Fundraiser 2018 — Donate now!

Music Reviews

Dear, Matthew – “Beams” – [Ghostly International]

Belladonna   10/31/2012   A Library, CD

The Dear Mr. Dear is keeping us on our toes. This is not expected but very much enjoyed. A mix of beats with moments of guitar, melancholy and that off kilter vocal styling that seems to be so popular at the moment. Great lyrics, like I said melancholy. Its quite engaging and addictive. This has the mass appeal that crosses many genres, it should be loved by all.

Uladat – “Uladat” – [Black Tropical]

Belladonna   10/31/2012   A Library, CD

Eperimental electronic and percussive artist from Ontario Canada. A mix of interesting sounds, can you imagine a tropical rain forest with industrial crunch and screech? Or a Island holiday with dubby, crunchy with menacing beats? Its not quite IDM, not quite industrial, not quite doom, its just plain awesome.

Bastard Noise, The – “Rogue Astronaut” – [Gravity Records]

Roland Blunt   10/31/2012   A Library, CD

Transmissions (circa 2009) from the experimental tangent of the seminal power violence clan…Man Is The Bastard. Long-time members W.T. Nelson…electronics…and Eric Wood…electronics, lyrics, vocals…construct and command mission-specific devices (electro-acoustic coils, arcade game joystick-controlled high and low voltage analog audio generators) to spawn power electronic noisescapes that taunt the notion of an impending, supra terrestrial dystopia. Dominant expressions of cosmic dread unleashed through overtly disconnected instrumentation and harsh vocalizations.

Track 1 pierces the silence of deep space with a dynamic arsenal of deconstructed aural events encompassing and accentuating ethereal laments of intergalactic imprisonment. Track 2 unfurls a sparse, glub-step beat underscoring the guttural rants of a twisted overlord. Track 3, with additional vocals from Leila Rauf (Hammers of Misfortune), is an epic dark ambient trek that references an Outer Limits episode where researchers on an alien planet live in fear of a man wearing goggles, a man who is paranoid and powerful – and can read minds. Track 4, featuring vocals from Justin Pearson and Robert Bray of The Locust, inundates with a frustrated tension. Track 5 & Track 6…which, also showcase some some stellar voicework from Rauf and Wood, drift inexorably toward the stark oblivion of an event horizon.


Mighty Underdogs, The – “Droppin’ Science Fiction” – [Definitive Jux]

Dianthus   10/31/2012   12-inch, Hip Hop

This is the debut album from a bay area supergroup comprised of Quannum/Solesides members Lateef “The Truth Speaker” (Latryx, Maroons), The Gift of Gab (Blackalicious) and Headnodic (crown City Rockers). Together they formed the Mighty Underdogs after Lateef liked enough Headnodic- produced tracks from his solo album that he wanted to make another album with him and Gift of Gab saw his opportunity to collaborate. With special guests including MF Doom , DJ Shadow, Mr. Lif, Akrobatik, Tha Alkaholiks’ Tash, Chali 2na, and Julian and Damian “Jr. Gong” Marley this album appeals to the masses. Not the usual creative lyrics I expect from these artists, but still some fun hooks on tracks like supergalactic “Gunfight” and “Hands in the air” Lateef’s flow enchants you on “UFC remix” and “Laughing at You” features creepy laughter and beat-boxing. Great road trip hip-hop for sure! – Dianthus-

Daphni – “Jiaolong” – [Merge Records]

Belladonna   10/31/2012   A Library, CD

This is Dan Snaith???s (Caribou/Manitoba) debut LP as Daphni. Apparently he has warmed up to the beats with a Four Tet collaboration and numerous DJ gigs. Its said that Snaith hates Dance Music but it would be hard to NOT dance to this.
Each track is unique in its danceable strangeness, quirky synth loops, conga drum samples and weird vocal samples. This is everything I could ask for in a beat oriented release and more. The best electronic music doesn’t take itself too seriously and just makes you want to go out and shake it. You CAN dance to it!

Photek – “Closer” – [Tectonic]

Dianthus   10/31/2012   12-inch, A Library

Floating along a city beatscape through deep, cascading shadows of bass comes the newest single from Photek. A different turn from the legendary producer’s dubstep home, “Closer” reminds me of a long walk through the darkened streets of Berlin while a house rhythm escapes from the windows of a club above. If you like it even darker and more crunky, try the Pinch remix of the track. I enjoyed the savory, mid-tempo longer, un-listed track on the flip side of the LP that made me yearn for wintery chill sessions. -Dianthus-

Mouthus – “Sister Vibration” – [Our Mouth Records]

Roland Blunt   10/31/2012   12-inch, A Library

2006 full-length release from east coast noise-iacs Nate Nelson (drums, electronics) and Brian Sullivan (guitar, keys, voice). Recorded in roughly a week, and exploiting a single-take mentality, this exertion represents a studio accomplishment of their live-performance sound at that time: an impressively novel concoction of scuzz-drone-feedback guitar loop-age, plaintiff groans, and mesmerizing tripno-rhythms.

A pentagonal discharge of riveting, primeval sonic apparitions emanating the metrical spasms of possessed cyborgs, undulating in a techno-tribal pon farr, traipsing across a contaminated landscape, forging emnity, while playing power electronic bagpipes on horseback…

Sigurdsson, Valgeir – “Architecture of Loss” – [bedroom community]

Cousin Mary   10/30/2012   12-inch, A Library

This was originally composed for a ballet of the same title. Very somber and beautiful music results that combines elements of electronics and modern classical music.Piano, baritone guitar, and a very strong viola part mix with aquaphone, percussion and electronics.

Valgeir Sigurdsson is an Icelandic composer who is known as a sound engineer for Bjork and others, also as one of the founders of Bedroom Community, an Icelandic record label.

Sigurdsson, Valgeir – “Architecture of Loss” – [bedroom community]

Cousin Mary   10/30/2012   12-inch, A Library

This was originally composed for a ballet of the same title. Very somber and beautiful music results that combines elements of electronics and modern classical music.Piano, baritone guitar, and a very strong viola part mix with aquaphone, percussion and electronics.

Valgeir Sigurdsson is an Icelandic composer who is known as a sound engineer for Bjork and others, also as one of the founders of Bedroom Community, an Icelandic record label.

Reiner, Carl and Mel Brooks – “Complete Works Of, The” – [Warner Brothers Records]

mickeyslim   10/30/2012   12-inch, Comedy

Carl Reiner and Mel Brooks team up as one of the best comedy duos I’ve never heard before, and what a treat to check out this triple LP. The whole 2000 year old man series is freaking hilarious, ??but the whole thing, each little sketch still stands the test of time from In A Coffeehouse to The Psychiatrist to The Cannes Film Festival.

All the bits are pretty much Reiner asking Brooks, acting as different characters, improvising hilarious answers back at Reiner. The hilarity really comes in Brooks’ delivery and timing, he answers the questions almost immediately. There’s a track on here for everybody and it’s pretty easy to figure out what it’s about by the title. There’s no music so it’s easy to mix with, and it’s pretty fucking funny. Throw it on and get ready to laugh out loud…

Negative Standards – “VI.VII.VIII.IX.X.XI” – [Vendetta]

abacus   10/30/2012   12-inch, A Library

Gritty pit-smashing hardcore mainline from Oakland thrashers Negative Standards. This four piece hit you hard with their brand of dissenting resentment that is simultaneously introspective and personal, with lyrics both poetic and dismal. Mostly no FCC, though you wouldn’t know since Will spews vocals with his fist in his mouth, forcing out hoarse yells between breaths. The band alternates between the boisterous scourges and sludgy neck-straining doom imperceptibly, building and severing energy with acute musicianship. Live they like to incorporate a visual element, with dueling video collages, that help to submerge you in their desolate worldview. There are some spoken word (FCC on intro to VIII) or noise interludes that incubate the dystopian feel, narrating a world where all is lost and there’s nothing to lose.

Malcolm X – “By Any Means Necessary” – [Douglas Recording Corpora]

abacus   10/24/2012   12-inch, A Library

Collection of excerpts from lectures by civil rights activist, Muslim leader and outspoken revolutionary Malcolm X. Born 1925, his uncles were killed by white violence (one lynched) and father was allegedly killed by the Black Legion (white supremacist group). He found Islam and his own political voice while in prison and was killed in 1965 by multiple gunshot wounds from members of the Nation of Islam after he split with the group (with possible assistance from COINTELPRO). This album is split with one side presenting the problem: physical exploitation of Black Americans for centuries along with cultural degradation and misrepresentation. Controversial subjects are explored around the history of African-American identity and the insufficiency of non-violent tactics. The flip side presents solutions, namely, violent revolution guerilla style. He is able to captivate his audiences through his humor as much as his passion and articulation. Play this and help assemble the masses to take down the man, cuz ain’t shit changed…

Tex Soul and The Bayonets – “Uto Nwa / Osi Na Ngada” – [Academy]

surferrosa   10/24/2012   7-inch, International

A reissue of Nigerian Afro-Funk recorded in 1972 by Tex Soul and his early group ‘the bayonets’. Tex soul was known for his showmanship, and has worked with bands such as the Funkees and his own group The Vibrations. This is some bottom of the funk bucket funk. That is the funkiest of funks, mind you. Soulful singing belted in the native language and super swanky organ lines all over the place. The bass line holds it down and the old school production/recording sound adds just the right amount of dirt. This is something you can boogie to. Both tracks are pretty short and end abruptly and without warning. So be mindful and funk off. -Surfer Rosa

Natural Snow Buildings – “Night Coercion Into The Company of Witches” – [Ba Da Bing]

abacus   10/24/2012   A Library, CD

Apparently French duo Mehdi Ameziane and Solange Gularte are pretty prolific in the realm of experimental drone, though we wouldn’t know it since all of their releases come in ridiculously limited runs. Thankfully, Ba Da Bing rereleased here, an album from 2008 (originally 22 copies); unleashing their ancient tribal emanations. Massively dense ragas woven together and timestretched to the big bang, keep you transfixed in hypnotic rapture, transporting you back to primordial earth and creation. Melodica mantras and flute reveries cascade from chasms of harmonium drone. Acoustic guitar rituals and percussive hypnosis dance around a raging fire. Ghostly chants and echoes of prayer bells and chimes offer respite from the avalanches of distorted guitar bliss. These extra long tracks soar through universes of sound, grasping possession of your soul for what seems an eternity but passes instantly. It’s like that last flood of DMT before you go. Will you take the journey?

Sofrito: International Soundclash [coll] – [Strut]

Art Crimes   10/24/2012   CD, International

Another collection of dance-tested tracks from the crates of DJs Hugo Mendez and Frankie Francis (this follows up on their “Tropical Discotheque” release). By labeling this “International Soundclash”, they essentially open the doors to anything from anywhere as long as it meets the needs of their clientele. So it’s not so much a themed collection but rather tracks that simply have the right sort of groove from all points of the world, whether it’s plinky-plunky traditional Kenyan sounds (Owiny Sigoma Band), calypso-infused soca (Lord Shorty), carnaval rhythms (Mas Ka Kle), or cumbia (La Pesada). The notes in the insert explain who, what and where. ((( crimes )))

Carey, Jeff – “Interrupt-Decay” – [CWnil]

surferrosa   10/24/2012   A Library, CD

Jeff Carey builds custom electro-instrument software which he uses to spawn these absurdly innovative electronic compositions. These are some super scuzzed out, glitchy arrangements..never redundant and quite linear. Sometimes harsh, but never abusive. The variety of sounds on this album is amazing. I would love to see this guy’s set up.. it doesn’t sound real..full of clicks and pops..warped and fuzzed.. tapping and tinkering. There is something almost conversational about these pieces, like all these bizzare noises are speaking to each other. At times it sounds like a short circuiting electronic zoo populated with broken cyborg creatures. Other times like a roaring, howling wind tunnel. The best thing about this is the profoundly artful use of negative space and dynamic… Carey really proves that a little bit of silence can go a long way. This almost sounds like its skipping at times, but don’t let that fool you. The tracks segue nicely, so allow it if you will. Interrupt Decay is an appropriate title for this release.. it truly does sound like a decomposing, teetering electronic swan song. Some of the best noise I’ve heard in a while. Dig it. -Surfer Rosa

Invisible Things – “Home IS The Sun” – [Porter Records]

abacus   10/24/2012   A Library, CD

Psychedelic uber-jam free rock freekout from these two legends of experimental rock history. Mark Shippy (US Maple) and Jim Sykes (Parts & Labor) create the fullest sound I’ve ever heard from a guitar-drums duo. Chaos and beauty coexist symbiotically, feeding off each other in an orgy of complex, overlapping melodies and sheets of sound, punctuated by a barrage of beats in various alignments, simultaneously??structured??and unhinged, and executed with??breathtaking??velocity. An undulating topography of swells and troughs and explosions; experimental sounds into hard driving lullabies into jagged grooves and looping introspection. Vocals occasionally float up just above the surface, but are mostly drowned out in the whirlpool. With all 17 tracks flowing as one piece, the album moves by seamlessly, transporting you through different sections in the blink of an eye. This is Rock & Roll in its most visceral and liberated form.

North East Surf Music Alliance Vol. 1 [coll] – [Beach House Records]

Cousin Mary   10/24/2012   A Library, CD

NESMA (North East Surf Music Alliance) is an association of surf bands who live and play in the eastern US and Canada. This special not-for-sale CD predates the 2-CD set added to the KFJC library in 2011. All strong efforts running the gamut from horror surf to rockabilly. More about NESMA is at

PGM: All tracks are instrumental except for vocals on track 20.

Helm – “Impossible Symmetry” – [Pan]

Max Level   10/23/2012   12-inch, A Library

Helm is a solo project of Luke Younger, also heard in the duo Birds of Delay. Here’s a nice assortment of electro-acoustic sound constructions pressed on heavyweight vinyl. Quick descriptions of tracks – what I hear, anyway: A1– possibly micro-recordings, whip-like electronics, multi-layer drone. A2– low frequency pulses, subtly ringing metals with an Eno feel, a strange but not unpleasant high-pitched howling. B1– muffled claustrophobics, big time metallic clanging, distant voices (children?) B2– messy semi-power electronics, deep reverbed-out drone. B3– ambient beginning, mostly synthy electronics, bell-like sounds, a wind-tunnel effect. Every piece is different, all of them deep and well put-together.

Carlos, Wendy (Walter) – “Well-Tempered Synthesizer, The” – [Columbia Records]

Cousin Mary   10/23/2012   12-inch, Classical

This 1969 album came one year after the artistic and commercial success of Carlos’ record “Switched-On Bach”. All tracks are performed from the music as written using a variety of electronic voices to good effect for the polyphonic sound. Back then, Carlos had to stretch the capabilities of the Moog synthesizer by using an Ampex tape recorder and doing many takes and overdubs.The fluidity in the resulting tracks is even more impressive because this was not a case of just sitting down at a keyboard and playing. It required many hours of exacting labor to achieve the effect.