Q&A: Greg Fox On How A Rasta Alien In A Yellow Adidas Tracksuit Handed Him The New Guardian Alien Record While He Was Meditating In A Van On Tour

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Rebecca Smeyne
Greg Fox, drummer extraordinaire for the sonic-spiritualist psychers Guardian Alien, is chowing down on grub at Cong Ly on Hester Street, and with the exception of a small dose of displeasure regarding the econo cuisine ("Weird. I feel like they used different noodles today or something"), the vibes emanating from him are truly copacetic.

Guardian Alien—the band Fox anchors with Liturgy guitarist Bernard Gann, vocalist/synthtress Alex Drewchin, shahai baaja-ist Turner Williams Jr. and bassist Eli Winograd—just released See the World Given to a One Love Entity (Thrill Jockey), a 40-minute Herculean composition bursting with rapturous skronk chaos, righteously percussive pulverization, soothing angelic voices and gorgeous synth swells from the otherworld. The album is up there with Black Dice's 2002 apotheosis Beaches and Canyons in the annals of mind-frying spiritual sound deconstruction.

Fox's forever grateful and positive aura manifests itself in multiple ways: on the epic See the World..., in the meditation practices that helped spawn the record, and in his deep association with Kid Millions in Man Forever. Sound of the City sat down with Fox to talk Guardian, meditation, Liturgy, peace and love, and how his parents were stoked on his being named "best drummer in New York" by the Voice—although in true Fox fashion, he happily demurred, giving that honor to his percussionist peers.

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Live: Guardian Alien Bring The Heat To Secret Project Robot's Maze

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Xeno and Oaklander, Guardian Alien, Black Jeans, Uumans
You Are Here at Secret Project Robot
Friday, July 27

Better than: A shvitz.

There are probably better times than mid-summer to build a massive maze installation in an un-airconditioned DIY venue. Nothing disproves this theory on a throbbingly humid Friday in Bushwick at the cheekily titled You Are Here, a month-long happening in the boxy multi-use confines of Secret Project Robot. Nearly as soon as omnipresent psych-jammers Guardian Alien start, one can feel the humidity begin to gather. The band members are spread out throughout the room and—though the plywood-frame-strung-with-taut-ribbon maze walls are see-through—the mood turns claustrophobic almost instantly.

The previous act had been Russell Butler (a.k.a. Black Jeans), a San Francisco-based solo synth dude with a basso voice and dreadlocks. It had been oppressively hot in the room then, too, Butler's undulating bleep-beats seemingly pinned down by the air. But Guardian Alien, led by drummer Greg Fox, are five strong, and each body exerts itself and destabilizes the heat-balance even further—all the more so when Fox wraps up his gong invocation and crashes the band through a double-kick-pedal-driven noise-wall. Metaphoric, of course. It's almost impossible not to feel trapped. Guardian Alien's pummeled drones don't provide the release they do under other circumstances, but they're not supposed to. Escape isn't an option. A thermometer near the venue's front door reads well into the 90s. All five musicians lean into their instruments at full force, singer Alex Drewchin contributing with a guitar of her own and an array of pedals and noisemakers.

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The Oral History Of Kid Millions' Man Forever: "A Cross Between Metal Machine Music And 'Dare to Be Stupid'"

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Joshua Bright
Kid Millions is juggling a shitload of action. The drummer extraordinaire just played another epic gig this past weekend with Oneida, the psych-rock jamming savants he's anchored since 1997. Man Forever, the bohemian collective of shape shifters he's united to realize his percussive-based spiritual vision, releases Pansophical Cataract (Thrill Jockey) this week; the group is also making killer videos and even throwing a hilarious, but dead serious, contest where you can actually be a member, at least for one performance.

Sound of the City caught up with a glorious bevy of Kid Millions' Man Forever collabbers and friends in honor of the new record, and tomorrow night's gig at (Le) Poisson Rouge). (Kid himself is absent; on the day the Voice and he were supposed to spiel, he experienced the misfortune of dropping his phone in the toilet at WFMU. Read our June 2011 interview with him here.)

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Guardian Alien, Notekillers, Man Forever, And Mountains' Koen Holtkamp Are Playing An Occupy Wall Street Benefit Next Sunday

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This just in from the Twitter of Greg Fox: There'll be a benefit for Occupy Wall Street this next Sunday (October 23) at Shea Stadium starring his psych project Guardian Alien, Oneida drummer Kid Millions' outfit Man Forever, Notekillers, and Mountains member Koen Holtkamp. The show starts at 8 p.m. and the money collected will go to the Occupy Wall Street kitchen; the flyer (from which the Bloomberg photochop at left is taken) below.

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Download: Songs From Greg Fox's Side Projects, The Psych Quartet Guardian Alien And The Squelchy GDFX

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This week, wiry drummer Greg Fox announced that he was quitting black metal nirvana-seekers Liturgy, leaving the mega-buzzed art-rockers without one of Brooklyn's fiercest, blurstiest spasmotrons. Eager to explore other musical endeavors, Fox is blasting full-speed ahead with two side projects. First, is his free-form heavy-psych quartet Guardian Alien, which seems to explore similarly transcendent plains at Liturgy, but at a far slower, uglier, weirder pace. Guardian's open fields of bliss owe to the expansive, exploratory, slow-building work of bands like Acid Mothers Temple or Gong, all played with Lightning Bolt levels of aggression. Their upcoming vinyl debut is due on Swill Children, and we have a excerpt of Side A, a 23-minute ritual recorded at Shea Stadium that owes a little to Tuvan throat singing, Boredoms spirit-jamming and the unhinged vocals of Alex Drewchin, who caterwauls like an acid-tripping Diamanda Galas.

Fox's electronic side-project GDFX is also ramping up its circuits for some extra action, a colorful mix of 8-bit sputtering, blackened squelch and ecstatic funshine. His debut vinyl release, One Thing (just out via Impose; the cover's at left), is 40 minutes of marble madness, skipping and sputtering Casio squiggles fighting for air in a disco nightmare. Album highlight "Pipedream" has the clinical squish of electronic purists like Mark Fell or Oval, but ultimately settles into a head-knocking groove like Hot 97 on Mars.

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Top 10 "Live At Shea Stadium" Bootlegs, Starring Screaming Females, Teeth Mountain, And The So So Glos

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Whatever show this was, it didn't make the list, remarkably. Pic by Rebecca Smeyne.
Shea Stadium has been one of Brooklyn's finer DIY-type venues since opening in April 2009 -- after a quick move from Debevoise Avenue over to its current home at 20 Meadow Street (neighbor issues, alas), the spot has hosted hundreds of oft-chaotic rock shows that now live on as high-quality bootlegs in the fantastic Live at Shea Stadium archive overseen by venue owner/founder/soundman Adam Reich. "Recording (and eventually releasing the shows) was the original concept behind starting the space in the first place," he explains. "At first I was thinking about opening a more traditional studio, but I wanted to do something different with it. Something a little more exciting and interactive." And daunting, too -- it's tough to know where to start. So we asked Reich to pick his 10 favorites; after struggling with it a bit ("it's like picking your favorite child!), here's what he came up with.

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