Music Reviews

Stern, Marnie – “Demo” – [Dog Daze]

lombard   4/5/2011   A Library, Cassette

On this cassette release simply titled Demo, we get a chance to hear solo demo recordings recorded at home by Marnie Stern back in 2006. Released just a few months back in January 2011, this cassette showcases Marnie Stern’s talents before she was signed to Kill Rock Stars in 2007. Instrumentation can be quite hectic, calling to mind Melt-Banana’s frenetic guitar genius in places. Yet it can also be poetic with spoken word-style lyrics, along the lines of Miranda July or Bongwater. There are also more melodic parts to this, illuminating her lovely voice.

Pushkin, A. – “Figure, The” – [Avant Archive]

Belladonna   3/23/2011   A Library, Cassette

aka Alexey Pushkin, also goes by the name of “Analog Concept”. This is an unusual combination of raw and crunchy beats with moments of menace and of cricket hums, then techno-y beats and rounded out with lovely and melodic ambiance. There are moments of all of my favorite electronic elements, there is something for everyone which makes it excellent.

Fielded – “Lord Reigns, Let The People Tremble, The” – [Catholic Tapes]

humana   3/19/2011   A Library, Cassette

This is a weird bit of loveliness from Lindsay Powell of Chicago, whose voice, whether it be a cappella or minimally accompanied by itself and other instruments, fascinates with chants and other permutations. The last song is a cover of ???Release Me,??? and it ends quite suddenly, which I guess implies the release. 6 is a must-try, and the others are well worth a listen.

Yole Boys – “Megakut #1” – [Megakut Records]

MSTiZA   2/10/2011   Cassette, Hip Hop

This cassette release is limited to 250 copies. It’s a mega mix from your faves DJ Quest(SF) on cuts and “records” alongside Fatees(OAK) with his “Bay”ami Bass style. These two hold it down with samples and beats that make you want to whip your hair back and forth. Keep a lookout for Megakut Records. They are takig back cassette culture releasing mixtapes and local side projects from Hip Hop greats, including a slice pulp fiction. Don’t sleep on this!

Lord Jeff – “Lord Jeff” – [Ecstatic Peace!]

humana   1/18/2011   A Library, Cassette

Try not to hold it against this band from Northampton, MA that they???re named after a general who allegedly gave smallpox-infested blankets to Native Americans during the French and Indian War. Instead focus on their music, which is well worth listening to for its clever lyrics, vocals that sound like John Lennon, and fine psychedelic guitar, bass, and drums (10 has a great drum solo). Start with 3 and then move to 7 and 9. You won???t be disappointed.

Internal Improv – “[small]” – [Scotch Tapes]

lombard   7/20/2010   A Library, Cassette

Limited to 25 copies, this 2009 cassette release by Los Angeles-area musician David Lucien (aka Internal Improv or [dav’s] Internal Improv) is a quick jaunt through his lo-fi experimental artistry. Super low male vocals, guitar, and tape fuzz begin it all and lead into a twinkly piece with some minimal beats. My favorite is the final piece, “Small,” with its muffled male voice and a lady joining in with the refrain “my body is a failure.” Quite evocative material.

Altar Eagle – “Judo Songs” – [Digitalis Industries]

lombard   5/4/2010   A Library, Cassette

On 2009’s limited (125 copies-now sold out) cassette release “Judo Songs,” Oklahoma project Altar Eagle (aka Digitalis owners and wife-husband duo Eden Hemming and Brad Rose) presents 5 hazy, fuzzy tracks full of spacy beauty. Keyboards may remind you of an ancient church organ or maybe the 1980s or perhaps the 1990s shoegaze or 4AD scene, with barely audible vocals by Eden peeking through and competing with shimmer and buzz. I know the word mesmerizing is overused, but after listening to this upwards of 10 times, it’s an apt description of the relaxed and altered state that this lovely music will put you in.

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