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Music Reviews

Striggles, The – “Bilb” – [Rock Is Hell Records]

Thurston Hunger   11/30/2015   12-inch, A Library

This is NOT a kid’s band that has a restraining order
keeping them within 100 feet of schools, but maybe it
could be. There’s something peculiar about this Austrian
four piece, glorifyingly and uncategorizably peculiar. At
times they remind me of Ono (not Yoko, the Chicago art rock
tweakers). The album starts off with a fiercely hungry
math rock riff, and gameshow vocals, kinda Sleepytime Gorilla
Museum. It’s weirdly catchy even before the soaring
background vocals join it. Sung in Englitch by the way.
“Die Nation” sounds like Italy’s Starfuckers recorded in
a chicken coop. The drums just hammer down on those poor
chicken guitar licks. “Lady Gag’s Fashion Line” sounds
every bit as sleazy and goofy as you would expect it.
“Lick In My Head” is what happens when you mix sniffing
glue and Barry White, an accidental aphrodesiac…with
these monster Ruins-esque destroyo moments that turn that
“Lick” into a “Dick.” “DC Weg” is another number with a
nasty, thick, chomping beauty. “Sesam Sezam” – remember
that episode where Ken Vandermark played a state trooper on
Twin Peaks? Me neither but it would have sounded like this!
A great combo of squonk and slink! After all that, “Question”
is a folk funk ballad with some guitar strafing coming in at
the end. I think that’s the key that these guys while capable
of writing melodies for head-swaying or face-munching songs,
have a love for improvised ear oddities above all. How else
to explain “Ragtime” with its plink and plonk guitar/bass
that feels like a clock repair shop/prison. There’s probably
some prime-number counting system at work, I dunno but it’s a
*sidelong* number with sideways syncopation and a funny name.
“…Something Happened….” might be techno, maybe not, but
it’s kinda beaty. “Pig Gesicht” is sung into the mirror.
“Net Daham” closes things out with a sort of Albert Ayler
call, before the heavy bass and drums drive a rock lane
through the song, it rides this pounding groove for nearly
8 minutes, before getting worked up like Zu at the zoo.
Elephant bass, and donkey sax… These guys are mammals
but just barely. Feels weird enough to be a Bay Area bred
project, and their first album apparently had a Zippy
headshot on the cover. Life is short, Imbrace the Striggle!
-Thurston Hunger

Zooom Trio – “What’s For Dessert” – [Leo Records]

Thurston Hunger   11/30/2015   CD, Jazz

First off a shout of praise for Leo, they’ve got tons
of great releases. (KFJC “only” has 50…so far!)
This project has three o’s in the Zooom, one for
Christian Lorenzen on a variety of keys, David Helm
on the upright bass, and Dominik Mahnig on a cascading
array of percussion. Lorenzen is the featured player,
pretty spacey and always electic. Some of the more
tasteful Rhodes scholarship I’ve come across. But
Mahnig is onto something, he’s clutter creative on
the slow but expansive “Everyday They Run” while Helm
bows and saws away. Helm hits highest on “As Things
Are Now.” I love the almost thumb piano ending on
“Chinaski” into the mess of “Heart’s Song” and then
the whistly pep of “Grimish.” People who fear jazz
in general can feel safe and Money Mark fresh in
“the Underwear Department.” This won’t hit as big as
Sex Mob across the KFJC shifts, but its explorations
are pretty accessible.
-Thurston Hunger

Grin and Bear It – “Demo II” – [Allergic to Fun]

abacus   11/25/2015   7-inch, A Library

manic grind assaults from these arbiters of misfortune out of Cleveland. confrontational and degrading just the way you like it, Completely Disgusted goes all dirgey and shit. Wil Killingsworth recorded it so you know it’s good. fuck it no one cares anyways

Ma Turner – “Zoz” – [Sophomore Lounge]

Thurston Hunger   11/25/2015   12-inch, A Library


Oedipal pedals spinning fast over and back across an
original 12 cassettes from this Wizard of Zoz. Michael A. Turner spun these seeds, but this vinyl birth was mid-wife???d by Robert Beatty. Not sure if Beatty used an oubliette in the sequencing, but the results are excellent. Call it folk experimental or warped bedroom psych. Very personal expression. Each side plays like a maxxed up mix tape rhythms and repetitions show up from track to track, Turner???s melody might turn into a dirty electro pulse on the next track, or a two-chord pairing in “Living” is brought back from the dead on “Crucifix Cruiser” sounding like a sample smushed of some blades clashing, your grandpa’s organ, and reverbed electric guitar. Lo-fi fits this release perfectly, flea market electronics and ramshackle acoustic guitar and some banjo too. Reading the lyrics on the bright pink zine-sert, they seem simple with a sort of dime-store psychology or deity-free religion, but they’re sung so gently and sweetly amidst the even sweeter (to my jaded ears at least) cacophony they feel more profound. That’s the charm of lo-fi maybe, or perhaps the budding genius of a man who became his own Ma. More great Kentucky Kenfuckery on this label. KFJC probably could have hung with all original 6 hours spread over 8 records, but this single slab will have to do for now. Dig it! -Thurston Hunger

Carsick Cars – “Carsick Cars” – [Bing Masi]

Thurston Hunger   11/25/2015   A Library, CD


2007 noise rock debut from this Chinese three
piece. Zhang Shouwang is a feeedback fiend of
the highest order, shimmer summoning everything
from Galaxie 500 to Sonic Youth. He sings in
both Mandarin and ‘merican, “Gun” is an innocent
ode to rock ‘n roll depravity of yesteryore
with a cry of “cocaine, cocaine cocaine.” The
other English lyrics remind me of that “Rocky
Mountain Low” collection, where rock and roll
was not only the medium, but sort of a tangible
motivation for it all. It’s very crisp pop
rock, big ringing chords, disaffected back-up
vocals, short driving songs that deliver.
Check out the chord fritz fade on “Xiong Mao.”
A stately blitz ballad starts of #10 and then
9:55 minutes in a bonus track arises from
silence. Shouwang is the only one still wearing
his sick seatbelt as both Li Weisi and Li Qing
left the band in 2010 and are now in Snapline.
Carsick Cars have hit some success since then
(SXSW citing) but this album feels fresh and
vibrant, and definitely hearkens back to
shiny indie rock daze. Now, where are the
Beijing Beefheart bands!?!? -Thurston Hunger

Dead In The Bay [coll] – [Self Released]

billiejoe   11/25/2015   A Library, CD

Two CDs of metal and psych and noise bands, including Bog Oak. Disc one is mislabeled as disc two and vice versa when considering the track list.
The gloomier and doomier stuff is my fav. I wish every night could be Christless Eve.
— Billie Joe Tolliver

Cooley – “gael-linn” – [Gael-Linn Records]

humana   11/23/2015   12-inch, International

Joe Cooley hailed from Ireland and played the accordion with such heart that this album was made to preserve the experience of his music for generations of lovers of jigs, reels, and country folk music. Tony MacMahon writes the touching liner notes that describe how the first 8 songs were recorded at a session just a month before Cooley died at the age of 49 on December 21, 1973. After a stint in America and San Francisco, Cooley was home and packed the bar in South County Galway so there were even folk outside in the rainy November night gathered to hear the musician one last time. Side two has songs from earlier in Cooley’s life. This is a bittersweet tribute.

Heartland – “Union Pacific” – [Cream of Turner]

mouthbreather   11/21/2015   12-inch, A Library

drone-y waves of effects, vocalizations, stringed instruments, percussion and even a amplified model train set, though distinguishing these instruments isn’t as obvious as it would appear. moves real slow and spooky, delirious wails from a well. a standalone creep fest or mixing layer, your choice!

Nyodene D – “Bound Oak and Ashen Grain” – [Self Released]

Rat King   11/18/2015   A Library, Cassette

An aural tribute to history geekdom and environmentalist hipster rage. ‘Bound Oak and Ashen Grain’ is a compilation of two previous Nyodene D releases: the ‘Atop Masada’ cassette and ‘Mouths That Reap the Harvest’ LP. We currently have neither.

Sida A deals with honour and rebellion during the First Jewish-Roman War, with emphasis on the Sicarii and their weird obsession with killing people to spite the Romans. Side B is about humans (represented by rats) plundering Earth out of greed, and how they will inevitably get the devastating end they have coming to them. It also has an Elder Futhark runic divination theme. Lyrics for both sides are printed on the insert.

It’s death industrial: too structured for noise, too pretty for power electronics. Our test group described it as sounding like ‘being tuned between stations’ and ‘applause, but far away’. Long tracks, distorted dirge vocals, a little bit of melodic sensibility, and a preference for analog noise-tools and unusual instruments (Side A makes use of a mellotron, B3 has a trumpet).

Side A is the the more ambient of the two, and the long track lengths (about fifteen minutes each) allow enough time for sinking in, one way or another. They have a slow, sort of pulsing structure and crumbling, smoldering feel that can pull you in or make you sick. A2 (‘Sicarii’) is my favourite of the two.

Side B is a little angrier and ritualistic with its war-drums, layered vocals and shrieking synths, but it also feels more focused (and is preferred by yours truly). B1 clocks in at about 14:27, but B2 and B3 are more manageable at around seven minutes each. B2 has guest vocals by Stephen Petrus (of Murderous Vision) and employs the classic ‘we raped Mother Earth’ imagery loved by angry hippies across the musical spectrum. Again, B3 has a trumpet on it. Respect the trumpet.

Nicole 12 – “Substitute” – [Freak Animal Records]

abacus   11/16/2015   A Library, CD

another fucked up aberration of art side project from Grunt aka Mikko Aspa aka the Freak Animal himself. creep ambient paranoid electronics mostly sparse but most unsettling. harsh not in delivery but in discomfort, uncomfortable not just in sonic qualities but in thematic content most of all. the guiltiest of all pleasures; the most taboo of all temptations; the evillest of all human acts imaginable; possibly some clean(er) tracks to play but it’s all so, so dirty and definitely very offensive, and some parts potentially not suitable for airplay. play at the risk of absolute moral corruption.

RxFxRxRxAxPxE [coll] – [Bestial Burst]

abacus   11/16/2015   A Library, CD

black noise audio torture at its most tormenting: Finnish black metal ritualists Ride for Revenge fall immediately into a braindead death-march of unerring headache hypnosis; brain burning feedback swells, drums in relentless repetition. the second track a terrifying vision of viscous distortion. German occult electronics outfit RxAxPxE deliver harsh granular walls of blood boiling worship and praise and tribal swamp ambient evoking demons. a showcase of extremes, this split is not for the faint of heart.

Colley, Joe – “Disasters of Self” – [Crippled Intellect Prods.]

abacus   11/16/2015   12-inch, A Library

Oakland based sound artist presents mind altering soundscrapes of agitated industrial friction and hissing factory feedback; bulbous pulsations of infected drones fragmented and spliced into rhythmic ollages of glitched static, field recordings, and ambient noise. sudden drops and transitions sure to confuse DJs and listeners alike: sounds or perhaps the grooves themselves damaged into purposeful scratches? hard to say with various locked ending tracks (B3) or others fading off into near silence (D3), the third disc composed entirely of locked grooves and intruders to really test your focus. the subtleties laid throughout challenge relentlessly, with creeping disturbances to tickle the back of your brain. the sounds here are sinister, and in the most psychically dangerous of ways,,,

Dead Recipe – “Day of Mangoes” – [Self-release]

humana   11/15/2015   10-inch, A Library

Look at the bright colors of the cover art and the grey marble vinyl and you’ll get an idea of how cool this music sounds. Kyle Albrecht and Camille Lewis both sing and play the songs, which are reminiscent of the music of Tipsy, for some reason. Maybe because it sounds tropical and whimsical with the funky bass lines. Their voices are really upbeat and the shakers add to the holiday feel of this album. People have called them pop, surf, psych, folk–you tell me what you think.

Dance of The Reality, The [coll] – [Real Gone Music]

humana   11/15/2015   12-inch, Soundtrack

Imagine writing and performing the soundtrack music to your father’s autobiographical film. This is exactly what Adan Jodorowsky has done, and he has done it with such lovely finesse that it alternately lifts you with its whimsically happy songs and tugs at your heartstrings with the nostalgic and sadder songs. Not a one on here isn’t a winner in its own way. I really want to see this movie now, but I know I have felt it first through the music. Think lovely orchestration with piano, strings, and up and down transporting through the emotions.

Shakedown At The Majestic – “S/t” – [Self Produced]

humana   11/15/2015   A Library, CD

This is rock and roll at its most upbeat and fun. It’s catchy with the nice voices singing nice lyrics about love and life, and the guitars, drums, and bass are skilled and guaranteed to leave you wanting more. The band formed in New York City and I hope this isn’t their only album.

Fat Creeps – “Must Be Nice” – [Sophomore Lounge]

Thurston Hunger   11/12/2015   12-inch, A Library

Killer fountain of youth femme-fronted pop rock. Hits my ears
right in the sweet spot where the Delta 5, the Kellies and
even a little bit of Lush give me a head rush. But this band
goes the extra mile, naming themselves after their fans!
Unabashed jangly guitar in force, dig the Let’s Active
ring to “I’ve Got.” Both guitarist Gracie Jackson and
basist Mariam Saleh sing, and when they dive into together
they ride that blue line between sweet melodies and slightly
sour harmonies that just slay me, check “Having So Much Fun” or
the “Daydreaming.” At 45 rpm, the songs fly by (quicker
than a batch of microwave popcorn.) Like “Party” at 1:49,
with an quasi-robotic vocal the band takes one look inside
said “Party” and get the hell out of dodge. Or out of Boston,
as they are Missy-chusetts with a Jim Leonard bumping the
drums filling and rolling pretty nicely. “Back 2 Skool” is an
instrumental, but you might as well sing along. “Nancy Drew”
and “Dad Weed” would be proud.
-Thurston Hunger