KFJC 89.7FM

Music Reviews

New Zombies – “New Zombies” – [self]

humana   11/11/2018   A Library, CD


This is fresh jazzy experimental music from a Bay Area band whose upbeat tempo changes and fanciful saxophones bring to mind plenty of influences, such as Sun Ra. The horn infusions even made me think of Chicago for a brief second or two, but the mix of international sounding beats distinguish this as its own unique sound. Highly enjoyable and energetic.

Speedway – “Speedway Underground Garage – An Imaginary Collection” – [Conrad Sound]

Thurston Hunger   11/11/2018   A Library, CD


Hank Richardson rides alone as and on Speedway.
Late at night, bright streetlights and smooth
streets. Deep in the heart of Portland, Oregon.
This is four cassingles smooshed together in the
back seat under one seatbelt and road-burned on
a CDR. Stark rockabilly with yodelly hiccup vocals
and a few grunts from the pelvis. Speedway’s take
on Artie Glenn’s “Crying in the Chapel” instro sets
a nice naugahyde retro mood. Also from that “Trancer”
cassette, the title cut serves up synth conjuring a
bit of Badalamenti. “Gang Man” has Richardson at his
most baritone and alone…a drum machine by his side
riding shotgun. Some Alan Vega RIP on that one.
“Jukebox King” and “TV Dinner” are more in the
twang bar cannon. Could artwork done the I-5 to
San Jose by Kyle Pellet. Music made with pomade!
-Thurston Hunger

Sashash Ulz “Chtenie” – [Fourth Dimension Records]

mickeyslim   11/7/2018   A Library, CD

First CD release from Russia’s Alexander Shevchenko. First releases were on cassette and CDRs, making this his first real CD release. Whoosing ambience and watery jazz grooves, cascading beautifully over and under each other. From liquidy electronics to twangy ballroom guitar noodlings, it’s hard to tell if this is even strange at all. It has a nostalgic quality but seems unrecognizable at the same time.

Beautiful, spacious, omnipotent…

Villain, Carmen – “Infinite Avenue” – [Smalltown Supersound]

humana   11/4/2018   A Library, CD


This is gorgeous music from singer-songwriter Carmen Hillestad from Oslo, Norway. The word “ethereal” has been used to describe it, and I wholeheartedly agree. She is as beautiful as her music is, yet she has the confidence to put Gena Rowlands on her album cover and let her work speak for itself. Lovers of loops, electronics, and atmospherics, as well as dreamy vocals, will want to play this one as much as possible.

Carbon Based LIfeforms – “Derelicts” – [Blood Music]

humana   11/4/2018   A Library, CD


This Swedish duo have been creating ambient music together since they were 15, and this album represents what can happen when musicians mature into fine creators of soothing atmospherics. Some field recordings from Australia and other locals are included on here, and some lovely lyrics bubble up from underneath the layers of a few of the songs. You won’t want this one to end.

Reed, Lula – “Blue and Moody” – [Highland Music]

humana   11/4/2018   Blues, CD


This reissue of a 1951 King album is truly blue and moody, as the title promises. A great band accompanies the hearty voice of Lula Reed, changing the mood on alternate songs from jazzy blues to dark moods. Try “Going Back to Mexico” and then “I’ll Drown in My Tears” to see what I mean.

Culture+-+%22Cultural+Livity+%3A+Live+Culture+%2798%22+-+%5BRas+Records%5D

Hemroid The Leader   10/30/2018   CD, Reggae

Culture live in South Africa 1998. CONs: Cheesy MIDI horns, “Shall I go away?” annoying pandering. PROs: Classic tunes. I like Culture. But the canned version presented here is tough. The best tunes are ones that dive headlong into the cheese. Check out the sick guitar on “I’m Not Ashamed” #14. Weed carol #13 “International Herb”. #5 “Christopher Columbus”
Guilty pleasure at best, otherwise shlocky. Jah gotta pay the bills after all

Moses, Pablo – “Itinuation, The” – [Editer a Paris]

Hemroid The Leader   10/30/2018   CD, Reggae

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Contemporary roots reggae. Slick Harrison Stafford production features the instrumentalists. Uncomplicated, straightforward pop approach. Like Moses sings on Living In Babylon, “Not everything good for talk.”

Knaack, Donald – “Dance Music” – [RRRecords]

Hemroid The Leader   10/30/2018   A Library, CD

Knaack studied with Cage and is known as the Junkman, having written percussion music for junk, performing at the Kennedy Center For The Arts as well as the Vans Warped Tour. These are earlier compositions, written for a Polish experimental music festival and dance company. Knaack’s approach to percussion incorporates chance elements. It can sound like a teenager practicing along to the radio. Very challenging.

Grim, Wayne – “In Decline” – [Thee Obscurantist]

Hemroid The Leader   10/30/2018   A Library, CD

11 guitar improvisations re-orchestrated for small ensembles: guitar with cello. trombone, bass clarinet, or electronics. 2018 Edgetone release. Open-ended. Some tracks are more active than others. Wayne Grim lives in Berkeley, CA, attended Mills in ’98.

Fujita, Masayoshi – “Stories” – [Erased Tapes Records]

humana   10/26/2018   A Library, CD

How lovely and simple are the compositions on this CD, a collection of stories from nature rendered beautifully by Berlin-based Japanese vibraphonist Fujita. Hoshiko Yamane’s violin and Arturo Martinez Steele’s cello layer in on a few of the songs. Read the liner notes as you breathe in the images of birds, waterfalls, forests, and trees summoned by Fujita’s exquisite vibraphone. “Memories of the Wind” (track 8) will reverberate through your consciousness long after the last key is struck.

Your Ears Smell Bad [coll] – [Trashfuck Records]

mickeyslim   10/24/2018   A Library, CD

4-way split from Trashfuck Records/Pickle Dick Records. Lt. Dan is a hardcore/grindcore band, one track being recorded live from Zombieland! in North Oakland. Redsk is noisy noise, stormy and harsh, Noise Pancake style. ‘Seven Morons on Nyquil’ is cut-and-paste harsh noise with short poetic quips (a few FCCs in this one). Shanaynays with Shillelaghs clocks in as most harsh, with circuit-bent vocals and epic intros (i.e. ‘Olestra Molestra’). HEADCLEANER has two tracks, on fifty five seconds long, the other just over 15 minutes, which is spacey, thick ambient noise, with a Sal9000 quality. One in a series of other ‘Your Ears’ releases from this label. Solid weird shit that is sure to hit a note with broken ears station-wide.

FCC: 6

I.H.N.A.B.T.B. – “Magik Elektrik” – [Ihnabtb]

lexi glass   10/23/2018   A Library, CD

I.H.N.A.B.T.B. is “I Have Not A Breakfast Today Bitch!” a five-piece noise-rock freakshow from Moscow; this 2009 release is their debut album. I received this CD from Naysayer with a note describing the lead singer as “a cross between Bryan Ferry, Chris Cornell, and Frank N. Furter,” the first hint of the insanity to come. Next, I opened the CD find on the inside sleeve a painting of a dude fucking a horse. Things got weirder from there: the lead track opens with theatrical crooning about cardio?? before launching into a goofy post-punk workout. “Aphrodisiac” is a science-fiction double-feature ballad that degenerates into a skronking sax frenzy (T3), “Close” is a creepy cartoon cabaret (T4). There’s aggressive noise rock (T2, T8, T10) and hyperspeed punk (T5, T7), sleazy dom worship (T6). Completely absurd lyrics in broken English, after a few too many bottles of vodka. Intriguing, horrifying, often irritating (there’s a strong similarity at times to Gogol Bordello, who I totally can’t stomach). I’m still not even sure I like this, but I can say for certain these broskis are beyond bananas, and isn’t that a part of a KFJC balanced breakfast?

FCCs on T4 T6 T11

Snake Charmer’s Beautiful Daughter, The [coll] – [Betley Welcomes Careful D]

Louie Caliente   10/23/2018   A Library, CD

Wow, where to begin? Yes, it’s noise, but not just ANY noise. This is REALLY FUCKING GOOD NOISE from two absolute masters of the craft. Fast, hard, and relentless, just how KFJC likes it.

Pain Jerk is Kohei Gomi, owner of noise label AMP and frequent collaborator with pretty much everybody in the Japanoise scene. Dogliveroil is Phil Todd (of Ashtray Navigations) and a rotating cast of friends. This collaboration CD was released on Todd’s venerable Betley Welcomes Careful Drivers label.

“The Eight Snake Stigmata” (T1) is Dogliveroil as remixed by Pain Jerk. Like feeding laxatives to an already spastic and inflamed colon. A non-stop barrage of heavy static blasts, screeching electronics, and glitched-out samples. So fast it’s hard to wrap your ears around it.

“The Snake Charmer’s Beautiful Daughter Is a Vampire!!!” (T2) begins softly, with spooky ghost-like synth sounds (maybe the snake charmer?). That quickly gives way to more spazzed-out static blasts similar to the first track. Half-way through, the noise breaks for a dialog from the classic vampire movie Nosferatu. Then a return to noise.

“Doggin’ The Nogginometer” (T3) is a live recording of Dogliveroil and friends. It begins with a poorly-performed and poorly-recorded sample of Strauss’s Blue Danube Waltz. The fidelity gets worse and worse, until drowned out by squealing feedback, sizzling electronics, distorted distortion, and what sounds like Todd screaming through a PVC pipe. The pace here is much less frenetic than the other tracks, almost minimalist in comparison (not really though). Definitely gets the crowd going!

“Pac Man” (T4) is solo Pain Jerk. To my ears, this is the harshest and most punishing track on the album. The electronics are more tortuous, the feedback is more piercing, and the static is more severe. Not to be missed!

Demoncy – “Enthroned Is The Night” – [Forever Plagued Records]

Lord Gravestench   10/21/2018   A Library, CD

Slithering forth from the accursed swamps of the Deep South, Demoncy was one of the earliest American acts in Orthodox Black Metal, formed in 1989 by core member Ixithra, who also played with the legendary Profanatica for a time (he was the one guy wearing shorts in their infamous “dicks out for Satan” promo photo). This is his 4th full-length album, released in 2012 after 8 years of silence, and recorded without assistance from any other musician.

Like Profanatica, Demoncy is an excellent rebuttal to the claim that Black Metal is never heavy. This is a solid set of in-many-ways-traditional “cold” BM, but presented in an outstanding mix that draws out the low ends, recalling certain Finnish projects with a similar thickness to their sound e.g. Beherit, Archgoat and Anal Blasphemy. Despite these touchstones, Demoncy plays pure BM without a Death Metal influence (OK, maybe there’s some Nunslaughter in there), bringing an atmosphere of elegance and nobility to the proceedings with riffs that are as simple as they are chilling.

Ixithra seems to be pretty serious about the spiritual dimension of this Satanic music and in this there is perhaps a kinship to early Black Funeral, another foundational USBM monster. The artist does not so much play here as practice, because at its dark heart this is ecstatic ritual music for the devoted. He’s based on the West Coast these days, so go see him with his live band if you don’t believe me.

Serpentine incantations, roaring walls of guitar and nervous skittering blasts make for a dreamy twilight atmosphere not bereft of menace. Hail the arcane aristocracy…

 

Bowles, Nathan – “Whole & Cloven” – [Paradise of Bachelors]

mickeyslim   10/17/2018   CD, Country

This is the third release from Durham, North Dakota native Nathan Bowles. He is one of the performers at 2018’s The Thousand Incarnations of the Rose festival as presented and broadcast remotely by KFJC. Nathan does it all, playing banjo, piano, percussion, and providing vocals. Most of the tracks are instrumental, which I include track 3, Blank Range/Hog Jank II, among since the “vocals” are more of an ambient hum.

It’s ambient Appalachian folk meanderings. It’s cool and fresh, jumpy yet sedative. Some tracks are somber, others hopeful. This is folk for folks who don’t think they like folk.

Allien, Ellen – “Berlinette” – [BPitch Control]

Naysayer   10/14/2018   A Library, CD

From 2003, this is Ellen Allien’s second release on her own BPitch Control label. Berlin techno parties must have been a blast with sounds like this playing into the early morning. Here we have Allien’s charismatic voice singing over an eclectic mix of techno beats mixed in with glitch, tweak and odd computer modulated vocals and sounds. Each track is pretty unique, standing on it’s own as well as fitting together in the whole work. I’m finding this early work almost more experimental, more quirky than her later work. These pieces are not afraid of challenging the listener and of taking a chance. With beats. Always. One of my favorite finds over the last year.

ESG – “Step Off” – [Fire Records]

Naysayer   10/14/2018   A Library, CD

This 2002 release marked a return, of sorts. of the wonderful Scroggins family and their infectious stripped down funk sound. This time around, daughters have joined in and the beat is still pumping. Remember, ESG is all about the bass, and man is there bass. Simple bass lines repeated over and over almost take on the power of a vocalist. Without the bass, there is no ESG. Minimalism is the word for this funk post punk project. Some songs just have Renee Scroggins simmering vocals accompanied by bass. Others have that oh so familiar drum beat, a little guitar, some tambourine or other percussion thrown in. That’s it, but what an “IT”. A real joy to continue to hear them. Some of these tracks are even more stripped down then songs of the past, and a bit slower, but the sound, the beat, the thump thump thump is so infectious. Your head will bop and booty will shake.