Wrist and Pistols

Wristopolis (Unreleased 2006)

http://www.mediafire.com/?hgnjijpvjiq

Have you ever heard a song that speaks to you in such a way that it seems improper to ever stop listening to it? Most of the songs that fall into this category are very familar ones like Michael Hurley’s “Tea Song”, COB’s “Let it Be You”, Antony and the Johnsons’ “Hope There’s Someone” and the Rolling Stones’ “Under My Thumb.” This is why it is so wonderful to hear a friend’s band record a song that speaks to me in such an intimate manner. There are certain songs in one’s life that feel more like companions instead of a collection of notes and chords and it goes beyond your ears and settles in a heart where thousands will never tread. There is a song on the Wrist and Pistols’ Wristopolis that will remain in constant rotation until the day I shuffle my scruffy coil.

The song in question is cover of the folk standard “Willie o’ Winsbury”  Meg Baird of the Espers makes a guest appearance here and adds a grace that perfectly suits this ode to fairness and chivalry. The ballad details a situation where a king wants to hang his servant for getting his daughter pregnant. He rethinks this path when meeting the servant and realized he is a good match and allows them to run off and elope. The imagery of this song sticks with me because the daughter is ordered to strip naked before her father to discern her physical state while he slowly becomes dejected at the revelation it was no lord, duke or night, but a servant who has impregnated his child. He immediately calls for the man to be hanged, but reconsiders his decision once he lays eyes on this handsome gent clad with a blonde mane clad in red silk. His appearance and demeanor disarms him to the point that he realizes that he is man worthy of his daughter’s hand. It’s a fairy tale about the power of love. Her version in her debut album is wonderful, but this version captures the simple romanticism that the song deserves. It shouldn’t be produced, it should humble and rough.

My appreciation for this album may be colored by my friendship with many of the involved parties, but my musical judgment tells me that it’s pretty great no matter who was involved. Wrist and Pistols are an offshoot of the Lucky Dragons and count Brendan Greaves, Pablo Colapinto and William Pym as its members. Part if its charm is derived from living next doo from their practice space where I heard multiple red-hot messes progress to sketches and bloom into song. Plus, there was the occasion where I waltzed in unannounced to convince them that a song should be written from the perspective of a stern disciplinarian. However, that was just another in a traffic jam of bad ideas fueled by a few too many beers. The rest of Wristopolis is great as well. Friendly folks exploring their folksy loves. I won’t lie. That one song eclipses the rest, but it is a gross oversight to ignore the rest of this album.

“Wristopolis” is a digital nest for several separate wobbly records: “Blessings” (2003 CD), “Apologies” (2003 7″); “Choke at Will” (2005 unreleased); “E Pluribus Unicorn” (2005 7″); and Lakeside demos (2006 unreleased.) Interested parties check in here for more Wristoleros:

http://deathrayboogie.wordpress.com/2008/10/03/wristopolis/

http://www.wolftype.com

http://www.thevanities.org/vanity13.html

Tower Recordings

Furniture Music for Evening Shuttles (Siltbreeze 1997)

http://www.mediafire.com/?dynilt0y3xn

Back when I was a hack for Alternative Press, I had the opportunity to interview Matt Valentine of Tower Recordings and he kept speaking about communal living and a shared lifestyle. I think Spanish Wolfman was listening on the party line. My dumbass thought he was referring to the fact they were a bunch of hippie swingers, but age has taught me that he referring to something more wholesome than my fractured imagination.  I asked to interview them since their Fraternity of Moonwalkers album blew my boo-boo loose with its lo-fi take on English psych and folk. I didn’t know my Comus from my asshole, so it all sounded so strange and otherworldly to me. You know, it still does. I guess youth and age agree on this one occasion. However, I did eventually visit Port Chester, NY where they lived at the time and didn’t see a single commune, just bodegas and urban blight.

Let me get this out of the way before I discuss the album. Their cover of Os Mutantes’ “Q Delmak-O” is on the short list of songs I want to hear on my deathbed. I always loved the original, but Helen Rush makes it even more delicate and airy while the sparse intrumentation makes it even more stunning in its simplicity.

Furniture Music for Evening Shuttles is the best of the Tower Recordings albums. In fact, it is the best thing that any of these musicians have ever recorded. I like MV and EE as well as the Pg six albums, but they lack the cohesion of this one. All that was great about the band is on display here. At times, it sort of reminds me of what the Espers are doing today. However, their take on English troubadours is more troubled and woozy. These are simple, sincere folk songs, but their take on them is just so goddamn fried that it makes you wonder why this one never gets mentioned anymore. Listening to it now, it sounds positively pagan and could’ve been added to the Wicker Man soundtrack. If you thought of Nicholas Cage, please allow me to think badly of you.  However, the sight of him in that bear suit cracks my shit up.

I know it seems as if everyone with a Cd burner and steady access to weed sounds like this nowadays, but Furniture Music for Evening Shuttles is special and inhabits its own little universe. It is the happy meeting place where Takoma, Joe Boyd, Clive Palmer and Siltbreeze happily coexist for your listening pleasure. Helen Rush, why won’t you sing again? You are missed.