Window Twins
Wish [CS; Crash Symbols]

I almost forgot what pop sounded like. Not the kind being relentlessly streamed from every corner of the internet, but the sort created when people get together, play a variety of instruments, and embrace melody outside of any formula. Window Twins is now that entity. I’ve never bought into Cohen (The Fresh & Onlys) or Bernson (Exray’s) before — perhaps due to a bit of close-mindedness or a lack of palpable difference between Indie Act #532 and #533. Wish is wholly recognizable. It’s warm. If it were an article of clothing, it’d be a chunky Nick Drake scarf worn for purpose rather than fashion. More important, this is boombox ready. It’s a $5 tape that is just crying for a neighborhood blasting, to wake up the Williamsburg elite from their art comas. Art is often best suited for popular manifestation, but fear not bourgeoisie elitists — Crash Symbols is equally adept at meeting the demands of every contender and pretender with a vinyl edition. Wish is certainly turntable appropriate, but more than that, it’s noble in its 1980s Billboard 200 chart-chasing. Seriously, “Different Light” could share space with Hall & Oates, Godley & Crème, or Ashford and Simpson. Cohen & Bernson… you’ve made me love you. Wish, you rascally minx!

Links: Crash Symbols

Wolf Fluorescence

We’re So Glad You’re Home

[CS; Fabrica]

At one time, a generation frowned upon the nonsense of Enya. New Age was too plain, too boring to be considered artistic or entertaining when crunch, power, and distortion ruled the airwaves. We were naïve, burying our heads in the sand to a world that was beyond midnight MTV infomercials in between Alternative Nation and late night replays of Loveline. But here we stand, nearly 20 years later ensconced in the Buddhist trappings of drone and ambient, captured in our own nostalgia for Enya, Zamfir, or any two-bit existentialist that we happened upon in the radiant TV glow of nighttime. Ross Devlin has fallen for the trap and dressed it up as Wolf Fluorescence. The child in me couldn’t be happier, dreaming of summers spent in front of a fan and a television, watching B-grade videos in the still of a trailer that was an oven. As I dreamed of the idyllic life embraced by We’re So Glad You’re Home in a second-rate sweat lodge — a warm midsummer day lessened by a cooling breeze and a piece of cake and perhaps a tall glass of lemonade — I was also living my own idyllic life, too jaded by grunge and Clear Channel to truly understand it. Devlin allows me a chance, not at reliving the past, but at redeeming it. I don’t like to go back and visit those moments, but in the still of the night when the air is thick and the fan is running, I can’t help but reflect proudly on those days. Now I can do it any hour of the day with the sentimental (and perhaps slightly sappy, but who gives a damn?) warmth of Wolf Fluorescence.

Links: Fabrica

Kicking Spit

Reality Dropout

[CS; Tankcrimes]

Kicking Spit ain’t what I’ve come to expect of Tankcrimes, and I’ll just come right out and say it: Most of you, if you read this limited-edish column, won’t be reading it to discover musics such as this. However, that’s exactly why I’d like to shed a little light on this hard-workin’ motherfucker. “Reality Dropout” is the first of two tracks repeated on both sides, and it’s a strangely reassuring swipe at Barlow/Dino-Jr. that doesn’t provide quite enough squelch to accommodate its earnestness. The presentation is nothing to sneeze at though, gritty and lo-fi in a manner many indie vets in their forties will appreciate. “Gone” lets metal cut into its purity a smidgen and is less convincing, despite the fact that it contains the freak-out that would have been so welcome circa “Reality Dropout.” This brand of rock isn’t my bag these days; if it’s yours, by all means pursue it.

Links: Tankcrimes


Heirloom Rust Garden

[CS; Old Frontiers]

When I was a teenager, my friend and I made parody tapes from a bevy of samples: video games, pop music CDs, toys, screams, chance interruptions. We made fun of those who deserved it (and some who didn’t), all in the name of a good laugh and a release. We were no Carter Mullin. The teenage dynamo runs a blog, a tape label, and records under a handful of pseudonyms. One imagines that if his talents were focused on one area, he would be a real-life Doogie Howser. On his latest as Reedbeds, Mullin takes a moment to stroll among the foliage of adolescence. Heirloom Rust Garden is a thoughtful, not-all comedic tape made from the best musical bits ingenuity and know-how can make. Mullin’s talent puts my old self to shame, but it doesn’t last long — not because Mullin slips, but because of how gentle and understanding his music is. We walk together and talk about our experiences, him doing all of the listening because he’s mature and wise beyond his years. As we clomp through a bed of leaves and dirt, we enter into a transcendental clearing where Mullin begins to float away, as if an angel saying goodbye to the earthly to revisit the heavenly. Heirloom Rust Garden is indeed from the clouds, a quick gift of talent and a look into how it could have been for someone like me; content to tear down when it would have been much wiser to build up.

Links: Old Frontiers

Nothing People / Mondo Phase Band


[7-inch; Captcha]

The sub-sub-SUB-level garage-rock/lo-fi indie massacre of Nothing People is a sound to behold, matching slow riffing circa The Beets with some major guitar ZAPpage courtesy of Jim O’Rourke and a vocalist so fuzzy-absurd he could be singing from a space bubble for all we know. I’m pretty sure the submarine sunk during “Pride;” “Compromised” is the subsequent underwater struggle, like Gang Of Four stuck out at sea and/or slipping into a nice mermaid vagina as the “one/two”… “one/two” guitar stabs rain down. Whatever gives you kicks, man. Mondo Phase Band is a skeleton playing echo-guitar along with a slow-motion drummer, and it’s so fucking awesome I regret not having brought it to you earlier. Ty Segall and the SF folks need to hear “Horseshoe” or risk getting schooled. Damn, robotic odd-rock with an indie soul never sounded so good. The Harmonia easy-roll of “Equalizer” manages… just that. A glorious split-level achievement considering the relatively SHIT history of the format.

Links: Captcha

Journey of Mind

Oil Burner

[CS; Constellation Tatsu]

NEW AGE! I knew it was upon us. All those late-night infomercial warnings, those tactful 30 second breaks in the mid-90s interrupting all the distorted three chord angst and rap-rock hybrids. The world is coming to an end. The Mayan prophecy is fulfilled. Marshall Applewhite. Jim Jones. Carrot Top. Oil Burner is the sound of a world purged of BP, Goldman Sachs, and Halliburton. Fuel returns to the core to rejuvenate the world. Wait, I’ve written this review before. Maybe the world’s already reset; maybe I’m trapped in the matrix. I’m doomed to repeat myself. Space. Galactic. Psychedelic. Sounds like… four words… first word… It’s getting so tiring. Let’s be simple: You’re going to grip Oil Burner, because it’s as real as I’m being with you right now. It might lean a bit too new age for its own good — 80s keyboard interlaced with the odd field recording and electronic nodule — but it’s chill, ripe to place in the cassette player on that fateful December day. You won’t be witness to anything the next day but relaxing diversions from all the bad social media jokes and 24-hour news cycle bullshit about Mayans and cultists and fanatics, which will lead you to Oil Burner. Just as Journey of Mind designed it.

Links: Constellation Tatsu


Ablesigh, 1984

[CS; Self-Released]

If you’ve been in a Students of Decay/Aidan Baker/Locrian/Pink Priest mood of late — and many have — you could do worse than give Haunter a pinch of your time. The scorched landscape left by Ablesigh, 1984 leaves one with a sense of incoming doom, tempered by the reassuring beauty of the subtle melodies that swim on its ocean floor. It’s all over pretty quick, which always makes me wonder, if a tape is the method, why they didn’t go longer. But I suppose they have their reasons. The painting is done when you put the brush down, right? Drone on, Haunter, drone on…

Links: Haunter

M. Akers

Mythical Abyss

[CS; Self-Released]

The first eager moments of “Rolling Night Tide” from Matthew Akers’ newest tape signals a new direction from the electronic musician’s last tape, The Elders of New Detroit. It’s… POPPY! And I dig the singular groove that strides 80s analog and 90s grime as it chills out for six minutes of B-roll energy. But it’s a trap: Mythical Abyss soon devolves into the same cryptic landscape that haunted Elders, this time with a mesmerizing replication of alien abduction during the epically eerie “Taken Aboard.” It’s as if Akers was in the midst of a stroll before going past his neighborhood boundary and discovering the rest of the world is in utter madness. Was his a village of the damned, or has he found himself in the middle of those doomed to nuclear fallout and extraterrestrial invasion? Isn’t it the plight we all experience when snatched from the clutches of our comfort zone? It’s becoming a trademark of Akers, one that makes the skin crawl with abhorrent anticipation. Why I crave these odd fatalist fantasies are beyond me, but clearly I am not alone in my stagnate pool of the bizarre.

Links: M. Akers


Topographical Interference EP

[12-inch; Morphine]

Metasplice is the tandem of that guy from hair_loss and that guy… that guy that is Dave Smolen. Both were great on their own, but as a team, they tend to tag a little harder, dig a little deeper, and down a lot more space-dance donuts. The easy way to explain the appeal of Topographical Interference is to invoke kindred spirits like Demdike Stare and Ensemble Economique, so there you go. Yet these two lay it on a lot thicker, “it” being a strange aural substance known as digi-spray that cropdusts the arrangements with a layer of spice that more minimalist dark-dance folk lack. If it feels like Metasplice are rambling at times, it’s because they are. That said, they’re one of the few groups mining this sound with any semblance of bravado, laying down tracks a more enterprising chap might even be able to dance to. Go figure.

Links: Metasplice - Morphine

Long Distance Poison

Ideological State Apparatus

[CS; Constellation Tatsu]

“Space: the final frontier. These are the voyages of the starship Enterprise. Her five-year mission: to explore strange new worlds, to seek out new life and new civilizations, to boldly go where no man has gone before.”

In the real modern age, we’ve all gone here before. But Long Distance Poison don’t take us by warp speed or by parody. Ideological State Apparatus unfurls slowly, window shopping the galaxy as it explores the unexplored. Our curiosity is satiated by the leisurely pace. It becomes maudlin, making the music meaningful. Light year twinkling and alien life are so pedestrian at this point. LDP get it. They dress it up in clever titles and futuristic synths, but it’s still an earthly life for us. And that’s cool. I’m tired of the elaborate spaceships and nighttime visits; I want something real! Now, I’ve got it. Space music to explore the new world that is the outlet mall 40 miles away. That’s where Ideological State Apparatus will work its magic. The mundane will become the exciting, and as security drags me away while I make phaser noises out of the side of my mouth, I’ll hear LDP soundtrack my misadventure.

Links: Long Distance Poison - Constellation Tatsu

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.