(Magnetic South Recordings)

Total fucking shredders, man, both of ‘em.

I distinctly remember Losing My Shit while meditating to Tyler Damon’s last release on MSR, “Cloud That Passes, Cloud That Stays” a few years ago, and it looks like he hasn’t let up a single bpm.

With both musicians sharing the initials TD (and about a half-dozen collaborative releases together), this hyper-driven frenetic duet could easily assume the moniker Total Destruction, were they not equally as capable of dynamically delivering nuanced interplays, on-the-hush, as well. Dorji’s unique approach to looping a drone background whilst exploring improv dissonance is ever present, and, as always, met with Damon’s complimentary creative, percussive attack (I’m pretty sure he’s giving a manual typewriter a Serious Workout at one point), fluidly employing warp-speed fills, blastbeats, head/cymbal scraping, and rattlesnake-like shakers, to name but a few techniques he’s mastered.

This particular collaboration finds them all the better at trading off freak-out duties, letting the other build up a good frothing mouth before joining in on the rapid-fire, howl-at-the-moon madness.


--Jacob An Kittenplan

“Afraid of Death”
(American Damage)

Am I afraid of death?

I don’t know. I used to be. Then I used to not be. Then I was afraid of the pain involved in dying, and the more I imagined that, the more I became afraid of death again.

No, wait – so that makes me definitely afraid of pain, but it doesn’t answer the initial question.

So am I afraid of death? I don’t know! Probably.

Jordan Reyes slips us into his worldview through this “collection of songs and sounds in pursuit of permanence,” although just what “permanence” means as you confront the rest of time is up for debate. These song- and sound collage–based mediations open up various avenues for contemplation, of mortality, of relationships, of meaning. What could be an overwrought concept quickly overcomes any indication of heavy-handedness, as Reyes allows the passages and the spaces they contain to convey mood without browbeating you with forced perspective.

Even the songs themselves – haunted folk numbers – feel properly in place as the tape unfolds. “In Memoriam” closes the cassette with reverence, as it sounds like the entire track is a field recording of an actual funeral service. Does it help me feel better about myself as I contemplate eternity? I … still have no idea.

American Damage


ALEX CUNNINGHAM “Fiddle” (Personal Archives)

When your cassette album, called “Fiddle,” opens with the only track whose “self-imposed constraint [is] ‘improvise a fiddle tune,’” what else is there even left to do? I’m just gonna stop writing about it right here, because “Fiddle,” the track, is a hoe-down stomper of the highest caliber, and if you know me, you know that “hoe-down stomper” is a code word for “catnip” around these parts.

OK, that’s not even partially true (the fact that the track is awesome is, though), but “Fiddle,” the album, shifts from moments of almost antagonistic improvisation (hear the bow grind the strings on “Rest Area”!) to graspable propulsion (hear the sawed strings rev like an engine on “Rest Area”!), yanking your attention speakers-ward with its ever-changing virtuosity. Alex Cunningham’s released some pretty great records recently, with the solo “Ache” and also “Parlance” as part of the Vernacular String Trio dropping on Personal Archives within the past two years. “Fiddle” continues his exploration of the titular instrument (or “violin” for those of you who don’t happen to live in some Appalachian barrens somewhere), running through eleven tracks of violent dissonance that are as weird as they are wondrous.

And I’m not lost on the closeness of the phonology of “violins” / “violence.” It was a conscious choice. (I see you, Eddie Vedder.)

Is Alex Cunningham better than Antonio Vivaldi? No, but no one has ever suggested that (at least that I know of). But there’s lots to like here with “Fiddle,” so get crackin’ on listenin’ while swiggin’ that moonshine on yr back porch. Or, uh, don’t do that, and sit in rapt attention in front of a $20,000 stereo system instead. It’s really up to you.

Alex Cunningham

Personal Archives


“Beyond Faded / Morning Tinnitus”
(Self Released)

The slow bubbling of machine with frayed belts coughs up spew and dirge as the traffic of trains pass through ghosts who are tied to the rails with phantom ropes. We hear them howling but the howls are whispers, subdued, quiet and unafraid. The train runs over the ghosts and the calm comes. In the distance a buzzsaw saws and things fall from their shelves without being touched. A bottle breaks, the vacuum vacuums the vacuous air as the sound waves of LATHER float through and become whispers of another time. And then soon? there is music. A horn blows softly over rocky terrain. Strings are scratched without being plucked. A cassette player runs in fast forwarded, slows down, stops and rewinds. Swells of sound bloom and die. Are we at an industrial warehouse? Is there a party after? And then … the cinema! and … click, the tape stops and you are worried you did not hear enough but fear not for you remember there is still side two.

Quieter, just as haunted. A whirring of string sounds cannot tell which direction to go so they move back and forth in a frenzy without managing to leave. Like a bug undecided buzzing in the green sky of dusk. A signal emerges as signal noise, beeps beeps beeps and the clangor of a bell, harsh and sweet, calls our attention to something else. But what is it? What is it calling? I cannot tell. Yet the bell tolls and tolls. It is a church bell or a bell at home or school? Wherever it may be, the bell is haunted, no doubt. Listening is an experience. There is much going on and we want to put our finger on all of it. Yet. And yet we cannot. Things slow down. Time slows down and passes. Listen, can you hear the time passing? Keep listening for soon it will pass and leave us to flip the tape once again in an endless cycle of noise

-Ricky Lemonseed

“Quoniam Facta Sum Vilis” (Astral Spirits)

As track 2, “And the Deep Indoors,” shuddered to a close, I wasn’t sure if the vibrations were coming from my speakers or from outside; there’s construction in the development behind our house, and we can feel the rumble throughout the day.

Such is the visceral experience of Brandon Lopez’s “Quoniam Facta Sum Vilis,” which translates to “FOR I HAVE BECOME VILE IN THE EYES OF THE LORD” (all caps my addition for effect). That’s an insanely damning self-appraisal. To wallow in abjection is to truly plumb the depths for inspiration. How’d our friend Lopez do?

But first, I’m gonna bounce some promo copy off you for a minute, just to get the descriptive stuff out of the way: the “virtuoso bassist” created “Quoniam Facta Sum Vilis,” “in part, as an answer to the musical ‘reason’ of the Bach cello suites. … [He intended to compose] something florid and beautiful from the violent and erratic and to deny the supremacy of the wrote in favor of the intuitive.” So, it’s improvised. The Astral Spirits way.

We answer our earlier question with, “Pretty well, actually.” Cello’s not a solo instrument with a wide spectrum of sonic possibilities, yet I find myself transfixed to the unusual approach Lopez is taking with it. Instead of fluid passages, Lopez juts and jags around the strings, ratcheting up the tension and not really letting us off with any less than a rattled feeling. It’s constantly interesting (not that the Lord would find any of this amusing), and you never know what’s going to happen next. And all this with a cello! I’ll never make fun of bass players again.

And what the heck is going on at the beginning of “Gruppo”? Are those shrieks? A power drill? Add that to the construction symphony outside my window – it can join in with the bulldozers and excavators.

Brandon Lopez

Astral Spirits


“Ressemblera” C38 (Astral Spirits)

Don’t you get it by this point? If it’s on Astral Spirits, it’s all improvised!

East of the Valley Blues is the Toronto-based twin-brother acoustic guitar duo of Kevin and Patrick Cahill. You know there’s some serious mind-melding going on here, Spock style – I mean, these guys shared a womb, for crying out loud! In fact, I’d go so far to suggest that East of the Valley Blues is the greatest sibling operation this side of the Bacon Brothers, and THAT’S saying something.

“Ressemblera” is a dusty desert monument like Devil’s Tower or some shit. There are two tracks – the title track lasts thirty-two minutes, and you can sure gaze at some big sky in the night as you sit around your campfire listening to this play (if you’ve left enough room in your backpack for a tape player, that is). At once gorgeous and tense, relaxing and driven, “Ressemblera” the song shifts and changes while remaining squarely in the Fahey/Basho idiom throughout, the guitars becoming living creatures that take form as constellations and swirl in a cosmic dance before your eyes. “Reassemblera” continues this dance for six more minutes, an encore before you curl up in your sleeping bag to let the universe brightly swirl through your dreams.

The Cahills are a wonderful addition to the Astral Spirits roster, and their work here is unmatched. Buy two tapes today!

East of the Valley Blues

Astral Spirits


“quoniam facta sum vilis” C37
(Astral Spirits)

From the low toque flutter of “Lay” to the run-aground boat-wail of “Pa,” Brandon Lopez shreds bow over contrabass strings with frontal lobe violence. His third solo album, quoniam facta sum vilis (see Lamentations 1:11), is partly a response to Bach’s six well-trodden cello suites. Avoiding paved common ground, Lopez constructs new rough surface. The album’s eight tunes glint murderous beauty as they push forward in rhythmic cycles like strangulated breath. Mostly recorded at the Horatio N. May Chapel in the Rosehill Cemetery (Chicago), the venue suits (or informs) the mood.


--Rick Weaver

SEAMSTRESS “Euphrates” C30 (Skin Trade)

How do we endure lengthy periods of great stress or hardship? Seamstress artfully tackles this throughout “Euphrates,” a “30-minute track of hallucinatory and caustic sound intent on conveying the effects of physical and emotional drought on the human psyche.” The cover photo, a barren ditch cut through the earth, is a striking counterpoint to the Euphrates River in the cradle of civilization, from which springs life. The filtered sky looks as brown and dead as the dirt and rocks. It’s a metaphor for the individual mentally strip-mined to emptiness, as well as a reminder that all life eventually returns to dust.

Seamstress feels the lack. Seamstress has been overwhelmed by it.

“Euphrates” begins with a boiling shriek and settles to a drone, through which emerge what sounds almost like a choir. It returns to utter desolation, but violently: sandstorms, swarms of insects, plague. Samples and effects pierce the air before dissipating, leaving only the long, lonely night whose emptiness, whose complete and utter aloneness, reverberates like phantom signals feeding back on each other. But hey – all that’s probably just in your head. Your poor, lost, dying head. Sleep tight!

Skin Trade



A ceremony marks an occasion. Not all ceremonies are solemn affairs – we have wedding ceremonies, after all, and those tend to be rapturously joyful – but when somebody drops the big “C” word, I tend to think of formality. Of procedure. Of reverence. Dino Spiluttini’s “Ceremony” is the big “C” “Ceremony,” an event etched into the granite of our heart’s calendar that we will not soon forget.

(“Granite of our heart’s calendar…”? I’m losing it.)

And so it is another capitalized moment, an Affair, that Spiluttini invites us to with “Ceremony.” “Ceremony” marks the end of the line, the “closing of a chapter,” the last gasp of Spiluttini onto magnetic tape. He is finished, you see, with the cassette scene, with you and me, and this document is the eulogy to his endeavors. We will no longer hear his luscious sculptures of reverential sound, his amplified supplications humbly offered. We will no longer bask in the all-enveloping tonal clouds, the hushed grandeur of his craft. We will be cast adrift in our emptiness with nothing to guide us toward that everlasting light.

Unless, of course, we buy his records on vinyl from here on out. He has NOT forsaken vinyl. All hail vinyl!...grk….ekkk….ccckkk… [chokes in grip of Cassette Gods editorial board]

Dino Spiluttini



FADENSONNEN "Brut" C40 (Fadensonnen Records)

NYC’s Fadensonnen churn out dense slabs of frenetic cacophony, wave after harsh-noise wave, leaving no discernible frequency unexplored in all its humanly executable rhythm. The relentless energy is palpable, and tantamount to a controlled panic attack. Amidst several batteries of guitar feedback, atonal synth textures, & percussive crashings wails a processed, electri-fied tenor sax that is all but destroyed in the fray. Good luck hunting it down! The overall payoff comes when the themes of human-squirmed texture and technologically obscured drones passing their batons back & forth is realized in full.

Best listened to LOUD & half-conscious!


--Jacob An Kittenplan

"Rectal Invaders" C29
(Nailbat Tapes)

May I humbly suggest you not google the words “fecal vomit” without ALWAYS including “rectal invaders” alongside it. I like talking shit with the best of ‘em, but my trivial lexicon expanded in ways I really wasn’t (and am still not) too jazzed about. Yes, “fecal vomit” isn’t just a Harsh Noise act from Serbia, but an actual, often fatal, medical condition. This tape, while not life threatening, is certainly unpleasant, but confidently and concertedly so, as the genre’s name implies, “harsh” implying “too”, right?

On “Rectal Invaders” (behold the brilliant J-Card art!), Fecal Vomit (the band) maintains a subtly muted digital-malaise, pairing dial-up-modem bit-crusher destruction with dime-store quality practice amps acting chiefly as vessels for any number of passing AM/FM ghosts/cell phone calls/passing Run DMC revelers & sub-woofer-death-rattle. The half-hour trip runs through a good number of human-vs-machine-output motifs before settling on the dignified exhaustion of achieving planned obsolescence.

Nailbat Tapes (PDX) promotes a fairly diverse cast of abrasive music and sound artists, so check out their Bandcamp via the link below!


--Jacob An Kittenplan

BILL BROVOLD "Superstar"
(Eh? Records/Public Eyesore)

The Spaghetti-Western-turn’d-peyote-dust’d-Carnie-After-Party that is Bill Brovold’s “Superstar” is undeniable.

Air-tight, contrapuntal rhythms thriving independently without referencing one another under lock-step grooves that gracefully distract from BB’s between-the-notes virtuosic LUTHIERY, plus, butter-as-smoothe executions of every. single. stringed/skinned. instrument. made/given…

Despite being infectiously danceable, it’s easy to see why Eh? Records would pick up such an irreverently executed series of studied jamz: their freakish nonchalance expertly yields infinite kinetic interpretations that are…staggering. Dead-in-the-tracks inspiring.

Mayhaps I’ll rephrase: without passing into any mantric, ceremonial mood, Bill Brovold’s “Superstar” says two things in two million different ways:

Get Concertedly Active.
Stay Concertedly Weird.


--Jacob An Kittenplan

LSJ "Misty Nights"
(Eh? Records/Public Eyesore)

LSJ embody pretty much every explorative element that Eh? Records specializes in promoting, blending multiple field recordings of ambiance and percussive toil, electro-acoustic feedback, disassociated sound clips, and tape processing, all without ever showing the head or tail of any one beast, resulting in a robust sound ecosystem to get lost in, in different ways, with each listen.

On “Misty Nights”, a series of sonic vignettes is patiently strung together. Hazily, slippery, an atmosphere of comfortable solitude in post-apocalyptic emergency room scavengings reveals itself. Impervious to superficial drama, the search wades through minor disturbance and rubble with clinical, practiced ambivalence.


--Jacob An Kittenplan

"Inside A Tree" C4 (Greentape)

Snow left on the ground. Something something on fire, middle of the yard. Do the neighbors mind? Would you possess a dollar store recorder? Break wooden ladles over flimsy metal cookwares? The tape recycled five times. Would we even notice without that telltale click from outside the headphones? Take a nap under that there overpass. And/or freak the fuck out. Whoosh and whir so sayeth more feedback.

Still, I would happily endure more.


--Jacob An Kittenplan

HADALS “The Dog” C15 (Nailbat Tapes)

This is not a rescue; this is a stray, a mutt, a mongrel, a cur. The Nashville duo Hadals channel their inner Wolf Eyes/Hair Police, and the result is astonishingly ravaged death noise. Strip Gaza of the technical prowess and dump a truckload of corrosive sludge on top of the entire process and you’ve nailed the Hadals aesthetic. It’s terrifying and exhilarating at once, as wonderful as getting flayed alive could ever feel, but through the magic of musical instruments. The slow grind of torture penetrates every pore; every second is an ear-shattering disaster. This is EXACTLY what you want and what you need right now – destruction never felt so invigorating!


Nailbat Tapes


PERRACHE “Une Cassette Comme Les Autres”
(Taping Desk O-phon Mania)

Joachim Henn isn’t one to relax. The Stuttgart native has released many things with many folks under many guises, some of which I’ve heard of (e jugend! trikorder 23!) and some I haven’t, but whose ignorance I will rectify posthaste (Frood of the Loop, Olumpique Jazz Trio). Here he drops “Une Cassette Comme Les Autres” as Perrache, and wouldn’t you know it, it’s a knockout of a tape release.

You can’t shake its trance, that’s for sure, as waves upon waves of nocturnal energy billow and pulse, densely coalescing and interacting like the friction of cloud formations. Henn builds massive sound structures that don’t come off as imposing as they are, as if their enormity was relegated to sheer distance. In fact, they’re not imposing at all – they’re inviting, hovering like lullabies and gently enveloping you as their characteristics emerge. Even when the tones are harsher, they’re still capable of engendering an awestruck response.

Beginning and ending with the fascinating “Chien de Loop,” the tape eats its own tail, ouroboros-style, although neither “Chien” resembles the other really; instead, they’re complementary pieces. But it illustrates how one of Henn’s ideas can be distributed in completely different ways. And it showcases how tightly controlled those ideas are, as if the elements of them find their way into each other and vice versa, each track resonating with and expanding upon the others. There’s not a dull moment on “Une Cassette Comme Les Autres,” so track one down as soon as you possibly can (not sure how easy that’s going to be for you Americans – I guess you can do a little distro digging).


Taping Desk O-phon Mania


A.M. STATIONS “Nonsense” C34 (Already Dead)

The noise rock recipe is fairly simple if you were going to write it down: distorted/jagged/angular guitars, (sometimes distorted) spoken/sung/shouted vocals, distorted riff-happy bass, pummeling drums. A.M. Stations features all of these things, and their brand of noise rock is therefore eminently successful.

There are even glimpses of melody throughout – not everything is a punishing wall of sheer serration. But even as tunes like “Milk Siblings” and “Charred Wings” offer a break from the onslaught, it doesn’t last long. Sure enough, even these diversions erupt with the intensity and propulsion of a roadside IED, flinging sonic shrapnel in all directions. The impact is lasting.

Check out these wily Chicagoans if you get a chance – I imagine their live show is a sight to behold.

A.M. Stations

Already Dead


REGATTAS "Garudas" C35 (Shinkoyo)

Free-Jazz lovers, rejoice! Tenor sax virtuoso, Sam Hillmer, plays in like a bajillion projects (check his personal site link below), but here, he’s on his own, exploring pretty much every sound one could possibly make with brass & reed.

I suggest not listening to this tape while your partner attempts to study or you might just be threatened with actual death.


--Jacob An Kittenplan

(Eh? Records/Public Eyesore)

When not using the built-in mic of his cellular phone to steal the sound-souls from Bolivian & Chilean passersby, Felipe Araya acts upon his cajon like so:

rub, smoosh, flutter,
clack, swipe, squeak,
massage, caress, shuffle,
drag, scrape, massage,
tinkle, creak, shudder!

&do not look for rhymes or reasons here.

Then, he plots Andean flute, Earth winds, footsteps.
Oh, do not look for rhythms or raising hairs.

As kerfluffle ubiquifies unto ambiance-hood,
and seismic groans drone plaintively below twinkling scraps,
do not look for rams or rustles near.

found within are field recordings from South America, electro-acoustic compositions via treated solo cajón, flute, & pretty much most sounds harvestable via natural frictions & jigglings about.


--Jacob An Kittenplan

DAVE SCANLON "Coupling Duet" C39 (Shinkoyo)

“Coupling Duet” is a clinical collection of avant-garde studies in repetition, phasing, overtone and space/time that’d fit right in next to several Steve Reich and Morton Feldman releases. Every track is a snack-sized inner world unto its own, each collected element demanding various degrees of multi-focused attention and patience as it engages with its surrounding (sparse) group of peers.

Listen loudly with headphones in the morning before traffic picks up for an altered sense of pacing, posing, and passing things/thoughts.


--Jacob An Kittenplan

IE "Ark" C39 (Shinkoyo)

In an excerpt from IE’s bandcamp page (hosted by Shinkoyo), a poem by (2/5ths of) the recordings artists reads as follows:

“About ARK:

The drone is an ark. It is not a negative space. It is a positive void. Its sound is built upon frequencies held steady with no aim. There is no place involved. There is consumption and repetition and shame associated with these activities. There is a world of rhythms and animal repetition. The drone is an ark. It is not a negative space. It is a positive void. It is a place of not knowing what. It can be played backwards and forwards. The drone is made of frequencies held steady with no aim. They have length. There are sensory motor pleasures that rewire consumption machines and there is shame involved. There are chords and they are a puzzle; people are working on the puzzle; the puzzle is the ark. The drone lasts for some time outside of time and inside there are only shapes, and possibly more. If you have shame, you can always make it into a movie instead of a drone. So then you might have left the ark. Shameless cinema is the absent work of drones. The drone is an ark. It is not electricity and also is what it is. It is not a negative space. It is a positive void. It is an ark. Drones are built upon frequencies held steady with no aim, and there is disruption of sensuous pleasures and consumption and repetition and all the shame associated with them. It may or may not be filled with emotion. It has beginnings, endings, inconsistencies and mistakes, or pretends that it does or does not. The drone is and makes perfect and imperfect pairings. The drone is an ark. It is not a negative space. It is a positive void. It is not a place. It is an ark.”

Recorded with the charms of brutalist architecture in mind, this electro-acoustic live document of the resonations culled from thrice-amplified keyboards, bassoon and saxophone is a minimalist dreamer’s drone (and vice versa) for all of us in love with naturally occurring binaural warble and the nuances inherent in stairwell echoes and austerely-constructed open art spaces.

Think Ellen Fullman, La Monte Young, & Phil Niblock, but, like, much younger, and from the Twin Cities. Make no mistake, this is an elegant, vibrant release, and IE know what is shaking. Specifically air molecules.


--Jacob An Kittenplan

NEW POPE "Meet the New Pope" C44 (Shinkoyo)

Sharing psychedelic DNA with the legendary Oneida, New Pope churns out some pretty far out there, dynamics-focused post-rock for dizzy headphone walkers. Part polyrhythmic hypnosis, part ceremonial drone, part krauty-space jam, this studio-born&raised release proves the glory of studied counterpoint, angular groove, and deft mixing/production.


--Jacob An Kittenplan

C. WORTH "A Farther Sea"
C54 (Gertrude Tapes)

The sound of all lone bedrooms
lit only by streetlamp,
fading candle, & intervals
of distant lighthouse flash.

Dust, devoutly swept into
all four corners, achieves
topsoil status, hosts
modest ice plant colonies.

Foghorn husk and battered,
barnacled hiss, Sea Worthy
hazily fingerstyles his subtle siren
strings of electric guitar,
mutely of pluck, or
jazzily strum’d, leagues
of reverb and delay coloring
even post-midnight horizons
with ghostly sails of unpinnable

Tides dependable, concurrently
peaceable, despite infinite opportunities
to dreamily

… … … …

This tape may actually be a perfect decompression-hour soundtrack. With or without headphones and/or neighborhood noise, it absolutely delivers, time and time and time again. The slippery blend of bass and treble and its rhythmic interplay, the arpeggios that slide into strums, the seamless movements between keys, the waxing and waning delay levels; C. Worth embodies all that can be transcendental about virtuosic guitar playing, with positively zero traces of the onanistic qualities so common in the genre.


--Jacob An Kittenplan

C30 (Perfect Wave)

Side A: With sustain pedal to the metal, Bryce Hackford patiently plots & plods a select few sentimental grand piano chords with minimalist-mantric repetition, creating a hollow peace within that is uneasy and inevitable.

Side B: Metronomic deep bass pulses around a lonesome, keyless chord. With no other subtext, its erratic cries ring out, untethered to any major or minor constraint, even when a low drone surfaces and recedes. Despite superficial tranquility, the gestalt yield is again uneasy & inevitable, leaving us looking, and feeling, “off”.


--Jacob An Kittenplan

C83 (Perfect Wave)

One point five hour’s worth of distilled sonic sleep apnea, magnetized and perched for a lackadaisical swooping into the vicinity of your ever-too-functioning-pulmonary caves. Read: this time-freezer is on le-fritz, again, so just shut some eyes, massage the back of a scalp; just enjoy the ride. Just…

Best visual: an emaciated taxi driver stuck in armageddon traffic, blissful. Each yard moving forward no less celebrated than the last. No less dreaded. No less Anything.

Notes of:
-mausoleum reverie,
-emotional trainwreck nostalgia,
-abandoned artifact stoicism,
-torn subway ticket despair,
-space held by-and-for space itself,
-organs of organs of…

Given William Basinski couldn’t eulogize his own wake, this’d do just fine.


--Jacob An Kittenplan

TROPICAL ROCK "Yellow Dock" C45 (Perfect Wave)

Two to three High Priestesses pace the perimeter of an impossibly morphing Yellow Dock, each one a-flutesaxophoneanalogsynthcrystalsingingbowltenori-onvocalizin’ to the others’ past/present/future inner ear through the slippery delay (pedals) of time. This cosmic circle-pit is jubilant, intense, revelatory, mesmerizing. It is a time-lapse party portrait at both micro- and macro- levels, in dynamics, narration, rhythm, and space.

Yes. There are nuanced, sonic jokes, social tropes. There is bickering, splitting hairs, these sounds all ringing intensely and timelessly, part & parcel to this cathartic gathering. There is unity; the tension acts as glue every bit as much as the countering, blissfully waxing moon’s pull. And then they all go out on a midnight-herbal-tea run, leaving said Yellow Dock shaken (and stirring) in the falling humidity.

Camille Padgitt-Coles and Ka Baird are not only the main contributors (with additional accompaniment from T. Peterson, another STITSR alum) to Tropical Rock, but also the head honchos of Perfect Wave, an NYC asset to experimental music promotion/curation. Do check out their website below to see how you might get involved/bare witness!


--Jacob An Kittenplan

"Self Titled" C26 (Pidgeon Records)

Nagual, Oberlin’s own nefarious, electric guitar triumvirate, teams up with Zach Rowden (on bass guitar here) to deliver two nerve-wracking slabs of droning feedback for the calloused-of-heart only.  Each side plays as a build-up to and/or come-down from some inferred breakdown (of the hardcore punk variety) without so much as a beat or chord strangled.

I can’t help but envision a mute, sweaty-brow’d vocalist flailing about stage between these four fullstack-abusers, madly pacing back and forth, jumping up on the bass drum of a never-to-be-played kit, threatening to bash a crash symbol with his unplugged, battered-in microphone, fervently awaiting an eternally undelivered count-in.
Pretty intense stuff. Play loud as fuck on a stereo with a good subwoofer, for sure.


--Jacob An Kittenplan

GARY HILL “Earth” (Windhaven Enterprises)

Totally rad font for this folded paper “j-card,” Gary Hill: I’m all ready for “Earth” to be some sort of text-based RPG adventure for an ancient PC, somehow confronting “Earth-Crisis (Impressions) 1-15” on side A, while “Earth Crisis (Impressions) 16-24” await on side B. The music does not disappoint. Warbly synth and Casio, mothballed melodies sprinkled quickly, transitioning quickly. The feel is exactly the look, and I am keen on it.

There is also a manifesto of sorts from Gary Hill in the folded paper accompanying the tape, something about saving the world from ourselves, it’s not too late, etc., but I’m not sure how serious to take it. (I mean, saving the planet is certainly important, as are green initiatives and restorative practices, don’t get me wrong.) Maybe it’s that this was released by something called Windhaven Enterprises … in 1990. That leads me to believe the whole retrofuturism thing might be a stylistic ploy. And my momma didn’t raise no dummy.

Oh, and please don’t get confused with this Earth Crisis. Unless you want to.

There doesn’t seem to be much info on this one, but here’s a YouTube link with the whole thing playing:



“Falling Up a Down Escalator” C45
(Already Dead)

Depends, I guess, on the season? If it’s cold, chili definitely. My brother-in-law’s Thai creations. Spaghetti. Warm weather I’m more into seafood stuff – we get this great shrimp ceviche around here that’s just so refreshing. I can taste it right now.

I’m talking about comfort food, obviously. Now I’m going to talk about Comfort Food.

Named after the kind of food that makes me (AND ONLY ME) feel good, Comfort Food the band is sort of the opposite, scattering their noise rock discontent among the jazz funk soil, like they’re filling your underpants with sand or something and making you walk the two miles back to town instead of giving you a lift. Comfort food, the food, this is not. This is scratchy and herky, uncomfortable, awkward. In short, this is everything that this kind of music should be.

“Falling Up a Down Escalator” is as unusual as its title sounds, like it’s really hard to do what it suggests. But bassist/vocalist/trumpetist Daniel Wolff and percussionist Jake Marshall are adept at turning gravity on its head in their tunes, and they’re up to the task at putting you off your equilibrium. These tracks churn and sizzle, fester and bubble, sometimes all at once. You guys like Jerkagram? You should. Comfort Food are spiritual siblings, but weirder. And Darko the Super even drops by to drop a couple of rhymes!

Comfort Food

Already Dead


SCRATEBOARD “Your Hand” (Peconic Records)

Scrote up, scrateboarder! Kirkflirp that rollie to a nrose slide, and try not to totally breef it. Raxle starl on a harf parp. Autograrfed Trorny Hark knee pards hanging on my gararge warl. A million back issues of Thrarsher margazarn in a borx downstors. Scrate or drie!


Shrrrederrr synthersizer torns. Blirp flirprs. Thrs chrmrng mrn. Trance brandrt. Rrrarrtrrraterr.

Fruck irt.



--Streve Craballero