all reviews are of cassettes unless noted

Trashcan Records, Makasiinikuja 5, 61800 Kauhajoki, Finland
Reverby psychobilly REV HORTON HEAT kinda stuff. Sounds like it was recorded in 1961 out in a barn somewhere. Neato walking bass action and tasteful guitar comping are offset by the somewhat unrestrained throat-mangling vocals and the semi-unhinged drumming. BRIAN SETZER on crank! "The Sin" is kinda surf rock. The vocals are just fucking crazed though, drawn from the same gene pool as early early BEEFHEART. "Missing Link" adds harmonica and is an insane hoedown...
Ian C Stewart

Black Bean & Placenta 124 Ventura Ave, Oxnard CA 93035 USA
Gentle take on pensive GARY NUMAN, STEPHAN MERRITT melodic dink wave. Fleshed out it could be oh, MARTHA & THE MUFFINS (old new wave band ripped off by GARBAGE et. al.). OK.
Cin Delane

Face Like A Smacked Arse, 216 Dividy Rd, Stoke On Trent ST2 9JT UK
Gritty, creepy improvisational music is the hallmark of the home taper, and this tape fits that description well. I LIKE IT HERE consists of a drum beat and keyboard sounds, with chaotic, distorted noise guitar providing wavering counterpoint, and sometimes playing with the other instruments but usually sounding like a lunatic outside the window. OPTIMISTS! is more of the same, only recorded with more instruments and sporadic vocals and consisting of four parts with titles like "Song for the Wolverhampton Carpark Which Collapsed on Date 20 March 97." Many of the pieces sound like the band playing without much preparation, and some great moments do occur. My only complaint is that the musicians push the pieces a bit longer than needed sometimes, which is a common problem I have with improvised music, but overall it's a creepy, entertaining listen.
Ken Miller

General Ludd Music, 600 Central Ave #297, Riverside CA 92507 USA
This home brewed CD is great fun, folky rock with great, surreal lyrics and it really rocks. The arrangements are great: keyboards, real drums, guitar and other instruments. The guitar work is great, and the vocals are a little rough, but that only adds to the charm. The opener, "The Animal Shelter" is a wondrous tale of primal urges and pursuit as told from the perspective of a dog. The title track is a romantic ballad to the wife of a Duck Hunter. "The Sun Is A Mighty Lamp" features what sounds like a mandolin and some great electric guitar leads and would not sound out of place on a CAMPER VAN BEETHOVEN album. "A New Nameless Beach Town" is a song about a surf bum that has a great shuffle beat and really rocks. The CD is remarkable in that one person did everything-- even the drum work is competent-- and it's really fun to listen to.
Ken Miller

General Ludd Music, 600 Central Ave #297, Riverside CA 92507 USA
A CDR of weird flowery old-style folk music, like those horrid trippy early Sixties BOWIE LPs, or stoned DONOVAN. Flutes abound. I thought nobody made this kind of music anymore. Not many people's cup of (herbal) tea, but you will like it if you're wearing flowers in your hair. Sorry must go now, there's a laughing gnome sitting on my monitor.
Paola Sorrentino

KF Veenstra, Van Eedenstraat 4, 9245 HL, NIJ-BEETS, Holland
Why this tape has just surfaced after arriving at AUTO HQ some 2 1/2 years ago is a mystery to me. So immediate apologies to anyone associated with this tape. Doh! Anyway, the tape: The basic premise is Scary European Death Metal and Black Metal with highly Satanic overtones. The fidelity of the tape leaves much to be desired but the tracks themselves are brutal and well, satanic. After opening with a lilting rendition of "Greensleeves" performed on solo flute, PHTHISIS comes flailing onto the scene with "Obscure Thoughts." Lots of screaming and growling and chuggy riffing. In the words of LEE DORRIAN: "oooooh yeah." MISCARRIAGE "WFGTH" stands for "When Flowers Gone To Heaven." Straight-up death thrash with the grrrrrowling vocals but also with what can only be termed an upper-register TOM G WARRIOR voice (remember "Mesmerized"? You should!) Several of the bands employ keyboards. Other names to investigate further: DESULPHURIZE, PARADIGMA, CRYSTAL DARKNESS and FORLORN. Hail sa'an! This tape is a great jumping-off point for anyone interested in exploring European death and black metal stylings. I know I learned a lot about who to follow up with! Woooooooouhgggghhhhhhhhhh! That means "word up, this tape rules."
Ian C Stewart

FUZZY BUNNY compilation
Koala Records, PO Box 70, Syracuse NY 13210 USA
Compilations of music from one town are usually interesting because they really give you a feel for an artistic community. "The feel good tape of the summer" is a tape of Syracuse music that's a great example of this. THE FLASHING ASTONISHERS lead off (after an odd bit of monkey porn) with "La De Dey" which pretty much rocks, as does their song towards the end of the tape. ASHLEY COX does a great sad acoustic number called "Walking Disaster." DELTA OF VENUS chimes in with a moody, atmospheric piece called "Grey Sweet Dream" that reminds me of any number of 4AD performers. GHOST MONKEYS do a great song called "Big M" which is utterly indescribable and very catchy. The second side opens with a bizarre a cappella tune about how the singer wants to roll joints with her vagina muscles. Join the crowd, sweetie, join the crowd. The band DIONNE WARWICK'S PSYCHIC SOLDIERS wins the best band name contest, and they do a great punk rock rendition of "The Cotton Song," you know, the jingle that goes "the touch, the feel of cotton, the fabric of our lives." As is usually the case with compilations, there's a few duds but most of the tunes are great.
Ken Miller

360 Sheringham Ct, Roswell GA 30076 USA
After the searing opening title track with pounding drums and fragmented, gated guitar which bounds with energy, then it's out the door and down the hall into trippy-land. Psych-O-Deeelick with a capital 'M' (for Moog). Nice ambling phizz-scapes which could nicely tint any drug induced haze (orange of course), if'n you're into that sort of thing. Doze Out Maaaaaan… Reminiscent of early AUTECHRE, believe it or don't, albeit minus the beats, which is to say that it's 120 minutes of moody, analogue-y, raisin-y goodness. I like it.
C Reider

Helicopter Records, Box 1146, 1010 Copenhagen K, Denmark
Jittery noisescape over spoken samples and vocal interjections. The whole lot rushed through a digital delay. Oh yeah, keyboard drum pattern action as well. I almost need the dictionary for this. Noize fuxxx from KING DIAMOND-land. "Freaks Trip" is more of the same. The b-sides begin slowly and crescendo to one hell of a mess. VISCOUS!
Ian C Stewart

Blackbean And Placenta, 124 Ventura Ave, Oxnard CA 93035 USA
I've been telling you that GIRLBOY GIRL was gonna grow up and make some indie label dude very proud one day! MIKE LANDUCCI to the rescue! "All She Wanted" stands at the onramp to punk rock with its uptempo pace and prominent bass slaying. The guitar solos scrape past in a blur. "Unfamiliar" sounds like anything on MERGE RECORDS. "I Wonder If People Talk About Me Behind My Back The Same Way I Talk About Them" is a subdued indie rock track with a big-ass chorus. I told ya, bitch-ass!
Ian C Stewart

Taped Rugs, PO Box 146, Lawrence KS 66044 USA
A collection of eight hymns from the turn of the last century with accompanying text. Seriously! Using the usual array of hometaper implements such as keyboards and drum machine, GOFF performs the hymns in a somewhat straightforward manner (ie-there's no screaming or anything). His singing voice is a cross between TORY Z STARBUCK (neXt rAdio) and that dude who used to sing in the UK band BREATHLESS. Great voice. "Beware Of The Bowl" is especially terrifying, though I must say I endorse the lyrics wholeheartedly: "Wine is a mocker and strong drink is raging." This is a highly unique and freaky project. GOFF's warbly voice is borderline cabaret, which is perfectly suited for the fervent religiosity of the material. And your great grandmother might dig it too! Then again...
Ian C Stewart

Sonic Unyon, PO Box 57347, Jackson Station, Hamilton ON 181 4X2 Canada
A guy, a guitar, some other incidental vocals and instruments, (drums mainly) and his songs. Whether the fallout from DYLAN's mid-60's sweetened up or others who stumbled/jumped into that general sound or s'thin' that just pours outta the USA as part of the general culture KYP wades right in. Not memorable or interesting to me but if you happen to be a singer-songwriter fan, here yar. He's not particularly emotive, thankfully, and the happy acoustic strumming carries a weight that seems just right.
Cin Delane

Highland Piano Studios, 16 Highland St, Hooksett NH 03106 USA
Piano solos. Yep. Mmm-hmm. When I inherited a hundred old records from my wife's grandfather last year, there were several in this style. Things no one had ever heard of. With a photo of a dude with a beard and a bad sweater looking off in the distance from across his grand piano on the cover. Or an ocean scene. This album reminds me of them. Timeless solo piano pieces, well recorded and thoughtfully executed. Some are cheesy but most are actually very nice. The kind of music your parents wanted you to play.
Ian C Stewart

Noseflute Records 18 Peterborough St, Christchurch New Zealand
Opens with a squelchy, wandering rock-band instrumental. Like a fully reigned-in SONIC YOUTH and a few nice guitar melodies happening. But they're not kidding about that hiss thing! I swear I just heard the dishwasher turn itself on from two rooms away. Experimental/sloppy guitar action with freakoutage on the top. Distorted vocals. Other noizey things. "Tribal Hiss Odyssey" is a 2k freq-out with casio, wah guitar and thundery drums. Engaging and troubling rock action for the restless PAVEMENT fan in your vicinity.
Ian C Stewart

Get Rhythm Records PO Box 102, Forest Hall, Newcastle Upon Tyne, NE12 0WD UK
Check out that fucking cover! Musically appalling 10th generation FABULOUS THUNDERBIRDS clones from the UK no less! The lyrics imply that the approach is less by-the-book than it would first appear. For example, "Mucho Masochisto" is horrifyingly cliched across the board, till you get to the S+M obsessed lyrics. Hmmm. Multiple-entendre titles like "Can't Keep It Up," "Loins On Fire," and "Fanny" itself (which in the UK is a synonym for VAGINA) represent the majority of the humor and therefore the interest in this album. THE HIPTHRUSTERS walk a fine fine line. Let's hope the crass humor doesn't run out any time soon! And check out that cover!!!
Ian C Stewart

Face Like A Smacked Arse, 216 Dividy Road, Stoke On Trent ST2 9JT UK
Terrifying jittery soundmess. Tittery percussive sounds layered with absolutely fuckered gweetar wonking and the occasional feedback surge. "Esta Noche, Pude Haber Ido A Un Conceierto De Musica Folklorica" opens the tape and sent me rushing for the eject button. Against my better judgement I held out for the next track, "El Chale De Polla" and found it to be...well, the same thing pretty much. More damaged tracks of damage. The bits with spoken samples of are pretty snazzy. Damaged and weird but snazzy nonetheless.
Ian C Stewart

Wreck Age, 909 Place Soulanges, Brossard, Quebec J4X IL8 Canada
"19...18...17...16 (and so on)...3...2...1...Blast Off! --(Aaaauuuugghhh) - mmph - ahhh - I got some on your face...I got a little bit on my tongue". So starts THE HOLOSKANKS' (or more precisely a guy named NICOLAS MARKER) excursion into electronic porn. This is very listenable electronic pumping, with huge bassy distorted keyboards stained with tons of pornographic sound bits. Lacking in any sung vocals - all lyrics are supplied through such interesting sexual exchanges as "He fucked my mouth real hard. Then he licked my asshole". Sometimes these phrases and moans are looped to create a rhythm in themselves - other times they are isolated for maximum effect. The general rhythms and pace is fairly 'pounding' (reflecting the composer's primary obsession). Between the rhythmic thrusts of beat and all the hot talk - I'm getting aroused! OK, here's an experiment (since I'm not currently getting any, but charged enough by this release to wonder...) 'What would sex be like with the HOLOSKANKS' PORNAUDIOPHY as the romantic background'? If any of you reading this are currently in the position for sex on tap - get this release, take some drugs and fornicate to this and let me know how it turns out. (Even if it sux...c'mon...I just got ya laid). PS - I tried sex by myself to this...but it wasn't very good. "You like sucking cock?" begins and ends one of the tracks and is followed by 'mmmmphs' of agreement that get looped to create the intro - along with slurping sounds of well executed fellatio before bumpin' into the almost danceable bass beat with some twingy noise mixed in with the porn sounds. Most of this is listenable - some isn't. One track sounds like MARKER got too stoned with the drum machine and echo effects and it gets annoying quickly. The best part of this release is a choice number that goes something like this: "Today we are going to learn how to give a good blow job" (whicka whicka whicka whoo - whicka whicka whica whoo) "Women...we have to talk" (Whicka whicka) "I've been talking to men and they are not happy. They have not been getting their manly requirements of blowjobs" (Whicka whicka) "Now...never leave the balls out women" (Whicka whicka) I will be including this song on many a personal compilation I create in the future - just for its informational value.

Tapehiss, 260 N Keswick Apt C, Glenside PA 19038 USA
Oh, how I wish I were making this up. Anarchic, weirdly-rendered songs all loosely themed around getting drunk around Christmas. The first song, "Plowed," is about getting drunk. "Winterlude 1" is a funnily serious ("ironic"?) solo organ instrumental. "I'll Be Your Fruitcake" is highly poppy and quite catchy actually. Holiday-themed novelty songs of this nature are usually something to be avoided like White Castle farts. However, these whack-jobs are just ironic and stupid enough to keep even ME entertained. And I don't drink or celebrate xmas, so what does that tell you. "Sodomy Xmas," "All I Got (Was Drunk For Christmas)," "Satan Claus," "Patent Leather Christmas Pageant"... come on! And parts were recorded at The Ass Restaurant! Some of the singing sounds like TOM GREEN from that MTV show. That kind of shit. The songwriting is actually pretty good, I wonder what these guys sound like when they're not doing it for fun? I'll keep this one till December and then rock it at the holiday party at work and retain my status as Big Freak. If OPULENCE! does an xmas album they NEEEEEED this.
Ian C Stewart

Apraxia, PO Box 85155, Seattle WA 98145 USA
HUDAK is an artist (as in ART) who is concerned with capturing naturally occurring sound structures, especially microscopic ones (or should that be "microaural"?). The a-side is "Drosophilia Melanogaster" and supposedly contains only the sound of fruit flies, but I don't hear much that sounds insect-like here. A thumping noise sounds like someone keeps knocking into the record player, this and an eroded buzzing, which I'm guessing may be wings, are the predominant sounds. Subtle chirpings and VERY weird burbling noises sound like an electronic lion trapped in your plugged up sewer pipes. I could imagine that this would be a very annoying listen to most people, but to me, it's entrancing. The second side, "Ice on Snow" uses the natural rhythms created by ice falling on snow to trigger an ARP 2600 synth, heavy on the envelope filter. Long silences and occasional light thumps punctuated by harsh overloaded clusters here & there. An interesting study of found, chaotic rhythm, and a very weird thing to have in your record collection.
C Reider

Hub City Records, PO Box 1223, Greenbelt MD 20768-1223 USA
THE IDITAROD are a duo who play music perfectly suitable for listening to during winter. The songs are loosely attached to a wanderingly structured acoustic guitar and CARIN WAGNER's soft and shy voice flutters across the top of the music. The lyrics and imagery have a distinctively Middle Ages vibe to it. FARUQ doesn't know if he could get into this often but when the time is right, i.e. late at night, in the fall or winter with crispness in the air, alone, this CD would do the trick. FARUQ liked it best when CARIN's voice was more forceful and commanding but one of the appeals of her voice is its delicate vulnerability as it often sounds as if it is about to collapse in on itself. A highlight is "Boat" with its rain and storm and ghostlike twin vocals over strumming acoustic guitar. The beautiful simplicity of "Providence" is also pretty and it is followed by the brief instrumental "The Lorelei" that has a captivating sample looped over and over. A live track, "Garden," ends the CD and CARIN's voice is so achingly tender it seems as if she won't make it to the end of the song but she does. This CD is a haunting listen and can be enhanced by proper season or hour of the day or state of mind. Plus you get handmade goodies from Hub City for no extra charge if you get this. FARUQ got an IDITAROD xmas ornament!

Ebus Music, Postfach 90 05 49, 60445 Frankfurt/M, Germany
Intricate melodic ambient music! Layers of synth lines punctuated by low 303 bass hums and jabbing drum bits. And it's beautiful! The production is mighty fine and the tracks all flow very nicely. Liquidy pizzicatos float and oscillate in the center of the mix. Hmmmmmm yeah. Very very nice! I'm all over this.
Ian C Stewart

Boing Being, Hyytialantie 9, 35500 Korkeakoski Finland
I'm so fucking confused. Is this a compilation or one band? Could be either. The sound goes back and forth between every song so it sounds like a real-time battle of the bands. Jamming back and forth. Scrappy atonal rock with punk energy and art-rock disharmony. And distorted bass, don't forget about that! Crazy shit! Harsh and hard-rocking.
Ian C Stewart

My Ass Records/Trashcan Records, Makasiinikuja 5, 61800 Kauhajoki, Finland
The JJ4 takes an easy dip in the archaic and time-worn tradition of slow guitar-swing. Slo-mo rockabilly with all the trimmings. The singer does a bit of call-and-response on "Rootie Tootie." The guy on the cover looks like a bit like STING, quite a bit actually. But the music is closer to a reigned-in STRAY CATS (sorry, I'm not conversant with any other practitioners of this particular style) than anything MR BROODY SUMNER has done. THEE ULTRA BIMBOOS are kinda like JJ4 but with chicks singing instead. They're more TANYA TUCKER than STRAY CATS though. Let's say LAVERNE AND SHIRLEY made a record...
Ian C Stewart

The Outdoor Planet, 6397 Glen Knolls Drive, Orleans, Ontario K1C 2W9 CANADA
Maybe fans of FRANK ZAPPA will enjoy this more than I did. Or maybe not. "Baby Politicians With Cigars" is no "Dental Floss Tycoon". The players can all play the heck out of their instruments, but have apparently become bored with doing so and prefer endless jam session tunelessness with the odd burst of outright cacophony ("Tabula Rasa"). Obviously I'm no fan of this experimental avant-garde kind of thing. I sort of liked the blues-influenced "Wah Lucille", but that's about it.
Indy Ana Jones

The Outdoor Planet, 6397 Glen Knolls Drive, Orleans, Ontario K1C 2W9 CANADA
A live performance from September 1998, presented to an audience at a venue called "The Whipping Post", which I assume is somewhere near Orleans, Ontario. I am lucky enough to possess recordings of this band which date back into the 1980s. ZALNIKOR recently informed me that the line-up in JOTFC has been altered lately--unfortunately there is no official j-card provided with this tape to tell me who is in this band--except for the multi-instrumental, ZALNIKOR himself. Sounds to me like I'm listening to five or six musicians who are intimately familiar with the art of sound improvisation. Reeds, flutes, heavily effected guitar, voices, plenty of standard and unique percussion instruments, and a bass perform a collection of inspired sonics. Flavors of jazz, meditationals, punk, classical, and noise blend into genuine entertainment. Because the show was recorded live, the tape lacks a bit in the sound quality and editing department. But, you know, it' s really nice to hear those big cheers from the little audience.
Swami Loopynanda

Groove House Records PO Box 3106, Santa Monica CA 90408-3106 USA
You can't say anything bad about a guy who dedicates a CD to his little daughter, can you? Anyway, I can reckon on a nearly subconscious level that those pop-folk acoustic-guitar-based ballads are, in their category, rather excellent; unfortunately, they sound American as fuck to me, and sorry, I find that musical style very slightly boring. But I guess it's just a cultural taste problem. Probably another reviewer would have said they're brilliant (well written, well played, very heartfelt). I see great potential for the American market; BRYAN is like the male ANI DIFRANCO, or BRYAN ADAMS with brains. I can even forgive him for sounding like THE EAGLES at times. If he ever sends in another CD for reviews, Ian, send it to some American reviewer and see what he/she says; it would be fair.
Paola Sorrentino

Mudball PO Box 1054, Salem OH 44460 USA
Whoa! 4-track DIO/MISFITS/DANZIG type shit! Metal riffing! Guitar solos! Quarter-note bass lines! Total fist-in-the-air anthems. People don't write shit like this anymore, and that's a damn shame. "Vamps" is a lo-fi swampy goth blues track that stretches out for miles. The very next song, "Edge Of The Dawn," is definitely a lost OZZY ballad from the early 80s. Or CINDERELLA. Doh! If lo-fi metal riffing with a drum machine is your cuppa sausage, geddit! Now! Cracked ME up...
Ian C Stewart

Fortified Records PO Box 20469, Tompkins Square Station, NY NY 10009 USA
Imagine THE SEX PISTOLS unplugged, or maybe JELLO BIAFRA backed up by a string quartet, and that sounds a lot like LACH (pronounced "latch"). He calls his music "Anti-Folk," but whatever it is, it's pretty catchy. The songs range from angry, funny, sad, beautiful and ugly but all entertaining, sometimes with sparse acoustic accompaniment and sometimes with a full band. Highlights for me are "Blue Monk," "Teenage Alcoholic," "Ungrateful," the nostalgic "Kiss Loves You," and the hilarious "Drinking Beers With Mom." The cover is made to look like the package of a LACH action figure "With Real Anti-Action!"
Ken Miller

Blackbean And Placenta, 124 Ventura Ave, Oxnard CA 93035 USA
LP! Fuck yeah, an LP! Stark, dramatic, acoustic piano and guitar plus bass and distant vocals. "Screw Up, I'm The Driver," adds squelchy guitar to the mix and is somewhat upbeat by comparison. "Pirate" is full rock band action, sounding very 80s postpunk. Great record, very moody and sad, like a foreign b/w film. "Scoring Asshole" coulda been a BEEFHEART track with all those weird rhythmic interjections and time changes. On side two, "Shinegold Chisel" sounds like the band has found a secret stash of Prozac; all of the same elements from before but with a happy sort of mood. Well, mostly. And happy is a relative term. "She's In The Middle of The Devil's Wave (first verse)" is aerosol synth blists (not unlike NIN's "Closer") with sub-bass bass and other synth exploration on top. It's a beaut. "Tuna Fish With Green Mayonaise" = song title of the month! This is a riveting record on theeeee sexiest format available, the LP! Oooh yeah!
Ian C Stewart

2590 Durant Ave #240, Berkeley CA 94704 USA
Layers of rumbling, shackling noize. Words fail me when trying to describe this, so I'll randomly pick out words from the dictionary that describe this tape's effect on me. I am LACHRYMOSE, and feeling like a LONG PIG (n: a human victim of a cannibal feast), from listening to this POPPYCOCK (n: [D dial. pappekak, literally "soft dung," fr. D pap pap+kak dung] empty talk: nonsense) and my PORTAL VEIN (n: vein carrying blood from the digestive organs and spleen to the liver) seems likely to DEADEN.
Rhythms eventually emerge in this rollicking sound frenzy, and there's some wacky time-stretching manipulation going on too. Highly MISBEGOTTEN!
Ian C Stewart

115 Samoa #31, Arcata CA 95521 USA
"So spake Iacobus Burgundus Molensis the Grand Master of the Temple; and of the God that is ass-headed did he dare not speak." So greeteth the listener upon opening the cassette case. Unfortunately, that's as good as it gets LEFT TO RIGHT's DIY cassette, SUBJECT TO AVAILABILITY. Don't get me wrong: I'm all for the avant-garde, children-of-ORNETTE-COLEMAN rock movement. I'm also aware that such music requires a few listens -- it doesn't, shall we say, grow on a lot of us very easily. But if truth be known, testicles will grow on me faster than this cassette. The sound quality notwithstanding, the band lacks the fundamental ingredient that unites music and musician. There are no song ID's, which further blurs the edges between one song and the next. All too often, the bass comes in too strong and out of tune, the drums lack rhythm, the sound effects (dog barking, kettle whistling) are inappropriate, and the vocals -- when they appear -- alternate between an incoherent nasal drone and marble-mouthed mumbling that puts the classic "Louie Louie" to shame. This type of music affords the artist, by definition, more liberties than even the most liberated corporate label. A true artist, though, must know the difference between the annoying and the avant-garde. With more practice and less rock-star-poseuring, LEFT TO RIGHT may make that crossover. Until then...
Bernadette Giacomazzo

7" split
Apraxia, PO Box 85155, Seattle WA 98145 USA
A split 7" from two "industrial" noise-makers doing "composed" work. I really wanted to hear this, 'cause I knew LEONARD from her early days in STAINED GLASS which did some excellent sample-based industrial, and also from THE MILITARY INDUSTRIAL COMPLEX which was sort of a post punk, post industrial band of sorts, if I'm remembering correctly. Her piece makes use of the clarinet's squeeky character and the ability to play dissonant, in-between tones to build lots of tension, using structures characteristic of free-improv. KEY RANSONE is better known as the man behind SMALL CRUEL PARTY. His two "Early Preludes" for piano are simplistic, meditative and pretty. The 2nd piece has a thinking-out-loud quality to it, both pieces end kind of whimsically.
C Reider

Vuzh Music, PO Box 1204, Lyons CO 80540-1204 USA
I have the incestuous task of reviewing another AUTO reviewer. C Reider of LUSTER (and of AUTO) sent me this comp tape of eleven American and French ambient-goth-abstract tracks. On first hearing, as it always happens to me with this kind of atmospheric works, it all seemed alike (drone-hum-drone-longer hum). Then, after repeated hearings, some tracks (not all of them...) started to take some shape. The Americans: JARBOE (no less) with PFRENZ C, KIRCHENKAMPF (funereal free jazz?), LUSTER (also collaborating with EYELIGHT), DUST (featuring MIKE VANPORTFLEET from LYCIA), THE TALL BALD GRANDFATHERS, THE DROWNING BREATHING, DATURA (oh wow, a real song! With lyrics and a tune! What a relief). Les françaises: DELETED and KLIMPEREI (''Quand on s'est quitté'' is a good piano piece that remembers me of SATIE, and is the only track that I actually wished was longer). I must confess most bands sound alike, with their refined, ominous, sepulchral, wandering atmo experiments, although I was pleasantly struck by LUSTER's ''Captive'', which is a shoegazer's masterpiece of unnaturally slow, stretched notes and vocals. It also reminds me of an obscure, one-limited-edition-album-only-in-1982 Euro-Goth band that REIDER, in Lyons CO, can never have heard of, so this is a proof that there must be some kind of Gothic telepathy linking generations of Goth mourners through time and space. Now, I've heard it all before, and it all sounds like some old record or band (or like the same old drone), but if you are a less jaded (or younger) Goth than me, you may like this tape a lot. REIDER says that this kind of ''abstract'' music does something to his brain. Unfortunately, on MY brain it has only the effect of the lightest touch of a moth's wing, immediately forgotten. Only LUSTER and KLIMPEREI had the somewhat stronger effect of a bat's wing.
Paola Sorrentino

Little Fyodor, 3277 Raleigh St, Denver CO 80212 USA
A 45 rpm 7 incher of harsh noise underneath LITTLE FYODOR's insane ranting voice. Sound annoying? Well, you're wrong, 'cause the recording doesn't last long enough for your brain to recognize that it's annoyed. The entire 7", both sides, clocks in altogether at about 24 seconds. The grooves are cut so that they're 1/16" apart on the "Time Doesn't Move" side and spiral progressively further apart, until by the end of the "Paper Tears" side, they're 3/16" apart. You put it on, and you don't even have time to sit down and listen to it by the time it's over with, it's too fast for your weak ass. It's over before you can forcibly evict it, which I think makes it punk, doesn't it? A cool oddity.
C Reider

Babysue, PO Box 8989, Atlanta GA 30306-8989 USA
Scrappy indie rock with decent choruses. The vocals are distinct and overall it sounds like the MONKEES on SUB POP. Distorted guitars and occasional unexpected turns, songwriting-wise. Which is a damn fine thing really. Forty (!?!?) songs, anywhere from fifty seconds to three minutes in length, with several borderline classics. Great guitar lines, great lyrics, very good drumming--and the bass playing just sort of shuts up, just like it oughta. I'm stickin' with that SUB POP MONKEES thing too.
Ian C Stewart

Kung Fu Records, PO Box 3061, Seal Beach CA 90740 USA
Talk about a band that wears its influences on its sleeve. One has only to read the insert's "thank you" list to get an idea of LONGFELLOW 's sound: NOFX, BLINK 182, ASSORTED JELLYBEANS, AVAIL. etc. The lyrics are largely of emotional content with just a dab of politics, but fairly intelligent and heartfelt ("who blew out the candle / artificial light makes your skin glow smoothing out wrinkles from living under power lines"). The music, while unoriginal stylistically, is at least tight and well-produced -- slick punk suburban angst. Basically, if your influence list matches that of LONGFELLOW, this CD is a safe bet.
Nicole Wolfersberger

Josh, Sweet Cheese, PO Box 14349, Columbus Ohio 43214 USA
My guess is these guys are shopping this tape around to audition for gigs at rock bars, and I bet they'll have some luck. The music fits well into the "modern alternative rock" genre. Standard rock instruments play simple chord changes and rhythms. Tight drumming fills in the gaps nicely. Each piece has a bit of a hard edge, produced through the use of distortion and other sound effects on the pulsing instruments. I could hear a bit of 1970's punk and 1960's PINK FLOYD influence on a couple of the pieces. The lead singer has a pop friendly male voice. The songs are all performed with enthusiasm. This "demo" doesn't seem much like a tape produced for the average listener, but all you people who hire the bar bands of the world might want to give it a try.
Swami Loopynanda

Rte 3 Box 221, Cumberland VA 23040 USA
Loquacious LYMAN likes himself very much; and he's all over the tape, if I can say so, trying to convince you of this fact. Side A of this 90-minute tape contains (after some radio snippets of him presenting his stuff) 45 very long minutes of jazz-experimental improvisation, recorded in what I clearly imagine as a dark, smoky, vaguely existentialist basement bar with little round tables, where the only people pretending to be remotely interested in the jazzy and vaguely sinister extravagance going on are band members' friends (I happen to have seen many a show like this....). Music of no interest for people who don't love said little round tables. Side B is a blast instead; a long cut-and-paste effort of sound samples, snippets, cuts, bits and pieces, much in the vein of SAMARKAND's excellent CONTINUA (Pssst IAN: you owe me a coffee); I honestly don't know how much of this comes from HARLAN and how much is just sounds he beachcombed and sampled together. Let's say that if the percentage of the sounds created by him is over 50%, this guy is an electronica wizard and may never need to play improvisations in smoky cafés again. Frustratingly, most tracks end just when they were starting to get interesting, and last no more than one minute (the longest one, about 2 minutes, is the one with a nice sampling voice repeating ''the cops are mad'', a HARLAN political statement if ever there was one). The bits and pieces go from trip hop, to electronica, to dancey techno, to whatever; at times they reminded me of a beautiful compilation from Cup of Tea Records that brightened a winter of two or three years ago. Get this for the B-side, and listen to the A-side only when working out. I trust you work out as often as I do.
Paola Sorrentino

Rte 3 Box 221, Cumberland VA 23040 USA
Yet another self-titled or untitled tape from the man. Starts off with a PUBLIC ENEMY-esque, self-promoting rave up, with different radio voices mentioning HARLAN's name on the air all collaged together, going right into a relatively tame jam, cuts abruptly into a nice percussion piece that would've fit in nicely on some arcane '60's vinyl release, back when they all wanted to samba. So far it's classic HARLAN, but it doesn't rule my entire world like his 7" does (actually, all of the material from the 7" is featured on the second side, but it's lost some of its appeal on cassette), but that's a big standard to live up to, in fact I probably should've included it on my Top 10 dammit! The H-dog gets all dope and shit on the one with the "…it's Mr. Gratitude…" sample, and delves further into old skool hip hop as the tape goes on. Any MC woulda been lucky to have HARLAN as his / her TERMINATOR X, but nowadays they don't make rappers like they used to, do they? Coupla cool tacky moments, can almost hear HERB ALPERT playing over the top. It seems MR LYMAN may have settled down a little, ain't quite as nuts as he used to was, trying to get a zillion and 7/8 thoughts crammed onto every single foot of tape available. Here he explores his ideas for longer than twenty seconds. It's your bizniz to get hooked up with this guy. Meanwhile let's have a nice round of applause for the lovely and talented, three time former Miss AutoreUniVerse (leaving pageantry for a career in movies) as we welcome in our new Queen: C BROWNE JR!
C Reider

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