Monday, January 16, 2017

Friends of 2016

"Six Science Fiction Novels (And Then Some) To Read in the Age of Trump" by Adrian M. Ryan

Adrian recommends some science fiction in order to reflect on it, and on the possibilities the new president opens up. Hint: they aren't positive.

CMRN KNZLMN Presents Ernest Hemingway's The Old Man and the Sea by Cameron Kunzelman

Cameron's little game of peace and frustration is pretty cute.

My Mother Grows Plants With Her Eyes by The Bedroom Witch

The hook of the thing is definitely The Bedroom Witch's cover of "Genie in a Bottle," but the title track and "Last Myth Standing" are the reasons you stay. The Bedroom Witch's music is 70s or 80s pop and horror flicks, and it's good. From the just-too-high BPM of "Wheel of Misfortune" that gives it a tense edge to the title track's Suspiria sample, it's an EP of really well-made structures with interesting objects inside.

"I'm Dreaming" by Last Nights of Paris

David's reconfiguration of Bing Crosby's "White Christmas" is exquisite.

Some Shit I Drew by Water Beetle

Beats by Water Beetle, co-production by meddlr. Two old (noise) friends collaborate on swimmy straight beats and make some neat shit.

Nihilismo by Sole & DJ Pain 1

I'm sure I've said this before somewhere or other, but Sole's work with DJ Pain 1 has been super cool to watch. They keep killing it with Nihilismo.

Allkore Film Festival by Allkore

The Allkore folks have been putting together themed compilations at the edge of (Japanese) nerdcore (not nerd rap!) and noise and other genres of electronic music for a few years now, and I've been pretty into all of them. This comp is themed around (favorite) films, and is killer for it.

Organ Grinder by Kuniklo

A short film featuring the queer land project's puppetry in a loose narrative. The costumes reminded me, for some reason, of Himitsu Sentai Gorenger, which I mean as the highest praise.

Scream Queens Magazine Issue #1 (+ Compilation) by Scream Queens Radio

Friends in Oakland have been running a radio show for years now, and while I rarely listen, it's an inspiring thing. They just put together the first issue of their magazine, and released an accompanying compilation.

Wrote about children's books and was sad on beaches by Aishwarya Subramanian


Valentine's Day Compilation by Fuck the Polis!

This might be a slightly awkward inclusion, since I put it together (as well as playing guitar on track 3 & producing track 12), but this isn't exactly a formal thing. The group includes people who have never recorded music before and people who do so extensively; people I have or currently live with and folks I've never met in person; old friends and relatively recent ones. With a theme of pop, we got together and made songs in the orbit of punk and folk and metal to glitch-noise and rap and, of course, pop. It's a thing I'm extraordinarily proud to have been part of.

Orphy Goes to Hell by Daniel Waldman

A short film by Daniel Waldman that I think is very neat.

The Repulsion is Mutual by Inverts

Inverts have such a good sense of the suspension of metal, and of the kind of writing that foregrounds political and personal commitments so heavily they shine through tracklists without needing to be spoken. The title track in particular kills.

Piss Cameron by IlllllllllllllI

A book about former PM David Cameron holding in his piss.

Live at KALX! by Sorry, Not Sorry

In April, Erica Botz passed in an accident. As a member of Tender Buttons, she made some incredible music; her most recent band was Sorry, Not Sorry, who released their first album Teenage Tea Cake last year. After her passing, the band released Live at KALX!, with a fifteen minute interview and a half hour live set. My personal favorite of their songs comes in at 6:28.

Split CD by Ceschi / Pat the Bunny

Ceschi's post-prison work has been so tight and meaningful. Pat the Bunny seems like he's alright.

Soundcloud tracks by PRIST

Cash Askew, who passed away in the fire at the Oakland venue Ghost Ship and was half of Them Are Us Too, didn't release a full album with her industrial/EBM solo(?) project PRIST, but a handful of tracks went up on her soundcloud. They're very good. Tight loops layer with thick drums threading them together, always with an ear toward structure. "Unseen" is a personal favorite.

"Fall" by SBSM

A new track from SBSM for the Open Space series at SF MOMA, in which Bay Area musicians respond to winter and night. In SBSM's own words, the track is "Against all presidents, fascists, cops, bros, white supremacists, colonizers, landlords, and those who defend them," and toward a spring of liberation. A slow, meditative, apocalyptic song that feels as appropriate as possible.

I Am Providence by Nick Mamatas

A murder mystery at a Lovecraft convention, narrated largely through the dead man's degrading neural pathways. A very beautiful representation of fandom and absolutely an example of my little-remembered concept of fantastical materialism. The most impressive thing about I Am Providence, I think, is the ability of Mamatas to correlate all its contents. Specifically the social and economic contents. I couldn't write a better riff, sorry, I tried.

Half Moon Bay by Joyride!

Maybe my favorite Joyride! record so far, and a lot of that's to do with how they let out the structure on songs. Everything still drives forward -- it's still (pop) punk -- but in a way that seems happy to take detours when they feel right. The writing feels like it has been pared down to what works, and the playing is perfectly capable of taking up what used to need to be said straight.

Situationist Taqiyya by Zareen Zahra zeero

Zareen's twice-monthly newsletter of poetry and fragments is great.

Photography by Pauline Veatch

Pauline started taking cool pictures with instant film.

"Boucher, Backbone and Blake -- the Legacy of Blake's 7" by Erin Horáková

Erin Horáková's huge, brilliant essay about some British science fiction I'd never heard of before is a solid argument that she's one of the best SF critics working, in my opinion.

Watch Me Screw by Aurist

I'm not very familiar with juke, so I don't know how much I'm seeing of Aurist's past in noise and poetry in Watch Me Screw and how much juke just lends itself to beautiful ambient soundscapes when extrapolated from the tight loops and percussive drive. But then, that's only even a question because Aurist gives us "Erere," "Erere (Remix)," and "Erere (Remix 2)," which develop an ambient sketch into a full blown juke track, in a way that makes it clear how it was there the whole time.

Waitin' Around EP by Alex Pieschel

A longer review is available in the second issue of QROCC. Alex Pieschel is a great critic and editor, and I like this EP quite a lot, too. Moody and atmospheric Americana with a light vocal touch.

Welcome to the Fantasy Zone by Christa Lee

Christa Lee's Welcome to the Fantasy Zone is an album made in tribute to SEGA games, from a person who I don't know personally at all but who is a wonderful twitter presence, a great musician, and an incredibly smart thinker around games, music, and film.

I'm not a person who grew up with SEGA's games, although I've come to quite a few of them later in life, so I can't speak to the ways it hits on that sense of nostalgia. And I'm also the sort of person who tends not to listen to game soundtracks as I play them, so I'm in many ways the worst to talk about that. The point being that even if those aren't things you have or do, this is a really beautiful album.

Little Bug by Buddy System Games

I spent a good amount of the summer of 2016 touring with Buddy System's twin-stick platformer; I didn't make it to Seattle for PAX, but I did get to go to Indiecade, Fantastic Arcade in Austin, EVO in Las Vegas, and elsewhere. The demo is pretty neat still, y'know?

In memory of Erica, Feral, and Cash.

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