Music Reviews

Belastungsprobe – “Platzdruck 90 ATU ” – [Play Loud]

Thurston Hunger   12/7/2006   7-inch, A Library

Another slice of magic madness from this unknown German no-wave godlike
project. At times you get fuzz-grind guitars, oblique synthi, reverb
tripped out vocals…and then there’s the oompah country number replete
with yee-hoos on “Politikertanz.” Most bands don’t pump out this much
variety in a decade, much less in a 7″ record! Sorta roadhouse punk
meets arthouse new wave? Avant garage indeed, with your garage parked
in 1981. Robot hypnosis on “Randerscheinung” is still ahead of the hit
curve, but really everything on here is top-notch…seems like a classic
example of the power of a band focused on making things interesting for
themselves and thus coming up with something enchanting. Great use of
angular melodies, has that Messthetics knack for sneaky syncopation
where you wouldn’t expect things to be kinda catchy. Fred is Dead?
…man, Fred Wasn’t Even Born… This is a release that deftly defies
categorization…and time…and those who won’t play it. Superb!

-Thurston Hunger

Kurt/Popular Shapes [coll] – [On/On Switch]

Max Level   11/29/2006   7-inch, A Library

Kurt eluded most of my attempts to find out about them, however I did come up with this: they’re a trio and seem to be from Germany. They serve up two pieces of good slashing guitar/vocals rock with lots of jagged edges. Definitely the better of the two sides here. Popular Shapes are a punkish Seattle quartet full of ‘relentless energy and spastic catchiness?, an apt description taken from a review I found online. Their two tracks are OK, but not particularly memorable. This SF label On/On Switch is new to me.

Dilloway/Cherry Point [coll] – [Troniks]

Max Level   11/29/2006   7-inch, A Library

Michigan’s Aaron Dilloway and SoCal’s Cherry Point square off on this little slice of Killer Noise. On Side A, Dilloway piles layers of fuzzy crackling on top of a far-away-sounding background. Some variation and good moments. The Cherry Point’s Side B offering is pretty much pulverizing hell from start to finish. Note: Side A’s playing speed is different from Side B’s, not that I think anyone would notice if either side gets played at the wrong speed. Limited to 313 copies.

Graumahd – “S/T ” – [Hauruck]

Max Level   11/29/2006   7-inch, A Library

From Austria comes this trio of acoustic guitarists and their Black Forest brand of dark folk music. They have connections to other bands such as Der Blutharsch and Sturmpercht if that tells you anything. Graumahd’s guitar parts are simple, restrained, and effective, and that instrumentality is what catches my ear since everything is in German and I have no idea what the songs are about. In addition to the three guitars, there are a few percussion touches, and guests on flute and cello. Exotic sounds here, all quite nice.

Nothing People – “Problems ” – [S-S Records]

Thurston Hunger   11/17/2006   7-inch, A Library

0r + 0d + 0s = ?’? Offering more than the nihilism you might
expect, this three-piece rawks with a slash and learn policy.
Creepy in a good way, especially with those leering vocals
Hey these are songs built around riffs…the old-fashioned
way, like back when Mom got her tattoos. “Twinkie Defense”
rides a fuzz high over the sugar high, catches the expressway
past your skull. Drums keep pushing you out of your seat.
“4 Miles High” is the most splayed out number here, improv
alap with traffic jam synth honks…before the bass rumbles
upon the riff, and again leery as a dead Timothy Leary on
vox. “Systems Failure” is a sort of boom-chicka-boom-chicka
sleazy striptease strutter. Lastly, “I Can’t Find a Monkey”
vocals get pulled through the ol’ Flash-and-the-Pan-o-sonic
effect, on this they summon their finest garage powers. Man
you can see oil stains appearing on the ground in front of
you when this plays, peer into that those puddles and see
the history of rock…its glorious past. This puts the din
in dingy!

-Thurston Hunger

Geeks, The – “Too Fat Pig / Visiting Day At San Quentin ” – [S-S Records]

Thurston Hunger   11/17/2006   7-inch, A Library

Definitely a product of the time it was recorded, 1979-80.
Squakward improv music behind two different vocalists. On
the A-side, if you play it mistakenly at 33 rpm, it comes
across even eerier, but the then 15-year old vocalist Lydia
Kindheart gets morphed into a 37-year old whispery dude
named Ralph. Better to stick to 45 rpm. Poor pigs, always
a symbol for gluttony or the worst in man, if not in fact
“The Man.” On the flip side, it’s “Visiting Day at San
Quentin” we’re not in Oz anymore. No locked groove for
the lockdown, again kind of a sonic sprawl with the Mark
Chambers lyrics working to get all five fingers into a fist.
Ultimately a nice snapshot into folks making music for
themselves. -Thurston Hunger

Sailor Winters – “Monolith ” – [Tsunami Records]

johnnydarko   11/8/2006   7-inch, A Library

Noise record solo project by Sailor Winters featuring loops and analog “black noise”. Combine side A and B to make the whole track. Play it on 45 rpm! Side A opens with a haunting drum beat echoing a hellish drone and joined with curdled, monotonous grunts, so distorted that one message becomes clear: It is coming from the seediest pits of hell! Tracks like this should replace the phony ‘scary’ soundtracks of alien videogames like Doom and Halo. Try to imagine a lawnmower running over a high school marching band stuck in a pit of tar, sluggish and sticky but constant in its carnage. No samples were used on the album, and lyrics accompany the 7 inch insert.
-johnny darko

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

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