Music Reviews



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Artist: Eugene Chadbourne and The Dropouts
Title: Zupa Dupa Kupa
Format: 12"
Label: Monotype Records (@)
I had not heard of Eugene Chadbourne, or Doc Chad, as he is sometimes called, but he has collaborated with such bands and artists as Camper Van Beethoven, John Zorn, Aki Takase, Jimmy Carl Black, and the Violent Femmes. So let's start off with first impressions. First off, I absolutely love the cover. It looks like an old school punk collage and sharpie monstrosity that could have been put together by a team comprised of Frank Zappa (for the humor aspect) and the Alternative Tentacles team from the late 1980s. Second, I rarely have an album to review for Chain DLK that opens up with banjo, but here we are. This is one of those albums that really doesn't fit in with Chain DLK, but it really doesn't fit anywhere, so perhaps that's OK in this instance. At times this has a folk feel and at others it is more a rock album. But overall, the focus is on the stories in the music. For example, 'The Devil On The Radio' is about the devil contacting a person by CB and 'The Dentist' is actually about being a dentist. The music is more of a jam band that doesn't take itself too seriously, which is what makes it oddly endearing. So once again, we have the humor of Frank Zappa with the quirkiness of Tiny Tim. If this sounds good to you, this would definitely be worth picking up. I would love to see this act live.
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Artist: Axel Dörner / Werner Dafeldecker / Sven-Åke Johansson (@)
Title: Der Kreis Des Gegenstandes
Format: 12"
Label: Monotype Records (@)
Here we have a trio composed of Axel Dörner on trumpet, Werner Dafeldecker on double bass, and Sven-Ãke Johansson on percussion. There was no press sheet and the one online was mainly bio information rather than information on the recording. This consists of four tracks simply titled DKDG I through DKDG IV. With the instrument list, you know pretty much what you are in for. At some points it sort of reminds me of Volcano the Bear. There is a healthy mix of noisy elements and percussion combined with blasts of trumpet and bass. It wasn't bad for minimal experimental but in some ways it began to all run together. This is part of the problem with such ensembles ' keeping it interesting. This one was done well, but didn't seem to break much new ground.
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Artist: Egg Chef
Title: Opinions are Meaningless in the Void
Format: 7"
Label: Apop Records (@)
Artist:
I had never heard of Egg Chef. The press sheet describes it as 'three psychotropic tracks of hyperactive, left-brain punk,' and declares that 'Egg Chef will suck your soul.' This comes on interesting orange vinyl and is limited to 375 copies. So let's see what this sounds like ' we'll take each track in turn. 'Opinions are Meaningless in the Void' starts off with a sample of someone talking about how she started in Kansas and 'woke up next to the guy's father.' This is some weird stuff. The vocalist has a pretty distinctive voice that is unlike any of the punk bands I have heard. In some ways it reminds me of Alphaville's vocalist. This is rockin' but not typical rock by any stretch. 'Ice Machine' keeps the weirdness moving. I definitely like the 'LET'S ROCK!' interludes that reminds me of Stormtrooprs of Death's 'mosh part.' 'Orange Wurm' sounded like if the Residents collaborated with a metal band. Thankfully there is a lyric sheet in all of this and a weird little cartoon that doesn't make a lot of sense. I don't really know what to make of it, but if you like your rock weird, this is one to try out. I'll bet they put on an interesting show.
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Artist: Simon Fisher Turner / Mark Spybey
Title: MzMz LaLaLa
Format: 7"
Label: Tourette Records (@)
I have enjoyed Mark Spybey's work over the years. He has been quite prolific and has worked with a host of artists and groups (e.g., Zoviet France, Download, Legendary Pink Dots) while maintaining his own projects, most notably Dead Voices on Air. I was less familiar with Turner's work, but he has worked extensively with filmmaker Derek Jarman and has worked under the name The King of Luxembourg. So let's see what this sounds like. First off, it does not tell you anywhere what speed to play this at. It seemed to work well at 33.3, so we'll go with that! Side A, 'MzMzLaLaLa for Peace' definitely bears the DVOA stamp, with field recordings and soundscape with some muffled voices. Pretty good. Side B, 'MzMzLaLaLa Sing Song Sing' is an interesting mix of acoustic guitar, soothing vocals, and the occasional electronic arpeggio. Quite pleasant, but a bit short. Overall, this is a good start to what will be a series of 20 collaborations celebrating the 20th anniversary of DVOA. I'll look forward to the other ones.
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Artist: Dust to Dearth / Lysergene (@)
Title: The Death of the Sun
Format: CD
Label: Aesthetic Death (@)
Rated: *****
I had already reviewed the Lysergene album 'Critical Mass,' which was decent EBM, so I was a bit surprised when I put this on. Dust to Dearth kicks us off with heavy atmosphere and female vocals reminiscent of Arcana's 'Dark Age of Reason.' Overall, it is pretty consistently dark. There was nothing on the website about the band and it seems that the website has gone away as well, but it has the same email as Murkrat (also with little description except 'Metal for denizens of the mire'), so I assume that there is a connection. Overall pretty solid, but perhaps a bit repetitive after a while. Something that would be quite at home among some of the older Cold Meat Industry stuff. Moving on to Lysergene, we get a completely different side of this act from 'Critical Mass.' This segment starts off with some atmospheric dark ambient with a hint of distortion and noise thrown in for good measure. 'Nebula' moves us into a more melodic zone that continues through the end of the album. This would be at home on the Cyclic Law catalogue. The closest comparison I can come up with is Kammarheit. I actually prefer this version of Lysergene over the other, and think this is a bit stronger than Dust to Dearth, although each has its strengths. Overall a decent album worth checking out.
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