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Music Reviews

Blackball Bandits – "Cursed Island, The" – [Double Crown Records]

Cousin Mary   8/6/2021   A Library, CD

Brand new album from this Southern California band that will justify the eager anticipation of surf music fans. Lots of variety with nods to Horror, Spaghetti Western, traditional surf, and exotica. All originals by the band with the exception of a bitchin’ cover of Dick Dale’s Night Rider. Fine playing with great energy and momentum.

Memory Wire – "Aura" – [Zorpin]

cinder   8/5/2021   A Library, CD

Duo from Leicester, UK.  Chris Conway (theremin, keyboards, voice, guitar, kalimba, flutes) & Jim Tetlow (laptop, keyboards, cajon). It’s delicate, ambient drones that waft and flow harmoniously. Visions of soft glowing frogs and twinkling fireflies in a black lit forest. Gurgles and trinkles. It’s incredibly mellow and sedative, very excellent.

Haram – “Where Were You On 9/11?” – [Toxic State]

whngr   8/4/2021   7-inch, A Library

Fiercely confrontational Islamic Punk Rock

This is not a novelty.

This is not fun.

This is a call to arms.

A declaration of war against ignorance.

Driving guitar, shuffling thumpity drums, long, noodly, note intensive bass runs, riff, rage, and ruination in Arabic. “Haram” translates to “forbidden”. As in, not for you, filthy swine gobbler, as you belong in Jahannam. Much has been written about the architect and front-man, Nader Habibi that has value and is relevant but will not be discussed here. Do your own research, almutaharib allaeayn.

Another compelling release from Toxic State Records, leagues apart from the status quo.

NYC – 2019

Frightener – “Guillotine” – [Chainsaw Safety]

whngr   8/4/2021   A Library, CD

Modern Crossover Carnage

Technically adept and leaning into the brutality, this band from the U.K. may have been accused of failing to till the newest of soils (online sleuthing will reveal comedic discourse by etiolate contrarians) but what Frightener did was from the heart, emphatic and visceral. References to Napalm Death, Rorschach, and Terrorizer may be apt but perhaps lack appreciation of the ardently defended territory (if relatively confined and obdurate) they managed to eek out during their fairly brief existence. Blinding speed, relentless rage, snapping necks, short hair, sweat, blood, madness, despair. Detuned, mid-tempo lumbering gallops, fury, blast beats and allusions to ancient Greece from this five-piece outta London (I believe) circa 2006. 

FCC on track 5 – Fall of Delphi – “fucking”.

FCC on track 9 – Heretic – “fucking”.

FCC on track 10 – Acheron – “fucking”.

Kohoutek – “Jurad” – [Feeding Tube Records]

SlartiBartfast   8/3/2021   12-inch, A Library

Kohoutek – “Jurad”

This 2021 release from Kohoutek will transport you from an ambient, drone, electronic paradise into an electrified psychedelic rock/n/roll jam that will blasts you into space. “Jurad” is the newest release from Kohoutek, a improvisational music collective from the Mid-Atlantic coast formed in 2003. Side A is a 24 min, ambient, electronic, drone warm up with the guitars, bass and drums playing lightly in the background exploring the perfect nooks and crannies of their improvisational sound. Side B……prepare to launch yourself into interstellar psychedelic space with a huge helping of driving guitar, bass, and drums for your dessert. Refreshments recommended before launch time. Alpha Centauri will be approaching on our left in just under a nano-lightyear.  

Seven That Spells – “Death and Resurrection of Krautrock: Omega, The” – [Sulatron Records]

SlartiBartfast   8/3/2021   12-inch, A Library

Seven That Spells “The Death and Resurrection of Krautrock: Omega”

Seven That Spells once again cast their musical magic into the realm of psychedelic, prog, spaced out Krautrock on this 2018 third in a trilogy release “The Death and Resurrection of Krautrock: Omega”. Having formed in 2003 in Zagreb, Croatia, Seven That Spells has had a tremendously talented group of musicians come and go, all with fantastic musical releases. This lineup is no different and they provide a fantastic journey through several musical genres and ages. This line up of Blake Fleming on drums, Jeremy White on bass-vox, Gordan Tomic on guitar-vox, and Niko Potocnjak on guitar-synth will not disappoint, and will keep you coming back for more. Spaced out Krautrock lives on!

Blood Rhythms – “Rote” – [No Part of It]

Max Level   8/2/2021   A Library, CD

Horrendous, dense noise pieces built on distorted waves of doomsounds and crusty machine-like rhythms. Each piece presents a different flavor of crushing malevolence, so it’s not the same thing over and over. Definitely some creative variety here, which I appreciate. But you can take my word for it–none of the tracks want to be your friend. The final piece is my favorite–it’s by far the longest, and it’s massive and dark and foreboding as hell, and goes on just short of forever. I have been listening to this CD super loud for a solid week now and there really are no words left. Just hit Play.

Boni, Raymond – “Memoire De L’Oubli – Images For Donald Ayler” – [Mazeto Square]

Max Level   8/2/2021   A Library, CD

Solo acoustic guitar performances. The compositions are unpredictable and adventurous with elements of very free playing. Some passages are melodic and reflective, others are noisy and dense. And then there are the passages that are on the very outside side, as Boni attacks the instrument with scrapes and slides and plucks and some of the most violent strumming of an acoustic guitar I have ever heard. This CD is in memory of free jazz trumpeter Donald Ayler but I must say I am not quite sure how this music intersects with Ayler’s music; Boni composed it all and played it on an instrument that was not Ayler’s instrument, so I don’t know. It must be that the spirit and fearlessness conveyed in this music would be appreciated by those who loved the same qualities in Ayler’s music. I’ll go with that. And I’ll also recommend you give this CD a long listen and let it melt your brain a bit.

Hiraoka, Toshiyuki – "Waterphone II" – [Edgetone Records]

Cousin Mary   7/30/2021   A Library, CD

A waterphone (invented by Richard Waters) consists of a steel resonator bowl with steel rods around the perimeter. Sometimes it is used with water to create an ethereal effect. Hiaroka is known for his horror film soundtracks. This album’s cuts are minimal, repetitve, and shimmering that result in a very pleasant and soothing sound. The metallic and echoing tracks are very mysterious.

Lewis Bailey – "Instrumental Stylings of .., The" – [Laguna Bay Records]

Cousin Mary   7/29/2021   12-inch, A Library

As explained in the album insert, Lewis Bailey was involved with a number of instrumental surf bands after leaving the Woggles. This limited edition album includes the bands Stingray International, The Surf Kings, and The Novarays. Extremely well played and arranged surf standards and originals. Bailey has relocated to the San Francisco Bay Area from Florida, much to the delight of the local surf music community.

Tremolo Beer Gut, The – "You Can't Handle…" – [Musick Recordings]

Cousin Mary   7/29/2021   A Library, CD

This terrific album is welcome news from this (mostly) instrumental band from Denmark that is held in high regard by the surf music community. Lots of variety in these tunes, just check the liner notes to see the long list of instruments, especially keyboards. “Vocals” are occasional syllables and words. Heavy sound, lots of bass, sort of scary. Fuzz on track 15, the whistling on track 16, have fun exploring.

Disrage – “Noise Rhythm” – [Craneal Fracture Records]

whngr   7/28/2021   A Library, Cassette

Low fidelity Hardcore from Spain 2015

Renou i ràbia desde Menorca.
Noise and rage from Menorca.

Furious attack (guitar,bass,drums,vox) without brakes.

A tirade of malice, though unintelligible, the message is clear:

Aim for the heart and pull the trigger.


Las Garras de la Otan = The Claws Of N.A.T.O.

Aphotykum – “Cimmerian Sessions, The” – [Legion Blotan]

whngr   7/28/2021   A Library, Cassette

Crusty Tinny and Tyrannical

2-piece Black Metal from the U.K./Switzerland 2017

Malevolent and sadistic, this deviant offender is a known associate of Legion Blotan. Blaring murky riffs while extolling the virtues of Cimmeria, the culture of a nomadic people in Asia-Minor ca. 1000 B.C. Stating their lyrical themes on Metallum as: Dark Ages, Barbarism, Pagan Heritage with evocative titles like “A Falcon’s Quest” and “Spirits of the Mounds” we are drawn into an ancient world filled with violence and war expressed with a phenomenal guitar tone and a dismal recording that is both visceral and disorienting. Listening at high volumes may lead to head wounds by disrupting the equilibrium, causing falls and leaving listeners concussed. Fitting, as the final track, “Stormriders of Death” (A8) features a sample of bombs being dropped from a plane, not barbarian activity but of a similar brutality perhaps. Not clever but still quite appealing to the ear of this miserable volunteer.

Abi Ooze – “Bad Egg” – [Aklasan Records]

whngr   7/28/2021   A Library, Cassette

Cynical and catchy Garage Power Dirge Pop Punk Rock from Philadelphia 2018Snotty, smart, and honest fem lyrics with a biting perspective on both social and personal subjects. Heart warming and heart breaking tones and delivery. Like falling in love the moment her spit hits your face. Vicious guitar tone with nasty hooks on a solid Pop foundation in front of a thunderous shimmering beat. Shake your ass to the rejection. Aileen Wuornos chimes in, spoiler alert, she’s pissed. Includes a few cameos by other contemporary monsters. Five cutting satires of the travesty that is our modern society. Hopeless and direct, “Bad Egg” is probably a reference to the genre and its rival , “Egg Punk” (twee, silly, major keys) and “Chain Punk” (aggressive/nihilistic/minor keys). One might suppose that this EP was titled as a kind of response to the divisive online debate (smh why can’t we all get along?! ;P) that raged(s?) by proponents from both camps. Flame wars, ghosting, and doxing may have occurred but who the fuck cares.? Not Abi Ooze. She just wants to fucking rock out!  And perhaps flip the ugly razor-blade frittata of a cassette, greasy side down, on the pallets of people with ears that hear and brains that think. Are you one of ’em?  
Abi Ooze is one Jade Baisa (all instruments)
There may be FCC’s on A1 (is that a Amber alert tone or just guitar feedback?) and A3  (I’m sure that she’s sayin’ “SUCKERS, SUCKERS!” not the other, far naughtier word. Roll the dice outside of safe harbor, pay the consequences I guess, but don’t play it all and you are the one who loses (your listeners being the unwary bystanders to your hapless mistake). Forbidden sounds removed (primarily) from this cassette and cd, conforming to on-air requirements in an effort to maintain friendly relations with the Federal Communication Commission. True completists will need to scour the internet as Sorry State is sold the fuck out and the release seems to have been pulled from Discogs which is… Punk af 

Golden Hallway Music – "Rules & Chance Vol. 2" – [Not Not Fun Records]

cinder   7/28/2021   A Library, Cassette

Solo project of Zack Tornaben, who created this over the pandemic in his Manhattan apartment, using a 1968 electric combo organ and primitive drumbox, ran through a two-machine tape delay. It’s a harmonious cosmical journey through cotton candy clouds and iridescent dew kissed tulips. Very light, airy and relaxing rhythms. An ambient looped voyage. Shimmery, meditative, and summery. 

Burial Wreaths – "Burial Wreaths" – [Threat Electronics]

cinder   7/28/2021   A Library, Cassette

Not a lot of information floating around on this project, but it’s a collective from Southern California. They’re calling themselves power electronics, and you do get some of that. It’s not blasting white noise and power drills though. It’s more experimental electronics and the weird sounds you can make playing around with your digital and analog toys. There’s repetitive beats, twisted knobs, echoed winds… industrial more than harsh. Each “track” is a new discovery. Intriguing group? Person? Robot?

Nickodemus – "Sun People" – [ESL Music]

aarbor   7/28/2021   A Library, CD

Nickodemus [Nick DeSimone], who runs Brooklyn’s Wonderwheel label, is a very accomplished club DJ who knows and has DJ’ed with some of the world’s best DJs and musicians. This is his 2nd album from 2009. He collaborates with people from all over the world to create a lovely variety of sounds and ethnicities which showcase his work beautifully. Quantic (with whom he produced the well-known Mi Swing Es Tropical) appears as co-producer on tracks 3 and 8. You go from Africa [1], to Baltic flavored [2], to Cuba [3], to Jamaica [4], to bellydance [5], Arabic dub [6], gypsy instruments/NY beats [7], South Asian/Latin [8], Brazil [9], Puerto Rico [10], Arabic beats [11] and African vocals [12]. AArbor

Cruisin' Ann Arbor [coll] – [Ann Arbor Music Project]

aarbor   7/28/2021   12-inch, A Library

From what was billed as “Ann Arbor’s First Compilation Album” this 1982 release by the Ann Arbor Music Project is a compilation of bands from lovely Ann Arbor, MI. Note that our own Dan Gunning was on the stage crew for the events on September 15-18, 1982 at Joe’s Star Lounge, at which this was recorded. This was an attempt to put Ann Arbor which had earlier spawned Bob Seger, Iggy Pop, the MC 5, Commander Cody, the MC5, Destroy All Monsters and the Silvertones, back on the “musical map”. Roger Miller’s brothers Ben and Larry (Laurence) show up here as “Non-Fiction” playing Larry’s song “Walkie Talkie”. In 1982 they had already recorded as a part of Destroy All Monsters. Some very fine up and coming bands. It’s a good variety of bands and music. AArbor

Gronde – “Gronde” – [Impious Desecration Records]

whngr   7/21/2021   A Library, Cassette

Black Metal / Thrash from the foothills of the French Alps.

Thunderous thumpers and growly grumpers with riffs and two minutes of melancholy piano (end of track 13) for goat worshipping demi-ghouls.
Insular and isolated from the swelling popularity of Black Metal, Gronde’s inception was influenced by power and simplicity. Eager to be proficient while heavily inebriated, project founder Chamo unveils considerable details about the project online, that though illustrative, might sour the palate of more thoughtful or discerning volunteers (these guys may be a bit thick). I suggest avoiding all research/fanaticism and just lean into the bestial howls and ferocity of the form. Well recorded and sprawling, there are many slightly different flavors of blasphemy, heresy, synchronized buzzsaw guitar, and sonorous slaughter to spread liberally over your more diabolical sets while incurring the blessings of the Dark Gods.

Boëge, Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes, France-2011

Crowhurst – “Everyone Is Guilty” – [Sol Y Nieve]

whngr   7/21/2021   A Library, Cassette

Debilitating electronic Dark Ambient Industrial Noise Drone with minimal Black Metal leanings in five parts.

Three tracks over 10 min. and two under 10 min. with some marked contrast existing between tracks that tend to straddle several genres but generally orbit around mild discomfort, disorientation, and despair, madness and misery.

Samples. Spoken-word. Sine wave serrations.

Washes of warm amplified feedback cum crumbling white noise, abstractions and other mildly belligerent aural elements. Crowhurst is one Jay Gambit of Boca Raton, Florida, who, along with myriad collaborators has put out over 40 physical releases since 2012. Establishing a following on digital file sharing platforms, Gambit seems interested in exploring multiple facets of sound production across several genres without the constraints of media or from labels and has worked with familiar (and many unfamiliar) labels like Prison Tatt, Chondritic Sound, Fusty Cunt, Prophecy Productions, and the one who released this limited edition (100) cassette in 2014, Sol Y Nieve.

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