Esplendor Geométrico
1980-1981 Prehistoric Sounds - Necrosis En La Poya & More [7-inch box; Munster]

With 1980s records like this, who needs the 2000s? Esplendor Geométrico, if that is their real name, refused to punt innovation down the road for subsequent generations to deal with. They went hard, and they went heavy; cold synth explorations rarely break this much ice. Pop in Prehistoric Sounds - Necrosis En La Poya & More and you can see your breath it’s so fuckin’ frosty, and it’s all about the synths and samples pounding out brittle rhythms as menacing riff-raff — vocal grunting, shooting sub-stars, squealing keys — encircle with guns drawn. All the craziness in the world won’t justify a synth solo, however, and EG are well aware of the pitfalls of overreaching, though they break a lot of eggs on their way to making an omelet out of your splayed brain matter, at times going right over the top and back again. A lot of bands are paying tribute to Esplendor Geométrico without knowing it, to say the least. Suicide, 39 Clocks, Wierd comps, Mike Sniper, other releases on Munster, Dark Entries; shit, I should have led with that. If echo is a god-given right, then is anger truly a gift? In the hands of these young Spanish audio-rebels, yes. Three 7-inches (red, black, clear), a booklet, a thick box, a black-eyed baby (no reason for… no reason for that), and a CD later, and you have yourself one of the best curatorial efforts of the last few years. You will wish you’d of heard this earlier.

Links: Munster

John Wesley Coleman III / Gary Stewart

“Oh Woman” b/w “Ramona”

[7-inch; Sophomore Lounge]

Clever stories of happenstance and craftsmanship drive this “underground” world in which we live. Take the case of “Oh Woman,” the A-side penned by John Wesley Coleman III. Inspired by B-side “Ramona,” written and released in 1988 by Gary Stewart, Coleman III and Sophomore Lounge amazingly worked out a deal to include the original on this 7-inch. For many, it will be their first encounter with either artist, but it’s likely they’ll be equally entranced by Ramona, the beautiful bride captured on the insert. “Oh Woman” finds Coleman III doing his best Richard Swift (unkempt hair and all), tuning into the 70s AM dial to channel Jackson Brown and Warren Zevon with a bit of modern attitude. Nuthin’ but a stomping melody and a fun pop song to neck to. “Oh Woman” owes much to Stewart’s “Ramona,” a bit more country and Brown than Coleman III’s melodic interpretation. It is a product of the era of over-production. Stewart’s long song confessing that he loves Ramona as his own is effective no matter the decade, but Coleman III’s lo-fi reinvention has more heartache. It’s not the glossy pop song that landed Stewart his pick of fans; Coleman III’s love is distant and unrequited. It’s bedroom despair dissected from the thoughts of someone who can paint a pretty picture from a terrible mess.

Links: Sophomore Lounge



[CS; NNA Tapes]

This is what exists. Or, no, it don’t exist. Yes it does. It’s just like you and me talking right now. We’re talking? Inside and out. But where does it begin? Slowly. Slow as a drip in sunshine. What’s that ticking? Follow it closely, for this ticking doesn’t really happen. It’s something I’m thinking of? No, it’s a way of life. Is that you talking aloud? No, but let it go. Let it go? I ain’t holding on to it. Based freestyle? Not this, no. This is more of less. It’s all around what you’re into letting go. And not the notion of emotion, but more of a molecular ordeal. The freer you are, the more you’ll excrete and envelop. As if in an envelope? Sure, like absorbing an envelope, but not exactly. Then how? It’s projected into matter we can’t see. What matters? That you belong and never dwell; be on Earth, don’t fully absorb yourself with it. Reeling? Maybe. Maybe it’s like reeling Discrepancies through your GOLDYiP GP-500 and Richie’s cell phone signal fucking it up as he walks past. Nahh, I don’t listen to cassette tapes no more. That’s okay, just listen to this one and you should be good for an evolving dance party at the local grocery with the fellahs dancing in the isle and lights flickering, the noise of the fridges inside the beat but also around your ears and swallowing your psyche whole. Really?! Not really. But reely.

Links: PHORK - NNA Tapes


No Honour

[7-inch; King of the Monsters]

Venowl’s No Honour 7-inch is just the sort of mangled, self-defacing black-metal maelstrom many of us want at the moment; no shame in delivering the experimentalism commonly promised but rarely brought to fruition. I could rip through 100 7-inches like this and never get bored. Lo-fi twice over, too, probably recorded by a boombox. Much of Side B (a re-imagining of the A-side that’s much heavier, provided by Iron Forest) consists of random drum-flailing and flagrant scene-setting, with a payoff breaking the tension every so often. True dedication to rank, slumlord-level metal serves Venowl well, as does the gray vinyl. From the label that brought you that glow-in-the-dark Servile Sect LP.

Links: Venowl - King of the Monsters

Halasan Bazar

How to Be Ever Happy

[CS; Moon Glyph]

We find out much about American culture when it’s placed in the hands of non-Americans. Thanks to the internet and an infinite flow of data, we’ve now discovered that American-made items provide a solid foundation that can only be dismantled and reassembled stronger and better than it ever was. Don’t you think Hendrix would lose his shit if he heard Group Doueh or BLK JKS? I’m sure acid casualties of the 1960s will be bouncing from sanitarium wall to sanitarium wall when they hear Copenhagen’s Halasan Bazar. It’s a radiant blast from the past that has taken 50 years to traverse time and space. Euro chic is always in style, and this time the electric croon of Fredrik Rollum Eckhoff and casual cool of Halasan Bazar remind us that the motherland does it better, even if we built it first. But How to Be Ever Happy doesn’t tramp down catwalks with couture expense (though it does sashay with confidence, despite its ennui), rather being the product of the neighborhood you wish you were cool enough to find when you backpacked Denmark. You heard American music spilling from the Korova Milk Bar and paid no attention, ignorant that it wasn’t the claptrap you’ve become accustomed to but rather an organic reinvention of the old, tired formula. You missed out on Halasan Bazar, so don’t do it again.

Links: Halasan Bazar - Moon Glyph

Shattered Hymen / Hate Basement / Hadals / Fantasy Island


[CS; Tapes of a Neon God]

Shattered Hymen (jesus-lord jesus) start this filthy four-way split with a blast of jackal-noise that shrieks into the room then explodes like florescent bubbles, a screaming male doubtlessly drowning somewhere in the sonic abyss — though it’s tough to tell exactly what’s happening when a sun-baked, sharpened screwdriver is being jammed into your temples. Wizards should know better. Up next: Hate Basement, much angrier than their sister band Love Attic (oh HAR-dee-FUCKIN’-HAR, I know), ride a wave of core meltdowns into the sky and back, their multi-speaker attack offering more of a multi-layered experience than I usually expect from a tape-ist — that is, before a bulbous throb takes over the set. Do I even need to spell out the rest for you? Hadals play a disturbing, enthralling game of drone-Ouija and summon all manner of dead spirits with their futuristic sound-whippets (perhaps taking the tape), while Fantasy Island, waiting in the wings all this time, banish the listener to a dungeon for noise torture along the lines of Gnarled Forest at a motor speedway. Zum.

Links: Tapes of a Neon God

Fungal Abyss

Bardo Abgrund Temple

[CS; Translinguistic Other]

There’s nothing unintentional by the name of Fungal Abyss’ latest. This is a psychedelic burner shot from the devil’s trident into small-club hellholes to rock a nation in need of musical acid. Swirls of heavy colors slowly drown in mud and blood. Take the brown acid; wash it down with a handful of dug-up mushroom, multiple swigs of rum, and OJ; and gargle that shit to get the taste all over your mouth. Then just sit back and let the music do the rest. There are four long-burns and you have nowhere else to be, not when you enter this plane. “Arc of the Covenant” is straight Pond and Comets; “Year of the Bones” is Dead Jefferson Hendrix slowly conjuring flames to burn down the tie-dye shack. You’ll be homeless before you even know the place is ablaze. These four jams need a lot of kindling, but when they start burning, the heat is intense. It’s a whole new world; time to set adrift in the world of Fungal Abyss.

Links: Fungal Abyss - Translinguistic Other

Slug Guts

Stranglin’ You Too

[7-inch; HoZac]

The title track of Slug Guts’ latest 7-incher starts innocently enough; then the vocals come in and holy Jaggercise-from-hell, these boys have a secret weapon on their hands, coughed up from the bowels of a red hell no one wants to imagine. Iggy Pop, lizard-tongue sliced in half ‘n’ drunk, fronting Pat Smear + Epic Soundtracks + Notekillers, coupled with the Puffy Areolas’ saxophonist, circa 1982. Not trying to oversell you on this one, but LORDY B’GORDY, THIS LAD IS A DEMON on the mic. How can I NOT throw my support behind this one? Kids waiting for the next Smith Westerns album should stop by the Slug Guts ranch and get their fuckin’ gizzards ripped out and splayed across the side of the barn by these four cutz. This wild 7-inch wears its sunglasses indoors, if you know what I mean. (And you do.)

Links: Slug Guts - HoZac

LA Vampires By Octo Octa

Freedom 2K

[12-inch; 100% Silk]

I’m astonished by how familiar “His Love” sounds as this blast-back to 90s house begins. Wait, is this some strange appropriation of Rusted Root’s “Send Me On My Way”? A likely coincidence, but obvious nonetheless. The world has finally bridged apathetic hippy drivel with repetitive dance and turned out a winner. It’s the formula behind Freedom 2K, a mini-marathon of House of Style background rhythms without the sexy mole of Cindy Crawford or the odd homebody tips of Todd Oldham. Ah, how times flies, moves forward, and then steps back. The new dance-tastic version of Amanda Brown is austere, almost untouchable like the supermodel show evoked by this 12-inch. It’s a strange transformation from Pocahaunted’s contemplation to LA Vampires’ ritz, but it’s one that seems rather apropos as the divide grows. Now if you’ll excuse me, I have a catwalk to dominate. Youknowwhatheysaybouttheyoung.

Links: 100% Silk

Test House


[12-inch; All Hands Electric]

I remember hearing Supersystem for the first time and, along with missing El Guapo, thinking, “Damn, it’s like it’s the 1980s again, and everyone’s invited!” That was nothing — groups like Test House (and King God, who were much more grandiose about things) pull all the levers on the time machine. Liquid beats, pan-flute synths, “rhythmatronics” (a.k.a. tightly wound, robotic bass rhythms), and the sort of vocals that, if they were being subtitled, would glow florescent. Very fluid arrangements, too; there’s a certain urgency about these guys. They mean it, and that always means something. Bitemarks is about as engrossing as post-coldwave colorwheels get, especially “Cold Void Jiggle” and its lumps of playdough synths that, true to their title, wiggle like jelly. I like squishing them between my ear-fingers. “Island” might be the one track that doesn’t compute, its flat-footed figures doing little to help Test House’s argument, even if its endless coda is well executed. Just a hitch in the road. Seek and crank.

Links: All Hands Electric

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.