Volition / Juhyo
split [CS; Small Doses]

Volition represent a strange breed, their plodding style more doom than anything else and the vocals, depending on which singer is braying of course, is reminiscent of power violence/Justin Pearson, hardcore, and the groan of Kirk Windstein. Then the double-bassery and flailing high-hats hit and we’re left to assess what’s happening yet again. I say, as with the Mississippi leghounds of the metal world, it’s best to let ‘em finish and sort it out later. I’m happy to report, as well, that the cassette format doesn’t impede Volition’s sound in any major way. Juhyo, on the other hand, possess a sound traditionally well-suited to the Test of the Tape, rife with gurgling effects, churning machines, and other elements I ain’t i-dent-ified yet. The witch’s brew turns pretty pungent ‘n’ evil pretty fast though, the ripe ingredients browning, then decaying as a sickening stew of kettle-blood boils on a stove in hell. Then we drift/drone up to heaven as ashes once our corpses have burned. Edish of 100, be sure to tip your gate-tender.

Links: Volition / Juhyo - Small Doses

Heat Dust

Heat Dust

[10-inch; Texas is Funny]

I can manage to hold onto hope, by a winnowing thread, as long as there are still bands threshing it out the way Heat Dust do via their self-titled 10-inch (pressed onto clear-with-black-core vinyl, same as the first edition of that Wired Open Day record on Taiga; YES). This could have SO easily retreated into decent-but-not-worthy-of-escaping-the-small-town-where-they’re-from territory, and it doesn’t happen by dint of a few key factors. First, they sing in tune but not too in tune, and they aren’t afraid of crafting a careful melody. Second, they pay tribute Dinosaur Jr without being too slavish about it. Third(ly), Heat Dust truck in riffs that crowd the mix just enough. And what’s up with that cover art? It’s like a super-deep-indie-magic version of those old, much-revered black-metal cover photos.

Links: Heat Dust - Texas is Funny

Pheromoans

Art Mist

[7-inch; Savoury Days]

Art Mist will make your record room smells like old cigarettes and well-worn black leather; it’s cool, bro, and as such you might miss its power the first few times through. Give Pheromoans the benefit of a few turns and the rewards are many. The singer’s got that incredulous, Colin Newman-of-Wire delivery, subtle and blessed with an off-kilter sensibility reminiscent of Nikki Sudden of Swell Maps. Mentioning The Fall would be too eas-… oops, there, I did it without realizing it. On Side A the instrumentals don’t talk very loud, but they carry a big stick. “My Wild Irish Dream” kicks off Side B and proceeds to turn that approach upside-down, flaring out via loud synths and creepy echo. “Beazer Homes Again” might be the best entry here, truly a strong post-punk statement, rare as that is, with a foot still in the garage. Four songs, four reasons to hit the 45 RPM button and take off.

Links: Pheromoans - Savoury Days

Love Chants

Love Chants EP

[12-inch; Quemada]

My transformation to Aussie zeitgeist is almost complete, but in case my soul had any second guesses…

Love Chants is made up of members of Mad Nanna and XxNoBBQxX. Must I repeat myself? What I shan’t repeat is this: Love Chants has little in common with either of their ancestors. This is careful guitar exploration, crafted by a trio (Anthony Guerra, Michael Zulicki, and Matt Earle) that is taking the Loren Connors graveyard isolation and putting it in a lo-fi basement as interpreted by a garage band. Whereas much of Australian garage rock is the sweaty underbelly of small city American rapture–kids carving out their own scenes separate from the blogosphere–Love Chants goes further into the kangaroo pouch by circumventing anything relevant of steady melody or musical thought. Sometimes sounding like beginners at their craft (“Small Jewels,” at least that’s what I can decipher through the chicken scratch), other times in complete control of their deconstructed pace (“Skirts of Rain”), Love Chants are now my everything; a reference point to those lonely hours plugging away in a single room until I got what was in my head just right.

Links: Quemada

Bathaus

Arcane|||Cut

[CS; Haute Magie]

Never would have guessed witch house was going to lead to this coven, Bathaus laughing all the way to the blood bank. Darkwave, here we come again, with a surreal twist that lends Arcane|||Cut an extra bit of ‘oomph’ it takes to really start garnering attention these days. I could imagine a Not Not Fun association in their future, as Bathaus bathe in that echo-chamber vibe, and cuts like “Dame” do so much with so little it’s like watching ol’ Scissorhands cut a shrubbery. Yes, a shrubbery. If Bathaus were being blacklisted and I had to ‘name names’ on pain of death I’d go with Cvlts, White Ring, recent Lucky Dragons, and maybe even labelmates Mushy. Very exciting to make this acquaintance, and too bad I missed them at SXSW. A bunch of these cassettes were released on different colors so coordinate people!

Links: Bathaus - Haute Magie

BBJr

How to Fuck All Your Co-Workers in One Sitting

[LP; Captcha]

Some recordings can’t be confined to a cassette. BBJr’s How To Fuck All Your Co-Workers in One Sitting tape rolled out last year and sold out as so many random cassettes on hottt labels do, and by all rights that coulda/woulda/shoulda been it. But NOOOOOO! Captcha went and pressed 250 clear-as-day LPs for the (not-so) new year to spread the word even further into the nooks and crannies of the underground. I can hear why; How To Fuck is overflowing with extremely crude lo-fi cockiness, exuding the dirt-folk chops of Inspector 22 and the experimental know-how of a veteran noise band. It’s one of those albums you have to get to know. You can’t listen to the first few songs and assume you’ve heard what BBJr have to offer. They’re dirty enough to shock you, yet they also know their way around ye olde pan flute. Dig, brother; dig. Shit’s like that hatch from Lost so turn back now if you don’t have the time to break out the torchlight and explore. (If you turned back just now you’s a bitch.) Extra points for “Luv Song,” which whirrs and slices through the rest of the album like a helicopter propeller care of Panicsville.

Links: BBJr - Captcha

Comoros / Expo 70

Live at Germ Books

[CS; Sonic Meditations]

Definitely nothing wrong with sandwiching these two; Comoros (of whom the Fedora Corpse label also stems) and Expo 70 is one of the most appropriate pairings possible when you consider the scenic sprawl they both subscribe to. Live at Germ Books, dubbed in 2009, delivers what you’d expect if you’re in the fold. Comoros border on devilish, their droning guitar compositions never-ending. More of a prog influence than I remember between the lines on this one, and also more outright shredding. Was that for me? Expo 70 rock a drum machine, a bass player that never stops riffing, and crisper effects, such a busy recording you’d think 12 people were playing. I’m guessing this is just a guitarist and bassist, and these days, of course, that is of no import as we have the technology to loop our dreams together. Another triumph for both bands, a hearty helping of mind-bullets had by all, amen.

Links: Sonic Meditations

Monotonix

Now

[7-inch flexi; Joyful Noise]

You forgot about Monotonix didn’t you? Who can blame you, the band is extinguished, gone, kaput for all intents and purposes. But time doesn’t forget and here, in the now–and oddly on “Now”–the band is giving a warmly received farewell. The minimal bursts of repetitive guitar and the rattling bass still feel energetic. There’s life behind this supposed hideaway, stashed until this particular moment because we need it “Now” more than ever. Yes, a pun. We need those too. And more shirtless hairy gentlemen who care not about coiffed hair and get-ups. We need the rock and Monotonix, even in the afterlife, deliver. And you can only hear it by griping the flexi by its bulbously skinny square–no digital on this series, just the sound produced by a whirling table and needle.

Links: Joyful Noise

Joey Molinaro

The Mephist

[CS; Auris Apothecary]

Dare I say Joey Molinaro marries solo strings/noise/exp. to stripped-down An Albatross metal by way of Husk Records? Not sure where else to go with this, so that’ll have to do. Absolutely drilling when it wants to be, Mephist also dabbles in enough noise-splice to qualify as… potential Load Records status, if I’m being honest. Produce these guys a little better (or don’t; I’m cool with that too) and shit could get epic. We’re talking Daughters-level grindcore guitar slides beneath the tape-gunk murk, hiding in plain sight, double-bass blasting away into the night. Quite a lot of surprises gift-wrapped inside this same-program-both-sides cassette, from the label that loves you long time. Still copies around too, though never for long if AA’s past is any indication.

Links: Joey Molinaro - Auris Apothecary

Owlfood

Destroyers of the Moon

[LP; Behind the Door]

Can you remember the last time you witnessed something truly beautiful? Not in relation to a person or a place–those pock every Instagram and Facebook account from here to eternity–but an event, a happening, or a chance that took your breath away and made you reassess your values? It’s likely you have, and for that Owlfood have the soundtrack for it. Frozen in time, Destroyers of the Moon speaks to the weight demise of the satellite we most take for granted. If the celestial orb were to disappear (say from the CIA blowing it up to show America’s might), don’t focus on the ruined gravitational forces or tidal destruction but on the beauty that a moonlit night provides. That faint glimmer of hope turns to rubble, which turns to anger. These volatile mood shifts caused by such destruction are the same within Destroyers of the Moon. It’s brooding and plodding, but the moon’s removal from our nightly skies would be a gorgeous catastrophe in and of itself. And in those moments of loathsome solitude in the midst of pitch blackness, Owlfood is our new definition of vanity.

Links: Owlfood - Behind the Door
  

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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.