“To Make the Sun Hurt” C37
(Antiquated Future Records)

Brilliant anachronistic artistry from Portland, Oregon! I’m throwing around the ‘A’ word here because the recording technique isn’t just ‘lo-fi’ for trend/economy’s sake, but straight up Alan-Lomax-style blown-out edges and ¼” tape hiss…but with the very same careful treatment given the organic, acoustic instruments as the Electro-Acoustic Feedback and sparsely employed reverb gain and tape manipulation! Truly a visionary for that whole ‘freakfolk’ scene to take note of, though I’m damned if I could figure out a way to make this work live.  If you’ve ever heard anything like this before, please let me know; I want more!

Hints of: Leonard Cohen, Lee Hazelwood, ethnomusicology, Sunny Day Real Estate (that’s right), subtle/harsh noise, badass.

Note*: It took me many a listen before I was in the mood for this. It sure ain’t a Friday Night Jam or Tuesday Night Study Date Soundtrack or Sunday Morning Yoga Guide. Try A Saturday Afternoon Life Sneering Context w/ Self or maybe a Wednesday Post Work Examination of Wrist Skin Thickness. Either way you slice it, this tape is amazing and I am so very glad they re-issued it and I got it and not Ryan Masteller, who got that goddamn Braeyden Jay/Sister Grotto split (also) from Antiquated Future. We’re both lucky I guess.


- - Jacob An Kittenplan

TYLER POWELL “Outgoing Messages” (Dismal Niche)

Residential landlines have already reached relic status. Even most older people have cell phones these days. This has led to home phones and their accessories laying to waste. Well instead of letting his answer machine rot Tyler Powell used it to record loops of guitar compositions designed to be background noise.

“Outgoing Messages” is essentially a compilation album of his weird hobby.  The tracks are bits and pieces of some of the loops he created that he deemed good enough to be reproduced. Powell has created calm atmospheric music that is mundane enough to do other things while listening to but pleasant enough not to turn off. I think that was the balance he was going for when he made these; so job well done.

-- Roy Blumenfeld

(Become Eternal)

Two producers, one tape. In 2007 or 2008 that scat porn allusion probably would have drawn some big laughs. But in #2016 it just seems cheap. So let’s make the music found on “#ILY2015” the focus instead. Each producer gets ownership of one side and they both hope to make their listeners put a dancing foot forward. It won’t be enough to make them notorious on the internet like feces play would, but that doesn’t mean it’s not the shit. I’m going to cut the rest of the review here before someone cites it in a paper on Freud. Links below. 

-- Roy Blumenfeld

JSCA “No Ends” (Alien Passenger)

7deep15me abstract noise compositions. Let me be clear: there is a place for them in the world. However, I listened to JSCA’s attempt at them and didn’t like it. So many things about it just weren’t to my liking. But I always try to respect the artist and don’t want to give a harsh review. So instead, here is how I would discuss “No Ends” with someone if I were a character in a Dr. Seuss book.

Do you like dreary synths and repetitive bass? 
I do not like dreary synths and repetitive bass.
Would you like them on the go?
I listened in my room, so I wouldn’t know.
Could you like them on the moon?
The music is boringly try hard, I’d be asleep just as soon.
How about while tipping a cow?
Both the tape and such dastardly activity I disavow.
My good fellow, have you no appreciation for the sinister drone?
After hearing what JSCA did with it I’d rather choke to death on a scone.
What could make it more to your liking?
Strike some life into it or just strike me with lightning!

-- Roy Blumenfeld

PEOPLE WITH BODIES “s/t” C18 (self-released)

How does one reconcile oneself with living in Reno, Nevada? It’s a sad place to be – the biggest little city in the world, don’tcha know it, as if it doesn’t quite have the confidence to grow and be better than it ought to be. People with Bodies, a duo comprised of Kent Irwin and Fil Corbitt, even hint at the malaise in “Invisible Hand,” the second song on their self-titled four-song cassette, suggesting that the best city planners can do is build “bigger strip malls with brighter stuff.” If that doesn’t sound like a numbing prospect to you – standing there in front of it, watching suburbia sprawl and then decay with a rapidity and efficiency that primes every ounce of disillusion in your soul – then I don’t know what you’ve been doing with your life. Living in a hippie commune?

People with Bodies manifest a dusty pop vibe in their songs, at once upbeat and windswept like a smiling desert hiker first thing in the morning. If the Ass Ponys were still around and making Electric Rock Music, and if they transported themselves from Cincinnati to more dry western climes, then we could have a magnetic double bill at whatever the most popular big little casino is that Reno has to offer. Is it Harrah’s? Atlantis? One of the other ones on the list I just googled? As long as it has a decent concert hall, I guess. And, fun fact, did you realize that “Reno” and “casino” rhyme, as if a more perfect match was never conceived? I didn’t until now.

So relax with your casino talk, pretend you have confidence in yourself, and check out this People with Bodies tape. It even ends with a mournful acoustic campfire tune, “New Border,” which features Andrew Marin and Christopher Stehman, on acoustic guitar and upright bass respectively. How western! I like the sound of that.

--Ryan Masteller