KFJC 89.7FM

Music Reviews

Achouri, Kad & London Latin Syndicate – "Latiname" – [Malek]

aarbor   7/21/2021   12-inch, A Library

This is Kad Achouri’s very first record release from 1999. It’s a dancey latin tune with 3 re-edits. Achouri who is of Algerian-Spanish ancestry, was born in France and has lived in Barcelona before settling in London. His friendship with Natacha Atlas boosted his career when she recorded 3 of his songs for a 2001 album. AArbor

Lunapark: The Sound of Russia Today [coll] – [Eastblok Music]

aarbor   7/21/2021   CD, International

Relatively little new alternative rock and pop from Russia has made it over the collapsed Iron Curtain. Here’s a collection whose intention is to introduce us (in the West) to the up and coming musicians and music from all over the former Soviet Union. In fact the Eastblok does this for music and musicians all over the “New East”. Think of what’s here as a “vodka-fueled, polka-driven Russian Sound”. Check out these bands, read about them in the CD booklet, check out their websites. The lyrics are mostly in Russian, the styles vary from rock, to electro punk, to rap, to social criticism, soulful ballads to electronic. There’s plenty of talent that we don’t know about in the New East! AArbor

Nubdug Ensemble – “Volume One: The Machines of Zeno” – [Pest Colors Music]

Max Level   7/20/2021   A Library, CD

Cheerfully progressive circus cabaret pop. Nine varied yet strangely catchy tracks rush by in just under 20 minutes. Nubdug picks up where local weirdo conglomeration Vacuum Tree Head left off a couple of years ago. For this project, ex-VTH maestro Jason Berry recruited ten contributors, many of whom are well-known in the bay area music community, such as Myles Boisen, Amanda Chaudhary, Sheldon Brown, and Amy X Neuburg. Good humor shines throughout, and the playing is exceptionally tight as these very skilled players veer through the intricate arrangements. The ensemble consists of sax, clarinet, flute, bassoon, keyboards, electronics, occasional vocals, violin, and guitar… with a phenomenal fusion-flavored bottom end provided by bassist Brett Warren and drummer G. Calvin Weston (Ornette Coleman, James Blood Ulmer.) Throw this CD on and spend 20 minutes wondering what’s coming next.

Murray, Kevin / Sato, Kazuto / Weeks, Tom – “Hard Boiled” – [Wolfsblood Records]

Max Level   7/19/2021   CD, Jazz

Great playing by this drums/bass/sax trio. Three long tracks of (I’m assuming) improvised creativity. I’m used to hearing saxophonist Weeks on alto, but on Track 2 he moves over to baritone and it’s a nice change. On that same track, upright bassist Sato switches to electric bass guitar for a while and then switches back. Murray on drums is supportive throughout and plays interesting parts without calling attention to himself. These guys are a high-functioning outside free jazz unit and it sounds like they get off on playing with one another. What more can you ask for?

Uncle Acid & The Deadbeats “Blood Lust” [Rise Above Records]

atavist   7/16/2021   A Library, CD

Evocation of the caveman dawn of doom rock, refried brain wake and bake of the early seventies. The summers after the summer of love got hotter and love gave way to Blood Lust. Released in 2011, the second of five releases (so far), featuring the original power trio configuration of this Cambridge UK project. Vintage signal chain and capture. Grooves, solos, clean falsetto vox. Sonic accompaniment for smoke-fueled sorcery. Track 9, a bonus track for the CD format, has 34 seconds of near-silence at its beginning. Track 6 is an early favorite.

Peace Killers “Magnetic Mountain” [Transylvanian Tapes]

atavist   7/16/2021   A Library, Cassette

These guys from Sacramento like to throw some full-throttled hardcore into their old-school stoner rollin’ metal. The stylistic swing from track one, Make My Day to track two, Pendulum, is pretty wild—not quite like two bands on a compilation, but moving in that direction. By track three, they’re finding ways to mash up clean stoner metal vocals and hardcore screams in the same track. Fast, rollicking, raucous, and sometimes a bit more subdued, but for the most part you’ll get straight-up rock and roll when you drop it in. FCC on track 1, which also is pretty quiet for the first minute and a half.

Saturno “Menhir” [Transylvanian Tapes]

atavist   7/16/2021   A Library, Cassette

Thick crushing doom that jumps into faster death metal passages. This is the debut full-length from this Santiago, Chile-based project, comprised of members who, for the most part, have been active in the stoner doom scene there for over a decade. With this project they want to go a bit more brutal, even tiptoeing up to black metal moments without fully crossing over. There is raw emotion here, beauty found in melodic riffs, ferocity and speed as well as slow expanses of filthy dirge. Saturno is never content to dwell on one idea for too long, so each track provides an exhilarating range of sounds.

Skravl – War Is Aer [coll] – [Legion Blotan]

whngr   7/15/2021   A Library, Cassette

Low fidelity Black Metal from Copenhagen

Two lone wolves pair up to howl blasphemy at the inverted solstice moon. Praying to the Dark Gods for release from this world filled splintered by light and sprinkled with benevolence. 

Skravl – Forlorn wails over tinny mid-tempo guitars and real drums. Hypnotic, valiant, and miserable with pensive synthesizer interludes.

Skravl is one, Skravl.

War Is Aer -Lurches through a quagmire of in-the-red melodies (synth? & guitar?) laid over buried, crushing, trash can percussion. Howls of suffering rise through the murk to arrive morosely at your godless ears.

War Is Aer is one, Jesper Bagger Hviid.

Hovedstaden, Denmark 2018

Aad Sleck – “Aad Sleck” – [Legion Blotan]

whngr   7/15/2021   A Library, Cassette

Furious bombast lacking subtlety or ornament.

Black Metal/Punk exploring the mining heritage of northeastern Britain.


It would not be difficult to write a long, cheeky review drawing obvious parallels to the sounds on this cassette and coal mining, black subterranean hell-scape etcetera, or spout-off whimsically about the limited scope of the genre reaching the end of its relevance… but I refuse. In fact, the opposite is true, as no other sounds could be more relevant and as appropriate to the themes explored. And besides, this is not the time for cunning insight or clever turns of phrase… for now… is the time for bludgeoning! Now… is the time for strength, now… is the time to… survive! Using your hands and back during the day and your heart and soul in the night to express the woes of a lightless life that will cripple you as well as sustain your meagre existence in the pit. A harkening to a time in America’s infancy when songs of the Appalachia’s echoed over the hills. Songs of sorrow and endless toil but I do not intend to wax poetic over I life I do not truly know and besides, the crude power of this recording speaks for itself. Thus, I shall not cheapen the miserable articulation of its creator and intend to leave the proof right where it belongs, squarely in the pud

Track 1 is perhaps especially crushing.

Track 7 is an uncredited sample from a venerable miner reflecting on the death of one of his peers directly after just joining the colliery.

Aad Sleck is one Nihtgenge.

UK, 2018

Unbecoming – 12/31/17 – [Self Release]

Max Level   7/13/2021   A Library, CD

My finely honed detective skills on the world wide web turned up absolutely nothing regarding this CD. Who is it, what is it, why is it, and so on. Looks like I’m on my own. Well OK, what we’ve got here are five pieces of incomprehensible, likely recorded 12/31/17. No credits listed. It’s music, I guess, but only barely so. I hear a guitar somewhere in there, and I think I heard a bass. And then there is a lot of unidentifiable stuff completing the picture. A guy’s voice is in the mix most of the time but I can’t tell what he’s on about. Are these actual songs or improvised rambling? Not sure. All tracks equally recommended. Spin the wheel and try your luck. Reminds me of the kind of stuff you might get from the Bren’t Lewiis Ensemble or maybe Thinking Fellers—it makes no sense but then again, what does? Very KFJC.

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