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Music Reviews

Hellvete – “Sint – Denijs” – [Blackest Rainbow Records]

Thurston Hunger   11/29/2013   12-inch, A Library

Glen Steenkiste from Silvester Anfang produces what to me
sounds like three gigantic cathedral spheres. Deep drone
breaths plucked from the lung-hearts of harmoniums. Unlike
the recent Juppala Kaapio release these drones are not flecked
by field recordings or fingers or vocal focal points. Instead
they have an insistent purity that some will bathe in the
consistency of, and others will pine for more interference.
Still others will use these to mix into sets. Hmmm, honestly
I thought the music was 100% harmonium but online it suggests
a blend of bowed banjo, electric tampura and analog synth as
well. so the integration must is notably seamless. I wonder if
the song titles are the model numbers of harmoniums used
at the core? On the fine Blackest Rainbow label…

-Thurston Hunger

Shirks, The – “Action Men” – [Cricket Cemetery]

Thurston Hunger   11/29/2013   7-inch, A Library

Time travel via riffs. Peel off the decades, peel out of the
parking lot. The guitarists slash with a bar chord, and
then burn with treble end sting. Vocals aren’t wasted drunk
but well on their way and enjoying the party. The drums use
$1 worth of gasoline and somehow run all night. On “Gimme Less”
Less is for the best, they walk the walk, they sing those
lines and deliver the message in person. Rock ‘n’ roll blast.
All three songs share the same DNA, the latter two jump
you with the drums right from the start. The first gives
the drummer one breath to rest and then into the fray.
High energy, high reward and higher decibels. Sure to
sound even better on car stereos as the cars blitz past
the speed limit. Three songs, gone to seed and gone too
quickly, seems like the Shirks have been plugging in and
plugging away at it in Washington, DC for a while. Pretty
ruling power punk from a label with a lot of action in
different directions.

-Thurston Hunger

Washerwoman – “Washerwoman” – [Cricket Cemetery]

Thurston Hunger   11/29/2013   7-inch, A Library

Dark churning blister ballads…featuring the cutting, reverb’d
voice of Angela Morrish. She’s got that clipped, scalping wail
that is where gothic country should stake its black heart.
The territory between a boy named Sue and a girl named Siouxsie.
Angela also bashes out a grim distorted guitar, stringing her
lyrics across the crests of the chords. Her only accompaniment
is drummer Nathan Jurgenson but he packs plenty of intensity, I
bet he’s broken more than his fair share of bass drum pedals.
In each song, he abates for the briefest of breaks, to help
accentuate Angela’s ashen antics, and then back into the fire.
This recording catches the urgency of their live performances,
nice debut for the Washington DC duo. They may be wearing black
but they ain’t mourning. Again props to Ian Thompson for
digging up and digging into a lot of diversity in his Cricket
Cemetery label.

-Thurston Hunger

20 Guilders / We Have Heaven Split [coll] – [Nod and Smile Records]

Thurston Hunger   11/29/2013   12-inch, A Library

A donation from Junzo Suzuki after a recent KFJC pit performance,
This is Junzo (also of Miminokoto) and Tabata (Acid Mothers, but
before that a founding member of Boredoms, yow!) In other projects
these gents can blow minds and speakers with freaky galactic solos,
ambient bluesy blowouts, harrowing feedback gauntlets and other
experimental delicacies, so it’s nice to hear them lay down
sweet elemental rock. The fire and earth are still there, just
not as flaming and dirty as some other projects, instead the
accent is on water (Junzo’s love of blues) and air (Tabata’s
love of classic rock) Together the dynamic duo embrace songs,
and you find yourself singing along, even if you don’t speak
Japanese. These four cuts feel comfortable and hold you up like a
favorite hammock, swinging to a gentle beat. Nice sustain string
sting on the lead track, and a driving sea current to “Under
the Red Cliff” for Suzuki’s two compositions. Tabata’s two
contributions could almost be campfire songs, his higher and
thinner voice is the smoke. But it is easy to hear those two
and imagine them getting the full Melting Paraiso UFO treatment,
especially “The Mystery of the Pyramids.” Cool stuff.

On the flip side, PA troupe We Have Heaven shine with the violin
beaming of Rachek Lambdin. The tracks are effectively all
instrumental aside from “I Was On My Way To Slumberland”
with a spoken word diary recital from guitarist Eric de Jesus.
Drifty effects on de Jesus’s guitar joined also by David Kresge
working together to get faintly folk clouds of rock aloft, the
drums from Kyle Page are mildly martial. Keeping time but no
bass to lock into typical post rock, instead Lambdin’s violin
provides a sort of renaissance flaire if you know what I mean.
She’s never flying off like a hell fiddle, it’s more of a Soil
Bleeds Black kind of vibe, but less drunk on meade. A more
natural use, and the violin pairs well with the guitars. A
pretty psychedelic pastiche trip that’s more sunshine than

-Thurston Hunger

Minderbinder – “No One Is Trying to Kill You, Sweetheart” – [Edgetone Records]

Thurston Hunger   11/29/2013   CD, Jazz

Nice project that works best as a percussion duo, when
Kyle Adam Blair gets into the steely coiled heart of
his piano, for prepared/damaged excursions. The lead
off 9 minutes had a sort of quick chaos that reminded
me of Conlon Nancarrow, fast finger flurries but it all
gets dark and ominous at 9 minutes in. That’s when Blair
first slips into the “wrong” side of the keys; we hear
sinister scrapes, broken toy tinkering, coffin taps,
and those great metallic zwings like on #2 in the middle.
Proper(?) percussionist Chris Golinski recently was on
KFJC’s airwaves with a trio and “Gnash”. He reminds me
of a Tony Buck meets William Winant hybrid. Busy, not
cluttered, kind of a syncopated automated pachinko,
with quick and dry hits. Check his opening of #3, and
Blair makes solid use of the deep end of his piano
as well, which also is a pleasure in the Necks vein.
Bandname and album/song titles come from Catch-22. No
futile bureacracy here…just extended improvisation
that can tunnel between jazz sets and Death Waltz
soundtrack reissues.

-Thurston Hunger

Coleman, Ornette – “Empty Foxhole, The” – [Blue Note]

Thurston Hunger   11/29/2013   12-inch, Jazz

Part of the recent KFJC pantheon of jazz picks, pulling
in old masters (1966 originally recorded; oddly and
somewhat worryingly this had KFJC Audition Copy on it
when Jazz Bartender Spliff Skankin’ recently found it
for sale at a store). Anyways, nice to have it back in
action, Bop jump start on “Good Ole Days” nice drumming
at the end playing off the perky melody. Bum Bum! Hey
stop the presses that’s Ornette’s son, when he was 10
years old! The title track starts off a little sluggish
and you feel “Denny” as a 10-year old, but the sweet
and forlorn trumpet from his Dad draws your focus for
the most part. Another proud musical Dad, Charlie
Haden rounds out the trio here, on the upright bass.
Ornette saws on his violin for “Sound Gravitation”,
unlike whoever wrote on this old vinyl copy, I *love*
violin in jazz, and this piece is the most challenging
(and rewarding) number on the album. Tense cliff hanger
ending on that. “Freeway Express” has got three lanes
free and open, and Denardo is killing it while Dad’s
trumpet is tight to start, and then the mute tucks in
and it gets even tighter. Haden motoring, not merely
walking, on the bass in his own lane. “Faithful” puts
the brakes on, and Ornette back on alto, delivering
a gentle bluesy tune for 5 minutes, the Haden starts
to push some rumble strumble bass but Ornette returns
with the wistful melody to close it. The last track
“Zig Zag” another alto and a toe-tapper, with Ornette
cross-stepping some scales before a few slightly
skronky runs but it ends up in place that will put a
smile on faces from ages 10 to 100.

-Thurston Hunger

Gino Robair – Solo Drums with Ebow [Bug Incision]

fox   11/27/2013   A Library

More vibratory explorations from this Bay Area experimental solo percussionist. Watching his videos online explains a great deal about how these sounds are made: an ebow is a handheld electronic device that uses a magnetic field to interact with a string. In this case, the string is from a guitar and the blade from a street sweeper.

This isn’t casual listening, but pay close attention and you will be rewarded by these minimal abrasions. Individual vibrations are often discernible, which gives the sound a very coarse quality.

Tough Age – “Tough Age” – [Mint Records Inc.]

humana   11/27/2013   12-inch, A Library

Need some music for your workout? This is it. Perfect for interval training, especially if you’re dancing. Not that there are any slow moments on here (A2 and B1 are as mellow as this album gets), which is why I love it. Fast-paced garage rock from this foursome out of Vancouver are just the ticket for getting your blood pumping and revving up any set you play. Great lyrics about eating brains and cocaine. Pick a track title that strikes your fancy and prepare to be jolted into a good mood.

Grave Upheaval – “?” – [Nuclear War Now! Productions]

honeybear   11/24/2013   A Library, CD

Inhuman death doom from Queensland’s most dark secret, Grave Upheavel. Cower before the blood curdling growls from a hell beast on the lost level of hell. The trainwrecking blasts of distortion and fuzz will leave your body limp and shacking. You know This behemoth will devour your carcass into the black void of the doombringer’s belly. He’s made up of gavestones and the bones of the damned. Repent for your demise will be merciless and slow.

Jedi Scum – “S/t” – [Goat Power Recreation]

honeybear   11/24/2013   A Library, CD

Dirtier then a wookie after a pod race. The sludge-nerds, Jedi Scum, bring us what can only be called “a New Hope” in the genre. You’re about to fall into the sarlacc pit of Sludge, Powerviolence, & Episode four samples. All around great head banging geek fun on here! Blast this while you’re bulls eyeing womp rats in Beggar’s Canyon, in your T-16!

Up Around The Sun – “Up Around The Sun” – [Monofonus Press]

mickeyslim   11/20/2013   12-inch, A Library

Music from Tim Kerr, founding member of the hardcore punk band from the 80’s, Big Boys and his friend Jerry
Hagins with guest fiddlist Michael McCullough. Texas banjo, harmonica, fiddle music! Feelgood, whimsical, toe-tapping, not traditional sounding, but rootsy (if that makes sense)

All instrumental, so use as a mic bed, or play the tracks by themselves, shit, play a couple of ’em.

Soundboy’s Gravestone Gets Desecrated By Vandals [coll] – [Skull Disco]

abacus   11/20/2013   A Library, CD

2008 post-mortem compilation from the label that defined UK dubstep, setting a standard of disorienting magnitude to deteriorate danceability in clubs and get desecrated by molly-saturated American DJs. Like the previous comp, the first disc here is split between label heads Shackleton and Appleblim (with Peverelist coproducing a couple Appleblim tracks) with the second disc comprised of all remixes. The split disc is full of the stripped down, tribal wobbles and erratic hand percussion beats. The Appleblim tracks are a little more danceable with ambient synth swells and consistent beats set in the smoky shuffle while the Shackleton tracks are more primitive, dank and murky, almost shamanistic. As with the last comp the remix CD seriously trumps the originals, taking the skeletal frameworks and chopping, splicing and stacking. Pole’s track takes some hypnotic bass plunges, perplexing beat juggling and mind altering subtractions while Brandon Moller turns up the lights in Euro-house sparkle. Badawi’s 12 minute sprawl stretches and strips away the beat almost completely leaving a fathomless chasm of bass. This needs some serious speakers to get the full experience, good thing we got em.

Sapphire Slows – “Allegoria” – [Not Not Fun]

Belladonna   11/20/2013   12-inch, A Library

Sapphire Slows (aka Kinuko Hiramatsu)is a a solor artist from Tokyo. All of her music is recorded in her bedroom with a lap top (Albeton Live) and some keyboards. This is dreamy shoegaze-y pop and Kinuko’s vocals have a hushed ethereal sound very reminiscent of Cocteau Twins. Atmospheric with sporadic beats, very minimal and very beautiful.

Surf-Age Nuggets Trash and Twang Instrumentals 1959-1966 [coll] – [Rockbeat Records]

Cousin Mary   11/20/2013   A Library, CD

Former Rhino Records producer James Austin (1996’s Cowabunga! series) features obscure first wave surf tracks on this astonishing 4-CD set. Much of this material is new to me. Even after doing a surf show for 3 years, I had no idea that there were this many surf bands in so many locations in the early sixties. Interspersed are movie trailers, commercials, and radio ads from the time, often next to related music tracks. No trash tracks, clean sound, a vital addition to KFJC’s surf library.

PGM: Book contains helpful liner notes for every music track.

Graham Central Station – “Release Yourself” – [Sire/Warner Bros. Records]

Naysayer   11/19/2013   12-inch, Soul

Larry Graham: original member of Sly and the Family Stone, bassist for Betty Davis, collaborator and converter of Prince to Jehovah’s Witness, originator of the “slap bass” style which revolutionized funk and later, rock. Larry Graham, founder of Graham Central Station, a sort of rotating funk/soul super group. From 1974, “Release Yourself” is GCS’s second release and it works his gospel revival meets funk crossroads style that really, really works. Larry and his top notch bandmates know how to get the funk out, even when praising the Lord. If you were’t aware of the angle GCS was coming from, you’d think from the song titles that this was a classic mid 70’s funk album about, what else?, sex. “Feel the Need”, “Release Yourself”, “Got to Go Through It to Get to It”. Come on. It just screams sexy funk. But this is all about being saved AND DON’T LET THAT TURN YOU AWAY!!!! GCS takes their seven songs and funks themselves out, slapping the bass, hitting it on the one, gospel revivaling and mastering vocal interplay that takes the listener to a new place. The musicianship is the best. You know they mean it when they sing out “come on and feel it, feel it, feel it.” Just let go and let Larry. You know you want to.

Oxygen Destroyer – “Skate and Distort” – [Oxygen Destroyer]

Naysayer   11/19/2013   A Library, CD

Yep, Oxygen Destroyer sort of take the breath out of you when you listen to this, their “Skate and Distort” demo. The skater punks trash and thrash their way to screeching, mind numbing, unintelligibleness. It’s all fuzzed out, screechy and distorted, singing about who knows what but it doesn’t matter. Screwed up guitars crash and pummel their way through. They are keeping up the tradition of in your face punkishness. It’s all good fun even if it wasn’t meant to be. Put it on and rip your face off.

Skru U – “S/t” – [Skru U]

Naysayer   11/19/2013   A Library, CD

Adolescent hardcore still works especially when it is as stupid as this. Who is Skru U? Who knows. Little info on them but it doesn’t matter. Songs about going to some guys house, watching tv, drinking kool aid and girl’s who aren’t stupid. Though the Circle Jerks did it around, jesus, is it really 30 to 35 years ago… the kids still love doing it. And god love them for it. Thrashed out guitar hitting the right notes once in awhile, sometimes on key vocals missing the beat, drums drums drums. It’s a glorious mess. Ahh youth.

Dissipated Face With Daniel Carter – “Know With What Tint of Spectacles to Heighten The Depths and” – [Roaratorio]

abacus   11/19/2013   7-inch, A Library

Underground scrap-punk tweak-jazz from mid 80s Streets of New York! Many here will be familiar with the cardinal of skronk Mr Daniel Carter; here h’es collaborating with this trio of then high school kids who got in with the Linden, NJ scene via Bruce Lee Gallanter, founder of the Downtown Music Gallery in New York. Hard hitting free noodling melodicide with sax trading licks with guitar over the punk rock onslaught. Side B tracks are a little more song-oriented and tend to brood more on some grimy grooves while side A goes sweaty balls to the wall. Recorded live at the CBGB 1986 back when that shit was good. Fuck music, rock’s been dead since the 80s apparently.

Mojah, Fantan – “Hail The King” – [Greensleeves Records Ltd.]

Naysayer   11/19/2013   CD, Reggae

Initially reviewed by Mr. Lucky but somehow lost.
Here is his review: ” Fanton Mojah’s Hail the King is the debut album from this reggae sing-jay, and upon it’s initial release in 2005 he exploded on the scene. The reggae massive couldn’t help but be captivated by the voice and energy of the Bobo Ashanti rasta, and he immediately scored a hit with “Hungry”, a tune on the updated “Mr. DC” riddim. He has a voice that fluctuates from a mellow, hazy tenor to a rasping whiny explosion. He’s generally a singer, but his time working in sound systems in JA has prepared him for the tracks that require a harder edge. Fantan really feels the music, he’s not just going through the motions, and it makes for great listening. The music is generally in the new roots style, with a couple of tracks having a more digital sound (Feel the Pain, Love Grows) and others with more of a dancehall feel (Corruption, Hungry). I personally enjoy the slower songs where Fantan can really use the time and space to showcase the subtleties of his style and voice (Hail the King, Nuh Build Great Man, Kings of Kings). -Mr. Lucky”
What else can you say? I concur. Naysayer.