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

Plains

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

Chauchat

Wreckage

[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

Roachclip

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

Symbol

Online Architecture

[CS/LP; Holodeck]

In a classic episode of Seinfeld, Elaine is troubled by a sidler. The cankerous man is able to subtly sneak in and out of situations, only to be noticed at the best of times. Enter Online Architecture, an equally daring feat of music that finds its way into the most prosperous situations at the most ideal of circumstances. Yet unlike the problem that plagued Elaine, Symbol is the beauteous weekly gal pal for the titular character. She, an heiress to a collection of valuable toys, will not let Jerry touch or play with them. So he covets and paws at them lost in a loop of adolescent weirdness. It’s an ugly side of beauty – trying to attain the unattainable. Ironic considering Symbol is the moniker of This Will Destroy You’s Chris Royal King. Online Architecture is a destroyer. It plays with your emotions, inserting itself into situations when you are least prepared; placing itself as protector to a wealthy prize you are unfit to hold. So you plot and scheme, further degrading yourself and others all in pursuit of something you should never have. Best get your tape or LP now because soon you may find yourself in a situation comedy premise where your new girlfriend has the wickedest record collection, complete with Online Architecture, and you’ll have to distract her with copious amounts of turkey and wine to possess it in your wretched little hands.

Links: Holodeck

Dura

Silver / Lawns

[CS; Wounded Knife]

So the artist I thought I had so few words for is here in my tape deck again, meaning I have to find some more of them somewhere in my brain. That’s because Dura is some damned beautiful ambient drone music, and also Wounded Knife makes one helluva damned nice cassette tape, so I guess I don’t really mind. I love the butterfly booklet here, stitched together with different sized pages and three different stocks of paper including a translucent film for the center mini-spread, and the case itself has an embedded “J-band” thingy that is also printed. Coupled with the design, Wounded Knife has encased Silver / Lawns with delicacy and grace, which is perfect since those are the two words I’d use to describe Mattson Ogg’s work here exactly. Also I’d use words like warm and sunny and orange and gorgeous – Ogg’s a master at pulling adjectives off the tongue, although verbs don’t come quite as easily. Once each side of the tape starts, you’re there, in this delicate/graceful/warm/sunny/orange/gorgeous place and you stay there. Not that you really need to move or even want to necessarily… if the idea of paradise in heaven for eternity after you’re dead sounds boring, I’d suggest looking into a genre like speed metal. For the rest of us who find magic in the soft clouds of modal stasis, Dura’s about the best thing since whatever Earthly delights you thought were important. (They’re not.) Moving around is for the waking. Go to sleep already! Dream.

Links: Dura - Wounded Knife
  

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.