KFJC 89.7FM

Music Reviews

Somali Yacht Club – “The Sun +1” – [Robustfellow Prods.]

Jay Omega   4/17/2022   A Library, CD

This is the debut album of Somali Yacht Club, a Ukrainian band from Lviv Ukraine. This power trio moves between, and blends, Stoner rock, Psychedelic rock, Shoegaze, Post-metal, Post-rock, Dub, Doom, and Space rock, to create heavy prog-like journeys. Their ability to move about the musical universe is amazing. If I had to pick something to criticize, it would be that they do it just a little bit too well.

Shilo, J.P. – “Jubjote” – [Heavy Machinery Records]

cinder   4/13/2022   12-inch, A Library

A nightmare fueled dream state through Twilight Zone-esque themes and forlorn thoughts. As the cover art depicts, there’s beauteous pipe organ (Melbourne Town Hall Grand Organ) sounds that drone and float, drifting along with some electronics, guitar and such. It’s glorious. JP deadpans a story akin to Randy Greif, Edward Ka-Spel & Blood Axis/Les Joyaux De La Princess. I recommend laying flat on your back in the dark, closed eyes, and let it soak through your mind.

Loopsel – “Spiral, The” – [Digital Regress]

cinder   4/13/2022   12-inch, A Library

Solo project of Elin Engström from Sweden. Sounds of a fantasy daydream, but also sparked with darkness. There’s light rhythmical tendrils, which then take a harsh right turn into industrial anger. Not noise, not pure evil, but a slight sinister edge behind the guitar and electronics. Experimental haze. A glowing golden hilltop with black storm clouds. 

Exek – “Advertise Here” – [Castle Face Records]

Thurston Hunger   4/12/2022   A Library, CD

Oz-balls. with Albert Wolski’s languid vox on top of awkward pop songs. The drums want to party, the rest of the band is fine just chill’ing in a post-Clean lighted synth space. The CD beings and ends with brief palette cleansing instros. Wolski steps to the mic and on toes on #2 with “You’re looking pregnant, are you pregnant?” If this album took a paternity test, it might indicate Cueniform and Flying Nun as label parents. Ben Hepworth’s bass is a stand-out, check him out as he boogies his was from “Sen Yen For 30 Min of Violin” on into “Beyond Currency.” Ben straight up pumps up the sonic tent for synth/piano to breathe and for the occasional guitar Fripp-flare or trumpet squoom. Is Valya YL Hooi the trumpeteer? She also guest sings briefly on “Unseasonable Warmth” – her 2021 “Untitled” album is a nice drifty, dizzy dream of an album btw. Back on the Exek summary, not sure what the title means (nor sure about a lot of Wolski’s words) but it’s a pretty smooth ride.
-Thurston Hunger

Scissor Girls, The – “Scissor Girls, The” – [Jabs (2)]

Thurston Hunger   4/12/2022   12-inch, A Library

Origin story for Scissor Girls, once upon a cassette (circa 1992) now a slab of vinyl. Azita Youssefi’s vox nicely mixed btw, percussive with that punk swagger stand out. She’s no girl in trouble, she IS trouble. Sue Anne Zollinger on guitar is sharp and slashy, those brittle distorted chords and some of that math-by-odd-numbers note playing that are part of the no-wave vibe. Discordant and more abrasive at its time, 30 years later it feels like home, to me at least. Heather Melowic ties it up with a Ramones-y approach to the drums. As befits its humble demo beginnings, this album is pretty short and stripped down. On “Riveted” there’s a hint of the art damage that would be added when the band got Load-ed to a (pretty amazing) label back then.

One aside about the Jabs label, run by Ethan Swan it’s interesting in an era where one hears about nano-pennies per play on various streams, that he’s striving to be super transparent on production costs and profits. It ain’t a Rochester-to-Riches tale, but as labors of love go especially in an internet world where everyone is watching/listening/creeping, it’s laudable.

This EP is a cool artifact, and for some maybe an introduction to Chicago No Wave and beyond (connecting to Bulb Records, Zeek Sheck, Weasel Walter as Zelig and more). Dig in, despite what Azita assails on “Gamma E-Ray-Ser” there is a victory of sort.
-Thurston Hunger

Flower-Corsano Duo – “Halcyon, The” – [VHF Records]

Thurston Hunger   4/12/2022   12-inch, A Library

Two side-long koans. guitarist and Vibracathedran Michael Flower rejoining forces with drum roller
Chris Corsano. KFJC has no fewer than 12 Corsano duos (including “The Four Aims” with Flower) and
additional 10 trios with Chris’ sticks. Like 2009’s “Four Aims” this is jazz-inflected free rock. Flower’s guitar shimmers, high-note, high-frequency arpeggio cycling that keeps cresting upon itself. Corsano equally fervent, but with cymbals to cool the process down. To me this is like hyperdrone music, such a consistent scramble of surging sound it has that calming drone vibe. Hence the LP title perhaps, although it is a kind of crazy calm. Hell-cyon?!? Actually side B does have a pretty chill section guitar wise starting at about 9:20 in, slow rise refueling back Meanwhile the song titles could refer to Cuyahoga and Werner Herzog’s “Fitzcarraldo” …but probably not. As exhilarating as the playing by both, their efforts on recording/mixing are just as crucial. Every trill, every fill is alive here. When Flower’s electronics fritz you can almost smell the crisp electric singe. Talk about a smoke break….fire this up!
-Thurston Hunger

Genocide Pact “Genocide Pact” [Relapse Records]

atavist   4/9/2022   A Library, CD

Death metal oozes from an old-school vein in the seams of the nation’s capital. Medium-length tracks, straight/no chaser. Riffs land like the plodding gallop of a horse made of boulders, the blasting amplification a filthy dust that billows in the wake. Guitar reaches for the sky only to be pulled back into the befouled earth. The band have, in their words, watched friends die while the world around them crumbles, and this is an expression of where they found themselves in 2021. It is at once uncompromising in its pursuit while rigidly adhering to its adopted USDM traditions. A tension arises between abandon and restraint. Perhaps in such a disorienting time it reorients to pursue mastery within an established form. Drop in to be crushed.

Jugendwerkhof – “Urruin” – [Rural Isolation Project]

whngr   4/6/2022   A Library, CD

“Jugendwerkhof”… would a rose by any other name smell as sweet?

Intracranial hemorrhage… prescient night-terror… autoerotic depersonalization… Limbic system failure… somnambular suicide… silica mastication… convulsive dementia… fever capitulation… involuntary dentistry… enforced dysentery… penetrative electrocution… matricidal malaise… or the concerted destruction of mankind’s propensity for comfort.. 

Named after the German post-war “youth workshops” installed in East Germany by the Soviets which were notorious for their miserably oppressive conditions lacking both privacy and physical contact in deserted castles, barracks, and monasteries which provided a insidious breeding ground for systemic physical and emotional abuse.

Brutzelt wie Kinderblut auf einer glühenden Pfanne und brennt wie Glasscherben in der Harnröhre.

Berlin – 2022

Latishia’s Skull Drawing – “Romanticized” – [Iron Lung Records]

whngr   4/6/2022   12-inch, A Library

Bastardized Rock-‘n-roll Upheaval

A pounding and screeching anxiety medication for the terminally depressed, or an up-tempo hardcore threnody with atypical elements and instrumentation. Allusions to psychedelic drug use coupled with mental illness, precision drum assault, derelict distemper, feedback, downstrokes, and delirium.

Once from Providence and Philadelphia, one can only assume that the band could not sustain itself with such sickening and debilitating afflictions.

2016

Soft Shoulder – “Formerly On Fluorescent Paper” – [Gilgongo Records]

Thurston Hunger   4/6/2022   12-inch, A Library

Rock has not been exterminated, and Mark E. Smith’s sneer lives on in many throats including here via James Fella. James is the fella behind the mighty Gilgongo label, for now he is the sole Shoulder carrying the load. Well, he’s got his trusty drum-machine along as a side-kick-snare. Voice often run through a distorted auctioneer’s megaphone via landline in the basement. We recently added his collab with Gabriella Isaac which is a ear/skin/soul noise-ball shredder. Quite a contrast to this song-strong lp with trace elements of punk country…okay definite accent on the former. I think it’s just how the strings slide around that feel like a lap-steel in trouble (or that kind of Spray Paint galloping guitar vibe). Something here makes me think about a Texas Funeral (viva Jon Wayne) even though it is closer to a sweltering swamp cooler (I think Fella’s a permanent Tempe type). Don’t sleep on his spiraling sax screeches
in “Child Not Listing” and “No Magic Dirt” and the hit single (in my ears at least) “Half Wall Bleed.” Or put on “PO Box 7455” and work your dance moves (it ain’t ESG but it’s got a groove). All tracks are short to really short, so unless it’s a Two-fer-Tuesday get something queued up pronto, bucko. Worse things could happen, really digging the punchiness of this record, hope James finds a band to flesh the songs out live. Maybe Deerhoof’s John Dieterich well lend a hand as he mastered them for the record.
-Thurston Hunger
PS Finally looked up where the name Gilgongo apparently came from, even more to love.

Mouchoir Etanche – “Une Fille Petrifiee” – [Cellule 75]

Thurston Hunger   4/6/2022   12-inch, A Library

On first overall listen organs in elegy resonated most; after reading some online notes those sounds felt tied to the loss of livelihood in general during the pandemic and in painful particular to the artist’s Mother dying. Marc Richter is Mouchoir Etanche, he is also familiar to KFJCers as Black to Comm and for running the stellar Dekorder label. The album announces itself with “Enter Mirror Hotel” and the obviousness of samples are present, tight loops of arias and orchestral mini-flourishes, human and yet not. As the album progresses there is more blur between sample and source sounds, like life during the pandemic one wonders what is real/unreal. On A4, is that a siren or a bagpipe strafing a stately locked organ slice. In looking at at titles like “Le Temps Isolee” and “Menschen Im Null-Raum” hard to not hear this as a quaranteen-aged release in any language. Still plenty of grace and even a sliver of hope on “Secheresse” (drought) which recalls jubilant and children frolicking in your speakers. The first two tracks do floor me, but I wonder if the title track was also considered as an opener, starburst organ grandeur. I may be wrongly accenting the Nurse with Wound tending your Covid bedside here; listening now to Black to Comm’s “Alphabet 1968” there were solemn organ drones and disembodied voices even there, so it might be a part of a more pervasive nostalgia for Richter (et moi).

FWIW the project name translates as “waterproof handkerchief” so maybe there is an element of immunity to sorrow built-in. Independent of the name and the times, a very deft and beautiful weaving/mix/making of sounds.
-Thurston Hunger

Pupillo, Massimo – “The Black Iron Prison” – [Subsound Records]

mickeyslim   4/6/2022   12-inch, A Library

Moistened tendrils tickle your oft-neglected meningeal spaces with lavish whispers. An entire planet’s worth of purring and droning spaced ever so meticulously over its surfaces. Acidic cirrostratus rain clouds swept above by a single, solemn current. Is it a storm brewing? Or is it the sounds of a supra- or trans-temporal constant?

Surrounded, once again, by the iron walls of a prison, no one inside aware of anything.

Renowned collaborator/experimentalist/bass-player Massimo Pupillo (of numerous projects, most notably, Zu) in what appears to be his second solo project. Recorded in complete solitude at Thighpaulsandra’s Aerial Studio in Wales, using heavily processed electric bass, synthesizers, and a sampler, this album takes inspiration from the relationship between Gnosticism, alchemy, and Philip K. Dick.

Excellent album on smokey black and gray vinyl! Three bowls!

Thollem – “Obstacle Illusion” – [Astral Spirits]

Max Level   4/4/2022   A Library, CD

Thollem’s imagination continues to astound. Four lengthy pieces here: Tracks 1 and 4 are solo piano inventions that cover a lot of unpredictable ground; Tracks 2 and 3 are tumultuous electronic pieces performed on his trusty Korg Wavestate keyboard. As a master of every musical style on this planet and beyond, his technique is brilliant and seemingly effortless. Much respect for that. But the way he jumps from one idea to another, one musical voice to another, and somehow makes all the passages flow together like they belong together—that’s what puts him in a class of his own. He NEVER seems to be out of ideas. And I mean good ones. All material recorded live in Italy, late 2021. No overdubs.

Measures of Decay [coll] – [Rural Isolation Project]

whngr   3/30/2022   A Library, CD

Double-feature Horror Vignette

En Nihil begins the diptych: A marauding beast lurches through an electronic forest illuminated by an inverted crescent moon laced with briars, brambles, and dead leaves before tumbling into a clearing where a chaste maiden far too removed from her bedchamber, though dressed accordingly, turns her virtuous face toward us just as our view is ominously obscured by the hulking , terrible monstrosity. Her eyes alight, and in recognition of her grisly fate begin to shudder as her scream cleaves the night. An intimation of violence before the scene is swallowed by malevolent shadows.

No Visitors continues the morbid tale upon an isolated mountain peak. A wayward traveler claws his way over the frozen landscape amid howling winds. His fractured mind has continued to play tricks on him as the imminent storm approaches… but the voices urge him on. No longer aware of the blood caked to his frozen hands, he is utterly depleted. Exhausted, he pauses for breath and looks up to see the moon’s scowl as his legs tremble, the knees buckle, and he slides and then tumbles into the abyss. He lands hard upon the ice. He will not live, but he will have time to reflect on his miserable life between blessed lapses in consciousness… His ears are ringing. Body broken. But the journey has not ended… for he was a wicked man and the devil awaits their reunion.

A genuinely alarming release from a mysterious noise label from Austin, TX. Little can be gleaned from online sleuthing as bandcamp seems to hold the keys to Rural Isolation Project… and they’re not sharing. Nor are No Visitors. However, En Nihil is one Adam Fritz, a prolific creator of harsh sounds with releases stretching back to 1996.

2022

Dream Shake – “Ride The Disease Vol. 34” – [Rescued From Life Records]

whngr   3/30/2022   12-inch, A Library

Classic Psychedelic Rock-n-Roll 

If you’re from the gutter, dug your heels into 1986-7, and like your trips on the soft and drippy side then this is your ice cream. Except these guys are wicked fast… and a little scary. But they do like some echo on the vox… so you know they’re on drugs. Well rehearsed (tight as fuck), high energy, and not too cheery… except the bass player who seemed to be really enjoying himself while everyone else wrung themselves out on their instruments… not that he didn’t, he just looked like he liked it… while the other lads were there for war. 

A1: shit – A5: asshole, fuckin’, shit – A6: shit – A12: fuck – fuckin’ – B14: asshole – B15: shit – B17: shit – B18: fuck – B20: fuckin’

Houston – 2021

Permanent Collection – “Nothing Good Is Normal” – [Strangeway Studios]

whngr   3/30/2022   12-inch, A Library

Dispassionate vocals drone methodically over detuned downstrokes, 90’s punk rock drums, insistent but slightly buried bass, and almost sickeningly woozy guitar solos. Effects abound on this once local project (currently residing in Seattle, fittingly enough).

This EP is retro in the wrong way, so thoroughly reminiscent of the grunge of my youth that it was utterly dismissible on first blush… but the hooks. Christ! I got a little mad at the music department (I thought you fucking knew me!?), had a little issue digitizing the recording and decided, it must be an ill-fated omen, it doesn’t even want to be in the library… so, I decided not to review it… and I walked away. However, it stayed with me. Those hooks were in. Still are. A powerful formula that my mind decided we were keeping, perhaps not entirely with my permission. I know this will be mostly panned by fellow volunteers and it has some bothersome issues (recording is way too polished for my taste and I am not enthused by the new direction the project has appeared to adopt) but this album is quite good and though admittedly it will likely remain a guilty pleasure, here it is… in the library of the illustrious and revered KFJC, ready for you to cue up to regale our listeners with our oblique and often absurd air sound. 

Permanent Collection is one Jason Hendarty (and cohorts) formerly of the San Francisco peninsula – 2020

Alternate African Reality [coll] – [Syrphe Records]

SlartiBartfast   3/29/2022   A Library, CD

Alternative African Reality – [Coll]

African rhythms meet an otherworldly electronic universe on this compilation curated by Cedrik Fermont of Syrphe Records. This double CD collection transcends musical expectations by defining it’s own African experimental and electronic soundscape. Alternative African Reality drifts between afro-techno tracks with beats to keep you awake at night and electronic glitches that haunt your nightly dreams. There is a healthy sprinkling of field recordings, spoken word, and tracks that seem recorded by cell phone on the local corner to add flavor to this musical stew. Highly recommended as an interesting and intriguing double CD that will shock your auditory cortex while providing delicious musical treats for all curious taste buds. 

Riley Geare/Time/Joker’s Chair

carsonstreet   3/27/2022   7-inch, A Library

Riley Geare is a Los Angeles singer-songwriter, producer and multi-instrumentalist. This 7″ is a mix of chill wave and jazz-laden funk. Geare’s sound blends soft-jazz and mid-tempo electronica. Riley is jazzy with a little lean toward progressive rock. Shoegaze, dream pop, ambient and electronica could all apply. Very pleasant and a nice way to segue between genres.

Dorotheo/Como Es

carsonstreet   3/27/2022   12-inch, A Library

Heavy doom meets colorful psychedelia meets swirly shoegaze on this release from Guadalajara group Dorotheo. Do we also detect Krautrock influences? Dorotheo was formed in 2011 in Guadalajara, Jalisco by Benjamín Zárate (guitar, vocals, synthesizers) and Otto Malgesto (drums, percussion, vocals). A veteran of the local scene including a stint in Antoine Reverb, Zárate shared some personal demos with Malgesto during a break from a musical outfit they both played in and they decided to launch the new project together.

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