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  • Archives
      KFJC On-Line Reviews
    What KFJC has added to their library and why...

    Astral – “Orchids ” – [Melting Records]

    SF trio specializing in the varied art form production of
    shoegaze / psychedelic nugget – while never shorting
    the listener in the musicality [read : melodic] department.
    Dave Han (vox, guitar), Amy Rosenoff (bass)
    + drummer Shawn Poh get a proper release here,
    after self-producing the intriguing ‘Only Sometimes?
    2002)?.ASTRAL are like diamond cutters, unafraid of
    splitting gems [in more ascetic form] and soaring fadeouts
    that the sky may be heavy with stars. Most winningly
    immutable on # 1, 2, 5, 6, 8, + 10 as examples of far-distant
    heavenly bodies in light-year ascendance, the vocals all but a
    tour guide for narrating escape velocity and molecular decay
    whilst the tribal percussion and ringing guitar swirls find the
    quarter and half-lives of light and energy across infinite
    expanses of indigo space?.out there. Fabulous vision and
    envious restraint in abundant quantities – unstoppable throughout.
    Ionospheric Duende.

    MITCH April 2004

  • Reviewed by mitch on June 24, 2006 at 7:50 am
  • Filed as A Library,CD
  • Comment on this review
  • A-Sides, the – “Hello, Hello ” – [Prison Jazz]

    Philadelphia’s A-SIDES (and ace producers Brian McTear
    & Amy Morrissey) successfully blend the studio-as-instrument
    concept to a core quartet nucleus, resulting in much fun and
    memorable power pop interludes. Recorded during a 14-day
    period in August 2004 with the band in fine form, especially
    vocalist[keys + gtr] Jon Barthmus & versatile lead guitarist
    Chris Cosentino; with the songs/sounds styled along classic
    pop-structure lines (# 1, 3, 8, 9) and/or psych-fueled
    (# 11), the momentum is maintained across all eleven tracks.
    Risibly immune to the supposition of trendy ‘scene?, this group
    (much as the otherwise maverick roster of this fine Scranton
    label) grasps the possibilities of pop as liberating fun – with
    crisp riffage and inspired singing aimed toward a higher bliss.
    Near mint/fine.

    MITCH August 2005

  • Reviewed by mitch on June 24, 2006 at 7:49 am
  • Filed as A Library,CD
  • Comment on this review
  • Arovane – “Minth ” – [City Centre Offices]

    Seemingly able to imbue a greater human presence to pop electronica than
    many a peer, Berlin’s AROVANE (aka Uwe Zahn) blends piano chords, ambient
    electronics and subtle beats into a refined, tasteful and minimalistic flow
    that
    is rich in emotional dimensions. Programmatic, painless and clear as bottled
    water, AROVANE consistently achieves the evocative with his trademark pro-
    duction sound, kissed always by menthol and melody. Zahn has collaborated
    with PHONEM (Elliot Perkins), released nuanced electronica on records,
    and remains a label favorite of Thaddeus Herrmann ,
    who is issuing the second AROVANE LP, ‘Lilies? in June 2004 on this same
    Hamburg imprint.

    MITCH June 2004

  • Reviewed by mitch on June 24, 2006 at 7:48 am
  • Filed as 7-inch,A Library
  • Comment on this review
  • Arcana – “Body of Sin ” – [Cold Meat Industry]

    The occasional project of Sweden’s Peter Pettersson, this finds
    ARCANA in between ‘The Last Embrace? (2000) and ‘Inner Pale
    Sun? (2003, which featured the A-side, ‘We Rise Above?), marking
    a return of sorts to earlier formulations of romantic/ethereal dark-
    wave fringe. Dulcimer riffage trapped in electro-symphonic melodia,
    kettledrums primordial, liturgical Latin – the female voice this time
    out is Ann-Mari Thim – Pettersson plows the majestic and medieval
    to fine effect with ARCANA, channeling his more emphatic overtones
    for sister project SOPHIA, a more symphonic & progressive foray into
    grandeur. Also featured in a duo project with Thomas Ordo Equilibrio
    (VICTORIA), Pettersson is a world-class creator of the fantastic and
    enormous in the media of music.

    MITCH October 2004

  • Reviewed by mitch on June 24, 2006 at 7:48 am
  • Filed as 7-inch,A Library
  • Comment on this review
  • Apparat Organ Quartet – “Romantika ” – [Duphonic Super 45S’]

    ‘Machine rock and roll? from Reykjavik, Iceland from a drummer
    (Arnar Geir Omarsson,ex-HAM) and four organists (Musikvatur,
    collaborator with MUM; Horour Bragason, the church organist for
    Iceland’s largest congregation & member of HR.ING.R; Ulfur Eldjarn,
    member of KANADA and TRABANT; and Johann Johannsson, founding member
    of ). Frigid, rhapsodic, austere, mechanical,
    mysterious and utterly beautiful, this brief glimpse inside a trio of
    remixes is the follow-up to 2002’s ‘Stereo Rock ‘n Roll? LP on <13 Amp>,
    and offers the same highly customized electric music machinery, a raft of
    cheap home organs, Farfisas and old Russian synthesizers in the service of
    futuristika musika. Johannsson, who has produced MARC ALMOND, HAFLER TRIO,
    PAN SONIC, etc.,keeps it all driving somehow with an assiduous sterility,
    incorporating musical flourishes within set parameters of a musical Metropolis.
    Heady and rock-based (as opposed to strictly technocratic), this ain’t no
    disco,
    man. Also recommended – the APPARAT ORGAN QUARTET’S pairing with visual
    artist
    Ingi Rafn (wherein a trio of shortwave radio geeks pit analog receivers, morse
    code transmissions & other outdated communications technologies against the
    QUARTET’S assembly line of sound) on ‘Motorlab 2?
    Touches herein of Hermann Nitsch, Stockhausen, Reich, Mahler, etc.

    MITCH January 2004

  • Reviewed by mitch on June 24, 2006 at 7:47 am
  • Filed as A Library,CD
  • Comment on this review
  • Aphrodesia – “Shackrobeat Vol. 1 ” – [Flatbed Lamborgini]

    Recorded in 16-track analog by Myles Boisen @ Guerrilla Studios
    in Oakland, this is the ‘Super Afro-Beat? of the 11-piece SF musical
    orchestra known as APHRODESIA, who specialize in polishing &
    electrifying traditional songs from Africa, Cuba and Brazil with a
    funky roar of backbeats, bustling horns, floating sax, walloping
    grooves, sidewinding guitars & shimmering rhythms behind singer
    Lara Maykovich, who effortlessly segues from mbira to cosmo funk
    with a toss of her head and a grind of hips. APHRODESIA employs
    members of PEOPLE’S BIZARRE, BITCHES BREW, MAS CABEZA,
    JAPONIZE ELEPHANTS, TRANSMISSION TRIO, SEXFRESH,
    and ANTIBALAS. Opening with some motoring Afro-Cuban sounds
    ( # 1), moving to a FUNKY FLAMES meets Brazil ( # 2) vibe, boards
    the bus between Lagos and Detroit ( # 3), touches the billowing scape
    of Zimbabwean Shona lullaby ( # 5), charges forth with Ethiopean 6/4
    groove barrels blazing ( # 6), interlocks guitars + a three-note bass
    riff in tribute to Ghanaian Highlife ( # 7), and finally achieves trance
    in the rhythms of Mahororo ( # 8), which gets an intriguing re-workout
    in Jamaican dub-style ( # 9). Immediate, startling & all-encompassing.

    MITCH November 2003

  • Reviewed by mitch on June 24, 2006 at 7:46 am
  • Filed as A Library,CD
  • 1 comment
  • Ants, the – “Victory Side ” – [Sickroom Recordings, Ltd.]

    Sidestepping repetition of lyric or melody, this
    Kansas 7-piece molds musical structure atop
    the ‘experimental narrative music? of songwriter
    Chad Bryan, whose locomotive thought train seems
    to tow a string of club cars in image oblique,
    clattering past in maladjusted time signatures &
    tones of sepia hue. Bassist + mandolin man Brad
    Nichols & vocalist Sue Phillips rise to the fore
    on this second release, which
    follows ‘Sparkling Disaster Strategies?[2002];
    coming up is a split 12″ with OLE MOSSY FACE
    an d a live appearance @ KFJC 06-13-05, a sort
    of homecoming for Bryan, who began THE ANTS
    in Redwood City, circa 2000 before relocating to
    Lawrence, KS. Impossible to place in generalities,
    THE ANTS take a holistic pleasure in sounding
    unique.

    MITCH May 2005

  • Reviewed by mitch on June 24, 2006 at 7:46 am
  • Filed as A Library,CD
  • Comment on this review
  • Barbeau, Anton & Bevis Frond – “King of Missouri ” – [Bongo Beat Records]

    Released 2003 in the UK on Nick Saloman’s
    imprint, this 2005 Canadian version features a wholly
    different design, remastering, & lyric + liner note overhaul.
    Sacramento’s BARBEAU is a force of nature, equal parts
    brilliant lyricist/superb showman/eccentric original/ irreverent
    pop genius/unique melodicist/grand traditionalist/compelling
    stylist of contemporary power pop. A frequent SCOTT MILLER
    collaborator, BARBEAU here pairs with freak beat specialists
    BEVIS FROND in a batch of recordings rendered to tape in
    Bromley UK; earlier demo versions can be found on ‘Will Ant
    For Frond? (2002). Hook-filled amidst crystalline guitar play
    (Saloman on lead), solid rhythm of bass (Adrian Shaw), drums
    (Andy Ward) & the perfectly poised/romantically bruised vocal
    hues of ANTON straight up, as Exhibit A in sonic enthusiasm.
    Tough, telling and a listening joy.

    MITCH June 2005

  • Reviewed by mitch on June 24, 2006 at 7:45 am
  • Filed as A Library,CD
  • Comment on this review
  • Anomoanon – “Envoi Villon ” – [Galaxia]

    Eldest Oldham brother Ned indulges his literary
    fancy once again (after musical versions of ‘Mother
    Goose? & ‘A Child’s Garden of Verses?), this time a
    quartet of translations from 13th century French poet
    Francois Villon. A rogue & balladeer of his day, Villon
    (1431-1465?) had many adventures, including theft,
    royal pardon, murder, & the thousand-and-one tales
    of a road weary troubadour whose Le Grand Testament
    was a mock will of bequests in lyric verse. Paraphrasing
    freely, Ned Oldham (who co-produced with brother Paul)
    supplies guitars, bass, drums & voice to these tales of
    gallows humor + regret, joined in part by bassist Willy
    MacClean/ keyboardist Jason Stith/ electric guitarist Aram
    Stith and drummer Tony Bailey, all of whom have backed
    WILL OLDHAM and / or PALACE at some point. Minimal
    and unadorned with Everyman vocals & acoustic splendor,
    Oldham is up to the task; fully in the spirit of the source muse
    himself?. ‘As long as the earth still turns, as long as the light is clear.
    Lord, grant to everyone – that which they lack.
    To the wise grant a sound mind – for the coward
    procure a horse.
    Give money to the contented, and please don’t forget about
    me.’
    – The Prayer of Francois Villon : Bulat Okudzhava
    MITCH June 2002

  • Reviewed by mitch on June 24, 2006 at 7:45 am
  • Filed as A Library,CD
  • Comment on this review
  • Animal Collective – “Sung Tongs ” – [Fat Cat]

    Downsized to the original duo of Panda Bear &
    Avey Tare for these Fall 2003 recordings, ANIMAL
    COLLECTIVE leaves behind the more outr? experi-
    mental electronics for a less ostentatious foray
    into a recreational nature pop of field recordings,
    incidental noises and acclimated adolescence.
    Boasting a single ( # 2) and erstwhile psychedelia
    ( # 4, 8), atmospheric drone ( # 7), incantation ( # 5)
    and delicate acoustic pop ( # 3) and a feeling of
    freedom like the last night at camp (with memories
    as collage ) that is as much in touch with the pair’s
    inner child as the mysteries of creation – never to
    pause and analyze or build self-conscious roadblocks,
    ANIMAL COLLECTIVE are indie pop exemplars for the
    teachings of Maria Montessori :
    ‘If this is what we learn from society,
    how great should be the results among
    little children’if the organization of
    their work is complete, and their freedom
    absolute? It is for this reason that to us they
    seem so good, like heralds of hope and of
    redemption.’

    MITCH August 2004

  • Reviewed by mitch on June 24, 2006 at 7:44 am
  • Filed as A Library,CD
  • Comment on this review
  • Coleman, Andrew – “Everything Was Beautiful, and ” – [Thrill Jockey Records]

    A co-founder of
    in the UK, ANDREW COLEMAN (ANIMALS ON
    WHEELS mastermind) lives & records on a boat, and
    reached a creative fork in the road with this release.
    What started as a tangent from his ANIMALS ON
    WHEELS material became instead a conclusion of his
    first two albums. Beyond the novelty of ‘new? sounds
    & sequencer techniques in electronic music, COLEMAN
    seeks here to include unfashionable beauty/subtlety to
    gain a more organic whole. Rather than wild beats con-
    tradicting melodies, there is a noisy production style of
    rough, lo-fi sounds (utilizing cheap sound cards) that
    contrast with a more amplified quietude. ‘The creative
    process, he says, is just as much about getting things
    wrong as it is about getting them right.’ Hence, this
    is ANIMALS ON WHEELS over new and uncharted
    roads.
    August 2001 MITCH

  • Reviewed by mitch on June 24, 2006 at 7:43 am
  • Filed as A Library,CD
  • Comment on this review
  • Popp, Andre – “Presenting Popp! ” – [Columbia]

    1960 LP features marvelously comic and ingenious
    arrangements from ANDRE POPP; less experimental
    than ELSA POPPING, yet the new instrumentation
    touches to these conventional melodies indicate an
    acquired playfulness somewhere between FRANCK
    POURCEL and LEROY ANDERSON. POPP, who
    wrote international hits (‘Portugese Washerwoman?,
    ‘Tom Pillibi?, ‘Love is Blue?, etc.) & television/film
    music (‘Tintin & Mystery of the Golden Fleece?,
    ‘Piccolo & Saxo?, etc.), seemed to gain a musical
    conventionality as he grew older, sobering his sym-
    phonics in a distinguished & formal approach of
    light classical / easy listening?.. which makes the
    aberration of a recording like this an odd item, even
    in POPP’s own discography. An early creative flash
    he later regretted? Then it is back to haunt him, pecking
    at J. STRAUSS here, battering MANTOVANI there ?
    smiling through teary eyes in a post-war abandon of
    musical black comedy.
    MITCH June 2002

  • Reviewed by mitch on June 24, 2006 at 7:41 am
  • Filed as 12-inch,A Library
  • Comment on this review
  • Amber Smith, the – “From Upper Lip to Lower Hip ” – [Version City]

    Born too late to be a RASPBERRY, Lawrence Kim
    did manage to latch on with the BMX BANDITS,
    long enough to appear on their final LP, ‘Theme Park?,
    before returning to his native NY. Kim, an erstwhile
    filmmaker, formed THE AMBER SMITH along with
    fellow guitarist Oliver Sharpe + drummer David Silva
    back in 2002. After a self-released EP, the group added
    bassist Josh Leeman (THE AFFAIR) to create the current
    lineup. This Brooklyn quartet plays jangle pop with a
    calibrated buoyancy, a power pop for lovers that is as rich
    in melodics as it is pitch-perfect in vocal bliss. Playing the
    NYC Luna Lounge-Galapagos-Sin-E circuit with regularity,
    THE AMBER SMITH (not to be confused with the Budapest
    band of the same name) share the love with finesse & flair.
    MITCH May 2004

  • Reviewed by mitch on June 24, 2006 at 7:41 am
  • Filed as A Library,CD
  • Comment on this review
  • Amalgamated Sons of Rest – “Amalgamated Sons of Rest ” – [Galaxia]

    Featuring the all-star melancholic trio of Jason Molina
    (SONGS:OHIA), Alasdair Roberts (APPENDIX OUT)
    and the redoubtable Will Oldham (BONNIE PRINCE
    PALACE, et. al.), these card-carrying dejectables mine
    the traditional with wake-observances of their own in
    A surprisingly-routine outing. Oldham’s ‘Major March?
    (# 5) is a standout of stark phrasing?.’I have grown my
    hair out longer / I have grown my beard out, too / My
    skin is failing / But you’d still know me, wouldn’t you?’
    Stripped-down and despairing, with recording done by
    PAUL OLDHAM, herewith are themes of longing,
    whaling and death set to philosophical instrumentation
    and 19th century threnody. Down-to-the-sea-in-ships of
    infinite sadness where the depths claim her own, these
    toilers suspend the poignant present for the harpy songs
    of past, when the globe was a flattened parchment of
    evil winds and heinous leviathans, magic passed for morals
    and sailors were damned all the same. Billy Budd.
    MITCH Dec 2002

  • Reviewed by mitch on June 24, 2006 at 7:39 am
  • Filed as A Library,CD
  • Comment on this review
  • Aloha – “Here Comes Everyone ” – [Polyvinyl Record Company]

    Third label outing from this quartet of Cleveland
    refugees, retooled slightly with the addition of
    musical utility man T. J. Lipple (samplers/vibra-
    phone/marimba/mellotron, etc.), who joins core
    members Matthew Gengler (bass/guitars), Cale
    Parks (drums/harpsichord/organs, etc.) and
    expressive front man Tony Cavallario (vox/keys/
    guitars). Two of these tracks ( # 4, 6) released as
    7″ single in early 2004. Complex instrumentalists
    with added talents as heartfelt songwriters, ALOHA
    make lush arrangements to compliment their brand
    of indie pop, and this material is easily as good as
    ‘Sugar? (2002), with a surer hand guiding their
    grandiose signature style of looping guitars over
    dynamic rhythm tracks in a glorious low-budget
    gloss. Quite notable.
    Dec 2004 MITCH

  • Reviewed by mitch on June 24, 2006 at 7:39 am
  • Filed as A Library,CD
  • Comment on this review
  • Allergic to Bullshit – “You & Me, this Is What We ” – [Left Off the Dial]

    Never mind the 100 clear blue vinyl copies and the half dozen or so test
    pressings, this is the Iggy Scam and Ivy, Mission District SF, next-chapter
    in the saga of MIAMI, ALLERGIC TO BULLSHIT EP we’ve been sucking
    down Southern Comfort and leaving behind mountains of Marlboro butts
    waiting for?’tremendous assault upon the minarets and the parrots of
    ‘change?’..’and I see our heroes nodding off to sleep / asleep without
    dreams?..’, Ivy leaves a trail of rubber and acrid smoke in her wake,
    pausing to acknowledge the mythical mull of magic and manos?..’a
    picture of voodoo taped to the wall?.’ ; ATB finally end it all with a most
    preposterous (and logical) cover of BOBBY ‘BLUE? BLAND’s ?’I’m Not Ashamed?.
    From the label who brought you THIS IS MY FIST and the fabulous LAB RATS,
    Track one has LANGUAGE, the rest is pure truth. Hola.
    MITCH Dec 2003

  • Reviewed by mitch on June 24, 2006 at 7:38 am
  • Filed as 7-inch,A Library
  • Comment on this review
  • Aim – “Girl Who Fell Through The, the ” – [Grand Central Records]

    Andy Turner (AIM) is a prolific UK DJ who operates from his hometown
    (Barrow-in-Furness) seafront private studio, about a hundred miles from
    Manchester. This single taken from the second AIM LP, ‘Hinterland?.
    Side A features an Andy Votel (label head at ) remix,
    Scrambling the usual dance floor loops and beats. Side B plays best in
    the Gripper remix with hypnotic vocals from Kate Rogers, an erstwhile
    Canadian farm girl coaxed to sing by cousin Mark Rae (RAE + CHRISTIAN,
    also the man who runs Grand Central Records); Turner wraps a flourish
    of violins over misty synths in a frosty tale of doomed love. The Radio
    edit truncates the aforementioned, and is okay if you are pressed for time.
    Turner has since taken a 10-piece version of AIM on the road to variant
    results/reactions?’.Traditional songwriting plus solid beat composition
    make Andy Turner an interesting hybrid.

    June 2004 MITCH

  • Reviewed by mitch on June 24, 2006 at 7:35 am
  • Filed as 12-inch,A Library
  • Comment on this review
  • Add N to (X) – “Revenge of the Black Regent ” – [Mute]

    ADD N TO (X) is the London trio of Ann Shenton, Steve
    Claydon and Barry Smith (aka Barry 7), who released a
    debut album on before signing to in
    Early 1998. B-side ‘Iron Man? is from the group’s second
    LP, ‘Avant Hard?, plundering as it does FOCUS & other
    Prog curiosities. ‘Revenge of the Black Regent? is a 1999
    Barry 7 / Dean Honer production, a wild valkyrie ride of
    Main title proportions evoking a vast crane shot of late-
    Victorian equestrian battleground (see Tony Richardson’s
    Charge of the Light Brigade) magnificence, complete with
    falling standards, heroic sacrifice to the sound of military
    drums, and the heavenly vocals of ALISON GOLDFRAPP
    wafting as requiem for survivors of the denouement.
    A preview of the third ADD N album, ‘Add Insult to Injury?
    (2000), ‘Revenge? blends programmed synths with a pair
    of live drummers to maximum indelible effect, proving that
    the sun never sets on British electronic weaponry. Steve
    Claydon exhibits installation art in UK galleries, Ann Shenton
    publishes a satirical newspaper (The Deadworth Echo), and
    Barry Smith runs a NY record label, and a club
    night billed as ‘Destroy it Yourself?. Outstanding premeditated
    shockwave.

    MITCH Dec 2002

  • Reviewed by mitch on June 24, 2006 at 7:33 am
  • Filed as 7-inch,A Library
  • Comment on this review
  • Accelera Deck – “Sunstrings ” – [Scarcelight Recordings]

    This May 2004 release follows the ‘Ipsissima Vox?
    LP and seeks a welcome unrest in a wash of guitar
    feedback sonorities that oscillate, warp & disquise
    notes, form clusters, spiral in maladroit loops and
    finally yield to overwhelming feedback. Four tracks
    here, alternately dense/sparse, including contained
    chaos ( # 1), screened filtration creating an abyss of
    micro-tonalities aside aggressive drone ( # 2), brief
    reverberations ( # 3) and bleeding & blended beats
    mondo laborious ( # 4). From gradual/infinitesimal
    to sudden/enormous, these Chris Jeely- scapes are
    difficult listening & perplexing in concept – yet giant
    steps toward noise artistry.

    MITCH Aug 2004

  • Reviewed by mitch on June 24, 2006 at 7:32 am
  • Filed as A Library,CD
  • Comment on this review
  • Abstractions, the – “Sonic Conspiracy ” – [Edgetone Records]

    Comprising a sort of supergroup of the gloriously obscure,
    THE ABSTRACTIONS build a Frankenstein monster from
    a vast body of improvisational knowledge parts history,
    social insight, music & (un)spoken word. Awakened, the
    thing clumsily smashes windows, pewter, porcelain & all
    things fragile or bric-a-brac, stalks the surrounding countryside
    with a range of unclassifiable new sonic textures whilst making
    a few (collect) telephone calls, cross-dressing on the run, fleeing
    before an army of crazed villagers & eventually coming to the
    attention of the commander-in-chief of Military Police & H-bombs
    ?’..Jesse Quattro (SAINT OF KILLERS) wails here with the best of
    them; Rent Romus? alto is a piercing caterwaul; paradoxical percussion
    from electronics/piano wizard Scott Looney (RECURSIVE
    HERETICS); compulsory bent violin & creep-out vibes courtesy Bob
    Marsh (LEFT COAST IMPROV GROUP); damaged appliances/
    orphaned toys/unprepared guitars/subliminal rants supplied by Ernesto
    Diaz-Infante – the quintet of the wide-eyed & insomniac sleepover perhaps;
    rich, disturbing, traumatic, uneasy grave-robbing.

    MITCH Aug 2004

  • Reviewed by mitch on June 24, 2006 at 7:31 am
  • Filed as A Library,CD
  • Comment on this review


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