Minor Trials [CS; Life Like]

I’m trying (hard) to resist the urge to make every tape I review representative of some bigger thing I have to say about physical media in post-internet society. That said, Minor Trials, the new tape by Ann Arbor, MI performance artist Emily Roll AKA Haunted, is a sterling example of where putting out a tape is not stupid and wasteful (whereas 97% of current tapes, in my eyes, are the opposite). The whole thing is available online, but it just doesn’t seem right to listen to it there… it’s too personal, too secret. It sounds like it belongs on tape.

Minor Trials largely sticks to a format of bare-bones, funny spoken word in the venerable tradition of Suckdog, Algebra Suicide, or those Kill Rock Stars “Wordcore” records, with Roll accompanying herself with dreamy saxophone lines that recall a post-punk version of early John Klemmer or Roland P. Young. She is occasionally joined on drums/percussion by Life Like prime mover Fred Thomas (he of many bands, currently “Fred Thomas”). Some of these pieces would probably resonate most among friends in local basements, which is totally all well and good, but my personal favorite sections find Roll gazing well past her navel and out into this incredibly weird world. I’m not sure how one does that with all the guts in the way between those two things, but there it is.


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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