KFJC 89.7FM

Music Reviews

Moctar, Mdou – "Ibitlan" – [Sahelsounds]

Thurston Hunger   5/27/2020   7-inch, International

Mdou Moctar, c’mon even his name rocks! Mdou (aka Mahamadou Souleymane) was introduced to KFJC by this same fantastic label on the Music From Saharan Cellphones Vol 2 collection, let that be an inspiration to anyone worrying about how the pandemic will impact music, sound will always survive, silicon chips swirling around the desert! Along those lines, apparently this single was to be a limited edition 2020 tour offering, but fortunately this record and songs are unstoppable. The Agadez sound often leaves listeners agog, side A of this does not disappoint, dizzying spin start by Mdou alone, the band then jumps on board – spirited singing doubled by rhythm guitarist Ahmoudou Madassane, drives Mdou up higher both in voice and on the guitar later in the song, possible dual lead but I suspect it’s Mdou overdubbed and double-fuzzed.
Side B follows that lead with an anthemic, surging number. No vocals
on this one, so a good chance to appreciate the rhythm section, drummer
Aboubacar Mazawadje strikes that snare launching each spiral;
then Mazawadje and Michael Coltun on bass tumble through to the next
round. But make no mistake, Mdou is the Prince here, hammer-on/hammer-off guitar trills reign in a bluesy way, with touches of red.
Pretty amazing that he built his first forbidden guitar, and these days it seems like Agadez is ground-zero for Fender.
Driving modern psych from Niger by way of Sahel Sounds.

-Thurston Hunger

Dechirico – "Kumamoto/Kumaso" – [Jacktone]

humana   5/24/2020   7-inch, A Library

Bubbling, energetic electronic happiness emanates from both these tracks, the first of which was inspired by a place in Japan badly affected by an earthquake after the music was written. Play it to honor the place, play it to raise your spirits, play it to free yourself from the cage you may be in.

A Mild Case of Split Wrists [coll] – [John Wiese]

whngr   4/21/2020   7-inch, A Library

Asmr For Automatons

Two moderately noisy tracks on this 45 by Joe Colley of Crawl Unit and John Wiese that worry, wither, and writhe. Machines crunch, tap, whir, crackle, and grind. Chirp, pulse, short, falter, and fade over near sub-sonic rumbles that though neither overtly harsh nor necessarily amiable may provide the listener with a subliminally calming experience. 

These two sound sculptors have come together again to create a sonic curio for your perusal. Packaged neatly in a succinct and aesthetically pleasing jacket, this single from 2007 will flicker through your awareness, be forgotten, and settle in your subconscious to perhaps live again in dreams of hypnotized machinery.

Noxagt – “Consulatet Kalendar 2020” – [Drid Machine Records]

atavist   2/24/2020   7-inch, A Library

Noise rock. A little mathy, but mostly belligerent. For those familiar with Noxagt, you know they do mathy, noisy stuff. The recording on this flexidisc is notable for its lofi production. Blown out, pounding, incessant cymbals, dazed guitar, throbbing bass undercurrents. Trebly, hot blast furnace sound. The tri-fold scheme of the flexi disc seemed to resist the weight of my tonearm, so I used a razor blade to sever the flexi from its folder. An act of deliberate, surgical mutilation of the original seems to carry the theme of the audio forward (and make the disc functional). All instrumental, five and a half minutes. Give it a spin.

Perspectivas [coll] – 33RPM

Cousin Mary   1/18/2020   7-inch, International

In Paris, Luis Briceno recorded interviews and music that were broadcast in Chile 2013-2016 featuring musicians from before the 1973 coup d’etat that toppled Allende’s government. There is an “old is new” theme to this album (1) that these musicians of the past will be new to many Chileans and (2) that the old flexidisc format within this book will be new to many who play it.

The music is very enjoyable and the sound quality is surprisingly good. It features flutes, guitar, drum and vocals in Spanish. Just flip the page to the disc that you want, put the book on the turntable, and drop the needle! More here https://vimeo.com/269718583

“…And The Loser Still Is…/Untitled” [coll] – Roedel Records

Lord Gravestench   11/19/2019   7-inch, A Library

Agathocles – Belgian crustgrind institution active since 1987. Body odour, dumb politics, and a respectable level of sonic brutality. Think Extreme Noise Terror or Phobia. Bellowed and gargled lyrics cannot be made out. First track has some voices speaking a European language, maybe Flemish, possibly newscasters. This side was originally titled simply ‘…And The Loser Is…’ (not ‘…Still Is…’) so I don’t know if this is a bootleg or a reissue or what.

MPG – Pomona CA grind/fastcore founded in 2004. High-pitched androgynous vocals a la Antichrist Demoncore. More samples than the Agathocles side, including Magic Johnson talking about his AIDS on the first track. Lyrics are once again unintelligible. 

Photo finish split on red seven inch vinyl, with Agathocles as the winner by a greasy hair. Originally released in 2015.

Brainbombs – “Stinking Memory/Insects” – [Anthem Records]

whngr   10/2/2019   7-inch, Music Reviews

I’m not sure why Brainbombs captures my adoration every single fucking time. Just pure, unfettered genius in my opinion. Like they exist just for me. A deranged, sonorous love letter to my shriveled prune-heart. Maybe it’s the cold, flat monotony of the drums or the detached pentatonic fret-tickling of the guitar? Not likely, those are both qualities I rarely tolerate much less bask in. Perhaps it is the incessant bleets of the saxophone squealing away to its own cacophonous free-jazz composition? Or could it be the nearly broken “Euro-English” iterated dispassionately like a poetry recital by an adolescent sociopath, or the sado-sexual lyrics that, it could be argued, glorify the most horrific traumas one might have the misfortune to bear witness (or be subjected) to. Subjects that can, for this miserable volunteer, cut a little to close to the bone. On the surface I would say that none of these sound much like selling points but then there is the repetition. A ceaseless barrage of hypnotically simple garage/art-rock played in series relentlessly. Like a word spoken until its meaning is lost while rocking back and forth in your cell, a screwdriver repeatedly perforating a lung, or a hammer striking the back of a skull. Repetition. Like the collapsing will of the hostage whose will be crushed by their captors interminable and nefarious indoctrination, their ego folding in upon itself endlessly until only an echo of the self remains. It repeats ad naseum. Like a deranged sonic Stockholm-syndrome.

 Dear Bb,

If you’ll be my S.L.A., I’ll gladly be your Patty Hearst.

<3 -w

Fennesz – “Plays” – [Editions Mego]

atavist   8/12/2019   7-inch, A Library

Reading up on this on Bandcamp, this is the 7” released in 1998. (It has subsequently been re-released as both a CD and a 10”.) It is considered a bridge between early abstract electronic explorations, like “Instrument”, and later guitar-based works, like “Endless Summer”. (Both of these 12”s are in the KFJC library, among others.) Indeed, the compositions are comprised of a blend of electronics and minimally processed guitar sounds. These two tracks had origins as covers, but you’ll be hard-pressed to hear anything remotely reminiscent of the Rolling Stones or Beach Boys in this material. Minimal, languid, and not even particularly long (3:31 and 4:05), these tracks demand the listener invest their full attention if they are to yield the intended experience.

Sutekh Hexen – “Trinity” – [Dead Section Records]

whngr   8/9/2019   7-inch, A Library

Unholy Electronic Black-Noise

Shrill tortured screeching, rasping electronic noise, buried guitars trem-picked mercilessly, and conspicuously absent drums on all three seven inches. Having one hoof deeply buried in the Black Metal trench and the other hovering over the nexus between noise and drone you may find the hairs on your neck bristling with anxiety at the peals of harsh white noise or perhaps, as I was after repeated listens, you’ll be lulled into a kind of uneasy tranquility like a dire wolf sinking into one of the tar pits at La Brea. After thrashing and struggling against your eventual demise, your throat so coated in viscous black sludge that you can no longer gnash your wolf teeth or cry your wolf death-song. There is only your ending. Only surrender and defeat and a kind of solace in the certainty of your wretched wolf fate. Cerebral, conceptual, and cvlt, Oakland’s Sutexh.Hexen. has tapped into something and these fledgling efforts seem to set a precedent for the horrible majesty that awaits them. These tracks were originally released on three cassettes in 2010 and this re-release appear to be, if just, on the wrong side of bootleg status as they appear to have been authorized by a single defunct member of S.H. Excellent sounds in lack-luster packaging but the tapes are so rare and sought after this will sate the ardent blackened-harsh noise completists.

Mommy – “Mommy EP” – [Toxic State Records]

whngr   7/18/2019   7-inch, A Library, Music Reviews

Hideously ugly, driving rock outta Queens that seems to revel in mental illness and the hopelessness of being young and damaged with little hope for the future. Noisy, fierce, and unrelenting these young men are thematically drawn to suicide, the morass of modern adolescence, self-harm, and psychiatric evaluation.
Lo-fi, feedback, sickening drum abuse, over-driven bass, samples and shredded vocal-chords. A soothing panacea for the deeply depraved inner child kept locked away in many a “well-adjusted” college-radio disc jockey.

Agathocles/Existench [coll] – [Mullet Death]

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

Split 7″ of Belgian (Agathocles) and Canadian (Existench) grindcore. There’s no time like the present to spray it, not say it. The Agathocles side is a simply filthy recording. The guitar has a weirdly hollow sound. The vocalist has a sort of “normal dude” style, akin to shouting “hey, move your car, dickhead!” So it’s raw and immediate and all those good things true grindcore should be. Existench bring a full-on chainsaw guitar sound with borderline comical put-the-microphone-in-the-back-of-your-throat vocal sound, but it works, once they lock in and get established. Longest track: 1:37; shortest 0:11. FCCs on Existench tracks 5 and 6; the latter is a clip of Trump talking about making America great (hate) again, followed by FUCK YOU! That’s the 11 second track. Less is more.

Organized Grime – “Organized Grime” – [Phat ‘n’ Phunky]

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

Pretty straight-up hardcore, a little bit emo-y, but not annoying. Comes right out of the gate with some super tight riffs. Two vocalists harmonize on the first track and the effect is a little weird, but not in a bad way. These are fast, high-energy tracks. “Boner of a Lonely Fart” is more melodic and poppy (pop-ish) and has some nice melodic chords, plus it takes its time, clocking in at 2:49. All five tracks are pretty fun, but…

only track 1 is FCC-free.

?FOG -“7-inch Round Black Thing” – [Self Released]

cadilliac margarita   5/29/2019   7-inch, A Library

Early 1980s Anarchistic punk from New Zealand with spoken / shouted lyrics, driving rhythmic guitar & percussion. 

Original members Roger Allen and Lindsay McKay formed in 1983 with Tim Ord, and Sam Swann joining shortly thereafter.  In 1985 they added Blaise Oarsman and Dave Appleton on guitar FOG? Eventually became ?FOG City Enterprises, an art collective operating “Red House” which became a hub for underground music and art in Auckland. The national arts council of NZ helped fund the release of the original 7” (re-released here on Bunkerpop), they disbanded in 1988, and it is unclear if they ever officially released any other music as a band.

Mamarracho – “Fifty-Nine” – [Betley Welcomes Careful Drivers]

Louie Caliente   3/26/2019   7-inch, A Library

Mamarracho are Shobu and Fuyuhiko Saitoh, two Japanese brothers and both former members of The Gerogerigegege. According to the liner notes, Shobu is the “young captain with false sportsmanship”, while Fuku is the “eternal bench warmer”.

“Fifty-Nine” is a banana-yellow baseball-themed 7″ with four aggressive tracks. A joint release on Destroy All Music and Betley Welcomes Careful Drivers.

Hunt The Sluggers (A-1) and Camping For Victory (B-1) are face-smashing thrashy grindcore. Big walls of distortion, squealing feedback, and real drums! Both have vocals (of sorts), although they are completely unintelligible, and in the case of Camping, sound like the microphone was swallowed before recording.

Next Generation Of H.H.S. (B-2) is traditional Japanese power electronics. Quasar blasts, machine gun static, electro-squiggles, and radio tuners. For me, Deformed Uniform (A-2) is the stand-out track. A hypnotic bass line with K-hole beats and an electronic edge. Slow and sludgy.

Hippopotamus – “Attn: Span” – [Compared to What Records]

atavist   3/20/2019   7-inch, A Library

A pretty cool time capsule here of mid-nineties math rock, reminiscent of Drive Like Jehu and Roadside Monument, though maybe a little more angular and weird. The recording is characterized by a lo-fi four-track-style quality. The vocals sound normal at 45rpm, but the instruments sound sped up during side A (“Attn: Span”) and the first part of side B (“Least”). Side B mellows out midway through before building intensity. It’s too bad about the F-bomb on this second track, as it has some nice dynamic shifts.

Subtitle / John Wiese / Adlib / The Cherry Point [coll] – [Troniks]

atavist   3/19/2019   7-inch, A Library

Track one is comprised of some basic beat machine grooves with stream-of-consciousness hip hop lyrics. Primitive 8-bit electronics round out the mix. We have a couple records by the artist, Subtitle, in the Hip Hop library. Next, John Wiese drops in with with a corrupted dissolution of sound, all jagged edges and jarring transitions. This artist should be well-known to some KFJC DJs at this point. On side B, Adlib provides abstract noise washes with a drum & bass element that staggers in and out of the composition. The end result makes for a fairly compelling track. The Cherry Point closes out the 7″ with a thick mass of machine noise reminiscent of an idling HVAC system in a parking garage. 1982 forever, indeed, but this track only lasts for a minute and a half.

Disco-Mortem [coll] – [Releasing Eskimo]

Lord Gravestench   3/1/2019   7-inch, A Library

The Releasing Eskimo was a Swedish noise label active out of Gothenburg from ’94-’98, specializing in low-budget releases. This triple-7” compilation from the label’s final year is an excellent sampler of the three most esteemed noise/industrial scenes: the USA, Europe, and Japan.

Disc I: The Europe Disc

Side A: Manchester, UK’s The Grey Wolves, a manifestation of the cultural terror network. This anti-establishment, left-wing duo whipped the hypocritical punks into a fine froth for more than a decade by pretending to be hardcore fascists. A foundational group in death industrial and one of the greatest industrial noise projects of all time. Their track is bleak and 2-dimensional, a maximum confrontation with the experience of death by sarin gas (for real, not like those falsified attacks in Syria). “The Future Belongs To Those Of Us Still Willing To Get Our Hands Dirty.”

Side B: Gothenburg’s own No Festival of Light. Satanist death industrial from the man who also brought you Demogorgon and P/D(B). One of the great unsung talents of Swedish industrial noise constructionism. His track is a maddening dialogue loop picking up atmospheric toilet static over time in a resonant crypt through some kind of effect. All together now, kids: *who* will control the entire world?

Disc II: The USA Disc

Side A: Macronympha. Pittsburgh, PA harsh noise innovators and annihilators. Perhaps more rhythmic than their usual fare. Many layers of pulsing bursts of migraine pain tones interspersed with glitchy stammering.

Side B: Hands To. Who is this? I suppose it’s Jeph Jerman, based these days in Tucson, AZ. Anyway this is the least interesting track on the compilation, slipping immediately out of one’s memory as soon as it ends. Low key petri dish bubbling; and yet I feel there may be a genius touch here that I am simply missing.

Disc III: The Japan Disc

Side A: Merzbow. The Tokyo harsh noise master should require no introduction. High pitched as fuck at the start, wheeking into synth/effect textures. He never disappoints with the range of sounds he is capable of producing with his e.b.t.-kitchen-sink approach.

Side B: C.C.C.C., AKA Cosmic Coincidence Control Center, from Yokohama. This was the duo of Hiroshi Hasegawa and his now ex-wife, former bondage porn star Mayuko Hino; perhaps assisted by others. The group is still active nowadays, roster different with the exception of Hasegawa. Divorce hurts noise projects. This vintage gold is solid, wall-thick cosmic power drone that will blow your grandmother right out the fucking window, you stupid idiot.

Comes packaged in a plastic bag with individual sleeves for each 7”. They look like Hitler Youth on the cover but I think they might actually just be Boy Scouts. Go figure.

These Bastards – “Old and Pissed” – [Self-released]

atavist   1/9/2019   7-inch, A Library

SFBA hardcore/thrashcore punk. These Bastards employ an old-school method of observing our current situation, at ground-zero of big-tech capitalism, and delivering a short-blast fuck-you­—speaking of which, the FCCs abound. But find a way to spin this regardless. The production finds the right balance of clean separation in the instruments and raw vitality. The band fires on all cylinders, pummeling along, even hooking in the occasional shrieking guitar solo. Most tracks are 40 to 60 seconds long, and one outlier clocks in at ~120 seconds, so cueing will require some dexterity.

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