Fallen Axe
Moments Together [CS; Calypso Hum]

Is there anything Frank Ouellette can’t do? Honestly, the rhetorical nature of such a question must be squashed at this point. As Hobo Cubes (and curator of the Hobo Cult label), a member of Velvet Chrome, Ouellette has used several noms de plume as a means to reach new musical plateaus. As Fallen Axe, Ouellette allows warped guitar passages do the talking. The results are rough — more like idea sketches that often find themselves fully realized in other Ouellette personas — but the glimpse into the creative process yields some gems bridging the spatial with the concrete. Much of Moments Together disassembles Ouellettet’s inherent pop synth sensibilities, transforming his guitar into a jackhammer. Notes are heavily plucked or barely touched, left to waft among the dust and disease. As is the case with most of his projects, there is no rival to Fallen Axe. The mechanic strums of haphazard approach yielding some new form of abstract pop art, the sort that not even Andy Warhol would have dared to create. In ugliness, we find beauty; in decomposition, we find growth. Yet another flag planted by Ouellette for the modern French [Canadian] musical revolution, one worth submitting to.

Links: Calypso Hum

Last Remaining Pinnacle / Pan Galactic Straw Boss

Last Remaining Pinnacle / Pan Galactic Straw Boss

[7-inch; Custom Made]

This easily could have slid to the back of the pile, but… it got lucky, and so did I, I suppose. Last Remaining Pinnacle: Jesus/Mary Chain guitars, a syrup container pouring over and over, a stonefaced vocalist content to be anything but the focal point, nonexistent bass; stop me if you’ve endured this one. Better than most examples of this BRMC madness on the club roster and deceptively catchy. Pan Galactic Straw Boss are a post-rock band with a busy-bee drummer and some tricky, dick-kicking climaxes that sound to be an update on the Mogwai school of closing a deal (rumble, build, CRASH-EXPLODE-CRUSH-MUSH), with young musicians determined to not just sound like the genre’s leading lights (though they mostly resemble the original model with a few spruced-/juiced-up components). Nothing that’ll have me joining the convent just yet, but if you put this next to, say, the latest Explosions In The Sky record it would hold up just fine. Split decision; later taters.

Links: Custom Made

Kon Tiki Gemini

Azure Maze

[CS; Hooker Vision]

Hooker Vision, the dream of musicians-extraordinaire Grant and Rachel Evans, has been conjuring good feelings since its launch. A whispered secret at first, the Evans’ profile of late (thanks to their joint output as Quiet Evenings and Rachel’s solo work as Motion Sickness of Time Travel) has equally given Hooker Vision its rightful place as the next great cassette label. So when Grant allowed me the honor of checking the new batch, he made sure that I noticed the Russian-based gems HV was sporting. It wasn’t hard to be drawn to Kon Tiki Gemini, largely based on the tape’s art. The minimal collage — large blue sky anchored by the ringed beauty of Neptune and a few Greek busts — seems to also speak to the work of duo Ivan Karib and Sergei Dmitriev. Stuck between space and time, Azure Maze is the sort of mindfuck that does its mind fucking gently; on the down low. The line between the classics and the cosmos is bridged by A-side thinker, “Path Curves.” The drizzling synths act as the wormhole between old and undiscovered, with percussive ticks and tocks counting off the days, weeks, and years of traveling the paranormal. The B-side is where things get nutty, with the futuristic vibe enjoying a pit stop at an Old West saloon, with a player piano adding an eerie camp to the exploration of space and sound. Whether Karib and Dmitriev are long lost Cosmonauts trying to find their constant through Azure Maze is anyone’s venture; at least we get to enjoy the strange trip with ‘em.

Links: Hooker Vision

Shit And Shine / Expensive Shit

Shit Split

[7-inch; Monofonus Press]

If I’m remembering correctly, Shit And Shine’s 12-inch on Badmaster played a lot softer — then again, it doesn’t get much harsher than their side of this burnt shish-kabob of a timeshare, “Romantic and Maybe at the Same Time.” This thing is a shard of glass stuck in flesh and getting deeper with every movement, a steady glob of tense, urgent static whose sudden shifts and high-pitched bursts will… to be honest, wake up your family (which … COOL!). Likely familiar to many as a Load band (though S&S put out most of their stuff on Riot Season), Shit live up to that torture-sound tag on Side A. Side B … well for fucking out loud, this is more like it. Expensive Shit — I hate to be so smitten but I’ll just go with it — make music that does what I like music to do these days. Very dubby, but as if dub has been broken and can’t get up. A lumbering beat, several elements spiraling and fluttering like multi-colored sparklers, general creepiness? Check, check, and check. Works on 33 and 45? Fuck you, YOU LIED TO ME.

Links: Monofonus Press

Annelies Monseré / Richard Youngs

Three: Four Split Series Vol. 3

[10-inch; Three: Four]

The name of the Volume 3 of Three: Four’s split series game is patience — the compositions of Annelies Monseré and Richard Youngs tests the limits of your stereo speakers and your desire for progression. Monseré slowly swallows the A-side with multiple interpretations of one song. “Sand” is put through the wringer, carefully etched out melodica, guitar, piano, cello, and organ. The song is manipulated not only by Monseré’s choice of instrument but also by tempo and lyrical variants. The melodica version is quick and kitsch, counterbalanced by the hauntingly beautiful guitar version that likens itself to the icy refrains of Grouper. The highlight lies in the organ version, combining the frightful melody with a dark carnival tinge, lending “Sand” features of both good and evil; the ultimate dichotomy. Youngs’ 10-minute “Be Brave, This World,” is a strange combination of Donovan’s “Hurdy Gurdy Man” and Peter Gabriel’s most experimental works. The song, despite its rather rigid backbone, remains an attention grabber in large part to the heavy tremolo that envelopes the sparse guitar and the errant lyrical afterthoughts of Youngs. Everything bleeds into one, sharp guitar vibration. The only sad thought with this particular split is how made-for-collaboration Monseré and Youngs are. Their skill set would be much better served producing 5 songs together — let’s make it happen.

Links: Three: Four

Metal Rouge

Then in Shadow

[CS; Bezoar Formations]

From issuing an LP on Emerald Cocoon to quietly putting out a CD-R on Not Not Fun a few years back, Metal Rouge know how to stay in the sub-level indie-noise news. “Then in Shadow” dispenses with story and goes straight for the gripping headline over and over. It’s Landed playing post-hardcore with John Wiese on effects. Drums are being played somewhere in the goo — they pop up like potatoes in split pea sometimes with a skronk strut, others with a more measured gallop on the ride and snare. The spazzy, seance-style vocals aren’t anything new — try a Book Of Shadows tape or a Spires That In The Sunset Rise LP — and yet I miss them now that they’re not crinkling my ears. OOP – they’re back. I think she’s hiccuping now (you can never tell with these damn things), really frothing at the mouthpiece. I suppose it’s what this din requires, small, chippy abrasions to match large, gaping maws of expansive sound. Seriously though, lady: The world’s done caved in and you’re just going to shriek? Time to bury your dead and start a new life; maybe… maybe I can help you.

Links: Bezoar Formations

Warmer Milks

“Margaret is Blind” b/w “Filthy Actor”

[7-inch; Animal Disguise]

With once prolific experimental imprint Animal Disguise Records on the slow burn for the past few years, your remission regarding its recent reemergence might be excused. But with label head Gary Beauvais (a.k.a. throb-core master Mammal) relocating to Seattle, the ADR presses have been kicked back into action and first through the ringer is this new Warmer Milks 7-inch. The two songs here have been in deep incubation since 2009, recorded shortly after the group’s syrupy 2008 triumph Soft Walks. While undoubtedly sharing a kindred spirit with its preceding song-cycle, this collection also showcase a clear step sideways from the cleanly produced Grateful Dead and Neil Young inspired singer/songwriter style of Soft Walks towards a more lo-fi, free wheelin’ power-pop that invokes contemporary groups à la Eat Skull and ADR alum Sic Alps. From the art-rock destruction of 2006’s Radish on Light to the sunny shoe-gazing folk-punk of Margaret is Blind, the Milks have been an ever-evolving group, a band who in the true American spirit were constantly forging its own new frontiers, a trait no doubt attributable to mercurial band leader Michael Turner. The record (limited to 200 copies) comes with an eye-popping line drawing by Beauvais, a guest appearance from Hair Police’s Trevor Tremaine, and might possibly be the final recordings ever released from Turner and company under the Warmer Milks moniker.

Links: Animal Disguise


Prisoners of Memory

[CS; Animal Image Search]

Innercity, hot stuff on the Belgian block, burns his wick at both ends on AIS minimal synth mantra Prisoners of Memory. Much like the jacket hints, the tape is a Spartan affair with the synthetic twinkles of keys guiding the listener on their own complicated journey. Whether the outcome breeds discovery or confusion is not in the hands of Hans Dens, but in the mind’s eye. The beauty of Prisoners of Memory (aside from the fair maiden that graces its cover) is that it allows for one to supplant Innercity’s dictation with their own. Plenty of synth jams lend themselves to tales of the cosmos, of summer reflection, or dystopian futures — PoM exists on all planes in all realities. Moments of suspense, sensuality, and intrigue dot Innercity’s composition, but it plays as a soundtrack to the images in your own mind. Fantasize about the lovely woman on the cover, dream of a Mediterranean vacation, or splash your own color upon PoM’s deceptive drab artwork — it’s the nature of Innercity’s work: to arm you with the tools necessary to enliven and enlighten your imagination.

Links: Animal Image Search



[10-inch; Minority]

Ukelele straight out of McCartney’s “Ram On”? Sure, sounds good. What’s that you say — more acoustic instruments? Well, I guess that’s alright, but where is this go-… oh, my filthy-loving god, there it is: It’s like Fahey is missing two fingers for awhile, then twinkle-twinkle fuzz-dust and vavooom, you’re watching the snow fall and cursing the curfews of the calendar and getting all introspective. Very clean, a new sensation that can fit in your pocket (as long as you don’t mind a little glitter). Side B is a more traditional, more satisfying (in this case) composition. The sample-sense of The Books is there, albeit in a much more majestic fashion. There’s something grand about these glistening echoes and sweeping, grandiose swoops from style to style. When it all comes together, you wonder why it can’t always be this way. But that’s half the fun. Order out, import fans: The Czech Republic has a record for you.

Links: Minority

Adderall Canyonly

The Ascension of Saint Diamond and the Battle of Oxtest

[CS; Field Hymns]

The last we heard from the mysterious Adderall Canyonly, he was mixed up in some heady pop. And though It was a Dark and Stoney Night was an apropos title for the menagerie of sound at play, the lack of attention span throughout the cassette lent itself more to Adderall’s namesake rather than the hazy incantations of dark and stoney. That title may have fared slightly better with Adderall’s newest collection. The latest cassette is a trip into the wormhole, down the rabbit hole, and outside the glory hole. Mixing branches of warped psychedelia, spacey drone, and rash electronic, The Ascension of Saint Diamond and the Battle of Oxtest is the realization that all your fantasies can coexist and can come true. This is finding out Narnia exists — Aslan now some amalgamation of Max Headroom dial-up technology, glitching out at the right intervals to turn lag into cool. It’s the same Blade Runner awe that injects The Ascension, as Adderall has thrown all fantasy into a blender and come out with a viscous concoction only the most thirsty of blazers could scarf down. Gone are the pop tendencies, replaced with the multi-dimensional sound of living in fantasy world. Space and time colliding and pulling apart at once — this is the genius of Adderall Canyonly. He is everywhere and nowhere; he is stoner and teetotaler; he is pop and noise. It’s all funneled through the same wardrobe, and we are all kings and queens of Fillory.

Links: Field Hymns

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.