Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Brett Milano on Suns Reunion; Burma News

Risen Suns: Volcano Suns play two shows this week.

At the invitation of a longtime friend and fan - Yo La Tengo leader Ira Kaplan - they’ll reunite to open one of Yo La Tengo’s annual Hanukkah benefit shows Friday at Maxwell’s in Hoboken, N.J. Proceeds from that show will be donated to help save Harvard Square’s Brattle Theatre.
The band members will warm up for it by headlining the Middle East in Cambridge on Thursday night. It will be their first reunion gig since a one-off show for WMBR-FM (88.1) five years ago. Joining Prescott will be guitarist David Kleiler and bassist Bob Weston, the last and longest-lived of Volcano Suns’ lineups.

”One thing I always loved about punk rock is that it was a finger in the eye of corporate rock,” Prescott said last week. ”So Volcano Suns was our way of making that finger even bigger. Not that it made much difference in the scheme of things, but it made us happier.”
Volcano Suns released seven albums over a decade, and the band’s sound and personality were consistent despite a few lineup changes.
”We always aimed to be some cross between comic and scary,” Prescott said. ”A lot of bands use noise to be completely frightening, but for us it was more like freedom. The kind of anarchy we had was more like the Marx Brothers than legendary noise band the Swans.”

Prescott says there already have been offers for further Volcano Suns gigs, but it would be pretty hard to be in two reunited bands at once. Mission of Burma is gearing up for action later in the year: Its new album, ”Aluminum Washcloth” - only its third official studio album - was wrapped up in the fall, and the band’ll be playing out again when it’s released in June. Fans can expect this one to be much further out than Burma’s first reunion disc, 2002’s ”ONoffON.”
”It’s a weird one,” Prescott said. ”On the last album, there was an overriding impulse to make sure it still sounded like Mission of Burma. Now that’s out of the way. We’re not worrying about it anymore.”

From the Burma website:

Burma will be a surprise (well, to most anyways)
guest at the Onion's War on Christmas Party on
Friday, January 13th at the Bowery Ballroom in

Other acts on the bill include the Wrens, Eugene
Mirman, the Favours, MC Chris, Zach Galifianakis
and the world famous Pontani Sisters.

Tickets for the show are almost gone, so if you
would like to attend, we would suggest grabbing
them now!

And from a late October posting on Huffington, Roger Miller writes:

From September 28-Oct.12, we began and completed our third studio album. That made fifteen 12-hour days in a row. Got kind of blurry after a while. For this album/CD, only the band was involved: myself - guitar/vocals/songwriter; Clint Conley - bass/vocals/songwriter; Peter Prescott - drums/vocals/songwriter; Bob Weston - tape loops/sound person. Bob engineered it (he is a very experienced engineer who works for NPR as well as Electric Studios in Chicago), and we all produced it together. Whether or not this made it even more of an anomaly than our usual fare remains to be seen.

The band rarely constructs songs in a typical fashion, and we make no apologies for our basic lack of concern about having a mainstream "hit". But if one is interested in an unusual take on what "rock music" is, or isn't, Mission of Burma could be a place to look. The band, with three distinct vocalists and songwriters, functions in a very democratic/anarchistic fashion. And is not afraid of chaos, though
things are often highly structured if you look just past the surface. As an example of our atttitude, on one song from the just-recorded CD the following happens in the last 1 1/2 minutes: A near-disco groove unrolls with 'creamy' vocals in pleasing two-part harmony. Then we lurch into an "out of control/cacophonous" section where each player researches his own thesis. This morphs into a super-minimalistic riff/beat. Shorly a duet shows up between guitar and tape loop/tape manipulations. The song ends when the band/groove grinds to a halt, and the guitar and tape loop overhand just long enough to prove that things aren't what they appear.

It seems likely that the CD will be out in May or June on the Matador Records label.


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