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House Of Tudor 

Silke Tudor uncovers lonesome organists, DIY provocateurs, and noisemaking bastards

Wednesday, Jun 6 2001
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Cavalcade, the second offering from Chicago's Lonesome Organist, is indeed a procession. But rather than evoking stately progress and self-possessed commemoration, the album proffers a 34-minute caravan of disjointed delusions and lurid marvels as otherworldly as a medicine show run by broken toys. The first glittery and loping trailer, "The Storm Past By," conveys an intergalactic weather report fashioned from a Space Age gamelan, steel drums, quivering saws, and eerie whistles. The humid but delicate tempest is followed by "Balloon Race Phenomenon," an organ-powered go-go number that makes you want to praise the Lord and wash your hands. "The Low Strike" conjures the flicker of silent-film romances where jewelry box ballerinas are tied to model train tracks of melodica and piano. On "Cranked Up Too Hard," a stylish piano line loses control and falls in with a bad crowd of well-juiced percussion and angel-dusted tap shoes; next, a flea-bitten roughneck kills off the forlorn yodeler of "The Steam Crow," and guitar strings and chord organs lasso the tiny mechanical bulls of "Dirty Plight." By now, we're only one-third of the way into the world of the Lonesome Organist, which is indeed lonely, considering it's comprised solely of Jeremy J. Jacobson. The fact that Jacobson -- whom you might know from his work with the Jon Spencer Blues Explosion, PW Long's Reelfoot, 5ive Style, and Euphone -- plays all his instruments at once (while tap dancing) only bolsters the odd, aural spectacle. The Lonesome Organist performs solo before Jacobson takes his position with Euphone on Thursday, June 7, at 9:30 p.m. at the Bottom of the Hill. Graham Connah's Jettison Stinky opens. Tickets are $8; call 621-4455.


It's trucker rock night down at the ol' saloon, where there's plenty of gnawed-up nails, spit-up chaw, well-oiled hair, and greasy overalls. It doesn't really matter that none of these noisemaking bastards ever climbed into a big rig -- they still have highway dreams (and bladder control). Hailing from Sedro-Woolley, Wash., the Load Levelers -- that's Little Willy Colfelt, Johnny Smokes, John Royal Purkey, and John Wilkes Booth -- holler, stomp, and strum through amphetamine-derived, banjo-backed good times and bad. Hear trailer park chronicles of barroom brawls ("Knucklebuster"), pedophile romance ("Whirl, Whirl, Twist, and Twirl"), spirited possession ("5 & Dime"), predictable repossession ("Flatbed Truck"), and inevitable incarceration ("King County Jail"). Just be thankful that you ain't the Linda Lou of "All Over You," who starts out courtin' and winds up stinkin' like horse manure. The Load Levelers support the Mothertruckers on Thursday, June 7, at the Covered Wagon with GC5 opening at 9:30 p.m. Tickets are $6; call 974-1585.


In RE/Search Real Conversations 1, a collection of interviews by RE/Search founder V. Vale, singer Billy Childish quotes Kurt Schwitters, saying, "The artist creates, the critic bleats." The British poet, painter, and leader of Thee Headcoats goes on to say, "[Schwitters] always had a great sense of humor, which he brought to his art, and he never took himself seriously -- that's punk rock." Sadly, there's not a lot of humor in Conversations 1. But while it may not be funny reading about how Henry Rollins stridently protects his street credibility by turning down passes to movie premieres, it is candid -- as are the rest of the thoughts and complaints issued by early DIY provocateurs Childish, Jello Biafra, and Lawrence Ferlinghetti. There's righteous instruction on the dot-com backlash, selling out to "The Man," literary censorship, corporate branding, Napster, punk rock, Courtney Love, beat history, and overpopulation, as well as recommendations of books, movies, music, and Web sites. The release party for Real Conversations will include rare performances and video interviews by all the subjects, as well as the possibility of live appearances by Vale, Biafra, and Ferlinghetti, on Friday, June 8, at the San Francisco Art Institute (800 Chestnut) at 7 p.m. Admission is free; call 352-1465.


The title of Morbid Curiosity perfectly elucidates the San Francisco zine's intentions and entrails: erudite ruminations on death, dying, and the universally macabre. The initial four issues offered firsthand accounts of assisted suicide, post-mortem Mormon baptism, Black Masses, "artistic" self-mutilation, tomb snooping, mental hospitals, tarantula farms, bikini bars, homicidal boyfriends, and dead pets, making it easy to see why Morbid Curiosity became an ashen favorite among the nocturnal set. But even for folks who wouldn't consider permanent vampirelike dentures, Morbid Curiosity is a handsome compendium of high-quality writing with a glossy cover, thick paper stock, a professional layout, and lavish illustrations that will raise the hair on your arms and chart your next vacation itinerary.

Issue No. 5 includes musings on the Mütter Museum in Philadelphia, which houses models and photos detailing human malformation and disease, and the Hollywood Museum, which offers full-color autopsy photos of bullet-filled brains, as well as reflections on Alzheimer's disease, prison, rhinoplasty, spinal injections, terrorism, multiple sclerosis, LSD, funeral homes, drunk driving, and first communions. For the release of the new issue, Morbid Curiosity contributors Claudius Reich, Brian Thomas, Dean Fredsti, Kalifer Deil, Dalton Graham, George Neville-Neil, Shira B., and my personal all-time favorite, M. Parfitt, will read on Saturday, June 9, at Borderland Books (866 Valencia, between 19th and 20th streets) at 4 p.m. Editor Loren Rhoads moderates. Admission is free; call 824-8203.

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Silke Tudor

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