Monday, December 5, 2016

"Weirdo Goes to the Disco” C32
(Rok Lok Records)

St. Petersburg’s Atariame conjures up one certifiable, sparklingly-spooky trip through a haunted woodland, where things that go bump in the night echo their trebly scratching via vintage drum machines; where the hoots & howls of unseen beasts are synthesized through a foggy, decaying warble & bounced off every mossier trees. Our hosting Russian High Priestess assures us through a stoic half-chant that we are to venture deeper and deeper on into these wooded song structures; it’s okay to get lost in the energetic meditations, okay to give up catchy hooks for ethereal moodiness-mask fittings, okay to will those sagging note-branches back to their more sonorous positions with labored chin raisings. We do not have to understand the first few times around, but we will, and we will return again and again. “Atariame”. Whisper it three times into your compact mirror and snap it shut, as the sun sets.

-- Jacob An Kittenplan

Sunday, December 4, 2016

GERMAN ARMY "Mountain City" (Phinery)

German Army is a household name in the experimental music community die to their extremely prolific activity (under many project names besides GeAr) and knack for creating impressively cohesive albums based on audio concepts.

Mountain City, released on Phinery, is no different. This is a journey into a world: a bustling barter marketplace, a tribal and rural population, clay, wooden and stone homes jutting from the mountainscape.

Snapshots and vignettes of twanging guitars, lively chants, dusty percussion, ragtime and human atmospheres give this album an atmosphere unlike any other. It is extremely human but also contains a mysticism of a fantasized location from the GeAr camp.

Track titles like Bluff, Pea Patch, Sea Island, Frogmore and others give a further focus on the locations real or imagined for each piece on the album.

LIYL: Q///Q, Peter Kris, Dylan Golden Aycock

-- Joseph Morris

Saturday, December 3, 2016

“Mid-Level Blues”
(Summersteps Records)

Das Black Milk makes gritty loud Rock n Roll. They’re a band that from listening you can just kind of tell they’d put on a great show. They’re a band that you wouldn’t see in a nice venue though. They’d be the last band to go on in a lineup of hardcore bands in a smoky basement in the bad part of town. They’re the kind of band that you want to see but once you get to the show you’re not sure if you’re cool enough to be there. They’re the kind of band who just get completely lost in the songs their playing and you aren’t even sure if they’re really still conscious.

The case for this cassette is a fake matchbox case that says “Guaranteed to light on the first strike!” One of the reasons I love cassettes so much is because I am always amazed by the new cool things that people come up with to do. I also think it’s a really interesting choice that instead of putting two songs on each side of the cassette, Das Black Milk decided to put all four songs on each side. It’s really convenient because now I don’t have to rewind it. Hopefully someday I’ll be cool enough to listen to Das Black Milk.

- Garrett Douglas

Friday, December 2, 2016

“Chiu-Chium” C21
(OSR Tapes)

I can’t read any of these liner notes because I decided to take German in high school instead of Spanish. (Sue me, I’m German. Our language is romantic.) Thankfully there’s a nice English explanation over at the OSR page, so now I know that Cristina Plaza is Daga Voladora’s mastermind and that she’s from Spain. Which explains the liner notes. Here’s another neat tidbit I’ve learned from the page: “chiu-chium” is the onomatopoeic representation of the sound made by a flying dagger, “una daga voladora” in Spanish. What a coincidence! I betcha Cristina Plaza has a copy of Zhang Yimou’s House of Flying Daggers (with Spanish subtitles of course) that she watches on repeat. It would make a lot of sense.

Anyway, Plaza makes incredibly lush, sometimes fuzzy bedroom pop, a triumph for the medium. Plaza’s warm voice coos over the enchanting melodies, and the only hint that this might be a one-person four-track project comes in the form of the clearly Casio beats at times. But hey, that all adds to the charm, and I’ve definitely been won over, even though I can’t understand a word Plaza’s singing. Looks like music is turning out to be the universal language. Take that, love! And, uh, mathematics. Oh, and keep your eyes peeled for those flying daggers – they’re silent until they strike.

--Ryan Masteller

Thursday, December 1, 2016

"Self-Titled” C16
(Magnetic South)

Nothing necessarily “new” here, but Hot Damn if it ain’t done well! In time, this album may assume the title “The Psychedelic Moons of Marquee Sound”, as the inescapable “influence” of heavyweights the 13th Floor Elevators and Television are splattered all the fuck over this tape, from guitar tone to vocals, dynamic mix to rhythm section, the full n-i-n-e. So, if you’re really into psychy garage rock and still bummed that you won’t be catching those aforementioned legends anytime soon (on this side of the grave, anyway), rest assured you can bear witness, firsthand, to this here next bestest thing, playing down at your local Hoosier bar or basement. Pnice soupnds!

-- Jacob An Kittenplan

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

BELARISK “Greys, Escaped” (Moss Archive)

The Greys, you whisper, and you immediately know the end is upon you. The maximum-security facility where they’re housed, out of site from the American public, teeming with scientists and military personnel, has been breached. The Greys have escaped. You stumble upon the site, the last remnant of the research team, and it is a crater in the earth. Nothing is left. Oh no, we’re doomed, you have time to think before you see a silver disc rise from the ashes and disappear at blinding speed into space. Seconds later a beam of intense light fires down, incinerating the rest of the planet. Humanity’s end is inauspicious at best.

Fast-forward to the alien homeworld. The escapees have safely arrived, ready to debrief their superiors. “623y5, 35c493d?” asks The Enchanter. An escapee begins to explain: “N) v)ic3, n) d474…” Angrily, The Enchanter interrupts: “T'4c7ic41 W38!” Of course it’s ridiculous that they were captured in the first place! So much for the terraforming idea. No point in assimilating into a population hell-bent on dissecting you. Best to blow it up instead, start from scratch. Not ideal, but better than that operating table.

Reassess, rewire, reconfigure. Supercomputer Belarisk repositions coordinates, recalculates probabilities. The Greys, not Greys anymore, intercept Belarisk’s transmissions through their frontal lobes, the electronic pulses, sometimes quick and urgent, sometimes paced for reflective cognition, providing a unified message. The Greys, not Greys anymore, understand as one the transmissions and fall into pattern, preparing the next move.

Belarisk turns its transmitters outward, broadcasting its warning to the universe. Let the perils of Earth be a lesson to them. “831i41 Ch2)m3'd,” break, media end.

--Ryan Masteller

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

FATHER TRIBE (Self-Released)

Nahsville's Father Tribe released their self titled album in the Summer of 2015 on Crafted Sounds and it's full of Modest Mouse-ian compositions that were reportedly recorded in bedrooms and garages in the California area.

The coastal mellow vibes of the west coast are extremely apparent and crafted extremely well. The recordings are full of unique imperfections and warmth as well. Kaden (Vocalist, Guitars, etc) emits many different vocal styles throughout the album reminiscent of Isaac Brook, Conor Oberst and Ruben Nielson.

Instrumental dynamics are no shortcoming on this album either. Fully imagined rock pieces, woozy acoustic whistle jams, soulful raw R&B, emo-crusted pop, and more fill the reels and never disappoint.

RIYL: Modest Mouse, Bright Eyes, Unknown Mortal Orchestra
-- Joseph Morris

Monday, November 28, 2016

"Self Titled" C38
(Wiener Records)

I remember first hearing of Wilco’s gradual shift into mediocrity verbalized as “they’re playing ‘Dad-Rock’now.” Man, I really used to love me some Wilco. ‘Summer Teeth’ and ‘Being Here’ are stalwart go-to’s for any roadside picnic accompaniment, and ‘A Ghost Is Born’ remains to be (admittedly nostalgically) a masterful blending of grittier Alt-Country and the labored compositional dynamics of forward thinking the Indie Rock I was anticipating when I heard that not only Glenn Kotche was on board full time, but Nels Fucking Cline was going to be contributing, too! Oh, how ‘Sky Blue Sky’ just broke my widdle hawt. ‘Dad-Rock’ was born.

So, here we are, ten years later. The smoke as cleared. Lessons have been learned, though, arguably, not by Jeff Tweedy. Instead, the gauntlet was dug up by Oakland’s SUN VALLEY GUN CLUB, a near carbon-copy of what COULD have been. Maybe SVGC are ‘Hipster Uncle Rock’? They’ve got all AGIB’s tones, vocals, drive, dynamic shifts, and breakneck key changes, plus a li’l extra saucy-swagger. They’re catchy as fuck, but mindful to not be too predictably sweet, via artful modulation that keeps it interesting and not just another Indie rock record for the masses.

-- Jacob An Kittenplan

Sunday, November 27, 2016

WARM SHRIMP "Wet Heave" (Crushgrow)

Now we're talkin'! Part punk, and when I say punk I mean 60's punk; part Jonathan Richman and a sprinkling of surf and you have three piece Wet Heave from Bloomington, Indiana. This combo offers up a 12 track tape which, best I can figure, is from 2015 and from start to finish is engaging and refreshing.

Why you ask? Well, I'll tell you. Because everything sounds familiar yet different. They borrow but don't steal. Right out of the gate with "PWH" you hear the combined influences which are the foundation of a new sound which is unique and pure Warm Shrimp. Other highlights include "Russian Girl," "Psycho" and "Rubber Room."

For those so inclined, the tape comes with a download card so you can take your 'Shrimp anywhere. Don't dismiss this perc lightly because if you're like me, you'll want to listen to this repeatedly. The tape otherwise is packaged in your standard Norelco plastic case with J-card.

Sadly, it appears Warm Shrimp is no more. According to their Facebook page they have moved on but we can cling to this fine outing and only hope they somehow find it in themselves to regroup at some juncture for another recording session. It's burger time indeed...highly recommended.

-Bob Zilli

Saturday, November 26, 2016

“Rite of Final Hours”
(Do You Dream Of Noise)

My first exposure to a tape from Do You Dream Of Noise (DYDON) turned out to be a record that perfectly complimented what I’ve been looking for recently. A collection of instruments and sounds on this album offer slowly moving dark noise music. Steady rhythmic elements on this album rise to become large walls of sound that never become too overbearing. The combination of chanting vocals, guitars, and synthesizers work well with each other and create haunting bodies of music. The moments of deep continuous layers of noise on this album are powerful, and follow a fixed tempo that feels hypnotizing. While minimal at times, the tracks on this album are really well put together and I appreciate the collage of voice, instruments, and heavy noise. 

Friday, November 25, 2016

“Nippon CS”
C47 (Moss Archive)

I mean, look. Moss Archive is Bastian Void, and vice versa, each informing the other and spiraling out of control, until quality and objectivity have no meaning and the sounds generated take their place in the cosmos, hanging there as if they always have been, always will be. Joseph Bastardo runs both – well, he’s the MA label head and the BV pulse cannon, so he’s got the stick and he’s got the star chart and he’s planned the coordinates, so let’s pay attention to him for a minute, shall we? Fresh off his instense workout deCordova on Phinery, Bastardo moves even further away from the traditional Bastian Void sound on Nippon CS (previously Nippon LP, but you’ve clicked on “Cassette Gods,” not “LP Gods”), leaving behind the far-out synth work of No Dreams and (a personal favorite) Fluorescent Bells for a bit of – goddamn everybody for making me say this – synthwave workout. Hanging out with H. Takahashi will do that to you. (I love H. Takahashi.) Sorry for peddling that played-out descriptor, but man, this new Bastian Void cassette – it digs in to all the right places, and because it moves a little faster than earlier and more spaced-out BV releases, we’ve got no other choice to append a “-wave” suffix here. You really can’t fight the legal system on this one.

Nippon was finished during a tour of Japan, mixed on buses and trains, and features field recordings from Bastardo’s trip. The collection began life as a bunch of unfinished projects sitting around in a laptop folder, and then came epiphany: “Oh, this is some stuff I’ve been working on for, like, however long. Maybe I have an EP, I can release it on the tour. … No, wait, there’s a whole LP in here!” C’mon Joseph, you’re not fooling us. You’re a mastermind. You whipped it together because you could, because you have the power. I don’t have any unused material on my laptop that I want to “remix” and send out to the world. [*Checks “Documents” folder, cries at the sight of an unfinished Chinese Democracy review from 2009*]

Nippon’s not a full hard left from Bastian Void – tracks like “SHAPESHIFTER [本州の地図 MIX]” and “ノーム空港ーアンディリ空港 [KODIAK 海山 MIX]” (sorry, the liners were translated into Japanese – English readers, just listen to the thing) drift through outer space like molecules on a solar wind. But the absolute stars on this thing come out of nowhere, and nowhere starts at the top of side A with “紙の道 [BASKETBALL MIX],” which sounds like a lost Underworld track circa Beaucoup Fish (those heady days!), a rallying cry for the AMP set that is begging to be given a tripped-out MS Paint video of pulsing geometric shapes. “DINsync [DARIUS ループ]” dares to be vaporwave-y (gah, that suffix again!), recalling James Ferraro’s best moments on the Far Side Virtual. And then there are the skttrbrn IDM jobs like “Vendiagram [円錐 MIX]” and “土星ゾーンへようこそ [LAST COAST MIX],” sandwiched in between (or at the end of) everything and showcasing the stylistic breadth Bastardo is stretching for within the Bastian Void canon. Seriously, I’m applauding while standing on my office chair, and I better get off it before I hurt myself because it has wheels. If Cassette Gods had a year-end best-of list, I’d make sure Nippon was freaking on it.

In reading over this review, I find that I’m culpable in repeating myself. I actually told Joseph Bastardo himself, to his (virtual) face, that I’d try not to overuse my “space words.” Oh well. Bastian Void just brings out the best in all of us, and I’ve been playing around in what just happens to be some of the favorite corners of my vocabulary. I expect to be transported by Bastian Void, shot in a rocket to who knows what part of the universe, light speed travel chemtrailing the objects outside the windows into blurs. How very, very righteous.

--Ryan Masteller                                                                                                                                                               

Thursday, November 24, 2016

SLEAZY "Night Time" (Self-Released)

First of all, I love the album cover, it's really simple but fits the music perfectly. Second, I'm color blind and it took me WAY too long to be able to read the very tiny faint pink letters that read "sleazy night time" on the front, but I guess that's more my fault than his. And third, the text on the back said this,

"wassup sexy thang, sit down and strap in for this roller coaster ride of sexual thrills and other things."

After reading that, I was genuinely terrified to find out what might be on this tape. Luckily I was pleasantly surprised. This album is exactly what you expect it to be after seeing the cover. It's really just collection of stoner rock songs with a little bit of a surf sound. The kind of thing you listen to while you're daydreaming in a hammock. Something teenagers would listen to while making out on the beach. Just kind of a mac demarco, slacker vibe. I really hate to use the term slacker but I can't think of anything else to describe it with.

There is very little information on the artist who put this out. All I can find is the bandcamp with this album and no other releases or any description of the band. From what I can gather/guess , it's just one guy who writes and records everything on his own in California. I wish I could find more about him because I enjoyed this album a lot.

The album's only $1 on bandcamp so you really can't go wrong. And sleazy, I do in fact like your indie garbage.


- Garrett Douglas