Ryan Garbes
1965 [CS; Night People]

Didn’t the Afghan Whigs release 1965 in 1998? I doubt Ryan Garbes has ever had comparisons to the funk-junk skuzz of Greg Dulli, but it’s more apropos than first imagined. 1965 may lack the fusion soul of Dulli’s vision, but it’s 2012 and times they are a-changin’. This is a new vision of 1965, one where the prelude to the Summer of Love was a county fair run on acid. It’s scarier and more distraught, lending cautionary tones to what would become Charles Manson’s playground. Garbes lines 1965 with awkward funhouse mirrors, distorting playfulness into dastardly reminders of our inner ugliness. It would have served a stout reminder that, in post-McCarthyism, the hearts of some men still beat black. But 1965 emerges optimistically from its fortune-telling doldrums, providing enlightenment to the decades that followed. Here we stand in 2012, once again gripped by imagined fear and political strife, and once more, we have ill-shaped reflections of our nefarious selves to both caution and entertain.

Links: Ryan Garbes - Night People

Kevin Greenspon + Nicole Kidman

Already Dead

[7-inch; Bridgetown]

“Already Dead” kinda rocks, but you can’t rock out to it. Hey, that’s cool, Kevin Greenspon and Nicole Kidman; it’s like future-Irving electro-bliss, automated beats billowing atop waveform electronics. Once you get used to the traditional-yet-askew template, the sky clears a bit and additional perspective is lent. Super-simple almost to a fault, couched in a mix thinner than vellum, but at least they’re plumbing a domain astray from the dominant modes of the day, and the vocals manage a rare coup, pumping out melodies over quick-step beats without that annoying sense of cutesiness so many indie rockers inadvertently project. Have these guys ever listened to those upbeat Unicorns 7-inches? Therein might lie the logical next step for them.

Links: Bridgetown

Silent Land Time Machine

I am no longer with myself…

[CS; Holodeck]

What is with the din? Try having a child, and see if you can find the musicality in “Even Floating Islands Fall.” Alright, it’s still there, but it’ll take a couple of Tylenol and a few hours of quiet time before I can accept it as, at best, cacophony. “Remembering Names”: that’s more like it… except you’re getting louder. I just want to enjoy this bourbon and a little downtime, and you’re swelling up the sound. No, “Kissa,” no! Stop it with all the buzzing and humming and screeching. I NEED PEACE! By “An Own to One’s Room,” I’ve given in. It doesn’t hurt that the piano waltzes me into strange slumber, a bright boardwalk pocketed with odd people and imagined contraptions. Silent Land Time Machine’s symphony-tuning-up aesthetic takes over, and anticipation for some glorious Bach aria is supplanted by finger-painting genius. That incessant noise your kids are making is music, and it’s likely they’re a rogue member of SLTM making a mess of your reel-to-reel.

Links: Silent Land Time Machine - Holodeck

Diskette Romances

Diskette Romances

[CS; Sunup Recordings]

And as every day repeats itself as a seven year old so does sound, but internally and at memory’s pace. The tanning salon waiting room becomes a (almost) daily breakfast nook, and UV goggles provide heated vision underwater at the pool. Time matters in snippets of what you think is pleasant. Tissue strengthening is rooted deep in release. Serious times come with lunch and chunks of “pepperoni,” which is brushed off into someone’s Pepsi. Station wagon rides are always a shootout. Bathroom visits present the most primordial brevity, at length by each shoe. The wheels hit a bump and ice cream cones are stuck to the ceiling. Digging deep unearths hidden backyard treasures. Chlorine blur sets in with the street lights at night, and the smell of small-town barbecue swells the streets. Echoing karaoke music twilights the neighborhood surrounding your house, you flick on the computer, experience Diskette Romances, and pretend tomorrow will be more surprising.

Links: Diskette Romances - Sunup Recordings


Cannibal Oven / Poisoned Baptism

[7-inch; Fedora Corpse]

Hogra’s 7-inch slab of death is so pig-fucked it’s absurd, a moveable noise feast of burbling underbelly, buzzing insects, whirling tornadoes, shamanic-trance voices, and sheets of static blown by a vicious wave of hell-wind. It’s like when Frodo puts on the ring and the conscious world disappears and all that is left is a nightmarish dreamscape of sharp colors and shadows. But here I go gettin’ ahead of myself again; that’s just the extremely lovable Side A. Flip-flop this sum’bitch for a different approach to non-metal mayhem: Al Jourgensen man-shouting, more of that ass-flapping wind, and a dangling rhythm that almost distracts, slapping the face every so often when there’s already plenty to mull over. Get OFF, guy!

Links: Hogra - Fedora Corpse

Midday Veil

Subterranean Ritual II

[CS; Translinguistic Other]

I often think of Midday Veil as the post-Thanksgiving hangover. Eyes glossy from over-indulgence, fingers greasy from ripping apart a baked carcass like Caligula — of course, this could be any sort of Ozark celebration. Midday Veil is actually a fixture of Seattle’s underground, but Subterranean Ritual II indulges in the abundance of ritualistic temptation. Sensual and mystical, Subterranean Ritual II is the rhythms of a world gone completely mad for all the right reasons. For some reason, I’m taken to the scene in Almost Famous (bear with me) when the underage journalist is deflowered by Fairuza Balk, Bijou Phillips, and Anna Paquin. It’s a PG version of True Blood without the gory disembowelments and vats of viscous blood. SRII is far from PG; it’s dirty and bloody, but it’s a delight of all the senses, Midday Veil picking up where Pocahaunted would have if they had been birthed by the Manson family. For a band that can often boast six members, everything is relatively subdued. It ratchets up the sexual tension. It’s not overt, but it exists among a psychedelic sheen of elongated whispers and Alejandro Jodorowsky. Just shed your cloths and join in the orgy of sound and sex. Caligula, fat on turkey, and heavy with wine.

Links: Midday Veil - Translinguistic Other


Hexplore Superfluidity

[12-inch; Hundebiss]

The Hundebiss “sound” — is there a such thing? I tend to believe there is, though it’s a fluid beast that doesn’t sit still for long. Stargate’s Hexplore Superfluidity one-sided 12-inch fits snuggly into the label’s lexicon with previous releases by Sewn Leather, Hype Williams, and JAWS, combining the welcome warmth of bygone electronix with a warped-tape, frayed-edges sensibility. It’s sort of like walking into a novelty store and realizing all the wind-up toys have been wound and set loose, then watching with amazement as the floor gives way and the entire structure is consumed by blurry blue water. Or at least that’s the vibe I get from “Dawn of the Cryonics.” Is it just me or are a lot of people auditioning to retroactively score the movie Bladerunner? Stargate murder chillwave and shove it into a Commodore 64 disk drive, where it belongs.

Links: Hundebiss

Motion Sickness of Time Travel

The Cirque

[3-inch; Hooker Vision]

In collaborative settings, the personalities of each participant can potentially engulf the other into a gelatinous blob of unified thought that threatens individuality. But then there are those who strengthen each other, trading creativity and energies that spew forth in solo projects. Rachel and Grant Evans of Quiet Evenings have become such a couple, pushing one another into exciting terrain rather than allowing Quiet Evenings’ wholesome expressions to do their speaking. And with Motion Sickness of Time Travel, Rachel’s solo voice has grown louder and more confident with each outing. The Cirque, released on the pair’s own Hooker Vision label, is a puffed-out chest of compositional fortitude. Dissected into three distinct movements, the release is Rachel’s restraint in the face of relentless sonics. Where others are abandoning the sounds of silence for overabundance, Rachel finds a new layer to MSOTT through the addition of melody: The Cirque, in spite of its avant pretense, embraces pop in its final acts, shifting away from abstract tinkering and endless drones and toward something fresh. Here, Rachel is once again triumphant in her own discovery process, with The Cirque acting as a loud yet sweet battle cry that partnership does not kill creativity.

Links: Motion Sickness of Time Travel - Hooker Vision

Esplendor Geométrico

1980-1981 Prehistoric Sounds - Necrosis En La Poya & More

[7-inch box; Munster]

With 1980s records like this, who needs the 2000s? Esplendor Geométrico, if that is their real name, refused to punt innovation down the road for subsequent generations to deal with. They went hard, and they went heavy; cold synth explorations rarely break this much ice. Pop in Prehistoric Sounds - Necrosis En La Poya & More and you can see your breath it’s so fuckin’ frosty, and it’s all about the synths and samples pounding out brittle rhythms as menacing riff-raff — vocal grunting, shooting sub-stars, squealing keys — encircle with guns drawn. All the craziness in the world won’t justify a synth solo, however, and EG are well aware of the pitfalls of overreaching, though they break a lot of eggs on their way to making an omelet out of your splayed brain matter, at times going right over the top and back again. A lot of bands are paying tribute to Esplendor Geométrico without knowing it, to say the least. Suicide, 39 Clocks, Wierd comps, Mike Sniper, other releases on Munster, Dark Entries; shit, I should have led with that. If echo is a god-given right, then is anger truly a gift? In the hands of these young Spanish audio-rebels, yes. Three 7-inches (red, black, clear), a booklet, a thick box, a black-eyed baby (no reason for… no reason for that), and a CD later, and you have yourself one of the best curatorial efforts of the last few years. You will wish you’d of heard this earlier.

Links: Munster

John Wesley Coleman III / Gary Stewart

“Oh Woman” b/w “Ramona”

[7-inch; Sophomore Lounge]

Clever stories of happenstance and craftsmanship drive this “underground” world in which we live. Take the case of “Oh Woman,” the A-side penned by John Wesley Coleman III. Inspired by B-side “Ramona,” written and released in 1988 by Gary Stewart, Coleman III and Sophomore Lounge amazingly worked out a deal to include the original on this 7-inch. For many, it will be their first encounter with either artist, but it’s likely they’ll be equally entranced by Ramona, the beautiful bride captured on the insert. “Oh Woman” finds Coleman III doing his best Richard Swift (unkempt hair and all), tuning into the 70s AM dial to channel Jackson Brown and Warren Zevon with a bit of modern attitude. Nuthin’ but a stomping melody and a fun pop song to neck to. “Oh Woman” owes much to Stewart’s “Ramona,” a bit more country and Brown than Coleman III’s melodic interpretation. It is a product of the era of over-production. Stewart’s long song confessing that he loves Ramona as his own is effective no matter the decade, but Coleman III’s lo-fi reinvention has more heartache. It’s not the glossy pop song that landed Stewart his pick of fans; Coleman III’s love is distant and unrequited. It’s bedroom despair dissected from the thoughts of someone who can paint a pretty picture from a terrible mess.

Links: Sophomore Lounge

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.