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

    Kaelan Mikla – “Kaelan Mikla” – [Fabrika Records]

    An interesting take on 80’s Darkwave. Kaelan Mikla (Lady of the Cold in Moomin vernacular) is a 3 piece female led band that hails from Iceland. Formed after winning a library poetry slam circa 2012, their sound has changed over the years culminating in this 2016 release. Here they churn  out interesting darkwave reminiscent of  Xymox and the Cranes. Vocals are in Icelandic (old Norsk) and lend a mysterious element that complements the haunting synth punk of the album. Track 1 is a nice introduction with a solo drony sound that transitions into a more conventional structure the second half.  Tracks 2 and 6 were slightly problematic for me as the discordant harshness of the vocals were too shrieky for my taste but your mileage may vary. Tracks 4, 5 and 8 are the strongest and feature the smoother vocal stylings of drummer Sólveig Matthildur.

  • Reviewed by Jim Hunter on June 13, 2018 at 5:25 pm
  • Filed as 12-inch,A Library
  • Comment on this review
  • Street Sects – “Rat Jacket” – [Flenser]

    Symphonic indie industrial rock meets electronic mayhem experiments with whimsy-angry arrangements in the NIN flavor. Songs about loneliness, paranoia,  betrayal and mistrust. Singer Leo Ashline provides the melancholy and Shaun Ringsmuth the multi-layered samples, angry guitars and harsh synth and drum sounds. Very original, you can’t nail down what they really represent! Hey even melodies are present! Maybe the future of prog rock. Play it. –Kai

  • Reviewed by Kai Sync on June 13, 2018 at 3:21 pm
  • Filed as 12-inch,A Library
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  • Celldod – “Kall Fusion” – [Transfusions]

    New 2018 release with quite a cold-charming dark techno EP from Anders Karlson or Celldöd (Dying Cells In Swedish.) Kind of electronic music youngster Front242 would create today but with this own freezing Perfect as Swedish charm of coldness and starry nights dancing to Swedish debate programs in a bunker.  B-side has even future-Dub techno. Hardware metal music. Play this loud with lots of bass so the studio monitors rip out from the ceiling. –Kai

  • Reviewed by Kai Sync on June 13, 2018 at 3:20 pm
  • Filed as 12-inch,A Library
  • Comment on this review
  • Phew – “Light Sleep” – [Mesh Key]

    Finally! Our first addition from Phew, the project of Hiromi Moritani, that began in 1980 after Moritani split from the Osaka post-punk group Aunt Sally. Since then, she has collaborated with Ryuichi Sakamoto, Holger Czuaky and Jaki Leibezeit from Can, and many others. Around 2010, she transitioned from a guitar-driven rock sound into minimal electronics, previewing her new work at gigs around Tokyo and on small runs of homemade CD-Rs. This 2017 album collects the tracks from those releases. Everyone says this sounds like Suicide and that’s the first thing I thought of too, and so of course it’s excellent. The songs here are made from analog synth pulses, drum machines, and Moritani’s echoing spoken-word vocals. “New World” (T1) has a psychedelic feel, “CQ Tokyo” (T2) driven by intense, “Frankie Teardrop” drum machine rhythms, “Mata Aimasho” (T3) is smoldering dark ambience, “Usui Kuki” (T4) is a dream sequence driven by dissonant tones and a steady rhythmic beat, “Echo” (T5) pulses with aggressive, textured synths and wavering bass lines, “Antenna” (T6) concludes with brilliant metallic reverberations that softly fade away. 

  • Reviewed by lexi glass on June 10, 2018 at 5:18 pm
  • Filed as 12-inch,A Library
  • Comment on this review
  • Injekting Khaos – “Injekting Khaos” – [Blast Beat Mailmurder/Productions]

    Progressive Black Metal from Athens, active 2002-13. They only put out three recordings, of which this 2013 EP is the last. It really is great stuff, its angular and aggressive mid-length bursts balancing atonality and melody skilfully with a slight Grind influence perhaps. Included within the appealing all-paper packaging is a wordy interview—conducted by Temple of Flesh, the Cypriot label that co-released this with BBMM— with I.K. guitarist ‘MyLastBreatH.’ The following excerpts, presented in their original sequence, may help you decide whether you will like this LP:

    “[W]e formed I.K. with the sole purpose to play Black Metal that departs from the Black Metal rules… Our name is a tribute to Antaeus, a very special and original band; that is telling of where we came from… A.V. of Dead Congregation appeared with us on stage… some riffs are nods to other bands that the listener can name… I cannot pick between Deathspell Omega and Black Witchery… [drummer] Syrinx blasted with the astrogrind camp of Dephosphorus before focusing on his classical music studies…”

    This is not the most ‘authentic’ Black Metal in the world, but this is not a surprise as the band openly disdain the orthodox sound. There is plenty of bite here all the same.

  • Reviewed by Lord Gravestench on June 5, 2018 at 9:20 pm
  • Filed as 12-inch,A Library
  • Comment on this review
  • Smallertide – “All Along The Northern Evening” – [Poor L’amour]

    smallertide is Sam Sharp and Joel Almberg, a guitar duo from Minneapolis. This is their first full length release, the follow up to a 2016 7” EP, Crickets (in our library). Guitar melodies, treated with reverb and effects. The tracks are fleeting, lasting just a few minutes, and together with the hazy sound, the record has a twilight feel. But it’s not just pretty, easy listening – there’s the occasionally placed dissonant note, a melancholy ache. Released by Sharp’s label Poor L’Amour.

  • Reviewed by lexi glass on June 5, 2018 at 8:47 pm
  • Filed as 12-inch,A Library
  • Comment on this review
  • Louise, Sarah – “VDSQ Solo Acoustic Vol.12” – [Thin Wrist]

    Album Cover
    There’s a gently flowing Appalachian stream and then there’s the vastness of the cosmos, and hovering somewhere in between is Sarah Louise. Something about the way her 12-string is tuned bathes all that rapid fingerpicking in a soft glow, so that you’re never quite sure if you’re listening to John Fahey or Tangerine Dream. This record is from 2016 and is part of VDSQ’s solo acoustic series. 2018 sees a Thrill Jockey release as well as an LP reissue of her 2015 cassette on Scissor Tail. All tracks are in the 4-6 minute range.

  • Reviewed by Phil Phactor on May 23, 2018 at 4:48 pm
  • Filed as 12-inch,A Library
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  • West Bridge Band, The – “Kibera Esbera (Kenya)” – [Electric Cowbell]

    west bridge band cover - litungu

    This 4-piece consists of Luhya tribesmen from Kenya on a mixture of homemade and more traditional Kenyan instruments. These instruments live with 2 million others in the Kibera slum outside Nairobi. They live in crushing, impossibly cramped poverty. Their dayjob is entertaining safari tourists, swapping clothes on the break to appear like a new band- this album was recorded by Ian Brennan in a family’s home the size of a car interior.

  • Reviewed by Hemroid The Leader on May 15, 2018 at 2:39 pm
  • Filed as 12-inch,International
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  • Paradise Bangkok The Album : Vol. 2 [coll] – [Paradise Bangkok]

    Served up by ZudRangMa records in Bangkok,
    a fantastic store run with keen (and khaen)
    love by Maft Sai (connections to next door
    Studio Lam where Molam and Luk Thung artists
    often perform). Traditional flavors are strong
    but varied on this collection of their label’s
    recent 45s. Opening with the towering power of
    the khaen (a bamboo pipe organ that sends
    skyscrapers of sound out of one’s mouth). The
    vocal stylings are so great, kicking up a kind
    of gymnastic percussion that dances over drums
    and other skins. Check out Chanpen Pornaswan
    (B2) for a sterling example, or for the male
    counterpoint of view, Aa Jaan Jitakorn Molam
    Group (B3) for that surging form of singing.
    (B1) actually goes all in with onomatopoeia
    on “Ding Ding Dong.” That piece feels like
    an island sound system with its proud horn
    punctuation and killer drummer. So much
    style, swervy and hypnotic. Even without
    vocals, “Lam Plearn Diew Khaen Diew Phin”
    and “A Ba Ni Bi” have dance floor beckoning
    beats that slide up to you, A3 a jangley
    bouncer, while B4 is a vibraphone groover.
    I like to pretend Onuma Singsiri’s (A4)
    song is some kind of Thai darkwave, but
    the initial Joy Division blotted out by funky
    sproingy synths and her “how ow how ow ow”
    quick cadences. All solid but do NOT miss
    Warin Shinaraj (A2) it transports me every
    time, not to Bangkok, straight to Paradise.
    Her voice lingers on notes then darts away
    the guitar and drum anapestically waiting
    on every word, ending with a strange calming
    blend of laughter and piano ripples. Wow!
    New York vs Noo Yaak! We all win.
    -Thurston Hunger

  • Reviewed by Thurston Hunger on May 5, 2018 at 12:39 pm
  • Filed as 12-inch,International
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  • Anderson, Marisa – “Traditional & Public Domain Songs” – [Mississippi Records]

    No stranger to KFJC’s airwaves, Marisa Anderson
    unites with Portland powerhouse Mississippi Records
    to reissue her 2013 release of an homage not just
    to the Traditional Songs of the title, but to the
    guitar. It’s all instrumental, and all electric,
    and weaves between reference and reverence. She
    can pluck gentle and clean as on “Farther Along”
    or tiptoe near the third wire that Junior Kimbrough
    use to ride with “Pretty Polly.” Songs that are
    pulled deep from the heartland, if not the heart
    of this country appear : “May The Circle Be Unbroken”
    and “Amazing Grace.” But Marisa’s domain extends
    beyond natural and sonic borders, “Bella Ciao”
    is indeed beautiful, and builds up a nice storm set
    of chords. Dig the super reverb recoil on “Johnny
    I Hardly Knew Ye.” A lot of the album has a solemn
    and introspective vibe, often soothing but not without
    a bout of bitterness. That being said, she concludes
    with a downright jouncy “When the Roll Is Called Up
    Yonder.” Perhaps that is the arc of the blues, to
    struggle humbly and with grace, but carry a heavy
    weight till we hit our run-out groove and the
    needle rises with us to the skies.
    -Thurston Hunger

  • Reviewed by Thurston Hunger on May 5, 2018 at 12:37 pm
  • Filed as 12-inch,Blues
  • Comment on this review
  • No Balls – “More Is More” – [8mm]

    No Balls is a far cry from any eunuch freak folk, they
    deliver heavy electric instrumentals, lightly seared
    by noise with a hint of psych (well from a manic
    Japanese point of view). Connected to the Brainbombs,
    and somehow without lyrics No Balls sounds almost as
    filthy as that band, Anders Bryngelsson shares fluids
    with da ‘bombs. Was Dan Raberg severed as a member here,
    but someone kept his horn though? Actually on “Pacer” it
    almost sounds like someone singing into their distorted
    guitar pickups, and on “Breaking” maybe a man or a trumpet
    is trapped inside the bass drum and blurting out
    exhortations…while the air runs out. Sick goose trumpet
    also may appear on “Nachspiel” Overall they say plenty
    without words. The other “father” band here is Noxagt,
    from that good ol Kjetil Brandsdal (he oils the mighty
    Drid Machine) burrows thick on bass and JC Lauritzen is
    insistent on drums, really more of a battering ram.
    Think concussion over percussion. David Gurrick recorded
    his guitar parts on this album while completely naked.
    And bleeding. Well it sounds that way. Clearly this
    is what Trump had in mind when extolling the virtues of
    Norway. Bonus points for Anders Hana on the mixer, isn’t
    The End here yet? Checking out other artists at
    8mmrecords.bandcamp.com would be cook if Luca and co
    could hook up KFJC with some more heaviness!
    -Thurston Hurtin’

  • Reviewed by Thurston Hunger on April 19, 2018 at 3:33 pm
  • Filed as 12-inch,A Library
  • Comment on this review
  • Nerve Beats – “Freedom Fighter Prayer” – [Fine Concepts]

    Short blasts of pineapple-expressed garagey blitzy
    rock. Trio from Honolulu, who blew into Oakland to
    record this to cassette for the Fine Concepts
    label. Feels like they kept the cassette and
    motor running, has a feeling like a live set
    pumped out moving over the posted speed limit.
    Travis Wiggins vocals add to it, shouty style
    as if he was standing up in a convertible trying
    to keep pace with these short grindy numbers.
    He kinda reminds me of Franklin Bruno (Nothing
    Painted Blue) but smeared out Oblivians style.
    Travis on guitar and vox, Alex Nagata pumps up
    boogie-ing bass and Jack Tawil on the sticks.
    Really, some of his best moments are just hyper
    stick ticking metal rim (like on “Ultra Bosch”)
    The songs keep cooking, at times Wiggins
    guitar kinda wigs out, nicely so you get a noisy
    improv vibe on top of the dive-bar riffage.
    See the title track and “Riot Meditation.”
    Adding to the bar vibe, a Hendrix homage pops up
    in “Chivington Soldier” and G-L-O-R-I-A
    gets spelled out on “FOX-661L.” No dinosaur
    rock, no bones to pick or break, just a raw
    at times murky but driving energy. “Eyes in the
    Heat” ups the ante with thrashy guitar building
    up to an almost Fall style urgency with
    lyrics that march and then a firing line snare
    close-out. Things slow down a little around the
    bends of “Berlin 64” but them the serrated edges
    of “Magna Knife” cut in more car-crash art-rock
    hurtles down your earway. “January 13 Incident”
    and the anthemic “Goncharova Cats” hit the
    finish line strong.

    -Thurston Hunger

  • Reviewed by Thurston Hunger on April 19, 2018 at 3:31 pm
  • Filed as 12-inch,A Library
  • Comment on this review
  • Usiende Ukalale: Omutibo From Rural Kenya [coll] – [Mississippi Records]

    Omutibo is a style of Kenyan folk music that combines storytelling with intensely rhythmic fingerpicking guitar. It was developed by guitarist George Mukabi in the early 1950s, who took inspiration from the traditional nyatiti lyre and sukuti drum. The style proved to be wildly popular, and Mukabi sold hundreds of thousands of records throughout East and Central Africa. Over 50 years later, Cyrus Moussavi (Raw Music International) traveled to Kenya to visit many of the original musicians and record them in their homes. While George Mukabi himself is not featured here (he passed in 1963 at the age of 33), we do hear music from his son Johnstone. Joyous, life-affirming songs, and an essential document.

  • Reviewed by Phil Phactor on April 18, 2018 at 6:16 am
  • Filed as 12-inch,International
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  • Daniel, Drew/ Wiese, John – “Continuous Hole” – [Gilgongo Records]

    I nearly lost it when I heard that two of my favorite musicians had been collaborating on a record for over ten years. So my expectations were probably unreasonably high for this one, and on first listen, I prepared to be blown away. That didn’t happen, but over multiple spins, I arrived at something much more satisfying – an appreciation for the craft of two brilliant electronic artists working at the top of their game.

    My first impression was that you can really hear Daniel’s influence – it’s that rhythmic Matmos sound they’ve perfected on albums like A Chance to Cut is a Chance to Cure and Ultimate Care II. Here, complex collages are arranged from sonic fragments – blasts of noise, snippets of static, deep bass tones – elements you might hear on Wiese’s harsher records. Painstakingly composed, apparently without the use or sequences or samplers, but the result isn’t fussy or difficult. Layers of rhythm easily move with a dancefloor energy (T2, T4), march to a beat (T9, T10), ascend stepwise up the rungs of a ladder (T7). The precision gives way to more fluid tracks (T5, T6, T8, T11), with long drones, loud muck, whistling tones and sweeps of plucked strings (T11). The album builds to a final horrific conclusion, that ends not with a bang but with a – surprise! – chomp. Mastered by our friend Thomas Dimuzio. Excellent.

  • Reviewed by lexi glass on April 17, 2018 at 8:39 pm
  • Filed as 12-inch,A Library
  • Comment on this review
  • Orimo, Sabu – “Wind Songs” – [Siwa]

    Solo improvisations for shakahuchi (a Japanese flute). Sparse, mysterious, utterly captivating. Check out the other releases on Siwa in our library

  • Reviewed by Phil Phactor on March 28, 2018 at 5:59 pm
  • Filed as 12-inch,Jazz
  • Comment on this review
  • Tech N9ne – “Slacker” – [Strange Music]

    tech n9ne-slacker-1





    Nice lil’ single from Tech N9ne bringing us that Midwest rap with the hard boom bap. Lyrics aren’t as fast-paced as some of the raps that have given his style recognition but it will definitely still get you movin’. This single has the radio version, the album version, the instrumental, and the acapella version. Radio version and instrumental run about 3:52 and album and acapella versions run about 4:04, it’s unfortunate that the album version skips at the end and worse still that the instrumental skips right at the beginning, also the album version contains FCC’s. Just put this here plate on yer record spinner and enjoy.

  • Reviewed by kato on March 26, 2018 at 10:15 pm
  • Filed as 12-inch,Hip Hop
  • Comment on this review
  • Black Flamingos – “Neon Boneyard” – [Hi-Tide]

    Debut album from this New Jersey surf trio. Great energy and an original sound that sounds different from most surf. Joined by musician friends on a variety of instruments that fill out their sound.

  • Reviewed by Cousin Mary on March 24, 2018 at 3:04 pm
  • Filed as 12-inch,A Library
  • Comment on this review
  • Twinkle Brothers – “Twinkle In Poland” – [Twinkle Records]

    twinkle in poland cover

    Radio Poland journalist Wlodzimierz Kleszcz brought Norman Grant to Poland in 1986, paying him with studio time. Kleszcz saw a connection between the roots music of Jamaica and Poland – a link between ex-slaves and the Polish Gorale ex-serfs. The music feels earnest but forced at times, like the material is not fully developed. Psalms 23 is Grant chanting the bible. Whatever its deficits, it is endearing. Just before the wall fell, searching for a connection.

  • Reviewed by Hemroid The Leader on March 13, 2018 at 2:51 pm
  • Filed as 12-inch,Reggae
  • Comment on this review
  • Painted Caves – “Surveillance” – [Shelter Press]

    painted caves

    Painted Caves is the electronic side project of Barn Owl Evan Caminiti. On this 2013 release, Caminiti uses modular synths with tape loops and digital effects to create a sense of pervasive paranoia. Tense beats and minor-key synth drones, as cold and soulless as the AI algorithms methodically sifting through your email, location data, and camera roll. Ranges from intrusion into quiet, intimate spaces (T1, T2, T5, T6, T7) to massive data collection on a national scale (T3, T4). But just when no escape seems possible, there are brief moments of strange beauty, hints of warmth. Limited release from the fine French label Shelter Press.

  • Reviewed by lexi glass on March 6, 2018 at 8:42 pm
  • Filed as 12-inch,A Library
  • Comment on this review
  • Grails – “Chalice Hymnal” – [Temporary Residence Limited]

    Last summer we were visiting our friends in Cloverdale. It was god awful hot so they decided to take us down the road to the Russian River for a swim to cool down. After trekking across the riverbed rocks, we got to a place in the river that was shallow enough for us to set our beach chairs and just sit with the current gliding over us. It was not really my idea of pretty: it was hot, brownish, dry with plants a sort of dusty green. But when I finally settled into it I began to appreciate the calm, serenity and turmoil of this oddly idyllic spot with the cool water pushing around us. I often remember this place even though it may not have been my idea of a place to go.
    I feel this way about “Chalice Hymnal”, Grails first album in six years. It’s not what I might have expected but when I let it settle in, it works. It is a lush four sided continued exploration into the sounds they have developed over their career. Cinematic is definitely the phrase for these pieces. Each piece of psych rock post-rock is like a soundtrack to a series of short films, not clearly related but surprisingly united. Guitars and electronics play heavy with bass and drums, plus mellotron weaving dreamy explorations on some tracks while others perform a more beat driven journey. Most of the shorter tracks left me wanting for more. The longer tracks filled my need for meditative wandering. Like the river experience, not necessarily where I wanted to go but definitely something I keep remembering after several listens.

  • Reviewed by Naysayer on March 5, 2018 at 9:00 pm
  • Filed as 12-inch,A Library
  • Comment on this review

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