On March 20th, I saw some noisy things at Spirit. It was cold, so I didn't really want to leave my house. I did want to see Skeletonized and Aloe and Tanning Machine and Echo Lightwave Unspeakable, though. It isn't far to get there from my house anyway.

When I got to Spirit, Echo Lightwave Unspeakable was already packing up. I actually thought everybody was doing a soundcheck, but that was just wishful thinking. Anyway, I did get to see Skeletonized, who are always doing something different than when I last saw them. This time, it was awesome free jazz. The pulsing bass combined with the pounding drums to boost the wild saxophonings to some far away place/plane. At times it bordered on a vague metal sound. Amidst the chaos, the drums were so controlled and held everything together in that cosmic near-void. The set was jammy but with a structure that held those bones together; it was not skeletal at all really with a very full sound. This was my favorite version of Skeletonized so far. I got a new CD from them that I will also be reviewing in the near future.

The next band was Tanning Machine, who had also gone through a small metamorphosis since I last saw them. The now have a dedicated vocalist in addition to guitar/synth and drums. This set was way more grindcore or some other similar genre (insert yr genre here) with very powerful and exciting vocals, speedy drumming, and furious guitar instead of the no wave of the past. There was almost a jazz element to Tanning Machine as well; I swear there was some kind of horn sounds from somewhere. I enjoyed it, but it was way more structured than the older Tanning Machine sets always seemed to be, almost falling apart but making it through somehow. I really enjoy sets where the musicians struggle but pull through, so the more metal and structure put me off a tad. Tanning Machine was still really cool, and it is always interesting to see how bands evolve.

Aloe was the last band to play. This set was awesome! Compared with the set at Howlers a few days before, which was just okay, I'd say that this was their best set that I have seen. Everything sounded so clear through Spirit's sound system, dark sounds of dread guitar riffs. The drums sounded perfect, the vocals were audible, and the whole band seemed energized and on point. The guitars were powerful and ricocheting like they do, noise rock or post-punk in the Sonic Youth vein as always. And I really have to say again that the drums were just perfect. I loved it.

I only realized at the end that I had missed Echo Lightwave Unspeakable. That was a bummer, but I got to the show an hour after it had started thinking that it would start really at that time. That's my mistake. I was also pretty anxious and putting it off and all that business, so, again, that's on me. The bands that I did see were awesome. These all locals shows always seem to go so well, the artists giving their all and really doing their best. While this wasn't the legendary show at Kopec's with Skinless Boneless, it was still a great showing from all who played. I really have to remember to see Skeletonized more, as I was so impressed with that set.

On March 16th, I went to Howlers to see a benefit show for Girls Rock! Pittsburgh, an awesome summer camp that helps teach teenagers how to play musick. Ir's a really good organization, and this looked like a really cool show with a lot of my favorite Pittsburgh bands.

The first band up was Bitter Whiskers. I don't think that I had seen them before, except at a They Might Be Giants tribute show a few weeks earlier. The musick was very quiet and acoustic, sort of like The Cranberries but with an accordion. I liked it, though I wish they had played a few that were maybe a bit more energetic. The sad slowness only goes so far, but it was nice.

Second, was one of my favorite Pittsburgh bands, Aloe. Aloe has been doing some really cool noise rock/post-punk stuff for a little bit now, and they recently got a new drummer. This was my first time seeing this lineup. It was a little messy. Earlier there was a bit of a sound issue, and later there were a few moments where the drums were out of time a bit. That's rock 'n' roll though. I've certainly been there, and it's kind of fun. Anyway, it was a pretty cool set in that messy rock 'n' roll way - Precise Modern Lovers Order.

The third band was the always energetic and rockin' Murder For Girls. When I have seen them previously, I always thought they sounded very compressed or something. That sounds super weird to say about a live band. Anyway, it didn't sound like that this time. This was very 90s-ish rock 'n' roll, The Julianna Hatfield Three or some band called Nirvana. The guitars are very crunchy and the drums very crashy. It does feel kind of samey after a while, but they ended just when it was getting to that point.

The last band to play was Garter Shake, who I like a lot. They always remind me of a lot of those poppy garage bands like Tacocat that were popping up for a while. This set seemed heaviness than others. I really, really liked their cover of The Stooges' "I Wanna Be Your Dog", one of my favorite songs. I hope they keep doing that. It was so cool.

After all the bands had played, I hung out for a bit and left soon after. I had fun. The show also had me excited for the next Aloe show, which was coming up a few days later. I hope to see more Stooges covers in the future from Pittsburgh bands. If you have some money or instruments lying around, I also will mention that donating to Girls Rock! Pittsburgh would be a pretty cool idea. And if you have some children, or you yrself are an 8-18-year-old girl, you might want to check out the summer camp they offer. They have lessons in playing an instrument, zine making, screen printing, songwriting, and more. The showcase at the end is always fun to see too; I like hearing what the attendees came up with. I hope I will see you there, in some manner, this August.

Inexitencia Absoluta y Cuatro Dimensiones is an album that came out in the last two weeks from Ecuadoran band, Cactus Gamarra. They are a four-piece rock/post-punk band from Guayaquil, the largest city in Ecuador. I'm not sure what the name of the band means, but it made me think of the monster Gamera. I don't think it's related at all. Even if I can't understand Spanish, Cactus Gamarra is a good choice for this series, since they have a lot of instrumental tracks

The cover art to Inexitencia Absoluta y Cuatro Dimensiones is a green cube that almost pops out of the screen. I do wish there was some text or something beyond that cube. Anyway, I love the design, and that sharp green is perfect. I can hear it in all the songs on this album.

"Apertura" is the first track, a spooky ambient time. It sets the tone for the rest. The next track, "Pérdima", sounds like the pillows, famous for the anime FLCL. It's also comparable to a 21st-century Beatles. It's the soundtrack to watching stars at night. "Elevador" sounds like something coming thru a radio. The somber bass reminds me of The Good, the Bad, the Queen, but the song gets into some more energy action later with a flaring solo, space sounds, and flangering. "Figura Imposible" is more garage-y and surfy than the previous tracks, and it comes in with a sort of de-tuning synth. It reminds me heavily of The Ventures, who I love, but that keyboard provides a strong counter to the guitar. "Eterno (Igual que tú)" seems like a love song. Google tells me it translates to "Eternal (Like You)". I can hear it. It's a very cinematic piece. "Silencio 1" is nothing followed by white noise and some thumping somewhere in the hills into a feedback loop. I love when artists throw the audience for a loop every now and then. I also love hearing the spaces between the musick, so this was divine. The album ends with "Matador", much more a dance track than others. Unlike a lot of dance stuff, I really like this track. There are some really cool textures, Pac-Man-esque sounds, and clacking drums.

Inexitencia Absoluta y Cuatro Dimensiones is awesome. It's one of my favorite albums I have heard this year. It's not a long album; it's the perfect length. The production is clean and not-overblown. There is a clear, crispness to the tones of these songs, a beauty you might find at night somewhere gazing up at the sky. The stars fall, and Inexitencia Absoluta y Cuatro Dimensiones receives a Good. Thank you, Cactus Gamarra. It's a very beautiful album.

Broken Whispers of the Devil: The lo - fi blues connection of Bone Daddy and Dirty Pat Walsh is a new release on Mirkwood Recordings, and it must be one of the longest titles for any musick release I have ever seen. It's just an EP though, clocking in at around 20 minutes from six tracks split between the two artists named. I previously talked about Dirty Pat Walsh when I reviewed Maelstrom Boogie by his band Hurricane Charlie. I'm interested in seeing this other version of him, acoustic, instead of the furious garage rocker on that other release.

I don't like the cover art of Broken Whispers of the Devil. It doesn't even fit with the musick from how I see it. It's certainly very lo-fi and rough, a dream-like mistiness to it, however, it's so digital looking. From the script font with its pseudo-handwritten look to the sketchy-but-too-clean drawing, in white, of an old shack, it really doesn't fit the old-timey tone of the musick itself.

The first track, "Still Rainin'" by Bone Daddy, is really lo-fi. It's kind of painful to listen to, all sharp treble with the guitar pretty loud. The song is okay, typical blues in the way most people think of blues musick. Dirty Pat Walsh's "In the Broken Alley" is a little better. It has a much fuller and more resonant sound; it doesn't hurt my head. I like the loose, Robert Johnson playing style. The song is a little more unusual too, using a lot of imagery of lights.

"Ain't Confessin'" is another noisy Bone Daddy track with an intro that sounds like it might be from a news program on TV. This one isn't as piercing, but it's still very trebly. I don't enjoy listening to it, due to the extreme lo-fidelity. It's a very repetitive song, instrumentally, too. "Of This Evening" is an alright track by Dirty Pat Walsh. It has a cool overall tone, a sort of walnut sound, and a cool intersection of notes are played. It's just the right length at a little over 2 minutes too.

"I Just Wanna Make Love to You" is a song by the blues master, Willie Dixon, originally recorded by Muddy Waters. This version, by Bone Daddy, is pretty good. It's raw with that classic Willie Dixon magick that I can't really describe. I love the break in the middle; it provides the perfect amount of tension. "Tomorrow May Not Be Worth Dreaming Of" is the final track, another by Dirty Pat Walsh. It's a more subdued piece compared with the rest of the album. The musick is extremely minimal and quiet with loud vocals. The singing is pretty rough. "As the standard slaughters the sublime" is an great and interesting chorus though.

Broken Whispers of the Devil is certainly a work of art, a product with a specific focus that doesn't seem to care if it is molded in its own best interest. That's reality; that's the blues. I respect this, but I don't necessarily like it. There are certainly some good tracks, about half of them, but the production really makes this a pain to listen to. I really dislike the cover art as well - it almost looks unfinished, and it doesn't fit the musick. I have to give Broken Whispers of the Devil a Neutral.

A little over a week ago, someone reached out to me to review their new single. This person was a Pittsburgh rapper named I, The Conflict. I have to say I am not too fond of this name, and due to some stuff I had seen on Facebook a while ago, I thought that this must be some kind of metalcore band. I have to say, I was relieved when it wasn't.

The cover art is a stark black and white, just the title, small and white, against the enclosing darkness. It's sad and desolate. The font is pretty cool with numerous lines, a labyrinth, like of those Greek stories described in the actual song.

The new track, "Portugal", clocks in at about three and a half minutes. It felt like less, which I guess is sort of a compliment. I really liked the crystal, chorus intro. When the rest of the musick comes in, it doesn't become that much more complicated musically. The beat is simple, a thin drum covered in echo. That doesn't mean there isn't a lot going on here; the lyrics hit fast with good wordplay and continued metaphors relating to Greek myths. I thought the pause after "killing your" to "God... dammit" was interesting. The lyrics are pretty angsty and emo, but the imagery of oases, Icarus, and the Odyssey, the latter two being classics that are pretty emo and angsty themselves, gave the track a bit more to it.

I have to hand it to I, The Conflict. I'm really not a fan of this kind of angsty stuff, but there is something almost magickal about this track. I listened to "Portugal" over and over to hear the vocals more completely, trying to decipher who or what the track was exactly about. I liked it more each time, the beat and the rhythm of the words engraving themselves into me. I'm interested in checking out more stuff by I, The Conflict in the future, because there is definitely something here, even if it isn't exactly for me. Or, maybe it is. I don't know, but "Portugal" gets a Good.

Here we are in March, and this is the third Artist Special. I hope you know by now, but maybe you don't. Artist Special is a monthly series focusing on a specific multimedia artist who works with musick and something else. This month I talked to Anna Azizzy, a noise musician, videographer, and performance artist.
pfoto by Micheal Johnson
I don't remember when I first met Anna Azizzy. I know that they were still in college when I did. I thought they were so cool! We have been on some of the same bills for shows, and I played at their house before. I have always thought Anna has made really intersting art and would have a lot of interesting things to say about that art. Here we go.

When did you first start making musick or performance art or videos?
All through grade school I did this amazing competition called Odyssey of the Mind where your group of 7 teammates had to work within parameters to create the most outlandishly creative and resourceful 8-minute skit possible. We worked for months building transforming set-pieces, quick change costumes, puppets, puns, instruments and more, all on a ~$100 budget! It’s a huge competition and my team competed on a world scale, and even got first at World Finals in high school! Although I didn’t know it at the time, I think I was gaining THE best foundation that I could’ve for becoming a performance artist. Learning resourcefulness, timing, humor, problem solving, collaboration- literally everything.
I went to college with the hope of designing apparatuses for Cirque du Soleil (I was a competitive gymnast and a carnie), but soon discover Pittsburgh’s experimental scene and simultaneously realized I didn’t want to work for a giant corporation. I started performing experimental music in 2013. I often used contact mics to construct then destroy instruments on stage (v deep). I think it was 2014 when I played Crucible Sound for the first time, and for the next few years I was doing a lot of group improv shows! Oh BOY it was very intimidating at first. I was often the only non-man at shows and ALWAYS by far the youngest, and although my sets were performative, I felt pressure to fit into the serious, bro-y scene. Definitely doesn’t help that this was my first real exposure to predatory/ harassing behavior from a select few men in the scene (nothin' but love for my dudes making it right tho <33). My noise sets have come a long way! I feel so much more confident, and have broken away from the minimalist aesthetics I had been using to blend in. Now all my instruments are like painted and feathered and there’s all sorts of unnecessary fun junk on stage with me. I’ve also met SO many more women and queer people in the scene since 2014, and they are all so talented and inspiring!
I only learned how to edit video in 2016. My professor Angela Washko kindly let me be in a course I wasn’t qualified for, and from there introduced me to green screen, Premiere, After Effects, and a plethora of incredible performance artists like Dynasty Handbag, Ann Hirsch, and Mike Smith. My senior thesis ended up being an 18 minute performance for video titled For Retired Gymnast, which talked about my experience as a gymnast (more description in last question) in a more dynamic and hilarious way than I’d ever imagined I could do before using video!
My sweet ma is always reminding me how the seemingly random skills you acquire (gymnastics, carpentry, instrument building, etc) always find a way of coming back into your life (or art practice) to create new possibilities. I try my best to value all iterations of my artist-self!

What inspired you? How do you come up with yr ideas?
A lot feels intuitive! I’ve always been a total goofball, and most of my inspiration probably comes from growing up with 3 amazing brothers who are all super artistic and expressive and hilarious! Introspection has always been a difficult and sometimes painful area for me, but for some reason in the past few years I’ve begun to learn how to use art for personal growth and healing. It started really abstract, like the feeling of not knowing yourself being translated into the cause and effect motion of a kinetic sculpture. But as friends, like my bff Summer Leavitt, have helped me grow as a person, and as mentors, like Angela Washko and Suzie Silver, have introduced me to new artists and forms of expression, I’ve found myself more and more able to directly talk about who I am and what I am feeling in a bold, un-abstracted way! For me, I think abstraction was a way for me to beat around the bush and never really face whatever was bubbling inside me. Of course, I face the same hearty dose of imposter syndrome that most women/ queer people always seem to be passing through, but even just swapping stories of self-doubt with peers and people you admire helps your self confidence become an essential act of anti-capitalist resistance!!

Do you ever see yrself being in a permanent position in a band?
Aw man, that’s dreamy. I was in a band once called Amateur Tennis with all my best friends and it was the most fun ever. I tend to change up what I’m focused on pretty often, which doesn’t lend itself too well to being in a band, but WOW if I can find the right combo of people I’d love to be in some sort of Palberta-inspired experimental-pop performance art band WOW. hmu

Do you plan on doing any physical releases for yr two albums or for yr videos?
So I’ve tried burning CDs, but for some reason I always fuck it up and just give away a bunch of half-working disks with a random mix of poppy/noisy tracks on them. It would be really cool to get some more solid recordings, especially of noise sets, and release through a label! I was talking to PGH fav White Reeves a bit ago about doing that. I have an album titled Lullabies for Retired Gymnasts that is really dear to me that I’d love to have a physical release of, but I think I want to do some re-recording/write a few more songs before doing so. As for video releases, I’ll probably try to get a DVD together by the summer. I never have merch to sell and wanna hop on that opp!

What do you want people to get from yr work? Is there a theme that follows through most of it?
Laughter! My messages are best received on the back of a big laughing thing. Or a big odd thing that is just so odd you don’t want to stop looking. I’ve been pushing myself to make sure the humor and oddness in my work really are vehicles for my message rather than distractions from it. My work is about my identity: as a gymnast, as a queer person, as a person sometimes bursting with joy and sometimes buckled over with fear. These themes have most recently been acted out by either The Gymnastics Team and everyone in their world, or by this one ever-evolving paranoid cowboy character that I can’t quite figure out why I’m attached to. My dad always wanted to be a cowboy and I have great memories of my mom blasting She-Daisy when I was a kid. Maybe that’s why?

You are about to leave for a show in Baltimore. Tell me about what that performance will entail.
I’ll be touring with a foley performance! (Uses the ever-evolving paranoid cowboy character) It doesn’t have a title yet but in my computer it’s just labeled “Gay Foley” so let’s call it that. It’s a piece about queerness and shame and finding self-love! But it’s pretty bizarre and a lot of the message gets obscured (my constant struggle) by the general oddness of what’s happening on screen and at my foley table. The video was made using green screen so I can play all the characters. I’m off to the side on stage providing sounds effects with instruments that I’ve built! It’s a work in progress, but I’m super proud of this piece because I’ve continued to improve and build upon it over the course of at least 5 months, performing different iteration. I too often have the habit of leaving a piece in the dust after one go at it rather then allowing it to grow, develop, and become truer with each iteration.

What other things should we expect from you in the future?
I want to go on tour this summer and continue getting commissions to make music videos, build sets, perform, etc. I’m the set designer for the Princess Jafar Show, which just got an amazing grant to produce 3 more episodes! BUT my main BIG goal is to create a live performance based off my current body of work, For Retired Gymnast and find some sick theaters to bring it to on a national tour. Here’s a lil blip from a (draft) grant proposal to give you an idea;-) 
“I hope to combine wonky green screen animation, a cast of projected characters, original music, physical sets, acrobatics, and my real human self to create a live performance where I embody exaggerations of people from my life: my former gymnastics team, our coach, and our moms. I reimagine our stories, giving us secrets and exposing our most shameful (queer and unusual) desires, allowing me to process those of my own. Looming over every relationship are the sport of gymnastics’s idealization of the prepubescent body and mind and the inescapable fear of a 13-year-old’s retirement.” 
I want the show to be lively and funny, but to also effectively and warmly address issues of homogenization and the premature “expiration” women and queer people experience in so many industries. For some context, here’s my senior thesis performance for video, which I’m thinking the live performance may be heavily based off of. Other than that, see me 'round town booking and playing shows, coaching gymnastics at Gymkhana & aerial silks at Irma Freeman, teaching art at Assemble, babysitting the sweetest lil kids on earth, and watching every single DVD Box set of That 70s Show with my partner Aeron. My final secret is that one day I will create an exact replica of Jesus Christ Superstar (1973) where I lip synch and play all the characters.

from Retired Gymnast
 Anna's show in Baltimore was yesterday, and I hope it went well. I hope we do end up seeing that live version of For Retired Gymnast, because it really is a great piece. You can find more of their work at their website. And, I hope to see you, dear readers, next month, and send me an email or Facebook message if you are interested in participating in an upcoming Artist Special.

As I was researching for my Artist Special article on Anna Azizzy that goes up this weekend, I discovered (rediscovered?) an album that they did last year. This album is mismatched collection, a set of songs from 2014, 2015, and 2016. I've definitely heard some of these live, but I don't think I have ever listened to this album.

The album cover of mismatched collection is a particularly strange image of perhaps someone dancing alone under a mirror ball. Perhaps they are dreaming, hence the bed? The ball and reflections remind me of pepperoni or some kind of sausage, which is pretty unpleasant to me. It does shimmer if looked at closer, which gives me a bit of hope that it isn't a meat product. The little person is cool but weird - a weird little fish kid.

"spackle your backhand" is the first track on mismatched collection. It's a solo vocal and bass(?) song, with delay on the vocals or doubletracking. The bass is really downtuned and might not be a bass at all. It's like a little corporate jingle of mental catechisms, minimalist and somewhat frightening. The second track is "brainbrainbrainbrain" about taking yr brain for a walk. This song is mostly percussion, cymbals or bells or cans, with accompaniment of balloons or whistles and some singing. It's really cute and weird, and it reminds me of the Pink Floyd song "Corporal Clegg" from A Saucerful of Secrets with its kazoo solo. The third track is "my songie (a song by my little brother)". This song is like a march that goes into an a capella sequence before ending. It's really fun and makes me want to listen to it again to catch all of the little things going on. "what's dog" sounds like a They Might Be Giants song and recalls Plato's Allegory of the Cave asking, essentially, "what really makes a dog?". There is a secondary vocal, quieter in the back, that gives the song a sense of doubt, which heightens the theme. "hum far" is the penultimate track, all rubbery in instrumentation and all ghosty echoes in vocals. It's kind of creepy. I really like the weird rubber sounds in the beginning. The last track is "cuke love", a beautiful track about love or a lack of it. "And I'm too hip to let you fall in love with me." That sounds like some 2009 indie nonsense, but it plays out in a sad way, a failure perhaps? A presentation that hides something else maybe? It's good.

I really enjoyed listening to mismatched collection. The album presents all manner of strangeness, but it never gets loud or harsh. It's more Young Marble Giants than Merzbow, but all the instruments sound extremely strange and unprofressional. It works with the lo-fi production and childlike song structures, though the themes of the songs extend beyond somewhere. mismatched collection receives a Good.

Remember to come back on Sunday for this month's Artist Special with Anna Azizzy. You can read the previous articles with Mick Malone and Brian DiSanto too.

This week on Outside In(fluence), I present to you Nighty Tape by Night Tempo out of Seoul, South Korea. As I have been doing recently, I discovered this tape by browsing thru Bandcamp; it was one of the most listened to albums. Night Temp is just one dude with nearly 9,000 likes on Facebook. I wish I could get that many for Skull Valley! Maybe I need to ditch my aesthetic for #aesthetic, and use some old-school anime imagery.

Nighty Tape's cover art is exactly that - an image of a green-haired Japanese schoolgirl in an old-school anime style. It has a nice palette of pale colors, predominantly blue. There's some other stuff you might expect from this kind of vaporwave design - a colorful drink, starfish, a disco ball, and images of a city. I feel so nostalgic for this stuff, and I always like seeing it. It's perfect for the sounds of the album.

Nighty Tape is a long album. Now, it's only two tracks, one per side, but these tracks are both over 40 minutes. Side one is labeled "Night Side". It starts with a funky R&B bass and cool guitar soloing all encompassed by a harsh tremolo effect (really I think it's just the way the bass drum is mixed). Later the track moves into a crystal sound with chorus backing vocals while retaining that dance sound before returning to R&B bass drum/tremolo land. The track continues to change as it goes, retaining overall the same feel of vaporwave Sega Saturn anime OVA sounds utilizing saxophones, guitars, keyboards, chimes, the odd vocal, and copious amounts of reverb and chorus.

The second side is entitled, "Tempo Side". "Tempo Side" starts with jazz/swing Sinatra sound, still utilizing the same production techniques heard in "Night Side". This side seems a bit more complex, with pulsating bass and ricocheting guitars. Everything still follows in the future funk/vaporwave/jazz fusion feel though. Some more interesting parts on this side are some weird reverse vocals, strings, and more prominent vocals. I also really enjoyed the fading effect at the end. Otherwise, it's not much different than the first side.

Nighty Tape is a pretty cool vaporwave album. I really enjoyed listening to it, but, as with much of this genre, it plays better in the background. The production if kind of harsh, though it replicates the kind of sounds you might hear on an old cassette tape. The beats hit fairly hard, while everything, including those harsh beats, is very floaty on air. I liked the various instruments used, from keyboards to saxophones to guitar. I am excited to get some of the new merch being released by Night Tempo, but it isn't out yet. Everything is all very fashionable. Nighty Tape gets a Good.

I have seen the name Plastic Idea on flyers recently. I found out they were a local band, but I wasn't sure if they had existed for some time or not. It's a pretty classic post-punk kind of name. I almost went to a show that they played, but I had to deal with some funeral stuff and other negative things. Anyway, Plastic Idea released demo.n.stration on March 1st, just eight days ago. Let's check it out!

I'm not sure what to make of the cover image. I like the colors and ink, but it seems sort of placeholder-y. I wish there was some text or something. The image is also cut off on the bottom. The color does seem to fit the general aesthetic of the musick though.

"peeping tom" is the first track on demo.n.stration. The vocals are beautiful, and they sound so natural, neither muffled into fake lo-fi or soaring high above the instruments. The musick rises and falls in clouds of steam and mist, grit and sunken earth. "missing chapter" has an epic start, continuing into dramatic rock. It's much more of a rocker than the first song with chugging chords and driving drums. It sounds a bit like Sonic Youth on Sister or Daydream Nation with a Siouxsie Sioux-sounding vocalist. I don't like the name "meta...af", but the song is pretty good. The vocals are more direct and angry. It has a glassy guitar sound, sharp edges and reflections. There are things that could be called solos even.

I guess "one false start" could be called the start of the second side. I don't there is a physical release to this or anything. This reminds me of band called Hausu that I heard some time ago. "one false start" is much calmer, sadder, slower, than the previous tracks, a deep something into somewhere. It's like looking into a pool of water in a dark dimension. It does go on a bit long, falling in that hole. "held" is sort of like Hole at times. The drums are way more prominent here. The guitar has a really cool sound.

After listening to demo.n.stration, Plastic Idea seems like a really cool band. I enjoyed the powerful guitars and vocals. The drums and bass are not bad either. The production is maybe a little murky at times, but, as mentioned, it's pretty good overall. The songs have a lot of twists and turns, though they are not overflowing into incredible length; they all stop short of four minutes. I'll definitely have to check out Plastic Idea live. demo.n.stration gets a Good.

I don't know anything about this band, Kowloon. I see some familiar faces within the credits to this Public Image-esque musical company though. I certainly like the name, the same as that of a huge city once located in Hong Kong like a place from a cyberpunk story. I have a track with the name of the same place coming out on some zine sometime in the near future. For now, there is this.

I don't like the cover to Big Trouble! that much. I like the base image of a blue flower. However, the way that the image is copied to the left is not that interesting, and the text looks sloppy. The text is my biggest issue, no border or interesting font. Perhaps most strangely, the image as a whole does not seem to be the correct proportions for any media format. The cover has the ingredients to be pretty cool; it just needs to be put together better. Thankfully the musick greatly makes up for the failed cover.

Big Trouble! starts with a little sound like a logo in a movie appropriately titled "Company Credits". It's a little crystal sounding blip of transference. Next is the vaporwave R&B of the title track. I really like the little keyboard stabs and the subtle bass fills. "Big Trouble!" is a very dreamy song. The only thing I find somewhat unpleasant about it is the differing amounts of reverb on the various instruments. "Tricolor Theme" is much different than the pop of "Big Trouble!". This is a slow, ambient song, windchimes somewhere that might be dark and scary, a supernatural glow on the horizon.

The second-half comes in with "True Silk", a return to that neon night of "Big Trouble!". The keyboard and saxophone are beautiful, and the bass provides an awesome counterpoint to the rest of the musick. The vocals are unfazed and don't follow the song closely. It's really great. "Eyes of Those (Tomorrow's Light)" continues the sound from the previous songs with more bass and no vocals. I really enjoyed it. "Company Outro Credits" closes it out with a song like a movie ending theme condensed into a minute, the waves lapping at a shore somewhere in Technicolor.

The musical employees at Kowloon certainly did a good job on Big Trouble! I enjoyed all of the tracks, and the presentational logo themes make the package. I do think that perhaps this sort of video OVA, neon, Sega Saturn aesthetic is getting somewhat played out nowadays, but I really like it at the same time. I am interested to hear the album mentioned as upcoming on Kowloon's site, Tricolor Jade. I'll definitely be on the lookout. Big Trouble! gets a Good.

On Sunday, February 25th, I went to see a show at Howlers that some friends were playing. All the bands had weird names. I didn't know one of the bands, Saajtak, at all. Mortis changes their sound all the time. Thousandzz of Beez is pretty consistent, even though I swear the first time I saw them it was totally different. Let's go!

Thousandzz of Beez was first. Hunter played a good set that seemed especially mesmerizing. I was glued to the musick. I liked that some of it was more guitar-focused while other songs were more pre-recorded backing tracks of ghostly somethings. Thousandzz of Beez is basically always good stuff.

Mortis was pretty good. They did some cool free jazz kind of stuff, all drums and horns. Unlike the other shows I've seen them do, there weren't any weird tricks - no flying plush toys or other gags. It was just straightforward, seemingly improvised jams. With a bit more, another permanent instrument or something, this would be really awesome.

I didn't like Saajtak too much. They used synths, bass, drums, and vocals to make musick you might dance slowly to. Some of the songs were really cool with musical scenes of floating thru a crystal something structure. Mostly, the songs went on too long though, and I am not a huge fan of the kind of the glissando-filled R&B singing style used.

The show was fairly short and pretty pleasant. I got to catch up with a few friends, and I felt very good when I went home. I really don't have much else to say. Sometimes stuff is just fine, and that's it. See you next time.

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