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Listed: Brother JT + Electric Turn To Me

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Every Friday, Dusted Magazine publishes a series of music-related lists determined by our favorite artists. This week: Divine psychster Brother JT and Laddio Bolocko reincarnate Electric Turn To Me.

Listed: Brother JT + Electric Turn To Me

Brother JT

John Terlesky started taking acid in the mid-’80s as part of Philadelphia’s Original Sins, a poppy garage band that eventually saw the light and turned to psychedelia. The 1990s came around and the gods were calling for a solo effort, so JT recorded Descent, at that point just the fifth LP on the do-no-wrong label Twisted Village label (now OOP). Since that point, JT has released deranged folk and shambolic rock on labels like Drag City, Siltbreeze, Drunken Fish, and Birdman, a collection topped by his Spirituals record in 2002.

JT will return to the lips of hipsters this fall when his new record Hang In There, Baby drops on Drag City, but those interested in a real collector’s item can contact the Brother directly for a CD-R called Out Demons Out, recorded under the moniker the Mediums (JT & Miss Lady Jane Bluebird). E-mail JT at brojt@rcn.com.

[NOTE: 'Jesus Guitar' refers to a specialized epiphany available through the acid-rock guitar solo (and a few other media), evoking the Idea of the Son of Man (or Divinity of choice) actually bending (or pulling) the strings. I don't mean that these are the 'best' guitar solos, or anything – merely mentioning some highly subjective observations relating to sonic revelations under certain circumstances I vaguely recall.]

1. The Stooges - “Little Doll” – I had taken about four hits with the intention of getting kind of far out and was achieving that aim – there were hooded figures in the room for a while which I took to be 'Enlightened Ones' of some kind. Naturally I was listening to the Stooges first album on headphones really loud. Jesus-ness is not uncommon on that recording, but it really comes into focus at the end of the last track. Primary color scheme: orange/red/yellow/red/RED. This Jesus is in the form of a writhing, sun-like entity, and the message I got was that Lifeforce was both consumed and expelled through it. It's terrible mouth was synchronized with Ron Ashton's final wahwah tirade which I freely translate as: "I AM I – JUDGE YOURSELF AND LET ME COME INTO YOUR HEART AND – BURN ..." or something like that.

2. 13th Floor Elevators - “Nobody To Love” – Perhaps the most sustained and pure example of Jesus Guitar to be found. The guitar is singing more than the singer, who is barely audible. It is as if he is trying to become one with the guitar/Jesus. Indeed, it is like a new language they are forming connected straight to emotional instinct, perhaps akin to that thing with the elves & DMT where verbal symbols are by-passed. Color scheme, cool blues and greens, maybe like the Garden of Gethsemane at twilight? Jesus is resurrected, blissed out, more spirit than man, telling his disciples about Purgatory, where all the dead babies go, in a tongue that only a cheap, hollow-body guitar, over-driven amp, and too much acid can articulate.

3. The Byrds - “Why” – There are a number of recordings of this song, but the one I am talking about is the fast one that ends Younger Than Yesterday. The solo comes in half way through and repeats at the end of the track. Unlike many Jesus Guitar examples, this one is not particularly distorted or moray eel-like, but instead played on a 12-string – hence colors are again blue going into green, but with purple tangents. This is much more about the notes than the actual sound, a veritable 'word-made-flesh' deal. The way I heard it was as a sonic corollary to the evolutionary thought process Jesus taught regarding the "Golden Rule", giving the discerning listener yet another Commandment via it's synapse-bridging geometry: Thou Shalt Not Not. Jesus here is more of an ideal than an entity, but unmistakable nonetheless, by means of the whole 'eyes of quicksilver' thing I cannot get into at length here.

4. Velvet Underground - “I Heard Her Call My Name” – This is more a solo than a song, and, to me, a fine depiction of the Jesus mentioned by John in Revelations – you know, the angry one on the white horse with a sword in His mouth, only for me the sword is more like a death ray spewing out of this Being of Light in all directions and melting everything back into equality. Or maybe He's just been drinking cheap whiskey and screaming at the sun in the park, cross-eyed and raving at the beauty and horror of His Dad's Creation. It sounds less like Judgement than simple obliteration of everything that is not blinding light, and at one point, when the bass drops out for a few seconds, that's all there is – a very useful quality in this culture at some stages in one's life.

5. The MC5 - “Looking At You” – I mean the version on the "Back in the USA" LP – certainly the least organic of the available takes, but making up for it's lack of atavistic wonder with almost unbearable precision. When the solo comes in it is like a robot Jesus whose only program is to laser beam your brain into a more efficient yet devastated whole. Color – gleaming chrome, of course. There are those who might accuse the guitarist of pre-metal wankery, but to those I say, have you REALLY listened to it? While the motives of heavy-metal-solos-to-come were almost exclusively similar to the proverbial caveman swinging his club to drag some unlucky lady back to his den, the closing upper-fret vortex on the fade-out renders such sordid concerns unimportant.

6. The Beatles - “Helter Skelter” – I guess it's supposed to be about a roller-coaster or something, but the pictures I get at the end of the song when the drums stop and everything is ringing and feeding back and then there is this cascade of overdiven guitars chiming like the Last Bells You Will Ever Hear are very much the old Sword-in-mouth Apocalyptic Jesus, breathing fire, the whole 9 yards. It makes me think of unmerciful judgement, so one can only imagine it's affect on those Manson kids.

7. The Bubble Puppy - “Lonely” – In a lot of ways the Bubble Puppy would seem to be the poster-boys for Jesus Guitar – I mean, just look at the front cover of their "A Gathering of Promises" record (though the back cover of the Allman Bros.' first record certainly gives it a run for its money). There are a number of Jesus Guitar moments to be found within – the wacked-out middle-eastern refrain of "Elizabeth", and the opening of their hit, "Hot Smoke & Sassafrass", to name a few – but it's the end rave-up on "Lonely" that is most overt and well defined, right down to the lead-in, which practically draws a picture of a greasy-haired hippie Jesus gamboling across the clouds before administering his some hazy cosmic justice, I would say.

8. Blue Cheer - “Help Me, Doctor” – Really, anything decent by Blue Cheer would do - “Help Me Doctor" just might be the most extreme case. Skagged-out Jesus riding a Harley into the sun – enough said. He's not interested in salvation or peace – just wants to get to the other sidebecause it's HOT IN THERE, MAN.

9. Amboy Dukes - “Journey to the Center of the Mind"/,"Where Do You Go?"/Fever Tree, stuff by SRC I don't have anymore. – Can you tell I'm losing interest? It's all getting kind of thin here, more about sound than actual content. But the sound is worth mentioning – very thick, oozing fuzz, combined with an ambition toward higher things completely unattainable to these folks, so they settled for what was to later become the lamentable prog-rock genre. It should be mentioned that Ted Nugent's solo on "Journey..." was certainly the highest Jesus Guitar ever got on the charts, #16 in August of '68, according to my records (unless you count 1970's "Spirit in the Sky" by Norman Greenbaum, which not only namechecks ol' JC, but contains some fairly righteous fuzzing to boot – more symbolic than anything, though). The teetotaling, right-wing archer also introduced a neat slight-of-brain trick by soloing in a whole other key than that which the song is in. I'm getting kind of hungry now.

10. The Chocolate Peanut Butter Potato Chip – Relating to the equation I alluded to back at # 3, here's what you want to do: take a block of Hershey's chocolate of some kind, then cover it with a thin layer of peanut butter – smooth or chunky, that's your call[This represents the current state of Understanding we find ourselves at.]. The NEXT STEP we need to take is to ADD a salt & vinegar kettle chip (I suppose any kettle chip would do, though I'd stay away from the mesquite barbecue flavor) ON TOP of the peanut butter. [This represents the triune 'Leap Into The Chasm' necessary for our further enlightenment, transposed to snack-food items.] Take this and eat of it – if you don't have a momentary presentiment of some Divinity, you might want to get your taste-buds checked.

Electric Turn To Me

Blake Fleming used to head up the notorious Laddio Bolocko, the world’s noisiest post-rock band which featured members of the Dazzling Killmen and Mars Volta. Hardcore kids gone learned. After the disseverment of LB in 2001, Fleming and Marcus DeGrazia formed Electric Turn To Me a year later with German vocalist Silke. Guitarist James Wilk was added a bit later and the group took their spin on the Downtown New York club circuit. No Quarter Records (Philly label that has reissued Laddio Bolocko and Earth’s Sunn Amps and Smashed Guitars Live) saw fit to gobble up the band’s debut EP and will release Clouds Move So Fast this October. Fleming took part in this week’s Listed.

10 things to inspire:

1. The White Noise - Electric Storm – Pure psychedelic noise collage pop. Complete with heavy breathing and plenty of screams. you won't believe it was 1969. Mind blowing.

2. Skip Bifferty - Skip Bifferty – If the Beatles were gay and had cucumber schlongs. Singer Graham Bell is one of the most unique and unheard of voices in rock. check out the band photo in the liner notes of this lost classic. little trolls, big dicks, what more do you want?

3. Gun - Gun – A trio with brothers Paul and Adrian Curtis at the helm, these guys pulled out all the stops on this 1968 debut. Taking Cream and Deep Purple further than those two groups could ever contemplate, this album is over the top, over orchestrated flight of the bumble bee mayhem in the absolute best maniacal sense.

4. The Uniques - “My Babe" 45 - Late 60's garage rock ass thumper with a nasty blues riff that demands drinkin' and fuckin' your sister or her best friend. How fuzz guitar should sound.

5. Quincy Jones - In Cold Blood – Take equal parts Charles Mingus, Aaron Copeland, and the dark continent, stir in the murder of a Kansas farmer and his family and voila! pure fucking film noir back alley jazz/americana at its best.

6. Marion Brown - Afternoon of A Georgia Faun – This ain't no free jazz skronk bullshit. This is free your mind and let it fly with the demons of the night on the set of apocalypse now free jazz. Get real high, get in your car, pop in your dub of this and just drive...into the Congo or a drainage ditch.

7. Julius Hemphill - Coon Bidness – Side two's "The Hard Blues" is the definition of groove. Simplistic and black. Real black. If Howlin' Wolf took vicodin and fronted an instrumental band you would have coon bidness. This shit is hard. Your life is hard. Your wife is hard. Your heart is hard. Your dick is hard. Hard.

8. Black Sabbath - Paris 1970 – What can i say. It's 1970 and they're still skinny. Holy shit.

9. 5 to Die – Rare Manson family profile with many never before published photos of Charlie and the kids. Essential for anyone that believes every girl should have a daddy just like Charlie.

10. Group 1850 - Agemo's Trip to Mother Earth – An unfortunately rarely heard psychedelic master piece from a strange Dutch group. Sexy and menacing with a dose of LaVeyian organs. Bands just don't make records like this anymore with real conviction. Shame.

By Dusted Magazine

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