You might recognize the cassette opener from KFJC’s recent
Devil’s Triangle comp. Or maybe from watching Quintron and
Merzbow play hopscotch in Tron?? Noa Ver’s vox skip through
a 5 bit processor (bought with food stamps) and form their
own scratchy percussion which only highlights the sick stick
and swell cowbell from drumming powerhouse Zach D’Agostino.
Zach packs a marching band in his bloodstream, he carves
each tune a melody out of rhythm, which is excellent so
Noa can get up to her elbows and larynx in sterling circuit
disintegration. Somewhere on a drum-free break while
“Lazing in the Garden” I imagined Noa as a dental
hygenist jamming on the teeth and ears of a patient.
But it’s not like you need novocaine, Sea Moss has got
their finger on the noise nerve barrier and nails the pleasure
receptors time and again. Paired with a fellow Portland duo on
the flip cassette tip, similarly a weirdo wonder femme and a
killer drummer. Diana Oropeza drops thoughts and the mic, in her
singing proclamation style on their opener, then switching
to curandera invocations. TJ Thompson creates the electro
funk kinda like !!! and again flat-out kickass drumming.
“Afterthought” takes live-or-memorex horns and swirls ’em.
The Stomach reminds me of Mecca Normal in how I feel I’ve both
been warned and entertained. Short blasts from both that can help
your splice the sonic DNA of your show from no wave to drone to
hip-hop to funk to slambient to sparkle prog.
Hank Richardson rides alone as and on Speedway.
Late at night, bright streetlights and smooth
streets. Deep in the heart of Portland, Oregon.
This is four cassingles smooshed together in the
back seat under one seatbelt and road-burned on
a CDR. Stark rockabilly with yodelly hiccup vocals
and a few grunts from the pelvis. Speedway’s take
on Artie Glenn’s “Crying in the Chapel” instro sets
a nice naugahyde retro mood. Also from that “Trancer”
cassette, the title cut serves up synth conjuring a
bit of Badalamenti. “Gang Man” has Richardson at his
most baritone and alone…a drum machine by his side
riding shotgun. Some Alan Vega RIP on that one.
“Jukebox King” and “TV Dinner” are more in the
twang bar cannon. Could artwork done the I-5 to
San Jose by Kyle Pellet. Music made with pomade!
Another salvation seven inch, 2012 split on purty
powder blue vinyl. The Gospel Claws hail from some happy
suburb of Tempe AZ, bursting with dancey 80’s mod pop,
and a drop of holy water-cum-wine from the CCD classes
where they hatched plans for catchy hooks during catechism?
Singer Joel Marquard sings of ambition and with a hint of
British accent (a fine American pop tradition).
On the flipside, a one man band rises from Phoenix.
Owen Evans deserts his Andrew Jackson Jihad for a chance
to Roar (or is it ROAR?). Anyways, a slower paced start,
with mournful synth…that works its way through the
trees and a hazy “Dream” field to a few rays of joy. This
feels like a song that Brian Wilson’s psychiatrist was
trying to medicate and eradicate. Why? Rainy day pop is
not mental illness, certainly not in Phoenix, nor in my
house, nor in Mitch Lemay’s apartment on a winter day.
Portland Oregon four piece deliver the first full
length, picking up where their “Borrowed Floors” EP
left off. Angular anger, packed in little brittle
post-punk cuts. A weird blend of panic and calm,
especially in the husky numeric singing of Aubrey
Hornor. Her guitar combined with Mason Crumley’s
spark up a kind of minimal take on Television.
Mostly barre-chord-free, “Still Forms” has a sleazy
breeze to it, half chords on the half shell. Is it
their accidental take on reggae? “Boyce” closes side
A with a sort of slow police siren guitar interplay.
“Cheryl” is a steady song of unsteadiness, sounds
as if Aubrey’s singing “I’m not sure…I’m not sure.”
Vocal repetition and tight riffs chase themselves a lot.
Most of the album though builds energy when bassist
Bob Desaulniers can get a little more involved, and
drummer Wiley Hickson can pick up the pace. Songs
like “Edible Door” (!!) and “Excuse Generator” hit
like tiny TIA’s. With lyrics that saw your corpus callosum
in half, they feel like they are left over from a redacted
diary. But your knees are still working…old punk
dancing guy. That last track has a nice bizarro break,
beat poet with noisy improv.
Top-notch lo-fi, cherubic acoustic folk numbers
that pick up grit in lyrics and feedback on some
of the numbers. Eardrumheadrupture percussion
on #10. DIY worn on the literal CD sleeve, in
“No Compression/No Masters. Cut around the
ides of March 2015, I imagine the sting in
these songs remains for Jones. The lead off
number is a searing noisey joy, tooth in ear
material that doesn’t really return. The
pain afterwards is mostly conveyed vocally
and lyrically. Her voice keens and slices
corners through the flatness of a field
recorder. Like the long lost little sister
of the Mountain Goats. A little banjo on
the knee in #6, plenty of scrapes and bruises
on the knee elsewhere. That intersection of
raw and sweet makes for a Happy Meal for
Mikey and me, hopefully you too.
Four Regis-sides offer eight different remixes. Karl O’Connor
is Regis, this collection processes a variety of artists, but
pummelled and polished into bleakest ever bleak glory by Regis.
O’Connor is also part of Cub and was Family Sex when he was
younger (which sounds nastier than it should.) Anyways this
collection holds together well, and if you are in for one
spin, you are likely in for all. It starts with a killer take
on Ike Yard’s “Loss” retaining the chopped up vocals (sounding
like a police radio scrambled) but adds low-end synth helicopter
that helps the voices to grate. Things get even murkier after
that for Dalhous’ “He Was Human and Belonged with Humans”
the voices here are not chopped but dropped into a vortex of
sound. The Regis recipe involves a deep bass, with a
relatively minimal but maximally brutal approach. Slices
of industrial sounds are burnished in with the beats, lots
of times I find the end of a remix (like “Blood Witness”
and “This Foundry” perk my ears up as the suffocating
darkness separates for a moment). But then again the label
is Blackest Ever Black. The closing remix of “Plant Lilies
at My Head” is the least driven, flowery by comparison
to the others. Heavy hitting otherwise, especially that
opening duo. Get Beat Up. -Thurston Hunger
2017 release. possibly part of a “garment” series
(“11 Buttons” was another release paired with this).
This is comfy ambience, steady clank of sampled and
digital percussion, more like a mechanical heartbeat
than a rhythm. Soothing waves of synth, topped off
by samples of oceanology and ornitholgy, perhaps
striving for a natural relaxation. A Tokyo storm
shelter sound seeker, well I’m not even sure he’s
out of Tokyo, but I envision a guy trying to look
out past the skyscrapers and earscrapers. The album
has a uniform feel, you can easily soak into one
track and find yourself floating three tracks down.
Tokunaga’s segues are frequently seamless, dipping
for a gentle cross fade. Some repetive samples move
at a faster rate than the steady click/clank/pulses of
percussion. Check out “slab” as a masterful stitching
of such squiggling sounds, it also has volume-pedal
breathing of white wave noise. When this album both
soothes and unsettles it is at its most striking.
“slab” and “Diagonal” provide such frayed threads
in this overall sleek suit.
Motorcycle girl without a helmet pulls up beside you on the
freeway, never looks once at you, while you gaze at her. Casually,
she flips you off and then speeds off as her exhaust fills your
stupid sensible sedan. The exhaust tastes like this…
From the first thick bass synth notes, pitch shifted for your
discomfort, to the husky croak of Jae Matthews’ voice and
the well-tuned old school synths and drum machines, this
2014 cassette ep re-released on black vinyl spins a disco
dirge might beckon KFJC’s Belladonna back onto the dance
floor. Or the killing floor.
Agent Augustus Muller is Matthews’ partner in crime, the two
concoct a dark wave that is just about pitch wheel perfect,
his musical ambience and her vocal and pineal ache. If David
Lynch brings back his music show Twin Peaks for a third run,
and lets the still not-dead John Carpenter curate an episode,
expect this duo to wind up at the Roadhouse.
Coming out of Northampton (black?) Mass these days, but
spawned in Savannah, the same soil that Jarboe crawled
out of. Southern synth Goth at its most damned divine.
Side A slays, “Love” on side B is quite dizzying.
Fuzz from Ozzz. 2014 release from his hard-working septet from Melbourne. They roll with two drummers in case one of them has to go to the bathroom or have a heart attack, right when a guitarist is hitting his groove. Side A pretty much tracks straight on through, some kind of funky tape edits and manipulation at times, but the jams aren’t going to kick themselves out. How much do they love their 1-4-5 drive to stay alive on this release, they pay a guy to play harmonica. Paying their rhythm and dues! Stu Mackenzie is the guiding force, on this album he’s got the boys on a journey to the center of the pysch earth. He pens some killer hooks and is not afraid to bust out the flute when needed. Other albums (they release 3 every
15 days or somesuch) go for more prog moves, or more chipper pop (at other times his voice and songs remind me of Game Theory).
But this 12″ released in conjunction with Thee Oh Sees’ label is a solid modern hippy trip (they even borrow John Dwyer’s Boss effect that gives guitars and vocal yelps electronic quick hiccups).
B side offers a more mellow shade of fuzz. Fans of the Liverpool Psych fests, should enjoy the riff wrath.
Hollow Sunshine “Cold Truth b/w I Wandered ” 45
2014 single from this Seattle duo that listen to their elders. Slow and
thick (not Earth slow but slow) more shoegaze that sludge. Anvil anthems,
Reuben Sawyer is drummasaurus and guitarist and all non-mouth things.
Bass vertabrae support that kind of Projekt fuzzed guitar. Morgan Enos
sings steady above the thrum. His phrasing on “I Wandered” leans over
the edge of the riffs nicely. Even better when Nina Chase chimes in
some harmony vocals about halfway through. Could see that cut being a
chest-rattler live. Lean to the pop and you could connect these guys
to Charles Brown Superstar, step to the heavy and you might find Thou.
And apparently we can thank Thou for delivering us this slab of
Hollow Sunshine. -Thurston Hunger
[coll] : Godspunk Volume Three Backfilling our Godspunk collect ’em all void. Released in
2005, this comp starts in 1984. All’s well that starts well
with Orwell, and a dash of Subhumans too. The leadoff artist
Howl in the Typewriter is Mark Standing, the one who PUMF’s
up the volume of these comps. He’s a clever dude, his wry-fi
raps are the sweet chunks o’ spunk, from the F-to-the-C-to-the
muddereffing-shining-C. The 3 Ages of Elvis provide two takes
on rock, first whistle-jangle pop then Brit bangers and boogie.
Jungle to jeer Jesus by from Pissed Off. Norman piles multiple
cartoons into one instrumental. Litterbug with two straight
driving rockers dipped in teenage angst sauce. The Taurus
Board pilots simple techno with a George Carlin sample in
the passenger seat. Razor Dog’s got some bark. LDB = hip-hop,
indicted as old and white but my guess is MF Doom would find
it arresting. Reverends touched me, in a good way. UNIT is
kinda kooky, punky/proggy with flute roops, hell they sing
a song in Aztec(?!?). Kate Fear (a ruling name) makes plans
with Nigel Joseph for a synth/speak swirl ala Map 71. The
Time Flies! bounce beats with Brooklyn in the house via a
complaint line call on their first, then try on Les Baxter’s
old clothes while watching porn. The last Howl has 1:38
of silence before his rant. outStanding weirdos swimming
in the Black Pool gene pool. -Thurston Hunger
FCC #1, #4, #6, #8, #12, #21
Ronn, Christian / Mori, Ikue 33 rpm
“Chordis Et Machina”
Creepy calm? Ikue Mori is no stranger to KFJC’s library,
her DNA is in ours, but for years she’s been flying
hyperspeed into the singluarity of sound. The woman/machine
laptop/mindmeld. Her electronic signature often feels
extremely crisp, a hint of digital insects, quick flutter
of fragile wings, tiny little loops, and just a small patch
of fuzz on the antennae. Interesting to think of her
originally as a drummer, it’s like she has discarded the
beat and chased after the timbre of percussion. Well mostly,
there’s trace elements of funk on “Beyond the Forest” which
has a rhythm and bounce woven into it. Ikue’s joined here by
Christian Ronn of Denmark (his KFJC debut perhaps?). His piano
work is featured, fractured and fed into “Primodial Chaos”
(a 13 1/2 minute epic). He also offers Buchla thunder (well
more like gusts) but often is charge coupled with Ikue in
the well of the synthetic. Strange that the album is called
“Chordis Et Machina” as it’s heavy on the latter. “Spatium
Mutate” opens the LP like a can of soda, a laptop pop and
fizz to start, then gets into that calm vibe but with clicks
and tricks and squishy clean electronics. KFJC reviews used
to talk about soundscapes, and I think this duo builds nice
ones and then populates them with little digital critters.
“Loch Ness” hides more high-freq freaks than big bassy
monsters, really round pure tones, the way a robot might
whistle. Warning, it ends might quick and clipped. If you dig
this check out stuff from the Empreintes Digitales label
or marvel at the diversity Decker delivers on the mighty
Resipiscent local imprint (which released this in conjunction
with Tonometer and Nische-Ronn’s label). -Thurston Hunger
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.
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.