Circus Bukkake

[CS; Unit Structure Sound Recordings]

All right, so you have a serious question to ask yourself, and that is this: “Am I really reading about and considering listening to an album called Circus Bukkake?” If the answer is yes, then read on: This is one crazy, crazy, crazy cassette tape. A trio of Canadian dudes that feel like they are collectively sprinting – while at the same time spinning themselves around in circles – in a high-speed blender – to nowhere in particular. Guitars? Drums? Keyboards? Saxophones? *scratches noggin. Every sentence I write from here on out might have to end with a question mark? Grasping. I am grasping for straws to figure out how and why, but lo: It is there, it does exist, and actually, for the utter catastrophe that it is, it’s also pretty fun. If you don’t mind a tape belching and screaming obscenities at you on a regular basis and can get past the fact that absolutely nothing about this band makes any kind of sense… then and only then will something like Circus Bukkake be worth your time. I can tell you with a degree of certainty that it was worth my time, if only to open the J-Card and read some of the song titles. I’ll leave you with a couple to give you an idea:

“Lick My Toad”
“Touch My Sludge”
“In the Wrong Hole”
“Ejaculation Snuggle”

If you’re still here reading this… thanks, I guess. Have fun!

Links: Unit Structure Sound Recordings

Sam Shalabi


[2xCS; Los Discos Enfantasmes]

If you’ve been loving those Discrepant found-sounders (Gonzo/Lowdjo/Kink Gong) and Daniel Padden over the last few years Sam Shalabi’s Mindlessness double-tape is going to boil your bunny. But don’t take my word for it; read up on Shalabi a bit. He’s crusaded with Silver Mt. Zion and moonlighted as Shalabi Effect, but here we have him all to ourselves. This is one of the functions of the tape community, offering light to work that needs room to stretch and unfurl its complex intentions fully. I wish I could just sit down with you (yes, reader; you) over tea and explain this, but since there’s not enough time for that I’ll have to deliver it to you in shorthand. Based mostly on vocal and instrumental samples, Mindlessness seeks to draw the listener in while encircling the ranks; before you know it you’re surrounded by string squeals and pick-chipping, and there’s that voice, that eternal voice, reporting to us on lord knows what. It’s like Haves & Thirds if you replaced their beats with stand-up bass and a ghost orchestra. Oh, did I mention that’s only Side A of the first tape? Yeah, that’s probably the tamest audio you’ll find wherein; a simple flip of the cassette and you’ll wonder if you’re stumbling into a game of peppermint percussion, mid-conversation mind-porno. Then a voice sample starts talkin’ ‘bout September 11 and Jerusalem and Muslims and… Don’t ask, just find a way to listen, OK?

Links: Sam Shalabi - Los Discos Enfantasmes

Honey Radar

A Ballerina in Focus

[7-inch; Third Uncle]

My love of Jason Henn’s Honey Radar spills into 2014. Though promises of a hiatus makes me nervous, I can be assuaged by this super limited lathe (which you can still buy – seriously, have you not poured over these glowing praises). A rough and tumble way to debut a promised last romp in the sheets; piss stains and empty beer bottles littering our pleasure-dome but this is the life of a groupie. You take the skid marks with the rocket fueled 4 minutes of sloshed ecstasy. But Honey Radar are attentive lovers, even in their haggard state. A woozy blend of broken folk tricks and renegade rubbings of the muff. As a mere foreplay teaser, it’s a damn good tip to get in the ol’ midge. Break yourself off one of these lathes before the roll of 20 is spent on other groupies in disparate watering holes. Take to Tinder and make the hook-up. Any pregnancy caused by A Ballerina in Focus is accidental and Honey Radar cannot be held responsible for pushing their seed in your bush for life.

Links: Honey Radar - Third Uncle


When the Hue was More

[CS; Stagnant Fjord / Kerchow]

I really like the name “Restaurnaut” and I think we can all relate to Nick Dolezal’s brief definition on his Bandcamp, “One who very commonly eats out, and is recognized easily by waitstaff.” Not only is Dolezal certainly one of these restaurnaut characters, but while at a restaurant, there’s a good chance he’s also playing a show. His music is playful and simple, but most importantly portable - ukelele strums, glockenspiel plunks, kiddie-Casio key strokes, flutes toots, and small cymbals make up the core pallet of sounds, all of it contributing to the miniature, hand-held feel of the tape. And then that voice… yeah, he gets almost a tad obnoxious on this one in spots, but it’s all a part of the act: This weird Restaurnaut dude is screaming at me and my steaming bowl of matzoh ball soup. Why not? Dolezal is obviously a fun-loving kind of dude (check the end of either side of the tape with a pre-recorded “thank you” message and instructions to fast-forward to the end and flip the tape over… no no, Restaurnaut, thank you), but that doesn’t stop him from throwing bits of endearing drama in there - “Registered Vampire” is a certified creep-fest, and it follows a really focused no-input noise affair that’s no joke either. But on the whole, Dolezal is at his best doing what he did on last year’s Black Crow Marathon, singing those lovely, lively little tunes with little frill or fuss, and sounding like he’s having a blast while doing it.

Links: Restaurnaut - Stagnant Fjord / Kerchow


Into Blindness

[CS; Haute Magie]

There’s no denying the power of Into Blindness, and furthermore, there’s no denying that it’s tough to figure out exactly what Loci are trying to… do. Which is the best part. A futuristic form of blackened drone doesn’t seem out of the question, but what about those random rhythms? What about that feeling of propulsion? The ambiance is disturbed too often, the cloak of distortion mitigated by lazers, approaching helicopters, what sounds like hell’s accordion, and that sweet TV static we all noticed for the first time via Poltergeist. My best guess would be audio collage, if that’s a ‘thing,’ abetted by a tasteful penchant for noise of the Nihilist variety and keys that slap softly like a graceful shuffling of cards by an old-time pro. It’s impossible not to smile when you think of how much gunk they’re piling onto the beats. But I still hear them. HA!

Links: Haute Magie

Southern Femisphere

Three Questions for Integrating

[CS; Standard Issue]

At one moment co-opting riot grrrl with a few more rolls off the tongue; at others embracing the in-your-house togetherness of close knit rock and roll, Southern Femisphere continue to explore the satellites of past revolutions in the modern sphere. But unlike the stoic teacher in front of the classroom, 3Q4I embarks on a field trip to collect all the fucked up artifacts of society for public display. Inspired by poems and prose, Three Questions showcases a band on the rise and maturing with each release (going so far as to provide an alternate version of “Transgander Pt. 2” from last year’s Houses that is rawer but more apropos for the mood of the band). Unlike the roots from which Southern Femisphere’s work sprang, I don’t feel reprimanded with every shout nor shoved out of the room whenever they throw elbows in tight quarters. Exploring media, emotions, and lifestyles different from mine is what keeps me enthralled with each SF release and the intensity – not mistaken as authoritative anger – keeps me engaged. This is a band growing more complicated in idea as they continue to keep it simple with poppy melodies and hook-laden harmonies. When anything of interest has already been said, what’s the harm in revisiting it and finding what fell between the cracks? 3Q4I may be rich in history but its own course has yet to be plotted. Nab the tape and pass it on to a new generation ignorant of the old.

Links: Southern Femisphere - Standard Issue

Baroke Misty Queens

Tacked Into It

[7-inch Lathe; Auris Apothecary]

One thing that’s always puzzled me about music is how it takes up time but does not exist at any one space in time. A piece can be six minutes long, but that is any six minutes you choose. Songs begin and end, but they can always begin again when you press play. Life’s not like that; even if we have memories to live over in our heads it not the same as the initial event. How accurate is memory; how much do you even remember about your day up until reading these words? How much fell through the cracks between then and now?

This is why formats of recorded music that lose fidelity are powerful. The two minutes and change that Tacked Into It takes up in lathe cut grooves crumbles every time you play it, like the trailing edges of a dream when your alarm snaps you awake. Play it back. Is that crackle part of the music or did you damage it on the first play? There is no way to be sure, no way to get that experience of the first listen back. We can only move forward on this track, trusting something essentially intangible for accurate recollection.

Links: Auris Apothecary

Cvbe Ov Falsehood


[CS; Merzbild]

I can’t even read the bandname on the cassette sleeve of this UNTITLED tape; c’mon Cvbe Ov Falsehood! No need to be bashful. But you have a reason to be mysterious, don’t you? A shady past, involving members of Night Worship and Servile Sect (the latter among Cerberus’ holy ones), hmmm? Si, mucho. And I know you watched a lot of horror movies growing up, but look on the bright side: It’s influenced your work in a positive way. Mike Patton’s movie magic, Black Horizons, Alan Bishop, solo AMT, Land of Decay, Hoor-Paar-Kraat… It’s not a simple equation at all and I’m but grasping for straws, trying to get it right for y’all. I love the way the drone portions of the action continue as other elements fade in and out. Good continuity, good lift, good hold, DOUBLE DUTCH. Limited to 130, might be sold out, but Merzbild isn’t a label to trifle with, and Cvbe Ov Falsehood is a side project that may very well become a full-time enterprise someday.

Links: Merzbild


Nunn Ones

[CS; Manic Static]

Earring’s guitar sounds like it’s constantly in flames as Nunn Ones burns its way across the nine tracks. And Jason Balla, who sings in the band, could care less that the thing he’s strumming is currently on fire. Or, it’s not that he doesn’t care exactly, he’s just so used to it scorching his blistered and blackened palms, he’s willing to let his jaw drop as far as possible for the delivery, and his words crawl their way out of that gaping maw accordingly into rolling pastures of baritone. By now you should know: This one has “the gaze.” And the gaze is not a gaze without the gaze. It’s focused, eyes shooting through the shoes and the floor and the foundation and concrete and dirt like laser beams all the way to the molten core of the Earth – That place where apathy and boredom is so… intense. And important and crucial and scorching hot. And heavy, too, weighing down on Earring’s barrage with the ballads dangling from their earlobes like barbells. Drums bang away back in their cave, and the group’s collective eyelids droop down with exhaustion on their way to a fitful sleep. But they will dream from their fourth-floor ratty Chicago apartments of stuff like red convertibles running up and down the coast. A perfect addition to the midwest’s recent crop of ‘gazers, fitting nicely into the Manic Static catalog or alongside some of Lillerne’s recent outings.

Links: Earring - Manic Static

Ana Threat

Dropout Dumpling

[2x7-inch; Totally Wired]

From the concept to the art to the delivery, Dropout Dumpling is flawless, but only if you understand the forces that have been building up to this point for decades. Ana Threat (and this could be a fake backstory, but I bought it; whatever who cares) wrote the soundtrack for a film in the late 1970s, playing all the instruments herself, and the results are compelling enough to deserve the lavish treatment. The strange, at times almost suspiciously ornate arrangements (though there’s a lot of satisfyingly murky punk guitar magik too) hearken to the sci-fi thrills of certain strains of 1950s rock/roll, with kooky organ and killer bongos! But it’s so much more than that. Considering the breadth of personality offered on each and every side, Dropout Dumpling justifies the often burdensome 2X7-inch format tenfold, and will be of particular interest to the Finders Keepers crowd (though I will never understand y’all).

Links: Totally Wired

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.