Ypsmael – Porcupine – Smokey’s Bar, October 26

It gives me a nice peaceful feeling spacey weird stuff punching pounces of sound out of odd objects slippery cymbals clash on the table the pipes of Pan in the song it’s a surreal singalong in swing back to get a better sound the abounding panorama the sexual innuendo bended notes flailing and flaking and flashing what if the world explodes a day of pain stuck with a pin in its stomach until it bleeds more surreal sound what if a porcupine pops its quills in my hands and does head stands the sound will still rise to the skies


Dave Gross & Steve Norton – Wild As Willy Wonka – Weirdo Records, October 21



This puts me in a peaceful mood just two tuneful sax lines linear buzzing like cicadas on August trees the Om chant the splitting of sugar cane the forest in the rain and I pause and wonder my head is hard my hands are soft the record room is warm as are the sounds turning to clarion trumpets glistening with spittle Dave’s gold wedding ring round ring finger just stays still as the others jitter Steve gets growling wild but tame as a fox in a strawberry patch and now they echo loud grand and glorious Dave with heavy harmonics it’s the intro to Coltrane’s Meditations now butchering Butcher slow undulating waves of sheets of sound Glossolalia of brass and pads


Michael Passarini’s New England Underground Music Fest Documentary

Michael Passarini is just a scrappy guy from Lexington, but the intelligence of his film on the recent underground fest indicates there’s more than a surface semblance in his name to the great Piero Pasolini. Like the latter, he gets close up and slow to the juicy details, so you can see, feel and hear the grain of wood, the shine of steel.

The Underground Music Festival was a long, two-day extravaganza, in a claustrophobic space with crowds. Passarini allows you to experience a condensed best of it, with an encapsulation that has the feel of a whole, and also intimates the feel of the New England underground music scene itself, in all its grit and basement glory.

Ultra Bide (Japan) – DNA vs DNA – c (Alternative Tentacles, 2013)


When I first saw Hide, a strange, good-looking man outside The Midway Cafe in Jamaica Plain, he looked at me with a glint in his eye. He had me won over even before I heard his music. He told me his age, 52, a little greater than mine, and I knew we were the same generation, even to the most influential album from when we were ten years old, Yes’s Close to the Edge.


We both were hit by the crossfire of prog and punk in the ’70s, and we both came out of it scathed in different ways. But that’s a long story… I learned he had put together Ultra Bide in Kyoto in 1978; then I realized he was only a teenager then. Then it struck me – this was the Japanese Sex Pistols. They were there. When it was happening. What’s more, their work has continued to evolve, through periods in NYC and back to Japan.


DNA vs DNA -c has the energy of new wave condensed into a 21st century microchip. It’s got complex rhythms and space-age guitar swipes, napalm-scorched harmonies. You can hear the last 45 years of rock and youth culture whizzing by your eyes like you just got shot in a foxhole in Vietnam.


I saw their headline performance that night, and it blew my mind. What’s even sweeter, the twenty-something kids in the crowd were bopping around like it was a high school dance, or CBGB’s in 1977, the year punk broke. It was all of a piece, like a swath of satin fabric they proceeded to rip to shreds. This all happened of a period of fifteen minutes. Ultra Bide condenses epic energy into poignant, touching, funny haiku.

Ultrabide (Japan) – Deep Purple Sex Pistol Sabbath – Midway Cafe, October 12



Raw blistering energy from this Kyoto trio razor sharp knife scrapes on silver surfaces clanging metallic bell sounds wild motor car engine fury whirligig whirlpool bedlam a drumbeat like stuff tumbling down a staircase bone fide punk feel but a mad scientist’s experimentation multidimensional like orbiting planets or shifting tectonic plates in an earthquake a driving force the trio at sixes and sevens but all of a fabric a wild striped satin stripped to shreds but coalescing again with the touch of a magic wand anime magic swirling demoness queen sonic lust forever Japan



Aykroyd – We Can Feel the Warm Energy – Midway, October 12



Dan sounds like U2 on guitar kind of arena spacey with Minutemen blurs on Kaplan’s axe like a photo out of focus this song’s called I Was and it sounds like Guerilla Toss with a punk beat Nick Neuberg’s good on drums with a rubber tree beat Something Happened is next a beat with a hex weird and eerie with a gin cocktail bass the drums just pump the fuel through the engine which wheels and whirs

Now they got funk and machine gun attack the girls are bobbing their heads heads roll it’s a good sound lots of chugging and bubbling unexpected beats and bombs scratch effects gun powder and small explosives
Animals this one’s got a classic groovy R & B feel it’s like dancing in the gym with your girlfriend lethargic energy gets lysergic the band keeps bopping we can feel the warm energy

Acidosis – Hanging From a Rope – Midway Cafe, October 12


Acidosis is a disease in my veins electric guitar strings cause me pains deep in my bloody gut there are songs to sing and then I hear the telephone ring God on the line I tell him to climb a pine Katzman thinks he’s God maybe he is just give me another gin fizz

This one’s about Star Wars he says but I don’t see him wearing a fez just a black tank top then they stop

Fucked up fun on bass does the guy think this is a race just one look at his face his mustache all over the place and the guitarist with long hair the size of a bear are any of them queer you’ll find out if you give them a beer and the strings sound good to the end of the neighborhood shiny warm and rich man this is a bitch now the rhythm is chugging what product line are they plugging must be a line of dope ’cause they’re hanging from a rope

Punk rock thrashers they eat bacon and rashers they have rashes on their skin that look like Ho Chi Min chicka chicka string line with a wiry finish fine like Chardonnay and I just say hey I’m having a good time on top of that I rhyme

Steve Norton & Matt Samolis – Foamtoberfest – Abandoned Bear Cages, October 9



It sounds like Schoenberg’s Verklaerte Nacht the early romantic string sextet with new tinges of dissonance about the woman with her new love saying to him she is with child from another man and the night transforms her and the child becomes his Shoe the flute plays against type and is the man Steve the clarinet is the woman whose baby is transformed she is more comfortable than he is so I see the work is about making the man happy because it’s by a guy he has a beautiful daughter Nuria who married a famous Italian composer one of my favorites Luigi Nono a composer just like me but I compose words about composed music
But Steve and Shoe are improvising and I am improvising so are we really composers that’s a conundrum