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Author Topic: "swamp music" suggestions  (Read 11037 times)
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Bloated Slutbag
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« on: July 29, 2012, 03:45:14 PM »

Swamp Music. Does it exist?

A little while back I came across something from one James Junkin Jr, formerly of goth/industrial outfit Masochistic Religion. Swamp music, he called it:

http://music.cbc.ca/#/play/artist/James-Junkin-Jr/Scrapin-Jr-Off-The-Floor

I dug it enough that I got to thinking where else I'd heard this kind of thing.

[The first obvious contender was Interruptus/Corruptus-era Feotus, back when the live incarnation of Feotus was basically Swans – Kizys, Westberg, Parsons – minus Gira:

Fudge Punch live
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5eWWvAwvgKo

(“Scraping Jr Off the Floor” an obvious Feotus reference in any case.) Sink Manhattan, with their rock-band-in-a-scrapyard sound, could qualify. Or perhaps some live incarnations of Swans when they were transitioning via Jarboe'd country flavors into the Children Of God sound:

Blood and Honey live
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=czMhu3fCe40

But with a very few exceptions, most of this stuff is just too damn rockin'...
]

Okay. So “swamp music” is probably not the right descriptor. “Clunky, badly recorded country music” might do. I'm looking for something dingy, dilapidated, lurching, but with a swampy, twangy, Southern swagger. All of the bands mentioned here feature legitimate musicians, but to really pull this Clunky Country Swamp thing off “good musicianship” might well be regarded as a crutch...

Gira's Angels Of Light gets closer. Couldn't find “Not Alone” from New Mother on YouTube, but these three are not bad substitutes:

Real Person
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6NN_SdvusUU
Purple Creek
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8XXP42aIGZ4

Michael Gira - God's Servant
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u4AFkuGm2Wk&feature=related

Others might include the more lumbering efforts from early Nick Cave / Birthday Party and later Tom Waits...

...but if anyone can suggest others in this general vein of sound, I'm all agog. Needless to say I'm not concerned with particular genre tags as such.
« Last Edit: July 29, 2012, 03:49:20 PM by Bloated Slutbag » Logged

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heretogo
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« Reply #1 on: July 29, 2012, 07:00:25 PM »

Not exactly what you're looking for but if you dig deep enough into the roots of rock'n'roll you find magnificient stuff like Harmonica Frank Floyd. Whenever I hear somebody say "swamp music" I think of stuff like this

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uQY5fVwNU14
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZEYMWRyhCS8

A non-obvious recommendation might be the Finnish band Balls and their album Jungle In A Barrel. Nothing else by them comes near it (as far as I know), really swampy and sweaty psych-scented rhythm & blues. Sizzlin' production too, like live electric wires flying thru the air. Doesn't have the country twang you seem to seek but might still be worth a shot. Seems to be downloadable from here

http://obscurealbums.blogspot.fi/2010/01/balls-jungle-in-barrel-1995.html

I never thought of Jandek having a Southern sound in any way... but it might be just me.

And yeah, James Junkin Jr lists Screamin Jay Hawkins among his influences

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FqxEXYxvUW8
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P A N I C
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« Reply #2 on: July 29, 2012, 10:39:03 PM »

Ah, Angels of Light... lovely! Absolutely fantastic project that I much prefer to any other Gira-related thing. Especially 'Sing Other People' I find totally magnificent. It's a great record, not only for the material/individual songs, but also how over the course of itself it seems to grow ever darker. Wonderful, wonderful music. Also very fond of the split with Akron/Family, a band which occasionally ventures into something that suits your descriptors in their own right, but just as often does not. The AoL/AF split is great, AF material is very intuitive and wild (but very musical). Great stuff; http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kvmeTiswnyE - but definitely not what you're looking for.

Seeing the descriptors (and veering a bit away from James Junkin, which is fascinating but which reminds me of little more than some Nick cave material... - just my limited frame of reference), I'm thinking of a couple of things - one of which indeed was Jandek. Dingy, dilapidated, lurchy - it's all that. I'd agree it doesn't necessarily have a 'Southern' sound to it, but it fits all your qualifications quite well. Definitely worth digging into, I'd think.

A record I think absolutely fits the descriptors is Smog's The Doctor Came at Dawn. Smog/Bill Callahan has recorded a lot of material, and a lot of different stuff (he once started out extremely lo-fi, even made it onto Garbage Sandwich!) and now does more general folky country. What you could call his 'middle ages' harbour some material that comes close to 'dingy, dilapidated' music, and The Doctor Came at Dawn is the prime example. It seems quintessentially Jandek-inspired, but more musical. Some great cuts:

You Moved In: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MARBOVCSkwQ
Spread Your Bloody Wings: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b8156uxBESk

Everything before was more 'eclectically' lo-fi (great as it is), everything after became decidedly more polished, sometimes annoyingly so, up until the beautifully pure A River Ain't Too Much to Live. It is by far not dingy and dilapidated enough to suit, but it's a wonderful record to try anyways...

Let Me See the Colts: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qohDy0UT1G8

Perhaps even more suitable (?) to your inquiry is Will Oldham, now the much lauded and fairly mainstreamish Bonnie Prince Billy, back then the decidedly rawer and more interesting Palace (in many guises - Palace Music, Palace Brothers, simply Palace...). His discography up until '97 (from thereon it was Will Oldham, and then BPB, with some exceptions) covers a lot of musical ground, some of which may be right up your alley. Debut record There Is No One What Will Take Care You is very raw country (country noir is what is was dubbed back then, I think; not my favourite record, so not too much input from me here). Follow-up Palace Brothers/Days in the Wake is another record that seems very Jandek-inspired (right down to the cover art) and which is raw and shaky and wonderful:

You Will Miss Me When I Burn: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g_KIJGCqZz8
No More Workhorse Blues: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hqzwaLzjdvU

Viva Last Blues sounds much drier and Southern (Steve Albini produced it), is my personal favourite, but is by far not as dingy as Days in the Wake. 1996's Arise Therefore is absolutely marvellous, very lo-fi and with an added drum computer. It sounds very detached, very raw, very unstable, very imperfect, very amazing:

Stablemate: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KUIJ10P6TpQ
Give Me Children: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cwnJMcXAmxc
You Have Cum In Your Hair And Your Dick Is Hanging Out: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZEo0Ij8-OS8

Songs: Ohia may be something you'd like to try. Again, different records have wildly different sound, so depending on what you try you'll get different results (Didn't It Rain - gospely; The Lioness - rockish; Magnolia Electric Co. - pure country rock), but the record worth trying most is Ghost Tropic. It has a very sticks-and-stones sound, some percussion like it were twigs, dry strings on the verge of breaking, and an atmosphere that is sometimes almost suffocating, oppressive, stifling. Great!

The Body Burned Away: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ib6pUL5t8ok
Ocean's Nerves: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g2vbN47KEXc

Hope anything takes your fancy - this is the music in my collection that I rank among Angles of Light anyway, for varying reasons :)
« Last Edit: July 29, 2012, 11:50:12 PM by P A N I C » Logged

bitewerksMTB
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« Reply #3 on: July 30, 2012, 12:04:19 AM »

Swamp music makes me think of Louisana...
 
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d9Shbn63AjA
« Last Edit: July 30, 2012, 12:07:58 AM by bitewerksMTB » Logged

SKY BURIAL
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« Reply #4 on: July 30, 2012, 12:12:36 AM »

Swamp music makes me think of Louisana...

Me too: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QTNWczKWq1k
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« Reply #5 on: July 30, 2012, 02:36:40 AM »

I guess Those Poor Bastards might fit this bill? The wife likes them, I'm indifferent.
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heretogo
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« Reply #6 on: July 30, 2012, 09:45:31 AM »

Still not really what you're searching for but fits my idea of swamp music

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b4J8VrprrGE

That's pure mythical Louisiana for a confused non-American like me, super murky and intoxicating. I've never investigated the other Dr. John albums but I've been led to understand that they're nowhere near as wild as Gris-Gris .
« Last Edit: July 30, 2012, 09:49:32 AM by heretogo » Logged
Mattias G
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« Reply #7 on: July 30, 2012, 11:06:59 PM »

Unexpected to see someone here recommend Songs: Ohia, Smog and Will Oldham. They are cornerstones in collection. Even if i must admit that i haven´t really enjoyed the last 7? years of Bonnie Prince Billy releases. But i still buy them and hope he will find "it" again. I am reading the book that came out about him right know. Recommended for any fan of his stuff.
On the other side i think that Bill Callahan/Smog is getting even better with every new release. Very impressive!

Even if i don´t get the "swamp rock" thing since the bands everyone one is describing is kind of different from each other. But i say Meat Puppets, maybe not the first fastest early stuff. But classics like "Lake of fire". Or am i completely wrong?
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« Reply #8 on: July 31, 2012, 03:41:34 PM »

when I think Swamp music, the grittier material of Tom Waits comes to mind. gritty, Beefheartian blues with hoarse singing.
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whateverforever
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« Reply #9 on: July 31, 2012, 05:10:27 PM »

I think Meat Puppets are "Desert Rock"...
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Bloated Slutbag
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« Reply #10 on: July 31, 2012, 08:07:30 PM »

Thanks to all the great suggestions. I've enjoyed (almost) everything so far. Balls “Jungle In a Barrel” is wonderfully fucked! Love the Dr John and Harmonica Frank Loyd. A lot of PANIC's suggestions like Palace Brothers and Viva Last Blues are very good listens, nice and dingy if a tad on the, um, “pretty” side.

To add to the “bouquet” of flavors:

SkyBurial's link to EyeHateGod is actually appropriate. I like my swampy rough. As stated, "swamp music" is probably not the best starter; but it's all I got. It's probable that I'm trying to describe a particular atmosphere as much as a particular sound. Perhaps a little more grim or raw, spiced up with some sexually frustrated redneck dribblings. If there must be Amerikana, a bit of Deliverance in there couldn't hurt...
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9gLN3QoN-q8&feature=related

Or some Psychodrama:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5yXP4ebguBI

Thought I keep hearing in equal measure the sampled intro to that Taint track whose title escapes me,  re- “I want you to eat shit, boy! I want you to eat SHITshit, boy!”

Not that I necessarily need to hear these things – more than once. But I suppose it's always kind of irked me that as soon as these self-styled country boys pick up a guitar they have to get all sentimental.  Boyd Rice and Spell I could take...he'd been threatening “maudlin” for years in any case. Then he upped the ante with this:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-AJDzkROYPI

And Al Jourgenson, when he should be talking about Beers, Steers & Queers, gives us Buck Satan and the 666 Shooters:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b4Ie9JkYdLQ

Enough! Get yr mind out of the gutter and back in the sewer! Where it belongs.


Jandek I wouldn't consider all that swamp-infested, but he nails it when he does spoken word:

Worthless Recluse
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RgWwkHt8hM0


Which to me is channeling Burroughs...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CRElTMi251s
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fGJ7Z6AEzpY
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vlkorlOzdII
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q1Eg6VDPRFw&list=PL41B92FC905F17754
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l-U9pabOZ0Q

…all of which sounds pretty goddamn swampy to me!
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D. Davis
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« Reply #11 on: July 31, 2012, 08:16:55 PM »

Swamp via Oakland...
Creedence Clearwater Revival - Effigy
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j5rI-ow_RSI
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Henrik III
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« Reply #12 on: July 31, 2012, 09:17:56 PM »

A non-obvious recommendation might be the Finnish band Balls and their album Jungle In A Barrel. Nothing else by them comes near it (as far as I know), really swampy and sweaty psych-scented rhythm & blues. Sizzlin' production too, like live electric wires flying thru the air. Doesn't have the country twang you seem to seek but might still be worth a shot. Seems to be downloadable from here

http://obscurealbums.blogspot.fi/2010/01/balls-jungle-in-barrel-1995.html
This sounds great! Remember all the fuzz when it came out but actually never heard it. Have to pick it up!
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Zeno Marx
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« Reply #13 on: July 31, 2012, 10:39:40 PM »

another Bloated Slutbag thread where I have absolutely no idea what they're seeking, but cuing off the other posts, particularly Gira, maybe this?
http://youtu.be/kJaQOQjBsg8
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« Reply #14 on: August 01, 2012, 05:10:00 PM »

if a tad on the, um, “pretty” side.
Haha, yes, decidedly so I guess (by board standards, absolutely!) - though it's all very relative. Compare it to, say, Ease Down the Road, and it suddenly seems very unpretty indeed. ;-)
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