KFJC 89.7FM

Music Reviews

Frater Ximenes Is Dead – “Demo II” – [Fragile Branch]

whngr   6/25/2021   A Library, Cassette

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

Wet Labia – “Wet Labia” – [Kitty Play Records]

whngr   6/4/2021   A Library, Cassette

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).

Ovskum – “Atto I – Atto II” – [Insikt]

whngr   5/28/2021   A Library, Cassette

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.

Agonanist – “Cynicism of Solitude, The” – [Transylvanian Tapes]

whngr   5/28/2021   A Library, Cassette

Dreary Esoteric USBM

Dissonant guitars bend and shudder, esophageal wails expressing the horrors of life amid peels of poly rhythmic drums that intermittently pound, crash, and sprint towards the Suicide Cliffs. Rain spatters the ground, the tears are left hidden by the the torrent but the anguish has left deep scars that ache.

Deeply cloaked in mystery, it is only known that they hail from San Francisco though nothing more could be gleaned from any source on the author of this vertigo inducing Black Metal. Transylvanian Tapes 2020.

6th Circle – “Third Estate, The” – [Sentient Ruin Laboratories]

whngr   5/21/2021   A Library, Cassette

Dark Industrial / EBM project of one Matt Auxier of Columbus, Ohio.
Hypnotic vocals wind through pulsing strobes of electronic futuristic sounds (though now markedly retrospective), samples, and a few sparse metal elements. Dread, doom, despair for working your hips through the cataclysm. I envision a wet metropolis filled with crackling neon and holographic faces espousing off-world relocation. Strange cyber entities moving through shadows like rats through a maze without resolution. A terrible momentum seizing what remains of humanity, driving them towards improbable release from the hyper-stimulation in a world that has evolved beyond its bio-centric beginnings, haplessly marching towards irrelevance. This genre is concertedly not my strength or, to be honest, my interests but volunteering at kfjc has continued to stretch my awareness and appreciation of sonic realms I might have panned or deplored in the past. I am reminded of my time spent in Tokyo and the Trance scene that captivated my cohorts. I think I might have been a little more receptive to electronic dance music had it had the miserable perspective of 6th circle. The dark and macabre stance of the cynic and the malcontent. I fought with every ounce of my being the sounds I didn’t understand until the very last moment when I was forced to concede… that this was the sound of a dying civilization. One that, despite my reticence, I inhabited and thus was/am complicit with. Driven by digital devices controlled by lone operators as opposed to analog instruments played by collaborative individuals. Yet here we now are, our bodies writhing to the sounds of a world that cannot last, listening to the future sounds of the past.

Children With Dog Feet – “Curb Your Anarchy” – [Toxic State]

whngr   4/30/2021   A Library, Cassette

Irreverent genre bent sickening thrust of diabolic aural psychosis.

Depraved goth/punk that sinks its feral teeth into your skull nut and gives it a good thrashing. The canid saliva stains but fades… leaving you feeling worse.

Echoes, guitar violence, horns, heresy, poetic and perturbed with allusions to homicide and failing mental health growl shouted through a decaying atmoshere draped in thick, velvety reverb.

An aggregate of members affiliated with Toxic State Records that don’t want you to know who they are and I, for one, will do my part to help preserve their anonymity. No matter, fucking rocks like a blind-drunk sailor on deck in a raging typhoon. I’d like to imagine strobe lights and a bit of eye-liner but they’ll never visit here… maybe it’s time for a little trip.

NYC 2021

Gates – “A Mask Hidden In Memory” – [Hypaethral]

whngr   4/6/2021   A Library, Cassette

Sleepy Creepy Un/Comfortable SpaceGuitar based ambience and feedback with minimalist electronics.

Bleak drones, hums and aural shapes coexist in subterranean echo chambers of unearthly horrors or a sonic sculpture of your anxieties suspended in alien space. Track 5 is a reinterpretation of The Passing State of Plurality by Aidan Baker and includes an outlying instrument, drums played gently and with swelling complexity behind slightly more glitchy drones.

pulses / waves / plunks / squeaks / drone / soft percussion

Gates is one Bryan W. Bray (Jugurtha and formerly Demonic Possessor) of Toronto, ON.

Nihilum – “Dead and Forgotten” – [Insikt]

whngr   3/26/2021   A Library, Cassette

Sparse Sullen Dungeon-synth 


Miserable sounds for the bereft and emotionally hollow. When reflection on your imminent death is the only time you feel any modicum of pleasure. You’re already dead inside (T1), perhaps being dead outside will balance the scales (T2). Highly repetitive and morose compositions by one Nachtzeit (Henrik Sunding) of Östersund, Sweden ca. 2005. Cassette is single sided and 9:25 long. Don’t be fooled (as I was) by the copious amount of (mostly blank) tape presented in the window. Perhaps this is an aesthetic choice by the artist representing his emotional emptiness. 

Obscurae – “To Walk The Path of Shadows” – [Sentient Ruin Laboratories]

whngr   3/19/2021   A Library, Cassette

Created with GIMP

Grandiose Valorous Upheaval 


Crushing Black Metal with Atmospheric, haunting washes of synthesizer. Basically full-on annihilation ’til the final track, a somber organ wheezing into the night with gentle pulses of texture.
Obscurae is one Chad Davis (Hour of 13, Jenzeits, Subklinik) of Richmond, Virginia of with support from cohort Matt Davis (no relation).

Pacific Yew – "(((( Bathing ))))" – [Hot Record Society]

abacus   3/9/2021   Cassette, Hip Hop

Pacific Yew is a pacific coast evergreen conifer that ranges from the Klamath Mountains to the fjords of British Columbia that has a habit of rotting from the inside, creating hollow forms as it grows extremely slowly, much like these flourishing disjointed rhythms that grow slowly, spreading into the host of your psyche. this Oakland new wave r&b pioneer feels like some Lonnie Holley Scott-Heron bedroom pop, soulful singing set over simple grooves. lo-fi, like the skeletal tree forms that are ageless in their imperceptibility. the seed cones and berry-like structures spread around easily, as I’m sure this record has wide appeal that should make it around the airwaves smoothly.

Ulrich, Torben & Goldston, Lori – “Oakland Moments: Cello Voice Reuniting (rejoicing)” – [Obscure & Terrible]

mickeyslim   3/3/2021   A Library, Cassette

Brand spankin’ new tape label out of Seattle, Obscure & Terrible. This is poet/musician/painter/tennis player Torben Ulrich (yes, the father of Metallica drummer, Lars), reciting his poetry to the cello of Lori Goldston. They’ve been playing together since 2005 with Angelina Baldoz and Jaison Scott in a project called Instead Of. This, however, is their first project as a duo. Goldston is “Classically trained and rigorously de-trained, possessor of a restless, semi-feral spirit” and her evocative cello playing is haunting, flittering, profound, and raw, which pairs perfectly to Ulrich’s sing-songy delivery of his exceptional poetry. In what I wish was a longer release, this cassette does not disappoint, and often feels sultry and seductive.

The pairing is genuine, and clearly comes from a place of mutual sonic understanding. Dig it…

Cyclist, The – “Weather Underground” – [100% Silk]

cinder   12/21/2020   A Library, Cassette

Fresh sounds from Andrew Morrison, known as The Cyclist. Rhythmic electronic beats rotate and churn like LED-lit wheel spokes. It’s a chill house sound with throbs of “industrial hypnosis, basement dub, and soul lament within his signature saturated “tape throb” palette”. A refreshing spin!

Powerplant – ” Spine / Evidence” – [Static Shock]

whngr   12/15/2020   A Library, Cassette

 Synth-Punk-Rock “Pop op”. 

Ukraine / London oddity unleashes five tracks that are, to my ear, more profoundly dissimilar to one another, more dynamic, and take more risks than any rock outfit I’ve heard in recent memory a fact perhaps made even more exceptional when one notes that it was made by a single person, one Theo Zhykharyev. Bouncy, up-beat, danceable, and a bit dreary as well. Top-shelf good times.

Occelensbrigg – “Frostbitten Cleansing” – [Harvest of Death]

whngr   12/15/2020   A Library, Cassette

Murky, blown out Black Metal by this lone soul hailing from Portugal. Part of the  Aldebaran Circle, a clandestine group of projects that include:  Aldebaran, Degredo, Espírito, Ginnungagap, Mallitiae, Nox Insultum, Ordem Satânica, Trono Além Morte, and Voëmmr.  Cold, grim, ugly, and culminating in a brief passage of perverse valiance, these five tracks are like a plunge into a frozen lake occupied by a legion of medieval corpses. Drifting through the icy water, their hollow stares intermittently falling upon your empty soul while casting scowling aspersion before lolling on through the icy void.

Stigmatism – “Promo Tape” – [Static Shock]

whngr   12/5/2020   A Library, Cassette

Montreal/N.Y. two piece HXC with conscripts for the road back when that was a thing (fml). Three tracks each under a minute. Lean, mean, and the opposite of pristine with a 46 second rendition of  The Animals’ We Gotta Get Out Of This Place. Play the tape, flay and scrape.

Sordid Crest – “Demo” – [Feral Heart]

whngr   12/5/2020   A Library, Cassette

Subterranean Black Metal two-piece from N.Y. and Texas though Metallum lists no members. No other information is available. Hideous, off-key guitar bends and a warped tape (effect?) that upset the equilibrium, thunderous buried drums, misery, cursed string interludes, screechy guttural vocals, wretched, profane, and ravishing.  Avoid at all cost or simply embrace your suffering.

Hauras – "in these coming days" – [Helen Scarsdale Agency]

Thurston Hunger   12/2/2020   A Library, Cassette

KFJC’s Helen Scarsdale diet continues, with this 2020 cassette from Hauras (aka SF’s Howard Ryan see his Snickers lying on the HiFi in our library). Percussion free, clouded sounds – guitar/bass/synth. Ryan’s voice when it appears blends with the murk, “flint, michigan” both sings of and in contaminated water. His singing is soft and buried like a deceased kitten. Occasional “narration” drops in via what sound like air traffic controllers (sometimes reversed) – clarity is not desired Clarence, and I don’t know the exact frequency Kenneth. Hauras prefers to not touch ground, just stay aloft…in what may well be a decommissioned aircraft/bedroom studio. On a later listen, the aforementioned narrator in reality is a police dispatch. So fire up some old Robin Rimbaud/Scanner to cross-pollinate maybe?

-Thurston Hunger

Coughin’; Vicars – “Post Omission Overtures” – [Self Released]

whngr   11/27/2020   A Library, Cassette

Rock from Britain reminiscent at times of Killing Joke or early Wire, elsewhence The Cure, Joy Division, ersewhile Echo and the Bunnymen or maybe The Fall. Building on the well-laid foundations of their forebearers, there is a something slightly retrospective about CV but not necessarily derivitive. An homage to post/death/goth/punk perhaps while still offering their own unique, and in my miserable opinion, exceptional voice to the arena (killing floor). A majestic sermon for the lost, an admonishment for the defeated, draped in lavish guitar effects. A shouting chant bellows above the angular and terse rhythm. Reverb and chorus swell and fade like shadows in the dreary pre-dawn of a deserted Liverpudlian landscape. We are being watched…

FCC on 3 Karma RuminationTrack 7 is an unlisted reverse tracked, somber and heavily affected guitar signal. Coughin’ Vicars is helmed by Russ ‘WeasHELL’ Longmire aka @sketchstance and credited as Roman Remains, vocalist, artist, skateboarder, and man of the 11th hour. Limited, numbered, and hand crafted on this second run of cassettes released by the artist.

Wild Tone – “Wild Tone” – [Helta Skelta]

whngr   11/23/2020   A Library, Cassette

Dreamy and slightly discordant synth driven pop with an edge from Perth. Like Suicide and The Screamers dp’d DEVO to ecstatic climax in a cascade ones and zeros. Beautiful, strange, and kinda seedy with a fucking well done cover of Gun Club’s “Sex Beat”.

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