[7-inch; self-released]

Brooklyn power trio Flown are creeping out of the woodwork with a heavy, caustic resin of bluesy rock, sludge, metal and post-punk, presenting a music that seems to be equal parts Ut and Black Sabbath. Consisting of guitarist Margot Bianca, bassist Caroline Yes, and drummer Kate Ryan (all sharing vocals), Flown have followed up a physically out-of-print cassette (20 copies – yipes) with a strong seven-inch containing two pieces, “Eyes of God” and “Yearlong Eclipse.” All of this music is also available online, so if you miss out on objects, fret not. The single is beautifully packaged in a tricolor silkscreened folder jacket with a vellum obi strip and an attractive insert.

One can hear the flinty merger of riot grrrl punk and hard psych in the flat-out motor that begins “Eyes of God,” which quickly shifts into pounding sludge with folksy harmonies, banshee wails and bilious distorted vocals in a strange intertwine. Headbanging is pretty much the only appropriate response as the three chant and pound away before returning to a close of Slant 6-like angularity. “Yearlong Eclipse” lilts and shouts along with sinewy, contorted blues-rock moves, enchanting voices theatrically undercut by stomach-churning grit and a murderous abrasion. While certainly a band to experience in the flesh if possible, Flown’s eponymous 45 brilliantly captures their menace, beauty and coiled energy.

Links: Flown

Pod Blotz


[CS; Dungeon Taxis]

Suzy Poling is more than music, she’s art. Living, breathing art. The sort that museums keep behind invisible ropes and low-tech alarm systems. She’s the echo of steps in a gallery. She’s the sound of children running around the clumsily designed instillation piece (it should be in Paris or NYC or Prague, not Denver or Toronto) barely contained by the room. She’s lights and colors and flash and sound and collage and dreaming and whispering. As Pod Blotz, she’s the embodiment of art as pop–but not the glamorous, tabloid style but of the sleazy, drugged existence on the streets before discovery. Knowing that you are “it” but never being told by the collective hive mind that you have “it”. So she takes “it” and runs with “it” until “it” is whatever she makes of “it”. That’s why she and “it” and this is all Timeless. A swirling magnet of hodge podge that makes me dance and cry and shout even as the security guards drag me out and innocent bystanders ask me to quiet down.

Links: Dungeon Taxis

Gonzo & Lowdjo

Noise(s) خشة

[CS; Discrepant]

Noise(s) خشة is one of three tapes by Gonzo & Lowdjo that whirl together field recordings, rare LPs, noise generators, and more into a woozy world-music (in the least-reductive manner possible) stew. Somewhat similar in spirit to what Daniel Padden was attempting in Ship Chop, but much more raw, lo-fi, and scatterbrained. While it makes perfect sense to me, those preferring longform expressions will be frustrated by the constant superhero leaps from buildingtop to buildingtop. All three of the Noise(s) tapes (I think they were being sold together) sold out before you could sneeze (though apparently if you email lowdjo@gmail.com copies can be procured), so I think it’s time to push for a vinyl version. Eh? Eh? Yeah, baby.

Links: Gonzo & Lowdjo - Discrepant

Erros Magicos


[CS; Moon Glyph]

Can’t help but feel the ghost of Remote Island on Shambhala, though the interpretations of pop couldn’t be further removed. The debut cassette from Erros Mágicos is far distant memories; the nostalgia of a time and place that never existed. Honestly, isn’t that the sort of nostalgia we’re all suffering from? Maybe this is the magic pill, the one to make those feelings stay without stooping so low as to think Charles in Charge or Fine Young Cannibals were quality entertainment. At least that’s how “Verão Está Aquí” makes me feel. By the middle of “Aves da Cidade,” I’m beginning to embrace my love of French pop without having to sneak listens to Alizée like I’m popping a different type of pill, and as “C’est Tout Noir” finishes its swirling psychedelia of Parisian couture, I’m hooked. An outfit as robust as Erros Mágicos usually lose sight of creating tightly knit pop, but Shambhala is just that amid its pharmaceutical flashbacks. Erros Mágicos should be taken outside the supervision of a doctor, no prescription needed, chase it down with a mimosa and laguiole on a side trip to Andorra.

Links: Moon Glyph

John Swana, Mark Price & David Lackner

Smooth End of Summer

[CS; Galtta Media]

What gall, to release something with a title like this one in May of all months. When we are all actually extremely excited about summer’s rise to mighty power in the wake of winter’s slow and gruesome demise. But anything from Galtta Media I will take, and so be it that it’s this totally bonkers, ambient-jazz tape from a trio of talent. This music came to exist over some distance; David Lackner played some noise/saxophone at a session in New York with Mark Price and recorded it. They squished, squashed, chopped, chiseled, charred and char-broiled that sax all down into a soupy stew of chordal-drone and added some beats. Then the two shipped the tapes over to veteran EVI-virtuoso John Swana’s studio in Philly to tickle the mix with his scalar prowess. And that’s it. That’s not it! There’s also baritone marching horn, MIDI keyboards and samplers, and a voice on this album too. Whatever you think all of that might sound like, it probably sounds a lot different. There’s no good way to prepare you for what is here. I want to say that it’s aggressive, but it’s not: These guys, in a tone that is dimly lit, cull cool neon purples and blues from the 80s, and supplant them gracefully onto the surface of Pluto. If there’s any kind of rhythm here (and there is), it’s not based on any Earthly notion of the concept. It’s an aural space where whistles occupy odd nooks, singing off as distant ghosts, and melodies are known to drift like the smoke off a clove cigarette. Add the beats, and you know you are in one hip, holographic zone. As much In a Silent Way as it is Selected Ambient Works vol. II and further is this tape, a snapshot of the future of jazz as we know it.

Links: John Swana, Mark Price & David Lackner - Galtta Media

Black Hat


[CS; Field Hymns]

Spoken of in mere whispers these days, the myth of the perfect mix tape still resonates with a generation keen on creating digital mixes as technology dictates. Though the magic of actual cassette mixes has reached an uptick in recent years, it’s rare to pay a compliment of mix tape pacing to one entity but here it goes: Black Hat’s Covalence is the summer mix tape you’ll want in your car stereo. Though it doesn’t have jams like “Get Lucky” or “What I Like,” what it lacks in mainstream pop appeal it makes up for in pacing. Tumblers such as “Ashe” and “The Lattice and the Cormorant” are settled by the deep running waters of “Jaune” and “Arabesque.” Covalence also has trippy artwork that feels like it was done by your friend, the design student. And that it comes shipped from Portland’s Field Hymns lends the tape the stench of cool-friend-across-the-country cluing you into a vibe. Though not a 1-of-1, there’s only 100 of these bad boys and millions of humans, so you better claim yours before it heats up and you don’t have the killer hooks of Summer ‘13 bumping from your Focus.

Links: Field Hymns


Weight of Worth

[CS; Teen River]

Quicksails might as well represent the nexus of the drone universe. They melt stacks and stacks of OPN/Mego/ambient tapes into one neat pile, condensing what has become a bloated genre into digestible form. Also, Dave Smolen and hair_loss (who, together, ended up forming Metasplice) work with similar sets of effects. I’m all for it. Ben Billington trims the fat obsessively; this ain’t sloppy Texas gristle-brisket, this is lean, smooth, unmarbled meat of the highest order. Playing scads of effects against longform drift seems like such a played-out idea, but in the right hands the strategy carries endless charm. Dismiss Quicksails at your own peril. It’s interesting to hear this release from Teen River after digging on that Julie Byrne tape, as there’s quite a contrast between the two, for the record (or the tape).

Links: Teen River

Paw Paw

Temporalis / Epiphysis

[2xCS; Fire Talk]

“Temporalis” and “epiphysis” are both terms related to human anatomy (specifically bones, joints, and muscle), which is at once a little surprising, and then later completely understandable for Paw Paw’s latest work, which is this deeply chill double tape for Fire Talk. The ex-Woodsman-man Eston Lathrop’s music and its inherent psychedelia might seem to stare straight out into the cosmic abyss at first, or rather, it might already be up there looking back down on pitiful ground-dwellers below. But instead, as Paw Paw, Lathrop engages music at a primal, elemental level, keeping everything focused inward to tap directly into the body vis-à-vis an extremely relaxed brain. The rhythmic core to each piece is integral to the feel and effect of the music, but it’s less about the syncopations that are present and more about the way Lathrop captures things like the texture of the skin across the drum’s frame, or the brittle scrape of beads in a gourd shaker. You get a sense for the stuff that is between the sounds you actually hear — spaces become organic tissues, ligaments holding together a living thing’s delicate, emotive and graceful body. And that body lopes along with slow tempos and trails of guitar harmony smearing their cool colors softly into one another. Light melodies circle ‘round the campfire while the mix takes a nice yawning stretch in a bath of reverb. Yep, a real spa-fest, body massage to the max.

Links: Paw Paw - Fire Talk

Tracey Trance


[CS; Turned Word]

Look Tracey Trance-pants, if that is your real name, you’ve got it. And I don’t even know what it is. But you’ve got it. I don’t know what a psychiatrist might have to say of the contents of 101 (I’m guessing some prescriptions would be written with the dash of an eager pen), nor do I know how fucked-up it makes me for digging on these deeply entrenched thought bubbles; all that can be said, if anything, is that everything here is Real. Lo-fi spoken-word, uncooked synth noodles, and general on-the-road zaniness might turn to ear-puke in the hands of most, but in the case of Tracey the results are surprisingly safe and concrete. It just makes sense, that is, if you want to chase a sassy young guy down the rabbit hole at the exact point where Ariel Pink left off. Bendy.

Links: Turned Word

Ulaan Passerine

Ulaan Passerine

[2xCS; Brave Mysteries]

Two admirable forces joining under the tri-insignia. Both masters at changing direction, masking their scents to stay ahead of the hunters. Those who are always hunted adapt, so it is of no surprise that after a meeting of such prey, they would team up to produce a ward more powerful and spellbinding than their enemies could conjure. Say hello to the latest Steven R. Smith pseudo, Ulaan Passerine. Throughout the span of two calculating tapes, Smith’s newest disguise (often borrowing from past disguises) mixes with the Brave Mysteries brand; that light at the end of the tunnel–just one more barricade, just one more baddie to allude. Ulaan Passerine seems to borrow the lone wolf mentality of Old Skete, though the eerie textures and ominous winds of past Brave Mysteries fair (think upon any Troy Shafer offering–the kindred spirit to Smith’s long-played naming runaround) creep in–and the addition of piano lends Ulaan Passerine a timeless element. Notes are plucked from the icy air, then cast like thorny arrows at would-be trappers. Hexes are thrown to attract and capture the most unruly spirits to fight against the blight of blackness. Like any Smith album, no matter its slight variation in sound and identity, it finds the light amid the dark. It’s an allegory as old as time, but so is Ulaan Passerine. This is ancient knowledge now needed in the fight against the foe of time. Glad to have Smith and Brave Mysteries on our side.

Links: Ulaan Passerine - Brave Mysteries

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.