Mole House
Hey Come My Way [7-inch; Quemada]

The picturesque forest scene on the cover of Hey Come My Way makes sense with the first jangled strums of this 7-inch’s namesake. “Hey Come My Way” is hazily yelled lyrics and repetitious chords emanating from a rustic shotgun shack, a band turning abandonment into homeliness. A-side complement “Taylor’s Mistake” is equally stoned, with a droning croak and uninspired melody becoming quaint as it marches into the light of day. “Coming Back + Coming Over” is high-end speech-song, a drunken chant above more jangle than an overcrowded charm bracelet. The canopy allows Mole House to be their sloppy selves, and the results are endearing. Stashed in a brown paper sleeve like the malt liquor downer it is, for easy sipping.

Links: Quemada

The Band In Heaven

The Band In Heaven

[7-inch; HoZac]

Yet another unexpected release from HoZizzle following that spicy-ass E.T. Habit 7-inch (if you haven’t heard that one, do so): when the music is this weird and, at times, wonderful, I tend to drop the genre game and simply sketch out what I’m hearing. Thing is… just what, the fuck, am I hearing exactly? “If You Only Knew” is a slow post-Beta Band shuffle that’s crammed to the hilt with mystical lo-fi fuzz-buzz and BJM hip. “Summer Bummer,” manning the flip, couldn’t be more different, an uptempo rocker as disaffected as Lou and as propulsive as No Means No in their prime. It almost sounds like Crystal Stilts getting punk’d. “Sludgy Dreams” is an appropriate name for this Black Angels-esque, hollowed-out vampire skull of a song. Strangely, the only cut that slips by without notice is the faceless “Sleazy Dreams,” a tune that, I’ll admit, will probably be most people’s favorite song on this four-cut frenzy. But most people are wrong — don’t forget that.

Links: The Band In Heaven - HoZac

Ttotals

Silver on Black

[10-inch; Self-Released]

Silver on Black is deep. REAL DEEP. Not only does it perfectly capture the color scheme of the duo’s latest 10-inch, it swallows an entire sound in its viscous lacquer of psychedelic shoegazing mud stomp. “Special A” is a slow roller, the child of Jim Morrison and Bardo Pond wallowing in amniotic stasis. Clad in tight black leather against a rainbow background, it’s the soundtrack to every clichéd acid trip without pitiful Dead references. It strikes a balance between fragility and fear, no tablet on the tongue required. The 10-inch’s surprise comes in “Flowers Follow,” a Liverpudlian ode to the dark arts of black clothes and Joy Division sorrow. But Ttotals aren’t wrist cutters, their world vivid without white and red blood cells spilling out of porcelain flesh. Silver on Black is too bright a star to need drugs and violence to gain attention. You shouldn’t stare too hard or for too long, but you just… can’t… help… it.

Links: Ttotals

Vocoder

Cuadro Sinóptico

[12-inch; Dark Entries]

How could you have come of age in the 1980s and not done cocaine? So much of the dancier music of the decade sounds like a lingering after-effect of disco, all jittery and rearing to go. Club-going noseholes containing more man-made tunnels than Củ Chi. Vocoder’s Cuadro Sinóptico 12-inch is, more than anything, a fuck-load of uptempo fun and a much better party-starter than most of the rote modern dance ensembles inexplicably being signed by labels that most definitely know better. This is the antidote to coldwave, if you’re looking for one (though I will admit I prefer a sharper edge if I’m going to let a band fueled by booster-shot beats and drippy-cheese Goonies synths into my abode). Calling Cuadro Sinóptico a “maxi” EP isn’t helping anything either, but man, a few of these breakdowns really bring the wood. Agree to disagree, with myself; such is life when Spanish new-wave hits the review table. (I’m out of my depth, and everyone’s invited!)

Links: Dark Entries

Mad Nanna

I Hit a Wall

[7-inch; Quemada]

I Hit a Wall is a long drag off an unfiltered cigarette. The billowing smoke chokes the lungs, locks them into breathlessness. The momentary glimpse of the human body shutting down as the brain hovers to process death: that’s the bourgeoisie cool of Mad Nanna. The A-side goes through a pack as it leans against the garage wall, too cool to move due to the perfect slacker pose. It’s a lazy jam, exhaling the tar and deciding to live another dreary day in 50s hotrod heaven. The flipside jumps into the moonshiner and drives until it runs out of gas. Pretense disappears into necessity, the burning desire of Mad Nanna leaving its flat surroundings and getting lost in the middle of the desert until the band physically hits the walls, bodies flying through the stale air into infinity. Mad Nanna’s where it’s at, an era removed from being a Russ Meyer house band. We will never be as cool as we are when we’re listening to this.

Links: Mad Nanna - Quemada

Ryu Hankil / Hong Chulki / Nick Hoffman

SONNE

[12-inch; Pilgrim Talk]

Ryu Hankil, Hong Chulki, and Nick Hoffman have been up to no good. They’re hanging out in the toolshed again, running the sawblades and grinding keys until the sparks fly. Then they turn to tones and barely perceivable shades, wallowing beautifully in shadow. As we move along some of the pitches that the trio produce the human ear can’t even process. It often results in a vague tension — irritation, almost. Clanking, dinging, shuffling footsteps, tanks of helium being filled and emptied like the lungs of a crack addict. You could fry seven of Gong’s magic eggs on this record’s forehead, no problem. Just a thought. Is this too subtle for the Merzbow mongers? Yes. File SONNE next to those light-industrial noise records you got from Spring Press not too long ago (oh you didn’t get those? whoops) and those New Blockaders albums on Hanson (oh you didn’t get those? me neither) and keep them safe; keep them secret. You’ll need them someday, by-god.

Links: Pilgrim Talk

Susurrus

Susurrus

[CS; Field Hymns]

Isolated. Alone. Trapped inside my own head. The world goes on without me. I lay in this bed. Unable to move. Unable to speak. Yet I hear. I see. The buzzes of the florescent lights. The faint mechanics of the elevator. The rush of stale air that races past my ears when moved to a new room. The hum of my machines. My shallow breath. It reminds me of what’s outside these doors. My old life. My old family. How long have I been like this? How long have I been here? I can’t remember the last visitor I had. I can’t remember the last time…That’s it. I’m breaking out. I’ve had enough. I had a life — even if it’s gone, I’ll start anew. I’ll go back home. I’ll unpack my boxes. I will dig out Susurrus’ self-titled. It will remind me of this. It will make me strong. It won’t let atrophy win. It won’t let solitude win. It won’t let death win. I’m moving my arms. I’m moving my legs. I’m unplugging these machines. I’m walking out the door. I’m passing the nurse’s station. I’m taking the elevator. It’s louder than I imagined. I’m falling to the floor. I hear the sirens. The buzz is dying down. It’s growing quiet. Alone. Isolated. At peace.

Links: Field Hymns

Shenandoah Davis

We, Camera

[CS; OFFTEMPO]

Shenandoah Davis’ piano sound strikes a match in the ear. Her ivories seem old and rustic, almost as if recorded from a bygone era, and her voice is beautiful and warbly, like a baby robin waddling to its nest. Not the standard fare for us at Cerberus, save the synths, and that’s just fine, thanks. A kindly mix of Josephine Foster, Regina Spektor, and The Finches never hurt anyone; the fact that Davis might someday “make it” in the traditional sense (and not in the dirty way) is neither here nor anywhere. Her voice is pleading, her compositions plodding but in a meaningful way. Maybe even jazzy, a bit? Yeah, things get sassy too, albeit never off-puttingly so, and that’s saying something because I even hear a glint of showtune boisterousness in there. She fares best with the direct, achingly sincere solo piano numbers, like the one that’s melting my heart right now, which is called “Hobos and Bulls” and is so pretty it draws emotion from me like Davis is siphoning tears from my ducts, but that’s not important right now. Davis is; let her in. If Zooey could sing like this, we would give a damn. Maybe.

Links: Shenandoah Davis - OFFTEMPO

Dead Rider

The Walk Slow

[7-inch; Joyful Noise]

Todd Rittmann ditches U.S. Maples for the friendly environs of Joyful Noise and new project Dead Rider. The proceeding one-song taste, “The Walk Slow,” blows U.S. Maples out of the water. Yes, it really does. It’s Leonard Cohen on valium, backed by a warped version of The Bad Seeds. It’s one band layered upon another in some weird approximation of Jupiter’s gaseous atmosphere. Ammonia clouds obscuring water cloud swirling around hydrogen and helium constructs best judged by telescopic observations over a long period of time. In other words, no one’s going to appreciate the slow rolling power of Rittmann’s Giant Red Spot until 300 years from now when it’s still a powerful shot of musical mistaken identity. This is a whole new breed of pop music, equally catchy as it works its damnedest to be the squarest piece of scientific experimentation since Pluto’s devolution to a dwarf planet. Good news for those of diminutive stature: Peter Dinklage gets a lot of head in his own fantasy world. Even if Jupiter is 10 astronomical units from the Sun, there is a place where Rittmann and “The Walk Slow” will receive its just reward. It’s as big as the gas giant but as far away from Earth normal as it gets. I still love it, so too bad if you didn’t opt into JNR’s Flexidisc series.

Links: Joyful Noise

Grandma’s Boyfriend

Grandma’s Boyfriend EP

[7-inch; Loglady]

Bad band names often belie the treasures found within, and that is most certainly the case with Grandma’s Boyfriend. A sly, svelte, economical mix of Cloud Nothings, a half-dozen HoZac platters, a quicker and less-snotty Icky Boyfriends, The Ramones/Buzzcocks, long-lost Seattle punkers The Daryls, and a million similar releases I’ve reviewed and forgotten over the years. That might not seem like a ringing endorsement, but any snappy-ass, quasi-melodic punk act that gets through the doors at Cerberus is already notable since we tend to go a different way aesthetically. As usual, this entire 7-inch hinges on the vocals and whether they make enough hay before the sun stops shinin’. Most of the time they do, and the lyrics — not to mention the instrumentation — are better than average, so let’s call this one a winner.

Links: Loglady

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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.