cinchel – A House Once Lived That Never Was 7.5

                A House Once Lived That Never Was introduces the listener into an entirely engrossing world. cinchel does this by design. Guitars maintain a haunting quality. With over twenty five songs and a total running time in excess of eighty minutes any listeners are best advised to simply succumb to the weirdly charming songs cinchel presents. Elements within the songs are incredibly simple yet the execution is quite meticulous. Simple strategies are employed to make the overall listening experience profound. Inserted within the songs are minor details, little glitches, edits and looped pieces to allow the repetition to become hypnotic. Variations on these themes recall the equally otherworldly work of the Kallikak Family. 

                Repetition defines the gentle lull of “tulip bulbs breaking ground in the garden outside”. Meanwhile “porch swings” reflect upon a folk song as reinterpreted by Fennesz. Yet others go into harder to define territory. “filling up the wading pool, playing outside all day” sounds akin to John Fahey played through a hall of mirrors. Halfway into the collection things become considerably quieter with subdued tracks like “drinking the last of the sun-tea and watching the leaves begin to change” and the warmth of “after the big meal we sit around and remember”. 

                On the final stretch of the collection things spread out further going away from the guitar and into ambient sounds. Noise and gentle strums define “the tea kettle whistles while we watch the last embers in the fireplace” one of the highlights of the collection. With the sweetness of “we had to move out but hopefully the next owners treated it nicely” cinchel ends things on an optimistic note. A House Once Lived That Never Was is a wistful collection full of wonder.

The Feel Bad Hit of the winter - The Feel Bad Hit of the winter 8.1

                The Feel Bad Hit of the winter is an angular blast of scruffy rock. Lo-Fi sounds great. Vocals transit themselves ready to join the mix. Everything manages to have a great deal of catchiness behind it. Songs burn through. Attempts at playing within the accessible structures result in rather interesting darker moments. Pieces of the songs occasionally are reminiscent of the simultaneous gleeful abandon of Slint’s “Tweez” especially on the longer songs. With a greater amount of a space The Feel Bad Hit of the winter manages to show off its true talent. 

                A loud fuzzed out beginning introduces “Lend a Hand”. For a brief moment the song appears uncertain of where to go next. Eventually the thing gathers its swagger together and blisters through the whole track. “Smile” works in a mellower introspective vein. Elements of the style are reminiscent of late 80s pop song structures. Beneath the harsh exterior or “Chato” is a tender heart. What this does is prepare for the collection’s true highlight the nimble “Mind the Monsters”. Virtually everything that The Feel Bad Hit of the winter could do is done on “Mind the Monsters”. Unleashing the louder abrasive textures works wonders alongside the rather tight rhythm section. Such a taut sound it displays the best of their talents. 

                For the final stretch The Feel Bad Hit of the winter lumbers towards a finale with the constantly shifting time signatures of “So Far No Good”. “Sleepwalking” ends things off on a relatively muscular note. With such a strong collection The Feel Bad Hit of the winter proves how emotionally and intellectually engaging music.

FULkANELLI – FULkANELLI 7.8

                FULkANELLI is snarled gnarly music. Riffs find themselves trapped and vent their frustration. Cacophonous at times are the times it becomes best. Volume is incredibly important to the odd rhythmic swagger of the pieces. Honestly the length of each piece allows FULkANELLI to indulge in every possible vice. Repetition lets the pieces melt into the mind. Downright amazing moments help the pieces get stuck in the head. For all the inherent messiness of the songs there is a great deal of excellent musically within the pieces. Upon deeper listens the beauty of the pieces makes itself fully felt. 

                Interplay is of the utmost importance. FULkANELLI’s many musicians listen and play off of each other creating interactive fantastic environments. Elements of the music constantly go into the red and appear completely indifferent about it. From the chaos comes moments of clarity that prove how incredibly dedicated the group is to their aesthetic ideals. On the opener “ALAMBIkkO” they manage to withhold their full assault showing off a rare degree of restraint. With the longest running length they make good use of it allowing the atmosphere to be delicately built up before it is smashed. Moments of it try to approximate a normal band gone mad and with disorientated drums. 

                “kOMPASSO” stumbles about excited enthusiastic and absolutely filled to the brim with endless noise. It is FULkANELLI at their most free. For the finale of “INkIOSTRO” manage to build up nicely with a fanatic crescendo squall to end it. FULkANELLI is a band that knows no bounds.

Tony Whitehead – Church 6.6

                Tony Whitehead’s Church is beyond calm. What joys the album hold depend on the listener’s penchant for quiet contemplation. Nothing comes above a whisper. Sonically it feels akin to a love song for a special place. By keeping things to the absolute barest minimum Tony Whitehead is able to create a clear concise mind space for Church. 

                Wind introduces the piece literally. Off in the far background are birds chirping. Besides that there is the slow movement of the wind. It is a perfect introduction to a piece so absolutely quiet it is barely there. For Seed Pod Tony Whitehead allows a greater amount of textural variety. Yes the wind remains yet the microscopic noises are strangely riveting. Stick and Stone explores a Neanderthal impulse to create with the most basic of tools. Here Tony Whitehead manages to convey the imagery without showing a thing. Aspects of it suggest something well-thought out planned even yet the lack of visuals makes it a mystery. Sticks on Floor is one of the most active pieces in the collections thanks to the gratifying scrapes and their wonderful textural sound.  For Stones the sound of the wind intensifies with the sound akin to a rush of water. Ritualistic impulses define Wall which is the last of the textural pieces. 

                Ending it off with Wind Tony Whitehead goes full circle with the collection. Church is a celebration of the quieter moments in life.

plastic watermelon by Ashley Opheim 

                Babies are the world’s greatest resource. Full of optimism and wonder babies rule the world with a benevolent, unsteady hand. Their lack of coordination is due to the newness of the world. Lover call each other baby because the way they feel indicates that they have always known each other. When two lovers use the word baby it is as if they have spent their entire lifetimes growing closer and closer together until that first encounter. And the encounter might not have been that exciting. It could have been boring. Some of the best things in the world come from boredom and love is one of them. Deeply comforting the joys of love are innumerable. If one was to count the joys of love they would get up the eighties and stop because they would lose track. 

                Decay serves as a beautiful thing for love. Many of the most romantic holidays occur in the midst of decay. Autumn is a lovely time and Halloween is a romantic holiday for the right kind of mind. By dressing together individuals can feel happy. The idea of a coordinated attempt to match works wonders. Valentine’s Day is the other lovely holiday set around so much death.  On Valentine’s Day everything else is dead: the trees are dead, the grass is dead, animals hibernate, and the sun hides. Yet among the decay the death the lovers stand true stand tall among it all. They are happy and glad to be together something all lovers should be. 

                Gentle rains clear out the air. Love enjoys the air cleared out for it. The lovers of the world like a good rainstorm where they can watch from the comfort of their own homes. Seeing the rain come down is therapeutic. While it leaves animals and people out of the equation it is a boon for plants. Plants soak up the wonderful water the tears of the skies. Upon the first shimmery shine of the sun the people plants and animals of the world can come together. Everything has been cleared out and the air feels clean tastes good. Happy plants feel so good about their growth they give themselves up to lots of animals. Watermelons do it particularly well growing big and strong. Full of water the watermelon enjoys the summer months when it watches others feast upon it with the knowledge that it can find new places to grow. For all living creatures are about love, they want to travel, to see the world, and to add their own beauty to it.

plastic watermelon by Ashley Opheim

                Babies are the world’s greatest resource. Full of optimism and wonder babies rule the world with a benevolent, unsteady hand. Their lack of coordination is due to the newness of the world. Lover call each other baby because the way they feel indicates that they have always known each other. When two lovers use the word baby it is as if they have spent their entire lifetimes growing closer and closer together until that first encounter. And the encounter might not have been that exciting. It could have been boring. Some of the best things in the world come from boredom and love is one of them. Deeply comforting the joys of love are innumerable. If one was to count the joys of love they would get up the eighties and stop because they would lose track. 

                Decay serves as a beautiful thing for love. Many of the most romantic holidays occur in the midst of decay. Autumn is a lovely time and Halloween is a romantic holiday for the right kind of mind. By dressing together individuals can feel happy. The idea of a coordinated attempt to match works wonders. Valentine’s Day is the other lovely holiday set around so much death.  On Valentine’s Day everything else is dead: the trees are dead, the grass is dead, animals hibernate, and the sun hides. Yet among the decay the death the lovers stand true stand tall among it all. They are happy and glad to be together something all lovers should be. 

                Gentle rains clear out the air. Love enjoys the air cleared out for it. The lovers of the world like a good rainstorm where they can watch from the comfort of their own homes. Seeing the rain come down is therapeutic. While it leaves animals and people out of the equation it is a boon for plants. Plants soak up the wonderful water the tears of the skies. Upon the first shimmery shine of the sun the people plants and animals of the world can come together. Everything has been cleared out and the air feels clean tastes good. Happy plants feel so good about their growth they give themselves up to lots of animals. Watermelons do it particularly well growing big and strong. Full of water the watermelon enjoys the summer months when it watches others feast upon it with the knowledge that it can find new places to grow. For all living creatures are about love, they want to travel, to see the world, and to add their own beauty to it.

I am a bad dinner guest by Sara Sutterlin

                Hands are terrible things to chop off. Better to chop off lesser already dead pieces of the body: hair and fingernails. A hand is of the utmost importance to do essentially anything. Without a hand there is no applause. The world feels slightly less appreciated. Magic tricks are more difficult as a slight of hand requires both hands to make it work. Everything needs two. Lone persons fail at most of their objectives. By working together individuals can accomplish great things. Hermits fail due to their lack of interactions with others. Judging from a lot of documentation hermits have a proclivity for insanity the kind of thing they simply cannot shake off. 

                Phones vibrate as reminders that the world demands information. Connection is a must. Moments are now forever categorized. Text messages serve as the love letters of yore. After a long day of texting people print out their text messages they had with special people. Theirs to admire they are happy someone managed typing a few letters to form words right to them. Such intimacy is a must especially considering the long distances people now travel. Nobody is stationary. Everything is in a constant state of flux. Churning away at the humanity every day the Earth tries its best to keep itself together. Yet it is hard when people try to blow up mountaintops for resources of negligible value, as if the Earth is less valuable than some silly stuff to keep people warm. For heat is the lowest form of energy and people keep on needing it. 

                Anxiety comes from this endless collection of things, data, and thoughts. Not everyone is getting published. Plenty publish themselves in the hope that someone will find them. Vanity presses are there to make people feel good, so they can look themselves in the mirror and like what they see. Of course every mirror offers a reflection of the person. It is never the real thing it is always inverted. Life without inversion is impossibility. With enough of a life lived people would want to change their lives to see exactly where something went wrong. And things always go wrong. 

                But the hand has it. The hand holds on with a tight grasp. The hand wants to control it all. One of the most important lessons in life is to let go, to realize that not everything is worth it. Some things are not worth fighting, some things are not worth getting upset over. At some point the mind mellows and relaxes itself becoming a part of a greater community, which is all the mind wants after a certain point in time.

Gem Jones – Admiral Frenchkiss 8.3

                Admiral Frenchkiss is a psychotic, brilliant collection that roams around with the best of the weirdoes. Gem Jones makes “Admiral Frenchkiss” an oddly romantic completely askew collection that does whatever it wants. Whether it is indulging in Frank Zappa’s jazz-inspired flights of fancy or the pop-infused experimentation of R. Stevie Moore’s dreamier works Gem Jones is quite aware of the celebrated outsider traditions. 

                “Black Lantern” begins with a nonsensical organ, a horn that appears to be running away from itself, and drumming unaware of its basic function of keeping a beat. This is one of the more conventional songs in the collection. Singing is shouted and eventually the song almost seems to embrace the chaos. Channeling the anxiety of James Chance and formatting him into a vaguely recognizable pop structure is the catchy “Rock N Roll Dementia”. Weird dub prevails in the easygoing “God in U” which chugs along before descending into fast-paced anarchic noises. Fully freaking out with “Grimeshock” Gem Jones lets out some energy before the brilliant finale of “Ectomorphic Love”. By far the highlight of the album “Ectromorphic Love” lurches forward with a barely conscious tempo. Gem Jones tries to work through his anxiety and succeeds spectacularly on “Admiral Frenchkiss”. With an incredibly loose structure it employs a ramshackle funk that works and is at times oddly touching, like 1950s garage rock as filtered through David Lynch’s twisted mind. 

Taking a perverse sense of pride in its absolutely bizarre songs Gem Jones makes “Admiral Frenchkiss” one of the most sincere heartfelt things to come out in 2014.

#obamanation by A.J. Binash

                Coffee is a bitter drink. Made specifically to get people to swallow down a job coffee helps people concentrate at tasks better handled half-asleep. Why anybody wants to be fully awake in an economy that honestly is indifferent at best about them baffles the mind. Long ago it used to be different: an interesting balance between the powerful and the powerless. Due to sheer numbers the powerless had say about what days could be worked, what hours could be worked, what a fair wage was. At some point the numbers were manipulated, changed, made to represent abstractions not real tangible goods. Thanks to a failing educational system nobody questioned the abstract numbers for fear of looking foolish. Happy with their untouchable status the abstract numbers became increasingly more and more removed from the economy becoming derivatives becoming drunk with power until they crashed unable to see their folly. 

                Out of kindness these abstract numbers were protected. A few protested the abstract numbers angry at having their future taken away from them. Unfortunately the protestors found themselves heavily indebted to the numbers in exchange for a dream that was far from guaranteed. With the prospect of freedom or one day owning a home and one day being able to spend forty hours a work at a job with negligible value, they choose the latter. For that they suffered and for that they worked on helping the economy pick up steam, something the economy did centuries ago with the first steam engine which helped fuel the first great speculation and market crash. Perhaps something could have been learned at that time but there was Pinkerton, his men, and various moles ready to dig holes to tear down otherwise organized groups of workers. Eventually they fell into the hallowed ground and saw the light up above, digging towards the light without ever reaching it. For the light represented a dream a dream they would never truly experience and would always be promised. 

                The revolution happened as promised. It was worse than anyone predicted. For one thing the revolution got sidetracked obsessed with perfect lineage creating new dynasties and forms of privilege. Of course this failure led to an extreme reaction in the opposite direction. Maybe one day there will be balance between the two finding the ability to respect all, to sweeten the bitter coffee. Until that time coffee remains the opiate of the masses.

Memoirs of a Gas Station Attendant by Alec

                Gas Stations litter America. They are as American as Apple Pie, the kind found at the convenience stores adjacent to the gas stations of America. A mighty leftover of the Cold War highways helped change the American landscape. Initially the military wanted to use the US highways as a way to properly mobilize. Once they saw how much people enjoyed commuting to and from lush green landscapes they changed their tune. Like the universe the highway is infinite and burns through a lot of fuel. 

                Americans are passionate about their cars. They rarely thank goodness for the gas stations that are always there for them in their hours of need. What is wonderful about the highway is how wonderfully monotonous the whole thing can be. People get lost in the infinity of the highway. Just passing through towns they have nothing to do with they find themselves lost in non-crowds. Slow gentle thuds lull these weary travelers to sleep on the sides of the road. For truckers pulling over on the side of the road is a way of life one they do not want interrupted under any circumstances.

                Combo meals are a given in America. Nothing needs to be separate. Everything must be together. This means the fries, the shake, the burger; they have multiple forms of presentation from the small to the supersize. Individuals behind the counter must ask for the specific requirements of the purchaser. In a way the individual behind the counter really gets to know the person: they get to know their wants and as importantly, their hesitation. Clever individuals can take care of this hesitation saying things like “that’s my favorite on the menu” and “oh I think you’d really enjoy that”. Everyone is a marketer and everyone is selling something however small. 

                Individuals find themselves unwilling observers of brands and re-brands of those brands. They associate their life with those brands. After a while the brand represents the product less and less. On the side of the road those billboards sit and wait for the next reader to see their gaudy bright colors. With the help of psychologists and scientists they know what the best way to reach the consumer is. For some reason billboards are still considered important even with the speed limits increasing ever so much. The plain landscapes of America’s heartland attract people to the bright billboards displaying a world they never thought they’d get a glimpse of.