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Recent Faves from the WFMU Record Library
August 2005

Reviewed by Music/Program Director Brian Turner

ZIPPER / Zipper (Whizeagle)
Screw the American Idol aesthetic, Fred Cole's ragged pipes are among the world's most heavenly despite what many naysayers have to say (the same people probably hate Ron House and Jad Fair too). Cole's current trio Dead Moon continue to thunder around since the 80's, and while they got left behind in the big green Northwest Grunge cash-in, you would no doubt have seen Mark Arm, Kurt Cobain, and Eddie Vedder all worshipping at Big Fred's altar at various DM gigs. The recent Dead Moon biopic is truly inspiring, not just for the fact they are rockin' grandparents still doing it, but for their conviction to the whole DIY-ethic, building their own house, studio, guitars, and even vinyl-press while fearlessly rocking the world as only they know how. Before Dead Moon, Cole was in the Rats, and before that (but after his very Arthur Lee-inspired group the Lollipop Shoppe) came the band Zipper, circa 1975 but recently in WFMU's new bin. Needless to say, those with low tolerance for total dude rockist lyrics won't be amused (some of this stuff would make Jim Dandy do a double-take maybe), but this is righteous rock to the max, full of chunky, proto-punk riffery and blowout solos that never stray too far from a punk aesthetic despite the cock-rockery leanings.

ENCRE / Flux/ (Clapping Music)
A few years ago Mark Hollis (who is best known from the 80's New Romantic chart-toppers Talk Talk) re-emerged with a fragile solo record that combined airy, jazz-inflected passages of live instrumentation with an undercurrent of deep, organic electronic ambience that may not have turned too many heads initially, but slowly became talked about as a turn-of-the-millenium musical landmark of sorts. It was subtle, yet in many ways groundbreaking and indeed echoes of it can be heard in recent Radiohead forays, and texture-oriented indie labels like Montreal's Constellation. I also hear it a lot in this recent disc by French artist Yann Tambour, aka Encre; what may initially seem like another installment in a long line of instro-oriented postrock releases takes on much richer definition upon repeated listens. Even though the production is sparse and instruments/samples very much breathing their own space, there's a density to what's going on that's very intriguing. Loping cellos, distant underwater drums, intimately-whispered vocals (by both Tambour and sibger Noak Katoi) all move in opposite directions yet coalesce perfectly with almost erotic-cinematic vibe. Like elements of Gainsbourg, Encre takes on some lessons learned in more experiemental, electroacoustic studio scenarios (a large chunk of which were realized in 1960's France) and brings them in a pop realm. The dynamic arrangements benefit from the element of cut-up, and multiple layers of structure, while never becoming crowded. One can listen to and appreciate Encre on many levels, which to me makes for a fascinating release.

DEATH SENTENCE: PANDA! / Puppy, Kitty, or Both (Upset the Rhythms)
At first I heard some MP3's of this band and thought they were from the UK, but they are indeed a trio of SF spazzmodics (featuring one member of aggro-synthpunks Crack: WAR), whose 10" EP was mastered by the Flying Luttenbachers' Weasel Walter but released on a UK label. Which hopefully won't make this difficult to get, because it's a dynamite slab of wax. Imagine the Magic Band stripped down to a trio with just drums, flute and clarinet (which sounds totally distorted and can be mistaken for a guitar) making a raging shitstorm of confusion, fast n' bulbous indeed. Deerhoof and Lightning Bolt seem to be somewhat compatible bands to share bills with (they have), and while there may be a ton of bands popping their corks to the neo-no wave sounds these days, DS:P! are one that I'd be psyched to see live.

ENDLESS BOOGIE / Volume One (Mound Dual)
Hell yeah! After choogling around NYC since 1997, finally two slabs of wax are birthed by the righteous Boog. One of 'em has landed here, and it's as great as you would expect from a band named after the most blowout John Lee Hooker song (with Steve Miller doing feedback destructo-guitar on it, nonetheless). I discovered Australia's great Coloured Balls through one of the fellows in this group, and the fact that whatever that band soaked itself in reigns through Endless Boogie's vibe in a big way is certainly reason enough to celebrate. Live, they make no pretensions, vogueing or fashion-conscious quotations-rock irony, just a pure love of playing rollicking, ballsy, serious stuff for the true connoisseur. . The dirty quality of the album's production is perfect, and the side-long jam "Stanton Karma" sprawls out like a Lower East Side Trad Gras Och Stenar, only to then have your asses completely kicked home by "Dirty Angel" and a locked groove that says "Jam!" over and over. Everyone else not onboard should go the hell home and curl up with their Jet records. OK, I'm going next door now to pick a fight with the construction crew putting up the condo next to FMU, the wrecking ball just missed our window here by a few feet and it's clobbering time.

BRIAN ANEURYSM / Das Element Des Menchen (Spectral Sound/Ghostly International)
Very cool and damaged slab of 12" mutant techouse from this Texas DJ born in Austria. I've been pretty obsessed with the recently-issued Soul Jazz Acid comp of underground Chicago stuff from the 80's-90's, and a lot of what makes up the grooves on this one seems like a logical continuum of what was going on there, with a big dose of Berlin darkness to boot. Totally razor-sharp hi-hat, pulsating distorto beats and vox, it's scary and evil dance music in a way that Richard Devine is doing ominous electronic soundscapes though going right to the cortex a bit more directly.

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