Samantha Glass
Midnight Arrival [CS; Not Not Fun]

The spit smells like tobacco and peppermint, and gnarled teeth foam words foreign to you. “Y’ahll fwum owtta tahhn?” you muffle through a mouth stuffed with cloth. Because these fellas ain’t never seen no “Dakota Shadows” this sharp. Tossed into another room or cellar, your leg tears on a nail sticking out from the stairs. A “Human Voice” becomes distant with each step, and you lay there sweating and breathing hard, bleeding, but not too wet. Smiling you get up about two steps, clench your hands together, and come down hard onto the nail. Caught in the rope binding, you start “Carving” your hands free. Feet next. And thinking about leaving. Never seeing rope or nails or a basement again. Hoping you never saw eyes peering at you through a cracked window. There’s a moment. Breathing.

And from a single chant, other voices quickly form in unison and echo throughout your ears. You untie the bindings around your boots and smash out the window. Being chased now, the “Rain [is] in Our Eyes,” and it’s dark and becoming increasingly harder to keep ahead. You are wet, and your left pant’s leg is a thicker soaked than the right. The chaser has tripped and is grabbing at their stomach violently, and in the house you’re running from, there’s a light in the “Delicate Living Room,” where people stand and stare, you swear, directly at you. But you continue on, toward that high ground, where it’s dry, and the “Antique Horizon” will silhouette a city with street lights. Yet it’s cold, and energy is something less than a mile uphill. Footsteps are getting louder, you’re taking deep breaths, and notice a few blood droplets formed into a heart. “Snow Covered Love,” you think as it’s covered by flakes, and your eyes close. Resting is a good idea. For five minutes.

Links: Samantha Glass - Not Not Fun

Matthew Hale Clark / Ken Camden

three:four split series vol. 4

[10-inch; three:four]

A label from France recalling the chill of Canada’s fall through music best suited for suburban summer relaxation. Matthew Hale Clark envelops the A-side with a Ben Chasny jam of raga guitar and sweet background drone. It’s a light, citrus salad that cuts the heat of the day with a crisp bite, leafy romaine crunching under the slowest of chews as the mighty caribou stare from their forest stronghold in admiration. As Clark and his crew take over the woody porch, Ken Camden sneaks into the basement to send sine waves to the stars as the clear night sky takes over. “Moisture” echoes the loneliness of the moon, beaming electronic heart beats to outer space in the hope that the tidal force will provide some reciprocation. “Algoma Summer” is that answer; from a galaxy far away to the shared summer home of Clark and Camden, we have made contact with a warmth not given by the sun. Guitars at melodic odds cohabitating late in the season before the caribou carve out fresh tracks in the snow to greet their alien visitors — this may be the Molson talking.

Links: three:four

Coffin Pricks

“Group Home Haircut”

[7-inch; Stationary (Heart)]

Coffin Pricks’ Christ Thompson is nothing short of a GAWD, having unleashed bands like Circus Lupus (Dischord favorite), Red-Eyed Legends, Monorchid, Skull Kontrol, and Fury upon the masses. One might ask, “Why not just record all that material under one name and consolidate that shit?” but that would fly right in the face of one of the most potent punk rules: Never overstay your welcome. Speaking of which, “Group Home Haircut” gets in and gets out and moves onto the next gig quicker than you can say “SNOT,” aligning themselves with punk friendlies old and new (Germs, White Fang, Reatard, etc.) yet quilting together a unique pattern of their own. A lot of times punk is a “see it live or miss the buzz” enterprise, but Coffin Pricks are just as randy on record as they likely are spread across a sweaty, smoky stage. Thompson has done it again.

Links: Stationary (Heart)

Bee Control

Bee Control

[7-inch; Past/Futures/Adagio830]

Not since those tight nugs from Kissankusi Records came in (Can Can Heads, Kyklooppien Sukupuutto) have I had this much fun soaking up screams and crushed dreams for Cerberus. Bee Control wouldn’t have been a sore thumb on the Sound Pollution or Three One G rosters back in the day (or now, if those are ongoing concerns; coulda fooled me), yelling, raging, and bashing forth as they do. They’re like a punk-rock version of The WPP — for the ONE of you who can place that reference; sorry — that’s wound tighter than Cameron from Ferris Beuller’s Day Off and angrier than a bear when you try to mob one of its young. My love really blooms when, as on “Erection in a Suit,” things get all slow, woozy, and bass-driven, and the guitarist whittles his pick down to a nub. Heaviness can be so powerful when it’s in the right hands. If you liked the old Blood Brothers records and/or remember Ambitious Career Woman and/or have ever lived in Seattle and listened to future-hardcore, you’ll be on board with this. Jack it up, friend.

Links: Bee Control - Past/Futures/Adagio830

Soundings / Shapers / Verma

Soundings / Shapers / Verma

[CS; Paramita]

The triple penetration of Soundings, Shapers, and Verma takes a bit to warm up, but after the methodical stretches of Verma’s “Space is Open,” the pulsating psychedelia from three of Chicago’s up-and-coming scenesters doesn’t miss a beat. This is driving music, toying around with acid-corroded motorik, minimal fuzz, and blistering drones. Verma’s perma-Haight bookends the tape, both tracks worthy to share space with killer grooves of old. Shapers steal the innards, with Syd Barrett basement freakouts, screams and squeals set against echolocational melodies. The tape serves as a sampler, culling select tracks from each band’s own releases — and though the flow is a little wonky due to three disparate takes on modern psych experimentation, you’re going to be hitting Bandcamp, SoundCloud, and Chicago dispensaries for the heavy shit. Paramita is just the playground dealer, even supplying a pop up insert for maximum headfucks; Soundings, Shapers, and Verma have the everlasting fix.

Links: Paramita

Wreck Of The Zephyr / Chicken Little


[7-inch; Pass the Fist]

Wreck Of The Zephyr: God bless ‘em, they try so damn hard with the art and the punk-from-the-heart mantra and I want to root for them. But I can’t. It’s obvious they can get it done in due time. For now, however, they’re not managing to take it to the next level. They play poetic punk, you might say? Very earnest, very sincere… you’re feeling weird about this right? But don’t worry, it’s not as bad as it sounds. 95% of the time ragged-out punk like this fails, so when there’s even a glint of hope I hold on like hell. Pass awarded. Chicken Little won’t get off quite as easy. This is folk-driven polka-punk, right? Oh man, it’s a couple of elves on vocals, or worse. Very theatrical, very free, very… not what the good doctor ordered. Not at all. I never thought I’d say this, but, can I work now?

Links: Pass the Fist

Black Eagle Child / Excavacations

Black Eagle Child / Excavacations

[CS; Paramita]

I awoke from a strange dream, one where I didn’t dissolve into thinly veiled clichés about two artists working so well together when paired on a split. But I realized I woke into a nightmare, because here I am about to uncontrollably write that the pairing of BEC and Excavations on a split cassette is a no-brainer. And that’s what we received from the un-terrible twosome. BEC’s Michael Jantz continues to blossom into a versatile guitarist, easy in experimentation and pop musics, while Excavacations likewise dig out a heap of catchy pop-laced whirlwinds. And the guitar prowess at work on both sides is mindboggling, to the point that we should all just give up trying to be Eddie Van Halen, because BEC and Excavacations have taken monstrous riffage and turned it into intricate pop melodies.

Links: Paramita

Jason Lescalleet

How To Not Do It

[CS; Chondritic Sound]

Chrondritic Sound steps out of the shadows after a brief hiatus with this new curiosity (already in its second pressing) from the perpetually consistent Jason Lescalleet. Side A begins this audacious journey immersed in mangled magnetics, splattering water, conversations in foreign languages, sensual whispers, furious answering machine rants, and elusive drones. This pastiche of arresting concrete veers notably beyond Lescalleet’s frequent focus on absorbing, ponderous drones, instead becoming something of a slyly Dadaist patchwork in the manner of Nurse With Wound’s Gyllensköld, Geijerstam And I At Rydberg’s or even Luc Ferrari’s sound operas. The flip side further confounds, centering itself on a screwed-out manipulation of Manfred Mann’s recording of “Blinded By The Light,” winkingly emphasizing the song’s underlying sleaziness, especially in regards to that infamously misunderstood line (you know the one). All in all, How To Not Do It acts as a fascinating take on Lescalleet’s familiar tape-music explorations, perhaps all the more compelling for those who’ve been following his work over the 00s with a meticulous gaze. It’s all rather far removed from the gorgeous drone of his last cassette, 2010’s Music For Magnetic Tape, but it stands as an aptly constructed handling of the format nonetheless.

Links: Jason Lescalleet - Chondritic Sound

Mark Bradley / No Mind Meditation

Mark Bradley / No Mind Meditation

[CS; Goldtimers]

Some historians who care about such monotony place the colloquial drawl of Chicago as the best facsimile to Shakespearian speech patterns. Although Romeo and Juliet never endured sub-zero temps at Soldier Stadium nor did Macbeth get caught up in the loop during rush hour, there is more than a smattering of original art sprouting from the gem of Lake Michigan, much of it in cassette form. Wrap your head around Chicagoland performing Othello and pick up this gracious curtsy from Goldtimers, which simulates pop culture through art. Mark Bradley’s side is infectious, poison ivy you can’t help but scratch, because relief — however temporary — feels oh-so-good. Much like ol’ Bill, I appreciate tried and true stories packed with a bit of theatric drama, and Bradley delivers with a steady stream of electronic rhythms and drifting drones. Bradley’s side is the build to the climax, whereas No Mind Mediation is the resolution. Fortunately, the story of Goldtimers is one of happy endings, not beheadings and madness. NMM rides into the orange sunset on a rainbow of chilled oscillations. Clouds full of rain crying happy tears in syncopated bliss, stars streaking across a clear night’s sky with galactic melody, all over the ending credits. Romeo and Juliet go hand in hand into the Montagues and Capulets getting-to-know-you dinner; death never on the menu.

Links: Goldtimers

Che Chen

Pulaski Wave / Newtown Creek Mirror Lag

[7-inch; Pilgrim Talk]

Che Chen, also of Locust Music heavyweights True Primes, is taking the lonesome road with his violin in hand, seeing where five minutes with his instrument takes him. On Side A, the results of his inner quest are intriguing but less than fulfilling; the flip seems a little less flip to me, or to be blunt, there’s more going on: sound waves are ricocheting off each other and lots of loops co-mingle while retaining their space in the composition. A gorgeous, plodding procession is the pay-off, rife with little bursts and pops adding exclamation points to an otherwise steady ride. The subtleties make all the difference. While I never cottoned to that True Primes LP, Chen is staking out some innovative territory through the solo work offered here/hear. (There’s also a CD included with a much longer piece entitled “Black Mayonnaise,” which makes me think of the cool band on Fedora Corpse.) Never hurts to check back in, I guess.

Links: Pilgrim Talk

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.