8 October 2015

Lucy Stoner - Who Is Lucy Stoner

Welcome to the dark side of the musical sphere which I call my blog - we are back in Nashville and this time I have been contacted to review the band Lucy Stoner (not to be confused with the band who in 2002 released the album 'Four Eyes') and their debut release called 'Who Is Lucy Stoner'.  To be honest, there is little to say about them from their Facebook and Bandcamp information - the band members are Keith Chandler, Blake Edward Conley, Cody Gaisser & Cliff Gray.  They class themselves as Drone fusion and when I was looking at the section on Facebook of acts they like, one name stood out like a beacon - The Chewers.  These were a band I reviewed not so long ago, and I really enjoyed them.  Now I would like at this point to put up a bit of how the band were described in the email I received - Lucy Stoner - a psych-punk band that jams improve noises and sounds in an exploratory effort to push what is defined as 'music'.  Lusted after by all who know her name but panned by critics, Lucy Stoner is a band so edgy that they've been accused of not creating music at all.  Surely this type of jazz is for the most dedicated listeners, but it is created by the ever-person.  I find that to be a challenge to be honest, we have reviewed some outlandish releases on here as well as the mundane and beige.  So on that note, it is time to see what this release sounds like.....

The first track goes by the snappy title - "Vol. 1: The Uncanny Lucy Stoner - We're Lucy Stoner and Fuck You/Pioneers Get Shot With Arrows/Transparent and Holy/Until I See The Light (I Won't Let Go)" - it starts off with the sound of clapping that stops and starts as if there is a crowd as they record the album.  The guitars come in first with chilling strumming and noise splattered like the blood of your victims on the floor, when the guitar starts its gentle riff that is out of time with the pace of the bass and noise then you know you are in for a rough ride with this record.  But there is a pattern to the tunes that every now and then does slip into a drone that is actually very beautiful, it is fucked up - but beautiful.  There is a middle section that actually almost goes into shoegazer territory and that was a bit surprising, granted it was only for 20 or 30 second but it was still there.  This is an eight minute track that will either make you reach for the stop button or feel curious for the next number.  This song has an even longer title - "Vol. 2: The Dark Lucy Saga - If You Feel You Have Reached This Recording In Error
/No One Leaves Without Scars/He Dated Gov. Haslam's Education Policy Analyst Who Said, "Jesus told me, 'We Can't Date.'" (Fear For Your Children's Scholastic Future)/Delinquent Mothers"- which starts off with the end of the clapping from "Vol 1.....".  There is more than a whiff of Captain Beefheart to this opening riff here, the screaming over it sounds as if the band have released their inner-C.C.C.C. onto the world and are ready to see if they can make your inners bleed through your nipples.  There is a brilliant feedback section on this track that gets interrupted by the crashing of the drums as they start to make their hellish noise once more, it does take time to get used to it and it will definitely not be for everyone.  But it does interest me, I love the way it goes between the styles and does not rest.  At one point, the bonus still is the moody music from Spaghetti Westerns.  It is another harsh piece, but would you be expecting more?

The next song is a much shorter title - "Vol. 3: Lucy Stoner/X-Statix - Ring Hollow/Lucy, Juicy, Juice/Housewife Syndrome/Bees In The Trap" - I think they have saved some of the titles for later.  As a noise track goes, this one is almost normal to be honest; it feels more like concrete and as if the mayhem of the first two tracks has been stripped away and the song is released with its bare bones on show.  It has a Middle Eastern tone to the guitar on this one and with the whirl of feedback, it sounds like it could be coming over the desert winds.  It is almost normal and that sort of terrifies me after the first two numbers, it is still strange and will confuse some people - but I think I am falling for this track.  A fascinating number by all accounts..... And back with the titles longer than an upper class christening - "Vol. 4: Astonishing Lucy Stoner - Lucy Stoner and The Firecat/His Neighbor Was The Proprietor of a Craigslist Glory Hole/Hippo Violation/What Makes A Man Prevent Forest Fires/No Attempt At Reconciliation" which comes into this world draped in feedback and noise - is it a blessed relief when it starts as I was not ready for normal here.  As the feedback is playing, you hear the odd moan and then strange guitar tones pierce the air with a feeling of menace.  This track is a marathon track for some, it lasts just under thirteen minutes and is responsible for making at least one cat in North East England loss its calm and run out of the room (seriously, my cat can be such a critic - but has also do this to Queens of the Stone Age).  It is slow, methodical, haunting and you have to be patient with it.  You cannot get everything from one sitting, first time I was not keeping attention to the shouting and screams, second time I notices the feedback more clearly at the beginning, third time I got lot in the desert drone in the middle - it keeps on giving you more and that is very rewarding indeed, best track on the album.

As ever, the titles take up a lot of this review and the fifth one is no exception - " Vol. 5: Secret Origins Of Lucy Stoner - Lucy, I'm Not Your Daddy/He Dated a Girl in Hendersonville, TN Who Faked a Pregnancy (and Psychologically Abused the Kids She Did Have)/You Don't Know My Friend Death… I mean, Sarah" which sounds like a sweet love song is being slapped around by a big thug in a moody thriller where the world is going to shit in a wicker basket.  After the intense noise grows and grows, everything goes quiet and we are in feedback country with mocking laughter ringing all around.  It is a harder on the ears than other songs on this release, it is an intense experience and will be the one that makes or breaks this band in people's mind - a very through and important track for the band and also the shortest track as well.  Ending the album is "Vol. 6: All-New, All-Different Lucy Stoner - Hopelash/Share a Coke with Lucy Stoner/Dudevorce/The Last Time We Met" and its riff really starts off in the end of "Vol 5....", it has a strangely easy groove in the beginning which continues throughout the song.  Much like "Vol 3...." you are awaiting it to all come crashing down and it does not really do that.  It is an almost normal ending to this record, I say almost as it does end in a wall of feedback and noise that will keep all noise fans very happy.

This album is challenging, very challenging indeed.  I can see why a lot of people would not enjoy this, it is by its very nature a confrontational record which is not aimed at people who are wanking over the latest One Direction release.  But I love the loose nature of the record, I love that you can hear a note that is not perfect and that it sounds as if it was made on the spur of that particular moment.  It is not something that you can easily mark, it is a very Marmite album - for people who are not familiar with Marmite, this is a beef extract spread which people either love or hate; there is no middle ground.  Personally, I find this very well performed and a great noise record - it is music and worth the challenge; but it is not something that will please everyone and due to that and the strange nature of the band, they are getting the cat symbol - it is a mark reversed for those moments so crazy that a mark will not do. Two other points involved with this release - One, Cody from the band has been in touch to point out that if you purchase the album (either the physical or down load release) you get an additional 45 minutes worth of music, that is actually release good value for money as the download version is $5. Two, they are a band who I think should do a split ep with Waheela - now that would be a release from noise nirvana.

Crazy Cat symbol - This album cannot be marked, so here is a box of kittens 

Top track - Vol. 4: Astonishing Lucy Stoner - Lucy Stoner and The Firecat/His Neighbor Was The Proprietor of a Craigslist Glory Hole/Hippo Violation/What Makes A Man Prevent Forest Fires/No Attempt At Reconciliation 

You can purchase Who Is Lucy Stoner and stream the songs on their Bandcamp page here

You can follow their activities on Facebook here

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