KFJC 89.7FM

Music Reviews

Gospel Claws/ Roar [coll] – [President Gator]

Thurston Hunger   11/11/2018   7-inch, A Library


Another salvation seven inch, 2012 split on purty
powder blue vinyl. The Gospel Claws hail from some happy
suburb of Tempe AZ, bursting with dancey 80’s mod pop,
and a drop of holy water-cum-wine from the CCD classes
where they hatched plans for catchy hooks during catechism?
Singer Joel Marquard sings of ambition and with a hint of
British accent (a fine American pop tradition).

On the flipside, a one man band rises from Phoenix.
Owen Evans deserts his Andrew Jackson Jihad for a chance
to Roar (or is it ROAR?). Anyways, a slower paced start,
with mournful synth…that works its way through the
trees and a hazy “Dream” field to a few rays of joy. This
feels like a song that Brian Wilson’s psychiatrist was
trying to medicate and eradicate. Why? Rainy day pop is
not mental illness, certainly not in Phoenix, nor in my
house, nor in Mitch Lemay’s apartment on a winter day.

Thoabath – “4. KK.42H. 4” – [Madriguera]

Lord Gravestench   11/11/2018   A Library, Cassette

Andy Christian Way is a former member of Sutekh Hexen who also plays with French Radio and Maleficia, among other projects. Thoabath would be his Death Industrial unit, active since 2015 or thereabouts. The project is all about primal rhythms and desolate, hopeless atmosphere. This 2017 cassette comes to us on Madriguera Records of Puerto Rico, where Way resided for a time prior to the hurricane. This will be comfy next to KFJC’s (or my) collection of releases from MZ.412, Theologian, and Dissecting Table. Bilious, decay-obsessed electronics with a riveting sense of tension. Side A= Beats By Dis, melting flesh, babbling demon voices. Side B= Deep, deep ambience to cleanse the palate after all the blood and sulphur of the A side; just don’t get too comfortable because the zaps are coming. This is beautiful release. The quote on the interior is from France’s obfuscatory postmodern fill-o-soffer Jean-Francois Lyotard: “All corporeal identity trembles at its finitude, and for it, distraught with humiliation as much as with suffering”–or to put it another way, “life sucks.”

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…

Phew – “Voice Hardcore” – [Mesh Key]

lexi glass   11/6/2018   12-inch, A Library

Recently, we added Light Sleep, an album that marked the reawakening of Hiromi Moritani’s decades-running solo project Phew. This extraordinary 2017 follow-up leaves behind the Suicide-inspired drum machines and synths. Instead, the works here are built entirely from Moritani’s powerful voice. Her vocals rise and multiply in droning, demonic choruses (T1, T4), her moans are destroyed and distorted by effects (T2), her repeated phrases spin in circles (T3), and her spoken word poetry, in Japanese, moves through these surreal soundscapes (T2). “In the Doghouse” (T5) gave me flashbacks to playing that Furious Pig record during late night graveyard shifts, though Phew’s composition is much more anguished and beautiful, and “Sonic Morning” (T6) ends the record with a soft, droning dawn. Spellbinding.

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.

Dial – “Noise Opera” – [Feeding Tube Records]

lexi glass   10/30/2018   12-inch, A Library

Noise rock opus from this long-running avant-garde project. Dial formed in the 90s, when Jacqui Ham, previously a member of New York no-wave legends Ut, teamed up with Dom Weeks from Furious Pig and Rob Smith on drum machines and guitar for the trio’s first release, 1996’s Infraction. They released three more records over the next decade or so (these three in our library). This latest 2016 digital release was issued this year on vinyl by Feeding Tube. Two massive sidelong storms of guitar feedback, relentless rhythmic turmoil, synth sirens wailing like tapes sped up and slowed down. For brief moments the swells subside as Ham delivers her spoken word incantations. A powerful brew that will intoxicate fans of free jazz (this is Dial’s tribute to Ornette Coleman’s genre-defining 1968 album), Sonic Youth, the Dead C, and all forms of psychedelic oblivion.

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…

 

Vehikel & Gefass (& Ventilator) – “Make ’em Pay! Homemade Napalm… etc.” [Schimpfluch]

Max Level   10/16/2018   7-inch, A Library

Two five minute chunks of sound performance recorded live in 1990, I think, in Zurich Switzerland. We’ve all been to this type of event–a ratty warehouse with people sitting on the dirty concrete floor and a couple of guys making random sounds using toys and junk. No way to know what we’re hearing exactly, although there are voices here and there, and a violin shows up near the end of side A. Other than that, it’s all rumbles and scrapes and squeaks. Noise-wise, this is not particularly noisy; it’s more like lo-fidelity sound recordings of who knows what. Kind of rad for nearly 30 years ago.

Cruel Diagonals – “Disambiguation” – [Drawing Room]

lexi glass   10/15/2018   A Library, Cassette

Disambiguation is the debut release from Cruel Diagonals, the experimental electronic project of Oakland/LA-based sound artist Megan Mitchell. Each track fuses the sounds of the ancient and the modern into dark, dreamlike ambient works, all held together by Mitchell’s stunning voice. Her vocals, treated with reverb and layered into hauntingly beautiful harmonies, are woven with minimal rhythms (T2, T4, T5, T8), dark drones (T6, T7, T9), or slowly building storms of noise (T7). Also worked into the tracks are field recordings from the ethnomusicology archives from the University of Washington, where Mitchell was a student. In these nine tracks she expresses the search for sense in the senseless, arriving at some conclusion in her final incantation.

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.