In the course of a recent sleeves-up unclogging of the shop’s stinkin' intestines, we found many INTERESTING things (INTESTINE things?), most of them now in the bin, but also some stray copies of this staggeringly brilliant 2015 release.
As some of you know, for some years our Sanjay ran a label with his mate Greg, called Another Dark Age - focusing mainly but not exclusively on Aussie post-industrial/DIY outliers, its nine release run (I live in hope of a tenth) showcased the talents of people like LST, Traffic Island Sound and Cured Pink. But ADA's greatest public service was surely this 2LP reissue of Vincent Over The Sink’s 22 Coloured Bull Terriers, a 23-track epic originally self-released by the band on CDr in 2008 (there was a cassette version on Near Tapes in 2009 too). By 2015 it had built up a serious rep in the Oz underground, but was still virtually unknown over this side. It's still nowhere near well-known enough!
VOTS was the duo of Chris Schueler (who sadly passed away in 2010) and Matthew Hopkins - not the Witchfinder General, but the deft Sydney sound-sculptor perhaps best known for his solo works on Penultimate Press, and for serving time in Naked On The Vague and Half High. Schueler and Hopkins also graced Graham Lambkin’s Kye with one of its most memorable releases, the self-titled 7” they cut as The Bowles (with Mary MacDougall).
But enough C.V. regurge! 22 Coloured Bull Terriers is the kind of record you could reasonably spend your whole life looking for, and dreaming of, something too good to conceivably be true. But it actually exists! Toggling between abstraction and lucidity, generous pop impulse and wilful auto-destruct, at heart it's a suite of strange fragile but utterly luminous songs being pulled apart at the seams. The opening one-two of ‘Number Theory’ (think Bert Jansch by way of Solid Space) and the uncanny suspense-scape '22 Paintbrush Place’ set the tone for the unfolding epic of demolished chamber-folk, exploratory tape-loops and suppurating electronics, flashes of deconstructed rock in loftiest Red Krayola / Gastr del Sol mode (but rendered with a very Australian drollery), heart-bursting Flying Nun-ish melodies collapsing in on themselves, and eerie crepuscular ambiences that fall somewhere been the stoned teatime wooze of Woo or The Pickle Factory and something altogether spikier, radgier, more desolate.. It's just too good, and by my reckoning continues to exert huge overt and subliminal influence on the subterranean autodidact avant-garde or whatever ye wanna call it. Let's just say, you'd be hard-pushed to find a record that each of us who works in this shoppe adores equally - but it exists, and it is this. Best thing to come out of Australia since, what, Sanj himself?!