Sweetie Sweats

Cambium

[LP; Hot Releases]

Sweetie Sweats, a band name that truly cannot be tamed, turns out to be a frank, spot-on representation of what this Ariana Dominguez-fronted (she was in Honey Heads with the Father Finger guy, and that FF tape on NNF was <3) project splays out in front of the listener like a sound spreadsheet. Cambium is a sugary mix of soothsaying synths and ghostly shoegaze-style vocals that reminds me of Spencer Krug’s many projects (while they were tip-top) by dint of the way it, from track to track, locates fresh, interesting ways to present simple synth progressions. To smash them against cheap robo-beats and still manage such atmosphere is a feat in itself; throw in the sweltering, yet not-there, vox and you have quite a stew of ghost-pop. What really makes it all kick is a strange sense of ’80s flashback, an uncanny reverence for sounds of the era. Dominguez stumbles a few times, and is out of tune at least once, but this is indie and her kicks outshine her gaffs at least 4 to 1. Lots of other similar activity out there, including toothache, which is great (also Aisler’s Set in the vocals, and Beach House generally), and many additional artists I wish I could forget about forever (Mozart’s Sister, Grimes, Nite Jewel). Such is life, so pick this one up.

Links: Sweetie Sweats

Old Scratch’s Burnpile

Carlos Sotona

[CS; Hemlock]

I haven’t had to unravel a mystery like Old Scratch’s Burnpile in quite a spell. Seems these fellas don’t have much of an internet presence, to say the least. Carlos Sotona could easily be the name of this band rather than the name of the album. I just don’t have enough information at my disposal to make these kinds of calls. Just about the only thing I AM qualified to report at this point is that whatever this tape is/was/will be/could be/should be, I like it. It’s not the sort of material you listen to every day; it’s much to jarring for that. We’re basically talking about a spoken-word extravaganza with Shaggs-style accompaniment, if you can even call it that, chiming on in the background. Southern accents, whimsical topics, and a confused guitar player slipping in and out of consciousness in the background. Sounds like a limited template, but it’s anything but. You might even say Ol’ Scratch, if that is his name, pushes the limits more than most endeavor to these days. For fans of that tape that came to me shoved into a doll’s nether-quarters, Albert’s Basement, Chance Meeting On a Dissecting Table, and poop.

Colour Bük

Coming to Get the Stuff

[CS; Wir Wollen Wulle]

Would I get tomatoes and/or other produce thrown at me if I said publicly that Colour Bük was the best band in the entire universe? Would you think me mentally ill if I told you that I spent nearly each of the days between receiving an e-mail from Wir Wollen Wulle about a new Colour Bük release and the damned thing finally arriving in my mailbox pacing with sweaty palms back and forth? Would you believe me if I told you it didn’t even matter that this ended up being a tape release instead of the 7-inch that I thought it was going to be? Well it’s all true, dammit. I still don’t know much about Colour Bük, nor does the band give very much in the way of concrete stylistic queues with which I can accurately describe what it is that they do in general – everything I’ve gotten from them has sounded different. For reference, you can dig back through a mean, putrid punk-rock 7-inch out sometime last year, and the year before that, the flat-out brilliant cartoon-core Our Favorite Fucking Day of the Goddamn Year tape on the now sadly dormant Weird Forest imprint. What you’ll get here is what I can only call rock and roll that someone forgot to refrigerate after opening, a once fresh, nutritious balance made rotten from over-exposure to heat and sun, mangled and mulchified into fertile fertilizer for your cassette deck of choice. If you can twist “passed its prime,” into a compliment with regards to music, that’s kind of what I want to say here… Don’t bother with headphones, they won’t help. Drums are beaten to black and blue with femur bones, speaker cones cry out in pain, begging for their lives lest Colour Bük ruthlessly rip them in half. A moment of softness with some synths and a confused/lost sounding reverb’d vocal speaking in a foreign tongue for some reason. And then later a wallow in a swamp of slow-motion vocals and feedback while a spang-a-lang pattern splashes lazily on a ride cymbal. And then I’m trying to figure out how to explain the Daft Punk-like house beat toward the end of the tape, drowning in effects, the album succumbing to a soft, flanger-assisted suicide. I know it’s still early, but I’m ready to call Coming to Get the Stuff the weirdest album of 2014, if not my favorite.

Links: Colour Bük - Wir Wollen Wulle

Ice Orgy

2

[CS; Unovis Workshop]

Ice Orgy is about as cold and indulgent as the name suggests. These crawling drones come courtesy of an autoharp and electronics, painting grainy streaks of disharmonious tones, and gently throbbing them into your ear holes with a plodding, pounding pulse that gradually doubles-down into a rolling rollick – the kind of thing that you’d imagine zombies dancing to. The upper register is a swarming mass, a cloud of uncertainty and unknowing seeking out any relaxed corner of your brain and infecting with a discomforting notion of simple dread. Side B has a similar vibe, quietly intimidating, cautious waves of noise ebbing in from the ether as metallic clangs haunt in the distance before that throbbing beat pounds its way back into your consciousness – more subtle this time, with the light touch of Wolfgang Voigt’s Gas (thinking “Zauberberg” here), but maybe even more effective in its incessant, insanity-inducing presence. Ice Orgy is pure anxiety in sound, a cold sweat for the ages. Purportedly the second release under this moniker (hence the title, “2”), Roy Styles wrapped his tape up in a nice letter pressed package with super large and foreboding Gothic font all over it. I’d love to see what this guy could do with 12 inches of vinyl to carve. For now, we’ve got this one available in a cassette edition of 50.

Links: Unovis Workshop

Lime Works

Mild Infection

[CS; Albert's Basement]

My dream date was Roy Montgomery but he was always too dirty. So I would pretend to clean him up. Make sure he was shorn, dressed proper, and then slowly introduce him to my family. Might start with some of the Kranky stuff because everyone still pretended to try to understand music in the ’90s. Turns out this fantasy is slightly embodied in Lime Works. A slow, droll vision of Montgomery circa The Pin Group. Slowed motioned into Reservoir Dogs coolness, a spoken lyricism a la John Cale on “The Gift” emerges from Mild Infection as it slowly unravels, just like my fantasy. My family is turned off by the aloofness but I see the rebel in Lime Works. It’s not a ’90s grunginess but a ’50s cool – not Motorcycle Boy but easily a smarter Pony Boy. And we hope on the stolen bike of Mild Infection and ride into the carelessness of the country. My family knew this day would come. You can’t clean up a rebel to make him into a hero.

Links: Albert's Basement

The H / Madison Dinelle

On Organization: A Study of Form in Pictures and Music

[Photo Book + CD; Los Discos Enfantasmes]

On Organization: A Study of Form in Pictures and Music isn’t for the faint of concept, in case the title wasn’t enough of a giveaway, but The H and Madison Dinelle lay out an arc sturdy enough to sustain a recorded project four times as long. The CD portion of the proceedings is like a Wes Anderson film: You wonder how they pack so many happenings into such a trim time frame. A low bass rumble holds up an aquatic synth line as sine waves climb up and down the dam of sound like lasers. Pins drop, underwater radar blips, star-ship buttons bloop, and complex patterns unfold without losing their overall shape. It’s part of a complex framework that ties into the titular visual portion: a 52-page, black-and-white, offset photo book with an embossed cover. It’s a solid piece of printing and tracks every move the audio portion makes. I’m in absolute awe of On Organization and, by extension, The H and Dinelle. If a bunch of you aren’t also in the fold already consider this blurb-view a gallop through the town square. The Editions Mego people, for one, will want to check in with this release if they haven’t made the acquaintance of Los Discos Enfantasmes, especially the folks who get down with the Recollection GRM imprint (not to mention Editions RZ). Sharp focus and even sharper tools can go a long way; when organized and executed with vigor, they take on a life of their own.

Links: Los Discos Enfantasmes

Doom Asylum

Stress Techno

[12-inch; Hot Releases]

Finally, the techno resurgence touches down on Cerberus soil, giving us a taste of the stuff they’ve been mainlining in the UK and Detroit (and maybe a few other places?) for what seems like a good long while now. Doom Asylum throw down a vicious update on the tek-nough I remember from the 90s, also bringing the sort of sparkle you might expect from a Bames cut. Stress Techno is straight dance though, yo. Yo-yo, you know it, HA-HA-HAAA(?)! “A Cleaner House Everyday” is like a Rubik’s cube trying to put itself together, and when it fails to assemble itself completely you’ll beg for more time; just move the needle back. There’s a studious side to this track, “Enjoy Bright Leaf Hot Dogs,” and “Nope2” in particular, warping the project into a dizzying mind-melt and rendering a true dancefloor situation out of the question. Andrew Peterson, Doom’s namesake and former member of Yohimbe (maybe you know them? I don’t), isn’t quite as mutant-minded as, say, one of the Copeland brothers, but he’s the restless type, always twiggy-tweakin’ (and his jams, and his jam-hands/hand-jam) while many would sit back and let the beat ride out. He’s a scientist that happens also to possess the ability to make your body move, if you’re so inclined. This record is part of a really fucked-up batch of records I just got from Hot Releases so stay tuned if you want your brain to POP-FIZZZZ and splatter like a strawberry chainsaw waterfall (and I’m guessing that’s exactly what the-fuck you want).

Links: Doom Asylum - Hot Releases

Japanese Treats

*E 468

[CS; Adhesive Sounds]

Japanese Treats: one’s mind races at the possibilities? Did it come from a vending machine like this beer and eel-flavored Kit-Kat I’m holding? Maybe Skoshbox will arrive at my door and to my delight I will try candies Westerners dare not imagine but lo and behold are better than our normal, drudge-filled sundries. Or perhaps it’s delivered from a Toronto label in cassette size? This fun bit of Japanese Treats is the moniker of Ben Crossman who cunningly transforms the oddities of Japan into miniature songs of cute strangeness that only reinforces our love of a culture and society we only know from bizarre imports and Kotaku. It’s the same lights and buzzers and sugar highs and costumed teens that make us all wish we were that free and….dammit, cute (gotta hit the quota of cute in this run-on)! Bottom line, you want this. It may not take you into a headfirst dive of Tokyo or Kyoto zaniness, it will deliver on its promise of being a treat not born of North American palates.

Links: Adhesive Sounds

Krueleco

Regno

[CS; Stupro Rituale]

A lot of cauldron-black outfits have been dousing their black metal with noise or vice-versa, but few come out and proclaim it with as much reverence as Krueleco, and I respect that (I’m guessing they’ll take their lumps elsewhere, and that’s not my problem). So just what does a seamless marriage of BM and nnnoize sound like? Hell, I’m not sure because this ain’t a combo platter as much as it is a simmering noise record bolstered by random live drums and a darkened core (until halfway through Side B, when a monstrous blast kicks up the drama for a spell). That’s my take; sorry if it stings like the cold steel of yr dad’s work boot. It’s a workmanlike effort that scrapes resin from several sides of the experimental stem, retaining a harsh edge that relents only to allow gunfire and lazer sequences proper passage. The Rita, Sujo, Blue Sabbath Black Cheer, Burning Star Core, and Jazkammer would appear in the lineup if you were trying to formally identify Krueleco, and other harsh wizards should and will be suspected, but from track to track it’s anyone’s guess as to what segment of the indie community will be offended next. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t interested in seeing where this whole K-co thing is going, so ramble on, death dealers.

Links: Krueleco

Matthew Dotson

Sublimation

[CS; Already Dead Tapes]

It seems like it’s been a decade since I first looked at the music of Matthew Dotson for the Cerberus section of Tiny Mix Tapes. In fact, the amount of time that has passed is really only about a year, but to Dotson that might as well be a light year – what a turn-over/around/under for this now-LA based musician. The Dotson-isms I came to know and love from his self-released Excavation cassette are still recognizable here, but he’s thrust his shape-shifting rhythms, elegant explorations of the stereo field, flirtations with tonality-intonalities and breakneck editing into the world of the Vapor – a new set of audio-pigments with which Dotson paints swift strokes on his own unique canvas. Neon beats bubble up to the surface from under washes of ambient synths and time-warped pop samples, only to be cut up with hyperactive hand claps and sliced with shards of white noise. Intermittent sections of soft, twinkling piano melodies drift by like a cloud. Tempos glide from gobs of slow-mo bass to swift, galloping trots only to dissolve and melt themselves back into beatific balladry. To be short about it, nothing makes much sense although at the same time it all coalesces like magic, a mix concocted by Merlin himself. The rules and regulations of the regular are here, but pushed to their limits, Dotson bursting through musical shackles in exciting new ways that will prick the circuitry of your brain with little electric shocks of intrigue. And a lot of it is also downright beautiful. Miles ahead of his contemporaries (if there are such things), and maybe even miles ahead of his own damn self… Here’s hoping Dotson doesn’t end up running his work off the side of a cliff, only to fall into a pit of oblivion. This is just manageable – barely and perfectly so.

Links: Matthew Dotson - Already Dead Tapes
  

In this ever-expanding musical world, there's a wealth of 7-inches, cassettes, CD-Rs, and objet d'art being released that, due to their limited quantities and adventurous sonics, go unnoticed by the public at large. Cerberus seeks to document the aesthetic of these home recorders and backyard labels. Email us here.