KFJC 89.7FM

Music Reviews

Diasonics, The – “Origin of Forms” – [Record Kicks]

aarbor   3/2/2022   12-inch, Soul

Recorded in Moscow, Russia in 2021 this debut album is mostly instrumental funk from the Diasonics – a tight knit 5-piece funk band that calls its music “Hussar Funk”. They blend cinematic instrumentals with Eastern European melodies and boom-bap rhythms, with a touch of lingering psychedelia. They are fans of the recording techniques of the late ’60s and early ’70s. The album was recorded at the Diasonics’ own Magnetone Studio in Moscow and was mixed by Henry Jenkins in Melbourne. Enjoy! AArbor

Price, Michael – “Hope of Better Weather, The” – [Control Room, The]

humana   2/25/2022   12-inch, A Library

This gorgeous album starts out with three beautiful piano pieces composed and performed by Price in 2012. Gradually, other musicians join the British composer with vocals and guitar (“In Spite of the Weather”), cello (“The Warmth of the Sun”), and finally, musicians remix Price’s “The Anatomy of Clouds,” leaving the listener feeling blissed out, calm, and indeed hopeful that better weather feels as good as this music sounds.

Bulawayo Blue Yodel [coll] – [Mississippi Records]

aarbor   2/9/2022   12-inch, International

These are the songs of (itinerant) cowboy-styled African troubadours from Zimbabwe, Kenya, and South Africa mostly recorded by Hugh Tracey in the 1950s. Restored from their original 78 and 45 rpm discs. The hard fighting, independent cowboy heroes of American Western (movies) appealed to African viewers who were wary of losing their wide open spaces to European colonialists. African cowboys with 4 gallon hats strummed guitars like Gene Autry, Roy Rogers or Tex Ritter, and a form of African pop music was born. The liner notes provide stories of the musicians, recording engineers and labels. Another very cool release from Mississippi Records. AArbor

Ruiz, Jorge Lopez – “El Grito” – [Light in the Attic]

aarbor   2/9/2022   12-inch, Jazz

Jorge Lopez Ruiz was an Argentine double bass player, composer/arranger who was known for his soundtracks. This is a suite for jazz orchestra – the sound is 1960’s Big Band jazz. It could easily be mistaken for a soundtrack for a 1960’s film. Lopez Ruiz is the band leader on this 1967 recording. El Grito means the scream. The album was banned on its release because it takes a critical stance towards Argentina’s chaotic political situation and the military regime at that time. In its day it was a trailblazing release, very non-conforming. AArbor

King, Ben E. – “Spanish Harlem” – [Atco Records]

Cousin Mary   2/6/2022   12-inch, Soul

This was Ben E. King’s first solo album after his success as the lead singer of the Drifters. A big production with orchestra accompaniment, it features his huge hit Spanish Harlem. The other tracks are well known Latin American standards, sort of a unique choice for a soul album. The lyrics in Sweet and Gentle concern his cha-cha compulsion. King’s gorgeous voice carries it all.

Orbit Service – “Door to The Sky, The” – [Cloud City Records]

humana   2/6/2022   12-inch, A Library

Listening to this album is a matter of immersing yourself in synth-laden atmospheres interspersed by the deep, wise vocals of Randall Frazier and the strings of Patrick Q. Wright (especially in “Three Knots”). Electronics are the name of the game, with percussive beats (especially in “How Do I Get Back Home?”) and aural effects that will have you spiritually ascending the ladder created by Elisa D. Canali-Frazier on the inside cover art to achieve the door in the sky. Let the music take you into orbit.

God Is War – “World Music Volume 1” – [Phage Tapes]

whngr   1/26/2022   12-inch, A Library

Mid-weight Industrial/Power Electronics from Phage tapes delivers a holy war in your head.

Thematically dwelling on terrorism and violent insurgent groups from four disparate cultures we are strafed with sounds of religious fervor and upheaval with crunchy glitches, turbulent drone, and seditious samples including a PSA on obscuring ones data trail (B2) accompanied by contact mic abstractions and electronic fidgeting.
Uncomfortable, off-kilter, and appropriate for a global society that has evolved into a self-destructive parasite determined to bleed the host beyond reason. Beyond responsibility. Beyond recovery.

Santa Monica – 2021

Los Microwaves – “Birth of Techno, The” – [Hyperspace Communications]

cinder   1/26/2022   12-inch, A Library

A trio of David Javelosa (synth and vocals), Meg Brazill (bass and vocals) & Todd “Rosa” Rosencrans (drums). This plops you right down in the glorious new wave/minimal pop era of the early 1980s. The first half is studio, the second half are live tracks, some recorded in San Francisco at a venue called I-Beam. A little Gang of Four, with a splash of Blondie, and a good dousing of The Buggles. Most have vox, but there are a few instrumentals which would work great for electronic shows. I super love this! 

Pancakes, The – “Mokele Goes to Town” – [Kerntonschall Records]

Max Level   1/24/2022   12-inch, A Library

This German trio has been around since the mid-90s, playing what founder/guitarist Rainer Neeff calls “krautsurf with grunge and 60s psychedelic garage music.” A lot going on there, but I must say it’s a pretty good description of their sound. The band claims influences as varied as The Seeds, Jefferson Airplane, Sonic Youth, Dick Dale, and Dead Moon, among others. Many flavors on this 2019 double LP release—we hear shorter tracks in a sort of surf/garage rock vein as well as longer trippy psychedelic excursions in the 13 to 14 minute range. The tracks that are somewhere in between are the ones that really caught my ear—long enough to go somewhere but not completely overboard. Neeff and his sister Daniela, who plays bass, do the vocals. If you dig FUZZTONES and WAH WAHS, this is for you.

An Anthology of Greek Experimental Music [coll] – [Sub Rosa]

Thurston Hunger   1/24/2022   12-inch, A Library

2017 collection covering artists’ pieces ranging from 1966 (Michalis Adamis) to 2017 (Ilan Manouach). Nearly all artists making their KFJC debut here, Iannis Xenakis (RIP 2001) is an exception having been spun hundreds of times at our station, from his drum-driven work to orchestral to electronics (like his “Voyage” here to lead off side D.) That is followed nicely by a blitzy electronic noise-fax from Marinos Koutsomichalis. There is definitely a sense of the curation in the *lp* track segues, even as the detailed liner notes discourage any sort of specific “flavour” to the works. Ending side C, the connection from an almost hiphop “BRUT” (and brut-al in its cutting up Billy Holiday to a Holocaust theme) followed by a gorgeous somber tonic from Panayiotis Veliantis – like a sonic canopic Grecian urn. Side A launches a long form with a chime-y vortex of oscillation by Anestis Logothetis and ends with an aptly titled “Sense” by Panayiotis Kokoras – where mere sound is used to mirror touch/taste/sight and a whiff of a nature walk. Side B covers much territory drumming a wind-up monkey on meth, through a guitar piece like a slow homage to old no-wave Theoretical Girls, over to Manouach and a sax-tet calliope before a scraping meeting of minds before ILIOS sends barking dogs into an electronic hive mind and Side B then closes with Michalis Adamis and what feels like EVP for ghost birds. Just a whole lot of diversity, even more if we include the MP3 download boni. Sub Rosa further uncovers the weirdness of the world!

-Thurston Hunger

Two Synths A Guitar (And) A Drum Machine [coll] – [Soul Jazz Records]

Thurston Hunger   1/23/2022   12-inch, A Library

Vibrant fun from Stuart Baker’s mighty Soul Jazz label. The album title spells out the formula for the songs, but how the artists titrate that formula is captivatingly diverse. This album will put KFJC’s Reject Girl on the Soul Patrol dancefloor, and happily so. I’ll be over in the corner watching Mills College wonder-weird woman Marina La Palma rant far from the maddening mirrorball (her band Ixna from the 80′ we have two of their old 7″ records). Spliff chilling in the melodica dub haze of Niagara. Nearly all the Sounds here are recently from the Universe. The leadoff side has the most driving guitar pieces, while that side also teams up Fab 5 Freddy with Vex Ruffin for a 2016 strive at positivity on “The Balance” – even more valiant mantra these days. Taiwan’s “Black Deer” sprinkle acoustic guitar on their beat-based entry. Maybe not them, but I suspect many of the artists here have an ESG record or two in their personal collections. Reviewing remotely I’m not sure if KFJC’s vinyl is colored “Neon Green” like the title of Tom ov England’s disco dub dish o’ porridge. All tracks tasty in any color.
-Thurston Hunger

Spllit – "Spllit Sides" – [Feel It Records]

Thurston Hunger   1/23/2022   12-inch, A Library

Together Ronni Bourgeois and Matthew Urquhart are Spllit. One “L” for each side of this Baton Rouge band adds up for a big “W” on this tremendous record. Short songs like pleasant panic attacks, trace elements of no wave, lyrics burst from grad school dissertations found in the trash cans. One moment they are creating “Next Level Music” (where Urquhart intones like Rod Serling) but a few itty-bitty ditties later they tell it’s all just for fun during the robo-puppet beginning of “The Joke (But Who’s Laughing)” I think it’s all seriously fun, cool dorky guitar, detached yet devoted vocals. “Urq’s Heart” spelllls out the band’s name and hints at Ken Nordine elocution. Lots of bizzy bass and ray-gun electronics. Planet Split is further out than Planet Claire, viva art damaged pop.

We all listen, like we die, alone. Please play this loud enough on your ear buds, so I can vaguely hear it through the walls in my pandemic isolation booth.
-Thurston Hunger

Chaotic Dischord – Don’t Throw It All Away [Puke N Vomit Records]

beastofbourbon   1/17/2022   12-inch, A Library

“Of course it was a joke, and we were actually quite disturbed when so many people took it seriously”

Evo Stix – Drummer -Vice Squad/Chaotic Dischord

Chaotic Dischord are a side project of the legendary Bristol, England punk rock band Vice Squad. Made up from a couple members and roadies as a joke in response to the anarcho-crust punk that started dominating the UK punk scene in the early 80s. The joke went over well enough to get them signed to Bristol’s Riot City along with label mates Abrasive Wheels, Chaos UK, Disorder, and The Varukers. They even gained the positive attention of the influential SF Bay Area punk ‘zine and radio show Maximum Rocknroll even though  founder Tim Yohannon was not fond of Vice Squad. They pulled it off with aggressive, crusty songs about the Government, “Sausage, Beans, and Chips’, Doc Martens, and even a couple of songs featuring Captain Sensible; one being an updated version of the Sex Pistols “Rock and Roll Swindle”. In spite of it being a joke they kept it up well into the late 80s and even re-forming for the Rebellion Festival 2022 in Blackpool, England

Beast of Bourbon

CR Dicks – Dick Moves [Slovenly]

beastofbourbon   1/17/2022   12-inch, A Library

“There is nothing wrong with your speaker. It’s supposed to sound that way”

Beast of Bourbon

Dick Moves, the sophomore release from CR Dicks is an eclectic collection of songs that grows on you. CR Dicks is a project from veterans of the Cedar Rapids, IA skate punk scene, including. Andy Caffery of ‘90s garage punk band The Horrors and Pete Balestrieri saxophonist of  Violent Femmes. All eight tracks bring different forms of music: stoney blues rock, psych, noise, hip hop, trip hop, acid jazz, and hardcore skate punk. I hope to get more of CR Dicks in the future

Beast of Bourbon

Music From The Motion Picture Black Snake Moan [coll] – [New West Records]

carsonstreet   1/12/2022   12-inch, Soundtrack

This soundtrack to the film written and directed by Craig Brewer is steeped in the Southern blues. The big surprise here is how well actor Samuel L. Jackson holds his own as a blues singer. There are tracks from Son House and R.L. Burnside so Jackson had some tough competition. He sounds like a throwback to the classic Delta bluesmen on “Just Like a Bird Without a Feather,” does a convincing take on the Blind Lemon Jefferson title track and rocks the juke joint on “Alice Mae” and “Stack-O-Lee.” Also on this record is the Black Keys’ “When the Lights Go Out”, Bobby Rush’s classic “Chicken Heads” and Precious Bryant’s “Morning Train”.” The Son House tracks run 12 and 22 seconds so if your “Current” tank is a little low – top it off.

Black Snake Moan is a dark modern tale of love, betrayal, sex, and salvation set in the Deep South and stars Samuel L. Jackson, Christina Ricci and Justin Timberlake. The film is the 2nd feature by writer-director Craig Brewer, whose 1st film Hustle & Flow won an Academy Award for Best Song and the 2005 Sundance Film Festival Audience Award. Black Snake Moan was filmed in Memphis, Tennessee and surrounding environs.

On Rotten Tomatoes the film has an approval rating of 66% based on 157 reviews, with an average rating of 6.4/10. The site’s critical consensus reads, “Uninhibited performances, skillful direction, and a killer blues soundtrack elevate Black Snake Moan beyond its outlandish premise.” On the television program Ebert & Roeper, filmmaker Kevin Smith described the film as “the best of the year thus far”. Smith praised Ricci and Jackson, saying this was “Ricci’s best performance and Jackson’s best performance since Pulp Fiction”. Peter Travers of Rolling Stone declared the film: “the year’s Worst Soft-Core Sex” on his list of the Worst Movies of 2007. When I first saw the album cover I thought “oh, boy – turkey” – maybe, maybe not. The music is great and Justin Timberlake doesn’t sing.  

Lamp of The Universe/Align In The Fourth Dimension

carsonstreet   1/12/2022   12-inch, A Library

This is the 6th chapter of the Psychedelic Battles. The concept of the Psychedelic Battles series is a split album between two bands. One must come from Italy. On this, Volume, 6, the band from Italy is Sherpa. The other band comes from Sweden and they are called Dean Allen Foyd. Both bands are playing modern psychedelic music.

Dean Allen Foyd is a psychedelic band based in Stockholm, Sweden, with a wide range of music styles. Syd Barrett’s Pink Floyd, Arthur Lee’s Love and Captain Beefheart can be seen as some of their influences, but at the same time the band takes a step forward making their sound modern and updated.

Sherpa are from Sherpa, Italy and are described as psychedelic occult band. Bandcamp says of Sherpa: ” Sherpa is the new course. Sherpa is what was born from the ashes of Edith Aufn. It’s a necessary change, a natural evolution.”

The A side belongs to the Swedish guys. Dean Allen Foyd have managed since 2010 to establish their own unique style and the opener here “Atlas” is a characteristic Dean Allen Foyd track with a bluesy psych aura and a sharp late 60s rock edge. “The Return Of Burt Burrito” is a heavy rock instrumental while “The Shifting” is a psychedelic rocker, infused with huge amounts of high quality “psychedelic substances”.  The ‘A’ side closes with “My Bloody Walls”, full of acoustic guitars, harmonica, and a bluesy attitude emerging an acid spacey psych feel.

Side ‘B’ is two tracks by Sherpa. “Look To La Luna” starts by creating modern trippy soundscapes, atmospheric and mind-bending, with a spacey edge, becoming “controlled” heavy towards the end with this lazy torturous guitar feedback. “Moon’s Biology Portrait” has a creepy atmosphere under a foggy haunted psych background, a late-night effected tune becoming psychedelically trippy.

Dean Allen Foyd Vs Sherpa: Psychedelic Battles 6 [coll]

carsonstreet   1/12/2022   12-inch, A Library

This is the 6th chapter of the Psychedelic Battles. The concept of the Psychedelic Battles series is a split album between two bands. One must come from Italy. On this, Volume, 6, the band from Italy is Sherpa. The other band comes from Sweden and they are called Dean Allen Foyd. Both bands are playing modern psychedelic music.

Dean Allen Foyd is a psychedelic band based in Stockholm, Sweden, with a wide range of music styles. Syd Barrett’s Pink Floyd, Arthur Lee’s Love and Captain Beefheart can be seen as some of their influences, but at the same time the band takes a step forward making their sound modern and updated.

Sherpa are from Sherpa, Italy and are described as psychedelic occult band. Bandcamp says of Sherpa: ” Sherpa is the new course. Sherpa is what was born from the ashes of Edith Aufn. It’s a necessary change, a natural evolution.”

The A side belongs to the Swedish guys. Dean Allen Foyd have managed since 2010 to establish their own unique style and the opener here “Atlas” is a characteristic Dean Allen Foyd track with a bluesy psych aura and a sharp late 60s rock edge. “The Return Of Burt Burrito” is a heavy rock instrumental while “The Shifting” is a psychedelic rocker, infused with huge amounts of high quality “psychedelic substances”.  The ‘A’ side closes with “My Bloody Walls”, full of acoustic guitars, harmonica, and a bluesy attitude emerging an acid spacey psych feel.

Side ‘B’ is two tracks by Sherpa. “Look To La Luna” starts by creating modern trippy soundscapes, atmospheric and mind-bending, with a spacey edge, becoming “controlled” heavy towards the end with this lazy torturous guitar feedback. “Moon’s Biology Portrait” has a creepy atmosphere under a foggy haunted psych background, a late-night effected tune becoming psychedelically trippy.

Suzuki, Damo / Numinous Eye / Eto, Steve/High School Pharmacy

carsonstreet   1/12/2022   12-inch, A Library

Recorded live at Pink Noise, Tokyo March 8, 2007.

Damo Suzuki is a Japanese musician who has been living in Germany since the early 1970s and is best known as the former lead singer of Can (1970-1973).

Numinous Eye is a project of guitarist Mason Jones (formerly of SubArachnoid Space). Usually working with a drummer, plying psychedelic waters filled with noisy waves of guitar, synth, and more.

Steve Eto is a Japanese percussionist. Born April 20, 1958 in Los Angeles. His younger brother is the percussionist Leonard Eto.

Mason Jones says: “In the spring of 2007 Numinous Eye had a short tour of Japan planned. We had all the shows booked and our plane ticket purchased. Then I discovered that Damo was visiting Japan around the same time. After a quick email we found that he was free to play on March 8, which was the date we would be arriving in Japan! It was providence, so we arranged to play together, and Damo invited Steve Eto as well. Playing an improvised show, with no planning ahead of time, after a transcontinental flight, was probably not wise, but it was psychedelic. And it was great.”

Rider / Horse “Select Trials” [Ever / Never]

atavist   1/11/2022   12-inch, A Library

Those familiar with Spray Paint will recognize the spoken/chanted vocal stylings of Cory Plump. Here he’s getting through a pandemic with some jangly, angular, minimalistic rock in collaboration with Chris Turco, who has contributed to projects like Trans Am and Les Savy Fav. We encounter pounding rhythms, jittery guitars, and various electronically induced textures running underneath. Some amorphous weirdness on the last two tracks must be the pedal steel by Zoots Houston. The sound quality is a little sharper than some Spray Paint stuff I’ve heard—props to Turco for handling the engineering where they opted to make this thing, in Plump’s COVID-shut down music venue. The sound is sharp, anxious, and full despite the minimal instrumentation. A dance of structure and discohesion. Chime Inn and Code Clicker are early favorites. “I’m growing tired of getting tired” he says in The Windows are Your Arms. For real.

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