A duo of Italian brothers Maurizio and Roberto Opalio, from the Torino area. Creating what kitty might be hearing in their head while staring at the wall, wide pupil’d at 3 in the morning. Spaced out strings, gurgling and churning electronics, pedal fx and whistful moaning put you into a stare-down daze. Side long tracks from a cassette, with side B (track 2) picking up right where the first left off.
Absolutely killer cassette from this Bay Area trio with heavy experience in other projects, particularly due to the presence of Leila Abdul-Rauf (this is the first CW release added to KFJC to feature her). Released deep into pandemic year one (Dec. 2020), it asks, “Do we have another battle left in us?” Doom-laced, soaked in driving riffs, and peppered with a few straight-up guitar solos. And yet this sound is very distinct and unlike other stuff I’ve been reviewing lately. Unconventional vocal stylings: mostly clean, eccentric passages from drummer Pranjal Tiwari, like a possessed town crier reading from an occult scroll cut with ghoulish whispers. Abdul-Rauf brings a guitarist’s perspective to her bass guitar work. The sound is agile as it plays off Nathan Verrill’s guitar. All the pieces really start to fit on tracks like “Imposter”—great intro, building structures, ideal lyric content for the vocal stylings, vocal contrast from with an ethereal Abdul-Rauf addition, but most satisfying to my ears is the range of sounds Abdul-Rauf generates from the bass. In “Canticle” Abdul-Rauf provides vocals reminiscent of her work in both Vastum and Saros, like a compilation album jammed into a song. I’m probably going to play this thing to death on my show.
Dear Laika is the phenomenal project of Izzy Thorn of the North Wessex Downs, who has been experimenting with pop music since 2016. Utilizing both digital and analog sounds via the Roland Juno 106, prepared piano, distorted field recordings, and tape-warped vocals, Thorn, at only 23-years-old, seems to have perfected the art of leftfield pop.
Every track on this album is quite striking, hitting themes of loss, anxiety, seclusion, self-identity and self-image, documenting parts of Thorn’s transgender experience. Washes of hypnotic mesmer, swaths of opulent murmurs, tones and drones, warped other-worldly vocals that speak directly to the depths of your ethos.
Absolutely stunning, one-of-a-kind, album. I am very excited to see where she goes next in her compelling musical journey, KFJC will be keeping their ears close.
Magical, hypnotic psychedelia rhythms from Buenos Aires, Argentina. They mix synthesizers, organs, and electric guitar among Andean rattles, bells, tarkas, and field recordings from Bolivia and Peru. The buzzy, whimsical sounds from the synthesizers give this a mystical desert feel. Ambient yet rhythmical, harmoniously futuristic, deep swamp jungle sci fi resonances. Very chill.
Regional Death Riffage
Guttural bellows esophageal tatters. Note intensive single note soloing with pinch harmonics and trem-dives. Cartilage quivering, heart palpitating bass profanation. Thunderous and technical drumming spurs down to uptempo necrotic-horror veneration and aural devil worship.The prominent Mortuous is a San Jose four-piece that delivers a doom laden unholy lament. in a powerful and bespoken south-bay tradition. Scolex shovel out a similar sounding offering ‘cept they’re from Oakland and a two-piece with revolving cast of live members.
The sprawling list of Death Metal allies and affiliates from the Bay Area adds provenance to both of these wicked talents. Play the tape loud, bang your head, imagine a human head decay in time lapse, read Lovecraft, repeat.
Low fidelity Hardcore from Spain 2015
Renou i ràbia desde Menorca.
Noise and rage from Menorca.
Furious attack (guitar,bass,drums,vox) without brakes.
A tirade of malice, though unintelligible, the message is clear:
Aim for the heart and pull the trigger.
Las Garras de la Otan = The Claws Of N.A.T.O.
Crusty Tinny and Tyrannical
2-piece Black Metal from the U.K./Switzerland 2017
Malevolent and sadistic, this deviant offender is a known associate of Legion Blotan. Blaring murky riffs while extolling the virtues of Cimmeria, the culture of a nomadic people in Asia-Minor ca. 1000 B.C. Stating their lyrical themes on Metallum as: Dark Ages, Barbarism, Pagan Heritage with evocative titles like “A Falcon’s Quest” and “Spirits of the Mounds” we are drawn into an ancient world filled with violence and war expressed with a phenomenal guitar tone and a dismal recording that is both visceral and disorienting. Listening at high volumes may lead to head wounds by disrupting the equilibrium, causing falls and leaving listeners concussed. Fitting, as the final track, “Stormriders of Death” (A8) features a sample of bombs being dropped from a plane, not barbarian activity but of a similar brutality perhaps. Not clever but still quite appealing to the ear of this miserable volunteer.
Cynical and catchy Garage Power Dirge Pop Punk Rock from Philadelphia 2018Snotty, smart, and honest fem lyrics with a biting perspective on both social and personal subjects. Heart warming and heart breaking tones and delivery. Like falling in love the moment her spit hits your face. Vicious guitar tone with nasty hooks on a solid Pop foundation in front of a thunderous shimmering beat. Shake your ass to the rejection. Aileen Wuornos chimes in, spoiler alert, she’s pissed. Includes a few cameos by other contemporary monsters. Five cutting satires of the travesty that is our modern society. Hopeless and direct, “Bad Egg” is probably a reference to the genre and its rival , “Egg Punk” (twee, silly, major keys) and “Chain Punk” (aggressive/nihilistic/minor keys). One might suppose that this EP was titled as a kind of response to the divisive online debate (smh why can’t we all get along?! ;P) that raged(s?) by proponents from both camps. Flame wars, ghosting, and doxing may have occurred but who the fuck cares.? Not Abi Ooze. She just wants to fucking rock out! And perhaps flip the ugly razor-blade frittata of a cassette, greasy side down, on the pallets of people with ears that hear and brains that think. Are you one of ’em?
Abi Ooze is one Jade Baisa (all instruments)
There may be FCC’s on A1 (is that a Amber alert tone or just guitar feedback?) and A3 (I’m sure that she’s sayin’ “SUCKERS, SUCKERS!” not the other, far naughtier word. Roll the dice outside of safe harbor, pay the consequences I guess, but don’t play it all and you are the one who loses (your listeners being the unwary bystanders to your hapless mistake). Forbidden sounds removed (primarily) from this cassette and cd, conforming to on-air requirements in an effort to maintain friendly relations with the Federal Communication Commission. True completists will need to scour the internet as Sorry State is sold the fuck out and the release seems to have been pulled from Discogs which is… Punk af
Solo project of Zack Tornaben, who created this over the pandemic in his Manhattan apartment, using a 1968 electric combo organ and primitive drumbox, ran through a two-machine tape delay. It’s a harmonious cosmical journey through cotton candy clouds and iridescent dew kissed tulips. Very light, airy and relaxing rhythms. An ambient looped voyage. Shimmery, meditative, and summery.
Not a lot of information floating around on this project, but it’s a collective from Southern California. They’re calling themselves power electronics, and you do get some of that. It’s not blasting white noise and power drills though. It’s more experimental electronics and the weird sounds you can make playing around with your digital and analog toys. There’s repetitive beats, twisted knobs, echoed winds… industrial more than harsh. Each “track” is a new discovery. Intriguing group? Person? Robot?
Black Metal / Thrash from the foothills of the French Alps.
Thunderous thumpers and growly grumpers with riffs and two minutes of melancholy piano (end of track 13) for goat worshipping demi-ghouls.
Insular and isolated from the swelling popularity of Black Metal, Gronde’s inception was influenced by power and simplicity. Eager to be proficient while heavily inebriated, project founder Chamo unveils considerable details about the project online, that though illustrative, might sour the palate of more thoughtful or discerning volunteers (these guys may be a bit thick). I suggest avoiding all research/fanaticism and just lean into the bestial howls and ferocity of the form. Well recorded and sprawling, there are many slightly different flavors of blasphemy, heresy, synchronized buzzsaw guitar, and sonorous slaughter to spread liberally over your more diabolical sets while incurring the blessings of the Dark Gods.
Boëge, Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes, France-2011
Debilitating electronic Dark Ambient Industrial Noise Drone with minimal Black Metal leanings in five parts.
Three tracks over 10 min. and two under 10 min. with some marked contrast existing between tracks that tend to straddle several genres but generally orbit around mild discomfort, disorientation, and despair, madness and misery.
Samples. Spoken-word. Sine wave serrations.
Washes of warm amplified feedback cum crumbling white noise, abstractions and other mildly belligerent aural elements. Crowhurst is one Jay Gambit of Boca Raton, Florida, who, along with myriad collaborators has put out over 40 physical releases since 2012. Establishing a following on digital file sharing platforms, Gambit seems interested in exploring multiple facets of sound production across several genres without the constraints of media or from labels and has worked with familiar (and many unfamiliar) labels like Prison Tatt, Chondritic Sound, Fusty Cunt, Prophecy Productions, and the one who released this limited edition (100) cassette in 2014, Sol Y Nieve.
Grieving Woe’s Misery
French-Canadian Black Metal.
Cold, grim, cvlt.
Somber, delicate guitar ballads (doubled reverb reverie) amid tortured wails. Buried trash-can drums, beastial expulsions. Heavily clipped amplified trem-picked horror, the plectrum pulled through entrails billowing steam into the frigid night. Deep guttural bellowing and shrieks of anguish slashing through sickening melodies with hooks.
Adapt to the damaged (defective?) tape (end side A-beginning side B, track 3 and 4 respectively) as the signal decays repeatedly. Perhaps this (used) tape was once repeatedly frozen in distant northern climes amid the towering snow-laden pines or maybe ’twas a cruel hoax meant to propagate the despair of fledgling dj’s (dig your heels in and own it, this is a miracle of magnetic tape (an analog aberration to be adulated). The meek, and the mealy-mouthed.
Final track is an menagerie of the animals most associated with evil and the night, encircling a demon as he curses (unintelligibly) the light of God and whatever traces of benevolence remain in the hearts of man.
Agonie is Nagash and K.
These guys from Sacramento like to throw some full-throttled hardcore into their old-school stoner rollin’ metal. The stylistic swing from track one, Make My Day to track two, Pendulum, is pretty wild—not quite like two bands on a compilation, but moving in that direction. By track three, they’re finding ways to mash up clean stoner metal vocals and hardcore screams in the same track. Fast, rollicking, raucous, and sometimes a bit more subdued, but for the most part you’ll get straight-up rock and roll when you drop it in. FCC on track 1, which also is pretty quiet for the first minute and a half.
Thick crushing doom that jumps into faster death metal passages. This is the debut full-length from this Santiago, Chile-based project, comprised of members who, for the most part, have been active in the stoner doom scene there for over a decade. With this project they want to go a bit more brutal, even tiptoeing up to black metal moments without fully crossing over. There is raw emotion here, beauty found in melodic riffs, ferocity and speed as well as slow expanses of filthy dirge. Saturno is never content to dwell on one idea for too long, so each track provides an exhilarating range of sounds.
Low fidelity Black Metal from Copenhagen
Two lone wolves pair up to howl blasphemy at the inverted solstice moon. Praying to the Dark Gods for release from this world filled splintered by light and sprinkled with benevolence.
Skravl – Forlorn wails over tinny mid-tempo guitars and real drums. Hypnotic, valiant, and miserable with pensive synthesizer interludes.
Skravl is one, Skravl.
War Is Aer -Lurches through a quagmire of in-the-red melodies (synth? & guitar?) laid over buried, crushing, trash can percussion. Howls of suffering rise through the murk to arrive morosely at your godless ears.
War Is Aer is one, Jesper Bagger Hviid.
Hovedstaden, Denmark 2018
Furious bombast lacking subtlety or ornament.
Black Metal/Punk exploring the mining heritage of northeastern Britain.
It would not be difficult to write a long, cheeky review drawing obvious parallels to the sounds on this cassette and coal mining, black subterranean hell-scape etcetera, or spout-off whimsically about the limited scope of the genre reaching the end of its relevance… but I refuse. In fact, the opposite is true, as no other sounds could be more relevant and as appropriate to the themes explored. And besides, this is not the time for cunning insight or clever turns of phrase… for now… is the time for bludgeoning! Now… is the time for strength, now… is the time to… survive! Using your hands and back during the day and your heart and soul in the night to express the woes of a lightless life that will cripple you as well as sustain your meagre existence in the pit. A harkening to a time in America’s infancy when songs of the Appalachia’s echoed over the hills. Songs of sorrow and endless toil but I do not intend to wax poetic over I life I do not truly know and besides, the crude power of this recording speaks for itself. Thus, I shall not cheapen the miserable articulation of its creator and intend to leave the proof right where it belongs, squarely in the pud
Track 1 is perhaps especially crushing.
Track 7 is an uncredited sample from a venerable miner reflecting on the death of one of his peers directly after just joining the colliery.
Aad Sleck is one Nihtgenge.
Dark ambient synth, samples, reverb,and Black Metal.
Honestly pretty relaxing… (track 1 weird and meditative) until it isn’t (track 2 devastative and weird).
Dreary drones, chanting, no fidelity grinding and churning with vomitous expulsions of sick, samples, conjuring(?), and then… bird-song. Self described “Ritual Black Metal” by this disturbed and disturbing two-piece. Limited to 66 copies, a quantity that would make it difficult to refute any claim to the “cvlt” moniker. That’s right, have a “scare quote” or two, but at the end of the day it is night… and that is the only appropriate time to listen to this sinister cassette from Fragile Branch Records.
Campania/Calabria Italy – 2013
A chaotic din of snotty grrrage punk dripping in low fidelity. Rafter shakin’, vulva vibratin’, rock n’ roll for the unwashed and uninhibited.
Pounding, emphatic, and raw. Right in your face, rub it around, you’re a disgrace rock ‘n roll. Nice n’ southern with just a hint of morbid curiosity with nods to to low brow science-fiction and horror. A little t(w)angy, hot, sticky mess that just feels so fuckin’ good.
Frenetic female fronted three piece from Memphis TN, the “Labes” wrote rousing and evocative numbers with memorable titles like, “Just A Whore” and “I Died This Way” while imploring us to, “… do the Zombie”, something I would gladly do if only I could return to the halcyon days of 2002.
A-side was recorded by Alicja Trout (Lost Sounds) and Jay Reatard (Lost Sounds, Reatards) at the People’s Temple in Memphis.
B-side is a bedroom recording live to 4 track.
FCC’s: “What the fuck!?” in the first second of “Gone Away” on B3 (track 8 on the cd) and copious “Fuck”-‘s slathered all through “Fuck If I Know” B6 (track 11).
Low fidelity depressive Black Metal from Italy circa 2006.
A dream of profound sadness and loss in four dismal parts.
Buried electric guitar, buried drums (could be a sack filled with coins?), buried voices, buried ambient drone, buried lute (could be a zither)?, buried feedback, buried acoustic guitar, buried animal sounds (vulture?).
Murk, gloom, sorrow and doom tie these tracks together on a cassette that may or may not be the legitimate release (it does not match up with online information) from Insikt Records. Neither harsh nor intense this is like a diary entry written in tears, grieving the loss of one’s innocence or a profound loneliness that cannot be quelled in life… fortunately death is an inevitability, unlike love and hope.
12345 S. El Monte Road Los Altos Hills, California 94022
Public Inspection File