TMT Cerberus 21
Binge/Purge (Slight Return)

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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Super Minerals
The Hoax [CS]

[Stunned; 2011]
http://stunned.blogspot.com
By Jspicer

The first Stunned[s][z] of 2011 arrive and at the top o’ the pile happens to be the work of label proprietor Phil French. Alongside kindred visionary William Giacchi, the duo form the Voltron known as Super Minerals. The versatile twosome has worked brilliance before, but The Hoax proves a different animal: a venomous, rabid beast rather than the soft, purring creature that once rested at our feet. But the ferocious bite takes a bit to break the skin, slowing gnawing at the flesh with apprehensive fangs, though its robotic bark is impossible to ignore. The Hoax doesn’t go for the gusto (loud for loud’s sake). Rather, it’s a careful transition from the more melodic tendencies of French and Giacchi into mutant electronics and stubborn static. But honestly, the cassette’s title does much of the summation for us: the fangs are plastic, the bark pre-recorded, and the froth is shaving cream. That doesn’t make The Hoax any less transcendent, just more playful. French and Giacchi stretch their limits and though not as lush as past SM material, it holds its own against the pair’s output. It’s time to get in on the joke before you become the butt of the joke.

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High Wolf
“A Guide to Healing” [7-inch]

[Bathetic; 2011]
http://www.batheticrecords.com
By Gumshoe

The B-side of High Wolf’s 7-inch, doesn’t play so much as it pours from the stereo like smooth maple syrup. It’s an incredible practice in hypnagogic anti-pop that to me plays better than Caboladies and a lot of the other tape-tradin’ types, replete with psychedelic patterns, loopy loops, fast-forward tick-tocks, and the aforementioned liquid feel of the lead component. Believe it or not, a track from Pork Soda sounded a lot like this — a bit more predictable if you know your contemporary chillwavers, droners, and synthsters, but I’ll be Degeneres if it don’t cut the mustard also, albeit in a slightly clumsier manner. It’s not as seamless as the flip, takes longer to snap me to attention, and contains more obvious strategies. Still, like I said, it’s good — great once the streamers start flowing through the sky like florescent claws, the underlying bass burps finally making sense. Yup!

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The Deeep
Life Light [CS]

[Not Not Fun; 2011]
http://notnotfun.com
By Jspicer

The world of experimental music isn’t supposed to be surprising anymore. There seem to be certain rules, with those who skirt them at every chance and those who adhere to them out of a sense of history or style. But releases like Life Light come along and blow it up for everyone. It creates its own rules just to break them. It blows up history and style in a fit of creativity without spitting on what has come before. Isla Craig and Wolfg Nessel come forth from the strange brew with a blend of melodies as entrancing as they are danceable. There are cues from more accessible outfits such as The Blow or YACHT, but yet The Deeep remain out of reach. The oddly timed drum machine and beaten synth bows warp Life Light’s catchy qualities. You can’t sing along, you can’t find a rhythm in which to sway. And yet, you’ll be continuously drawn to Isla’s Donna Summer pipes and Wolfg’s Daniel Lopatin bastardization. The little hype that surrounds The Deeep is warranted, and should they prove to be this mystical with future releases, you won’t be able to ignore them (nor will you want to).

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Blanche Blanche Blanche
“Talk Out Loud” b/w “Water to Wine”

[Feeding Tube; 2011]
http://www.feedingtuberecords.com/
By Gumshoe

I’m extremely happy to be bringing this one to y’all (I live in Texas now, DOUCHE), courtesy of the nut-jobbers over at Feedin’ Tube. But HOLD ON — Blanche Blanche Blanche (as opposed to, say, Dubois Dubois Dubois?) aren’t as out-sound-y as many of their label mates. Nope, this here’s a down-to-earth group tha—… well SHIT, I can’t really call Blanche³ NORMAL, but they’re quite presentable, a post-Broadcast, post-glitch group that takes the best traits of some of my favorite digital-age indie chanteuses (Niobe and Laetitia Sadier among them) and pairs them with the best video-gamer accompaniment a complete lack of money can buy. Lemon Kittens aren’t a band I throw around often, neither are Young Marble Giants, but there’s elements of both here. There’s also a piece of Slumber Party, in particular a ditty of theirs called “Boys/Girls.” I suggest you familiarize yourself with it; but most of all, with hot lil’ Blanche over here.

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Circuit Des Yeux
Ode to Fidelity [7-inch]

[De Stijl; 2011]
http://destijlrecs.com
By Jspicer

If Ode to Fidelity teaches us anything, it’s never to break the heart of Haley Fohr. The Indiana songstress — who takes many of her cues from haunting guitarists such as Loren Connors, Jandek, and Liz Harris — pours her blood all over her latest 7-inch, seemingly written as a response to a lousy lover. The brutality of “Barrel Down” plays out like a traditional folk dirge; the young Fohr threatening to end the lives of her betrothed and his mistress as her angelic voice showcasing an eerie calm. This anger turns into a bully pulpit on “Self Satisfaction,” as the guitar is pounded by tightly wound fists. Fohr is a reckoning force, ready to destroy those who have trampled on her old soul. Vengeance is never pretty and Fohr carves ‘em up with three sharp blades of justice.

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Sun Splitter
II [CS]

[Land of Decay; 2011]
http://lndofdecay.blogspot.com/
By Gumshoe

Warlock-metal? Ritualistic metal? Stone-the-crow metal? Whatever you call it, Sun Splitter hang around the low-low-LOW end of the spectrum. Your speakers will wheeze with very-real pain, your tweeters taking the day off while your woofers work overtime. Majestic guitar leads; maybe this is dungeon-meta … Slow stomps, guitars tuned low and crunchy like that first — and only the first — Pelican EP (back before they were Pelican’t) or Pungent Stench or maybe even Entombed. Much, much slower than any of those, though. Cathedral could have been this heavy if they had a better screamer and laid off the up-tempo Sabbath vamps, but it never really happened, did it? Neurosis too; that’s a natural mention any time a metal band dials things down, but there’s a particularly strong connection in this instance. There’s a point where it’s either sink or swim, either the tape distinguishes itself as a force to be reckoned with or gets tossed in the pile with the burnouts. And it does, in a big way, suddenly, machine-gun double-bass, surging-sea riffs, pounding toms, ghostly group-screams. GUUUUUUAAAAAAHHHH!!! Hell yeah.

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Bad Drumlin Grass
“All Night Long” [7-inch]

[Milvia Son; 2011]
http://www.milviason.com
By Jspicer

The inserts of this [FREE!] one-song 7-inch from weirdo jammers Bad Drumlin Grass proclaims the world to be run by anti-women, corporate fellating, warmongers — a message juxtaposed with a stark album sleeve of two large breasts taken from some 60s stag film. The album is littered with sexual tones but beyond the sexual allusions of the four-and-a-half-minute “All Night Long” and a few mentions of “fuck,” the song is the furthest from sexy as Bad Drumlin Grass has ever conceived. Largely abandoning their low end, long-running jams, “All Night Long” is a rambling wreck of whimsical pop rock complete with a blazing guitar outro. This hard absurdist right from BDG seems to coincide with a more vocal, more agitated band. If “All Night Long” is the beginning of a grassroots reawakening of flower power and free love remains to be seen, but as the song continues to pirouette on the turntable, I too shall strip myself naked and dance with the hairy men and large breasted women on the sleeve until the wife comes home and reacquaints me with my Puritan shame.

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Spare Death Icon
Survival [CS]

[Gift Tapes; 2011]
http://gifttapes.com
By Jspicer

Like the chipped cassette that arrived in the pristine case (don’t let shoddy mail handlers reflect on this awesome label), Jason Anderson’s alter ego is also in the midst of falling apart in the middle of a 80s apocalypse. Heavy with the synth bulge of dated sci-fi VHS sound, Survival is the run-from-the-murderers, thrill-a-minute score to our decaying daily life. Locked in cars, cubicles, and cubic homes, Anderson supplies us with the needed adrenaline pump as we find ourselves increasing trapped in the visions offered from the wisdom of Rockwell. Survival keeps the scares simple: sweeping, dark synth is bolstered by dramatic repetition and tension-ratcheting electronic bursts jumping out of closets and breaking down the doors. The seeds for this brand of synth transition have long been germinating, but Anderson’s Spare Death Icon persona is taking the lead, complete with hockey mask, buxom sacrifice, and sweaty hero overcoming stilted traffic and copier jams. Cinema has been working to bring back truthful scares — Anderson’s work truly finds them, over and over again.

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Ancient Crux / Norse Horse
Split [7-inch]

[La Station Radar; 2010]
http://lastationradar.com
By Gumshoe

This is a yummy package with some great songs inside. Ancient Crux tip the cap to a lot of groups I love (Woven Bones and Luftwaffe vocally, K Records-anything stylistically, and so on) and retain their identity. I laugh quite nervously, indeed. I love indie-rock specifically because of bands that do what Ancient Crux do. They transcend their personal boundaries together, often without even hitting the right notes. It’s inspiring. These guys make the Panoply Academy look like The Mars Volta, so there’s that… Very barebones. As things devolve, they often become better, no? Norse Horse are more distant, hazy, floating, sliding, coasting, roasting, toasting, the-mosting. A fantastic mix, really. One of the few indie bands I’ve heard that can hold a candle to The Shins’ in their Oh, Inverted World period. They’ve got that awkward guitar pickin’, the ghost-in-another-room vocals, the shuffling drums, and the soft-desert-psych mood. This is the Weird Divide, now that James Mercer (and Broken Bells) sucks. There’s even a tropical track, hot as a summer sidewalk. Doug Martsch with a tourist-y Hawaiian shirt on and a lay, or Black Lips in 10 years. Hopefully there’s an album coming?

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Heavy Times
“No Plans” b/w “Ice Age” [7-inch]

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

Is it possible to sound like both Darlings and The Beats? I guess so? This duo is trying so NOT-hard I have to try hard not to like it — that’s how the equation often goes. Deliriously simple A-side tune with a more cloaked-in-mystery B-side that I think serves Heavy Times much better. These guys need a hard, hefty beat to keep things rolling. Tambourines a-tappin’, shakers a-slappin’. I don’t know how these kids continue to take the Sam Sham & Pharoahs/& Mysterions/spindle-punk/tinny garage-rock sound and remold it into something almost as interesting as the originals. They may not quite be there, but I enjoy listening to them try. Plus, “Ice Age” really rides off into the char-orange sunset with some class. I choose to believe in these young rockers and their tinker-toy production; I made that decision a long time ago. And so I say: ROCK, young MAN! TONIGHT!

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Loud & Sad
Whale Fall Vol. 1 [CS]

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

There are those individuals who seem to go unnoticed, even by those who take care to notice all talent no matter the width of the spotlight. So goes the story of Nathan McLaughlin, whose Echolocation tapes have sold out quickly, but revelations of his droned brilliance continue to be few and far between. So how does one get the world to take even less notice? Join with equally brilliant and ignored Joe Houpert and form the duo, Loud & Sad. Once more, their Digitalis cassette vanished quickly into the dense, misty drones of their own Whale Fall Vol. 1, but who was buying and why must they keep such a tight lid on such immense talent? For the dozens of you who read Cerberus, we share Houpert and McLaughlin’s skills here. The two pieces that envelope Whale Fall sway with the melody of ocean waves and the beauty of whale songs and sea sounds, focused on Zen isolation of the open water rather than the desolation and despair that comes with being sun-roasted shark bait. The B-side is the more haunting track, using electronic tricks to capture the underwater communiqués of ocean mammals, cephalopods, and aquatic vertebrates. Loud & Sad have done the likes of Jean Painleve and Jacques Cousteau proud.

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Adderall Canyonly
It was a Dark and Stoney Night [CS]

[Field Hymns; 2011]
http://fieldhymns.com
By Jspicer

Pop is largely ignored by cassette producers and purveyors, likely on the weakness of what the genre has become and the stigma attached to its defining features. But pop was once the domain of Brian Wilson, Lennon/McCartney, and The Rolling Stones. Pop was allowed its variants, and though bubblegum and teen-bop have come to reign supreme, the days of paying homage to pop’s architects are just beginning. Adderall Canyonly doesn’t take his immediate cues from pop legends, but his hallucinogenic brand of synth and electronics do tip a cap to pop’s many tentacles. Tinges of 50s B-movie soundtracks, 8-bit nostalgia, and catchy walls of guitar and synth infect It was a Dark and Stoney Night, lending the pot-drenched whimsy of the tape’s title and Adderall’s playful name a bong load of truth. Dark and Stoney jumps all over the place like a game a twister; a right arm on green, a left leg on yellow, and a forehead on red. It’s every nerd wet dream wrapped in a rolling paper and smoked with a group of likeminded dweebs. As hip-hop continues to shed some of its chains for quips about Sega Genesis, skateboarding, and comics, so goes the DIY community that dared to only allude to particular facets of nerd culture. Adderall Canyonly stuffs ‘em all into his beaten up backpack, judiciously unpacking one at a time as mood dictates.

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Born To Kill
Eyes and Ears of the Apocalypse [CS]

[Sanity Muffin; 2010]
http://www.sanitymuffin.com
By Gumshoe

Born To Kill, first off, is a great band name (just had to get that off my chest). You’d think some BM or master-blaster noise would be in order with the Bronson-esque nom de plume, but NOOOO: This is a current of electricity more than a gun-blast or knife-stab; bass rises and falls like ripples of a wave, cascading out and coiling back in. I … Can … Feel … Itititititit … WOAH!!! Okay, I’m back – where did I go? Well… space! Anyway, I really wish it were 2 PM rather than 2 AM right now, so I could RATTLE and ROLL my house with this tape. Really BASH it out, you know? Turn all Japanese on this shit, or something. But in all seriousness, I’m digging the drone here. There exists a point in the day where Born To Kill make all the sense in the world. They use a 60-minute tape as a vehicle to run all sorts of experiments on your noggin and get away with it, too. HARD, ominous bass with the crinkled eyebrows of a damn NINJA, shooting stars, quasars, eclipses of the fuckin’ MIND, man. This here’s a volcanic-psyche tape. PSYCHE! As always, great tart (tape art) from Sanity Muff on both the sleeve and cassette stickers.

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Padna
The Delaware Water Gap EP [CS]

[Peasant Magik; 2010]
http://www.peasantmagik.net/
By Jspicer

Amidst a huge stack of wonderful Peasant Magik releases to arrive on my doorstep was a new gem from Padna. Nat Hawks does so much with so little, reimagining the conceit of melody that pop purists and noise dudes hold dear. Beginning with the elegant “Delaware Intro,” in which Hawks tinkers with keys like a scientist deep in experimentation, The Delaware Water Gap EP builds on its opening ideas until Hawks finds the right formula. The reward with any Padna release is hearing disparate ideas coalescing into finely tuned melodies; musicality broken down and built back up for any would-be composer to mimic. Traditions aren’t dead, just evolving.

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