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Music Reviews

Teenburger – “Burgertime” – [Droppin’ Science]

MSTiZA   4/29/2012   CD, Hip Hop

Teenburger is Ghettosocks, Timbuktu, and DJ/Producer Jorun Bombay. Timbuktu is a Swedish rapper and runs his own label, Juju Records []. Ghettosocks is Darren Pyper, member of the Canadian hip hop colective of DJs, MCs, and producers known as the Backburner Collective. DJ Jorun Bombay laid down his chops on the 1&2s in the mid 90s. The essence of this release stems from the era of hip hop directly predating and influencing Bombay’s emergence. The sound can found in the direct reference to the label, Dropping Science. Dropping Science was a Marley Marl and Craig G release in 1988. Ghettosocks and Timbuktu’s style of lyrical cadence and DJ Jorun Bombay’s production style honor Marley Marl & Craig G. To enjoy this release you, must recognize HH history. Marley Marl [haiing from Queens, NY] was known for the sound behind Gangstarr’s Check the Technique[’91], founded of Juice Crew[80’s], produced tracks for Biz Markie, Roxanne Shante, Kool G Rap, Big Daddy Kane, MC Shan, King Tee, and Masta Ace, and started started his career as a radio DJ on NY’s WBLS fm’s show Rapp Attack. Peep history’s influence. This release features many guests, including El Da Sensei.

Eckhardt, John – “Xylobiont” – [Emanem]

humana   4/26/2012   A Library, CD

Eckhardt displays his great virtuosity on the solo double bass on this release of improvisations influenced by the music of Xenakis, Feldman, and Ligeti. Here he uses “no overdubs, no edits, no electronic processing”–just his own technique and an instrument that, through plucking, bowing, and percussing, does behave like the “organism of wood” for which this CD is named. Very minimalist, although check out 4 for a fast-paced departure from the sound you expect to hear from a double bass.

Boothe, Ken – “Who Gets Your Love?” – [Trojan Records]

humana   4/26/2012   12-inch, Reggae

The album cover describes Jamaican Boothe as “Magnificent, Mean, and Moody” I didn’t hear the mean on here, but the moody predominated, if you can call reggae moody. Many of the lyrics reminded me of other songs, but with a distinct twist all Boothe’s own. There’s a cover of Marley’s “African Lady” here, and the standout for me was “This Love,” which was more along the lines of Magnificent with its upbeat rhythms.

Phog Masheen – “23 Duets” – [Love Earth Music]

abacus   4/25/2012   A Library, CD

Phog Masheen is a sound/video collective creeping out of the wastelands of the Los Angeles area like the other Love Earth derelicts they associate with. They use lots of homemade/common objects for aerophones and primitive percussion processed through all sorts of electronics, with some extended techniques like using dry ice. Really scuzzy, distorted feedback sounds all chopped and glitched and spliced together to produce really heavy, driving, bouncy BEATS! Everything from brutal breakbeat destruction to trance-y club beats for drunken raves in rusted out factories where everyone just drives their hogs around, spinning donuts on the dance floor. We even got some hip-hop beats sent to us from the year 2120 as a soundtrack for Mad Max style drag racing. Strings and drumsets samples, processed trumpet whale call dubs and metallic scrapes and clangs amidst a sea of white noise static. but BEATS! bump that shit…

Demdike Stare – “Elemental” – [Modern Love Records]

Roland Blunt   4/25/2012   A Library, CD

CD re-issue of original tracks, alternate takes, and bonus material from Elemental LP (2011), the 6th full-length release by British duo Sean Canty and Miles Whittaker.

Bewitching brume of dark ambient industrial noise, musique concrete, and rhythmic minimalism. A foreboding, cinematic, pensive, slithering, menacing gape of sounds that petition the abyss through languid gurgling, stark cavernous drone-washes, electro-static soundings, ceded unlocked grooves, soaring machine hums, looming anxious palpitating beats, dour strings, twisted electronics, gravitational lurches, and disturbed calculated rhythms.

CD 1 is far creepier in its approach. The rhythms are more subdued and evoke darker sonic apparitions. Track 5 deploys an aggressive, groovy meld of industrial noises and Eastern instrumental sounds. Track 8 is a meditative call to prayer from techno-Mecca. Track 10 sounds like a Basic Channel horror film sound design.

CD 2 is more rhythmic. Track 2 is a tribal onslought accented by stentorian drums. Track 4 has a mellow drum circle vibe. Track 7 drifts along in a pensive clockwork beat.

For maximum results, do mix the tracks on both discs.

Black Bananas – “Rad Times Express, IV” – [Drag City]

MSTiZA   4/25/2012   A Library, CD

Royal Trux femme fatale, Jennifer Herrema, laced up and jamming a 70’s rock and roll that bleeds TRex tears, thinner than Lizzy, grooves like Foreigner CAN’t, 80s anthem rock mixed with 00’s-oh nos. Is it serious? Well as serious as a hotboxed van with weed stuffed in the tires trying to make a road across the country, picking up hookers along the way.


Ill Mondo / Neal Rames – “Ill Mondo / Neal Rames” – [Self Released]

surferrosa   4/25/2012   CD, Hip Hop

A collaboration between producer Ill Mondo and emcee Neal Rames. Ill Mondo brings the beat home, chopped up and slow cooked like succulent thanksgiving pot roast. He’s definatly been digging his fingers into his old funk and soul collections of the 70s. The samplage here is heavy, abundant and above all artfully executed and skillfully constructed. Its easy to forget that these guys don’t have a full funk band backing them up. Samples also include plenty of out of context sound clips from some obscure old films, and the occasional appearance of a scratching record. Neal Rames delivers the rhyme, right on the groove, hip with the beat, teasing your taste buds with licorice sticks of linguistics. This here is something to bounce to. ??-Surfer Rosa

FCC: 12

Les Goths – “Reve De Silence” – [Shadoks]

surferrosa   4/25/2012   A Library, CD

A three piece from Normandy France, 1968. These guys were young factory workers (two of them brothers) turned long haired hippie psych rockers after having seen the Animals play live in the mid 60s. This experience was apparently so life altering and inspiring, that it moved them to pick up the psychedelic, crunched out, garage rock style we all know and love so well. This record is dripping with wha wha, sticky with fuzz and not lacking in bluesy, string savvy freak outs. Vocals are delivered in both French and English, instrumental tracks (5, 8, 9, 10) jam particularly hard and are among my favorites. If you dig the 60s, this will fix your fix. – Surfer Rosa

Masson, Nicolas Parallels “Thirty Six Ghosts” – [Clean Feed]

Cousin Mary   4/25/2012   CD, Jazz

Nicolas Masson is a Swiss improvisational sax player. He is known to be a fan of Albert Ayler, and it shows a little – but this album is brought back to earth by drums that get into frequent grooves and Fender Rhodes that hints at pop and rock. Approachable modern jazz.

Johnson, Bola – “Man No Die” – [Vampi Soul]

Art Crimes   4/25/2012   12-inch, International

While Fela was refining politically-charged Afrobeat messages to the people and King Sunny was building a guitar army to play hypnotic grooves with his African Beats, Bola Johnson was happy to just play the fool with his grab bag of highlife, funk, calypso, proto-rap, vocal chants, and other styles — all delivered with high spirits and concise arrangements (most tracks about 5 minutes). Sung in a variety of African tribal languages plus English, these songs address decidedly non-political issues like relationships, dancing, and traffic safety (check out the last song, a public service announcement delivered in a calypso wrapper). The horn-driven backing band has much more of a Western flavor than the Nigerian acts I mentioned above, and as you can see by the cover, with Johnson flanked by two instrument-wielding cuties while he dons his Miles Davis shades, this is not terribly serious stuff. But Johnson does mine some legitimate funk quarries here, with wah-wah deployed as needed, and he’s not embarrassed to roll with classic highlife rhythms as well. PROGRAMMING: All tracks include vocals although some have extended intros. ((( crimes )))

Lilacs & Champagne – “Lilacs & Champagne” – [Mexican Summer]

MSTiZA   4/24/2012   12-inch, A Library

Oh dreams. Deliver me from the monoconditioner that hums a familiar sound every time i listen to my heart. Oh dear, what is that?..? The star of this project is : CZESLAW NIEMAN and the 1975 album Mourner’s Rhapsody. The first song on the A side, “Lilacs and Champagne” rooted this trio of MADLIB [LOOTPACK] whose production stamp is complimented by Alex Hall[ GRAILS] and Emil Amos [OM]. Note that info on the release is limited. Beside the expansive production on this cross genre expansion of HH, noise, and experimentalism; Madilib is joined with two musicians infamously known for guitar and drums, respectively; in HOLY SONS. Mexican Summer has gifted listeners with a solid start to the next frontier in Hip hop. I’m not religious, but I await the renaissance; the Passion to the Endtroduction.

IWR*: western, werewolf dub; dinge-y vocals, on par with heroined out eastern male vocals. Is it a sample? Would the masses rest their heart strings upon purpose head and reference to death..muslimgauze, , and monks, frogs, organ, beats, the devil march in video/vacuum sample, soulful vox, and high hat sizzles. You may as well be bathing in his sweat. singalong start, dark dub like tracks will surprise you with sampes and shifts, but have no fear. preview on the jump trough tracks. you will not be disappointed by the laid back downtempo. psyche flare, flutter to false transitions. bequeath the quake.



Kelvox 1 – “Grazed Red” – [Aagoo]

Max Level   4/24/2012   12-inch, A Library

Here’s a UK trio (synths/sampler,bass,and guitar/vox) spinning out two long mesmerizing tracks. The starting point seems to be a yearning kind of 80’s-style pop, but it’s slowed down and floating in a sea of extreme reverb. Sort of like Human League on quaaludes. The vocals, somewhat down in the mix, seem tuneful but they aren’t really–they’re just kind of there every once in a while during the side-long tracks; meanwhile all kinds of other stuff is happening: snakey guitar lines, deep bass tones, minimal but insistent programmed percussion, dub effects coming and going, subtly layered synths, and many sounds of indeterminate origin. Side B is the noisier of the two; more industrial sounding I guess. Both sides are well worth experiencing.

Stetson, Colin – “Those Who Don’t Run / The End of Your Suffering” – [Constellation]

Cousin Mary   4/24/2012   10-inch, A Library

Listening to this album with no prior information, you might guess it is electronic sounds that have been manipulated, processed, and layered. Not so. It is one musician, Colin Stetson, playing solo horn (bass sax side A, alto sax on side B) with no overdubs or looping, using 24 different mic positions. Drone-y but melodic. Refreshingly original, beautiful.

Hobo Sonn – “Wary The Mind” – [Amen Absen]

abacus   4/24/2012   12-inch, A Library

Second full length from Brighton’s Ian Murphy aka Hobo Sonn. Two side-long experimental noise/drone pieces that flow dynamically across a variety of musical influences and textures. Composed and performed on an array of electronics, effects, piano and field recordings. The seemingly disparate piano parts blend seamlessly, offering a unique musical layer to the otherwise sparse landscapes. Side A begins with processed feedback and silent drones set against an oceanside scene that dips into a cosmic vacuum where we can still barely pick up radio signals from lightyears away. The openness draws every minute detail into startling focus, especially with the orchestral climax and subsequent vaporization towards the end. Side B picks up again with a glistening piano intro sailing through gliding through glassy waters until chimes signal a sudden landing upon a post-apocalyptic wasteland set within the Eurasian steppes. We hear ancient echoes of tribal ragas that again disappear with birds and chimes. Only 330 copies of this (first 120 got bonus CDR…not us? BOO) so play it!

No Ufo’s – “Soft Coast” – [Nice Up Intl]

humana   4/24/2012   12-inch, A Library

This represents the vinyl release of Konrad Jandavs’ 2010 debut cassette. Upon hearing the words “soft coast,” you might think you’re in for surf music, but these tracks are based on electronic sound waves, loops, and drifts. Although it starts out with what sounds like a droning bee, the album evolves through ambience and synth interspersed with moments of rock sensibilities. The juxtaposition is seen quite nicely with the soothing “Freeze Drift” followed by the livelier “Untitled I” on Side A.

Atriarch / Alaric [coll] – [20 Buck Spin]

The Mole   4/21/2012   12-inch, A Library

Here is a 12″ split with Alaric/Atriarch from 20 Buck Spin that speaks of ancient spirits and dark souls awaiting a new arising. Side A gives us 3 tracks, a trilogy, from Alaric. Track one unfolds to tails of the anguish of lost battles, the continued struggle for victory and the relenting quest for freedom. The drum and bass presents itself as a reminder of the fight, persistent, strong. The vocals echo the voice of the lost in battle, the guitar screams for justice. Track 2 starts with the drum call to, again, another attempt, the final sack against the betrayer. Track 3 closes the scene with death, honorable, glorious darkness submerged in liquid for eternity. Flip the LP over and we find Atriarch with 2 tracks. This is a new view of who we are, and where we need to go. The drum and bass are same and the guitar still screams, but this time the vocals are raw and resurrected from the ashes of despair.


Mount Carmel “Real Women” (Siltbreeze)

The Mole   4/21/2012   A Library

As I started to listen to the first track off the 2nd release from the three piece band Mount Carmel
titled “Real Women”, I was immediately thrown into the H.G. time machine and the taste of cheap
whiskey and Seconal came rushing back. It’s been two years since the last release from these
Columbus, Ohio boys on Siltbreeze Records and they have made much headway in their sound.
No longer as lo-fi as before, the new material hearkens back to the early to mid 70’s with a certain
resemblance to Humble Pie, Foghat and Savoy Brown. Matt Reed on guitar and vocals, his brother
Patrick on bass and Kevin Stubak on drums, the 9 track CD showcases how the band has taken
their talents to newer heights. Matt’s guitar workings and his vocals are much more advanced and
the overall sound is tighter and crisper. A mix of rough rock and backroom blues, Mount Carmel is
getting closer to the summit.

Uchida, Yuya & The Flowers – “Challenge!” – [Phoenix Records]

surferrosa   4/18/2012   12-inch, A Library

Released in 1969, this record is the first manifestation of Japanese psych rock outfit later to be known as the Flower Travelin’ Band, this project being their debut. Here is a collection of mostly Janis Joplin with Big Brother and the Holding Company, Cream, Jimi Hendrix and Jefferson Airplane cover songs, with the exception of B3- Hidariashi No Otoko, the only instrumental, fully original piece of these recordings, and my personal favorite. This was producer Uchida’s way of dipping his fingers into the budding psych rock scene of the late 60s, and introducing then up and coming bands to a Japanese audience. Though they are cover songs, theses tracks have a flavor, and certain idiosyncrasies of their own due to the musical and vocal styling of this band from Tokyo (check at A4- I’m so grad). Female vocalist Remi does a surprisingly convincing Janis Joplin impression here… I would say zombie Janis but this came out before she died.. Staying true to the 60s fashion, there are also plenty of fuzzed out guitar solos and sticky licks. Gobble it up. – Surfer Rosa

Noh Mercy – “Noh Mercy” – [Superior Viaduct]

surferrosa   4/18/2012   A Library, CD

Noh Mercy is the brainchild of self reportedly heavily drugged Esmeralda on vocal mayhem, and Berklee school of music graduate Tony Hotel on drums. These pissed off ladies got together in San Francisco 1977 as a reaction to the male dominated music scene. Lets go ahead and call this minimalist punk. Its heavily dominated by totally audible vocals and the driving beat of a drumset, with the occasional musings of the moog keyboard or guitar abrasion. Esmeralda produces lovely vocal sounds when she cares to, other times she belts out the music of an angry cat being rubbed in the wrong direction. Her lyrics are merciless and clever, taking stabs at fashion or politics, or just stabbing for fun. Tony Hotel holds down a relentless beat on the drumset, which she has upgraded using an oldsmobile hubcap mounted on a cymbal stand and a piece of round metal found at the junk yard which she plays using a ball-peen hammer. These ladies are sticking it to all that is phallic and materialistic. Their moto is “No boys on guitars”. There is no pretty pink fluff here. – Surfer Rosa