Music Reviews

Dechirico – "Kumamoto/Kumaso" – [Jacktone]

humana   5/24/2020   7-inch, A Library

Bubbling, energetic electronic happiness emanates from both these tracks, the first of which was inspired by a place in Japan badly affected by an earthquake after the music was written. Play it to honor the place, play it to raise your spirits, play it to free yourself from the cage you may be in.

Oxenberg, Dan + Bear Galvin +Friends (Pillow Mt. Conspiracy) – "Early Abstractions Vol. 1" – [Feeding Tube Records]

Thurston Hunger   5/20/2020   12-inch, A Library

Frogs in a blender, punchline to a tired joke, but for KFJC listeners it might be one third of the recipe for this album. On first listen, my sonic blender had the Frogs + Ivor Cutler + “Final Relaxation” (that ol’ fools’ Golding with Hamburger helper). Better peeps would detect Supreme Dicks, Oxenberg’s group of yester-ear. Anyways, this 2019 album has a sorta gentle creepiness, that and the occasional wheezy organ brought Cutler to my mind.

More acoustic than the twin-lead tweakery of the Dicks, but electric six-strings and electronic other things make this more than a freak folk flyby. That and there’s a deft hand in the sequencing. Side B launches so well, “Waves” with your captain speaking, then a laminitis lament for “Barbaro” followed by an instrumental tonic dedicated to “Fernado Rey” with its reverbed electric piano tinkering at windmills and flowing right into “Troubled Waters” – twisted wistful and definitely where the Relaxation kicks in. Other elements tucked in include the headphone smile of “Banjo Coke” and some scene stealers from “Welcome Home Johnny Bristol.” Definitely an album that grew on me…it’s never too late for Early Abstractions.
-Thurston Hunger

Cemetery Urn – “Barbaric Retribution” – [Hells Headbangers Records]

atavist   5/18/2020   A Library, CD

Scummy death metal from Melbourne, Australia. They are mainstays in the extreme scene there, and dedicated students of the craft. Double bass kick pummels and crusty dual guitar attack, with the occasional big guitar solo. Filthy vox that sometimes get lost in the mix. I’m totally cool with losing the vox in the mix, but I might want some other element to enter in its place…a middling reviewer’s perspective. What do you need to know? Every track is brutal, stripped-down, maniacally focused on the endgame. The album builds in force as it progresses, and the conflagration licks at the eaves by track 5, Manifesto Putrefacto. Here we find some really cool dynamism—wild, careening changes in tempo and cascading guitar riffs that have a narrative arc to them, a sense of taking the listener somewhere rather than simply stringing together one brutal passage after another in head-pummeling delirium. The title track has epic ambitions that nearly get there. Drop in Semblance of Malignant Mastery for four minutes of a nearly relentless speed that flirts with complete abandon, including an unhinged solo. Unwilling to go out timidly, they close out with moments of rapture amidst the flames in the final track. In summary, a pretty consistent release. The first four tracks are good, but the best stuff is found in tracks five through nine.

Ghast – “Terrible Cemetery” – [Forgotten Wisdom]

atavist   5/18/2020   12-inch, A Library

Frenzied tortured vocals of the damned. The landscape bereft of hope. Released on CD ten years ago, and re-released on vinyl five years later. Track one, eight minutes of building walls of dislocated delirium held in a stasis, suspended on the edge of misery. When they pick up the tempo, you understand how the term black metal comes to be associated with this project, but doom is always mentioned in the same breath. Track two has a longer run time (20 min) to lay rotted foundations and erect walls of pitted, charred stone, piece by cursed piece. A pitiless sky for a roof. The overall mix, the approach to the guitar picking, the song structures, point to something idiosyncratic. Yes, it’s doom, yes, it’s blackened, but these guys are weird. There is something strange about them, and they aren’t trying to be, they just are. About halfway through the second track the weather changes and it’s almost like a ray of light pierces the black clouds (almost). Fury unleashed in vain. Concludes with a brilliant ethereal fade-out.

Malamud, Bernard / Roth, Philip [coll] – [CMS Records, Inc]

whngr   5/14/2020   12-inch, A Library

Two authors read from their works about living in the squalor of the immigrant tenements  during the middle of the 20th century. Depressing and desperate, the characters are feeble, sick, wounded, and consumed with both the petty conflicts and survival within their shabby miserable flats. Thoughtful, bleak and insightful with faithful representations of the dialect and perspective of the Jewish men from that time.

Monokultur – "Monokultur" – [Ever/never]

Thurston Hunger   5/13/2020   12-inch, A Library

Downer duo, bedroom synth-pop during a power-outage. Synthesizers paradoxically fueled by some kind of apathy transformer, I guess. Vocals from Elin Engström and JJ Ulius taste of a hunger strike, songs are similarly skeletal. Dubby bass backbone, with light synth spin or barbiturate guitar nibbling at your ears. If you are like me, and you enjoy a drum machine that is need of therapy, this 2018/19 full-length debut will fill your skies with a rich slate gray.
I assume the album title is more a statement on their lo-fi sound than an homage to the same-named online zine. These two Swedeys also spend time changing units in the band Skiftande Enheter. On this album “Som en Hund” is the peppiest puppy of the litter, the last track, translates as “The Long Awaited End” I sure hope there’s life after that. Till then listen to this with a stethoscope, cold to the skin.

DJ meatball challenge: Make up English translations for the titles when on air.

Concrete Mascara – "Bilharzia" – [New Approach Records]

abacus   5/6/2020   A Library, CD

timely narrative of pathogenic spread from American trio Andrew Wilmer, Frank Cordry, Jack Scanlan for Portuguese label under Nekrogoat Heresy. static shock blankets of power electronx: starting off with a doom laden invocation worthy of Thothian imposition, the EP moves through various textures of feedback flatulence, boil, and squeal; screaming gateplay and prickly buzzcut frustrations vented through all layers of serrated fuzz edginess. play loud

Armon-Jones, Joe – “Turn To Clear View” – [Brownswood Recordings]

aarbor   5/6/2020   A Library

Joe Armon-Jones is kind of the MVP of the new London Jazz scene. He seems to play and record with everyone in that scene. He’s a graduate of Tomorrow’s Warriors – the primary training venue for most of the players in this scene. Armon-Jones is a keyboard player whose musical influences include: heavy dub, club culture, R&B, hip hop and even Afrobeat. His bandmates include: Oscar Jerome, Moses Boyd and Nubya Garcia. Nubya appears prominently on track 7 which is well worth a play, as are tracks 1, 4, 5 and 8. AArbor  

Parliaments, The – “Baby I Owe You Something Good” – [Revilot]

aarbor   5/6/2020   A Library

Released for Record Store Day 2019 this is an early recording by the Parliaments (with an ‘s’). It’s a period piece from 1967-68 – although not in league with the more popular music of the time. Sadly it lacks the energy and flourish of their later work but it gives the listener a sense of where they came from. Funkadelic later released a song with the same name – quite different. I liked the instrumentals (B side).  AArbor

White Gourd – “Magician Le Diable” – [Psychic Sound Recordings]

whngr   5/3/2020   12-inch, A Library

Meandering Occult Abstraction

Choral sounds weave through strata of alto saxophone and murmuring electronics calling to mind a corruption of Gregorian chants that cast aural spells and conjure sonorous spirits to dance among flickering candles and tiny tumbling plumes of fragrant smoke in a strange and meditative ritual. Tumbling hand percussion and shimmering cymbals conjoin with empty space and swells of ambient abstractions. Repetitive bass lines, raspy cries, pulses of minimalist organ both beautiful and haunting until the very end when the sounds begin to unravel into a menacing admonition of devil worship.White Gourd is the conceptual realm of Suzanne Stone (Million Brazilians) whose live performances employ(ed) tarot imagery and ominous theater that draw the audience into a confrontational and disturbing dream-realm of the crooked mage and her corrupted sonic familiars. A performance that I aspire to witness if and when the plague of men subsides. Compelling cover art designed and printed Grant Corum.


Acrylics – “Sinking In” – [Iron Lung Records]

whngr   5/2/2020   12-inch, A Library

Driving Spooky Hardcore

Santa Rosa’s Acrylics are rowdy. They’re pissed-off, they’re tripped-out, and they are chock full of cake. Between a deluge of down-stroke hooks and squealing feedback you’ll find ethereal, reverb soaked washes of melancholic guitar diving through synthesizer oscillations, vigorous drum-kit malice with beautifully crisp strikes to the snare (throat), and a bass throttling worthy of misdemeanor assault. Orbiting around the churning electric guitar, these tracks are adroitly mixed, emotive, and raw with a glistening dollop of psychedelia (scope the liner notes and video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BPGhsQo_4UE. to witness their enigmatic cake theme). There is a killer intro, a beautifully ominous ending and two meandering interludes that offer brief respites from the suffering, confusion, and venom that is spread liberally over the rest of the recording. In contrast to the introspective and personal lyrics the sounds emitted are aggressive, confrontational and is, in its essence, an album that provides the perfect backdrop for skating pools, serrated spatula fights, and eating cake… or perhaps all three at once.

Wound [coll] – [Carbon Records]

abacus   4/29/2020   12-inch, A Library

homage to the gueetar in all its gloree, an Americana that’s more postmodern in its primitive I think. short, accessible blurps celebrating the six string in all sorts of styles. what starts off as some plucking pleasantries gets thrown in the deep end of all sorts of experimental weirdnesses: psychedelic folk noise, trip ambient, stoner drone.. plenty of heavy hitters in here and too many familiar faces to even begin to name but I will anyways: a few of my favorites are the zone switch slap in the face by Bill Nace, Daniel Bachman’s surprisingly regal yet ethereal meditation, former Bardo Ponds Curanderos channeling some sort of alternate history, James Plotkin really knows how to mix a collage (and mastered this here comp of course too), sparse melodies throughout this compilation but really shine stark on Michael Morley, Wendy Eisenberg may just be the best new reinterpretations of the blues I’ve heard.. I’d say this is about a third just guitar tracks and the rest range in all different approaches so try one out, there’s definitely something here to suit everyone. oh yeah and check out the liner notes by John Olson on this one, I’m sure he’s got something interesting to say about it.

Ramirez, Richard & Skin Crime – "Pleasure, Commerce & Disease" – [PACrec]

abacus   4/29/2020   A Library, CD

2004 release from American harsh noise veterans, Richard Ramirez and Skin Crime join for this unholy slab of feedback worship composed of SC source material processed by Dick. thick, acerbic but sterile gray, not so much walls as shattered chalkboard skidding over flayed concrete. smells like the disinfectant coated linoleum surfaces, barely erasing the death and dismay seeped into the surface. empty lullabies to a barren room, you keep grasping at the surface, trying to wake for just a few last words but there’s nothing left to hold onto, you choke on sleep as they die laughing. a void so heavy it makes you want to squirm and weep. unavoidably, most lifeless desperation

AMK – “Super Panoramic Stereo Sound 5000” – [PACrec]

lexi glass   4/29/2020   A Library, CD

Twisted turntable insanity from AMK, the SF-to-LA-based noise artist who has conjured chaos from old record players and cut-and-pasted discs for nearly four decades. Intended to be played in random order, these tracks are utterly unpredictable, from the short segments of silence or surface noise on the untitled tracks, to the stack of thrift store records tossed into a blender and set on puree on “Jamboree” (T3) and “Calypso” (T11), to the simmering noise of “La Post” (T4) or the bounce and blast of “Bull Weevil” (T16). “Il Dome for the Bird” (T18, a live track with assistance from Damion Romero, Geoff Brandin, Erik Hoffman, Jorge Martin, and Bob Bellerue) is a springtime daymare where bright birdsong shapeshifts into an alien avian cheerleading squad that makes perfect dreamlogical sense with the accompanying narration sampled from nature documentary voiceovers. Released in 2007 on the even noisier sublabel of Troniks, PacRec.

Minadeo, Joseph & Brown, Curt – "Wood Land" – [Infraction]

humana   4/28/2020   A Library, CD

These are lovely, spare, melodic atmospheres that are warm enough to bring tears to your eyes. The words printed in the booklet insert offer poetic guides to what you are hearing, and occasional vocalizations seem like features of the overall ambience. There are sounds of piano, bells, and electronics, and it is all beautiful.

Corum – "Panics In Mayfair" – [Lost Discoveries]

abacus   4/22/2020   A Library, Cassette

another artifact of otherworldly trance psychedelia unearthed from the Lost Discoveries Exotic Music Shop. I’m pretty sure this label is run by Grant Corum himself, (maybe?) associated with the Psychic Sounds label listed outta Maine (maybe), but honestly out of the wealth of information online I can discern very little as far as solid info, elusive is an understatement, as concerns the sounds as well for that matter, like some kind of subconscious alternate mind-fuck.
lethargy ritual
delusional catatonia
bobbling along

Flores, Miguel – "Lorca / Lost Tapes 1989-1991" – [Buh Records]

Thurston Hunger   4/22/2020   12-inch, A Library

Living in the quaranteen-age, I’ve yet to hold this album (no searching for locked grooves or secret messages etched in runout). That said summoning Flores’ spirit and sounds via the web, I was able to still fall under the spell of this collection. Ethereal sounds, perhaps too good for this world, like the man being honored here – Federico García Lorca. Flores tribute to the assassinated Spaniard is homespun and heartfelt, from a pensive opening of raindrop guitar and piano trickling beneath looming synth clouds, and then into II with a gentle guitar ballad
and a casio soaring like Yma Suma’s soul…the album is a striking accompaniment to a play we won’t see. That said it could double as the imaginary soundtrack to David Lynch remaking El Topo. Flores, a drummer in other forms like Pax, a heavy Peruvian late 60’s psych band, here mostly forgoes the sticks or strident percussion, instead building
moods. III feels like a bit of BBC, IV has some squeaky drums, whistles and Flores shaman chanting, all in a lush garden of reverb. Great! V revs up the skins and feet for an insistent little dance. VI is succubus city. VIII
has quick temper timbred xylosounds of some sort, and the ghost of Maya Deren on sax. Really the whole album has a haunting vibe. VIII visits the opening pensive cloud formation. There are two digital beauties our vinyl may be lacking, but worth tracking down and/or waking up your girlfriend for. The whole album as is has a very nice flow, with the circular ending. Nice that this work of Flores can bloom again via Luis Alvarado’s Buh label out of Peru.

El Hombre del Hambre

Satanique Samba Trio – "Mais Bad" – [Rebel Up Records]

Thurston Hunger   4/22/2020   10-inch, A Library

Bass lines, like tiny black holes, just devouring everything in front of them. Thick and dense. If vocals appear they are kind of Patton-esque, squishy and guttural. Gyorgi? Little retches. Covid cough on #30, but the whole album is infectious. Feels more like a one-man project than a trio made up of five people who’ve been funking around since 2002 in Brazil. Their first album was called “Misantropicalia” which clues you in on their approach, sadly “Mais Bad” is the first album that has nested in at KFJC. Is that clarinet on #05 and #26? Sides split into odd and even tracks, but they’re all odder pop flavors melting your mind away. 10 tracks on 10 inches, so each excursion into BadTripTronics flies by…if these are too long the main Satanique conjuror, Munha da 7 has a one minute full album with single second spasmic cuts. I guess you could dance to pieces here, but I’ll refuse to watch. Sonic fidelity is kept down to enhance your experience and get the “Trio” hopefully evicted from the ProgArchives where beards are mandatory. This has more glitter prog/punk flair and should be loved by the cuica and the undead. Personally it’s nice to see Satan branching out a bit musically.
-Thurston Hunger

Eisenberg, Wendy – "Its Shape Is Your Touch" – [Vin Du Select Qualitite]

Thurston Hunger   4/22/2020   12-inch, A Library

Oct 2018 release, talented tangled fingers on solo guitar (as is the apparent M.O for the Vin Du Select Qualitite label). The opening cut named after deceased artist Sol LeWitt lost me, but in the way Derek Bailey’s work would lose me. Maybe I’m clutching too much to a map that no longer applies. Eisenberg uncertainty principles applied to note selection and rejection? Dipping into “Lethe” track 3, all is forgotten which right about now is about as promising as life gets. That has a great blend of peace and tension, discordant clusters hang in space, the pace is relaxing, with a few flourishes of finger-picking that will bloom later on in another river “Eridanos” which has a lot of furious eddies of playing. Between them “Early November” is dusky and somewhat bouncy. “Designated Mourner” is pretty, with a spider-like balancing of dissembled chord to dissembled chord. “Sawn” speaks to its technique, fingerblade friction used to saw notes off the strings at times, some bluesy 7th comfort tossed in for good measures. The album has a tipsiness to it that is part of its charm amidst avant brainiac complexity. The closer, “All Saints” is a guitar pretending to pop bubble-wrap and/or be leaky faucet. Shape-shifting suits Ms Eisenberg well, as Lexi mentioned check out Birthing Hips also there is Editrix, both of which kinda rule.
-Thurston Hunger

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