In this biweekly column, TMT Cerberus editor Justin Spicer shares with you some killer tape-only releases he's had on repeat of late:
Nomen Novum: If You Look for It, It’s There [Broad Beauty; 2012]
Atlanta's David Norbery reminisces along the same lines of Richard Swift. However, Norbery’s work as Nomen Novum blasts off into a frequency Swift has rarely touched. Swift is about AM gold, occasionally sprinkled it with garage, kraut, and electronic influences. Norbert has discovered a place on the radio dial that exists beyond the 107.9 range, and you need to be able to bend space and time to find it.
The chaotic result, If You Look for It, It’s There, is a ghetto-blaster of pop from the gritty streets of yore. Where Swift has romanticized the past, and weirdo rockers like Ariel Pink, R. Stevie Moore, and Gary Wilson have warped it, Norbery creates pop in a vacuum. To borrow yet another music metaphor that has nothing to do with Norbery: much like Atlanta and the South destroyed West Coast mythos with a bevy of party-heavy and street tough hip-hop, Norbery has taken the California dreaming of the underground and adapted it to fit the particular needs of himself and his fellow Southerners.
Indulge my analogy. “Pony Trekkers” taps into the simplicity of Juvenile’s “Ha,” using repetitive lyrics to underscore the rhythmic oddity of the melody. “Millennials” perverts the guitar majesty of Dustin Wong with a broken down beat and stilted singing. The range of If You Look for It, It’s There is staggering. It exists in no genre because it borrows from every genre. It’s pop music only because its cultural touchstones are many, experimental because it destroys the norms often associated with catchy music.
Gonzalez & Steenkiste: Stuffed with the Down of the Eider [Eiderdown; 2012]
Ernesto Gonzalez and Glen Steenkiste of Silvester Anfang II are going it as a duo for this cassette. The surprise: heavy doses of realism. “An Evening at Sloows” is dripping wet drone, nothing but strings and keys clinging to t-shirts in 110 degree heat. As the sun sets and the weather cools, “Front Porch Rumbling” provides a brief respite with a lazily plucked banjo and guitar duel, the duo's energy having been sapped fighting off the sweltering day.
The twosome doesn’t seem deterred on final offering “Paradise Mix,” which is full of vibrant energy, feeding off the solar goodness and forgetting about the morass of humid pollutants that weighed them down. The drone returns, this time jubilant and bright. As the moon begins to crescent in the distance, and starlight hits the Earth’s night sky, Gonzalez and Steenkiste swat the mosquitoes away from the harmonium buzz of delight. The squeezebox lets out the audible sigh of relief as the cool air settles over the outdoor gathering. It doesn’t take folktales and ghost stories to provide excitement as dusk vanquishes the hot Summer day, just a couple of music makers capable of capturing the mood.