Annie Shaw
Shanty Awe [CS; Old Frontiers]

In his ode to the amalgamation of his car and girlfriend, Mark Tucker created an atmospheric epic with Batstew. It’s a sound that has yet to be recaptured, even as contenders and pretenders have tried to pick up the shards of the blueprint, torn asunder after multiple breakdowns and a name change. So leave it to another unknown, creating music in the not-so-wilds of Canada, to finally stumble upon the Dead Sea Scrolls of musical carelessness. Annie Shaw breaks the rules (though there are NO rules!) with Shanty Awe. Two odd flavors populate her 30 minutes of tape. Side A is the syrupy high of a sno-cone, dripping uncontrollably in the hot summer sun. It’s a carnival of freaks and geeks merrily terrorizing the heatstroked patrons with friendly prods. Side B is quieter, the contemplative look on a stranger’s face. Unaware of whether it’s a serial killer or a helping hand, you split the difference and walk on the other side of the street. SURPRISE! It’s both! She’ll pick you up from the ground with one hand as she carves out your innards with the other. I like untethered, and Shaw is well past the gravitational pull of convention. Here’s to hoping she revolutionizes the music world — or, at the very least, doesn’t try to write some sci-fi oeuvre to the postal service.

Links: Old Frontiers

GeRmAn ArMy

Cattle Border

[CS; Clan Destine]

Here the-fuck we go! Every GeRmAn ArMy onslaught carries with it a certain charm, but “Cattle Border” tips the scales in its favor with a wicked-slow stew of low hums, echo-speak, drum-bot, and a system of composition that works well with the bleak atmosphere, plodding beats, and churning effects. A chaotic soundscape is achieved with just a few key elements tiptoeing up your spine like evil intuition, the occasional voiceover lending a, might I say, measure of civility to the proceedings (not much yelling or screaming here). If this were a record, you’d be speeding it up to 45 in a vain attempt to make sense of it; as it stands, you’ll think your tape player is eating this puppy alive. Coldwave is cold, but this stuff is so frigid you could crack its ruminations with a few taps of a ball-pen hammer. And since when could frost feel this creepy? This is Mattress and Mike Sniper under a million miles of prehistoric ice. Du hast mich, GeRmAn ArMy.

Links: GeRmAn ArMy - Clan Destine

ᏉᎥᏒᏆuᎪᏞ fᏞᎪᏁᏁᎬᏞ

We Flyin’

[CS; Self-Released]

And the first time you saw Michael Jackson dance, you immediately pressed record and watched his feet in slow motion for days after on VHS. Crackling in muted color, your fresh-young mind develops the understanding of movement and timing opposed to glitz and glove. Body motion bending physics beyond the common black belt, smooth trans-body manipulations, and eyes feeling almost deceived. It’s as if his dancing is more magic than skill. Pacing the VHS at snail’s pace, yet bumping the reel back and back and looping and back, it just builds in mindset, and you discover there are a multitude of skills beyond what a normal routine human is capable of doing. Now, far from Michael Jackson, sitting there absorbed in culture and entertainment, you find that being can be begotten of the beholder. Yeah-yeah, duh! It’s like obviously MJ’s feet were beat-driven. It’s clear. It’s so clear and fucking diamonds and sparkling/searing zigzags. Yet, a bit spacier now and so flexible, you put on your ᏉᎥᏒᏆuᎪᏞ fᏞᎪᏁᏁᎬᏞ jumpsuit, and then We Flyin’.

Links: ᏉᎥᏒᏆuᎪᏞ fᏞᎪᏁᏁᎬᏞ

Ryan Garbes

1965

[CS; Night People]

Didn’t the Afghan Whigs release 1965 in 1998? I doubt Ryan Garbes has ever had comparisons to the funk-junk skuzz of Greg Dulli, but it’s more apropos than first imagined. 1965 may lack the fusion soul of Dulli’s vision, but it’s 2012 and times they are a-changin’. This is a new vision of 1965, one where the prelude to the Summer of Love was a county fair run on acid. It’s scarier and more distraught, lending cautionary tones to what would become Charles Manson’s playground. Garbes lines 1965 with awkward funhouse mirrors, distorting playfulness into dastardly reminders of our inner ugliness. It would have served a stout reminder that, in post-McCarthyism, the hearts of some men still beat black. But 1965 emerges optimistically from its fortune-telling doldrums, providing enlightenment to the decades that followed. Here we stand in 2012, once again gripped by imagined fear and political strife, and once more, we have ill-shaped reflections of our nefarious selves to both caution and entertain.

Links: Ryan Garbes - Night People

Kevin Greenspon + Nicole Kidman

Already Dead

[7-inch; Bridgetown]

“Already Dead” kinda rocks, but you can’t rock out to it. Hey, that’s cool, Kevin Greenspon and Nicole Kidman; it’s like future-Irving electro-bliss, automated beats billowing atop waveform electronics. Once you get used to the traditional-yet-askew template, the sky clears a bit and additional perspective is lent. Super-simple almost to a fault, couched in a mix thinner than vellum, but at least they’re plumbing a domain astray from the dominant modes of the day, and the vocals manage a rare coup, pumping out melodies over quick-step beats without that annoying sense of cutesiness so many indie rockers inadvertently project. Have these guys ever listened to those upbeat Unicorns 7-inches? Therein might lie the logical next step for them.

Links: Bridgetown

Silent Land Time Machine

I am no longer with myself…

[CS; Holodeck]

What is with the din? Try having a child, and see if you can find the musicality in “Even Floating Islands Fall.” Alright, it’s still there, but it’ll take a couple of Tylenol and a few hours of quiet time before I can accept it as, at best, cacophony. “Remembering Names”: that’s more like it… except you’re getting louder. I just want to enjoy this bourbon and a little downtime, and you’re swelling up the sound. No, “Kissa,” no! Stop it with all the buzzing and humming and screeching. I NEED PEACE! By “An Own to One’s Room,” I’ve given in. It doesn’t hurt that the piano waltzes me into strange slumber, a bright boardwalk pocketed with odd people and imagined contraptions. Silent Land Time Machine’s symphony-tuning-up aesthetic takes over, and anticipation for some glorious Bach aria is supplanted by finger-painting genius. That incessant noise your kids are making is music, and it’s likely they’re a rogue member of SLTM making a mess of your reel-to-reel.

Links: Silent Land Time Machine - Holodeck

Diskette Romances

Diskette Romances

[CS; Sunup Recordings]

And as every day repeats itself as a seven year old so does sound, but internally and at memory’s pace. The tanning salon waiting room becomes a (almost) daily breakfast nook, and UV goggles provide heated vision underwater at the pool. Time matters in snippets of what you think is pleasant. Tissue strengthening is rooted deep in release. Serious times come with lunch and chunks of “pepperoni,” which is brushed off into someone’s Pepsi. Station wagon rides are always a shootout. Bathroom visits present the most primordial brevity, at length by each shoe. The wheels hit a bump and ice cream cones are stuck to the ceiling. Digging deep unearths hidden backyard treasures. Chlorine blur sets in with the street lights at night, and the smell of small-town barbecue swells the streets. Echoing karaoke music twilights the neighborhood surrounding your house, you flick on the computer, experience Diskette Romances, and pretend tomorrow will be more surprising.

Links: Diskette Romances - Sunup Recordings

Hogra

Cannibal Oven / Poisoned Baptism

[7-inch; Fedora Corpse]

Hogra’s 7-inch slab of death is so pig-fucked it’s absurd, a moveable noise feast of burbling underbelly, buzzing insects, whirling tornadoes, shamanic-trance voices, and sheets of static blown by a vicious wave of hell-wind. It’s like when Frodo puts on the ring and the conscious world disappears and all that is left is a nightmarish dreamscape of sharp colors and shadows. But here I go gettin’ ahead of myself again; that’s just the extremely lovable Side A. Flip-flop this sum’bitch for a different approach to non-metal mayhem: Al Jourgensen man-shouting, more of that ass-flapping wind, and a dangling rhythm that almost distracts, slapping the face every so often when there’s already plenty to mull over. Get OFF, guy!

Links: Hogra - Fedora Corpse

Midday Veil

Subterranean Ritual II

[CS; Translinguistic Other]

I often think of Midday Veil as the post-Thanksgiving hangover. Eyes glossy from over-indulgence, fingers greasy from ripping apart a baked carcass like Caligula — of course, this could be any sort of Ozark celebration. Midday Veil is actually a fixture of Seattle’s underground, but Subterranean Ritual II indulges in the abundance of ritualistic temptation. Sensual and mystical, Subterranean Ritual II is the rhythms of a world gone completely mad for all the right reasons. For some reason, I’m taken to the scene in Almost Famous (bear with me) when the underage journalist is deflowered by Fairuza Balk, Bijou Phillips, and Anna Paquin. It’s a PG version of True Blood without the gory disembowelments and vats of viscous blood. SRII is far from PG; it’s dirty and bloody, but it’s a delight of all the senses, Midday Veil picking up where Pocahaunted would have if they had been birthed by the Manson family. For a band that can often boast six members, everything is relatively subdued. It ratchets up the sexual tension. It’s not overt, but it exists among a psychedelic sheen of elongated whispers and Alejandro Jodorowsky. Just shed your cloths and join in the orgy of sound and sex. Caligula, fat on turkey, and heavy with wine.

Links: Midday Veil - Translinguistic Other

Stargate

Hexplore Superfluidity

[12-inch; Hundebiss]

The Hundebiss “sound” — is there a such thing? I tend to believe there is, though it’s a fluid beast that doesn’t sit still for long. Stargate’s Hexplore Superfluidity one-sided 12-inch fits snuggly into the label’s lexicon with previous releases by Sewn Leather, Hype Williams, and JAWS, combining the welcome warmth of bygone electronix with a warped-tape, frayed-edges sensibility. It’s sort of like walking into a novelty store and realizing all the wind-up toys have been wound and set loose, then watching with amazement as the floor gives way and the entire structure is consumed by blurry blue water. Or at least that’s the vibe I get from “Dawn of the Cryonics.” Is it just me or are a lot of people auditioning to retroactively score the movie Bladerunner? Stargate murder chillwave and shove it into a Commodore 64 disk drive, where it belongs.

Links: Hundebiss
  

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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.