KFJC 89.7FM

Music Reviews

Dam – "Dedication" – [Red Circle Music]

aarbor   10/20/2021   CD, Hip Hop

DAM is a Palestinian hip-hop group based in Lod, Israel. Formed in 1999 by brothers Tamer and Suhell Nafar and friend Mahmoud Jreri, who are Arab citizens of Israel. They’ve spent over a decade performing globally. The music is a fusion of East and West combining Arabic rhythms, Middle Eastern melodies, and urban hip-hop vibes. This is their first release from 2006. You’ll hear an excerpt of a speech by President Nasser, children, oud, bouzouki, rap and conscious tell-it-like-it-is lyrics – that you probably can’t understand. The English lyrics are in the booklet. AArbor

MISCELLANEOUS [coll] – [Language]

aarbor   10/20/2021   A Library, CD

According to the insert this is: “Music for Open Minded People”. From 1995 this compilation is the first of 2 only releases in the Miscellaneous series on Crammed Discs’ sublabel: Language. Cool dark electronics with noise and plenty of good rhythmic fun from the likes of David Toop, Fantomas, Ian Pooley and Endemic Void plus others. AArbor

Altin Gun – "Yol" – [ATO Records]

aarbor   10/20/2021   CD, International

Third [2021] release from Altin Gun – an Amsterdam-based project founded in 2016 by Jasper Verhulst. They mix Turkish folk, psychedelia, funk and rock. Here they add instruments not heard before in their music: synth, congas, drum machines and a Suzuki Omnichord. Some songs are taken from archaic sources: “Yekte” [11] is a traditional song from the Anatolian city of Kayseri, while “Arda Boylar”[7] comes from a region of the Balkans that once formed part of the Ottoman Empire. Every song works in the neo-disco psych environment; the despondency of the folk melodies blends with glittering pop production creating a stream of gilded melancholy. The music sits somewhere between 19th century Ottoman Empire, ’60s Haight-Ashbury, the bubblegum boogie of ’80s New York, and today’s pop. AArbor

Supersuckers – Must’ve Been High [Sub Pop Records]

beastofbourbon   10/18/2021   A Library, CD

“And it has been our search for the best rock-n-roll has to offer which has inevitably led us down that old dirt road to country. Simple, three chord songs, sung from experience, played on an old, beat up acoustic guitar-that’s what we’re talkin’ about here” – The Supersuckers

The fourth album from Seattle based punk band Supersuckers takes a turn down the country road with songs about life on the road, rowdy fans, addiction, UK punk legends, and a romantic duet (Kelley Deal) about being hungover. The lyrics stick to a punk attitude/sense of humor while the music has a bonafide Bakersfield/Texas Outlaw Country sound thanks to guest musicians Willie Nelson (uncredited vocals), Jesse Dayton (guitar), Brian Thomas (pedal steel/banjo), Brantley Kearns (fiddle/mandolin), Mickey Raphael (harmonica), and producer Randall Jamail. This is Cowpunk to the core

Beast of Bourbon

Lipstick Killers – Strange Flash – Studio and Live ’78-81 [Grown Up Wrong]

beastofbourbon   10/16/2021   A Library, CD

“You guys are the only fuckin’ reason I’d ever come down to this shithole. I wouldn’t do this for anyone else.”


That’s what Keith Morris (front man of Black Flag/Circle Jerks) said about Lipstick Killers in a 1982 article in New York Rocker magazine. Lipstick Killers was a Sydney, Australia based band that was active from the late 70’s to the early 80’s. This double CD set features 45s, demos, and live recordings. The first CD is early recordings of catchy hard rocking garage/punk.  Their energetic hard driving songs really come through in the live recordings (including a 13th Floor Elevators cover) in spite of some of the vocals being lost due to microphone issues. During the 80’s, the band transitioned to new wave/rock, bringing their new sound to Los Angeles, California. CD #2 features these lighter, poppier tunes. The live set from Los Angeles 1981 shows that the band didn’t lose their edge when it came to live gigs. That energy is likely what Morris was talking about.

Beast of Bourbon

Black Joker – Watch Out- [Pacific City Sound Visions]

Thee Opinataur   10/13/2021   12-inch, A Library

Side 1 – Untitled

Opens with tribal drumming, adding high timber beats beginning the long quest upon camels in the fictional Chalisa Desert, circa 2027. This must be a long incessant dream of the artist ‘Black Joker’ 

Desert flutes romance the listener in the next stage of the quest, whose destination is unknown, and creates tension amongst the clan as to its purpose. Yet they continue along the windswept dunes. Their spirit is uneasy, yet this is who they are…tradition, culture, routine.

Mind spitting intermittent pings, relentlessly, over and over, as the sweltering heat overwhelms them, their minds are melting, yet the camels know the way, they have been here before.

Evening approaches, awakening from the unconscious spell, realizing their predicament, the pursuit of rest is near, and there’s a feeling of hopefulness, joy, that begins to awaken the spirit within.  

The pace quickens and is consistent as the drudge of the daily routine wears off and they inherently know who they are. The beauty of the blackness of the sky, the stars sparkle with the illumination that they not only seek but crave. 

Side 2 – Untitled

Another day continues similar to the last, methodical beat of the camels’ pace, and there’s a new inspiration unlike before, as a mirage appears in the distance. Even the knowingness of this false hope, the spectacular vision of the distant mountains lets them know they are closer to their destiny and offers a sliver of hope. 

the rhythm of the caravan is comforting to the soul and they know who they are…

Disruption and confusion enter in suddenly, as there is a treacherous path to climb, and it is the urging on of the leader that this is but temporary. The desert wind blows its might, but alas they are through it. Press on, press on, upward, onward….the destination is just over the summit…and it is clear, their journey is near the end. Excitement builds, as the overwhelming sandscapes begin to lessen and reveal the lush life approaching. We began together, this odyssey, wandering through the sand, and as the cool evening descends upon our arrival, we know this is just a temporary pause; we have not yet reached our final destination

Experimental musician Black Joker, aka Spencer Clark, The Skaters, Fourth World Magazine, Monopoly Child Star Searchers, Vodka Soap, 

abstract – ambient experimental, Desert atmospheric soundscape, hypnotic , tribal 

Uzel, Nezih – "Mevlana: Instrumental Mevlevi Music" – [Kent Elektronik]

aarbor   10/13/2021   CD, International

In Turkey, Rumi is fondly remembered by his followers as Mevlana — which means scholar. When he died in 1273, Rumi’s followers founded the Mevlevi Order, also known as the Order of the Whirling Dervishes, famous for the Sufi dance known as the Sema ceremony. The Mevlevi Ayin is a form of Ottoman art music that evolved around an organized religious ritual: the Whirling Dance ceremony of the Mevlevi Dervishes . It was based on musical composition and poetry, taking the form of an original cyclical suite format. The instruments which accompany Mevlevi music are: the Bendir – a wooden frame drum, the Oud (lute) and Ney (and end-blown flute). The Dervishes consider this kind of dance and music a form of meditation. The dervishes wear long white robes and very tall conical hats when they dance. Nezih Uzel was a very famous bendir player and dervish. He once said that this is music for participation rather than just listening. I was surprised by the gentleness and pace of this music which accompanies Whirling Dervish dance/meditations. AArbor

Shirley and Lee – "Complete Singles As & Bs 1952-1962, The" – [Acrobat Music]

aarbor   10/13/2021   CD, Soul

Shirley Goodman and Leonard Lee were teenagers in New Orleans who were pioneers of the boy/girl R&B duo style in the early 1950s. Their biggest hit was “Let the Good Times Roll” [Disc 1 track 23]. They hardly ever harmonized. Instead they sang separate verses and choruses using a call-and-response style, mostly because Shirley’s voice was piercing, sat in a narrow range, and she often sang a bit sharp or flat – hard to harmonize with. They recorded at the important Cosimo Matassa’s J&M Studios which created the New Orleans R & B sound. Shirley and Lee were dubbed “The Sweethearts of the Blues” although the relationship they supposedly sang about in their songs (on CD1) may not have been real. I preferred CD2 for the better arrangements and more interesting songs. AArbor

Brown Lung Cotton Mill Blues [coll] – [June Appal Recordings]

aarbor   10/13/2021   12-inch, Country

A history in song of the white (Southern) cotton mill workers and the mills they worked in. Brown Lung Cotton Mill Blues started at the end of the Civil War. Black people were excluded. Instead poor whites and especially women and children worked in these mills. Promises made by mill owners about schooling, good pay and realistic hours were broken. It was a tough life and the conditions were unsanitary, leading to TB. brown lung and other complaints. The workers unionized and had strikes in the 1920s and ’30s which eventually gained the attention of leaders like President Franklin Roosevelt. The music is largely Appalachian Southern song style with guitar, banjo and mandolin accompaniment. Learn the history you never learned in school through these songs. AArbor

Gnaw Bone – “Rotten Earth” – [Auris Apothecary]

Max Level   10/12/2021   7-inch, A Library

Sick, rotten black metal out of Bloomington IN. Discordant ringing guitars and pummeling. The sound of drowning in primordial sludge. Three members and they all do vocals; one of them reminds me of Gollum— how sick is that? Among the lyrics on the B side: “carcasses, piles of carcasses, piled on carcasses.” You have been warned. A lathe-cut release on clear vinyl; both sides about three minutes long.

Curtis Chaos – “Magic Dreams” – [Lost Treasures of The Underworld]

Max Level   10/12/2021   12-inch, A Library

This short-lived Brooklyn outfit was the garage band’s garage band. Here they offer seven all-instrumental rock jams, heavy on guitar. Muddy recording mostly buries the bass and especially the drums, but the lead guitar freakouts are front and center and that’s what it’s all about. The final track is the longest and it starts off in a gentle manner. The other tracks pretty much start off full-tilt and never let up. Recorded in 2018, released in 2019.

No Silence – Sounds of The Underground [coll] – [Psychic Eye]

Thee Opinataur   10/7/2021   A Library, CD

Released in December 2020, this compilation is jam-packed with 43 bands, heavily steeped in Oakland’s Darkwave and Punk scene. Curated by Akiko Sampson, the founder of Psychic Eye (who also performs in Yama Uba and the post-punk band Otzi) we find bands representing all regions of the US. Great care went into mastering these tracks by Michael Daddona of Ratskin Records who also contributed with his band Malocclusion. 

While many of these bands may not necessarily be familiar to KFJC, there are several, Anarchy-punkers Resist and Exist out of SoCal, Cold-synths L’avenir, from Baltimore, hardcore from Iconoclast, tripped out galaxy girl Maya Songbird and of course our dear friends Moira Scar.  

A wide range of genres fills this album, with large doses of Darkwave and Post-punk, as well as Dark punk, Goth, synth wave, cold wave, funk, hip hop, and more. It’s hard not to like any of these tracks, and I’m careful not to list favorites as there are far too many that simply stand on their own.  

Akiko Sampson’s motivation for this compilation was to raise money for two relevant organizations that effectively push for institutional change in hostile local environments; BLM Louisville and The Florence Immigrant and Refugee Rights Project, which represent migrants in ICE detention centers. Great music, even greater cause. – Thee Opinataur

Kondo, Toshinori – "Blow The Earth India" – [Subcontinental Records]

aarbor   10/6/2021   CD, Jazz

Toshinori Kondo, who departed this life last year, was a prolific Japanese composer, trumpet player and wanderer of the Earth. This release (from 2019) is a part of the series called “Blow the Earth” which he moved to Amsterdam to start in 1993. The film BLOW THE EARTH JAPAN came out in 2011 – it was his first project as a film director. He composed, performed and mixed all of the tracks on this album. After moving to New York in 1978, Kondo collaborated with many notable jazz musicians including: Bill Laswell, Eugene Chadbourne, Fred Frith, Ernaldo Bernocchi, John Zorn and Peter Brotzman. This is arguably one of his best releases. AArbor

Colombian Soul [coll] – [BBE Music]

aarbor   10/6/2021   CD, International

Dean Bagar a/k/a Tricky D a producer from Croatia, who now lives in Colombia, has compiled a magnificent collection showcasing the works of native Colombian musicians. Tricky D moved to Bogotá in 2013 after living in London, Berlin and Jamaica. He is active as a DJ, producer, remixer, and bass player, as well as teaching workshops on musical production. Since moving to Colombia, his new works contain Afro-Colombian influences. As a bass player, he’s now working on live projects which merge soul, dub and Afro-Colombian elements. His intention with this compilation was to find dubby, downbeat, minor tuned songs. Colombian Soul is soulful songs recorded by well-recognized Colombian artists. [ Most tracks updated traditional music: 6-world folklore and electronic dance music, 10 – Afro-Colombian reinterpreted, 11 – Latin drum ‘n bass, 12- Peruvian Cumbia reinterpreted, 13- Contemporary Colombian tropical, 14- Dub textures morphed with rolling bass, percussion and cumbia rhythms]. AArbor

AlHaj, Rahim Oud and String Quartet – "Letters From Iraq" – [Smithsonian Folkways]

aarbor   10/6/2021   CD, International

Rahim Al Haj has been an oud player since he was a child in Iraq. When he graduated from the Conservatory of Muisc in Baghdad he had won awards and had played in many parts of the world. When he refused to support Saddam Hussein’s regime he was twice imprisoned and tortured. Under threat of execution he went into exile in Jordan in 1991. Later he moved to Syria and then to the U.S. The 8 “letters” here are mostly very sad with accompanying very sad stories in the notes. Letter 7 is the most upbeat and Letter 8 is hopeful. According to Al Haj this is “Music to help us realize peace”. His wish is that this album will inspire listeners to choose love, wonder and hope. AArbor

O’Seis – Suicida/Apocalipse- [Mr Bongo]

Thee Opinataur   10/5/2021   7-inch, A Library

Both of these songs are drenched in morbid humor (see lyrics below). The record features anthemic, psychedelic rock undertones on ‘Suicida’ with deeper, tripped-out Brazilian Tropicalia folk, with mellow, sweet, harmonies, feel-good, vibes, on ‘Apocalipse’.   

Originally released in 1966, it was one of the rarest and most sought-after records. Re-released by Mr. Bongo in 2018, It was their only recording before three of them, Rita Lee and the Baptista brothers would go on to form Os Mutantes who went on to spearhead the Tropicalia / Psyche-rock explosion in Brazil a few years later. – Thee Opinataur

Sucidia

I scared out the other day and wanted to kill myself
I went to throw myself off the Tea Viaduct
The passing class didn’t want to leave
Life for my side was bad
Heavy conscience told me to jump
Heavy conscience told me to jump

So I decided to jump
The passing car I flattened
My head’s shaved
And the chauffeur inside screamed

The viaduct broke
Or someone crazy got
On top of the bonnet my body lay
And by my face the blood was dripping
They called my father but my aunt came
Take it to the morgue she wanted

For I no longer lived
Another useless man died

The next day the funeral came out
For the Fourth Parade he was heading
A black flower my coffin covered
Cold tomb the earth covered
It was another one that left
I was buried in my uncle’s shirt

It was midnight when I wanted to leave
The pit was tight for me to sleep
I was a ghost and I wanted to talk
With someone who was sitting smoking

It was an ordinary skull
You can’t even a**ustar me

Apocalipse

I’ll have the world in my hands (anytime I want)

And I want it all to end

My power will not be in vain (I destroy what comes)

The world will end

Everyone tries to escape

But it’s useless to live

Everything will be annihilated

And humanity perish

With screams of terror

They won’t know where to go

But only I know

That the world will disappear

Now I’m so lonely (and the world finished)

Without having someone to talk to

I then keep meditating (if I did something wrong)

And with the world ending

(If I did something wrong)

everyone tries to escape

But it’s useless to live

Everything will be annihilated

And humanity perish

with screams of terror

won’t know where to go

but only i know

that the world will disappear

Now I’m so alone (and the world is over)

not having someone to talk to

I then meditate (if I did something wrong)

And with the world ending

Pom Poko – Cheater – [Bella Union]

Thee Opinataur   10/5/2021   A Library, CD


A hyper-energetic noise- pop, surrealist art-punk, math rock, and grunge with offbeat song structures. You never quite know which way any of these songs are going to swing throughout the album.

Feminist lyrics, incessant energy, chants, bright falsettos, sharp diction, yelps, and guttural Bjokian snarls, comprise lead singer Ragnhild Fangel’s voice, and it makes for infectious ear-candy.
Martin Tonne’s heavy guitar riffs, jagged jazz-grunge guitar work contend against bassist Jonas Krovel and drummer Ola Djupvik’s funky rhythm section.

While the frenzy of rock ‘n’ roll guitars is the fuel behind the band’s songs, Fanglel’s strong voice powers along during the unprocessed rock instrumentation in the first 6 tracks as well as the more contemplative nuanced tracks in the last few songs on the album. – Thee Opinataur

TEKE::TEKE – “Shirushi” – [Kill Rock Stars]

SlartiBartfast   10/5/2021   12-inch, A Library

TEKE::TEKE – “Shirushi”

Japanese garage, surf, psyche-rock from Montreal? Yesss!! This Quebec ensemble will transport you in the way-back machine to the raw sounds of the late 60’s Japanese and Asian psych rock scene to a modern day, transformative, high energy, psychedelic rock-n-roll experience. On their 2021 debut release “Shirushi”, front woman and visual artist Maya Kuroki lays down powerfully energetic vocals, injecting raw emotion into sizzling instrumental energy that includes a traditional Shinobue (bamboo flute), trombone, and ample guitar fuzz to satisfy the fuzziest of ears. Listen and enjoy the journey to the other ghostly side.

TONTO’s Expanding Head Band – “Zero Time” – [Real Gone Music]

SlartiBartfast   10/5/2021   A Library, CD

TONTO’s Expanding Head Band – “Zero Time”

Don your “space oddity” suit with anticipation, strap yourselves into the space capsule, and prepare for liftoff! Originally released in 1971, “Zero Time” will take you on an electronic, psychedelic, ambient trip to the outer rim of the galaxy. TONTO (The Original New Timbral Orchestra) is the first and largest multitimbral polyphonic analog synthesizer in the world built by Malcom Cecil who took a Moog III and kept adding custom modules to TONTO while making sure it was ever expandable. Each note that is played has the tonal quality of a different instrument and Cecil and Robert Margouleff play it to perfection. TONTO’s Expanding Head Band will guide you through a meditative and introspective cosmic journey that at times propels you through moments of psychic challenge and expansion while TONTO provides that galactic trip heard inside your space helmet. 

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