Sensate Focus
Déviation Heat-treated [12-inch; PAN]

Mark Fell’s house of post-techno cards has relentlessly been crashing as a sub-division of Editions Mego. A stack of 12-inch records are piling up, each less derivative than the last. Fell’s sensual work hearkens to a time when going to the club was a part of innocent sexualization, boys and girls trading body blows and buckets of sweat in a safe environment, free of the excess and see-me culture that has now enveloped hotspots and ravers. Tits, abs, and ass are all well and good, but in the end, the music should be as challenging as it is catchy. Which is why Déviation Heat-treated exists. Sensate Focus moves onto PAN as a response to a Heatsick EP. Fell transforms repetition into thinking music without losing an ounce of je ne sais quoi. Beats moving, bodies moving, minds moving. It’s a full workout for all those hippie spirits and organs without losing the modern electro-edge needed to stay in front of trends. If nothing else, it’s a studio audience away from being “Club MTV,” and who doesn’t want “innocent” up-skirt camera shots of Downtown Julie Brown? It’s either that or stare at the memorizing art as the LP locks onto the turntable. You are getting very glittery. You want to dress in loud colors. You want to take this happy pill.

Links: PAN

Chris North

Near Far All We Are

[10-inch; Whitehaus]

I’m so fuckin’ predictable. Of course I like the REMIXES on Near Far All We Are more than the SONGS!? That makes so much UNsense, and yet I knew within five seconds of hearing Chris North’s well-intentioned version of “I Gave Life to Love” (and I’ve lent him props via Cerbs in the past) that this would be the case. Suffice to say, Many Mansions give “I Gave Life to Love” (don’t like the title) the facelift it needs, then there’s a recording of waves. Side B lends “The Nature of Love” (What’s up with those titles? Shit, man.), a much better acoustic slide down country lane, and “US 1 North,” a decent stripped-down number that reminds me of long drives in the 1980s, back when Lightfoot was on the radio and my dad drove a station wagon. Then “The Nature of Love” gets remixed and, again, I prefer it this way. All in all, Near Far All We Are is a lot better than I thought it was going to be when that first track hit. I can live with this, particularly by dint of the strangely effective tactic of remixing indie-country. Strange days, bro.

Links: Whitehaus

Thousand Foot Whale Claw

Time Brothers

[CS; Holodeck]

The rough draft — the scourge of public schooling. Chided for writing ideas, just capturing the outline of thoughts. But what if the rough draft was the finished product, brainstorming rewarded and creativity embraced in favor of wringing out personality to complete a five-paragraph essay on the moon landing or on why Holden Caulfield is a mirror of ourselves? Literary malarkey destroying exploration that demands deeper attention. Thousand Foot Whale Claw doesn’t fall for the traps; English teachers be damned (as they have been in ‘murican school systems the past 35 years)! Time Brothers is the rough form of the Austin band’s more “polished” releases, but in this moment, the rough sketches are the meat. Thirty-minute opus “Fleshcave”: the tethered ramblings of that high guy who became a neurosurgeon. “Slobos”: the work of the Goth girl who became a premiere fashion designer in love with color and couture. It’s the world of Thousand Foot Whale Claw, a band in the roughest form producing music of the greatest impact. Sorry, Ms. Shirley Lyster; you couldn’t tame me and you can’t tame Thousand Foot Whale Claw.

Links: Holodeck

Servile Sect


[12-inch; King of the Monsters]

Most who have heard Servile Sect end up paying attention, or at least that’s my experience; few defectors because SS give today’s enlightened metalheads a little bit of everything, Svrrender serving as an apt microcosm of their forward-thinking milieu: BM overlords, secret prog operatives, a definite drone agenda, and a dose of liquid death. I like the unavailable, often unpredictable twists and turns of Liturgy efforts, but the Sect offer a much more satisfying, well-thought-out approach to what may very well be the future of this screechy, scratchy, scrappy hard/heavy stuff. Their deeper double-bass thrashes dig as deep as any Nachtmystium cut, while their razor-sharp noise cuts as severely as what you might expect from WTZ Hearts. Handmade Birds released Svrrender on cassette awhile back, and now it’s vinyl’s turn care of KoTM, on cosmic split-pea-green wax. Great to see such a worthy release presented in such flattering fashion, a nice follow-through on that clear-with-glow-in-the-dark-splatter LP (Realms of the Queen) that blew minds last year. Snuff this one up, cadets.

Links: Servile Sect - King of the Monsters

Satanic Rockers


[7-inch; Quemada]

The A-side is one big joke by a band dubbing themselves Satanic Rockers and drenching itself in thick metal sludge, as if to prove their worthiness in the eyes of beer-binging outcasts holed up in abandoned industrial complexes. It’s The Warriors redone by the masterful eye of Tommy Wiseau. The B-side is where it’s at: the shtick running its course in the span of one track, the band’s real roots showing. It’s punk and garage; laissez faire noise on the low end. If you’re to be a beacon for the dark lord, this will yield Beelzebub unlike the A-side’s childish incantation to Voldemort.

Links: Quemada

Burial Hex

Six Wings

[12-inch; Nostilevo]

Six Wings is a departure for Burial Hex in my eyes, though I’m sure his elbow-deep discog has taken several turns. Still, it’s almost as if Clay Ruby and William Cody Watson shook hands on an ambient-drone pact, with Cody Watson handling the sky and the clouds and Ruby specializing in plumbing the pits of hell. When given the choice, I’m always going to return to my predilection for black, charred soundscapes, and BH, no matter the chosen terrain, strike a mean stance. Low, guttural rumblings cover more subtle tones like an avalanche for much of the record, the occasional snarl (real, or imagined?) descending to lead us into the shadows forever. There are great rewards lying in wait if you allow Six Wings to take flight, particularly during the latter-third of each side, registering somewhere in between Sutekh Hexen and Babe, Terror, which is a great place to be. A deluxe version with two extra tapes and other goodies, in an edition of 33, has sold out, but the record is still out there.

Links: Nostilevo

Alexandre Navarro


[CS; Constellation Tatsu]

The sound of dreams has long been a pursuit for the music creative. Abstract sounds rattling around in the subconscious spliced onto reel-to-reels. It’s been a career-defining ambition for more than a few failed composers, but not for Alexandre Navarro. Sketches captures the airhead quality of sound as it enters the ears from all directions and timbres. It also doesn’t ambitiously strike out to make angelic melodies that envelop a room, choosing to abide by the minute fractures we glimmer in our sleep. Sketches is a dream journal, groggily scribbled in only to be indecipherable by the morning. It keeps Navarro’s vision static and Sketches worthy of infinite listens. It’s best to fast forward, hit play randomly, and be taken on a new journey. It exists in the realm of forgotten imagination, so less Freud and more Gondry.

Links: Constellation Tatsu

The Unwed Teenage Mothers

The Unwed Teenage Mothers EP

[7-inch; Speakertree]

Speakertree is one of the rare labels bringing a variety of melody to the table — sung, not played on a synth, by bands like Cloud Nothings and Borrowed Beams Of Light — in the here and now, and this Unwed Teenage Mothers 7-inch EP is the latest step. Side A is full of super-potent potential and sequences that overreach in a good way. Rock with a twinkle in its eye that you can relate to, for once. “Why Does It Have to Be Tonight,” on the flip, is strict in its catchiness, and “Rain,” while not my kind of cut, might be the number more of you will relate to, containing the kind of riffs it’s a pleasure to grow old to. Now that I’ve surveyed the landscape more thoroughly, I’m ready to wholeheartedly endorse “If You Think You’re Lonely Now” (sorry Mitt). It’s such an unassuming tune that it slides right by, and that’s the sign of a really of-note tune, earnest enough to Save Christmas and as hearty as a good soup. Winter’s coming, people. 300 sloppies.

Links: Speakertree

Lichen Gumbo

Earthborn Jinzo

[CS; Avant Archive]

Like any resident, I’ve grown tired with America. We do nothing original anymore, often outsourcing our own production to other nations who do it better (or return it to us with ungodly amounts of lead and children’s sweat etched in for added revenge and guilt). Despite the many awesome ‘muricans such as Kid Rock and Three Doors Down, look at how our youth fawn over Justin Bieber and One Direction. THEY AREN’T ‘MURICAN, AND THEY DO IT BETTER! While no one does it better than Kid Rock’s beer belly and lazy lifts of Skynyrd, Lichen Gumbo deliver that good old folk rock twee freedom with Earthborn Jinzo. An electrified bowl of former USA gumption served over a steaming pile of European gourmand, we are reminded that we just aren’t producing the same awesomeness we once were (I KNOW KID ROCK, ‘cept you and Rick Rubin!). And though there is no Detroit Rock City and Bullgods bawitdabaing throughout Earthborn Jinzo, it’s a humbling rock ‘n’ roll far more fulfilling than any empty chart-seeking missile or outer space synth-out with the keys duct-taped down. Rock is about borrowing from all cultures, and despite the hinterland of Helsinki playing host to Lichen Gumbo, their N’awlins stew of ragtag rock is worth at least one Schreiber “shit cat” and the success of two northern rock rappers appropriating southern culture.

Links: Avant Archive


5th Sun

[7-inch; Trensmat]

Curious about Gnod? Allow me to set the mood: a methodical pace sets the tone for blurry rock, as deep, churning guitars melt over string-bending bass on Side A. Psychic Ills mashed atop Religious Knives, or Guardian Alien probing Jennifer Gentle? You do the math; Side B is more of the same, and it all adds up. It’s like a vacuum is sucking all the sounds up, as they’re just out of reach (not to mention crackly like oat bran) no matter how high you turn it up. Some would call it lo-fi, others no-fi; I just call it a damn-good way to gargle away the day’s disappointments. This is an import. Not only that, it’s just about sold out at the source. You know what to do.

Links: Trensmat

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.