WARMER MIXTAPES #559 | by Clayton James Ruby [Burial Hex] of Horrid Red, Second Family Band, Wormsblood, Hintergedanken, The Davenport Family, Zodiac Mountain, Jex Toth, Journey To Ixtlan, Wedding and The Far

{+:. C L Y (+) R B Y .:+}
transmitting from
the Harvest Abbey, Wisconsin

There are so many seminal moments in the life of an avid Music lover, it seems nearly impossible to chase down which might be the ten most important. For me, it could be age sixteen when I had the profound experience of smoking an entire joint and laying down in bed to close my eyes and listen to The Velvet Underground's European Son on headphones.

Maybe I should begin a bit earlier when the local Methodist minister sat down a group of us ten year-old kids for a lecture about Rock Music. He explained to us that the band Slayer was bad because they sang songs about Satan. He also taught that the band Kiss were even worse because their name was an acronym that secretly claimed they were Kids In Satan's Service. Finally he told us that the band NON were the ultimate evil band because they're both Satanists AND Nazis!

These were all lessons I would not soon forget, but we could go back even earlier. When I was five years old and the song Ebony And Ivory came on the radio, I remember being totally entranced by the sound of it. I asked my mother, What is he playing?... She told me it was Stevie Wonder, a piano and keyboard player. So I exclaimed, I want to do that!... Soon my parents found a local ad for a big, black, old, rickety upright piano. They bought it and put it down in our basement. Which is probably close enough to the beginning of my story.

1. Frédéric Chopin | Piano Sonata No. 2 In B-flat Minor, Op. 35 (Played by Vladimir Horowitz)
Since beginning piano lessons at age five, I have always loved the classics. My favorite area is the immense repertoire for piano solo, and just about any piano, pipe organ or Chamber Music that comes from Europe in the 19th Century. There is no end to the list of wonderful works being composed and performed at this time, so it is very difficult to pick a favorite (or ten). Chopin's second sonata, being a distillation of the height of romantic piano sonata, one the finest offerings from one of the first piano soloists to travel around performing in private chamber concerts throughout Europe, and the sonata that features his haunting Marche Funèbre, was the perfect piece to express my passion for so much music from this era. This is not to say that it is my favorite romantic piano work over those of Franz Liszt, late era Ludwig van Beethoven, Clara Schumann or Charles-Marie Alkan. However, it remains utterly timeless as well as an exquisite example of that style. I have had the good fortune to see it performed live twice, have come across many brilliant recordings of it, and often find that little melody ('pray for the dead and the dead will pray for you') from the Marche Funèbre stuck in my head for hours.

2. Meat Loaf | Bat Out Of Hell
This album was one of the only things my mother and I agreed on when I was a young child. I heard this album over and over again on strawberry daiquiri-fueled camping trips throughout all of my formative years. As I grew older, it seems this song still strikes a powerful chord within me, which was always easy to disregard as a guilty pleasure. However, considering this song is nearly ten minutes jam-packed full of thrilling piano solos, roaring motorcycles, haunting themes, ripping Rock band gymnastics, stunts, explosions, Death, and lots of license for a young kid to sing the word HELL at top volume, what was there ever to feel guilty about?

3. Ween | The Stallion (Pt. 3)
This song came early on, hearing it on the University of Oshkosh radio station, in 1992. I was thirteen years old. It was the first time I ever heard a Folk song that was drenched in Psychedelic effects and featured bizarre lyrics that made references to harnessing the power of the almighty Sun. This must have be the beginning of my lifelong obsession with Folk, Psych Folk, Acid Folk, Wyrd Folk, Neofolk, Free Folk, Broke Folk, etc, etc. It was on a camping trip in 2006, sitting around the campfire strumming the guitar and singing everything from the Incredible String Band to Death In June, when suddenly The Stallion (Pt. 3) popped into my head and made me realize that this odd Ween song was truly my first mytho-poetic Wyrd Folk love.

4. David Bowie | The Bewlay Brothers
David Bowie has been in my life for a long long time. Nowadays, when it's time for Bowie, I'll often reach for something from the Berlin trilogy or maybe Scary Monsters or Station To Station but, as a young rocker, Hunky Dory was my favorite Bowie album. Hunky Dory contains a huge variety of material, from big crowd-pleasers like Changes, to the mysticism of Quicksand, to the snaking groove and hip name-dropping of Andy Warhol; and then there was The Bewlay Brothers, an ever-so haunting Acid Folk ballad about the author's childhood relationship with his schizophrenic brother. The first memory of my entire life is from a hazy morning in January of 1981, when my little brother died of SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome). He was my first and best friend at a time when love and loss where not yet formed concepts in my tiny head. I recently was given a large collection of old family photos, where I was able to reacquaint myself, after 30 years, with the face of my dead little brother. It was such a heavy moment, to revisit the face of my brother and friend, and to finally understand the harrowing nature of the emotions thrust upon our young family when he died. Two years after his death, my mother gave birth to another child who was born stricken with a developmental disability that renders his mind permanently that of a six month baby. He is now 26 years old and still in diapers and still unable to speak. Growing up, I was very close to my disabled brother. I felt a connection with him and was often tasked with his care when my parents had their hands full. Throughout my adolescence, many times when listening to this song, I related to the sadness Bowie expresses for growing up close with tragic brothers.

5. The Misfits | Cough/Cool
We are talking about the original debut 7" that features the band as a trio with Glenn Danzig playing electric piano instead of having a guitarist. This single is so perfect, inventive and fun, that it seems pointless for me to illustrate every fetish that it satisfies. You've all heard it, there must be extensive writing about it already. The image, the vocals, the speed, and especially how Danzig made that electric piano buzz and snarl in a way that affected my young ears far more intensely than the screaming guitar tantrum of any given Hardcore band. I had not been this enthralled by Rock And Roll keyboard playing since Ray Manzarek. Like many people, I first heard this song when it made it's digital debut in 1996 on The Misfits coffin boxset. Ever since then I have spent hours and hours dreaming about what The Misfits must have been like during those six months in 1977 when they didn't have a guitar player. This dream is as poignant as imagining the creative thrill of recording the first Suicide album, also happening in '77. It is always worth waiting for new bands who can conjure up that particularly high caliber originality in their sound AND that equally high level of charisma in their performance and attitude, and then to be able to bring it all together on a slick little recording, amen!

6. The Shangri-Las | Out In The Streets
There is so much to love about the Shangri-Las. I love their sound, their soaring harmonies, their streetwise lyrics, their hard-luck story, their badass attitude, their penchant for touring armed, that Iggy Pop was in one of their back-up bands, all their unusual post-production trickery, their sound effects, their reverb, their sexy bodies, and their luscious voices. It's impossible for me to imagine how difficult it was for these young girls coming up in the lower-middle class of Queens, in the early 60's. Coming from a typically messed-up lower-middle class rural Wisconsin home, which happened to be cursed with a few extreme twists, a particular combination of situations arose to give me reason to steal a car and run away from home at the age of sixteen. I spent nearly eight months sleeping in alleyways, stealing, begging, stowing away from one big city to the next, from Wisconsin, through the heartland until getting arrested in California and finally extradited to a juvenile detention center back in Wisconsin. Not sure if that is yet another reason for me to love this song in particular. Out In The Streets is simply one of my favorite songs by one of my favorite Pop bands of all time, without really relating to the lyrics much in my adult life. I do still wear those dirty old black boots, in fact.

7. Coil | Chaostrophy
I was thoroughly exposed to Wax Trax and EBM-style Industrial Music as a teenager, so, by the time I first heard this track, in 1997 I was beginning to think that Skinny Puppy and Laibach were the only good Industrial bands that I could really enjoy, who were truly scary, and were transcendent of the seemingly cheese-filled world of Industrial Music. Upon hearing the song Chaostrophy, two major changes happened in my life. First, I began to realize that there was much more substance to Industrial Music. This lead me to exploring all of the musics of Coil, Throbbing Gristle, Psychic TV, Whitehouse, MB, Mauthausen Orchestra, World Serpent, Nekrophile Records, Slaughter Productions, Misty Circles, Hau Ruck!, and all of the amazing music that lead to me having the purposeful epiphanies that would lead to the conception of Burial Hex in 2005. Within ten years of hearing Chaostrophy for the first time, I would be booking my first Burial Hex show in London. Not even two years after my first show in London, I was back to play my third London show at the Equinox Festival, who also hosted an extraordinary lecture/performance by Peter Christopherson himself. My reflections on Sleazy's message that night could fill another essay all their own. Just as this track intensely refreshed a sense of meaning within my limited understanding of Industrial Music, so too it revitalized and inspired new meaning to my teenage spiritual perspectives. Over a short period of time, the music of Coil's Chaostrophy quite literally evolves from chaotic stabs of unsettling sound design into exquisitely organized and romantically intoxicating Neoclassical Chamber Music, quite easily inspiring the thought that occult understanding and its subsequent ritual manipulation of seemingly chaotic systems could result in very powerful and desired results. This created a new metaphysical outlet for me, and further explorations of the Chaos Magic of Austin Osman Spare, Phil Hine and Peter Carroll gave me the foundations for a new and personalized approach to Magic which eventually flung my astral soul deep into the unending multiverse of Spiritual Discovery and Freedom, where it has remained happily ever since.

8. Stone Breath | Listen, Listen, Listen
Stone Breath is a monolith of consistently original depth and beauty within the American underground Folk scene. One of the few bands to hear the first strains of Neofolk coming across from the UK and produce a uniquely American response. In the decades that followed, Stone Breath played through their changes and gracefully retired to a hermetic time capsule, until-recently buried deep within the archives of Timothy Renner's wonderful Dark Holler Records. In early 2002, Stone Breath was still going and I was continuing to deepen in my obsession with all types of strange Folk Music so, when I heard sprawling lonesome esoteric hymns of Stone Breath, I became very attached to their music. Then in 2003, Timothy Renner played a solo show during a daytime college arts festival in Chicago, where my good friend and I were able to travel and meet him, have dinner with him, and enjoy an incredible concert. I had just started recording with my new band, the Davenport Family, and we were attempting to cover a song off of Renner's Songs for a Sacred Memory CDr. Additionally, we were booking the Pasture Music Festival and were very keen for Renner to play this event. Stone Breath, Skye Klad, Crow Tongue, and many other albums from Dark Holler Records provided much early inspiration for those of us who were just starting to improvise using Folk instruments combined with Electronic effects, eclectic Mysticism, liberal intoxication and very little traditional training. Stone Breath eventually retired and Timothy Renner was unable to play Pasture Music Festival, but we have stayed in contact and I continue to deeply love and admire the music of Stone Breath as well as Renner's solo music. Luckily for all, Stone Breath recently reignited this project and have just released a couple very excellent albums that demonstrate these amazing musicians have still got what it takes to craft mesmerizing, uniquely American mystical Folk song. Watch for new albums in the near future from Stone Breath, including upcoming releases on our very own imprint Brave Mysteries.

9. Sylvester Anfang II | Offerbloed Van De Maansekte
Sylvester Anfang II are the first band that I ever toured overseas with and this was the 7" that we released in celebration of that tour across England, April, 2008. Maybe it is because I just finished recording some vocals for an upcoming Sylvester Anfang II album, or maybe it is because I am just about to depart for another Burial Hex European tour, but I have been thinking alot about this fiendish Flemish cult act lately. This was the pivotal vinyl release where Silvester Anfang, the damaged adolescent Funeral Folk ensemble, recreated themselves as Sylvester Anfang II, the belligerent wah-wah Acid Rock giant, set to completely destroy any bunker you book them in. I have had the unique pleasure to tour with them, play with them, record with them, distribute and release their music, and now it has been nearly eight years since they first wrote to me and I only love their music more and more. I hope they are all delightfully burning away inside the sweaty holes of undying Flemish goatfire somewhere. Long Live The True Funeral Crew Of Doom!!! Bless 'em All!!!

10. Death In June | Peaceful Snow
After many years of slowly tip-toeing into the ocean that is Douglas P's confusing musical life, I eventually jumped in all the way over my head six years ago. Since then, I have fallen in love with certain eras of Death In June, Douglas has become one of my favorite singer-songwriters (you know, Leonard Cohen, Phil Lynott, Lou Reed, Townes Van Zandt, Tim Buckley, Paul Simon, and.... Uh... Douglas P...) and far far too many of DI6's ridiculous deluxe romantic artifacts have found their way onto my shelves. This song comes to mind today because Death In June have recently announced a surprise 30th anniversary tour, and I have secured one of the coveted tickets to their exclusive German concert in Eisleben. In 2010, Death In June announced that they would be releasing a new album (after over 8 years silence) and it made me quite nervous about how it would turn out. I did not think it would be possible for me to have a lukewarm reaction, so either I'd soon be buying an overpriced album that I absolutely loved OR totally despised. Then Death In June announced that the new album was going to be quite different from all previous DI6 output, as it featured exclusively Acoustic piano as his instrumental accompaniment. Piano being my first musical love, any post-Industrial band that released a piano-based album would certainly earn themselves at least one severely critical listen from these ears. Suddenly the new Death In June album was under even more brutal pressure in my mind. Not only was it his latest and long overdue follow-up to Rule Of Thirds, but now we find out he has eschewed his beloved 12-string guitar for... The piano? Then one dark evening, a funny little pink 7" arrived in the mail, and upon listening to it, I was treated to this new song. Peaceful Snow is a sad lament, reflecting on Love, Death, Family and Fate. The song is delicate, brilliant and truly touching. I spent that night, and many since, listening to this single over and over. What a relief that, after 30 years in existence, Death In June can still deliver a stunning ballad, no matter how much the pressures and expectations of time and mythos (and individual, overly-critical instrument preferences) can build against them.

+11. Devotion | Excerpt (TBA)
Wish I knew more about the titles and other info about this release, but those mysterious devils in Devotion just don't work in any normal way, by any normal time, or from any normal dimension. When not hidden away in their rural retreat, one half of Devotion is none other than Troy Schafer from the outstanding bands Wreathes, Kinit Her, Compass Hour and many more. Like all of these projects, Devotion is a rich and complicated musical body weaving decadently melodic Modern Folk song structures over which all manner of vocal acrobatics and surreal ephemera may occur. This song is a slow pulsing march, with hypnotic strumming 12-string guitar and soaring female vocals that carry such grace and a sense of organic depth and sincere inspiration. The overall approach of the production on this record seems decidedly post-Industrial, but the vocals and instrumental arrangements are completely Folksy and down-to-Earth. You can feel the hearth fires glowing, you can smell the fresh air of the pastoral Wisconsin countryside. The sound is smoldering with the warmth of analog reel-to-reel recording, and, well, just about everything about this album is breath-taking. When I am on tour and feeling homesick, I think this track will be the one that most evokes the soul of southern Wisconsin right now. Devotion is a talent that the World will surely soon hear a lot more of. As we patiently await their first vinyl transmission, let's hope they don't hide themselves away much longer. Whenever they do decide to reveal themselves, this will also be released on our own Brave Mysteries.

... AND here are quick notes on 11 new bands that I have been loving lately,
not many memories with them yet... (But they are making a serious impression)...

+12. Horrid Red
A band I am collaborating with Edmund Xavier & Bunker Wolf (from Teenage Panzer Korps) international deluxe Synth-Pop delicatessen... This stuff reminds me of Horrid Red's debut summertime tour, which was a blast, rockin kids from Davis to LA.

+13. Mater Suspiria Vision (aka Pwin Teaks and all other C.D. Xam projects)
German mastermind brewing an onslaught of brain twisting videos and music... Not so much an artist as a kaleidoscopic wormhole into an alternate universe...

+14. FWY!
Pronounced (Freeway), reductionist California 80s/90s Road Film Noir Fantasy act... Guitar + bass + drum machine + delay + sadness... Another Edmund Xavier masterpiece.

+15. Death Coast
International magic group and masters of sexy cynical Mixology. Mashed, chopped and stirred up in extremo... The ultimate DJs for heartache and mayhem.

+16. Art Abscons
Who knows what this madman will deliver next... Been producing post Industrial and Neofolk inspired albums with the color and zeal of Paul Simon circa Hearts & Bones... Happy to see some real personality and fun being brought back to the genre.

+17. Wreathes
Local misfits and good friends, perennialist Pop outfit focusing on loftier endeavors from within the Kinit Her camp.

+18. Meuran Humanos
Their remix of the Burial Hex Book Of Delusions 12" is enough to put them high in my current rotation, very original styles, and too damn sexy, their debut full length album is quite a blast too.

+19. Brannten Schnüre
Cerebral romantic German post-Industrial nocturnes, from same scene as Baldruin, inspiring new young voices from Bavaria.

+20. King Dude
Great new writer, intoning stripped-down and Dark Folk balladry, American style.

+21. His Electro Blue Voice
Heavy Italian Post-Punk, adventurous as Savage Republic, groovy as epilepsy.

+22. Moons
Sensational Minimal Eletronic Mantra, new Voodoo step.