Music Reviews

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

adem – launch yourself (Domino)

outlier   10/25/2007   7-inch, A Library

Are you ready for folktronica ????? I didn’t think so and that’s just how this UK nu-folk hero likes it.?? Adem Ilhem is in on the Fridge project (with Kieran Hebden and Sam Jeffers).?? Ilhem and Hebden have been?? friends since age eleven.?? The vocals undoubtedly carry the folk gene?? but?? the?? drift, gamelan and tronics treatment provided by Four Tet (Hebden’s solo project) and Oslo experimentalist Thomas Eriksen disguise it so that you really don’t know WTF you’re listening to with this single from Adem’s 2nd release.

Pink Reason – “Throw It Away + 2 ” – [Criminal I. Q. Records]

Daryl Licht   9/13/2007   7-inch, A Library

This is a repressing of the debut 7″ EP from Green Bay???s Pink Reason. It was originally released in a very limited edition of only 300 copies on the band’s Savage Quality Recordings imprint. The A-Side contains the highlight of their short career, ???Throw It Away???, a stunning dose of dark, driving, lo-fi, doom punk that harkens back to the late 80???s/early 90???s heyday of DIY 7??? releases. The B-Side contains two tracks, neither of which is nearly as successful. “Slate Train” is a short track that contains similar sonic elements as ???Throw It Away???, but is much slower and quieter and, as a result, isn’t nearly as engaging. “New Violence” is a quirky, yet still somewhat appealing, track that takes an entirely different approach, using only synths and a drum machine to accompany leader Kevin De Broux’s vocals. Not that any of that really matters as ???Throw It Away??? is among the best 4 minutes I’ve heard committed to 7″ vinyl in a while and the “must play” track! DL

Wooden Shjips – “SOL ’07 (Pts. 1 & 2) ” – [Sick Thirst Records]

Daryl Licht   9/11/2007   7-inch, A Library

In advance of their highly anticipated debut full length on Holy Mountain, San Francisco???s Wooden Shjips tease us with this tasty 7??? single. Released in conjunction with Holy Mountain on the band???s own Sick Thirst imprint, this 7??? is limited to 500 copies and the proceeds from it will go to benefit the fine grassroots organization Food Not Bombs. This extended track ???SOL ???07??? stretches over both sides of the 7??? and is intended as a sonic commemoration of the 40th anniversary of the infamous ???Summer of Love???. It???s a respectable psych jam with droning organs, echoplexed vocals, and killer electric guitar leads being propelled by driving Krautrock rhythms. Now I???m fully primed for the debut full length – bring it on! DL

Minmae / Malasian Jungle Spaceship [coll] – [Try Not to Look Records]

Max Level   9/11/2007   7-inch, A Library

Minmae offers a mid-tempo rocker (4:00) with fuzzy vocals, fuzzy lead guitar, fuzzy drums, etc. The Malasian Jungle Spaceship side is an ambient piece (5:00) full of echo-y droning things and long sustained notes. I like the material on both sides, even though everything here sounds as if it was recorded in a closet 100 years ago on wax cylinders or whatever it was they were using back then: sonically primitive, highly compressed, no dynamic range. Oh well, sound quality isn’t everything. Each record individually lathe-cut instead of pressed. Limited edition of 30 copies.

Uske Orchestra / Gorge Trio [coll] – [Ache Records]

Max Level   7/31/2007   7-inch, A Library

Ache???s series of split 7-inches continues, this time pitting Usk?? Orchestra (Belgium) against Gorge Trio (USA). A scattered sort of randomness is the common element between the two tracks; what they each do with it is completely different. Usk?? uses piano, guitar, wordless vocals, tuned percussion, and what seems to be a lot of production effects to make a collage-style piece. They find a beat about a minute and a half into the track, then misplace it after another 30 seconds or so. Gorge???s track is pretty straightforward, with two guitarists and a drummer taking a random, U.S. Maple kind of approach to song construction. Usk?????s side is more involved and complex, while the Gorge side has a more immediate, ???roll the tape and let???s go??? feel.

Za Siodma Gora – “This Is My Dream ” – [Obuh Records]

Thurston Hunger   4/5/2007   7-inch, A Library

1999 release and actually recorded in 1994, but luckily scored recently.
Obuh Records is a rulingska label out of Poland, and this is a project
evidently involving label leader Wojcek Czera. The title piece is a
dark eye-fluttering, ear-buttering incantation…Czera comes across as a
less urgent Alan Vega. There is a flute synth dancing, a deep humbeat
that repeats, other aquatic electronics ebb and flow. Together it is a
mesmerizing wash of sound and then come Czera’s intimations. Tight-mic’d
as would befit the regaling of a dream. The dream involves the absence
if not the abandonment of light, resonant drum thuds and static snatches
help to punctuate the tale. It ends with a loop from someone other than
Czera repeating “Time is Worlds of Space.” On the flip side, “Floating”
is more of a buzzbomb on a quickening beat. Perhaps A disco number for
failed suicides? Again Czera murmurs (in English by the way), while his
prepared guitar is sliding like a car over the frozen highway. This does
a great job of piloting the fine dotted line of creepy and beauty…you
know where Edward Ka-spel does dwell.

-Thurston Hunger

Yellow Swans / Devillock – Split [coll] – [Modern Radio]

cinder   3/21/2007   7-inch, A Library

Side A is Yellow Swans formally of SF, now in
Portland. Guitar feedbacks, angry electronics and
distorted buzzes. Feels like I’m in a metal welding

Side B’s Devillock is the label owner (Chris Meyer)’s
project. Recorded live, this is something that will
ease you into slumber land. A slumber of mind
draining mental tests. Very straight empty space ship
drones with a LOCKED GROOVE ENDING. -cinderaura

Nitad – “Varldenn Maste Do ” – [Deranged Records]

Thurston Hunger   3/14/2007   7-inch, A Library

Swedish punk charges over galloping drums… A whole other Stockholm
syndrome is applied here…no hostages are left, only fans who want old
school punk. Side A keeps upping the ante until the ante bursts into
antipathetic brilliance. “Ge Mig Ge Mig” is evidently about Alkohol
and Droger…mixed in a rapid assault rock cocktail, no doubt. They are
covering the basic hardcore “food” groups pretty well. On “Ge Mig Ge Mig”
Then they even end up screaming their band’s name in a moment of triumph
… Some great simple but solid bass lines lead most of the songs, vocals
are brash…and well in Swedish…but with words like “hockeykillar”
involved, how can you go wrong? Stirs the blood…with a swizzle stick.

-Thurston Hunger

Made In Mexico / Microwaves [coll] – [Rococo Records]

Thurston Hunger   2/15/2007   7-inch, A Library

Made in Mexico : Sinister, hissy female volcals, she almost sounds like
a refugee from a German cabaret (on the lam in Mexico??). Long drawn
vibrata notes sung out over a chunky rhythm with these blasto-jazz/rock
guitar breaks. I kept waiting for one of those to break off into a
mini-solo, squirting on and on….but they stay tight and then back
into the chunk. Odd, dark and harsh…with a foreboding threat “It’s
coming back…” I guess this is not your Grandma’s “Charleston!”
Jeff Schneider of Arab on Radar…vocalist is Rebecca Mitchell!!

Microwaves : Icy yet seering guitar line over a distorted bass surge.
Empatic vocals interject, codifying danger…barbed wire bitedown.
Mice spooky loop to close as well on the first track. “House of
Regurgitation” brings an early 80’s neck-snapping guitar rock with
moog-y boogars squished on top. A heavy heaver…from a Pittsburgh
trio where the skies belch!

-Thurston Hunger

Time Flys, The – “Reality (is a Rock Band) ” – [Birdman]

Thurston Hunger   2/15/2007   7-inch, A Library

The Time Flys pilot their craft through the tunnel of time to the 70’s.
Squeezing two syllables where one would boldly go (Can’t You See-Eeyuh,
Realiteeyee” These guys rock econo, plain, pure and simple. The title
track is just a little twister-blister with lead guitar bends, and four
guys who want to “kick it out.” This is the stuff that belongs on a 45.
“Shark Song” almost swims into art rock waters…so it’s my favorite,
then they close this out dropping a doo-whop onto the dinner plate,
the lyric sheet proudly notes ever “Whoa.” Voice on this cut get that
higher pitched rock-dude-wailing and the chorus dances in falsetto heels.
Eat your meat and potatoes and relish it like these guys do.

-Thurston Hunger

Rot Shit – “Worst Kids Ever, The ” – [Big Neck Records]

Thurston Hunger   2/9/2007   7-inch, A Library

Shrill thrills from the punk forges of Pittsburgh, PA. Uber-oompa pummel
with an American-flavored oi accent almost. Songs are often over in the
blinding of an eye, and the puncturing of an eardrum. Two vocalists
that mix perfectly, personally I slightly favored Sex over Booze, but
when they trade off lines, we realize that Sex needs Booze as badly as
Booze needs Sex. Meanwhile Pipes, the guitarist, nails the shearing
broken glass distortion, often erupting at the end or the beginning with
some piercing feedback. The lyrics are screamed with a rapid-fire boxing
technique: left, right, left, right. The brash bash lo-fi is fantastic
and the microphone murder makes the words hard to decipher, but the
emotion comes across crystal meth clear. Raw agitated energy, seething
even when they’re “Swimming with Hot Dogz.” Songs track close on top
of each other, so careful with that needle, Eugene. Just an excellent
release, punk worth selling your blood to buy a copy. And I mean *all*
of your blood…

-Thurston Hunger

Refrigerator Mothers – “Arab National Anthem ” – [Urckarm Recordings]

Max Level   2/6/2007   7-inch, A Library

A label and side project from members of Hop-frog Kollectiv. Typical of what we’ve come to expect from Hop-frog, both tracks here have a devotional feel with tribal-style percussion, droning guitars and unidentified strange noises and effects. “Arab” is an Arabic-flavored instrumental with hand percussion and strummed guitar, and maybe oud(?). Originally this piece had lyrics about the nations of the Middle East uniting to fight their common enemy, the USA, but they were jettisoned; too bad, I would have liked to hear those. “Black Moth” starts as a monotone chant of things like – I am black moth – I am crystal – I am sasquatch – I am wasteland – I am born again – and again — then drops into a pounding two-chord instrumental vamp reminiscent of Joy Division; now that I think about it, the vocals have an Ian Curtis feel as well. A record full of mystery, and I dug it bigtime. Both sides end with locked grooves, which seems appropriate.

Xiu Xiu – “Boy Soprano ” – [Dogpony]

Thurston Hunger   1/4/2007   7-inch, A Library

Viva the picture disk single!

“Boy Soprano”
Blue Face side… Eruption from a dying accordion, almost sounds like
a prelude to some classical Mode release, but then it is into a skippy
little pop number. Whispery Jamie Stewart filling the Long Fin Killie
death absence, with a sort of whirly overpo’r’d adulation?? Stewart
runs off lyrics in a flighty fashion, almost coy for the boy toy?
But look out here comes that lurching accordion again, excellent!
That clash of chaos really is what elevates this fine single.

“Saint Pedro Glue Stick”
Cloudy Moon side… Feels like a homemade tribute to classical
japanese avant music? Koto shivers up the spine, birds blow out
an eardrum? Over before it goes too far, or not far enough? It’s
alright, made me think of another seven inch, “Lady Speed Stick”
from the Nels Cline Trio and years gone by…Maybe dig that up and
play that if you aren’t in the mood for this nano-kabuki offering.

-Thurston Hairdresser on Fire

Recchion, Tom – “Where Were You On Christmas? ” – [Meeuw Muzak]

Thurston Hunger   1/4/2007   7-inch, A Library

A nice simple recipe for some Christmas dressing, a slow melancholy loop
twinkling like a snowglobe, and then after a little bit, in comes a
spell-binding sample of someone speaking, someone who’s voice is filled
with character like Tiny Tim’s stocking should have been filled with
toys and gadgets. On the A-side, we get a gospel-like exhortation, almost
catching fire to singing, but just resonating in that icy suspension. On
the flip side a child with a mighty fine accent gets an unhurried slurry
recollection, digitally pitchbent to squeeze a couple extra drops of
sorrow out. Pretty remarkable samples in and of themselves, but truly
improved in the mix made here. No matter how many shopping days left,
these pieces by the mighty Tom Recchion (co-founder of the Los Angeles
Free Music Society) will frock your tree and mind jest fine. Slow
motion emotions…

-Thurston Hunger

Navies – “House Ties ” – [Lovitt Records]

Max Level   12/12/2006   7-inch, A Library

A couple of loud, angular guitar/bass/drums rockers. Side A has lyrics addressing our political leaders, their agendas, and our inability to get the truth from them. Side B is a 4-minute instrumental. Both sides are high energy, tightly-arranged post-punk mayhem, with muscular drumming and sharp, ringing guitars that keep me coming back for more.

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