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.
Something about the khene, that tall bamboo/harmonica
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
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.
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….
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.
Yevtushenko, Yevgeny – “Poetry of Yevtushenko Volume II, The” – [Folkways Records and Service Corp.]
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
Kinda feels like a point in time when a Flying Saucer Attack
might have bursted through a bank of cLOUDDEAD? And turns
out the timing might fit. Hereâ€™s a collection of UK artists
united by their takes, breaks and mixmilk shakes on fellow
countryman SJ Esauâ€™s 2005 â€œWrong-Faced Cat Feed Collapse.â€
This collection came out around the same time apparently.
Well, not all of the cat-cuts were by Brits, as Why (Yoni Wolf)
adds some great processing here, check â€œNoteâ€ (Likely tied to
Anticon in 2007 reissuing the original album.). Despite the
various artists, there is a consistent vibe to the album,
part of it is using SJ Esauâ€™s (aka Sam Wisternoffâ€™s) vox along
with some fairly floatational approaches, often laden with
laptop digi-tricks; see Whyâ€™s surging startling on â€œNoteâ€, and
then the Countryside Alliances knob gliding and chopped up
beats. Rarg follows that with some Anglo-angel twinned femme
singing in front of thumpy drums, spy piano and lots of
chip-chop production. An excellent use of 7:20 of your life.
Track 13 feels like a whole lotta polyglot Scanner meets Konet
in math class. Es Verdad! “Impossible Sums” gets a secret revival
of sorts on an umarked track #15.
Esau/Wisternoff still works ears these days, but here’s a
recent sweet stab of his at the eyes https://vimeo.com/216411212
Beware track 14 ends @ 4:24, then 8 minutes of silence
track 15 then appears to be an alternate take on #13
2012 Chinese trio, minimal moody bass driven numbers
could take a full dance floor and pull apart all the
couples into singles spinning with dreams of Alan
Vega calling to them above in the rafters. Li Weisi
and Zhong Qiu used to be passengers in Carsick Cars
(KFJC added a 2007 release from that project in 2015).
Chen Xi sings in English, monotone mantra over a usually
stark hypnotic beat. Gatefold unfold the lyrics, his
deadpan delivery coupled with repeats gives each song
an additional spark of tension, but Li Weisi’s (aka
Levis) basslines are absolutely vital here. Zhong Qiu
squiggle-decorates space, some synth, some guitar. The
last two cuts with most prounounced electric guitar, for
a No-Wave Beijing razing. But I like the preceding tracks
as this band truly gets the less-is-more vibe, a little
spacy slide guitar, or some flickering keys there, it’s
a bleak but beckoning sound, like a strobe-light that can
double as a disintegration ray.
Potentially even more promising Snapline in 2017 were
supposed to record an album at GOK studios in Japan
(where many killer albums for the God Mountain label
were created). We need to work on our KFJC tunnel
beneath the Great Firewall to uncover more of the
Chinese underground. Some feedback drenched erhu
please…with circuit bending electronics.
Sketchpad drumpad kits flits with jazz-ernatioanl.
Or is it rock, paper, boundaries exploded? I’ll
follow suit and put this in KFJC’s library next
to Vol 1 in “jazz” and you can listen with one
of many ears and hear electric Miles without a
trumpet I guess. Mostly it’s the improv instants
that propel this (and perhaps the crisp confines
of Calvin Johnson’s Dub Narcotic studios that
gives this album such lustre.) Key-never-bored
and air-on-fire guitar trade inspiration and
drummer Brian Chase (yeah from the Yeah Yeah
Yeahs) never misses a beat, or at least a
spritz with them cymbals. Vol 1, out in 2014,
featured a more dry Chase (toms and rolls)
while Thollem kept the piano humming/trilling.
Now adding guitarist Todd Clouser to the edginess,
allows Thollem more freedom to shift gears, react
and even lay back. Thollem brings in everything
from an Ethiopique taste to oblique honkey tonk,
from Gnawa nibbles to dark, sweaty colossal Rhodes.
There are three tracks here and I dunno maybe 50
potential songs. Clouser slashes with the Ex-like
striking chords, washes watercolor volume pedal,
and even summons Shakey’s “Dead Man” soundtrack.
And that’s all on “It’s a Drab” the opening
number, which 11 minutes into it, finds Thollem
working a soothing three chord tonic to close
the piece. Inspired by and inserted in art by
China Faith Star, a nice package by all involved.
Note: tracks have silent spaces between sections
Squeaky, squishy, rattle and twist, grip slipping oddities
gift wrapped and warped from the BuFMS crew. Samples
spin through, a waft of an aria or something slippery
against linoleum. At KFJC, we’re up to a dozen releases
from the band with an apostrophe catastrophe, this
one delivers a lot of insectoid improv throughout. When
“Cuisine of Southern India” is served up we get the flavor
of humor that the BLE excel at, some kind of Tipsy trip
to a Disneyland tune-in, turn-on and blast-off. It’s
followed by square dancing through a slinky sine-wave.
Fundraising phones on “Dank and Feral” followed by
“Lots of Afterbirth” (a rather scrapey affair with some
shortwave from a long peer). On #9, “Monsieur Mange-Tout”
chokes on his incredible edible plan while a caveman
plays ping-pong? Flipper flirtation on #11, I don’t
speak fluent dolphin, but from what I can tell that was
some saucey stuff. “Ouija Board” is summoned to close,
with letras espanol and Mother Goose gets cooked in new
commercial voice-over flavors. Possible toychestra homage?
Spin and spell casted. Another weird dose from dese
weirdos. You are the Paxton Gatekeeper.
We’re going to be tardy like it’s 1999. Maybe a Mitch
Lemay archival revival for local folks, dust to Duster,
ashes to the past and a shout-out to Streelight (grateful
that is still spinning in these digital daze.) Sang to
jangle with an old Merge feeling emerging. Bass slowly
rises as the guitar strum-strums-strums. Tears are
wiped away, perhaps by Jen helping out Keith with backup
vocals and a cashemere hug. “Subtance Abuse” never felt
sweeter, a sslow syrup poured into you, even if you are
cramping up in a fetal position. “Grasping for Reasons”
sounds like its sinking in the same sorrow boat, with
po’ ol’ cello typecast as the town crier going down
with the relationship. It’s a love song in decay, two
in the boat to start but by the end of the song,
they’ll be on different shores. Actually the cello
gets stronger and starts pushing him to safety.
Adding this, and the “Hero Zero” 7″ in 2018 shows
KFJC is a safe haven for long lost singles, at least of
the vinyl variety. Good luck to you and your ex in the
For as long as I’ve known her, KFJC has had
a fondness for the raw, for the rough and not
yet ready. For bands that sound like they
just got their instruments a couple of hours
ago. Call it punk or DIY or outsider or
lo-fi, whether it was made in the bedroom
or garage or Auntie Agatha’s laundry room,
the value of passion over precision is hard
to argue with…for me at least. I had these
thoughts listening to this and was going to
apologize to the band, but on checking the
actual record I see this is from 1994. So
you see KFJC welcomes abandoned bands even
if they salmon-jumped out of the mainstream
decades ago. Hopefully the guys in the band
will be driving around with their kids, and
when the iPod battery gets low, they’ll
switch on the car radio and here this rough
Electrified guitar ricochets around with a
hint of cowpunk (played with a cattle-prod?),
drums are great and enthusiastic and thin.
They kind of chase after the song, then the
song turns around and chases after them.
Side 1 ends with chatter about skittles and
nerds, the other side has a zero-calorie
track allegedly. Well hand-written mention
of a track “17G” but it exists outside of
space and time and groove and discogs.com.
Is the band name a ref to Schoolhouse
Rock, or some psychic/sonic connection to
Good stuff, better times. -Old Man Hunger
Call it modern classical, compositions with a hint of soundtrack
and a (very) remote West Coast jazz flair. Well, I can picture a
detective on some of them. Compositions are loaded with what feel
like questions, uneasy revealing of notes, sneaky snakey ones at
that. Much use of the percussive epiphany, a single strike often
emphasized by the lingering reverb of a vibe/marimba/piano. Is it
the cold slap of an interrogator? Strings are spies, sharp as
razor-wire. #3 and #5 invite electroacoustics into the mix, they
deftly blend in, camoflauged by cello on “Chiaroscuro” and
lurking behind a lineup of saxes on “Objet/Ombre.” On both
cuts the electronics add drone and darkness to the atmosphere.
Solo marimba on “Devouring Time” is as warm as it gets, then
solo acoustic guitar on “Unfoldings” an apt description for
much of this CD, or maybe *Disarmings* as in trying not to
detonate an IED. Things. Are. Tense. Listeners may need an
alibi after listening to this. Clearly they got to whoever
assembled the booklet (looks like a staplecide)
More info on the composer at http://mikelkuehn.com/
The statues have eyes, and they’re listening. Side A is languid
with a hint of mourning, an homage to a departed lover, an
air of a suicide, and a hint of overdose/homicide at the
doorstep. Ashley’s voice is relaxed, warm but worn. The
guitar is acoustic, the songs are ballads, even the closing
Sonic Youth cover gets a make-over a downtempo shift. Flip
the record and the switch and electric guitars rain on
“Fuck the Army” and “Blondes and Cyanide” but after that
“Gabriela” bailes con un piano (Adrien Leonard provides
some pretty great keys throughout.) That is followed by
the return of the spectre sinester, an acoustic lament
for friends claimed by an addiction to New York and
heroin. The song is gentle/pretty but its uneasy thorns
in an easier listen. Perhaps places as the darkness
before the dawn, “Blue Azul” still strummy, the album
carries a C&W flair to the French studios where Ashley
and friends recorded it. “Blue Azul” has a call to be
through with nihilism, and savor existence. A good plan
hope always, like a yodel though, it can be difficult
to pull off. But Ashley gives ’em a go, better to be
alive than a statue cloaked in tears.
Thurston “fear of mortality” Hunger
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.
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.â€ 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.
Drunk punk duo out of Sweden, well drunk is
a bit unfair as the topics of their lyrics are
sobering, but the rock on display here is
dive-bar distorted and grasping for a 2am
closing anthem vibe. The signature of the duo
(deviating from their folk roots, but not thaat
much) is the warble of Lilou. Raw emotion rasps
her throat and a vibrato attacks without warning.
Think Jello Biafra as Judas Iscariot in Jesus
Christ Superstud. Lilou sings to defy both
multinational corporations and conventional
musical keys. It’s fascinating in a harrowing
manner. John provides guitar and pen for the
words coming out of Lilou’s mesmerizing mouth.
The leadoff cut has the martial chop and snap
of some of the Ex’s stuff, while #2 definitely
has AmRep pep. They are a husband and wife duo
who might have met in the classified ads of
Sweden’s version of “The Nation.” -Hunger
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!
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.
A simple formula FLute + dOOM == FLOOM. But the
heaviness has the gravity of Earth, and the
monumental mantra of Sleep, but on top of the
thick guitar and mightly flute, Cathy Monnes
and Christina Fleming hover with angelic voices.
Wow, intoxicating about and beyond the open
e-string buzz for your distored brain. “MVMT 1”
has these great pauses of feedback guitar and
a sustained flute note, Satan might not know
but little god Pan understands. “MVMNT 2”
the guitar starts lower, and the flute doubles
its barrels, with the guitar pushing a bluesy
side of the red devil. Guitar gets on tracks
while flute+girls turn into a railroad whistle.
Tunnel of Floom! And ends with a digital flurry
of flute and an amp whimpering. “MVMT 3” picks
up (the whole piece is meant to track) and
aims for the godhead with a dronier, stonier
flute over amp spasms. Like a “Dead Man” sdtk
done by Amber Asylum? The ladies rise like
sirens on the closer, you guessed it “MVMT 4”
I bet this puppy will roll cradle to grave
on many overnight shows now and forever.