KFJC 89.7FM

Music Reviews

Total Shutdown – “Broadcast Performances ” – [Life Is Abuse]

Max Level   1/2/2006   7-inch, A Library

The “thank you” list inside says it all: shout outs to Black Dice, Burmese, Coachwhips, Flying Luttenbachers, Lightning Bolt, and many more. Horns and a broken Casio compete to be heard above the maelstrom of guitar/bass/drums. There is also some screaming. Short jagged pieces of jazz-damaged noise catharsis, and then quiet sections while the band figures out where to go next. Tracks range from :20 to 2:10. “Fighting Witches” is my favorite here. Noisy, scary fun.

Fourtet/Hella [split] – [Ache Records]

Max Level   12/30/2005   7-inch, A Library

Ache is putting out a series of split 7-inchers, calling it the “Divorce” series (split = divorce, get it?). Here it’s Fourtet, a solo project by Kieran Hebden, on one side, giving us a slow instrumental full of blippy keyboards and random drumming. On the other side, the duo known as Hella bring us their usual spazzy madness; chaotic keyboards and samples atop some pretty incredible drumming. I think Ache’s idea with each of these splits is to bring together two artists who aren’t normally linked, but who work in similar fashion. These two tracks aren’t particularly similar sounding, but both feature keyboards/samples and live drumming. A cool release.

Dr. Ragtime – “Buckdancer’s Choice ” – [Sacred Harp Library]

Thurston Hunger   12/30/2005   7-inch, A Library

A Rose by any other name (Jack) would sound as sweet. With more pluck and swagger and a fellow Pelt banjo carpetbagger (Mike Gangloff) the title track feels like a strut around the chicken coup without stepping in any poop. Steel strings smiling chicken wire.

The mood darkens and drops about six feet on the flip side…the good doctor is dispatched alone to cover “Dark Was The Night, Cold Was The Ground.” Taking a bluesy scalpel to slide and slice up his guitar, this thing moves with the slow purpose of a drop of sweat down Harry Stanton’s back in “Paris, Texas.” Blind Willie Johnson is turning in his grave, only so’s he can get an ear as close to the sound as is post-humously possible.

Two done the right way, for pickers and sinners alike.

Also this is the firstborn for a fine new label too, with a package near as purty as the sound purveyed therein.

Orchid – “S/T ” – [Hand Held Heart]

Max Level   12/25/2005   7-inch, A Library

This little gem with the blank black labels contains five perfect blasts of concentrated hardcore, ranging from :55 to 2:30, and not one second of downtime. Shred, blister, and annihilate are words that come to my mind when trying to describe Orchid’s instrumental approach. Minimal lyrics describe everyday situations and abuses. The words are emotion-packed, and only the most tormented yelling will do to get the point across. This music is in some ways insane, but there is something so beautiful and pure about it.

Sikhara/Umkra/Drk/Ript [coll] – [Marasm]

Max Level   12/23/2005   7-inch, A Library

The Marasm label (French, I think) brings us four under-underground artists, all of whom are in the noise/glitch/loop business. Not a lot of info available on this release, but the artist lineup appears to be as follows: Sikhara – manipulated jungle-type ritual music, chanting and drumming, also electronic noises. Umkra – loud, dirty glitch-mania. DRK – dark landscapes give way a couple of times to a messed-up beat loop, plus crashes and howling voices. Ripit – more noisy glitches. Are those voices in there? Noticeable surface noise on this pic-disc, adding somewhat overall to the cornucopia of weird noises.

Deerhoof/Sicbay Split [coll] – [Modern Radio]

Hunter Gatherer   12/4/2005   7-inch, A Library

7″ single split between Deerhoof and Sicbay containing three songs, released in Sept 2004. Even the label is split because it’s a co-release of Modern Radio Record Label and Sawtooth (Nick Sakes from Sicbay‘s label). The first 600 have this fancy handscreened cover designed by Amy Jo Hendrickson.

Deerhoof, San Francisco’s musical darling geniuses, take the A-side with two songs not available anywhere else:

A1: Insist – Instrumental. It starts off with some bass noodling, then some noisy stabs, then groups of noisy stabs, then pandemonium breaks loose. Excellent.

A2: United He-Ho Brothers – Singer/bassist Satomi Matsuzaki sings words that aren’t quite words. Something like ‘He-ho! He-ho! Na-na-na.’ There is a false stop, then driving guitars and drums.

Sicbay, a power noise pop trio from Minneapolis with a very clever name, fill up their whole B side with one song.

B1: The Rise Of Phantom White – Described on their own website as one of their few ‘deliberate pop songs,? it’s somewhere between The Monkees and Sebadoh. I am told that it is about the approach of winter, something every Minnesotan must dread, but the only lyrics I could make out were fits like a blanket and ten feet off the turnpike.
–Hunter Gatherer

As Mercenarias – “4 Demos / Bonus Single ” – [Soul Jazz Records]

Thurston Hunger   10/23/2005   7-inch, A Library

Bonus single of early demos for this Sao Paolo gang of wow,
hyping the rock solid full length comp. This was recorded
back around the early 80’s and evidently poised for a
regrouping now. The original group offered jittery power,
trashy guitar snarls, a raw-throated diatribing from Rosalia
Munhoz on vocals. Each of these four songs are little
shredders. Gone in a flash, but power kegs of angst rock. The
lurching stop/star of “Oh Oh” is nicely mated with some
alien fembot background vocals. “Honra” allegedly has the line
“the honor of a man is in his ass.”
Which could be flipping the sexism mirror, or just dealing
with more macho shit. Or hell, maybe they’re talking about
burros?’ Even without a translation, you can taste the
irritation and exuberation here, feminist more in its own
celebration, than in battling off the threat of us cursed
Y-chomosome zombies. This doesn’t pull a punch, and connects
repeatedly. This. Is. Rock. Every bit as immediate now as
it was 25 years ago!

21.PERON – “Anlatamiyorum ” – [Arkaplan]

Thurston Hunger   10/23/2005   7-inch, A Library

Turkish troupe from the 70’s, adding this as a teaser to a
more sweeping full-length to be added to KFJC’s arsenal soon.
Here’s we’ve got a pretty straight forward peppy pop tune
on the first side, followed by violin leading a bass line
though a forest of synthesized mushrooms sprouting up. The
violin gives it a bit of a bumpkin feel, but the synth is
prog rock do its very squishy Keith Emerson soul. Then in
races the little competing fuzzed out guitar line in
contra-melody to the violin. Never quite breaks the
atmosphere to galactic crossings, but has a nice ride in
the stratosphere side to it. I found the full-length more
compelling, even more Byzantine one could say, and for that
we now go to our reporter, Pete Dixon…

Kervorkian – “Who Is Who ” – [Day After Records]

Thurston Hunger   10/15/2005   7-inch, A Library

Czech mating of eastern european ire and english lyrics. A
loud and proud “FUCKING” is going to save the best track for
the DJ’s of the night. That track “Pink Panther” opens the
B-side with a whispering witch’s brew of incantation and bass
before the drums start to whip the piece towards the edge of
a cliff, guitar scraping along the way. Excellent stop/start
dynamics and very precise percussion keep this one on edge.
A quick breather and then a short slugfest with lyrics that
get lost in the mirrors of mind. On the A-side, “Who is Who”
takes a nice crooked drum solo into a bridge out of a pretty
straight-forward straight-edge number. “The Magic Box” has a
Detroit, Rock City kinda swagger. Not a lethal injection, but
a good enough reason to live… Which I’m not sure this band
did, this came out back in 1999 and I haven’t found much
further evidence of survival.

Rogers Sisters, the – “Les Fantaisies Sont Bien ” – [Troubleman Unlimited]

Thurston Hunger   9/22/2005   7-inch, A Library

Well this petit nombre was un hit fantastique back when they
sung in Uh-merican. It gets French kissed this time around
(although their still screaming in English). That same great
riff, the saxamoan swirl…the talky bits (albeit coated in
francaise sauce…).

On the flip, “45 Prayers” (like its Angli-kin also found on
the most recent “Three Fingers”), is served for strangers
in strange lands, this time Miyuki Furtado Japanslates
the number…though it retains its heavy breathing beat
texture as well.

The Rogers Sisters were born on turntables, (Daddy owned
a record store) long may they spin… I sure look forward
to their next record…

Haiku Review:
Fantasies are nice
Nicer still through french kissed lips
Foreign exchange fun

Iso 68 – “Reihenhausmusik 3 ” – [Haus Musik]

Thurston Hunger   9/4/2005   7-inch, A Library

I *think* this is the third in the Reihenhausmusik
series, which label leader Wolfgang Petters
launched to focus on unsigned bands. Iso 68
is either a synthetic oil or maybe even a metal
screw (which might be more appropro) here Iso 68
are Thomas Goebbel and Florian Zimmer, and this
is some gorgeous “lab rock.” I like the suspense
of this (especially at 33), and they even work in
some acoustic guitar. Nice and dark and evolving.

Microphones, the – “Bass Drum Dream ” – [Up Records]

Thurston Hunger   9/4/2005   7-inch, A Library

The Microphones consist of Phil Elvrum and..well..
..no one else. He kicks up some pretty scrappy pop
(lot’s o dynamics) here, he’s also involved in
projects D+, the Polar Bears and the damn fine
Old Time Relijun, if I may evangelize for ’em.
A-side “Bass Drum Dream…then the storm”
Lot’s of starts and stops and changes in
this single (and the flip side too!). The
storm is the sound of microphone getting blown
away.
B-side “Where It’s Hotter (Parts 1, 2, 3)”
Again like a snake spliced out of segments
from other snakes, this keeps your attention in
a very lo-fi, rattling guitar and splotchy drums
way. Elvrum’s voice has a nice nervous quality,
a splendid 7″

Rebound Volume I I I [coll] – [Secretly Canadian]

Thurston Hunger   9/4/2005   7-inch, A Library

Six-shooter e.p. 5 parts pop, one part beats
1) swearing at motorists – sounding nearly as
good as the band they did sound for.
See track 3 below. NOTE : false ending.
2) Marmoset – geeky with a faint hint of dub?
3) Guided By Voices – from the vaults straight
to the top of the charts. Why isn’t GbV
bigger than the Who. Why? InstAnthem.
4) To Rococo Rot – For me this sounds like
the sound bed for a Devo cover of Gloria
5) Bill Ding – A lanky number with acoustic
guitar harmonics for the self-doubter in
us all. Too bad Bill Ding collapsed.
6) Hood – More rain-streaked bleak too-weak-
-to-speak sad pop. A gem, complete with
the sound of the singer’s girlfriend’s
train pulling away as she leaves him
All ready for plenty of plays

8PDAN – ” ” – [None]

Thurston Hunger   9/4/2005   7-inch, A Library

Extremely promising angst-pop out of Ontatio,
Canada. Polvo pulverizing mathy rock meets dizzy
Don Caballero stampedes. Music with lots of
corners. Standard r’n’r recipe (bass/guitars/drums)
well-above standard results. Jeering vox on “Low
Brow” and “Birthday or Boy Girl.” The two “Hello
Boys” have a nightmarish robot-betrays man feel.
Lot’s of full-bore half-step stop n’ start action.
This is etch-a-sketch twitch and flex music.

Los Hermanos – “Resurrection ” – [Underground Resistance]

Thurston Hunger   9/4/2005   7-inch, A Library

Gerald Mitchell delivers the brotherly beats here with a nice
aquatic Submerge’d subway rider on “Resurrection.” All clean
curved corners and rail-riding rhythm. 808 claps slaps your
neck in and out of joint. On the flip side “Freedom Dancer”
jumps immediately in your face with a four-quarter pounder.
Brilliant fleck-flings of piano add the to manic movement,
and some sort of “Who do you love(?’)” voodoo sample is
summoned on top. As this is just the 7″, the sweat barely
breaks theoretically on all you mental dancers right when
the slow fade on percussion knocks you out of your ruby
slide slippers back into your sleepy socks. Still the
battle of the bounce has been won, who said Resistance is
futile….

Business Lady – “Skull Bashing ” – [Pacific Rock]

Thurston Hunger   9/4/2005   7-inch, A Library

San Diego four piece, delivers rock solid chunks of chugga
chugga churning music. Vocals gang up on choruses, guitar
effects slang-tune in parts…drums percolate like all
night coffee. “He’s Pissing” has a nice sort of sway to
it…along with some guttural groaning and light blitz
electronis. “Medublah Sedublah” seems to have a seizure
ready to happen, with an indirect Twin Peak reference
perhaps. Again the drums…looks like no sleep for Paul.
“Space for Face” let’s the drummer catnap in parts and
cascades guitar pick-sweeps of the neck over a sorta
Gang of Four bass. The Lady is allll Business.

Birds, the – “Let’s Do the Velvets ” – [Important Records]

Thurston Hunger   9/4/2005   7-inch, A Library

You can take the girl out of the Acid Mother, but you cannot
take the acid out of the girl. Cotton Casino teams up with
Per Gisle Galaen to overdose beautifully on the Velvet
Underground. Listening to “Femme Fatale” one can almost
lealize that Nico actually wanted to sing with a Japanese
accent. The song starts out as wedding dirge march, but
towards the end disto-guitar ripples the skies. Meanwhile
“Here She Comes Now” turns into an early morning mantra
trying to seduce the sun up. Acoustic guitar spirals, oozy
vox and Helge Sten’s patented Deathprod sonic wrapping help
to plant this one deep within your cranium. With backwards
guitar serving like a hook on foxtail to make sure it this
song gets snared there. Very promising advance to the Birds
full-length first-flight! An Important record indeed!
-Thurston Hunger #37

Close, The/Rosebuds [coll] – [Goodnight]

mitch   8/16/2005   7-inch, A Library

Raleigh, NC core duo Ivan Howard (vocals, guitar) and
Kelly Crisp (keyboards, vocals) front THE ROSEBUDS
(fast & furious on ???We???ve Had Enough???), a act
currently on US tour with TEENAGE FANCLUB. It is
Howard???s touch-of-helium voice & Crisp???s frenetic use of
keyboard coloration that punch their all-original songs
through to Funland; fellow progenitors THE CLOSE (as
in proximity) began in Auburn AL ten years ago, since
relocating to Atlanta and recording several releases for
. Equally hard hitting but more tactile &
austere, front man Brooks Meeks embraces anthems,
analog keyboards (as played by Theresa Marie Fedor),
and lyrical sincerity. Two fine Southeast indie rock tracks
exclusive to new label run by Nathan Jones & Keith
Vogelsong (THE BLUE HOUR).
MITCH August 2005

Smith, Slim/Aggrovator [coll] – [Abraham Records]

Rococo   7/5/2005   7-inch, Reggae

The history of reggae music was written on 7″ singles and here’s another slab of musical history courtesy of Slim Smith & The Aggrovators. Smith was one of the leading rocksteady vocalists, a one-time member of vocal harmony group The Techniques and later his own group, The Uniques. “My Conversation” is one of his most famous records and was recorded with The Uniques, although the record label gives credit to him alone. It’s a superlative rocksteady track, with sweet falsetto vocals that owe much to 60’s American soul groups like The Impressions or Smokey Robinson & The Miracles. On the B-side you have an instrumental version from The Aggrovators, slightly dubbed out but not as radical as the dubs King Tubby would start turning out a few years later.

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