David Novick
s/t [LP; Sun Sneeze]

This is a memorable, blessed record, bolstered by not only a fresh, long-lost indie-rock sound but hand-painted covers, thick vinyl, and limited-to-100 status. Credited to David Novick of San Francisco Water Cooler, this LP is a must for anyone looking to connect the dots between Sebadoh and Elliott Smith (shit that should be millions but it’s more like thousands, innit?) in a lo-fi way that doesn’t dive too deep into the production murk (just far enough, in fact). There are even splashes of noise when circumstances beckon, and “Ashtray” is an even stronger instrumental for it. It’s overwhelming how patient these compositions are, gliding with no particular purpose, seemingly, until you take a step back and realize how much is actually going on. Novick’s got a voice naturally cast for indie greatness too, pert enough and all while also verging out of tune as only the knowing can pull off, standing out from the mix just enough to never be fully overshadowed by it. He is serious about his music and it doesn’t matter how many people are watching/listening/tweet-fucking.

Links: Sun Sneeze

Profligate

Come Follow Me

[CS / LP; More / Hot Releases]

An insistent groove builds into a clockwork dance-prog jam and I’m thinking to myself, PLEASE GOD, don’t let the vocals suck. And wouldn’t you know it, they don’t, Profligate more prone to nondescript mumble core than what I like to call Cold Caving, if they sing at all. Get that band out of your head though; if anything Come Follow Me reminds me of Robot Elephant outfits like Husband and Fostercare, acts that also infuse their robotic beats with a sense of mischief and opportunism. Any chance they get, they’ll fry your circuits and finger your girlfriend. I fuckin’ love that shit, though you might want to have a talk with Susie. As you surge along, the room gets darker, the lights lowered, the camera crew told the shut the FUCK up, and suddenly we’re in a pitch-black room with a ghost-beat. German Army, a recent favorite, factor in here when the vocals get gutted and pieced back together, and yet there’s more (a vicious side, a Tricky/Massive Attack side, an EDM side, I guess I already mentioned prog but it’s there in spades, hovering above the beats). Side B brings a lot of more atmospheric and noisy climates to the table; it’s also a lot more random, if that’s your bag. I’m good either way. Pretty diverse stuff considering it’s borne out of a simple formula that works best in its moments of numbed reflection. Don’t pass this one up.

Links: Profligate - More / Hot Releases

Elephant Micah

Globe Rush Progressions

[LP; Bluesanct]

Joe O’Connell goes synth! This is the day the folkies turn and boo, cast their aspersions at a man who has long provided a voice for the sullen and dreamy. Now its bathed in electronic heaviness, a man donning thick shades and chastising Donovan. But in his world, this is the new truth. These are the new melodies to match the new words. It’s still the same man, just a different transmission. There are still moments of distant plucks and ancient wisdom (“Marie’s Hair,” “Ever Greener”) but as every society does to the one before it, O’Connell must build on top of all that once stood for his new obelisks to be seen. But lovers of the old–those afraid of change–will wilt at the march of Globe Rush Progressions. Though a wayward collection of lost treasures and never-heard monuments, these are really the flickers of forward momentum of Elephant Micah. They went unheeded, they were left untouched until this moment and for that, we are welcome. Fame has not gone to old Joe’s head, for he still rummages in the basement (“(Timed Being)”) rather than taking drags and typing on an old Woodstock. To be sucked into the doors of perception (“Borneo Reprise”), O’Connell has not betrayed his past for a more favorable future. This is a man we’ve always known, never fearful of speaking his mind. You may scold him in black and white features but when the world goes technicolor, you will be uttering his praises. And apologizing to Sunshine Superman. But if you want the prize, you better grab your part of but 175. Going, going….

Links: Elephant Micah - Bluesanct

Future Blondes

Feather 17

[LP; Blind Prophet]

This is dance music that scrapes along and basses-up your brain rather than offering a silky-smooth progression of highs and lows, occasionally stopping to refuel and tossing out loops. Future Blondes twitch with the witch and aren’t afraid of the occasional glitch, which presents the problem of classification: Exactly where do they belong? As with Vapor Gourds, half the fun is figuring that out. FB are willing to dispense with rhythm altogether to explore a shadow-y vocal sample, stuttered for that modern effect, and their complex synth patches wouldn’t sound out of place on an eMego installation. Not getting any warmer, in other words. Plus there’s that high gloss, that treble-y snap, not to mention the drone that ramps up “Fehe’r A Tuz (Finom A Ve’red)” and launches it into your gaping ear. It’s like doing drugs with a gas mask, I imagine. Visit Coldwave Canyon, then time-travel to the future, say, 10 years ahead, and you’ll land smack in the middle. White vinyl (special 50-run of black, as well), limited copies, urgency advised.

Links: Future Blondes - Blind Prophet

Piss Test

Piss Test EP

[7-inch; JohnnyCat]

The same day I crashed the interwebs and get an email from Portland trio Piss Test, an unmarked package hits my mailbox with this 7-inch from a Portland contact that says it’s well worth my time even though you don’t like punk. Which is not entirely true, I just don’t like the teenage punks who act punk but don’t make punk. You can patch up that jacket all you want but if you’re not in the trenches (or basement) playing for the local constituency with all the bravado and none of the chops, I ain’t got the time. But for Piss Test, I have plenty of time–though they only take up 8 minutes of it. Growing up in the shadow cast from Plan-It-X, I feel like Piss Test was meant for a different time; not the dawn of punk, but the dusky 90s period before Green Day, Rancid, and Social D began eating up radio airwaves. “Babies” riffs on the popular sentiments of Fat Worm of Error’s Pregnant Babies Pregnant with Pregnant Babies (as actualized by Teen Mom 11). “Cabbin’ to the Methadone Clinic” is old, sneering drug pass-outs and clean-ups. It’s not all kisses and hugs. “Necrophilia (it’s Halal)” is too repetitive at 40 seconds but the xenophobic joke makes me smirk and I’m certain crowds in the tens are shouting “It’s Halal” ‘til their throats are raw. Piss Test is my childhood redemption, out there playing to whatever crowd in whatever disinfected town. I’m forced to step down off my soapbox. Maybe I just DON’T care for punk, though I do care for Piss Test.

Links: Piss Test - JohnnyCat

Cross Brothers

Live at the Rat Palace

[CS; Endless Melt]

Cerbs has often lamented how those “down under” are doing it better. But by decrying our english-speaking brethren as “down under” seems insulting, when we’re the ones sinking and they are the ones rising. Case in the point, the brothers Cross (Daniel and Patrick) and their two-headed racket of post-psychedelic no-form noise rampage. The Tasmanian duo rip apart their former hometown of Hobart and though comedic logic points to making a childish analogy, these bros-from-the-same-womb are far more destructive (and not stupid enough to continuously chase a rabbit with no hope of capture). So they turn on the poor denizens of Hobart. They turn on the island municipality they once called home. They take the rising garage and psych of Australia and New Zealand and devour it in 30 minutes of ecstatic gluttony. No allusions to whirling dervishes, Looney Tunes, or criminal states, just organic brutality as perpetuated by a continental area that has not only caught up to us but is surpassing us daily with equal parts mind expansion and ritual musical torture.

Links: Endless Melt

Eggs, Eggs

Make Yourself

[LP; Feeding Tube]

I don’t have any qualms with Eggs, Eggs, but that’s more a sign of my problems than an indication of any semblance of accessibility. Make Yourself is weird and involuntary, like sneezing and sharting at the same time then puking on your dog’s asshole. The singer, like Eric Paul before him, has no shame whatsoever, and unloads his every demon onto his microphone. The super-blurry drones behind him are the most impressive aspect of this particular Eggs, Eggs product (there were 13 or 14 in 2012 alone, ya dig?), a lone cello carving out a distinct presence, augmented by atmospheric drone-cake and several indistinct shadows, some of which sound like a garage-band boombox jam five houses down, barely audible even to your dog (which still has puke all over it; dude). Cave Bears and Dylan Natzinger, unite!

Links: Eggs, Eggs - Feeding Tube

Inhalt

Vehicle

[12-inch; Dark Entries]

Inhalt’s Vehicle is the first non-reissue I’ve heard from Dark Entries but you’d never know it. Aside from some additional production gloss this easily could have emanated from the early 1980s; German to the core and set to the time of a twitching clock. Synths, gloomy, dark nights, heartache, more synths, sin, regret, heartache, more synths… Even if you’ve heard other examples of it recently that don’t set as high a bar, don’t hold that against Inhalt, as they transcend the hype by whipping you into a trance and holding you, cross-eyed, until they let you down not-so-gently at the end of each side. They use the technology of modern times to jump-kick their compositions to life, rather than adorn them to death. Love the exploratory key strokes of “Walking on Glass,” though each track makes its case. If you know this label you know what to expect, and you will be rewarded here.

Links: Dark Entries

Birds of Passage/Je Suis Le Petit Chevalier/Motion Sickness of Time Travel/Aloonluna

Taxidermy of Unicorns

[2xCS; Watery Starve]

The dearth of women in experimental music is a gap worth bridging. In the sausage party of drone and minimalism (any any outsider form of musical art you care to reference), the list of women as creators grows, even if recognition remains stunted. Lynn Fister’s Watery Starve label (of which Cerberus has had a love affair with since its first beautiful cassette hit our mailbox) has said poppycock to such notions, Taxidermy of Unicorns a resounding testament to four notable women creating thoughtful and boundary erasing music. Though remarkably feminine in timbre, there’s a fair amount of bravado to each side. The breathy pop drone of Alicia Merz’s Birds of Passage is a confident reminder that melody and romance can be as provoking as the louder, aggressive males of the species. Je Suis Le Petit Chevalier stands as the meditative representation of Félicia Atkinson, “Sauna Fauna” wavering little from its pensive pose; stalwart in its resolve to exist in a world seemingly keen on ignoring it. Rachel Evans has emerged as one of the boys with Motion Sickness of Time Travel, but here she showcases the womanly wiles of synth and space; a piece as seductive as it is tough. Fister’s own Aloonaluna is most braggadocios, beginning as a buzzing taunt before bullying the noise world into synthetic submission. What’s most remarkable with the musical gender bending is not that Taxidermy of Unicorns serves as a reminder not only to James Brown’s shortsighted edict but to the supposed lack of women able to cut it in the all-encompassing hap-dash of experimental music. These four women, beyond biology, are exceptional musicians. Fister’s curatorial touch in managing this immaculate package may showcase a feminine touch but there’s only so many beards and slam dances a man can stand. This is a take notice moment and seemingly the man’s world is doing just that.

Links: Watery Starve

OObe

Delphi

[CS; Haute Magie]

The sensual mysticism embodied by the cover art for OObe’s Delphi reaches deep into the Italian outfit’s tape. Rather than focus on its witch house and slow dub touchstones, Delphi brings with it a sense of body-at-motion. A mix of dance and mash-up that encompasses the lengthy dole of love. At times dripping with romantic schmaltz, at most times brimming with the sexual buzz of two close bodies; the build-up before the release. This talk might paint me as some old-time romantic but so what? Delphi doesn’t go so far as to be the soundtrack to a night of lit candles, fine dining, and love making but it would be fantastic sloppy late night make-outs and spontaneous sex. You lock eyes with someone at the [club/house party/back alley/crack house] and its electric. Take ‘em back to your one-room home, blast this bewitching tape hex and rip off each other’s clothes as if there’s no tomorrow. But there is and though the harsh light of the walk of shame may seem unbearable come morning, it’ll wither when you remember the primal force of OObe. It’s the Axe Body Spray of cassette tapes but I promise through all its warps and weirdness it will be the go-to aphrodisiac.

Links: OObe - Haute Magie
  

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.