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Music Reviews

Telescopes, The – “As Approved By The Committee” – [Bomp]

humana   7/30/2009   12-inch, A Library

The Committee to Keep Music Evil compiled these Telescopes songs that are no longer available on record store shelves. The United Kingdom quintet delivers screaming vocals and thrashing guitars and drums on Side One, but they settle down into a fine trippy haze on Side 2, where the male and female vocals sound like a choir on B2. Check out the cool guitar moves and rare clarity of some of the vox on A4. Psychedelia is the unifying element between the two sides.

Grave Blankets – “Our Love Is Real” – [HoZac Records]

ophelia necro   7/29/2009   7-inch, A Library

Grave Blankets was a trio out of Columbus Ohio 2005-2008 (2 of the members moved on to form Fey Gods). Guitar, bass and drums. Self described as lo-fi dirge pop. “Our Love Is Real” has male and female vocals and reminds me a bit of the Rogers Sisters out of NY. “Trip Wire” also has male/female vox and it pretty rockin. Both tracks run about 2 and a half minutes. Released on the Hozac label which has brought us No Bunny, Nice Face, Jacuzzi Boys, Static Static, Volt, White Savage, etc.

Des Jeunes Gens Modernes… [coll] – [Born Bad]

ophelia necro   7/29/2009   12-inch, A Library

Des Jeunes Gens Modernes is a collection of French post punk/new wave from 1978-1983. 12 bands, 12 tracks. We have material from 5 of the bands on this comp in the KFJC music library; Lizzy Mercier Descloux, Kas Product, Ice, Metal Boys and Charles de Goal. Most tracks in French (3 are not, tracks 5, 6 and 9). Mostly upbeat and extremely danceable in an 80s new wave way. The Bord Bad label has released modern French bands Magnetix, Frustration and Cheveu (to name a few).

Gale, Eddie Now Band With Parker, William – “Vision Festival X NYC” – []

Cousin Mary   7/25/2009   CD, Jazz

Trumpeter Eddie Gale is San Jose???s Jazz Ambassador and has recently held charity concerts to raise funds to provide health care to jazz musicians. Apparently his playing caused quite a stir in New York at this 2005 festival since most people haven???t heard much about him since his 1960???s recordings. Original, hard driving, noisy, energetic mostly free jazz with great synergy among the players.

PGM???Track 1: just talk, Track 2: End 20 sec. applause, Track 3: Begin 60 sec. of nearly inaudible anecdote about Miles Davis, end 20 sec. applause, Track 4: Begin 20 sec. intro (audible), ends 24 sec. Applause; Track 5 10-second intro (audible), end 40 sec. applause.

Virgin Passwords [coll] – [Weird Forest Records]

cinder   7/24/2009   12-inch, A Library

Do you know the password to virginity? I bet it’s noisy! This split sure is. Full of crunchy, electronic squiggles, squirms, sqcrunhes, squarbles and blasts. Digital fucked-upness and it’s best. Brian & Kevin, from Portland I think, also play in Gang Wizard, Foot Village and Rose For Bohdan. The first two tracks sound like they were one, just cut in half. The third on side A stands on its own. Pump Kinn is a girl named Michelle. Not sure about Don. Their side is more industrial and scraping in sound, like muffled ice blades on steel. Limited to 300 copies!

Harappian Night Recordings – “Glorious Gongs of Hainuwele, The” – [Bo’weavil Recordings]

cinder   7/24/2009   A Library, CD

This is Sayed Kamran Ali from the United Kingdom. He works in field recordings, along wth heavy percussion (bongos? big drums?), stringed instruments from all sorts of cultures, foreign chants, wooden blocks, and drones of sorts. It’s very ethnic & at times has the raga feel, could fit in quite well with Sun City Girls, Vibracathedral Orchestra, Master Musicians Of Bukkake, etc. Nice and short, nothing over 5 mins. Toss it in for some Eastern flair.

Connors, Loren – “Curse of The Midnight Mary, The” – [Family Vineyard]

Thurston Hunger   7/22/2009   12-inch, A Library

So it turns out Loren Connors actually died in March 1981.
On a dare he ventured into the Evergreen Cemetery armed with
just his acoustic guitar, a bottle of gin and his mortal soul.
The gin was gone before midnight, and his soul gone shortly
after. The empty bottle sliding up and down the guitars neck,
and notes slurring up and down from Connors. A ghostly stupor
of old lonesome blues and church favorites arise form the
spirits, and evidently got captured on tape. Only to be recovered
many episodes later by Scooby Doo and Shaggy. (And released by
old man crothers on vinyl, which is a bit peculiar to me…but
I’ll roll with it.) The crossroads here are not between this
life and the next, but between Connors blues roots and his more
outre later leanings. You can hear a love of sustain connecting
both. Stripped bare of electricity, these cores lose me a bit,
but others may feel a more vital connection. At the very least
you could call this EVP, the instrumental album!

-Thurston Hunger

Metzger, Paul – “Anamnestic Tincture” [Roaratorio]

sluggo   7/22/2009   A Library

Live solo Instrumental acoustic bastardized guitar and banjo from Minneapolis’ Paul Metzger (ex – TVBC). Riveting from the first notes, Metzger’s fingering is stark and offsetting – a satisfying discordance which is only compounded by the instruments – a modified banjo (on tracks 1&3) and a modified guitar (on track 2). There is a distinct Indian flavor to the banjo cuts as Metzger has strung and tuned the banjo to sound more like a sitar. Dark Green Water (track 2) is an even odder beast. Metzger has drilled out the body of his acoustic guitar and set a cymbal into its face, with varying metal strings laid over top. He gets a metallic sound which he augments with his own slapping percussion. Milo (track 1) builds nicely only to break down half way through into a confusion of ecstatically slapped percussion then, implausibly, rises again to attain new heights. (a different version of this same song also appeared as an untitled cut on the CD “Three Improvisations on Modified Banjo” in the KFJC library. On Roaratorio.

Panama! 2 [coll] – [Soundway Records]

ArtCrimes   7/22/2009   CD, International

Soundway’s second volume of Panamanian tracks, mostly from single releases during the sixties and seventies influenced by Afro-Cuban jazz, Salsa, Cumbia, American ’70s rock, soul and funk (a Santana-like groove on #6, Bill Withers gets covered on #10), folkloric sources, reggae, samba, and whatever other Latin rhythms were in the air at the time. Cuban call-and-response vocals are pretty widespread here but there’s also some Calypso toasting and American soul singing with creamy backup harmonies as well. The accordions are often used as the instrumental lead, taking the lines that might have gone to the brass in Cuban salsa. Electric guitars also take some of the leads here, and sometimes are used similarly to the Chicha combos from Peru, and there’s enough wah-wah to remind you what years are being considered here. (((crimes)))

Butcher, John Group – “somethingtobesaid” – [Weight of Wax]

Thurston Hunger   7/21/2009   A Library, CD

Live improvisation from a pocket octet. Mostly subtle playing
with drags, scrapes and tone-drones to start. A reverbed
thump, connects to a ladder of guzheng zings. Butcher includes
very few pre-recordings that command attention, notably the
dictaphone dream about 40 seconds into the second track (all
tracks here are part of one piece). Something about the tone,
cadence of that voice helps launch a nice field of tension,
led by percussion by all, but the mighty Gino Robair at the
forefront. Chris Burn often floats a piano chord in at the
exact right moment to initiate a reset of the improvisers.
Is that Jack Kerouac deep in segment 5 popcorned and pitch
shifted? Segment 6 traces a Burn flurry piano solo over a
cracking glacier and then veering quadruple bass from John
Edwards and Adam Linson amd some simple but effective spin
outs from turntablist dieb13. Sputter sax by Butcher down low.
It’s not until segment 8 that the Butchery gets cooking and
his chops are hung out to flair. Segment 9 returns to the
dominant flavor of this, an icy murk. Eight players and
the ensemble does move with the coordinated grace and
solemn spook of a spider. A lot to this, including soap opera
organ on segment 6 that just now leapt out at me. At times
they capture the soul of a dot matrix printer, in a good way.
Butcher’s own label by the by…

-Thurston Hunger

Bonfire Madigan – “Lady Saves The Dragon From The Evil Prince” – [MoonPuss Music]

lombard   7/21/2009   12-inch, A Library

Composer and cellist Bonfire Madigan says that she’s finally realized a childhood dream by releasing a clear vinyl record, something that for her hearkens back to her memories of the imagery on the back of the album cover for Pink Floyd’s “Wish You Were Here,” in which a man is holding a clear vinyl record.

“Lady Saves the Dragon from the Evil Prince” (2009) features 4 tracks, which are all variations on her voice/cello piece “Lady Saves.” Versions range from the intense, cello-forward and crisply voiced acoustic mix (my favorite) to a dub version by Dub I.D. with waves of sound and processing over the vocals. The Neotropic mix is more ominous with some beats (but not really danceable) and more buried vocals.

It’s hand-numbered and limited to 1000 copies and is a teaser of sorts for her forthcoming album.

For more on Bonfire Madigan, see the KFJC review for her recently added to KFJC collection “I Bleed: A Decade of Song.”

Kubin, Felix – “Tetchy Teenage Tapes, The” – [Ski-pp]

lombard   7/21/2009   A Library, CD

Take a trip back to the 1980s on this crazy release (which came out in 2003) from Felix Kubin. “The Tetchy Teenage Tapes” is a collection of material from 1981 to 1985, when Kubin was a kid/teen. In the liner notes he writes,

“Special thanks to my parents because they didn’t send me to the children psychologist as recommended by the Bergedorf Health Centre in 1975…Their faith in my mental balance was unshakeable. Music cures all wounds!”

And, yes, on here we do get some crazy (in a good way) sounds crafted by an artistic, energetic kid. It begins with vomit sounds, morphs into voices from beyond, spooky electronics, creepy laughter, ticking clocks that will drive you nuts, sunny and bent casio, and Demon Attack-like sounds (remember Atari 2600?)—all with pre-voice change boy vocals throughout. There’s a nervous energy, with some super fast tracks and obvious influences from punk and the German underground. One piece really reminded me of Kraftwerk’s “Showroom Dummies” with its dead-pan vocals and mesmerizingly slow beat and yet another (the last) could easily be a pre-cursor to Melt-Banana’s frenzied experimental spazz rock.

Kubin recorded some of this in his bedroom using a 4-track, synthesizers, electronic organ, and a drum computer. Other pieces sound like live recordings.

This is fantastic stuff, revealing the DIY genius often displayed by teen musicians.

Bonfire Madigan – “I Bleed: a Decade of Song” – [MoonPuss Music]

lombard   7/21/2009   A Library, CD

When Bonfire Madigan stopped by KFJC last week for a live performance she dropped off a couple of albums, including this compilation, I Bleed: A Decade of Song, a collection of her material spanning the years 1994 to 2004.

And, indeed, it’s been quite a decade plus for Madigan Shive, beginning with her teen chamber pop band Tattletale (along with Jen Wood). This comp includes two Tattletale tracks from 1995 (“Glass Vase Cello Case” and “Moontime”), material from 1996 when she simply went by the name Madigan (“Pity Rock”), and more recent Bonfire Madigan-credited tracks. All are out of print pieces now brought to light again.

Madigan Shive emerged into the music scene in the early 1990s while a teen in the Pacific Northwest and was (and still is) connected with the DIY-style activism of music-loving riot grrrls. Playing her cello-based and punk-influenced pop she was a bit of a departure from bands on the scene at the time. The intensity of her voice and power of her words calls to mind musicians like Mecca Normal’s Jean Smith.

In keeping with her roots, she also continues her work as an activist and was a founding member of the Icarus Project, which takes a radical approach to mental illness, embracing it as a “mad gift” rather than a disorder.

It’s a great collection that will catch you up on the career of a multi-talented lady with a very powerful voice.

P.S. You can catch an interview with Madigan Shive on KFJC for the next week or so (until July 28, 2009) on our archive server.

Lucky Dragons – “Dark Falcon” – [Marriage Records]

Max Level   7/21/2009   12-inch, A Library

A 2002 masterpiece by this Philadelphia-area musical collective, originally on CD, lovingly reissued here on vinyl. It’s a brilliant blending of acoustic sounds, electronic manipulations, voices, and subtle beats. Artful, creative, and very different. Many short, lovely bits, sort of like thumbing through an audio scrapbook. I found it hard to pick the needle up before a side was finished, as each track leads enticingly into the next. This new vinyl version rules because: 1. it’s a nice job of pressing and the music sounds awesome, and 2. we get to see some crazy etchings around the label on both sides. Love this thing.

Psycho and The Birds – “Check Your Zoo” – [The Fading Captain Series]

humana   7/17/2009   7-inch, A Library

Todd Tobias and Robert Pollard team up to deliver some garage and psychedelic tracks in a low-fi way. All but B2 (which is instrumental) feature hazy, male vocals that are hard to make out, but the content of the words probably is secondary to the voice adding to the overall gestalt of the songs themselves. A1 and A2 are upbeat rock, while B3 is a heavy garage assault. A3, B1, and B2 are some mellow psyche pieces that are the strength of this EP.

+dog+ – “Hot Borders” – [Love Earth Music]

cinder   7/16/2009   A Library, CD

Formed in Osaka in ’90. Moved to Boston in ’93. Moved to California in ’97. Now making hell noise in Ventura county and all around CA and the world via their webpage. Dog, also +dog+ lists many members, but I’m not sure if that’s for real. They site Merzbow and Masonna as influences, and it’s apparent. This is definitely electronic noise, but not at it’s harshest. Lots of rumblings and feedbacks, but it keeps it interesting – at least to me! Love how some of the tracks are noise + beats, very interesting!

Asano, Koji – “Rabbit Room Reservation Center” – [Solstice]

cinder   7/16/2009   A Library, CD

He’s released over 39 albums (this is number 40!) in only 10 years, this guys doesn’t take a break! Has lived in Tokyo, Barcelona, London… performing live and recording. A laptop composer, he’s recorded for videos, movies, plays and of course his own solo releases. This release is from 2005. Three lengthy experimental sonic collages and ambient trips. They’re all a little sparse and spooky. Sort of industrial in its sound, like sitting in a swampy metal meat room with the lights flickering. Slowly beating electronic pulses, like a giant gong being hit.

O’Rourke, Jim – “Long Night” – [Streamline]

cinder   7/16/2009   A Library, CD

Jim O’Rourke has lived everywhere from Chicago, to NYC and currently settles down in Tokyo. O’Rourke was once a member of Illusion Of Safety, Gastr Del Sol & Sonic Youth, and is pretty well mixed in with the experimental/jazz scene. This release is 2 hour-long CDs of blissful drones. The first sounds like single tones that slowly evolve into different pitches. About 36 minutes in, it starts to feel a little more warm, with lower sounds that seem to subtly rise and fall like mini hills. It ends with multi sustained tones, alternating like a light show. One minute of silence at the very ends also! The second disc picks up where the first left, but seems to rise up in tones, rather than descend lower like the first disc.

Home Blitz – “Weird Wings” (Parts Unknown Records)

sluggo   7/15/2009   A Library

Home Blitz from Princeton, NJ plays lo-fi garage punk rock. This 12″ E.P. on Parts Unknown Records collects five songs, which fly by in a blitz of home-brewed un-self conscious adolescent sounding anarchy. The longest of the bunch, ???My Town,??? clocking in at 2:59, has a nice guitar throughout.

(All of these songs are also collected on a self titled CD on Gulcher along with material from 7″‘s, splits and some unreleased tracks).