SMOG : Strayed + Cow EP

Smog Strayed
Dongs Of Sevotion (I've always loathed that title!) was Bill Callahan's crossover LP. Released in 2000 to blanket enthusiastic reviews, it's the final Smog record that I had any real interest in though, on reflection, Bill & I were probably long overdue a parting of ways. I'd been closely following his cautious musical evolution since 1992's Forgotten Foundation (still one of my Smog favs) &, eight years/albums in, was in dire need of a change I think. "Strayed" was Dongs Of Sevotion's loss leader single, a curious choice to say the least. Lyrics like "I've raised a sick child to your lips &, in asking you to kiss what I would not kiss, I know I have strayed" were hardly likely to find favour with the Jo Whiley lunchtime massive, were they? Releasing a single at all struck me as being a pointlessly conventional gesture actually, so Callahan's decision to generously fill out it's b-side (on CD at least) with a reissue of his much sought-after Cow cassette was fine by me.

Originally released on his own Disaster label in 1989, it pre-dates his often dissonant Sewn To The Sky debut by a year or so & is, if anything, even more clumsy & primitive than that belligerently nil-fi effort. Though entirely instrumental, Callahan's reported interest in Jandek's work hereabouts is still frequently evident. Upon it's release here, Cow's eight original tracks were indexed as one to evade draconian British chart qualification regulations, as if some optimistic soul at Domino Records actually considered "Strayed" commercial enough to catapult Callahan into Gordon Smart's Bizarre column or something. They've been conveniently broken up song-by-song on this link though.

Anybody got Macrame Gunplay then?


Farewell Then, Mark Linkous...

So much has already been written about Mark Linkous' horribly premature death, & so much more eloquently that I could probably ever manage, that I'm going to let the music speak for itself for once. Here's a link to a live Sparklehorse performance, recorded in collaboration with Austrian sound abstractionist Christian Fennesz at Geneva's La Batie Festival (around the time of their In The Fishtank LP). You can find footage from the same show at Youtube's Distorted Ghost channel. 'Bye Mark. x