KFJC 89.7FM

Music Reviews

PG13 – “PG13” – [Edgetone Records]

atavist   1/16/2019   CD, Jazz

Thick riffs meet saxophone. Sax by P. Greenlief, guitar by J. Shiurba (sounds like he uses an octave pedal), drums by T. Scandura. Driving, mathy rhythms punctuated by freakouts. Would be a welcome addition to the collections of folks into Frank Zappa, King Crimson, Don Caballero, Combat Astronomy. A jazz record that fits in a rock set.

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Naysayer   1/16/2019   Blues, CD

Martin Carthy is a British folk singer whose influence is far and wide in the world of folk and blues. Having started in the early 1960’s with the group The Three City Four, he went on to perform with Steeleye Span, members of Fairport Convention for the group Albion Country Band and also with Brass Monkey. He is known for his arrangement of the traditional tune “Scarborough Fair” which was then used by Simon And Garfunkel without acknowledgement. This collection of 17 songs, many traditional, is Carthy playing solo with his acoustic guitar. He likes to use alternative tunings and has a distinctive picking style which emphasizes the melody” of the song. Each song is a rich story, filled with passion due to the guitar work but also because of Carthy’s unique vocals. The vocals follow, add to and play with the guitar work, creating drama in the rendering of each songs tale. There are tearjerkers a plenty plus songs of humor. He is a hero of modern day bard, Richard Dawson. Just a wow of a voice and guitar playing.

Modular String Trio – “Ants, Bees and Butterflies” – [Clean Feed]

Naysayer   1/16/2019   CD, Jazz

Modular String Trio is not what it’s name says. It’s a quartet with a string trio inside of it. Violin, cello and double bass make up the trio. while a modular synthesizer makes this group the quartet. Hailing from Poland and the Ukraine, the quartet’s musical interplay extend the meaning and understanding of jazz, pushing those boundaries with superb exploratory sounds that are unique yet make sense. The trio is a combination classical sound (strings) but with very obvious improvisational jazz roots. The violin and cello bounce around each other’s notes like butterflies, bees and ants moving through their space. The bass does less than keep it together but rather adds to the complex journey of sound. Add to this the modular synthesizer playing its own brand of improv, bleeping and squonking throughout the string’s interplay. And then, the contrabass player, Jacek Mazurkiewicz electronically processes his instrument in real time!!! What does this mean?…. a truly unique, enjoyable, but not easy listen of music in a new take.

Self, Colin – “Siblings” – [RVNG]

Naysayer   1/16/2019   12-inch, A Library

Colin Self is quite the accomplished composer, academic and activist. Schooled at Evergreen State College, School of Art Institute of Chicago and Bard College’s Milton Avery Graduate School of the Arts, he’s got the credentials. Having worked in NYC with a number of radical alternative queer groups as well as being a part of Holly Herndon’s trio, his experience in experimentation and community is full on. “Siblings” is the final part of a six part opera series named “Elation”. Dealing with themes of alienation and empathy through his overall look at multi-species flourishing of non biological family systems, gender, understanding, social control and social transformation. A lot of ideas coming out at the listener.
The 11 songs contain lush, operatic choral pieces dealing with stories of identity and ideas of family. The heady lyrics are rich and ready for listeners to sink their teeth into. The instrumental pieces are new IDM: shattered explosions of bits of pieces of samples and sounds brought back together in a new jittery way. Exquisite.
References pop into my head: Chicago Footwork artists, Holly Herndon, Genesis P. Orridge, Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith, Antony.

Enbilulugugal – “Another Fucking Pointless Enbilulugugal Compilation” – [Self Produced]

lexi glass   1/15/2019   A Library, CD

2015 compilation of three old releases from this disgusting black metal noisecore band from Central California. Non-metalheads might delight in the sound of all of black metal’s conventions as they are fed slowly, hooves first, into a meat shredder, maybe with some contact mikes fitted onto the blades to pick up every delicious gargle. The tracks from the 2002 split Memento Mori (T1-T8) have more of a noisewall quality with lots of pervasive static, while 2002’s YOU WILL BE GLUTTONED!!! (T9-T15), with all its samples and aggressive electronics, resembles PE. Maybe they should’ve just given up back in 2001, as the Filthy Satanic Pork demo from that year is my favorite stuff on here: just confusing guitar torture (I especially enjoyed the sloppy shredding on “Smearing Feces Into the Face of the Fucking Catholic Bishop”, T19), lead vocalist Izedis Apirikubabadazuzukanpa’s nonstop strangled howls, and a thick crust of distortion.

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Mania – “Little Pieces of Violence” – [Phage Tapes]

Louie Caliente   1/15/2019   A Library, CD

Mania is Texan Keith Brewer, well-known for his psycho-sado-sexual power electronics project “Taint”. “Little Pieces of Violence” is his latest full-length album, released on Phage Tapes.

8 untitled tracks soaked in uncomfortable tension. Surprisingly sparse at first. Echoing rumbles, dragging metal, banging pipes. The pieces build in intensity, exposing the pure hatred and agony within. Piercing screeches. Electronic sizzlings. Feedback enters the mix, followed by screams of rage and horror. The layers compound and magnify. Earfuls of raw aggression. Watch the levels!

Features some nice dentally-damaged album artwork from Brewer himself.

ATM – “Inglewood Tapes Vol. 2” – [Radical Documents]

Thurston Hunger   1/14/2019   12-inch, A Library


Three dudes looking to make bank?!? Or rob one with the
ransom note track listing? We don’t have Vol 1, yet….
The promising and peculiar Radical Documents label from LA
is back with ATM’s second release straight outta Inglewood.
ATM acronymically being Alex (Becerra), Tony (Mackenzie)
and Matthew (Green). Proud and dorky with echoes of the 80’s.
Chop suey of choppy beats, sonic synthy styles and a little
pico de gallo. The album feels like a lark among three
friends, they meet us and immediately “Pull Down Your Pants”
which cycles some canned gamey show applause in and out with
a simple descending octaves on the bass end with squiggly and
flitty keys above it. Next up, it’s almost Men Without
Hats but instead trip the lightly lysergic on “No Time.”
“Sad Onion” and later “Slow Skronk” go electro flow and
drop in respective bursts of violin and sax improvy paroxysms.
“Sad Onion” makes me hungry. “Rave Nature” has these goofy
gyroscoping woooohs. “MDMA Bliss” attempts a romantic feel
with digital handclaps, and sorta goes Peaking Lights while
doing so. “Poetry” is pure B.S. Eliot. “Asco” easy come
easy go, with the best little riff over a galloping
drum machine. Dumb fun smarter than Brexit and NAFTA
combined, economically comic and again that Radical
label, dood!
-Thurston Hunger

Bender, John – “Pop Surgery” – [Superior Viaduct]

Thurston Hunger   1/14/2019   12-inch, A Library


The original CB? Circuit Bender? 1983 was when Bender’s
third and then final release came out, reissued right on
time 35 years later by Superior Viaduct. Well there was
some Record Slut and also mighty Vinyl-on-Demand action,
but the notion that Bender was ahead of this time is
pretty clear. Synthesized Cincinnati eclectic electronics
in the attic. Calling it “Pop Surgery” was a nice slice
of genius, as the tracks have a catchy wave to them,
it’s not a series of knob goblin spins. The percussion
too is almost cute and precise like a wind-up toy. The
music reminds me for some reason of the old Mattel
Merlin. More Cabaret Voltaire than Barnes and Barnes.
But the speak-sing, repetition of vocals and post
processing of them as well (see the end of “Blue”
or alien-tweaking voices on “Cows” where Bender’s
then-young song Max sneaks in) adds a spoonful of
sugar to the Surgery. His vocals can sometimes feel
like an old instructional video (“Dance” which you
can crossover to Detroit beats no problem).
Apparently the numbers with the song titles
indicate tapes from his bedroom/sonic laboratory
work. And he clearly likes having fun with the
tape itself, as on “Dance” and Amalgamelon.”
“Glass” is sharp, and a fave, just great sound
construction and a little disarming. “Meat” too
tastes sweet with a hint of cognitive dissonace with
a killer hook, well a meathook. Tracks come fast,
Faust and furious, but biting off two in a row in
a set is alright since it too 3+ decades for KFJC
to connect. -Thurston Hunger

Tapper Zukie – “Man Ah Warrior” – [Kingston Sounds]

Hemroid The Leader   1/11/2019   12-inch, Reggae

1973 debut, 2015 reissue. Badness to rock your body line. Deejay/ toasting wasn’t yet an accepted form. He was the leader of the Zukies. He didn’t leave the ‘enforcer’ lifestyle behind for another 3 years. If you eat pork there is a message here for you. Other messages too! +++

Sizzla – “Praise Ye Jah” – [Xterminator Productions]

Hemroid The Leader   1/11/2019   12-inch, Reggae

Smooth R&B reasonings- but the sentiments are as contemporary as the production is dated. Great vocal performances. Lyrics convey profound deep wisdoms. Now-time meditations – see ‘homeless’. Many others

Released 1997, a month after the classic Black Woman & Child.