“Soft Petrification” C60
(Tribe Tapes)

Tribe Tapes has paired two fairly disparate noise artists together for a fairly dynamic experience. For every droning, low-end-less pulse & crackle of Fâlx Çérêbri’s 35 year old live performance, Greathumour answers with a freshly brassy, bassy warble of overhwelming harsh noise bliss/blitz.  &for every sneaky, left-field juxtaposition up FÇ’s sleeve, Greathumour finds a way to temper their own manic hyper-statics into a (relative) lull. 

Not exactly fucking study music, “Soft Petrification” will keep the nervous system just fried enough to meditate lying down whilst not really risking the taking of any quick cat naps.

&again, great J-Card art!


—Jacob An Kittenplan

“Endogeny” C63
(Tribe Tapes)

A true Deep Listening masterpiece! Organic-mechanical vs modular synthesis, brilliant blends of electro-acoustic massage, musique concréte cycles, harvested transmissions from other realms, & abused instrumental interplay. Meandering delay. All morphing frequently and with absolutely unwavering tonal cohesiveness. Restrainedly flirts with harsh noise wall musculature without ever needing to fully lay down that card. All this cut to tape three-plus decades ago and resurrected for your pleasures-in-discombobulation. Stellar J-Card at seals the deal!


—Jacob An Kittenplan

BASTARD CHOSEN “excretions/menarche” (self-released)

The Brothers Zisman here, offer their very own Double Nickles on the Dime, a two-fer, excretions (2017) on one side, menarche (2013) on the other, for a mere ten bucks.

The cover art for excretions has an H.R. Geiger-esque skeletal humanoid hamming it up as Bastard Chosen’s “Eddie” (famed Iron Maiden skeleton mascot, which made a big fuss in a “Don’t Do Drugs” commercial in the 1980s). However, one may suspect the more resonant antecedent for the BC would be one Glenn Allen Anzalone, famed Verotic Comics publisher and/or singer/songwriter for The Misfits, Samhain, and Danzig.

A rebar and concrete foundation hath been laid upon hallowed ground: the distance between Lodi, NJ, and the Bastards’ former stomping grounds of Rockland County, NY. They have since pack’t up their money and pick’t up their tent for the gold rush of PDX,Oregon.

As for the music, initially what surfaces is a steady rhythm section on a panoramic long distance exploration. Sharp-pitched, razor-picked guitar string-age will leave black-hearted headbangers crying with tears of onion-chopping joy. The band works out the jams/ideas with conversational non sequiturs, ie: track 8, what’s goin’ on(?), to which no one replies. The song title alone reads: J Mascis paraphrasing Lou Reed’s What Goes On, while appearing to be the Marvin Gaye consciousness-expanding anthem. To wit, the subtitle for excretions reads: uncut and hairy/raw dog/early mixes.

The LP menarche’s title is defined as the first occurrence of menstruation, and reveals not a small fascination with cycles of life, bodily function, and a hint of existential gloom. A clear thread of connection between these two efforts is the evergreen song blackbirds, it’s original, (bad acid version), and 1000 blackbirds. The early effort, the one under the influence, opens with a Spencer Davis Group-y, Gimme Some Lovin’ bassline. That follows with excretions album closer, just a chord, an optimistic outro, a finger-snapping jazz-club farewell.

Menarche’s cover art is more of a Macross-era manga via electronic microscope blueprint of a Rorschach breed common dog-flea. In an unusual move, BC put the earlier record on second, and any need for explanation disappears with track one of menarche: “time machine”.

Q: What’s the first thing you’d do if you were Marty McFly, carjacking the Professor’s Delorean?

A: Go back to the Philadelphia of 1960, to witness Dee Dee Sharp performing Mash Potato Time. Next stop is Dee Dee Ramone’s house, Queens, NY.

The track time machine’s burly, hooked-out riff/chorus carves a permanent groove into the ear canal database.

The sorta aforementioned/alluded to: mash potato mash up is a dreamy, come-dance-with-me throwback to the bad-old days of will-you-go-steady-with-me-Mary-Lou… with greasy tempo-shifting. The song’s sequel, (part 2) leans more into an Elvis post-Comeback Special bathroom break.

I’m just sayin’, plays as the influential cool uncle to excretion’s what’s goin’ on, where 1000 blackbirds’ Hendrixy, Creamy, Doors-ly-ness intermittently, gracefully pauses mid-power triumvirate, with Olympic-diver grace and micro-splash.

Running thru the remaining tunes: eye of the storm, a post-hurricane Sandy anthem, a tribute to those who lost their cars and took to safety via inflatable dinghy and hockey stick. Raise your glass, mates! tranny won’t change exhibits wild pitch-shifting>eye in the sky (shout out to Sauron) the slow-burn dirge that aborts without warning. The darkest depths of Mordor.

…a faint ghost of BC remains for the remainder of side b, haunting and taunting.





--Adam Padavano

CLARA DE ASÍS “Sans Nom Ni Forme” C30 (Pilgrim Talk)

Spanish artist Clara De Asís is a proponent of active listening, which manifests itself on Sans Nom Ni Forme as partaking in a carefully plotted menagerie of guitar tones. For me, who’s all about that guitar tone, doesn’t matter if it’s Slash and Yngwie, I was ready for action. I’m all about active listening, and also air guitar playing! Then, De Asís threw me the curveball that you smart readers could all see coming from a mile (or sixty feet, six inches) away, and I realized I was thinking of something completely different.

Clara De Asís is incredibly deliberate in her composition. Notes are struck, but one at a time, the sound allowed to reverberate into the environment and take on ambient properties of the room. Feedback is teased and dared to become sentient. Humming drones form sonic equivalents of quiet lakes across which dinghies are rowed as storm clouds gather. No matter how much the outside world works to distract from these delicate pieces, you must never let it in – active listening demands that you devote your full attention to the Sans Nom Ni Forme. And even if it somehow does get in, how does Sans Nom Ni Forme interact with it?

That’s the curiosity. But trust me, it works better if you’re fully invested, fully focused on De Asís’s playing. It’s hypnotic in the end. Not like Dave Mustaine at all.


VIDEO DAUGHTERS “Cut Back” (Already Dead)

Brooklyn’s Video Daughters confront you at the art-rock/post-punk green room afterparty and smash glass bottles on PA they’re playing through. They’re the band the other bands want to drink to. Heaving guitar blasts to barely coherent drum machine percussion, the duo, Mike Green and Ronnie Gonzalez zero in on that grisly antisocial behavior so common in experimental misfits: innovation. Or wait – not innovation, sacrilege. OK, sacrilege and innovation, and maybe a little chaos. Look, they’re playing that guitar with the broken bottle now. There’s blood everywhere.

To say that Video Daughters rip through Cut Back like a hot chainsaw through a butter statue is only slightly off the mark – it’s more like a hot chainsaw through another hot chainsaw, with sparks flying off the metal as the two power tools destroy each other. Agitated as a dial-up tone, Green and Gonzalez swerve sick atmosphere over the double yellow line like they can’t control the car metaphor they’re apparently driving now. But that’s OK! Cut Back is a disorienting and abrasive clash of energy and futility, and the heap of splayed arms and legs and instruments on the floor after the set, sweaty, exhausted, possibly injured, is the only proof you need to dive headfirst and dangerously into this tape.


OUT LIKE LAMBS “Field Studies Vol. 2”

In hindsight, this is what I’d call a hallowed supergroup (a headcount of 22). The distinctions from track-to-track suggest conflicting schedules and varied line-ups, as is the norm when the tunes got to be played and life gets to be lived. Sometimes people have to sing back-up from another room, for a faint contribution within the couch-cushion and down comforter fortress.

But… You can’t fool us, shoe-goo-gazing your way through those chunky power chords and cereal commercials. Some cheerful, and occasionally piercing, soaring highs, skirt the smooth, steady lows. A much-needed, massive ritual freak-out follows, segueing into NJ’s urban seaside Appalachia. Two-lane brains through the plains: Medieval scenery, with a post-Enlightenment chip on it’s shoulder. There are lots of moods, from pensive and reflective and brooding, to defiant and youthful ecstasy. A small child sings a shanty with an old-soul-leather surface. There are connected storylines, present-to-past-to-what-if? There’s even a little nod to Truckin’ via audio-collage.

Some recurring themes and instrumental compositions, and then the last>last> last track digs its high heels in, under loose-fitting pantaloons.

The stand out track for me, is Laugh it Up, a miniature radio-hit.

field studies V2

--Adam Padavano

BUTTER CITY POSTER BOYS “Super Bells Lemon Slice” C12 (Vanity Records)

Super Bells Lemon Slice is three tracks of processed and treated guitar, droned out to oblivion like vapor on a morning lake. The three tracks, “Variations on Delay 1,” “2,” and “3,” build upon each other while remaining in their settled mood, translating the manipulations of Butter City Poster Boys (one person, Graeme Scott) into perpetual waveforms. Drenched in effects, these “Variations” enter your mind and ripple through it, triggering the pleasure centers. Ideal for that quick morning meditation.


KUTHI JIN “Bee Extinction” C47 (Artetetra)

Once the bees die, then the end is in sight for the rest of us. The honeybee is a keystone species, meaning that if you remove it from its ecosystem, the ecosystem it’s a part of will descend into chaos. Therefore, bee extinction is a bad thing from an environmental perspective. Bee Extinction, on the contrary, by Kuthi Jin, has very little to do with the ecosystem. Except for the fact that it’s a reflection of it in sound form, that is. Actually, it does a pretty good job getting right in on the base level of the ecosystem and exploring, poking, prodding, experimenting with the surroundings and agents and participants etc. We’re really treated to a bee-level trip.

Ostensibly an electroacoustic-ish noise jawn, Bee Extinction clatters with movement and vibrates with energy. That is not an unreasonable expectation when you’re dealing with bees, and there are moments throughout Bee Extinction that take on the unmistakable buzz of wings bearing bodies laden with pollen as they make their way back to the hive. But the idyllic meadow-bound life of the honeybee gets turned on its head as the tape progresses, especially the third and final suite, “Plague | Herd 3 | Propeller,” which catalogues destruction in a series of abrasive passages. It’s clear by the end of it that the bees are no match for the march of human progress, and they’re shredded in the, ahem, propeller of innovation. Too bad really – I’m quite partial to honey.


BILLY N’ DAVE “Share My Chaise” (Galtta)

“Billy” is the inimitable Billy G. Robinson, soul singer, and “Dave” is David Lackner, multi-instrumentalist and purveyor of all fine things Galtta. Together they jam – they jam reeeeal good. Like 1970s and 1980s R&B at its finest, Share My Chaise is drenched in innuendo and entendre, perfect for romance and relaxation. Robinson’s tenor floats beautifully over Lackner’s complex arrangements, and the result is like Lionel Richie or Stevie Wonder jamming with Steely Dan at a late-night lounge. They both know their way around a melody – I was going to call out Lackner specifically for his incredible attention to detail on his sax and synth runs, but man, Robinson is just a virtuoso in vocal seduction. This pairing is for reals!

“Change your ways/ share my chaise” goes the title track, and there isn’t a better mission statement you’re going to get as an album opener. The come-ons may be dripping with intention, but there’s a knowingness to them as well, especially in the Me Too era. “What makes me different from all of the others?” Robinson sings. To that end, Share My Chaise serves as an ode to the great romantic records you may have heard when you were a kid, and Lackner and Galtta prove again that they’re at the top of this throwback game. No, not “throwback” – they’re bringing R&B into the future.