KFJC 89.7FM

Music Reviews

Life Fucker – “Z” – [Static Shock(Age)]

whngr   8/15/2019   12-inch, A Library

This 45 is a fucking battery of hideous, in-the-red, filthy, low-fidelity rock, little to no fucking roll and a bad fucking attitude. Germany’s Life Fucker are as mysterious as they are resonate to this poor volunteer’s wretched, black heart. Drums sound like trashcans, check. Guitars howling feedback like possessed banshees, check. Buried, mostly indecipherable vocals shrieking away at unseen tormentors, check. Slightly shit art with skulls and chains, check. Bonuses include a song about being surrounded by rats and a German band being released on a Japanese label in English that has d- beat/hardcore (non)sensibilities and no fucks clearly given. One potential drawback may be that the drummer is a little too talented, If I were a god, I would kick him in his left knee and stomp on one of his hands so they sounded just a bit more desperate and ugly. Everything else is fucking perfect. Play this record and fucking lose control!Querulously there are no discernible FCC’s, what the fuck?

Cavity A.D. – “Wraith” – [Valley King Records]

atavist   8/12/2019   12-inch, A Library

The A.D. in the band’s name derives from the fact that the band returned from a 14-year hiatus with the release of the album “After Death”. Now, with this release, the band is referring to themselves as Cavity A.D. KFJC has some comps and 7”s that comprise a portion of Cavity’s output from the 1990s. Internet research reveals this band was an important institution for the South Florida scene, collaborating with folks who would go on to other projects like Torche and Black Cobra. As Cavity AD, they are permitting themselves to diverge from their earlier sound and experiment with new instrumentation and textures.

A1: Long intro consisting of a Mad Max-style primitive drumbeat that gives way to fuzzy guitar riffing and semi-feral vocals that are yelled more than screamed or growled. A2 Reinforces the long drive across the desert vibe the first track flirted with. The primitive beat is established, and as the drive progresses, sparkling guitar washes over the heavier riff. They really want to explore this feeling—it’s a long passage across the desert. B1 Very industrial vibe driven by the percussion. B2 They save the doomiest for last. Unlike the previous tracks, the drum machine feels out of place here. That riff needs the accompaniment of some old-fashioned slow-motion drum-bashing, with big cymbal crashes decaying into the mix. Maybe that’s too mid-90s to be A.D…

Shumoto/Rambutan – “The Migration to Warm Rivers” – [coll] – [Lost Forest]

atavist   7/30/2019   12-inch, A Library

A1, 9:41—To begin: acoustic guitar strings are struck and decay against gentle waves of vaguely ominous droney washes of sound. More well-formed guitar chords enter the scene and lay the ground work for the vocals, repeating “river is dry again”, among other things. Extremely subtle transition to A2—the tracks essentially run together. A2, 9:43 (time is approximate since it’s difficult to mark the beginning)—This track has more playful guitar fills and slightly more active vocal work. Some listeners will find the vocals a welcome addition to this rather sparse composition, but I’m not especially fond of it. Vocals can be polarizing depending on the listener. Here, they are forward enough in the mix as to be unavoidable—you’ll be into it, or maybe not so much. The vocal element with the guitar gives this Shumoto side a more folk feel than the psych-inflected Rambutan side. Shumoto is Jefferson Pitcher, a filmmaker as well as a veteran musician. He’s worked with a number of artists, including Fred Frith and Scott Amendola. The guitar work, coupled with the overlaid sounds, exhibits a satisfying amount of restraint and feeling. And in the end, the vocal element occupies only a small part of the run time.

B1, 4:05—From the onset, an electric sound much more psych-influenced than the Shumoto side. Rambutan is Chris Hardiman, and recently we’ve had his project Spiral Wave Nomads in heavy rotation. B2, 8:50—Electronic glitches, atmospheric sound samples played in reverse, echoing guitar gently flitting across the top. The intensity of the composition gradually builds over time. Guitar sounds like lonely wind chimes. B3, 6:55—More sparseness and low-level electronic sound patterns. Waves of delay-infused guitar build to a delicate oblivion. 

In summary, this 12″ provides five meandering and nicely executed tracks of spaced-out, moody, atmospheric, and at times minimal sonic explorations.

Araujo, Vitor – "Levaguia Tere" – [Nutriot Recordings]

humana   7/28/2019   12-inch, A Library

Araujo is a Brazilian composer and musician whose third album feels like the soundtrack to a sometimes eerie, sometimes suspenseful, but always romantic film that could sweep you away. The final song on each side is climactic, fast-paced, and exciting. Araujo’s piano and soothing vocals (never words, but melodic and expressive nonetheless) flow in and out of each piece, either on their own or joined by vibraphone, strings, thrumming drums, guitar, or flugelhorn, among other orchestral instruments. The effect is stunning. I particularly enjoyed the denouement feeling of the first two songs of Side D that are followed by a third song that picks up the momentum and surprises you like the crescendo at the end of a fireworks display.

Esplendor Geometrico – “Selected Tracks 2, 1995-1998” – [Geometrik Records]

atavist   7/16/2019   12-inch, A Library

This double LP contains a number of tracks not found on the other records in the KFJC library by Spanish industrial pioneers Esplendor Geométrico. As industrial music goes, these are mild sounds that skirt the boundaries of electronic dance music, but seldom cross over to that genre. I found the record has, at times, a hypnotic quality ideal for working. The audacity of many of these tracks is their refusal to add anything else above a seemingly spare structure of beats and vocal samples—as if that should be enough. And typically it is enough. ES establish a script and stick to it. The record is extremely consistent throughout, almost to a fault. There are no high highs and low lows. Some tracks have more industrial textures and metallic sounds happening, while others are a bit more organic and borderline danceable. Highlights: track B1 is a bit more insistent and high-energy, like Kraftwerk with their hair on fire; B2 has a cool ethereal looped sample over a mechanistic beat; C1 has some intensity and a broader range of sampled sounds and clanging rhythms; C3 brings something vaguely drum corps and primal, adding just a few sounds along the way, like a buzzing cricket sound; and D3 kind of sticks out for the more playful sounds employed and the use of what could be the chanting of Tibetan monks—less industrial and much more EDM.

Madassane, Ahmoudou – “Zerzura, Original Soundtrack Recording” – [Sahel Sounds]

carsonstreet   7/12/2019   12-inch, International

Tuareg (twaa·reg) rock giving us middle east psych/drone sounds as it leads us on a journey. Tuareg guitar has become folk music in the contemporary Sahara. Originally political ballads, created in exile in Libya, today the sound has expanded to encompass everything from introspective love songs, blistering psychedelic rock, and synthesizer and drum machine. Zerzura is the first-ever ethnographic acid Western! In a genre-defying film, Zerzura follows a young man from a small village in Niger who leaves home in search of an enchanted oasis. His journey leads him into a surreal vision of the Sahara, crossing paths with djinn, bandits, gold seekers, and migrants. The Tuareg inhabit the Saharan regions of North Africa – Niger, Mali, Libya, Algeria and Burkina Faso. Tuareg is an Arabic term meaning abandoned by God. No FCCs in English anyway.

Darts, The – “I Like You But Not Like That” – [Alternative Tentacles]

Buddy Love   7/3/2019   12-inch, A Library

Frontwoman Nicole Laurenne claims that this album marks the first time the band has actually recorded in the same room together, previous records done via e-mailing tracks back and forth. Whether she’s having us on, the album does have a certain tightness and subtlety that supports her claim. 12 uptempo tracks that only disappoint when they’re over. The sound of the album is well though out, heavy on the fuzz, with strong psychedelic elements. Though The Darts sound is often referred to as garage punk, to me it’s more reminiscent of the early Yardbirds, with strong bass-doubling riffs, a good example being the title track (possibly my favorite). Love U 2 Death (my other favorite) takes the concept even further, at time doubling between bass and vocals; bass and guitar; guitar and vocals; tripling bass, guitar and vocals.

A heavy, heavy sound, strengthened by the fact that the band members don’t appear to take themselves too seriously, and are just having fun. The songs all seem to center about relationships (but then again, don’t they all?), with quick solos popping up here and there (organ, bass, guitar). The songs range from 2:03 (Japan) to 4:37 (Love U 2 Death) and are economically arranged. Short enough to make their way onto any playlist. Many of the tracks have interesting endings (e.g. Where’s the Rain, with a 50-second fade into feedback and rain), so you may want to do a quick scan of the endings to figure out how best to connect with your next song.

No FCCs.

Reptile Ranch – “Reptile Ranch” – [C/Site]

Thurston Hunger   6/28/2019   12-inch, A Library

Well-preserved Welsh jams from the late 70’s. So stoked to see this reissue after having a taste courtesy of a couple of songs off Messthetic collections. Reptile Ranch were tied to a Cardiff scene that included the Young Marble Giants, booklet includes their manifesto for busting out Z Block Records. Songs are poppy catchy in a certain light, but with a twitchiness that distinguishes them over the decades. “Waterhole” has a warped entrance, some orchestral moves in the dork, before a peppy bassline locks in, with those shimmery seventies keyboards sounding like a siren. Many tracks work in those sensible but simple synths from Simon Smith, who also sings and adds some guitar. Spike aka Alun Mark Williams, provides the snakey guitar work that cuts nicely. Phil John apparently was both halves of the rhythm section, bass and percussion. The LP includes some raw live club cuts on side A, for those who want the “you were there vibe” but the studio sounds bristle with youthful thistles. “W.T.B” (White Tyger Burning) marches and the guitars burble, “Lifeguard” has a tiny splash of early Roxy as the keyboards push and pull the track in little circles; similar keys on “Saying Goodbye” the album closer. “Lifeguard” even floats in some wood flute. Powered by dour outlooks (hello “Young Executives”) quite a nice bit all these years later, kudos to Stefan Christensen and however he made a Connecticut connection to the Ranch hands.

Hey, lookin’ up Chuck Warner (Messthetics/etc) old site, found this
http://www.hyped2death.com/z-block.htm

-Thurston Hunger

Frank Hurricane and The Hurricanes of Love – “Life Is Spiritual” – [Feeding Tube Records]

Thurston Hunger   6/28/2019   12-inch, A Library

Frank looks so much like KFJC’s luvvable Honey Bear, it makes it hard not to smile while just looking at the cover. Similarly for listening to these breezy, bluesy acoustic hippie jams. Puts a bandaid on your soul and
a banjo on your need. Twelve-string rings throughout some tracks. Frank cranks up the falsetto at times to let it soar through the valleys, dig “On a Hill” and “Johnson City Blues.” While there’s a lyrical (lysergical?) thread of going on a spiritual trip and his songs map out various destinations for tour buses and bussing, Frank is not above the cosmic joke. Dishing on Dylan, he gets “tangled up in pubes” and sees Shrymps as often as Burroughs saw Mugwumps. Well, the Shrymp’s seem more benevolent, though I’m not steeped in Hurricane lingo + lore. Watch out for the Tennessee Pigeon River Ghoul, he might trap Frank and you in a pool hall for eternity. Nah, you both can find yer way home via “Mooneye Travelin
Blues.” Me? I got stuck in a “Holy Mountaintop Rainstorm” digging a bit of brass and looking around for Jodorowsky and Rubin Carter.
-Thurston Hunger

Fuller, Jesse – “San Francisco Bay Blues” – [Prestige Records Inc.]

mickeyslim   6/23/2019   12-inch, Blues

Jesse Fuller is the one-man band. Fuller plays the twelve-string guitar, has a harmonica, kazoo, and microphone in his mouth rig, and plays a series of foot pedals attached to a washboard and the fotdella (a foot-operated bass guitar), an instrument of his own invention. The washboard needed to be lubricated before being played, which, for this recording, was “provided by oil from the finest Norwegian smoked salmon, which everyone at the session (except Jesse who didn’t care for it) was consuming with relish.”

Jumpy, folk blues from this Georgia-turned-California native. Fuller was an unsung, old-school, busking style, folk blues hero. Famous for his original “San Francisco Bay Blues,” Fuller’s music influenced folk and rock legends across the globe. This release from Prestige Records is a solid classic

Medium: Paranormal Field Recordings And Compositions, 1901-2017 [coll] – [Kennesaw State University Zuckerman Museum of Art]

whngr   6/15/2019   12-inch, A Library

An assemblage of recordings of and inspired by efforts to communicate with the dead. This L.P. is a companion to the 2017 Kennesaw State University exhibit at the Zuckerman Museum of Art and runs the gamut from quirky to schlock, dreamy atmosphere to interpretive high art conceptualization, with just a sliver of spooky. This is not what I was hoping it would be; unequivocal verification of the paranormal, irrefutable evidence of souls trapped between planes of existence but unfortunately it is far from it. At times engaging and atmospheric, at other times pure camp. Perhaps witnessing the exhibit would help to illuminate some of the more tawdry aspects of this album but on it’s own it appears to lack cohesion and credibility. Perhaps that is fitting, maybe the intangible should remain as such and the efforts to document the ephemeral should be unattainable and reductive.

ACxDC – “Antichrist Demoncore” – [Melotov Records]

atavist   6/12/2019   12-inch, A Library

ACxDC drops a slab of West Coast power violence with Antichrist Demoncore. Unrelenting riffs of pure aggression with plenty of thick tone to sink your teeth into. Two vocal styles comprise a dual-pronged attack: high-pitched screaming vs guttural/throaty/demonic. The speed is fairly full-throttle with some choice breakdowns. One track on each side is FCC-free, so outside of safe harbor it’s a minefield. Having said that, the FCC-free tracks, “Cheap Punks”, and “Keep Sweet” are pretty cool tracks, and “Keep Sweet” might be my favorite. It’s a bummer about the FCCs, because there are some great blasting riffs and good, fuck-all, anti-fascist lyrics. After two sides of tracks ranging from 34 seconds to just under two minutes, the 3:36 track at the end of the album feels pretty epic. A worthy addition to the genre.

Jóhannsson, Jóhann – “Arrival (Original Soundtrack)” – [Deutsche Grammophon]

whngr   6/6/2019   12-inch, A Library, Soundtrack

The soundtrack to Dennis Villeneuve’s time-bending science-fiction suspense film is strange and otherworldly with unusual voicing and heavily modified instrumentation that is as mellifluous and soothing as it is abstract and unfamiliar. Deep drone, alien vocal arrangements, strings from The City of Prague Philharmonic Orchestra and beautiful if bizarre vocalizations from the Theatre of Voices, sparse percussion and an overarching minimalism convey distance, introspection, and liminal phantasmic qualities. Arrival was composed by the late Icelandic composer Jóhann Jóhannsson (Blade Runner 2049, Sicario, Mandy), and was scored during the apex of his relatively short but voluminous and perhaps influential cinematic career (the third of four films films with Villeneuve). He died like a rock star, at the peak of his game, his system flooded with alcohol and cocaine which, in my mind, makes him a legend and and also kind of an asshole. However, that is of little consequence, the sound(s) that he generated were brilliant, often employing near sub-sonic drones that would utilize the incredible range and volume of modern theater sound systems to mesmerizing and visceral effect. Rivaling both Motörhead and Holy Mountain era Sleep in obscenely over-the-top volume, I saw Blade Runner 2049 (another example of a [less than amazing] film that just happened to be an exceptional vehicle for Jóhannsson’s sound design) in a nearly empty theater and was thrilled at the way my rib-cage would shudder at the unearthly sound. It became tactile. I was immersed in a compressible fluid that was both turbulent and resonate. When the medium of air becomes that warped and disturbed we can be transported to a place that is foreign and dire. Not unlike outer space or the chambers that house the hyper-evolved “Heptapods”, the extraterrestrial demagogues in the film. Our atmosphere is as untenable to them as theirs is to ours so the linguistic protagonists must meet with these beings separated by a transparent barrier in an attempt to learn, with some great difficulty, to communicate with them and the consequences that come with first contact with a species that is technologically and militarily superior. This separation from the familiar is important to the sound and ultimately the feeling of the film. Jóhannsson was aware that “people are hungry for new sounds, and for the experience of listening to unfamiliar music…” and this awareness was what compelled him to make an extraordinary film score for a striking film, with one gnarly twist, about love, determination, and communion with our extrasolar squid overlords.

Cult Sounds [coll] – [Aberrant]

whngr   6/4/2019   12-inch, A Library

A fantastically disturbing collection of recordings of the members and leaders of 12 different religious factions widely considered “cults” and in fact this compilations selects primarily from twelve of the most notorious and infamous sects from around the world (short bios on reverse). What is most compelling about this album is however the incredible variety of the tracks. The absurd childlike simplicity of  the Shoko Asahara (A4) track, which considering the gravity and scope of his Aum Shinrikyo group’s actions including the killing of 13 and the poisoning of over 6000 and who was subsequently hanged along with 12 of his followers in 2018 in a rare occurrence of capital punishment in the normally life affirming nation of Japan, provides a real skin-crawling element to this release. However, it is not the only track with this quality. A stalwart rival for creepiest track predictably comes from the choir of the People’s Temple (A1), children sing merrily to a 70’s pop riff that does little to belie the impending death of 909 individuals. However, there is much more to this album than the macabre titillation of the body count. From the surprisingly talented crooning ballad by David Koresh “Book of Daniel” (A5), to the funky Beefheart-esque stomp of Ya Ho Wha (B1), to the jazzy saxophone jubilation of L. Ron Hubbard’s Apollo Stars (B2). Other standouts include the doom/psych composition “Lucifer Rising Pt. I” by Bobby Beausoleil (a former member of Grass Roots, an early incarnation of Arthur Lee’s, Love) & The Freedom Orchestra (A2) which notably, was recorded in Deuel Vocational Institution with the approval of Tracy Prison administration as an accompaniment to the Kenneth Anger film of the same name (Beausoleil was convicted of killing his friend Gary Hinman and fellow associate of the Manson Family in 1970), as well as the bitingly cynical robotic queries and command(ment)s over electronic instrumentation and dancy beats by Chris Korda & The Church of Euthanasia’s “Save the Planet, Kill Yourself” (B4), and perhaps the most unnerving (because it is potentially my favorite), an offering from the founder of the globe spanning Raëlian movement. Raël’s Viva la Vie Viva la Mour (B6) delivers a sweet and somber love song accompanied by a tenderly picked accoustic guitar that has me considering enrollment in his 80,000 member strong U.F.O. sex cult, though it is unlikely that I will find the time as I am currently immersed in practicing the Dark Arts at the most subversive cult of them all, the masochistic mind-control and sonic insubordination sect housed in building 6200 on the campus of Foothill Junior College. The most striking and perhaps disturbing aspect of this collection is the proliferation of hooks. It is an insidious reminder that music, at its roots is primal and inextricably connected to both memory and emotion. That for centuries the most powerful propaganda was employed first by the bards, then church, and most recently the advertising firm and their overlords, the architects and beneficiaries of the capitalist system. That the pop of today shall become the hymns of tomorrow, driving humankind into the compulsive recital of Dave Berry, The Beatles, Cyndi Lauper, and the Artist formally known as Prince in a prayer for deliverance from (or into) the maw (the lap) of the Prince of Darkness.

Aksak Maboul – "Un Peu De L'Ame Des Bandits" – [Crammed Discs]

Thurston Hunger   6/2/2019   12-inch, A Library

Holy Henry Cow! Dear 1977, you were more alive than I was back then.
Crammed Discs master Marc Hollander put together this band in ’77,
and this album originally came out in 1980, now released with
bonafide bonus work (see insert CD with vinyl)
“A Modern Lesson” is a Bo Diddley vs Les Georges Leningrand-standing
oddbop oddball. Followed by strings in syrup for “Palmiers en Pots”
which tangles itself into a tango of sorts, clarinets reminiscing
about the girl who got away when WWII hit. “Geistige Nacht” comes
along and it’s a sort of jazz-flecked prog instrumental. The curse
of diversity in full effect, along with a different language for
every song title so far. Next up an Italian title and a dry
drum and sahara-esque windswept vibe, plus either I’m hallucinating
or there’s an oasis filled with a Romanian maiden choir. “I Viaggio
Formano El Giaventu” snake-charmed by black heart the most so far.
Killer mesmerizing track! “Inoculating Rabies” rides a punk
railroad track with clarinet duet horns. “Microscope” is the
most “experimental” of the bunch, staining slides of sound
as microinstrumentals twitch under the glaring heat/light. Cools
off with vibes and electric piano after awhile (mandatory for any
flavor of “fusion”?) but kind of marches into some carnival
sounds. “Alluvions” has more of that prog-like, twitchy fusion
feel, but more comic, and some foley artist walking his horse
through the song. Clip clop and a fine Frith fretblast eventually.
Was there speaking in tongues on “Age Route Brra!”

The bonus CD (“Before and After Bandits”) rewards the long-time fans,
with new ones at KFJC likely to be born as this is our first Aksak
attack (we have a single track on a Recommended Sampler, and that is
all however Art Bears and Honeymoon Killers and Catherine Jauniaux
a-plenty oh my). Hefty booklet maps out various phases of Aksak Maboul
(apparently the band’s name, each word a form of “madness”, Arabic
first and French Slang). There is a current phase touring today by
the by, and a new album in the works.

Like sex in front of your pet (as depicted on the artwork) this album can
be a bit awkward but undeniably quite pleasurable, errm well, I’m guessing…
Shuck off your expectations, and enjoy.
-Thurston Hunger

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