Friday, August 31, 2012

King County "The Green River Task Force" cd

King County
The Green River Task Force
Self Released

This really reminds me of when I first got into noise. I was living with a couple friends who had moved out from New York City and they had introduced me to a lot of new things. Must have been about 1995. I was starting to read Answer Me! zines and working at Fantagraphics Books so I was being exposed to enough weirdness all day. Having my roommates first show me Brighter Death Now cds and take me to go see Merzbow and Massonna play was just perfect. The noise back then seemed very dark, like it was communicating something so erratic and primal that you couldn't help but be changed by it. It was actually a little scary. This cd by King County, although not quite as effective, definitely brings back a lot of those feelings. It's dark, harsh and pretty unrelenting. On my first listen I was expecting a lot of samples and what have you but thankfully the first thing you hear is HNW and not some tired police report sample. Ultimately I wasn't totally feeling this was totally effective though. I can't quite put my finger on it, it just feels too nostalgic to me. I guess that is my fault as the listener. Noise is like a rorschach test, you sort of see in it what you put in it. I think lately I have been very nostalgic for my early 20's and a little sad about that. 

      Visually it also feels a bit like a throw back. It comes with a huge postcard of the Green River Task Force which is a nice touch but the packaging in general is pretty forgettable. 

      I don't think I would buy this. In 1995 I would have been all over this. I would have ordered it with my Taint and Smell & Qium cassettes.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Begotten cs

Worthless Recordings

This is another of Worthless Recordings' wonderful films on audio cassette. They have done River's Edge, Barfly, Twin Peaks Fire Walk with Me and now this. It's awesome, creepy and such an awesome thing to own. One day someone is going to get mad at Worthless for doing this but I think in such low runs (50 copies or less) he will probably get a pass. Either way these all rule.

     It looks simple and good. Like a bootlegged VHS.

     I would have bought this in a heartbeat. You should too...

Jowls "cursed" cs

Doghouse Records

This isn't horrible at all. Not really something I would listen to honestly, but I didn't really mind it. It has a bit of that late 90's scream sound that was everywhere for awhile. Maybe heavier on the emo side of scream though. Less Orchid, more Boy Sets Fire. If that is your steez then you may really dig this cassette.

The layout has that late 90's look that Sharks Keep Moving, American Football and maybe Jade Tree albums had. Not bad. 

I wouldn't buy this but someone should. 

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Uglyhead "The Garden" 2xcd

The Garden
Self Released

This album came with a press release. I made the mistake of reading it. A lot of words about dynamic flux, weird warlock recording processes, and how I’m probably not patient enough to fully appreciate this record. “The Garden” is apparently a “Hellish tale of transformation, consumption, and devastation.” Oh, and it’s also available in a super deluxe edition. It comes with a patch, 2 buttons, moss, pressed flowers, animal bones, and “other surprises”. 

    That’s probably too many words. If they were to make another Crow movie, and it was fucking awesome, Half of this record would be the soundtrack. If they were to make another Crow movie, and it was almost as bad as City of Angels, the other half of this record would be the soundtrack. There are moments where this thing rocks so hard it will make your boogers melt. Then there was that moment when I got so bored I went I googled the dude from Frontline Assembly, just to see what he’s up to these days.

     The art for this thing is beautiful, covered in hi-rez photo’s of probably not dangerous plants. It came with an instrumental disc, where the art on the cd is just inverted, a touch I’m pretty into.

     Would I buy this? Fuck yeah, but mainly because I might end up with a cat femur or something. (RS)

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Monogamy "Leaving Ludington" cs

Leaving Ludington
Human Male Press

This is all love songs. Sappy, lo fi love songs about loss and confusion and I think if this came to me at any other point in my life I would not be into this at all but I pretty much love this tonight. My life has turned to shit and my heart is broken and Monogamy decided that this was the very moment that I needed a warped and dirty pop song with an epic saxophone solo. They were right. At first I wasn't feeling this but it works pretty god damn well. I hope if you pick this up, it helps you too. 

     It looks pretty awful. Really but it goes with the warped tape sounds and the poor dubbing. This is totally unpretentious and to be honest I am sort of in love with it. Also it says this on the B side "I expected her to come over rite after work so I hit my dick with a hammer [sic]".

     I would probably not buy this if I just saw it sitting their in a record store but I wouldn't know the healing power of this tragically ironically named band. 

Sorry about more delays.

I apologize again about delays. It has been a very insane week with shows and this quarter at school coming to an end. I hope things will catch up shortly as I have a bunch of killer stuff to review but I foresee the coming week will be spotty as well. I hope to be back up to speed shortly. Thanks for your patience and thank you so much for reading. Also, bug Riley to review more... Also, we will have a new reviewer writing for us shortly. Ryan McKenny from Trap Them.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Mothcock cs

Human Conduct

Mothcock. That is something that I never thought I would type out. Mothcock. In the realm of noise cassettes odd names seems to be more common than in other genres though. This is a cassette of two people named Dough and Pat from Kent Ohio that compose some pretty intense noise. Totally twisted junked out weirdness that churns in your speakers into a trance inducing dirge. It's filthy. Very cut up and spastic. I dig it. 

     It looks pretty cut up as well. A cool collage layout that I am way into. The inserts leave something to be desired and are pretty much disposable. It looks good though. 

     I would grab this. It's weird.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Tile "Universal" cs

Lava Church

So this is weird. The very next cassette I listen to after the Kurt Travis is this Tile cassette. The reason it is a little weird is because you can almost describe them the same way. Synth rock, with vocals and some drum machine type loops but they could not be more different. Tile is dark and brooding. It sounds like really early Psychic TV to me. This one record in particular that I can't remember the name but it's a good one. This is normally not something I listen to a lot of so therefore I don't know a ton about it but it's pretty killer.

     It looks a little boring but the type design is nice. I guess it's not too bad in that respect as well. The packaging made me think I was going to get a big drone record but this was a nice surprise. 

    I don't think it is the type of thing I would normally buy but it's pretty good. I guess I give it a thumbs up.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Kurt Travis "Wha Happen?" cs

Kurt Travis
Wha Happen?

This is not for me. I know someone out there treasures this cassette and I always find that endearing but this is on the other side of my planet. Little, sweet pop songs made with drum machines and minimal instruments. I sometimes really like that type of thing, like maybe Casiotone for the Painfully Alone, but this is too…  I don't know… handsome? It just feels like music made for optimistic high school girls. Just not for me. 

It looks weird too. Like a birthday party gone right. That's just not my bag.

I would not purchase this cassette if I were me. 

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Volition / Juhyo cs

Volition / Juhyo
Small Doses

Awesome! I wasn't expecting this at all. Volition is a doom band that sounds a bit like Grief, Burning Witch and Asva with a bit of Kyuss in the chord progressions. The vocals are totally crazy though. Super screechy and then like early Dwid from Integrity. It has a bit of that ex hardcore kid sound but it's totally competent and I would love to hear more from this band. I could do without the air raid siren and the sampe though, kinda silly. I guess they have a new singer… we shall see. Juhyo, after having done that awesome three way split on Debacle Records with Blue Sabbath Black Cheer and Bacteria Cult, has been showing up more and more lately in my mind. I am very happy to have discovered this project although a bit late in the game. Playing their side the first thing I think is that I don't love the sample thing, as you all know but it starts the track off and works in an intro sort of way. The noise that follows is totally psychedelic. It's intense and swirling. Totally disorienting and I would love to hear a collaborative track between Volition and Juhyo. Overall this is pretty killer.

     The design is nice. Their is a cool idea behind the type and it's executed well. I am digging this. I assume Joe Beres from Small Doses designed it. He has a good eye and I trust his work.

     Based on the way this looks and Juhyo's name on this cassette I would totally have picked it up. I would not have been disappointed. 

Friday, August 17, 2012

Raven "Victims" cs

Worthless Recordings

This is pretty interesting. I was expecting some super harsh destruction right off the bat but you get this strange slow loop of feedback swells that almost sound like whale song or something slightly more alien but still very sad. After a few minutes of this some little bursts of noise slowly make their way in the front of the music. From there the audio keeps churning and evolving into something kind of gross and beautiful at the same time. It's not too bad.

     I am not into the way it looks though. They use that tired photo of the Vietcong fighter being shot in the head by the South Vietnamese soldier for the cover along with some type that is just screaming computer. It looks like someone that worked on it knew how to use a computer pretty well but maybe didn't flush things out on paper well enough before hand. It feels created digitally. Maybe not I guess I am just seeing too many 1's and 0's. 

     Would I buy this? Probably not because it looks so odd to me.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Nervous Corps / Crown of Bone cs

Nervous Corps / Crown of Bone
Worthless Recordings

Here's the thing. I think it may be time to make Worthless Recordings' page your home page. Dude is putting out a new release almost every day it seems. He has got momentum and it's awesome to see him using it to this degree. Anyhow, this was one I was very excited to pick up. Nervous Corps (wm. Rage from Blue Sabbath Black Cheer) has been doing a lot of good HNW work lately. This is a slight departure from that style but it is still total non-musical noise destruction. Lots of piercing feedback and blistering tones that love to spend a lot of time cutting you to pieces. Lovely. Crown of Bone deliver a very dense HNW spattered with insane screams. It's fucking great. This is the kind of stuff you hope is blasting when your landlord drops by. It wouldn't get you kicked out but it would insure that you are bothered as little as possible from that point on. 

     Visually it's simple. Maybe a little too simple but it works fine. The one thing I would change is the choice of black letter font on the cover. it's in all capital letters and those letters are actually not designed to be next to each other. They are designed to be either drop caps or next to lowercase letters. When they are all in a line like that they look kinda spaced out and off. Not a huge deal though.

     I will buy anything that says Nervous Corps, so yeah...

MaCu vs. Federico Barabino "Waves" cs

MaCu vs. Federico Barabino
Inner Cinema

I probably shouldn't immediately start this review by apologizing for being gone for few days but I will. It may be a little scattered over the next week as I finish up school as well but the one positive of not being able to listen to much music and write about it is that I have had this cassette in my player for about a week and I am constantly playing it. Mainly because I keep telling myself that I am going to write about it real quick before I get to my homework but I don't. The real up side of this is that I get to hear this over and over. It a huge piece of collaborative work that sounds like it could be the background music for Paul Pope's Heavy Liquid. Synth and noise that create this apocalyptic soundscape that sprawls across time. Little bells and distant thuds create so much space and texture that you just want to bathe in this. It's very good.
     It is a simple j card in a case but it is designed so well that this is definitely going into my book. Excellent typography that goes perfect with the digital illustrations. Very well done. It's even printed  on cheap, crappy paper but still works awesome. you will be pleased.

    Buy this. There are only 50 and they will all be gone.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Crunch at school... sorry for the delay.

I intend to post daily but it has been a little threadbare because of some damn grown up nonsense... I have a bunch of killer stuff to tell you about though. Expect other stuff in the next day or so.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Harassor "Night on my Side: The Bruno Sessions" lp

Night on my Side: The Bruno Sessions
Rising Beast Recordings/Universal Consciousness

Thanks to the oily black hell that is Los Angeles for expelling Harassor. This is their third and so far my favorite album by these lunatics. It's often fast, grimy thrash with a touch of black metal. The music will make you want to bathe. It reminds me if you were able to smash Darkthrone, GBH and Bone Awl into one band and then let them cut themselves. It's awesome although I was a little disappointed that the Bruno sessions weren't alluding to Bruce Willis in some way.
     It looks perfect. Tons of liner notes inside a screenprinted cover that is also covered in dried blood. It's pretty gross but it is pretty flawless.

     I would totally recommend you pick this up. (DJ)

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Hot Water Music "Forever and Counting" cs

Hot Water Music
Forever and Counting
Doghouse Records

So here's the thing about Hot Water Music. They used to be really awesome. I know you may find that hard to believe but it's true. It's not their fault for what happened to them. This might be confusing…  Let me start at the beginning. 

     So in 1990, when I was first discovering hardcore, skateboarding and punk rock and a band called FUEL put out their masterpiece titled Monuments to Excess. I think I had heard bits of it at Seattle's Gotcha Grind when I was seeing Tony Hawk and Tommy Guerrero skate (I actually can't remember if they were there. I was 15 and all I cared about was my new mini-cab skateboard and getting to see who was also riding Slimeball wheels). Anyway, It was a big deal year for me. Jump ahead a few years and I am playing in Undertow and touring a bunch and I rediscover the Fuel lp. It's amazing–the guitar interplay, the half shouted vocals, the mid paced songs that although akin to Fugazi, were their own thing. It was mind blowing. I listened to that damn record hundreds of times. It became legendary in my head. In 1995 when on tour with Coalesce, Bloodlet and 108 I discovered Hot Water Music. Emo wasn't a thing yet and if it was it was pretty much used to refer to Rites of Spring and that was about it. Rites of Spring by the way, along with Galleon's Lap, are pretty much the only two "emo" bands that have ever existed as far as I am concerned. I am rambling…  So while on tour I discover a Hot Water Music lp. My buddy Var knew those dudes and had good things to say (Var and his girlfriend, who's name I have forgotten,  had rescued my pillow from their house in Gainsville, FL and brought it to me in Tampa so I had something to sleep on. They ruled…). I picked up the record on their recommendation and the cover art. Lo and behold, it sounded exactly like Fuel. In almost every way. It was a little derivative but I was totally into it. It was a great record that I played constantly when not playing Jesus Lizard (weird, I know) and later that year in Seattle I saw them play a basement to ten people and it was amazing. I knew the sky was the limit for these guys. Unfortunately it was…

   Hot Water Music started popping up everywhere. They were ubiquitous with this new world of "emo" music. Bands that I had never heard of and bands that completely sucked were swinging their arms around Hot Water Music. Hot Water Music was on every tour opening for these total shit pop bands in the year that genres started to cannibalize themselves. Pretty soon the only bands that played together were bands that sounded the same. It was horror. No more could you walk to a show and catch a crusty punk band play, then a noise artist, then a riot girl band, then a death metal band, then a hardcore band and then a Hot Water Music and have everyone in the club/basement/VFW hall have a great time. Hot Water Music, unwittingly I assume, became the ambassadors of the Hot Topic-ification of music and the world in general. It was sad. It all ended and we went into our caves. 

     So that brings me to this cassette. First of all putting this on cassette is kind of a fuck you. This is how I listened to all this music on tour back then. This is basically a reminder that I am old. Not even that I am old but that I never cashed in when I was young and I am now reminded that I am just a fucking loser. Getting this tape in the mail is like getting a Christmas card from your ex-wife and her new husband. It burns and reminds you that only a few get to be happy and the rest of you are fucked…  okay, maybe that is a bit ridiculous and hyperbolic but this is really a strange choice for me. It seems directed at my "generation" and that kind of angers me. My generation was forgotten and glossed over while our heroes were turned to whores and I don't want to be reminded of how it was. I need one of those Total Recall machines. The nice thing about this cassette is, although I am fighting it, the memories. It sounds bad like all music in the early 90's sounded. The singing is sad and sweet. The artwork is still awesome but I just can't do it. You can't bring that love back. Not after what I have seen. 

     Would I buy this? I wouldn't do that to myself. (DJ)

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

CAPA "The Road is a Grey Tape" cd

CAPA - The Road is a Grey Tape

photo from Ivory Antler's site
So much about this record promised me that I was going to absolutely love it, or despise its very creation for the rest of my life. The cover art is blurry, which is in itself annoying, but I can’t tell if it’s a mountain next to a lake, or a pale guy laying on his back with a boner, it might be awesome.  The name of the thing pisses me off, “The Road is a Grey Tape”, and I have absolutely no idea why, but my brain keeps trying to turn it into something more sensible.
The Tracks are all named like journal entries, “October 1, The Travel”, and each song is accompanied by a diary entry on the back cover. This should be really fucking rad,. but it’s tiny fucking print on a non-black background, which everyone agrees should be fucking illegal. At least, I think it looks like that, I got so mad after reading the first paragraph I probably ate the thing, and can’t find it anymore.

     Just the packaging brought up such a whirlwind of both hope and despair I’ve not experienced since that one time I accidentally saw my buddies dick. How was the the album going to actually sound? 
Like utter fucking disappointment. I should clarify though, there is absolutely nothing at all wrong the music. It’s quite pretty, and occasionally metally in mildly cool ways. But jesus christ this record is boring. According to my computer, I’ve listened to this thing 10 times, and I still couldn’t tell you where the thing begins or ends. This could very well be my ADD kicking in, or it could be this record lacks anything that makes you go “Oh, Fuck yeah”:
if Isis somehow became an even more boring band, and then decided to start making records to be played exclusively in your dentist’s waiting rooms, they would make “The Road is a Grey Tape”.

     Would I buy this? Well, the main dude is credited with like 15 instruments, 5 of which don’t even sound like real things. I probably would pick it up for that reason alone. I also have a hunch that if I saw CAPA live, I would be all over this record. (RS)

Horaflora "The Gland Canyon" cs

The Gland Canyon
self released

Buy this. Just do it. It's fucking great. Really. Especially the B side. I almost don't want to review it. Here is an overview:

     • It's long
     • It's awesome
     • their logo is an awesome ambigram

     I think that is all you need to know. It's not? Okay. So it's abstract experimental noise. It moves very slowly without being specifically musical but a lot of melody is found. The sound of a balloon being played with, a faraway bell, a delayed analog loop of a synth being turned on, the sound of someone rearranging their apartment at 4am…  all of it has the possibility for moments of melody or musicality. It's gorgeous. Gorgeous is a word I use a lot on here and there is a reason for that. The word gorgeous has always meant beauty with a huge amount of emotional resonance. This is what noise and textural music does for me. It gives me an emotional connection that no other music can do. Maybe Pink Floyd or Sigur Ros at their absolute best come close but it is much easier to find this in the unrestrained world of noise. Horaflora do this better that most I have heard lately. So go to their bandcamp page (link is to your right) and buy their cassette and when you get to the second side be prepared to be challenged but ultimately rewarded with some of the best audio you have heard all year/month/day. (DJ)

Monday, August 6, 2012



Ur has really nailed the dark, doom drone thing quite well. They started out seeming like they were really huge fans of Sunn0))) and now they make releases that sound like what you would image a band that inspired Sunn0))) from the 1970s. It's psychedelic, dark and creepy as shit. Really excellent work from this Italian group. I think if you haven't heard Ur yet this would be a good place to start. 
     The packaging actually works really well even though it is basically just a blank black cassette in a cardboard mailer. I think it's the shoddy label that is working so well for me. It is designed in a way that calls to mind early experimental cassettes from the late 80s. Think Hermann Nitsch or Factory Records.

     Would I buy this? Yes.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Dead Times/TRTRKMMR split lp

Dead Times/TRTRKMMR split lp

Fuck. This is pretty fucking awesome. Both artists on this record totally have their own sound but they both share a ton of brutality. Dead Times starts their side with a strange bit of old music. A sample if you will but this is a stand alone intro sample that goes for the whole length of this creepy old timey song. It sets an interesting mood that Dead Times just destroys. It's like they set up a huge banner made out of grandma's dollies, 19th century wedding photographs and pages from old editions of Keats poems and then busted through it with a flame-thrower powered by hate. It's pretty awesome music that immediately starts pummeling you. Like if Swans got to hear what Pig Heart Transplant sounded like before they started recording…  It's epic. TRTRKMMR Does this equally fucked up industrial noise thing and they do it better than most. It's very vocal heavy and the vocals are very pissed. To make sure I don't cheat TRTRKMMR on their equal share of hyperbole I will say that overtime he sings I will bet it's about to be his last. It sounds as if he has more hate for his ability to make sounds than anything and is trying to end it by revving the engine till it explodes. Both artists do a collaborative track at the end of this record and they are both fantastic and doom ridden. They could easily just start a side project and do these all the time. The only thing I would personally nix is the samples. The TRTRKMMR side has more than zero and that kinda bugs me but that is purely my taste. I know some people love these.
     It looks great. Dark, simple and grim. Nothing bad to say here. It looks like they didn't have thousands of dollars to spend on packaging (who does anymore) and decided to make something that looks great within the restraints they have. It's good. A nice Sigmund Freud quote on the back says "watch out! We're nuts."

     Would I buy this? Absolutely. 

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Moonknight "Ligea" cs

Universal Consciousness

This follow up to last years brilliant Toplov cassette is absolutely brutal. Moonknight has always struck me as being very depressive black metal. Fast and angular but with this underlying melancholy that tints everything. This record is very, very depressive. It seems like it may actually be a suicide note written on magnetic tape. The music is still recorded in such a homemade, lo fi way but the playing is intense. The drums and guitar interplay is blazing fast and totally tight. reminds me a little of early, early Deathspell Omega at times but with that early nineties approach that is often referred to as trve kvlt. Anyway, I can't praise this enough. It's hard not to love a band named after who was once one of my favorite Marvel superheroes (drawn by Bill Sienkiewicz).
     The packaging is great. Of course it is from Universal Consciousness. Letterpressed covers and off set printed insides make for a beautiful j card but this even has a small folded 6 panel, double sided, lyric sheet with illustrations for every track. It's above and beyond. 

     Would I buy this? As fast as you can.