Wednesday, February 29, 2012


Ghostrider – Voices c33

I'm a total sucker for 80's sounding synth stuff, and Voices is just dripping with those sort of neon retro-futuristic tunes. The majority of the tracks are all about oscillating electronics, but there a couple of meandering pieces you can trance out to. My only complaint? I wanted way more than 30 minutes.

Tranquility Tapes

Jen Paul / No Lakes - † c50

Niiiiice, got some minimalist, atmospheric guitar action going on here. Gently plucked strings ripple across the audio spectrum and before you know it, you've drifted off. isn't an ambient record, but certainly establishes an ambiance. Good vibes, you know?

Haute Magie

Remnants v. Collapsed Arc – split c30

First up on this split is Remnants, who lets loose with a massive, pulsing drone of sine wave fluctuations. As the track progresses, electronic rumblings appear that amp up the intensity until reaching crescendo, with things fading away into harsh swirling winds. On the flip is Collapsed Arc with a side long track of the usual fantastic spliced and looped sound skullfuckery. Whilst I found this to be rad, you're going to need an ear equally as eclectic to really enjoy this.

A Soundesign Recording

Velvet Elvis – No Rules in the Wasteland c31

Velvet Elvis kicks off No Rules in the Wasteland off with a 15 minute, side long burner of gritty, spaced out 70's style rock. “Fuckin' epic” is an understatement. Not quite full on stoner rock, but kind of a proto-stoner sound, if that makes sense. On the flip we get two more heavy jams and a weird little spoken word, sound collage piece. I'm diggin the use of duel male & female vocals they have going on. Definitely worth snagging a copy.


Welfare Queen – Chinese Medicine c34

Playing what it describes as “opiate rock” I'm really liking what Welfare Queen has done here. Alternating between gaze-y pop and driven rock, there's a dreaminess and a sense of melancholy that underpins Chinese Medicine. Interestingly, half the tape has shorter songs with lyrics, while the other is longer instrumental pieces; each managing to be as enjoyable as the other. A soundtrack to bittersweet reminiscences, check it out.

Tent Revivalist Tapes

Friday, February 10, 2012


Bloody Ridge Rum Runners – High Plains Drifter/Live from the Lion's Den c47

Bloody Ridge Rum Runners appears to consist of one core member, Slugg, who occasionally plays with a full band ensemble. Side A, High Plains Drifter, is 9 tracks of solo guitar, banjo, and harmonica americana. It was enjoyable enough, but by the side's end the music was feeling a tad repetitive and I was getting annoyed with the nasally vocals. On the flip, Live from the Lion's Den, we're treated to a live session with the full band. The tracks here have a much more rustic and rambling feel to them, which I was digging. If you're into American folk music, consider scoping this one out.

Tent Revivalist Tapes

Crabskull – Jovian Black Opera c60

Had I not been intrigued by the name “Crabskull”, I'd have never snagged a copy of Jovian Black Opera. Tagged as “dark hop” and “rough edged D’n’B,” I figured I'd hate this and use it as an example of why you shouldn't do stupid things like buying an album based solely on the band's goofy ass name; but surprise, surprise, I'm really digging what's on here. Distorted, slow beats overlaid with crackling synths, ghostly vocal loops, and even occasional horns, this is one of the more eclectic releases I've had the pleasure of hearing. While the beats are definitely rooted in drum and bass there's too much going on here to file this under techno or one of it's sub-generas. It's outside my musical comfort zone, but I'm digging Jovian Black Opera.

Prairie Fire Tapes

Harassor – Hater of Man c37

I was expecting this to be another generic grim black metal act, but was psyched when it turned out Harassor's all about that retro black/death sound. Very primal, especially the guttural, hateful vocals. Even if you're not really big into this style of metal, I say check out Hater of Man, it might just change your mind.

Husk Records

i AM esper – Swept Beneath The Black Waters c90

Originally dropped in the summer of '11, this album has been rereleased by different labels no more than three times, which is testament to the quality of the music contained here. If you've been paying attention to my past few reviews of i AM esper's work, you've read about a shift in sound and imagery. Well, Swept Beneath The Black Waters is that missing link; the transitional piece documenting the shift from one incarnation of the project to another. Driven by guitar, the tracks vary from distant, minimalistic ambient to jarring drone. Excellent for the music in and of itself, the album is doubly important because it documents the metamorphosis of i AM esper.

Le Crépuscule Du Soir

Project Merc – Manifesting a Preoccupation With Past Failures cd-r

Perhaps a more accurate name for this group would be 'Project Meh'. Mixing harsh drones, doomy bass segments, and crunchy electronic sounds, this demo has it's moments, but never really comes to fruition. Maybe with time Project Merc will realize it's potential and craft something of a higher sonic quality. But, for now, no thanks.

Smell the Stench

Rue – Thorns cd

Where to begin with this train wreck? How about Rue's general watered down, over produced “sludge” sound that's got way too much hardcore and radio friendly rock n roll undertones? Actually, that's not even what's so bad. Lets go with the shitty vocals. Like 12 tracks of MONOTONE SHOUT GROWLS alternating with off key, spoken, sing-songy shit. And, since when do you want crystal clear production on a sludge album? Where's the grit and the fuzz? I want to get a refund for the time I wasted listening to this...

Shifty Records

The Men from..BEYOND!! – Monster Fuck c9

Another solid ep of instrumental, surfy garage rock from this one-man outfit. The four tracks here are more technical and confident sounding than earlier releases. Oh, and the song intro from Cutting Class? Icing on the cake. Super limited, so go get it while you can.

Felt Cat Records

Weirding Module – Peace Offering c57

Total freakin mind melter right here. Wild space synth drones all jumbled up with 16-bit symphonies and plodding electronic percussion. There's kind of an 'astral planes' vibe going on, but not in the cornball, new age sense. Just like, it's out there dude, you know? You should get a copy so you can ride that celestial wave too...

905 Tapes