Peter J. Woods

Impure Gold Pt. I

[12-inch; Experimental Milwaukee]

Milwaukee… You’re waiting for me to crack wise about beer but that ain’t me dawg. It’s all about the Impure Gold Pt. I; I’m too busy kicking back with Mr. Woods, Peter J. to be exact, as he spools together roughshod noise, Jeff Keen-/Orchid Spangiofora-esque sampledelica, harsh, high-pitched endurance tests, Wolf Eyes screaming over simmering scrambled eggs, and other such communications from the heart of his home state. I’m to the point where the title track’s brown mush of noise goulash is sounding contrived, but that’s only four minutes of this half-hour behemoth. Much more subtlety is afoot on the other two cutz. “Notes from Within” is the linchpin of the entire golden enterprise, whispering darkly into your ear and blowing static dust into your personal space. Then it seems as if a sprayer is malfunctioning; isn’t that a form of torture, to not know when the hot mist is going to hit your skin? You decide.

Links: Peter J. Woods

Ian Middleton

Well of Sorrows

[LP; Skire]

Well of Sorrows is so notable you’d have to be a thick-skinned reviewer not to move it to the front of the pile. I’m a weak man so it wasn’t even a question of whether so much as, How soon can I pump this sucker out? Answer: Not soon enough. Ian Middleton crafts the most purposeful experimental synth-dro this side of Mark McGuire, softly and soulfully stroking his MS10 analogue synth like a purring kitten, coaxing sounds that relax the mind while building intrigue that only grows after the first and second listens are over. It’s easy to get lost in the forest of light that appears in front of your film-projector eyelids when you listen to Well of Sorrows, as if Stars Of The Lid added a few like-mindeds and betrayed their minimalist bent. When the LP first arrived I threw the record on without giving the jacket a second thought, but now that I’m feasting my eyes on this fucker I can see it’s next-level without a doubt, subtle and gorgeous (and designed by Middleton, Andrew Chalk, and Tom James Scott), framing the music like a sepia photo of a long-lost relative. If you read this review and stopped when you saw the word “synth” I GET IT, but you’re wrong this time. Dead wrong. The deluxe edition, limited to 50, of this item includes a portfolio-style wrap-around sleeve that also looks pretty dope, if yr interested.

Links: Skire

Honey Radar

Scorpions Bought Me Breakfast

[5-inch; Third Uncle]

First: make sure your record player can accommodate odd inches. Second: make sure your record player can accommodate odd speeds. Third: throw logic aside and just make it work.

That’s the best way to get to the one minute of creamy centered goodness offered from the latest art piece on lathe offered up by Third Uncle. The Indiana label that plays with strange artifacts in limited quantities once more thrusts a weird Honey Radar masterpiece onto us and though it will take us 10 minutes to play a one minute song, it’s well worth it. “Scorpions Bought Me Breakfast” is another preview before a promised full length from Honey Radar but in the mean time we will just bask in the simple pleasures of its quirky melody and quick run time. I’d tell you run just as quickly to pick this up but lucky you, all copies have vanished which means the 10 minutes of set-up is reduced to turning on your internet enabled electronic device and listening it to right here after you read this review.

…And finished.

Links: Honey Radar - Third Uncle


Stone Cloud

[CS; Noumenal Loom / Happenin' Records]

Starting to feel like a broken record with this, but I’ve reviewed an inordinately large amount of rock and roll music in 2014. Where my noisies at?! Seriously though, not complaining, especially since it’s solid stuff like Plains here, the project of Alabamite Travis Swinford, who’s a dead ringer for Lou Reed on Stone Cloud if I’ve ever heard one. Ugh, I really hate making cliché comparisons like that, but sometimes you realize that clichés are cliché because they must have something that sticks. Something lasting. In terms of the Plains approach to songwriting that means things like strict 4/4 time signatures, tambourine on 2 + 4, 4-5-1’s, strummed electric guitar, blues scales, breathy baritone vocals, and verse/chorus structures abound with the occasional bridge. And what a beautiful frame to put a picture in, right? As you walk down the gallery of Stone Cloud you get all these different shades and colors, a “collection” in the truest sense of the word with the band lazily drifting through sun-soaked jangles bright enough to turn February in Fargo into a summer vacation, and strolling down moonlit serenades all deep blue just like your lovers’ eyes. And along with all that structured, familiar goodness, just what good would Plains really be if the band didn’t let loose once in awhile? Bring in the closer, “Here Comes Bye Baby,” with its extended kraut-coda and flurry of guitar delay delight. Swirling psychedelic rock up there with the best of ‘em, and in a lot of cases, much better.

Links: Plains - Noumenal Loom / Happenin' Records

Will Simmons & the Upholsters

Innuendo: The Italian Way

[LP; Unread]

Remember when The Spin Doctors and their brand of funk-pop was popular? How about the roaring jazz influence of Squirrel Nut Zippers? The ska-drenched punk of the Mighty Mighty Bosstones? Have you erased all evidence from your music collection of such transgressions on retro-fitted sentiments? Thankfully Will Simmons and the fellas of the Upholsters don’t care for convention or trend. Though Innuendo shares little influence with any of the above, they do share a moxie for playing their own brand of Italian-inflected pop without a care to the world of drones, beats, and confessional ballads happening around them. Though the Spaghetti Western sincerity may fall between the cracks, the bravery to perform it in defiance of an indeterminable audience makes Innuendo all the more catchy and brazen. It adds to its depth and a further appreciation for the musicianship involved. The backing horns, the classic rock guitar stylings, and breezy drum fills – it’s refreshing. So make sure you poor yourself a tall glass of Innuendo and dust off those hidden relics of music past. You may have sold those neglected CDs long ago but the memories contained therein are still fresh in your memory. One dalliance with Will Simmons will guarantee it.

Links: Unread

Faster Detail

Chance Cube

[12-inch; Hot Releases]

There’s a bit of techno fever going on in the Purdum household right now, and Faster Detail bear the brunt of the blame. Their new 12-inch Chance Cube is fuckin’ sick, dude. Picture this: All-white clothing, glitter-dipped sunglasses, leg-dips, robots dancing dirty, fluffy cocaine laid out on all-white roller-tables from Ikea, computer sequences that addict your ears, garish scarfs, four on the floor at least, and a ringmaster, dressed in egg-white suede head-to-toe, workin’ his rig like a train set. No one says a word. They can has cheeseburger, to dance, if you follow me. (Follow me.) I dig on swine long as it’s crispy, and honestly I feel the same way about tek-no. Hit it hard or go home. Faster Detail do just that, programming jams the average person can’t manage. I can’t tell you how many times and in how many different, often elaborate ways, I used to rail against electronic music in general when I was much, much younger, and wow; what a fool become have I. Don’t judge me, just MOVE TO IT. That beat is begging you to follow it to pay dirt; soon you’ll feel like you’re getting a workout because you are getting a workout! Trust the rush, build the dream, take the trip, buy the, like, tick- … anyway, let’s get off that and wrap this up eh? Good: If you’re riding the thumping techno wave like a hot leather chopper Faster Detail need no introduction; you’ll feel like you’ve known each other your whole lives.

Links: Hot Releases

Yom San

Playa Piano

[CS; Crash Symbols]

Yom San thanks these people, in this order, on the liner notes of the cassette release, Playa Piano: Trees, Frankie Rose, Spoon, Sigur Ros, Cam’ron, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, The Pixies, Etta James, Juelz Santana, The ROC, Bjork, Battles, Aaliyah, Múm, Black Rob, Bad Boy, Javelin, Busta Rhymes, Flip Mode, Mariah Carey, Bone Thugs, Coco Rosie, Haerts, David Bowie, Blondie, Jay-Z, Hess is More, Michael Jackson, The Emotions, Will Smith, Ace of Base, The Chromatics, Death Cab for Cutie, TOPS. I mention this because you’ll hear all of these people, I think in this exact order order, as you make your way through this incredibly clever, well-constructed, and downright funky-as-fuck mixtape from Crash Symbols. If Girl Talk calmed his ass down, took about two-too-many spoonfuls of cough syrup and tripped his way into your bedroom, that’s about the vibe Yom San picks up on: A spinning-room delirium under your covers, snuggling up to your ears like it wants some late-night lovin’. Juelz rapping over Etta James? Why the hell not! Especially if Yom San’s gonna spin it this way, with the volume pulsing up and down, throbbing in and out, the beat rolling back and forth across your brain. You’ll definitely recognize the elements here, but oh how the drug of Yom San’s tricky mixing can intoxicate and change the molecular structure of things; these once-recognizable molecules have been altered into beautiful (and trippy) new shapes and sizes. And best of all, that trip is anything but scary: A lovely last thing, better for the ride home than it is for the club itself.

Links: Yom San - Crash Symbols



[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

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.