Plates Of Cake
“As If the Choice Were Mine” b/w “Transit Trials” [7-inch; All Hands Electric]

SHIT. Easiest review ever: Plates Of Cake have adorned my table ever since they were spliced together from chunks of old doo-wop classics, Leonard Cohen programs, stained diner menus, post-punk lore, Jonathan Richman’s surrealist slant, and, aww hell, involuntary facial hair. “As If the Choice Were Mine” brings a second vocalist into the mix, a surprise move considering the last record (which I loved maybe a bit too much) was all about lead singer/songwriter Jonathan Byerley. It’s never easy to get used to change when you liked what you started with, so there’s that. Still a nice cut. “Transit Trials,” like seemingly 75% of flips, is even better than the A. Catchier melody, better bridge, ringing riffs — music for winners and losers and those who love and hate them. I hate to rush you guys, but… I want more.

Links: All Hands Electric

PWIN ▲▲ TEAKS

Aoxomoxoa

[12-inch; Brave Mysteries]

Doom and gloom exporter Brave Mysteries continues to expand its stonewashed mind with acid-washed tomfoolery. How else to explain the schizophrenic wonders of the strangely twisted PWIN ▲▲ TEAKS? Blending warped tape loops and samples, Aoxomoxoa exists only in the mind, so to hear it coming from speakers only causes paranoia and anxiety. Noises come from all directions and in all pitches and tones, blending itself into a climax only suitable for those who can stand to watch Requiem for a Dream on repeat. But when the swirling nonsense does die down, PWIN ▲▲ TEAKS is discovered to be masters of nuance. As the din of “The Mirror Cabinet of the Water Witches” draws to a fade out, the rich layers of low-end rhythm and high-end drone unveil a band as steeped in musicology as it is in psychology. The cassette’s title track is even more subtle once it silences the voices talking over one another. Don’t be fooled by the stylized name and gimmick; PWIN ▲▲ TEAKS is deeper than their shallow name and trendy palindrome of a tape title leads on.

Links: Brave Mysteries

Aaron Dilloway

Lip Syncing to Verme

[CS; Hundebiss]

Aaron Dilloway’s Lip Syncing to Verme is the best kind of noise experiment: one that constantly turns the listener on his ear. D-way also takes the extra step necessary to extend a noise recording’s worth from “glad-I-checked-it-out-now-to-the-back-of-the-pile-with-you” to “I-find-you-enchanting-and-will-lovingly-place-you-on-the-Favorites-rack.” Side A is like hearing that short story wherein a young girl falls asleep and wakes up packed to the gills with ants (They had climbed into her nose, you see.): I’m creeped the-fugg out and I think something’s buzzing around my skull. I can’t really tell you what’s going on here. Dill could be sampling a pig’s “hoinkle” or diddling the innards of a dusty, hard-to-find Royal typewriter and I’d never know the difference between it and a duck’s fart (though officially my money’s on a piece of luggage being thrown around a room with snare-drum-head walls). And that’s of course the beauty of the whole process: I feel I’m learning by way of knowing it exists.

Links: Hundebiss

Shearing Pinx / Ahna

Shearing Pinx / Ahna

[7-inch; Geographing]

I’m way beyond the point of return with Shearing Pinx. I know and love them like the back of my hand, and the back of my hand is FUCKING AWESOME, an uncanny assortment of veins, skin, and sandy, blonde body hair. ShxPx’s side of their split 7-inch with Ahna isn’t particularly special when you consider the incredible scope and dearth of the former’s catalog, but it’s still a damn-fine egg. “Bodies” is more a groove than a noise-rock shard, starting off heavy-handed and ending in a warm pool of its own delicious leavings. More of those fantastic vox, by god; Pinx know how to stretch a larynx without pulverizing it. Ahna are like a young Shearing Pinx: They charge balls-/bass-out and scream right in your face, BLAHHHHHHHAHLKGKSALDG!$^&*#$!!, and a lot of folks aren’t going to like that. I, however, DO. It’s a robotic attack of slow, churning hardcore aggression. Ahna’s stuff is fairly rote considering the craziness being undertaken these days, but that’s also its charm. Think Dead And Gone/Creeps On Candy, Flipper, The Pope, etc., then click your heels twice to get back home.

Links: Geographing

Sister Overdrive

Honey

[CS; Organized Music from Thessaloniki]

On the more abrasive side of Organized Music from Thessaloniki’s, Sister Overdrive’s (a.k.a. Giannis Kotsonis) Honey is a patchwork of at times short tracks stitched together into two sides of a cassette. As a result, it covers quite a bit of ground within the electro-acoustic and harsh noise spectrum but without ever feeling disjointed — as the liner says, “The structure, episodic on the surface, follows at the same time a larger form with a discernible internal logic.” This fractured yet consistent structure is reminiscent of a dream-like state experienced at supremal volumes; car jams for the catatonic.

Links: Organized Music from Thessaloniki

M. Geddes Gengras

Tetragrammaton

[CS; Sacred Phrases]

Fort Wayne, Ind may not strike fear into the hearts of mortal men, but tape label Sacred Phrases will do its damnedest to change that attitude — even if they have to go outside their Hoosier borders to make it so. Prime example: the bombastic new cassette stunner from M. Geddes Gengras. Plastered with a fantastical fireworks display, Tetragrammaton puts the onus of synthesized pleasure on the listener, exploding with the fiery energy of its cover from the moment the play mechanism broaches the tape. Intro “Agape” leaves listeners just as it contends a whirlwind of sound kinetically combining into a synth sound that is neither the future nor the past, but the now — a much-appreciated exploration of the sound. Complement “IAO” is a softer, more sensual sound, perhaps a bit swank in Barbarella futurestyle but yet, one can’t help but sense the need to stay in the now from Gengras. B-side séance “LVX” is the first real hint of reaching out to the future, forgoing the combustible energy of Side A for the spatial. It’s a colder second half, but one that puts a bit of bite into Gengras’ work and Sacred Phrases’ reputation.

Links: Sacred Phrases

Cave Bears

No Weird USA

[CS; Feeding Tube]

Cave Bears, holy fuckballz. They’re for people who think Mama Baer “fuckin’ sold OUT man,” those who find harsh noise comforting and, perhaps most of all, those who believe that hysterical whimsy brings out the best in an abstract artist. These are sound paintings made with brushes covered in human excrement, video games constructed with broken pixels, and ballads dedicated to farm animals. My favorite moments don’t take a genius to “get” — the sudden swarms of Atari bleepity-bloop, fiery bathhouse scream-a-longs (I honestly don’t know what the “bathhouse” thing even means) — and it’ll probably be a few decades before I can really Digest all that’s going on here. I have to say, however, that it doesn’t ring that much crazier today than, say, Danse Manatee did in its day, which, well SHIT, wasn’t even that long ago besides. “No Weird USA” is too painful not to be ahead of the curve, if you know what I mean. Too instinctive to even question.

Links: Feeding Tube

The Ketamines

The Ketamines

[7-inch; HoZac]

Probably the best venture I’ve heard from Ho-Ziggety, and I’m no hater — I find they do rock just fine. The Ketamines go for the psych-rock juggernaut on a killer-diller B-side (“Dig”) and do a fabulous job not making dicks of themselves with cliched moves and well-worn saddles. More bands should cloak their echoes into eternity with synths and effects so delightfully squiggly. This is “Arnold Layne“‘s drugged-out nephew (who is a Ramones fan), and once again, I’m left to wonder: How am I going to move on after such a skull-searching sun of a flip-side? “Victims” makes it easier. We get more of the echo, more of the ghostly harmonies, but this time dressed in a more psych-punk feel — think Woven Bones’ vox overtop echo-drenched garage rock — than “Dig,” though either avenue suits them. I never tried Ketamine so apparently there’s another item to add to the bucket list…

Links: HoZac

Fennesz

Seven Stars

[10-inch; Touch]

In having the pleasure to see Fennesz live last year, I learned how to properly listen to Fennesz: LOUDLY. With the ability to combine complicated layers with simple elegance, Fennesz flexes this muscle once more on the four-song Seven Stars — and if you’re aren’t testing speaker thresholds with this 10-inch, you are doing the system and the music disservice. “Liminal” is a rich combination of Fennesz’s brand of computer manipulations and deconstructed guitar playing, the undercurrent of distortion unraveling the slow dance into the minimal buzz of “July,” heavy with the electric buzz of humidity in an agitated atmosphere. “Shift” and “Seven Stars” play a mirror to the first half, further breaking down the elements that make Fennesz. Even in subtlety, the master requires high decibel levels to hear every intricate level, and though Seven Stars can be enjoyed on a superficial level, choosing such vapidity is cheating.

Links: Touch

Rat Columns

Rat Columns

[7-inch; Smart Guy]

Despite some stumbles/mumbles, Rat Columns cover a lot of ground and come out a lot more unscathed than, say, YOU would. “I Wonder” is a lukewarm — in a good way — strip of effeminate indie-rock that screams for the early ’80s without raising its voice. I must say, I’m in love with this song’s up-tempo, yet still relaxed, gait. Don’t change, baby! But they do. “Keep Waiting” is buttressed by almost unbearable bassiness and yet another sound environment I’m goddamn impressed by, beholden to Factory, coldwave, noise, and modern detachment as it is. A lot of bands tried to nail the feel of “Keep Waiting” down over the years and failed (I don’t care what the reviews said at the time), so hats off to Rat Columns’ wonderful escapades. A super-strong dose of addictive, fleeting cool that bleeds black and burns slowly, to be sure. And don’t forget “Glass Coffin” on the flip, a more scattered, gypsy-esque outing that’s more desert-sun than eternal-night. By this time, it doesn’t even matter what “Darkness” brings (for the record: think Deerhunter); you’ve already heard enough light to turn on the switch.

Links: Smart Guy

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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.