KFJC 89.7FM

Thurston Hunger

Pratt, Jessica – "Quiet Signs" – [Kemado Records]

Thurston Hunger   10/26/2019   12-inch, A Library

I remember KFJC’s Harry Haller extolling the virtues
and vibe of Jessica to me years ago. Thanks! Here she
returns for her third full length, not a gal in a rush.
Gentle songs with “Quiet Signs”, emanating from the
car you just passed on the side of the road with its
driver in tears. Mostly the album is Jessica’s voice
over a nylon acoustic, but some nice production from
Al Carlson sinks you deeper into the cushions. Al adds
a flute flourish to end “Fare Thee Well” other tracks
bring in a distant synth, like a merry-go-round in
the dreams of someone sleeping next to you. Does
Jessica give a nod to San Jose on “Here My Dear”
(which seems to know the way, melodically). That song
is NOT a Marvin Gaye bitter dedication to you. But this
album was inspired by a Cassavetes film? Muses work
in strange ways and Hollywood record shops I guess.
Like her debut, Pratt’s voice fits so cozily into the
microphone and snuggles up in your headphones. Listen to
her voice on “This Time Around”, a gentle outline of
reverb. When she goes high, she’s a pixie, but her
lower register is a support koala bear. “Poly Love”
triggers a Burt Bacharach soft scatch on Broadway.
“Crossing” will be used as a killer theme for an
HBO show in three years, so love it now before the
world does (and dig how it flirts with English folk).
“Silent Song” has almost a hymn-like entrance. An album
of love songs but roses do come with a thorn or two.
-Thurston Heartbroken

Gong Gong Gong – "Phantom Rhythm" – [Wharf Cat Records]

Thurston Hunger   10/26/2019   A Library, CD

Percolating rock from a wok made in Hong Kong by way of
China and Canada but studio-fried in Brooklyn. Two guitars
sound a little like a Gang of Four (the band not politicos)
or an echo of the Archie Bronson Outfit. Galloping sense of
industrial blues and riveting rhythms. Maybe the solution
to the Spinal Tap dilemma is here, create drum-proof rock.
The album’s subtitle nails it “Phantom Rhythm.” Hammerdown.
Load your songs with humbucking chunks of percussive guitar
flecks and bass bop slaps, and crunch away. Check out the
instrumental “Night’s Colour (Chongqing)” as an example, it
feels like Congotronic amplified thumb-pianos. Their “Blues”
on #6 has a guitar break like a helicopter w/ guns. Vox in
Cantonese I think, ask your kids or Tom Ng who penned them.
This record insistently grew on me. Don’t miss “Moonshadows”
with an ESG-esque funk that breaks down to snort “White Lines”
on its choruses. Pretty sure I saw LeBron James and Xi Jinping
having a dance-off on that one. The dirty tone on the guitars
on this is pure bliss. Tariff stare-off, don’t forget to rock.
-Thurston Hunger

L. Voag – "Way Out, The" – [Superior Viaduct]

Thurston Hunger   10/26/2019   12-inch, A Library

Reissue from Jim Welton, erstwhile Homosexuals de-bassist.
Perplexing sketches with dashes of pop, but large chunks
of imagination. Use a spoon, maybe Syd Barrett’s old one.
In 1979, well before Camper van Beethoven even thought about
bowling, Welton was fiddling in the “Kitchen.” Hell this lp
even eclipses Tuxedomoon’s debut by a bit. Sax and violin
shaken and strung. Surf + rubbery ruminating bass + tribal
drums + delayed vox-vox-vox, that’s all in one cur – “Living
Room.” The album is definitely room-y. Lot’s o’ bric-a-brac
on each track. “Helping the Police With Their Enquiries”
is a nice faux soundtrack with art brut as an accomplice.
Just a hard to pin down album, go gaga over dada? Welton
not afraid to apply plunderphonics to the mix. Man, even if
I’m not close to the inside of the joke, I’m still happy
enough to sing along with “Your Own Hair – Your Own Chance”
Were you too frustrated or too entertained to make your
way to the Avon Calling moment in “Beauty Spreads” or how
about “According to Freud.” Don’t tell anyone but them
thar be songs, but the album is so much more. Reminds me
of UK Paradigm Discs stuff KFJC connected with a ways back,
and sure enough Welton’s own label – It’s War Boys –
originally issued some of those ear-bender mind-blenders.

L. Voag has entered the KFJC building/library
hope his tunes find you and “The Way Out.”

-Thurston Hunger

Preening – “Gang Laughter” – [Digital Regress]

Thurston Hunger   8/21/2019   12-inch, A Library

Back on the Nordile track, Max Nordile that is (see Uzi Rash and The Trashies among other Oaklandish output in KFJC’s library). Max provides vocals and sax here, the sax he adds is nicely all over the place, skronky, slippery, sweet and multi-tracked as on “Red Tape.” He’s joined by Sam Lefevbre (Warm Soda) on drums and Alejandra Alcala on bass and also vox. In a slight way, their sound reminds me of Iconoclast as a sort of obtuse spin on the many angles of old school New York No Wave. But with Max on board, there’s a spazzy punky rant to the vocals. His voice is elastic; do muppets get drunk? Or do they hang out with Bobcat Goldthwait? Anywho I dig his “singing” but definitely it helps when Alejandra adds in some voice too. Her more tranquil spoken and sane approach helps to accentuate the wacky packages o’ lyrics. For example

“Just a nostril away” or

“Grandfather of the year very clean.”

Or on track 9 where Max and Alejandra repeatedly sing “Water Closet” back and forth to each other. And it might just be me, but my fave song “Flotilla” makes plenty of sense to me, and I’m not even a grandfather….as far as I know? Lefevbre’s drums keep the energy taught. Songs are short, fly by at 45 rpm. At times, like the instro title track, other sounds are dropped in like a plinky toy piano and trumpet, but it is really that odd take on a power trio plus the crazed cartoon vibe that make Preening keen!

     -Thurston Hunger

Christensen, Stefan – “Shake Off The Village” – [C/Site]

Thurston Hunger   8/21/2019   12-inch, A Library

The Connecticut connection that brought us the Reptile Ranch reissue has got his own modern thing going on.  Apparently this came out in 2017, before that Stefan was in and on The Estrogen Highs (KFJC has a 7″). Those pop drop days though ran into more heavy weather it seems. His “solo” outing  (some friends help out) has searing guitars, some brittle drums (David Shapiro) and a dour kind of aire that puts me in mind of New Zealand raw/rawk.  (And I typed that *before* reading online that Stefan is indeed a big fan of the mighty Alastair Galbraith.) This whole album would sit and sound quite nicely by Galbraith’s “Mirrorwork.” Check how “Christfire” here bursts electric out of its ramshackle acoustic beginning, and perishes in raging feedback. At “8AM Sharp” we get a military firing line snare drum, with a two-chord teeter-totter guitar under a deadpan dreary diary reading. Donuts and no-quarter on the rising noose of the local news. Potential soundtrack if there’s ever a sequel to “The Execution of Private Eddie Slovik.” “Mr Marquis” shows up next, this is about as peppy/poppy as Stefan’s going to get in the Village. A big strum of acoustic guitar, with a Clean guitar line guiding his voice. Might be an ode to an old high school teacher, definitely had a different shine than most of the album. The closer “Off Minor” clocks in at nearly 9 minutes of Stefan and friends slugging out a fuzzy fury with an overcast sky, sliding a rock ballad through a Vertical Slit, at 6.5 minutes it morphs from studio to stage to jam its way down an amplifier’s throat. I dug “Christfire” and “Over Scrawl” (with some of that kinda AG backwards sounding guitar/ebow/wft beauty). That “Scrawl” bleeds on into “Silverware” so be careful….or don’t and just enjoy the ride.

Reptile Ranch – “Reptile Ranch” – [C/Site]

Thurston Hunger   6/28/2019   12-inch, A Library

Well-preserved Welsh jams from the late 70’s. So stoked to see this reissue after having a taste courtesy of a couple of songs off Messthetic collections. Reptile Ranch were tied to a Cardiff scene that included the Young Marble Giants, booklet includes their manifesto for busting out Z Block Records. Songs are poppy catchy in a certain light, but with a twitchiness that distinguishes them over the decades. “Waterhole” has a warped entrance, some orchestral moves in the dork, before a peppy bassline locks in, with those shimmery seventies keyboards sounding like a siren. Many tracks work in those sensible but simple synths from Simon Smith, who also sings and adds some guitar. Spike aka Alun Mark Williams, provides the snakey guitar work that cuts nicely. Phil John apparently was both halves of the rhythm section, bass and percussion. The LP includes some raw live club cuts on side A, for those who want the “you were there vibe” but the studio sounds bristle with youthful thistles. “W.T.B” (White Tyger Burning) marches and the guitars burble, “Lifeguard” has a tiny splash of early Roxy as the keyboards push and pull the track in little circles; similar keys on “Saying Goodbye” the album closer. “Lifeguard” even floats in some wood flute. Powered by dour outlooks (hello “Young Executives”) quite a nice bit all these years later, kudos to Stefan Christensen and however he made a Connecticut connection to the Ranch hands.

Hey, lookin’ up Chuck Warner (Messthetics/etc) old site, found this
http://www.hyped2death.com/z-block.htm

-Thurston Hunger

Surplus 1980 Collectiv Ensemble With G.W. Sok – “Forget All This” – [Music a La Coque]

Thurston Hunger   6/28/2019   A Library, CD

Kinetic tick-tick-tock attack chock-block full o’ G.W.
Sok-talked vox. Lengthy pieces not just propelled but perforated by percussion. Sok, an ex-Ex type takes the marching music orders from the mighty Moe Staiano (surely an Ex fan, hell his Emeryville studio is named
Ex’pression!), anyways G.W. plucks lyrics from a deep stream of consciousness, that affords a fjord between Elvis in Wonderland and Alice Presley. A touch of Jefferson ErrorKlang too, though I feel Moe owes more to Arnold Dreyblatt and Glenn Branca. There are “only” four guitarists here (including John Shiurba!). Apparently this is the superset of all Surpluses past and present. 12 local Metro-gnomes + Sok as Jesus or Judas, your choice! Moe is nothing if not magnetic, and a charming host. At times the machinery of the music is a bit much, so when you hit a whistle break like in “Gutter” or the oboe/upright bass weaving on “Flim Flam” it does help to blow off steam. Mostly the trains are rapidly running on time here.
All aboard…..
-Thurston Hunger

If you are offended by either a blowjob or a snowjob, then be wary of #4. Personally I HATE snowjobs…

Frank Hurricane and The Hurricanes of Love – “Life Is Spiritual” – [Feeding Tube Records]

Thurston Hunger   6/28/2019   12-inch, A Library

Frank looks so much like KFJC’s luvvable Honey Bear, it makes it hard not to smile while just looking at the cover. Similarly for listening to these breezy, bluesy acoustic hippie jams. Puts a bandaid on your soul and
a banjo on your need. Twelve-string rings throughout some tracks. Frank cranks up the falsetto at times to let it soar through the valleys, dig “On a Hill” and “Johnson City Blues.” While there’s a lyrical (lysergical?) thread of going on a spiritual trip and his songs map out various destinations for tour buses and bussing, Frank is not above the cosmic joke. Dishing on Dylan, he gets “tangled up in pubes” and sees Shrymps as often as Burroughs saw Mugwumps. Well, the Shrymp’s seem more benevolent, though I’m not steeped in Hurricane lingo + lore. Watch out for the Tennessee Pigeon River Ghoul, he might trap Frank and you in a pool hall for eternity. Nah, you both can find yer way home via “Mooneye Travelin
Blues.” Me? I got stuck in a “Holy Mountaintop Rainstorm” digging a bit of brass and looking around for Jodorowsky and Rubin Carter.
-Thurston Hunger

Aksak Maboul – "Un Peu De L'Ame Des Bandits" – [Crammed Discs]

Thurston Hunger   6/2/2019   12-inch, A Library

Holy Henry Cow! Dear 1977, you were more alive than I was back then.
Crammed Discs master Marc Hollander put together this band in ’77,
and this album originally came out in 1980, now released with
bonafide bonus work (see insert CD with vinyl)
“A Modern Lesson” is a Bo Diddley vs Les Georges Leningrand-standing
oddbop oddball. Followed by strings in syrup for “Palmiers en Pots”
which tangles itself into a tango of sorts, clarinets reminiscing
about the girl who got away when WWII hit. “Geistige Nacht” comes
along and it’s a sort of jazz-flecked prog instrumental. The curse
of diversity in full effect, along with a different language for
every song title so far. Next up an Italian title and a dry
drum and sahara-esque windswept vibe, plus either I’m hallucinating
or there’s an oasis filled with a Romanian maiden choir. “I Viaggio
Formano El Giaventu” snake-charmed by black heart the most so far.
Killer mesmerizing track! “Inoculating Rabies” rides a punk
railroad track with clarinet duet horns. “Microscope” is the
most “experimental” of the bunch, staining slides of sound
as microinstrumentals twitch under the glaring heat/light. Cools
off with vibes and electric piano after awhile (mandatory for any
flavor of “fusion”?) but kind of marches into some carnival
sounds. “Alluvions” has more of that prog-like, twitchy fusion
feel, but more comic, and some foley artist walking his horse
through the song. Clip clop and a fine Frith fretblast eventually.
Was there speaking in tongues on “Age Route Brra!”

The bonus CD (“Before and After Bandits”) rewards the long-time fans,
with new ones at KFJC likely to be born as this is our first Aksak
attack (we have a single track on a Recommended Sampler, and that is
all however Art Bears and Honeymoon Killers and Catherine Jauniaux
a-plenty oh my). Hefty booklet maps out various phases of Aksak Maboul
(apparently the band’s name, each word a form of “madness”, Arabic
first and French Slang). There is a current phase touring today by
the by, and a new album in the works.

Like sex in front of your pet (as depicted on the artwork) this album can
be a bit awkward but undeniably quite pleasurable, errm well, I’m guessing…
Shuck off your expectations, and enjoy.
-Thurston Hunger

Village of Spaces – "Shaped By Place" – [Feeding Tube Records]

Thurston Hunger   6/2/2019   12-inch, A Library

Village of Spaces “Shaped By Place” 33
My first thought on a blind listen : What if Bonnie Prince Billy
never saw a darkness? That was followed by a touch of Skip Spence
rowing gently through my mind. This is folk(y) record, where
there is happiness, there is psyche (opener dosed sitar-esque),
there is harmony, there is a family vibe… The trunk of the
family tree is Dan Beckman-Moon and Amy Moon Offerman-Sims
and the bark from it builds an acoustic guitar found on every
track. Plenty of guests climb on, up on a branch a KFJC uncle
even Phactors in. Lyrics are pastoral, if not purely organic.
Even when they graze the blues there is a sweetness, like on
“Tired for the Moon” (Perhaps that track is an apology from one
Moon orbitting another?) That said there is no Keith Moon
in the mix, this is a drum-free zone. It’s a gentle album,
almost an acoustic mass. How mellow? How about humming featured
on “Woodworker’s Litany.” That’s one of two covers of Maine
folkie Gordon Bok’s work on the album
https://staff.kfjc.org/spidey/zkid.php?id=819749
Speaking of Maine, where Amy/Dan reside also drops of Big Blood
are in the mix, “Light On” shines strong and Caleb from the
Blood is a studio mid-husband for this recording. It’s a calm
and well-adjusted folk-ified outing, sounds like Amy/Dan’s
young child snuggles in on “Berry to Berry” before the
“Neighbor’s Jam” gets spread out with a Van Morrison
drive-by reference.
-Thurston Hunger

Lie Detectors – "Part III Secret Unit" – [Chant Records]

Thurston Hunger   6/2/2019   A Library, CD

Dangerous Dan reviewed this internally for the KFJC
criminals, but I confess to being a fan of it as well
Offering this review to help encourage the guilty.
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
So one of them is wearing a wire, or wound up in multiple
wires, that would be guitarist Eyal Maoz. The other handles
batterie and assault percussive, Asaf Sirkis. Good cop,
better cop? Their buddy pic apparently has been running
40+ years, starting back as pre-teens in Israel. So their
silent communication is downright brotherly at this point.
No need for a bassist to translate. No bass also keeps
Maoz’s playing tuneful while plenty explorative. The duo
eschew sprawling 20 minute epics and deliver tight tracks
with distinct themes. A key aspect is Maoz’s superb tone
variation. “Rice” burns 70’s heavy metal and 2 minutes in
there is some striking digital feedback. Many songs have
nice knob and string bending. “Closer” has drier guitar
and a semi-western flare over bo-diddly bursts, but in the
gulches between gallops, Maoz delivers tweaky backwards-esque
guitar effects and Sirkis flutters brushes. Fans of the
Mermen could dive in on that. If you want a clean elecric
bop take, get stung by “Sting.” “Flying Horse” threatens to
boogie, but has that Ribot kinda stumble while Sirkis dances
ahead and behind the string work. Sirkis has several solo runs,
including tuned tom meditations on “Tree” the album’s
most gentle number. 1+1 adds up to much more, and that’s the
truth. -Thurston Hunger

Collette, Ned – "Old Chestnut" – [Feeding Tube Records]

Thurston Hunger   6/2/2019   12-inch, A Library

Feeding Tube regurgitated this stately 2018 “Chestnut”
from Kate Reid’s It Records in Australia. New Collette
produces a Melbourne slow-burn, acoustic guitar ballads
embellished in a dark shell of sound. Slow polished
piano on many tracks. A slight shade of synth here and
there to trace the melody. His songs tilt towards starkness,
if not lament. Cello appears twice to underscore the latter,
even on a track called “The Optimist” (a few brief rays of
light there including the rippling coda at the end of that
track are as bright as things are going get). The instro
“Wakanui” buzzes in some electric guitar, still this lp
operates nearer emotionally to Robert Wyatt or Richard Youngs
than Alastair Galbraith. Another instro, “No Wonder You
Look So Forlorn” hits the nail on its sad rusted head.
Collette’s vocals are paced with space, sometimes spoke-sung,
or brought conspirationally near kudos Rashad Becker’s
mastering. Other guest voices chime in notably with a
cool bubble of background vocals on “Snaky Song.” Faves
include “Sacred Cats” also a long building “June” with
Chris Abrahams of The Necks on piano. The nattily rattle
of “Stateless Brave” stood out, and echoed the “Forlorn”
melody from earlier. Lyrically, the album often hovers
over the abyss of death, but hey who doesn’t?
“But we stand in defiance of
the smoke that issues daily from the mortuary.”
Personally, I wonder if the cremators stand with us? Anyways
maybe more a slow-churn, than a slow-burn… Awaits your
urge to dirge in balanced ballads.
-Thurston Hunger

In Their Own Voices : a Century of Recorded Poetry [coll] – [Rhino Records]

Thurston Hunger   6/2/2019   A Library, CD

112 poems, 80 poets. Some get a double dose, a few a triple
dip. David Ignatow has five, but who’s counting? Not T.S. Eliot
who resides elsewhere in KFJC’s library, like several on here
and left off this 1996 collection. Life, like collections are
finite. Dear Reader, wth bending and bleeding ear…observantly
you saw the title, before the poem started, so you know you are
getting the mind and the mouth of every poet here. In some cases,
an audience joins in the fray, frothing with Ferlinghetti, or
goosing on Ginsberg while he gooses himself, drinking with Bukowski
in his latter well-toasted years. A few others mix music with their
musings, Kerouac and sax of course joined at the hep. Zimmer quiets
a piano, later lists out musicians and poets and even doffs his cap
to Roberto Clemente and Thurman Munson. Leonard Cohen stings his song
with a folk phalanx in close formation. Amiri Baraka punctuates his
“Shazam Doowah” with “oh-wahwahs” as only he could.
The oration styles are pretty fascinating.
There IS a LOT of that poetic PAUSE and PUSH.
but so much more.
Defter DJ mixers perhaps can beat match orator’s cadence and techno tempos.
The collection is well stitched, clever connections for those who might
listen from Vol 1 through to Vol 4. We are told to go neither Gentle nor
Naked into the good night, Mark Strand summons Wallace Stevens. Fancy queens
follow each other, with the phenomenal Maya Angelou going first. Many of
the poets are long gone (the collection starts with Whitman and Yeats
speaking beyond the cemetery gates), and quite a few have died since
this came out on CD (a medium itself spinning towards its own demise?)
Surely the majority knew the price of mortality and it fueled their
creation, they aimed to have their words live on, but with this release,
their voices do as well
-Thurston Hunger

Cabinet De Curiosites [coll] – [Monsterk7]

Thurston Hunger   1/18/2019   A Library, CD


Hodge-podge from the white-lodge and a donation by our
chief engine-ear, salud Monsieur Earl Grey! We get a
French fried compilation of world-wide ingredients.
Some of them quite aged as the liner sheets indicate
1982 Look de Bouk with Martial Canterel on board. The
collection is a blast, with plenty of toy joys, cartoony
tunes, and audio oddities to keep you on your toes while
still keeping your toes tapping. It’s often peppy in the
most charming, infectious way. Several artists summon
choirs, Daniel Padden (Volcano the Bear) and lead-off
Lionel Fondeville, so the album feels larger than a lot
of tinkerers tailoring their keys to your quirky needs.
Some faves, Sacha Gattino was sorta a what if Arvo Part
was happy but then he adds in bleepy ping pong. #12 A&E
has a japanese folk chant while playing Operation and
turns a wrenched ankle into Cibo Matto-esque rap-ture.
Tracks cover a lot in a short time, with speed traps
from De Felippis and magic monkeys with Wevie Stonder.
Wevie’s one of the few projects KFJC has connected with
in the past, several artists on here make their debuts
ANY where. Tres cool. Art Brut toot suite case.
Really a do not miss release! -Thurston Hunger

Savage Republic – “Aegean” – [Mobilization]

Thurston Hunger   1/18/2019   A Library, CD


Continuity is king in this Republic. They lost
their founder some time ago, but the band marches
on in this their most recent (2014) full length.
Literally marches, that heavy martial beat remains a
staple (opening track hits with huge cinematic action).
Slashing, reverby guitars with trace elements of
almost shoedive Lots of intros, voice shouted from the
ranks of rebellion. And this once upon an LA art
scene band return to their Grecian formula/friction
for this, with former Tuxedomoon-man Blaine
Reininger providing violin worthy of an oracle.
Emad Gabra’s oud slithers in on two others. Stella
Papanyydreopoulou sing soothes on the title track,
that’s really part of a song cycle from tracks 7-9.
The whole album is very well sequenced, a polished
flow to it. Themes appear and are reprised. “Omonia”
offers a brief different angle, hustle and funk with
a No-Wave verve, and cool male chant vox!! And right
before it short, sweet backwards “Exarchia.” If this
album is a riot, it is a well-structured one ;>
-Thurston Hunger

Scarcity of Tanks – “Garford Mute” – [Total Life Society]

Thurston Hunger   1/18/2019   12-inch, A Library


Clevelad Matthew Wascovich fronts a pretty snazzy revolving
door. Borbetomagicians and Sun City gargoyles have visited
at times past. On this release the crew includes Minuteman
Mike Watt, Weasel Walter wreaking drum punishment and
stealing the show, Steve Mackay. Steve’s sax really stands
out on his work during side C of this gatefold grinder.
When he first shows up on the shutdown breaks in “Us Pushy”
things sizzle a little differently. Wascally Wascovich
looks to pump up Stooge energy, and the abstract lyrics
professed over punk does connect back to Watt’s early
ways. Maybe a hint of “Camper van Beefheart” in the mix
too, but mostly the song are choogling guitar 4 by 4, with
rhythm guitar (Doug Gillard of GBV?) up front, and then
other guest guitarists kinda noodling around the chords.
Gets a little airtight at times, that’s where Mackay (RIP)
was so crucial for me. Wascovich kinda punches his poetic
pontifications, with a heavy right hook on the chosen
title/repeated mantra. Double-tracking his speaksong,
especially through effects early on in the record thickens
things. “Everything Zenith” is an outlier with its Paris,
Texas slide while a blindman cuts hair big scissors.
“Dunedin Signal” is also a little different as the chord
heavy distortion thins out some, still plenty o’ noodleage.
I wonder if he didn’t publish his lyrics to focus just on
the rock core? Been marching to the beat of his latest
favorite drummer for a decade straight in his Scarred City,
while we were sleeping on this, SoT released a new album.
-Thurston Hunger

ATM – “Inglewood Tapes Vol. 2” – [Radical Documents]

Thurston Hunger   1/14/2019   12-inch, A Library


Three dudes looking to make bank?!? Or rob one with the
ransom note track listing? We don’t have Vol 1, yet….
The promising and peculiar Radical Documents label from LA
is back with ATM’s second release straight outta Inglewood.
ATM acronymically being Alex (Becerra), Tony (Mackenzie)
and Matthew (Green). Proud and dorky with echoes of the 80’s.
Chop suey of choppy beats, sonic synthy styles and a little
pico de gallo. The album feels like a lark among three
friends, they meet us and immediately “Pull Down Your Pants”
which cycles some canned gamey show applause in and out with
a simple descending octaves on the bass end with squiggly and
flitty keys above it. Next up, it’s almost Men Without
Hats but instead trip the lightly lysergic on “No Time.”
“Sad Onion” and later “Slow Skronk” go electro flow and
drop in respective bursts of violin and sax improvy paroxysms.
“Sad Onion” makes me hungry. “Rave Nature” has these goofy
gyroscoping woooohs. “MDMA Bliss” attempts a romantic feel
with digital handclaps, and sorta goes Peaking Lights while
doing so. “Poetry” is pure B.S. Eliot. “Asco” easy come
easy go, with the best little riff over a galloping
drum machine. Dumb fun smarter than Brexit and NAFTA
combined, economically comic and again that Radical
label, dood!
-Thurston Hunger

Bender, John – “Pop Surgery” – [Superior Viaduct]

Thurston Hunger   1/14/2019   12-inch, A Library


The original CB? Circuit Bender? 1983 was when Bender’s
third and then final release came out, reissued right on
time 35 years later by Superior Viaduct. Well there was
some Record Slut and also mighty Vinyl-on-Demand action,
but the notion that Bender was ahead of this time is
pretty clear. Synthesized Cincinnati eclectic electronics
in the attic. Calling it “Pop Surgery” was a nice slice
of genius, as the tracks have a catchy wave to them,
it’s not a series of knob goblin spins. The percussion
too is almost cute and precise like a wind-up toy. The
music reminds me for some reason of the old Mattel
Merlin. More Cabaret Voltaire than Barnes and Barnes.
But the speak-sing, repetition of vocals and post
processing of them as well (see the end of “Blue”
or alien-tweaking voices on “Cows” where Bender’s
then-young song Max sneaks in) adds a spoonful of
sugar to the Surgery. His vocals can sometimes feel
like an old instructional video (“Dance” which you
can crossover to Detroit beats no problem).
Apparently the numbers with the song titles
indicate tapes from his bedroom/sonic laboratory
work. And he clearly likes having fun with the
tape itself, as on “Dance” and Amalgamelon.”
“Glass” is sharp, and a fave, just great sound
construction and a little disarming. “Meat” too
tastes sweet with a hint of cognitive dissonace with
a killer hook, well a meathook. Tracks come fast,
Faust and furious, but biting off two in a row in
a set is alright since it too 3+ decades for KFJC
to connect. -Thurston Hunger

Ugh [coll] – [Crash Symbols]

Thurston Hunger   11/11/2018   A Library, Cassette


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.
-Thurston Humbled

Speedway – “Speedway Underground Garage – An Imaginary Collection” – [Conrad Sound]

Thurston Hunger   11/11/2018   A Library, CD


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!
-Thurston Hunger

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