Music Reviews

Kable – “Tardy All the Time ” – [Fleece Records]

Thurston Hunger   7/23/2005   A Library, CD

Another golden Fleece record, the label that
provides a Who’s Hou in Houston. Kable is
Kay Bonya…this is her 2nd full lp (she had
a treat on the Succour collection also).
Basement wonderment…accordions, whistling,
bouncy banjo, mantra moments, mandolins on
Doppler reverb trains, Mission Impossible
snare flourishes and MANY layers of guitar
and vocals. Comfortable without being
comforting. Sorta sordid DIY country psyche.
You can hear the cute little stickers on her
four track. A tapestry of tape.

Ondekoza, the – “Ondekoza, the ” – [Jvc Musical Industries]

Thurston Hunger   7/23/2005   CD, International

So I used to think that the world would end in a war between
Pepsi and Coke, but now I think it’s going to be two different
multi-national corpse (sic): Sony versus JVC. The actual warriors
waging battle will be Za Ondekoza versus Kodo. Fuck the Yakuza,
these people run marathons and then beat their souls out on
gargantuan drums…while wearing diapers. The fluid synchronicity of
the drumming is beyond tight, you know that sound of a quarter
wobbling and settling down…well imagine a quarter the size
of Taiwan. Sonic thunderheads have been forming for centuries.
This album also showcases shamanic shamisen’s death rattle and
dervish (#3,#2), rattle-snake shakuhachi poison darts (#5,#1,#2),

I’m ready to enlist in Za Ondekoza Nostra.

Beatnik Filmstars – “Phase 3 ” – [No Life Records]

Thurston Hunger   7/23/2005   A Library, CD

A bristling Bristol band with AM radio drums,
telephone vocals and brash, spastic guitar. Longing
lyrics plus shorting equipment add up for some
lo-esteem-fi. When the knobs accidentally align right,
it sounds like the singer’s voice ain’t half bad.
Snack-shack hooks and a (overly!) strong predilection
for chorus repetition. Well it’s pop, and there’s
something here for every KFJC popster…sugar punk
when Trix is for kids, Zero Gravity carrom, the Hairy
Kari sashay. Starts and ends with little BBC snippets.
I am curious what all you Fall fans think…

Shepp, Archie – “Things Have Got to Change ” – [Impulse C/O Mca]

Thurston Hunger   7/23/2005   12-inch, Jazz

Archie Shepp is the man. Smart, soulful, a stirring player
nd here leader). This album has two that really stoke the
fires, and one more sparse electronic mediation between them.
On the title cut, there’s some pretty early use of noisy
overloaded electronics percolating beneath the chanted
mantra that if you blur your ears almost sounds like “Space
is the Place.” You’ve also got LeRoy Jenkins sawing away on
his violin, James Spaulding’s flute dances through the flames
as well. A true *battery* of percussion drives this pressure
corker to pop. And pop it does as Shepp drops some gas into
the mix on the second half…an elevating melody comes in
towards the end, but Shepp rises again with a solo, and the
album ends in locked groove of Romulus Franceschini and
Donald Cooper going galaxian eternally. As ruling as that is
“Money Blues” is where it’s at. It starts with an almost
whispered chorus, as if folks are politely watching the
clock at work….but it quicky rises in tone and demand.
Thus we get 18 minutes of payday, with Joe Lee Wilson as
union negotiator and vocal labor leader…but it’s the
Shepp family (backup) singers and deep brass bump-bump
Bump-BUMP that give this a Motown-like 1-2. Add in other
solo spirals and an avalanche of drums.
Cash this one in often…

Amber Asylum – “Garden of Love ” – [Self Release]

Thurston Hunger   7/23/2005   10-inch, A Library

Bio-fidelic biofeedback from the living dead? Amber Asylum has
always had the prettiest corpses, whether suspended in amber,
or glimpsed ghostly in mirrors, or shrouded in white water
lillies on a black river. This self-released 10″ starts of
with a cello “death” march while Kris Force’s violin gathers
overhead. Actually the morbidity seems diminished on this
aspect of the Asylum. Instead the feeling of a fantastic
dream state is more in focus. The pace is very deliberate,
as in a dream when you cannot move your feet. It quickens
a bit in sections of the “Autonomy Suite” (which has a nice
gladiator stand-off contained within it…) Eventually vox
do arrive fashionably late on the first and final track of
this three song record. On the latter, “Still Point” while
Force’s counter-vocals still soar, Lorraine Rath’s lead has
a sort of jazzy croon to them. Sort of a strange contrast
for me, but surely KFJC’ers will eat this up like kids eat
up Halloween candy. One cautionary word about that last
track, it really does hit a “still point” about 2/3 of the
way into it. We get a death knell, someone says faintly
“that sounded okay” and then a reprise of dripping piano
and instead of a violin flying above it, it’s Liz Allbee
on trumpet at first. But then the Force is with us again,
some string jags and then breathless shrieking (looped?).
Could Amber Asylum be in the midst of a sea-change, what
waits beyond the pale silence at this ep’s end?

Stevens, Sufjan – “Illinois ” – [Asthmatic Kitty Records]

Thurston Hunger   7/23/2005   A Library, CD

Sufjan gets past that Michigan itch again, and spins the big
wheel o’ states only to hark and herald the Illinoise. The
album is a deliberately orchestrated pop album that is built
upon the Encylcopedia Britainnica as much as the Bible. It
offers icons from the Illinois landscapes, both physical and
historical and it’s not afraid to look past the gleaming
“Seers” Tower under the floorbeds of John Wayne Gacy Jr. The
album comes with an assortment of friends in a barnbuilding
sort of cooperation. The roof raised highest by the trumpet
of Craig Montoro and the various background singers. Sufjan’s
own voice is very willowy, he can bring a nice choked-up
edge to it…but being bolstered by those choirs helps a lot.
The string quartet, the banjo, the flute all are essential.
This album has touches of a minimalist musical approach at
times, and is well-served by the handful of short (less than
a minute including a a six-second Whoo-hoo for a choo-choo)
interludes betwixt tricks. But plenty o’ memorable melodies
too, and detailed lyrics (although at times a bit cryptic).
He uses a lot of catalogued rhyming and certainly overt nods
to God, both of which can lead me astray, but I daresay
both are employed gracefully here. And again his effort at
honest innocence, rather than naivete are compelling. And
allowing faith to rise above the heart to the head is a big
plus. That Gacy number is plain powerful. I hope he goes on
to have existential crises in all manner of states.

Nao Wave [coll] – [Man Recordings]

Thurston Hunger   7/23/2005   A Library, CD

Ear-opening collection to Brazil 1982. You say Nao, we say
no and/or new. They say it with the same synths sliding out
of tune, the guitars with the chinking harmonics and one
trick effect pedals. Vocals that are shouted and sung over
a very limited range with unlimited passion. Repetition
adds to insistence, lyrics even without translation speak to
the imposing urban landscape…accelerated by the rapid
growth of that country. Something about Portugese sounds
sublimely sinister and sensual at the same time. Peculiar
elements fit in between the drum machines, samba slappy
perussion…cuica squeaks. The music is still all about
panic dancing, but there’s a little more strut to it.
Excellent overuse of the delay and repeat on tracks, esp.
Azul 29’s “Ciencias Sensuais.” Great taunting guitar lick
on Fellini’s “Funziona Senza Vapore.” Conga line of futbol
hooliganistas storms the gates of the first cut from Akira
S & As Garotas Que Erraram. Mercenarias ironically show no
mercy, nor sing arias. They disappear too quickly like an
Erase Errata single. Chiquitas kickitas ass. Revel in a
nostalgia you never got to experience the first time…

Rother, Anthony – “Art Is a Technology ” – [Stahl Industries]

Thurston Hunger   7/23/2005   12-inch, A Library

Marching arpeggios, smeared siren horn synths, dark and thick
like the Fog… Rother delivers a commanding audition tape to
take over John Carpenter’s soundtrack work. Percussion is
silent to subtle here, instead it is the repetition of those
simple crawling/cycling notes and occasional forays into
half chord down-tempo drift that propel this beauty and the
beat. Pitch-shifting every once in awhile to change lanes
and pass sections. There’s a wind tunnel that envelopes you
on the second cut on the second side. Rother maximizes his
minimal approach…good glacial gaseous whooshes slide
through the rapturous repetitions. And the tone is consistent
and dark. They’ll be playing this in churches in fifty years
during the moment the true but truly flawed believers reflect
upon their sins, their many sins. -Snake Pliskin

First release on a new label run by Rother to boot!

Navies/A Day in B&W [coll] – [Level Plane]

Thurston Hunger   7/23/2005   10-inch, A Library

Washington DC ticket, w/ promising candidate trios of Navies
and A Day in Black and White. Navies gets the top spot for
me, delivering static electricity generating rock…frenzied
tick marks along the neck of two guitars. Plus their lyrics
have more askew urgency, delivered in a sort of telegraphic
style…bursting dots and dashes. Guitar work is just rock
solid, good buzz and brittle scratch in addtion to voltage
chords. They are frenzifiers and a band to watch!!

On the flip side, ADIBAW can deliver the swing vote, voting
more down the middle of road, with a lyrical platform that
often tackles the inability to communicate. “All Plots” has
that sort of stop/start powered ballad that Speaks Canaries
to me, if you know what I mean…and even if you don’t. The
closer, “Old Songs” seems like a toss-away three-chord
monte…but the deal collapses in flaming house of feedback.

Navies make this a marbled marvel!

Volcano the Bear “Five Hundred Boy Piano” [United Dairies]

Thurston Hunger   7/23/2005   A Library, CD

Okay, so that’s what a three-day meade bender feels like.
Tremendous thick singing…stout might be a better word. The
title cut is a jousting of various samples (roosters, horses)
and skittering or slunked out strings for about 2 minutes, it
then settles down for a simple three note question that is
plunked on a deboned bass and maybe a homemade marimba? Some
distant warlocky voices gather and chant and summon forth a
section that sound more like Derek Bailey than the Wickerman
but that rolls into a cloudy pianissimo pastiche, with great
wordless vocals. The disparate pieces to their songs connect
flawlessly. Similarly their dissonant and discombobulated
instruments sit happily next to piano, pennywhistle, clarinet.
The choice of tone and timbre are clearly critical to these
four gents, “Seeker” melds banjo with a toy piano, and is
that nyckleharp? And maybe a kazoo and jaw harp. This my kind
of medicine show, complete with a cold plunge on “The Tallest
People in the World.” They seem to have the same essence as
Cerberus Shoal, although with a more avant druid jazz over
English garden opera. Like finding lost treats in your
vagabond beard.

Copyright © 2023 KFJC 89.7 FM
12345 S. El Monte Road Los Altos Hills, California 94022
Public Inspection File