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Music Reviews

Ad Honorem Magnae Mortis [coll] – [Autopsy Kitchen Recordings]

abacus   8/31/2014   7-inch, A Library

split black metal maelstrom: Bavarian beasts Rites of Cleansing with feral barrage of brutality; lycanthropic ferocity with a slip of country sludge. Torch of War from the hills of Saxony, icy melancholic opaque brilliance. the coldest, sharpest blade cuts deepest; and madness consumes any and all completely.

Sursagar – “Best of Jagmohan, The” – [EMI (India)]

abacus   8/31/2014   12-inch, International

a young Bengali boy refuses to follow in the footsteps of his wealthy, conservative parents; with dreams of a professional singing career he seeks out a guru and under Dilip Babu he flourishes, winning national contests and soon becoming a household name. traditional Indian modes via western strings and active tabla rhythms support his heartfelt songs. vintage recordings hearken back to a country calling for independence, thriving in modern culture but still grasping its cultural roots.

Gnod Presents Dwellings & Druss [coll] – [Trensmat]

abacus   8/31/2014   12-inch, A Library

obscured lights flashing smoky beats off the the industrial haze of long-dead Manchester machinery (and Detroit chugs steadily in the rusty reverberations). hypnotic minimalism, repetitious bass stabs, and sinister synth rumblings; the b-side epic shines brighter and with more dilligence, hope is more apparent but doom still imminent. disco for robots left out in the rain.

Renaissance Clavichord II, The [coll] – [Titanic]

Cousin Mary   8/29/2014   12-inch, Classical

This album features Bernard Brauchli playing clavichord compositions written in the 1500’s and early 1600’s. He performs on a period instrument – the Tosi Clavichord – which was built in 1568. Doing this review, I learned that clavichords of this era use fretting – more than one note shares a string. This saves space, but means that some note combinations are impossible.

These tunes are readily identifiable as coming from the Renaissance, but the sound of the clavichord is interesting – sounding guitar-like at times, with a bit of twang. Fun to compare to modern electronics in a way.

C T ASSAULTS / PRESENT [coll] – [Sanity Muffin]

abacus   8/27/2014   A Library, Cassette


split side-long cassette of LA avant-weirdo ceremonies. CT Assaults dish trash trance power silence, transcendental wave thrill billy, ronky stomp apocalypso. PResent, not the Belgian prog outfit but their twisted twins(?), evoke an orgiastic racket of psychoactive landscapes in the free-freak temple of dementia. from rumbling crumbling mountaintops to dank and hazy jungles. wildlife is rampant in the bush, and insects the size and shape of your cortex. hip trips

McGregor, Dion – “Dreaming Like Mad With Dion McGregor” – [Torpor Vigil Industries]

Thurston Hunger   8/27/2014   A Library, CD

Ken Nordine and Charles Nelson Reilly spent a fortnight in a bomb shelter?
Dion shouldn’t need an introduction here, he’s been a star at KFJC for
many years (sadly he’s been dead even longer, RIP 1994) But “rest in peace”
doesn’t really apply to the world’s greatest sleep talker. Hopefully folks
recall Curtis Kimby’s KFJC special from 2012 (we should repost it online
to celebrate this new batch of somniloquies). His catty and natty approach
would easily garner a hit show on the Bravo Network today, he knew he was
a star long before these releases. The notion of him speaking while
dreaming is its own fascinating element, in this world of voyeurs.
The “capture” of traffic is rhetorically sound as well, for either
audio verite or as a symbolic statement on life in the city. To me, Dion
*is* New York (you know, the city that never sleeps). The key thing
getting past the various subtexts is the text. Dion is a comedic genius,
he blurs surreal edges on somewhat everyday acts. From the start, when he
literally gets lost in the Sunday paper, enchanted Times indeed. He hits
Y2K panic well ahead of schedule with “Abie” (one of his dreams that ends
with a YELL, a Dion specialty; see also “Air Raid”, “The Head Game” and
“Strenching”). “Ranch” is his brother maybe, and that ends almost in a
dream-defying laugh. “The Face Down There” is an askew look at sexual
identity, complete with a face-genitals swap. “TYN” short for Thumb Your
Nose albeit with one tiny “Shit” is an insansely insightful piece and
well-written, I mean dreamt. The package and sequence of tracks here
is exceptionally well done. It all impaled my ears deeper with each
listen, and Dion’s dream-world makes more sense with more spins.

-Thurston Hunger

Lewis, Edvard Graham – “All Under” – [Editions Mego]

Thurston Hunger   8/27/2014   A Library, CD

Dormant for a decade, the erstwhile Wire bassist delivered twin
discs this year. On this, “All Under” the more exploratory
outing, and apparently with a cinematic connection. Things
commence with an outer space scanner sweep or sorts. Nice
flickering high frequencies, it’s followed by a longer deeper
dronier with some sci-fi oscillations as Lewis apparently
takes different spaceships out for test drives. “The Eel
Wheeled” delivers the piece d’resistance, electro-breath
and a high heel metronome walk into a spoken word scene from
some “Blade Runner” world. The libretto is included and well
worth reviewing, especially if you want to avoid falling
into the “fucking tank” with that damn eel. The story
comes with its own flashbacks, one per sentence. To close
“No Show Godot” might have its own 16mm projector wet gating
along for 7+ minutes before tribal drums and Lewis uttering
a currency chant for time travel terrorists and other lost
lovers? This 18 minute charmer then explodes into an epic
wall of sound, then dials back to the drums alone before
a denouement where the credits, if not heads, will roll.
Triumphant 4-track outing, and “All Over” is locked,
loaded and aimed at KFJC for next week.

-Thurston Hunger

Shed – “Killer, The” – [50 Weapons]

Thurston Hunger   8/27/2014   A Library, CD

2012 release on 50 Weapons from Rene Pawlowitz. You
remember that time you were kidnapped and thrown into
the back of that van, but then the guy got a call from
his aunt and he had to go over and find her lost dog?
This is the album that was thumping its way from the
front cabin through the cold corrugated floor into
your head. The song titles seem to remind you, and
then some of the hyper-repeated slogged down vocals
like “OK….Speaking” on “Silent Witness” and then
the “Thoughts Running Through My Head, Some Are Good
Some Are Not” on “Day After” might be the voice of
Rene or maybe Buffalo Bill in the driver seat. Those
sliced vocals bugged me, but I like the breathless
femme clip in “Ride On” okay. The album seems to
struggle between Thudsville (toneless, deep throbbing
digi-drums) and then this cleaner skyline cathedral
synths that pushed my ears back to maybe Pentatonik.
The best of the menacing numbers for me was “I Come
By Night” but the intro beckons between bass bomb
and static fritz. “Viomf/The Filler” echoes “Moments
in Love” (couldn’t deprogram it for me) and then
“Follow the Leader” is for the ladies with a silky
smooth sine wave that flows serenely through the day,
just like the one that got away??

-Thurston Hunger

BruceXCampbell / Green Terror [coll] – [Bloody Scythe Records]

abacus   8/27/2014   7-inch, A Library

dual graft of grindcore from two Socal thrashers: Bruce X Campbell grieves gape faced zombie vox grind-griping about everything from systemic oppression to lost love. cinematic sludge guitar sometimes clean but always with a jagged edge with false start-stop tempo changes. Green Terror sicks a rabid dog on a rampage, or body chomping hogs, or feral cat skreeling? manic metal ghetto blasting raging screaming killing and choking and gagging and foaming. Charles Manson is Jesus and Hitler only had one testicle.

Xenotaph – “Vitae Iactura” – [Transylvanian Tapes]

Rat King   8/27/2014   A Library, Cassette

Vitae Iactura, meaning “waste of life”, is the primary release from black metal Hayward kids Xenotaph. So kvlt you can smell the corpsepaint, Xenotaph is a trio consisting of a drummer (G), a guitarist/vocalist (Z), and a guitarist/bassist/effectsperson (R). Our version of the cassette was put out by Transylvanian Tapes and recorded at Earhammer Studios, so it’s all local. This is cold, cold metal, very much influenced by all those troubled young men in Scandinavia (Darkthrone is a popular comparison). Tracks last between six and eight minutes, providing enough time to sink into them properly.

Instrumentations consists largely of guitar riffs and blast-beats, but there are also many slow, creepy portions to bring on the despair. ‘Violation’ has particularly infectious drumming, and the guitars take on an interesting, almost Eastern-European folk quality at times while retaining the metal character. Vocals are sometimes moaned, sometimes growled, sometimes barked, and always raspy and hoarse. Lyrical themes include not limiting oneself by bending to the will of society, blasphemous rituals, and avenging animal rage.

‘Descending’ is an instrumental, effects-heavy soundscape. The trees. The wind. The crunching of snow beneath your feet, the sound of shadows as they stretch bare branches into dark claws that reach slowly across the blue-and-white ground. It’s all there, it’s eerie, and it’s beautiful. Follow the voices.

Show of Bedlam – “Roont” – [Choking Hazard Records]

mickeyslim   8/27/2014   12-inch, A Library


Heavy, doomy, nightmare-inducing metal music from the graveyards of Montreal. Haunting stoney sludge from Paulina Richards (vocals), Guillaume Pilote (guitar), Nick Richards (drums), and Ari Isensee (bass). Just recently added their split with Jucifer.

The female driven vocals really give this one a satisfying punch in the face. Nice long tracks here on Choking Hazard Records. Quality Canadian dirge..

Connoisseur – “Stoner Justice” – [Tank Crimes]

mickeyslim   8/27/2014   A Library, Cassette

New release from Oakland-based stoner punks. Six tracks on this single-sided green cassette, and it’s all over too fast. Great dirty tracks about smoking pot, smoking pot, and Oakland being a mecca for smoking pot. Sometimes the vocals are screamed, sometimes a nice low growl, all backed by head-smashing, rusty punk. My favorite is the story of the “Full Blown Marijuana Addict.” Watch for FCCs.

Put this in yer pipe and watch it buuuuurn….

Williams, Elmo & Hezekiah Early – “Takes One to Know One” – [Fat Possum Records]

selector   8/24/2014   Blues, CD


Lots of loud rockin blues out of Natchez Mississippi. Elmo fronts with vocals and jams wildly distorted riffs on a Fender, while Hezekiah plays the snare drum and harmonica (simultaneously). Pretty simple, fuzzy, raw, crankin’ electric blues. 1998 release from Fat Possum Records. My favorites: Blue, Booster, Hoopin’, and Natchez for the loud distortiony sound.

— selector

Lord Tang – “Ep1” – [Gigante Sound]

selector   8/24/2014   A Library, CD

A second album from Lord Tang (aka Dominic Cramp), Gigante Sound (Oakland). Wish I had more experience with ambient, but that seems to be the space that EP falls into … All slow electronic instrumentals … with three of the five tracks being light industrial dub I suppose.


EP 1 by Lord Tang

Giorgio Corroder – “Pomp Sluice” – [Limbsoup Tapes]

abacus   8/21/2014   A Library, Cassette

slice and dice pop tops vandal(voyeur)ism from Oakland local on little label Limbsoup. brain bent/burnt/burped irritatingly impossible loop sequences decompose, crumble and melt in skipping stagnance (gratuitously poor taste sampling makes it all the more painful-pleasing) hip hop chopping monotonous migraine moans of circus circuitry swirling down the drain. headphones recommended for maximum eye bulge.

Mississippi: Saints & Sinners [coll] – [Rounder Records]

abacus   8/21/2014   Blues, CD

deep Delta roots as collected by Alan Lomax ’36-’42. riverside penitentiary hollerin, red-light ragtime bounce, hard-times and hopeful times; hunt songs, work songs, prison songs, and Reverend Savage church songs. and man oh man that Hemphill make some sounds! plenty of interviews, introductions and interjections to place us right there in the dust with the heat and the hunger and the fireflies and hard work days and no work days all for the white man’s cake and cream. yeah Times Is Getting Hard.

Garland, Red Trio – “Groovy” – [Prestige/New Jazz]

abacus   8/20/2014   12-inch, Jazz

coming down from his Miles high and right before catching Coltrane on the upswing, one of the great Prestige sessions recorded ’56-’57 with this short lived trio, Garland as leader. clean simple melodies with a spring-loaded touch that jives and jumps along. of course Chambers chugs up and down the fretboard (What Can I Say? even scraping out a bowed solo) and Taylor snaps and slides all over the skins (with a nice cymbal scrape here and there) but Red’s attack on those keys is what really snags (boxing done some good afterall); the heart tug tenderness of Gone Again keepin groove all the way to the big block chordal blues on Willow, the original Hey Now really carrying that signature smack. sure they don’t play out much, sure it sounds nice, sure its standard, but damn this shit is Groovy!

Massenger – “Girl Glass” – [Porchcore]

abacus   8/20/2014   7-inch, A Library

dirty desert pop with hints of L.A. glitz, Ventura’s Massenger got the garage door open wide. Rolling bass lines and rollicking drums but fun pop simple tunes, just with guitar wounds oozing thru the gaps. Sasha’s got that ‘give a fuck’ sass that subtly snarls into her sing song then drifts away in a haze of echo. clean cut with a dirty smile, bled-out bliss.

Young, Oscar Band – “Damp Circuits: The Golden Era of Synthesizers In E Asia Vol1” – [Sham Palace]

Thurston Hunger   8/20/2014   7-inch, International

“Damp Circuits: The Golden Era Of Synthesizers In East Asia Vol. 1”
Hong Kong a Go Go? 70’s sounds for today thanks to Porest’s
Sham Palace label. Speaking of “shams,” at first blush listen
I really wondered if it was the Neung Phak pack putting together
some old Chinese pop songbooks and flea-market instruments for
a “dramatic reinterpretation” but further hunting around seems
to indicate Oscar Young was a record producer and band leader
working that crazy cross-breeding zone of Britain and China back
then. I’m always suspicious (and happy) when Porest aka Mark
Gerghis is involved, and the fact that this 4-song ep was
compiled by one B. (I assume “Bobby”) Ganush…I could not
tell if my leg was being pulled while my foot was tapping to
these exotic/disco/squishy synth-instros. Any ways, I hope
there was (and maybe still is living) an Oscar Young who
collected studio musicians for female singers and Cha Cha
enthusiasts, and might have had a band called “The Apollo”
Either way, the music is great. The first track has the
most aromatic Chinese air, one can almost taste the erhu.
Its drums would make Martin Denny have a smile as wide as
an island. Next up, a similar melody after what sounded
more like a pachinko machine emptying than a raincloud
doing so, but #2 is all about the bass player growing some
fuzzy sideburns and dropping some funky notes. Flip it over
and I’m not sure if there are a million people rejoicing
but it’s kind of funny how a crowd of men’s voices is
fade in and out. Again the drums are prominent, finaly
the album ends with a Mod Squad moment, wacka-wacka guitar
traveling far and well. The synth is so squelchy on that
number, and part of the genius of this gem is the naming of
the collection. “Damp Circuits” Killer! And Vol 1, well that’s
promising as well…not hearing this would have been a shame!
-Thurston Hunger
PS A friend at work was also suspicious on the ideogram for
“Young’s” last name. I know, I know…I ruin everything.