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Them Are Us Too – “Remain” – [Dais]

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This is the debut album of Bay Area band Them Are Us Too, made up of Kennedy Ashlyn Wenning and Cash Askew. Wenning’s voice is particularly lovely in “Marilyn,” where her ability to reach the high notes layers upon itself in a gorgeous way. This song is the only one where Askew joins her with his voice that strikes a British Invasion chord. The lyrics are printed on the insert and tell the stories of love, heartbreak, exhaustion, and angst, but it’s all done in such a fantastic way. Fairly melancholy, definitely shoegazey, and, as the insert claims, pop: “Remain” is a pop album. This music is the product of vulnerability and fragility that must be contained in the service of day to day survival. Each song is a container.”

  • Reviewed by humana on May 28, 2015 at 7:33 pm
  • Filed as 12-inch,A Library
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  • Parzen-johnson, Jonah – “Remember When Things Were Better Tomorrow” – [Primary Records]

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    Oh, how the title of this CD hits home in this day and age! Brooklyn-based Parzen-Johnson deftly uses his baritone sax complemented with an analog synthesizer specifically matched to the sax to convey his compositions (although the last tune is a creation of Neil Young). Described as a folk and avant-jazz musician, on this release Parzen-Johnson shows elements of both, but what sticks with me is the haunting way it resembles drone, and how the music fits the fascinating song titles.

  • Reviewed by humana on May 28, 2015 at 5:35 pm
  • Filed as A Library,CD
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  • Tony Tears – “Voci Dal Passato” – [Universal Consciousness]

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  • Reviewed by Number 6 on May 28, 2015 at 7:40 am
  • Filed as 12-inch,A Library
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  • Wicked King Wicker – “Evolving” – [Cold Spring Records UK]

    2013 album is the 9th release from the New York industrial-noise/drone-doom duo. Four thick slices of grotesque nihilism forged from distorted guitars and electronics, with evil incantatory vocals adding something of a black metal flavour. The occasional ‘prettier’ drone part peeks pallidly from the depths of the brackish waters. For context magine Sunn O))) with the the bullshit doom metal parts removed, or maybe the noisier work of Skullflower, or possibly even the ritualistic blackened catastrophe that was Abruptum. Simple percussion gives t.2 a funeral march vibe. Atypical T.4 is a little different from the others, with a more repetitive structure and a deeply buried lullaby-like vocal that almost recalls The Jesus and Mary Chain. Mostly, however, this is incredibly dissonant and punishing work. I’m fucked, you’re fucked, so turn it up loud.

  • Reviewed by Lord Gravestench on May 27, 2015 at 7:17 pm
  • Filed as A Library,CD
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  • Godspunk Vol. 1 [coll] – [Pumf Records]

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    first installation of pop-dadaist cooperative ventriloquism out of Blackpool, UK. variety of artists here with some familiar insertions: UNIT bringing their skeetering teetering rock and roller derby funk rap spite, Howl dropping in here and there with insurrectionary art invocations, video age electro funk, dreamy interlude and a shiny jesus jingle to jig things off. hip hop grind noir from LDB: aggressively introspective irreverant goofs. all sorts of in-betweeners like druggy haze wave, radio interference seance, and even some British big beat. a whole lotta variety for a whole lotta wankers.

  • Reviewed by abacus on May 20, 2015 at 10:55 pm
  • Filed as A Library,CD
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  • Kicker – “Not You” – [Tankcrimes]

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    snarling britscum crustpunk out of Oakland; roadie hosting and ain’t giving two shits towards the whole mess of it. hats off and fingers up, crass and immature through and through. fuck all hating everything from our quotidian servitude to the hypocrite students that protest it. they talk shit, drink shit and eat shit. broke, alcoholic, breaking down and dragging the world with

  • Reviewed by abacus on May 20, 2015 at 10:41 pm
  • Filed as A Library,CD
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  • Brobdingnagian – “Backpfelfengesicht” – [Self Release]

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  • Reviewed by Number 6 on May 20, 2015 at 6:29 pm
  • Filed as A Library,CD
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  • HAIL THE BLACK NOISE!!!! [coll] – [Dipsomaniac Records]

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  • Reviewed by Number 6 on May 20, 2015 at 5:42 pm
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  • Enbilulugugal – “Noizemongers For Goatserpent” – [Crucial Blast]

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  • Reviewed by Number 6 on May 20, 2015 at 5:41 pm
  • Filed as A Library,CD
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  • Jos Steen – “Electricity!!! Music For Tape and Turntable” – [Ultra Eczema]

    Belgium’s Jos Steen, known for his home recordings, thirty plus self releases, and for an approach to art and music informed by Don Van Vliet, here almost entirely avoids voice and acoustic guitar, a guitar that punctures like a piano, both full of meaningful willful association. Immediate precedents for this work might be Kurt Schwitters and Harry Partch. Dadaist collage, post-performance, anti-linear, an art of contraction, concision, and modified forms. Old timey, loosey goosey not following prescribed guidelines or general societal expectations. Comparable to computer software performances with acoustic sampling and live processing. Track A4 inspires a reflection) Is it beeping because it’s ready? Is it day because I hear the birds? Is it passing because I hear it skipping by? Couldn’t it be returning to an originary state, of night, of stasis, of beginnings, one sans change? To before the note was struck? Music as the way or path back to the start from the end (as beginning.) The music is the reverse of the perceived.

    A1) Clicking, setting down on wood, and zombie groans. Start and stopping signals, pitch and speed shifts. Bird chirps. Some of the snippets are covered over and/or quiet. Occasional loud sounds stand out and might sonically wobble or vibrate. 2) Recitation of “got my violin ain’t got no…”, and remnants of glimpses of violin, early soundtrack orchestra, drunk speech or poetry in tongues, frenzied drawing, and deformations to everything pitched all to hell. 3) Some strings on a board, and hella loose, elastic rubber bands, and jaw harp, and some slapping or whacking on the board with counter vibrations on the strings, action reaction. 4) A slower tempo, and a clearer palette, and note the out of tune guitar note. B1) De-stringed proto-stringed guitar and CD player instrumentation mostly with classical and percussion, where there are drum fills, and cymbal crashes condensed and not, in actu. I think he does use an electric guitar in there somewhere but to just turn the amp on and maybe hit or bump it softly before turning off the mic. 2) A song with lots of noise in the style of blues. 3) Tuba? Comb and wax paper? Flies? Racetrack engines? Dirt bike maybe? A tinge of feedback at the end makes me wonder what he used to make it. 4) A drone makes this track more musical. Washing machine with three feet on the floor and flapping against thick paper tags.

    I can imagine this guy taking a broken guitar out of the lobby, and whacking it with one of our mics in the studio while hand rotating a turntable and mixing a cd of solo percussions with a finger on the fast forward. Too bad he has passed away. Play the heck out of it, maybe someone will collect and issue his catalogue of self releases. New idol for dada diogenes.

  • Reviewed by Grizzly Adam on May 20, 2015 at 4:51 pm
  • Filed as 12-inch,A Library
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  • Control – “Out For Blood” – [Parasitic]

    Thomas Garrison is Control, and was also Exsanguinate, which share a similar sound, but note the Exsanguinate which is currently touring from the last few years are entirely different unrelated people. There are also very many Control groups, from the UK, Sacramento, New Jersey, and Wisconsin, for example. If you play metal, if you play noise, you probably have a place for power electronics with vocals on your show, or on your label which, case in point, the promotional material for this album also confirms that this is the first non-metal to appear on the Parasitic label. This album is titled “Out For Blood”, and the vampire doth exsanguinate the body of his prey, so there is a nominal linkage with his much earlier work, in fact I would also say it is difficult to differentiate between tracks on earlier Control albums and more recent Control albums, meaning for a particular piece, it could very well have appeared at any point in the spectrum, which together I would say betrays consistency. He is from, works, lives, and runs his Misanthrope studio in Santa Cruz. He has recorded and released around twenty five productions from a very good range of acts, lots of power electronics groups too, in more detail, lots of mini cdr and limited stuff, and a few full length cd stuff, in addition to simply the mastering on a few stuff. His work reminds me most of Tetsuo Furudate, but maybe you could also say, definitely not Prurient or Sutcliffe Jugend, but maybe a mix of something else?

    A1) Shots of hairspray, sub-sonar, guitar like controlled feedback notes, somewhat high frequency pure tones, repeated motifs, tone feeling or tone coloring with a noise palette, echo delayed or on a four second cycle, or leaking from a hose, much more treble than the barely even bass. 2) Ominous entry, almost guitar, then almost two guitars. Not quite wall of noise, definitely not wall of sound, almost 4 or 5 types of noise going on, lots of droning noise, high power signals; w/ voice, pow bow wow vocalizations through dictaphone electronics filters the didactics, and not a fade out but a short removal of layers ends the piece. 3) Didgeridoo via electronics, digital scanlines or tv without the image, music, or even white noise, just the hum of the cathode ray tubes. Many more movements than the other tracks, a wall maybe not so high. After a minute vocals, more audible here. B1) Compositionally a pounding headache. Less going on here than in other tracks. Sounds like manipulation of two pools of noise with two different controls plus the treated vocals. 2) Melodically darker, a fantasy of nazi induced apocalypse. Asymmetrical polyrhythmic airtube noise, scraping, and high velocity wind-to-ear flapping simulacra. 3) Echo treated room acoustics simulation, to, reverse noise drone, factory-sized resonation of metal production, then including drum snare synthesis beats, and all along a foreground of noise variants in a wishwash of sound in the key of sleep patterns, and a non-noise last 20 seconds of beats. AB) All words are nonidentifiable, dada diogenes is interested in what you think it says.

  • Reviewed by Grizzly Adam on May 13, 2015 at 4:47 pm
  • Filed as 12-inch,A Library
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  • Bergamo, John – “Like Style, Dig?” – [Innova Recordings]

    Tim Patterson is the performer of this percussion music composed by John Bergamo who was his teacher at California Institute of the Arts. The percussion instruments and vibraphone are used in such unusual ways that a listener might not guess what was making these sounds. Generally pleasant, mysterious, calming, and very enjoyable!

    PGM: Dynamic range is very wide – volume levels are sometimes VERY low – especially at track beginnings and ends.

  • Reviewed by Cousin Mary on May 13, 2015 at 10:55 am
  • Filed as A Library,CD
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  • Gromm – “Happiness – It’s When You Are Dead” – [Blackmetal.Com]

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    Ukrainian Black Metal marked by a particularly Slavic strain of pessimism. This four-man project (it sounds like a drum machine, but I guess it’s just a killer drummer) put out this chilly ordeal in 2005. Although the lyrical preoccupations are not spiritual, musically this is in line with a lot of ‘Pagan’ releases from Eastern Europe: big, epic riffs with a touch of folk music about them, and an expert approach to tension and release. Don’t expect full-speed-ahead aggression– this is fast, but it’s more about atmosphere than blasting (t.3 is probably the fastest). The really excellent shrieked vocals, full of passionate disgust with humanity, gel perfectly with the grandiose guitar parts, bringing to life every shitty thing you ever imagined about life in Ukraine. Speaking broadly, there are traits in common with other projects from the East like Drudkh and Nav, with perhaps a touch of Poland as well (Infernum?). I’m no expert on the Ukrainian scene, but I gather that this is considered a minor classic there, and I have to agree that this record rules. Down some vodka, stride out into the snow, and embrace the grand negativity.

  • Reviewed by Lord Gravestench on May 13, 2015 at 12:20 am
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  • Brighter Death Now – “With Promises of Death” – [Familjegraven]

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    The 20+ year old Swedish Death Industrial project of Roger Karmanik should require no introduction. This 2014 release is his latest effort and his first album since 2011. It is also the first BDN release since Karmanik announced the end of his Cold Meat Industry label early last year, citing exhaustion and psychological problems. We are blessed that the end of CMI did not also equal the end of BDN and that, as the defiant opener proclaims, THIS IS NOT OVER. Mastered by longtime co-conspirator Peter Andersson of Raison D’Etre, this is every bit as exceptional a record as you want it to be. Here Karmanik continues his exploration of his chief obsessions– death, decay, and perverse criminality– with his trademarks all in place: distorted and repetitive electronic soundwalls, maniacal vocals, and the choicest of nihilistic samples. Skittering beats also dart through the broken glass forests of certain tracks. As always, a subtle sense of humour serves to temper the thoroughly morbid proceedings. This record is a nice balance of the project’s earlier plodding industrial/dark ambient aesthetic and the more up-front power electronics of later releases. Depress the ones you love today by giving it a spin.

  • Reviewed by Lord Gravestench on May 12, 2015 at 11:41 pm
  • Filed as A Library,CD
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  • Butcher, John & Gino Robair – “Bottle Breaking Heart Leap” – [Alt. Vinyl]

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    Two sidelongs with Robair manipulating energized surfaces and blippoo box and Butcher changing things up with his acoustic and amplified saxophones. It all takes place at St. Margaret of Antioch Church in Leeds on May 3, 2012. “Bottle Heart” is more sound oriented with its creaks and scritches, while “Breaking Leap” has more sax action.

  • Reviewed by humana on May 12, 2015 at 8:34 am
  • Filed as 12-inch,A Library
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  • Sannhet – “Revisionist” – [Flenser]

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    This trio hails from Brooklyn, but their name comes for the Norwegian word for “truth.” With an occasional hint at vocals, the tracks are mostly instrumental metal with a mild intensity (so not thrashing), and there are shoegaze elements thrown in for good measure. “Empty Harbor” is anything but empty, and my favorite track. The percussion keeps things lively, and the songs go on for just the right length.

  • Reviewed by humana on May 11, 2015 at 8:32 pm
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  • LQ Bucket – “Martyr’s Limb” – [Self Released]

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    The sad vocalizations on this release earn the title “Martyr’s Limb.” The music is Americana/country/folk, and the setting is simple guitar. The songs are short and melancholy, perfect if you’re feeling sorry for yourself. LQ Bucket has been described as early Bob Dylan; see for yourself.

  • Reviewed by humana on May 8, 2015 at 9:20 pm
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  • Callenberg – “Bailout Shop, The” – [Bend Records]

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    If you’re looking for a mellow, low-fi sometimes acoustic, sometimes electronic singer-songwriter experience, this is for you. Out of Sweden come the gentle, low-key sounds of Callenberg. Guitars, male vocals, sometimes gently upbeat but mostly down-tempo and pleasant. Enjoy.

  • Reviewed by humana on May 8, 2015 at 2:10 pm
  • Filed as A Library,CD
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  • Dead Reptile Shrine – “Burning Black Infinity” – [Antihumanism]

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  • Reviewed by Number 6 on May 8, 2015 at 12:45 pm
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  • Art Abscons – “Am Himmel Mit Feuer” – [Dead Scarlet]

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  • Reviewed by Number 6 on May 8, 2015 at 12:43 pm
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