Wednesday, December 30, 2009

RIP Rowland S. Howard

The Australian guitarist was 50. Starting with The Boys Next Door he went on to form The Birthday Party with Nick Cave, where his feedback was a key element of their sound. He later collaborated with artists such as Lydia Lunch and Nikki Sudden...

Monday, December 28, 2009

Sex & Drugs & Rock 'n' Roll

Looking forward to the Ian Dury biopic starring the excellent Andy Serkis...

Friday, December 25, 2009

RIP Vic Chesnutt

The Athens, Georgia based singer-songwriter was 45. The wheelchair confined Chesnutt (he was injured in a car accident in 1983) apparently took an overdose of muscle relaxants and was in a coma since earlier this week...

Saturday, December 19, 2009


Some of the samples used in The Go! Teams 'Ladyflash':

At 3:15 in Nancy Sinatra & Lee Hazlewoods 'Down from Dover':

At 0:50 in The Soul Searchers 'Ashley's Roachclip':

At 1:49 in Fontella Bass' 'I can't rest':

At 1:36 & 2:00 in the basketball rap section of the movie 'Wild Style':

At 3:38 in Davey DMX 'The DMX Will Rock You':

Put it all together and you end up with The Go! Team's 'Ladyflash' - genius!!

Friday, December 18, 2009

The sam old sung...

Everybodystalking favorites The Happy Hollows - now also poster children for Samsung Mobile... I nearly fell off the bed when I saw this advert during the Laker game!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009


Wasn't it Depeche Mode who said 'Well I know five years is a long time and that times change'? Well 10 years is twice as long and times have certainly changed for me - I live in a different continent for god's sake... Anyways, here are my 10 favorite LP's of the last decade (in no particular order...)

The Go! Team: Thunder, Lightning, Strike

Sonic Youth guitars, 70's cop themes, Sesame Street, double-dutch chants and hip-hop - The Go! Team's post-nostalgia mash-up was the freshest sound of the naughties...

The Dears: No Cities Left

Who'd have thought the 'new Morrissey' would be from an ethnic minority - Canadian! Montreal anglophile Murray Lightburn and his excellent band bring previous efforts sharply into focus with an epic set of mellow-dramatic classics...

Radiohead: Kid A

How do you follow 'OK Computer' - the x-generations' 'Dark side of the moon'? You don't... 'Kid A' was an LP Radiohead fans either loved or hated as the band ditched the guitars in favor of chilling, eerie, subliminal electronica.

The Strokes: Is This It

The LP that made indie music hip. The New York press darlings transport us back to CBGB's circa 1977 with a garage rock classic.

Arcade Fire: Funeral

An emotionally wracked masterpiece that jumped seemlessly between chamber pop melodies and angular art-rock.

The Flaming Lips: Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots

All the Lips previously ramshackle efforts suddenly focused into one conceptual masterpiece.

Bright Eyes: I'm Wide Awake It's Morning

Conor Oberst's clearest vision yet - an alt-country classic which gives his brilliant lyrics a sparkling platform...

Badly Drawn Boy: The Hour of Bewilderbeast

The many layered award-winning folktronic classic bared repeated listening. He had some good hats too.

Gorillaz: Gorillaz

Hip-hop, pop and cartoons from the Hoxton supergroup. Apparently they were only doing it for the kids - and the kids loved it!

Fleet Foxes: Fleet Foxes

For me, the only listenable band in this god-forsaken beardy folk revival. A camp-fire classic to be sure...

Also worthy of mention were:

The Streets: Original Pirate Material - increasingly unlistenable output throughout the decade soured Mike Skinner's chances...

Broken Social Scene: You Forgot it in People - the Montreal quota was already used up by The Dears and Arcade Fire...

Portishead: Third - a little too scary for repeated listening...

Who made your Top 10?

Monday, December 14, 2009

Ninja sightings...

Rinocerose's  'Time Machine' featuring Ninja from The Go! Team:

Simian Mobile Disco's 'It's the beat' featuring Ninja from The Go! Team:

Yumi Yumi with 'I am right' featuring Kaori from The Go! Team:


Great version of 'Elephants' from the Equisite Corpse CD release party at The Echoplex on January 13th 2009...

Friday, December 11, 2009

The Rhone Occupation

The Rhone Occupation taming the caverous Echo Curio wall of sound with a nice version of 'A Place'...

Monday, November 16, 2009

RIP Derek B.

The rapper (full name Derek Boland) was a pioneering figure on the UK hip hop scene in the 1980s... He died of a heart attack aged 44...

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Four your eyes only...

BBC Four hit yet another home run with their outstanding documentary 'Krautrock: The Rebirth of Germany'... It's 1968; students are rioting throughout Europe and in Germany they struggle to break away from their countries past - forging a new identity through music. Rejecting the rock music of America and the UK and the schlager (cheesy euro-pop) of their own charts, they create an electronic-heavy sound that the British press would inappropriately dub 'Krautrock'...

The documentary features footage from all the major Krautrock groups like Amon Düül, Cluster, Harmonia, Neu!, Kraftwerk, Tangerine Dream, Can and Faust. The section on Amon Düül was particularly interesting, not only their close alliances with aspiring German film-makers such as Wim Wenders, Fassbinder and Werner Herzog, but their inadvertent involvement with the terrorist Baader-Meinhof gang...

Amon Düül II:

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

The Cribs at The Roxy

Support act The Blood Arm were very Sunset Strip - a cheesy bar-band nine parts Meatloaf to one part The Magic Numbers. The singer certainly had the energy and look of Meat (all hair, waistcoat and perspiration) but lacked the charisma; I bet you're thinking two out of three ain't bad but it was. The music was lacking any sort of groove (no bass player) as the piano/organ and lone guitarist tried to keep time with some ramshackle drumming.

The Cribs were much as I remembered - punky northern lad-rock.. However, the inclusion of Johnny Marr has certainly sweetened the sound somewhat and they put on an exciting live show... It remains to be seen how long The Cribs will hold Marr's attention in the long run - they definitely lost my attention within 45 minutes...

Thursday, November 5, 2009

ExDetectives at Silverlake Lounge

Cue the Moon were excellent, taming the oft lousy Silverlake Lounge sound with a great set. They are derivitive of loads of bands; early Muse, Jeff Buckley, Radiohead, Grizzly Bear and even The Dears in some of the extended soloed outro's... Their saviour could be some neat keyboard effects but whether this is enough to differentiate them from just another group of talented copyists remains to be seen. Will definitely check them out again...

The poorly named Shotgun Showdown were a raw but fun all girl band who reminded me a little of a garage version of The Cranberries. I'm sure there are a load of girl bands playing three chord garage rock at the moment, just don't ask me to name any OK?

ExDetectives played a good set of which 'Won't stop' and 'Closing Bell' were the highlights, although a couple of the newer songs are catching up fast...

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Warpaint at Spaceland

Support band Seaspin are average My Bloody Valentine copyists... Anyone looking for some LA synth-assisted goth-pop is better off with Great Northern...

Rough Trade bound Warpaint were on their usual fine form, starting with a loose, slinky instrumental before launching into 'Stars', and blistering versions of 'Elephants' and 'Beetles' - the latter three a triple whammy from their current EP 'Exquisite Corpse'. After the majestic 'Majesty' was a long closing number featuring some psychedelic cello and in a puff of ethereal magic they were gone...

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

The Happy Hollows at Spaceland

The Happy Hollows kicked off their November Spaceland residency in chaotic style - mainly because anyone (like myself) showing up after 10pm was greeted with an ever increasing line around the block. The reason Spaceland was full was a surprise last minute appearance by Julian Casablancas and his band. Anyways, as half of LA's hipster community spilled out onto the pavement (either to smoke or return to their dirty bedsits) they started letting those in line get inside at around 11pm...

The Hollows sounded great and the highlight was a frantic version of 'Lieutenant' and a rare live runout for 'Death to Vivek Kemp'... Hopefully I'll make it down to see them again before the month is out...

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Smooth trade...

I hate to say I told you so but I told you so... Rough Trade have just signed LA based quartet Warpaint - tipped for success here since I saw them last year. I was right about Warpaint, I am right about The Happy Hollows and will be right about the others... you read in here (possibly) first... Better than Bat for Lashes I said and I was right!

Monday, October 26, 2009

U2 and Black Eyed Peas at the Rose Bowl

Black Eyed Peas seemed to get a great reception which probably says more about the average concert goer in Los Angeles than it does about their performance, but I guess they were fairly entertaining if you like that sort of thing. The one great moment was a guest appearance by Slash for a version of 'Sweet child of mine' with Fergie doing a passable (despite messing up the words) impression of Axl Rose. Perhaps Fergie is Axl Rose - I've certainly never seem them in the same place at the same time...

I could rant about U2's carbon footprint on this tour but apparently you can offset this by inoculating a few dozens Africans so we're all good. The claw-like stage is certainly an impressive site and the light show excellent. The music sounded good - too many new songs for my liking and I'd assume the majority of the crowd felt the same way. There was genuine excitement for songs like 'Where the street have no name', 'With or Without you', 'Sunday bloody Sunday' and 'I still haven't found what I'm looking for' but these were balanced with periods of ennui in songs such as 'Get on your boots' and the uneventful closer
'Moment of Surrender'...

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Echo & the Bunnymen at the Nokia Theater

Whereas LALive scored a victory with Club Nokia, I feel they have missed a great opportunity with the Nokia Theater... The theater is a huge, cavernous black box without soul or character, and had the balcony not been closed due to lack of sales we would have been at least 100 yards from the stage. As it was, we were relocated to the left side of the floor where there were many half empty rows...

Anyways, it's been 25 years since 'Ocean Rain' - the Bunnymen's seminal 1984 album, but it remains an important work of art. When the rest of contemporary music was embracing 'synth culture', the Bunnymen bucked the trend and released an LP full of strings and subtle acoustic touches. Indeed, it's difficult to imagine any of The Bunnymen's post-punk peers such as The Sound or Joy Division doing anything remotely similar... The LP has aged remarkably well and thanks to a timeless production, still sounds as fresh and vibrant as it did all those years ago. Live, the sound could have been better allowing the orchestral parts to breathe a little rather than being swamped by guitars, but I guess it was never going to sound as good as the LP. The stage lighting was a little boring - the dark oceanic blue lights only interupted by the occasional blast of strobes but the 'Ocean Rain' part of the show was accompanied by a stunning slide slow of black and white pictures of the early Bunnymen.

After 'Ocean Rain' the second part of the show was a best of collection which included 'The Cutter', 'The Back of Love', 'Zimbo (All my colours)', 'All That Jazz', 'Rescue', 'Villiers Terrace' and the brilliant 'Show of strength'... Only the second encore didn't quite hit the spot featuring a lumpy 'Nothing last forever' (except this song - thanks Sean!) and their biggest US hit 'Lips like sugar'...

Friday, October 23, 2009

Lloyd Cole at The Troubadour

I thought we'd arrived at a wedding when we walked into The Troubadour last night - the crowd was seated on white plastic chairs. Fortunately, we managed to grab the last couple even though I was sitting next to a guy with tourettes...

It's been 25 years since Cole released his debut LP 'Rattlesnakes' with the Commotions but he looked in good shape - a little heavier and his greying locks gave him a kind, Tony Hart look. He still seems painfully shy (although more chatty than I was expecting) and a little more interaction with the audience would have given the performance a more intimate feel...

Cole played two sets, both just him and a couple of acoustic guitars and he played selections from throughout his career. The voice was unmistakedly still there and the guitar playing was excellent. Highlights were everything he played from 'Rattlesnakes', especially the wonderful 'Are you ready to be heartbroken'... His music (Leonard Cohen meets the lighter side of the Velvets repertoir) has stood the test of time well although the lyricism is a little formulaic - namecheck an actress or writer, have a girls name in the song and get heartbroken. Are you ready?

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

You (should) have been watching...

1. Synth Britannia: excellent BBC4 documentary on the rise and fall of electronic music in the UK. Some great footage of Walter (now Wendy) Carlos, whose 1971 soundtrack to 'A Clockwork Orange' is cited as a big inspiration, as were Kraftwerk, who were featured on a episode of sci-fi documentary 'Tomorrows World' in 1975. As electronics became cheaper and the DIY ethics of punk took over, pockets of electronic music were springing up around the UK; from Sheffield (The Human League) to Liverpool (OMD) to Manchester (Cabaret Voltaire) to London (Daniel Miller aka The Normal and founder of Mute.) Also featured from London are Throbbing Gristle and John Foxx whose Shoreditch bases were apparently on plague burial grounds...

Gary Numan bridged the gap between experimentalism and pop, opening the doors for bands such as Depeche Mode and a reformed Human League... As the 80's progressed pop music became dominated by the synth groups, and New Order pushed electronic in the direction of dance music...

Walter Carlos

2. How not to run a club (HMV exclusive DVD to accompany the Peter Hook book): entertaining 30 minute DVD featuring an interview of Peter Hook by Miranda Sawyer. Hook again talks frankly about the life and times of The Haçienda and there are also candid interviews with Fiona Allen (receptionist at the club), designer Ben Kelly and DJ's such as Mike Pickering and Jon DaSilva.


3. The Damned United: Michael Sheen gives a brilliant performance as legendary football manager Brian Clough, and the film features an excellent backup cast including Colm Meaney, Timothy Spall and Jim Broadbent. In 'The Queen' and 'Frost/Nixon' Sheen plays Tony Blair and David Frost expertly, but in 'The Damned United' he becomes Brian Clough. Great movie and Sheen deserves at least an Oscar nod...


RIP Liam Maher

Maher was the singer in Flowered Up, supposedly London's answer to The Happy Mondays... They weren't, but 'Weekender' (and the accompanying video) was a classic!

RIP Vic Mizzy

The composer of The Addams Family theme was 93...

Sunday, October 18, 2009

The Primitive Electric by Faris McReynolds

'The Primitive Electric' is an aptly named new exhibition by Los Angeles based artist Faris McReynolds. McReynolds paintings have two distinct styles; first a brutal, stark, somewhat Francis Bacon-esqe style which dehumanizes its subjects, and second, portraits that seen from a distance look almost like a re-touched photo. The latter, on closer inspection, are quite wonderful - the paintings seem to be melting in translucent impressionist blobs.

On a couple of paintings McReynolds distinct styles morph somewhat; 'Caveperson' is like the portrait style but the subject is caught is a blurred scream, and in 'Potato Eaters 2' the aggressive strokes are toned down, giving the painting more realism but the interesting use of color and placement makes the subjects in the background appear to be closer than those in the foreground...

'The Primitive Electrics' runs at the Roberts and Tilton gallery in Culver City from 17th October to November 14th...

Friday, October 16, 2009

The Haçienda (How not to run a club) by Peter Hook

The Haçienda (How not to run a club) is Peter Hook's wildly entertaining memoirs of being part owner of The Haçienda - Manchester's famous club. Hook's story weaves through the history of the club through the purchase and design of the club (mainly subsidized by sales of Joy Division's Unknown Pleasures), it's opening in 1982 through to it's eventual closure in 1997.

The fact that The Haçienda made it through 15 years is amazing as the club seemed continuously on the point of closure - either through financial difficulties in it's poorly attended early years or the drugs, gangs and violence that came with the acid house movement and 'Madchester'...

Hooky is full of great tales, most of which involved the drugs (of which there were plenty) and the violent Manchester gangs which made running the club on a normal basis impossible - indeed one of the gangs ended up running the door!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

RIP Al Martino

The Italian-American baritone was 82. The crooner was known for hits such as 'Spanish Eyes', 'Volare' and 'Speak Softly Love' and appeared as a wedding singer in The Godfather.

The Jazz Butcher Conspiracy at The Echo

Floods of biblical proportions and the (Mr) odd power cut or two didn't prevent me heading over to Echo Park to catch The Jazz Butcher Conspiracy. In 'Southern Mark Smith' Pat Fish sings ' California everyone's got a swimming pool in their back yard' - well, they do now... Anyway, the night was started in fine fashion by Downy Mildew who apparently have been around for ever - their quirky pop not dissimilar to the JBC but with shared boy/girl vocals with a hint of 10,000 Maniacs and early REM. Need to find out more about them...

Max Eider took the stage first and played 'My Other Life' and 'Kings and Queens' before being joined by Pat Fish and Steve Valentine for great versions of 'Who loves you now...' and 'Drink'. Next Pat did a few solo songs including 'Switzerland' from the Wilson arsenal before being joined by Max for 'La Mer' and then the full band (featuring Kevin Haskins!) steamed into the following:

Mr Odd
Sister Death
Southern Mark Smith
Caroline Wheeler's Birthday Present
Zombie Love

Great set and can only think of 'Just like Betty Page' and 'The Human Jungle' that I would have like to have heard...

Monday, October 12, 2009

Travis at Fargo...

Travis (or rather Fran Healy and Andy Dunlop) put on an entertaining show at Fargo. The acoustic tour, dubbed 'A Chronological Acoustical Journey Through the Travis Back Catalogue: Laugh Out Loud Stories, Scottish Accents, Handsome Scottish Men, Naked Torsos' featured most of Travis' best known songs plus enough obscurities to please the die-hard. Few bands could hold the attention for over 2 hours playing an acoustic set but Healy introduced each number with the story behind the track (complete with slide show) that made the show more like a play or musical, weaving a chronological journey through the story of Travis the band...

Also, interesting (and a great marketing ploy) was Healy and Dunlop returning the run the merch table which I'm sure added good numbers to the sales of T-shirts, CD's etc. This is valuable for a band like Travis, who rejected a continuation of their major label deal in favor of forging their own path. Indeed, this acoustic tour is probably a fund raising exercise to finance the next CD...

Sunday, October 11, 2009

RIP Stephen Gately

The Boyzone singer died after an evenings drinking in Majorca - he was 33. After Boyzone split in 2000 Gately starred in stage productions like Jospeh and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat and Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. Boyzone reformed last year for a reunion tour....

Thursday, October 8, 2009

RIP Robert Kirby

The string arranger best known for his work on Nick Drake's 'Five Leaves Left' and 'Bryter Layter', has died at the age of 61. Kirby also worked on David Ackles' 'American Gothic', Elvis Costello's 'Almost Blue' and Paul Weller's 'Heliocentric'...

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

ExDetectives at Silverlake Lounge

I enjoyed ExDetectives last night - a great set. Not that they had too much to follow - some indie en espanol from a band whose singer sounded amazingly like Enrique Iglesias (flat and Spanish) and a poor man's Lee Hazlewood and Nancy Sinatra. The latter (Colorada & Belle) murdered Nancy & Lee's 'Did you ever', raped Pink Floyd's 'Breathe' and pillaged The Stones' 'Wild horses', all while dressed as Gene Autry and his wife and doing a 'comedy' routine.

Anyways, ExDetectives played a couple of new songs of which 'Where you turn' sounded particularly strong. The set was well balanced and 'Closing Bell' is a great way to close. My only slight reservation was the turgid 'Return' but at this point only wild horses could drag it out of the set. Perhaps Gene Autry could help...

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Thom Yorke at the Orpheum Theater

Thom Yorke and friends put on a great show last night in front of a packed house which included the likes of Toby Kebbell, Rhys Ifans, Charlize Theron and husband Stuart Townsend. I resisted the temptation of approaching Kebbell in the bar and asking "Dead Mans Shoes - what the fuck is all that about?" although a post show "job's a good-un" (from Control) would have been more applicable.

Yorke and Co ran through The Eraser from start to finish and everything sounded amazing especially the title track, 'Black Swan' and 'Harrowdown Hill'... Flea's percussive bass added an extra dimension to the songs, and combined with Nigel Godrich's sparse synths the music had an early Simple Minds or Japan feel. However, the layered percussion throughout was definitely Radiohead flavored.

The encore (Yorke solo for 3 songs and then the full band back for 3 or 4) was a little after the lord mayors show but short of playing some beloved Radiohead songs I don't think they could have bettered The Eraser part of the show...

Sunday, October 4, 2009

SLR & Brookline at The Dragonfly

I'd never been to The Dragonfly before but it's purple outside facade and velvet booths were familar to me - having been the location for the Hinged video for their song 'Crawl'... Hinged of course featured Sean Robertson... The Dragonfly (not unlike close neighbour Unknown Theater) has an unorthodox layout and disproportionately large stage...

SLR sounded good, bringing in 'Is a...' and a live debut for the brilliant 'Leave the light on' which closed the set at the expense of 'Venus de milo'... The sound for Brookline wasn't great but they played up to their usual high standards...

Saturday, October 3, 2009

'You're Entitled to an Opinion...' by David Nolan

 'You're Entitled to an Opinion...' (The high times and many lives of Tony Wilson, Factory Records and The Hacienda) is David Nolan's excellent and comprehensive biography of Tony Wilson.

The book covers Wilson's life, or rather his extra-ordinary double-life; by day a TV presenter at Granada Studios, and by night boss of perhaps the most influential record label of modern times in Factory Records, and the most famous UK venue/club in The Hacienda. Apparently The Hacienda only started booking DJ's as they were cheaper than bands and the rest is history! The music side of Wilson's life has been documented elsewhere but it was interesting to read of his sometimes fiery relationships with his Granada TV bosses, his later jobs with Channel 4 and the BBC.

Also covered in depth are his personal relationships, first with Lindsay Reade, then Hilary Wilson, who bore his two children and finally Yvette Livesey. Hilary Wilson was knifed on her doorstep by a crazed fan, which perhaps explains her virtual non-appearance as a character in the movie '24 hour party people'. Yvette Livesey shared Tony's love for music and still runs the 'In the City' music conference.

Wilson contracted kidney cancer in his final years and the disease had spread to his stomach and lungs by the time a prognosis was made. There was hope with a new wonder drug called Sutent, but ironically the drug was not available in Manchester due to it's high cost. Wilson campaigned for it's availability, not just for himself but others who suffered from the disease. Interestingly, the NHS value the cost of one year of life to be 30,000 GBP. Eventually, the drug was purchased anonymously for Wilson but it was too late and Wilson died August 10th 2007.

The last chapter covers the famous FAC catalog numbers, which include FAC61 - A lawsuit brought by Factory Producer Martin Hannett to get the label closed; FAC99 - Dental work for Rob Gretton (Joy Division and New Order manager) and FAC501 - Anthony H. Wilson's funeral and coffin (complete with silver FAC501 plate.)

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Cover versions

So The Charlatans' Tim Burgess just got a new tatoo, choosing to adorn his colar bone with FAC33. FAC33 was of course the catalog number for the debut New Order single 'Ceremony'. Both 'Ceremony' and B-side 'In a lonely place' were Joy Division songs that were never recorded before Ian Curtis died...

If you were to choose a Factory catalog number for a tatoo, I'm sure FAC10 (Joy Division's 'Unknown Pleasures') would be up there with the most popular. The seminal LP is 30 years old this year and to celebrate you can watch the pulsar wave form morphing away whilst listening to 'UP' here!

Just as good is the purple version I created for The Protagonist! website a couple of years ago:

Manic Street Preachers at The Avalon

Apparently, the Manics haven't been to LA for 10 years so there was very much an air of anticipation inside the Avalon last night! Indeed, the crowd were not disappointed by a brilliant show right from an impecable 'Motorcycle Emptiness' to an anthemic 'Design for Life'. The set was perfectly paced and included a couple of acoustic songs ('Small Black Flowers' and 'This is yesterday') midset before building to a deafening crescendo. Other stand out songs were 'Faster', 'You love us', 'Everything must go', 'You stole the sun from my heart' and a blistering 'Motown Junk' which was preceeded by a minute or so of The Small Faces' 'All or nothing'... Fantastic show - best gig I've been to for ages!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Happy faces...

The always entertaining and slightly mad The Happy Hollows featured on Pinpoint playing 'Faces' from the forthcoming debut LP Spells:

The Primitive Electric

Anyone in LA between October 17th and November 14th should check out a new exhibition by the multi-talented artist/musician/hipster Faris McReynolds:

Here is the press release from the Roberts & Tilton gallery:

The Primitive Electric
October 17 - November 14, 2009

Opening reception for the artist: Saturday, October 17th, 6 to 8pm
Roberts & Tilton is pleased to present The Primitive Electric, an exhibition of new paintings by Faris McReynolds.

In his third exhibition at the gallery, Faris McReynolds continues his exploration of imagined space and time, manifesting multiple ideas and ways of seeing through the literal movement of paint on the canvas. This recent work stands as an embodiment of culture, addressing specific themes of alienation, boredom, restlessness, partying and escapism.

There’s a sense of aimlessness about these portraits as each one resists a simple narrative reading, opting instead for a more expansive, albeit more complicated view of the world. McReynolds desires to paint in a primitive manner, yet this “primitivism” derives less from stylistic choice than from the intention to communicate multiple versions of the world at once.

Here the traditional portrait is turned on its ear as figures merge into one another, blurring literal and cultural boundaries, exposing their bodies in weirdly grotesque ways, yet without shame. McReynolds wants nothing more than to allow these paintings to communicate freely on a variety of levels, and each exists as a visual testament not to the artist himself but to the vagaries of a flawed and failed culture.

Born in Dallas Texas, McReynolds has shown both nationally and internationally at Goff & Rosenthal in Berlin, Gallery Min Min in Tokyo, and the Tim Van Laere Gallery in Antwerp.