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Music Reviews

Residual Echoes – “Secret Museum of Kind Men – Vol. 3” – [Casual Acid Tea]

Thurston Hunger   1/31/2014   7-inch, A Library

I hope more bands are lining up to continue this cool series.
Reinterpretations of killer 78’s from the old Secret Museum
of Mankind collections, here with two more gems polished and
presented. India is visited first, “Gungru Tarang” a sublime
slither of violin, over a cool galloping melody. A nice
instrumental mantra for dancing or divining. On the flip
side “Khar Shabi” calls the world to Tajikstan. Violin
(Shawn Lockie) soars after a sort of drum processional
entrance. The main resident in the Residual Echoes, guitarist
Adam Payne, chimes in with guitar, initially haunting the
minor key with the violin, but accelerating to some fevered
rock chord jabbing. The voice of Heather Lockie (and possibly
the ghost of the original unknown singer) provide a peaceful
but powerful crest atop the fury. The song concludes with a
mystic coda of cymbals and violin symbols. Make the divine
sign and spin this record again.

-Thurston Hunger

Yolks, The – “Two Dollars Out The Door” – [Randy! Records]

humana   1/29/2014   7-inch, A Library

These three youngsters from Chicago offer a straightforward rock and roll song on Side A, and a honky-tonk bluesy number on Side B. I slightly prefer Side A, but all of it is refreshing with decent-sounding vocals, harmonica, guitar, drums, and bass. My dogs, chewing a bone, chewed faster in reaction to this. Recorded at a show in a friend’s apartment.

Erase Errata/numbers [coll] – [Troubleman Unlimited]

Lady Labyrinth   1/22/2014   7-inch, A Library

No Wave Art Rock

Bay Area No Wave tag team action from Numbers and art rock darlings Erase Errata. This is the perfect 7 inch to play on a non-stop loop all day every day in the cramped closet you call a bedroom after you and your 7 other housemates have received an eviction notice after your landlord decided to cash in. The Numbers bring the spazzy contorted rhythms with stripped down vocals and guitar. The Erase Errata tracks hang together in almost a danceable rhythm section with the bass boarding on proggy bounce. Their seconc track starts off with an extended grating guitar intro that would sound lovely through paper thin apartment walls. Some Cowbell!

Marked with a big 45, but sounds more correct at 33 to me???. oh art rock???. Lady Labyrinth

New Bums – “Slim Volume” – [None]

humana   1/11/2014   7-inch, A Library

This is two guys singing to a gently strumming guitar. Their voices are clear and kind of folksy, and the music is mellow and suited to a cloudy, cold day in January. They are the opening band for the likes of Bill Callahan, if that gives you any hints.

Bam Bams, The – “S/T” – [Cricket Cemetery]

honeybear   12/17/2013   7-inch, A Library

Bubble Gum Power Poppers, The Bam Bams, pour two tons of sugar into ’77 Garage punk and let it spaz out on the floor. Cute, Sweet, and all so neat. These ladies must have spent sleep overs drinking, talking about boys, and worshipping the Buzzcocks! Very up beat and energetic!

Tal / Iron Galaxy Split 7″ [coll] – [Cricket Cemetery]

Thurston Hunger   12/12/2013   7-inch, A Library


Following the trail of TAL (or TalSounds aka Natalie Chami)
is what led me into the Cricket Cemetery. So that’s some
pretty ruling pied piper action, thanks! Chicagoan Natali
works w/ swirling soundscapes, dronish but never robotically
sterile. On her track, “Valse” focus is on a soothing sax solo
from Anthony Bruno drifting over a base built by Natali with
synth pulses, some dappled delay, disembodied voices (one
of the things she always does excellently) and by the end
she has woven in a form of found percussion. It’s a wistful,
blissful lulling, that leads to Iron Galaxy on the flip.
Ironically that starts with a sample saying,
“What happened to your nose?”
“I got punched in the face”
And it is a sort of sonic sucker punch after Tal. Imagine
Melt Banana with a male vocalist on the Love Earth label.
That won’t get you there, but is headed in the right direction.
Agressive, insistent, and kind of cute in an extreme way.
White noise is gated in lieu of guitars and drums are
overridden by angry drum machines. Got to be a one-man
wrecking crew, pretty heavy yin/yang action on this split!
-Thurston Hunger

Sterling Sisters, The – “Shallow Blood” – [Cricket Cemetery]

Thurston Hunger   12/12/2013   7-inch, A Library


When I first heard this, I immediately thought of the
mighty Jay Munly, and as it turns out this apple doesn’t
fall far from the hanging tree. That nasally near yodel
voice, that sawed off violin, that scorched earth found in
gothic country territory, that wicked waltz beat and those
wanton wavering female background vox, surely they’re the
daughters of the daughters of Phorys. Hear them on
“War Cry” and just try and steer your wagon away from the
beckoning rocky gorge. Sure enough the main mister for
these Sterling Sisters is George Cessna nee Munly nee
the fallen preacher kneeling before the bloody cross atop
the la grange church on fire. No greek myths or oracles
here, it’s more of a little hell-house on the prairie vibe.
If the Prince of Peace packed a pistol, he’d be the savior
here. Mix is a bit, thick and dizzying, if not recorded
live in a saloon, pretty dang close. The two tracks on
the A-side run together like whiskey and prayer. If you
enjoy these sounds of the son, make sure to seek out the
sins of the father. -Thurston Hunger

Pliant – “S/t” – [Cricket Cemetery]

honeybear   12/6/2013   7-inch, A Library

I bet These are some really nice people, but they sound like they want to punch me in the face. You’re About to get the aggressive blunt force of some of the best “Fuck You Punk” out now! All around twisted and fun! Pure Brilliance.

Hubris – “Base Desire” – [Cricket Cemetery]

honeybear   12/3/2013   7-inch, A Library

This is the soundtrack to someone pushing instruments and amps of a building. True grit, no glamor for the Hubris fellas. Nothing but raw, distorted, messy and chaotic hardcore punk. It sounds like they are playing to hard on their instruments and turned their amps up past 11 and their middle fingers are waving in the air. You are in for the tornado ride of blast beats, crashed out strings and screaming into a garbage can shrieks! This is for all the “real” angry people out there.

Shirks, The – “Action Men” – [Cricket Cemetery]

Thurston Hunger   11/29/2013   7-inch, A Library


Time travel via riffs. Peel off the decades, peel out of the
parking lot. The guitarists slash with a bar chord, and
then burn with treble end sting. Vocals aren’t wasted drunk
but well on their way and enjoying the party. The drums use
$1 worth of gasoline and somehow run all night. On “Gimme Less”
Less is for the best, they walk the walk, they sing those
lines and deliver the message in person. Rock ‘n’ roll blast.
All three songs share the same DNA, the latter two jump
you with the drums right from the start. The first gives
the drummer one breath to rest and then into the fray.
High energy, high reward and higher decibels. Sure to
sound even better on car stereos as the cars blitz past
the speed limit. Three songs, gone to seed and gone too
quickly, seems like the Shirks have been plugging in and
plugging away at it in Washington, DC for a while. Pretty
ruling power punk from a label with a lot of action in
different directions.

-Thurston Hunger

Washerwoman – “Washerwoman” – [Cricket Cemetery]

Thurston Hunger   11/29/2013   7-inch, A Library


Dark churning blister ballads…featuring the cutting, reverb’d
voice of Angela Morrish. She’s got that clipped, scalping wail
that is where gothic country should stake its black heart.
The territory between a boy named Sue and a girl named Siouxsie.
Angela also bashes out a grim distorted guitar, stringing her
lyrics across the crests of the chords. Her only accompaniment
is drummer Nathan Jurgenson but he packs plenty of intensity, I
bet he’s broken more than his fair share of bass drum pedals.
In each song, he abates for the briefest of breaks, to help
accentuate Angela’s ashen antics, and then back into the fire.
This recording catches the urgency of their live performances,
nice debut for the Washington DC duo. They may be wearing black
but they ain’t mourning. Again props to Ian Thompson for
digging up and digging into a lot of diversity in his Cricket
Cemetery label.

-Thurston Hunger

Dissipated Face With Daniel Carter – “Know With What Tint of Spectacles to Heighten The Depths and” – [Roaratorio]

abacus   11/19/2013   7-inch, A Library

Underground scrap-punk tweak-jazz from mid 80s Streets of New York! Many here will be familiar with the cardinal of skronk Mr Daniel Carter; here h’es collaborating with this trio of then high school kids who got in with the Linden, NJ scene via Bruce Lee Gallanter, founder of the Downtown Music Gallery in New York. Hard hitting free noodling melodicide with sax trading licks with guitar over the punk rock onslaught. Side B tracks are a little more song-oriented and tend to brood more on some grimy grooves while side A goes sweaty balls to the wall. Recorded live at the CBGB 1986 back when that shit was good. Fuck music, rock’s been dead since the 80s apparently.

Replica – “S/T” – [Cut The Cord That…Records]

honeybear   11/2/2013   7-inch, A Library

An unmerciful attack on the system with this straight to the point seven inch. Vicious ,as a pack of dogs, guitar riffs. Bloodthirsty bass madness. Blistering, blastering, nose bleed giving drums to balance out the mix. Top it all off with ravenous gutter vocals. Then you got yourself the making of a brute force to be wreckin’ with. This album will hurt you. It’ll push you around and body slam you in the pit!

Bulbs / Wobbly [coll] – [Ache Records]

abacus   10/23/2013   7-inch, A Library

Two groups out of the San Francisco freak fancy fanclub bring us some giddy goofy tunes of weirdo pleasantries. Bulbs is a duo of folks formerly of Axolotl and other projects doing a track of live processed guitar/drums (though you wouldn’t be able to tell). A delicate folky whistle-along gently shredded into shrapnel and sprinkled into a fishtank to sink and waver into some glitched radio static frequency invasion. Wobbly is a freaky philanderer that’s worked with just about everyone in the Bay Area experimental scene. Bulbs on guitar/drums for this track with Kevin Blechdom doing vocals; a surreal storytime pop song of bouncy cartoonish character, with some Eastern flavor thrown in for spice. Too slippery to be pinned to any box as it features a dense layering of overlapped wacko sampling. Both tracks are strange enough to make listeners wince but accessible enough to keep em dialed in. Lap it up and lose it.

Gardner, Jacco – “End of August, The” – [Trouble In Mind]

humana   10/21/2013   7-inch, A Library

Gardner is from The Netherlands, and he is known as a “baroque pop multi-instrumentalist.” The two tracks on this 7″ are quite pleasing and mellow, as you would expect music that is tinged with psychedelia to be. His vocals are echoey, understandable, and nice. The sound is so reminiscent of the 70s that I think of the Partridge Family (but maybe that’s just the tambourine, harpsichord, and strings). Of course this means I really like this!

Bellows, John – “Traveller’s Shoes” – [Permanent Records]

Naysayer   9/23/2013   7-inch, Country

Hailed by some as Chicago’s current most important underground star, John Bellows is a unique voice in a dynamic music scene. Reading that he comes from parents of Kentucky pig farmers made my ears prick up. An interesting journey it was from pig farm to current musical hailed position. He has a number of limited pressing releases which vary somewhat in style, from punkypoppythrashytrash to a grungy children’s album, to psychish garage, to folk country but all have several things in common: a low to no fi quality which I love, really good sometimes twisted lyrics, and a dynamic power and energy. On this two song 45, Bellows goes to the land of trashy thrash country. Less produced than the Geraldine Fibbers, it’s got that pained, stripped down feel with twangy guitars and slightly misguided drums. All good. “Traveller’s Shoes” is a slowish lament about a troubled man. A sad one it is. “Second Nature” is co-written and co-sung with Lee Relvas (of a number of other Chicago bands). Their sweet and sour harmonies, accompanied by the slide guitar that sounds like it’s gonna slide right off the neck of the guitar, sing of an off kilter relationship between one person and one alien visitor. This song was written for the no budget film “On A Clear Day You Can See For Shit.” (Watch it on Youtube!!!!) This is a wonderful piece of alt-country which deserves your attention. Put it on the turntable.

Life Form – “Creepy Crawly” – [Distort Reality]

abacus   9/17/2013   7-inch, A Library

Debut EP from gnash and thrash hardcore punk-noise outfit out of Portland, OR. Menacing bass lines pummel over the drums with the guitar hardly recognizable wallowing in its own mess of feedback excrement. Snarling reptilian vocals ranting about anti-society rage, self-deprecation and religious refusal are unfortunately pretty intelligible as there’s FCC on all tracks except A1, A2. This shit is drunk, sloppy and in your face like the 300 pound crusty that throws himself around the pit knocking everyone on their asses. These guys probably drink Popov and hassle yuppies under the Hawthorne bridge on the regular. I’d join them for a smoke, as long as they’re not bumming mine.

Dead Ghosts – “I Sleep Alone/Spot a Trend” – [Randy! Records]

surferrosa   9/8/2013   7-inch, A Library

Four dudes from Vancouver groovin on some lo-fi, reverbed out garage punk.. Side A feels like a faraway 50s highschool slowdance, sugary sweet except for a thin, super satisfying layer of dirt. Organ solo to keep things swaying and slide guitar to keep things smooth. Side B is a fuzzed, riff-tastic rock tune with primitive bluesy overdrive..catchy, telephone reciever slop to make you dance in your seat. This shit is simple and classy, so dig it. -Surfer Rosa

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