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Laddio Bolocko


The Life & Times of Laddio Bolocko


No Quarter


Laddio Bolocko CD coverLaddio Bolocko are a NY band that toured and recorded from 1996 - 2000. The band has ex-members of Dazzling Killmen, Panicsville, Craw, and Chalk 22.

Laddio Bolocko are Blake Fleming - Drums/Percussion, Drew St. Ivany - Prepared Guitars, Ben Armstrong - Bass and Marcus DeGrazia - Horns, Winds, Keyboard, Tape loops. Blake Fleming even played drums on the Freedom Bondage tour of Japanese noise band Zeni Geva.

Their sound sometimes approaches Flying Luttenbachers, sometimes This Heat. They are a math rock band gone hard like Robert DeNiro did in Taxi Driver. In fact, the movie Taxi Driver would have been well served if it had used a song like Goat Lips in it.

Goat Lips is from the 1997 'Strange Warmings of Laddio Bolocko' LP, which was self- recorded and self-released on the band's own label Hungarian Records. There is not much info inside this double CD, but the circumstances of 'Strange Warmings of Laddio Bolocko' are not left in doubt by the band's description: "violent self recorded, self produced first LP done under the Manhattan Bridge while living in poverty - the ultimate NYC soundtrack."

Many bands have relocated, as Laddio bolocko did when they moved from the Catskills area of NY down to the city. Many bands have tales of starvation and desperation as the reality of being an unknown band in a large city sinks in. But few bands have ever captured the feeling as well as Laddio Bolocko did on their first record.

The second CD in this set is 'As If In Real Time', a remastered combination of 1998's 'In Real Time' and that same years 'As If By Remote' EP. 'As If In Real Time' was not created for this set - it was made in an edition of 500 and sold on US tour with Trams Am in 2000.

The band's description of 'In Real Time' is "recorded in the quiet but creepy surrounding of the Catskill Mountains...a soft surreptitious nightmare."

The band's description of 'As If By Remote' - "back under the Manhattan Bridge for Laddio...self imposed schizophrenic experiment naked lost found...a glimpse of the ugly beautiful times to come."

On the first CD my favorite songs are Nurser and Y Toros. Nurser has a bit of a Big Black feel to the music, with crazy no wave guitar hysteria. Five minutes into the track it changes completely into a terse beat that nervously but quietly taps along. Elements start to unfold into the sound until by the seven minute mark the beat is unchanged, but the music climaxes for three minutes like the end of the 'Sergeant Pepper' song A Day In The Life.

Y Toros is a 35 minute track (!) that does a slow burn which I find easier to absorb than the sock in the face that Goat Lips delivers. There are tapes of talking fading in and out of a stew that bears distant relation to Patti Smith's track Radio Ethiopia.

On the second disc my favorite tracks are Beatrice the Coyote and Wallkill Creek Survival. Beatrice the Coyote is well-mannered compared to the tracks on disc 1. It is this period that most bears resemblance to the band This Heat, though Drew St. Ivany's guitar reminds me of Greg Ginn from Black Flag. Beatrice the Coyote has a beat which mimics a running coyote, and some James Chance styled sax. At six minutes, Beatrice the Coyote delivers the goods and gets out without asking too much of the listener.

Wallkill Creek Survival is named after the upstate NY Wallkill River, which ran through the town I went to college at, New Paltz. Wallkill Creek Survival is a mellow track with tension. It gives you the feeling of traveling up the rivers of the Mekong Delta in search of Kurtz in Apocalypse Now.

The second CD ends with an mpg movie of As If By Remote. It was filmed in 1999 by Aran Tharp. It is a B&W Super 8 styled piece with quick edits showing the band in the city, live, home, and in their rehearsal space. It is half 'A Hard Day's Night' and half Buffalo Bill from the night vision goggle climax of Silence of the Lambs.

I have received many email messages since I first published my (completely inadequate) review of Laddio Bolcko's Hungarian Agog CD EP back in April 1999. People could never find anything from the band, despite searching. 'The Life & Times of Laddio Bolocko' is an easy to find double CD set that will please anyone that believes they would like the disc based on reading this review or having seen the band live.

---Carl, May 27, 2003