Nate Fitzbutler did a remix to Kanye West’s and Kendrick Lamar’s “No More Parties in LA” called “No More Parties in SD”. He said, "we made this track to try to bring some national buzz to our city that’s always been in the shadow of the LA music scene."

Niko Sitaras from the San Diego based dream rock band Paper Days says, "We just released our new EP 'Fun For Family & Friends'. Our release party is on Feb 19th being hosted at the Irenic (with The Bash Dogs & Splavender). 

Panic Is Perfect is an indie-pop group from San Fran and they are touring in support of their new album, Cellspace, which drops tomorrow on Strange Loop Records. They'll be playing at The Loft @ UCSD on Feb. 12!






(Digitalis Industries) Keith Boyd 3.26.07
I was born in the 60's but I primarily grew up in the 70's. That was a weird decade in America . At the beginning we were still reeling from the aftereffects of the tumultuous Flower-Power era. The 60's had started well but ended in a real "brown-acid" bummer. There was Altamont , the Manson murders, MLK's assassination. Jimi, Janis, Jim and Pigpen all died. The Technicolor LSD visualized utopia had dumbed down into a bleak, smacked-out blah. The middle part of the decade was a study in contrasts. You had the decadent Disco scene percolating in the big cities while simultaneously Punk Rock reared its ugly head at a handful of clubs. Arena rock was at an all time high with mega-concerts like the "Cal-Jam" series playing to record crowds. By the end of the decade the greedy, free-market 80's were already on their way in.

Along with the crumpled burnout remnants that crossed over into the coming decade there were a few cool hippie ideas that had their roots in the 60's but really blossomed in the 70's. Among these were healthy organic food, running (solo fitness in general), yoga and the weird yet wonderful world of non-competitive-everyone wins games. I distinctly remember when I first encountered this new and softer world of sporting. I'd grown up in Maine and let's just say they didn't go for these new fangled ways in Maine . PE at school was a humiliating parade of jock-straps, group showers and Coach Marquard who felt the need to tell us about the biblical consequences of homosexuality or even a thought in that direction. Well when I moved to California imagine my surprise at what was considered PE. Gone were the nightmarish rounds of dodge ball and hockey. In were the spirited sessions of Hagoo, Earth Ball and The Human Machine. It wasn't until many years later when I was working at the SDSU library that I came to truly understand the philosophical underpinnings of my elementary and middle school physical education. I was reshelfing books one day when I grab three big and well-worn tomes all done in Earth tones. The pictures on the cover had what appeared to be a large gathering of slightly Hippie folks engaging in all manner of games. They had parachutes. They were making human pyramids. They were twisted in to various odd positions in some grassy field. One thing about them all was the how damn happy they looked. Everywhere you looked there were handle-bar moustaches, cutoff jean shorts, great big Elton John glasses and waffle iron sized running shoes. Rainbow suspenders were in a healthy abundance and so were various forms of bandanas. The overriding sentiment seemed to be that all of the world's problem could be solved if one would simply chill out and play a game or two. The rules of these games were structured to promote cooperation and minimize direct competition. I actually think that this approach was pretty cool. The strange part of it though was the adult focus of these books. In their very "Whole Earth Catalog" way they presented an imagined utopia that was possible through play. In the way of all things however, PE in public schools swung back more towards the middle. These days it's a combination of the old school and the Hippie approach and that's probably a good thing as well.

What does all of this have to do with the new self titled CD by Softwar? Well, a lot actually. From the artwork to the song titles Softwar have made a deep study of the gentle games approach to PE and in the process have come up with a deeply compelling and weirded out gem of a CD. Softwar is one of the more recent incarnations of the shape shifting, multi-headed Jeweled Antler Collective. These Northern California visionaries have brought us such wonderful and idiosyncratic combos as Thuja, The Skygreen Leopards and Flying Canyon (RIP Cayce Lindner). Softwar is a welcome addition to this roster. The music is a blissed out wash of spacey, echo laden goodness. Small backward, "breath sucked in sound" events multiply and build layers upon layers of drone that mask sweet and playful melodies. Amidst all of this circular carousel music are the gentle yet spooky mantras of Kerry McLaughlin . It's the sound of these chants that gives cohesion and form to the music. Her voice sounds like the kind of singing kids do when they think that no one is listening; sweet and gentle yet a bit scary. The lyrics seem to be the chants that accompany some of the various games mentioned above. Taken out of their "games" context however they are simply strange and beautiful and seem like fragments of some surreal code language, "Take it on the Pru-Eye-Aye, take it on the right". Like so much of the album these vocalizations sneak in and out of the mix. The whole piece plays out like a cat creeping around in the fog. Its layers of mystery are both exotic and inviting. Softwar is a warm and hypnotic debut. Let's hope that they aren't just a one shot side project and that we'll more of their inspired weirdness to enjoy in the future.

    Lotushouse MP3 Sampler
    Maquiladora - The Revenge of Becky Royal (New Piano)
    Tenniscoats + Maquiladora - Hours
    High Mountain Tempel - Processional (An Invocation to Thee Angelic Sister)
    Raagnagrok - HJD
    Beggars - Will We Call It Love
    Maquiladora - Termez 1936
    Maquiladora - Song 26
    Buzz or Howl - Sendhe Mortu Chin Rigore
    Earthling Tempel - Celestial Inhabitants of the Sun
    Buzz or Howl - The Sins Of The Flower Are Visited On The Shunned
    Maquiladora - Light of the Rain
    High Mountain Tempel - The Ascended Master (Hang Gliding in Heaven)
    High Mountain Tempel - Fluctuat Nec Mergitur
    High Mountain Tempel - Tempel Walk
    Buzz or Howl - 05 Oct 05
    Buzz or Howl - Sun as the Destroyer of Dreams
    Live version at the Make Room SF 2005
    Maquiladora - In This Life
    Maquiladora - Simply to See You
    Maquiladora with Kawabata Makoto - Nampasen
    Maquiladora Maquiladora - Drunk and Lighting Fires (A Waltz)
    Maquiladora Maquiladora - Ritual of Hearts
    Maquiladora Maquiladora - Ankle
    Maquiladora - Mayday
    Loraine Loraine - Pasqually Old Pasqually

    Beggars - S/T
    by Pierro Scaruffi

    Maquiladora's Eric Nielsen and Bruce McKenzie joined forces with Skygreen Leopards' Glenn Donaldson to form Beggars, whose double-disc Beggars (Lotushouse, 2013) is a tour de force of ecstatic Eastern-influenced freak-folk. Mostly these pieces lean towards the traditional song format, although inevitably deformed by the musicians' pedigrees.

    The ghostly hyper-dilated drones of Ghost Coyote are imbued with quasi-Morricone western-movie guitar twang and even harmonica. The sweet lullaby and the trotting pace of Eureka My Love as well as the romantic honky-tonking Justine (with a refrain a bit reminiscent of Dylan's Blowing in the Wind) hark back to the heydays of country-rock. 2-3-74 Floating evokes the martial laments of the young Neil Young although diluted amid discordant guitar jamming and lulled by waves of funereal vocal harmonies. Berserker's Boogie is a lively and poppy almost-bluegrass tune. They even intone the singalong Queen Anne's Lace with drums, banjo and all.

    Thankfully, the spaced-out yodeling of Lullaby de Bourbon (memories of Aoxomoxoa-era Grateful Dead), the free-form quasi-jazz guitar and vocal interplay of Will We Call It Love, the seven-minute dreaming psalm Big Pink Sun and its sublimely disintegrating coda, remind us of what Maquiladora are best at. The 23-minute Midget Decapitates Clownis an ambitious concerto for suspense and agony. Far from being just a droning piece, it piles up sonic event after sonic event, producing the trancey effect out of a multitude of traumatic sounds. The chirping and tweeting that accumulates half-way into the piece decays into a nervous organic filigree and dies away in the most cryptic manner; one of the high points of Maquiladora's career.

    Earthling Tempel - Pilgrimage To Thunderbolt Pagoda
    by Aquarius Records

    Not sure if this is part 4, or just the first in a new multi part epic, hardly matters, what does matter is, this is another glorious expansive collection of meditative psychedelic abstract dronefolk ambience. Every High Mountain Tempel disc we're reviewed thus far has gotten played to death here, and this one doesn't appear to be any different. Well, at least in that respect. In one distinct way it is very different, HMT are not going it alone this time. They've assembled a pretty impressive collection of sonic alchemists and musical conjurers to help with this ritual, Isis Aquarian from the Source Family, Charles Curtis from La Monte Young's Just Alap Raga Ensemble, and two crews from the UK we've never heard of, Earthling Society and Astarism, but even with all those cooks in the kitchen, HMT and friends have managed to weave another dark minimal masterpiece, all hushed barely there guitar shimmer, drifting whispered vocals, delicate crystalline melodies, dense swirls of piano, warm swells of tape hiss, mysterious voices and field recordings, whirring organ, bowed steel strings... so lovely.

    If the liner notes are to be believed, two of the tracks feature Earthling Society on their own, and those tracks do sound different, much less free and sprawling, a bit more structured, like seventies UK acid folk, swirling and melodic and quite lovely. The final two tracks find the two groups in full on collaborative mode, and the gears shift to something much more space rocky and Hawkwindy, all blissed out and heart-of-the-sun, until the final track which is a strummy, delicate, moody chill out closer, a sort of dour doom folk drift, that makes a perfect ending.

    Super nice packaging, silkscreened oversized 4 panel sleeve, white on black, with the cd-r affixed to the inside. And of course, SUPER LIMITED!

    High Mountain Tempel - The Glass Bead Game by Aquarius Records

    Part three in the ongoing series of limited cd-r explorations from mysterious drone combo High Mountain Tempel, and like the two before it, the band continue to delve into some murky sonic underworld, again presenting loooong songs, each separated by brief sonic interludes, this disc seems feature more actual vocals, the opening track features a processed voice, that sounds a bit like throat singing, or a Speak And Spell, intoning some arcane message, interwoven with long drawn out tones, and a thick ropy buzz, super dark and intense and atmospheric. Elsewhere sampled voices surface, there are bits of chanting here and there, all peppered throughout the disc. But even with the extra voices, the focus here is still on dark, lugubrious, extended dronescapes.

    The sound of High Mountain Tempel is probably closest to Expo '70, as their various permutations of dronemusic seem to have a definite krautrock vibe, that gives the sound a sort of spaced out quality, and a subtle propulsion, but unlike Expo '70, HMT seem to have a distinct Eastern influence, much of the music is meditative and subtly dramatic, a bit soundtracky, and some of it sounds like it could be Japanese. Especially the way field recordings are incorporated into the sounds. Giving everything a definite texture, some of it sounding like it was perhaps recorded live in some hilltop temple. Which we would imagine is the idea.

    Not sure what else to say actually. This is indeed fantastic, brooding and malefic, but also shimmery and dreamy, sonically it has much in common with the first two installments, so definitely check out those reviews to read more about their 'sound'.

    Needless to say, fans of the drone and folks into the current crop of cd-r soundscapers will for sure dig this, but like the other HMT discs, this is more than simple drone music, this is ritualistic alchemical soundwork, one can almost imagine stumbling across a group of cloaked figures huddled around a fire in a forest clearing, tossing various powders into the flames, causing the fire to change color and cast beastlike shadows on the branches above, and this is the sound filtering through the forest like a black moonlit fog...
    SUPER LIMITED of course, packaged beautifully in a foldover silkscreened sleeve, gold metallic on red on the outside, black on red on the inside.

    High Mountain Tempel - A Screaming Comes Across The Sky - The Faultline Scriptures
    by Aquarius Records

    Record number two from this mysterious drone-kraut styled duo. Their last disc was a huge hit around here, so we were pretty thrilled to get our hands on this one, a logical sonic extension of the first, delving deeper into some murky tripped out twilit soundworld.
    The disc opens with shimmering clouds of gongs and cymbals, whirring and sizzling, suspended over a deep distant rumble, a delicate intro to a record at once hypnotic and lovely, dark and dense.

    The record is arranged into three epic tracks, interspersed with short sonic interludes, ranging from field recordings of crickets, looped chants (Elizabeth Clare Prophet if we're not mistaken), spirituals and mysterious liturgical songs, whirring drones, and backwards percussion, but it's the long tracks where the duo get to spread out, let their dense soundscapes sprawl.

    The three long tracks sounds like movements of a greater whole, clocking in at 15 minutes, 11 minutes and nearly 17 minutes respectively, each rife with creepy delayed vocals, churning guitars and smeared chords, roiling muddy whirls, which often dissipate leaving streaks of fragmented melody and haunting slowed down voices. Buried amidst the drones and whirs, are lullaby-like melodies, skittery percussion, streaks of grinding distortion, hidden voices, more field recordings, thick swaths of cavernous rumbles, little bits of electronic glitch and lots and lots of low end buzz.

    Packaged in a fancy navy blue fold over sleeve, screenprinted in white ink, with a photocopied insert with liner notes and song credits.

    LIMITED TO 150 COPIES! Each one hand numbered.


© | Live Reviews | CD Reviews | Music Features | Forum | Submit/Ads | Contact |