KFJC 89.7FM

Music Reviews

Bongolian, The – “Bongohead/ Farfisian” – [Blow Up Records]

Kai Sync   7/12/2018   7-inch, Soul

Can’t go wrong with bongo drums and Farfisa organ for a soul warm-up party with bottom jeans and floral everything. This is actually Nasser Bouzida from Wales who has produced retro-soul material used for hip-hop and funk 45 DJs. A side Bongolian has some surprising echo chamber effects, B-side Farfisian is an organ jam fest. Can you dig it?

Cornford, Stephen – “Electrocardiographs of a Cathode Ray Tube” – [A Wave Press]

Naysayer   7/1/2018   7-inch, A Library

I think the reason I like writing reviews is that it allows me to really let out a part of the real me that I don’t show because few folks would get it. Also, no one reads them anyway so I can say whatever. Such is the case for reviewing this glorious little 45, this HOT little piece of vinyl. First, the title. Just say it slowly and let it roll off your tongue: “Electrocardiographs of a Cathode Ray Tube”. Oh. My. God. What a turn on. Electrocardiographs of a cathode ray tube: what the hell is that and YES PLEASE!!!! Stephen Cornford created this piece. Stephen is an… wait, let me sit down… Stephen is an “installation artist and experimental musician who works by reconfiguring consumer electronics.” Wait, there’s more: by “repurposing Walkmans, TVs and other scrap heap finds, Stephen Cornford’s work erase the boundaries between music and sculpture.” This is THE SHIT, Stephen and you’re my man. I love this stuff so much. So what is it, really? In a performance of this piece in Firenze, Cornford described it as two cathode ray tube TVs amplified with brain wave sensors. The ECG pick-ups are attached to the TVs to amplify them. An amplifier, or oscillator, is fed into the TVs video input where he then picks up the TV screens electromagnetic emissions. He’s recording the energy of the tubes and seeing if they have a brainwave, so to speak. Fascinating, really and truly. The two sides of the 45 are gentle, repeating electronic heartbeats of static and fuzz. Variations occur with every pulse even though the pattern may at times seem similar. As each piece progresses, the differences in sound are more apparent. Everything is alive. Cornford also runs Consumer Waste Records which puts out electronic and electroacoustic recordings. Bravo.

Bunkbed – “Substance Abuse/ Grasping for Reasons” – [Let’s Go Records]

Thurston Hunger   6/30/2018   7-inch, A Library


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
meantime.
Thurston Hunger

Hero Zero – “Hero Zero” – [self]

Thurston Hunger   6/30/2018   7-inch, A Library

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
jewel.
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
Royal Trux.
Good stuff, better times. -Old Man Hunger

Screaming Bloody Marys – “Musica De La Revolucion!” – [Zip Records]

Max Level   6/12/2018   7-inch, A Library

Hell yes! Local ass kicking punk rock. The Screaming Bloody Marys were around in the 80s-90s, went on hiatus, and are back now playing shows and recording. This 7″ came out in 2017. Side A: Cranked up beat and big guitars. Johnny’s dead, too bad. Side B: Bob Dylan’s “Masters of War” done with a march-flavored beat, a wall of guitar, and some wicked theremin by my new favorite vocalist Angelique, who belts it out like crazy on both sides. East Bay Ray is on here someplace.

Eine Dunkle Symbiose Aus Tod & Ewiger Finsternis [coll] – [Eclipse of Live Promulgation]

Lord Gravestench   4/28/2018   7-inch, A Library

‘A Dark Symbiosis of Dead and Eternal Darkness’ split 2005.

Side A ‘Death’ – Elisabetha- Elisabetha (split 2008) were from Germany. They used to be Black Metal, but then they went full Neoclassical retard. It seems that this split has been released twice with the same Nachtmahr material on the other side— on the CD version it’s a bizarre black metal track on Elisabetha’s side but on this 7” version you get keyboards… is it “Dungeon Synth,” Renfield? Derision apart, the take on Darkwave, dedicated to E.A. Poe, is actually fairly apt.  There’s a heartbeat in there too, and some spoken word in Deutsch. Are any of the instruments real?

Side B ‘Darkness’ – Nachtmahr- Two tracks from the now-inactive German project, founded 1996. Don’t get them confused with the Electro-Industrial project or the other Black Metal band from Germany! This is primitive symphonic BM with lyrics from Goethe (on the first track) and really cheap synth parts that sound strangely divorced from the other instruments, kind of like hearing two songs at once. A+ for the mindfuck, and perhaps they even meant for this to happen. They shot for Emperor/Enslaved epic Valhallan feels and got something a bit more ‘special.’ I will play this side.

Henry Blacker /Black Bombaim (split 7″) The New Evil /God Unknown

Max Level   4/24/2018   7-inch, A Library

A Side: UK trio Henry Blacker offers a spare rocker built on a repeating descending guitar riff. Heavy bass and drums. Good and crunchy with inspired yelling replacing the calm vocals in a couple of places.
B Side: Portuguese trio Black Bombaim cranks out a high energy psyche-rocker with an alien-sounding guitar line commanding attention, as the rhythm section pounds away relentlessly. This side is instrumental.

Eroded / Paganizer [coll] — [Imperium Productions]

Lord Gravestench   4/22/2018   7-inch, A Library

2006 split on a German label.

Eroded- German project from Bochum, North Rhine-Westphalia. “Old school DEATH METAL – no fucking compromises.” Indeed, they offer a dark, heavy take that’s tight in all the right places, worshiping at the altar of Incantation — “dulce et decorum est.” Well, I guess they aren’t reinventing the wheel, but who fucking cares, these two tracks make for an enjoyable ten minutes. The second one is called ‘The Goats of Heaven,’ which is pretty humorous.

Paganizer- more Death Metal, this time from Swedead. This prolific group was founded in 1998. Their sound here takes many cues from the D-Beat Hardcore of bands like Totalitar. No blasts, but it is fast and furious with a thickly Entombed guitar tone. With two songs clocking at about two minutes each, this side is less than half as long as Eroded’s, which by the way I preferred.

Wolfsschrei / Isaz [coll] — [Raging Bloodlust Records]

Lord Gravestench   4/22/2018   7-inch, A Library

2006 split on a German label from two German Black Metal bands, limited to 500 copies.

Formed in Thuringia in 2004, Wolfsshrei is the solo project of ‘Taaken,’ also of the great Odal. Make no mistake- this is the better side, with punishing drums, elegantly depressing riffage, and ferocious delivery. Unfortunately it’s only one track. This band is more Satanic than the one on the reverse. Wolfsshrei means ‘Wolf Scream’ in German.‘Leichentanz’ means corpse-dance.

Isaz – Germany, founded 1996, this trio didn’t record very much, splitting a few years prior to this split. These two tracks are raw and thrashy with real menace in the vocals at times, somewhat similar to Russia’s Nav’. The second one is perhaps the better of the two. Like a lot of German Pagan BM, they draw inspiration from the Germanic pagan reconstructionists of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Isaz is a Proto-Germanic rune meaning ‘’ice.’

Gem – “Sheep” – [Car Crash Records]

Max Level   4/10/2018   7-inch, A Library

A rockin’ 7″ from 1995. I couldn’t find much info on Gem other than one of the members is/was Doug Gillard who has connections to Guided By Voices and My Dad Is Dead. Side A “Sheep” is hard-charging and relentless and would probably have stirred up a mosh pit back in the day. I like the thick guitars all through the song. Side B “Smiling All The While” is an indie-pop type of thing with more in the way of arrangement than Side A. Shimmering guitars and a hard rhythm section. “Apartment Life”-ish I’d say. Solid.

Borigor/ Ceremonial Execution [coll] – [Erode Releases]

Lord Gravestench   3/30/2018   7-inch, A Library

 

2004 split

Ceremonial Execution = Swedish Death Metal featuring both guitarists from the mighty Vanhelgd. Riffy and melodic. ‘Dawn of the Dead’ sample on the first song, which is the better one. The better song, I mean. I like all three of the original ‘Dead’ movies (yes, even ‘Day’). I’m not crazy about ‘Land of the Dead,’ though. Anyway, this is reasonably solid Death Metal, so come on in because the bloodbath is nice and warm.

Borigor = Germans; their guitarist is named Lars Ulbrich, which is one letter away from Lars Ulrich. His brother is in the band too (Ulbrich’s, not Ulrich’s). “Brutal” Death-Grind falling short of the intended Suffocation. This was the band’s only release… Bore-Igor?

Hype Williams – “Han Dynasty I” – [De Stijl Records]

lexi glass   2/13/2018   7-inch, A Library

Hype Williams is a joke band with a joke name, but it’s the 2010s, when jokes can lead the free world or make the Album of the Year list on your dad’s favorite alternative music website. This 2009 7″ from de Stijl brings us back to where it all began with Dean Blunt and Inga Copeland. Why music snobs lose their shit over these two is something I have never understood, and these tracks don’t really shed any light. The A side of haunted dub is the best, the B side is a lo-fi smoky synth melody with a fake ending. And the jokes don’t stop – play this 7″ at 33 1/3.

Drag The River – “Losers/ Marooned” – [Last Chance Records]

humana   1/14/2018   7-inch, Country

Well, this Colorado country band is pretty mellow, and the downtempo songs go along quite well with their band name. The studio versions are on Side A, and the live versions are on B. They aren’t that much different, although the live ones sound a bit grittier and more affecting. Great for a grey, overcast day. Just have some ice cream on hand to pick you up.

Homler, Anna & Moss, David/ Kommissar Hjuler & Mama Baer [coll] – [Psych.KG]

Louie Caliente   11/1/2017   7-inch, A Library

This crystal-clear lathe-cut 7″ is part of the FLUXUS +/- series of recordings put out by Kommissar Hjuler on the Psych.KG record label. One of only 25 that were produced.

The A side features two stunning collaborations from Anna Homler and David Moss. Homler is a visual, performance, and vocal artist known for using imaginary languages to explore meaning and communication. Moss is a composer and percussionist who has also developed a unique vocal improvisational style.

“Steel Drum Song” (A1) features Homler’s characteristic vocals, soothing and strangely exotic, coupled with Moss’s faster and more rhythmic and utterances, almost like frogs or crickets. A steel drum melody serves to bridge the two worlds.

“Conversation” (A2) is just that — a passionate improvised conversation in two unreal and alien languages. The mood starts hectic and argumentative, but changes pace as Moss becomes low and guttural while Homler becomes more dulcet and comforting.

The B side contains the work of Kommissar Hjuler and his wife Mama Baer. Hjuler is German sound and visual artist, film maker, and police officer.

“Coming Undone” (B1) is a lumbering lo-fi free-folk-rock jam. Polyrhythmic bangs and whistles. Lyrics in English with German accents. Mama Baer is solo on “Mikrooganismus” (B2), a 40 second warbling screech and scream, maybe some footsteps?

Seafang – “Solid Gold/ Stardust” – [Emotional Response Recordings]

humana   10/22/2017   7-inch, A Library

Of course I love this 7″ dimension of wonder because it’s shoegaze from a quintet in St. Petersburg, Florida. “Solid Gold” is an upbeat, fast-paced number, while “Stardust” is a bit slower, but both are fine examples of lovely haze with Heidi’s pretty vocals backed by the band’s energetic guitars, drums, and bass. Think Go-Gos KFJC-style.

Unholy Triforce – “Cru/cifict/ion” – [Auris Apothecary]

Max Level   10/10/2017   7-inch, A Library

I don’t know why the hell we are adding this to the KFJC music library. Clearly it does not WANT to be added. It’s a limited edition (61 copies) one-sided clear plastic square with eight little black nails driven through it, and a ninth glued across the spindle hole in the middle. If no one ever plays it, who could blame them? If nothing else, it serves as a cool, fucked-up piece of art, but what the Auris Apothecary people really want is for you to figure out some way to play it. Disassemble it or whatever. Don’t just admire it–use it. Nothing worth having comes easy is the message I get. This thing–the nails have been removed for your convenience–has one track (1:30) of PURE NOISE lathe-cut into it. Yes, one brutal track that is a mere minute and a half long, but it ends in a locked groove, so the playing time is actually infinity.

Extreme America 3 [coll] – [Knot Music]

Louie Caliente   10/1/2017   7-inch, A Library

Compilation 7″ showcasing the wide variety of extreme sounds emanating from the West Coast (of Michigan) during the late 90s. From power electronics to skronk-rock to more power electronics, this little record has it all!

Each song has a distinct feel, but they all track together. Good luck playing just one!

A side.
OO Species: Sirens, grinding metal, wailing static.
Walled Lake: Low-frequency rumblings, train blues, Americana guitar, hypnosis. Bonus fact: Walled Lake is named for the backwoods town where Louie C used to buy alcohol, cigarettes, and fireworks as a teenager.
Flutter: Pure electronic cacophony, oscillator scribblings, overloaded circuit bending.

B side.
Lockweld: More distorted electronics and machine noises. Liner notes indicate “vocals” but they are unrecognizable.
Audible XXY: Semi-cinematic samples, electronics, and ominous tape loops. Like walking down a long dark hallway.
Better Disease: Good old fashioned Michigan skronk-rock. The best kind. Guitar, drums, sax, and screams.

Cotillion Soul 45’s [coll] – [Cotillion Records]

humana   10/1/2017   7-inch, Soul

Oh what fun it is to open a box of 10 7″ discs recorded in 1968- 1970 on the Cotillion label and dance to the soul sounds of artists including Darrell Banks, C and the Shells, Moses Smith, and Lou Johnson. There are ballads on here, too, and the liner notes are a must-read for cool background info. Covers of “Ain’t No Sun” and “Do Right Woman, Do Right Man” are highlights. Pick any disc and get your soul groovin’!