Music Reviews

Henry Flynt – “Raga Electric” – [Locust Music]

Cousin Mary   12/29/2012   12-inch, A Library

Henry Flynt (1940- ) performed these works in the 1960’s and 1971. He developed a concept called cognitive nihilism and campaigned for an anti-art approach to the avant garde.

Side 1 features detuned guitar on the first and last tracks and mostly unintelligible vocals except for some barely perceptible words from the Marines Hymn. The “vocals” include hums, barks, howls, yodels, muffled yells, etc. The guitar in Raga Electric sort of sounds like sitar.

Side 2 has saxophone (alto implied by the track name) playing that is squeaky, shrill, low and high. There are no “vocals” on Free Alto.

I’m not quite sure why I enjoyed these ultimate outsider sounds so much.

Scales – “Mister Roger Bails Out of Everything” – [Self-released]

abacus   12/12/2012   CD, Hip Hop

Some slippery slop hop from local guy Scales. Apparently he wrote the songs for this EP while going through a schizophrenic breakdown, so he says, and it sure sounds like it. Hallucinatory imagery and an unhinged perception of the social climate are the content of his thoroughly confused ramblings with skewed diction and a stumbling cadence. “Chronic constipation” of fantastical scenarios and silly dialogues and dark brooding beats and layered textures that left me “wet with saliva.” A deluded mind spitting some diluted reflections… “Yo their milk is whack!”

Liles, Andrew – “Schmetaling Monster of Rock” – [Dirter Promotions]

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

A very atypical release from sound experimentalist Andew Liles. 4 years in the making, this is a mock rock homage to classic heavy metal sounds, with some noise drone, robotic death metal and dark ambient R&B thrown in for good measure (and a couple short little acoustic guitar reveries). Some real good caricatures of good ol’ countrified hair metal type stuff soaked in a thick layer of stinky cheese. Whiskey soaked and southern fried dirt rock with vocals that range from snarling spit to whacked out prog depending on the setting. Apparent nonsense sung with such grimy intent that it still makes you grimace with delight. He’s helped out here by M.S. Waldron (Irr. App. (Ext.) and Maniac and Attila Csihar (Mayhem) who provide the vocals for the most part, while he tears away on his electric guitar. Some real schmetal for all you schmetal-heads!

Pharaoh Overlord – “Lunar Jetman” – [Ektro Records]

monster   12/12/2012   A Library, CD

Pharaoh Overlord, a Finnish band featuring members of Circle. ??They released several albums of heavy, hypnotic stoner riffs, before being seduced by the False Path of Metal. ??On this album (named after a ZX Spectrum video game), they revisit their earlier sound, but with less repitition, more variety. ??Rodent is the most straight up rocker, other tracks introduce meandering free-form improvisition before eventually arriving at the riffs, but it’s always worth the wait. ??Features additional keyboard work from Hans-Joachim Irmler of Faust.

Taylor Bow – “Thin Air” – [Youth Attack Records]

jacksoil   12/12/2012   12-inch, A Library

Hardcore noise punk from NYC – this is their first LP (and only 2nd release ever); coming out in 2009, this looks to be a side-project for Dominic Fernow (on Guitar) of Purient and a few others; (noting also NYC scene maker Steve Lowenthal on vox) you’ve got your basic rock setup, guitar, bass, drums, and tortured/maniacal vocalist; making pissed off music that rails against stupidity in society. Their first release (Hate Fuck), a 7″, was deemed more of a venture into Power Violence territory, but this stabs at more of a classic, weeping rock violence wound ala the Brainbombs (especially the beautiful fucking mess of the final track on side A “White Was The Window”. Side B cuts deep into homebase territory with the pounding “Massive City Rotting”and never lets up till the grooves run out. Let’s hope these guys come up from air on their other projects to let loose another raw and ragged tidbit of Taylor Bow before we all tear each other apart during our mowing of daily bread.


Teen Anal Terrorist – “Warm Blatz For Teenage Runaways” – [Savage Quality Recordings]

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

Fully undanceable industrial beats, glitch and filth. All construction sites, office buildings and hospitals may have joined forces to birth this record. This is a warped, heavily manipulated, asymmetrical mind fuck. Scraping, buzzing, gurgling and chocking on its own blood. Hats off to whoever did the production here. Sampleage is out of control…backwards loops, ladies whispering, phones ringing, distant conversations fading in and out of audibility…crackles and bumps and broken, lopsided beats. Life support beeps and dings. Ominous hums. Wet, bubbling noises and familiar sounds made foreign. These sounds are stacked on top of each other to create pieces with just the right amount of cohesion, teetering between total sanity and absolute nonsense.. the music of attention deficit disorder, appropriate for today’s modern dysfunctions. Discogs tells me there are eight tracks here… some segue, some don’t.. you can sort of tell from looking at the grooves or listening for the changes, but not as a rule…so be mindful. This LP is layered with dirt, grime and shimmery craftsmanship. Appallingly good.-Surfer Rosa

3 Way Split [coll] – [Sweat Band Records]

surferrosa   12/12/2012   10-inch, A Library

Three way split is a 10” record full of booby traps and sounds from three very different bands. Three tracks on each side.. you can hear them change but good luck cueing this up..you will have to rely on your ears, not your eyes. Now the bands..Sac delivers noisy nonsense, riddled with samples, feedback , broken vocal loops and god knows what else. An electronic, manipulated face morph.. fantastically unpleasant and weird. Razzle Blaster initiate the heavies..angular, spastic punk-thrash-doom with a lyrical fuck you and a touch of electronics. All over the place. Mosh worthy. The Manx are a group of creatures that crawled out of the swamp to play a little ditty. Banjo, accordion, mandolin and bass make for a twangy gypsy romp.. sorta bloody and sweaty but it still makes you want to dance. These guys totally shred.. Their track Sacred Thistles ends side A and begins side B, which is unfortunate because you’ll have to choose which half of the track to play. Ok. Now the booby traps. Side A starts off with a locked groove. Side B has reverse grooves, so the needle will move outwards. B also ends with locked grooves ( I counted 9) sounds like they were taken from various tracks on the record.. a fun tool and a great way to make listeners uncomfortable. Each side lasts about 6 minutes. All and all this rips. Good luck. -Surfer Rosa

Waumiss – “Subtle For Flames” – [Little Ramona Records]

abacus   12/12/2012   A Library, CD

Eclectic pop stylings from husband-wife duo Clarq and Caroline Bloomquist out of Carrboro, NC. They’re joined here by Charlie Hearon and some other friends playing everything from congas to the singing saw and accordion to saxophone. A lot of sampling and turntables are also employed to produce the variety of soundbeds for their hauntingly catchy songs. The distant vocals sound almost like a choir of ghostly children, fitting in nicely with the hazy psychedelia throughout. Pop electronica and smoky campfire songs doubled up with some restless lo-fi garage rock and warped tropicalia. We get some haunted house lounge mystery grooves and some jumpin surf tunes alike. Even an interlude of churning power-elex burbling is thrown in just before the end. A very pleasant listen with mostly short tracks so each is a nice little dose of something entirely different. I believe they run this label too so I’m excited to hear what else these sound junkies have to offer…!

Seligman, Peter – “Swing Freeze EP” – [Self Released]

abacus   12/12/2012   A Library, CD

Hyperactive glitched out beats from Brooklyn producer will make you think the CD player’s skipping. Nervous twitching with mind bending sonic variety powerpacked into just 20 minutes. Get stuck in a video game time loop playing the same final boss over and over and over and over just like the activity in a Korean electronics factory stuck on fast-forward. Don’t burn out yet, you gotta catch a ride on the broken helicopter about to launch off to space spinning in circles and watch tiny bits of stardust rain down from the sky peppering the metal rainbow zig zagging across the skyline. Chew some gum, you’re gonna grit your teeth down to the roots with this.

Granelli, Jerry – “1313” – [Divorce Records]

Cousin Mary   12/12/2012   12-inch, Jazz

Percussionist Jerry Granelli drummed in traditional bands early in his career (perhaps best known with Vince Guaraldi on A CHARLIE BROWN CHRISTMAS), then took a turn toward free jazz. This album is his only solo release and features bells, cymbals, snares and bass. The improvised solo percussion is sometimes a bit dark and could be considered rather minimal. I found it satisfying and very lovely. Only a master musician could pull this off.

Peoples Temple – “More For The Masses” – [HoZac Records]

mickeyslim   12/12/2012   A Library, CD

Proof that rock is not dead and still rollin! Apparently the name comes from some bullshit cult founded in ’55, and are well remembered as the group that organized a mass suicide/murder in South America, and 920 people died… damn.

But these dudes (two sets of brothers, William and Spencer Young and Alex and George Szegedy) are based in Lansing, Michigan of all places. Kinda surfy at times, but mostly reminiscent of good ass ’60s and ’70s rock with a hint of ??grunginess and sprinkled with the blues. I was kind of surprised when I found out they formed in ’07, and this just came out in Oct. ’12. Apparently they do crazy shows, but it looks like a super hard jam out sesh to me, which is no problem at all. Yer definitely gonna have to turn this the fuck UP!

3 epic lead guitar, 4 sweet harmonica, 6 kinda Doors-y, 8 rocks hard, 9 kinda grungy, 11 surf city, 12 abstract, all songs 2-5 minutes

Bradipos IV, The – “Surf Session” – [Misty Lane Records]

Cousin Mary   12/12/2012   A Library, CD

Here’s a 2004 album from this superb Italian surf quartet that falls time-wise in between INSTRO MANIA! and LIVE AT KFJC RADIO. Arguably their best album, it demonstrates virtuoso playing, deep understanding of surf music fundamentals, and an Italian sound that includes but goes beyond Spaghetti Western. The last track is a heartfelt cover with saxophone of Gershwin’s “Summertime”.

Speedball JR – “For The Broad Minded” – [Green Cookie Records]

Cousin Mary   12/12/2012   A Library, CD

Speedball JR is a surf music four-piece band from Belgium. (Do they put reverb in the water there?) This is BIG sound – nothing subtle here. Intense and driving, with the exception of the relatively calm and sort of dark “Le Chat Noir”. Last track “Rudolph’s Secret” has a Christmas theme and vocals.

Starving Weirdos – “Land Lines” – [Amish Records]

mickeyslim   12/11/2012   12-inch, A Library

Frustrating sounds from Humboldt County’s own Starving Weirdos. Brian Pyle and Merrick McKinlay are the duo behind the name, joined by Aimee Hennessey, Steve Lazar, Monica Chavez and David Krepinevich. Five improvisations on this, their most recent release of sonic discourse and orchestral meanderings.

The whole thing sounds anxious and frustrated, like you’ve been waiting at the bus stop for over an hour, and the bus isn’t showing up, and you’re late for work or something. Ambient voices, piano sputterings, bizarre string sounds, chirping. Sometimes there’s even a beat in there somewhere, but it usually sneaks up on you. Alone I’d call it ‘space-out music,’ but I might mix it with some spoken word. Voices on A1 and B2. Drop the needle and enjoy!

Tukaaria – “Raw to The Rapine” – [Profound Lore]

abacus   12/9/2012   A Library, CD

Some more raw evil from SoCal’s Black Twilight Circle of sadness, devotees to the legacy of peoples native to Mexico and the Southwest USA. Tuukaria, meaning ‘the night’ in Yaqui, a tribe native to the Sonora region, is a one man project from LA. This album was originally released on cassette in 2011 under the Rhinocervs label and features here tracks from splits with Volahn and Odz Manouk as well. This stuff seems much more dynamic and rhythmic than a lot of other black metal, with drums figuring prominently over the layers of guitar and really setting the tone/evolution of each track. Vocals echo blasphemies from distant caverns, like ghostly voices from a razed village. Track 6 offers a symphonic instrumental as a meditation in the midst of rituals while the final incantation invokes elements of doom, calling out to the gods in desperation. A lamentation of local cultures raped by Christian expansion, (Scandinavians weren’t the only ones of course) so put this on your headphones and go out at night for some local church burning. You didn’t hear it here though…

Leonard, Cheryl E. – “Chattermarks” – [Great Hoary Marmot Records]

abacus   12/9/2012   A Library, CD

Field recordings from Cheryl’s January 2009 trip to Palmer Station, Antarctica. A lot of these recordings have been incorporated into her compositions, but here they are featured raw and undeveloped to display their beautiful and natural musical qualities. We have sounds of penguins playing by the beach and of chicks with their parents. Ice breaking off melting glaciers recorded both above and underwater, and at various depths and locations. The snaps, crackles and pops of bits of ice disintegrating and releasing air pockets. Elephant seals sleeping and sparring alike, with some nighttime partying by the swimming hole thrown in as well. The album closes with a storm closing in, disturbing the unstable, vulnerable landscape. PGM: the sounds here are particularly quiet/sparse, ESPECIALLY 1,4,7-10 (but the elephant seals do make some very strange sounds!) For use in mixing, mic beds, or playing alone. Transport yourself to Antarctica in the summertime!

Morrison, Mairi & Roberts, Alasdair – “Urstan” – [Drag City]

humana   12/8/2012   CD, International

Reading the liner notes on the CD sleeve enriches the already hearty experience of partaking of the traditional Gaelic music found on this release. For the most part, these are upbeat, jaunty folk, rock, and jazz-tinged songs marked by the strong, lovely voice of Morrison and the distinctive voice and guitars of Roberts. Alastair Caplin’s violin is a highlight throughout, as well. Discover the cutting edge in Scotland’s music scene as the past becomes the present, and check out my favorites.

Wonder Boys, The – “Den Flygande Varmlanningen” – [Lystring]

cinder   12/7/2012   7-inch, A Library

This is pretty hilarious! David Liiljemark is the weirdo behind The Wonder Boys. Side A has him saying Vill Du Dubba? in comical Muppet styles. I swear this must have been on Sesame Street in Sweden or something. Side B brings you more funny voice stylings, some Bob Dylan upswings, and tweaked chipmunk pitches. They’re all cover songs too, haha! Brainbombs, Las Palmas, and Robert Broberg. Toss one on, giggle, and have the listeners thinking WTF?

Raglani – “Husk” – [Arbor]

cinder   12/7/2012   12-inch, A Library

From St. Louis, this is Joseph Raglani. Moog, minimoog, bass, Korg, organs, wave generators and the such. Dreamy synth sounds, floating and bubbling to the surface. A compilation of sorts, from various CD-R and cassette releases. Side A ventures a bit on the Kraut side. Side B and C pull on your heartstrings, longing for your missed chance. An optimistic mourn, with delicate tones and drones of the space sort. Side D is more of a static electricity drone that ends with Tibetan bowls and an ethnic flair. A really beautiful release, my words can’t do it justice.

Irr. App. (Ext.) / Panicsville [coll] – [Nihilist Records]

cinder   12/7/2012   12-inch, A Library

Two well known names in the noise vein. Irr. App. (Ext.) is Matt Waldron, who has done tons of stuff with Nurse With Wound. Panicsville has been around for over a decade, run by Andy Ortmann. On side A, Irr. brings dark and beautiful haunting drones. Evolving meditative pitches of ambiance. Side B is actually mellow for Panicsville. More experimental, leaning on found sounds, field recordings, itchy electronics, “horror movie synthesizer”, violin, birds and more to create a spooky picture. Ends with a fire-y snap crackle and pop locked groove!