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High Priest – “Born Identity ” – [Sound Ink]

Emcee/producer High Priest (ex-Antipop Consortium) drops a version of hip hop that sounds like it was run through a carnival funhouse mirror before we ever got to hear it. But this is no funhouse; not only is it serious -and I do mean serious- it’s seriously weird. Priest delivers an uneasy, paranoid style of rhyming/ talking, bringing a lot of what seems to be futuristic, government-conspiracy subject matter. Are his lyrics good? Hell, I don’t know– what I like is how the voices are used as just one element in Priest’s dense, crazy scheme of things. The music often sounds like he took a half dozen unrelated records, got some but not all of them synchronized on the beat, and then played them all at the same time. Yeah, it’s good like that; this CD might be setting the new standard for illness in hip hop production/beatmaking. One high point is the mutant loop of cranked-up Afro-jazz on #14.

  • Reviewed by Max Level on April 28, 2007 at 8:14 pm
  • Filed as CD,Hip Hop
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  • Sachiko – “You Never Atone For… ” – [Musik Atlach]

    On the first two tracks, there is one question: Why did the astronauts
    leave that poor Japanese girl alone on the moon? She sings and her songs
    mix with the three degrees of drone in the universe before escaping all
    gravity and turning into nebulas. On the “Fire Yith”, she has been
    placed in some star’s core, and her electronic soul triggers alarm rage.
    “Never Go Down Yarai-Zaka” could be Red Riding Hood meeting up with
    the space vampires from “Lifeforce”, very nice deep undertones on that.
    “Saika” is a sort of solar flare sing-along-with-sinewave that finds
    harmony between human and electonics. Lastly “Yama-Keburi” is a simple
    four-stroke chord pattern with more man-meets-machine-meets-woman
    musical meditation. A lunar rover rumble joins in towards the end
    with low frequency beat bleating… Not much evolution on these tracks
    or in space, beauty gets sealed in vacuum-tight.
    Note this is NOT Sachiko M, but Sachiko from the mighty Overhang Party!

    -Thurston Hunger

    Haiku Review…
    Japanese noise nymph
    Contemplates the galaxies
    Tones to atone by

  • Reviewed by Thurston Hunger on April 27, 2007 at 7:46 pm
  • Filed as A Library,CD
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  • Thee More Shallows – “Book of Bad Breaks ” – [Anticon.]

    “More Deep Cuts” was a tranquil triumph, this is a more a
    rambunctious revelry. Saturated sweetness with synthesizer,
    plenty of casiotone for the generally together SF trio. This
    album makes me think of steroids, underneath it all I think
    the mighty Shallows have a very keen pop sense, but these
    tracks get traipsed through some fuzz and muck and even
    drum machines, plus those synths oozing all over the place.
    It’s a very doctored release, which I can get behind, but it
    seems to me that the patient here is so healthy, that
    inflating the sound with steroids and inserting rickety
    ticking pacemakers is a bit counter-productive? That was my
    initial reaction, but with each subsequent listen, I’ve
    become more and more addicted to the foreign substances.
    Plus I’m a fan of “interlude” tracks…and Thee More Shallows
    delivers some intriguing ones that nicely set up the full-on
    tracks. Lyrics take left turns even when there’s no left
    left. “Mother you were first upon the beach, you stormed the
    wake boards and the free bar at Normandy.” Toss in Heston-era
    Planet of the Ape references and they are putting the fun in
    confusion. Confunsion? Tons of it here, the Shallows run deep;
    pros on Anticon, Oxytoxin and digital linseed oil.

    -Thurston Hunger

    Haiku Review
    Hallowed be shallows
    Steroid synths bulging the veins
    Of sweet pop muscles

  • Reviewed by Thurston Hunger on April 27, 2007 at 7:45 pm
  • Filed as A Library,CD
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  • Siked Psych : Not Not Fun Gold [coll] – [Not not Fun]

    A lot o’ twister being played here. From the more explosive psych to
    a couple noisier boys and ending with some femmes and the importance of
    singing earnest. Wild and Wilde (Oscar gets namechecked on of these.)
    Like a good grab bag, not sure what you’ll get, but glad once you do.

    My Little Red Toe: Drums on a tightrope, willowy female vox.
    The Wolf Tracks: Unprepared guitar…and musical toy parade
    Raccoo-oo-oon: Gamelan gumdrop, flakey guitar, summoning vox, rockshot.
    Yuma Nora: Beepy beginnings lead to languid lastings then sprawl
    Haunted Castle: Someone’s in the Krankencabinent with Dinah??
    Impregnable: Severe mood damage and tire swings
    D Yellow Swans: Hover mutter drone an-ti-ci-pay-back?
    Bobby Birdman: A Conn job? With guitars from a 70′s hair salon.
    Avant R&B? A nicely weird smoothness!! Hard to peg.
    Quem Quaeritis: Rune Gram-mofo’s on the hip hop tip? Add scorch sax!
    Silver Daggers: Lo-fi, lonely-fi clarinet cries itself to postrock?
    Abe Vigoda: Put your angst into a squelchy box, soak in Truman’s Water
    Herr K: I’m thinking of Polvo, is that okay?
    Goliath Bird Eater: Star Trek Transporter…Energize. Burstiness!
    Foot Village: March with no return. Throaty vocal tantrum attitude.
    Mika Miko: No-wave, yes-sax.
    Child Pornography: Slippery machine gun rock with girl grieking.
    BARR: Spalding Grey lives dyed blond. *LANGUAGE**
    Hello Astonaut, Goodbye Television: Nasal NASA pop? Squeaky bridge…
    Foot Foot: Campfire songs in the TV room?
    The Golden Hours: Bedroom casio afghan blanket fortress theme song.
    Belly Boat: Girl wants to be a crow/cat over piano/accordian. She
    splits into three and harmonizes along with herself.

    -Thurston Hunger

  • Reviewed by Thurston Hunger on April 27, 2007 at 7:45 pm
  • Filed as A Library,CD
  • 1 comment
  • Butzer, Jeffrey – “She Traded Her Leg ” – [Lona Records]

    Mini-cinematic scores built by Butzer using a host of toy instruments and
    an omnipresent accordian. Plus somewhere in the mix is a “tongue drum” !!
    Listening to this made me think of people who build miniature houses and
    scenarios…maybe too sweet and precious for some, but being a fan of
    Pascal Comelade I definitely like the realizations here of Butzer’s
    compositions. And like Comelade, the accent is on the *short* and the
    sweet…most tracks say their peace in about two minutes. Underscoring a
    “silent film” vibe, Butzer even incorporates a train whistlin’ through
    “Dendrobium”, that and many other tracks surely bust my Keaton! The
    “Carbonated Sewing Machine” is not nearly as effervescent as one might
    expect, kinda of a forlorn affair. There are some micro-morose moments
    here, “Lucy’s Theme” has a heaviness to it as well. “Broken Blunderbuss”
    starts off like a surfy gumball for kids but it stacks up some very
    nicely wrong chords by its end. Things take a decidely darker turn by
    the time the “Black Bubbles” show up. We’re not in Toyville anymore…

    -Thurston Hunger

    Haiku Review…
    Tinkery plinkers
    the toy piano player
    Dreams accordians

  • Reviewed by Thurston Hunger on April 27, 2007 at 7:43 pm
  • Filed as A Library,CD
  • 1 comment
  • Wolf Eyes – “Dog Jaw ” – [Heresee]

    33 rpm on side A
    45 rpm on side B

    Recorded in 2004 before Dilloway left the band,
    originally on CDR, now on wax! Pure noise from Ann
    Arbor, Michigan!

    Side A begins with a full leg crunching assualt.
    Track 2 is a more itchy growling vocal track,
    sometimes sounding as if you’re looking for radio
    reception in nowhere land. It closes out with track 3,
    promising that yes, your legs WILL be broken.

    I’M STUCK IN A FUCKING HELL! It’s where this records
    sucks you into. Unfortunetly, track B1 swears. The
    second track feels like you’re stuck in the bubbling
    pits of foghorn death. The final track tests your
    pilot abilities as you soar through the clouds of
    feedbacking squarbles. (track has about a minute of
    silence at the end).

  • Reviewed by cinder on April 26, 2007 at 5:41 am
  • Filed as 12-inch,A Library
  • 1 comment
  • Robot Vs. Rabbit – “Dos ” – [Squirrelgirl Records]

    Dos, as in Spanish for the number 2. Their second
    release.
    They say it concentrates on the cold war era space
    race, the death of Kennedy, and the American dream. A
    nice “empty room” feel of experimentaling
    avant-garding rock. Some drones, samples, feedbacks
    and effects. Each track has that live feeling,
    as if it were all done in one take, while they just
    felt like jamming out. Drums, guitar, bass – sometimes
    that’s all you need! Nice spaced out pysch rock.

  • Reviewed by cinder on April 26, 2007 at 5:40 am
  • Filed as A Library,CD
  • Comment on this review
  • The Old Soul-The Old Soul (Friendly Fire)

    This is a fun unique mix of lively good time rock and much more. Among my favorites are the jaunty, brassy “P Is For Protein,” a modern ragtime shuffle “Boobie Trap,” modern rock meets 60′s psychedelia of “Take Care & Brush Your Hair,” and a song like a party at the end of a parade, “Shotgun Wedding.” – Shiroi

  • Reviewed by shiroi on April 25, 2007 at 3:40 pm
  • Filed as A Library
  • Comment on this review
  • Denver Gentlemen, The – “Introducing The Denver Gentlemen ” – [Smooch]

    This re-release of the Denver Gentlemen???s debut album, recorded live in 1995 at Denver???s Bug Theater, croons its mix of cabaret style male and female vocals laced with accordions as if it were a Bertolt Brecht revival.

    Lots o???schmaltz, drama, and catchy melodies.

    The band includes Jeffery-Paul Norlander and David Eugene Edwards of 16 Horsepower and Woven Hand. Two songs from this album were recorded by 16 Horsepower on the album ???Low Estate???.

  • Reviewed by jordan on April 25, 2007 at 2:23 pm
  • Filed as A Library,CD
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  • Hicks, Kelli Shay – “Buck Again ” – [Carbon Records]

    Lonely, wandering tunes.

    The unconcerned hum of traffic leading to a little girl voice and naked guitar.

    Kelli Shay Hicks??? three song EP, ???Bucked???, is sparse and vocals driven. The EP was recorded by filmmaker Jem Cohen, who, in 2002, produced a 16mm film about Cat Power entitled CAT POWER LIVE: FROM FUR CITY.

  • Reviewed by jordan on April 25, 2007 at 2:21 pm
  • Filed as A Library,CD
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  • Tomorrow No One Will Be Safe [coll] – [Pacrec]

    Track 1: Norwegian noise duo Jazzkammer.
    Track 2: Boston-based noise artist Howard Stelzer.
    Track 3: Jazzkammer and Stelzer together.

    Three long tracks, 18 ??? 20 mins each, live recordings from 2004 performances in the USA. All tracks are quite active, constantly moving from one area to the next. These guys compose masterfully with droning guitars, tape manipulation, ringing electronics, feedback, hum, howls, thumps, slurps, low-end roar??? The quietest section is probably the second half of Track 3, where things do settle down a bit, relatively speaking; but other than that you???ll hear the intensity level staying in the medium to medium-loud range. I can???t pick a favorite track; they???re all exciting and very creative.

  • Reviewed by Max Level on April 23, 2007 at 9:58 pm
  • Filed as A Library,CD
  • Comment on this review
  • Ware, David S. Quartet – “Renunciation ” – [Aum Fidelity]

    Striking a balance between melodious bop-blues and cacophonous avant-garde (akin to Pharoah Sanders), hard blowing tenor-man Ware is accompanied by his stellar quartet, who at times subtley outshine him, especially the sublime Matthew Shipp on piano. Excellent, also, are longtime quartet member William Parker on contrabass and relative quartet newcomer Guillermo E. Brown on drums. A live recording from 2006, the album is dedicated to jazz greats recently departed from this mortal coil: Alice Coltrane, Dewey Redman, Michael Brecker and (R&B saxophonist) Larry Curtis Potts. Ware enigmatically espouses his Hindu beliefs in the liner notes, no doubt, to the confusion of many.

    1. ???Introduction??? (1:51)
    2. ???Ganesh Sound??? (8:32)
    – Nice appetizer.
    3. ???Renunciation Suite I??? (18:49) – Main course.
    4. ???Renunciation Suite II??? (6:44) ??? ???
    5. ???Renunciation Suite III??? (7:21) ??? ???
    6. ???Mikuro???s Blues??? (9:15)
    – Scrumptious dessert.
    7. ???Ganesh Sound (reprise)??? (6:40)
    8. ???Saturnian??? (3:43)

    The rest are garnish.

    –Jawbone

  • Reviewed by Jawbone on April 21, 2007 at 3:18 pm
  • Filed as CD,Jazz
  • Comment on this review
  • Vertonen – “Facing Leinth ” – [Gameboy Records]

    Even though it’s listed as 8 seperate tracks, it’s
    really one long 59 minute trip through your inner
    psychosis, nibbling and suckling your deepest
    thoughts and secretive dreams. Serious low grumbling drones
    and slight electronic scratches with bits of ear-piercing
    slicing stabs. You’ll be dripping with hallucinating
    sweat.
    At about 29 minutes left, it fades slightly – a good
    point to start or stop if you want a shorter
    version.

  • Reviewed by cinder on April 19, 2007 at 2:25 pm
  • Filed as A Library,CD
  • 1 comment
  • Sterling – “Cursed ” – [File 13]

    Many say it’s Chicago’s best avant-garde
    instrumental rock group. This being their second release, they
    have a whole new line-up change, including pianist
    Andy (90 Day Men) on keys, and Al (Milemarker) on
    bass. Three long cinematic (beautiful piano)
    tracks dabbling in the vein of Red Sparowes and Paik.

  • Reviewed by cinder on April 19, 2007 at 2:24 pm
  • Filed as A Library,CD
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  • Cocorosie-The Adventures of Ghosthorse & Stillborn

    This is the third album by sisters Sierra and Bianca Casady. Some of it is like Bjork as a little girl in a scary fairy tale land. Occasional sound of running streams. “Bloody Twins” is eerie folk sung to a music box. “Japan” goes from nursery rhyme style to opera via reggae with great repeated verses “Everybody wants to go to Japan” and ‘Everybody just hold hands.” “Werewolf” has a poetry intro, piano loop and swishing drums. “Animals” includes a shuffling rhythm and bicycle bell. “Houses” is like if Tom Waits’ granddaughter was copying his style, discordant piano, coins dropping. “Girl and the Geese” has a spoken story abut a girl who talks to geese who were once human. Quaint interludes, percussive diddling, other oddness but very clear production. Other sample lyrics: “tears fall in the kitchen sink,” “don’t speak I can hear you,” “covered in piss” etc but it is pretty in addition to sometimes scary and always strange. Anything derivative still in combination adds up to original musical art here. – Shiroi

  • Reviewed by shiroi on April 18, 2007 at 5:32 pm
  • Filed as A Library
  • Comment on this review
  • Sacred Steel Instrumentals [coll] – [Arhoolie Productions]

    This is a collection of spiritual steel guitar recordings. 14 pieces done by 10 different artists.This is a much needed spiritual break and will make you stand up and praise your Higher Power. Beautiful pieces heard traditionally and primarily in Southern churches what was a single recording released in 1995 has spawned many soulful spiritually uplifting pieces.Known to mostly the attendee’s of the churches; the beauty of the spirit in these predominantly African American churches is caught so perfectly in these recordings. I highly recommend any and all of these.

  • Reviewed by sailordave on April 17, 2007 at 3:17 pm
  • Filed as CD,Country
  • Comment on this review
  • Welcome – “Sirs ” – [Fat Cat]

    Why isn’t it easier to find albums like this? A consistent pop bopper
    that doesn’t try too hard nor is it too lazy (“dude, just use the presets
    and that rhyme from the last album”). Bassist Jo Claxton sings on some
    numbers with a nice daisy-sewed-on-yer-jeans voice and guitarist Pete
    Brand sings on the others with a mighty Mersey urgency! The songs and
    the album are short but spot on and leave you wanting more, catchiness
    melded with a scratchiness works for me. If they’ve been together for
    ten years as I’ve read, I would have expected a more tired release. Of
    course I wouldn’t expect Seattle to be so close to Britain, but clearly
    this band gets that continental drift. Lyrics seem comfortably left-field
    images of Jimmy Stewart, satellite dishes and a cellphone in the bathroom
    (if you want to make a law about cellphones, maybe start there before you
    take it out of my car). For the less lyrically-inclined there are enough
    audio oddities dropped in to keep jaded ears listening, while necks are
    snapping along to the freak beats. A nice vox humana at the end of
    “Actual Glad”, whistley synth alarm on the title track and then a soft
    stumbly coda make that number a sorta siamese twin. “With You With Me”
    has a recognizable firebell clang for a few bars. Man, I even thought
    I heard a mellotron on “First”. Every track offered something, nothing
    wore my Welcome out!

    -Thurston Hunger

  • Reviewed by Thurston Hunger on April 15, 2007 at 10:40 am
  • Filed as A Library,CD
  • 1 comment
  • Spezza Rotto – “Tredici Canzoni ” – [Self Release]

    Ruins a la carbonara? Jesus Christ Stomboli-star? Mama mia manic vocalia
    from Morgan Guberman. This thing almost gets unhinged enough to turn
    into pop, check the choruses on “Gemogli di Gusto Magico” complete with
    Gino Robair guesting in the gondola for some mandolino but the verses
    have Guberman going gruff and the mighty John Shiurba stutter-slipping
    his guitar here and there…eventually fritzing out nicely. Even in the
    madder moments, and this album is ripe with them, Eli Crews is a steady
    anchor on bass, often doing walking lines that sort of loop back on
    themselves. Drummer Tom Scandura, like on the recent Molecules release,
    stamps a smile on your face. Listen to his little tick-tick-tick
    snaresteps like a cartoon character running off a cliff a few steps
    into air on “Rotolare Quie Dadi.” Scandura often perfectly accentuates
    the percussive singing of Guberman. This disc is loaded with technique
    and with time-signatures from bizzaro land…but there’s also a sense
    of playfulness that so many prog bands either aridly avoid, or try to
    instill with inept jokiness. Spezza Rotto will curl your mustache a
    la Dali, and break the funny bones in your dancing feet. It’s all
    sung in Italian, with odd-ball operatic antics a-plenty, probably the
    lyrics are authentic, but I almost hope they are mangled the way some
    Japanese bands will masterfully mishandle Engrish.

    -Thurston Hunger

  • Reviewed by Thurston Hunger on April 15, 2007 at 10:40 am
  • Filed as A Library,CD
  • Comment on this review
  • Isolee – “Hermelin ” – [Playhouse]

    Isolee is Rajko Muller, this EP out on Klang Elektronik’s sister label
    Playhouse… The side long title track is somehow plush and minimal at
    the same time…these taught rubber band bamboo synth sounds, some good
    soda pop drum machine clops, a little razor near the ear at times and
    every so often a whiff of 2000 Light Years mellotron. Aaaaah. Add some
    cool chords splayed out for refreshment and serve this one chilled at
    45 rpm.

    On the flip side, “Willy Skipper” has a similar vibe to “Hermelin” at
    a very different speed…33 rpm. This one is a bit more robotic, with
    some droid-blurbs over a nice square-wave step-pattern melody. Percussion
    clicks tick up into near-bird chirps, another example of the simple and
    the elegant. Drop this one on the catwalk and let it preen a bit, not
    as mesmerizing as the lead-off number…but it’s got some drive.

    Lastly there is “Sleazy Bee” (sounds like exercise equipment for lazy
    folks, or maybe some sort of honey-sweetened smoothie??). This rolls
    like an homage to the sorta booty slap techno that never buzzed my
    bonnet. But if you want that fat round sound, this one pumps it out
    heavy, with kind of egyptian cheese keyboards. Little stacatto lines
    dotting the thicker bottom. S’alright, but I’ll be spending my spins
    on the first two stellar plinkers.

    -Thurston Hunger

  • Reviewed by Thurston Hunger on April 15, 2007 at 10:39 am
  • Filed as 12-inch,A Library
  • 1 comment
  • Suishou No Fune – “Where the Spirits Are ” – [Holy Mountain]

    Hallowed and harrowing Japanese psych sprawl. This release features a
    sort of secret drum death…the lead-off track is a Mainlining masher
    with prominent pummelling by Tail, bombast is the favorite flavor on
    this one. Vocals are culled out from the center of the chaos…long
    extended wails, shamanic. On the second piece, drummer Tail finds peace
    gently keeping the kit to a heavy reverbed series of drifting chords,
    again voices wail, doppler drops in a well of soul sorrow. The piece
    picks up fury, but never pace…his and her guitarists fuel the fire
    with their pyrotendencies. We move to track three and Kageo (his)
    and Pirako Kurenai (her) have worked their Tail off. The drums are
    gone and so now it is really a different album (from a different live
    date). Like a less rainy, more molten Loren Mazzacane hurricane. Track
    #3 is a sort of descent into darkness. Throughout this release, the
    vocals, offered by both guitarists, are haunting *and* haunted. As if
    the demons are trying to break out of the singer, and into you. And
    remember demons love reverb! While the songs spend most of their time
    in the twin torrents of guitar and vocal exortation, the actual
    melodies that they are launched from have a billowing beauty. Check
    #5 and #2. Track #4′s underlying vibe is like a slow breathing flamenco.
    Those sections of melody are like the smooth, less wind-whipped side of
    a mountain, but in general Suishou no Fune prefer scaling the more
    ragged, adventurous side of that same mountain.

    -Thurston Hunger

    Band name translates as “Holy Bridge” or so I read…

  • Reviewed by Thurston Hunger on April 15, 2007 at 10:38 am
  • Filed as A Library,CD
  • 1 comment


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