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Lunch tonight was: Carnitas, carnne asada and pollo tacos from the place by the Harley Davidson store. Washed down with a half litre Mexican coke!

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Alex V. Cook is an author, journalist and music critic living Baton Rouge, LA. His work has appeared in The Believer, The Oxford American, DownBeat, Paste Magazine, Hails and Horns and The Wire, and his first collection of essays Darkness, Racket and Twang: Essential Listening from the Fringes of Popular and Unpopular Culture was published by Side Cartel in 2006.

He is the music editor for, editor for Sweet Tooth, and a frequent contributor to 225 Magazine, OffBeat and Country Roads.

He is a founding contributor to the Badasses of Contemporary Composition blog.

Monday, March 13, 2006

Way Down Yonder in a Hollow Supernova

x-post facto: originally posted in outsideLeft

I have an internal list of empty blanks I wish to fill, things that are probably out there but evade my discovery. Among the unnamables are an Ecstatic Dub-Metal combo, some ramshackle Vintage Chamber Quicksand Music, and others. But recently I’ve been able to scratch Chicker Fried Trance Music off that list, partly because of the resurgence of Fluxus upstart Henry Flynt’s back catalog and because of the backyard poke salot hybrid that is Town and Country. I’ve landed my musical butterfly on them a couple times over the years and it never gave up the nectar, but their latest Up Above is positively turgid with pollen and sweet life-giving juice.

Town and Country trade in a sub-riff level of repetition, where pulses interlock on whatever is handy, kitchen sink percussion rattling in its breeze. Yet, (and this is the key for successful acoustic trance music), it does not come off like a jam, but as an organic thick progression. Avant-garde gumbo music if you will. It moves between clop-clop horse beats over an acre of foghorns like on “Blue Lotus Feet” and subterranean schizophrenic blues on “Phoney Fuckin’ Mountain”; plunky-punky Orientalism on “Bee call” and full bore sitar bliss out on “King of Portugal” but dull yoga music this never becomes.

It’s what the hum of the invisible threads connecting all things sound like as they are lazily bowed by an immaculately stoned God. It is the echos of the moos and farts from that cow the Norse believe was present at the dawn of time. It is the golden woodpecker, hammering away on the Tree of Knowledge. It’s the kind of music that makes me want to keep on exhaling until I am spent into breath. And evidently, it is the kind of stiuff that leads me into embarrassingly flowery prose, but I don’t care. I will gladly hop aboard this peace train before it derails down the rabbit hole. Peace out, bitches.

Town and Country - "Phoney Fuckin' Mountain"


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