Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Odor Orienting—Ratkiller cs

Odor Orienting
Crash Symbols

This sounds like music that an alien would make if that alien wanted to pass for a human. “Come on friends! Let’s dance to this human music i made! Then rest in this not space oven over here!” It’s pretty fun. 

The type is insane and the art is bonkers. It makes me pretty happy.

Young Statues—s/t cs

Young Statues
Run For Cover Records/Doghouse Records

Huh. This is different. Well, different for me. It’s actually kinda sweet. Reminds a little of a male-fronted Sundays a lot. I kinda like this… Don’t tell anyone. Anyhow… I feel like I should say something else about this. I guess fans of REM, the Sundays, the Smiths, Get Up Kids, Soul Asylum and maybe a little Pedro the Lion might be into this. I kinda like most of that shit so it works for me. The layout is fine. I am not a huge fan of those covers that I think National Audio Company provides that are almost perforated at the folds. It just destroys the artwork. Oh well… 

Monday, August 22, 2016

Women of the Night—s/t cs

Women of the Night
Manic Records

So, I am not sure how I am supposed to feel about a male-fronted band using a name like Women of the Night. Part of me doesn’t care at all. Bands don’t have to identify the members. I didn’t think the Animals (who this band reminds me of a bit) were claiming to be actual animals but there is a weight to using male and female terms with your band. Especially using the term “Women of the Night” which implies a time and era when woman’s sexuality was treated as something negative and that “loose” women were somehow immoral yet exciting. It’s a bullshit term but maybe this band is aware of that and is turning that on it’s head. I can’t count out irony. The name of a band, I think, is more of a narrative. The only thing in regards to this is that I don’t know if there is enough here to support that narrative. Then again… maybe. This is a tough one. Musically this is described as proto-punk but I am not sure what that means. To me this reminds me of a lot of great 60s rock and pop with a bit of that 2000s-era nyc hipster stuff. I think, ultimately, I liked it. There is enough here to enjoy. I am sure this entire band would make me feel bad about myself if I saw them but that’s cool. The layout is fine. The pictures of scantily clad women with film noir style photography adds some negative weight to the possibly sexist narrative but then again I am not going to judge because I could be very wrong here. I say you check it out and be the judge. Oh, real quick. There is a small die cut on the back of this cassette that is pretty cool but it’s so subtle that I really wonder why they spent the extra time or money to do it. Really strange.

Q///Q—Jardim cs

Self Released?

I think…

I know the group Q///Q and I know they have a track on a previous record called Jardim… but this could maybe be a split with a group coincidentally called Jardim… Maybe? I don’t know. Anyway this is pretty great minimal experimental. Not totally something I would pop on normally but this totally ruled while I was drawing. I am super into this. The packaging is also minimal, which is normally cool, but this time I found it just plain hard to understand. Still. It’s a good tape. 

Oltron—Doze On cs

Doze On
Self Released

When I first heard this I wasn’t that into it but after a few listens of this sort of vaporwave/electronic mix I was totally hooked. This is fucking great. It’s like the music rad miniature aliens would listen to if they lived in a small, beautiful, eternal night version of Venice Beach. Does that make any sense? It’s great.

I will say that the way they did the type had me a little confused as to what was the group’s name and what was the album name. Thankfully discos came to my rescue. 

Super chill. 

Plebeiangrandstand—False Highs, True Lows cs

False Highs, True Lows cs
Tapes of a Neon God

Holy fuck.

This is great.

Guide to Bizarre Behavior—Vol. 2 cs

Guide to Bizarre Behavior
Vol. 2
Shangoril La Records

This is interesting. That’s for sure. It’s really a big fish mosh of pop, noise, la weirdo lo-fi and something else entirely. It reminds me vaguely of the earliest Ariel Pink demos but it’s not really there. At least for me this isn’t really there. It’s kind of…light. It’s hard to explain. I’m not really into it. I recognize that it is made by some very interesting brains though. Maybe a few more listens and I will be on board. Hmmm.

It looks pretty strange. Collage and simple type. It’s not really as interesting as the music but there is still something happening that I don’t quite follow. Maybe it’s my age. 

Amulets—In Flux cs

In Flux
Wounded Knife

Excellent. Absolutely. I have listened to this a handful of times now and it has this beautiful broken quality. It feels like the music that might haunt you if after death all you were left was the memories you had when you were little and trying to make memories for the first time. There is a feeling of traveling and discovery in this sort of electronic layered music. This is good for you.

The packaging is tip top as well. Great handling of type and excellent photography. I really feel like this artists and this label really give a shit. Thanks everyone. 

Tristan Welch—Washington D.C. cs

Tristan Welch
Washington D.C.
Self Released

This is pure beauty. Honestly I love the way this tape sounds so much. It is half in a dream the whole time and makes you feel like you are dragging your senses just a little bit into infinity. It is drone but it’s also something more. It’s a language. I feel like this could honestly heal me. I was so upset when my tape deck ate this tape. Furious even but it still plays well enough because I am never going to stop listening. 

I was a bit disappointed in the packaging though. A simple O card with pretty lackluster type and a logo that mad me think, yup, that’s D.C.’s flag…as musical notation…eh. Still, it barely matters because the music is transcendent. 

Black Cum—Cum ep & Live at the Palace of Pain cs

Black Cum
Cum ep & Live at the Palace of Pain
Self Released

These guys are so fucking weird. I really sort of love them. Both of these tapes are super short but they are also super strange. The live one is really, really funny. Encouraging the crowd to not talk for what is almost an accurate count of 10 seconds before a totally anti-climatic beginning is perfection. This is got to be some Andy Kaufman level brilliance on here. I can’t even begin to explain this. Find it and love it.

The tapes are made by hand and it’s glorious. Exactly what you had hoped.

I'm back.

Hey, trade show season has come to a close for me and I can focus on a few other projects. I am excited to start getting some more reviews up. Here you go!

Friday, June 3, 2016

Hoops—A Whiff of Spirits cs

A Whiff of Spirits
self released

This is very intimate. This is like a small delicate noise diary. Little found moments, signal noise, tape manipulatios… they are seem so sweet and delicate. Yeah, delicate. That is what i would use to describe most of this. I like it. It feels like seeing a show in someone’s bedroom with just you and two other people you’ve never met. I’m into it. 

It looks pretty good. It has this faraway memory vibe that goes with the audio. The type is fine. Nothing to complain about here…

Alexandra Atnif/Constable Flavour—remix cassette

Alexandra Atnif/Constable Flavour
remix cassette
self released?

So here is another one from that Alexandra Atnif. This time it is a collaboration with Constable Flavor in which they remix each other’s tracks. Hmm. SO now we have two mysterious LA based artist making some pretty killer industrial, noise with some pretty heavy beats. It’s great. Definitely something you are going to dig if you can ever find it. The layout is rather simpler but it’s thoughtfully down with a good handling of the type. I appreciate that. 

Komissar Hjuler und Mama Baer—Leben Gesteingt Selektion cs

Komissar Hjuler und Mama Baer
Leben Gesteingt Selektion
Black Horizons

This is really, really, really, really, interesting. I don’t even know exactly how to classify this. It sounds like something that is built out of field recordings and very up close and personal noise and folk performances. I could imagine hearing this at a MOMA somewhere in conjunction with a beautiful art installation. Thankfully, Black Horizons did a wonderful job packaging this so you sort of get that. I still have a hard time describing this. I know it’s still available from the label so maybe just go get it. It’s really good. 

(i’m going to use the images from BH’s website. They look way best than my crappy pictures)

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Lord Time—A Destiny of Death cs

Lord Time
A Destiny of Death
Universal Consciousness

I think this might be the final Lord Time release. Everything about it, the cover, the title, the tone… It all says, this is it. I feel bad I couldn’t get to this right after it showed up in the mail a handful of months ago because you may have missed this. I love Lord Time. In the world of bedroom black metal this is one of my favorites. I have paid plenty of my own money of Lord Time stuff and so should you. This cassette is probably the most beautiful thing Lord Time has ever done. There is plenty of brutal and blazing on here but there is a lot of pensive, sad and deliberate parts that really hold my interest. Parts that remind me of Klaus Schultz and parts that sound almost like a forgotten, tragic symphony playing to no one. The whole thing is beautiful. I hope you find it. I mean, I hope it finds you.

Sterile Garden—Miasma cs

Sterile Garden
Obfuscated Records

Sweet. Sounds like player pianos falling into a quarry. I dig this. There are some moments of harsh noise and some more analog tape fuckery type moments. It’s cool. It has that vintage, canned sort of sound that I have loved forever. Nice minimal layout, fine type treatment. I am into it. Nice.

Harassor—Archives Vol. 1 cs

Archives Vol. 1
Universal Consciousness

So this is pretty fucking raw. It’s boombox recordings of Harassor rehearsal which is mostly improvised. This isn’t a tape of them working on a part for any hour or anything like that but it’s still very much a rehearsal recording. There are some edits and it actually comes together as almost a study of the band. This is sort of the musical version of an artist’s sketchbook. Growing up I always loved when publishers would publish sketchbooks from Bill Sienkiewicz, Kent Williams or whoever’s comics I was really into at that time. This is like that. It’s pretty satisfying if you are a Harassor fan. Which I am. The tape looks great. Mine is the second edition and I don’t know if anything has changed but even though these are DIY they are still very much made with care to quality. Nice. 

Germ Class—s/t cs

Germ Class
Night People

I don’t know where the German Army people find the time. This is a new group with members of both Dunes and German Army. It’s been the best thing to listen to today while I trudge away at the computer, separating layers for letterpress plates. It is slow building, laid back productivity and I appreciate it. The layout is really simple but the type and art are fantastic. I think they are printed on a risograph. It reminds me that I need one of those asap. Nice work people.

Andorkappen—Columbarium cs

Universal Consciousness

Fuck. This actually broke my tape deck. Well, the tape deck maybe broke on it’s own coincidentally but if I want to commit a logical fallacy here I can say that I can find no better reason than it breaking than this epic drone cassette. It’s awesome. Apparently made with organ and vocals on one side and then no vocals on the other. It’s cool. I think the vocal side is a bit stronger but I like that option. Very much for fans of drone or dark ambient. Maybe a touch of fucked industrial in there. As per usual for UC releases it looks great and is well worth finding. Good luck. 

Personal Best—Loaf of Bread Rising cs

Personal Best
Loaf of Bread Rising
Squid Records

Super weird. This is a more traditional band in that it sounds like guitars, bass, vocals and drums. The music is kinda in the art rock/noise rock vein. It’s a little devo, a little wire, maybe a touch of ween. It’s just strange and kinda fun. Not really my thing but i dig elements for sure. It kinda sounds like the weird songs I make up for my cat but played by people with a better grasp on what songs about a bad cat should probably sound like. The layout has a picture of bread on it. It’s so on the nose that I sort of have to respect it.

Behavior/Maxwell Genders—split cassette cs

Behavior/Maxwell Genders
split cassette
Squid Records

Yeah! This rules. Super noisy punk weirdness from Behavior is a total blast. Short songs that get in and get weird. Maxwell Genders is very different. More spacey synths and drones. Kind of has an evil Tangerine Dream feel to me. It’s totally good. My favorite thing about this is how it looks though. I can’t really place what it is about it but I love the art, type and the printing. Simple and solid. 

Ross W. Chait/Ian G. McColm—solo/solo cs

Ross W. Chait/Ian G. McColm
Pidgin Records

Minimal through and through. Loops and drones create soundscapes that are almost americana in it’s tone on the first side. The second is a bit more Eastern sounding and they are both really solid. The minimalism of the layout is pretty underwhelming though. I get what they were going for but it just feels kinda lazy. 

Amalgamated—trudge/slap cs

Cave Recordings 

Great electronic experimental from this crazy group. I have dug everything I have heard of theirs so far and this is no exception. Really layered and full of good judgement. The songs on this are pretty long but they really pay off the longer you are in. It’s like a James Elroy novel. You are rewarded for your attention. The art is awesome. Great collage work paired with simple and smart design. Excellent. 

Alexandra Atnif—Mix.1. (c-90) cs

Alexandra Atnif
Mix.1. (c-90)

Not sure where this came from. Sometimes I get tapes in the mail with nothing on them at all. This demo came with a very small handwritten bio in broken english. Apparently this is a Romanian girl living in LA who is working on some crazy minimalist industrial techno stuff. It’s dark and horrifying and I sort of love this person. Of course I am though. I am a pathetic beta male who gravitates towards any woman with this much moxy. Anyhow, I don’t know how you will find this. The case and tape were completely covered in gray spray paint with some stenciled text on the J card and some random art inside. It’s pretty great and I hope you can find it. The bio said something about brutalist architecture and I get it from the layout. I guess go on a google hunt…

Peter Kris—Marshal South cs

Peter Kris
Marshal South

Another amazing guitar centered album by German Army’s Peter Kris. It’s so fucking inspiring. Every time I get something from these guys, whether it’s solo work or German Army stuff, I always immediately create music of my own. This time I recorded for a 4” lathe I’m putting out all because this tape is so killer. It actually creates it’s own music outside of itself. The tape is transcendent.  It’s what apologists always claim God is. That is what this is. It looks great. Simple, clean photograph and type layout. The type is killer and the whole thing is just fucking tasteful as fuck. 

Ural Umbo—II cs

Ural Umbo
Merzbild Tapes

Immediately you are hit with glacial wave after wave of concentrated beauty. Fuck I love this. This is why drugs are so wonderful. They take you to places that you can’t get on your own. Or are at least very hard to find on your own. This cassette has a whole world inside it and it’s such a beautiful, tragic and sometimes terrifying world. Go find it. 

It looks pretty great, of course, as all of their releases do. This I think is layer after layer of color xerox on transparent vellum. It’s pretty weird. The only think I would have done differently, but maybe it’s because I have access to this, is that I would have professionally scored the inserts. It makes a huge difference and allows the paper to bend properly. Maybe it would be hard though… I will try…

Telluris—S/T cs

Suram Fortress

This is cool. Most of my long time readers will know how into anything from Hanson Tapes I am. They just have this beautiful boxed sound that I find haunting. This is right on the same level. This made me think of science fiction and human sacrifice. I like this a lot. Very simple handmade look to the whole thing that works very well. Good stuff.

German Army—Remain in Exile cs

German Army
Remain in Exile
Golden Cloud Tapes

At this point I feel like I am just bragging that I have all these killer German Army tapes. This one is also great. It still has those samples and layers that feel like on their own they would have some real interesting back story back played together they swirl into a new picture of an old place. I am struggling to find anything to really criticize. The layout is good. Maybe a little underwhelming I guess but not really. It’s good too. I guess I want to see more and more and more from them. Nah, this is all great.

Wound—Be a Sign in the Flow cs

Be a Sign in the Flow
Dokuro Records

I wanted to review this forever ago and wrote a bunch of notes on post-its on the tape. This was right around the time I was going to move to a podcast. While that is still happening I am still a ways away from being ready so I want to get this out as soon as I am able. This was pretty killer. My favorite post-it note though said “weird, glitchy noise. Bumblebee’s fever dream.” So I am going to go with that.

The layout looks a little like a rave flyer but it’s very competently done. There is a cool attention paid to bitmapping on the type that I find pretty interesting. Nice.

Sunken Cheek & Pearl Danger—Collaboration cs

Sunken Cheek & Pearl Danger
Unseen Force

Fuck, I love short tapes like this. Super focused collaboration that gets in and gets out. It’s so rare to have a collab go so smooth. Usually it takes everyone about 5 mins just to find the groove and another 30 before they get bored. This is great. The layout is killer xerox cut n paste that looks killer. The whole thing rules. Only 50 but hopefully you can find this. 

Corey Brewer—Pale Pink Prison cs

Corey Brewer
Pale Pink Prison
Broken Press

Corey is a wonderful human. He is also a wonderful musician. You may have seen him playing live with Triumph of Lethargy Skinned Alive to Death which is one of my favorite band names ever but this here is Corey on his own. What does this sound like? Hmmm. Synth music with some low deep vocals that have pop meets Coil sort of vibe for me. It’s quite good. It’s put out by Broken Press. I don’t know if you’ve seen his tapes before but they all have a similar layout and all look great. I highly recommend getting a bunch of these and putting them together. It’s deeply satisfying. 

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Champagne Mirrors—Extended Communication Technique cs

Champagne Mirrors
Extended Communication Technique

So this is the newer solo project of Alex from Oakeater. It’s really nothing like Oakeater but it’s damn good. Feverish electronic tracks that are unique and complete stand alone pieces all on their own. Often times with this type of music I find it to be a little… samey? If that is a word. It’s like someone comes up with a sound they like and they just ride that one thing until everyone is bored. Each of these songs are totally able to stick in your mind for different reasons. They are still completely cohesive and flow like a album should but each one is a treasure all it’s own. This is rare. I really hope Alex does more from this project. The packaging quality is really high as well. A nice black box with a small folded insert. The artwork is great as well. The whole thing is just well thought out. 

Charnel House—Voiceless Hymns cs

Charnel House
Voiceless Hymns
Auris Apothecary 

This cassette is a repress of two previous out-of-print releases, the self titled cs & Charnel House/Agakus split. I can see why they went out of print. This is thick, dark, wicked blackened bedroom drone that is dying to suffocate you. First off, it came in a screen printed cloth bag with a small jar full of bone fragments. This is great. Right away you know what you are getting into… or at least you think you do. Then it just buzzes, grinds and fucks with you. I figured this would be killer by the label (whom always has good taste) and the presentation and I was not wrong. This is great. This is evil. This is to be heard. 

SBTDOH—Butchers cs

Shrouded Recordings

Severe noise/drone from a band who’s name I believe is an acronymn for something. I could spend the review guessing. I guess I could probably check on google but we all know I am not going to do any of that. This is pretty goddamn wonderful, sloppy, dripping noise. The packaging is kinda crappy but in a way I totally dig. The insert and j card are basically cheap photocopier paper folded in a weird way to fit in a case. It seems slapdash but at the same time it has this kvlt feel that makes me think of guys making noise tapes while trapped in an office building. I like it. 

Two of the coolest things I have receiving in a long time.


So this showed up awhile ago and I can’t remember who sent it. It has a brother as well that I am reviewing here as well. First of all, this is what I am talking about. The packaging, the music… It’s all fantastic. I am really happy about this. Weird, handmade stuff like this is why I got into tapes so many years ago. The music is this meditative synth wonder and the package is bananas. It’s a tape (spray painted) in a cloth bag with a bead made from coyote bone and ocotillo. There are pieces of plants and a large fold-out drawing with handwritten infomation. Here is some of what is one there. First the info: “some of the paint I used was made with plant & other organic material. Matter collected in the desert.” On the poster I have some kanji and then it says A John. Rec 4/23–24/15. •Roland Piano 2k f 50–35 •Small & large wooden temple blocks •Amplified Bowl then it says TSPNTH.bandcamp.com but that url doesn’t exist. It’s a very cool package and kinda nuts. If anyone knows anything about this, please let me know. 


The red tape?
not sure?

So this one is another amazing work of art. This one has another spray painted tape but his time there are jewels to let me know which is side a and which is side b. It is housed in a sewn fabric pouch with a glittery band holding it together. Inside is a small book that is made of many hastily cut pages. Most have writing or drawings on them. Here are some things that are written inside, the first are song titles I believe: 

1. The Further You Skirt Around the Edge of the Chasm the Wider it Becomes

2. Pure Land. Etheric Doubles 1. Goblins. Letitia. Etheric Doubles 2. Quail Cools it’s Wings.

Motas Vaeta Daries

Head of Golden Fire Neck of Air Ast Sa Neb Ent Kher Maten Matet Mountain with a Single Staff Atop 


Sea Ensemble

 and some names.

It’s different and I love it. I am not sure exactly what I am looking at or listening to though. The music is varied. Some rythms made from sticks and bones. Some guitar work. Some synths… It’s pretty lovely. I’m lucky to have it. 

Astrokade—Memory Foam cs

Memory Foam
Kitchen Dweller

Did you ever hear FCS North from Seattle? They were great! This reminds me a little of this. It feels like a sort of electronic based collection of tunes but I think they have real drums. It’s pretty good. If you can’t tell I am not a giant fan of this stuff. I recognize it as being good and interesting but I’m not really the best person to review it. I had some other reviewers awhile back that were very well versed in this stuff but they were a little hard to nail down so all of you brilliant talents are stuck with a fat bald idiot saying, “This isn’t HNW. What is this?!?!?”

Looks awesome though. Nice layout and cool type. It reminds me a lot of that early 3D tank games where you had to look through the viewfinder when playing. Awesome. 

Ghost Miner—Shadows Factory cs

Ghost Miner
Shadows Factory
Out of Body Records

My coworker just said that this sounds less like a Ghost Miner and instead that someone is mining for ghosts. I tend to agree.