scarfing antelope: joe murray on lovely honkey & his acrid lactations

July 26, 2014 at 10:29 am | Posted in new music, no audience underground | Leave a comment
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Lovely Honkey & His Acrid Lactations – Hardy the Wayfarers (tape, Total Vermin, #85)

acrid honkey

I’m a bit of a worrier me.  I worry about all the normal things a middle-aged, pampered, white, male worries about I suppose: kids, missus, job, state of the world and all that jazz.  But being a welded to the no-audience underground I sometimes worry I’m being an inadvertent elitist.

Is the underground, with its limited editions, challenging approaches and cultural immersion more valid than the mainstream?  The best I can muster is a, “Duh…I dunno” most of the time.

Maybe it’s time I did some serious thinking.

To make it clear reader…I have no problem with pop music.  Check out the teenage magic-realism of Eliza Doolittle’s ‘Walking on Water’ or the outrageously frothy ‘Call me Maybe’ by  Carly Rae Jepson?   Curiously enough this kind of pure, purple, pop makes me smile just as wide as any of Phil Minton’s japes.  Sure it’s a transient sugar rush…but are you telling me that Shakira (Editor’s note: Ugh.  I was with you up to Shakira) don’t make you snap your fingers like the Art Ensemble?

So that’s pop music sorted out…but what about it’s more grown-up brother: indie rock?

In this day and age I should know everything about the current crop of indie rock lovelies, eh?  As folks keep yammering on it’s all on the internet, for free, forever.  Yup…the internet might be a portal to everythingness but you still need to peak in the right window – you dig.

I took the recent bloat-fest Glastonbury to be my window on the world.  The BBC kindly chopped up footage into easily digestible mouthfuls so I could taste the best the indie rock world had to offer whilst sat in comfort at home.  What a treat!  These truly must be the best of times.  I settled back with tea and a selection of biscuits, giddy with the knowledge I was bound to discover some rare breed, some slinky mink that had passed me by while I had my eye lowered to the grubby underground.

And I waited, and waited, and waited some more.  I know Jonah Jameson (Editor’s note: very funny – you’re sacked) don’t like no negatives so I can’t really go into detail here.  Let’s just say I watched 6 hours of footage and the only act that excited me was some bass and drum duo.  And that’s just coz they sound like my brothers band.

So… I tried, I really tried; but with my scientist head on I can say the experiment failed.  The indie rock mainstream is not for me, doesn’t want me, can’t stand me and its back to the underground I hop.

I slip on the next tape in the review pile from Lovely Honkey and his Acrid Lactations.

Now this is telling us something right from the off.  Like Cliff & the Shadows or Mike and his Mechanics this is presenting us with a handy sonic-perspective, a clue even.  I picture some formation; a bizarre food pyramid with Luke Poot as its king carnivore, his golden mane flowing in the hot Serengeti wind with Sue Fitzpatrick and Stuart Arnot scarfing antelope at his shoulders.

That’s set me a visual.  But musically, how does this Robin Hood and Merry Men scenario unfold?

Immediately three, really wet mouths are coughing in phlegmy unison!  ‘Hierarchies of Spirit’ slurps and spits, moans and whimpers its way through a spellbinding array of lip-smacks and bloats.  The genius touch is a two note drone on dusty keyboard (or cracked violin) that anchors the gurgling mouths from setting alight.  Such glorious tension.

‘Gulch Reflexion’ is a whole load of trouble deeper in the throat with pre-language babble (via Sue) over the severed epiglottis explosion.  In fact the best advice I can give you to build up a mental picture for this is take any Carcass song title and shave off its hair.  Naked and pink yet?  You got it.

Take a baking tray half full of water tapped with ritualistic seriousness as your baseline for ‘Snails in the foundry of the Demiurge’.  Beat in a dozen Delia’s getting loaded on sticky Madeira and Babel hollas a gibber.  Coda: the distinctive cracks and pops of a Glasgow tenement building coming to rest after a violent Hogmany.

The longer pieces ‘Obedient Refexion’ and ‘(Briny) Expiant and (Milky) Redemptive’ grace side two with a calmer mung.

My first listening summons up visions of Shhh/Peaceful scored for gibbering monks and played back through medieval Dictaphones:

The illumination is all greasy from burning candles but the brilliant colours shine through.  The fabric may be rough but the needlepoint is detailed.

An insistent rhythm is heard from outside the Monastery walls (Tony Williams on tea-caddy?) as the wails of limp-berserkers float in on the mist.  Some joker messes with the intro to Iron Man (Sabbs not Marvel) and Wayne Shorter swaps his horn for marbles that he drops into a bucket.

Phew…you’ll surely admit to some Miles Davis/Viking invasion thing going on here.   It’s not just me is it?

…as the mental-mists clear I realise this is what I’ve been missing with all that flaccid indie rock.  There’s no pictures, no sizzled synapse leaps… just the dull plod, plod, plod of the verse and the tedious plod, plod, plod to anthemic chorus.  But the Lovely Honkey and his Acrid Lactations my fine friends are as magnetic and shiny as an Aaliyah video (Editor’s note: that’s more like it – you’re hired again, back to work).

And if you don’t agree I hex you with the curse of never-ending Elbow.

—ooOoo—

Total Vermin

(Editor’s final note: at the time of writing the TV blog is way out of date, so hit up Stuart directly via smearcampaign@hotmail.com or on one of them social networks and he is sure to oblige.)

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