“Ohio" C27
“Beacon" C54
(Garden Portal)

Matthew J. Rolin has undeniably mastered a Kottke-esque command of American Primitive Guitar and has also adapted Chasny/Blackshaw/Weathers’ subtle ambient/noise accents & droning bolsterings, along with his recordings, too. His crisp, fumble-free attack dynamics of an ever-resonant, lone steel string are, without a doubt, every bit as spell-binding as LK’s visionary “6 and 12 String Guitar" - AKA - "That Fuckin’ Armadillo Album, Man!”, and should inspire daydreams for the next century of anyone listening…

To see MJR play on his own has to be sumpin’ else, but it’s the super-trio of Gerycz, Powers, & Rolin, two phenomenal lute-shredders teaming up with a magically hyper-enhancing percussionist, that takes everything you’ve ever heard, APG-oriented, and cranks it to the next fuckin’ level, making “Beacon" an indisputably “Must Listen” release*, which puts “Ohio”, as a companion-piece, on its almost “unplugged" coattails, re: “How the fuck are only two people playing that at one time?”


—Jacob An Kittenplan

*I say “release" & not “tape”, cz, of course, it’s been sold out for a while now

“Pastoral Death” C34
(Foreign Object Damage)

So, it’s just that moment after you’ve finished washing a previously very oily and always very large metal kitchen vessel that has obviously been cosmically built for this very occasion…a victorious obligation-completion clang, metal on metal, and oh, a wildly reverberating source it has now become!

You think, “Hey, man! This reminds me; I really need to listen to that Austin, TX 'No Deads' ensemble, liek, rill bad!" Cz, you've seen that in your inner-mind’s ear that they're a trio specializing in allowing unpinnable long-form tone-age to blend with exactly this kind of percussive escape-scrapes in a way that confounds one’s desires to differentiate between…well…drones & trebly texture-v-ambiance/focii. (this is hard to explain)

No Deads gots the chemistry out the wazoo and they can keep their deep-listeners’ attentions on the edge at all times, hovering over the precipice of Understanding, but never fully letting them fall. “Pastoral Death” has to be my favorite of their releases to date; if you like organic-v-amplification-themed noise-improv, it’s almost assured you’re gonna fucking love this.


—Jacob An Kittenplan

CHRISTIAN MIRANDE “My Friend Went to Heaven on the Frankford El” C28 (Anathema Archive)

Oh, behold the passing from one plane to the next – the clues are there, and I am a sleuth undeterred. The first clue, an easy one: My Friend Went to Heaven on the Frankford El says it all right there in the title. The second clue, have you cracked it? “How to administer Naloxone for an opioid overdose.” Then a link. I dread the thinking of it, but might Christian Mirande have lost just such a friend in just such a way? Might this collection of avant-garde pieces be an ode to that friend?

It would not surprise me in the least. Mirande crafts field recordings into experimental compositions, the sonics (movement, static, the subconscious, voice, instrumentation) mimicking life on various levels. Is it a reminder to recognize the minutiae one comes into contact with throughout one’s day, the minutiae that one does not give thought to? Is it a reminder to be deliberate in our interactions, with the world, with others? Is it a facsimile of the devotion we give to trivial things while cracks form in the façades of the forgotten but important details?

The Frankford El still runs, and we slap in earbuds for our journey, and we turn inward. Mirande allows us to turn even further inward if we give this one a chance.


VANTAGE PLANET SHITHEAD “An Interplanetary Collaboration” C80 (Hair on My Food Tapes)

Florida fuckernauts Vantage Planets and Planet Shithead combine idiotic forces to form Vantage Planet Shithead, “An Interplanetary Collaboration” that basically constitutes ingesting radio frequencies from dying stars (or the sounds of matter turning to plasma) and blasting them out of their collective asses as seismic diarrhea. The tape is a C80 (!) of constant intestinal churn manifesting itself as distortion and static and feedback, all captured and mutilated further by the two aforementioned Florida fuckernauts. Launching this butt rocket to shit planet, the two can’t even be bothered to secure the airlocks. As soon as this thing leaves the confines of the Space Coast and busts through the atmosphere, everybody and everything implodes. As they say, in space, no one can hear you scream. But in space you can hear molten metal and inside-out people merging in an unholy atomic nightmare.

Also, no one is there to clean up the mess.

--Buzz Aldrin

CARBUS “Carbus Goes to the Zoo” C45 (Carbus Tapes)

No, I don’t think Carbus went to the zoo. I think the zoo went to Carbus. Hear me out.

Donald Warner Shaw III and Neil Cloaca Young (hm…) make a racket with mics and feedback, effects and objects, grit and gristle, and also some gumption. Their noise tape on their very own noise label (cat# 001!) is filled to bursting with exotic intonations, wild and adventurous sonics, and other bizarre cacophony. It’s almost like “Carbus Goes to the Zoo” is a document of sorts of an actual trip to the zoo.

But since it’s not, here’s where the zoo comes to Carbus. The sounds generated by the actions of Shaw and Young replicate many of the different types of sounds you would expect animals to make. Here’s a tiger purring low as it rests in the sunshine. There’s a macaw hollering into the afternoon. Here’s a hippopotamus rumbling toward the water and splashing in. There’s a gibbon hooting in frustration with a coconut. Here’s a swarm of bees surrounding a hive in the giraffe enclosure. There’s the zookeeper rumbling a vehicle past the elephants to replenish their food trough.

See? The zoo came to Carbus. You just have to imagine it.


BODY SHAME “The Solitary Vice” C15 (Bento Records)

Grisly. That’s the Body Shame default setting. Grisly, loathsome – no, self-loathing (duh, Body Shame), and confrontational. The PDX band batters its own self as it cycles through HEALTH and NIN presets, swiftly, mercilessly, and unafraid of collateral damage. Here are the six song titles, and you tell me you can’t hear them in your mind, played on instruments that are falling apart, taped and roped together only to be smashed to utter bits in the end: “Drifter,” “Vampyre (Richard),” “Werewolf (Albert),” “I’m Not What I Am,” “You Disgust Me,” “Eat My Fear.” Clearly a focus on monsters and disconnect and bridges in various stages of “aflame” and “molten.”

And so this EP quickly scorches the earth it flies over. It does so with clusterbombs of malevolence and anger, injecting dread into the listening populace. As such, it’s perfect for the disaffected among us, those dissatisfied with how their lives are turning/have turned out, those of us searching for avenues down which to direct our wrath. Body Shame gives us that seething, screeching avenue, a cathartic primal blast of industrial/noise/post-punk that cascades in shards through our bodily wires, boiling our blood and frying our veins. Hey, sometimes we need that.

PERIOD BOMB / ROSÉ PEREZ “Born in a Bag” (20/20 Records and Tapes)

Femme no wavers Period Bomb return on the A half of a split with Rosé Perez, NOT Rosie Perez, as I was convinced of at first, but then was set straight because Rosie Perez is almost assuredly NOT into splatters of free punk anarchy. ROSÉ Perez on the other hand is – well, they like Period Bomb’s version of it anyway. Despite the fact that they’re a little more on the new than the no wave side. It all comes out in the wash.

Period Bomb’s side features daggers of guitar over mutilated rhythms, with spoken/shrieked/sung vocals intoning vagaries about sexy cowboys and, um, cuntroll [sic] freaks. The vaginal subject matter is not out of the ordinary for the group, and it’s a liberative tool that becomes a weapon when paired with the blasted tunes. Rosé Perez is a kindred spirit, with songs spoken in a valley girl accent while the Gits meet the Go-Go’s in the studio. These combined telecosmic powers subvert societal norms like lawnmowers wielded as weapons would “subvert” the patriarchal hierarchy. Sounds like the plot of a movie waiting to happen.


“Soft Petrification” C60
(Tribe Tapes)

Tribe Tapes has paired two fairly disparate noise artists together for a fairly dynamic experience. For every droning, low-end-less pulse & crackle of Fâlx Çérêbri’s 35 year old live performance, Greathumour answers with a freshly brassy, bassy warble of overhwelming harsh noise bliss/blitz.  &for every sneaky, left-field juxtaposition up FÇ’s sleeve, Greathumour finds a way to temper their own manic hyper-statics into a (relative) lull. 

Not exactly fucking study music, “Soft Petrification” will keep the nervous system just fried enough to meditate lying down whilst not really risking the taking of any quick cat naps.

&again, great J-Card art!


—Jacob An Kittenplan

“Endogeny” C63
(Tribe Tapes)

A true Deep Listening masterpiece! Organic-mechanical vs modular synthesis, brilliant blends of electro-acoustic massage, musique concréte cycles, harvested transmissions from other realms, & abused instrumental interplay. Meandering delay. All morphing frequently and with absolutely unwavering tonal cohesiveness. Restrainedly flirts with harsh noise wall musculature without ever needing to fully lay down that card. All this cut to tape three-plus decades ago and resurrected for your pleasures-in-discombobulation. Stellar J-Card at seals the deal!


—Jacob An Kittenplan

BASTARD CHOSEN “excretions/menarche” (self-released)

The Brothers Zisman here, offer their very own Double Nickles on the Dime, a two-fer, excretions (2017) on one side, menarche (2013) on the other, for a mere ten bucks.

The cover art for excretions has an H.R. Geiger-esque skeletal humanoid hamming it up as Bastard Chosen’s “Eddie” (famed Iron Maiden skeleton mascot, which made a big fuss in a “Don’t Do Drugs” commercial in the 1980s). However, one may suspect the more resonant antecedent for the BC would be one Glenn Allen Anzalone, famed Verotic Comics publisher and/or singer/songwriter for The Misfits, Samhain, and Danzig.

A rebar and concrete foundation hath been laid upon hallowed ground: the distance between Lodi, NJ, and the Bastards’ former stomping grounds of Rockland County, NY. They have since pack’t up their money and pick’t up their tent for the gold rush of PDX,Oregon.

As for the music, initially what surfaces is a steady rhythm section on a panoramic long distance exploration. Sharp-pitched, razor-picked guitar string-age will leave black-hearted headbangers crying with tears of onion-chopping joy. The band works out the jams/ideas with conversational non sequiturs, ie: track 8, what’s goin’ on(?), to which no one replies. The song title alone reads: J Mascis paraphrasing Lou Reed’s What Goes On, while appearing to be the Marvin Gaye consciousness-expanding anthem. To wit, the subtitle for excretions reads: uncut and hairy/raw dog/early mixes.

The LP menarche’s title is defined as the first occurrence of menstruation, and reveals not a small fascination with cycles of life, bodily function, and a hint of existential gloom. A clear thread of connection between these two efforts is the evergreen song blackbirds, it’s original, (bad acid version), and 1000 blackbirds. The early effort, the one under the influence, opens with a Spencer Davis Group-y, Gimme Some Lovin’ bassline. That follows with excretions album closer, just a chord, an optimistic outro, a finger-snapping jazz-club farewell.

Menarche’s cover art is more of a Macross-era manga via electronic microscope blueprint of a Rorschach breed common dog-flea. In an unusual move, BC put the earlier record on second, and any need for explanation disappears with track one of menarche: “time machine”.

Q: What’s the first thing you’d do if you were Marty McFly, carjacking the Professor’s Delorean?

A: Go back to the Philadelphia of 1960, to witness Dee Dee Sharp performing Mash Potato Time. Next stop is Dee Dee Ramone’s house, Queens, NY.

The track time machine’s burly, hooked-out riff/chorus carves a permanent groove into the ear canal database.

The sorta aforementioned/alluded to: mash potato mash up is a dreamy, come-dance-with-me throwback to the bad-old days of will-you-go-steady-with-me-Mary-Lou… with greasy tempo-shifting. The song’s sequel, (part 2) leans more into an Elvis post-Comeback Special bathroom break.

I’m just sayin’, plays as the influential cool uncle to excretion’s what’s goin’ on, where 1000 blackbirds’ Hendrixy, Creamy, Doors-ly-ness intermittently, gracefully pauses mid-power triumvirate, with Olympic-diver grace and micro-splash.

Running thru the remaining tunes: eye of the storm, a post-hurricane Sandy anthem, a tribute to those who lost their cars and took to safety via inflatable dinghy and hockey stick. Raise your glass, mates! tranny won’t change exhibits wild pitch-shifting>eye in the sky (shout out to Sauron) the slow-burn dirge that aborts without warning. The darkest depths of Mordor.

…a faint ghost of BC remains for the remainder of side b, haunting and taunting.





--Adam Padavano

CLARA DE ASÍS “Sans Nom Ni Forme” C30 (Pilgrim Talk)

Spanish artist Clara De Asís is a proponent of active listening, which manifests itself on Sans Nom Ni Forme as partaking in a carefully plotted menagerie of guitar tones. For me, who’s all about that guitar tone, doesn’t matter if it’s Slash and Yngwie, I was ready for action. I’m all about active listening, and also air guitar playing! Then, De Asís threw me the curveball that you smart readers could all see coming from a mile (or sixty feet, six inches) away, and I realized I was thinking of something completely different.

Clara De Asís is incredibly deliberate in her composition. Notes are struck, but one at a time, the sound allowed to reverberate into the environment and take on ambient properties of the room. Feedback is teased and dared to become sentient. Humming drones form sonic equivalents of quiet lakes across which dinghies are rowed as storm clouds gather. No matter how much the outside world works to distract from these delicate pieces, you must never let it in – active listening demands that you devote your full attention to the Sans Nom Ni Forme. And even if it somehow does get in, how does Sans Nom Ni Forme interact with it?

That’s the curiosity. But trust me, it works better if you’re fully invested, fully focused on De Asís’s playing. It’s hypnotic in the end. Not like Dave Mustaine at all.