Fungal Abyss

Bardo Abgrund Temple

[CS; Translinguistic Other]

There’s nothing unintentional by the name of Fungal Abyss’ latest. This is a psychedelic burner shot from the devil’s trident into small-club hellholes to rock a nation in need of musical acid. Swirls of heavy colors slowly drown in mud and blood. Take the brown acid; wash it down with a handful of dug-up mushroom, multiple swigs of rum, and OJ; and gargle that shit to get the taste all over your mouth. Then just sit back and let the music do the rest. There are four long-burns and you have nowhere else to be, not when you enter this plane. “Arc of the Covenant” is straight Pond and Comets; “Year of the Bones” is Dead Jefferson Hendrix slowly conjuring flames to burn down the tie-dye shack. You’ll be homeless before you even know the place is ablaze. These four jams need a lot of kindling, but when they start burning, the heat is intense. It’s a whole new world; time to set adrift in the world of Fungal Abyss.

Links: Fungal Abyss - Translinguistic Other

Slug Guts

Stranglin’ You Too

[7-inch; HoZac]

The title track of Slug Guts’ latest 7-incher starts innocently enough; then the vocals come in and holy Jaggercise-from-hell, these boys have a secret weapon on their hands, coughed up from the bowels of a red hell no one wants to imagine. Iggy Pop, lizard-tongue sliced in half ‘n’ drunk, fronting Pat Smear + Epic Soundtracks + Notekillers, coupled with the Puffy Areolas’ saxophonist, circa 1982. Not trying to oversell you on this one, but LORDY B’GORDY, THIS LAD IS A DEMON on the mic. How can I NOT throw my support behind this one? Kids waiting for the next Smith Westerns album should stop by the Slug Guts ranch and get their fuckin’ gizzards ripped out and splayed across the side of the barn by these four cutz. This wild 7-inch wears its sunglasses indoors, if you know what I mean. (And you do.)

Links: Slug Guts - HoZac

LA Vampires By Octo Octa

Freedom 2K

[12-inch; 100% Silk]

I’m astonished by how familiar “His Love” sounds as this blast-back to 90s house begins. Wait, is this some strange appropriation of Rusted Root’s “Send Me On My Way”? A likely coincidence, but obvious nonetheless. The world has finally bridged apathetic hippy drivel with repetitive dance and turned out a winner. It’s the formula behind Freedom 2K, a mini-marathon of House of Style background rhythms without the sexy mole of Cindy Crawford or the odd homebody tips of Todd Oldham. Ah, how times flies, moves forward, and then steps back. The new dance-tastic version of Amanda Brown is austere, almost untouchable like the supermodel show evoked by this 12-inch. It’s a strange transformation from Pocahaunted’s contemplation to LA Vampires’ ritz, but it’s one that seems rather apropos as the divide grows. Now if you’ll excuse me, I have a catwalk to dominate. Youknowwhatheysaybouttheyoung.

Links: 100% Silk

Test House

Bitemarks

[12-inch; All Hands Electric]

I remember hearing Supersystem for the first time and, along with missing El Guapo, thinking, “Damn, it’s like it’s the 1980s again, and everyone’s invited!” That was nothing — groups like Test House (and King God, who were much more grandiose about things) pull all the levers on the time machine. Liquid beats, pan-flute synths, “rhythmatronics” (a.k.a. tightly wound, robotic bass rhythms), and the sort of vocals that, if they were being subtitled, would glow florescent. Very fluid arrangements, too; there’s a certain urgency about these guys. They mean it, and that always means something. Bitemarks is about as engrossing as post-coldwave colorwheels get, especially “Cold Void Jiggle” and its lumps of playdough synths that, true to their title, wiggle like jelly. I like squishing them between my ear-fingers. “Island” might be the one track that doesn’t compute, its flat-footed figures doing little to help Test House’s argument, even if its endless coda is well executed. Just a hitch in the road. Seek and crank.

Links: All Hands Electric

Mole House

Mole House

[CS; Night People]

Buzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz
Whatthehellisthat
buzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz
IfIcatchthatsonofa
buzzzzzzzzzzz
Melanie
zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz
Ahhhhh
zzzzzzzzzzz
It’saninfectioussortofbuzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz Onethatwon’tgetoutofmyearzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz AllthewayfromMelbournezzzzzzzzz MoleHousehasdonethistomebeforezzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz Ilovekitschylofibuzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz ShowersandRainzzzzzzzzz ShowersandRainzzzzzzzzzz ShowersandRainzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.

Links: Night People

Trophy Wife

Stella, My Star

[7-inch; Private Leisure Industries]

Trophy Wife hit with a tight-as-fuk debut 7-inch, with Stella, My Star being their attempt to retain that momentum. It’s a bit clumsy, each side reaching for a totally different gravity, but think it works on the whole. Title track “Stella” is where I’d put all my money — it’s got sort of an Erase Errata/Jenny Hoystrom thing going, ominous in all the right places and bolstered by a throbbing bass line. Nice, volcanic guitar work, too. Then “Frankie’s Song” hits and we’re back honking noses in Karate Kid II, confused, disoriented, and likely to lose its footing like, as Odd Future would say, a glutton with diabetes. Love the synths, intrigued by the flow, warmed by the bass breakdown that puts a Sonic Youth tramp-stamp on the whole thing. Folks at Private Leisure Industries said they can’t get anyone to lend their ink to this one, and I just don’t know why that would be. Agree to disagree, general record-buying public?

Links: Trophy Wife - Private Leisure Industries

John Wesley Coleman III

“Alone by the Door” b/w “I Want You to Be Like Everybody Else”

[7-inch; Sophomore Lounge]

I once embraced any folkish voice like it was a dream girl. I was happy to envelop myself in the new skin of the next Tim Buckley or Nick Drake wannabe. Those days have long passed, myself becoming bitter when the beautiful lady turned into a venomous oasis of my powerful imagination. Coleman III makes me sentimental for my own mind tricks while employing a few of his own. “Alone by the Door” may rest on a familiar refrain (“You know it’s funny/We ain’t got money”), but it works with the spooky burst of Theremin near the end of the song’s plucked melody. It’s all warm summers and Scooby Doo mysteries with this one. “I Want You to Be Live Everybody Else” is a bit stranger — not as overboard as Daniel Johnston, but heavily indebted to him. The rhythm section of Rob Halverson and the vocals of Leslie Sisson lend this sweet, effacing ode a bit of heaviness. Coleman III is clearly a new troubadour. Now if I can just escape this synthesized morass to find the beacon.

Links: John Wesley Coleman III - Sophomore Lounge

Sheer Agony

Sheer Agony

[7-inch; Fixture]

What a surprise Sheer Agony are, their self-titled 7-inch mimicking a cup of wine turning to blood as you drink it, then back to wine again. The backbone of their sound is a more outgoing brand of Clash-style punk, or at least post-punk, but their perfectly planned shifts and lurches hit the ear more like early Scritti Politti or Joggers (extra points for eliciting my old Portland faves), and their instrumentation is far more twangy than anything John Q. Strummer usually fucks with. I like this a fuckin’ lot, if you must know. These sudden breaks into spindly arpeggios and glittery yet eerie riffs belie the fairly innocent nature of the melodious vocals. Different than just about every modern-era band you’re listening to, I’d be willing to wager, even if it IS only the warbling sense of drunkenness setting it apart. I always find it fascinating when kids with new ideas jump amps-first into punk waters, and I love where Sheer Agony go with it. A nice surprise in a genre undernourished of hype.

Links: Sheer Agony - Fixture

M. Geddes Gengras

Beyond the Curtain

[CS; Holodeck]

M. Geddes Gengras is becoming a second Keith Fullerton Whitman, because you never know when you might need a spare creative unafraid of any genre, sound, or idea. Beyond the Curtain finds the sometime collaborator once again flying solo, this time in the world of modular synth, turning blips and bloops into catchy kitsch. Despite the repetitiveness (always with the same beat, this music), MGG spreads his wings over the course of three long thinkers. Intermezzo “Air Solo” is the highlight, sitting somewhere between 8-bit wet dream and Arthur C. Clark futuristic dystopia. Space Invaders collide with space invaders, all over the course of eight and a half minutes of frenzied dancing. The tape’s title track takes a turn to Xander Harris/Justin Sweatt territory, a bit more sinister and dangerous in its intentions. Should I panic in the void or just embrace the free fall into nothingness? Eventually, the horror show breaks up upon landing softly in Kirby’s Dream Land. Always with the strange circumstances, this one. As for what to expect next, perhaps an album of oud experiments or Gengras playing a set of Tupperware in his kitchen. It’s guaranteed to be interstellar.

Links: M. Geddes Gengras - Holodeck

Stephen Steinbrink

Rennet

[7-inch; Funkytonk]

Stephen Steinbrink is a prodigy of sorts, having recorded all sorts of sides in his teens and, in the last few years, tossing out LPs via his French Quarter project on the Life’s Blood and Offtempo labels. The Rennet 7-inch reveals a quieter side, cuts like “It’s Home / Make My Nest” offering a comfy respite from all the neon “bleep” of the modern-music revolution. I flash back to the hushed work of Holopaw first and foremost, which is never a bad thing, and it’s a given that when I listen to a composition from Steinbrink, it’s going to linger on my ear-finger. That said, save “Contradictory Convolutions,” which is the perfect porch-folk ploy and reason enough to pay attention, “Rennet” isn’t as impressive as I would have guessed. It floats by without making enough waves to rock the boat, even the pleasant melodies of “Creosote” failing to dazzle. Still, a solid investment if you’ve been following FQ, and don’t forget to seek out “Contradictory Convolutions.”

Links: Stephen Steinbrink - Funkytonk

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In this ever-expanding musical world, there's a wealth of 7-inches, cassettes, CD-Rs, and objet d'art being released that, due to their limited quantities and adventurous sonics, go unnoticed by the public at large. Cerberus seeks to document the aesthetic of these home recorders and backyard labels. Email us here.