Listed: Men's Recovery Project + Markus Acher
Men's Recovery Project
Sam McPheeters' Men's Recovery Project rose like a phantom out of the ashes of the legendary Born Against. Since their inception they have released over ten recordings on a number of different labels including Vermiform and Kill Rock Stars. The Project is epic in scope, tackling issues from Reaganite foreign policy to Naked Sailors; from an album dedicated entirely to the socio-economic realities in the Middle East to an unfathomably diverse 60 track CD; from songs less than ten seconds long, to entire short stories spoken aloud. It would be useless to try and even categorize the band beyond calling it "strange." Comical yet responsible, horrifying yet compelling, McPheeters' altered state of mind is apparent enough...
1. Mental Abuse - Streets Of Filth (Urinal Records, 1985) - Past and future members of Psychos, Agnostic Front and AOD, these guys were the cream of the chaff in the northern New Jersey hardcore scene of the mid-1980’s. The drummer, in a fit of rancor, once hurled his skidmarked Fruit Of The Looms at an audience. Isn’t that kind of what Alan Greenspan does to all of us on a daily basis?
2. Klaus Fluoride - The Light Is Flickering (Alternative Tentacles, 1988) - This ex-DK’s bassist went solo and electronic in the late eighties to resounding critical and commercial silence. Viewed in the hindsight of his having turned evil in the aughties, this amiable, blurpy album forces one to ponder the imponderables. Like, “what makes a man gain 110 pounds and reform the Dead Kennedys?” Or, “what sorry chain of misfortunes sends a woman into the arms of a store called ‘Dress Barn’?” Or, “What happens if I stick my ass into this round thing?”
3. Tallow (Lungcast Records, 1992) - John Michaels from Towel started his musical career with Tallow in the early 90’s. To quote an MRP “fan” (out of context); "Man, I saw these mothers play and all I gotta say is Shit, there were black men doin it with mother earth hippy woman, Chinese man doin it with big nose, there was love man. Underage, overage, underwear, man, no one give a fuck, man."
4. The Chairs - Mailwoman single (Parrot Records, 1993) - Only 500 of these pups were pressed, of which almost 300 were destroyed by a burst water main in a storage locker. Excellent rumpus in league with Savage Republic, Circle X, Missing Foundation, etc. One time scenemates of the embryonic MRP, this Charlottesville, VA band could legitimately lay claim to having offended both local rockers Gwar and (then) Virginia Governor George Allen. Songwriter Rippy abruptly disappeared in spring ’95, drummer Elizabeth went on to manage an unsuccessful health food restaurant in Atlanta, and bassist George passed away from pancreatic cancer in 1999. Who says there are no happy endings?
5. Prong - Primitive Origins (Mr. Bear Records, 1987) -These guys were nu-metal back when the term was still a cause for deep shame. Mike Kirkland of Damage, Ted Parsons of Swans, Tommy Victor of Token Entry. Eight songs of Viking With An Erection, including one Damage cover and art by Sean Taggert. Sadly, this is the only documentation we have of this tremendous band after all its members were killed in a horrible, headfirst car accident.
6. Effete Melee - Cocky Leaky (self-released, 1998) -Tremendously gay Swedish electronica from the waning days of the dot com bubble. Think Front 242, Meat Beat Manifesto, Bronsky Beat if Bronsky Beat had been a megagay IBM chess playing machine. These guys endeared themselves to us four years earlier when their free 7” was mailed to 400 American elementary school libraries, featuring such songs as “It’s Gay O’clock!” and “Hope In Dope.” Did we mention that these guys are gay? As gay as a $1,400 bill. But one wonders which president’s face would get the honors on such a denomination. Hm.
7. Miranda July - Anything goes with this big lady. She scares us.
8. The Big Chill (Motown, 1983) - Sometimes you have to wrestle with the demon to subdue it. Every generation eventually adores its predecessors; Tom Brokaw gushes over the WW2 boys and we, the Parkinson Generation, secretly salute the Boomers. From The Temptations to Three Dog Night to Procol Harum, the message is clear; the old ways are over. Face the future. It’s every man for himself. And in the end one is left with the same stomach lurch felt when standing in the San Bernardino Greyhound station men’s room at 2am on a Wednesday night, saying to a bunch of strange men; “as I have only one mouth, you will have to form one line!”
9. Cro-Mags - Age Of Quarrel (Profile / Rock Hotel, 1986) - This album inhabits the niche filled by Carol King’s Tapestry in the 1970’s and Six Finger Satellite’s Severe Exposure in the 1990’s – the signature LP of its decade. The late Mackie of Bad Brains, Paris Mitchel Mayhew, John Joseph, Doug Holland of Kraut and Harley Flannigan of the Stimulators, as all hand-picked for success by their own Malcolm Maclairinish impresario Chris Williamson. And their lyrics offer a timeless quality shared by the best John Cheever short stories. “You don’t know what’s waitin’/ Up around the bend / Open your eyes perhaps you’ll realize / if AIDS don’t get ya / than [sic] the warheads will”. Insert “Cobra Flex Plan” for “AIDS” and “unregulated political spending” for “warheads” and these guys could be the next Ben Harper.
10. No Trend - Too Many Humans (self released, 1983) - By the far best album from by far the best of the outsider DC punk bands of the early 80’s. Recorded by Don Zientara, yes, but spiritually far more akin to Nuclear Crayons, United Mutations and 9353. Check out these sparkling stanzas: “Couple on the sidewalk / See the baby drooling / old man slumping / In his Ford Fairmont Station wagon.” Comes with original insert. Vinyl is VG, slight wear on inner sleeve. I accept money orders and Paypal. Serious bidders only.
Over the past couple years, Markus has played pivotal roles in two very fine pop records - Lali Puna's Scary World Theory and The Notwist's Neon Golden. Acher founded the Notwist in 1989 with brother Micha and quickly released their self-titled debut album on Rough Trade. The first couple Notwist albums explored punk rhythms rather than electronic aglorithms and the group played a few shows with Fugazi in 1992. Their third album, 12, revealed a burgeoning electronic sound, and by Shrink, the band had been slapped with the post-rock tag. This year's Neon Golden, still awaiting distribution in America, is the band's strongest effort to date, meshing electronic-IDM beats with pop song aesthetic to create one of the most stunning albums of 2002. Lali Puna, with whom Acher has worked since 1998, are currently on their first ever U.S. tour as part of the Morr Music Tour. Here are some dates:
15.11. WEXNER CENTER Columbus
I don't know really what to write about this beautiful, strange, scary music. "There's a crack in everything, that's how the light gets in." That quote by Leonhard Cohen describes the best, what really touches me about this music: soul, experiments, breaks, no boundaries, the possibility and the courage to fail. And that's what I'm also always looking for in our own music.
1. Boom Bip - Seed To Sun (Lex)
2. Mike Ladd - Welcome To The Afterfuture (Big Dada)
3. Gillian Welch - Everything!
4. cLOUDDEAD - Everything!
5. Joe Gibbs + the Professionals - No Bones For The Dogs (Trojan)
6. Johnny Cash - The Man Comes Around / Missippi Fred Mc Dowell - Everything
7. Nick Drake - "Time Has Told Me" (Hannibal)
9. Sonic Sum - The Sanity Annex (Ozone)
10. Tarwater - Dwellers On The Threshhold (Mute)
By Dusted Magazine