TMT Cerberus 19
Pauly Shore's Greatest Hits

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. TMT Cerberus seeks to document the aesthetic of these home recorders and backyard labels. Email us here.

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Sonny & The Sunsets
“The Hypnotist” b/w “Stranded” [7-inch + mini-comic book]

[Future Stress; 2010]
http://www.futurestress.com
By Gumshoe

Sonny & The Sunsets have some famous Bay Area friends (John Dwyer, Shayde Sartin, Tim Cohen), but that’s quickly forgotten when you toss this blue-yellow-swirl 7-inch on the ol’ player. This is Sonny’s show, by gawd. Boozy, woozy, and bluesy, Sonny and crew go the acoustic route here, pickin’ and a-stickin’ it to those who hide behind their electricity like Oz’ Wizard cowering behind his giant curtain. There are a lot of comparisons to be made, but my gut’s tellin’ me, I reckon, to mention Skygreen Leopards because the vocals of both bands cozy up to each other like Pound Puppies (remember those?). The best cut here, easily, is “Mondrian” (“Life is just like Mondrian/ Spare and square and simple/ Sing these words around the land/ They bring forth our principles”), as its bare, unassuming arrangement is near-perfect, the lead guitar pluckin’ along with the vocals and Sonny refusing to complicate the composition to mirror the complexities of the “Look what I can do” set. Not a 7-inch jack-in-the-box that’ll jump out and bite you on the boo-boo, but you’ll remember at least a few of these songs long after you’ve forgotten that new, of-the-moment witch house/c-wave/hypnagogic/dub-house record. The comic book’s nice, too; unfortunately, when I’m in Review Mode, I tend to drift when anything besides music is involved.

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Silver Bullets
Città Invisibili [CS]

[Stunned; 2010]
http://stunnedrecords.blogspot.com
By Jspicer

I can’t imagine being the only person excited for new Silver Bullets. The ‘it’ band of last year came out of nowhere, thanks to the direction and friendship of William Giachhi. His wisdom leads the band into their second cassette for Stunned, returning to the Sicilian psychedelia of Free Radical and turning it upside down. The A-side introduces tribal rhythms to Silver Bullets’ drugged melodies, but fans of the band’s classic tie-dye sound will be rewarded for their patience. Città Invisibili’s B-side begins the Timothy Leary trips, with heavy doses of foggy guitar rundowns and heavy bass lines. The band doesn’t shy from its newfound mysticism, but rather than being wrapped up in their expanded sound as they are during lengthy burners, “Scherzando Sulla Terra” and “Anno Dopo Anno Malta,” the band trims the fat and gives us its séance incense throughout Side B. Silver Bullets prove to still be worth the quiet hype and your undivided attention.

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Various Artists
Burlington, Vermont [8xCS]

[NNA Tapes; 2010]
http://www.nnatapes.com
By Gumshoe

Seeing Greg Davis’ nom de… name on the credits, I wrongly assumed I’d be cloaked in a cotton-candy fortress like a baby in a tight swaddle and sent down the psych-drone superhighway. BOY, WAS I A STUPID ASSHOLE! That’s not what’s happening here at all, or at least that’s not the whole story. If anything, this is a half-‘n’-half-er that may just be a reaction to all that same-sounding cassette stuff drifting around the galaxy. Tantamount to my surprise are the entries from Ryan Power, Toothache, Lawrence Welks & Our Bear To Cross, and Cosmic Matrix, the former doop-doop-DOO-woppin’ it all Ariel Pink-circa-Doldrums-style to a Part Time (fairly decent Voice Academy band, in case you didn’t know, and of course you didn’t) beat and the latter beaming in Culture Club and retarded keytones (just in case you didn’t hear the first 500 stutter-synth tapes out there) with no self-consciousness in sight. It works, and doesn’t, which is kinda to be expected.

Now, down to business; I’m in this for the Head Music, the stuff you can only find in stony towns like Burlington, Vermont, right? Right. It took awhile to chisel through to the upper-crust of this comp, but I finally found the pick-lickin’ — just call me Ukon Cornelious — silver ‘n’ gold I was lookin’ fer in, rather predictably, the Greg Davis, Toby Aronson, and A Snake In The Garden cassettes. Davis’ entry is one of the best and most meditative I’ve heard from the bloke, and boy, that’s really saying a lot if you’ve heard his other material. Oblong, space-driven drip-drones, to be sure, vocoded — I think — and laid out on a never-ending platter for all to taste. That’s Side A; the flip is even better, sort of like Dolphins Into The Future ripped from the pool/ocean/deep-blue and set down in the middle of the forest to document the chirps and thicket-calls. And is that the fucking all-befuddling voice of god? I don’t bring my ex-religion into this much, but some of those old pro-Mormon, quasi-historical, story-of-Joseph-Smith VHS tapes shown to me in Sunday school were a lot like Side B, and this music is sort of like yr smaller religions: Not for everyone, but precious to the Chosen. I could say the same for Toby Aronson’s quadrant — half-quadrant? — another gooey IV-dripping droner that flashes to Harmonium (common these days but appreciated) and nods confidently to Tangerine Dream. Should I end the rev-? Now? Ye- … Yeah, I … I think I’m ending this thing. I’ll wrap it up by saying, as tangential as this material is, it’s nice to sit down with an old-school cassette box and listen to tape after tape of fresh material without drowning in bitter boredom — even the spoken-word tape by Chubby Wonder is at least weirder than SHIT — so kudos for keeping things fluid and on the up-and-up. Hand-painted tape sticker-label-things, insert, and voraciously limited-edition tape set.

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Froe Char
Panegyric [3-inch]

[Kimberly Dawn; 2010]
http://kimdawn.blogspot.com
By Jspicer

Considering Cerberus is our panegyric, we use it to heap infinite praise on French mystery, Froe Char. How does she use her Panegyric: by blowing minds one shoegazed idea at a time. Panegyric carries with it the lusty air of noir; a stale mix of pheromones, cigarette smoke, and alcohol that dusts every mating place. Froe Char is the ritualistic tick of our internal mechanisms. Each beat mimics our racing pulse toward the ecstatic chase, each sweeping keyboard the euphoric flutter that accompanies a kiss. How Froe Char separates her four creations is by rhythm. “River Paradox” is draped in an organic but frenzied drum beat. “Dead Idillio” is far more seductive, the Casio cymbals swiveling back and forth like the hips of Jessica Rabbit, every step syncing to the dancing motion in which she draws ever so closer. Panegyric is the buildup toward explosion. It’s the moment when you can’t take it anymore. But just hold it a little longer….

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Puke Eaters
“Y.M.I. Dead?” b/w “Flesh Descending” [7-inch]

[Vauva; 2010]
http://www.myspace.com/vauvalautasella
By Gumshoe

May I start with Side B, govenah? You see, I prefer the flip ever so much… being stacked with sadistic sounds as it is… And methinks I feel me bladder turning to mush, me eyes goin’ all a-flutter, me bowels turnin’ ta cold puddin’; something went drastically wrong on the way to the pressing plant on this one. Burial Hex, you might just have to do something EXTREME soon to top this, because Puke Eaters just vomited a fat loaf of logic onto ‘dat azz. It’s like dub got satanic and spare and bass-bitten; I could easily become obsessed with the zany bass-bass-BOOM of this track, and probably already have. Side A? It’s a stone-cold day at the cannery, by god… A blacksmith is pounding out some metal, and I’m supposed to enjoy it as music. I’ll be damned if I don’t cozy right up next to it, too. This is a sure sign I’ll never have dinner parties at my place (or if I do, my records won’t be invited). About as good as psych-/improv-/freak-/noise-mulch gets…

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Chubby Wolf
Ornitheology [CS]

[Digitalis; 2010]
http://digitalisindustries.com
By Jspicer

Whether the late Danielle Long’s attempt was to create worship music for birds is nigh important, rather the celebrated bliss of Ornitheology serves as worship music for those looking for an answer — any answer. Yet another posthumous release from Dani, this time under the guise Chubby Wolf, Ornitheology hearkens to the blessed-out drones of the Buddha Machine. Swelling electronics and tape loops play host to quaint window dressings. But the tone of Long’s creation is found in the autumnal melodies of her two lengthy tracks. Some would be quick to call it background music, but I dare anyone to try to ignore this — there’s an emotional element deep within (beyond the obviously labeled “Phantasmagoria of Nothingness (Prey to Our Emotions).” One can’t help but find the dedication to Long’s husband, Will, and her untimely passing eerie when listening to the heavenly tones of Ornitheology and its twisted metaphors. But go deeper. This isn’t a ghostly valentine or a Nostradamus prediction; this is the solitude of music disseminated for those who need its isolated embrace to tell you that you are not alone.

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Radar Eyes
“Shakes” b/w “Not You Again” [7-inch]

[HoZac Records; 2010]
http://hozacrecords.com
By Gumshoe

Oh Ho-Ho-HoZac, I luv thee. Rock ‘n’ roll seems in such dire condition sometimes I wonder if I’ll ever be able to listen to another band with traditional Beatles instrumentation — you… you know what that is, right? — again. Radar Eyes laugh at this question, and rightfully so. They’ve got the punk piousness to explore a done-to-death motif, and wouldn’t ya know it, they write good melodies AND riffs. It takes increasing verve to write the song you want to these days, as opposed to the song They want you to write; does this make sense? I guess I just feel everyone wants to roll around in copious gobs of fuzz these days without considering the age-old equation to truly listenable garage/punk/rock/etc.: Attitude + Melody = Mellifluousness. I’m not going to guess at which punk band, exactly, Radar Eyes first got OFF on (Do you really need another writer to tell you a group sound like Buzzcocks? Whoops.) because by now there are thousands of reissues piled atop the tens-of-thousands of punk bands that we already all knew about. Late-70s punk is becoming the new Nuggets brand, and that’s fine, as long as I can pucker up to groups that are producing purposeful punk such as that of “Shakes.” 500 copies for you!

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J. Guy Laughlin
Apnoea [CS]

[Deception Island; 2010]
http://deceptionisland.com
By Jspicer

For so long we have existed under the spell of Chris Corsano, quite possibly the greatest and most versatile drummer. His chameleon state renders him almighty, the person to which talented musicians turn when needing an inventive backbone to an ensemble. Cleveland’s J. Guy Laughlin may not knock Corsano down a peg, but Apnoea may prove the marching beat with which he gains a bit of ground. Borrowing from tricks better known by fans of Glenn Kotche, Laughlin uses a variety of percussive instruments and tricks to produce a cohesive ‘drumming’ album. Side A — calculated rimshots, fills, and metallic rips and tears. It’s as if Laughlin is forcing his way into your eardrums, discarding and picking up tools as he needs them to break the barrier. Side B is far more sinister, proceeding to drive you mad as it burrows deep into brain matter with rhythms akin to muted jackhammers. The ideas presented on the A-side are transformed into full-fledged melodies that buzz between your ears. Aponea breaks down Laughlin’s technique, then builds it up. It’ll rattle in your skull for as long as you allow it, and the more you fight it, the easier it is for Laughlin to take over.

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The Bats / Songs
The Bats/Songs split [7-inch]

[Spring Press; 2010]
http://www.thespringpress.com
By Gumshoe

The jacket is wrong; if this is a 33-1/3 7-inch, I’ll eat that sandwich under the radiator. Damn you, Spring Press! Damn you, Bats! How can you just LIE to me like that? Anyway, The Bats are a Kiwi band descended from the whole Clean scene in NZ — a lot of stellar history between this band and its many offshoots, though I can’t say I’ve been along for the ride, save Bats’ National Grid album from awhile back. It’s nice to catch a smoke with them now though, the jingle-jangle morning they’ve been living for decades fully intact. I’ll never be as socks-less over this as some of the punters are, but I’ll be damned if I don’t understand the appeal. Is that enough? I hope so… Songs, on the flip — or, if you’re a Songs fan, Bats are on the flip, I guess — get a grrroove going with “My Number” that I can latch onto a little easier, prog-ordained and Harmonia-littered as it is. I think it’s a mirage though; these guys aren’t “prog” at all, just an adventurous rock band. “Keeping It Clean” is acoustic, deadpan, and dead-on, though it made my player skip. All told, the four cuts here cover enough ground to warrant further inspection.

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Black Eagle Child
“Born Underwater” b/w “The Arquebus”

[Avant Archive; 2010]
http://avantarchive.com
By Jspicer

Leave it Michael Jantz to abandon any pretense and combine his noise tendencies with his once-guitar based pseudonym. As Black Eagle Child, Jantz carved his own nook in a crowded neo/psych/raga scene that reproduces faster than mogwai past midnight, but after stepping out under the name W.A. Munson and developing avant tastes for chicken and late-night soaks, the gremlin he’s become has enveloped his BEC persona. What better way to showcase the bleed over than to throw it on a cassette and release in a trio of releases via your own label? Such is the case of the apocalyptic sounds of his two-track Avant Archive launch. “Born Underwater” and “The Arquebus” are visions of wastelands — vast strips of land blown out and plundered for any resource its nuclear soil will surrender. Clinks, clanks, and howls rule here — the victory cries of pollution and Mother Earth trying to drown each other out. All that’s left are vicious creatures feasting on the remains of melody, devouring everything but the bones. Those bones make up both tracks, and after you’ve dragged yourself out for under the covers, remember the fear Michael Jantz has given you and use it.

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Velvet Davenport
White Blue[CS]

[Moon Glyph; 2010]
http://www.moonglyph.com
By Gumshoe

As many of you — okay, some of you — no doubt already know, there’s something special about Velvet Davenport. At first, I was too beholden to register the familiarity I was feeling with their material; I don’t have that problem now: from the shy vocals to the soft pitter-patter of the guitars and the easy-easy-lemon-squeezy drumming, “White Blue” is Bee Gees’ Odessa, recalculated and repackaged for the psych-rock listeners of Today. As satisfied as I am with myself for finally making that perhaps-obvious “rainbow connection,” no degree of veteran-reviewer-smugness could overtake the joy that radiates from this band. To be frank as a Chicago hot dawg, I can see why Ariel Pink hangs with these guys, as VD’s latest gems a lot more staying power than Before Today (and that’s coming from an unabashed Pink-erton). Their essence is pure gold, their music like glitter sprinkled over a satisfaction sundae. I’ll admit Side B doesn’t quite hold the water poured by A, but that’s more because there’s just no topping “Checking In” and “Never Ending Days Beginning,” among the most refreshing one-two PUNches I’ve absorbed since joining the who-could-have-predicted-this-trend tape club. I’ve got a glass jaw for well-rendered psych, I guess. Limited to 200 c-o-p-i-e-s, with a new V. Davenport LP dropping soon like sugar cubes into a bubbling-hot cup of tea.

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Nathan McLaughlin
Echolocation #3 [CS]

[Gift Tapes; 2010]
http://gifttapes.com
By Jspicer

The world of drone has long played host to pattern recognition. Those synapses in our brains that play to symmetry; order is the rank and file of human nature. Nathan McLaughlin’s approach, as far as Echolocation #3 is concerned, is the slight disruption of the expected. McLaughlin does not so much stray from symmetry as reframe it. His mellow drones are awash in the particulars of drone — steady, swelling electronical pulses that ebb and flow to the will of their manipulator — but McLaughlin offers unique oases in the middle of these serene looped landscapes. The brilliance is how subdued these change-ups are, transforming Echolocation #3 into a study on how we listen rather than why. Experimental music has endured a academic quality thanks to forefathers such as La Monte Young and Alvin Lucier, and though McLaughlin’s pursuits don’t seem quite so scientific in measure, the natural compositions lend themselves to higher pursuits. But don’t let such claptrap fool you — you can enjoy Echolocation #3 without firing one electrode or reading an oversized book. Music, no matter its initial intent, is to entertain, and there are many nights when Echolocation #3 shall do just that.

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