[CS; Unread]

Being pulled in all directions by an album is what makes for compelling re-listens. Chauchat is such a rare find, unafraid to blend an acoustic pop song into longer, looping sound collages that have little in common beyond the creator of said melodic plays. It unfolds like a Facebook meme where faceless individuals hold up signs prophetically declaring you should drop everything and do what you love, no matter the consequences. It’s likely those same people would have ejected Chauchat’s tape at the first electronic tear of “Organ Trap.” There is something to be said for abandoning doubt and embracing dreams, also know that the grind of pushing through an obstacle not of your own choosing has its rewards. To those of you who change your dreams to run away from the inevitable, Chauchat is not your savior. Wreckage will test your patience and make you wonder what is truly distinguishable between pop music and avant-garde experimentation. It’s likely a bigger gap than most of us would care to admit but in that abysmal silence, Chauchat fills the void with the broken promises and shattered dreams of those unwilling to see anything through. A meme is no more a motivational cause than the actual pursuit of a purposeful life. Wreckage is purposeful music.

Links: Unread


Calmer in this Town

[7-inch; Quemada]

Quemada is one of a few reliable sources on new Australian jamz, so surprise of all surprises they turn right around and release a 7-inch from Detroit band Roachclip. I’m sure some acid-laced parallel between the abandoned burrows of the Motor City and the vast wasteland of the Outback could be had, but let’s just focus on the similar aesthetic easy to recognize: rock and roll. Unfortunately the fun runs out after just two songs, requiring an intermission to lift oneself from the comfy confines of the couch to the turntable and back. But the trip will be filled with a repeat visit of A-side “Masters Den” echoing in your hollow skull because that’s what good rock does. It eats your brain and turns it into goo for manipulation (so maybe don’t play these songs backwards). B-side “Cast of Clowns” is Midwestern to its core; that sly bridge between garage rock and tape manipulation that is lost between the ’70s and ’10s much like you’ll be on the return leg to the couch. What was I doing? Wasn’t someone here with me? Why can I only remember these two songs? Let it wash over you like bong water.

Links: Quemada

Gas Chamber

Hemorrhaging Light

[12-inch + bonus flexi 7-inch; Iron Lung]

Gas Chamber strike fear in the hearts of many because they wield hardcore origins like a dagger while plugging you with bodacious prog-rock chops every so often, By The End Of Tonight-style. The audacious fusion is thrilling at best, odd at turns, and awkward when it falls flat on its face right in front of your ears. That’s what I love about Hemorrhaging Light, however. It takes a deuce to the chops and gets back up, fire-punching like a madman with that same determination you spotted in him when he was frequenting the low-money chump fights. You just don’t hear music like this much these days, and that might be the ultimate compliment in and of itself: they went there when no one else would. We’re talking bass solos (not to mention a ton of high-fret work on the four-string) and extended forays into mellowness; drumnastics and brushes with near-Rush, all juxtaposed by not only rife, full-of-Strife hardcore but the jumpy, loose-limbed prog manner mentioned above. A band have decided the rules don’t apply to them, a development I’ll encourage even if it doesn’t always jibe with exactly what I cotton to at the moment. That said, Hemorrhaging Light holds much intrigue for many of you reading this site. You’ll have to answer the really tough questions yourself (Can I accept Gas Chamber’s wildly fluctuating din? Is _____ right for me? Did I catch _____?), and while you deal with that I’ll mention Side A of this LP hits a lot harder (and deeper, if I may say so) than Side B. Coincidence? You decide.

Links: Gas Chamber - Iron Lung


Online Architecture

[CS/LP; Holodeck]

In a classic episode of Seinfeld, Elaine is troubled by a sidler. The cankerous man is able to subtly sneak in and out of situations, only to be noticed at the best of times. Enter Online Architecture, an equally daring feat of music that finds its way into the most prosperous situations at the most ideal of circumstances. Yet unlike the problem that plagued Elaine, Symbol is the beauteous weekly gal pal for the titular character. She, an heiress to a collection of valuable toys, will not let Jerry touch or play with them. So he covets and paws at them lost in a loop of adolescent weirdness. It’s an ugly side of beauty – trying to attain the unattainable. Ironic considering Symbol is the moniker of This Will Destroy You’s Chris Royal King. Online Architecture is a destroyer. It plays with your emotions, inserting itself into situations when you are least prepared; placing itself as protector to a wealthy prize you are unfit to hold. So you plot and scheme, further degrading yourself and others all in pursuit of something you should never have. Best get your tape or LP now because soon you may find yourself in a situation comedy premise where your new girlfriend has the wickedest record collection, complete with Online Architecture, and you’ll have to distract her with copious amounts of turkey and wine to possess it in your wretched little hands.

Links: Holodeck


Silver / Lawns

[CS; Wounded Knife]

So the artist I thought I had so few words for is here in my tape deck again, meaning I have to find some more of them somewhere in my brain. That’s because Dura is some damned beautiful ambient drone music, and also Wounded Knife makes one helluva damned nice cassette tape, so I guess I don’t really mind. I love the butterfly booklet here, stitched together with different sized pages and three different stocks of paper including a translucent film for the center mini-spread, and the case itself has an embedded “J-band” thingy that is also printed. Coupled with the design, Wounded Knife has encased Silver / Lawns with delicacy and grace, which is perfect since those are the two words I’d use to describe Mattson Ogg’s work here exactly. Also I’d use words like warm and sunny and orange and gorgeous – Ogg’s a master at pulling adjectives off the tongue, although verbs don’t come quite as easily. Once each side of the tape starts, you’re there, in this delicate/graceful/warm/sunny/orange/gorgeous place and you stay there. Not that you really need to move or even want to necessarily… if the idea of paradise in heaven for eternity after you’re dead sounds boring, I’d suggest looking into a genre like speed metal. For the rest of us who find magic in the soft clouds of modal stasis, Dura’s about the best thing since whatever Earthly delights you thought were important. (They’re not.) Moving around is for the waking. Go to sleep already! Dream.

Links: Dura - Wounded Knife

Catholic Guilt

Filmworks 2010-2013

[CS; Hemlock]

I don’t know how Hemlock Tapes manage to be an unsearchable entity, I only respect their anonymity. Unfortunately for them, however, I’ve had the pleasure of making Catholic Guilt’s acquaintance in the past. CASE CRACKED! Now let’s get down to business: Is this another one of those improv/noise tapes that should very well be allowed to fall through the cracks considering the intense proliferation of said products in this day and age? And the answer is NO MUH-FUGG, WE JUST GETTIN’ STARTED. By which I mean, I hear a lot of experimental musics ‘round here, but CG find a way to justify their existence every time they get together, seemingly. There’s something about their combination of found-sound, live instruments, drone tropes, and experimental aesthetic that makes sense, and the impossibility of pinning down just what renders it special is half the fun. I imagine this is what it’s like to spend the night under a busy bridge in bumtown: Cars roaring by overhead, street musicians tootling, fires crackling, and minds the-fuck-up blowing.

Taiga Remains

Works for Cassette

[LP; Helen Scarsdale Agency]

The peaceful sleep of retirement. It beacons a youthful culture, sown up by dreams of striking it rich and living off the royalties. Once it was oil, then it was jewels and ore, now it’s internet start-ups. As far as music is concerned, retirement is akin to losing massive touring revenue. I mean, Mick Jagger’s gotta pay upkeep for all those model girlfriends. So it’s a shame to see Alex Cobb laying to rest Taiga Remains. Whether this moment also implies planting his hypnotic drones six feet under is a concern because that lucrative stadium tour when he’s well into his Sixties seems so far away and who knows if we’ll have the money to pay for the front row. Is this truly the music that will span a new generation of Yuppies? Unlikely, for it is far too contemplative and real. When one chases money, they find that they are insecure in what they accumulate. It’s lifestyle fulfillment that becomes nightmarish to maintain. The nightmare of Cobb is that strengthened by inspiration, he must put down Taiga Remains to pursue his new muse. So we bid adieu with a golden parachute of his best cassette-based work now on a rotund vinyl disc. It’s no $40 million pile o’ cash or even an inscribed watch but Taiga Remains is clearly too old for this shit. Thankfully we are not, as this last bit of mellow gold helps the rest of us slog through the daily grind of thankless peers, endless jobs, and tireless commitment to not being like those money hungry tycoons who can’t wait to throw away millions for a moment in the lap of luxury. As Cobb entails within this last (revisited) breath, there is no price for a memory and a happy ending. And a good recording on tape sounds just as warm and low key on vinyl.

Links: Helen Scarsdale Agency


Cover You

[CS; Field Hymns]

When the dust settles and the smoke clears, 2014 may be remembered for many things, but in my mind, it will always be the year of Phil Diamond. Dude is pumping out amazing tapes at an amazing rate, and I have no idea which one deserves the most love so don’t be surprised if this isn’t the only thing you hear about Scammers from your dear friend Strauss in the coming weeks. Cover You was once a digital-only affair until the good people of Field Hymns found it worthy of physical release, so here in my hand I hold the true confessions of Phil “Cubic Zirconia” Diamond – his testimonial, an admission of being nothing more than a loser working for minimum wage + tips in a coffee shop, constantly nursing a hangover headache, all to the rhythm of a beat fit for the spangle of Vegas. Truly inspiring self-deprecation at work as that velvety baritone navigates its host body’s inner-psyche, trying to figure out why it poisons itself with stuff like nicotine and alcohol and thoughts about girls who will never have sex with it. And that eternal doubt is endearing and wonderful and just plain human, which is why you’ll pay attention, but the best part is how none it gets in the way of just how goddamn slammin’ the synth riffs are. Ten ton melodies made weightless when pitted against the bounce of an unstoppable four-on-the-floor like “30 & Smokin,” and if your feet and/or booty can resist it, then those things are attached to a dead body (by the way, you might want to get that checked out). But it’s the two-step piano-driven title track that’s the real show-stopper, where word and tone come together in a double-helix of powerful pop-art portraiture. Cover You’s only crime is that it’s just not long enough, which brings us to the three other tapes he’s got out this year. (to be continued…….?)

Links: Scammers - Field Hymns

Filipe Felizardo

Sede e Morte

[LP; three:four]

Felizardo’s material is the electric guitar, and it is not a fragile substance with which to create. It is malleable but the work exerted to bend its metallic wantonness to surrender is forceful. It reverberates with angry bellows and roars with dragon’s breath behind its demonic noise. Yet it is also gentle, tamed on Felizardo’s inspirations. Though they a kinder breed, theirs was a savagery not unlike Sede e Morte. Akin to Alan Sparhawk’s Solo Guitar (still waiting for a follow-up), Sede e Morte is a solitary breaking in of a bucking guitar. Those kicks to the chest, marked by a stubborn horseshoe into the flesh, is part of the loathing-before-loving. I’m sure it’s all Heathcliff and moors. But where Emily Bronte missed the heart of men, she unveiled the willingness of Men. And that’s Felizardo’s gift, to understand the path of grief into power. In the end we’re all on some sort of spiritual journey through arts and sciences. Once ensconced in glass cases, Felizardo’s sculptured beast has broken free and runs free through an album as powerful and majestic as the scenery it paints. The blank pedestal fresh, not yet covered in grass.

Links: three:four

Doubting Thomas Cruise Control

Appleton ON

[CS; Duckbill]

The influence of Pavement is not dead, if a little weathered. Perhaps the college rock of the 90s as a whole, as it seems ridiculous to pin the good and bad on Malkmus and Spiral (or even Gary Young – how are ye, Mr. Young?). The moth-ridden rags that remain look as sloppy chic as ever as worn by the boys of DTCC. There’s a current of displacement and violence as giver and taker, but you’re going to miss much of that on the first few listens and without the aid of a lyric sheet. What you’ll immediately gravitate toward is the warm familiarity of these songs despite never hearing them until that first press of play. That’s how they’ll hook you into the greater messages, roughly shapen. But it’s welcomed to be told rather than to put puzzle pieces together through thought experiences. Sometimes I just need a hapless sermon that’s catchy. Thank you Appleton ON for delivering.

Links: Doubting Thomas Cruise Control - Duckbill

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.