Music Reviews

Johnson, Elvis – “Lectro Scaep” – [Nice Ass]

Cousin Mary   7/7/2010   10-inch, A Library

Nice Ass Industries presses just one one-sided 78rpm and then gives it to the radio station of the artist’s choosing – KFJC was selected by Elvis Johnson for this release. Marin County based Johnson is a drummer and sound artist who is in noise groups Hydrogen Pellets and Leavenworth.

Garbled and distorted sounds probably from field recordings – human voices, traffic, trains – hard to tell. Arouses the listener’s interest. Intriguing and engaging.

Art of Flying – “Galala” – [Cochon Records]

lombard   5/4/2010   10-inch, A Library

This lovely 10″ vinyl EP “Galala” from 2001 by Art of Flying features New Mexico musicians David and Anne Costanza along with numerous co-conspirators. The A-side starts out with pretty, luminous sounds that get intersected with processed voices, looped sounds that could be snippets of a phone call, the hint of a distant dog until it finally ends with a simple guitar strum-based track with male vocals. The B-side revs to a start, moves into strange female vocals, evolves into a lovely drone and moves back to a more standard track with male vocals. Tracks are broken into segments that don’t necessarily correspond to the grooves on the record, so determining which piece/segment belongs to which track title is a bit of a mystery. The letter-pressed cover art is an added bonus.

Klaxons, The / Alan Vega / No Bra – “Suicide” [coll] – [Blast First Petite]

ophelia necro   3/28/2010   10-inch, A Library

In the 6th release of a series of Suicide covers on 10″, The Klaxons cover ‘Sweetheart’. Also on the new release are Alan Vega’s solo track ‘Speedway’ and the solo artiste No Bra, doing ‘Super Subway Comedian. Each EP includes a cover from a renown artist, an unreleased piece by Suicide from the archives and a cover by a promising newer act. The project, in honour of vocalist Alan Vega’s 70th birthday, started a year ago and will continue for another. ‘Sweetheart’ from Klaxons, actually a solo journey for Jamie Reynolds, shares the same instrumental and vocals with the original and is one second longer. ‘Sweetheart’ sounds like something played in a David Lynch movie. A dark, retro, romantic ballad. ‘Speedway’ is a rare track and is classic Vega. No Bra is a solo female artist who puts and interesting take on the Suicide sound with her cover of ‘Super Subway Comedian’ staying true to the original but definitely giving it a touch of female energy.
Future collaborations include Glasvegas, Peaches, Liars, Nick Cave and Mogwai.

Kimbrough, Junior – “First Recordings” – [Fat Possum Records]

Cousin Mary   1/26/2010   10-inch, Blues

Mississippi native Junior Kimbrough (1930-1998) released his first album when he was 62 in 1992, so any earlier recordings are precious in that context alone. In 1966 he made his first recording at American Studios in Memphis for Quinton Claunch, founder of Hi Records. (Rumor has it that Fat Possum plans to reissue much of this label???s output.)

Kimbrough succeeded in moving away from ???blues??? commonly heard in the 1960???s and getting back to his Mississippi roots, but he somehow did in a new way. This is spectacular stuff ??? Kimbrough???s intensity, voice, and guitar are in fine form and are very affecting. Emotional, stark, very beautiful.

Red Mass – “Red Mass” – [Red Lounge Records]

ophelia necro   1/20/2010   10-inch, A Library

Montreal based project featuring the Roller of CPC GANGBANGS. Sounds like CPC Gangbangs meets Velvet Underground. Psychedelic space rock ‘n’ roll with elements of noise, folk, punk and electronic music. Dark poppy hooks laced with strange sound effects. Male vox, guitar, drums, electronics, keyborads and flute (on Little Man). Red Mass is a collective featuring many artists/musicians from around the world.

Regular 10″Comes in ultra deluxe Gatefold Sleeve!!
Limited edition of 400 in Black Vinyl

Hintz, Daniel – “Grey Goat, The” – [Nice Ass]

Cousin Mary   1/12/2010   10-inch, A Library

???The Grey Goat??? is skull piercing, high frequency buzzing intensity from San Francisco noise artist Daniel Hintz who has also recorded with or as Hydrogen Pellets, Prolific Offender, and Leavenworth. Recorded during a 2005 KFJC live mic on Nozmo King???s show Psychoacoustic Soundclash, this is the last section of a 20-minute electric guitar improvisation using a Fender Stratocaster, a digital delay pedal, and a Marshall amp ??? at times rubbing the guitar across a ladder that happened to be in the KFJC pit.

Nice Ass features mp3s on its website and offers artists the opportunity to make a one-sided 78rpm for the radio station of their choice.

Bad Secrets – “Bad Secrets” – [Robotic Empire]

ophelia necro   10/7/2009   10-inch, A Library

BAD SECRETS debut 9″+CD release of seven tracks. Two-color silk-screened covers, custom 9″ records, color vinyl, CD of the same jams included. Musically it’s a cross between pinnacle shoegazer stuff and lo-fi, psyched out blues… brought to you by folks from YOUNG WIDOWS / BREATHER RESIST and KODAN ARMADA. On the Robotic Empire label out of Richmond, Virginia.
* 600 copies of “metallic red” (custom “metallic” pinkish-red color)

No language.


Mazawa, Julia – “Air Train” – [Nice Ass]

Max Level   9/12/2009   10-inch, A Library

Here’s something you don’t see every day… a one sided, 10″ slab of clear vinyl, meant to be played at 78 rpm! Get ready to hear a four minute audio verite portrait of what appears to be an underground train station, all rumbles and squeals and voices and transit announcements and such, presented by J. Mazawa, a local music mastermind and close personal friend of our own DJ Cousin Mary. It’s an interesting release on more than one level: the real-world sounds, the unusual physical format, the potential challenge of actually playing it, and so on. The piece cuts off cold at the end when someone conspicuously switches off the recorder.

Burning Star Core – “Amelia” – [No-Fidelity (UK)]

cinder   8/21/2009   10-inch, A Library

This is a release of BSC 2003 EP, originally out on CDR. The first track is an awesome looping, wavering synth track that creates images of bubbles floating to the surface. Sort of in a 70s electro way. Love the track title of the second…..Pigeon Homing Device. With that in mind, you can see a sketchy little rock dove freaking out and pecking at the ground with a computer tied to its back. Is this the sound of pigeon thoughts? Yes. Side B is 11 minutes of layered finger-purring synths that trickle down like waterfalls, and swooping electronic breezes.

Castro, Nick and The Young Elders – “a Day Without Disaster” – [a Silent Place]

lombard   5/26/2009   10-inch, A Library

This is a beautiful little EP from 2007, full of folk songs by L.A.-based Nick Castro and the Young Elders. Nick Castro had his solo debut in 2004 and has had notable co-conspirators ever since, including Josephine Foster and members of the Espers, Cul de Sac and Current 93.

On this particular release, Wendy Watson’s gorgeous voice sails above “Great Divide,” while other tracks are more of a back and forth with Nick Castro’s voice. “Sirens,” in particular, is a standout track featuring vocals by both. Whistle, harmonium, saz (a type of lute), mandolin, guitar, banjo, contrabass and dobro round out the decidedly retro sound. Other players include Christof Certik (banjo, mandolin, guitar), Ryan Kirkpatrick (contrabass) and Jebediah Lipson (dobro).

Hochstedder / Anchient Forrest [coll] – [Needleteeth Records]

ophelia necro   5/5/2009   10-inch, A Library

Needleteeth Records is a fledgling label out of Brooklyn, New York. This split 10″ is the first release on this label.
Side A brings you Hochstedder, a 3 piece project out of Brooklyn, NY with Dave Gilbert on bass & vocals, William Lacey on guitars and John McClellan on drums. Heavy, loud, pummeling metal. The first two songs track together at 5 minutes 4o seconds. Track three clocks in at 3 minutes and 5 seconds. All three tracks have language. The painting used for the cover for the Hochstedder side was done by Cynthia Alvarez.

Side B is Ancient Forrest out of Oakland, California with Polly Anderson on bass & vocals, Alicia Burbridge Digiovanni on drums and Tim Anderson on guitar.?? Sadly, this band is now defunct. This is also some hard rocking shit but with a witchy edge. “Transgenerational Haunting” runs 6 minutes and 42 seconds, “The Grand Empire of Granbretan” runs 5 minutes and 14 seconds. The cover art for the Ancient Forrest side was done by Tim Garside.

Twitch’s 10 Inches of Fear [coll] – [RVNG]

ophelia necro   3/10/2009   10-inch, A Library

This 10 inch is the companion to Mx6: Twitch’s 60 Minutes of Fear. The release includes 4 “Twitch re-edits” of songs by Flux of Pink Indians, Honey Bane, The Mob and Zounds. All 4 bands were part of the anarcho-punk scene of late 70s and early 80s UK. JD Twitch is one half of Glasgow’s dj duo Optimo which host a long running Sunday night based club. The “re-edits” are subtle and emphasize the rhythmic and dancier aspects of the tracks chosen. Don’t get hung up on the use of “dancier”, these are all exceptional post-punk tracks.
Flux Of Pink Indians were an anarcho-punk/post punk band that originated from Bishop’s Stortford, Hertfordshire, England.
Honey Bane (born in London) is an English singer and actress who began her musical career at the age of 14 in when she formed the punk rock band the Fatal Microbes. After the 1979 breakup of the Fatal Microbes, she began a collaboration with the Essex-based anarcho-punk activist band Crass.
The Mob were an anarcho-punk band originally from Yeovil, Somerset, England during the late 1970s and early 1980s.
Zounds were a UK anarchist band formed in 1977 out of Reading, United Kingdom (1977 ??? 1982). They were part of the cassette culture movement and were also involved in the squatting and free festival scene.

We have material from each of these artists but the Honey Bane track “Guilty” is the only original version from this release that we have in our library.

Black Forest/Black Sea – “Portmanteau ” – [Secret Eye]

Cousin Mary   1/12/2009   10-inch, A Library

BF/BS is Miriam Goldberg (cello) and Jeffrey Alexander (guitar). They are joined by Joe Graham (fiddle) and Miriam???s sister Margot Goldberg (phonorgan). A phonorgan is a machine that plays 45???s and 33???s and has a push button keyboard and a pitch knob for playing along with the record.

Free form ??? I hear folk, psych, and electronic music. Limited 500-copy edition. Very cool!

Free Spirits – “Presents Acknowledgement For JC ” – [Kindred Spirits]

Cousin Mary   1/12/2009   10-inch, Jazz

Dwight Trible???s vocals are rich and full and his improvisations write the book for jazz singers. Here he is working with Billy Higgins (drums) and Charles Owens (sax) on side A and members of Build An Ark on side B. Side A???s ???A Love Supreme??? is a very worthy and moving cover of the Acknowledgement section of this masterpiece written by John Coltrane. Side B???s ???A Love Supreme??? is a one-minute track that doesn???t go very far. Side B has fine renditions of Abbey Lincoln???s ???Wholly Earth??? and Bill Lee???s ???John Coltrane???.

Garland, Peter – “Matachin Dances ” – [Cold Blue]

Thurston Hunger   7/29/2008   10-inch, A Library

Live recording from 1981 up in San Francisco, that has aged
as well as these dances themselves. While it seems modern
matachin (or matachine) dances focus on shaker percussion
and steps to match, typically with large throngs of dancers,
here the sound is stripped down and isolated in sentiment.
Kicking around an emotion, rather than kicking up heels.
Garland himself on the gourd rattles here is the *background*
to the dualing violins. The strings move with elegance and
a hint of elegy. Except for the nimble closing sixth piece
and a little rush on #3, the pace is as stately as a
hand-maiden’s parlor. Garland’s compositions stir more sorrow
than dust. One violin will split off counter-harmonically to
the other and then rejoin. The piece dead-icated to John
Lennon is the most lachrymose, but it really has a lasting
beauty to it. The second dance two has a melody that sort of
falls down, and then the gourd lifts it back to its feet.
That was my favorite. All pieces are fairly short, with space
inside and between them that can lead a DJ into tracking them
which is not so bad, as they are all cut of roughly the same
cloth. Speaking of rough, I found an online recording that
had two more grizzled violins doing a matachine, quite
compelling. The dance allegedly may have colonizing roots,
so that online version might be the more indigenous weed
whereas Garland sort of recaptures and recolonizes the source.
Quite a lot to this spare 10″. -Thurston Hunger

Fun fact? One of the violinist has been concertmaster for
Joel Grey, Liberace, Dionne Warwick and Tony Bennett, so now
you’ve got to play it?

Suffering Bastard / Cock E.S.P. [coll] – [Breathmint Records]

cinder   7/11/2008   10-inch, A Library

Suffering Bastard (from Rhode Island of all places) take the A side by the balls. Brutal dual bass & drums GRIND. Short blasts leaving you with a sore throat. The tracks get more muffled as the side goes on. Unintellagible lyrics, but I’m sure there’s some fucks on A3. Reminds me of house parties in downtown San Jose. Tattoos and beer welcome.
Cock E.S.P come out of Minneapolis. A trio of electronic noise and shrieking vocals. Sounds like a chick is being shot through a water hose of damaged radio frequencies while her hair is on fire and her face is melting. I guess a Wicked Witch of the West would be a good fit. Painful beautiful scraping electronics. Last track is live (but swears at the end, boooo!)

Beequeen – “Sandancing Demos ” – [Important Records]

cinder   5/8/2008   10-inch, A Library

Beequeen is Dutch musicians Freek Kinkelaar & Frans de Waard. This is actually a 10″ featuring 8 short demos for their Sandancing album. Mostly (Lou Reed-ish) male vocals, but Olga Wallis lends a female voice on a few tracks. Other guests include Barry Gray (known for his work in the early 80s with The Legendary Pink Dots) and Kees Rietveld on guitar. Simple, mellow pop songs with a semi-melancholy feel to them. Original versions, stripped down, rough mixes, and one unreleased (B1) track!

Stott, Andy – “Handle With Care / See In Me ” – [Modern Love]

Thurston Hunger   3/14/2007   10-inch, A Library

Ahhhhhh, bass that can relocate your solar plexus. That’s the first thing
that hits you off this record. Also some Basic Channel moves, but with
a lot more space…and a lot less pace. “Handle with Care” is the happier
of the two numbers and its dub vibe is the warm aquatic variety, with some
synth-snare and hi-hat snapping like a soda can. Pop top low end drop!
There’s also a hint of mournful cathedral organ keyboard that foreshadows
the beauty on the flipside. On “See in Me” the dub moves from island
waters to outer space. Very dark, wonderfully minimal, and bleak. But the
bass is so heavy on this it might make Stephen Hawking believe in black
holes again. Deep and deeper still, it doesn’t enter your ears, it just
sort of permeates them…and your whole skull at the same time. Halfway
through the cathedral organ enters, although this time is more like
that sort of mortuary drone. Very somber, shifting gently, droning
alone. Then some isolated bass and drum for a few measures before
channeling out. Thick and thin at the same time…

-Thurston Hunger

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