Inside Aquila

[CS; Found Tapes]

Instead of a standard j-card, the first release from Virginia’s Found Tapes label is a black cassette that comes with a Norelco shell outfitted with these creepy veins just underneath some kind of painted coating that’s adhered to the plastic. Getting the obvious out of the way first: This thing just looks completely bad ass. But the unique vein-look does more than just make Inside Aquila stand out in your wall tape rack – that splintery 3D artwork also just so happens to give a nice little visual queue as to the work I.G.M (Ian G. McColm) put into the music for Inside Aquila. Like the sharp contours, twisting lines and tight angles created by those veins on the cover, McColm’s compositions often start with prickly staccato textures, tiny dots connecting a jagged maze through which meandering drones and reverberant harmonics of the guitar can freely flow, a nice backdrop for the spaghetti western melodies that sit on top, spread across the tape like the boney fingers of a skeleton. The album moves through some frigid fright-fests, humbling, beyond beautiful balladry, but it’s the substance beneath all that that keeps this guy on repeat: those undertones are so deep and rich, rolling tides of seismic bass, all full of satisfying and gratifying nutrients fed straight into your mind with the efficiency of… well, of a human body’s circulatory system, God’s second greatest creation (next to the auto-reverse function on a Walkman).

Links: I.G.M - Found Tapes


“All Over the News” b​/​w “Hawaiian Ice”

[Cassingle; Self-Released]

I’m convinced Trevor Tremaine has suffered a concussion after one too many Hall and Oates love-ins. Something’s up with the soap opera switch; perhaps his evil twin has replaced his loud aggression with devilish sax and Barry & Levon suave. Much like his first cassingle, the double dip here is well worth the exchange rate of just $240 worth of pudding. “All Over the News” is just three decades removed from pre-Clear Channel R&B; “Hawaiian Ice” is far more funky in that over-produced way which infected much of mid-80s pop culture. What’s refreshing is that Tremaine – or whoever is playing him – seems so sincere. There is no denying that a wide audience wants this, as evident by the Lewis enrapture. Hell, wouldn’t be surprised if that sly Ameri-Canadian has been posing as a noise musician all these years. At the very least, he’s the assaulter that’s led to Attempt. Whatever change of mind/person, it’s not worth fighting it any longer. This is good retro-pop that hasn’t been overdone. “When it’s done/You’ll miss it so much.”

Links: Attempt

Conrad Wedde


[CS; Field Hymns]

A title like “Spaceworld” may or may not be a little misleading here: Sure, Spaceworld is certainly spacey. It’s cosmic, even. It’s frictionless. Neon. Expansive. Some tracks have that light speed-glide to them, with some hypnotic, perpetually self-perpetuating grooves floating gracefully off into the black abyss. But there’s something about Spaceworld that might take you back to reality, too. When the guitar’s lullaby lilts its way in, when the doumbek softly beats out its intoxicating rhythm, and when a cooing voice hums its harmonious hymns into the sides of your brain, you’re gonna feel… young. And very human. You’ll see things you enjoy seeing on good old planet Earth on the day-to-day. Like green grass on a hillside, or fluffy clouds, or the sun flickering across the ripples of a pond. Twinkling synths and bell chimes illuminate the atmosphere like Christmas lights on an auto-timer, flickering to life, lighting the path home. Simple and pretty things your brain likes to experience, simply because they are so simple and pretty. The kind of background beauty that gives life in the foreground its secret charm, gift-wrapped by New Zealandite Conrad Wedde for his first (and hopefully not last) tape for the amazing Field Hymns imprint.

Links: Conrad Wedde - Field Hymns


My Name Should Be Trouble

[LP; Totally Wired]

I get down on myself sometimes when I sit down at the computer and a flood of florescent words don’t automatically start tumbling into the ‘Body’ portion of a review. That’s just me being a bitch, however, because bands go through the exact-same thing, toiling when no one’s watching in hopes that at some point notice might be taken. BRUCH, on the other hand, possess the bravado to just DO IT, no self-consciousness whatsoever. I’d argue that a little more forethought would have improved My Name Should Be Trouble, but that might be antithetical to BRUCH’s entire operation. You certainly don’t pump out two full-length albums and a collaboration (with Gran, whom we’ve also Cerb’d up a bit) in the space of a few years if you can’t cut it confidence-wise. So that’s how it is, and though I also take issue with the Elvis cues briefly taken by the singer, the runaway spirit of My Name is impossible not to get caught up in. It’s like 12 snapshots from disparate eras of life, taken with different brands of cameras according to which year it was, scattered on a bed and set to sound. My favorite cut is “Take Me Home Vienna” (What is it with Totally Wired bands and Vienna? First Crystal Soda Cream wanted to escape it, now BRUCH wants to idealize it?), a simple-enough railcar ride led by snappy (perhaps brushed?) drums and Pulp Fiction guitars and bolstered by deeply purred vocals somewhere between James Burroughs and a sedate Iggy Pop. From there “That’s What Love Is” or “Trouble” should be your next stops, the former an urgent smear of keys and lovely ladies’ lipstick, the latter a ballad of sorts filtered through 80s bubble-pop and 50s torch songs. Unfortunately, I can’t help you any longer, so gear up for this one and keep your mind open-open-open.

Links: Totally Wired



[LP/CS; Holodeck]

There’s something uplifting to be argued in favor of isolation. Cut off from the world, instinct takes over. Senses keenly improve. The strong are able to maintain their humanity while tapping into feral abstracts. I doubt Survive is taking itself this literally with its recent Blade Runner incarnation, but it’s safe to project that in our doomed alternative timeline, the music of HD015LP​/​540​-​046​/​LLR010 will help us remember the methods of survival: lonerism. It’s a moonlit dash from one safety zone to the other, all the while finding the bare minimum of necessities to eek out another day. Though it seems stark – perhaps even dark – there’s hopefulness in the vision. No one wants us to end up in the dark, victims of our own fascination with the post-apocalyptic. But should it ever come to pass, those who find the will to [S]urvive will find themselves proud of their transformation. It’s a sad future but their is brightness for those who see it as the new beginning it is. Survive are giving us the tools of preparedness in case the day comes.

Links: Holodeck

Poet Named Revolver

Meets Gruesome

[CS; No Kings Record Cadre]

It shouldn’t have come as such a surprise, but as it turns out Lee Noble’s old band was fucking incredible. Also featuring Trabajo’s TJ Richards, as well as No Kings cohort Stephen Molyneux as members of the quartet, I guess the really surprising thing about this is to find that Poet Named Revolver was, interestingly enough, a pretty straight-forward guitar/bass/drums indie rock kind of combo. Of course, it was their experimental tendencies that made these guys so much more interesting than so many other players in the game around that time… and listening through these fantastically composed and executed songs, it’s also a surprise that this band didn’t exactly take off. Meets Gruesome, their sole album, is an earnest, heartfelt collection of rockers that bleed with sincerity. It’s full of clever song structures, pivoting sections that gallop over quick-tempo ragers and sweep across light, heart-breaking balladry, all with a nimble ease, a master of its own obstacle course. There’s a bit of a folk-bent here with help from some banjo, accordion, and harmonica arrangements peppered about, but the tendency to include these textures doesn’t minimize the electric power that runs through this record’s coarse veins. And for as big and bold as those chords strum, and as hard as those drums persistently pound, the band also maintains a thin, lean musical frame, which is the perfect construct to house the singer’s voice. Not sure which member specifically it is who’s crooning here (and it may be that different tracks on the album feature different voices), but each tune is sung with the quaking tenor of a young Isaac Brock, pretty and perfectly in tune for the softies, and appropriately hoarse when barking out over a particularly rowdy chorus.

This album was originally released on cassette by Nailbat Tapes back in 2008, and this new edition of 50 copies is criminally meager. Sorry to review a sold-out release, everyone (especially since it’s such a crusher record)… but I felt like I just had to get some words down on this one. Check your favorite distros, or heck, buy the digital record from the band, and godspeed!

Links: No Kings Record Cadre

Samin Son


[8-inch lathe; PseudoArcana]

I’m not sure how to put Samin Son’s music into context for you if you’ve never heard Tonstartssbandht’s vocal drones, Tstartss’ Andy Boay’s solo stuff, certain Old Tyme Relijun ditties, or other NZ lofi luminaries like Pumice, so I’ll go the tried/true route of describing the sounds for you in a ridiculously creative way (my ego goes here: _____): Imagine a shaman blowing his voice through a megaphone into a tunnel spanning the Pacific Ocean. The sound emerges at the other end fused with the salt and mist of the ocean and spreads out over the land like morning sunlight. Farmers, worried the unfamiliar aural nectar will harm their plants, spray a metric ton of insecticide on every acre of plants, debilitating most crops and forcing the scientists of earth to come up with an evacuation plan circa Interstellar. Officials find, however, that the only way to propel their shuttles far enough into the galaxy is to harness the endless energy found within the salty, misty clouds of sound, so they harness it and eventually save the world (and they don’t even have to miss out on their daughters’ entire lives). THE END

Links: PseudoArcana

David Karsten Daniels

The Four Immeasurable Minds

[CS; Carpi]

With the sharp witticisms of Sharp Teeth, Daniels had a hold on me. It was an incomplete look into the psyche of relationship that sometimes felt too personal; a loud drunk telling a sober bartender all their troubles with increasing volume. Nearly 8 years and a few releases later, The Four Immeasurable Minds is the introspective thinker at which Daniels has often toyed. It’s not just the mellowed approach that puts Daniels closer to Rameses III than Conor Oberst. but the choice in how to express a thought. We’ve all tried to catch those words we wish were left unspoken. Here, a feeling is the better emote. The cassette’s Buddhist backbone can be at fault for its meditative spell but why suffer foolish anger when such a majestic beauty falls into your lap. Rather than toss out a few passive aggressive lyrics (such as the high and tight “American Pastime” from Sharp Teeth), The Four Immeasurable Minds captures the breeze of chin music with a brilliance long gone from the grueling sport. Easily the strongest Daniels has been to date and hopefully a sign of a shift in perspective. Not that his pop tendencies were aimless (quite the contrary), it’s that the insight is better used in these contemplative gems. 108 tapes seems too small, so let’s hope a stateside private press puts this on vinyl for a full aural experience.

Links: David Karsten Daniels - Carpi

Chicagojazzen / Dammit I’m Mad

Golden Oldies (Split)

[CS; Oma333]

My biggest fear here is having to pick a favorite between these two well-matched split tape partners that Stockholm’s Oma333 paired up for this cassette: both artists strike a post-rock chord with your old friend Strauss, presenting just enough familiar elements in a just-weird-enough way to make me do a double (or triple?!) take. What, you mean I don’t have to choose? Joy. Flip, then more joy. Flip again…. and just guess: Joy. Chicagojazzen, which is music impressively written and recorded by just one person, is what you hear first, and there’s a whole bevy of instruments that flood your ears in stereo, from whining, wailing guitars, to slippery synthesizers, horns, harmonium, some really tasty syncopated drumming (live, and also some glitchy electro-drumming here and there), bass, a voice (or a self-chorus of them), all arranged into smoothly flowing compositions fraught with sections of improvised filler that makes soloing feel more like a harmonic element to accompany the groove, rather than the other way around (which is kind of weird, and of course great). Dammit I’m Mad is what I believe to be a band that fills out the opposite side. This one is both a little rowdier and also a little more chill, with sultry melodies slithering through major and minor 7 chords and a distinct Jaga Jazzist flavor - just a dot of sweet but doused with lip-puckering sour, and all of it done wicked-fast. Scales and rhythms ricochet their way through tricky timing, each track full of measures you wished you’d been counting along with a second ago, but are gone in a flash, quickly followed by a sharp stab of feedback and noise for… what was that anyway, like seven beats? I don’t know. Lost, don’t care. Stomp along, slap me silly and flip it again. Flip. Joy. Flip. Joy. You tired of this yet? Me neither.

Links: Oma333

Brandon Seabrook

Sylphid Vitalizers

[LP; New Atlantis]

One of the many things I adore about the New Atlantis label is its ability to furnish recordings that feature prodigious players without — seemingly ever — resorting to the wankiness that often accompanies solo guitarists into their bedrooms. Brandon Seabrook isn’t strictly a guitarist actually (he sidles up to the banjo), and there’s nothing isolated or lonely about Sylphid Vitalizers, as it employs halfway acceptable drum machines and a frenetic pace to its endless benefit. You might catch Seabrook closing up shop with a drone or two, such as on “Mucoidal Woolgathering,” but he’s here to wreck shit, not drift you to sleep. And wreck shit he does. The tension here resembles that of string ensembles stretched to the absolute snapping point, dive-bombing then jutting their noses straight up to the heavens. “Cabeza Spasms” even had me thinking I’d thrown on that crispy Microwaves vinyl (speaking of which that’s a sick one too), with its spitfire drums (though I’m assuming these are still mechanical) and geeked-out guitar noodles. Perhaps the most eloquent moments of Sylphid Vitalizers occur when Seabrook thinks no one’s listening, such as the second half of “Cabeza.” Here he sets aside the programming and shredding, opting for a mellow suite of sorts that soothes as much as it puzzles. Fantastic work all around, from a fleet-fingered fellow that is most likely just getting started. Look for his full-group efforts too, such as Seabrook Power Plant; surely a lot of strings are seeing their brittle end at the hands of that ensemble, as well.

Links: New Atlantis

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.