KFJC 89.7FM

Music Reviews

Dawson, Richard – "Peasant" – [Weird World Record Co]

Thurston Hunger   9/15/2021   A Library, CD

Behold, now you can hob-nob with the hob-jobs. Step into the tent for these 11 unleavened songs from 2017 by way of some Medieval village mill. Dawson is Superman in reverse, unearthly talented while cloaking his powers neath a hair shirt and hairier acoustic guitar plucklings. His guitar work feels like a finger or two might have been caught in
the gears of Derek Bailey, or John Fahey. Check the ripping outro of “Scientist” and then the opening of “Hob.” Dawson’s singing will trace the difficultly strung steps often as well. His phrasing and word-choice stray from expectation, and reward with a completely unbeaten path. A congenital affliction with eyesight seems to have only enhanced his insight. Is this folk, or folck, or fulk? He’s added avant minstrels to this release, including harp-warper Rhodri Davies. Lyric book included as part of vocational historical training for each job, granted the position of “No-One” is filled by a short instrumental on #10 before the towering cautionary tale of being a “Masseuse” to close the album. Richard Dawson may not be for everyone, but I strictly blame everyone. Top notch songsmith. Essential.
-Thurston Hunger

Let The Juices Run Between [coll.]

aarbor   9/15/2021   A Library

Mande Dahl, who lives in Hermosa Beach, is the person behind this collection. It’s the recording of acts that played at a party on Hermosa Beach in the Summer of 2020. “Theatrical Punk rocker” Mande Dahl apparently was in New York during the late-’70s punk/new wave scene but may not have recorded any records since 1979. Two of the tracks here are from her band’s EP (Called MANDE DAHL) from 1979. She also has videos available on YouTube. The other bands/musicians featured here seem to be locals from Hermosa Beach: Funk, The Hollow Legs, Bar Nun and Kevin Sousa. Check out the party. AArbor

Cannell,Laura/Lee,Stewart/Ellis,Kate/Wright,Polly/Allan,Jen – "These Feral Lands – Volume 1" – [Brawl Records]

Thurston Hunger   9/14/2021   A Library, CD

Spoken word strung over strings. Violinista Laura Cantrell who leads this project and label had previously recorded violin improvisations, called Buzzard A through H. Other sounds and importantly, recited words are then stretched over the dry bones of those improvs previously left for dead, and like a bog man come alive stepping out of the peat, the resulting movement catches our ears, eyes and breath. The words are steeped in history and lore, monsters stagger forth; men, wolves and professional wrestlers cast shadows over the spoken sections and down the side of the Wrekin (a hill in Shropshire, England). There is more than dirt in that hill, and plenty of fecund soil in These Feral Lands. I am not just talking about “Vessel” and its 20000 year old golem summoning. I was quite be-warlocked by (erstwhile comedian, but here he comes across like a one-eyed gin-soaked prophet/professor!) Stewart Lee, but the tracks with the ladies bewitch as well, often with looped recitations. The sliding strings weave a tense web of active drone to preserve the words. In my mind “Black Shuck” refers to the virus du jour, but apparently it was some dangerous beastie the size of Winston Churchill stalking those unaware in the English countryside.
-Thurston Hunger

Moon Duo – “Occult Architecture Vol. 1” – [Sacred Bones Records]

SlartiBartfast   9/14/2021   12-inch, A Library

Moon Duo “Occult Architecture Vol. 1”

Another superb musical trip  released by Portland’s Moon Duo. This 2017 release, “Occult Architecture Vol .1” is the first in a dual psychedelic journey through light and dark.  (Occult Architecture Vol 2 in the cue) This first LP in the series explores the darker side or life and hints at demise, death of the human spirit, and prepares listeners for a rebirth. Fuzz guitar, rhythmic pounding, and head jaunting explorations await. Join Moon Duo on a journey through your mind and through the musical expansion of psychic imagination.

El Banda – “Skutki Uboczne (Side Effects) ” – [Pasazer]

SlartiBartfast   9/14/2021   12-inch, A Library

El Banda “Skutki Uboczne”

Hailing from Warsaw, Poland, El Banda brings it with their unique blend of in you face punk energy with occasional sprinklings of an electronic dream scape. Be prepared to engage and confront your angst as front woman, Anna Zajdel, brings it with an energetic vocal energy that doesn’t hold back on the outrage. Fast, furious, and full of surprises, El Banda is a perfect release for that pent up disappointment in the human condition. This double LP release may cure you of all your mental derangements. 

Anthology of Traditional Guqin Music [coll]

SlartiBartfast   9/14/2021   CD, International

Anthology of Traditional Guqin Music [Coll]

The guqin is a seven stringed Chinese zither aching with notes of tranquility. Played correctly, this beautiful instrument can give rhythms of a thumb scratching on the wound strings, eerie base like notes, and harmonic tones that will transport you to other worlds. I dare say the guqin masters profiled on this 4 CD set represent some of the best guqin players in China that produce a sound equivalent to a slow, slide, blues guitar. Boil your water, prep your Yixing pot with good Oolong, and relax to a good session of Gongcha.

Sludge – “Just Die” – [Cheezy Farm Records]

Max Level   9/14/2021   7-inch, A Library

Sludgy, grindy garage punk on this 7″ from 1995. Three short songs on Side A and one longer one on Side B. Car crash guitars. Yowling vocals remind me of Stooges-era Iggy. General discontent expressed. I could find no info about this band.

Winderen, Jana – "Heated: Live In Japan" – [Touch]

humana   9/13/2021   A Library, CD

Even though this was performed live in Japan, the sounds captured on this disc by Winderen are a balm for our times. This Norwegian seeker of the hidden sounds found in glaciers and oceans gives us a treasure trove of sounds that refresh us in times of drought, creak through our souls, and wash away our angst like so many tears. The first track is a vocal introduction by musician Tetsuro Yasunaga. Ambience and field sounds at their best.

Ocher, Mary – "Mary Ocher + Your Government" – [Klangbad]

Thurston Hunger   9/13/2021   12-inch, A Library

Reprint of 2016 album where the talented tweaker Mary Ocher pits herself between dueling drummers, Stefan Widdess and Oliver Rivera-Drew (aka Your Government) hard at work. The drums keep her grounded, and keep the bpm meter running. Things get off with a blast-off, “#&*” is like a space-chimp hyperventilating, Ocher’s voice often is a third percussive instrument. On other tracks, her voice has razor blade runner sharpness, cutting through spaced lady synths beneath the boys with the beat. Catchy art-pop that could fill the skies nicely next to old floating Silver Apples swarmed by Damaged Bugs. Little guitar strum on the swaggering anthem “The Sound of War” – a song with funk/fury and excellent cold stops. But mostly the music here has bloomed from her rock to artwerk krafted from keyboards. “Man vs Air” at 2:18 begs for a 12″ dancehall remix, synth slithers through the left and right channels. Her Dad reportedly was a voice (and puppet theater) actor! Her vocal gyrations would do her otyez proud! Check out “Now (Fear)” for crazy flair and a serious kookiness. If David Bowie hadn’t been eclipsed by that damn Black Star, she’d probably be opening his next tour (and they’d talk about how they both feel such happy discomfort recording in Berlin). Seems she goes through drummers like Spinal Tap (rough enough for Government workers).

Bonus tip: her evolving visuals won’t disappoint fans of these audio trips!
-Thurston Hunger

Ocher as in “Oh-chen” Horrorshow, my-ee droogs!

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