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Kierst has a "Crush" on latest single

Following a few bars of strummed guitar Kierst declares “it's nothing more than a crush but / I'm holding my breath” and I believe her. For one thing she repeats the second line four times in a row and indeed crushes are nothing if not obsessive, and while singing the line four times whilst holding one's breath defies logic, crushes are nothing if not illogical. Check and check.

A pathway to love turned into a a cul-de-sac of hopeless hope: “Tinged blue in the face no it's not too late.” A distressing new fetish for emotional distress: “An unwanted switch that's leaving me reeling.” Check and check.

Keirst's lyrics here scan perfectly in a song that slowly and steadily and almost imperceptibly builds tension--but crucially never achieves release. Layer by layer you hear the addition of ride cymbal flourishes, plaintive guitar wails, hints of bass and perhaps keyboard and finally some insistent drumming over a late-in-the-game declaration to “love you to death.” And then like that it's over. And you want it to start all over again. (Jason Lee)


 

Burnt Umber Penumbra releases B.U.P.3

On his third collection of 2020 so far (quarantine goals!) Burnt Umber Penumbra opens with a track called “Landings” that with its percolating digital oscillations and warm hazy drones does indeed sound like a good soundtrack for a lunar landing. On the next track (“Scamz”) the listener is brought back down to earth cold-opening with a voice message left by a robotic female from an unidentified government agency, promising “you will be taken under custody by the local cops as there are four serious allegations pressed on your name at this moment,” followed by a fuzzed-out looped beat and heavily-reverbed repeating chords. Whether this message pertains to four overdue parking tickets or a quadruple homicide we may never know but the mystery’s the thing.

Based on no evidence whatsoever I would hypothesize that Burnt Umber Penumbra got his name from one of those band-name-generating-algorithms that in this case takes a discontinued Crayola color and combines it with a word or phrase likely to be uttered by Neil deGrasse Tyson. If so, consider yourself lucky not to be listening to Prussian Blue Trigonometric Parallax. Anyway based on a minute-or-two of extensive Internet research I learned that a “penumbra” is a physical phenomenon equivalent to a shadow of a shadow. So go ahead and light up a jazz cigarette and ponder that for a moment and while you’re at it put on this album because it’s perfect music for just this sort of mental activity--on B.U.P.3 you’ll hear echoes of everything from Tangerine Dream to M83 ready to take you on a journey to the center of the mind. Space is the place indeed.

As value added Burnt Umber Penumbra’s video output so far further solidifies the mystical aesthetic of his music. A crystal pyramid of unknown origin features consistently for instance, and he apparently has the ability to play clarinet through a Covid-style bandana face covering (see below). Which is pretty cool and so is the music. But consider yourself forewarned, there’s some magickal forces at work here. (Jason Lee)


 

MOTHERMARY "Resurrection" on After Dark 3

MOTHERMARY aren't your average twin sister duo who managed to escape both Montana and Mormonism to resettle in Brooklyn and make art-damaged darkwave electro-pop as a form of cleansing "sacrilegious ritual" before eventually teaming up with Italians Do It Better maestro Johnny Jewel who placed their latest musical offering entitled "Resurrection" (timely title) on his third installment of the After Dark compilation series featuring label stablemates such as Chromatics, Desire, and Double Mixte.

“Resurrection” is a moody come-hither heavy-breather chock full of pregnant pauses, sawtooth synths, acid basslines and ‘80s electro-tom fills. You can listen to the song at 34:10 below but really why not just listen to the entire After Dark 3 comp because who couldn’t use a good hour-plus of dark synthy sexiness to cleanse the palate of the past fours years. And heck, while you're at it just go ahead and buy the triple-LP on “Green Slime Vinyl” because Happy Days Are Here Again. [addendum: music video for "Resurrection" also included below]

“Resurrection is our version of the story of Selene, the Moon goddess in Greek mythology. She finds herself in love with a mortal she can’t help but visit every night. Their relationship strained... by his own mortality & natural barriers of the night... tempts her lover to choose eternal sleep so that they may resurrect their love every evening” -MOTHERMARY

File Under: Italo-disco. Giallo soundtracks. The Neon Demon. Twins of Evil. Twin Peaks: The Return. Daryl Hannah in Blade Runner. John Carpenter in the disco. That scene in the Terminator with the chain-link fence new wave dance clubAnd of course that scene in the Star Wars Holiday Special where an elderly Wookie masturbates to a hologram of Diahann Carroll. And so on. (Jason Lee)


 

Ilithios debuts with Florist LP

Florist fades in on a swell of shimmering voices, followed by a warm, resonant layer of bass and drums, on its opening track “Think B4 U Spk.” Those wraithlike voices are soon swept into a sonic funnel cloud (neat production trick) while over chiming tones a gentle, lullaby-like voice entreats the listener: “We’re going nowhere / it’s cruel weather for days.” The narrative then unfolds something like a 3am phone call with an estranged lover or maybe just with yourself. Hazy voices from the song’s intro weave in and out of the conversation, building up to a brief squall of submerged guitar-freak-out until everything drops away.

Ilithios is the latest project of Manny Nomikos (Catty, Gracie Manson, Coyote Eyes) who in this guise comes off something like a Greco-Korean-American indie-rock Dennis Wilson. Besides the flowing locks you’ll find plenty of raw vocal expression set against blissed-out background vox, pristine musical arrangements, soaring melodies and ambient revieries. The songs are often lush but with a hint of Charles Manson under the surface. “Rattle Your Saber” brings stomping drums and buzzing low-end synthetics to the fore, while tracks like “Florist” and “Is This Our Dance?” recall early-to-mid-aughts NYC with Interpol and James Murphy comparisons not totally unfounded. 

 

From what I wrote in the first paragraph you can tell this album makes me think of the weather: shifting atmospheric systems, banks of fog, shimmering sunlight, jagged squalls and occasional thunderous rhythms. It's is an all-purpose and overused metaphor but here I’d highlight that while weather is most often placid on the surface, you know it can fuck you up. Tranquility and turmoil. Tension and release. Etc. Florist’s opening track advocates self-control in its title but by the penultimate track ("Buttons") you’re being admonished that “I’m no florist / I’m no painter / nobody says what they think anymore” just before a fiercely jagged little guitar break--played by co-producer (on some tracks at least) Jeff Berner--that definitely doesn’t think before it speaks. The weather is a fickle mistress indeed. (Jason Lee)

Devil's Dildo unleash "Butcher Baker Nightmare Maker"

To be clear this writer doesn't know a lot about Devil's Dildo but that's ok, here's all you need to know: 1) They livecast a DJ set and new-song-unveiling two nights ago on Baby TV that felt like it was beamed from deep inside the duo's collective unconscious and it was a spooky, sexy, strange place to be. Leading up to the witching-hour the DJ stream cut out periodically--and just as mysteriously resumed--for violating something called "community standards" but I can tell you on my end the violation was quite consensual. I mean what's a little crotch thrusting and foot licking between friends? 2) The DJ set was a perfect teaser for this Devil's Night/All Hallows' Eve weekend. Hearing "There's A Moon In The Sky (Called The Moon)" and "Hell Ain't A Bad Place To Be" played back-to-back is a pretty magical thing. 3) Judging from their debut single below--named after an early '80s sleazoid shocker that fits the Devil's Dildo like a glove--the duo's aesthetic is in fact not unlike AC/DC-meets-the-B52's. Or maybe just maybe this leather-clad, freak-flag-flying pair is the second cumming of the Cramps but translated to drum machine, bass guitar and sculpted noise. I doubt Lux (R.I.P.) and Ivy would mind the comparison.

Most important of all: Devil's Dildo will appear tonight as part of what looks to be an epic all-covers variety show spectacular featuring the music of the Stooges, TSOL, The Damned, Cocteau Twins, Poison Idea, Void, Ramones, Misfits, Las Vulpes, and more if you ask nicely. The show will broadcast from Greenpoint's very own Saint Vitus in case you had any doubts of its heavitude. Proceeds of the show will benefit Black Trans Femmes In The Arts.

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