Music Reviews

Luciano – “Messenger” – [Island Jamaica]

rasbabo   1/7/2015   12-inch, Reggae

Luciano- Messenger
The second studio album from Luciano, released in
1996, which resulted in him being anointed as the
best vocalist in the Jamaican reggae scene, a title
which has lasted him ever since. Formed out a style
reminiscent of Freddie McGregor or Barrington
Levy, he has a fantastic tenor voice, excellent
riddims, and delivers a positive Rastafari message
in a time when many vocalists were relying on a
more ???slack style???. Soulful, uplifting, and musically
Ras Babo

Bomb The Music Industry – “Scrambles” – [Asian Man Records]

selector   1/7/2015   12-inch, A Library

Thoughtful punk from Jeff Rosentock. Nice lyrics, and nicely articulated. Introspective, humorous, sarcastic, sometimes with a “miserable 20-something” feeling. And, while including some 20 instruments/musicians, and recorded in several studios on a budget, it plays with a very nice focus. Unlike earlier work, doesn’t include much in the way of ska-leaning tones, except for It Shits!!! There’s a great background story on the flap about how much work the album was and how they managed to do it on the cheap.

“Cold“, and “Saddr” more mellow than the rest of the set.
“Sort Of” seems starts off quiet, but shifts up two gears about half-way through.

There’s a sample of Ol’ Dirty Bastard’s Dirt Dog at the end of 25!, and a clip from the movie Milk at the end of It Shits!!!

Favorites: Cold Chillin, Wednesday Night Drinkable, and 25!


Medaphoar – “100 Dolla Bill” – [Stones Throw]

MSTiZA   1/7/2015   12-inch, Hip Hop

MED is west coast MC Medaphoar. He made his debut back in 1999 on the Lootpack album Soundpieces: Da Antidote. His track, Level Zero features Oh No(half of duo Gangrene and son of jazz trumpeter John Faddis). He shares post among SoCal’s(via Oxnard) vanguard including Madlib, Wildchild, and Oh No. This 2009 single is guaranteed the fire-y rap style from MED and the solid production of Madlib. Solid A & B sides, clean versions, and instrumentals delivered to add some rap slices to your menu.

Varnish – “Each to Each” – [Self-release]

humana   1/4/2015   A Library, CD

Amber Bird sings these songs that are catchy punk rock numbers describing survival of heartbreak and broken relationships. The lyrics are included for you to figure out the meanings for yourself, but as far as listening goes, this is an injection of energy that would liven up any set. Varnish plays out of Seattle but originated in the UK. Sid Badguy should check them out because they like to stand by listener in the darkness and point out a star or two.

Hard Girls – “a Thousand Surfaces” – [Asian Man Records]

humana   1/4/2015   12-inch, A Library

Hard Girls is a threesome out of San Jose playing peppy garage punk with a slight ballad feel from time to time. Side A is more peppy, and Side B is more ballad-y. There is a lyric sheet included in the album sleeve. That, along with the intense royal blue color of the vinyl, rounds out the experience of listening to this album quite nicely.

Pedigo, Hayden – “Five Steps” – [Debacle Records]

humana   1/4/2015   12-inch, A Library

What is it like to be only 20 and able to create such beautiful music as this? Pedigo models his American Primitive style of guitar picking after its originator, John Fahey, and Side A is full of lovely melodies that flow gently like a river. Don’t let his age fool you into thinking he isn’t wise, though, because Pedigo does a complete 180 on Side B by changing up the mood. Ambient songs that emanate from the world of dream bordering on sinister nightmare provide a delicious contrast and allow some guest appearances from the likes of Kawabata Makoto, Fred Frith, and Robert Rich.

Mannheim Rocket – “Mannheim Rocket” – [3bs Records]

Thurston Hunger   1/1/2015   12-inch, A Library

The name is taken from a musical term for a “rapid upward
arpeggio over a large range, combined with a crescendo”
In this case, it’s also the nom du beats for Australian
Jon Pizzay (who for bonus credit runs the 3BS label, and
that’s no BS). Downtempo techno with more subtle colors
and rhythms, drum machines are sparse and crisp when used,
the bass lines never really thump out (I guess on “Hora
Lunga” they hit their peak). “Liberation” slides those kind
of shaved electronics past your ears but its excellence
shines in a beaming cathedral drone on a pulsar for a
couple of minutes to close. Next up, “Hora Lunga” spends
two minutes warming up an organ rumination before soda-pop
snares and the bass lines take over, later on some synth
cross between oboe and erhu weaves in nicely. “Oubliees”
(the forgotten, possibly a reference to a film about woman
in Angola?) is a killer track, echoes of “Sleep Archive”,
an edgy drowsiness, with static bursts, a simple *descending*
piano line, intercepted transmissions. Halfway through its
evolving 12 minutes, a taste of aquatic dub. Or is it an
ethereal one? Very chilled conclusion to “Oubliees”, a
vanishing for the forgotten? Lastly “Schuon” (a possible
nod to a philospher/poet/artist, Frithjof) continues in
the icy isolation vein, piano+strings breathe into block
waves and then some singing voices trapped beneath the
sonic floes. Outstanding bleakbeat heightened by
refractory ambience. Steamier than other Mannheim
-Thurston Hunger

La Ciudad Secreta : Experimental Sounds of Barcelona 1971-91 [coll] – [Munster Records]

Thurston Hunger   1/1/2015   12-inch, A Library

A massive love letter to (and from) underground Barcelonians
between 1971 and 1991. Unpolished, often unreleased works with jamminess at times, as well as collisions from jazz (or improv of various flavors) and protopunk and even experimental electronics. Lots of cross pollination between projects, and a mixed bag overall (sometimes on a given track it can go from extreme genius to grating). As always gems await your mining, for me Los Psicopatas Del Norte, Albert Gimenez and Melodinamika Sensor definitely grabbed me. Hard to write a short review when the dedicated liner notes give you an inside view (and the brilliant packing grabs images from fliers of the times). Definitely items to work with here, but my guess is for folks connected to the scene this captures an amazing part of their lives that may have lapsed, slouched or even changed for more stable, if less creative pastures. Meanwhile a new generation huddles in Barcelona today and should be sending KFJC their cassettes and records!

-Thurston Hunger

Saturn’s Rival – “Saturn’s Rival” – [Pfmentum]

Thurston Hunger   1/1/2015   CD, Jazz

SoCal Five piece and four uneasy pieces. Improvised sounds,
criss-crossing the jazz/not-jazz border, jumping
inside the piano frequently with Richard Valitutto.
Or it could also be some deconstructed harp via
Susan Allen. Some seamless work tween them via their
stringed but percussion music. In addition Anjilla
Piazza has all kinds of Partch-like plinks and
rattles and spine-scrapes. Starts with everyone
walking lightly, high and soft over head, soprano?
sax squeaky before light spirals. Next a 22 min opus
features Parrish with great flute piercings of
some sonic dark matter. I assume #3 starts with a
processed guitar from Maxwell Gualtieri, who moves
into light note dithering, and I was hoping he’d
revive the bad computer effects of the start, but
we get a more forest cave of piano/harp to close it.
The last improv has the 5tet trying to start a rusty
old van, or maybe it’s Gualtieri’s guitar and it dies
down before running into slap dischords while Parrish
gargles with a flute. #2 and #3 raised the most hairs
in my ears and back, check yours. So glad to see that
pfMentum’s still got moMentum!

-Thurston Hunger

Cookie Tongue – “Biotic Rituals” – [Self-release]

Thurston Hunger   1/1/2015   12-inch, A Library

Cutesy pop pie baked fresh locally in San Francisco, no
sourdough or sourface seeding…but some sweet sort of
Tiny Tim/Sufjan Stevens yeast. Sometimes the best
woman for this type of precious music is a man, or
a Gal, as in Omer Gal. Omer’s got plenty of Keebler
elves as friends in his playhouse, and his finger
is in other artistic puddings as seen at
Mostly acoustic accompaniment, guitars, banjo,
singing saw (on “Grin”), violin, accordian and
some plinky-plonky toys at times. Lyrics are laced
with something, maybe nonsense? Yiddish and German
collide, at times I thought of Nick Drake if he
never had a single suicidal thought, or Jay Munly
with a water pistol? I kinda connected with the
first side a bit more, but then again maybe that’s
cause cookies are better as snacks and not for
full meals. Mix this in as a goofy gumball treat,
for your listeners.
-Thurston Hunger

Doctor Dread – “Theremin In Dub” – [Tsosume Records]

Thurston Hunger   1/1/2015   CD, Reggae

Gary Himelfarb aka Dr. Dubenstein aka Doctor Dread hands
at the invisible helm, guiding the theremin over some
tasty dub action. Liner notes talk about dub’s beginnings
and the desire for the space dubstination, and how the
theremin’s haunting, alien vibe fits in nicely by hand.
Or it can stand next to the melodica and sort of fly
above a bassline like on “Muchas Gracias”. On “Shotgun”
it adds some zip to a soul-flavored dub of Dave & Ansell
Collins “Double Barrel”. Police saucer siren moves over
the horns and bongos of “U Mad?” Don Carlos’ plea in
“Hear My Motion” has synth kinda nubbed on the low end
and wavering on the high, so the theremin just crests
over all of that. “Tief Dem a Tief” could roll into an
old 808 techno set, the theremin is pretty subdued in
that one. Bob Dylan’s “I and I” is served up on “I For
an Eye” (Dread produced the popular “Is It Rolling Bob”
collection KFJC added almost a decade ago). “Equality”
is another heavy hitter, well tripped out. Hard to go
wrong here, and how many CD’s come up with a pop-up
art inside and a geography test on the back?

-Thurston Hunger

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