TOTAL MOM - "We Fed the Pig my Music"

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Total Mom - "We Fed the Pig my Music"

(No Rent Records)

Honestly, I had to get hold of this. Any tape that features a track called Satan's Bees is bound to be something I am going to be interested in.

We Fed the Pig My Music is noise - raw, seething noise. At times, it is a bubbling vat of violent noise eruptions. At other times, it's a solid wall of audio evil that flattens you like a sonic steamroller. I'm not sure exactly how these sounds were created - but if I had to venture a guess, I would say the technique involves ripping a hole in the space time continuum, and running tape as the contents of the galaxy are sucked into another dimension.

You may ask yourself, "If that is so, then how are we all still here?" I'm sure there is some sort of reasonable explanation. For now, I'll go with - everything arrived in the new dimension just as it was, but with slight changes. There is probably some movie we grew up with that does not exist anymore. However it all went down, it made a hell of a sound - and is presented here in Dolby stereo for your enjoyment.

This catastrophic pile of unwavering, mind-penetrating head melt comes from Providence-based noise freak, Total Mom, and is just the kind of necessary mess I've come to expect from No Rent Records. 

https://norentrecords.bandcamp.com/album/we-fed-the-pig-my-music-nrr74

WIZARDS TELL LIES - "Bad Nature"

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Wizards Tell Lies  - "Bad Nature"

(MuteAnt Sounds)

How to Have the Perfect Soundtrack for Your Next Bar Fight

Let's face it, when you first thought of staging the perfect bar fight, you were completely caught up in the fantasy. You thought of all those great old soundstage westerns from the 60's with the brightly lit saloon sets full of wooden chairs and bottles just itching to be broken. You dreamed of instigating a huge brawl where, with any luck, you would finally be able to realize your long awaited desire to toss someone completely over the shiny wooden counter, crashing into the well-stocked shelves behind, sending dusty bottles of whisky, wine, and beer flying. The dream lost its luster when you realized you needed a fresh new soundtrack for this fight. Something "hip" and "now." Something with some real bite!

Get yourself ready for this new release from Wizards Tell Lies. This recording is a grimy, noisy vortex of aggression and mayhem, full of all the loveliest filthy vibes you could hope for. And it comes packaged with eight choice tracks for each stage of your epic bar battle:

Stage 1: The Motivator

Maybe someone insulted you in just the right way, or spilled a drink on you, or hated on the band you love - but it is WAR. It is now throw down time and it is personal. The piano player stops playing the old saloon tunes and leaps out of the open window. An eerie calm settles over the crowd. Instinctively, they part at the middle and form a circle around the area in which you and your opponent are squaring off. Cue up track one of Bad Nature, entitled Loris Toxin. This track has the perfect ominous vibes and threatening tones for that one-on-one grudge match.

Stage 2: Joining the Fray

The intense battle between you and your opponent rages on, unchecked, for what seems like an eternity, with the drunken miscreants cheering - and getting more rowdy every minute. The crunchy bass and thumping drums of Squirm will do nicely here. It's just nasty enough and loud enough to match the cadence of the fight. As the battle intensifies, a thrown punch misses its target, and suddenly a spectator is miraculously transformed into a participant!

Stage 3: All Out Brawl

As the last screeching guitar of Squirm dissolves in a pool of reverb and fuzz, a emboldened fellow leaps from the bar onto someone in the crowd. More furious punches are swung at sweaty faces. It seems like everyone has found a sparring partner. And in the background - Track 3 of your fight soundtrack - Candiru, with furious percussion and squealing guitar ugliness.

Stage 4: The Big Guy

At some point in every battle, a large individual steps out of the shadows to throw some weight around. The slowed down tempo of track four - Raven Not Crow Caw is perfect for his introduction onto the scene. He is able to thin out the crowd by fighting multiple opponents at once. This is the guy who puts heads through walls, and breaks chairs on people's backs.

Stage 5: Onto the Street

The battle has grown too big for the torn up remains of the bar to contain it. As the throbbing bass and headache-sustaining guitar squelch of the lengthier sixth track, Cowbane Delirium sandblast your skull, the violence tumbles out of windows and doors into the street. 

Stage 6: The Chase

There's always a moment in an epic explosion of fisticuffs where one might need to escape. Perhaps to find higher ground or some other advantage, or perhaps just to take a break from getting mercilessly pummeled - that's when the rapid and short track called Ponies Bite comes in handy.

Stage 7: Second Wind

Now that you've found your way to a rooftop, the second one-on-one skirmish can take place. It is much more of a serious, life-or-death struggle. The angrily pounding scrape of the seventh track entitled Shakma should do the trick.

Stage 8: The Surprise Ending

As the climactic battle raises the dramatic tension higher and higher, it is obvious that, at any second, someone is going to win this fight to the death - but at the last possible second, just as your opponent is about to finally fling you victoriously from the rooftop - you both look up at the skyline in amazement. Some large creature is rampaging on the town. Cue up the final track of Bad Nature - this one is called Brain Fungus Takeover. It's an enormous beast, perhaps a massive lizard, or dinosaur, maybe some kind of building-sized insect. It destroys what is left of the town, and leaves no survivors. The bar fight, and your dreams are at last ended.

Gray Lee

https://muteantsoundsnetlabel.bandcamp.com/album/bad-nature

[INTERVIEW] We talk with long time home-taper Bill Foreman

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[INTERVIEW] We talk with long time home-taper Bill Foreman about "The Duck Hunter"

Singer-songwriter Bill Foreman is reissuing some of his self-released recordings. The Duck Hunter was released originally in 1998, and is available on cassette, with a unique lyric booklet. This release has a timeless quality to it that caught me off guard. It could easily be from any era, and I was about halfway through it before I checked the album description and saw that the album was twenty years old.

While The Duck Hunter is plainly recorded, with no overblown reverbs or overproduced arrangements, it still holds a depth and complexity - due to variety of instrumentation and heady lyrical content. The writing is the takeaway in this release, despite Bill's abilities to arrange and record. It is the kind of album I would take over to my buddy Jake's house and listen to over a glass of whiskey - and excitedly comment when we find a real zinger in the lyrics. For example, there's a great line from the title track that goes something like, "I'd forgo my cigarettes and my meals/ To sense the way her curvature feels." 

I decided to reach out to Bill Foreman to get further insight. The following is an unedited email interview:

 

You have described yourself as a 'home taper' back in the 80's and 90's. Can you describe that experience? Having been a part of that scene, in what ways is it different from the way things are now?

 

I feel like I wasn’t part of any scene at all, but I did go to school in Claremont, CA, in what is known as the Inland Empire, which was something of an epicenter for tape labels, particularly Shrimper Records. Dennis Callaci, who worked at and I believe for a while managed Rhino Records, the good record store in Claremont. So not only did Dennis make all of Shrimper’s stuff available but did a real service stocking cassette releases from other labels, several of which were more or less local.

I guess that the biggest difference between then and now is that we had record stores, and more to the point we had the people who worked in them. The biggest name probably to come out of all that stuff at that time was Beck. I remember after he got signed, but before “Mellow Gold” came out, there was an article about him in the LA Weekly, or one of the free papers. I walked into Rhino and asked Dennis, “do you know this guy? Is he crap or is he legit?” And Dennis said he liked his stuff and that they had some of his tapes for a couple dollars if I wanted to check it out. So I did, and a few weeks later his record came out, though in his case it was actually a lot better than his cassette release. But for me, I had this random good fortune to be right there, physically. It happened to be where I went to college. The thing now, and this is the great benefit of the internet, is that there is broader access to stuff, not only through Bandcamp but primarily, to people all over. 

I was in a band called The House Carpenters that put out, at great expense, a CD. We made up a label for ourselves called General Ludd Music. After that band fell apart I kept the name and actually in a small way ran a cassette label, then as things happened CD-R label up through 2004. It fit the budget I had. This would have been starting in 1997. It was limited to stuff by me and a few good friends, but in its way we did quite well. The Duck Hunter was a typical release: the recording, with a photocopied booklet with lyrics and text, in a ziplock bag. At the time, it felt easy—I’d put something together or a friend would give me something, and I’d send it out for reviews, which usually came back positive because I really didn’t have an interest in dealing with music I didn’t love. I certainly see some of the cassette labels at this point as having that same kind of affection for what they put out, and it builds a trust in the music and in the label.

I guess it’s that trust in a source for new music that I got from Dennis at Rhino in Claremont, more formatively from Lou at Lou’s Records in Encinitas, CA when I was younger, that I see many cassette labels rebuilding right now. Basically, the people running tape labels are like the people who used to work in real record stores. 

 

You are reissuing several releases from that era. What was the motivation to re-release?

 

I came to a point in my life where I realized that someday I was going to die, and it was very clear I needed to gather together what it has meant to be me in this world and get it in good shape. I was with my grandmother when she died and was able to say good things to her as she left this world. It was a great privilege for me. My father, I wasn’t with him, but I did get to spend time with him, particularly at one moment when doctors told his wife to gather everyone around him because he wasn’t likely to live for 24 hours. He actually made it through that episode but died six weeks later. Anyway, he told me at one point in the year before he died, “I love you, Bill, but I love you most when you’re playing music.” I knew exactly what he meant. I have built up other things in my life, but the one thing I was always best at was music. It was just always the most natural extension of the best I have to bring to this world.

With this in mind I wanted to on the one hand get a series of tunes I’d written over the last several years that were really solid into a good form and release it. This was the record I did called “The Bliss-Chasers,” which I put out in 2016. I put together I compilation of my stuff that is like “Endless Summer” or the Beatles’ “Blue Album”, with the idea that if I got hit by a bus tomorrow you could point to those two things and say “wow, that guy was good!” 

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I finally got equipment which has allowed me to go back to my old tapes and really remaster them. All that means in my case is getting proper compression and EQ, because I don’t generally go in for a lot of effects. But the masters I had really didn’t sound that great, and I’ve never been “lo-fi” as a matter of principle. I’m not an audiophile, but I want things to sound their best, especially when it’s my stuff. So my old stuff needed a remaster from that perspective.

Also, I wanted to have these things available in the form I imagined them in the first place. Over the years, I tried to do things with more ostensibly professional or conventional packaging, and in hindsight I never should have bothered. I’ve never been a candidate for mass-appeal, and whatever good I had to offer was always idiosyncratic. So the cassette (or CD-R) and booklet packaging really works for my stuff. Among other things, people like to have the lyrics to read, which you can’t really do effectively with a j-card. And for me, I’d always liked liner notes.

 

 

There is a lot of intricate, detail-laden storytelling in your music, one song on this record that stands out to me is The Czech Philologist. Whats the larger story behind this one? 

 

I’d gone to school and studied a lot of Soviet history, and in that context became interested in first Russian and then other Eastern European literatures. I went through a major Czech lit phase a few years before I wrote this tune. I also, probably because of when I was born, in 1969, had always been very interested in 1968. I was reading a lot of New Left, so-called, writers at the time. All this, and when I was in grad school I heard so much talk about the publish-or-perish issue and I’d known people who’d gone down professionally because of it.

So that’s what was circling around in my head when I wrote the tune. It developed into this story about an untenured and we imagine fairly untalented lecturer who lucked into discovering some manuscript which, when published, should have gotten him tenure. But his cat wrecked it—the man remained a screw-up. This takes place at the end of the Prague Spring, and the lecturer is so upset at the cat that he breaks the curfew looking for it and, of course, is lucky not to get killed by the Red Army guard. He swears vengeance on the cat.

This is a good example of something I do, which is that I’ve got a lot of stuff going around in my head, and I have some internal sense that no matter how disparate the various ideas in my head are, there must be come kind of narrative context that can contain them, if only I can find it. Writing the song is the breaking through to that context. When it works, it’s really good.

 

 

Your lyrical approach is very traditional, and appears to utilize meter and rhyme prominently. What influences led you to that style? Did these lyrics begin as poetry? 

 

I grew up on Johnny Cash and The Beatles and as I got older developed deep love for both jazz and traditional folk musics, especially US folk music, the likes of which my Dad used to sing me on his guitar when I was a kid. The literary quality of the lyrics in jazz standards—the Great American Songbook, as they call it—is massive, much higher than most of what passes for literate pop or singer-songwriter stuff. And the lyrics in traditional song are impeccable. I love a lot of different kinds of music, but those sources are the ones that made me.

I don’t precisely use meter. What I do is use melody. The lyrics are going to need to work with a melody, but the melody doesn’t need to conform to a meter in a poetic sense. You can use more or fewer syllables in one line of a lyric as long as those syllables can conform to the form of the melody in the song. 

The thing with form of any kind in art is that it can either be constricting or it can be liberating. Neither one is good or bad in itself. This is true of poetic meter, a song form, or rhyme.

Rhyme is a great example. On the one hand, you can look at it like a requirement—the word at the end of this line has to rhyme with the word at the end of that one. That’s constricting. But rhyme can break you out of your habitual patterns, especially if you’ve got a good vocabulary. You wrote one line, and then you have to think of all the words that rhyme with the word at the end of the line you just wrote. Those words, from all over the map, will send you places in your writing that you didn’t expect to go and wouldn’t have gone if left to your own devices.

The Czech Philologist” is a great example. I remember that I’d wanted to know the name of a Czech university and I looked it up. Olomuc came up, and I knew how to pronounce the “c” because I understood how Czech used the Roman alphabet with Slavic sounds. So it made me think of all the words I could think of that ended in the sound “-oots.” Shoots, flutes, cahoots, boots. Given the context “boots” was obviously the right way to go, and “boots” immediately suggested “jackboots.” The rhyme freed me from imagining I knew where I was going and let me go somewhere I hadn’t expected. That’s a good use of rhyme, that’s liberating form.

The other thing, though, is that when you have a general use of rhyme in a tune you can choose to not use a rhyme where a listener might expect one. The effect is jarring and powerful, and causes a person to notice. You’ll see this kind of thing fairly often in my tunes, though not in that one. 

It’s worth noting that even though people talk about “free jazz,” etc., that none of those great musicians felt that that term described what they were doing. There are a few people who can consistently make interesting music with little or no structure, but for nearly everyone, what people do when they have no form or no constraints is that they stick to what they already know. Some people take it the other way and are basically aesthetically fascist. For me that was never going to be a problem. I was always prone to chaos—interesting. In my case, I never found artistic freedom until I really found a way to work with form and make it my own.

 The reissue of The Duck Hunter comes with a booklet of lyrics.

The reissue of The Duck Hunter comes with a booklet of lyrics.

 

 

What is next on the horizon for you? Any plans to release something new in the near future?

 

I’ve started writing, yes. Immediately, I’ve got two more things to remaster, and then I will be off between July and December doing retreat practice and then staying for a while as a volunteer at the retreat center. This is another thing, like getting my back catalogue back out, that I feel like I better do it now because I may not be around forever. Once that’s done, I am going to relocate to somewhere I can get a house rather than the condo I’m in now. The last time I could have a studio with my drums set up was in 2005, when I lived in Riverside, CA. For someone like me, that’s absurd. I make music, and I need a space in which to work. So that’s the concrete plan. I imagine it will take a year or two to get something proper in order to release. I’ve never been someone who put out a ton of stuff, who wrote quickly. I could do it, but the results wouldn’t be the kind of thing that mean a lot to me. 

Bill Foreman's reissues are available on his Bandcamp page.

https://billforeman.bandcamp.com/album/the-duck-hunter

For further reading on Bill Foreman, check out his site here:

https://billforemanmusic.wordpress.com/

CORRUPTED DATA CORP - "クリスタル BEPIS"

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CORRUPTED DATA CORP - "クリスタル BEPIS"

(Dead_Disk_Drive)

Pour youself an ice-cold glass of Bepis, by Corrupted Data Corp. This is one frosty and refreshing blast of effervescant vapor grooves, designed to cool you off with audio bliss. Bubbly synths and gentle beats massage your troubled brain cells, as you ease into the deck chair on the shore of a beautiful tropical island. 

Bepis is the carbonated delight you didn't know you needed, but cannot live without! All of the ultra-attractive, well dressed people of your dreams get a nice sip of Bepis before they smile for the camera and then do successful things. Perky vaportrap rhythms percolate in the sparkling caramel waves of sugary goodness. It's a shot of caffiene, right in your earholes! 

Gray Lee

 https://deaddiskdrive.bandcamp.com/album/bepis

VEN PERP - "Enough"

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Ven Perp - "Enough"

 Bearded denizen of upstate South Carolina DIY spaces, Ven Perp, climbs into a quintessential southern blues-hop jam entitled Enough. This EP is a stripped-down, minimal expression of what is real - with no pretense, no hype. 

Previously known for pushing out honestly independent home-recorded raps, Ven Perp shows another facet on this basement jam, a guitar hooked, bluesy document of confident, naked reality. Ven sings his lyrics instead of spitting them in this cement floor, bare-bulb, country poetry of a hard working man who just won't quit. 

Each of these five tracks is a testament to overcoming life's hardships through genuine expression. In I Don't Fit, Perp exposes the lonliness of being unique. In Those Who Can't, Critique, he calls out naysayers for tearing down others. In Difficult Knowledge, Perp utilizes a piano loop and some satisfyingly scratchy lead guitar to accentuate a song about embracing the moment and living life to the fullest. "Sometimes darkness is all I know/ All this pain that's in my soul," he sings in a low, streetwise voice.  Looking back in E is a groovy, bass-infused jam.

If you are looking for a smoky, back-room jam with some real folks who just want to get it out there, check out Enough. 

 

https://venperp.bandcamp.com/album/enough

SCIENTIST - "Barbelith"

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Scientist-”Barbelith”

(Sludgelord Records)

The gates of the infernal abyss have been opened and out from its hellish maw spews forth the unrelenting sonic onslaught of Barbelith; the latest offering of impending doom and existential anguish from metal pioneers, Scientist.

Scientist mires you in the sludgiest of sludge, pulling you deeper and deeper into a bottomless morass of pessimism and doom with a siren song of stoic surrender. Inexplicably and without warning, the band will decide to thrash you with brutally precise syncopated hits of guitars and drums and then further pummel you into submission with the blackest of black metal blast beats as you sink further and further into the insatiable pit.

Just when your soul has been all but swallowed up completely, the light of the transcendent and sublime beckons you with dreamy, spacey interludes and ethereal soundscapes. You feel your soul rising from the filth and departing your defiled earthly form only to be pulled kicking and screaming back into the pit by another blitzkrieg of blast beats.

Scientist does not sadistically revile in your plight of failed transcendence but commiserates with you as another fallen being trapped in this hell of existence. The only difference is that they are able to articulate such wretchedness of being in a brutal yet beautiful masterpiece. Giving voice to your deepest, darkest feelings of despair and yearning.

Theron Willis

 

https://thesludgelord.bandcamp.com/album/barbelith

CYBORG EYE - "Demo 1983"

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Cyborg Eye - "Demo 1983"

(Ratskin Records) 

Mysterious duo Cyborg Eye throw down the robot gauntlet in this all-too-brief glimpse into the cybertronic future of earth, where the machines have won. These two electronic prophets, known only as Cyborg V and Cyborg D, skip straight to the end of the story with a twelve minute synth-looped, beat-laden end credits sequence called Dawn Cut (Extended Version.)

This track is followed by a deleted extra fight scene titled Visitor, that is dominated by aggressive knuckle popping, numchuck twirling, and gathering of henchmen, culminating in passages of synth hooks and drum breaks. It is a face-off like no other, that will end in bloodshed - because the robots win in the end.  

Gray Lee

 https://ratskinrecords.bandcamp.com/album/cyborg-eye-demo-1983

 

CRYOSTASIUM - "The Possessor"

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Cryostasium - "The Possessor"

(Metropolitan State Productions)

This is some weird metal mess, my friends. It is some left field, mind-twisting, crazy sauce.

There is some sort of cryptic, midnight cinema vibe here that's difficult to pinpoint. Certainly, there is a deeper story going on here. Oh, no mistake - it is a psychologivally disturbed, rampantly disorienting story - but 'tis still a story.

The main conflict between two powerful opposing forces is illustrated, within this audio tale, by a furiously paced black metal opus, broken up into several chapters. It is a horrific struggle between the protaganist and some unholy being imbued with unnatural strength of force. The chord progressions of the guitar part on this are devilishly unpredictable, but still spiral in the same patterns throughout. Drums thrash, and the monster menaces as the battle is fought across a grand stage. 

There are breaks from the main action where we follow another storyline involving a lot of ambient, noisy searching and questioning. Before any answers are ever found - the action switches back to the main event for another round of conflict. This continues for a few cycles before the story concludes itself. 

If your cranium is itching for a twisting, look no further than this wound up metal psycho-ride.

Gray Lee

https://cryostasium.bandcamp.com/album/the-possessor

Chum - "G*D*P*"

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CHUM - "G*D*P"

This highly "herbal" release from CHUM is just what you need to kick off any totally made up holiday! That's right, you can rock this potent blend of plundered thrash rock riffs and enjoyable testimony about America's favorite vegetation every 4/20, or on May the Fourth, or even on Valentine's!

Prepare yourself for high times with the low-down dank flavor of G*D*P. Whether you're a common thug in need of some stress relief after an evening of living tough on the street, or a well-to-do ne'r-do-well having a jazz cigarette on the cul-de-sac, G*D*P is the theme music you have been looking for.

Normally, classic metal is best suited for working on a vintage motorcycle, or bodybuilding, or waxing a handlebar moustache on a Thursday evening - but this vaporized mish-mash is a lot more apropos for midnight runs to the corner store for family size bags of BBQ chips, or giggling uncontrollably while you try to clean up the potted plant you stumbled into. Yes, this collection of hazy, overbaked jams is just what you need to wipe that grimace off your face!

Also file under: PineappleXWave, Potallica, HashTunes, Weedcore etc.

Gray Lee

https://powerlunch.bandcamp.com/album/g-d-p

 

[Video] Catch State of Illusion performing on Hoodoo Music Podcast

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No need to rub your eyes. This is not a mirage. Post-grunge stalwarts State of Illusion thunder their way into the Hoodoo Music Podcast. Frontman and group mastermind Jacob Portman has been operating under this moniker for a decade and some change now which in local band/dog years is like 50+ years.

Bands come and go on any local music scene like concert flyers on a coffee shop bulletin board. However, the enduring presence of State of Illusion has not been illusory in the slightest.

On the latest episode of the HMP, we catch a glimpse of the band in tiptop shape with the dynamics and raw vocals true to the post-grunge sound with the syncopated hits and precision of metal core as well some blistering solos reminiscent of antediluvian acid rock. But let’s not get too caught up on labels. A rose by any other name is just as thorny and this band by any other classification will rock just as hard. Catch them here on the one and only Hoodoo Music Podcast:

Theron Willis

 

 

156 - "Memento Mori

156 - "Memento Mori"

They say, "dead men tell no tales," but in Memento Mori, this chilling offering from 156, the dead speak volumes. That's because this release was made with a unique set of instruments - human bones. 

Masterminded by prolific artisan Adel Souto, 156 has a history of creating striking noise releases with any number of objects or instruments that work to engage the listener, but Memento Mori is a more focused and primitive work dude to strict adherence to a 'bones  only' rule. Every sound made on this recording is made with bones, from percussive elements, such as scratching, tapping, or more 'melodic' methods of forcing air through hollow or carved bone. 

The variety of texture and detail that 156 is able to achieve with these bones is impressive. Each handcrafted track was painstakingly crafted to maximize utilization of bone sounds. As a result, the entire work has a rich sense of history and ritual, rhythm and power. 

Though the objects used are from the dead, the music itself is vibrant, and pulsating with a mystical reverence for life. From the very first track, Kokoro, intricately layered sounds are artfully woven together to create a stunning and evocative aural experience. Rapidly pounding beats found on A Swarm of Butterflies, are a stage upon which life itself dances across, weaving in and out, breathing its breath through the scattered, cold remains, giving them warmth and sentience. On Chödpa, howling creatures call out into the night sky through the use of various types of bone whistles, than when used, create extraordinarily organic vocalizations. 

The commitment, and artistic vision of 156 in the creation of Memento Mori, result in a rare audio artifact that belongs in a hidden sacred temple just as much as on your music shelf. The album was released on 10" vinyl in an hand-numbered edition of 489.

https://onefivesix.bandcamp.com/album/memento-mori

The 10" edition of Memento Mori is an ideal addition to any collection of strange, exotic oddities.

FRANK WILKE/ WAYNE REX - "Cobra Venom"

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Frank Wilke / Wayne Rex- “Cobra Venom”

(MuteAnt Sounds)

In one of the latest releases/spawnings from MuteAnt Sounds, Frank Wilke/Wayne Rex inhabit a bleak sonic landscape in which a forlorn trumpet desperately cries out to be heard in a cold, uncaring universe void of meaning and coherence. The only thing that answers the trumpet’s plaintive cries is the restless smattering of an overly anxious trap set.

“The centre cannot hold” in this stripped-down bitches' brew of paranoia and perpetual unease. If the lines “The best lack all conviction, while the worst/Are full of passionate intensity.” hold any truth, then certainly Cobra Venom is the worst.

Indeed, Frank Wilke/Wayne Rex have all the passionate intensity of someone in the death throes of a deadly cobra bite; thrashing violently, but in futility as the venom paralyzes the diaphragm, depriving the body of oxygen. Who knows what flits across the mind as the brain shuts down from lack of oxygen? Cobra Venom is a close enough sonic approximation.

Theron Willis

https://muteantsoundsnetlabel.bandcamp.com/album/cobra-venom

BOB BELLERUE - "All In"

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BOB BELLERUE - "All In"

Brooklyn, New York based artist Bob Bellerue hits us hard with another classic noise release. A lot of times, I try to write in a lot of extended metaphors that describe a record - but All In is just not that type of record.

This recording instantly brings to mind the feeling of a neighborhood DIY noise venue. This place is a run down used-to-be building that has a low drop ceiling, and weird lighting - I'm imagining bare flourescent bulbs haphazardly leaned in corners. 

At what has been designated 'the front' of the room, is a folding table covered in plywood and topped with a mess of cables. Presiding over this nest of electrical tape, XLR lines and stacks of vintage rackmount devices, is the noise master. He's twiddling knobs furiously, sweat upon his brow, as a tidal wave of power electronics is hitting the scattered attendees at full blast. 

Some of this wicked noise is the vibrating, mechanical hum of energy, strangely comforting and apprehensive, it penetrates the rib cage and shakes the body eerily, warmly. At times a powerful squeal like a heavy duty drill to the skull pierces the room. The crowd is feeling it - each one of them is lost in their own atmosphere. Some weirdo tries to start up a conversation with you and you just nod your head in agreement to whatever the guy is saying, something philosophical. You step away, let the noise take you back over. 

This music doesn't need flowery words, or poetic descriptions - it is hard and heavy hitting noise made with real machines, in a real space. Scope it out, noise heads! 

 

https://bobbellerue.bandcamp.com/album/all-in

QUALCHAN - "One Hundred Years"

Qualchan - "One Hundred Years"

(Czaszka Records)

Synths, tape loops, and field recordings all effortlessly blend together to paint a portrait of an ever changing world. 100 Years is a reflection on how humanity has made Earth a very different place than what it once was.

The first track begins with some vaguely mechanical sounds, presumably some type of device that transports the listener to a prehistoric time, before man existed. There is a wild optimism that follows, as glowing rivers of synth wash over the track, spilling the youthful vibrant echoes of a young planet. Filled with lush jungles, and sharp, frozen mountaintops, every skyline is vacant of human presence. As time progresses through this audio piece, ominous sounds begin to intrude on paradise. Dark, artificial coldness interrupts the rich, dense meditations of peacefulness. As time nears our own era, radio frequencies and interference overtake what was once sacred ground, and death begins to replace life.

There is a well-orchestrated sense of interplay and balance in Qualchan's work. Each sound zone the listener passes through is a call and response with past being answered by present.  There are also details and themes throughout this storyline that repeated listens can more easily reveal.

Gray Lee 

https://czaszka.bandcamp.com/album/one-hundred-years

APRICOT BLUSH - "Where Blew a Flower, May a Flower No More"

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Apricot Blush - “Where Blew a Flower, May a Flower No More”

I’m not super familiar with Inuit mythology. You probably aren’t either. The legend of Sedna has many variations, but the most consistent plot point is that Sedna is taken out to sea by her father, who cuts her fingers off, which causes her to fall into the waves and drown. She becomes the
Mistress of the Sea and the goddess of death. It is Sedna who sends the seals and other sea creatures from the stumps at her knuckles so that the Inuit people will have food to eat and blubber to burn. In her underwater realm she arbitrates life and death, and her sentiments toward mankind darken as their collective wrongdoing accumulates in her hair. Without fingers, she cannot brush away the debris- and why would she provide for those who cause her such agony? She begins withholding the verysources of life she had once provided as she becomes burdened by the sins of mankind.

To save the people, the Shaman must embark upon a perilous journey to Sedna’s submerged hut. He must prove himself worthy to break down the walls around her home so that he may comb the evil from her hair andregain her favor.

This story of overcoming death by preparing oneself to help another is something that resonated deeply with Jackson Wise, lead singer and songwriter of Apricot Blush. With great love and respect, he has combined components of this traditional tale with deeply personal elements of his ownjourney into sobriety and recovery from addiction.

When this sort of confession is presented through the music of Apricot Blush, the result is a lush soundscape of hope, change, and rebirth; filled with traditional folk instruments and a few unconventional ones. Dynamic guitar work and driving rhythm sections are adorned with strings, banjo, horns, accordion, piano, and the eerie wail of the singing saw. This neo-folk symphony is tied together by Wise’s commanding, accessible voice and drenched in cavernous reverb that draws the ear closer with every tiny echo.

The album title is a reference to a Dylan Thomas poem that is highly appropriate, considering the themes presented in this collection of songs:

 
"And death shall have no dominion.
No more may gulls cry at their ears
Or waves break loud on the seashores;
Where blew a flower may a flower no more
Lift its head to the blows of the rain;
Though they be mad and dead as nails,
Heads of the characters hammer through daisies;
Break in the sun till the sun breaks down,
And death shall have no dominion."

-3rd stanza, “And Death Shall Have No Dominion”
Dylan Thomas, 1933


I have been listening to my advanced copy of this record (Thank you, Jackson 😘) non-stop for several days now. I fell in love with it before the first track was even finished. I told a friend that I thought it was like something Arcade Fire could have made if they were less pretentious and more talented; but really this is something only Apricot Blush could have created. I hope you love it as much as I do.

Mark H. Jones

[Houdini Mansions Exclusive]
This record drops on May 12th, but please enjoy this exclusive Download, courtesy of Apricot Blush!

 

 

Editor’s note: Apricot Blush appears on episode 027 of Mark's podcast, The Hoodoo Music Podcast- available on major podcast platforms or by visiting
http://bit.ly/localbandpod

HEART EYES - "Whatver it is, Whenever You Feel Like it"

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HEART EYES - "Whatever it is, Whenever You Feel Like it"

(Community Radio Tapes)

Delicate crystalline snowflake synths dance on the night air. A low, warm ambience forms below on the ground, almost orchestral in its build. A fuzzy guitar is strummed thoughtfully, while a gentle back beat settles in behind.

This meditative release of soul-soothing shoegaze bliss can catch you off guard with such a non-committal title, but make no mistake - as casual as it may appear on the surface, Whatever it is, Whenever You Feel Like it is thought out in a well-constructed and intentional way.

Heart Eyes creates a layered musical atmosphere that is just as controlled as it is comfortable. Some noise & field recorded elements are woven into carefully composed transitions that lead the listener's ear from one environment to another. The music completes with jangly bursts of guitar that pull the listener out of the superimposed reality, and allows one to waken to their own surroundings before departing.  

Gray Lee

 https://communityradiotapes.bandcamp.com/album/whatever-it-is-whenever-you-feel-like-it

THE GUILTY REMNANT - "The Guilty Remnant"

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The Guilty Remnant - "The Guilty Remnant"

From the first haunting atmospheric synth tones through the closing flourishes of strings, The Guilty Remnant’s self-titled album is a low-fi odyssey of hindsight, loss, and regret. 

Woven throughout the record is evidence of both shared musical history and a wide variety of diverse tastes, pointing to a musical proficiency that can only be achieved through passionate, unyielding study and repetition. Layer upon carefully crafted layer of instrumentation set to heavy rhythms underscore Andrew Dosher’s severe vocalizations. The lyrics are both introspective and narrative in nature, and when combined with Dosher’s voice, an easy comparison can be drawn with alt-folk artists like the Mountain Goats. The Guilty Remnant, however, is heavier, dirtier.

This album is bruised knuckles and cigarettes. It is a newer, more genuine take on Americana. Americana-core.

Mark H. Jones

https://theguiltyremnant.bandcamp.com/album/the-guilty-remnant

Editor's note: The Guilty Remnant was featured by Mark on episode #7 of The Hoodoo Music Podcast. Great interview and live recorded music here:

http://www.rootdoctormedia.com/hoodoomusic/2016/12/4/007-the-guilty-remnant

ILLUSION OF SAFETY - "Surrender"

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Illusion of Safety - "Surrender"

(No Part of It)

Industrial rust, unhinged floating melodies, and sharp stabs of noise all populate this all-too-worthy example of what Illusion of Safety is all about. There is a tangible feeling of dread, flavored with a dash of sideshow glee in these maddening halls of three-o'clock-in-the-morning, broken television violence. Every track drips with decades of clown makeup and dispair. Each new rhythm is another malfunctioning carnival ride. Each new field recorded sound is another basment laboratory full of electrical code violations.

Why is this album called "Surrender?" Because that is what you must do. There is no way to resist it; it is going to get inside anyway. It crawls on its greasy underbelly under your locked door and plants itself firmly in your consciousness. It pierces your defenses with a small, organic drill - and injects terror into your veins. This is skillfully excecuted skull-scraping, replete with humming, overheated tesla coils, and science fiction equipment of the most far-fetched variety.  Whirs and beeps and buzzes envelop the listener, (or test subject - you decide,) in choking clouds of overpowered circutry poised to kill the power grid at any moment.

As each questionable machine breathes its last sputtering breath, and the pools of battery acid begin to dry, leaving their discolored epitaphs on the cement floor, the listener knows that they were in the professionally trained hands of master noise-makers at the top of their craft.

Gray Lee

https://nopartofit.bandcamp.com/album/surrender  

MONOCHROMACY - "Living Posture"

 MONOCHROMACY - "Living Posture"  (Stay Strange Records)  Guitar droner Esteban Flores returns for his 6th installment in his  Monochromacy  project, a destructive and solitary journey through an underworld of inner torment called  Living Posture . This release walks the lines between many genres, bringing dark ambient, black metal, and noise elements together in a frighteningly satisfying way.   If you are at least passingly familiar with what vocals normally sound like on a black metal record, you can probably imagine a guttural, primal scream that in the context of a wall of heavy guitar riffs and drums, would make a lot of sense. In Living Posture's third track  Animus , during a long drone-filled passage, a tortured voice begins to howl into the night. It becomes a lot more intimate and personal in an intense way. This layering of foreboding and deep sounds, augmented by effect-driven primitive vocalizations is where Monochromacy's artistic strength shines.   If you are searching for your next metal fix, but want to walk through uncharted regions of musical purgatory, consider this release . Living Posture  is a long, doomed descent down a cold, sloping tunnel into the smokey blindness of eternal night, pierced by inhuman wails and distorted metal guitar drones that brings all the mighty cathartic anguish that it promises - a shadowy hellscape of extreme upheaval.  Gray Lee   https://staystrange.com/stay-strange-artists/monochromacy/    https://monochromacy.bandcamp.com/

MONOCHROMACY - "Living Posture"

(Stay Strange Records)

Guitar droner Esteban Flores returns for his 6th installment in his Monochromacy project, a destructive and solitary journey through an underworld of inner torment called Living Posture. This release walks the lines between many genres, bringing dark ambient, black metal, and noise elements together in a frighteningly satisfying way. 

If you are at least passingly familiar with what vocals normally sound like on a black metal record, you can probably imagine a guttural, primal scream that in the context of a wall of heavy guitar riffs and drums, would make a lot of sense. In Living Posture's third track Animus, during a long drone-filled passage, a tortured voice begins to howl into the night. It becomes a lot more intimate and personal in an intense way. This layering of foreboding and deep sounds, augmented by effect-driven primitive vocalizations is where Monochromacy's artistic strength shines. 

If you are searching for your next metal fix, but want to walk through uncharted regions of musical purgatory, consider this release. Living Posture is a long, doomed descent down a cold, sloping tunnel into the smokey blindness of eternal night, pierced by inhuman wails and distorted metal guitar drones that brings all the mighty cathartic anguish that it promises - a shadowy hellscape of extreme upheaval.

Gray Lee

https://staystrange.com/stay-strange-artists/monochromacy/

https://monochromacy.bandcamp.com/

PAPA MANZANO - "Ritualism"

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Papa Manzano - "Ritualism"

(Bad Cake Records)

Life is out of balance. There is no rhythm. Everything is car horns, crying babies, and barking dogs. Chaos is everywhere. The news is a divine comedy.  You wish there was a magical tape you could listen to that would just reset your mind and let you figure things out. NOT a meditation tape. No. Something real, something gritty and undeniable.

Papa Manzano, the musical voodoo priest, steps from the shadows and beckons with his hand for you to follow. He leads you down to the docks. It's the dead of night. He wordlessly leads you into a dilapidated shop covered in foreclosure signs. He points to a gilded box that sits upon an old wooden counter-top. Its ornate designs make it seem out of place with the dingy surroundings. It seems timeless. Without moving a muscle, Papa Manzano commands you to open the box. Inside is a tape of his ritual. 

You don't need a player. Just holding the tape in your hand begins the ritual. You hear strange walls of noise playing inside your mind, pushing out the car horns. You can hear babies stop crying and begin to chanting in  otherworldy voices. The barking dogs become doves with golden wings who fly up into the sunlight. Suddenly, you are surrounded by a strange forest.

Papa Manzano begins to speak his magic. You hold out your hand, as if to halt what is happening, but the ritual is already changing you, and you raise your other hand as well and soak in the mystical energies of the earth. Why were you worried so much about the things around you? Why do you concern yourself with things that do not really matter at all? Papa Manzano is furiously beating a drum and humming a mantra in his old, wrinkled throat. You have no idea what you are hearing, but it is an intense, fierce thunderstorm of powerful magic that washes over you like a warm wave of ocean water on a hot day.

Love is what matters. Caring for your fellow man. Go out into the world and be a force of peace. Change the world with love. That is the ritual. Papa Manzano smiles, because he knows you understand at last. He transforms into another golden winged dove and springs into the air, and is gone.

You awaken in an abandoned shop, in the desolate reaches. All that remains of your spiritual journey is the tape. Ritualism

Gray Lee

https://papamanzanomusic.bandcamp.com/album/ritualism