EMPTY GATE

Grand Mal

(Empty Gate) CDR $7.00

Eleven songs of a slightly different flavor than the punk-leaning indie-pop of the band for which singer Patricia Howard is best known (Vomit Launch). Grand Mal leans toward weirdo garage-rock, which is no surprise given the band’s pedigree: guitarist Bob Howard (The Vesuvians, The Asskickers, Termite); bassist Mark Zempel (Fang of Gore, Folkenstein); keyboardist Greg Spont (Black Fong); and drummer Matt Coogan. “The most striking link is, of course, Howard’s vocals,” says the Chico News And Review. “The lyrics are intelligent and often poetic … and her rough-hewn voice is as evocative ever.” Includes coupon for free download.

VOMIT LAUNCH

Shocking Early Works, Vol. 1

(Butte County Free Music Society - BUFMS47) 7-inch $10.00

Three raw living room and live recordings from 1985, documenting the first three months of the group’s existence, imbued with decadence and vitriol. Repetitive profanity, spartan adornment, outward-looking disgust and contempt take centerstage on “Swelling Admiration,” a tune with less dance groove than a riderless bike getting hit by a car. Honest, a skipping Suicide album sounds like “Bohemian Rhapsody” in comparison. The oblivion-embracing ode to defeatism “The Only Way Is Down” conveys, with flourishes such as impatient sighs, blasé moans and flickering drum machine, distaste for the ubiquitous, neon-colored optimism of mid-’80s fratboy / sorority girl airheads. Overdriven and sloppy in places, its pulse is insistent yet dire. Flipper’s signature tune “Sex Bomb” is stripped of all its properties, pretty much, thanks in no small part to the hand-held condenser mic recording; most of what remains is the noise of the audience in the room and the only thing potent enough to slice though it — singer Patricia Rowland’s psychotic screaming. Deep-end bonkers. Includes vintage liner notes by Lindy Lettuce.

DARKSMITH

Regular Man / Good Memory

(Regional Bears) Cassette $9.00

A kind of sequel to Countdown To Man In The Clouds (2010), this time composed of nineties hardcore records destroyed with damaged needles and contact mics. Thick loops collapse into total mud sound on both sides, and attempting to identify deeply buried melodies through the muffled grinding will likely end in narcosis (perhaps a preferred state as the doomsday clock ticks in double-time). c30

GLANDS OF EXTERNAL SECRETION

Do Not Disturb

(Butte County Free Music Society - BuFMS93) CDR $8.00

Released to kick off the Summer Of Ugh, Glands Of External Secretion’s noise-snuffled psychedelica sounds like what you see when you look through a kaleidoscope that’s been sat on by the creeper staring dude who’s always around even though no one knows him well enough to say if he’s a narc or a pedophile. Doesn’t talk for long time, and then all of a sudden does, loudly. It’s an album of disconnected visions and unstable passages from recuperation diary entries come to life, composed during recovery on a moldy waterbed surrounded by unreliable nomads in a hands-free hospital run by machines. Or a Volkswagon repair shop, possibly. Hard to say. Although it’s definitely trippy. Not in way that expands the consciousness but rather stubs your toe on the paint in the crosswalk and makes you fall over. All the cars are honking at you because the light has changed in the time it took you to get up. The bag of kung pao take-out has been annihilated and you can’t decide which of the three traumas your forearm is experiencing hurts the most. That’s what this is. The second kind of trippy. The bad kind, with the overdriven speakers, online instruments, radios, sound effects, household objects and office supplies, sentences boosted from thrift store cassettes and the internet. Three pieces are soundtracks for videos (one of which screened in November 2019 at the Poesie Carnosa / My Dance The Skull festival in Italy, and in December at the Lip Bar X Psychic Communities film festival in England, while the other two were part of the Plague Time Television and Heinous Whining isolation concerts, respectively). Duo appearances live on WRCT and at Skeleton Dust Records from April 2019 are included, as well a re-creation of a solo set performed on the air at KFJC in December 2019. Lyrics were extracted and assembled from Roberta Flack’s early ’70s soul ballad, autobiographical notes in an anthology of amateur photography, and dreams published in the first issue of Andy Bolus’s Barbequeue’d Humans zine. Plus a bunch of outbursts and symptoms of preexisting conditions. Ominous rectangles and just, you know, general yarrrnnnnng.

SEYMOUR GLASS / DYLAN NYOUKIS

No One Cares About The Drama Queen’s Potassium Intake

(Chocolate Monk - choc.479) CDR $6.25

Churning and honking like a couple of white apes in a suntan lotion sento, Nyoukis and Glass bromance the mud for a solid uninterrupted half hour. They manipulate field recordings, befoul sound effects recordings, loot audio thrift store cassettes, violate the public domain, and contaminate domestic objects. Auntie Pearl clinks and coughs and laughs and listens to Led Zeppelin. Duncan Harrison tries to teach Ms. Elkka how to ollie in a Hastings train station after a day getting pissed with Steve Underwood, because life skills. It’s just a good long wallow in ghostly moon flatch, something you look like you could use right about now. Allow the duo’s ballet-dancing electronic bendables to pirhouette and plié through your skull. A little equilibrium-challenged DNA, splatters of tube-squeezed murk, and descending plasmatic crud are the universal pick-me-up. If not yourself, do it for the plague babies. Edition of 60

VARIOUS ARTISTS

Cabin Fever Cleansed My Mind Vol. 2

(Chocolate Monk - choc.484) CDR $6.50

Further forays into the hovels and studios of some of Chocolate Monk’s favorite sound-churners during lockdown. Featuring contributions from Food People, Ogrob, Sharon Gal, Ash Reid Neil Campbell & Sticky Foster, Plastic Hooligans, Embla Quickbeam, Amanda R Howland, Territorial Gobbing, Leif Elggren, The Burbling Mind, Rubber Demon and Dan Melchior. Artwork by Leif Elggren. Edition of 100. Order both volumes and get a Cabin Fever Cleansed My Mind one-inch badge

NEIL CAMPBELL / HOWARD STELZER

Their Crowning Achievement

(Chocolate Monk - choc.480) CDR $6.50

Stelzer got the ball rolling on this old-school transatlantic collab with the sounds of kids playing, bass guitar, and dozens upon dozens of layered cassette tapes played outdoors and in hallways — a pile of stuff from unrelated or subconsciously-related sources, basically, hung together by crossed fingers and willpower, to which Campbell, in the wilds of West Yorkshire, added electronics, guitar and percussion. The resulting near-hour-long piece is a Rorschach rumble that keeps your gravy wet for the forseeable. Edition of 60

VARIOUS ARTISTS

Cabin Fever Cleansed My Mind Vol. 1

(Chocolate Monk - choc.483) CDR $6.50

Has lockdown laid waste to creative minds? Or sown seeds of wild whack? Join Cody Brant, Glands Of External Secretion, rlw, Wild Rani, Giblet Gusset, Sick Llama, Fatty Jubbo & Dylan Nyoukis, T.Mikawa, Duncan Harrison, Mark Morgan, Sophie Cooper, Michael Zulicki and Final Seed to find out. Artwork by Leif Elggren. Edition of 100. Order both volumes and get a Cabin Fever Cleansed My Mind one-inch badge

TIMOTHY JAMES BYRNE

Turn it On Again - The Guitar Works of Timothy James Byrne

(Chocolate Monk - choc.482) CDR $6.50

This “Buckinghamshire-based musician, filmmaker, actor and photographer … has spent year upon year documenting life via a diverse array of mixed media in what would appear to be near total isolation,” explains Duncan Harrison. Byrne had been “creating and publishing multiple new works each day since at least late 2010, before stopping suddenly and without explanation in the summer of 2019. The result is an intimidatingly dense and difficult-to-comprehend archive filled with thousands of obscure artworks, the vast majority of which remain entirely undiscovered outside a tiny underground community of obsessive fans. Though he is best-described as a multi-instrumentalist and singer…, [this] selection of covers, improvisations, original numbers and outtakes focuse[s] on his work for acoustic and electric guitar. This … unauthorized, unoffical fan bootleg exist[s] primarily for documentary purposes and is to be understood as an abstract of Byrne’s wider body of work and artistic practice. With that said, this release represents perhaps the first and last instance of his work being made available outside his personal publishing efforts.” Edition of 50

ROSS SCOTT-BUCCLEUCH / ANDREW SHARPLEY / SIGTRYGGUR BERG SIGMARSSON

Ghost Of Dada

(Chocolate Monk - choc.481) CDR $6.50

Announcing of invitation principles. In early 2020, Scott-Buccleuch asked Sharpley to edit his solo record. He sent over a lot of files (DIY circuit-bent improv, tape stuff, recordings of rugby club toilets, overt dregs of blank weather, streams, train stations, drones, all kinds of audio gunk and goof that he was supposed to edit into some kind of shape. Lasting streaks of veer. A collage record with Siggtrygur Berg Sigmarsson had been planned since 2019, so there on his desktop was a folder containing a lot of vocal improvisations and audio glitches. Sudden guest. Tongues well and truly bit. Mysteriously the contents of the two folders leaked into each other. When is a door not a jar? When it’s a door. So now there’s this trio record that preserves the integrity of the original material as well as enjoyed a fair amount of freehandedness, with a casual and light quality. Today ear. Tomorrow gone. Play by it. A chance meeting that was perhaps inevitable. Edition of 60

WILLIE STEWART

Ludo Is Fantastic

(Hypnagogic Films - HYPNO 011) DVD $13.25

Since the early 1960s, wildman Ludo Mich has actively operated on the fringes and the fringes of the fringes of the Antwerp underground art scene. He exists inside a world of his own creation where he has produced a significant body of work across multiple disciplines including visual art, holographic sculpture, Fluxus film, performance, avant garde science and philosophy. The core of his work is always the same: a need to stay pure to his own beliefs, regardless of the consequence. His family and friends know Ludo to be full of love and generosity. Devoted fans know him as a performer who continues to surprise and astonish. But despite 50-plus years of production, Ludo remains practically unknown outside Belgium. "It is his curse to be an outlaw, always," remarks his housemate Frank. Ludo has been banned from numerous bars and cafes in his hometown due to arousing raucous happenings and incidents of nudity. In 2014, the Royal Academy of Fine Arts threatened to sue him over a performance of his that allegedly incited the audience to mishandle works from the Academy’s collection. The police have been called to his home / studio on numerous occasions by neighbors complaining about his loud, barbarous, joyful laughter. Now in his 70s, Ludo’s work continues to gain integrity as he ignores conformity, financial gain and stays one step ahead of conventional and conservative art. Stewart’s mix of archival treasures, interviews with family and friends, and fly-on-the-wall footage immerses the viewer in the Mich Dimension. Seventy minutes in English and Flemish with English subtitles. Includes card for free download of the soundtrack.

CAUDAL

Forever In Another World

(Oaken Palace - OAK002) Used LP $12.00

Aidan Baker (Nadja, Whisper Room, ARC) spreads multi-layered, heavily affected guitar across the propulsive rhythms of bassist Gareth Sweeney (Gout) and drummer Felipe Salazar (Muerte En Pereira). Equally influenced by krautrock, post-punk, and spacerock. Edition of 500, 180g vinyl. Free download code.

VARIOUS ARTISTS

Fug Gum Vol. 3

(Freakdom - F02) CDR $8.00

More mutant brain-freeze and atmospheric squalor, a companion piece to the upcoming Vol. 4 on Chocolate Monk. Tracks by The Canadian Romantic, People Skills, Crhd, Carla Bozulich And Devin Sarno, Melkings, The White Shark, Blind Spring, ForestForTheTrees, Orchid Spangiafora, Constant Complaint, Psychonic Imaging, Korea Undok Group, C. R. Odette, Fleshtone Aura, Angst Hase Pfeffer Nase, and The Conduits. Edition of 100

BREN’T LEWIIS ENSEMBLE

Toxic Beard

(Butte County Free Music Society - BuFMS92) CDR $8.00 (Out-of-stock)

As with any improbable object that can’t help but be era-specific, especially during a time when the relentless strobe of an unpleasant glare makes the grime and pestilence smeared every place all the more opaque, when Civil War 2.0 often seems more imminent than not, when you have to wonder if you’ll get in trouble because your browser history shows that you were looking into getting a permit for a bow-and-arrow, Toxic Beard stews in disgust-suffused withdrawal. Many of the recordings feel remote, bordering on apathetic, a series of tosses-and-turns across the bow in the softness wars. A corny advertisement prattling fake bonhomie jive launches the album, and Lucian Tielens immediately annihilates it with “Blood Clot,” a solo turn on cornetto (as seen on episode number two of the Colour Out Of Space series Plague Time Television). For just over three minutes, he studiously avoids producing a single note in any key, opting instead for a tonal palette more common to slapping a disembodied lung left unattended on a stainless steel gurney in the hall. Tom Chimpson’s flat caroling dissects institutional text from the world of religious scolding on “Scuttlebutt Within Our Bubble.” Later in the album, on “Hoopo Koomkl Inheritance: Discuss,” he locates encrypted data worthy of espionage, as only a master textician and minister of psy-ops can, in toddler brainwashing narratives. It’s like The Conet Project produced by Up With People. New voices making themselves heard for the first time here will attract a decent audience on the steps of the gackolopolis, plentiful though the group’s stock-in-trade vocalizations barely more coherent than slurred vowels delivered supine on the floor may be. With Count Darkula as his missionary wingman, Vishnu Richelieu makes his first public appearance since The Date Fork Seeps The River (Nauscopy 2003) on “The Hardy Boys Meet Reverend Werewolf,” where he reads, in the style of a pro wrestling announcer, an apocalyptic email written by none other than Maurizio Bianchi himself. Lala Lu, the second of four new ensemble members making their debut on Toxic Beard, gets her diaphanous poet laureate on during the front end of “Reptile In Name Only” (with words penned by that president, our diarrhea nutsack sculpture), while Joan Of Art and Asskicker Bob jank the back end’s zarnt-scape with lyrics by noted pro-rape deer-piss salesman The Nuge. For the three-part suite by The Experimental Artists — an obscure Hayward-based trio of suburban creeps who directly catalyzed the formation of the group in the 1980s — they recruited Lacie Pound of Birmingham, England, to ensure the track pulsates underneath the gray matte non-sheen it deserves. The monolithic “Lateral Incisor At The Bottom Of A Swimming Pool” is more rickety and cartilage-deprived than a near-eight-minute track requires in order to survive, but Lily McBilly and our final noob Amferz commit to the plastic hysteria and zealous dealth-cult patriotism as if pitching an Annie Graham theme to Ari Aster. The thing shimmers hard with Hereditary-adjacent menace and otherworldly apparitia of pyromaniacal squirrels trying to set your feet on fire while you sleep. Consider yourself trigger-warned. Regular listeners do not need to be reminded of Bren’t Lewiis’s views regarding the interchangeability of features and defects. From the warble of kitchenware to the chatter of inane neighbors and ascended-master pretenders ostentatiously gasping for air, urban field recordings, elusive turntablist chirps and ping-ponging decontextualized voices, defective electronic fragments, faraway and backward everything, mumbles, clacks, grunts, loops, and cut-ups, this album rolls in the short’n’curlies on the floorboards of a schizophrenic harmhouse.

THE CONDUITS

Attenuating Circumstances

(Chair Chair - hh421) Cassette $5.00

Hypnotic fields with an arresting purity and simplicity of form by Chancre and Canker. From surreptitious machine drones to the fuzz and crackle of damaged circuitry, pitchy tape manipulation to the voids of A.M. radio, eerie field recordings to indeterminate devices cranked and throttled and ground together, Attenuating Circumstances seems to self-medicate in aloof seclusion, a practice the duo has observed for a good thirty years before the rest of us had little choice but to do the same. According to the label description: “Conspiratorial murmurs spreading out from under the door to the darkened conference room on the 17th floor. The leeway diminishes with each passing hour. No one can be trusted, but why would you want to trust someone you’d rather watch suffocate on the stink of dark revenge. Feel it closing in. There is poison in the water. Alone and sobbing in a cubicle. Everybody knows what everybody else has done. They’re all in a trance, but the unspoken agreements won’t last, if they even exist in the first place. More unclear and recursive distortions, the soundtrack to sodomizing the corpse of personal ethics.” Packaged with chips of wood flooring swatches and a plastic birthday gift bag inside a cardboard catfood envelope. C60. Edition of 25