KFJC 89.7FM

Music Reviews

Kole Galbraith – “PANNA I” – [Self-released]

lexi glass   8/14/2018   A Library, Cassette


Two longform hallucinations from Seattle-based sound artist Kole Galbraith. Our copy of his latest cassette release found its way to the station during his visit to the Pit in June 2018. On each side of the tape, Galbraith uses an electric guitar with effects to create two contrasting scenes. The earth rumbles in “Cordilleran Rupture” (A), as rough electronic sounds collapse into a massive drone sinkhole. Justin Lazar and Paul Walsh assist with noise on the track. “Burnt Hair on Disautel Pass” (B) is a desolate landscape, swept by roaring winds, with distant chimes and blunted guitar plucking appearing like distant points of light. His first release (here) can be found in our library.

Ames Sanglantes – “Chindia Tower Impalements” – [Hospital Productions]

Lord Gravestench   8/13/2018   A Library, CD

Quebecois Pierre-Marc Tremblay is internationally recognised as half of the Black Metal project Akitsa, founded in the late ’90s. What perhaps fewer fans may know is that he has been equally renowned in Noise circles for about the same span of time under the name Ames Sanglantes, trans. Bloody Souls. A.S., long a member of the Hospital Productions ‘inner circle’ roster alongside like minds such as Prurient and Alberich, is genuinely one of the harshest and most difficult Power Electronics/Noise projects your reviewer has ever encountered.

The project’s releases often seem to be intended as abstract representations of physical violence – in KFJC’s library already are albums called ‘Street Violence’ and ‘Le Cri du Pendu’ (‘The Hangman’s Cry’). This 2018 reissue of a 2015 cassette release is in a similar vein, as it were…

Inspired by European folk hero, whoops I mean infamous sadist and tyrant Vlad The Impaler, this is Slow Execution Electronics, or as the artist would have it, ‘Ancient Blood Soaked Architectural Column Noise,’ a nod to Vlad’s starkly fortified Chindia Tower, which stands to this day. Each of the 3 CDs in this attractive edition houses two basically endless Harsh Noise tracks reminiscent of Vomir, Richard Ramirez, Maurizio Bianchi, and Whorebutcher among others.

What’s so fascinating about this album is how it manages to create the impression of a continuous, crushing wall of noise, when in fact it has many changes happening all the time, just not obviously. To a casual listener it may create the impression of Harsh Noise Wall, but up close, the very gradual variations in the pulsing electronic tones, buried samples and crumbling distortion create an incredible sense of slow, agonizing progress, rather akin to an iron stake gradually working its way up along the spine.

Play this if Brighter Death Now’s ‘May All Be Dead’ or Will Over Matter’s ‘Power Dances’ had just a little too much going on for you. Layers upon layers of ravaged electronics create maniacal nightscapes where you’ll encounter screams and sadistic laughter (1.1), night birds ousting day birds (1.2), thunderstorms (2.1), hissing dungeons (2.2), wolves, some of which may be human (3.1), and full-on burning, twisting synth impalement (3.2). Each track is a mystifying gem of the deepest blood red. Most will drive a certain kind of KFJC listener absolutely nuts; if you’re dumb enough to pick up the studio phone please remind them that they are not actually being impaled on an iron spike and that it’ll be OK. Also recite the following: “Hail Dracul! Hail Wallachia! Hail the Underground! Hail Darkness and Oppression!”

Fail Association / The Cherry Point – [Tronix]

Louie Caliente   8/13/2018   7-inch, A Library

 

Ouch! Two quick hits of roaring blasting screaming screeching noise wall from A Fail Association (Gregory Babbitt) and The Cherry Point (Phil Blankenship).  A single-sided 7″ released back in ’03 on Blankenship’s Tronix label.  Only 178 were made.

I *think* it’s supposed to be played at 33, but to be honest I couldn’t tell much of a difference vs. 45. I also couldn’t tell much of a difference between the two tracks, but in a good way, since both are balls-to-the-wall take-it-to-eleven total aural scorchers.

Big Chief Ellis – “Big Chief Ellis” – [Trix Records]

humana   8/9/2018   Blues, CD


This is a slice of blues history (first released in 1976) that is a great addition to our library. All compositions created, played on piano, and sung by Big Chief Ellis, with Tarheel Slim, Brownie McGhee, and John Cephas on guitar. Be sure to read the liner notes that describe how Wilbert Ellis, despite his religious parents’ mandate that forbade music in the house, got his aunt to let him play her piano by mowing her lawn. His clear, strong voice, and his sure-fingered piano work make this a must-play for any blues show.

Kilgour, Hamish – “Finklestein” – [Badabing Records]

humana   8/9/2018   A Library, CD


Hamish Kilgour (of The Clean) composed these songs about the kingdom of Finkelstein for his son, Taran. They were intended to be the soundtrack to a story, and that is still the intention. I’d say that, given the story contained in the songs themselves, and the cheery way they spark your imagination, the story has almost written itself. The CD art is reminiscent of that for the Beatles’ “Yellow Submarine,” and you’ll just have to try this out to see how the whole experience works for you.

Asteroid No. 4, The – “Collide” – [13 O’Clock Records]

humana   8/9/2018   A Library, CD


This psych/shoegaze music sounds as cool as the art on the CD sleeve looks. Celebrating their 20th anniversary, Asteroid No. 4 brings you this release of extra-aural pleasure that is sometimes mellow, sometimes intense, with bird sounds introducing “Weeping Willow” (which is graced by a lovely female voice). The rest of the vocals are male, hazy, and worth listening to. “Sagamore…bring the village to the shore…” Are they talking about the bridge to Cape Cod, or something else? Enjoy.

Dalao, Kane / Nongthong, Wichian [coll] – [ZudRangMa Records]

Thurston Hunger   8/8/2018   7-inch, International

Something about the khene, that tall bamboo/harmonica
whatever you want to call it killer Thai instrument.
When I hear it it feels like a summons, and then the
chanting/singing that goes with it comes on like
an insistent invocation. If you squint your western
ears on this, you can hear a tropical foreshadowing
of Alan Vega with Suicide maybe? The slight reverb
on the male voice, side A is stately goes on long
enough to make me really wonder what they are saying.
I like it when Kane Dalao (internet says he’s a
National Artist for Molam style as recently as 2017)
I’m not sure when this 7″ is from. On the flipside
Wichian Nongthong, has a musical name and delivers
a peppier take, but still stripped down to the
power of voice and khene. The controlled wavering
of the voice, so skillful and compelling. This is
*not* on ZuDrangMa’s label but was found in their
store, I really should have got more information
(or found someone at work from Thailand) but hell
the music stands on its own just fine. Makes
we want to slap a speaker on my car and drive
around the Bay Area belting this out.
-Thurston Hunger

Buried Country [coll] – [Mississippi Records]

Thurston Hunger   8/8/2018   12-inch, Country


Outsider sounds from the Outback? Nah, this’ll fit just
dandy in your Country Music set (Australia *is* a country
after all). Note the Cash and Hank refs on the cover art.
The album pretty much begins and ends in the Dreamtime.
Black Allan Barker leads it off with a stirring hypnotic
spiral of a song, and Harry Williams summons Dreamtime on
the penultimate cut as well. Williams’ wife and musical
partner mentioned that Harry was buried with his guitar,
the Dreamtime Allstars band is surely legendary. Several
artists on this have died, recordings here span the years,
all the way back to 1958. The song at the very end of this
collection aptly is called “The Resurrection” recorded by
Bobby McLeod in 1987 having been reborn from his time in
jail. He and his bandmates The Kooriers also close the
first side. Prison time, literal and emotional, is a
recurrent theme. Civil wrongs and rights keep on spinning
beyond the confines of these grooves. Didgeridoo pokes
through on “Gurindji Blues”, spoons cut in on the instro
“Black and White Cat.” The Warumpi Band inject electric
boomerang boogie into the mix. Maisie Kelly’s a cappela
number is captivating, and a stellar example of song as
historical oracle. Timeless. The photos/interviews put
together by Clinton Walker for Flippin Yeah in conjunction
with Mississipi is the real gift here, even the precision
of Walker’s track ordering is striving to tell this story.
He has revived memories and music that would have otherwise
been lost. -Thurston Hunger

That Lead Goose Is Friendly [coll] – [Blue Tounge]

Thurston Hunger   8/8/2018   7-inch, A Library


More singles salvation from the last lost milennium. Set your
ears for 1994, when lo-fi was less an aesthetic choice than
a technical necessity (okay, maybe a little o’ both). Still
back when Garage Band was *two* words. This collection wears
its sonic sincerity on its sleeve (and with all the little
paper inserts for each band that have stayed along for the
ride like kids never leaving the nest).

Nik ‘l’ nip: US (?) singer with UK accent (always a winner),
wait for the pause on “…..hate you”. Ah angry youth
Stampled: Shrill feedback fest in front, guitar strumbles/stumbles
behind it and way back at the end of the hall, a female
sings her song. I see you.
Emmeline: Bassy + crawly + creepy + mumbly – my four favorite
forgotten dwarves on this waking beauty.

Bottlecap: Nasal-to-whistle ratio is high on this acoustic tune
that wants to defenestrate you.
: Probably part of the next number but it stands
alone, the sound of shoeing an ancient robot horse.
Shoebox Full of Love: Sweet pop gargling in tape hiss.
Ringfinger: If Juliana Hatfield were the real McCoy? Someone
should have married this song 20 years ago, and they
could teach their kids to cuss in a cute way.

This kind of damaged pop could make a comeback in my ears,
but it’s nice to listen back to it now nonetheless.
-Thurston Hunger

Saucer – “Spoonerisms” – [Self Produced]

Thurston Hunger   8/8/2018   7-inch, A Library


Another one for KFJC’s 7″ sanctuary of singles, 1993
Minny tinny shimmy pop (no clear Kramer involvement
though). Four piece band a la mode (two guitars).
Title track is a feedback drenched ditty which loses
its way in my ears. But you may appreciate any form of
psych flashback (or an extra two minutes to cue up some
US Saucer.) “Orange Pants” fit a lot better ’round my
head and hits a kind of Blake Babies freeze frame on the
time line. I like the dizzy guitar interplay on the verses,
and Pamela Valfer’s voice rising above them high ringing
notes to boot. Her singing also was nice on “Spoonerism”
just got engulfed. “Half Man, Half Jerk” closes our
time capsule, Jed Kersten taking over the mic with a
Lee Ranaldo-esque talk-it-while-I-rock-it, on a song for
all the brother-in-flaws. Drummer Peter Anderson gets some
nice tom aplomb and hi-hat cooking. Is this what people
did before tweeting, record short songs with hooks as
emojis? Uhayunno? Mebbe….
-Thurston Hunger

Mile Wide – “Millions In Transports” – [Ratfish Records]

Thurston Hunger   8/8/2018   7-inch, A Library


Rock with controlled anger and slippery slide guitar,
not full-on art damaged, but art-inflected. “Millions of
Transports” lurches in and out of gear, the singer (Pete
Ryan? it’s been a while, 1995 for this misfit single that
has found its sanctuary station). The song has heft and
a commuter breakdown, as whoever sings, mutters at the
end “We don’t talk enough….and we work too much.” So
the good news, your troubles in 2018 may not be so new.
On the flip side, I can almost file it as a Boston-based
answer to the UK’s Camberwell Now, high-praise and maybe
biased by the abby-Norman lyrics, and a conquest question?
It’s a puzzler, but not too proggy so fear not. You can
tap your toes safely, and you might even hear a little
violin strung-along behind the trenches of those slithery
guitars. Violinist Liz Tonne appears to have kept a hand
in sound game; even worked with Greg Kelley of nmperign
so she got weirder and maybe others did as well. Perhaps
posting this review will bring ’em out…or send us more
from the old Ratfish imprint, which seems to have had
some tasty treats back in the day nee milennium.
-Thurston Hunger

Yevtushenko, Yevgeny – “Poetry of Yevtushenko Volume II, The” – [Folkways Records and Service Corp.]

Thurston Hunger   8/8/2018   12-inch, A Library


Release in 1967, and translated out of Yevgeny’s mother
tongue into our bastard English (if not pure ‘Murrican).
Recitation split into male and female, read by Milt
Commons and Jere Jacobs, they join forces to close out
side A, with Jacobs leaving her soothing style for a
more sinister one. That track, “Murder” will likely be
the hit at KFJC but I’d give “People” a chance with
its closing lines
“And every time again and again
I make my lament against destruction”
Also on here, closing out the album his “Babi Yar”
a tribute to the Holocaust victims as well as a
reported slap to Soviet authorities and rising
anti-semitism in 1961.
When I first heard about Yevtushenko it was in terms
of how Russia treats poetry and its poets, with accolades
and arenas contrasted with US (do you know our poet
laureate?) Yevtushenko died on April 1st 2017, in Tulsa
where he had been teaching, and still fighting for human
rights.
-Thurston Thurstonovich

Crash Syndrom – ‘Postmortem Solutions to Mundane Issues’ – [Obliteration Records]

Lord Gravestench   8/7/2018   A Library, CD

C.R.A.S.H. Syndrome (AKA M.A.S.A. syndrome) is a rare X-chromosome-linked recessive neurological disorder, characterized by Corpus callosum hypoplasia, Retardation, Adducted thumbs, Spastic paraplegia, and Hydrocephalus. To the lay-observer, the condition would likely seem a case merely of R., and that’s what they call a synecdoche.

Crash Syndrom, meanwhile, is a Japanese Grindcore band with two members (I hear they recently added a chick bassist, but anyhow it’s just two guys on this CD). Their drummer is Japanese and their vocalist/guitarist seems to be an immigrant of Ukrainian origin. Together they make beautiful traditional music. Bitch-mutilation and whore-embalming are the general themes encrypted in the bloody gargles. The guitars are surprisingly ‘wanky’ at times, but a little flourish can go a long way in this kind of thing. A nice balance of brutality and panache on this 2018 CD, their first album, with traces of the guts of Repulsion, Exhumed, Wormrot smeared here and there. The duo display tight synchrony, but not in a gay way.  Deadpan nurse sampled inscrutably on t.14, which, at 3m27s, is about a minute longer than the second-longest song.

T.s 1 and 15 are proggy guitar instrumentals. T.17 is an a capella cover of Taylor Swift’s ‘Should’ve Said No’ sung by a young female wearing loud headphones. An older brotherly clandestine recording prank perhaps? Regardless, it may be the most blood-curdling thing on here.

Inutili /Hallelujah! [split] – [Aagoo Records]

Max Level   8/7/2018   A Library, CD


Scum rock. Hallelujah! is an Italian trio and I think Inutili may also be an Italian trio. Blasting guitars and pounding drums giving us energetically repetitive sludge. The vocals tend to be buried in the mix and the lyrics are generally hard to decipher, although there are several clear FUCKS on Track 4. And on Track 1, the lyrics mostly go like this: “MICE MICE MICE MICE MICE MICE.” Track 2 is around 7 minutes long and goes through a few sections with different dynamics, heavy on guitar. The tracks are all pretty rockin’. I can’t say that most of them offer much in the way of redeeming social value, and I suspect that’s pretty much what the bands had in mind.

Pia Fraus – “After Summer” – [Clairecords]

Naysayer   8/5/2018   A Library, CD

Estonias own iconic dreampop, shoegaze master’s album from 2008 is a lush, gorgeous treat for the ears and senses. Ten tracks flow beautifully from one to the next, with the stand out guitar work guiding the listener through each song. Harmonies abound with exquisite exactness, pristine in their execution. Lyrics, sung in English, have that dreamy nature, about things that seem like floating or slipping in and out of sleep. I missed the whole dreampop/shoegaze thing when it hit, my ears being somewhere else. DJ Slowdivine continually persuaded me to get with it and finally I have. This is superb work of a sound that is unique yet familiar, haunting yet comfortable.

Uneasy Chairs – Everything You Need To Know About Nothing You Need To Know About [Self-Release]

mickeyslim   8/1/2018   A Library, Cassette

On the list of inspirations for this album that includes Keiji Haino and Syd Barrett, Patrick Neill Gundran cites, “that scene in Aliens when one of them gets shot in the head by Lt. Vasquez and writhes around in that air duct” as another major influence. This album is two 19-minute long tracks of subtly fluctuating improvised wall of noise. Recorded on high bias cobalt tape, this 2015 release will be the perfect accompaniment to your morning commute.

 

(((vol max)))

Meat Katie FabricLive 21 [coll] – [Fabric Records]

Naysayer   8/1/2018   A Library, CD

Part of the stupendous Fabric mix series, “Meat Katie FabricLive 21″ is a full mix set by Meat Katie. Meat Katie is Mark Pember, English electronic musician and DJ who created a style called tech-funk which is a mix of techno, tribal, hip hop, breakbeat and house music. It all fits in these 17 tracks and man is it fun, fun, fun, fun. There was this famous club in LA that we used to go to after hours called Jewel’s Catch-One. It was the scene and had THE best music around. You were meant to dance there. House music with the simple repeated phrases or whoops, yells, operatic diva trills played over and over pulsing through your sweaty body. This is what Meat Katie’s mix reminds me of. I have played this so much before reviewing it. (That’s why the cover is trashed.) It’s a continuous mix so you could just let it play all the way through, though each song stands on it’s own. The opener, ” Banned Practice” samples Bauhaus” “Kick In the Eye” and that starts the mood. The Diva voices are there. The testifications are there. The beats are there. The mix is smooth, clean and phresh. Get ready to sweat. Yet another on my list of “This Is The SHIT!!!!!!!”. Work it.

Dawson, Richard – “Nothing Important” – [Weird World Record Co]

Naysayer   8/1/2018   12-inch, A Library

Richard Dawson is a an English folk/blues singer, songwriter and guitarist whose unique approach pushes definitions of style. Hailing from Newcastle Upon Tyne, Dawson’s work approaches heartache with a hammer, a subtle hammer but consistent and relentless yet achingly beautiful. Supposedly he accidentally broke the guitar he uses, liked the sound and so kept it. The guitar playing is like Eugene Chadbourne or Bill Orcutt, prolific style and skill with luxuriant and dynamic finger work. Moments of pure beauty will be attacked… attacked… with pulling, stretching, almost destroying the guitar. Dawson does collaborate with harpist Rhodri Davies, whose harp playing style is the same of reconstructing/deconstructing how the harp could be played. Davies performs on track 3 of this album.
“Nothing Important” came out in 2014 and pushed Dawson forward in his work. These are four tracks that I can not get enough of. Track 1, “Judas Iscariot” and track 4, “Doubting Thomas”, bookend the album. They are glorious solo guitar instrumentals which showcase Dawson’s skill and emotion. Judas and Thomas, both who chose to question, challenge and make mistakes, besides feeling left out, begin and end a theme that is present in the album.
The two tracks with vocals, “Nothing Important” and “The Vile Stuff” showcase all the greatness that is Dawson. “Nothing Important” is a series of vignettes from the narrator’s life, from birth through family experiences, the passing of family, the loss of a newborn. Dawson describes objects from the time as pieces of remembrance but questions why he can’t remember the faces of the loved ones. In “The Vile Stuff”, the narrator describes experiences of friends and of himself, snippets of experience filled with detail that may appear mundane to others but hold significance to the narrator. Yet there is a sense of loneliness, weariness and longing embedded with the celebration of friends. Dawson’s singing style is so unique: stretching out words to uncomfortable lengths, odd phrasing and emphasis, paring sentences together in ways not expected. His lyrics, his playing, his singing breaks me when I hear it. You’ll need a kleenex. This is a highly welcome addition to our collection.

Xu/Xu – “Alma” – [self]

Phil Phactor   8/1/2018   A Library, CD

Xu/Xu is apparently pronounced “FuckYouSlashingFuckerYou,” and is the alias of a certain Hidinori Noguchi from Japan (no relation to the coffee table, I presume). A palette of clattering, claustrophobic percussion, deeeeeeeeep rumbling bass, glitched-up white noise, and cavernous reverb undergirds these three very satisfying tracks of post-Basic Channel technoise experimentation. The middle track (Concha) is the funkiest of the three, bringing to mind an especially-deranged Vladislav Delay, but none of these are going to fill a dancefloor. A jagged edge of an EP, that stabs you at every opportunity, and is over far too soon. (Limited edition of 10 CD-Rs with hand-painted aluminum plate.)