Earring

Nunn Ones

[CS; Manic Static]

Earring’s guitar sounds like it’s constantly in flames as Nunn Ones burns its way across the nine tracks. And Jason Balla, who sings in the band, could care less that the thing he’s strumming is currently on fire. Or, it’s not that he doesn’t care exactly, he’s just so used to it scorching his blistered and blackened palms, he’s willing to let his jaw drop as far as possible for the delivery, and his words crawl their way out of that gaping maw accordingly into rolling pastures of baritone. By now you should know: This one has “the gaze.” And the gaze is not a gaze without the gaze. It’s focused, eyes shooting through the shoes and the floor and the foundation and concrete and dirt like laser beams all the way to the molten core of the Earth – That place where apathy and boredom is so… intense. And important and crucial and scorching hot. And heavy, too, weighing down on Earring’s barrage with the ballads dangling from their earlobes like barbells. Drums bang away back in their cave, and the group’s collective eyelids droop down with exhaustion on their way to a fitful sleep. But they will dream from their fourth-floor ratty Chicago apartments of stuff like red convertibles running up and down the coast. A perfect addition to the midwest’s recent crop of ‘gazers, fitting nicely into the Manic Static catalog or alongside some of Lillerne’s recent outings.

Links: Earring - Manic Static

Ana Threat

Dropout Dumpling

[2x7-inch; Totally Wired]

From the concept to the art to the delivery, Dropout Dumpling is flawless, but only if you understand the forces that have been building up to this point for decades. Ana Threat (and this could be a fake backstory, but I bought it; whatever who cares) wrote the soundtrack for a film in the late 1970s, playing all the instruments herself, and the results are compelling enough to deserve the lavish treatment. The strange, at times almost suspiciously ornate arrangements (though there’s a lot of satisfyingly murky punk guitar magik too) hearken to the sci-fi thrills of certain strains of 1950s rock/roll, with kooky organ and killer bongos! But it’s so much more than that. Considering the breadth of personality offered on each and every side, Dropout Dumpling justifies the often burdensome 2X7-inch format tenfold, and will be of particular interest to the Finders Keepers crowd (though I will never understand y’all).

Links: Totally Wired

Celer

Voyeur

[LP; Humming Conch]

The work of Will and Dani Long continues to stretch its willowed fingers into the next frontier, this time courtesy of Berlin-based Humming Conch. And much like the label from wince it came, Voyeur is an intimately aural affair that benefits from cusping the stereo speaker up against the ear and listening at a hushed volume. It whispers of airy waves and whistling breezes; the noise of silence. There are crests, as if playing with the proximity of the shell to the ear canal. This is a marriage of sheer perfection – an album that captures the beauty of every day, the electronic elegance of Berlin, and worldly melodies. And when I must dust the sand out of my pants after each listen, Voyeur proves an oasis in the middle of suburbia needed in times such as ours. I scavenge shells in its absence in hopes of recreating its real world symphonics. Alas, it cannot top this…

Links: Humming Conch

B-Lines

Tell me

[one-sided 7-inch; Kingfisher Bluez]

WHOOOOOHOOOO HOT-MOTHAFUCKIN’ DAMN, B-Lines in the HOUSE YO!!! I secretly hope every 7-inch I get in the mail starts like “Tell Me.” Don’t hold anything back bro; project that supercharged post-pogo-punk shit and don’t spare my feelings. Haven’t been this impressed by a punk platter since that unassailable Sneaky Pinks 7-inch, and this one might be even more full of life. You can’t teach the attitude implicit in these arrangements, and the production rumbles the speakers a bit without sacrificing the treble we all need to discern those spiky punk riffs. Dischord, Sophomore Lounge; Buzzcocks, Black Lips; Bad Religion 80-85, Floating Coffin; get it? You would not believe the roll we’re on at Cerbs right now… Who cares what time/year it is? Keep ‘em comin’.

Links: B-Lines - Kingfisher Bluez

Giant Claw

Tear in Static

[CS; Singapore Sling]

Writing about Giant Claw’s output in relation to video game music seems kind of lazy and reductive, so I have had to resist the temptation. But since I found out that he is actually doing music for a video game soundtrack, coupled with my experiences here on Tear in Static, that effort has become tougher than ever. Fuck it: Both sides of this tape could be a boss level on an old Mega Man game for NES. That’s just how it is, man. The trotting beats make this a pure side-scrolling adventure with plasma beams of synthesizer chords laying down the foundational conduits for those wave melodies to flutter their way past. And many of the tracks have a dark, pensive undertone to them – aggressive, confident, but aware and wary of the dangers that lie beyond the bevy of henchmen and lava pits that have yet to be traversed. I don’t remember the Giant Claw moniker coming with anyone besides ex-TMTer Keith Rankin behind the keys before, but this one has a couple of tracks that make use of additional musicians Brian Baker and James Webster. Of interest! Giant Claw released a lot of music in 2013, and this short tape has some of my favorite of the bunch on it. Which is saying a hell of a lot, by the way.

Links: Giant Claw - Singapore Sling

Cairo Gang

Tiny Rebels

[12-inch; Empty Cellar]

Tiny Rebels will slap handily in the face anything you thought you knew about this remarkable band. Cairo Gang accomplish so much, from so many angles, through the title track alone it’s astonishing. “Take Yr Time” might be even better, affecting a Byrdsian, maybe even Lovin Spoonful, sense of harmony atop a decidedly exotic backdrop replete with tambourine chug and slam-dam-a-lammin’ tom-tom runs. It’s exciting just to know music like this exists, really. Do we ever stop and think about all the little sound-miracles happening every goddamn day? A lot of bands try to change their approach from song to song in an almost always futile attempt to escape classification. I’m glad Cairo Gang avoid such trivialities, writing the best song they can, over and over, landing them lockstep with their contemporaries yet ahead overall. It’s sick how far James Mercer has fallen off the path, and then you have a group like Cairo Gang, still givin’ it all like that first Dios album before they became Dios (Malos) and put out that shitty record. Spun at 45 RPMs, too, for that showroom shine. I’ve always been an EP guy, but even if you’re not you owe yourself this one.

Links: Cairo Gang

New Bums

Slim Volume

[7-inch; Self-Released]

First off, Chasny’s mustache is 70s porn star awesome. If he had a paunch belly and was a fame whore, he’d potentially be the Ron Jeremy of new weird genres of his choice. I’m sure somewhere he has that scribbled in a diary. Quinn, on the other hand, seems resolute, steeled to make music with a friend and to ground the duo’s facial hair aesthetic by appearing mostly clean shaven. When they flipped the coin to decide who got to grow the ‘stache, Quinn was well aware that his baby face would likely be a just outcome.

But this is more than facial hair, this is about Chasny adding yet another friend to the backyard plastic pool to play games and swim laps. As New Bums, the guitar twosome display a different set of chops beyond the follicle. This is a duo more concerned with stripped down rock, the sort of psych-pop hybrids that meld with early blood brothers Jim and Will Reid. There’s a bare soulfulness to the simple melodies and effortless doodles of Quinn and Chasny, no surprise to fans of either (or both). Something that seems so mundane – a newly minted friendship – can seem so fragile in the light of day, especially with the sadder timbre of Slim Volume. But New Bums seem rock hard with a full-length and a tour on the horizon. So consider this a baby picture, when the lads had quaint expressions before the ZZ Top beards and Eliminators began piling up. Facial hair and guitar chops is straight cash money.

Links: New Bums

Tapers

Text

[CS; Already Dead Tapes]

Tapers is a duo doing a deep dub reggae-inflected… something on this release. I can’t quite call it one specific genre or style, but at the same time it’s not unrecognizable by any stretch. But the soothing, breathing nature of the production will temper any kind importance attached to the of grasping such trivialities anyway: Tapers makes a hammock-swaying type of cassette tape here with Text, swooshing in samples and effects atop a set of gently rolling undertones that stand strong out in front. Headphones reveal the true deepness of it all, even some whispering vocals buried under the mounds of bass, making Side A especially immersive. Side B turns the mix to more of a mournful tone with a piano refrain haunted with swirling, ghostly noises hovering close by, although on the whole things keep quite pretty and soothing. There’s also some field recordings and a number of different instruments used on the album… but nothing especially confrontational or too committal here, just sheer niceness for the most part, Text acting like an off-switch for your brain, perfect if all that crazy everything else in your life has you just way too wound up for your own good – a pretty impressive feat for a record that really has a lot going on to be giving the notions of such ease and simplicity.

Links: Tapers - Already Dead Tapes

Quttinirpaaq

Let’s Hang Out

[LP; Rural Isolation Project]

I can’t remember; is it good not to be able to hear what’s going on in a song? Oh yeah, it is, we learned that through Psychic Paramount and Guardian Alien, did we not? Now that we’ve got that settled, allow me to present Quttinirpaaq, perhaps the only band with jams – and a moniker – even sloppier than Tonstartssbandht at their crustiest. But truth be told I’ve dealt with these Quttinirpaaqians before, and they will gnarl on your ear-bone like a rottweiler on a hunk of man-meat. Let’s Hang Out isn’t a go-through-the-motions proposition. You have to invest in what they’re doing or their sinewy ghost-chops will float right past you. ‘Round the end of Side A there’s a section that sorta sounds like I thought Cold Cave were going to sound like, before I actually heard them (and was disappointed). This Karps out just a bit, too, and it’s been wayyy too long since I thoughta that band, so thank you, Qutt-Qutt, for the privilege. Dare I mention Neptune, as well? (Yep, think I’d better.) This record, on clear-with-red-splatter wizard-wax, is… a mighty fine record! Ho-ho-ho muh-fucka; 300 copies.

Links: Quttinirpaaq

Dissipated Face with Daniel Carter

Live at CBGB 1986

[7-inch; Roaratorio]

Though the Lower East Side and places like Downtown Brooklyn seem quite sterilized at this point, a quarter-century ago they were far less so, and continued to give rise to a healthy scobe of musical-artistic collision. In 1986, punk had already burned out; so had no wave and post-punk (mostly). Free jazz and improvised music were still a going concern though with the dissolution of the lofts, the presentation of that music was once again a bit more underground. But in those spaces between musical foments and the critical hurry to document, groups appear to get done the business of making art.

In the mid-1980s, Dissipated Face were one of a number of groups weaned on New Music Distribution Service catalogs, cut-out bins, and ready to occupy something of a vacuum. Punk rock, prog, free jazz, funk, modern composition and Downtown art scum were all part of the landscape and exactly what went into their melting pot. Consisting of guitarist Kurt “Hologram” Ralske and Stephen “X. Dream” Popkin and Ben “Face” Munves trading off bass, vocals and drums, their approach ranged from cut-throat punk slop to unhinged bluesy sleaze (the wonderfully bizarre “Streets Of New York” with its hardcore breakdowns). The guest appearance of alto saxophonist Daniel Carter on these four archival cuts recorded live at CBGB in 1986 adds an extra dose of fire to the proceedings. A regular in the groups of bassist-composer William Parker and a fixture in the New York free jazz environment since the mid-70s, his jubilant squall nudges Ralske’s wiry, feedback-drenched statements to unbridled heights. Given more room to stretch it would be interesting to hear what these players could accomplish, but the seven-inch format gives these tracks an extreme urgency, as though if one blinked the music’s gifts would be lost. Thanks are due to Minneapolis’ Roaratorio Records for releasing this snapshot (replete with Raymond Pettibon artwork) of an ecstatic DIY moment.

Links: Roaratorio

News

  • Recent
  • Popular

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.