Lightness and Irresponsibility

[CS; Constellation Tatsu]

If names were reflective of personality traits, would the world be a better place? Shakespeare argued the idea, but it’d be nice to have some advanced warning system when dealing with a person or institution. It’s the beauty of Lightness and Irresponsibility, another posthumous beauty from Celer. It dares not tread in any territory not in line with the album’s on-point focus, two long-form meditations rarely raising their voice. There is no discipline or consequence to these compositions, just a life at its most carefree. As douchebag CEOs rig the stock market and two-faced politicians further divide America for ill-gotten gains, it’s comforting to forget the sadness surrounding Celer and focus on those lighthearted moments of youth. It’s not nostalgia but a moment in time frozen, forever providing the calm center we need in a world of mislabeled sycophants.

Links: Constellation Tatsu



[7-inch; Black Lake]

I’ve been trying to get the heavies to mosey on over to Cerberus more often, and it’s been tough. One exception is Black Lake Recs and their monstrous Hexis, a metal band afraid of nothing, from death to grind to gangrenous limbs of BM that rot and decay in favor of… you guessed it: death. Seputus/Fatum is a viciously delivered 7-inch with no time for pleasantries, save an isolated Testament breakdown; aside from that, it’s all double-bass and drills to the face, especially the malevolent Side B. I keep returning to the Corrosive Recordings label (Blues, Veil Of Maya) as a reference and must do so again here, because that imprint possessed an assortment of multifaceted metal bands indebted to no one and nowhere, just like Hexis. They drown in a swamp of hiss, and maybe it’s best that we don’t hear too much, as they’d have to slaughter each and every one of us if we ever found out what was going on in their collective head.

Links: Black Lake

Goblin Guts

Global Cuts Vol. 1

[CS; Geweih Ritual Documents]

In a classic episode of The Cosby Show, Cliff sits down daughter Vanessa and older suitor Dabnis in a talk about spontaneity and presentation. The dinner table lecture is concluded by saying that, for all of Dabnis’ positive qualities, the method by which Vanessa introduced him to the family was akin to serving the tastiest, most expensive meal on a used-up garbage lid. The care taken in the packaging and design by Geweih Ritual Documents all but eliminates soreness to the eyes, so too does the duo Goblin Guts: painstaking presentation over hideous Cosby sweaters and trash-can relationships. Despite the horrific imagery of the pair’s chosen name, Global Cuts Vol. 1 is a beautiful chain of odd pop sounds presented for an audience both adventurous and naive. Whether the most stalwart noisiest places the tape into their expensive tape deck or some youthful goofball jams it into a leftover Walkman found under her big brother’s bed as the family home downsizes, Global Cuts maintains a variety of found sounds, energetic rhythms, and madcap hijinx to soundtrack the next iteration of Bill Cosby’s magnum opus (with a special guest appearance by Alan Lomax).

Links: Geweih Ritual Documents


Walk on Heads

[7-inch; Blind Prophet]

Just try to resist Lower if you dig Dischord, straddling punk and hardcore, and steady streams of energy; go ahead, give it a whirl. Walk on Heads is beholden to Fugazi & the gang, while other more current acts like Shearing Pinx are invited to the party too. If this is where spindly post-punk-mixed-with-hardcore is going, I’m signed, sealed, and delivered, as Lower rip shit up while staying in complete control. The urgency and intensity is there, released slowly over the course of a track rather than in fragmentary bursts. Heavy vinyl, jacketed by an image that, again, reminds me of the old days, the dog days, the good days. Lower aren’t quite Okie Dokie, but that’s not where they’re going.

Links: Blind Prophet


Post Radio

[2xCS; Sunup Recordings]

But you’re completely alone, everything around you has been abandoned or is frozen, and searching for a signal is your only warmth. You crank the radio to life and continue your hunt for existence. Beyond now, you’ve reached a point where pupil dilation is at an all-natural high and colors sound you in darkness. The light has been out for months, both natural and electric, and the only community you have is distant voices staggering in and out of melody, and maybe that’s current, or a recording. Maybe that’s nature inflicting our radio waves: a hot mic left ON-AIR, broadcasting the wind bludgeoning the side of a radio hut. Staring into the void at your front and all around you, this basement swells with emptiness and echos. Out of the sound pours a mess of memory and drowns all your hope. No more tension. It’s cold, but not to your bones. Voices of ghosts surround your mentality, yet nothing but searing thought harkens hopeless humanity henceforth. Frustration turns off the sound. Evil compounds itself into piercing silence. Curiosity cranks the radio back to being. “Don’t be like that to me. Come back into this here. Where do we all?” Your lips crack blood from the cold, “Post Radio. Post Radio I am here. Consume me in comfort, and we’ll rot together.” So little emotion through such beautifully decayed facets.

Links: NYKDLN - Sunup Recordings

Spider Bags

“Papa Was a Shithead” b/w “I Wish That I Never Had Fed You”

[7-inch; Sophomore Lounge]

There’s a reason Sophomore Lounge is quickly worming its way into my ebon heart: it spits out records by the likes of bands such as Spider Bags. Hailed as a Replacements cum Townes cum Oblivions is high praise for a press junket, yet Spider Bags exceed the lofty praise in six solid minutes of 7-inch pleasure. A-side “Papa Was a Shithead” packs in a lot of melody in just over a minute, the ferocious punk assault softened by attention to detail (even if the repeatable chant of “Papa was a shithead” is juvenile in its cleverness). If you keep the turntable on repeat (and it’s tempting), you’ll miss the tender country jangle rock of “I Wish That I Never Fed You.” True to description, the band turn their punk sneer into roadhouse tear-jerking. The slide is pulverizing but not overpowering. It’s the music of hard necks, blue collar men with an adolescent pattern of looking for trouble but responsible for family and children. Digging deep into the soul of wantonness. Spider Bags — give me more.

Links: Sophomore Lounge

Weird TV

Weird TV

[12-inch; Perennial]

So many obstacles in the way of making their sound work, and yet Weird TV thrive in the seedy underbelly so few explore with ferocity, hitting on Bleach and a simple-stupid approach to punk. Right out of the gate, you get the Spanish SHRIEKS from a female Choking Victim, and it hurts so good. No, really; they sound like they might be damaging the person producing them. But that’s for god to worry about, right? We just need to get what we can out of it. A lot of questionable melodies will send a few folks running, so that’s your call. I think the good outweighs the bad, though you could argue for an all-scream, all-in approach. But hey, this ain’t a fuckin’ debate. I’m just trying to down as many Steel Reserves as I can before the sun rises. I’m glad to hear a record like this come out in the first place, laid bare as it is. Is it maybe okay to pine for the punk of the late 1990s? NO, but we shouldn’t rule out pushing things forward.

Links: Perennial

Sensate Focus

Déviation Heat-treated

[12-inch; PAN]

Mark Fell’s house of post-techno cards has relentlessly been crashing as a sub-division of Editions Mego. A stack of 12-inch records are piling up, each less derivative than the last. Fell’s sensual work hearkens to a time when going to the club was a part of innocent sexualization, boys and girls trading body blows and buckets of sweat in a safe environment, free of the excess and see-me culture that has now enveloped hotspots and ravers. Tits, abs, and ass are all well and good, but in the end, the music should be as challenging as it is catchy. Which is why Déviation Heat-treated exists. Sensate Focus moves onto PAN as a response to a Heatsick EP. Fell transforms repetition into thinking music without losing an ounce of je ne sais quoi. Beats moving, bodies moving, minds moving. It’s a full workout for all those hippie spirits and organs without losing the modern electro-edge needed to stay in front of trends. If nothing else, it’s a studio audience away from being “Club MTV,” and who doesn’t want “innocent” up-skirt camera shots of Downtown Julie Brown? It’s either that or stare at the memorizing art as the LP locks onto the turntable. You are getting very glittery. You want to dress in loud colors. You want to take this happy pill.

Links: PAN

Chris North

Near Far All We Are

[10-inch; Whitehaus]

I’m so fuckin’ predictable. Of course I like the REMIXES on Near Far All We Are more than the SONGS!? That makes so much UNsense, and yet I knew within five seconds of hearing Chris North’s well-intentioned version of “I Gave Life to Love” (and I’ve lent him props via Cerbs in the past) that this would be the case. Suffice to say, Many Mansions give “I Gave Life to Love” (don’t like the title) the facelift it needs, then there’s a recording of waves. Side B lends “The Nature of Love” (What’s up with those titles? Shit, man.), a much better acoustic slide down country lane, and “US 1 North,” a decent stripped-down number that reminds me of long drives in the 1980s, back when Lightfoot was on the radio and my dad drove a station wagon. Then “The Nature of Love” gets remixed and, again, I prefer it this way. All in all, Near Far All We Are is a lot better than I thought it was going to be when that first track hit. I can live with this, particularly by dint of the strangely effective tactic of remixing indie-country. Strange days, bro.

Links: Whitehaus

Thousand Foot Whale Claw

Time Brothers

[CS; Holodeck]

The rough draft — the scourge of public schooling. Chided for writing ideas, just capturing the outline of thoughts. But what if the rough draft was the finished product, brainstorming rewarded and creativity embraced in favor of wringing out personality to complete a five-paragraph essay on the moon landing or on why Holden Caulfield is a mirror of ourselves? Literary malarkey destroying exploration that demands deeper attention. Thousand Foot Whale Claw doesn’t fall for the traps; English teachers be damned (as they have been in ‘murican school systems the past 35 years)! Time Brothers is the rough form of the Austin band’s more “polished” releases, but in this moment, the rough sketches are the meat. Thirty-minute opus “Fleshcave”: the tethered ramblings of that high guy who became a neurosurgeon. “Slobos”: the work of the Goth girl who became a premiere fashion designer in love with color and couture. It’s the world of Thousand Foot Whale Claw, a band in the roughest form producing music of the greatest impact. Sorry, Ms. Shirley Lyster; you couldn’t tame me and you can’t tame Thousand Foot Whale Claw.

Links: Holodeck


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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.