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SOFT SHOULDER "Contextual Depreciation" LP (Gilgongo)
Two months after the recent Aerosol Can Stand 7, James Fellas long-running group Soft Shoulder returns with 10 tracks recorded throughout 2018-2019 at various live performances, at their practice space and in some cases, fragments of both settings collaged together at home. While not providing definitive versions of any new songs, Contextual Depreciation appears as a mile marker for the groups approach in the late 2010s: jagged post punk, slow-churning junk-kraut from the Sonoran desert. Available from Gilgongo Records and on Bandcamp.
JAMES FELLA "Printed Matter Issue #3 // January 2020" CD & print set (Deliberate Indifference)
Another CD and print collection: fliers, set lists and other printed pieces made by James Fella over the past year. Edition of 50 - available via Bandcamp.
SOFT SHOULDER "Aerosol Can Stand" 7" (GGGR-107)
Aerosol Can Stand finds JAMES FELLA's long running post-punk / no-wave / junk-kraut group in a rare moment of pop sensibility (subject to objection and critique). Recorded spur-of-the-moment during practice, these two songs are a snapshot of Soft Shoulder as a trio (with JOSH RODRIGUEZ (Mallevs, Sleep Money, etc) and Moone Records CALEB DAILEY) in late 2019.
However, the same variety of haphazard approaches and bedroom-style recording methods which Fella is accustomed to using when processing songs alone were utilized here with the full band. Everything captured on the second take: microphones taped to broken pieces of drum kit hardware and whatever else was sitting around on the floor, overblown overdubs done with a faulty reverb unit, synth later dropped in as an afterthought directly before a maniacal full-volume mix-down in the same rehearsal space later that week.Comparisons aside and credit due as collateral: RIYL The Fall, The Homosexuals, etc. Edition of 600 (includes download and every copy comes with a unique print made using components from the artwork). Available from Gilgongo Records and on Bandcamp.
JAMES FELLA - "Printed Matter Issue #3" CD & print set.
JAMES FELLA, STEVE JANSEN, STEVE ZIMMERMAN - TBA LP.
SOFT SHOULDER - "Contextual Depreciation" LP.
SOFT SHOULDER - "Aerosol Can Stand" 7".
SOFT SHOULDER - "Not the New One" LP.
JAMES FELLA - "Printed Matter Issue #2 // January 2019" CD & print set (Alien Summer)
Prints: A collection of fliers made by James Fella from 2017 and 2018: Mark Hosler & Wobbly (Negativland), Thurston Moore Group, Tashi Dorji & John Dietrich, Taiwan Housing Project, Guerilla Toss, Preening, B Boys, Jeph Jerman and more. CD: Incidental guitar recordings from spare moments before and during practices with the group Soft Shoulder, Phoenix summer 2018. Released by Alien Summer via Gilgongo Records. The best place to order a copy would be through Bandcamp as it would include a digital copy as well.
ORPHAX - "Saxophone Studies" LP (Moving Furniture).
A long time ago, Sietse van Erve has asked some friends and peers to contribute various recordings for a project he was working at the time. He reached back out sometime last year because he had come across these recordings and had been working with them on what ended up being the A-side for his new LP, "Saxophone Studies". The side long track is a slow moving drone that slowly layers over itself and achieves an effect that doesn't translate as intended unless listened at a loud volume and in an open room rather than headphones, "non-harmonic multitones" is what I believe someone who worked on mastering the record described it as. Released on Amsterdam based Moving Furniture Records. More information, ordering, digital, etc: ORPHAX - Saxophone Studies.
JAMES FELLA & STEVE JANSEN - "Condensed Rupture" (Gilgongo / Unhinged)
April 2010: Repurposed cassette sputters on a reel to reel machine, atonal saxophone ricochets off concrete, plastic drums made for children, tone generator and feedback. Outside of the record store, a fire pit is constructed so that Pigeon Religion can burn copies of their recent 7" in honor of Record Store Day. Inside, James Fella and Steve Jansen have their "instruments" strewn throughout the middle of the room and offer a less-conventional in-store performance than ones which would be seen in most other shops throughout that day. A short, hyper-edit, packaged in individualized / mixed-media jackets in an edition of 100 (50 by each artist). The back covers are a paste-on designed by James Fella but each copy is a multi-lay print with minor variations.
JAMES FELLA + STEVE JANSEN / TOM TOM THRASHER & THE HORSETAPES "Widens the Rupture b/w Horse Race" cassette (That's Cool)
From the office of Thee Unhinged: JAMES FELLA + STEVE JANSEN: Mid-build improv featuring cut up noise, harsh impact projectiles, cassette tape spaghetti, AACM-like itty bitty sounds, FJ sax. Sunn O))) shit to the improv max. TOM TOM THRASHER & THE HORSETAPES: Future grindcore with unhinged spoken-word vocals, insane samples, synthesizer, drum machine, and cyborg lightning electricity drums. released February 20, 2018. Art by Parham Daghighi and Reece McLean.
07/01/17: Two new releases from Soft Shoulder available late July 2017:
SOFT SHOULDER - "Songs and Intermissions" LP / iTunes (Gilgongo)
Disjointed no-wave, monotonous post-punk, a couple of songs that come as close to pop as possible and a handful of intermissions throughout: the new LP from Soft Shoulder collects tracks from 2009-2015. While the group is now on its 19th line-up, most recordings have historically been James Fella, solo. This continues to be the case here (with most tracking done at Gilgongo Records HQ and defunct Phoenix warehouse, Sound Kontrol), but there are collaborations with many regular members of the live group(s) and also a track which builds on a Silver Apples recording created by Simeon in 1998 while adding synth to a percussion session from 1968. Edition of 550, includes download and a double sided 11x17 photocopy collage insert with track information and fliers. Also available to stream or purchase from Bandcamp.
SOFT SHOULDER - "Repeat #4 aka Desert Plants and Scooter in Carport" LP/ iTunes (Alien Summer)
40 minutes of junk-kraut offered as two side-long tracks from Arizonas Soft Shoulder. Warbled Practice catches the group as a trio: working on the basic structure of a new song in a Tempe warehouse, recorded direct to malfunctioning cassette deck. Large Group in Close Quarters was recorded live December 2016: a one-time 8-piece line-up playing a scattered tape-noise, reed-squeal, triple-bass rendition of the same song (which had already arrived at home as a single sided test press) featuring members of Warm Climate, Sleep Money, Sunn Trio, Humiliation, Chandails and Waytansea Point. Also available to stream or purchase from Bandcamp.
SOFT SHOULDER - "Nitro & Smasho Sound System" 10" lathe (Deliberate Indifference).
New 10" from line up #19 of Soft Shoulder on Gilgongo Records sub-label, Deliberate Indifference. Members of Sleep Money and Gay Kiss, in this case Nitro & Smasho specifically, assist with lofi repetition, trial and error, a single side long track of junk-kraut in anticipation of two new LPs coming this Summer on Gilgongo and Alien Summer! Available to stream or purchase via Bandcamp.
Friday 03/03/17: in acknowledgement of a new LP/CD, which is called Inactive Parts, Friday March 3rd 2017: A two-hour set of minimal and sporadic sound via guitar, electronics, cassette, and percussion.
7pm 9pm (please feel free to "come and go") in the Grace Lutheran Church sanctuary, 1124 N. 3rd Street in Phoenix, AZ. This event is free, but donations can be made to The Trunk Space in observance of their ongoing efforts to provide a space that is welcoming and encouraging towards people of all ages, color, gender, class and ETC to be creative and included.
JAMES FELLA - "Inactive Parts" LP+digital / "Inactive Parts and Portion" CD / iTunes (Weird Machine)
About: "Inactive Parts" was a December 2014 installation at The Trunk Space in Phoenix, AZ consisting of paintings, screen printed xerox pieces, lathe cut 7" records and two sets of two single-sided acetate LPs which used for a sound installation that could also function has "instruments" for a live performance. Two performances occurred: 12/05/14 (the opening reception, duration: 4 hours), 12/20/14 (for the Gilgongo Records 10 year anniversary event with Sissy Spacek, Stephen Steinbrink, Cherie Cherie and Maniac Cop (Mallevs), duration: approx. 30 minutes). The majority of "Inactive Parts" consists of quiet, acoustic sound being played back at significantly amplified volumes (with some portions of tape collage using material from various tape recordings circa 2005-2008).
"Inactive Parts" as a title is a reference to the standard time in which metal plates for pressing records are discarded if the customer does not repress or make arrangements for the plates to be shipped. The irony in this standard is that at the time of the finalized edit of this release, the typical turn time for an LP was more than 6 months from start to finish. As a person who's primary role in "music" is releasing records, this conflict in fine print and reality was mildly amusing, though it created an environment which had become problematic to the point that many peers who run labels were calling it quits. Inactive Parts originally appeared as New Material, an hour long piece which aired on Ricardo Wangs Whats This Called? on KPSU in Portland, OR in August 2014. The content of that program, the acetate version and this final edition are all slightly different from one another. Digital version of LP edition on Bandcamp.
"Strong Output Near Saturation: James Fella: Solo Recordings", a very in-depth review and collection of thoughs from John Collins McCormick regarding 4 long-format solo releases: Expanding Gap, See Tall Palm, Weak Left Input and Slots (etc).
James Fella - "Incident Report" C-20 (Torn Light)
About: Having skewed between imagination and jest, Incident Report is a tepid piece of musique concrete and avant inception. Edition of 30. C20 housed in black plastic button & string enclosure envelopes. Order from Torn Light. Available digitally on Bandcamp.
Three recent full length CDs from James Fella on various Gilgongo sub-labels. All three are also available digitally on Bandcamp.
JAMES FELLA - "Expanding Gap" CD (Weird Machine)
About: Edited in late 2015, "Expanding Gap" is an extremely dense sound collage utilizing roughly 4 hours of material originally hosted on the blog "Giveaway Pile" (2010-2012), which featured daily writing or recordings by artist James Fella. Some of this material was released as a boxset which included a lathe-cut LP and two 90 minute cassette tapes (also entitled "Giveaway Pile"). Here, this work has been reduced and layered to a degree that in theory should be overwhelming, but it instead flows and breathes somewhat freely. Stream the entire release: YOUTUBE.
JAMES FELLA - "See Tall Palm" CD (Deliberate Indifference)
About: Recorded in October 2015, "See Tall Palm" was intended to be material which would be ideal for sleeping to when listened to at a lower volume, while also being a more unnerving and abrasive listen when projected at a higher volume. Listened to quietly, "See Tall Palm" is a slow moving, swirling low-end drone that seems somewhat sedate. In actuality, and more apparent when shared in a forceful manner, "See Tall Palm" is a constantly changing, pulsing, textured sort of release whose shifting and overlapping details cascade from side to side as time goes on. Stream the entire release: YOUTUBE.
JAMES FELLA - "Trellis" CD (Alien Summer)
About: Also recorded in October 2015, "Trellis" is unintentionally the antithesis of "See Tall Palm". Instead of overblown electronics and an arguably impenetrable flow, "Trellis" is reserved and often sparse, comprised entirely of acoustic sound: non-amplified electric guitar, cymbals and the physical sound of contact with recording devices to their surfaces when not restrained and limited to close proximity. Devoid of any narrative, the listener is free to regard (or disregard) whatever the response may be to changes in the environment. While in "See Tall Palm" this is gradual, in "Trellis" it is more eventual: the guitar offers momentary fluctuation from a softer almost Shruti box style Indian drone to a very much self-limited and self-destructive attempt at becoming something more fierce before returning to its initial state (again and again). It can be difficult to try and sort out what any recorded work is trying to tell you, and truth be told it may be not be saying at all. Perhaps the artist just needed to get something out of their system, and it was just entirely too late to be audible enough to make contact with the outside world.
SOFT SHOULDER - "Collection Volume One" CD (Gilgongo Records)
Call it "no wave", "post-punk", whatever you prefer... Soft Shoulder have recently hit the 10 year mark and (as more eloquently put in a recent review on THE QUIETUS), the band will not be going anywhere anytime soon. A consistently inconsistent group that will be present for a moment and then gone a day or two later, whatever the reason may be, yet with somewhat regular output (especially over these past few years). "Collection Volume One" compiles the recent "No Draw" LP with material from seven 7" records and a couple of cassettes, 32 songs on 18 tracks in just about 80 minutes. Also available digitally on iTunes / Amazon / etc. Stream through the entire release, here: YOUTUBE.
SOFT SHOULDER - "No Draw" LP (Gilgongo Records).
About: 2016 marks 10 years of Arizonas Soft Shoulder. In that time they have released a plethora of 7s and sporadic cassettes, CDrs and lathe cut recordings on labels such as Isolated Now Waves, Not Not Fun and Gilgongo. With a line-up that frequently changes, and many recordings which are just James Fella on all instruments, the band changes trajectory in a very spastic nature, but usually remains on the no-wave / post-punk axis. The A-side of No Draw is Soft Shoulder at its most accessible, while the B-side, Repeat #3 is very minimal and monotonous (a largely improvised stomp with Ricky and Sean of Oaklands No Babies). Trace ingredients (less than 1%): Mars, Frumpies, U.S. Maple, A Frames, etc.
Hear / download / buy: https://softshoulder.bandcamp.com/album/soft-shouder-no-draw-lp-gilgongo-records-2015
JAMES FELLA + FILTHY GRIN 7"
New 7", a collaboration with Filthy Grin, available now on Gilgongo Records. About: The empty room, like the rest of the house, had a concrete floor. Littered with miscellaneous pieces of wood, random bicycle parts and unidentified metal objects, the room itself was essentially the instrument of choice. Cables ran under the door and through the air conditioning vents. Of all of the times that I had recorded various things with Gerald Biggs at YOBS, this was by far the most unorganized, but ultimately the most organic and cathartic.
Looking back on this now, I see direct parallels to the arrangement of what he captured that evening to the visual work he has been assembling since moving away from Arizona. He is an architect of circumstance and surrounding who is, intentionally or otherwise, reacting and communicating. It was, perhaps, a very strange time for both of us, manifesting in what would look like some kind of insane ritual to the outside world, and Im extremely grateful that this small little record exists as a document of it. James Fella 5/1/15
Also available now, three new 7"s from Soft Shoulder. Hear all three: https://softshoulder.bandcamp.com:
"Stair" (Weird Machine). "This is a mess of a record... each song tumbles into the next, tossing around mid-paced art-punk / no wave / post-punk punctuated by basic cavernous drumming and skronky hardly tuned guitars. They even through in a saxophone and make that shit work. There are traces of Dog Faced Hermans, Caroliner and Sun City Girls, but they keep it short and urgent throughout. Great Record" - Maximum Rocknroll.
"Fabric" (Alien Summer). Originally released on a cassette compilation from Phoenix label Tagobella, Yellow Green Red says Fabric is "chugging along like Black Time or Tyvek trying out for a Troubleman Unlimited contract", with the flip-side sounding like "a paper-thin A Frames". Add a dose of early Chromatics or Monorchid for good measure, with hints of tape collage and free jazz simmering in the mix. Active to various degrees and in different capacities since 2006, this is one of three new Soft Shoulder 7"s in 2015, with an LP on Gilgongo to follow.
"Von Guts" (Deliberate Indifference). The A-side of "Von Guts" was originally released in July 2011 as a C-5 cassette on Effeminate by Anna Nasty (Olivia Neutron-John, Chain & the Gang). Raw and junky no-wave punk with lyrics borrowed from the late Kurt Vonnegut, with the flip-side featuring radical remixes of the entire release. Damaged music on both sides. Tiny Mix-Tapes: "When SS mash that Von Guts-proper riff into the ground like fish brains its like a pendant going back and forth in front of your eyes, hypnotizing you, leaving you ready to perform whatever task Fella asks of you. Dont drink that Kool-Aid, friend."
New LP from Detached Objects, available now from Gilgongo Records. About: Debut recordings from this guitar heavy Arizona group. Featuring members of RUMSPRINGER, AVON LADIES, SOFT SHOULDER and GAY KISS, Detached Objects play a loud style of punk that is both melodic and scathing, simple and complex, with nods to bands such as Wipers and Drive Like Jehu.
2 newsprint zines available later this week (locally at the Phoenix Zine Fair 4/3/15 @ Trunkspace // online - send an e-mail). "Printed Matter Issue #1 // April 2015" compiles fliers from the past year (and includes a CDr w/ solo audio material). "Selector Gill Gone Go" features scans of some of my favorite reggae singles and includes a CDr w/ almost 5 hours of audio rips from "the Selector"'s collection of 60's and 70's reggae 7"s, with most emphasis being put on dubs and versions.
Playing a few shows in Texas from 1/15 - 1/18. Solo set in Austin and then group performances with Randall Cunningham Dance Company in Austin, Denton and Houston. See: Schedule. I'll have a new tape with me, "Giveaway Piles", and extremely dense sound collage using material from the "Giveaway Pile" box set from last year.
Also available now, "Inactive Parts" 2xLP acetate. An edition of 2, these were the 4 single sided records used as part of a sound / art installation in December at The Trunk Space (Phoenix, AZ). Packaged in a gatefold jacket with a piece of art from the show and canvas print. If interested, please get in touch. An alternative mix will be released as a proper LP in late 2015.
LP reissue of "Weak Left Input" available now on Gilgongo Records. About: Meandering / overlapping electronics, guitar and tape noise. Over an hour of material ranging from regurgitated drone to shimmering ambiance recorded directly to tape. Recorded and released on cassette in 2009, and as a CD in early 2014. RIYL: Total, early Growing or Emeralds, Dead C, etc. Edition of 200, heavy black vinyl and screen-printed covers.
For the month of December, I have installation at The Trunkspace called "Inactive Parts" featuring paintings, lathe-cuts, canvas prints of photo-copy work and a sound installation (on 12/5 from 6-9pm for the Phoenix First Friday art walk and from about 7:15-8pm on 12/20/14, opening up the Gilgongo 10 year anniversary show with Sissy Spacek, Stephen Steinbrink, Cherie Cherie and Mallevs). Information on the opening, here: https://www.facebook.com/events/1545186035694661/
I'll be at KPSU (Portland) on 8/30/14, broadcasting an hour of new material on Ricardo Wang's "What's This Called?" and then playing various records on Miss Rikki's "Closet Radio".
Upcoming releases: "Weak Left Input" (reissue, this time as an LP), split C60 with Compartment on Syncro System, a collaboration 7" with Filthy Grin, "Avocado Goth", a collaboration with Christian Michael Filardo - 7" lathe on Alien Summer, a 10" lathe on Weird Machine. Also: three Soft Shoulder 7"s which compile various recordings from the past 4 years, followed by an LP on Gilgongo.
Very wordy input from myself about the label, making music and Arizona on the site, YAB YUM.
"Giveaway Pile", a onesided lathe cut LP packaged with 2 C90 cassettes, zine and poster - available now from Gilgongo Records. Over 3 hours of material from a now defunt blog which consisted of daily writing or recording entries. Edition of 24.
Soft Shoulder and a duo with John Q ("Cult of the Basement") on a new cassette compilation from Tagobella.
A video for the Soft Shoulder track (featuring our previous drummer, Paul Arambula, who is now living in Berlin):
CD reissue of "Weak Left Input" C-62 cassette, available now on Gilgongo Records.
Cassette reissue of Repeat #2 7" lathe (with "dub" mix on the b-side), available now on Holy Page.
Extremely limited Soft Shoulder 7" lathe out now on Gilgongo Records.
Playing a solo show this Saturday 01/26/13 in Portland, OR at Little Axe Records. Details: here.
New tape out now: James Fella - "Inexplicible Confetti" cassette (Holy Page).
Please order here: http://reputation.storenvy.com/products/892068-james-fella-inexplicable-confetti
Band new Soft Shoulder recording: 22 strange edits of the 6 song "Von Guts" cassette. Physical format in early 2013. Listen here: http://softshoulder.bandcamp.com/album/von-guts-vg-mix-recycled-cassette
Soft Shoulder will be playing the Sonoran Pop Festival in Tempe, AZ. The event is a cooperative effort between Ascetic House, Sacred Bones and Chondritic Sound.
Soft Shoulder now has a band camp: http://softshoulder.bandcamp.com