Sunday, April 24, 2011

CAVE BEARS "Tragic Ceremony" c52 [Ozonokids]


Yikes, been meaning to get this review up here for awhile but these Cave Bears are so preposterously perplexing I wasn't sure how to generate the feel of this tape into sensical language. Each time I thought I was onto something it was "nope, back to the drawing board."
Silly spoken word snippets start it out but they're taken over by no-fi rock outs--I mean seriously no-fi maybe even anti-fi; agitated vocals, a grinding bass riff, tortured guitar feedback all whipped into an unintelligible mess-one of best portions of the tape. It throbs and oozes, like a pustule-ridden pulsating mutant tongue. There's an odd female voice acoustic ditty in there too. Someone's little brother or sister takes over on the mic during one portion ("This is funny. Oh my God") while the band is just doing some practice jamming. There's some aggro-old timey hillbilly rockin' later on with a feral yelper, someone attacking a twangy guitar and random harmonica interruptions. The first side features a lengthy sample of some guy gushing about his obscure photography magazine collection (or something; he mentions Tonya Harding for some reason at one point) while the Bears add odd snippets of electronic music around the source recording. It's one of my favorite moments on the tape because there's this connection forged between the two oddities, the person in the recording and the people making this recording. This unfortunately lapses into grating dry heaves into the microphone. This is the Cave Bears world, a violent shifting back and forth between something cool and weird and something annoying and weird.
The B-side is full of junk shop dumbassery. Someone sings about a "horror world" and then someone half sings that "murdering is really cool" over a reggae song. This devolves into someone asking "was anyone at the Strange Maine show?" At another point they try singing about a "dragon crystal magic motion" and the "confusion." Aware of the ridiculousness of this whole ordeal one person asks "Where'd the reggae go? Bring back the reggae." The reggae isn't brought back. It just continues to play very quietly. Is this something you want to listen to? That is a question you will have to answer for yourself.
It's hard to categorize this tape because Cave Bears is a band that makes music that loosely resembles songs (except when they're hanging out chatting about whatever enters their minds.) There's almost always guitar, drums and vocals, yet as a creative entity they have no regard for the way you're "supposed" to make songs. Songs are often cut short or interrupted by snagged tape, the singers just say whatever comes to mind, the guitars provide no hooks or melodies, the rhythm section doesn't keep perfect time. It's the kind of thing that some people view as not knowing how you're supposed to play an instrument and others would view as not caring how you're supposed to play an instrument. Some people probably don't see a distinction between the two.
How much I enjoy a Cave Bears release depends on my mood. Sometimes their all-nonsense rock is a lot of bizarre fun. Other times it's an abrasive and generous bestower of headaches. I personally think they could use an editor to put together all the good stuff on a c15 instead of spreading the good stuff over the course of 52 minutes, because this tape did not need to be 52 minutes long. If you do make it through the whole tape though you are rewarded with a nails-on-the-chalkboard cover of "House of the Rising Sun."
Cave Bears... they're one of those bands you either love or you hate, or you think they're okay.
Tragic Ceremony features awesome artwork, kudos to Arnau Sala and his Ozonokids label out in Barcelona.

PEOPLE IN GENERAL - "Manhunter" c21 (Hard Body Sounds)


This was quite a nice surprise.Judging by the minimal b&w cover art, at first glance, this looks like it could be a long lost industrial gem, or some overlooked cold-wave classic.What I found was neither.Manhunter begins with a deep and heady synth progression, and it's already rather compelling and uplifting.The production is nice and warm, and the synth-bass lines remind me of something off Air's Talkie Walkie album.Ultra thick organ movements wash over slow, minimal percussion, and create a relaxed and easy vibe.As things roll on, some lite and breathy vocals begin to echo throughout thick walls of analogs, and things start to come together nicely.Bits of bubbling melodies are sprinkled on top, and give the song a full-bodied sound.The next two tracks are similar in style, and rarely does they ever stagger or get lost in themselves.It's a bit repetitive at times, but the instrumentation is solid enough to hold your attention for the duration.PIG spends little to no time chasing his own tail.Side B presents a somewhat different tone.The songs are a bit darker, and the percussion is a tad more upbeat and driving, giving them a slight contrast."Cool World" is an icy outsider tune, with a minimal, driving beat and hushed vocal delivery that reminds me of Suicide.The songs are moody and moving, and although each of them pulls you in a different direction, Manhunter sticks to it's guns, and remains cohesive and focused.I'm looking forward to what's next for him.Limited edition of 100.
Get it here.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

SICKNESS

There are just too too many amazing tapes that have been floating around in the past months, and in between running a record store/label and booking multiple tours I just haven't had the time to give them all their proper due. Cheers to Kenny for writing up the absolutely stellar Gypsy Treasures tape, that one was high on my list. Here is said list, and it needs to be said that each of these tapes deserves a complete write up. All come highly recommended.



New Blockaders- Live At Morden Tower (Mirror Tapes) - NB at their very best, early '80s live recordings issued for the first time (?) in complete form. Sounds like a bunch of metal being scraped together and shook up, if that's your bag, then do not hesitate because this is very limited.



NNA Tapes - I believe the name of this label stands for Nu New Age, and while you won't find too many surprise in their catalog (Caboladies, Oneohtrix Point Never, Ryan Garbes, Three Legged Race, Nonhorse, Driphouse) all the releases are highly listenable and have a uniform and attractive look.



Limbs Bin - Familiar Combatants (Tickled Meat Productions) - I don't really know what "digital hardcore" is, but I'm guessing this about fits the description. 30 second songs, angry barking and pummeling drum machine mania. Rinse, repeat. What makes this work is actually the repetition and the the sense of humor and caring that comes across in the lovingly assembled packaging (sewn-in info book, lyric sheet). Music made by one Josh Landes of Western Mass, who is a total sweetheart.



Charlie McAlister - Crappie Fishin (package deal #5) (Unread Records) - Here we see the latest in the world of c.mcalister. this long awaited project is entitled "crappie fishin" or "package deal #5" - which follows the same basic theme/scheme of package deals gone by. the cassette contains all new sound collage works compiling various old reel-to-reel tapes, shortwave radio snippits, telephone conversation, skipping records, found sounds, etc. hear the excitement as the tanker truck blows! a strange and surreal trip through a bizzare terrain indeed. The VHS contains the films : mundane calculation & pragmatic vacancy / realms of triple-ism / crappie fishin / making the sandwhich. Items contained in sealed plastic porno bag co-released with SPACE CULT in an edition of only 30 copies.


Blanche Blanche Blanche - Songs of... (Night People) - Just. Absolutely. The. Best. Band. Can you feel the beat of my pop heart?



Russian Tsarlag - Eternal Flame // Mark Lord - Straight From The Hand (Ranky Tanky) - You'll probably want to pick up both of these new releases from this great label run by the guy who does Night Burger. Heather Nicole Young and Dick Neff tapes available too.



Happy Jawbone Family Band - Return To Hotel Double Tragedy (Spooky Town) - an equally winning sequel to last year's Hotel Double Tragedy: gold edition LP on Feeding Tube Records.



Daniel Higgs - Ultraterrestrial Harvest Hymns (Moon Glyph). You know you want this. The whole album was recorded direct to the master tape.



Ecstatic Peace - Our colleagues at E.P. just released 10 new tapes. Some of these may be done and gone already. I have copies if people want, but this NOT a paid advertisement, just you know...whatever. Don't be mad at me! Anyway, there are a few really good ones. The highlights for me are the Black Hole Miami tape (INC style hell) and Body/Head "Fractured Orgasm" (Bill Nace + Kim Gordon). There is also a Stegm double tape that i have yet to check out.

*BODY/HEAD – “Fractured Orgasm” – sick guitar duo Kim Gordon + Bill Nace.
*CALDERA LAKES – “Arranged” – beautiful dream noise from Eva Aguila (Kevin Shields) and Brittany Gould.
*STILLBIRTH – “Before Things Got Worse” - focused noise drama from Luke Moldof (Razors & Medicine).
*LEAH PEAH – solo cassette of harsh noise love from member of Head Molt.
*BLACK HOLE MIAMI – “Pure Hell” – over the top trio of Rat Bastard (To Live & Shave in LA), Ulrich Krieger (Zeitkratzer) and Chris Grier (Scarcity of Tanks, etc.).
*BLYTH HOLES – “Blyth Graveyard” – kitchen table UK harsh electronics super-trio of George Proctor (Mutant Ape), Ben Jones (Jazzfinger) and Dean Glaister (Romance). Artwork by Kim Gordon.
*STRANGE BREW – “Live Weird, Die Weird” – solo noise action from Ann Arbor, Michigan legend Michelle Birawer.
*SOUND OF POT / PEWT’R – split cassette from Western Mass underground wizards, exploring internal synth moves. SoP: Conrad Capistran (Tarp), Pewt’r: Ron Schneiderman (Sunburned). Cover art by Thurston Moore.
*WEIRD HABIT – amazing new solo venture from Sarah Bernat of 16 Bitch Pile-Up.
*STEGM – “On Tight White Sheets” – 2Xcassette in white vinyl case. Killer harsh noise project of Canada power electronics master Ryan Bloomer.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

GYPSY TREASURES - "Buried Goods" c27 (Not Not Fun)



Aria Jalali, otherwise known as Railcars, dips into some seriously heavy drone-worship with his new Gypsy Treasures project.Buried Goods is quite the suitable title, delivering it's unearthly trances in a tarnished gold chalice that's overflowing with Eastern European influence, and mystery.These four songs possess a loose, yet calculated vibe, and a fully realized stagger through sprawling psych wastelands, and murky dub territories.Watery, nomad guitars drip with heavy treatments, washing over the stumbling percussion thumps and rattles, as if they are unraveling an ancient gypsy tale of some sort.Some fairly entrancing slow-gallop percussion holds it all in place, with it's organic, hypnotizing thump.Things are so nicely layered, and the instrumentation is spot on.You can almost hear that stolen baby being traded for some gold pieces in some tattered old shack.As repetitive as things may seem at first, this cassette holds plenty of deep, dark secrets.Tiny hidden rhythms just seem to unfold in front of you with each listen, and things never seem to sound the same twice.This was MADE for NNF to release.Pure magic.