Fundraiser 2018 — Donate now!

Music Reviews

signor benedick the moor – “el negro” – [Deathbombarc]

abacus   4/27/2016   CD, Hip Hop

weirdo hiphop from outsider kid out of the LA area, like the dude that brought pot to all your LAN parties in middle school, and always showed up high to drama class; theater nerd – names himself after his favorite jaded character from Much Ado About Nothing; clever wordplay that maintains its juvenile toilet humor amidst intellectual eloquence. production that sounds like a 90s fantasy-rpg on casio, other times heavy metal noise rock – all self-recorded, probably spends all his time in front of a computer chopping up the hardcore/sample-heavy beats; did i mention he’s high as fuck?

Dzang – “Lotion” – [Dzang]

Kai Sync   4/27/2016   12-inch, A Library

Dzang, LA producer Adam Gunther, brings bands and artists together in the studio telling them to play what they want in an open communication, band records unpredictable results and then he samples and edits the results to discrete tracks. Lotion is a good example of where the unpredictability resulted in darkish chillwave with pop-synth influences and an indie attitude where the guitar was invited amongst the synths and drum loops. The track “Need Tongue” even flirts with seventies American folk rock. The lyrics have a frankness with everything including sex with the female singer Molly Sarie providing a very distinct style on the vocal tracks. Take the songs in small doses — they has a clarity hiding behind a facade you need to break through.

Brown, Apollo – “Hey Joe/ Make Bread” – [Mello Music Group]

Arcanum   4/26/2016   7-inch, Hip Hop

This is the bonus 45 for Apollo Brown’s album Thirty Eight. Side A and B are both instrumental and FCC free. Crackle and sample hiss run like electric current throughout, giving a retro feel and resonant warmth. some guitar twang with the classic hey joe vibe on side A 2:55~ and a gritty jazz-hop narrative with female vocal laced boom bap drum kit side B Make Bread 3:00~

Custodian & Gnawed – “Loathsome” – [Maniacal Hatred]

abacus   4/26/2016   A Library, CD

icy cold dominance and derision from Jon Engman out of Wisconsin and Grant Richardson from Minnesota; chain dragging / stone crumbling / glass shattering loops and shrieks; vocals buried in the bruising distortion, industrial electronics to blow out speakers and scare the neighbors; Loathsome.

Merzbow – “Antimonument” – [Art Directe]

abacus   4/26/2016   A Library, CD

’86 picture disc on Masami’s own ZSF Produkt appropriated for Swedish bootleg 5 years later; inspired by neoclassical architecture and the Goetheanum: metallic mantras of meditative maelstrom – a collage of gong gouging and flogging, styrofoam squeak and shred, circuitous clatter and percussive clambering; some pieces looped and others shattered, most somewhere between. the two sides of the record were named after the main shrines of the Ise Grand Shrine, the B-side a 30 minute psychosis split in two that erupts and sizzles. the CD features a searing hard-rock noise-ritual bonus track scaring the villagers. not the harshest per se, but certainly discomforting. a misreading of native cultures relating to the structure of language and thinking in music.

BoZo – “Februarius” – [Weigh Out West]

Louie Caliente   4/24/2016   A Library, CD

Synth-heavy repetitive beats and dissonant tweaked keyboard and guitar, like mixing robitussin and yacht-rock. All “vocals” are provided by a loud computer-synthesized voice with no sense of rhythm or intonation. “Lyrics” are taken verbatim from a diverse set of material, including a Cheech & Chong routine, the wikipedia article on “leap year”, a sex ed pamphlet, and Herbert Morrison’s live reporting of the Hindenburg crash.

Fumaca Preta – “Impuros Fanaticos” – [Soundway Records]

Louie Caliente   4/23/2016   12-inch, International

Scorching-hot fuzzy tropical psychedelia blended with metal, surf, free-jazz, and haunted houses. Despite such disparate influences, the album is amazingly cohesive and just fucking rocks!

“Fumaca Preta” (foo-ma-sa pret-ta), which means “Black Smoke” in Portuguese, was started by Alex Figueira, a Portuguese-Venezuelan percussionist, and recorded with his friends in his home-made analog studio in Amsterdam. The South-American influence on this album is strong, sounding at times like Os Mutantes, but meaner, more acid-fried, and blood-stained.

Lyrics are all in Portuguese, but translated into English in the liner notes. They deal mostly with dark themes like murder and suicide, but with some humorous moments, like the very first lyric on the album, which translates to “Stick your selfie-stick in the infinite hole of your idiosyncrasy.”

It’s all really, really good. My personal favorite is Baldonero, a bizarre mix of latin dance rhythms, surf guitar, doomy riffs, and cookie-monster vocals like nothing I’ve heard before.

Elggren, Leif – “Das Baank” – [Fragment Factory]

Louie Caliente   4/23/2016   12-inch, A Library

Leif Elggren is a Swedish artist, writer, performer, and composer. His latest album, “Das Baank”, deals with themes of economic corruption, repression, and violence.

While Elggren is most known for his spoken word pieces, the tracks on Das Baank have no words or lyrics at all. Instead, they present 8 distinct industrial soundscapes. The album includes gloomy and dramatic orchestral nightmares, gravely static noise bone-crushers, and extended guitar feedback drone blasts.

The liner notes feature long excerpts from the Wikipedia article on “usury”, the practice of making unethical or immoral monetary loans, as well as a stream-of-consciousness essay about suffering and authority and money and power and anxiety and life.

Diminished Men – “Vision In Crime” – [Abduction]

Cousin Mary   4/22/2016   12-inch, A Library

Instrumental music that sort of leans toward film noir and defies genre classification with drums (Dave Abramson from Master Musicians of Bukkake), guitar, bass and some sax. OISTROS DOLOROUS and CASTRUM DOLORIS would fit into and shake up a surf set. Is it avant garde experimental jazz, psych, electronic, or exotic? It’s all good.

Edwards, Jonathan & Darlene – “Piano Artistry of Jonathan Edwards, The” – [Columbia]

Cousin Mary   4/22/2016   12-inch, Comedy

Darlene and Jonathan Edwards – who in real life were singer Jo Stafford and her husband pianist Paul Weston – started entertaining their friends by singing and playing just off key and went on to record the zany results. This album is hilarious with runaway arpeggios, occasional wrong notes, sour vocals, near misses of cocktail music cliches, and odd percussion including chimes added for emphasis. Especially recommended are the vocal tracks, noted on back of album.

PGM: Scratch of beginning of Side 2 diminishes on later tracks; actually sounds appropriate for the material.

Songs For The Jewish-American Jet Set [coll] – [Idelsohn Society For Musical Preservation]

Naysayer   4/20/2016   CD, International

Oh for the days of vacationing in the Catskills, staying in the luxury hotels of the Borscht Belt, partying all night in clubs on the Florida coast, flying over to Tel Aviv for a rejuvenating week: such was the life of the Jewish-American Jet Set. The amazing Idelsohn Society has set to preserving some of this feeling through selections of music coming from this time in the 1950’s and 1960’s. Honoring the Tikva Records label that continuously released this music, the listener is treated to 20 selections of sounds that vary from kitsch to twist to more traditional-ish styles of Jewish-American sounds. Jewish cowboys, how to date orthodox,conservative or reformed ladies, or learning the difference between a Litvak and a Galitz, it’s all here. The night club orchestrations are superb, making each number bump, swish and sway the night away. Enjoy and mazel tov.

Thantifaxath – “Thantifaxath” – [Dark Descent Records]

abacus   4/20/2016   A Library, CD

atmospheric black metal from this mysterious trio of Canadians lamenting the waste and failure of the human race, depressive in themes and delivery but with heavy leanings in prog territory; the production in the despairing melodicism is clean to be sure, almost too clean, almost cheesy its that clean, but listening to those deep 70s prog vibes it all makes sense. the classic inspirations are tempered with metal passages that are aggressive indeed, and the vocals definitely have that tortured howl, but the riffage veers from your standard black metal, with technical structures carried along by some virtuosic bass playing. these guys have refused to emerge from their anonymity, which probably accounts for why they’re so unknown despite extensive touring and an approachable sound, and they definitely stand unique in style, for better or for worse.

Parker, Andrea and Daz Quayle – “Private Dreams and Public Nightmares” – [Aperture]

Kai Sync   4/20/2016   A Library, CD

Daphne Oram was an influential Brittish contemporary electronic music genius, famous for co-founding the BBC Radiophonic workshop and creating the “Oramics” technique where the composer draws an alphabet of symbols interpreted by a machine that produced the sounds on magnetic tape. This album is using sound samples from the Oram archives forming darker and original electronic music. It would have been simple to just add a techno kick and hihat and get the job done but here the re-interpretations work in favor of keeping the sonic spirit as if the original composer would work in a modern studio setup today. It is haunting as if the originator returned back one more time. It’s also a conversation between the electronic past, current and future. Andrea Parker manages to create a worthy and personal homage to one of the true pioneers of electronica, while the album still conveys her own unique vision with the help of cohort Daz Quayle’s studio wizardry. The material ranges from concrete pieces to more contemporary and modern patterns. Haunted good.