KFJC 89.7FM

Music Reviews

Br. Danielson – Brother is to Son – [Secretly Canadian]

Mac   4/16/2005   A Library, CD, Format

Br. Danielson
Brother is to Son
[Secretly Canadian]
Here we have the 6th full-length Danielson Famile release, and you’re
in for another romp through indie folk pop. This is Daniel Smith’s
(aka Brother Danielson) personal project but stays in the Famile mold
of lo-fi unconventional spiritual exploration. The term Christian
rock DOESN’T apply here. The nonsecular messages often don’t require
a religious context, and the music is a real treat.
The album has two halves – songs 1-5 are upbeat rockin’ jamborees
featuring Daniel’s acoustic guitar and distinct falsetto vocals
/yelps. The family backs up (and I mean family, the Danielson clan is
a modern Partridge family, hear track 10’s chorus: “Sisters and
daughters and brothers and sons are we.”). Backing up are heavy doses
of chorus singing (bordering on screaming) and a spattering of
instruments including classics: piano/electric guitar and down-home
goodness: banjo, jaw harp, and tambourines. The arrangements are
more complex than previous Famile releases and the result is
captivating. They sound like a country lo-fi version of the Shins.
Each song has a different raw sound, so don’t dismiss the album based
on one song.
Track 6 represents a transition to the second half of the half, where
Daniel tones it down and pours his emotion into slow, vulnerable tales
of spirituality. Of the three following songs, track 9 was my fav.
Track 10 brings it all back together with a solid upbeat finale of
family chorus.
Overall I’d call it the best Danielson Famile release to date.
– Brother Mac

Tsurubami – “Shohjohkisshotan” (C3R)

outlier   4/10/2005   A Library, CD

More wall of sound at the event horizon stuff. Streaming, screaming, flashing beams of sonic iridescence shimmer in the complex polyrhythmic density laid down by Nobuko-dr and Hiroshi-bs. Kawabata-gtr orbits the rhythmic nebula with an interstellar cosmonaut’s awareness and vision. Like an Abstract Expressionist piece, density can be mistaken for congestion and distortion when infact the complexity is necessary to capture the ultra-physical (read extra-tonal) qualities of the subject. This is the audio companion for the Leave No Tripper Behind program.
3w: Immaculate Interstellar Iridescence
– Outlier

Gang Wizard – “Jeckyll Loves Hyde” (Ecstatic Peace)

outlier   4/10/2005   12-inch, A Library

Filthy, destroyed, early Sonic Youth influenced NY gtr sound. A tight unit that thrives on a bent rhythm playing off the higher frequency guitar attacks with momentum building convergence and space creating divergence. While they cast their shadow on the lo-fi, igno-rock sound, GW smartly explore percussive possibilities within the hard-driving outside rock sound. Clashing, driving, pounding structures ride the waves with an aggressive, instinctive posture that the ultra-meter drumming makes wholly fucked (in a good way !).
3w: Filthy Destroyed Frequencies
– Outlier

Milton, Anthony – “Sirens” (Last Visible Dog)

outlier   4/10/2005   A Library, CD

New Zealand acoustic psych folk with an air and wood sound, occasional guitar in distress strumming and solos. Slightly angered, spacey Direen and Morley influenced songs with a serious folk mentality. Occasional early Dead C blownout acoustic sound with clever lo-fi drums that give the vocals an edge of tension accented by steady, sometimes furious strum. Traveling rhythms that have phasing qualities and evolving structures but the center of gravity is on a steady path to psych folk truth.
3w: NZ PSYCH FOLK
– Outlier

Sandoz Lab Technicians – “Live at MacDougal Art Gallery” (C.PSI.P)

outlier   4/10/2005   A Library, CD

Tim Cornelius, James Kirk, and Nathan Thompson ascend to the heights of drone with a 45m free music piece that ranges from a subway station fuge to flowing rivers of strings and winds in electrified vapor. Sounds billow outward like clouds, surging in a collective waveform flux. Dense textures that move up to cacophony’s edge, stepping back to sense the void of where the sounds have vacated. Similar to Sakada or Organum, always exploring the essence of music in the NOW.
3w: Free Music Installation
– Outlier

Islaja “Palaa Aurinkoon” [Fonal]

Thurston Hunger   4/8/2005   A Library, CD, Format

This must be the sound that hibernating animals hear telling
them to claw through the ice and snow back to sunlight. It
starts with faint toy piano tinkering under a prayer of sorts.
Islaja is a Finnish femme intoning that prayersong. Her voice
is a warm whispered remembrance of the sun shining through
icy keyboards, bare-tree guitar scrumbling and other bits of
cold, crystalline sound from various Kemialliset brothers and
sisters helping out. On “Rukki” her voice becomes both a fly
buzz and then a phone-call-from-beyond singing ahh-eee-o-ah,
ah-eee-o-ah. Regrettably on other tracks the lyrics are as
wordless to me, as I speak not a lick of Finnish. Using a
translater, I just found the title may mean “burn sun” (but
this is not to say “paivetys” or sunburn) still I stick with
the notion that this has that chill of other free folk from
Finland (and the fine Fonal label). Most songs melt slowly
the title track has little Terry Riley keyboard spirals and
a clap and stomp rhythm. We’ve got to track down her first
release. Tune in, turn on, snowdrop out.

Radar Brothers “The Fallen Leaf Pages” [Merge]

Thurston Hunger   4/7/2005   A Library, CD, Format

Jim Putnam and his brethren create a swirling ocean of song.
Rococo crests of soundwaves lap at the melodies, melodies
that sink like extravagant luxury liners. I mean the chord
patterns almost always descend, in that “Dear Prudence” kind
of way. It’s a good sinking feeling. Like such lush liners,
the movement is stately, so there you are slow dancing on
the Titanic’s top tier, your date has gleaming hollywood
gloss liberally applied to her lips as she whispers along
with Putnam’s vocals. His vocals do their best to stay
afloat, tentatively bobbing up at the very tip top of his
range. As befits the son of a recording engineer/equipment
inventor, Putnam gets along swimmingly in the studio…and
these tracks awash in production seem to flourish rather
than drown. Very thick synth in the forefront of most cuts,
dollops of doo-woppy vocals on some tracks. But below all
the billowiness, the lyrics often twist in little wry
tweaks. A corpse here, a bucket of blood there, a stable
full of manure… I like the holes those lyrics punch
through the pretty, cloudy consistency of this fine album.

Volga Select “The Unconditional Discipline of the Bastard Prince” [Output Recordings]

Thurston Hunger   4/7/2005   12-inch, A Library, Format

Parisian pair Ivan Smagghe and Marc Collin hook up for this
2003 top notch tour de fanny. Heavy thudliness reclaims the
dance floor, the bottom line is the bottom end. You can set
your oil derrick to the pound of the title track; discipline
indeed the beat never strays, never breaks. There’s a nice
fuzzy morse code squiggle rhythm on top as well, it closes
out the piece too. Additional bubbles of analoguery get
dropped in here and there, Things really lock in step with
“Sister Poverty.” Superfat synth oozes on top of jackbooty
basslines, with those searchlight pitchwheelin’ and dealin’
keys whirping in on top. Drum-machine gets in some solid
face slapping as well. But it’s the gladiator chords that
give “Sister” her blister. The EP closes with “Joie de
Vivre #1” which feels more like foreplay than aftermath,
a little more motorized movement to this piece (instead of
the megathick marching on the first two). Slippery servo
snippets and a sort moebius soundstrip make this piece
less dancey, but dodgey…in a good, evasive way.

Tarantula – “S/T ” – [Self-Released]

lombard   3/29/2005   A Library, CD

Tarantula is a young-ish 4-piece band from New York. They cite influences from both classical and the rock world and are comprised of cello, violin, guitar/bass, drums/percussion, glockenspiel, and melodica. This release has an upbeat, European gypsy-music/chamber rock feel to it, especially with the prominent strings. It’s all instrumental music that the band describes as “melancholic melody.”

-Cynthia Lombard

Roberts, Alasdair- “No Earthly Man”- [Drag City](CD)

lombard   3/29/2005   A Library, CD

Scottish folk-inspired musician Alasdair Roberts initially caught the attention of Will Oldham when he was in Appendix Out. Even back then he acknowleged folk inspirations, including Vashdi Bunyan, who he covered on one album. This release explores even older Irish, Scottish & English traditional songs. The lyrics are intense on these ballads about poisoning, fratricide, shipwrecks, infanticide and lost love. “A Lyke Wake Dirge” is a charm song, traditionally sung while viewing a dead body. Voice-with strongly accented vocals-is prominent. A beautiful, mesmerizing release.

-Cynthia Lombard

Cluck, Diane “Oh Vanille / Ova Nil” [Important Records]

Thurston Hunger   3/29/2005   A Library, CD, Format

Even without a few heartfelt harmonies dubbed in, and the
gracefully guided crack of her voice, the words alone cut
right past the ear to the heart. “And you fade from me like
you know I’m dying.” Ouch. But really you’ve got to hear her
vocalize that sentiment, it winds up catching the body
language of hurt, all in an ornate loneliness despite being
surrounded by a 1000 midwives. Is it a paean to a child lost
during childbirth?’ Listen to “Bones and Born Again” and tell
me. The recipe here is simple enough an acoustic guitar (oft
a 12 string rattler!) and some songs in a shaky voice, I
guess you’ll want to hear her soon. Shaky…but unswerving.
And that weird (New England?) clip to her voice, like a lost
Roche sister? Enunciation of renunciation? Arrow of my
sparrow? These songs take flight, like the woman singing
pretty sad songs strung on a clothes line. Stringing songs
along. They can dry out their tears and catch the scent of
her breeziness. Coaxed, comforted. An essential album for
those with souls cracked but intact.

Boom Bip — ?Blue Eyed In The Red Room? — [Lex]

Hunter Gatherer   3/21/2005   A Library, CD

Boom Bip is Cincinnati native and producer/musician/smartypants Bryan Hollon. This is his second full-length solo album, released in March 2005. (He has also released a collaboration with Dose One which we have in Hip hop/CD and a remix album called Corymb (A/CD).)

The music on this album is clean, beautiful, cerebral, and airy (on most tracks at least) electronic music. Above all it is cerebral. You could actually hum along with some of the songs. Live instruments appear (guitar, drum, autoharp, strings), though usually highly processed.

Two of the stand out tracks feature vocals. Do’s And Don’ts starts with a mantra of thou shall not believe/thou shall not be led and launches into a litany of choices one has to make. By the end of the song, the mantra and the litany are buddies. Vocals by Gruff Rhys of Super Furry Animals.

Another stand out track is The Matter (Or Our Discussion) with ethereal and beautiful vocals Nina Nastasia that contrast with the blunt 5a.m. truths of the lyrics. The song should make sense to anyone who has ever fallen out of love.
–Hunter Gatherer

Enslaved – “Isa” – [Back On Black]

Tyke   3/17/2005   A Library

It must be something to do with the climate. What else
could you blame for so much great Black/Death Metal
coming from the Nordic climes, whose total population
could probably fit into one of the smaller LA suburbs ?
And Enslaved keep the winning streak going with this
exceptional release. This Norwegian 5-piece (yes, they
add the subtlety of keyboards to the usual guitar/bass/
drums line-up) is one of the finest exponents of the
genre, and they bring a wide range of colours and
textures to bear here, with the high-point being the
closing 12+ minute epic ‘Reogenesis? with Arve Isdal’s
lead guitar playing simply scintillating. Death never
tasted so sweet !

Terry Tyke

Nmperign – “We Devote Every Effort To Offer You The Best That You Deserve To Have For Your Enjoyment” – [Siwa]

Tyke   3/17/2005   A Library

As Nmperign, Bhob Rainey and Greg Kelley perform some
ridiculous sonic atrocities on their trumpet and soprano
saxophone. The kinds of things they do should probably
be illegal, but thankfully they aren’t – they’re just absolutely
off the wall. The first of this 2 LP set is so quiet and subtle
overall, you’d swear somebody’s given you a blank record
by mistake. But, what you really get is an incredible display
of control and invention, with sounds ranging from lengthy
tones to burbling trills and barely audible breath bursts –
don’t be shy with your levels for this ! The second LP, while
you could never accuse it of being loud, requires a lot less
attention to detail from we the listeners, but still continues
where the first LP left off, with Rhainey and Kelly still
abusing their instruments in the most attractive way
possible.

Terry Tyke

Santos, Rusty – “Heavens, the ” – [U United Acoustic Rec]

lombard   3/15/2005   A Library, CD

Musician and producer Rusty Santos brings us a pleasant pop-rock album. He’s got emotional, straining vocals and at times spare acoustic guitar and plucking. There’s a nice simplicity to this that gets a bit fuzzier, feedbacky as the album progresses (especially on track 7 “It’s”).

-Cynthia Lombard

Bailiff, Jessica w/the.dithering.effect s/t [Resonant] (45 rpm)

outlier   3/12/2005   10-inch, A Library

Drift and reverb drench the haunting vocals of Bailiff while echoes of spacecraft vapors fill the void. The label is well-named, waves of drone are the attendant feature on this release. A slower, hazier, Twisted Village version of Amber Asylum. Or maybe drop Kendra Smith’s vocals in on the Garbage and the Flowers (TW-Deep Funnels of Entry comp), add drone and strum, chill and serve. A very enchanting sound, not quite sirenesque, but of the earth and sky. Some sundown haze and fresh air on the ‘there’ side. Jessica Bailiff is the female half of Clear Horizon (with David Pearce of Flying Saucer Attack), no letup on this release.
3w: HER MAGIC CONTINUES
– Outlier

Messthetics #1 “UK 78-81 DIY bands R to Si” [hyped2death]

outlier   3/12/2005   A Library, CD

Three chord punk and English power pop in roughly equal proportion. Leather jackets – Probably, but not the safety pin in the cheek stuff. Angry, jaded, anti-corporate, anti-government and definitely anti-Thatcher songs that brighten your world by telling you how depressingly awful their world is. But they don’t let their emotions get in the way of a good jolt of electric guitar and snotty vocals. Royston (3) and Seize (19) impress with some clever pop and bash respectively. Ripchords (27) and Reekie (29) are also of note. Nothing quite as enraged as Flux of Pink Indians or slick as Gang of Four but then not much is.
3w: buggered blokes bangup
– Outlier

Sun City Girls “Fresh Kill of a Cape Hunting Dog/ Def in Italy” [Eclipse]

outlier   3/12/2005   12-inch, A Library

1983-85 recordings that reinstall SCG as the grand shamen of anti-pop. 1st LP is a studio release with all the markings of SCG brilliance; a tale of cop corpse desecration, a stunning sound piece, snake-charmer guitar magic, cutup madness, mid-eastern weirdness, destroyed guitar blast and recoil…’I Told You So’ and ‘Nile Hilton Burning’ are destined KFJC classics. 2nd LP is live recordings of 1984 tour including an SF show. If I was Byron Coley I would drop in something about a cherry enema right about here.
3w: DON’T FUCK WITH
– Outlier

Valentine, Matt & Erika Elder “Ragas & Blues” [Idea] LP (33rpm)

outlier   3/12/2005   A Library

Valentine brings his anachronistic acoustic sound to the east, soaring in the winds of Erika Elder. Sundown haze, third-eye bliss…plenty of fresh air. Not as old school folk as Valentine’s recent solo release, this takes you on a subtle carpet ride over regions of underexplored sound. Music travelers journey to the exotic and enchanting mysticism of shambhalan cosmic harmony. Take a trip and never leave your living room !
3w: Hypnotic Healing Harmony
– Outlier

Gang Gang Dance “Revival of the Shittest’ [Social Registry] LP (33 rpm)

outlier   3/12/2005   A Library

More structured, shorter pieces than the musical melange of their previous release. GGD explore possibilities of ultra-drum percussion using rhythmic techniques in melodic instrument spaces. Variety of approaches to the purpose of percussive pursuits; Quaalude electro-clash, tribal sample mix, vocal musings with a residents-type march, niobe-like beats, vocals over two-note piano steps with echo-noise-beats mix, fake symphony synth and an electronics soundscape. All pieces have a distinctive signature sound that GGD have claimed as their own.
3w: Snap CRACKle POP
– Outlier

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