recall we reported here last week future blondes was supposedly finished.

but who knows... certainly not us...

you wouldn't believe the things i'd do for 10 bucks.

-sharpe james

Sunday, October 25, 2009


word on the street says THE WIGGINS will have a new 7" out by end of the year or perhaps early 2010. TWISTED WIRES has been added to the nov. 18th show at mango's with said wiggins and BLUES CONTROL.

we at the 423 gallery have heard that BALACLAVAS has decided against changing their name, instead they will still rock their new synth heavy sound under the name we've all gotten used to... yeah, used to is probably my favorite track on the 'chairs missing' lp by wire. oh, but i digress... the balaclavas 'roman holiday' lp promises to be some epic shit. this is maybe as close as its ever been to coming out.

the FISKADORO camp is quiet but they'll be playing a private party for a friend visiting from iowa next month, they may be playing at westfest but their name isn't on the preliminary list at the free press website so we shall see. they will be playing a festival in lake jackson in january, venue yet to be determined.

-sharpe james

Saturday, October 24, 2009


we went to the EXTERMINATING ANGELS/FUTURE BLONDES/PSYCHIC ILLS/INDIAN JEWELRY show at notsuoh last night in houston. unfortunately jen got sick shortly before psychic ills started their set so we missed them and indian jewelry. its been a sort of curse for us in our attempts to see indian jewelry. the gods do not seem to want it to happen. the gods must hate us. our karma is not good, friends.

so instead of the usual style piece (as new romantics we're all about the style) - i'll write today about the final show of future blondes. a performance for the ages.

we've seen future blondes perform in several places in various incarnations over the past few months, the one fixed thing about them is domokos on vocals & effects. tonight was something completely different yet still related to what they've done before. in what was more of a band set with charley & tyler of balaclavas on synths, and a gentlemen i haven't met named jerry on moog keytar. a woman in a body stocking draped in and out of a canvas tarp doing a sort of interpretive dance and crawl and horrified slither across the stage and into the packed in audience like the end of the world was nigh.

the set opened up slowly with an ambient wall of sound with dom's echoed and looped threats, accusations and one liners (the don rickles of noise?). the music seeming to breathe and became piercing and almost dangerous. a loop saying "fuck you too" repeated for maybe 20 minutes and beats kicked and ralf armin of dead roses & after party joined on saxaphone and suddenly this metal machine music meets metal box turned into interstellar space. if only rashied ali was alive to sit in.

this awesome sound would not quit - shards of abstract and clicked and cut synth noise rose from the stage, armins sax sounding like industrial explosions through dom's effects. armin taking out his cell phone and attempting to call dom in the midst of this hail of noise. dom did not answer. he was too busy playing god and curating the whole thing kneeling from his perch on the stage, shooting looks at the crowd and reveling in the end of future blondes. amazing.

future blondes is dead! long live future blondes! and fuck you too!

-sharpe james


Tuesday, October 20, 2009


shortly before we started this little mcbloggily of ours we had some technical issues, thus, we were not able to listen to records and cassettes for awhile. cd's were ok - but the older media was a problem. this was discouraging as there were a couple things we wanted to talk about here. one of which was the twisted wires 12" which will be discussed below. the other the balaclavas cassette on the skrot up tapes label (out of denmark), which we'll get to on another post.

the debut 12" from houston's twisted wires is one night at the raw deal b/w one night at the raw deal (instrumental) & one night at the raw deal (guitar & vocal mix). i'd look at the b-side as a gift for people to remix. or for dj's to spin their own extended mixes at dance parties. very late last night jen, sharpe james and i sat down in the 423 gallery to listen to the record with law & order: criminal intent airing on the television set in the background on mute.

jen: so far it kind of sounds like early simple minds. its good background music to this criminal intent episode. it reminds me of someone else from the same era, i'm trying to remember who.
sharpe: it really says alot about houston when this record is easier to find in new york. london. paris. tokyo. milan. all those towns we party at.
rich: yes. we really don't party much in houston do we?
jen: no we don't. we just get booked to play fiskadoro shows in houston and then get them cancelled at the 23rd hour.
rich: rowan really loved this single. he described it as techno goth. one of my other friends said it wasn't complicated enough.
jen: it is kind of minimal. but isn't that a good thing?
sharpe: people need to remember what we learned from the postpunk era. minimal is a good thing.
rich: no one seems to remember history anymore.
jen: i'd be interested to listen to one of my older simple minds records after this. i didn't really remember what twisted wires sounded like, i still have that //tense// show stuck in my head and i thought they sounded more like that. but... how wrong i was.
rich: oh look at bubbles [one of our cats laying on the floor on his back in variation of savasana pose].
jen: is this one of those times you think he's meditating?
rich: i think he's just enjoying the music.
sharpe: while lenny [another of our cats, looking out the window with much intensity] thinks this is soundtrack to some sort of nefarious doings going on outside in the quad parking lot.
jen: kind of like the nefarious goings on on criminal intent right now? i mean just look at them - i think they're in a chinese bar or something.
rich: this scene would be awesome if twisted wires were performing on a small stage at the other end of the bar. it would be like that great scene in fire walk with me. or wait -that scene in the aki kaurismaki movie i hired a contract killer when joe strummer & the astrophysicians played in that bar.
(jen and sharpe have no idea what rich is talking about)
sharpe: this sure is an awesome record.
jen: i think so too.

jen: its weird cause its got all these dance effects to it but its a little bit too slow to dance to unless you want to look like a total tool. its more of a sway back and forth song.
rich: maybe it depends on the kind of drugs you're taking?
jen: i think the drugs that would enhance this song are not the kind of drugs that make you want to dance. its almost more of an anthem.
rich: i'm dj'ing that chill-out room we hung out at in barcelona and this is number one on my playlist.
sharpe: with a fucking bullet.
jen: and someone is slipping a mickey into sharpe's drink as he looks down at his boots. one night at the raw deal. yeah.
sharpe: what is in this kiwi strawberry juice?
rich: kiwi strawberry juice.
jen: i can see playing it at a faster speed and having a bunch of strobe lights.
rich: they performed this when they played at mango's and that show was a veritable dance party.
jen: did you dance?
rich: i think we all did baby.... wait - you were there!
jen: i don't remember dancing at any shows. i'm not much of a dancer. the only person i really remember dancing at that show was tina.
sharpe: she's the best dancer in town you know.
rich: we sure do sharpe james... we sure do.
jen: if you played this a third faster it would sound like the things i was hearing in the gay clubs in the late 80s.
rich: like what?
jen: mostly stuff i didn't know. but like secession...
rich: what about new order?
jen: i would say its almost too clubby sounding for new order.
sharpe: this would be interesting music to play in a club scene in some larry clark movie.
jen: where everybody's fucked up.
sharpe: yeah.
jen: the guitar does kind of sound like new order.
[bubbles attacks lenny] lenny was asking for it... it almost sounds like a bernard sumner solo thing but i don't recall him putting a ton of reverb on his voice like often if ever. but it sounds cool.
rich: we'll remember this single as the big hit of the summer of 2009 in the 423 gallery.



Monday, October 12, 2009



i was in a big school building, trying to figure out where and when my next class (for which i had not done the work) was. on a landing between stair flights was a small breakroom with a refrigerator. on the floor was a miller lite fridge pack and out of the tear-off opening peered my cat bubbles. peering into the refrigerator was none other than texas legend gibby haynes!

i called to bubbles to coax him out of the box as mr. haynes looked on. once i had bubbles safely in my arms mr. haynes commented on him.

GH: that's a good looking cat. i bet you can find a real good home for him.
me: he has a good home. he's my cat.
GH: yeah, i bet a lot of people would like to have a cat like that.
me: i told you, he's MY CAT!
GH: well you better get his ass home then!

-jen kimball

Wednesday, October 7, 2009


we were going to interview HOW I QUIT CRACK but now we don't have to...

instead we'll wash out the cat litter boxes.

-sharpe james

Tuesday, October 6, 2009


due to a mix up at mango's the FISKADORO//SOMOSUNO//COSMIC SOUND show tomorrow night has been cancelled! why does houston hate us? please adjust your social lives accordingly.

-rich kimball

Sunday, October 4, 2009


so today jen attempts to eat 6 saltines in 60 seconds.

she only managed 3 1/2.

this is the type of stuff that goes down in the 423 gallery on a daily basis.

FSKD is playing Wednesday night at Mango's w/ SOMOSUNO & COSMIC SOUND. Don't forget to support the scene.

-rich kimball

Friday, October 2, 2009


@ rudyards houston tx 10-1-09

an early show to benefit girls rock camp houston. show started about 6:30 pm and was opened by GTRS. i had never seen gtrs play before, i recall they played last winter when the maryland group wilderness came to town but i missed that show. after a sloppy opening song they pretty much killed with a great set of psychedelic pop that owed as much to the velvet underground as it did the zombies. the thing that made this band for me was their use of backing vocals. it reminded me that not many bands are using them these days. it seems like forever (and in punk time its like 6 - 8 generations later) since bands like adam & the ants, the clash, the newtown neurotics and others were making a living based on awesome backing vocals. dead roses has this working for them as well. dead roses get this. as do gtrs. more bands need to understand this. drop the ego and let someone else sing. the surprising highlight of their set was a great cover of the dream syndicate song tell me when its over. it reminded me of how much i miss that early dream syndicate sound. where are you karl precoda? i was told this was gtrs next to last show in houston as they are moving to north carolina. a real shame for this town. but as i've seen in the relatively short time i've lived here - houston does not support their own.

PERSEPH ONE followed. she is a rapper who looks like she just stepped off the set of degrassi high and took the stage to a chattering audience that pretty much ignored her introducing herself and i was a bit worried for her - but only for a moment - because when the music hit she exploded out of the gates with these spiraling lyrics shooting mysticism and truths in all directions. there is a big problem in american music these days - it exists in rap, it exists in rock and punk.. wherever you look... people going on stage and performing yet they've got nothing to say. at least nothing worth hearing. what has happened? is this why the experience of the north american babylon has trapped us in our house of dread? perseph one has alot to say and i really look forward to hearing more. musically, it reminded me of stuff we used to hear from the on-u sound label. does anyone even remember that moment in time when the punks met the rastas at adrian sherwood's house and recorded those paranoid claustrophobic reggae sound system clashes during the downtime of public image ltd's metal box sessions? i found it most interesting when she finished her set rapping a cappella about venus and mars and the void and everything under and over and beyond the sun. oh, and regarding the degrassi high comment - she blows drake away.

we concluded the evening with MYDOLLS. this was a legendary houston post-punk band that existed from 1978-1986. the space upstairs at rudyards where the bands play used to be mydolls apartment. i wasn't really aware of mydolls in their time. i probably heard their name now and then in nj but i just didn't know. kirsten O has been playing their records on his post-punk show on KTRU (every tuesday at 7 pm CT - you should check it out) and that's where i first heard them. on tuesday this week he interviewed them and that is what led me out to this show. although the band ended in 1986 they get together every now and then to play benefit shows. their set consisted of an almost tribal post-punk that reminded me of the slits and gang of four and late period proletariat, although i doubt those bands were hearing each other at the time. lyrically they were very political (again - they actually had something to say!) but it was their next to last song that flashed me back 25 years and over 1600 miles away back to my high school basement bedroom in cranford nj. it was christmastime 1985 and i was listening to pat duncan's hardcore show on a thursday night on WFMU. he was playing nothing but hardcore and punk christmas music. there is a long tradition in punk of christmas songs and adopting christmas songs, this goes back to the politics inherent in punk. if you think of christmas carols as the original protest music i.e. the shepherds were sick and tired of being oppressed and paying taxes to the king and fighting the king's pointless wars. all they could do was hope and pray for a saviour to overthrow the system and lead them out of this babylon. that my friends, is what christmas carols are all about - ah, but i digress... so back to my story - i'm listening to this radio show and taping songs. i made a great 90 minute cassette of punk rock christmas songs. i still listen to this tape every year. for the most part i don't know who the artists on the tape are. but there was one song on this tape that still comes into my head on a semi-random basis. it was a song called christmas day and i've loved it for almost 24 years never knowing who sang it - UNTIL MYDOLLS PERFORMED IT! and it was an incredible punk rock moment. it was a feeling i've only experienced one other time in my life, that had something to do with the mekons and their 'new york' cassette. i'll save that story for another time. mydolls followed christmas day with a great cover of the fall classic totally wired. the good sized crowd singing the backing vocals.

-rich kimball

Sunday, September 27, 2009


live at the mink, houston tx 9-26-09

how i quit crack formerly
houston, now austin at $220/month
liquid sky beats cribbed from the normal
(it all goes back to the normal, look them
up i say)
drones and song
song and feedback
this korg synth says freedom
the make up glows like shiva
this is how we do that dance

tense did their thing
and first just me and jon read up front
then dom then dom then d...
sin realite
if you don't get this - i mean,
why the hell houston press?
why aren't you covering this?
why some post-punk transplants
from jersey need to scoop you?
tense is awesome once again
this is how we do that dance

voidmate - apologies..
its been a tough week.
hung a bit with ralf dead roses after party
dom future somethings did don rickles bit
said hello to jon the wiggins
met people we never before knew
(the importance of living)
missed voidmate. we really
wanted to hear voidmates cover
of 'ouija board, ouija board'
but alas, drove home in mad fog
288 to the city of enchantment

this is how we do that dance.

-sharpe james

Wednesday, September 23, 2009



lets start collecting marbles
turning sand into glass
25 lbs
ice blue
marbles for $42
its the stuff of our nuclear dreams
and the old rasta says:

Sunday, September 20, 2009


...and we live in a world where
people along the somalian coast
are dying of radiation sickness.

and you can't figure out why they are angry?

-sharpe james

Saturday, September 19, 2009


tonight @ the 423 gallery:

depeche mode 'black celebration'
!!! 'take ecstasy with me/get up'
the glove 'robert smith 1983 vocal demos'
u2 'war'
ultra vivid scene 'ultra vivid scene'
wire 'send'

and the night is still young

and the chorus goes -
ba ba ba ba ba bang!

Friday, September 18, 2009


its time to build this new language
we have no other choice

-sharpe james

Tuesday, September 15, 2009


@ mango's 9-14-09 houston tx

(note: blackie was sick so he had to cancel)..

jen and i started our evening by wandering over to half price books on westheimer. she was checking out books on philosophies of indian cooking. not recipes or anything - we have a copy of lord krishna's cuisine by yamuna devi so we are good there - just the ideas behind it. don't let anyone tell you cooking food is just cooking food. if that were true we'd all starve to death. i was immersed in the photo book yes rasta by patrick cariou. i found the book deeply inspiring (go and read the introductory essay, you'll see). we were both sad that we left empty handed (i should have bought it) but we're on the punk rock budget these days. so went and shared some hummus and headed to mango's.

A THOUSAND CRANES were much different this night than our previous encounters with them. travis performed with members of prince rama in an epic set of improvised mystic song that had me thinking about pharoah sanders hanging out with rasta sects in the hills of jamaica. and i do not mean that in a dub way or anything - but the feeling of otherness, the realization that the world is nothing more than illusion or a cruel practical joke perpetuated by some vast corporate entity on the peoples of the world who fall for it hook, line and sinker. and there was fire. and there were strobe lights firing back at the audience and it looked like travis was leaving his body. optical illusion or seeing some sort of truth i'd never noticed before?

PRINCE RAMA OF AYODHYA was a band i'd heard about from travis and other people in this community since we lost our jobs and started hanging out. they are a trio living in boston (though maybe not for long) made up of sisters tanaka and nimai larson and (secret weapon) michael collins. they handed out small, loud percussive instruments to the audience before their set (actually we reached into a magic bag and pulled them out) letting the audience totally in on the performance. their music was this total maelstrom of drums & drones & spiritual celebration mixed with sci-fi synths. it was like seeing a performance by krishna devotees on mars. it was both stunning and inspiring and its still going on in my head as i type this 10 hours later or so..

LORD JEFF is from northampton, massachusetts near where jen went to boarding school (and a member of lord jeff's girlfriend went to the same school - small world). lord jeff were like booker t & the mg's with a taste for modern r & b (to the point of brilliantly covering i'm n luv (wit a stripper) - if only mike jones was there and we could have screwed and chopped it..) a total garage band writing deceptively awesome songs. this band should play every new years eve celebration until the world ends - i mean, i can't stand new years eve but i could get up for this.

perhaps the highlight of the evening was afterwards, just hanging outside mango's on this warm late summers night with all these people who'd just played and we'd just met. talking about how much public school sucked (or how awesome it was). or how much private school sucked (or how awesome it was). telling tales out of school about born to run, florida, suicidal tendencies, thurston moore, jim jarmusch and college hockey. dude, that is what punk rock is about.

-rich kimball

Monday, September 14, 2009

Friday, September 11, 2009


8 years ago today were the 9/11 attacks. i witnessed this 10 miles away from the roof of the former balantine ale factory on raymond boulevard in newark, nj (at this time it was an independent chemical distributor selling materials for hair care products). jen was working in linden, nj at the time. we had not yet officially met.

about a month later i remember going to new york city to see a performance by joe strummer & the mescaleros. before the show i was wandering around union square reading placards made by the newly formed NOT IN OUR NAME group. as i was and am punk, this made a great impression on me as a voice of sanity and reason in an insane and evil world.

if anything since that day the world has gotten more insane and evil. the rastafarian concept of babylon is here (as in babylon is the place we are living in) and it is thriving. and we are witnessing this country fall apart before our very eyes.

the mescaleros opened their set with a long and tremendously moving instrumental version of the traditional song minstrel boy, a song which had been on their previous (and best) album 'global a go go'. coincidentally, a bagpipe version of this song was performed at the funeral of firefighters and police officers killed in the world trade center attack.


and to paraphrase the bad brains - lets leave this babylon.

-rich kimball


@423 gallery, lake jackson tx 9-10-09

it was a special occasion last night as friend of the 423 gallery drew j. returned to visit south texas. drew is currently living and working in ohio and has not had the opportunity to see the functioning synth punk of FISKADORO. but not only did he see the duo in fine form on their (literal) home carpet. he got to see them perform a set heavy with new songs (including penelope and back from j.a.)

since it was a party, IN THE POURING RAIN gave a dj set (they are thinking of maybe playing live in band form in the future) that included spins of 423 gallery faves like tortoise, singers & players, bauhaus, wire, split enz, black flag, and even the beatles.

-sharpe james

Tuesday, September 8, 2009


423 gallery labor day weekend playlist:

indian jewelry 'free gold'
fiskadoro 'the ballad of fiskadoro'
the clash 'super black market clash'
the clash 'from here to eternity'
alex chilton 'like flies on sherbert'
craig wedren 'lapland'
owen 'owen'
bright eyes 'digital ash in a digital urn'
desperacidos 'read english speak spanish'
interpol 'turn on the bright lights'
broken social scene 'you forgot it in people'
new order 'movement'
the cure 'seventeen seconds'
hood 'cold house'
new order 'retro: mike pickering club disc'
the glove 'blue sunshine' reissue (both discs)
prince 'around the world in a day'

Saturday, September 5, 2009


indian jewelry should think about doing a dub mix for their song nonetheless.

-rich kimball

Friday, September 4, 2009


so what if you were in a band
where you weren't the key member
and you didn't write the songs
or build the show flyers
could that help?...

just sayin'...


i ran this blank page
through a blinder
and it smelled of pasta
then salt
and peppermint
as if this was the world we knew.

Thursday, August 27, 2009


on friday august 28 it would be super happy fun land where COP WARMTH, SOMOSUNO, THE DELTA BLOCK, RAPEWORM will all be playing.

-sharpe james

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Friday, August 21, 2009


scene: at home in the 423 gallery, listening to the JAWBOX album for your own special sweetheart, while on the television set, the BEYONCE video for single ladies plays on mute.

jen: i feel like we're at a punk rock burlesque show.

i say nothing because there is nothing to be said.

-rich kimball



neon indian 'should have taken acid with you'

not really sure exactly what is up with neon indian. apparently they are a duo and they may be from austin and/or brooklyn (that is what their myspace says) though some say they are from houston. it doesn't really matter. this is just a really great track. they also have a song called 'deadbeat summer' which is really good as well but just not as summery as 'should have taken acid with you' despite its name.

the song reminds me of a story told by a friend of mine. this guy (said storyteller) used to take a lot of drugs. i mean tons of drugs. while living in new orleans he was dared to lick an entire page of acid tabs. and he did. he said it really didn't effect him much until one day he was walking down the street and he felt something weird in his head. like something inside had been switched off. he looked at a newspaper and realized he didn't remember anything for the last 6 months, since the day he licked the page of acid tabs.

-sharpe james


Saturday, August 15, 2009


@ mangos houston tx 8-14-09

it has been said this has been the hottest summer south texas has ever seen and this was another hot night. my usual parking space was taken so i had to find another spot. i went to half-priced books and bought a copy of jack kerouac's long lost and recently issued wake up: a life of the buddha which includes an introduction by preeminent religious scholar robert a.f. thurman who is the father of the actress uma thurman. this relates to the 423 gallery as jen FSKD went to boarding school in massachusetts with uma. also, professor thurman's wife is judith thurman who writes fashion articles for the new yorker. the 423 gallery/FISKADORO prides itself on being fashion forward.

i walked over to mangos and officially met bobby from //TENSE//, a band that has been captivating our living/working space in the past couple weeks. also spent some time with jon read from THE WIGGINS who were originally scheduled to play this show until he broke his arm. i hope he gets better soon since i was really looking forward to seeing him perform.

HOW I QUIT CRACK opened the proceedings with a short, woozy, epic (yes short and epic can go together if the performance is that good) and utterly mesmerizing set. tina kneeled on the stage, sang, played a korg synth, used a guitar for feedback and a drum machine played simple beats that stayed out of the way. it was really interesting watching the audience gather around as well, it was as if tina was leading a chorus of delay pedals that drew everyone to her. it was like she was playing sigils or something. the chaos is the magick. i spoke to her afterwards and apparently she's doing a lot of recording lately (check her youtube account for evidence of this - you won't be sorry). the 423 gallery looks forward to a record from her soon.

after HIQC performed, i spent time with phil of A THOUSAND CRANES talking about australia and being shocked at his unfamiliarity with legendary australian punk bands CELIBATE RIFLES & THE SAINTS. i'll need to correct that for him one of these days (note to self). as we were talking the next band - COP WARMTH - were setting up/tuning up off of the stage and on the dance floor and we kept moving back and back.. as they were setting up they kept playing (and we marveled at the number of guitar pedals they had. kevin shields would be envious) and making all sorts of noise and walking back and forth and around marking their territory.. finally they were all set up and as the drummer kicked into their first song the rest of the band went flying into the drum kit knocking it all over the floor - the drummer chased drums and hit everything in sight - people held the drums for him and this san diego gravity records style hardcore raged for the length of the set finally ending in a long section of bass feedback and more pounding on scattered broken drums... i heard someone wonder if they buy a new drum kit for each show. the music was raw and uncompromising and i enjoyed it immensely.

next up was the mighty //TENSE// filling in for THE WIGGINS. we've been obsessing over //TENSE// lately and they did not disappoint. they took back the stage and turned it into a dance party for the last days until the end of the world. the wax traxisms seemed more apparent now that i know the songs well but they are no mere copyists either. they have their own thing going and seem to be living in their own world (and you can say the same for HOW I QUIT CRACK) which is so important if you're going to be doing art. there is that old gospel song that washington dc's BEEFEATER covered on their house burning down album that goes "i'm going to live the life that i'm singing about in my song". this really seems to apply in the songs/presentations of //TENSE// & HOW I QUIT CRACK. this is the place every artist needs to be if they take their art seriously. this is what is meant by 'not selling out'. this is punk rock.

the last band was a trio from austin called MUTATING MELTDOWN. they consisted of a boy keyboard player, and girls on bass & drums. they played a innocent sort of new wave that would fit in well on k records (back when i lived in nj we referred to this as puppycore). they were really good and had an awesome stage presence. what was most fascinating about them is their tour schedule. they played thursday in mexico, friday in houston, tomorrow in little rock arkansas and sunday in iowa city ia before continuing on in minnesota and wisconsin.. it sounds like quite the adventure.

hey jon - get well soon!

-rich kimball

Friday, August 14, 2009


@ rudyards houston tx 8-13-09

we last witnessed DEAD ROSES a couple months back at their 7" record release show at rudyards. since then, DEAD ROSES side project AFTER PARTY has toured in an el camino and it seems DEAD ROSES has switched drummers, replacing matt with shane. while the show a couple months back was the best performance i've seen from anybody in years, this wasn't as life changing but will probably go down in houston annals as the most memorable show we will see in a long time.

DEAD ROSES rocked the house in their manner, but it was the moment when bronwyn wailed on ralf, knocking the tuning pegs on his bass and banging them off of his left eyebrow, leaving him dripping blood like a glam punk chuck wepner. it was the moment that changed this from a nice performance into a punk rock epic.

blood pouring down his face ralf took over the show never stopping to even wipe it away. "i'm crying tears of blood" he said and the set raged on, beautifully illustrating the tragedy that is DEAD ROSES. an uplifting bloody mess. glorious!

-sharpe james


//TENSE// will be pinch-hitting for an injured THE WIGGINS tonight at mangos. spread the word.

-sharpe james

Thursday, August 13, 2009


the weekend starts tonight with DEAD ROSES & THUNDERBOLT SUIT at rudyards.
tomorrow we have THE WIGGINS, HOW I QUIT CRACK & MUTATING MELTDOWN at mango's.
saturday is A THOUSAND CRANES, ANARCHITEX, ROOM 101, POLICE STATE AMERICA & THE DELTA BLOCK at super happy fun land (benefit show for sedition books).

-sharpe james

Monday, August 10, 2009


interview with A THOUSAND CRANES by rich kimball

A THOUSAND CRANES are a band that we at the 423 gallery have been raving about for a couple months now. we recently asked travis kerschen of ATC 10 questions.

what is sacred music?

It uses the music as a vessel for communion with what is held sacred by the artist. The musician tries to make good music, but pays equal attention to trying to attain a sacred state within or externally. I am inspired by Vajrayana (from Tibetan Buddhism) and so I try to put myself in a meditative state while writing and performing the music, and the context of the music is on a sacred theme from that belief system (lovingkindness, interdependence, compassion, equanimity, peace, impermanence, etc.). What is sacred can be defined as what is held as an ideal state of humanness or worldness by an individual.

who/what/where does A THOUSAND CRANES find common ground?

A Thousand Cranes finds common ground in desire to use music to transcend, in noise/experimental music, in improvisation, in creative expression. We find common ground in conscientious living, music, arts of all forms, Houston, TX.

how does A THOUSAND CRANES succeed?

A Thousand Cranes succeeds by keeping up with the path we choose both in artistic creation and in every day life.

where does A THOUSAND CRANES fail?

We fail when we fall into the "ego" trap, and become concerned about our reputation or popularity or turn out at a show.

how has the houston music scene evolved over the years, and where is it at now?

It has evolved very nicely, thank you very much. From sharecropper blues to third ward blues to folk to tejano to rock and roll and psychedelic rock to funk and disco to punk to noise and experimental to rap and r&b. All these musical forms keep evolving, and the artists share a cultural background and musical lineage.

how does meditation factor into the music of A THOUSAND CRANES?

Many of the songs are created as meditations and when they are performed I try to put myself in a meditative state. The meditative state can sometimes be deep and trancelike, and sometimes it isn't. The meditations are generally buddhist themed.

who/what influenced you to make music?

Specifically, my family influenced me to make music. My family is very creative and expressive. As for bands or artists that have influenced me to make music, which haven't? And the artists/genres who influenced A Thousand Cranes, include Pharoah Sanders, Alice Coltrane, Soweto music, Ali Farka Touré and Boubacar Traoré, Yoko Ono, Indian Jewelry, Mexican and Latin folk music (huasteca, huapango, huarache, son veracruzano, etc,) African music, South Asian folk music, reggae, Swarm of Angels, Philip Glass, John Cage, Rusted Shut, A Pink Cloud, hip hop, jazz, free jazz

tell us about your song 'wounded crane'?

"Wounded Crane" is a compassionate embrace of our dark side, our ugly side, our feared side, our fearful side. It is an acceptance of what it means to be completely human.

describe houston to someone who has never been to texas?

Houston is a subtropical humid city. It is large. It was built on marshes and bayous full of alligators, pumas, and all sorts of wildlife. It is the fourth largest city in the United States. We have the Houston Rockets.

describe america - on its present course- in 5 years time?

The powerful forces of capitalism and industrialization have been destroying the collective sensitivity to others in America for a long time. We appear to be approximating a third world country with the disparity between the wealthy and the poor. Our endless wars and imposed fixation on terror and security is pushing us into cultural neurosis and paralysis. On the positive side, it is destroying itself like all empires do. And with it's death it is possible for a healthier society to emerge. In 5 years America will see more bicyclists and people recycling more because of economic necessity. Middle class people will be more conscientious about what they are spending their money on.

A THOUSAND CRANES will be performing at a benefit for sedition books on saturday august 15th @ super happy fun land in houston. for more information visit the ATC myspace:


the mysterious ambient noise of m-laab is finally in the building.

what will the public think?

-sharpe james

Saturday, August 8, 2009


@ notsuoh houston tx 8-6-09

a hot texas evening began with a video projection of dancing cranes and recordings of A THOUSAND CRANES soundtracking the piece. the images were washed out and mesmerizing. and occasionally playful or threatening. the same video then played while the bands played later in the night, adding an appropriate apocalyptic edge (given the respective histories of the names of the 2 bands) to the proceedings.

423 gallery house band FISKADORO took the stage and performed a sloppy but very well received 6 song set of synth informed dance punk. there was much dancing in the crowd and afterwards many kind words were given to the duo - some of the show goers found them reminiscent of the human league. and considering the band covered the human league song seconds this seemed appropriate. the bartenders said they sucked. you just can't please everyone.

A THOUSAND CRANES followed up FSKD with an incredible set of their sacred music. this had quite a different feel than the show a couple weeks ago at mango's. i really can't place why - but the mood was shifted in some way. it was just as awesome and inspiring but in another way that i cannot even articulate. jen kimball of FSKD suggested the music of ATC to be like trance music but only with the opposite effect. it was an inclusive, galvanizing performance that suggested a future of beauty and peace. ATC guitar player phil deserves a special mention for his tasteful use of guitar feedback which adds so much to the presentation.

after seeing A THOUSAND CRANES a couple of times in the past couple of weeks we wonder why the local media doesn't talk more about this band. i guess that is why this blog exists, to fix things that are being overlooked.

-sharpe james

Thursday, July 30, 2009


One autumn day in 1983 I was accompanying my parents on a shopping trip to the Short Hills Mall (although my memory is probably faulty, it was more likely Menlo Park). Browsing through the music section of whatever chain bookstore we were in I came across a rather large yet mysterious book called International Discography of the New Wave. I asked my parents if they would buy this for me and they did. I remember wanting to look at it on the drive home but knowing I’d only get carsick if I opened it.

The book was exactly what the title described, lists of thousands of New Wave/Punk/Hardcore/Industrial/Synth-Pop bands and every record they had released, from albums to 12” singles, EPs, 7” singles, cassette only releases and bootlegs. Lists of the personnel and how they changed over the years and the other bands the individuals may have been a part of. The text was set in that CRT typeface that even in the fall of 1983 seemed both ancient and futuristic at the same time.

Throughout my High School years and beyond I’d spend countless nights reading about these thousands of bands, many who only released one cassette, unlikely to be heard by anyone other than the friends of the band. The idea of this seemed both incredibly lonely and yet empowering. It was reporting from a world I lived in and was familiar with but was still unknown to me.

The entire book was laden with the sense of dread that informed the post-punk years. This book taught me what a band could consist of. A singer and a synth player could be considered a band. And ‘tapes’ could be considered a valid instrument. It was (and still is) a strange sort of Bible that ignored all but Revelations and seemed to document the end of the world. It was my own version of the Dead Sea Scrolls and to this day it still has news and ideas to report that I’d somehow missed before.

Note: After a quick search on the internet I see the book is out of print and selling for $200. Also, leafing through the book tonight I came across the entry for R.E.M., who at the time of the publishing were an obscure band from Athens, GA who had only released the Radio Free Europe/Sitting Still single and had just changed their name to Ego K. Apparently that name change didn’t quite take. Would R.E.M. be remembered today if they had changed to Ego K?

Its strange looking at this book after all that has transpired in music and civilization over the past quarter century. I first started reading/glancing over it as I was just forming my opinions about the world. Although I enjoyed the Burundi beats of Adam & the Ants/Bow Wow Wow and I was getting interested in punk (The Clash, Sex Pistols, Dead Kennedys) this book was my true introduction to what I later understood to be experimental music and the dreader than dread mindset of the post-millennium era which I would later understand a hell of a lot more than I did the pre-millennium of which it spoke and informed. The same sense of dread we feel in this time of Economic uncertainty (collapse?) and wars in the east existed then in the form of Cold War paranoia and propaganda and economic crises in America and Europe, and the Soviet Union which would collapse in a few years time.

I like to speak of music criticism as a secret history or club where the lesson is more than the sum of its parts e.g. when you read a review of a record you need to understand where the writer is coming from. Everybody’s taste is different. A good writer who dislikes a record should be able to describe the music in such a way that you can determine you’d like the record despite the negative review. This is reading between the lines, understanding the critical codes and symbols within the review. As a teenager reading the International Discography of the New Wave which is, in essence a book of lists with a rare bit of trivia included, I was forced to use my imagination to figure out what most of these bands sounded like with my only clues being band name, song titles, record labels, instrumentation and country/location. And this was decades before the idea of every band in the world having a myspace page. At the time there was literally no way I could ever hope to hear 99% of the bands cited in the book. Yet still I knew.

The practice of Chaos Magick includes drawing symbols of your own devising on a piece of paper to conjure the desired result. The drawing is referred to as a sigil. Perhaps in some way the various entries in the International Discography of the New Wave were sigils. And this is how I knew what a band like Soft Verdict from Belgium may have sounded like. What would Austin Osman Spare think of this? On many pages of the book there were strange graphics of x’s and spirals and strange fish. What did they all mean? More sigils? They were like ancient cave drawings and they added to the mystery and tone and that strange loneliness of the book.

There are over 7500 bands listed in the book. They represent 30 countries including Iran, East Germany and ‘Red’ China. While at first glance 7500 seems like a large number, to think they are spread out over such an area as large as the Planet Earth demonstrates how unusual it was for a punk or new wave band to exist. In the late 1980’s and early 90s I worked at a market research firm in Westfield, NJ making phone calls to people around the United States, surveying them about their radio listening patterns. You could always tell if they lived in a rural area based on the name of the street they lived on. The more colloquial the name of the street was, the smaller the town was. Calling these people late in the evening (we’d call until 10pm local time) I’d picture an empty house with one light on; I could picture the telephone as it rang, hanging on the wall in the kitchen (illustrations of log cabins and birds on the wallpaper). Nobody home. Probably spending the evening at the local bar. And even now I can remember trips in a plane, flying at night over rural New England seeing a couple of houses lit up while looking out the window and then nothing for miles. This is the impression I get while reading discographies of these obscure bands. Bands that needed to travel a distance if they wanted to find a like-minded band. It showed a sense of commitment that may never be witnessed again in the United States and Europe.

Reading about these bands now, over 25 years after the fact, an odd sort of terror can come over you as you are reading about a time that no longer exists. Pre-internet could be Before Christ considering how much the world has changed. We are reading in this book about a dead time. An analog time that is gone and when we picture it we can only see it in sepia-toned images. Like the aged pages of the book I’ve turned so many thousands of times.

-Rich Kimball

Monday, July 27, 2009


CD REVIEW: //TENSE// memory cd (2009 desire records)

discussion between sharpe james (THE SPIES) and jen & rich kimball (FISKADORO) at the 423 gallery this evening.

sharpe: someone needs to notify the systems of romance blog about these guys.
jen: "give me back my life/it belongs to me"
rich: may i have some more wine please? thank you.
sharpe: i think they played with WILDERNESS last year. that makes a terrifying sort of sense.
rich: dread.
jen: they'd probably 'get' our cover of seconds. if you know what i mean.
rich: we sure do jen... we sure do...
jen: "i never want to sink down to your reality"
sharpe & rich: yeah!
rich: i bet this band still uses land lines.
sharpe: work hard short life reminds me of the first 1000 HOMO DJ'S 12". that is a good thing.
rich: i have a theory (i've told this to jen) that the original european synth bands from like 1979-1984 were so convinced of that idea that WW3 would be fought in the european theater that all of that music was about that. see PETE SHELLY's homosapien video and even the let me go video by HEAVEN 17. yeah, seconds may have been about the JFK assassination but it was so much more than that. people seem to forget that for several years we were convinced the end of the world was only minutes away. i think that feeling is coming back.
jen: this reminds me of THE THE song on the some bizarre album (1981) which i don't really think sounds like THE THE. and also THE LOVED ONE, so they definitely have a good techno history behind them. also the title reminds me of no name no slogan (ACID HORSE), plus they kind of sound like that, going back to the alan jourgensen thing.
sharpe: are //TENSE// retro-futurist?

perpetual swim: "you walk the corporate ladder/be all that you can be/when money is all that matters/you sacrifice your individuality"

rich: i feel like i'm in my room in cranford nj in 1984 listening to the seton hall radio station (WSOU-FM) at 1 a.m. this is before it went metal and single-handedly destroyed college radio.
jen: [audible gasp] you are such a hater. i love the metal WSOU.
sharpe: i really can never get tired of dub echoes on the vocals.
rich: it's got that same sonic terrorism feel the MARK STEWART & MAFFIA as the veneer of democracy starts to fade record had yet it sounds nothing like it. it's both scary and beautiful.

rich: when our digital cable freezes up, for a split second i think its due to an electro-magnetic pulse and i instinctively start waiting for the flash and the explosion.
sharpe: have you ever seen the movie threads?
jen: (talking about //TENSE// again) its brand new its retro. its awesome.
sharpe: they lose points by having back to back songs start with the letter L. but if that is going to be the worst mistake on this...
rich: i think i heard one lives in houston and the other lives in new york city. but i could be wrong. as we all know my sister knows stephen merritt. i think he'd be scared by this band but you know i probably don't know what i'm talking about.
jen: listening to this recording reminds me of why THE MAGNETIC FIELDS went so horribly awry.
rich: thank god there are no guitars on this. have i told you how sick i am of the guitar lately?? the next person that says FISKADORO reminds them of SONIC YOUTH gets a punch in the mouth. no offense to sonic youth... we love them but...
sharpe: this is the music we need to be playing when we burn down the offices of goldman-sachs.
jen: is it apocalyptic enough? yeah, i think it is.. i think it is...
sharpe: do you guys have any weed?

rich: i think my friend d-jam of the mighty M-LAAB would consider this music thin. i think most music isn't thin enough. this answers that. this is fucking skeletal, its like the x-ray of your body as the flash hits and then you're vaporized. remember the day after? that movie plays like a documentary today!
jen: i love this so.. i'm so mad i couldn't see them last week. i was looking for a job and then i found a job...
sharpe: its sexy. its scary. its apocalyptic as fuck. its music for the times we live in but nobody seems to be brave enough to admit. "body to body. lips to lips." 2009 is 1984. the world ends tonight!
jen: can we listen to some HEAVEN 17 after this?
rich: whatever you want tiger..


Saturday, July 25, 2009


@ mango's houston tx 7-24-09

A THOUSAND CRANES opened up with a brave set of burning incense, sacred drones, guitar feedback and travis kerschen expressing complete and total love for all humanity & animals.. and forgiveness of all abusers and enemies. his vocal style is somewhat reminiscent of jon vance of the legendary late 80s/early 90s hardcore band moss icon. his stage presence is undeniably intense, just staring at the audience through dark glasses while beats and noise envelop us. one of these days they will release an album, and based on the cdr's i've heard, it will be tremendous.
AFTER PARTY is a side project of ralf armin's amazing band dead roses. this was drum machine driven and made me think of the music wire may have made in that 7 1/2 year period between '154' and 'the ideal copy'. they just came back from a short tour and were really strong. this is totally a dance band and i hope to hear more from them soon.
FUTURE BLONDES is based around houston legend domokos. when i started hanging out a few months ago dom was the first person i met. meeting him has opened doors. name dropping him has gotten us bank loans. name dropping him has gotten us better drugs. name dropping him has gotten us locked in an infamous mexican prison. right after i met him he left town for a few months, but he's returned and last night was his first show since coming back. as he chanted like jah shaka in an echo chamber, a guy alternating between a moog liberation and a fucked up spray painted guitar played with drum sticks, and tina from how i quit crack niced up the dance.. it was scary and awesome (in the original sense of the word). this was the band that should've played that scene in 'fire walk with me' where the dialogue had to be subtitled. i felt wasted afterwards. and it was a good feeling.
i had never seen //TENSE// perform but they were really great. a boy girl duo, playing behind programmed rhythms attacking drum pads.. i originally started thinking heaven 17, but ralf armin corrected me saying it was more german than that. think some kraftwerk offshoot i missed out on, the beats were motorik.. maybe a touch of soft cell but way more aggro then marc almond ever got. even when almond was fucked up on drugs. afterwards, the gentlemen half of //tense// gave me a cdr that i'm listening to as i write and its really good. will discuss this in the future.

also, i don't want to neglect mentioning DJ CEEPLUS BAD KNIVES who did a dj set between bands. for some reason this reminded me of the time brandon pkH and i saw sonic boom do a solo spectrum set in nyc w the long lost philly noise band un & a duo of alan licht & loren mazzacane-conners opening. in between those acts dj spooky spun an awesome set. dj ceeplus's set was nothing like (never seen spooky scratch) that but it worked in the same way. i don't believe i'm explaining it well... i'd suggest you see him dj. i mean, that fucked up intro to 'oh bondage up yours' would've been worth the price of admission even if the show wasn't free.

ok. yeah...

-sharpe james