Digital Natives

Coppeecuffs

[CS; Avant Archive]

Jeff Astin (gentleman to some, homey to most) returns with brolific moniker Digital Natives, a strange blend of Doc Moreau pop and vaporwave machismo. Yeah, it’s a lot of Sanford and Son hogging Coppeecuffs but the kitchen sink melodies and off-kilter sing-song of appropriated samples and junkyard beats is righteous with indignation. This tape cares not for convention or tradition; it’s carving its own in the same vein as Found Footage, et. al. Tropicalia, weirdo freakouts and island pop all weave in and out of this third-world boogie of one man’s trash becoming our treasure. To hell with your bourgeois thoughts, cut loose and tear one on with Dude Extraordinaire Astin.

Links: Avant Archive

Plankton Wat

Mirror Lake EP

[One-sided 12-inch; Sound of Cobra]

If you’ve been paying attention to the onslaught of Sound of Cobra one-sided 12-inches, by the likes of Expo 70, Hell Shovel, and others, you already know how fast the damn things sell out. You also, surely, know that they’ll deliver the goods, and old hand Plankton Wat step on board with a searing platter of songs in the key of acoustic. Not quite Fahey, not quite Six Organs, not quite Mason Lindhal, not quite anything you’ve heard, really, but you get the idea. They pull back and let the strings breathe then hook you with the blow-back, slow-pickin’ their way to elite indie status only bolstered by their past output on holier-than-Yeh imprints Stunned, Digitalis, Sweat Lodge Guru, and Blackest Rainbow. A little soft-light bubble-drums go ‘pop’ and “Moonlight” suddenly seems lifted from a different album, if not dimension. “Lone Pines” then closes the bar with more of that soulful guitar. What can I say? Solid as a rock, strong as it can be.

Links: Plankton Wat - Sound of Cobra

Desperat

Demokrati Eller Diktatur?

[7-inch; Beach Impediment]

As a late-1970s porn actress might have casually said, Oh fuck yeah: Desperat, on Demokrati Eller Diktatur?, play hardcore, bare-bones style, and manage to make that work in the here-and-nizzle. That’s rare as hell, and the Tom Araya vocals (in fact one might liken the Desperat sound to that of Slayer’s hardcore-saluting Undisputed Attitude) smear sonic blood all over the trebly guitars and light helpings of bass. As far as current acts go it reminds me of that one-sided White Shit record from a few years yore but without the surreal touch, along with Kyklooppien Sukupuutto 7”, a previous Cerberus treasure. It’s possible I’m merely isolated, but I don’t hear many records like this anymore, totally transcending the good-enough-to-be-a-local-staple-but-not-noteworthy-overall curse that so many hardcore/punk/etc. bands are under (for evidence search old used 7-inch bins dry-er than your grandma’s cooch; you’ll doubtlessly find several also-ran-ish, technically ‘heavy’ records with black jackets) despite the advanced age (we’re talking rock ‘n’ roll years here) of Desperat’s members. Glad this exists.

Links: Beach Impediment

Oktaf O

Oktaf O

[CS; Old Monster]

This is going to throw you for a loop. And another loop. And another. And. An. A. Oktaf O–whoever or whatever this is–is some funky, futuristic freakout. It’s pattern based, it knows no genre-specific boundaries, and it hits fast and hard. The only thread piecing these five “songs” together is the use of similar instrumentation and composition: a synthesizer (sometimes primary, often secondary) infused with infectious drum beats. What I can tell you is it’s evolution. The codified sounds are being picked out, DNA is being altered and the result is the new super-strain of synth/drone/jazz/electronic rock. It’s leaps and bounds beyond, because the only ties to the past are the devices used to create the symphonic hybrid. Oktaf O explodes myths and blueprints. No more shag piles and bad 80s hair to revisit. Whatever I must to do become part of this machine, I shall. My flesh is but a pod. My guitar but a tool. This synth merely a distraction. I will assimilate because this is where I want to go and what I want to be.

Links: Old Monster

Meryll Hardt

“I Can Die Happy” b/w “Lichtspiel”

[7-inch; Apolkalypso]

Mystery delivery! Whoever sent this two-faced gem of Germanic duality, I applaud you though I question how you received my location. I always had a suspicion the SS was watching from afar. But I’m too boozy from the post-WWII glug of “I Can Die Happy,” its winsome Gerswhin glee finding Hardt drunkenly laughing with me as she looks me dead in the eyes and artfully replies “It is written in the stars, you are full of shit.” We’ve only just met but she gets me, if I were a GI with slicked backed hair in Vichy France. B-side “Lichtspiel” is a quick transport to modern times, a trip through the Belgian wormhole. Those brassy sounds now robotic and industrious, free-willing-turned-mechanical. It tells me to keep my guard up even after the sloppy times of the A-side. I live in a fantasy land of 1950s Euro resurrection but what exists is a continent once more growing to accommodate a bulbous planet. Whoever sent this did their homework. QUIT SPYING ON ME! Or don’t, so long as you keep sending me more Meryll Hardt and her ilk. I also like frilly boxers and Swiss chocolate.

Links: Meryll Hardt - Apolkalypso

DeTrop

Man Woman & Beast

[CS; House of Alchemy]

In French, the phrase “de trop” is used to describe something that is done in excess. Not sure if there’s some kind of symbolic significance as to why this trio chose that for the name of a noise act that is so understated and spare, but it does have a chilly ring to it that seems to fit. Man Woman & Beast is wooshy, and windy and cold, and cavernous. It is old, and creaky, and cranky and, oddly enough, quiet through all of this. Haunted with distant spooks, screeching specters, metal filings drifting off whatever blunt objects are being so softly tortured, heels sunk into the backs of small animals who sing in wretched whistles, breathing machines running on fumes and voices struggling to express their discontent with the establishment through the echo. This tape is shedding its skin, itching and picking at it, molting organic tissue and sacrificing it to the soil and frantically hiding what lies beneath. Another solid set of shambolic improv from Adam Richards’ House of Alchemy label, the 52nd release he’s committed to tape.

Links: House of Alchemy

Bobb & The Kidds

Take Me Home Vienna

[7-inch; Mighty Mouth]

Finally, I get to combat Bobby Trimble and his nimble, quivering voice on TMT (kinda like covering that Tim Buckley record after all those years), the stuff legends and odd nightmares are made of. Those, such as I, whom already own Secretly Canadian’s Harvest of Dreams will already have these two tunes; if you haven’t wet your beak in these waters yet, this is a great way to get-with-the-goddamn-program-already. “Selling Me Short While Stringing Me Along” (you can tell it’s tight from its title alone) is such an odd take on a prom-night ballad, guitars phasing back and forth, drums quietly surging beneath the disco lights, distant arpeggios holding it all together in challenging circumstances. It’s humbling to know there was music this challenging happening in 1981, as you could easily mistake it for some weird, quasi-Amen Dunes outtake or Panoply Academy ditty. I also have always heard Supertramp in Trimble’s delivery, specifically Roger Hodgson’s gender-neutral wails; I don’t have a point to make here, just revealing something about myself. Oh yeah, and “Take Me Home Vienna”: Another apt look into Trimble’s enchanted forest of slightly off – and thus so ON – sounds. There’s a guitar solo in here that mimics a tune I can’t put my finger on. Might be a nursery rhyme or something, and there’s no one more Humpty-Dumpty fragile than Trimble. That’s my awful outro and I’m stickin’ to it.

Links: Mighty Mouth

Josh Mason

The Symbiont

[12-inch; Sunshine Ltd.]

My little leaf. It drifts down a river, its only propellant that of wind and current. A loose turn here, a sharp bend there. It lazily makes its way to a destination only it and the water know. The relationship is not contentious, but one of fruitful understand. The leaf, vibrant green, begins to dull around its edges. The river finds itself a strong provider. Together they are married in nature’s harmonious infinity. Where one ends, the other begins. Where one perishes, the other shall live. Both giving and receiving nourishment. There is no discussion of where the river goes or how the leaf arrived in the midst of its grasp. They symbolically hold hands, navigating unexpected torrents and territorial animals together. They are aware that death awaits them both; one much sooner than the other. It does not concern them. Theirs is a life lived. A record as clear as the mountain stream on which is it whisked. A guitar as fragile and lifted as the leaf on which it strums. Let us not be concerned with the beginning or the end. What we have is now. An elegant life, the music of our surroundings, and the wherewithal to let it envelope us.

Links: Josh Mason - Sunshine Ltd.

Brr

Brr

[Book + 7-inch; Itchy Roof]

THIS IS THE MOST AMAZING THING EVER! I’m having flashbacks to read-alongs with Marmaduke and Charlie Brown. Sadly, they’ve been lost in the gaping hole of adolescence to adult hood, when the seemingly obsolete ends up lost in the permanent vortex of too many moves. Thankfully artist Ryan Dodgson and musician Moshe Rozenberg have brought back the turntable read-and-play. When you hear the chime, turn the page, only here it’s the unplugging of an electronic animal or the mangled and overworked garbage disposal. The geometric pink art is magnificent; reminiscent of the doodles of Chad VanGaalen, Daniel Johnston and late 60s Looney Tunes as represented by abstract shapes rather than animal husks. Though an obtuse story, it is one to follow if for nothing more than active participation–it’s all art ever asks and the creative duo have made it accessible and fun. Rozenberg’s music will eventually steal your full attention, a combination of Hella and R. Stevie Moore in its bombastic, quick and quirky sputterings. It’s all over the place, much like Dodgson’s beautifully devious art and prose. It’ll set you back $25 to enjoy this but if you want to experience a lost storytelling art influenced by so much greatness (without ripping it off), Brr will sit you down and blow your mind with every needle drop and turned page.

Links: Itchy Roof

Zachary Cale

Love Everlasting

[7-inch; Dull Knife]

I’ve been lusting after Dull Knife for awhile; finally the seal has been broken, and this one’s a damn doozy, delivered by a much-appreciated old hand. Zachary Cale is one of the only alt-country/Americana artists I bother to follow, and he hasn’t let me down yet. Don’t even get me started on that Illuminations LP; the guy has done his homework. “Love Everlasting,” as Dennis Green might say, is what I thought it was, namely a tight, straight-ahead country song that sheds all un-pleasantries associated with the genre. “Love” sounds like it could have been recorded during Lennon’s lost weekend, but that’s almost giving it short shrift. This is a powerful, slow shuffle toward the sun as death stalks from the shade, constructed of layered acoustic guitar, distant electric-guitar flourishes and backup vocals, bass that propels the ship forward, and drums simpler than a game of tic-tac-toe. Cale has done it before, and he’s doing it again; don’t let the sun go down on this heavy-ass 7-inch before you get a copy.

Links: Zachary Cale - Dull Knife
  

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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.