Recently, I came across a strange album on the amazing website known as Bandcamp that had me intrigued. The title was KCollab.06 and the artist was Ken Clinger & Friends. I was curious of the basic art and odd name that indicated a series, so I clicked on it. It seems that Ken Clinger is a legendary musician of cassette culture, and this is a collaboration he did with many other artists. The album met my expectations as a very cool, experimental (for real) album of strange sounds, reminding me of an album I put out called January. While KCollab.06 came out in 1991, and my album came out in 2015, this Winter of 2019, I want everyone to hear the odd instrumentations of Ken Clinger & Friends.

The cover art of KCollab.06 is not that great. It's a very basic, MS Paint style image with plain text, simple shapes, and bright colors. I like the composition, and the small images that resemble instruments or staircases give it an air of mystery. Still, the actual quality of the cover art holds it back.

The first track on KCollab.06 is "Sandra" by Don Campau & KC. I can only assume that the KC stands for Ken Clinger, but I will retain the way it is spelled on these tracks in the rest of the review. Anyway, this first track has a somewhat creepy tone, about how someone is "Sandra's tonight". Is Sandra a murderer? There's a synth buzzing around (maybe a stylophone), a droning back rhythm section, and some other kind of piano or something. The hypnotic musick drives the eeriness home.

Next Beeg Srahka & KC present "Fever Dream". This is a weird track of atonal tones and warped rhythms. It's exactly what it seems like it would be. The almost-vocal sound makes me feel particularly unnerved.

Then there's "John M Bennet" by DanKitti & KC. This track is all about a John M Bennet; it's sort of like a Mad-Libs thing, and the way the words are spoken remind me of the infamous Wesley Willis. There are some little chime-y things happening all around too.

“The Ant Party” is a great little percussive piece (I think it is a xylophone). It’s resonant, like tones through many chambers beneath the earth. Maybe there is some great machinery in there hidden somewhere. This could be a cool track in a video game and reminds me of one called MediEvil.

Belinda Subramen & Ken Clinger have the next track – “We Are All Part Of”. This is another spoken word piece with ambient backing. It really sounds like some kind of public access thing, an alien message, but really this is more of a cynical take on New Age magick.

Furgas-Clinger is the artist for “Anomaly”, a midi-sounding free jazz tra-la-la that goes back and forth into more melodic paths. I get the image of this song as being like a really bright, MS Paint image of a meadow, and I am not too fond of that. It’s also sort of like Warhol’s Flowers.

The seventh piece of song is Ray Carmen, Mike Crooker, Ken Clinger with “Anything, Anytime, Anywhere”, a really off-beat pop/new wave track like the 80s Jackson Browne. It’s a love song with a choral keyboard and a dance beat. I like the break with computer sounds and something that reminds me of a rocket jet. The muted production makes this track a little duller than it could be.

The John M Bennet seemingly makes an appearance on “Shoe Info Boiling”, a track like the earlier one about this guy. John M Bennet & Ken Clinger have created a sort of sea-shanty about a shoe, another Mad Lib, another mystery thought-provoker.

PurrPurr & KC do the next track – “Naughahide Slash Marks”. It’s very cinematic and reminds me of a track from the video game “Swagman”. It’s all big jumps of orchestra and twinkling nurseries. One could also make a comparison to Danny Elfman’s compositions for Tim Burton’s early films.

“This Is Not A Love Poem” is a grim song by Zidbovinesick where a rhythmic loop plays behind buried noise loops and a echo-y, monotone man. The man seems pretty hyperbolicly upset, depressed, and downtrodden. He keeps talking about getting pushed to the edge. The title gets cut out, as the speaker says it towards the end, before turning vicious.

DanKitti & KC return with the enchantingly dark, "Space Cow With A Difference". The song has an interesting rhythm to its freeform playing, and I enjoy the differences in texture, at least to a degree. The song shifts synth sounds way too much at first listen; it's basically a montage of little experiments, sort of like the album as a whole in one package, and I sort of like it. I was sort of irritated at first, but the song really grew on me with its, what I see as humor. It is a little long for what it is, though.

Next, Catfish & KC create "Elephant Sounds". This is another story about a girl who plays a tuba and gets bullied by her jerky relative until she gets back at him. The "Elephant Sounds" of the title are so deep and damaged; it's pretty wild. I really enjoyed the story, and it is an interesting take on abstract art and trends.

Bovine Milkman's "Vomitoxin" is a jolly stroll through buzzing showtunes. It makes me think of, like, walking down a staircase with purple and magenta walls while dizzy and sick in the middle of the night.

Dare to Fail & Ken Clinger have "April Afternoon", a more uplifting track with a chorus-laden synth in the background. The melody is pretty cheery with the beat supplied by bells. It sort of sounds like a track from an early Final Fantasy game, ambient and in the background.

Mike Tetrault & Ken Clinger are "Burning Now & Forever". Are they in Hell or in a volcano? I hope not. This is another spoken-word-over-ambient-sound. It's another grim, love-burned story to my ears. The title actually refers to someone's eyes. When the sudden end came, it made me frightened.

The last track is AMKC's "Rising Suns", another uplifting track full of echo, a harp-type sound, and a near-Motorik beat. It really reminds me of Kraftwerk's "Europe Endless", though totally different in significant ways. The vocals float over the landscape as we go out.

KCollab.06 is a spotty album composed of many parts. There is an ongoing darkness running throughout, an undercurrent to some of the porcelain musick found in other area. That thematic connection and weird tonality of the thing gives this collaborative release a lot of appeal, and it truly makes it experimental. I'm definitely going to check out some of Ken Clinger's other musick. There's quite a bit of it. This one, KCollab.06, receives a Good.

A man yells from a dungeon underneath our location. What does he say? Who knows? His face has been melted by science. I present to you, the Red Eyeballers who describe themselves as “Lo-fi, high energy merriment from the deep basement. Obscure 50s rock, pre-1970s Halloween music, and pre-rock country mixed together to make, well, to make something”. Once you listen to these songs, I’m sure that you will agree with them. I do.

The cover is a very tall order. It's a clipping from, what looks like, a newspaper proclaiming performances in Village Park by Pioneer Records, Point-Park's record label. It's a very tall image with some messy edits. I don't like it very much, though I think it's cool to use found objects in a creative way for art. This one is just sort of there in an odd size and with uninteresting, MS Paint style editing.

The first track on Blood From A Stone is a version of the folk song, “Big Rock Candy Mountain”. The song was first recorded by Henry McClintock in 1928 and supposedly written by him in 1895, but there is speculation that elements of the song existed before that. Unlock the quiet, acoustic recording from over 90 years ago, The Red Eyeballers have gone full speed into ramshackle, greasy punk glory. It’s so rickety, and the vocals are almost inaudible after the first few seconds. This is a hobo song about finding a surreal paradise, so it fits together pretty well. Next, there’s a cover of Bobby Pickett’s “Monster Mash”, the classic Halloween novelty song from 1962. The Redeyeballers is a live and lo-fi, with vocals buried with the undead. It’s endearing to hear the cheery song done so honestly, retaining its doo-wop and rock ‘n’ roll spirit in a scratchy, amateur way. The final track on what would be the first side is the Eyeballers version of The Misfits’ “I Turned Into a Martian” from the classic Walk Among Us. I don’t love the Misfits, and this cover sounds really silly too with a really goofy organ.

The second side of Blood From A Stone begins with something nearly unidentifiable that becomes shaped almost like the Scooby-Doo, Where Are You! theme song. It’s pretty wild and awesome. I really like the sound once it gets in the groove. It’s another that goes into unhinged garage punk lands beyond Thunderdome. “Riboflavin-Flavored, Non-Carbonated, Polyunsaturated Blood“ is a song that I am not particularly familiar with, only having heard it a few times. It was famously covered by 45 Grave but originally recorded by the humorously named Don Hinson And The Rigormorticians in the 1960s. This version is more nasty with the blood getting everywhere, sonically. The singing is still buried but does peak its head out of the grave in a campy costume. Finally, we have “A-Bomb Boogie”, a psychobilly song by Batmobile, followed by Stephen Foster’s “Oh! Susanna” and “Camptown Races”. I didn’t know the first one at all, and the Stephen Foster stuff was a little too silly and messy. I didn’t really like this track that much. Part of the appeal of these tracks was hearing songs I know, especially novelty songs, in a messed up no-budget, garage whirlwind. The earlier songs fit a special way that this track lacks.
The Red Eyeballers are surely an interesting band of misfits and have produced a very fun and weird EP with Blood From A Stone. As much as I enjoy the recklessness of the recording, I do wish the production was a bit clearer. The tracks are way trebly with loud drums and nearly inaudible vocals. Still, I like the sheer boldness of the EP, and I did enjoy listening to it. Sorry to audiofiles everywhere, but Blood From A Stone receives a Good.

A few weeks ago, I got a message from another British band, The Lapels, about their new single and upcoming events. The band has been going all out for the last year with a recent appearance on the BBC Introducing - East Midlands 'Hot for 2019' show, and they have a new single, "Come And Have A Go", hitting digital platforms and record players (via 45) in under a week on the 19th. I had never heard of these power poppers before, so don't be afraid if this is also you're first time tuning in to them.

The cover art for the single is neat and clean with a throwback mod aesthetic of striped shirts. The 60s-styled logo is above as the band looks on while at a record shop. I really like the colors and the contrast. It works well with the retro throwback that The Lapels are going for.

The A-side, "Come And Have A Go", is a fast tune with ringing guitars with a heart of machismo, bravado, and camaraderie. I like the song sonically, tension rising and the lyrics being well sung too, but the song has more of that party rock theme, previously discussed in my review of Jack Swing's "Monkey Around", that I'm not that in to. The organ in the background provides an eerie counterpoint to the other instruments and rises, along with the staccato guitar, into a bottle breaking, bringing me to the question, "what is all of this for?". It reminds me of "Private Hell" or the political, "Down in the Tube Station at Midnight", both by The Jam, but this song lacks the ominous dread of the former or the anti-fascist fervor of the latter. Perhaps if the end of the chorus, with what comes off as a provocative threat, was more persuasive, more convincing to the call of battle, I would be more thrilled by this song.

The B-side is "This Wretched Town". I like the guitar tone, which again really sounds like The Jam. I wish it was a little more unique, but that's not the end of the world. My biggest issue with this track is that the lyrics are not that strong. The song is about feeling out of place in your small corner of the world and wanting more, a common theme in musick and one that I have related to, as I think most people do. That's all fine, but the actual lyrics are just so-so. There isn't a very interesting meter or rhyme scheme, words often just not rhyming at all, and the end of the chorus is just the phrase, "we're meant for more". Though nothing needs to be incredibly flowery, I wish it had been more poetic. This is a common feeling and theme, something that has been done many times. To state this theme so plainly reduces the impact this song could have.

After listening to the tracks thoroughly, I don't love them as much as I thought I would when I heard the first chords of either. The songs have elements of greatness, but, disappointingly, I don't think either track really meets where it needs to. I don't mind the garage/Mod callback, but that, combined with the standardness of the songs, means that none of this really lights my fire as of yet. I think that The Lapels have a lot of potential, and I see them as a band that could move forward into great things. I believe them when they say that they were "meant for more". At the moment though, I can only give their debut, "Come And Have A Go", a Neutral.

If you are more inclined to drunken ribaldry than I am, be sure to check out The Lapels on Facebook or their personal site and watch for their upcoming shows across Britain this February and beyond. While I was not the keenest on these tracks, I think this band would be really fun to see live and would love for them to come to the United States, Pittsburgh in particular of course. Maybe we'll see that in the future.

Myles Morgan is a member of London's indie/psychedelic/somewhat-shoegaze-ish rockers Young Native. He contacted me about reviewing his debut solo single, "Fool" out of the blue aether last week. I honestly didn't know what to make of it at first glance, but I was pleasantly surprised with the track after giving it a listen.

First off, the cover art looks very much like something from around 2001; I'm thinking Radiohead's OK Computer or William Gibson's novel from 2003, Pattern Recognition. There's that early 2000s blue, the fade of the city, shadowed, and the text small in the corner scrawled out and choppy. This, and the mention of it being a solo album, had me thinking that this must be something acoustic. It's not.

Starting with a whisper of guitar creeping in thru small quarters, "Fool" soon comes into a dub/jazz/rock heart-to-heart. It's over it seems; he won't be seeing that person anymore. The guitar slithers with indigo scales. The chorus comes in strong, perhaps betraying the rest of the structure going hard into pop. We go into a spooky ambiance dub that fades off before the musick comes in like ten tons of earth. The fuzzy bass is the best thing, and those haunting horns calling out from a marshland portray the singer's failure. The chorus makes sense within the structure of the whole thing. And, at the end, the musick disappears back into the haunted marshland.

"Fool" is a great track! I was very, very surprised since I was going in totally blind, but I really like it. It's like, very, very produced, and the layers are impressive. It's not badly overproduced like Never Mind the Bollocks, Here's the Sex Pistols. The single comes off a similar sound to something made by The Good, the Bad, & the Queen, a band that does the dreary rock thing with a little too much polish that still works. This might beat that though. "Fool" receives a Good, and I am very excited to hear more of Myles' solo tracks when they fall from the blue aether.

You can find a link to purchase or stream the track here, and Myles Morgan is on Facebook here. Those in the UK can catch him on January 25th and February 15th in London. I'll still be here in Pittsburgh, for better or worse. In regards to all of these things, I make no money on any of it, so have at it what you will.

We last saw Suavity's Mouthpiece, the crooning nerdy punk band from the world of Pittsburgh, where I am also located. That's pretty convenient, though I've only seen this band that one time when we played with them. When I saw they had a new single, I was excited to hear it. Oh, and it is a Buzzcocks cover! And it is live.

The cover art is a live photo. It looks nice. I love the blue and gold colors like a New Years party, and the composition excels with its classic, reverent style. I really like the placement of the text on the image. Well done!

"Breakdown", originally by the legendary UK punkers Buzzcocks on their debut EP, Spiral Scratch, is presented here live by the Suavities from a show they played on August 11th, 2018 at Hambone's here in the Steel City. This was apparently their 10th-anniversary gig, and, though I did not see it, we have this artifact of recorded media from that time.

The sound is much less ramshackle compared with the British original with Howard Devoto on vocals. This one is slower and less scratchy, less furious. It's got a sinister urge behind it, a Devolution based edge of damaged Danzig. It's far different from what you might expect, though it's not like a lounge or death metal version or something. The songwriting of the late Pete Shelley and Devoto remains. My only real gripe is the odd boost in volume towards the end that comes in awkwardly. That's how it goes sometimes live though.

The B-side is "I Am A Goddamned Bird", a beautiful sounding reverb of nightshade, the sound of 80s Pittsburgh come thru the night's window, creeping under curtain to be heard, possibly, on the wooden floor unassumingly. "Was that something that shouldn't be?" calls out the boy to come to the conclusion that it must have been the house settling or some such. I love the guitar tone in this song so much, vibrato morphing and all. The lyrics come thru with Nirvana references in an even more cynical shade than Cobain. It ends, and I want more.

I'm sure I will get more in the future. It is the nature of the future to give us more and more. This is the capitalist, consumerist state. Sometimes it works; sometimes it doesn't. Suavity's Mouthpiece are a post-punk band from Pittsburgh, and their new single is Good.

Jack Swing is a Pittsburgh-based hard rock band with a sound that's like Hendrix via 70's punk-tinged heavier rock. Think Black Sabbath at their more punk or fellow Pittsburghers, the now defunct Carousel. The band is led by musical ace Isaiah Ross of Driver and The Pheromones. Jack Swing's first EP, Cloud Cover, hit in December 2016; I always intended to review it but never got around to it. Next, the single, "Take the Night", came out in March of last year. Their most recent release is "Monkey Around" another single that just rocked and rolled to the world at the start of the year.

While Cloud Cover went to high-action solos and high dynamics between loud and soft, "Monkey Around" has a compressed, punchy rush more like Joan Jett or the Black Keys. The vocals go hard in the speed lanes and soulful when it gets slow. The lyrics resemble a tamer Motorhead. I'm not found of these kinds of songs about being a wild guy and whatever. This one is very catchy though, just like "Ace of Spaces", and there may be more there than I can see. It sounds like there is something about revenge here too. I think the song is too compressed compared with the older material and loses some fidelity.

"Monkey Around" also got a musick video. That's pretty cool, and Isaiah and his bandmates have some cool scenes in it. Going along with the bad boy theme of this track, there are a bunch of scenes of like sleazing at a bar (it's weird to see a bar that's near my house in the video). Again, I feel like that's kind of overdone, played out, a rock standard from the AC/DC and Guns 'n' Roses playbook. There's something else here too, sort of a BDSM thing maybe? A hostage situation? It seems that the pair left together at the end, though I can't be sure. That mystery is kind of cool, though the hot girl thing is another dirty deed done dirt cheap.

I'm sorry to say that I am a little disappointed with this track. As I listened to the track more, the more I continued to dislike the production. The players all sound excellent, but the compression has killed the drums and left the rest flattened by a heavy metal iron. I want to hear the guitar cut through like so many falcons through the still air. The song is a little more straightforward and conventional than I would like too. It's a surefire pop challenge, but it's not for me. I do hope it gets some radio or Spotify play. "Monkey Around" receives a Neutral.

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