Music Reviews

Maguma Taishi – “S/t” – [Asian Man Records]

Naysayer   7/15/2014   7-inch, A Library

Holy nutso Batman. What happens when four accomplished punk musicians get together for three hours and record eight songs? Well, you get this mess of fun and nonsense, that’s what. Don’t try to work too hard to figure out what’s going on. It won’t matter. Songs are sloppy, trashy and fun fun fun. Mike Park supposedly does vocals, so maybe he is and if so he is doing a great impersonation of Japanese to English phonetic singing. Crazy, initially hard to distinguish grunt to growl to groan to yell vocals about a “dachsund (sp) suicide”, Tennyson East Side (is this Hayward gangs?), and all other nonsense. Fast, crashing punk. Short songs, one at 15 seconds, make this two sides a hot, sweaty mosh pit worship experience.

Depressor – “Book of The Dead” – [Self-released]

mickeyslim   7/15/2014   7-inch, A Library


Book Of The Dead… there is no single copy of it remaining, maybe never was, only sections with magical spells that would aide the deceased’s journey into the Underworld.

This band takes the opposite route, coming straight FROM the Underworld. Aggressive, pissed off, death metal; some call it crust punk or industrial, and while I can see where they’re coming from, and it has those flavors… no bro.

The first and last tracks are instrumentals, but you wont really notice ’cause it’s over way too fast. Great stuff here, with Gabriel Gabriloff of ’09 & ’10-era Acephalix. At least stop to check out the colored vinyl.

PGM: All sides track, B2-locked groove? or does it just skip at the last groove…?

Start! – “KREV National Anthem #6, The” – [Ash International]

Thurston Hunger   7/9/2014   7-inch, A Library

Imaginary soundtracks are a dime a drool, but here’s
some imaginary anthems to rock and rule a fictional
fact of a kingdom that is everywhere and nowhere.
That’s right digerati have become digizens, as
sure as that William Gibson idoru you married.
As of this date, they’ve got 980 citizens
and a seeming majority turned up for these
three tracks. Call ’em improvised orchestral
maneuvers with sound collage thrown in. One might
say the seeds of the recording were planted in
2008 in Portugal, but they blossom in the hearts
and ears of KREVonians (??) everywhere? Or maybe
it’ll just make the toes of founding flux fathers
Carl Michael von Hausswolff and Leif Elggren tap?
Side A starts with some fanfare, maybe a regal
horn…and just goes like the kingdom, everywhere.
Marching effects or maybe actual marchers, some
vox populi rising up (count every vote, hear
every voice). A newsspeaker tries to preside over
some deeper infrasound and a rabble razing,
despite the ceremony, percussion factories remain
working at full tilt. On the B-side, first a
flute wanders lonely as a crown. Then vinyl
echoes of ceremony and some static fly-bys. Lastly
a guitar bows to the theme, considers a psychotic
break before a fake skipping needle and precorded
prank skreeeches a salute. Music for the Body
Politic sans body!

-Thurston Hunger

Roachclip – “Calmer In This Town” – [Quemada Records]

Thurston Hunger   7/9/2014   7-inch, A Library

On the A-side, peppy keyboard blizzard pop. Is Rick
Wakeman’s grandkid in this? Nope, it’s not a Brit
in a cape, but a Detroit dude named Bill Corrigan.
The song s basically a cave rocker, cymbally drums
reverb dripping guitat, but the rise-and-fall keys
from Corrigan make it resonate differently. The
song doesn’t really turn a corner at the end, just
rides a hyper escalator to and fro and back again in
his synth palace. Flip side reverb drips get
upgraded to dollops, for a two chord lite anthem
that could have come from decades ago. Possibly
language but its caught in the effects goop? Again
Corrigan’s keys shine, but in a very limited role,
some space synth strafing too. The song devolves
into a choppy chaos of a spoken sample, it’s a
good bad trip to ye olde psych rock ward.

-Thurston Hunger

Walker, Russell / Melchior, Dan – “Sad Son In Law” – [kill shaman]

Naysayer   7/7/2014   7-inch, A Library

Dan Melchior, everyman super musician, harkening back to Billy Childish and then to his own many incarnations, has always had a nod to the off kilter sound, whether it be twangy bluesish guitar stylings or all out found sound wackiness. This nice two song 45 on kill shaman records is again a shift in the sound that Melchior is traveling around with. Co conspirator Russell Walker is no slouch on the music scene. Of Phermomoans and others fame, Walker is the inspired anti-lyricist and vocalist that speaks the new text of the anti-scene. Sounding frighteningly like Genesis P. Orridge, his sing talk of parodying British lifestyle fits hand in glove with Melchior’s surprisingly quite subdued instrumentation on these two cuts. “Sad Son In Law” has a hint of Kraut rock styling in its minimal repetitiveness along with a nod to Velvet Underground two chord guitar styling. Walker’s singing (dual voice recordings) tells the tale through and around the quiet instruments. “I Could Sit Here Forever” starts with a simple drum beat than droning accordion while Walker sings of the reasons he could sit here forever. Is it too obvious to say, “Pull up a chair and join in”? Well, I said it.

Burnt Ones / The Mallard [coll] – [Mt. St. Mtn.]

humana   7/6/2014   7-inch, A Library

Burnt Ones and The Mallard are both San Francisco bands that deliver garage rock on this 7″. It creates a nice aperitif for any set, short, straightforward, and not too sweet, with vocals. “Shreds” is the longer, peppier tune, but you can’t go wrong with either one.

Bruce Lee Band, The-Community Support Group-Really Records

selector   7/2/2014   7-inch, A Library

The Bruce Lee Band is the name given to the releases of Mike Park and his varied backing band. This is straight-up edgy ska-punk. Third-wave, fast, heavy on the ska upbeat, but with less poppy vocals and no slippage into Rocksteady or Reggae that’s common to many third-wave ska bands. An EP of five 2-minute songs. Past backup bands have included Less Than Jake and the Rx Bandits. This time, the artists include members of Bomb The Music Industry, Mu330, The Chinkees, and Skankin’ Pickle. Ska’s not dead!

Stars for tracks: A1 (Agh!!!), A2 (Tanning Depression), B1 (We’ve Got The Money)


Watt, Mike + The Secondmen/ Chronics [coll] – [Asian Man Records]

Naysayer   6/16/2014   7-inch, A Library

This is one of those “the sum may be more interesting than the whole” kind of stories. The split with Mike Watt + The Secondmen and Chronics are two enjoyable, straight ahead several minute numbers of punkish surf and power pop psych goodness that put a smile on my face. Mike Watt’s “Surfin’ With the Shah” is a fun, driving surfingish instrumental that keeps you dancing. The Chronics, hailing from Italy, cover of “She Don’t Know Why I’m Here” continues in their playing of power pop with a no nonsense go at it attitude. It’s good clean fun.

But wait….. what’s happening here? There’s a lot more meat when you know the background.
Released on Asian Man Records, the label run by Mike Park (of Skankin’ Pickle and Chinkees fame). Since 1996, Park has been releasing second, third and more wave punk, ska music from his garage distribution. It’s an impressive collection of releases.
This is his first release from Mike Watt.

Now, Mike Watt is the ever plaid shirt wearing, San Pedro heavy hitter bassist of godhead bands Minutemen and Firehose, besides numerous other projects. Mike Watt + The Secondmen, usually a trio, is one of his current projects where he is lead singer besides bassist. Yet this is an instrumental. And not just any instrumental but a cover of the first 45 released by seminal L.A. punk trio The Urinals. Why would he pick this song to cover? Well, on Youtube there is clip of the Urinals performing “Surfin’…” at Hollywood’s Anti-Club back in the early punk days, and who jumps up on stage to dance and shout to the number but the Minutemen’s own D. Boon, best friend and bandmate of Mike Watt. Connection? Maybe.

And then the Chronics. They choose to cover “She Don’t Know Why I’m Here”, L.A. power pop granddaddies The Last’s first 45 release from 1977. The Last’s version definitely is a forerunner and guide to the Paisley Underground that came later in Los Angeles. The Chronics are definitely influenced by that sound and they honor it well.

Both songs are mixed and mastered by Jim Diamond at Ghetto Records from Detroit. Which must be how these two singles came together for Mike Park. Or is it that Mike Watt has connections to Italy with another project of his with two, Italian musicians, and that’s how he knows about the Chronics? Or is it…… ???
How about you just play it and enjoy.

Globe Unity ’75 – “… Und Jetzt Die Sportschau #For Evan Parker#” – [Trost]

Thurston Hunger   6/14/2014   7-inch, Jazz

Apparently the title translates as “…and now the
sports shoe” and (in Ed Sullivan mode) it’s a
really big shoe! Better bring a shoehorn if you
want to fit all of these players into a 7″ (there
are three count ’em three trombone players.)
Recorded in 1975 by the amazing Conny Plank, and
apparently recently recovered from Peter Kowald’s
FMP archives (Kowald plays tuba on this). Each
side is a different take on a bluesy romp, with
some ragin’ cajun accordion from both Rudiger Karl
and Alexander von Schlippenbach. The A-side
felt more buoyant and Hans Reichel delivers an
avant blues garde guitar solo (on the flip its
more of a sputter avant solo). Some t-bone work
on A side I dug, and firebrand Peter Brotzmann
ignites more on the B side. The B side has a nice
horn intro angular and you might expect the art
house, but they still make it to the roadhouse.
KFJC is lucky to have a fair amount of other
Globe Unity releases, and FMP too, many of
the names here are worth tracking down their own
arcs elsewhere. But not often will you find
said folks revving up the popular toe-tapping
R&B engine like they do on this sweet 7″

-Thurston Hunger

Blanche Blanche Blanche – “Heart and Soul / Map of The City” – [Feeding Tube Records]

Thurston Hunger   6/14/2014   7-inch, A Library

Sweetly deranged synth covers
Three Blanches == 2 Vermonsters (wait not connected
to that band, two loopy dreamers living in Vermont,
Sarah Smith and Zach Phillips). They caught my eye
and ear as one of the unknown bands helping multiply
the sound on David Van Tieghem’s recent 12″. So when
I saw this in the recent generous pipeline from
Feeding Tube, I wanted to check it out. Apparently
it was one of the earlier recordings for this duo,
and part of a Record Store deal. And hell it is a
7″, hard to resist anything in that format. The
sounds feel a little like the art students hijacked
an 80’s high school dance for some synth covers. I
hear corsages wilting, or is that the pitch wheel
spinning? Honestly, I had never heard T’Pau before,
(or blotted it out) Sarah’s spoken verses nerd up
but she kinda sings her karaoke heart out on the
choruses. I was won over by the breakdown part
having her voice harmonize with itself. On the
flip side they cover “Royal Trux” but they keep
their same approach and equipment, to replace the
Trux original’s ragged guitar swagger. It helps to
accentuate the lyrics, which are either obtuse
or perceptive…and likely both. The synth is
starting to overheat on this one, but it’s all
good, small, clean fun. I like that Feeding Tube
has this knack for outside pop and in checking
some of the Blanche Blanche Blanche online at
OSR tapes (a label Zach runs), KFJC needs to
connect at that core. Grey pet, you bet!

-Thurston Hunger

Cottaging – “Mise En Abyme” – [Abscess]

Naysayer   4/21/2014   7-inch, A Library

Hailing from Florida and Boston, Cottaging (which is the English term for sex between men in public restrooms) is described as hardcore and noise. I hear it differently, more Christian Death and England’s Bat Cave era Specimen. On these two songs, instrumentation is steeped in the style of all of that goth noise from the 80’s. Vocals are more of a chant style, the same single note often sung throughout the song. Instrumentation is similar. Lead guitar often goes into a single string picked repeatedly while the same bass note gets louder and louder building up the tension. Lyrics filled with ennui, malaise and darkness. Only wear black when playing and smoke a Djarum.

Sacred Product – “Wastex” – [Quemada Records]

Thurston Hunger   3/27/2014   7-inch, A Library

Dude, head choogling boogie rock and in a 2X7″ format (which
online promo sapiens refer to as an “unfairly maligned” format).
What?!?! Man someone needs to malign their own business, 2X7 is
this side of KFJC heaven. Sacred Product is Australian Lynton Denovan
and he is a guitarist who finds a killer riff and then rides
it on the rails from station to station. Each song here I
think is like 49 minutes which is pretty good for a 7″ record.
Lynton does it all here, which for the vocals ends up being
a double effort, as he has that spoken, multi-tracked indie
insistent catchy sneer. I assume that’s him on the drums as
well, just about busting a live not hip-hop sampled groove on
“Tram and Train” and even more so on the killer “Ride Back.”
Hmmmm, maybe there is a theme of taking public transportation
on ping-pong rides (with these songs driving, the mileage
is good). Really solid no frills rock here, in fact it is
maybe anti-frills. Bitter lyrics taken from window seat
watching the garbage truck and ornamental churches blur by.
Lynton does it all, including the cover art apparently,
maybe a self portrait with Ron Jeremy tendencies?

-Thurston Hunger

Cheap Girls/Lemuria [coll] – [No Idea]

Naysayer   3/8/2014   7-inch, A Library

Hurray for splits so the kids can get their stuff out. And hurray for small labels who can get the kids’ splits out. Such is the case for this No Idea release of two 21st century bands, Cheap Girls and Lemuria, who are putting stuff out like crazy, exploring their inner 1990’s (with a touch of 1980’s). Now this is not a slight. In no way. But sometimes you need to take two steps backward to go three steps forward. Such is the obsession with 80’s/90’s alternative rock. Can anyone say Husker Du, Replacements, Sugar (which is Husker Du redux), Smoking Popes? Well I know a few bands who can.

Let’s look at Cheap Girls: trio, two of which are brothers, from Lansing, Michigan, straight out driving alterna rock done well.
It feels factory, working class, with a bit of country. Lyrics about feeling bad. Good teamwork on the musicianship. Guitar, bass, drums. A nice line repeated several times which I may sing around the house: “I want to stare you down.” Youtube comment fan base is a lot of dudes talking about what a “rockin'” show they put on. I’ll definitely put on my plaid shirt and listen. Good work.

Now let’s look at Lemuria: duo (sometimes trio), one gal, one guy. Emphasis on female vocals. Straight up indie pop. Does anyone remember Barbara Manning, indie queen of the 90’s that everyone who was anyone referenced, yet she could still play small clubs, emphasis on small, that would be half full? She was/is a mighty lyricist with a killer indie sound. Lemuria should listen to her, or maybe they already have. Sheena Ozzella, one half of Lemuria, reminds me of Manning for some reason. Anyway… Ozzella’s higher female, girlish vocal style goes against the guitar, drum, bass indie sound that fills the listener, making for a lovely mix. Lemuria often has song titles with single words, no articles: “Lipstick”, “Pants”, “Pleaser”, “Bookworm”. This split has “Lemons” about a relationship which just doesn’t click. There also is “Single Mother” which is the stand out of the two. Very simple lyrics but it gets to the heart of the problem. A single mother is scared about being a single mother. I get that, just being a parent. But then Alex Kerns, the other half of Lemuria, briefly states his attraction to single mothers. If I say I get that also, am I giving away too much information? Listen. Enjoy it.

Dealbreaker – “Pissed” – [Cricket Cemetery]

Thurston Hunger   3/5/2014   7-inch, A Library

While I enjoy insightful punk like the Ex, where ire meets
intelligence, sometimes you just want to hear the anger
in hoarse voice over pissed off drums and some ear-ringing
guitar. Behold Arlington VAs Dealbreaker, a two-piece
hyperventilator squeezing six songs into seven inches.
Jeremy Evans on guitar (and bass for this 7″, the band
has since expanded) rides his guitar line like a whiplash
bronco and his chomp-chomp-chomp work on “Ready to Kill”
and “Fools, Fakes And You” are just primal rock. Drummer
Ian Thompson matches the flamebroiled guitar and then some.
Man theses drums always get me. Just killer! Ian not only
resides in the Cricket Cemetery on this release but polishes
up its tombstone titles and turntable totems. The first two
songs wrap up frantic rants with “I’ll end this now, I don’t
care” and on #2 “I don’t fucking care.” Message loud and
clear and loud. Later on “Send in the Flood” Evans opines
“Too many people, too much filth, I pray for an extinction
event.” Got to appluad them for etching someting in the
runout groove, where we read “Love, Jeremy and Ian.” They
also play weddings. -Thurston Hunger

Harisis Group – “Recordings of The Harisis Group From Northern Greece” – [Angry Mom Records]

Thurston Hunger   1/31/2014   7-inch, International

I’m more than happy to report “You haven’t heard the last of
Angry Mom.” Christopher King’s label unearths four more
Epirotic delights from old (1933) 78’s. All tracks are
instrumental featuring the Harisis family (first initials
only please) and special guest star G. Stathis on the laouto
(a Greek long-fretted lute). Mostly this is the M. Harisis
Experience, an explosion of clarinet creations. The A-side
features two dances and they do move rapidly. You could
almost call it punk clarinet, with the rough sound squeezed
out. And the furious flying of notes presages jazz. There’s
that feeling of a gypsy circus too. Things slow down on the
B-side, still M. Harisis’ clarinet is fluid and fast while
the pace of the songs tilts towards ballad (honoring a
“Hero Bandit” per the provided translation!) and then a lament. Nice that these three live on forever in KFJC’s sonic museum, even if without first names.

-Thurston Hunger

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