Peaches

PEACHES

HELLISH DEMONS RESIDE IN US

CASTING SINISTER SPELLS

CORRUPTING VOICE

DISTURBING PEACHES

WHOSE FRUIT CONTAINS

THAT CHOCKING PIT

GRANDIOSE IN COMPARATIVE SIZE

SHIT IS THE BEST FERTILIZER

SPROUTING SWEET FLESH

DELICATE SPOILS OF DELICIOUS HEALTH

DECADENT JUICE OF FLOWING CHEEKS

GROWING TRUTHS OF TURBULENT WINDS

FILL BUCKETS OF EDEN

BITING

TASTING

HEAVEN, WHOSE GHOST HOVERS NEAR SHEETS OF SUN, UNSEEN,

THOSE PEACHES, KISSING WARMING RAYS FOR US

US AS PEACHES

US AS HEAVEN

CREATED FROM PLEASANT MOISTURE OUR EYELASES PRODUCE

US AS PEACHES

US AS HEAVEN

A PLACE WE BIRTH, ANY DAY WE CHOOSE

Creem Documentary Review:

Sex & Drug, Love Cult Takes to Rock n’ Roll! A review of CREEM Magazine’s documentary

BY RYAN DRAG FILM · MUSIC · MUSINGSPhoto by Charlie Auringer


“Are we on? We guttah start the record.”Since the dawn of large brained mammals, a pure mixture of love and hard work will most likely produce something unforgettable, nay…timeless. This is true of CREEM Magazine — a music publication that dared to be “real”. Boastfully exclaiming itself to be: “America’s Only Rock n’ Roll Magazine.” A rag that had the audacity and gusto to propose rock n’ roll is a lifestyle, a culture, a belief in wildness, and fun! These propositions are what the latest documentary most triumphantly exposes, as well as, an America that (for a moment) had a subculture which was vibrant and united against apposing and annoying stiff, boring, fascist, pigheaded, trolls with whom we all still suffer with, making “rules” and governing a free people whom they will never fully understand or represent. As Peter Wolf states: “CREEM was street. For the People.”In fact, this film has come just in-time to entertain a generation of equally aggressive, progressive, and spirited revolutionaries taking to the streets. Hell, I give part of my time on this short trip through life writing for Alt Citizen, because the aim is also true (editors Nasa and Lauren are as rad and committed to new voices in music as anyone). The philosophies put forth by CREEM, inspired me to do so. Music will always be more important than anything besides sleep, nourishment, & love. Music reflects our culture, our inner-thoughts, suppresses stress, can define who We are, and so much more. Hmm, I digress. On to the why? Why this Rock Doc? Why expel more energy into a defunct publication from a few decades back?

Well, CREEM was and is the only music magazine that exemplified Rock. The doc reels expose just how passionate the writers and publishers were (and still are). The organization wasn’t interested in what degree you held (if any) or what extracurricular in-take you enjoyed. They exploited the industry for what it truly is…chaos. You know…drugs, sex, & Rock n Roll! Boy Howdy!

The magazine was laid out like some twisted teen beat, mad, 70s smut, rail-train magazine, and it was beautiful. The words inside where insightful and borderline poetic. Beginning in Detroit, this was a feat. As editor-in-chief, Dave Marsh explains in the film: “You understand very quickly it’s not all laid back and good vibes and groovy. It’s hard work, it’s discipline, it’s making something out of the ugliest part of the universe.”

This the original team did. Born from head shop money by Barry Kramer (the main man) & Englishman Tony Reay (who gave the magazine it’s name then walked away). CREEM went from flophouse, to weird commune (the plan of Barry & Connie Kramer), to a slick suburban office (frequently visited by many personalities), always maintaining credibility and grime.

The cast of characters in the film are as large as the Stars they wrote about, and unfortunately pass to the other side in the all too familiar way. It’s a documentary that could also be an audio book. The quotes from writer/producer Jaan Uhelszki, alone are enough to donate your cash to: “Beautiful words from 24hrs and codeine.” “Everyone was politically incorrect.”

You learn quickly that these journalists are ingrained in the world they are helping to create and their visions instilled into the lexicon (and a couple of times onto the stage). Famed wordsmith and editor Lester Bangs once exclaimed to the staff: “Let’s be in the culture!”

So yes, watch it. Is there a negative? I wanted more. I wanted to dive even deeper, but with how much fun everyone was having I’m shocked they had as much footage and salvaged pictures as they did! Plus, (as with a great Rock song or concert) always leave the audience wanting more. Fortunately this is what we’ll be getting soon. Chairman JJ Kramer (son of Barry & Connie, and the reason this film exists) is resurrecting CREEM in various forms…you dig?

So, as the days a misty plague filter through spinning time I realize, I could write for days about this film, the magazine, and my favorite music writer Lester Bangs, but I’d rather leave your curiosity foaming. Instead, I request you take a gander or two at the CREEM Documentary. There’s insight into starting something from nothing. It’s about friends and egos clashing and collaborating. It’ll be worth it. Again, Why? Because the milkman is back on your block, and we all know what rises to the top!

You should also find some old copies of CREEM because those explain it all, and as editor Dave Marsh reasons: “There’s some other person that’s going to read it and be freed by it.”You can watch CREEM: America’s Only Rock N’ Roll Magazine here until AUGUST 28th only. Don’t miss it.

Slick Bellies

SLICK BELLIES

SUCH TENDER TOUCH GIVEN TO NEW
OLD IS SUNK IN SEA
SALT WASHING SHORE, FLAVOR
THOUGHTFUL MEALS
WASN’T LONG AGO THIS TANG WAS GATHERED
BY FLAKY HANDS
COASTAL BREEZE
A STING SO WELCOME IT BENDS LIPS UPWARDS
TEETH CAPPED
READY FOR FISH AND COCONUT RICE
EVERY STEP
A CHANCE TO WALK FORWARD
MOVEMENT TOWARDS CHANCE
SHELLS OF UNCERTAINTY SCRAPING BALD FEET
SAND DOLLAR COFFINS, A DELIGHT TO SPEND
TO BE BURNT WILLINGLY
HEAR A CHOIR OF SLICK BELLIES
HEAR YOUR NUMB SURPRISE
HEALTH FOR LILACS
TEARS ARE BUT WATER

WINDS BLOW MEDITATIVE

NORTHEAST WINDS BLOW MEDITATIVE SONGS
ACROSS LONG OLD BRANCHES
RESTING WOODEN BONES
UPON A CREAM HOUSE WITH FOREST-GREEN SHUDDERS A HOME COMPOSED OF MANY ROOMS AND MASKS
ONE OF FLEETING TIME
A VIBRANT FAMILY’S INEVITABLE CHANGE
ANCIENT TIMBERS FALL
FANTASTIC REDS AND YELLOWS FALL

BORN INTO A COUNTRY OF FIRE
WITH A BLADE FLUSH AGAINST ACHILLES HEEL
BREEZE MUSIC WITHOUT FEAR
HOLD TIRED MINDS IN SENSUOUS CHAOS
CARRY MY LONESOMENESS TOWARDS THE RECESSED BROOK
I’VE NOTHING TO SPARE, BUT TRANSLATION
OF NATURE SO MAGNIFICENT
I WILL FAIL TOO GRASP HER ROUTINE BEAUTY
STRUGGLE AND SUFFOCATE AMONGST HER HEALING
TAKE FOR GRANTED LANDSCAPE, I TRAMPLE BLINDLY
AS SHE CALMLY IMPOSES A LISTEN…
WOOSH – HAAAH – WOOSH – RAAH
“EXIST IN LOVE” HER DIVINE ADMISSION

Coyote cries at dawn — a premiere and review

Coyote cries at dawn  — a premiere and review of Cate Von Csoke’s ‘Almoon’

BY RYAN DRAG1 WEEK AGOIN ALBUM REVIEW · MUSIC

{Disclaimer: the following article was written before protests broke-out across America. The writer would like to exclaim his complete support concerning the Black Lives Matter movement and the defunding of abusive police institutions.}

Photos by Nicole & Jenna


Simplicity. Sounds simple, right? Well, a lot of people get it wrong or simply… add too much. Almoon by Brooklyn based via Australia, musician Cate Von Csoke, is minimalism done tastefully and without driving a motive to its death. Hey, don’t get me wrong. I love a one or two note repetition for days, but this is more than that. Cate’s music retains old-school chord motives dosed with the Velvet’s drum pattern and some Vox repeat-percussion guitar layered in for good measure, and of course Cate’s smokey vocals, which dust the songs as dried, blown, dandelions scattering that rolling field you’ve always wanted to walk through.

Hold on… That drum sound is more than familiar… Is that…Steve Shelley of Sonic Youth banging on those skins? You bet. In fact Almoon was recorded in Sonic Youth’s studio in New Jersey by Ted Young, and produced by another artist you may be familiar with, Vacant Lots’ Jared Artaud. I’m assuming that’s him turning up the repeat tremolo, but it wasn’t in the press release. (Good gods, this man keeps appearing in my reviews! I suppose this exposes how busy the fellow is).

Anyway I digress, because this LP is very much Von Csoke’s own. The songs are only slightly colored with tambo and percussion.  At the center of this moon is a vintage electric guitar strum and ethereal vocals, having all been composed and performed by Von Csoke herself. The music (at first) recalled this wild duo from Austin called, Headdress (once on the Mexican Summer label.) Years ago I witnessed them at the original, crumbling, Market Hotel. That band (according to their album sleeves) recorded in caves located in a desert somewhere; Cate wrote the bulk of her songs during a stint in the Mojave, mystical, spot-on, no?

There’s also a dash of Mazzy Star and Tess Parks (Anton Newcombe’s protégé.) Which brings me to my only critique: I could have used a bit more of Cate’s natural voice. I’m a fan of reverb abound, but the effect oftentimes interferes with hearing the words or a singer’s nuances. This is more a testament to the songwriter’s voice and it is a bit inconsequential, considering I’ve heard Cate live and loved her sound (got me to buy a few more drinks.) This is what she wants to sound like, so really, I have no issues. Regardless, the verb works and fits so who really cares? Cate Von Csoke sounds great and the atmosphere definitely puts a listener into a zone. Almoon is a record that should be listened to from start to finish. Don’t bother with finding a single, just let it play-out. I’m lying in a backyard in upstate (away from Virus City, hoping for justice) with headphones safety on amongst wildflowers and I’m happy as Hell! I only wish I had the vinyl. “Please Cate, don’t forget to send me a copy on June 11th!” That’s the release date folks. Dig…

Eight tunes dancing around your isolation – bhumra boom bra crang ga ga ga -now enters soft melodies for a reflective ride across that “Silver Highway” cooling slightly the back of your neck. As the road blurs into smoke clouds, a mirage appears in forgotten heat. You pause… remembering some happiness stored in a pocket. Recalling to yourself: “I’ve been walking on dandelions. All I wanna do is dream around.”

Me too, Cate. Me too. Almoon is a fine album. Put it on, sit back, and drift away. It’ll be good for you, whilst resting next to those coyotes in the sky.

Confusion (or Docile Limb)

CONFUSION (OR DOCILE LIMB)

BATTLING WONDERMENT WITH AGED BRASS HORNS
WHOSE RUSTY SONGS ARE NO LONGER FUNNY
AS CAREFULLY CRIPPLING PASSIONS ARE
HIDDEN IN A LABYRINTH OF GREEN TERROR
SLOWLY DRAINING TO RED AND BROWN FAULTS
NOT A PLACE TO PAUSE GRACEFULLY

SHADOWS OF YOUTH’S SADNESS ARE
LIGHT SWITCHES TO ELDER RESTING CHAIRS
CONFUSIONS CAST WILL HEAL BONES FOR
WALKING COLD STREETS CONSTITUTED IN MADNESS
AFTER SEWING SEEDS OF ISOLATION WITHIN
SULLENLY PALE BOXES

ONCE A DAY GIVES ANOTHER
SOLITUDE FORGES RESERVOIR WATER

COVID-19: HIT OF AMERICAN WEST

PAUSE FOR HUMAN NATURE       ALL SICK ALL YEARS

THOSE BLANKETS TO DA INGINES    KILLED EM

MY FRIEND       ABSOLVED IN HIS BUNKER

CURATED FOR YEARS      NO GUNS (I TRUST?)

SOME CANNED GOODS AND MUSICAL EQUIPMENT

HOPEFULLY    SOME GOOD DOPE FROM DAN     MADE

IT IN… I’M ON A ROOF       FINANCIALLY UNSTABLE

LEATHER BOOTS   READY FOR WALKING HOME

(WHICH DOESN’T REALLY EXIST FOR ANYONE)    HOWEVER

I’LL MAKE HER SMILE FOR DAYS         SUN SHINE IS

FREE        WE’RE ABOVE GRASS       NOT ABOVE EATIN  IT

PAUSE FOR HUMAN GATHERINGS

 

SOME DANCE AROUND FIRE

SOME SIT DIRE

SOME GAZE INTO SPACE

I GLAZE OVER, HEAD BACK, EYES, EARS,

COCK, BALLS, HARD-UP FOR CHANGE IN

TEMPERATURE           HAND-IN-HAND WITH

EASE         ONLY BECAUSE

DEATH IS CERTAIN, BUT LIFE

MUST BE TAKEN

Alt Citizen Review

“Rescue” us: The Vacant Lots latest single

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“I need a rescue,” sing/speaks Jared Artaud of the electronic-psych band The Vacant Lots and don’t we all at this point. Their latest single: Rescue, is out April 24th and is an appropriate release for these tumultuous times. The Vacant Lots are a musical duo which seems to have been under quarantine for almost a decade already, and this current single evokes such. Portrayed musically is a feeling of condensed isolation (with a catchy beat of course.) It is the first track to reach mass consumption from their upcoming full-length (via Fuzz Club Records) Interzone, which will hit the market on June 26th 2020. “Interzone, you say?” whispers goat-foot boy whose room stacked with William Burroughs paper-back novels creeps inside your weary brain-folds. Yes. Interzone. The band is aware. Their press release even addresses such. Anyway…

This new track finds the band in familiar territory. If you are already interested in The Vacant Lots’ sound you will dig this song, if you aren’t up-to-speed, well, it is a quality, modern single, comprised of a pummeling beat, synth-phonic bass and delightful electronic swooshes having cocktails with fuzz guitar and laid-back vox. Jared and Brian have consistently produced material that has “heart” and if Rescue is a glimpse into the future LP, the duo is not giving up this vibe.
If further description of the current sound is what you require, this new track (though less abrasive) has definite similarities to another duo, New York’s classic: Suicide. In fact, singer Jared has been working on resurrecting a lot of Vega’s solo works in the past couple of years and even used Alan’s very own Arp synthesizer on the Lots record. Keyboardist and percussionist, Brian recalls:

“Jared and I bounced ideas back and forth while working in seclusion on opposite coasts. We would
just send files to each other until the songs were arranged. Then we met up at the studio in Brooklyn
where we were fortunate enough to borrow Alan Vega’s Arp synth and finished recording with
engineer Ted Young. We then worked with Maurizio Baggio to mix it.”
Ah, as we all wake for another moon cycle and search across streams of unlocked windows while news of illness and revival plant seeds of a new dawn shaking in backyard ponds filled with short-lived goldfish, the best we can do is stay inside and listen to music, send praise to the healthcare workers, and to humanities determination to survive and create. Check out Rescue, why not? From there, listen to some more new tracks then let your mind travel to a mysterious place of vivid imagination you forgot existed before this pause.

Alt Citizen Feature

Psychically Ill: A tribute of words for Tres Warren

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Clouds of fuzz He sits on. Thump of kick drum, drone of analog keys, give way to the gospel choir, and a river of wah guitars of simplistic pleasure — pass the tea of another time, please — find a road filled with shadows — don’t turn away, four pencil drawn skulls are laughing for unknown dimensions, shining brightly.

Psychic Ills are a band whose repertoire doesn’t include a song that isn’t “cool” (though many of their tunes transcend past this overused, yet elusive description of rock music). Because of this fact, Tres Warren and the Ills intrigued me from the “get-go” when I arrived to lay roots in NYC. I recall hearing Elizabeth Hart’s warm bass sliding amidst synthscapes and swirling head-pans of Tres, and saying to myself: “This is the music I wanted to find in this city.” They had enough sleaze mixed with a true understanding of sonic layering and instrumentation. Warren’s subtle vocal style is welcome in any listener’s home, as well as pleasant on ears exposed to the loud and live. Likewise, I enjoyed his project, Compound Eye (I scored an attractive copy of that vinyl which spat forth some great sound explorations, similar in-nature to Fripp and Eno’s ambient LPs (minus Fripp).

I was fortunate to have several interactions with the man, though all were flawed in one way or another. I was asked to DJ records for an Ills show at Union Pool, BK and my needles got busted on the way. I had to resort to a friend’s iPod filled almost solely of Lee Hazelwood (not awful, but redundant.) I drank too much and made an odd display of records I was going to play (some great Iggy and Link Wray bootlegs.) Tres walked up to the booth, gave me a chuckle, a nice try, and a pat on the back. Good guy. He also emailed me instructions on the best way to go about releasing physical music for my own band. Much appreciated.

Our last meeting was at Coyote Club, BK. Tres stood watching me dance like a fool with my partner Lia, whilst he was shrouded in darkness, calm, stoic, hair slightly in his face as per usual. “Hey come move those hips!” — no reply. I stopped. We chatted a bit about our upcoming albums. In no way did I assume this was the last time we’d ever meet in-person. A few weeks later (amidst Covid-19 chaos) I received the unfortunate news, Tres had passed on into infinite Space — a tragedy — too young, too soon. What struck me initially was: this guy is real. The international gang of transcendental electronic songsmiths (already few in numbers) dwindled. “One of us” had left the party, far from being over.

Though this piece may seem brief or relatively cold, so are our waking lives. Be kind to one another. Be thankful for health. Dare to be true. Wherever Tres may have traveled, his music will continue to be spun for a long time. He was honest in his endeavors. His music reflects such. So give another listen. Any of the records, they are all great, you’ll dig em…

A last note. As Burroughs suggested in the 1940’s: It’s possible as we leave our body the brain mutates into a mystical form of electric transference which travels to unknown realms – or we simply perish.

Either way, Tres Warren was a person who aided in mutating our brains in this current state of being. Warren invested his time here to experiment in audio delights, to move listeners into a suspended relaxation; for this, he will be dearly missed.

“Trying to make sense of my life. Going through another change. Going through another change.” TW