Stone Age HAA The Holy MAA

Stone Age HAA The Holy MAA

Writing - Noise - Magic

Sunday, December 29, 2013

2013: Some of the Best of the Best of The Year of the Snake (an inherently subjective and incomplete list of public and personal artifacts of experience)

Joyous Happening Number One: The Birth of our Daughter, Abigail Rose!

Three releases that I've listened to over and over, despite the world being so full of great releases that we can often only take the time to listen to each once or twice:

Enemy by Skin Graft
We Know Your Body Better than You Do by Nine Volt Haunted House and 
Relentless Corpse is an Urban Myth by Relentless Corpse (which has been the only album I can write to these days).

Four splits/comps in which I was honored to be included:

Songs for Spooky, released by Live Bait Recording Foundation, Dead Peasant Insurance(DPI)-Griefhound-Fascist Insect-Extreme Noise Terrier four-way split, Exaltation Heat with Pauline Lombardo and A Christmas Gift for You Gotta Groove compilation (my band Stark Holy MAA with Mitch Ribis and Wyatt Howland contributed a short track that marks the first time Wyatt and I have been on vinyl together after almost nineteen years of collaboration!).

More releases that sounded new to my ears:

The Stop Circle of Singing by Dog Lady Island, Conrail by Conrail, The Neverending Story by Dr. Quin Medicine Woman, Counted Clock by Skin Graft and Battery Cage III  by Being.

That's surely not all - I'm lucky to hear great stuff all the time - those are just a few releases that stayed with me over these last twelve months.

My three favorite books I've read this year:  

Veronica by Mary Gaitskill, Lame Deer, Seeker of Visions by John (Fire) Lame Deer and Richard Erdoes and Look at Me by Jennifer Egan.

But wait, I read Look at Me every year! What else? Tampa and Unclean Jobs for Women and Girls by Alissa Nutting, The Ask by Sam Lipsyte, Bad Behavior by Mary Gaitskill, We Were the Mulvaneys by Joyce Carol Oates,  Already Dead by Dennis Johnson, Shelter by Jayne Anne Philips, and, more great books, oh yes, this was a great year for novels, I was fortunate to read a bunch.

I'm so grateful to everyone who participated in this blog's interview series. What wonderful stories and insights!

This year I received my MFA, and the best thing about that is it means four people have actually read my novel! My thesis committee of three wonderful writers: Imad Rahman, David Giffels and Christopher Barak, and also my brilliant mother.

Others experiences and things I'm grateful for this year:

The Tantra yoga class I took with Corissa Bragg when we were both very pregnant, the moonlight shining on my four week old daughter's face and her smile in return, the manic warmth of friends, lucid dreams, The Mysterious Black Box, The Brewing Luminous, What You Need and other great shows on WCSB and WRUW, The Rubber City Noise Cave, my great students and teachers in and out of Cleveland State University, more time with my family, the growth of  the Lean House and all things diy, local health activists, Mahall's and Now That's Class hosting regular noise events such  as Class's First Sunday Noise Series, and the monthly events at Mahalls' curated by Lisa Miralia (Lecture in a Bar, second Tuesday of each month) and Tom Orange and Dan Wenninger (Outlab: Experiments in Improvised Music, on the third Tuesday of each month), regular writing and science events at The Happy Dog (also the fact that they pay musicians, although the crowd there can be antagonistic), The growth of Black Sun Oasis, the Cleveland Print Room, the return of the label Mistake by the Lake, collaborating with Pauline Lombardo, Rob Resch, Mitch and Wyatt, and the new free-standing Hanson Record store! I took my two month old baby to a lecture at CSU by Junot Diaz, and it was wonderful. Continuing the Voice of the Valley Noise Rally and the Diamond Shiners Wassail party; although I wasn't able to go to either event, it made me happy that they rage on!

Bad Shit:

Death, sadism and suffering in Syria, the Congo, South Sudan, Afghanistan and many many more regions.  The government shut-down and all the propaganda surrounding it. Meanwhile, the ice caps are still melting, forests are still being mowed down and the massive extermination of life and diversity continues: lost languages, plants, animals, cultures. Air. Chances. We lost Lou Reed and two wonderful dog friends, Spooky and Basho. The Black Cat Factory disappeared, and I read too many half-baked reactionary trollish responses to intelligent feminist articles. I missed tons of good shows that were not well attended, although it was worth it to bring Abigail into this world. Also, I wasn't able to watch the demolition of Peabody's.

I went to few shows but a few of the performances I did catch stayed with me:

Bbob and J Guy at some sort-of Embassy show, Faangface at Now That's Class, and Iron Oxide and The Utter Darkness after a Dying Flame at The Holy Mountain. I've also enjoyed the shift in Murderous Vision's style, and the continuing refinement and control of Baat's performances. The Dreamtones's show at Akron's Porch Rocker was very pleasurable. I've enjoyed watching my husband Mitch Ribis play solid and exciting shows with Fascist Insect and Gomorrahizer, and now I'm enjoying him develop his solo project (Fascist Insect).

I am so grateful for my husband, who has been by my side for almost three years, through exhaustion and bliss and all the rest, cooking beautiful meals and making me laugh every day since the birth of our daughter.

Hopes for 2014:

Psalm Isadora coming to Ohio in September, more Tantramoon releases and recording with friends and a new solo full length, more interviews, the return of DPI for our tenth anniversary show and the return of XTerminal and of Survival of the Loudest, and our daughter learning how to walk and talk. I hope to finish drafting my second novel, Don't Fear the Night Duende.  I dream of the relocalization of economy, culture and power, a renewed intimacy between humans, animals and plants, and the healing of the earth.

Thanks for indulging me in this grandiose review of 2013. Each Monday I'll be posting material relating to text, sound and ecstatic consciousness, the magic and ritual of performance. I'll also be posting monthly interviews.


A few more cool things from 2013 are Murderous Vision and Polar Envy downloads on Bandcamp  and the Four on the Noise Floor compilation by Sam Harmon - what treats!

Monday, December 23, 2013


I first met Josh a few years back when my band played shows with his and Brian Harvey's incredibly, blindingly loud and heavy band Griefhound. Since then, he and his small and enthusiastic gang have built up Akron's Rubber City Noise Cave (, maybe the best venue I've been to in twenty-one years of going to shows (although Now That's Class, the now closed Embassy and Detroit's M.U.G. are up there, too). The RCN Cave is also a label (, and sometimes even becomes The Wandering Cave, showing up at events such as the Cleveland Ingenuity Festival (the Cave was the best thing about the fest in 2012). Josh has many projects, including Mousecop with Curt Brown and Josh's solo project Faangface. I love Faangface because Josh uses the vehicle to emotionally and visually push himself through the audience in visceral, sometimes bloody ways. He sent me the latest Faangface release, Oboe, and I loved it. It's all over the place, using whatever sounds, undulating in volume and intensity.

ARH: What are you working on now?   

JN: Just finished a solo album, and wrapping up another solo album. I have a tendency to do a lot at once then nothing solo for a while.  Mousecop has been recording like we do, we've been getting together with others for sessions, which brings out a lot of interesting sides to us. David Russell and I just did some recording, which was fantastic, but for the most part, Mousecop'n.

I mean, Faangface will ALWAYS be there. I have been fairly excited about these newsiest of recordings, but mousecop is forcing me to try new approaches. But at the same time allowing me to be pretty free to do whatever.

ARH: Faangface is one of my favorite projects right now – what’s going on with that? 

JN: That's sweet of you to say! haven't played out in a while, really. for a minute it there it was all focus on live sets, theatrics, and performance in general. As of now I'm just focusing on the music end of it, so no plastic bags or razors for a minute, *giggles**squirts milk out nose**wasn't drinking milk*. I'm shifting direction right now, total 180 from last album in a way. But I'm always indecisive, and will probably switch gears again.

ARH: When and how did you get into performing?   

JN: Faangface started out as a kinda spoken-word-acoustic-avant-performance thing to begin with. HOW I did that exactly is what has changed. I think some of my most awkward shows have been where i didn't do something performance-focused. As for performing music in general, I played punk shows in high school and so on, then meet up with Brian Harvey and played in Snuff Film for a while, which later became Griefhound. 

ARH: Since you’ve started performing, have you noticed repeating cycles in terms of style and energy of experimental music? How would you describe the current zeitgeist?  

JN: Hmmmmm. Hard to say? I'm still a young blood. 26 as of rights nows. Plus "experimental" is wide term, different groups use. HNW and power electronics, performance art and avant-garde circles, free form rock to skronk jazz, to any dude who bought a flanger pedal to use in his/her bands one 7-minute song with some "crazy huge psychedelic breakdown like whoah dude jupiter is in the song lyrics like woah".  I'm seeing more bands from all necks of the woods playing shows together, which is wonderful. I'd like to see things become at least a little less exclusive. But what do I know? I AM excited to see what I haven't seen yet, that's for certain! 

ARH: What qualities excite you in performances of others? What takes you by surprise and keeps your interest in experimental music? 
JN: When someone is genuine. Doing their art for art's sake. Because they feel that's what they have to do. Anyone who isn't afraid to try something new, there's a lot of copycats out there, not just in this scene, but art in general. In any type of music. But even if I've seen something on that line, or pretty much the same thing as someone else before, if they are genuine about it and it comes from them from within, then you can tell. It's expressive at that point, powerful, emotional. I also like to see little inventions. Home-made instruments and the like. I'd also like to see someone dress up like a tiger and shoot fire from their butt. 

ARH: How does language factor in your creative process? Does your inspiration often begin with words or sounds – how do these interact? 

JN: Yes, to all of the above!!!! Spoken word was a primary factor in me beginning. Even if there isn't a word in a piece, sometimes, or a lot of the times, a phrase or line will inspire it. A lot of the times I'll think of a sound or movement and start there, words and sounds have really become one in the same in the process.

ARH: Do your senses cross – is music visual for you at all? 

JN: Yes and yes. Live settings I'd like to think the sounds I'm creating and I are one. Like I said earlier, some of my most awkward shows (not awkward in the way I'd like) were the ones that I wasn't really performing. Just playing. All my senses cross for sure, i tend to be physical with everything around me and feed off of everyone. i've also licked lots of stuff and sniffed some people live.

ARH: Do you feel performing is a mystical act and/or ritual? If so, how does that work – how do you use ritual awareness in your work? If not, how would you describe the performing process in terms of mental, physical and emotional transformation? 

JN: Wow, that's a loaded question! I think anything that pulls you out of yourself in such a way is. It's emotional on a different level. I cried live once, wasn't sad, just cried. I have always used the sense of ritual in my music and have written entire sets around it, but i think as a ritualistic happening, the mental and physical and emotional transformation are one in the same. That's what a mystical happening is. A transformation. I'm just sure I see the terms the same as everyone else. I'm evoking something, whether it's a presence of unknown, or some anxiety in an uncomfortable person who wants to immediately leave with the people who dragged him/her there as soon as I start.

ARH: I like your description of ritual experience: 'anything that pulls you out of yourself.' What do you think the future holds for you as an individual artist and experimental music generally? What is the relationship between local and global experimental music now? 

JN: I hope to get myself out there more. Which is all on me. I hope people just keep on experimenting, as simple as that. Not just see something and do the same. There needs to be experimenting in experimental music!!! not the idea of, "this is how you make/or not make experimental music". As for locally/globally, I hope it starts leaking into each other. I can see it happening already, and it's nice. Quite. It's becoming more 'accessible' if i dare say? (look at the festivals Wolf Eyes and Merzbow have played in the past few years). The radio and Mtv are pretty much obsolete because of the interwebs, so people are wanting something new. Which is the greatest thing ever……to an extent. It means a lot of artists will finally get the recognition they deserve, and be able to do more with more people and get there stuff out there to a lot of appreciative people. But, there will be a flood of it, more and more of "experimental musicians". Prepare your anuses for Garage band presets. All in all, it's a good thing. Plus since the term 'experimental' is such a broad one, who knows? How WILL people look at the term in the future? Clark and The New Blockaders collab? Sir Richard Bishop/Venetian Snares split? Who knows? 

ARH: What’s going on with the Cave in 2014? 

JN: Only the CAVE, the building itself, knows. It governs all that we do day to day. it is in fact, it's own living entity. And it's hungry….for blood. some new releases and awesome shows more than likely! XXX Super Arcade album in works? Finally after two+ years. word up. More Mousecop'n to boot.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Suns Black (2009)

Gold asteroids in my father's left black eye
black beetles and tiny suns
the deal with laughter water
laughter duende dogheAD push
shaman untrained fire burns low

gold cradle baby shaman
asteroids beetles face falls
reaper fire burns untrained my father
black eye left

water laughter
cradle burns low asteroids
gold face falls

push care do I untrained
shaman seed holds eye
suns black
my father's with laughter water

reaper don't touch low
low down gold rot
stars can't whisper shaman
take back the night

running red like drinking dogs on the escape drain
You make me want to
but bruisey clouds are all the tinge inside
everybody must get sometimes like a monster like those compelled by fire or mayhem

the fire ungrounded goes OUT
not out like blunted and stunted but OUT
to all four corners
no return no way.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Fires in the Yards

No slipping branches
tear the light from this window.

Or was it wasting sun
that painted empty houses yellow.
Or was it electronics that let
the sound stop shrinking.

Nothing at all can help
or take the place of
brandy yellow howling.

Of the moon's yellow howling –
Of the fires in the yards –
Of the moon's gentle rounding –
Of the fires in the yards.

There are the lines and lies that light
the artificial light: the artificial tears for sale.
There is the place beyond the lines
into deepest yellow ocean.

Of the moon's yellow howling –
Of the fires in the yards –
Of the moon's gentle rounding –
Of the fires in the yards.

There are the aisles: there are the power-lines,
There are the fine trails of white in the sky.
And behind it is the yellow howling,
and behind it is the fires in the yards.

Yards concrete, rapid, wildlife by side of road, darkness

Monday, December 9, 2013

TOO FAST FOR LOVE reviewed by Blaster of Reality

     Nikki Sixx once famously said he wanted to have a band that was a combination of the Sex Pistols, David Bowie and Black Sabbath. Nearly 33 years after their debut, Too Fast for Love, we are still waiting for that band to materialize. Motley Crue, with its purposely (and unintentionally comic) misspelled name is as quintessentially Californian as Hollywood, the Beach Boys and Van Halen and equally as cheeseball. Instead of achieving the admixture set forth by the former Frank Ferrana, the band displays a propensity for the shock of Alice Cooper, the glam of Kiss, the androgyny of the New York Dolls, the studs and leather of the Plasmatics, the simultaneous tenderness/toughness of Joan Jett, a dose of Crackerjack-box Satanic imagery and the accessible tunefulness of Cheap Trick fueled by an appetite for sleaze, unbridled rawness suffused with electricity and a desire to "make it." All of this contrived with the intention of being the heaviest and most outrageous band possible but suffering from lack of context and general obliviousness. They did not really create anything new, but instead synthesized this amalgam of influences into what was passably a new breed of heavy metal.  In short, they were Reagan-era "punk rock" for people who never heard of either the Anti-Nowhere League or the New Wave of British Heavy Metal, except maybe for Def Leppard and Iron Maiden, and who thought Slayer and Dio were too extreme for their comfort zones.
     Too Fast for Love killed disco and sidelined prog-rock in the beginning of the '80's the same way Nirvana's Nevermind would kill hair metal in the beginning of the '90's. Both albums utilize a lethal cocktail of Punk, Metal, amateurishness, and lack of production (Too Fast for Love ironically being less polished than Nevermind) to create a new template for popular youth rock in their respective decades (well maybe if you switched Too Fast... with Shout at the Devil and Nevermind with Bleach, but you get the general gist...) In their '80's heyday, Motley Crue were feared by elementary school kids, loved by tweens and teens, and despised by parents and teachers across the United States. Most "true" metalheads and punks however, considered them an anomalous corruption of the genre, little more than Duran Duran with strange-shaped guitars.

     Songs on Too Fast for Love can be categorized into "classic Motley", "predictable but not particularly memorable", "pop/Cheap Trick-inspired", and "tough ballad" with overlap between all 4 categories. Opener track "Live Wire" starts with an incessant riff that falls under "classic Motley", more Glam/Thrash than the Speed Metal many make it out to be, mainly due to the middle slow-down and the corny cowbell, both of which save it from both Speed Metal status and being taken too seriously. Next song "Come On and Dance" has a cool main riff and comes off as a classic Motley jam colliding with a Cheap Trick jam--of which the latter, "Public Enemy Number One" is definitely more Cheap Trick-inspired. Everything from the catchy lead to the consistent melody pervading all the vocal parts elevate it into almost power pop status.

     Fourth number, "Merry Go-Round", is the first ballad on Too Fast for Love but even then that really isn't an accurate description. Instead of clean guitars with shitty keyboards or something else associated with the '80's, there is muted guitar picking with that same gnarly guitar tone never again replicated on any Motley Crue release with an overall aesthetic that Suzi Quatro might find pleasing. "Take Me to the Top" is next. It is classic Motley but unfortunately only sounds better in comparison to weaker jams on here such as "Piece of Your Action" and the title track. Both are okay, but are too unabashedly cock rock for my liking. “Too Fast for Love” should be a classic Motley Crue track but just isn't, in my opinion. "Starry Eyes" is to me, another standout track to me both because of its poppy Cheap Trick sensibilities as well as an almost '60's garage feel to it. It also has some amusing gong work in the first few seconds as well as some hysterical lead work in last few seconds before the (inevitable for it's time and genre) fade-out...

     The album ends with "On With the Show", a song that is equal parts heartfelt, clumsy, clunky and sleazy. It has a classic (almost) doo-wop chord progression with what the Motley dudes must have thought was the perfect marriage of tenderness and heaviness with fake autobiographical lyrics: a classic Motley Crue closing ballad (a style of ending albums replicated on both Shout at the Devil and Dr. Feelgood.)

     There are different versions of this record with different running orders and bonus material. The almost impossible to find first pressing on Leathur is obviously the most desirable but at the end of the day it doesn't really matter. The ultimate legacy of Too Fast for Love? It kick-started a whole new sub-genre of hard rock (call it what you may: Hair Metal, Cock Rock, Pop Metal, whatever) and set its tone for almost a decade. It seems that bands that came after Motley took the worst elements of the worst songs on  Too Fast for Love and amplified them to nauseating effect while ignoring the essential garage-iness of this release. To some it is a template, to some a much-needed escape from reality, but if one is to attempt to be objective, it is a Glam/Punk-influenced Proto-Hair Metal release with appropriated and weak Satanic imagery, and an uber-raw guitar tone and songwriting prowess straight out of the L.A garage that spawned it. It probably transcended any expectations, influence-wise, or commercially, that the band might have had for it, paving the way for the paradoxically more focused and polished but looser  follow-up, Shout at the Devil, which really put them on the map, and into the homes and consciousness of the public in the era of malls, New Wave, MTV, Tipper Gore, yuppies, feathery haired and earringged teenagers, and suicides allegedly influenced by heavy metal records.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Trees and Ghosts (2010)

Just back from clarity's clashing wood on woodgrain scream,
but see the fingers shimmer in the branches
flicker linger even now
strings flock and shimmer too deep and out
who knows what we are inside of
like violin bows raked slowly along the inside of my eggs
and then that earthquake of violet storming banishment
fingers lightly drawn across the Ouija board – ghosts fly in knock the lit lamp over into darkness
and we lie down
the living and the dead
feeling the golden glossed wooden floor against our palms at once
the floor November at once the floor May.

Vanish dreamed mucous down my linger lingeresss

Just back from Winter bright and swaying
into night afterhours dangerous
spring breaking up with sudden ground asserting itself in green
and staining our knees our eyes with blood brown recklessness
rising into June's hazy sex appeal appealing into
three trees cracking and falling into sudden storms
disappeared into night
two trips sweating and running with spiders slapping our faces
from those same trees the trees saying everything
we wore fine sweat all summer like elegances sweeping down our hands lacy silky – what are those things ---
and one same moon clanging back and forth
flesh full and falling

But see the ghost of the bathhouse on Edgewater beach
looming high like a weaver as I walked
avoiding its sunwhite howling
my green umbrella makes me feel not like the Stranger
but like a stranger to my fellows and more at home with ghosts
I called them spontaneously

I know it's reckless to call ghosts but the pressure was on and I had to call something,

There is only one thing taboo to ceremonial magicians, not blood on glass or babies' hair, but--calling on  ghosts is repellent to them --- not because ghosts are powerful enough to be dangerous,
but because they're dirty – they're tricky, they have nothing to offer, manipulative sacks of needy aunts, pervert uncles and sly genies
but I call them because they are nature,
in nature weaved into nature like this air that I lean on,
 this wood that lives in houses,
like the hairs on caterpillars that make us love them,
even though we know they aren't mammals
but there is a way in which they are mammals anyway.

But see Two trees twisted like brothers like lovers and even trees know about it
-      they stand so still and watch so closely with eyes that are infinite pores – they know about love. married people need to watch trees
-      because married people could grow like two small branches apart that want to fuse together or at least twist up, but who instead grow ice that covers and becomes glass impermeable
-      – married people become dangerous to each other when there is too much to be done to work together
-      – they become two  feelers covered in suffocating plastic this is you and that is me and I did this but you did that
-      oh the ache of another pulling the plastic back and loving
-      the wooden fibers inside, stroking them - it's too dangerous for married people – taboo – the competition moved in between them – we can't even dance here – even dancing is taboo. At least there is the neti pot in one nostril and out the other and all sound becomes  the steady mouthbreathing like a child alone in a pool looking under the lip into the painted wall it draws your attention to the gloss that breathes in and out the third eye.

Pigeons have silver necks and coo coo coo – they lived in my roof growing up, my folks let the redneck wolf next door shoot at them sometimes because
they shit too much up there white shit hanging from the roof like icing,
but pigeons might be doves for all I know about the fauna of Ohio
-      what about all the human shit in New Jersey now – don't they send it to Ohio – import? Protectionism – there's enough shit in Ohio.
-      Let the deer wolves pigeons be and go and shit for once –
-       the pigeons and the sea gulls meet in the
-      parking lot that is a big part of the park at Edgewater park – the
-      gulls could leave to other seas,
-      the pigeons could leave for other cities – but they live here
-      with us and the oaks and those other trees
-      whatever flora in Ohio up outside of the water –
-       some people call pigeons and seagulls flying rats,
-      they have that  in common but I think it's too dismissive –
-      I wouldn't have a rat for a pet but so many people I know would –
-      it's probably more natural for people to live with rats anyway like cats and dogs than ferrets or snakes, rats go with people, too.