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NME – “Unholy Death / Machine of War” – [Dark Descent Records]

N.M.E. Unholy Death

Founded in 1984 in Washington state, NME had the distinction of being one of the first American ‘Black’ Metal bands. On their 1985 debut they brought a filthy Satanic Thrash ruckus not dissimilar from contemporaries Venom, Slayer, Sodom and Hellhammer, with hardcore tendencies a la Amebix or Carnivore. This relatively obscure band was nonetheless a huge influence on Mayhem and Abigail. This 2012 2CD compilation brings together the aforementioned debut album (t.s 1.1.-1.11), a 1985 live performance (t.s 1.12-.1.16), 1985′s ‘Machine of War’ demo (t.s 2.1-.2.4) a 1985 rehearsal (t.s 2.5-2.12) and a reunion rehearsal from 2004 (t.s 2.13-2.19). The album and demo are muddy brilliance– plenty of 80s Thrash fun to be had in their blown-out guitar, drunken drumming and vomity harsh vocals– but for the love of Satan, avoid the live and rehearsal material, which is all obvious filler destroyed by sound quality too egregious even for the genre at hand. The demo may be the best stuff here, as its recording quality is significantly better even than the album’s(!). By the way, in 1986 guitarist Kurt Struebing cut his mother open while under the influence of drugs, believing her to be a robot, and was sentenced to 12 years in prison. He later killed himself by driving off of a bridge in 2005. Not that that’s why we’re adding this, of course…

  • Reviewed by Lord Gravestench on July 29, 2014 at 2:04 am
  • Filed as A Library,CD
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  • Moskus – “Salmesykkel” – [Hubro]

    This trio – piano, bass, drums – met in the Jazz department of the Conservatory of Music in Trondheim, Norway. Their music combines improvisation and composition with occasional surprises like bells or metal scraping noise. I hear influences of country music and gospel and film music. Very lush sounds, this music is touching, thought provoking, sweet, and – dare I say it – beautiful. Original and creative sounds. Don’t confine this to jazz shows, it is much more.

  • Reviewed by Cousin Mary on July 28, 2014 at 6:23 pm
  • Filed as 12-inch,Jazz
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  • Automator, The – “Music to Be Murdered By” – [Homebass]


    rare 1989 early tracks from bay area legend bringin us filthy fresh cuts of classic boom bap soul clap hip hop. old skool Emu emulations and scratch happy samplage with fluid rhyme schemes on Funky Sound and Dance, Murdered the busiest on the production. Bonus Noise dropping into instro tracks and a run in with APV Patrol along with some fine scratchables on the short track. throw on your Reeboks and Get Down to that triple-threat Jenny homicide

  • Reviewed by abacus on July 28, 2014 at 12:55 am
  • Filed as 12-inch,Hip Hop
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  • Los Condenados – “Yeppers” – [Feeding Tube Records]


    barefoot blabberborgs in crackling saxobaxing improv flabber bash. skronk skree over a mixmash of chopped, diced and mangled audio terror glee. live decompositions of ear wrangling nerve damaging enervations. artless fartfest of jazz noise electro ambience drone dribble, circuit breaking jugular juxtapositions of reed retching and electrical malfunctions, with some word vomit thrown in for good measure. rinse, spit and repeat.

  • Reviewed by abacus on July 27, 2014 at 8:57 pm
  • Filed as 12-inch,A Library
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  • Grace, Jeff – “Meek’s Cutoff” – [Milan Records]


    lethargic heat-stroked drifting lost on the oregon trail. minimalist compositions of frontier motifs on winds, piano, guitar and cello embarking on modern extended techniques. bleak, barren orchestral landscapes of dust laden haze over a dry desert. the search for water only leads you further astray

  • Reviewed by abacus on July 27, 2014 at 7:08 pm
  • Filed as A Library,CD
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  • Jesus Is Dead – “We Are But Specks of Dust” – [Self Released]


    garage sale pedal peddling noiser out of Santa Ana dishing industrial invocation, redline electrical surges and subdural brain fracking. audio circuit overload of high-voltage phase shifting and serraded distortion delays. subcutaneous synthscapes creep into your unconscious razing neural bridges. delicately disastrous digital diatribes of Decay and REbirth. embrace your sins, Jesus is Dead.

  • Reviewed by abacus on July 27, 2014 at 6:48 pm
  • Filed as A Library,CD
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  • Keystones Catch – “Keystones Catch” – [Self Released]


    phantom of the parent’s basement keyborgin meanderings from New Zealand’s Taylor John. an intergalactic folk fairyland of space case melody malfunctions, claviccordion crabwalks up and down the plastic ivories, tumbling and bumbling in elegiac echospace entropy. let the Bruise blood come out to show them

  • Reviewed by abacus on July 27, 2014 at 5:33 pm
  • Filed as A Library,CD
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  • Jel – “Late Pass” – [Anticon.]

    Jel is Jeffrey James Logan, who is originally from Chicago but resides in the SF Bay Area, and “Late Pass” is the follow-up to his 2006 release “Soft Money”. The scarred vocals on the title track basically warn you: “Don’t get too comfortable”. He uses hip-hop’s drum machine in a manner described as symphonic; intensely psychedelic hip-hop patterns and textures with filthier, more upfront beats, and most of the raps (when they do come) are swathed in static and distortion.


  • Reviewed by Paulsky on July 27, 2014 at 1:13 pm
  • Filed as 12-inch,Hip Hop
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  • Ambarchi, Oren – “Audience of One” – [Touch]

    Four sidelongs with throbbing minimalism, expansive song-craft, ecstatic free-rock, ambient, drone and experimental sounds on this 2012 double LP release. Featuring a multitude of collaborators, there’s a hypnotic, chiming backdrop for Paul Duncan’s (Warm Ghost) vocals in “Salt”, and Joe Talia’s virtuoso drumming and driving cymbals along with Eyvind Kang on viola in “Knots”. Oren Ambarchi is about as close as we’ll get to a rock star in experimental music, and he’s worked with a wide range of artists such as Sunn O))), John Zorn, Fennesz, and Keith Rowe.


  • Reviewed by Paulsky on July 27, 2014 at 8:57 am
  • Filed as 12-inch,A Library
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  • Howden, Matt – “Hellfires” – [World Serpent Dist.]

    Hellfires is Matt Howden’s second solo album released in September 2000. Apparently, it wasn’t enough for him to do just strings and electronica in his debut album, “Intimate & Obstinate”, so you’ll hear him singing in most tracks as well as bringing you drumming and pretty spooky industrial sounds, which makes this album energetic and powerful. Seems as though most of these tracks run together or continuously, but in any case, it’s going to be a hell of an interesting listen.


  • Reviewed by Paulsky on July 27, 2014 at 8:55 am
  • Filed as A Library,CD
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  • Doubleclicks, The – “Dimetrodon” – [Doubleclicks, The]

    The Doubleclicks are the sister duo of Angela and Aubrey Webber, and “Dimetrodon” is their third studio album, which was released in June 2014 and contains songs written for the Internet and about love, games, food and prehistoric creatures. Most of their songs are about being confident with who you are and not allowing people to put you down. Both sisters wrote the songs and engineered most of the sessions and performed the vocals, cello, guitar and keyboard. It’s a great album for you geeks and nerds out there!


  • Reviewed by Paulsky on July 27, 2014 at 8:51 am
  • Filed as A Library,CD
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  • Kaltsoum, Oum – “Vol. II (1926-1927-1928)” – [Club Du Disque Arabe]

    One of the best ways to appreciate a culture is to know its music, and vice versa. This second installment in documenting the musical life of “the Grand Lady of Egyptian singing” contains examples of the range of the amazing voice set against simple musical accompaniment of strings (sitar- and violin-like). Read the liner notes to learn how a little five-year-old from humble beginnings took a talent and ran with it.

  • Reviewed by humana on July 26, 2014 at 6:47 pm
  • Filed as CD,International
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  • Kilaueas, The – “Mundaka Calls” – [Double Crown Records]

    This four-piece surf band from Germany delivers power, twang, and some Spanish guitar influence. Most tunes are originals written by band members with a couple of exceptions including track 8 based on Tschaikovsky’s Swan Lake and a blistering version of the Atlantics’ Rumble & Run (track 1).

  • Reviewed by Cousin Mary on July 26, 2014 at 11:08 am
  • Filed as A Library,CD
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  • Aleister X – “Half-speed Mastered” – [MVDaudio]

    Aleister X has a British accent and performs in New York City, wearing black face paint and strange robes (hints of Cy Thoth, sans the voice). Rap is the most dominant medium here, although there are other elements to vary things. Lots of references to Beach Boys songs (“Bad Vibrations” and “California Gurls”). He worked with Lee Scratch Perry on the 2008 Repentance album.

  • Reviewed by humana on July 25, 2014 at 7:58 pm
  • Filed as 12-inch,Hip Hop
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  • Richman, Jonathan – “No Me Quejo De Mi Estrella” – [Munster]

    Singer-songwriter Richman likes the Spanish language and flamenco guitar. He likes simplicity in his music and straightforward lyrics. There is an innocence to them that allows me to him get away with saying anti-depressants are evil and a copout from feeling (6 and 7). Sometimes the melodies fall flat for me, but then there is an upbeat song with percussive joy that more than redeems any low-key malaise. Read the liner notes as they are great.

  • Reviewed by humana on July 25, 2014 at 7:36 pm
  • Filed as B Library,CD
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  • Cardew, Cornelius – “Four Principles On Ireland and Other Pieces [1974]” – [Cramps]

    The piano pieces on this album were composed and performed by Cardew, and English experimental composer and pianist. They are simple and well-played, pleasant to listen to, and although their titles indicate Cardew’s political Communist leanings, the music itself stands on its own. Cardew was killed in a suspicious hit-and-run accident before his time, but his music lives on. The liner notes are written in Italian.

  • Reviewed by humana on July 24, 2014 at 7:58 pm
  • Filed as 12-inch,A Library
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  • Cortex – “Troupeau Bleu” – [Trad Vibe Records]

    Recorded in July 1975, this re-release of the first album of French band Cortex is truly a pleasure if you enjoy smooth jazz. Elements of funk pop up often and get into your blood to get you moving. Piano, French lyrics, bass, alto sax, and percussion combine to create a first-rate listening experience.

  • Reviewed by humana on July 24, 2014 at 12:04 am
  • Filed as 12-inch,Jazz
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  • Broadcast – “Berberian Sound Studio” – [Warp Records Ltd]


    hauntingly beautiful, gorgeously macabre vignettes of psychic instability spinning in sonic uncertainty. a british sound engineer loses his grip on reality, absorbed in the terror of the italian horror film he’s been enlisted master. who is murdered and who is murderer? Scalded screams and Goblin cacklery, Equestrian waltzes and Serpent’s serenades. a wistful soundtrack of sinister intent. such Tender Damnation

  • Reviewed by abacus on July 23, 2014 at 9:56 pm
  • Filed as CD,Soundtrack
  • 1 comment
  • LIK – “Besvartade Strofer” – [Frostcald]


    LIK (‘Lekamen Illusionen Kallet,’ apparently untranslatable) was founded in 2000 in Sweden by a duo of Black Metal scene vets from bands such as Bergraven and Armagedda. Discogs calls their sound ‘Occult Rock’ but the chains of Black Metal influence are perhaps not so easily shed. This 2005 album certainly incorporates gothic rock/neofolk elements (t.1, 5, 6) but there are tracks (2, 4) with a strong Pagan Black Metal sound as well. The mostly clean vocals are deep-chested and skaldic, equally suited for a Viking Metal or Goth band, but the psychedelic quasi-BM experiments here fit nicely alongside work by Lifelover, Enslaved, Isengard, Deinonychus, Forgotten Woods, Furze or Urfaust. That said, there’s something else going on too. LIK don’t really sound like anyone else, in a manner somewhat ineffably refreshing. The repetition in their compositions feels deeply significant, as though something is being worked out ritualistically. The raven-mounted Celtic cross on the back of the CD is a clue. Their use of synthesized instruments (t.s 1, 2, 3) is especially hypnotic. When the sun rises over the ancient stone tomb, I raise my wand of mistletoe…

  • Reviewed by Lord Gravestench on July 23, 2014 at 7:07 pm
  • Filed as A Library,CD
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  • Usui, H. – “Sings The Blues” – [VHF Records]

    Hiroyuki Usui sings the blues! Usui (Ghost, Fushitsusha, etc..) lends vocals to most of the tracks (all in Japanese?), and accompanies himself on bajo, guitar, steel guitar, bass, and cornet. From what I can tell, this is his first available solo work.

    While this isn’t exactly blues music, it definitely has a blues theme. Very spacious sounds with minimal instrumentation, and yet Usui still evokes hypnotic rhythms. The sounds are very clear and each note has intent. Dark, woodsy, morose. Some Delta-ish slide guitar works it way in there.

    The first two and second to last track utilize silence to create a feeling of coldness and solitude. The gaps are just uncomfortably too long. Very well done. Dig it!

  • Reviewed by mickeyslim on July 23, 2014 at 7:03 pm
  • Filed as 12-inch,A Library
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