Friday, 4 July 2008

Viv Akauldren - Witness


Viv Akauldren were a fantastic three piece from Detroit that released four psych/space rock/punk albums during the mid to late 80s - one pretty solid debut, and three absolute classics. I still can't believe that only one of their albums, 'Vivian's Fountain', has been re-released on CD. There's been a terrible and unforgivable oversight here and if any distributors of top notch psychedelic rock are reading this, what are you waiting for? Snap those rights up!

Released in 1988, 'Witness' is Viv Akauldren's psych-punk album. Faster, louder, more fuzzed-up than their previous offering, the classic 'I'll Call You Sometime', it just grabs you by the throat and hauls you into the middle of a distorted, aggressive and very intense psychedelic wasteland. Jeff Tarlton's great rock vocals are screamed, spoken and whispered, acid guitars cleave your trembling mind in two, Keir Mcdonald's keyboards and electronica provide a suitably spaced-out backdrop, and Deb Agolli's wild drumming keeps things ticking over like a time-bomb about to explode.

Am I making it clear how much I love this band? No? Okay, let me put it like this - your whole life will have been a total waste of time if you never get to hear Viv Akauldren.

Track Listing:

Side 1

1. Brave New World
2. Barnacle Boot
3. Eye Suck

Side 2

1. Looking At You
2. The Means
3. Spare Me
4. Time Out


Witness

15 comments:

Anonymous said...

Haha...okay, okay, I give in. I've heard of Viv Akauldren but never checked them out. You make them sound awesome. Many thanks for your efforts. Nice blog, btw. Keep it up.

Herod said...

anonymous, in the tradition of the great Werner Herzog, I will eat my shoe if you don't like this album.

Let me know if I've got to start thinking of marinades that are complimentary to footwear.

Anonymous said...

Indeed: great stuff.

m-f

prine said...

I got to see Viv Akauldren live about a dozen times.

Their records are great, really great, but live they just blew everything done by anyone else away. One of the truly greatest bands EVER!!!
Thanks, I've got a copy of this, but I'll check yours out to see if the quality is better.

Herod said...

Prine - I don't often call people a bastard upon first 'meeting' them, but....you lucky bastard! I would have loved to have seen VA, I've read that, live, they were doing things nobody else was doing. Where did you get to see them? It's a shame that nobody ever managed to nail down a live performance by them.

'I'll Call You Sometime' is one of my favourite albums ever, a neglected gem.

prine said...

I prefer Vivian's Fountain, but all of their records are great in their own special ways. I'm from Detroit, so VA played a lot around town. I saw them in Detroit, Royal Oak, Ann Arbor, Ypsilanti, Pontiac and Flint between 1986-89. Jeff and Kier were completely insane live, Jeff playing bass like a lead guitar and singing away while Kier played two different analog synths at the same time! And Deb, what can I say about Deb. She was/is the most beautiful drummer EVER!
We always thought they should be famous, but they were probably a bit too underground even for the underground.
Have you ever heard of Spahn Ranch? The Detroit band? Their 1987 album Thickly Settled is an acoustic dream, highly highly highly recommended. Viv Akauldren opened for them often in 86-87. What shows!!!

Herod said...

prine - no, never heard any Spahn Ranch. I don't suppose you have a link to somewhere I can give them a listen...

prine said...

Spahn Ranch - Thickly Settled
http://lix.in/69a39434
from the Lost-in-Tyme blog, had to track it down, but it should work. I'll check back soon to see if you could download.
Enjoy!
Maybe you want to link up with the Spahn Ranch link:
scoll a long way down and then you'll come to the spahn ranch album:
http://hungryfreaks.blogspot.com/2008/05/alternative-archives-november-2007.html

Anonymous said...

viv were great--too bad the rest on Detroit didn't think so--

Witness is ok at best--not my fav--kind've a sonic mess---

mike clark of ICP fame engineered this--when he just starting out

someone should re-release this stuff---at least a compilation of their best tracks---

does anyone have any live recordings of Viv???

Anonymous said...

There are many live recordings...lots of great 4 track recordings...all unreleased. Jeff Tarlton has 2 solo CDs and a rare 7"...Keir has recorded as Medusa Cyclone...Deb is on Outrageous Cherry and Monster Island recordings. Viv Akauldren were AMAZING. I can't believe it is all still out of print. They were the best thing happening in Detroit in the 80's.

Anonymous said...

I first saw them headline a Haloween show in 1986 at St. Andrew's Church. Blew me away. I was a DJ at U of Michigan's student run radio station WCBN, and had the opportunity to work their sound on a live show in the spring of 1987. I have an autographed "I'll Call You Sometime" (including the 7" live "As You Wish" b/w live "The Titanic Mind"). LOVED them. Thanks for bringing them up. Truly underrated.

Anonymous said...

VA was amazing live, although I think that what they were doing was often pretty far outside of what the audience was expecting.

Yes, I saw them with Spahn Ranch. No, I don't remember Spahn Ranch -- too blown away by Viv Akauldren, I guess.

Sure wish someone would work out the rights and re-release the catalog on CD.

bdwoot said...

Viv Akauldren came through Blacksburg, VA, in the late 80's. Loved their music, nicest folks. I think the keyboardist had this great hobby, urban spelunking. He would go into boarded up buildings and take art photos of the ruins. I had a tape of one of their albums I played the heck out of. I would love to buy some of their stuff, now that I have some cash.

Richard said...

I saw Viv Akauldren twice in Cicero's basement in St. Louis. I fell in love with Deb the drummer at first sight - I got her to sign a copy of "I'll Call You Sometime" that I bought at the show on 10-26-87. It's the only time ever that I've felt the need to be such a fan!

zigzagwanderer said...

Thanks for the re-up .