Billy Gomberg

Waiting in Poor Lighting

[CS; Avant Archive]

Michael Jantz’s (Black Eagle Child) Avant Archive boutique continues a hot streak of can’t-miss cassettes, which is where Billy Gomberg fits in. Waiting in Poor Lighting is a sinful blend of minor and major drone. Whether forcing anxiety (“Empty Fall”) through snake-tongued manipulations, embracing the fears of isolation (“Dust Taking Leave”) with successive aural mind fucks, or the calm after the breakdown (“Seams”), Gomberg’s versatile tape takes the place of feeling any real emotional attachment to the world. It’s a drug doctors should be pedaling in between Wheel of Fortune and Jeopardy to those who are diseased with more symptoms than problems. Waiting in Poor Lighting will pounce on the hypochondriacs and cure them after intensive shock therapy. Consult with your Gomberg; if symptoms persist, visit the apothecary of Dr. Jantz’s Avant Archive for further evaluation.

Links: Billy Gomberg - Avant Archive

Workin’ Man Noise Unit

Drinkin’ Stella to Make Music to Drink Stella to

[CS; DoubleDotDash]

I swear to fucking christ, loose hi-hats and just the right amount of distortion is a million-dollar formula. Problem is, there’s technically often not a lot of money in it. And then you have bands that are being paid major-label cash-money to strangle the sound of their guitars more with every album, robbing them of all feeling (sort of like a dude cutting the circulation to his nutsack by wrapping a rubber band around it a few times). Flying in the face of that archetype are groups like Workin’ Man Noise Unit, who manage to conjure hardcore magic with $12, grit, and maybe a roll of duct tape. The guitar tone of oldie-but-goodie Gravity groups, the drums of old Level Plane partners, and rough-ridin’ vocals every bit as raw as Dennis Lyxzén’s earliest recordings with Refused — that’s a recipe for absolute gold, in and of itself, but there’s an additional wrinkle: It has been blasted to tape, and it actually sounds good (and by “good” I mean “what most would call ‘bad’”). Lo-fi goodness akin to Beauty Apes, ancient Song Of Zarathustra/Racebannon, and the early demos of a lot of groups that eventually cleaned themselves up. Staple this to your face and jump out your GODDamned window, kapish?

Links: DoubleDotDash

Loren Connors & Suzanne Langille

I Wish I Didn’t Dream

[7-inch; Northern Spy]

Despite midnight sessions in graveyards and ghost hunts in the darkest recesses, Loren Connors has created the scariest musical document of his lengthy career. Joined by life-mate and parallel thinker Suzanne Langille, the two songs of I Wish I Didn’t Dream will wring the physical desire to sleep out of you with the unearthly rattle of “Cease To Do Evil.” The morbid reciting of poetry by Langille’s macabre voice is barely trumped by Connor’s quiet wisps, innocuous beyond mood until thunderclaps of anger barrage the eerie calm with freight. “Shenandoah” offers no respite, with Connor’s guitar opening the rusty gates of hell and Langille’s calm mantra calling to the Lord of Darkness. Both have flirted with the dark side before, but I Wish I Didn’t Dream creeps up on the demons to scare them to attention. Whether its age, wisdom, or disease that has wizened Langille and Connors beyond fear is of no consequence; it is now us who must gain the courage to walk through the Inferno to come out cleansed by the fire, our only guiding light the fluorescent orange lacquer that spins slowly in front of us.

Links: Northern Spy

Gimu

A Silent Stroll On Sombre St.

[CS; Constellation Tatsu]

I went through a ton of tapes looking for just the right sound, and A Silent Stroll On Sombre St. was my final destination. It’s one of the best tapes I’ve heard all year, haunting, lilting, droning, evolving, moaning, groaning, and sighing like the gods above or the rock people from The NeverEnding Story. Rarely do bands manage to instill their drifts with as much emotion as Gimu; A Silent Stroll is as vivid as any lyric sheet and as exploratory as a shuttle sent to record alien sounds. And when it comes time to shake the room with authority, Gimu step up to the task and arm their cloud-burst with lovely wave-crashes and drone-speak. It’s easy to scoff at the prospect of yet another must-have drone tape, but don’t take a pass on this one.

Links: Constellation Tatsu

Jefre Cantu-Ledesma

“Faceless Kiss” b/w “Blut Mond”

[7-inch; Emerald Cocoon]

“Wendy, haven’t I warned you? Stuffing the boys’ heads with a lot of silly stories…”

Jefre Cantu-Ledesma is our modern Peter Pan. Perhaps even a Pied Piper. Trails of devotees follow his every whim, this one occurring in the clear moonlight of Emerald Cocoon’s Alone Together series. It is the first flight of Peter and Wendy, the innocence of adolescence obscured by vivid flights of renegade imagination, a world where youth is always a sign of complete understanding and old age but a sign of sinister regret. There is no one in “Faceless Kiss” but you and the one you wish to hold hands with, as thousands of adoring fans watch in silent admiration. JCL’s soundtrack rushes past the ears with the hum of happiness. The sky is where we are truly alone together. “Blut Mond” extends the fantasy, allowing us a few moments more before it all comes crashing down. Reality will not let her sharp fangs out of our necks so easily, so as Wendy’s frumpy nightgown flows in the breeze beside Peter’s lady-boy physique, we can stand among the masses and admire JCL from afar one last time. His days as a carefree boy may be behind him, but his life as one unafraid to face down reality have only begun.

“I’m so glad you came back tonight. I might never have seen you.”

Links: Jefre Cantu-Ledesma - Emerald Cocoon

Samantha Glass

Midnight Arrival

[CS; Not Not Fun]

The spit smells like tobacco and peppermint, and gnarled teeth foam words foreign to you. “Y’ahll fwum owtta tahhn?” you muffle through a mouth stuffed with cloth. Because these fellas ain’t never seen no “Dakota Shadows” this sharp. Tossed into another room or cellar, your leg tears on a nail sticking out from the stairs. A “Human Voice” becomes distant with each step, and you lay there sweating and breathing hard, bleeding, but not too wet. Smiling you get up about two steps, clench your hands together, and come down hard onto the nail. Caught in the rope binding, you start “Carving” your hands free. Feet next. And thinking about leaving. Never seeing rope or nails or a basement again. Hoping you never saw eyes peering at you through a cracked window. There’s a moment. Breathing.

And from a single chant, other voices quickly form in unison and echo throughout your ears. You untie the bindings around your boots and smash out the window. Being chased now, the “Rain [is] in Our Eyes,” and it’s dark and becoming increasingly harder to keep ahead. You are wet, and your left pant’s leg is a thicker soaked than the right. The chaser has tripped and is grabbing at their stomach violently, and in the house you’re running from, there’s a light in the “Delicate Living Room,” where people stand and stare, you swear, directly at you. But you continue on, toward that high ground, where it’s dry, and the “Antique Horizon” will silhouette a city with street lights. Yet it’s cold, and energy is something less than a mile uphill. Footsteps are getting louder, you’re taking deep breaths, and notice a few blood droplets formed into a heart. “Snow Covered Love,” you think as it’s covered by flakes, and your eyes close. Resting is a good idea. For five minutes.

Links: Samantha Glass - Not Not Fun

Matthew Hale Clark / Ken Camden

three:four split series vol. 4

[10-inch; three:four]

A label from France recalling the chill of Canada’s fall through music best suited for suburban summer relaxation. Matthew Hale Clark envelops the A-side with a Ben Chasny jam of raga guitar and sweet background drone. It’s a light, citrus salad that cuts the heat of the day with a crisp bite, leafy romaine crunching under the slowest of chews as the mighty caribou stare from their forest stronghold in admiration. As Clark and his crew take over the woody porch, Ken Camden sneaks into the basement to send sine waves to the stars as the clear night sky takes over. “Moisture” echoes the loneliness of the moon, beaming electronic heart beats to outer space in the hope that the tidal force will provide some reciprocation. “Algoma Summer” is that answer; from a galaxy far away to the shared summer home of Clark and Camden, we have made contact with a warmth not given by the sun. Guitars at melodic odds cohabitating late in the season before the caribou carve out fresh tracks in the snow to greet their alien visitors — this may be the Molson talking.

Links: three:four

Coffin Pricks

“Group Home Haircut”

[7-inch; Stationary (Heart)]

Coffin Pricks’ Christ Thompson is nothing short of a GAWD, having unleashed bands like Circus Lupus (Dischord favorite), Red-Eyed Legends, Monorchid, Skull Kontrol, and Fury upon the masses. One might ask, “Why not just record all that material under one name and consolidate that shit?” but that would fly right in the face of one of the most potent punk rules: Never overstay your welcome. Speaking of which, “Group Home Haircut” gets in and gets out and moves onto the next gig quicker than you can say “SNOT,” aligning themselves with punk friendlies old and new (Germs, White Fang, Reatard, etc.) yet quilting together a unique pattern of their own. A lot of times punk is a “see it live or miss the buzz” enterprise, but Coffin Pricks are just as randy on record as they likely are spread across a sweaty, smoky stage. Thompson has done it again.

Links: Stationary (Heart)

Bee Control

Bee Control

[7-inch; Past/Futures/Adagio830]

Not since those tight nugs from Kissankusi Records came in (Can Can Heads, Kyklooppien Sukupuutto) have I had this much fun soaking up screams and crushed dreams for Cerberus. Bee Control wouldn’t have been a sore thumb on the Sound Pollution or Three One G rosters back in the day (or now, if those are ongoing concerns; coulda fooled me), yelling, raging, and bashing forth as they do. They’re like a punk-rock version of The WPP — for the ONE of you who can place that reference; sorry — that’s wound tighter than Cameron from Ferris Beuller’s Day Off and angrier than a bear when you try to mob one of its young. My love really blooms when, as on “Erection in a Suit,” things get all slow, woozy, and bass-driven, and the guitarist whittles his pick down to a nub. Heaviness can be so powerful when it’s in the right hands. If you liked the old Blood Brothers records and/or remember Ambitious Career Woman and/or have ever lived in Seattle and listened to future-hardcore, you’ll be on board with this. Jack it up, friend.

Links: Bee Control - Past/Futures/Adagio830

Soundings / Shapers / Verma

Soundings / Shapers / Verma

[CS; Paramita]

The triple penetration of Soundings, Shapers, and Verma takes a bit to warm up, but after the methodical stretches of Verma’s “Space is Open,” the pulsating psychedelia from three of Chicago’s up-and-coming scenesters doesn’t miss a beat. This is driving music, toying around with acid-corroded motorik, minimal fuzz, and blistering drones. Verma’s perma-Haight bookends the tape, both tracks worthy to share space with killer grooves of old. Shapers steal the innards, with Syd Barrett basement freakouts, screams and squeals set against echolocational melodies. The tape serves as a sampler, culling select tracks from each band’s own releases — and though the flow is a little wonky due to three disparate takes on modern psych experimentation, you’re going to be hitting Bandcamp, SoundCloud, and Chicago dispensaries for the heavy shit. Paramita is just the playground dealer, even supplying a pop up insert for maximum headfucks; Soundings, Shapers, and Verma have the everlasting fix.

Links: Paramita

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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.