KFJC 89.7FM

Music Reviews

Wood, Hank and The Hammer Heads – “Hank Wood and The Hammer Heads” – [Toxic State]

whngr   7/12/2020   12-inch, A Library

Nihilistic garage/punk rock n’ roll outta NYC. Scene builders, heart breakers, and soul stealers since the early tweny-teens. Strut, stomp, long organ pulls, up-strokes, down-strokes, “ungh”, all the way up, dirty lust with abandon, builds, bends, breakdowns, and hooks to the heart. These guys grew up in New York City playing in bands with a close-knit group of friends who would put enough english on tried-and-true form to garner some considerable attention and produce some fucking excellent releases primarily off’a Toxic State. And they seem get around, playing in Murderer, Dawn of Humans, Cheena, Fur Helmet, She Could Be King, anna buncha others.
However, despite how great this album is, it makes me hurt. It reminds me of when I still wanted to take a big bite out of the world. Getting wasted and being in love with falling in love. Daydreaming about the things I could do to, and with, the object of my desire, pining for a romantic maelstrom with my partner-in-crime and ruling the world with our passion. I want to say, to hell with my highly erratic brain chemistry and the misery that I can dispense liberally to those I am closest to despite my best intentions. I miss living for tonight and destroying tomorrow with the chaos that would explode after last call… but I can’t anymore. That ship has fucking sailed. I’m done. My destiny is to wither into dust… alone, hopeless, and hopelessly alone. But I’ll be doing it listening to this, feeling the pulse of their youth, trying feed off their vitality like a fucking pathetic vampire.

Perfect Pussy – “I Have Lost All Desire For Feeling” – [Not On Label]

whngr   7/11/2020   A Library, Cassette

Syracuse noise punk ca. 2013. Formed for a film project with an associate of the singer Meredith Graves whom after the filming had ended refused to stop playing with one another … until 2016. This cassette is their first release of dirty, female fronted, low fidelity punk rock that employs some killer keyboards with serious sustain. Pissed-off, youthful, exuberance that if the lyrics were discernible would most likely be a call to action, righting injustices, and cultivation of equality across all social strata. But when I found them on Discogs I simply thought: That is a great band name and their sound pleases me… I simply can not get enough of that ugly buried organ and the vigor of their (misplaced?) optimism. It harkens back to a distant time before my soul was crushed by a life of despair and shattered dreams. One quick note: the B-side is an identical recording to the A-side but with an even shittier sound quality. Murky and miserable… which appeals to me so I burned them to the compact disk as well. But feel free to navigate the insert and staples to play it like it’s supposta be heard. Analog af baybe.

Dawn of Humans – “Slurping At The Cosmos Spine” – [Toxic State]

whngr   7/10/2020   12-inch, A Library

Hardcore pvnk ravvk from the buroughs. Nawt narmal, guttural growls from the gutter, noisy, nasal, lo-fi, low-brow, ugly, and hurt. Members of Murderer, Hank Wood and the Hammerheads, Warthog, Cheena, Perdition, etc. New Yawk. Toxic State. Inscestual scene. Raw. Neanderthals of bitter, biting, noisy rock. For plotting revenge on your enemies or receiving an astral-plane communion from a 9 pound telepathic rat that you met in Queens one night after getting fired from one of your jobs as a 24-hour hospital supplies delivery driver for taking amyl nitrite and using bandages to do your route as a “mummy” with that medical “honey”.

Interior One – ‘Family’ – [No Rent Records]

Lord Gravestench   7/7/2020   A Library, Cassette

Rusty Kelley and Emelia McKay, who operate the Breathing Problem Productions label, also perform as the similarly named industrial noise duo Breathing Problem, of which Interior One is an offshoot. The difference between the two projects lies primarily in subject matter: while their Breathing Problem material tends to explore topics of eroticism and sexual angst, Interior One operates within the time-honoured industrial noise tradition of true crime, charting the psychic terrain in the vicinity of serious breaches of the social contract— ‘evil’ acts, if you like— with a particular sympathy for the victims.

2019’s ’Family’ EP deals with perhaps the greatest of all anti-social acts: a father deliberately harming the family he is supposed to protect. The artists say: “Interior One is a personal research project . The audience is always secondary. This release is based around family annihilation cases and abuse at home. For perfect fathers.”

T.s 1, 4 and 5 deal with fathers who killed their families. T.s 2 and 3 deal with sexual molestation. This is not pretty stuff, but it is sensitively approached, compiling a variety of primary sources (e.g., 911 calls, personal testimonies) into an immersive, documentary-like experience. The sounds composed by Kelley and McKay themselves — needling electronic synthesis, clattering scrap metal, heavily distorted ranting vocals— will not be unfamiliar territory for fans of power electronics, but all are very well done. The synthesised tones are not full-on headsplitting harshness, but rather seem calculated to convey apprehensiveness and paranoia. At moments they are strangely beautiful. All in all it’s a harrowing 22-minute listen. “There was no specific reason why he did this.“

PGM: t.s 2 and 3 contain fairly graphic references to child sexual abuse.

Irkallian Oracle – ‘Grave Ekstasis’ – [Nuclear War Now! Productions]

Lord Gravestench   7/7/2020   12-inch, A Library

Irkallian Oracle is a Swedish black/death metal band active since 2012. Supposedly the group has six members, but I think there were only three people onstage when I saw them live a few years ago. In any event, the roles performed by all six people are given as ‘various’ on the web, so perhaps we are dealing with an amorphous collective of some kind. Ambiguous though the actual lineup may be, there is real personality and clarity of vision to be found on this 2013 debut album, which was probably one of the cooler new releases I heard that year. 

In I.O.’s musical balance of doom elegance and death metal lycanthopy, as well as in their dead-serious thematic focus on the occult (that’s magick, not satanism), I perceive a fondness for the German group Necros Christos. Also comparable are Nuclear War Now!/Iron Bonehead labelmates Grave Upheaval, Sinistrous Diabolous, Temple Nightside, and Vassafor. In fact, those latter four bands are interconnected via an assortment of overlapping members; and for that matter, at least one sometime-player in S.D., T.N., and Vassafor has also been part of Irkallian Oracle in the past.

In the company of such projects, we find ourselves squarely in the territory of what the contemptible metal journos of seven years ago were known (perhaps jokingly, as if that were any excuse) to term “murkcore”– the implications of which term may include cavernous production, often-lengthy songs, hypnotic repetition of lead riffs, and a poised, serpentine, slow-burning sense of ritual. One could also trace aspects of  this record’s atmosphere back to classic groups like (for instance) Beherit, Order From Chaos, and Mortuary Drape, but seven years after its release I’m prepared to admit that this particular crystallisation of black and death metal aesthetics was of its own moment in time. 

‘Grave Ekstasis’ achieves a really satisfying balance of  implied menace and outright aggression, conjuring esoteric mystery and bestial savagery with equal aplomb. It is sinuous grey smoke from the fading embers of a massive sacrificial pyre, rising to spell out hidden glyphs in the near-complete darkness of some long-forgotten underground vault. Grab hold of its eldritch sigils if you can.

Nakatani, Tatsuya -Monochrome [Self Released]

Max Level   7/7/2020   A Library, CD

Percussionist Nakatani, whose solo releases are invariably live recordings with no overdubs or sound processing, takes a different approach here: He made hundreds of recordings of bowed gongs (17 of them to be exact) and “arranged them on the computer to build the compositions.” Resonant, singing metallic drones layered in different ways makes for an interesting listening experience. If you’re a fan of Nakatani’s Gong Orchestra project, you will love this. Mastered by James Plotkin, whose name attached to any project immediately gets my attention.

Minus 8 – “Remixes Part 2” – [Compost]

aarbor   7/1/2020   12-inch, A Library

Minus 8 is Robert Jan Meyer from Zurich, Switzerland.   The remixes are by Dr. Rockit (Mathew Herbert), Les Gammas, Tiny Trendies (Adam Goldstone from NYC who died at Burning Man in 2006) and Zimpala.  This record is from 2001 on Compost, very early in his career. These days Minus 8 writes soundtracks and other high profile music. All tracks worth a spin.

AArbor

Boone, Benjamin With The Ghana Jazz Collective – “Joy” – [Origin Records]

aarbor   7/1/2020   CD, Jazz

Benjamin Boone is a  saxophonist, composer, and Professor of Music at California State University Fresno. He was a Fulbright Scholar to Ghana from 2017-18). He grew up in the small textile town of Statesville, North Carolina, the youngest of five sons. “My brothers pursued history, literature, art and biology, so I have always gravitated towards interdisciplinary projects,” he says. “I like to make artistic statements that address culturally relevant topics …” While he was in Ghana he performed with the musicians on this release: Bernard Ayisa (tenor sax), Victor Dey, Jr. (keyboards), Bright Osei (bass), Frank Kissi (drums) and Sandra Hudson (vocals). This recording was made the week before he left Ghana. Tracks 1, 3, 5 and 6 are Boone’s compositions, the others are his arrangements. Boone says: “In Ghana music is participatory, egoless, and woven into the very fabric of existence. People live with joy and make music with joy.”

 AArbor  

Laureate – “Eurekaphilia” – [Hospital Productions]

whngr   6/28/2020   12-inch, A Library

EN/PE from Jim Haras (Deterge, Winters In Osaka, Urth, Ilsa), associate of Hospital Records and Fusty Cunt.

Futuristic sonic warfare with asymmetric dissonance.

Atmospheric falling rain, static and electronic effervescence. 

Crunchy simmering white-noise-wall evolves into dark engine chants.

Dirge

Drone 

Despair

Waveform abuse becomes cyber spasms of robot rage

Dismay

Deep

Drop

of the beat. Murdering hard house. Apocalyptic squeals to ritual patricide.

Subsonic. Strobes. Nexus-8 sharpens its android fangs.

Whorls of demonic static. Curious clatter.

A horrifying declaration before The God-head’s admonishments amidst pyrrhic aural Armageddon. 

Ewen, Sandy – “You Win” – [Gilgongo Records]

whngr   6/27/2020   12-inch, A Library

A member of Weird Weeds (R.I.L.) and an architect currently residing in Houston, Texas. Fingers tremble with amplified arthritis. A string quartet perform while being hung from the neck. Improvisation. Loneliness and reflection. Interdisciplinary collaboration. Nickel plated wind-up hummingbirds imitate death. Graphic notation. Distant pianos explode from the from the ruined towers, falling. Extended guitar techniques. A detachment of forklifts in maneuvers somewhere below. Feedback. Quietly wringing one’s hands with razor wire. Understated. Intimate. Prepared guitar. 

Brown Angel – “Shutout” – [Sleeping Giant Glossolalia]

whngr   6/26/2020   12-inch, A Library

Strange stranger strangler
Angular angry avante
guardian of harmonic despair
or resonate with east coast dissonance?
Repetitive and minimal.
Irreverent irrelevance?
Limited technical range leads to emotive
and hypnotic revelry in the wrong?
(Bndcmp) autobio:
Brown Angel is a post-everything trio from Pittsbvrgh, PA, U$A. RIYL noise rock raga, teutonic industrial aesthetic, Hellhammer-grade weaponized dub.
Donated by:
whngr
A record I paid for but didn’t choose. It grew on me… perhaps because I allowed it.

The Apollas – “Absolutely Right!” – [Kent Soul]

cadilliac margarita   6/25/2020   CD, Soul

 Originally called The Lovejoys, The Apollas were considered the Warner Brothers equivalent of the Supremes. Beginning in the early 60s as a quartet from The Bay Area, including one male singer, Ronnie Brown, they eventually ended as a trio anchored by the powerful growl of Leola Jiles. By her side was Ella Jamerson, and a rotating 3rd member (Originally 17-year-old Joann Forks, then Dorothy Ramsey, Billie Barnum, and briefly Blondell Breed). WB released their music on their short-lived LOMA soul imprint, before converting them back the main label for the remainder of their contract. During that time, they opened for Barbra Streisand and the Monkees, and performed on many nationally syndicated TV shows. Towards the end of the 1960s they toured extensively in Asia. The group called it quits in the early 70s due to a failure to break through commercially. Dick Glasser, who signed Jiles to a solo contract (stop me if you’ve heard this one) then promptly refused to let her audition under fair terms as the new lead singer of the Supremes, dashed her hopes for a mainstream career. However, the group singles found a new and enthusiastic audience in London’s Northern Soul scene. Since disbanding, all members have continued to perform as professional back- up singers, along with occasional solo tours, and most recently a reunion in UK in 2007. This is wonderful. A nice mix of upbeat RnB rockers, soulful strings, and melancholy heartbreak. Leola Jiles spectacular lead vocals burn hot and are very distinctive and memorable in my book. I’m glad we have the opportunity to share this collection, which includes some of Jiles solo cuts, with our listeners.

Nnamdi – “Brat”

cadilliac margarita   6/25/2020   CD, Hip Hop

Nnamdi – Brat

Chicago based, multi- instrumentalist. He earned a degree in electrical engineering from UoC, so I’m guessing the expertly layered production values his 4th studio album is his own doing. He also the founder of Sooper Records (The label this record is on) and has been in too many bands to count. He has presented us with a great mix of Avant pop, jazz, folk, hip hop, electro-soul. It’s gorgeous, lush, and dreamy. His vocals are soft and floaty—a understated falsetto, with *maybe* a touch of autotune. This is pretty emotionally sexy. We it have filed under hip-hop, but it would fit under soul or A as well. CLEAN COPY

MaHaWaM – “Is An Island”

cadilliac margarita   6/25/2020   CD, Hip Hop

Gender non- conforming Queer Black artist from Oakland. This immediately stood out to me because of the obvious danceability of the music, but also because of the way they weave deeply personal & confessional lyrics through the electronic beats. The consciousness here—of self (in the wake of a HIV diagnosis), the new reality of their world, the universe itself, is all on display. At times its extremely meditative in a drug fueled journaling kind of way, and a reminder that even extreme pain can still see flashes of joy through light and movement. MaHaWaM, aka Malik Mays, grew up in a Religious Family from the East Coast before they relocated to San Antonio, and eventually Arizona, where they studied Creative Writing and Music in 2012. Although I would consider this experimental electronic Hip Hop, the influences of R&B and Gospel, and an early interest in Classical music and poetry is all evident in their work. They have lived in Oakland since 2013. FCC on tracks 3-5

Lapis/Demo

carsonstreet   6/24/2020   A Library, Cassette

Cold Wave from Oakland. Simple open electronic beats and tones with male and female vocals. Wondering what the hell Cold Wave is? Ask Wikipedia: “a loose music genre that emerged in Europe the late 1970s, characterized by its detached lyrical tone, use of early electronic music instruments and a minimalist approach and style. It emerged from punk rock bands who, influenced by early electronic groups such as Kraftwerk, made use of affordable portable synthesizers.”        

Sunn Trio – "Electric Esoterica" – [Twenty One Eighty Two Recording Company]

Thurston Hunger   6/24/2020   12-inch, A Library

Joel Robinson is the center of this Sunn (and no band connection to Sunn 0 btw afaik lmnop). On these guitar-fueled instros, he’s joined by drummer Andrew Flores and bassist Paul Borman. Phoenix-fired but other Suns in other lands are worshipped. It may be too simple to say Robinsun sic-ly shines a black path through surf and metal, but like any holy Book of Lies, verily that holds some truth. “Alhiruiyn” smacks you both with a flair of misirlou and the dungeon air of a guitar chained in reverb. Other tracks like “Kunz-Pnjua” sweep through sustain, the Robinson’s guitar goes from a whisper to a screaming dune of sound, Borman drops a bolero for the bassline. On later listens to this, Flores really stood out….just chase him through a song like “Eye of Apopis” and “Tantric Feedback Resistor” (which may be a nod to Flores’ work with Destruction Unit?). While the band walks as a trio, a fourth shadow appears before them – Sam Plattner adds fx to the mix, really adds a different lustre, and those who eschew the guitar can appreciate his shortwave (on the closing “Evocation”) and long game in other spots, he dominates “Ilm Au-Huruf” before a stringy sting of improv at the end. Moments like those, as well as the shifting “Majoun,” the tasty “Taqsim for Atargatis” and the droney “Japa III Aiwass” give this album much breadth and room to breathe. While looking at the cabala under the djellaba, it seems this work may be blessed by Bishops, there is some sort of misty mount meru hop-scotch at play, but this heat-seeker of an lp would have wandered its way to KFJC no matter what. If/when they visit our pit, my inner Aladdin wishes for Plattner to be conjured incarnate.

-Thurston Hunger

Stone Rebel/A Plain Full of Stars COLLECTION

carsonstreet   6/24/2020   A Library, CD

This band is from France but other than that there is not much information about them available.  A Plain Full Of Stars is a collection of tunes from their other albums. They have 15 releases on Bandcamp. Mostly guitars, bass and drums. Stoner stuff. Their music is great when you need to calm down the swamp critters and turn to relaxing, calming, mellow psych tunes.

Bow Gamelan Ensemble – Great Noises That Fill The Air [Cold Spring Records UK]

Max Level   6/23/2020   A Library, CD

Radical with a capital R. This three-member London ‘percussion’ ensemble were in existence from 1983 – 90. The material on this CD was recorded in 1988. Their live performances were: 1. An unholy marriage of Savage Aural Hotbed and Survival Research Laboratories (remember them?), and 2. Dangerous as fuck. They banged on 55-gallon metal drums—no surprise there, I mean who doesn’t?—but beyond that there was also fire, large amounts of water, steam, lights, huge loud machines crashing, giant pieces of broken glass hanging like wind chimes, iron bathtubs banging together, metal cabinets and lockers suspended and sprayed with a fire hose, whistles, fireworks, all manner of discarded noisy junk… This CD brings us a taste of what they were up to and is quite satisfying. Guest performers include legendary percussionist Z’ev. I can’t even begin to describe how deep and remarkable their concept was. Watch this worthy 16-minute video to see what it was all about: https://fourthree.boilerroom.tv/film/bow-gamelan-offshore-rig. I had no idea. Brilliant stuff.

Fuck U Pay Us – "Live At Cielo Gallery For Melanin Unity Show" – [Self Released]

abacus   6/17/2020   A Library, CD

No wave noise punk patricidal destruction (and not in the father sense, more the white male patriarchy sense). do I still got you? live recordings from this aggressively anti-racist group of black queer women from around the LA area. insurrectionary calls to action for everyone that’s ever been pissed off at things like systemic racism, patriarchy, and exploitation economics. this definitely feels like some pro-looting music, and in the best way. if this offends you, then take a good long look at yourself, this is definitely confrontational so leave your fragile white feelings at the door. but seriously, challenge yourself, lean into it, its supposed to be uncomfortable. FCC on 1,3,4,7,9 and… is Nappy Black Pussy an FCC violation? cuz it shouldn’t be. the title seems to be a reference to reparations, a controversial subject amongst white folks for sure, and whether it takes the form of giving your black friend $10, eating out at black-owned restaurants, or encouraging white people to donate to black-led organizations, there’s always going to be naysayers (except maybe Naysayer?)

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