KFJC 89.7FM

Music Reviews

Albert, Marco / Day, Bryan / Kreimer, Jay – “Mutation 1-6” – [Public Eyesore]

mickeyslim   11/14/2018   A Library, CD

Marco Albert on vocals and electronix, Jay Kreimer and Bryan Day on invented instruments. These three met at the 2017 Festival Internacional de Improvisacion y Musica Extrema in Mexico. Recorded in Oaxaca, Lincoln NE, and San Francisco. Kreimer plays an “amplified hammered dulcimer-esque instrument on a tripod” and Day has “an entire table of his creations including antennas, effects processors, a wooden trapezoid, and an instrument that uses five tape measures each extended to a different length.”

The pieces are wrought and tense. It is surreal and abstract. The voices in both Italian and English float almost unnoticeably under dark scratchy movements.

Thick, scraping mutations.

Kallidad – “Kallidad II” – [Self Produced]

mickeyslim   11/14/2018   CD, International

Self-proclaimed “thrash flamenco” from Sydney, Australia. This is three dudes, Jacinko and The Raven on classical guitar, and Senor Bang Bang on the hand drum /box thing. Influenced by thrash metal, classical, reggae, rock, etc. Amazing technical skills on guitar. Fun, enchanting, hypnotic. Kinda weird album, I’m not sure why I like this, and neither will you.

Li Jianhong – “1969” – [WV Sorcerer Productions]

lexi glass   11/13/2018   A Library, Cassette

Li Jianhong is a free-improvisational guitarist from Hangzhou, working since the 90s in several groups, including VagusNerve (in our library), and the founder of the experimental label 2pi. This 2018 cassette release from Lyon/Nanjing-based label WV Sorcerer collects Li’s solo works from 2008, right around the time when his album San Sheng Shi, was discovered by international audiences.

Three longform psychedelic guitar works. “Die in humble and warm” (T1) is a blazing, slowly developing piece, with bright guitar tones darkened and distorted by reverb and other effects. The calm gives way to “Revolution is only a sad illusion” (T2), a menacing feedback storm that rages and settles, like toxic smoke clouds, into a heavy, post-apocalyptic drone. The feedback flares again before the Side A ends. Side B holds the heavy “1969” (T3), with reverberating tones swelling into massive blasts of psychedelic delirium.

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Naysayer   11/12/2018   CD, Soul

Isaac Holt and Edee Young are solid members in the soul and rhythm and blues world and their “Soulful Strut” is a classic insturmental that everyone has heard. This collection of the “definitive” Young-Holt Unlimited paints a broader picture of this duo. The 20 tracks present a mix of insturmental and vocals treats that cover a wide blues and soul spectrum. Some of the instrumentals are so smooth, as if you were sitting in a bar in Las Vegas at 3 am listening to their show. It’s so perfect, cocktail lounge sounding and feeling with a smooth rhythm section that goes down easy. The vocals tell great stories of how they can get the girl, how great the girl looks, how the girl should hook up with them. Then there is the “Horoscope” song, a crazy, man, medium hard soul strut with horns a plenty testifying to the ladies about what they should do. Example: “To the Libra with yo’ scales in your hand. Come on baby, open up your eyes and kneel.” Whoa, and then whoa. Soulfulness aplenty.

Peterson, Lucky* – “What Have I Done Wrong?” – [JSP Records]

humana   11/11/2018   Blues, CD


Dubbed “The Best of the JSP Studio Sessions,” these blues songs are infused with rock and funk, which put them into an enjoyable blues league of their own. Lucky’s father and his wife collaborate with him on these tracks, and rarely has a family reunion such as this sounded so good. This should get plenty of play.

New Zombies – “New Zombies” – [self]

humana   11/11/2018   A Library, CD


This is fresh jazzy experimental music from a Bay Area band whose upbeat tempo changes and fanciful saxophones bring to mind plenty of influences, such as Sun Ra. The horn infusions even made me think of Chicago for a brief second or two, but the mix of international sounding beats distinguish this as its own unique sound. Highly enjoyable and energetic.

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

Gospel Claws/ Roar [coll] – [President Gator]

Thurston Hunger   11/11/2018   7-inch, A Library


Another salvation seven inch, 2012 split on purty
powder blue vinyl. The Gospel Claws hail from some happy
suburb of Tempe AZ, bursting with dancey 80’s mod pop,
and a drop of holy water-cum-wine from the CCD classes
where they hatched plans for catchy hooks during catechism?
Singer Joel Marquard sings of ambition and with a hint of
British accent (a fine American pop tradition).

On the flipside, a one man band rises from Phoenix.
Owen Evans deserts his Andrew Jackson Jihad for a chance
to Roar (or is it ROAR?). Anyways, a slower paced start,
with mournful synth…that works its way through the
trees and a hazy “Dream” field to a few rays of joy. This
feels like a song that Brian Wilson’s psychiatrist was
trying to medicate and eradicate. Why? Rainy day pop is
not mental illness, certainly not in Phoenix, nor in my
house, nor in Mitch Lemay’s apartment on a winter day.

Thoabath – “4. KK.42H. 4” – [Madriguera]

Lord Gravestench   11/11/2018   A Library, Cassette

Andy Christian Way is a former member of Sutekh Hexen who also plays with French Radio and Maleficia, among other projects. Thoabath would be his Death Industrial unit, active since 2015 or thereabouts. The project is all about primal rhythms and desolate, hopeless atmosphere. This 2017 cassette comes to us on Madriguera Records of Puerto Rico, where Way resided for a time prior to the hurricane. This will be comfy next to KFJC’s (or my) collection of releases from MZ.412, Theologian, and Dissecting Table. Bilious, decay-obsessed electronics with a riveting sense of tension. Side A= Beats By Dis, melting flesh, babbling demon voices. Side B= Deep, deep ambience to cleanse the palate after all the blood and sulphur of the A side; just don’t get too comfortable because the zaps are coming. This is beautiful release. The quote on the interior is from France’s obfuscatory postmodern fill-o-soffer Jean-Francois Lyotard: “All corporeal identity trembles at its finitude, and for it, distraught with humiliation as much as with suffering”— or to put it another way, “life sucks.”

Sashash Ulz “Chtenie” – [Fourth Dimension Records]

mickeyslim   11/7/2018   A Library, CD

First CD release from Russia’s Alexander Shevchenko. First releases were on cassette and CDRs, making this his first real CD release. Whoosing ambience and watery jazz grooves, cascading beautifully over and under each other. From liquidy electronics to twangy ballroom guitar noodlings, it’s hard to tell if this is even strange at all. It has a nostalgic quality but seems unrecognizable at the same time.

Beautiful, spacious, omnipotent…

Bailey, Derek/ Goodman, Greg – “Extracting Fish-Bones From The Back of The Despoiler” – [Beak Doctor, The]

Max Level   11/6/2018   12-inch, Jazz

Two side-long tracks (20 and 21 minutes) of entertaining guitar/piano adventures recorded live in 1992. Bailey practically invented the language of modern improvised guitar and is in good form on this recording– scratching and jabbing, and occasionally projecting electric flurries of sound. Pianist Goodman spends little if any time playing the piano keys during these performances, concentrating instead on producing unusual sounds from the interior of the instrument. I could describe this record as a lot of plinking and plunking, but that would be selling it short– dedicated listeners will find some inspired music-making going on here. Well-recorded and a high quality pressing on heavyweight vinyl, too.

Phew – “Voice Hardcore” – [Mesh Key]

lexi glass   11/6/2018   12-inch, A Library

Recently, we added Light Sleep, an album that marked the reawakening of Hiromi Moritani’s decades-running solo project Phew. This extraordinary 2017 follow-up leaves behind the Suicide-inspired drum machines and synths. Instead, the works here are built entirely from Moritani’s powerful voice. Her vocals rise and multiply in droning, demonic choruses (T1, T4), her moans are destroyed and distorted by effects (T2), her repeated phrases spin in circles (T3), and her spoken word poetry, in Japanese, moves through these surreal soundscapes (T2). “In the Doghouse” (T5) gave me flashbacks to playing that Furious Pig record during late night graveyard shifts, though Phew’s composition is much more anguished and beautiful, and “Sonic Morning” (T6) ends the record with a soft, droning dawn. Spellbinding.

Villain, Carmen – “Infinite Avenue” – [Smalltown Supersound]

humana   11/4/2018   A Library, CD


This is gorgeous music from singer-songwriter Carmen Hillestad from Oslo, Norway. The word “ethereal” has been used to describe it, and I wholeheartedly agree. She is as beautiful as her music is, yet she has the confidence to put Gena Rowlands on her album cover and let her work speak for itself. Lovers of loops, electronics, and atmospherics, as well as dreamy vocals, will want to play this one as much as possible.

Carbon Based LIfeforms – “Derelicts” – [Blood Music]

humana   11/4/2018   A Library, CD


This Swedish duo have been creating ambient music together since they were 15, and this album represents what can happen when musicians mature into fine creators of soothing atmospherics. Some field recordings from Australia and other locals are included on here, and some lovely lyrics bubble up from underneath the layers of a few of the songs. You won’t want this one to end.

Reed, Lula – “Blue and Moody” – [Highland Music]

humana   11/4/2018   Blues, CD


This reissue of a 1951 King album is truly blue and moody, as the title promises. A great band accompanies the hearty voice of Lula Reed, changing the mood on alternate songs from jazzy blues to dark moods. Try “Going Back to Mexico” and then “I’ll Drown in My Tears” to see what I mean.

Dial – “Noise Opera” – [Feeding Tube Records]

lexi glass   10/30/2018   12-inch, A Library

Noise rock opus from this long-running avant-garde project. Dial formed in the 90s, when Jacqui Ham, previously a member of New York no-wave legends Ut, teamed up with Dom Weeks from Furious Pig and Rob Smith on drum machines and guitar for the trio’s first release, 1996’s Infraction. They released three more records over the next decade or so (these three in our library). This latest 2016 digital release was issued this year on vinyl by Feeding Tube. Two massive sidelong storms of guitar feedback, relentless rhythmic turmoil, synth sirens wailing like tapes sped up and slowed down. For brief moments the swells subside as Ham delivers her spoken word incantations. A powerful brew that will intoxicate fans of free jazz (this is Dial’s tribute to Ornette Coleman’s genre-defining 1968 album), Sonic Youth, the Dead C, and all forms of psychedelic oblivion.

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Hemroid The Leader   10/30/2018   CD, Reggae

Culture live in South Africa 1998. CONs: Cheesy MIDI horns, “Shall I go away?” annoying pandering. PROs: Classic tunes. I like Culture. But the canned version presented here is tough. The best tunes are ones that dive headlong into the cheese. Check out the sick guitar on “I’m Not Ashamed” #14. Weed carol #13 “International Herb”. #5 “Christopher Columbus”
Guilty pleasure at best, otherwise shlocky. Jah gotta pay the bills after all

Moses, Pablo – “Itinuation, The” – [Editer a Paris]

Hemroid The Leader   10/30/2018   CD, Reggae

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Contemporary roots reggae. Slick Harrison Stafford production features the instrumentalists. Uncomplicated, straightforward pop approach. Like Moses sings on Living In Babylon, “Not everything good for talk.”

Knaack, Donald – “Dance Music” – [RRRecords]

Hemroid The Leader   10/30/2018   A Library, CD

Knaack studied with Cage and is known as the Junkman, having written percussion music for junk, performing at the Kennedy Center For The Arts as well as the Vans Warped Tour. These are earlier compositions, written for a Polish experimental music festival and dance company. Knaack’s approach to percussion incorporates chance elements. It can sound like a teenager practicing along to the radio. Very challenging.