Communions

Cobblestones

[7-inch; Posh Isolation]

After hearing a recent White Void (solo guise of Frederik Lind Köppen) 12-inch I knew what to expect from his ‘main’ band, Communions: Tons of glorious lo-fi treble, disaffected singing that isn’t afraid to care, and a sub-Crystal Stilts brand of post-punk that dips even further underwater. I received the pristine second press of this puppy, on white wax, and each song inhabits its own specific space even if the overall method behind them is the same. I’ll never understand how bands manage to do it; these chords represent the same rudimentary combinations we’ve all been hearing for years, yet Communions find a way to make these simple combinations not only work, but work wonders. The murky production matches the emotional motif of the quartet aptly, blurring the landscape like a pair of sunglasses at night or cigarette smoke mushrooming from a table at a diner. More please.

Links: Posh Isolation

Villages Of Spaces

Welcome In

[LP; Turned Word]

When you review music for a long-azz time (we’re talking almost 15 years in my case) you see a TON of bands come and go. A lot of them seem like a big deal at the time even if you know in your heart they suck balls (to wit: Annuals), and sure enough, most of the time the youthful heart/enthusiasm these same artists are purported to possess is directed into other, more profitable enterprise within a few years and you’d barely know they existed if you weren’t obsessively following the underground musical beast’s every shift. Village Of Spaces (also at one point dubbed Village Of Spaces Corners County) are one of the few bands that have lasted all these years, from the Skyscraper days on through the era of Gumshoe Grove (my ill-fated blog you never read) and Signal To Noise (RIP) and right up to the wonderful present, and it’s a pleasure to continue to receive their music in the mail because they’ve always done folk right. And if you don’t realize how awe-inspiringly difficult that is then you obviously haven’t heard as many awful folk yolks as I have (particularly when the BOOM was happening in 2004-05). I’d link Village Of Spaces to, say, Richard and Linda Thompson if I were forced to make a comparison, but VOS forge their own path and, per Welcome In, seem to be consumed by their singular vision; perhaps that’s why they’ve stuck around for so long while other fruits die before they’re fully ripe. Another reason might be their impeccable devotion to song craft, which shines through the lovely “Wheels” like a flashlight was jammed in its maw, and generally permeates this entire full-length effort. There’s something familial about their music, and I’m not speculating on the relationship of the principle members of the band as much as I’m letting you know that, when listening to Welcome In, I tend to think of my own family and how much they mean to me. It might be a simplistic thing (the Purdums take a lot of road trips, perhaps summoning “Wheels”?) or it might go a lot deeper than that, to the point where Village Of Spaces’ music provides such a soft caress I can’t not think about the ones I love or even have loved when I listen to their bare, acoustic meanderings. (The little snips of a crying baby don’t hurt, either.) Whatever the reason for my personal feelings I’m glad there still are folkists out there that can pen a ditty that conjures open spaces, the forest, small, dilapidated folk venues, and the aspects of this life that I treasure.

Links: Villages Of Spaces

Demonstration Synthesis

DS7

[CS; Phinery]

Off the heels of summer cool down DS3, Daniel Leznoff heats it back up with DS7. A more energetic exercise than when we last left him, the prolific Leznoff dusts off that mid-80s soul for an instrument that seems calculating in the hands of others. I hate to run off a list of heated radio singles from a time best forgotten but there was a playfulness lost in modern pop to be found on the local dial in those not-so heydays of radio. Similar to LX Sweat, Leznoff understands the raw sexuality synth can also possess. Unlike LX, this is an album about taking one’s sweet time to make love rather than to finding the open stall in the club for some primal activity. Cerberus condones both, but it’s best not to mix the emotions of either with the wrong mood music. And despite its awesomeness, it’s probably wise not to tell your hot date that the song you’re listening to is titled “Premium Dookie” unless it’s one of the ladies from Two Girls One Cup. Then you tell her about “Behind U.” Don’t want to tell you how to live your life, just alerting you to romantic etiquette in these situations…and to the continued suaveness of Demonstration Synthesis.

Links: Phinery

Survive

Survive

[12-inch; Monofonus Press]

This self-titled (remember that album, Elf Titled? that was funny) effort from Survive is split right down the middle (I think Bitchin Bajas did this recently too, albeit to much different effect). On Side A(mbient), we’re blessed by a boundless drone drift that will soon deliver us into the hands of the musical messiah. On Side B(east), we get a much different helping from the same dinner table, this time a swirl of programmed synth ribbons and glorious beats heralding the second coming of EDM (if not the third). Strangely, considering my history of riddim appreciation, my sympathies rest with Side A because the method of delivery is treated as sacred and never adheres to the same principles for too long (save for the overarching principles of minimalist drone). It’s a fluctuating, undulating stuff that will guide your day appropriately whether you’re relaxing at home or tripping out in the desert with members of The Doors. Don’t forget the flip, however, because that’s where the other half of Survive’s mission becomes clear: To scoop up those trippy vibes and deposit them on the dance floor, or at least an all-ages venue in the industrial district. I say buy the LP instead because the opening bands (and there are six of them) might suck…

Links: Monofonus Press

Monomyth

Saturnalia Regalia!

[LP; Mint/Factor]

Monomyth have hovered over the last few days of my life like a Velvet(s) cloud made of purple wax, filling in the blank spots and bringing back memories of jangle-pop and other delightful distractions I’ve been tuning out. Melding the melodies of kiwi representatives such as The Clean to echo-chamber arrangements you might find on a great label like Captcha, is a brave undertaking. Many have tried, and most have failed to create their own Saturnalia Regalia!. First you need a fast-pickin’, versatile guitarist (with a predilection for “Please Please Me” finely displayed within “Candleholder”) who can carry the show on his own if needed (check). Second, you need a singer who can hold a note or two and doesn’t feel weird about backing off for long stretches (double-check). Thirdly, you gotta have a songwriter blessed with rare agility (checkmate). Once you have the pieces together, start gluin’ the puzzle together and you might just have VU as interpreted by Chin Up Chin Up or Cool Ghouls. Or maybe not; Saturnalia has me all confused, wracking my brain for reference points that just aren’t there. Maybe your best course of action is to go ahead and pick this purple LP up and tell me where the bear shits in the buckwheat.

Links: Monomyth

Bre’r

A.R.M.

[CS; BARO]

this hollowed out tree stump will suit me fine hiding from hunters scavengers darkness light people everybody always invading my home as if it were open foot traffic rustling my hedgerow and scarring the babies i fly by foot into wood and chain-linked because they corner me but here is solace here is peace caught by ears through a wafting breeze a gentle melody that soothes in this frightful hiding spot this is not my home but this tune shall make it so in due time i will never hide again this is where i will take a stand where we will take arms and fight back though by arms i mean musically not violently we are a gentle creature though i do know of some who have used force the only force i know is that of the constant thud into wood and chain-linked i talk to foxes but they do not listen i talk to trees but they just shake i speak to humans but they cannot understand so i stay in this hollowed out stump with my music and my arms (which are paws) and i wait until this all becomes mine again for the last time

Links: BARO

Matthew Akers

A History of Arson

[CS; Out-Of-Body]

Out-Of-Body Recs, run by one of the fellas in Terminator 2, sent in a couple of harder, murkier tapes last year, and that was fine, but A History of Arson, damn, it’s really something. I mean we’ve all been appreciating eMego and Mark McGuire and, personally, Rat Catching and Mudboy here at Cerbs, and Matthew Akers is firmly planted on the brighter, trippier end of that specific synth spectrum. Not only that, but he doesn’t disdain BEATS, which is a huge plus when you’ve got plenty of tape to fill. The rhythms retain a somewhat techno-ist bent, albeit with a busier bent, and they propel the already-interesting arrangements to new heights. They also help round out the concept behind this cassette: the thought process of an arsonist. This vision might not seem apropos for a synth artist, but you’d be surprised what Akers can pull off, from horror-soundtrack stylings to the floating synth sculptures referred to earlier to futuristic tek-naw. Particularly fascinating are the guilty synth sequences of “Bad Wolf,” which seem to encapsulate the arsonist’s first inklings of evil. Or at least that’s how I hear it; suss the rest yrself, or burn yr hands off trying.

Links: Out-Of-Body

Samantha Glass

Rising Water Perception

[CS; Sacred Phrases]

First off, I’m going to just come right out on a cliche and say what we’re all thinking: Beau Devereaux is just as cool a name as his alter ego, Samantha Glass. But it does seems a more fitting pseudonym throughout Surface Water Perception, which is a departure and arrival for Devereaux’s project. As brooding as any recording before it, there’s a new darkness that permeates this very post-synth pop cassette. There isn’t a lack of chasing melodic threads and abstract ideas, all of which have made Samantha Glass releases must listens in the past, but the accessibility–and that’s what this tape ultimately is to fans of the Joy Division/Depeche Mode/Bauhaus crowd–is on equal footing. As experimentation slowly morphs its way back into some skewed form of mainstream that somehow bites its tongue at being too commercial, SWP seems the best big step toward bridging the traditional and radical. You won’t throw it on the car stereo on a raucous Saturday night but after a few mood altering hours, it’s sure to be there when you need it.

Links: Samantha Glass - Sacred Phrases

GOG

GOG

[LP; King of the Monsters]

I’m glad I listened to GOG’s self-titled album in a number of settings, from the ol’/trusty record room to my untrustworthy car stereo to my phone, because each experience yielded disparate conclusions. In my record room, the ride cymbal jumped out too much during the black-metal parts, while on my i-ph’n the more abstract noise sections sounded more fine-tuned and rife with subtlety. Such is the drill in this era of flexible audio consumption, and I’ll add that every environment, on the whole, was favorable to GOG, a cog in the monstrous avant-metal machine I’ve been trying (often only to fail, frankly) to shed more light on. What I admire about this particular project is the breadth of its explorations, which, if they were water, would take on the form of ice (cold, metallic, crunchy), mist (soft, eternal), water (life-sustaining, yet deadly), and cloud (foreboding, grey with doom), each element sustaining those that come after or before it. Perhaps the speed-demon drumming and sacrificial screaming of “The First Cure” provides the most primal thrill, but that’s not to say there’s a whole lot of atmospheric drifting. Each event is of consequence, each drill/drone/drag through the mud serving the mother brain. Michael Bjella’s been doing his thing as GOG for almost a decade now, and this latest entry in his timeline serves as a stellar point to join his orbit.

Links: King of the Monsters

Atlantic Thrills

Atlantic Thrills

[LP; Almost Ready]

I’m convinced the key to Atlantic Thrills’ self-titled record exists within the confines of one dynamite track: “Holy Mountain.” Everything the band build-up to culminates in this intense, screamin’-out-loud garage-rocker, which stomps like Black Lips but melodically hews more to Cool Ghouls. And don’t we all “need some place to hide”? I sure-as-shit do. “Lie to Me” presents an altogether different challenge, namely can a band of Atlantic Thrills’ stripe deviate into xylophone hits and guitar slidin’ and make it stick? I’m still not sure on that one, but I’m glad they tried, and in the greater context of this LP I’m glad they exist because the garage explosion (Oh Sees, Goner, the Lips, Slovenly, Ty Seegs, In the Red, etc.) needs their personality and somewhat rootsy reverberations. “Blind Lead the Blind” is another example of their quirky knack for re-purposing the past, present, and future of the artform, as it could exist in just about any era, but it’s ours and that’s exciting to me and should be to you. I can only imagine how it all shakes out in a concert setting, what with those simple, addictive instrumental breakdowns and group vocals. Interested to hear what the A-Thrills try next, though this easily could be one of those bands that breaks up after one record, to be mourned and fully appreciated thereafter. Let’s hope that ain’t the case, and/or even go a step further and ENSURE that ain’t the case. Feel me?

Links: Atlantic Thrills

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.