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Music Reviews

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

Invisible Cities s/t [Drimala]

outlier   3/12/2005   A Library, CD

Trombone and clarinet improv interplay that sounds like bird communications. Duo of Steve Swell-trb and Perry Robinson-cl. Musical wandering phrases that alternate and interlace to create swells of lyrical runs that carry the listener to a nature space. First half stays in the pure improv space, last half uses more motifs and set timing to move the pieces. Trombone and clarinet have a playful sound that mimics a conversation in music. Admirably avoids the dixie deathtrap of which trombone and clarinet are vulnerable.
3w: lyrical musical conversations
-Outlier

Rara Avis s/t [Generate Records] CD

outlier   3/12/2005   A Library

Consonant, flowing improv of tenor sax-electric piano-drums that never gets out of control. Anchored by chords and breathing patterns, this improv effort has a ‘jazz fantasy’ composition feel. Tenor phrases lead the way thru dense piano chords with drums extending the interplay once a chord is traveled. Space is colored by mutating sax phrases and ‘in key’ piano accents that give each piece a sustained tonal and timing character. Though collectively an outside sound setting, interaction seeks the inside sound, interlocking each instrument with complementary expressions. Complex rhythms that seem to suspend in space give a pleasant updrift to the wind and chime of tenor sax and electric piano.
3w: consonant flowing improv
-Outlier

Drekka “Extractioning” [Blue Sanct] CD

outlier   3/12/2005   A Library

Acoustic guitar with hum drone and landing spaceship textures, ranging from lo-fi strum to dreamy drift, vocals are mixed down giving a deep almost somnolent sound to the songs. A sound and timing between Sferic Experiment (NZ) and Clear Horizon (sorta 500mg) but spacier than all three. Structures blend into form and dissipate without concern for musicality. Very honest sound that gets its heavy feel from the layered harmonics from guitar and drone/reverb. Occasional organ add to the spacey NZ-like sound and they throw in Cat Power and Donovan covers as well as a hymnal piece.
3w: Dreamy Drone Drift

UNSANE “Occupational Hazard” [Relapse Records}

jack soil   3/6/2005   12-inch, A Library, Format

12 inches, 13 tracks of unpure, untainted, unsane sounds.

This record kicks much ass. The vinyl is 1 out of 1000. It is a much louder,
harsher, “quicker” (maybe even more mature) sounding release than their last
effort, Scattered, Smothered & Covered (out on Amphetamine Reptile, 1995).

The NYC trio is celebrating their ten-year anniversary with an unrelenting release
out on Relapse Records. Unsane consistently delivers the goods on every track; you
won’t be disappointed. Chris Spencer’s aggressive vocals are nearly indistinguishable,
but if you’re into Unsane, this to be expected. Don’t let the lack of hemoglobin on the
cover steer you wrong. If blood covered record covers were the litmus test for an
Unsane record, Unsane should have filled the Hudson river with blood for the photo
on this monster. Track 13 appropriately leaves you wanting more; abruptly ending
in a rising wall of noise. This record will punish you and your listeners, and everyone
will be happy about it. Driving sounds, crushingly inventive rhythms. Unsane.

Straphangers’ Art Ensemble “Straphangers’ Ball” [Artichoke/Rolling Records]

jack soil   3/6/2005   A Library, CD, Format

Real-time improvisational sounds inspired by the subways of NYC; there’s more go
ing on here than you can imagine. My best guess is that Straphangers refers to t
he people holding straps day in and out while mindlessly traveling around the bo
wels of NYC. Eight people on multiple instruments. All home tapers – ideally, th
is would be a cassette release. All headed in far out directions, everyone augme
nting one another despite themselves. This is a bizarre experience for anyone. R
antings, screaming, cacophonous insanity. Heavy use of panning effects in portions.
Echoes, free-form sounds, underlying drones, all blended together in a free-form
manner which could cause you to stop breathing. This was done in one take. Even
though there are tracks listed, the whole thing is one enormous beautiful nightmare.
Hardly a quiet moment to be found in 74 minutes of sonic pressure. Starting off with
the feel of a 300 year old American indian burial ceremony and leading on to
territories unknown. Pot in wherever you like, pot down when you realize that
you’re forgetting to breathe. Definite difficulties await you, are you up for the
challenge?

Puro Eskanol – “Rice and Beans – latin ska underground vol. 2” [Aztlan]

jack soil   3/6/2005   A Library, CD, Format

Part DOS of project by a couple of guys from San Francisco on the Aztlan label.
The focus of the album, just like Volume 1 is Latino based ska. Some songs are
in Spanish, others are in Engles. Pick and choose your favorites. Many of the
bands on the collection have been around for more than 10 years. The sounds range
from classic ska, to almost pure latin sounds done by ska bands such as the ”
Skaliente” track by Yeska. Tops are Let’s Go Bowling’s “Esta Noche”, Link 80’s quick
little “El Estupido”, and Hepcat’s instrumental “..Solo”. Don’t stop there though.
All are fine little numbers. Pickit up, pickit up, pickit up!

Resonance Vol. 6 Number 1 [Resonance Magazine]

jack soil   3/6/2005   A Library, CD, Format

Equation: choose an adventerous show on KFJC, eliminate all mic breaks, don’t segue
any of the track = this fantastic disc bundled with the Resonance sound magazine – published by the likes of the LMC (London Musicians Collective). Full of
variety and ear tingling sounds. There are experimental sounds here for everyone.
Spice it up. Track feelings are listed below.

1. Tumbling into a bottomless pit – silence for 2 min.- resume your fall.
2. Beautiful Harp and lost church bells
3. Simple drum solo – could track into 4 if you wanted
4. Additional drum solo
5. Quick eastern flavors – very appealing
6. Improv – air, walking bass, guitar, drums – fusion-esque
7. Free jazz sounds pieced together to create a monster. Examine.
8. Quiet, nearly lonely, sax figuring it out
9. Skronky
10. Broken sounds; glue missing; instructions smeared; frustrations
11. Extremely quiet leading to an over modulated psych meltdown

This is Ovenguard, Volume 1 [coll] – [Ovenguard]

jack soil   3/6/2005   A Library, CD, Format

An Eclectronic (a new word?) Sampler. Behold the inaugural CD release from
Ovenguard Music. Whacked, spaced-out, tape loops, ambient situations, found
sounds, turntables, sound collage, great use of stereo effects, well thought out noise,
deeep basss and insanity all put together in this collection of avant oven guarde
music produced by an troupe of DIY scientists. Wobbly – provides the instantly
catchy insanity. Seattle based Bran Flakes inject humor into the collection by
providing looped beats with the humorous assistance of Charles Grodin, the Beatles
and Mr. Rogers. Known in Bakersfield – simple tryyped out electronic collages and
loops. Space Mesa – takes you on a paranoid tryp to their own world and back
(includes guide, Charleton Heston as Moses). Liar Ball ?’? Involution – an East Bay
outfit checks in with deep bass influenced noise. The Involution tracks were my
favorites. All are great. I believe this CD is one out of 200. It’ll Piss listeners off
because they’re gonna love it but they’ll never be able to find it.
Great for headphones. Experiment.

New Bomb Turks – “At Rope’s End” [Epitaph]

jack soil   3/6/2005   12-inch, A Library, Format

Going strong since 1990, this is the Turks’ 4th full length allbum with tons of
7″s and comps. in between. Keeping with the theme of their last outting “Scared
Straight”, they’ve got horns and piano embedded in several selections; of course,
the whole thing rocks like hell. At times, I thought I was listening to odd
combinations of KISS, the Stones and the Who. Songs are short blasts of adrenaline
that are rooted in hardcore punk as much as hardcore R&B. Oh yeah, six out of
the thirteen rippin’ tracks have language. . Classic ass kickers. Attitude abounds.

Metal Eater – “Virus” [Dephine Knormal Music]

jack soil   3/6/2005   A Library, CD, Format

So here’s the deal, two guys, Steve Buchanan and Ron Anderson, on multiple instr
uments with some heavy-duty percussionists (Moe! Staiano, Gino Robair, Thomas Sc
andura) sittin’ in to create infectious blasts of symptoms such as: blurred twitters,
contaminated feedback, inflamed scronks, severe rumbles, toxic general noodlings,
damaged scanned materials, dehydrated clicks, and other sonic spores. Definite
jazz roots here. The concept is disease. Black Death, Yellow Fever, Rabies, you get
the picture? I wouldn’t be surprised if the CDC wasn’t after these cats for posing
a serious health risk to the general public. An ounce of prevention ain’t worth
shit here. My suggestion, embrace the virus; vaccinations are futile. Otherwise,
boil for at least 12 minutes before ingestion.

Gas Huffer – “Just Beautiful Music” [Epitaph]

jack soil   3/6/2005   A Library, CD, Format

Full length release number 5 from the industrious multi-talented quartet based in
Seattle (each release comes with a comic penned by the Huffers themselves – also
known as the Del Lagunas – surf band). This is their third and best release on
Epitaph, and, fortunately, they do not sound like an Epitaph band! This a more
mature Huffer, ranging from great quick little pop punk tunes to slower ballady
stuff to even a little du-wop work at the end. Produced by Phil Ek whose produced
some amazing stuff from bands such as Built to Spill. Live, the Huffer play fast
and loud; it’s easy to tell these songs are scorchers when played live.
This record is really good. These guys love to play and this release tells it
all. Fill your can and get a rag.

Neil Hamburger – Raw Hamburger [Drag City]

jack soil   3/6/2005   12-inch, A Library, Format

Art Huckman, Neil’s mother fucking manager has decided that Neil needs to get wi
th the goddamn times; spice up his fucking act so to speak, so, what better way
to season up an act than to do a RAW album. At first thing’s don’t go so goddam
n mother fucking right, but as soon as the cock sucking sound man gets his head
out of his ass, Neilllll motherfucking Hammmburgerrrrr gets rolling. Neil moves
from tame G/PG rated humor to full on ass reaming rated R shit. No holds barre
d, no punches pulled. No one is safe around this raunchy madman. This is an ass
kicking record (literally, actually, Neil gets his ass kicked by a pissed off patron)
Neil doesn’t know when to fucking stop on this one. Language galore here. For
you music lovers, there’s even a little song tacked onto the end of the album
about a urine filled vegetable garden. Listen to this album a couple of times
and you’ll be reminded of the genesis that is Neil Hambuger. Perfect for late
nights. Bottom line, this shit is fuckin’ funny as hell, so get your head out of your
ass and play this record mother scratcher.

KARP – “KARP” [Up Records]

jack soil   3/6/2005   7-inch, A Library, Format

Power Scare trio outta Olympia, Washington, where “it’s the water” translates in
to some serious rock. Heavy, rhythmic, angry, combative sounds emanate from both
sides of the white vinyl UP Records supplies. Supposedly creating sensory overload
when taken live; this 7″ caputures the vibe well. Wounds that won’t heal are the
result of Side A, and Side B applies sandpaper to those same festering, oozing sores. Unmerciful,crushing, massive release.

Gasoline – “Gasoline” [Estrus]

jack soil   3/6/2005   12-inch, A Library, Format

apanese drunk rockers, Gasoline, tear the shit out of this slab o’ vinyl. Produced
and assisted by Tim Kerr (Lord High Fixers, Jack O’Fire, Poison 13) and Michael
Maker (Makers), this trio’s debut feedback infused release on Estrus never lets up. Evidently, the singer, Gan, graduated with honors from the Captain Jack and
Scully school of microphone techniques so that the profanity and other vox are
barely intelligible. That being stated, Estrus releases always seem to kick
superior ass, and this is no exception. 14 high-octane incendiary tracks of sloppy,
RockNRoll. No foolin, this ripps!

Earth Crisis “The Oath That Keeps Me Free”

jack soil   3/6/2005   A Library, CD, Format

Earth Crisis, the vegan straightedge band out of Syracuse NY, the epitome of sXe
bands, sets up 12 live massive hardcore tunes that spoil everything in their path.
Total sonic annhilation of anything in their path appears to be be the goal – and
they, without a doubt, exceed all objectives. Check out the first track, Cream’s
“Sunshine Of Your Love”. I’m guessing Eric Clapton never expected this. This is
their first live album; it is a benefit for the father of one of the guys in
the band. Pure, punishing power. Vox are practically indistinguishable; one
track, 11, has a somewhat noticible FUCK. Even if you’re not into their whole
politics/veganism/living drug, alcohol, smoke free, and everything else associated
with sXe, give it a spin. Oppressors beware.

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