Thursday, November 17, 2016

It's the return?


Should I start doing this thing again? I dunno...does anybody even read it anymore?

I really fell off w/ listening to new music, although I never really paid it much mind to begin with.

Been through a lot of jobs, musical projects, and weed in the past 2 years, but who cares about that?

Anyhow. Recently, I started to get back into newer stuff...mainly jazz and electronic, because new rock music is weaaaaaak.

Here are some things that came out this year, which I am enjoying. Maybe it will turn into a 'best of 2016' list? I dunno. We'll see how bored I get at work.

Andy Stott - 'Too Many Voices'

I can't decide if I like this or his previous album, 'Faith in Strangers,' more. That one has the track 'Damage,' which is probably my favorite SONG by him, but this one is more consistent. It's also not as dark, and more of just a nighttime cruising record, I guess. That's what I do with it, anyhow. I don't really know what to call it, which is why I like a lot of stuff coming out this year. It's got murked out 808 drumkits, weird vintage synth tones, detached female vocals, and even some 80's post-punk bass guitar. It's too slow to be techno, and while it thumps like a rap record, the mood is more similar to The Cure or something.

Zomby - 'Ultra'

Ok, so the first two tracks are pretty obnoxious. A lot of stuff that's being tagged as 'UK Bass' is like listening to someone play Call of Duty from the other room. Lots of super-modern effected drums and gun clacking type shit. Sometimes it feels really random. Other stuff, like the previously mentioned 'Too Many Voices,' is super cool. Zomby falls prey to the UK Bass gun sounds and obnoxious synths on the first two cuts, but then this record turns into a pretty neat combination of trap-style drums, creepy, cold, synths, and unconventional song structures that seem pretty off-the-cuff, like he doesn't ever go back and re-edit things. There's even a Lil Ugly Mane sample, which sold me on it. People seem to prefer his last release, the 2xCD 'With Love,' but I dunno, it's pretty damn long, and a lot of it sounds the same. This is a pretty nice distillation of that, and 'Fly 2' (ft. Blank Banshee) is better than anything on that record.

Nicolas Jaar - 'Sirens'

Some of this is really not my, ambient soundscapes I guess, but I still appreciate that this dude is doing something really unique in a time where that's pretty hard to achieve. That being said, 'The Governor' fucking rips, and I could smash a bunch of stuff to it forever. This, to me, is the beginning of a new kind of anger. Probably just as off-putting as the beginning of punk rock, and just as hard to pin down. Jaar calls his music techno, I guess, which seems weird, because it's more like a really modern take on minimal wave. Some of it drags a bit, but when it comes together (like on 'The Governor',) it's pretty much everything I want from music. Cool, detached, Suicide-esque vocals, Detroit techno-style electronics, and some seriously wild drumming and clarinet(?) playing. This dude is pissed but instead of yelling and hitting a guitar, he's making music that literally feels like it's about to break.

Yves Tumor - 'Serpent Music'

While this might not go down as one of my favorite records, it perfectly illustrates what I love about recent music trends. It's perfectly fucking okay to wholesale jack some old soul song and just sing over it and morph it into a depressed, introverted stew. And, it's perfectly okay to stick that song on a record with cut-up marching drum field recordings, and some seriously haunted industrial-influenced R&B. Tumor is an associate of gender-fluid rapper Mykki Blanco, and has produced for them. This is a very strange record, but I like all the ideas on display, and it reminds me a lot of Divine Styler's 'Spiral Walls Containing Autumns of Light.' Even the album cover, with its soap-opera soft focus, combines a bunch of eras into a nonspecific whole.

Immune - 'Breathless'

From what I can tell, there was a lot of hype for this album, then it kinda disappeared once people found out this producer just stole a bunch of old techno and trance songs and kinda mixed them together half-assedly. Whatever. Art is art. It might be plunderphonics, but it's pleasant to listen to on a rainy afternoon, or even to go to sleep. Maybe Immune should have released it as a DJ mix instead of a proper album, but I would rather listen to this than spend hours digging for rare 90's techno cuts and slowing them down myself.

Melt Yourself Down - 'Last Evenings on Earth'

I got bored about 2/3 of the way through, but that's still a pretty good run all things considered. Recently, I've been pretty bored with rock music, and afro-funk, jazz and soul has kinda taken its place, so it's cool to see that stuff influencing modern groups. This FEELS like punk to me, even though it absolutely doesn't sound like it. The sax lines are like a cross between Morphine and Fela Kuti. The bass and drums, although playing pretty standard afro-funk patterns, are SUPER blown-out and huge-sounding. The vocals are sometimes cool, sometimes meh. Even if it's not a 'favorite,' it's a very creative record.

Spark Master Tape - 'Silhouette of a Sunkken City'

I've been a fan of Spark since his first mixtape, 'Syrup Splash.' Not that that matters for any reason, it's just been fun to watch the development of an artist from the beginning. To be sure, I'm not really sure what the fuck Spark is doing or planning. Disappearing for long periods of time, then coming back anonymously with another record of radio-friendly trap filtered through the avant-garde. This time around, songs are longer, more fully-formed, but also less fun. Spark seems really depressed, and I guess who can blame him? This is more of a 'greater than the sum of the parts' album than 'The Serengeti Swoup,' and probably because of this, there are fewer stand-out tracks. 'Chalkk,' 'Goin' Robbin'' and the absurd 'She Started Talkin'' are some of his best tracks, and Paper Platoon's production has just kept getting weirder. There are less of your favorite mixtape sound effects, but there are more obviously-stolen accapella 'features,' including a track that has all the surviving members of NWA together. Also of note, he seems to have some better pitch-shifting software this time around.

Well, I might be back with some mixes or downloads. You should buy any of these releases if you dig 'em though (except the Immune one, cuz fuck it.) I did, which makes this the first year I've paid for music since like 2011. There's some good shit out there for once.


Saturday, November 15, 2014

Bizarro Jerry's Memphis rap faves

If you like all the rare Memphis rap stuff I post here, you should check this list out:

Bizarro Jerry's Memphis Rap Faves

I made it for the RateYourMusic website, and if you're deep into this shit like I am, it's got some obscurities you might not have heard of. Alternately, if you're just getting into Memphis rap, I think it's a pretty good starting point, since there are also some of the classics.

Reader submission: Avant-garde strangeness from the deep web

Got another reader submission the other day, this time from someone who found me on the RateYourMusic website. He sent me a few albums, and a link to his weekly podcast.

He goes by the name of Tunnel Rat, and his music is somewhere in between bizarro Jandek outsider improv and the early chaotic releases of Beck. I'm actually not sure where he's based, but he's had records put out by labels from Florida and Canada. The one on Panama City's Fork and Spoon Records, called Rothko, features free form improvisation on bass, and some very strange spoken word sections. There are also some field recordings and odd samples, giving it a definite vibe of 'bedroom music.'

It's a very short affair, with the longest track being just over three minutes. Despite the amateurish recording quality, Tunnel Rat sounds pretty proficient on the bass, and some of this stuff reminds me of 60's avant-garde jazz. The poetry set to it gives the whole thing a completely different feel, though.

The other release I was sent, which is titled Hide The Syrup Spacemen, is even more avant-garde and strange. This was the one that reminded me of Beck's early sound experiments. Odd in-jokes are combined with distant-sounding field recordings and some spastic mandolin playing. I don't know what to make of it all, but if you were a fan of the Obscuro! radio program, you'll definitely be into this.

His internet podcast is sort of a discussion on experimental and spoken-word music, but it also touches on conspiracy theories, current news events and the benefits of the RateYourMusic website. It's every bit as strange as you'd think it is from hearing the music.

Thanks for the submission, Tunnel Rat, and to everyone else, keep 'em coming!

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Reader submission: Dracula-themed short film in the spirit of the holidays

I always like it when somebody sends me their own work, and it doesn't happen nearly enough. is where you can contact me with your music, films, art, etc.

Here's an interesting little short film I was sent earlier in the week, just in time for All Hallow's Eve. 'Danse Macabre' comes from Chicago indie filmmaker Derek Quint and his Addovolt Productions. It fits right in with the movies I usually post here, as it's intentionally designed to have that timeless, b-movie look. My guess would be 16mm film, but it could be digital post-effects. Either way, it has that cool look to it, and aside from a few modern-looking people in a crowd shot, it definitely succeeds in feeling out-of-time.

The plot consists of Dracula and his brides riding around in a limo on Halloween. When they stop for the girls to buy some jewelry, Dracula is kidnapped by some Vatican officials who plan to do away with him for good. Interestingly, the director chose to have the vampire characters ACTUALLY speak in Transylvanian, and the Vatican officials speak in Italian.

I won't give away the rest of the plot, but the mood definitely trumps everything else in importance. It feels like a less-disgusting John Waters short film, with the gaudy costumes and big ideas put on bargain-quality film. There is a choice moment where a guy on the subway is looking at the cast members, and you can tell it was unintentional.

I'm not up on my Dracula mythology, but the fact that Mr. Quint chose to use the Transylvanian language tells me there are probably other allusions to other vampire-based works here as well. Regardless, it's a fun little piece of independent filmmaking from some fellow b-movie aficionados.

Check out Derek's blog for Addovolt Productions here.

Some scare-tacular listening for All Hallow's Eve 2014

Even though I'm focusing on my movie blog right now, I had to come back with some scary albums for Halloween. Some of these are actually kind of frightening, but most are just silly. They're all out of the Obscuro! radio program vaults, from my numerous Halloween theme shows.

1. Anton LaVey - 'Strange Music' EP
The founder of the Satanic Church (and author of the Satanic Bible) is also, hilariously, fairly proficient on the pipe organ. He has another album of mostly instrumental stuff called 'The Devil Takes a Holiday,' and it's pretty funny to me that this dude obviously can poke fun at himself. Anyhow, the majority of these tunes are his versions on old standards (i.e. 'Gloomy Sunday.') It's not great, but it's totally the type of thing you can throw on at a Halloween party.

2. Lucifer - 'Black Mass'
Electronic music pioneer Mort Garson did this album under the Satanic pseudonym, presumably because it's darker music than his other stuff. If you like the horror-movie synth soundtracks of the 80's, or the library music stuff I've posted here, you'll probably dig this. I did feature it in a previous Halloween post, but the blog I linked to for a download is apparently long-gone, so I re-uploaded it myself.

3. The Elm Street Group - 'Freddy's Greatest Hits'
Of all the dumbed-down horror movie merchandise to come out of the 80's ('Toxic Crusaders,' anyone?) this might take the cake for stupidest. Some no-name studio musicians concocted these run-of-the-mill synth-pop tunes (many of which are covers of 50's and 60's novelty songs) and somehow got Robert Englund (aka Freddy Krueger) to lend his voice to them. It's all pretty bad, but 'Do The Freddy' at least has novelty appeal. I guess by '87, the 'Nightmare on Elm Street' franchise was pretty much a joke anyways.

4. Moevot - 'Ézléýfbdréhtr Vépréùb Zùérfl Màzàgvàtre Érbbédréà'
Okay, THIS is genuinely scary. An anonymous 'black metal' musician, whose music sounds more like recordings from inside a long-buried tomb than actual metal. I guess it's not to dissimilar from the ambient tracks on Burzum albums, just....way more poorly recorded. And it's got these weird groaning vocals that sound like a ghost. I dunno. It's fascinating, if nothing else.

Happy Halloween, y'all....

Saturday, September 20, 2014

New blog

I started a new blog, exclusively for my movie reviews. I will probably be posting more frequently in it than I do here:

Obscuro Films

Saturday, September 13, 2014

More incredibly strange metal

Here are a few more of these oddball metal releases I've collected over the years...

First, two non-classics from the Metal Enterprises label. See this post and this post for more info on that fiasco...

Kalaschnikov, like the other artists in the ME stable, probably just wanted distribution for their mediocre album ('The Torture Never Stops') but got ripped off like so many others when the label did a fake 'follow up' record with their own in-house musicians/producers. Unlike the other groups (such as Killer Fox, whose original recordings were just unlistenable garbage) Kalaschnikov's sound was at least weird on its own.

The whole album kinda feels like it was written in a day, including the lyrics, which are so over-the-top 'evil' you have to hear them to believe them. It's like somebody told the vocalist to just sing about stuff that was the opposite of the Bible, so you get classics like 'Kill Your Neighbor' and 'Devil's Your Hero.' Despite the crappy production, it's a pretty good time, and you can't really hate songs like 'Rockin' By the Graveyard' and 'Video Monsters.' The lack of musicianship also seems to have resulted in some unusual guitar riffs in a kind of Voivod-ish way.

So, then, enter the ME staff's version of Kalaschnikov, present on their second (and final) album 'Desert Storm.' It sounds like they weren't even trying on this one. Two long tracks of obvious space-filling 'ambient' stuff, a few songs that sound a little too musically competent to be the ME guess is that they got hold of some Kalaschnikov demos for a second album, and dubbed their own awful vocals over. Then there are a handful that are obviously the same people responsible for the second Killer Fox and Thrash Queen albums. The ridiculous female operatic vocals and the snarly cartoonish male vocals, bad drum machines and totally non-metal guitar tones. Oh yeah, and whistling solos.

Yeah. Fucking whistling solos on what is essentially a thrash metal song ('Czarewitch').

Well...basically, if you're for some reason collecting all the Metal Enterprises releases, these will be of use to you. Otherwise, probably not? Oh well, the first album is enjoyably funny at least.

Kalaschnikov - 'The Torture Never Stops'

1. Devil's Your Hero
2. The Haunted House
3. Rockin' By the Graveyard
4. Kill Your Neighbor
5. Chosen One
6. Demon's Rebellion (Instrumental)
7. Video Monsters
8. Hell's Runnin' Wild
9. Demon's Rebellion (Vocal)


Kalaschnikov - 'Desert Storm'

1. Czarewitch
2. Siberian Werewolf
3. Homage to the Holocaust
4. Headbanger
5. Stinking Shrine
6. Scull Scratcher


Lastly, here's a release that might not be EXACTLY metal, but it definitely has metal influences (mostly from the doom genre) and it's certainly fucked up. While there are quite a few bands calling themselves Warning, this is the 1982 release by the German synth-doom group. Actually, the vocals here wouldn't sound too out of place on a Metal Enterprises release...they're like...death metal growls? I guess? But put through all sorts of effects to make it sound like aliens. The music is literally a head-on collision between OG doom metal (think Sabbath and Witchfinder General) and euro-disco synth stuff.

It's pretty goofy, but it's also very enjoyable, and occasionally really creepy. One review compares them to Rammstein, and I guess that's not far off, but WAY WAY more 80's than that description lets on. It really does sound like Kraftwerk playing satanic metal before that kind of metal even existed. If you read this blog, you'll like it I'm sure.

Warning - S/T

1. Why Can the Bodies Fly
2. Magic Castle
3. Wild Roses for the Exit
4. Darkness
5. Out of Tune
6. The Door (Pt. I)
7. The Door (Pt. II)
8. A Message
9. Warning
10. Lost in Time
11. In the Crowd