“SONG FOR EWE” is the feature where artists & music people beloved by VELVET SHEEP choose an obscure song they’ve been listening to that day. Today’s guests are the members of an arresting band with an evocative name made even more so by the respiratory assault of the Cornovairus, although originally designed as a florid (more palatable?) description of what smoking does to your body.
Lungbutter are from Montréal and consist of vocalist Ky Brooks, drummer Joni Sadler and guitarist Kaity Zozula, and they are no strangers of bands with uncompromising names having variously been members of Femmaggots, Harsh Reality, Caymans, Nennen, Wreckage With Stick and Nag as well as the Misery Loves Company tape label, La Plante collective, and the campus/community radio station CKUT.
Kaity has name checked as an influences in previous interviews Robert Fripp (unsurprisingly) and Keiji Haino – a real blast from the past for me, or should I say Blast First from the past having seen the Japanese noise guitarist play at an event run by Paul Smith (of the Blast First label – original UK home of Sonic Youth) – the “Dadaist’s handbag” that was Disobey. I loved Keiji and Merzbow so much that I ended up being interviewed as a Japanese music expert in the Guardian newspaper around the time I was working for MTV2, so it’s a thrill to see Haino cited.
Another Japanese noise band that Lungbutter also owe a debt to is Zeni Geva (alter ego of KK Null), and while Lungbutter are on the excellent Constellation Records (home of Eric Chenaux, Rebecca Foon, Godspeed! You Black Emperor and Thee Silver Mt Zion Memorial Orchestra) they could easily have graced Alternative Tentacles at its 90s Neurosis peak.
And if that weren’t enough their video to “Veneer” (a new one from last year’s debut “Honey”) is redolent of the desert shlock fest 80s b-movie “Tremors”. What’s not to like?
Ky, Joni and Kaity have all virtually dropped by to VS to each give a “song for ewe” choice and it’s a pleasing education! Welcome to Velvet Sheep, the avant thrill that is Lungbutter!
Here’s the deceptively beautifully appointed album artwork for an album as heavy as “Honey” on Constellation Records.
And here are the cyclonic, revelatory choices of tune, so without further ado, here are Lungbutter’s “song(s) for ewe”…
“Ursula K. Le Guin & Todd Barton – ‘Long Singing’ from Music and Poetry of the Kesh
Ursula K. Le Guin is one of my favourite writers. I’ve been reading sci-fi since I was a kid and she was one of the first authors I read who gave me the idea that there could be sci-fi and fantasy from a specifically feminist perspective. This album of music she developed in 1985 with composer Todd Barton to accompany her text ‘Always Coming Home’ was reissued on vinyl a couple of years ago. It’s really a wonderful album, sounds of a meditative future-past.”
“Carlyle Williams – ‘Gotta Go For It!’ (track A1) from Gotta Go For It!
I was introduced to Carlyle Williams’ album Gotta Go for It! about five years ago, and I have been struggling to find something as bizarre and beautiful since! Equal-parts disorienting and inspiring, this specific track works as a great “hey have you heard this” icebreaker when I am on road trips with people that I don’t know very well, or pump-up anthem for when I need to do something challenging like clean my house. I know very little about Carlyle, outside of the fact that he is based in Montreal and is also a really incredible visual artist. However, I do know that we are all eternally indebted to him for making this amazing music!”
impLOG – ‘Holland Tunnel Dive’ from the Holland Tunnel Dive 12″
impLOG was the project of Don Christensen (who also played with James Chance and The Contortions back in the day) and I love this track in particular for its contrast of noisy dissonance and the incredibly catchy sax interlude mid-song. Four and a half minutes into an ominous buildup of monotone vocals and an increasingly persistent mechanical growl, the saxophone busts in with a true earworm and shatters the vibe. That feeling of joyous abandon, especially juxtaposed with the bleak pulsating electronics at the song’s beginning and end, gets me every time.
THANKS TO LUNGBUTTER AND TO LAUREN BARLEY OF RARELY UNABLE PR
Here’s their site:
You can get the album “Honey” here: