Monday, April 27, 2015

FIELD MEDIC “Fuck You Grim Reaper”
C25 (Sunroom Recordz & Salon)



“Fuck this life, I want an afterlife, don’t need this rat shadow.”  Some of it is cloying, but some of it is pleasantly introverted and subtle.  “Antique Cup” is great.  Bedroom folk, surrender fantasy.  Fear, drinking, sighs of resignation.  On the b-side it says in sharpie, “tiny grandfather clock resting near the window in a stranger’s house.”  I imagine the golden child, lost & bewildered in enormous rooms.  Or a defeated version of young Bob Dylan, a precocious songwriter who doubts his will to carry on.  I also think of that Lee Ranaldo lyric, “we watched her fall over and lay down, shouting the poetic truths of high school journal-keepers.” 

--Kevin Oliver

Sunday, April 26, 2015

HOLLOWFONTS “XLVIII" (Phinery)



Michael J. O’Neil, with his first release under the moniker of Hollowfonts, explores the depths of drones, noise and ambience. Putting out his first album on a Denmark-based label (not Posh Isolation… I know) called, Phinery. A new label that has been delivering us sounds that have been becoming a lot more popularized, yet still inaccessible to some.

The approach of the album is the constructing and building up of sound collages, creating a feeling of delusion throughout a whole track. Extensively cavernous to undergo. The first half of the track, Crude Spirals begins with an electronic beat that nearly made me believe Andy Stott produced the track. Within the tune, the layers and textures expand more and more until it transforms completely into an atmospheric landscape of oblivion. A resonance settling you slowly in a void, losing every bit of self conscience.

Unfortunately the tape is now sold out, but I was lucky enough to receive one, though you can stream it below!

Stream:

https://phinery.bandcamp.com/album/xlviii

Label:

http://www.phinery.net


-- Jesus Perez

Saturday, April 25, 2015

THE GLASS PATH "Driving Music"
(Drugged Conscience Records)



M. CONZETT has speckled this lame earth with about 6 tapes since 2011 as the GLASS PATH, each a mind-tilting magnetic sculpture of sound. His latest release on DRUGGED CONSCIENCE contains works of minimal, yet stunning tape work. The sources of the sounds shaped are unaccountable, to say the least, and one can't help but wonder what plane of existence you're eavesdropping upon. The listener is pushed to listen deeply to inquire as to whats happening around them, what's wrong. You can stare forever, but you'll never figure it out. I find the title of this tape to be slightly malicious. To drive under the influence of this tape may just send you gleefully off an overpass. A highly recommended tape for uneasy sleep with dreams of living burial and paralysis.

--Dan Dlugosielski

Friday, April 24, 2015

BORROWED BEAMS OF LIGHT/NEW BOSS split C60
(Funny/Not Funny Records)




My first serious girlfriend and I were together for 3 bullshit years. I qualify ‘bullshit’ for sensational purposes, but, really, in retrospect, I’m sure she’d agree that our being together 1997-2000, based on an affinity for rebellious coitus in forbidden places, skateboarding (pooooorly), and listening to (even wooooorse) chugga-chugga-chugga hardcore Xvegan-straightedgeX bands, could easily be considered ‘bullshit’. So, I say it again, ‘bullshit’. Robert Pollard, of Guided By Voices has a slew of bullshit soundcheck/diatribes collected and pressed to vinyl that he has drunkenly spewed, on stage, not “unwittingly”, with recording equipment pointed at him, in or near Ohio, where I was born and raized. BBoL, from Charlottesville, NC have posted, in a bio, that they are “influenced by GBV and Harry Nilsson”. We share that irreverent love for pop music and the desire to throw Elephant 6 Collective - style wall - of - sound - instrumentation in the buried background. My 1st-Ex- once told me she had had Mr. Pollard as a teacher in highschool. Whenever the class’d get antsy, he’d have them “jump up on their desks and play air guitar for a few minutes.” She went to Col. White…and I’m faily certain BP didn’t. BBoL aren’t either fully honest or cognizant that they, too, love Brian Wilson. Pop music remains.

The former and 2nd’sider-Caroliners have a lot in common, both in past and future members? I wonder, with Bill Doss’s passing, oh, who will take up the pop/psych-baton, and I also more-hopefully-wonderhope that one of these members will bring us into the 2020’s with wider eyes; not just to witness, but appreciate how many harmonies and contrapuntal melodies can fit into a pop song, whether it’s paying homage to New Order, Emitt Rhodes or ELO. Have a listen yourself with the links down below…

and/or


- - Jacob An Kittenplan

Thursday, April 23, 2015

XUNHOLM "Asleep in the Shattered Mirror" C102* (Skrot Up)



So I get this tape in the mail like four or five weeks ago, right? The packaging, art, everything looks great. Anyways, I decide to take a drive down to lovely Burlington, VT to pick up an old head over the weekend in my friend Raz’ minivan and I bring along a little brown baggie for analog stimulation. I gotta say, this is the one I was the most worked up about. It’s got this real sexy Italian horror aesthetic that flies pretty well up here in my native Quebec. I pop this bad boy in and brace myself. The beefy square wave reverie of Xunholm washes over me as we approach the American border. There’s this undeniably sexy tape distortion going on that’s totally winning me and then…

…the fuckin’ thing just fizzles right out on me! Yo Nick, the tape you sent me is missing a cog and there’s just stray tape and shit all over the place. Next thing I know some border pigs are tearing through the car looking for drugs. I’m like, “man. I aint even high right now.” It’s just literally just the ennui of this broken Xunholm tape that’s got me busted and bewildered (for sure). I’ve never heard anything like it.

I’ve listened to the Shattered Mirror tape on bandcamp a couple of times since then but it’s really not the same. The Xunholm tape is, was, forever will be what it’s all about. For the record this stuff is dark, pulsing, melodramatic in a way that the other 2 2014 releases are not. I like the ambient stuff too, but this is a singular cassette for sure and I’m psyched to dig up another copy. Favorite tracks: Wind in her Hair, Running thru her mind. Check it out!

https://soundcloud.com/xunholm

- - Gerry Foxcroft Mandel, signing out

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

CHUCK JOHNSON
“CJ-1” C41
(Drawing Room Records)



I bet Chuck Johnson is probably pretty used to people listening to his records and asking aloud “Now, how in the hell is just one man and one instrument making all those sounds at once?” A veteran of American Primitive guitarstyle, his relationship with exploring shifting minimalist textures, timbres, and overtones (not to mention his being in good company of so many a Mills College noise-worshipper) has led to a pretty engaging study in these here Digital Signal Processings. 

No one in their right mind would call this entire collection “pleasant” and only a few more might get away with labeling it capital-M “Music”, though the dynamics, movement, and attention to detail are all easily parallel to classical works. This is not necessarily more dissonant, but far more minimal, more subtle.  Think Eliane Radigue with a shorter attention span.

The collection demands a partnership built with it, and, like any partnership, you get out of it what you put into it. Great for guided painting or drawing or closing your eyes and anthropomorphizing the treble and bass interacting, with concentrated panning composition adding a whole new layer, when wearing headphones. Not good for driving or waiting around while heavily caffeinated. Also not recommended is a cursory skimming of the track to ‘just get an idea’ cz you likely won’t. If you don’t buy this, steal it from a friend or occupy their dark closet while listening on your Walkman.

and/or


- - Jacob An Kittenplan

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

QUIT THINKING “Quit Thinking”
(Log Cabin Recordings)



I’ve got nothing for these guys – can you imagine what an Internet search turns up for “Quit Thinking”? A lot of self-help psychiatric nonsense, that’s what. “How to Quiet Your Mind and Quit Thinking So Much.” “Stop Thinking So Much.” “5 Motivation-Killing Thoughts You Must Stop Believing.” For a Scientologist like me, this all sounds pretty terrible, since, you know, we hate psychiatry (quacks!). (Just kidding, I’m not a Scientologist. But Beck is.) Good thing it has nothing to do with the music on this tape.

So…

Maybe it’s good that there’s nothing out there on these cats. Here are the personnel: Blondie – drums; K – guitar; Jim – guitar. “Rec at Dumpbucket Pub.” Released as “logcabinrecordings009.” Nothing on them either.

Again, all for the best. The guitars are overdriven, over-effected, and warbly, and the drums are nonexistent on side A, and barely coherent on side B. The recording? Perhaps someone brought a boombox to the pub and hit record while the band did whatever it’s doing. Each side is a “jam,” on a couple of chords.

Are you friends with this band? If so, this tape is for you – it’s a noisy reminder of a fun night at the pub. Don’t know this band from me? Well – hang on, I want to wait until Blondie, K, Jim, and their pals are out of the room. I’ll tell you about it in a sec. They’ve had their fun, so let’s leave them in their blissful ignorance.

Are they gone now? Great – don’t bother with this hunk of unlistenable garbage. I feel bad for saying that, because I hate slagging on people, but a musical artifact for the masses this ain’t.


--Ryan Masteller

Monday, April 20, 2015

DORCAS MORTON
“Service Animal” C45
(Physics Engine)


If my heart, mind, and soul weren’t already blackened by the academic noise-worship I’ve been obsessed with over the last few years, this here guy would make me feel F-E-E-L-I-N-G-S & shit, with all his dead serious weaving of humor, sentimentality, conversational snippets, minimal beats poetry & laid back instrumental jams that at times recall the mellowest Shipping News tracks, but often explore lazier/jazzier Sunday afternoon memoryscapes. This American Life could probably do well to pay this guy to provide the sonic backdrop for about a million more shows to come. Writing a memoir and having a hard time digging up those saccharine vignettes? Here’s some sense-stimuli that oughta dust off the ol’ dendrites! Whenever full on songs make an appearance, sincerity is sung such that jaded eyes might roll like hamster wheels, which is a nice break from the ubiquitous sarcasm of life portrayed in this ‘information age’, at least for me, with my blackened heart, mind, and soul, which are now slightly softer, if not simply decomposing at an accelerated pace.

and/or


- - Jacob An Kittenplan