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Music Reviews

Million Brazilians – Red Rose & Obsidian – [Lullabies For Insomniacs]

Thee Opinataur   11/25/2021   12-inch, A Library

Psych-folk, experimental underground, neo-folk, mystical soundscape, 

Red Rose and Obsidian, released in 2017 is yet another genre-bending experimental installation from Million Brazilians, originating from Portland, Oregon, and now thriving in Maine. This is their first release on the Dutch label, Lullabies for Insomniacs, and it is masterfully mixed and recorded by Big Blood’s Caleb Mulkerin. It is an esoteric soundscape influenced by the rugged coastlines of their home in Maine. It is a heart-rending interpretation of a stark, treacherous sonic landscape, that permeates your spirit.

As usual with this group, there is a wide array of instruments of traditional, ethnic, self-made as well as a healthy dose of creative electronics. It’s a fascinating evocative improvisational trip that will leave you wanting more. 

Suzanne Stone – voice, bass, khene (Lao mouth organ), Alto Sax

Grant Corum – Tin whistle, balloon flute, conch, Tarka (Andean Flute), trumpet, vocals

Bob New – Drums, keyboard, lap steel, vocals

A1 – When the Ship comes in

Swirling, thick, open, haunting siren-like vocals .. thick luscious beats underscore, woodwinds meandering through the fog. Minimal chaos echoes as the captain attempt to steer the ship through the shrouded fog. Stone on bass and voice is slow and steady, ensuring the ship to safe harbor amongst the jagged cliffs, in the cold stark darkness of the remote port. conch/balloon flute. Slow, steady…mooring.

A2 – Dark Clouds Gather

 serves more like an interlude, and the instruments almost create the image of overlapping waves, while Stone’s voice, this time in a more Germanic vein, and seems to hover above it all. Towards the end, Stone’s voice is complemented by a male ethereal voice.

A3 – Red Rose and Obsidian

Slow and steady jamming with a psychedelic intervention. lap steel. Stones voice is yearning for a clear landing, but she is adrift, meandering. (Tarka) sweet, and hypnotic, plays in tune with Stones vocals. Just a sweet, psychic, slow, and steady meandering trip. Calm, reassuring, until the distorted end, radio wave break up.

B1 – Geodelphic Empathies

Khene/alto sax combine opening framing the stark, grey, jagged cliffs.

Toussaint St Negritude’s Poetry is featured, behold, behold…..

 Tin whistle meanders along with the mountainscape, stars reflecting on the dark waters.

B2 – Traversing The Violet Skies

Congas, Khene…beautiful starlit Autumnal evening at sunset, orange/red reflections off the granite, a prism of colors illuminate the setting. Deep breaths of cool air blow through the skies, 

B3 – Behold

Timing changes, things pick up… trumpet, Bass and drum keep things moving, but not too fast. In fact, it slows down steadily. Stones Vocals once again appear to bring to a close this psychic trip, Chanting echos with Corum joining in, woodwinds, achingly support, voice strong, confident. Once again, things pick up again and fade to a close. The Journey has ended.

-Thee Opinataur

Crazy Doberman – "Everyone Is Rolling Down a Hill" – [Astral Spirits]

cinder   11/24/2021   12-inch, A Library

Sludgy, slimy and seductive. Noisy experimental excursions from a group that consists of 17 players. Muted vox, hypnotic sax, lofty percussion, soft textures of melody. It’ll sound like a warm-up/tuning then all of a sudden come together in something that sounds delicately planned. Tranquilizing psychedelic journeys across multi-plains. Both sides track seamlessly so chill and enjoy it as one.

Filippo Diana – "Formula Abstracta" – [Medical Records]

cinder   11/24/2021   12-inch, A Library

Solo electronic outing by Filippo Diana (real name is Joe Drive). They’re calling it mutated library/soundtrack nu-disco, which is pretty on the dot. It’s chill, kinda kick back minimal wave. It’s got that riding your motorbike at sunset through a dystopian future highway… black sunglasses, flat top, leather pants and technicolor sky vibe. Track 3 brings a little goth club vox to the party, most of the others are instrumental with maybe a few words. Some great drum machine beats happening here as well!  

Badge Epoch – "Scroll" – [Telephone Explosion]

humana   11/21/2021   12-inch, A Library

Max Turnbull offers up selections from eight years of songwriting in this wonderful two-album release that he self-describes as “a cosmic hodge podge of funk, jazz, ambient techno, aggressive guitarmonized rawk, musique concrete, and hip hop.” Andrew Zukerman collaged Turnbull’s music into the aural experience that is as varied as the hairstyles on the album cover. You can drop the needle anywhere and find something appealing.

WEEED/Do You Fall?

carsonstreet   11/16/2021   12-inch, A Library

Weeed (from Portland, Oregon) is a quintet of experimental musicians on double drum sets, percussion, bass, guitar, flute, synthesizers, vocal harmony and ambient live looping. They’ve shared the stage with bands such as Kikagaku Moyo, Connan Mockasin, OM, Acid Mothers Temple, Earth, and Dead Meadow. Hints of lysergic folk pass naturally into and out from hypnotic and energetic jams inspired by North and West African songs and rhythms. Complex time signatures, vocal harmonies, and raw heaviness. Setting aside bass for the first time ever, the band relies on twin electric guitars and a milieu of percussive and acoustic instruments to weave a rich tapestry. Just take a look at the bands they have shared the stage with and you will know who they are.

Elara Sunstreak Band/Vostok

carsonstreet   11/16/2021   12-inch, A Library

These cosmonauts celebrate a progressive psychedelic record on which monologues with the lizard king and the 60th anniversary of Gagarin‘s maiden flight do not seem to be out of the realm. Beautiful blend of heavy jams, middle eastern tinged passages and prog influences. Like the perfect mix of Causa Sui, Elder, My Sleeping Karma and a bit of Kikagaku. Vostok was a Soviet manned space flight program and Vostok 1 was the first human space flight (Yuri Gargarin at the controls). This one knocked me out – best musical trip in a while.

Daniel Wieland – Bass, FX, Vocals
Felix Schmidt – Guitars, Sitar, Sounds, Synth
Martin Wieland – Drums
Christian Wick – Hammond Organ, Mellotron, Fender Rhodes

Anatolian Weapons – "to The Mother of Gods" – [Beats In Space]

Ms. Conduct   11/15/2021   12-inch, International

Postulating a kind of inverted oracular through the sonic landscapes of this collaboration between Greek musicians Aggelos Baltas and Seirios Savvaidis, the album reconstructs an acoustic imaginary of ancient folk traditions with upgrades from psychedelic and space rock contemporaries. In the reverb cycle one hears a certain agrarian re-envisioning of the world, replete with harvest rituals and celestial incantations. Only once or twice one might hear a wrong exit in the direction of slipstreamed Neo-Classical utopias of the 1970’s sepia sci-fi variety (replete with columnated bathing chambers and shopping malls of the future-past). For the most part, this is a folksy reckoning of ancient Grecian musical traditions with a modern upgrade. The utopic yearning reaches full crescendo in the closing track where a ‘new dawn beginning’ solar horizon opens on to a suggestion of futures.

75 Dollar Bill – “Little Big Band Live At Tubby’s” – [Grapefruit Records]

SlartiBartfast   11/15/2021   12-inch, A Library

75 Dollar Bill – “Little Big Band Live at Tubby’s”

What an improvisational, jazz/jam/rock-n-roll musical treat. Che Chen and Rick Brown team up with a multi-instrumental ensemble for this live recording at Tubby’s NYC in March of 2020, just before COVID lock down. Masters of blending Moorish guitar sounds in an experimental interpretation that collides with improvisational free jams, this live recording includes many other musicians such as Karen Waltuch on viola, Sue Garner on bass and Cheryl Kingan on alto and baritone sax. This collaboration leads to a meditative, contemplative, and other worldly musical consciousness that recalls the days of The Factory. A live musical happening that will find its way through you to the far reaches of the galaxy and beyond. Enjoy all you space spiders…

Lansdowne, J. – “J. Lansdowne” – [Self Released]

SlartiBartfast   11/9/2021   12-inch, A Library

Lansdowne, J.  – “J. Lansdowne”

“J. Lansdowne” is a solid fantastic debut release of dreamy, psychedelic, stoner rock with a heavy blues backbone. This fuzzed out captivating musical journey is the brain child of Atlanta, GA’s own J. Lansdowne and drummer Ben Bauermeister with a little help from guitarist Arjun Kulharya on track 2. Rich with lyrics that reflect the insanity of the last couple of years and the wonders of unexpected cosmic happenings, these equally fuzzed out vocals will satisfy your itch for that cathartic musical escape. Grab your comfy chair, sit back and enjoy…..

Lay Waste / Future of Pulse [coll] – [Fusty Cunt]

lexi glass   11/9/2021   12-inch, A Library

2018 Fusty C— split LP between two of the best in American noise. First up is the maniacal, methodical scrap metal noise of Mania (Keith Brewer, also known for his main power electronics project Taint). The material here was created during the same sessions as the album Little Pieces of Violence, some of the last recordings before his untimely passing in 2019. “Lay Waste” opens with metal objects scraping and nauseating feedback. Brewer’s disturbed vocals and high pitched feedback build the intensity, finally achieving total destruction by the disc’s end. On the B side, the devastating power electronics of Deterge (Jim Haras, find his other excellent work as Laureate in our library, he also runs Fusty C). “Future of Pulse” was inspired by the 2016 mass shooting at the Pulse Nightclub in Miami. Absolutely relentless, Deterge pushes the electronics and vocals way past the limits to a space beyond.

Flowertown – "Flowertown" – [Mt. St. Mtn.]

humana   11/7/2021   12-inch, A Library

Listening to this right after Cindy’s “Free Advice,” I felt right at home, and there’s a reason for that–Flowertown is Karina Gill of Cindy, with Michael Ramos of Tony Jay. These two exchanged tapes during the quarantine of 2020 and came up with this great album. So more dreamy pop with mellow vocals against lovely musical backdrops. Who says good things didn’t come from the lockdown?

Cindy – "Free Advice" – [Tough Love Records]

humana   11/7/2021   12-inch, A Library

This is an entirely mellow album, not sad, but almost…not peppy, but almost…dreamy vocals sung by Karina Gill who also plays guitar, atop cool rhythms by Simon Phillips on drums and percussion, Aaron Diko on synth and keys, and Jesse Jackson on bass and keys. It’s hazy and pleasant, and if you want to read the lyrics, they’re printed on the record sleeve, or you could just let them wash over you with the music, which is an entirely pleasant experience.

Xiu Xiu – “Plays The Music of Twin Peaks” – [Polyvinyl Record Company]

Max Level   11/7/2021   12-inch, A Library

This stunning album originally came out in 2016, re-released now on its fifth anniversary with a bonus track (or more accurately a download code for a bonus track.) If you know the music from the Twin Peaks series you will of course recognize many of the themes here. The music is haunting, desolate, tense, and unnerving just as you would expect. Xiu Xiu—these days the lineup is pretty much just Jamie Stewart and Angela Seo, with percussive contributions from Shayna Dunkelman—reimagine Angelo Badalamenti’s soundtrack with all manner of keyboards, percussion, a howling guitar or two, sound effects, and Stewart’s distinctively off-kilter vocals. The final track on Side D features Seo reading a diary entry full of sex and fear and murder and it doesn’t do much for me; however it does seem worthy of inclusion and some may enjoy it. All of the other tracks are top notch, and the album flows beautifully. The bonus track is more musically aggressive than the rest of the album and the vocals on it are by Maestro Badalamenti himself.

8 Hour Animal – "Resigner" – [Sentient Ruin Laboratories]

cinder   11/4/2021   12-inch, A Library

Crazy harsh reality from 8 Hour Animal. Blasted electronic industrial beats, scorching power electronics, dark furious ambience with sharped stabs of metal, and pure bloody noise annihilate your ears making you cry (and possibly pee yourself) in the corner. Effected vox, who knows what he’s screaming about, if it’s dog shit on the yard I can relate. It’s chaotic and ruthless, blasting right through like a Tasmanian devil on a rampage.   

Sabreen – "Death of The Prophet" – [Akuphone]

Ms. Conduct   10/26/2021   12-inch, International

Sabreen formed amidst the drama of political turmoil in 1980 as a collective of Palestinian musicians & artists interested in channeling the generational sentiments wrought from social strife and the hope of eventual conciliations. Death of the Prophet, originally recorded on cassette at the beginning of the first intifada (the insurrectionist rebellion of Palestinians against Israel’s occupation of the West Bank) in 1987 and was re-released in 2020 by the Akuphone label. 

This album blends traditional classical Arabic music with popular folklore:

—Barbed chords pluck misery from heaven as the larynx releases a white dove. 

—A sanguine calligraphy bleeds out an arsenal of poetry to wrangle the holy landscape.

—Ghosts send up a solemn prayer for peace that the usurpers hold mute.

The oud and the kanun instruments preserve echoes of their classical origins, but are adapted to modern composition with freer improvisation. Lyrics deploy sanctified words from the Palestinian poets, Mahmoud Darwish and Samih Al Qasem, imbuing this album with postcolonial righteous zeal.

Itchy-O/From The Overflowing

carsonstreet   10/25/2021   12-inch, A Library

ITCHY-O’s second full-length album, From the Overflowing was released on Alternative Tentacles in September 2017. Itchy-O is a 50+ member avant-garde, percussion centered electronic performance group based in Denver, CO. Lauded as one of today’s most unique musical-performance groups. With a driving drum corps battery, taiko drummers, an arsenal of electronics including synthesizers, theremin, vocoders, and other custom-made sonic devices, ITCHY-O completely engulfs an audience from every angle in an electric bog of music, ephemera and spectacle.

Infamous from Colorado to Tasmania for astounding unsuspecting audiences with their aural and visual insanity, itchy-O returns to unleash a fresh new album to add to their legendary live spectacle.

“…with their latest Alternative Tentacles release “From The Overflowing”, this marching band on acid has found a way to capture their fury and intensity which fans can listen to long after the lights come up and the sweaty masses of the audience wonder what the hell they just witnessed…Simply put, the marching band nerds have grown up and they’re one-hundred times cooler and more sinister than anyone ever imagined.”–The Marquee Magazine

Rhyton/Emerald Tablet

carsonstreet   10/25/2021   12-inch, A Library

Rhyton is a trio devoted to exploration built on a foundation drawn from psychedelic rock, roots music of many stripes, and modernist soundscapes. Composed of multi-instrumentalist David Shuford,  Jimy SeiTang (bass) and drummer Spencer Herbst. Rhyton developed from Shuford’s desire to return to open-form music, which he’d explored in great depth with the No Neck Blues Band.


The three pieces on “The Emerald Tablet” are improvised and wide-open, though they hew closely to rhythms and modes derived from North African and Middle Eastern music and the dusky textures inherent in Shuford’s electric mandolin. Like the bastard child of John Cipollina and Rudolph Grey, Shuford unspools incredible midrange fantasias, chunky and feedback-drenched but equally dexterous and graceful.

If you are curious a rhyton is a type of drinking vessel used in ancient Greece, typically having the form of an animal’s head or a horn, with the hole for drinking at the bottom.

Black Joker – Watch Out- [Pacific City Sound Visions]

Thee Opinataur   10/13/2021   12-inch, A Library

Side 1 – Untitled

Opens with tribal drumming, adding high timber beats beginning the long quest upon camels in the fictional Chalisa Desert, circa 2027. This must be a long incessant dream of the artist ‘Black Joker’ 

Desert flutes romance the listener in the next stage of the quest, whose destination is unknown, and creates tension amongst the clan as to its purpose. Yet they continue along the windswept dunes. Their spirit is uneasy, yet this is who they are…tradition, culture, routine.

Mind spitting intermittent pings, relentlessly, over and over, as the sweltering heat overwhelms them, their minds are melting, yet the camels know the way, they have been here before.

Evening approaches, awakening from the unconscious spell, realizing their predicament, the pursuit of rest is near, and there’s a feeling of hopefulness, joy, that begins to awaken the spirit within.  

The pace quickens and is consistent as the drudge of the daily routine wears off and they inherently know who they are. The beauty of the blackness of the sky, the stars sparkle with the illumination that they not only seek but crave. 

Side 2 – Untitled

Another day continues similar to the last, methodical beat of the camels’ pace, and there’s a new inspiration unlike before, as a mirage appears in the distance. Even the knowingness of this false hope, the spectacular vision of the distant mountains lets them know they are closer to their destiny and offers a sliver of hope. 

the rhythm of the caravan is comforting to the soul and they know who they are…

Disruption and confusion enter in suddenly, as there is a treacherous path to climb, and it is the urging on of the leader that this is but temporary. The desert wind blows its might, but alas they are through it. Press on, press on, upward, onward….the destination is just over the summit…and it is clear, their journey is near the end. Excitement builds, as the overwhelming sandscapes begin to lessen and reveal the lush life approaching. We began together, this odyssey, wandering through the sand, and as the cool evening descends upon our arrival, we know this is just a temporary pause; we have not yet reached our final destination

Experimental musician Black Joker, aka Spencer Clark, The Skaters, Fourth World Magazine, Monopoly Child Star Searchers, Vodka Soap, 

abstract – ambient experimental, Desert atmospheric soundscape, hypnotic , tribal 

Brown Lung Cotton Mill Blues [coll] – [June Appal Recordings]

aarbor   10/13/2021   12-inch, Country

A history in song of the white (Southern) cotton mill workers and the mills they worked in. Brown Lung Cotton Mill Blues started at the end of the Civil War. Black people were excluded. Instead poor whites and especially women and children worked in these mills. Promises made by mill owners about schooling, good pay and realistic hours were broken. It was a tough life and the conditions were unsanitary, leading to TB. brown lung and other complaints. The workers unionized and had strikes in the 1920s and ’30s which eventually gained the attention of leaders like President Franklin Roosevelt. The music is largely Appalachian Southern song style with guitar, banjo and mandolin accompaniment. Learn the history you never learned in school through these songs. AArbor

Curtis Chaos – “Magic Dreams” – [Lost Treasures of The Underworld]

Max Level   10/12/2021   12-inch, A Library

This short-lived Brooklyn outfit was the garage band’s garage band. Here they offer seven all-instrumental rock jams, heavy on guitar. Muddy recording mostly buries the bass and especially the drums, but the lead guitar freakouts are front and center and that’s what it’s all about. The final track is the longest and it starts off in a gentle manner. The other tracks pretty much start off full-tilt and never let up. Recorded in 2018, released in 2019.

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