Dolphin Tears
Spa World [CS; Lillerne Tapes]

Who doesn’t want to go to a place called Spa World right now? No one doesn’t. Spa World is a place where there’s nothing but the absolute best of vibes after all, and I’ll tell you what, every vibe I come across from now until the end of my very life might just end up being compared to this vibe — this one, singular, holistically healing vibe. Man, it’s just right. There’s another I heard that does this kind of thing, and does it with that just-right vibe: Water Lily Jaguar. Might there be a genre for this yet? I’m not doing the Vapor-thing here (and yeah, there’s an earlier BOTR tape, so what?), but at the same time I want to say that the way Dolphin Tears goes about it is called… something. And why? It shouldn’t matter. It’s because I want more of it, whatever it is that these guys do. What it does smells good. It clears the sinuses, rids the pores of microscopic debris, all with the steam of a synth-salve. Harmonic consonance made for maximum soul-resonance, texture-matched melodies scrubbing the insides of your mind and a sunken groove to keep your body conscious and Dolphin Tears strangely within the realm of pop. Here’s a thought: you’re thinking too hard. Just relax.

Links: Dolphin Tears - Lillerne Tapes

Moth Cock


[CS; Hausu Mountain]

Glad I snuck this one in at the last minute, as it didn’t deserve to die with 2012. Moth Cock… nice. I thought Bremmy might be a euphemism for Bremerton, Wash., but I don’t want to be presumptuous. Still, I presume that. What a tape though, folks. All buzzin’ flies and digital capillaries oozing blood-red through the prism of 1990s noise, with an extra helping of lazer. The word ‘busy’ comes to mind, and this time it might even be too much. While it’s a lot of fun ‘getting there,’ once the reality of 15 or so instruments/effects/etc. hits you it’s disorienting and, after admittedly more than a few minutes, off-putting. I don’t know, maybe the kids have finally caught up with me. I feel dehydrated and irritated, like Kevin Bacon in Stir of Echoes. There’s no sign of let-up, either. Plenty of fight in these dudes, and I salute them for it. Give me hell, purveyors of hand-crafted trips.

Links: Moth Cock - Hausu Mountain

Mike Adams at His Honest Weight

Not No More

[7-inch Flexi; Joyful Noise]

Mike Adams is a nice guy. I mean really nice–and though I haven’t had the pleasure to face him like a man and shake his hand, there’s plenty of cut-outs and articles speaking to his philanthropic endeavors. Sadly, there’s not enough speaking praise of his musical endeavors (of which some are tied to his volunteerism, etc.). So let’s remedy that. Looks like Joyful Noise had the same thought, embracing their fellow Hoosier (much like St. Ives and Flannelgraph have). “Not So Much” is one slow roll of summery pop–this flexi series as a means of giving turntables a shot of hooch. But “Not So Much” is a good buzz, not a alcoholic downer. It’s for those days of mid-afternoon beer with friends on a patio or outside your favorite outdoor bar. It’s for casual conversations that turn to raucous laughter after two beers and a plate of wings has been had. Yes, there’s still a slice of Americana to have, whether imbibed in mason jars or shared via clear plastic wonders.

Links: Mike Adams at His Honest Weight - Joyful Noise



[CS; Land of Decay]

You think you’re in for a nice drift, then Gates pull a cloak over your eyes and toss you out into space, and it’s a lot noisier than you’d expect, particularly when, somewhere in the background, a band starts shredding, and maybe even blast-beating. And so begins Eintraum, a post-black-metal haze that has to be heard to be believed. I remember school was canceled in Post Falls, Idaho, one year due to icy winds. As a kid, hell, you’re still thinking, “Why not head outside?” but when you do, you’re confronted by a blast of paralyzing cold that felt like this tape sounds. It’s so intense the senses can barely handle it; this is the music of the future. So glad to hear Gates endeavor to strive for a sound less defined by gray, flat landscapes than skulls being crushed into powder by a twisted-metal thundertruck, though Eintraum has its moments of drone reflection, however brief. Lean into this one; it’ll kill you back.

Links: Gates - Land of Decay



[7-inch; Fedora Corpse]

Brünch? They’re in no hurry to win you over. They tread lightly through three songs on this self-titled 7-inch before letting the drapes down a little for the final act, “Atlas.” Quite a mystical trick they pull, to the point where you’ll be digging it and you don’t know why. It doesn’t shock you like so many bands/releases try to do these days, and it doesn’t reach too far in any one direction, preferring a mellow, scenic post-rock template stripped down and shortened. I guess Ulaan Khol (I miss you) are a decent comparison, if you’re into that sort of thing. The post-ist with the mostest! Coffee-colored vinyl, sheathed in recyclable materials, and supremely limited, as is eternally Fedora Corpse’s wont.

Links: Brünch - Fedora Corpse


Secretly Dead

[CS; Leaning Trees]

Despite me being kind of pissed there’s another ‘cave’ band out there (so CAVE, Nick Cave, Cavedwellers? Not enough?), Caves represent, at their best, what happens when chillwave goes incredibly RIGHT. (I know. Rarely does.) Diggin’ the melodies, sung through a toilet-paper roll, the ace guitars, and the woozy sense of place. Even when a cut begins with an unconvincing beat, once each element is locked into orbit a surprising amount of voltage is packed into Secretly Dead. So fuzzy you want to wipe the glass, but it’s best to let the fresh air slowly defog them. Jesus & Mary Chain>Crocodiles>??? … Nice to hear this much ambition packed into a tape. I used to doubt the underground but these days quality work like this tends to get noticed, or at least proliferated. You just got the Gumshoe bump, boys!

Links: Leaning Trees

Smokey Emery

Soundtracks for Invisibility Vol. 2: You Take the High Road

[CS; Holodeck]

You know what I like about music? Of course you do, you’ve been reading Cerberus since we were a wee little column. But in case you haven’t and really because you don’t, allow me to be vain for one moment and tell you: suspense. It can come in any genre so long as something on a song, album, or video is unexpected and enthralling. It doesn’t need to be flashy and should never be telegraphed (hello dropped beats). This is why Smokey Emery is a favorite new find. Daniel Hipolito fits no mold and follows no blueprint. Though his tools are as worn from overuse as any in the experimental/noise/drone category, his duct tape and spit approach to keeping it all together provides surprise after surprise, even in the most calm of musical circumstances. Hipolito deftly maneuvers between found sounds and created moments, organically hitting the peaks and valleys of musical creation. But he never runs out of steam and always keeps you on your toes without forcefully adding a loud moment or quiet contemplation where they do not belong. He has tapped into the secrets of invisibility, only it’s his own of which he hails, not ours. Which is why I must be loud and make myself known in a review because if I can’t go unnoticed, I must BE noticed. Hipolito? He’s transcended.

Links: Smokey Emery - Holodeck

Little Wings

Made it Rain

[CS; Gnomelife]

Little Wings, aka Kyle Field, always seem to pop up in the strangest of place. I remember him passing my review desk a few times in different places, often on labels I’d never heard of (like Rad), though K is the main source. This expertly folded little tape is a gem much like a lot of the Wings’ recordings. Nothing at all fancy. Acoustic guitar, voice, and a world of possibilities is all Field brings to the table and all he needs to run it. His compositions drip of questionable tunings and pitch, so that will alienate some of you, yet it’s difficult to find music this pleasant and unassuming. It’s like, he really did write this song five minutes ago, know what I mean? Nothing like it. Do your thing, bro; don’t change.

Links: Little Wings - Gnomelife

Looks Realistic

Where Does It Come From?

[VHS + CS; Constellation Tatsu]

So I waited around to write about Looks Realistic’s incredible package because I didn’t have a VHS player. I know, I know. Insane, right? But look, ours was broken. And believe me, this has been of major concern from some time now — we’ve been really wanting to watch our copy of Overboard again. That wasn’t a joke. Anyway, our friend Karen gave us a loaner and this package was all the more enjoyable for it. The audio + video + booklet combo of Where Does it Come From? even comes with a multi-color display of floppy discs (I shit you not). Unfortunately, I can’t play whatever awesomeness is locked inside those bad boys (although I like to imagine that a copy of Cosmic Osmo is on them), so the cassette tape + VHS tape + art book is going to have to do for now, and I assure you that it does very, very well. Looks Realistic is one of many one-off projects of Bastian Void / Moss Archive analog synth mastermind Joseph Bastardo, who is here paired with Ryan Mulhall. Together, the two slow down and stretch out jumps through hyperspace, making time travel seem like a scenic tour rather than some kind of bizarre instantaneous thing. It’s hard to come away with anything tangible in terms of actual memories to be taken from the journey, other than the fact that you just went with it and it was sheer bliss. Clearly that’s not an insult here — this music, despite its possession of beautiful, sensual melodic material, is defined more by the way those melodies and concrete musical elements contribute to aural atmosphere and texture. It’s those pretty, twinkling things and how they swirl about the various vortexes the synths exist within. The style points to an early computer age future-hipness, from the font and layout to the IBM-instructional-montage soundtrack, and then all those crazy neon colors in Broken Machine Films’ flat-out brilliant visual accompaniments. Stunning collaborative work that is fully-engrossing, mesmerizing and beautiful. And that’s the best part, really, the grand scale of it all; how everything that went into Where Does it Come From? feels so exclusive and personal for all of the artists involved. The care with which this was pieced together isn’t just apparent, but instrumental in the music’s utter success. We should all love what we do this much.

Links: Looks Realistic - Constellation Tatsu

Second Family Band

Wrong Carnival, Kid

[CS; NONOTEarjerk]

Didn’t realize The Second Family Band was the result of a distended Davenport, but it makes sense. Wrong Carnival, Kid is a curious mix of Joshua Jugband 5, Black Beach-era Excepter and just about everything in between. The fulcrum on which the title track rests is guitar, however; that and a ton of dressings: tribal drums (I’ll bet they hate that descriptor; sorry), a drone machine, typical echo-age vocals, flute… You name it, they go there. The American Alvarus, if you will. “Nopus No. 23 / House Of Mirrors” is even freakier, and folkier (go figs), and, if it’s even possible, dronier. Accordion (or is that melodica? They’ll never tell), computer magic, whistling, bird chirps, blasts of steam, and effects make for an uneasy mix. Sometimes it’s best to be patient. This is ex-Dav-Po, man! Only 45 copies if the word on the street is to be believed (and it is), but there must be a few left, right (there aren’t)? Shit, man.

Links: Second Family Band - NONOTEarjerk

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.