Radio Eris profile: City Paper 4-2-08

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4 avr. 2008, 2h56m

Urine Luck:
Radio Eris disturbs the peace with Cruel Tutelage.

Citypaper 4-02-08


by A.D. Amorosi

Published: Apr 2, 2008


According to Greek mythology, the goddess Eris was a mean bitch — a bringer of discord who, by tossing the golden apple of immortality labeled For the Fairest into a circle where Hera, Athena and Aphrodite stood, pissed off everyone and started the Trojan War.

Though Lora Bloom — the improvisation-based poet/singer behind West Philly’s Radio Eris — isn’t throwing fruit around, you get the feeling she could start a battle with nary an apple in sight.

If I was ruler of the world, all you fuckers would be dead against the wall, shouts Bloom in Puppet World from The Cruel Tutelage Of Master Hotei or Who Is Toulouse Turac, the first of two new albums Radio Eris plan to release in 2008. Bloom’s not trying to pick a fight, just following her instincts. Since the songs were live and improvisational, the words just somehow came out, she says from Eris Temple, the 52nd and Cedar house where the band lives, records, serves latkahs and plays shows with Philly’s avant-garde finest like Abe The Rockstarr and Temple of Bon Matin.

I don’t always know what I mean, she says. But the words have anger and power and are also silly and hold a certain ambiguity. Am I making fun of politics, desiring to rule the world or protesting the secret government that wants to make us all slaves to the system? Am I serious or sarcastic?

Though not a battle MC or a slam poet, Bloom’s always been an instigator — at least in a literary sense. Lora was pursuing poetry, organizing readings and publishing Siren’s Silence [a lit mag], says Matt Stevenson, a bassist, keyboardist and sonic collage artist. Stevenson and Bloom met in 1998. He offered to do sound for readings around Philly and provide electronic backgrounds to poets. Next thing you know, Lora and I collaborated on four-track recordings we released as Loralaii.

By 2004, Dan Redbeard Baker began playing guitar and theremin player/keyboardist Kenny The Extremist had joined the band, Kenny and Lora had become a couple and they’d all chipped in to buy the house on Cedar Avenue. Later that year, photographer Lisa Spera joined as drummer.

A good Eris moment is about riffing some killer blues rock and then ripping all the strings off my guitar at high volumes while making post-structural noise, says Baker, of recent Eris songs like the fast, psyche-pop-rock-tinged Yellow. On the side, Baker makes avant-metal blues pop with Stevenson and drummer Mike Mongiello as Apogee (USA). They’ve also got a new album, Evolve And Destroy.

As far as Radio Eris is concerned, a typical tune features several deliciously theatrical layers. Whether it’s what Bloom calls the Zen of peeing song, Golden Shower, from Cruel Tutelage, or the doom-folky Deafened from their due-this-summer album, the music switches between spare, ambient improvisations, harsh noise, ethereal droning and free jazz chaos. There’s a certain spiritual depth to the songs. So where are the godly goods within Golden Shower?

It’s about how wonderful it is to pee in public and it encourages people to do so in artistic and meditative ways, says Bloom. To me it is about how good it feels to overstep boundaries and be out there, free for all the world to see. It is about oneness. How when we pee we spread ourselves over the whole world and become part of everything.

Some of Eris’ best moments were inspired by Bloom’s 10-year stint as a stripper and model. Pale Lights conveys the feeling of being under the lights, objectified to the point of death. What We Did At Work Last Night is about the way money works and feels in a strip club: They say we’re whores, she sings, but at least we know where our money’s coming from. See the dirt on their hands in the creases of the dollars.

I love words and enjoy creating bizarre sounds with my voice, says Bloom, whose lifelong deafness in her right ear makes her slightly off and eccentric. It gives her what she considers an intuitive feel for music and the ability to spontaneously generate lyrics and songs. I’m not sure that, by myself, I could ever really do well with music, she says, but the band inspires me, shows me places in myself I never knew existed.

(a_amorosi@citypaper.net)


IT WAS ALL YELLOW: When we pee we spread ourselves over the whole world and become part of everything, says poet/singer Lora Bloom (right).
IT WAS ALL YELLOW: Photo by Michael T. Regan

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