Friday, June 29, 2007

V/A "BTHO" (Ecstatic Peace)

Born To Hang Out, huh? Is that what all these guys go and do when they leave shows all early and shit? Heh. Just kidding. The concept of this release is that all the artists featured on this comp live within the 90028 zip code in Los Angeles, and, as the name of their posse would suggest, they all hang out together all the time. From this I presume the listener is supposed to glean some kind of sense of how cool it would be to kick it with the SoCal Noise Elite, maybe have a backyard BBQ. Among some, this tape could have the appeal of, say, A Hard Day’s Night, or Ocean’s Eleven—movies whose success is based mostly on how badly the audience wishes they too could hang out with (and be as cool as) their stars.
It is mentioned in the press release that this is the first cassette on Ecstatic Peace in well over twenty years. Apparently the label is a little rusty on how this whole thing should work. First off: by some anomalous dubbing fiasco, my copy of BTHO contains absolutely no audio in the right stereo channel. None. Totally silent. Both sides of the tape. I don’t know how much I am missing by only hearing the left channel. Maybe the tape contains sing-alongs that I’m not hearing because all the vocals are crammed into the right channel in tribute to Phil Specter’s production techniques from the late 1960’s. Secondly: the artwork is pretty janky—a pixilated picture on a flimsy piece of printer paper cut slightly too large to fit into the cassette case but crumpled up and rammed in nonetheless. And finally: the tabs aren’t popped out on the cassette itself. Do they want me to tape over this?
Side A begins with a track by The Cherry Point (AKA Phil Blankenship) named for actress Kelli Maroney. Though little connection can be drawn between the music and Maroney’s masterpieces, Night of the Comet and Chopping Mall, it is a very satisfying slab of noise. Thinner sounding than TCP’s other material, a smaller frequency range is employed without sacrificing any of the harshness. What we’re left with is a blistering mid/high range sizzle with some occasional whistling feedback.
The Sissy Spacek track “Bannanas” is a cut-up collage of a quartet lineup of the band. The source material seems to all be acoustic, as if the members of the band were banging around on whatever they could find in somebody’s kitchen. C. Spencer Yeh (who definitely does not live in the 90028 zip) joins the usual crew of John Wiese, Corydon Ronnau and Danny McClain with some frantic violin sawing. The whole thing kinda sounds like a bunch of Martians fighting about groceries—low-fi clanging and jibbering with all the fussiness of an Evan Parker/Derek Bailey duo, but with all the aggression of, well, Sissy Spacek.
Allen Pyle is the solo project of Shannon Walter, a recent émigré to LA and member of 16 Bitch Pile-Up. Her track “Total Fuckingly” is quite nice—heavy crackling with bursts of out-of-control feedback. I can’t help but imagine it’s power is severely neutered when only one channel is audible.
Tom Grimley really was born to hang out. Seeing him play is pretty much the most fun a person can have in Los Angeles. If you don’t know his deal, look him up. To describe the nature of his performances would require much more space and attention than the format of the cassette review will allow. Suffice it to say that any recording pales in comparison to the experience of witnessing it live—yet the recording still fucking rules.
Obstacle Corpse (Ronnau again) closes out side A with a track that sounds just like Obstacle Corpse—which is great for people outside of LA, because this project is sadly under-documented, but for those of us who get to hear him play live every couple of weeks, the piece is pretty unsurprising.
Damion Romero’s “Faux Vespa (For Joe Colley)” could very well be an unprocessed recording of a scooter engine—perhaps the spiritual (smaller) sister to his 3”CD Idle, on P-Tapes. John Wiese’s track is probably very nice, but ill-suited to the cassette medium whose signal to noise ratio is too high for the type of subtlety and quietude he’s attempting. Again: maybe the left channel makes the whole thing come together much better.
Seven Depressions is the duo project of Damion Romero and Shannon Walter. The multiple appearances by some artists on this comp seems a little bit cheap, but how many people can really live in the same zip code, right? (This recombination only hints at the hilarity that is Traumatic Stress, the one-sided 7” whereon every possible combination of Wiese, Blankenship and Ronnau is explored, all within five minutes.) The tape ends with a piece by GX Jupitter-Larsen of The Haters— a Morse code message which I can only imagine decodes to: “Born to hang out? WTF? Nobody has seen me at a noise show in LA in more than a year.”
And then, because the material on side B is shorter than that on side A, there is a long long silence until the tape actually stops. Grrrrrrr.
Honestly, it’s too bad this isn’t better. Several of these tracks are great, and every one of the artists on this comp is a serious heavyweight. If Ecstatic Peace decides to release any more cassettes after this, I hope the quality of the dubbing/artwork/everything matches the quality of the content with which they've been entrusted.
BTW: this reviewer is looking forward to the inevitble beefs that will arise out of the creation of noise crews such as this. Look at what happens with the Diplomats, G-Unit, D-Block, etc. Personally, I can't wait for the BTHO vs. Scum Crew mixtapes to start hitting the streets.

THE PURPLE CRAYONS (Hardlycore)

Obscure coed pop band who love merry-go-round keyboard/organ/piano melodies and toy-radio compressed girl vocals. Quintessential K Records disciple gestures. Low-mixed lyrics about…love? Dreamy and sad and wishing it was 1987-1992 and Olympia, WA everywhere. Also: enough ivory tickling for even the most fervent Ben Folds fan. Comes with a Scooby Doo ticket, a heavily heart-stamped J-card, and pertinent Myspace URLs. Tape is spray-painted pink and purple to get you in the mood.

BLUE SHIFT (Night People)

Blue Shift is one girl from Providence, RI who stands facing into a big amplifier and plays the electric violin really violently. The time I saw her play in a Val Verde living room was harsh and shoegazy and cult. Total feedback immersion, shrieking string-scrapes, hair flying, back to the crowd, head down. This self-titled CS on Night People is a cut-and-paste document of some semi-recent live sets of hers, and finds her in a far more classical mood. Several of the pieces are accompanied by stomping drums, but the majority are just an unamplified violin bowing out some weird, wandering note-flurries and then stopping. Lo-fi, mild, fine. Way less raging/demented than the epic “incinerated humanoid” cover art suggests. Maybe I caught her on a wild night. Or a drunk one. I do recall Aaron from Sword Heaven standing on his head in a kiddy pool screaming across the hillside.

TASKMASTER "Get Dead" (Rundownsun)

So Rundownsun puts out the most consistently elegant cassettes in the underground these days. They’re seriously beautiful, well designed, well dubbed. This Taskmaster tape, however, bothers the hell out of me. Not because it isn’t good—it is. But within the folds of the nicely screened j-card is a copy of a permit to cultivate marijuana in Canada. What the hell? This is harsh noise. You’re not in Smegma, dude. I don’t care if you smoke weed, I just don’t wanna know about it. The downfall of the wall aesthetic may very well be brought about by an association with stoney space-out jammyness. We shouldn’t be able to credit the noise’s unchanging nature to the fact that its creator is blazed out of his gourd and forgot to twist the knobs. Anyway: the tape itself is really damned good. It sounds fucking huge. Side B, especially, sounds like a nuclear holocaust observed from hundreds of miles away.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

WEREWOLF JERUSALEM "Surrounded By Fangs" (Rundownsun)

Apt artwork—the j-card: mostly white. The noise: mostly white. While everyone in noise hops on the “total crunch obsession” bandwagon, Richard Ramirez’s Werewolf Jerusalem project spends two sides of this c26 investigating the nature of hiss. The sound source for these pieces seems to be white noise (in the mathematical sense, as opposed to the Don DeLillo sense) which is altered slightly throughout. Ramirez brings up certain frequency ranges, distorts them, pulls out others—it’s all quite subtle. Hiss, a nice EQ, some compression—which is to say that I like it quite a bit. It is an unusual sound, not something most harsh heads are interested in these days, but becomes quite haunting and evocative in its own windy way. Super highly recommended.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

BONECLOUD “XI: XI” (Buried Valley)

Irish drone duo Quetzacoatl dropped dirty dozens of hazy, sprawling smoke-psych statements across an international array of micro-labels before secretly splitting up and not telling anyone. Now, of course, word is out, and half the Quetz crew has resurrected under the solo moniker Bonecloud. But what’s in a name? Nothing. XI: XI sounds just like any other 2006 Quetzacoatl CDR – damp delay fogbanks, oscillating currents of electric amnesia, hissy tape loops spinning in the sky. Everything dissolves into itself, you lose track of time, and the C20 stops. Go buy another.

BENJAMIN FRANKLIN “Takes Time” (Bread and Animals)

Don’t know if that’s really the title of this tape, but one insert just has drawings of dripping pizza on it, and the other insert has a family of tigers b/w a car farting photoshop scribble. So….good luck with that. Lieven has a golden ear for curating/cultivating 3D lunatic musicality, and this 1-sided neon green Ben Franky CS keeps that legacy more than alive and well. Fingerpicked guitar jaunts, pilates relaxation tape soundtrack synth work, cheap Casio gothic/bluegrass drum beats sped up way too much (??)…it’s all here, and it’s all a good head-scratch. More odd Belgian tape goo from the land where you can NEVER have enough of this kinda shit apparently. Maybe it’s the wine talking, but I think I really like this tape. Now I have to rewind…

Thursday, June 21, 2007

NOMEN DUBIUM “The Bering Sea” (DNT)

Apparently this is one of Tynan’s friends, and the dude’s first tape. It’s not bad. Reminds me a lot of that Pillars of Heaven CS from several reviews back. Woozy one-man loop-scapes…lots of echo, oscillating tones, loosely new age hazy electronics beauty. Never gets too intense or purposeful, but I guess it’s less wishy-washy than some stuff in this genre. Pixellated cover art of a telephone pole looks way too much like an ad for one of those terrible Vice Magazine t-shirt companies that there seems to be ten billion of. Gets points for being dubbed louder than the last few DNT tapes.

NNCK “The Large Taquat” (Fuck It Tapes)

Wow. Jeremy Earl pulls some Fuck It strings and scores 11-year old archival No Neck recordings for this historical C37. NNCK are definitely a band who left me in the dust so long ago, discography-wise, that I haven’t really heard much of the past 3-5 years worth of releases/albums. So it’s a treat to get this. Can’t tell if it’s all just live in the practice space, or if the tracks were spliced together, but the editing/pacing is fantastic, way more thoughtful and focused than I think they’re often pegged as being. Plucked Asiatic strings give way to waves of flute drones and quiet hand drums…synth specters flutter in the rafters, bearded voices sing against the city. Communal brain-leeching in the style pioneered by NNCK (and Sunburned) inevitably produces some bored/boring passages where the gang’s each lost in their own respective K-holes, but most of Taquat has been shaved of hairy wankery. Overall, a poignant, faded Polaroid of this legendary crew of psych-squatters back in their younger days/daze. Swank glossy tri-fold J-card keeps the FIT standard up to par.

UTON “Live In Death” (Bread and Animals)

Everything I had heard by this band previously was deeply vague, hushed, Finnish intimacy. So I wasn’t prepared for this. A paint-soaked 1-sided CS collecting 3 wild live recordings from shows in France and…somewhere else (the writing/info is mainly illegible), Live In Death finds Uton in a far more fucked and confrontational headspace. The “Live in Paris” jam builds from standard Fonal-style post-folk clatter into a racing, ritual frenzy dense with electric menace and group death focus. Easily the single most powerful Uton recording I’ve ever heard. The second piece, “Live in Reims,” is even more fried and wigged-out, with freaky exorcism vocal convulsions and shuddering tonal meltdowns. In person, this must’ve KILLED. Senselessly, the insert is covered with elementary school squirrels nibbling on nuts. Oh, Lieven.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

ALTAR OF FLIES "Consequences" (Husk Records)

Swedish artist Mattias Gustafsson has maintained a prolific output in the two years that he has been releasing material under the Altar of Flies moniker. What sets "Consequences" apart from the legions of mixer-effects-feedback-loop projects is its sense of space, timing and consistency of atmosphere. Right off the bat the churning, guttural spasms and oscillations like helicopter blades brought to mind the likes of Withdrawal Method or Charlie Draheim, albeit with little or no microphone feedback. Side two is more sparse than suffocating, with high pitched waves sharply contrasting with dark junk metal destruction followed by a ridiculously strange duet between a double bass and an animal like thumping sound. Only during brief moments does "Consequences" dip into full-on harsh rumble except for the conclusion to the second side. Most of the recording is subdued, but only in the most foreboding sense. Finally, the package features some fine "gross but clean" design work by Mattias Frisk, including a hilariously demented take on the Jagermeister logo. Nice.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

ISRAELI INTELLIGENCE "Disingenuous" (Parsimoneous Recurrence)

What appears to be the house band (or one of a few?) of this questionably titled label (not to go all [sic] on anyone if it was a creative decision) has released some really decent splattered and frantic junk noise. "Disingenuous" is delivered with violent methods but its real spirit isn't too serious. The gross squeals and yowls which randomly bob from the epileptic pandemonium are more goofy than threatening. It's also kept short and to the point, which is always a good thing and warrants multiple plays. The package equals the griminess of the sound with a "spray paint everything black" philosophy.

For whoever cares: if you google "parsimoneous," you get this label and a bunch of entries for the "parsimoneous modeling of yield curves for US Treasury bills."

Sunday, June 17, 2007

RUSSIAN TSARLAG (Green Tape)

Fucked up C3 of stone-classic bafflement from America’s greatest living weirdo visionary nomad, Carlos Gonzales. Far, far, far away from the relative sanity of his art-thrash days in Dynasty and Byron House, Russian Tsarlag captures a couple of the bad trip sing-alongs he was pushing during his last doomed leg of U.S. shows in December/January-ish. Drugged monotone ramblings about egg sandwiches and bleach parties over incompetent hand-clapping accompaniment. Naked, disturbing, minimal, and insane. Anyone who caught one of his shows from this era knows what I’m talking about. Green slime face paint, Manson-damaged lyrics, and underground music’s most charismatic moustache. For fans of living life in a straightjacket.

DHOOM “Tlachtga” (Caligula)

Blazing C20 of spazzy bass/drums prog-punk from this Pacific Northwest duo. The riffs range from tentacled NoMeansNo fretwork freak-outs to half-time metal breakdowns to little league Lightning Bolt blur frenzies. It’s all over the place, but it’s 95% instrumental, except for some scattered lo-fi puke-screaming buried in the background. The music would probably feel a lot heavier if the snare drum wasn’t so ridiculously tight…the sticks hitting it sounds like amplified popcorn popping. Which is sort of how Brian Chippendale’s kit sounds too. Or 311’s. Somewhere between the two. Tape comes in an awesome thick box covered with photocopied graffiti.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

FROZEN CORPSE “Acid Bubble” (Bread and Animals)

More alcoholic rigormortis from these prolific Belgian resin-scrapers. Carlo and Eva squint red-eyed at a table overflowing with wires and beers and slowly spit on their favorite cords and plugs. Pedals short-circuit, power adaptors fry, Carlo burns a pack of smokes, and Eva giggles. This if life on Planet Corpse. The Antwerp equivalent of the Fag Tapes/Sick Llama school of non-thought. Scuzzy aimless bong residue spread across the inside of yr skull. Very Deathbomb-circa-2000/photoshop-looking artwork.

FANTASTIC SLEEP “New Masters” (Phantom Limb)

Heavy drone/clatter collab project between Ged/Fantastic Ego and Grant/Sleepwalkers Local 242. Awesome methodical mix of crushing sustained bliss, reverb ghost noise, and Glassell Park beard unity. The A side is composed of 4 shorter trance sessions, while the B side is a single hulking 27-minute mind-scramble of meandering echo and psychedelic gas-huffing. A good new force in LA’s delay pedal contingent.

Friday, June 15, 2007

MYRTU “Ritual Terra Continuii” (Tipped Bowler)

Amp squeals, scraping violin strings, sampled voice babble, low-end rumblings: Myrtu have all the rough-hewn tools of the “baffle squad method” firmly in their toolbelt. The A side clatters and rambles in a shop-full-of-shit sorta style before a freak rolls in and starts riffing a drug-punk 2-note bassline which sounds out of place at first, but then it starts ruling, and then everyone else in the band starts to realize how much it’s ruling, so they stop what they’re doing and just start screaming, like “GO!! YEAH!!! WHOA!!!” like it’s a soccer game (or a drinking game). One guy keeps rattling some dirty dishes percussion but basically everyone’s done jamming, they’re just watching the bass player go apeshit and headbanging to their own song. Cool! They keep trucking on the B track, constant bass-sludge death-crawl riffing…like if the DNA of Independent Worm Saloon gestated into New Zealand fake-Satan black-acid occultists (instead of Austin butthole suicide wastoids). Fucked up. Gross. Awesome.

MOONMILK “Hidden Speech” (DNT)

The quietest-dubbing tape label in the land is back with another hissy, murk work of tonal studies. Moonmilk is Lia and Kell and they find frequencies they like and let them oscillate in muted stasis for several minutes, then add a high-pitched whine, or an extra layer of radio static, or a stereo-panned air conditioning unit, then fade out. Despite the name, there’s very little lunar or milky about the proceedings here. More of a numb, mechanistic sleepwalking vibe to these recordings, like a field recording of an electronics reply shop in the Valley after midnight…just one or 2 tired individuals slowly dealing with dusty machinery. The B side is twice as loud and ten times more new age (well, the first half is anyway…then the rotating turbines get turned back on), so I prefer it on principle. But crudely folded oversized artwork of grainy, black-and-white photoshoppery doesn’t humanize the experience any. For fans of T3: Rise of the Machines.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

NONHORSE “Xol Mic” (Abandon Ship)

Holy shit. Mr. GL Crane is back in the solo saddle, and this time he’s got something to SAY. After Rigor Lore’s exploratory symbioses and Drone Moral’s mellow light brigade, Xol Mic feels like some full-on OPUS shit. Overt tape-ripping, yearning female voices, bright buzzing clouds of smokescreen noise-dream…this is a long, strange trip. 90 non-stop minutes of Non-Horseplay might be a bit too much for frailer-eared souls to ingest, but Abandon Ship chose to crank out 300 of these monsters for planetary consumption, so it might end up being his most widely-heard release. Which would be rad actually, as this is definitely the weirdest, vastest, and most tangled labyrinth he’s ever carved on to cassette. Every musical instrument and sound effect ever invented stops by at some point for a cameo appearance. It’s like We Are The World or one of those guest star-stuffed orgy TV specials. Nothing and no one is excluded. This tape is a universe.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

CHARLES BALLS “Love Affair With Lieven’s Sweaters” (Bread and Animals)

Canada’s favorite amplified garglers pick up the piss pot and pour it on their head. A million minutes of aural intestinal discomfort, tape deck attention deficiency, and field recordings of dehydrating manure. Affectionately titled after the Cosby fashion sensibilities of Bread and Animal’s generous proprietor, “L.A.W.L.S.” cunningly blurs the line between “defective sound effects library” and “avant-sonic schizophrenic synesthesia.” Contact-miked jars of dead bugs have rarely sounded this…radio-ready? For fans of sound.

Monday, June 11, 2007

ANTLER PISS "Spit Plain" (Deep Fried Tapes)

Deep Fried Tapes: it tastes like it sounds. You'll have to boost some decibels to hear this stuff, so the tape hiss is really a member of the band. DFT's Philadelphia address is a surprise since one would have a rough blindfold test picking this Antler Piss joint from that of any number of scum practitioners from the MI-OH-KY arc. But if you know what you like, go ahead and have another scoop. Anything worth doing is worth doing well, even if it's the bleakest, "everything's broken" lounging in a haunted mine shaft circuit fuckery. This is done well. Titillating.
www.deepfriedtapes.org

ARGUMENTIX "Nightmarcher" (Below PDX)

Slooowed field recordings, radio fuzz and all-around dingy 4-track nonsense from the Portland label Below PDX. Is this "sound poetry?" Well, in that whole can o' worms that Nurse With Wound and cohorts opened up, "Nightmarcher" falls on that end. The best vocals remind me of Golum having an existential crisis (wasn't he already?); preferable to other sections where homeboy is ranting artistically about being overcharged for dinner. Select moments with gross-out throat junk or lonely train horns (one of my favorite things) are compelling enough, but as per the norm with this fast-paced collage stuff the goods vanish on impact. Congrats due for the sweet packaging featuring a screen-printed wallpaper (!) insert and a classy color-coordinated spraypaint and sticker combo on the cassette. If only texture was a consideration for more people, this world would be a better place.
www.belowpdx.com

Sunday, June 10, 2007

NAPOLEON BLOWNAPARTE “Sometimes It Hurts” (Green Tape)

Genuine Midwest anti-fi confusion fuckery. Deranged drum messes, maddening SK-1 casio babble…in a couple places the tape even “skips” (where the CDR master it was dubbing from skipped in the CD player). Hold on, I need to check out Thesaurus.com for synonyms for “mess.” Ok, cool…yeah, this is a seriously untidy hodgepodge. A hectic rat’s nest monstrosity. Green Tape is the most deathless label in the world, though. Bic pen-scrawled inserts, cover art ripped out of a phone book, answering machine-fidelity recordings, and a bit of lime-colored adhesive – these are the tools of their empire. Genuflect and get blown apart.

THE REGGAEE “Balthar” (Tipped Bowler Tapes)

Don’t know how yr supposed to pronounce this band name, but I just say it like Bob Marley style, “The Reggae.” (What’s up with that extra ‘E’?). Anyway, this spraypaint-streaked C20 is pleasant enough. The A side is soft fog levitation...with wooden tapping, shell chimes, overweight specters mumbling from within a dream. Stumbles around for a little and closes the door. The B side is basically the same, with a stuttering loop and lots of muffled “clumsy wraith” percussion murk. It drifts like that for the better part of 10 minutes and then devolves into rodent scratching. The J-card’s far more baffling than the music: blurry, computer-printed art of a Senor Frog’s-style trio of goofy lizards playing with balloons. WTF?! Also, as seems to be a mandatory thing with the TBT label, each tape comes with a printed page of a random Sherlock Holmes story. Let’s do it non-acronym-style this time: What The Fuck.

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

BILL NACE + CHRIS COOPER (Open Mouth)

Tense, harrowing and insane improv guitar convo between these 2 chaos kings. Nace knows how to work form-eating string abuse better than anyone, and Cooper’s phat, worm-needling error approach has a billion micro-lesions of cellular complexity. They ping-pong psycho-ward screams and springs and scrapes and scoops (?!) and whatever other non-Guitar Center axe madness they can forge across this liberating magnetic tape tie-dying session. Vibe is vast though, ranging from atom-splitting frenzies to warped, hallway-vibration meditations. Only for cult/grim fans of “psychic fucked madness.” High art so high it’s obliterated in the ionosphere.

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

REALICIDE / KAI split (Realicide Youth - ?)

Cincinnati, OH noisy hardcore with an emphasis on ear-piercing highs. No label info on this one, so I'm guessing self released? Realicide start off with what sounds like an amplified digital alarm clock. One of the most horrible things you can force someone to listen to, really. "Lowershop Pirate Radio, San Francisco 07-04-04" is all feedback, scratchy howls and frustration, then it becomes chopped up as if the band put down everything and started flipping through the radio to see what else was on. If you're lucky you might pick out the sound of instruments. The Kai side was blank, so I can't say much there.

Monday, June 4, 2007

CJA "Taken Off a Cross & Laid in a Tomb" (Peasant Magik)

CJA is Clayton Noone, "one of the leading figures in the post HCorp scene" according to the Peasant Magik website, and has operated under different monikers (The Futurians, Armpit, Wolfskull) within several years. A collage of out-takes from a previous release entitled "Ironclad" on the Last Visible Dog / Digitalisa labels, "Taken Off a Cross" is disjointed but intimate. I wanted to like the absent-minded strumming and quiet ambiance more than I could, but enjoyed it more on subsequent listens when it became an unfocused background. Peasant Magik once again comes through with a nicely designed color cover and numerous inserts.
www.peasantmagik.net

various artists "JK TAPES 1" (JK Tapes)


The new compilation by JK Tapes, their first release actually, is massive and wide in range. The aural variance is overwhelming at first. One might consider this to be best all-star document of what is mainly the west coast underground music since the Not Not Fun Bookworms Eat Tape Worms 2xCS comp. I think the best way to approach this review is to really analyze close up what tracks work really well and which don’t. But for this reason I’m not going to end up talking about any of the bands I thought I would. All the artists I normally enjoy on this release contributed merely really good tracks, in some cases not even that. So thereby we won’t be discussing Yuma Nora, Child Pornography, Rose For Bohdan or even Whitman, though they are all exceedingly dope when taken as a whole.

The really bizarre thing about this record is that the track that I enjoy the most, and actually, find to be something close to transcendent is by a band that in normal everyday practice I hate more than almost any other. I do believe I have been quoted as saying, on multiple occasions, Silver Daggers are the worst band in LA. I cannot stand to be in the same room as their grating angular shit squeal. I find them utterly un-enjoyable, especially live. Now that I’ve been perfectly candid, I must admit with equal aplomb that the best track on this compilation by far, is the one they are responsible for, and that’s despite the track having a horrendous art punk title “World Peace in Mass Decline.” This track latches onto a solid shimmering groove, adds jittery fills then suddenly breaks into a shaky slab of robot ska. The sax is smooth, the guitar is subtle – thank god – and the bass is driving and steady. Rather than feeling like I’m on the torture rack, I feel like I’m in the industrial Caribbean on some kind of confused holiday, but I’m enjoying it because I’m drunk on equally powerful alcohol.

Close runner up and the next track to awaken me from my generally impassive worldview is that by the shamefully underappreciated Jacob Smigel. I guess living in Las Vegas can cause people to have that error in judgment against you. “Snowball in Hell” is all about delivery, which is where Smigel excels. This is a simple song, broken in half by a strange skit; nothing special were it not for Smigel’s wistfully optimistic cadence. He has one of the best voices around.

This great track is followed directly by one of the album’s worst contributions. Yes, it’s recorded well, the playing is good, but everything seems so trite. The Sharp Ease’s grrrl vocals recall verbatim a hundred bands who had their heyday in post Kathleen Hanna America. The problem is Hanna moved on, while this band feels engulfed in a time they aren’t/can’t be a part of.

Though I dislike it, at the very least the above track is recorded well, seems to at have a solid goal in mind. The Futurians, on the other hand, sound the way I imagined Silver Daggers would have, if they met my lowest expectations. There is no purpose to this song. Next time try…just s little! Believe me, producing a product someone can give two shits about is good for both band and listener alike. It makes everyone feel good.

Directly on the heels, of this vacant shit fest, comes another album highlight by Cole Miller. At first I believed this to be a bizarre head fuck by the dude known as Toxic Loincloth, mainly because it begins as a somber pop tune that is suddenly interrupted by what is an entirely different song, which proceeds to play directly over the previous track. The tone couldn’t be more different – driving sax punk superseding droll sad pop, which again returns to the forefront during a lonely wail. But the Casette Gods editor informed me this was not a track by that Cole Miller, but another entirely and that the strange interruption was actually the compiler accidentally opening a Silver Daggers mp3 while dubbing. Though the effect is interesting, I feel bad for Cole Miller whose song is sabotaged by someone else’s music. His song starts well too, a strong voice and it only returns to the forefront after the song’s crescendo is in progress. Do I like it the way it is? Yes. But serio, a dude deserves to have his song heard.

All in all, this tape is quite interesting and the variety and the quality of the flow is consistent, which helps weaker tracks float instead of sinking and there are a lot of really good tracks to be found. I would definitely recommend purchasing this monster because as far as comps go the overall quality is pretty consistent with something for all parties, from noise heads (check out side 4, which is a deep psychedelic slurry with good contributions by Realicide and Haunted Castle) as well as for pop dorks. Songs range from the utterly saccharine (Stomache Aches) to panicked drugged negativity (Gowns – I like it). I wish some of the dubbing had been more careful, but it is well worth its reasonable sticker price ($8) http://www.jktapes.tk/