KFJC 89.7FM

Music Reviews

Mu “Out of Breach” 33 rpm [Output]

Thurston Hunger   5/16/2005   12-inch, A Library

I can’t remember the last time I’ve been so attracted to
something and terrified by it at the same time? (Grace
Jones?) There’s something about Mu’s Mutsumi Kanamori that
screams for your attention, and just plain screams. Is she
a battle rapper at war with the world? She has zero tolerance
for poseurs, paparazzi parasites and pretty much anybody she
comes in contact who’s *not* named Luke. Lurking in the
shadows here Maurice Fulton is the beat pimp, slapping hand
claps and other Roland percussion together. He also doctors
Mu’s vox, from Darth Vaderification to Spaced Invader robo-
reverb. She adds her own effects, sounding like rooster,
coughing up dry heaves (on “Throwing Up” of course). A
twisted thread of justice and vengeance and English make
this a pretty powerful car crash. When she screeches
“Ugly lazy fuck loser”
I know she’s talking especially to me! File this under
disturbed disco… She’s probably a total sweetheart, but
for now, I’ll respect the restraining (dis)order.

Fireballs of Freedom “Exorcism in the Key of You” 45 rpm [Wantage]

Thurston Hunger   5/16/2005   7-inch, A Library

Rock ‘n’ roll with its heart in the right place, smack dab
in the middle of its inflamed liver. Each song kinda climbs
up little ladders of riffs, with retro dirtbag guitar work
and those damn ninth chords. Kah-runchy. Very, very blarey,
and you can taste the amp hum on the “Exorcism.” Vocals are
that kind of pent-up soul screaming, with RNR-101 emphatics.
On the flip side a couple of covers, more party flavor…
kicking you square in the beer nuts. This time with cheeze
organ nacho baking on a copy of the Barkay’s “Copy Cat.”
Finally to top things off, Hendrix’s “Ain’t No Tellin'”
gets flamebroiled by these Oregon accumulators.
Shot-callin’ and fireballin’

Love of Diagrams “We Got Communication” [Unstable Ape]

Thurston Hunger   5/16/2005   A Library, CD

Vocals blowing in the breeze, bursts of noise peppered guitar
and firecracker drums. What could you want, but more? A LOT
more… Melbourne trio that’s been touring with the Rogers
Sisters recently, and they deliver the same sort of blitzy,
frisky rock. All three sing, often through a squelchy mic.
Guitarist Luke Horton chews up strings, nice choppy chompy
chords and lines. When drummer Monika Fikerle and bassist
Antonia Sellbach both sing with great abandon, panicking is
fun!! Lyrics are kinda semaphoric. Flashed out and repeated.
Like instructions on a bottle of pills. The two remixes are
alright, #4 (“In the Red”) feels like a Tom Ze tribute at
the onset…but later on we get the full throttle drumming
from Maniakal Monika. “No Way Out” gets kinda 80’s Howard
Jones keyboards, a thickened bass, and limp-along handclaps.
Um, I strongly preferred the original’s head-rush. Check
with your doctor. One fine fibrillating debut.

Summer at Shatter Creek “All the Answers” [Badman]

Thurston Hunger   5/16/2005   A Library, CD

Isn’t sorrow sublime? Yes. Is it wrong to feel a twinge of
joy as the tear streaks your cheek? No. For every summer
needs its shatter, and the beautiful things you float in
amber are dead. Craig Gurwich has a little sparrow’s trill
at the end of his voice and it’s a very pretty voice…then
he piles the reverb on with abandon. Not just on his voice
listen to the drums drop-p-p on “Rebecca.” He’s concocted
a Zombies meets Six Feet Under meets the kid who broke your
heart back in high school, and quit acting like you don’t
remember his/her name. Just go put this album on and look
darkly in the mirror and almost cry. This fine CD makes me
want to go hide all of Brian Wilson’s medication. Those who
think whistling is for getting blithely by the graveyard,
well they should listen to the whistling on #6. And for
those who feel lyrics always have to be cryptic to have
heft, c’mon you know all the lyrics to “Heard It Through
the Grapevine” and they get the job done. A lot of harm
can be done in the harmonies too! Especially when you’re
up the Creek without a major chord.

Nudge “Cached” [Kranky]

Thurston Hunger   5/16/2005   A Library, CD

I know some folks will listen to this and hear a subdued
swirl of sound, but I’m telling you this CD is a bad mutha!
Just check out “Contact” which sounds like Shaft in a Bush
of Ghosts. That’s followed by “My New Youth” which tunnels
through This Heat to a crackly meltdown, and then builds
it back up with a beat and static like a bat out of hell,
and I ain’t talking about Meatloaf. Then with “Remove Ya’s”
melodica and shuffle-surging bassline, Nudge have released
the Boredom’s first reggae single before the Boredoms even
thought of it. A prominet ripple in the bass (not always
bubbling over frets, sometimes bellowing up from keys)
unites most of these tracks. At times Honey Owens chirps in
with some vocals that taste like high-tech surveilance,
there but not there. I could say that this band is like
Supersilent on a funk binge, but that’s only right about
1/3 of the time. Is this stationary dance music, liquid
concrete, or just transcending trans-genre. Aces!

(the) Contemporary Jazz Quintet “Actions” jazz [Atavistic Unheard]

Thurston Hunger   5/16/2005   CD, Jazz

You shoulda heard just a what they saw…or sawed. When I
first heard this I thought either they had some electric
whammy guitar or distant voice on the first track. I just
rejected the idea that saw would be used in the free jazz
context. You hear it on the opening of #5, and it sounds
like Niels Harrit’s saw is almost not there, it comes off
as more than tape hiss but less than a fierce wind catching
the mic. Franz Beckerlee’s sax seems to charge the most
with it…buzzing into a held not alongside it, but then
scorching away. When Hugh Steinmetz jumps in on his trumpet
the saw is almost vanquished by the dual horn thorniness…
but instead it never gives up, never backs down and it helps
to keep the sax and trumpet from just spiraling away with
the entire performance. Ultimately the saw blossoms again
usually while Bo Andersen whips the drums and cymbals along
or for one of two sturdy bass solos by Steffen Andersen. For
all of its limited range, Harrit’s saw is repeatedly spell-
binding and a big reason this quintet still sounds so damn
Contemporary today!

Smog – “A River Ain’t Too Much to Love” – [Drag City] (CD)

lombard   5/14/2005   A Library, CD

The latest from Smog (aka Bill Callahan) recorded in Texas in November 2004 and released in 2005 harkens back to his days of great story-telling albums. Very simple instrumentation, mostly guitar, drum and Bill Callahan’s mesmerizing vocal style (more of a sneering conversation than singing) that always captivates me. Thematics on this release keep coming back to water, the river, brambles, family, and perhaps a journey into the country to contemplate all of that. There’s a folk/country vibe throughout and “In the Pines” is even a traditional train song. Jim White on drums and Joanna Newsom on piano on track 4. Excellent release! (added 5-14-2005)

Note: Language on “The Well”–“fuck all y’all!”

-Cynthia Lombard

X-TEMPORANEOUS BOOGIE

David Richoux   5/13/2005   CD, Jazz

Camille Howard seems to have been one of those musicians that could have much more well known except for the fact that she was Black, and American culture at the time would not let her succeed to the level of her skills. From this recording you will hear OUTSTANDING Blues, Jazz, and some AMAZING Boogie-Woogie piano, great singing, and fine arrangements of original songs from the late 40’s to the early 50’s.
There is a detailed bio in the liner notes.
David Richoux

VanFlower, Tara “My Little Fire-Filled Heart” [Silber]

Thurston Hunger   4/24/2005   A Library, CD, Format

Sophomore solo spin, from this lady of Lycia. Her heart pumps
with the same slow, dark (and echoplex’d) blood that flows
through the Ventricle label. But while Ventricle’s trickle
usually is icily lacking in oxygen, TARA VanFLOWER’s little
fire-filled heart does actually burn red with some hope and
that sort of faith you catch glimpses of in Jarboe and Steve
von Till. The language of lyrics — heaven, blessed, worship
and on drives the point through the symbolism like a rusted
nail through the wrist. “Conversation with Death” summons
the goth/spiritual nicely. Most tracks are draped with
subdued industrial clang, and the vocals enveloped in
effects. Rain drops on an eerie ice cream truck during the
lullabye “When” followed by a snippet of “You Are My
Sunshine” (a la an early Low album). You could live in hope
but you’ll not stray from the darkness w/ this night
blooming Flower. “Ethernal” indeed.

AK-Momo “Return to N.Y.” [Hidden Agenda]

Thurston Hunger   4/24/2005   A Library, CD, Format

A pretty damn skippy pop record. The boopsie, breathiness of
ANNA KARIN VON MALMBORG is worth the price of admission alone
But her partner in crime, MATTIAS OLSSON is the secret weapon.
The lush sonic beds that Anna cavorts in are feathered by his
fluffy samples, often with cute little percussion shuffles.
He also lays down some silky sheets of old analog synths, and
yes including mellotron!! (Well I think I hear it on #1, #3
maybe #10, or is that optigan?’) You can often hear the vinyl
pip and popping as part of a loop that he has captured, esp.
on the closing number…which takes a surprising darker twist
away from the shiny candy of its predecessors. “Boys & Girls”
Definite mellotron underneath a starless sky and Anna’s voice
doing a wavering “silent scream.” Her voice really has nice
elasticity…beating around the Kate Bush on #2, whistling
through the warzone on #8, purring like Eartha Kitt, flitting
about your brain-branches like the first crush you ever had.
Outstanding Swedish musical massage.

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