Guerilla Toss After signing with Tzadik, music Czar of

Guerilla Toss

After signing with Tzadik, music Czar of New York John Zorn’s label, and recording their debut CD for them, Peter Negroponte, told Zorn where he could go and insisted on putting out the G Toss’s own mix instead of the remix Zorn wanted. On first listen, you can see why Zorn freaked out. It’s muddy, murky, and fucked up. I had to turn it off way before the second song ended. So I tried again. “This is groovy,” I said to myself. Lightning bolts blasting the roots of trees. But I had to turn it off again after the third or fourth song. This is paranoid psychotic stuff.

An analysis of music like this is for fools, and a 49-year-old like me isn’t even going to try. This is the new generation’s music, kid’s stuff if you like, and it’s the kids who are going to find a place for it in our culture, like they found a place for the band’s live shows, as hardworking as James Brown. They are a phenomenon, and it’s a sexy, cerebral, wild time and scene whenever they play at a basement house show, at cop-killing volumes.

This is an all-star band, and that’s their one liability. “Too many cooks spoil the broth,” and that happens sometimes. But today’s music is more about process than project, giving the fans a chance to jump into the act, where everyone’s a star.

Negroponte is a great artist, just like a great jazz musician. Simon Hanes, bassist, is a sexy, Robert Mapplethorpe of rock and roll, and eat your heart out if you never got to see him play on stage in his birthday suit. This is a band of personalities. Guitarist Arion Shafiee gives it a sexy look and sound, cute-as-a-button girl-next-door singer Kassie Carlson can be savage or sweet. And synth guy Ian Kovac is a hero of integrity, roping the whole thing together with blankets of buzz. I won’t tell you how to judge this music. Just buy it. 


Deep Thoughts Deep Thoughts JP on an early April

Deep Thoughts


Deep Thoughts JP on an early April afternoon, just before five, the sun still shining on the tiled floor: among their large and varied holdings of LPs, two Pink Fairies LPs, an early ’70s English psychedelic group with grinding guitars heavier than Led Zeppelin. Sit down on the light gold velvet couch, behind the antique trunk covered with left-of-center magazines, glance over to the other side of the store, with The Beatles’ red album, and an obscure Blind Faith.


Behind, on the back wall, the CDs, fewer in number, but just as varied and surprising. Check out the new Sun City Girls singles collection. Bounce back to the LPs on the other side, for the new Flaming Dragons of Middle Earth album, brilliant Western-Mass. stars of outsider music. Nick Williams and Peter Negroponte, the owners, already have the latest new stuff in noise and weird on vinyl, and they’re starting to get new CDs. But used stuff will always be among the great things they have to offer. And they are very liberal as to what they accept from local sellers, whether it’s Duke Ellington, Ahmad Jamal, or Alice Cooper.


“We want to be the link between In Your Ear and Weirdo,” two stores in Cambridge focusing respectively on ’70s rock and cutting edge experimental, says Peter, drummer for local psych/cut-and-paste rockers Guerilla Toss. But Deep Thoughts is a more pleasant environment, spacious and cozy. Part of the experience is just being there.


Nick is the founder of Cave Bears, a duo featuring him and whatever musician friend is around him at the time. He also co-founded the label Feeding Tube, so he’s an insider. So, when I asked him what he expected the half-life of the store to be, he had no trouble saying, “I expect it to be around until I retire.”


Peter and Nick bring complementary ethics to the store, which are reflected in their music. They both have many connections, but Nick’s music is more community based, where Peter’s has a wider appeal in the hip rock world, so the store has a way of bringing worlds together and building community. Already it is doing good business, and in two years they expect to double their holdings.


The two started talking about the idea on a tour early last fall, but nothing was done until February. Then at the end of winter, they had the space, at 138b South Street, and in five weeks it was up and running.


Deep Thoughts also has a nice collection of art on the walls, with a stuffed-animal assemblage and painting by local artist Lucy Watson. And they have about two shows in the basement every week. And this isn’t your average house show dingy basement. It’s clean and painted, with funky murals on the walls.


Deep Thoughts is a one-stop Mecca for people, art, and music. With JP already becoming a burgeoning cultural society, it’s bound to boom, and open up new doors to musical cross-pollination, and give the neighborhood a shot in the arm of love and excitement. Stop by any day from 12-8.


Arkm Foam Foam… advancing and receding on the shoreline.

Arkm Foam


Foam… advancing and receding on the shoreline. It’s where the sea breaks free of its wateriness, and becomes part of the atmosphere. It’s where Adam Kohl draws the human element out of his sound, whether the funky, industrial chaos of Bang Bros, his duo with Mark Johnson, or the psychedelic romance of Peace, Loving he does with his fiancée, Kate Lee. He can test the threshold of intensity, in his wheelbarrow/bass clarinet project Farmhands, or be surprisingly funny, with his bass guitar loops and blips when he joins Nick Williams’s Cave Bears.


Yes, Foam is everywhere, flipping the State on its head, turning it into the music of the great Woodstock festival late last summer: all kinds of disparate music somehow reconnected back to his dream of music as sheer expression, the expression of an evolving spirit. “Will is strong enough to change the world”, he believes. And it’s what his music offers, each performance a special exhibit of his powerful vision, in its various stages of ferment. Sometimes it’s a brew delightfully seasoned with hops, sometimes it’s green and astringent, showing you the angst that is at the base of all his creation, his blithe disposition notwithstanding. And it’s always about foam,  mounting in the glass under the tap, to be passed around. His new LP is The Foam Doesn’t Fall Far from the Shore (Hot Releases).

THE FLASH notes on the Boston scene Gordon

THE FLASH notes on the Boston scene

Gordon Marshall

volume 2

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Keith Fullerton Whitman

Goethe Center, June 20

propellers in the sunset

Keith with the Whitman beard ablaze in the Susquehanna sunset the blurred blasts of the succulent synthesizer whirred psycho swirling heavy rock busted stone sapphire veins in the mountains chill buzz a blade in the neck bleeding sound of chewy charcoal brilliant treble hum and buzzing echoes the kit a mess of wires in something female and it’s calm and tense at once as the boom bass advances brigadiers in the backfield as grenades come raining down and I listen marimba tones on horizon thumb piano it’s Java in the village

Sgt Pepper drumbeat shimmering cymbals heavy thuds harmonic strafe of fire from tank in the Vietnam jungle racing in pace to helicopter speed propellers in the sunset and the buzz shakes the room like a frappe machine spilling out sword tips in space the bottom falls out of the rotovator at Playland in Rye, New York quiet as the kit shuts down and the beat rocks on spinning into silence but the debacle continues and the drumbeat pulses into spaceout funk jimmying the psychic door African Zen reggae nothing but the beat and the creaking of hinges it gets uneasy like a wet sweater but the weave’s pulled off and I’m naked in the sun

Donna & Davindar

Jacques Undeground, June 21

silence of sweet dreams

This is crazy stuff the wowing and the blowing of electronics through the amp wary bari blasting icy like dry ice after a wedding reception at Les Jardins de Tuileries the two fused like man and bride the bride a beast an ox plowing the fields strangely peaceful like sunset over wheat and the bari barely audible for the blast

Strafe of sound light squeegee on a windshield Albert Ayler’s ghost madder than the Mad Hatter harmonic haze of overblow a flood of roiling water through sewer pipes into the street abating into the silence of sweet dreams

Cathy Cathodic

Jacques Underground, June 21

goddess in rose clouds

Faster than a speeding RZA on a speed train she strides before the black curtain green dress reggae trumpet sultry lilt in voice long auburn tresses in the way of her face she dips and swivels still with gestures of her fingers pointing out the points of the rap and the rhythm switches like the switch in her hips brash and sulky the belts of the blues as she twists in high heel shoes almost quiet with a Betty Boop squeak riffing on one note getting soft and sweet tilting her neck and the trance pulse of the tone with dramatic drums and ear piercing scream

Don Cherry style peeps on horn with a funky stride and she’s taking a ride on a horse through Elysian fields sexy as Lady Godiva a goddess in rose clouds pastured with punctuation of trumpet and she’s trilling like Gwen Stefano she’s just a girl shouting out sister on the picket line get your share shaking so softly her waist and the free jazz trumpet

The Gondoliers (New Hampshire)

Jacques Underground, June 21

bunch of bumblebees

The lights bright flash on and it’s a Japanese acid riff with punk punch John with dark glasses and yellow cape Devo and Van Halen meet in a dark alley Brendan’s a burly farmer on the drums rolling the sticks like he’s rolling a plow through the vegetables of early summer

Guitarist slapping guitar punching keys on the synth and the drumbeat’s a slingshot thud the synth rings in the damp air loud as a bunch of bumblebees John shouts now on a soapbox

This one has a roll to it like a boat on the waves seamen chanting a shanty busting moves under signal stars the silver drum kit brilliant and shining in the stage lights nasty as an iodized cut the ringing guitar

Play a song about prison tonight there’s gonna be a jailbreak the head-bang stomp through the bars of cell block A and the rhythm simmers to low boil buzz but the rugged stomp reigns like a king in Renaissance France

The Queen Is Dead drums searing song of synth sampled guitar John striding offstage onto floor Brendan hammering nails into toms a wild carpenter

Electroshock number electrodes on zombies out of Clockwork Orange

THE FLASH notes on the Boston scene Gordon

THE FLASH notes on the Boston scene

Gordon Marshall

volume 1

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Arvid Noe

Discovery Zone, June 15

liquid metal

Punk but it’s got a classic acid feel drums like a rolling train like Lightning Bolt after smoking some good dope haze of cloud smoke U2 style guitar shimmers like Boz Boorer in Morrissey’s Billy Budd trance pulse

Ethan Parcell

Weirdo Records, June 17

five songs about power lines


Cowboy on the corral with his cowboy music he is the lineman for the county and he’s bopping on the drums as the eerie mood music plays two against three on the littlest cymbal in the world very peaceful makes me feel like dreaming of the prairie where the prairie dogs roll with the tumbleweed on the road chill pulse bloops on Casio foot pounding mallet on Samsonite suitcase


I saw a pet pig in The Fens a small animal let off leash circling his owner and looking up for approval segueing to alto clarinet overblows deep tones to sea sounds or barrels rolling in an alley hard to tell I’d say barrels in a steel warehouse industrial sounds electronic beep clarinet honk mellow Eric Dolphy liquid and sweet like Steve Norton smooth pattern intervals and ripe plum sounds against the sea national anthem tones and fire alarm buzz harmonics getting deeper and sweeter again


Old radio shack style cassette player nice piano music in the background pulls out brushes to brush butter on the chicken nice electronic floogling synthetic violin-like sound work on the kit with the cozy crazy gift shop music and the psychy foghorn out of sync with the brushwork choppy and childlike getting defter and surprising with syncopation a la Monk shimmering electric guitar vibes and the push me pull you of the traps like Rhys Chatham or the privet on Cape Cod

Tsons of Tsunami

Discovery Zone, June 18

sour tsunami

Wipeout the guitar a sour tsunami, squiching flashing wowing bending catching a wave a groove chicka-chicka chopsticks western obbligato ringing buzz changing jangle stop catching nails on the architectural facade

Ethan banging drums like Indian tom toms surf punk rockabilly in high gear

Slow surf Hawaiian luau loa round neck naked dark honey breasts dancing in straw skirts and the bashing guitar at the bash round the fire at the beach and the bluesy beat on drums lazy bass nasty screech and cool groove shimmering echo church chords diabolical

Skipping stones across the river the beat goes on the hop skip and jump the round robin in circles beating against the feeder and the windowpane

Surf’s back, bitch, and it’s happening with a beat bounding around the ground and the guitar is all over the place up and down hanging ten Dick Dale over hill Dale Evans on horse in the valley shooting her gun

Simon’s superstar bow and rawhide riff goes down to cowboy town slow single low notes plucked Arion on bass turns to the wall like he’s leading the cows home at sundown and Simon is the setting sun ablaze on the horizon

Crazy frenetic acid The Beach Boys never did this it’s Thai stick tie one on the beaming notes interspersed with their shadows turning to shining chords

Tiger Hatchery (Chicago)

Discovery Zone, June 18

extra sensory perception

Cool trio of drums sax guitar flutter on tenor and honk heavy dull thuds on drums guitar sketching traceries abstract pastels casual but tense they do their own thing saxist zens out in space guitar harmonics roiling tension tranquilized like an animal with a needle struts and pecks on sax miming drum pecks strangely serene makes me think of girls and slow hum with rattle of drum lots of tense stuff on drums using sticks as mutes bending the sound of the heads scritchy scratching on sax nice harmonic blend of three instruments tails like a blazing comet with sax

This issue is dedicated to Mark Johnson, who gave me the idea

THE FLASH notes on the Boston sceneGordon MarshallVolume

THE FLASH notes on the Boston scene

Gordon Marshall

Volume 3

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Loudville (Northampton)

Discovery Zone, June 22

black ravens interzone


Loudville is soft and mellow in a nice way fruit chew sour bite to the singer’s vocals sometimes I wish I was in love so do I but I am and the bass beats slowly


Drummer enters guitar strums with energy unleashed she slows down the pace and picks up the beat two sticks together in the woods starting a fire and she’s the band type of Ringo at times with the English march she closes the lid on the simmering pot and it boils up and down and the fuzz wah on the guitar is cool like an ice storm in a fire


Triple play in the next like palm trees in the Pacific dropping coconuts but it’s cowboy too kai-yai-yippy-yayay


The rhythm picks up like a posse and it’s a groove trippy flowers in the sun


But the drums batter on she’s waving her hair like a mop looks good in her body physical but suave


Andrea Pensado & Walter Wright

Weirdo Records, June 24

ask Venessa


Gamelon gong sound Andrea blitzes with fuzz sneaky alarm buzz bubbling static it’s an amphitheater echoing in the dust of the desert Aida starts to sing sexual in innuendo she traces her fingers across screen seductively video arcade conundrums give and take like playing catch with a softball serene as a lake the wind splicing the ice of winter is this midsummer night’s dream Andrea speaking a soft Morse code a stop start motion like a shopping cart in a supermarket the freezer bins steaming a haze mysterious as if a goddess rose there she does but she’s made of sound Andrea athletic in sleeveless gown a secretary in an office in a ghost town Wright stays still and calm a focused smile on his face squeezing the tightest smoke rings sonic from the flat black square in his hands Andrea shimmers with lush wails sporadic like seeds spit out of long grass in a meadow

It’s an airport alive with air traffic x-ray screens set of by a pack of double mint gum the mint scent rises it’s a garden at night cicadas singing mad Mack trucks on the highway spewing diesel smoke and now Roman candles on the queen’s birthday oblong blue box twisted by Walter’s fingers then just Andrea’s urgent half whisper summer heat thunder under platinum cloud bank humming thuds from Andrea’s index finger harmonious tints of the keyboard like a sparkling painting of a glistening fishing village at sunset