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Music Reviews

3leafs – “Eat The Earth” – [Self Released]

surferrosa   10/31/2011   A Library, CD

3leafs are a psychedelic, space-trip from San Francisco, active since 2006. These guys list birds, hollow metal object and abandoned churches as influences. The music here is fully spaced out with an ambient, hypnotic, kraut-rock feel. Long, instrumental tracks riddled with ethereal noises, droning tones, strobing sounds and bubbling synths. This album has a real meditative groove. Its always spacey, quite lovely and occasionally slightly eerie. Eat the Earth is to be thoroughly enjoyed. -Surfer Rosa

Asteroid #4, The – “Hail to The Clear Figurines” – [Committee to Keep Music Evil, The]

surferrosa   10/31/2011   A Library, CD

Here is the 6th release by Asteroid #4, a band from Philadelphia currently signed on to Anton Newcombe’s record label “The committee to keep music evil”. This music sounds heavily influenced by bands such as R.E.M, The Brian Jonestown Massacre, and Spacemen 3. The music here is shoe-gazey, space-pop with a touch of psych. With plenty of reverb and tremolo, this album has a floaty, elated, yet rock driven sound. It is sweet and pleasant with a nice dose of 60s-esque fuzz freakout. This album is very approachable. Not too much dissonance here, mostly pleasant sounds with a bit of psychedelia. – Surfer Rosa

Hecker, Tim – “Ravedeath, 1972” – [Kranky]

surferrosa   10/31/2011   A Library, CD

Time Hecker (formerly known as Jetone) is a producer/composer out of Montreal. This album, released February 2011, contains a collection of ambient experimental work. It is full of drones, ringing tones, a touch of organ, plenty of ominous feedback and no vocals of any kind. Heck put up a wall of sound here. This music seems dark and muddy, with a sort of hypnotizing, meditative quality. It sounds to me like a low, murky, underwater sort of rumble. The tracks flow into each other smoothly and the Cd almost plays like one long track. -Surfer Rosa

Skullflower – “Fucked On a Pile of Corpses” – [Cold Spring Records]

surferrosa   10/31/2011   A Library, CD

Here is another delightfully dissonant release from Skullflower, executed in a harsh, noisy fashion, just as one might expect. The music here is apocalyptic noise drenched is gritty, crackly, guitar fuzz and the constant drone of static, white noise. It picks up a vague sense of rhythm at times, but remains mostly chaotic and consistently doomy, hazy and dark. Songs rack into each other to make for 36 punishing minutes of grating, saturated white noise. And with swell track titles suck as Tantrik Ass Rape and Defiling their Temples with Bestial Lust, you really just can’t go wrong. – Surfer Rosa

Secret Samurai – “Zanshin” – [Muad’Dib Records]

surferrosa   10/31/2011   A Library, CD

Surf revival from San Diego, because California is the capitol of SURF. Secret Samurai consists of 4 guys playing with the classic surf band lineup of guitar, keys, bass and drums. There is reverb and tremolo picking a-plenty and echoes of the beach, of course. The flavors here range from Russian, to Turkish to Latin. This some solid surf with a classy sound. Anchors away, everybody… -Surfer Rosa

Birchville Cat Motel – “Bird Sister Blasphemy” – [C.Psi.P]

surferrosa   10/31/2011   A Library, CD

Birchville Cat Motel is a one man band courtesy of Campbell Kneale coming straight from New Zealand, land of rainforests, breathtaking beaches, exotic birds and seizure educing noise. The music here is saturated with gritty, scraping, T.V-static style fuzz, filthy rumbling drones, feedback and ominous oscillations. Track 1 starts off with a full deceptive minute of low key, melodic noodling before it descends into noisy ear-hell for the remainder of the album. #1 is the most tangible of the four tracks, with drums and bass keeping a beat behind guitar chaos. There is a vague sense of rhythm on this album, but mostly it seems to be an exploration in wall of sound, saturated noise. The album ends with drones, chanting, chines and 30 seconds of silence. Songs track together to make for 26 minutes of pure fun. -Surfer Rosa

Battles – “Gloss Drop” – [Warp Records Ltd]

surferrosa   10/31/2011   A Library, CD

Here is the second release by Battles, featuring a new lineup with the absence of former vocalist and guitarist Tyondai Braxton. I found this album to be quite intriguing. It echoes of math rock, is upbeat, heavily syncopated and even orchestral of theatrical at times. The music here is calculated, and seems to emphasize experimentation in musical textures, tones and sounds as opposed to melody. There is a really heavy electronic element here, but it works well and blends perfectly, its hard to tell where the electronics start and the human instrumentation begins. It runs smooth and seamlessly, a perfect blend of man and machine. Like a cyborg. This sounds to me like a demented video game soundtrack. Vocal tracks are marked with featured artists. Tracks end abruptly. This album in delightful. Enjoy. -Surfer Rosa

Cult of Dom Keller – “EP2” – [Self Released]

surferrosa   10/31/2011   A Library, CD

The Cult of Dom Keller is a psych-rock group from the UK. This EP (EP2) was released along side another (EP1). I feel like the two go hand in hand. The best part about this EP is the great, saturated, dirty, fuzz these guys use all over their music. They really set up a solid wall of sound here. I would say a little more so than on EP1. The vocals are drenched in reverb, almost functioning as another instrument at times, and the music possesses a heavy, hazy, fat sound. Thing shoe-gase meets stoner-rock psychedelia. Pretty Great.???????? -Surfer Rosa

Cult of Dom Keller – “EP1” – [Self Released]

surferrosa   10/31/2011   A Library, CD

The Cult of Dom Keller is a psych-rock group from the UK. This EP (EP1) was released along side another (EP2). The music here is loaded with effects and lots of heavy, saturated fuzz. The vocals are drenched in reverb and often seem to function as another instrument. Many of these tracks transition into each other, this EP almost plays like one 18 minute track. For fans of spacey, shoe-gazey, stoner, psych-rock! -Surfer Rosa

Massacre – “Killing Time” – [Fred Records]

surferrosa   10/31/2011   A Library, CD

Massacre is Fred Frith on guitar, Bill Laswell on bass and Fred Maher on drums. This album was recorded live, mainly in Paris and Brooklyn 1981. These sound like they would have been epic liver performances. The music here fluctuates between the sounds of math rock, psych and free jazz. Its all instrumental and largely improvised. Some of the songs sound more calculated than others (3, 19 for example) but its pretty obvious to tell which are improvised jams and which are not. The music here is chaotic. Its dissonant and experimental. Weird note intervals, strange time signatures, and intriguing combinations of rhythms and sounds. The music here is heavy, gritty, noisy and fully delightful. Check out tracks 6 & 11 for lengthier improvised journeys of feedback, dissonance and alien string noises. A lot of these pieces track into each other, especially the shorter ones, so play it continuously if you please. this album is solid awesome. – Surfer Rosa

Midnite – “Intense Pressure” – [Rastafaria – Roots, Dub & Culture]

Grizzly Adam   10/29/2011   CD, Reggae

Given to dank instrumental melody, with word thereafter attached to it, Midnite are also extremely productive. This is from 2003 and contains more instrumentals than the usual Midnite album. How they remember which song is which on their relentless touring is beyond me. There is no tediousness or saturation except into dankness. Many musical metaphors apply, stars in the sky, diamonds on your shoes, fresh vision, warning sounds. These are not studio dubbers, this is a real band. The vocals are given slowly, paced to the syncopations of the song. To this I ask “what’s going round?”. I am reminded of Wibbly Wobbly, and recommend Spliff Skankin close Jah’s Music with track six. Tracks 2, 3, 5, 7, and 9 all have lyric.
-eveningly infinitely wipes scrub sonny atoms grizzly adam

Ferraro, James – “On Air” – [Underwater People’s Records]

Grizzly Adam   10/29/2011   12-inch, A Library

Phineas Narco would love this, as might Bob Lindsey.
Faux remakes of 90s MTV era hits, with lots of great
guitar work. Many terse passages, and integrated layers
of melodic instrumental synth-scapes populated through-
out. Vacuum suck. Spilling buckets of sound color for
retro flashback. Harmonies, and sampling. Imagination
washes, and reverberation. Musical analogies of calculus
and computation. Major League Baseball Two rock.
Transformational staged repetition. I am reminded of
Eddie the Rat, Wendy & Carl, but it’s more like the synth
pop stuff, such as Absolute Elsewhere, Absolute Body
Control, and the Wierd Records Compilations. Think of
Astral Social Club with Tipsy and Disco Duck. But most
of all, like DJ the Fourth.
-eveningly infinitely wipes scrub sonny atoms grizzly adam

Gentleman – “Trodin On” – [Four Music]

Grizzly Adam   10/29/2011   12-inch, Reggae

Earlier stuff (’99) dancehall love, cue efx (A1) lovers dancehall slow funk / hip hop, follow it with the rap original (A2) play of horn-frontal dancehall with digi-squeak (A3) perdure, know thy-self (A4) like capleton with less idiosyncrasy (B1) advancing the dancehall rhythm, bass throbs, and spacy synth wobbles (B2) augustus pablo ish, flute, and rock ish gtr., together in a slow club dub, speaking of dangers, warnings, the poor state of politics in all (B3) semi-cover of buju banton “who have it” & play it!, word (B4) chill hip hop, run some of those singles, smif n wessun (C1) jah cure style (C2) shaggy style for a serious song (C3) ward 21 style, ele’s creeper, good riddim find them! (C4) real rap reggae (D1) luciano vibe (D2) ganja tune, get carried away (D3) urban g-rap (D4)
-eveningly infinitely wipes scrub sonny atoms grizzly adam
Language: D1

Gentleman – “Confidence” – [Four Music]

Grizzly Adam   10/29/2011   12-inch, Reggae

“no hold us down”, he no hold back, with Anthony B they bun gunman,
says youths look, see reality, and talk up held beliefs of spiritual elevation
and the right way. criticism of the world living in violence (superior). and “no
time like now” is musically confused. special. tears for mama, one love, jah
bless. “for the children” to Sizzla “just one of those days”.
-eveningly infinitely wipes scrub sonny atoms grizzly adam

Rebel, Tony – “If Jah” – [Vp Records]

Grizzly Adam   10/29/2011   12-inch, Reggae

Love Fountain to So Much Trouble In The World.
Africa to Macka B Hold Onto Your Culture, on one drop.
Not joyous but smart and heart wrenching (A1). Good
digital touches. “Hide your joy”, sad.
-eveningly infinitely wipes scrub sonny atoms grizzly adam

Cocoa Tea – “Biological Warfare” – [Minor 7 Flat 5]

Grizzly Adam   10/29/2011   12-inch, Reggae

Good at the reggae inflections. Great at tongue twisters. From Jamaica, in the studio with Cocoa Tea. Beachy (A5) to serious (A2) to songs for the younger (A4 like Ele doing Sesame Street)
“War vibes I’m smelling. Freedom of speech but no safety for a split on the beach. War dust collects, winds blowing, war dust I’m smelling”, “Bun down Enron, Bun down oppressive power.”
-eveningly infinitely wipes scrub sonny atoms grizzly adam

Hammond, Beres – “Love Has No Boundaries” – [Vp Records]

Grizzly Adam   10/29/2011   12-inch, Reggae

Up-lift-ment. Emotional understanding and harmony. Most of all sad optimism.
Real heart and joy (A4) Christmas (A5) Reflective, ruminations, and inspiration
to action (A2) Integrity and strength, perseverance (A3) Percolating dub bloops.
Breaking Up (A7) Romantic Reggae.
-eveningly infinitely wipes scrub sonny atoms grizzly adam

Savage Aural Hotbed – “Glove of Sound” – [Microblister]

Cousin Mary   10/29/2011   A Library, CD

This group from Minnesota mixes traditional musical instruments and all kinds of objects for a unique and catchy set of tracks. “Glove of Sound” refers to the practice of taping contact mics to gloves so that they pick up what the hands are doing. Noisy but always rhythmic, will appeal to fans of experimental, jazz, beats, and more.

Gilson, Jef – “Best of Jef Gilson, The” – [Jazzman]

Cousin Mary   10/29/2011   CD, Jazz

This CD samples the best from the lifetime work of French keyboardist Jef Gilson (born 1926). Broad variety of sounds recorded from the 1940’s to the 1960’s include big bands, ensembles of many sizes, and a variety of styles with Gilson on organ or piano. Very accessible, with an original sound. Nice cover of Pharaoh Sanders’ “The Creator Has A Master Plan”.

Hey Colossus – “RRR” – [Riot Season]

surferrosa   10/26/2011   A Library, CD

Hey Colossus delivers some super heavy, distorted, fuzzed out, wall of sound, punishing noise rock. These guys are noisy as all hell but they keep a beat and lay down some rhythms, which barely escape being swallowed up by dissonance, but this music has drive and tangibility. Some of the tracks lean more towards abstract noodlings while others deliver sludgy, riffy, stoniness. There are some low end, gritty vocals on here which seem to serve more of an instrumental purpose rather than a lyrical one. Prepare to injure yourself because these guys will melt off your face, make you speed on the freeway and headband till your neck snaps. This is massive.