KFJC 89.7FM

Music Reviews

Fursaxa – “Madrigals in Duos ” – [Time-Lag]

Daryl Licht   2/23/2004   12-inch, A Library

Fursaxa is the (mostly) solo project of Tara Burke, a Philadelphia resident
who has been intriguing us for years now with her efforts in a number of
groups, most notably, Un. On ‘Madrigals In Duos? , her third full-length
release, she displays all the required skills to earn her ‘acid folk? merit
badge. Some tracks are more straightforward, in a lo-fi folk-psych vein,
featuring mainly acoustic guitar and vocals. Other tracks shoot straight
for the heart of that 3AM vibe, combining cosmic organ drones with
ghostly, wailing vocals. Finally, there are a couple of noisier tracks, with
dissonant electric guitars and repetitive, driving, hand percussion.
Beautiful and otherworldly music. Mandatory for play on late night shows. DL

Trans Am – “Liberation ” – [Thrill Jockey Records]

Daryl Licht   2/23/2004   12-inch, A Library

‘Liberation?, the 7th full-length release from Washington D. C.’s, Trans Am, finds
the band continuing to feature a familar mix of sonic elements – Krautrock, 80’s
Synthpop, Electro-Ambience, Punk, and Post Rock. Despite its similarity to their
previous work, however, this album represents a new pinnacle of acheivement
for the band. On ‘Liberation?, which features a strong theme of opposition to the
policies of the Bush Administration, the band has a acheived a nearly perfect
synthesis of cover art, ‘lyrical? content, and music. The cuts on this album (most
of which track) flow almost seamlessly from synth-driven Krautrock grooves to
danceable synthpop to late-night, electro-ambient pieces and driving rockers.
The combination of political soundbites/synthesized vocals and ominous
analogue sounds works perfectly to convey their damning indictment of Bush’s
war in Iraq and evoke fear of Big Brother’s ever intrusive gaze/grasp. A beautiful
record – sonically diverse and conceptually complete. Highly recommended! DL

Califone – “Heron King Blues ” – [Thrill Jockey Records]

mitch   12/16/2003   12-inch, A Library

Hot on the heels of 2003???s ???Quicksand / Cradlesnakes??? comes this concept LP
of recurring dream and Druid legend. A half-man, half-bird figure of legend
haunts these sprawling mirages of ancient battle and laconic, ethereal interim;
squalls of darkness patch themselves between melodic loam and numerological
tension alongside the mercy and revenge of elephant-horns, muted drums,
pump organ, slide guitar, treated piano, violin, fretless banjo and omnipresent
electronic looping. The vision belongs to vocalist Tim Rutili, along with bandmates
Ben Massarella (percussion), Jim Becker (guitars, keyboards) and Joe Adamik
(reeds, horns) and is brought to realization with producer Michael Krassner &
the usual Chicago all-star sessioneers : Wil Hendricks (bass), Fred Lonberg Holm
(cello), et. al. A product of extemporaneous creation in the studio and the
spectre of metaphysics outside of it, Rutili is a long long way from RED RED MEAT
days ??? though the riverbeds still swirl with enigma, it is the topography of semi-
coma that now presupposes symbolism, moving CALIFONE toward a more
compelling interpretation of an ancient future.
MITCH December 2003

Smog – “Accumulation: None” – [Drag City]

Thurston Hunger   4/3/2003   12-inch, A Library

Flotsam and sinksam from Bill Callahan. Well
captured in oft rough recordings. We’ve got
vapor-lock blues, anti-rock star heroics
(“It’s Not Gonna Be a Hit”) and the ol’
Smog favorite, collapsible relationships.
He seems like a guy who’s counting on the
big nasty breakup even in the honeymoon
phase of a relationship. (“I Break Horses”)
There’s a flare somehow in the flatness of
Callahan’s voice, and as well as anyone
he can make the lurid, alluring. I like
the fact that many Smog songs, when they hit
the spot where the bridge should come they
almost go flatline. Hell, the songs start
off with pretty economical lyrics and guitar
playing and then they lose their shirt and
their way for awhile….till the next verse
comes along and gives ’em a ride back to
tune. On the lighter side, Callahan does
quote “Baby’s Got Back” on the tail end
(where else) of “Real Live Dress”
-Thurston Hunger

Jackie-O Motherfucker – “Change” – [Textile Records]

Daryl Licht   3/22/2003   12-inch, A Library

Jackie-O Mofo checks in with this field report as they continue on their journey
down the path of musical exploration and cut-out bin obscurity. Always a fairly
‘free? unit, Jackie-O has toned down the louder, more raucous elements of
their earlier releases in favor of a more textured, organic approach. The
opening track, ‘Everyday?, sets the standard for that new (sub)genre that all
the alleged ‘Americana? experts have completely missed: late-night, downcast,
‘free country?. ‘Sun Ray Harvester? is an eastern-tinged piece of atmospheric,
bang and clatter, basement improv/psych. ‘7″ is a 47 second waste of vinyl.
‘777 (Tombstone Massive)? mines a similar vein as ‘Sun Ray Harvester? ,
except the eastern influences are replaced by more jazzy elements and the
track is way more chaotic, in general, due to the abrupt changes that occur as
a result of the track’s ‘cut and paste? editing.The album’s final track, ‘Fantasy
Hay Co-Op? is another tense, late-night offering that centers around a couple
of repetitive figures and is, as a result, more focused and satisfying (IMHO) than
‘777 (Tombstone Massive)? . Overall, this is quite an interesting and enjoyable
release. Play! DL

Kinski – “Airs Above Your Station ” – [Subpop]

Daryl Licht   3/17/2003   12-inch, A Library

After 30+ years of psych/spacerock, it takes something pretty special to really make an
impact on me. Unfortunately, this latest full-length from Seattle’s Kinski (their third) is
not such an album. It is, however, an enjoyable record of (mostly) instrumental contemporary psych/spacerock, filled with the standard elements of the (sub)genre: analogue synth tones and drones, Krautrock rhythms, and thick, shoegaze, distorto-haze, applied in different combinations and intensities on various tracks to create music that is at some times spare, delicate, and melodic and other times is propulsive and soaring. ‘Semaphore? (which should already be familar to you, as a live version of it was included, under a different title, on KFJC’s, ?…Devil’s Triangle, Vol. 4? compilation) and ‘Rhode Island Feakout? are the most straight-up rockers on the album. Both versions of ‘I Think I Blew It? are blissed out, ambient solo pieces by leader Chris (Ampbuzz) Martin. I find ‘Your Lights Are (Out Or) Burning Badly? to be reminiscent of GYBE, but in a shorter and way stripped down form. ‘Schedule For Using Pillows And Beanbags? is the album’s epic centerpiece. As I said, certainly nothing groundbreaking, but still an enjoyable listening experience. DL

Migrantes – “Monsoon Moods ” – [Eclipse Records]

Daryl Licht   2/19/2003   12-inch, A Library

This is the second full-length release from the Arizona Duo, Migrantes.
Two tracks (A2 and B2) are actual songs in a folk psych vein. The
remaining four tracks are more ‘otherworldly?, Featuring mainly droning
organ and Caroline’s ethereal, effected vocals. ‘Gesture?, which
features Jason on electric guitar, is the most loud/aggressive of these
tracks, while ‘Baboquivari?, offers the most pure drone bliss. A nice
soundtrack for rainy days and late nights. For those about to float…DL

Sole – “Selling Live Water ” – [Anticon.]

Daryl Licht   1/9/2003   12-inch, Hip Hop

Anticon member, Sole, returns with a very ambitious and successful
second full-length release. Musically, he throws everything but the
kitchen sink at you, as jazzy horns, vibes, ambient drones, bleeding
Krautrock electronics, and seductive pop guitars are all integrated
quite comfortably with traditional hip-hop beats, scratches, and
classic soul samples. Lyrically, he also covers a lot of ground, with
compelling rants about things we can all relate to (work, relationships,
life/death, geo-politics) and deeply personal, soul baring sketches
(that you also might be able to relate to, depending on your particular
psychoses), as well. Overall, this is a stunning release that fulfills the
goals of the Anticon’mission statement? by transcending the
traditional preconceptions/lmitations regarding what hip-hop is and/or
could/should be. Music for the advancement of hip-hop, indeed! Play! DL

Gate – “Metric ” – [Majora]

Daryl Licht   5/4/1994   12-inch, A Library

This latest LP from Gate (the solo/side project of Dead C. guitarist, Michael Morley) is a reissue of a 1991 cassette only release on Morley’s own Precious Metal label. The sound here is similar to the Dead C. (in fact, ‘Hope? and ‘Constellations? were later recorded by the Dead C.), although these tracks have a noticeably more ‘normal? song structure. Each side begins with a quietier, somber track which is followed by two tracks of dense Dead C. distorto-disintegration. The final track on each side is short. ‘Evidence? is a spliced tape sampler and ‘Forced Sight? is an excellent track with thick feedback over a droning organ. A great record: possibly my favorite by the Dead C. or any of its members. Play! DL

Note – This is an archival review. This CD was originally added to KFJC’s library in 1994. It is a long-running tradition at KFJC for DJs to add their own comments to these ‘official? reviews. As a matter of historical context and plain ol? ‘purient interest?, these comments (mis-spellings and all!) are provided below.

An impressive demonstration of quality and quantity – Gram White

It’s in the numbers – Dominic Trix

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