Isle of Sodor

Goshen

[CS; Sic Sic]

Isle of Sodor is not a person. Nor is it an island. It is a desolate rock floating light years beyond the Oort cloud, collecting dense matter and planetismals to form into a supergiant. Goshen is star stuff — as Carl Sagan put it, the particles that make up all of us. We are all connected by the Big Bang, each born from the cosmic dust and icy gases that continue to expand. But we’ll get lost if we focus on never-ending expansion, worlds that not even our grandchildren’s grandchildren are likely to experience. But that little shard of frozen oblong rock that hovers just outside of the Milky Way? That’s what matters. It captures the last gasps of the solar wind, vacuuming up debris into its condensed form. It grows hot, as hydrogen and helium begin the earliest stages of nuclear fusion. Goshen begins to glow, sending its beacon toward all inhabited worlds. It has just reached the view of Earth, a new star in the night horizon. It’s taken billions of years for it to reach us. Isle of Sodor has been manifesting itself well ahead of our comprehension. Although it’s brand new from our perch, it’s as old as time from its lofty confines. But we’re glad it has arrived in all its galactic glory; to be a planet rotating around Goshen, to see its yellowed photosphere from a new habitation zone. Only John Elliott has made the journey, and not even he is speaking of its wonder.

Links: Sic Sic

The Family Stoned

“Rituals” b/w “High Time Woman II”

[7-inch; Perennial]

I hate it when people say, “Wow, small world!” No, brother: It is a HUGE world, and we probably won’t see each other ever again. Having lived in seven-odd states, I deal with this problem of impermanence so much it’s ridiculous. Point being, hearing kids playing music prominently influenced by bands I remember listening to in my youth is like the missing-people-huge-world thing in reverse; it’s like making a new friend you never knew you needed. The Family Stoned represent something special, particularly to those reared on Pacific Northwest indie rock. “High Time Woman II” is an extremely confident ballad, out-of-tune vocals or no, a high-school prom number from a wedding band in the sky. Fuck, that’s lame. Sorry. Now that I’m embarrassed, I’ll have you know “Rituals” is a real corker as well, albeit in a more Meat Puppets-y way. Uptempo and… shit, The Pretenders and J Mascis maybe? I need some fuckin’ sleep.

Links: Perennial

Annie Shaw

Shanty Awe

[CS; Old Frontiers]

In his ode to the amalgamation of his car and girlfriend, Mark Tucker created an atmospheric epic with Batstew. It’s a sound that has yet to be recaptured, even as contenders and pretenders have tried to pick up the shards of the blueprint, torn asunder after multiple breakdowns and a name change. So leave it to another unknown, creating music in the not-so-wilds of Canada, to finally stumble upon the Dead Sea Scrolls of musical carelessness. Annie Shaw breaks the rules (though there are NO rules!) with Shanty Awe. Two odd flavors populate her 30 minutes of tape. Side A is the syrupy high of a sno-cone, dripping uncontrollably in the hot summer sun. It’s a carnival of freaks and geeks merrily terrorizing the heatstroked patrons with friendly prods. Side B is quieter, the contemplative look on a stranger’s face. Unaware of whether it’s a serial killer or a helping hand, you split the difference and walk on the other side of the street. SURPRISE! It’s both! She’ll pick you up from the ground with one hand as she carves out your innards with the other. I like untethered, and Shaw is well past the gravitational pull of convention. Here’s to hoping she revolutionizes the music world — or, at the very least, doesn’t try to write some sci-fi oeuvre to the postal service.

Links: Old Frontiers

GeRmAn ArMy

Cattle Border

[CS; Clan Destine]

Here the-fuck we go! Every GeRmAn ArMy onslaught carries with it a certain charm, but “Cattle Border” tips the scales in its favor with a wicked-slow stew of low hums, echo-speak, drum-bot, and a system of composition that works well with the bleak atmosphere, plodding beats, and churning effects. A chaotic soundscape is achieved with just a few key elements tiptoeing up your spine like evil intuition, the occasional voiceover lending a, might I say, measure of civility to the proceedings (not much yelling or screaming here). If this were a record, you’d be speeding it up to 45 in a vain attempt to make sense of it; as it stands, you’ll think your tape player is eating this puppy alive. Coldwave is cold, but this stuff is so frigid you could crack its ruminations with a few taps of a ball-pen hammer. And since when could frost feel this creepy? This is Mattress and Mike Sniper under a million miles of prehistoric ice. Du hast mich, GeRmAn ArMy.

Links: GeRmAn ArMy - Clan Destine

ᏉᎥᏒᏆuᎪᏞ fᏞᎪᏁᏁᎬᏞ

We Flyin’

[CS; Self-Released]

And the first time you saw Michael Jackson dance, you immediately pressed record and watched his feet in slow motion for days after on VHS. Crackling in muted color, your fresh-young mind develops the understanding of movement and timing opposed to glitz and glove. Body motion bending physics beyond the common black belt, smooth trans-body manipulations, and eyes feeling almost deceived. It’s as if his dancing is more magic than skill. Pacing the VHS at snail’s pace, yet bumping the reel back and back and looping and back, it just builds in mindset, and you discover there are a multitude of skills beyond what a normal routine human is capable of doing. Now, far from Michael Jackson, sitting there absorbed in culture and entertainment, you find that being can be begotten of the beholder. Yeah-yeah, duh! It’s like obviously MJ’s feet were beat-driven. It’s clear. It’s so clear and fucking diamonds and sparkling/searing zigzags. Yet, a bit spacier now and so flexible, you put on your ᏉᎥᏒᏆuᎪᏞ fᏞᎪᏁᏁᎬᏞ jumpsuit, and then We Flyin’.

Links: ᏉᎥᏒᏆuᎪᏞ fᏞᎪᏁᏁᎬᏞ

Ryan Garbes

1965

[CS; Night People]

Didn’t the Afghan Whigs release 1965 in 1998? I doubt Ryan Garbes has ever had comparisons to the funk-junk skuzz of Greg Dulli, but it’s more apropos than first imagined. 1965 may lack the fusion soul of Dulli’s vision, but it’s 2012 and times they are a-changin’. This is a new vision of 1965, one where the prelude to the Summer of Love was a county fair run on acid. It’s scarier and more distraught, lending cautionary tones to what would become Charles Manson’s playground. Garbes lines 1965 with awkward funhouse mirrors, distorting playfulness into dastardly reminders of our inner ugliness. It would have served a stout reminder that, in post-McCarthyism, the hearts of some men still beat black. But 1965 emerges optimistically from its fortune-telling doldrums, providing enlightenment to the decades that followed. Here we stand in 2012, once again gripped by imagined fear and political strife, and once more, we have ill-shaped reflections of our nefarious selves to both caution and entertain.

Links: Ryan Garbes - Night People

Kevin Greenspon + Nicole Kidman

Already Dead

[7-inch; Bridgetown]

“Already Dead” kinda rocks, but you can’t rock out to it. Hey, that’s cool, Kevin Greenspon and Nicole Kidman; it’s like future-Irving electro-bliss, automated beats billowing atop waveform electronics. Once you get used to the traditional-yet-askew template, the sky clears a bit and additional perspective is lent. Super-simple almost to a fault, couched in a mix thinner than vellum, but at least they’re plumbing a domain astray from the dominant modes of the day, and the vocals manage a rare coup, pumping out melodies over quick-step beats without that annoying sense of cutesiness so many indie rockers inadvertently project. Have these guys ever listened to those upbeat Unicorns 7-inches? Therein might lie the logical next step for them.

Links: Bridgetown

Silent Land Time Machine

I am no longer with myself…

[CS; Holodeck]

What is with the din? Try having a child, and see if you can find the musicality in “Even Floating Islands Fall.” Alright, it’s still there, but it’ll take a couple of Tylenol and a few hours of quiet time before I can accept it as, at best, cacophony. “Remembering Names”: that’s more like it… except you’re getting louder. I just want to enjoy this bourbon and a little downtime, and you’re swelling up the sound. No, “Kissa,” no! Stop it with all the buzzing and humming and screeching. I NEED PEACE! By “An Own to One’s Room,” I’ve given in. It doesn’t hurt that the piano waltzes me into strange slumber, a bright boardwalk pocketed with odd people and imagined contraptions. Silent Land Time Machine’s symphony-tuning-up aesthetic takes over, and anticipation for some glorious Bach aria is supplanted by finger-painting genius. That incessant noise your kids are making is music, and it’s likely they’re a rogue member of SLTM making a mess of your reel-to-reel.

Links: Silent Land Time Machine - Holodeck

Diskette Romances

Diskette Romances

[CS; Sunup Recordings]

And as every day repeats itself as a seven year old so does sound, but internally and at memory’s pace. The tanning salon waiting room becomes a (almost) daily breakfast nook, and UV goggles provide heated vision underwater at the pool. Time matters in snippets of what you think is pleasant. Tissue strengthening is rooted deep in release. Serious times come with lunch and chunks of “pepperoni,” which is brushed off into someone’s Pepsi. Station wagon rides are always a shootout. Bathroom visits present the most primordial brevity, at length by each shoe. The wheels hit a bump and ice cream cones are stuck to the ceiling. Digging deep unearths hidden backyard treasures. Chlorine blur sets in with the street lights at night, and the smell of small-town barbecue swells the streets. Echoing karaoke music twilights the neighborhood surrounding your house, you flick on the computer, experience Diskette Romances, and pretend tomorrow will be more surprising.

Links: Diskette Romances - Sunup Recordings

Hogra

Cannibal Oven / Poisoned Baptism

[7-inch; Fedora Corpse]

Hogra’s 7-inch slab of death is so pig-fucked it’s absurd, a moveable noise feast of burbling underbelly, buzzing insects, whirling tornadoes, shamanic-trance voices, and sheets of static blown by a vicious wave of hell-wind. It’s like when Frodo puts on the ring and the conscious world disappears and all that is left is a nightmarish dreamscape of sharp colors and shadows. But here I go gettin’ ahead of myself again; that’s just the extremely lovable Side A. Flip-flop this sum’bitch for a different approach to non-metal mayhem: Al Jourgensen man-shouting, more of that ass-flapping wind, and a dangling rhythm that almost distracts, slapping the face every so often when there’s already plenty to mull over. Get OFF, guy!

Links: Hogra - Fedora Corpse
  

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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.