23 April 2018


antiquated future 2018, edition of 50

"latest from Portland's Indira Valey. an EP of textural surprises and casual wizardry. Four soundscape pieces that exist in the realm of artists like Julianna Barwick, Juana Molina, and Grouper. // Released on Antiquated Future Records and Spirit House. A limited edition run of home-dubbed, hand-assembled cassettes." - ANTIQUATED FUTURE

from the unassuming label that released one of my all time favorite cassettes ever in TUCKER THEODORE's outsider weirdo bedroom folk diamond in the rough TO MAKE THE SUN HURT and seminal new weird american drone classic in SISTER GROTTO & BRAEYDEN JAE's BORN TO LOSE / BORN TO LEAVE, comes another straight up masterpiece, clocking in at just under half an hour, everyone knows that it's much (much) better to leave me wanting more than to wear out your welcome, so it's no surprise that this has been in heavy rotation since it popped up, even heavier after the tape showed up

AF ain't wrong, this is riyl BARWICK and some JUANA MOLINA by way of GROUPER (a catch-all for this sort of thing, i know), but it's not -just- that sort of thing - NO ME TENGAS MIEDO is full stride excellence, a snapshot of perfection in the surreal realm of measured ambient dream pop, the sort that BEACH HOUSE left behind years ago, here picked up and dusted off then filtered through IAN WILLIAM CRAIG's post pop construct, where NMTM's opening track stands as a bold female counterpoint, and then the rest is a melting pot of ENO's APOLLO and earliest / best JULIAN LYNCH and COVER THE WINDOWS era GROUPER and late MICROPHONES / early MOUNT EERIE, while earnestly appealing to folks who might prefer a vintage styling a la COCTEAU TWINS or even a big-indie flavor a la GRIZZLY BEAR -- "wide open" in particular grabs me, like ILYAS AHMED heard the opening bassline to LOU JOHNSON's "the beat" and promptly decided he should get stoned and sparsely noodle around a snippet sample of that for a good while -- a shoo-in for my "NADIA REID"-award that goes to my "as close as i get to somethin that could be construed as pop" favorite

12 April 2018


whited sepulchre 2018, edition of 200

"Dunn's first physical release since 2014's Infinite Sadness is a warm compressed sequel to that universally acclaimed 3xLP. still set adrift in a sea of infinite nostalgia and reflections of past selves but with an ascending lightness that gleams at the contours of Dunn's most personal and affecting work. 'The Searchers', named after the John Ford film, meditates on the way in which the imposing expansiveness of the American West worked upon the minds of its inhabitants who fought, lost and did terrible things to each other in their attempt to claim it. The West, like the slipstream of the course of events in a life, offers no resolution and shakes off any narrative that attempts to define it.

Thomas is an Indianapolis musician who composes drones like sculpting in wet cement, each movement turning slowly upwards while being locked into time and space. His first appearance on vinyl, Thomas's 'Voyevoda' utilizes processed electric guitar to fill all available space with lofty and spacious tones that lose nothing of their clarity as the float up to the rafters before settling back down to the nave. A stirring counterpoint Dunn's composition, keenly examines one's fidelity to unconquerable nostalgia.

Album art and layout by Dustin Bowen // Mastered by Jeremy Bible." - WHITED SEPULCHRE

for sure, DUNN's "the searchers" picks up right where INFINITE SADNESS left off --it may be well acclaimed, but to me it seems underappreciated, like a ripple in STARS OF THE LID's tectonic-shifting wake, though it deserves placement on the shelf alongside those revered SOTL's triple lps-- [an aside, first since INFINITE isn't entirely correct, as there was 2015's well-received at least around these parts one-off spontaneous late-night collaboration with DEVIN FREISEN aka BITTER FICTIONS and JAMES GODDARD, courtesy FRIESEN's SHAKING BOX] --anyway-- assuming you're familiar with SOTL, that's a great place to start for comparison along with WILLAMETTE, except DUNN stretches it out like taffy here, excelling at the twenty minute opus in a way that SOTL never did, both more gradually in a way that kinda brings to mind BASINSKI, but also more robustly, as there's a lot goin on here, some SEAN MCCANN-esque surrealistic angelic density approaching CHARLEMAGNE PALESTINE's CATHEDRALE DE STRASBOURG perhaps

WAYNE ROBERT THOMAS is not a name i am familiar with - "Making slow moving compositions for guitar since 2012" says bandcamp, he has self released cds going back to 2014 says discogs - i haven't perused any yet, but if his side here is any indication then i expect to hear good things both going back through his catalog and moving forward, both with now-anticipated future releases and also good things by way of critical reception - ambient fiends should be all over this - the tidal ebb and flow here is perfect in a way i rarely find, it kinda recalls BRAINWORLDS' "heliopause" trading some kosmische for classical, or maybe KURMA's "sweet death" swapping morbid mortality for, i don't know, transcendental (?) mortality or some such - the moves THOMAS makes here are gloriously understated and absolutely stunning, again tapping SOTL but with more intimacy - some comparisons might include KYLE LANDSTRA and OXHERDING, and that phenomenal lathe cut WAKE courtesy KJ (which definitely deserves a proper pressing), finding some tangential synergy with AARON MARTIN's and OJERUM's latest offerings - don't sleep on this one like folks slept on MIDWIFE's LIKE AUTHOR which only just recently sold out at the source

whited sepulchre 2018, edition of 100

"Cincinnati based Kelly crafts songs that attach themselves to a fleeting connection with the unseen world while rooting itself in a very real topography and landscape. A submission to a force that continues on with or without our attention / devotion. In her liturgical drone-pop songs Brianna weaves hypnotic drones and swells while recalling Julianna Barwick and Grouper in their sedated push and pull... held sway under the plodding gloom of Planning for Burial's linear heaviness. // Brianna also plays guitar and sings in the band Soften.

The third tape in Whited Sepulchre's split series, Brianna's floating melodies are tethered to this world by Sympathy Pain's aching slowgaze.

Birthed from the same SLC creative community that brought forth artists like Stag Hare, Braeyden Jae and Seven Feathers Rainwater, Skyler Hitchcox has been crafting trembling guitar-based drone-heavy compositions since the early-aughts under the name Silver Antlers. Sympathy Pain represents the truest and most distilled version of Skyler's emotional heft. Striking a balance between death-to-crescendocore post-rock, static-filled droning and skyward guitar lines, Skyler is joined on keys by Cult Leader drummer Casey Hansen, imbuing these compositions with living shadows and dead reflections." - WHITED SEPULCHRE

two more unknown-to-me's -- i dig KELLY's low-to-high fidelity emergence trick out of the gate - it only takes about a minute for the cement to dry around her being a leading outsider dream pop musicmaker and dreamer of the dream, hypnotic repetition wrapped in eddies of delay and reverb, as if inspired by an broken COCTEAU TWINS record, but there's more to KELLY's side as she elegantly blends styles and vibes - WINDY & CARL and early GROUPER are inescapable comparisons, and there's a lot of synergy with labelmate MIDWIFE (aka PSI LAB darling MADELINE JOHNSTON aka SISTER GROTTO), but other female vocal driven ambient (post?) pop artists come to mind, like EKIN FIL, RAAJMAHAL and CHRISTINE SHIELDS

regarding KELLY's vocals, i can't help but think of garage psych punk goddess BRIGID DAWSON of THEE OH SEES fame, to such extent it sometimes sounds like DAWSON's somehow breathy yet full-bodied cooing --particularly crystallized on PEANUT BUTTER OVEN's "kids in cars" wow what a song, anyway-- isolated and extrapolated from OH SEES and immersed in atmospheric soundscapes somewhere between previous decade GROUPER and the moodiest spaced out CHROMATICS sides, approximately

SYMPATHY PAIN's side is even more immersed, even more experientially embedded - there's an even more vivid slow motion cinematic vibe - again, there's some labelmate synergy with JOHNSTON by way of SISTER GROTTO's longform exaltations and meditations, but there's more anticipation and invested emotional input, if i may so stipulate, that earns attention and appreciation - perhaps a certain perfectionism with closed eyes and furrowed brow, painstakingly packaged and delivered for your enjoyment by way of rich ambient drone hypnosis, with some contemporary comparison to PSI LAB favorites in BRAEYDEN JAE and NATIONAL PARK SERVICE and GOOD NIGHT & GOOD MORNING's NARROWING TYPE

22 March 2018


opaque dynamo 2018, edition of 100

"Opaque Dynamo launches the cassette series with the release of an enigmatic artefact, a real mind-distorter for all zealots of primitive electric guitar fury and utter expression of instinctive command, a tantalizing charge of impenetrable origin, deeply infused in savage fire and filled with unruly beauty. The so-called Hopital De La Conception has arranged it all well in order to maintain an aura of mystery and ensure the untraceability of the band member(s)' identity; as a matter of fact, the only thing to feed our fantasies lies exclusively in the disclosure of the man-behind-the-guitar&voice's epic moniker: Junk Nurse. Yet the name itself allows one to catch a glimpse of the kind of deal to expect!

hear what happens once Junk Nurse is set in The electric rockin' chair: an influx of deconstruction, a barrage of free-form excavations meeting with a minimalist (and spooky!) edifice which repeatedly hammers its mantra with motorik pressure. ...two massive instrumental pieces like resonant monoliths, fully urban and in (most likely) unusual open-chord tuning. ...a haunting sporadic singing is found interspersed in the flow, it arises in sudden bursts and in an unexpected way like to summon the spirit of a forgotten protest. The gripping guitar tone enables Junk Nurse to so sharpen his style to the most expressive edge, as we also see him able to enter the realm of Guitar-Feedback loudness through a melodic door leading to a unique mastery in subtle & complex frequencies and, from there, to definitely unfold such an onslaught of guitar sounds as scary as dazzling for the senses.

Directly mastered from reel tape, Hopital De La Conception's The electric rockin' chair is an inspirational journey through the meanders of intense saturation & rumbling vibes, one of these rare ecstatic experiences to surface in our new Millenium. // FR- Cassette tape x 100 - 2018 / limited serie of 100 (hand-numbered) cassette tapes / Pro-duplication / Recording by P.F _ 11/17 - Revox B77 / Mastered & produced by Opaque Dynamo . 2018 . / Featuring Junk Nurse : Guitar & voice / Total Time : 35 mn (Same program both sides)" - OPAQUE DYNAMO

maybe thee juiciest label write-up i've ever encountered this side of VOLCANIC TONGUE - condemnably under-worshiped french guitar god GREGORY RAIMO via his OPAQUE DYNAMO imprint blast says just about all that needs to be said, but i'll try to supplement best i can

concerning RAIMO... he's most infamous with/as GR & FULL BLOWN EXPANSION as heard on the 2007 self titled outsider opus, unsurprisingly also a most underappreciated underground diamond in the rough, very much in line with THE ELECTRIC ROCKIN' CHAIR here, but less zoned-in and one-lined as GR&FBE is more sporadic, wild-eyed and hair-brained, channeling weirdo anti-heroes like JANDEK and MICHAEL YONKERS --in fact RAIMO did an album with YONKERS, which, if you're familiar then it probably sounds nothin like what you might expect at least from the half dozen YONKERS albums i've heard-- filtered through messy pummel n throb psychoses akin to AMON DUUL II, MOONEY era CAN, CHROME punk industrialization, hell even BO DIDDLEY, the STOOGES and various LES RALLIZES japanese noise jam adaptations - these are still valid for THE ELECTRIC ROCKIN' CHAIR, but only as a backdrop, an introduction

the next major mile marker is GUNSLINGERS' MASSACRE-ROCK DEVIANT INQUISITORS circa 2013, which just tightens all the many loose bolts on GR&FBE and opens the throttle wide open, kinda like an alternate MARK E. SMITH on speed rant-laced soundtrack to MAD MAX runnin down those biker thugs, which could be construed as CARRION CRAWLER era -best era- THEE OH SEES on a real bad trip and on the verge of collapsing the stage at some dive bar

now, THE ELECTRIC ROCKIN CHAIR, what a title - really fits the raw n bluesy vibe - but it's not at all laid back like JOHN HURT or (relatively) good-timin' like chicagoans (approximately) HOWLIN WOLF and MUDDY WATERS - this kinda feels more like my favorite bluesmen ever, FRED MCDOWELL - that drone'ish repetition, get out of the way - though the vocals definitely break the mold - not that there's much vocals to this, they crop up only a couple brief moments over the half hour plus running time, and who the hell knows what mr JUNK NURSE is saying, but it's all the better or it

this cuts close to free rock duos CHALAQUE and YERBA MANSA, like one of those covering the VELVETS "the gift" with some distantly EXPO'ish loop desynch a time or two, if there's even a loop employed, tough to be sure, maybe not, but maybe so - i have the feeling this is just one dude and i don't get the feeling that it's overdubbed or anything "fancy" like that, but no one knows - there's HERBCRAFT'ian cosmic wah as heard on WOT OZ, circling back toward that unmistakable bombed-out basement stoner vibe a la GEORGE BRIGMAN and VULCAN, surely eternally indebted to, say, LIGHTNIN' HOPKINS, HENDRIX of course, and i don't know, weirdened guitar rock provocateurs like WICKED LADY, fast forward to SONIC YOUTH zeroing in on NEIL YOUNG's ARC, but perhaps THE ELECTRIC ROCKIN' CHAIR has more in common with KING BLOOD's relentless pursuit of nirvana being just one more riff away, collapsing then resolving, somehow makin me think of the shape's face emerging from the darkness behind laurie in HALLOWEEN which is maybe my favorite cinematic moment of all time

11 March 2018


recital 2018

"I corralled a dream LP that I would want to listen to. Too smelly, too sweet. LP is mainly myself, Graham Lambkin, Madalyn Merkey & Zach Schwartz, but features contributions from a slew of people, all playing over my favorite augmented classical pieces. Limited LP edition coming spring 2018" - RECITAL

despite being (even) more subdued and twenty minutes shorter than SEAN MCCANN's 2016 standout MUSIC FOR PUBLIC ENSEMBLE -a proper magnum opus- i find this to be an (even) better work, grander to some extent, more intimate and indulgent but not overwhelming, playful yet brilliantly reserved

MFPE is a lot, an awful lot, sometimes too much if you aren't locked in for four sides' worth - SA streamlines and simplifies, filters and distills the best elements into a more digestible work that i find easier to get lost in, which is perhaps the single most crucial selling point for me when it comes to music like this

SA drifts on from where MFPE left off - an incredible abundance of space laced with angelic arias, chamber accompaniment, distorted splices and fragmented eavesdrop transmissions, acute "next age" weirdness - a most curious and thoroughly engaging free flowing stream of sub-consciousness, as MCCANN acknowledges - i don't think he has displayed such sublime subtlety since 2010-11 with understated works like FOUNTAINS, SKY IS FILLED and SINCERE WORLD, and those don't approach this level of organic detail

comparisons - last year's SARA SOLTAU cassette comes to mind, perhaps RAISING HOLY SPARKS' FOUR SACRED MOUNTAINS at some nth degree, always ENO's ambient oeuvre and OBSCURE curating (BUDD, BRYARS, NYMAN) - it's like AARON MARTIN semi-improvising over down-the-hall HILDEGARD VON BINGEN passages and BIG BLOOD snippets patchworked into a BOOKS style tapestry with some congregational synergy to the MICROPHONES' MOUNT EERIE - i guess that's what i hear, i mean MCCANN kinda seems beyond comparison at this point with his ever expanding and meandering root system, drawing and focusing lord knows what back toward his minimal neoclassical experimental framework

free download from the source (for now?)


08 March 2018


self released 2018

"somewhere with dancing / visuals / gold dust visions" - NATASHA MORROW bandcamp

something happens and i'm head over heels - i'm surprised that i am one of only two people in the "supported by" section of MORROW's bandcamp page - i get it, the population of folks who obsessively pan for gold in the never-ending stream that is bandcamp -for tapes no less- is probably quite low - but there's gotta be enough dumb luck in the world for more folks to stumble upon this tape and enjoy it enough to buy it, and that's not counting the likeminded searchers (however few, but surely more than two) who would take notice, be it by name, title or -in my case- cover art

let that be a lesson to all the bandcamp artists and labels out there, artwork goes a long way - the artwork here is alluring, that's a word for it - she (the artist?) is beautiful, but there's more going on here - is that a jail cell? it's intriguing if not engrossing, there's another two words for it - the best i can make sense of it is to contextualize it with JANDEK cover art, which, as much a (selective) fan as i am of his music and more so his aesthetic, i'm probably a more receptive fan of his album cover art (which is saying somethin because in general i despise portrait artwork with few exceptions)

and to top it all off, this arrived in the mail with a black ribbon around it tied in a neat little bow - fantastic - and that's where i'd like to start in terms of sonics - deceptive simplicity - there's a lot of that here in general, with the music channeling the best of that ilk that comes to mind, like prime STEVIE NICKS sharply redirected with an outsider tack, skirting early/best CAT POWER territory toward an even more stripped down style, again finding comparison to JANDEK, particularly "NANCY" as heard on all time favorite song "nancy sings" and then, well i forget the legend but i don't think it's her on some of the THE LIVING END tracks (i wanna say it's her sister? yeah it kinda gets weird, if it wasn't weird enough)

anyway-- all that to say MORROW has a trajectory that at certain angles lines up with CHRISTINA CARTER (thinkin 2006 hat trick BASTARD WING, ELECTRICE and LACE HEART) -one of my all time favorite female artists- though at first glance that comparison might not stick (it does for me) - MORROW has an alluring throwback characteristic --organic, decisively dramatic and crucially not overdone-- reminiscent of jazz singer songwriter legends like BILLIE HOLIDAY and SHIRLEY HORN, distantly echoing PORTISHEAD's BETH GIBBONS and THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA's DOROTHY MOSKOWITZ (more all time favorite female voices)

there's lineage to last decade's weirdo female frontrunners, but MORROW is less GROUPER, more INCA ORE unplugged and dosed on nyquil, aligning with cassette contemporaries PHIPPS PT and CAROLINE NO, finding some tangential synergy with SPENCER DOBBS or TERRORS, but with better results if i may say - i guess i'm just a sucker for loner / outsider / weirdo female singer songwriter stuff, and i can't think of much that outright tops this