Music Reviews

Instagon – “Gonzo” – [Love Earth Music]

abacus   12/17/2014   7-inch, A Library

a collection of blissful blunders and accidental errors of incidental entertainment; blips of static drone and scrape; freeform flopouts and improv drivel. title track a dedication to the 76th birthday of the great Hunter S.

GX Jupitter-Larsen – “Pump Powered Permawave” – [Oxen]

abacus   12/17/2014   10-inch, A Library

luggage malfeasance from the chief of all misanthropists GX. rubbed raw scratch ‘n scrapes in varying portions, locked lunacy in multiple flavors (but who can tell the difference anyhow); looping sandpaper one drones drill deeper than the bits themselves. nerve wrenching noise of the naughty variety

Lehman, Steve Octet – “Mise En Abime” – [Pi Recordings]

selector   12/17/2014   CD, Jazz

This release is a nice display of future-leaning ensemble jazz. There is a custom-built vibraphone throughout, making the whole album give off a spacey vibe. And the rhythm section is great, keeping the tunes catchier if you just gotta have rhythm, like me. But a crew of other instruments create quite the orgy. At times, light, soft, ethereal, but for the most part, urgent, kinetic, chaotic. It slows down, stands still, and speeds up all at the same time.

VOX on Track 1 (Segregated)


A-Bazouki – “Volume 1” – [Un-Gyve Records]

humana   12/17/2014   A Library, CD

The sisters Nemrow wrote and performed these songs, which are painful ballads played by a bazouki, a guitar-like instrument, among other instruments. The songs are so plaintiff and unpolished that they seem to define a grassroots expression of the trials and tribulations of love and life. Read the liner notes to enrich the experience.

Plasmodium – “Clairaudience” – [Dry County Records]

humana   12/17/2014   CD, Jazz

This is supercool music that is like space-age jazz. It’s fresh and full of variety. Track 8 is a great spin on Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Raven,” while Track 9 quotes an Emily Dickinson poem. Bata drums, guitar, basses, and cool vocals and ambient sounds and beats make this ultra listenable and fun.

Alvarius B. – “Fuck You and The Horse You Rode In On” – [Abduction]

Thurston Hunger   12/12/2014   12-inch, A Library

Rookie card underground music superstar week, part 1.
Purchased this from Uncle Jim a while back when he
using my toupee as an ashtray. He claims to be in
tight with Alvarius, and who am I to slip a lie
detector on him while he’s passed out from an
auto-dystopic affliction. It’s 1981-83 so a lot
of us were actually alive back then, and remembered
changing TV channels with Brion Gysin glee, check out
“Art Can Count to 5” for a dramatic reinterpretation.
“Back to the Future” might be the cassette recorder
recording another recorder fast rewinding with the
head in. “Want Anything from the Store?” demonstrates
the genius of applying titles after recording, and
incorporating accidents. “Kid Death” is a modern
retelling of David and Goliath, maybe. Side B
features a lot of acoustic, but I wouldn’t call
it unplugged. Plenty of electricity coursing
through AB’s neurons. “Passenger Seat People”
fires up the ire, and do I hear a minute Don
Rickles influence. Some great ragged guitar,
scrabbling and frenzy flecked. There’s blisters
on the strings afterwards. Two blues drops,
“Legba” and “Turquoise” the latter with some
doppler yodel wowowowow’s and capital HARMonica.
“Evil Hearted Dub” has a sweet side to my ears.
The weirdness, the talent, the field recordings off the
freeway, it’s all here. Abductions ablutions have sure
helped with my KFJC cateschizim, have a sip of the
unholy water here. Or hell, bathe in it.

-Thurston Hunger

Jaworzyn, Stefan – “Drained of Connotation” – [Blackest Ever Black]

Thurston Hunger   12/12/2014   12-inch, A Library

Rookie card underground music superstar week, part 2.
Number Six got this from Aquarius Records likely as
a crossover to horror via John Carpenter. These
sonic explorations are metro-gnomed by a bass set
of impulses, that are up front in the mix while
an oscilloscope hovers in and out of the tracks.
A febrile drum machine snares its way into the
1-2-3 4 march. But it’s that insistent pulsing
bass dance party that is going to break you. The
surface consistency is pretty high here, but there
are moments like the closing of side B and maybe
7 minutes into side A, where the knobs get dialed
into the part that squelches best with my soul.
Liner notes from Mr. Ascension (and connections
to Whitehouse & Skullflower) describe his 1982
mindframe. I think KFJC DJ’s can get creative
in how they implement these pieces (which are
packed pretty tightly, but you can see where
they start/stop…and the titles themselves
seem to tell a story. “I Am Not Going To Make
This Mistake Again” is a gauntlet thrown down.
Like the knobs and their enveloping effects,
I get turned this way and that while listening
to this record.

-Thurston Hunger

FPR – “All At Once” – [Relative Pitch Records]

Thurston Hunger   12/12/2014   CD, Jazz

Three-way sax attack serving up bite size morsels of pointed
composition and more breezy improvisation mixed to satisfy.
Frank Gratkowski, Phillip Greenlief and Jon Raskin delivering
more as a whole than the sum of three stellar parts. The first
piece builds a base, that sort of Euro-style, where little
harmonies build up on a sort of dizzy walk. Keep in mind no
bass, no drums, so “Vegetables” is a pure sax meal. On that and
throughout, Raskin’s baritone work really anchors this release.
Next, “No Name” moves up higher with flutter breathing, and quick
darting play. “Likewise” lets Raskin roll, with trill support.
“Sound” is the droner delight. “Qupe” spackles your ears, before
a cold jujitsu finish. “Cirus/Webern” has a slow chamber forest
exploration feel. “Epitasis” suits my zoot fine, quick dazzling
duet and trio runs, before a breakdown near silence, it builds
back up through the skronkiest section of the disc to more dazzle.
Soft snake charming and a morning sky for “Jan 2, 2007.” (This
release culls from two meetings, in 2007 and in 2010). Lastly
“Was/Schatten” captures the album title well, I think it’s
Gratkowski skipping between the aligned duo, who split apart
but it all comes together for a soothing coda. Short pieces
(by KFJC jazz standard) of lasting beauty. Dig it!

-Thurston Hunger

Slither – “Invertebrate” – [Qbico]

Thurston Hunger   12/12/2014   12-inch, A Library

Electro-demonic-acoustic improv? Two guys with
“horns and electronics” and I could swear there’s
some sort of huge beast bound by chains in the mix
too, but not credited. Or maybe that’s just the
sound of Michigan? Fairly dark sounds, the bed
of earthdrone bass and other murky mechanical sounds
makes for a nice happy haunted house vibe, and offers
cobwebby corners for horns that mostly buzz like
trapped insects and at times cry like seagulls.
Possibly gateway drug for noiseheads to crawl
through filth and secret alleys into jazz juke
joints? They don’t just totally blow out an
earhole with the sounds they manufacture/modify.
This single-sided record allegedly made by two humans :
Heath Moerland [runs Fag Tapes, check bandcamp for stuff
we need to track down, WOW Heath is the strings in
in Tyvek…great straight ahead punk your spleen out]
and Chris Pottinger [runs Tasty Soil, for projects
he’s in, like Odd Clouds for which KFJC has a couple
releases] together they meet on an excellent label
I’d kinda lost track of Qbico (flying pretty low
profile on the packaging, thanks discogs for the
clue. Looks like this was a 2008 release). Single
sided vinyl, decrepit in da crypt solid sounds!
Cool stuff, and it sent me on a Tyvek binge!

-Thurston Hunger

Violence Creeps – “Demo 2” – [Self-release]

abacus   12/10/2014   A Library, Cassette

damaged trash punk from these Oakland(?) creeps. DIY fuck it recording quality worse than age-old nonsense and worth about a nickel of your time. snarling vocals, spastic bass rattles, and snaggletooth guitar riffage. hardcore without the brutality and all the mistakes.

Space Cossacks – “Never Mind The Bolsheviks” – [Musick Recordings]

Cousin Mary   12/9/2014   A Library, CD

These 24 tracks represent most of the recordings from legendary 1990’s surf band The Space Cossacks, led by guitarist Ivan Pongracic (pawn GRAH sick) now known for his work with the Madeira. Very high energy, mostly fast, harmonically interesting, all superbly played. Try track 3 or 22 to get a taste. Highest recommendation!

Watery Love – “Decorative Feeding” – [In The Red Records]

humana   12/3/2014   A Library, CD

I come at this band with no prior knowledge, and so all I know is the music on this disc and the way the four band members look from their picture on the insert. I would characterize their sound as beyond garage-approaching metal. The songs often start with intense feedback and then ease up so you can enjoy the quirky lyrics that are often shouted, but in a coherent voice. “You only love your dog” (5)–how can you beat that? There is an infectious energy to this release that I appreciate, and therefore I know that many others will really dig.