Sun City Girls: classic or dud?

Message Bookmarked
Bookmark Removed
what do people think about these guys? i've never actually heard 'em yet but according to various reviews & descriptions ive read they seem like they'd have to be classic. any suggestions of stuff to look for?

jenellenmatt, Sunday, 14 October 2001 00:00 (eighteen years ago) link

Classic... though with bits of spottiness.

Most Girls fans will tell you to start with "Torch of the Mystics" 1988?), mainly because it is their most accessible, and it's also (I think) the easiest one to find these days. If you like Thinking Fellers Union Local 282, Trumans Water, Climax Golden Twins, Amon Duul II circa Phallus Dei, Yeti, Tanz Der Lemminge, early Butthole Surfers, et al, this record will feel at home.

"Horse Cock Phepner" (1987), if you don't mind vulgar, is up there too, though that one is harder to find.

Others can vary, depending on what you mind and don't mind..."BRight Surroundings Dark Beginnings" is great if you don't mind swarthy 20+ minute epics. "Valentines From Matahari" is good, if you don't mind walkman recording quality. "Land of the Rising Sun" is an OK live document feat. members of Boredoms. "Box of Chameleons" is a 3CD set containing almost 150 short songs of the biggest dog's breakfast ever made. "Dante's Disneyland Inferno" is a sort of Residents-cum- Mansonesque musical/spoken word play of sorts. "330,003 Crossdressers Across the Rig Veda" is a more perverse direct stab at their Far East influences. I've been told to stay away from "Jack's Creek". Those are just a small fraction of what's out there.

And they still surprise. Just days before the WTC, 2/3rd of the Sun City Girls went on a Seattle public access show to "jam" with a strange religious public access luminary called the Reverend Bruce Howard. The man has the most complex theology that boils down to the simplest tag tine: "god is love". Bruce Howard took the axe, while Alan Bishop and Charlie Goucher filled in as the rhythm section. It was one big 30 minute retarded blues song.

Anyway, there it is. Also worth checking out is the Climax Golden Twins -- especially the latest red polka dotted record.

Brian MacDonald, Sunday, 14 October 2001 00:00 (eighteen years ago) link

Last year the SCG started releasing an on-going series of previously unheard live and studio recordings under the overall title 'Carnival Folklore Resurrection'. Some of the more recent numbers (I think they're up to abt seven or eight by now) are still available from Forced Exposure. The second CFR disc - 'The Dreamy Draw' - is a lush collection of hazy instrumentals that makes the most of their interest in 'ethnic' percussion, and plays down the Zappa-like wackiness that occasionally soils their output. I also like Rick Bishop's solo alb on Revenant, 'Salvador Kali'.

Andrew L, Sunday, 14 October 2001 00:00 (eighteen years ago) link

ain't gonna play sun city!

ethan, Sunday, 14 October 2001 00:00 (eighteen years ago) link

they're delicious aren't they ?. I like a band whose output could be great as well as ugly . records should always be surprising as theirs .

francesco, Monday, 15 October 2001 00:00 (eighteen years ago) link

they sit right on the fucking line between classic and dud and swing wildly to either side. i really don't get into the 'wacky' side of SCG, nor the 'bad jazz wank' side, but occasionally (_sumatran electric chair_, _330,003 crossdressers_, _dawn of the devi_) rock proactively, consistently, and thoroughly. the weird shit, like _valentines from matahari_ and _dulce_ is also grrrreat.

_torch of the mystics_ is heavily overrated; _libyan dream_ (part of the CFR series) is actually a better album in my opinion, including an amazing amboy dukes cover in a punk style.

somebody played me _horse cock phepner_ about 12 years ago and i'm STILL irritated.

your null fame, Monday, 15 October 2001 00:00 (eighteen years ago) link

Sun City Girls' best albums (which for my money are the inevitable _Torch of the Mystics_, plus _330,003 Crossdressers from Beyond the Rig-Veda_ and the long-out-of-print _Live from Planet Boomerang_) are completely mindblowing, completely unpredictable, like nothing else around. Their worst (_Midnight Cowboys from Ipanema_, _Jacks Creek_) are completely unlistenable--like, so bad it's hard to imagine how they finished making them. Most of their stuff is somewhere in between. I love how unpredictable they are, but then again I buy a lot more records than most sensible people do.

Douglas Wolk, Tuesday, 16 October 2001 00:00 (eighteen years ago) link

two months pass...
I'll have to take obviousness to task and say that Torch of the Mystics is definitely the SGC classic. Whoever said that it was overrated is obviously just trying to go against the obvious answer. Never before (or since) have they sounded so intense and focused...and the recording/production is half the reason. The drums sound like they were recorded in a fucking wind tunnel. Alan Bishop's bass tone is buzzing around like a fucking electric serpent, slithering along with the triumphant, luminary guitar shards of Rick Bishop. Blue Mambo alone, redfines your definition of "psych- rock". Then Tarmac 23 slashes into you repeatedly, leaving you for dead in the Lebanese hillside. From then on, it gets even more.....well....mystic. Space Prophet Dogon and The Flower are easily my favorite songs, and the best examples of SCG trancendence. The album gives way to even more hallucination and sensory overload...climaxing with The Vinegar Stroke and being put to a dark rest with Burial in the Sky. Easily one of the best albums of all-time, no joke....essential listening.

As for the rest of their catalog...the Placebo albums are all quite amazing in there own ways. Their S/T 1st album is probably their most varied. There's a bit of everything on it, the hilarious scat- jazz "Uncle Jim" speil...triumphant semi-improv free rock plunderings...mental spoken word spook-outs...utterly beautiful acoustic instrumental shuffles....bleak 4th dimension horn blasts....ambience...and absurd babble-rapping. "My Painted Tomb" and "Rapping Head" are two gems that come to mind. Grotto of Miracles is more focused, and probably more akin to Torch. "Different Kind of Whore" & "Damcar" are the most memorable tunes. Horse Cock Phepner definitely ups the ante, and clues you in as to the insane genius and warped perspective of the Girls. Hearing "Nancy Reagan" alone, is enough to get the picture...although their take on the Fugs' "CIA Man" really gets it into high gear. Often misinterperated as a "political" album, I would consider it more like 1987 Americana, being refracted through the SCG's tweaked prism. And songs like "it's underneath the house" and "passenger seat people" have no political points at all. And although this album owes an obvious debt to The Fugs/Zappa/Deviants trip, it surpasses them all in the process, due to the SCG's sheer intensity, wit and diversity. Probably their 2nd best release.

The list goes down from love for Box of Chameleons grows with each listen. 3cds, 128 tracks, talk about the gift that keeps on giving. The trick is not to dimiss a single track, be patient. 30,003 definitely up there to, but it's a bit of an overindulgence. "Kickin' the Dragon" is essential SCG listening. Libyan Dream is a spottier, less magnificent Torch, but great none the less. Bright Surroundings is brilliant as well, especially venerable the Pink Floyd format, 3 fucking long songs. The 7"s are all good to, just as diverse as the full-lengths. "Eye Mohini" is probably my favorite.'re gonna have to take a few stabs in the dark to figure out which SCG style suits you, just be thankful they give you so many chances.

Benjmain Why Why Why, Wednesday, 26 December 2001 01:00 (eighteen years ago) link

four weeks pass...
It is unfortunate that not every sun city girls fan owns "sun city girls" and "grotto of miracles". I found them at a swapmeet about ten years ago and would still consider them my favorites. Although, I am also a big fan of "dante's disneyland inferno". Either way the sun city girls do, as many have stated, provide a wide variety of styles to listen to. Quality stuff.

Gardo, Friday, 25 January 2002 01:00 (eighteen years ago) link

three weeks pass...
torch of the mystics is great but 330,003 crossdressers is far better although much harder to locate. it turns up on ebay now and then and usually brings $30. its worth it. the band's output is highly uneven, they are damnably prolific, and their oop stuff impossible to locate or way expensive if you can locate it. all this makes being an impoverished fan a risky proposition. but torch and crossdressers are incredible you cant go wrong scoring those.

, Saturday, 16 February 2002 01:00 (eighteen years ago) link

one year passes...
They have an "official website" now:

The sellouts! I'm just kidding. New mailorder-only double CD of their WFMU show available on the site. Damn, it's hard to keep up with these guys.

Broheems (diamond), Monday, 26 January 2004 00:12 (sixteen years ago) link

This is good bcz I've just started listening to them lots again. easily one of my fave american bands from the handful of things I've heard from them.

Julio Desouza (jdesouza), Monday, 26 January 2004 10:33 (sixteen years ago) link

one month passes...
new carnival folklore release...

whats the verdict?

brock (brock), Wednesday, 17 March 2004 19:41 (fifteen years ago) link

Legend has it that one time they put up posters all over their hometown that advertised an upcoming concert that said "Come watch the Sun City Girls play John Coltrane's A Love Supreme." So, on the day of the concert, the crowd was absolutely packed, and the Sun City Girls walk up to the stage, pick up their instruments, start tuning up, and then... They abruptly throw down their instruments on the floor and bring out this little record player with one of those little speakers attached to it, they throw on the actual A Love Supreme vinyl record and put a microphone up to the speaker. After twenty minutes or so, they flip the record over, play side two, and when that's over they say "Thanks for coming." and walk off the stage, and the crowd's just absolutely stunned. Isn't that, like, the greatest idea ever?

I know absolutely nothing else about the Sun City Girls, but for that alone, CLASSIC!!

Mr. Snrub (Mr. Snrub), Wednesday, 17 March 2004 19:52 (fifteen years ago) link

i was having drunken conversation last night about this band with a friend who is mildly interested. i can't get away from them right now. the crassness of Dante's Disneyland Inferno is appealing to my 12 year old self that wants to hear new ways to use "shit" "piss" etc etc. absolutely love em for this week.

brock (brock), Wednesday, 17 March 2004 20:12 (fifteen years ago) link

Brock - are you asking about the WFMU thing? It's great! 2 CDs. If you're a fan it's completely essential. Very much a production for radio; live performances (including a version of the "Batman Theme" and some Italian soundtrack stuff) mixed with bizarre audio collages, a couple Alan spoken word excursions, station IDs, and some of their ethnic field/radio recording stuff thrown in for good measure.

Man if only there were actually a radio station that sounded like this life would be that much more worth living.

Broheems (diamond), Wednesday, 17 March 2004 20:19 (fifteen years ago) link

oh i gots it

easily the most distasteful station ID of all time (bad bad 9/11 joke) followed by a batman theme song cover = rAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAad.

brock (brock), Wednesday, 17 March 2004 20:54 (fifteen years ago) link

haha, yeah. "Palmer from Asia"

Broheems (diamond), Wednesday, 17 March 2004 20:59 (fifteen years ago) link

woah, nelly. i've recently been acquiring lots of old sun city girls tapes in mp3 format, as well as a nearly complete discog. of their stuff, so if anyone is looking for specifics, e-mail me.

i say they're classic, and my flave-o-rite is "The Handsome Stranger" double CD.

Ian Johnson (orion), Wednesday, 17 March 2004 21:10 (fifteen years ago) link

Get going! You're already about 600 hours of recorded output behind!

"Napoleon & Josephine" 7" if you can...

Ian Christe (Ian Christe), Wednesday, 17 March 2004 22:12 (fifteen years ago) link

read an interview saying they've got that a couple thousand hours of recorded shit in the bank. thats how sublime frequencies is workin. only one i've picked up so far is the sumutra one.

neung phak s/t is a listen too man. played that for a bunch of line cooks and work. they lost their shit. "TUI TUI TUI TUI TUI TUI" strangled canary action.

brock (brock), Wednesday, 17 March 2004 23:08 (fifteen years ago) link

one year passes...
Classic. Has anyone been keeping up with the reissue series on Eclipse? The second LP of the new set, "Exotica on $5 a Day," has some pretty nice primitive jams/experiments. Free jazz?

Ian John50n (orion), Wednesday, 25 May 2005 21:37 (fourteen years ago) link

It's convenient that fans of Sun City Girls, SUNN 0))), Sunburned Hand Of The Man, The Suntanama, and The Sundays all can stick to one of two aisles of a record store in order to pick up their favorites!

donut debonair (donut), Wednesday, 25 May 2005 21:45 (fourteen years ago) link

seven months pass...
is torch of the mystics worth $100?

central waters, Friday, 20 January 2006 03:32 (fourteen years ago) link

it's good.

but not $100 on CD good.

Dom iNut (donut), Friday, 20 January 2006 03:42 (fourteen years ago) link

haha, did the zShop fees go up really high recently or something? I saw the other items listed by this seller in particular, and .. well, it's really funny.

Dom iNut (donut), Friday, 20 January 2006 03:45 (fourteen years ago) link

Whoa, a Sun City Girls thread. I've been meaning to hear them for a while actually, but their cd's seem pretty expensive. Dante's Disneyland Inferno I heard was good, but I've never heard a note from these guys.I think it's time for a YSI :)

xgurggleglgllg (xgurggleglgllg), Friday, 20 January 2006 03:56 (fourteen years ago) link

Someone needs to put together a Rough Guide To Sun City Girls comp... has one been done on either of the Rough Guide threads?

Dom iNut (donut), Friday, 20 January 2006 04:07 (fourteen years ago) link

Even ordering from their website, Torch of the Mystics goes for $75!

xgurggleglgllg (xgurggleglgllg), Friday, 20 January 2006 09:29 (fourteen years ago) link

Definitely one of my favourite versions of the Lambada on that record.

NickB (NickB), Friday, 20 January 2006 09:40 (fourteen years ago) link

Cripes.. i knew Tupelo CDs were OOP, but I didn't realize Torch was that hard to find... it can't be.

Dom iNut (donut), Friday, 20 January 2006 10:04 (fourteen years ago) link

one year passes...
Revive due to the sad news from today. RIP Charlie G.

Ned Raggett, Wednesday, 21 February 2007 20:28 (thirteen years ago) link

As I muttered on the Sandbox, the SCG Myspace page is where various tributes are currently being posted -- Pelt and Caroliner have checked in among others.

Ned Raggett, Wednesday, 21 February 2007 21:21 (thirteen years ago) link

very, very sad news.

stirmonster, Thursday, 22 February 2007 00:29 (thirteen years ago) link

here's the sand box link, no idea it it'll work.

very sad, RIP.

sleeve, Thursday, 22 February 2007 07:42 (thirteen years ago) link

Devastating. I knew he'd been very ill - AB told me in December, but he also said he was totally in the clear at that point. In many ways he was the Sun City Girl numero uno, the inspiration, the true genius spark and the man who lived it like he talked it. He will be sorely missed and his writings and his music are only beginning to be understood by those who think they know. Without compare. Rest in peace, good sir.

myopic_void, Thursday, 22 February 2007 16:22 (thirteen years ago) link

[I'd hate this to be glossed over in the move to the new boards, hence my repost above]

I still can't get over this. I just need to go home and be with the music. I know that I will listen to 'Charles Gocher Sr' and well up or just plain freak out. Thank Kali I got to see the SCG on their two most recent UK jaunts, truly commanding and totally contrasting performances the like of which, sadly, I now know I will never see again.

myopic_void, Thursday, 22 February 2007 16:49 (thirteen years ago) link

[I'd also like to post this from the SCG yahoo group - a sparkling account of the final show]

So I've been summoned to recall January 25th 2007, the
opening night of the Club Transmediale Festival featuring Sun City Girls
at the Volksbuhne Theater in Mitte, Berlin – in what would go down historically
as the final Sun City Girls show.

For most of the crowd, it was to be the first time seeing SCG in action.
Some had waited for decades and driven or flown hundreds of miles to be there.

Sun City Girls took the stage, announced that they were, in fact, Jethro Tull,
and proceeded to play an incredibly beautiful and psychedelic smorgasbord
of tunes that clocked at nearly an hour and a half.

They began with a soaring rendition of "Kal El Lazi Kad Ham" from
the "Grotto of Miracles" LP and continued to smear with classics like
"Radar 1941" and "Cafe Batik" before creeping out Berlin proper and
the universe at large, with a divine channeling of the Charlie Gocher
classic: "Frankincense and Fish"
–in finest demonic form.

Morsels flowed freely from the repertoire, replete with amok
improv telepathy done only as SCG can. Then came "Radio Morocco" and
"Drifters of the Grand Trunk" before Rick Bishop launched into a stunning
duet with his Line 6, playing Ennio Morricone's "IL MERCENARIO"
as Alan lit a cigarette and paced around staring at the crowd like a
stoic murderer before walking over to Charles and sharing the
smoke and the moment with him.

Then came an epic version of "The Venerable Song" with much
of the vocals running through maniacal echo. The the song came
to a halt midway and Al started going off on the great Glodok conspiracy,
obviously offending some foreigner in the audience who stormed the stage
screaming at 'em and proclaiming to be from "Nowhere, with freedom
you don't understand". Charles thought the freak stole his pocketwatch
and some other fucked up shit went down I can't remember while
Al expressed sympathy and solidarity with the Germans
("You people must be fucking sick of it") for always being 6 and
never 5, 4, 3, 2 or 1.

After trying to impress with a shitty mime act, The foreigner got
his way and had the band attempt to learn one of HIS songs, but
something about Sand Negroes made the theme from "SA-HA"
degenerate into molasses and the guy pulled an orange material
out of his pants, declaring "MY ISRAEL" and drawing 1967 borders
on stage while trying to establish territory.
Rick pushed the fucker back to 1948 and the band launched into
a continuation of "Venerable Song" while the foreigner goose-stepped
behind 'em (and eventually made off with one of their instrument cases).

More killer telepathic improv led to a psych-drenched version of
"Opium Den". Ending the night and the legacy was a monster version
of "DREAMLAND" from the "Horse Cock Phepner" LP.

And THAT is what the Germans and the rest of the world were left to deal with.
The dill spear and the dixie have been taken further out than they were ever
designed to withstand.

Thanks Charles, Alan and Rick for a quarter century of something no one will
ever really be able to aptly describe.

-Mark Gergis 2/21/07

"Explanations only come from liars" –Charles Gocher Jr.

myopic_void, Thursday, 22 February 2007 16:52 (thirteen years ago) link

" I know that I will listen to 'Charles Gocher Sr' and well up or just plain freak out."

i listened to this for an hour last night and shed a tear. thanks for that account of the final show.

stirmonster, Thursday, 22 February 2007 17:11 (thirteen years ago) link

oh man, i hope someone recorded that final show.

hstencil, Thursday, 22 February 2007 18:16 (thirteen years ago) link

did anybody see the totally fantastic eulogy from his dad about the plans for Charles' body...? I seem to have deleted it by mistake...

Shakey Mo Collier, Thursday, 22 February 2007 21:28 (thirteen years ago) link

ah found it:

"After he's passed through this form, the department will take his
body, remove the skeleton, and hollow out the bone marrow. They will
be used as instruments for a thirteen-piece orchestra. The eight bones
that comprised his arms and legs will have trumpet mouthpieces
attached to one end, and will be used as horns. The five remaining
bone sections -- the rib cage, the hip bone, the shoulder bone, the
back bone, and the skull -- will be used as the percussion
instruments, with the hands and the feet serving as the beaters. The
musicians will be instructed in the methods taken from his writings
pertaining to improvisational music. During the orchestra's
performance -- delivered annually on November 12, his birthday -- his
internal organs, preserved in a canopic jar sitting on the stage
front, will be guarded by a young Nepalese milkmaiden who, during the
course of each ceremony, will fall into an ecstatic possession trance,
and invoke his spirit in the same manner as he is invoking mine right
now. Listen to his song. Let me leave you with one last thought: If
his idea seems too preposterous, and if you don't believe in the
reincarnation of the soul, how do you know that we're not all dead
already? "

Shakey Mo Collier, Thursday, 22 February 2007 21:47 (thirteen years ago) link

dude you are quoting from the song people are talking about above.

sleeve, Thursday, 22 February 2007 23:15 (thirteen years ago) link

ah - my mystake, goddamn internet disinformation (I don't know the song obvy)

Shakey Mo Collier, Thursday, 22 February 2007 23:17 (thirteen years ago) link

it's really good! it is on Dante's Disneyland Inferno.

sleeve, Thursday, 22 February 2007 23:41 (thirteen years ago) link

they are weird

doom23, Thursday, 22 February 2007 23:45 (thirteen years ago) link

Man, this is one of those rare times I want to give god an eternal middle finger...Glad I got to see the SCG twice, now we'll only have the archives. See ya sometime at the gigs in the sky Charles.

brg30, Friday, 23 February 2007 03:12 (thirteen years ago) link

Oh no! I didn't hear. Now I am all the more sad that I couldn't go to ATP, and all the more bitter that every blog and review I read by people who did was all about the Stooges and didn't even mention SCG (or the Dead C, who I was kicking myself for harder, because it seemed that I'd missed them for good but a chance to see SCG would come around again). But this is not the time for that, so: RIP.

Also, no way, I thought Torch of the Mystics was still one of the easier to find Sun City Girls albums, or I might not have the disc sitting in a cheap CD wallet and the case buried somewhere in the sea of crap on my floor... and it's as well I never got round to putting the poster up, because I did consider it. (panicked laughter)

a passing spacecadet, Friday, 23 February 2007 05:22 (thirteen years ago) link

this is a great fan-made comp covering all sides of the band. thanks to Waker.

chaki, Friday, 23 February 2007 18:48 (thirteen years ago) link

I'd heard that Charlie was doing much better and we saw him just a few months ago right before the holidays, so this was very unexpected to me. Charlie's one of the best performers I've ever seen and am thankful I've seen him play a dozens or so times with the Girls and a handful with others (then once by himself). Dude was monstrously talented and when he'd do the seizure on stage bit he totally frightened me.

I'd swear on my life I've seen him willingly possessed by some pretty bad-ass spirits, and I'm not the type to just say that kind of stuff, either.

Mike McGooney-gal, Saturday, 24 February 2007 07:03 (thirteen years ago) link

agreed! was literally just thinking that.

sleeve, Wednesday, 22 October 2014 14:35 (five years ago) link

there's really not a huge gulf between irl alan and old uncle jim, is there?

anyways he is my 2nd favorite bishop brother

a drug by the name of WORLD WITHOUT END (Jon Lewis), Wednesday, 22 October 2014 14:57 (five years ago) link

other things that make alan bishop sound old: his raging anti-semitism and love of cigarettes.

ian, Wednesday, 22 October 2014 20:22 (five years ago) link

also, the fact that he is old

saw him in concert earlier this year, first time i had seen him live since a sun city girls show in the late 1990s

he is very tall!

I dunno. (amateurist), Thursday, 23 October 2014 00:40 (five years ago) link

he is an anti-semite huh? that is bad. source?

I dunno. (amateurist), Thursday, 23 October 2014 00:40 (five years ago) link

googling alan bishop antisemism just got me stuff about bishop tutu

my jaw left (Hurting 2), Thursday, 23 October 2014 00:46 (five years ago) link

extensive discussion & comments here:

sleeve, Thursday, 23 October 2014 01:45 (five years ago) link

i unsubscribed from the SCG facebook page because i was tired of seeing hateful anti-israel sentiment. everyone's entitled to their own opinion, and I'm not exactly pro-israel, but was just getting tired of seeing such hateful shit.

ian, Thursday, 23 October 2014 02:11 (five years ago) link

wow, that's pretty bad

cross over the mushroom circle (La Lechera), Thursday, 23 October 2014 02:18 (five years ago) link

I have a tough time with the line between impassioned critique and just vicious bile when it comes to that subject -- I'm also "not exactly pro-Israel" but it's still an emotional subject for me, so there's a line where I just don't feel comfortable with the tone anymore whatever the content. I guess I don't listen to enough SCG to know how those lyrics fit in the context of the rest of their work though.

my jaw left (Hurting 2), Thursday, 23 October 2014 02:23 (five years ago) link

i think it's easy enough to ignore the lyrics if you want to, not sure what it says about me that i'd be eager to do that

I dunno. (amateurist), Thursday, 23 October 2014 02:30 (five years ago) link

thanks ian, that clarifies things. yuck. agree w/Hurting here, it's a subtle line but it gets creepy fast. Not that I'm qualified to judge, but I think all of those lyric examples in the link (other than the WFMU ad, which is as bothersome to me as the epithet in "Hippie Conglomerate") are dubious examples of anti-Semitism, so it's good to hear from another more contemporary source (FB page).

sleeve, Thursday, 23 October 2014 03:02 (five years ago) link

some of them seemed like standard-issue criticism of israel and zionism, others seemed to take a little too much glee in being offensive, but then again this is the SCG we're talking about

I dunno. (amateurist), Thursday, 23 October 2014 03:29 (five years ago) link

More disturbed that they might be 9/11 truthers ugh. I'm not sure they're anti-semites but they're clearly kinda jerks but that's not exactly news right.

One bad call from barely losing to (Alex in SF), Thursday, 23 October 2014 12:14 (five years ago) link

Other people have posted their displeasure about the SCG's stance on Palestine and they admit to "not exactly being pro-Israel" and being emotional about the topic because they are Jewish. However, contrary to Netanyahu's narrative, being opposed to Israel is NOT the same thing as being anti-semitic. Neither is being opposed to US military action unpatriotic. The Bishop brothers are semites themselves. Or, at least half, as their mother was Lebanese. So, I wouldn't characterize them as being anti-semitic. They are anti-Israel.
It's also not fair to criticize them for recognizing that we live in a sexist world where women are generally not encouraged to be musicians (or anything else requiring an intellect, it sometimes seems). Alan Bishop's last two albums feature female musicians, so clearly he understands talent beyond gender.
All THAT said, it IS fair to criticize Alan Bishop for being pro-smoking, which I believe is as stupid as Beyonce promoting Coca-Cola. Although in Alan's case, there's an element of humor involved in his militant pro-smoking message. I wonder if he'd quit smoking if he had a little more willpower?

Ms. Poon, Friday, 24 October 2014 12:56 (five years ago) link

Also, this is pretty funny! ** stolen from that Alienated In Vancouver blog **

Are the Sun City Girls cannibals??

I find some of the Sun City Girls' music to be interesting (except those times when the singer cackles and shrieks, which hurts my ears a little, and he barely even seems to be saying words), and I think their Sublime Frequencies label is awfully neat, devoted to poor downtrodden cultures elsewhere in the sadly undeveloped part of the world, but I've come across a few things on their lyrics archive that, well, let's just say they have me a little concerned. I have to wonder – could the Sun City Girls be cannibals?

First of all, I couldn't help but notice this verse in the song "Bitter Cold Countryside."

Then we chopped him into six pieces
Two arms, two legs and a head
And his mid-section made a fine table
Next to Jimmy-O-Wilkinson's bed

And his toes now creep in the river
And his fingers they tickle the corn
And his skull flies high in the hemlock....
From dusk till the early morn

Now, granted, there are no references to the actual consumption of human flesh here, but the ritualistic dismemberment of a human body is very often part of cannibalistic practice. But, other than that, nothing is actually consumed, and I wouldn't even give it a second thought . . . if it wasn't for THIS, in the very next song on the archive, "Ruby on the Ferris Wheel":

"And I did not cry because I like to eat human flesh and all my friends are cannibals too! And if you don't like it, well just put in a complaint at the FDA."

Well, here, if I'm not mistaken, he's coming right out and endorsing the eating of human flesh! And I'm sorry, but that's just wrong. It's anti-human (not to mention anti-Semitic by default). And it's a little disingenuous to think that putting in a complaint at the FDA is going to make things alright, isn't it?

And then, only a few lines later, we have this:

"I don't have any mercy on all those people who died from any kind of tribulation. Yeah, like I'm gonna worry about it . . . I want them dead . . . I want nothing to do with 'em at all! Kill 'em, burn 'em, fuck 'em, eat 'em . . . just EAT 'EM!"

Strong words, huh? Of course, the Sun City Girls have always been known for "pushing buttons" and "breaking taboos," so maybe this is just another example? Surely they're entitled to a satirical song every now and then, right? And part of satire is that it's not to be taken literally. Fair enough, and I'm willing to let even this rather shocking pro-cannibalism treatise pass . . . . if it wasn't for enough other references sprinkled throughout their work to give me pause.

Like this, from the innocuously titled "Sour Smells in Nevada":

"You know, human flesh is addictive. Especially the meat from the head and the insides of the thighs. You can tell a cannibal by them giving off sour smells, with eyes slickly greasy as though swimming in pools of fat. Just look in their eyes. That's how you spot a cannibal."

Now, THIS seems to communicate first-hand knowledge of what it's actually like to eat human flesh. I certainly never knew any of this stuff, and wouldn't it take someone who is actually experienced in the act to know such specific information??

So, really, what do you think? Can someone can set my mind at ease about this? If anyone can vouch that they are not actually cannibals, I would sure appreciate it. I do really want to enjoy their music, and express my solidarity with those poor Arab cultures by purchasing their Sublime Frequencies records – but I don't know if I can give my money to cannibals. If anyone wants to offer any information, or a rebuttal of some kind, please do so. (Although, for the record, I actually have no intention whatsoever of being open to any new concepts of any kind. Just so you know.)

Ms. Poon, Friday, 24 October 2014 13:37 (five years ago) link

turning up late to this one but

They uncritically repeat one of the sillier rumours about 9/11 – one which is debunked in the film PROTOCOLS OF ZION – in the "song," "WFMU Station ID: Palmer" on Carnival Folklore Resurrection 11, presenting the following as a radio broadcast:
This is Palmer from Asia and Emerson, Lake and Myself, and when I'm in the New York area watching Israelis celebrate on rooftops as the remote-controlled aircraft fly into two towers, and the American public are duped, as they usually are, I always listen to WFMU Radio.

kind of amazed that anyone with even a passing familiarity with these guys would hear that and think "welp, guess that's what they literally believe"

well-behaved wingmen really hate Mystery (DJ Mencap), Friday, 24 October 2014 13:45 (five years ago) link

when i saw the farewell tour thing they played some dope stuff and then spent the rest of the time telling like sub-frogs level ironic offensive jokes, it was pretty stupid, i was embarrassed for them

adam, Friday, 24 October 2014 13:52 (five years ago) link

Other people have posted their displeasure about the SCG's stance on Palestine and they admit to "not exactly being pro-Israel" and being emotional about the topic because they are Jewish. However, contrary to Netanyahu's narrative, being opposed to Israel is NOT the same thing as being anti-semitic. Neither is being opposed to US military action unpatriotic. The Bishop brothers are semites themselves. Or, at least half, as their mother was Lebanese. So, I wouldn't characterize them as being anti-semitic. They are anti-Israel.

i don't equate criticism of israel with anti-semitism. i don't think most of the other people on this thread do, either. there was more to the criticism of the SCG than just "they are anti-zionist,"

I dunno. (amateurist), Sunday, 26 October 2014 01:00 (five years ago) link

seven months pass...

this is so ferocious

down a youtube rabbit hole tonight

sleeve, Tuesday, 23 June 2015 05:07 (four years ago) link

Yeah, it is! And I kinda wish there was more live SCG footage like that on Youtube, but it's such a mixed bag (like the band themselves, of course)

Duane Barry, Tuesday, 23 June 2015 11:19 (four years ago) link

six months pass...

Duane Barry, Wednesday, 6 January 2016 00:37 (four years ago) link

hell yeah, thanks

sleeve, Wednesday, 6 January 2016 01:08 (four years ago) link

five months pass...

sleeve, Saturday, 25 June 2016 22:24 (three years ago) link

five months pass...

hey i need help finding a specific SCG that i have forgotten the name of. it's a slow, minimal song that is not in english - sounds like a southeast asian language in my memory but i could be wrong. it's just guitar and singing, and in the chorus, it has multiple singing in unison. sounds like it could be a cover or a traditional song instead of a SCG original. i have no idea what album it's from. any ideas?

na (NA), Thursday, 15 December 2016 16:49 (three years ago) link

probably one of the singles like "Borungku Si Derita"?

sleeve, Thursday, 15 December 2016 16:52 (three years ago) link

yes that's it! that was so fast! thanks.

na (NA), Thursday, 15 December 2016 16:54 (three years ago) link

Original recording is also v beautiful

his eye is on despair-o (Jon not Jon), Thursday, 15 December 2016 16:56 (three years ago) link

what is the original recording

na (NA), Thursday, 15 December 2016 16:58 (three years ago) link

this i suppose?

na (NA), Thursday, 15 December 2016 17:00 (three years ago) link


his eye is on despair-o (Jon not Jon), Thursday, 15 December 2016 18:40 (three years ago) link

<3 ilm sometimes!

weird woman in a bar (La Lechera), Thursday, 15 December 2016 20:42 (three years ago) link

SCG seem to have created a Youtube account, where they're putting up a lot of the 80s cassettes and other stuff that's been OOP forever

Duane Barry, Wednesday, 28 December 2016 01:30 (three years ago) link

from Richard Bishop's FB page:

"Juggernaut - an unreleased 1994 Ukrainian "art film" by Mark Roman Bodnar and Kyrill Kazemirovitch Protsenko has just been posted to youtube. (Run time: 28 min.) Soundtrack by Sun City Girls. No sub titles. The film is dark, totally bleak, oddly edited, and the timing is, sadly, perfect."

sleeve, Friday, 30 December 2016 02:12 (three years ago) link

two months pass...

CARNIVAL FOLKLORE RESURRECTION !!! BIG SALE HAPPENING IN SEATTLE ON MARCH 11th and 12th - - The Bishop Brothers are going through storage units and clearing out things to sell. Alan and Richard will be hanging out and holding court for both days. Sale items will include: Musical instruments of all types, miscellaneous Sun City Girls stage & Studio weirdness, t-shirts, clothes, retro Film posters and lobby cards, Artwork, bizarre handicrafts, Records, Maps, practical things many people could use (including you), oddities, and who knows what else? We’re still going through boxes. If you’re anywhere near Seattle this coming weekend, you should probably go to this! PLEASE SHARE WITH YOUR FRIENDS IN THE PACIFIC NW.

WHERE: in Seattle at INDIAN SUMMER Vintage (Back Room) 534 Summit Ave E (Capitol Hill).

WHEN: Saturday March 11th 11:00 am - 6:00 pm, and Sunday March 12th 11:00 am - 5:00 pm.


tylerw, Wednesday, 8 March 2017 16:23 (two years ago) link

four months pass...

new band!

Just Announced: CLANDESTINE QUARTET (Alan Bishop, Richard Bishop, Chris Corsano, Michael Flower) will be performing a live set of new material on September 15th in London. Full details and ticket link on the event page.

"Sun City Girls, was one of the most fiercely independent, challenging and totally unpredictable bands to have operated outside of the mainstream. Sun City Girls embraced and subverted styles and tropes from various genres and cultures, creating a blend of deranged surf, Eastern-but-not-Eastern free improvisation, stateless folk, avant-mysticism and whatever else you want to call it.

Sun City Girls disbanded in 2007, following the death of drummer Charles Gocher. The Sun City name could never be revived without the mad versatile genius of Gocher, a ‘high priest of the outside’ – a line from Alan Bishop’s touching tribute to Gocher in Perfect Sound Forever. The Bishops have only infrequently performed together since, notably on the Brothers Unconnected tour, instead focusing on their personal endeavours: Richard, on free rock outfit Rangda, and solo work under his Sir Richard Bishop guise; Alan, on his project Alvarius B, alongside bands The Invisible Hands, and Dwarfs of East Agouza. And of course, there’s Sublime Frequencies, the label that Alan co-owns with Hisham Mayet, a label that resists any form of cultural gatekeeping, releasing artists and music not represented in any music magazine’s false idea of a ‘canon’.

So how do they go about playing together in a band again, without the deft hand of Charlie Gocher? They’ve enlisted drummer Chris Corsano, an extraordinary percussionist and improvisor, a member of Rangda (with Richard Bishop and Ben Chasny), and known for his work with saxophonist Paul Flaherty. Corsano has performed with Jim O’Rourke, Joe McPhee, Bill Nace (Vampire Belt), Jandek, Bjork, and countless others. They’re also joined by Mick Flower – who has regularly performed with Corsano as Flower-Corsano, and is best known as a member of ecstatic drone ensemble Vibracathedral Orchestra.

Together, they’re hiding away for a week in a studio to write a completely new set of material. And what will it sound like? Who knows. Perhaps the Bishops have found kindred spirits in the form of Flower-Corsano. Or perhaps they’ve just found two new figures to spar with. Whatever the case, this is an unmissable opportunity to witness a performance from the unparalleled brothers of avant-everything".

sleeve, Tuesday, 25 July 2017 18:15 (two years ago) link

Holy crap. I'm in!

Well, not in the sense of going to London for the concert, but short of that.

or at night (Jon not Jon), Tuesday, 25 July 2017 19:06 (two years ago) link

one month passes...

as per tylerw's post from March, FB friend posted this, thought it sounded p interesting

Phx/Tempe record collectors. Eastside Records has ... Alan Bishop's map collection from his Wide World of Maps years. 2 bucks a map, naked cash. Those maps are conveniently buried under some rubble near cash register.

not gonna make that London show on Friday but I am going to see Senyawa, who are supporting, the day before. high recommendation

thirst trap your hare (DJ Mencap), Wednesday, 13 September 2017 09:22 (two years ago) link

Was that Torch of The Mystics reissue last year a one off or are there other releases coming?
I only have a couple of their cds and would like more if they're as good.

Stevolende, Wednesday, 13 September 2017 09:35 (two years ago) link

Rick has said a few times recently that he'd love to get the 80s Placebo trilogy (and Dawn of the Devi etc) reissued, but there's nothing official yet.

Duane Barry, Wednesday, 13 September 2017 20:56 (two years ago) link

yeah those seem like the most obvious candidates to me, Djinn Funnel is another personal favorite that is tough to find

sleeve, Wednesday, 13 September 2017 20:59 (two years ago) link

JUst looking at prices of cds on Amazon. So hope there is something coming.
Have found loads on Spotify which i hadn't really looked at before.
Still wondering what determines what turns up on there after seeing which artists have loads of lps up.

Stevolende, Wednesday, 13 September 2017 21:00 (two years ago) link

two years pass...

Thanks for the heads up, I should pick that up.

Thought the revive would be about the fact that AB and RB recently played two nights as a duo at Zebulon in LA. I'm unsure how many times they've played together since the demise of SCG, but it can't have been often.

van dyke parks generator (anagram), Thursday, 13 February 2020 08:38 (two weeks ago) link

Didn't they play a bunch as Brothers Unconnected?

Paul Ponzi, Thursday, 13 February 2020 11:01 (two weeks ago) link

Yeah, that's how last week's shows were billed, I didn't know they'd done it previously.

van dyke parks generator (anagram), Thursday, 13 February 2020 12:00 (two weeks ago) link

Yeah it was a tour maybe a year or so after charlie died. Saw the nyc one. It was great. They sold a brothers unconnected CDR at it which I haven’t spun in awhile.

valet doberman (Jon not Jon), Thursday, 13 February 2020 16:42 (two weeks ago) link

Anyone know what the live set was like around this time? Tempted to buy this, especially with the added bonus of the DVD.

Paul Ponzi, Friday, 14 February 2020 03:34 (two weeks ago) link

no predictability whatsoever afaik - I saw them that same year at Berbati's in Portland and it was almost solid gnarly improv madness. Charlie attacked the crowd with a whip. this set sounds interesting for sure.

sleeve, Friday, 14 February 2020 05:55 (two weeks ago) link

Yeah there was never a time when it would have been possible to say what their “live set was like at the time”

—they moved around behind a gauze scrim for the whole show while a prerecording played
—they told redneck jokes
—they performed a bunch of what would become 330,003 Crossdressers
—they did a set of gnarly trio improv

valet doberman (Jon not Jon), Friday, 14 February 2020 22:21 (two weeks ago) link

You must be logged in to post. Please either login here, or if you are not registered, you may register here.