Music Reviews

Necrot – “Into The Labyrinth” – [Blood Divine]

abacus   1/9/2013   A Library, Cassette

Seething from the infernal underbelly of Oakland, Necrot brings us some classic old school death metal layered with grime and filth. Pummeling guitar/drums interplay go straight for the kill and hit hard in the gut, letting the vocals spit all over your mangled body. Crusty and crunchy in all the right places with the pleasantly acrid stench of putrefaction to curl your lip and turn your stomach.

Zerocrop – “On Tape” – [Tapeworm, The]

Thurston Hunger   12/6/2012   A Library, Cassette

2010 cassette fed to/by Britain’s ever intriguiing Tapeworm label.
Zerocrop is a London-based, one assumes closely shorn, gent
who goes by the name Parker. As with other Tapeworm releases,
the cassette medium serves as an inspiring touchstone besides
holding the songs. On the opener “Dear Jim” a found recording
(answering machine cassette?) works better than a seance at
bringing a deceased loved one back to mind and ear. Jim’s first
sample, “Hi guess who…” is simple and bittersweet. Parker’s lush
rhapsodizing about finding a tape of “your voice, your voice, your voice”
set’s up Jim’s few but cherished words. The synth pop may be a bit
treacly, but the?? sentiment here is just beautiful. Next up sounds like
somekind of cassette sample that Bob Ostertag might have found, is
the person being tortured, confessing. Or perhaps both, if that person
is indeed German? All over a stark sweep of synth half-chords. Next up,
a track that starts with the sound of a cassette bunching up over a head,
clever fun but the lyrics after a while “Rewind to a time when you’ll
feel fine, Fast Forward to a place where you feel safe” over a simple
metro synth beat blurs out a bit. On the flip side, a lengthy female
preacher fits in the pantheon of beats + the sermonizing rhythms.
She’s no Elizabeth Clare Prophet. Lap steel hovers by like a fallen angel.
Amen, but the story of a man (“Jim”) was more compelling.
-Thurston Hunger


Post-Materialists/Dva Zagorodnyh Doma split cassette – [Eggy]

abacus   11/28/2012   A Library, Cassette

While not the disheveled pop shenanigans from their last release, this is more dementia from this Moscow experimental noise group and some more from their Karelian neighbors. A split release with haunting dronescapes creeping out of a distant frozen ether. On Post-Materialists side chimes and choral echoes illuminate the watery landscape. Drunken circus melodies on synth wobble around with riddles of industrial clanging, stumbling about together to form some sort of music, a waltz almost, but consistently losing itself in the process. On side 2 things are a little more ominous, but without losing the trademark quirk. Sound blasts of ghostly whale sounds that reek of melted plastic narrate the alien synth intonations waxing and waning. Subterranean creatures writhe about in the murky depths of dark drone where celestial beauty can even be found in the slime. A very different release from these Muscovite muckrakers demonstrating their awesome versatility.

Mucky The Ducky – “Some People” – [Weird Forest Records]

surferrosa   11/20/2012   A Library, Cassette

This is a 27 minute piece originally coming from a split cassette release with Ava Mendoza and Nick Tamburro (Quit Your Unnatural Ways). We have the Mendoza/Tamurro side in the Library under A CD, so if you would like to hear the other half of this cassette its there for you. This music certainly goes somewhere.. or rather all over the place. It kicks off as a free improv noodle-fest. Sort of funky in a not that funky kind of way. Sounds like drums, bass and trumpet. As the piece progresses more instruments come in.. electric guitar, percussion, recorder, and some nonsense, babbling voice. At about 2:50 the electronics, drones and broken space sounds kick in as the incessant drumming marches on. Its got plunks and clinks, wiggles and wobbles.. a massive jam. About 11 minutes in, the drums drop out and things mellow out. Oscillating ambiance settles in, moving the piece into the realm of a sound-scape until the music thins out and melts away….delicious. -Surfer Rosa

Darto – “All Eyes” – [Self Released]

surferrosa   9/25/2012   A Library, Cassette

A trio of siblings from Seattle Washington, rockin’ away and kicking out the jams. This is Darto’s debut release, lo-fi, homemade, almost instrumental and full of raw hissing energy. Sounds like the music here was recorded live. Sparse, far away vocals are drowned out by the superfuzz. The music is thick. A subtle synthesizer comes and goes like the violent blowing of a rising wind as guitar/bass/drums pound out and roll away with the rocks. These three like to jam. Tracks have a slow burn, heavy handed sort of grit, Occasionally delving into odd meter and dropping in and out of massive freakout. The smoke rises, fogging up your glasses, in a room full of sleepy people swaying back and forth to the lull of feedback and the crunchy rhythm of overdrive. -Surfer Rosa

MRSA – “MRSA” – [S/r]

abacus   9/12/2012   A Library, Cassette

MRSA – Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus: a bacterium that causes infections often in the form of pimples, boils or pus, like an advanced form of staph. In this case, MRSA is some local powerviolence filth out of the streets of West Oakland. Foaming at the mouth with feral hatred towards life, themselves and everyone else, especially politicians, Chuck Norris, yuppies, crusties, cops and crackheads and especially the meaninglessness of our privileged first-world lives. Alejandra Grubs spits out vocals about everything from her shitty day to day to things that make life more bearable, like smoking weed and circle pits. There’s even a track about being vegan and??Old News is about Occupy! Tony Chunx throws down some pit smashing grind variations on drums while Marinda Pukey tears apart the bass in teeth grinding fury. Side B is three different live recordings, starting with the shittiest quality and getting gradually more listenable. No perceivable FCCs here but FCCs on tracks 1-3, 5, 8, 10, 12, 14, 16, 17, 19-21 (only perceivable on 5, 8, 10, 12, 16). Sock your friend in the face for his last cigarette and wake up broken-toothed behind a dumpster in piss-soaked jeans and a ripped t-shirt. ‘Twas a good night…

Winters In Osaka – “Back to The Grave” – [Nefarious Activities]

abacus   8/23/2012   A Library, Cassette

Part 2 of a collection of limited release CDr material and others from this industrial noise collective hailing from Chicago and parts of California. This cassette is packed full of material, with over 40 minutes on each side, including 2 CDr releases, exclusive live tracks, a short track off the Triskaidekaphobia comp split and a couple other pieces. Each CD contains one half of the cassette, with the first half tracking all the way through and the second split up into distinct tracks. The Secret Roads??relaease has more restrained experimentalism with lo-fi elex and minimal drum machine blips that almost sound like some 80s synth pop despite the raw, gritty aesthetic it embodies. It evolves into some raga meanderings that build in intensity. Side A moves through some noise and flogged and flanged intercom announcements into the live Noisefest track, some rabid ear rape. The Rise…Rise! release continues with the distant electronics distortion that sound like they’re recorded in an empty warehouse, or like your listen to the repeated bifurcation of a telephone cable through the receiver end. More of the megaphone maladies but they get a little more cartoonish this time, flopping around and dropping to 15 rpm. Some ritual guitar desecration and dragging of remains across a bathroom floor before we sit down for a destructive jam drinking drain-o. On the Slusher collab track we get undulating swirls of generator drone that builds like a looming storm. The final track is a sampling of the Orchids release, which we have, and gives us more intercom voices, this time intelligible, just in Japanese and French or something. A lot of different material, just fucking play it, cuz we’re all degenerates anyways.

Walking Corpses, The – “We, God’s Apes” – [3 Acre Floor Records]

surferrosa   8/21/2012   A Library, Cassette

This is the first ever release by The Walking Corpses, a Teenage Panzerkorps spin off, featuring members of this band as well as artists from the groups Death in June and Last Dominion Lost. The band is based in Berlin and is out on the newly resuscitated 3 Acre Floor record label. This cassette release has a warped and??wobbly??lo-fi sound. Old time, far away, telephone??receiver??vocals, often times consisting of some mysterious German speech (2, 4, 5, 6, 7) , are placed besides keyboard clinks and foggy static. Lonely drones and meandering melodies mesh with the noodling of various sounds.??Warbley,??weird and simple with ??that??unmistakable??tape hiss tickling your ears, inducing a sonic sneeze-Surfer Rosa

Woolen Men – “Woolen Men” – [Eggy]

Thurston Hunger   8/15/2012   A Library, Cassette

Right on, not only a new Woolen Men cassette but
they are coming to visit KFJC’s pit pronto
(escorted by Lame Drivers, so hope they arrive
in one piece heh-heh-ughhhhh sorry). I stand by
my earlier assessment of bass as the catalyst to
this exceptional pop action. Check out “Submission”
which will put a poster of Graham Maby up on yer
wall (and the lyrics rip too!) Paying Husker dues
and playing with duskier hues this time around,
but the Men still got sugarfied lo-fi on tracks like
“Head On The Ground” (am I hallucinating or is there
a farfisa in the room?) and “Magic Tricks.” Feeling
both jangle, and a Galaxie 500 parked outside on that
number. Plenty of fine harmonies, well crafted pop
but never overcooked! They smear “Mayonnaise” on the
suburbs on the catchy opener, and the closer kind
of feels like it could be a lost Nugget from decades
ago. Again super-striding bass, a hint of loneliness
on the verses, and then optimism on the choruses.
Overall a fine reckoning and tunes to toe tap to,
I invite the Woolen Men into KFJC’s house!

-Thurston Hunger

BBJr – “How to Fuck All Your Co-workers In One Sitting” – [Captcha Records]

Thurston Hunger   8/1/2012   A Library, Cassette

So this Iowan guitarist+ floats like a butterfly (Ignatz
style power drift on the lead off track) and can sting like
a bee (Sonny Sharrock moves I shit you not on the closer
while nodding towards Albert Ayler). You want screamo
flail-out that ends up in soothing sax balm. Blammo,
track #3. Harmonic pinching banjoesque country? Try
“I Can’t Live At Home In This World Anymore.” How about
one track that goes from Guided By Voices rattle ballad
right into tweaked out electronic helicopter popcorn
funk with the television on? That would be “Love Psalm/
Luv Psalm.” Definitely feel love/luv on this whole release
KFJC loves its weirdos, especially the chameleons, and
this release from Bob Bucko Jr nails the home-spun
heart-felt bizarro as well as anything we’ve added this
year. He also goes by the name Nitetrotter as he announces
on some of the latter live tracks here. Captcha has done
us all a kind treat (they also mention a nasty accident
in which Bob apparently severed tendons in his hand,
no doubt music will overcome that, but sure hope he gets
full strength back, as he knows how to use it!)????

-Thurston Hunger

Post-Materialists – “Love” – [Eggy]

Thurston Hunger   7/25/2012   A Library, Cassette

For me it all started by hunting for Russian masters of experimental sounds and came across the Post-Materialists’ inverted Velvet Underground cover post-mat.bandcamp.com/track/venus-in-furs-long-yellow a few more clicks brought me back to good ol’ Eggy?? cassettes. This release moves to the beat of a laughing clock, time is slippery and the vocals even slipperier. Backwards guitar (#2,#6) waltzes into frame, percussion feels hand-made and hand-dropped at times. Check out “Think” with its empty tank clank and gibberish falsetto, before more howling vocals come in. I probably shouldn’t think of Asian Women on the Telephone, but I probably am. There’s a kind of No-Wave confluence of edgy rock and squeaky sax like on the stop and start of “The Wheel” but plenty of WTF-ery on tracks like “I Love You.” Sergey Efremov are definitely folks to keep our ears and fish-eyes on! -Thurston Hunger

Striations / Sharpwaist – “Markoff” – [Heavy Psych]

surferrosa   7/18/2012   A Library, Cassette

Here is a collaboration between Boston’s Sharpwaist and Concord’s Striations. Included here are some harsh, thoroughly fucked up sounds. This recording is based on the life and crimes of Boston University medical student and alleged craigslist killer, Phillip Markoff. He was charged with armed robbery and the murder of Julissa Brisman. This was apparently spawned by his fiance leaving him. Markoff committed suicide in custody while awaiting trial. Before offing himself, he wrote his former fiance’s name ‘Megan’ and ‘Pocket’ (former pet name) on the walls of his cell in blood and placed Megan’s photographs around the room. So there is the inspiration, now expect to hear some warped, abrasive noise riddled with vocal samples of news stories covering the scandal. Many of the samples are disturbingly descriptive (try #1 for the story or #2 for a terrible description of Markoff’s suicide mechanism) though often times the voices are indecipherable. Paired along with this is some buzz-saw, industrial abrasion, some general dark, ominous ambiance and a whole lot of creepy. This is a limited edition of 100. Absolutely warped. -Surfer Rosa

Sutherland, Randy Lee – “Lip Music Swamp” – [Underwater Experience]

Thurston Hunger   7/18/2012   A Library, Cassette

Feels more like Eno than Evan Parker. Randy Lee Sutherland
whips his winds across multitracked landscapes. Each piece
feels mathematically similar; featuring a lot of notes,
and yet achieving a drone-like effect. Even though the same
notes are scattered rapidly in a stochastic manner.
Hyperdrone? Sutherland does mix in different instruments
(the whistle on A3 tilts that piece towards a calliope, on
other pieces the alto sax provides the more swampy vibe of
the title.) This cassette has a consistent feel, but each
piece has its own unique personality, or at least flavor.
The multitracking of similar note patterns feels like rain
drop ripples on a lake. At other times, like the outset
of B3, it sounds like the chattering of a flock of birds.
Might even be some timing algorithm underneath it all? The
random nature defies the tranquility of more typical drone.
Sutherland achieves an odd blend of easy and uneasy, and a
paradox of static sound built from a lot of movement.
Another fine experience from Patrick Mullins’ Underwater
Experience label.

-Thurston Hunger

3 Moons – “Kult Ur O Man Cor” – [Psyop Recordings]

Max Level   6/26/2012   A Library, Cassette

Drone-based musical adventures, layered and overdubbed on a 4-track Tascam. You’ll hear some noise elements, scrambled sounds, and messed-up vocals now and then, but for the most part this seems to be guitars and other instruments playing patterns and making textures. Tracks 3, 7, 8, 9 and 10 are pretty laid-back; the other tracks are more on the fidgety side. Nice concepts here. I think this is a one-man project but I’m not sure.

Woolen Men – “Hair of The Night, The” – [Eggy]

Thurston Hunger   6/20/2012   A Library, Cassette

So excited on first hearing this at http://woolenmen.bandcamp.com as I wrote to Raf who runs the label and drums in this band, there are many great things at play here. Bassist Alex Geddes is so crucial, he’s neither bored nor boring. Once you get past the excellent Sun Ra-esque overloading keyboard vamp on the first track, Geddes bassline for “West Coast” latches on like a leach to your ears and will not let go. Why isn’t there more pop music as driving and catchy as this? The song-writing is right on as well, bits of Nothing Painted Blue or the Wedding Present or Smog but bottled up by a New Zealand kind of glistening vibe.They improve upon the Flamin’ Groovies’ “Over My Head”, keeping all the innocence while cranking up the jangle. And they take The Fairytale’s “Guess I Was Dreaming” and make it less smooth more driving and kniving, but keeping the piano droplets. On all tracks a dirty, but dappled, production adds character. There even a few souped-up, psych’d out harmonies. Really a diverse showcase of solid song-writing, this hit me at the right time in the right spot, and keeps on delivering with each replay. Can we skip the heavy metal revival, and jump to infectious addled pop that tastes like it was made from scratch and not out of glossy cookbooks. Hell, the Woolen Men are there already. This is one golden Eggy!

-Thurston Hunger

Drainolith – “Ain’t No Sunshine” – [Sun Ark]

abacus   6/19/2012   A Library, Cassette

No direct relation to the classic Bill Withers tune, but this debut solo release from AIDS Wolf guitarist Alexander Moskos does have some soul! We have the jarring angularities that made his previous work so painfully pleasant, but with a much more constrained, personal approach. The first two tracks are a little deceiving, with sparse, jilted tonalities and awkwardly paced drum machine hiccups but then we fall into warped guitar noodlings that are much too?? soggy to be outright blues, but maintain a distinct twang and blues phrasing. The fuzzy, muted distortion gives it a claustrophobic, trapped in plumbing, feel, where the twisted guitar tangents swirl into the sewer depths with all the other human waste. Only 150 copies and out on Sun Araw’s Sun Ark label.

Allerseelen – “Schwartzer Rab” – [Aorta]

Roland Blunt   6/13/2012   A Library, Cassette

Schwartzer Rab (“Black Raven”) is a circa 1989 performance by Allerseelen (“All Souls Day”): Austrian musician Gerhard Petak (aka Caedmon). Inspired by nature, alchemy, ritual, as well as the existentialist, nihilist, anarchist, and reactionary writing of Friedrich Nietzsche, Ernst Junger, and Julius Evola, this sonic material emanates a reflective, brooding, post-industrial, dark ambient moodscape. Apparently, this recording was actually a shamanic ritual disguised as a dramatic act…its reverance focused on the role of the raven in mythology as a messenger…trixter…creator…destroyer…a mediator between spititual and material realms. Track 1 consists of the background music that was implemented during the main performance, and Tracks 2-6 are related material recorded the same month. Each subsequent movement utilizes a similar deployment of synthesizers, samples, loops, effects and live intrumentation as the primary piece…but with varied mixing and concentration of sound.

Track 1 (29:47)…entrancing, distraught, numinous, oblique and gloomy. An aural harbinger fraught with a gripping cadence, trembling notes, and reiterate screeches.

Golgotha Communications LTD. – “Diet’a z dobrej rodiny” – [Scotch Tapes]

Roland Blunt   5/23/2012   A Library, Cassette

Circa 2009 cassette issue by Philadelphia, PA trio…Josef K, Greco-Norwegian, and Penny Petticoat…recording as Golgotha Communications LTD. An enthralling necromantic synthesis of dark ambience, mangled voices, samples, noise, electronics, effects, tape manipulation…neoteric in their exploitation of silence, repetition, pattern, inversion, accumulation, and the gross amalgamation of sound incidents from track to track…mellifluous, disturbed, solemn, introverted, peaked…slanted more so toward classical musique concrete than modern industrial wanderings. Hypnotic disseminations from a tenebrous cabal that sagaciously crack your attention. Decant this potion into your earhole, forthwith. Side A/Side B both approximately 22 minutes. “Diet’a z dobrej rodiny” means “Child From a Good Family” in slovak…and he’s apparently concerned with the problem of sex…

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