Volcanic Tongue Catalogue

Michael Morley
The Pavilion Of Fools

Gallerie Desford Vogel FSS 7s


Solo guitar/electronics record from Michael Morley of The Dead C, released by a New Zealand gallery and originally intended as a soundtrack piece. Moves from the sound of blood pulsing in your ears through classic saw-tooth Dead C riffing and Industrial machine noise. Another good one.

The Dead C
The Damned

Starlight Furniture Company #21


2004 album from The Dead C that works to consolidate the kinda brut rock song destruction of ‘classic’ Trapdoor era with the kinda extended gunned-up machine noise of Tusk. Great, wasted performance by Morley, while Russell and Yeats stagger through the wreckage. Every release is, of course, mandatory.

Peter Jefferies
The Last Great Challenge In A Dull World

De Stijl IND123


Necessary CD edition of this all-time classic New Zealand underground side, originally released in 1990 on Bruce Russell’s legendary Xpressway label: Jefferies was a member of This Kind Of Punishment and this is one of the all-time great weirdo singer-songwriter albums, with a backing band that includes all three members of The Dead C – Bruce Russell, Michael Morley and Robbie Yeats – as well as Alastair Galbraith, Kathy Bull, Robbie Muir , David Mitchell and Nigel Taylor. Jefferies channels the revenant forms of Syd Barrett and Kevin Ayers, all filtered through that amazing subterranean/basement distance that defines the best of the Xpressway sides. His song-writing is just heartrendingly beautiful, power crying over lilting repeat-piano minimalism and disembodied backing vocals, singing unaccompanied acapella tracks that have all of the alien power of Jandek and playing amazing damaged downer guitar dirges that marry the brokedown form of The Dead C to classic psychedelic songforms. Truly, an all-time desert island discs and one of the most magical moments in the Xpressway back catalogue finally available again on vinyl. Comes with a download code. No one does the sound of lonesome like Jefferies. Can’t recommend this masterpiece enough!

Gate/Tom Carter

Carbon Records CR-208


Killer US tour split 7” from Tom Carter of Charalambides and Gate aka Michael Morley of The Dead C in a hand-numbered edition of 313 copies: Tom’s side is a beauty, with an alternately triumphal/melancholy electric guitar march that weaves post-Sharrock steel string logic into webs of dissolving tone joy that are then Eno-ised for maximum bliss potential. The Gate side is phenomenally heavy, with Morley playing gravity-mashing sludge power chords in a Blue Cheer-play-Outside feel but with a whip-cracking drum machine ploughing through the spectra-thick fuzz. When Morley’s classic narcoleptic vocals drool all over the top the accumulative effect is reality dissolving. No one can sing the edge of the world blues like Michael Morley. In two colour silkscreened Stumptown kraft sleeves with a free download, highly recommended. 

Peter Jefferies

Superior Viaduct SV-055


Necessary reissue of one of the all-time New Zealand underground classics, this one belongs on the shelf of every serious VT head: released in 1994, perhaps the apex of the original avant underground, this was Jefferies’ follow-up to his great 1990 Xpressway recording, Last Great Challenge In A Dull World. Jefferies was part of the legendary This Kind Of Punishment and his song-writing style combines massively experimental basement psych/prog jams ala Vertical Slit/Jim Shepard with the kind of beautiful, avant garde piano ballad songwriting of a John Cale circa Fear/Paris 1919 et al w/a real sense of drama and mystery that is rare in the world of singer/songwriters. The supporting cast is absolutely stellar too, with Bruce Russell of The Dead C contributing electric guitar alongside Shayne Carter of Straitjacket Fits and Robbie Muir of Plagal Grind and the combination of beautiful, heartbroken piano reveries, ultra-crude drone rock jams, blurry almost Madcap Laughs-style dislocation and experimental tape works makes this a record that is heady with the possibilities of a certain time/space/place. Impossibly beautiful, raw, bled straight to tape, an inspired cover of Barbara Manning’s brilliant “Scissors”... they don’t make em like this anymore. This beautifully presented deluxe reissue comes with a gatefold sleeve featuring great snaps of Peter as well as an entire side of bonus tracks taken from Jefferies and Robbie Muir’s Swerve EP, also originally released by Ajax in 1992, and it gets VT’s highest possible recommendation, naturally.