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Music Reviews

Heat Wave – “20 Years” – [Cauldron]

cinder   6/29/2012   7-inch, A Library

A sort of compilation for those who like to mix it up. Supposedly a few tracks on each side, but each side plays as one continuous mix. Side A starts with what could be the beginning of a Stereolab song, then brings you some ’60s psychedelia, a lava lamp here, a peace sign there, then jumps into a quick summer dub sample. Side B has an interview quicky, before diving into some electronic bubbly dub that soon melds into a chill lounge style beat – cocktail hour. The last half of the track has a steel drum 80s dance flair, complete with low-man vox.

Desert Sessions – “Resurrection” – [Rekords Rekords]

The Mole   6/28/2012   12-inch, A Library

Josh Homme has released this double LP as an antholoy of his recordings from 97 to 99 of the 10 volumes known as desert rock. These are 17 of the most blistering, sun baked stoner rock tracks with the exception of Like a Drug, which throws a curveball of swank blues into the fast pace of guitar fuzz, rumbling bass and an occasional raw vocal such as Punk Rock Caveman… and the track Going to a Hangin is a happy hand clapping ditty that invites us all to go along. Over the span of time, Josh, former member of Queens of the Stone Age and Kyuss, has assembled an odd mix of 37 artists from all corners of the 90’s scene. Most tracks are driven by the songwriting of Twiggy Rameriz and features such notables as P J Harvey, Chris Goss of Goon Moon, John Mcbain of Monster Magnet, Ben Sheperd of Soundgarden fame and Dave Catching to name just a few. This takes you?? to the blistering barren landscape with loud rock intensifying your heat stroke into deliberate dehydration. No food No water just Desert Rock at its best.

Molina, David – “Music For Installations and Performance Art” – [Self-release]

The Mole   6/28/2012   A Library, CD

Here is a self released 5 track CD from the wide wonderful world of David Molina. David is no new comer to the sound design realm. His 15 years of composing sound sculptures has found its way into many landscapes of the multimedia experience. Presented here in its audio form, are sound designs of placement and /or performance art collaborating with local artists. The first track is an 18+ minute sound scape with floating guitar riffs layered with field recordings about California and the SF bay area. David worked with a local film group Cause Collective and the resulting piece is a permanent exhibit at the Oakland Museum. #2 is a short water world sound with plastic instruments made from item found on the beach. Track 3 is whirlwind of mechanical sounds ranging from player pianos to vintage vocals from old time crooners. 4 and 5 take a look at immigration from the eyes for young kids playing hide and seek with a toy piano playing twinkle twinkle little star and then 5 takes us to a close with a 8 minute dialog of a woman with an ill child needing to get to the U.S. for medical attention…both pieces are in Spanish. This reviewer suggests that you check out the visual side of each placement.


Conscious Summary – “Consious Summary” – [Love Earth Music]

surferrosa   6/27/2012   7-inch, A Library

Love Earth Music delivers some more warped music, this time courtesy of Consious Summary, a one man project out of LA. This music teeters on the fringe of loveliness and horror. Like the most beautiful, pleasant nightmare you’ve ever had. This is harsh noise melded with playful, acoustic, far away sounds. Lo-fi vocal sounds bend and echo in a dream of melodies and oscillations. Don’t get too comfortable because these lovely, freak folk type sounds will warp in and out of all that is gritty and abrasive. Riddled with playful, storybook synth sounds interrupted by possessed, demented noises. Whimsical in the sickest sort of way. This indecisive record will leave you not knowing whether you should giggle and smile or recoil in fear. Beautiful and terrible all at once. -Surfer Rosa

Toure, Sidi – “Koima” – [Thrill Jockey Records]

Sir Cumference   6/27/2012   CD, International

This is the third release from Mali singer-songwriter Sidi Toure, yet it is the first to make it to KFJC. He sings and plays guitar in a songha?? blues style, with various accompaniment.

Not a spectacular release, but ten highly enjoyable tracks (even if you can’t understand the language), most of which hover around the five minute mark. Tracks #8 & #9 is a more western sounding blues songs, and #5 felt like it could easily be paired with some traditional eastern asian songs.

Well worth a listen…

Borderlands: Music of Central Asia Vol. 10 [coll] – [Smithsonian Folkways]

mickeyslim   6/27/2012   CD, International

Wu Man, master of the short-necked lute called the ‘pipa,’ and connoisseur of traditional Central Asian music, was given to opportunity by Smithsonian/Folkways to explore the connection between Chinese and Central Asian music by collecting virtuoso musicians from the Uyghur Autonomous Region to create new contemporary music while maintaining a sound that links back to their cultural heritage. The people of the area would periodically fight deep into China, and were viewed as exotic and feared, but they were essential as the gateway for the cultural and commercial riches coming from the west and central Asia itself.

As a concourse for culture and music, new instruments were arriving in China; the pipa arrived some 1,500 years ago and by the 8th century was assimilated into the Tang Empire’s court music tradition. In the same sense, Wu Man absorbs traditional sounds and contemporary ones, “I often imagined what it would be like if I played Uyghur classical muqam and Ili folk songs on my pipa?”

The album is very diverse, starting with an improvisation and then going into “Chebiyat,” the second in the Uyghur Twelve Muqam traditional, which sounds like an Indian raga. Third is the nine-beat rhythm “Song for the Kurds,” which Sanubar Tursen says may have roots in northwest Iran, and it definitely has that flavor, with lyrics about fruitful homelands. Four and six are ??two of Sanubar’s orginals, and seven is the first song of the Uyghur Maqam, which is usually sung, but here it is solo diltar by Abdulla Majnun. Wu Man changes the tuning on her pipa for the “Kazakh Song” to imitate the sound of the dombyra. Lots of good stuff on here, check out the KILLER liner notes for the full run-down.


Pedestrian Deposit – “Kithless” – [Arbor]

abacus   6/26/2012   12-inch, A Library

Pedestrian Deposit has taken on an almost entirely new form since Jonathan Borges added cellist Shannon A. Kennedy in 2008, with the abrasive leanings morphing into more restrained yet still unsettling textures. In the first track, a brooding torrent assembles beyond as a solitary cellist plays into echoing canyons. The sounds of a trickling river and crumbling earth pervade until the storm finds its way through the entangled landscape, drenching us in a light veil of freezing rain. As the storm passes and silence takes over, the cellist proceeds to bathe in the icy waters that surround her. The second piece begins again with haunting melodies from the cellist, basking in her naked beauty. Gradually her music is disassembled and deconstructed through distorted processing and the fierce underbelly of Borges’ violent history of feedback destruction breaking through suddenly and sporadically. Night ensues…

3 Moons – “Kult Ur O Man Cor” – [Psyop Recordings]

Max Level   6/26/2012   A Library, Cassette

Drone-based musical adventures, layered and overdubbed on a 4-track Tascam. You’ll hear some noise elements, scrambled sounds, and messed-up vocals now and then, but for the most part this seems to be guitars and other instruments playing patterns and making textures. Tracks 3, 7, 8, 9 and 10 are pretty laid-back; the other tracks are more on the fidgety side. Nice concepts here. I think this is a one-man project but I’m not sure.

Kacirek, Sven – “Scarlet Pitch Dreams” – [Pingipung]

humana   6/26/2012   12-inch, A Library

This album is a real treat for those of us who love marimba, vibes, and xylo. Kacirek composed these pieces, which are a delight in refined experimentalism. The title track (A4) is stellar with its bongos and shakers as it gets your blood moving. Jana Plewa adds her vocals to A2 and A4, but the rest of the album is instrumental. John Eckhardt’s upright bass appears on A2. Enjoy sleuthing for the “narratives inside the pieces”!

Nervous Assistant – “Bastard Blues” – [Blind Prophet Records]

mickeyslim   6/26/2012   7-inch, A Library

Not a whole lot of information on this single from Nervous Assistant, but I did find that it is at least John Provenzano, another ellusive character, although there’s definitely two singing harmonies during the songs.

First track is down-home country style, but you can tell these guys come from some other musical background. Kind of garagey, would work just fine on Joe Ed or Sally’s show.

Second track could work for any number of shows, its more singer-songwriter, but hey, throw it on and don’t look back.

Cooly lyrics if you’re into that sort of thing…

Anderson, Marisa – “Golden Hour, The” – [Mississippi Records]

mickeyslim   6/26/2012   12-inch, Blues

Solo improvisations for the guitar and lap steel, with no overdubs of layering, this is Marisa Anderson of Portland, OR, home of Mississippi Records. Once in a funky-groovy jazz project called “Evolutionary Jass Band,” and recently featured on a remix album of “Music From Saharan Cellphones,” now comes her blues album that goes to show that this woman is a fucking musical beast, most likely chameleon-esque.

Whatever effects this chick uses makes for the perfect mix of creepy ambience and gritty ol’ Delta blues style. The lapsteel guitar is melancholy when there’s a foreboding resonance building from open notes on the guitar. Sometimes the songs are pretty (2,3,4,10) and have added crude feedback sounds (11!), while others have more of a direct blues influence, with a Junior Kimbrough-ish electric flavor (1,7,8,9), and one appropriately fingerpicked inspired by Blind Willie McTell (6).

Medatative and calm, without being boring. Uplifting, optimistic, foot-tappin’, tough-love from the distinct part of our selves where the blues go…

Sad Horse – “Purple On Purple Makes Purple” – [Water Wing Records]

humana   6/26/2012   12-inch, A Library

This is a great album of short, energy-packed punk gems. At first I thought of the B-52’s when I heard the vocals, but quickly Sad Horse became its own distinct sound, and the guitar and drums definitely got me dancing. There are two standouts and two instrumentals (marked on cover), but really you will find your own favorites. Have fun!

Exile Radio – “Am/fm” – [Plug Research]

Laethaka   6/25/2012   CD, Hip Hop

LA remixed dance/commercials/hip hop out to confuse and amuse. Almost every song starts with a short analog radio dial spin– make listeners think something just popped loose! Some remixes awesomely expand on lyrical content. Tracks 2-12 are the real meat but there’s some decent rap on the outer borders. Favorakkas: #3 wicked sample of some California gal “OMGGGG LET’S GOOOOOO”, #9 smooth groove love & devotion, #12 overpopulation commercialism reaction hysterics, #19 inequality, negritude, sweet spoken in-/outros, #20 expert rap that gets analog-radio-dial spun around a few times

FCC #12, 19, 20

Fucking Lesbian Bitches/ No/ho/mo [coll] – [Punk Start My Heart]

surferrosa   6/25/2012   7-inch, A Library

A 7” split released on Portland Oregon based “feminist record label” Punk Start My Heart, containing a short sampling of live material recorded by two local Portland bands.

Fucking Lesbian Bitches are a duo of angry ladies playing guitar and drums in the angular, slo-tempo, punk-metal sort of fashion. This has heavy echoes of grunge…Portland is not in Washington ladies..Track one has an operatic moment. Track two has some nice screeching on it. Driving beats and kicking rhythms. These pissed off lesbians totally rock.

NO/HO/MO is (and I quote here) “queercore/ synthpunk seeking to expose the absurdity of homophobic phrases”. I don’t know how much exposition is going on here, but I can certainly get behind the synthpunk. These tracks are super short, assymetrical, sporadic pieces riddled with all sorts of helter skelter dirty synth sounds. Like some really great music at a terrible dance party populated by pale white boys who don’t know their left from from their right. If that doesn’t get you excited then fuck off and go suck a dick. Track 4 is the only one with vocals, and it is not FCC friendly.

Dig in. -Surfer Rosa

Running – “Asshole Savant” – [Captcha Records]

surferrosa   6/25/2012   12-inch, A Library

This twisted trio out of Chicago deliver some hard and dirty noise punk covered in a thick layer of gritty grime. Distant, distorto-vocals leak through a wall of guitar fuzz and the relentless drawl of a drummer which does not seem to tire and always keeps the beat. These tracks are like short, demented assaults. Quick and to the point. Like being stabbed in the ear with a toothpick, but just for a second, and it feels kind of nice. Where is the mosh pit? This is going to make you wiggle. Its dense with abrasion, embracing the harsh nature of noise and the high energy tendencies of punk. Segues on this record are super quick. Take an eye off the grooves and you are guaranteed to miss the transition. I suggest letting the record spin and playing a couple tracks side by side. ??Inside the sleeve you will also find a one sided, orange colored flexi-disc B side. Yes, this floppy piece of plastic plays, containing a little under 3 minutes (at 45rpm) of warped and warbly, dirty-ass noise riffage. Go ahead and throw it on if you feel brave, but don’t be shocked if it craps out on you. Good luck! -Surfer Rosa

Dahlen, Erland – “Rolling Bomber” – [Hubro]

Cousin Mary   6/25/2012   A Library, CD

Erland Dahlen is a Norwegian percussionist. This solo outing has a variety of moods – sad, ominous, fun with beats, minimal – all delightful. Can be mixed, but stands well on its own. The title refers to the 1940’s era drum kit that he uses, a Slingerland “Rolling Bomber” that was made with many wooden parts to minimize use of metal needed for the war effort. Vocals by musical saw!

Recchion, Tom – “Incandescent Gramophone & The Song of Mister Phonograph, The” – [Poo-Bah Records]

Cousin Mary   6/23/2012   10-inch, A Library

78rpm vinyl noise recording with samples from 78rpm records – voice, music, scratches, clicks, etc. Recchion wanted to create a mysterious object – he left 100 of them in public places for people to figure out. It is also an homage to early recording technology and the obsolete.

PGM: Play at 78rpm. TT3 has a 78 stylus to use for 78rpm only. Get instructions in its use if unfamiliar.

Threadgill, Henry / Zooid – “Tomorrow Sunny / The Revelry, Spp” – [Pi Recordings]

Cousin Mary   6/23/2012   CD, Jazz

Compositions are by sax and flute player Threadgill. Then they are improvised by the performers who are asked to have a free conversation, free of cliches. Often engaging, sometimes a bit too much noodling for my taste. Cello and tuba add a unique aspect. Zooid has been playing together since 2000: the name refers to an organism that is a single animal that is part of a colony.

PGM: Track 7 merely reads aloud the information that is on the CD case.

Smith, Wadada Leo – “Ten Freedom Summers” – [Cuneiform Records]

Thee Opinataur   6/22/2012   CD, Jazz

Recorded in Nov. 2011 Ten Freedom Summers is quite possibly Wadada Leo Smith at his artistic peak. Performing with his Golden Quartet of Smith on Trumpet, Anthony Davis ??piano, John Lindberg bass, Pheeroan akLaff and Susie Ibarra drums. In addition the nine piece Southwest Chamber Music conducted by Jeff von der Schmidt merges jazz and classical to brilliant perfection. In the works since 1977, Smith composes 19 pieces in 3 collections consisting of 1)10 years of the civil rights movement 1954-64 2) Defining Moments in America 3) What is Democracy? Inspired by Max Roach’s “Freedom Now” as well as Duke’s “Sacred Concerts”, it was actually playwright August Wilson’s “Pittsburgh Cycle” that helped Smith architect this work. There is indeed improvisation throughout as well as composed pieces in which Smith allows notated unrestricted freedom. Smith conducts masterfully leading with his introspective muted play. There is a deep interwoven melancholic sadness, emotional rage, minimalist peacefulness, but the best spots are the contemplative silent ones as they speak louder then any high C that Smith would dare to hit on his trumpet. Smith says that he tried to compose a psychological impact of the civil rights movement in American society, yet these pieces accomplish so much more of the philosophical, social and political history on an exhaustive emotional platform. With 4 CD’s and nearly 5 hours of music, to take it all in at once is an experience everyone should do once in their life.