Dream Worlds
Cold Black Ragas for Love of All Forms [3-inch; Kimberly Dawn]

As someone who uses a lot of words endlessly to describe sound for people who like to read such things, Dylan Simon has undercut me with the title of his latest. Cold Black Ragas for Love of All Forms gets to the heart of the matter. The two compositions are Middle Eastern-influenced, using but a vintage EML 101, hurdy gurdy, and farfisa. The vibe, again, is captured in the title. It’s a bleak, blustery world wherein meditation is to keep warm amid a barren world. It’s the quiet after the mushroom cloud, Simon contemplating the ends of the earth after they have been obliterated by a world too corrupt and fanatical to see what it’s doing to itself. But in this center–this eye of the mystical storm–there is hope despite the shroud. For in this dreary future, there is the rebirth of love. IT’S THERE IN THE TITLE! Dream Worlds may seem desolate but repeated listens find an enriching balance between zen drones and chilly isolation. Only in our center can we see the world for what it truly is, and sometimes it takes the most peaceful of us to slap the faces of power hungry fascists. Simon may be doing so from afar under the guise of “astral projection” but he’s really giving the finger to the plutocracy that would rather watch it burn that build it up.

Links: Kimberly Dawn

Invisible Hands

Insect Dilemma / Disallowed

[7-inch; Abduction]

Invisible Hands’ Insect Dilemma / Disallowed is one of the best cuts I’ve heard this year, and that’s after a rocky start that had me second-guessing the whole venture. What an intriguing piece of deep-indie meat, cured to taste and seasoned by the skills of Alan Bishop and a crew of castaways. As with a lot of Bishop’s post-Sun City Girls work (such as Alvarius B, the womb from which the A-side here originally sluiced; these are more orchestrated versions, I’m being told), I’m surprised by how unrestrained these sessions are, as if being anointed one of the torch-bearers of the underground has absolutely no effect on him. The song for which this 7-inch is named is all about guitar and deep mood magic. So fresh, yet there’s nothing foreign about it. Slow, plodding tempos and Egyptian mystique that transcends mere influence. B-sider “Lili Twil” is a Moroccan folk-song cover fronted by Aya Hemeda, another blinding-bright stab at a purity most can only dream of. I’m finding out this release is a Record Store Day joint, so get ready to want it and maybe not find it.

Links: Invisible Hands - Abduction

Ex Con

Ex Con

[7-inch; Bon Voyage]

I miss the days of drugs and booze inching into lower class noise. The sound of people sleeping on sticky floors, pub crawling for a cigarette butt and day old dumpster dives. This is the world of Ex Con–three songs of wino wails from Joanna Nilson surround her in musical desperation. And that’s just “Cuda ‘82,” though the other two tracks fail to deviate from the same urgency. And for that, we should hail Ex Con as the fifth coming of brash trash. A band that is figuring out how to play as it tours the dirty circuit for bacchanal pleasure. Glory holes and acid washed glory all unfurled on life’s stage. Cozy up to Ex Con like your empty gin bottle. Hold it tight. Never let it go.

Links: Bon Voyage

The Movies

In One Era, Out the Other

[CS; Spring Break Tapes]

JSpice dropped the hammer in our super-secret Cerberus message group the other day. “NO MORE 2012 reviews,” says he, King Editor. Good thing this album came out in 2003, HA! No, but seriously, tape reissues? I’m incredibly into it, especially since a band like The Movies feels so integral to tape culture with the way things are going these days. This is a real indie rock band type of deal here; we have a guitar, a bass, some drums, keyboards, and a vocalist. A band, guys… is it me, or are there just not that many of them these days? Is that a cliché thing to say? At least it’s a nice respite from the typically weird ambient, drone, or noise stuff I have been covering. So I’m very intrigued and elated to be hearing a real quartet on a cassette, especially since they’re so on point, musically speaking. Riffs are locked in, rhythm is deep in the pocket, dynamic, a wide range of tempos… just a talented and versatile group. Many of the tunes on In One Era, Out the Other have a very smooth driving groove to them, definitely reminding me of a lot of my favorite stuff by the Sea & Cake (circa Nassau, say). The vocals are really what sets things apart. This guy Timothy James, who seems super collected at times and at others totally unhinged like the way Sam Herrington can get, barking and gnashing his syllables in the peppier numbers while dead-pan-crooning his way through some deeply emotional lyrics for the ballads. Of course, it’s dangerous to compare The Movies to Future Islands seeing as how this album happened a good three years prior to the formation of said mentioned comparators. But if it gives you some kind of a listening reference point, then so be it. Either way, anyone who digs tunefulness, tight playing, playful arrangements, energy, and additionally, if anyone would like to see some boobs and male nipples inside the tape’s booklet, they might want to seek this one out for themselves.

Links: Spring Break Tapes

Lichen Gumbo

Zoom Zoom Ohm Umpha

[CS; Full of Nothing]

Lichen Gumbo, out to save the lo-fi world, one quirky melody at a time. Old Ariel Pink sounds like Siamese Dream compared to Zoom Zoom Ohm Umpha, and I’m not fucking with you here; wear your coal-miner helmet and shit, brotha. What I can hear, however, is tight and catchier than Dwight Clark, just the brand of guitar pop that feels good right now. A thimble-full of Bobby Trimble, a dash of Unicorns, and E6 will never die, apparently? This is like the next-level answer to the super-crusty Olivia Tremor Control stuff, with a weird Deerhunter twist when the bass choo-choo’s along and the voices crowd the mix. I want more indie-rock like this in my ear; let them sort out the mix later. The post-psych-era-Bee Gees album name is a definite plus, too.

Links: Full of Nothing

Moloch / Closure

split

[7-inch; King of the Monsters / Feast of Tentacles]

Ever since I finally heard those thunder-fucking Hell records (I and II) I’ve realized how little Boris really did to further the mission of the band whose album they were named after; there’s so much more work to do, and while Moloch would not be categorized directly with Melvins or Hell, there’s that slow, mud-thirsty grind in the guitars that charts a similar path through the guts of its enemies. It’s like I was telling my wife the other night, at 4 a.m.: You can’t listen to this stuff unless it’s fucking loud; I’m not going to make sacrifices, and you shouldn’t either, so have your woofers ready. Like Doom Snake Cult’s slow-grinds amped up a few notches, with a singer from the Anselmo school of hard knocks. Closure won’t let you have it because you’ve experienced too much. When they jump into their devilish, Tony Danza TDE, double-blast-beat phase it feels like the world is going to crack open like an egg and spill its yolk onto our melting faces; when they break it down it feels more old-school like maybe Morgoth or Entombed are forging steel in the depths of Mount Doom. Jesus I’m pretty fucking in awe of what these guys can do. Total sonic carnage with no limit to how fast or slow they can go, and packing four songs to one side of a 7-inch is sooo power-violence. Maybe it’s time we acknowledged that never went away, at least in the hearts of the extreme.

Links: Moloch / Closure - King of the Monsters / Feast of Tentacles

Loren Connors / Chris Forsyth

Contrasts

[CS; Preservation]

Is there even a reason to write this review? It seems if you’re not on board with legend Loren Connors and emerging legend Chris Forsyth, I don’t have the time for you. You’re likely a flamingo with your head in the pop culture sands and though there’s always time to glare at a Kardashian or hug a Bieber, there’s equal time to expand your horizons. Connor’s side to this marvelous split is as supple as Kim’s ass and as crazed as the aging pop star. It’s bending strings of light reflect gammas of spatial echo across the quiet desert night. Considering this is a Preservation list, the case could be made for Connors channeling the vast Outback; the unencumber, pulsating wind slowly eroding the majestic wonders of the inland. Forsyth engages in Connors timbre, playing with space and timing, creating a stronger rhythm but one more in tune to the nightlife of the coastal cities. Where Connors is the nighttime (and when he is never?), Forsyth is the day. Beyond the obvious pairing of guys with guitars at opposite ends of the enlightened spectrum (this is a series titled Contrasts after all), it’s a matter of kismet souls cosmically linking their own brands into a complete story. Tabloids divide and conquer; Connors and Forsyth unite and defend. We will not be victims to vanity, but victors on the battlefield of imagination and fulfillment. Get your head of the out the sand and see what lives above it.

Links: Preservation

Les Cousins Dangereux

Jacks

[CS; They Live We Sleep]

This project is named after a fake movie from TV’s “Arrested Development,” and the song titles, and also the title of this tape, Jacks, are all “Twin Peaks” references. I guess I just thought I should make sure everyone realized that, although I’m not exactly sure how the information relates to the music of Les Cousins Dangereux, which is… well, it’s a bit hard to define. In fact, there’s no real definite genre for what’s going on here. They Live We Sleep calls it “ambient-electronic,” and for as broad a descriptor as that is, I guess Jacks fits in there somewhere. The label also attributes the “Twin Peaks” references to “the duality of LCD’s procedure and final product. The dread of a nightmare you will never awaken from, and the serenity of Love Theme.” Yeah, that’ll work for now.

A couple of elements we can examine at the very least: beats ‘n’ synths. Lots of both of those things are to be found on the tape, although more of the former on side A, and the latter on side B. And each occupies a space on the crunchier end of the sonic spectrum with the synths often sounding like they’re ripping their way through a paper barrier to get through to your ears, while the bass seems like it’s vibrating the paper cones of a hundred torn woofers. Underneath it all is something hot and volcanic that gives the entire tape an air of nervous tension… like the whole damn thing could boil over at any minute. But it never does — Jacks remains wound tight to its center, totally indebted to either the groove or the atmosphere. And the groove stomps and the atmosphere floats, and altogether it’s really quite the lovely excursion. Les Cousins Dangereux, despite having created something that’s pretty hard to pin down, manages to tickle those basic listening pleasure centers anyway, all the while being insatiably mysterious.

Links: Les Cousins Dangereux - They Live We Sleep

Luca Sigurtà / Panicsville

split

[One-sided 12-inch; Kinky Gabber]

As big a fan as I am of Andy Ortmann’s Panicsville projects, Luca Sigurta comports himself equally well on this luscious one-sided 12-inch. He snarls at us through his keyboards and raves with us through his rhythms, pulled from a minimalist beatbox. The intersection between noise and darkwave could easily be plopped down right here. It takes guts to tangle with the devil, and Sigurta is up to the task. So what does Ortmann do? He smacks that motherfuckin’ bitch up. Within “Paura Nella Città Dei Morti Viventi” I hear a woman screaming and a killer calmly plotting his getaway then droning his car down a black highway. Soon, it’s all twisted metal and corroded cries. Fuck, Panicsville can do no wrong. At times this is the most minimal synth-noise stuff you can imagine, sometimes barely warbling along before being picked up by a gust of wind or a faux-cheesy synth burp or maybe even a crow throwing out a coldwave CAW-CAW. Then the bottom drops out and we lurch to the finish line under the bated breath of a raging Rancor. YESSS. There are 100 copies of this and it’s somehow not sold out yet, but time is not your friend.

Links: Luca Sigurtà / Panicsville - Kinky Gabber

Dirtdrinker

Dirtdrinker

[7-inch; Black Lake]

Ooooooooh YEAUHHHH: If Unsane were heavy, Dirtdrinker are heavy+2, like Get Fucked used to be or Drunkdriver are, bass-drum and tom bombardments a constant source of adrenaline. They’ve got a sound and they stick to it over three hardcore joints, never offering a break or even a passage wherein the guitars aren’t drubbing the ears (save a quick build-up break on Side B; this one hits hard too). As with a lot of metal-related acts, it’s not about the skills, which are obviously there and exist in thousands of like-minded bands, but the manner of delivery. Do Dirtdrinker really chug soil or are they just out there fakin’ it? To me they seem pretty intense and intent, a lot more interesting than a lot of bands that have attracted more attention in the past (Knut, etc.). This self-titled 7-inch was limited to 100 and is long sold out; yeeeeaaaah.

Links: Dirtdrinker - Black Lake
  

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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.