Monday, March 19, 2012

Guest Review IV - -
VELVET ELVIS + ENDLESS CAVERNS

This guest review is by Daniel Letson of Berkeley, CA. Let the fur fly.

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velvet elvis - no rules in the wasteland (cae-sur-a)

  • http://www.cae-sur-a.com/ve-no-rules/

When I first read the name "Velvet Elvis" I couldn't help but imagine some B-list Geffen cut-out or a 6th-wave freakbeat act. Instead, I ended up with a 30-odd minute tape full of plodding, canonical stoner rock, and Hawkwind-ish hard-fantasy vocal stylings. One side-legnth epic with requisite Moorcock/Frazetta imagery dominates, while the B-side is a few more mid-length chooglers.

In their own minds, Velvet Elvis is churning out hi-grade Sleep-axis riff rock, but on tape, Bongzilla is probably a little closer to the mark. Despite acceptable chops, and a certain recidivist chutzpa, nothing sticks. Guitars chug and cymbals clang, but I'd be hard pressed to call it psychedelic, and even harder pressed to call it important. The rich tape distortion keeps the whole affair on this side of lifeless, while the slogging "soundscape" at the end is a perverse highpoint, as keening feedback and (pro)found sounds display a modicum of stylistic liquidity. In the band's defense, this kind of outing might have been given a pass 5 years ago, when bespectacled beardos sipped craft beers and Slayer onesies were flying off the shelves. Today, it's innovate or die, and this kind of heavy middling isn't flipping any lids.

endless caverns - sensei deprevation I-III (existential cloth)

  • http://getoffthecoast.blogspot.com/2010/11/sensei-deprivation-ii.html
  • http://www.discogs.com/Endless-Caverns-Sensei-Deprivation/release/2644701

I'd never heard Endless Caverns before this tape, but one furtive glance at the unlabeled cover art lets you know this one is coming directly from a "burned mind" headspace. On side one, smokey licks tangle over 3rd world amp buzz and oppressive vibrato throbbing. The saturated fidelity puts a dreamtime haze over the proceedings, as looped n layered guitar lines are bathed in phaser+'wah. On the flip, things go from austere to jazzy, and back again, as melodies cascade and decay, with occasional found sound punctuation. All in all, a pleasant if somewhat monosyllabic exercise in eastern-tinged aural visioneering.

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