Music Reviews

Pink Reason – “Winona ” – [Woodsist]

Thurston Hunger   8/12/2008   7-inch, A Library

Life living at the wrong speeds winds up captured on this
33 rpm that almost begs to be amped up to 38 rpm, or perhaps
bottomed out to 27 rpm? Played backwards? Out of tune acoustic
guitar traces an out of tune experience on a trip to “Winona”
(a town where an early incarnation of Pink Reason traveled
from Green Bay to play allegedly.) The song stumbles and moans
like someone at a funeral, possibly even the wrong funeral.
On the flip side, “Give Yerself Away” dares you not to think
about Ian Curtis (maybe that’s the secret we’re not supposed
to give away). It’s actually the upbeat number on this 7″ but
it’s pretty beat up. Something that sounds like a radiator
clanking in a cheap hotel in the back ground and the guitar
line has a tinge of Stooge-ness. The single ends with a track
that starts off repeating over and over “It’s all over now”
and wondering then “why is it so hard to sleep.” This is an
early snapshot of Kevin DeBroux’s work, at the end of the Bush
regime now it seems almost out of place. But there are moments
when we are all addled, organically or otherwise, and for those
moments this seven inch awaits you. The cover demonstrates the
proper position for listening to this…

-Thurston Hunger

Geese – “Geese ” – [Vanity Case]

humana   7/25/2008   7-inch, A Library

Experimental/Psychedelic/Pop: The UK group of David Lazonby and Graham Bailey call their white vinyl an ???apocalyptic torch song??? in two parts (sides A and B, each of which is about 3:25). Side A is the calmer, more organized side, with clean-sounding guitars and drums, but it ends with an air siren that Side B picks up and takes off with into a more chaotic psyche reprise of the chorus ???The Plane???s Gone Dad.??? The m??l??e of sounds is due partly to additional voices, partly to the full-throttle guitar . The instruments fade first, then the voices, and finally you???re left with blips and bleeps and voices hitting notes, and at last you hear only a field recording. Very interesting and definitely something you???d hear on ???Apartment Life.???

David, Shana – “Terminally Bourgeois ” – [Shrug]

Thurston Hunger   7/22/2008   7-inch, A Library

This 7″ is proud of its squareness and its square-wave. All
music generated by an old Radio Shack late-seventies MG1,
the sound is kinda thin, and happily so. Like an 8-bit game
only firing on 6-bits? Ms. Shana’s voice is a perfect match
for this, part talent-show trying to be earnest and ironic
and the same time. The result, well possibly the dorkiest
record in quite some time. This record is fun at times, but
not as clever or as cute as it might think it is? Serving
up Peanut Butter and Jealousy on “Bad Sandwich” is tasty,
but there’s not much on that plate. Similarly the “I Fucked
Up” has a lot of promise for superb self-denigration but
never quite twists the eyebrows, instead settles for the
finger twisting in the cheek. A cover of Nilsson’s “One”
(even if you are young, you’ve probably heard it) strains
the voice of Ms. David…but then she’s not really here to
take on Goliath. Home-spun innocence that may resonate
more with others, surely the 8-bit operators will find this
warrants a spin. -Thurston Hunger

Gay Beast / Twin [coll] – [Saf Records]

cinder   6/26/2008   7-inch, A Library

Gay Beast says: Music for Gay Bosses who use their gayness to get more out of their gay employees. Two dudes and a chick drummer from Minneapolis. Guitar & Roland keys. Very angular, along the lines of Numbers, Erase Errata, etc…male vox.
Twin is a duo from Olympia, and they have the whole grrl femme sound going. High female vox, guitar and drums. They go by the names of Ghost & Ribs. Rough fuzzy guitar, a little bit prog-rocky, with a few metal riffs. Special guest Allie on guitar also. Fades out!

Quintana Roo/Family Underground [coll] – [Not Not Fun]

cinder   6/26/2008   7-inch, A Library

Family Underground hails from Denmark, while Quintana Roo is from Eagle Rock I think. Originally pressed for their West Coast tour that fell through. Two sides of drone-scapes. FU soars through clouds, sounding like a jet-powered mosquito. Low hums and buzzes intertwined. Quintana Roo is more like a deep sea exploration, with moaning whales and slow moving frozen ice.
Limited to 300 copies. BTW – I like it at 33, more droney that way.

Monkey Power Trio – “Things Get Ugly ” – [Pochahontas Swamp Machine]

Max Level   6/15/2008   7-inch, A Library

MPT’s legendary 1998 session, and their fourth attempt at being a band. Songwise, the two winners are: A1 “You Gotta Have Hope”, probably MPT’s best-known song; an uplifting number with a positive message; it also features that recorder sound that immediately identifies this as a MPT endeavor. B1 “I Spit a Germ” is a sort of no-wave version of a jazz poetry piece, with spare instrumentation (sax/bass/drums) and vocalist Mark telling it (and yelling it) like it is. I like those two tracks a lot. The other songs… well, “Simple Genetic Mutation” and “Bionic Liver” are very short and probably wisely so; and the less said about “Fatty Rocks” the better.

Monkey Power Trio – “eMPTy ” – [Pochahontas Swamp Machine]

Max Level   6/15/2008   7-inch, A Library

“Our prettiest songs ever”, boasts the outer sleeve of this, the result of this one-day-a-year band’s third hour (1997) as a band. Side A features occasional vocalist Matt narrating a desperate tale in which he yells like his sister and honks out some crazy sax to get the point across; all of that over a pounding beat and a morass of deranged feedback. One of my fave MPT tracks for sure. Side B really does have pretty songs, both sung by Mark; the first one compares a loved one to insect repellent, but in a good way. The second song is about a guy whose departed lover is still maddeningly present in his mind, as he muses over various household objects. Genius.

Les Club Des Chats – “Yes Madame ! ” – [S-S Records]

cinder   6/2/2008   7-inch, A Library

MEOW! Super kitty cat themed 7″, artwork AND lyrics. Duo from Paris France! Very short songs, in the vain of a stripped down Deerhoof/Numbers/Kleenex/Monty Python skit. Mostly just drums, guitar and random objects. High pitched squeeky female vox, and funny French-man-BBC style male vox. Check their website (address on 7″ sleeve) for some more crazy kitty pics!

Le Club De Chats – “Yes Madame! ” – [S-S Records]

cinder   5/22/2008   7-inch, A Library

MEOW! Super kitty cat themed 7″, artwork AND lyrics. Duo from Paris France! Very short songs, in the vain of a stripped down Deerhoof/Numbers/Kleenex/Monty Python skit. Mostly just drums, guitar and random objects. High pitched squeeky female vox, and funny French-man-BBC style male vox. Check their website (address on 7″ sleeve) for some more crazy kitty pics!

Tarp – “Tarp ” – [Breaking World Records]

cinder   5/22/2008   7-inch, A Library

Synth-duo of Joshua Burkett & Conrad Capistran (Sunburned Hand of the Man) make the group Tarp. Two sidelong tracks of space probing moogy drones. Feels like background music for Doctor Who. Lots of the synthy “WAH WOH WAH WOH” sounds! Side A for more bubbling hovering, lava drones. Side B for the foaming surprise attack drones. Spacey! Both sides around 3 minutes!

Dead Machines – “Plays Kwaidan ” – [Ideal Recordings]

cinder   5/8/2008   7-inch, A Library

Husband & wife duo John Olson (of Wolf Eyes) & Tovah O’Rourke (of Wooden Wand & the Vanishing Voice) make up Dead Machines.
Late night walks in the haunted forest. Thick fog banks. Screaming ghost trains. Damp tunnels that never end. Frozen winds that torture your ears and stiffen your nose hairs. Whispering drones of ice cold memories. This is the soundtrack to that nightmare. Two sidelong horror tracks to play in the dark.

Axolotl/Inca Ore [coll] – [Arbor]

cinder   4/10/2008   7-inch, A Library

Axolotl’s two tracks are electronic loopy drone-outs.
Very short, if you don’t catch the break it sounds
good as one piece. I think there’s violin in there
Inca Ore sounds like a creepy little girl telling a
whispering ghost story in the land of OZ. Harp
included. Both sides excellent!

Growing – “Disconfirm ” – [The Social Registry]

cinder   4/10/2008   7-inch, A Library

8th edition of Social Registry’s ongoing singles
collection. Limited to 750 copies. Growing hails
from Brooklyn, NY. Side A is a rusty electronic
looping sunflare, with squiggly solar sperm squiggles.
Side B on the other hand sounds like my intestines
after a long day of eating beans, tofu and beer.
Gurgles to the max! Both sides around 3 minutes.

San Kazakgascar / The Master Musicians of Hop-frog – “Planet Dog ” – [Lather Records]

Max Level   3/31/2008   7-inch, A Library

Side A (San Kazakgascar): Tribal sounds and rhythms evoke a nomadic journey across a mysterious moonlit expanse of desert at night with camels swaying, objects rattling, and possibly an oud player with a fuzztone riding in one of the wagons. That???s what it sounds like, however the lyrics are about dogs. This side especially recommended.
Side B (The Master Musicians of Hop-Frog): This side is a bit rawer and clankier with barking vocals. Reminds me of early Joy Division. OK but doesn???t knock me out.

Monkey Power Trio, The – “Hacking Through The Tentacles of Despair ” – [Pochahontas Swamp Machine]

Max Level   3/8/2008   7-inch, A Library

This five-man trio whips out four more hastily assembled songs. Lots of rough edges, loose screws, and questionable musical judgment, but the MPT isn’t shooting for perfection; this is about friends getting together just one day a year, loading up on alcoholic beverages, and inventing music just for you. The band’s distinctive sound (vocals/guitar/bass/drums/mouth-blown instruments) is enhanced this time out by a guest pitching in on the hated and feared ukulele. Need I say there is much fun to be had? Recorded in 2003 on the MPT’s ninth day as a band.

Lambsbread – “King of The Crop ” – [Skulltones]

cinder   1/24/2008   7-inch, A Library

Couple of guys out of Columbus Ohio that apparently
live in a barn. Two super short bursts on the first
side. The start of the second track sounding like the
ending of the first track, so incase you miss the cut
off, it sounds like you meant to do it. Fast guitars,
drums, bass = CHAOS. Side B still full of the same
hardcore basement blow out, but a little sludgier in
the middle of the track. No vocals.

Wormwood – “Behemoth ” – [Kreation Records]

Max Level   1/6/2008   7-inch, A Library

a three-sided EP of sludgy doomcore by this punishing five-sided outfit. Wormwood’s vision of the coming apocalypse is achieved with two basses, drums, keyboards, sampler, and tortured yelling. a huge, heavy sound, and with their spooky keyboards and freaky samples the band comes across as unusually disturbing and otherworldly. basically, here is your ticket to Hell. this atrocity was originally released in 1998, and went out of print. Kreation put out this high-quality, nicely packaged reissue in 2006. quite satisfying, however each side is over too quickly. note: side 4 is blank even though it has grooves.

Teen Chthulhu / Wormwood [coll] – [Accident Prone]

loun   11/10/2007   7-inch, A Library

A nice pairing of black metal bands that neither take the genre too seriously nor play lightly with, or within, it. Both bands, neither a newcomer to the KFJC library, do a solid job with the axe grinding and “cookie monster” vocals, neither stops there. Kudos to Wormwood for knowing that a piano can be among the blackest of instruments, and using melody to set up a solid and eventually very satisfying countertension to the axe and drums. Teen Cthulu brings energy, enthusiasm and sweeping backgrounds to a thrashing pair of shorter songs. This is a fine release, even for those, such as myself, who don’t know the genre well but are willing to give an honest listen.

Programming note: The two Teen Cthulhu songs are separated by about one second – good luck!

Landed/Snake Apartment [coll] – [Corleone]

Max Level   11/6/2007   7-inch, A Library

Some of the scummiest sounds you???re likely to hear, straight out of the cesspool that is Rhode Island???s noise-rock scene. Landed (either back from hiatus or they just haven???t made any records for a while) delivers a fuzzed and feedbacked sludge-a-thon with vocalist/troublemaker Dan St. Jacques, completely incomprehensible as usual, going on about who knows what. Snake Apartment???s side is a stoned-out throbbing rocker with screamed vocals. This one sounds like a more organized version of Landed; as if perhaps they had learned to play an actual song and did guitar solos and stuff. Both sides sound like there???s a ball of dust on the needle. Excellent.

Wooden Shjips – “Dance, California ” – [Sick Thirst Records]

Daryl Licht   10/26/2007   7-inch, A Library

This is the debut 7??? from local project, Wooden Shjips. The A-Side, ???Dance, California???, is an amphetamine driven mixture of white hot, acid punk guitar leads over crunching, Kraut/Spacerock rhythms that would fit quite comfortably next to bands like Simply Saucer, Chrome, and Shatter. The B-Side, ???Clouds Over Earthquake???, is an excellent, more traditional take on the classic Kraut/Spacerock sound. I look forward with anticipation to their upcoming full-length on Holy Mountain, which is due to be released soon, as these tracks are both outstanding! DL

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