Sunday, April 13, 2014

FURROW "A Field"
(Bleeding Gold Records)


Furrow is like coffee; if you're trying it for the first time it may take a few times for you to warm up to its flavor. at first it may seem bland and its benefits not immediate.

Furrow intrigued me at first, but after a few rotations in the reels, I'm won over by this post hardcore two piece for their ability to converge the eighties cheese of chorus pedal reverberated glory with the driving four-four time signature drums similar to the JAPAN bands - Japanther and Japandroids.

Furrow is also like coffee because they are a band that come in many different flavors. Some of their songs even dive into chillwave territory momentarily until they say "aw fuck it" and bring in the get your butt moving/dancing tom tom drum beats of the best DIY basement show of your young life.

This is music that I personally have a soft spot in my heart for due to its earnestness. It is music purposely warmer than anything on the radio. Its drum hi-hats feel like they are right here in the room with me.

Buy it here - http://bleedinggoldrecords.bigcartel.com/product/furrow-a-field

--Jack Turnbull

Thursday, April 10, 2014

THEE GOOCHI BOIZ
"Fast Food for the Teenage Soul"
(Burger Records)


Thee Goochi Boiz is the side/solo project of Francis Carr, more notably known as the (often)lead guitarist of Happy Jawbone Family Band and writer of such hits as “Don’t Play Ding Dong Ditch With My Heart” and “Junk Pop”. This is the second album from Thee Goochi Boiz.

“Fast Food for the Teenage Soul” delivers exactly what it promises,. However, it does carry the one stipulation that the aforementioned teenager got heavy into mixing Ritalin and Nitrous while working at the local Sunglass Hut, stunting their brain development so while they may be somewhere in the their early 20s and their thoughts have become more complex, they still pine over the girl who rejected them as a prom date while publicly and eagerly bragging about having gone to see a Kevin Smith movie instead. This album succinctly expresses that dire, soul-deep need for ‘Fast Food’ for purposes of nostalgia, instant gratification, ignorance of nutrition and anything good in the world, and because they still work at Sunglass Hut.

To say that this album fits squarely between just about every cross-section of punk rock history would be an understatement. This is no rectangle, it’s a DODECAHEDRON! Within the confines of these seventeen and a half minutes, you’ll find everything one could hope for in a Punk cassette, including a 56-second ditty about Vietnam and a disappearing/reappearing British accent. Side A (the better of the "Sides" in my opinion) features the melody driven sounds reminiscent of British groups like The Damned or The Undertones, complete with humming organ, addictively crunchy guitar licks, and well placed clapping. You’ll also get the juvenile restlessness of the Ramones or the Buzzcocks. You’ll get the amelodic chaos of The Germs or Negative Approach.

You’ll find lethargic anthems of self-loathing like “Why You Gotta Be Mean To Me” and “Everything I Do is Wrong”, (giving nods to short-form pop maestros like Robert Pollard or The Memories) alongside driving and barking tunes that seem just a few pivotal chord changes away from being Naked Raygun songs, if Naked Raygun were a better band. (NOTE: I attribute this difference to the increase in marijuana potency over the past three decades). Also, it sounds a lot like the Black Lips so definitely check it out if you’re into the Black Lips. I am.

http://goochiboiz.bandcamp.com/

--Travis Long

Monday, April 7, 2014

Michael Saunders / John Sandia

Ey yo, this here be some straight up freshmen college dorm room bromance ambient digital noise, FRESH. Two dudes duding it with sequencers and loopers and all sorts of improvisation!

Michael Saunders

Mac-0-maniac Michael Saunders blows out my walkman's speakers with blabbing hip hop loops and repeating fog horn fuzz bass lines. Reversing and dramatically warping in pitch, sonic borg transmissions are repeated at an unsettling rate while digital microphone feedback drivel vomits on the floor of a desolated canoe lost somewhere in the Atlantic. Gritty and not without a punk rock edge, Michael Saunders isn't afraid to get meditatively aggressive. I think the solo noise act can be very effective, however, listening to how sweet the rhythmic loops Saunders develops with his sporadic synthetic chords and microphone feedback demands the collaboration with something more melodic, analog or shifting in narrative or tone. Saunders' sonic hailstorm develops slowly but surely. However, sometimes I think Saunders is suffering from trying to do too much with too little.

John Sandia

Sandia is initially higher in pitch and breathier. The beginning melody, mixed with radio transmission feedback, sounds like a flute. It's eventually completely obliterated by nonsensical analog noise. The pounding percussion provided is infantile and random. Suddenly some type of electric guitar is present and we're inside the temperament of some one psychologically bleeding. That abandoned canoe, the one I mentioned about on side A? It's drifted into a river of lava. The elfish agents of Satan himself are now laughing at you waving pitchforks from neighboring island coasts.

But my journey into this world wears out its sonic welcome. It ceases to be transcendent once its primal backbone is heard for too long. It becomes background too quickly once it is apparent nothing new melodic will develop most likely. I applaud the low-fi, DIY philosophy of this cassette, but it could use a mixing job. What I believe is great reverberation of found sound could really be cleaned up. Each channel of sound should and could be more defined and identifiable.

The end of this cassette sounds like a guy taking out the trash and some alley cat meowing. Literally. So final verdict: These guys are cool but they shouldn't quit their day jobs yet.

Check it out: www.bluepoles.bandcamp.com
bluepolesrecordings@gmail.com

--Jack Turnbull

Friday, April 4, 2014

TRABAJO / MADRUGAPHA split
(No Kings)

Look at the graphic layout and florescent color palette of this three ink silk screened cassette jacket. It's like visual catnip to the young, eccentric and decadently subversive. What right minded weirdo can say no to a confrontational Halloween orange skeleton bejeweled with hot pint rhinestones? But brace yourself, gentle reader, because the most exciting thing is that the design work isn't even the best part of this release.

Trabajo is an extremely unique melodic act who incorporates well timed synthetic bongo beats, middle eastern scales, elements of noise loops, Gamlans and the subtlest of egg shaker rhythms to make truly trippy instrumental songs. Fans of High Places, Tortoise and Brian Eno will easily be able to get behind this.

Highlights from the five song Trabajo side are Mad at Lovely and Pi Pa Lu, which both sound simultaneously like meditation sessions in a rain forest and getting bliss-ed out forever by the world's most compelling computer screen saver.

Unfortunately, the Madrugapha side B, while admirable in its daring sonic explorations, fails in comparison to the Trabajo side only because it never graduates away from disorienting noise alphabet soup. It resembles mid-career Black Dice, particularly the album of theirs "Beaches and Canyons" . There are looped falsetto moans mixed with wind instruments and what sounds like a music box being cranked at various time signatures. But unlike Beaches and Canyons, Madrugapha doesn't go anywhere. Usually I prefer music that is more loose than structured, but a song like "Purple Swamp" just doesn't really seem to materialize into anything. The freer structure in this case is only acting as an enabler to below par flute solos that sound like they're running out of ideas.

With this said, I am being rather harsh only because the Trabajo side is so considered, complex, contemporary and, let's face it, a more superior and successful release. The Madrugapha side is not without its own minor triumphs. For example, the song Rotovolquismo adds a much needed grit to this album in the form of a looping guitar. But again, the looping becomes static and tiring. I like how various ideas and influences are thrown into Madrugapha's mix, but they happen at a snail pace when compared to a Ryan Trecartin movie. It can give off a meditative vibe, but when that vibe is also kind of menacing, it equals a menacing meditative vibe, which is an oxymoron.

Madrugapha's El Planeta Nubaru is the most successful of his three songs. The song's base is a slowly revolving piano chord progression. On top of all this are whirling keyboard chords that are held out over long periods of time. Again, the song is atmospheric, but this time the mood of the song clicks in and becomes transcendent.

Overall, this is a fantastic cassette. High recommendations.

Here is Trabajo's bandcamp where you can hear his side of the story --- http://trabajo.bandcamp.com/album/trabajo-madrugapha-split-tape

tomentosarecords.com/shop/trabajo-madrugapha-split-no-kings/
nokingsrecord.co/post/66388538245/nk49-trabajo-madrugapha-split-c30
salvitacresta.tumblr.com

--Jack Turnbull
www.jackturnbullstudios.blogspot.com

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

MALPORTADO KIDS
"Messafe #1: Mi Concha EP"


Here it is folks, the best tape I've heard all year. Malportado Kids is a side project of Providence's incendiary Downtown Boys and they make amped up electronic punk rock cumbia. This will blow your mind and get your ass shaking. You can stream the entire tape here, but maybe you'll consider throwing some money their way....Words fail, just listen if you have ears.

Monday, March 31, 2014

Bánh Mì Verlag



2x cassettes from Die Reihe and Luminous Kudler offer a firm introduction to new Brooklyn based label Bánh Mì Verlag, dealing primarily in contemporary sound + composition. 

Die Reihe = label proprietor Jack Callahan delivers a minimal modular demonstration across the spectrum, turning a thickly inscribed book to a fresh page.

Luminous Kudler, a like minded man about town, slays in the open/conceptual computer style, bound for tru destiny.


Keep an eye toward banhmiverlag.com for an exemplary catalog set for release, many pairing already established figures (some collaborators of Callahan's) in unconventional and exciting ways.


SOON:
MICHAEL PISARO / MATTHEW SULLIVAN – SPLIT LP
LATER:
PETER ABLINGER / LUKE MOLDOF – SPLIT LP
JÜRG FREY / NETWORK GLASS – SPLIT LP
PAULINE OLIVEROS / JOHN MANNION – SPLIT LP

- -Matt Robidoux

Saturday, March 29, 2014

ERNIE COOMBS // KURVI TASCH
"White" (PV003)


The first track, appropriately titled “All About Me”, sets the mood for this album. A shallow snare pops breezily along to gentle, unassuming arpeggios and finicky chords, while the vocalist cheerfully calls out a series of “ooh’s, ah’s, and oh’s.” It can actually be quite hilarious to listen to. Aside from what one could consider the definitive track on this album, “Blood on Our Hands”, this album melds together as if it were just one long, rambling jam session devoid of structure. That being said, “Blood on Our Hands” alone is worth getting the album for; it really is an incredible culmination of all the best elements of Coombs and Tasch, and features not only a chorus, but an effective use of dynamics!


-Kirley

Thursday, March 27, 2014

NO BALLS
"I'm So Happy I Could Die" C45
(Drid Machine Records)


Drid Machine seems to have a monopoly on gnarly weirdo music coming out of Scandinavia. The last tape I reviewed from them (Freddy the Dyke/Bloodsprut) blew my mind, and this tape has only made me more trusting in the tastes of whoever runs this sick Norse label. This No Balls tape has 11 tracks, and about 11 riffs all told. Pummeling but almost entirely static instrumental (save for one track) noise rock from two members of Brainbombs that finds a groove and sticks with it endlessly, denying much in the way of rock n roll catharsis. Their method for keeping each track interesting while never really changing the pattern to the song is hypnotic. The secret to each track is the glacial pace the band takes to alter the groove, mixing in minute drum fills and muted horns that change the song ever so slightly enough that you don’t go mad thinking your tape players busted and just playing the same twenty seconds over and over again. They shake their experiment in rock minimalism a few times, the last track on the A side has a lot of movement, and the first track on the B side rocks out pretty hard. Later on that side they interrupt one of their monumental grooves and dive out of nowhere into a spacey dubbed out passage. Even though many of these tracks might seem to consist of the guitarist just down picking his muted strings over a funky drum pattern ad nauseum, it’s hard to find this boring. Each riff or pattern sticks around just long enough for you to be frustrated by it, so that when the next song starts it has your full attention. This bands onto something really novel, and I can’t wait to get my hands on more of their material. 
 -- Tim Johnson

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

ANTHRO REX & THE BUZZIN' DOZEN
(Broken World Tapes)

Anthro Rex used to be the solo noise kind of sort of definitely weird project of one Daniel James Cashman, but now with his Dozen in the fold (the band is actually a four piece), old Danny boy is creating some of the most coherent music of his "career." If you've heard the cave man rumblings of Cashman's other band Grey Skull, imagine this band as a little more reigned in with Misfits and psych rock guitar noise jamming blended thoroughly in equal measure. Wait...you don't have to imagine, go ahead and stream right here. I saw these folks play a few months ago right after seeing 4 Phish shows at Madison Square Garden and I would say both experiences were equally psychedelic.
 

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Wound "Breathing The Void" c20 (Teen Action)


Brash new album from Italy's WOUND. This is some grim, outsider low-end experimentation in the vein of early BSBC and the more lulled TG works. 

  Side A creeps like a black sludge, slowly sliding down a dank basement wall. A sinister hiss stays in the shadows, yet has a quietly menacing vibe. Subwoofer recommended. 

  Side B lunges at you with a bit more brute force, a dense sub drone lingers in static, and just as the deep sinking feeling begins to set in, you are blindsided by harsh reverb swells and ricocheted thuds and percussive cracks. This is industrial music for the after-after hours, and I can't wait to hear more. 

Get a copy from www.teenactionrecords.com 

IN HEAT "Demo 2"


For some time, Providence's underground sub-cultural has been dominated by two ruling aesthetics; the psychedelic, ear piercing bleeps, drones and laser spitfire of contemporary noise (think Forcefield, Mindflayer, Mark Lord) and the angry, jet black, endurance testing blast beats of punk hardcore metal (think Dropdead). This is most evident inside Providence's "Armageddon Records", a wonderful punk/metal/DIY record store that subtly has visual references to the summer of love in the form of Brian Chippendale posters around its militaristic black and white t-shirts advertising crust punk bands.

The connecting thread of these two genres is arguably nihilism and volume, although that loaded philosophy is interpreted positively (an act like Providence's Lightning Bolt) or negatively (an act like Providence's Arab on Radar) by the cities inhabitants. If not nihilism, at the least a rejection to the vast majority of industry standards that hold back a large portion of musicians. To put it simply, most bands from Providence aren't interested in getting radio play, and are more interested in feeling music by loudly vibrating it onto the audience's chests during live shows.

Providence's In Heat is, I am assuming, relatively new to the scene and beautifully mix these two genres into music that makes perfect sense. They are a harsh psychedelic noise band with a classic metal core drum bass duo. Shrieking golem vocals are sprinkled on top of this intriguing, converging of genres. It compliments it well.

According to the band's Bandcamp, this particular cassette is not their newest, and it is amply titled "Demo 2". It feels like a demo. The volumes of the players don't vibrate, sway or crescendo. The release doesn't feel mixed, although I don't mean to imply that certain elements are hard to make out.

A clear vision is being presented on this release, but it is evident that In Heat is just getting started with their presents on the scene. Hopefully this band will stay together, because if this is a Demo, the real release is going to be something special. And not just for the band themselves, but for a landmark DIY city that, while small, continues to evolve and break new ground.

Bandcamp website:
http://inheatri666.bandcamp.com/

The cassette is available online here or go see them at a show around New England or America or whatever.

--Jack Turnbull

Friday, March 21, 2014

MIKE TAMBURO "Presnce" 2xCass (Inner Islands)


Very, very lovely and methodical acoustic ambient album on two tapes from this Pittsburgh native. Highly recommended! Tamburo uses hammered dulcimer, shahi baaja, gong, guitar, autoharp and other instruments to create hypnotic blankets of sound. Just do it! STREAM / / ORDER 

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

IGNATZ / SOPHIE COOPER split
HELLVETE / JAKE BLANCHARD split
(Tor Press)


These are two cool split tapes that are already sold out from the label, but I think you can still snag one somewhere on the webs. I'm just gonna copy and paste the label's description and some soundcloud links. Does that make this a release announcement? I guess so. Definitely not a review, as you will notice the absence of any critical commentary. Boy, these are sure easier to write than reviews. Sue me, I'm a busy man.

Ignatz / Sophie Cooper 
Ignatz is the moniker of Belgiums Bram Devens, an occasional member of Sylvester Anfang II. Here we have 5 new tracks, unusually 3 of them are entirely instrumental but none the less still retain the unmistakable lo-fi blues sound of Brams music. There's a primitism to Brams guitar playing, at times indelicate but still beautiful and always beguiling. Sophie Cooper is a singer songwriter from Stoke-On-Trent, here she presents five deeply personal songs. Her music always reflects her life and more often than not is inspired by the people around her. These songs have a dreamlike quality, with found sounds and vocals drifting in and out of clarity. This is emotive often heart-rending music. Limited to only 75 copies with artwork by Jake Blanchard on pro-dubbed cassettes.


Hellvete / Jake Blanchard
Hellvete is Glen Steenkiste (Gonzalez & Steenkiste, Sylvester Anfang), here we have 3 distinctly different tracks, ranging from delicate percussion, zoned out drones and banjo plucking. It's impossible not to get lost in this music, long tracks of sustained drones with subtle textures and layers building and fading. This is the second release from Jake after his debut on Feathered Coyote. Often using hand made instruments Jake weaves blissful drones with primitve rhythm and melody at times harmonious and euphoric giving way to distorted and dissonant. Limited to only 75 copies with artwork by Jake Blanchard on pro-dubbed cassettes.
 

www.torpress.co.uk

Monday, March 17, 2014

THUNDEREGG "He's Actually Pretty Cool Once You Get to Know Him"


Here is a unique cassette; select songs of bedroom recordings from a thoughtful, talented singer songwriter. There are twenty eight songs on here, the equivalent of a double vinyl LP. Each song is recorded by a four track, so the whole release has a humble do-it-yourself element to it, even if the songs are the length, genre and feel of something radio ready.

The songs are not presented in chronological order. The opener is from 1998 and the latest recording is from 2012. They're all catchy and well composed, with some nice instrumental decision making. Will Georgantas also has very good instincts and knows when to double up the vocals, when to throw in a well executed guitar solo, etc. Some songs are waltzes, in 3/3 time signature, while others feel like straight up emo anthems. There's about a billion late nineties comparisons I can make to Thunderegg's sound, but the clearest influence is the vocals of Ben Folds Five. Georgantas voice is eerily similar to Ben Folds.

Georgantas doesn't have the ability to sing songs that are simultaneously quirky and funny while also being devastatingly relatable and, in Folds own words, "punk rock for nerds". The lyrics don't have the same edge, they seem to just wash over me. Another comparison I would make would be to early Jason Anderson recordings.

I'll admit I'm probably not the best reviewer for this specific cassette however. What I enjoy about music is usually more abstract. As much as I complain about punk bands reverberating lyrics to the point of being incoherent, I usually think about lyrics last, with the exception to a handful of amazing singer songwriters. For example, you may release I make a lot of comparisons to Neil Young. I like Neil Young.

But I digress. If you are a fan of mid-ninties K records, Tullycraft, Death Cab for Cutie, you know, that whole scene, this might be a great cassette for you. Thunderegg is not the greatest of emo crooners, but with a release that is TWENTY EIGHT songs deep, you get a lot of bang for your buck here.

artist's website: http://www.thunderegg.org/
This release is like ... over an hour long.

--Jack Turnbull
www.jackturnbull.com

Thursday, March 13, 2014

BUFU Records


This is a good label to watch if you're into upbeat rock music made by nice kids.  I guess calling BUFU the Burger Records of Boston wouldn't be too much of a stretch, with it's mainstream-leaning DIY kind of mash-up aesthetic.  I'd say the bands on Bufu are more varied though. Here we've got the bum-ditty guitar twang muppet vocals of Free Pizza, the weird and athletic noise rock of Designer, a compilation tape of the best of Massachusetts stalwarts Zebu! and the Black Flag meets Metallica shred of Acidosis.  It's all fun and I like it.

Designer and Free Pizza are on tour now, more info and streams on the site:

http://www.bufurecords.com/

Monday, March 10, 2014

PALBERTA "My Pal Berta" (OSR Tapes)

Simply put, one of the best tapes I've heard in a year or so. Just listen to it and then buy it from the label, which also has a cassingle out from Portland's The Memories.

Saturday, March 8, 2014

WORLD DOMINATION & HEAVEN AND EARTH MAGIC

I really liked this. You might too. Tony from SQRM/Crystalline Roses on vocals with Jeremy Pisani (Red Favorite) and Andy Crespo (original Barn Owl) as well as others probably. Hawkwind meets hardcore? I think this is coming out sometime on an LP.


There's also this, which also features World Dom vocalist Tony and his pal Zac, both of whom I put in the band for the Jandek show I booked at Flywheel back in 2010...fun little tidbit. This is a nice unassuming little album and you'd maybe never hear it if you weren't about to listen to it right? This one is available on tape from High Ledges, a new label started by Meghan Minior and Will Killingsworth of Ampere.


Western Mass motherfuckers.

Friday, March 7, 2014

GIVAN LOTZ "Snarling"


Let me begin this review by congratulating Givan Lotz for his design work on the cassette paper sleeve. The cover is gorgeous; it is a fluorescent colored digital homage to silkscreen and lithography, with paper thin subtle hatching gradients in cool hued prints. Floral textiles are reminiscent to Rococo era lithographs, but the repeating patterns feel Warholian because each subjects color is monotone.

The color choices look LSD inspired like Haight Ashbury 60ties hippie posters, but the subjects are fetishistic, like a Henri Fantin-Latour painting. This is fitting for the audio's gentle mood with slight hints to something more acid drenched.

Givan Lotz doesn't have the positive peace sign energy of the summer of love however that his design aesthetic might suggest. The songs on this release were made over the period of four years according to a press release statement. So the songs are not naive. They are considered, humble and a bit burnt out. Lotz's voice is haunting and murmured. At times it can be dragging, but subtle and surprising instrumentation shifts keep the release engaging.

The genre to this music is a cousin to campfire folk, but it's deeper and darker than that; it's cavernous and reverberated. I hear a little Black Heart Procession, but Lotz hails from Johannesburg, South Africa, so the time signatures mimic the rhythms of another culture, even though the common theme of the cassette is melancholia.

Lotz tackles the subjects of loneliness and tragedy without getting over sensitive or dramatic by giving the music the cool of a dusk evening in the desert. The sounds are searching artistically for tonal expansion while the lyrics get down right personal.

It's a strong release that comes recommended. Check it out.
record label: www.other-electricities.com
Artist website: http://www.other-electricities.com/givan-lotz

--Jack Turnbull
www.jackturnbull.com

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

slow down...speed up

Still working on trying to get this blog updated more regularly. Thank you so much for sending in tapes. Nothing gets thrown away, but there is a large backlog of submissions at the moment and not enough people to listen to them.

Do you live in the Boston area? do you enjoy listening to music on cassette? Are you interested in becoming a Cassette God?  I'm looking for reliable and frequent contributors to meet up with me face to face and receive tapes for review every week.  I really feel like this system has the best chances of getting the highest percentage of tapes posted to the blog, but if I can't find three to five reliable people out here, I might need to go back to the previous system of posting the individual reviewers addresses on the sidebar. I took those down because I felt like not enough writing was being done, but now we're in the same boat and February has been pretty bleak as far as contributions to the blog go. So please drop me a line at cavebears at gee mail dot comb if you are local and want to help keep this thing running.

Why keep it running? Because a small but consistent number of people look at this site daily. Recently it's been averaging 500 views per day (15,000 per month), with a total of half a million since we started.  I'm sure this is minuscule compared to some other music blogs, but it's enough to make me feel that we are doing something for the people whose music we post about.

Also a note for people submitting music for review: send no promo emails ever. There are enough people who actually send physical submissions that we could review one tape a day (minimum) if we had enough writers, so I definitely don't take the time to look at submissions from people who can't muster a single copy of a tape.

update 3/8/14: I've got some good folks responding, and I've been handing out tapes by the dozen, so hopefully this will mean a more active CG in the future. I've also started writing a few little scraps here and there. keep the tapes coming, there is light at the end of this tunnel of a submissions box...

Saturday, March 1, 2014

GUNK "Gradual Shove" (Ranch Records)


Comprised of Philadelphia scene veterans Josh Mackie (Your Children is Beautiful, Idiot Forever), Dan Angel (Sex Dungeon Studios, Ugh God) and Nate Dionne, Gunk gels together at the molecular level, offering a freshman LP worth hundreds of work hours and the air of a years old collaboration.  It seems as though the post-Joe Sly DIY era finds its rock epicenter in Philly with Gunk churning out some of its most relevant cuts in their initial statement.  Picking up where bands like Fat History Month and Arvid Noe left off (and New England Patriots and Pile continue to reside) Gunk takes a standard basement trio and great songwriting to a not oft trod level.

"Gradual Shove" sounds like a band's band on tape in 2014 should, recalling a pre-aught decade and excavating the best parts of the unsung bands from them, in this case perhaps Heatmiser and Rob Crow, as well as a bit of Spoon with the piano doubling on opener "Photograph".  The arrangements are spooky and expressive, bass overdriven and above the mix.  

"Ice Cream" is the definitive cut on the album.  Smart and hook laden, musing on simple benefits of hydrant breaking and ice cream eating in the east coast summer, giving way to a complexity of arrangement that pushes it over the edge.  A wobbly counter melody, sneaky flutes and "self help" tape static segue a traditional rock statement into concrete smatter and the closing cadence of a stately symphony.  The album takes no time to slow as the listener is immediately pummeled by "Kill Em All" by the time the next quarter note hits.  Keep listening because these off kilter melodies ripen with age. 

The raison d'être of Gunk may be summed up in the first three tracks but they are a sweet combo.  Stick around for the rest!


- -Matt Robidoux

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

NO! -Various Artists C64 (No! Records)



 Exceptional
 new compilation from Indiana (Bloomington and surrounding areas) tape label NO!, featuring some of the area's finest local experimental electronic, industrial and ambient acts. Approached as a cohesive cross-stitch sound collage, rather than just another label sampler, the artists featured all share a similar gloom and ache, yet they all have their own slightly unique vibe.
   
  Drekka tips this off with a dark and brooding wash of deep tone drifts and minimal percussion, heaps of low end magic akin to recent Lustmord or Peter Kyed scores. My personal favorite. The NOON and John Flannelly works that follow, pull you in quite different and quite manic directions, as Canid and Assimilation provide some very heady, live power electronics.  

  Agakus closes the mix with "Last Reichs," a track dedicated to Wilhelm Reich, respectively. Slabs of what sound to me like treated voices (or tugboat horns) swell up in a deep and haunting melody, atop a gurgling wash of mysterious field recordings. It's undeniably the most "musical" of the bunch, and an really nice closer.
  
  Something interesting is clearly happening in this part of the country, and NO! has done a fine job of getting these local artists' work out there. Recommended. Edition of 75, includes download code. 
Get one from NO! here.
Http://norecordlabel.bandcamp.com