Mark Bingham got an early start in the music business when he was signed with Elektra Records at the age of 17 in 1966 and released a single on Warner Bros. before returning to his hometown of Bloomington, Indiana to attend university. At the time he started Bar-B-Q Records and in 1975 he relocated to New York City and started the band Social Climbers but also got involved in recording some of the city’s more adventurous artists like Glenn Branca, MX-80 and in particular Bush Tetra’s 1980 single “Too Many Creeps.” Bingham moved to New Orleans in 1982 and started The Boiler Room recording studio and in 2001 opened Piety Street Recording but ended operations with the studio in 2013. Across his decades as a producer, musician (studio, live), composer and recording engineer, Bingham has worked with R.E.M., Ed Sanders, John Scholfield, Flat Duo Jets, Allen Ginsberg, Marianne Faithfull, Elvis Costello, Allen Toussaint, Korn, Dr. John, Pretty Lights, Dave Matthews and countless others but is perhaps less known for his eclectic and vast body of work that is his own music. So from 2022-2023 Nouveau Electric Records is releasing Bingham’s collected work in 22 albums. The series began with the release of Mushroom Crowd and Goo Seneck on Friday, November 18, 2022 with albums released every two months through September 2023 including the recently issues William Blake in Bakersfield.
Listen to our interview with Mark Bingham on Bandcamp and please visit Bingham’s own Bandcamp below for more information on the producer and the aforementioned series of releases.
Penkowski has a few delightful tricks up its sleeve on its single “Butterfly.” Not only is the music video a wildly colorful, part animation, part collage art 3D explorer video game style visual presentation but the clipped riffing opening the song is like something out of the New York No Wave era like something you’d hear in a Contortions or Bush Tetras song but then the song shifts abruptly into a more elevated pop post-punk mode like the early 90s solo David Byrne work. But the whole time one is reminded of 80s New Wave with the slinky bass line and Falco-esque near yelping vocal cadence reflecting an age of absurdity and anxiety but in the outro we see our hero riding on a plane out of the phantastical and disorienting landscape on the wing of a plane, making the best of the outrageous state of things, whilst the guitar becomes more ethereal and spidery like the ending section of “Marquee Moon.” The song touches on some familiar places and yet is not like much of anything else going on right now and that’s what makes the song so standout. Watch the video for “Butterfly” on YouTube, connect with Penkowski at the links below and maybe give a listen to the album Final Destination Disneyland out now on Fiasko ltd. and Chinese label Invisible Water.
Donzii is a bit of a favorite among connoisseurs of underground post-punk and its new single “Rightway Highway” with its retro style VHS glitched music video by Domingo Castillo is fine example of where the band is going with its forthcoming full-length debut (out on Grey Market Records later this year). Danny Heinze’s bent and clipped guitar lines dub style, Dennis Fuller’s minimal yet intricate and driving bass lines and of course Jenna Balfe’s nearly deadpan but theatrical and expressive vocals running through a backdrop of what looks like an amusement park in south Florida from which the trio hails. Fans of Bush Tetras will appreciate the way Donzii handles its rhythm scheme and mutant melodies as well as the poetry of the lyrics discussing a desire to escape from a wack situation where a person who wants to give back and not just take doesn’t fit in as elaborated upon and summed up with the line “if you can’t find the right way save it for another day, I’m just a runaway looking for the freeway.” It’s string of words that captures the sense that maybe until you have your plan for making your exit you can hold in your heart the sense that you are fine with being a weirdo in a place that isn’t so welcoming of them and your opportunity will come. Maybe that isn’t the actual sense of the song but music like Donzii’s resonates with that of bands like Suburban Lawns, Lithics and Ganser because it isn’t trying to fit into the confines of a narrow style and that in itself suggests it’s music for non-conformists in general with words giving comfort to their kind wherever the songs are heard. Watch the video for “Rightway Highway” on YouTube and follow Donzii at the links below.
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