I just came across this record recently, and it’s pretty typical of the wonderfully obscure stuff available among the blogging community. This is originally ripped and posted by a guy called antithesis, at shallbejudged.blogspot.com. Anyway, (hopefully he won’t mind my stealing this for my first post!) I was attracted enough by the name and artwork of this band to spend considerable time converting 8 songs from .ogg to .mp3.
And boy, was it worth it! Think of the Swing Kids, or possibly Heroin, with a sludgy Black Flag kind of texture… and some weird wind instrument (or saxophone?) playing discordant transitions. The sound quality isn’t great (in fact it’s terrible) but really that doesn’t matter when you have music this fierce. The songs have names like “Black Teagarden” or “Loquat Tree”, keeping up the Oriental Zen theme. Inside, there’s a full-length landscape painting of, well, rocks and trees, and on the reverse an ink drawing of some dude in a kimono or something, overlaid with jumbled, typewritten lyrics like this:
IN AUTUMN the quiet storm, soft wind warm on an autumn night in a small logging town six layers soaked and frozen like muck on a glass-strewn concrete slab (sad oh ow i wish it would rain)and it took so long to figure out what i wanted, the bridges up in flames and no association to moderation cos it’s a long walk and i got a lot of hating to do… so long…
In case you somehow are not familiar with the original Han Shan, I suggest you check out my review of The Dharma Bums on my other bloghere, and scroll down to the end of the extract. Or you could go to Wikipedia I guess, but that’s only for people who believe in facts. Or best of all, here’s the bands own explanation:
the poetry of
HAN * SHAN
Han-shan, “Cold Mountain” takes his name from where he lived. He is a Chinese mountain madman from the T’ang dynasty who lived as a recluse, many miles, from any kind of civilization.
Finally, this was released as Soledad Records No. 2 in 1993 and I know absolutely nothing else about it. If anybody who was actually around when all this crazy shit was going on could fill me in on anything more, I’d appreciate it!
Edit: 13/12 received this comment:
"I was the vocalist on this record. It was probably recorded very late 93 or early 94; After End Of The Line was way long gone and John Henry West had recently broke up. Han Shan was a band based out of San Luis Obispo featuring some of the Toad Liquor and Suckerpunch guys. Their singer went awol and I filled in on vocals for a gilman show they came up for. I wasn't doing any bands so they asked me to record the 7" with them. We went down to Dago, Matt from Gravity recorded it in a couple hours in a garage, and I went home to Oakland. A few weeks later we did a gig opening for Karp in Santa Cruz. That was it, end of band. I'm glad people still remember the 7". Some members went on to play in Drunk Horse,Behead The Prophet, Tight Bros, and I started Dragon Rojo, then Salem Lights.