|(I would have pictures to go with these, but I don't have a scanner)|
THE DIMENSIONAL SHAMBLERS:
Originally hailing from Austin, Texas, Birmingham, Alabama and Boulder, Colorado respectively, it was three years ago that Jeremy Cortex, Conroy Zimmerman, Duncan Wagner and Ford Scanlon came together in a Florida squat to form The Dimensional Shamblers.
“It wasn’t a squat!” protests Jeremy, “It was my mom’s house. She moved out, nobody wanted to buy it, so we moved in.”
It was here, within walking distance of both alligator infested swamps and the 7-11 that the band proceeded to make, in their own words, “a big fucking mess”.
And, as club owners and music fans throughout the South will attest, they make a pretty big fucking mess on stage and on vinyl too.
Drawing on the wilder moments of both the 13th Floor Elevators and the Jesus & Mary Chain, the Shambler’s music has to heard to be believed – like the Flaming Lips firebombing Dresden in a plane built by the Butthole Surfers.
You might call it ‘psychedelia’ if it wasn’t so terrifying. Epic song structure and otherworldly subject matter combines with a furiously intense punk noise assault to create unrelentingly paranoid soundscapes that occasionally give way to moments of almost extraordinary beauty. On Eat My Synaptic Death, a 4 song, 23 minute live recording available on LizardSweat Records, the band play with an energy and enthusiasm
completely at odds with their slacker exterior. “We’d be lying if we said we didn’t take a lot of drugs,” says
Duncan hesitantly “but there’s a lot more to it than that. There’s something .. primal going on.”
“Yeah,” agrees the near comatose Conroy “I think we’ve got some kinda direct guitar/emotion interface .. which we’re gonna milk for all it’s worth, creatively speaking.”
The Dimensional Shamblers have currently relocated to New York, where they’re looking for a producer to work with on their debut album (provisionally entitled “Digging for the New Gunsmoke” .
“We’re looking to get Dave Fridmann, Jonathan Donahue or any member of Sonic Youth with a free weekend” says Duncan optimistically.
The Shambler’s first proper single, an almost unrecognisable version of Echo and the Bunnymen’s People are Strange is out now on the Trance Syndicate label.
THE MANY VOICES OF HAT:
Today, The Many Voices of Hat (Kenneth to his parents) is clad in a ridiculously oversized witch's hat and cape and is carrying his ‘favourite’ pitchfork. "I tend not to dress this way in the street," he says by way of an apology "crying children are not a pleasant site to me". Though this ‘quirky’ singer-songwriter is on the verge on completing his third studio album, There’s a Rasta at the Door, he still resides in the same caravan by the seaside (he refuses to reveal exactly where "for fear of hooligans") where he first picked up a toy guitar one Sunday afternoon and began composing a song about a flying train. "It went on for hours," he explains "it became a kind of endurance test, seeing how long I could keep on singing about this train and it’s adventures."
It was on the strength of this alone that The Many Voices of Hat was first thrust into the limelight when an obviously impressed Alan McGee offered him a deal with Creation records. However, The Many Voices of Hat’s combination of twee surrealism and wilful eccentricity proved to be deeply unpopular and his debut LP Does Anyone Here Play the Cymbals? Was greeted with widespread derision from critics and audiences alike. The NME famously dubbed him ‘the many voices of twat’ and he was quickly and quietly dropped from the Creation roster.
"Poor McGee," says The Many Voices of Hat without bitterness "he does make rather a lot of mistakes".
His next record was really one for the ‘so bad it’s good’ file. A Clambake with the Dwarven Lords was a full blown concept album based on – yes – The Lord of the Rings. The final track, 'Bilbo Baggins Hates Us', fades out on a chorus of ‘smell the elf, smell the elf, smell the elf..’. Pray you’re never unlucky enough to hear it. "It was a purely financial measure" claims The Many Voices of Hat unrepentantly, "those Tolkien fans will buy any old bollocks".
But underrate this man at your peril, for There’s a Rasta at the Door is a far better record than anyone had a right to expect. Ably accompanied by electronic wizard Dr. Klaxon and classical woodwind maestro Marina Von Innocence-Mutter, The Many Voices of Hat’s songwriting has lost it’s previous python-esque silliness and matured into something altogether more beautiful. Sometimes sounding like Bob Dylan after a valium overdose and an 18 hour Dungeons and Dragons session and sometimes like a 21st century musical rewrite of Alice in Wonderland, The Many Voices of Hat’s new musical vision combines instantly likeable pop melodies with complex instrumentation and fastpaced narrative tales of lost love, sunny days, giant pigeons and gateways to other universes. Try it. You probably won’t like it, but hey, you never know.