On Saturday, January 25th, 2020, I received an envelope full of amazing mail art courtesy of Mindaugus Zuromskas, from Lithuania!
This is some of my favorite art that I’ve received in the mail recently. Thank you, Mindaugus!
Back in 2011-2013, I enjoyed a great period of prolific recording, and mailing tapes and CDRs to people all across the globe.
Unfortunately, due to a combination or things, my output had gradually decreased to the point where I had ceased production altogether for a while. These various reasons include: the increased expenses on international shipping rates; shortage of materials to burn/dub audio and/or print the artwork; my increasing amounts of live performances; personal matters; and of course, being burned-out in general.
Fast-forward to early 2017: after having contributed to the then-recent issues of HalZine, I was inspired to put together my own “visual noise” zines. But even these proved to be somewhat costly in the long run. I decided to become even more efficient, and start making postcards.
Lo and behold, they became a success! Multiple recipients would gladly post them on social media, and even send me their own mailart in return.
It was just like the good ol’ days of 2011-2013, except it was limited to just the visuals (which I felt was the centerpiece of a majority of the releases I did anyways).
But now I have decided to go a step further: I will be incorporating audio with my future mailart, without having to compromise the amount of postage. How, you may ask?
By slapping a QR code on the postcard!
For those who may not know: you can scan a QR code by opening the camera on your phone and holding it up to the code until a tab drops down with the link embedded into the code.
For example: here’s a screenshot of our good friend Hal McGee scanning the code (on a postcard I had recently sent him) with the camera on his phone:
I understand there are some potential drawbacks: most notably this feature is not incorporated in every cellphone (specifically Android, which I think requires an app). Regardless, this is all in good fun.
I am planning on making more of these and being quite productive with it throughout this year, as I greatly enjoy creating and mailing these out.
If you would like to receive any future postcards from me, feel free to email me your address or PO BOX and I will add you to my mailing list.
And in the event that you can’t open the contents of the QR CODE with your phone, let me know and I’ll be more than happy to copy-paste the link your way!
January 12th, 2020
Free QR Code generator
QR Code Wikipedia page
June 20th - 23rd, 2019. I am visiting Los Angeles, CA for the first time ever.
I am here to perform at the INFINITE NOISE OUTRAGEOUS LOUD festival, curated by my dearest friends Verge Bliss (Dendera Bloodbath, Clandestine Ritual Records) and Brandon Gould. I perform on the second day of the festival: Saturday, June 22nd.
I fly in a day early, on June 20th. I am completely unfamiliar with the area and only know a handful of people, not realizing Los Angeles is split up into so many different sub-communities...I joke that it might as well be it’s own state, while another says it’s enough to be it’s own country, completely independent of the not-so-United States of American’t.
I hit up somebody I’ve known online for years: Katz Seki, who is one half of the noisecore legends GORGONIZED DORKS, as well as a longtime veteran of the SoCal punk and goth scenes, going as far back as the 1970s. He knows literally everybody and has lived through it all. Got any questions about your favorite old school punk or deathrocker? I guarantee you, he’s got stories.
Anyways...I hit up Katz, asking if he knows of any events going on that evening. He lists three: the first one is at an “ask a punk” location; the second one is a free show in MacArthur Park; and the third one is a Gothic DJ dance night.
I chose the second option, because, well...free concert in an outdoor setting...that MIKE FUCKING WATT is playing (with his band the Missingmen), along with local psychedelic punks Bastidas!....and erstwhile Germs drummer Don Bolles, DJing vinyl obscurities in between bands. Yup, that’s right.
I arrive at the park, and, following the music in the distance, make my way to the Levitt pavilion. After meeting up with Katz, The first thing I see upon arrival is this bearded chap on stage, spinning records and making hilarious anecdotes every few seconds or so. My initial thoughts: “This guy looks like a fisherman who roadies for Hawkwind. Wait, is that actually Don Bolles?!”
Turns out it was! Katz was even saying: “I’ve known Don since the early days, and the first time I’ve seen him with a beard was over about a month ago...”
Anyways, I’m not that big on DJ sets, but watching Don have so much fun on stage with his record collection was a highlight of this trip. Even if it was just Don DJing and no other performers that night it still would have been totally worth it.
After Don’s DJ set, local trio Bastidas! hit the stage. I don’t know much about them, but they put on one hell of a show, complete with psychedelic guitar effects, harmonized vocals, punchy bass lines, and the drummer wearing a luchadore mask all throughout. The bassist and the guitarist swapped instruments for the last two songs. After their set, I went to their merch table, talked to the drummer for a bit, got a cd, and asked if there were any plans for touring in the near future...and forgetting they had announced that their guitarist/frontman recently became a father.
Following another Bolles DJ set, Mike Watt and his band the Missingmen hit the stage. In addition to Watt (who clearly needs no introduction), the Missingmen also includes guitarist Tom Watson, and drummer Raul Morales.
They kicked off their set with a cover of “Fun House” by the Stooges, followed by endless barrage of classics such as “Sweet Honey Pie” by the recently departed Roky Erickson, “E.T.I.” By Blue Oyster Cult, “Surfin’ With the Shah” by the Urinals, “Little Johnny Jewel” by Television, and of course a bunch of Minutemen staples such as “Beacon Sighted Through Fog,” “Political Song for Michael Jackson to Sing,” “Anxious Mo-Fo,” among many, many others...and capping it all off with a scorching rendition of “We Are Time” by the Pop Group.
All in all, it was one of the best concert experiences I’ve had this year. And it was FREE...well, there was a donation bucket going around, which goes towards helping keep the free concerts in the park going. Of course I donated, and so should you!
After the concert, Katz and I hung around the park for a bit before going back to his place, where he showed me his endless supply of original concert flyers that he had collected throughout the 80s, 90s and beyond.
And right above his bed is a frame containing flyers related to Rozz Williams and Christian Death...including a gig with Pompeii 99, which had some guy named “Valor” in it....
Day 1 of my 2019 L.A. trip was a blast. Now I get ready for day 2: attending the first day of INFINITE NOISE OUTRAGEOUS LOUD festival at Coaxial Arts....!
(Katz Seki’s noise project with Ben Aggromosh)
The Levitt Pavilion for the Performing Arts
(Picture of Katz used with his permission; all other photos taken by Dylan Houser)
The second album by central Florida minimalist acoustic punk band THE QUAINT.
11 songs in roughly 4 minutes. The longest song is 36 seconds. The shortest song is 1 second (spoiler: it’s about Jen Sändwich’s friend Dougie Jones).
This makes the first album by the Quaint sound like a Bull of Heaven album, and the first EP by the Meat Puppets sound like the Grateful Dead (that’s because they are and junk. also "Jesus" by the Velvet Underground is actually by the Grateful Dead, just ask Hal McGee himself).
Recorded at the tail end of March 2019. Produced, mixed, and mastered on a rainy day inside of a black hole by the son of a hearing aid salesman.
"Kopp Out" was originally "Kopp Killer" but then Rob Lorei got his job back at WMNF the day after the song was written, so I guess he's alright.
"Burgled" is about eating brown Kool-Ade and why you shouldn't do that and junk. By the way, it was FLAVOR-ADE *pushes glasses up against my face* That's like saying Converse sneakers will get you a free ride on a hippie van trailing behind an asteroid or some shaving cream. This song was conceived while stuck in traffic on the way to the grocery store.
"Sugar Cubs": even Satan is terrified of them. Another song originally conceived in a car while waiting at a red light.
"Ordinary Guy" was originally written in 2005 and has been in developmental hell since 2006 until just a few days before it was re-recorded for the umpteenth time some 13 years later.
"Water is Wet" - Did you know that the president known as Donal Trum is a BAD PERSON? Here's your minutely reminder.
"Dougie Jones" - Dream Theater could never dream of writing anything as lengthy, complex, and intricate as this here song.
On a side note, every track from the Quaint's self-titled debut (written and recorded the year before) has been remastered and sounds less like it was recorded in a potato in a beehive in a trashcan in a dishwasher on the moon inside of the sun. You can stream it here:
YA KNOW, ONE OF THESE DAYS THESE RELEASES MAY SEE THE LIGHT OF DAY ON EITHER A LATHE-CUT OR EVEN FULL BLOWN WAX!!!
Recorded from January - March 2019.
Dylan Houser: guitars; loops; distortions; splicings; ice cream trucks
So far 2019 has been a very productive year. The combination of the Sony ICD-PX470 recorder (I'm not sponsored, I swear) and finally acquiring a looping pedal last summer (it only took me, what? 15 years?!) have opened up an entirely new can of worms for me, creatively speaking.
Nearly everything you hear on this album is a guitar, except for the last song, "Tinker Galute," which is a looped toy keyboard riff and manipulated noise coming from the well-aged toy, plus what sounds like the occasional radio interference from having so many things plugged in. I originally wasn't going to include it on the album, but I re-listened to it and laughed all the way through. It was too hilarious to NOT have it be the closing piece.
I've also started trying to incorporate odd timing signatures in my music again for the first time in over a decade. So far there seems to be a lot of 15/8 or 15/4 or 4/4+4/4+7/4 or whatever the heck it might be.
"Molting Riviera" is one of my favorite pieces that I've ever recorded. On that I used the "Rock On Esteban" acoustic-electric guitar that I had played at Apartment Music #29:
Tracks 2 - 4 were recorded during the first week of March and then the entire album was mixed down and edited on March 8th.
The album cover is a found picture I had laying around while I was putting the album together. The cover, the album and track titles...basically everything came together very spontaneously, which is my preferred method. Nothing beats that, really.
Enough of my rambling: I HOPE YOU ENJOY LISTENING TO THIS ALBUM AS MUCH I AS I DID CREATING IT!!!
Improvised and recorded on the morning of March 2nd, 2019 after a long and busy but yet somehow enjoyable night at my day-for-night job.
Vinci Signature strat knockoff guitar run through a BOSS looping pedal run into the "vocal" channel, and then the guitar run through the "instrument" channel, on a Roland Cube Street EX amplifier.
Recorded on a SONY ICD-PX470 dictamaphone and tweaked around in Audacity.
Artwork made in Instagram stories.
To me, album artwork is important, almost as much (sometimes if not more so), than the music itself.
Album artwork is still very important, especially now more than ever in the 21st century information age.
Thanks as always to Penny Grune-Fae for the awesome Hanukkah present, and to Hal McGee for having Electronic Cottage be the perfect platform to share and express our various creations.
Dictaphone collage album.
Everything recorded in December of 2018 on a pair of Sony ICD-PX470 recorders.
1. PLAY THIS ON "SHUFFLE"
2. LISTEN WITH(OUT) DISTRACTION
Dylan Houser: voice, guitar, percussion, banjo, other stuff, pressing the "record" button, some other stuff that I probably don't remember
Miscellaneous other people: etc.
Also: don't let the title fool you. This WILL be an ongoing series of dictaphone collage albums. There WILL be a Volume 2, eventually. and Volume 3, 4, 5, etc. As long as I don't die before assembling/uploading them, there will be follow ups.
I say this because one of my pet peeves is when an artist refers to an album as "Volume 1" but never follow it up with at least one more release called "Volume 2" or something...do they think their album title is just not long enough???
One of my favorite moments on this release: in the middle of "part 8," in the right hand channel, you can hear people yelling at each other. This moment was captured on December 31st, 2018, in Clearwater, FL on US Highway 19 (in front of Clearwater Mall). I was driving and waiting at a traffic light, when this guy two cars in front of me gets out of his vehicle to yell at the person in the car in front of mine (they had apparently cut him off). I missed the part where he yelled "HEY, THERE'S A FUCKIN' DISABLED VETERAN IN OUR CAR!" followed by someone a few cars behind me yelling at him to get back in his car, with him yelling and cursing and flipping those people off before he went back to his car.
Anyways, I hope you, the reader, will enjoy this here release in all of it's scattered glory.
A few months ago (I'm guessing December? My brain is still frazzled from this year's run of recent International Noise Conference shows), I received a lovely card in the mailbox courtesy of EC's own Aimee and Adam Naworal!
I love the different styles between the two drawings.
At one point on Fakebook, after not having looked at it for a while, I mentioned Aimee's drawing being "an owl" even though it is clearly a cat.
As an added bonus, I've also added a picture of a recent performance that their project Tomokie's Cup had played at the St. Pete Pre-INC show at the Paper Crane on February 3rd, 2019. I sat in on electric bagpipes. Photo courtesy of Emmy Lou.
Recorded January 21st, 2019
on a Sony ICD-PX470 dictaphone.
My contributions are pressing the "record" button, tapping on a cup, and possibly the occasional talking bits here and there.
Recorded at a boba cafe near USF. A mashup of two recordings taken minutes apart from each other, consisting of a pair of teenagers playing the same ominous chord on a piano (presumably they were trying to retune it?), blenders, various kitchen equipment, and people talking.
stream 320 kbps MP3
Recorded in Ybor City. The first 3 minutes are of a street busker playing rock and pop songs on an electric guitar through a battery-powered amp...and a few feet away from him, a street preacher. But not just any street preacher! This is some hippie kid in a tie-dyed shirt (that's him on the cover; I couldn't get a good shot of him. Oh well!) preaching the word about Jesus and telling people about how they're gonna go to hell. Eventually a cop made him move along, where he walked across the street instead. The next part of this side of the EP is of a child crying really loud in Centro Ybor. The last few seconds consists of Reverend Patchouli Oil (aka that hippie kid from earlier) talking to some drunk frat bros around him, where he says "I have acid, but I don't take it."
Special thanks to Emmy Lou for experiencing this fine evening with me.
Recorded during the month of December 2018 on a pair of Sony ICD-PX470 field recorders (and polished up in Audacity).
This is the first release recorded on such devices, which have offered the best sounding quality I've heard in quite a while.
The opening track, "Lungform Deth Radio," was recorded and assembled the day after I got the first recorder, from Hal McGee as a Christmas present.
The second track, "Sarcophagus in Orbit," was recorded using a loop guitar noise and a contact mic'd hurgy gurdy that I purchased from Adam and Aimee Naworal.
Track three, "Fangs of Despair," was recorded using a cheap Casio knock-off (that I got at a thrift store in St. Petersburg, FL for $3) run through some effects pedals.
Tracks four and five were recorded in the same morning (after I got out of work), on a Casiotone MT-68.
This is the first of hopefully many more recordings done with my new field recorders!
Recorded December 2018
Thanks: Hal McGee, Mr. & Mrs. Naworal, Penny Grune-Fae, Hal Harmon, the In-Between, Electronic Cottage
and of course...you
Support Dylan by purchasing a download of Dreary at Bandcamp