Music Reviews

East Village Other, the – “Electric Newspaper, Hiroshima. ” – [Esp]

Thurston Hunger   9/4/2005   A Library, CD

It all seems smaller now, time has passed…a 12″
record, accompanying liner notes and lost years
are crammed into this jewel box. Still, some of
the cognitive dissonace is still striking (#8 has
Pres as both Daddy and A-Bomb Papa-Dropper).
Ishmael Reed too! SplinterTest splice-fest fans &
people who delve in overlaying different sonic
inputs will enjoy this Aug 6 1966 slice o’ life.
This document’s a time when the world appeared
black and white, but red all under. We now know
the Underground came to save not slay USA. An
un-sound collage here and liner notes ring the
alarm again today, it’s a brand new day, so to
speak. (Have we got) time to wake up? Enjoy
chants and chance collisions. If you want a
real disconnect, compare the press and prez now
and then. Go ask Alice…and LBJ.

Deadbolt – “Zulu Death Mask ” – [Cargo Records]

Thurston Hunger   9/4/2005   A Library, CD

Back from the Deadbolt, straight outta Africa
it’s the band that gives good shrunken head!
I like this even more than watching Adam West
as Batman dance, come to think of it the music’s
pretty much the same: operating the reverb unit
well above the posted maximum, straight-ahead
zombie stomp, voodoobilly rock ‘n roll. Lot’s
of croaky spoken vocals…Johnny Cash doing
a Clint Eastwood impersonation. Censored news
broadcasts you won’t hear any where else,
killer clowns, walking dead, bisexual
puppet shows, death masks…and it’s all true.
Creepy cryptographic tales from the crypt,
you DO need to know! Special Agent Hunger

Bailterspace – “Photon ” – [Turnbuckle Records]

Thurston Hunger   9/4/2005   A Library, CD

Same old zeal from these transplanted New Zealanders.
Following the distorto-drive trajectory of their
early work(which KFJC is blessed with a wealth of),
this *very short* EP has some fine blister rock.
Song structure as simple as fossils, occasional
shadowy vox sneer in. Track 3 offers a nice change
of pace in the guise of a depresso-ballad. Again
at a whopping 18 minutes I am not sure what is up
here, did a band member get injured a recording
contract go sour or all of their amps burst into
flames?’ Track four (!!) and the last two proto-
songs promise much don’t stick around long.

Fischoff, Dave – “Winston Park ” – [Secretly Canadian]

Thurston Hunger   9/4/2005   A Library, CD

Horton hears a Hoosier? An artist’s enclave seems
to be blossoming in Bloomington, home to the artist
and label here. Fischoff’s first official release
is like the opening scene of “To Kill A Mockingbird”
a slow detailed close-up of intimate totems. Sad
ballads linger with quiet force, hushed death-bed
vocals over gentle music box guitar. Solid in and
of themselves (lyrically loaded!) the songs are
wonderfully augmented by stolen memories.
Thriftstore cassette scrounging provides Fischoff
with some wistful hissing snippets to mix in with
his work – a piano lesson on track 5, a chorus of
happy birthday. children singing a hymn. The audio
equivalent of the old inscribed photos that adorn
this compact disc. Note some songs track.
A melancholy voyeur’s delight.

Lau Nau – “Kuutarha ” – [Locust Music]

Thurston Hunger   9/4/2005   A Library, CD

Worried that Florian’s Frickeing death prevents a holy union
of Popol Vuh and Caroliner?’ Fret not, Lau Nau (nee Laura
Naukkarinen from the Anaksimandros from Finland) channels
the sonic spirits. The results are enchanting, with that tiny
twitch of itchiness clawing at your fleshly earlobe a la
Caroliner. Voices and flutes float on top of each other,
tambura fires burn eternal on tracks, percussion-on-a-stick
in-a-slow-breeze fills many of the tracks. Nepal nuances are
not just covert, there’s a cover of a Nepalese number on #9,
complete with those see-sawing strings. Icy steadiness on a
lot of numbers, make it feel almost like a field recordings
album that the musicologist was moved to sing along with.
“Kuula” is too kuula for school, definite siren song.

Los Hermanos – “Resurrection ” – [Underground Resistance]

Thurston Hunger   9/4/2005   7-inch, A Library

Gerald Mitchell delivers the brotherly beats here with a nice
aquatic Submerge’d subway rider on “Resurrection.” All clean
curved corners and rail-riding rhythm. 808 claps slaps your
neck in and out of joint. On the flip side “Freedom Dancer”
jumps immediately in your face with a four-quarter pounder.
Brilliant fleck-flings of piano add the to manic movement,
and some sort of “Who do you love(?’)” voodoo sample is
summoned on top. As this is just the 7″, the sweat barely
breaks theoretically on all you mental dancers right when
the slow fade on percussion knocks you out of your ruby
slide slippers back into your sleepy socks. Still the
battle of the bounce has been won, who said Resistance is

Borful Tang – “Root ” – [Snurp]

Thurston Hunger   9/4/2005   A Library, CD

Back on the Tang gang with Dominic Cramp and his supersonic
blender-in-a-briefcase. Scoring a big yes from Cramped-up
samples of No Means No (#1) and the outstanding international
collections of the Secret Museum of Mankind which gets
dropped into a hyperkinetic drumroll on #4 (the bagpipes
are nearly torn to bits, but survive). There’s organ bombast
on “Majestic Shuffle” strafed by unidentified flying synths.
And if you missed meeting John and Mary on the “Destroyer”
CD version Dominic tricked us with earlier, they are back
and as confused as ever here. Indeed they are hungering for
more in “The Restaurant”, which cuts me up and my lil pumpkin
head. Accidental digital hardcore whipped up on #2, but by
the end of all the denaturing of sound, the robots, samples,
pedals, effects exist solely to take a walk in the snow with
the birds. (Probably robot birds, built out of scrap from
Chinese prison toy factories…). Plunderphrenetic.

Psychatrone Rhonedakk – “Disturbs the Air ” – [Black Plastic Sound]

Thurston Hunger   9/4/2005   A Library, CD

Attack of the ten-foot Rhonedakk! I didn’t realize this
Scrantoniac was actually the lantern-wielding wizard from the
“Song Remains the Same”, who knew? Fortunately, Rhonedakk’s
songs vary a great deal from release. We start with a dry
tabla lit up under a psych-rock riff-n-flamer. “Violet Ray
Theme” gets the percussion going sideways and on collision
course with other overdubbed rhythms. That’s pretty much the
only ostensible guitar-work on the album. Other dry homemade
percussion clatters in on #7, with a zombie moan mantra
on top. That moan is on #2 as well, with a whale-laser
sustain sound that could be a theremin’ Or maybe it is the
last vestige of guitar. The rest of the album works an
omnisynth with ominous tones. “Ground Zero Station” starts
like Oskar Sala in an outer ring of hell. But dials in some
freakier frequencies on top as time goes along. “Disturbed
Air Molecules” is an 11+ min opus of hob-goblin-knobbery.
Outstanding dark matter on that! A Warren Zevon cover creeps
in the shadows as well followed by a wet chime climbing.
The album ends with jammed transmission clearing for vocals
(his grow on you with time and reverb). The Plastic bleeds a
bit more Black this time…

Chrystal Belle Scrodd – “Inevitable Chrystal Belle Sc.. ” – [Klang Galerie]

Thurston Hunger   9/4/2005   A Library, CD

Colonel Cliche says “Behind every good man is a woman” …but
the trick is to get her out in front of him. CBS was the sonic
union of Diana Rogerson and her wounded half, Steven Stapleton.
Together they create an intoxicating psycho-active, sexually
charged experience with help from their friends and offspring(?)
This is a reissue of their second album from 1985, we’re lucky
to have the original first on vinyl! The controlled cacaphony
of the tracks is more than compelling, but the over-the-top
and under-the-skirt vocals of artist/goddess Diana bewitch us.
Her thoughts fertilize the loamy mix of sax, tapes, piano, all
manner of klunk-and-junk percussion. The result is a mind-meld
of psychedelic and psychosis. The lead-off cut zigzags screech
vocals a la Diamanda with broken glass rock leading into a
saucy spell. Outstanding! We get a child’s split personality
on “The Little Seed / Schitzo” while on “Relax” it’s a vampy,
loungey therapist treatment. For “Two Hot Pricks” it sounds
like dueling tibetan horns. “Reach for Your Gun” is a drive-by
rant. “Unknown” wanders through some wasteland, with operatic
voices drifting in and out of clouds of music. The whole album
pegs a pagan power. No Belle, No Prize!

Johannsson, Johann – “Englaborn ” – [Touch]

Thurston Hunger   9/4/2005   A Library, CD

I checked this out as I had heard Johannsson helped found the
outstanding Kitchen Motors label (he’s also in the Apparat
Organ Quartet which has released music on that label). This
is music from a play of the same name. Several bittersweet
themes are worked in and out of the tracks…including the
opening sung by a (heart?)shattered robot. There’s an overall
feeling of sun breaking through clouds ray by ray, slow notes,
pauses between phrases, little high-octave piano melodies
that drop so tiny. Like tears. The chamber quartet give this
a conventional feel, but the composition has an undeniable
beauty. An Icelandic vibe still chills the air through,
notably on “Karen byr til engil” and “…eins og venjuleft
folk” and other moments. “Salfraedingur” takes one of the
now-familiar themes and pours it over a rapid refrigerator
rhythm. The entire recording really begs to be listened to
all the way through, though the leading number with the robo-
latin intonation is so drop-dread gorgeous it overshadows
the rest of the album, which has its own stately sorta
Gavin Bryars sweep. In HAL tradition, the computerized vox
return at the end, slowed waaaay down though not singing
“Daisy” but instead the “Odi et Amo”

Narita, Munehiro – “S/T ” – [Psf]

Thurston Hunger   9/4/2005   A Library, CD

Scathing searching electric guitar from Narita of High Rise.
This is Narita’s first solo recording and he wastes no time
firing up the acetylene distortion and ripping through four
extended pyro-improvs. The fourth is a slow burn rising with
Ueno Takashi (of Maher Shalal Hash Baz) slowly tinkering
and fingering away while Narita solos in a more relaxed way
weaving in and out till then end which is sort of Yardbirdsy
if you know what I mean. Takashi is also on #2, which has a
more mysterious feel, and some great whinnying feedback (like
a flute sputtering). There’s a great envelope of effects on
the guitar on #2 and through out, with Narita making minor
knobby adjustments here and there. But always a lot of sustain
and bite to the electricity. Track #3 was my favorite feeling
like a gestational song for long stretches, before the bbq
guitar grill kicks in. And at times the amp sounds like it is
clotting with distorto-dirt. Great! With a quintuple-exposed
photo inside I flashed on Jimmy Page, is there any doubt that
the Solo Remains the Same. Wail on, Sky Dog!

Six Foot Slotherball [coll] – [Self Release]

Thurston Hunger   9/4/2005   A Library, CD

Two different CDrs, joined at the hip and hipper parts solely
for the pleasure of KFJC listeners. The Great NorthWet spawns
some sweet soggy pop. Rollerball *always* gets my ears a
salivating. Here they trade tunes with their Slothy friends…
The ‘ball bounces further off the beaten path, “Another Day”
is another world away from the tasty, drippy dour offerings
of Six Foot Sloth. The Sloth naturally moves slowly, though
not without grace. “Holding Babies” does a kind of “Lay Lady
Lay” calypso, and “the Jed” can carry a tune. Meanwhile in
Rollerballville, the tune gets dropped, stepped on, vocals
caterwauled and doubled up. God I love ’em! And hornage
too… Back with the Sloth, they do deliver a dirgy blues
to even their peppier moments, and lyrics have a whiff o’
mortality that’ll please KFJC’s Ophelia Necro and others.
Not whistling, but humming past the graveyard. They are
coming to visit us for a live mic pronto (with Remora as
well!!) Maybe they’ll be joined more that a hip and we’ll
get Slotherball slathered all over the pit.

King Cobra, the – “Mini Cd (W/ Temporary Tattoo) ” – [Self Release]

Thurston Hunger   9/4/2005   A Library, CD

Short blast that leaps out the barrel before the pistol is
cocked. Toothy twosome with Washingtone bite and washed-out
old Rush t-shirts. This EP closes with a cover of “Beneath
Between Behind” that is just sorta funny and irresistible
if you ever liked Rush (and we’ll stop there before this gets
into a Neil Peart argument). The first track, a slice o panic
pop called “Malefick” feels like it was joined in process…
heavy breathing, dorky Devo keyboards, cowbells!! and kisses
“shtolen” Next up “E.M.E.R.G.E.N.C.Y” starts out like an
Earth cover-band trying to do a math number…odd tempo that
gets kicked up 7.3 notches before the vocals join in. Circus
keyboards dance along with the guitar lines. Hysteric vocals
(with rubber-roams of reverb) are a highlight on this and
the other two cuts. Betsy Kwo on guitar, Rachel Carns on drums and they’re headed KFJC’s way soon for a complete rendition of 2112.

Business Lady – “Skull Bashing ” – [Pacific Rock]

Thurston Hunger   9/4/2005   7-inch, A Library

San Diego four piece, delivers rock solid chunks of chugga
chugga churning music. Vocals gang up on choruses, guitar
effects slang-tune in parts…drums percolate like all
night coffee. “He’s Pissing” has a nice sort of sway to
it…along with some guttural groaning and light blitz
electronis. “Medublah Sedublah” seems to have a seizure
ready to happen, with an indirect Twin Peak reference
perhaps. Again the drums…looks like no sleep for Paul.
“Space for Face” let’s the drummer catnap in parts and
cascades guitar pick-sweeps of the neck over a sorta
Gang of Four bass. The Lady is allll Business.

Birds, the – “Let’s Do the Velvets ” – [Important Records]

Thurston Hunger   9/4/2005   7-inch, A Library

You can take the girl out of the Acid Mother, but you cannot
take the acid out of the girl. Cotton Casino teams up with
Per Gisle Galaen to overdose beautifully on the Velvet
Underground. Listening to “Femme Fatale” one can almost
lealize that Nico actually wanted to sing with a Japanese
accent. The song starts out as wedding dirge march, but
towards the end disto-guitar ripples the skies. Meanwhile
“Here She Comes Now” turns into an early morning mantra
trying to seduce the sun up. Acoustic guitar spirals, oozy
vox and Helge Sten’s patented Deathprod sonic wrapping help
to plant this one deep within your cranium. With backwards
guitar serving like a hook on foxtail to make sure it this
song gets snared there. Very promising advance to the Birds
full-length first-flight! An Important record indeed!
-Thurston Hunger #37

[coll] The New Music [RCA]

Hunter Gatherer   8/23/2005   12-inch, A Library

In 1967 the Rome Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Bruno Maderna, recorded four atonal, serial, and/or aleatory works. Ignore the Fresh-Air-esque middlebrow notes on the back of the record sleeve and just drop the fukkin’ needle.

The four pieces:

Kontra-Punkte (Stockhausen, 1952) – It sounds like music being built from the ground up. Tones are clustered into molecules of sound called a ‘group.’ Tone, length, timbre are set against each other to give a feeling of conflict and restlessness. (Name drop! ‘I’m friends with the nephew of Frederic Rzewski, who plays piano on this recording.)

Threnody for the Victims of Hiroshima (Pendercki, 1960) – Originally called 8? 37″, this piece starts off like those annoying THX promos they play before a movie. But then you are softened up with a light pummeling by blocks of string sound. This gives way to a dreadful silence that gradually fills in with ashes and embers of sounds scraped from string instruments. One last whack with a sound block sends you on your way to side B.

Available Forms I (Brown, 1961) – This piece is partially composed by the conductor because he can pick from events on the score in any order. I think this piece is about a big amoeba that keeps eating instruments it can’t digest. Or maybe that’s a book I read to my kids.

Rimes pour differentes sources sonores (Pousseur, 1959) – This is my favorite one. Here we finally get some electronic sounds from our electronic pioneers. Natural sounds are fixed up with electronically processed sounds by a mutual friend and wind up taking a white noise shower together on their first date. The second section, more of a coda really, has two sextets with brass and woodwinds scraping up against each other until they both disappear.

–Hunter Gatherer

Close, The/Rosebuds [coll] – [Goodnight]

mitch   8/16/2005   7-inch, A Library

Raleigh, NC core duo Ivan Howard (vocals, guitar) and
Kelly Crisp (keyboards, vocals) front THE ROSEBUDS
(fast & furious on ???We???ve Had Enough???), a act
currently on US tour with TEENAGE FANCLUB. It is
Howard???s touch-of-helium voice & Crisp???s frenetic use of
keyboard coloration that punch their all-original songs
through to Funland; fellow progenitors THE CLOSE (as
in proximity) began in Auburn AL ten years ago, since
relocating to Atlanta and recording several releases for
. Equally hard hitting but more tactile &
austere, front man Brooks Meeks embraces anthems,
analog keyboards (as played by Theresa Marie Fedor),
and lyrical sincerity. Two fine Southeast indie rock tracks
exclusive to new label run by Nathan Jones & Keith
Vogelsong (THE BLUE HOUR).
MITCH August 2005

Baby Dee “Love’s Small Song” [Durtro Records] (CD)

lombard   8/9/2005   A Library, CD

While listening to this I was reminded of Antony, so it’s not surprising that Baby Dee shares a label with Antony & the Johnsons. The feeling is dramatic, like this is the soundtrack to an opera or musical, with themes of love and nature (including bird samples from Baby Dee’s mom’s Cleveland backyard). Baby Dee is a drag performer from NY and on this release (recorded in 2001) utilizes voice, piano, accordian and harp. CD2 is a lengthy track of bird sounds. Limited to 1000 copies, enjoy the beauty and drama of this self-described “circus freak and happy whore.” (added 8-9-2005)

-Cynthia Lombard

Dead Texan, The- “S/T” – [Kranky] (CD)

lombard   8/2/2005   A Library, CD

This is the first solo project of Adam Wiltzie of Stars of the Lid, Aix Em Klemm and Windsor for the Derby. Wiltzie calls the music here mini symphonies and the sound IS symphonic, atmospheric, almost classical with piano, strings, guitar and bits and pieces of voice (although subtle). Pop this into a computer to see music videos by Wiltzie and Christina Vantzos. Very pleasant material. (added 8-2-2005)

-Cynthia Lombard

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