Blossom Juice [CS; The Ashton Velvet Rock Club Recording Company]

All that pure and pristine and beautiful stuff that soaks up the sun on the surface of the Earth — sure it radiates its pretty and pleasing light. But pretty things piss and shit, too. Somewhere in the bowels of our city streets, there’s a depository of all the liquid runoff of the every day. It all collects in a vile, putrid pool of sloppy sludge. And DEN swims there. Ew — OK, OK, my setup for this little review here is disgusting, but you see where I’m going with this? “Blossom Juice.” That’s the name of the album, and hey, sometimes rock and roll needs to be just that — the noisy, dirty, soupy, toxic result of whatever it was that was beautiful at the beginning, the leaky, bleak remains. DEN captures the essence of this with a sludge-metal skeleton without really being all that metal, adding its own unique vitriolic noise element. We’ve got a power-trio setup here diving into simple, slowly crawling rock figures based in the bass, shrouded with blackened tape noise and harrowing whooshes and whistles of a passing storm. I got this damned tape over the summer, but I’m almost glad I’m reviewing it now, here in October — there’s a spookiness here that’s magnetic, and terrifying harshness, and Adam Harris (who you might know as the proprietor of Retrograde Tapes) providing some blood-curdling growls on the vox to complete the effect. Mostly, though, this tape is sold on the solidness of the band itself, some sick drumming and truly awesome riffs (especially in the murderous final number, “Loustinom”) laying the foundation for the odd and unsettling melodic material that haunts the music from above, and then of course that thick, pale layer of tape noise. Yeah it’s harsh and part of that underground cassette culture, etc., but ultimately…? Horns. Throw’em if you got’em and forget about it.


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.

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