Music Reviews

Russell, Arthur and The Flying Hearts – “Ballad of The Lights” – [Presspop]

felix   2/12/2016   10-inch, A Library

In the early 70s, at the age of 18, Arthur Russell, a formally trained cellist, moved from Iowa to San Francisco; he studied North Indian classical music at the Ali Akbar College of Music and Western composition part-time at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music. It was during this time that he began his association with Allen Ginsberg: accompanying him on the cello as a soloist or in groups while Ginsberg sang or read his poetry. By the mid-70’s Russell moved to New York where he collaborated in the rock project Flying Hearts: which included artists such as David Byrne, Rhys Chatham, and Peter Gordon. The first piece comes from the mid 70’s with the Flying Hearts. “Ballad of the Lights” was written and recited by Russell; Ginsberg accompanies. The second piece “Pacific High Studio Mantras”, chanted by Ginsberg, is a Tibetan mantra recorded in July 1971.
–Double Felix

Dead Recipe – “Day of Mangoes” – [Self-release]

humana   11/15/2015   10-inch, A Library

Look at the bright colors of the cover art and the grey marble vinyl and you’ll get an idea of how cool this music sounds. Kyle Albrecht and Camille Lewis both sing and play the songs, which are reminiscent of the music of Tipsy, for some reason. Maybe because it sounds tropical and whimsical with the funky bass lines. Their voices are really upbeat and the shakers add to the holiday feel of this album. People have called them pop, surf, psych, folk–you tell me what you think.

Tessier, Yves – “French Troubador Songs of The 12th and 13th Centuries” – [Elektra-Stratford Reco…]

humana   9/28/2015   10-inch, International

If you like Southern France, iambic meter, lutes, Gregorian chants, then you’ll love this. The liner notes highlight the history behind the courtly poets of Southern France (the troubadours) who expressed their reverence for women and the love they inspire in vocal music sometimes accompanied by lute (on this record, Mildred Clary plays the lute). Tessier himself composed the music in the tradition of the 12th and 13th centuries, since musical notation for these ballad-like songs did not exist. Some songs just feature Tessier’s voice, and those definitely sound like Gregorian chants. Others have the lute setting. Enjoy.

Thee Irma & Louise – “Roswell Beach Nightmare” – [Self Released]

Thurston Hunger   8/8/2015   10-inch, A Library

Swiss surf with monster moves (lead off track echoes
“The Hall of the Mountain King”). Record came out in
2005 but as a used 10″ how could KFJC resist. we know
the power of the chosen disk size. At times they
band will yell along in celebration with the
fast-placed, dirty surf-flecked garage rawk. And
on two tracks, they apparently are howling lyrics
(“Signore Farmacista” and “I Can’t Help Myself”).
The vocals in a way, champion the “Thee” nature of
their band, from Headcoats to Oh Sees…this is
where they look, if don’t fully leap towards punk
rock. I do think a sense of humor is part of the
ticket here, from titles to the “Black Hornet”
riffing on an ooold favorite TV show of mine.
“Man from CoIntelPro” was another killer driller
for me, a bit more mysterious in melody. Overall
a romp and roll set, that will hit the salty
sweet spots of beached DJ’s and bleached blond
sandmen and women. The band is still going today
apparently albeit having moved towards more general
pop from this more focused genre-target vinyl bombarino.
-Thurston Hunger

Soft Healer – “One-sider” – [Monofonus Press]

Thurston Hunger   5/6/2015   10-inch, A Library

One side of beauty and I ain’t talking about the fancy
etching on the other side. Jammy slinky backing with
a bass line winding through flecked and funky guitar and
some smolder-sax on the first cut, the second is a bit
bouncier with merry-go-round keyboards, before a backwards
bow-out. Soft Healer is an Austin band, Marie Butcher
on likeable laconic vocals, kinda Patti Smith when I
squint, but in a summer top-of-the-pops shine, and
she slinks the bass. Will Slack on guitar, flecking
away and those kinda phlangey waves of chords (was
he the inspiration for Linklater’s “Slacker” – um
no but I could see/hear these songs grooving out of
a club from that old movie-virus). Turns out the sax
and organ come from one being, thanks Sara Berger.
Nicl Decarmine beat a drum machine to death for the
fourth slot in the band. “Grand Isle” is the sprawling
lite lysergic number with “Civilization’s Dying” as the
tart chart-topper, an apocalypse shake-your-hips take
blaming the pope, the president and a rich rock star
for the fall on man. It’s a milennial flavored groovy
found on this two-track one-sider. Pop jams for a Mystery
Machine 8-track, rotsa runky rock too in a Scooby snack
head bobbing way. Ol’ man Crothers digs this, so do I.
Plenty o’ fun in the mighty Monofuns label. 2011 release
but found dazed and reused for KFJC’s current pleasure.
-Thurston Hunger

GX Jupitter-Larsen – “Pump Powered Permawave” – [Oxen]

abacus   12/17/2014   10-inch, A Library

luggage malfeasance from the chief of all misanthropists GX. rubbed raw scratch ‘n scrapes in varying portions, locked lunacy in multiple flavors (but who can tell the difference anyhow); looping sandpaper one drones drill deeper than the bits themselves. nerve wrenching noise of the naughty variety

Yuen, Kevin Gan – “Emerald, The” – [Utech]

Thurston Hunger   10/2/2014   10-inch, A Library

Sounds trapped in a block of icy guitar/effects and single
sided transparent vinyl. Phases of foamy distortion,
rise and fall, high frequency drones start and also
fade in and out. Other effect driven sounds are
sculpted and vanish, it’s sort of like a sonic photo
that pivots to see/hear different layers. A paranoid
panorama shot that feels longer and richer than its
mere 6.5 minutes. Recently KFJC’s thoughtline aired
a special on Bernard Hermann, and his use in film
soundtracks of modern classical outsider moves, this
too feels like a modern-day Hitchcock could similarly
utilize the frozen emotion slices etched into this
8-inch lathe cut record. As striking in sound as in
appearance, multiple listens cast varying shadows.
Erstwhile Sutekh Hexen gent on Utech = Utech Hexen?

-Thurston Hunger

Rocket Infinity: The Global Rise of Rocking Music 1942-62 [coll] – [Canary Records]

Thurston Hunger   9/19/2014   10-inch, A Library

Hey if Ian Nagoski is going to make you a mix tape, then heck
yeah you better listen. Plus he puts it out on 10″ which we all
know is some powerful alchemy/history at KFJC… The title here
maybe is a bit of a reach, and a 20 year span might have been
better served by a box set, but these 8 unearthed treasures
should float many a boat. The liner notes on the back are
better than I can offer, so check ’em out while you spin
selections from this. I will say my favorites are
A1 Spanish flare meets Molam
A3 Check the Chuck Berry shamisen from this real gone geisha
her kewpie doll oogie-boogie vox might flirt some Berts
B1 Fans of Eblis Alvarez might dig this ol’ cumbia-tronic action
B4 Eenie Meanie Miney Whoa, even before you’ve heard this
you’ve heard this, stored in your playback memories

It’s a big little record for a small Qawwali Polka Jump Blues
world after all. Spin it…
-Thurston Hunger
PS Some spoken film moments at the of A4

Huguenor, Mike – “Bardamu” – [Suitors Club Records]

Thurston Hunger   8/16/2014   10-inch, A Library

You know the girl who finally gives in to the nice guy who
stands outside her window for months through rain and peer
derision? I’ve never been that girl, but this album sorta
turned me into her. Huguenor’s voice and the lyrics, and
one suspects his life-force, exude a kind of earnestness
that kind of kicked me back to my KFJC childhood. When
labels like Shrimper and Squealer looked you in the eye
and even your GrandMa would listen in and say “At least
that’s a song…” So you’ve got a clean electric guitar
and some simple homemade 4-track drum tap-tap accompaniment
and Huguenor’s mind/voice/being. His anguish fights back
instead of settling into apathy or blitzkrieg’s noise.
He even pulls in some horn charts for the focused piece
here, “Agues” which comes after a sort of guitar maj7th
see saw intro. He spells “Bourgeois” correctly, he only
says “Fuckin'” once (on “Great Plans”) and he means it.
He yells “Yeah” before going into the outro of the
country-tinged “Montreal” And again, it appears he means
it. He uses repetition of words to hit on a point but
not necessarily harp on it. The album might be a reference
to Celine’s “Journey to the End of the Night.” I didn’t care
for the book that much, but I admire the effort. Reviewing
the lyrics (thanks bandcamp) perhaps Huguenor suffers more
misanthropically than the toe-tapping ditties had
me believe. Maybe he’ll be your Mountain Goats, putting
out a 10″ record alone is a smart sign of hope.

-Thurston Hunger

Kelompok Kampungan – “Kelompok Kampungan” – [Strawberry Rain]

humana   7/4/2014   10-inch, A Library

Here’s what I know about this Indonesian band: Their Mencari Tuhan album was banned by the government when it was released. This particular 10-inch lured me in right away with the cover photo. Men and women musicians wearing batik and playing guitar, flue/recorder, cello, and fiddle on a stage in Yogyakarta. Memories of being in Yogyakarta myself flowed through me as I listened to the clear male vocals and smooth tempo changes of A1, the nice flutes, of A2, the upbeat guitar of B1, and the drums and fiddles of B2. This is a pleasurable listen. Its sound is timelessly good and true.

Gloria Diaboli – “Libation Unto He Who Dwelleth In The Depths” – [Nuclear War Now! Productions]

billiejoe   4/30/2014   10-inch, A Library

Canadian Black Metal with indecipherable cookie monster vocals over cymbal heavy drums and choppy/repetitive guitar.
Previously known as Crypt, this group is made up of Narcoterrorist, Funeral, and Mal. They are associated with Havoc, Miasma, AMSG, and Godless North.
Second side is called “sheol” which is the Old Testament or Hebrew word underworld.
Satan-worshiping fun for the whole family. I dig it.

Father Murphy – “Pain Is On Our Side Now” – [Aagoo Records]

Thurston Hunger   3/5/2014   10-inch, A Library

I’m not sure if the verbal concept here is a lot of Papal Bull
or just Father Murphy getting irreverent. I get that Failure is
a good thing, it’s all the Pain/Shame stuff that evaporates
my holy water, that being said the album is definitely a
success on sound alone. And since I’m limited at home by
a single turntable, I didn’t get to try out the mechanical
concept, where these two single-sided 10″ records could be
played at the same time. KFJC has a trinity of turntables so
I expect our DJs will be mixing and backward masking like the
renegade heretics we are. Each side starts with an industrial
music call to prayer. Side A with a siren/fog horn blast and
Side B with breaking glass. Each Side has two songs, with
some lyrics on A2, and quite the dream machine slice and
dice vocals on B1, my favorite piece that has no peace. A
woman’s shrill but strong voice is cut and pasted with the
same jagged edge of that broken glass that failure produced
but perhaps Father Murphy is healing together again. If you
are keeping score, the banshee is Ezra Buchla from Gowns.
Side B closes with a smooth steady industrial hum of the earth.
Back on Side A, the two songs felt like three (the failure,
the sun and the holy smoke?) Some very dramatic drums on A1,
and on A2 some guitar lost in a lighthouse. I remember
hearing synth that sounded like it had a flame ignition
pilot at some point, maybe a clarinet exorcism too? I must
confess my Father Murphy worship has been sinfully abstemious
in the past that, I vow on my vinyl rites to say five Our
Father Murphies and play 3 LPs.

-Brother Hunger

Mukunguni – “New Recordings From Coast Province Kenya” – [Honest Jon’s]

humana   10/21/2013   10-inch, International

This is authentic traditional music featuring metal rings, marimbas, drums, hand-rubbing, bottlecaps, deep voices, field recordings, and many other traditional instruments recorded in the Mukunguni village during September 2011. There are spiritual, healing, and love songs here, and reading the liner notes on the sleeve is helpful, especially in learning the history of the music and rhythms contained on this 2-LP release.

Hidden Orchestra – “Archipelago Remixes” – [Tru Thoughts]

incognito   10/2/2013   10-inch, A Library

This is a double EP of remixes of Scottish quartet Hidden Orchestra’s “Archipelago,” a limited, autographed 2×10 run of 500 copies (we have #293). The group works in a fusion of jazz, classical, rock, hip hop and electronica. Here some of their tracks from “Archipelago” are remixed into purely electronic tunes. The original track “Vorka” is an organic, lush jazzy number which almost sounds like Cinematic Orchestra lite, remixed here by DC Breaks into deep, spacy drum and bass (think Calibre, High Contrast, Hospital circa 2006) and a mellow, soulful house tune with a 2 step feel by the one and only King Britt. Disc 2 has tracks “Fourth Wall” remixed by Kelpe and Reminder remixed by Long Arm. The two are more along downtempo and trip hop lines, thus sounding fairly true to the original songs while adding a bit of original flair. Both are quite lovely and beautiful, lush tracks preserving much of the original instrumentation.


El-P – “Sunrise Over Brooklyn” – [Definitive Jux]

mickeyslim   9/24/2013   10-inch, A Library

Looks like some avant-garde jazz dudes get a place in KFJC’s Hip-Hop library! Matthew Shipp, William Parker,, and the rest of the Blue Series Continuum team up with producer El-P on this one-sided 10″ single. Released in 2003 around the same time these jazzists worked on another hip-hop album with Antipop Consortium.

Ten minutes of driven beats a la Guillermo Brown with waves of dark synth sneaking in to stir up the madness and compliment the melodic brass section (Roy Campbell, trumpet; Daniel Carter, reeds; Steve Swell, trombone.) Skronky at times, but mostly driving the beat and synth warbles along through twisted feelings. Mellows out toward the end for a loud finale. Groove on.

AU – “Versions” – [Aagoo]

humana   4/13/2013   10-inch, A Library

Original Au band members Luke Wyland (singer/songwriter) and Dana Valatka (percussion) here rework songs from old albums and offer some original material on A1 (which has flowing guitars and a dreamy, psych element to it that will appeal to many). Wyland’s echoey voice can be heard throughout, accented nicely by Valatka’s percussion. A3 and B2 are a bit more driving and intense numbers, with screeches (A3) and a Middle-Eastern sitar-like drone (B2). A2 and B1 are my favorites, with cute, upbeat electronics and handclaps in A2, and pretty slow piano in B1 that builds amidst haunting chants to an intense, Philip Glass-like workout. Very nice indeed.
PGM: Almost non-existent segues.

Voyager 8 [coll] – [Slovenly]

incognito   4/9/2013   10-inch, A Library


A collaboration between Acid Baby Jesus and Hellshovel that happened in Greece in 2010, including 2 new tracks from each band. Spacy, psychedelic weirdness; at times it sounds like a western movie and sometimes like early Velvet Underground. Noisy, folky rock, trippy, warbly, short and sweet.

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