Monday, April 30, 2012

Joe Kile "Songs About the Same Old Stories" (Unread Records)


I remember sitting on a porch at a small house just east of downtown Austin, drinking Lone Star's, passing a semi-hollow body guitar back and forth with a friend visiting from Houston, looking at the dead brown lawn that was more dirt than grass, and thinking about how goddamn hot it was getting outside. It was the beginning of June and we were sweating our asses off just sitting there singing and playing music. This memory is the first image I have after pushing the play button on my cassette deck. The sounds I hear come courtesy of singer-songwriter Joe Kile. Alone with his acoustic guitar and twang vocals, his collection of tales of living by six strings and heartbreak is titled, "Songs About the Same Old Stories."

Kile, to my ears, is a disciple of the school of Guy Clark and Townes Van Zandt. Though his rustic poetry doesn't reach the heights of Van Zandt's (an impossible task, TVZ is untouchable), Kile's songs do recall Clark and the southern Texas, Louisiana, up to Tennessee country folk tradition. I love the hiss of this album. It sounds like it was recorded alone in an empty house or good sized shed. Maybe it was early in the AM and Kile didn't want to wake the family that was letting him sleep on their couch after a gig. The album's title is both tongue in cheek and accurate because his genre-style of lonesome acoustic picking does tend to tell the "same old stories," but they're good stories and that's all that really matters. Kile's fingerpicking riffs roll off the guitar as natural as a mountain stream runs after heavy rains. My favorite tune here is called "One Day Behind" and it starts off Side B with the kind of spot on melancholy typical of the introspective songwriter, but I love it just the same.

One small complaint: the cassette's packaging. I enjoyed the music and that's what counts, but the hand cut j-card (unfortunately paper of the thinner variety) and copy machine layout left me wishing for something more. I do love the typewriter aesthetic of Unread Records & Tapes though. In the end, I'd recommend this to fans o' folk quite happily. 


Buy HERE.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Andrew Felix - Intermediate State (Enter).

Put this tape on and let it hit all of the senses: wind chime, machine, vibration, calm, calculus, marching. It's a knowing blade cutting between two worlds and when you let the capillaries regrow between them you'll see how everything is connected for proper blood flow. Point A to Point B. Wet coat and dry coat. Battalion to quieting. Exploding then reassembling. Cryogenics then thawing. It can all be rendered much more reliably with nuance than grenade. Take this tape on the freeway during rush hour and laugh at how conflicted everyone is. Take it on an airliner and sense the landing gear retract up then lower down. Know before and after, settle into calm. Cruising altitude. The drone is pure and drone is power of cellular vibrations. Breathe it until sounds are solidified and replace your own form in transition. Drink reflection from a pond and step back to see it looking up at you. Strata in a slice of mountain angles: did you count them? Did you count your own rings? You can guess at the number. It's just marbles in a very large jar that sits quietly until it is noticed by your former self. Focus on how everything connects in transition, the end to the beginning and the middle to both halves. Get this tape and find a better place within or that will come.
Purchase yourself a copy from I Had An Accident Records

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

coming soon...

Hey readers,

I've been out of town/silent for a bit.  I hope to get to writing again today or tomorrow, because I've got some really exciting music in my pile here: 4 tapes from Pittsburgh's VCO label, 8 new Night People tapes, 4 from Friends & Relatives, 2 from the amazing band Guerilla Toss, 3 from the Crash Symbols label, tons of stuff I got at the Raw Meet in Boston last weekend and lots lots more.  If you sent me something, it will be reviewed soon, I promise!  For now, please enjoy this video:


Sunday, April 22, 2012

FROM KETTLES TO CLOAKS "Oral Obligations" c30


Ugh surf revival opener with a girl moaning on top - then a linda sharrock style free slop - neext a tribal beat with more shrieks and moans. Followed again in a 'black woman' mode - which falls into a stoner rock tempo complete with more occasional wordless female moans. The more up-tempo tracks next are a lot better, but this whole thing is pretty scattered - definitely prefer the tracks with the male vocalist. Pretty standard rock instrumentation - guitars, bass, drums, saxophone, some tape-speed effects. Photo above is the cover art, if you're intrigued take a trip over to their bandcamp.

Came with a hand-written note to the reviewer, which was very much appreciated.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

DOLORES BOYS "DOLORES BOYS" (psychic mule records)


This showed up in the mail last week - popped it in and the tape was blank
Found it'd been previously reviewed by Barrett on CG - HERE

I needed a new blank tape to do some recording - so this was very convenient.
Keep the blank tapes coming - love it

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Dense Reduction "Aina Exchange" and Knit Prism (OMM)

The Offices of Moore & Moore is a label I know nothing about and I like it that way. One evening I came home from work to discover a package containing two tapes housed in attractive, what I call "books on tape," cases with obtuse art addressed to me from OMM. The first cassette I popped in my player was by a duo who call themselves Dense Reduction. The album, Aina Exchange, features a picture of a curious cat (named Zeus according to the credits) in a dark cluttered living room or office space on its cover. This gives little indication of the noise sculpting contained within. I was utterly mystified by the artwork and its playful, almost Jandekian photo. Dense Reduction's music isn't particularly playful, though its not aggro-freaky either. I loved the music for the snapping hiss and single focused density. The second side of the tape wasn't as packed with sound info, but it made me appreciate the overall effort. There's only 40 of these bad boys out there so I suggest some investigation is in your future.


Time is funny thing. It can move fast or appear to crawl by at a snail's pace. Knit Prism seem to prefer the slow side of life. Sub Sub Sub sonic textures dominate both sides of the thirty plus minute affair here. The tape has two side long compositions, titled "Prosper the Copper Crow" and "Appropriate Measures," respectively. Each composition has keyboard drones buried in the slow sludge murk of low end frequencies. This definitely isn't speeding music. This is narco-haze and I found it fit a late night listen a little too well. It creeped me out, but not in knife toting coked up clown kinda way. The artwork for this cassette, also contained in a case similar to that of the Dense Reduction release, features crayon and pencil drawings of random objects such as a jar of mustard, reading glasses, an ashtray, and feet. Don't ask me what it all means.


Explore OMM HERE.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Diamond Terrifier - "Shrine Flu" cs (Words+Dreams)


  Sam Hillmer aka: saxophone man-machine behind Brooklyn avant-chamber/noise/everything group Zs,  offers his debut recording under the Diamond Terrifier guise, with a lengthy electro/brass meditation for the Words+Dreams label, entitled Shrine Flu.Unlike his tight, effect-driven saxophone surgery he's most known for with Zs, his approach on this cassette holds more of a cerebral, atmospheric vibe, focusing more on the moment, rather than the end result, or destination.He displays total control at all times, and even though it isn't the most blatantly structured or accessible music on the planet, there's definitely an underlying balance of both pleasant and harsh in these hazy movements, with a soothing calmness hidden somewhere within the chaos.

  Side A's title track creeps in with what sounds like the warm hum of an exhausted tube amp, followed by a slow burning saxophone loop and random knob tweaking.After numerous repetitions gently dance over your brain, you finally start to catch on to the hidden melody that's been repeating, and it's just then when things begin to open up a bit and flourish.The brash wails of his  instrument resonate so heavily at one point, that they started bouncing off of my bedroom walls, filling the room with a hypnotic, reverberated tone.Hillmer's breathy notes slowly turned into more piercing and controlled squeals, as the layers of loops begin to pile up, a thick percussive pulse comes into play, making for a highly rewarding finish.Total magic.

  Side B's "Chicken  Shamen" and "Porcupine Quills" both offer up a rather metallic and clanking vibe,with the latter  sounding something like Ornette Coleman being played from a busy metal shop radio, and heavily soaked in effects.After a few minutes of random machine rattling, Hillmer's sax bursts in out of nowhere, with sharp blasts of high-pitched squeals and  barely audible notes coming at you from all sides.Washes of (intentionally) sour scales are being slammed against each other in no particular time or place, and it's a total attack on the senses from there on.Somewhere within the heavy sax assault though, lies a low electronic hum that repeats quietly throughout the swells, keeping up a sort of sneaking momentum.There's an urgent and electric vibe going on here for a while as things begin to peak, and just when you'd least expect it , total silence.

A stunning debut,  and insightful prequel  to his upcoming LP on Northern Spy in the fall.Get a copy of Shrine Flu from Words+Dreams now.Edition of 250.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Six Shows


Constant Companion,

I've been away, investigating opportunities for fun with some party partners. Here's a run down of all the shows I went to this week, mostly in Boston.

Monday 4/9/12 - picked up two acts from France at Logan Airport. Max and Alice who plays as High Wolf and Chicaloyoh were really nice and bummed me lots of Marlboro Lights.  Show went down at Gay Gardens.  Her set was dark, brooding and captivating, while his was blissful and harmonic.  I forget.  I smoked hash.  Gay Shapes  from Worcester played last and tore the roof off. Hypnic Jerk opened and was swell. Electric Cactus and Flesh Control,  both played from Richmond, VA but I missed their sets cause I was helping out the French kids.

Tuesday 4/10/12 - Moonrises is a very heady psych band from Chicago that features Magma-esque keyboard and drums and High Rise styled guitar shred.  Ms. Libby and Plastic Crimewave shared the vocals, a few songs apiece and Ben Baker Billington held it down on the drums.  Listen. Tape on Priority Male link also released on LP by Logan Hardware link. The last act was a Mystery Band, whose set was played in the dark.  They made acoustic sounds on scrap metal.  Heavenly!  Earlier Colby Nathan played.  He's from the amazing band Hyena link, who's few releases sound like a mix of Brian Wilson and Ed Askew.  Show was at the Whitehaus in Jamaica Plain.

Wednesday 4/11/12 - Drove out to Brattleboro VT with a small crew and descended upon not only the town, but also Marlboro College, where a show was going on aways down Route 9.  Much merriment was had when I arrived to find my friends Danny and Christina in the midst of performing their best set yet as Ice Cream.  Next up was a single song by Zach Philips (Blanche Blanche Blanche, Bruce Hart) which immediately segued into an impassioned set of new songs by Joey Pizza Slice AKA Son of Salami.  The Happy Jawbone Family Band took their usual sweet ass time setting up, but it was well worth the wait.  They slayed.  Exit college students, enter the 11 person Reptar Quiet Hooves caravan.  Many spontaneous configurations of players produced many startling sounds.  The Great Valley played somewhere in there.  Show ended at 2am with everyone in attendance, including me, having performed at some point.

Thursday 4/12/12 - Spent the morning chilling in Brattleboro, where I simultaneously saw everyone I knew.  Hi Chris, Ruth and Sarah!  Got back to Boston just for show time @ the Butcher Shoppe where Black Pus played an energetic set to a moderately-packed basement.  The show was good and the human pinball machine was in full effect.  It was my first time seeing Chippendale play and I wish it had come ten years sooner when I first heard of Lightning Bolt and was more open to being blown away.  Well you can't be everywhere at once.  My skin tasted like a hotdog afterwards.  Opening bands were all kinda alright to varying degrees: Buck Gooter & Mounds. I missed Skimask.

Friday 4/13/12 - Another show at Gay Gardens.  Very enthused young metal bands.  Me and some pals played one song after the first band. Good vibes all around, but I don't remember anyone's name. I fell asleep during the 3rd band.

Saturday 4/14/12 - Final day in Allston and I saw two great shows.  A friendly house party was going on over at the Rotten Apples' place.  Two bands from LA: Sister Fucker (with Vanessa from Coughs) and Bleak End at Bernies laid out some good, if kind of generic punk/grind/metal.  All those folks were so nice though.  Hypnic Jerk played again.  They're the house band at the Smokey Bear Cave and their quickly growing on me.  Really dubbed out robo-trip stuff.  It was also someone's birthday and their was a rainbow cake.  There was a fire and rope swing in the backyard.  Yeah! Lower Allston!  At 11pm I went over to a really cool new shop called Store 54 and saw Bobb Trimble and the Flying Spiders.  Caught the first six songs of their set and I was so happy to be able to sing along to tunes from Harvest of Dreams, Iron Curtain Innocence and whatever that newer one is called.  All of Bobb's albums came out in the early 80s and the renewed interest in his music has brought forth 3 reissues and a new live band of younger folks who are really doing his music justice.  If you haven't checked it out yet, you really should hear the records: beautiful glam-psych with falsetto vocals and phaser on the guitar for every song!  After doing that, definitely see him live. This was my second time and I think the band is really starting to gel.  I finally ended up returning to the house party to check out a really loud and amazing set from an impromptu pickup band made up of Allston residents: members of Guerilla Toss, Funny Money and Quinn Miller from Great Goblins.

Oh, New England!

p.s. I meant to put links to all the bands, but that's too time consuming for me today, and you can use google just as well as I can.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Jaap Blonk "Voice Studies" (c20), Janek Schaefer "Asleep at the Wheel...Mixtape" (c40) [My Dance the Skull]

Get rid of notes and instruments! Who needs these tired tropes? Strip naked and express all that is life with only that of the sound which lives within. The crying of children and the preaching of the street corner evangelist exist as song as much as a commercial radio hit. All sound is music. All music needs to be recorded. The London based publishing house and tape label My Dance the Skull dives into difficult music with a series they call "Voice Studies." Their seventh study is a 20 minute tape by noted vocal improvisor - composer - poet Jaap Blonk. Side A is titled "Approximate Air" and is the sound of multi-tracked vocal air. Whispering, sighing, and breathing collide and rumble with one another producing some wonderful polyrhythms. The piece builds with grumble growls and shouts and before you know it, its all over. Side B is titled "Apostatic Aria" and features shouting and aggressive human vocalizing. At times the multiple voices almost seem to be filling the space of classic "loud-soft" guitar riff dynamics. This piece of vocal improv is less exciting to me than the first, but that is a very small complaint. This is adventurous listening and certainly not for everyone, but for those who want a diversion from conventional, Jaap Blonk's contribution to My Dance the Skull's series of vocal studies is worth the time. Great tape! The "Voice Studies" all come in clean white j-cards with simple black font - very serious and no nonsense. I would like to hear them all! (Thurston Moore contributed to the series, but his tape is sold out.)


Janek Schaefer is a London based sound architect, which is convenient because before he began creating musical art he actually studied architecture! This academic training didn't last as he discovered what amazing structures could be built with sonic walls. Since I'm from Austin, TX the phrase "Asleep at the Wheel" brings to mind country music made by a band also named Asleep at the Wheel, but Schaefer's album IS NOT country music. It is a collection of original music from an installation which took place at Milton Keynes International Festival 2010. Side A is labeled "Driving Through Dawn" and contains a variety of compositions that drift by like shadowy figures glimpsed from the peripheral vision of an insomniac driver. The crackling warp of far off melodies disappear then return and guitar lines rise out of half remembered songs before they too become paranoid reminders of dark secrets left behind in a town no one wants to recall. Schaefer's composition is the REAL soundtrack to the movie Drive. Side B is labeled "Wonderful" and is the slight ray of hope at the end of a dark film. Sustained drones are the glue that hold together this piece of ambient music and what a compliment to the first side's fractured half awake state of uncertainty. Very cool!


Buy HERE.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

VARIOUS ARTISTS "Slow Down: 45s on 33" c92

You really need to get this.  It's just a simple compilation of the best bits 45rpm singles, edited together and played slow on 33rpm with some subtle electronics added to it (I think).  Included slow jams by Giorgio Moroder, Kraftwerk, Devo, Tom Tom Club, Billy Idol, James Brown, Van Halen, The Turtles and many others.  Really fun tape for your party or your car. This was made by Drew who does the amazing and seldom seen C Section 8 electronic music project (LP finally out on Turned Word grip).  Write him at drew3036@gmail.com and for God's sake, slow down when you drive through my neighborhood!

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

BOSTON? Boston!

Who would have thunk it?

Over the last couple of years, Boston has developed one of the most vibrant underground scenes in the USA.  As a longtime resident of Western Massachusetts I had a long standing suspicion and/or loathing of beantown, but now that I've moved to Maine, I'm beginning to sing a different tune.  There are tons of completely non-pretentious folks working their asses off to bring you around the clock live entertainment.  Houses like Gay Gardens, The Butcher Shop & Whitehaus, organizations like Bodies of Water and the one man power house of Mark Johnson have been consistently upping the ante in terms of well put together events.  Bands like Rotten Apples, Guerrilla Toss, Fat History Month, Exusamwa and unsung heroes Dark Rodeo (who's cassette I cherish like none other) bring the !? back to rock and there are a whole bevy of more experimental acts like Peace, Loving and Preggy Peggy who are keeping it WTF?  Lest we not forget the still active minimalist jazz scene spearheaded by folks like Greg Kelley and Forbes Graham.  Weirdo Records is great little shop to check out if your in town looking for something fresh, but that's only the tip of the iceberg: record joints like In Your Ear and the newly opened Store 54 are digger havens.


Related links
show listings - http://www.bostoncccompass.com/
infograms - http://bostonhassle.com/
listen - http://boston.bandcamp.com/
Rotten Apples - http://rottenapples.bandcamp.com/
Exusamwa - http://www.exusamwa.com/
Guerilla Toss - http://guerillatoss.com/
Dark Rodeo - http://soundcloud.com/dark-rodeo
Peace, Loving - http://www.travelingband.org/
Weirdo Records - http://www.weirdorecords.com/

paid for by John F. Kennedy's relatives


Tuesday, April 10, 2012

BLACK CUM "The Return Of Black Jesus" 2xCS

Happy Easter Sunday, it's The Return of Black Jesus!  This is the kind of bile that I wish people would send my way more often.  Black Cum must come from some sort of Midwest hell-hole, because this double album exhibits the kind of "evolved" misanthropy that is only found in the shittiest of places.  I bet these guys don't have a lot fans in their hometown.  The band's manifesto, as printed in the insert to this lovingly assembled package reads as follows:

BLACK CUM DOESN'T WRITE SONGS.
BLACK CUM DOESN'T PRACTICE
BLACK CUM DOESN'T DO SECOND TAKES
BLACK CUM JUST GETS FUCKED UP,
PRESSES RECORD AND PLAYS.
WHATEVER HAPPENS, HAPPENS.

This band has absolutely no sense of song structure: nihilistic talk-singing over poorly recorded guitars and drums is the name of the game through out the span of this album's 59 songs.  It works so well, to me at least, because the instruments are "mixed" low, leaving the vocals 100% audible and intelligible.  If you can handle Costes, then this'll be a cakewalk.  It's a lot more funny than it is truly deeply negative.  A heck of a lot of you aren't going to like this one lick, but those who appreciate some hate-vibes will want to listen for sure.  I don't know if I'd like to be any of these guys, but I wouldn't mind mailing them a crumpled $3 bill in the mail.

"I'd rather eat human flesh than any other non-human animal!"

Listen to the whole album if you dare: http://blackcum.bandcamp.com/album/the-return-of-black-jesus

More info: http://blackcumtheband.blogspot.com/

If you like the music, there's a long back-history to this type of spew.  You may have already devoured No Trend's first single and LP (if not, do), so look to Jim Goodall's music from the 80's (a lot of it's available on Mutant Sounds). Bands like Jon Wayne, or my favorite, Severed Head in a Bag:





Sunday, April 8, 2012

need help


I've always tried to avoid using Cassette Gods for "personal gain," but I'm booking a tour right now that has some serious holes in. This May my band Cave Bears is going on tour with an absolutely mindfucking juggernaut of a duo called Blue Sabbath Black Fiji.  If you set up house shows in one of the towns below where we "NEED HELP" and are cool with the date, maybe you'd consider writing me at cavebears@gmail.com

Sat 5/12 - Philadelphia, PA - NEED HELP
Sun 5/13 - Baltimore, MD
Mon 5/14 - Harisonberg, VA
Tue 5/15 - Asheveille, NC
Wed 5/16 - Atlanta, GA
Thur 5/17 - Athens, GA
Fri 5/18 - Carrboro, NC - Savage Weekend I
Sat 5/19 - Carrboro, NC - Savage Weekend II
Sun 5/20 - Richmond, VA
Mon 5/21 - Washington, DC - NEED HELP
Tues 5/22 - New Jeresey - NEED HELP
Wed 5/23 - New York, NY
Thur 5/24 - Hadley, MA
Fri 5/25 - Boston, MA

Friday, April 6, 2012

BLANCHE BLANCHE BLANCHE / BRUCE HART split
CHRIS WEISMAN "Beatleboro"
(OSR Tapes)

Brattleboro VT's Blanche Blanche Blanche is one of my favorite contemporary bands.  They are the duo of singer Sarah Smith and keyboardist Zach Phillips (who also runs OSR).  They play melodically complex but catchy pop songs about relationships and other life-type stuff.  The songwriting on 2wice 2wins is just as good as on their Night People debut, but there has been an enormous upswing in the production and recording quality.  If you haven't looked into these guys yet you're really missing out on one of the freshest new things in sound today.  This is the kind of music that should be enjoyed by way more than the 100 people who could possibly own this cassette.  While the instrumental parts may share some similarities with today's top sounds (who am I kidding? this is like if Frank Zappa or 10cc put out a tape on NNA), the vocals are completely unadorned with all that needless digital gobbledegook so prevalent in today's DIY marketplace.  Don't freak out, that's the sound of a real human voice! Get used to it, because BBB has four LPs and at least one more cassette coming out in 2012.  The B-side here contains music by Zach's solo project Bruce Hart which plays out like a slightly more expansive version of the BBB backing tracks, but with male vocals.  His tape on Not Not Fun was one of my favorites from last year and this release is just as good.  The sounds are more hazy in the Hartland, but this is a perfect companion piece.

Beatleboro is a nice amalgam of the fleshed out pop of the Fresh Sip tape (soon to be a 2LP from Feeding Tube - read my review here) and the more somber and skeletal songs on the recent Transparency 2CD.  These tunes are bursting with weirdo background vocals, bass lines and all sorts of guitars, keyboards & percussions, topped with Chris Weisman's dreamy multi-tracked voice.  Though some mild comparisons could be drawn to Lennon-McCartney, Weisman's pop-koans are entirely unique.  There's got to be something in the water in Brattleboro, because it consistently produces some of the finest music of this new century.  It's a shame that there aren't too many shows in town and none of these acts really tour, as they could surely take the world by storm with a little elbow grease.  Well you'll just have to bring the music to you then, won't you?  If you're in Southern Vermont or Western Massachusetts hit Chris up for a guitar lesson, or if you're far away, buy his book of oddball music scales here.  Also read Zach's interview with Chris here.

--
Both tapes are HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.
Get 'em here: http://www.osr-tapes.info/

Although these two releases are listed as OSR 001 and 002, Zach has already put out a handful of great tapes on this label over the last few years: Horse Boys, Big French, Heat Wilson... Good luck finding those.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

GX JUPITTER-LARSEN / ARVO ZYLO
"Xylowave 2012" (Spleen Coffin)

This is some damn-intense noise music. Relentless and bleak is the name of the game here.  GX Jupitter- Larsen has inhabited the world of extreme music and performance art for over three decades and he has put out over 300 releases with his group The Haters.  If you're familiar with his work, you'll either want to pick this up because you're a completist or pass it by because you've had enough.  Here is a paragraph from wikipedia that I'm not going to bother paraphrasing:

Underlying all of Jupitter-Larsen's work's a peculiar mix of aesthetic and conceptual obsessions, particularly entropy and decay, professional wrestling, and a self-created lexicon consisting mainly of personalized units of measurement such as polywave, the totimorphous, and the xylowave.  In 1985, Jupitter-Larsen invented his own number system. Jupitter-Larsen says his transexpansion numeral unit (TNU) explore the distance & separateness in between linear counting locations that do not neighbor each other. When arranged in order, the TNUs form a spiral around the standard linear numbers. If one assumes that each individual linear number is a particular location along a counting order, then each individual TNU would be the distance between two selected linear number locations. Where the TNUs have been placed is unimportant. What is important is that anyone can make up their own personal numbers to symbolize any numeral interrelationship that Jupitter-Larsen's do not. Instead of a way of doing arithmetic, what you end up with here is an emotional & philosophical barometer. The base TNU is I (pronounced a) which is located in between 1&4 but not 2&3.

There are enough nooks and crannies to the Jupitter-Larsen material to keep it interesting to me, but the same cannot be said for the Arvo Zylo material on the B-side, which is incredibly monochromatic and uninteresting.


Here's where you'll find it if you are so inclined: http://www.spleencoffin.com/catalog/index.php?main_page=product_music_info&products_id=132

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

IMAGES "Know What I Mean" & "The 60's Sound" (Last Nights Records)

Images is the long running project of Scott Ryan Davis and friends, originally out of Port Chester, NY, but now based in Brooklyn. The Know What I Mean tape is bedroom echo psychedelia done well, with songs and drones moving freely from one to the other.  You can tell that this guy knows what he's going for.  Even though we may have heard this before, he still get's it down right.  Some of this gets relatively high energy too with drums and all that.  The 60's Sound tape is a little more experimental with lots tape manipulation stuff going on, but there are some solid songs in there too.  Check out the links below, you might just like this if you're into Wooden Wand or Tower Recordings (who each share a geographical birth place with Images).

Band link:

To Order:

Video for "Tongue Out" from The 60's Sound

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Guest Review by Karsten Høegh


CRUSTACÉS #1: John Brennan & Anne-FJacques C16

The debut release from Anne-Françoise Jacques' Montréal-based Crustacés Tapes features herself and John Brennan (aka Static Kitten) performing on tape recorders, cassette loops and (unspecified) electronics. The sounds on the tape seem in part inspired by early musique concrète experimentalism, with overdriven tape loops creating Pierre Scaeffer-like atmospheres. On the other hand the liberal and sometimes violent addition of alternate sound sources, distortion and effects keeps the music healthily distanced from anaemic art-school pastiche territory. The results are elegantly balancing between abstract sound-art and music, and while the overall aesthetic is quite noisy and distorted the tape still has sufficiently good sound quality and dynamic range to avoid the lo-fi muddle-pits that many a home made noise tape risks sinking into. A brief internet search seems to confirm that neither performer is a newcomer in experimental art music, and so the high artistic quality might not be as surprising to those of you in the know, as it was to this reviewer. In any case, the combination of experienced performers allowing a high degree of improvised randomness into their expression makes this a surprisingly uplifting and inspired label debut indeed!

More info here: http://crustaces.bandcamp.com/album/crustac-s-1
Also you'll might want to check out Ms. Jacques' page at IUOMA: http://iuoma-network.ning.com/profile/AnneFJacques


CRUSTACÉS #2: Miguel A. Garcia & Tomás Gris 10C

The second release from Crustacés Tapes features joined improvisations by the two Madrid based avantgarde players Miguel A. Garcia and Tomás Gris. The two sides of the tape seems to be one-take improvisations (no overdubs), with the two gents going bonkers on a number of instruments including a saxophone(?), some sort of feedback setup involving effects - along with various percussion items. The music is classic "free improv" in the sense that there's no discernible pulse, no recognisable repetitions or any form of  tonality, - instead the music focuses on creating interesting abstract textures and sonic exchanges between the players. The exchanges maintain the feeling of abstract communication between the players, who stick to a musical language that uses pauses as an important part of the expression. With regards to the textural diversity and energy the tape is successfully interesting throughout. On the negative side the anti-stylistic avoidance of anything remotely associated with "known styles of music" prevents the players from delivering more musically sensical utterings, giving the recordings a strong sense of being the babblings of two incoherent madmen. But despite this (the fact that I have no idea what they're actually on about), used as a 10 minute avantgardist pick-me-up, the tape is a rather refreshing listen. Also I should note that the sound quality is quite professional on this tape - which I think all in all makes it something worth checking out.

More info here: http://crustaces.bandcamp.com/album/crustac-s-2


***************

Monday, April 2, 2012

Hott Tubb, Bearded Astronaut, Radio Shock, Heavy Breathing / Allele


GUEST REVIEW BY SEAN KEANE of the great state of New Jersey
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------


The tapes I received from the fine folks at Cassette Gods were scattered across the spectrum of modern cassette culture both in style and quality. This was an interesting experience but I now sympathize with bloggers who are oversaturated with submissions that aren’t necessarily within their listening realm. With that warning, here we go…

Bearded Astronaut "9.8 3m/s2"
Green Tapes - C-30
http://www.freewebs.com/greentape/

This was by far the most rewarding of the bunch for me personally. The quality of the recording was pretty good but the inspiration was flowing. The A-side starts out with some Dan Friel like screeching that surfs through your ears like electric jellyfish. Slow Casio(?) notes and scattered electronics morph into an epic drone piece complete with faded electro-drum beat and warm experimental saxophone tones shining through the layers of noise that have grown with beautiful intensity.

The B-side is even more rewarding, starting out with smoky mellow yellow guitar riffs in front of a meditative monk droning, hypnotizing you into a sleepy haze. The guitar slowly becomes more fluid and morphs into a super cool psychedelic noise piece with a hammering drum machine, reminiscent of early Psychic Ills. The tape slows down here and lets you spread this thick jam all around your brain with a chilled out drone, keyboard and electronic drums movement. Bearded Astronaut treats this last part like a rollercoaster and builds you up with a slowly only to bring it all home and drop you 100 stories through a maze of manic noise.

HIGHLY RECOMMENDED

Hott Tubb “S/T”
Self-Released
http://hotttubb.bandcamp.com/

First off, this tape had the highest recording quality and best production of the bunch by FAR. It also seemed to be the only pro-dubbed tape as well. Just an FYI to people looking to put out a tape, do what you gotta do but if you put it together nicely it makes a difference. Not everything needs a physical release. This tape certainly warrants one. It seems like a lot of time went into this an I appreciate that. These guys are not the type of music I normally listen to, but I actually found myself enjoying most of this tape. It reminded me of a Thievery Corporation / MGMT combo. There are vocals on almost every track except for a couple of cool Brainfeeder-esque interludes. The thing that attracted me to the tape was the dramatic changes within the songs, shining a beautiful bright light on this duo’s mind for epic electro pop structure. They move from mellow to dance to dramatic electronic pop fairly seamlessly. If you dig MGMT then I suggest you give these guys a shot. And this is just a humble design opinion but I would suggest that for further releases they change their logo so it doesn’t read with 3 T’s right next to each other. I almost didn’t know what these guys were called because it is pretty dumb to read even without a confusing font! HOTTTUBB

Radio Shock “Internal Symmetry”
Self-Released –C-20
http://radioshock.bandcamp.com/

Alright, now we are into the nitty gritty. The dirty south of this guest review. This was the first tape I popped in because the artwork looked promising (I’m a sucker for colorful skulls). The recording quality wasn’t too hot but not terrible and the tape quality was a solid home dub. With the first track I was almost completely put off from doing these reviews. It sounded like a weak Suicide impression and weirdly reminded me of Nickelback with the vocals. I apologize if that sounds extremely negative, but it might be exactly what somebody out there has been looking for. The second track put me in a much more hopeful spot with the vocals much more faded and distorted, sounding more like a noise instrument here. The cassette only gets better as you continue to the B-side, starting with some noise and a slow beat. Long distorted guitar strokes wash over the track with some mild intensity and the distorted vocals work best here. The track was fairly interesting but not overly inspired. FINALLY the last track was KILLER! I loved it. I reminded me a stripped down version of what Black Dice has been doing lately. A rockin noise piece with clamoring electronics, perfect for an industrial dance party or bopping your head to while burning one down. If you check out his bandcamp he seems to have more tracks like the one I enjoyed on other releases.

Heavy Breathing / ALLELE – Split Demo
DIY or DIE – C90

And we are here. The place you don’t want to be when you get a random cassette you know nothing about. This place is one of frustration and it comes because this cassette was just lazy on a bunch of levels. First off this is a Sony C-90. You can buy blank cassettes on the Internet for cheap, they won’t have corporate logos / text all over, and you can get the exact right length of tape for your specific release. It’s fine if you can’t afford this but try to make up for it in some way. There is literally NO art on this release either. It has typewriter written text on the Jcard except for “ALLELE” is written in marker on the plastic case(UGGGHHH). Draw me a picture or something, c’mon show people you want them to listen this. This will make your release immediately more desirable. Just some advice for anybody releasing a tape in the future, take it or leave it.

Usually a lazy lookin' tape contains kind of lazy tunes, but the A-side from Heavy Breathing is about 12 minutes of radical thrash music. Once again not what I normally listen to and the recording/ dub quality was lacking (even for a thrash punk band) but it had the right energy. The problem is that after the small amount of music you have to fast forward 30 minutes to get to the end of the tape in order to flip it over and get to the B-side. It’s not a big deal but it’s annoying. The flip side is at least a long piece, but it is completely boring guitar noodling and distortion. I wanted to like this side because I like textural pieces, but this just got worse and worse as it failed to progress into anything. The two artists don’t compliment each other at all and that is probably the biggest downfall of a split cassette. If this was a one sided C-24 or a two-sided C-12 for Heavy Breathing I would have been down with it. Short and sweet would have been lovely on this one. The tape reads DIY or DIE which is great, but DIY doesn’t mean you don’t have to try.

Fossils From The Sun vs Parashi/Xanthocephalus Split (Skell LLC, c34, Ed. 50)


Both Fossils From The Sun and Parashi are two of my favorite projects coming out of the NY capitol region nowadays. Both of the men behind these monikers are presently doing time in the polyglot of ferocity that is Burning Hills. Though, on their own, their music moves towards more meditative and contemplative planes, both masters of layering hypnotic loops. This collaboration is simply both players tuned in and turned on, vibing out on each other's sounds. Mike (Parashi) is keyed in, looping his electronics and Ray's (FFTS) heavily precessed guitar play adds depth and vibrance beneath Mike's crisp, arid textures. At moments I can hear each player's sounds distinctly, and I can tell when one players holds back and lets the other take control. And the best moments are when I can't separate the minds at work, the total fusion of two outstanding platers.

Russ Alderson's Xanthocephalus contributes his harshest piece I've yet heard. Russ' method of combining bass guitar and field recordings has resulted in some excellent low end drone on the other recordings I have. Here he cranks the distortion for heavy walls of crud and rust and delicately perches bird calls atop the junk yard fence, to fade out to some almost delicate finger playing. As much as I have appreciated Russ' previous works, I was starting to think his style to be somewhat monochromatic. This piece proves me way wrong and highlights that his sense of dymanics and texture can be used to evoke different sensations, and with different aural palettes.

BUY IT, YOU SLAG.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

CAVE BEARS
"D.I.Y. Spells DIE" c40
(No Basement Is Deep Enough)
Guest Review By S. Howe



hey one of the guest reviewers wrote up my new tape...whatever, I'm posting it. - nkw
 
CAVE BEARS "D.I.Y. Spells DIE" (No Basement Is Deep Enough) C40
Guest Review by S. Howe from Montreal, QC
There is a secondhand household appliance place in easterly Montreal that uses Elvis Presley as a promotional tool. A Last Tango in Paris remake starring Tom Green and a computer-generated Rue Mcclanahan...Enter the Cave Bears, D.I.Y. Spells DIE. A perplexing discourse atop some sickly countrified guitar buckle introduces the A side, yielding shortly thereafter to the carcinogenic wizardry we all know and love somehow. This time around there is a point, though. Our sorcering troglodytes bluntly howl and smear their dissatisfaction for a certain artist amidst sundry slimline recorder clicks and forsaken feedback; a sibilant otherworldly backdrop of esoteric aimless guitar rubbing...brazenly recording themselves in hot spasmodic bursts over the music of Steely Dan (I believe), as the archetypal insult. There is maniacal laughter and something like closely-registered dry-heaving and/or regurgitation, several apoplectic seizures and, altogether, the utterly vile negation of art as a whole. An insincere apology precedes inappropriately conjured wolf cries and saxophone as one is soothingly transported by canoe, apparently, to the B side. The second half of this tape, contrariwise, is a delightful incursion of depravity. Within a few seconds I thought there was a problem with the sonic contraption itself and actually removed it from the deck slot for verification. A moaning lag and slowed high pitch was of course solely the classical trickery of knowledgeable tape manipulation. A minute or two of determined vampirism had me laughing unrestrainedly, and as obscene sounds of gobbling and gurgling joined the exacerbated 'drink some blood' statement, I was barely able to maintain anal composure. Then the issuance of evil whispers and yelped Neanderthal asininity betwixt inconsistent musical interludes and more piercing tape drag. Outlandish grunting and animal screeching to some mock death-metal sequence preludes a most hilarious orgy loop. We hear something rather familiar as the tape trundles onward: Gluey morsels from some other Cave Bears album, civil piano segments and several mongoloid outbursts. As a fringe benefit D.I.Y. Spells DIE also addresses flatulence and bird death. Wobbly reel tripe and impassive sarcastic lecture conclude this audio examination. A bright opaque-yellow cassette seems the simple viscera of an absurdly furred purplish puppet monster "case." I am convinced that this molting mass of mendicant fabric and rough glue-work gave me an eye infection. A must for your disproportionately packaged tape item pile (or should you enjoy laughing violently).

Get the fingernail scissors --
Purchase here: (http://lightenupdistro.bigcartel.com/product/cave-bears-d-i-y-or-die-c44)

S. Howe

no joke