Thursday, February 27, 2014

Faint Glow—Dust in the Sun cdr/Horror Vacui cs

Faint Glow
Dust in the Sun cdr/Horror Vacui cs
Self Released

Faint Glow does quiet a good job at the minimal, noisy drone. This would be the  second time in as many weeks I have made the comparison but I think that Faint Glow could even be at home on Hanson Records. Maybe even Worthless Recordings. It's pretty killer stuff. Of the 10 tracks on the cdr most are very focused and not too long. I like it and I think you might as well. I have zero complaints in that department. The cassette is even a little better in my mind. It's a bit more piercing and brutal but still focused and drive. I hope to hear more from Faint Glow in the coming months. 

     My issues with these releases, and the reason I am reviewing them together, is the packaging. There's is nothing there. The artist thought enough to get completely blank cdrs but then they just print out some info and scotch tape it to the cdr. Same with the cassette. The Arigato packs for both the cdr and the cassette are killer and more people should use them but these just have poorly stenciled text on them that is far south of both legible or attractive. I can get with minimal and messy but this looks like the artist thought that this part of sharing music was either too much effort or worse yet, beneath them. I'm probably wrong but that is what is being communicated to me. I would love to see some of the aural creativity become visual. If you are going to go with minimal text and no images then make it a strong typographic layout with structure and beauty in it's simplicity. If you are going to use plain cdrs (please no more tape, you can order inexpensive custom rubber stamps from then make the packaging exciting. All of the Wolf Eyes cdrs I own are basically just memorex cdrs with sharpie on them but the packaging is a crazy, beautiful collage with hand painted elements. You want to hold it and own it. That's the thing with physical copies these days. You must make it something that someone would want to touch. Tapes and cdrs are becoming fetish objects. We can just as easily download stuff all day but that isn't interesting to me at all. That is why I don't review downloads. Making music well is difficult and Faint Glow has a pretty good handle on that but making objets d'art is extremely difficult. I want to see how much you care about your music. Show me with my eyes before you show me with your ears. 

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Sujo—Repent///Ondan cs

Auris Apothecary

Beautiful release by Auris Apothecary. I have alway sheen blown away by their innovation and attention to detail on their releases. This is no exception. The translucent cover in the clear DVD sized case with the totally clear cassette is awesome but then they went the extra mile and printed the download card on transparent plastic as well. It's pretty amazing wrapped up in the double sided obi strip. I think they could have done something a little different with the typography but it's not bad. 

The music is fantastic. This picks up were both Birchville Cat Motel and Nadja left off. Well, Nadja is still doing stuff but not like they were a few years ago. Regardless this is real good. Driving drone accompanied by drums and loops that has touches of kraut rock and psychedelic rock. 

Levi Jacob Bailey—Shoot Me in the Face Book mini-comic+3" cdr

Levi Jacob Bailey
Shoot Me in the Face Book
Self Published

This mini-comic with a 3" cdr is pretty awesome. There is a huge movement of independent cartoonists in Seattle right now and a lot of them have connections to the noise/experimental music scene. Artists like Max Clotfelter and Marc Palm are two excellent artists that have delved into both worlds perfectly. Levi Jacob Bailey does some very similar work. The noise is great. It's tense and a lot of his textures contrast each other in such a way to create a huge amount of depth. Good stuff. The mini-comic isn't bad but I think he could work them out just a little more. I like the drawings and the short nonsensical stories are great but the backgrounds and some of the execution in general feels pretty rushed. Or maybe like he was really high when drawing. Pencil high, ink sober. Still, it's good stuff and you should check it out. I am glad I did. 

Liver Cancer—Adrenalflag Cirrosismantis Livormortis cd

Liver Cancer
Adrenalflag Cirrosismantis Livormortis
Love Earth Music

Wow, I thought I was going to hate this. Between the name, the title and the cover artwork, which is great but goofy, I thought this was going to be silly gore-grind nonsense. This is actually half grinding noise with deep guttural vocals and half deep dark noisy drone work. It's not bad. In fact. I think I will listen again and again. I should have known that something on Love Earth Music would be good. 

The layout is not really my thing. Plain ol' jewel case with single, boring card. It's not horrible but I would have never checked this out if I had to buy this at a store. 

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Remnants–The Process cs

The Process
Self Released

Remnants continues their slow burn on this one. This is one of the many cassettes that I received awhile back and never got the chance to review until now. I feel bad for this. I always enjoy Remnants minimal drone adventures and this is no exception. This definitely belongs in the library.

     Good minimal layout as well. Decent, subtle type that isn't afraid to get a little tracked out. 

Matthew Akers—A History of Arson cs

Matthew Akers
A History of Arson
Out of Body Records

I love being surprised. When I saw the cover art, read the album title and then opened the cassette to have a wooden match fall out I thought, "alright, what kind of HNW am I in for". I was very wrong. This is owes so much more to Tangerine Dream than almost anything and for a guy that owns waaaaaaay too many Tangerine Dream albums this was a good thing. I really recommend this to any fans of this sort of synth adventure groove. Sometimes this stuff is just someone who just got a Moog learning how to sequence and turning some knobs but this has some thought and innovation put into it. Nice. 

The layout is okay. i love that all of Out of Body's cassettes have the same type on the spines and cassettes but I think they need to reign in the rest of the design a bit more. I think they should probably commit the that being the only type on the whole layout, except for something unassuming like helvetica or akzidenz grotesk for small type. The mishmash of types can seem a little unfocused or lacking cohesion. Still good though. 

Lucid Pyramids—Demo 1 cs

Lucid Pyramids
Demo 1
Prime Ruin

At first I wasn't so sure about this. It seemed a little boring on a first listen but I am glad that I listened again. This is way better than I first thought, I must have been in a bad mood. It reminds me of something that should have been on Hanson Records in 2005. I can see this being a new Aaron Dilloway project. It has that awesome scraping feedback and canned recording quality that totally places me in the place that I first heard the early EmeraldsThe Nevari Butchers or Aaron's Corpse on Horseback cassettes. It's damn good and looks rad as well. Simple and unpretentious. It even comes with a tiny folded up poster. It's really nice. 

Black Cum—is the best band on the planet and this is Black Cum's best album cs

Black Cum
is the best band on the planet and this is Black Cum's best album
Self Released, probably

I love these guys. I have no idea why but there is something so innocent and sweet about their insane and offensive music. I could review it but I think you would get a truer sense of their work if I just listed the song titles:

Side A
Black Cum'$ Been Playin' Lot$ of Ba$ketball
Kill the Pre$ident (Black Cum Cover)
Black Cum Play$ the Ba$$ Drum and $ing$ at the $ame Time
Black Cum, Black $care
Trick the Dick (A Black Cum Tip)
Black Cum i$ $mokin' Bluntz
Black Cum ha$ a Job
Black Cum Party

Side B
Black Cum, A Whole Nother $ide
$atan has a Barbed Cock (Explicit)
You Must Believe in Black Cum
Black Cum i$ all American
9/11, Black Cum Love$ You
Black Cum i$ Dead

I think that takes care of it. 

German Army—Barrineans cs

German Army
Lava Church

 I really love my daughter and my daughter really loves this. It's pretty cute. I wish I could include a video of here dancing to this but every time I start to film her she runs away. Just imagine a 4 year old in a Regular Show t-shirt dropping it like it's hot to some very noisy yet groovy loops. It reminds me a lot of a modern soundtrack to a cartoon film noir that would have taken place in the 80's. Seriously, you should see this kid cut a rug.
     The layout is pretty awesome. Wacky hand-drawn type on pearl paper. The rounded corners are a nice touch. The whole thing is thoughtful.

Friday, February 14, 2014

Nagual s/t lp

Ergot Records

I hate how backed up I am on reviews. I sometimes come across an album that has been sitting in my possession for a long time without hearing it. In this case that is a tragedy. This album by Nagual is the kind of record that you could use to convince the uninitiated of the validity of drone as a genre. This is effective and beautiful. This has the beauty and unease of the scene in Come and See where the girl is dancing in the rain. In fact that scene basically looped in my brain while I listened to this album. This is a must own for anyone who wants an audio representation of tragic humanity. I love this. 

Check these:

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Sunn O)))—La Reh 012 12"

Sunn O)))
La Reh 012
Ideologic Organ/Southern Lord

This and the last rehearsal demo LP are basically Sunn O))) in the most purest form. Two guitars and totally brutal. I love this stuff so much that sometimes I swear I could listen to guitars going "bwaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa" for an entire week and never get bored. Sunn O))) should probably tour more often and also continue to reissue their back catalog but I'm very glad that they are continuing with new releases. Stay tuned for a collaborative album with Ulver next. 

     Oh yeah, It looks rad. Super simple and totally perfect. Not much else to say here other than do your best to find this or at the very least check their bandcamp where you can at least stream everything. 

Dead Neanderthals—Body Horror cs

Dead Neanderthals
Body Horror
Utech Records

Yes! Fuck yes...  I first heard this shortly before it came out and was floored. Super intense saxophone and drum insanity that is as unrelenting as the most brutal grindcore. This is wounded and spastic in a way that will slightly bend your mind if you sit in the dark and listen to it loud on headphones. Hella and Naked City certainly come to mind when you hear this but it's more abstract than Hella and somehow more focused than a lot of Naked City. I really love this.
     The layout is simple and clean. Keith Utech is an amazing graphic designer and I always trust him to make tasteful and beautiful layouts that utilize illustration and typography in a killer way. The illustration was obviously done by a genius. Let me check the credits... holy shit! It was done by me! Heh. I'm a dork. If you really do like the artwork though Dead Neanderthals are selling shirts. Check it here.

Living Phantoms—Shiver cs

Living Phantoms
The Mylene Sheath

So when DRIVE came out awhile ago I completely fell in love with that soundtrack. I'm sure everyone did actually because I heard it everywhere I went. It's still a great album but the one thing it really did for me was remind me about all the synth stuff I have sitting here on my shelves that I had generally neglected for the last few years. Thanks to that movie I started playing more New Order, Klaus Schultz, Antartica and Tangerine Dream. This album by Living Phantoms might be a new favorite of that sprawling genre. It sits right around the M83 but with a touch of Múm or even last year's Ulfer. It's good stuff and an excellent palette cleanser from a whole day of gore grind.

     The design and artwork are great for being so minimal. The designer was obviously a pro because the type is handled perfectly and I have to say I love the gradient across the text. I usually don't care for that technique. With the nice psychedelic cover art this is a solid release. I think Motor records may want to check this out. 

303 Committee—Conquest cdr

303 Committee
Inam Records

I don't understand how 303 Committee isn't gigantic. Every release not only sounds amazing but also looks amazing. This cdr is 8 tracks of beautiful and haunting noisy drone. This is as good or better than any contemporary drone albums you may be into at the moment. There is a sense of taste and competence that runs out of this beautifully designed package. I may have missed a review for an older 303 Committee cdr that I was sent as well but I have to encourage you all to find these. Very good. 

Homogenized Terrestrials/Andrew Quitter/Cruudeuces/Dog Hallucination—The Moon is Hungry 2xcs

Homogenized Terrestrials/Andrew Quitter/Cruudeuces/Dog Hallucination
The Moon is Hungry
Intangible Cat

This double cassette 4 way split is all about worship. At least that's how I see it. It feels vaguely religious. Like you are listening to some tribal conjuring happening just beyond the trees. It makes me feel a little nervous. I like that. The Moon tape is smooth and hypnotic where as the Earth tape in more bludgeoning or eerie. I had heard Andrew Quitter before but everyone else on this was a surprise. Excellent work.
     The design works pretty well. I'm not a huge fan of that vertical stacked type. As typography goes it's not very readable and therefore not generally successful but I think since they really committed to it on this release I was sold by the time I read everything. It comes with little photo cards inside as well as being packaged in one of those cool double Norelco cases.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Knifecream—Bind•Torture•Kill cs

Hanged Man Records

So look at the awesome drawing on the cover. Imagine you woke up in a place that you didn't recognize and that thing was dancing to a song that reminded you of Hamburger Lady in front of you. Sometimes the music would change and it would be a slow, swaying dance and other times a spastic insanity. Always dancing and always communicating a sense of unease and fear. That's what this sounds like. It's awesome. The artwork and design is all done by hand and it looks great. I recommend this highly. 

Tachdé—Deluge cs

A Static Reason

I'm finally getting through some older submissions and I apologize for how long this is taking. 

Tachdé makes some very beautiful psychedelic,  trance-inducing art rock. Hailing from Puerto Rico, they create a sound that has a deep, sad darkness that isn't what you would think of first when thinking of the Caribbean American territory. Sounds a bit like Midday Veil with a touch of Godspeed! You Black Emperor. It's packaged in a simple J-card with a pretty basic layout. Nothing too memorable here although I wouldn't say it was bad. It's a fine layout.