Monday, May 19, 2008

The Betty Ford Experience - Self-titled EP

- Matt (right) and David of The Betty Ford Experience.

Whilst performing a routine sweep of a rubbish-filled storage box in Subiaco, a gleaming treasure was found. Now, it can shared with the world – the self-titled EP by The Betty Ford Experience, an imposing monument on the barren field of Perth rock’n’roll history.

The year may have been 2002. Juvenile garage-punk freaks Orgy of the Undead were disintegrating in a whirlwind of laziness, unwarranted member firing, disorganisation and the refusal to acknowledge that one of them would truly have to be ‘the singer’. OOTU had charted a reckless course through the blown speaker lo-fi punk/rock’n’roll spasms of the ‘Don’t Just Lie There, Say Something’ EP into the murky waters of art-punk with the full-length ‘Love is Dead’ release. Matt the drummer quit after being hazed for his inability to keep time whilst somewhat drunk at one of the very rare Undead rehearsals. This move shunted OOTU into true ‘recording project’ territory.

Matt holed up at his mother’s house in North Perth in their airy front room, home to gorgeous wooden flooring, a drum kit and a decrepit PC with a bootleg copy of the recording program ‘Cakewalk’. He begun to write the music that would become The Betty Ford Experience. Feeling a desire for collaboration he drafted in David, one of the guitarists and reluctant singers in Orgy of the Undead.

The half-formed recordings were fleshed out (some more than others), and a scattered, occasionally vicious, occasionally glorious EP was delivered. Guitars and drums were played by Matt and additional guitar was played by David. Both contributed vicious abuse of bizarre sound effects, digital distortion and insane delay/echo mangling. Spurred on by his colleague's insistence that his singing voice was reminiscent of ‘a young Lou Reed’ Matt handled the vocals with occasional manic outbursts from David. The result is fairly traditional punk rock and garage pop twisted into some weird, interesting, sometimes malformed shapes with the surgical precision of mountain apes.

As for the songs, there are a few gems of uncanny proportions floating amidst half-formed, scattered musings. ‘Death of a Salesman’ is a careening punk nugget, a brilliantly repetitive 3-chord diatribe against confused crap peddlers. Matt lays down an authoritative vocal with a guest interjection from an unhinged, demented David. Following a spazzy acid-punk guitar solo, a flurry of ethereal backwards guitar solos swoops in and the song morphs into a recitation of Dante’s Inferno over campfire acoustic guitar. Truly a piece de resistance. The other hit on the EP is ‘Corpse Eater’, a similarly propulsive, distorted garage/punk rock anthem promoting the virtues of human flesh.

Against these twin pillars the rest of the EP is less substantial, but still intriguing. The opening punk blast ‘Dead’ delivers the truism ‘you’re dead or you die’. Can’t argue with that! ‘Black Rain’ starts with an early emo-meets-Pixies introduction before settling in to introspective guitar pop with oddly mixed (i.e. way too loud!) vocals. ‘Twerp’ is a minimal, moonlit slice of crystalline guitar wandering, which really should have had vocals added to it. ‘Windmills’ is anthemic garage rock urging the listener to ‘stab seventeen needles in my eye’. An obscenely distorted and completely inappropriate drum and bass track offers confusion and an aching head.

The Betty Ford Experience was to come to an early end, as Matt took off on a lengthy excursion around Australia and David went overseas. However before this door slammed shut The Betty Ford Experience and Orgy of the Undead joined forces for one last blast in the faces of innocent party-goers and indulgent friends at Matt’s going away party. The Betty Ford Experience/OOTU line-up laid waste to Matt’s mother’s charming backyard garden settings with a volatile set of Betty Ford and Undead tracks, along with a thorough maiming of the Misfits classic ‘Skulls’. This gig was recorded and will be covered on this site in the future.

In the meantime feel free hit and download The Betty Ford Experience EP and the ‘Live at Matt’s Farewell Party’ BFE/OOTU live recording.



Monday, May 12, 2008

Vibrations From The Cosmic Grove

Channelled Beast Spirit aka Quintus Colourscape aka Richard the guitar/synth player from Whalehammer, Mink Mussel Creek and many other entities has a new website where he discusses his favourite records, typically of a prog, metal, kraut or weird nature and offers possibilities as to their extraction.

On the topic of music sites this one is pretty cool too;

Much love