White Void

We’re Falling

[12-inch; Posh Isolation]

Frederik Lind Köppen runs a tight ship, fronting White Void while claiming membership in labelmates Communions. I’ve never heard the latter, but if his WV project is any indication, the man likes his highs high and his lows high. I hear bass guitar in “Going Downtown - Scaffold Martyrdom” because it’s the main ingredient of the composition; other than that, it’s all-treble, all-the-time, so make the proper adjustments to your system before throwing this 45 RPM platter on the ol’ carousel. From there, what you have is the answer to an eternal question: Sure, we know that you listen to Jesus & Mary Chain when you’re taking the subway home after a long night of drink/song and leaning your head against the window in a state of half-drunkenness, but what do Jesus & Mary Chain listen to when they’re taking the subway home after a long night of drink/song and leaning their heads against the window in a state of half-drunkenness? Probably We’re Falling. It might just be the most logical extension of Psychocandy out of thousands of attempts. Their guitars hit that lo-fi zone you can’t locate unless you know what buttons to push/knobs to twiddle, and Köppen’s vocals, doused in lighter-fluid effects, seem to ride over the top of the mix like streamers, clear and crisp yet druggy and disoriented. White Void isn’t a band to be trifled with. Köppen takes a formula that has served groups like, say, Little Girls marginally well and derive fresh, invigorated audio from it. You’ve heard this music before, but you’ve rarely heard it done so well.

Links: Posh Isolation

L.A. Lungs

Rrest

[LP; Debacle]

L.A. Lungs are no stranger to Debacle, but they still seem quite the stranger to the Northwest’s overarching music scene. As the band continues to grower a bit more dark in their compositions–slightly (m)aligned to a certain Seattle based scene that some wish wasn’t ancient history–the Pacific NW is branching out but even the most disparate sound has some sort of sunshine behind it as a response to all those people who tell you, “Oh it rains a lot out there.” HINT: Valparaiso, IN and Houston, TX get more annual rain than most of the big, supposed rainy cities ‘out there’. Which may explain why Rrest sounds so bitter, as if L.A. Lungs were tired of the constant heckles and bad conversation starters. Granted, naming yourselves L.A. Lungs and hailing from Olympia, you’re bound to get a fair share by default (like this review). This long winded thought now put to screen, it should be noted that as sinister as Rrest Side A may get, it does break down the clouds and produce a bit of sunlight. But just enough to make sure you don’t truly sink into Seasonal Affective Disorder. Just in case you were going to completely snap out of your sad daze and drive down the coast to Northern California, Side B will bring you back to the supposed gloom. HINT: ‘Out there’.

Links: L.A. Lungs - Debacle

Pascal Nichols

Nihilist Chakai House

[LP; Discombobulate]

I’m going to level with you: I just got done writing a lengthy review of Pascal Nichols’ Nihilist Chakai House that I slaved over. And, of course, before I had the chance to save it, I clicked on a random link and erased the whole fucking thing. And it was a good one (trust me, I know). So just understand that whatever I write right now (See? ‘Write’ followed by ‘right’? that sucks) isn’t going to compare to the inspired blast I just got done penning. Now that we have that out of the way, I want to share an all-percussion record with you, care of Nichols, also of Part Wild Horses Mane On Both Sides. You might bristle at the thought of a full-length LP with such a limited scope, but in Nichols’ able hands all is golden. You might even call him the Arrington Dionyso of drum dioramas (again: I told you this review retread was going to suck), or you could say that he made that ‘all-drums’ record Keith Moon should have made. Anyhoo: Side A is a dizzying array of in-your-face configurations of shakers, bells, and cymbals, pretty much along the lines of what you might expect from an experimental percussion record. Keep in mind, however, that not many purely experimental percussion records exist, so whatever you’re hearing likely will be new to you. The knot thickens on Side B, however. Here we get a more brushed-on, rolled-up feel that rises and rumbles like mad before dissipating and serves up what is undoubtedly the most moving section of Nihilist Chakai House, pairing urgent, bulbous bass-drum blasts with off-kilter bells and splashing cymbals. I think I even hear some kind of flute and maybe a sax later on. But that’s neither here/there/everywhere; what I want you to take from this write-up is a) Nichols drums up a lot of excitement and b) the other review I wrote for this record was much, much better (did I mention that?). Nice frost-colored vinyl squeezed into a much-too-tight edition of 250, just like they used to make.

Links: Discombobulate

Karl Fousek

Codicil

[CS; Adhesive Sounds]

As fans of experimental music, we’re often told we’re snobbish and unable to embrace traditional pop values. Of course it’s a silly argument. I mean, we all grew up on pop and it still informs listening habits in some regard, to ignore it is to cut off your nose to spite your face levels of cliched arrogance. Thankfully Karl Fousek proves those shit sprayers wrong with his latest, Codicil. It’s a warbling synthetic stroke of smartness that showcases that pop elements are a universal filter for all things new. Despite the drunken melodies within, Codicil balances itself miraculously like the girls two sheets deep that compose themselves to nail the Electric Slide at the reception. Perhaps a bit too cliched? Nonetheless, that’s the raw beauty of Fousek’s experimentation. Despite the source material, turns out repeating ideas with the inherent crest and thump of synthesizer creates quite the rhythmic pop.

Links: Adhesive Sounds

Fat Creeps

Must Be Nice

[LP/CS; Sophomore Lounge/Gnar Tapes]

Somewhere along the line, rock and roll was thrown in the trash. Maybe it was just a crowd too tired to fight for forward momentum after its bastardization in the late ’90s or the fragmentation of the consumer base was not worth chasing. Neither are my concern, because be damned those who would rather glue their radio dials and iPod play buttons down on a playlist of extinct sounds. We all have our retro listening habits but those who can’t lend an ear to what’s happening now, I have no time for you. Neither do Fat Creeps by the sound of it. The Boston trio may remind historians how awesome the Boston music scene was 20-30 years ago but rather than retreating to old Dinosaur and Throwing Muses cassettes, Fat Creeps forge forward with a splendid blend of that old patriotic cause of fighting fossilized rock and roll with new energies and ideas. Must Be Nice carries a hint of the familiar (the use of hook-laden, radio friendly melodies) but there’s a roughness around the edges that isn’t going to go away with sleeker production and years of road polish. Rather, Must Be Nice works best under the weariness of Gracie and Mariam; an eye cast to the past and how it all went wrong. Poppy songs carry a burden throughout, cautious of what will happen to them should the mandibles of classic rock come crashing through to destroy the will and ravage the flesh of the newly born. Fat Creeps will not be devoured by its parentage even as it heeds its warnings. But sometimes the kids have to steal the car keys and make a run for it. Those kids trapped in the amber of Amherst 30 years ago understand.

Links: Fat Creeps - Sophomore Lounge/Gnar Tapes

Dane Patterson

Ghosting

[CS; Fabrica]

A few years ago just about all I reviewed for Cerberus was tapes that took on a sound vaguely similar to Dane Patterson’s Ghosting, and it’s an art form I seem to see less and less of. Kinda sad, because I miss the cricket chirps, computer-music sequences, and buzzes/pops/fizzes, and Ghosting is like a topographical sound-map covering every aspect of the specific persuasion I’m referring to. Not only that, but Patterson fills in the gaps and adds fresh accents of his own, and there always seems to be a rhythmic element underpinning the explosions of effects. It’s an extremely dense, somewhat dark conglomeration of drone throbs, electric crackle, tunnel echoes, and urgent audio signals that in current times most closely matches the output of the Hausu Mountain label. In Patterson’s world, more is less, black is the new orange, and rock isn’t ‘dead’ or ‘reborn’ but relegated to the dusty annals of history; there’s no room for it here. And when I tell you Ghosting is dense, BELIEVE it. This cassette drifts by in the blink of an eye and you’ll feel like you’ve missed something. That’s, of course, what repeat listens are for, and Patterson will have you flipping like a short-order cook. I slept on this tape for a bit and there still are copies of the run of 50 available direct from Fabrica, so don’t make the same mistake. STAY AWAKE.

Links: Fabrica

Puce Mary

Persona

[LP; Posh Isolation]

Persona’s inner sleeve features 25 pictures of attractive, often-naked women with their facial features scratched out – as if by a thumbtack or pin. That’s what many victims of Bosnian atrocities came home to in their living rooms, and it’s also, if I’m not mistaken, a technique enjoyed by serial killers. To me this graphic portrayal is as, if not more, disturbing than a million bloody heads on a metal LP jacket, and the burning digital screams of “The Course” only serve to deepen the wounds. Puce Mary pound life to death, not with volume, speed, or vocal rancor but with long, cold stares. They employ dark, often unpredictable rhythms, which often camouflages their intent, but it’s all in the service of a steady diet of screechy, yet sub-harsh, noise. My gut reaction to “The Course” registers the violence on a scale of Èlg to Wolf Eyes to Disco Inferno, a queer, cacophonous track that sets the stage for a comedown shift into ambient territory for a short spell. Once the anguished, choked screams of a tear-gas victim become audible, it’s apparent the moment of ‘ahhhhhhhhh’ was but a ruse. Soon the death machines of industry begin clanking along with the plaintive tone poems and you realize Puce Mary own beauty and brawn, their mastery of both reverberating through the rest of this intimidatingly impressive, limited, import LP. “Pigs” keeps the ovens churning albeit in a less overtly ominous direction, featuring a train chugging over crickets, a broken whistle, and a ham radio making no contact whatsoever. “Impure Fantasy” could menace many-a listener through title alone, and the grunts and kinked-up moans aren’t going to help anything. Again, I should stress this, however: Side B is a much more subdued stalker that will haunt your dreams, not your walk to the car at 3:30 a.m. downtown. Even when it sounds like bugs are eating a distressed screamer and crawling down his throat as he slowly dies, care of the title track, there are no large beats or distinctive sounds save for helicopter whirs and a distant thump or two. I keep flashing back to that Twin Stumps record (Seedbed) because Persona seems to channel all that album’s rage inward until emotions boil and bubble over. Yet the temperature never splits the thermometer, so there’s no healing, no closure. More current comparisons would be German Army/Merx and maybe Social Junk’s more rhythmically rooted moments. One of the best of the year by a wide margin, so get your heads ready you stupid bitches.

Links: Puce Mary - Posh Isolation

Sacred Product

Wastex

[2x7-inch; Quemada]

Another Melbourne hello from the happy doom of Lynton Denovan. A regular of ol’ Quemada with day job band Satanic Rockers, it’s here as Sacred Product that Lynton lives up to the devilish billing. More beholden to the noisy neighbors across the Tasman Sea, Sacred Product is a splendid blend of punk nuance and art school fuckery. The face first vocal tracks create an archaic feel reminiscent of the best Gary Wilson non-starters, but it’s instrumental free-for-all “Sonic Country” that grabs first. But as you switch back and forth, you’ll come to love the snotty pop of “Tram and Train” that punctuates the varied din of this double 7-inch. Lynton is already littering the world with Sacred Product but this may be the best small slice yet.

Links: Quemada

Russell Walker & Dan Melchior

Walker/Melchior

[7-inch; Kill Shaman]

Here’s one I probably shouldn’t be reviewing, given that I’m entirely new to both Dan Melchior and Russell Walker, two prolific musicians who have both been around the block many, many times (as is my understanding). But whatever, man, get off my back. I review records and tapes because I like good music, and that’s exactly what’s on this record, what I’m willing to call “Your official summer 7-inch.” I’ll admit that it’s the A side I want to recommend a little more here, for DJ go-to playability purposes mostly. It’s a lazy drive through a stretch of desert and 100 degree heat, convertible top down, sunglasses on, and cigarette fully lit. Walker’s nasally Brit-sneer croons over a cool bass line and slippery electric guitar noodling while a snapped two & four keeps the engine running. “I Could Sit Here Forever” on the B side is a melancholic mélange of bass, harmonium and stumbling guitar improvisations, swaying back and forth between a couple of chords to host some poetry that feels lost in its own melodies. Overall both sides combine as a shady serenade for the sweltering stupor that is July, 2014.

Links: Kill Shaman

Keith Fullerton Whitman

Vehement Denial / Platelets

[7-inch; Make Noise]

The fact that I haven’t reviewed a Keith Fullerton Whitman release, or owned a Keith Fullerton Whitman release, or even heard more than a few snippets via stream, etc., is absolutely ludicrous. I mean, is there a more important modern synthster in the galaxy (and this is what I love about KFW; he’d probably tell you yes) than Keith Fullerton Whitman? And is there a more respected distro out there than Whitman’s Mimaroglu Music? I’m not sure (and if you’re not sure why I’m using so many bold/italics check out MMusic for yourself); in any event it’s an absolute honor to finally taste the forbidden fruit care of this immaculately designed/executed 7-inch, which is part of the Shared System Series. The SSS came about as a way for Make Noise Records to put out material by several different artists using The Shared System (a modular synth that, according to the label, has no particular musical destination), the idea being the artists’ true intentions will emerge if all are strapped to the same equipment. I haven’t heard the first three entries, but based on what KFW came up with on both sides it’s safe to say the Shared System is like a synth snowflake, no two sessions alike. “Vehement Denial” delivers a surprisingly in-your-face, visceral round-a-bout (which had me banging my head a little actually) anchored by an insistent rhythmic component and assorted washes and gurgles of electronics until an eyedropper squeezes out liquid sound in small doses. It’s disorienting, and a bit menacing, yet also a bit playful as sonic splashes yield to a soft-drone to close out. “Platelets” plays it wide and loose, bouncing around the room like a ping-pong ball shot from a computer-fed cannon, ricocheting off rubber walls as a dump truck clears out the sonic riff-raff at random intervals. Also expect high, chirping comp-u-squeaks no louder than a pinprick, (seemingly) programmed sequences that run through a quick self-dialogue then seem to drop off or morph into something else, and even some hyper, punching bag-style bass bumps, followed by a submarine’s navigation system conking out. In case you can’t tell from the length of this ‘blurb,’ I came away from “Vehement Denial”/”Platelets” pretty much astounded. A superbly executed artifact from top to bottom, on limited clear wax…

Links: Keith Fullerton Whitman
  

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Cerberus seeks to document the spate of home recorders and backyard labels pressing limited-run LPs, 7-inches, cassettes, and objet d'art with unique packaging and unknown sound. We love everything about the overlooked or unappreciated. If you feel you fit such a category, email us here.