Music Reviews

Koes Bersaudara – “to The So-called “the Guilties”” – [Sublime Frequencies]

humana   4/30/2010   A Library, CD

Sublime Frequencies proves that gamelan is not the only music for which Indonesia should be famous–indeed, the four Koes Brothers (translation of ???Bersaudara???) were the first band in Indonesian history to directly oppose the ruling regime. They even went so far as to get arrested for playing Beatles music at a party. This CD contains two sets of recordings from 1967. The first 12 tracks were recorded live in one night and are characterized by a garage rock sound. Tracks 13-20 are more ballad-like and reminiscent of The Everly Brothers (whose influence is clear). 21 was part of a compilation. Enjoy the sweet harmonies and upbeat melodies of this ???Indonesian Klasik Pop Nostalgia??? series.

Embryo – “Opal” – [Wah Wah Records]

humana   4/30/2010   12-inch, A Library

This is another gem from the past (April 1970) that Wah Wah decided to polish and re-issue, and thank goodness they did. Called the band???s ???psychedelic masterpiece,??? this is also their first album. Sax, tambourine, guitars, drums, organ, and killer vocals (particularly the spoken word of ???End of Soul???) come together to make this album great. The songs are primarily instrumental, and they???re all good. Check out the cool bongos on ???Revolution.??? Fortunately there???s more to mine from this band???s output. Enjoy.

Disappears – “Lux” – [Kranky]

humana   4/29/2010   12-inch, A Library

This quartet of guys out of Chicago alternates between rocking hard, fast, and frenetic and reverbing into slower-paced coolness. The guitars work nicely with the drums and the vocals that are more fired out than sung to create a fine debut album.

Takis – “Pendules Magnetiques/Le Siecle De Kafka” – [Plana-T Alga]

cinder   4/28/2010   12-inch, A Library

Vassilakis Takis was born in Athens, Greece in 1925, but spent most of his time in France. In 1966, New Scientist Magazing declared Takis, along with Iannis Xenakis and John Cage were the most promising musicians of the century. This album is recordings of Takis’ electro-magnetic sculptures (shown on cover). *Takis Pendules magn??tiques are based on the simple concept of using magnetic waves caused by electricity as a means to activate repeated musical sounds: the latter are to be heard every time a needle strikes a string, when attracted by a magnet. He participated in another exhibit in ’84, which is the B side, using the same ideas. Side A is on the sparse side, with spaces of plunking sounds. The B side is a repetitive empty-air sounding wind, almost gritty and grainy. Envision the art by themselves, or would be good to mix with another track. Limited to 380 copies. Inside booklet has words from William S. Burroughs, describing one of Takis’ sculptures.

Deviation Social – “Compilation Tracks 1982-85 “From End to Beginning” Vol. 1″ – [Dais]

cinder   4/28/2010   12-inch, A Library

From the inside booklet, “Deviation Social was never meant to be a ‘music group’ and throughout its five year history produced colalges, prints, mail art, writings and film.” Recorded in the mid 80s, this is the first of a 3 vinyl collection. This has total hints of Throbbing Gristle. Dead pan spoken words, percussion synths, bass, keyboards, tapes, rhythm machines, effects… SPK and Monte Cazazza were a major influence on this guy (Arshile Injeyan). Lyrics range from War, Nazis, Charles Manson & televangelists. Cabaret Voltaire and Suicide fans will totally dig this. Excellent!

Tomorrowmen, The – “There Is No Now” – [Self Released]

Cousin Mary   4/28/2010   A Library, CD

EP features first recordings from this Berkeley surf band – two members are also part of Meshugga Beach Party. Fine virtuoso guitar work, all up tempo tunes that will put smiles on KFJC’s surf fans’ faces. Not exactly ground breaking, but solid surf.

Antique Brothers and The Family Band – “Digger Gold” – [Stunned Records]

Thurston Hunger   4/27/2010   A Library, CD

Cassette catch of all-instro improv shadowplay. The
Antique Brothers, Ged and Cy Gengras, lay down guitar
faunprints in the dirt. As on “Namo Arihantanom”
the lines spiral and traipse back on themselves.
Almost to the point of vanishing from your
consciousness. The gentle scree of clarinet rides
in, synthesizer cushions are laid on the ground.
Drums mumble. More such drumbling would be good.
Not far from the campfires of the Jeweled Antler
collective, the Brothers summon their spirits in
Los Angeles. Late night jamminess, that occasionally
crosses the threshold into the realms of order, but
generally moves slow and steady as a bear in the woods.
Indeterminancy invokes incantation. “The Odic Force”
offers the most meat on the bone. Seth Kasselman’s
clarinet helps out a lot through-out. The lead-off
“Right Hand Path” has a sort of Ghost wash to it.
And the titles, and playing, seem bent on a search
of mystical treasure. Digger Gold surely has its
nuggets, but perhaps could have withstood another
pass through the pan.

Complex – “Complex” – [Tenth Planet]

humana   4/25/2010   12-inch, A Library

It???s hard to resist this timeless and out of time Blackpool band, managed by the mother of its guitarist, which never made a major record deal due to twists of fate. Recorded in November of 1970, this debut album on Complex records their psychedelic sound, made particularly distinctive thanks to Steve Coe???s organ and songwriting skills. Most of this is upbeat and a testament to the creativity of a band doomed to obscurity and therefore a perfect match for KFJC. Be sure to read the notes on the record sleeve.

Servicemen, The – “Meet… The Servicemen” – [Wind Hit]

Max Level   4/25/2010   CD, Soul

This soulful vocal group got together at an Arizona Air Force base (hence the group’s name) and laid down these sides with producer Hadley Murrell in the late 1960’s. The tracks with instrumental backing are solid, with sweet vocals and great Motown-style energy and flair. As a bonus we get to hear a cappella “demo” versions of some of the songs, and those are a real treat. Much of this material shows how directly the creatively arranged soul-group vocals of the period were influenced by classic 1950’s doo-wop groups. I had never heard that connection quite so clearly before. This is a very enjoyable introduction to a group that never received more than local (Phoenix-area) notoriety when they were around. Murrell, by the way, also brought us the excellent recent compilation “Soul Side of the Street.”

Merzbow – “Turmeric” – [Blossoming Noise]

cinder   4/21/2010   A Library, CD

Brok brok brok brok. Starts off with the clucking hen. Sounds like Merzbow probably scared the shit out of them, as he attacks with vicious loud banging, clattering hollow sounding electronics. Or better yet, maybe it’s the CHICKEN who is creating the crashing, I can see that. Revenge of the farm bird! She digs the zipping and zapping knobs. Soon in transforms into some bass heavy noisy escapades. Repetative blasts of hot air, this is a full on noise assault. Classic Merzbow style. Thunderstorms of burnt electronics from hell. Ever evolving terror blasts, never dull. Turn it up loud!

Burning Star Core – “Papercuts Theater” – [No Quarter]

cinder   4/21/2010   A Library, CD

BSC is the one man project of C. Spencer Yeh, out of Ohio. As it reads on the back, this is a bunch of live recordings collected for one release. For the loud noise enthusiasts! Buzzing, sawing, drumming, feedbacking, droning… all in a rhythmic state. Clattering and clashing, there’s even some banging pianos and horns hidden in the chaos! Track 3 brings in the schitzoid vocals, yelling in the next room, spazzing warped gibberish, and twisted snarls.

Red Sparowes – “Fear Is Excruciating, But Therein Lies The Answer, The” – [Sargent House]

cinder   4/21/2010   A Library, CD

Another beautiful release from these Los Angeles natives. Not straying too much from their previous records, this is full of dynamic melodies and escapading visions. Hints of Isis (which this band has members of), Mono and mellow Neurosis. This is their 3rd album, and first to feature new member Emma on guitar. Psychedelic desert rides, full of melodic soundscapes and vibrato. Guitars, drums and bass. Also falls in the vein of bands like Mogwai and Explosions In The Sky.

Serpent Crown – “Serpent Crown Demo” – [Myspace.com/theserpentcrown]

BrotherGoatCult   4/21/2010   A Library, CD

Thrash-core metal trio from SF. Fronted by destructive guitrarist Dara Santhai, who also provides vocals and writes the tunes. Technical poundage from drummer Will Carrol (of Old Grandad). Heavy bass keeps the sonic walls moving in as the listener is pushed down the chamber–recording features Rafa Martinez (former of Acid King and other bands), current bassist is Dave Dinsmore (past BL’AST!).

All tracks are generally uptempo dark riffage power laden bruisers. Vocals are the intelligible terror laden scream chants of a blood bathed axe lasher. Production delivers great presence with no contrivance. Turn it up.

-Goat Cult

Monkey Power Trio – “Tearing Down The Parthenon” – [Pochahontas Swamp Machine]

Max Level   4/19/2010   7-inch, A Library

MPT and their special brand of lovable Monkey Power mayhem, recorded on their 14th year/day as a band. They dive right in with “Fall in Hate”, a straight-ahead rocker with a bad attitude. “Buxom Angels” is a tender account of a teenager’s lab class experiment gone wrong, with a sort of happy ending. “Telephone Hand” is a dangerous load of pounding MPT-style chaos. “Winifred” is a super catchy pop love song; this one will be tough to get out of your head once you’ve heard it. The five-man trio dials back the production polish a bit on this one and whips out a nice raw, alcohol-fueled sound.

Gray Code – “Floating Point” – [Circumvention Music]

Max Level   4/19/2010   A Library, CD

Electro-acoustic constructions straddling the line between improvised music and academic sound exploration. Electric guitar, clarinet, and drums provide the raw material, but when these three mad scientists plug in their tech-gizmos, it’s a whole other thing. The players have sensors attached to their instruments, responding to their body movements, making the sound more three-dimensional or something like that. Serious tweaking, and the sounds can get pretty intense. I don’t know what to think because most of what I know about music is being subverted here. Actually, I do know what to think: these guys are not afraid to work outside the box with their artistic concepts, and it’s a safe bet they are also way smarter than I am.

Auteur Labels: Factory Benelux 1980-1985 [coll] – [LTM Recordings]

humana   4/17/2010   A Library, CD

Here we have a sort of exchange program arranged by Manchester label Factory Records and Brussels label Les Disques du Crepuscule (Benelux). Through Factory Benelux, English bands got a chance to be heard in Europe. This compilation is definitely full of 80s sounds. The overall vibe is upbeat, peppy, rock/pop/electronic/dance-beat with mostly male but some female vocals. 1 and 13 are the only instrumentals. Check out the great band names: Crispy Ambulance, Crawling Chaos, Stockholm Monsters.

Kleenex/Liliiput – “Live Recordings, TV-Clips & Roadmovie” – [Kill Rock Stars]

humana   4/16/2010   A Library, CD

These are two live concerts four years apart, the first performed while this female Swiss punk band was known as ???Kleenex,??? the second executed under the moniker of ???Liliput??? (apparently the tissue company had problems with the first name). No matter what you call them, they deliver the goods on short, energetic, upbeat songs featuring either German or English lyrics with fabulous guitar and bass. You can???t go wrong with any of these tracks.

Yeh, C. Spencer/Lorenz, Jon/Jewell, Ryan – “Live At The CAC” – [Krayon Recordings]

cinder   4/14/2010   7-inch, A Library

Recorded live in Cincinnati in 2008. Yeh (Burning Star Core) screams on th violin, Lorenz honks on the sax like it’s a pissed off goose, and Jewell (Pink Reason) shivers on the drums. Almost like all of them are freezing cold and trying to play their instruments, it has a jittery high on caffeine (or coke) feel. Chaotic, yet it all fits together. The B side has things a bit more calmer. The caffeine has worn down, and now they’re more sparse…until the very end. Almost sounds like there’s a flute in there somehow too?

Expo 70 / I Am Seamonster [coll] – [Small Doses]

cinder   4/14/2010   7-inch, A Library

Expo 70 (Justin Wright) from California, now resides in Kansas City (what the!) His side of the vinyl gives strong but relaxed guitar strums, mixed with some reflective drug-inducing guitar work. Sun 0))) but more psychedelic. It ends all too soon, I could listen to this for hours. I Am Seamonster is a dude named Taylor from Texas. His side is heavy on the feedback, mixing in sprinkling melting electronic rain, and the same sort of psyched guitar drones that Expo 70 brings us. Both excellent!