Automatic Colors / Zero Gravity Tea Ceremony
Reviewed by Austin Potter
The groundhog predicted an early spring. I find that hard to believe when winter blues set in and drag on and on and on ad nauseam until I begin to question my sanity—my existence even. Who am I? What am I? Where am I? Further and further along this train of thought I go until I realize how foolish I am. I need to get out of my funk. I’m in a rut. Brighter days are near and warmer days too. Maybe things aren’t so bad after all.
Authentic drone music. Drone music that evolves and changes. Drone music rife with emotional intensity. Drone music that lifts you up and takes you somewhere. Drone music that sounds good with the volume down low or up high—doesn’t matter. Zero Gravity Tea Ceremony (Bristol, UK) offers exactly this with their song,
In which our tender-hearted hero is absorbed by a colossal 5th-dimensional space-worm.
Toothbrush – Birds Aren’t Real
Reviewed by Nick Panagakos
This album is not to be enjoyed. Good luck with everything.
This is the tagline for the mini-album Birds Aren’t Real by Toothbrush. I think this is a good way to approach every album in general. Despite their best efforts, I really enjoyed this peek into their work. It can become too easy for 2-man-bands to be written off as a simple gimmick, but that’s only if it is a simple gimmick. Toothbrush got a good thing goin’ and there is a lot they can do with this.
The whole release is just around 6 minutes. 6 minutes. That’s like 1/3rd of a Yes song…or maybe 12 Toad songs. But either way, Toothbrush is tapping into a vein of collaborative noise that seems to be the tip of a weird ass iceberg. With song titles like “The Demon Sheds its Skin When the Savior is Ready” and, “To Bend the Bones of a Cursed Being”, you can tell they have some sinister worms runnin’ around upstairs. I wouldn’t mind more.
Mixing melancholy piano, fuzzed out bass and heavy-ass drums, Toothbrush has a prologue with Birds Aren’t Real. This is their first release on Bandcamp and with the modest price of $2, who can say no? You wouldn’t wanna be a jerk, would ya? Nooooo, not you! Not the class president, that’s for damn sure. Buy the fucking album. They live in Maine, for Chrissake! They need the wine!
Cat Temper – Henry (an electronic soundtrack to Eraserhead)
Reviewed by Sam Wade
Cat Temper did an excellent job with the album Henry (an electronic soundtrack to Eraserhead). Although I didn’t have a copy handy to sync up with the album, I decided to enjoy the album as a stand-alone project and have it soundtrack my morning. It was a definitively creepy one. Listening to the album outside on my back porch having a cigarette I felt like I was in the middle of a high brow 80s horror film. Cat Temper does a great job of injecting 80s synthesis into a soundtrack for a movie that predated those sounds. I can definitely see Cat Temper scoring modern films and having great success with this.
The bass sounds on Henry leave the strongest impression. They’re very strong and cut through the mix. I enjoyed this element of the album and how different it was from the soundtrack work of Angelo Badalamenti. In the liner notes on Bandcamp Cat Temper says they hope the album causes the listener to approach Eraserhead with fresh eyes and ears. I saw Eraserhead for the first time two or three years ago so I still remember a lot of the plot points referenced in the song titles. I think I would have to watch the film with Henry to truly refresh how I approach to Eraserhead, however Cat Temper does such a good job at creating an alien world with Henry that I feel at the very least that it functions as an expansion of the Lynch universe.
I hope Cat Temper continues to make instrumental albums like this one. I really enjoyed it and I’d be curious to hear what Cat Temper comes up with independently of source material. The sounds on Henry are not too jarring or abrasive. It can function as background music perfectly and succeeds as an ambient album as well as a potential soundtrack. Highly recommended.