Freak Scene #38

June 15, 2009

Every other Monday, Jamie Johns draws attention to the choicest selections of the weird underground. In this edition of Freak Scene, she wraps up the best releases, post-No Fun Fest.

This is my last column before I leave for a month of academic research in China. When I emerge Rip Van Winkle style, I will come bearing gifts about noise and the like in China. As preparation for my departure I have spent the past couple days making my way through the backlog of tapes I have acquired over the past few months. Yes, this means that some of these are a little dusty but it also means that if I buy or get sent stuff, it does get listened to. Many of these are still available and you can still grip ‘em.

Noveller Paint on the Shadows LP

I loved Noveller’s performance at No Fun Fest and I love her new record on No Fun Productions. In terms of what is happening right now in experimental/noise/whatever, this is a unique vision. And it’s a debut, which makes it even more of a stunner. The first side is comprised of delicate and beautiful compositions centered on a double necked guitar, while the second side throws the fragility and beauty of the first side out the window for some righteous noise. These inimitable sounds have been helping me escape from the dreary confines of shitty weather and work the past two weeks.

Yellow Tears, "Don’t Cry" 12-inch

The Real Housewives of Far Rockaway? The latest release by my No Fun favorites Yellow Tears and in the words of FADER editor Matthew Schnipper, this shit is stressful. Samples of people crying and guffawing clowns—yes, clowns—colliding with sheet metal and degenerate electronics. This is the sound of young men being scarred for life. Unwholesome! This is real sleazy industrial noise and it is awesome. If you have love for anything disturbing and/or good, this is for you. Available from Hospital Productions

Radiant Husk, Beyond an Endless Swale cassette

A murky concoction of keyboards, drums, and electronics with some very rich sax playing. There is one part on the second side (I think, my tape player is kind of janky) that I think is particularly righteous. The sound goes from enigmatic oriental sax into some heavy, heavy guitar drone. The aesthetic appeal of this tape is definitely buttressed by the cassette format, which allows for an added layer of scuzz, fuzz, and mystery. If you like Dead Machines or Graveyards or parts of the Skaters back catalog, you will probably be into this one. A sax on the hill b/w do you believe in premarital sax? (Thanks Rob Lowe). [ed note: we have no idea what this means.] This one was released on Bezoar Formations.

Dust Belt, Pollination cassette

Two sides of variations on guitar squall, with a touch of electronic texture. The player(s), whoever they may be, allow the guitar to warp and mutate in a highly enjoyable way. There are times where the sound descends into Kevin Drumm-esque pulsations as well. My inability to write coherently about this tape should indicate that this is definitely a new favorite. I just wish I could find out more about the group! Find me? I love you…

Ajilvsga, Little Earth cassette

The fist sound you hear on the Ajilvsga tape reminds me of the year and a half I spent living in Indiana. More precisely, it reminds me of tornado sirens and cicadas. I lived in that beautiful state the year of the cicada hatching and combined with the nuclear holocaust sounding tornado sirens, I felt like I was witnessing the end of the world or something. This tape could be the sound of the earth opening up or perhaps it is those tree things from Lord of the Rings in musical form. Layers of feedback, electronics, and drone that almost sound like what would happen if Zaimph morphed into a tree hugger. Released on, Peyote Tapes, whose website warns readers not to associate the name with tripping but with sacrament. Cool. The Kilt tape (Chrome Bellows) that the label recently put out is lovely as well.

Send your tapes/LPs/7”s/lathes/CDs /zines etc… to:

Jamie Johns

5407 2nd Ave Apt. 3B

Brooklyn, NY 11220


(Please note that due to my trip, there will be a delay in listening to the goodies but I promise they will be treated with love and affection.)

From The Collection:

Freak Scene
Freak Scene #38