Still Single: Vol. 4, No. 7
How long does it take to review 100 records? Longer than it takes to listen to them. This is all I could get done this time. Will finish everything else up in the next go-round, including a reissues update. Thanks again to everyone who reads this crud, and to all the bands and labels sending in new records. It’s because of you that I never go out anymore, and I secretly thank you for that.
New homemade preserves by Bradford Cox – nothing but guitar and vocals over two separate singles; one consisting of two originals, the other of covers. “Requiem” will no doubt be criticized by hardasses as being overwrought, but I don’t see it; this, if anything, is the Atlas Sound project at its purest and most heartfelt to date, a painful tale of longing and not fitting in. The Nico/BBQ tribute record is quite beautiful, and though there’s nothing really that special about his reworking of “I’ll Be Your Mirror,” that’s all the more reason to be impressed at how well it comes off: aching, doleful, sublime. It’s sort of scary how well Cox is able to convey his feelings through song. He doesn’t emote all too obviously, leaving his voice and the soundcraft to carry all of the feelings within, which is a risky move. It’s just there, however, and unlike his reverb pedal, can’t be turned on or off. I can’t recall hearing anything as striking in this vein since “Diary of a Young Man” and “A Family Affair” off of the first Television Personalities record. Very impressed. Pressed for tour and nearly gone; colored vinyl on each single (magenta and orange), and packaged in stitched, unmarked cloth sleeves.
Performance poet B.Dolan eulogizes Evel Kneivel and deals with boilerplate Caucasian angst across seven tracks. It’s like being preached at, like watching a half-hour of those Truth.com anti-smoking ads, and is the biggest failure of this style of hip-hop. Production-wise, he’s got Alias and Isan, who are at least trying to break free of the constraints of the genre, but weighted down with these lugubrious lyrics, it’s definitely too much to bear.
Pretty irritating little platter courtesy of our man from Lagos. Ten one-minute tracks, with side one only feeding into one stereo channel. Each successive track adds an element to the mix, until the end the “song” in question is completely obscured. Other of Billy Bao/Mattin’s output has had at least the essence of listenability. He/they don’t give a shit with this one, and I’d almost say it’s to their credit, only this is not the type of single you’ll want to play more than a few times.
Lo-fi and lackluster garage with annoying, bratty vocals. Nice attack on “Stop! No! Wait!” but not much else to recommend here to anyone who owns more than a dozen singles in the genre. The Shitty Buzzcocks, anyone? Thought so.
“Kamikazes” comes off of Cloak/Dagger’s LP, We Are, which Grave Mistake is pressing up on vinyl (Jade Tree dropped the CD last fall). “She Cracked” is of course a Modern Lovers cover, and a favorite song of mine. Pleased to say that they do it well; though this is far from an essential release, it’s a good reminder of what a bruiser We Are is, a taut, singed amalgamation of Hot Snakes multidirectional hard indie/punk thrash and harDCore roots, denting the fenders on a van headed straight for the cliff. Great shit. Handful of copies on red vinyl.
All of the tidiness of Double Neg’s full-length is nowhere in sight this time. “Raw Energy” pretty much spells it out; paint-peeling, air-pushing hardcore with little regard for fidelity or decorum, and they come off much the better for it. Three tracks, maybe five minutes total. ‘Tis a bruiser. North Carolina’s done proud. Four panel sleeve with stencil punchout for the band’s logo. Clear vinyl, no labels.
Rubbery post-punk from Detroit featuring Dion Fischer (The Go, Tranzistors) and Marcie Bolen of the Von Bondies. One would assume, outside looking in, that Tyvek lit the fuse for this sort of action to go down in the Motor City, though F’ke Blood come at things from a dancier, more populist perspective; the bass lines and simple melodies descend directly from the Delta 5, and the vocals from the David Byrne/Ian Svenonius perspective. They succeed with catchy, upbeat melodies and a simplistic presentation that, fortunately, their bare-bones arrangements can support. Kind of a fun time here, nothing more than four people finding a groove and sticking with it. Slightly reminiscent of the Make Up, a band for whom the years have been extra kind. Minimal artwork in a stenciled and stamped white sleeve, plus mine came with a fake blood capsule. Yours might, too. Don’t eat it.
The limited participation in any sort of Bakersfield, CA scene to the world punk rock economy seems to center around Going Underground’s handful of projects. Pretty sure that the same people are responsible for all affiliated bands, which have mostly been in the garage vein (Contaminators, Heart Beatz), though that doesn’t much explain for this abomination. Ugly, ugly, butt-ugly mixer abuse. Burly dead-man-walkin’ noise-punk aggression, which has already been compared by many, including the label themselves, to Clockcleaner, Pissed Jeans, and Stick Men with Ray Guns. Can’t really tell if this should register as a complaint against those type of bands (offensive lyrics, treated vocals, lumbering tempo shifts, boneheaded demeanor), or an attempt at tribute or even affiliation, but the songs are too long, and as such scrape every last bit of slop out of the bottom of that particular barrel. Not entirely convinced, but it is really brash in execution and comes off as dumb as dirt, which always accounts for something. 500 copies, couple of variants, just about gone.
Three songs apiece by two crazy bands from Madrid. Grabba Grabba Tape (nice name, nicer costumes … look ‘em up) employs vocoder, synth and drums and bounces along with predictable, cute ‘00s roboto appeal, basically transcribing bouncy pop songs to the computer and letting it rip. Margarita comes off with a strong DC post-hardcore/West Coast post-Jehu presence, all wiry guitar and nimble, quick rhythms. From the way these songs tend to build up and fall apart, I’m guessing that these people like the Van Pelt and Trumans Water, and have tried to find a way to combine the atmosphere of both these groups, somewhat to their benefit. Like Death to Pigs (reviewed below), this is certainly nothing new, but the instrumental interplay is somewhat inventive and slightly prog-leaning, and all of their songs leave a bit of an impact. Clear vinyl and a really nice pro-printed vellum sleeve.
4-track speed power pop rinseouts from the Going Underground krew. Unrealistically noisy but refreshingly arrogant. Three quick ones. Distortion is the final member. Speed/sound barriers broken. Look out.
New rock from Italy which gains something in the translation. Both songs start from a Country Teasers-esque sort of carelessly disjointed folk-punk bop, then get shoved into roiling, redline distortion every couple of bars. There’s melody and big chords which complement one another, but nothing sounds centered. In their case it turns out to be a good thing, as the suggestion of a regular style of song or play gets paraded out and sacrificed at the altar of noise. Kind of what I had expected, really, and glad of that. Cool Steve Cerio-esque artwork too. High tide on the waves of whatever.
Splitter between two rootsy acts from Tennessee. Mountains of Moss deliver “Page of Shame,” torn from the Appalachian songbook, and dressed with a cloying A-A-A-A rhyme scheme that’ll make you wish there was a little more at stake here than some resonant acoustic folk. New Madrid fares much better with “All That Trust,” a dusky, intimate ballad, with understated organ, deep male vocals and a country-ish female alto in counterpart. 333 numbered copies in a handsome letterpress sleeve.
Some of you have already burned through all the NOTV material out there, so in that case, hurry up and jump on this grenade. Two long ones in both of the duo’s requisite styles; “Poltergeist Palm” in the gothling song-as-death chant mode, and “Empty Tongues” traversing the mists of their looser, more ambient material. A cold, damp industrial mire coats both offerings in despair and the band sounds as if they saw a ghost, and were on the verge of becoming ghosts themselves. They remind me of that old 4AD band Mass (the group in between Rema Rema and Renegade Soundwave); a pretty specific sound to conjure, and they just land right on it. Not the experience that their LP was, but that’s fine – it’s even more lost and hopeless sounding than before. 300 numbered copies; might not be enough to go around, so don’t embarrass yourselves the way you did over the Eat Skull single.
Across a total of three minutes of music altogether, this is the most outwardly “punk” and discordant Pink Reason record to date, but also the least substantial. Those coming to this single without having heard Kevin’s other works would not really be getting the full story; for everyone else, this couldn’t sound more different than other recordings, but it could match the live set you may have just seen him play. This is novel for a few reasons, chiefly of all because there is no set “way” that Pink Reason sounds. To follow the path that he has laid down, we must all walk blindfolded and unaware; only he determines what it is we’ll hear. As such, if you’re a fan, you need this; for everyone else, there is no other way than to look at the full picture. Something tells me that’s exactly the way he wants it to be, too. One knot that you’ll never untie.
Split moaner. Pocahaunted tralalas over a even-keeled repetitive guitar line and a drone background that upratchets the tension, but doesn’t really offer anything in the way of release. The track sort of stops, leaving an air of dread behind it which isn’t fully realized or deserved. Orphan Fairytale delivers some whale song synth howling, oscillating in an unsteady sea of tonality and reverb. The brevity of the split 7” format makes both acts seem more disorienting than they actually are, and might not be the best fit for this style of performance. Silkscreened sleeve. 500 copies.
Backpacker hip hop has become a position of martyrdom, akin to Jehovah’s Witnesses traveling door-to-door on a Saturday morning, waking you up to talk about their faith. Prolyphic has a decent flow but all the angst that weighs his piece of the rap game down. Sacrimonious Sage Francis guests, of course. This is on his label, it would seem. Nooooo.
The onslaught begins here, Matador having signed Mr. Reatard in earnest and foisting a series of six 7” singles on the public throughout 2008, each one more limited than the next. Some panic ensued over being able to obtain this, the first in line, and a lot of grubbing followed over bent sleeves and a typo that led fans to believe there were far fewer copies available than promised. 2500 copies of a single go a long way, and it serves right all of those turkeys who were trying to grip-n-flip a record for personal gain. Seriously, if your participation in this little experiment means that you’d make, at best, $40 off of a $6 purchase, maybe you’d be better off finding a new job. The music at hand seems secondary to such weak concerns, and to be sure, this doesn’t rank with Blood Visions, but both “See/Saw” and “Screaming Hand” race along at an expedient, thrilling pace, positioning themselves squarely in a snotty, tuneful, even campy headspace (the chorus of “Screaming Hand” would fit on a Sparks record circa ’74), and bodes well enough for the singles to follow. I’ve heard the second and third ones already, and they’re even better.
Interchangeable, anonymous, quiet female singer-songwriter plunkings. No idea why this was pressed up as a single, but here you go.
Brent stole my “punx is hippiez” quote to market this single, but he’s a good dude and I am keeping my legal counsel at bay. But that’s kind of what’s going on here – folk punk of a hollerin’, earthy, discordantly jangled stripe that surfaced in the Mid-Atlantic and holes like Santa Cruz back in the mid-80s; Camper Van Beethoven, the Feral Family, Vomit Launch, Scrawl, and the Mekons all took a swing at this sound once upon a time and came up smiling, and my guess is that you will too. Shambolic, strummy, brightly tarnished sounds from Columbus, OH, featuring Rich from Psychedelic Horseshit on drums. 300 numbered copies; 50 with a blue vellum front cover. Pretty nice looking record from a new label that’s getting it right.
Solo, stripped-down rockroll hustle tailored for those who dance in front of their mirrors, the product of San Francisco’s Matthew Melton alone. Nothing but guitar, vocals and drum machine on either track, but “Talk About It” is a legit burner, with clean rhythm guitar hustling all up and down the line, and “Running From the Night” puts its guard up a little bit, with a great chorus and just enough determination to register above the garage hoi polloi. Both tracks are glammy, confident and comfortingly personal in their reach, and you’ll really sympathize with the guy. Excellent work, can’t wait to hear the full-length.
More action from Dion Fischer, seen above in F’ke Blood. Tranzistors sounds like a full-on studio project that would require some intense staging to pull off live, though as part of Detroit’s UFO Factory collective (partly helmed by Warn Defever), it seems likely that such a thing could happen. “Yoo Will” mimics Roxy Music’s “All I Want Is You” with intent just short of plagiarism, but all the same it’s quite nice to hear the effort of thoughtful production and surprising arrangements in the medium. Heavy analog synth chaos keeps things lively in the bridge. Flip side’s a cover of Lesley Gore’s “You Don’t Own Me” and benefits from the same level of detail and care. The “Free Electricity” single sticks closer to glam’s base in early rock ‘n’ roll, loaded with horns but with less of a reach than hoped for. Its B-side is a straight up noise version of the track, blown out and overmodulated and fork-stabbed to death with piercing feedback. Still, these singles show promise, and while I wouldn’t want to wish another Electric Six on the world, perhaps Tranzistors can get it right without the requisite embarrassment. Young Soul Rebels single comes in a stamped purple sleeve.
More post-punk pounding from Monterrey, Mexico. XYX aren’t as loose and amorphous-sounding as their citymates Los Llamarada, though they operate on the same level of fidelity. There’s a good deal of structure and rhythmic hustle to the four tracks here, though after the first two, which are really great, short, and undeniably catchy, things seem to taper a bit, as the group settles into a plan and sticks with it. Bass/drums duo, heavy on the riffing; a bratty, ratty punk clot that pulls its character from a number of easily definable sources – that Le Tigre/Magik Markers hybrid I always thought might be a good sound seems to take shape here. Fierce vocals and memorable hooks aplenty, but it’s weird enough to not fit easily into any one category. Plenty of dicking around with treated vocals in the way that Liars used to do, too. A great start.
Nervy, tense post-punk, buffeted with terse, dramatic female vocals. Liza Minelli-core in the early Glass Candy sense, but poppy and brief, kinda like a less-rockin’, more theatrical Slant 6. Two originals and a plodding cover of Agent Orange’s “Bloodstains,” a great song that loses a lot of its immediacy here. Eh.
These are the first I’ve seen of this series, which takes three or four bands who are part of the new new super obscurant independent Termbo/Siltblog/Still Single-endorsed rock movement and slaps them together on compilation singles. Volume 2 showcases four lo-fi murkers, including known quantities like Factums (sounding nothing like their other releases here) and Pink Noise, and relative unknowns Lady Doctors (who sound like Factums’ other releases) and Black Orphan. Simple songs, basic modes of operation, nice enough. Volume 5 pairs Dan Melchior und Das Menace, unusually sunny for his recent output, with Catatonic Youth (grotty wavo pop) and Christmas Island (discordantly winsome crud-pop). I don’t know enough about the rest of the series to weigh in, but these are certainly a varied lot, and Volume 5 in particular steps up with some fairly first-rate material.
Fluttering tape speeds, young anxiety, musty late night UHF horror, broken instruments, glass, unfamiliar living rooms, broken folk art, pushbrooms, the middle of the workday, and precociousness. Daniel from Home Blitz and David from Friends and Family return with an album and it’s one of the more fucked-up slabs I’ve encountered in a while. Nothing so much as the resemblance of a song until near the end of the first side, when three seconds of the lead melody of the Easybeats’ “Friday On My Mind” creeps in, then a busted version of “I Don’t Like Mondays” to close side two. Intentional yet spontaneous, this reminds me of the feelings of dread and confusion I first experienced upon listening to that I Hate the Pop Group boot years back, a feeling I wasn’t sure I wanted to revisit. Thrust upon me in this fashion, I can only say that you will hear something new in Judy’s Dust with each repeated listen, the result of deliberate weirding and unlearning how to learn how to unlearn. The dollar weakens with every spin. 300 copies w/paste on sleeves; 25 of which are in an “artists’ edition” out of my reach.
New growth from the gnarled stump that was Warhammer 48K; cross-city pollination gets it done here with very specific groovework. CAVE is situated between Chicago and Missouri, between Hawkwind and Oneida on the scales of chugging space rock wander, and is intensely interested in looking at one riff in particular from several angles (it’s the basis of the entire A-side Beat Like Devil and the last track of JAMZ, both of which were issued on CD-R before this album came to light). Took a few listens for the initial amazement to wear off, which is fine, because the riff(s) have held up despite themselves, tethered to Earth by a very capable outfit of drums, guitars, synths, rubber-band bass and all manner of hand percussion and war whoop stomp. However, once you as listener gets past that riding this groove is all that CAVE as band knows how to do – at least as evidenced by these two sides – the magic starts to wear off, and that rhythm becomes a millstone. Still, for a debut, this is pretty satisfying, but time will tell if they can keep this sort of thing going. Right now, though, it works. Edition of 500 w/CD counterpart, and already OOP by the time you read this.
San Diego punk/metal hybrid Crime Desire continues to develop between releases, from discomforting spazzcore to this current incarnation of malevolent, dark, doomy mid-tempo shred. It’s a really satisfying amalgamation of the obvious (Samhain), the desperate (album-era Honor Role) and the legitimate (Saint Vitus), uneasily mixed and spreading out beyond the shape of its container. Pretty fucking real, sounds like the kind of band I wouldn’t want to cross. Pro recording with obvious and astute concessions to the latter ‘80s wasteland in which this sort of sound thrived. Threatening, fun, serious, and improves with each listen. In a time where there’s so much posturing to be done in anything remotely metal, here’s a band I’d feel nervous being around. The real thing. CD version contains the band’s last full-length Id Music to Combat the Superego (which takes a LOT of getting used to), the In Lucifer’s Grip EPsingle, and two bonus tracks recorded for unreleased compilations. CD also costs a LOT less than the vinyl, so grab one of each. About 100 or so on white vinyl, and 12” jackets come with foil-stamped sleeves. Too good. (write to PO Box 278, Carlsbad, CA 92018, USA)
Spasticated and stylized post-punk pummel from France, back after some more stringent efforts on 7” and split LP. Anyone who’s ever been into the whole Monorchid/1985/Brainiac/Arab on Radar axis of overstuffed polyester punk will get what’s going on here immediately – some guys getting their aggressions out, spindly guitar running to acute angles up the neck, and nervous, yelping vocals riding over a bulldozer rhythm section, with a rushed demeanor that makes it seem as if they only want to get to the next song that much more quickly. There’s a cover of ESG’s “Dance” in here for some reason, and it’s sort of fun, but there’s nothing outside of the energy on this one to make it stand out particularly well against anything going on today or in the past 15 or so years, when this sound came into vogue. One-sided insert (picture of Jesus) and a small sticker inside some copies.
Factums are one of a handful of current bands that’s been able to successfully cop older ideas and stances from all over post-punk’s seismographic charts, coat it all with a fine layer of gunk, and send it back out there sounding new and fresh, like they invented the ability for bands to dick around with a slide for five minutes at a stretch. Part of their success seems to lie in their innate abilities to make the most out of a small musical idea through cyclic momentum, as if each measure in their charts – like such documentation would actually exist – enjoys this sort of finishing effect, like a rock being knocked around in a rock tumbler until its edges are smoothed off. Only nothing really ends up smooth in The Sistrum, but rather intangibly improved through the damage it sustains. Cabaret Voltaire and Chrome, in their respective stretches of relevance, are two of the few examples I can come up with in terms of the excitement and anticipation that Factums build. Factums seem to also exist to take a lot of the heat to experiment off of related groups like the A Frames and the Intelligence, who pointed in these general directions in earlier times. However it shakes out, I’m not too concerned; these folks have built a formidable body of work and are dropping it on us before we get a chance to recover, no mean feat given the amount of crap floating around lately. Silkscreened jackets. 900 “regular” edition, 100 “limited” edition with wraparound sleeve art and CDR.
Jerusalem and the Starbaskets
Second effort for this uncanny lo-fi duo out of Columbia, MO, and it’s as good or even better than their first. There are certainly bands who play up a shitbox in-the-red recording as some sort of innovation, but there’s usually just some bar band picking away behind the wall of crud that, to some, divines art. Then there’s bands like this one, who embrace not only the sound, but the legacy behind it. As you may have read elsewhere, there’s a very distinct and inexplicable New Zealand pedigree to the sound of J&TSB (formally a Jeremy on guitar and a Kim on drums, with a handful of auxiliary members), picking the scabs off a well-worn sound to the point of torment but not stepping over that line. Lots of folky sing-along campfire ritual jammin’ like on “I and I Cannot Radiate With You Gone, Mama” and the solid “Sister Ray” monochord haze of “Everybody’s Dig Accounted For,” closing out the LP with a solid ten minutes or more of awareness in the key of F. Think the Renderers with more scuzz, or early Pavement sans their aloof presence, and you’re right where these two want you. Impeccably styled sounds of feeling and abundance from the heartland – grab a piece. 300 copies, going fast and worth it.
Dan Melchior’s career, post-Broke Revue, shifted to North Carolina and the fringes of the current garage/punk scene. He’d left a band, a life, and a struggle to be noticed amidst NYC’s now-forgotten Class of ‘01 behind, as well as an unreleased double album that could have singularly launched him far beyond the middle rungs of the In the Red roster and one-time compatriot of Billy Childish and Holly Golightly. Sadly, that’s not how it turned out; regardless, Christmas for the Crows serves not only as a comeback, but his finest album to date. From the looks of things, it’s just Melchior alone in the studio, every bit the songwriter he’s always been, and approaching a level of world-worn sorrow and blind determination once mounted by Vic Godard, where gentle arrangements of Medway parlor-blues-folk rise up and float into the attic. I’m somewhat haunted by the fifteen songs here, as they don’t leave my memory for days after playing this one through (and I have played it through far too many times, given the volume of submissions staring back at me every time I turn to the record player). It’s the sound of folly and regret, and the realization that what you have around you is all you can use to get you through to the next day – love and regret, hand in hand. This’ll be standing proud beyond the end of the year, one of those records you hold onto forever. Ironically enough, only 1000 of you can make that claim. Hurry.
Cacophonous, violent improv trio from the land of boxed desserts, soft copyright law and postal fraud. Electrified crash captured on cassette, deliberate and forceful – really steps on your hand. Jazzbos will hate it, young people will try to understand it, and only a handful will likely appreciate it for what it is – three guys just trying to get out there, like the Dead C. without a necessarily steady beat, but fretfully clawing to the walls of convention, tearing off pieces of recognizable activity (organ from “Phantom of the Opera,” bassline from “Low Rider,” brief passages of Shellac-like rhythmic imperative, fart noises, etc.). What they accomplish with so few rules is at times impressive, at other times trying, but never dull. Not necessarily an everyday listen, but really scrapes the palate, so if you need a psychic headcleaner, NAFTA is the way to go. Edition of 500.
Chilean/French free-folk-punk-noise queso blats. Follows the “anything goes” theme of several records in this edition of the column, but Oso El Roto are a bit more aware of where they’d like to position themselves, namely between Super Roots/Choc Synth Boredoms, Hanatarash, and Reynols. Explorations of music at its extremes (from playful, quiet childlike melodies to Cookie Monster growling and detuned ur-Rock spastication). It’s definitely a mess, and not always an inspired one (witness the cover of “Love Me Do” embedded in side two), but given these folks’ geographic fount, I’m willing to give them a pretty wide berth. Doesn’t mean I’d want to listen to this one, perhaps ever, but it’s good to have around just in case. Packaged between two uneven sheets of silkscreened and pasted-on cardboard, binder-style, with a large, disgusting booklet fastened within. Not easy to come by. 300 copies.
Light, saccharine bedroom pop from a guy with some instrumental acumen but a dearth of new or good ideas. Singing in falsetto for the most part, Spencer Owen is satisfied to spin his wheel making sleepy melodies and reheating tired, nerdy between-the-sheets vibes, positioning him as the Casiotone of slow jams and slightly reggae-influenced dentist’s chair pleasantries, positions that nobody I’d talk to would ask for. Thoroughly beat. Vellum sleeve, magenta vinyl, 300 copies, whateverrrrrrrrrrrrr.
Of historical importance to outsider art, performance, and sound, this one is up there: the first recordings of Genesis P-Orridge (then Neil Megson), created in an attic in Hull throughout 1968 and pressed to acetate in an edition of one. These are live, spontaneous recordings of dubious fidelity, made in part because the performers – Gnaire, Pinglewad, Jesus Joheero, with a guest appearance by Megson’s father – knew that they could. It’s a winsome artifact; scattered in its delivery but filled with gleefully undisciplined twee-folk banging, atomized vocal ululations, poems, and a restless, contrarian spirit. Those looking for Throbbing Gristle Jr. won’t find it here, but there’s a bit more at stake than that, the seeds of artistic turbulence and rebellion that would fuel Gen’s projects for decades to coum. Some may balk at the amateurishness of Early Worm or consider the work overstated due to those involved, but I’d postulate that anyone who had the wherewithal to complete a work of this length and scope could go on to do something vital in the realm of the creative other, had they the drive to do so. Certainly there’s as many interesting things happening here than on countless random noise and freak-folk CDRs and cassettes out there today, albeit the timeline on which Early Worm operated makes it a unique and rare creature indeed. Debut release on a new label run by Gibby Miller and Ryan Gelik Martin, dedicated to unearthing noise, neo-folk, and more works ov Genesis P-Orridge. Edition of 500 numbered copies, and almost gone upon its release date.
Posthumous tracks of beautiful light pop-psych from this Detroit outfit, fronted by one Kathy Leisen, who also wrote these songs. Her voice is a major attraction here, understanding the nuances that helped vocalists like Elisabeth Fraser and Sinead O’Connor blend so well into the music they were a part of. Ethereal, light touches of synth, reverb, and a full-round bass tone guide these eight selections to the center of the heart; warm, gentle, non-combative yet stimulating motions of late night ghost trail songs are what transpires. Think Dadamah, Happy Nightmare Baby, perhaps early Sugarcubes or Unrest circa Imperial FFRR, or more recently, the Hearts of Animals 7”, though more detailed and performed with a full band. The pile of review materials this time around is impossibly large, yet at the end of the day I keep returning to this one, especially the last three tracks, which give out on more traditional sounds and get stuck inside their own quiet, marshmallow-licorice sweet ropes. Aces; hope they reconvene soon, or Leisen finds another outlet for her songs, as this is too good to miss. 500 copies, silkscreened chipboard sleeves. Total out-of-nowhere surprise.
tENT is this self-monikered hyper-intellectual mammal with a thousand yard stare who lives in Pittsburgh. I recall seeing him at various events around town during and after my college experience, and being quite intimidated by his presence to strike up any formal conversation about art and/or culture (the things I deemed would be most relevant to speak about with someone of his stature). This latest release repurposes a previous vinyl LP of his from 1996, in true ‘80s xpr tape collage/cut-up fashion, and presents a side of “audio obstacle course” material comprised of several sets of grooves that overlap in spots, creating a record that can’t be played the same way twice. For maximum difficulty, a second spindle hole has been punched into the dead wax, permitting circular and elliptical playback. Edition of 300 copies in repurposed silkscreened sleeves, including a lengthy, oversized booklet explaining the theory behind each track, as well as a letter written to one of my old roommates who erroneously stated that Merzbow was the originator of noise on his college radio program. Navelgazing at its pluckiest. Dig in!
Yours must be a single (or vinyl-only album) pressed on any size of vinyl. CD-Rs of singles will not be reviewed; they will be destroyed. We need the artifact here with original artwork, not some duplicate/digital copy. Only records released within the past six months will qualify for a review.
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By Doug Mosurock