Unconscious Collective

Pleistocene Moon

[2xLP; Tofu Carnage]

I have a working theory that everyone exists as some formalized version of an archetype. In high school, we used our friend Blair to work this point. He was the baseline by which this theory was tested. In the same high school, he had a muckier, less attractive doppelganger we lovingly titled Dirty Blair. Then we saw Mesut Özil on television for the first time, which led us to dub him Athletic Blair. As you can see, it was a shoddy and yet wholly realized identification of shared characteristics that had everything and nothing in common.

Which is where I stand as I continuously dissect Pleistocene Moon from Dallas carnies, Unconscious Collective. While I hesitate to stick to an outdated mode of thinking, I can’t help but think of them as Jamming Gwar. The photos of each member in their makeup that accompanies the album sets the mood for the jazz-rock three-ring that unfolds over the course of long-winded jams that have enough of a punk edge to keep them interesting and enough soulful, skillful playing that requires a rethink about books and covers and other shit. Ritualistic idealism in the vein of King Tears Bat Trip and spastic like Wally Shoup or Paul Flaherty, it’s an unexpected trip of the senses just by touching the heavy duty record. My turntable was not prepared for its heft nor is the world truly ready for a misleading trope about mis-identity. So let’s make this simple: if you long for the days of explorer spirit with a clear destination (none of that hippy meandering shit), you have your record. It’s loud, chaotic, but never lost. Maybe there’s a bit of Gwar showmanship (without appearances in Empire Records and gobs of inferred violence) but it’s all just emperor’s clothing. I never took the time to see what made Dirty Blair or Athletic Blair different from the person I knew, but Unconscious Collective will force an open perspective.

Kotsoteka // UNCONSCIOUS COLLECTIVE [live] from Fabián Aguirre on Vimeo.

Links: Tofu Carnage

Adrian Knight

Pictures of Lindsey

[CS; Galtta Media]

Synths glitter like lights off a disco ball on this, the single weirdest fucking tape of 2014, written by a guy named Adrian Knight. He’s a hep jazz cat, a part of that hep jazz cat scene David Lackner’s been hovering around for his Galtta label’s tape releases in New York. So as you might expect, the performances here are just fabulous, really tasty Rhodes and Wurlitzer work atop some clever but simply constructed electronic drums that set the vivacious vibe you get throughout this album. A lot of the tunes are just plain nice, like in a James Taylor sort of way (that’s good James Taylor, mind you), or reminiscent of Arthur Russell’s stuff with the Flying Hearts, where his love of country, disco, and rock ‘n’ roll all comfortably colluded in the 70s for pop song perfection. But Knight’s compositions are also cut with creepy interludes and often have pitch-shifted vocal hooks which gives this album a surreal, sometimes nauseating quality that plug it nicely into the modern tape weirdo scene as well. Lackner guests with some nice sax arrangements here, and there’s also a cameo from EVI champion John Swana to give some songs a flavor that’s pinker than Pepto. And for as smooth a number Knight most certainly seems to be, his lyrics sure paint the picture of someone who’s anything but: “Scaring All the Girls Away,” which closes the album, is a hilarious and humble spate of self-deprecation set to a flat-out sex-jam that also has me thinking this aligns with what folks like Scammers’ Phil Diamond are doing. The nerds have never been sexier than in 2014, ladies (and gentlemen), scoop these bachelors up while you can.

Links: Adrian Knight - Galtta Media

Odawas

Reflections of a Pink Laser

[12-inch; Bookmaker]

I find myself staring into both abysses of Odawas’ Reflections of a Pink Laser. The first image, of Earth rising over a martian horizon, is the spatial universe often seen through the telescopic Cerberus lens. Ever-expanding, futuristic, and haunting. The back cover, a more idyllic beach view is serene and still. Just the never-ending waves and a cool breeze moving us toward another minute passing by. But both settings offer contemplative moments of where we are and where we’re going. ROAPL isn’t so noble as to think itself as a new-age bridge between the modern and the future, but it is positioned as a think piece about the duality of pop music. Intertwined to the noises and oddities of outsiders, ROAPL is also indebted to the simplicity of recognizable melodies. Though it feels a little flat on “Paul Klee in Damascus/The Octagon,” much of Michael Tapscott’s ruminations are flattering to the opposing views of pop. “What If Our World is Their Heaven?” is a lofty ideal but somehow 20 minutes can create an engaging and unique piece of pop. “Anamnesia/Home is a Concept,” is the long gaze out at the stars after night has fallen on the beach. Though ROAPL may not trouble itself with being the bridge between here and there, it is positioned –at the very least – as the first beam in an incomplete interstellar pathway.

Links: Odawas - Bookmaker

B-Lines

Opening Band

[12-inch; Hockey Dad]

I reviewed a B-Lines 7-inch a few months back (on Kingfisher Bluez) and whenever I dive into an LP following the short punch of a single there’s a cautious edge to it because I’ve been burned so many times (as in, the 7-inch rules, then the full-length practically betrays the 7-inch with its shittiness). Obviously it’s easier to put one’s qualities across in the former because it’s a brief burst of yr personality rather than a long-ass slog through yr psyche (which may or may not be interesting enough to fill 10-15 trax). Don’t assume the curse affects Opening Band, however. They simply don’t give a flying flipper-fuck about your droopy hipster-dolphin blues, much in the manner Fatal Flying Guilloteens didn’t, and their ambivalence renders them more powerful than the naked eye could ever ascertain. Remember the anger and power jocks at your high school used to have? B-Lines harness that kind of energy and PLUG it into PUNK, and this time it’s not the dude with glasses and a Descendents shirt who’s getting his ass kicked! It’s like old Makers recordings (before they were on Sub Pop; true nit/grit) fronted by a singer who doesn’t realize his mic is on. Oh, it’s on buddy, it’s definitely fucking ON! I want you to hear this record, if you don’t mind.

Links: Hockey Dad

Reverend Moon

Coyote Gospels

[CS + Book; Arachnidiscs]

This here deluxe package from Reverend Moon has made me a convert. To what religion or god, who knows? There are so many to choose from and besides, they all look alike. But Reverend Moon offer something different. Not quite the Cave Singers or Nick Cave, but certainly the sound of the cavernous. Coyote Gospels is full of religious allusions from the book of Big George and Sally. Who plays the role of the soft haired Philistine victim is anyone’s guest. I’m not sure I want to stick around to find out but yet the (good?) word abides. So I eat the possum and beans, and am transformed. I have visions of Wooden Wand and fall into a fever, saved by Exaybachay. In the end I see that many talk loud but say nothing….but Reverend Moon may have more than meets the eye. Thankfully he sends me off with a hymnal and a button to wear upon my lapel as I shake the babies and kiss the girls. I am saved and now my mission is conversion. First step: political office!

Links: Arachnidiscs

Kevin Drumm

Primate

[CD-R; self released]

Boredom is the mother of invention. Once the steady trickle of novel media to consume runs out, and cigarettes, alcohol and gas in the car (and maybe some food) are taking precedent over new tapes, the time for revisiting arrives. Commentaries on old DVDs start to look very attractive, dusty books are dug out of boxes, and the cuticle shredding process of record digging begins.

Try this: listen to Primate once at a normal distance from the speaker, at a sane volume, all of that. Beautiful, no? Now play it again, but lay on your side, one ear to the ground (or the bed or the sofa) and with your back to the sound system. Now, if you are lucky enough to have something portable and capable of considerable volume, put it in your bathroom, crank the volume, and listen to Primate again from the other side of the closed bathroom door. Your penny-pinching creativity will pay off; three distinct pieces of muscle twitching, bone ringing, sonic aggravation emerge. This process is guaranteed to keep you entertained for at least two hours and piss off whomever shares your living space. It’s a win-win, really, and this is the added bonus: you get to listen to Kevin Drumm.

Links: Kevin Drumm

Demonstration Synthesis

DS6

[CS; 5CM]

Time for another Leznoff, as prized in my collection as a Barry or Tuttle in that of Herb and Dorothy Vogel’s. Each cassette is a new artistic endeavor even if the medium and technique remains true to form. It echoes in the hollowed halls of my museum; black boxes filled with priceless antiquities of a musical evolution across a once dormant format. Leznoff is deft on his synthetic canvas, this time producing a bridge between his deeper, darker work and those of his more fantastical playground of the imagination. DS6 sound like readymades, re-purposed ideas that aren’t fully formed but are not to be left to collect dust. It may not be the darling of dealer but it is a warm embrace and unforgettable piece of the canon any emotional collector will treasure. I am no different. I am able to prune down my belongings well before they swallow me but Leznoff’s work is going nowhere. In it I see a reflection of space and time far greater than the tired irony of future vs. past. This is truly an artform Leznoff is setting off, to be memorialized among the Whitmans and Lehns.

Links: 5CM

Andrew Weathers & Seth Chrisman

Louella

[CS; Full Spectrum]

BING! Attention shoppers, if you rush to the end of aisle 8 you will be treated to a special surprise for adults only. Don’t miss out on this one-of-a-kind deal, supplied by our friends Andrew Weathers and Seth Chrisman. Here you will be given a new soundtrack by which to live out the rest of your days, away from the muzak and the recycled pop hits of yore. This is a carefully constructed, well thought out list of what music needs to be engaging, though it’s unlikely you will need your dancing shoes again. Okay, maybe you can take a quick break for some Miley but soon you won’t miss her, just as you no longer miss gluten. Our store will accommodate all your emerging needs, like that of sensitive taste and odd combinations such as harmonica and synthesizer (it’s as tasty as peanut butter and sriracha). Your palate is welcome. Now, if you’ll excuse us, there are more customers to service with this Louella branded goodness.

Links: Andrew Weathers & Seth Chrisman - Full Spectrum

Blood Bright Star

The Silver Head

[12-inch; King of the Monsters]

Blood Bright Star’s The Silver Head isn’t the sort of fare you’re used to hearing about in this column, but I hope you’ll keep reading because I feel it’s a worthy diversion for both Cerberus and the mighty King of the Monsters label. I also thought of that Lycia record on Handmade Birds and the way it stands out from its labelmates so completely it almost lends new life to the contents therein. But enough of the ‘set-up’; exactly what are we talkin’ about here? Shit; I wish I knew! It’s like the singer(s) from German Army started a minimalist post-shoegaze act with members of… Astral, or maybe Continental, that old post-rock band from California. If that doesn’t work for you, I’m not sure what I can offer because Blood Bright Star’s take on rock is as oblique and smoky as the gray/clear vinyl The Silver is pressed on. There’s a definite appeal to repetition and and way it can program your brain if the segment being duplicated is tasty enough, and more than anything I’m guessing fan’s of Dylan Carlson’s Earth will get a dose of silver and ask for MORE, bloody MOOOOORE. The excitement of this record is that no matter where you’re at on the spectrum — rock, metal, punk, etc. — you’ll likely find something you dig, particularly if you harbor a soft spot for long, meandering instrumentals (though vox do crop up often) that build up with the patience and knowing of a hibernating Buddha. Another score for KoTM and you, pal o’ mine.

Links: Blood Bright Star - King of the Monsters

The Pen Test

Biology

[7-inch; Moniker]

Damn, woke up late. No time to change, pajamas will have to suffice. If I run I can make the exam. It’s brisk out. Better open up Biology and do one last quick cram. Avoid the traffic, don’t give the hot co-ed a second look. Okay, maybe a second look. I wish every textbook had a cover as entrancing as Biology. So simple, so pretty. Maybe it’s why it was framed above my desk rather than opened. But I’m glad this rush has finally made me break it open. It’s an exquisite design of human body and motor skills. The electronic pulses match my heart rate as I race to class. The whirring synth mimics the hum of engines at the intersections. It’s as if this is conforming to my every action. Alright, made it to the door with a few minutes to spare. Forgot my pencil but I see this is a Pen Test, so I’m always prepared. The answers are filling in by themselves. I got this. Biology isn’t just course of study, it’s a way of life. Turns out I never left bed. My mind, not my feet, was racing. Through this, I can master all. I am evolved and Biology is no textbook but a life-giving obelisk that I bow to every morning.

Links: Moniker
  

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.