Music Reviews

Mortiferum / Hyperdontia [coll] – [Carbonized]

whngr   11/18/2021   7-inch, A Library

Dreary death metal split for a plague-aborted European tour. 

Mortiferum: Four-piece out of Seattle belt out gloomy dirge with terrible aplomb. Lumbering and battering their way through the gloomy fog of down-tuned bass and wraith bellows, guitars wail with unusual effects, and the bellow of an unintelligible prayer for death. 

Hyperdontia: The more up-tempo side of this split has slightly more guitar virtuosity and tumbles forth at a ruthless clip. Battling forward feverishly toward the abyss of eternal, ghastly repose.

A 2020 split release from Carbonized Records in the states and Saco Un Rojo in Europe (this clear repress from 2021).

King Champion Sounds – "Between Two Worlds" – [Hive Mind Records]

humana   11/17/2021   A Library, CD

The “Sounds” part of this band’s name is so appropriate, given all the great sounds and genres represented on this album. The band itself is remarkable with its guitars, percussion, horns, vocals, and vibraphone (check out “Libra Libra Libra”). “This Monday Friday” is a real treat. Add to the band an amazing array of guests (listen to Mia Doi Todd on “Remembering Easby Abbey”) and you have a winner with something for everyone. I particularly enjoyed the first half of the album, although all of it is great.

Cult Leader “A Patient Man” [Deathwish]

atavist   11/16/2021   A Library, CD

Cult Leader work through their pain with two distinct aesthetics on A Patient Man. Tracks 1, 2, 6, 7, 8: Raw and unyielding, pummeling onslaught, hardcore and metal mashed up in mathy structures. Pushed into the red, vocal chords strained to the point of shredding, whiplash chord changes, washes of screeching guitars. Tracks 4, 5, 9: sullen, sorrowful, almost plaintive ballads with rich, clean, baritone vocals. Tracks 3 and 10 are sort of hybrids of the two aesthetics, mixing the slow and mournful with the spitting fury. Crystal-precise engineering throughout by Kurt Ballou (the Converge guitarist who runs Godcity)—you’ll feel the bass strings rattling under your molars. FCC track 6.

Vengeance Space Quartet “The Decaying of The Year” [Live Bait Recording Foundation]

atavist   11/16/2021   A Library, CD

Semi-improvisational jams recorded over a three-hour period in 2016 that are intended to resemble the Cleveland band’s inebriated live offerings. It kicks off with a few minutes of slowly building, kinda eerie sounds, and by minute four, the track “White Dwarf, Red Giant” is pretty heavy and getting into some doomy dirge. Track two, “Parting Shot”, picks up the pace a bit. Muddy, a bit of grit, jangles, frayed nerves. Driving, pounding drums. They don’t shy away from noisier passages, frequently unleashing a nearly incoherent din as synths and processors pile on top of manic strings in “I’ll Take Trouble for 3”. Track four, “This Is Not a Time for Reflection”, has a pretty nice epic-feeling riff to open it up a bit. It’s a bit of a clarifying agent after track three’s cacophony. Strange near-atonalities, music on the verge of falling apart. But fear not, the year is decaying but the music is hanging in there (by a thread in some cases). Track five, “Mini Malice Ring”, is another slow builder that falls into a laid-back stroll with eccentric deviations. About 10 seconds of silence conclude the track. They wrap up with “Lurking Down the Drain”, in which a heavy riff is tempered by clanky malfunctioning machinery feels. Are there FCCs on this track? I honestly can’t tell. VSQ’s willingness to do things their own way makes for some unique sounds. Some of it’s pretty murky and doesn’t always land, but that’s actually what makes it work. Three tracks are 10–11 minutes long and the other three are about 6 minutes long.

WEEED/Do You Fall?

carsonstreet   11/16/2021   12-inch, A Library

Weeed (from Portland, Oregon) is a quintet of experimental musicians on double drum sets, percussion, bass, guitar, flute, synthesizers, vocal harmony and ambient live looping. They’ve shared the stage with bands such as Kikagaku Moyo, Connan Mockasin, OM, Acid Mothers Temple, Earth, and Dead Meadow. Hints of lysergic folk pass naturally into and out from hypnotic and energetic jams inspired by North and West African songs and rhythms. Complex time signatures, vocal harmonies, and raw heaviness. Setting aside bass for the first time ever, the band relies on twin electric guitars and a milieu of percussive and acoustic instruments to weave a rich tapestry. Just take a look at the bands they have shared the stage with and you will know who they are.

Elara Sunstreak Band/Vostok

carsonstreet   11/16/2021   12-inch, A Library

These cosmonauts celebrate a progressive psychedelic record on which monologues with the lizard king and the 60th anniversary of Gagarin‘s maiden flight do not seem to be out of the realm. Beautiful blend of heavy jams, middle eastern tinged passages and prog influences. Like the perfect mix of Causa Sui, Elder, My Sleeping Karma and a bit of Kikagaku. Vostok was a Soviet manned space flight program and Vostok 1 was the first human space flight (Yuri Gargarin at the controls). This one knocked me out – best musical trip in a while.

Daniel Wieland – Bass, FX, Vocals
Felix Schmidt – Guitars, Sitar, Sounds, Synth
Martin Wieland – Drums
Christian Wick – Hammond Organ, Mellotron, Fender Rhodes


carsonstreet   11/16/2021   A Library, CD

Live 2021 (after a 12-year hiatus) at Vienna, Kramladen! Interkosmos meets from time to time to participate in festivals without having a very solid structure. The project produced one album in 2009 which is full of spacey improvisations headed by Sergio Ceballos’ fantastic guitar work. Described as an intergalactic psychedelic space jam band. Sprawling space sounds tell stories of far galaxies – the music fuses single instruments into each other and the sound gets a swirly acid madness. What matters is the flow. A wonderful soundtrack for a journey to the vastness of the inner cosmos. Kick back and relax this is gonna be fun.

Bandt, Ros – "Medusa Dreaming" – [Hearing Places]

Ms. Conduct   11/15/2021   A Library, CD

A sound sculptural homage to water and dreams, Medusa Dreaming, enacts the aboriginal dreamtime in this aural prayer to the hydrosphere. Recorded as a live performance in the Byzantine Basilica Cistern by Australian environmental sound artist-sculptor, Ros Bandt and the Medusa Ensemble. Bandt construes a menagerie of ghost whistles, flutes, harps, shells & shakers, ethereal vocalizations and other improvised electroacoustic ambient noise to incant and resurrect water spirits from the ravages of the Anthropocene. This site-specific composition draws source from its locale—an underground water palace beneath Istanbul, Turkey—reconstructing a ‘sonic archaeology’. Glass tears from the ceremonial cistern. Aeolian harps are plucked by crimsoning fingers at the bottom of Lake Mungo. A Rimu tree’s ultrasonic growth bends into the hydrophone stream of frenzied carp feeding in waters beneath the live performance audience.  Welcome the drown ceremony as Ophelia and enter this bathy-spheric hallucination.

Glands of External Secretion – “Chronic Pussyfooting” -[BUFMS]

SlartiBartfast   11/15/2021   A Library, CD

Glands of External Secretion – “Chronic Pussyfooting”

Stepping off the gang plank of the starship into outer space you realize the sonic Secretions from an External Gland are taking over your fading consciousness. You float helplessly in the vacuum of dark matter as the duo of Barbara Manning on guitar and S. Glass on elect., synth, and tapes send you out on a cosmic journey. You realize oxygen doesn’t matter. The whizzing in your ears are the countless cosmic asteroids transmitting the hypnotic music from distant pulsars. Chronic Pussyfooting emanating from the depths of space providing just enough oxygen for sensitive ears to receive, and don’t worry, the pain in you sciatic nerve will dissipate in due order. Just give it time….and don’t forget the catnip….

75 Dollar Bill – “Little Big Band Live At Tubby’s” – [Grapefruit Records]

SlartiBartfast   11/15/2021   12-inch, A Library

75 Dollar Bill – “Little Big Band Live at Tubby’s”

What an improvisational, jazz/jam/rock-n-roll musical treat. Che Chen and Rick Brown team up with a multi-instrumental ensemble for this live recording at Tubby’s NYC in March of 2020, just before COVID lock down. Masters of blending Moorish guitar sounds in an experimental interpretation that collides with improvisational free jams, this live recording includes many other musicians such as Karen Waltuch on viola, Sue Garner on bass and Cheryl Kingan on alto and baritone sax. This collaboration leads to a meditative, contemplative, and other worldly musical consciousness that recalls the days of The Factory. A live musical happening that will find its way through you to the far reaches of the galaxy and beyond. Enjoy all you space spiders…

Lansdowne, J. – “J. Lansdowne” – [Self Released]

SlartiBartfast   11/9/2021   12-inch, A Library

Lansdowne, J.  – “J. Lansdowne”

“J. Lansdowne” is a solid fantastic debut release of dreamy, psychedelic, stoner rock with a heavy blues backbone. This fuzzed out captivating musical journey is the brain child of Atlanta, GA’s own J. Lansdowne and drummer Ben Bauermeister with a little help from guitarist Arjun Kulharya on track 2. Rich with lyrics that reflect the insanity of the last couple of years and the wonders of unexpected cosmic happenings, these equally fuzzed out vocals will satisfy your itch for that cathartic musical escape. Grab your comfy chair, sit back and enjoy…..

Lay Waste / Future of Pulse [coll] – [Fusty Cunt]

lexi glass   11/9/2021   12-inch, A Library

2018 Fusty C— split LP between two of the best in American noise. First up is the maniacal, methodical scrap metal noise of Mania (Keith Brewer, also known for his main power electronics project Taint). The material here was created during the same sessions as the album Little Pieces of Violence, some of the last recordings before his untimely passing in 2019. “Lay Waste” opens with metal objects scraping and nauseating feedback. Brewer’s disturbed vocals and high pitched feedback build the intensity, finally achieving total destruction by the disc’s end. On the B side, the devastating power electronics of Deterge (Jim Haras, find his other excellent work as Laureate in our library, he also runs Fusty C). “Future of Pulse” was inspired by the 2016 mass shooting at the Pulse Nightclub in Miami. Absolutely relentless, Deterge pushes the electronics and vocals way past the limits to a space beyond.

Flowertown – "Flowertown" – [Mt. St. Mtn.]

humana   11/7/2021   12-inch, A Library

Listening to this right after Cindy’s “Free Advice,” I felt right at home, and there’s a reason for that–Flowertown is Karina Gill of Cindy, with Michael Ramos of Tony Jay. These two exchanged tapes during the quarantine of 2020 and came up with this great album. So more dreamy pop with mellow vocals against lovely musical backdrops. Who says good things didn’t come from the lockdown?

Cindy – "Free Advice" – [Tough Love Records]

humana   11/7/2021   12-inch, A Library

This is an entirely mellow album, not sad, but almost…not peppy, but almost…dreamy vocals sung by Karina Gill who also plays guitar, atop cool rhythms by Simon Phillips on drums and percussion, Aaron Diko on synth and keys, and Jesse Jackson on bass and keys. It’s hazy and pleasant, and if you want to read the lyrics, they’re printed on the record sleeve, or you could just let them wash over you with the music, which is an entirely pleasant experience.

Xiu Xiu – “Plays The Music of Twin Peaks” – [Polyvinyl Record Company]

Max Level   11/7/2021   12-inch, A Library

This stunning album originally came out in 2016, re-released now on its fifth anniversary with a bonus track (or more accurately a download code for a bonus track.) If you know the music from the Twin Peaks series you will of course recognize many of the themes here. The music is haunting, desolate, tense, and unnerving just as you would expect. Xiu Xiu—these days the lineup is pretty much just Jamie Stewart and Angela Seo, with percussive contributions from Shayna Dunkelman—reimagine Angelo Badalamenti’s soundtrack with all manner of keyboards, percussion, a howling guitar or two, sound effects, and Stewart’s distinctively off-kilter vocals. The final track on Side D features Seo reading a diary entry full of sex and fear and murder and it doesn’t do much for me; however it does seem worthy of inclusion and some may enjoy it. All of the other tracks are top notch, and the album flows beautifully. The bonus track is more musically aggressive than the rest of the album and the vocals on it are by Maestro Badalamenti himself.

Scathing – A Capital Beneath The Waves

Number 6   11/7/2021   A Library

Austin man takes a turn at the harsh noise wall of epileptic seizures on the forever-metastasizing Oxen label and he does a welcome turn at the attention deficit stabbing wheel of disruption but it is clinically cleaner than all the babies’ bottoms that Albert Fish licked clean. so pure that you will need adolescent canine ears to notice and appreciate all the intricacies and more importantly you’ll need vats of trauma informed narcotics and antidepressants to recover from exposure at loud volumes which is really the only way to get this deep within so you can go that far without

Atmosphere – The Day Before Halloween

Number 6   11/7/2021   A Library

he sounds a little bruised and tired probably because he hasn’t aged well.  few do.  lyrics continue to combine experimental nonsequitur with glimpses of abstract and literal autobiographical sketches with sort of rhymes that don’t seem to go anywhere.  if you’re looking for enlightenment you might have missed the joke but you’ll have no problem going with his conspicuously electronic synth’d frigid flow that sounds fucking heavy and clearer than your perfect hearing before you ruined in your 20’s smothered by a sick stereo system that can handle the bottom ass end of the boom but fuck is it painfully slow and narcoleptic when he seems to be singing sort of in tune without any fool’s auto dithered gold but you won’t mind cause he don’t stay that long moving on to the next pseudo wise crack nug of flimsy insight that you might relate to or not just nod yer nog and negate your thought and hit it only during Safe Harbor


Anatomia – Corporeal Torment

Number 6   11/7/2021   A Library

self-described dismal slow death metal is a more than adequate and accurately apt description and favorable review of Japanese legends who build atmosphere over primitive technique that few can hope to achieve must less imitate.  there is no such thing as a bad Anatomia album.  somehow the duo’s vocalist manages a low register that isn’t humanly possible, a kind of inverted Tuvan meditation not far off from legendary peers Corrupted.  known for blurring distinctions between old school death and doom this fatalistic self worthless ever worsening and increasingly painful deterioration of life perfectly expresses the pointless effort sustaining it any longer.

Hey!Tonal – “Hey!Tonal” – [Computer Students]

mickeyslim   11/5/2021   A Library, CD

Hey!Tonal is the project of Kevin Shea, Theo Katsaounis, Alan Mills, David Davison, and Mitch Cheng. Recorded instrument-by-instrument over a period of two years in places across the world, each composition is filled with meticulously arranged, lush, mathrockin’ polyrhythms and polymelodies. The tracks were composed based of the drum track expertly executed by Shea and recorded over multiple times. The playful guitar work of Mills, Davison, and Cheng is mesmerizing, almost hypnotic. Because of the multilayered melodies, it’s rather easy to find yourself lost, following one melody then the next, twirling in atonal circles, but you never get dizzy. Katsaounis provides electronic accompaniment that fits perfectly among the madness, droning, tweaking, squirking, glitching exactly when it needs to.

Absolutely fantastic piece that, despite its avante-garde approach, is really quite accessible.

Von Till, Steve – “Harvestman – 23 Untitled Poems” – [Neurot Recordings]

mickeyslim   11/4/2021   A Library, CD

Absolutely fantastic spoken word poetry of Steve Von Till of Neurosis fame.

While this is titled “23 Untitled Poems,” because of similar thematic elements, I would absolutely consider this one large piece of 23 parts. The poems are even collected into 4 tracks, each manipulated in its own unique way. The first track (parts 1-5) is Von Till’s voice only. His voice, as you can probably imagine, is smoky, gritty, aged like a fine milk. The remaining tracks (parts 6-12, 13-18, 19-23, respectively) include subtle electronics in the background, found sounds, etc. and Von Till’s voice is manipulated. While the sounds on here are very nice, it’s really the words and voice that are the feature here. Themes of fragility, sorrow, loss, being made of stardust, and a lot more. The words to these poems are printed inside.

Very cool, don’t miss!

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