Music Reviews

Paavoharju – “Uskallan ” – [Type Recordings]

loun   10/18/2006   7-inch, A Library

Paavoharju amazed and confused us earlier this year with their crunchy, warm, didactic, evolving neo-free folk music. Even among Finns, their music is unusual, and, despite the fact that Finnish music these days tends to be pretty good these days, Paavoharju still manages to set themselves apart in a good way. The A side is a nice, crunchy lullaby complete with softly crying baby, and is highly recommended for play on any and all shifts. The B side is similar in its sonic texture, but with neither singing nor baby feels a little barren. This gives its own special quality to the piece, which I suspect was deliberate. Very tasty, very delicious.

Jack Rose “Untitled” [Tequila sunrise] (7”, 45rpm)

nic   9/24/2006   7-inch, A Library

This solo effort by Jack Rose (also of Pelt) is a departure from his usual folk-rock sound. It is much more uninhibited and free form. Just Jack and his 12 string, making wonderful noise. The limited availability of the record, only 500 copies in the initial printing (we got #331), speak to the experimental nature of the release. Discordant guitar pounding and plucking, in front of a live audience gives this a special feel. Can all these sounds come from one instrument?

Part 1 on track 1 should ideally track over to side 2 where part 2 resides and the song ends…

Track 1- Part1- 4min of guitar strangling, starts with applause and ends with hard stop
Track 2- Part II- 4min more with hard start and applause at end

Machinefabriek – “Lenteliedjes ” – [Type Recordings]

Thurston Hunger   9/16/2006   7-inch, A Library

There’s ether in the Netherlands. Rutger Zuydervel is
the ghost in the Machinefabriek. The title evidently
translates as “Little Spring Songs” and this 45 rpm
7″ packed with 8 itty ditties does fly by. But it
brings to mind images of sewing machines, typewriters
and harmonicas and harpsichords all playing in harmony.
“Quaint” is a word that has been relegated to some sort
of euphemistic limbo, but this album is quaint in the
best sense of the word. Charming, tidy, well-raised and
quaint in a kick-ass and constantly interesting way!!
Pump organ inflates this with a sweet melancholia,
while pre-scratchy records are always like some sort
of meditation on mortality to me. Cool that this has
tricked its way into electronic music lists and stores,
kinda like a fake I.D. to me, but again a testament to
its essential quantliness. Who can say no to this, not
me…not you! Hell you’ll probably let all songs track
on each side. Smitten, ain’t you.

-Thurston Hunger

Orchestre du Bawobab/Don Isaac Ezekiel Combination “Kelen Ati Len/The Preacher Man” [Soundway]

Mr. Lucky   9/13/2006   7-inch, International

There’s nothing about this 7″ I don’t like. Side one is the Orchestre du Bawobab coming staight outta Senegal and doing some funky thangs! “Kelen Ati Len” is a nasty funk hitter with some beautiful wah guitar action over some fatback drums. I can’t understand what is being said, but I’m sure it’s something like “Get yo ass up and dance!”. Side two is The Don Isaac Ezekiel Combo getting down on some Funky-gospel stylings with some call and response vocals, a bongo happy rhythm section, and strummy guitar hopping all over the track. I would say that the only thing I don’t like about this is the fact that it ends, but there’s a lovely locked groove to save your needle from the label at the end. Like a toddler in the dirt, this is short and funky! -Mr. Lucky

Boyskout – “Secrets ” – [Isota]

mitch   8/30/2006   7-inch, A Library

A-side here from band’s debut LP; also found on the
[Alive] compilation, ‘Sounds of San Francisco? ?
a by-now familiar tale of lead singer Leslie Satterfield’s
infatuation re: a girl made known through mutual
acquaintance, and bartering an infectious playfulness
amidst undeniable gloom. Bassist Daniel Deitnick,
singer/keyboardist China Lajczok, guitarist Satterfield
& drummer Caroline Walker Mills coupled their girl-on-
girl garage pop with a punk/goth/synth amalgamation
which originated in SF before relocating to Brooklyn.
B-side ‘Pictures from the Moon? came about earlier in
the BOYSKOUT canon (and is unavailable elsewhere).
Harmonically aggressive & lyrically subversive, these
tracks are both standouts in the ever-popular, limited
edition 45rpm format.

MITCH September 2004

Bella Vista – “Midway ” – [Orange]

mitch   8/30/2006   7-inch, A Library

BELLA VISTA was a Washington, D.C. trio whose
sole output was limited to 7″ vinyl : their first (and
best) EP for [Matinee], ‘Was the Last? (1998), this
record [released the same year] and a split EP with
the BEST WISHES on [Turn Up the Treble!], 1999.
These three songs recorded in Philadelphia and
engineered by Ben X. Kim (CLOCK STRIKES
THIRTEEN), including a surpassing cover of ‘My
Boy and His Motorbike?, written by the estimable
Elizabeth Price & found on the final CAROUSEL
LP (vocal here by Jenny). Mark Powell has since
moved on to New Cross Gate (South London) and
become half of PIPAS (decidedly more bossa-pop),
but BELLA VISTA left much to cherish in the way
of indiepop taste and leisure, evidenced by lead track
‘Midway?”it’s not the end, it’s just the beginning?’
Tender trappings to remember them by.
MITCH December 2002

E*Vax/B. Fleischmann [coll] – [Audio Dregs Records]

mitch   8/30/2006   7-inch, A Library

First release in postcard series couples America’s E*VAX
with Austrian B. FLEISCHMANN, with fine work from
both represented. ‘Water to Our Ankles? from the
U.S. side features complex beat structures rife with
the usual subtlety. E*VAX has released singles on
[adr] & [static Caravan]; also appeared on last
year’s fine [moor Music] compilation. He does
amazing things with sound manipulation of various
household auditory sources, inventively twisting
them into rhythmic patterns. B. FLEISCHMANN favors
the amalgamation of abstract experimental electronics
and pristine, wistful melodics. On ‘Le Desir?, he lets
the slow-motion beat become a rolling mellow organ
wave, interspersing it with fizz and clicked bits – all a
bit like a mint sprig floating on ice. Split this.
MITCH July 2001

Brainbombs – “I Need Speed / End Up Dead ” – [Big Brothel Condominium]

Thurston Hunger   8/24/2006   7-inch, A Library

New Braaainbommmbszsss. I don’t know why at ttttthiis ppoinnt
in whirld hissstory, the neeed for the filfurythflittingfilth
of this Sweeeeeedeeedleeeedllish rash thrash trash core corps
corpse seems more apoplecapproriatelectic than evvver, butttt
that sesssssms too beeeee the ckckcase. Plentitititududdes of
bandts singasling bouuut sexxxxx&dexxxxxth, stilll sumthiingg
sumscumhowway this brant o crisspblisstery garrageragegarrote
powerpunk (*not* pulppopplague) sparkkkss the crocokokodillic
braaiinballs innn q unqqieeque waaay. Izzithee preeeecissionn
enununciiation pipppeed thrrroughh a 1950’s telepjhonne spkrr
onnn topopof mindgrinding riffwrappage, thaaat contrastblasst
and a hiiiint ooof mysteerry bleeeenddded wiiiwth decayyy off
flesssssh rottendammering? Dunnonoknow. Flirts trrrackkk hass
molllltten saaaax nnnn thheeehe miiiixxxxmcixxclvix. Booothhh
trrrrackkks borrrrrre thrrrrrouuugh allllmetalmaterials annnd
probaboonbably riiiiighhhtttt thrrrrrouuughhh pllannnettsstoo
Mmmmrpphhh ssfffttttttk ackkk thruputtt snneizzleeeroootickk
sss’ll giiiiibbive yowwwwou aaa moooost enjooooynabllerestttt

-Thiuiurrrsszzztttttonne Huuuuuuuuungrrrrrer

Tyrades – “I Am Homicide ” – [Shit Sandwich]

Thurston Hunger   7/2/2006   7-inch, A Library

“I Am Homicide” hear me roar…and snarl, sneer, break necks,
break guitar necks, run stop signs with drums. The A-side
has all the charm of a renegade cop, little booze on the
breath, lotta fire in the belly. These guys don’t need no
badges, hell they don’t even need a web site (rumors of a
connection to the Baseball Furies can’t hurt.) Jenna Tyrade’s
got punk voice insurgence, not every one can pull off those
“Whoa no’s” and the guitar is weaving and bobbing across
lanes on the freeway, on the subway. On the flip side we get
two songs that sound almost like siamese twins, cut apart by
this slashing guitar. The latter adds background vocals to
belch to… This is just a damn fine, sloshy rockin’ record.
-Thurston Hunger

Auburn Lull – “North Territorial ” – [Zeal Records]

mitch   6/24/2006   7-inch, A Library

Lansing, MI quartet (Jason Kolb, gtrs/Eli Wekenman, gtrs/
Sean Heenan, vox + gtrs/ Jason Weisinger, drums) have
outlived a once-thriving Great Lakes space-rock scene,
soldiering on with their own filmic/pastoral/music for heliopads
approach, a trademark blend of surging, miasmic swells,
samples, looped guitar/vocals peaking in a slow-cresting
sonic euphoria of song/soundcraft. Produced by soul mate
Andrew Prinz (MAHOGANY) and mastered by Brooklyn NY’s
Jon Chaikin (who has done the duties for every Shelflife Records
release to date) at Nonstop Sound, this European release offers
the now-familiar elegant wash inside cartographic cockpit
somewhere between landscape and ozone. Like all
AUBURN LULL records, this should come with flight ring and
instructions for most listeners, particularly those of the Ptolemaic
Terrascope variety. Additional ethereal vocals from Amanda
Kolb & Jessica Fuller, a pair of visiting angels. Both sides in
Afterlife Technicolor, 360mm, eggbeater soft. Whirlybirds.

MITCH August 2002

Arovane – “Minth ” – [City Centre Offices]

mitch   6/24/2006   7-inch, A Library

Seemingly able to imbue a greater human presence to pop electronica than
many a peer, Berlin’s AROVANE (aka Uwe Zahn) blends piano chords, ambient
electronics and subtle beats into a refined, tasteful and minimalistic flow
is rich in emotional dimensions. Programmatic, painless and clear as bottled
water, AROVANE consistently achieves the evocative with his trademark pro-
duction sound, kissed always by menthol and melody. Zahn has collaborated
with PHONEM (Elliot Perkins), released nuanced electronica on records,
and remains a label favorite of Thaddeus Herrmann ,
who is issuing the second AROVANE LP, ‘Lilies? in June 2004 on this same
Hamburg imprint.

MITCH June 2004

Arcana – “Body of Sin ” – [Cold Meat Industry]

mitch   6/24/2006   7-inch, A Library

The occasional project of Sweden’s Peter Pettersson, this finds
ARCANA in between ‘The Last Embrace? (2000) and ‘Inner Pale
Sun? (2003, which featured the A-side, ‘We Rise Above?), marking
a return of sorts to earlier formulations of romantic/ethereal dark-
wave fringe. Dulcimer riffage trapped in electro-symphonic melodia,
kettledrums primordial, liturgical Latin – the female voice this time
out is Ann-Mari Thim – Pettersson plows the majestic and medieval
to fine effect with ARCANA, channeling his more emphatic overtones
for sister project SOPHIA, a more symphonic & progressive foray into
grandeur. Also featured in a duo project with Thomas Ordo Equilibrio
(VICTORIA), Pettersson is a world-class creator of the fantastic and
enormous in the media of music.

MITCH October 2004

Allergic to Bullshit – “You & Me, this Is What We ” – [Left Off the Dial]

mitch   6/24/2006   7-inch, A Library

Never mind the 100 clear blue vinyl copies and the half dozen or so test
pressings, this is the Iggy Scam and Ivy, Mission District SF, next-chapter
in the saga of MIAMI, ALLERGIC TO BULLSHIT EP we’ve been sucking
down Southern Comfort and leaving behind mountains of Marlboro butts
waiting for?’tremendous assault upon the minarets and the parrots of
‘change?’..’and I see our heroes nodding off to sleep / asleep without
dreams?..’, Ivy leaves a trail of rubber and acrid smoke in her wake,
pausing to acknowledge the mythical mull of magic and manos?..’a
picture of voodoo taped to the wall?.’ ; ATB finally end it all with a most
preposterous (and logical) cover of BOBBY ‘BLUE? BLAND’s ?’I’m Not Ashamed?.
From the label who brought you THIS IS MY FIST and the fabulous LAB RATS,
Track one has LANGUAGE, the rest is pure truth. Hola.
MITCH Dec 2003

Add N to (X) – “Revenge of the Black Regent ” – [Mute]

mitch   6/24/2006   7-inch, A Library

ADD N TO (X) is the London trio of Ann Shenton, Steve
Claydon and Barry Smith (aka Barry 7), who released a
debut album on before signing to in
Early 1998. B-side ‘Iron Man? is from the group’s second
LP, ‘Avant Hard?, plundering as it does FOCUS & other
Prog curiosities. ‘Revenge of the Black Regent? is a 1999
Barry 7 / Dean Honer production, a wild valkyrie ride of
Main title proportions evoking a vast crane shot of late-
Victorian equestrian battleground (see Tony Richardson’s
Charge of the Light Brigade) magnificence, complete with
falling standards, heroic sacrifice to the sound of military
drums, and the heavenly vocals of ALISON GOLDFRAPP
wafting as requiem for survivors of the denouement.
A preview of the third ADD N album, ‘Add Insult to Injury?
(2000), ‘Revenge? blends programmed synths with a pair
of live drummers to maximum indelible effect, proving that
the sun never sets on British electronic weaponry. Steve
Claydon exhibits installation art in UK galleries, Ann Shenton
publishes a satirical newspaper (The Deadworth Echo), and
Barry Smith runs a NY record label, and a club
night billed as ‘Destroy it Yourself?. Outstanding premeditated

MITCH Dec 2002

Aberdeen – “Sink or Float ” – [Better Looking Records]

mitch   6/24/2006   7-inch, A Library

Nearly a decade after their debut (and a
long sabbatical in-between), ABERDEEN returns
as a full band (formerly they were a duo of John &
Beth, plus drum machine) with two great tracks from
‘Homesick and Happy to be Here? (2002). Denizens
of Palm Desert, CA – it seems J + B were in love once
upon a time, fell out of it and fell back into it five years
later, thereby resuscitating the musical concept of the
[not surprisingly] romance-based ABERDEEN. Beth
Arzy was heard vocalizing on TREMBLING BLUE STARS
‘Alive to Every Smile?, and both bands will tour the U.S.
this Fall. The approach is similar, a warm-breath-in-the-
ear kind of feeling with attendant delicacies, but the sound
is much fuller with drums/guitars/bass/keyboards/ supplying
an even more voluptuous & charming appeal. Excellent
writing meets great musical sense for this pair of keepers.
And they lived happily ever after?..

Aug 2002 MITCH

Paper Legs / Sharks With Wings Split [coll] – [Heat Retention Records]

Max Level   6/20/2006   7-inch, A Library

Two noise tracks around 5:45 each. Paper Legs make plucking and scraping string noises on what sounds like a deconstructed guitar, with reverberating metallic tones in background. Sharks With Wings play around with almost-annoying high-pitched tones, fuzzed-out vocals, and percussive thumps. Fun stuff. Note: 33 rpm recommended by label, however I also got interesting results playing this at 45 rpm.

Hog’s Hole – “Siriusly ” – [Seres]

Max Level   6/19/2006   7-inch, A Library

Originally a bonus 7″ included with the No Neck Blues Band’s 2003 ‘Ever Borneo? LP, which is well worth a listen. Hog’s Hole is evidently a No Neck side project with others. This 7″ deals less with musical instruments, such as one hears with the No Necks, and more with field-type recordings. Side A is kind of quiet and clicky, Side B is ceremonial-sounding with louder percussion sounds and a few crazy-man vocals. Both sides probably come from the same recorded event, whatever it was; one wonders, however, if maybe some strange substances weren’t ingested by the participants somewhere between Side A and Side B.

Waldo the Dog Faced Boy – “Suite American ” – [Win Records]

Thurston Hunger   5/29/2006   7-inch, A Library

Damn, where is Waldo now? This is bounty from the
2000 Mayhem Special on the splendid W.I.N. Records
Label, launched by this band’s bassist Devin Sarno
( W.I.N.= Waldo International Network)
Released back in ’92 as a single to “Tingle,”
two tracks here are taken from that full length.
“Suite American” is really the lp’s “western”
portion of that suite…has some stops
and starts to it, gentle gingham picnic
pop over rattling rimshots and a clearly
front and center tromboner – Jim Richards!
“Rumpus the Muncher” has a trombone nearly as
blissfully obscene as its title. Saucy
female carney vox from Mary Ellen Mason.
“John” is the piece unique to this 7″, we hear
the early rumblings of Devin’s love for
big boom bass drone. Poop Alley-head Tom
Grimley adds skittish guitar, and more
arcing t-bone. Fiesty free.
Putting the riot in patriots…. -Thurston Hunger

Polly Shang Kuan/Smack Music 7 [coll] – [Ecstatic Peace]

Thurston Hunger   5/29/2006   7-inch, A Library

Tape manipulation experiments from Thurston
Moore’s “Ecstatic Peace” label. A side
project named after a Shaolin warrior
actress? Recalls Alga Marghen style, French
de/re/composition of language lessons?’
“Cadillac” and “cl-cl-click” loopage lead up
to a rather stellar locked groove. B-side
brings us “Smack Music 7”, and the piece here
could be called “Smile”, clearly the response
to too many force photogenic moments. Sounds
a little like Alvin and the Chipmunks on
an avant garde tip. Homemade hypnosis…
-Thurston Hunger

Slusser/Utah Kawasaki [coll] – [Dolor Del Estamago]

Thurston Hunger   5/29/2006   7-inch, A Library

Intriguing bandido label that may have been
started by Charlie Ward back in 1986 near
New Hampshire?’ But did the Nafta shuffle
at some point…or did they? Releasing
avant material, that may not be licensed
to them? A mystery wrapped in an enigma,
deep fried in a chimichanga. ?’s continue
here as I’m not sure if Slusser is David
Slusser, a dash of theremin on one side
might suggest it is. Someone enlighten us.
Meanwhile the music
Mask side is a live audio adventure –
cathode arcing, wood creaking, speaker
freaking, Mexican radio thefts, dancing
mainframe LED’s, theremin curlicues, a
digital waiting room, vocal percussion,
harpsichord terpsichore, wobbly analog
waves. Recommended headfun.
The flip (Utah Kawasaki?’) is high
pitch twitchy glitchiness. With the
feel of a series of false starts at a
track race. Irritainment. -Thurston Hunger

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