Wednesday, September 6, 2017


I think I am going to try something here. Since I like to focus on the design and the packaging I think I am going to start using this Instagram thing. I have over 1000 followers on my personal account and over 1200 on my letterpress shop's account. I think these releases will hit more eyes and I will be able to review more things if I just do this. I am still dying to do a podcast and I have started on that but it's a lot of work to get it where you want. I may need your help on that. So go to the Instagram page and let's start spreading the word of dead as fuck formats.

Tuesday, August 29, 2017


Hey all. Thanks for all the emails and questions. I will answer them all here.

Yes, I am still doing this. I had to take a long break while I found a new place for me and my family to live in Seattle (not an easy task since Amazon has decided to strip mine wealth from the country/world and therefore fuck up their home city. Bezos must die.) but I am now settled. I have been also pretty busy with the summer trade show for my print shop, Annie's Art & Press. Thankfully those are now over but the work is kicking into high gear. That said, if any of you want letterpress work for your cassettes, cdrs or vinyl please let me know. I will give discounts to people from the blog. The price point on letterpress is a bit high but I think I can get it to a reasonable place.

I will be posting reviews here and there for the rest of the year, and into next year, but it may take a little while still until you see your release. I try to keep them all straight (there is a giant pile next to my desk) but there is a possibility that I miss one of two. I apologize for that but if you took the time to send them I will take the time to review them.

I am getting ready to do a short tour with Sutekh Hexen this October throughout the west coast.  It will be as a guitar player for Sutekh Hexen but I will be playing sets as Blsphm too. Please come see me and we can either hug or fight. Up to you.

Here is the new mailing address:

6755 25th ave NW
Upper Floor
Seattle WA 98117

Thanks for making physical media. You all rule.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Deathstench/Actuary—split lp

King of the Monsters

This may make it into the newspaper one day as the record that a future serial killer listened to on repeat before doing something witchy. It’s that super dark and creepy type of power electronics that can entertain some and inflict pain on others. I love this stuff. Both acts on here can have a line drawn from “Hamburger Lady” to this record and along the way there is a lot of brutality. I think you probably know both of these acts if you are reading this so I don’t feel the need to go into detail too much but this is some dark shit… I will say that there are some samples at one point that take me out of it a little but the vocals on this record, when they appear are so fucking killer that I will remember this for a long time. 

The artwork is great. As far as packaging goes it is standard LP fare but the artwork is awesome and covers the front and back. I like that level of confidence. Nice work. 

Vapor Lanes—Hieratic Teen lp

Vapor Lanes
Hieratic Teen

I love doing reviews because I often get turned onto acts that are brand new to me but totally rule. This is another. Head over to Vapor Lane’s bandcamp and hear for yourself. Drone, noise, shoegaze,  synth space outs… It’s all awesome. it moves a little faster than what you might first think and I like that. It sort of keeps the interest up. 

The layout is pretty simple and type heavy. I like that. It reminds me of something I have seen before but I can’t place it… like a Blur record or something… Maybe it’s just me. Still it’s solid. Good work. 

Macho Blush—Firma cs

Macho Blush
self released?

Pure cacophony. 

I really dig how fucking strange this is. 

You will too.

The End

Sparklebomb—Bring in the Night cs

Bring in the Night
Prime Ruin

This starts out with a throb. A rhythmic, pulsating throbbing sound that I found very disturbing. After that it sort of goes on this experimental journey. Drone, electronic loops, samples… Each track is a little different but there is a cool cohesion to the whole thing. It feels like a look into an artist’s mind. Someone who maybe has a lot of different things going on but all of them tell their story. 

The layout has this cool cut and paste quality to it that I really dig. Like an old paste up board design that they didn’t care if you saw the edges. It’s great.

Friday, February 17, 2017

Seamstress—Concentric Memoir cs

Concentric Memoir
Skin Trade Recordings

Nice. This is someone after my own heart. The music is just wonderful on here. Beauty and anxiety. The two constants in my life. I am very much into this album. The layout, which I’m going to dive right into, fits the music perfectly. The music itself contains lots of layers and develops depth. There is actually some sampled reading on here and it works remarkably well. The layout is printed on layers of transparent vellum card stock which creates depth within the case. It’s a beautiful package. I think you should all start looking into Seamstress. 

Last—Appropriate Modes & Zones cs

Appropriate Modes & Zones
Skin Trade Recordings

Nice heavy fuzzed out drone. This reminds me a lot of some of the great Hanson Tapes I have. It’s aggressive in its unique lo-fi recording but there is still a substantial amount of low end in this. The buzzing is actually really assertive on this but I find it strangely comforting. Like a slow brain massage… Imagine a well produced Tecumseh demo with a bit more “speed”. Boy, this isn’t going to make sense unless you hear it…

The layout is nice and simple. i’d have liked to have the quote on the cover to be at least a point size larger (see Ex-Breathers review below) but it’s a solid layout with good imagery. Probably my least favorite of all the Skin Trade Recordings layouts so far but it is still good. Still better than most. 

Monogamy—Semi-floral 7"

Almost Halloween Time, Citizen of the World, Side Wound Worship

You want to know what is weird? This is really weird. Like super, crazy, space pants strange. I am sitting here trying to figure out how to describe this… Maybe like a dark bedroom pop, psychedelic-infused marriage of Jonathan Richman, Calvin Johnson and Ariel Pink with a sort of enthusiasm that makes you want to run into house parties and hug every single drunk teenager and tell them it’s going to be okay. They will be glad you did but they also think you are a weird old creep and that’s okay. Because I am… I mean…because you are. 

The cover is a little underwhelming but I am still transfixed by how they printed it. It sort of looks like it was screen printed using watercolors. The best part is that there is a little zine inside that has collages, band photos and the lyrics, which are also great. You can find this out there and if any of this sounds interesting I would say you should check it out. It’s killer and bizarre. 

Witches of Malibu—New Sounds in Afro Industrial Music vol. 1 cs

Witches of Malibu
New Sounds in Afro Industrial Music vol. 1
Skin Trade Recordings

This sounds as rad as that title is. That’s also the best way I could describe the sound… I don’t know. I think you should find this right away. Check out these song titles if you need more incentive:

Secret Drums/Road to Be
War Dance Song
War is Coming
Thunder Stone Drum
The Chain Horn

Any of these song titles make me want to listen to this. Thankfully I get to, all the time. 

Seamstress—Euphrates cs

Skin Trade Recordings

I was all set to say that this was too long. Dammit. It’s totally not. 

It’s also really good. 

This project and label are really impressing me. The sounds, the recordings, the packaging… It’s all making game want to make more of my own stuff… nuts. I gotta thank these people for lighting this fire in me again. This is great. Find it. You won’t regret it. 

Gokkun—Love Hits ’09 cs

Love Hits ’09

I hate when it takes me forever to review something good. Just knowing it was sitting in this giant pile being awesome and I was probably listening to Taylor Swift or something, pretending it was for my daughter’s enjoyment. Anyhow, this is rad pedal-hoping power electronics form someone who clearly knows their way around their equipment. It’s brutal and swirling but also has a focus that implies that this person really gives a shit about the noise you are about to hear. 

The tape it’s is really nice. The layout and type are handled wonderfully and I was surprised and delighted to see that my friend Foie had taken the pictures for this. That kind of made me like it all the more. Regardless this whole thing is a great release. Excellent. 

Blvck Ceiling—Void cs

Blvck Ceiling
I Had an Accident Records

I am not sure I am qualified to review this. I will say that I was definitely not expecting it but I have no idea what genre to call this. Sort of noisy electronic music, a little hip hop, a little straight up power electronics and a little bit trip hop… I don’t know but it’s pretty killer. I feel like those dudes on AntiCon have been dying to make a record like this for years and never quite got there. It’s impressive and massive. It never sits in the same groove for too long and wears a lot of different hats as far as genres are concerned. I don’t know but I am intrigued. 

The layout is super simple and works pretty well now that I have heard the music. It’s total juxtaposition. Sadly they did this nice job on the outside and left the inside blank which I feel was a mistake. With all the black and a title of a record called “Void” I think if they just had a nice black flood printed on the inside it would have been striking. Now it just sort of looks like the cassette was a throwaway. Sometimes blank white on the inside doesn’t bother me but on a record like this kinda needs a bit more care. 

Thursday, February 16, 2017

German Army—Kurgan Hearth cs

German Army
Kurgan Hearth

Fuck. German Army is back at it with another full length in my mailbox in less than 2 weeks. I figured they were done or even exhausted by the huge amount of stuff they released over the last few years but apparently that was not at all the case. This is another excellent record full of pure hypnotism. The loops act almost like that lock groove at the end of the record that you let go for days and days just to see if you loose your mind. Which you do. And it’s great. Their taste level is on full display with knowing how long a track should be and how deep they should dive into each loop and sample. This one has some almost world music moments and I am all about this. Good luck finding this tape. It’s from a Portugal label so it’s probably difficult to find in the states. So worth it though.

I'm sort of looking forward towards a mediocre GA album. I am probably starting to sound like their proud parent or mesmerized boyfriend...

The layout is great and the art fits perfectly with the music. Awesome. I don’t love the words of the band and album title being upside down on the spine but I don’t really care too much about that. Also I should note that I wasn’t totally sure if this was a split or if Kurgan Hearth was the album title due to the lack of typographical hierarchy but I pretty much knew what to expect with GA. Great album. 

Aidan Baker & Lärmschultz—Hetrotic ISMS Vol. 4 cs

Aidan Baker & Lärmschultz
Hetrotic ISMS Vol. 4
Landanimal Tapes

I know nothing of this label either but this is a fantastic release… kinda revitalizing in a way. I have always been a fan of Aidan Baker’s bands and his solo work so I was stoked to see this collaboration. I was definitely not disappointed in this one. Guitars, drums, synths make for a moving, swirling experience that kind of breathes a bit of new life into what can sometimes be a too self-referential genre. Drone I mean. The definition is kind of widening a bit and while this doesn’t completely turn it on it’s head it sort of pushes the boundaries. The sounds are small yet the note combinations are much more complicated than you might be used to. The rhythms are constant but they go from sounding like drums to just tones and back again seamlessly. It’s certainly something to get lost in.

The packaging is a simple j-card but the layout is exceptional. Great work. I am going to now look for volume 1–3. 

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Actuary/Seamstress —split cs

split cs
Skin Trade Recordings

So there is a whole new label you need to check out. Skin Trade Recordings. I just got a huge box of stuff from this group and it’s all killer. I will have a few new ones up over the coming days/weeks as I sit with them more but this is fantastic. The first one I dove into was this Acutary/Seamstress split. Now we all know that Actuary rules so I barely need to talk about this but it’s great. Harsh as fuck and spooky to boot. I haven’t met an Actuary track that hasn’t wigged me out a bit. I keep typing Actuary as ACtuary. It makes me think that they should do a tribute to Anal Cunt and call it A.C.tuary… Have they done this already? Is this like the time I thought i had invented Twitter a year after it had existed?
Seamstress is brand new to me. Maybe to you too but here is the scoop. At least on this first listen for me this is a bit of a crashing, piercing guitar-born noise (I think it’s guitar. The frequencies seem like it’s being created with a guitar). There is no note here though. Do not confuse this with music. This is better. It’s visceral and immediate and happening right now when you listen to it. It’s good. I like Seamstress. 

All of the Skin Trade releases look great. It is another label that is able to get really nice packaging without spending a ton of money. I love this. It’s so easy to make a release of 100 tapes look good but still print it at a Kinkos for $20. Good typography (there are a couple strange tracking/kerning choices on this but I kinda like it for some reason), decent art and a taste level to handle it all will carry you a long way. Kudos to STR (their name gets a bit long to type over an over. Although I could have typed it one more time in less time it would have taken to type my explanation of why I didn’t type the entire name out. Or of this explanation. Or this. Or this. Or this…)

Mascara—Budapest/Chicago cs

Centipede Farm Tapes

Right on. This is pretty rad bedroom industrial mixed with some drones. Sometimes it sort of just washed over me but most of the time there would be some strange rhythmic moment that would really capture my attention. Once my attention was captured the occasional vocal would then legit terrify me. There are some samples and I’m always a little meh about those but it works. It’s a killer piece from a group I don’t think I have ever heard of. 
The tape itself looks pretty good. I like the art but it’s very subtle. The type is kind of throwaway but it’s not bad at all. All in all it’s pretty good. 

The Volume Settings Folder—A Path left, A Step Right cs

The Volume Settings Folder
A Path left, A Step Right
Static Reason Recordings

Seriously. This is good. Field recordings mixed with thoughtful and creepy drones. This is a pretty great example of those two things combined well. Creepy may not be the best descriptor but I think the natural, real-world reverb that comes from the field recordings provides a sort of story to each track. You hear something is happening, has happened and now you are just getting a fragment from that happening… Good work. 

It looks fine. The type is handled fine and the art is fitting. I kinda wish there was something going on inside but honestly I constantly leave the inside of J cards blank so it would be pretty hypocritical wo call them out for this. It’s good. 

Pursed—No Plot cs

No Plot

So at first glance I assumed this was going to be some insane power electronics thing. It sort of has the creepy gray on black dark intensity of a HNW explosion but surprisingly it is not that at all. This is actually more in line with German Army or something of their ilk. Lots of noisy loops along sith sampled drums and a nice repetitive melody sort of moving the songs. It is still dark, certainly darker than German Army, but it also feels more upbeat than something that might present as this dark. I am clearly doing a poor job of describing this but I really dig this. I should also say that the layout and art are fantastic and the simple type treatment, while not perfect, is very effecting. This is really nice throughout. 

Tölva—Mánudaga cs


Lovely synth-scapes from Iceland’s Tölva. I had never hear do this but it’s pretty wonderful. It’s maybe the most positive sounding music I think I have ever enjoyed. It sort of moves slowly back and forth with a sense of optimism that I wasn’t expecting. Apparently these tracks were made with some fascinating synth contraption that was sadly stolen just before this album was to be recorded so they used bits and pieces that had been recorded to compile this. It sounds great and it’s really well thought out. I’d be curious to see this live, assuming that the synth machine thing has been rebuilt. IF you get a chance please let me know what you think. 

It looks pretty cool. Simple, clean, northern design that goes great with an Icelandic release. I dig it. Nice.

Caramel Ship—Marjoram cs

Caramel Ship
self released

I really wanted to like this. It looks pretty cool and has these killer illustrations on it. Plus it came with adorable stickers and a tiny comic. That said I am am just not into this twee sort of electro pop. I am sure to those that are into this genre this tape would be amazing because it sounds good and feels genuine but to me I think I need to listen to Buyer’s Market after this as a palate cleanser. Check out their bandcamp page and see what you think. Again, it’s well done and looks killer but…

Time—s/t cs

Illuminated Paths

Not really my thing. It sounds like a more synth-pop version of Sisters of Mercy with Kate Pierson singing a duet constantly… There really isn’t any song I can hear. It’s just kind of synth-salad with two people singing over the whole thing. Without much of a break. I’m not sure how serious this is supposed to be. 

It looks fine. The cover is nice but the logo is kinda of silly and the type throughout is pretty rough. It’s this script font with a bit of radiance put on it to make it look like it’s glowing. I think there could have been a lot more work throughout the whole release. 

Ice Orgy—III cs

Ice Orgy

Another gorgeous release from Ice Orgy. First of all the music is excellent. Basically the soundtrack to my current anxiety attack that I have been experiencing for the past 48 hours. I am not kidding. I am falling apart. Hooray! The first side is this building and rhythmic drone type piece that completely works on every level. The second side reminds me a bit of some of the more experimental Mt. Eerie stuff (I am totally, mostly thinking this because of what I am about to mention). It’s got drum machines and loops that degrade into a tense, yet beautiful drone.. You should hear this. I love this project. I respect how few releases they do but I do wish there was a higher output coming from them. Maybe now that they have relocated to Port Angeles, WA from Brooklyn, NY (definitely a step up, and I love Brooklyn) we will get more from this project. Maybe even a show or two. 

The packaging is wonderful. Linoblock carved elements along with letterpressed o-cards and j-cards. They said something in a note about how the printing wasn’t as nice as they wanted and I think for the paper chosen this is an excellent print job. The paper feels like French paper which has a shitload of sizing in it. That makes getting an impression without damaging your type pretty difficult. The ink layers seem good and the choices all work well for me. I say bravo! I also would like to take this moment to ask the French Paper Company to create a line of papers designed for letterpress. They have a 140lb paper they say is good for letterpress but it’s really not. It’s fine but I am hoping for the texture and feels of BFK Rives or Savoy Reich but with the colors selection of French. I know that is super difficult, almost impossible, but you should do it anyway. 

Shining Sex/She Walks Crooked—split cs

Shining Sex & She Walks Crooked
split cs
Petite Soles

I think i have made my opinions on the whole harsh noise meets devious sex/misogyny thing pretty clear. I get that it is a bit ironic and satirical but it is also a bit tired. Regardless though this is great. I think any quality HNW is pretty much peaches with me and both of these acts are really fucking good at it. I am glad to have heard this and I definitely recommend checking it out. 

The art and song titles fall into that whole “watch out! I make girls nervous with the juxtaposition of black and white photos that have boobs in them and the intensity of my sounds!” thing, but it looks nice. The photos are well printed and do a good job of being unsettling. The type is simple and well handled and you know how much of a big deal that is for me. Nice job printing heavy black on an interesting colored card stock instead of just plain white. For something so simple you can really see that this release had some thought and care put into it. Good label. Good quality. 

Lord Time—Mandatory Human Livestock Reduction cs

Lord Time
Mandatory Human Livestock Reduction
Universal Consciousness

I am a huge fan of Lord Time and I knew I would probably be pretty into this. Not surprisingly I was. This actually really kills more than I thought it might though. The sounds on this are just perfect and the music is getting even better than it had in the past. Just enough growl to compliment the piercing aspects of this noise-ladened bedroom black metal. It’s also moving towards a more heavier blackened-thrash I would say but what do I know? Regardless it rules and it has a picture of some pretty brutal kitty cats walking down the street. 

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

German Army—Te Ano cs

German Army
Te Ano
Opal Tapes

How excited was I to get a new German Army cassette in my mailbox the other day? Holy shit I have missed these. Most readers here will know that I gush over German Army a lot and I am probably not going to stop today. It was exactly what I needed. This is a full length album of 12 tracks that show exactly the kind of work German Army is known for (there is a couple tracks that I think had been on something before but I could be wrong. I feel like i recognize a couple here though). For those that aren’t familiar I will say that GA sort of pick up where Coil left off but also do something that is in no way a throwback. This exists entirely in its own world. Loops, samples, noise, texture and excellent taste dictate what you will hear on any GA release and I have yet to be disappointed. I doubt you will either. 

The design is clean and simple but with a small collection of images that when viewed together seem to give you the beginnings of a narrative that you are not privy to. Looks great. Sounds great. Is great. 

Murmur Ring/A Death Cinematic—split cs

Murmur Ring/A Death Cinematic
split cs
Gewih Ritual/Simple Box Construction

This thing is a masterpiece. I almost don’t know what to say exactly. First of all it’s beautiful. I’ll just start there. Transparent vellum, screen printing and die cutting make this understated cassette look utterly amazing. I think once you get one of these in your hands you will understand that. I have always loved Simple Box Construction’s work and this is no exception. Musically it is just beautiful. It’s like a memory of the first time you saw your mother played through the filter of your many years. There is a subtle tragedy to the whole thing but it’s beauty cannot denied. I am just so in love with this. I hope you will be too. 

Various Artists—WCCZ comp cs

WCCZ (West Coast Cum Zardinia compilation)
Tingo Tongo Tapes

So at first I thought this was one project and I was shocked at how diverse this was. Then I actually looked at the J card. I feel dumb but this is a huge compilation of amazing experimental west coast (just California and Oregon) projects of all types. You have some loft drone, some orchestral cacophonies, some straight up noise, some more snazzy instrumental weirdness in the vein of Lightning Bolt or early Black Dice… There is a lot of different approaches to the kind of shit that I just love. I have always loved comps because I feel like they really help in building and bridging scenes. I really hope that each of these projects have these on their merch tables and are spreading this around because we could use more of this. Especially on this coast where touring can be difficult with lots of long drives… You know what someone should do? Someone should get a booking collective on the west coast for stuff like this. Say you want to head from Bellingham to San Diego in a week. There should be a place you can email your info to and they will book you a show a day with minimal driving but instead of this being some disconnected booking agent this would be a group of people who actually do this stuff, are will to play as well when you hit Seattle, Chico, Bakersfield… wherever… and they don’t do it for money but to support all of us because when we are all supported as a group we are supported as individuals. Hmmm… I would be happy to do it in Seattle or at least help as much as possible. See! See how inspiring comps can be. 

I would say that as great as the outside of this tape looks the inside is basically illegible. That’s a bit of a bummer. Oh well. Still an excellent release! Thanks guys.

Here is a list of every act on this cassette:

Swump Thangs (CA), 13 Fires (Los Angeles, CA), Whereas (Los Angeles, CA), Existence Habit (Astoria, OR), Elegant Humanoid (Arcata, CA), Captain Captain (Arcata, CA), Divine Brick (Los Angeles, CA), Present (Los Angeles, CA), and Failings (Portland, OR)

Teeth Gnashers—Queer Tales cs

Teeth Gnashers
Queer Tales
Tingo Tongo Tapes

Huh… So this is kinda knucklehead blackened punk/hardcore that kinda works for me but I’m not sure why. I think the recording has a lot to do with it. It sounds like it was mashed together by setting up four or five boomboxes near all the amps and drums while a singer shouted, with an english accent, into another boombox. Then all the tapes were placed into a mixer, everything was turned up to 11 and then they put it on tapes for you. It has this sort of late 70’s metal vibe but there is something else happening here… something strange… and I just can’t stop listening… I think I actually love this… bizarre.

It looks like it sounds. Filthy and great. The skull on the cover is kinda funny but also spooky in that way that your best friend’s older brother was spooky when you stayed at his house in the 80’s. It’ pretty fucking legit. 

Monday, February 6, 2017

Rjyan Kidwell—Certainty/Identity cs

Rjyan Kidwell
Automation Records

This is fucking killer. Damn. Beautiful and intense electronic music that seems very much like it could be a score or soundtrack to the best movie of 2020. It’s so forward thinking and bold that I can’t imagine anyone not appreciating this. I am floored and humbled by the taste level of the person that put this together. It is never pretentious but is still is always somehow a few steps ahead of the listener. Really amazing work. I kinda want to try my hand at describing this but I think you will just have to hear it yourself. Check out the band camp page here and then immediately buy the tape. 

The tape itself is understated but still beautiful and thoughtfully done, even with absolutely not text at all. A better compliment for the album. This is living on my bookshelf forever. 


Thursday, January 26, 2017

Merzbow—Aodron cd

Automation Records

There is a new Merzbow cd. Go buy it. I am now sure what to say really. I have loved everything in the 30+ years or so that M. Akita has done. I probably at one time owned almost 200 Merzbow cds, lps and 7”s and I listened to them all constantly. There were a few that were weaker than others but for those that don’t know my first noise show ever was in 1995 (I think) with Daniel Menche, Masonna and Merzbow before he went straight laptop and it was life changing in a way that I cannot express. I remember almost leaning into a friend for almost an hour while I was being pummeled by something I had never heard before. Masonna played for about 7 minutes and Merzbow for almost an hour and a half. They were a three piece at the time and it was incredible. I still think about it. Constantly. I was chasing that for a long time with Merzbow releases. I think a few really stood out for me: Mort Aux Vaches:Locomotive Breath, Pulse Demon, split with Bastard Noise, Spiral Honey and probably a handful of others—as you can tell the mid 90’s was my favorite era of Merzbow. Anyway this is another piece in that huge chain of recapturing what it felt like to be assaulted and cared for by pure beautiful noise. I recommend you add this piece.

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Acre/Andorkappen—split cs

split cassette
Universal Consciousness

Nice. I haven’t heard Acre in years, since I played with him in PDX back when Nadja toured. I remember him being kind of a jerk to me but I did really enjoy his set. Regardless I didn’t give him much thought after that. Seems like maybe I missed out cause this is great. This piece is reserved yet still completely engaging. It doesn’t wallow in darkness completely but it still has a creepy undertone that clearly still hates me. I like it. 
The Andorkappen track is basically like a dance track for people who wish they were dead. It’s great and is also not at all a dance track… it’s hard to explain but you will know what I mean when you hear it. It kind of made me feel crazy. I am almost glad I didn’t hear this on headphones first or I would probably join the police force immediately afterwards and become an actual Maniac Cop.

I have always loved what UC does with their packaging. This is great except for one little thing. I think putting Acre huge across the top and then Andorkappen smaller below it on the cover was a mistake. i know these are two different projects but the typographic hierarchy implies that the band is Acre and the album is titled Andorkappen. I honestly think it should have just been the crazy overprinted black textures but whatever.. it’s still great.  

Ex-Breathers—Paste Tense cs

Paste Tense
Forknife Records

Okay. Let’s definitely talk about the music first because I have some comments about the layout of this. So musically this rules. This is right in line with so much that I love. This lives somewhere in the world of Craw (favorite band of all time), Hammerhead, Unsane, Scratch Acid, Birthday Party, Steelpole Bathtub, Fugazi, Guzzard, Chokebore… you get the idea. All the amazing noise rock that fucking ruled. The stuff that later gave you amazing shit like Ken Mode, Akimbo, Doomriders, Young Widows, Death Engine, etc. Anyhow, I really like this. It has just enough mathy changes to keep it interesting but it also completely rocks. Definitely if you are a fan of the Craw album, Bodies for Stromium 90 you will dig this. I think I even like this a little better than that Craw album… I will have to think on this though. That’s very high praise.

Now the layout. What happened here? It’s simple enough and that’s fine but why are the lyrics in 2pt type (see picture)? I know the answer to that is that you needed to fit them on the 3 panel j card but here’s the thing. You don’t have to do that. This type is aggressively tiny. It’s almost unreadable to anyone who doesn’t have a loupe. On top of that there is an entire second side to the J card that is totally blank. I get that cost is an issue when making cassettes, you don’t really make much on them and they don’t sell great but just don’t include the lyrics. It’s fine, put them online or something or just don’t worry about them. These are so small that they really might as well not be on there. I would say, as a rule, for now on, no one should use type that is smaller than 4pt ever and if it’s something you hope for a reader to indulge themselves in I would so no smaller than 6pt. I have a small laptop and when I design I often have to zoom in to see what I am working on. It gives me a false sense of legibility. I have been the perpetrator of this a few times myself and that is why I am passing this criticism down. That all said though, you absolutely need to find this record in whatever format it is available in. I am going to try to see if there is vinyl because this belongs in the library. 

Matt “MV” Valentine & Sun Hoods—split cs

Matt “MV” Valentine & Sun Hoods
split cassette
Crash Symbols

This is PSYCHEDELIC. Also, great. This has that element that I think all space-rock/psychedelic music has and that is the feeling of traveling. This feels more cinematic than even a score to a film because this tells the story itself. It’s not the support for the story. I guess if I could sum up Matt “MV” Valentine in some probably inappropriate comparisons I would say it’s a little like Devandra Banhardt if he wasn’t so into himself and had half of Eternal Tapestry and half of Hawkwind backing him up.
It does go on a bit long, like I feel like it’s an awesome trip across the stars but then when we hit the first gas station on venus Matt seems to just hang out in the snack aisle for a really long time. I mean, it’s awesome being on venus but… Sun Hoods definitely have this dark middle eastern classical vibe. The modern touch of it reminds me of Master Musicians of Bukkake a bit and that is a good thing. The darkness that is sitting below this is kinda chilling and I wish i could explore it more but it’s really solid. Great cassette all around. 

The artwork fits quite well once you hear the music. It doesn’t immediately make sense to me but then when I get into it the collage work is pretty great. The type is fine. Totally works. Nice job.

Stag Hare—Velvet and Bone cs

Stag Hare
Velvet and Bone
Inner Islands

photo stolen from discogs

This is unexpectedly gorgeous. Somewhere between some sort of synth dream pop and drone. Musically is expansive. It stretches across whole continents but somehow still feels intimate. Like the song is traveling for you. It’s really lovely. It has vocals on some tracks and they just sort of slowly pour out of the speakers filled with love, pain and beauty. It’s really sweet… I have a soft spot for this type of thing and can pretty much listen to it constantly. I probably will. 

It looks cool but I did not expect it to sound the way it did based on the cover and layout. It’s a nice juxtaposition. Nice work SH.

Distant Trains/Office Park—live cs

Distant Trains/Office Park
live cassette
Centipede Farm

photo stolen from discogs

I love live recordings when it comes to noise/drone/experimental music. You get to really hear someone’s taste level, how they play to the room and how well they keep their flow. It’s awesome. This is a great example. First of all it’s super blown out. Just fries your speakers. it sounds great and the music it’s self is pretty fucking solid. Good flow and good restraint. Excellent work from both acts. The layout is simple and kind of throwaway but I really like it. It’s hard to explain. Sometimes I see something like this and kinda roll my eyes but this just works… weird.
Distant Trains/BBJr
Sacrosanct Blues
Personal Archives

So, I guess I got this a long time ago and I am just getting to it now. i apologize for that. This is pretty great. I am sure it’s long gone but to everyone that missed this small run of 25 psychedelic space noise death circuit bent tapes you are in luck because Personal Archives has everything on bandcamp. Check it out. I found that out because there is basically no info anywhere on this cassette but a quick google search found my way to their page. In fact I had no idea that it was a split or what the bands were called. Kvlt. Still, it’s pretty fucking killer and totally holds up. 

Silt—Nineteen cs

Forknife Records

Huh. This is weird. Do you guys know the band Evergreen from California in the 1990s? They were what we called emo before a hot topic ever decided it was some genre with terrible screaming/singing, skinny jeans and dumb everything. Well, this sounds a lot like Evergreen to me and that is a great thing. Their split with Still Life and their 7” and lp are really important to me. they sort of have this same sort of totally honest delivery. Where things aren’t always perfectly in key or tune but the music just has this deep-felt honestly. I love this. It takes me right back to 1994 when my life was shitty but also so full of hope and beauty that I almost couldn’t take it. It was a wonderful time. This is a wonderful record. 

Sunday, January 8, 2017

Radiation Blackbody—a 7" and an LP

Radiation Blackbody
Maximum Entropy and the Nearly Black Object
Nerve Alter 

Radiation Blackbody
Falling to Death Through Time and Space
Ultraviolet Catastrophy

This band is incredible.
In every way.
It’s just bass and drum instrumental music.
There isn’t anything you’d add and nothing you’d take away.
The playing is phenomenal.
Complicated and fascinating. 
They are incredibly prolific.
The artwork and design is always amazing, with a Man is the Bastard type of consistency and discipline.
They are the best guys ever.
My copies came with an hand-written letter and tons of drawings. 
I love them.
Listen and you will too. 

Black Knife—s/t cd

Black Knife
Husk Records

Remember back when metal was actually scary? When the guys who worked with your big brother at the auto repair shop in Farmers, KY used to blast Motorhead, Pentagram and Judas Priest and you were legit scared of these guys? Well, that is what this is like. It’s dark and totally rocks but has this classic bit of late 70s metal angst that has been missing in our lives for many years. The vocals are the only thing that is a bit more brutal than and of the aforementioned bands and that’s a pretty good thing. I am fully behind this and you will be too. I think maybe I should just their band camp link here. It speaks for itself. 
The artwork and layout are perfect. It’s simple and unpretentious and works perfectly. It has kinda of made me fall in love with classic cds in jewel cases. Find this.

Oskoreien—All Too Human cs

All Too Human
Self Released

I borrowed this image. It's nicer than my photo.

This is going to be huge… well, If Jay Valena wants it to be. It’s totally a one man Black Metal project in every sense in everything from writing to preforming to releasing. Musically this doesn’t start out quite as brutal as the previous effort but it hits a much more poignant emotional note from the first moment. That theme is explored throughout the album in a more mid-tempo approach to the genre but not entirely. It becomes very much a expansive record than I think I was assuming and I believe that is kind of the point. Valena plays with expectations a bit on here and once you think you have his approach on this pegged he completely destroys it. One thing I really want to point out before I go on too long is that this record has some incredible musicianship on it. The drumming in incredible and is able to easily keep up with the fascinating stringed instrument interplay. The drums move from brutal blast beats to interesting yet reserved beats that are tastefully accented by some pretty killer fills. I imagine this album took a little while to finalize with all different instruments and just one man to play them all. The vocals are totally on point and super tragic sounding. Like dying alone. It’s great. The layout and artwork are pretty simple but I gotta hand it to him that he dealt with Trajan (the font) in a very professional way. It’s not the easiest font to kern or letter space correctly (those R’s can be a pain) but he did an excellent job. 

Don Haugen—Black Ashes/Beyond Time 7" lathe

Don Haugen
Black Ashes/Beyond Time
Human Monster

Don always has the best layouts. This is no exception. This 7” lathe has two beautiful and sparse synth drone pieces on a super clear disc. Musically it’s beautiful but I am really stunned but how simple and clean the artwork is and how well it works with the clear lathe. It’s a great piece. Limited to 22 copies, so, good luck…