KFJC 89.7FM

Dogsflesh – “Never Give In” – [Queer Pills Records]

whngr   5/19/2022   12-inch, A Library

Anarcho D-beat Punk

A thumb in the eye socket of Magaret Thatcher, two fingers up the arse of the royals, and a long middle one to the system, these modern times, and yer mum.
Good ol’ rebellion in the vein of Antisect or Icons of Filth with a bit of echo on the vox and a tiny gob of wanking guitar. 

Incepted in 1982 by Rob Moore and sometimes known as UK82, Dogsflesh would tour with GBH, Broken Bones, and The Exploited before hanging it up in 1985… and reforming twenty years later with the bulk of the original line-up. They have gone on to release several more albums since but this one is composed of their early works (82-84).

Oi! This slab is radio friendly, ya cunt! (no FCC’s)

Staubitz and Waterhouse – “Common Metals” – [music is the Worst]

whngr   5/19/2022   A Library, CD

Gentle whirs, clicks, and bumps.

Do you hear what I hear? I hear a pocket call from someone working on the cnc at the machine shop. Quiet, minimal, and reflective, these recordings allow one to write their own story though online references have stated that these mostly unprocessed recordings were made during the pandemic and are meant to convey the monotonous sounds of isolation.

Mary Staubitz (aka Donna Parker on her solo work and has collaborated with Jessica Rylan in Secret Diary and Daniel Paul Boucher in Golden Shores among others. Collaborating with her partner, Russ Waterhouse (ex Blues Control) from their home in Rhode Island.

There Were Wires – “Somnambulists” – [Tor Johnson Records / Iodine Records]

whngr   5/18/2022   12-inch, A Library

A sprawling and intense epic that weaves through the impassioned rage and confusion of youth, around quiet passages that required patience from an audience that was expecting only vehemence, gravid swells, terse punctuation, and arriving finally at an oblique and unexpected shore, a pensive cover of an independent juggernaut. Sonic Youth’s, Tunic (Song For Karen) will surely attract the attention of many listeners as an oddity or a trifle but considerable effort has been put in to this album (both in 2003 and in 2021) that proves this was no novelty. That this polished re-release, the first on vinyl, is a commendable and worthwhile effort to mitigate the failings of a label in financial ruin and one where considerable pains have been taken to inject new life into a recording that feels modern and relevant after 20 years relegated to a shelf. 

There are many paragraphs written and interviews available that explore the band, this release, Iodine’s role in its lack of promotion, and the thoughts and feelings surrounding them for those interested in the history of this primarily unsung project, but let it be said here, in this miserable volunteer’s review, that I might not have given this album a chance in 2003 if I had heard it. I might have said something like, “This new brand of hardcore is too high-minded and erudite for me, I appreciate passion and vision over virtuosity… etcetera”. But I was interested after two songs and hooked by the end of the album… after a single listen. No small feat, being as jaded as I am.

Many of the current DJs may pan side A, favoring the meandering and (slightly) more gentle B side but this is a fully realized album, slightly disparate from the projects of their ilk, with an ebb and flow, passages, and chapters that all work together to create a cohesive tale. A sonic novella and a beautiful, if somewhat dark, snapshot of a bygone era by four young men in their prime and the label that would not let their past transgressions lie.

Jugendwerkhof – “Urruin” – [Rural Isolation Project]

whngr   4/6/2022   A Library, CD

“Jugendwerkhof”… would a rose by any other name smell as sweet?

Intracranial hemorrhage… prescient night-terror… autoerotic depersonalization… Limbic system failure… somnambular suicide… silica mastication… convulsive dementia… fever capitulation… involuntary dentistry… enforced dysentery… penetrative electrocution… matricidal malaise… or the concerted destruction of mankind’s propensity for comfort.. 

Named after the German post-war “youth workshops” installed in East Germany by the Soviets which were notorious for their miserably oppressive conditions lacking both privacy and physical contact in deserted castles, barracks, and monasteries which provided a insidious breeding ground for systemic physical and emotional abuse.

Brutzelt wie Kinderblut auf einer glühenden Pfanne und brennt wie Glasscherben in der Harnröhre.

Berlin – 2022

Latishia’s Skull Drawing – “Romanticized” – [Iron Lung Records]

whngr   4/6/2022   12-inch, A Library

Bastardized Rock-‘n-roll Upheaval

A pounding and screeching anxiety medication for the terminally depressed, or an up-tempo hardcore threnody with atypical elements and instrumentation. Allusions to psychedelic drug use coupled with mental illness, precision drum assault, derelict distemper, feedback, downstrokes, and delirium.

Once from Providence and Philadelphia, one can only assume that the band could not sustain itself with such sickening and debilitating afflictions.

2016

Rimbaud, Robin / Op de Beeck, Hans – “staging silence” – [Sub Rosa]

whngr   4/6/2022   12-inch, Soundtrack

Quiet, pensive, and dream-like, these compositions are accompaniments to an interesting series of desaturated theater productions in miniature where hands noiselessly stage sets of many disparate scenes. Beautiful and haunting with a few brief passages of whimsey, these recordings are gentle and thought provoking, like an instrumental interpretation of Robert Frost or maybe a winter scene of a midwestern city at night laden with snowdrifts, the deserted streets illuminated by the sparse light of lonely streetlamps.

Primarily a keyboard and piano score with many varied themes and tones though none of the tracks share identical voices. There is, however, a propensity toward strings and minimal percussive qualities. Not drone per say but may imbue similar qualities to your erudite and refined evenings.

Robin Rimbaud (aka. Scanner and member of Githead with Colin Newman from Wire) is an electronic musician and producer based in London. Hans Op de Beeck is a Belgian artist who is best known for his sculptures and installations he calls “proposals”, which are often of a large scale, and have garnered many commendations and accolades internationally.

-2020

Measures of Decay [coll] – [Rural Isolation Project]

whngr   3/30/2022   A Library, CD

Double-feature Horror Vignette

En Nihil begins the diptych: A marauding beast lurches through an electronic forest illuminated by an inverted crescent moon laced with briars, brambles, and dead leaves before tumbling into a clearing where a chaste maiden far too removed from her bedchamber, though dressed accordingly, turns her virtuous face toward us just as our view is ominously obscured by the hulking , terrible monstrosity. Her eyes alight, and in recognition of her grisly fate begin to shudder as her scream cleaves the night. An intimation of violence before the scene is swallowed by malevolent shadows.

No Visitors continues the morbid tale upon an isolated mountain peak. A wayward traveler claws his way over the frozen landscape amid howling winds. His fractured mind has continued to play tricks on him as the imminent storm approaches… but the voices urge him on. No longer aware of the blood caked to his frozen hands, he is utterly depleted. Exhausted, he pauses for breath and looks up to see the moon’s scowl as his legs tremble, the knees buckle, and he slides and then tumbles into the abyss. He lands hard upon the ice. He will not live, but he will have time to reflect on his miserable life between blessed lapses in consciousness… His ears are ringing. Body broken. But the journey has not ended… for he was a wicked man and the devil awaits their reunion.

A genuinely alarming release from a mysterious noise label from Austin, TX. Little can be gleaned from online sleuthing as bandcamp seems to hold the keys to Rural Isolation Project… and they’re not sharing. Nor are No Visitors. However, En Nihil is one Adam Fritz, a prolific creator of harsh sounds with releases stretching back to 1996.

2022

Dream Shake – “Ride The Disease Vol. 34” – [Rescued From Life Records]

whngr   3/30/2022   12-inch, A Library

Classic Psychedelic Rock-n-Roll 

If you’re from the gutter, dug your heels into 1986-7, and like your trips on the soft and drippy side then this is your ice cream. Except these guys are wicked fast… and a little scary. But they do like some echo on the vox… so you know they’re on drugs. Well rehearsed (tight as fuck), high energy, and not too cheery… except the bass player who seemed to be really enjoying himself while everyone else wrung themselves out on their instruments… not that he didn’t, he just looked like he liked it… while the other lads were there for war. 

A1: shit – A5: asshole, fuckin’, shit – A6: shit – A12: fuck – fuckin’ – B14: asshole – B15: shit – B17: shit – B18: fuck – B20: fuckin’

Houston – 2021

Permanent Collection – “Nothing Good Is Normal” – [Strangeway Studios]

whngr   3/30/2022   12-inch, A Library

Dispassionate vocals drone methodically over detuned downstrokes, 90’s punk rock drums, insistent but slightly buried bass, and almost sickeningly woozy guitar solos. Effects abound on this once local project (currently residing in Seattle, fittingly enough).

This EP is retro in the wrong way, so thoroughly reminiscent of the grunge of my youth that it was utterly dismissible on first blush… but the hooks. Christ! I got a little mad at the music department (I thought you fucking knew me!?), had a little issue digitizing the recording and decided, it must be an ill-fated omen, it doesn’t even want to be in the library… so, I decided not to review it… and I walked away. However, it stayed with me. Those hooks were in. Still are. A powerful formula that my mind decided we were keeping, perhaps not entirely with my permission. I know this will be mostly panned by fellow volunteers and it has some bothersome issues (recording is way too polished for my taste and I am not enthused by the new direction the project has appeared to adopt) but this album is quite good and though admittedly it will likely remain a guilty pleasure, here it is… in the library of the illustrious and revered KFJC, ready for you to cue up to regale our listeners with our oblique and often absurd air sound. 

Permanent Collection is one Jason Hendarty (and cohorts) formerly of the San Francisco peninsula – 2020

Split In Half [coll] – [Unholy Rub]

whngr   3/24/2022   10-inch, A Library

Astral Butcher (Oakland) swaps split with Goat Rhythm (Ventura).

The former engaging in Speed/Death metal with occasional hardcore cum power-violence leanings; ugly, raw, and disturbed. This furious three-piece unleash hell from a slightly vintage (adjacent) stance. A wry grin and a nod to the forefathers while still sounding unique and of our time to this miserable volunteer’s tattered senses.

The latter, while less down the middle of my lane shares some similar attributes while producing an entirely different sound. Metal from the old-school: riffs, gallops, (protracted) solos, and slightly sardonic samples (Return of the Living Dead), this trio seasons its Maiden with a bit of Purple (sans organ), clean vocs / dirty backing. While a little more gregarious and fun-loving than I (tend to appreciate), these two tracks did grow upon me.

Nor/So CA – 2022

FCC on A2 – Fuckin’, fuck, fuck, and fuckin’ (opening sample only)

L’Honneur De Poetes (Four French Resistance Writers) [coll] – [Folkways Records and Service Corp.]

whngr   3/18/2022   12-inch, A Library

A quadrumvirate of French poets wax theoretic in a bid to entice fellow revolutionaries into the fray against their occupied oppressive Nazi regime.

Recordings from the 1940’s replete with patriotism, fervor, cadence, and perhaps ennui… that retains a vintage sound quality, or lack thereof. Amid the hiss, pops, and thick miasma of cigarette smoke that undoubtedly hung in the cafés sympathetic to the underground there is a sense of pride and entitlement, perhaps cognizant that their words would fall on the sympathetic side of history.

Not exactly my sweet spot for sound as my francais is just this side of non-existent. It would have been easy to employ antiquated pejoratives for the French to describe their nasal and haughty delivery reinforcing bygone tropes. However, intermittently there is a genuine allure to the meter, tone, and deep-seeded emphatic dissidence that appeals to this miserable volunteer… And I share Mickey Slim’s (the instigator of this LP’s add) enthusiasm for the human voice and sometimes non-accompanied recitation. Though in hindsight I might have done well to hand this LP over to a more qualified reviewer, on a disk that provided considerable reticence to be smoothly added to our library based on myriad and pervasive issues in the recordings and cataloguing (also I attempted to find a transcription of these poems online before discovering the six page insert. Ah, ma folie.) which would take an age for me to accomplish. One I have surmounted prior to Slim’s imminent return to his new/old home overseas and spurring my decision to complete our transaction as, the gauntlet had been thrown down… and I am not one to shy from a challenge.

France – 1944

Foisy, Andre & Essak, Jacob – “Flight of Rays” – [Utech Records]

whngr   2/16/2022   A Library, CD

Guitars Speak Volumes

Nearly 20 minutes of minimalist meandering guitars with heaps of reverb and evanescent echoes. With sustained drones and worried picking, a meditative tension coalesces as the distortion increases and feedback builds; we remain squarely between the walls of the two warring but resonant instruments, like a mote of sentience in a canyon of ethereal and dramatic sound. Perhaps manifesting an image of a wayward ascetic humbled by the power of creation, the magnitude of time, and the interconnectedness of the natural world… or it could just be two dudes trippin’ out on guitars and tweaking their effects in an improvisational performance at the third Utech Records Music Festival in:

Milwaukee, WI – 2015

Cover art by Thomas Hooper, and Kevin Gan Yuen.

Schedule II – “Cop Polyp (A Drug-free America)” – [Self Release]

whngr   2/16/2022   A Library, CD

“Proto Noise-rock” three-piece with modulated samples of recognizable conservatives and an irate disc jockey who requires silence on Friday night, seven to nine and will enforce his demands with violence (and hard as fuck t’s). Considerable analog editing, respect for the pristine desert from which their inspiration was drawn and, ironically, a profound respect for the Federal Communication Commission (?).

Have it clean, have it dirty, and have it with a weird romantic longing for the 80’s and the sonic rebellion of its youth that express, though perhaps relatively subversive in its time, a kind of sweet innocence that is mercifully ignorant of the deluge of dumpster fires in humanity’s near future.

The clean version of “A Promise” (track 5) is the same as its vulgar counterpart (track 3) but with sharp edits removing the profanity that are exponentially more jarring than the profanity they censor.

This cassette comes from the present Music Director of KZSU, guitarist of  Conflict (Arizona not the seminal outfit from Eltham U.K.), and Bassist of Broken Horse, Bill Cuevas… but they are high biased, “pressed” at West World (San Francisco) in 1995 and recorded in:

Tucson, AZ – 1986

Boy Harsher – “Country Girl Uncut” – [Nude Club]

whngr   2/16/2022   A Library, CD

Perverted Vampires Strobe

Agustus Miller employs vintage (probably) synthesizers to drive minimalistic Dark/Coldwave/EBM/Synth-pop behind the narcoleptic vox of his life partner and front-woman Jae Mathews who explores blighted romantic themes amid echoes and pulsing retro-electronic beats. 
The duo run their label, Nude Club, from Northampton Mass between a dizzying tour schedule and producing visual media which informs their excellent and dream-like/other-worldly live performances.

-2019

God Is War – “World Music Volume 1” – [Phage Tapes]

whngr   1/26/2022   12-inch, A Library

Mid-weight Industrial/Power Electronics from Phage tapes delivers a holy war in your head.

Thematically dwelling on terrorism and violent insurgent groups from four disparate cultures we are strafed with sounds of religious fervor and upheaval with crunchy glitches, turbulent drone, and seditious samples including a PSA on obscuring ones data trail (B2) accompanied by contact mic abstractions and electronic fidgeting.
Uncomfortable, off-kilter, and appropriate for a global society that has evolved into a self-destructive parasite determined to bleed the host beyond reason. Beyond responsibility. Beyond recovery.

Santa Monica – 2021

Nubdug Ensemble – “Volume 2: Blame” – [Pest Colors Music]

whngr   1/5/2022   A Library, CD

A sweet piquant of subliminal pneu(ro)ma(n)tic space-lounge orchestral funk.

Strange machines lurch and sway in a hazy Beat cafe on the forty-second deck of a Moon buoy orbiting Ganymede. An eight-armed Sentient Hologram™ of F. V. Zappa conducts a Stravinski concerto accompanied by Mavis Diles (from the Mancini quadrant) on Polytübophon  to a diverse pan-galactic audience bathed in pastel gradients. Several notable figures from the Alien Underground Movement are in attendance, they stand akimbo and consider fractal artifice koans while anthropomorphic felines in sunglasses smoke long cigarettes, awaiting the next Celestial Crawler from the Gamelan sector and the shipment of replicant Mask-trout in its serpentine bowels.

The second outing from Nudbug Ensemble is a strange and up-beat exploration of polyrhythmic extraliminal psychedelia in many various time signatures and modalities. Strange and wildly creative, the vocals of Jill Rogers elevate the bouncing funk and careening jazz foundation of Jason Berry’s (Vacuum Tree Head) latest compositions. Of special interest to this miserable volunteer is the visual art associated with the project rendered by Berry who has continued to explore his bizarre and oblique themes to an increasingly compelling effect. 

San Francisco – 2021

Hyrrokkin / Merzbow – “Faltered Pursuit” – [Sleeping Giant Glossolalia]

whngr   1/5/2022   12-inch, A Library

Weirdo freak-out three piece Hyrrokkin (Yellow Springs, Ohio) join forces with seminal noise project Merzbow (Tokyo, Japan) like an international, sonic sūpā robotto, four separate entities uniting into one electronic ultra-unit, sworn to perforate eardrums and undermine sensible sound appreciation. 

Side A consists of two slightly more subdued, though still raucous, tracks with conventional instrumentation employing poly-metered art rock bursts, processed accordion and diminutive electronics. The reverse is a more oblique collection of mid-weight electronic abstraction and sound collage with meandering, buried vocals and apparently is a remix of side A by one Rob Mazurek though without knowing such one might be hard pressed to hear the source material extant in the side long track.

The name Hyrrokkin is taken from Old-Norse mythology. She was a jötunn (an entity that is similar to a frost giant that is not necessarily dissimilar to a god or a troll) who played an important role in the last decades Iceland’s pagan beliefs.
Merzbow or Mertsubau is drawn from the Dadaist, Surrealist, Constructionist, work of Kurt Schwitters who informed Masami Akita’s interest in the junk art aesthetic.

Transglobal – 2021

Cougar On a Meth Binge – “Dreamy Pea, The” – [C.S. Hellmann]

whngr   1/5/2022   A Library, CD

Cougar On A Meth Binge is a bit of an antonym as the sultry, subdued sounds on “The Dreamy Pea” are pulled from lead singer Lauren Alegre’s dream diary and contain mellifluous, floating, lilting, minimal pop for the sleepy and somnambulant. Recorded at Savvy Rest Natural Bedroom, a mattress store in Berkeley, reinforcing a commitment to the extrusions of the subconscious. Track 4, “Cutie Face” has a slightly more driving rhythm but retains some of the drifting Alpha-wave subliminal exposition present in all of these beautifully sweet and woefully short tracks.


Oakland – 2018

Kasai, Toshi – “Plan D NE” – [Joyful Noise Recordings]

whngr   12/16/2021   12-inch, A Library

Percussive Analog Synth from the industrious visionary Toshi Kasai of Big Business, Altamont, Deaf Nephews, engineer, producer, and collaborator of and with innumerable projects from Melvins, Totimoshi, Helmut, to Tool, et.alia, explores an anachronistic fantasy world evoking drug-addled dragons, alien psy-ops, aquatic sleep paralysis, and more artifice of one’s subconscious mind in a universe of seemingly unconstrained creativity that despite often feeling improvisational still flirts with the obsessive mad artist trope that I tend to enjoy.

A kind of sound engineer’s sandbox, Kasai employs several drummers from his esteemed (and varied) circle to ensconce themselves in his sonic throne festooned with MIDI triggers while he fondles his copious collection of analog synthesizers that can resolve to a sort of svelte prog. Only two instruments but with layers and complexity that may send some of you back to that Love In back in ’72 when you mixed your opium with your acid, felt your mind dissolve as the oil-lamps churned… and sound became your savior or perhaps more currently, a Nyquil overdose filled with aural hallucinations and irregular heartbeats.

You’ll probably dig this album in headphones. There are some spatial aspects that bend the mind and while the mixing feels carefully considered, the performances are at times chaotic and frenzied, while the element of improvisation (ostensibly) lends a note of immediacy existing simultaneously under a highly buffed post-production polish. There is courage and honesty in the arrangements and a sense that giving yourself up to the moment will yield otherwise unattainable results. Is it art or an exercise, an installation or a happening? Whatever it is, it isn’t easy… benefits from multiple listens, may be unrepeatable, and has no rival… excepting the other three three slabs from the four EP set, coming soon.

Los Angeles – 2021

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