AUTO5 reviews k-o

The first time I played this tape in the background, my impression was of an album of fine funky-metal music, played by brilliant musicians with verve and aplomb oozing out of every pore. Then I sat down and listened to the album with a critical ear... What do you think happens when a singer with a voice like an angel, a guitar player with more licks than a cat with nine tongues and a rhythm section that sounds like it's joined together at the hip go to record and album? They bloody well show off, don't they? These guys are brilliant musicians, but they have absolutely no ability to edit their music down to manageable proportions. Practically all of these tracks could do with a good 3 1/2 to 4 minutes being lopped off. And there really is *no* need to have 3 or 4 tempo and rhythm changes in every song, guys. Are these bozos so confident in their musicianship that they can't be spoken to about this? Tracks like "Gil" and "Tat Tvam Asi" start off brilliantly, but this urge to engage in self-congratulatory workouts makes these tracks tiresome. A shame, really... Let's be positive though. The bass player has to be one of the most gifted I've heard in years. On "Revenge Of The Pseuds" he goes fucking ballistic. I suppose being born with twenty fingers on each hand helps a bit. My favorite tracks are "Revenge...", "Sync", (which reminds me of Can's "Call Me" more than a little --and no harm in that...) and "Hippy Bollocks", the standout track; an ambient instrumental that is 90% less furious and 200% less complicated than the other tracks. An excellent album, potentially, but spoiled for me by an inability to kill off a sing at the right time. What these guys need is a producer with a stop watch and an allergic reaction to songs lasting over 4 minutes! Go on, buy the album and see if I'm not right... - Daniel Prendiville

Chocolate Fireguard 56 Somerset Road, Huddersfield HD5 8HZ UK


Ceremonial head-noise for people with A.D.D. Sounds like a bunch of teenagers farting around with samplers. Once in awhile somebody sings and/or plays, or talks. Mostly sounds like a bunch of teenagers farting around with samplers.

In view of the exciting publicity religious nut groups are getting lately (I once worked on some music about the Bo-Peepers, by a Bo-Peeper, aka "Heaven's Gate"), the liner notes are interesting.

But any nut-group of "spiritual revolutionaries" too stupid to avoid getting jailed for "something they couldn't have done," so it says, can't have much wisdom of any use. Kingdom Scum, similarly, has little useful listening. I wonder if Geena Davis knows they've used her photo. Maybe she should. - Tom Dark

P.O. Box 420816, San Francisco CA 94142 USA


Sloppy-poppy guitrock. Side "The Clownboy" has the strongest cuts, Boo-hoo and Lifeguards + Repairmen. Hummable and easily digested. - Ian C. Stewart

Savyour Records 125 Valleyforge Drive, Cranberry PA 16066 USA


Unusually adept instrumentalism. The Bros Kopecky rock a little then get all atmospheric before going tribal and even... uh, "ethnic"? (i.e.--sitar) It sounds great. Progressive instrumental rock. It is. And Paul smacks the shit outta that china cymbal a lot. Good thing. William Kopecky the famous underground poet turns in some very nice rubbery fretless bassness. Guitarist Joe does lots of weedly noodlies but it works. Good stuff. - Ian C. Stewart

3335 Hamlin Street, Racine WI 53403 USA


Fantastic old school death/thrash metal. "Breath Of Death" opens this retrospective disc. These guys sure know a lot about halitosis! I didn't realize they had Taco Bell in Europe. "Orthodox" gets some hyperfast riff tornadoes doing, recalling both Kreator (but, like, with a better singer) and Decide. "Slavery" slows down to a meaty hop. There's a bonus CD-ROM video for "Unnecessarity", which again recalls Kreator; their "Betrayer" video appears to have been an influence--lots of running through the woods and in-concert action. Very well produced and the video is a novel touch. Rocks. Like Kreator. - Ian C. Stewart

Morbid Records Postfach 3, 03114 Drebkau Germany


A very eclectic one-sided tape with various styles: 1) "Wot A Donner!#1" noisy guitar-based, semi-melodic strumming and freeform drumming; 2) "Dreams After Coffee" a short collage of spoken bits and assorted sounds; 3) "Can't Go Out With This Look On My Face" drony ambient machine sounds and guitar scraping that builds up nicely to a distorted mess; 4) "Two Days Out Of Sync" spooky ambient piece using various sounds produced by electric guitar and vibrating synth sounds. Nicely done! 5) "Searching For Slowworm's" minor cymbal tingling, bird song, toy guitar twanging, can banging, string sawing, a bit of indistinct vocals "la la lalala lalalalalalalala", a distorted transistor radio; 6) "Hell Is Other People" guitar / pulsing tone evolving into a thick, distorted feedbacky guitar layered plunking; 7) "Guilt-Free Conscience" distorted guitars / soft drums freely comping over a shivery bed of reverb; 8) "Message To Horselover Fat" brief expectorate of electronic noise. This is recommended for those into a more experimental frame of mind. - John Gore

Matching Head 12 Coanwood Way, Sunniside, Tyne & Wear NE16 5XR UK


Oh shit!!! Instant classic!!! Accept's "Balls To The Wall" snipped clean of genital matter and rearranged for a Casio, chimpy guitar, bass and drums, with the lead singer rather bellowing his way through Udo's finer moments. The real kick in the asshole, however, is backup singer Tavis Let's Put The X In Sex, who's responsible for "screech vox." The kid is beyond control, you just gotta hear it. The B-side is "Come On Eileen" and "Dude Looks Like A Lady" rendered similarly. Single of the year, easily. - Ian C. Stewart

Greg 2290 Bradford Avenue, Sidney BC V8I 2EL Canada


Ecstatic mixture of experimental "art" pieces and dubbed-out ambience. The Tall Bald Grandfathers begin with a fat slab of weirdness made with drum machine, sax and warbling female voice. Deleted wield guitars like rusty carrot scrapers on "La Peau." The DrowningBreathing's "Sleep Adagio" is a luxuriant rhythm loop with soft humming overtop. Whoa! Ear boner! Newly recruited Buckeye Mike Vanportfleet of Lycia lets fly with a bit of wheezing ambience under the guise du jour of Dust. You can smell that Vanportfleet guitar tone four states away. AUTO's own C. Reider (who put this whole party of a comp together) absolutely lays waste to everything else I've heard today with "Captive". It could be his best work as Luster. Hmm. Might have to flip a coin on that one, but the shit is LIVE. Live live live live. And large. We're talking Lovespiralsdownwards meets "Faith"-era Cure. It's damned epic as well. Projekt ain't big enough for Luster after this track! I'm stoked. In a similar (but not as convincing) style is Datura's "The Last Name." The Jarboe/Pfrenz-C track "Vomit Veritas (v.2)" features a terrifying spoken bit with a fairly cracked backing track of piano and distorted guitar. AUTO's John Gore (aka Kirchenkampf) has a very nice darkambient jewel here called "Terminal Man." The mothership has landed! The Eyelight/Luster collaboration is even more incredible than I expected. I don't want to say Jehn Cerron can do no wrong with her voice (I reserve judgment until I hear her burp) but she's still batting 1000 in these pages. Her voice is a gift from "god." And mixed with Reider's soothing ambient balm it makes this track a MONSTER. Audio heroin. Klimperei's whimsical "3 Pommes Dans Un Metre Carre" rounds out this stunning compilation. Frothy drinks aloft to Vuzh Music for producing this, the first squirter of the underground in 1997!!! - Ian C. Stewart

Vuzh Music P.O. Box 1204 Lyons CO 80540 USA


In my opinion, Little Fyodor should be a mandatory contact for all home tapers. Not only does he do a radio show on KGNU 88.5 in Boulder, Colorado, showcasing cassette artists, but he also puts out his own highly twisted take on "Rock N Roll". The overall theme of LF's work seems to be "Why Don't I Fit In With Anyone? They Think They're So Much Better Than Me But They're Not. Everyone Sucks. I Hate People. Why Would I Want To Fit In With Them?" and so on into infinity. Which means I've found an angst-ridden like-mind. the music is fast, repetitive, frenzied post punk rave ups with Fyodor's fritzed, warbling, whiny, wailing nerd voice yowling lyrics like "Look at the people, all the boring people, so many people--I wish they'd all go away! They all like the same things, they laugh at the same things, they all like Bruce Springsteen--I just wish they'd die!" Right on! His song "Oh God I Feel Like Shit" has become the early morning anthem at our house. Here's to you, Little Fyodor! - C. Reider

3277 Raleigh Street, Denver CO 80212 USA


Two classic Little Fyodor releases combined on one short little tape. This stuff is from WAY back in the day: 1985! When dinosaurs roamed Pangea, kids! Slither showcases Fyodor's anxious nerd rock formula early on and includes "Ugly Girl", a legendary song which is still part of his live act. Also includes "Those Three Little Words", a song he says was influenced by an early Jarboe song (cool!). Sloth is a departure from the rest of his solo work, featuring noise improvs with broken instruments, bottles, excerpts from soap operas and, say, just how did you record those beer cans anyway? They sound great! An interesting look back with one of cassette culture's longtime greats. - C. Reider

3277 Raleigh Street, Denver CO 80212 USA


On the single "Single", "Playin'" is a cutesy new wave riot grill song that smells exactly like strawberry shampoo. "Won The Battle" at least has a decent groove on its side but the outta tune boyvoxxx grate my nerves. On the full-length The Destruction Of Hemlock there's lotsa punk action. The arrangements are really clever, I bet these guys practice together all damn day. Reminds me of the good old days. So there you go. - Ian C. Stewart

Pink Hippo Records P.O. Box 19896, Oklahoma City OK 73144 USA


Noisy, fucked-up, tuneless, turgid, Knitting Factory rock. (Foetus anyone?). Screaming. Layers of guitars and songs that seem to be borne from jamming. Sludge-fi gutter rock. - Ian C. Stewart

Behemoth Records P.O. Box 27801 Las Vegas NV 89126-1801 USA


I'm not exactly sure what's going on with this tape. From guys "Moo"-ing in the background of one song to pictures of people named "Double Dong", I must say "What in THE hell is this shit?!" If you have no job and a tape deck, get this thing and figure out what in the hell it is. Please let us know when you do. And who really wants to look at someone's grandma reelin' in a big catfish? - Howard Cowell

Flannel Banjo Tapes 1439 Glencoe, Mount Pleasant SC 29464 USA


This Italian band ("The Thin Madrigals"!) gives us a very accomplished five-track tape. Traditional rock lineup. The guitar work is excellent, the sound goes from angry and screechy to slow and jangly. The guitarists can make an awful racket when they want! The imaginative lyrics are in Italian, and, as the singer writes in his fascinating Italianate English in an accompanying note, they talk about "small town sleepiness, trying to stay alive in a zombie valley, border liners, big butterfly's angst on a street lamp, anvil-hearted ones hammering on with questions, suspicious ticket collectors, flexibility and rockness, muddy floods like Hell's river, forgetting about something...". There are bands in Italy that sound just like this and make big money doing so (Marlene Kuntz immediately springs to mind). So why are the Madrigals still doing demos (this is their third) and not CDs? Could it be the lack of good tunes? I listened to this tape a dozen times in an afternoon but I still can't remember any tunes or sing along. They're very good musicians, though, so if they managed to write some songs that really stand out, they could be the next Marlene Kuntz. Fancy that! - Paola Sorrentino

Beppe Succi str. San Pietro 24, 14049 Nizza Monferrato (Asti) Italy


These three distinctly different groups use similar instrumentation but explore distinct sonic terrain. Magnetic Storm launches with a spacey synth and then quickly joins the "Happy Frog Marchers" kept in time by a drum machine. After a long march through space they land in a "Forest Village Dance" and are greeted with fanfare and feast. When the all-night festival is finished they board a locomotive space-train to the outer regions with "Omithopter Rising". Thee Pretensious Bandname starts up with a spacey synth/guitar rock groove called "The Breath". The third trac ("That'll Do") picks things up a bit in speed and intensity until by the fifth trac, "Thumb Thumb Thumb" the drum machine and noisy synth are almost at thrash velocity. On side two N. Fios picks up where the last crew left off, giving two tracks of techno/noise thrash with the drum machine doing about 200 MPH. After that there's about six or seven tracs of heavy industrial noise machinery on overload with found sound bites in between. The overall sound quality is good and shows what can be done with today's home recording technology. - Butch Canfield

Macka P.O. Box 356 Brunswick VIC 3056 Australia


Well-produced modern rock. "Ribbons" reminds me of WIRE. "Drab" is nice. I like the last lyric: "all this miasma is drab." I enjoy the pseudo-ballad "Surrounded" as well. I'd like to hear a whole album by these ho-hos. I could put it into rotation between all those WIRE reissues I picked up in the cut-out bin for $.10 each. - Ian C. Stewart

4003-C Quail Glen Court, Charlotte NC 28226 USA


Title track is a one-chord love dirge. "Arlo Guthries Motorcycle Song" gets chimped on the flip. The "4th Of July" is not a Galaxie 500 cover, rather, its a swampy, one-guitar + singing + storm sound FX folk thing. Does not rock me. - Ian C. Stewart

1944 N Wood Chicago IL 60622 USA


Just when I was going to tell Mr. Otto Reverse to take this (unpaid) reviewing gig and stick it where the sun don't shine, along comes MJB and makes life a lot less gloomy. MJB (or Michael Bowman , as he is known to the traffic cops in Cold Spring, NY) has written some excellent pop songs for this cassette release. "Perfect Sleeper" has a lovely acoustic guitar hook, and one of the best sounding basses this side of later-period Move. "Who Brought The Tootskie?" has a wonderful shared organ/vocal melody line in the choruses and the double-tracked, off-centre, wonky vocals are a treat. "Tootskie Refrain" is the tail-end of an alternative take on the song. Can't say it enhanced my life over-much to hear it, but great fun nonetheless. "Hometaper Blues" features some more beautiful acoustic guitar work. "Hipper Than" is the only weak spot on the tape. A trip into the psychedelic realm which works quite well, intrinsically, but which can't compare with the excellent pop sensibility to be found in the other tracks. "" is a revelation. Apart from having the best title of the year so far, it is a brilliant ambient-type instrumental that is at compete variance with the other tracks on the tape (and there's nothing wrong with that...) MJB should do more of this type of material. Overall impressions? I don't normally do impressions, least of all in my overalls, but I'm very impressed with the standard of musicianship and songwriting on the tape. MJB is obviously deeply immersed in pop music and on the basis of this tape, he definitely deserves commercial exposure. I'm jealous now... - Daniel Prendiville

MJB 11 Orchard Street, Cold Spring NY 10516 USA

"Mmmmorning" Compilation

Stewart (Just Call Me Treize) Walden's new retro tape label opens with a very old compilation of versions on the very old Walden classic "Mmmmorning", about that not-wanting-to-get-up feeling. The name of the game is arrange-the-song-how-you-like, & ace lyrics ("Why can't every day be later than it is?") are only marred by that tricky-to-fit "Why can't I sleep through the morning?". Best is Sticky Foster's showtune-style gift to us all, which even has a proper go at the mysterious (Instrumental) passage, but the tape in general is actually surprisingly good, other favorites including Richard Youngs' heavily-affected a Capella outing, & someone's duet with a little boy. You don't even seem to get bored of the song over the course of the hour. Of course, you really shouldn't buy this, though... - Philip Smith

Interlock Finger 42 Elizabeth Avenue, Wyke, Bradford, BD12 8NF, UK


Oh my god!!! This rules! Brilliant, classic pop recorded with the cruddiest, haziest sound quality possible. It's awesome. "I'm On Your Side I'm On It" is like Cheap Trick meets Twisted Sister playing the Banana Splits theme, recorded on an Edison cylinder. "It Tastes Just Like A Milkshake" fucks shit up totally, it rules. "Live On The Edge" is also grubby bubblegum music, catchier than a case of crotch crickets at an L7 show. "I Wanna Stick Myself" ("I wanna stick myself inside ya baby tonight") is pure Kiss 1975. "Go Straight To Hell" ("I'd laugh my ass off if it wasn't so fuckin' sad" background voxx: "fuckin' sad!"): bubblegum with expletives! It's about motherfucking time. I could go on all day about this tape. It's a monster masterwork. Big time. - Ian C. Stewart

P.O. Box 578912 Chicago IL 60657 USA


Minimal blues-based song forms presented in a dark and threatening manner... too quiet to be "hard" but too foreboding and dark to ignore. Swans. Some Einsturzende Neubauten-esque percussion. Exercises in restraint. A forceful voice emoting matter-of-factly in Italian and sometimes in English. A bit of a jazzy feel here and there as well, especially "5/4" which is in guess which time signature? This CD is so cool that I'm surprised Ian let it slip my way. Epic shit. - C. Reider

Angelo Comino 152, L go Dora Voghera, 10153 Torino Italy


Real heat-of-the-moment electric guitar/vocal action. Joshua Peck's rapid imagist wordfire comes off like an Mark E Smith with an Okie drawl. Meanwhile, Kendall Boling's History Of Classic Rock Guitar Moves provides a strange, hallucinatory background. Together on "Burn The Statues With A Blue Flame" they sound like AC/DC minus the rhythm section. The vocal line stuck to my brain for ten hours. "Bones"---bones in the machine, y'all. There are weird samples whizzing by occasionally. It's hard to tell what's what, who's who, where's where. Um, "Gasoline" could be a Butthole Surfers jam session outtake or something. - Ian C. Stewart

Inklab Works P.O. Box 4126 Seattle WA 98104 USA


Improvised space-jazz! There is the usual navel-gazing and incessant knob-fiddling inherent with "improvisation" but the outcome is engaging enough that for once it doesn't sound like 5 men wanking into a bucket. John Norment's sax blends nicely and adds a bit of focus to the jams, as do the always-interesting Tory Z Starbuck's vocals. AUTOcrit Tom Sutter's techno beats keep everything connected but still loose. Had they recorded this direct from a mixing board (instead of Ye Olde Boomboxe In Ye Corner) it would be even better. Oh well! It's a credit to the mix of timbres and the discretion of these improv-ninjas that this tape (hell, the whole band) remains engaging to me despite my overriding disinterest in listening to improvisation. So, yeah. Word to NR. - Ian C. Stewart

Regicide Bureau 8701 Crocus Lane, St Louis MO 63114 USA


Hey man, pass me another beer and some smokes, here's the music to get wasted to. Very strong drum lines and equally strong bass. What this band lacks in professional mixing they make up for in raw power and drive. The second track on side Angel ("The Race") is the best. Hey, echo on "Love And Hate": nice touch! Awesome work, guys! I'm popping a cheap cold one right now in your honor!. Matthius, Eddie and JR (formerly known as Static) are jammin' on this one. This is a hunt-it-down-and-get-it tape. - Howard Cowell

No Device 1814 Bean Hill Road, Mikado MI 48745 USA

NORTH 7 ACTION SOUND Compilation 7"

This sounds like a lost Stiff Records sampler from 1977 to me. Go-Kart 800 plays distorted rock 'n roll. Not bad but hardly amazing. Rock 'n Roll? The Morton Knights' "Hey! Hey!" emphasizes the Stones influences. Dirty swing-along. "North 7 Super Slots Pop The Slot" features more grubbiness with a girl (or a pre-pube boy) for a singer. Cee Cee Beaumont is the saving grace here with their Ventures-covering-Danzig The Cally Creeper. I bet John Peel loves this shit. Me, I can take it or leave it. - Ian C. Stewart

Real Records 13 Bell Hill, Petersfield, Hamps GU32 2EH UK


Not Breathing is an experimental music troupe headed by Arizona's hardest working tonmeister, Dave Wright. Sadly, no information crediting the individual players was supplied, but I can make out a plethora of analogue synths, some processed guitar, didgeridoo, muted percussion, and a whole slew of unidentifiable sound sources. Many of the sound-events are shrouded in deep, spacious reverb, producing the effect of slowly droning in a bottomless ocean. Each side of the tape features a nonstop extended improv, culled from studio sets recorded in March and November 1996. Not Breathing could be the American counterpart to Britain's Morphogenesis. Both bands share a love for intricate details which never sound "busy," thanks to the close attention to the arrangement of silences and neutral gestures between the sometimes-thundering tones 'n drones. Beautiful and inspired work, and a fine accompaniment for reading H.P. Lovecraft or Seabury Quinn. - Tom Sutter

P.O. Box 64545 Tucson AZ 85728 USA


Wow, you can hear little kids at the beginning of the tape. It's like "not now kids, mommy has to rock the house now." Put Mrs. Campau in line with Sam Phillips and Shawn Colvin and give her a big fat VH1 push now!!! A&R people who do "adult alternative"- I demand a percentage!!!!!!! Because here's your big find for the year. "Never Go" is a fully-loaded radio hit, there's no way around it. It's inevitable, I'm sorry. Mature female acoustic-strumming pop. Most of the songs on The Aftermath are made up of just acoustic guitar and layers of Robin's throaty vocals--and it works extremely well. This tape is a joy to listen to. And it wouldn't be a proper Robin O'Brien release without that patented whisper-to-scream action. Mimi Goese? Hugo Largo? Yes. Sniff. I remember them fondly. Sniffle. Your Little World is another collaboration with David Mitros. Their Tree Of Life is an all-time favorite and they don't disappoint this time around either. Mitros' accompaniment enables Robin's voice to come across with an almost-terrifying degree of honesty---wordless wailing, whispering, breathing, warbling, etc. The results are trippier and more blurred than the rigid song-structures of The Aftermath. Together on one tape, the two projects illustrate Robin O'Brien's artistry. Awesome. - Ian C. Stewart

Lonely Whistle Music P.O. Box 23952 San Jose CA 95153 USA


In death metal, the "BLAAAGGGHHH" guttural scream/yell is as important (and omnipresent) as "baby" is to modern R&B groups. It's almost involuntary. Obscenity opens THE 3RD CHAPTER with a spooky didj sample effected to shit for fifteen seconds before juicing up the Great Kraut Riffing Machine. Old school thrash. Morbid Angel with improved low-end response. Someone in the band got their sister or their mom to do some pretty backing vocals on "Disgrace Over You," which helps to clear the fart-clouded, testosterone-heavy air. A little. Without killing the mood. Mood? Is this mood music? It's not too much of a mental stretch to picture stray limbs and meat and potato chips and cottage cheese flying out of the Great Kraut Riff Machine like exhaust. It sounds like the theme song for a Star Wars droid gone very bad; the one that looks like an S.R.L. reject. However, most of these songs get real fuckin' turgid after the four-minute mark. They all kinda drag on too... "Sensation Mongering" sort of Testaments its way through the intro before slamming into a wayward Deicide part. "Still Alive" is more barely-contained fury, the kind of thing that causes shattered pelvii in drummers and puts vocalists in the hospital. BLAAARGGHHH!!! It ROCKS. Definitely. Most effective in small doses. - Ian C. Stewart

Morbid Records Postfach 3, 03144 Drebkau Germany


Rather than doing outright cover versions, these French and Belgian bands jam out, incorporating little sonic puns & riffs & sound effects, sort of in the tradition of the big Pink. This comp was put together by Pol Silentblock, who offers a nearly-thirty minute piece, as well as a lengthy bonus track at the end. Also appearing are Human Flesh (a great piece called "A Basketful Of Midgets"), M Nomized (who do the only actual cover version present, "Another Brick In The Wall Parts 1 & 2"), Trespassers W, and the Grand Ensemble Populaire du Khar Oriental. All in all, a wonderful release which could be enjoyed by avid Floyd fans as well as those not so familiar with the band. The CD is packaged in a full color print of a photo collage with four beautiful women clad only in body paint, each depicting a different Pink Floyd album, and they're posed as on Ummagumma too. Many bonus points for THAT. Let nudity be the order of the day! This contact is only for French-speakers, as Pol doesn't do English. But you ought to learn another language anyway. - C. Reider

Red Box BP 54, B-6820 Florenville, Belgium

Copyright © 1997 by AUTOreverse. All rights reserved.