Landing
Wave Lair [12-inch; These Are Not Records]

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve thought to myself, “Damn, this sounds like Brocade” since Landing dropped the deceivingly effective, minimal post-prog full-length in 2005. While Wave Lair doesn’t sound anything like the work I’ve heard from the now-trio in the past, it retains the subtle nuance and delicate drift I’ve always ascribed to them. The final cut, an 18-minute thumper and title track, tells the story best: It’s lonely out in the desert, and since we’re not in a hurry let’s make the best of it. Jessica Bailiff-esque vocals join in soon, and while a few of the synth trills are a bit obnoxious, the atmosphere is ripe for the melting of minds as more of those bass-y, processed beats churn underneath. Later on, as the track is petering out, droning strings and throbbing bass form the crust of an underworld excursion that yields the best results, the rhythms kicking and hitching and chugging. This one came out in December 2012 so don’t feel bad if you missed it; just rectify the situation. I’ll wait.

Links: Landing - These Are Not Records

Justice Yeldham

Popped in the Head All the Time Now

[12-inch; Feeding Tube]

You might say Justice Yeldham’s Popped in My Head All the Time Now is the prototypical Feeding Tube release, but that almost sounds limiting. Let’s just call it a good drilling, Yeldham strangling long stretches of noise like a maniacal killer. The closest connection might lay in the pedal daring of Mincemeat Or Tenspeed, though more like Excite Bike than Pole Position and with a vicious air about it, as if someone stuck a knife in an inflatable pig and threshed it around as it squealed for its life. Also, a lot of that Ultramarine stuff (Nina Morgia, etc.) has a comparable vibe. Not much of a grading curve from Side A to B. More balloon animals, wriggling ribbons of electricity, manipulations, and getting on the last of nerves, if that suits you. I find it an interesting release but it really hurts to listen to. You have to want it.

Links: Justice Yeldham - Feeding Tube

Inspector 22

Passin Time

[12-inch; Hot Releases]

Inspector 22’s little-watched full-length on Odessa a few years ago served as a serially strange update on garbage-folk that came out of nowhere and turned a lot of heads around here (here being my listening room, ‘a lot of heads’ being mine). Guess what, dipshit? He’s back and full of super-baked beans, a cluttered, cocky mix of Jagger, Moldy Peaches, Pumice, Daniel Johnston, and, first and foremost, early, rough-sounding Neutral Milk Hotel. Todd Emmert is angry, yes, but perhaps confused more than anything else. He relates it well, and when you listen to it you feel less confused yourself. This is only one of the ways we suck the souls of our heroes dry; embrace it. A lot of folks (get it?) ventured into melodica territory back when Banhart was the big fuzz, but few did so with the dignity of Inspector 22, and that’s true of most of the experiments undertaken here, riffs snapping like a beef-jerky bite. Don’t limit this edition.

Links: Hot Releases

J. Fernandez

No Luck/Fading Out

[7-inch; Lake Paradise]

The clamor toward the genius of Jon Brion has quieted just as quickly as it rose, and though Brion’s talents are no less palpable, it does seem his star has diminished with his mainstream dalliances. So there are those who search out his worthy successor. And though I would not want to put that pressure on J. Fernandez, on the strength of the two lovely pop gems encompassed on this 7-inch, his ascension to those lofty heights and weekly showcases at a smoky, mythical lounge do not seem impossible markers. A string of small releases and some solid pub are the rage no matter the talent, but that Fernandez has an array of sound and flexible ideas easily demonstrated over just two low-key songs make him a must-watch. Like, moving to Chicago and stalking him. David O. Russell and Kanye will come calling! WHY DON’T YOU RETURN MY LETTERS? I CAN SEE YOU!

Links: J. Fernandez - Lake Paradise

Jeff Mellin

Smile Like A Lemon Peel, Kiss Like A Paper Cut

[7-inch; Where It's At is Where You Are]

7 singles released via 7-inch on the 7th of participating months. It’s all too confusing. But not as confusing as this piece of pop throwback, as energetic and surprising as the only Jay Bennett & Edward Burch album. Yes, pop is not a dirty term down here though we drown it in mayo like the Dutch do french fries (so I’ve been led to believe). But this is sugary sweet happy-go-lucky bonanzas and we can’t disguise the flavor no matter the condiment. Even fish sauce can’t wash out the taste of sunshine and rainbows. But a spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down, and whatever medicine you’re on will be coated by bubblegum Motown A.M. Mmmm mmmm!

Links: Jeff Mellin - Where It's At is Where You Are

Nazi Gold

Message of Love

[LP; Super Secret]

Think they’re gonna have to change that name? Nazi Gold don’t need to worry about their sound, at least, as it’s unique and well-practiced enough to make you forget about the ineptness of the last 23 post-punk bands you’ve heard. Message of Love is infected with that strange rhythmic jumpiness, albeit on a simpler scale, that rendered Joggers and Foals such attractive possibilities for many, and the choruses are anthemic without cheapening the deal. Even when you can tell a song isn’t one of the grade-A cuts, there’s appeal. Unexpected left-turns into long, patient instrumental head-churns abound, too, so getting bored isn’t an option. Seek out “Criminal” for the best, brightest buzz, as damaging as Nazi Gold get. This song is so strong you wonder what NG could do with a little more consistency (“Breaker,” too; good shit). “Stop” has a bassline straight from that first Dears EP, a slow grind that can’t help but work, though it won’t exactly cause you to jump out of your seat. Same with “River”: real pleasant and all in a A Place To Bury Strangers way, but not quite kick-ass. Still, rock that can’t stop, won’t stop is usually a winning proposition, and Message of Love is exactly that.

Links: Nazi Gold - Super Secret

Superstorms

Superstorms

[LP; Experimedia]

Superstorms’ self-titled LP is juicy and ripe, electric like empty fields at night with the wind rustling through and occasionally very quick to unchain itself from the shackles of dronedom. Side A gets jumped in rough and random, as if the composition had been playing all along before you even laid the needle down. Scratch-y drift bolstered by train-on-track rumbles, and there seems to be an undercurrent of synth buzzing around underneath it all, like lifting a rock and seeing an insect orgy scatter around. Later, xylophone makes a surreal appearance, as do other, more subtle accoutrement. That’s just a set-up; in a minute the music is throbbing, getting so loud you may have to adjust the volume (if you want to miss the whole point). It’s tough to feel sober listening to this. Side B is even better, cloaked in dread yet eventually sparkling like a fine jewel glinting in underwater sunlight (hey if there’s moonlight there’s gotta be sunlight). Superstorms, nee Mike Tolan, truly master the art of the extended, pitch-bent-to-hell drone here, delivering edgy, prog-fried enlightenment that constantly sprays the ear with fresh mists. Later on, a slow, chiming guitar, later a bass maybe, make appearances, as if to reattach us to reality. It’s only a ruse, however. Soon, you will be airborne again. Pour some water on those rocks boys…

Links: Superstorms - Experimedia

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
  

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.