Attempt

“Another Night” b/w “Up to No Good”

[Cassingle; Self-Release]

What happens when a fraction of Hair Police (Trevor Tremaine) gets stuck in sheen of ’80s synth pop? Not quite as lucid and lazy as Howard Jones, Tremaine’s Attempt is a rose by any other name. Despite a more accessible sound akin to the $2 bin at the record store, there are moments of disruption that seem far more familiar by the end of “Another Night.” But this ruse doesn’t let up with flip, “Up to No Good.” A more folksy pop ballad, there are moments of generalized complexity and depth that just fuck with you in the best possible way. Attempt is rather a stab by Tremaine at supposed reputation. So if you see his name (and that of Hair Police cohort Robert Beatty as mixer), you’re expecting a particular brand of noise. What you end up getting is a much more shocking revelation and one for my money that is well worth the $5 on one of 50 cassingles.

Links: Attempt

Zeek Sheck

Joinus

[2XLP; Resipiscent]

So many labels claim their latest record emanates from the mind of a misunderstood prodigy I’ve began to tune those voices (repeating “genius!” over and over) out. Then again, when you’re right, you’re right: Zeek Sheck, former Skin Graft artist and current carrier of the Resipiscent torch, is a misunderstood genius. But what renders her so great and of-the-moment? Didn’t her last record drop like a mini-bomb in 2003? Wasn’t she on a split with fuckin’ KILLdozer at some point? Yep, all great questions, and I will answer them in one form or another by the time this Cerberus shithouse goes up in flames. For now, I want to focus my gaze upon Joinus, a sprawling double LP (of course, is a double LP ever not just a tad sprawling? discuss) that allots ZS room to rev up her wrecked madness without worrying about time constraints. Here’s where the 10-plus-years break comes in, too; she’s spent her time wisely and has a lot of creative coin in the bank. Sheck gives a lot and demands a lot; either you’re in or you’re out. Wisps of this and that (True Primes, of Locust Music fame; Liars, in general; The Residents, of COURse; Bene Gesserit just a tad) flit by like the dead dreams of our fathers, and if you don’t like what you hear one minute, rest assured Sheck’ll stack the deck differently soon enough. She’s keen on repetitive chanting, so if that’s a pet peeve look elsewhere for your underground thrills. She also claims she’s not violent or crazy, so if that’s you’re kick… But this isn’t an inchoate artist we’re talking about. Major chops flaunted all over Joinus, from clamoring, practically neoclassical clarinet to wandering guitars to Mincemeat Or Tenspeed effects pedals to FUCK look people I could literally name about 34 more instruments/styles here so allow me a spot of mercy and grab this one for yourself. Highly recommended from folks who know better.

Links: Resipiscent

Olli Aarni

Auringonnousu Pikseleinä

[CS; VAALD]

My addiction to ambient music stems from its ability to create or influence an environment; altering the feeling of my rather cramped, over-priced room. I can make the room feel inviting, off putting, open or oppressively closed-off merely by choice of record. It’s “select-a-mood,” almost like ingesting a drug, taking a vacation, remembering a dream or drifting into fantasy and distant imaginings at work.

Olli Aami’s Auringonnousu Pikseleina takes me nowhere. Not that it is boring, or a failure as ambient music, or even as minimal an album as something like Kevin Drumm’s Twinkle Toes. There is content here, and it captures the moment after; the silence when you finally turn the car off after an extended drive, the first minutes when you step back onto the street after a concert, the second when you turn the water off before getting out of a shower. This is the grey, drained feeling after an expenditure of energy; post-party, post-drinking, post-vacation, post-orgasm, post-work, post-accomplishment. Good and empty, quite and content, tired and satisfied. Auringonnousu Pikseleina allows the moments where everything has been done, where there can be true emptiness and balance, before you come back to responsibility, life and the real world.

Links: VAALD

Phil Maguire

smll hnd/dctfl hnd

[CS; Drone Warfare]

Debates about limitations on music matter not to Cerberus. Sure, the ability for as many people as possible to possess said artifact matters, but there’s also a lost art in private pressings and rare monuments of a recording in its first iteration. It carries with it a personality, and though a market has arisen to commodify and profit/prophet from the sell and trade of these rare resources, it’s ultimately up to a buyer what a personal connection/collection is worth.

I’d like to think smll hnd/dctfl hnd is Maguire’s treatise on such trivial notions. In an edition of only 50 copies, Maguire’s debut is inauspicious in its release and conservative concerning its first impression. There is no desire to make this an artifact that balloons in value, just modesty about the interest from a saturated market that is hard to tap as a new voice. But this tape tears at the very fabric of that choice, as if to say its 50 copies are truly 5 million. All those zeroes buzzing and clawing among the stacked sounds of lives being lead outside the metropolitan. The static of hard wired electricity navigating empty fields and lonely roadways; the longing of distant lovers across the world; the sine waves of incomplete thoughts feelings fighting each other over which shall prevail. Dichotomy seems too innocent an idea of Maguire’s work. Modest as it may be in size, it lacks no amount of bravado in scope. So if you cannot save up your pennies to buy a copy now, best continue to sit on them for awhile because in the future smll hnd/dctfl hnd sketches, you’re going to need them for a far greater cause.

Links: Phil Maguire - Drone Warfare

Communions

Cobblestones

[7-inch; Posh Isolation]

After hearing a recent White Void (solo guise of Frederik Lind Köppen) 12-inch I knew what to expect from his ‘main’ band, Communions: Tons of glorious lo-fi treble, disaffected singing that isn’t afraid to care, and a sub-Crystal Stilts brand of post-punk that dips even further underwater. I received the pristine second press of this puppy, on white wax, and each song inhabits its own specific space even if the overall method behind them is the same. I’ll never understand how bands manage to do it; these chords represent the same rudimentary combinations we’ve all been hearing for years, yet Communions find a way to make these simple combinations not only work, but work wonders. The murky production matches the emotional motif of the quartet aptly, blurring the landscape like a pair of sunglasses at night or cigarette smoke mushrooming from a table at a diner. More please.

Links: Posh Isolation

Villages Of Spaces

Welcome In

[LP; Turned Word]

When you review music for a long-azz time (we’re talking almost 15 years in my case) you see a TON of bands come and go. A lot of them seem like a big deal at the time even if you know in your heart they suck balls (to wit: Annuals), and sure enough, most of the time the youthful heart/enthusiasm these same artists are purported to possess is directed into other, more profitable enterprise within a few years and you’d barely know they existed if you weren’t obsessively following the underground musical beast’s every shift. Village Of Spaces (also at one point dubbed Village Of Spaces Corners County) are one of the few bands that have lasted all these years, from the Skyscraper days on through the era of Gumshoe Grove (my ill-fated blog you never read) and Signal To Noise (RIP) and right up to the wonderful present, and it’s a pleasure to continue to receive their music in the mail because they’ve always done folk right. And if you don’t realize how awe-inspiringly difficult that is then you obviously haven’t heard as many awful folk yolks as I have (particularly when the BOOM was happening in 2004-05). I’d link Village Of Spaces to, say, Richard and Linda Thompson if I were forced to make a comparison, but VOS forge their own path and, per Welcome In, seem to be consumed by their singular vision; perhaps that’s why they’ve stuck around for so long while other fruits die before they’re fully ripe. Another reason might be their impeccable devotion to song craft, which shines through the lovely “Wheels” like a flashlight was jammed in its maw, and generally permeates this entire full-length effort. There’s something familial about their music, and I’m not speculating on the relationship of the principle members of the band as much as I’m letting you know that, when listening to Welcome In, I tend to think of my own family and how much they mean to me. It might be a simplistic thing (the Purdums take a lot of road trips, perhaps summoning “Wheels”?) or it might go a lot deeper than that, to the point where Village Of Spaces’ music provides such a soft caress I can’t not think about the ones I love or even have loved when I listen to their bare, acoustic meanderings. (The little snips of a crying baby don’t hurt, either.) Whatever the reason for my personal feelings I’m glad there still are folkists out there that can pen a ditty that conjures open spaces, the forest, small, dilapidated folk venues, and the aspects of this life that I treasure.

Links: Villages Of Spaces

Demonstration Synthesis

DS7

[CS; Phinery]

Off the heels of summer cool down DS3, Daniel Leznoff heats it back up with DS7. A more energetic exercise than when we last left him, the prolific Leznoff dusts off that mid-80s soul for an instrument that seems calculating in the hands of others. I hate to run off a list of heated radio singles from a time best forgotten but there was a playfulness lost in modern pop to be found on the local dial in those not-so heydays of radio. Similar to LX Sweat, Leznoff understands the raw sexuality synth can also possess. Unlike LX, this is an album about taking one’s sweet time to make love rather than to finding the open stall in the club for some primal activity. Cerberus condones both, but it’s best not to mix the emotions of either with the wrong mood music. And despite its awesomeness, it’s probably wise not to tell your hot date that the song you’re listening to is titled “Premium Dookie” unless it’s one of the ladies from Two Girls One Cup. Then you tell her about “Behind U.” Don’t want to tell you how to live your life, just alerting you to romantic etiquette in these situations…and to the continued suaveness of Demonstration Synthesis.

Links: Phinery

Survive

Survive

[12-inch; Monofonus Press]

This self-titled (remember that album, Elf Titled? that was funny) effort from Survive is split right down the middle (I think Bitchin Bajas did this recently too, albeit to much different effect). On Side A(mbient), we’re blessed by a boundless drone drift that will soon deliver us into the hands of the musical messiah. On Side B(east), we get a much different helping from the same dinner table, this time a swirl of programmed synth ribbons and glorious beats heralding the second coming of EDM (if not the third). Strangely, considering my history of riddim appreciation, my sympathies rest with Side A because the method of delivery is treated as sacred and never adheres to the same principles for too long (save for the overarching principles of minimalist drone). It’s a fluctuating, undulating stuff that will guide your day appropriately whether you’re relaxing at home or tripping out in the desert with members of The Doors. Don’t forget the flip, however, because that’s where the other half of Survive’s mission becomes clear: To scoop up those trippy vibes and deposit them on the dance floor, or at least an all-ages venue in the industrial district. I say buy the LP instead because the opening bands (and there are six of them) might suck…

Links: Monofonus Press

Monomyth

Saturnalia Regalia!

[LP; Mint/Factor]

Monomyth have hovered over the last few days of my life like a Velvet(s) cloud made of purple wax, filling in the blank spots and bringing back memories of jangle-pop and other delightful distractions I’ve been tuning out. Melding the melodies of kiwi representatives such as The Clean to echo-chamber arrangements you might find on a great label like Captcha, is a brave undertaking. Many have tried, and most have failed to create their own Saturnalia Regalia!. First you need a fast-pickin’, versatile guitarist (with a predilection for “Please Please Me” finely displayed within “Candleholder”) who can carry the show on his own if needed (check). Second, you need a singer who can hold a note or two and doesn’t feel weird about backing off for long stretches (double-check). Thirdly, you gotta have a songwriter blessed with rare agility (checkmate). Once you have the pieces together, start gluin’ the puzzle together and you might just have VU as interpreted by Chin Up Chin Up or Cool Ghouls. Or maybe not; Saturnalia has me all confused, wracking my brain for reference points that just aren’t there. Maybe your best course of action is to go ahead and pick this purple LP up and tell me where the bear shits in the buckwheat.

Links: Monomyth

Bre’r

A.R.M.

[CS; BARO]

this hollowed out tree stump will suit me fine hiding from hunters scavengers darkness light people everybody always invading my home as if it were open foot traffic rustling my hedgerow and scarring the babies i fly by foot into wood and chain-linked because they corner me but here is solace here is peace caught by ears through a wafting breeze a gentle melody that soothes in this frightful hiding spot this is not my home but this tune shall make it so in due time i will never hide again this is where i will take a stand where we will take arms and fight back though by arms i mean musically not violently we are a gentle creature though i do know of some who have used force the only force i know is that of the constant thud into wood and chain-linked i talk to foxes but they do not listen i talk to trees but they just shake i speak to humans but they cannot understand so i stay in this hollowed out stump with my music and my arms (which are paws) and i wait until this all becomes mine again for the last time

Links: BARO
  

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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.