Thurston Hunger

Bennani, Abdelhai/Oki, Itaru/Silva, Alan/Sato, Makoto – “New Today, New Everyday” – [Improvising Beings]

Thurston Hunger   5/29/2016   CD, Jazz

Tenor saxman Abdelai Bennani Moroccan-born, then French-fed, creates
some tasty spaces that would feel right at home in Chicago. There’s
an Art Ensemble vibe here for me, pacing and spacing with some
eathy ancestral vibes (there’s even a track called “Tribes”)
You might recognize Alan Silva’s name on here, the bassman of
ESP and other lore goes spaceman with synth on the second of the
two disks. But the connection Bennani has made with Makoto Sato
on drums and especially Itaru Oki is fantastic. Oki mostly on trumpet,
adds some bugle and notably windy flutes. Oki is given a lot of solo
space, and while both he and Bennani can scorch things up, they excel
in gentle ways. Pieces are often dreamy, Sato then eases up and will
roll along on toms. Both horns at times seem to brush up against
classics for a bar or two, maybe quoting some recognizable material
to help launch an improvisation. Bennani gets a sweet hum on slow low
notes and on both disks his work with Oki is touch and glow! Silva’s
synth on disk two is also mellow and mildly galactic while anchored
in the deep end like a contrabass, it sort of pushes the group into a
more fusion zone. on “Take Time, Play the Game” but towards the
end really elevates. On “More Is Different” Silva’s delivers more
mind-bending pitch-bending tweaky key tinkle. Martian blues almost?
More great stuff from this vibrant label, personally I need to back
and uncork some the Oki releases KFJC has corralled. -Thurston Hunger

Heimat – “Heimat” – [kill shaman]

Thurston Hunger   4/15/2016   12-inch, A Library

If Nico was your last cigarette, is Heimat your first
lollipop? Armelle Oberle’s vocals have that shouty Teutonic
chill, like someone warning you about an avalanche (and
maybe actually triggering the avalanche) but in a weird way
much more playful. Olivier Demeaux (from the excellent Cheveu)
creates keys and sample-laden soundscapes that while synthy
are more microwave popcorn than chill wave sunglasses. On
“Dein Arkitekt” he mixes a rollicking gamelan sample with
some happy marching barks. Singing in German, but thinking
in French maybe is what makes this a sort of fun outing. For
KFJC insiders, if Belladonna hosted Neung Phak would it sound
like this? There are beats and the songs are kinda catchy, but
I don’t see a lot of dancing happening. “Trocadero” has a
sassiness that’s not far off Klaus Nomi’s sensibility. The
instro after that “Flutath” flutters by too quickly. “Pompei”
is the band at its most ostentatious, and Armelle soars and
almost yodels on the choruses, while Olivier’s sound is
Cecil B. Demille sized. Heimat translates a “homeland” but
this strange duo will be strangers in most land’s though not
our fine museum of audio oddities. Don’t miss!
-Thurston Hunger

Fluwelen Koord – “Luxe Poesje” – [Ultra Eczema]

Thurston Hunger   4/15/2016   7-inch, A Library

Spazzy, strident and a little sweet punk.

A-side :Boozy guitar, howled vox (he eventually barks at
the end) and a bassline that wants to be a metronome. Some
times two notes is enough for a bassist, maybe more than
s/he can handle. A little synth whispers on what I guess
passes for a break in this simple art-damaged punk slow-dance.
Other reverby percussion, not really drums, more like
dropping a silverware tray nicely. Beasts from Belgium
and while I thought the title might mean something like
“the light of poetry,” online translating came up with
“luxury pussy.” So kinda the same thing? Both are found
behind a “velvet rope” (which is the apparent translation
of the band name.) On the flip side, “Ingeblikt Miszprijzen”
creepy crawls its way to start then moves into a three chord
charger with more of those yelping vox. Does it translate
as “Canned Disapproval” or is that just what I had for dinner?
Love the flat-tire e-string guitar riff to start and then set
up the climax end of the song.
-Thurston Hunger

Big Bang, The [coll] – [Ellipsis Arts…]

Thurston Hunger   4/15/2016   A Library, CD

From various drums to your eardrums, stretching expansively
from insects to ancients to jazz fusion. This came out in
1994, with sounds spread all over time, adding it to KFJC
in part as our MD happened across a used copy of this suave
package (with a booklet thicker than all three discs). But
also in part to say thanks to Ellipsis Arts (and Jeffrey
Charno who ran it) for some lovingly compiled releases
(two of my faves are “Gravichords, Whirlies & Pyrophones”
and the mesmerizing memento mori “Dancing with the Dead.”)
Like that latter release, a global perspective comes with
the program, and as this aims to give the drummer more than
some, the project is huge in scope. Jorge Reyes’ galloping
clops and flying flutes nice and weird. Gamelan chimes in
here and there, and folks with maybe more conventional rep
like Carl Palmer, Jack DeJohnette, Richard Flatischler,
Terry Bozzio and ummmm Mickey Hart appear alongside the
Baka Forest People, Hestra of Chinese Central Music College
and the LCO Soldier’s Drum. That last one is from a Wisconsin
reservation, those wavering vox over the insistent hand
struck drums. So powerful to me. Bernie Krause stitches
the CDs together with opening and closing tracks, the very first
leadoff with some Tanzanian Chimpanzees on the mic! Plenty of
other primal primate singing/shouting/exhorting throughout.
Ritual rhythms and celebratory sensations, with plenty of info
in the 64-page booklet to share with listeners. Drop the laser
anywhere but don’t drop the beat! -Thurston Hunger
We have 14 of the Ellipsis Arts releases, they stopped back in 2005
Charno runs guided meditations these days through mindbodysessions.com

Bad Luck – “3” – [Tables & Chairs Music]

Thurston Hunger   4/15/2016   12-inch, Jazz

Fantastic sax and drum duo from Seattle. KFJC DJ/MD
aBacus Finch said they are even more potent live which
is high praise voltage considering this 2014 recording.
Their album is bristling sharp percussion from Chris
Icasiano, his snare is crisp and he’s more about tight
rhythms than florid free-for-all bursts. Iscasiano likes
to shadow his tenor partner Neil Welch on staircase sax
runs. Welch’s style is often staccato and sweet, and
he augments it all with outstanding electronics. A high
drone sample piercing over the top on “Power Ballad”
during breaks is one example, it ends in a dark alley
where you night bump into Der Club of Gore. Most of
side B has a charged distortion bucking at your ears,
makes that feel like it could plug right into an old
Pop Group ditty. “Tour Song” rises and falls, with some
silence at times, it’s like the duo are playing on
a nuclear sub during a meltdown. I’m not sure if it’s
the electronics or Welch’s compositions (quick flicking
melodies) but this jazz vinyl flat out rocks. More swinging
than Zu, but it’s got that similar brash appeal. Welch’s
use of effects is seamless and spectacular. The duo
ends the album with a short smoldering “Heart Machine”
and then a cover of the Art Ensemble’s “Nonaah” that
palpitates and thumps in cycles. If it weren’t for
Bad Luck our radio station would be a little less lively.
-Thurston Hunger

Bookwar – “Obryv” – [Post-Materialization Music]

Thurston Hunger   4/15/2016   A Library, CD

Ivan Bookwar or Chitai Bookwar with industrial beaten
hip-hopaganda. Made from nothing but the finest Soviet
era instruments (Polivox, Altair 231, Ritm-2) and drum
machines. You definitely get an abandoned factory vibe
especially as songs usually start with quite a bit of
the machines alone warming themselves up before Ivan
comes in with a very metered flow, lyrics pumped
po-russkie and delivered with a monotone hammer and
sickle cycle. “Lapta” (“Bat”) has some cool echolocation
squiggles flying along the mix (man I wish I spoke
enough Russian to have a semblance of understanding
on these tracks, instead every 11th word triggers
my broken Broca vocabulary like a land mine of
unintelligible recognition. But the detachment
of the singer is universal. Fits with dark-wave
dreary fears quite nicely, but at the same time
there’s a kind of spirit to the dinginess. The way
Alan Vega still gave a damn while spitting out
suicide lines. “Obryv” (like a steep slope I think)
sways between bass fuzz pulses and eventually
incorporates disconsolate la-la-la-las behind the
ironic curtain. “Bezymyannaya Voda” (nameless
water) could be a Dark Entries find from the 80’s
but it’s just the drip drop of Xmas 2014. It’s the
catchiest and shortest of the three tracks, but
still warped by chords of decommisioned equipment
(our CD appears to be missing “Crowdfunding” by
the way) As Prurient goes with a Vatican Shadow,
Bookwar looks sharp and shattered in Kremlin Mascara.
-Thurston Hunger

Intersystems – “Intersystems” – [Alga Marghen]

Thurston Hunger   2/5/2016   12-inch, A Library

A spectrum spectacle from max’d mixed media men, Toronto late 60’s,
produced more than just this triple vinyl hippy trip-trek. There were
installations and tactile rooms and sculptures, all long gone but are
ears are still there thanks to this Alga Marghen release. Noise
concrete chopped with early Moog movements and analog achievements
courtesy of John Mills-Cockell. Draped in tapes, especially those
capturing the poetry of Blake Parker (stark intoning, with a delivery
like a Dalek narrating Fractured Fairytales.) Parker’s poems fix
your attention, not so much with their content but with their
clipped delivery (and the clipped feeling of a Dream Machine
splicing sentences together). That being said there is a sort
post-modern attack on “Number One” (Ezra Pound and T.S.
Eliot are summoned, but then so is the sound of the air
conditioner). On “the second lp, Peachy” that’s where the
fairytale dust was sprinkled in with the LSD, at times more grim
than the Brothers Grimm. Guns appears and you know what
happens when they do in fiction. Parker with an odd cadence
concludes vignettes prounouncing a malediction of sorts
“The story has been told it is ended; it is the end.” On the
third record, “Free Psychedelic Poster Inside” a comic book
romance/tragedy/assembly line soap opera is unveiled and
an actual cut-up comic accompanies this glorious package.

Altogether ear-bending explorations that have fared well
and will transfix the grandchildren of hippies tuning in today
via KFJC and dropping out of the internet for a bit Whether
played raw (you feel some of the chains rattling and taped
vox humana warpage best that way) or cooked up in a modern
method with our samples layered on top.

KFJC was lucky to have the Cortical Foundations first pass at
gathering some of this material (less lucky was Cortical founder
Gary Todd as discussed in artist Tom Recchion’s contribution
to the massive liner book included.) The full liner experience
sort of torpedo’d my enjoyment after a first pure listen, but it
connects dots to artists known and not (KFJC has neither
Syrinx nor Kensington Market but youtube beckons one),
Reading all those liners I hit a kind of headache harmony of
the gospels. But I’m sure people connected to the scene at
that time will appreciate a flashback today to the flashbacks of

The sounds were clearly ahead of their time, and I suspect this
record will be a favorite dipped into off and on for years to come.
-Thurston Hunger

Julius, Rolf – “Lullaby For The Fishes” – [Tochnit Aleph]

Thurston Hunger   2/5/2016   12-inch, A Library

Eerily beautiful instrumentals, originally released in 1985. On
first listen, there’s a mechanical quality, one almost imagines
a Rube Goldberg series of devices set up to then generate the
sounds. There’s not pronounced percussion, but a polyrhythmic
vibe is created in each little loop of soundscape, and how they
don’t necessarily line up perfectly. Like a bunch of buoys
bobbing on the ocean waves. Some other sounds reminded me
of baby humpbacks singing for their dead mother’s descending
in a whale fall, or maybe the “fa love pa” squeak-speak.
Is it a decrepit organ, or a feeble oscillator. The sounds
are short, clipped and a bit mysterious removed from the
installations that originally featured them. The 3 Lullabies
connected to the title are more soft drones, quite short
and more sonic palate cleansers. “Minutenblues” was my
favorite, but “Zwergenmusik” (dwarf music) is towering
in its own minimal method. RIP for Rolf in 2011
https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rolf_Julius -fur deutsch
-Thurston Hunger

Cross – “Die Forever” – [Sophomore Lounge]

Thurston Hunger   1/8/2016   12-inch, A Library

Dark gnashing Nashville rock, midwifed by Ma Turner. Unlike
his dizzy colorburst porch psych, the sound here is a more
stark black and blacker. Lyrics laced with death obsession,
it’s a fresh corpse however, lively drums from Jason Schuler
and Turner really is a tasty guitar player. At the bleak
heart of it all is singer R Clint Colburn who doubles as
an artist
Clint’s got a stylized delivery, on at least one listen, I
was picking up a heavy Stan Ridgway vibe. The guitar
driven songs have a True Crime kind of flair, no real solos
just churning away, while the grim reaper hides smiling
behind the amps of bassist Jamie Adkins. “Life Not Dreams”
and the excellent “Forever” are two songs that suffer
their own near-death experience before lurching back
alive. “Urgency and the Breeze” with its desolate
bass line question mark and stark drums was a highlight
as the vocals, and lyrics, come sweetly unhinged.
I know Sophomore Lounge label leader Ryan feels there
is a common thread running through the albums they’ve
put out, but I hear a pleasant diversity and new takes
with homage to various rock/pop forms of the past.
-Thurston Hunger

Trio OOO – “Days to Be Told” – [New Atlantis]

Thurston Hunger   1/8/2016   CD, Jazz

DC trio-o-o. led by Aaron Martin on alto. he’s
got the spark and fire of Archie Shepp’s tenor.
Mostly freescaping his way over the rhythm section
of Luke Stewart on upright and Sam Lohman on drums.
The lead-off cut has crisp drums from Lohman, a
quick snare and they are off. “Song of the Sun”
is the outlier, an indigenous improv, distant
ancient flute and tuned percussion. Then back
into new sounds that flow like vintage Village
Vanguard. Stewart walking and popping the bass up
and down while Martin sweetly scurries and hiccoughs.
“I Too” starts with a smokey setting by Stewart
and Lohman, Martin adds an air of mystery,
fluttering half-steps as he loops up and back
on flights, love the smoldering end! Another 10+
min cut to close, “There is Confusion” has
Stewart start with some tense jigsaw lines with
ample silence. Those same lines will be reprised
later at a much more rapid clip as Lohman rides
the hi-hat and racks up snare shots and Martin
veers in and out with solo work. Tasty.
-Thurston Hunger
Fun fact: producer Jason LaFarge and drummer Sam
Lohman were Blue Prostitutes with Steve Mackay.

Linear Downfall – “Sufferland” – [PIAS]

Thurston Hunger   12/22/2015   A Library, CD

Excellent mix of hazy vox and crazy electronics, for
a Nashville gnashing of the ears. Hits me right in the
pleasure pain center, thanks to tweaked out electronics
and ghost piano (#1) and failing medical equipment(#4)
and maybe even a smattering of mellotron (end of #7)
Mellotron on #12 too? Also a gaggle of sax geese on
that “Over My Shoulder” closer which on the CD then
has a fake locked groove starting around 4:40 and it
keeps going till you think about killing your roommate
and instead shut off the CD. Despite that mechanical
maniacal industrial repeat-a-thon, someone in the band
might be wearing Beatle boots, (check “It’s Always
Ending”) it’s been a while since I’ve heard those boots
tiptoeing around, kind of nice. But most of the album
is less moppy poppy, and just artfully twisted, like on
“No Traces.” Female and male vox, the former winning by
a pretty hair (a Rapunzel-like strand floating down from
some high castle). Perhaps just the right number of
Cooks (brother and sister, Chance and Charlee)
in the kitchen….hope to hear more from this
four piece. The album apparently has an accompanying
film but plays just fine on the drive-in between
your left and right lobes! -Thurston Hunger

Marriage – “Pool Blunt” – [Monofonus Press]

Thurston Hunger   12/3/2015   12-inch, A Library

Marriage “Pool Blunt” 33 rpm
Pretty sure I was given this album based upon one track’s
title, and sadly I do not think it was for “Taco Bells
Canyon.” Marriage is a complicated thing, but in this
case it’s simply five bearded Texans (some number of which
were surely former college DJ’s in a previous lowlife).
I think you could throw this on between Spray Paint
and Borbetomagus and the ends would line up. It’s got
some of that chicken plucking guitar but also the
free jazz sprawled across rock style that make this
nation great. Well parts of Austin and sections of
the KFJC library at least. The band might prefer to
be squeezed between Burmese and Sonny Sharrock, or
a different Sonny altogether (the album is a nod to
Sun Ra.) The music is guitar furious, athletic drums
(hi-hat hyperventilating), sax can squeal in and
lyrics are shouted beneath the fray. I wonder if
the songs were all recorded in one-take per side, it
feels like the band charges through them, no clean
breaks…but despite the distorted din, pretty
clean and profficient playing throughout. A well
calculated cataclysm! The first side has some punkier
driven moments, again all songs track, so getting in
and out is kinda of like jumping off a train. But
then again a full side-long express is worth the trip
down the aisle…um….I mean groove!
Bet these guys tear it up live. -Thurston Hunger

Finis Africae – “El Secreto De Las 12” – [EM Records]

Thurston Hunger   12/3/2015   12-inch, A Library

1984 release from a group revolving around guitarist
Juan Alberto Arteche Gual. Recently this was reissued
by the Em Records label out of Japan, which always
catches my eye, if not ear. The sounds here are pretty
new agey, or at least just plain pretty. Hammered dulcimer
and found sound (brooks, birds and maybe a shaman on A3?)
both flow through-out. The album starts with a distant
storm breaking, but then flute blows in like the breeze,
a soothing series of runs, that rise and fall, slowly at
times, and other times quick as rain drops back and fort…
eventually resolving into major key satori. Early Ghost
psych music from Japan was much more ragged and psychedelic,
but there’s a kinda kinship between the two. “Pipo Y
Las Libelulas” drops 80’s synth beams in the pools
of sound while a cello shivers over the piece like
a mangrove tree. The album is deep in water sounds
and metaphors in the track titles. Lots of cascades
and voices as birds, or mutter-moan-mantra as on the
last track trickle in. I remain fascinated by Koki
EMura, the EMperor of EM, and his mission, at least as I
perceive it, to reclaim New Age’s tarnished reputation
among oddball audio enthusiasts. -Thurston Hunger

Sharrock/Oki/Rechtern/Zinman/Sato/Rosilio – “No Is No (Don’t Fuck Around With Your Women)” – [Improvising Beings]

Thurston Hunger   12/3/2015   CD, Jazz

2014 cross continental collaboration, recorded in France.
Calling them a sextet, while true feels a little risky
based on the title. Linda Sharrock divorced from Sonny
in 1978 (he died in 1994) was once mouth and muse
with that great guitarist, (among others, their
exploration of “Black is the Color of My True Love’s
Hair” remains ear-rasing) but we find her avant-garden
kept on growing independent of him. Even now despite
being stricken by stroke, am I wrong to read her
prominent moany, deep-tone vocals as a struggle against
pain and other impingements? She always had a baritone
weight to her voice, but this sounds heavier. Against
her ballast, Eric Zinman’s piano often aims for the
stratosphere. Bluesy dances, working high on the 88.
Itaru Oki on trumpet and flugelhorn, has a nice
stretch 15 minutes in on the studio disk 1. Mostly
the band is improvising at full blender speed. 35 minutes
in on disk 1, dramatic piano, smoldering sax from Mario
Rechtern and some clip-clopping (is it drummer Makoto
Sato….or Linda or ???) makes for a nice calm point.
Yoram Rosilio starts tapping up the tension on his bass.
This leads to a sonic sense of triumph from all six.
But there only getting warmed up. There’s a funky little
silence and coda at the end of that disk. Disk 2
is a live rendition, where Linda is less up front but
still plenty vocal, the horn play reigns supreme on
thise, and again a silence then coda this time where
the title comes from, F-bomb included. Linda sounds
happy and joyful during that exchange, exorcising
demons early has got to be good for the body and soul.
-Thurston Hunger

Striggles, The – “Bilb” – [Rock Is Hell Records]

Thurston Hunger   11/30/2015   12-inch, A Library

This is NOT a kid’s band that has a restraining order
keeping them within 100 feet of schools, but maybe it
could be. There’s something peculiar about this Austrian
four piece, glorifyingly and uncategorizably peculiar. At
times they remind me of Ono (not Yoko, the Chicago art rock
tweakers). The album starts off with a fiercely hungry
math rock riff, and gameshow vocals, kinda Sleepytime Gorilla
Museum. It’s weirdly catchy even before the soaring
background vocals join it. Sung in Englitch by the way.
“Die Nation” sounds like Italy’s Starfuckers recorded in
a chicken coop. The drums just hammer down on those poor
chicken guitar licks. “Lady Gag’s Fashion Line” sounds
every bit as sleazy and goofy as you would expect it.
“Lick In My Head” is what happens when you mix sniffing
glue and Barry White, an accidental aphrodesiac…with
these monster Ruins-esque destroyo moments that turn that
“Lick” into a “Dick.” “DC Weg” is another number with a
nasty, thick, chomping beauty. “Sesam Sezam” – remember
that episode where Ken Vandermark played a state trooper on
Twin Peaks? Me neither but it would have sounded like this!
A great combo of squonk and slink! After all that, “Question”
is a folk funk ballad with some guitar strafing coming in at
the end. I think that’s the key that these guys while capable
of writing melodies for head-swaying or face-munching songs,
have a love for improvised ear oddities above all. How else
to explain “Ragtime” with its plink and plonk guitar/bass
that feels like a clock repair shop/prison. There’s probably
some prime-number counting system at work, I dunno but it’s a
*sidelong* number with sideways syncopation and a funny name.
“…Something Happened….” might be techno, maybe not, but
it’s kinda beaty. “Pig Gesicht” is sung into the mirror.
“Net Daham” closes things out with a sort of Albert Ayler
call, before the heavy bass and drums drive a rock lane
through the song, it rides this pounding groove for nearly
8 minutes, before getting worked up like Zu at the zoo.
Elephant bass, and donkey sax… These guys are mammals
but just barely. Feels weird enough to be a Bay Area bred
project, and their first album apparently had a Zippy
headshot on the cover. Life is short, Imbrace the Striggle!
-Thurston Hunger

Zooom Trio – “What’s For Dessert” – [Leo Records]

Thurston Hunger   11/30/2015   CD, Jazz

First off a shout of praise for Leo, they’ve got tons
of great releases. (KFJC “only” has 50…so far!)
This project has three o’s in the Zooom, one for
Christian Lorenzen on a variety of keys, David Helm
on the upright bass, and Dominik Mahnig on a cascading
array of percussion. Lorenzen is the featured player,
pretty spacey and always electic. Some of the more
tasteful Rhodes scholarship I’ve come across. But
Mahnig is onto something, he’s clutter creative on
the slow but expansive “Everyday They Run” while Helm
bows and saws away. Helm hits highest on “As Things
Are Now.” I love the almost thumb piano ending on
“Chinaski” into the mess of “Heart’s Song” and then
the whistly pep of “Grimish.” People who fear jazz
in general can feel safe and Money Mark fresh in
“the Underwear Department.” This won’t hit as big as
Sex Mob across the KFJC shifts, but its explorations
are pretty accessible.
-Thurston Hunger

Ma Turner – “Zoz” – [Sophomore Lounge]

Thurston Hunger   11/25/2015   12-inch, A Library

Oedipal pedals spinning fast over and back across an
original 12 cassettes from this Wizard of Zoz. Michael A. Turner spun these seeds, but this vinyl birth was mid-wife???d by Robert Beatty. Not sure if Beatty used an oubliette in the sequencing, but the results are excellent. Call it folk experimental or warped bedroom psych. Very personal expression. Each side plays like a maxxed up mix tape rhythms and repetitions show up from track to track, Turner???s melody might turn into a dirty electro pulse on the next track, or a two-chord pairing in “Living” is brought back from the dead on “Crucifix Cruiser” sounding like a sample smushed of some blades clashing, your grandpa’s organ, and reverbed electric guitar. Lo-fi fits this release perfectly, flea market electronics and ramshackle acoustic guitar and some banjo too. Reading the lyrics on the bright pink zine-sert, they seem simple with a sort of dime-store psychology or deity-free religion, but they’re sung so gently and sweetly amidst the even sweeter (to my jaded ears at least) cacophony they feel more profound. That’s the charm of lo-fi maybe, or perhaps the budding genius of a man who became his own Ma. More great Kentucky Kenfuckery on this label. KFJC probably could have hung with all original 6 hours spread over 8 records, but this single slab will have to do for now. Dig it! -Thurston Hunger

Carsick Cars – “Carsick Cars” – [Bing Masi]

Thurston Hunger   11/25/2015   A Library, CD

2007 noise rock debut from this Chinese three
piece. Zhang Shouwang is a feeedback fiend of
the highest order, shimmer summoning everything
from Galaxie 500 to Sonic Youth. He sings in
both Mandarin and ‘merican, “Gun” is an innocent
ode to rock ‘n roll depravity of yesteryore
with a cry of “cocaine, cocaine cocaine.” The
other English lyrics remind me of that “Rocky
Mountain Low” collection, where rock and roll
was not only the medium, but sort of a tangible
motivation for it all. It’s very crisp pop
rock, big ringing chords, disaffected back-up
vocals, short driving songs that deliver.
Check out the chord fritz fade on “Xiong Mao.”
A stately blitz ballad starts of #10 and then
9:55 minutes in a bonus track arises from
silence. Shouwang is the only one still wearing
his sick seatbelt as both Li Weisi and Li Qing
left the band in 2010 and are now in Snapline.
Carsick Cars have hit some success since then
(SXSW citing) but this album feels fresh and
vibrant, and definitely hearkens back to
shiny indie rock daze. Now, where are the
Beijing Beefheart bands!?!? -Thurston Hunger

Fat Creeps – “Must Be Nice” – [Sophomore Lounge]

Thurston Hunger   11/12/2015   12-inch, A Library

Killer fountain of youth femme-fronted pop rock. Hits my ears
right in the sweet spot where the Delta 5, the Kellies and
even a little bit of Lush give me a head rush. But this band
goes the extra mile, naming themselves after their fans!
Unabashed jangly guitar in force, dig the Let’s Active
ring to “I’ve Got.” Both guitarist Gracie Jackson and
basist Mariam Saleh sing, and when they dive into together
they ride that blue line between sweet melodies and slightly
sour harmonies that just slay me, check “Having So Much Fun” or
the “Daydreaming.” At 45 rpm, the songs fly by (quicker
than a batch of microwave popcorn.) Like “Party” at 1:49,
with an quasi-robotic vocal the band takes one look inside
said “Party” and get the hell out of dodge. Or out of Boston,
as they are Missy-chusetts with a Jim Leonard bumping the
drums filling and rolling pretty nicely. “Back 2 Skool” is an
instrumental, but you might as well sing along. “Nancy Drew”
and “Dad Weed” would be proud.
-Thurston Hunger

Simmons, Sonny – “Chasing The Bird? (Dead Years Ago, Million Years Ahead)” – [Improvising Beings]

Thurston Hunger   11/12/2015   CD, Jazz

Not sure if Sonny’s in the same air as Charlie Parker, or
perhaps an heir to more distant atmosphere’s were Sun Ra flew?
This massive 4 CD monolith is cleaved from another 4 pack.
8 disks for 8 decades for a man who has been on the watch.
The leadoff disk here hold martial arts moves but feel like
14 cosmic improvs, ripples of electronics courtesy of Anton Mobin
and Nobodisoundz, while Simmons dials in sax telemetry. Dig
“Magnus Fact in Act”, instead of playing in a subway, its from
subspace. Astral guitar projections by Michel Kristof and Nicolas
Marmin (Aka_Bondage). It’s like the “Angel Heart” soundtrack on
another planet, great stuff.

CD2 Breath of Life in four tracks/chambers. Starts with Sonny
chanting/incanting giving way to synth woosh and warbles from
Julien Palomo. It feels like an old Fax label release at times
but Simmons twists in mystic notes (is it his English horn in
part 2, with tenor sax fogging below?) Part 3 is power prana
inspiration to start, Simmons with lungs and a little laughter
before a lot of beaming synth which subsides as Simmons sax
dancing solo rises. Part 4 definitely echoes Sun Ra’s old
clavioline, slow sounds while more Simmons flights of notes.
20 minutes or so in, guitar crunches some funk. Simmons then
takes the spaceship to a blues bar, “I was way down there…”

CD3 It’s all about that distorted hum from a rock guitar amp,
Kristof wahs and warps electic string spikes, and Palomo pumps
in eerie organ, at the nucleus of it, Simmons is exploring
on sax, or bellowing along vocally in the fury. Pretty raw
collaboration, far from fusion, and not as driven as the Last
Exit excursions. 25 minutes into “I Can’t Go No Farther Than That”
and Simmons sounds as fresh as ever. On that and “Going Through
the Storms” Simmons sings kinda like Lonnie Holley, rich and
deep. The “Storms” comes with a psych guitar freak-out by Kristof.

CD4 subtitled “Worlds of Worlds of Worlds of” further in the
tracks grow longer, CD2 had 4, CD3 had 3, and this last offering
has just two tracks. The first starts with shimmering keyboards
and maybe mellotron, it has the charged feeling of the start of
a prog saga, the shifting chords exercising gravity on Simmons
freewheeling sax. “Dead Years Ago, Million Years Ahead” launches
with a sort of Sonny scat, before UFO synth moves fill your ears
and the skies. A strange marriage of almost eclesiastic composition
and Simmons moves from more furious free sprawl to a peaceful
call home.
A rich and rewarding release for a rich and rewarding career!
-Thurston Hunger

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