Oktaf O
Oktaf O [CS; Old Monster]

This is going to throw you for a loop. And another loop. And another. And. An. A. Oktaf O–whoever or whatever this is–is some funky, futuristic freakout. It’s pattern based, it knows no genre-specific boundaries, and it hits fast and hard. The only thread piecing these five “songs” together is the use of similar instrumentation and composition: a synthesizer (sometimes primary, often secondary) infused with infectious drum beats. What I can tell you is it’s evolution. The codified sounds are being picked out, DNA is being altered and the result is the new super-strain of synth/drone/jazz/electronic rock. It’s leaps and bounds beyond, because the only ties to the past are the devices used to create the symphonic hybrid. Oktaf O explodes myths and blueprints. No more shag piles and bad 80s hair to revisit. Whatever I must to do become part of this machine, I shall. My flesh is but a pod. My guitar but a tool. This synth merely a distraction. I will assimilate because this is where I want to go and what I want to be.

Links: Old Monster

Meryll Hardt

“I Can Die Happy” b/w “Lichtspiel”

[7-inch; Apolkalypso]

Mystery delivery! Whoever sent this two-faced gem of Germanic duality, I applaud you though I question how you received my location. I always had a suspicion the SS was watching from afar. But I’m too boozy from the post-WWII glug of “I Can Die Happy,” its winsome Gerswhin glee finding Hardt drunkenly laughing with me as she looks me dead in the eyes and artfully replies “It is written in the stars, you are full of shit.” We’ve only just met but she gets me, if I were a GI with slicked backed hair in Vichy France. B-side “Lichtspiel” is a quick transport to modern times, a trip through the Belgian wormhole. Those brassy sounds now robotic and industrious, free-willing-turned-mechanical. It tells me to keep my guard up even after the sloppy times of the A-side. I live in a fantasy land of 1950s Euro resurrection but what exists is a continent once more growing to accommodate a bulbous planet. Whoever sent this did their homework. QUIT SPYING ON ME! Or don’t, so long as you keep sending me more Meryll Hardt and her ilk. I also like frilly boxers and Swiss chocolate.

Links: Meryll Hardt - Apolkalypso


Man Woman & Beast

[CS; House of Alchemy]

In French, the phrase “de trop” is used to describe something that is done in excess. Not sure if there’s some kind of symbolic significance as to why this trio chose that for the name of a noise act that is so understated and spare, but it does have a chilly ring to it that seems to fit. Man Woman & Beast is wooshy, and windy and cold, and cavernous. It is old, and creaky, and cranky and, oddly enough, quiet through all of this. Haunted with distant spooks, screeching specters, metal filings drifting off whatever blunt objects are being so softly tortured, heels sunk into the backs of small animals who sing in wretched whistles, breathing machines running on fumes and voices struggling to express their discontent with the establishment through the echo. This tape is shedding its skin, itching and picking at it, molting organic tissue and sacrificing it to the soil and frantically hiding what lies beneath. Another solid set of shambolic improv from Adam Richards’ House of Alchemy label, the 52nd release he’s committed to tape.

Links: House of Alchemy

Bobb & The Kidds

Take Me Home Vienna

[7-inch; Mighty Mouth]

Finally, I get to combat Bobby Trimble and his nimble, quivering voice on TMT (kinda like covering that Tim Buckley record after all those years), the stuff legends and odd nightmares are made of. Those, such as I, whom already own Secretly Canadian’s Harvest of Dreams will already have these two tunes; if you haven’t wet your beak in these waters yet, this is a great way to get-with-the-goddamn-program-already. “Selling Me Short While Stringing Me Along” (you can tell it’s tight from its title alone) is such an odd take on a prom-night ballad, guitars phasing back and forth, drums quietly surging beneath the disco lights, distant arpeggios holding it all together in challenging circumstances. It’s humbling to know there was music this challenging happening in 1981, as you could easily mistake it for some weird, quasi-Amen Dunes outtake or Panoply Academy ditty. I also have always heard Supertramp in Trimble’s delivery, specifically Roger Hodgson’s gender-neutral wails; I don’t have a point to make here, just revealing something about myself. Oh yeah, and “Take Me Home Vienna”: Another apt look into Trimble’s enchanted forest of slightly off – and thus so ON – sounds. There’s a guitar solo in here that mimics a tune I can’t put my finger on. Might be a nursery rhyme or something, and there’s no one more Humpty-Dumpty fragile than Trimble. That’s my awful outro and I’m stickin’ to it.

Links: Mighty Mouth

Josh Mason

The Symbiont

[12-inch; Sunshine Ltd.]

My little leaf. It drifts down a river, its only propellant that of wind and current. A loose turn here, a sharp bend there. It lazily makes its way to a destination only it and the water know. The relationship is not contentious, but one of fruitful understand. The leaf, vibrant green, begins to dull around its edges. The river finds itself a strong provider. Together they are married in nature’s harmonious infinity. Where one ends, the other begins. Where one perishes, the other shall live. Both giving and receiving nourishment. There is no discussion of where the river goes or how the leaf arrived in the midst of its grasp. They symbolically hold hands, navigating unexpected torrents and territorial animals together. They are aware that death awaits them both; one much sooner than the other. It does not concern them. Theirs is a life lived. A record as clear as the mountain stream on which is it whisked. A guitar as fragile and lifted as the leaf on which it strums. Let us not be concerned with the beginning or the end. What we have is now. An elegant life, the music of our surroundings, and the wherewithal to let it envelope us.

Links: Josh Mason - Sunshine Ltd.



[Book + 7-inch; Itchy Roof]

THIS IS THE MOST AMAZING THING EVER! I’m having flashbacks to read-alongs with Marmaduke and Charlie Brown. Sadly, they’ve been lost in the gaping hole of adolescence to adult hood, when the seemingly obsolete ends up lost in the permanent vortex of too many moves. Thankfully artist Ryan Dodgson and musician Moshe Rozenberg have brought back the turntable read-and-play. When you hear the chime, turn the page, only here it’s the unplugging of an electronic animal or the mangled and overworked garbage disposal. The geometric pink art is magnificent; reminiscent of the doodles of Chad VanGaalen, Daniel Johnston and late 60s Looney Tunes as represented by abstract shapes rather than animal husks. Though an obtuse story, it is one to follow if for nothing more than active participation–it’s all art ever asks and the creative duo have made it accessible and fun. Rozenberg’s music will eventually steal your full attention, a combination of Hella and R. Stevie Moore in its bombastic, quick and quirky sputterings. It’s all over the place, much like Dodgson’s beautifully devious art and prose. It’ll set you back $25 to enjoy this but if you want to experience a lost storytelling art influenced by so much greatness (without ripping it off), Brr will sit you down and blow your mind with every needle drop and turned page.

Links: Itchy Roof

Zachary Cale

Love Everlasting

[7-inch; Dull Knife]

I’ve been lusting after Dull Knife for awhile; finally the seal has been broken, and this one’s a damn doozy, delivered by a much-appreciated old hand. Zachary Cale is one of the only alt-country/Americana artists I bother to follow, and he hasn’t let me down yet. Don’t even get me started on that Illuminations LP; the guy has done his homework. “Love Everlasting,” as Dennis Green might say, is what I thought it was, namely a tight, straight-ahead country song that sheds all un-pleasantries associated with the genre. “Love” sounds like it could have been recorded during Lennon’s lost weekend, but that’s almost giving it short shrift. This is a powerful, slow shuffle toward the sun as death stalks from the shade, constructed of layered acoustic guitar, distant electric-guitar flourishes and backup vocals, bass that propels the ship forward, and drums simpler than a game of tic-tac-toe. Cale has done it before, and he’s doing it again; don’t let the sun go down on this heavy-ass 7-inch before you get a copy.

Links: Zachary Cale - Dull Knife

The Nubs

I Don’t Need You (Cause I Got Me) / Dogs

[7-inch; Last Laugh]

The Nubs should be around today; they could teach these pukes how to freak. At least that’s the impression left by “Dogs,” the Silver Apples-style flipside of this revelatory little single pressed on bulky wax. A hypnotic bassline and staccato organ chops lubricate a subtly powerful drum attack, not to mention the on-point vocals. Quite the psych workout, and, as my daughter just said, “That one’s got a great beat!” Such an odd curio to have gone undiscovered for so long, not only because it’s so of-quality but because it sounds like it was brought to life in the 1960s, not 1979. The A-Side, “I Don’t Need You (Cause I Got Me),” approaches the essence of the same decade from a completely different point of view, more of a raging psych-rocker than a plodding space vehicle. It’s a remarkably sharp ‘n’ snappy tune, a lot like the Nuggets cuts we’ve all heard, injected with a punkish energy. Anything but the typical single one might stumble upon from the late 1970s and a testament to how much life there is to be found in the cracks and crevices of scenes all over the map.

Links: Last Laugh

Robert Turman


[CS; Fabrica]

There’s a ringing in my ears. The left is flickering, picking up the faint sounds of the world reanimating. The right, well it may be out of commission. It’s stuck on an infinite loop, the cochlea a grinding chuff but of little use. This explosion of industrial sound; the rattle of war as brothers once bonded by peace are now torn asunder by mistrust and obstructed by smoke. It’s attrition and though my right ear may never regain its strength, its pulsations are comfort at night in a camp as hollow and horrific as one can imagine. There are the noises of the dying. There are the cries of the weak. There are the beasts of the wild, men turned feral by what man has sown. But the gears are still churning. Their relentless clank never letting up. We clock in, poise our bayonets, and wait for the howl and stampede of 10,000 high-heeled boots. It’s all just a beat to the docile ringing in my ear. We fight because we have stayed loyal to Robert Turman, his anarchistic music breaking us away from the savages of a world too eager to conform. It began at a nameless award ceremony, the hapless pop starlet engorged by fame exploding across the crowded theater. Now we fight off the beasts of celebrity, starved for the relevance and power taken away by wantonness. The music machine still quacks but we stand in the trenches, hands full of Macro to blast back the pack before we’re all callously swallowed by fashion police and paparazzi.

Links: Robert Turman - Fabrica

Bad Indians

Sun People

[7-inch; Urinal Cake]

In the vein of a more psychedelic Black Lips (we’re talking the full monty; organs, early Floyd, Nuggets), Bad Indians shine like a goddamn diamond via “Sun People,” a 7-inch EP on which all four members sing a tune. Not surprisingly, the chick wins out, being a coy combo of Nancy Sinatra and Amy Linton (of The Aislers Set, mind you), but each cut caresses the ear in an affirming way, the boys’ tracks adhering to the tradition of The Seeds (“The Other Side”), Bay Area psych (title track), and Fresh & Onlys (“Hate”). Love the organ, love the AMT-ish cover art, love the ’60s worship, love the K.I.S.S. formula drums, love the camaraderie of each member throat-crafting a tune, love-love-love the idea that a somewhat hammy psych band can do all of this and still rock the boat in the way Bad Indians do, skillfully avoiding the land mines scattered all over the battlefield of their mode of expression. Ka-BOOM!

Links: Bad Indians - Urinal Cake

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.