Andy Boay
Evil Masters [CS; Dœs Are]

Andy Boay is half of the unpronouncably brilliant Tonstartssbandht and likewise half of the Dœs Are label, which has been the port out of which most of the Tonstartssbandht releases have sailed since its creation. Evil Masters concerns itself less with the hit-single factor that Tonstartssbandht does so effortlessly and takes a relatively free-form approach, drifting beautifully in and out of structure at all levels. The sounds themselves are familiar, but not totally recognizable. When there are words, they’re definitely in English, but what are they, exactly? A single track can (and does) drift seamlessly and quite naturally between multiple genres. And perhaps because this tape is a collection of tracks spanning a giant length of time (2006 to 2011), it’s extremely diverse, with the only similarities between tracks being that they share a certain recording quality rather than any certain musical style or instrumentation. Some tracks sound like they could be skrewed covers of dark 1960s psych-fuzz nuggets, while others nod to frequent collaborator Run DMT in their sparse, looped beauty. All of them play off of each other wonderfully, creating an album that’s easy to leave on indefinite repeat. I’m hoping for many more Andy Boay albums to come in the future, preferably not five-plus years in the making a piece.

Links: Andy Boay - Dœs Are

Benedek + DāM-FunK

“That’s My Jam!”

[7-inch; Proximal]

“That’s My Jam!” is so outside the blackened purview of what we normally cover here at Cerbs (and even at TMT) that I feel skipping it over despite its deficiencies would be, frankly, a dick move. Benedek (with the help of DāM-FunK) went and funked yo mama: That’s right, he lured her to a dance club, got her all hot and sweaty, then took her home, and… well, the evidence is all over this sexy 7-inch (that’s all?) and its post-/future-funk grooves reminiscent of everything from Rick James to Deee-Lite to George Clinton to DāM-FunK himself. Certainly not my normal listening zone, but that’s why I find it refreshing and much more preferable than, say, Jamie Lidell. It ain’t my “jam” yet, but I’m Benedek-curious, to be sure.

Links: Benedek + DāM-FunK - Proximal

Compound Eye

Origin of Silence

[12-inch; The Spring Press]

There’s an itch. It began benignly enough — just a minor sensation on the back of my left hand. I scratched it, and it went away. A week later, it returned slightly red and inflamed. I gave it a few more scrapes with my meaty nails until it was a part of the past. Two days later, the red spot grew, and my whole left hand could not escape the sensation. Lotions, ointments, and creams did me no luck, so I returned to hearty scratching until the itch went away. The problem is that it won’t go away now. It’s a part of me, and now my left hand is a swirl of permanent nail marks, the redness turned into a chalky white as skin begins to flake away. This nagging itch has been brought about thanks to Compound Eye. Origin of Silence is the sort of metaphysical ailment that you can’t rid yourself of, a dense, slightly yellowing vinyl disc that must always occupy the turntable. The work of Drew McDowall and Tres Warren grows in intensity with each successive spin, its silence becoming uncomfortable and its piercing drones proving more satisfying than any other source of din. My left hand has become a badge of honor, and Compound Eye has become the brigade’s brave drummer. They lead me to my doom. My pocked hand and I shall go willingly.

Links: The Spring Press

Kane Ikin


[7-inch; 12k]

The cardboard sleeve is sturdy, the Spirogram ink a testimony to the fifth-dimension wonders of Contrail. The solo debut of Kane Ikin is not a flimsy attempt at minimalism, rather a successful — and particularly hardy — two-song set of ambient drone. A-side “Contrail” and B-side “Synthetic Setting” are natural complements: “Contrails” is cold, a guitar plucking out an existence in vast, frozen terrain, while “Synthetic Setting” is the summer equinox, melting away the perma-frost with warmer tones. Much like the seasons, Contrail’s two sides have more in common than their temperatures would hint, seamlessly blending into one another (which makes the flip from A to B both an annoyance and a treasured masochistic pleasure, like an unexpected May freeze or an unusually cool August afternoon). It’s a complete package on all ends, stamped with the 12k seal of approval.

Links: Kane Ikin - 12k

Coyote Slingshot

Oblivion Fever Forever

[7-inch; Super Secret]

Not sure who the singer for Coyote Slingshot is — he’s listed in the credits as “Puzzle Nuzzle” — but he’s got me believin’, even with the odds stacked so thoroughly against him he’d have to shoot his way out of the Death Star to break through. HE DID IT, HE DID IT, DADDY! And I’ll tell you how: First, I believe because he believes; simple, right? Second, he stays at least within remote range of proper pitch — that helps. Thrice, he sounds like the Hot Hot Heat singer back when he was broke and hungry, also much like that dude from Tora! Tora! Torrance! And, finally, four-square, he leads a band that dips into a lot of no-no troughs and comes out sparkling. It’s almost as if Arcade Fire and Titus Andronicus never happened, dude. Thank Christ! Not to mention that the flip-side jam kicks off with a lonely pan flute and explodes into a sloppy punk-rock sandwich from hell, replete with tom-tom titty-slaps and treble-heavy cymbal fluffs; without a Side B of this magnitude, the jump-start of A means little. So glad to hear spirited chant-punk that doesn’t physically hurt my heart. I feel like maybe we’re gonna make it after all.

Links: Coyote Slingshot - Super Secret

Hey Mother Death

Hey Mother Death

[CS; Self-Released]

Spontaneity is the spice in any relationship. A naughty negligee, role-playing, or producing a tape — all worthwhile foreplay. So it goes from Hey Mother Death, the project of Nova Scotian duo Denma Peisinger and Laurence Strelka. It’s an odd little creation, constructed of pop Papier-mâché and stuck in place by globs of avant theater; Denma and Laurence have been huffing it backstage like it cures a stuffed up nose. The French and English sing-song of their debut EP complements the cinematic textures, be it the grinder glam popped “You Left Me” or the dramatic slowcore descent of “Desert of Trees and Water.” It’s surprisingly svelte for an out-of-thin-air performance trip. It’s weird and wild but never too decadent — two people at ease with their strangeness but not consumed by it. As long as Hey Mother Death produces more oblique ensembles such as deconstructed spoken ballad “Black Monday,” we’ll keep coming back for them. And the face paint? Gotta pick up more of that.

Links: Hey Mother Death



[CS; Digitalis]

In line with his recent string of Decimus LPs, Pat Murano and the rest of Raajmahal create gut-wrenching music of incredible merit. Unlike the unsteady din of Decimus and NNCK, Murano’s guitar is far more restrained — uneasily so. It’s a mournful processional throughout Celandine, as guitar notes and gentle echo match the timbre of Carla Backer’s weeping voice. This is cast-your-body-on-the-casket shades of slobbery meditation, though the Eastern influence finds Celandine resembling the overcrowded Ganges rather than a stuffy funeral plot. You’ll bathe in it alongside floating bodies, as they wade in centuries of bones, flesh, and sacrifice. I want to turn to ash with Raajmahal guiding me to eternal light…….

Links: Digitalis

Soft Encounters

Professional Seamen

[one-sided 10-inch; Monofonus Press]

Damn, this is juicy. Soft Encounters not only encompass Luke Fasano (Yeasayer, Ex Models, Family Band, People Get Ready) and Zach Lehrhoff (Knyfe Hyts, Ex Models, the Seconds), of note for Gumshoe mainly for the Ex Models connection — they were great — but chop up their compositions so thoroughly they land somewhere between the more abstract work of Hot Guts and the earliest work of Mi Ami. Not that these comparisons are valid; the best bands transcend them, and while Soft Encounters won’t change your life, their output via this gorgeous one-sided 10-inch (with silk-screened Side B) is of its own time and place. Take a dirty beat, float it in a few layers of guitar squall, spin it all around until the listener becomes disoriented, then move on to the next trick. Another victory for Monofonus Press, an entity schooled well in the ways of audio-as-art.

Links: Soft Encounters - Monofonus Press


Apparitions Just Outside the View

[CS; Ginjoha]

We’ve all found ourselves afloat in a body of water, readily accepting the hand dealt to us by fate, God, Satan, the man — it’s life. But in this moment, with the cool water lifting our relaxed body, it doesn’t matter. The good, the bad — it all washes away. It is beyond the physical world; we have entered the metaphysical. Apparitions Just Outside the View is the sound embodiment of the -ness. What makes us who were are, what makes the world what it is. It’s jargon for poets and philosophers to volley toward the artistic void. You feel it when it’s just you and weightlessness. Hakobune feels you and your weightlessness and transforms it into the -ness. All your questions are answered in the meditative drones, as Hakobune asks better, more intuitive questions. This has nothing to do with the spectral and everything to do with the spiritual. However you worship, whomever you follow, ditch it for the -ness. The -ness knows all.

Links: Hakobune - Ginjoha

Ralph White

The Hanged Man

[CS; Sloow Tapes]

Sloow Tapes has for years (and continues to be) one of the most consistent labels doing it, and as such, each release deserves to be highlighted — I’ll go with Ralph White’s The Hanged Man here, if for no other reason than I have to narrow it to one choice and this one is the most recent to land in my mailbox. Several of the songs on this tape are covers — country standards, mostly, though you wouldn’t recognize it save for White’s voice, which has a Southern quality without being a rural caricature. Where White’s skilled banjo-picking would act as Southern signifier, the music is supplemented by equally virtuosic thumb piano playing, which energetically add the sparkles that drive the song in the way an arpeggiated synth line would drive the latest “best new track.” The diverse range of instruments and sounds make the style more difficult to codify and file away under such vague terms as “country” or “world,” and therefore easier to interact with as they are, so that when the tracks do end up in full-fledged fiddle shredding, it calls equally to mind John Cale and Bob Wills. The pairing of Sloow with Mr. White is as illogical as it is totally natural (a compliment to both parties), and it’s certainly an interesting twist to listen to it in the context of the rest of the label’s catalog (too extensive to list here, but no stranger to Japanese psych, astral folk, or the coordinates at which those genres meet modern mystic poetry, among others). The label description claims the album will bring you “out there,” but for me, it had the effect of taking me “in there,” to a place of freedom, playfulness, and dialogue with the listener.

Links: Ralph White - Sloow Tapes

Cerberus seeks to document the spate of home recorders and backyard labels pressing limited-run LPs, 7-inches, cassettes, and objet d'art with unique packaging and unknown sound. We love everything about the overlooked or unappreciated. If you feel you fit such a category, email us here.