Perfect Porridge

VINYL: Steve Mackay, Boy Dirt Car and more from After Music Recordings

After Music Recordings is apparently an underground label here in Minneapolis pressing vinyl albums spanning singer-songwriter to experimental noise to jazz — stuff you would never find in the sad vinyl aisles of your neighborhood big box store.

According to their website, it’s “a micro record label based in Minneapolis providing small pressings of uncommon, unusual and unpopular vinyl recordings.” That sounds like my kind of label!

The AMR folks sent me a sampling of recent material — featuring hand-numbered, custom printed artwork and records.

Those of you older than me may be familiar with Boy Dirt Car, the noise band out of Milwaukee who has played in Minneapolis often in the past 30 years (yes – thirty) and helped define the “Junk Rock” movement of the 80s.

Boy Dirt Car is exactly the kind of experimental, nonlinear, noise rock I want to play these days, and I’m quite pleased to have Familia on vinyl now. I’ve grown so tired of formulaic crap designed to sell records, and BDC’s sound is the polar opposite. In fact, there’s a strong chance only a few readers would even tolerate this. And that’s okay. You can go back to your Foster the People mp3s now.

The new Steve Mackay album, however, won over multiple coworkers since I started spinning it a couple weeks ago. North Beach Jazz features the saxophonist of The Stooges and Commander Cody (plus time backing groups like The Violent Femmes) belting out Mackay’s San Francisco influences.

My favorite track on the B side, “La Cuisine Charnelle,” which I could easily see Brian Auger getting excited about. People walking down the hall would stick their heads in when playing this record, asking, “What is this?” or merely “Now this actually sounds like music,” which I assume is a dig at my growing collection of experimental noise albums.

Speaking of experimental noise, Afternoon Music also sent over Peter J. WoodsSongs for Nothing which is more a work of performance-meets-accidental recording art than anything one would call music.

Defined by harsh, screaming feedback paired with harsh screaming audio, to say this record is unpopular is overstating the obvious. I enjoyed blaring it for Doug Hamlin during a meeting about work that was actually important.

I’m pretty psyched to discover After Music and can’t wait for their next batch of releases.

Have a favorite experimental or noise album? Share in the comments!