Greetings Earthlings –
Here at GMR we make the occasional attempt to be semi-contemporary if ye knows wot I means. To that end we present for your listening pleasure The Yes Masters on the venerable No Threes record label (https://theyesmasters.bandcamp.com/releases). Wait a minute you say – isn’t Yes Masters some kind of real estate thing to get you buy something? No, no, no. That is the one-word Yesmasters, this is the three-word The Yes Masters, clearly not the same thing so don’t even go there. This one goes to eleven.
The Yes Masters claims to be three dudes, Kurt Bloch, Rick Foundation, Matt Scientist. They all look like Kurt Bloch with minimalist disguises. In fact, let me state now, they are one and the same.
Now that we’ve cleared that up, let’s get down to business. Kurt is a long time Seattle music boy from Sand Point where he and brother Al (one of our earliest AotMs) grew up. I have known Kurt since the early 80’s. His excellent band the Fastbacks were on the very first Green Monkey release, Local Product, a cassette compilation. Besides the Fastbacks, Kurt have been a member of the jolly Young Fresh Fellows for a long-ass time. He has a couple million other bands, including Thee Sgt. Major, Less Than Equals, most recently Filthy Friends and god knows what else. He is rumored to be the secret identity of singer Don Sheets of Full Toilet, but you can’t believe everything, as Paul Caruso once said.
So what makes this Kurt so plainly enjoyable to hear? Well there are plenty of pleasing features, great songs, plenty good enough singing, buckets of guitar notes – some of them quite thematic, but on the overall I would have to cite his powerful aesthetic: nothing is prettied up, it is crudely direct and immediate while still well executed. It is music based on a 13 year-old’s punk rock appreciation of beauty. Kurt Bloch is The Pan, is all the best senses of J. M. Barrie’s hero. I must also acknowledge Mr. Bloch’s under-appreciated cover design work. Always good.
Here’s what you really need to know. Every time I listen to this record I like it more. So buy it. Listen to it lots.
As a special bonus, I have included 3 tracks from Kurt’s nearly secret, nearly solo previous releases (2007, 2008) by Timewasters, LTD. They are super tasty and the final track can certainly be called epic. You can get them from No Threes at Discogs. Plus there is a Myspace page!
In other GMR news, we are working on at least four things. 1. A new Green Pajamas album. Could be the last. Might get done this year. Could be early next year. 2. The debut Brain Wizard album. 20 years or something in the making. Who knows. The world will be changed by this. 3. I am working on two Tom Dyer projects, an album of weirdo stuff and a new band with all new songs. First one could be soon. We shall see. 4. We will do an Xmas album again this year. Let this serve as notice. If you want to make up your own holiday master piece, do it and send it our way. No previous Xmas experience required.
Shows, shows, shows!!!
Saturday16, 5 PM, SubstationSeattle – SEPT. The Rule of Groove w/ Burnseer & Fortress of the Bear
THE KURT BLOCH INTERVIEW:
TD: Thank you so much for letting us feature The Yes Masters as AotM. It is a very fine record indeed.
KB: Thank you, my kind sir! I’m v pleased with its outcome!
TD: So I took a look at your listing on Discogs where you have 426 credits listed. That’s quite a few. To my knowledge this is the first record you have made where you play everything (yes, I have heard the rumors that you are actually the singer Don Sheets of Full Toilet but you can’t believe everything). What made you decide entry #426 should be all Kurt, all the time?
KB: I reckon it’s an inability to sit still! I’m okay to have a fat handful of songs in reserve, for whatever band might need them, but at some point, something’s gotta happen with them. The thought of making a “solo” LP just sorta solidified. I had been working on the idea for some time, but all I could come up with were 30 second blasts of anger. So the Full Toilet “LP” finished first.
TD: At a practical level, how did you make this record? Were you like Prince where you just played the whole song on drums first, with all the fills in the right places and everything and then added stuff? Or something else entirely?
KB: Some various workflows indeed! I suppose the most typical would be to play a guitar and vocal track to play drums along to, then work from the drums. I tried not to labor over the tracks, the idea was that it would seem like a “real” band, rather than a one-man solo project. It does make it fun to be your own editor, many of the songs were longer than they are now, I do love cutting stuff out. On the other end, there’s one song that had nothing to start with, and I kept throwing things at it until it seemed like a slightly psychotic prog-rock brainstorm. You just gotta get in the right frame of mind to let it all out. And another song entirely based on a phone recording of some drums.
TD: Did you take a long time making this record or did you knock it out quickly? Were these songs written just for this record or have they been sitting around for a while?
KB: I think the actual recordings were done quickly. I’m not much of a singer, but I didn’t want to labor over that either, which seems to be the default mode for solo projects! I really tried to pretend I was producing a different band, and take my own advice rather than fall into the rabbitholes of soloalbumdom. I think most of these songs were writ for the record, there’s a bunch that were scrapped, and these maybe were not purpose-built numbers.
TD: If I were to simplistically describe this record, I would say it sounds like a Fastbacks record with you singing. That is not particularly shocking and is certainly quite enjoyable. Would you agree with that premise or do you think it is nonsense?
KB: For certain that would be a fair assessment. I don’t think anyone would be surprised! I don’t have any secret notions that I should be playing sweet soul music, I don’t want to “go country”, you know you just do what you like, try to be upbeat and as exciting as you can. Sorta no different than 35 years ago haaa ha haaa hahahahahaa
TD: Do you have any intent to play this material live? Would you do it with the no-Kim Fastbacks if so (I forget what they are called)?
KB: The K Streets! I dunno… I of course would love to have a little kickass trio, everyone sings, playing these songs and many others. It’s just such a specific sort of people that could fill that bill, and has the time to devote to it. I know they’re out there… they shall be found!
TD: Speaking of which, just how many bands are you playing in right now? Can you name them all?
KB: Gosh, no – I couldn’t name them all! A v busy summer, that’s for sure. Can’t complain. Young Fresh Fellows have an album well underway, Thee Sgt. Major II in discussion of what to do with the last several years of recordings… Full Toilet live “album” w all new songs…
TD: What is up next in the musical future of KB?
KB: Pretty much planned-up thru the end of the year, some odd jobs to shoe-horn into the schedule… a new Filthy Friends record prob early next year, thinkin of another Fastbacks comp, songs from ’85-’90 that weren’t on albums. So many ideas – always exciting to see which ones start flying on their own! I love making stuff, that’s a fact!
TD: Anything you would like to add?
KB: DID SOMEONE SAY KEEP ON ROCKIN’?
1. 2nd Season Opener
2. Faulty Wiring
3. Fire Engine Green
4. A Line On The Moon
5. What Are You Doing Tonight
6. So You Know
7. Stolen Car
8. Grave Digger Baby
9. I Love To Change My Mind
10. Options 9
11. Dead End Street Sign
12. Summer Theme
13. Every Time I Hear That Sound
14. Lazy Bee
15. However Long
16. Dept. of Research Science
℗ 2016 No Threes Records
© 2016 No Threes Records