Friday, December 28, 2012

NO BASEMENT IS DEEP ENOUGH
Label of the Year

This is not the first time we've covered Serbio-Belgian cassette-as-art-object label No Basement is Deep Enough, and for good reason. They've already released work by some great cats and kittens, but now they've gone and done tapes for two of my favorite goo things: Egg, Eggs and Garm as well as some bands I'm just getting into.  All of the following are cassettes in special packaging.  Check out the music player at the end of the post.



BR GARM "Garmsquirm2012" - Another winner from Strange Maine proprietor Brendan Evans.  Keep 'em coming Brendan.  This is the strangest Garm yet and the third within one calendar year.  This man has never been so prolific!  This tape is free ranging, totally madcap and playful, probably the best tape I've heard in a while.  Only 50 copies!!!


EGG, EGGS "Zygotic Crack" - The most current Western Mass jam session going on is Egg, Eggs.  It's got all the members of all the other jam sessions, but most especially it's got the bird man himself, David Russell. Hare Krishna indeed, with hawk skulls flying at your face!


ASIAN WOMAN ON THE TELEPHONE - Russian band with US release on Anonymous Dog and another coming on Feeding Tube.  All sorts of No Wave with dramatic flair.  Intriguing to the maximum, hear more! Lots of sounds on their bandcamp.  Thiw NBIDE release is a split tape with KREAMY 'LECTRIC SANTA, who presents a tasteful sample buffet.


HARRY MERRY  "The Life Lived" - Recorded between 1989 and 1994. Really great Dutch home recorded lo-fi songs.  Some of it sounds like Rudimentary Peni with casio and tape hiss and other parts feel more like acid damaged pop.  One of the most "conventional" releases on the label.  A really great find.


F.L.U.T. "untitled" - Contemporary Belgian warped hippie kraut throwback with worse drugs.  That's a compliment.


MAGMA TRAKT "s/t" - Super psychedelic contemporary Serbian noise sermons.  The sound of this dudes voice is hypnotic and frightening as he talks to you over electronics performing menacing washes and patterns.  Great minimal percussion parts on this.  They're not making them quite like this in the USA yet...

FAST DEADBOY - Two tape box set in an edition of 33 copies presenting some late 80s Serbian noise.  A lot of this music is charmingly primitive feeling, but it's an interesting artifact.  The tapes are house in one of the best packages from NBIDE so far.

Folks in the US can buy NBIDE releases at Weirdo Records, Time-Lag, Lighten Up Sounds & on Discogs.  All tapes are in editions of 50, so act fast.  The label can be contacted at ignacedb@hotmail.com.

Listen to Harry Merry, Garm, Egg, Eggs and others on the player:



No Basement is Deep Enough is curated by Ignace de Bruyn, with artwork and design by Milja Radovanovic.
Check out Male Bonding, a sublabel of NBIDE. I'll do a post on them some time later.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

GO ASTRAL DREAM TAPE



This guy Dan Olsen made this video. He made some comics and also a tape he sent me. You can read about his comic here. The tape looked really cool too, like the comics. It looked like this:

It sounded like this:


Wednesday, December 26, 2012

MUTWAWA "Lamashtu Pazuzu"


Holy fuck! How did I miss this one?  I've been sitting on "Lamashtu Pazuzu" for months and I'm finally popping it in for the first time.  This is exactly what I needed. Oh boy, I want to do that one again. Garsh.


I think this act is made up of members of Surpression and Head Molt.

Tapes

MILD MANNERS "Excuse Me" (Burger Records)


First tape I ever received from Burger Records, though I've sure seen 'em around.  Send more, this one was great. Mild Manners got funky stut.



Buy Tape

By the way, I have a new mailing address:

One Kind Favor
54 Franklin St.
Allston, MA 02134

Friday, December 21, 2012

2 X Golden Cloud Tapes


WELCOME TO THE APOCALYPSE...Betcha the Mayans wouldn't use the last day on Earth to review cassettes, but that is what I do...

From the frozen cheese tundra of Wisconsin to my burrito & beer stained music room comes Golden Cloud Tapes with two very different musical tapes. The first is the wild, poly(almost a-)rhythmic maniac sounds of Dinner Music (Rick Weaver to friends and family). Titled Kissing Cousins, this half-hour affair is bonkers...and nope, its not a dramatic reinterpretation of the Elvis movie of the same name (I was secretly hoping...). Try explaining this music to grandma over the holidays and I'm sure you would find it as difficult as I do to come up with adjectives. This is plunking keys on organs and pianos while badly tap dancing on top of a drum set composing. Drive people away with Dinner Music! Mark Bradley's Temple Music on the other hand is a sober and solemn piece of minimal electronic music. Listening to this album is a peaceful and meditative activity and I will seek it out for "reading" music if silence becomes too dull. Overall, this is a tape of quality, but maybe a little on the soft side for me. Golden Cloud Tapes package their releases well and deserve to be further explored...maybe after the end times?

Buy and Listen HERE.

follow me on twitter for more music type stuff: @teflonbeast

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Steve Creature - S/T (self-released)


Cassette type fun arrived in the mailbox in the form of a very LO-FI "album" by one Steve Creature. He recorded over (and included the artwork and some snippets of the original songs) Peter Criss' 1978 solo album [see pic above]. This might be the only copy with the Criss music as I imagine Mr. Creature did not have a large batch of Peter Criss tapes around his house (though maybe???). I find this extremely low budget methodology fun as hell. Sure, the music is one dude singing and playing songs in, what can only be described as Daniel Johnston rip-off territory, but who cares...The tunes are catchy and the presentation is what you would want/expect when Bic pen is used to write artist's name over scratched out "Peter Criss." You can hear some Steve Creature songs on his Bandcamp. They are clearly indebted to the poppy Joey Ramone school of melody/lyrical straightforwardness, with titles such as, "Please Don't Go to Michigan" and "I'm Glad You Didn't Kill Yourself Last Summer." Not mind-blowing or all that unique, but every once in awhile it is best to be reminded that cassette tape people like you and I can have a sense of humor about all this stuff.

Buy HERE.

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Wednesday, December 19, 2012

156 - "Frontyard/Backyard" (Acid Casualty Productions)

Adel Souto, under the moniker 156, carves music out of hand-held recordings of the urban environment. Frontyard/Backyard as a tape of found sound composing works wonderfully because of the repetitious sounds employed that create dynamics and a sense of structure. Bells, planes, industrial scrapes and bangs all congeal into a grimy snapshot that I call an album. 156's music will be of interest for those of you who find "instruments" and "songs" to be an outmoded form of communication. I do find it odd to consider these city sounds, "field" recordings by the way, but when in the concrete jungle, do as the natives do...

Buy HERE.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

2 X Teen River



Regular readers of this blog will know that I've become quite a fan of Chicago's Teen River label. They offer good music, good design, and have an open-minded creative zest for life. Two tapes that found their way to me from this windy city scene couldn't be more different. One is intimate and steeped in the archaic, while the other is ragged, raw, and rough. Julie Byrne's sound is not current, let's just state that up front. This songstress is dealing pre-Dylan-electric Greenwich Village folk music. Acoustic guitar, gently plucked with haunting vocals crooning above all that is delicate, I could almost be convinced this album is an artifact from a ghost of hootenanny's past. The album opens with keyboards, but that is a misdirection because basically Byrne's a dark shadows romantic folk-poetess. If this is your bag, get in it. Conversely, sounding like Joy Division (with their analog dragged behind a pick-up truck), King Tut's Tomb is overdriven Casio, but not "rock" music. Nothing on this is all that amazing in the SONG category, but it doesn't disappoint and I can't quite turn it off. There's something claustrophobic and mushy about the band's sound on Infotrash and I think I should listen to it again. 

Keep on Ragin'!

Buy and Listen HERE.

Monday, December 17, 2012

End of the Year List


10 Favorite Tapes of 2012

I cannot claim to be much of a list maker. End of the year music lists are especially difficult for me because when I'm jotting down my "best of" recollections, I'll inevitably remember a title days later that is just as worthy as another title that did manage to pop into my ol' skull. Its tough to "settle" on any final list. What follows could easily be different just days from now, but ah - fuck it, 'ere goes...So, here then is a list (in no particular order) of my favorite tapes of 2012. Note: these are all tapes I personally reviewed...I liked quite a few more, but there has to be a cut-off...

Sunday, December 16, 2012

German Army - "Youtan Poluo" (Chondritic Sound)

German Army's Youtan Poluo is a dark, twisted, and deranged listening experience. The label accurately does the describing for me, "strange noise loops, intricate rhythms smashed with a hammer, forgotten guitar and bass riffs, otherworldly samples and vocals," exactimundo! Is it any good? Well, yes...if this madness is your bag, then it is quite good. GA is a duo and from what I have heard this past year, they are prolific and always making music. Of the tapes of their's I've heard, this is one of the better examples. My only (tiny) complaint is its a bit mono-tone..."samey," from start to finish. Then again, it moves nicely along so...if you're a fan of GA dig in, if not...experiment a little.

Buy and Listen HERE.

follow me on twitter: @teflonbeast

Saturday, December 15, 2012

3 X Juniper Tree Songs

Funny, just the other day I pulled out some old Yo La Tengo CDs 'cause I hadn't listened to them in a long time and remembered the evening my friend Aaron convinced me and our friend Mike to spontaneously jump in the car to catch a rocking, swaying, ringing YLT club gig in Dallas. Thinking back to the many good times and variety of bands that have managed to scream sonic blek into my skull dome...bang, all of a sudden I have three tapes from a new Long Beach, CA label called Juniper Tree Songs, and they have me feeling all "college rock" just in time for torn sweater weather.

The first tape I slap in the boombox is a split EP by Vehicle Blues and Shivering Window. VB vs. SW is lo-fi & reverb guitar rock thru & thru. Vehicle Blues reminds me 100% of early Yo La Tengo (and the sound of that band live). Very VU distorted and leads that could transport the generation of YLT and Galaxie 500 back to their dorm room tears. Shivering Window embrace hiss, feedback, quiet-to-loud distortion and reverb soaked singing. These two bands are good examples of why young bands and artists should get together and make tapes. Ah, the lo-fi revolution...it hasn't happened yet, right? Good stuff.

The Cthulhus' Songs from the Slipstream '09-'11 is hissy overdriven 4-track rock. Some whizzle-knob-spin keyboard stuff flies all over and around direct to the board guitar riffing with rudimentary beat bopping keeps time (could be a drummer, or a drum machine, or somebody beating a cardboard box...), but the songs are actually pretty good. I like the sloppy lead guitar playing (current fave is "Wasp 17"). The Cthulus clearly make music for themselves (himself?), so who cares if the songs come across pretty similar throughout?

The third tape in the batch is the most interesting. Tribute Hearse: EVP of RP a lo-fi tribute to Rudimentary Peni is exactly that, a TRIBUTE to 80s punk (freaky weird punk that is!) band Rudimentary Peni. Cool! I now have reason to go and listen to RP. Thanks JTS! The good thing about this trib is that the bands (Nicole Kidman, Morgue Toad, and Kent State to name just three of fifteen acts on the tape) don't come out and try to recreate the original recordings note for note. They take the energy and attitude and apply it to their particular styles. Some of these bands sound more "punk" than others, but the no-fi techniques assure a very scratchy listening muck. 

Juniper Tree Songs has a good look and sound as label. I'll recommend these tapes to the type of listener who prefers piles of hiss with a pinch of rock band in their auditory cocktail. Finally, check out a vid from Shivering Window.

Buy HERE.
Listen HERE.

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GANGBANG GORDON
"I'm Not A Musician" (Wiener Records)


Was this recorded in Neptune's Kingdom?  The underwateriest seaweed murk, prematurely rotten vocal chords, with zest of the man who wishes to recreate all of K records through a tinfoil harmonica and gross braces, by himself because no one in high school likes his music.  Recorded in a shed or barn no doubt, slime, flowering, undead, cute??

Layers of enthusiasm and disappointment.

if you want it

Friday, December 14, 2012

3 X Bleeding Gold Records




Tim Chaplin takes from "indie" (dontcha just hate that TERM?) sounds as much as trad songwriter fare on Daisy Chain Fridays, his EP, which comes across like a Dean Wareham set if he embraced Folkways as much as the Velvet Underground. This is a cool tape. Dig "Disowned," which is my favorite here.

Mmdelai's self-titled EP is glitter man. Buzzing synth/keys riffs, electro-dance rhythms, and big, echoey female vox cover the seven songs and dare ya to stop starring at the mirror ball. The music is a bit more esoteric than your average big time radio dance-pop, but not by all that much. The introspective/experimental edge of a song like "We Can't Fade" displays a yearning to twist pop sounds around, so there's that...

HEHFU is Bradley Clarke's one man show. He's a heart-on-sleeve lo-fi rocker with tears in his pocket from South Wales. Clarke's music is reminiscent of a great many bands who have come before (and will continue to come on the scene). "Indie-rock" or "college rock" or maybe even "shoegaze" could be thrown at this guy's songs. He sings and plays well enough, but this release leaves me a little uninspired.

Bleeding Gold Records is an eclectic label of quality and they're worth checking out.

Buy and Listen HERE.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

ALESSANDRO BOSETTI "Stand Up Comedy"
Vinyl/Tape/Download (Weird Ear)

The first release on Raub Roy's new Weird Ear label is a real winner. Alessandro Bosetti's "Stand Up Comedy" is a spoken word album recorded over the past few years in which the artist employs a device of his own creation called Mask/Mirror or the "interrupting machine." Apparently the machine randomly reconfigures sound, and it is used on this recording to skew interviews and other bits of dialogue into a dreamlike narrative.  The text is accompanied by minimal instrumental clinks and drones on thumb piano and electronics.  On the B side angular violin and clarinet arrangements are added and the vocal takes up less space overall. "Stand Up Comedy" is both funny and mystifying and it is a fantastic way to kick off a record label. The complete album is streaming on the internet now, and you can order the vinyl or cassette here. Check out Bosetti's extensive discography here.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

J. ZAGERS "Key Conduciton" (Human Conduct)


As this recording begins, the torqued icicle of a saxophone signals the reality blues.  Fearlessly gentle, the album proceeds through various weird realities.  At times recalling David Oliphant's music, at others Peter Gabriel's soundtrack work, it feels like a letter that slowly phases into bad news.  The production barely conceals terrifying chasms under a veneer of "vacation" keyboard beats.  Sometimes, disaffected vocals appear.  Sometimes knights on flying horses appear to rescue children from trees.  This tape is very interesting.

Order // stream here

Monday, December 10, 2012

Polanyi - "Ongoing Resonance" LP (self-released)

When an LP arrives looking like a modern classical vinyl I might find at the back of the used record section, I'm immediately intrigued. Steven Wright is a composer/performer who's work as Polanyi is multi-layered and conceptual. His project named after Karl Polanyi** is noise scrape static boom crang. Sheets of sound (LOUD AS ALL GET OUT) recorded in a church, the "resonance" of the four compositions must have something to do with the people for whom the pieces are named after (you will have to research them individually, but from my quick search, they are all variants on freedom fighter/political-human rights activists, etc. etc.) The album is carefully thought out and obviously politically conscious. It is a tough listen, but for fans of atonal "serious" music, this is an interesting listening experience.

**(wiki:  a Hungarian economic historian, economic anthropologist and social philosopher known for his opposition to traditional economic thought and his book, The Great Transformation. Polanyi is remembered today as the originator of substantivism, a cultural approach to economics, which emphasized the way economies are embedded in society and culture. This view ran counter to mainstream economics but was popular in anthropology, economic history, economic sociology and political science. Polanyi's approach to the ancient economies has been applied to a variety of cases, such as Pre-Columbian America and ancient Mesopotamia, although its utility to the study of ancient societies in general has been questioned. Polanyi's The Great Transformation became a model for historical sociology. His theories eventually became the foundation for the economic democracy movement.

Buy HERE.

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Sunday, December 9, 2012

XIAO HONG YU XIAO XIAO HONG
"Black Sheep" C45 (Night People)


This tape contains, beneath it's mellow, recuperative surface, a most pleasant pathology.  Fragmented and disintegrated or backwards vocals float over reverbing synthesizer and echoing drum patterns.  Am I floating down towards infinity?  Or am I being run over by a train made out of black lights?  This recording seems to invite introspective days at home, possibly ill.  Alternately: a moss-and-lichen-inspector's soundtrack to morning tour of castle walls.

ORDER

Saturday, December 8, 2012

The Plums - "Nixon's Mess" (Prison Art)


The Plums, a noise institution for at least the ten years or so, have a new album out on Prison Art and it is good. Heavy, fuzzy, thick, and with each side being about sixteen minutes in length, a very enjoyable listen should you be in the mood for sludge fucking guitar squall. Nixon's Mess is hypnotic and thoroughly awesome. The crescendo's of riffage, groove, and noise is in perfect harmony here and when blasts of feedback hit ya in the earhole, you whimper, but never turn away. Just good noise/rock...Recommend this to you and yours...

Buy and Listen HERE.

follow me on twitter: @teflonbeast

Friday, December 7, 2012

4 from Field Hymns

When a label, in this case Field Hymns, does what it does with such perfection, it makes my job as a reviewer quite difficult. For those listeners into vintage synth buzz, arpeggio-filled drone/wiz, then these four releases are a must have/hear. If you want short bursts of noise or rock, look elsewhere. Basically, if this aint your thang, then you will be bored to tears. Otherwise hop on board the star cruiser.  

The sometimes lengthy compositions on these tapes (and most of the label's catalog) can transport or relax a listener, depending on one's particular needs. The other day I needed a peaceful bit of "quiet time," so I grabbed this stack of Field Hymns releases and went to work listening in a half-slumber, the blinds drawn, only hints of  afternoon sunlight creeping in on my introspection. Bastian Void's Fluorescent Bells is my personal favorite because it is just so damn OUT THERE. Jonathan James Carr's Well-Tempered Ignorance (which combines some awesome musicianship with musique concrete style audio) is the next best of the batch. Ultimately though, I think you fans of synth-space traversing should find your own personal highlights amongst the many great FH tapes put out this, or any other year.

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Thursday, December 6, 2012

FALLS OF RAUROS
"The Light That Dwells In Rotten Wood"
Eternal Warfare


Very strong melodic black metal from Portland, Maine.  Until their vinyl comes out, the best way to check them out is to order a cassette directly from the band.  I strongly urge you to do so, if you're into this sort of thing.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Free Weed - "Free" (Lillerne Tapes)

Free Weed's twelve tune tape on Lillerne Tapes is about making some throw down fun guitar rock/pop in the company of (maybe) a couple friends, or (maybe) just one's self singing and playing stoned songs of boredom & joy. This is a simple pleasure cruise of a listen, nothing spectacular, but nothing terrible either. All the happiness of a distorted guitar, some looped beats, and melodies coming out of one soul, true lo-fi bedroom noise/pop...all the connotations of ALL those words are exactly defined by the music on this album. "Pimp Reaper" is one of my favorite songs this week. Even if I never listen to this tape again, I'll carry, in my brain, the title "Pimp Reaper." So, THANKS for that!

Buy and Listen HERE.

follow me on twitter: @teflonbeast

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

CLOUD BECOMES YOUR HAND
(Canada Goose Tapes)


Evokes a slothy march up the mountainside of ferny Mt. McKinley with skies over your shoulder, water flasks bouncing, possible lashes of the whip forcing onwards the army of syntho-dwarfs.  Pleasant busy neon notes in a vein of ore pouring out from Mount Ralph, we must not stop for gas.  Unusual melodic lines and ultra-colorful fabric overlaps.  At one point we careen into a lush ritualized cover of "Dean's Dream" by Dead Milkmen.  All in all, a full carafe of well drafted hedgehog lemonade notions.

I strongly urge you to buy this tape from the internet

Monday, December 3, 2012

5 X Swan City Sounds

Hailing from Lakeland, FL, Swan City Sounds is a brand new organization. The label included a wonderful backstory note in the package sent to me, I wish I could type it all out and share it with you here...but I can't because I have five goddamn tapes to review and time's-a-wasting! Anyway, the story is a couple of dudes want to release music by talented locals, they scrape together some thirty-five bones and buy a cassette duplicator from some conspiracy theorist who's moving or fleeing the scene or...Heard this one before? Well, the dudes get all their ducks in a row, artist friends do the album art, they do the layout, local musicians eager to record their sounds make albums...and...oh yeah, apparently Lakeland has a thing for swans, hence the label name...
OK. The music? First, let me say that the five tapes Swan City sent me have some of the best art I've received all year. Its not just collage, but the layout and color choices are superb. Bravo to artist Leif Langford and the SCS crew! Right, music...diversity is the name of the game here. The label isn't all about just ONE kind of sound, but a plethora of guitar based music. First on my randomly stacked pile o' tapes is the self-titled album by Abuela. "Album" is a stretch for what this tape is as it is more a single...or a very short EP. Three songs appropriately described as "acoustic bedroom blues," this is intimate stuff. Cool, but minimal, Abuela's cassette is a snap shot of one person's inner music...is it something that can translate outside the bedroom? We'll have to wait and see I guess.
My Own Retard has to be the worst name I've read all year. Shame too 'cause this is my favorite tape. Bumble is like a soundtrack to an arty student film. Most of the compositions are under two minutes and are guitar based. Both acoustic and electric lines glide along waves of arpeggios. The vibe is kinda right before night in open field, there's sunlight, but not too much. Also, there's a piece titled "Ted's Back, Asshole," that made me laugh. If this is for a scene where a character named "Ted" comes back to either a failed romantic relationship where the other person has moved on or maybe a parent is yelling at another parent about their screwup son. Finally, what's the deal with BEES? The album has four of ten tunes that mention bees in the title. I demand answers!
Carve Color's Separation is the opposite of Abuela's sound in terms of volume. Shoegaze, wall of electric guitars, and smothered vocals typify this release. As intimate in some ways as acoustic music, but more technicolor...This is dream music and though, its well done, I'm not a huge fan. 

Air Your Grievance by Five Spoken by the Buffalo is technically precise ("screamo" ha ha ha remember that term?) guitar rock. This is the best sounding of the SCS batch. At around fifteen minutes this blast is all about the energy and the passion the players bring to their material. Brief yes, but who could sustain this controlled aggression for much longer...and not to mention the blisters that no doubt formed on all the musicians hands...Sadly, this band is no more - they done broken up...danggggg



Glad Animal Movements' Nakedness is more intimate bedroom music. Vague terms (and not particularly useful ones at that) like "glo-fi" or "indie-dreamsicle-pop" might be apt for music like the sounds gathered together on this tape. Another less than twenty-minute meditative listening experience, GAM's music is great for chill come-downs...explore and please breathe deeply.

Bottom line: cool label, great look, short tapes


Buy and Listen HERE.

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Saturday, December 1, 2012

Idol Eyes - "Jiya Dhareka" (Sun Hypnotic)

Idol Eyes' Jiya Dhareka is perfect for experimental music fans. The album is a giant whirlwind of sound-collage radio, samples, guitars, and assorted percussion. The overall effect is one of wasteland psychedelia or driving in the desert alone. Truly interesting stuff. I'm certainly a fan of mixed-up confusion distilled into droning, looped cut & paste music. As a release this effort is stellar in its conceptual execution, but it won't be for just any ol' listener. If you read Wire magazine, then I bet you will enjoy this tape. Have a listen today!

Buy and Listen HERE.