Music Reviews

Alvin, Dave & Gaffney, Chris – "KFJC Live Mic At SXSW – 1994" – [KFJC Live Mic]

Devlyn   12/1/2019   A Library, CD

In 1994 KFJC recorded and engineered performances at the South by South West Music Fest in Austin Texas, and broadcast those recordings live on KFJC airwaves and on 50 other radio stations that picked up the feed. Following is a Best of: KFJC Special featuring sets pulled from that live broadcast. Recorded at @ Lazona Rosa in Austin Texas as part of the SXSW Fest. It was originally aired as a Mayhem special on 5/14/94 hosted by DJ  Earl Grey       

KFJC Live mic recorded at @ Lazona Rosa Club in Austin TX on 3/19/1994

Length: 48 mins

Genre: Rock, Rhythm and Blues

Dave Alvin is an American singer and guitarists known primarily as one of the leaders of the rock and roll band The Blasters along with his brother Phil.  Chris Gaffney (accordion, harmonica) is brought in the second part of this act to spice things up.

KFJC recorded another CD on the same night featuring brothers Phil and Dave Alvin and their band the Blasters.

Digitized on 9/2019 from an archival VHS tape by Devlyn.

Omar and The Howlers – "KFJC Live Mic At SXSW – 1994" – [KFJC Live Mic]

Devlyn   12/1/2019   A Library, CD

In 1994 KFJC recorded and engineered performances at the South by South West Music Fest in Austin TX and broadcast those recordings live on KFJC airwaves and on 50 other radio stations that picked up the feed. Following is a Best of: KFJC Special featuring sets pulled from that live broadcast.

KFJC live mic recorded on March 19, 1994 @ Lazona Rosa Club in Austin Texas. This version of the recording was originally aired as a Mayhem special on 5/14/94 hosted by DJ  Earl Grey       

Length: 38mins, 30 secs

DJ: Earl Grey

Genre: Blues and Rock

The band in this recording features founder Kent Dykes on guitar and lead vocals, Bruce Jones on bass, and Wes Starr on drums.

Omar and the Howlers was a Texas based electric blues and blues rock band The Howlers formed in Hattiesburg, Mississippi in 1973. Three years later they moved to Austin, Texas. Their debut album “Big Leg Beat” for Amazing Records came out in 1980. In 1987, the band signed a recording contract with Columbia and “Hard Times in the Land of Plenty”, which sold over 500,000 copies.  Band leader Kent Dykes stopped performing in 2018 after a flesh-eating disease decimated his arms.

Digitized from an archival VHS tape by Devlyn on 6/19

Big Sandy and His Fly-Rite Boys – "KFJC Live Mic At SXSW – 1994" – [KFJC Live Mic]

Devlyn   11/30/2019   A Library, CD

In 1994 KFJC recorded and engineered performances at the South by South West Music Fest in Austin Texas, and broadcast those recordings live on KFJC airwaves and on 50 other radio stations that picked up the feed. Following is a Best of: KFJC Special featuring sets pulled from that live broadcast.

Recorded by KFJC on March 17, 1994 at the Lazona Rosa Club in Austin Texas.

Length: 41 mins

DJ: Earl Grey

Genre: Western Swing

Started in 1988 and still going strong in 2019, Big Sandy and his His Fly-Rite Boys is a western swing/country boogie musical band from California. The band is composed of Robert Williams, (AKA Big Sandy), Wally Hersom (Bass), Dave Carol (Drums), Ashley Kingman, Ricky McCann and Kevin Stewart.

Digitized from an archival VHS tape by Devlyn on 9/2019.

Da Monz – "KFJC Live Mic – 1988" – [KFJC Live Mic]

Devlyn   11/30/2019   A Library, CD

A KFJC Live Mic recorded on 11-19-1988     

Length:  24 mins 24 seconds 

Genre: Surf

Recording cuts off in middle of the last song.

Da Monz was a Surf Band from From Burlingame, CA.
Discogs lists one released recording in total and that album was released by KFJC. (i.e. Totally Tubular – KFJC 2002)

Tracks include:
I Wish You Were a Surfboard

Digitized from archival VHS tape by Devlyn on 9/2019

Touch Me Hooker – "KFJC Live Mic – 1988" – [KFJC Live Mic]

Devlyn   11/30/2019   A Library, CD

A KFJC Live Mic recorded on 11/13/2018 

Length: 52 mins 44 secs

Genre: Glam Punk

DJ: Lance Savage

This recording starts out as very drunk/stoned sounding set.
3 mins into recording they begin long dialog in which they suggest maybe listeners should look for a less inebriated music.
After the 13 min mark they find their groove and begin playing a pretty decent set.

Out take on the CD is moment when Touch me hooker says they are drunk on Jack

Digitized from archival VHS tape by Devlyn on 9/2019. I could not find pretty much anything about this band on-line. Anybody know anything about them?  I edited out many FCCs (bad words) from the dialog between the songs.

Youth In Asia – "KFJC Live Mic – 1988" – [KFJC Live Mic]

Devlyn   11/30/2019   A Library, CD

A Live Mic recorded at KFJC on 10/23/1988

Length: (56 mins 19 secs)

Genre: Anarcho-Punk

DJ: Floyd Dyer

Youth in Asia was an early 1980s anarcho-punk band from London known for their prominent use of the synthesizer. The band sang political lyrics about war, sexism and state terrorism.  They released one cassette album entitled Sex Object on Millennium tapes in 1983. They also had their song “Power And The Glory” included on Volume II of the Crass Records Bullshit Detector compilation series. “When the Wind Blows”, pulled from the band’s final recording session, which was also included on the Overground compilation Anti-War, Anarcho-Punk Compilation Volume One.

Band members on this recording were introduced as Amen,( vocals, keyboard guitar), Thud Maddox (drums)  Mr. Elllll  (bass) and Cat (guitar). 

Digitized from archival VHS tape by Devlyn on 10/2019.-

Subdudes – "KFJC Live Mic – 1995" – [KFJC Live Mic]

Devlyn   11/30/2019   A Library, CD

July 4th 1995   — Live KFJC Remote from San Jose America Festival

Total: 1:19:25

Genre: American Roots

DJs: Grawer-Earl Grey-Wimpy-Akim-Goat Boy.
(Silly back and forth “Rinky Dinkee Doo” at 1:17

Wikipedia “Subdudes is an Americana/American roots rock group from New Orleans. Their music blends folk, swamp pop, New Orleans rhythm and blues, Louisiana blues, country, cajun/zydeco, funk, soul and gospel with harmonic vocals.”

Track: “Serita”                                 at 10:55
Gospel Guitarist Willy Williams  added to the mix at 20 mins
Track: “Do Me A Favor”               at 35:00
Track: “Sugar Pie”                          at 46:30
Track: “Why Can I Forget About You” at 52:00
Band introduced at: 1:16  (actual time 7:30)
DJs introduced at 1:17   Grawer, Earl Grey, Goat Boy. Akim, Nuclear Bob, Wimpy  
At 1:17  Great announcing Rink Dinky doo

Digitized from VHS archival tape by Devlyn 9/2019.

Shark Bait – "KFJC Live Mic – 1988" – [KFJC Live Mic]

Devlyn   11/30/2019   A Library, CD

Recorded: 11/06/1988

Length: 53 mins 42 seconds

DJ: Mike Destiny_

Genre: Industrial Rock with a touch of humor

Recording begins and ends? with DJ saying “We have recorded this to VHS for the highest quality”

This band sounds pretty shaky at the beginning of the recording, but gets much better as it goes on.  Shark Bait was an industrial rock band from San Francisco that released three albums on the Primitech label.  Formed in 1986 and disbanded in 1996.

Members: Charlie Beer (vocals, bass, tape), Mt T, Chris Taylor [aka Mr T & Chris Sea Tea ] (lead guitar), John 316 White [aka MC Whitey Ho] (percussion), Massive Simmons,(percussion, tape).

Track 1: This is the voice of Crime and Star Trek.
Track 3: I am a whale being hunted  I will not put up with this!
Track 4: Destroy the Nazi regime.
Track 5: We love big rallies.
Track 6: Our Song about Sex.

White_Wash – "KFJC Live Mic – 1977" – [KFJC Live Mic]

Devlyn   11/30/2019   A Library, CD

Recorded on 2/25/1977 29 mins 50 seconds

Genre: Americana

This recording features strong acoustic guitar work, congas, harmonica and 2 voices.    

Featuring DJs Susan Fox and Sandy Sprague  

Partial list of tracks:
2nd song guitar cover of Donovan song  “There is a Mountain”
Cover of “Folsom Prison”

This was pulled from an old CD found in storage and edited to remove excessive guitar tuning between songs by Devlyn on 8/2019. This recording cuts off cold at 29:50 mid song. I faded it down at end.

File name: 77 – White Wash Live – Americana

Apprentice Destroyer – “Permanent Climbing Monolith” – [Apprentice Destroyer]

whngr   11/27/2019   12-inch, A Library

Real Neck Breaker

Driving guitar, drums, synthsizer(s), sparse effected and incomprehensible vocals that flirt with absurd repetition. Both primal and futuristic, offering a nod to its forebearers while peering toward future horizons and progressing relentlessly in to the past. It is alien and strange but uses an attractive, familiar, and hypnotizing language to elucidate space, grandeur, and perhaps intellect. Of feeling puerile and insignificant in the shadow of an indifferent juggernaut. Mastermind and composer, San Francisco’s Steve Peacock (Ulthar, Pandiscordian Necrogenesis, Mastery) has rallied the troops around his solo-project Apprentice Destroyer to lay waste to the poseurs, posturers, and hapless bystanders alike. Adding three other (lead) guitarists including, Shelby Lermo (Vastum, Uthar), Leila Rauf (Vastum, Hammers of Misfortune), Nick Stanley, and Bob Renz, synthing from Max Bonick, the drumming of Brandon Thomas (Pale Chalice), might give an allusion to the sounds found on this album while being mastered for vinyl by James Plotkin may provide yet another clue. And though I hear many other projects in this record, Boris, Big Black, Pelican, (none of which are mentioned to by the band, instead referencing Swans, Glenn Branca, Neu and Tangerine Dream on their bandcamp page),  you still might not guess as to its greatest quality. It is unique. A singular entity. One of power and of promise. An epic album with an appropriate title. Permanent Climbing Monolith. 

Nordlicht/Paysage D’Hiver [coll] – [Kunsthall Produktionen]

whngr   11/27/2019   12-inch, A Library

Crvshing Grim Cold

Switzerland’s  co-label (Kunsthall Produktionen) owners Wintherr and Nimosh of Paysage D’Hiver and Nordlicht respectively lay down a side-long track each of pvre depressive black metal devastation with a few short dark ambient interludes.Taking inspiration from the winter landscape (Paysage D’Hiver is French for Landscape of Winter) and natural themes (schnee means snow and Nordlicht is Northern lights in German), indeed, the Kusthall website has stated: “All of the band’s releases are connected, in that they tell different pieces of a story describing a realm known as “Paysage d’Hiver”. 

Donaggio, Pino – “Howling Original Motion Picture Soundtrack, The” – [Waxwork]

whngr   11/27/2019   12-inch, A Library

A melange of cinematic horror/suspense from the eighties beautifully repackaged by Waxwork. Classical orchestral compositions replete with scare inducing strings, terrifying timpani, heart pounding pipe organ, phobic oboe, fear inciting flute, and a full retinue of traditional instrumentation to evoke foreboding and fright with just a bit of hair-raising synthesizer, modified human vocalization, a few compulsory wolf howls to book-end the score, and a mini library of synth sounds are applied to the end like a hoary post-script. This edition also includes a mouthful of isolated synth sounds staked to the beginning and end for the werewolf completists/aficionados among us. However, not all the tracks are designed to build tension, B21- a kind of retro-rock jam suggesting thoughtful resolution and B29- a nostalgic theme to a television newscast. This killer soundtrack to the 1981 thriller showcased some cutting-edge practical special effects and was released the same year as the markedly superior, An American Werewolf In London. Sadly it would have been nearly impossible to appreciate the extraordinarily refined film score emanating from the single speaker hung from your steamy window at the drive-in.

Cinematic Orchestra, The – “To Believe” – [Ninja Tune]

Medusa of Troy   11/20/2019   A Library, CD

“To Believe” is Cinematic Orchestra’s 5th album and was released 12 years after its 4th one, “Ma Fleur”. The British electro-acoustic jazz ensemble sounds a bit different on this release than their early albums. It sounds less like traditional jazz rhythms, softer and mellower in a higher register of strings. Of the 7 tracks on the album, two are instrumentals, the rest sung by a range of guest performers. Layers of strings and piano and drum start light but build into sweet, cathartic crescendos. The concept for the album is ‘belief in the age of Brexit’ but the specifics of what or who to believe in are not enumerated – “To Believe” seems more about the act versus the object of believing. “Little” is a stand-out instrumental from the album, with an incessant, infectious drum beat from beginning to end. A return to form by masters of nu-jazz.

Heilung – “Futha” – [Season of Mist]

Medusa of Troy   11/20/2019   A Library, CD

Heilung (the German word for ‘healing’) is a 3-member Danish band. Its sound is metal and folk and electronic and noise; instruments include those made with bones, animal skins and swords, as well as relics and temple bells, nature sounds and other items. The lyrics of Futha, Heilung’s second album, are based on Icelandic poetry. Vocalist/lyricist Kae Uwe Faust growls, snarls and throat-singing are impressive, but more impressive are the high clear tones of Maria Franz’s vocals. Instrumentalist/producer Christopher Juul ties it all together sonically. Some tracks include pieces that sound like war chants – “Vapnatak” sounds like a battle re-enactment with a narration at the end. “Futha’s” overall sounds are pagan, tribal and occult, with an emphasis on percussive rhythms – the lyrics are Old Norse, German (modern and Old High) and maybe a bit in Icelandic. Heilung call their genre “Amplified History,” while others tie it to neo-folk. “Futha” was conceived as a feminine contrast to their first album, “Ofnir.” According to the label’s webpage for the album, there’s speculation that a variant of ‘futha’ means a four-letter word for female genitalia. Much of that ‘big yonic energy’ is carried through is mostly on the strength of Franz’s vocals, particularly on tracks 2-4. But the whole album avoids sounding like either just another folk album or just another metal album. There’s something to scare and/or beguile all sorts of listeners on “Futha”.

FOLK MUSIC FROM JAPAN [coll.] – [Columbia Masterworks]

aarbor   11/20/2019   A Library

This is volume XI of Alan Lomax’s Columbia World Library of Folk and Primitive Music. The music is from Japan, the Ryukus, (Okinawa) Formosa (Taiwan) and Korea. It was collected and edited by Genjiro Masu for the Japanese Music Institute of Tokyo. The recordings are very good, carefully done. There is some great material here. I especially enjoyed the Formosan and Korean recordings on the B side, although I’m not sure why they are included in a collection of Japanese folk music. Folk music is not boring! AArbor

Def Beat Remixes Vol. 1 presents … COLDCUT [coll] – [Def Beat]

aarbor   11/20/2019   12-inch, A Library

From 2005 this is the first of a series of 9 volumes featuring various DJs. Coldcut are Matt Black and Jonathan More (from the UK) the founders of the Ninja Tune label and trip hop pioneers. They produce electronic dance music which often includes cut up hip hop samples, breaks, soul, funk, jazz, spoken word (and other types of music and multimedia). This record is Coldcut working with other well-knowns like Steinski, Yazz and DJ Q-Bert, as well as remixing Red Snapper, Asian Dub Foundation, James Brown cut ups. Tracks 1-5 are fabulous. They’re funny, you’ll enjoy identifying the snippets of the tracks they’ve sampled, the first track has a cosmic outer space vibe. Enjoy! AArbor  

Konagaya, Jun – “Memento Mori” – [Steinklang]

lexi glass   11/19/2019   12-inch, A Library

Bleak midwinter carols, arriving just in time to make the season grim.

Jun Konagaya is the artist behind GRIM, the magnificent Japanese death industrial project active since the mid 1980s, just after the disbanding of Jun’s first group, the power electronics duo White Hospital. In the early 2010s, Jun began releasing work under his own name, bringing out more of the melodic and folk elements found in his earlier, noisier work. Memento Mori is his third release in this vein, with beautiful organ and piano melodies, mournful choruses, tribal rhythms, and peals from bell towers. Within the solemn beauty are unexpected touches: the unusual, nearly hip-hop beats and rhythmic warrior’s cries of “Run Deer” (T3), the blips and bobs of electronic chaos on “Time of Ruin” (T2), and the ecstatic trance of “White Nacht” (T7). It all comes together to make a completely original sound, and leaves no doubt in my mind that 30 years on, Jun is making some of the most compelling work of his career.

“…And The Loser Still Is…/Untitled” [coll] – Roedel Records

Lord Gravestench   11/19/2019   7-inch, A Library

Agathocles – Belgian crustgrind institution active since 1987. Body odour, dumb politics, and a respectable level of sonic brutality. Think Extreme Noise Terror or Phobia. Bellowed and gargled lyrics cannot be made out. First track has some voices speaking a European language, maybe Flemish, possibly newscasters. This side was originally titled simply ‘…And The Loser Is…’ (not ‘…Still Is…’) so I don’t know if this is a bootleg or a reissue or what.

MPG – Pomona CA grind/fastcore founded in 2004. High-pitched androgynous vocals a la Antichrist Demoncore. More samples than the Agathocles side, including Magic Johnson talking about his AIDS on the first track. Lyrics are once again unintelligible. 

Photo finish split on red seven inch vinyl, with Agathocles as the winner by a greasy hair. Originally released in 2015.

Barnson, Matthew – “Vanitas” – [Innova Recordings]

Cousin Mary   11/19/2019   A Library, CD

Three pieces composed by Matthew Barnson. The first one for orchestra is mysterious and based on grief – it reminds me a bit of George Crumb’s Black Angels. The other two compositions are for smaller ensembles and are provocative and at times whimsical. Fine examples of original takes on modern classical music.

Sutekh Hexen – ‘Sutekh Hexen’ – [Cyclic Law]

Lord Gravestench   11/16/2019   12-inch, A Library

A fixture of the Bay Area experimental scene, Sutekh Hexen has purveyed solid ‘black noise’ fare for close to a decade, typically compressing ragged metal riffs and murky ambience into challenging walls-of-sound. 2019 saw the release of their self-titled 4th full-length, brought to you by the German-based label that has recently functioned as the de facto foster home for Cold Meat Industry artists orphaned by that Swedish label’s sudden dissolution six years ago. I’m not sure that S.H. is the first American band to release on Cyclic Law, but nonetheless, this double LP constitutes a significant moment in the transatlantic partnership that has long defined the industrial noise scene. S.H. had displayed an affinity for the Euro milieu even before their collaboration with Sweden’s Trepaneringsritualen, which was performed live deep in the woodlands of the Pacific Northwest at 2013’s Stella Natura festival. The group’s fusion of black metal guitar stylings and nonlinear experimental soundscapes is very compatible with the aesthetic sensibilities of our friends on the old continent (MZ.412 and Paysage D’Hiver come to mind). 

On this magnum opus, for which recording first commenced way back in 2012, S.H. seem to have both tightened up their compositions and broadened their palette, perhaps owing to a new and expanded lineup. For whatever reason, longtime member A.C. Way (AKA Thoabath) is no longer involved; here core members Demian Johnston (Great Falls, solo as BLSPHM) and Kevin Gan Yuen (Circle of Eyes, Disgust) collected contributions from Nathaniel Ritter (Burial Hex), Bay Area art-drone luminary Jim Haynes, Jim Kaiser (AKA Petit Mal, and sadly R.I.P. as of 2017), Mackenzie Chami (Terror Cell Unit, Disgust, solo as Koufar and Crown of Cerberus), Jason ‘VENIEN’ Ventura (founder of seminal Bay Area black metal group Von), Ryan Jobes (Grave Babies), James Martinez (provenance unknown), and Vial Magazine editor Patricia Cram. There will be a quiz after this review, so try and keep up.

A Frankensteinian agglomeration of black metal, dark ambient, deep drone, harsh noise, death industrial, electroacoustic, field recordings, and ritual music, ‘Sutekh Hexen’ is a vicious beast indeed, reflecting its diverse contributors’ varied approach to soundcraft. At times brooding and at times extremely violent, it impressively realises the promise of earlier releases and brings the project to a new artistic peak, one with perhaps a wider appeal. Be ye headbanger, noise junkie, Mills College avant-gardist, or dark ambient creeper, Lord Gravestench advises that you drink deeply of this silver-hued nightmare.

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