Lunar Miasma
Existence [CS; Hooker Vision]

There’s a film out in various parts of the world at the moment titled Apollo 18, which shows the horrors of a fictional space expedition from NASA gone horribly wrong. The idea of space as a horrid and ill-begotten spectacle is all too familiar in Western storytelling, and though Athens, Greece’s Lunar Miasma hints at some of that moon fever in name, the long-running project of Panos Alexiadis seeks a musical independence based in the stars, not some bloodthirsty need to prey on explorers of the cosmos. Existence does have a bit of madness to it, from the tense synth to warped speed changes. But somehow there is a welcome disconnect between space and horror; perhaps it’s the subtlety with which Alexiadis operates. Existence is often hush, serene. It chooses its moments and takes advantage of them, leaving much of the tape to be a reflective — meditative — experience. When the last click of the B-side pops, you’ll wonder just how many epiphanies were had… and why you’re so drawn to watching reruns of Carl Sagan and Jack Horkheimer.

Links: Hooker Vision

Silvia Kastel

Love Tape

[CS; Ultramarine]

If you liked that album Avey Tare did with Kría Brekkan, consider Silvia Kastel’s “Love Tape” a continuation of the eery, blurry-edged confines of one of the most controversial indie-rock records of all time. But it’s so much more. Much like that Prudence Teacup LP I Cerb’d up but-good last year, Kastel’s brand of lovin’ is distinct enough to exist on its own level, in its own zone, with its own rules and regulations. Every “song” blows in a completely disparate direction, and you never know what’s going to happen. One minute you could be chugging a bottle of liquid audio in a park as mosquitos suck out your essence and a one-man drum circle flips out hand-jamz out back, the next you could be asleep in the bathtub while an odd woman coos into your damp soul. Then it all dribbles down the drain and all we’re left with is that GODDAMN hand-drum, the title screen of Dig Dug, and a half-smoked bowl of salvia.

Links: Ultramarine

Sonny & the Sandwitches

Sonny & the Sandwitches

[7-inch; Empty Cellar]

There’s a whole (attempted?) mythology behind the use of all the crazy band names on recent Sonny Smith records (a 7-inch boxset I saw around a few times had dozens of aliases and mock-ups) that I don’t know much about, but Mr. Smith himself rarely disappoints despite the fact that he’s bereft of a hook. He doesn’t have any distinct traits the listener can latch onto, and that’s the point — you have to listen to the songs and lyrics to break through. What a country!? These aren’t the best ditties I’ve heard Smith gently blast to wax — that Future Stress single hit me harder. Just good tunes, tight melodies, road-trip guitar interludes, and postcard lyrics. Just what I reckon ‘lot a’ you folks want, no? Not exactly what Gumshoe is groovin’ to these days, and yet I respect what Smith is trying to do, so godspeed and all that, chief.

Links: Empty Cellar

Derek Rogers

Informal Mediation

[CS; No Kings]

The price of admission is worth it alone for the first side “Live at Emo’s, Austin, TX 2010.09.30,” which, for 30 minutes, might be the drone of the year. The jagged electronic pulsations of the track’s nascent moments quickly disintegrate into a soothing burner, during which said synth meanders atop a comforting organ. Much of my spring past was spent listening to this track; it had a knack for constantly reassuring me when I felt out of place, or surrounded by bothersome individuals (e.g. when, on Duke’s campus, some fraternity pledge almost floored me as he and his brothers were recreating Mario Kart).

Links: No Kings

Norse Horse

Grids

[CS; Family Time]

When a tape jumps out from the speakers and grabs one’s nutz, that’s a good thing. Norse Horse, whose split with Ancient Crux recently got a goose from Gumshoe, certainly never sounded like a tape-trader band to me, and here they’re even tighter/sharper/fitter/happier, with a recording that pleases the ear without kissing its ass too hard. Music such as this — drums, synths, bass, vox — can’t get by without spot-on melodies/harmonies, and “Grids” is beefy with both, though the tangy nature of the instrumentation is even more impressive. The way the songs dissolve into themselves reminds me of that first Shins album (which I will never get over), and much like that French Quarter record I can’t seem to get reviewed (sorry Sammy), it’s hard to believe how easy Nor-Hor make it sound. Almost terribly tuneful and aware of the right times to pull back and/or blast some oak doors open with knee-first ninja kicks. Limited to you, me, and the water cooler, if you know what I mean.

Links: Family Time

William Cody Watson

Her Tusk Was Adorned with Rose Petals

[CS; Bathetic]

It’s not a complete Cerberus cycle without at least one quarterly mention of William Cody Watson — this time forgoing his nom de plumes (Gremlynz, Pink Priest) in favor of baring his sleepless soul. Her Tusk Was Adorned with Rose Pedals plays as lovely and as gory as the title implies; both sadistic and beautiful in its presentation as it unfurls before us as if in a trance. Watson’s listless musical soul has long mined droning melodies for spiritual awakening; with Her Tusk, he adds piercing electronics and dark tones. This is the work of a man who, disrobed of his monikers, is still putting up a wall between himself and the listener. Whatever personality quirks have led to this more dangerous Watson are unknown, but we’re better off for it. This is his “Chariots of Fire” actually ablaze; all the dreams he’s kept tucked under his pillow shredded, then coiled to make tape. When play is pressed, you too will succumb to Watson’s confessional tone. No words, just mood. At times uplifting but mostly a wobbled and fragile piece of art, Her Tusk’s blend of stripped electronics, buzzing drone, and methodical synth speaks to a Sandman that will never come; to a world not worth the effort to dream again.

Links: Bathetic

When Dinosaurs Ruled The Earth

Peaced

[12-inch; Black Labs/Monofonus Press]

I swear I remember When Dinosaurs Ruled The Earth being anything but, shall we say, Kind circa their most recent full-length, and… it’s obvious I’m going to need to revisit a lot of shit because WDRTE are fuggin’ AWEsome, on par with Gay Beast, Mikaela’s Fiend, Daniel Striped Tiger, pre-facelift Abe Vigoda, and any other group in the modern indie mid-skronk zone. There’s also some nice slowdown; listening to parts of “Peaced” after hearing Jerusalem and any early Sabbath record is like passing a jolt-heavy joint from generation to generation, with Dinosaurs’ version of the lumbering beast actually being a secondary attraction, of course. Dominant are the scars of noise-rock shock-shuckers like Shearing Pinx, Arab On Radar, AIDS Wolf, and Erase Errata (lock those bands in a room together, by the way, and… I’ve said too much), and the production is treble-blessed and absolutely awful, so… more points for them! A limited-edish adventure that’s still available, so don’t drag those hairy, balls-looking knuckles of yours.

Links: Black Labs/Monofonus Press

Dead Wife / Hunters

Dead Wife/Hunters

[7-inch; Swill Children]

Hunters are out of control then suddenly cool, calm, and collected, then out of control again. They pin The Je Ne Sais Quoi’s beating soul to the lapel of Hot Snakes and that pretty much solves the riddle right away: the new fuzz-meets-oi generation has another nice patch on its jack-it. Dead Wife are even better if you’re looking for a more punk-shot-in-the-teeth kinda time. Scared/scary vocals that wriggle from the speakers like alien worms, trebly guitars/drums and a metric ton of punk attitude; all it takes, really. In the time it takes to smoke a cig DW have spit out three wads of scrappy, loose-high-hat joy, and then you’re left to set the needle back OVER and OVER just to get that rush again. Not quite as heavy as that Kyklooppien Sukupuutto 7-inch from last issue and not as din-damaged as labelmates Okie Dokie; more of a straight-ahead ride, and that’s okay. Swill-Chil, kings of the hit-split.

Links: Swill Children

Horse Marriage

“Pee-Chee” / “I Need to Tell You…” b/w “Lay Your Hands on Me”

[7-inch; Avant Archive]

By Jove, those damn Yanks are at it again. Raising their raucous and being a general menace to society — what with their Christian Republicans and comedians-as-politicos. And what’s with their music? They’ve gone through styles so often that it’s a wonder they haven’t adopted recycling more readily considering all the borrowed nostalgia that fills their noggins. But I say, what ‘ave we here!? Those damned boys from Horse Marriage! Those boys run the wonderful Roll Over Rover label and they’ve gone and made and released a 7-inch, featuring the old time rocker “Pee-Chee” from the jolly Eisenhower Interstate? Pee-Chee,” with its classic jangly guitars and open road charge while we’re all stuck on A1 — it’s quite a fist to the ol’ knocker. At least they rekindle their ‘experimental’ hearts with “I Need to Tell You,” a mello-yello’d collage of answering machine messages and subtle guitar strums that ease into a hypnotic drone. Then they go and muck it up with the slacker anthem, “Lay Your Hands on Me.” Who do they think they are, trying to blend alternative rock with Bay Area cool? I guess we’ll just never understand those beer-swilling, Palin-loving, Puritanical ‘Mericans. Now pass me the spotted dick.

Links: Avant Archive

The Sandwitches

Duck Duck Goose

[one-sided 12-inch; Empty Cellar]

The Sandwitches are in the right place at the right time… if they were a garage-psych band. As it stands, they are a beat apart from many of their counterparts, standing strong as a folk act with trippy tendencies that are by no means played to the hilt. Except in the in-between-song skits, which feature, apparently, ACTUAL duck-duck-goose audio and tantra-video wave sweeps and sonic whirls. Did I mention Cat Power? Yep, gotta be said, as an influence. The Fresh & Onlys? Yep, should be mentioned because of certain connections I’ll let you flesh out for yourself. But remember, this is gentle, morose music with a meek-sad combo tough to resist no matter which genre(s) you call home. Surprisingly full for a one-sided LP, too; it lasts. Liz Janes, Neko Case, Devendra Banhart, Yo La Tengo, Brightblack Morning Light (it’s been too long since I thought of them)… feast your ears and use your imagination to fill the blank Side B. 500 copies to buy, yourself.

Links: Empty Cellar
  

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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.